Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency Year Six:

Case File No. 04-264

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AMBER LOVE 06-JUN-2022 Find out how all this began. Catch up on Year One, Year Two, Year Three, Year Four, and Year Five plus now Year Six cases at the Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency.

This work is supported by the generous backers who adore my cat stories at Patreon.com/amberunmasked and they also get first access to what’s happening with my books and podcast. 


Where We Left Off:

The detective agency had multiple clues to trace to see if they were connected to any crimes in the woods.

Red Mercury:

Flashback to May 9, 2022. We were one day from Mercury going retrograde. An awful lot gets blamed on Mercury when she’s on her period. Every electronic, technology, and communication kerfuffle gets highlighted when these periods come up. Maybe it’s a coincidence, as atheists would say as if the Moon didn’t dictate our tides. Those who are firm believers in astrology though will double-down to point out how fucked things gets when Mercury appears to travel backwards.

  • January 13 to February 3
  • May 10 to June 2
  • September 9 to October 1
  • December 28 to January 18 (2023)

Mercury Retrograde is now being conflated with the “lunacy” of the Full Moon. Take a look at Google’s search results and “people also ask” questions.

google results for "mercury retrograde 2022"

It’s also going to annoy grammarists whether you say “Mercury is retrograde” or “Mercury in retrograde”; retrograde means it appears to go backwards, not that it actually is. To me, saying “Mercury is retrograde” is shorthand for “Mercury is in its retrograde period” and people understand it just fine.

I haven’t noticed changes in Oliver and Gus when we’re in this period. However, they may be noticing other things such as smaller critters being unusually risky and birds attacking each other. On the other hand, it’s spring. Critters are trying to enjoy some bounty, get their groove on, and make babies. In doing so, they get protective and will attack.

avengers wanda pietro gif

What if… the critter is a mutant?

Gus managed to catch the speediest X-Munk of all, Pietro Maximunk, not once, but TWICE! Capturing him once was alarming. Twice? Unheard of!

Name: Pietro Maximunk

Aliases: Quicksilver, Prince Pietro, The Silver Bullet

Powers: Super speed, agility, stamina, close unarmed combat

Unconfirmed powers: Duplication, Time Travel

It all started when we were near the Bunny Hollow trail which separates the woods from the junkyard, big rock feeding station, and the backyard. The X-Munks, Wanda and Pietro, frequent this area as does the boss of organized crime, Chipcent Donofrio. Gus has tangled with all of them and Wanda appears to be the biggest badass even if she is in the smallest body. This was my first time getting a hands-on experience with Pietro.

The first capture was a chaotic scene. I still can’t picture everything clearly. Gus captured Pietro. Pietro fought back. Neither seemed injured. As I approached to intervene, Gus noticed and began his usual growling. When I got my hands on his harness, he dropped Pietro rather than turn him over to me. Pietro zoomed off into the bushes. I thought that was the end of it.

Gus was stalking through the woods looking for his escapee. I had to walk from Bunny Hollow to the entrance of the woods and get on the Circle Trail. At the time it was passable, but as of this writing, you can’t even tell where the trails were because the plants have gotten overgrown in a week! Anyway, I could see Gus in the shade of the forest bed. I got my camera out and looked for birds. That’s when I noticed something in a tall bush that didn’t look like a bird.

It was Pietro!

He was at my eye level which is high off the ground for a chipmunk, but not unheard of. I snapped a couple obscured photos and told him to stay put because Gus was close. Pietro got more scared of my lumbering ass than of Gus. He started to climb down while I said, “No, no, no, no.” I couldn’t see Gus in the shadows, but heard the rustling of dried leaves and snapping branches. Oh, Pietro, what were you thinking?

When Gus caught Pietro this time, I had to use one hand to film the incident and the other to open my adventure bag and pull out my thick leather gloves. It looked like Gus was taking his new captive back to the offices. As soon as I got too close for his liking, he made a sharp turn and tried taking Pietro to Fort Winchester.

The chipmunk was so stunned by that point, I was able to handle him easily. He was breathing but looked exhausted and weak. I moved his fur around looking for wounds but didn’t find any. I even took off one glove and put a peanut in the gloved hand so that my patient could smell some of me + peanut rather than disgusting multiple animals’ blood and plant odor from my gloves. He had no interest in eating the peanut, but it did have a remarkable effect. The peanut fragrance seemed to act like smelling salts do with humans!

Suddenly, Pietro was rebounding. Before I even got back to the big rock feeding station, he leaped from my hand! His super jump made it look like he could fly. Everything happened so quickly during his escape. Unfortunately, Gus witnessed the escape and stayed on hyper alert.

Oliver was already back inside with his favorite human, The Cook. The Butler was away on another work assignment. And the Grumpy Old Man was futzing around doing whatever it is he does for the grounds-keeping and vehicle maintenance.

Later on, Gus and I met up with Oliver to show him the footage and discuss the details of the events. Oliver was the one to point out the whole Mercury going retrograde thing. I said that shouldn’t matter. It’s not like the chipmunk was bionic or a robot or even a technopath. He’s just really fast and strong.

“You’re so dense sometimes, Auntie,” Oliver said.

“What are you talking about? You weren’t even there. And be nice, I just gave you chicken treats,” I said.

“Given what we know of Pietro Maximunk, any significance with Mercury — the god or the planet — would possibly have an effect on him. His nickname is Quicksilver. And what’s another word for Quicksilver?”

“Mercury!” I smacked my forehead with my palm. It had been so obvious and I missed it.

“Can I have more chicken?” Gus interrupted. I broke up a large chicken treat and put the pieces into his puzzle game.

“Do we think that as Mercury the planet was about to be retrograde it had a physical effect on Pietro?” I asked Oliver.

“I believe so. He was weak, according to your notes. And the simple fact that Guster was able to catch him in the first place — twice — means something was depowering Pietro,” Oliver concluded.

Case Findings:

After an unprecedent event where Pietro Maximunk was captured twice in one day, we believe the chipmunk was dealing with weakened powers. One day before the planet Mercury was going to begin a period of being retrograde, the X-Munk with the closest connection to the god Mercury was effected. We hope to have future interactions with Pietro Maximunk so we can confirm this theory. Our case file will be shared with others so independent testing can validate our findings.

Case Status: Open

oliver watching tv

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