Taking Care of Yours discussion (archive)
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Date: Sat, 28 Nov 1998 04:47:25 -0000
From: "Scott Lavers"

In a game session last week we had an interesting situation arise, that I'am surprised didnt happen sooner. The PC's were investigating a warehouse and entered it illegally, the group consisted of two FBI agents, a customs investigator and a DEA agent. Well they all knew they were acting illegally and were cool with that, but I threw a spanner in the works by having a police cruiser come round on a routine check and catch them as they were leaving. It was their reactions which surprised me, the DEA guy and Customs guy ran, one of the FBI agents froze, but the other one saw his career burning down in flames and opened up on the cops, a vicious little firefight ensued, leaving both the cops and the FBI guy who froze wounded, he was carried off by the FBI shooter. It was only the fact that his buddy was wounded that stopped him finishing off the two cops. I have yet to work out the repercussions of the incident, does anyone have any suggestions.


Date: Sat, 28 Nov 1998 02:42:26 -0500 (EST)
From: Duran Goodyear

Well, unless the players could be visualy identified, or very positivly identified in other means, I think it is just another routine break in, caught by a routine patrol.

If the PC's can be identified… then let the fecal matter collide with the rotating cooling device…


Date: Sat, 28 Nov 1998 05:43:32 -0800
From: "Allen Schezar"

Unfortunately for the agent(s) involved in the shootout, there's plenty of ballistics evidence to identify the gun(s) used. Worst case is that a service issue weapon was used in the fire-fight. In any case, the agents best option is probably to remove/destroy as much of the forensic evidence as they can manage.

All in all it sounds as though their prospects are quite poor.


Date: Sat, 28 Nov 1998 12:07:50 -0500
From: Graeme Price

In a game session last week we had an interesting situation arise, that I'am surprised didnt happen sooner.

[Slight snippage!]

Oh dear. Naughty boys. First repurcussion (making the assumption that they did actually report the incident to Cell A… otherwise they are _really_ neck deep in Ka-ka) will be that the necessary ballistic fingerprints of their weapons will do a vanishing act. The wounded agent could be a problem, but I'm sure that there is a DG-friendly medic who can clean up the wounds no questions asked. Second, I imagine that the agents involved will be having a very stiff talking to from a representative of Cell A who will point out the foolishness of their action, and that they endangered both the mission and the organization (especially if they got caught). Then it will be time to pull them off the case and arrange a de-briefing/reasssignment. Luckily, it looks like they probably got away with it this time… even if the police officers involved can make a positive ID, it will probably turn out that the agents in question have watertight alibis (depending on what coverstory they were assigned at the start of the Op). Besides, it was dark, probably raining, there was someone shooting at the officers, they were wounded, scared and confused etc. etc.

Now, if the agents didn't report their "situation" to the top cell, then they are in real trouble. First off, the wounded agent needs medical attention - if he goes to a civilian hospital with a gunshot wound, then the police are going to be informed as a matter of course (they will then put 2 and 2 together and… well, it will be very embarrasing for all concerned). Second, without cell A's help, the ballistic data will be a give away (unless they are using clean, untraceable weapons - as opposed to agency issue). If the cops catch them, then the conspiracy is in danger (who knows what deals they will cut to save their own skins? Especially as they have already opened fire on innocent bystander cops when they could have either run or talked their way out of the situation) and they pose a security risk. I'm certain that there are "procedures" which will (reluctantly) be applied to eliminate said risk.

Incidentally, how did they get to the warehouse? If they left a car behind then that will prove a major bugbear for covering things up - there will be lots of forensic evidence there (I assume they wore gloves during the break in, didn't leave any identifying evidence behind at the scene and didn't bleed too much when they were shot! :]).

The key to avoiding repetition of this unfortunate incident is to be much more careful in future. Park well away from the target. Case the place first if possible (find out the frequency of security/police patrols). Leave no evidence. Use clean weapons. Never, ever carry identification if you are going to do something illegal (in case you get slotted), or if you must carry identification - use it to get yourself out of the situation (hell, always works for Mulder and Scully! ;]).


Date: Sat, 28 Nov 1998 21:26:24 -0500 (EST)
From: The Man in Black

[total investigator incompetance redacted]

wounded that stopped him finishing off the two cops. I have yet to work out the repercussions of the incident, does anyone have any suggestions.

Ballistics will probably identify the FBI shooter unless he was carrying a "throwaway piece." These guys deserve a long prison sentence. Time to work out a violently lethal Federal Penitentary scenario. I disavow any knowledge of them or their mission.

That will teach them to use their authority as federal agents to leave some sort of false paper trail and use those social skills like Persuade in the future.


Date: Sun, 29 Nov 1998 03:35:13 -0000
From: "Scott Lavers"

Thanks for the ideas, I've decided to give them to Cell J for cleaning.

From: "David Farnell" <pj.en.tta.awi|fad#pj.en.tta.awi|fad>

To: "Delta Green List" <gro.enrutcon|neergatled#gro.enrutcon|neergatled>

Ballistics will probably identify the FBI shooter unless he was carrying a "throwaway piece." These guys deserve a long prison sentence. Time to work out a violently lethal Federal Penitentary scenario. I disavow any knowledge of them or their mission.

LAURA already insists that her joes carry throwaway pieces and false IDs, leaving their issue guns and real IDs home. I look forward to Shane's (or anyone else's) "jailhouse rock" scenario. It's something that I fear many a DG keeper will find useful at some point in their campaigns, considering how often situations like Agent Lavers' come up.

And thanks to Agent Lavers for all the inside info—sure to crop up in future games.


Date: Tue, 01 Dec 1998 10:46:15 GMT
From: Peter Miller

One last question: What should be DG's policy on agents who are "losing it"? The abovementioned profiler will be lucky to get out of the cave alive, much less with SAN intact, and she's pretty low on SAN now. She won't last much longer, and it'll be pretty obvious to anyone that she's not going to keep it together much longer. She likely be meeting her CO, Agent LAURA—what should LAURA do? Yank the poor woman and replace her, mid-mission? Tell her to pull herself together and soldier on?

If she's a danger to the mission, then a 9mm pension is in order, if she's a liability to the mission then a restful vacation is in order, if neither then she should suck it up and keep on truckin'.

That's downright suicidal. A happy agent is a sane agent, and agents who know that they're fellows might gun them down if they lost it are not going to be happy. After all, it's not easy to gauge how far gone you are (even if you know you're going mad) so they'd be forever keeping an eye on each other. Before you know it, you get rampant paranoia and things start to look like the final scene in _Reservoir Dogs_.

Personally, I recommend that LAURA take no chances, always pull the trigger. Always.

Looking at this attitude and the fact you always seem to be on point duty, I can't help but put two and two together and conclude that your cell-mates might be trying to tell you something… :)


Date: Tue, 1 Dec 1998 22:25:09 -0500 (EST)
From: The Man in Black

That's downright suicidal. A happy agent is a sane agent, and agents who know that they're fellows might gun them down if they lost it are not going to be happy. After all, it's not easy to gauge how far gone you are (even if you know you're going mad) so they'd be forever keeping an eye on each other. Before you know it, you get rampant paranoia and things start to look like the final scene in _Reservoir Dogs_.

I'm Suicidal? Like hell! You're suicidal! (defensive? I'm not being defensive, you're the one who's being defensive… Is it me or is it him? :)

Not that there's anything wrong with a mass shootout, but if someone is a danger to others and more importantly, the mission, then they must be removed. The lives you save may be your own. Thinking that personnel who are clinically insane and dangerous, with intimate knowledge of DG ops and other "occult technology" can be kept "happy" is a dangerous and flawed assumption. It also happens to be an assumption based in denial and not reality.

So suck on that before I kick your namby-pamby, rooty-patootie, candy-ass; if ya smell what the MiB is cookin' :)


Date: Wed, 2 Dec 1998 07:49:27 -0500
From: Steven Kaye

That damn MiB opened his yap to say:

Not that there's anything wrong with a mass shootout, but if someone is a danger to others and more importantly, the mission, then they must be removed. The lives you save may be your own. Thinking that personnel who are clinically insane and dangerous, with intimate knowledge of DG ops and other "occult technology" can be kept "happy" is a dangerous and flawed assumption. It also happens to be an assumption based in denial and not reality.

So, if, say, I'm a Navy SEAL who has occasional flashbacks to being attacked by Deep Ones, I should NEVER EVER go on missions, and would be better off at the bottom of the nearest river?

Hell, even after she became a ghoul NANCY wasn't shot (though she was afraid she would be) - she got a new ID and is undergoing therapy.

DG has enough things going against it without cell members shooting each other at the slightest twitch. If people are definitely insane to the point of endangering missions, you don't send them on further missions. Hell, "taking care of our own" could be a major selling point for DG - compare this to how MAJESTIC-12 treated Forrestal.


Date: Wed, 2 Dec 1998 18:25:43 -0500 (EST)
From: The Man in Black

So, if, say, I'm a Navy SEAL who has occasional flashbacks to being attacked by Deep Ones, I should NEVER EVER go on missions, and would be better off at the bottom of the nearest river?

Maybe. Maybe he'd be better off in a private sanitarium. I have my own take on this in an upcoming Very Short Story involving a futuristic "Village" where old spies go to be briefed, debriefed, filed, stamped and numbered.

It would be an act of sheer desperation to send DARREN on any serious investigation during his current unstable phase.

Hell, even after she became a ghoul NANCY wasn't shot (though she was afraid she would be) - she got a new ID and is undergoing therapy.

I still think she should have been. Wait and see what the consequences of not doing so are during the EMERALD HAMMER events.

DG has enough things going against it without cell members shooting each other at the slightest twitch. If people are definitely insane to the point of endangering missions, you don't send them on further missions. Hell, "taking care of our own" could be a major selling point for DG - compare this to how MAJESTIC-12 treated Forrestal.

Cell members would hardly, if ever, be assigned to kill members of their own cell, or of people they've worked with. Taking care of your own sometimes means executing traitors. Insane people usually turn against you. You don't irresponsibly "just stop sending them on missions" you kill them before they can kill you. There is more than lives or sanity at stake during DG missions. It's a matter of prolonging the lifespan of the human species.

And there was never any evidence that James Forrestal was murdered by Majestic or anyone else. It was ruled to be a suicide and that's good enough for me :)


Date: Wed, 2 Dec 1998 19:00:06 -0500
From: Graeme Price

DG has enough things going against it without cell members shooting each other at the slightest twitch. If people are definitely insane to the point of endangering missions, you don't send them on further missions. Hell, "taking care of our own" could be a major selling point for DG - compare this to how MAJESTIC-12 treated Forrestal.

I'm not sure that "selling point" is a good phrase here ("Hi there! We're Delta Green! Join us! We won't shoot you, and that's a promise!"), but I think that there is a difference between the situations of NANCY and DARREN and the original problem of loose cell members shooting cops. First off, both NANCY and DARREN are irreplaceable specialists in their given fields (NANCY in particular), and if I take the situation correctly are called on only in certain circumstances pertaining to their expertise. Sure, you take care of your own… up to a point.

If an agent goes whacko and starts shooting cops or civilians without reason (in the original case there were a number of ways out the situation, none of which involved violence) then it is obviously time for him to take a break from investigations (perhaps psychiatric treatment would be in order). However, if he does something really damaging to the conspiracy (like getting caught red handed doing something totally out of order - assassinating civilians who he suspects have the Innsmouth look, perhaps), then I have to side with MiB. Bringing him back is going to be too complex and expose the organization to undue scrutiny. Ballistic retirement is possibly the only option in these cases.

But such extreme measures should be a last resort, perhaps reserved for repeat offenders. Most of the time, pulling "troubled" agents out of the field would be the best option. Remember that DG ops are comparatively rare for most agents (they spend, say, 95% of their time doing their real job and only work for DG occasionally), so they could go for months or even years before realising (if at all) that they have effectively been retired. During this inactive time, they could be on the friendly list… or (if Cell A is feeling really inventive) posted to some foreign hell hole (or relaxing dream destination, if they have suffered a temporary breakdown but are otherwise reliable) to keep them out of harm's way. If you have strings with who gets assigned where, then pull them occasionally.

Note of course that one team member shooting another is going to throw the shadow of doubt over both the shot and shooter. Even if Agent BOB did go raving nuts and try to summon a Furby to destroy Manhattan, Agent BILL is probably going to face a nasty grilling on his debrief… even if shooting BOB was the right (or only) thing to do at the time. Such things do, after all, create paranoia within the ranks, which in turn places the conspiracy at risk.

The last word is going to relate one important thing. Every situation is different and has to be judged on it's merits (quite often, a snap judgement is needed). Sometimes this decision will be the wrong one, and you can't rub out every agent who makes a mistake. But keep one thing in mind: occasionally the mission will be more vital than the agents carrying it out. This doesn't mean agents are expendable, but if sacrifices have to be made…. well, I'll leave you to finish the sentence.


Date: Sat, 05 Dec 1998 13:01:39 GMT
From: Peter Miller

I'm Suicidal? Like hell! You're suicidal! (defensive? I'm not being defensive, you're the one who's being defensive… Is it me or is it him? :)

Not that there's anything wrong with a mass shootout,

The prosecution rests, your honour. :)

but if someone is a danger to others and more importantly, the mission, then they must be removed. The lives you save may be your own.

If someone is a danger to the mission, they shouldn't be their in the first place. Failing that, tying them up and locking them in the boot of the car is usually as effective in the short term as killing them, and leaves less tidying up to do. In addition to the aforementioned psychological issues.

Thinking that personnel who are clinically insane and dangerous, with intimate knowledge of DG ops and other "occult technology" can be kept "happy" is a dangerous and flawed assumption. It also happens to be an assumption based in denial and not reality.

Hello, McFly? Anybody home?

The point of keeping them happy is making sure they don't lose their minds in the first place. An ounce of prevention and all that. They might get a bit shaky, but at that point you stop sending them on missions and give them a few weeks in the sun to recover.

So suck on that before I kick your namby-pamby, rooty-patootie, candy-ass; if ya smell what the MiB is cookin' :)

Call me a 'liberal'. Go on, I just _dare_ you!

Hell, even after she became a ghoul NANCY wasn't shot (though she was afraid she would be) - she got a new ID and is undergoing therapy.

I still think she should have been. Wait and see what the consequences of not doing so are during the EMERALD HAMMER events.

Do I detect a hint of circular logic here?

Cell members would hardly, if ever, be assigned to kill members of their own cell, or of people they've worked with.

In most situations where it becomes necessary to kill rather than institutionalise an insane agent, there simply won't be time to get anyone else to the scene.

Taking care of your own sometimes means executing traitors. Insane people usually turn against you.

Insane people don't 'usually' do anything. If they were predictable, they wouldn't be insane. Just a bit naughty.

You don't irresponsibly "just stop sending them on missions" you kill them before they can kill you.

That's a matter of degree, isn't it? I mean, all agents know that if they try to kill their buddies, their buddies will try and kill them. _That_ isn't going to lead to a lack of trust. It's when you start executing people on the far more vague grounds that they're 'endangering the mission' that they become unreliable.

There is more than lives or sanity at stake during DG missions. It's a matter of prolonging the lifespan of the human species.

All the more reason to have cells you can rely on. Three paranoid agents are a bigger threat to the mission than one insane one.


Date: Sat, 05 Dec 1998 22:23:34 +0100
From: Davide Mana <ti.loi|eed.rotcod#ti.loi|eed.rotcod>

About "taking care" of "badly shaken" agents, Peter wrote

Taking care of your own sometimes means executing traitors. Insane people usually turn against you.

Insane people don't 'usually' do anything. If they were predictable, they wouldn't be insane. Just a bit naughty.

I must second that.

Madmen are unreliable and _therefore_ dangerous (in some situations). It's not a matter of direct menace, more of undue increase in the already too many variables in a given situation. But a badly shaken agent can still act for the general good of his side, if in a weird way.

You don't irresponsibly "just stop sending them on missions" you kill them before they can kill you.

That's a matter of degree, isn't it? I mean, all agents know that if they try to kill their buddies, their buddies will try and kill them. _That_ isn't going to lead to a lack of trust. It's when you start executing people on the far more vague grounds that they're 'endangering the mission' that they become unreliable.

Because trust is definitively undermined.
Yes!

The worst way to deal with the situation is to increase the stress to which the guys are already exposed. They have enough to handle without having to constantly look back to make sure that a well meaning friend will not misinterpret one of their actions and ice them before time. A cell on the field has no time for self-consciousness and does not need a supplement of paranoia.

And talking about irresponsibility…

Is the agent on the field the best judge of his colleague's sanity?
Surely, he is the only one available to judge, but having passed much of what his pal did, is he reliable? By advocating instant retirement of the "dangerous" agent you actually arm and give cart blanche to he who shoots first. Which gives you no guarantee at all.

There is more than lives or sanity at stake during DG missions. It's a matter of prolonging the lifespan of the human species.

All the more reason to have cells you can rely on. Three paranoid agents are a bigger threat to the mission than one insane one.

Amen.
Trust and reliability are the main factors in a cell.
Which does not mean that you, all of a sudden, start believing the world is wonderful and full of flowers and warmth, and we're all friends and everything shall be for the best.
It simply means you believe (and with good reasons) the guy at your back will cover you, not shoot you.

The cell is a circle.
The paranoia is _out_ of the circle.
You need the guys _in_ the circle, and they need you.


Date: Sat, 5 Dec 1998 21:22:10 -0500 (EST)
From: The Man in Black <gro.ecapsrebyc|bim#gro.ecapsrebyc|bim>

If someone is a danger to the mission, they shouldn't be their in the first place. Failing that, tying them up and locking them in the boot of the car is usually as effective in the short term as killing them, and leaves less tidying up to do. In addition to the aforementioned psychological issues.

My point exactly, don't send nuts on missions. But then what do you do with them after you untie them? They're still bonkers. Short term solutions lead to long-term problems. I never said killing them was the One True Way, just that some system of removing unstable agents from the field must be put into place or disaster will ensue. You can have them committed instead, but usually people that far gone require a bullet.

The point of keeping them happy is making sure they don't lose their minds in the first place. An ounce of prevention and all that. They might get a bit shaky, but at that point you stop sending them on missions and give them a few weeks in the sun to recover.

This is a good policy, but "keeping agents happy" will *not*, under any circumstances, keep people from going insane and turning against you. That is just wishful thinking and a irresponsible denial of reality that will get a great many people (and not just DG agents) killed or worse. If anything, a vacation just gives them more time to brood on their experiences and think up ways to screw you over. Very unsafe for the cell-structure.

Do I detect a hint of circular logic here?

No, my point is that allowing ghouls or insane people in the cell-structure might have some beneficial effects, but there will always be the potential for catastrophic consequences.

In most situations where it becomes necessary to kill rather than institutionalise an insane agent, there simply won't be time to get anyone else to the scene.

That depends on how your keeper runs the insanity rules.

Insane people don't 'usually' do anything. If they were predictable, they wouldn't be insane. Just a bit naughty.

Again, see above.

That's a matter of degree, isn't it? I mean, all agents know that if they try to kill their buddies, their buddies will try and kill them. _That_ isn't going to lead to a lack of trust. It's when you start executing people on the far more vague grounds that they're 'endangering the mission' that they become unreliable.

You're completely mistaken. Trust is not a quality that should be encouraged in the conspiracy horror genre. And there is nothing vague about my criteria for "extreme measures." The decision would probably come down from Cell-A and be made only when the cell-structure is in jeopardy (putting all of DG at risk).

There is more than lives or sanity at stake during DG missions. It's a matter of prolonging the lifespan of the human species.

All the more reason to have cells you can rely on. Three paranoid agents are a bigger threat to the mission than one insane one.

I doubt that very much. Paranoia in DG is a valid survival tool. (or a form of insanity in and of itself) But an Insane agent can join the opposition and tell them all your dirty little secrets. An insane agent can sell-out to Mj-12 and destroy all of DG. An insane agent can utterly collapse the entire campaign. Also, playing Paranoid agents is much more fun than playing trusting naive souls.

And talking about irresponsibility… Is the agent on the field the best judge of his colleague's sanity? Surely, he is the only one available to judge, but having passed much of what his pal did, is he reliable? By advocating instant retirement of the "dangerous" agent you actually arm and give cart blanche to he who shoots first. Which gives you no guarantee at all.

Look at that. Two people just put words in my mouth. You're just making stuff up to make me look bad. I don't need that kinda help. I can look bad just fine on my own :)

I never said to kill people who act funny. I said Kill people who are a threat to the conspiracy. I never mentioned anything about how this threat was to be determined or by who.

It simply means you believe (and with good reasons) the guy at your back will cover you, not shoot you.

But can you really trust them? No, of course not. How can you with Shans, and consume likeness, and insanity and a million more things like that out there? You can't even be sure it's really them. You can't even be sure if your own actions aren't unguided by the invisible hand of some hidden master. But you have to trust your cell-mates anyway. This is the horrible paradox of Delta Green.


Date: Sun, 06 Dec 1998 11:23:56 +0100
From: Davide Mana

Just two quick notes before I drop this thread…

The Man in Black observed:

Look at that. Two people just put words in my mouth. You're just making stuff up to make me look bad.

Sorry.

I was replying to Peter's message, and commenting on Peter's comments. It was not my intention to distort or demean what you meant in the first place.
There's no need to ;->

I don't need that kinda help. I can look bad just fine on my own :)

Obviously.

As for the following:

I never said to kill people who act funny. I said Kill people who are a threat to the conspiracy. I never mentioned anything about how this threat was to be determined or by who.

I fear that's the point to the whole thing: the how and who. Once you know that, you can suggest guidelines on how to deal with the probem. But the solution (be it "kill them all" or "Give them a paid leave") that does not take into account the diagnostic process is meaningless. Or so I fear.


Date: Sun, 6 Dec 1998 10:41:10 -0500
From: Steven Kaye

You're completely mistaken. Trust is not a quality that should be encouraged in the conspiracy horror genre. And there is nothing vague about my criteria for "extreme measures." The decision would probably come down from Cell-A and be made only when the cell-structure is in jeopardy (putting all of DG at risk).

You'd damn well better trust your own cell members. Delta Green already has enough potential for agents to become conscienceless killing machines - if I wanted Gunbunny Paradise with Targets for Everyone!, I'd just play CONSPIRACY X or GURPS: BLACK OPS.

I doubt that very much. Paranoia in DG is a valid survival tool. (or a form of insanity in and of itself) But an Insane agent can join the opposition and tell them all your dirty little secrets. An insane agent can sell-out to Mj-12 and destroy all of DG. An insane agent can utterly collapse the entire campaign. Also, playing Paranoid agents is much more fun than playing trusting naive souls.

Recognizing who your real enemies are is a better survival tool - there's a long-running tradition in the espionage genre of uncomfortable alliances and uneasy compromises. And the difference between someone who goes temporarily insane and someone who's indefinitely insane is determined by agents in the field how exactly? Or are we assuming now that Alphonse knows everything about what happened on a given mission and that agents never downplay certain events or leave elements out of their reports?

Re: playing paranoid agents is more fun - to some extent, sure. It's always fun to toss in the mission that has no Mythos involvement but looks like it does, or to always have the possibility that a given event is a trap by MJ-12. But how many times can you run scenarios with agents ready to shoot each other at a moment's notice before it gets boring? RESERVOIR DOGS was a fun movie to watch - once.

Waiting for the "We won't shoot you, and that's a promise" T- shirts (thanks for the laugh, Graeme!)


Date: Sun, 06 Dec 1998 15:50:05 GMT
From: Peter Miller

Do I detect a hint of circular logic here?

No, my point is that allowing ghouls or insane people in the cell-structure might have some beneficial effects, but there will always be the potential for catastrophic consequences.

That's also true of letting _anyone_ into the cell structure. And ghouls could prove pretty invaluable to DG in the long run. Although I think perhaps relegating ghoul allies to the status of friendlies might be a wise move until DG knows more about them.

In most situations where it becomes necessary to kill rather than institutionalise an insane agent, there simply won't be time to get anyone else to the scene.

That depends on how your keeper runs the insanity rules.

However he runs them, an insane character can always be institutionalised unless he's endangering the mission _right now._ It's a matter of timing.

Insane people don't 'usually' do anything. If they were predictable, they wouldn't be insane. Just a bit naughty.

Again, see above.

Again, however the rules are being run, insanity is still going to make people unpredictable. If the only effect of madness is that they 'change sides', that's down to a bad keeper.

You're completely mistaken. Trust is not a quality that should be encouraged in the conspiracy horror genre. And there is nothing vague about my criteria for "extreme measures." The decision would probably come down from Cell-A and be made only when the cell-structure is in jeopardy (putting all of DG at risk).

On the contrary, trust and the struggle to maintain it should be one of the main themes of a conspiracy tale. Even the X-Files got that one right.

If the whole of DG is at risk, that's a lot different to the single mission being possibly put at risk by an agent whose only symptom so far has been anorexia which began this discussion. Yes, you could justify shooting ex-agents then, but that isn't quite the same thing as executing those who are a 'threat to the mission'.

I doubt that very much. Paranoia in DG is a valid survival tool. (or a form of insanity in and of itself) But an Insane agent can join the opposition and tell them all your dirty little secrets. An insane agent can sell-out to Mj-12 and destroy all of DG. An insane agent can utterly collapse the entire campaign. Also, playing Paranoid agents is much more fun than playing trusting naive souls.

No one agent should know enough to do something like that. The whole point of 'need to know' and the cell structure is that this kind of thing is inevitable and cells _will_ be compromised because of it.

Paranoia is all very well, but when you get to the point that you're effectively having to do the mission on your own, because you don't trust one cell-mate and the other thinks you're trying to kill him, you're screwed anyway. There has to be trust within cells, not because it'll always be well-founded, but simply because the conspiracy can't function properly without it. Yes, this will mean you lose cells. Unfortunately, it's preferable to lose a few cells because of misplaced trust than for them all to be unreliable.

If someone is a danger to the mission, they shouldn't be their in the first place. Failing that, tying them up and locking them in the boot of the car is usually as effective in the short term as killing them, and leaves less tidying up to do. In addition to the aforementioned psychological issues.

My point exactly, don't send nuts on missions. But then what do you do with them after you untie them? They're still bonkers. Short term solutions lead to long-term problems. I never said killing them was the One True Way, just that some system of removing unstable agents from the field must be put into place or disaster will ensue. You can have them committed instead, but usually people that far gone require a bullet.

Having them committed probably solves more problems than killing them. Sure, even if you covered your tracks by altering the documents Mj-12 might still track them down and interrogate them, but their testimony is hardly going to be reliable. On the other hand, if Mj-12 do the same thing to find a dead agent, they'll likely have enough evidence to trace the murder back to his cell-fellows. This could be even more inconvenient for the cell involved.

The point of keeping them happy is making sure they don't lose their minds in the first place. An ounce of prevention and all that. They might get a bit shaky, but at that point you stop sending them on missions and give them a few weeks in the sun to recover.

This is a good policy, but "keeping agents happy" will *not*, under any circumstances, keep people from going insane and turning against you. That is just wishful thinking and a irresponsible denial of reality that will get a great many people (and not just DG agents) killed or worse. If anything, a vacation just gives them more time to brood on their experiences and think up ways to screw you over. Very unsafe for the cell-structure.

Yes it will. Happy, less stressed agents have a higher SAN and will therefore be less likely to go insane or change sides.

I'd have DG friendly psychologists work out the exact nature of the vacation. It might involve the agent being sedated in the field, so that the next thing he knows he wakes up by a swimming pool somewhere hot. That would lessen the impact of the situation he's just escaped by drawing a clear line between it and now, similar to the effect of waking up after a nightmare. A friendly of some sort would probably also be assigned to keep an eye on him, and given some idea of what to watch for.

By advocating instant retirement of the "dangerous" agent you actually arm and give cart blanche to he who shoots first. Which gives you no guarantee at all.

Look at that. Two people just put words in my mouth. You're just making stuff up to make me look bad. I don't need that kinda help. I can look bad just fine on my own :)

I never said to kill people who act funny. I said Kill people who are a threat to the conspiracy. I never mentioned anything about how this threat was to be determined or by who.

No, you said "If she's a threat to the _mission._" And you implied that it would be up to the cell leader to determine, since it was in answer to the question "What should the cell-leader do?"

It simply means you believe (and with good reasons) the guy at your back will cover you, not shoot you.

But can you really trust them? No, of course not. How can you with Shans, and consume likeness, and insanity and a million more things like that out there? You can't even be sure it's really them. You can't even be sure if your own actions aren't unguided by the invisible hand of some hidden master. But you have to trust your cell-mates anyway. This is the horrible paradox of Delta Green.

Well, precisely. That's why the consequences of shooting one another are more serious than those of Shan infiltration.

Hmm, I'm in the mood for a game now.


Date: Mon, 07 Dec 1998 15:02:34 -0500
From: Daniel Harms

I doubt that very much. Paranoia in DG is a valid survival tool. (or a form of insanity in and of itself) But an Insane agent can join the opposition and tell them all your dirty little secrets. An insane agent can sell-out to Mj-12 and destroy all of DG. An insane agent can utterly collapse the entire campaign.

Actually, I'd say a sane agent would be just as great a threat to the structure, if not more. Even if they aren't insane, an agent might sell out "to keep my family safe", "because they're not paying me enough" (or, in some campaigns, at all), "because I don't want any more blood on my hands", or that most insidious one of all, "because it's the right thing to do". In fact, the sane agents might find it easier to do so, because they still possess the clear thought and social skills to carry it off properly.

Maybe we should shoot all the sane agents and get it over with.


Date: Mon, 7 Dec 1998 15:41:22 -0500
From: Graeme Price

Daniel wrote:

Maybe we should shoot all the sane agents and get it over with.

Hmm. Judging by the way this list gets at times, I would suspect that this has already happened!


Date: Mon, 7 Dec 1998 14:50:58 -0800
From: Joseph Camp

Maybe we should shoot all the sane agents and get it over with.

Keep this up and we'll give you a promotion! Excellent work, case officer.


Date: Tue, 8 Dec 1998 15:45:00 -0800
From: "Mark McFadden

What everyone involved in the thread seems to be ignoring is the DG cell structure. Conspirecies organize themselves in cells because shit happens and people get caught or turned or killed. Cells exist to minimize the damage of the inevitable.

If Agent Galahad goes a little whacky and starts discharging firearms inappropriately, G Cell is cut off. "Don't call us, we'll call you." Members of G Cell are carefully contacted later, but in the meantime every DG related pager/phone number and email address they have been given to use/contact is dead. Unless keeping them active for disseminating disinformation is possible or desirable.

Robert A. Heinlein, in "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress", describes an improvement over the classic OSS (and DG) cell system. Manuel Garcia O' Kelly, an information systems troubleshooter, describes it in the passage I've included below. For those of you unfamiliar with the book, Manny is describing a cell system to be used by the Committee for Free Luna.

"Take same cells, arrange in open pyramid of tetrahedrons. Where vertices are in common, each bloke knows one in adjoining cell — knows how to send message to him, that's all he needs. Communications never break down because they run sideways as well as up and down. Something like a neural net. It's why you can knock a hole in man's head, take chunk of brain out, and not damage thinking much. Excess capacity, messages shunt around. He loses what was destroyed but goes on functioning."

<novel conversation cut>

(Anybody who thinks it's easy to sketch one hundred twenty-one tetrahedrons, a five-level open pyramid, clear enough to show relationships is invited to try!)

Presently I said, "Look at base sketch. Each vertex of each triangle shares self with zero, one or two other triangles. Where shares one, that's it's link, one direction or both — but one is enough for a multipli-redundant communication net. On corners, where sharing is zero, it jumps to right to next corner. Where sharing is double, choice is again right-handed.

"Now it works with people. Take fourth level, D-for-dog. This vertex is comrade Dan. No, let's go down one to show three levels of communication knocked out — level E-for-easy and pick Comrade Egbert. "Egbert works under Donald, has cellmates Edward and Elmer, has three under him, Frank, Fred, and Fatso … but knows how to send message to Ezra on his own level but not in his cell. He doesn't know Ezra's name, face, address or anything — but has a way, phone number probably, to reach Ezra in emergency.

"Now watch it work. Casimir, level three, finks out and betrays Charlie and Cox in his cell, Baker above him, and Donald , Dan and Dick in subcell — which isolates Egbert, Edward, and Elmer, and everybody under them.

"All three report it — redundancy, necessary to any communication system — but follow Egbert's yell for help. He calls Ezra. But Ezra is under Charlie and is isolated, too. No matter, Ezra relays both messages through _his_ safety link, Edmund. By bad luck Edmund is under Cox, so he also passes it laterally, through Enwright … and that gets it past burned-out part and it goes up through Dover, Chambers, and Beeswax, to Adam, front office … who replies down other side of pyramid, with lateral pass on E-for-easy level from Esther to Egbert and on to Ezra and Edmund. These two messages, up and down, not only get through at once but in _way_ they get through, they define to home office exactly how much damage has been done and where. Organization not only keeps functioning but starts repairing itself at once."

*

Me again.

I play DG as if this system is in place. Remember, the people in the field shouldn't be aware of the true structure of the cell system. In fact, they should be encouraged to believe that the classic OSS structure is in use. In reality, Fred, Frank and Farrah are in the third level ("C") and report to Boris, but they think he's Eduardo. And not everyone in the cell structure is an active field agent, most are friendlies who can be depended on to forward messages.


Date: Wed, 9 Dec 1998 02:18:36 -0800
From: Joseph Camp

Robert A. Heinlein, in "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress", describes an improvement over the classic OSS (and DG) cell system.

Heinlein's novel was, in fact, the exact inspiration for our own cell structure during the 1994 re-org. I ended up simplifying things a bit from his example—he did have an artificial intelligence on his side to make things run smoother, after all—but that's precisely where this ABC business came from. Good on you!

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