Nic describes his love for pirate radio, and the feeling that he had stumbled upon something secret or forbidden when he turned the dial and picked up a message put out by someone wanting to establish a special connection with their listeners. And like pirate radio, Tanis also moves around a lot.
Nic receives a response to the Craigslist ad he posted at the end of episode 101: the respondent is Geoff van Sant, and Nic meets with him for an interview. At one point, Geoff asks Nic to stop recording, and Nic explains to the audience that Geoff’s brother, Karl van Sant , posted the original ad, “Seeking Tanis. Runner available”, and had died the day after the ad was placed. Geoff mentions that Karl had previously been arrested on a hacking charge and therefore asked Geoff to post the ad on his behalf. Geoff invites Nic back to his house, where the recording resumes.
Geoff doesn’t recall Karl mentioning Tanis; he describes him as obsessive, into conspiracy theories, a shut-in when he came to live in Geoff’s basement suite after divorcing from his wife, and a hoarder of electronics. Geoff had found Karl’s body downstairs after he had hung himself with his own belt.
Geoeff explains that Karl was a naval communications officer who had once spent time in Russia, and he offers Nic a tour of Karl’s suite, saying there was really no way of preparing him for what he was about to see. Nic narrates his discovery: the floor and ceiling were ripped apart, hundreds of milk crates were overflowing with cassette tapes and radios, and there were scribbled notes and maps covering the pieces of wall that remained.
Geoff lets Nic take some of the tapes back to the studio, where Nic connects with Meerkatnip to tell her about his discovery. He plays her a sample from Slovakia on a tape numbered 47 (“there are a lot of 47s for some reason…”); the recording is a voice listing numbers in Russian over static. Meerkatnip tells him they’re numbers broadcast by shortwave stations, encrypted messages whose intention remains largely unknown and that broadcast globally in many languages. She tells him there’s usually an interval signal to help tune in, followed by a header, and then a sound to let you know the header is over, followed by the repetition of the numbers. Nic discovers recording these number stations is fairly common amongst radio fans and conspiracy theorists like Karl...so could his recording be related to Tanis?
Amongst the paraphernalia Nic took from van Sant’s collection was a framed letter from Charles Fort--a researcher of anomalous phenomena--dated March 1925, wherein he asks his friend, Edgar Hayes, if he had “found the SSS”. Nic takes the letter to a Fortean expert, Morris Stevenson , who explains the SSS stands for the Super-Sargasso Sea, an area next to the Bermuda Triangle where Fort believed a dimension existed where lost things go. Stevenson’s research implied Fort and Theodore Dreiser were collaborating on a book about the SSS, and some of Fort’s later writings implied it wasn’t over water, after all.
Nic connects with Meerkatnip again, where she tells him she got some hits for her Tanis fishing in Russian and eastern European areas online. A Canadian living in Kiev, Sam Reynolds, had posted a notice looking for his sister who went missing while working for the TeslaNova corporation as an archaeologist specializing in new energy. The board on which his notice was posted was quickly disabled after a respondent mentioned Tanis, but Meerkatnip got a hold of the messages and she forwards these to Nic.
He reads the post from Sam and enlists Alex Reagan to read the emails he received from his sister, Tara, before her disappearance. Her first email about a month prior explains that after she was contracted to conduct research in a forest near Seattle, her phone was taken away and they’re only allowed one hour of monitored internet usage a week. Her next message details how she was able to fashion a pinhole camera out of a mini cereal box, and that security had stepped up after the sudden appearance of a cabin in the nearby woods. Her subsequent messages outline stealing the phone of one of the security guards to call Sam, examining mysterious and possibly ancient text carved into the cabin walls, the movement of the entire cabin to a new location, and the arrival of an American specialist to track the cabin’s movement.
Nic plays three audio files that Tara managed to send Sam, where she’s investigating the cabin and determines that it measures larger on the inside than on the outside. The last audio file relays her fear at being trapped in the cabin, lost after exploring its maze of hallways. Sam’s message explains that the police are treating her disappearance as a missing person’s case, and that he hasn’t heard from her in three weeks.
Meerkatnip contacts Nic to let him know that an archived cache system in Australia picked up the mention of Tanis several times in the chapter of a book called “Pacifica” on its pre-release event. The author was listed as A. Ellis , and when Paul--a producer at Pacific Northwest Stories--discovers he went to school with one of the senior editors of the book’s publishing company, he contacts her for information. Paul notes that his contact denied knowing an Avery Ellis, but he wondered how he knew the first name when he didn’t provide it. Meerkatnip remembers a cleaner was paid a large sum of money to wipe all traces of Avery’s nude photos from the internet, resulting in the permanent burial of “the bad stuff”. Avery and her father, Cameron , are alluded to as being members of the wealthy social elite.
Before disconnecting, Meerkatnip apologizes to Nic about not being able to make their meeting; after Nic expresses some confusion and tells her that he didn’t ask to meet, she says someone not only used his email address to send her the request, but accessed his computer to do so.
Geoff van Sant, Karl's brother
Karl van Sant (mentioned), ex naval officer, radio enthusiast and collector
Morris Stevenson, Fortean expert
Sam Reynolds (mentioned), Tara's brother
Tara Reynolds (mentioned), archaeologist specializing in new energy, missing
Paul Bae, Pacific Northwest Stories producer
Avery Ellis (mentioned), author of "Pacifica", daughter of Cameron Ellis
Cameron Ellis (mentioned), Avery's father