Devon Douglas

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US ARMY Captain
Son of Terry Douglas.
Brother to Aneni Douglas.

Devon and his group had made it easily to the center of town, small as it was. Things had gotten unexpectedly ugly, unexpectedly fast. He was quickly reconsidering the whole idea. They took up shelter in a three story building whose windows were looking out directly at their target and whose stairs were intact.
In the eerie silence, they made their way in. Their footsteps echoed throughout the empty corridors and empty rooms. Most paint and wallpaper had peeled from the walls, stucco had crumbled and the wooden slats were visible like ribs on a corpse. Tiles and marble floors were covered by dead leaves, live bindweed and other flora and packed dirt.
They took the stairs and kept an eye out for them to break from under them but the old solid construction held remarkably well. Once they got to the third floor they headed for the agreed room as they passed abandoned rooms that still had furnishings and decor that brought to memory old black and white movies.
Once settled in their chosen spot, Devon took out his binoculars. The carousel still moved, the music played on, the cocooned bodies went round and round, up and down with the horses. He watched mesmerized.

Terry Douglas

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US ARMY Colonel
Dr. Terry Douglas
Father of Devon and Aneni Douglas.
Husband to Lorene Douglas.

The records and notes he kept would have gotten him fired years ago had anyone from the Army found out about them. He had started keeping them to follow up on projects that were no longer official, ideas he wanted to carry on. Books he wanted to write. Most had come to nothing. One or two had turned into books. But one…One had turned into a working experiment.
Four years ago, the man who called himself Edwards had come to him frustrated about the lack of progress in his pet project and its impending cancellation.
He had not so much liked the man, or disliked him for that matter. He had never heard of anyone liking him much, but he found him interesting and appreciated his skill and intelligence. And he felt something of kindred spirit in his drive. He had many good scientists working for him and Edwards had been one of them. Just a bit more obsessive. Intense. Work obsessed but not a prima donna. And his project had been interesting.
Raise the intelligence and social behavior of spider in order to weaponize them. He showed him some promising data and that got him interested.

Aneni Douglas

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US ARMY Captain
Daughter of Terry Douglas.
Sister to Devon Douglas.

Aneni put the two drones on circular holding patterns. Anxious and feeling physically stiff and tired, she got up from her table and stretched while keeping an eye on the monitors. How could she help get her brother out?
She put her hands on her lower back and arched backward, then gently forward again and touched her toes. She made her way to the window and looked outside. The clouds were gathering outside at the far horizon in the setting sun. After weeks of cloudless sky and constant heat, it looked like a welcome cool break was headed this way. The way it looked, it’d be starting to rain before dark. She leaned her forehead against the cool glass enjoying the view of the sea.

She took in the beauty of the ocean, its vastness and power when a spider landed on the window pane right at face level. Aneni snapped her head back and stared at the new arrival with concern and curiosity. This had to be one of the spiders her father had written about. It was her first time actually seeing one of those things up close and personal.

Her drones’ cameras and Dad’s writing didn’t do it justice.
Its body was large, not ridiculously large as a giant spider from a monster movie, but large as full grown rat. Its wings folded back onto themselves and wrapped the abdomen of the spider, giving it a more regular arachnoids aspect.