Raptor is a new breed of adventurer, thief, scholar, and robber, which emerged in the latter days of mankind. As global environmental catastrophes revealed new archaeological sites, funding for history and related sciences skyrocketed. Raptors operate in the gray area between freelancer and grave robber, operating for wealthy clients - or for themselves - to procure ancient relics and sell them to the highest bidder.
They share the name with birds of prey. Its original Latin meaning is "one who seizes", derived from the verb raptus. It is a very apt description of their job.
Raptors are best described as professional pluderers. This loosely-affiliated group of freelancers formed in response to a rising demand for antiques, both from legitimate authorities and private collectors. While there are many amateur excavators who ruin as much as they recover, Raptors prefer stealth and finesse. Their exploits, combined with the natural mystery surrounding such a secretive group resulted in their immense popularity among the masses, a strong image of survival and adaptability in troubled times. However, they are despised by professional archeologists, who consider them thieves.
Raptors are an elusive, mysterious group of people. What is known is that they are highly educated, able to identify valuable artifacts in the field, and well trained, as it's a prerequisite for dealing with the challenges present at long-forgotten sites, from tetanus to traps and hostile widlife. Each must also have access to money, as they are capable of purchasing and maintaining the latest and greatest in military and civilian equipment. The most important tool of a Raptor, however, is the MS-2 helmet. Built around a Stolland Library HUD System, the helmet is equipped with an array of scanning and penetrative tools backed by 12 gigabytes of compressed Library data to allow on-the-fly analysis of surroundings. Competition is fierce among Raptors, up to and including killing rivals. Ingrid Seindheim learned that the hard way, when she was shot outside a Mexican temple in 2003.
However, Raptors generally eschew violence and choose finesse. As stated above, their prized piece of equipment is the MS-2 helmet, typically paired with a forearm-mounted MS-7 Sniper semi-automatic rifle slaved to the helmet HUD. Additionally, a Raptor also wears light-weight thermal coveralls with soft-soled sneakers and carries a light back-pack or satchel capable of holding their tools and supplies.
- The Electronic Journal of The State of World-wide Archaeology: "Issue 676/March 2003
Article 2: The Rise and Rise of the Raptors
Reporter: M. Giles
>The traditional archaeologist's image from the last century of the tweed jacketed, pipe-smoking university professor has been supplanted forever by a new breed of scavengers with the questionable title of raptors.
>They are the children of a new age. An age where increasing uncertainty accompanies the massive tectonic upheavals that since '98 have reshaped and redefined the world we live in and our perception of our place in history.
>The impact of these changes on the world of archaeology has been profound. The shifting of the land and the global reduction sea level has revealed many new archaeological sites. Amongst them are whole towns and cities from previously undiscovered human cultures, like the city of the Mabu people, long lost beneath the sea. (See Issue 594)
>Our knowledge of known civilizations is also being revolutionized. Only last year, the delta of the Nile revealed its deep secret of no less than twenty-three miles of secret, subterranean passageways connecting ten temples dedicated to Aten. (See Issue 475)
>These discoveries and the huge public interest they have engendered have had diverse effects on the purpose and the public image of archaeology. Funding and governmental grants have increased exponentially as has the interest among wealthy, private collectors and unscrupulous museums in acquiring these relics at almost any cost.
>The high price (and profit) of these antiquities has led to an explosion in archaeological thievery.
>Much of this opportunism has manifested in ham-fisted, clumsy operations reminiscent of ancient tomb robbers in terror of the mummy's curse. The higher bidders, however, are able to hire members of a new elite fraternity of professional 'plunderers': the raptors.
>Little is known of them as individuals. They are obviously highly trained both in the recognition of valuable artifacts and in dealing with the dangers inherent in exploring some of the locations they have plundered.
>They must also be men and women possessed of extreme wealth. They are able to equip themselves with the largest technology in both weaponry and portable information systems.
>It is known that each one of them has, by fair means or foul, acquired an example of the Stolland library HUD system. An abortive and extremely expensive military device that gives the user a hands-free penetrative scanning system backed up with no less than twelve gigabytes of library information.
>It is also clear that there is no love lost between any of them. Just a week ago, the corpse of one Ingrid Seindheim was discovered shot through the heart at the entryway to an ancient Mayan temple uncovered in an earthquake only the previous day.
>The gutter press has imbued these hi-tech opportunists with a persona of heroism and adventure. The exploits of these 'raptors' have been used to give a worried population something to occupy their mind: A strong image of survival and adaptability in troubled times.
>The word 'raptor' is Latin and means 'thief'. In the opinion of this journal at least, the world should not lose sight of that fact."
- Manual: "Raptor (ræptə(r)) n. A Bird of Prey.
[Latin, "one who seizes", from raptus, RAPT.]
The Raptors are sophisticated cat-burglars by nature. Not for them the heavily armed storm-trooper approach, they prefer to be light and fast, quietly finishing the job before anyone even knows they're there. Clothing-wise, they therefore tend to wear light-weight thermal coveralls with soft-soled sneakers. They also wear the MS-2 helmet, a rather sophisticated piece of military hardware. A light back-pack or satchel capable of holding their tools and supplies complements their standard equipment.
Details on the MS-2 helmet are provided in the official literature. More information regarding the Raptors can be found in the following electronic journal (#676)."