13: O.V.E.R.



Mike Walters takes in the fresh air and checks out his new digs in the heart of Oldbrush Valley. I wonder what it is about that place. 


[Hey guys, quick patreon spiel: Patreon good. Let me do more with the show and spend more time on it. Good for you too. Early access to episodes, instrumentals, extra art, writing, and more. This week, you can hear the patreon exclusive song “Ol’ Brush Valley 1929” that is mentioned in the episode. Thanks to Risky Coffee, Plumule, Edith Wharton, Cooper Dukes, Mira, Jason Li, Austin Sleeper, Ashley Moo, Justin Clavet, Sheer, Harrison Minnix, and Matthew Robertson for supporting the show. Enjoy.]

Honey, I’m hoooome! Freshly moved into my digs on the campus of Oldbrush Valley Energy and Resources. It’s not much, but it’s nice for what it is. Just a wooden cabin in the valley. Not bad at all. It’s sort of like being an RA at a summer camp, actually. It’s got the modern amenities, of course, hence I am able to plug in a laptop and a microphone and record this for you. Expect my broadcast of my adventure to discover the.. of WOE.BEGONE to continue uninterrupted. We’re getting to the bottom of this, even when it kills me. The key is out here somewhere, I just know it. I have to be more than a pawn and figure it out before the gamerunners figure out that I’ve figured it out and step in to claim… whatever reward it is they are seeking out here. I don’t know. It’s like playing a card game where everyone else knows the rules but me.

I did some reading about this place. Oldbrush Valley (that’s “Oldbrush,” all one word) has a storied history marked by conflict. The pre-colonial groups that inhabited the area generally avoided the place out of a belief that there weren’t many resources here to begin with and it just wasn’t worth the inevitable violence to go there. Mobile pastoralist groups (that’s “nomads” for the unlearned) would frequently come to blows, scrapping over the scant food and shelter available. Speaking of inevitable violence, American settlers found the area in the mid-19th century and brought inevitable violence to Oldbrush Valley and the surrounding groups in a way that those groups couldn’t have possibly imagined. Those native groups quickly exit stage-left in the story of Oldbursh Valley and are never heard from again.

I’m sure that you’re wondering about where exactly this place is. Stop trying. I’m being vague on purpose. Don’t come find me. Anne. Don’t come find me.

White occupation was not any more fruitful than any past occupation of Oldbrush Valley. The place just seems to be naturally repellant to human occupation of any kind. Humans aren’t good at taking a hint and reading the room and so Oldbrush Valley was occupied by humans for most of the rest of this history of the area. It ended up being incorporated as government land in the lead up to WWII since it was easy to claim, seeing as no one wanted to claim it. It has been government property ever since and has become a highly classified area requiring many levels of security, such as the low-level clearance security that I have successfully embedded myself with.

One of the most notable human occupations of Oldbrush Valley started in the mid 1920s, when criminals discovered that it was an easy place to bury a corpse without drawing much attention to themselves– men after my own heart, surely. This was typified by the 1929 country song “Ol’ Brush Valley”, – That’s Ol’ Brush without a d and spelled out as two words, the ol’ timey way– which was an early entry into the country murder ballad genre and describes a protagonist whose woman leaves him after they visit the valley together. He kills her and returns to the Valley in order to bury her. He ends up getting caught– a place can only be notorious as a place to bury a body before law enforcement catches wind and tries to figure out what is going on; in this case, it took about a decade of looking the other way. He sings, “Ol’brush valley, I wonder what it is about the place:”

[clip from “OLBRUSH VALLEY 1929]

“What it is about that place” is human hubris. Ah, it all comes full circle, you see. The podcast was started by my own story of hubris. I think I said “hubristic” in the opening to the first episode after google convinced me that it was, in fact, a real word. It’s not like that hubris went anywhere. It was simply tempered by my temporary success. WOE.BEGONE is still a story of hubris. Now, here in Oldbrush Valley, it is a story of… double hubris. But who cares? Fuck the hubris of Mike Wallters. Someone else can tell that story after this game inevitably kills me off for good. This is WOE.BEGONE.

[Intro theme plays.]

There is a whole season of WOE.BEGONE before this episode, go listen to those episodes if you haven’t heard them yet. I’m going to be describing events as if you have binged the whole thing and left a 5 star review on Apple Podcasts, winky blinky.

…So they gave me a gun. Chekov might as well have shown up in person to hand it to me. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that they gave me a gun considering that it is a security gig. Honestly, I keep forgetting that I’m out here under false pretenses and will have to actually be a security guard. It will be weird to work out here and have a real boss and get a real paycheck. The gamerunners must have faked me having completed some sort of firearms training, because there is no way they should be giving me of all people a gun. I guess I have used a gun in the recent past and successfully did what I aimed to do with it, but that was a highly specific circumstance that I hope will never happen again. Other than that, I have precious little experience. So, I’m traipsing around the valley with a gun everyday. It makes me feel powerful, so I try to not keep it on me unless I absolutely have to.

They also gave me a handbook. The O.V.E.R. Security Field Guide. Oh, right– it’s Oldbrush Valley Energy and Resources or O.V.E.R. for short. I think that some bureaucrat was probably downright giddy with himself when he put together that acronym. It could have been any acronym in the world that started with O.V., but they made it O.V.E.R., like a real word. Too clever. Kill your darlings, aspiring writers.

The handbook has some atypical instructions in it. Atypical is good. My presumption is that atypical things are happening here, so all I have to do is completely ignore the Security Field Guide which is quite lengthy but would be the size of a pamphlet if you took all all of the bold text proclaiming “DO NOT APPROACH ANOMALOUS SUBJECTS WITHIN OLDBRUSH VALLEY” and a detailed list of the things that we might see but should not go near:

  • Bright lights, accompanied by explosive or otherwise loud sounds
  • Rock formations that appear to be shaking and/or erupting
  • Any cabin with a red flag in front of it, even in emergencies threatening life or limb.

“Intelligence at O.V.E.R., as with any governmental operation, is dealt out on a need-to-know basis. If you are in the employment class that operates under this Security Field Guide, you do not need to know. Your unmitigated cooperation is both appreciated and required.” Blunt. I like that. I know exactly what is expected of me and exactly in what way I will be subverting government-issued protocol as I explore the valley looking for clues. They want to make it crystal clear and completely without vagaries what you are not to do, which is a nice template to decide what to do and how to cover it up.

There was a map waiting for me in my cabin when I moved in, among a host of other files that would come in handy for doing my job. The map laid out the perimeter of Oldbrush Valley and indicated a patrol route. I was to do this route several times per day. It appeared to be a fairly lengthy route, so I guess I’m going to get into shape while doing all of this as well. As if I weren’t already fairly out of shape from being 30 years old and not having any outdoor hobbies, I also was recently laid up for several days. Oh, well. I’m sure I’ll get into shape fast. This campus is huge.

Sitting on top of the map was a little button pendant, sort of like a LifeAlert necklace. “Just in case I fall down and can’t get back up,” I thought. There was a note attached to the pendant that read “For use during patrol Emergencies.” The word “Emergencies” was capitalized. “Emergencies are defined in the Emergencies chapter of the O.V.E.R. Security Field Guide.” Consulting the Field Guide, it says:

“As an employee who has passed our rigorous hiring process, we trust that you know well what an “emergency” is under normal conditions. As a security officer, it is vital that you disregard that instinct when evaluating when to press the Emergency Button. There are myriad cases that would be deemed emergencies in normal circumstances during which you absolutely must not press the Emergency Button. Spotting an intruder, even if said intruder pulls a weapon on you, is not a valid use of the button. You have been provided a sidearm for this more minor variety of “emergency.” Getting trapped or severely injured is also not considered an emergency. Please consult the chapter on Injury And First Aid to see how to deal with those scenarios. Quotidian emergencies such as these should be handled by you, as a security officer. In fact, one of the key reason for hiring officers such as yourself is to address emergencies of this nature on your own.” Then, in italics: “You will know when there is an Emergency of the variety that requires the use of the Emergency Button. It will be of such incomparable severity that you will push the button without hesitation. The hiring process was designed first and foremost to ensure that you are capable of making that snap judgment. There will be severe penalties both for pressing the button outside of an Emergency and failure to press the button during an Emergency.

Of course, I was almost immediately asked by my handlers to break the rules and regulations provided to me by the O.V.E.R. Security Field Guide. This button likely wouldn’t be any different. Everything in the Field Guide might as well be the “Mike Walters WOE.BEGONE prevention guide” considering that it basically an instruction guide meant to keep me away from anything cool. The gamerunners gave me about half a day to settle in and then sent me a text message. “There should be a cabin in your area labeled 23A. We need any documents that might be in that cabin. Thanks. -W.BG.” No rest for the wicked.

And, of course, cabin 23A is one of the cabins marked with a red flag on the map. It was something of a relief that they had immediately asked me to go meddle in something that the Field Guide called “anomalous.” The list of anomalous subjects that I should not, under any circumstances up to and including “Emergencies”– a word that I understand differently now than when I first read that passage– was burning a hole in my brain. Anomalous places are exactly the type of place that someone would hide a time travel supercomputer. I imagine that the hiring process is designed under normal conditions to select someone who is infinitely more duty-bound than me to prevent this from happening.

Hi hooo, hi hooo, it’s off to work we go. I stuffed the Emergency button in my pocket, took a picture of the patrol map that I was given for reference (I get lost easily), and set off to meddle for the first time in Oldbrush Valley. Cabin 23A wasn’t that far and it was a brisk Wednesday morning, so it was a refreshing hike. I was able for the first time to take in and appreciate the rural landscape that I found myself in. The thin, sparse trees; the burble of a creek somewhere out of view– my apologies, I believe when you are this far out in the middle of nowhere the correct nomenclature is actually a “crick.” The soft roll of the landscape, drawn out to the eye by the lack of metropolitan structures. There were some ominous buildings, obviously, especially going inward toward the O.V.E.R. headquarters. Even still, that didn’t constitute a city. A city has a particular way of warping the landscape, often through completely retooling it, right down to elevation and slope. These buildings were just a complex of important locations, guarded by people like me on the outside and people like James Bond, I assume, on the inside.

There were a lot of paved roads, still. It was rural, but it was still a governmental facility and so of course they used their resources to make it easy to get in and out in a pinch, even if you were in a tank. However, there were a lot of paved and dirt roads that connected cabins and other facilities. Some of these weren’t on the map that I was given. I think that some of the more disheveled dirt roads might actually have been desire paths made by trucks that wanted to take a more direct path to their destination and then became roads through common usage.

It was while I was on a dirt road such as this, one that was marked on the map, that I found myself directly across from cabin 23A. It wasn’t far as the crow flies, maybe ½ a mile, easily visible. The problem was that the road didn’t go right up to the cabin. Instead it snaked around and approached it on the other side sometime later. Using the legend of the map, the road to the cabin appeared to be about… 4 and a quarter miles? Fuck that. It wasn’t so much the idea of walking 4 miles that left me exasperated, it was the idea of 4 additional miles back. I was already starting to feel some tightness in the tendons on the top of my foot from walking more than I was accustomed to. 8 more miles might genuinely put me out of commission.

I looked across the divide. It was just some hilly ground, no obstacles. Maybe some brush that could be easily stepped over in hiking boots. I looked up and down the path I was walking on and saw no one there. Sheepishly, I walked off the path in a beeline for cabin 23A. I was going to make my own desire path.

It took all of literally fucking immediately for someone to see me. As I left the path, a portion of the path that was blocked by another cabin much closer to 23A became visible and there was a man walking on that path. Cue the longest 5 minute walk of my life as I cross the valley for a half mile onto the other path. He was walking such that we practically met up right in front of the cabin on the path that he was on. He gave me a friendly wave long before it was appropriate to respond verbally, so I just waved back and walked awkwardly for another 4 minutes or so.

As I got closer, I could start to make out his features. He was older than me, likely in his late 40s, with light brown hair that went down to his shoulders, wearing a plaid flannel shirt with some sort of badge pinned to it. There was a sidearm holstered at his side. That shouldn’t have been too alarming or threatening, but it wasn’t something that I was used to seeing. It was actually something I would be expected to do as well, at least while on duty, but I wasn’t doing that today. I could assume his welcoming smile before I could actually see it. His whole demeanor pointed at friendliness. This made me almost as wary as if he had presented himself as threatening. I’m not here to make friends. I’m here to win the million dollars… I mean, find the supercomputer. Well actually I’m here to do whatever the gamerunners tell me to do and then– you know what? Forget it.

After a walk so psychically lengthy that I felt like I had caught up with this man in age, I emerged on the other side of the path, just a few yards ahead of where the man was. He again waved at me, this time indicating that he wanted me to wait up for him. I stood there for a second eternity while he slightly picked up his pace in order to put us within speaking distance.

“Hey there, bud! I didn’t know we’d be getting new people this time-a year. You’re new, aincha?” Yeah, I’m not going to try to do the accent anymore. In fact, I regret even trying it the first time. He had a northern accent.

“Yerp, sure am,” I said. “The name’s Mike Walters,” I said.

“Hunter Jeremiah Hartley,” he said. “You can call me Hunter, or Jerry, or H. People call me all kindsa things. Pleased to meetcha. What brings ya out this way, eh?” No, I said I’m not going to do the accent anymore. Please try to hear what I’m saying in that accent even when I don’t say it that way. It really helps to get his voice across.

“I just got moved in and was taking a stroll, trying to see where everything is,” I said. “I wanted to see what was on this side of the path, but I checked the map and it looked like it went on for miles before it turned back this way so I took a shortcut.”

“Resourceful,” Hunter said. “They like that. You’ll do fine here. You gotta be careful though. You came out right in front of a red flag cabin.”

“Oh, I guess I did,” I said, playing dumb. Little ol’ me traipsing in where I don’t belong. Why, there must be some mistake! “I saw those on the map. What does the red flag mean? Like, what’s in them?”

“Means they got Area 51 aliens in there, I reckon,” Hunter said and laughed at his own joke. “Honestly, bud, I don’t have a clue. I’m only a little further up the totem pole than you are. I’ve been here about six months and just got promoted from where you are a few weeks ago. The badge is just for “chief” security.” He made airquotes around the word “chief.” “And that just means that I lasted long enough without getting scared off. There’s about 20 of us with these badges. I don’t think most of us have been here even a year.”

“What is there to be afraid of?” I asked.

“Well, they try to scare you off with that damn book. I suppose you got yours. I hide that thing from new guys any time they tell me that there’s a new one coming. I’ve been out here six months and the whole thing is a loada horseshit if you ask me. You know what propaganda is?” He asked.

“Yeah, I guess so,” I said. No need to inject my personal politics right now.

“I think the whole thing is just propaganda. The book, the red flags, this whole place. I don’t make any bones about it, even with new guys. I don’t think there’s anything here,” he said, scratching the back of his head sheepishly.

“Nothing here? But then why would the government hire so much security?” I asked.

“To make it look like something’s here. For a top secret area, surrounded by high security clearance areas, surrounded by mid level security areas, surrounded by low level security areas, there sure isn’t a lot that comes through here. It’s real quiet, bud. I think this whole place is a decoy. They might have done some weapons testing here back in the 40s, but I think they’re just sitting on the land now, pretending like they have something.”

“What’s the point of that?” I asked.

“Well, if there’s nothing here and anyone tried to steal secrets from here instead of an actual top secret facility, they would walk away with nothing. Or, better yet, they would walk away with entirely false information,” Hunter said.

“That’s really interesting,” I replied. Fuck, I hope he’s wrong. Maybe they weren’t fooled at all by my application and it actually didn’t matter? Fuck.

“Of course, if an enemy government wanted to carry out a missile strike against a top secret facility, Oldbrush Valley could also be a decoy target for them, so they’d blow us up instead of the important stuff” he said. “Have you made peace with the Lord?”

I shrugged. “No, I’m not a believer,” I said.

“That’s fine. I’m in cabin 44C, up that ways a little if you ever wanna talk about it, but I’m not the converting type unless someone really wants to.” He pointed back up the trail the way he came from. “Besides, I’ve only seen one person shuffle off this mortal coil while I was here and I’m not convinced that that wasn’t staged just to scare me straight.”

“Why would you think that?” I asked.

“It was the first week I was here. I heard a gunshot early in the morning about a mile from my cabin. I got my shit together in a jiffy to get out there. I thought I was going to get to actually do my job and protect somebody for once. When I showed up, men way above my pay grade in important looking uniforms were standing over a lifeless body. The body had a badge on it like the one that I have now. I asked what happened and they said that he got caught trying to break into a higher security area and fled to the cabins, which was when he got shot. I don’t know for sure, but I think it was all staged. They wanted me to know that I should keep my head down. No snooping.”

“So, you don’t think that any of the stuff in that Field Guide is real?” I asked.

“Well, the red flag cabins are real. There’s one right there, after all. I just don’t think there’s anything important in them. I’ve never seen anyone go in or out of that cabin, and I pass it 4 times every day on patrol. Unless the red flag cabins are connected by a tunnel, there’s no one using them. That “bright light” shit from the manual sounds like a sci-fi movie. It gets blindingly bright around here when it snows and the sun comes out, but that’s about it.”

“And the Emergencies?” I asked.

“Well, it says that you’ll know one if you see one and I haven’t seen one yet,” Hunter said.

“Maybe they’re exceedingly rare,” I said.

“Well, another way to say “exceedingly rare” after awhile is “nonexistent,” he replied. “This place is actually really peaceful if you’re not looking over your shoulder for everything they try to fill your head with. Speaking of, what did you come out here to get away from, Mike?”

“Huh?” I spluttered. Before this podcast, I had never taken in how ineloquent I am in conversation. It almost typifies me. What does Mike Walters do? He splutters. Thank God I’m so handsome or that might be my defining characteristic.

“People who have their lives together don’t fuck off into the wilderness for however long, so I assume that you aren’t settled down. How old are you Mike?” He asked.

“I’m 30,” I said.

“Right. Thirty year olds tend to settle down, not take off. My parents had kids and were done having kids by 30,” Hunter said. “I’m not judging. I’m in the same boat. I had some incidents growing up and a couple even as an adult. I’m not gonna dance around it, bud. Meltdowns. Voices. Hallucinations. I didn’t really understand it until I finally went to a doctor and they figured out that I was having schizophrenic episodes. They put me on some medicine and I leveled out hard and fast. I’ve done a lot of reading in the past 20 years about how to stay grounded and how to cope. I’ve been alright more or less since then. I read somewhere that about 1 in 3 schizophrenics has a period of serious episodes and then never experiences them again, so I’m hoping that I’m in that category. I know that’s a lot to lay on you, but that’s why I’m out here at Oldbrush Valley. I’m better, but I feel different from everyone else. I get overstimulated easy and I like being alone out here. That’s probably why they picked me and it’s definitely why I’ve lasted so long.” He paused for a moment. “I know that’s a lot. You can trust me, Mike. At least as much as you can trust anyone out here. They wouldn’t let me stay out here if I was still in the midst of all that.”

“I trust you as much as I trust anyone,” I said. Not a lie, but not the highest bar one could ever hope to reach.

“So, why are you out here?” he asked.

Thank God I had rehearsed this with my friends and family before leaving. I had the script down pat. “I had a really nasty health scare a few weeks ago. I was running a fever and became delirious. I ended up walking into the middle of a busy intersection and weaving in and out of the cars. One of my friends found me and took me back to my house. I don’t remember any of this, by the way, it’s just what I have been told happened to me.”

“I know that feeling. It’s scary,” he said.

“Yeah. I ended up stuck in bed for days, waiting for my fever and my delirium to break. I thought– and this is embarrassing– that my friend that saved me from the middle of the road was going to try and kill me. Like, smother me with a pillow or something.” I hadn’t told anybody about Anne trying to kill me. It felt good to let it out now, even if I was hedging the reality of the situation. I continued, “When I got better, I decided that life was too short to be cooped up in that apartment all the time. I had to get out and do something. Start a new life, you know?”

“I know just as well as anybody,” Hunter said.

“Besides, she can’t come smother me with a pillow out here,” I joked.

“Not unless she can get past those gates somehow,” he replied.

I nodded in affirmation. A silent moment passed and then Hunter sighed, glancing further up the path.

“Well, I had better get going,” he said. “Got a lot of stuff to do today. What cabin did you say you were staying in?”

“I didn’t. 63A,” I replied.

“63A,” he repeated. “I’m 44C. There’s a landline in your cabin where you can quick-dial any of the cabins if you know the number. Just hit 7 and then the cabin code, so 7442 for mine,” he said. “Call me if you need anything or have any questions. Or just want to talk, I don’t mind.”

“Good to know. It was nice meeting you,” I said.

“Nice meeting you too, Mike,” he said. We were both inching out of the conversation. “One more thing. I noticed that you aren’t carrying your sidearm.”

“Yeah. Honestly it makes me nervous,” I said.

“You get used to it. You’ll barely even remember it’s there after a while. I’d keep it on you, though. If you see some guys with a stricter dress code than us and you don’t have it with you, they’ll give you trouble for it. Also, there’s always a chance you might need it.”

“I thought you said there wasn’t anything out here?” I said.

“Nothing but critters,” Hunter said. “We’ve had a bear problem recently. Nothing too extreme yet, just a brown bear going through some of the trash at night. They’ll usually run if you cross paths with them, but I wouldn’t bet my life on it. There’s bear mace in the supply store, too. I suggest getting some of that.”

“Good to know,” I said.

“Raccoons are the same way. They just want to eat trash and be left alone, but don’t let them anywhere near you. You don’t want to get rabies out here. Rabies is a more deadly disease than whatever sort of weapon they could be developing in there,” he gestured toward the center of the campus. “Other than that, it’s relatively safe out here.”

“Thanks for the advice. I’ll be seeing you, I’m sure,” I said.

“Count on it, Mike. Be seeing you,” Hunter said, and turned and walked down the path toward his destination.

There was a lot to unpack there. I really hoped that he was wrong about there being nothing here, but, on the other hand, wouldn’t a facility housing a supercomputer that could alter time look like nothing was there? Unless an attack compromised the machine itself, it could make it look like nothing happened no matter what actually happened. Even if some nefarious agent got control of it, they could make it look like nothing happened. That’s most of the point of a time machine device: to make more nothing happen more often. If what he said is true, then that might actually be more promising than I first thought. I should definitely make some more friends around here and see if their experiences line up with Hunter’s. If there’s nothing to find out here, he won’t be the only person wandering around finding nothing.

But first I needed to get into that red flag cabin. I walked the opposite direction of Hunter, glancing back every now and then until I was sure that he was out of visible range. Checking to make sure that nobody could see me, I turned around and walked toward the cabin. I casually approached the cabin, hoping that if I was discovered that I could feign ignorance and act like I hadn’t read the guide yet and thought that the red flag meant that it was a communal building or something. As if the literal red flag wasn’t doing a ton of symbolic legwork on its own.

I got to the front of the cabin and knocked on the door. So far so good. No answer. Even better. I suspected as much after Hunter told me he had never seen anyone go in. I opened the door. It wasn’t locked. I walked into the cabin.

I immediately noticed that the cabin was much larger on the inside than it appeared to be on the outside. Kidding! It was a normal cabin that obeyed the normal laws of physics just like every cabin on earth ever has. But someone had clearly been inside recently. There were personal effects all over– office stuff– and there wasn’t any dust on anything. In the center of the room, there was an office desk with a rolling chair, but no computer or anything on the desk. I assumed that there was likely a laptop that came and went with whoever was using this room. I looked around for other ways to get into the cabin other than the front door but didn’t find any. I even peeked under the rug. Maybe there really was a series of tunnels linking together the red flag cabins.

Whatever files the gamerunners wanted me to find, they weren’t on the desk. I checked the drawers. One of them was locked. That drawer is definitely where I would keep my sensitive files if I were the keeping-sensitive-files type. It was just a little wafer lock, which I knew was easy to pick, but I didn’t have the tools to do so. Also, I don’t know how to actually pick a lock, I’ve just seen a bunch of people on Youtube do it. Searching the rest of the desk revealed a pack of gum, more highlighters than one person could ever possibly need, and a single file folder with some documents in it. I pulled out the documents and started photographing them, two pages at a time, with my phone. It was full of diagrams and blueprints and schematics that I didn’t really understand because I didn’t know what they were referencing, so I hoped that my ignorance would mean that whatever it actually was would be juicy enough to get the approval of the gamerunners. I would study the pages later to see if I could get anything useful out of them. It was about 45 pages total, so it didn’t take long for me to photograph every single page. Thank God for technology. Even 10 years ago, I would probably have to steal the file folder and discretely return it. I put the folder back where I found it and swiftly made my exit.

I made my way out of the cabin. Thankfully, there wasn’t anyone on the path to see me walk out. Maybe people really did just go in the front door but there wasn’t ever anybody around to see it. Four patrols a day sounds like a lot until you consider that that’s only one patrol per every 6 hours, spread unevenly across the day. I started my walk back to my cabin, taking the same shortcut that I did to get to cabin 23A. On the way back, I started texting the gamerunners the pictures of the documents. I got most of them sent by the time that I got back to good ol’ 63A.

A few minutes passed after I sent the last set of pictures and then I received a text back. “These are interesting, but they aren’t what we were expecting. Was this the only thing in the cabin? -W.BG”

I wrote back that there was a drawer with a lock on it that I couldn’t get into. They replied succinctly, “Pick the lock.” I knew that they were going to say that. Ugh. Time to consult youtube about how to do this. It can’t be that hard.

All-in-all, not a bad first challenge to get my feet wet here in Ol’ Brush Valley. I wonder what it is about that place. I made a friend and got some insight into what is going on around here. I got to break and enter! Or, just enter, I guess. Trespass. Whatever, still a felony. And I won’t feel so gunshy next time I trespass in the red flag cabin, which is good because I will have to pick a lock once I get in. Youtube makes it look really easy. It looks like most of the locks that look like this take the same key, but I don’t have time to order that key. Picking it is. Honestly, I’m just relieved at how few of my body parts have been in danger thus far.

This has been WOE.BEGONE. Next time: Cabin 23A Redux. Cue heist music. Thanks for playing.