Never. Question. Me.

At least not by email. If you want to know why I am so actively hostile to being asked questions about pretty much anything, I invite you to consider the sort of thing that I still see in my email on a regular basis. Here’s one from just this morning.

I got into a huge argument with my co-workers who are all atheists. They now all think I am crazy because I seriously question evolution. Their main argument is that human dna and chimp dna are extremely close. I foolishly did not believe them, however when I checked online it said 98.8% similarity. If that is true then I’m gonna have to admit it, however I don’t know what is true. I personally think the entire thing is a scam, but I am not smart enough nor expertise enough to know how to prove it.

First, none of these retards are intelligent enough to be having a meaningful discussion about evolution. That’s obvious, considering the way they’re arguing over something that is a) meaningless, b) irrelevant, and c) scientifically outdated. It wouldn’t matter if human DNA and starfish DNA were 100 percent identical, that still wouldn’t suffice to prove that the theory of evolution by natural selection was correct. Sweet St. George, how I despise democracy!

Second, I have already addressed the theory of evolution repeatedly and in considerable detail. I have even presented a mathematical disproof that has thus far failed to meet with any meaningful critique and has not been refuted or even substantially addressed by any advocate of TE(p)NSSSBMGD&GF, which is to say, the Theorum of Evolution by (probably) Natural Selection, Sexual Selection, Biased Mutation, Genetic Drift, and Gene Flow, which I believe includes most, though probably not all, of the evolutionary epicycles now required to explain away the pre-VD critiques of the theory. So, it’s pretty safe to say that if you have a question, the answer to it is already on the blog.

Dance, little scientist, dance the epicycles for me!

Third, in case it has somehow escaped your attention, there are a lot of people who read this blog. We have an entire social media community filled with very smart, very well-informed individuals who are perfectly capable of answering ignorant questions asked by relative retards. So if you have a question, start by asking it on SG, there are always a few Smart Boys who live for that sort of thing who will be absolutely delighted to show you how smart and well-informed they are. Which, by the way, answers the recent question that appeared on Sigma Game concerning what are the positive benefits of Gamma. They can be positive life-savers in this regard!

Fourth, when you consider that this blog has been around for 21 years and has well over 100 million views, what are the chances that no one has ever asked your Very Important Question before? What are the odds that I haven’t already answered it in a public manner?

Fifth and finally, save it for Stupid Question Day on the Darkstream.

Addendum: No, I won’t do an interview. I don’t care how Very Special and Important your publication or university happens to be. The answer is still no. When I’ve rejected multiple interview requests from The New York Times and Fox News, do you really think I’m eager to take advantage of “your chance to tell your side of the story”?


Mailvox: Nationalism and Non-Leadership

A recent exchange with a longtime VP reader.

DC: I consider Christian Nationalism a dead issue we are still just mucking around with in the US.

VD: I wouldn’t say it’s a dead issue, I’d say it’s an intellectual issue with very little relevance today.

DC: For the US it became a relevant issue which it still might be? But it was effectively still born as the proponents did such a poor job out the gate.

VD: It had nothing to do with that. Ideology is irrelevant anyhow. The time just isn’t right yet. Most Christians still think it’s 1980, if not 1950. They can’t even conceive of any need for Christian Nationalism so long as the government isn’t performing pagan sacrifices in public every national holiday. Christian Nationalism will be a reaction to pagan imperialism.

DC: Much more believable path forward than anything I’ve read.

VD: Of course. Because most of the writings on it are people attempting to redefine and pervert the concept. Most public intellectuals, such as they are, are simply professional activists for an ethnicity or an ideology. All of their analyses are rooted in politics, not in history, and always just happen to point in the same direction no matter the topic at hand. Which makes them worthless for more objective purposes.

DC: I find the same sort of problem with analysis of the role of men and women in the church. The theologians try to make an ahistorical, timeless, systematic theology of men and women ignoring all of history as a guide and not even putting the answer in today’s context. That’s how we got the ridiculous, new “servant leadership” theology for men which at its root is a compromise with the feminists. “Don’t be mad women and we will carry your bags for you in Target, not have friends, and watch the kids while you go drink with your friends!” SERVANT LEADING! I have probably read in-depth six books in the last 18 months on men and women in the church. Most of them simply degrade into rank Biblicism and try to write a timeless theology out of a scant few verses to exclude women from being Elders, and in the case of Piper, policemen. They are proof-texting themselves into theological stalemates which end in nihilism. Servant Leadership theology made neither servants nor leaders, instead it turned men into butlers who ask their wives for permission.


How to Recognize VHIQ

/pol/ considers how the average individual can recognize a highly intelligent individual in public situations:

What are some signs that show someone has a high IQ? The kind of things you can notice within moments of meeting or by spending a few hours with someone?

I have a few anecdotal ones:

  • Friendly, but detached. Like they know they have to play the social game but don’t find it important (they have better things to think about).
  • Can hold a conversation on a wide range of topics.
  • Suddenly light up when esoteric topics come up – they are energised whereas before it was just going through the motions (even their going through the motions is higher level than most people’s high effort)
  • Have a habit of cutting through the crap and saying things very clearly and succinctly. This often shocks people around them with its accuracy.

inb4 IQ score. I don’t give a fuck about that – I’m talking IRL signs which don’t involve asking someone’s IQ like an autist. inb4 is successful businessman/tech guy. Hell no. It’s the midwits that thrive there. I am one.

It’s rather refreshing – and slightly suspicious – to see a midwit who is sufficiently self-aware and modest enough to distinguish between his own superior intelligence and VHIQ. Especially when he is clearly observant enough to recognize some of the genuine signs of high intelligence.

For me, the first sign is always the eyes. Highly intelligent people tend to have a penetrating quality to their eyes, particularly when they aren’t interacting with anyone and aren’t aware they are being observed. It’s often described as “intense” or “lively” by others, and can provoke instinctive reactions such as widening eyes or a physical retreat. It’s also how the highly intelligent can quickly recognize one another. Consider the way that a fictional version of Vladimir Putin is described.

At the time, the tsar was not yet the tsar. His gestures did not then convey the inflexible authority they would later come to acquire, and though his gaze had some trace of the mineral quality we recognize in it today, it was as if veiled by a conscious effort to keep it under control.

Most VHIQ and UHIQ adults know that they will get along better with people if they don’t force them to confront their intelligence. If someone who is not observably shy or lacking in self-confidence, whose posture conveys a high level of self-assurance, tends to habitually avert their eyes or avoid making eye contact, that is a possible indicator.

There are, of course, other indicators. But the eyes are a fairly reliable one, particularly if you see them change from one state of awareness to another in the literal blink of an eye.

One thing to keep in mind is that highly intelligent people always know it. Some will rub your face in it. Others will desperately attempt to conceal it. But the midwit myth of “the smart person who doesn’t know how smart they are” is nothing more than a Gamma coping mechanism. The reality of the VHIQ is the inability to credit how totally fucking retarded the average individual is.

It’s arguably even worse for the UHIQ, since the VHIQ usually has a basic grasp of how the average mind’s logic functions. The UHIQ can’t even understand that.


Mailvox: The Post-Morten Convergence of CS Lewis

A reminder, as if any could possibly be necessary anymore, of the importance of Castalia Library preserving the original texts that are being actively disappeared by the publishing industry:

We were given tickets to the stage version of The Lion and Witch and the Wardrobe. It was terrible. I was waiting to see what SJW stuff would be included. It started with about eight or so army guys, and only one of them was black, so I thought maybe we will be lucky… then the kids walked out. They were black. It was abysmal. Although it did put a different spin on a few of the lines – like when Mr Beaver is asking if they’re human or not…

The kids got to the house after being evacuated from London, and one of the two housemaids was a big burly man with a beard. He was wearing a maid’s outfit. It was grotesque. They stripped away all Christian references and undertones, which was impressive in an awful way given the subject material.

They even removed Santa. He was now Sinta Klause, and looked like a fat Turkish man who had been caught in an explosion at a fabric factory.

The West has fallen to Clown World. We are the remnant. We will rebuild anew and wiser than before.

“The Shadow that bred them can only mock, it cannot make: not real new things of its own. I don’t think it gave life to the orcs, it only ruined them and twisted them.”

— JRR Tolkien, The Return of the King


Mailvox: Why GRRM Can’t Finish ASOIAF

A highly literate reader named JC emails a detailed analysis of George RR Martin’s difficulty in finishing A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE, and reaches precisely the same conclusion that I have assumed all along, which is that Martin is too devoted to intellectual subversion to accept the true and obvious heroic end to his fantasy saga, which is to say, the triumphant marriage of ice and fire.

To put it rather more concisely: one can no more write an English-style novel and not end it with a wedding than one can write a Japanese-style novel and not end it with a suicide.

I don’t think it’s so much that Martin won’t finish the saga as that he can’t. And principally for one reason (though I imagine there’s a host of ancillary reasons): Jon Snow & Danaerys Targaryan themselves. He didn’t anticipate when he set out to write his story, I suspect, to write one genuinely heroic character, let alone two.

It’s clear that Tyrion, and the Lannister family in general, are his favoured characters, and it’s the Lannisters who set the tone of the series. I think this is so for both internal-structural reasons and for personal reasons. Martin just prefers them and sympathises most with their worldview. Structurally, I believe the Lannisters are the vehicle through which Martin has tried to accomplish his main artistic goal in writing A Song of Ice and Fire: to subvert the Fantasy genre, with its roots in the heroic and the mythical, by introducing an element of cynicism and realist historiography, a literary Real Politik.

To do this he had to build a typical Fantasy setting with mythological elements, in order to deconstruct them from within. What he didn’t anticipate, I suspect, is that the ‘machinery’ of his writing would churn out two more or less heroic characters, there among all the cynics, warlords, cowards, bureaucrats, hypocrites, mercenaries, careerists et al. with which his universe abounds: Jon and Dany — who do fit the classical standards of heroism, despite Martin’s critique of their characters, as their motivations ultimately transcend the merely self-interested, and they are brave in the pursuit. Martin is, at bottom, a good storyteller with a keen sense of character, so it’s very likely he trusted his intuitions in writing these characters and plotting out their stories, without fully realising the overall structural implications for his saga.

Now I think he’s reached a bind in his grand narrative. There are two irresolvably conflicting impulses acting within him as a writer — and it’s this irresolvability that has given him an incurable writer’s block, sapping him of all motivation to conclude his epic: the first impulse is the conscious wish to accomplish his artistic aim of deconstructing the heroic and mythical foundations of Fantasy; and the second impulse is the novelist’s natural need not to betray his own characters, to provide a coherent resolution to their ‘character arc’. The problem is that, unwittingly, Jon and Dany have turned out to be genuine heroes in their own right, and Martin can’t figure out how to give their stories a fittingly heroic ending without succumbing to classical Fantasy standards, the very standards he set out to subvert in the first place. Jon and Dany narratologically deserve an heroic ending, but can Martin bring himself to do justice to their heroism, or even to spoil it with one last act of cynicism?

It’s clear that the ‘Ice’ and ‘Fire’ in A Song of Ice and Fire are Jon and Dany respectively, and that it’s ultimately their tale. I can only imagine that Martin did this unconsciously, and that it’s made him nauseous now that he’s discovered it. What we see in the TV Show — Jon and Dany having a romantic affair and it being discovered to be incestuous — I think is Martin’s intention, and I think this development shows his good writer’s instinct. It’s what comes after (the final season of the TV Show) where everything falls apart, and I think Martin knows it. He knows the notes he provided to the show directors are sloppy, inconsistent, and unfulfilling. I can only imagine that when he now sits to write the final chapters in his story, he feels a debilitating anxiety over the problem the existence of Jon and Dany, and the challenge their unforeseen heroism, transcending the pettiness of their surroundings, has caused for him, leaving out all that enthusiasm he once had for the narrative and its setting, when he was writing the opening volumes.

Continue reading “Mailvox: Why GRRM Can’t Finish ASOIAF”

MAILVOX: In Defense of Doug Wilson

In response to a previous post on the anti-nationalist evangelical pastor, a reader submits what he believes to be a defense of the fraudulent Boomangelical:

Firstly, I acknowledge your critiques of Doug, and recognise that he has some enormous Boomer tendencies. 


He has a growing appeal to disaffected young evangelical men (of whom I belonged). He spearheaded an enormous push towards Classical Christian schooling, founded on Western Civilisation (including the Greco-Roman underpinnings). It’s a huge movement, that is reintroducing the youth to the Good, Beautiful, and True. They have cleaned up church liturgy, and recaptured theological maximalism, with many offshoot ministries pushing phrases like ‘Rebuilding the New Christendom.’ This is all important foundational work to waking up Christians. It has led to me creating a homeschool co-op teaching the Classical method, and we are exposing our children to the glorious things that the Christian West has to offer. 

Ministries like G3 ministries are on the warpath against ‘kinism’ which has significant sway over the Reformed Conservative movements. Guys like Doug want more mainstream appeal, so they have opted to go soft on the racial issue. They have ousted guys like Thomas Achord, which shows they mean business. 

But it is worth noting that there are more guys like Thomas Achord in these organisations who will eventually start speaking out. The time doesn’t seem to have come for that yet. 

I’m sure you’re aware that racism is perhaps one of the most unforgivable sins in the Evangelical church and will get a robust and powerful reaction from the Evangelical base (especially the Boomers). He is pushing young men in the right direction, and Christian Nationalism, as promoted by Stephen Wolfe, is gaining significant traction. 

I will first note that this is precisely the same defense that is regularly offered up on behalf of other gatekeepers like Jordan Peterson and Ben Shapiro, and also of books like the Harry Potter series. Don’t criticize the obvious errors and the demonstrable falsehoods when they are otherwise doing so much good? Don’t you understand that if they tell the truth instead of lying, they won’t be able to reach as many of those who need the truth? Isn’t it better that they read godless tales of evil being portrayed as good than not read at all?

And the answer is no. This is a false, pernicious, and fundamentally short-sighted perspective. It is less a defense than an attempt to negotiate a guilty plea in exchange for a lesser penalty.

Racism, as coined, properly defined, and practically applied today, is not and has never been a sin. The Churchians like Wilson are speaking with forked tongues when they a) define it falsely and in a way that no one actually applies it, and b) therefore falsely claim it to be a sin.

The reader claims Wilson spearheads “a huge movement, that is reintroducing the youth to the Good, Beautiful, and True”, but that is obviously false because nothing that is build on a foundation of lies and sand will stand. The fact that Wilson and company “want more mainstream appeal” and that they “mean business” is not an argument for them, it is evidence against them. By that standard, Joel Osteen and Russell Moore are role models for the modern Evangelical.

It’s great that people are being inspired to homeschool, regardless of whether the inspiration comes from a Churchian evangelical or a Buddhist hippy. But there is no truth in Doug Wilson or in any other so-called “Evangelical” who preaches the Gospel of Civil Rights instead of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and who teaches from To Kill a Mockingbird and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings instead of the Bible.

Let me be perfectly clear: No one who advocates equality of any kind, and no one who is a civic nationalist of any variety, and no one who falsely asserts that which is not a sin is a sin, should ever be considered a genuine or reliable advocate of the Good, the Beautiful, and the True, no matter what their other positive attributes might be.

Because liars cannot, and will not, defend the truth. They will always produce one reason or another for refusing to do so. And if you are foolish enough to trust or follow a liar, you will come to regret it, as all of you – and readers here should recall, the vast majority of you – who used to lionize Jordan Peterson and consider him to be a great intellectual champion should know.

PS: Stephen Wolfe’s Christian Nationalism is fake nationalism. It’s a religious form of civic nationalism that substitutes Christianity for US citizenship. He’s just another gatekeeper.


Mailvox: Why International Opinion Matters

An SGer asks a reasonable question:

Why does Israel care what the international community thinks?

Because the nation is too small and too weak to survive without being provided resources and protection by other nations. Only large nations with abundant natural resources such as China, the USA, and Russia can afford to ignore international opinion without rapidly regressing into a pre-industrial state of starvation. Unfortunately, the current Israeli elite has transformed what was once excellent diplomacy into an abusive parasitism over time, which is short-term advantageous but long-term self-destructive.

The current crisis is almost certainly related to the fact that Benjamin Netanyahu is the Prime Minister of Israel. In the eyes of the world, Israel had a just cause to use force to take its hostages back. But it does not see Israel having just cause to ethnically cleanse Gaza or bomb the civilian population there. Hence the rapid loss of global sympathy, and the concomitant increase of global antipathy.

Here’s a hint: if you’re appealing to the historical examples of Dresden and Nagasaki, you are absolutely going to lose the rhetorical war every single time. Even many Americans regard those wartime acts as inexcusable war crimes, as does most of the planet.

Scott Ritter’s article on his complicated personal history with Israel is, as is often the case with Ritter, somewhat hit or miss – at this point, the current state of South Africa is better seen as an ex post facto justification of apartheid than as a positive example for Israel or anyone else – but he does manage to demonstrate why no world leaders, and even many Israelis, have absolutely no trust in Netanyahu or his leadership in this war.

I didn’t blame Israel as a whole, but rather the individual Israelis involved, first and foremost the man who had taken over from Yitzhak Rabin as the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu’s incompetence as a political leader had resulted in him being voted out of office in 1999, replaced by Ehud Barack (who had apparently learned to lie to a degree sufficient to the task of being an Israeli politician). In September 2002, Netanyahu testified before the US Congress about Iraq’s nuclear weapons program. Even though he did so as a private citizen, his status as a former Prime Minister gave his words credibility they did not deserve.

“There is no question whatsoever that Saddam is seeking, is working, is advancing towards the development of nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu said. “Once Saddam has nuclear weapons, the terror network will have nuclear weapons.”

Netanyahu’s statements directly contradicted the findings that my Israeli colleagues and I had reached—findings that were shared by the International Atomic Energy Agency, responsible for overseeing the dismantling of Iraq’s nuclear program—that the Iraqi nuclear program had been eliminated, and that there was no evidence of its reconstitution.

But Netanyahu’s job wasn’t to tell the truth about Iraq’s nuclear program, but rather use the fear generated by the specter of an Iraqi nuclear weapon to justify a war with Iraq that would remove Saddam Husein from power. “If you take out Saddam, Saddam’s regime, I guarantee you that it will have enormous positive reverberations on the region,” Netanyahu told his receptive congressional audience. “And I think that people sitting right next door in Iran, young people, and many others, will say the time of such regimes, of such despots is gone.”

Looking back today, at the horrific consequences of America’s illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq, at an Iranian regime firmly entrenched behind a nuclear program that is not going away, one can clearly see that Benjamin Netanyahu was wrong about everything. But that has been his modus operendi from the start—to exaggerate and lie about threats faced by Israel to justify military action which invariably resulted in disaster.

Now, regardless of what one thinks of Ritter, the fact that Netanhayu’s known modus operandi for more than two decades has been “to exaggerate and lie about threats faced by Israel to justify military action which invariably resulted in disaster” does not leave one with a great deal of confidence in a positive outcome of this recent war between Israel and the organization it helped create, Hamas.

This is Netanyahu’s war, one that he has long sought, and quite possibly one of which it will eventually be learned that he arranged and staged. We may even need to coin a new term for this sort of war, because if it is true that Netanyahu not only permitted, but was involved in encouraging the attacks, “green flag” wouldn’t suffice to describe it. “Puppet flag” would be more accurate.

And as for any objections that it would require a sociopath to contemplate and actually do such a contemptible thing, well, there appears to be considerable evidence that Netanyahu is not only a sociopath, but one whose psyche was deeply affected by the death of his heroic older brother at Entebbe. As the Germans learned to their great detriment, as the Ukrainians are presently learning to theirs, it is very costly to a nation to permit a psychologically-damaged individual to hold the reins of government.

UPDATE: Oh, Sweet Moses. Israeli PR doubles down on the rhetorical retardery.

Nations that have failed to support Israel’s response to the atrocities committed by Hamas on October 7 are on the side of the militant group in the conflict, the Israeli Foreign Ministry has declared. There can be no neutrality regarding the conflict, a ministry spokesman has insisted.


Mailvox: SSH in Finland

A Finnish reader observes SSH appearing in the Finnish media:

I must give you an update on the spread of your ideas. The socio-sexual hierarchy has now been referenced as part of the Finnish presidential election where the campaigning is beginning.

The ‘far-right’/True Finns presidential candidate is Jussi Halla-aho, and of course the media is on the offensive against him. Particularly aggressive are the Swedish language newspapers who are the most shitlib in the country. However, as a new development, they now highlight how Halla-aho’s supporters call him a sigma-male, which the paper crudely defines as an ‘introverted alpha-male’.

The paper goes on to vaguely reference a ‘right-wing blog’ as the place where the term originated, but do not mention you directly.

First, if the term is being used correctly and Halla-aho is a genuine Sigma, his leadership is very likely to be effective for the True Finns given the current circumstances, and conceivably could eventually be of great benefit to Finland as well. While Alphas are generally to be preferred as leaders in most situations, Sigmas are much more capable of ignoring the personal temptations of corruption, and they are also less easily influenced or neutralized by the infiltrators and saboteurs who inevitably manage to work their way into the leadership councils as advisors or experts.

Consider the difference in what Xi and Putin have accomplished for their nations compared to what Trump managed to do for Americans. It’s the difference between a Julius Caesar and a Pompeius Magnus; the Sigma will break the unwritten rules and ignore the opinions of his elite peers when necessary, the Alpha will not.

While Alphas are usually much better at – and much more willing to provide – leadership, Sigmas are optimal leaders in emergency situations where their self-certainty, high-handed manner, and lack of interest in the opinions of others are deemed acceptable for the duration of the exigency. This is why the nations of the West that manage to find a sufficiently capable Sigma, and, one way or another, convince him of the necessity of pursuing leadership, are much more likely to survive than the nations that rely upon the leadership of the usual Alphas who crave it.


Mailvox: Book Update

In response to some questions regarding the direct bookstore.

  • Yes, you can buy THE ALTAR OF HATE ebook edition separately from the hardcover+ edition. Yes, it is the current epub that contains “Shinjuku Satan” and the other new additions to the anthology.
  • Yes, you can buy A THRONE OF BONES hardcover+ edition directly from Arkhaven now. No, not the paperback, but the audiobook+ and the ebook editions are also available there.
  • No, you cannot buy most of our ebooks from Amazon right now. We’ll get them back up there eventually, but it is not a top priority at the moment. Please recall that most of the independent publishers that relied on Amazon are struggling or have already gone under; our direct business will always be our priority.
  • Yes, we are working on expanding our direct business beyond the USA and the UK. One step at a time. Please recall that it’s only been seven months since Aerio shut down and we began replacing it.
  • Yes, there will be A SEA OF SKULLS audiobook+ edition. No, it will not be available on Audible. It will only be available directly from Arkhaven or UATV.
  • Yes, the JUNIOR CLASSICS VOLS. VII and VIII will ship to backers and will be available for sale before Christmas.

If you have any other questions, leave them at the link below on SG. Unless they are shipping-related questions, in which case please contact the appropriate shipment house by email or on SG.

There is also some exciting Castalia-related news coming with regards to an upcoming crowdfunding campaign by a third party.

And since we’re at it, here is another selection from the short story “A Reliable Source”, an addition to THE ALTAR OF HATE that was originally published in the anthology RIDING THE RED HORSE.

From “A Reliable Source”

“There’s the man of the hour!” General William Norstad, commander of SATGO, was a tall man whose broad shoulders bore three stars apiece. “Colonel James, allow me to be the first to congratulate you. And someone get this man a beer!”

“Thank you, General.” James smiled at the blank looks on the faces of the men from the other three forces. “We had some first-rate support from the intelligence community.”

“Earlier this morning, a Grimm pilot under Colonel James’s command terminated with what can only be described as extreme prejudice both Aden al-Muhajir and Osama al-Ansari, numbers twelve and eighteen on our priority list.”

“Just doing our job, General.” The officers with their hands free clapped, others raised their drinks in salute. Three more officers arrived, including another Air Force general, and they, too, came over to congratulate James and shake his hand as the reason for the celebratory mood was explained to them.

Once all sixteen of the invited commanders were present, Norstad’s face grew more serious and he urged them all to take a seat and get comfortable.

“I’m sure most of you are wondering what the purpose of this interservice conclave is. As I expect you will have worked out by now, all of you command drone bases located on U.S. soil. As it happens, you represent sixteen of the twenty-five most effective drone commands in terms of kill-to-mission ratio. I think it speaks well of the armed forces that each branch is represented here today!

“However, the nature of war is such that no success long goes unremarked by the enemy. As with the laws of physics, for every action there is bound to be a reaction of some kind. In the last four years, our drones have successfully targeted over fifty-six hundred enemy combatants and proven to be our most effective weapon in the ongoing effort against terrorists and militant extremists around the globe. So, it is not surprising that the enemy appears to have embarked upon a new strategy, one that involves attacking our drone pilots and sensor operators here in the United States of America!”

There was more than a little murmuring at this, but James exchanged a glance with the Marine general, who nodded at him, his face showing absolutely no surprise. Had the Marines lost any pilots, or was this simply the Corps’s storied stoicism in action?

“In the last six months, fourteen drone pilots and three sensor operators have been found dead in circumstances ranging from deeply suspicious to seemingly innocuous. In addition, eight non-flying staff officers have either been murdered or committed suicide, inexplicably in the case of the latter. These deaths fall within the range of statistical probability, although they are on the high side, and none of them show any overt signs of being the result of terrorist activity. Moreover, the 25 deaths were spread out among twenty different bases, which is why no one recognized the pattern until there was a reason to go looking for it.”

“What sort of reason was that, General?”

Norstad smiled grimly and turned to face the Army general who’d asked the question. “Two weeks ago, the National Security Agency contacted SATGO with regards to intel it harvested from a social media site. We were informed that a YouTube channel was being used by a militant branch of Parisian jihadists to disseminate coded messages in retro music videos, hiding their communications in plain sight. Apparently single frames consisting of one letter were being inserted into the videos, which were invisible at a normal 24 frames-per-second rate, but allowed the viewer to read the message when the video was slowed down.”

“Are you’re saying that a connection between some of these deaths and the YouTube videos has been established? Or is this just civilian conjecture?” The admiral from Pax River sounded skeptical.

“All the videos associated with that channel have been analyzed. They contained direct references to eighteen of the twenty bases previously mentioned.”

And with that, the room fell into stunned silence. Norstad nodded. “We are no longer the predators, gentlemen, we are now the prey. In consultation with the NSA and the FBI, SATGO is in the process of developing an enhanced security protocol for all drone bases, foreign and domestic, with a particular emphasis on the bases deemed to be at the greatest risk. I assume you grasp, gentlemen, that your own bases are most certainly among those most likely to be targeted.”

“How many of those twenty bases that have already been hit are represented here, General?”

Norstad gave the Marine general a tight smile. “Twelve of them, General. Twelve of them.”