Academy Evolution Timeline

Given the nature of the Academy’s work, their mission evolved over time from wartime espionage to peacetime intelligence. More importantly, given how experimental the work was, each subsequent generation trained demonstrated the need for change in all aspects from candidate selection, to training, to deployment.

Phase 1:

The initial mission of the Academy was to develop and implement a program for enhancing psychic ability and training these subjects as assassins. The Academy hired the services of the Malfi Blood-Sworn as consultants to lay the ground work for the first training program.

The first class selected were all 13 year olds with exceptional intelligence and athletic ability that also demonstrated psychic tendencies when tested. After several years of training it was determined that these subjects were too old at the start and were too independent to be safely deployed on their own into field.

Locke was part of the first class of subjects.

Phase 2:

The Academy sought younger students; this time pulling boys and girls at 10 years of age from Core World gifted and talented programs. These younger students were much easier to train and less likely to stray in the field, but they were so young that while they performed well physically and psychically, they were had less tactical planning skill to work alone in the field.

Ruan was one of these younger subjects.

Phase 2.5:

Rather than scrap their previous subjects, the Academy devised a system of tethered operation in which a younger psychic was paired with a phase 1 subject. These Operator/Agent pairs proved an ideal solution as it allowed them to tailor the training of each individual to their particular role.

The Operator acted as an interface between the outside world by controlling the working Agent from a distance. The analogy would be a skilled marksman (the Operator) with a finely tuned weapon (the Agent) or a military working dog with its handler. Because of the specialized nature of the Agents, they were considered too dangerous to work without a controlling Operator there.

Operator training involved using their own psychic ability to push behavioral triggers implanted within the minds of their Agents; literally controlling them via a combination of verbal commands and mental pushes. The Agent training program now exclusively focused on the physical aspects as well the implantation of a complex set of behavior switches. The result was that when controlled by a well trained Operator, the Agents were inhumanly quick and accurate while appearing to never tire or feel pain.

Phase 2.5 was the most successful implementation of the Academy program to date and tethered pairs were regularly used for assassinations, espionage, body guard duty, and other dirty jobs that needed to be carried out in secret. There were enough tethered Operator/Agent pairs working that there was an entire detail of soldiers dedicated to working escort duty to make sure that the teams’ work stayed secret. (Though the job description was that they were responsible for the insertion and extraction of the team, this detail was also under orders to shoot both Operator and Agent should they ever attempt escape.)

A series of accidents with Phase 2.5 subjects (most notably the “Agent Y Incident”) and “Locke’s Stray Dog” nearly shut down the Academy for good.

Phase 3:

Instead of abandoning its mission the Academy entered a period of intense revision in which they placed a greater emphasis on brain washing and implantation of fail safes into their trainees. All of their current working teams were recalled for “re-tuning”. Those that survived the process returned to duty, but they were never as fast or as useful as the original phase 2.5 teams.

Fast forward to the timeline of the Firefly television show.

Phase 4:

The Academy, now totally underground and publicly denied by the Alliance continues to train Agents for solo work and only for the most high level and clandestine missions. Only a few top parliamentary and military officials know that the Academy and its work continues.

Because of the difficulty adapting them, most of the earlier phase subjects, have been culled. Of the few originals that remain are several of those original phase 1 subjects trained as Operators. These Operators now have a new role, to plug the leaks and keep the Academy secret. As they no longer have an Agent in the field doing the work for them nor do they have any known connection to the Academy, they are given a new title: Operative of the Parliament.

(Written by Emily)
(GM's note: Not all the Operatives are former Academy. Most are exceptional agents chosen for their skills and loyalty, more along the lines of James Bond "Double O" agents)