In the Royal Army of the Golden Empire, the Massassi Cohorts were special operations units composed entirely of Massassi warriors. Though the word "cohort" in normal use was not capitalized, it was when referring specifically to the Massassi units.
The Massassi made up the overwhelming majority of the early Glorious Armada of the Golden Empire, and were not considered to have special status during the first decade of the Empire's existence. However, they had a major role in training new species to fulfill military duties. As the Royal Army was the branch requiring the least technical knowledge of advanced physics, and thus the branch in which more technologically primitive species could most easily excel, the Army correspondingly saw the greatest number of recruits from the Empire's new worlds until the addition of the spacefaring Iscali in 94 ABY. By 98 ABY, the Massassi had been reduced enough in vitality that they could have twelve dedicated ground cohorts, with the Iscali and other spacefarers assuming much of the Naval work.
The Massassi saw constant front-line action during the Great Liberation; they had not only the military experience to inspire their greener fellow soldiers, but their sheer size and intimidating appearance served as a psychological weapon against the enemy. Nine of the twelve cohorts were present for the enormous Battle of Tizgo V, which saw the death of the Centurion and general Keltrayu and the designation of the 11th Massassi Cohort as an elite special operations unit.
The Massassi continued to serve in the Empire, but the heavy influx of new recruits was more than able to meet recruiting needs of the Royal Army, and the Massassi emerged as special duty units, deployed to major battles or large commands. After the Massassi received Kavez Massass as a gift from Rin Sakaros, they were able to standardize the training of their Cohorts, and Rin gradually authorized the creation of more. By the time of the Conquest of the Chiss Ascendancy in 137 ABY, the total stood at seventeen, including the elite 11th.
Some time after the 65 Reforms, Rin authorized the Royal Army to raise an additional thirteen cohorts, intending to gradually bring the total to thirty.
Organization and use
Like all other units of the Royal Army, the Massassi Cohorts were sub-divided into squads, companies, and regiments. They were distinct in that only Massassi were allowed into them, and all their training took place on the adopted Massassi homeworld of Kavez Massass.
Massassi did not undergo the standard training for officers and enlisted soldiers, but instead were trained by senior Massassi warriors. Their size and raw physical strength and hardiness enabled them to handle rigors of combat which other species could not. The Massassi Cohorts were allowed to set their own physical fitness standards, subject only to the approval of Army High Command.
All seventeen Massassi Cohorts were considered permanently assigned to High Command, to be deployed under the command of Legates or assigned to Royal Navy capital ships at High Command's sole discretion. The exception was the 11th Massassi Cohort, an even more elite unit personally assigned to the Prime Legate.
Massassi soldiers could volunteer to serve as honor guards at Keltrayu's Tomb on Keliso; appointment to this duty was considered an extreme personal honor, and was made only with the joint consent of the Prime Legate, the Prefect of the Order of Keltrayu, and the Sovereign. Similarly, Massassi could volunteer for selection in the Massassi Guard, which provided personal protection to various members of the Royal Family, other important personages, Rin's Castle on Queen's Garden, and the Citadel.