Whistler is a security engineer who works under Theodore Fallon at Kemetic Solutions. Due to Kemetic Solution wiping the minds of their employees, Whistler has conflicting memories of their past, including going to school for cyber security while not actually remembering being there and the death of their parents "a long time ago." Whistler described the experience as a "lobotomy."
Whistler has worked for Kemetic Solutions for an unknown amount of time, stating that they can no longer remember the exact date they started working there. In emails with Martin Rank they described signing many non-disclosure agreements because Kemetic Solutions is a high security research and development lab. They also had to take "weird video assessments with all these disturbing images… they track your eyes and scan your brain activity to see if you’re trustworthy, willing to be compliant… Weird, next level stuff. But I passed it all. I don’t remember too much else, and that’s the thing."
Whistler continued to work at Kemetic Solutions, forgetting everything about their job once they left the office, until they were involved in a car accident that left them with a head injury. After the injury, they began realizing they had two sets of memories - not only had Kemetic Solutions removed parts of their memory, but also changed some aspects.
Recruits first encountered Whistler during Fragment Eleven, after Martin Rank successfully retrieved Augernon's lost memories. After finding Martin's information on a tech blog that Aether had pulled up on Whistler's computer, they decided to seek out his help. In turn, Martin informed The Mountaineers, believing Whistler could offer them a way into the corporation.
Whistler continued to recover more and more memories of their time at Kemetic Solutions. They had been off for the weekend but promised to record the events of the day after returning to work. They recorded their day to day experiences as Kemetic Solutions scrambled to track Aether's digital form, though Whistler was unaware of who exactly they were pursuing. Whistler was eventually requested by Teddy Fallon to monitor the experiments being done on Portencia and Whistler nervously asked Marty if he knew what they would see. At this point, Marty told Whistler that the Mountaineers were a human rights organization tracking Kemetic Solutions on a suspicion that they were using human experimentation, which Whistler believed. Whistler slowly began remembering the experiments done on Aether, including putting him in a magic chair that enhanced his powers in some way. As they remember more and more, they became extremely distressed and, fearing a meltdown, Marty told Whistler the full truth of the Mountaineers. Although Whistler was skeptical of Marty's claims at first, but began accepting the truth after seeing Teddy write in his notebook and it writing back to him.
After a few days, Whistler thought up an idea to infiltrate Kemetic Solutions. They told Marty that the major security system undergoes an update that forces it to shut down for fifteen minutes, with a redundant system taking its place during that time. However, Whistler was able to disable the redundant system for that time, meaning security would not be alerted if an intruder was present. After thinking up the plan, Portencia sent Whistler a vision of them acting on the plan in the future, saying that she saw "People dying. The boy running and me following. And then she showed the two of us acting on the plan I just thought up the night before. You. Here. With the boy’s "mind" on your phone. I can’t see past us meeting in the lobby and then splitting up, you going to the sublevel and me taking your phone, with the boy, to medical. She showed me that we try, but what happens after, I don’t know." Whistler revealed a date for the infiltration - May 31st at 5pm.
During the infiltration of Kemetic Solutions by Aether and Marty, Whistler came to meet the pair at the entrance, shutting down all of the cameras for a brief moment. In the livestream, it became clear that Whistler's voice was female, where they had previously been assumed to be male by recruits and Marty. According to the plan, Whistler took Marty's phone, which was inhabited by Aether's soul, and went to the basement to take it down to Aether's unconscious body.
After Whistler had gone downstairs, Teddy came on the intercom to mock Marty, stating that Whistler had been a trap and was under their control the entire time. She was taking Aether's soul to be locked behind a firewall. It then became apparent that Marty had recognized Whistler - she was Sacha. Marty was distraught learning that Sacha had not truly been freed, but had anticipated the treachery and told Aether to remain in his bluetooth headpiece.
While Sacha was taking the phone to the basement, the Storm hit, making her ultimate fate unknown.
I’ve been experiencing some strange things lately, and it all started with an accident I was in. I live in Boston. A car clipped me last week near my apartment. I hit my head pretty hard on the curb.
I signed so many agreements when I started work THERE, many of them are about not disclosing information about my job or what I see because it’s an ultra high-security research and development lab. You jump through so many high tech hoops to get hired. You have to take these weird video assessments with all these disturbing images… they track your eyes and scan your brain activity to see if you’re trustworthy, willing to be compliant… Weird, next level stuff. But I passed it all. I don’t remember too much else, and that’s the thing.
After the accident everything changed. A paramedic was checking me out and I started realizing I had two sets of memories. They wanted to take me to the hospital but I was beyond freaked. My employer wants to know about things like this immediately. But what I was remembering, and that I was remembering it now, scared the hell out of me.
I realized that when I leave there I don’t forget what I saw, but on the shuttle ride back to the city it all starts feeling unimportant. Like remembering a time you stopped to tie your shoes. It’s there but doesn’t feel like it matters. Something you’d never tell someone. Does that make sense?
But now my memories are conflicting. Not only am I starting to remember things, but I’m also realizing that my life here in Boston, my apartment, my driver’s license… it all feels familiar, but not.
I think they’ve done something to me. Maybe to everybody there. I think they have projects like this. I’m not sure. It’s like trying to remember parts of a dream.
You probably think I’m crazy. And maybe there is something wrong with me. But I don’t know who else to tell. And if they’re doing this to other people, something has to be done. I feel like I’ve been stolen from myself. The weird thing… I fell asleep with my laptop in bed and when I woke up the next morning the blog where I found your post was pulled up. But I don’t remember searching for it. I was too scared to put in the company’s name. But there it was, waiting for me. I took it as a sign to find you.
All I know right now is that I’m working on one particular project which isn’t active right now so I’ve had most of the week off. But they want me back on Monday because they’re ramping it up again.
I’m scared. Scared they’ll know about the accident and that I didn’t tell them. Scared they already know even though I’ve taken precautions to make sure they can’t track this to me. Scared of what I’ll see when I go back, and what I’ll remember when I leave. If I can leave.
HA. This all sounds so insane. When you asked about the company, did you imagine in a million years that this would be the response you’d get?
First Round of Questions
Does 117-2 sound familiar?
That’s a security designation within the company. The first is the employee number, and the second number is security clearance level. This would belong to someone pretty high up. Have you been investigating someone inside? How?
Does Project Sweeper or Wanderer sound familiar?
I have memory of the word Sweeper, something about a longterm project, but it’s very vague. I don’t know anything about Wanderer.
Have you ever encountered a young girl there? Possibly by the name Portencia?
I think so. I keep seeing a girl. But there’s a boy too in my memories. I can’t make sense of any of it. But I've seen them a lot. The confusion and the other memories keep getting stronger and none of it’s clear. Like, I keep seeing her hooked up to a chair, like an old throne. All these cables running out. It's like a dream where it all makes sense, but doesn't. I see her scared. And the boy... he's walking away from me but I can't catch up.
Is there any way to safely share internal files?
If I had time, maybe. But there are systems in place that even I don’t know about. They’re nuts about protecting against unauthorized access and information going offsite.
What is your specific field of expertise?
I’m a security engineer. But I’ve also been studying machine learning. Funny, I remember stories about school, but not actually being there. Are those even my memories? Did they give me a lobotomy and an education?
There’s all this anger inside me. And…regret. Like I’ve been experiencing all of this in the background while I was sleepwalking.
Are the names Kendrick or Theodore Fallon familiar to you?
Fallon is who I report to. It’s who we all report to. I remember Kendrick. The name. Feels like we were close. Maybe we worked together? Are you investigating Fallon?
What is the workplace atmosphere? Are employees encouraged to collaborate, or socialize, or are they more strict about restricting opportunities for employees to potentially "overshare?"
I honestly can’t remember. If they can wipe people’s minds what do they care if we socialize? It’s even more sickening than being rigid pricks. They let us think we have autonomy. What about our families? Where do they think we work? What do we tell them when they ask? My parents died a long time ago, at least that’s what I remember, but what are you if you can’t even trust your memory, your sense of who you are?
Do you know anything about the history of the company? A company mission statement, history of executives, what your supervisor's name is?
Same. Sorry. I can’t even tell you how long I’ve been there. I mean, I know what I’m supposed to say… but there is all this other stuff welling up that mixes with it and makes everything confusing.
Would it be possible to record what you experience before the details start feeling unimportant?
That’s my plan and it's all I’ve been thinking about this weekend. The most grueling 48 hours of my life. I gotta keep focused on seeing everything I can, and remembering it when I leave. I’ve been making notes here at my place, to try and remind me what happened just in case I forget. I’m scared of going back tomorrow but have to hope that whatever “broke” in the accident will help me remember what’s really going on there.
Part of me wants to tell you who I am, where to come look for me if I don’t answer back tomorrow… but I have this overwhelming feeling of mistrust. And I’m too confused to pinpoint where it belongs. I’m sorry.
If I make it out tomorrow, I’ll tell you everything I can.
If I don’t, promise me you won’t stop trying to expose them. Promise me you’ll take them down somehow.
Just got home. Need to write down everything and then sleep, if I can.
My head’s pounding but I remember being there. It’s still like a dream, but easier to remember now. And getting easier. I couldn’t write anything down because they automatically check for tech going in and manually check for everything going out.
But they’ve done something to us. I watched people on the ride back to the city kind of zombie out as we got further away. Someone on the shuttle, in medical research, mentioned Kendrick was in a medically-induced coma after an accident. But she was talking like he was in the building not in a hospital. When it was just the two of us I asked her about him, and she couldn’t remember who I was talking about. There are cameras everywhere, even on the shuttles, and I freaked, they might see me not forgetting so I had to play along, which honestly it wasn’t hard to pretend to be a vegetable after an almost 24 hour shift.
They had us (security and systems) working through the night. They said there was some kind of attempted attack and we had to sift through days of logs to try and find the source and prevent them from getting in with a series of updates. They’ve always talked about how ironclad the facility is, but people seemed worried. Fallon himself oversaw the shoring up which isn’t usual. We report to him but up a chain of four people. He pulled me away and asked how I was at one point… I didn’t know how to act. How do I normally act when I’ve been brainwashed? I tried to not be… anything. Said I was fine. He wanted reassurance that no one had gotten in and no one could in the future. He said he wanted me to join on a project later in the week, once we “made sure the walls were up.” I saw some people on the server level that I didn't recognize, they were walking up and down the aisles, not really doing anything. It was weird.
The other weird thing... I was taking the elevator down to the servers yesterday morning. There were a bunch of people all waiting for the elevators. But there was a bank of elevators behind us too, and no one was using them. It was like they couldn’t even see them. I had to pretend I couldn’t either.
And then I remembered using them. The chair is down there. In a whole other sublevel area of the building. That’s the only way to get in. I remember them pulling the girl out of it when I reported to Fallon one day. They brought this guy in, a teenager. They put him in the chair and I had to monitor the building’s network and firewall to make sure no one was trying to send information out. I don’t remember what they were doing to him, or if I even saw, but Fallon was there. So were the people from the server floor, the weird ones. I don’t remember when that was...
They just let me watch this human experiment, this kid, and didn’t care what I saw, what I thought, because they knew they could just wipe me clean again like a chalkboard.
How are we going to stop them? What do I need to do?
Second Follow-up After Returning to Work
More of the same. Checking stacks. Looking at logs. For almost 22 hours. Yesterday there was another team working on the server floor (not the weird group wandering around, but they were there too) and it turns out they’re working on some kind of search. We’re locking down the fortress and they’re looking for something outside the fortress (fire)walls.
On the way in I asked the woman who mentioned Kendrick where her department actually was. She just kept saying she didn’t know what I meant, like I was the one not making sense.
I tried to follow her when we got to work but she went down a locked hall that I don’t know if I have access to. If I try my badge and it doesn’t work the entry try will be logged. And I don’t know if I could purge it before someone saw it (actually don’t know if I could purge it at all.)
Nobody notices the elevators on the south wall, still. I backed against the wall today, leaned against the button just to check. They won’t work without a badge swipe. I know I had access at some point, but it might’ve been temp and I don’t wanna risk that log entry either. Getting hard to be the good little worker ant when I want to burn down the ant hill.
Sorry I don’t have more to tell you.
Questions for you. What made you start looking into the company? How do you know so much about it? Are there other whistleblowers?
Would be nice to know I’m not alone in this.
Got any advice?
I know this might take a while but I need to do something now.
I feel like I’m drowning under all of these memories. Like I know who I am but can’t break the surface, can’t catch my breath.
Third Follow-up After Returning to Work
More memories that don’t make sense. Stories I know, experiences I have that I have no way of explaining. They’re just there. Floating on the surface, blocking whatever’s underneath. I feel like a ghost. Half of somebody.
Please tell me you have a plan. I don’t know how much longer I can do this.
I’m back to regular 10-12 hour shifts. The other team launched a program this weekend they’re calling a virus predator. Sounds like it’s scanning and targeting whatever attacked us in the first place.
Weird thing is, there was no breach in the logs. Only an outage a few weeks back. Nothing got in. Guess they’re worried somebody was looking when their pants fell down? Do you know anything about this?
Please tell me something. One line answers aren’t cutting it.
Seeing less of Fallon now, he’s not overseeing us anymore. I watched a group of his own “executive team” walk out of a secure room and take the “invisible” elevators yesterday. I pretended not to see them.
On the way home tonight the shuttle was pulled over by a cop. Changing lanes without a blinker. The cop came to the window and after a couple seconds of talking to the driver his whole attitude changed. He smiled and said “have a nice night…” and got back in his car.
Did the driver say or do something that changed the cop’s mind? What would happen if I called the cops tomorrow, told them to raid the office? I just figured they wouldn’t believe me, but now I’m freaking out because maybe they couldn’t believe me.
Response to Martin Partially Telling the Truth
Thanks for telling me the truth, Martin. I'm on it.
I can’t risk trying to physically get into medical.
But I can pull up the video feed on the server level because I can delete the action log there as it shows up. So I did. I found Kendrick, he’s out, hooked up to tubes and had a wire coming out of his head. But I didn’t see the kid you’re looking for.
There's a room in medical though that’s cut off from the rest of the lab. No cameras. Looks like a hermetically-sealed door. Swipe lock. Maybe he’s in there?
I didn’t see anybody go in or out, but I had to go back to “work” because those people who wander around the servers passed by. And about an hour later I got a call from Fallon’s office.
He wanted to see me. He must’ve figured it out.
I was waiting outside his office for almost an hour, then he had me brought in.
We small-talked. I was trying to play it cool. Zombies aren’t nervous, right? Do they laugh at stupid jokes? Do they ask questions? I did my best. Probably too much. Then he got down to it. Why he brought me in.
They’re ramping up a big project on the secured level again and he wants me to participate since we’ve had security issues over the past couple months. I tried not to show that I remembered doing this before.
He wants me to monitor the systems while they run a series of experiments, and he wants me to monitor them live, on the secured level, during the trials.
Monday. They’re starting whatever it is on Monday.
So what the hell do I do now?
I need a plan. I'm on the inside. I know this place better than you or probably anybody else with any kind of free will. Monday I'll know what I'm really dealing with I guess. Then I gotta figure out what to do.
After they dropped me off tonight, I walked around for hours. They could’ve been watching me, I don’t care.
It’s the girl. They put her in the chair again. The chair is this old throne hooked up to a processing system, and a stone arch. Even when I saw it though I didn’t believe you. About magic or whatever. Not yet.
They brought her in and lashed her to the chair. The people who carried her in were in these airtight suits. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I was watching from a monitoring room with two techs and Fallon who didn’t have the balls to be in the room with her. The system showed the chair was giving off waves of energy. And they were putting this poor girl in it.
I had to sit in that room with him for hours, pretending that this wasn’t the worst thing I’d ever seen. I’m ashamed of myself.
Fallon kept telling her to use her “ability” to look into the arch and see what was really inside it, and the chair would help “manifest her will.” He went on for hours, taking notes of… nothing. She just sat in the chair, quiet, or crying. She even fell asleep once, probably out of exhaustion.
I was there to monitor the outer security but I was watching Fallon. Writing in his notebook. Once or twice I noticed for a second that the notebook was writing back. Words would answer his words and then disappear. He was discussing the experiment with someone through the journal, telling them what was happening, and someone was telling him what to say.
That’s some Harry Potter level shit right there.
I just wanted to run, pull her out of the chair and run. But I didn’t. I stayed and let it happen. I probably wouldn’t have gotten fifty feet before Fallon’s team caught me. I know having access to the sublevel, to her, is the only chance we have of getting her out, and anybody else down there. I know that if I didn’t play it, I could blow this shot. But a big part of me didn’t care. The old part of me. The real part. I wanted to break his neck.
She couldn’t see us in the monitoring room. But at some point I felt her. Almost like she was in the room. And then in my head. She was trying to flip through my mind, my memories, like a book. I looked around. It seemed like I was the only one. She saw you and your group. A life outside of the company. I think she showed me my future. I saw her in the chair, crying, but in my head she was looking for something. A way out. I think she's pretending too. But it's hard for her. I felt her. Felt like it hurt her to use her power.
So yeah, I needed to walk tonight.
I was in the room, for prep and procedure, for almost fourteen hours so I have today off. I guess she does too. I hope she does.
I go back Wednesday morning.
I need time to think. Get my head around you, around her. And what the hell we’re gonna do about it all. Whatever it is, we gotta do it soon.
Had to sit in the session again today. It’s unbearable to watch what they’re doing. At one point they brought in a woman to sit with the girl in the room with the chair, to console her because she was so upset. That must be your Climber. He asked the girl the same questions, said the same things, over and over. For hours. Someone thought they saw flashes of light in the arch but on playback there was nothing.
We have to do something. This can't go on.
So I have a plan, which is barely a plan and still has one or two very big flaws, but here it is.
Every Wednesday afternoon at 5pm the major security systems (which are on their own servers) purge cache, update if needed, and reboot. Takes about ten minutes, fifteen if there’s a big update. But there’s a redundant system that picks up the slack for those ten minutes so there’s never downtime. This place is always secured.
I started thinking yesterday, what if I just disabled the redundant system? Not disable actually, they would know, but what if I changed the schedule of the redundant system to cache purge at the same time as the primary? To cycle together. They’d both be down at the same time.
For those ten minutes the automated security at the main doors of the company would be disabled. No foreign object detection, no facial scanning, no surveillance alerts, no door access logging. We’d have ten minutes for one of us to somehow get into medical, find the boy, save Kendrick if we can, and get out, and for the other to use my access to the sublevel and get Climber and the girl. If we got out, and got them out, in time, we’d have a chance to escape before anybody knew something had happened.
The first major flaw is the people. We’d be invisible to security, but not to the staff and security personnel. Not to Fallon or his team. Odds are good that somebody would notice us. Maybe not going in, but carrying people out. And for all we know the girl could still be in the chair at 5pm. Was thinking a fire alarm but that would probably make things worse, not better. Fire and safety teams would respond, not evacuate.
One crazy idea is that there’s a critical alert system that can show a message on every screen in the building and an audible prompt that directs people to the nearest screen. I’ve never seen it used, but if I could figure out how they control us, how they manipulate us, maybe I could put something on the screen to sort of… freeze them? I know you said you’d been able to manipulate somebody’s memory and make your presence online invisible… I know I’m grasping at straws right now, but given our options, is there something you and your team could do remotely, or maybe set up and I could implement here? Something to give us a chance?
The other major flaw is none of this brings down the company. I could have a drive set up to offload some kind of incriminating information during the security blackout, if I can find any. It’s just a lot to do in ten minutes and I couldn’t touch the servers until security was down, so no offloading prep. And I can't tunnel it out because the purge cache will only affect physical building security, not the firewalls. Anything getting in or out will have to be on foot.
It all seems crazy right?
Well, thing is… I already tried it today. And it worked. Everything I do during the chair examination is monitored and logged, but I was able to pull up a building-wide maintenance terminal in the background and figured if I got caught I could say I was checking to make sure the reboot went off without a hitch since the company’s been attacked in the past couple months. They probably wouldn’t believe me but at this point I don’t care.
I aligned the two cache purges. And it worked. No alarms, no alarmed people. Most nerve-wracking ten minutes of my life. But from what I could tell nobody realized that security was black for ten minutes. Then I copied the log for last week and pasted it in the hole I left to cover my ass. The other problem, I watched the little red light on the monitoring room door's lock. It stayed red, never turned green. So the sublevel is on its own security. We still need my badge to get on those elevators and we need to hope and pray that they continue this insane experiment long enough for me to retain access. The weird thing, I think the girl knows that we need to keep this going to save them. I wonder if that's what the flashing in the arch was. You probably think I’m nuts but I’m not, and I’ll tell you why....
She got in my head again today. She showed me all kinds of things. Crazy stuff. My past. My future. People dying. The boy running and me following.
And then she showed the two of us acting on the plan I just thought up the night before. You. Here. With the boy’s "mind" on your phone. I can’t see past us meeting in the lobby and then splitting up, you going to the sublevel and me taking your phone, with the boy, to medical. She showed me that we try, but what happens after, I don’t know.
I can’t explain it. I don’t know if it’s magic or science or me losing my mind. All I know is something has to give and this little girl has told me that come hell or high water the dam is giving out next Wednesday. 5pm on May 31st. That’s the day we try to break them out.