ThePiousFlea is a servant to TheSleepingPrincess in much the same way as TheWidow/TheSPDR is a servant to TheQueen. The Flea's goal is to remain hidden, observe, and report back to the Princess. The Princess does not necessarily know the Flea as "The Pious Flea", but knows its function.
This speculation is grounded in the question of Who is watching as TheStory - The most logical answer is the Flea. It hides immediately when the Widow spies it, but can still presumably observe. Meanwhile, the Princess is categorized as a non-threat by the Widow since she's sealed in her coffin. The tiny Flea, however, is capable of getting in and delivering information to the Princess.
Therefore, the Flea is probably not an intelligent process per se, but rather like TheSPDR / the Widow, in that it understands one basic action. This creates a parallel between the Queen and Princess, and the Widow and Flea.
It is thought that the Flea is a very dumb, specialized program. Its original purpose could have even been something else routine, but it may have been repurposed to gather information for the Princess. The Princess is having to use what little information it can glean from the Flea's reports to try to communicate with us, the players.
EvidenceSeveral previously unattributed or unexplained references fall neatly into place in this spec:
The author of the truth text is explainedThe MaydayTextTheTruthShort is the credo of the Flea, as it carries out its simple mission. Like the SPDR ComputerText, this text can also be seen as its own sort of 'console log' - This is much more high-level than the SPDR log, and doesn't get into codelike details.
The flea's footprint reference is explainedThe MaydayTextFleasNakedFoot could be seen as its credo above - small and unobtrusive (in white italicized text, and small print) but present in the 'sand' of the computer. This is the only trace the Flea has left on the site, the rest of its actions are known only to the Princess.
The pious reference is explainedThe Flea is pious in that it is dutifully gathering information for the Princess. This includes intercepting EmailsEmailSentToLadybeeHotmailComTheEntity -- like Maxwell's Demon, the Flea is a tiny unseen entity redirecting something unexpectedly.
The flea and princess answers in TheKillerJpg are explainedIn the questions in KillerJpgKiller, it's implied that we're talking to the princess -- "I am [...] an innocent bystander stored in an airtight container in the deepest and darkest Sleeping casket in a chamber of the dungeon."
KillerJpgKiller asks "Perhaps you are the Pious Flea" and the answer is "Seek the truth/Behold the truth/That is the law and the whole of the law." This, again, is the purpose or credo of the Flea. The entity isn't necessarily saying it is the Flea, it's just quoting what it knows about the Flea. Note that the question isn't really a question.
Interesting Side Notes
Note that the Flea's purported purpose, covert information gathering and delivery, neatly parallels the theorized mission of Melissa's ship in the Operator monologues.
Minor pun: "The Princess and the Flea" is vaguely similar to "The Princess and the Pea," a story in which the princess had to feel the presence of a pea in her bed through many layers of padding. Probably not relevant, but interesting. --UserKhaim 05:45, 29 Jul 2004 (PDT)
It might be said, if the flea is the actual speaker in the killer.jpg texts, that it is smarter than anticipated, able to interpret and use broken English. Could it be more than just a subprocess? --UserDarquehope 14:26, 2 Aug 2004 (PDT)
Meta7/29/04 1:16 AM EDT - Rephrased and elaborated based on the last few hours conversation. - LilSerf
7/29/04 1:24 AM EDT - Emphasized up top that this is still speculation. - LilSerf
7/29/04 2:55 AM EDT - Added some links, minor misc. corrections. - xnbomb