IC 7 - Marrakech - Day 1

Gatac 2019-05-24 17:49:07
"A locking closet is the best answer I have right now," Operations suggests. "I'll go share the good news with them. In the meantime, think of something that'll actually hold them when we're not watching. "

As Operations wanders off, Alira motions for Blake and Mason to approach. Looking around to make sure that nobody else is watching them, she pulls out her phone.

"So, since Jessica dropped her name, I reached out to some friends," Alira explains quietly. "I have a source says he has a line on her...but he wants to meet face to face. Didn't respond yet. What do I tell him?"
Gatac 2019-05-24 17:52:37
"There's the rub, he's in 'straya," Alira says. "Can't bloody well ask him to fly out all the way here without...the right kinda motivation." She looks over to Operations. "And that's our checkbook over there."
punkey 2019-05-24 17:54:01
"Did he say why he wants one of you to fly halfway around the world for something that's too sensitive for an encrypted chat?" Mason asks.
Gatac 2019-05-24 17:58:39
"Because he's a paranoid, powertripping little bastard of an informant and getting us to jump his hoops is how he gets his jollies, I think," Alira says, disgust obvious in her voice. "But I haven't known him to lead me on. Intel's usually solid as, just the man I could do without." She takes a breath. "Screw him. I'll see if literally anyone else responds instead."
Gatac 2019-05-29 17:27:14
"I don't think it is," Alira comments, "but it's best to listen to our tummy, I reckon. No iffy deals. I'll find another source."
Gatac 2019-06-02 16:41:05
With the question of a source on "Jessica Spiner" resolved for the moment, the inevitable happens: a bit of downtime. It's quiet and relaxed enough that the music coming from the resort bar's speakers is actually noticeable again. There seems to be quite the discussion between Operations and Laith, wrap-up time TBD. On the other hand, Clayton and his team are still sitting at the table, watching the last few ice cubes in their otherwise empty plastic cups melt. They're not making any moves to escape, but they do seem to be tired of waiting on word about when they'll be shipped off to CONUS. Lamb in particular looks like a nervous wreck, fidgeting in place, while Clayton taps his fingers on the table - and looks up to meet Mason's gaze. Mason had been chewing over the idea of what to do with the Clayton and his merry band of trouble for a few minutes. His first idea was a bad one, so that got pushed to the side - but then all his other ideas were worse. That didn't make the first idea a good one though, so the search went on, but nothing better than that first bad idea.

Finally, he sighs and looks over to Operations. "Boss, I got a bad idea," Mason says.
Operations stops her chat with Laith and turns in her chair, leaning over the backrest. "Let's hear it," she says.
"I want to put them to work," Mason says.
"I assume you don't mean as live-in maids," Operations says. "I also assume you will offer to let them walk away as an incentive."
"If they're extra-good, maybe," Mason says. "A good word with the AUSA, if nothing else."
"One's worth a crap in my hand, the other's disobeying direct orders...even if they are extremely half-assed orders," Operations says. "What's extra-good in your book? What do you want to do with them?"
"We're short-handed since Hamburg," Mason says. "And we could use backup on the Fractal deal that they won't see coming."
Operations ponders that for a moment. "We could," she says. "Go ahead and feel them out, but stick to SOP. No promises. If they run off, you're on lost puppy duty."

Mason nods, stands up, and drags his chair over to the group.

"So, I figure you guys are thinking about what's next." He sits down, the back of the chair facing them.
"Yeah," Elroy says. "Frap, house lemonade, whatever Drav's having -"
"Sweet iced tea," Walker says.
"What's the word, Sir?" Clayton says. "Do we have time for another round before we get stuffed into diplomatic pouches?"
"That's the open question," Mason says. "Given that you all just got fired by your previous employer, and would probably like to avoid an extended stay in a Supermax, your future's looking a little bleak at the moment." He crosses his arms and rests them on the top of his chair. "How'd you like some help with that?"
"Go on," Clayton says. Walker's trying to play it cool but he's listening. Lamb is, of course, all ears. Elroy's got his head turned but you're pretty sure he's paying attention, too.
"I'm sure you've noticed we're down a couple from when we met in Amsterdam," Mason says. "We could use the extra backup. You guys aren't bad at what you do, you just need better direction. The deal is, you help us out, we do what we can to make your future look more like an ankle bracelet than The Shawshank Redemption. Plus, you're not stupid, you know that Khoury and his friends are up to some serious shit. Let me confirm that we are fighting some very bad people, and that this is a no-shit 'saving the world' mission. Plus, you guys made out all right, pride aside. No harm, no foul, just don't grab a flashbang next time."

Mason clears his throat and leans back.

"The catch is, we don't give you shit until we're out of the country," he says. "You fuck us, the CIA knows your names and makes you public enemy number one for every security apparatus in the world, and you're stranded in North Africa with no IDs, no money, and no way out. Plus, terrorists start World War 3 and you have that on your shoulders until the day you die, which probably won't be long after you fuck us." He taps his fingers on his chair. "That's the deal."
"Guys?" Clayton asks.
"Sounds good," Walker says.
"...yeah, sure," Elroy adds.
Lamb says nothing.
"Dana, we got a crossroads type deal here," Clayton says. "Would appreciate your input."
"...I want a pardon," Lamb says. "We do this and we come through for you, I want a full pardon."
"You can ask," Mason says. "But unless you got a prosecutor in your pocket, there's no one here to make a deal with. This isn't the kind of situation where you get a handshake and a written agreement that everything's going to be okay. This is the kind of situation where you take the shit you're in, make a sandwich out of it, and take a bite."
"Fuck," Lamb mutters.
"Grow a fucking pair already," Elroy says.
"Hey!" Clayton interrupts. "I'm not having this kind of shit in my team. This is serious. Right now is the exact fucking time to talk about this. Hooah?"
"...hooah," Elroy confirms. "Just saying, man, it's obvious we gotta do this."
"It's not," Walker cuts in. "We've taken plenty of risks. There's nothing wrong with wanting a sure thing. The problem is that there's no sure thing on the table." He looks at Lamb. "When was the last time you think we made the right choice?"
Lamb looks down and swallows hard. "...I don't know," he admits. "I just...I want to..."
"Get the best possible shit sandwich? Yeah, that's the most natural thing in the world," Clayton says. "Still, I'm gonna need a yes or no from you."
"Yes," Lamb says quietly.
Clayton looks back to Mason. "Looks like you've just hired us, Sir."
"Good deal," Mason says. He turns around and gives Operations a nod. "Then let's get the fuck out of here. We've got an asshole to snatch and grab."