Agents of Section 46 may be assigned almost anywhere on Earth, to carry out objectives for which they are unprepared, with minimal material support and no official sanction. They may have to perform acts that leave them psychologically scarred, consumed with self-loathing or growing ever-emptier inside, unable to maintain healthy relationships, only connecting with fellow human beings as covers or as preludes to betrayal.
They will be in regular physical danger, evading those who would arrest, torture or kill them, forced in turn to inflict pain and suffering on often-undeserving targets. And then there is the truly unpleasant side to their work…
Covert Actions presents six deadly sets of missions for agents of Section 46. Each includes an official objective, suitable for officers of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service or allies in other Western foreign intelligence services.
These missions are filled with the dangers, intrigue and moral compromises that define espionage in the 1970s.
Lurking under the surface of each of these missions is a second, even deadlier objective, assigned by N or his cohort in Section 46. These objectives will place N’s agents in existential danger, faced with ancient threats beyond human comprehension.
Failure in either of these missions is likely to result in not only the destruction of the investigators, but a shift in the balance of greater, deadlier conflicts.
1970: The investigators find themselves at the centre of an ugly web of moral compromises and dirty expediencies in Puddles Become Lakes, by Matthew Dawkins. A routine, if unpleasant mission to silence a nosy journalist proves more complicated than first thought when the investigators discover that her research exposes not only espionage and treason, but tendrils of eldritch conspiracy.
1972: Scott Dorward’s The Forcing Move takes the investigators to Reykjavik, where the World Chess Championship reflects in microcosm the paranoia and weirdness of the Cold War. As reality crumbles around the investigators, they must complete an increasingly complicated mission that risks the very reputation of Section 46.
1974: The Turkish invasion of Cyprus provides the backdrop for Cadenza, Matthew Sanderson’s eerie scenario of cosmic horror. As the investigators learn the truth of the situation, they must make a horrifying decision or face deadly consequences.
1974: Nick Robinson’s Guardians of the Forest sees the investigators aiding their allies in Australian intelligence, carrying out a dirty tricks campaign in East Timor as the country descends into bloodshed and atrocity. The two missions intersect in the worst possible way as the investigators discover that the man whose reputation they have been sent to destroy holds the key to defeating ancient horrors.
1970–79: Operation Header, by Ken Spencer, sends the investigators to the High Arctic, where they must discover why a Distant Early Warning listening post has gone silent. Once on site, they quickly discover that they face a threat far older and stranger than the Soviets.
1970–79: In Chad Bowser’s The Unclean, agents of Section 46 stationed in Moscow must contain the consequences of a death cult’s unholy rituals while operating under the noses of the KGB. Missions behind the Iron Curtain are always fraught with danger, and never more so here.