Latest blog post: An unforseen hiatus. (2023-01-02)
If the government wants to disappear you, there isn't any 'insurance' you can arrange to actually stop it happening. Not to put too fine a point on it, but if you're trusting to the government's good nature not to hurt you if there are witnesses, you probably don't need the witnesses. If you really do need witnesses, chances are the witnesses also get dissapeared - or they just get ignored - or the government just shoots you all openly in the street.
I can understand the impulse, but objectively, this feels like Val and Mark coming up with excuses not to do something they just don't want to do. Hopefully Gharr doesn't come to the same conclusion. If he does, things coudl get complicated.
The answer to that is to get a gun you can put to their head in return, by arranging a massive secrecy breach on some manner of deadman switch, so that the only way the government can avoid it is if they leave you alive and free. Then make sure the government knows you have such a thing prepared before meeting them.
Easier said than done, I'll admit, but that's what insurance would consist of in that scenario.
The problem with a dead mans switch is it needs to:
1) be something 'the bad people' actually cares about
2) reliably go off if something happens to you
3) reliably not go off if something doesn't happen to you
4) remain hidden from the bad people that know about it and wants to find it ...
5) ... even after they have access to you. (You are going to meet them, remember?)
And you have to get everything right the first time, because you will not get a do-over
In fiction, and sometimes in reality, you can get away with it, if you already know enough about the opposition to know what will meet requirement one. I don't think anyone in this comic knows that information, so persuring a dead mans switch strategy is probably a non starter from the get go.
But in the majority of real world cases, 'bad people' that have the power to muder you to keep their secrets, usually also have the power to not care if you reveal their secrets. Either because they benifit from horror stories being spread about them, or they deflect all blame onto a couple of sacrificial pawns.
Mark may honestly think this is a good idea, and may honestly intend to persue it at this point - but the moment he sits down and thinks about it, he should realise they can't pull this off with any prospect of reliability. And I'll laugh my socks off, if Dan is the one to (accurately) explain to him why.
I would think the easiest move at this point would simply be to obtain quality video footage of Gharr and them that can't be construed as fake. Unless he's willing to give nail clippings or blood samples they could take to an independent lab I doubt there's much more they could do.
Mark or Val take the recordings and go into hiding for up to a week then mail copies of the tape to every news agency they can if they don't get word from the other.
The main issue is working out a way to let the one in hiding know they're alright and the recordings should not be distributed without the possibility they'd be found.
for letting the hider know the ambassador is all right, what I would do is set up something online that anyone can access but no one but them would look for, like a newly created social media page, and authenticate by dropping an in-joke along with every update. A friend group that's been around for a long time will have at least a few weeks' worth of those, and by then it should be clear whether to pull the trigger or not.
There's a plethora of ways from the technological to the simple. I don't really see it being much of an issue to figure out SOMETHING if this is their goal.
Honestly, I'm more worried that Dan is listening in on this conversation and is about to conspire with his Paranoichan group to take Gharr or all of them hostage "for their own good" because he's so heavily convinced the government would kill or perform tests on them all. As you and others have noted, Dan has already broken the outside communications rule, I doubt it would take much more than hearing this discussion to trigger him into betraying the group.