SB118 Starfleet Intelligence OOC Information
Intelligence has had a long history in UFOP: StarBase 118, its many iterations having roots back to the formative years, all the way through present day. Often, it's difficult to understand the dynamic relationship between Intel, and how it's used between various groups and proponents.
This article serves as an important source of information about the history of Intel in our group, as well as how it can be simmed appropriately.
On general breakdown, we can ascribe the Branch in UFOP history as a loose field without a centralized core group up until the design of the Black Tower. Time ultimately proved, however, a flagrant abuse of running Intel officers characters through the course of the late 1990s into the early 2000s, involving several incidents in the abuse of OOC vs IC information and how it used in respective sims.
There was a separate training program for members of the UFOP in good standing on their respective ships and had been active for at least half a year. The program was similar to the Cadet Training Program, with two notable exceptions: first being a long training duration and second recruits were required to remain with the Tower Ops Branch of the Black Tower.
Recruits were either assigned in Command, Missions Ops, or Field and allowed for two character specialties among the following:
- Crypto/Intelligence Analysis
- Other (please specify)
Additionally, recruits were required to submit two different SIMs. The reason behind this was to emphasize the importance of prospective Intel trainees to handle plots with balance and as much “realism” as possible. However, this is not a practice adhered to today, and Intelligence officers are now trained among with cadets and posted to active ships/stations/embassies where appropriate.
How SFI Works with the Groups
When active, the Black Tower simming site served to collect all intel officers in the fleet into one area. When the Tower site was closed, the USS Albion sim group served as the platform for the Tower group before ultimately being closed.
Today, SFI lies within the discretion of the ship's CO opposed to a centralized sim group. Commanding Officers hold the guidelines of how Intelligence interfaces with their respective ships. Some do not care for it, some have a strict guideline, some are flexible, some view the duty post as a privilege, but the general rule in regards to running Intel characters starts with the respective CO, usually by first asking permission.
Sim Styles and What to Watch For
There are simple indicators that can pinpoint the destructive nature of the duty post, which fall into two categories:
- Use of OOC information in IC
The most common aspect, from a historical viewpoint, is the use of information the agent couldn’t have possibly obtained the player knows OOC, but decides to apply it IC. Actions like this short-circuit the basic premise of the PBEM group team-work to reach the objective of a given mission, and also generally will a leave a sense of resentment from fellow players. The second factor in this is how these kinds of posts can influence others to adopt a similar style.
Unwritten, what is put in play in sim is free for others to take and run with. All it takes is one to write in a way that can (and often has) led others to adopt a similar pattern, which inevitably leads to the death of collaborative writing.
- The combination of power simming as a soloist (aka “cowboying”)
Sometimes referred to as the James Bond approach, whereas an action taken by a simmer is coupled by two or more posts that locks the event without letting others react or spin the concept. Intel officers (or as Capt. McCall accurately calls Field Operatives) in general over the course of their use have been simmed aloof and not prone to follow a chain of command on their respective ships. It’s very easy to take the mandate of secrecy and apply it, in posts that are outside of what the group is doing but reaches the conclusion of the group objective (aka leapfrogging), intended to enforce an end result that must be accepted.
What these elements do is establish a disregard for the ship’s Chain of Command as well as hold the simmer unaccountable for actions taken “by order of SFI”, which realistically isn’t the case. Every officer, whether a HCO or a Tactical officer, has a Chief, who answers to the Executive Officer, who answers to the Commanding Officer.
The Intelligence Officer is no different, and cannot be played differently either, as COs have the final word on what goes on their respective ships.
The Role & Responsibility of the Intelligence Officer
Depending on the section the CO would allow the player to sim, the actual Intelligence officer is a team player, rather than striking out. A PC cannot simply access another PC’s thoughts and interpretations at whim through the ship’s computer network.
The Intelligence Officer must interact with every single character on ship at a daily basis. There are no short cuts. One cannot, at any time, simply make up a means of how said information simmed by others outside of character knowledge has been arbitrarily acquired. One also needs to be aware how to construct the sims in a manner appropriate to group involvement.
Field assignments, depending on the CO, may either be left to the discretion of the simmer (in which case, the simmer would be giving their CO a head’s up on what they were planning before engaging in a covert assignment), or presented to the simmer by the CO on occasion when the need is called for.
- Each individual posting CO reserves the right to have a simmer spend a minimum amount of time as a certain rank, before they become an Intelligence officer.
- Intelligence officers always answer to the ship's CO.
- Sim appropriately to group participation.
- When in doubt, ask your CO/FO for guidance.
- All rules apply to NPCs and PNPCs.
- P/NPCs may only be the same rank as their Player Character or below.
- Playing a character from or related to Section 31 is not permitted.
The Section 31 Factor
Canon source divides Section 31 from SFI, although there is an ongoing debate whether the two groups are separate or if Section 31 falls into a section of the branch SFI can officially claim “plausible deniability” on some of the nastier aspects of Field operatives.
In the UFOP, Section 31 has never been used. It’s proper section is Field Operations and should not be treated any differently. Do not reference or attempt to play a character from or related to Section 31.