Well, I've got a few answers. Answers that raise more questions. Why can nothing ever be straightforward?
First, an update on Poe: she's still upset, but she's a bit more stable now. There's a good chance that Donovan was targeted because he gets along with The Mad Ventriloquist (not to dump this on you, TMV...I just need Poe to know that it's not her fault). His family was tortured/murdered, incidentally, by one of The Mad Ventriloquist's psychotic friends, so...I've been trying to convince her that she's not at fault here. It's kind of working. She's still convinced that it's partially her fault, or that she convinced Screwtape to get involved or something.
Earlier today, I got a call. Checked the caller ID. It was Caper's number.
Naturally, I answered. Still don't know if it was a smart move or a stupid one, but it was a natural reaction.
Messenger: Who the hell is this?
?: Hello, Mr. Messenger. [A male's voice. Not Caper's. Not any voice I recognize, for that matter.] I see you've made it through those tapes I sent you. How were they? Enjoyable, I hope?
M: Who the hell are you?
?: Oh, please, Mr. Messenger. I'm sure you've seen at least a few movies in your lifetime. You should know how these things work. Why would I reveal my name to you? What could you possibly give me in return?
M: I swear, man, whoever you are, I will hunt you down--
?: [laughing] Really? You honestly think you have any chance of finding out who I am? You'd recognize my voice if you knew me. I'm not Ulysses, not Screwtape, not Jacob...not even Caper. What does that give you for leads? I'm the one who holds all the cards, and the sooner you realize that and stop making idle threats, the sooner I can get to my point, mmkay?
[He was right, of course. I had close to no clue in the first place, and every clue I did have was gone.]
M: So what's the point? Why send me those tapes of Nee-chan? What did you hope to accomplish? And seriously, why put them on tapes?
?: Well it's no fun if it's too easy, is it? Besides, it's fun watching you scramble around and rant at me. You're so cute when you're angry.
M: So you're a troll.
?: I suppose you could put it that way, yes. But trolls do it...how would you say it? For the lulz? I, on the other hand, have a bit more of a purpose.
M: And what purpose could showing me those tapes serve? You still haven't answered that. What are you hoping to accomplish?
?: Oh, Messi, Messi, Messi...you're still so naive. You're still a...how would you say it? A newfag?
M: I'm not a Channite. I don't use their phrases.
M: Of course, of course. My mistake. But back to my point. You're such an optimist, Messenger. Convinced that everyone just needs a little nudge in the right direction or is blackmailed into this or has no other choice. Nee-chan was just a poor girl who never had any friends, isn't she? Problem solved. But then why is she lashing out like this? Surely if she was just a poor, broken girl, she'd turn her hatred inward instead of outward and waste away. You see, Mr. Funeral, as much as you're trying to be the "good guy," you're almost doing more harm than good. You're putting everyone off guard. You're telling all those runners that we're all just lost souls waiting to be reformed. Hallelujah, praise Jesus and Buddha and Ghandi, I saw the light, and suddenly we're fine upstanding citizens again.
[Following him? Me neither.]
M: What exactly are you getting at?
?: Messenger, I have a question for you. Would you like to know why Caper died?
M: Oh, yeah, that reminds me. Where did you get his phone?
?: [He laughed again] You've seen the tapes and you're asking where I got the phone? I think my influence would surprise you. You've had two very attractive female roommates, you know. I wonder what sort of things they'd do behind closed doors.
M: You sick fuck.
?: Conversely, I wonder how they'd react to seeing what you do when you think no one's watching.
M: I swear, I will sue your ass onto the streets.
?: Mr. Messenger, Mr. Messenger...you don't even know who or where I am. Good luck finding out. But you never answered my question. Would you like to know why Caper died?
M: I already know. He didn't kill some girl he was supposed to and The Boss punished him for it. I really don't see what you're getting at.
?: [He started outright laughing at this.] So very...very, very naive. Honestly, Mr. Funeral, do you think that Father cares whether that girl lives or dies, or that he'd be unable to just kill her himself if he really wanted to? No, Father wouldn't kill Caper over something that trivial.
M: ...Why did Caper die, then?
?: Well, be on the lookout for another tape. It can explain better than I can. And I think I'll just put it on a DVD for you this time. Save you the trouble.
M: I've already got a VCR player, jackass.
?: I suppose you do. But it saves me the trouble more than you. Oh, and...I'll include a little bonus feature on the disc as well. Make it "special edition" for you.
M: Yeah, fuck you too.
?: [chuckling] Goodbye, Messenger. Oh, and...one more thing before I go. Just out of curiosity...why do you think Nee-chan showed up so suddenly after Caper's death? Don't answer. Just something to think about.
And then he hung up.
Well...I guess Caper's next. There's a chance I'll finally be getting a straight answer out of him. I just wish he were giving it himself.
And I'm really hoping that this'll be able to cheer Poe up a bit, no matter what it is.
-Don't Shoot The Messenger-