Leaving an Agent to the Wolves

This article describes an Operational Security breach similar to the archetypal A Vicious Little Firefight, but involving more deliberate, unprovoked aggression by Delta Green Agents, with witnesses. It is based on Leaving an Agent to the Wolves Discussion and partly examines the alternative to Stopping Leaks.

The incident

On 28 December 2007, Tony Toon sought agreement on not covering up a breach described as follows: Cell R is on their first op. They notice two cultists staking them out in a car outside the hotel. They need to go meet a contact who has vital information, so one of them leaves the hotel and walks down the street to get a sandwich. The cultists follow him, leaving another agent safe to meet the contact. So far so good.

The first agent goes into the sandwich shop. The cultists wait outside, not really hiding their presence any longer. The agent decides to invite them in and have a chat. After a short and vaguely menacing discussion on how nosy out-of-towners should mind their own business, the unarmed cultists decide they're not convincing the agent. They say they should just forget it and off him as a sacrifice to their god. He responds by blowing a hole in one of them with his .357. The other cultist leaps behind a table for cover, so the agent calmly walks around it and puts a matching hole in him as well.

The agent finishes them both off with his second handgun to ensure that they're dead. Finally, he waves his FBI badge around to tell the staff that everything's okay. They pushed the alarm button at the first gunshot. The agent gives Cell A a ring on his cell phone, and they tell him not to resist or cause a scene with the police, who are on their way. They'll "see what they can do" on their end.

Toon's plan at this point in the simulation was for the police to arrest the agent, call up his superiors, find out he's supposed to be on bereavement leave for his dead great-aunt and that killing two unarmed people without apparent provocation in front of sandwich shop staff was not official FBI business. His cell phone no longer works. He goes to jail and never gets out. If he tries to blab about Delta Green, previously overlooked DNA evidence links him to some heinous crime, the kind that inmates will kill other inmates over.

Toon asked the DGML about the plausibility of DG now regarding the agent as a liability and having no desire to pull the kind of strings it would take to cover this up.

Noteworthy lapses

  • The agent in question should not have been carrying his day-job ID. (Russell Rayburn)
  • The agent should not have remained on the scene. Given the unreliability of witness testimony, he stands a good chance of there being no accurate description. Also, most cameras in restaurants are pointed towards the cash register, so he might not even be on camera. (Russell Rayburn)
  • No misdirection. The agent could have screamed "THIS IS FUCKING SUGAR" first, then opened fire. Local law enforcement would be thinking it was a drug deal gone bad. (Russell Rayburn)
  • Failure to account for the possibility of the staff or other customers being armed. (duran goodyear)

On the subject of the agent being on leave, that's an internal bureaucratic thing. Being "on leave" has no bearing on your role, duties or powers as a law enforcement officer. If you have a gun and a badge, you're still a cop. He could say he saw the place being robbed or that the cultists threatened to kidnap him or someone else. The whole "supposed to be on vacation" subject is between him and his superiors at FBI HQ. (Rob)

Probable consequences

  • Delta Green would arrange for him to be shot while attempting to escape, to never resurface after escaping, or to commit what appears to be a suicide in his cell. (The Thug Whisperer)
  • If DG can intercept the check on the Agent's ID, the FBI denies the credentials are real. (The Thug Whisperer)
  • A psychiatrist does an evaluation and provides "medication". An excited delerium might then be the cause of death.
  • Alphonse could call a friendly on the local police force and arrange to have that friendly help the agent "escape" from custody along with an unloaded sidearm to wave around. When the escaping Agent raises the gun, the friendly shoots him, and will get all kinds of kudos for it. (Marshall Gatten)
  • If DG helps the man remain free (through layers of cut-outs and false fronts), he can be useful without ever returning to his function as an Agent. Give that character something to do and write him off. With a change of identity and location, he might make a fine custodian, driving all over the country renting storage space for green-box, setting up safe houses, purchasing weapons on the black market or any of that stuff that needs doing. He's retired with a modest stipend, and being useful. (Mark McFadden)
  • Cell A could contact the remaining members of Cell R and advise them of their predicament. They would ask, "Can we trust the genius agent to keep his mouth shut?" If the answer is negative, Cell A would instruct Cell R itself to tie up loose ends, thus containing the problem. (Rob)
  • If the agent is (otherwise) useful, Cell A may let the courts decide. Justifiable Homicide and Self Defense could work. If the agent says he saw a gun, witnesses might back him up, who knows? Any law enforcement officer can bargain away their badge in a plea deal unless bereaved relatives show up. (Rob)
  • If the Agent is convicted he will sit in jail until his time is up. Cell A can then support him to the point where he does not feel burned enough to sing. One way to do this is to continue the productive relationship; the agent can check to see if the Aryan Brotherhood has been infiltrated by something. (Rob)

A co-creator's opinion

Adam Scott Glancy wrote:

I agree 110%! Delta Green membership is NOT a license to kill and your agents are NOT 007.

Did you try to explain that to them before they started? If so, fuck 'im. It'll learn him a lesson for his next character. If not? Well, then you should have and you might want to consider some options for getting him out of this via the legal system. Lost evidence. Conflicting witnesses. He loses his badge but keeps his freedom. But he's sure as heck out of the scenario during the legal wrangling.

Personally I love the idea that DG shuts off all contact with him and then warns him to keep his mouth shut about DG and just do his time like a good boy. The moment he starts blabbing about DG: he either gets commited as dangerously delusional, DG aranges to have him shanked (but only if he knows very damaging information), or Majestic-12 swoops in and tells him that they want to help him out. Shooting people in broad daylight in a crowded restaurant is just the kind of crazy they look for at Majestic. They can sell him a story about how they are the real governement agency and DG is a bunch of lame part time amatuers. Next thing you know, your player is turning up working for the opposition and loving all the power he has to hurt and bully people.

If he goes over to Majestic to save his own sorry ass, then DG will pull out the stops to kill him, but if he disappears into Majestic's world of hidden bases and restricted facilities, they may never find him.

Of course, DG could keep him in prison and just keep transfering him from prison to prison (due to overcrowding) to investigate Mythos problems on the inside.

Correct procedure

  • The agent should have tried to get outside. If the cultists tried to stop him, THEN he should have opened fire. Depending on the city, that might even be legal, given castle doctrine laws, especially if the cultists had been armed (even with knives). (Russell Rayburn)
  • Given time, the cultists could have been led to a dark alley, a junkyard, or some place where no one cares about loud noises, and where the rest of the Cell lies in wait. Soak the resulting mess in gasoline and chuck in a road flare. (Russell Rayburn)
  • Chuck a flash bang in the far end of the diner, pop a smoke grenade. Then you run out the back door, ideally making a bee line for a previously agreed-upon rally point, away from the hotel. (duran goodyear)
    • Don't forget that smoke grenades displace oxygen. Asphyxiation in an enclosed space is a real possibility. (Russell Rayburn)
  • Stand up and ask for everyone's attention. Announce that the two men seated with you just said they want to kill you, and could everyone please keep an eye on them? If the cultists care at all about blending in, they'll likely look around and laugh it off as some sort of joke. This is where the Agent walks out. (Russell Rayburn)

Movie of the week

A History of Violence portrays news teams descending on a small backwater town when a freak gunfight happens in a diner. Most interesting is the "common, unarmed man fights off two robbers" angle; media coverage demands an angle. (duran goodyear and Russell Rayburn)

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