Agent Cordero reporting here. I’ve arrived in Pannawau as ordered, and set up shop at the Fat Beaver Inn. Nice place. Nothing fancy, but homey. Good food. X-23 was right about that, at least.
Denise sends her regards, and will be back at HQ in the morning. Expected some friction there, but she seemed fine with it. Guess she’s a pro at heart. Haven’t seen X-23 yet. Denise says he’s out assisting with the manhunt for the Melmoth girl.
I’ll be curious to see that one, if I get the chance. Be interesting to gauge my resistance to pulling the trigger against that charm effect she gives off. Not that I’ll kill her without authorization. But, considering her current status, I’m getting my mind ready.
Stopped at the Alvin C. Melmoth Memorial Hospital on the way in, to establish my cover as a government medical examiner. The intel we dug up on this doctor that oversaw the Melmoth girl’s post-kidnapping care pans out with what I could get out of the staff down there. Not a staff physician, comes and goes on special retainer, usually only when one of the Melmoths or a close associate needs medical care. Just like everywhere else he’s turned up.
Pretty sure he’s part of the network. A puppet of Oscar Melmoth’s, only brought out when needed. No telling how many people he’s gotten into in this town alone. Can’t look at any of them without wondering if there’s snakes in their heads. Giving me the creeps.
Like this Sheriff Patton X-23’s so fond of. Denise introduced me to him when he stopped in for food between shifts on the manhunt. Solid, unimaginative military type. Cares about his town. Obviously a nice man. But was that him checking out my boobs when we shook hands, or a drooling old lunatic leering out through his eyes?
Sorry, sir. This town’s just giving me the willies.
Might have something to do with what happened on my way in. I took a wrong turn. Careless of me, I know. Won’t happen again. Anyway, I wound up on this… cow path that took me out to the lake. Beautiful country, I suppose, if you’re into that sort of thing. My GPS didn’t know where the hell I was, though, so I stopped to check an actual map. Always keep a map. First thing you taught me, sir.
So I was sitting there, trying to figure out how to get back to the main road, when I looked up and saw a bird sitting on the hood of the car. It was looking right at me. And it had human eyes.
It looked at my map.
It looked back at me.
I leaned out the window and shot it.
I didn’t kill it, don’t worry. I’ve read X-23’s elegiac poesies about the Wanageeska around here, and I don’t want to piss off the spirits. But I also don’t want one of them in my head. Somebody’s got to keep a clean mind on this thing. So I shot over its head, and it took off fast.
Still. It creeped me out.
I’ll be heading back to the hospital tomorrow, sir, to see if I can’t get a little deeper into the mystery of who’s been feeding the Osceola to the patients. I saw a couple of relieved expressions when I introduced myself today, so I’m hoping somebody down there will crack. Time will tell.
— Agent Valerie Cordero, signing off.