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It was a typical Monday morning when Foundation researcher Chuck Thompson arrived at Site-11 for work. As usual, he handed the guard his identification. However, instead of wishing him a good day, the guard had something else to say.

"Mr. Thompson, wait here please."

His pulse quickened. Had he forgotten something?

A clean-shaven man in a fresh suit soon emerged, flanked by four guards. The man smiled.

"Good morning Charles. I'm from Internal Security. Can we talk?"

The Foundation's Department of Applied Influence was unparalleled.

No other intelligence agency on the planet had the same resources, technology, nor its three hundred years of espionage experience. If the Foundation set its sights on a covert project, it could turn half the research team in a year.

The US government, predictably, was not thrilled with this state of affairs. While the CIA could freely dominate world polities as it wished, behind the veil the United States was only one of several groups competing for influence, attempting to avoid the long arm of the Foundation's intelligence apparatus.

Pentagram, in its role within the Council of 108, had spent decades working with the Global Occult Coalition to try and temper the Foundation's influence. Inevitably, each offensive would fold, with the skippers gaining the upper hand, including a particularly embarrassing incident that resulted in the loss of a US eigenweapon.

The Department of Defense had had enough. While many of their paraweapons remained secret, it seemed every other research project, anomalous or not, had leaks, and eventually ended up in Foundation hands. In the spring of 2015, the head of Pentagram met secretly with the FBI's Unusual Incidents Unit about how to improve their paranormal counterintelligence operation. After a few rounds of meetings, they hatched a plan. Taking recent GOC discoveries concerning electronic antimemetics, a limited team of trusted researchers were assigned to a project which might shift their fortunes in the information war: WHISPER IN THE WIND.

It wasn't an AIC, but rather a simple script., as it was called, scanned new revisions on SCP files, both pending and published, looking for repeated reverts, extensive comment exchanges, and other potential signs of conflict. If it found trouble, the file would be flagged and a RAISA employee of the proper clearance would give it a look-over.

Some of the time it was a false positive. Most of the time it was an overzealous project manager or bickering employees. After figuring out what the issue was, you'd send an email to the relevant department's Office of Dispute Resolution to figure it out. It was a boring job, the kind you get to relax after a stressful project, or when you pissed off the higher-ups.

Jim Sanchez looked at his queue. SCP-4406 was next. It was assigned to him because of his prior experience with anomalous software, and his Level-4 clearance. Skimming through the revision history, this lead researcher definitely seemed to have a stranglehold on the project, ensuring it conformed to their vision of what the anomaly was. Huh.

He pulled up his template email and began modifying it. Ideological project leader, rejecting revisions and arguing with subordinates. Hmm, he even had one of them moved to a different project. And amnesticized. Weird.


"I'm not understanding this. %

A balding, slightly obese man named Markus Nagel thumbed at his chin while looking down at the meeting room table. It was littered with papers, but he was focused on an aerial photograph of an explosion in eastern Pakistan.

"We know it's the Foundation. Not sure what's going on there, but we have surefire intelligence they're doing something covert."

"Every sign here points to the Coalition. Look, yes, I know they're denying it. But a GOC thaum bomb, near a GOC facility, and they're saying they didn't detonate it and it's not an accident?"

"They're trying to blame the GOC, but our contacts there are clear."

In the Unusual Incidents Unit secure vault, Special Agent John Powers sat with Agent Richards. Before them were reams of paper, logs of Foundation investigations involving computer-related anomalies. Their confidential informant had been invaluable in pointing out different Foundation departments and teams which were at risk of independently discovering their golden goose, %

Chuck Thompson sat on a hard metal chair across the table from the man, who had splayed out a number of documents and photographs. He didn't need to look, he knew what it was. He didn't want to look.

Thinking about it, he wasn't sure what he expected. He had been careful with when and where his meetings had taken place, how he talked about things in public where people might hear, and even hiding a camera in his office to check for snooping. It had all seemed fine.

Until suddenly it wasn't.

The man tossed an envelope full of hundred bills on the table. He folded his arms and looked at Chuck.

"The latest installment, found in your home safe." He paused. "You know, I'm curious. What did you think would happen? Did you really think the FBI could protect you?"

Thompson continued staring at his hands. "They taught me things, gave me tools." He responded quietly.

"What are we, the mob? The neighborhood dog? You really thought a little invisibility dust would stop us from following you?"

Chuck looked up. "When did you know? How did you find out?"

Jim furrowed his brow. There was something here, beyond a controlling project lead. It all seemed too improbable. Billions of devices? And it was confirmed to be eliminated, but the Foundation didn't carry out the neutralization. After all, he was no stranger to Foundation cover-ups, having carried out a couple himself.

But this just seemed too suspicious. No containment operation would simply trust a group of interest like this, especially one whose day job is making paraweaponry. Either the file was exaggerated, or something in the containment was quietly redacted.

He pulled up the archived
% search deleted revisions, realizes several are deleted as MICOH
% checks MICOH log, no reports to memetics for contagions,
% lesser-known, files a "sunlight report" ("clean room report"?). allows reading deleted revisions through a special math construct that sanitizes anomalous effects but also strips information. if it's an identity matrix it's not MICOH (>99.99% confidence), otherwise it is
% seeing it's okay, he gets suspicious of why the revisions were deleted, but lacks authorization to view them
% And some of the revisions were deleted, using infohazard marker codes. But this file didn't report any MICOH1 effects. Weird.

He deleted his email draft and began work on a classified referral to RAISA Containment Command.

Nagel strolled out of the Pentagon building. Sipping from a can of cola, he pulled out his cell phone.

"Honey, I told you not to call me at work unless it's important. Is the house burning down?" He paused. "No, I don't know where you put Sarah's birth certificate. Check the filing cabinet under my desk, near the tax forms. Okay, okay. Take care, love you."

He took a rock out of his pocket, tossing it near a trash can. Taking another sip, he took a quick glance around and then leisurely walked back.

On the other end of the line, the Applied Influence agent hung up the red handset, and picked up the blue handset adjacent to it.

"Hello collections, we got an emergency signal from Copperhead. Dead drop was placed at Pentagon location 31," she ordered, before promptly hanging up.

A group of six officers met in a harshly lit underground bunker. When called, they had reported to different security stations, surrendered their phones, work laptops, security badges, and clothing to guards. After a thorough and invasive search, they showered and donned identical Class-A Information Security Uniforms, which appeared as rather dull-looking gray jumpsuits. Following separate armed escorts, each using a randomized path, they entered the soundproof chamber. They would not be permitted to leave until their assignment was complete.

"A Tier-5? What the hell is going on out there?" the first officer exclaimed. Their voice and appearance were rendered indistinct by the uniform. The only aspect of their presence which could be discerned was the glowing memetic sigil emblazoned on the left breast, which affirmed their status as a trusted employee of the Department of Internal Security.

"Maria Jones herself reviewed the case. Her Tier-5 affirmation is on the case file." the second officer replied. "The highest ranking Foundation employee that we currently know is associated is Level-3, but the surveillance risk is severe."

"Indeed," said the third. "I'm of the opinion that this investigation be confined to paper and pencil only. Based on the briefing materials, any electronic records pose a security risk."

Investigations like this were a truly rare event. Most investigations carried out by Internal Security were Tier-3 or lower, even those involving Site Directors. A Tier-5 investigation carried with it some of the most stringent security protocols in the Foundation, as they were designed to securely investigate a member of the O5 Council or MTF-Alpha-1 who was believed to be compromised.

"We may need to develop a cover story like data corruption, and delete any provisional reports about this issue. We'll review what presently exists to determine if we're already blown," the second officer said.

"This is absolutely incredible." The fourth officer began. "If this report is true, our security is super fucked. The O5s will want a full post-mortem on how a GoI pulled one over us like this."

"Well, this is what we're here for. Given what's at stake, in addition to assistant agents operating in the blind, our security protocol should require a unique chit-chat encoding." The first agent added. The others nodded.

% more sections correlating info

%intel is about pentagram knowing about a foundation covert operation
%applied influence looks into who was running it, didn't understand it was blown. asked insec
%initial answer is "mid level correlation leak"

"I don't recognize this voice," the Applied Influence analyst said to his coworker. "This is Powers all right, but this isn't that Prometheus guy he's been running."

"Powers, remind me?" She responded.

"Yeah, John Powers. The UIU guy working on what they call 'Project Saxophone'. I haven't seen him recruit anybody new in over a year, and this one seems like a real weirdo. Some kind of technical background, but Robby told me he doesn't know his shit and phrased things weird. Like he was worried his words would come back to bite him."

"Isn't that just good practice?" The other agent filed some papers into a binder.

"No I know but, man, he seems like someone who got basic security training somewhere." He paused. Okay, maybe I'm just paranoid. I'll have the voice girls run this and see who comes up."

A group of Site-11 technical analysts gathered in Deputy Director Greene's office. He ushered them into a side room.

"We've got a problem folks. But we can't let anything look weird. You all are being reassigned, but officially you're still on your current assignments. I've told your managers privately they shouldn't expect any work from you. There will be a meeting in the SCC today at 1530 hours. We can't discuss any details until we're down there." Greene said.

The workers nodded, and turned to head out.

"Oh, and paper and pencil only. No electronic records of any kind, even encrypted."

% more sections tech

Chuck Thompson was sitting at his desk. It had been a long week, and there was only one more day until the weekend. Standing up and stretching, he strolled out of his office and towards the common area.

The secretary, using the copier, noticed Thompson in her peripheral vision. Quietly reaching for her wrist, she gently pressed a button on her bracelet while waiting for the printouts.

Elsewhere, a janitorial team of four pushed a trash bin dolly and industrial vacuum cleaner towards Section C's research offices.

Thompson strolled through and entered the cafeteria. Hmm, pizza seemed like a good idea, he thought. Wandering over, he picked up a tray and browsed today's selection of slices.

The secretary returned to her desk and retrieved a curious device from her purse. Equipping earplugs, she turned it on, and casually walked around the area. Nearby office workers began wandering out, chatting amongst themselves even though it was a bit early for a lunch break.

After they had all departed, the secretary disabled the device and removed her earplugs. After helping the janitorial team bring their equipment into Thompson's office, all five got to work. One janitor unfolded a "area in cleaning" barrier, while another opened up the "vacuum", revealing it to contain a number of photography and scanning devices. The secretary was busy modifying the nearby surveillance system, using a special override code to replace the camera feed with premade footage showing nothing of interest occurring.

One janitor began taking a number of detailed images of every part of the office, taking care to not touch anything. After he finished, him and the secretary equipped rubber gloves and began searching through his desk and cabinets. Another janitor removed an fist-sized circuit board, which terminated in a number of different connectors, including one for USB. Attaching it to Thompson's computer, the LED lights began flashing. A third removed a scanning device, superficially similar to a metal detector, and began running it up and down the length of the desk.

Identifying several files of interest, two of the workers placed them on a collapsible table and began photographing them. After each was processed, the secretary flashed each with a strange light.

The circuit device finished, lighting up several green LEDs. It was detached, and the secretary put away the camera and began carefully replacing all of the removed items. She motioned impatiently to the other janitor, who was still using the scanning device on the second filing cabinet.

Within five minutes they finished up. After returning the equipment to the false vacuum cleaner the supposed janitors began quietly rolling it out down the hallway. All of the items in Thompson's desk had been carefully replaced; even his pen was returned to the exact orientation it was in prior to their search.

After half an hour, Thompson returned to his desk, sighing heavily. The pepperoni hadn't been very good. Looking around the office, he saw his boss's secretary working dutifully at her desk. Apparently Linda was sick, and this woman was filling in for the week.


The man gestured to the guards, who flanked Thompson and forced him to stand.

"Don't worry about missing any dates with Powers, your 'twin brother' will be sure to arrive on time. And as for you, the Ethics Subcommittee for Surveillance has set your court date for the seventeenth. Until then, I believe there's a detention cell with your name on it."

Chuck looked up, giving the man a weary look.

The man didn't blink. "Don't worry. We won't meet again."

The guards escorted him out of the room.

beats: (no particular order)

  • Chuck Thompson is detailed by Internal Security
  • Department of Applied Influence something
    • stuff like dead drops
    • live handoffs
    • using an existing source
  • observe Thompson talking to Powers (UIU contact)
  • RAISA flags file, overly aggressive reverts. generally this is just an overzealous project manager, and they have the relevant department's Office of Dispute Resolution handle it
    • Jim actually reads the file (doesn't just skim), realizes the anomaly is very wild. either it's exaggerated or the containment is
    • eventually he discards the email draft and contacts RAISA something
    • Thompson's behavior is considered weird. because it involves a GoI, Internal Security starts digging
  • Chuck Thompson's desk is thoroughly searched. They inspect it and then ensure everything, even pens, are exactly as he left them
  • SCC (Secure Computing Center) at Site-11. Deep underground, with incredible security. (immune to WHISPER)
  • measures taken by Internal Security / DoAI to avoid Pentagram detection
    • Flagged to Internal Security with secrecy rating 5 (normally only for O5s and other extremely high-level defectors) due to potential surveillance
    • The tier-5 leader agents cannot leave the bunker during the investigation. it includes sleeping/food provisions, and is rated self-sufficient for 120 days
  • after developing WHISPER IN THE WIND, they find out the Foundation detected it from Chuck. he's not a security expert and isn't particularly careful during the recruitment phase. the FBI is panicked and snaps him up quickly
  • ends with several of the techniques being used as part of PANOPTICON
  • internal security tails Thompson whenever he leaves the site
  • skipping to pentagram whisper command, and what they're finding. reading self-isolation reports
  • DoAI gets a sudden order to infiltrate pentagram's intelligence team. they say they already have it well maintained. something, they realize UIU knows three of their pentagram agents and have been surveilling them. they plan an exfiltration and start a special task force to determine how the intel got into DOD hands

ideas and snippets:

  • chuck is left to an ambiguous fate?
  • In 2017, the Department of Defense had a stroke of luck. General Joseph Mortimer, a four-star air force general, was exposed as a long time Foundation asset following a multiyear FBI counterintelligence investigation. Wishing to avoid jail time in the US's only ontokinetic-resistant prison, he agreed to inform on his operations for the Department of Applied Influence, reporting thousands of stolen US government documents. To ensure he could not be re-doubled, the DOD security surveilled him night and day.
  • The Department of Defense managed to keep many of their paraweapons secret, but was increasingly frustrated by the ineffectiveness of the Unusual Incidents Unit's countersurveillance capabilities. After years of failures, it decided to take a more passive approach to the Foundation problem. In early 2015, a small, well-vetted group of Pentagram and Coalition scientists worked in secret using early research into electronic antimemetics. After a year of work, they hit a breakthrough, and %
  • At one point, the Department of Applied Influence had even installed an agent as D.C. al Fine's personal secretary.
  • "What's Project Saxophone?" %

    "Uh, it's some UIU paratech project. The chief of the FBI division said it didn't seem too interesting, so we haven't been looking into it."
  • A bald man with a five-o-clock shadow stumbled down in Washington D.C. He appeared to have had too much to drink. After turning the corner, he tossed a rock behind a dumpster and continued lumbering past. Two blocks later, he pulled out his cell phone.

    "Honey no, no listen, I'll be home soon. I — I'll take the bus. I'll be — it'll be an hour." He slurred his words as he made the call.

    "Dear, you really shouldn't drink so much. Come back safe."

    The man hung up. On the other end, the Applied Influence agent requested a pickup for the surveillance recording.
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