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"The Grackles" aired on February 3, 2016.

Summary Edit

Updates Edit

Nic goes over updates from the previous episode: MK's friend is no longer working for TeslaNova, and though Karl van Sant's death was ruled as suicide, the coroner that had processed his intake (whose name was not the one on the death certificate) believed the cause of his death was inconclusive. Finally, the industrial complex that may be tied to Parzavala remains locked down, and Nic's calls to the property management are going unreturned.

Visit with the Grackles Edit

Nic picks up Melanie and they drive down a logging road and make the rest of the journey on foot through the forest. They eventually come upon a clearing with small, wooden buildings, campers, and the shells of 1950s cars. Two men meet them, one of them wearing a plague doctor, bird-like mask: Carn and Arl, who speak to each other in a language Nic later learns is a hybrid of Haida and Haida-jargon. Melanie tells them in this language that she and Nic are staying for dinner.

They are joined by a young couple, also Grackles, and the four of them lead Nic and Melanie to another clearing that appears to be a scientific camp with twenty or thirty satellites pointing at the ground. Other high-tech equipment was set up and being powered by gas generators. One of the Grackles explains they are charting changes in a variety of environmental factors in the area. To Nic's surprise, the Grackle tells them their sleeping arrangements have been prepared; when he expresses his desire to leave, Melanie tells him they must stay as they won't be able to find their way back in the dark.

Everyone sits down to dinner at a long table, where deer approach the diners and are fed by hand; Nic notices that the deer seem to possess an unsettling intelligence. The Grackles explain they are looking for the mysteries within the earth, and relate the story of the Manitou, the idea that people passing through the realm of other animals must offer something of themselves as a gift to the spirits in the area, in order to ensure safe passage. Karl tells the story of a man who once went looking for his missing daughter, and he eventually found her in a clearing facing off against what appeared to be a buffalo, though its shape changed when he looked directly at it. The man raced for his daughter; when he got to her the buffalo had vanished, but she cried and told her father that he had killed her, just before a large bird erupted from her back. The man fled in terror, but upon his return, he only saw his daughter's blood on the earth, and grubs, insects, slugs and snails had covered the area; the girl, herself, was seen as a gift to the spirit of the Manitou.

After dinner, Nic interviews Melanie in their tent. Melanie tells him that Veronika would talk about what he refers to as Tanis, mentioning a runner, a seeker, and Tanis by name when Melanie overheard her conversations. Veronika also mentioned requiring a map to find it.

Nic goes to sleep, but awakes to the sound of rustling outside of the tent. He goes outside and sees what seem to be horses but larger, and an inhumanly tall, slender figure moving toward the horse-shaped figures. Melanie brings Nic back into the tent, saying what was happening outside was private and was the subject of the Grackles' study, telling Nic that the shapes he saw were only the horses and goats grazing.

Nic and Melanie return to the city in the morning, but Melanie doesn't provide Nic with any new information.

Info on Tara Reynolds & Grackles Edit

MK provides Nic with information linking HaidaGurl to a research station in the area where Tara Reynolds disappeared. MK had found a profile on Jonathon Karnahan, who was a biophysicist who worked for TelsaNova from 2002 to 2009, and Nic positively identifies a photo MK sends him as being the Karn that he met in the forest. So in 2009, when HaidaGurl was working in the area, so was Karnahan, which MK and Nic agree probably isn't a coincidence.

Karnahan's specialty involved evolution and survival mechanics, focusing on arthropods and fungi.

Journal Entry Day 4 Edit

Alex reads again from the unidentified journal. A bridge appears in the forest that the Journalist mentions wasn't there before, which upsets the Runner. It appeared after the Journalist, Novelist and Zealot had all turned around at the sound of screaming, even though the Runner had warned them never to turn back. What the Journalist calls the Blur is awake and restless, and he or she believes the darkness is following them, a darkness that is thick and seems to possess an awareness.

Finding Sam Reynolds Edit

Nic receives a message from Morgan to meet her in an hour so they can rescue Sam, but Morgan had already left by the time Nic arrived at their meeting spot. Nic drives back to the duplex in Everett, and is greeted by Arcadia, who invites him in and offers to fetch Sam and Morgan, but returns instead with another young woman who hands Nic a cup of tea. As the three of them talk, Nic becomes uncomfortable and gets up to leave, realizing when he goes for the door that he's been drugged. The women try to disrobe him, and when Nic asks what they gave him, they say it was just enough Molly to "have some fun". The two men Nic had seen when he came to the duplex the first time appeared, just as Morgan started banging on the door and demanding they release Nic or she's calling the police.

Morgan had gotten Sam and taken him to a motel, where she brought Nic to rest while the drugs wore off. Sam was thinner and seemed tired but otherwise fine. Nic returns to the studio and Morgan calls him, saying she'd like to find a deprogrammer for Sam. When asked if he's got any new information on Tara, Nic tells Morgan about his visit with the Grackles and their work in researching Tanis. Morgan says that Sam believed the Cult of Tanis was going to help him find Tara, telling him that "The Navigator knows the way", as the Navigator knows the way to Eld Fen where Tara is being held. Morgan says she was able to get Sam to leave because she told him Nic had found Tanis.

Nic later returns to the Cult's base of operations with Geoff van Sant. They knock but when no one answers, Geoff finds a spare key under the doormat and they go inside. The duplex was empty, all of the furniture and contents having been removed.

Parzavala Edit

MK tells Nic she found some information on an earlier incarnation of the Cult of Tanis that had applied for tax-free status, which then led her to discover a series of self-help style cottages that turned out to be cult-related, the leader of one of them being Nathaniel Carter, who had given the address of a Parzavala Communications subsidiary as his employer. MK reveals that Nathaniel Carter was actually running this Parzavala subsidiary. Nic couldn't find the contact for the operation of the complex, so he couldn't gain access to investigate.

MK sends Nic a video of the basement in the complex, revealing medical and zoological equipment from 1985 that was being used to research molluscs and the evolution of cuttlefish.

Call from Cameron Ellis Edit

Ellis calls Nic and admits that he had purchased Karl van Sant's cassette collection, and that he had found something that Nic would be interested in. Nic promises to investigate in the next episode.

Characters Edit

Recurring Characters Edit

Nic Silver, producer and host

Melanie Nedved, Veronika Pilman's friend

Meerkatnip, information specialist

Morgan Miller, author of Pacifica

Geoff van Sant, Karl van Sant's brother

Guest Characters Edit

Jonathon Karnahan (Karn), Grackle, former TeslaNova biophysicist

Arl, Grackle

Arcadia, Sam Reynolds' girlfriend

Notes Edit

http://www.podcastenthusiast.com/tanis/

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