Hi all, I gotta say, I'm pretty frustrated. But then again, I reckon I should be. The first key turning point of my life was nearly three decades ago, the day my father passed on. My father acted totally out of character that last day, rather than driving into the regional city to his workplace, he decided to walk me to school, and take the train. He never made it to the depot to clock on. From what I've understood of the reports that were submitted to the Coroner, he passed on of a massive heart attack, attributed to heavy smoking, increasing alcoholism, and overworking himself. Its only as an adult, that the very tiny scraps of slightly "off" facts have started to come out, the most in the wake of the recent passing of my grandmother, my fathers once mother-in-law. Anecdotal evidence of a coverup. A culture of secrecy, that is ingrained into my own family. Refusal to acknowledge my questions. Threats, lies, more horrid stuff. Allegations of some involvement by the military. With family and friends like that, who needs enemies, right? Thats about the time I ran into The Odd Man. The Odd Man who told me I would talk to my estranged mother and her surviving family members, and forgive them, two months before the funeral and doing all of this, whether I liked this idea or not. Actually, the way he put it, it wasn't even an order. He was simply telling me a fact. He knows other facts - exact locations of events, exact numbers for things like rent paid, all kinds of kooky stuff. After I realised the man had an odd aura about him, I described him as such. Turns out other people I know well, my good friends, have encountered him. Always, the overall feeling was this is a guy you simply do not trust. No one knows much about him, but he knows all about you, personal things, EXACT personal things. Details that are literally impossible to cold read, let alone guess. Even attended the funeral, did very odd things that no one even thought to question, no one recognised him, and this, considering the funeral notice went in the district newspaper the morning of the funeral, and now, nearly five months later, old friends of the family are still finding out from me for the first time that Nan passed on. This guy had to move 1,200km in less than a day, and I found out, my cheapskate aunt didn't want to spend the money to put the notice in the online edition of the regional newspaper. Bloke was still at that funeral. And still no one thinks to question what he did, or why they have no idea who he w Hell, the bloke even looks like me, if I were twenty years older, put on 40 or 50kg, lost most of my mind down a bottle, smoked, and lost all my teeth. And my hair was sandy blonde, not black, like it is now. So, I've been trying to get to the bottom of this. Yeah, I've had "some" involvement with the Underworld. How do you recruit impressionable kids for wars, the White Feather in the Cap thing, right? Promise the world, the ones that survive get to regret the loss of their mates, and continually get told, they're "the lucky one." Right. So, I know how to spot a "handler." Easy. Know how to spot all kinds of things - a narcissist is usually nailed within three sentences now. A psychic can be nailed within one. Cunning creatures. They don't have any idea of what they're doing, they "just do it." I see how they're doing what they're doing. Even worse, I seem to just "bump into" extremely advanced physicists. Worked for them, built instruments and test assemblies in their labs, done quite a bit of research and running of simulations. Hell, was going to play around in a rare earth mine's scut pond, seeing if I could blow the waste through a nuclear reactor. And I heard their confessions, a couple of months before what you'd consider a "natural death," if you were living in a gulag, and had to keep your head down to stay alive. So, my best lead on this guy so far was obtaining a licence plate for a car I saw him hop into, and drive away in. Me being me, I thought I'd play the game, under the pretense of "protecting elderly members of the private community I call Home." Give this copper the plate number, and the copper says, after confirming his first name, about 3/4 of the guys record is traffic infringements, long time ago. I shouldn't worry about him. No threat to my elderly friends. No mention of the other 1/4, I understand theres no violence. What there could be, I won't speculate, I was told "not to worry." About that time, I mention to the copper, there was some talk of another member of my fathers family that is heretofore unknown to me, when I went across the state for my Nans funeral. "You should ask him his surname," I'm told. "Why?" "This is a spitball, but its hyphenated with something you'd find familiar, as if he may have been married into your family." Ok? This is a bit freaking odd! So, I track down members of the family I've not spoken to since my father passed on, and go for broke. Why did my grandparents divorce? Was there an affair? Is there another member of the family I'm not aware of? No knowledge. My aunt, my fathers sister, claimed she had "no idea" why her parents divorced. Then I ask about my fathers military service. No knowledge. Told the aunt I had no idea Dad was in Signals until well after my telephone technicians trade, when I got my ham radio licence. Mentioned Dad never said one word about his service, but I vividly remember the shortwave receivers he had. The aunt becomes agitated, and I mention I was named after Dads best mate... and their best tech, going on to say I myself had quite some talent a long time ago. The aunt says this has nothing to do with her family, no one is in danger, least of all my young niece, and slams the phone in my ear. Holy crap, nice to hear from you after three decades aunt, cheers! Now, I love a great yarn at the pub when I'm off duty. How do you think the Golden Age sci fi pulp authors got their legs? But to seemingly be living in a conspiracy theory, where everyone you would normally believe might even hear you out, knowing you've done some pretty kooky scientific research work in the past, might just entertain some notion of something just a bit odd about a bloke who can tell the future, and knows all about you and your family, and yet you have no freaking clue who the guy could possibly be. I keep hearing "Don't ask questions!" I've been threatened, abused, Hell, the freaking Government guys I've worked with in the past on the more public side of life made an unspecified threat against me, but the man totally changed his character, I've known him a decade, and he has never once been like that with me, even promised me he never would. So why is an Odd Man that no one knows shit about so freaking secret?! I mean, the guy is here in town! Has been for a decade! And yet, no one cares to even ask about him. Not that he really says much anyway. Oh, yeah, this is freaking awesome. I swore I'd just get on my with life, go have a "normal" life, and forget the research I've done. Like the stuff on proving the Multi-Worlds Interpretation. Or the stuff on suspected entanglement information transfer. Or superconductors. Or artificial intelligence. Naw, I just want to be a dumb-dumb, and fix bloody trains. Go get a girlfriend. Stop being obsessed with ghosts and stupid conspiracy theories. Right.