A Tenuous Lead
A Tenuous Lead Title
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 and involves Cate Archer scouting the warehouses and bordering a cargo freighter in search of valuable information. It 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 1Edit

Two hours later...
Bremen Harbor

Cate Archer infiltrates the docks and if possible, avoids being spotted by dock guards and Security Cameras (which will set off the alarm and make it more difficult to proceed). Goodman is annoyed that she took so long and tells her that he had to de-activate the explosives he had planted earlier because he wasn't sure whether Archer was coming or not. He instructs Archer to reset four timers to "11:15" in the nearest warehouse, while he will tend to the others.

Scene 2Edit

Archer sneaks into the warehouse and activates the four explosives. After the last explosive is activated, several more guards appear, apparently aware of her presence. By either sneaking past or dispatching them, Archer returns to the meeting point.

Scene 3Edit

From a rooftop, Archer and Goodman spot Magnus Armstrong and Inge Wagner boarding the cargo freighter via the gangplank. The explosions cause some guards to leave their posts offering a convenient opportunity to sneak aboard the freighter undetected. Archer insists that she should go and a reluctant Goodman eventually relents. Knowing that she can't just walk up gangplank, Archer cleverly jumps on top of a shipping container which is then lowered onto the ship with a crane.

Scene 4Edit

15 minutes later
Aboard the Lorelei

Archer photographs the four chemical containers that are scattered around the cargo hold. She must now gain access to the bridge in order to locate the shipping manifest and the captain's log. As all the doors are locked, she climbs into a ventilation duct and makes her way towards the ship's control rooms. Unfortunately, she is ambushed by Magnus 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 5Edit

In the freighter's galley, Armstrong is drunk, while Inge Wagner is furious that Archer is still alive. Their heated argument is interrupted by a loud explosion and everyone is told to abandon the ship as it is sinking. Wagner expresses her concern about the cargo and the operation, mentioning that "the director will not be pleased", but Armstrong doesn't seem too bothered, prompting both to leave.

Meanwhile, Archer regains consciousness and must find a way out of the locked room she was put into. To her great fortune, the Cigarette Lighter was left behind and so she manages to unlock the door using the lighter's inbuilt welder. She quickly recovers some of her gear and places a tracking beacon in the radio room, before finally escaping the sinking ship.

Memorable QuotesEdit

Scene 3Edit

(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 WagnerEdit

(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."

(Two sailors are shown attempting to open a door against the incoming water pressure. Meanwhile, Archer wakes up in another room.)

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 one, the mission does not take place in the city of Bremen which is landlocked but in Bremerhaven (literally "Bremen Harbor"), a town about 68km (42 miles) to the north of Bremen with direct access to the North Sea.
  • During a conversation between two dock guards, another terrorist organization called MISERY is mentioned. They were responsible for a giant "Laser Incident" which could have "vaporized" the Empire State Building.
  • Although he is only mentioned in Intelligence items and in conversations, Lt. Frank Brady can be identified as the dock guard who can be found in the upstairs offices in 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.
  • Goodman says that setting the timers to "11:15", 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 intelligence items, can be identified as the fat man wearing a brown suit in Scene 2.
Note: in order to obtain the intelligence item in office, you must allow him to finish his conversation with the guard. He will then open the door to his office.
  • The dock guards are wearing the workers uniform for Dumas Industrial Enterprises, thus the company runs the loading docks.
  • In Scene 2, a crane can be activated to drop a crate on a dock guard. The control room blows up when walking down the catwalk soon after.
  • After the fourth explosive is activated, several H.A.R.M. agents appear, even if the alarm has not been raised.
  • It is now established that Wagner and Armstrong, along with 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.
  • In Scene 3 there is a hook for the Belt Buckle (which comes in the next mission) that leads to a secret area. This area contains an intelligence item and the Earplugs.
  • The chemical containers are very similar to the ones that can be seen in the research facility in Berlin by Night.
  • This is the second time that Armstrong had the chance to kill Archer but chooses not to.
  • Unlike all the other times when he is called a coward, Armstrong doesn't take offense this time. He is probably too drunk to care.
  • Unlike 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 at this point is to drown if the hatch isn't shut in time.
  • It is never revealed how Archer manages to get off the sinking ship as there are no visible escape routes. The mission ends as soon as a beacon has been placed in the radio room.
  • As with the time Archer was knocked out in Unexpected Turbulence, the PS2 mission Nine Years Ago takes place while she is unconscious.
The Operative: No One Lives Forever missions
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