From: Ondré Debinski
To: ENA Novas
Subject: What we can learn from the Jo-burg affair
OK, we need to do a more careful post mortem of this episode (sorry
about the choice of words, but you all know what I mean).
Some lessons for us and ENA in general.
Point one: SA made a grave mistake by asking for novas, any novas,
to come and help them deal with the situation. They did not fully understand
the differences in nova abilities and personality. To some extent this
was likely due to the rushed nature of the whole situation and that
SA did not have any nova knowledge of their own. The SSS was woefully
unprepared and believed they knew enough to advice the government on
what to do. Expect some heads to roll over there. But this lesson holds
for us too. We will likely get unreasonable requests from European governments
who do not understand much about novas. ENA can do a lot of good by
informing them and keeping them updated – much work here for Nice and
Stuttgart. Novas are not panaceas, novas cannot be used as standard
military or intelligence or any other forces.
Point two: getting novas to needed locations is messy. SA did have
a jet ready more or less by chance. Since we usually have to go by military
plane, train or other more inconvenient methods transport is often a
bottleneck. Right now the plane on loan from the UK Nova Task Force
is one of the major expenses of ENA, and that is just a single plane.
Flying tends to be frowned on in dense airspaces, and flying low is
a good way of attracting attention (trust me, I know).
Point three: Cooperation didn’t seem to be a problem internally or
externally this time. From the reports I got you all got along well
with the SA authorities, formed good scanner teams (one scanner, one
defender) and when the shit hit the fan converged on the problem efficiently
and creatively (although some of the methods might be refined to cause
less property damage – not that anybody cared in this case).
Point four: We need better communication even during bad conditions.
Booster did a marvellous job with the radio system, but when nobody
is equipped with a functional radio it doesn’t help. I have asked R&D
to look into radio and phone systems for teams. They might not work
well during nuclear fighting, but at least for a bit more everyday situations
they could help coordination a lot.
Point five: Heroism is great, but most of you rushed into a nuclear
blast area with no protection except bravery. Had not Mrs Mofetta been
present and helpful, I suspect most of you would be dead now due to
radiation poisoning. I guess the hair problems and stomach troubles
you have had so far are a sufficient reminder of that.
Point six: The big disaster occurred when one team did not act as a
team with the rest, and instead began to act on its own according to
eccentric premises. The root cause was of course the psychological instability
of Despairing Venus and Die Vampire, but there was no safeguard against
it. In a safely designed system there has to be failures on several
levels before things break down. We need to ensure that the psychological
disruption (or other problem) of one part of the team does not propagate
to the mission. More thought on planning is needed here.
Point seven: Once things got out of hand there was much improvisation.
It is important to be able to invent in the field, but again do not
take unnecessary risks. Major Ivalds’ jump into the fray was too risky,
and nearly cost him his life.
Point eight: Make sure you have pickup points and phone numbers ready
and memorized. The fact that Mr Doyle got left at the airport for *days*
is downright embarrassing.
To sum up, this mission was a mess, but it did succeed. Given the information
discovered later about the “stealthiness” of the boy when not using
his powers, it is unlikely the teams would have found him easily. Ordinary
police work might have worked, but the detonation made it both irrelevant
and impossible to use (STF was not prepared to get into ground zero;
you were). Once the boy was in the right hands he was brought to a safe
holding place with a minimum of risk and hassle. I know many of you
are shocked by the events, but consider this: had you not been there,
millions would have been at risk and quite likely killed when the boy
really blew. As it was, it was a tragedy, but you averted an even greater