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Sometimes The Handler fancied herself a giant golden arachnid in the middle of a vast web. She knew it was her unconcious love affair with George R. R. Martin and the beatifully complex characters he wrote about.
The meditation came with an occasional visit by the deadly Spider Wasp. She would not allow herself to be eaten through sheer force of will.
The headline of the small town newspapers web site stared at her. It provided as many answers as it did questions.
The Seeker, as she called him, had a fixation with supernatural phenomenon. It was not irrational. Enough anectdotal academic data had been accumulated to show a reasonable correlation between complex biological systems and quantum effect. It was not a popular field as it, sadly, attracted the interest of a pluarity of 'quacks' but the 'Tenth Man' was a principle she revered and so did her best to filter out the good, peer-reviewed research.
He might be on to something. That was not good as The Seeker was always ahead of them. Any advantage he gained was anathema to their cause. She kept pressure on herself to keep up with his progress.
The data from the lab came at incedible expense but money meant nothing to her. That day your cash could buy you back a dead loved one or a new spine, her attitude might change. Otherwise, apart from basic needs through voluntary exchange, money for most people, created a substance abuse problem.
She chose purpose over property.
As best as she could tell the last sacrifice was a young male child from months before. Twitch and Skookum leaned towards the female based on what the dog sense but kids where did not have the same intensity of odor as adults.
Maybe she stumbled onto the property or maybe she set the fire to make her escape. Either way they'd likely never know.
John had privately suggested placing some well hidden claymore mines in the cave set to go off once enough cultists were present. Burning the nest, so to speak. But it would draw attention to their pursuit and more data might need to be gathered.
At this point the discussion was moot. The crew arriving on the site of the old house just as John and Dana exfil'd, had filled the cave with quick drying cement.
The cultists had likely moved on.
She shook her head to focus on the new data. The cryptozoologist would have found the idea of a living monster an irresistable draw. But where the fuck did he go? He was as off-the-grid as she tried to keep herself and that WAS saying something.
No matter what, if there was a death, he would be a party to it.
The corporation that had sent it's own investigative team had finally reached out to her through her Canadian intermediary. They lost contact with their team, apparently two seasoned ex-cops but that did not impress her. Her man was next level. She wouldn't be surprised if they were rotting in a hole somewhere.
She made arrangements for a meeting with the team. Despite the large sum of money they offered for any leads she was more interested in the information gathered. Almost all good decisions are based on hard data.
Good results were a different story, a solid plan, hard work or luck where the usual source.
Most people put way too much stock in good results, mostly using them to justify irrational decisions based of feelings. Though sometimes they were right, feeling were useless because the result could seldom be repeated.
Consistency was the only strategy that guarenteed a high probabiltiy of success but again, a probability not a certainty. The backup plan was to simply be resilient enought to make the best of whatever result came along.
As she digested the information the corporation provided she realized she needed to get out of the office and drive the concious processing into her subconcious. Its non-verbal power tended to find associations that language, with all its inherent limitations, could never help one find.
She drove her wheelchair into the kichen and then noticed her feet. With a messed up spine you sometimes did damage there that you simply couldn't feel.
She alway liked her feet. They were pretty and dainty and looked good in fancy shoes but there were a lot of a scars and she was bleeding freely from a few small cuts.
She cleaned them up using a extensions, she operated them like a NASCAR racer handled a car. Afterwards she painted her toenails and then placed tiny decals of an ourroborus on each one. She made no apologies for liking 'girly' things. The aethetic was not important in and of itself but humans were often at their best when indulging in the creative process, no matter how mundane. It was the expression of that tiny piece of God we all carried inside us. She was not an atheist.
Her reasoning was simple, you can't prove a negative. In a way, it was the perfect expression of a divinity that it could hide inside the structure of a logical sylogism. The question of proof became a moot point.
She was NOT however, religous. The idea of simple principles for living, like the 'golden rule', made perfect sense. But producing some massive self-contradictory rule book full of barbaric ideas like genital mutilation was simply a tool for identitarian control of the masses. God forbid they should think for themselves.
The final outcome of intersectionality was the individual. It seemed miraculous to her that two centuries ago a group of misongynist slave owner came to the same conclusion. A person should only be judged on the basis of what THEY did and not some arbitraty and vindictive association.