Alfred Redl's Penknife


Alfred Redl




Enhanced signal-to-noise detection


Autonomic Nervous System Reversal



Collected by

Warehouse 13







Date of Collection

March 28, 2015



Alfred Redl (14 March 1864 – 25 May 1913) served the Austro-Hungarian counterintelligence department Evidenzbureau to a high degree of competency. New techniques such as photography and fingerprinting began to keep a database on suspects. He ousted traitors spying on the nation and prevented foreigners from gaining military access. Starting in 1902, Redl also sold classified internal reports and mobilization plans to Russia.

Initially, they had pictures of him in homosexual relationships but Redl grew fond of the luxury their payments arranged. For a decade, Redl transferred images and code relays including Plan III, the prime Austrian attack strategy against neighboring Serbia. An estimated half-million fellow soldiers were killed when the leadership committed to Plan III. To protect himself from suspicion, he feigned loyalty by exposing smaller spies already implanted in the bureau and arresting them personally.

By 1912, Redl was promoted to Chief of Staff. His pupil director had a paranoid habit of checking suspicious and unmarked mail. One envelope contained a cache of foreign payments addressed from a known spy haven. Another envelope appeared a year later; detectives followed to the destination and found the missing cap to a penknife, probably their suspect’s. They staked out the hotel lobby and saw their former boss Redl retrieve the cap. Redl admitted immediately to selling state intelligence. He asked for a loaded revolver and privacy in his room before further inquiry was possible.


Greater ability to distinguish relevant actions from background noise. Their mind, followed by their sensory organs can more accurately tell apart important stimuli from chatter. Crickets buzzing can be mentally blocked for greater concentration and keywords parsed for useful secrets in nondescript documents. Precision grows with time and continued observation.

Makes the nervous system itself behave wonky. The sympathetic system normally prepares for intensity, while the parasympathetic mellows a person for resting. Both normally react immediately to threats or safety. It possibly allows greater intentional access to remain calm-headed but intensely attuned to their surroundings. Each system will slowly begin firing across the body at the most opposite times – relaxing too calmly when in danger, or fretting nervously over pure nothing. Users attract suspicion for their inconsistent behavior – seen at best a simmering panic attack, at worst psychotic in nature.

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