By Rachel Chalmers Joseph Firmage, the 28-year-old multi-millionaire, Silicon Valley prodigy and founder of consulting firm USWeb, has come out about his dealings with extraterrestrials. Apparently, during the hectic weeks leading up to USWeb's initial public offering this time last year, the young entrepreneur was visited by a glowing, Jesus-like entity while catching a few minutes' early-morning snooze. Inspired by that encounter (which others have described as a "classic hypnopompic hallucination"), Firmage has spent the last year writing a book called "The Truth." In it, he describes how spaceships crashed in the US between 1947 and 1953. Like a real-life Fox Mulder from television's "The X- Files," Firmage is convinced that these crashes were covered up by a military, political and scientific conspiracy code-named "Majestic 12." Fiber optics and semiconductors have been developed based on material recovered from the crashes, Firmage claims. This might come as a surprise to their inventors, Robert Maurer, Donald Keck, Peter Schultz and Robert Noyce. His critics annoy Firmage. "I have nothing - nothing - to gain by lying," he pointed out in a December 14 press release, from which it apparently follows that: "I am telling the truth." Firmage's book and his willingness to go on the record about his beliefs may go some way towards explaining why he was removed as CEO of USWeb in November, just as the company was closing a delicate $540m acquisition of CKS Group. Company executives still say, however, that he is a brilliant strategist and they are glad to have him around. Sure, but what about his little green friends?

From ---------------------------- | U N I G R A M . X | ---------------------------- THE WEEKLY UNIX NEWSPAPER London, January 4-8, 1999 Issue Number 722