The Big Picture
"I am like a doctor. I have written a prescription to help the patient. If the patient doesn't want all the pills I've recommended, that's up to him. But I must warn that next time I will have to come as a surgeon with a knife."
--Javier Perez de Cuellar, fifth Secretary-General of the United Nations
In the final analysis, the United Nations organization known as CORE
seeks to secure the safety of the world and its peoples. This lofty goal, however, took some time developing.
In late 1983, in the wake of the U.S. invasion of Grenada, the United Nations sanctioned the creation of the Center for Observation, Research and Examination (CORE) as an analysis sub division of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). A niche office, it was ostensibly set up to analyze events like the Grenada action and write reports on the diplomatic issues surrounding direct governmental action in the international arena. The bulk of the CORE
mission statement was vague, lacking specific language regarding how the Center was to gather its information, how many employees it was to maintain, and even what form its reports were to take. But the General Assembly had spoken, so CORE
meandered into service.
For nearly ten years CORE
carried forward with a staff of about a dozen and a small cluttered suite of offices in the UN building. They recruited smart people, and those people wrote solid reports, and then sadly watched as their reports went unread, swallowed in the paperwork labyrinth and pointless microphone-hogging of the General Assembly. Several of the Center's key personnel were prepared to pack it in, consigning CORE
to bureaucratic oblivion, when everything changed.
Through a fluke communications intercept the analysts of CORE
were among the first to recognize the existence of a "good guy" global espionage group called The Consortium in the early 1990s. The directors of CORE
were uncertain what to make of the Consortium, but wrote a preliminary report and submitted it as their mission statement dictated. The report went as unread as the rest, and the decision was made within the Center to keep further information on the Consortium quiet until they could learn more. Because they were so small, and did not advertise their discovery, their attention went unnoticed. CORE
watched the Consortium anonymously and carefully from their bureaucratic-backwater offices, educating themselves on practical espionage applications as they did so. As the bulk of the UN had forgotten that CORE
even existed, the Center was effectively free to watch and learn.
When the Bullet Hits the Bone
On one hand, CORE
recognized that the Consortium served a useful function, operating extralegally and possessing a global reach via organizational tendrils in major governments around the world. Looked at a certain way the Consortium was doing exactly what CORE
had been set up to watch and study. On the other hand, the Consortium would have nowhere to hide if things went wrong, as they could claim no overarching directive and were overseen by none of the governments they seemed to serve. The analysts of CORE
concluded that the Consortium was serving a valuable purpose in the world, but that it had a flaw in its administrative structure that could eventually lead to a rift in the organization.
Just after the turn of the 21st century, CORE
began to see the predicted rifts developing in the Consortium's operational strategies, and the analysts grew concerned that a sea change was coming. Worried about the potential of a schism within the Consortium, CORE
began putting feelers out into other UN offices around the world sharing CORE
's tiny size, vague charter, bottom-tier status, ineffective mission statement, or some combination thereof. The combined directors of these small groups considered the evidence and agreed among themselves that a major problem was coming. Each group began carefully and secretly restructuring, redirecting and stockpiling funds, and contacting people they trusted to lay groundwork for replacing the Consortium should it be required. This would soon prove prescient.
Throughout 2003, CORE
tracked a volume of communications chatter that indicated the Consortium had melted down in vicious and bloody infighting. Described simply, factions within the Consortium seemed to be entering direct competition with one another for resources and operational control, with no effective leadership that could keep everyone in line. When bodies started dropping sufficiently for the legitimate governments of the world to notice and consider action, many of the Consortium's operatives scattered to save themselves. The CORE
Controls saw their opportunity, put their plan in motion, and began dispatching communications in a carefully crafted net, seeking to pick up the operatives who were going to ground. To these agents, CORE
promised careful handling, a structure that would avoid the pitfalls of the Consortium, and most important, nominal sanction by (and covering support from) the United Nations.
The response of former Consortium operatives was far beyond what CORE
had hoped. While early respondents were either absorbed into the personnel roster of CORE
itself or the payrolls of its allied offices, it soon became necessary to fall back on its secret caches of money and material to accommodate the new operatives. In a matter of weeks, CORE
had assembled a cadre of old agents operating under new Controls.
The burgeoning CORE
soon came to the attention of other groups looking to chart a course through the ruins of the Consortium. A secret society operating out of the United States since the 19th century called the Libramentum was the first to pledge its personnel and resources completely to assist CORE
. With the Libramentum's resources bolstering their own and Libramentum members helping support the Center's infrastructure, CORE
was able to reach out into communities the Consortium had ignored, bringing aboard innovators, experts, and operatives in areas including computers, electronics, and outright invention of all sorts.
As each new group joined CORE
its personnel and resources were pooled and then re-apportioned to more efficiently handle the role each would play in the new coalition. Many operatives of one group wound up working for another that better suited their talents, including some of the leadership of each. This helped to tie the groups more closely together and build unity in the new coalition.
CORE: Under the Big Bulletproof Umbrella
While CORE itself serves as a home office of sorts, and generates most of the plans and missions, CORE is comprised of seven major factions. Some of these factions are remnants of the old Consortium, while others existed outside that old organization for one of several reasons. These factions are not numbered or coded in any way. Their eclectic nature serves as disguise enough. They are presented here alphabetically, as they exist in no hierarchy. Every faction is equal at CORE's round table of espionage.
The Circuit -- Premier wheelmen and vehicle crews from around the world.
C.T.C. -- The UN Counter-Terrorism Commission, a clearing house for law enforcement information and a frontline group in the war on terror.
The Libramentum -- A secret society created by the founding fathers of the United States.
The Nobel Foundation -- Specifically, a secret steering group within Alfred Nobel's vaunted prize committee.
The Open Source Network -- A group of whiz-bang techies and electronics specialists, now using their bleeding edge ideas in service to global security.
U.N.I.T.E. -- UN International Treaty Enforcement, the logistics wing of the peacekeeping corps.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) -- Managers and guardians of a host of inventions deemed too dangerous to be allowed into world circulation.
An agent in the Spymaster campaign has several options in relation to belonging to a faction. An agent can opt to be a CORE operative, working directly for the Center. As stated above, in this case the agent derives no organization benefits, but neither are his gear choices restricted. This is identical to the way LSpy operated, so if you want no change to your play experience then playing a CORE agent is the way to go.
Your agent, however, can also opt to belong to one of CORE's consituent and supporting organizations. In this case, the agent does
receive organzation benefits, but also has his gear choices restricted slightly. If you want to really tailor your play experience to your character and get involved with a group that offers mechanical benefits to your character, CORE's suborgs are well worth a look.
Trained to be Ghosts
It should be noted very plainly that CORE
has no legitimate law-enforcement charter. While CORE
s original charter is arguably vague enough to allow direct involvement in the global espionage arena, in practice the Center operates almost extralegally. They answer only to the U.N. Security Council, and even then answer only to the representatives of the permanent members--the rotating seats are purposefully left unaware of CORE
's real mission.
Agents working directly for CORE
are people with broad skill sets and capabilities who can organize themselves and others to get things done--generalists like Pointmen, and networkers like Advocates and Fixers. These are agents with talents like Adaptable or Convincing. However, CORE
also attracted the service of veteran agents who recognized the need for a global watchdog group, and who have no ideological agenda beyond simply saving the world. These are agents with talents like Veteran and Grizzled. CORE
agents tend toward specialties like Contract Professional or Jack-of-all-Trades.
Organization Statistics, CORE
operates through and draws resources from a host of intermediary organizations and associated covert groups, CORE
itself possesses no organization stats. Mechanically, this is a double-edged sword. Agents with the Faction-CORE
affiliation derive no Organization Rating benefits (and so cannot use any ability requiring an Organization Rating), but may select gear with a caliber V cap in all categories.
"Handsome Rob. Premier wheel man. Once drove all the way from Los Angeles just so he could set the record for longest freeway chase. You know he got 110 love letters sent to his jail cell from women who saw him on the news?"
--Charlie Croker, The Italian Job
Popular entertainment lionizes the wheelman. A maverick speed demon, the driver is nearly always the team-member who is flashiest and craziest, and who performs the most obvious feats of derring-do in service to his buddies. So pervasive is this notion that few children can climb into a cardboard box without pretending, if even for a moment, that it is a race car, a stunt plane, or a rocket.
Unfortunately, vehicle crews have generally been viewed in the espionage world as resources more than as personnel. Within the ranks of the Consortium this perception did not vary, and even in its heyday the Consortium considered its vehicle crews only slightly above freelancers. Consortium-designed mission parameters were designed to minimize vehicular mayhem, and many drivers had little more to do than sit in the van while their team did all the heavy lifting.
It was not surprising, therefore, that when the Consortium collapsed, their wheelmen scattered to the wind. Most of them came from one competitive vehicle circuit or another, and simply returned to their roots. A small number, particularly those with military experience, became mercenaries. A few others turned to crime.
Within and between all those groups, a core of drivers and crewmen kept in touch, if only to get together from time to time and swap stories of the old days. One of these was a pilot who operated under the codename Corsair. Corsair, a previously high-clearance handler from the old Consortium, was in Monaco when he was contacted by the Controls of CORE. Corsair agreed that most of the Consortium's old gearheads would probably be more receptive to contact from one of their own than from some other covert group, and so agreed to spearhead the reassembly of the Agency's old vehicle division as best he could.
Corsair put the word out, and while reasonably good response returned, it was primarily from those former agents who had become criminals and needed CORE's offer of record-cleansing and amnesty. Many of the mercenaries, and nearly all of the racers, were happy with their lot, and told Corsair as much, stating plainly that they would make themselves available on a sort of retainer, but had no intention of joining the organization directly.
This group has come to be known simply as The Circuit. It is not a defined organization so much as it is a loose network of like-minded men and women, dedicated agents and special-mission freelancers alike. It is very difficult for anyone outside the group to determine who exactly is "in charge" (though much of their communication seems to route through a service garage in Milan). As their goals mirror those of CORE, The Circuit generally benefits from the smokescreen CORE constructs around its operations.
Organization Statistics, The Circuit
Goals: 1 (Credibility)
While the various gearheads of the Circuit have a wide assortment of day-to-day motivations and desires, the group's only real covert agenda is to be taken seriously by the rest of the larger CORE umbrella.
History: 5 (Allies, Great Leader, Persecuted, Rise from the Ashes, Revolt)
Their experiences with the Consortium left a bad taste in their collective mouths, and many were leaving the Consortium even before it came apart at the seams. Those who deal with these wheelmen would do well to pay their exploits some respect; those who do find themselves in the hands of some of the best vehicle crews in the world. The operative called Corsair commands near-universal respect from the Circuit, and nearly any member of the group would answer his call ASAP.
Image: 8 (Mysterious Goals, Secretive Methods, Mysterious Leaders, Secretive Members, Mysterious Sites)
Because the Circuit is so thoroughly decentralized, tracking its members' movements is meaningless. Many Circuit agents lead largely normal lives, and check in so randomly (or rarely) that figuring out who and where they are is an exercise is futility.
The Circuit is head quartered in what appears to be a simple neighborhood auto repair shop in Milan, Italy. In fact, the extensive basement of this building serves as a communications hub for the organization, as well as housing an Advanced Garage complex, which works closely with the Motor Pool in the Czech Republic. The Circuit also operates an Airstrip compound deep in the Nevada desert, which is often mistaken for a secret US installation. The boat-racing community surrounding Sydney, Australia provides a very effective smokescreen under which the Circuit operates a top-notch Harbor facility. Finally, the remote hills of Scotland hide a vast Military Depot from which the Circuit can airlift all manner of hardware on very short notice.
Tools: 6 (E-III, G-IV, R-III, S-IV, T-III, V-V, W-IV)
The Circuit deals primarily in things that can either be driven, or be put into something that can be driven. Their ability to draw on softer espionage resources is limited, largely because no one in the Circuit cares enough to cultivate such access.
Playing a Circuit Agent
Wheelmen (with all manner of appropriate talents and specialties) occupy the ranks of the Circuit almost exclusively. All manner of pilots, drivers, jockeys, sailors, and other agents dealing with modes of transport (operation or combat) will find a happy home here.
Circuit agents are nearly freelancers in the way they approach their work. They tend to be among the most independent, self-sufficient, and resourceful agents operating under the CORE umbrella. They want more than anything to be taken seriously as contributors, rather than resources.
"Cops have to play by the rules. I may have to break a few with this guy."
--Jack Bauer, 24
On September 5, 1972, at the Munich Olympic games, the modern age of terrorism began. On that date a Palestinian Liberation group known as Black September took 11 Israeli athletes hostage. The West German government found itself woefully unprepared to deal with the situation, and in the botched rescue attempt all of the Israeli athletes, three of the terrorists, and a German police officer were killed. The world recoiled in horror, and began scrambling to find ways to fight this new breed of enemy.
One of the consequences of the Munich Massacre, as it came to be called, was the formation of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Commission in early 1973. Under the mandate of the General Assembly, the CTC was to serve as a clearing house of counter-terrorist tactics and to provide investigation and after-action reports of terrorist incidents to help the police forces of member nations learn from their mistakes. Law enforcement officers were recruited from member nations, new training facilities were built, and new counter-terrorism techniques were developed.
Although the CTC was envisioned as a high-profile organization and was initially able to recruit renowned law-enforcement experts from many member nations, it quickly dropped out of the world spotlight when nations began developing their own counter-terrorist groups, starting with West Germany's GSG-9 only a few months after the massacre. In the decades following its formation CTC continued to operate, but with minimal support from the UN and little attention being paid to its results. It came to be viewed as just another anti-terror think-tank, and not the most prestigious of them. With each terrorist attack the CTC would receive a new influx of funds and recruits, but these amounts shrank each time as the world seemed to learn to live with terrorism. By the year 2000 the CTC was a nearly defunct organization, understaffed, under funded, and largely forgotten by the UN.
In September 2001 everything changed again. The world recoiled in horror again as thousands perished in the most successful terrorist strike in history. The nations of the world found their fear of terrorism re-awakened and the voice of the people demanded that something be done. The CTC suddenly found itself very popular again. New funds and recruits streamed in and the CTC strained to accommodate them all.
Although they were not about to look a gift horse in the mouth, the Commissioners knew from experience that this sudden infusion of support was not likely to last. They began to quietly stockpile funds and equipment against the future. This foresight served them well when enthusiasm towards counter-terrorism swiftly cooled in many of the world's nations with the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Also in 2001, the CTC and CORE, another forgotten auxiliary of the UN, began exchanging information on a group CORE had discovered known simply as "The Consortium". The CTC assisted CORE in evaluating the Consortium's threat potential and past operations. They agreed that the Consortium was "one of the good guys" but continued to watch it closely. When the Consortium fractured and dissolved, CTC helped CORE pick up the pieces. As CORE established contact with the counter-terrorist operatives of the old Consortium they were shifted on to the CTC payrolls, and formed a new cadre of results-oriented field operatives.
With the dissolution of the Consortium and with support from the UN once again beginning to drop off, CTC accepted CORE's offer to form a new espionage organization, proudly re-dedicating its resources to fighting the good fight against terror.
Organization Statistics, CTC
Goals: 3 (Counter, Protection, Stability)
CTC strives to limit the ability of terrorists to acquire weapons, from the mundane to weapons of mass destruction. It attempts to learn lessons from the successful terrorist attacks of the past and what counter-tactics will provide the best results.
History: 4 (Changing of the Guard, Enemies, Foolishness, Rise from the Ashes)
While Munich kickstarted CTC's existence, the 9/11 attacks truly gave it direction and purpose. CTC operatives recognize the dark new world in which we now live, and strive to adapt to the danger as fast as it can be discovered.
Image: 5 (Recorded Goals, Secretive Methods, Recorded Leaders, Mysterious Members, Mysterious Sites)
While the CTC exists as a genuine U.N. Agency, it has secreted away a large volume of money and material stockpiled over the years. The true extent of its activities are easily masked, as when pressed they can claim to be working with more high-profile anti-terror groups.
At The Hague the CTC has the services of a top-notch Law Office whose staff is arguably the best in the world at prosecuting terrorists, and an extensive Records Office housing dossiers on all known terrorists. It maintains secret holding areas for captured terrorists throughout the world, including a maximum-security Prison in Eastern Europe wrongly thought by the world press to have been run by the CIA. A well-stocked Armory and Training Ground can be found in Turkey, near Istanbul, and some of the best medical care in the world is available to CTC operatives at a private Hospital in Germany.
Tools: 7 (E-IV, G-III, R-IV, S-V, T-IV, V-IV, W-IV)
Security is the CTC's stock in trade, and they specialize in resources related to protection. As counter-terrorist groups can often get away with more obvious action, CTC has found little use for whiz-bang gadgetry.
"What we do is unfortunately very, very necessary. And if you're not willing to sacrifice scum like Schmidt for those that want nothing more than their freedom, then you better take a long hard look at your chosen profession, my friend. Because it doesn't get any easier."
--Nathan Muir, Spy Game
The Founding Fathers of the United States of America have long been accused in one circle or another of either belonging to or founding a host of secret societies or other such conspiracies. It is perhaps a credit to their organizational abilities that the secret society they actually did found, the Libramentum, remains a secret in spite of all the sensationalist propaganda surrounding their lives.
The word Libramentum translates roughly into modern terminology as "counterweight"; it describes the weight that, when applied to a scale, keeps the tool in balance and functioning properly. Created as a watchdog organization on the fledgling United States government, the Libramentum's members have functioned ever since as guardians of the balance between that government's three branches. They are funded through several shadow budgets within the three branches of the United States government, as well as a network of private holding companies operating in a maze of financial chicanery. A number of prominent Americans have been members of the Libramentum, including Theodore Roosevelt, Elihu Root, and Dwight Eisenhower.
While the Libramentum does possess a leadership, the membership beyond that select group operates in a state of equality, with no consideration for seniority. Membership has always been carefully managed by the leadership, and prior to CORE was by invitation only. Although members of CORE can join the Libramentum's ranks there is still an inner circle, known as the Knights Libramentis, which is by invitation only. It is from these ranks that the current leaders hail from. While many early members of the society belonged to ritual-oriented groups like the Freemasons (and many current members still do), the Libramentum itself has no ritualistic trappings or procedures.
In the summer of 1942 President Franklin Roosevelt, then a leading member of the Libramentum, created the Office of Strategic Services, naming as its leader another Libramentum member, "Wild Bill" Donovan. Under Roosevelt's direction Donovan worked to expand the Libramentum into the ranks of Britain's Special Operations Executive, and from there into the British (and later other Allied) governments. Roosevelt felt strongly that the free nations of the world would be needed to lead the rest, and the Libramentum provided him with a ready and willing mechanism to steer global events. While the Libramentum continued to be primarily interested in the welfare of the United States, it grew through WW II to become a defender of democratic nations worldwide.
In 1945, several important members of the Libramentum were positioned properly to observe the creation of the United Nations (including Edward Stettinius, who would become the first US ambassador, appointed by fellow Libramentum member President Harry Truman). Not wishing to become the sorts of shadowy tyrants they despised, the leadership chose to observe the UN and occasionally steer it away from trouble rather than subvert it entirely. The rise of the Consortium was an event frowned upon within the Libramentum, for they viewed the organization with mistrust for not answering to anyone with a vested interest in the greater good. Still, the Consortium was far larger than the Libramentum, and so the latter could mount no effective challenge.
When the Consortium melted down, the Libramentum was not surprised. What did surprise them was the speedy rise of CORE as a replacement, a group that had stayed so small for so long that it was dismissed. After its rise, a Libramentum member operating under the codename Pioneer was tasked with checking CORE over. It was his report that convinced the leadership that in the modern world the cause of freedom was a global concern, and CORE was on the level in that regard. Pleased to find an organization worth backing, the Libramentum leadership authorized full support for CORE, with the caveat that the Office had to reveal its operational readiness to the permanent members of the UN Security Council (a safety measure deemed necessary to avoid the lack of oversight that they found so disturbing in the Consortium). That accomplished, the Libramentum used its clout within the UN and other nations to help the new umbrella organization take proper hold. In this respect, the Libramentum was the only group to approach CORE directly and offer their loyalty, rather than being sought out as were the other appended groups.
Organization Statistics, The Libramentum
Goals: 3 (Counter, Secrecy, Visionaries)
The Libramentum is dedicated to quietly keeping democracy safe worldwide. They also keep tabs on the remnants of the Consortium that reorganized as SAINT, and consider the former Consortium's Intelligence-division lackeys their arch-enemies.
History: 4 (Allies, Enemies, Golden Age, Victory)
Having grown far beyond American regionalism to become the backbone of a global network, the Libramentum seeks to carry the ideals of freedom and democracy to the world. While the Libramentum has willingly subordinated itself to CORE, the group retains its individual (and largely American) identity.
Image: 10 (Mysterious Goals, Mysterious Methods, Mysterious Leaders, Mysterious Members, Mysterious Sites)
Few organizations ever created keep secrets as well as the Libramentum. Their operatives are devilishly hard to track, and even harder to pin down.
Based in Washington D.C., the Libramentum's Records Office and Media Studio are not single specific sites. Rather, they are a series of smaller sites scattered all over D.C. and the greater Alexandria area. All operate under the guises of assorted think-tanks, PACs, lobby offices, staffing services, and other such mundane government parasites. While the Libramentum may appreciate archaic-sounding titles and other such intra-organizational eccentricities, they also believe that the dangers of maintaining centralized secret facilities far outweigh the benefits provided.
Tools: 6 (E-IV, G-III, R-IV, S-III, T-V, V-III, W-IV)
Big and booming isn't the Libramentum's style. They prefer to wield quiet influence rather than a big stick. Of course, when a big stick is needed, it doesn't get much bigger than a carrier-based airstrike.
The Nobel Foundation
"I intend to leave after my death a large fund for the promotion of the peace idea, but I am skeptical as to its results."
One of the best known and simultaneously least known figures of the 20th century was Alfred Nobel, a Swedish chemist, engineer, armaments manufacturer, and philanthropist who actually died in 1896. The public record indicates that shortly before his death he restructured his will to endow a massive monetary award, portions of which were to be awarded annually to outstanding innovators in the areas of physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and peace, creating the Nobel Foundation. This Foundation is considered in many circles to occupy the pinnacle of honor, integrity, and civilization. The real story is more complicated.
Nobel made the bulk of his fortune in arms and explosives, as both the owner of the Bofors gunworks, and the inventor of dynamite. As such, he was a man quite in touch with war and its attendant horrors. He privately consoled himself with notions of being uninvolved, not responsible for those who used what he created. His mind was changed in 1888 when a French newspaper published an erroneous obituary for Nobel, claiming triumphantly that "the merchant of death is dead" and decrying his hand in the creation of weapons of destruction.
Nobel endowed his prize foundation a few years later, intending to use it to further the cause of peace and achievement rather than destruction and warmongering. Beyond that, he sought to create a secret society that could use the Foundation as a cover. The endowment of the award had brought him to the attention of scientists and peace advocates throughout Europe and the Americas, many of whom were eager to be part of the Foundation. Nobel began to build a society from among these notables as an informal but secret group, dedicated to a peaceful future. Nobel's society had no name within the scope of the greater Foundation, as the entire membership was meant to know one another, and have no hierarchy in their quest to build the public perception that stability and civilization were synonymous. In fact, all members of the society would themselves be members of the Foundation at large, and would therefore be hiding in plain sight. This society was designed to take an active but secret hand in directing the Foundation.
Nobel's society numbered only nine when Nobel himself died of a sudden stroke in late 1896. His associate and friend, Baroness Bertha von Suttner of Austria, moved forward with his secret legacy (and in an unrelated event received the Nobel Peace Prize herself in 1905). While she oversaw the growth of the secret society within the Foundation, it only numbered a few dozen by 1920, when French statesman (and society member) Leon Bourgeois was elected unanimously as the first President of the Council of the League of Nations. Bourgeois used his position in the League of Nations to take the secret group worldwide. Though he only served a short time, his work did much to entrench members of the Nobel Foundation (and internal society) in global affairs, and many key society members were participants in the formation of the United Nations.
The Nobel Foundation, steered by its internal society, has long cultivated an image of being "above the fray" of global politics and world affairs. In that vein, members of the society (few of whom could be called spies) avoided engaging in espionage until very recently. Rather than take an active hand in illicit activities, the society sought to direct the Foundation, and by extension the opinions of the world community, in the direction of peace and stability. The society became only peripherally aware of the Consortium in the late 1990s, and universally opposed the organization, feeling that any group divorced from oversight or a defined mission statement was inherently corrupt. Unfortunately, as the society was never intended to be a covert agency, they were unable to directly combat the Consortium, and were themselves unknowingly infiltrated by the same.
When the Consortium collapsed and CORE moved to reconstruct its shattered remnants, they found a number of the former group's politically connected agents operating in and around the Nobel Foundation, though without Controls most had simply remained in place and gone quiet. Several experienced operatives came out of the society's woodwork when CORE came calling. Using the revealed infiltrators as go-betweens, the Controls of CORE made overtures to Nobel's society, and as CORE was specifically tied to the UN (and thus possessed the mission and oversight the society found palatable), it took little convincing to bring the society on board.
Possessing the ability to forever enshrine anyone as a pillar of civilization, the Nobel Foundation today commands respect bordering on reverence from political, religious, and scientific leaders worldwide. Members of the Foundation do nothing to dissuade people from this opinion, and many have bought the Foundation line entirely. It should be noted that the ordinary Foundation members have no idea that a secret society exists within their midst, or that said society is in league with global espionage elements. CORE agents operating within the Foundation effectively hide in plain sight. In service to CORE, these agents use their affiliation to both impress the masses, gather information, and exchange favors for the greater good of global freedom.
The Nobel Foundation is filled with activists, advocates, demagogues, and raconteurs, and the world expects Foundation members to go anywhere and speak with anyone, especially the leaders of nations or scientific fields. In many circles the title "Nobel" bestows carte blanche on a figure to say or do as he pleases, as it certainly must be for the greater good (or at least cannot be against it). Agents within the Foundation regularly gain access to some of the most closely guarded locations, people, and secrets, simply by claiming to be investigating on behalf of the award committee.
However, as the Foundation's public face exclusively promotes peace, research, and civilizing dialogue, CORE agents within the foundation must keep their activities a closely guarded secret. Fortunately, agents occupy several high positions in the Foundation, and do a superb job of keeping the Foundation's more illicit activities (as well as their co-opted facilities) well hidden.
Organization Statistics, Nobel Foundation
Goals: 3 (Credibility, Stability, Visionaries)
The goals of the Foundation's secret society are little different from those of the Foundation itself. The members of the secret society are simply more proactive and pragmatic about it.
History: 5 (Allies, Great Leader, Growth, Respected, Rise from the Ashes)
There is a short list of names that will be remembered when historians discuss the 20th century, and one of them is Nobel. The members of the society fully recognize that they work within a foundation that is globally revered, and they use those public perceptions to forward their own agenda.
Image: 6 (Recorded Goals, Secretive Methods, Renowned Leaders, Secretive Members, Mysterious Sites)
Little of what the foundation does can be called truly secret, though the sites operated by the society are kept close to the vest. The foundation, after all, is supposed to judge other peoples' work, not create on their own.
In keeping with the vaguely eurocentric nature of the foundation, most of the society's sites are located in and around western Europe. The COMSEC Center in Stockholm functions more or less as a headquarters for the inner society, working closely with the Media Studio in Paris and the Records Office in Berlin. Edinburgh is the location of the society's very secret Cloning Lab. The only distant Nobel site is the Hot Lab in Atlanta, nestled quietly near the headquarters of the United States' Center for Disease Control.
Tools: 6 (E-IV, G-IV, R-V, S-III, T-IV, V-III, W-III)
Agents in the Nobel Foundation tend to work very quietly, eschewing bug guns and loud vehicular mayhem. Indeed, many foundation agents hold violence in mild disdain, and seek bloodless solutions to their mission objectives.
The Open Source Network
"You can't fight the signal."
--Mr. Universe, Serenity
In the world of computers, the Open Source community has been around from the beginning. Adherents to a philosophy wherein nothing is truly proprietary and everyone works for a common goal of advancement, they continue to fight a decades-old PR war against a coalition of computing corporations, and in certain circles are still sneered at as "hobbyists" whose contributions are irrelevant to the computing world.
In spite of these unfounded criticisms, the community continues to make significant advancements in software, creating performance packages well beyond what the unwieldy corporations pass off as cutting edge. Some are driven to beat the hype, showing the industry (and by extension the world) that Open Source software (and the Open Source model in general) can be the best. Unfortunately, few are willing to look past the corporate PR spin, much to the frustration of the community at large.
As the Open Source community has a reputation for fair assessment of talent, over time a number of other techno-misfits and disaffected tinkers (whose work has been equally dismissed or suppressed by corporate greed) entered into association with certain programming groups to build better machines all the way around. It was this network within the community that was more than willing to strut their bleeding-edge stuff when CORE came calling.
When CORE moved to solidify its hold on the fragments of the Consortium, the powers that be within the service knew they would need a top-notch electronics group that could do two things: keep a secret, and respond quickly to changes in the technological landscape. No corporate group was capable of both, even subverted--the capacity for leaks was too great, and the design teams too sluggish. Accordingly, CORE handlers began looking to what they erroneously understood to be the fringes. What they found was a widespread tech-community more than willing to outbuild, outperform, and outpace any think-tank or corporate group.
The Open Source community at large has made their various mission statements abundantly available for any who care to look. Comparatively large organizations of Open Source software programmers publish their work extensively, and work to improve their public image at every opportunity. This activity provides the best possible smokescreen for the activities of CORE. Agents within the Network are able to work almost entirely beneath the radar, as the typical observer is unlikely to attempt to look beyond the PR efforts of either the mainstream programmers or their corporate critics. Some agents work in unobtrusive office parks. Some work in basements or garages. Some agents are even members of a mainstream Open Source group, quietly contributing to the greater project while secretly forwarding software breakthroughs to their CORE handlers.
The Open Source Network is vast, with members and contributors both CORE and civilian all over the world. This decentralization of agents, workshops, and materiel works to CORE's favor, as it makes it impossible to accurately track the Network's acquisitions or distributions. Nearly anything technological can be acquired by working the Network's assorted builders. Many of the "civilian" members of the community suspect that something is going on, but they're having entirely too much subversive fun to look too close.
Organization Statistics, Open Source Network
Goals: 4 (Credibility, Enlightened Evolution, Revelation, Takeover)
The Network ultimately seeks to be seen as the technological leaders they are, with their breakthroughs accepted worldwide.
History: 5 (Allies, Enemies, Golden Age, Persecuted, Rivals)
With friends and enemies in and out of the corporate world, the Network finds itself fighting a near-constant battle to retain their independence and remain true to their mission. The LOGO corporation is a special enemy of the Open Source techies, as LOGO's brand of overarching corporate control runs counter to everything the Network believes in.
Image: 8 (Recorded Goals, Mysterious Methods, Mysterious Leaders, Mysterious Members, Mysterious Sites)
While the mission statements of the Open Source movement are clear to anyone who takes the time to look, the lack of central control makes Network members devilishly hard to find or track.
The Network has a trio of installations in and around the south Pacific. An Advanced Lab
in Hong Kong keeps tabs on the assorted product piracy groups that operate in China (including the Chinese government itself). The Network also maintains a COMSEC Center
in Aukland, from which they rent/steal access to a global Satellite Network
Tools: 5 (E V, G V, R IV, S II, T IV, V II, W II)
Electronics and whiz-bang gadgetry are the name of the Network's game, though their applications are generally not meant to be directly violent.
"The rifle is the first weapon you learn how to use, because it lets you keep your distance from the client. The closer you get to being a pro, the closer you can get to the client. The knife, for example, is
the last thing you learn."
--Leon, The Professional
No other department within the United Nations has been more controversial than the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO). Although their mission statement is explicit in that Peacekeepers only assist and observe peace processes, public perception has anointed them as Enforcers. Unfortunately, with no mandate to act, the Peacekeepers' reputation has declined steadily with each successive mission, and with each perceived "failure" to meet and counter armed opposition.
However, there was one section within the DPKO that performed commendably throughout its history - logistics. Ironically named United Nations International Treaty Enforcement, and given mandate to operate under UN auspices, they provided material goods to whatever hotspot the UN had decided to place a presence, setting up and maintaining supply lines for the blue berets.
Unfortunately for the section, logistics has not been, nor will it ever be an exciting field. Given that the United Nations is a politically driven body, anything not matching the excitement or controversy of its parent department would be relegated to the sidelines. For UNITE, competency was their worst enemy.
Fortunately for CORE, this made them the perfect accomplice. Buried in bureaucracy, given paper legitimacy, and with dull routine as their cover, UNITE became their supplier in military hardware. Who would question a shipment of weapons under the UN logo? According to the DPKO's history, they would never be used. And if a few turn up missing, that's DPKO history too. The goals of UNITE follow roughly the goals of the Peacekeeping Force that it's hiding within. They've just got a more proactive approach.
When the Consortium shattered and CORE moved to collect the pieces, UNITE became an integral player in moving men, messages, and material worldwide. With their pipeline to military hardware, UNITE attracted many of the more weapon-oriented operatives, and set up bivouacs for these agents across Central and South America (where populations of encamped armed men are comparatively normal) that today have become permanent training grounds. While some of these facilities can be explained away as logistic staging areas, the actions planned from them are in direct violation of the UN charter, and thus kept a close secret.
And plan they do. UNITE now serves as the action branch of CORE. To them falls the task of training, supplying, transporting, and directing a variety of armed teams to do a variety of armed tasks. The logistic skill of UNITE also makes them excellent watchmen of world shipping. Partnering with the CTC, They keep an eye on the flow of goods (especially of the military variety) around the globe, alerting CORE when something big or dangerous (or both) needs to be intercepted or sabotaged..
Playing a UNITE Agent:
UNITE has two fairly distinct divisions. On one hand, they maintain some of the most skilled, yet unsung, logistics managers in the world. An Advocate or Pointman can find an unexpected home here, managing distribution networks and getting large projects properly railroaded.
That said, the organization has grown to encompass a large quantity of skilled SpecOps/wetwork operatives, making it easily the primary agency for Soldiers, Scouts, cargo or transport-oriented Wheelmen, Martial Artists, and action-focused Intruders.
Regardless of class, though, UNITE agents are likely to have a military/paramilitary vibe, with talents like Persistent, Reliable, or Resolute, and specialties like Hunter, Recruit, or Special Ops
Organization Statistics, UNITE
Goals: 2 (Counter, Stability)
UNITE exists to preserve world peace. That they must sometimes secretly pull a few triggers of their own to see that goal achieved is a price they're willing to pay.
History: 4 (Allies, Changing of the Guard, Dark Days, Rise from the Ashes)
As a group, UNITE has forced itself to grow out of its role as a useless logistics branch of the Peacekeeping Corps. While they maintain their trappings to preserve their secrets, they find a proactive stance on world events works much more effectively than standing on a street corner in a blue beret and hoping no-one gets shot today.
Image: 6 (Mysterious Goals, Secretive Methods, Secretive Leaders, Secretive Members, Secretive Sites)
UNITE camouflages itself in bureaucracy, and they've gotten so good at it that it's hard for an outsider to tell what they're even trying to do. Of course, most outsiders dismiss UNITE as nothing but a freight service anyway, which is precisely how they like it.
UNITE bases itself heavily out of central and south America. None of their sites, however, are located in urban areas, instead appearing as bivouacs and other encampments in the boonies. They operate an Airstrip
in French Guyana, an Armory
in Columbia, a Classroom
in the Falklands, a Firing Range
in Guatemala, and a Training Ground
in Panama. A single complex in Brazil contains a Dojo, Military Depot, and Motor Pool
Tools: 5 (E III, G III, R IV, S IV, T III, V IV, W V)
UNITE can get nearly any type of military weaponry via its labyrinth of government assistance or loan-out programs. They are nearly as good with vehicles and other sorts of supplemental military gear (like body armor), though they avoid especially high-end requisitioning in order to keep their activities unquestioned.
CORE High Threat List
There are innumerable organizations against peace tracked by CORE
, however some of them are more notable and active on a greater scale than others. Notable of this list are four:
Doctor Evelynn Ponferrare-Duquesne ("Eve")
Notable quote, Spoken in obvious concern to somebody ugly, "ohh you poor thing... does it hurt much?"
Schtick: Perfection through Genetics.
Style of Play: Classic Mastermind vs Spy in the vein of James Bond and Ernst Stavro Blofeld.
Flaw is absolute perfection, obsessed with perfection (OCD), although she has numerous "imperfect" failures.
Regarding purity it is clinical not Racist, not about color of hair or anything
Personal Obsession w/Michaelangelo and Raphael and other similar
Flaw: perfect vices
Old Money, her family traces back to the second estate of the French people (the nobles). At times she likes to have people call her Countess, as this is the title she believes she would have were the second estate still in effect, in France.
Religious twist: Traces bloodlines, believes she is merovingian, believes that with ultimate perfection of the human body we can be like god.
the Eco Liberation Front
"Protecting mother-earth from Humans"
Schtick: Animals and Earth come before any of Humanity's needs.
Style of Play: Action oriented, in the veins of 24/Jack Baur.
This organization will think nothing of harming thousands of humans, to help protect mother earth and the animals of earth.
The "Gospel of Global Warming".
Created from the ashes of the Consortium, SAINT is
focused on saving humanity from itself through the use of manipulating political leaders. SAINT believes it is "the good guy", and has the greater good in mind. For SAINT, the ends do justify the means, and they use any means available to reach their ends.
Schtick: Saving Humanity from itself. Big on the greater good. Shadow organizations within large government to control the government.
Style of Play: Black ops, helicoptors, layers upon layers of conspiracies. Similar to X-Files.
Mode of Operation: Brain washing
Mega Corporation. Mega.
Schtick: World domination through Economic control. They buy everything, they own everything.
Style of Play: On some level LOGO missions are somewhat like a Cyberpunk mission against the all powerful "mega-corp."
They are not a shadow organization, they are in the public eye. There are Logo stores for everything from supermarkets to botique gifts and music. The Logo iconography is blasted everywhere, as pervasive if not greater brand recognition than Coke, Virgin or Mitsubishi.