"They make you watch it all, man. They make you watch through the eyes of the person you killed. It's all for show, really, but they do it so well. I saw the guy come in, brush his teeth, kiss his son good night... then I felt my bullet go into his skull just seconds after it shattered the window. Back when I'd shot him, you know, I didn't know anything... all I saw was a man leaning down in the spot where I'd been told he would be, then I squeezed the trigger, twice to make sure, and got the hell out of there. But they had to make me relive it all through this bullshit virtual scenario. They want you to know that you're gonna be called upon to kill innocent people, good people, Federation people, and that you have to be comfortable with doing it because it serves the greater good. Whatever the fuck that's even supposed to mean."
- Audio transcript from "Agent Mornay," alleged Black Eagle defector
The Gallente Federation's image within the popular sphere is well known. It's a place of wonder and opportunity, home to open-minded and welcoming people, filled with intellectual discourse and quality arts in every sphere. Traditionally it's been a haven for those hailing from parts distant, unsatisfied with their surroundings and seeking a new home in which to express themselves. Renowned in equal part for its liberalism and its boundless appetite for individual uniqueness, Gallente has always been a place where misfits can slot in, where artists can find their venues, and where champions of every cause can find their soapbox.
Over the past year, however, a new presence has made itself known across the Federation, casting its protective shadow over all it surveys. For the average Gallente citizen the change has been minimal, but to those who follow along with the events of the day it has become evident that a deep new tone has begun its quiet rumble across the political landscape.
The Black Eagles were founded in the aftermath of the Gallente's historic Luminaire defeat of YC110, when prominent figures of the Federal milieu came together in agreement that the nation's armed forces were all but crumbling at the seams with corruption. A sizable group of politicians, corporate figureheads, lobbyists and cultural icons petitioned President Foiritan to create an "Emergency Integrity Commission" which would ensure that the nation's military leadership not only had the aptitude to lead their forces to victory, but that they met the high moral standards of the Gallente Federation while doing so.
This influential coalition was distrustful of the methods employed by the president to tackle the issues erupting within the nation at the time, and felt that the search for the turncoat admiral Anvent Eturrer – at the time, a major rallying cause for a nation so freshly bludgeoned by humiliating defeat – was no more than a simple patch on a festering wound. Though the exact degree of their involvement is debated to this day, they were nonetheless able to exert enough pressure on the establishment that when the President a short while later announced the creation of a new internal investigation department within the Federal Intelligence Office, the general consensus was that the coalition deserved a good deal of the thanks.
The new division would be empowered with exclusive and unconditional oversight of all Federal assets and agencies. Though officially titled the Special Department of Internal Investigations and Federal Security, and carrying the sanctioned acronym of SDII, this secretive new organization nonetheless immediately became known to everyone as the Black Eagles. This moniker is most commonly associated with the SDII logo – a black Gallente eagle outlined in white against a dark background – but there are a fair few who proclaim the name is a direct allusion to the man chosen to lead the department, Head Senator Mentas Blaque.
Since Blaque was (and is) an outspoken political opponent of Foiritan's, his appointment initially seemed a bolt from the blue. Though conspiracy theories (along with a healthy smattering of general confusion) arose immediately, the national zeitgeist, in the absence of any more believable theories, was eventually made to settle into the somewhat uneasy solution that Foiritan had simply needed someone for the post who quite obviously wasn't in his pocket and never would be. Indeed, in the months immediately following the division's founding, a record number of corrupt military personnel and government officials were apprehended, even people who had fairly substantial (though always safely peripheral) ties to Foiritan himself.
Though the Black Eagles operate under a strict military hierarchy, they are, at heart, an intelligence agency. Their official purview is the internal security and integrity of the Federation and all its official entities, but it is an open secret within intelligence circles that the Eagles operate a spy network that, in addition to keeping tabs on domestic affairs, bypasses familiar waters in favor of territories seldom ventured by the four empires' intelligence entities. Blaque himself has never commented publicly on anything to do with the agency, preferring instead to let dry press releases and carefully calculated public operations do the talking for him.
Nonetheless, there have been a fair share of defectors from the agency since its inception, people who view the Eagles' methods as violations of long-sacred Gallente ideals. Under conditions of strict anonymity these former agents have leaked certain information, none of which is officially verified, but a substantial portion of which is considered believable by experts in the field and generally taken to be implicit in discussions involving the Black Eagles. From among these bits and pieces of info, a few salient patterns have emerged:
- The Black Eagles have a well-equipped, highly trained paramilitary arm. Black Eagle-uniformed troops have been seen on more than one occasion conducting security sweeps in high-sensitivity public zones. They are trained in every manner of covert infiltration, spaceborne and terrestrial, as well as the use of cutting-edge weaponry and tools of the trade. Due to prohibitive selection and training their numbers are not great at present, but growing rapidly.
- The Black Eagles have a presence in space, though reports vary widely about the extent of their operational capacity. They are known to travel in specially commissioned dark-hulled versions of Gallente Navy staples. The exact capabilities of these vessels are unknown, but they are invariably reported to be more poweful than both their standard and Navy counterparts. Reports also unanimously agree that the Eagles possess a capsuleer contingent numbering over one hundred pilots (and presumably growing).
- The Black Eagles have built up a ruthless image, one that indicates the agency will go to considerable lengths to make sure its objectives are met. This is the area most sparsely commented on by former agents. With very few exceptions, defectors have completely disavowed all knowledge of the illicit activities so often attributed to the Eagles, such as torture, blackmail and kidnapping. Whether this is down to the extreme sensitivity of such subjects or the actual absence of such activities from the modus operandi remains wholly unknown.
For the common citizen of the Federation, the Black Eagles are a distant spectre. For the more discerning members of the populace, they are a subtly pervasive force. For anyone conducting business with foreign interests, they are a nagging worry. In the past months there has been a growing trend toward domestic surveillance within the Federation. Propaganda has been pervasive. In a society as awash with stimuli and information as the Gallente's, these things can be hard to spot... but broader trends rarely misdirect, and the word on the street never lies. Given the Black Eagles' extreme effectiveness since its inception, it might not be all that surprising were they found to have engaged in any of the activities they are so often accused of. In the absence of concrete evidence, however, the veil remains intact, and the shadow protective. Whatever hidden threats the Gallente may once have feared, they can rest safe in the knowledge that at the very least, their foes are hidden no more.