Day 3: Private Investigator

Today I wake up to my alarm. But I had another dream about this place. This time a young woman with silky black hair wearing a red dress was in it. She didn’t have the creepy smile on her face like everyone else did in my first dream. She had a beautiful smile. When I tried to talk to her though, she wouldn’t respond.

I sit at the edge of my bed in deep thought. What are my dreams telling me? Should I pursue this I ask myself. I have to. This is only day three out here and I don’t like it already. Maybe if I can figure out what is going on, these dreams…or nightmares will stop. I know I have to ask the townsfolk more about this town. And I need to see what’s in that crater. Maybe I have security clearance since I’m part of the military team now.

Again, I don’t wake my parents when I set out for work. The same jeep arrives to pick me up. And it’s going to be another 8 hours of training. I impressed my drill sergeant yesterday. I’m hoping that benefits for something today.

I’ll also ask and see if I can have access to the building in the crater. I’ll tell my drill sergeant that I want to help out more. If he’s already impressed with what I am doing now, maybe he’ll agree and I can investigate this further.

It was around 8:00 when Junior and Anne woke up. Both were starting to get disappointed that their son would not even wake them up when he was leaving. They both wanted to send him off with a packed lunch and have a great day speech.

Anne wanted to meet her neighbors today if they were home. She hadn’t retired from the police force, but she took an extended leave while Joseph III was doing his military time. Therefore, she was stuck at home now with Junior and as much as she loved him, she wanted to engage with others within the community.

The weather was cloudy and hot again, just like yesterday. Anne slipped into something comfortable, but nice for introducing herself to their neighbors. She knocked on the door when she arrived at their neighbor’s doorstep. She heard a female voice say the door is open. Did that mean she could walk right in? They had a visitor the first day they arrived who welcomed herself into their home. Maybe that’s their tradition in this town.

Anne opened the door and saw a young woman sitting in a lounge chair reading a book. She introduced herself by the name of Alice Martin. Anne ask Alice what she was reading. The response was it was a book about the art of laughter. She’s in a club called Punch Lines. They inspire each with jokes to calm themselves with what everything else is going on in the town. Anne asked what she meant by that and Alice just replied with the government and other oddities going on. But wouldn’t go into details.

Then Anne excitedly said she recalled seeing Alice at the bar last night. Alice says she is one of the Mixologists there. Anne shared all about her husband Junior and son Joseph to Alice. Alice says she recalls seeing them and remembers Junior getting into a heated chat with her roommate, Leslie.

Anne could see a jeep pull up outside her house from Alice’s window. Joseph was home from his training. Anne thanked Alice for the lovely chat and hoped they could talk again soon.

I’m happy to announce that my drill sergeant has seen my potential and has promoted me to Private Fourth Class. This did not give me clearance to have access to the building in the crater, however. And I was also told that was off limits. I asked what was down there and was told it was none of my concern and to continue to show my potential at the base.

This means I’m going to have to do my own private investigation work behind the scenes in hopes I don’t get caught. First I need to get more information about this town. Why would it be called StrangerVille?

Early evening hours, I tell mom and dad that I’ll be back shortly and that I need to run errands. I didn’t want to tell them what my errands were as to spook them or have them join me on my exploration of what is going on around here.

I head back over to the 8 Bells bar. I know this is the hangout for us military folk off the clock, but I’ve seen civilians also having a drink or two. One even got upset with my dad. But there were others around as well at that time.

I find someone and casually approach him and do the friendly introduction acting all cool. I’m still in my uniform and don’t want him thinking I am there on some sort of business investigation. However, I am on a personal one. But he doesn’t need to know that either. I greet him and introduce myself. He says his name is Logan. The way he was dressed, I wanted to ask him if he shaved his beard and if he still has metal claws. But I doubt he would get the joke.

During our talks about this town, Logan presents himself as well as a Conspiracy Theorist. I ask him if he knows Marlee and he says he does. For some reason these people trust me. They see me in uniform and all and still bring up these things. I would think that seeing me as part of the military, they would keep things like they are doing their own theory investigation to themselves. Maybe this is a sign I’m suppose to work alongside them. I’m not sure yet.

I don’t get any new information out of Logan that is different from Marlee except for one thing. Logan told me to check out their conspiracy theory shop where they sell some of their evidence findings and souvenirs they make.

I arrived at the location Logan told me about. I was expecting some storefront, but it’s nothing but a little stand. It’s still worth checking out though. I’m guessing if it was a major shop, the government would have shut it down already.

The guy behind the stall in a funny hat looks hesitantly at me because of my uniform. I quickly put him at ease stating I’m here by invitation of Logan. Then I mention Marlee’s name as well and puts a smile on his face. He greets me by telling me his name is Erwin.

Both Marlee and Logan had mentioned the Secret Lab in the crater. Something has to be going on there even though it’s claimed it’s been abandoned.

Now Erwin even mentions it and tells me how to get inside. I’m curious how he knows this information himself. But he says if I go check it out, to come back and he’ll show me stuff I’d be most interested in buying.

I didn’t feel right leaving him without buying something, so I buy a couple of the tin foil hats. I’m sure mom and dad would love them.

I couldn’t help but laugh out loud when I gave my gifts to mom and dad. They look hilariously silly in them. Dad even changed his shirt to match. He said the shirt was a hand me down from his father and that he’d like to give it to me next since it is fitting. I ask him fitting for what, of course. He says it’s no science that there’s something weird about this town and it’s probably an alien site.

I tell them both I’m beat and I’m calling it a night. They ask me now that I am a Private, what time my hours are. My hours really haven’t changed I reply back. That I will be working at 6:00 in the morning. Mom and dad look at each other with a smile. I wonder what that is about.

As soon as I hear mom and dad go to bed, I sneak out. I wasn’t sure what I would need for the military, so I brought a lot of dark clothing from home. Including black shirts and pants. I’m glad I did because tonight is perfect for them going out for my spying.

I make my way to the building inside the crater after dark in hopes I don’t get caught. I’d hate to have my career end so fast and also end up in the brig for doing something I shouldn’t be. But my dreams are telling me to look into what is going on. I take Erwin’s advice and go through the back. The doors seemingly are unlocked. Very strange.

Inside, the place is a pit. Papers all over the floor. Rooms where it looks like scientists used to live. But then I come across a sealed off area. I take notes as it seems I cannot open the door. There’s restricted access.

It seems the only way to get through these doors is with a keycard. I’m wondering if I can find one around here somewhere. Maybe one of the scientists left one behind.

Scouring through some papers, I found some blueprints. I fold them up and stick them in my pocket. Going through more paperwork, I find some aerial surveillance photos and infrared microfilm. Then I use my handy dandy programming skills from growing up and dig through files from on one of the computers. I find a glitched hologram readout and a partially redacted report from it. As soon as I sent it to the printer, the computer screen went of the fritz. I quickly shut it down and turned it off.

I checked the time and it was getting late. I wasn’t able to check through all the rooms, so I needed to come back tomorrow night. This will have to do for now.

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