The Bureau Of Acquisitions

Introduction

Everyone and everything has a tale to tell. Be it one of history, of faith, or of warped perceptions - It our duty to find, explore and carry on these stories, to bear this old wisdom for both our children and their children after them. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome: To the Bureau of Acquisitions.

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A group of EASTCOM Bureau staff in civilian clothing, discussing how to split the tab in a restaurant.
23.7.19██.

The purpose of this conglomerate of seemingly thematically inconsistent departments is simple: To obtain and supply the Authority with acquisitions. These assets can range from esoteric or regular rituals created for the containment of a newly discovered anomaly, methods for hiding information from prying eyes and even supplements for seeing beyond the veil of reality, or even artifacts found whilst exploring the ruins of an extinct alien civilization. Before we credit the departments in charge of these illustrious achievements, we need to understand what brought them to life in the first place.

The unofficial birth of what would become a semi-formal proto-version of the Bureau can be dated back almost all the way to the days of the burgeoning discovery and migration the New World - though some say its roots go back further. Known as the land of unknown cultures, rich resources, and bountiful shores, this brave new world was also home to something much more important to early anomalous cartographers and naturalists - anomalies.

Various distinguished explorers under private charters, as accompanied by the likeminded agents and clerics on behalf the Auctoritas, helped to take part in many of the crews and adventurers that first forged their way across the harsh Atlantic to these bountiful shores. It is they that were the forefathers of this family of visionaries and steel-willed men and women. They, who helped precipitate some of the wealth that supports our grand Authority today.

As such, the creation of the Bureau as we know it now is in part ironic in nature - officially little more than the result of an incident spurred by a miscommunication between a company chartered by the Society and a gathering of Congregance members in April 16, 1911. But that's not crucial to our discussion here.

An important thing to note is that, while seeming as much at first glance, the Bureau is by no means leaderless - but that does not mean it is 'neat'. Far from it indeed - even with all its modern sensibilities and agreements, coordination and official planning, it still holds a nigh-Byzantine way of organization: both in its fractured structure and a system based on varied faith, cultural, and moral differences that seems maddeningly disconnected and senseless to outsiders.

Looking past all its strange argumentative chaos, atop this tower of attempted order still there stands a group of seven people that compose the council that directs the force of the Bureau - the Sevenfold, a collection of individuals that, through merit alone (or at least, as some of them would like you to believe), have earned their place to lead one of the most notoriously complicated, stratified, and borderline ridiculous sectors of the Authority to ever exist.

The culture of The Bureau is also a sight to behold. Officially, investigations and acquisitions handled by the Bureau revolve around various checks and balances at the departmental level. Its services are requested by various parties within the Authority - both inside Research and outside of it - to acquire and sometimes study certain anomalous items, objects, persons, and organisations. This, of course, being sanctioned either through various forms and paper-pushing by upper management or more hands-on, esoteric means. It is by this process that most modern departments in Acquisitions have been accreted.

Unofficially, most departments in the Bureau often fail to work in tandem with their higher-ups - Sevenfold or otherwise - resulting in a notorious culture of both intentional and unintentional disinformation between the superiors and the Bureau. This fact serves only to further fuel the fire of the outsiders' perception of this chaotic body. It’s a running joke among members of the Axton Hornsby Exploration Society to call any decree made by the heads of the Bureau ‘curdled milk’, due to the fact that by the time any collective official decision arrives from amongst themselves, it has already been undertaken by various smaller groups in the Bureau informally months if not years prior - sometimes at the detriment of the Bureau's very arduous filing records.

For all its misinterpretation, relations between the Bureau and the more public Office of Analysis and Science couldn’t fair better - while departments within Acquisitions are typically only aligned as per formality, one can often find cross-sector collaboration across Research galore. For this reason alone, the Bureau is typically seen as the glue that holds our Division together, embodying Research’s diverse and complex past completely and utterly dedicated to the pursuit and, dare-I-say-it, 'acquisition' of a greater knowledge.

Now, let’s talk about the groups that make the Bureau.


Departments

THE AXTON HORNSBY EXPLORATION SOCIETY

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A member of the Greenridge Woods Fellowship resting at the camp next to the excavation site.

The Society, or the ‘Department for Cultural Affairs’ as it had been unfortunately misnomered during the Bureau’s third failed standardisation attempt following the second World War, is one of the most hands-on portions of the Bureau of Acquisitions. It is also, humorously enough, also one of the few parts of it that physically still ‘acquires’ anomalies in-person during the present day.

Rooted deeply in the dreams of explorers from the 1800s, its vision is owed in part to the Victorian fascination with those that map the unknown, as well as previous Auctoritas efforts in both the Middle East, Northern Africa, Asia, Oceania, and even the Americas. The name originates from Sir Axton Hornsby, a knighted gentleman renowned among more private circles in Britain for his exclusive explorer's club and valiant efforts in providing the Auctoritas past anomalies and old documentation for study. His personal investments made later in life, as with his deep love of the anomalous world, helped to assist the burgeoning Authority to such an effect that he dedicated his club and legacy in its total to his lifelong friend Emma Laxley upon his deathbed, who in-turn merged it into the burgeoning Research Division of the time.

As of the modern-day, members of this department, the so-called almost affectionately labeled "Explorators", are usually stationed at Research sites in small teams or liaisons that go out, acting as first responders to scouting out and possibly acquiring anomalies, acting both in the name of Acquisitions and Research at large.

Historically, the Society has always been mainly composed of various chartered leagues, clubs or associations agglomerated into the Bureau who have formal permission by the Sevenfold to ‘bend’ rules whenever possible in order to gain as much for research as they possibly can. Whether this entails companies sending emissaries to force their way through vile jungle temples, grizzled adventurers to brave the desolate wastes of Arctic, or better yet - the infiltration of government organisations to steal priceless anomalous items (under the table, of course) - the Society has had its hands in all of it, usually using archaic credentials as backing for their often admittedly borderline illegal activities. Many of the current members of the Society still hold great pride in their old group's history and achievements - some to an extent that has created suspicion in where do their exact loyalties lie.

Nevertheless, the Society members are a valuable asset to our Authority. With their know-how in such a wide range of various fields, other branches within the Authority often ask of the Bureau for the company of their would-be adventurers - and it is not without precedent for some of these companies to be agglomerated into parts of other Divisions within the Authority.

As such, of all parts of Research they liaison the most with other Divisions, and act as the proverbial olive branch between our Division and other parts of the Authority. Detectives, archaeologists, historians, archivists, wanderers - all occupations and more can be found here.


THE PROMETHEUS PRIMOGENITUS

The Primogenitus, officially dubbed The Department of Occult Concerns, has its roots partially within the Axton Hornsby Exploration Society - and the rest those that emigrated from the so-called Congregance for its strict rulesets when it came to study of proto-religious anthropology. In the early days of Research Division, when the Authority finally formed following the breakaway of the Auctoritas from the Catholic Church, several societies and old esoteric orders flourished under Authority protection, using several previously established old sites already unofficially tenuously working with the Auctoritas1 as a jumping-off point to build 'something new'.

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Members of the Order of Roundtree performing a counter-ritual at a nondisclosed location to help aid in maintaining secrecy following a containment breach.

This occult boom resulted in an entire department being born, dedicated to studies of mystical or otherwise preternatural anomalies. In possession of many culturally significant artifacts from around the world, this department takes aim to learn about their effects and connotation through a more unorthodox approach. Even today, the oldest sites hosting members of this department contain ancient orders in and of themselves, groups and cabals that have played a large role in Research's foray into the mystical arts, continuing to do so well into the present.

Where the Axton Hornsby Exploration Society is at least coy with bending the rules, the Prometheus Primogenitus is ruthless in both their tactics and methods - to the point where their actions have been deemed ‘too accelerationist’ for the rest of Research by peers, owing this outlook in part to their old predecessor-organisations' former persecution by the Auctoritas and Congregance at large. Many of the activities at Primogenitus-dominated sites never see the light of day outside of the sites themselves - they are the most secretive of all Departments, and - even in the Bureau - are kept at arms’ length by others. If the loyalties of some of the more enthusiastic members of the Society are under suspicion at times, then those of the members of the Primogenitus are openly questioned.

But, even with their behavior, they still offer results that have on more than one separate occasion helped the Authority at large in monumental ways. To them, they shall provide the ends to anything - so long as you don't think too hard about their means.


THE CONGREGANCE

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A monk from the Thai Buddhist branch of the Theistic Department nourishing a tiger from his temple.

Of course, not all members of the Authority will openly welcome what they see as the 'dark arts'. The Congregance, also known as the Theistic Department, is the center of most mainstream religious study in the Authority, exploring and containing the anomalous through tradition and faith. A department arguably as old as the Authority itself, it is regarded with respect almost as much as skepticism.

Originally solely Roman Catholics and the odd cleric taken in by the Auctoritas Impertus, the Congregance has flourished into a wide variety of faiths from all corners of the globe. Nowadays, it is much more open - monks and priests flourish, with faiths ranging from Eastern Orthodoxy, through Hinduism to Buddhism. This branch of the Bureau has tasked itself with two goals: Lending their hand any way they can in containing and researching anomalies, and helping protect the minds and morals of their colleagues, however arbitrary the latter might seem to others.

To them, it is very easy to lose yourself to the horrors you can experience whilst working for the Authority - cultists, demons and at times even would-be divine beings all plague the world and attempt to muddle the morality and souls of the people that fight them. It is on them to prove that their faith can combat these monstrosities, to prove that the darker side of the anomalous cannot always be combated with steel and weapons - but rather through prayer and will. Even with their differences, they are still willing to work together to help their regions endure the hardships of the anomalous world.

Understandably, a number of staff members are skeptical of the efficiency and necessity of this branch. They are men and women of science, and faith has no place within the experiments they conduct. A prayer cannot brew a solution, nor can a cross give you an answer to your equation. Even so, a lack of quantitative results is not to be entirely written off - there is an equal number of personnel who have seen the Congregance's work on the field: Christian monks' prayers sending creatures of shadow screeching into the night, Buddhist monks enduring the barrage of mental attacks from a cursed item through meditation alone, and Hindu priests being recovered from a temporal anomaly they spent years in without food or water, but still living.

All in the Congregance understand the hardship of belief. But, as anyone will say, scientist or not - sometimes, for something to work, all you need is a little faith.


THE DEPARTMENT OF CRYPTOLOGY AND ANTI-MEMETICS

The twin security departments, half-mockingly nicknamed "The Lettermen", are one of the more overlooked and at times even laughed at branches within not only Research, but the Authority at large.

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A joint operation between the two departments at deciphering a memetic hazard without damaging its contents.

Their purpose remains mostly unchanged throughout its history. Cryptology deals with the process of ciphering messages through a large variety of encryption methods, whilst Anti-Memetics study the effects and vulnerabilities of memetic or info-hazardous agents, searching for ways to distort images and messages to destroy as many hazards as possible without making them incomprehensible.

Their origins are as simple as their purpose: The first was born as a small office working for the Presidium in Site-223, the influx of German cryptologists to Argentina after World War II kick-started their growth into a Department under the Research Division. The other was quickly assembled from 14 offices throughout Eastern Europe and Great Britain during the late 70s, following the popularization of simple memetic hazards in communication on the anomalous world.

This resulted in the two departments leaning on each other, both from them being newcomers to the Authority fold as well as their communications-natured tasks. They often try to demonstrate their skills to the other branches, being unafraid to ask each other for detecting any vulnerabilities in their methods, and constantly developing together new anomalous and non-anomalous ways to maintain the Authority's secrecy. The staff within these twin departments always have their ears close to the ground and listening for cases where they can lend their services and prove their worth.

In the end, although they are not as impressive or influential as the other departments, they are still members of the Bureau, as well as Research. Their wish to prove themselves has shown itself as useful with those who recognize their enthusiasm will be able to utilize them to other full capacity. And who are we to stop them?


THE VIDERICS DEPARTMENT

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Rsr. Watkins under the influence of an experimental videric compound.

If the Society is known for its natural curiosity, the Prometheus for its mistrust and the Congregance for their unwavering faith, the Viderics department of Viderics is known throughout the Authority by one thing: Pure, abject terror.

The department, based in Site-074, is known for their development and use of viderics, substances and devices that allow the user to see beyond the veil of reality and witness hidden aspects of the world. In the most cases, these hold the appearance of simple eyedrops or the occasional neurotransmitter attached to the skull. But the Viderics department goes above and beyond in their quest to see the world as it truly is: They are the transhumanists, the mad scientists and the doomsayers the Authority has gathered within its orbit and supplied with the means to reach their, what we once believed they were, fantasies.

The staff members put themselves under the knife of science, constantly in search of hidden truths. Their bodies show countless experiments they have passed or failed, their minds tell of stories in tongues the human mind cannot even perceive. They are the ones who can feel your thoughts on their tongues, who see your fear radiating from you like smoke and feel your panic on the tips of their fingers.

Many ask whether theses staff members are anomalies themselves, hoping there is a simple explanation for their appearance and behavior. Things they encounter every day in their job, items and monsters with their rules and functions, which can be understood despite their disconnection from reality's rules. But the Viderics department is horrifyingly human and real: All of their tools are the result of scientific experiments, and they are themselves product of human nature.

The Visionaries are anything but disloyal. They are the Authority's bravest men and women, willing to sacrifice much of themselves to help the organisation and humanity at large. But one can't help but wonder - what type of humanity will they want to preserve, should they stay too long in their warped worlds?


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