On a cardboard bar coaster cut in the shape of the United States, in red ballpoint pen:
If someone travels three hours to hear one song and hears only that song, it is either a triumph or a tragedy. It is not longer a concert.
Today it was Caprese who had to go. These specialists we bring in really live up to the title. They are special. Just watching her limber up for the task is a spectacle, rolling around on a spiked ball that looks like the end of a mace. Either her balance must be incredible or she must be made of armor for it not to pierce her skin. Having another life is dangerous in this business, Jack told me about it once, I recorded it in the audio record. Caprese will return home and wait for Precarious to see this thing through to the end. I do not think she wants to go, but she has been at this long enough to understand when enough is enough. Like many things in life, you get more and more proficient at it, and when you are just about to reach a peak, you stop. If you have any sense. Because the decline is far worse. It grows colder and we have to leave her at a dungeon for debrief. Sex clubs in this country are not identical, but they do mostly have a safehouse component to them. This one is called Hellfire, and I do not think they get many fighters seeking asylum any more. I decided it was best to walk her in, and I was correct in this decision. The one who met us wore platform shoes which rendered them taller than me, which means twice as tall as Caprese. They asked if Caprese liked to play. She gamely answered that it depended on the day. When the worker stroked her hair and told Caprese it was Tuesday, she replied that she still was not sure, that she would have to think about it. This was the right answer. When they went into the depths, I felt certain she was in good hands and would be home soon. This is only right.
This means we need a replacement and we got him: Diesel Jesus is now among us. He comes with the attitude of a craftsman and leaves none of himself behind when he goes into a job. I imagine he spends his time at home thinking of only the next opportunity to do exactly what we do to assemble these resources. But that may only be what he wants me to think.
Tape recording, which sounds like Professor, describing an encounter, perhaps to Cat as the low rumbles of understanding throughout resemble those on other recordings:
He said to me, “What are you doing there, writing a novel?” I didn’t particularly feel like having a conversation so I said, “Something like that.” He went on: “I’m an avid reader myself.” So I asked him what he liked, just out of curiosity at this point. He had certainly been drinking heavily and glancing over at me most of the night. So he says: “Fiction. Non-fiction. Documentorials. And you know what I like best?” He winked at me a little, voice as hard as nails and as unforgiving as falling flat on your face on pavement. “History.” He nodded, as if I knew. I didn’t, and for no real reason I simply said: “Me too.” I wonder if I winked back, I’m not even certain.
On small sheets from a quarter-sized, lined notebook. Labeled in all capital letters:
FIELD NOTES on the SUPPORT (1 of 2)
If we need to access something more difficult, these will be the two to assist. They come heavily equipped, with very few fears, and seem to know when it is important to care and when it is important not to. When it means more not care. When it is more caring to put care aside, if even only briefly.
She is a scout, gathering the lay of the land from high above outside or the back of the room inside. She knows always what is at her back. She rouses the rabble or subtly creates rabble when there is none. It is a good practice for starting a riot to be subtle about it. It is one skill to belt into the megaphone, but it is another to tickle the tiger and rouse it to action as if it had thought of it of its own accord. She will make you think you have met her before when you have not.
Among the fears, in order of severity, which ought to be avoided or at least mitigated for maximum effectiveness:
Water at close proximity. But not at a great distance. If the water is far enough away that she judges she would die upon impact, everything is fine.
Spiders, or anything that could be understood as a spider, at any distance. See also: leaves underwater, seed pods from ground plants, unanticipated feathers, et cetera. She spent a month hiding out in a corn field, during which time every manner was attempted to draw her out. I do not know how often lethal force had to be used, but when they turned the bright lights on her at night, the presence of country spiders was enough to give her up. Escape ability made extended captivity all but impossible, however.
Non-grieving people. Dead people are easiest to deal with, grieving people also easier.
Living people. She works with the dead, but she refuses to raise them. I was asked by Jack, rhetorically, I assume, how many necromancers was enough to know. I know the answer and the language to answer better now than I did then: one is enough if it is the right one. I think he would have liked that answer. She had a panic attack and ran into the crematorium on one occasion. She carries with her thousands of pasts in the particles of ash in the folds of her uniform. I do not think she believes this makes her eternal, but it might.
These are the most important items for now. Notes necessarily incomplete.