Deal 573: Recruiting listeners

Too many records. I know that doesn’t sound possible, but there comes a time when one has to admit that new records are produced faster than a single person can listen to them. Unless you restrict yourself to a genre, and that genre dies out in time, you will never catch up.

That is one plausible definition of too many records. Others are possible. Anyone who has moved after acquiring the habit will have another definition; vinyl is dense and friends willing to pack and carry it are scarce.

I have a similar problem. It doesn’t matter where I work. I can’t say, and you won’t have heard of it. People talk. A lot. Sometimes they talk in places where they can be heard. Sometimes they know that and are careful about what they say. Sometimes the don’t and aren’t. We are interested those latter cases. We are not alone in that interest, of course. But we are unique in our ability to scratch that itch.

And therein lies the fly in my brand of ointment.

People still talk a lot. And finding people we trust to listen is difficult. Difficult enough that people talk more than we can listen.

You understand that I say “we” and “trust” but don’t mean those words to be taken too literally or examined too closely. Nothing I say can be proven to be true. Likely little of it can be proven false, either. I haven’t said where I work, or who “we” are. Whatever cloak and dagger visions you have are wrong. The truth will never be told, but were it told, it is absolutely stranger than fiction.

Our inability to listen in time has led to some spectacular failures. We learned the who was planning to kill JFK a year after the event. We knew about Lincoln the day before, but were unable to arrange a distraction in time. We knew that the Titanic had been sabotaged months in advance of the sinking, but also knew we had no plausible cover for how we knew and were forced to keep silent.

What’s that? The Titanic wasn’t sunk by sabotage you say? Heh.

It was a lot easier to create cover stories then before every new hound had a camera. We had a devil of a time with the Hindenburg too. That might be the first time events went wide without our influence. Krakatoa? Oh, that too. But we had no real dog in that fight, it was enough to get a telegraph operator to misspell its name to sow enough confusion to preserve our agent’s cover.

Don’t bother checking my facts. All are true, for some value of truth. And without eyes on the events yourself, you would find hardly anything confirming my view of events, our history control teams are excellent at muddling the record.

But I digress.

We listen. We say nothing. We don’t exist. We vanish, we sever all ties, we never speak to friends or family again. If recruited into our team, you will become ostracised. But not cut off completely, there is a trial period during which it will still be possible to rejoin society. With one hell of a secrecy oath hanging over your head, mind you.

If you are accepted to an inner circle, you will likely die, officially. Simply disappearing is never good enough. This is part of the problem with programs like Witness Protection. Those people are only barely hidden. You will die in a way completely consistent with what your friends and family know of you. An open casket funeral will be held. There will be no doubts of the corpse. Then you will work for us. Are there further circles? I can only say that if there were, I could never speak of them to you here and now. There aren’t, of course. Even the promotion via funeral is a lie. Of sorts. Of the sort that is actually completely true while appearing to be completely false.

The bottom line is that we need to expand our circle of trust.

This meeting never happened.

If you are interested, then say the words “Drag Chain Introduce Purple Pause” somewhere you know is private. You will be abducted within a day and taken to our new employee indoctrination.

If you have more questions, say “Violent Birth Pray Copper” and then ask a single clear question that would have a simple answer. The answer will be delivered within an hour in a way that will be obvious to you and invisible to anyone you are with.

We never met.

This didn’t happen.

Go back to sleep. When you wake up, you will feel refreshed and remember only the code phrases and the gist of what you have been told. You will speak of nothing that happened here tonight.

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