Hey, I definitely have lots of thoughts about this. Operators is geared more towards movie thrillers. It’s less concerned with mysteries, though I’ve run plenty of them in it. It just isn’t the focus because the mystery kind of emerges organically and in collaboration with the other players.
Instead of say, GUMSHOE/NBA where you throw out a ton of clues, see which ones the players latch onto, and then progress the narrative and mystery as needed, in Operators we get to the end of the scene and then we ask how we get to the next one. You could say that the narrative tissue connecting the mystery and plot is an afterthought there to get us to the next cool scene. That doesn’t mean that the connective tissue doesn’t turn out to be compelling and awesome, though. Does that make sense? In Operators my goal, as facilitator, is to be aggressive with my scene framing and keep a tight pace that feels like an action movie. I don’t really care what the players come up in terms of it fitting into my overarching narrative since my narrative is super nebulous and adjusts as we play. It’s much more like a Dungeon World front (we cut to scenes with the antagonists and show what they’re doing and planning on the open) than a campaign framework in NBA.
This is one of the reasons that I took out Investigative Abilities altogether. I mean, in NBA all I use them for is giving me an indication of which PC I should be feeding certain info/clues to really anyway. In Operators I can turn the question around and ask the player what they find with their skill set that brings us to the next scene so it’s both less work, keeps engagement up, and keeps a nice breakneck pace going. If it were me and I wanted to put rolling for investigating back in I’d use the skills that are already in Operators and either just give clues for stuff done outside of a skill or keep asking questions and following a scene until we got to something risky. There are lots of cool, intense moments that can come for rolling to extract information for sure and the dice roll usually helps with adding in complications.
It’s easy to run it in NBA though, I’ve run some Dracula Dossier with it. For a campaign without that communal touchstone of Dracula and those clues in it though you might need to amass more of the authority as the GM if you want to keep things more mysterious.
Sources of stability tie in nicely with Inner Turmoil, any scene where they’re brought in allows for recovery. You could go further with NBA style tracks for sure, especially since Operators is geared for one or two-shot play and then a reset for time in between movies. I haven’t run it with Delta Green style serious consequences for sanity and stuff, though, and I’m less familiar with DG but I bet you could port in a track fairly easily that progressed simply based on what they suffer. It’d make downtime choices even more difficult really as a player if you only had one scene to recover but had to choose from 3 tracks instead of 2 so you might have to think about whether you want to pace it for either a) more downtime opportunities or b) the inevitable grinding down of the player characters.
Cover and Network are cool but I feel like you could roll their implications into the fiction and as needed as die rolls come up. My inclination would be to let the players have narrative control over that stuff and roll as needed.
-= I’m writing this on my cell so I’m sorry for any mistakes! =-