The Basic Education of Black Operations and Covert Operations

Covert operations usually fall under the categories listed below- your characters are probably familiar with at least a few of these. Also note that many of these missions types can occur in the Mesh as well as in the morphworld. It’s important to understand your mission type and goal before you can decide how to accomplish it.

Theft: This was the first covert operation of mankind, that of sneaking in where you don’t belong and leaving with something that’s not yours. The stolen item can be an object, information, or even a person (this is properly kidnapping; see below). Theft involves bypassing or defeating the security around the target and leaving with the target. Give attention to what you have to steal, and how to transport it.

The best theft is undetected. You can leave a fake in place of the original, or try to fake your target into believing you were there for something other than what you stole – the idea is that even if your break-in is discovered, don’t let the enemy know exactly what it was that you did.

Recon: The second-oldest operation, spying. As a covert op, it means you’re in unfriendly territory. Naturally, gathering the information is important but making sure you’re not detected is nearly as important since the information you collect may be compromised if the enemy knows you were there.

This is generally considered the least exciting covert op, since it means hanging around the same target location, watching and listening. (yes, police call this a ‘stakeout’)

Exchange: One of the easiest missions, this is simply meeting with another party to exchange something (information, an item, a person) without the exchange being detected. This is also risky, since two separate parties know the time and place of the exchange, giving opposition a larger chance of learning the facts and showing up. The best way to combat this is by restricting the time/place facts to as few people as possible.

Destruction: Ah, the classic covert op of fame and glory, sneaking into enemy territory to blow the daylights out of something. This mission involves the destruction of a specific target, and is more hazardous than it sounds, since this destruction alerts the enemy that something’s wrong. This (and possible collateral damage) is why timed explosives are so popular. Fire is also popular, but advanced investigation techniques can demonstrate that a fire was arson and not just a natural disaster.

Kidnapping: A variant of theft, kidnapping is distinguished by the fact that the target item usually is mobile, aware, and can actively resist. Special precautions are required to make sure your target doesn’t run away! Note that if the target actually wants to be kidnapped by you, this is called an “extraction”.

Sabotage: This involves subtly damaging something. Remaining undetected is paramount, since knowledge that something has been damaged will invalidate the mission. Please note that this might involve adding something to a process instead of removing a vital part These missions are also common in industrial espionage.

Assassination: Killing a living target can be done close-up or from a distance. In the first case, the trick is to make the killing silent, undetectable or on a time delay to make sure you’ve already made your escape. In the second case, you can be noisy, but you have to have a lead on retaliation – either be moving fast (drive-bys) or be far away so you can outdistance pursuit.

Infiltration: This isn’t just getting in quietly, this is the operation where you get in and stay there for a long time. These are moles. They have the unenviable job of setting up an alternate identity that’ll bear scrutiny for extended periods.

Infiltrations are set up to 1) gather long term information, and/or 2) position an operative within a target organization for a strike at a later time. The first goal is relatively simple. The second mission is merely a matter of waiting, either for a correct moment for the agent to act on his own initiative, or, more commonly, for an external operation where the mole does his mission of interrupting security, data theft assassination, etc.

The Basic Education of Black Operations and Covert Operations

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