IC 6 - Hamburg - Day 3

Gatac 2018-11-12 16:33:11
Operation SWITCHBACK draws to a close with your eyes on the (main) prize: whatever data lies buried in K Group's Black Vault, buried beneath a city still trying to sort itself out after yesterday's chaos. You may have chased off RoI's hired henchmen, but you've made enemies of EuroPol's Section 9 - and what the hell is Fractal's plan now?
Gatac 2018-11-12 16:33:30
It's an uncomfortable night's rest, not just because of the unsettling events of the day before, but also because it never gets quiet; with the smaller apartment, Operations' all-nighter is all the more obvious, as is her coming and going several times during the dark. Still, even if she won't, you do need your rest, and covert operatives are nothing if not experts at getting whatever sleep they can under adverse circumstances.

Adverse circumstances, definition: Jacob Mason, holding on to his wife-to-be, both wondering what they've gotten themselves and their imminent quiet little retirement into. Leonard Blake, trying to forget what Operations asked him to forget and not being very good at it. Tim Barstow, a lifetime of going wherever and being whoever and doing whatever brought into sharp focus by being in the right place as the right guy doing the right thing to protect his sister - a close call so mathematically improbable that it retroactively makes the whole rest of his life seem much more fragile. And, well, Laith's got nightmares only Lucy can salve, to judge from her soft whining as she climbs into bed to lie beside him at about 3:50 AM.

Fast forward two hours and change to 6 AM sharp as alarms throughout the apartment blare and the recalcitrant are summoned by the smell of fresh coffee. It'll do for breakfast together with some bread rolls and cold cuts plus a pot's worth of hard-boiled eggs.

"Okay, boys, this is where we are," Operations says, talking and moving like she hasn't been up for well over a day. "We've got enough cloned credentials to get through the perimeter. I got us a car and some clothes to pull it off. The area is still on police lockdown but they're going to let essential personnel through, and who's more essential than IT? I assume Section 9 is watching somehow but the surveillance from the perch doesn't show them nearby." She smirks. "Plus I have a tracker on Wiesner and she's been called to police headquarters to help ID possible transnational radicals they've arrested last night. If we move fast, we might get in, grab and get out before they're on us. I don't like the gamble but we're out of options here."
"So what do I do?" Laith asks. "I can't go in with you, I can't get up to the perch and I can't park a van close enough to help, either."
"Which is why you're gonna clean up the apartment and then get to the airport to prepare the Wolfhound for immediate departure," Operations says. "Plot a direct route back to Croughton. If we dash, we should be out of FABEC airspace before they can vector anything that might force us down."
"Uh..." Laith says.
"Questions?" Operations says.
"Are you seriously telling me we need to worry about dodging the Luftwaffe?"
"I don't know how much pull Section 9 has in getting us grounded," Operations says. "Under the circumstances, it seems best to exfil German jurisdiction quickly. Actually, we should vector north first to hit the Danish-Swedish FAB, Croughton remains our first choice from there, and...let's say Sola as a fallback, just to be safe, Norway's not in EuroPol after all. Should be a wash in flight miles, we just pick whichever creates more complications for Section 9 than for us. I think the Brits are gonna choose us over the continent but who knows with them these days. We can figure that out and make arrangements in the air, give Section 9 less lead time to call in favors. So after that we'll have to chance Keflavik even though the Danes might be prickly by then, and Thule...damn, okay, that might be a reach. But it should work if we use the extended fuel bladders. Worst case, we'll have to divert to the Stinkin' Lincoln, last I heard they were freezing their dicks off in the Labrador Sea. I don't think we've had a live carrier landing with this one yet. Could be fun."

Laith sighs.

"Questions?" Operations says, more firmly.
"No," Laith says. "You got it, boss."
"Good," Operations says. "Boys?"
punkey 2018-11-12 17:16:57
Mason raises an eyebrow at Operations' exfil plan, but she obviously isn't in a "let's talk about it" mood so he puts a pin in it. "We have a ready-made distraction for Section 9 - our Bulgarian associates have left a treasure trove of evidence pointing to the Imam as the source of all the trouble over the last few days. It'll keep her whole team and most of the police busy long enough for us to take care of business at K Group and exfil without having to dodge the German air force. All we need to do is drop the dime."
Gatac 2018-11-12 17:24:19
"Good," Operations replies noncommittally. "Anything else?"
punkey 2018-11-12 17:42:29
Mason looks around. "I'd think that 'I have a solution to our Section 9 problems that also wraps up part of a major terrorist network' would rate a little higher." He turns back to Operations. "Unless you want to start an international incident, maybe we should take a tactical pause and figure out how we're not going to get caught rather than defaulting to dropping more bodies."
Gatac 2018-11-12 18:02:23
Mason's a perspicacious kind of guy. While he's looking at the unchanging neutral expression on Operations' face, he doesn't miss her hand balling into a fist. Holy shit, is she really that tightly wound?

"There's a hundred ways that could fall apart before the finish line, Mason," she says, her voice deathly even. "It's a nice ace in the hole but it's not going to get Section 9 off our backs with the snap of our fingers. They've made it clear that the absolute best they were gonna do for us was look away - not withdraw or even inform the other LEOs on site, not get us a search warrant, not helps us get in - look away. And that is way the fuck off the table now. Whatever we give them, they can still decide they'd rather have us here answering questions and being a walking talking pressure point for our government. This isn't quid pro quo, it's offering a consolation prize - and I haven't met many players in this game who settle for consolation prizes. So how about you worry about getting the heist done while I worry about the most expedient way to get us all out of this Schnitzel-flavored fuckfest?"
"Hey!" Laith jumps in.
"And I gave you a fucking job -" Operations starts.
"That's enough," he cuts her off. And whatever it is that used to be between them gathers another crack if it doesn't shatter right there, but she does stop to listen. "Take about 20% off there. This right here isn't helping us get anything done."

She stares at him. Something in her eyes - she almost looks - sad?

"So, for the record," Laith says, "I think Mason's got a good setup. What I'm getting from you is that you don't want to just throw it to Section 9 willy-nilly. That's fine. You're both agreed on that point. I am going to the airport and I am going to have the contingency worked out, but we're not outrunning an alarm flight of Eurofighters in the Wolfhound and you know it. Let's keep it low key, let's keep it low impact, let's leave enough pieces in place that the home office can smooth this out after we're done here. We can get this done without dropping napalm on transatlantic relations. Okay?"
"...okay," Operations says. "I'm...okay." She pinches her nose. "Can you take the briefing?"
"Yeah," Laith says.
"Okay," she says. "I'm gonna take five outside."
"That's a good idea," Laith says.

Operations just nods to him, then makes for the door. As she passes Mason, she briefly looks at him and manages a "...sorry..." before she's out the door.

"Well," Laith says. "Let's...let's work the problem at hand."
Gatac 2018-11-14 19:34:49
Mason doesn't have to go far to catch up with Operations. The neglected-looking door for rooftop access has obviously been unlocked the night before and it's only a few steps up a narrow fire staircase to hit the rooftop, gray gravel on gray concrete silhouetted against a gray sky. Sticking out from it is Operations, with a cigarette already in her mouth, trying and failing to get her lighter to, well, light. You might as well not be in the city at all for all the deafening silence around. Mason stands in the doorway, arms crossed, and waits for her to get it lit. She gives it two more tries, then curses under her breath and exchanges it for a different disposable lighter from the interior pocket of her jacket. Lights the first time, what do you know. She closes her eyes and takes a deep drag, that brief moment of freedom from knowing you've just started smoking and not the fretful countdown of the last cigarette burning down to a stub in your hands.

"You got something to say, so let me have it," she says.
"I'm waiting for an explanation of what the fuck is going on," Mason says. "The Bulgarian, I got it, he was dead weight and we had no support to pick him up. Section 9, they got stupid and we can't afford stupid so we cut them out. But now you're talking about outrunning fighter wings and itching to go to war with the German police while burning our one chance to hurt the assholes behind this. I'm waiting to hear what the fuck is going on, because if this is the way Wildcard runs then it's a wonder your face isn't on the front page of a dozen newspapers because your last op would have blown up in your face."

Operations listens patiently to Mason, taking another drag off her cigarette.

"For the record, no, this is not how it should run, and most of the time it really doesn't," she says. "Average dwell time for handlers is six missions. Getting that done without one blowing up in your face is considered a pretty good record." Another drag. "I'm on mission 12. I'm not going to lay some law of averages bullshit on you. I should be doing this better and if I can't I shouldn't be doing it at all." Another drag. "What's going on is that I'm sick, Mason. Not in a way that would make sense to you even if I wanted to explain it. What matters to you is whether I've got enough left in the tank to get this done in a not-shitshow kind of way." Another drag. "I don't know and where I'm from, that means no. I'm sorry I had to take out my ego on you and Laith before I saw it, for whatever that's worth to you."
Mason's fists tighten. And I dragged Alira into this... "The bombing."
"Was the first time I failed," Operations says. "Not that I'm some paragon of perfection, Mason, but before that it was details, flourishes here and there, nothing you could criticize me for. Batting way better than average, in fact. But that was failure and I don't have anything in my toolkit for failure. What I did have was an impeccable track record and Director Walsh. Very much a 'get back on the horse that threw you' kind of man. He told me I could do it, grab the local candidates, make a new team, find whoever's responsible, we believe in you." She remembers the cigarette and takes another drag. "There's no yardstick for success other than that something worked out, innocent people didn't die, tonight's headline is some celebrity sex bullshit. When you spiral - when I spiral - I start thinking, what could I have done differently, what could have been better, could someone else have done it better - was it fair?" She laughs. "Was it fucking fair? Was it an appropriately difficult test of my abilities like I'm gonna get a letter grade and a diploma at the end?"

Another drag.

"I had to believe it was. I had to believe I could do it, that we could power through and get it done." She looks at Mason. "I still believe in you boys, by the way. The question I'm asking myself right now is, do I fail you by staying on or do I fail you by stepping down?"
Mason pulls his phone out. Roof, he texts Alira. "Or you tell me and Alira what's going on. Between the two of us, we'll know if you should step down - and she knows enough to keep an eye on you."
"Can't tell you," Operations says, finishing her cigarette. "You don't have clearance for WILDCHILD." She crushes the smoke under her heel. "Also you've never heard of WILDCHILD. Especially not from me." She considers her next words very carefully. "Tell you what, I'm still coming with you. Let's give Miss Holden a chance. But I'm not going to have much more to say to her. I realize that this is all aggravatingly vague and not the kind of behavior that builds trust. If that's a leap too far for you boys, I'll understand if you tell me to get lost. I'll leave it to Laith. He's a good agent, good head on his shoulders, he won't let you down. That, I can tell you."
Mason nods. "I see."

Alira doesn't make Mason wait very long. She appears on the rooftop in Mason's footsteps. He can tell that even as she says "Hey, what's up?", her stance is defensive. Angled just a bit to the side of and behind Mason. Packing a pistol, too. Whatever the dance is gonna be, she's come prepared.

"We're leaving," Mason says, giving her a peck on the cheek.
"Gotcha," Alira says, not a hint of hesitation in her voice as she keeps eyes on Operations. Operations, for her part, doesn't make a move.
"Laith's a nice guy, but he's just that - a nice guy," Mason says. "I want him at my back for support all day long, but this isn't a 'nice guy' kind of deal. And if whatever your deal is is so classified we can't even know what to look out for, none of us should be on this. It's not safe for you and it sure as fuck isn't safe for us. So either someone that can hack it up front takes charge or you make whatever is going on with you that we need to know need to know so we know what to look for before you order us to execute the President of fucking France. Wildcard is built to break the rules to get things done - and right now, knowing what triggers the pink elephants definitely is needed to get things done."

(Mason spends Negotiation!)

Operations swallows a short, sharp laugh. "It's funny, Laith would probably agree with you. I wasn't bullshitting you when I said he could do it, but wanting to, that's a different question." She pauses. "Speaking of...what the hell. I guess it did just become need to know. Come on, let's do this downstairs. The others need to know, too."

And so, the tense conversation moves downstairs, where the rest of the team has not gotten much further into the briefing on account of Laith's obvious worry. When he sees her walk in and deduces that she's about to open up, the worry doesn't go away, but he makes no move to stop her, either.

Operations begins her demonstration by pulling back her hair, exposing the device behind her ear to the room. "I am who I am because of this little trinket. Before I got it, I was a wreck. TBI and PTSD and a couple other fun conditions. I could barely manage my ADLs. Was about to end up in an assisted living community, the kind where you don't get family visits, if you know what I mean. Then they gave me this and I've been plain old 'Operations' since. Easier to compartmentalize that way. So, the good news is, as long as this works, I'm fine. Maybe even a bit sharper than I used to be. It keeps everything level, it keeps me aware, it keeps me focused. The bad news is, it's not working correctly right now. It's been field-repaired but I can feel that something's off still. I've been trying to arrange for a specialist to come meet me, perform an assessment and maybe swap it out. He won't make it today, so right now the plan is to vector him wherever we end up going next and get it done first thing there. As for mitigation strategies...well, I don't know, that's the point of having a specialist out to take a look, but I think I get wrapped around the axle especially when it comes to Wiesner and her Section 9 gang, and then it just gets worse from there. Couldn't tell you why because I honestly don't know. But before you ask, no, killing the Bulgarian didn't trigger it, and I've been away doing some...field-testing. Nothing you need to worry about in particular, nobody got hurt, I cleaned up after myself. As far as I could figure out, I could still handle myself in an infiltration or a fight if need be. But just to be safe, I'd prefer not to test it."
"...how does it work?" Alira asks. "We can't assess failure modes without a mechanism of action."
"Electrostim is part of it," Operations says. "I've got a half-dozen electrode clusters in my brain. The device modulates when and how they fire."
"Rack off!" Alira says. "That's...how many operations did that take?"
"Four, according to the doctors," Operations says. "I don't remember. Part of my condition was anterograde amnesia. I was in a haze for months. Then a couple more for rehab while they did PT with me and fine-tuned the device. Toughest fight I've been in. But it worked...more or less."
"Right," Alira says. She looks to Mason. "Trying to make an informed assessment with just a few scraps like this borders on malpractice, but...I believe her more than I don't. The question is, can we put her anywhere so that she won't have to deal with Section 9?"
"Easy, she focuses on K Group," Mason says. "The whole point of the warehouse was to get Section 9 off of K Group and onto something else."
Operations considers this. "Okay," she says finally. "You get Section 9 after the Bulgarian safehouse, I backstop you boys at K Group and we do our best to keep things from getting exciting. Once we're out, I get assessed." Another pause. "Whatever that turns up, I'm going to ask to be taken off duty just to be safe, but by then we'll hopefully have created enough breathing room that my replacement can be brought in and get up to speed. Deal?"
"And if not?" Mason asks.
"Then I guess you boys are gonna be dragging just an elite covert operative around with you while you do the job," Operations says. "If that doesn't work, you tell Director Walsh to get you whoever - whatever you need. And if that fails, you get it done regardless."
Mason nods. "Last condition: warning signs," Mason says. "What should we be looking for?"
"I'd say losing my calm, but that's like saying you'll know you're standing on a track when the train runs you over," Operations says. "For obvious reasons, I've been trained to control my body language. That makes it hard to name a specific 'tell'." She considers the question. "Possibly my dialect. I've tried to sand off the edges until it's as newscaster as humanly possible, but you might start to pick out some Pittsburghese phonemes when I stop being able to focus. Someone with your ear for language should be able to hear it, now that you know what to listen for. Also, I don't pace, I don't dither, I don't play with my hair and fidget around. If I start doing that, then I'm slipping." She thinks for a moment longer. "Sorry. That's about what I can think of. I should get a list from my counselor when I have a chance."
skullandscythe 2018-11-15 20:56:54
Blake's scowl makes an appearance as soon as Ops starts talking exfil and darkens to a narrowed glare at her as she bursts at Mason. It doesn't diminish as she leaves. He goes back to trying to work out an Ops-proof way to spill Ops' condition to the others...

...Which, to some surprise and relief, becomes quite unnecessary on their return. He keeps the incomplete cypher in his notebook for the time being.

"Sounds like you'll be our responsibility for the near future either way," Blake says. "I'll see if I can't work up a profile - our line of work never quite gets the mental health support it needs. Must be all the black 'redacted' lines.

"Mason, I like the plan, and glad the mercenaries' departure means Sulemani is safe and we don't need to hide him any longer, but I do see one issue with the plan - Fractal. They were using the Bulgarians to distract us, but I suspect Section 9 has a Fractal operative inside as well, and they may try to re-rail the agency on K-Group." Blake scratches new stubble on his cheek. "Maybe we could add a few clues to the merc's stash of info, something pointing to a leak in the org? A witch hunt, fake or real, might keep Fractal from rallying them to K-Group, and I do have something that could help. Though we should pull what info we can from the bug first."
punkey 2018-11-16 16:51:28
"Considering we're trying to get Fractal to like us, maybe fucking them over with the German cops isn't the greatest idea," Mason replies. "And considering how hard they tried to rub Tim out for stumbling upon their little network, I think getting all of Section 9 assassinated - or worse, having Fractal burn their identities and restart - would be helpful." He shrugs. "Fractal's just going to be a factor here. We beat their trigger-puller, we can beat their ghost."
Gatac 2018-11-21 17:58:04
Welcome to the morning after war.

The streets around K Group HQ are eerily quiet now, having been cleared of everyone on the street last night; the police perimeter around the few blocks surrounding the area only admits residents and "critical staff" for the companies inside, but with fake badges and the IT-standard short-sleeved white shirts + black ties, you pass yourselves off as such. As you roll up to K Group, the car's tires crunch over small bits of broken glass, cardboard signs and all of the spent fireworks, all of them. There's not a car parked on the street that hasn't at least been scratched, while many have shattered windows or large dents in the bodywork. Almost surprising to not find any burnt-out husks among them. One particularly unlucky panel van has had its tires punctured, its front right wheelwell and door smashed by what looks like a large hammer, and been covered in crude sprays. This being Germany, both street cleaners and crime-scene guys are on the scene, but this whole scene is not the kind of picture you want in a tourism brochure.

Moment of truth(s): the cloned RFID cards get you through the outside gate and into the building. Inside, you find the front desk manned by the most "File Under: Do Not Fuck With" member of the security staff, a dude with short-cropped blonde hair and stubble straight from a KSK deployment. That suit on him might not be bulletproof, but the vest he's wearing under it sure is. Fortunately for you, he barely looks up, and to judge from a reflection of the screen on the mirror-sheen brushed aluminum decoration around the front desk, it's because he's scrubbing through security footage from last night on his monitors, taking notes. If he's going to turn that over to the cops, it certainly speaks to K Group's civic-mindedness, and if this isn't for the cops...well.

"Cell phones," he says to you in German without taking his eye off the screen; he shoves a plastic bin over the desk towards you, then follows that up with a clipboard holding a form. After a short sideways glance at your unfamiliar faces, he rolls his eyes, takes back the clipboard and uses a pen to make crosses next to three lines. "Sign all of them. Tools on the table so I can examine them, then you go through the metal detector, one by one." He nods towards an arch that stands between you and the elevator into the vault. "Anything I find that I don't want in the vault stays here with me. If you need it for the job, tough shit, figure it out and come back when you have a variance in writing from the board. If I'm not here when you want to leave, you wait until I return. Then you get your stuff and I sign you out. No wandering off. If you need anything down there, call up through the intercom. If I call down for something, I expect you to answer right away. Break my rules, we're going to full lockdown and that's paid overtime for me, cops for you. Questions?"
punkey 2018-11-21 18:13:35
Mason quickly checks his phone one more time - yep, Section 9 has taken the bait and is rolling through the Bulgarian safehouse. That's one problem taken care of, at least.

"Nein," Mason says, and empties his pockets - including a 2 inch folding blade. "Zum Abisolieren von Drähten. Es sei denn, Sie wollen, dass ich das mit meinen Zähnen mache."

edited by Gatac on 2018-12-11 13:12:49
Gatac 2018-11-21 18:17:26
Security dude takes the knife, weighs it in his hand and pushes it open, turning it to inspect the blade. Mason gets the sense he's sunk something like this between ribs before.

"Careful with that," he says, folding it closed and walking it around to the other side of the metal detector arch.
skullandscythe 2018-11-28 02:04:56
Blake keeps quiet for his round. His set of tools includes a few small screwdrivers, barely taller than your middle finger - Blake's never killed anyone with something this small before, but he could make it work if he has to.
Gatac 2018-11-29 16:51:52
The guard doesn't give Blake's tools a second glance. Tim, Alira and Operations pass muster without further issue, either. The guard takes back the clipboard - ably fake-filled by Operations - and scans it before putting it down on the desk for later filing.

"Make it quick," the guard tells you as he walks you to the elevator and badges you in. As he does so, you catch a glimpse of the ID badge dangling from his belt.

Matthias Loewe.
Gatac 2018-12-06 18:45:13
With everybody past security, another gut check time: trust the elevator? Well, with a frenemy operative watching and the general desire to stay stealth, there's not much else to it. Just...walk casual. The elevator opens its doors and admits you into the spacious cab, but the doors close on you a little too quickly for comfort. Without any input from you, it starts moving downstairs towards the first sublevel. After a short ride, a speaker gently chimes and the doors slide open.

Welcome to the Enterprise / Professor X's mansion / Your Favorite Sci-Fi Empty Corridor Reference Here. The ceiling lighting is via large surface LED panels that bathe everything in a deliberately slightly too warm white. The walls are clad in a mix of brushed aluminum and dark glass and you do not even want to imagine how much of a pain it is to keep the fingerprints off. Even the emergency evacuation staircase next to the elevator looks about three times as expensive as it would have to be if it either a) stuck to the aesthetic or b) actually complied with every provision of the fire code, but clearly this is a c) Fuck it, both! type of place. As you step forward, something lights up behind one of the glass panels in the wall - a disguised display that shows you a floor plan of the first sublevel. The presence of zoom controls displayed next to the map implies that it can be touched, too. So either this is some sick space glass thing that just repels prints or they have someone cleaning these things on the reg. The decadence of it all...well, it's a good thing you're not in your line of work for the money, because if you were, you clearly picked wrong.

Without missing a beat, Operations steps up to the display and starts working the map.

"Looks like this is the middle bar of an E right here," she says, looking down the hallway that leads away from the elevator and hits another hallway straight on. "If our intel is good so far, we should have the security servers in the western fork. But let's take the grand tour first. I want to make sure we're alone on this level and that we know where all the entries and exits are before we start breaking stuff."
Admiral Duck Sauce 2018-12-07 15:36:05
Tim nods and adds, "I'll head right. I wonder if the stuff running all this tech is as buggy as cutting-edge stuff usually is."
punkey 2018-12-07 17:17:21
Mason nods. "Good idea, I'll check entry and exits."

edited by Gatac on 2018-12-11 13:12:56
skullandscythe 2018-12-09 22:27:05
"I'll take a look around, get acquianted with the layout. If I find anyone, I'll see if I can convince to clear out."
Gatac 2018-12-11 19:18:27
Tim makes his way to the right, following his instincts and the hummmmmm of the utility conduits. Towards the end of the upper fork of the E, he finds the secure server room, as indicated by the red diagonal striping over the transparent door. Tim taps against it - damn, that's ALON. These guys really must be made of money. His eyes fall to the security panel next to it. It's a combination number pad / thumbprint scanner, with an RFID reader module mounted next to it. If Tim doesn't miss his guess, the RFID is just to clock everyone in and out that goes through the door - unlocking it falls to the panel itself.

As for the panel, Tim's familiar - top-shelf sensors in a box that is pointedly only rated for "indoors use". That's security professional for "does not like crowbars". Not that Tim has a crowbar in his pocket, and even if he did there are anti-tamper mechanisms to consider, but if he can pop that box and get at the wiring and maybe turn up a signal generator to drive a few volts onto a few contacts, he might get this thing to say OPEN SESAME.


While Alira stays with Operations to a) take a look at the fire stairs, b) help out with exploring the display computer thingie and c) watch out for any potential quirkiness, Mason takes a moment to check out the elevator. Good news: even on whatever planet this facility is from, they've got to have fire keys. Mason didn't chance smuggling in a set but he knows enough to know that Tim could probably shim this thing and get them full control over the elevator, provided they take the risk of setting off some sort of fire alarm thing. A bit of mental math shows that the elevator does go down further, though - there's simply no place else to fit a second, hidden elevator, and the fire stairs are entirely unsuited to moving the kind of materiel needed to keep the vault beneath running. Hell, this elevator barely seems big enough - hidden compartment in the back that can open up for bulky stuff? Possible, but hard to tell without access to the elevator shaft.

Mason proceeds with the walkaround. The lower fork of the E ends on a fire door to what might be some other underground part of the building - if he had to guess, the underground garage. Makes sense, would be a sensible secondary evacuation route - and one the Fractal operative up above might not be expecting them to take.


Blake wanders the hallways, checking out the doors he passes. None are labelled, all are locked, they very much expect you to show up with the right credentials, keys and clues needed to get your work done. However, there's a bit of a lucky break(room): there's a lounge-type room without a door protecting it. Inside, there's a few couches and a table, a shelf with books and board games, a foosball table, a mini-kitchenette with a kettle and a microwave and a hotplate, plus vending machines for snacks, cold and hot beverages. A wall-mounted TV is currently showing the German version of the Discovery Channel with the sound turned almost but not entirely down. Blake's seen this ep of Mythbusters before and the only thing worse than Grant Imahara's overenthusiastic pronunciation of "HWACHA!" is whoever's dubbing him into German attempting to reproduce it. (Shoutout to the "Frank Doyle is my homeboy" t-shirt in his closet, though.) There's a bit of dirty silverware in the sink but nothing to indicate that anyone's been here since yesterday.

As Blake trundles out, something seems off - wait, are those rooms big enough to account for the distance between the doors? Following a hunch, Blake puts a bit of pressure on a wall panel between rooms and gets a telltale creaking sound. These are built to swing open, though they're currently locked closed. Whatever's hiding behind them is not a room in the conventional sense - the panels only come up to just under his waist and the top-mounted panels are solidly affixed to the wall - but Blake surmises that not knowing what's hidden here puts them at a distinct disadvantage, to be weighed against the consequences of a little *ahem* exploratory wall surgery.
Gatac 2018-12-12 16:51:49
(Mason Mechanics v 4: 1d6+1 = (6)+1 = 7)

Mason returns to the elevator - with just about every way out hooked to one alarm or another, it's a gamble to try to break out, but nobody's thought to upgrade the standard wiring on the elevator cab. A few snipped cables later (thanks, folding knife!) Mason has the fire alarm on the emergency ceiling panel disconnected and manages to open it up. This yields a view of a large elevator shaft, with concrete walls, rails, cables, wiring ducts, the works - but at least this part looks like it's from this planet. Just as Mason clocks the nice big ladder channel running to the side of the shaft, he notices emitters scattered throughout the shaft - photoelectric sensors of some sort is a reasonable guess. That could make it tricky to move around in the shaft without setting off the alarm. Mason climbs back down, his mind on jimmying the lock to the rear compartment of the cab - never know when a hiding place comes in handy, plus there might be something somebody left in there.

(Mason Infiltration v 4: 1d6+1 = (1)+1 = 2)

...well, if he could find the damn keyway. Mason runs his hand over what feels like the entire back panel of the elevator looking for some sort of opening or seam or hidden mechanism, but fuck if he can find anything mechanical. Probably electronic and hooked to the elevator's operating system.