Way back in July of last year I speculated about the changes Cataclysm might bring to some of the established Rogue organizations, not even realizing that an entirely new one was being formed right under our collective noses. The irony is that there is nothing subtle about the Gnomeregan Covert Ops. They state quite clearly what they are all about and wear their name with pride. However trying to discover any information about them is no easy task. The trick is that they hide in plain sight.
When High Tinker Mekkatorque put out the call for Operation Gnomeregan he quickly discovered that as a leader in exile, he didn't really have authority over anyone in the Alliance. In addition, much of his reconnaissance information came to him through the human filter of SI:7. Sure they got a lot of would be heroes to show up and volunteer to help, however in the end their efforts were unsuccessful. Mekkatorque needed to rethink his strategy on not only on how to retake his home city, but how to make it livable once again. So he started by looking for the best and the brightest in each of the fields he needed.
Kelsey Steelspark, a former operative of SI:7, who he made the head of GCO. Unlike her counterpart Mathias Shaw, Kelsey does not display her title, in fact she assumes the guise of a low level rogue trainer. It is only by paying close attention that her TRUE status is revealed. First notice her presence at the advisory table in New Tinkertown. Take a moment to listen to her conversation with the others and it is quickly clear she has the authority to request back up from political allies as well as order all those new gnome rogues around. Kelsey has undergone a couple of costume changes which lead to some additional confusion regarding her status early on. When she was first introduced in Beta she had a two handed sword leading the casual passerby to mistake her for a warrior, now she displays duel daggers.
Like Master Shaw, Kelsey had to create an organization completely from scratch, but used what she already knew worked in SI:7. However hers is one that has some very steep debts to pay at its very conception. The High Tinker wants an organization that will focus on the interests of the Gnomish people verses SI:7's more militarily advantageous intelligence directives under King Varian. For the past many years the Gnomes have lived in exile, harbored by their neighbors the Dwarves at Ironforge. Kelsey needs to build on getting the information her people need to retake their former home, rebuild relationship with their once trusted allies, as well as further the knowledge of the their recently discovered history. This is no easy task to accomplish in the middle of a toxic clean up site.
With the recent death of Magni, and almost Dwarven Civil War, many Gnomes found themselves caught in the middle of what was best for the Alliance as a whole and them as a people. The newly created Council of Three Hammers and the Gnomish people don't share the comfortable relationship once felt in the halls of Ironforge. Many of the Gnomish citizens have been replaced by Dark Iron refugees, this could potentially create distrust and resentment. Muradin while known to the Gnomes has been away so long and through so much that past relationships can no longer be counted. Falstad is another relative unknown as the Wildhammer clans have pretty much kept to themselves and don't usually cooperate even with each other. Moira on the other hand has proven herself to be hostile towards the Gnomish people, even imprisoning some of them shortly after her return to Ironforge during her attempt to cement her claim to the throne. The need for GCO is very clear.
Kelsey's second in command is another gnome by the name of Jarvi Shadowstep, it is he who works most closely with the dwarves and gains their assistance cleaning out some of the remaining troubles on the surface around Gnomeregan. In exchange the Gnomes offer equal aid to their Dwaven "cousins" with their Troll problem just outside Kharanos. Jarvi's larger team of operatives are in the trenches getting dirty and building on those former trust relationships. In typical gnomish fashion this involves a great many devices which make you question your safety and sanity. The majority of the Gnomeregan covert ops personnel just go by "Covert Ops Agent" but a few have names and some interesting stories to tell if you are lucky enough to find them.
Delber Cranktoggle is responsible for the "The Ultrasafe Personnel Launcher", as a rogue you are generally ok as we have feather fall...all others? Lets just say bodies falling seems to be the order of the day with this device. Much fun can be had however if you enjoy projecting yourself all over the map. If you manage to survive (or not chicken out and just walk) you may discover his colleagues Slamp Wobblecog and Snevik the Blade. Snevik believes in equality for all gnomes and that if everyone saw the world from the gnomish point of view all fighting would cease. Interesting theory, you need to see how it works on trolls for yourself.
The only other named member of Gnomeregan Covert Ops that I have been able to locate is Ration Officer Flexgear. Unlike the other members of GCO, Flexgear is not working near either Gnomeregan or Kharanos. In fact, Flexgear is not even in the Eastern Kingdoms. She and her small band of operatives, who consist of one male and two other females, are located at small outpost just north of Land's End Beech in Tanaris called Steelspark Station.
Steelspark? Where have we heard THAT name before? Oh that is right, she is the the head of GCO. For such a young organization to have managed to already have gotten an outpost in Tanaris is impressive. Why are they there? Uldum. Remember what the Gnomes discovered about themselves in Northrend? That they were created by the Titans? Now suddenly more Titan artifacts are turning up and where the Dwarves were looking for their history, the Gnomes are interested in the technology. Kelsey and her crew need to be there to make sure that the scientist and engineers report back to the High Tinker, not only that, if anything goes wrong, someone needs to report that as well. It will be interesting to see how this new group plays out but so far I have been impressed with Ms Steelspark and her people. They are a nice addition to rogue organization lore.
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