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--however, there is a growing body of evidence to suggest that OBSIDIAN DAGGER is, in fact, Hierarchy agent GLEAMING EDGE:

  • OBSIDIAN DAGGER was first sighted two months after GLEAMING EDGE engaged DARK ROSE and was presumed killed in action.
  • Previous reports of OBSIDIAN DAGGER's appearance indicate a much greater similarity to GLEAMING EDGE, and her appearance has changed in ways that GLEAMING EDGE had previously expressed a desire for.
  • Reports from Hierarchy agents who have engaged in combat with OBSIDIAN DAGGER indicate that she is proficient in Tekari-style battlemagic, which was known to be GLEAMING EDGE's specialty.

Initially, our working hypothesis was that DARK ROSE had suborned GLEAMING EDGE. Some form of control is all but certain: OBSIDIAN DAGGER displays the telltale crimson irises and bitescars of the suborned. However, while OBSIDIAN DAGGER was in Hierarchy captivity we repeatedly attempted to break DARK ROSE's hold on her, starting with standard Hierarchy anti-indoctrination conversational tactics and ultimately escalating to K2 aurabreakers. Although the latter's thaumaturgical recoil indicates that OBSIDIAN DAGGER was in fact under some nature of compulsion that they were able to break, none of the countermeasures we were able to deploy before DARK ROSE extracted OBSIDIAN DAGGER from our custody have had any effect on OBSIDIAN DAGGER's allegiances.

This suggests that her loyalty is entirely based on conventional human psychology: in short, we believe OBSIDIAN DAGGER is in love with DARK ROSE.

Naturally, this poses a troubling question: how could a Hierarchy agent fall in love with what she was meant to destroy? Our psychological profile of GLEAMING EDGE indicates--

--belief that phages are incapable of feeling love, while useful for low-level agents to believe, has long been known among the upper echelon of the Hierarchy to be false. Nevertheless, the case of DARK ROSE and OBSIDIAN DAGGER is unique in that it represents the first known case of a phage loving one that they have suborned.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, but there is no other possible conclusion: not only do DARK ROSE and OBSIDIAN DAGGER display typical affectionate behavior when out in public (smiling, laughing, affectionate embraces, and so on), but DARK ROSE has repeatedly protected OBSIDIAN DAGGER at great cost to herself, both physical and in terms of abandoning short-term goals.

We recommend that any Hierarchy agents inquiring about this behavior be told that DARK ROSE is merely manipulating OBSIDIAN DAGGER as she believes her to be useful, a lie aided in the fact that OBSIDIAN DAGGER has proven greatly beneficial to DARK ROSE's goals (see after-action-reports for, e.g., WICKED SPIKE AURA, WICKED SPIKE BANE, STAIN SMEAR FUNGUS).

However, we must not lose sight of the truth that our model of phage psychology is drastically wrong. Further, this correction to our model has the potential to explain previously inexplicable behavior, such as the mortal interference in tthe REEF SNAKE incident that resulted in the loss of Agent PURE CROWN as well as--