Discussion in 'ALEPH' started by yoink101, Mar 3, 2020.
I have no problems with mercs in most other armies. But not in Aleph.
There have been some excellent explanations for why we might see Mercenary units in Aleph so far I thought. I'm not sure I see the disconnect. We know Aleph has Black Ops financing and off the records (even to Toth) Operations from the Chandra and that its agents can act independantly. We also know Biotech can feasibly mimic Aliens very well which means Libertos in a Aleph army could be an L-Host designed for Infiltrating the Terrorist organization. And some of the bounty hunters even just directly align with Alephs goals like Bounty Hunters.
Is there something specific you object to with the idea that Aleph might end up working with Mercenaries?
Oh for freaking hell. We keep repeating this thread every year.
It makes no sense for Aleph to ever openly work with mercenaries. That doesn't mean it cannot hire mercenaries to perform a particular task, but it would be HIGHLY DETRIMENTAL for them to ever be seen working with Aleph forces. And no, you cannot rely on being perfect, and Aleph is not stupid enough to do that.
Mercenaries are only ever used by state-level actors (and Aleph is one) in two cases:
you want to avoid being directly linked to whatever it is, in which case you do not have any of your own forces working with mercenaries,
you do not have enough of your own troops for whatever reason, leaving you no options but to hire mercenaries.
Point one is clear. No mercenaries in Aleph.
Point two might look like it is appropriate for Aleph, but then we get into what working with mercenaries means.
It means you have the exorbitant money to pay for mercenaries (they don't come cheap), but don't have the state level support to raise troops for yourself.
Historically, this usually happens for small, rich states that simply do not have population base for raising significant forces, or large states that have lost the fervour and trust among their population and thus must rely on money as the motive for fighting.
Aleph is not really in either of those situations.
Furthermore, Aleph is trying to build reputation and trust among the Human Sphere for impartiality and fairness. In fact, a lot of its power and freedom of action in different nations relies on this.
Using mercenaries simply does not work in this case. Mercenaries are unruly, lawless bunch. Even the supposedly "fair" and "clean" ones. You cannot establish order with mercenaries who are simply fighting for money. Thus, any mercenary in an Aleph force is a big risk to Aleph reputation while providing a mediocre fighting addition. The risk to benefit ratio is simply non-existent.
This is the same reason no Aleph unit should ever be fighting in any mercenary forces (obviously excluding the "rebel" characters who have ended contact with Aleph). Seeing Aleph units cooperate with mercenaries creates significant risk to reputation for minimal benefit. If Aleph even hires a mercenary force, let them do what they do and report electronically through intermediaries.
I think this is where my opinion differs. While Aleph behaves like a state level actor in many cases we know Aleph has sourced and maintains at least a small combat effective force of private troops completely off the record. We also know that it behaves in many ways more like a Police Force or a Spy Agency than a traditional military.
You're completely right that Aleph in general would not be looking to hire Mercenary troops in its day to day business. But that doesn't mean that there aren't compelling narratives to why Mercenaries might be seen with Aleph forces.
Chandra are run and maintained off the books. Surely they might be in need of more bodies but without the ability to mass manufacture new off the record assets or redeploy on the book Aleph resources. If they get caught they aren't Aleph resources anyway.
Many of the Merc types available to Aleph are able to operate legally within the confines of the law. Just because a bounty hunter is around and operating in cooperation with Aleph doesn't mean they're necessarily on the book or a reputation risk.
Aleph runs Police like operations and certainly does maintain undercover assets surely it has had to run Ops that go sideways with the Undercover operative in the area or directly involved.
Aleph isn't monolithic when it comes to boots on the ground. The Operatives it creates are sentient creatures able to make decisions for good and bad. Not only that but they have been known to go rogue. Whos to say that a commanding agent doesn't make a decision that has bad Optics for Aleph at large in the interest of achieving a smaller goal or due to frustration at the bureaucracy it is required to work within. Would it be common? Probably not but its certainly possible.
I'm not sure I follow how your arguments dispute any of the concepts like this?
Policy forces don't hire mercenaries.
Spy agencies hire mercenaries, but then don't involve themselves.
That's an argument to have Chandra available in mercenary sectorials, not Aleph hiring mercenaries to mix in with its normal forces. I still don't buy it - if there's an increase in "rogue" Aleph troopers this will get noticed and we're back to image problem - even Aleph created AI's wnat to escape from Aleph?
Again, question is not if Aleph is legally able to hire mercenaries, but rather, whether mercenaries is a good idea. Openly hiring combat mercenaries are only acceptable to hire if you do not mind an atrocity or bad publicity.
CSU might work, since they are civilian bodyguards. A bounty hunter is extremely borderline. Krakot? Le Muet? Simply no. Aleph must maintain its image.
Police-like operations will usually have support of local law enforcement.
And despite Hollywood imagining, mercenaries are never used for police work. If police is hiring mercenaries, it's usually to help it gun down a rebellion.
I do not see this happening ever. I mean, sure, they can make bad decisions, but hiring mercenaries is a huge risk that you only do when you do not care what the mercenaries will do, or when you have deniability.
There's a bunch of stuff I don't believe any Aleph trooper will do, and hiring mercenaries is one of them. Cost to benefit ratio is simply too skewed against it.
I kinda sorta explained CSU in OSS by saying it's not a mercenary, instead, it is a human hired directly by Aleph and employed in similar roles to normal CSUs (i.e., it is human that wants to work for Aleph rather than fighting for money). But it's a very thin kinda-sorta explanation and I don't like even that.
I mean the point was mostly that they aren't just some nation state actor on the general stage. Aleph behaves somewhat like one in some circumstances but not in others. I could use the terms Drug Cartel or Para Military organization if you prefer?
I think I didnt elaborate enough. Lets say I want to put an Aleph Force on the table that is a task force of Black Book assets to support the mission of a Chandra operative. Taking a selection of Aleph Units makes sense for that thematically. Perhaps they aren't technically devas but from a general standpoint I think its safe to say that Aleph could source (in small quantities) material and l-hosts that would function similar to anything it operates above the board. These assets could very much be deniable because we know that most of the materials Aleph sources are also sold to private organizations Ex: Druze Rifles look like Aleph Rifles. This is exactly the sort of thing that I think the Mercs are great for building thematically in an army.
I dont think I mentioned hiring Mercenaries here. Lets say for example Aleph is staking out a local Developer producing an illegal AI. Ashcroft shows up with a legal bounty for the creator too. What does Aleph do? It could stop Miranda and request she break off from collecting the bounty for a time. But maybe she doesnt listen or maybe she gets into the thick of it before Aleph can stop her. Then what? Im sure at least some of the time it would just deploy a containment/security team to mitigate the issue. Aleph doesnt have to hire a bounty hunter for one to feasibly be in the same game as one.
Again not talking about hiring Mercs here really. Its very much feasible for Aleph to produce a L-host that looks like a Helot or a Krakot and try and use its as an undercover asset. Why wouldn't it try that?
I'll admit this is the least likely of the bunch. Given that we've seen Aleph Agents do stuff like delete recordings of assassination incidents and the like. Or Say get caught bording Nomad ships I think its hard to argue that its impossible.
The two circumstances don't really apply to any use of mercenaries in Infinity though. A PanO team is not hiring a ninja mercenary to join their assault squad as a deniable asset. Nor are they supplementing their normal numbers because they lack the resources to do something more.
Aleph at least has the story reason that any of the mercenaries on your Infinity Team might just be recreations of that figure. If Aleph wants a Helot for a mission, it could make a helot lhost with specific training to replicate a Libertos fighter, because that's what it decided was required. Why would PanO ever hire a Libertos?
But, I do think the other reason for a merc would be "local help". A Deva Functionary and some Dakini's drop into a small village and find the local guide Helot to help them fight the battle. They might not have much luck finding the battle without him.
It's a game mechanic really, that doesn't fit with just about any faction, otherwise you could just assign the merc's to the faction's army list anyway.
Quite to the contrary, ALEPH actually has an extremely small physical population for its wealth, especially since only a specific subset of its population (those with combat-grade LHosts) can assume military duties and most of them are tied up on Paradiso. If REM units are unsuitable for a given limited-window mission ALEPH could very easily be forced to scramble for local assistance to make up numbers, since I doubt there are more than a few dozen Devas on most planets due to the exorbitant cost of their bodies.
In this cas, why doesn't OSS have access to, let's say an IMP-1 Chandra (beside balance reasons) ? I would pretty much be the ultimate impersonator, not even a scary fang or some social awkwardness to conceal.
From my understanding, while standard L-Hosts already cost a pretty penny, recreations are the really exorbitant option. And not only in financial terms, but also in R&D (Ajax is a prime exemple, although the requirements for Achilles probably aren't the same as for a Liberto fighter). I mean, the Deva L-Hosts blueprint already is in the file, I'm pretty sure you can make a couple of those for the price of developing a replicant Krakot. And you'd have to do this for each and every mercenary available. While still having to deal with some PR aftermathl, and I'd say replicant Mercenaries are actually far worse than actual Mercenaries if the tea ended up being spilled.
The most sensible explanation to me, again from my Fluff-naive perspective, is an emergency situation were you just can't get your troops to the battle in time, and it is pretty situationnal and far fetched already. And not accounting for the extra-diegetical fact that a lot of Vanilla list includes them, which makes some huge emergency situation ratio for such a powerful and overseeing AI.
I'm gonna bring my simple man way of thinking here but this is why I personnaly just suspend my disbelief more than I probably could. Most science fiction tropes and narrative devices met my disbelief before me when I was younger. I'm glad today we ended up meeting, because some of them litteraly changed my life for the better (i.e. K Dick's DADOES' mood organs, or GITS consciousness discussion). Sometimes people are just trying to say something, or make a fun game, and sometimes because of restrictions it comes to the price of diegetical consistency. Sometimes it's still worth hearing or playing. If I was playing Vanilla, I probably wouldn't feel the urge to justify playing a merc if I'm having fun playing it.
Most Assault Subsection is tied on Paradiso. Rest of Aleph is spread throughout the Human Sphere, and most Aleph LHosts are at least Deva-level capable of participating in missions. Furthermore, while Aleph is a state-class actor, it is not a state in its own stead and has to be extremely careful maneuvering among the different states.
There's no reason why REM units would be unavailable.
But more importantly, you don't bring in random nobody's in your highly trained force and expect them to work with you. These forces need to train together to be effective, you can't just pay a merc to join you on a mission.
Again, if this happens, then you'd see Aleph just hiring the whole mercenary company to do its work. (I also don't believe this happens all that much, but that's a different and irrelevant to this discussion).
Unsuitable, not unavailable. Dakinis seem ready for mass deployment almost of the comical Star Wars level, but with Infinity mechanics they'd be nearly useless in a wholly enemy-controlled infosphere (pretty much just the Nomad Motherships and Combined Army installations) or in locations that an S2 unit can't operate (anywhere you have to crawl). Even in uncertain neutral ground they couldn't safely represent your entire force strictly because of the Hacking risk.
I figure this is why most merc profiles are Irregular cannon fodder. They're not working with you, they're working for you. CSUs and Bounty Hunters are something of an exception in that they're meant to be trained to operate in all jurisdictions, and Infinity's advanced tech can account for the rest of the difference. Geists are probably a massive force multiplier with their ability to sort nearby information and alert you to anything relevant, not to mention that they're supposed to be able to predict your actions before you take them.
Maybe the figure on the field IS a Chandra that has been given the capabilities of the thing impersonated as? Why does ALEPH need Asura, Devas, Dasyu's and all that if specialized training is not an advantage that is represented by specialized units with varied appearances?
I mean, Sun Tzu and Saladin are not identical, why didn't they just have a Chandra pretend to be either one? :)
Recreations are expensive due to the end-game of what specific thing you're creating, which results in many failed projects discarded after failure. There can be only one Sun Tzu, so he must be perfect. There can be any number of Deva Functionaries and each can have a variety of personalities. If you need a Krakat because ALEPH thinks it's capabilities will be of benefit, you don't need a specific one, you just need a modified Lhost with some basic personality traits that can then express as it will.
The idea that any of the factions/ sectorials are hiring mercenaries for deniable assets has nothing to do with the discussion, because you're fielding the mercenary WITH YOUR ALEPH FORCES. A Krakot that shoots into a crowd of civilians with a squad of Dakini bots at his side is not a deniable asset. You'd use a mercenary sectorial, and none of this discussion would be part of anything.
As I said in the other post, the easiest way seems to be that ALEPH's team arrived in the area and recruited a local with more familiarity with the area to assist them.
There are plenty of ways to justify things, if you want to. There's also plenty of ways to shoot down every idea that might come up, if that's what you want. The discussion on a forum can be engaging, but when it comes to gameplay, who cares if ALEPH would spend the money to build a custom Lhost for a Libertos fighter in order to field the mini you want? You might be fielding TAG's with a squad of troops and expert hackers to go up and open some boxes to see what loot is in a box...
"Why would ALEPH have a Helot mercenary?"
"It's a custom lhost"
"That would cost way too much money"
"I know, that's why I only have the one!"
"No, I mean, that would cost WAYYYY too much money for the benefits. And having one body would be even more inconsistent because a huge part of the cost would be R&D, understanding Helot DNA, and not leveraging it on multiple bodies would be a waste. You'd rather just give a suit with palms and a mechanical tail to a Deva."
I think what bugs me in the end is the potential lack of an absolute answer. I mean, I wouldn't want to trade an inconsistant proposition for another. I would rather accept the first inconsistant (or lack of) proposition and go along, the YES rule of improv kinda, or tear propositions appart until I find one I can't. And I find more cost-effective to do the former most of the time. I don't mind anyone doing otherwise however.
Why would they need to replicate Helot DNA? They're not growing a Helot, they're modifying a Lhost to resemble one. Not sure if it's just the RPG, but they already have an aquatic Lhost (Nabia) and modifications would be easy enough. The expense of custom lhosts for recreations is generally because they are pushing the envelope, and even then the biggest expense for recreations is the multiple iterations of the Aspect to make it the best it can be. Generic types like a Helot or Krakot or Ninja, they're not Recreations, they're just aspects in an experimental or modified Lhost.
As I said, there are plenty of answers if you want an answer. If you don't like the idea and want to find reasons why ALEPH would never have a unit with those stats or that look or hire a local or whatever, you'll have no problem doing so, but what's the point? Just don't take mercenaries if you don't want to.
I really don't think it's much worse ALEPH hiring a single mercenary than O12 or any of the other factions except maybe Nomads.
reading bits of the new merc corebook for the RPG has a section on ALEPH and mercs.
short version; lorewise is, it uses them to bend the rules of The Utgard Accords. mecs hired for SSS missions can do things outside the scope of what its the Devas and posthumans are allowed.
though it cant be proven ALEPH also deploys full merc companies (through elaborate series of shell corps and merc agents) to deal with specific threats the SSS cant be seen doing.
That mercenary book is such a gold mine, the War Market is awesome.
So yeah, lawkeeping and such forces DO hire mercenaries in Infinity, extensively, O-12 is probably one of the biggest clients for PMCs! And then so are NGOs and other completely legal groups. It's just that they'll hire mercenaries/free companies that have good records.
The War Market is basically Amazon.com, where you hire the services of PMCs and individual operatives, completely above the table, legally and without any particular stigma.
Incidentally, the supplement do confirm that ALEPH is completely out of control lol.
ALEPH only wants to help humanity, sometimes it needs to discreetly fix our poor decisions or troll the anarchist nomads (sometimes both at the same time) XD
Yeah from the RPG books it do seem that ALEPH do indeed have Humanity's best interest in mind, she's just a bit authoritarian about it. I also completely believe the theory that the Nomads are weaponized opposition for ALEPH and that she cultivate their opposition (especially with the EI messing around, it seems a semi sensible plan to have a bunch of anti AI peoples in giant nomadic ships with their own separate datasphere, existing as safeguard in case the Sphere was to fall to the EI)
But yeah, (legal) Mercenaries in ALEPH make a fair bit more sense in the context of that supplement, after all, CSU are mercenaries. It do get a bit weird in the case of stuff like Krakot, which can really only be recruited through the underground version of the War Market.
Singleton mercs accompanying an ALEPH force wouldnt be weird in the following cases:
Aleph forces have to work in an unfamiliar/hostile area, and hire a guide
Aleph wants to violate treaties silently, and has all the problematic things done by a human actor, thus aleph has no recordings of misdoing (assuming aleph lhosts are policed like bodycams that can't turn off, since reading memories is pretty clear). Kinda like "well we got there but there was noone left and the pc shows someone scraping all the data we cant have" whilst a merc took those things for aleph (or scrubbed the recordings). Having agents without always-on bodycam eyes is worthwhile
Also, they can be hired as intermediaries to forces aleph has bad relations with, such as ariadna and nomads, and can work as a figurehead to make them cooperate or nudge them to a particular course of action.
I never field anything, that isn’t a robot or an android.