France's capacity to produce ultranationalists did not end with Nicholas Chauvin (a fanatic devoted to Napoleon; it is from his excesses that we derive the term *chauvinism*). In 2302-3, the exemplar of pro-Imperial fanaticism is a group known only as Tricolor.
Tricolor had a deceptively picturesque beginning, arising out of a rambling conversation held in a sidewalk cafe on the Champs Elysees, late in 2287. As the lenghtening shadow of the Arc de Triomphe advanced across their table, two senior French generals, and two high-ranking government members resolved to stop bemoaning France's slip into somnolescence and to do something about it instead. And thus, Tricolor was born; a secret society of French men and women who were dedicated to restoring France to her former power and prestige. This group quickly secured members who worked in a number of key governmental services and bureaus (including DGSE), a number of military Tribunals, the Ministry of Defense, and the Ministry of Industry. These ultranationalists laid the groundwork for the military coup of 2289 that overthrew the 12th Republic, an accomplishment that Tricolor thought would ensure France's rebirth as a true superpower.
Unfortunately (or for the rest of the world, fortunately), this radical cabal made the classic mistake of all fanatical movements; they assumed that everyone else in their nation were latent fellow-fanatics just waiting to rally around an ultranationalist movement. Instead, the French people reacted with dismay --and some ill-disguised disgust-- to the bellicose drum-beating of the new military government. Tricolor maintained its secrecy throughout this period, which allowed it to ride out the sweeping revisions that finally sent the military government tumbling from power in 2294.
However, Tricolor's organizational personality had been soured by the lack of popular support for French ultranationalism, as well as the failure against the `upstart' German military in the War of 2292-3. Where Tricolor had once been chivalric it was now bitter, and its boldness had become secrecy. Although the cabal was somewhat heartened by the institution of a new French Emprie, Tricolor decided that the destiny of France could not be entrusted to the average citizen. It was instead the sacred (self-appointed) duty of Tricolor to ensure that the Empire reattained and kept its status as a superpower.
As should be clear, Tricolor has moved increasingly towards a policy that promotes its evolution into a lunatic fringe organization. It continues to recruit from almost every walk of life, demanding two personal qualities in any prospective member; tremendous reserves of determination and high native intelligence. As should go without saying, a powerful belief in French supremacism is the prerequisite.
Fortunately for Tricolor, these characteristics are frequently found in a large number of highly-placed French officials. Consequently, Tricolor managed to learn of the `mystery race' speculation through one of their DGSE members who had access to the confidential forensics report issued jointly by the AIA and MI-5.'
Next, Tricolor received a sketchy report about the discovery and confirmation of Back Door, and the mission that was being contemplated as a means of scouting it out. Upon learning that the Alderhorst Alliance had already secured control over Back Door and had hopes of making first contact with the mystery race, Tricolor could only gnash its teeth in envy; once again Frace was sitting by while other nations acted. Surely, they though, there must be a way to turn this situation to our advantage. And so their plotting began.
Clearly, the nations of the Alderhorst Alliance had a firm advantage in any diplomatic or military matters involving Back Door. The American and Australian colonial proximity almost precluded the possibility of France having a major role in any upcoming dealings with this new race. However, France had one resource that would be indispensable on a first contact mission; personnel from L'Institut des Etudes Xenologiques (or IEX). The preeminent specialists in alien studies (both biological and sociological), the IEX gave Tricolor a legitimate `in' on Operation Back Door.
However, Tricolor was not interested in being the handservant of the Alderhorst Alliance. A contact specialist would be likely to gain close access to the aliens, would either be permitted to run tests --or best yet-- could successfully advocate that one or more of the `mystery race' return with the contact team for a visit to human space.
The American Intelligence Agency
The history of the American Intelligence Agency has its roots in the reformation of the United States of America in 2021. In that year, the reintegration of the rival Military and Civilian Governments was formalized and their respective intelligence agencies (the DIA and CIA) were merged.
It was not a simple merger. In the twenty years that had passed, different operational philosophies and procedures had evolved. The DIA had become decidedly paramilitary, whereas the CIA had remained more espionage-oriented. The Agencies were unable to resolve their differences, which brought about full-scale Congressional restructuring of the American intelligence community.
In short, the CIA, DIA, FBI, DEA, and ATF (Treasury Dept.) field operation branches where amalgamated into a single unified service, renamed the American Intelligence Agency. The Agency was broken into the Office of Foreign Operations (OFO) and the Office of Domestic Operations. Simply, any crime committed on American soil or against American nationals abroad (or holdings in foreign countries) was the province of the ODO. Any operations that involved intrusive acts against the lands or citizens of other sovereign states was the province of the OFO. Predictably, almost all the DIA and much of the CIA wound up reshuffled into the OFO. The rest filled the roster of the ODO.
It is important to note that the FBI was retained (in a diminished form) as a separate division of the ODO. The `new FBI' was constructed to serve two primary tasks. The first was to be the forensics and criminology experts for the ODO. The second task (which was facilitated by their excellence in forensics and criminology) was to function as the `Internal Affairs Office' for the entire AIA. After seeing numerous gross misuses of power by covert agencies, Congress decided to watchdog their own watchdogs. The Congressional committee that oversees and receives reports on the FBI's watchdog operations (the National Security Committee) quickly became one of the most powerful and influential assignments that a Congressperson could aspire to --as well as one of the most demanding.
The AIA of 2302 has not changed much since its inception more than 280 years ago. Agents are still intensely scrutinized for tendencies which might predispose them to the abuse of power. It is an AIA credo (revealed only to agents who complete initial screening and training) that to be accepted as a member of the AIA, an individual must consistently indicate that he/she would rather adhere to America's laws than act in America's `best interest.' The unofficial motto of the AIA is "upholding and obeying America's laws is ®MDUL¯always®MDNM¯ in America's best interests." This does not mean that the AIA is not given special legal exemptions in order to carry out tasks such as bugging, surveillance, even assault on foreign installations. It DOES mean that all such exemptions and permissions MUST come from the National Security Committee, which in turn must report its activities, findings, and proceedings DIRECTLY to the President and the Joint Chiefs. In 280 years, there have been only two incidents in which individuals disregarded these restrictions. They were summarily convicted and spent the rest of their lives in jail.
The AIA also retains a two-and-a-half century reputation as the finest intelligence agency in human space. In terms of both training and performance, it is without equal. Britain's MI-5 is a traditional `friendly rival', but this organization was nearly obliterated during the Twilight War and never quite regained the keen edge that it had in the Twenthieth Century. Also, Great Britain's need for an extensive intelligence network was diminished in a world dominated by the French Peace. France's DSGE is another highly capable agency, but has become top-heavy with bureacrats and is made sluggish by their eternal in-fighting and intradepartmental maneuverings.
The official AIA headquarters is in the rebuilt Washington DC. However, its actual headquarters is located in the labyrinthine undergrounds that sprawl beneath the Disneyworld National Archeological Preserve of Orlando Florida. The cover --and security-- afforded by this seemingly whimsical location has proven quite effective over the years. It has also provided the source of much of the agency's slang. Being recalled to headquarters means that an agent `is going to the Magic Kingdom.' Bugging devices are referred to as `Mickey's Ears.' An excessively optimistic person is known as a `Poppins.' The Disneyesque references are virtually infinite.
Despite the AIA's presence in a site formerly known for its celebration of new and innovative technology and its focus on being the most advanced covert agency in the business, the Agency draws the line at cyber enhancements. The AIA stresses personal training and excellence and eschews artificial boosts, arguing that `what is truly yours never fails you.' The deeper motivation behind this exclusion is that cyberware has a noted and documented capacity to negatively influence personality, psyche, and empathy in humans. The AIA does not want its agents becoming distant, cold, insensitive --and possibly less concerned with law and justice. Down that path lies internal dischord and disaster, according to Agency opinion.
AIA agents are usually recruited straight out of high school, although a previous career in academic, journalistic, or law enforcement fields are quite acceptable. A prior hitch in the military is also acceptable, but the AIA is not in the business of hiring professional soldiers (i.e.; 15 year vets need not apply). AIA agents are either classified as investigators (primary career table = Law Enforcement) or operatives (primary career table = Field Agents). Unless the agent comes from a prior career in the military, the time spent until the first turning point will be more akin to military duty and therefore, the agent will receive skills from one of the military tables (his/her choice). In the event that this means more than 6 years of training, the individual is sure to have seen a fair amount of duty as a `striker' --a mix of special forces/SWAT duties. The overwhelming majority of such individuals are from the Office of Foreign Operations. After this initial paramilitary training, all agents begin selecting skills from their primary table.
AIA agents are equipped to the very highest standards available, and generally have access to just about any gadget known to man --plus a few that are largely ®MDUL¯un®MDNM¯known. An example of this is the highly effective silenced pistol officially designated the Smith & Wesson Integral Silencer Pistol 106. Known more commonly as the `Shoot and Whisper,' this weapon is detailed in the technical section of this Data Annex.
AIA And Current Events
The AIA in general --and Larkin in specific-- are not rabid flag-wavers. While both believe that France should give way gracefully and allow a true international cooperative to manage the Kafer conflict, neither the organization nor Larkin believe America should make a bid for a return to superpower status. Larkin and his ilk are seasoned operatives who have observed the ebb and flow of international --and interspeciate-- relations for many years. If anything, they are close to being ®MDUL¯anti®MDNM¯nationalistic. The Kafers --and any humans that would sell out to them-- are the threat; period. International bickering is just a waste of precious time and effort. Consequently, while Larkin and his agents heartily support the Alderhorst Alliance and the objectives (both obvious and subtle) of Operation Back Door, they and the rest of the AIA are NOT to be perceived (or played) as American supremacists. In fact, the history of the AIA has been to weed out such individuals from its ranks.
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