Martin Rank is a veteran journalist for the New York Times. He has pursued magic over the years, but has largely been unsuccessful in his ventures.

Personality Edit

Martin Rank was an initially gruff seeming individual, initially turning away recruits when they contacted him about the Brandon Lachmann case[1]. Although Martin is quite blunt, he has helped many other magically adept individuals, such as the '94 Mountaineers. Having been a journalist since the 80s, Martin also has a strong investigation sense, always ready for a new scoop. His decision to wear a wire to The Cagliostro's January 31st performance allowed recruits to witness Cagliostro's final moments[2].

Biography Edit

Phase One Edit

Martin was first encountered by recruits in the form of a newspaper clipping in Fragment Four. After writing a brief article on Brandon Lachmann's presumed death, he was the subject of many harassing emails by The Devoted and individuals working with them[1]. Variances in the article posted by King Rabbit and the article posted on Susan Lachmann's website allowed recruits to solve a puzzle in Fragment Four.

Phase TwoEdit

Martin played an important role in Phase Two. Having sent an email to Cagliostro in regards to running a piece on corruption in New York City. He added that "I'm flexible if you're willing to talk with me. You're not my target and neither are the names of your patrons. I want them to stop pushing on the paper to get at me and this is my shot across the bow"[3]. Recruits, who had access to Cagliostro's email account, recognized the name and address as that of the reporter on the Lachmann case.

Recruit Revenir suggested contacting Marty and handled the communication[4], initially pretending to be interested in Brandon Lachmann so as not to arouse suspicion[5]. Martin responded with a dismissive email, stating, "Do you know that cult still has gullible folks emailing me this same thing every year? let it go. A kid died. End of story. There's nothing else down there now but grief and misery"[6]. Afraid of losing Martin's interest, Revenir changed tactics - admitting that recruits were aware he was interested in Cagliostro and offering information he could use to obtain an interview[7]. Martin was indeed interested, and recruits attempted to leverage the information they had gained from Caglistro to bargain with Rank[8]. Unfortunately, recruits were unable to come up with a deal before the events of the January 31st performance.

Cagliostro initially ordered his assistant to ignore Martin's queries. However, a week and a half before his final performance, Cagliostro asked Lauren to invite Martin. He stated "Martin is more than he says he is. A man who once had a glimpse through the veil and has chased after the truth for decades. He has fruitlessly pursued me and my kind, and I wish to give him a gift for his efforts"[9]. Revenir sent Martin an email letting him know of the invitation and wishing him luck[10], to which Martin admitted he knew Revenir was from the Mountaineers. Martin admitted that he had worked with the '94 Mountaineers until they "were blown to the six corners twenty years ago"[11]. He offered to look through his files and help the Mountaineers if he could.

The date of the final performance arrived and Marty became increasingly nervous. He prepared a wiretap to record the event, hoping to capture some of the magic[12]. After the event, Marty posted his experience on the Basecamp 33 Forum:

Everybody was losing their minds when it opened. Everybody but her. The thing looked like it went on for miles inside. A million miles. Something hit her, knocked her across the room. I didn't see what, not fully. Saw enough to know I didn't want to. I just ran. I picked her up and got her out a side door, up to the main terminal, I don't know what happened to everybody else, I didn't look back. You can hear for yourself--

You're gonna wanna have a light on, I'm still catching my breath. Never in my life have I seen something like what I saw tonight. The performance of a lifetime.

Think I'm gonna go for a walk. To a bar.

After rescuing Lauren from the chaos of the Crimson Hall, he further went into depth on what had occurred. He stated that "she was staring up at the ceiling of Grand Central, talking about seeing everything, the beginning, the end. Then this wind picked up like somebody left a door open. Freezing. Then she whispered to me, turned to snow in my arms, and blew away. I still haven't slept"[13].

Phase Three Edit

Martin broke the silence between phases with his post "The Quiet," in which he discussed what he had been doing since The Cagliostro's final performance. He had tracked down The Cagliostro's apartment, which had been ransacked, its walls torn open. He had also traveled to Missouri to find Lauren's parents, learning she had visited them once in February. He also looked into Kemetic Solutions, the host of The Cagliostro's email server, but hit a brick wall. After answering questions the recruits had about his ties to the '94 Mountaineers, he left them to find more information from his contacts and seek answers to the mysteries surrounding The Cagliostro.

Marty's investigation ultimately culminated in "The Office of Kemetic Solutions," where Marty revealed that he had finally tracked Kemetic Solutions down through their IRS documentation. He took a trip to their headquarters, which were just outside of Boston, and took pictures of the outside of the building. After being turned away by the office staff, he posted the pictures he had. After posting, he noticed that the photos were glitched, but assumed it was a product of his ancient flip phone.

Marty popped in from time to time during Fragment Ten, making comments on recruits' progress as they realized the glitches in Marty's photos were actually a digitally altered message from an individual named Aether, sending them to a website for Kemetic Solutions. When Aether led recruits to his best friend, Constance, Marty confirmed the information she gave to recruits about The Low, which he had also been involved with. Using the information given to recruits from Aether's videos and Constance's comments, Marty was able to track down Aether's family and learn that his parents had been brainwashed to believe he had been sent to a "special new school" where he was "doing very well[14]." Through this, and speaking to Constance, recruits learned that Aether was a young man who had been abducted by Kemetic Solutions due to his skills as an adept who could leave his body and control technology.

As Aether lead recruits through a series of puzzles after escaping Kemetic Solutions in his digital form, Marty reappeared after one of Aether's clues referenced an individual named "B Sanvig." The name, which lead to a link of a picture posted on the Go-Getters website, was the location of the mental heath facility that Augernon was staying at[15]. Marty had previously tried to visit Augie, but had failed due to not knowing his real-life name[16]. Now knowing his true name and that Aether wanted to contact him, Marty volunteered to drive to the facility to speak with him[17].

Although Marty was willing to travel to see Augie, he mentioned his concerns that the man would be unresponsive to him[18]. In response, Aether found a spell called the Consolatory Teatime for Misplaced Memory and gave recruits access to it. Using the spell, Marty was able to travel to Go-Getters and speak to Augie by returning his memories to him for a brief time[19]. Augie became fully lucid for the brief time he was with Marty, explaining the history of the Book of Briars and The Churning Storm to Marty. However, at the end, Augie had a seizure and was pushed out of the room by orderlies[20]. Feeling like he was being watched, Marty hurried out of the facility and transcribed the events for recruits to read.

After returning to the city, Marty noticed a strange email in his inbox[21]. The email was from someone calling themselves Whistler - a Kemetic Solutions employee who claimed to have been brainwashed by the company, but had woken up after an accident that injured their head[22]. Marty coordinated with recruits to ask them questions.

While recruits worked on Fragment Eleven and Marty worked on Whistler, Aether continued searching the web for clues. In that, he posted a message for Marty, in the form of The Low Report. The podcast held a series of numbers that lead to a link on the Magiq Guide's website, which included an email from Marty's former colleague, Howard. Aether had added a note that said, "Found this. Even though he couldn’t believe. He loves you. Many who care. You are a brave, good man. Sometimes we are alone. But alone doesn’t mean wrong. Sometimes we are alone because we are only one who’s right. They need you, Marty. Mountaineers. On same side. Don’t have to be alone anymore. Tell them." The message revealed that Marty had been retired from the New York Times for many years, after the incident with Brandon Lachmann.

Sending you an email since you won't return my calls.

I'm sorry if I didn't react well at lunch. I was really happy to see you after all these years, really. Any bad blood there was is long gone, and never all that deep to begin with. It was a horrible accident, but that's all it was. There's no conspiracy. Don't you see how these thoughts have spiraled into the stuff you were telling me yesterday? He's not alive. He's not trying to blow open some global conspiracy from the shadows as an adult. He's just not.

You're trying to make sense of something horrible and painful that doesn't make sense and it's going to crush you. I worry about you, your mind, your sobriety. I don't want to get soft, but you were my brother, Marty. I feel like I lost a family member when you walked away from the paper, from your life.

I don't know what else to say. There's no conspiracy. If there was you have to believe I'd be there with you, fighting that fight. All that stuff you said, The Santa Colette Six, the girl in Jersey, those are fringe cases where kids went missing and then came back. They're not connected to the kid who drowned in the tunnels. I honestly wish they were. I would love for you to be a champion for them. Be the guy who rips all this open and uncovers the truth. But there's no truth. You deserve more than this. You're a great writer and one of the greatest, bravest men I've ever known. Please don't throw the rest of your life away on this. People who believe in conspiracy want the world to be richer, deeper, more resonant than it is. It's just life. And it's ugly and painful and without reason. But it's still worth living.

Please call me. Howard.

Marty came clean after the email was found by recruits[23]. He had been deeply depressed after the events with Augernon, feeling that every time he tried to do something good, someone would get hurt. Although he hadn't drunk alcohol in twenty years, he went to a bar and nearly drank. Instead, he wrote a message to Aether, pouring his feelings out to the boy:

You there, Aether?

I think I have a piece of her in my head. Stuck in there, like Brandon and Augie and Lauren and you and all the other people I couldn’t help.

My wife. My son.

I’m gonna fail the mountaineers too. Like I’ve failed everyone who ever needed me. I’m cursed to be alone because when I reach out people get hurt. People disappear or they die.

I guess you know Portencia put a piece in me. She should’ve given it to someone else.

Watching Augie, being closer than ever to all of this, and seeing what came of it, of him, I don’t know if I can do this.

So tell me. What am I doing here, Aether? What do you see since you can see everything.

He ended the message with a phrase that had been stuck in his head for a few weeks - "don't fear them in the present" which was altered by the Book of Briars to include a link to fragment eleven - Durkonos.

After gaining more resolve from the support of the Mountaineers, Marty continued on with assisting with Whistler communications. When Whistler devised a plan to infiltrate Kemetic Solutions, using a brief server maintenance as a window to enter the facility unnoticed, Marty and Aether agreed to help. Marty received a message from Aether telling him to upgrade his phone, after which Marty purchased a smart phone and a bluetooth headset[24].

On May 31, Marty and Aether successful entered Kemetic Solutions, meeting Whistler at the door. Marty instantly recognized Whistler as Sacha, but handed the phone to her anyways. Whistler left with the phone to go downstairs, taking it to a firewall-protected cell before she left to restart Kemetic Solution's security system. Theodore Fallon came on an intercom to mock Marty, stating that Whistler had never really woken up and that it had all been a plot to get Aether back, as well as trap Marty. Then, he revealed that the reason Marty had always drawn magiqal people and events to him was because he was a well - an individual who draws great magiq. In response, Marty revealed that Aether had always been safe in a bluetooth headset and had been both livestreaming the event to Mountaineers and transferred gigabytes of top secret Kemetic Solutions data to a safe location. However, the confrontation with Teddy was cut short by an attack by The Churning Storm on the building.

Kemetic Solutions Escape

Kemetic Solutions Escape

Marty rushed to find Portencia and Climber, two captive adepts Aether had shared logs on to the Mountaineers, and assured them that he was there to save them. Meanwhile, Aether found his body in the office and met back up with the group. The Storm looming, Portencia urged Climber to take her to Kemetic Solutions magiq-channeling throne so that she could perform a spell to take them all to a safe place. Aether stayed back to fend off the Storm while the others worked, and Marty and Climber escorted Portencia to the room. Marty ran back to grab Aether and the Storm hit, cutting off the livestream.

The fate of Marty, Aether, and the others is currently unknown.

Gallery Edit

References Edit

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