Written by Carl Gleba, Matt Clemens and Kevin Siembieda, the CS Combat Courier made its debut in the Rifts: Heroes of Humanity Sourcebook published by Palladium Books.
The CS Combat Courier is part intelligence officer, part reconnaissance operative, part war correspondent and part courier. They answer directly to the Department of Propaganda (DoP) overseen by Joseph Prosek II, who gets most (but not quite all) battlefield intelligence and combat film footage even before the brass of the Coalition States Military High Command or the Emperor, himself!
Joseph and his Department of Propaganda (DoP) sort the material and classify it (DoP Ultra, Top Secret, Secret, Classified, or Restricted) before disseminating it to the appropriate personnel. Combat Couriers and the DoP monitor and truly control the flow of information, with Joseph ultimately deciding what gets passed along, to whom, what is kept secret, and what is kept Ultra Secret (the DoP Ultra classification is his eyes only). This makes Joseph Prosek II the master of spies and information as well as propaganda. He and the DoP pass along video for the purposes of military training, combat assessment and target acquisition as well as public dissemination. All of this makes the Combat Couriers some of his most valuable assets, whether they realize it or not. Note: It is important to make the distinction that Joseph Prosek II does not devise military or political strategies, tactics, or policies for the CS – though he can offer his opinion and make suggestions should he care to do so – but rather it is he who decides what data gets passed along to whom. It is the military and government leaders who ultimately decide what to do with it. Of course, things are never that cut and dried, and Joseph Prosek knows how to play people and manipulate the reactions and results that he would like to see.
Coalition States Combat Couriers (CSCC) are often commissioned officers who have undergone specialized training, but some have risen through the ranks, and some are Mercenaries, Wilderness Scouts and adventurers hired by the CS to do the job. “Native guides,” if you will, who can either help Combat Couriers get to where they need to go, or serve as Combat Couriers themselves. The Combat Courier designation is a deliberate misnomer to make them sound less important and less formidable than they really are. It is the CSCC who often plays a vital role in acquiring strategic information and film footage in the first place, then delivering it to the Department of Propaganda who weeds through it and passes along the most vital of the information (at least in theory) to the Coalition Military High Command. The military leaders use the data and film to study enemy actions, strengths and weaknesses, and formulate battle plans, strategic strikes, combat operations, and battlefield strategies and tactics with as close to up to the minute info as possible in this communications challenged world.
The Coalition Combat Courier is one of the unsung heroes of the Minion War. They are the ones who risk their necks to sneak behind enemy lines and into enemy installations to film breaches in their defenses and fortifications, ways in and out of enemy territory, the locations of Hell Pits, demonic leaders, weapon depots, secret enemy weapons, etc., and getting all kinds of other critical data and video of strategic importance, as well as showing heroic CS troops battling monsters from the pits of Hell. The former is arguably the most important for the war effort, but it is the latter that is the most gut-wrenching. It brings the war home in a very real way, and keeps support for it strong. This is not a war of politics or values, it is a war between good and evil, humans and true monsters. And the footage from the war front has been left shockingly genuine, making Combat Couriers the unsung heroes who provide windows to the world beyond the ivory towers of the Coalition States.
All Coalition Combat Couriers are soldiers with the same training as a Dead Boy Grunt. Though capable fighters, the job of the Combat Courier is not to fight, but rather to observe and memorialize (record, film, etc.) the war. More than that, their footage and firsthand observations are used to evaluate troops in the field, and combat strategies and operations of allied forces and the enemy. The vital data is brought back to Headquarters as quickly as possible for further assessment and implementation. Often delivered by the very same Courier who filmed the footage. CS Combat Couriers are the secret videographers and couriers behind the scenes whose diligence and skill could make or break the Coalition’s efforts in the war.
If caught by the enemy, the Combat Courier is on his own. Disavowed as anything except being a Dead Boy at war. Under interrogation, the CSCC plays innocent and dumb. “I’m just a grunt who got separated from his company. Shows you how stupid I am. I thought I was headed back to my troops, not deeper behind enemy lines.” “A spy? I wish. Then maybe I could help my nation defeat you and send you back to whatever pit you crawled out of.” “The camera(s)? Just a hobby. Something to show my kids when I tell them about how we kicked your ass.”
These are brave men and women, with nerves of steel and cunning required (M.E. 15 or higher, a good I.Q. and a high M.A. helps). A Coalition States Combat Courier may work alone, in a small group of other CSCCs, or with CS Rangers, Reconnaissance teams, Commandos, Special Forces, or any mixed group of combat personnel (including non-CS personnel; the player group, perhaps). Though they may be authorized to operate undercover (i.e. dressed as something other than a Dead Boy and perhaps operating with a mixed adventurer group of mercenaries, D-Bees, mages, etc.), the vast majority do not, and look like any other Dead Boy. As per their job, they tend to let others do the actual fighting while they film or plot ways in and out of enemy territory and trouble. Think recon scout with a camera and an intelligence gathering agenda.