The Program: Asset Recovery

The expanded core rulebook for Delta Green: The Role-Playing Game is nearly complete. Developers Dennis Detwiller and Shane Ivey are finalizing the text now. Here’s a teaser from “The Schism,” a chapter by Adam Scott Glancy and Shane Ivey about the shape of modern-day Delta Green. (This text is slightly different from an earlier preview posted as a Kickstarter update.)

Asset Recovery

The Program stores unnatural specimens at secure locations, scattered throughout the federal hinterlands of the United States and in the labs of their private-sector partners. These deniable facilities are self-contained, and for the most part, personnel have little or no idea why their base is even there. Only a small team at the center of such a facility is briefed well enough to understand what they contain. These facilities remain unknown to Agents until that knowledge is necessary for their operations.

After an operation, Agents are expected to securely package any artifacts, sources of information, or other remnants—using whatever biohazard protection they can find for biological remains—and hand them over to their case officer. Agents are rarely invited to participate directly in the analysis of the things they recover.

If the remnants are too substantial for the usual handoff, the case officer can ask for a pickup by the Office of Security in a helicopter or cargo plane. This is not usual. Such a pickup increases the visibility of the operation, both literally and bureaucratically. It means exposing additional personnel to whatever unnatural threat may linger. These pickups have resulted in disasters that became enormous follow-on operations. A case officer who requests them without need soon finds the requests ignored.

When a pickup is approved, the Office of Security deploys an expert, detached from the Office of Research, with Air Force pilots and a few guards to recover and transportat the assets. The recovery team meets agents at an airfield where the presence of a helicopter or plane will draw little attention. It’s up to the Agents to get to the airfield. Collected evidence is sealed inside secure containers so that the flight team never know what they are transporting. Pickup crews and Agents are under strict instructions to share no information with each other beyond what’s necessary.

Operation CORAL NOMAD

The Office of Security’s recovery operations operate under the name Operation CORAL NOMAD. The name changes occasionally. Its units are housed in aerospace recovery and combat rescue commands at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia; Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada; and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

Each CORAL NOMAD unit includes about 120 personnel: pilots, eight or nine combat rescue officers, a few dozen Pararescue members (“PJs”), and command and support personnel. That unit is part of a larger group with which it performs non-Program missions. But everyone knows that unit has occasional secret operations that no one else in the group is cleared for.

The true nature of CORAL NOMAD’s work is strictly need-to-know. Very few of its members know anything about the Program. Only a squadron’s researchers, commanding officers, flight surgeon, and combat rescue officers have even limited awareness of the unnatural. Other personnel are debriefed only when they witness the unnatural first-hand. In any given squadron, that has happend to only a handful of pilots and PJs.

CORAL NOMAD’s combat rescue officers and PJs are equipped with M4 carbines, M9 pistols, body armor, night-vision goggles, medical bags, and rescue tools. They may deploy by parachute if the site’s inaccessible for landing, or with SCUBA gear for an underwater recover. They train as extensively as any special-operations unit, and their washout rate is extremely high. They are supremely competent.

If they are called out and the Agents’ operation takes place within 300 km of a CORAL NOMAD base (or farther, if refueling is available), the Program typically deploys one or two Pave Hawk MH-60G helicopters with external fuel tanks, a flight range of about 800 km, and cruising speed of about 300 kph. Each Pave Hawk carries two pilots, a flight engineer, a combat rescue officer commanding three PJs, and a researcher. The commanding officer files a flight plan as a classified Air Force training exercise.

Farther afield, it deploys an HC-130J Combat King II transport plane with a flight range of more than 8,000 km and cruising speed of 540 kph. Each Combat King II carries two pilots, a combat system officer, two loadmasters, a combat rescue officer commanding five PJs, and a researcher.

If those options are too high-profile, it deploys a civilian charter jet owned by one of the Program’s private-sector allies, usually a subsidiary of March Technologies, Inc., with a similar crew complement to the Combat King II.

CORAL NOMAD does not provide transportation to Agents into or out of the field unless the Director of Security tells the crew explicitly to take an Agent aboard. It happens only if there are no other options. If one of the Agents is severely injured and too far from a hospital to survive, for example, the Program may instruct the crew to take aboard for delivery to a secure wing of a military hospital for treatment. That is very rare.

Operation CORAL NOMAD has deeper roots than most of its personnel realize, with a continuous operational history of nearly 70 years across dozens of different Air Force units. It went by the name Project BLUE FLY for almost fifty years in the days of MAJESTIC, under the cover of aerospace rescue and recovery. Some senior personnel have personal experience fighting unnatural threats. Its legendary commander in the 1990s, Col. Robert Coffey, died saving his men from a catastrophic incursion. Years ago, its officers helped dismantle MAJESTIC’s corrupt leadership. Its commander at that time, USAF Lt. General Eustis Bell, became one of the directors of the Program. Most of CORAL NOMAD’s senior officers remember both Coffey and Bell with honor. They tend to dislike taking instructions from Security Director Oakes, who clearly is a former Army grunt, but they respect the Director enough to keep that opinion in-house. Mostly.

—Excerpted from Delta Green: The Role-Playing Game

Scientia Mors Est