Balt, probably a member of the Sons of Ether, drew the attention of the Technocracy, and Machado, due to his experiments involving time travel and travel through the Umbra. The exact nature of these experiments are never clear. He and Machado agreed that they could reveal enormous amounts of magical knowledge to Sleepers in the guise of a series of novels, though they seem to have never reached the point of actually producing a manuscript.
During the Week of Nightmares Machado warned Balt that the Technocracy were preparing to use nuclear weapons and Balt would soon be targeted by assassins. By the time these agents arrived, Balt had vanished, likely to rendezvous with Machado somewhere in the Umbra. Iteration X spent two years decrypting the records of Balt and Machado's correspondence. Harlan Gandt suggests that, given Balt's skill at temporal manipulation, he may have deliberately used a less-secure form of encryption to ensure the conversation would be decoded by a certain date, but this is mere speculation.