No One Lives Forever Wiki
No One Lives Forever Wiki
A Tenuous Lead
A Tenuous Lead Title.png
Mission guide
Visit to Santa's Workshop
H.A.R.M.'s Promise

"A Tenuous Lead" is the ninth level and fifth mission in the critically acclaimed video game The Operative: No One Lives Forever. The level takes place at the Bremen docks where Cate Archer meets her partner Tom Goodman and must board a cargo freighter in search of relevant information. The level consists of five scenes and is the second longest level in the game.


Meet Agent Goodman at the Bremen docks. Your first goal will be to get aboard the cargo freighter.

Once aboard, you must locate the captain's log and the shipping manifest. Also, photograph any suspicious chemical containers you find.


Scene 1[]

Two hours later...
Bremen Harbor

Cate Archer arrives at the docks which are guarded by security cameras and hostile dock guards. Whether she uses stealth or attacks the enemy head-on is left to the player's discretion as triggering the alarm will not fail the mission. She finds Goodman at the end of the scene who is annoyed that she kept him waiting. As he had to deactivate the explosives he had planted earlier, he and Archer have to reset them. He instructs Archer to set the timers on four devices to 11:15pm in a nearby warehouse, while he takes care of the others.

Scene 2[]

Archer sneaks into the warehouse and activates the four explosives. Again, stealth or combat make no difference to level completion. After the last explosive is activated, several H.A.R.M. paratroopers appear who can either be avoided or dispatched at the players discretion.

Scene 3[]

From a rooftop, Archer and Goodman observe Magnus Armstrong and Inge Wagner boarding the cargo freighter. The explosives detonate but several guards remain by the ship. Archer insists that she infiltrate the ship and a reluctant Goodman eventually relents. Reminding her that she cannot simply "waltz up the gangplank", Archer finds another way onto the freighter - via a shipping container loaded on by the crane.

Scene 4[]

15 minutes later
Aboard the Lorelei

Archer sneaks around the cargo hold of the ship and photographs four chemical containers (distinguishable by their flashy red, green, blue and yellow colors). Photographing all four prompts a mission objectives update. She must now locate the bridge and find the shipping manifest and the captain's log. As the bridge is inaccessible from the cargo hold, the player must go through the ship's control rooms via an open ventilation shaft (identifiable by two sailors talking about headaches and Inge Wagner). After climbing through a hatch, Archer is ambushed by Armstrong, who knocks her out and has her locked up.

At this point, the PlayStation 2 version cuts immediately to the bonus level Nine Years Ago. The PC version proceeds directly to Scene 5.

Scene 5[]

While Armstrong is getting drunk in the galley, Inge Wagner storms in expressing her frustration that Archer is still alive. Their heated (and comedic) argument is interrupted by a loud explosion and the captain's command to abandon ship. Wagner expresses her concern about the cargo and the operation, but Armstrong rebukes her saying that they can replace the cargo but he's "one of a kind" and that he's "getting off this boat before she sinks.

Meanwhile, Archer regains consciousness and finds her cigarette lighter, which the sailors left lying in her cabin. The player must first recover Archer's gear and then place a tracking beacon in the radio room. The placing of the beacon completes the mission.

Memorable Quotes[]

Scene 3[]

(Archer and Goodman have another argument)
Archer: "I've read your file. Subtlety isn't really your specialty is it?"
Goodman: "I can be subtle..."
Archer: "Then explain that shirt!"
Goodman: "What's wrong with it?"
Archer: "Look. I've spent most of my life getting into places I'm not supposed to be. Anyway, if I do get into trouble, I'll be needing a knight in... shining armor to come to my rescue, won't I?"
Goodman: "Well, when you put it that way..."
Archer: "Good, then I'm off."
Goodman: "Wait, how are you planning to get aboard? You can't just waltz up the gangplank."
Archer: "I'll figure something out."
Goodman: "You really don't like this shirt?"
Archer: "Ciao"

Scene 5 - Armstrong and Wagner[]

(for the full experience, click here:
Wagner: (from the corridor) "ARMSTRONG?!? WHERE ARE YOU?!?" (enter) "I demand an explanation!"
Armstrong: (slurred) "Splanation fer what yer ol..."
Wagner: "Heinrik tells me the girl is still alive. Perhaps you did not understand my orders?"
Armstrong: "Yer orders? Ha! You don't give me orders!"
Wagner: "She was to be liquidated. Why did you spare her?"
Armstrong: "I'll not slay a countryman without a fair fight. The girl's just doing her job."
Wagner: "She is a threat to our operation. I'm sure The Director would agree with me."
Armstrong: "Then you kill her!"
Wagner: "Coward!"
Armstrong: "Fattie!"
Wagner: "Drunk!"
Armstrong: "Fattie!"
Wagner: "You disgust me..." [sound of explosion] "What was that?"
Armstrong: "That's an explosion..."
Wagner: (to a sailor) "Find out what's going on."
Sailor 1: "Jawohl Frau Wagner!"
Captain: (over intercom) "ABANDON SHIP! ABANDON SHIP!"
Sailor 2: "Did he say "ship", or "sheep"?"
Sailor 3: ""Ship" I think. Why?"
Sailor 2: "Oh, no reason."

Armstrong: "Well let's go."
Wagner: "What about the cargo?"
Armstrong: "You're welcome to fetch it, Fattie! As for me, I'm getting off this boat before she sinks."
Wagner: "But the operation!"
Armstrong: "We can replace the cargo. But I'm one of a kind, if you take my meaning."
Wagner: "The Director will not be pleased..."
Armstrong: "Then stay here and show your devotion. I'll nail up a commemorative plaque for you in the ladies room of that wretched nightclub of yours."
Wagner: "I can't help it if my beautiful cabaret is infested with Beatniks. I've tried to get rid of them. But they're like roaches."
Armstrong: "Probably because they think you sing like that on purpose. Experimental jazz or some such shite."
Wagner: "Cretin!"
Armstrong: "Enough of this jabbering. Get out of my way! Your hideous mass is blocking the bulkhead!"


AachenAbbissAK-47AlbatrossAmmo boxBeaconBeatnikBeethovenBody ArmorBraun 9mm ParabellumBremenCab Cab CabaretCaptain's LogCate ArcherChemical ContainersCigaretteCigarette LighterCockroachCT-180 Utility LauncherDas Einsame ValkyrieDeutschmarkDmitrij VolkovDogDrumsDumas Industrial EnterprisesEarplugsEmpire State BuildingExplosiveExoticaFinkel FundFishFloydFrank BradyFranzFreighterFuel BarrelGeorgeGerdeGudmundssonGuntherH-2000 Waterproof Wall SafeHamburg Air ControlHampton CarbineHampton MPL 9mm SMGHans MuellerH.A.R.M.HeinrikHorvikHuman Resources (H.A.R.M.)Inge WagnerI.T. BurnsJazzJoan of ArcK RingsKathyKeith MinerLaserLatenschiewster MotorsLes BaxterLipstick ExplosiveLockLoreleiMagnus ArmstrongMaintenance (H.A.R.M.)McCollMilk MaidMISERYMulkey JOrange CrushPetri .38 Airweight RevolverReginald Auto CompanyRadioSafe HouseSecurity (H.A.R.M.)Security CameraSharkSheepShepherd Arms 9mmShipping ManifestSondi SodasiSpy-GlassesSteamSternTasty ColaTelephoneTelevision DinnerThe DirectorTom GoodmanToothbrushTracking BeaconTrainTruckUNITYVanderburgWagnerWarehouse 892


  • As stated in the beginning of Scene 1, the mission does not take place in the city of Bremen (which is landlocked), but rather in Bremerhaven (literally "Bremen Harbor"), a town about 68km (42 miles) to the north of Bremen with direct access to the North Sea.
  • In Scene 1, two dock guards mention another terrorist organization called MISERY who were responsible for a giant "Laser Incident" which could have "vaporized" the Empire State Building. MISERY is mentioned sporadically in intelligence items in other missions.
  • Although he is only mentioned in Intelligence items and conversations between dock guards, Lt. Frank Brady can be found in the upstairs offices in the first area of Scene 1.
  • Scene 1 ends with somewhat of an obstacle course: In order to gain access to the rendezvous point, Archer must turn off the heavy steam in the stairway by finding a valve handle that has been dropped in a pool of acid. In order to drain the acid, she must gain access to a room that is blocked by a strong electrical current. The power must be shut off first in order to gain access to the room that allows you to the drain the acid spill and then retrieve the valve handle. As one dock guard explains to his colleague, this was the doing of another guard called Mueller who, as he himself confesses in an intelligence item, sneaked off to find another job.
  • Goodman says that the bombs were to go off at 11:15pm, which would give them "half an hour". This means that the mission begins at around 10:45pm and that Rendezvous in Hamburg took place at around 8pm on the 18th of September.
  • Foreman Vanderberg, who is also mentioned in various intelligence items, appears in Scene 2 and can be identified as the fat man in a brown suit. This is the only time a frequently used "civilian bot" is armed and can be dispatched. Note: There is an intelligence item in his office, which will only be unlocked after his conversation with a paratrooper about sleeping on duty.
  • In Scene 2, a crane can be activated to drop a crate on a dock guard. The control room will explode shortly afterwards when the player walks down the catwalk.
  • After the fourth explosive is activated in Scene 2, additional H.A.R.M. paratroopers will appear, regardless of whether the alarm has not been sounded or not.
  • An additional explosive barrel can be found in an inaccessible office on the second floor immediately across Scene 2's entry point. If Archer manages to reach it and activate it, the object will be completed and she can complete the level by return to the entry point.
  • In Scene 3 there is a hook for the Belt Buckle (which is unlocked in the next training level) that provides access to a secret area that contains an intelligence item and the Earplugs.
  • The dock guards in Scene 3 are dressed in the workers' uniform for Dumas Industrial Enterprises, implying that the company runs the loading docks.
  • It is now confirmed that Wagner, Armstrong and Volkov all work for H.A.R.M.
  • The cargo freighter's name is "Lorelei" which is the name of a large rock and tourist attraction found on the eastern side of the Rhine river.
  • The chemical containers in Scene 4 are very similar to the ones that can be seen in the research facility in Berlin by Night.
  • The end of Scene 4 marks the second of three times that Armstrong had the chance to kill Archer but chooses not to.
  • Unlike all the other times when he is called a "coward", Armstrong takes no offense during his argument with Inge after the explosion. Considering his disposition in Scene 5, he is probably too drunk to care.
  • Contrary to other missions where "time is of the essence", there is no set time limit when the freighter is sinking. The only way to fail the mission is to be killed by the last remaining sailor or to drown by not shutting the hatch in time when the water rises.
  • In Scene 5, the objective to recover Archer's possession is actually optional and can be skipped altogether at the cost of missing one Intelligence Item and the clue to seal the hatch. Before the last remaining sailor is encountered, Archer can find a Braun 9mm Parabellum and its silencer nearby so he can be eliminated without the need of her sidearm.
  • As the mission ends promptly after placing the beacon on the radio, it is never revealed how Archer got off the sinking ship or how she returned safely to shore. As there are no visible escape routes from the bridge or references to a rescue by a UNITY dispatch, this may be considered a plot hole.
  • As is the the case in Unexpected Turbulence and The Indomitable Cate Archer, the second chapter of the PS2 mission Nine Years Ago takes place while Archer is unconscious after being knocked out by Armstrong.
The Operative: No One Lives Forever missions
Previous Mission: Visit to Santa's Workshop - Next Mission: H.A.R.M.'s Promise