|This page contains information copied or paraphrased from the OCD FLEET site.|
The Board is the stuff of 101 conspiracy theories - the Illuminati, the Secret Masters, the Shadow Government...a thousand mortal myths, legends, tales - and these days, cheap novels and crazed websites - have coalesced around the quiet belief that, somewhere, someone is quietly keeping an eye on events. Call them Earth's cosmic audience. Every so often, across history, the Goddess who created humanity as Her pet project has noticed aspects of said project that could come in handy, and quietly shuffled them towards one group and identity. And when the Other Side decided to take a shot at screwing up this corner of Creation, She rallied them to aid Her in dealing with the problem.
As they are now, the Board is the result of centuries of slow development and growth as a Goddess' executive arm - starting as a group of the handy minions any minor deity builds up, adding a few genus loci here and there, and eventually splitting off from just keeping the universe running to actively keeping an eye on the one species the Boss was working on. When civilizations rose, more human proto-Boardies began to emerge - people with a quiet tendency to take the human habit of bending the environment to fit a little further, bending it in ways that went beyond fire and the wheel and into higher realms. Why the Goddess is curious about such traits is something She keeps to Herself, but when the Adversary announced His presence and desire to corrupt humanity, the Boardies were in the perfect position to oppose Him.
Now facing the ultimate source for the hatred and ignorance they so despise in humanity, the Board hopes and prays that it has enough to fend Him off and prevent His dark designs upon mankind coming to fruition. Behind it, it has the Goddess, whoever Her Boss might be (after all, Lucifer breathing down your neck hopefully suggests God on your side), the amassed might of everyone She could find to pitch in, and the still-unclear roles of those humans She has her eye on.
On the other side stand the nigh-infinite legions of Hell, bent on causing as much suffering as possible to the creatures God chose above their rebellious master.
The coming battle is going to be big, bad...and very, very weird.
So why be a Boardie? The hours are variable, the pay is mostly in kind (equipment, being allowed to live in a super-secret base or space station, free transport, chance to die facing down Evil...), and the social life can be a tad strained. Plus there's the way you instantly become a target for the nastiest critters known to man, and plenty more man is glad he doesn't know about.
Well, there's the perks. There's the development of Super-Secret powers and gadgets, which is enough to get most people drooling at the very thought - never mind the hours of training and testing needed to see just what one's reaction to the Board's ambient weirdness has manifested as. There's getting to meet the Boss, which is oddly flattering. Especially if she starts talking about how fun you were to create, which tends to raise worrying questions about predestination. Then there's the aforementioned attention from Evil, which can be gratifying - it's like finally being able to shoot that really annoying middle-management type (in some cases, Boardies have been able to go back and shoot that annoying middle-management type). Some even sign on to get to be part of that secret organisation they keep hearing about, or because the Board are the only people willing to fund their projects. Many walk out of college into what they discover is the internship of their dreams. Some are recruited because only the Board would take them.
The first and most obvious sign that Something Weird is up with the Boardies is always the names. Boardies love codenames, ranging from spy-thriller types to ones people just like the sound of. There is good reason for this - the myriad forces allied to Evil are never above hostage-taking, blackmail, or dirt-digging in the media. Changing one's name, even face, is the outward sign of an important change in a Boardie's worldview - that the "old me" is a relic and a potential liability, best left behind in one's quarters with other past mementos, where no-one can get at it with malicious intent.
Make no mistake, it's a weird world out there. One where the town you live in, or the one down the road, or even the house next door could see anything from Men in Black to a rampage by Godzilla over the course of a year. The average child born on this strange Earth will have seen a dozen strange or miraculous events as (s)he matures, and many are fascinated by the way their childhood dreams merely fade into adult reality - that the world they live in is just as fantastic as they dreamed. Most get on with their mundane lives, trusting to luck and the skill of others - governments, armies, scientists - to keep them secure. Some don't. Many more find their beloved defense mechanisms fail, and the world's insanity is thrust upon them. Still more, the ones who go on to form the Board's hard iron core, find people actively employing this weirdness for their own selfish ends...and then someone walks out of the darkness and offers them a chance to deal with such people.
Even before recruitment, most Boardies are this world's weirdoes...or even the weirdo's weirdoes, those who never quite fit in with their native societies' expectations, who always seemed faintly at 90 degrees to reality. Others are people caught up in events by accident or design - the people who have cried "Enough, dammit!" when faced not only with supernatural power, but the destruction and death left in its wake. If there is a common denominator, it is the inbuilt desire "to do something" about the undercurrents of malice, selfishness, and ignorance in global society that are given dangerous power by a globe lousy with energy and mystic forces. And when the Board gives those undercurrents a name, and offers the resources to battle them on their own terms, few people so driven can resist...
Main Article: The Board Prehistory
Main Article: History of the Board
See also: Board Societies and Coalitions
The Board's organisation is anarchic, to say the least. Attempting to govern the Board is roughly on a par with herding cats - a very apt metaphor, considering the universally-headstrong qualities typical of the average Boardie ensures, like said felines, that they only obey any commands they feel like and complain loudly if asked to move. Even the modern era, with its drive towards efficiency and speed, falls afoul of this tendency.
In an effort to bring order out of such chaos, the Board organises itself into dozens of different departments, each concerned with a single discipline. Less solid than it sounds, their areas of responsibility can range from concrete, logistical concepts, like the Armoury or Operations, to more "fuzzy" areas such as Speculation and Weird Science. At the stranger ends of the scale the departments can be almost philosophical or ethereal, like Reality Control, Fortean Zoology's weird and wacky bioscience projects, or Infernal Intelligence's dark methods of obtaining useable data on the foe that are frankly best left to the imagination.
Aside from the departments is the far older method of deference to one's elders. Almost tribal in nature, Boardies exposed to the reality-warping nature of their brethren over long-term periods can quietly amass quite staggering power, usually attached to experienced wisdom in how to use it. Newbies quickly spot such icons and often form ambitious cliques around them, seeking to hitch their wagons to a proverbial star...and an oldbie can be sure of a steady stream of responsibilities and projects to assign to such underlings, along with the influence to ensure their talents are recognised.
Deference by Boardies to a department or an elder is a matter of pragmatism more than anything else - when the Seven-Headed Gnawer of Ulm is attempting to bite your arm off, now is not the time to prove how independent you are by ignoring the expert's instructions. Oldbies sardonically quip that natural selection ensures these shaky chains of command stay intact, while cronyism is generally held in check by the suspicious, bloody-minded nature of the Boardies around and above a candidate for promotion, who love to pass ambitious aspirers tests or gruelling training sessions to ensure they're up to further responsibilities. Rising the ladder of rank can thus be quite hard and daunting for a newcomer.
The result, which Boardies are fiercely proud of, tends to be loosely-held-together strata of small cliques, led by those who have spectacularly demonstrated their skills in a particular area. It's a flimsy system, and FLEET view it with extreme suspicion, but no other approach has ever sat quite right with these ever-independent Boardies, trained to question the world around them as much as possible.
- The Directorship
- High Command
- Pressure Groups
- The Quills
- The Claws
- Weird Science
- War Threads
The Board has a number of bases across the globe. The most notable of these is the Funky Horror, a space station orbiting in the Fourth Lagrange Point. Other notable bases include Mohaborad, located in the Himalayas, Nemo, an underwater base, and Acancéh.
Vehicles and Equipment
Board equipment tends to be like its users... quirky, bizarre, and prone to completely ignore the laws of physics when it suits them. While this is amusing, it makes practical matters such as maintenance and repair a nightmare, to say nothing of mission planning when Command is uncertain how various Boardies' equipment will react to each other.
With the advent of mass production techniques, the brave souls of the Board Armoury have finally managed to see the introduction of standardised equipment and vehicle classes to as many active personnel as possible. While oldbies complain this leads to a loss of the individual quirks that made Board life what it is today, the overworked engineers point out that customisation modules, nanotech adaptation circuits, and jury-rigged "enhancements" are all the average Boardie ever seems to need to personalise his gear to a ridiculous degree anyway...
- Support Vehicles
- The Reality Control Array
- The Goddess
- Shenalia Linadriel
- Luis "Locoluis" González
- José Belt
- Nightshade Dragon
- The Entity
The Board keeps an eye on several civilians who are deemed to be important in some way.