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Audio Seminar: FID-43-A

Speaker: Senior Agent Howard Craign
Subject: Investigation Field Agent introductory seminar
Archivist: Dr. ██████████

» Begin Audio Transcript «

Hello and welcome to the introduction to the invaluable position of Investigation Field Agent or IFA for short.

Before we start I would like to apologize for my current absence, but as I hold this course in many facilities I can not be physically present at all locations. Do be assured that this is a live feed and I am able to answer questions as they come up.

I am Howard Craign and I was the leader of the "Field Investigative Division" from 1995 to 2012. I stepped down do to medical complications as they only arise in our line of work. Some anomalies have long incubation times.

I would like to first congratulate all of you for making the first right choice in attending the seminar. When you applied or were selected for this occupation you received a book with the title "Investigations: Standards, Protocols and best practices". While it is true that said books contains all necessary tools to fulfill your assigned missions in most standard situations it is crucial to state that it does just that. Agents relying only on the book cross the chasm of the anomalous on a tight rope. It is definitely doable, but just in case you wish to increase your efficiency in getting results and staying alive for longer, using the stable, yet flexible bridge this seminar provides you will allow you to do just that.

Just by choosing to attempt this seminar you increased your statistical odds of successes by 80% and your chance for survival of the first year by 350%. These odds are disclosed on page 5 of the book, meaning that as the seminar progresses more Insurgents will join us as they start to read the book. Those who don't read the book or only start to read it once a crisis emerges, will be remembered as parts of the death statistic in next years volume.

I will start with the disclaimer that recruits that joined this division before any other are required to undergo Field-Agent-Base-Training. This includes Shooting, running techniques and knowledge concerning command structure. This training is provided free of charge, but does not count as work-time. If you are out in the field there will come the moment when you will have to shoot, were you will have to run and were you will need to stop and question your partners or seniors sanity for there and your own good.

As it is the nature of our job to work with people, anomalous or mundane, we should furthermore have ways to neutralize them without killing them. Locals, as well as anomalies turn very much hostile once you kill one of there own, but just subduing them will likely just cause an increase in respect. From possible witnesses of the anomalous trying to flee to your coworker that took a look at something that turned there brain to jellybeans. It is easy to dispose of these people and ask questions later, but your ability to get answers out of them decreases sharply after there death. I would therefor advise to learn some form of martial arts. The Insurgency does offer courses at reasonable fees, but online tutorials might just have the same effect. Never expect to be invincible. If combat is unavoidable and can only be resolved through lethal means do not hesitate to use lethal force. You wont help anyone once you are dead.

Let me stay at the concept of people. You will have to interact with them. Most every person you will meet will have there own goals, motivation and biases. You will most likely want something from them. It is like they are a lock and the right words are the key. In the best cases you will have enough information on the lock to just make the key. Most locks give you the information on how to open them just by close observation and pattern recognition. The human mind is almost always described as something unknowable, yet there are docents of resources on negotiating, sociology and psychiatry. The human mind is a complicated lock, but don't assume it to be a logical one. New inputs can often overwhelm it, as can emotions, including the two most basic feelings, pain and fear. Using these two as the prime tools in negotiations has proven effective in the short term, but almost always unreliable in the long term. They should be supplements in your toolbox, but you would be surprised how far an open ear and some patients can carry you. Always listen first, than think what reaction was desired by the one speaking, than give your target what they want, with a twist that directs the conversation into the direction you desire. Always stay on guard once you realize that the target works with logical fallacies and loaded questions or any of the other techniques described in the Investigations Book. If the target is better at negotiating than you you should seek backup immediately. Leaving the conversation under a pretense is your best option here. Just saying that you have to take care of something should be enough. Ether enter a bathroom or walk in a random direction from your location. This should deter suspicion of the target. Be aware that if the other site is better than you, that you will become there target. Do not give them what they want from you. In the worst case you must assume to have come across an agent of a governing body, a criminal organization or in the worst case a GOI. All three most likely employ pain and fear, so put your base training to use.

This enters us nicely into my next topic, Suppression of Emotions. In the field there are stimulus of different variety and potency. It is crucial that you keep a calm head on your shoulders while in hostile territory and for the purposes of this seminar every territory that is not directly controlled by you or another trustworthy source must be considered hostile. From the psychological traps of Vegas to the mind-shattering misery in active war-zones you need to keep it together. Good agents lost it all because they took a drink in the wrong bar or panicked at the sight of there dead comrades head impaled on a spike. The anomalous causes emotional triggers of an intensity not often seen in a mundane life. Here are some tips to get you through the emotional pain. Physical pain is your friend in situations of immanent danger. Biting once own lip is a tactic that has been developed even in mundane life. You would marvel at the numbers of times the sequence of words "than I punched myself" appear in mission reports that could have ended much worse then they actually did. The cliche of "snapping someone out of it" is somewhat misleading as "slapping someone out of it" would be far more accurate. To combat crises of faith and purpose we advice a nihilistic view of the world, since if nothing matters anymore in 5 million years why should the existence of an evil god bother you today? Accepting that you could die at any moment or life for the next 500 years should enable you to power through most emotional triggers that are non anomalous. We have other ways to deal with anomalous triggers. The self-KO-pill for example has saved several agents from anomaly induced suicide. You don't usually act on emotions if unconscious. For more long term emotional suppression we advise emotion diaries, separate to work diaries. Several other methods are listed in the book, as well as the hotline to our local psychiatrists. Emotions can be medicated like sickness, so if they are making you sick treat them like one and consult a doctor. Should your colleagues show symptoms you may also contact a doctor on there behalf as some anomalies explicitly show symptoms which makes agents not seek help. Please get help even if you think there is nothing to be gained from that or the result would damage or inconvenience you. A few sick-days can really help to alleviate stress and burned out agents are usually easier to treat then dead ones.

The cultural context can be your best friend. A bow instead of a handshake can get you further than you think. When surrounded by totality it is best to outwardly conform to the local standard. You do not want to be the example of western debauchery or the personification of the antichrist. If the anomaly you have found is integrated into the local culture and is widely available a simple trade with the locals can be worth far more than theft. In other cases the cultural context makes theft the only option. In such cases consult your supervisor on the further preceding. You would marvel at the amounts of time a local culture of corruption or an ongoing local feud can open doors. On the other hand, if extreme loyalty is the norm, trying to bribe someone with morals, standards or a cultural reason to hate you might lend you in jail or worse. If you feel that you are unsuited for the environment we can most likely reassign you. Do not underestimate racial, gendered and occupational educed hostility. Calling yourself a Lord is all fun and games until a disgruntled farmer puts a shovel to your skull.

Next, let me talk to you about something you should look out for as much as you should look out for anomalies, red flags or death flags. Everyone in the place you just entered has a blank stare, red flag, time to leave. The door you just went through now leads somewhere else? Jump out of the nearest convenient window and establish sight with the sky. The thing is blue when it should not be, leave. There are many more such examples in the book, but common sense is your best guide here. Your common sense is locked in a fight against your mission and the knowledge of the anomalous. The more things you have see the less likely it is for you to notice that you are approaching danger. I can speak from experience on that one. No person who is not years into there career with the supernatural would enter a dimly lit room stuffed to the brim with headless mannequins. That was the mistake that forced me to step down as head of the Field Investigative Division. On another note, leads that seem to be traps most likely are. If it appears to good to be true consult your superior. If there is a time limit on the thing that keeps you from doing so you are on your own. I am not saying that ignoring death flags has not lead to spectacular results, with a massive payout for the agent and the Chaos Insurgency. Playing it save is usually better for everyone in the long run, but if it is short gains, like fame and fortune, you are after, you have my explicit permission to grab the ominously glowing ruby that just sits in the staff break room of the facility you have infiltrated.

The "quick grab and run" tactic is a valid approach to the anomalous. Coming into an infested town, trapping one of them in a cooler and driving off was very effective in the past. We do not need the full picture, literally. There was a painting I helped to recover where the only anomalous part of it was that the eyes of the portrait could stun you for a few minutes. As I said, we did not need the full picture. Stealing just the face was far easier than organizing an art theft. If you see an opportunity, than getting something and than leaving without getting what you came for is a valid strategy.

There will come a time when you are expected to work alone. That is usually the case in low stakes operation or in high stakes situations when something went terribly wrong. If you are our only foot in the door we expect you to inform us and to not let the door close. Sometimes it is better to work alone and unencumbered by orders. The better the agent is the more extreme are usually the results of them working solo. We had agents that on there own got results were a team of 20 had struggled for weeks. We also had that one incident were one agent alone managed to aggravate several Groups of Interest at once and lead them to one of our safe houses. Save to say that said house is no longer save and has, in fact, been burned to the ground, costing us a lot of money and local control. Solo work is one of the most prestigious ways to operate. It is a reward and not as some claim a punishment. It means your superiors have confidence in your ability to get results. "Solo Runs" have to be differentiated from suicide missions at this point. If your superior sends you alone as a form of punishment, they are acting out of line and endangering Insurgency assets. In such cases, follow one of the contingency plans detailed in the book. You are on your own until you formally reconnect with our organization. Being absent for months without leave is usually not enough to classify someone as a traitor. As long as you do not work with our enemies or plan to retire entirely you are with us when you come back.

I think I have told you enough for one session. There is just one more topic I would like to add. This is something that might only be relevant to about 10% of you, but as you work with us the chances increase of this becoming your problem. The Insurgency is a many headed beast. One head might not even know what the other does. Therefor it is possible for you and your team to come into opposition with another fraction of the Insurgency. This does not make you traitors. We know that, but they might not. Engaging GOIs is dangerous, engaging another cell of the Insurgency is dangerous and stupid. There are other standards and protocols out there. These can be really dangerous if you chose to ether cooperate with them or reject them. The Insurgency fighting itself has cost us a lot of good people, a lot of good money and a pile of anomalies and knowledge far larger than what an entire midsize cell might collect over its entire existence. Sometimes our approaches are mutually exclusive. We cant conduct trade deals with a species of tentacle aliens while another cell tries to assassinate there king to put a human on there throne. Where conflict is inevitable I urge you to contact your superiors immediately. The conflict must be stopped as best as possible. This does not mean that you should not stand your ground. If something has to be done right, do it yourself or get someone who can do it right. I do not disrespect my colleagues or there life accomplishments. This does not mean that I cant detest there style and methods. The Insurgency will never be uniform, all I can do from my current position is try to provide perspective and perhaps a better way. There are reasons we sometimes have to fight in a lose-lose situation. Do not forget that out there.

This will be all for today. I will now take questions. To those who do not wish to stay for that part, I wish them a good evening and the success they deserve.

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