WARNING: This document assumes knowledge of what CWAL is. If you do not know, please, read this first.
The Circle of the Shadows is a clandestine organization, generally cloaked in secrecy. So much so, that those few who may have heard of it rely have any idea as to it's true size. In reality, the organization is gignatic, having trained forces anywhere there are software (and especially gaming) companies. In sheer size, it has enough manpower and technology to rival that of many armies.
The goal of COTS is strange when compared to those of other cloak-and-daggar societies. This goal is to ensure the quality of software releases, as well as a timely release. It operates almost completely in cells, as to allow for greater secrecy. The group rarely takes any overt action, prefering the more subtle methods of getting their job done. Traditionally, this was even more evident with the command cell.
In May of 1998, the upper echelons of the command cell retired, ushering in a young new commander in chief. Unlike the previous C in C, he decided to take a more active role. Dark Nexus had been following the activities in Irvine for some time, and decided it was time to get involved. He ordered the construction of a headquarters, and went to the task of selecting his command staff.
In July of 1998, the command cell made it's appearance under the guise of Players For a Better Starcraft. They operated for some time under the name of PFBS, keeping an eye on the situation in Irvine, and occasionally intervening. Things changed, however, when in October of 1998, a campaign began against COTS. A number of bases were attacked, with little or no warning. These attacks were an attempt by a consortium of gaming companies to discern the whereabouts of the command cell, so that they could behead the organization.
It was quickly discovered that the command cell was PFBS. A large force comprised of troops from many gaming companies was sent towards their desert base to destroy them. They hadn't counted on the well-disguised base being armed to the teeth. These defenses reduced the monstrous force to but a fraction of it's strength. However, the attack would have succeded had it not been for the intervention of CWAL, who had seen Blizzard amassing forces and decided to follow. With CWAL battling the forces outside, COTS was given the time required to arm the self-destruct sequence and make their escape.
Having evaded the combined might of the gaming companies, COTS built a new Headquarters, this time under the ocean. For a number of months, they drifted back into the shadows from where they had come, rarely being seen. This changed in March of 1999.
A failed plan by Blizzard released a large demonic force onto the internet. A strong number of these demons found their way off the internet through the extremely high bandwidth connection in the COTS Headquarters. The ensuing battle was huge, devestating much of Whyte's lab, but the demon force was defeated. In the course of the battle however, Kebs, COTS' one and only mage was killed by a powerful demon. As a result of her death, Dark Nexus took a leave of absence, leaving Magni in interim command.
COTS is now in another transition phase. They are using their large network of operatives to track demon movements around the world, and to contain the infestation.
In January of 2000, the COTS command cell acquired another officer during their transition phase. ▀etaMantis was monitored by Blizzard for a time, and then tricked into being mutated into an insectoid assassin. COTS, on a mission to destroy him, saw his merits and offered to take custody. He accepted. Whyte, having succeeded in accelerating the mutation for a bit in his rebuilt lab, was instrumental in the enlistment of ▀etaMantis as an officer of the command cell.