Spectrum Dispatch

Lore

ID:

13123

Comments:

49

Date:

July 4th 2013

Writer's Guide: Part Thirteen
CIVILIAN INTELLIGENCE AGENCY REVISIONS

Writer's Guide: Part Thirteen

Hello everyone, and welcome back for the final installment of the Writer’s Guide. Should you need them, here are the links to the previous entries, and if you are new, please review the caveats at the beginning of Issue #1. You can also find the beginning of this discussion in Issue 12.

Issue 1 – UEE Structure
Issue 2 – Timeline & Citizens/Civilians
Issue 3 – Local Government & Media
Issue 4 – Corps
Issue 5 – Criminals
Issue 6 – Alien Civs (Banu & Xi’An)
Issue 7 – Alien Civs (Vanduul & Tevarin)
Issue 8 – Technology
Issue 9 – Transportation
Issue 10 – People
Issue 11 – Storytelling
Issue 12 – Civilian Intelligence Agency

Probably should note that this was written before the website was transferred over so some of the usernames might be outdated. Without further ado, let’s get to it:

CIVILIAN INTELLIGENCE AGENCY REVISIONS

There were a lot of fantastic reactions to Sengar’s original idea and the version presented to the community. The biggest part of coming up with these aspects of the universe is discussion, where everyone has the freedom to throw out and explore any and all ideas, so let’s go through piece by piece.

THE NAME

Reactions to the Division of Executive Services were quite varied. Again, the idea was to create something so innocuous that would almost defy investigation or question. It’s a weirdly fine line to try and walk because you want something that encapsulates the agency (without describing the agency) but also something that sounds harmless if you don’t know what they are but ominous if you do.

Let’s take a look at some comments and address them individually:

Space Elmo says:

Really like these names.(pan imperial data acquisition services sounds bland and cool at the same time) Prefer them to Division imho however perhaps they could be the name for the public government “front” and behind the scenes known as Division?

That’s a good name. Definitely covers the innocuous thing, it’s doubtful anyone would really want to dig too deeply into that for fear of a massive wave of technical jargon. My issue with it is that it feels too locked into the acquisition part of the agency and not really factoring in the field work that Division handles.

Cardboard Brain says:

I feel like it should be called “The Division” more than it’s called “Division.” Could just be me I guess, but it seems… odd without the “the.”

Aside from that, though, I really like this idea. It’s got a sort of MIB vibe, too, which is always a good thing.

That’s a good point. This feels like personal preference. To me, adding “The” makes it sound like more of an established name, whereas simply Division is just kinda weird and ominous but only in context, “Division is sending someone over.”

LudicrousSpeed says:

I like the concept, which adds a layer of intrigue to the ‘verse. IMO “Division” isn’t ominous enough, especially if it will have political leanings and the power of information/secrets. My suggestion: “Intergalactic Reconnaissance and Surveillance”, (I’ll let you figure out the acronym), referred to as simply “The Agency” for short?

Love the acronym but it feels too overt. Since they are operating under the radar the last thing they would want to do is draw attention to what they’re doing.

CooperSmith says:

How about Office of Executive Services. Sounds like a much small group than Division. Then you can tell someone, “I’m going to the office”

Office could work. TRAJAN had a good point that Division sounds too much like a military name.

Peraion says:

I very much like this idea. For a really bland name and plausible deniability, why not call them the Census Bureau or have them be a part or subdivision of them, e.g. the Census Bureau Field Office? Those guys collect and analyze data too, after all.

That’s a pretty cool idea, but I feel like you would have to make them a subdivision in order to avoid confusion with the real Census bureau. Also, I’m worried that it implies only one facet of their operations (hard data collection).

cmopatrick says:

Miscellaneous Research Committee – MSC (insiders pronounce it “mask”).
New recruits are “Student assistants” aka “Flunkies”
Journeymen are “Research Associates” aka “Readers”
Masters are “Document Writers” aka “Compilers”
Station heads are “Lead Researchers” aka “Librarians”

This could work too. Definitely innocuous. Probably easy to avoid intense questioning about it and would provide an easy way to justify sending people all over the UEE and outside. My big concern is that it’s so similar in name to the ship manufacturer, MISC.

Kickforce says:

Statistical Analysis Department?

Sounds so boring no one will bother disturbing them, and for statistics you have an excuse for demanding to see any kind of information. The acronym SAD seems to make it even worse. Agents could be called SADists, but not when they hear you.

As with the Census Bureau idea, it could work but I feel like it’s too limiting in covering the scope of what they do.

THEIR POWERS/JURISIDICTION

GiantSnark says:

I’m a little confused on the dividing line between the Division and the Advocacy. Basically the Advocacy is the FBI (focus on enforcement of federal/imperial laws, investigation and pursuit of inter-system criminals) and the Division is more like the NSA (focus on intelligence gathering and analysis within the territory of the Empire)?

What about foreign spy networks (the CIA)? Who is running the UEE’s intelligence-gathering and covert operations outside the borders of the UEE? They’ve already been mentioned. Is that Division, Advocacy, or a third group entirely?

Division handles intelligence operations both within the UEE and outside of it. The Senate (particularly the members who are privy to Division’s existence) are voracious in their appetite for knowledge.

Mosern says:

Just a question. Does DES have an executive branch that actually does anything other than gathering intel? (Ex: “Eliminating” double-agents etc) Or is that role done by other departments?

Yes. There are operatives within Division who can handle that, but they would also be likely to hire outsiders to do the deed.

THE OPERATIVES

There was a pretty consistent thread of people who weren’t really feeling the term ‘gatherers’ for the operatives. Upon review, they made some good points. Like the agency’s name, the tricky part of these names is that it can’t feel too overt, but should feel intimidating if you understand what it means. I kept trying to think of something along the lines of “Cleaner” (from La Femme Nikita and The Professional) or “Gargoyles” from Snow Crash. Anyway, let’s go through some of the suggestions.

Chromasphere says:

Interesting. So this agency is a Panoptic-Data-State Collection, Assessment and Distribution group.

I would call the operatives Technicians as they do all the technical work to gather the current info then distribute it to enforcement agencies.

I like Technicians, but Sengar brought up a good point that it feels a little too technical.

IceVamp says:

Not completely sold on these internal agent designations though. It’s not very spacey. How’s about “Compiler”?

Compiler could work for the analysts. Not sure it really applies to the field agents.

Anzig says:

“Gatherer” doesn’t have enough government flunky in it though. Going with the “travel agency” theme I’d use Associate.

As per IceVamp’s introduction:

“So what do you do for the government?” “I’m an Associate with the Division Of Executive Services. I help smooth over travel issues in our area when other members of the governm…” “snore”

I like Associate a lot.

match says:

How about Accountants? They are often overlooked but normally privy to sensitive info. I do like “Division” as the name. Messer himself may have elevated this group in order to keep the different arms of government “divided” to maintain dependence on him.

While it could make sense for the Field Agents (i.e., managing accounts = managing human/alien assets). I worry that Accountants might be too misleading.

So, after all that, let’s take a look at the revised entry for the civilian intelligence agency:

Office of Executive Services aka OES

RESPONSIBILITIES

Long hidden behind an innocuous (i.e., dull) name within the labyrinthine bowels of the Senate’s budget, the OES is responsible for the collection, analysis or exploitation of information and intelligence in support of law enforcement, imperial security, defense and foreign policy objectives.

This can take on many forms, from communication intercepts to asset gathering to counter-intelligence to black ops in alien civilizations, as OES utilizes operatives throughout the Empire on both domestic and foreign missions.

HISTORY

Since it has never been officially recognized, no one really knows when OES was created. The first known mention of OES came in the archive of the Senate subcommittee meeting in 2794. But the first potential indication of an OES action came six years earlier, in 2788. Nathan Warrick, an Advocacy Section Chief in the Terra System, helped facilitate Senator Akari’s meetings with the Xi’An to create the Kray/Akari treaty that defused tensions with the Xi’An and marked the beginning of the end of the Messer Era. After that incident, Warrick left the Advocacy and disappeared. After the fall of Messer, Warrick reappeared as a ‘consultant’ on Akari’s staff before being named as the first Director of the new Office of Executive Services during that Senate subcommittee meeting in 2794.

STRUCTURE

Terrified at the prospect of another despot, the Senate wanted to make sure they were kept informed of the mood of the people, as well as the atmosphere of the other branches of the UEE. The Office of Executive Services was designed to infiltrate, keeping an eye not only on the public but also the military and even the Advocacy.

The Senate Subcommittee for Internal Appraisal handles budgetary and executive oversight of OES. Again, the official incarnations of this elusive spy agency are designed to be forgettable, hence the bland names.

OPERATIVES

Field agents for OES actively recruit assets within and without the UEE to keep the Senate apprised of potential crises and growing threats to imperial security. Known within OES as associates, they are charged with digging up information or turning assets for OES analysts to consume.

Even the oversight committee has no idea how OES recruits its associates. Its strength is that its agents can be anyone, so their recruitment path is personality-based more than physical. They want adaptable, intuitive and intelligent people who are capable of being present but not being noticed (or at least forgotten soon after).

AWARENESS

The existence of OES is still heavily guarded. The Imperator, the Military and the Advocacy are all aware that the Senate has a clandestine agency at their disposal, but having to sift through wild conjecture and unreliable sources, they can’t isolate exactly where it is or even who’s in charge. Also, associates embedded within those organizations are very good at disrupting any potential leads.

That isn’t to say that the OES is an open book to all of the Senate. Senators have to be in office for several terms before they are brought into the fold about the agency’s existence.

There are many in the public who hear whispers of Senatorial spies. Some have unknowingly worked jobs for the OES, but deniability has been OES’ prime directive since its inception and thus far, they haven’t been caught.

That’s it. Thanks again for everyone’s participation. As always, feel free to post responses in the comments below. As we mentioned earlier, the Writer’s Guide will be going on a hiatus, but we will be bringing you some brand new serials in the Star Citizen universe so stay tuned and keep writing.

Until next time…

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