The Long Night
Sentinels are the soldiers of Firewall, the reserve troops called to instant active status whenever danger is perceived. Regardless of their location or current affairs, sentinels are expected to move instantly when called into play. It is their own responsibility to cover their absences from their “normal life” during each mission.
There is no applying to join Firewall. Instead, Firewall selects an individual for induction based upon that person’s skills, knowledge, occupation, security clearance, location, status, and a host of other criteria. While such selections usually originate from a proxy, sentinels can exercise authority to bring new initiates into the conspiracy as a mission demands — and they often do. Any sentinel recruiting a new supporter, however, becomes responsible for the new
inductee and their actions. If lines are crossed, both will bear the brunt of the consequences.
The vetting process for joining Firewall is necessarily brutal, as sentinels face harsh opponents and must make hard choices in the field. If an individual agrees to accept the invitation, there is no turning back. Each inductee is submitted to a battery of trials and tests. While these vary, they may include deep background searches, fork interrogation, psychosurgery trials, and tests of loyalty. Psychosurgery is performed not to program obedience, but to analyze the recruit’s responses to various situations—an extreme-parameters test to see when a prospective sentinel will break. Many potential members are carefully analyzed by a Promethean with expertise in character judgment and personality profiling.
Those who don’t pass such tests are either killed in a manner that they must resort to an earlier backup or have their memories altered so that they have no recollection of the conspiracy.
Firewall walks a fine line. The concept of dogmatic “unquestioned loyalty” is both counterproductive and anathema to everything for which Firewall stands. Its sentinels need to have the capacity for thinking outside of the box from mission to mission.
At the same time, their ultimate goals are too important to risk—the survival of transhumanity depends on it—so extreme measures must sometimes be taken to ensure the organization remains intact and secure. New sentinels are given a code name and fake identification. Outside of the proxies, the real-world identity of a given sentinel is a closely guarded secret. Sentinels are even discouraged from sharing such information with members of their own teams, though this line is often crossed. Additionally, each sentinel is required to upload a backup to Firewall’s secure servers and to update this backup regularly.
This backup serves a dual purpose, enabling all sentinels to be retrieved should they die, but also putting a copy of the sentinel in Firewall’s hands should they ever need to interrogate them.
Sentinels are all connected via the Eye, Firewall’s peer-to-peer social network. Though each operates behind their assumed identity, they remain in contact, sharing information and resources as needed.