1. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Military capabilities/jargon help?

    Discussion in 'Research' started by BayView, Feb 7, 2016.

    I have a character who's an ex-marine (US military) and did four tours in Afghanistan, more or less as a grunt.

    Now he's a small town police officer, and several federal agencies are operating inside his jurisdiction. Relations are strained, and I have one of the federal agents saying:

    “When I say we’ve got surveillance in place, I don’t mean a lone deputy in a squad car. The federal government has resources beyond those you’d be accustomed to, and we’ve brought them to bear in this case.”

    I want my character to shoot back by mentioning a few of the surveillance tools the feds would be using (which he'd be familiar with from his military experience). Something like "Geo-synched sat data, thermal scanners, drone surveillance, chemical trackers?" - but I want the words to actually make sense and be realistic in the finished version.

    And then I want him to point out the problem with the system, maybe with something like "That's great. But even assuming you can get all those tools to tell you what's a man and what's a deer or a bear, what the hell are you going to do with the data once you get it? You see some of those boys heading out the back of their compound, and it's already too late, unless you're planning to carpet bomb a few hundred acres of American forest in order to take them out. Five miles of dense forest to the border means nowhere to set down a chopper, no roads to drive in on." - but, again, I'd like to be sure those words, especially the first part about man vs. deer vs. bear, actually makes sense.

    Any help from anyone?
     
  2. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    1. 'You waterboarding the motherfuckers, electric tazer to testicles? No? How about the Israeli wonky stool in your torturing? Kimbo, kick-combat boxing to the face? I can do all of that, all those things, four tours Afghan commando, I ain't no schmuck-dick.'
     
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  3. zoupskim
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    zoupskim Contributing Member Contributor

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    "The fact that you're telling me you have surveillance in place means you don't know what you're doing. You know the asshole who walks up to someone and tells them they know karate, or jujitsu? He's not the kind of person you should be afraid of. You should be afraid of the guy who says nothing, admits nothing, and appears to be nobody. He doesn't pick fights, or posture for his friends, or try to impress anyone. He just watches. Then, when you least expect it, he strings a piano wire across the road above your vehicle to tear your gunner out of the turret as you drive by. He has nothing to prove, just a job to do."

    "If you were worth a damn, and I was worth nothing to you, then you wouldn't be trying to impress me right now with your drone echelon, frequency-hopping satellite comm, dick waving bullshit. You said you don't have a deputy in a car. A local deputy, who probably knows the area, has observed people here doing what they usually do, going where they usually go, and would notice if something was out of place. Why the hell not?!"
     
  4. zoupskim
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    zoupskim Contributing Member Contributor

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    This concept of not knowing what to do with information totally flies for me. I can imagine someone seeing something they weren't expecting and getting bogged down in excessive assessment and planning, and your MC has to act. Or, they overreact or move rashly, and MC has to make a better decision, or restrain them. Getting information is easy nowadays, but in MY opinion, whether or not people use it wisely is open to debate.
     
  5. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    Uh, I don't think an Honorably discharged Marine grunt would have all that much knowledge and access to hardware that the FBI does, usually that goes to the higher ups in the chain of command. Though he would have knowledge to things like drones, thermal and night-vision, and few other misc. things. The FBI is a bit more like a network of 'spies' and not badass gun-bunnies (yes that is actually slang term for a Marine). So trying to play off that he is better than a bunch of federal agents seems a little odd, considering they are trained differently. He is better in a fire fight and is good at pounding an enemy target with the fury of a Helldozer, and the FBI is more subtle and rely on being tactile, psychiatry, and more suppressed means of capturing an unsub. So yeah, I am n0t too sure how you're gonna pull it off with out the Marine having some leadership role while in service, and has some kind of criminology and detective training under his belt. I like that you are giving a Devil Dog an active role outside the service, but it might help to know the particulars of how the two 'agencies' differ in modus operindi. :p
     
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  6. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm not trying to have him be better at their jobs than they are - but they've been treating him like a local yokel, and I'm trying to make it clear that he isn't. He's got combat experience, he used to be a detective with the LAPD, etc. His MAIN strength is knowing the locals and the terrain, but he isn't completely weak in other areas.
     
  7. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    "Yeah, how about I say Geo-synched sat data, thermal scanners, drone surveillance, chemical trackers?"

    "Aha aha, ha ha, ha ha ha."
    ...

    2 Hours Later, the FBI canteen:

    "So Dirk, what did pencil dick have to say for himself?"

    "He said, 'Geo-synched sat data, thermal scanners, drone surveillance, chemical trackers.' "

    "Ha, ha hah."

    "Hoh hoh ho."
    ...

    Pencil Dick loads single firecracker on to toy drone, crashes drone into FBI oil tanker on the road, blazes, burns down 'Regional Operations Center.' FBI perceive his brilliance, finally dangerous etcetera, manhunt, with his succession of pathetic stunts, traps: each time uncannily more effective, mmm, mmm.
     
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  8. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    @BayView I see. I wasn't trying to undermine him in any way, and it is good to know that he has some fore knowledge and skill set as well. Sounds neat and exciting as a premise. :D

    @matwoolf That is some Wyle E. Coyote level antics you have there. :superlaugh:
     
  9. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    He's a fictional character - I'm not sure he CAN be undermined!
     
  10. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    I was using it as it was nicer than belittling, at least in concept, but I see your point. :p
     
  11. zoupskim
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    zoupskim Contributing Member Contributor

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    FED: Behold: The tac-nav, multi-leg, unidirectional, four-legged, maneuverability enabling device. It took over four billion dollars to develop, but at last we have a device capable of carrying all our infantrymen's gear. Be careful, thought. It runs on quantum entangled particles, so you can't think too hard next to it, or the entire universe will implode."

    MARINE: Hey, I can just buy a donkey from local citizens. It knows the terrain, is used to the heat, and runs on food and water, something I carry with me every day. So, your invention is cool and all, but I don't want to receive an NJP when it breaks while I'm using it. So, with all due respect, can you go back to your smart phone alternate-reality circle-jerk, while I focus on winning the war?
     
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  12. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    He probably needs to be special forces (SEALS?) to be privy to the latest tech...unless he's a geek, but that doesn't seem likely.

    Have you seen Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry? This majors on a local sheriff doing it all "wrong", but getting it right.
     
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  13. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    @Shadowfax No I can't say that I have seen, that which you speak of. It sounds entertaining though. :p
     
  14. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    I thought it was a great film, but seems to have fallen into the void of lost films, while we get endless re-runs and re-makes of dross.
     
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  15. Matt E
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    Matt E Stormblessed Supporter

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    For every technology that the military uses, there are some soldiers who interact with it pretty regularly. Particularly if the technology is being deployed by the DoD as opposed to one of the intelligence agencies. Most soldiers probably wouldn't be interacting with too many of these technologies though, so statistically, he probably doesn't know much about surveillance tech.

    Even us, though, as non-soldiers, know enough about the kind of toys that the FBI likes to play with to probably mock them about it. :p The things that come to my mind are wire-taps, helicopters, GPS trackers, radar (can also track stuff on the ground as well as in the sky), thermal cameras, drones, satellite imagery, etc. Although, most of those things would be way too expensive for almost any surveillance operation. I'd expect that the main thing the FBI would flaunt would be wire-taps.
     
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  16. Samurai Jack
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    Samurai Jack Active Member

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    Quoted for truth, which honestly makes me think peen slapping an FBI agent by mentioning thermal drones might not be the best way to go.

    If MC Marine has enough confidence, I'd rather see him take the lashing, then just produce some tangible evidence a Federal agency hasn't been able to, or point an utter failure on their part.

    "I know you have at least three teams in the woods near Suspect's house. Joe McJoe called me, said he picked up armed men in black tactical gear off his game cameras, was wondering if I knew why they were sneaking around on his land."

    But let him be nonchalant about it. He's the Marine, LAPD detetictive, Sheriff. Why feel the need to verbally spar with a douchebag?
     
  17. zoupskim
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    zoupskim Contributing Member Contributor

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    Truth. The way you describe him in your initial post makes him seem like a senior sergeant or staff NCO. He'd be a ground pounder and a war fighter, but not really tech savvy due to his job. He might learn about advanced forms of surveillance or tech from training, or on his own initiative, but it would not be part of his job to use them. If him being a tough Marine as well as having job experience in high tech is a big sticking point for you, here are a few suggestions.

    Marine Scout Snipers: The scout in their name comes first for a reason. These marines specialize in long range insertion, covert reconnaissance, and of course single target engagement. They operate in small teams, and are trained in the use of all kinds of long range optics and communication gear. They specialize in observing while remaining unseen.

    Lateral Move: When an enlisted marine's first term of enlistment is up they are often encouraged to try a completely different military specialty. Such as swapping from an mortar-man, to a satellite imagery analyst. This is more common than people think, often comes with a monetary bonus, and encourages interdepartmental training and personalty-type diversity. Simply have your powerhouse marine serve in as an infantryman in Afghanistan for a while, then he reenlists as a intelligence marine, counterintelligence, or some other tech heavy field. This will give him the disposition of a warrior, but the technical know how of a federal agent.
     
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  18. Matt E
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    Matt E Stormblessed Supporter

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    The things that the character doesn't know are just important as what they do know, though. A good example is Jack Reacher, who is decidedly non-tech savvy, but still knows enough about law enforcement in general to be able to shit-talk a couple FBI agents per novel.

    I wouldn't change the character just for a scene like this, unless the character having insight into this kind of tech is vital to the story elsewhere.
     
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