Allegiance: Archangel [Trinity Continuum]
The astute among you may have noticed that the Trinity Continuum rulebook has (finally) moved up the production list. The bottleneck I’ve previously mentioned has been cleared thanks to the tireless efforts of Danielle Harper, who is now acting as our Storypath developer after the departure of Neall. Neall kept saying he had his own game line to develop, but he kept talking about “psions,” and I’m pretty sure we only have one psion game in development. Weird.
Please give a warm welcome to Danielle!
In celebration, I figured it was time to drop another Allegiance teaser. Archangel comes to us from Jack Norris. As usual, bear in mind that this particular section is draft material and not yet fully developed.
Archangel is an organization started by Count Raphael Orzaiz, sometimes known as Orzaiz the Elder, to aid those without the power and influence that too often leads to exceptional action and attention for their troubles. The group focuses on locating and assisting those who find themselves in dire situations where conventional authorities are unable to assist. “Helping the helpless” is both the organization’s mandate and defines how they approach situations. While financial or legal assistance is sometimes the solution, often Archangel operatives find themselves in situations requiring personal intervention. This is often done at great risk to members, so skilled and adaptable personnel are recruited.
In 2008, the eight year old heir to the Orzaiz family was kidnapped along with the nine year old son of the family driver, a young boy named Bakar. The Orzaiz were old school Basque aristocrats who traced their origins in pre-unified Spain in the 11th Century and possessed considerable financial resources and social connections. When the kidnappers realized they had not only grabbed the family’s heir but the “worthless” son of a servant, they sent Bakar back in pieces to prove their resolve. The result was not what they hoped.
Angered by the pointless torture and slaughter of a young boy whose family had served his for generations, and fearing his son would suffer a similar fate, Count Orzaiz used his connections to fund and assemble a team of experts to retrieve his boy. Led by ex-special forces and counterterrorism expert Jonas Luther, the team located the kidnappers. In a daring pre-dawn raid they retrieved the boy, killed the kidnappers, and exposed the mastermind behind the plot as a business rival of Orzaiz attempting to distract him from a particularly competitive business deal. As he hugged his son and praised his rescuers, he caught the sad and broken sight of his driver, whose son would never again return home. It was at that point Raphael made decision that has since saved countless lives.
Hiring Jonas Luther full-time, he tasked the man with creating an organization that would lend assistance to those without the good fortune to be born wealthy and privileged. Luther, himself a poor boy from one the worst neighborhoods in Chicago, threw himself into this task with enthusiasm and passion which surprised even his employer. With the Orzaiz fortunes backing him, he created a database of skilled freelancers, military personnel, various professionals, and even some criminals. Each candidate was selected for their professional and personal record of aiding others regardless of social or economic standing. Thus in 2009, Archangel was born.
Since then the group has worked to rescue kidnapped children, shut down human trafficking rings, protect small business owners from organized crime or corporate bullying, and numerous other activities. Archangel’s private status and the considerable influence their patron affords them allows the organization to work globally and often without regard for treaties and agreements that might block official intervention.
Archangel operatives are selected for their skill and drive to help others. The skills are anything that will assist in the various missions the organization undertakes. Combat skills are a common trait among many members, but expertise in computer hacking, field medicine, legal expertise, surveillance, and intelligence gathering are also highly prized. The organization doesn’t focus much on training; recruits are selected for their own skills far more often than they are taught essential ones. Many recruits are polymaths, able to score a headshot on the run, navigate a thorny issue of legal jurisdiction, hack a security system, or some other combination of useful skills. This focus on a handful of potent and hypercompetent operatives means that many who join Archangel are Talents, but this isn’t a requirement of membership. In truth, few within Archangel even understand much less make the distinction between a highly skilled “normal” operative and a Talent. For them, it’s all about results.
In addition to their skills, recruits must impress on Archangel a desire to aid others, especially the less fortunate. The group is more likely to recruit an ex-gang member who works with community outreach and neighborhood watch efforts than a veteran special forces operative who only works for the highest bidder. This moral component won’t substitute for the skills necessary to join, but those who don’t fit the profile won’t be sought out.
Many Archangel recruits have something in their past they are seeking to redeem or balance out. Some are former criminals seeking to protect those they once victimized, others are ex-military or intelligence who grew tired of serving the interests of nations while many normal citizens suffered. Others are fueled by personal tragedy that caused a change in perspective. A few are even victims helped by the organization in the past whose skills make them an asset. In any case, it’s a rare member who joins simply to risk their lives constantly to help the underprivileged and
Organization and Structure
Archangel is organized into cells which generally handle operations in a given area. Cells can be small, in some cases a single operative might be tasked with handling cases in an area. However, large cells of a dozen or more members are found in large population centers like Mexico City or Los Angeles. Most cells post advertisements in newspapers, social media sites, and other places that give contact information and offers to help in situations where no one else can or will. These efforts generate a lot of crackpots and scam artists, but a tested filtering process usually means that a handful of genuine clients are located on a regular basis. In truth, most cells are overrun with legitimate requests far more often than they’re sitting around waiting for the phone to ring.
Whenever an operation is called for in places where a Archangel cell doesn’t exist, the home office will select a cell whose skills and experience best suits the task at hand. Thus, they won’t send a bunch of ex-cops and a former coroner to rescue tourists from Somali pirates any more than they’d send a team of commandos to track a serial killer preying on the homeless. Any cell requiring outside assistance can usually receive it, though it might take some time as there’s rarely an idle operative in the group.
Archangel is headquartered in Barcelona, and the home office is run by Jonas Luther and various members of the original team that saved young Raoul years back. Luther and his crew don’t handle as many field operations as they once did, finding that recruitment, coordinating cells and locating clients takes up the bulk of their time. Count Raphael Orzaiz doesn’t involve himself with the organizations operations at all, save to write checks and occasionally point other interested philanthropists at the group. These donations along with the Count’s fortune give the group ample funding.
Goals and Methods
The goal of Archangel is simple: use their skills and resources to help those in need, particularly those who cannot secure aid elsewhere. Very few of its clients are wealthy or well-connected unless they find themselves the victim of forces with overwhelming power and influence. How an individual cell goes about helping someone is largely up to them; though the focus is always on assistance and not retribution. Thus a crime syndicate smuggling people to serve as slave labor might end up ruthlessly eliminated by a cell, but that’s an afterthought. The focus of such an operation would be to liberate captives and shut down the operation. Due to his past experiences, Count Orzaiz is ironclad on this goal; returning a kidnapped child or saving someone’s livelihood is always a priority. Justice or revenge is a luxury, though ones the group often manages to afford.
Methodology varies wildly with different cells and the whole organization has a “whatever works” attitude as long as overall goals are met. Operatives are encouraged to work with local authorities whenever possible because it makes missions go easier, but it’s not a requirement. In some locations with rampant corruption, such cooperation is even functionally impossible. A team of legal experts and some sympathetic politicians help keep members out of trouble in most cases, though if an operation goes horribly wrong the blowback could be severe. Given the stakes involved in many situations when Archangel is called, mistakes are something other people get to make.
Archangel treats those it helps as paying clients whose needs are the utmost priority, but they never accept payment. In rare occasions where an individual has the resources or willfulness to insist on paying, the funds are donated to a charity that helps those in a similar situation to the client. Thus, if Archangel liberates an unjustly accused activist languishing in a corrupt hellhole somewhere, any payments would go to organizations such as Amnesty International or the appropriate branch of the Æon Society. In fact, the Triton Foundation receives a noticeable influx of donations from Archangels efforts, a reality not lost on Æon and relations between the two organizations is generally favorable.
Archangel’s greatest assets are its patron’s fortunes and its own people. Everything necessary for a mission can be purchased as needed, and many cells maintain a small armory, crime lab, and whatever else operatives might need to accomplish their goals. These resources are often cutting edge, though they rarely branch into the realm of “weird science” unless a cell member designs something using their own skills.
Operatives are extremely well-paid to avoid any temptation of bribery or corruption, but in truth this is usually unnecessary. Most Archangel members are devoted to the group’s mission and would likely do the job for nothing and a significant portion of member salaries go to supporting various charities. Many who work for the group find their bank account and assets growing as they jump frantically from one crisis to the next, and despite the group only being active for five years many of the senior members already have enough to retire comfortably. Despite this, the retirement and turnover rate for Archangel is quite low; these people are in it for the cause, not money.
Since three operatives were abducted and killed in 2010 during a disastrous mission that also cost the life of their client, all members have taken to wearing identification markers implanted with a tracking device. Typically the device is in the form of a medallion, charm, piece of jewelry, ring, or mundane item bearing the image of St. Jude Thaddeus, the patron saint of the hopeless and helpless. Some have chips implanted surgically and conceal any scar with a tattoo instead. This marking also help operatives from different cells identify each other in the field. Despite the typical religious iconography, most members view these as symbols of their allegiance and practical safety precautions; in fact the whole idea was dreamed up by Jonas Luther’s agnostic assistant after she saw the movie The Untouchables. Some cells even use churches and shrines devoted the saint for meeting places and information drops, but this is a matter of style and not policy.