By Ricardo J. Méndez, ©1998
The Archangels are a group of professional assassins that operates from New York. They are hired by all kinds of people for all kinds of jobs, and their services don’t come cheap. Since they have been operating for some time with different members they are known in the underworld, although nobody actually knows who the members are or who directs the group.
The group is actually a DG experiment on an external wetworks unit and fund provider. Although DG isn’t the only employer, they have used The Archangels as strike team several times. Nobody inside the group knows the truth except their leader.
Maybe more important would be: what are they good for?
The Archangels were created with several purposes:
1. To provide an introduction to Delta Green for players that have already heard about it and would be suspicious of anything set on the 90s. The light name and a couple of high-powered Archangels adventures and they will be ready (or so they will think) for whatever the Karotechia wants to throw at them.
2. To create an underground funding framework for Delta Green. There has been a thread on the DG list about how does Delta Green funds itself, and here is a possibility. You can see more details in THE TRUTH ABOUT MICHAEL below.
THE LONESOME OCTOBER
Amidst other hundreds of its type in the city of New York lies “The Lonesome October”, a two story bookstore and cafe that sells anything from mainstream books and best sellers to weird, out of print tomes. While most of its customers usually state that the name would suit better a blues bar, the place is usually crowded and first time customers tend to become regulars.
It’s manager and proprietor, a forty-something muscular man called Michael, is always trying to please his customers and to make sure that everything is perfect. Regular costumers speculate that he’s the son of a wealthy family that provided the initial money for the cafe’s setup. He’s helped by a staff of that oscillates between 3 and 6 persons, depending on the season, that help customers find books, locate titles on a topic and serve the delicious coffee that is usually brewed by Michael himself.
Sometimes Michael isn’t minding the store, but instead meets on a discreet back room with a group of young men and women. This group of well-dressed and apparently respectable people are really assassins, safe crackers, hi- tech criminals and other types of criminals, called by Michael his Archangels. The name came from a joke of a long-deceased member, and since then every member of the organization takes as a pseudonym the name of the archangel that most strikes his fancy (Michael excluded, of course).
Most of them had a criminal past before joining the association and had their own reasons to do so. Maybe they were being chased by a previous employer, maybe Michael found them and suggested the possibility of making even more money in an organized fashion, maybe they had worked as freelance assassins for the CIA and, knowing too much, were set for assassination themselves. As a bonus, Michael has a contact that will erase the background of every member and give them a new identity.
To be invited into the secretive group, a character has to excel at his activity and have little or no morals. There is no way to contact the group except through Michael, and none of the members know how it is done since Michael contacted them.
The name appeared when one member once suggested that in their efficiency they were like God’s Sword striking the enemies of their current employer, with the Archangel Michael heading them. Despite complaints to the corniness of the name, Michael liked it and so it was decided. Since then new members take a code name of one of the Archangels, and Michael has kept the number of members in six. None of the current Archangels know if Michael has trainees waiting, but on the sole case where they remember someone to have been “removed” Michael was able to respond to the situation with a replacement almost immediately.
Many members believe that Michael is an ex-CIA agent (or maybe even an active one), and is using his contacts both to get them a new life and new jobs. None of the group knows the background of the others, that knowledge being reserved only for Michael himself. They do have learned to trust each other and work as a group, with failure to help their partners attain the mission usually meaning death (whether from the group or the enemy). Each one knows only the alias and every member attaches last names to their alias freely when needed, with Michael providing any documentation like passports or driving licenses to back it up.
Usually the jobs for the Archangels range from stealing information or documents to taking out a competing group of assassins to murdering the owner of a high-profile social club. Nobody is allowed to turn down an assignment and there is always the possibility of not returning.
For their services, they are rewarded depending on the task at hand, but the ammounts they are paid (near $20,000 each per job) have allowed all of them to live a relaxed life of plenty on their spare time.
They, of course, don’t know how much Michael was paid for the job and don’t have a clue about his cut. Nobody wishes to ask either.
FUNDING AND EQUIPMENT
Archangels are expected to provide their own gear and ammunition, and the fact is, most of them would like to do it anyway. Several might have favorite or trademark guns, or might not trust how “clean” equipment provided by Michael may be. Maybe they don’t trust explosives made by someone else, or a telescopic sight they haven’t extensibly callibrated.
If the group needs to travel it is quite possible that Michael is the one to make the arrangements for the flight, sending them on separate ways and routes so that they aren’t easily traceable.
If special equipment is needed, someone in the group may have underground contacts to provide them. Michael may also be tapped in this kind of occasion, although he will refuse to do it repeatedly (in case they expect him to become Q) because it may expose the group.
THE BIBLICAL ARCHANGELS
This is a quick reference to the biblical archangels, so that members can know the possible alias. Currently, Michael makes sure that members are strongly discouraged from picking an alias out of the list to foment team mentality. There are also included possible variants for the name, in case the traditional name would be too conspicuous for public use.
Descriptions have been taken from http://www.takeitbyforce.com/seven.htm and the Book of Enoch (thanks to Mark Peacock!).
The Archistratege. Who is as the Lord, Who is like God, Who is like unto the Lord. Chief of the archangels. The archangel of the presence. The great prince. Choosing this name is out of the question.
Hero of God, The mighty one. The archangel of annunciation and power. The archangel of skill, understanding, encouragement, vengeance, death, resurrection and revelation.
Healing of God. The archangel set over all the spirits of infirmity and the wounds of the children of men. He who is over the spirits of men.
Fire of God. The archangel that fends off the satans. He who is over the world and over Tartarus.
Possible alternatives: Uriah, Umberto.
Friend of God. The archangel of the earth. He takes vengeance and brings other angels into account. Who inflicts punishment on the world and the luminaries.
Possible alternatives: Rachel, Raquel.
Warrior of God. The archangel in charge of battling with the sons of darkness. The angel set over the spirits of sin. He works to expel the accusing satans from the presence of the Lord. Also known as Samuil, Sarakiel, Saraquael, Saraqel, Suryal, or Suriyel
Possible alternatives: Sarah
Mercy of God, Whom God hath set up. The archangel of the awaiting souls. Set over those whose rise to the Third Heaven. The angel set over the souls of those who wait in Paradise for the great Day of Judgment. Also known as Phanuel, Salathiel, Ramiel, or Jerahmeel.
Possible alternatives: Jeremiah, Rommel
Usually members don’t try to look for a mystic significance on the name they chose, interested only in secrecy. They have been included just in case.
THE TRUTH ABOUT MICHAEL
Michael is, in reality, a member of Delta Green. He answers to cell M and is maybe the only DG member to use a name that he also uses in public.
His past life is not of interest to us. Let it just be said that he was a person fond of coffee, books and cold-blooded murder, but also someone who had a good eye for other people like him. The CIA used him during a period to get assemble tiger teams that were less permanent than the Archangels but had pretty much the same purpose. Thus, when he was approached to form an test external unit he agreed happily.
The Archangels are used both by Delta Green for their own purposes as an external wetworks unit, and by criminal contractors that have heard of the group’s underground fame for getting the jobs done, no matter the cost. At least half of what this criminal contractors pay the Archangels goes directly to fund other Delta Green operations, as well as the maintenance of the Archangels themselves.
Delta Green hasn’t spent a dime in the group after the money that was needed for the initial setup, and few inside Delta Green know of it actual existence, so there is always the possibility that it might come under the scrutiny of another DG cell, specially since they might be unknowingly hired by MAJESTIC itself.
None of the Archangels, of course, have half an idea about Delta Green’s existence or its relationship to them.
The one thing that is important about Michael is that the players don’t see him as a Jim Phelps type that mainly directs things, but also as a positively dangerous man who could strangle any of them himself if needed be. His relationship with them shouldn’t be based only in respect but also on a cleanly stated fear of what crossing him might bring.
As an interesting coincidence, when I posted the first draft of this document to the Delta Green mailing list, I got a letter from Robert Thomas telling me about his own DG agent Michael that also operates from New York and had a CIA background. His Michael is younger than the one proposed here, but it is indeed interesting as a possible character. You can check out the description of Cell M at its online cell dossier.
It is quite possible that eventually one of The Archangels decides to check on Michael’s background. What they will find is that his full name is Michael Collins (pun intended), born in 1945 from a somewhat wealthy New York family. His mother died on childbirth and his father when he was about to turn 21. The fact that his father’s death happened just when he was of age to use the family money will give the players just the speck in his background that they will need to swallow it, since having a too-clean image wouldn’t do.
TIPS ON RUNNING AN ARCHANGELS CAMPAIGN
1. Don’t throw them against Mythos entities or organisations right away, or at least don’t allow them to notice.
2. Not only allow but encourage the players to get John Woo-esque about their characters. That way the vulnerability backlash will be harder.
3. Watch a lot of spy and assassin movies. Several recent ones that come to mind are:
a) The Repalcement Killers
b) Mission: Impossible
c) The Professional (the Jean Reno one)
e) Die Hard (a nice strike team)
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