Caledonian Special Service
The Caledonian Special Service (CSS) spans the gap between Intelligence, diplomacy and the military (and draws staff from each, as well as the private sector). The CSS reports to the General Command Staff.
While the official existence of the CSS is a generally-known fact, discussions of this organization are strongly discouraged within the Principality.
The nucleus of the Caledonian Special Service is the "Directorate of Operations" (DOO), a group with no more than 300 personnel based out of a converted naval office building in Caledon.
All CSS activities start with a "Finding". These are issued by the Prince (usually in conjunction with his Privy Council); they may be either public or secret, although a three-member oversight committee elected by the Parliament has oversight over all Findings.
A finding from the Privy Council is answered by a "Directive" from the DOO; a directive usually leads to the setting up of a "Operation", with a code-name and a leader from among the DOO's personnel. Depending on the situation and circumstances, the Section will get a budget, personnel and a go-ahead to start accomplishing the Directive.
The CSS' brief includes the following duties:
The CSS is a pseudo-official adjunct to Naval Intelligence, providing intelligence and surveillance assets that aren't directly tied to the Navy or the General Staff.
The CSS's "Black Bag" section carries out covert activities to gather information on enemies and potential enemies outside (and sometimes inside) the Principality, and occasionally undertakes direct action, usually via mercenaries and, in matters of supreme importance, by the elite and hyper-secretive Phantom Regiment, a unit that doesn't officially exist.
The "Black Bag" section is careful to ensure plausible deniability in these sorts of operations. CSS operatives , contractors, and covert units (like "Phantom") are reported to be active in the low-intensity conflicts on the Rob Roy and Douglass systems, among other unstable systems on the Principality's periphery.
In low-intensity and proxy warfare - which has been the norm in recent years on the periphery of the Principality - the CSS will issue a covert "Letter of Marque" to mercenary ships to disrupt their targets' merchant shipping. This can be done directly or, more usually, by intermediaries, especially among Caledonian merchant firms.
The CSS's activities rarely come in for public notice. But sources indicate that the organization has had a few fairly notable operations.
(Finding and Directive 1096-S12 (Most Secret))
A three year effort to expand contacts within dissident groups within the Grand Duchy of Marhleim into the Marhleim Navy, with an aim toward fomenting a mutiny and defection aboard a major Marlheim naval vessel. This led, in 1099, to the Bdaarikhar Incident.
(Finding and Directive 1083-S25) The reavers of the Khan World League have long been a thorn in the Principality's side. When an independence movement broke out on Yedidah, the Principality needed to be seen to be keeping its hands off - but the CSS was heavily, secretly involved. The organization shipped arms covertly to the rebels, provided training and logistic support, and brokered help from mercenary soldiers and ships to help the nascent rebellion. Beyond that, a contingent of the Phantom Regiment was also involved in reconnaissance, training and direct action missions.
Since independence, the CSS has long maintained a small station on the Yedidah - "Task Force Y" - including a small tanker, a RCES scout ship, a merchant cruiser and several mercenary ships and ground units.
"Skyeforce" - which, per usual, doesn't officially exist - operates against Maxwellian interests in a variety of means:
- A propaganda operation operating throughout the entire region to rim-driftward of the Principality attacking the legitimacy, capability and even sanity of the putative heirs. These attacks range from incisive to wildly humorous.
- Agents on Skye and Germaine try to keep tabs on Maxwellian comings and goings. Information on these comings and goings are fed out to privateers operating under letters of marque from the CSS.
- CSS operatives, using blackmail, bribery and coercion, "turn" Maxwellians.
CSS Operatives are generally people with backgrounds in intelligence and/or the military.
The CSS recruits a fair number of female operatives - at least in part because mixed-gender groups of operatives draw less attention from border and port security than do all-male groups. These female operatives also have military and/or intelligence backgrounds.
The CSS is a frequent employer of mercenaries and their ships - but the characters may be the last to know it. The CSS will almost always work through "cutouts" - merchants, commercial houses, nobles and others who serve as "cover" for CSS operations. Player characters will almost always be recruited by intermediaries including businesspeople, mercenaries, petty bureaucrats or other people whose connection to the CSS will be difficult to trace.
The CSS hires mercenaries for a variety of jobs:
- Ship owners can get contracts transporting agents or sensitive cargo to contested areas.
- Armed ships are occasionally hired as "privateers" - given leave to hunt and capture an enemy's shipping in a contested area under the guise of "piracy".
- Soldiers and Marines can be hired to carry out "direct action" missions - raids, snatch-and-grabs, kidnappings, rescues.
While the pay can be excellent, the general understanding is that if a mission goes bad, they're on their own; "deniability" is the reason they were hired in the first place.