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Go to the kitchen, open your baking utensils and make yourself a tinfoil hat. Put it on your head before continuing to read this question. Done? Ok:

Let's have an alternate Earth where The Illuminati exist and dictate the main events in history.

This group is responsible for these events (examples, list is not exhaustive):

The Illuminati group consists of 42 people who really do lead the world as we know it (Through bribes and blackmailing politicians in power).

But, for whatever reason, this group needs to meet once every month to discuss the next steps in the New World Order.

Where would these people meet?

P.S.: All of them are human. No superpowers, no aliens involved. You can take your tinfoil hat off (for now).

Edit: Reasons to meet in person? Plotting in person is much more fun. And with all these Assagnes and Snowdens, you never know who is listening...

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    $\begingroup$ I recall someone holding lunch for the 200 richest people in the US "recently" and informing them that there existed 5 people who could single-handedly change the outcome of the next presidential election. Much worry before continuing with any five of the people in the room were those five people. So realistically, I don't think you'd have to be too super-secret about things if you just hold a lunch party for the rich and powerful once in a while. $\endgroup$ – Draco18s Dec 8 '15 at 15:07
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    $\begingroup$ Tinfoil hats are useless at best and counterproductive at worst, by the way. web.archive.org/web/20100708230258/http://people.csail.mit.edu/… $\endgroup$ – JAB Dec 8 '15 at 17:12
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    $\begingroup$ We currently meet at the Bohemian Grove (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bohemian_Grove). Why would that change? No one bugs us there. $\endgroup$ – Hannover Fist Dec 8 '15 at 17:46
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    $\begingroup$ Why is this is an alternate earth? I think you're on the wrong stack $\endgroup$ – SSumner Dec 8 '15 at 18:15
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    $\begingroup$ I would imagine that they meet virtually if they have to meet that often but are spread across the globe. If they are super rich and powerful, gathering them together once per month, even if they are as discrete as possible, is taking a foolish risk. $\endgroup$ – Aurast Dec 8 '15 at 18:20

18 Answers 18

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They meet at sci-fi and cosplay conventions, dressed up as the Illuminati so they can discuss world conquest without worrying about being taken seriously.

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    $\begingroup$ Reminds me of Weregeek's late-night meals $\endgroup$ – Draco18s Dec 8 '15 at 16:36
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    $\begingroup$ In F. Paul Wilson's Conspiracies the bad guys run their own conspiracy theorist convention. $\endgroup$ – Michael Hampton Dec 9 '15 at 4:55
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    $\begingroup$ a even more fitting environment would be a congress of UFO-Believers or groups that most people laugh about. All they need to do is choosing words carefully. Not "we will do this", but "My trusted sources reported that the evil Illuminate are planning to do this... here, I made a flier. Please wear you tin-foil hats while reading it!" But it would be suspicious if the industrial, economical and political elite is there in closed formation, don't you think? $\endgroup$ – Confused Merlin Dec 9 '15 at 13:54
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    $\begingroup$ @Confused Merlin, What makes you think that the visible corporate board members, ceo's and supposed major stock holders are actually the real decision makers. They are just employees and proxies for the real power players, who all do happen to be avid ufo-ologists and foil-hat wearers. $\endgroup$ – Henry Taylor Dec 9 '15 at 14:35
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    $\begingroup$ @Prinsig, It is security through absurdity As for danger of identity capture, all they have to do is celebrate their celebrity, join in the social media with enthusiasm, fully supporting and admitting to any conspiracy theory which reinforces their role-playing image. As any con man will tell you, no guilty person runs towards capture, so if you embrace others attempts to ensnare you, they will assume that you are not guilty. $\endgroup$ – Henry Taylor Dec 9 '15 at 14:57
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They were quite cunningly hidden, but I finally discovered the hidden Illuminati ploy to meet at the regular European Tax and Regulatory Compliance Group for the Cucumber Growers Association meetings, held once a month in a regular hotel in various small post-industrial towns in Western Europe.

They will use code words like Cornering the Cucumber Market for world domination, ensure regulatory compliance for bribes and blackmail, and cucumber dumping for massive terror events being planned.

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    $\begingroup$ Step one: Read the above answer. Step two: think, "Hah! Good joke!". Step three: Realize that is exactly why it works, and that there is nothing preventing it from being the case. $\endgroup$ – DoubleDouble Dec 9 '15 at 18:32
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    $\begingroup$ Of all the answers, this is by far the most comical and serious at the same time. I can bet you that if any conspiracy group exist out there, they will be a subramification of an obscure ministry of something completely dull, hidden behind walls and walls of tedious bureaucracy $\endgroup$ – Silver Dec 9 '15 at 21:18
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    $\begingroup$ This is a good answer, the only negative I can immediately think of is that this only works well if the 42 can appear to be players in the cucumber industry - that rules out presidents and billionaires from taking part. But if the illuminati members really do exist in the shadows, without a significant public persona, then this isn't a problem. $\endgroup$ – Turophile Dec 10 '15 at 7:29
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    $\begingroup$ A less comical and more sinister real-world manifestation of this ploy is to embed oneself as some apparently obscure function of some sect or division within a larger sector church. Membership of the outer entity would be public and commonplace, the innermost one of no interest to the world at large and little interest to the sect $\endgroup$ – nigel222 Dec 11 '15 at 17:45
  • $\begingroup$ This has some basis in known history. In case of the Communists, the most real power was held by the secretary of the party. $\endgroup$ – vsz Dec 14 '15 at 7:13
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In Isaac Asimov's Second Foundation book he has a group meet in secret. At first they try to do things clandestinely, but Arkady Darrell, the daughter of one of the conspirators, chastises them and says that the absolute best way to keep a secret meeting secret is to do it completely in the open.

Instead of sneaking around, closing window shades and using various tricks to defeat devices that might be listening in the best way was for the participants to have a real reason to see each other and to be completely open about it.

People suspect things are going on when you act suspicious and try to be hidden. However, people won't look twice at a few people having lunch at a local restaurant.

So, where would these people meet? In the open. You wouldn't even know they were planning the next steps of the world order because you'd think they were just talking about normal business. Probably at a normal business lunch, a convention or even just a Christmas party at someone's house - as long as there is a viable reason for them to be seen with each other.

update I watched Quantum of Solace last night. The Quantum organization met in public at an opera. Each member was given a short wave radio ear bud that allowed them to communicate while watching the show. Of course, Bond managed to get an ear bud and listen in.

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  • $\begingroup$ Same idea as Poe's Purloined Letter $\endgroup$ – mouviciel Dec 9 '15 at 9:45
  • $\begingroup$ Short wave is incredibly impractical for in-building communications. Mid-VHF to low UHF would likely be the way to go. (Approximately 100 MHz to 1 GHz.) Antennas need to be a fairly significant fraction of (approximately 1/4 to 1/2 being the ideal) a wavelength, and "short wave" means wave lengths of 100 meters to 10 meters. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Dec 10 '15 at 15:20
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelKjörling: in the movie it was an open air opera. That said, it might not be short wave, I was just making an assumption. $\endgroup$ – NotMe Dec 10 '15 at 15:38
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Their main concern is going to be people listening to their meetings, which could be done with recording devices or by walking in on them. The best way they could avoid this is to pick a different location every time, never going to the same place twice and only letting all 42 of them know the location shortly before they meet. (As they would probably be in different countries beforehand, the member deciding where to meet that month would let them know the airport to fly to a few days before and only tell them the building when they arrived.)

They would pick inconspicuous locations, and would try to vary the type of location. One month they might rent a room from a hotel for a day, and would appear to be having a business meeting. Another month they might meet in a building scheduled for demolition; anyone watching the building would only see people dressed as construction workers walk in. There would either be no records of the event (e.g., they bribed the owner of the construction company to give all his workers the day off), or there would be an extensive paper trail that would never be linked back to them (e.g., the meeting room was paid by one of the many large companies they control that would normally book rooms for its actual meetings).

Of course, every location would still be checked for recording devices, explosives or anything else suspicious before the leaders arrive. Their people would go in as consultants from another construction company, or temporary cleaning staff (whatever is appropriate for the location) beforehand. They would install cameras around the site, so that during the meeting the leaders can be told someone is approaching.

They may consider meeting physically to be too risky, and only meet once a year but use video conferencing regularly. They could use encryption to communicate securely or talk in code. Anyone listening might just see a normal company call (or both, I would expect them to be quite paranoid).

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  • $\begingroup$ In addition to your meeting shedule idea comes into my mind, an one way algorythm that is just known to them calculates the next meeting point where as variables come into account the actual location of each member + a treshold that is related to the effort to get to the meeting place. so the overall effort is kept low anyway. $\endgroup$ – Zaibis Dec 9 '15 at 10:53
  • $\begingroup$ Meeting in a strip club would be less suspicious, because it has the added benefit that people who happen to figure it out look the other way. $\endgroup$ – nwp Dec 9 '15 at 11:09
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They would meet in cyberspace.

The advances in military-grade encrypting available to the masses has been documented to be for freedom fighters and oppressive regimes, so (pgp for example) was pushed out free and open sometimes in direct disobedience of property claims. Later, US laws were changed to allow for commerce, so they say. Peer reviewed "real" crypto that even the NSA can't break is used in preference to government-imposed standards and key escrow schemes.

All that and more, regardless of popular excuses and real benefits to everyone, is due to the secret society popularly known as The Illuminati, for its own privacy and secrecy.

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  • $\begingroup$ An NWO group would have the resources to create an encryption above and beyond the current standard and even have it unique to them. I like it. $\endgroup$ – Prinsig Dec 9 '15 at 12:27
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    $\begingroup$ Even if "only they" hqve the encryption system, they require a background of public use if encryption in order to not stand out. What's another VPN if every company uses then for remote access? But with only 42 members I doubt one is a world-class mathematician. Their MO is to influence others to solve their problems for them without knowing it. $\endgroup$ – JDługosz Dec 9 '15 at 12:33
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In Italy there are various groups from the Mafia to P2 that hold a lot of power and there were years were those groups operated without them being publically known.

Those groups don't seem to have had any problems with meeting locations. They own enough real estate to have locations to meet.

Bilderberg meet for many years without mainstream media writing about the existence of the event because the Bilderberg attendants had enough influence on the mainstream media to tell them not to report on it because it's a private event. That argument about a "private event" had an effect even through various organisations paid money for Bilderberg attendants to attend as a business trip. Of course that institutional money flow resulted in more people knowing of Bilderberg than people would have known if Bilderberg optimized to be as secret as possible and Bilderberg attendies wouldn't have told the people around them where they are travelling to.

You read in the mainstream media that the 2004 election in the US was about a candidate from the Republican vs. a candidate from the Democrats. You didn't read of it as a candidate from Skull & Bones vs a candidate from Skull & Bones, because that wouldn't be "serious reporting" even through both of the candidates where from Skull & Bones which is a Yale fraternity as you can verify via Wikipedia.

The key of a secret society being secret is that it has enough influence to encourage people not to talk about it.

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Since these are 42 people who wield enough power to influence much of the world, they're probably mostly very wealthy, either from old money families, royalty or captains of industry, maybe a few of them may be powerful politicians. While not necessarily known to the general public, most are likely to be recognized by business associates, journalists or analysts, and some may be tracked as to where they travel because of their prominence.

So for the group to meet in person on a regular basis would mean they would probably meet in cities when there are pre-planned events that draw a lot of people from all different classes, including many other unrelated, wealthy, prominent world citizens.

Once in a city, they'd likely be staying in different hotels or apartments and their movements within the city would less likely be tracked and they could get around to their meeting place. Only 42 chauffeurs might connect them when they all park near each other.

I'd imagine they'd have plans to meet in big cities when there are major sports events, with a number of them holding tickets. That way when journalists and analysts see them flying in, they'll just assume it's for the sports event, at which they'll probably put in an appearance anyway, take some of their clients, associates or friends to their box seats, etc.

Other sorts of things might be big annual festivals cities hold, holidays, or royal weddings, Presidential inaugurations and so forth.

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The Bilderberg Group meet at five-star hotels with golfing facilities.

"A tiny, shoestring central office in Holland decides each year which country will host the next [annual] meeting. Each country has two steering committee members. They say that each country dreads its turn coming around, for it has to raise enough money to book an entire five-star hotel for four days (plus meals and transportation and vast security - every package of peas is opened and scrutinized, and so on)."
-From Them by Jon Ronson, pp. 290-291.

Whether or not you think the world of Jon Ronson's book is fictional, or make the same conclusions about "illuminati" as some of its characters, is up to you...this is a worldbuilding site and neither answers to this question nor what you do with them after have to be accurate to present-day real life. This, and Bohemian Grove as suggested by Hannover Fist's comment, is where Ronson "hid" the "illuminati" (or closest equivalent) in his book. Surprisingly enough, groups like G8 and G20 and even the UN General Assembly, which all have more publicized meeting locations, didn't get much mention.

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If they absolutely have to meet in person and cannot telecommute, and cannot be connected to each other via finances/ shared interests etc. then I would suggest they each meet in a modest suite in a hotel near an airport every month.

Assuming these incredibly powerful people got that way by pre-planning everything, then they will have their next monthly meetings planned out for at least a year in the future. This means that they can have their people booking these suites under different aliases in order to not be connected to each other.

There can also be a myriad of reasons why these people would all be present in the same location at the same time at one of these sites: vacations, book tours, business meetings, layovers whilst waiting for a connecting flight, passing through whilst driving from one place to another. Then they all can go to this same location for different reasons (eat at the restaurant/ drink at the bar/ booking a room).

This means that they would not be connected via similar functions/ interests, as there wouldn't be records of them all in the same place at the same time for the same thing, so they wouldn't be connected that way. It would simply be mere coincidence that all of these people are nearby at the same time, and wouldn't be connected to each other unless someone already knew all of their identities.

There are also an enormous amount of locations around the world in which they could meet. They could meet in a different country every single month and still wouldn't have gone to the same country twice after a decade.

And there would be dozens of hotels available in each of the airports in each of those countries. Booking a larger suite (not the largest because that might make people curious as to who is staying there) means that there would be enough room for them all to interact comfortably with each other and wouldn't arouse suspicion.

In addition, if the hotel is at least reasonably large, having various strangers wandering about would not arouse suspicion, as there will be a heavy number of strangers there for a short period of time (particularly if it is near an airport and is used to having people stay for only a single night).

This also allows for the opportunity to have some of them be famous people. If they are the Illuminati, they can't all be pulling the strings, some of them would have to be play-makers, hiding in plain sight. So even with some of them having a moderate level of fame (published books, CEOs of mid-level companies etc.) it likely wouldn't raise suspicion if their paths crossed from time to time.

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Hypothesis

I think that an effective group of 42 illuminati need to represent

  • various industries,
  • various social levels: some of them may appear in real life as mere employees while others are famous actors, and
  • various countries.

Meetings Preparation

42 is a rather large number. So communication and regular meetings between two or three of them should be quite easy. You can imagine all sorts of events where a subset of them may meet at (not exhaustive):

  • a large diplomatic event (G8, UN General Assembly, etc.),
  • a conference (like the current COP21, but also scientific, or hobby: a famous actor and a normal employee are expected to meet at comicon),
  • a sport event: different social classes gather during a sports game,

Since they don't want their identities blown up, they probably make a heavy use of substitute and delivery people. More or less voluntarily. Furthermore, they can exchange via indirect ways. Like writing a question on Stack Exchange with a previously known code. They have all incentives to multiply the ways of communications and meeting mechanisms. It saves them from any pattern identification.

Meetings: the General Assembly

That's the hardest. You need to get all of them physically together at once. We might consider two options.

  • They need to hold a seminar where the 42 of them are there and with doors closed to debate. For that a hotel close to an airport, or even better, an official house from some country. You control the politicians, it should not be too difficult to rent some discrete room where you get to choose who gets in and who doesn't. As usual, it cannot be at the same place all the time. If you got for a case where you require from one corrupt politician some place, you should consider inviting more people to a larger selected event. And the 42 of you can get to some private place. Some might have entered as guests, while others might be as security personal, or service.
  • They need to be able to exchange many ideas, but do not need a private room. This is easiest. Larger fairs attract people from various location, countries and social standing. Major diplomatic or cultural events.

The details are given within each meetings about where to get to the next meeting.

Getting started

You need some precise place to meet your fellow 41 colleagues. Well, as you may know the original illumanati group were called illuminati of Baviaria. So the Octoberfest is a place where famous people and less famous, rich and poor, are grouped together in the same place. And not many worries about your neighbours overhearing, they will be so drunk, they won't remember anything the next day.

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The best way not to get discovered is to act normally and blend with the normal people. The Illuminati have done this for many years. They have been hidden in plain sight all this time. Everytime there is a major event, we learn afterward that the Illuminati where there, yet we can never catch them. Nobody expects the Illuminati to be in Paris right now (for the climate summit) but they are there, advancing their hidden Illuminati agenda.

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Some desirable atmospheric and practical qualities:

  • Ancient, or at least old
  • Historical, gothic, spooky
  • Elite, exclusive, not somewhere the public would often see inside
  • Secure, difficult to infiltrate or spy on
  • Remote, so passers by cannot hear the screams of sacrificial animals or virgins

In my imagination, anywhere suitable for a vampire meeting would also be suitable for The Illuminati, and vice-versa.

Here are some suggestions:

  • The Pyramids (accessed by tunnels or a teleporter)
  • An old cathedral, or the crypt below it
  • A castle, or castle ruins
  • A stone circle (for security reasons, it should probably be on private land)
  • Inside a long barrow
  • The catacombs of Paris or Rome
  • A dungeon
  • The vault of a bank
  • A Masonic Lodge (well duh)
  • The Round Table at Camelot (only they know where it is now)
  • The palace of a complicit national leader
  • A luxurious tree house (no reason, just a bit different)
  • An art gallery or museum (Le Louvre for example) under the pretence of a less nefarious private function
  • Under the disguise of a small charitable event, to evade suspicion
  • A ski lodge, because skiing is pleasant and mountains are quite remote
  • A submarine, or a blimp, for maximum privacy
  • Karl Stromberg's underwater base "Atlantis" from The Spy Who Loved Me
  • The original Lost City of Atlantis (only they know where it is)
  • Similarly, in one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
  • One of Scientology's camp locations, such as the church at Clearwater
  • The sky-sited restaurant of a hotel in Saudi Arabia
  • In a cave, wearing goat skulls
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    $\begingroup$ uuuh... a submarine is a resonant body placed in a great sonic conducting environment ;) they would need to whisper, or you could hear them talking miles away with common ASW-Equipment. Or insulate it... at least, its unlikely that someone uninvited comes visiting, but a single navigation error will remove your 42 Illuminati from the living population. $\endgroup$ – Confused Merlin Dec 9 '15 at 13:48
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First the assumption will be that most of them try to be inconspicuous, meaning most people would not recognize them as super powerful individuals.

An easy way would be to make themselves all board members of some innocuous company that meets together to make decisions periodically.

And with today's communications capabilities they really don't need to meet in person. Good encryption and a decent high speed internet connection are amazing.

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  • $\begingroup$ I really hope you're right about them using encryption. That'd guarantee us the win of the encryption debate. $\endgroup$ – Blacklight Shining Dec 8 '15 at 22:35
  • $\begingroup$ Encryption doesn't conceal the fact that they are communicating, it only conceals the content of the communications (to within a certain degree; I recall for example there being at least a partial voice recovery attack on SIP that relied on things like packet size and timing). Depending on who they are trying to hide themselves from, this could be a real problem. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Dec 10 '15 at 15:24
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There's a secret, literally underground meeting place, which is reachable via some undocumented subway tunnels that connect it to equally-secret stations under some buildings where powerful and important people would not be out of place, such as the member's own luxury condominium building or hotel. (The people who build all of these secret things are very well paid to keep their mouths shut about the things they build.)

Those people get on elevators, make sure no one else is on, then punch a secret code into an app on their smart phones. This puts the elevator into a mode that prevents it from stopping at any other floors on the way to the secret sub-basement subway station, while outwardly indicating that it is in fact heading to the ground floor. No one not in the know will ever see the Illuminatus leave the building.

Meanwhile, a body double of the member in question, wearing identical clothing, has appeared at that subway station, ready to take the member's place on the elevator, which reaches the ground floor with the double appearing as if he had just come all the way from the member's floor (the secret trips happen at a much higher speed than normal elevator operation, so no one will notice this). Anyone looking at security cameras will see the member leave the building, get into his waiting limo, and head off to whatever place he's supposed to be that day.

At the end of the meeting, the process is reversed, with the member waiting at the secret subway station to trade places with the double. Arranging to be the only person on the elevator for this trip is a bit trickier, but there might be some special VIP elevators, or a security person who politely informs anyone else that they can take the next elevator thank you very much.

Some members live in other cities, so the subways take them to places where they can board private aircraft under appropriate aliases, which take them to similar facilities at the event city, where they use the subways as described above.

=======

Or the Illuminati have access to teleportation devices and the knowledge thereof is just one more of their many secrets.

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Is there any reason that the meetings would have to be events, rather than continua? Maybe instead of Alpha Proteus through Yonjuu Ni gathering at some shady conference or a diner somewhere, Al meets with his "old college pal" Dva, who talks with two of his coworkers, Troix and Arbe. Troix might talk to his aunt Unnees, who writes a code in her letter to her town's mayor, Seoleun Nes; while Arbe might mention it to Sieben, the waiter at the restaurant she eats at the next day. A structure like this would be much more resistant to any given fox at the NSA.

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Supposing they are all rich and famous anyway, they could easily meet at the opera. Opera houses are expensive and exclusive and found in most big cities. They have private boxes and little dining rooms and bars. And lots of background noise going on. People don't always go the opera for the music, so it's nothing special if a group splits off for a private party.

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In a reasonably secure government facility. Somewhere like the CIA or NSA, but not at their "main" buildings, but a satellite facility.

People there already know not to ask too many questions, and you already have counter espionage and physical security in place.

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Why should the pawns be allowed to know each other, to meet each other? Why should they be allowed to realize what they're doing?

If they worked together, they wouldn't be different to yet another state or organization. They would also see the purpose and ultimate goal of their intended synergy, and may even refuse to collaborate.

They don't know who they are, they don't know that they're the ones behind it all. From the point of view of each one of them, they're merely defending their own petty interests, what they think it's rightfully theirs.

Neither do the paladins know about it all. They don't know who they should be fighting against. They're kept busy fighting against each other, defending foolish ideals, battling constructed threats, while the real enemy remains at large.

The greater scheme of things remains beyond the reach of its executors.

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protected by a CVn Dec 10 '15 at 9:34

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