Research is a valued, if quiet position. Lore research of course is king, with its humidity controlled rooms, white cotton gloves and immaculate references. The books are tagged, preserved, maintained and for the most part irreplaceable. If you do great things in other parts of research you might earn enough reputation to be assigned there. It’s part of the dream, anyways.
Andrew was not assigned to lore. His particular position was modern, breaking edge. Part of the growing team that tracked information through the computers, databases, and CCTVs of the world. He enjoyed the work, the mental idea of pulling the strings in the web of information. Plus, if he did well on this particular assignment, he might get a promotion. After all, he was being called (requested!) to replace a senior researcher on this case. Poor Harold seemed to have drunk a powerful memory erasing brew. With some luck he’d be able to re-learn how to tie his shoes within a month.
Unfortunate accident aside, this should be an easy case. Personnel dossiers always were. Mailing address, tax returns, social media… easy, probably will be done before lunch. Except...to his dismay neither targets had ever filled a shred of government paperwork in their adult lives. He could find school records on and off until one dropped out and the other followed, a few years later. Then nothing. Neither had any online presence, no social media (except one forgotten dating site profile with a half decent picture). Police files had them shot to death, then on a murdering spree, then dead again in an explosion.
Andrew did not want to give up. He dug further, widening the search outside of the official channels. They weren’t the first to fake their own deaths, after all. And so he made his first mistake : he googled them. No filtering tools, just pure civilian search. And thousand upon thousand of results hit him. An avalanche of facts and biographical data. Way too much for off-the-grid twice dead hunters.
Wikipedia quickly led him to a series of books by one Carver Edlund. The earlier ones were easy enough to obtain ; badly written fantasy fulfillment bodice rippers the lot of them. And yet... The timeline fit. Some of the dialogue in “Skin” matched the police reports from St-Louis… But as promising as the books had seemed (maybe written as a narcissistic project by one of the targets?) the trails were cold and the publisher had long since gone under.
Searching deeper was… confusing. Message boards and mailing lists and invitation only-sites. They kept promising to lead him to the nearly mythical “BeckyWinchester176” uploads of the unpublished novels. But there was just… So. Much. Arguments and discussions. Conventions. Potential sightings at conventions. Comparative pictures and photo edits. Meta discussion and literary analysis. Musical performance and rendition. Potential sighting at said high school musical performance. And the fiction. Just so much of it, and a lot of it hard to tell apart from the source material.
Andrew had a list of words on bright yellow post-it notes - of things not to follow through. Which he dutifully hid away at the end of the day. If he never had to explain again to her ladyship what “felching” or “Dd/Lb” meant, he would die a contented man.
He was a professional. He could face it all and draw the nuggets of truth from the miasma. He would make his Chapter proud.
“So, from what we’ve gathered, the older brother seems to be the muscle. Capable on his own but impulsive. The younger might be the planner. However if Dean is threatened, dead, or otherwise separated from him Sam may fall into a sociopathic pattern and become incredibly lethal. Sam seems to be involved with a medium-level demon and/or witch called Ruby. He might be protective of her. The information on Dean is more patchy, but we might be looking for a ‘reformed’ vampire named Benny Lafitte.” Andrew frowned at his notes, trying to formulate the last part as delicately as he could. “And they… quite possibly are involved - together or separately - with a fallen seraph.”
“You seem unsure?”
“Most of this is second or third hand accounts, at best, your ladyship.”