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(๐—ง๐—ฆ/๐—ฆ๐—–๐—œ) ๐—ฅ๐—ฒ๐—ฝ๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐˜ ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—”๐—ฑ ๐—›๐—ผ๐—ฐ ๐—–๐—ผ๐—บ๐—บ๐—ถ๐˜€๐˜€๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป ๐—ผ๐—ป ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ก๐—ฒ๐˜„ ๐—ฃ๐—ต๐—ผ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ถ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐˜€

๐˜ฃ๐˜บ ๐˜›๐˜ฉ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฎ๐˜ข๐˜ด ๐˜™. ๐˜ž๐˜ช๐˜ญ๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฎ๐˜ข๐˜ช๐˜ฏ



23 July 2026

To: Ryan Oโ€™Keefe, Managing Editor

From: Graham Fildes, Senior Investigative Correspondent

We finally won our FOIA lawsuit to uncover the truth behind the coverup of the persistent alien presence. Ginny Provost from Legal is a hero. The document has that odd โ€œportion-markingโ€ format but I think we should leave it as-is for authenticity. There were a few redactions but surprisingly fewโ€”I think somebody inside bent the rules for us. Iโ€™ll have the first draft of the page 1 story by this afternoon. Pulitzer Prize?

(FOUO) Prologue


(TS) The recent event can be thought of as an exemplary infiltration, surveillance, and disinformation campaign. This report summarizes the origin, nature, and possible consequences of โ€œThe Coming of the New Phoenicians.โ€


(FOUO) Disinformation


(TS) The arrival of the New Phoenicians was the culmination of a scheme that began eons ago but was disguised throughout human history. The best evidence of the effectiveness of this campaign is the description of the original Phoenicians in Wikipedia:


โ€œโ€ฆlittle has survived of Phoenician records or literature... The Canaanite culture that gave rise to the Phoenicians apparently developed in situ from the earlier Ghassulian chalcolithic culture.โ€


It is now believed that the true origin of the Phoenicians was an ancient covert insertion of the type thought to have been repeated sometime in the 1950โ€™s in the United States.


(S) Infiltrations


(S) We can only speculate on the methods used for the original infiltration. The most probable approach is likely to have been insertion of singleton special operators whose physical uniformity would have been disguised by dispersing them across isolated tribal units. They would have then taken over the Canaanite tribes in the same way the recent SARS-CoV-2 virus infected human hosts. Simultaneous insertions around the Mediterranean would have planted the legend: Phoenicians as people of vague origins but with unusual prowess in trading.


(S) Owing to the alert work of business psychologist Dr. Estelle Beckman, we understand most of the details of the more recent infiltration. This work was initially rejected because its conclusion deviated so far from conventional wisdom and because its author was herself triply-deviant, i.e., a woman on a business school faculty, visibly on the autistic spectrum, and expert in the fringe area of psychology instead of the core areas of marketing, finance, or operations.


(UNCL) Beckmanโ€™s remarkable insight was a byproduct of her unfunded (โ€œcuriosity-drivenโ€) research using pictures of all graduates of all major US and European MBA programs from 1950 to 2020. Beckman uncovered the presence of the same individual in successive MBA cohorts at one school after the other over the entire seventy-year span. The individual was described as โ€œkinda dumpyโ€ and โ€œlike a mashup of Governor Chris Christie and former actor Andy (โ€˜Cookieโ€™) Devine.โ€


(S) It is recommended that DNI initiate similar research to investigate whether there have been other infiltrations. Priority should be given to MFA programs (see below).


(FOUO) Intelligence Community Assessment


(TS/SCI) Given the focus of the New Phoenicians on business, we assess with moderate confidence that this agent or agents was tasked with surveillance of the state of business knowledge across the globe.

(TS/SCI) We assess with low confidence that the agent was tasked to compare the amount of progress made since the original Phoenicians and communicate conclusions using means beyond the known state-of-the-art, possibly including one or more of XXXvvvvvXXX and XXXXX, possibly using the speculative but unproven method of XXXXXXXXXXXX. NSA has been tasked to investigate under the cover name SKYMUMBLE.


(FOUO) Results of Role-Playing Scenarios


(S) Using results from several table-top exercises and extensive role-playing scenarios (see final reports of projects OUIJA, MALKOVICH, and PHONEHOME) a speculative but plausible sequence of events is mooted as follows:


To avoid violation of space-time continuity constraints, and in the interest of efficiency, the New Phoenicians used a single live agent rather than a set of clones.


Agent was inserted into successive MBA cohorts at a different school every two years.


Agent was provided with legends sufficient both to gain admission to top schools and to obfuscate the fact of serial admissions.


MBA programs were chosen as targets because they have certain operational advantages, i.e., require only two years to complete, nobody flunks out, and faculty are not incentivized to pay attention to individual students.


During the 1950โ€™s, Agent would have detected the first stirrings of quantitative business analysis.


During the 1960โ€™s and 1970โ€™s, Agent would have reported further development, highlighting the discovery of the Black-Scholes model. As it does now, the B-S model would probably have induced a hearty chuckle among the New Phoenicians, but it would nevertheless have been regarded as a significant turning point.


During the 1980โ€™s and 1990โ€™s, Agent would have reported rapid development in computing technology, albeit based on primitive โ€œprocessed sandโ€ technology.


From 2000, the metastasizing of FinTech throughout human commerce would have triggered a signal from the Agent that the planet was ripe for overt contact.


(FOUO) Observations on Current Situation


(TS/SCI) Although contact with the New Phoenicians has to date been cautious and limited, it is generally accepted that:


In physical appearance, the New Phoenicians do indeed resemble a combination of Chris Christie and Andy.


The New Phoenicians are not interested in planetary conquest of a military nature.


The New Phoenicians, like the originals, are focused on trade.


Given constraints on interstellar travel, the New Phoenicians are primarily interested in trade in information. Specifically, the sounds and images of life on Earth.


Submarkets with strong demand exist for specialized images. Various planetary systems are interested in images of crowds at sporting events, solitary scholars in libraries, female bodybuilder competitions, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.


A Subspace Information Exchange (SIE) will establish a barter market with New Phoenician commissions paid in images of what they have called โ€œtheir thing,โ€ i.e., sound recordings and images of writing workshops, which are considered hilarious on their own and a great many other planets.


(FOUO) Next Steps


(FOUO) A jurisdictional issue must be resolved. Is this a problem in intergalactic diplomacy or intergalactic commerce?


(FOUO) Once jurisdictional issues are resolved between the State and Commerce, a formal inter-agency working group will be established.

(TS) With immediate effect, the DNI is tasked with assessing potential responses by near-peer competitors. Of particular interest are SIGINT reports of an uptick in establishment of creative writing workshops in Beijing under the aegis of the MSS and HUMINT reporting of the start of a โ€œBorscht Diplomacyโ€ initiative by the SVR. โœฆ



Thomas R. Willemain is an emeritus professor of statistics, software entrepreneur, and former intelligence officer. He holds engineering degrees from Princeton University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His flash fiction has appeared in Granfalloon, Hobart, The Mathematical Intelligence, Ripples in Space, and elsewhere. His memoir, Working on the Dark Side of the Moon: Life Inside the National Security Agency, was published in 2017. A native of western Massachusetts, he lives near the Mohawk River in upstate New York. Website: www.TomWillemain.com.



Speculative fiction & POETRY ZINE
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