Agents are skilled individuals who use their contacts and abilities to ingratiate themselves with organisations, and engage in diplomatic activities. Some of their actions may be trivial, such as gathering Influence with a faction, while others can be considerably more complex. Depending on this complexity, tasks may involve more or less time, effort and risk. Travel time, for example, depends on the distance between the Spacelab Headquarters and the Agent's destination. A task's duration may depend on the faction at which it is targeted: some factions may be more open to receiving Agents ('Diplomats'), or have fewer restrictions in place, allowing swifter completion. Dynamic Relations can also have an impact, and should be taken into account when assigning tasks to Agents.
A number of legal tasks are available to Agents: Gather Influence or Blueprints, Negotiate Discount, Boost Notoriety, Increase Notoriety, Acquire Equipment, and Special Ships. Other tasks, of more questionable legality, are also possible, including: Hack Station, Steal Equipment or Blueprints, and Sabotage Factory. These bear a risk to the Agent's health if they are caught. Finding and recruiting Agents is not easy: they can only be hired following the completion of risky missions such as Defend Object or Transport Passenger, which are, themselves, hard to come by.
All tasks are arduous, limiting the operational longevity of Agents. Some Agents have higher tolerance levels then others, and may be able to perform more tasks before they burn out. Once their ability to continue in such a high-pressure environment has been exhausted, they will leave the headquarters, usually retiring to their home world with their close kin.
The amount of tasks any given Agent has, is randomly defined. Outside of Plots this varies between 4 and 8 tasks. Generic Missions that allow Agents to be recruited have them listed in the briefing; this way it should be easy to know which ones will allow players to replace retired Agents or just add additional Agents to the pool, with a limit of 5 Agents at any given time. There are only Hard and Very hard versions of these missions.
Agents can only perform diplomatic and espionage tasks if they have influence to spend, which has to be gathered beforehand. Influence is gathered per race and can only be spent on tasks aimed at that race. All races will have varied bonuses that have an impact on the gathering rate. It is displayed on the right side of the diplomacy menu, and clicking on a line will open a window showing the composition of the bonus.
|6, 7, 8||10%|
|-1, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 ,5||5%|
|Argon||Diplomatic||Varies||Gaining any notoriety with Argon||Bonus is dependent on the amount gained (up to 10%)|
|Boron||Pacifist||10%||Not attacking anything||Opposite to other bonuses, is removed when ever player attacks ships or stations of any race|
|Goner||Liberator||5%||Releasing passengers/slaves at goner stations|
|Paranid||Worshipper of Xaar||2%||Entering a Paranid Sector||Player ship only|
|Split||Honorary Split||Varies||Killing Boron or Argon ships||Bonus is dependent on ship class|
|Teladi||Profitsss||1%||Trading with Teladi||Double bonus for the player ship|
|Terran||Xenon Exterminator||Varies||Killing Xenon Ships||Bonus is dependent on ship class|
|Combat||Killing Friendly Ships||-1 to -20||-100||600||Negative bonus for killing a race's ship, depends on size of ship|
|Boarding||Boarding Friendly Ships||-1 to -20||-100||600||Negative bonus for boarding a race's ship|
|Police||Killing Enemy Ships||1-10||30||600||Killing enemy ships in race territory, bonus depends on size of ship|
|Trade||Trading with race||1||10||600||Favourable trade with a race, ie buying for more than average, or selling for less|