|Phoenix: Agent/Operative Rules|
Once put into place, both agents and operatives can use the same list of orders. Therefore they are all listed as agents in both the order utility and the order manual. Agents and operatives perform covert operations within starbases and outposts (usually) owned by rival affiliations. They can perform a number of actions. Each action has its own risk assessment. This allows the controlling players to decide for themselves whether they will perform a mission with no illusion of invulnerability. These positions, when used correctly can be devastating. They can undermine production, change lists and basically cripple a starbase or outpost that has felt it unnecessary to construct security complexes.
Agents are employees of either an outpost or a starbase, who also work for your political position. While they work for you they can be requested to perform tasks within the outpost or starbase in which they are based. They will continue to perform tasks upon demand until they are captured, the tasks become too dangerous or your political decides not to pay them anymore. The agent created will have an excellent skill level in hacking and stealth - these are not literal skills (as with an operative) but are instead gained through trusted access within the starbase.
It is only possible to recruit an agent through the use of a ship or ground party docked in the starport of the starbase or outpost. The reason for this is the agent cannot be just anyone, but must be a full employee with computer access.
Agents like money and are greedy. They start with small demands, but these will increase with time and the amount of missions demanded of them. As such, a political position may well feel that they have outlived their usefulness. To drop an agent, the political has to use a number of methods to silence the agent and prevent any information being leaked. What the exact methods are comes down to the personal code of ethics of the political position. As this is not an accountancy game, these however are simply boiled down to a stellar fee covering investigations by trusted henchmen, bribes to officials through third parties and such.
The agents’s first and foremost loyalty is purely to themselves. They really do not care about anything else beyond the stellars given to them on a weekly basis by the political. As such, in the event of capture, they will almost certainly cut a deal with the security forces which could reveal who they work for, presuming they have been able to find out.
The role of operatives is more diverse. They are able to infiltrate the target starbase from anywhere in the in the orbital quadrant. Once in, they perform designated tasks until they are either caught or are picked up by a ship or ground party. They are at risk from security sweeps even when they are not performing missions, as they are not part of the starbase’s personnel. Unlike agents, they have a number of skills that will weight chances of success when performing specific missions.
A ship or a ground party creates an operative by subjecting a veteran troop to an intensive procedure of training and indoctrination. The type of troop used in the conversion will determine which skills are likely to be most proficient.
This table gives only the typical skill area of expertise. There are variations - it may turn out that a veteran crew discovers he has talents at sabotage for example.
The loyalty of operatives is unquestionable. They have been through various mind-altering procedures such that they would rather die than give away their employer. As such all carry (and are capable of making use of) instant suicide devices. These are generally organic neurotoxins held by calcium-based nanites in the brainstem although there are no doubt a great many other methods of instant death.
Operatives, unlike agents can be picked up from a starbase and moved to a new location. Issuing the “pick-up operative” order from the appropriate location allows this.
Missions are dealt with in the same manner. Any number of orders can be given although their performance may affect the temporary security of the starbase.
Each turn will generate a risk analysis for the agent. This will show both the expected chance of success when undertaking the mission for each risk difficulty.
Example risk assessment
This example is for the newly created agent shown above.
It is assumed that if an agent has not been active for a long time a player will request an update for the agent. This is because a starbase can perform what is known as a crackdown. This vastly increases the security protocols for the starbase (although at a cost of vastly reducing the efficiency of the starbase).
Should the agent fail a mission there is a chance of being detected. Depending on the mission type, this will range from negligible through to very obvious. All 'capture' tests are done against either stealth or hacking. Intelligence missions use either hacking or surveillance, whichever is the highest. Once spotted, the agent will attempt to evade capture. This will either be through hacking, in the case of accessing the starbase database, or through stealth if a physical mission. Assassination may also be used to shoot a way out of the situation.
Successful completion of a mission will give some experience rewards. These will be in the skills used. The amount gained is proportional to the chance of failure. Undertaking missions with no chance of success will therefore result in no chance of gaining experience.
This is a list of missions possible. Where the result is “Item Security”, refer to the next section for details
Security levels for items fall into a number of categories. Each category will alter the basic security for the starbase with respect to the specific item, i.e. a starbase will put more security around its jacium reserves than it’s metal reserves.
If an item type is not listed here then it falls into the normal bracket. There is no modifier for item types falling into this item type.