Message from Bluthe

Gary could have used a conspiracy engine in these wee morning hours as he read the massive email that Bluthe had put together. As Bluthe told it, he was about to fire off a sentence, then two, then the number just kept ballooning as he looked deeper and deeper into the matter. Sure, he had found a site with a reference to screen burning and the like — a site that was, in fact, listed at area51.com, which was the main reason that Bluthe’s Web scraper had found it and downloaded it to his hard disk archive. “The Society for the Liberation of Earth the Blue Ball from its Obsolete Notions of Isolation in the Big Black Void of Space.” This was a longer version of the society’s self-representation.

When Bluthe decided to dig a little deeper on Craig Phissure he found no forwarding address, just a word of mourning that had not been scoured off the Internet. So Bluthe started down the membership list — all nicely laid out for their assassins — and found each traceable individual dead, for all practical purposes scratched out. In his PGP-encrypted email: “This is a classic case of government-sponsored silencing. Human rights groups make a great deal of noise about torture and imprisonment for political intimidation and retribution, but, as you might imagine, there is an equally large business in silencing. If you just think about it — you want someone to shut up completely — no missing or bloody body, no attention-getting relatives, no prying groups or press, then you can see the utility. Why not a forensic science of traceless killing?”

Paranoia, Gary thought: I just don’t need his ranting right now.

“Gary, it’s also clear to me that the website of this group was not only erased from the Internet, but was also systematically scraped from any archive where it might have been kept. If my database had been Web accessible, my God, I really hesitate to think what would have been made of my case. The whole time I was putting the postmodern double-whammy on those poor people who claim to have been abducted I was inches away from falling into this pit. Mary Mother of God, Gary, thank you for making these last few years seem like a massive cheating of my own death. Really adds to the old memories. No, I mean it. Now I’m not so sure that you yourself aren’t a test, in the effort to flush out every last festering remnant of this cognitive infection. Have I gotten anything from you that someone familiar with you couldn’t have manufactured? Do we have any kind of signal worked out to indicate communication under duress? Would you have the courage to use it, if we did? If you get this, Gary, it’s because I’d rather die than live with the uncertainty. And, frankly, because the ridiculous excitement of this whole thing is probably just a little too much for me.”