IC 7 - Marrakech - Day 1

skullandscythe 2019-04-11 12:40:29
Blake looks over the report he's got at Ops and gives her a nod. Every once in a while, his gaze flicks over to Laith as well, frowning.

Mason and Alira seem to have Ops handled, and there's concerns about...meeting Jessica again. They'll have to confront each other at some point, but Blake won't push it right now.

But he will ask Laith to sit out tonight's session with him. Ops isn't the only one here with baggage, and no one seems to be talking to Laith much about it.
Gatac 2019-04-17 15:56:46
Blake groans as he stands up, leaving the file on the table. "Need some fresh air and a walk," he says, a little smile forming as he sees Lucy perk up at the word. "Wanna come with, girl? Go on a walk?"
Lucy gets up and starts wagging her tail emphatically.
"Good girl." Blake looks over at Laith as he gives Lucy ear scritches. "How bout you, man? Get some fresh air?"
"Sounds great," Laith says. He runs his hand over Lucy's head. "She could use it."

Getting down the stairs is a bit of a production, but Laith waves off all attempts at help. "Been spending too much time on my butt," he explains through the grimacing. Finally, back at ground level, you pick a side alley leading out of the souk towards a little square with a park on it.

"Thanks for getting me out of there," Laith says. "Things are a little bit...too real right now."
"I can only imagine," Blake replies. "It's must've been a while since you've been in a place where the faith is accepted, not merely tolerated."
"Oh," Laith says. "Oh, yeah, that's good. It's more what's going with...Jessica."
Blake nods. "How so?"
"Grow up the only Iranian-American kid in your town," Laith begins. "Claw your way up into fieldwork for the CIA. Find the one, exactly one person who gets you, have a whirlwind romance, then get fucking blown sky high by a mortar attack." He winces as his prosthetic leg hits the curb at a bad angle. "Recover while you think she's dead. Find out six months later she isn't but you can never get back together ever, but fuck it, she's alive, she's doing what she loves, don't be so fucking selfish you fucking asshole. And then...find out that's all a lie, probably. I can't tell you at how many levels this whole thing is fucking with me. I feel like half my life is suddenly up for debate."
Blake is silent for a bit. "What is it that you believe is a lie, Laith?"
"At this point?" Laith says. "I'm going big. Don't know if she ever actually loved me to start. It hurts to think but fuck, at least that's the whole thing taken care of. I'm not gonna play that game where I go halfway, forgive her and then it turns out there's still more lies underneath." His eyes are fixed forward. "I thought if Operations really wasn't her at all, just the body and the memories, that was...that hurt, too, but at least I still had her, I still had Jessica in my past. I thought the Operations thing was like a one-in-a-million miracle cure. But to hear that it was a program and she was a candidate and...I don't know. What made her so damn special, then? What didn't she tell me?" He sighs, then looks at Blake. "I probably sound like a paranoid headcase."
Blake shakes his head. "No, Laith, you sound like you're in pain and confused more than anything. You've been burned, and don't want to be burned again. She lied to you, so you don't know whether to believe anything she ever said. And given how readily we've been lied to lately..." Blake scowls. "Well, let's say it's understandable you feel this way." The scowl disappears, and Blake looks over at Laith sheepishly. "S'not healthy, though. It's a kind of denial - you're about to declare the entire relationship fake because you're not sure how many lies you've been told. Now, there's a lot that I'm still missing here, since I don't know how you met or how connected to the program she was before or what its method was SO I'm asking you - What's her agenda, then? What's in it for her to start a fake relationship with you?"
"Excellent question," Laith says. "I didn't have time for a conspiracy board but I asked myself that, of course." He looks at Blake. "I mean, tell me you don't try to get power over the things that scare you by trying to understand them rationally. That'd be a lie and we both know it." He smiles, but then shakes his head. "I don't know. There are no reasons I can think of. It's completely, bottom to top, illogical to think that." He looks back at Blake while Lucy rubs against his leg. "Tell that to my feelings, though."
Blake scratches his burgeoning stubble. "Well, when something nuts is going down and I can't deal, I write." He pulls out his little pocket notebook, flaps it back and forth a couple times. "Jot down a couple verses and I feel a little lighter. Writing's probably not your thing, but I think we can find you something. Don't need to be art, either - maybe take some time to just sit and pray, or grab me or Mason. Don't think he or Alira'll just leave you in the lurch." He puts a hand on Laith's shoulder. "We're not here to just help Jessica, or Ops. We're here for you, too."
Laith listens patiently to what Blake has to say. "Okay," he finally says, stopping his walk and looking straight at Blake. "Fair warning: I'm gonna hug you now." Just as quickly as he met Blake's eyes, he looks away, though. "If that's...okay."
Blake nods. "Course it is."
Laith brings it in and gives Blake a big hug. "Thanks," he says.
Blake allows himself a little smile. "No problem."

---

(Mason spends a point of Streetwise to track down the strike team)

Working off both the list of Bad Dudes (tm) and Alira's fix on the rental agency of Dana Lamb's ride, Mason narrows down the probable base of operations of the strike team to Tamensourt. A "new" development town just Northwest of Marrakech city limits, Tamensourt was built up massively with high-end tenement blocks in anticipation of a buying boom, which subsequently failed to materialize. Years later, the whole town is still only 20% occupied - legally, that is. Combine with a lack of police presence, season with criminals, then let boil over for a decade and you end up with what's unofficially known as the Rue de l'angoisse, a street's worth of light ochre tenement blocks that are deathly quiet during the day and quite deadly during the night. Word on the street is that a couple of larger-than-life foreigner assholes rolled up here a couple days ago and have claimed the fifth floor of entrance 4 for their use, "evicting" the prior tenants of floors 6 and 4 at gunpoint and barricading the stairwells. Even the customary house security guard - paid for by the absent owners and living in the block with his family - only admits this much after three small stacks of Euros have been slid over the coffee house table. He wouldn't mind seeing those guys gone, you see, but he also doesn't wanna get dead. Reasonable enough, one supposes.
Gatac 2019-04-17 16:39:00
It's literal Zero Dark Thirty(two) and Operations kills the rather insistent vibration alarm on her watch for the third and final time. One entrance over from the strike team's hidey-hole, you've quietly made your way into an apartment sharing a wall with the targets. Mason keeps watch at the apartment door and motions to the scared-shitless evicted resident of their entry point that no, he's not about to be killed or hurt, they just need him to not run out and alert anyone for a minute yet. Inside the apartment, Blake's hard at work gently sticking shards of C4 to the wallpaper and wiring them up for a nice little mousehole. Ideally they'd have the fridge or something else in front of it on their side to direct the blast, but scraping heavy furniture over the floor would rather defeat the purpose of keeping their approach quiet. Plus there's no fridge in here. One of the downsides of going through a never-sold, squatted apartment.

Finally, Blake has everything rigged and backs out of the "bedroom" into the foyer, where Operations has already taken position with a ballistic vest and C8 automatic carbine, as well as the thickest piece of earpro you could find in the stash. He signs for Mason to stack up behind him, then checks his own weapons one last time. Clap on the shoulder from Mason to signal that he's ready, too, then Blake says a quick prayer and hits the big red button.

Remember kids: when you know there's gonna be a boom, keep your mouth open.

(Blake's Explosive Devices to initiate Player-Facing Combat = (3)+5 = 8)

The BANG! is a hell of a go code as Blake, Operations and Mason rush in, darting through the dust and debris into the apartment occupied by the strike team. Looks like you've come out in the "bedroom" there as well, with nobody inside but a couple of rolled up sleeping bags and other sundries. The foyer outside has a muscle-packed man in a t-shirt and 5.11 pants standing with his hand against the wall, MAWPing and shaking his head as he tries to stay on his feet. That's Elroy Mcdonald, if the pictures from the file are correctly labelled. To his right in the foyer (if that apartment has the same floorplan as your point of entry, just mirrored) should be the "kitchen", to the left the "bathroom" and apartment door, and straight through around a little corner, the "living room". Woulda been nice to get eyes on more than one hostile right on entry, but woulda coulda shoulda - if you want to use the element of shock you've got, now's the time to motor.
skullandscythe 2019-04-18 19:20:16
Blake moves to secure Elroy, stopping more than an arm's lunge away with a gun pointed directly at Elroy's head. He'll notice soon, and if he doesn't cooperate, that's fine by Blake. He'd prefer alive, but he'll take dead.