Epilogue: The Place in the Sun

(The following email exchange was found on a laptop computer on the floor of a Miami mansion, and reposted on a Network forum.)

Operative Three,

I haven't got a response from you in days! What happened? -Dan

Well, Dan. Looks like you've ended up in quite a mess. Can't say I'm too sympathetic. You, your father, your wife, your brother-in-law, and all your terrorist buddies made quite a team.

Three, what the hell are you talking about?

Oh, I think you know what the hell I'm talking about. How your wife killed your father through those local Gaian fucks, which I am proud to say are behind bars. And if you're watching the news, your wife is finally dead. Killed herself rather than face the music.

Who the hell are you? Operative Three?

Operative Three died years ago in a helicopter crash. I anticipated you, in traditional paranoid fashion, would want another Operative and want to keep them as far away from you as possible. So, I prepared an identity beforehand, and I tried to remain as neutral as possible, so I could better watch you.

Four? Is that you? You lying traitor!

Look who's talking. I'm not the one that actively funds and constructs terrorist groups. I'll admit that Uncle Sam's funded a bunch of demented groups in the past, but I must admit, at least they often tried euphemize them as "freedom fighters." You freely consorted with the Russian Mafia, ordered the Stormfront to commit a horrible terrorist attack, digitally make up an identity of yourself as the Emir himself, have your brother-in-law make snuff films of murdered children, and had your wife set up as the "mythical head" of the Gaians. Oh, and it was clever using the Gaians to attack biofuel and renewable energy research spots. Must've helped secure your oil investments. Not to mention, running Holy Cross Ministries was quite an accomplishment, if you consider running a demented cult that brainwashes people across the world bent on political power and that "culture war" bullshit. Though, I suppose, your daddy takes most of the credit there.

I'm going to kill you, Four! Kill you!

I'll tell you what, Dan. Because I'm such a nice guy, I'll give you a five-day head-start if you want to run. Because in about five days, the local police will acquire a warrant for your arrest. Run, Dan. Try calling up your friends at the NSA, in HCM, and all the terrorist groups you want now. They'll want nothing to do with you. You're a liability. A burnout. Now, I wonder how a few individuals in the Russian Mafia would react if they found out you were the Emir. Your buddy Sergei got it because I told them he was leaking information to the Prophet's Guard. They found what was left of him floating in trash bags in the Elbe River. If that was just a traitor, imagine what they'll do to the self-proclaimed "Prince" himself.

Fuck you, Four! FUCK YOU!

(The laptop computer was removed from the Miami estate before police entered. The corpse of Dan Robertson was found in his bedroom, the victim of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the temple. In addition, the following message was forwarded to: Maschine-Gott, Daedalus, JanusThursday, Keshik, Ignatius, Nemo.)

Helios here, everyone. I'd like to congratulate all six of you on a job well done. What we've accomplished is a fairly significant victory for the Modernist Network. The Robertson family and Holy Cross Ministries, as well as their terrorist and criminal contacts, were a powerful foe to take down. However, I would like to leave you with a few warnings and suggestions, as a special operations specialist.

First, we cannot afford to grow complacent. The Infowar is not about posing in front of the media while humiliating our foes. It's about changing the status quo for the better. The idea that a small group of concerned citizens can change their world is the basis of democracy, after all.

Second, we should work to expand the Infowar beyond the First World. There's plenty of developing countries and new nations we need to redouble efforts in. Brazil's ethanol fuel program, after all, should prove profitable with enough investment. In addition, we should expand into nations such as India and China. If we truly want to effect the next generation, we'd best go for those that will command the next generation.

Third, we should definitely work on our own technological development. With biotech and nanotech bans in effect in many nations, we should work in places without such bans, such as Singapore and South Korea. There, we can put a legitimate face on our research with too much fear of reprisal from bioconservatives. As Maschine-Gott suggested, working to develop some reliable means of converting software to useful products can work. Whether an automated workbench, bacteria farm, circuit "printer," or souped-up three-dimensional printer, I don't care. Hell, if someone does manage to get a nano-factory working, that would utterly redefine economics. Two of our greatest inspirations, Anders Sandberg and Robert Ingdahl, did their homework, remember.

Fourth, we're going to need a more solid "common code." It should be simple, easy to remember, and generally allow us to work with each other while minimizing risk to each other. Here's my recommendations:

-Cooperation: While each person has their own ideas, working together produces better results than working alone.

-Diversity: A federation of smaller, diverse subunits that will still come to each others' aid is a strong structure, and work to ensure a diversity of philosophies.

-Extropy: While we can look to the past, we must prepare for the future and work towards universal recognition of the rights of all persons.

-Innovation: The best solution is to look forwards using creative ideas to counter problems, and adapt rather than isolate oneself.

-Liberty: All people are entitled to the rights of life, freedom of belief (or non-belief), speech, property, and pursuit of happiness.

-Moderation: The middle road is normally the best, and extremes often lead to negative impacts and consequences.

-Respect: Respect the ideas of others, even if you do not agree with them, and provided they do not violate the rights of others.

-Transparency: Be clear with your intentions, expose abuses of power, and work to ensure a more open, transparent society.

My main inspirations are Sandberg, Ingdahl, Rothbard, David Brin, Jefferson, a think-tank called the Extropy Institute, and Enlightenment-era thought.

Just a warning: At the risk of sounding too much like those we fight, we cannot grow complacent. Just because we won one battle does not mean we won the war. We must prepare for radicals either inside or outside the Network. We can try to make our group idiot proof, but as with any system, someone always builds a better idiot. This is why evolution is much better: We can adapt if that does happen. Be vectors, not numbers. Whenever people desire to be ordinary, they deny themselves the ability to be extraordinary. We must work against this, but we must not force it on them. That's all for now, and let the Infowar continue.

(The email ends here. Copies were also sent to DungeonCrawler, LyRoH Perdido, Icarus, and Umberto's Garden. Responses have been overwhelmingly positive.)

The End.