On the surface, this is a conservative city. People don't bother each other. They look straight ahead as they pass you, off to the next job or whatever it is their life is about. And while few people go to church, they are all confirmed Christians and have a sense that they are open-minded precisely because they are Christians and other people are perhaps not so open-minded, which, of course, is to be close-minded. But beneath the surface, in basements and seedy hotels and at meetings organized on dark websites there is an underworld where people puncture themselves and hang and watch each other hang and it's on these sites that MENTRA looks for people to feed to the machine. "Scientific Research" the ads read. And the pay is substantial. And the waiver is long, the print very small. And there is one key agreement. No one can miss the person: they must have no family or friends who care for them. As one of the internal memos read when all this came to light: we are cleaning the earth of the lost, the ones that no one wants. This is the future of recycling, if you will.