Things You Might Want to Know When Mounting a Rescue Mission

When I presented Things You Might Want to Know When Planning a Heist, Michael pointed out that most of what goes into a successful heist plot can also go into a successful hostage rescue mission plan. It’s true, but on the other hand, not all that’s required for a rescue plan is really covered by a heist plan. Specifically, there are a lot of factors introduced around the fact that a rescue mission is focused around a living, breathing, sentient and hopefully ready to be active individual.

The first thing to know, of course, is who you’re pulling out. It’s not just to avoid the issue of decoys or misaimed rescue attempts, either, though “The more you know about the rescuee, the better” applies to those, too. It’ll also give you a sense of how urgent it is to get them out of there, and what kind of extra trouble they’re likely to have gotten into by the time you get in. It might also give you a sense of some of the other factors to be planned around, such as:

How might the rescuee be able to help with her own rescue? Sometimes this is straight capabilities: powers, skills, special knowledge, that sort of thing. In cases like that, you may need to provide her with equipment—often, in fact, since if the rescuee owns something that could facilitate her own escape or rescue, it would be foolish for her captors not to confiscate it. In other cases, though, the rescuee’s advantage might be a familiarity with where she’s been being held; needless to say, this is somewhat more difficult to plan for, but worth considering as a possibility. Then there are the times when the question isn’t whether she can already help, but whether she’s taken care of part of it already—and possibly how you’re going to find her if her escape route isn’t on your original planned path.

On the other hand, you’ll need to take into account how the rescuee might hinder her own rescue. A lot of the time, it isn’t going to be her fault; she might be in no condition to move, suffering from some sort of debilitating psychological trauma, brainwashed, combinations of the above, and so on. Sometimes it’s just unwitting: not having the same information that you do, the rescuee makes mistakes, endangering herself and/or others through ignorance of the situation or a lack of familiarity with the plan. Allow for cases like these by determining what she can/should be told and what is the most efficient way to do so. And sometimes, for whatever reason—whether it’s as malign as brainwashing or mental compulsions, or as benign as not being aware she’s in danger or not recognizing her rescuers as such, the rescuee may simply not want to go, and hinder the mission accordingly.

Then there’s the contingency—in many cases, the hardest decision of the plan. If the rescue mission cannot be completed as planned, which is the primary objective, keeping the rescuee alive or keeping her out of enemy hands? Tactics vary accordingly: if the objective is bringing out the rescuee alive, failure might be met by dropping her somewhere comparatively nonhazardous and aiming for a later extraction, whereas if what matters is keeping her out of enemy hands, it may be necessary to kill her and run. Knowing which to do can prevent freezing up at a vital moment.

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