Task Force Death
Task Force Death is the brainchild of one Jessica Rockford, a civil servant who rose out of the Chicago ghetto to command this secretive task force. Its goal is straightforward: find volunteers within the meta-human criminal community to perform dangerous, high-risk missions for the United States and allied governments, commuting prison sentences to time served as a reward for good behavior. It is remotely affiliated with ARMOR, the United Nations’ meta-human response organization, though separately run and governed.
Task Force Death recruits volunteers from willing incarcerated felons; criminal backgrounds not only provide added layers of deniability, but this also eases the burden on ARMOR by providing it with an open-ended supply of disposable assets. While proper care and the ensured survival of the volunteers is important to Task Force Death leadership, failure to play the by Task Force’s rules will result in consequences both seen and unforeseen. There are no guarantees.
The ideal Task Force recruit is someone willing to follow orders, who has a strict moral code, who doesn’t question authority and will happily keep working until their term is finished; however, few criminals fall into this description. Most volunteers are accepted based on their abilities and ease of control rather than personality or morals.
Restraints and Constraints
Some 75% of Task Force volunteers—those of questionable trustworthiness—are provided with a fail-safe deterrent to ensure good behavior. In most situations, a certified criminal—a Black Hat, or more dangerous Grey Hats—will have additional restraints, for much the same reasons. Examples include:
- Nanite bomblets deposited in the bloodstream, which can be activated, or automatically go off if they go too far from a certain point (other team members, the base, etc.)
- A dimensional anchor, keeping the target on this plane of existence
- A mystical spell that limits the use of powers, with its own life-draining aura as a ticking bomb
- An element injected in the body, which will cause weakness and then death if not treated back at the Task Force HQ
- A Gimmick or Trained character may be denied the use of some of their more powerful gadgets, or only be allowed to use them during a mission
Others are devised on a case-by-case basis.
Rules and Regulations
There are only three regulations that the Task Force wishes all of its volunteers to follow. Breaking any of these rules is grounds for termination, as above.
1.) Do not reveal details about the Task Force to anyone not cleared by the program. This is grounds for immediate and instantaneous termination.
2.) Do not cause undue property damage or civilian casualties, compromise the mission by alerting authorities, or leave anything that can be traced back to the Task Force; in short, do not bring attention to yourself unless dictated by Task Force authority.
3.) Do not try to escape. Escape attempts, successful or not, are grounds for termination.
4.) Keep the infighting to a minimum. The Task Force has spent a lot of time and resources on this project, and frowns on team-inflicted casualties.
Attempts to defect, betray Task Force Death or its affiliates, or otherwise compromise a mission’s objectives are considered to fall under regulation one above. There are numerous other activities that will cause retaliation, either expulsion from the program or termination; however, it is impossible for the, so these will be enforced to the best of the Team Leader’s abilities.
Additionally, there are several general field rules to follow, else the fail-save devices will go off, resulting in immediate termination:
- You try to remove it or tamper with it in any way
- You get to far out of range of the Team Leader, who has the device that controls your fail-safe
- You piss the Team Leader off enough that they warrant it justifiable to activate the explosive
What the Task Force Offers
In most cases, the Task Force provides several types of benefits for its volunteers.
First and most noteworthy, it commutes criminal records and jail terms—even multiple-life sentences—into time served, following successful completion of a number of missions. The exact number depends on the severity, degree, and number of crimes the criminal has committed; ergo, a triple-life sentence from murder will require more missions than ten years from laundering and extortion would. Volunteers may elect to stay on after the conclusion of this time, of course, but many prefer their freedom.
Second, the Task Force provides various therapy and psychiatric treatments for its patients, such as volunteers with a Jekyll and Hyde style schizophrenia and separate criminal identity, or who suffer from any number of mental issues, ranging from amnesia to psychosis. These patients will remain with the Task Force until either their criminal record has been “paid off” in hard work, or their neurosis has been cured, whichever comes later.
A third, smaller group are those volunteers who require assistance in some endeavor, and who are trustworthy enough for the Task Force to provide it. This can include the kinds of care above, but also returning an extra-dimensional or extra-terrestrial being home, or bringing down a criminal rival who betrayed the volunteer.
After serving the time and performing missions as per the Task Force mandate, its volunteers will be subject to a memory wipe in order to maintain the Task Force’s secrecy prior to returning them to the world.
Recruits agree to work with Task Force Death for a variety of reasons. Your rationales may come to you within your backstory, for one; themes such as flawed nobility or redemption are good. Some patriotic characters might believe protecting/serving the United States (or, for others, Earthlings) from threats by any means necessary and, given their past histories, the Task Force might be their only available option. Or they might want the chance to atone for past failures or misdeeds. Others might have a death wish, and see Task Force Death as interesting a way as any. And others might want something that only the all-powerful military agency can provide—something that goes beyond commuting sentences.
If you need external motivation—as in the case of playing a hardened, totally evil villain—you have the promise of having your previous crimes pardoned, or even the total erasure of your criminal records, after completing a term of service. The Task Force offers benefits to friends and family in exchange for service. And compared to solitary confinement in a super-villain prison, stuck on a paralysis IV-drip and locked behind guarded and power-dampening walls, the ability to move somewhat freely, enjoy a passable standard of living, and even have limited control of your powers is reward enough for many criminals.
Every field agent—except for certain individuals who’ve earned trustworthy status—are given a Challenge Aspect designed to limit their freedom in some fashion, to ensure they remain loyal, follow directions, and perform each mission. Examples include temporary Weaknesses tied to technological implants (such as a governor or limiter), mystical spells (like a geas), or medical treatments (toxins that eventually weaken/kill without treatment, for example). They can also be Social issues: a promise to allow a loved one to go free, assistance to accomplish something the volunteer couldn’t otherwise, psychiatric care, etc.
Additionally, there might be some Team Aspects related to group compliance as a whole; the above is talking about personal Aspects to restrain you as an individual.