“I really liked the old office,” she answered Lemont Sanford, playing the role of Arthur Kill currently, “but it was too laggy. Kept crashing. You know how it is.”
“Yes I remember.”
“You were there in the underground for a while. Training.”
“After Wheeler raised you from the dead (nods from Arthur). After Tessa killed you. We buried you, the firm, but you wouldn’t stay down. You went to Tennessee.”
“You were looking for a spider, an 8 legged being, but you eventually figured out it was a dog. Spider is a dog.”
“You retrieved it, brought it to me for safekeeping.”
“Yes. (pause) Do you have it?”
“Of course I have it, Arthur. Would you like to see?”
“Yes, please. I mean, I have the money but… actually, nah, I’m good. You’ve given me the money. I’m happy. Wheeler and me, I mean *Shelley* and me, I, can retire in comfort.”
“Is she still wearing purple?” Roberts questioned from her opposite chair. “Or has she moved beyond that?”
“Moved beyond I think. Last time I checked.”
“Ask her to wear something purple and see how she responds.”
“She seems okay with it,” Arthur reinforced. “She’s changed, she said.”
“Are you convinced?”
Arthur paused just enough to indicate he wasn’t fully convinced. There was, well *Roberts* now, for one thing. How surreptitious they run into each other again (!). But, deep down of course, Arthur knew it wasn’t coincidence. The Gods have further plans for them, which means The Void has further plans for them. They work hand in hand on this.
Roberts leaned back, folded her arms behind her head. “So strange that Franklin was spared. I’m overjoyed of course, but whether Black Jack, Kentucky or Black Jack, Tennessee, the helicopter that acted as a plane in the moment purposely missed her, swerving to one side or another. If only Mantell could have done the same — I think he tried, I think he saw the, um, irony. Do you know the case, Arthur? It’s quite famous, at least in UFO circles. Cradle links to grave, creating an uroboros scenario. The Cross (in the middle) is eliminated. That’s the point. I’m sure you understand, Arthur, given that you’ve been there now — you rescued Shelley from there. The Cross can *trap*.”
“I think I’m still on The Cross,” Arthur admitted. “I never made it back to Nautilus. I never made it back to here, then, this office in Towerboro on the Jeogeot continent.”
“Oh you’re here,” Roberts countered.
Arthur saw a spider on the floor behind her. He then saw 5 others, 10 others maybe, all lined up like military rank or file. Roberts didn’t glance around, seemed oblivious to them. But Arthur knew she wasn’t. What was this psychic-detective up to?
“This is where it starts, Arthur. The agency. I want to know who tried to kill Franklin. In a strong probable reality she is dead. Only the actions of a rebellious, artificial pilot, a Mantell wannabe, saved her. He broke the pattern. Cradle to grave was unlinked. You were there too. You saw — how close.”
“It was either the boat on fire or the rose colored cottage on fire.”
“I remember the boat.”
“And I remember the cottage.”
Now where is that receiver?