In 1997, the Group Elder was sitting at a desk, shrouded in shadow in his darkened office, when he met with Peter Watts, a member of the Roosters, and informed him that the Millennium Group had noted he had been "engaged in an independent project", referring to Watts's search for the hand of Saint Sebastian. When Watts revealed that his search for the hand had started as a curiosity, the Group Elder answered that the search had since become much more and was now a distraction that had to be excised.
The Group Elder told Watts that those who had not been initiated into the Millennium Group perceived time as an infinite commodity with no appreciation of the beginning and no understanding of the end. However, he believed that members of the Millennium Group knew better than to waste even a second. He ended his speech with the group's motto - "This is who we are" - meaning that the organization's understanding of the limited nature of time was integral to their identity.
Although Watts argued that his search for the hand of Saint Sebastian would more accurately reveal the Group's identity, as the artifact had been influential near the founding of the organization, the Group Elder replied that the question of the Group's identity had been revealed to Watts when he had been accepted as a member. Watts responded that the answer only lead to more questions.
The Group Elder cautioned Watts that the Owls would deny what he wanted to confirm and would hide what he wanted to locate. Leaning forward so that his face was no longer hidden in shadow, the Group Elder made a circular motion with his finger on the top of his desk. The shape he indicated was similar to an ouroboros, a symbol that the Millennium Group had used since at least 998 A.D.. According to the Group Elder, Watts was on a path that was a matter of faith and, as such, had no beginning, no middle nor end, like a circle or an ouroboros. The Group Elder suggested that the thing Watts possibly needed to find was faith. When Watts responded that his search was "all about the science", the Group Elder leaned back in his chair and told Watts that he would therefore never find what he was searching for. Watts notified the Group Elder that he was close to finding the artifact but needed more time.
However, the Group Elder claimed that the Millennium Group was afraid to lose Watts because of his search. Although Watts initially thought the Group Elder was threatening him with redundancy if he continued his search, the Group Elder clarified that he was only cautioning Watts that, if the Roosters had learned he was searching for the hand of Saint Sebastian, the Owls would already know.
With Frank Black, Watts searched for the hand in Bremerhaven, Germany. After they returned to a car they had left parked on a street, the vehicle exploded. They luckily escaped the automobile before its destruction but Watts remembered the Group Elder's warning - "if we found out, they already know". (MM: "The Hand of Saint Sebastian")