Eclipse Phase | AUSTIN, TEXAS | 2015-2019 A.D.
B.T.C.O. - Black Ops Boot Camp
Basic Training for Covert Operations
Basic training for covert operations is a four-week course that takes the trainee through the very raw basics of such operations. It’s fairly rough, and quite intense, designed to take a promising soldier and tum out a fledgling spy. This sort of training doesn’t produce a finished product; that takes further training and field experience.
WEEK ONE: Physical Education
This is Basic Training with a vengeance. It’s effectively the first week of commando training, wherein the instructors acquaint the trainees with the fundamentals of working behind enemy lines. The training begins as soon as the trainees arrive; they are outfitted with full kit, given weapons loaded with blanks and rigged with “lasertagging” (MILES gear), and taken on a healthy three-kilometer run through a full-terrain obstacle course, complete with booby-traps and pop-up targets that have to be hit with the laser to deactivate. Often, these targets fire at you … with .22 short plastic dum-dum ammo, so it doesn’t do more than sting and leave flesh wounds.
As the days progress, the trainees are instructed in the use of demolitions, wilderness survival tips, and swimming. These periods of relative peace are alternated with more dreaded obstacle course runs, sometimes two to three a day. Furthermore, the runs are varied, taking the trainees along different routes through the training area, with more tests (including instructors waiting in ambush to sharpen the trainees’ close combat skills). The Ultimate’s Heywood Range Course in Aspis is a good example of what such a run looks like.
The main purpose of this week of hell is the development of a sense of teamwork among the trainees. Many of the obstacle course runs have sections where the trainees have to work together without hesitation; if they don’t, they won’t complete the course.
Trainees gain RP in the following skills: 10% improvement in their Infiltration skill, 20 RP each in Scrounging, Demolitions, Swimming, Free Running, Fray, Unarmed Combat, and one Kinetic weapon of your choice.
Sure, that’s a lot of Rez Points, but this is a lotta training.
Week Two: Spy Stuff
The second week of training is a complete departure from the first week as the trainees attend classes on the rudiments of espionage. How to search; how to hide stuff. How to code messages; how to recognize and break codes. How to interrogate or resist same. How to shadow or evade surveillance. How to recognize when someone’s watching you; how to spot watchers. And the tests aren’t just given in class. The instructors set assistants to shadow trainees (or be shadowed by them). There are rooms to be searched for assignments and messages (like notes telling where and when the next class will be). Classmates are often set against each other, with one hiding something and the others trying to find who hid what and where.
This is really nerve-wracking stuff; the idea is to teach the trainees some paranoia. Of course, there are some practical skills learned along the way:
80 Rez Points to be allocated between: Kinesics, Investigation, Persuasion, InfoSec and Impersonation. No more than 20 RP for any one skill. You may also add +20 RP in Perception and finally, another +10 RP in Infiltration like in week one.
WEEK THREE: Mini-Missions
Now the instructors start letting their students practice what they’ve learned. Small missions are set up, usually in nearby Habitats or Stations. These missions aren’t difficult or dangerous, no tougher than surveillance and shadowing of random passersby. The problem is trying to maintain cover while looking out for ‘counter-espionage’ instructors, unknown personnel who jump all over the trainees if they blow their cover or botch the operation. The purpose of these exercises is two-fold: to give the fledgling trainees a little experience, and to reinforce their paranoia with the constant threat of “counter-espionage”
This running-in period gives the trainees +40 RP to allocate as desired.
WEEK FOUR: The Big Practice Operation
This is the big one, the graduation test. The trainees are assigned a fake mission, normally something In the range of sabotage, information gathering/theft, extraction, or assassination. One of the instructors gives them a normal briefing on the mission, and they are left to formulate a plan and requisition equipment
If the trainees have been listening to their instructors, they’re going to realize that:
A) no briefing is ever complete, and
B) it’ll be a cold day in a very hot place when a requisition delivers everything you ordered.