To take what you attack, attack where there is no defence. For unfailingly secure defence, defend where there is no attack.
So in the case of those who are skilled in attack, their opponents do not know where to defend. In the case of those skilled in defence, their opponents do not know where to attack.
Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent's fate.
— Sun Tzu, The Art of War
One of Britain's most wanted terrorist groups is the Army of the Third Eye. For two years during the mid-1990s more resources were used to hunt the Army than were used against the IRA. Today Irish terrorists, foreign terrorists and animal rights groups again dominate Britain's headlines, but the Army of the Third Eye is still operational and still hunted by Special Branch and PISCES.
The Army is typical of anti-modern protest groups that sprung up during the 'green and caring Nineties'. Unlike other protest groups who progressed to violence after other forms of dissent, the Army's first actions were violent. It's targets are individuals involved in Britain's defence and aerospace industries, and the popular press presents the Army of the Third Eye as modern-day Luddites fighting the future tooth and claw.
Increasingly frequent kidnappings of valuable scientists and technicians goaded the British authorities into action, responding with a massive manhunt. Eventually the Army was tracked down to an isolated farmhouse near Truro in Cornwall. After ignoring police demands to surrender, the SAS were sent in to capture the terrorists, which they did. After a fair and well reported trial, the survivors were judged to be mad and committed to Britain's most infamous mental health facility, and the Army's paranoid American leader found guilty and sent to Dartmoor Prison.
That's what They want you to think.
Behind the headlines; after the hype; the Army of the Third Eye struck directly at the British establishment - panicking it into destroying the Army in a ruthless execution by Special Forces troops after a botched high-risk sting operation, something not seen even at the height of Northern Ireland's Troubles. Why? Because the Army of the Third Eye directly attacked 'Them' - the Shan, secret Masters of Britain.
In 1989, Lee Coleman, an American student touring the British Isles by cycle, unfortunately encountered the Shan temple-ship in Goatswood. Coleman was captured by PISCES security personnel guarding the site, and forced to become a host to the alien shans. It is not exactly clear what an American was doing in a desolate part of England such as Goatswood. Some conspiracy theorists suggest a CIA connection, and that Coleman was investigating the nascent Severn Aerospace. It matters little now that Coleman is dead.
Initially Coleman co-operated with his shan tenant, but eventually resisted the mental domination of his thoughts and escaped two months after disappearing in Goatswood. Coleman escaped by performing a crude trepanation on himself, driving the 'ghost from space' from his head, which was destroyed by the Sun's rays, exposure to which is fatal for shans. Due to coexistence with, and exposure to his shan, Coleman experienced everything his parasite had, and had a fairly complete knowledge of the Shan plan for domination of Britain and their eventual escape back into space. Coleman set about exacting a one-man revenge on the Shans. Coleman's successful trepanation formed the basis of his war against the Insects from Shaggai.
Coleman kidnapped Richard Rowland, a MoD engineer and trepanned him. Somehow Rowland survived the operation, and the Army of the Third Eye was born. Coleman and Rowland then observed other shan-hosts. Over a period of three years the Army liberated six recruits from shan domination and 'terminated' two irretrievably corrupted hosts. However the amateur brain surgery performed by the Army was only 17% effective, with a probable chance of death or serious brain damage. Coleman and Rowland kidnapped a trainee neuro-surgeon, Karen Carter, from outside her London hospital. Given the choice of performing a trepanation properly herself or watching Coleman and Rowland butcher another kidnapped shan-host, Carter did the operation herself. The emergence of the shan from the host's cranium convinced Carter that the Coleman and the rest of the Army weren't madmen.
With Carter performing surgical operations on the back of shan-hosts' heads, where the scars show least, the survival rate soared to 100% and the Army quickly grew with recruits drawn from the ranks of shan-hosts. Carter also had a calming effect on the Army - no further assassinations of corrupted hosts occurred, and a campaign of sabotage around the Severn Aerospace facilities in Goatswood was started in order to intimidate the non-host workforce. Attempts were made to contact the media, but no journalist was prepared to deal with kidnappers and murderers, and videos of alien-infested surgery failed to grab the attention of news-editors wary of another alien autopsy hoax.
The Shan were hit hard after Carter joined the Army. Until 1993, the Shan had only lost eight of their race to the predations of the Army; but between 1994-96, they lost another thirteen. These were unacceptable losses to the Shan Elders who number 26, although the casualties were all shan born on Earth. Initially Special Branch guided by PISCES agents was used to hunt the Army, but as casualties rose they were taken off the case by PISCES masquerading as MI-5, although Special Branch continued to hunt for the Army unaware their sponsors had new plans. The Insects from Shaggai laid a trap for the Army of the Third Eye.
A new shan-host, selected from employees at the Severn Aerospace manufacturing facility, was infested as bait and the news of the symptoms allowed to spread. Symptoms were even reported in the medical press. The news soon reached the Army, who started to observe the bait-host. The Army had been unable to penetrate the manufacturing plant's security for fear of capture, and recent recruits had no knowledge of the plant. The host seemed like a ideal opportunity to gain intelligence about Severn Aerospace's factory, or the temple-ship last seen by Coleman. When the victim's infestation was confirmed, the Army in co-operation with the host's family, moved to trepan him - but the Shan were waiting with agents and special forces troops. Coleman and three comrades were able to outwit their pursuers initially, and had the host moved to a farmhouse in Cornwall, one easily defended with limited approaches.
As the SAS cautiously assaulted the farm in daylight, the bait-host was trepanned and his shan killed by the sun's radiation. The SAS entered the building, killing one of the Army; Coleman and the two remaining soldiers committed suicide by using their cyanide vials. The plan had failed - the Shan had lost another of their race, with no useful intelligence on the Army gained. PISCES covered up the fiasco claiming that the whole movement and it's leader had been captured in Cornwall, and staged a show-trail, effectively killing the Army as a story for the media. The rest of the Army withdrew back into the shadows and regrouped.
Karen Carter became General on Coleman's death, and set about implementing a new campaign to gain intelligence on shans, PISCES, Severn Aerospace and politicians involved in the UK's revitalized interest in the European Space Agency. Carter reorganized the Army into a leaner force, one more capable than Coleman's band of bravados of surviving a PISCES hunt. The core of the Army consists of the men and women that Coleman rescued. These men and women can detect the presence of shan-hosts, and have considerable knowledge of the Shans and their plans. Carter is reluctant to allow the survivors to fight or operate above ground, as they are a valuable resource and an important intelligence asset, but are especially vulnerable as they are known to PISCES. If captured any member of the Army will reveal, involuntarily, all they know to a shan. Suicide is the only option for captured Army soldiers as Coleman's example showed. The underground element of the Army hides in plain sight amongst the dregs of society and the mentally-ill community. Day to day operations are carried out by 85 above-ground members of the Army who are currently unknown to PISCES. These soldiers include General Carter, and Dr. Donald Clare, the Army's psychiatrist who organizes recovery therapy for former hosts and organizes short stays in mental health facilities as cover.
Flaws and strengths
- The Army's greatest asset are the undetected members who currently probe the Shan establishment without the attention that the fourteen underground members of the Army would attract. However these anonymous supporters of the Army must be careful, as clumsy, obvious or too-regular investigations will gain PISCES' attention.
- The Army's recently-adopted campaign of watch and learn will pay off. Unless someone is captured by PISCES, the Army can continue to observe and record shan infiltration of Britain and the ESA. The Army will know exactly where to strike, and the Shan have no idea where the blow will come from.
- The Army has access to definite proof of alien life, or knows where to find it. This is powerful leverage if Delta Green or MJ-12 ever become involved in the UK. It may also be used a bargaining chip with the Insects from Shaggai in the future.
- The small size of the Army is both a flaw and a strength. The size of the Army means that it is flexible enough to avoid most traps set for it, and hard to find in the first place. The Army has a network of contacts and safe-houses and a clandestine communications network around Britain to retreat to if necessary. But the Army simply does not have the manpower to mount the reconnaissance that it wants or needs to. The Army has to concentrate it's resources on the key targets as it perceives them. This is a weakness that PISCES can exploit in it's favour and construct further traps for the Army. Should PISCES find the Army it is small enough to destroy easily.
- Because of the risk of interception, Army communications have to be direct: either face-to-face, by courier or by dead letter drop. Organising and assembling assets for an operation therefore takes time, which means the opportunity may have passed before the Army can take advantage of it.
- The Army is still hunted by the Shan, PISCES and Special Branch. Should PISCES find evidence leading to the Army or key personnel, retribution will be swift and brutal. The Army cannot use modern, conventional means of communication without running the risk of eventual discovery. Telephones, mobile phones, faxes, and e-mails can all be eavesdropped by GCHQ, and the mail can be intercepted. Special Branch is the least of the Army's problems but should a soldier be arrested with incriminating evidence linking them to the Army then PISCES will become aware of them through Special Branch.
- The Army is developing internal dissent. Coleman's direct action kept former-host soldiers happy but was ultimately self-destructive. Current arguments include going public to the government and media; whether fighting a corrupted government is treasonous, or whether to inform the French or the Americans about the Insects from Shaggai. The Army has successfully linked the Grosvenor Square embassy shoot-out of 1998 to the Shan by sheer luck but has not yet decided whether to involve the Americans in what is a very British rebellion.
All Army soldiers know enough First Aid, Medicine and Surgery to perform basic trepanations and provide medical aftercare. All soldiers have a modicum of tradecraft; long serving soldiers have more than newer recruits. Soldiers will have skills suitable for their everyday occupations. It's these skills that have made them useful to the Army.