The Greycoat Network
With the advent of the North American Special Defense Initiative, the Blacksuit Organization faced an abrupt decline due to a diversion of much of their funding and duties to the former organization. The waning of the latter organization saw many of its projects, sub-directorates, and personnel let go or taken over by SDI. However, the fall of the Blacksuits was not a completely unexpected occurrence. Some of the more perceptive in the organization saw that, due to end of the Cold War and an increasing public openness by the US government, the secretive, Cold War-born Blacksuit Organization might fade into obscurity due to its secretive nature.
One of the Blacksuits who saw this decline was Deputy Director-Special Projects (DDSP) Clive Beecham, who would retire just prior to the creation of SDI. Seeing the possibility of the Blacksuits going the way of the dinosaur, Beecham spoke to several within the Blacksuit Organization, secretly setting up a network the Blacksuits may fall back on when the “lean times” (as he liked to say) came. When his predictions came true soon after retirement, Beecham discreetly activated the network he had set up.
This network, comprised mostly of members or former members from the Operations, Intelligence, and Special Projects sub-directorates of the Blacksuit Organization was tasked with finding a way to keep the Blacksuit Organization properly funded since SDI began to eat up most of America’s runaway defense budgets. One of the money-raising methods the Network used was the buying of share in certain companies, which later led to the opening of Network-controlled companies itself. Another method involved the Network lending its “special” services and resources to those who could foot their steep asking price.
The most common service the Network provided was intelligence gathering, which the Blacksuits had honed to an unparalleded degree in the Cold War era. With this mercenary intelligence gathering, the Network was soon hired by several rather shadowy personages. Among its best customers were different large organized crime syndicates or companies striving to stay ahead of their competition. Such business would prove very successful for the Network’s purposes, and the Blacksuits continued to operate at full funding for several months after its downsizing.
However, this would soon come under government scrutiny. Many were wondering how the Blacksuit Organization still managed to operate with so much funding even after the severe budget cuts. It was also noted that several rather unsavory organizations seemed to have gotten an unprecedented boost in their intelligence gathering. An investigation was soon launched concerning the irregularities.
Knowing that the Network would soon be discovered and shut down, with those involved probably being charged with treason for their unauthorized intelligence gathering for non-government entities, Clive Beecham decided to disappear, taking most of the Network with him. Having found himself comfortable with fielding the power of the Network, and finding the services he had provided to be extremely profitable, he decided to make the Network go private. He reorganized the Network into his own private Blacksuit Organization, loyal not to the US government but to itself, and to him.
To signify their break with the Blacksuits, Beecham had members of the Network discard their black suits for grey trench coats. With this new uniform, the Network soon styled itself as the “Greycoats”; although, some have referred to them as the "Columbo Corps" be cause of this. They ramped up their mercenary activities, this time going beyond intelligence work. Having several former members of the Blacksuit Operations directorate, the Greycoats supplemented their extensive mercenary espionage services with mercenary black ops services. These involved anything from memory wiping certain people to outright assassination. Although, they are still predominantly an intelligence agency for hire.
Another service provided by the Greycoats is the selling of Dreamlander genetic material, or even live Dreamlander creatures themselves, to any interested parties. The latter is made possible since many Pointwatchers are in Geycoat service. These Pointwatchers allow the Greycoats to intercept Dreamlands creatures that have exited from Crosspoints that appear within their immediate reach. With all of their Blacksuit-learned expertise, capturing said Dreamlanders are no problem, especially since they are better funded and equipped than the current Blacksuits. The Greycoats have even been known to capture Dreamlander Grey saucers, though they keep such saucers for their own use.
Aside from Dreamlander Grey saucers, they also use Grey Choppers utilizing the same technology the Black Helicopters of the Blacksuits use. However, these Grey Choppers are smaller, and are usually modified civilian choppers rather than the military choppers modified to be Black Helicopters. They are also equipped with several Grey vans and SUVs, another tradition the Greycoats inherited from the Blacksuits.
A tradition they developed on their own, however, is their extensive use of genetics technology tied to Dreamlands biology. While the Blacksuit Organization’s Special Projects sub-directorate at its height did dabble with Dreamlander genetics and biology, they were mostly hesitant to go too far due to the highly unstable and frankly almost impossibly twisted genetic makeup of creatures that sprang from the minds of sleeping Great Old Ones. Without the limits set by the Blacksuits, though, Clive Beecham took Dreamlander genetic research into extremes unimaginable or too horrific for the Blacksuits.
The most poignant of such research is the Greycoats’ creation of symbiotic hosts in the same vein as the Blacksuit free agent Maximus Li. While they have not successfully managed to replicate the successful symbiosis between a human and the poisonous larval creature on Max (to the lethal misfortune of the test subjects), there have been a few successes. Some of which have resulted in very powerful Greycoat agents. They have also been roughly successful with their attempts to create Augments—Greycoat agents genetically modified with Dreamlander DNA—and mind-controlled Dreamlander creatures used as “attack dogs.”
All in all, such access to Blacksuit-developed technology and stable funding have made the Greycoats a very effective and highly successful private intelligence agency catering mostly to large, sophisticated criminal organizations and corporations not opposed to less-than-legal means. They may even be one of the reasons why criminal leaders such as the enigmatic Boss or private figures such as Baccara and Saint are so unusually well-informed. They have also supplied several genetics companies with Dreamlander DNA, including Vagrant Arms which is attempting to weaponize such genetic material. They have refused to work with the Order of the South and other rather vehemently supremacist organizations, probably because Clive Beecham is a black man from the South who has had some bad childhood experiences concerning racism from WASPs.
As with the Blacksuits, they prefer to stay out of the public eye. The Greycoats resort to the memory wiping, intimidation, and liquidation used by the Blacksuits to keep their activities secret, though the Greycoat Network is far more willing to resort to the third option. Despite there attempts, the Greycoats, as with the Blacksuits, have encountered the perplexing and annoying problem of internet communities somehow finding out about them. Though, Clive has been more sanguine in his reaction (mostly because few people take the internet revelations seriously) and has even joked that only the internet is a better freelance intelligence organization that the Greycoats.
Due to the organized crime links, the Greycoats have been targeted by the FBI, Interpol, and several other global anti-crime organizations. Though, few of such agencies have been successful in their attempts to penetrate—much less weaken—the Greycoats due to all of the Cold War-honed counterintelligence expertise the Greycoats can draw on. The same problem faces the NSA and the CIA, who are worried about the Greycoats because of the amount of access the Blacksuits had to pretty much all US government apparati before the advent of SDI which the Greycoats may exploit. Foreign intelligence agencies have also turned their eye towards the Greycoats, mostly because several foreign networks set up by the Blacksuits at their height have fallen into Greycoat control. The Blacksuits, for the most part, see the Greycoats as a perversion to everything they stand for and do all they can within the limits of their strained budget and manpower to counter its activities. Though, considering all of the problems the Blacksuits have to deal with, little can be spared for this effort. Plus, a few of the more shady members of the Blacksuits do receive certain monetary “donations” from the Greycoats, and are consequently less inclined to go after them.
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