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The Path of Least Time

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Friday, October 20 2006, 02:10 PM

At approximately 5:30pm today, I am going to press the button that will effectively sever communication between Perplex City and Earth. The official line is that data will merely be "screened for potentially dangerous or subversive material," and that we'll still be able to exchange information. Of course, that isn't true. Not only does our new Council Leader's order amount to censorship, but it also means that it will be impossible for me, or anyone else, to send any sensitive information over the link without it being flagged up.

I made this system to be secure against anyone, and it is. There are no backdoors and no routes around the firewall. It's monitored around the clock and has redundancies upon failsafes upon backups.

I think that Garnet was as surprised as I was that Earlywine was going to order the firewall. We all knew about his xenophobic attitudes toward Earth, but we didn't think they would be manifested so quickly and dramatically. Garnet put on a brave face when the news came through yesterday, and said that it was all for the best, and it was surely a temporary measure. I didn't even bother concealing my disgust, and just laughed sarcastically.

"A temporary measure? How are we supposed to find the Cube now, with Viendenbourg shut down and our hands tied behind our back?" I asked.

Garnet didn't answer, and just shook his head unhappily.

"Let's face it. Earlywine doesn't want to find the Cube, and while I don't agree with Sente's methods, at least he was trying to transport people to Earth. We're not going anywhere here, Garnet."

He simply walked away, and left me to set up the firewall.

On reflection, it didn't surprise me that Special Project 487 was run by Sente. In fact, it makes me feel slightly better, in a perverse way. He must have personally programmed the variant of the Djinn worm that hid all the data relating to the project, and if I'm going to be beaten, at least it was by the Master of the Academy.

No-one really knows what to think of Sente right now. I don't think you could find a single person who would defend the deaths of the five volunteers, but he did have authorisation directly from Camryn Scott. In light of the Third Power's activities - a group that has killed far more than five people - perhaps he felt it was justified. Of course, most people don't know about the Third Power, and even fewer believe what they hear.

There's an atmosphere of distrust here in the Academy, and particularly in the CRT. People dislike the Council's interference in our affairs, but there's a real sense of anger and betrayal at Sente, because he kept the operations at Viendenbourg secret. There were people at the Academy who must have known what was going on - for example, the Crypto department was involved - and that's made the tensions even worse. No-one understands the reasons for secrecy, and Sente clearly isn't telling.

Scarlett and Violet... I don't know how they're feeling, or whether they've talked to their father. I don't want to even think about that.

I don't know when the firewall will come down and I'll be able to talk to you openly again. In the face of the Third Power roaming free on Earth, the situation is looking bleak for the CRT to accomplish its mission of safely returning the Cube back to Perplex City. But we won't take this lying down. Earlywine will eventually learn what every Council Leader has had to learn - it's impossible to control the Academy. The Academy is Perplex City.

I'll see you soon. You'll know when the firewall is down.