As per your orders, I have started to decode the transmissions we have intercepted from Agent Arkansas, along with all files found locally in his quarters, and have not involved the rest of my team. The assistance of fragment Delta has been tremendous. I used the code-directives you suggested, and all evidence suggest Delta has followed silence protocol. As a side note, I would like to add that such an asset in our office permanently would immensely increase our office's effectiveness. But that can be discussed in our meeting later.
So far, our only success has been with decrypting parts of the text files found in the hollowed book in his room. From what we can tell, the unit contained a journal of sorts. I have attached a copy of the decoded works. As Delta works past more algorithms, I will continue to keep you updated.
-From the Office of Communications,
Excerpt from file: "Musings"
It's funny, really. Humanity's drive to investigate, our insatiable curiosity. Centuries ago, our species had seen all that Earth had to offer. Microscopes opened the realm of bacterium. Deep sea equipment gave our forefathers access to the remote depths of our oceans. Our colliders laid bare the numerical secrets of the atom.
And, after we had uncovered all we saw on Earth, we turned our attention up to the heavens. We spread outwards and onwards. Planet after planet was colonized. And everywhere we went, we continued our study, always learning.
When I was young, my father taught me the "Great Irony," as he called it. The joke found in human inquiry; a bit of truth my family has been aware of for generations.
Humans look at everything around them and do their best to understand and conquer all that they see. But, despite all the innovations and discoveries, one area remains by-and-large apart from human understanding.
Human nature itself.
This general ignorance isn't from a lack of trying, not in the least. It stems from a guttural rejection of the truth found in such investigation.
The truth that humanity can't accept is that, despite all our accomplishments, we are no different than any other creature we've encountered. We spend so much time trying to quantify this "difference" that makes us special. So much work spent in deceiving ourselves.
I learned long ago the depravity of our species. Humans are a product of our development, and we always need something to struggle against. Once we had overcome the hardships of survival, humans turned to each other.
Eventually, countries got tired of war. But the drive to battle something remained, a primal impulse. When fighting another society wasn't an option, society attacks itself. Social reform is just another battlefield for humanity; the wars on crime, drugs, and terrorism are a few examples.
But eventually, the itch wins out, and humans go back to fighting each other.
For four generations, my family has made its fortune in that truth. We're arms dealers. War mongerers. Whatever you want to call it. Most humans stopped using sticks and stones as their primary weapons long ago, and are always looking for more efficient ways to take human life. And when you provide the best, or only, product, you can fetch top dollar for your hardware.
We're a family of innovators. In the "off season," the inevitable dry spells of false peace, we work. For over seventy years we've used this time to develop the next levels of warfare. And when the drums of war resume their beats, as they always do, we run the gambit.
Technically, I'm forbidden from writing down or communicating the way we run our business. I understand why the family has decided this, but there's virtually no chance anyone will find my journal. People don't read physical books anymore, and very few would be interested in any of Adam Smith's work. So, journal, looks like you rest safe.
I suppose I just acknowledged you, journal. I don't keep a journal. But father's last letter has me looking for any stress release I can find.
So, humans go to war.
Using several of our shell companies as distributors to the different factions, we sell our most outdated weaponry for an incredible profit. Over the next bit, we sell one side superior weaponry one tier above the base level we've sold to both. We leave that faction with the advantage until they've almost won the war. Then, using the other shell, we sell even better equipment to the underdog. Back and forth, back and forth.
People will pay a lot for their salvation.
This is the way we've always done it. Tried and true, it's the foundation our empire has been built upon.
And the last decade has been a goldmine. There's a cycle; we fuel the conflict between the the UNSC and the Insurrectionalists, and in turn the Civil War fuels our accounts. In the end, it doesn't matter who claims victory for the war. Our family is the real winner.
That was then.
Everything was going as well as it ever has, when the Covenant attacked.
Suddenly, humanity is united. There isn't time for humans to fight each other.
This is bad. Father's letter has shown that our sales have dropped immensely. This doesn't work. This isn't for the good of the family.
It's a conundrum that bears more thought and consideration.
5 years ago