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Broadening Horizons - Printable Version

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Broadening Horizons - Dr. Janet Rivers - 12-05-2017

A multitude of smaller creeks crossed the woodlands before joining the Willowhill river. Now geology hadn't ever been her forte, however there was surely something notable in the different terrains surrounding town... or maybe not? She should have devoted some more attention to those uninspiring geology classes.

Creeks, as a rule, were not the typical habitat of her Aeshna Persuasoria, a species uniquely dwelling in the marsh, however her recent meeting could not be ignored. There wasn't much to say about dreams and hallucinations - he seriously hoped that guy had gone and seen a physician, it'd been reckless to do otherwise... Dragonflies, however. Dragonflies retrieved out of their usual area. They might have been brought there, sure, but it still required a closer inspection, didn't it? Or was it just an excuse to extend her work to a different and more approachable area? A distraction, if nothing else, from the temptation to sneak back to the marsh, ignoring all potential threats, legal vetoes and lurking murderers alike...

Something moving, bustling with minuscule activity at the border of the creek. What was that? She moved closer, squat to observe as attentively as she deem necessary.

RE: Broadening Horizons - Matthew O'Hara - 12-05-2017

Matthew had been doing a lot of desk work the last few weeks. Mostly dealing with hunting, for rather obvious reasons. That's why he was doing an outdoors "assessment" at the moment, in an area explicitly restricted from hunting. That way, no need for all the blaze orange outfits, and, most importantly, a lot less noise. And he could always claim he was checking if people were respecting the no hunting status if he was asked for his business there.

He had gone back to his campsite from early autumn, for some reason, and was currently heading for the trail, cross-country as it were, to complete this loop of his route. Only a (relatively) short walk left, at most he'd be looking at 2 hours. But he did hear someone walking. No sneaking, no jogging or running either. Just, walking. Now, it WAS a nice day for a walk in the wilds, sure, but he hadn't seen a lot of people that were "in" to that around here. So he walked, and listened, to make sure he ended up at the trail at about the time the walker was to be around that point too. Just to look official and all that. After all, he WAS there on the taxpayer's dollar....

RE: Broadening Horizons - Dr. Janet Rivers - 12-10-2017


She jumped back.

True, she was a scientist, she wasn't easily impressed, she was used to deal with things most people would have found revolting, there was no reason to lose control.

The thing coming out of the creek, however. The thing that must have been a squirrel, once, but that was now being moved about by a different force... Of course there was no lack of possible explanations. It could have been excellent study material, even.

But then there was something to be said about primal fears and deep-rooted reactions, and something about that moving piece of matter felt off at a basic level - despite, again, being a rather interesting phenomenon at a different one.

RE: Broadening Horizons - Matthew O'Hara - 12-10-2017

Matthew had of course noticed the hiker before, but when he heard some small animal scurry in the undergrowth, and the following mild shriek from said hiker, he also deduced from the height of the tone of the voice that this hiker was a woman. Mock-sheepishly he stepped out of the overgrown area on to the trail. My apologies if my rugged looks scared you, miss...  He smiled at her as genuinely friendly as he could. After all, he was a representative of the government at the moment, and it would not do if visitors to this area were scared over him. They might never return, and that would be a shame. I did not mean to.

Matthew straightened his clothes a bit, then closed the distance a little more. As he did, he seemed to notice something that stopped him. It wasn't aversion, or fear. What it was, was hard to put in words. It was as if he  remembered something  and was giving his mind some time to catch up. She looked awfully familiar, yet he knew he didn't know her from his relatively short time here in Sandsbrigdge.

He put the question to the back of his mind for now, and addressed the woman once more: Is there perhaps something I might be of assistance with?

RE: Broadening Horizons - Dr. Janet Rivers - 12-11-2017

With all that she had mixed feelings towards officers in general, the newcomer and his entirely non-otherworldly appearance were reassuring in a way. In a way.

Oh! No need to apologize. I was just... quite focused on something and so..."

So, let's pretend she'd been started by him, not by whatever had crept out of the creek.

Dr. Rivers, anyway. Janet Rivers. I'm an entomologist, just... doing some research on the field, you see..."

Looking at her interlocutor, of course, that was the polite thing to do. Now and again, however, still glancing at the water, at whatever was going on down there.

RE: Broadening Horizons - Matthew O'Hara - 12-11-2017

Rivers.... I know that name...., Mattew thought. He had shared some classes with a certain Rivers that really wasn't all that infatuated with the possibilities of cryptozoology. Well, it COULD be her. She looked enough like her, considering the time they hadn't seen each other. Did he really change that much himself, though? Or was it his outfit?

Dr. Rivers? Entomology. I knew a young woman studying entomology back in Boston. Wouldn't it be a mighty coincidence if that was you, Janet? Matthew positively sounded a little happy there. Though I must say, I didn't think I changed so much that you wouldn't recognize a fellow biologist. He extended his hand in greeting. Dr. Matthew O'Hara, zoologist, and the current field biologist for Fish and wildlife here in Sandsbridge. Well, the only one here, actually, but why ruin a nice title?

Matthew recalled that, although they did have some rather heated discussions back in the day, they also seemed to be able to help each other out with ideas and such. Although she never did see his ... hobby as anything remotely credible, but that was perhaps why he liked having those discussions with her in the first place.

RE: Broadening Horizons - Dr. Janet Rivers - 12-24-2017


That Matt? Also, she must've been widening her eyes quite a bit.

He hasn't changed so much, in fact, "...it must just be I'm terrible with faces!" Biting her tongue before saying anything on how well or poorly he was aging: that was a minefield.

Which might have been a reason to stick to insects, although her adult self knew all too well about the need for people. Lately, she could have told something about it.

Now, was Matt the best or the worst person to meet in that context?

So... How are you doing?"

Not sure whether congratulations for his title were due. She suspected his all-too-powerful family shared at least part of the merit, which was one of those things that left her slightly - slightly something. However, one could not just jump and ask about wildlife, so she'd been told. Some minute of small talk was more appropriate. Although, she'd liked to make it some second instead.

RE: Broadening Horizons - Matthew O'Hara - 12-26-2017

Matt smiled as the woman across from him used the shortened "Matt". There were only a handful of people that didn't call him Matthew, and all of those were people he considered friends. And his paternal grandfather, Gramps. It really answered his cloaked inquiry perfectly. Don't sell yourself short, Janet. I imagine most of our fellow students wouldn't have thought of meeting me out here in the wilds. Heck, I had to struggle with "mother dearest" to get this job here in Sandsbridge. She actually tried her best to keep me behind a desk back in Boston. Luckily, they needed a field biologist over here, and I was the only volunteer. I moved here before she even knew I applied. Matt grinned like the proverbial cat that ate the canary.

He had never been shy about his heritage, neither about the Irish nor the the wealthy part. Matt never apologized for using, as he called them, the tools given to him, but he also never accepted those 'tools' to dictate what he should do. His misgivings about how his mother was known to 'handle' things had never sat well with Matt, something he had confided to the few friends he had that he felt were worthy of that name.

And you? Last I heard you had gotten a seat at a university. What brings you out here in the woods?

RE: Broadening Horizons - Dr. Janet Rivers - 12-31-2017

Well, my job takes some field research as well. I mean, it would be a shame otherwise, wouldn't it?"

Now a "seat" was a big term technically speaking, it did made her position more prestigious than it actually was. But she did not correct him. No need to be pedantic, right? Besides, it felt so good.

Although, under normal circumstances I'd spend more time in the marsh than precisely in these woods. The Aeshna Persuasoria is the main subject of my research, so... Well, I guess you heard about the murder, right?"

Because, who didn't know about it? As for what she was doing, she wasn't entirely sure how much she was willing to share. Although, she had a feeling about the way it was going to end.

RE: Broadening Horizons - Matthew O'Hara - 01-06-2018

Matt smiled warmly: It sure would be. Getting out here is the best perk of these jobs.

His smile fades slightly when he hears the rest, though. He still looked happy enough, though he did seem to get a bit more serious about things. Yeah, heard about that. Happened right around the time I moved my stuff here. Then, as it starts to sink in better, he looks at Janet:: Oh... OOH!. Those prefer the wetlands, and they ... Oh man, they locked you out of there, didn't they? That's rough. Matthew's tone was sincere, and he was genuinely bummed out about her not being able to go where she had to be for her ... was it still work? Is this stalling you? Professionally? Or did you manage to get enough for you dissertation already? I mean, they won't lock op that place for years, right? Not even the Feds do that.

He had noticed the slight awkwardness of the situation, but he wasn't going to press the matter. He liked, and respected, her too much for that. He did remember she was mostly business anyway, so it seemed like a good bet to "talk shop" instead of the usual small talk.

RE: Broadening Horizons - Dr. Janet Rivers - 01-07-2018

Not just the wetlands - they had a habit to swarm over the Crown, studying their habits was precisely my research plan when - you know".

Did he? Did everyone know she was the lucky one who stumbled on the much more unfortunate body? She had no desire to tell that story again. Not that she was shocked - scientist should not be shocked, and even if she had experienced a mild hallucinatory phenomenon, that was an entirely understandable reaction - which probably meant being shocked, after a fashion, but not in the sense most people would use the term.

Anyway, it's not as if I were left with nothing to do. It has been brought to my attention that dragonflies had been seen out of their usual habitat. Which is what brings me here - I'm trying to understand whether their migration is just an individual, sporadic phenomenon, or if their entire life cycle had somehow expanded to previously ignored areas... Which brings me to a question I'd like to ask you, actually - have you ever noticed any unusual occurrence of either fish or small birds and mammals, paralyzed but not dead yet?"

RE: Broadening Horizons - Matthew O'Hara - 01-10-2018

When they shut it down over a dead person. Matt stated it a bit dryly. Either he didn't know that Janet had found said body, or he purposely ignored that little fact. Which is understandable, but it must be frustrating.

Mat listened to Janet's current conundrum. It wasn't particularly common for species to shift from area to area, well at least not the smaller ones. For them, it was akin to travelling halfway across the world, in a sense. But then again, it wasn't totally unheard of either. The follow-up question made Matt think a bit.

Well, I haven't seen any around here yet, I think. It's not that I've been here all that long, nor had I considered that particular scenario. Fish might be a tough one to relate, there's a few aquatic predators that like to do the same, though they should be less and less active as winter approaches. As for the other small animals, not really. It's hard enough to spot them when they're moving around, let alone when they are paralysed and unmoving in their natural habitat. They tend to blend in. Especially the mammals.

RE: Broadening Horizons - Dr. Janet Rivers - 01-11-2018

Oh, the chance to do some explaining! A small joy to lighten up her day!

Quite understandable! I was asking because their presence would be indicative of my dragonflies' life cycle. They are poisonous, you probably know that - but most interesting is the way they use their poison. They can paralyse a small vertebrate - as, well, you might have guessed from context... They plant their eggs on the victim, so the naiads will find a meal just fresh enough when they hatch. It's quite unique among dragonflies - more common for hymenoptera for instance... Do you know why they're called "Persuasoria", by the way?"

Some more explaining, if you like... However, before he could reply, there was something else. An unexpected interruption: a small, fast-moving object darted out of water and across the grass, its speed not allowing to detect its shape. Speeding aimlessly, it crashed against a nearby tree.

She turned, she headed immediately towards the thing. Which, at a first glance, looked like a smashed mass of fur and blood.