Posted by: Wayra Isi, Firewall Sentinel <Info Msg Rep>
Some people just aren’t content to go quietly into the night. They’re convinced—and we grant them the possibility—that it’s only a matter of time before the TITANs return, or the quarantined ones jump their zones and ﬁnish what they started. Their mission is, simply put, to hunt down and destroy as many TITANs as possible.
On the surface, it seems their goals and ours are reasonably aligned. We have found that to be true in some instances, but before approaching a group of TITAN hunters, it is important to know the kind of individuals you’re dealing with.
You know those vidgames where you play as the holdout hero during the Fall, standing against the TITANs while you evacuate your friends and family and cat, while bravely taking out dozens of those machines with nothing but a six-shooter? You know, that modern cowboy shit? Now imagine taking it too seriously, outﬁtting your morph like an online-gaming character, and then speciﬁcally ignoring the quarantine just so you can grab some glory and bragging rights that most of the rest of humanity will never know about. That about sums up your average TITAN hunter.
Based in a seemingly derelict tin-can habitat in the junkyard around Earth, the Mongooses are a group of Fall survivors who managed to escape Earth and stayed behind to keep up the ﬁght against the TITANs. They live entirely off the grid, violating the quarantine with impunity, and will shoot ﬁrst and steal your morph before destroying your stack and not thinking twice.
Their leader, the Mambo, is the glue that holds the group together, and he’s smart enough to know that he needs allies in his ﬁght. We’ve worked with him on a couple of incursions to Earth and he certainly knows his shit.
The Mongooses operate somewhere between reclaimers and terrorists. Their habitat seems nonfunctional from the outside, but this is a clever ruse, perpetuated with a series of radiation leaks and seemingly random power spikes. The Mongooses claim to be able to egocast to and from several points on Earth, although even they admit that the risk of doing so is quite high.
From what we saw, their primary base of on-Earth operations is somewhere in the ﬂooded tunnels of the old London Underground, and they egocast into morphs speciﬁcally created to survive among the layers of ﬁlth and endless darkness under the city. From the Underground, the Mongooses emerge to destroy whatever TITAN threat they can manage. It’s a somewhat effective strategy: they’ve neutralized and destroyed swarms over several sections of the city, many of which contained valuable artifacts and former government ofﬁces, raising some speculation about the Mongoose’s true goals. Whether this success has been replicated anywhere else on Earth is debatable; the Mongooses claim to have established beachheads in areas including the American Midwest, South Africa, Australia, and even a former research base on Antarctica, but our agents can only vouch for the London operation from ﬁrsthand experience.
The Mambo is on good enough terms with Firewall that he’s classiﬁed as a contact, but not a friendly. If you decide to enlist his help, he will always ask for more in return than he thinks he’s giving you.
The label “family” is a misnomer; the McBrides, lead by their enigmatic matriarch Aislynn McBride, are a tight-knight Barsoomian survivalist group that falls somewhere between religious cult and revolutionary militia. They’re experts at avoiding the Martian Rangers and the League’s authority, and likely have a series of bolthole habitats that allow them to survive and hide in the Martian wilderness.
McBride recruits from the Martian dispossessed and offers them a compelling vision: liberation for their homeworld won’t come through ﬁghting the League, but from eliminating the TITAN threat in the Quarantine Zone. She sees the League’s lack of progress against the TITANs as a tool of oppression: keep Martians scared, and they’ll continue to submit to the League’s authority.
Whether her political theories are correct, the McBride family knows the TQZ better than any Martian, and agents looking to make an incursion into the Zone could not ﬁnd better guides—even the Martian Rangers and zone stalkers don’t know the TQZ as well as some of McBride’s TITAN hunters. An actual meeting with McBride is unlikely unless you’re ready to join the Barsoomian Movement in earnest, but many of her family members would be happy to act as guides, especially if they get the opportunity to add a few more dead swarm notches to their belts. Of course, that means a Family guide could put any operation into unnecessary danger. Finding them can be the challenge, however.
As far as we can tell, an unidentiﬁed agency or power within the Planetary Consortium funds this ongoing black-budget operation. First word of warning: don’t bother looking for traces of it in the mesh, because even searching for information on it is bound to get you ﬂagged and tagged. Here’s what we know and what we suspect.
Operation Harvest was born after the destruction of New Mumbai to contain the exsurgent threat on Luna. Its membership is comprised entirely of ego forks of the best, brightest, and most deadly soldiers transhumanity has created; whether they are aware they are forks, or their forks are aware of them, seems unlikely.
There are two ten-person squads at any given time. Most of the time they exist as infomorphs in a private VR environment, which from what little data we’ve received seems to be a cross between intense military training and high-senses pleasure palace.
When called into action, Operation Harvest squads egocast into the latest military-grade morphs their sponsors can provide and are inserted directly into the action. They’ve made several successful incursions into New Mumbai to destroy suspected TITAN threats there, and someone in Operation Harvest has the ability to bypass the killsat perimeter around Earth, as they’ve landed and taken off successfully. Their methodology for doing so remains a mystery.
That’s what we know for sure.
What we suspect is that the egos their Consortium sponsor uses for Operation Harvest have little to no knowledge of their actual goals or missions, and may very well be imperfect or insane forks of their original selves. There seem to be less than a half-dozen people in the Consortium who are even aware of Operation Harvest; our knowledge is entirely coincidental, as one of our nanoswarm ﬂyovers of New Mumbai happened to catch one of their TITAN-hunting missions in the act, and we backtracked from there to piece together this information.
Harvest seems to exist entirely to help eliminate the TITAN threat. While this would seemingly make them potential allies, the privileged position they occupy within the Consortium and the levels of security surrounding their existence make any sort of alliance, even an informal one, problematic at best.
Sentinels who encounter Operation Harvest will be facing some of the best-trained, best-funded, and potentially the most insane soldiers the Consortium can ﬁeld. Those who ﬁnd themselves on the wrong side of Operation Harvest’s guns will be in for the ﬁght of their lives. However, consider friendly contact with Operation Harvest forks to be a high priority, if it can be accomplished.
Posted by: Wayne Lighthouse, Firewall Sentinel <Info Msg Rep>
The truth isn’t nearly so dramatic. Sure, there are some cowboy types, but these are brinkers who live among us: the very nature of their personal quest (crusade, whatever) requires them to live outside the law in most places. Certainly, those who live on Luna or Mars partake in their little hobby like Robin Hood and his Merry Men. We have contacts within some of the larger and higher-rep groups who hunt in the outer system and even through the gates. They aren’t much different than other survivalist or next-Fall-prepper groups, apart from the fact that they happen to go looking for the trouble most everyone else wants to avoid.
Here’s what you need to know: half of the so-called TITAN hunters are clown-shoes amateurs who have a hard-on for losing morphs and getting resleeved. The other half are some of the hardest of the hard, and few transhumans know more about killing TITANs than they do. They’re also one of the few sources of reasonably up-to-date intel on what’s going on back on good old Earth and in the TQZ.
The problem can be telling the two groups apart. Successful groups of the latter tend to attract the former, and some of the amateurs have tried to turn their exploits into real rep, which usually ends in a bunch of wasted morphs.
The groups above have a high-enough rep that we tend to trust their information. The only thing you need to know is that they trust Firewall about as much as they trust the authorities they hide from—or they’re so deeply embedded within the power structures that revealing ourselves to them could be disastrous. To the renegades, Firewall is just another side of the same authoritarian coin: so-called experts telling them not to go hunt down and destroy what’s responsible for the Fall. To the others, we’re a mild threat at best and a clear and present danger at worst.
Proceed with caution.