I could not dismiss the sense of strangeness I felt, calling all our friends and inviting them to an afternoon and evening dinner as Roger had always done. It was even more surprising that everyone simply agreed to the time and date I had selected.
They started arriving shortly after one, and everyone had arrived by two. Everyone seemed to share the feeling of pure joy I did just being with all these good and dear friends. Sally was so obviously happy it made me even happier, if that were possible.
I was also surprised that everyone seemed so grateful that I had arranged the get together. I cannot remember any gathering of people that seemed so thoroughly enjoyed by everyone.
It had been some time since we were all together and everyone was busy for a while catching up with what the others had been doing.
The real interest of the afternoon centered on Margo, of course, since everyone now knew she was with Roger when he left.
She emphasized the fact that she missed him, as everyone certainly did, but that it was a great privilege to see him on his way to where he belonged, the world of true freedom, and the society and culture that fit such individuals.
She said she was unable to provide many details of the leaving itself. "No, there was no spaceship, and he did not simply fly away. It is almost impossible to describe, and Roger himself discouraged my providing more details if I knew them."
Everyone seemed satisfied with her brief comments and description, but I frankly felt Margo was being more reticent than she usually was.
At one point in the evening Frank managed to get Sally and me aside long enough to talk to us about the Barrets.
Bill and Sarah Barret were the young couple with the delightful little girl named Roxanne Frank had been impressed with at the Angus' Angus restaurant that first night of her visit.
It turns out Bill was not only a computer genius, but a physics and electronics genius. He has been doing work for Frank, just as she planned. He not only wrote programs for her mining projects, but was working on a communication system with almost infinite band width using rotational angles of light, I believe she said. I know it is related to light polarization.
"Even if someone could contrive to receive the transmissions, because it is encrypted with a non-repeating code, it is impossible to decrypt, except by the algorithm that produces the code to begin with. Since that algorithm has infinite possible inputs, even if the algorithm itself could be discovered, the actual inputs for any message would be impossible to discover.
"This is going to be very important very soon." Frank continued enthusiastically. "We've become the enemy, you know, because we are not part of the government system, because we do not need them. When they decide we've become too dangerous for them, the will try to control us—or destroy us. I've already talked to Ned and Joel, and they are convinced the government is trying to identify those who are essentially outside the system. Ned thinks it more serious than Joel, but both are sure the government is getting close to identifying us. Ned said, if any of us are positively identified as, "a-staters," the government will monitor all their communication and of course that will eventually lead them to us all. That's why the communication system Bill is developing is so important."
"You mean," I said, " that we should start using this new communication system immediately?" I asked.
"I wish we could," she said, "and we will as soon as we can produce the units themselves. We've already tested the prototypes, and the system works perfectly. It's only a matter of weeks now before we can start supplying working systems to everyone. We'll talk more," she said, and nothing more was said about it that evening.
Ned was eager to talk to me alone, and a little later that evening we managed it.
"You know the nonsense that is put over as science and has been since the nineteenth century, including psychology and environmentalism. You are probably unaware of the latest so-called scientific discovery: so-called evidence of intelligent life in the universe which like all the other pseudo-sciences, slowly but steadily becomes accepted as fact. The claim is that certain artifacts of intelligent life have been discovered in the universe. Though obviously nothing but conjecture, no one is willing to deny the 'scientist's' claims—after all, who wants to be called a 'science denier?':
"Here's how this new fraud works. Here is what is being put over:
"Alien life is not human, because it did not evolve on planet earth. So what kind of monsters can they be?
"The knowledge, the technology, and the power necessary to create the artifacts that have been discovered means the aliens are inestimably more advance and powerful than humans can even imagine.
"Just to give you an example of how wild the conjectures are all this fear inducing propaganda is based on, the so-called artifacts are called 'Fermi Bubbles," which are nothing more than odd configurations of stars within galaxies. Really, that's all there is.
"It goes on from there.
"Such advanced forms of life, it is claimed, will have no more interest or regard for human life, knowledge, or culture, than 'we' do for a fish's life, knowledge, or habits.
"Oh, the whole thing is being put over so subtly. This is the rest:
"There is no reason to consider the aliens an immediate threat to earth or its life, but if they ever are a threat, there will be no defense against them. Though the language is, 'there is no reason to consider the aliens an immediate threat,' the intended impression is that an immediate threat is exactly what the aliens are.
"The contradictory message is that if there is any possible defense against the threat of alien invasion, government is the only possible means to that defense, and any measures toward such defense are justified. You realize what new powers governments mean to use this propaganda to grab?
"Now there have been reports that aliens are actually already living on earth. The first few reports have all been debunked, but the number of such reports, and the elaborateness of them grows almost daily. The aliens are capable of taking on human appearance, it is reported, and are exactly like humans biologically, and cannot be detected by any known means.
"Of course, for those of us who know about Roger and Dempsey, this new popular panic is more than ironic. But it is worse, it is also dangerous. Roger is out of danger, but Dempsey is not. And there other non-earth humans who may also be in danger, if they, like Roger, have not already left.
"Perhaps you are not aware of the creation of NatAlSec (National Alien Security Agency), which combines Homeland Security, TSA, and some other agencies to carry out a campaign to discover the aliens. Their mandate is to determine the origin of every individual in the country. There is a UN version called International Alien Security Agency (INatAlSec) doing the same world wide.
"I've already talked to Dempsey. She simply dismissed my concern. She was very appreciative of it and gave me a hug and kiss and told me there was nothing on this world that could possibly be a threat to her. Still, I told her to let me know if anyone threatened her in any way. I could take care of it. She just thanked me, you know? It was, 'thanks but no thanks.' I know no woman I admire more. She's even more tough than I am.
I know what Ned has done for others so appreciated his concern, but did not, I thought, realize exactly what that concern was.
"Ned," I asked, "do you think the threat to Dempsey, or any of the other possible non-earth humans we are unaware of, is a serious threat? If you do, what do you think we should do?"
"I'm not sure we can do anything at the moment, Mark. I just wanted you to know it is a possible threat, and for you to know if anything comes of it, I'll do anything to combat it. If it were ever discovered there really are non-earth humans, and any of us had anything to do with them, we might also be subject to the threat.
Ned had a lot more experience with the more evil side of government than I, and I had a great deal of respect for his knowledge and insight about such matters. Still, if Dempsey had dismissed his concerns, I was confident, whatever danger there might be to her, she could take care of herself.
I thanked Ned and assured him if there really were any real threats, or even seemed to be, I'd let him know right away.
It turned out, the threat was quite real, and it was Dempsey who was threatened. That led to an amazing revelation, which I'll have to tell about another time.
I was also concerned with the other possible government threat Frank had alluded to and wondered why Ned had not mentioned that as well. Perhaps he had left it for Frank to discuss.
Oh, yes. It turns out Margo was being a bit cagey, and had much more to reveal to Sally and me about Roger's leaving, but that will have to wait for another time as well.