Running Delta Green: Nobody Suspects A Thing

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Sue Savage

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It was the Crowne Plaza hotel at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport where the team next met up, where they were greeted, not by Agent Chung, but by Agent Pakrati. He looked a lot happier to see them, and explained that they'd been brought in for this mission due to past experience and that it was going to require subtlety.

They were to investigate Bertram "Bert" Heaviside, an accountant whose strange dreams as relayed to his physician had caught the Program's attention. They were to find out if the dreams meant what the Program suspected, but also to find out if there was more to this potential unnatural incursion than just one person.

They began, once again, with Avocado getting on his laptop to do some background digging. He found a rather sparce facebook profile, with pictures of Bert and his wife, Wilhelmina, a.k.a. Bill, and their two children, Doug and Katy. A slightly more fleshed out LinkedIn profile had details of his accountancy job at Wells Fargo.

After considering a number of potential plans, they decided to keep it simple, and do a 24 hour surveillance on Bert to see if he was going for midnight swims or anything. They saw him leave the house at 7am to take the bus to work, then leave the office at 1am, walk down to the shore, buy a sandwich, and eat it while staring out at the water. Avocado had a short chat with him, where he claimed to be looking for seals.

After lunch he went back to work, and from there back home. He had, as far as they could tell, an entirely normal evening at home with his family, and then went to bed. But at 1am he emerged again and walked back down to the shore. There he stripped off and went for a swim.

Crusty considered stealing his clothes, then having him arrested for public nudity, but in the end they settled for bugging his clothes. After he'd swum for about an hour, he got out, got dressed and went home.

They needed to know more, and with the whole family out at work or school during the day, that seemed like the best time for a visit. Avocado got them into the building with minimal effort and they began searching.

Buzz went for the home office. He found some of Bert's paintings - disturbing imagery with a distinctive octopus theme - and a small statuette of a cuttlefish eating a smaller cuttlefish, accompanied by a note:
"It's time.
-Mom."

The statuette was distinctly unpleasant to hold, but Buzz was unable to determine if there was anything unnatural about it. He called in Bones for a look, who identified it as being around a hundred years old, and possibly related to an incident known as the Great Octopus Hoax, when many small statues like this were created and distributed under false pretenses.

Avocado remembered the biomarker testing kits from the trip to Alaska, put in a call to requisition some, and went looking for DNA samples. The bedroom proved a good source, with a bin full of used condoms. Apparently Bert and Bill had been busy. He also managed to get hair from the rest of the family's hairbrushes.

Bones had a look in the children's bedroom. The younger child, Katy, enjoyed drawing. Her notebook has a lot of pictures of her family, but notably, the most recent picture of her father included a number of tentacles.

It was clearly time to talk to the family. Having previously acquired appropriate law enforcement credentials, they made use of the local FBI field office for questioning.

Crusty, as the one person with actual social skills, did the questioning, with prompting from the others. They learned that he enjoyed the swimming because it was good for his skin condition - some kind of eczema. After some prompting he acknowledged that the strange streams, skin condition and so on had all started around the same time as the statue arrived. He was pretty sure someone was playing a joke on him, because it said 'Mom' and his mother had died when he was sixteen.

Avocado's background dive said that checked out. She'd drowned during a trans-Atlantic boat trip. 'Drowned'.

They talked to the rest of the family. Bill seemed pretty oblivious to the whole thing. Katy was aware there was something a bit odd about her dad having tentacles but she didn't mind because she still loved him. Doug didn't know anything about his dad having tentacles, but did admit to having snuck into his dad's office to play with his cool statue.

It was looking bad. And it looked worse once the results of the biomarker tests came back. Bert and both his children tested positive. It looked like it was running in the family.

They met up again with Agent Pakrati. The statue had to be destroyed. There was no way the family could be left where they were. Agent Pakrati assured them there was a suitable facility well away from the ocean where they could be taken, thanked them for successfully securing the threat and congratulated them on a job well done.

With the mission complete, Avocado headed home to spend some time practicing at the gun range. Bones requested assignment to the research facility where the family were being taken. Not for any reason. No reason he told any of the team, anyway. Buzz continued his research into gates. And Crusty decided to stay on the case, and see if he could find out exactly where that cuttlefish statue had come from.

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