“A lot of people think they can escape the Imperium's notice. But...hehehe. Boy are they wrong. A praetor might ignore you, he might not even be aware of your existence. But what of an RIA agent, any operative? Chances are he has your bank number by now.”
- - Unknown conspiracy theorist
The Royal Intelligence Agency (High Dracid Reganda Cognatia Devlapus, or RCD) is the intelligence branch of the Draconid Imperium. A shady underground network of infiltrators, intelligence gatherers, spies, assassins and hackers that work in unison to advance the Grand Senate's agenda in secret. While little is known about their structure, the name "Mentracus" has been drifting though the gigaquadrant's underworld for some time.
The Royal Intelligence Agency's origins are questionable but there is mention of it in the Imperial charter - the document that declared the foundation of the Draconid Imperium - specifically in paragraph twelve.
“In order to safeguard our new order, there shall be a select group of individuals tasked with discreetly preserving it from all threats inside and out. They shall dedicate their lives, eschewing former identities in order to safeguard both their lives and the ones they love.”
- - Imperial Chater - Paragraph 12, line 8
It was in these early years the name "Mentracus" emerged. In it's first few millenia of existence, the organisation dubbed the Royal Intelligence Agency was a more public firm with a visitable and contactable headquarters and it was seen as a visible and legitimate branch of the imperial government.
SOmetime during the Janos War the organisation began to slip into the shadows, becoming more mysterious and shadowy. People noted the abandonment of the Agency's original headquarters, with rumours circulating the agency was disbanded in favour of other means of protecting the Imperium. This gradual dissapearence however was a setup, the RIA continued to operate but no it had more freedom and with its public identity gone could perform its duties with less scrutiny from the media. Rumours circulated however that certain members of the Grand Senate still had access to certain individuals withi nthe RIA which largely faded into speculation.
Over the millenia since, the Royal Intelligence Agency has been the focus of countless conspiracy theories and reemergence rumours from individuals who believed themselves to have found a front exonet site for the Agency.
The RIA's operational structure is highly decentralised with operatives performing missions in operative cells of a dozen to two dozen operatives, all who report to an assigned cell commander who is likely in contact with a further dozen cells. Operatives of one cell are kept largely in the dark of operations in another cell in order to keep intact as many cells as possible should missions go awry, with the task of a cell commander to ensure that cross-cell interference due to lack of knowledge does not occur.
Cell commanders are also kept in the dark of other cells and report to operations managers who work largely behind the scenes. Unlike previous ranks, operations managers have the ability to disclose certain pieces of infnormation declassified by higher officials. Aside from Mentracus himself, the highest level of command is the Shadow Consulate; a select group of eighteen master-ranking RIA operatives in charge of key day-to-day management activities to keep the Royal Intelligence Agency running smoothly. Each member is - in theory - completely unknown to anyone save for Mentracus themselves and take considerable measures to maintain this.
Generally, individual cells work on a stellar cluster level and are the core feild operatives with a wide range of skills and skill levels, cell commanders work over multiple clusters while operations managers have control of operations within a galactic sector. Each position has a number of tiers; field cells are assigned a clearence tier of 1-5 that is designed to correspond the importance and relative danger of the various missions (1 being "minor incident requiring fixing", and 5 being "failure can destabilise the Imperium"), cells with a higher clearence tier are generally more skilled and more adept than cells of a lower tier. cell commanders and operations managers receive their own tiers ranging from 1-3. Unlike clearence tiers, these management tiers correspond to a vertical chain of command; tier-1 cell commanders report to tier-2 commanders and tier-2 operations managers report to tier-3 managers.
Very rarely Draconis, RIA agents are primarily designed to work as shadows in their respective environments. While not all agents share the same skillsets, talents within the Agency range from assassination, hacking, infiltration and interrogation to coercian, intelligence drops and covert-ops. When an operative posesses a certain skill, the RIA's mentors typically seek to hone that skill to a form of perfection. Many operatives are bionically enhanced (an increasing number with Morphis) or adapted while others have received genetic enhancements to further their potential.
All operatives ar eremoved of all known identity. Instead of erasing a new operative off the map as if they never existed, the RIA plants agents to make a convincing "secret death" of the trainee operative, terminating all connections. All operatives are given a serial number in place of a proper name so as to further hide their identities, especially during undercover work where identity could make or break an operation.
Agents have access to all varieties of top-grade weapons on a per-mission basis and are discouraged from keeping sentimental equipment in case the next mission is inappropriate for said piece of equipment. One signature piece of equipment that many field operatives wear is a Rytok Techtronics Sn-720 morph-skin. A utility-fog like nanoskin designed to shape itself into a variety of alien forms and sizes. Due to the shape-changing nature, the variety of forms that can be taken on varies on the species using the morph-skin, with smaller, more supple or bionically-enhanced aliens being able to take on more forms due to circumstances. In terms of bionic enhancement, a popular modification for infiltrators is morphable limbs, implants which can shape themselves to fit a variety of forms.
The Royal Intelligence Agency is largely funded by a supposed 40-trillion credit hole in the Draconid Imperium's annual budget, secretly supported by numerous members of the Grand Senate in exchange for serving the Imperium. As well as providing funds, CEOs connected to members of the Grand Senate often provide bleeding-edge technology to the organisation.
Communication uses both encoded Exonet channels and off-the-grid networks, an array of quantum entanglement communicators established at various points thoughout the Imperium allow for operatives to contact superiors with no concern for distance as well as no concern for the signal being traced due t othe nature of quantum entanglement. All RIA communications use high-level quantum encryption to maintain secrecy. Because RIA communications sue both Exonet relays and quantum entanglement communicators, there have been numerous reports of enemies of the state and individuals targeting the RIA following a traced transmission only to find the signal stops dead hundreds or even thousands of light-years fro mthe tracked operative's location.
The Agency operates though bases, outposts and front operations thoughout the known Gigaquadrant, which act as centres for cells and localised operations as well as surveillence. Typical agency protocol involves using either holofield cloak generators for remote outposts, and mock-up architecture or residential or commerical front establishments for urban surveillence posts. Both of which require the retinal scan and a specific number code keyed to the current cell and its corresponding commander. Bases are typically of a prefabricated layout that includes sleeping quarters, armouries, sensor rooms and small medical units to tend to the wounded. In high-risk regions where dispatching communications can be a risk, bases can come with quantum-entanglement communicators linked to another communicator either within Imperial space or in safer space, which is then connected to either another communicator or the Exonet.
Only a select few in the Grand Senate are privy to the location of the RIA central operations headquarters but so far none save for the Shadow Consulate are known to have physical access to the office (or possible residence) of Mentracus himself.
“We are the shadowed hand, the unseen guide. The Imperium may question our methods and are legitimacy but without us it is lost. I will not allow that.”