ESPER is an organization that operates using very specific protocols, as their mission is of utmost importance to every living person on the planet. These rules are simple, but explain the entire process of ESPER from hiring new members to closing a case.
ESPER will constantly seek out new members. Since one of their main missions is to keep people in the dark about the supernatural, it is in their best interest to find others who know and either get them to join or keep them silent. ESPER operatives will locate a target and follow that person. They will often attempt to gauge as much information about their target in the time that they follow them, usually about a month, and during this time they will also gauge the person's knowledge and/or involvement with the supernatural, and any supernatural abilities if possible.
At the end of this month of research, the ESPER operatives will decide if the person is a threat to ESPER's mission, if they are inconsequential, or if their knowledge and abilities could be useful. If it is the first, ESPER will do its best to dispatch of them, normally nonviolently through mental retraining, but if need be through subversive (weakening the person's reputation, sometimes getting them thrown into an asylum) or fatal means.
If, however, ESPER notices that the individual may be a good fit, they will set up a scenario usually involving a known haunted location and also usually including three or more possible candidates. They will use this opportunity to see if the candidates are viable and would be useful to ESPER, and if so, the end of the scenario will include meeting an ESPER ambassador who offers them a position in the organization. The ambassador is given full authorization to do what he deems best if they should turn it down.
New ESPER recruits are usually not given immediate access to ESPER, although there have been (relatively few) exceptions. The ESPER recruits will be put on "hold," in a sort of assessment period. They will be called upon if ESPER has a mission it would like them to undertake. It normally will keep them in the groups they had in their initiation scenario, although often will add one ESPER guide. The guide does not actually accompany the party, but will stay availably close if needed and observes their progress, taking notes and giving advice.
After new ESPER recruits have been fully assessed (there are no hard and fast rules for time limit... they must simply prove their ability, loyalty, and trustworthiness), a new scenario will be set up for them. Unlike the first scenario, this one will be a real and dangerous mission. However, it will be set in a location where there is an ESPER headquarters, and the party will be led there and given access to the HQ.
Once an agent has discovered ESPER HQ, they are promoted to the status of Full Agent. They will be given full access to any ESPER HQ, including lodgings at their main branch. The Agents are then completely free to come and go as they please, and will be contacted for missions more frequently. Missions will now begin with briefings held at the agent's ESPER HQ branch with their ESPER director. They are completely free, while on a mission, to use the ESPER armory or any other of the facilities located there.
Being an ESPER agent is for life. Once you are initiated, you can never leave, and most wouldn't want to. ESPER is like a very tight-knit family, and the camraderie is often closer than blood. ESPER will never make any of their agents do something they are unwilling to do, and would never shame an agent for declining a request. Also, adding to the fact that most ESPER agents don't ever want to leave is that agents have a great feeling of self-worth, that they are heroes doing something that no one else on the planet could or would do. If an ESPER agent does want to retire, ESPER will be forced to wipe their memory and set them up with a new life and redesigned memories.
ESPER normally sets up its agents to perform missions in one of two ways... by putting the agents together with other agents that they have worked with before (which leads to groups normally always working with the same people), or, in very rare cases which include missions they feel are too important and difficult, by putting the group of agents together based on ability. Normally, the ESPER Director at their location will brief them on the mission and allow them to outfit themselves in the armory. Many times, time limits are established to ensure that the group understands the gravity of the situation they are dealing with.
ESPER agents are then transported using conventional means to the location they will be investigating, and if there is an ESPER HQ near the location they will be met by an ESPER operative who will reveal its location and grant them access, allowing them to use its facilities as their base of operations.
ESPER agents are free to finish their mission as they please, although they need to keep the ESPER rules in mind while doing so. Any variation from the rules on a mission may be terms for discipline, which normally means being taken off missions and re-educated, but if an agent is fulfilling missions in such a way that seems to indicate that his loyalty, trustworthiness, ethics, or sanity are compromised, the disciplinary action could be worse, up to and including mental rehabilitation, mental reconditioning, having one's memory wiped and being released from the team, or in severe conditions that indicate severe compromise by the forces of evil, death.
The ESPER Code is a series of rules by which every ESPER agent lives his or her life. This code is taken very seriously by every agent and is deeply engrained into new recruits. It was written by ESPER founder Dr. John Dee in the year 1600, and has remained wholly unchanged since then. It is:
- The Darkness is among us. Should Mankind know this to be true, it would be disastrous to every living thing. The hearts and minds of men must be kept clear of this diabolical worry, and we are the first line of defense against this terrible truth being released.
- There are none that can truly protect themselves from this evil, and thus, those of us so gifted must offer of ourselves to do that which no other can do: keep mankind safe from the Horrors of the Night.
- While we may have gifts that few others do, letting those not so gifted see our capabilities would lead to further recognition, and we cannot allow that.
- Nothing that is truly evil may be permitted to continue, but not everything that seems evil may be. Since we are those few who have the power to eliminate evil, we must take upon ourselves the added responsibility of ensuring that which we destroy is actually evil. If it is not, it must be spared and protected, although kept from the world's wary eye. If it can be changed, it must be given that opportunity. Otherwise, it must be destroyed.
- We must stand together, our backs to the world and our faces toward the darkness. We must not let ourselves step away from the world, and we must not let ourselves step toward the darkness. We must not let ourselves step aside from our brothers-in-arms, either.