IC 2 - Amsterdam - Day 2

Admiral Duck Sauce 2017-08-02 15:04:46
Tim slides the stinger over. "I'll stick with Fractal," he says. "Limits our exposure, and besides, I'm building a rapport with the elite assassin."


Near Centraal, Tim absent-mindedly touches the taser butt in its holster, nicked from a squad car at the hotel during the mercenary assault aftermath along with the other various accoutrements making up round 2 of "let's be cops". The badge won't hold up to scrutiny, but it probably won't need to. The important thing is that he's got a good excuse to wear body armor for this meeting with a known killer.
punkey 2017-08-02 16:37:35
"I'll handle Abbing," Mason says. "How hard or soft do you want?"
Gatac 2017-08-03 00:39:49
"As hard as you need to," Operations says. "Don't let her get away. If she's still conscious enough to interrogate, I'd consider that a plus."
punkey 2017-08-03 06:48:14
"Then all I need is whatever Luc just told you," Mason replies.
Gatac 2017-08-03 13:45:45
"He only gave me the short version," Operations says, "but apparently Agent Coemans cordially invited him to put on a hood and go on a drive with him to a meeting with the MSS. There, they offed Coemans and tried to hire Luc - or something like that. Anyway, apparently what Abbing told us is what they planned on happening, but Luc got away and Abbing didn't get the word - which is why I need her in here where she's out of pocket. Oh, and Luc planted a bug in their system. But we'll count those chickens when they're hatched, yes?"


Tim vectors himself to the locker he's supposed to deposit the harddrive in, and as the clock strikes deadline, he opens it up with the provided code to find a small electronic arrangement in it - a harddrive cradle with what looks like the screen-less parts of a laptop wired to it, as well as a webcam. The Fractal phone in his pocket starts ringing.

"I see you made it on time," deSilva(?) tells him from the other end of the line. "And with a new haircut, too. Connect the harddrive to the cradle and close the locker, we'll copy, verify and wipe it remotely."
Admiral Duck Sauce 2017-08-03 14:33:09
Tim holds the redacted printouts up to the webcam instead. "This is what we're dealing with. The fact that Varayev doesn't have this anymore is a net win for all of us. Next steps are: we'll contact you with a time and location to meet."

As he goes through the paces, Tim subtly scans Centraal for anyone taking interest in him or this locker. He knows DeSilva's got him on webcam, but it doesn't seem like her MO thus far to remote this in. She's in the station somewhere, Tim's sure of it.

(Can I roll Surveillance? Is that the right thing. Sense Trouble?)
Gatac 2017-08-03 14:40:51
"This is not what we asked you to procure," deSilva(?) says. "The original, encrypted drive, or a bitwise copy. The information on your printouts is useless to us even if you hadn't redacted it."

(Tim's Surveillance to locate deSilva fails.)

Tim gets that sense of slight vertigo as his eyes shift side to side. He knows he's being watched, that deSilva is close, but she's just outside his field of view somehow - then again, that does tell Tim something: she's got to be blending into the crowd somehow.
Admiral Duck Sauce 2017-08-03 14:51:53
"Yet you have to know we wouldn't just hand it over, not after learning how dangerous it is," Tim replies. "You've also been in this game long enough to know parameters change, but the opportunity's not lost. We're not enemies, deSilva, we're just arranging a meeting that's beneficial for everyone."

Tim walks, and he looks enough like a cop for the crowd to instinctively part for the authority figure. Right onto the train - flashing his badge'll get him on, then it's onto an adjacent car, off the other side and break contact. They'll track his phone, but bullets need line of sight and that's what Tim's worried about right now.
Gatac 2017-08-03 14:56:52
deSilva(?) falls silent for a few seconds. "And I've been in this game long enough to know when I've been outmaneuvered," she says. "You're right. We're not enemies. But we're not friends, either. If you want me to take the risk of meeting you and your friends on neutral ground, I'll have to see a little more than some paper. For all I know, you just made those up. I hear you're pretty good at making things up, Agent Barstow."
Admiral Duck Sauce 2017-08-03 15:13:56
"I'm certainly making this up as I go," he says. "I'll contact you, you do your risk assessment, we'll do ours."
skullandscythe 2017-08-03 23:18:38
Blake fiddles with his burner a bit, and with a sour expression, quickly punches in a number. It takes about three rings for the man on the other end to pick up.
"Ah, monseur Niemens," Blake opens with courtesy. "Merci de prendre mon appel." (Thank you for taking my call.)

"Oh, bonjour," Pierre answers. "J'étais ... Je craignais que quelque chose ne soit arrivé à Luc, ou à vous, après cet terrible incident hier ..." (I was...I was worried something might have happened to Luc, or to you, after that awful incident yesterday...)

"Oh, non, Pierre, je comprends votre préoccupation," Blake replies carefully. "Entre les nouvelles de l'explosion et ces rumeurs horribles, je serais très anxieux moi-même." (Oh, no, Pierre, I understand your concern. Between the news of the explosion and these dreadful rumors, I'd be quite anxious myself.)

"Eh bien, je suis tout à fait content, alors. Alors, à quoi dois-je le plaisir de votre appel?" (Well, I for one am quite glad that's that, then. So, to what do I owe the pleasure of your call?)

Blake harrumphs, struggling for the right words. "C'est Luc, j'ai peur. Il est entré dans un tas de problèmes. J'espérais que vous seriez prêt à le rembourser pour son problème." (It's Luc, I'm afraid. He's gone and stepped in a hornet's nest. I was hoping that you would be willing to re-pay him for his trouble.)

"Oh," Pierre says. "Eh bien, nous sommes de vieux amis, Luc et moi. Je ne voudrais pas laisser tomber un vieil ami. Comment puis-je aider?" (Well, we are old friends, Luc and I. I wouldn't want to let down an old friend. How can I help?)

"Il suffit de garder un œil sur lui, et s'il devait arriver ... des admirateurs indésirables, je pense qu'il l'apprécierait si vous pouviez les dissuader." (Just keep an eye out for him, and if he should happen to have...unwelcome admirers, I think he'd appreciate it if you could dissuade them.)

"Luc était toujours un homme populaire," Pierre remarks. "Je vais veiller à ce qu'il ait un entraînement sûr alors." He breathes. "Eh bien, c'était génial de vous parler, mais, vous savez, les affaires et tout ..." (Luc always was a popular fellow. I'll see to it that he has a safe drive, then. Well, it was nice talking to you, but, you know, the business and everything...

Blake tries to hide his rolling eyes, even though Pierre can’t see him. "Je comprends. Mais avant de partir, je voulais juste vous rassurer que notre ami commun s'est bien passé, enfin je l'ai vu." (I understand. But before you go, I just wanted to reassure you that our mutual friend was doing well, last I saw him.)

"Oh!" Pierre says. "Eh bien, il est bon d'entendre au moins." Another breath. "Nous parlerons bientôt?" he says, in that 'don't call me again' voice. (Well, that is good to hear, at least. We will speak soon?)

"Tu peux compter dessus." (You can count on it.)
Blake hangs up and shrugs, shoulders no longer hunched. Then he shakes his head and gets back to packing his demo kit - ooh, bring the WP felt, that'll work nice for a smoke trap, set by the door...

(Using Streetwise to call in a favor with Pierre, and going to make a couple traps at the houseboat. Spending 2 ED points on a smoke trap, and burning my once-per-session auto-succeed on a concussive blast trap.)
Gatac 2017-08-06 09:59:40
Mason's search for Abbing takes him down to the HVT Holding Facility (read: brig) of the barge. Before Mason even enters, he can already indistinctly make out a conversation between Abbing and Brahmvir Singh. Mason stops and gets as close as he reasonably can to listen.

" - have another key!" Brahmvir protests. "Why would there be another key? There is only one laptop!"
"Think hard," Abbing replies. "We can't have another key out there. If you lie to us, the deal is off."
"What deal?" Brahmvir says. "I'm already your prisoner."
"Exactly," Abbing says. "Our prisoner. There is a long line of people who want to take you from us, Mr. Singh. And if there was another key, and they find it before we do...then I don't see why we should accomodate you any further."
"For the last time, woman!" Brahmvir says. "There is one key. One laptop. Believe me or not, but stop pestering me."

Mason moves back up the steps and into the SCIF. Both Operations and Laith turn their attention to him as he closes the door behind him

"You're not going to like this plan," he says to Operations.
"Try me," Operations says.
"We're going to dangle the laptop and key," Mason says.
"You're right, I don't like this plan," Operations says. Laith pointedly looks back at his laptop screen.
"Abbing wants what's on there - probably for our friends that tried to shoot us at the apartment," Mason says, closing the laptop. "If we're going to get her in a position that she can't explain, we're going to need to put what she wants somewhere she feels safe trying to take it."
"Well, we don't exactly have the best working relationship," Operations says. "She already knows we're serious about playing this close to the vest. That's going to need a plausible excuse for why it's suddenly in her reach."
"This is her facility, right?" Mason asks.
"It is," Operations says.
"Then we lock it up here," Mason replies. "If this is her place, she can get in and out of anything. We don't have a reason to suspect her yet, so if we get 'called out' and have to lock it up here..."
"Right, following you so far," Operations says. "And catching her?"
"We have the Stingray and you can get Laith the overrides for the data and video feeds," Mason says. "We lock down any way she can communicate out and catch her on video trying to take it off the barge."
Operations turns to Laith. "Think you can subvert the security for remote access to the feeds?"
"You say that like I don't already have root," Laith replies.
"Sounds like we're all set, then," Operations says.
Gatac 2017-08-10 13:52:18
Blake makes good time on "Home Alone: Amsterdam Houseboat Edition", finishing up his traps with little fuss. The time this buys him, however, goes into fretting and watching both sides of the canal for signs of movement and what does that granny have in her trolley bag, anyway?

However, Luc does eventually actually arrive via tram, having clearly cycled through several modes of transportation in an effort to frustrate pursuit. His outfit has been cobbled together by a quick blitz of touristy shops, including a oh-aren't-we-clever-please-visit-us "Haarlem Shake" t-shirt with the phrase emblazoned on top of a stylized city emblem swimming in a milkshake. True to Pierre's word, nobody seems to be following Luc as he approaches the houseboat, and Blake quickly ushers him inside, but maybe they're just hanging back...


A few minutes later, Operations very audibly ejects and reseats the magazine of her sidearm out in the hallway when Agent Abbing appears from down below. Seeing Operations, Laith and Mason all on the jump, she raises an eyebrow.

"The guest is secure," Abbing says. "You are going out now?"
"It's a risk we'll have to take," Operations says. "The longer Luc is in a place with cops, the more likely it is they'll manage to ID him, or get him to a more secure facility. Waiting won't make this rescue easier."
"And your plan to rescue him is -"
"- same plan as always," Operations. "Improvise." Pause. "My condolences about Agent Coemans."
Abbing seems taken aback for a moment. "Yes - thank you," she says. "It's - it's a bit much to deal with. Right now, we focus on the living, yes?"
"Yeah," Operations says. "Don't worry," she adds. "We'll get these bastards."
"...thank you," Abbing says.
MikeS 2017-08-11 00:14:05
"Ah, Blake, 'ere to pick me op?" Luc greets his fellow agent.

skullandscythe 2017-08-11 00:55:38
Blake watches the old granny with the groggy paranoia of someone who's been ambushed by grandmothers before, and too tired to repeat the experience right now, thank you. Probably not an ambush, though. Surveillance equipment? Maybe. How would they know to look here, though -

Blake stiffens, then dashes over to the coffee pot to turn it on.
Luc doesn't even get to knock.

Blake throws the door open, wide as his smile. He greets Luc in French and grabs his hand to shake. Luc feels a new burner pressed into his palm as Blake draws him close, whispers in his ear before he can speak.

"Pas de bruit. Maison de l'agent, probablement insultée. Utilisez SMS pour parler." (Be quiet. House from the agent, probably bugged. Talk using text.)

Then Blake folds back, letting Luc in. Blake's moved some of the furniture around, nothing too extreme, but the big couch is clearly being used as cover in the event of a firefight.

Blake gestures for Luc to sit, and his new phone vibrates with a message.

Are you alright?
Were you followed?
What's going on with the MSS?
MikeS 2017-08-11 10:25:36
"Alors, j'ai passé une belle journée à visiter. Est-ce que tu fais du café?" Luc replies, slightly startled but recovering quickly as he texts back. (I had a good day sightseeing. Are you making coffee?)

MSS using local operatives.
French not secure.
Didn't spot tails.
How about boat?
CIA compromised.

skullandscythe 2017-08-13 15:24:00
"Sí. Vous voulez un café?" Blake says, nodding and pointing to the kitchen. (Yeah. You want some?)
He pours over the texts as he pours the coffee, frowning as he does so.

Working on it.
Safe here, possible bugs aside.
Locals. Crips? Union Corse? Police?
May have called a friend about your predicament.

Hopefully, Luc won't take offense with the reticence re:moles, since Blake doesn't actually know what Mason has planned.
And while he doesn't think the cops would be stupid enough after the debacle at the tower, they could be corrupt enough. Enough money could make anyone look the other way.

He comes back with two cups in hand, offers one to Luc. Fishes out a carton of Gitanes for him as well. "Donc," he says, leaning back against the wall. "Parlez-moi de votre voyage." (So, tell me about your trip.)

The cover conversation and impromptu text debrief continues, though Blake keeps his eyes outside and his hand near the trigger switch in case of...interruptions. Blake asks Luc about what happened on his end, and in return, he talks about some of the things that happened with him, Mason and Tim. He leaves out what he learned at Randall's lab, and any questions regarding the tower raid or the suitcase are met with a grimace and comments that it "got ugly."
Gatac 2017-08-13 15:30:22
(Blake spends three points on Sense Trouble and succeeds.)

Blake's vigilance pays off when he spots a car circling the block for what looks to be the third time, driving past all of the (admittedly sparse) empty parking spots at the canal side. That car is looking for something, probably Luc, and if Blake doesn't miss his guess, they're gonna switch to canvassing on foot soon - which might be a good time to either get gone with the quickness, or settle in for a fight.
skullandscythe 2017-08-15 22:06:23
Blake reaches into his pocket and tosses Luc a little earplug carton.

Someone's looking for you out there. Wanna fuck them up?
Need any weapons? I brought some, just in case.

MikeS 2017-08-16 00:39:01
Luc recounts his adventures with the MSS. Going through the phone, the conversation is slow and devoid of French accent, not accelerated at all by Luc also balancing a cup.

Coemans was MSS sleeper. Took me to them.
They wanted to hire me to bring them the laptop.
Asked me to kill Coemans to prove loyalty. Refused.
They shot him instead. Usefulness outlived. Got proof on USB.
Skipped their drop-off service. Left a parting gift in their surveillance room. Might help us figure out what they're up to.
Don't know if they still think I'm with them. Got to play Abbing carefully. Could pay out.
MSS uses Europeans. German, Rumanian. Only saw two.

Hearing Blake's report, he texts back: Sounds like you ran into MSS as well. SUV guys also Varayev?

He takes a look at the car when Blake points it out.
Might be MSS knew about the safe house.
Got CIA issue Glock.
Fucking up tempting, but noisy. Just bail?

He reaches for the earplug carton. Years of experience have taught him how these things usually end.