It's 09:45 PM when the team rolls up to a comfortable distance away from the Visser Transporte BV branch office, which is the kind of two-story glass-fronted building you got when you wanted office space in the 80s on the cheap and didn't care where it was. You know the type: lobby and meeting rooms downstairs, individual offices and restrooms upstairs, one central hallway running the length of each floor, staircases at either end. No elevator, because fuck you if you can't walk, apparently. It's in good company out here in the boonies of the commercial district to the west of Amsterdam proper, and you could drive a kilometer either way down this road to see lots of other buildings laid out in the same way, but unlike those buildings, it's still lit inside.
Standard Spy Surroundings check reveals the following:
Three cars parked in front of the office - well, two BMW sedans in dark blue and a white delivery van with the Visser Transporte BV logo on the side. Interior lights in the van are on.
Front desk is manned by some rent-a-cop guy whose earning his overtime pay. Occasionally, he gets up and walks around the small lobby, as if there was anything to find that way that he can't see from the desk, but as far as building security goes, it's not exactly a far-reaching patrol route.
A nervous-looking man standing at one of the upstairs windows looking out at the street. Probably Visser waiting for you. Blake angles around to catch sight of another man inside that office, whose suit wants to say businessman but whose haircut says fight club. If Window Dude is Visser, Mr. Haircut is probably his Crips "bodyguard".
Here's a tip: if you're gonna be all cool overwatch-y gangster guy trying to hide in the shadows of the roof, maybe don't smoke. Mason peeps the glow of the cigarette burning. Dude doesn't seem to be slinging a longarm, though, probably more of a lookout.
Other than Mr. Smoke Break, Mr. Haircut and whoever's sitting in the van, no other hostiles are in sight.
Mason taps Tim on the shoulder. "Figure you and me should find the VIP entrance to this party." He grabs a bag he prepared earlier, including Tim's B&E kit, Mason's demo kit -including a block of that C4, a knife, and his Wildcard-issued sidearm with a few spare mags.
Blake glares at the van for a few moments, then shakes his head. "Visser's real nervous. No telling how he'll react to seeing that," he muses, gesturing towards Visser's window. "We'll just have to keep an eye on it. It could be a way into the Crip compound later. Best case scenario, we can talk Visser into letting us use it. Worst case...we'll just have to take it."
Leaving the car behind, Luc and Blake smooth down their suits - gotta look good for the client meeting, after all - and make their way towards the office building. It's not exactly easing keeping an eye on Mr. Smoke Break without him catching on, but they manage. Glance to the side - one guy in the driver's seat of the white van, apparently playing Fruit Ninja on his phone. Real cream-of-the-crop operators here.
The security guy buzzes them in and motions for them to wait as he picks up the phone and dials a two-digit number. "De heer Visser, uw gasten zijn hier," he says, then motions for a row of chairs in the far wall of the lobby, where a small glass table is gently layered with trade magazines, including the new issue of Trucks with a hard-hitting review of Iveco's latest aerodynamic sleeper cab and a trip report about riding cross-country as passenger on an Australian road train. "Please wait a minute," the security guy says.
Mason and Tim take the less lit route around the back, climbing a wiremesh fence into the backyard of a Randstad branch office, whose nearby elevated billboard promises exciting careers in plumbing, woodworking and welding. The backlot is not particularly exciting and quickly bypassed on the way to the Visser building's back entrance. However, while there are no further guards in sight around here, a single forlorn security camera is trained at the well-lit door. Hardly the fancy type, given it's mid-90s housing and lack of articulation, but probably on a closed circuit to, say, a screen on the security guy's desk.
Only a few moments later, Marius Visser arrives at the front desk to meet you, with a rumpled suit, sweaty brow and an overeager smile. From the way he slowly lifts his arm as he extends his hand to Blake, you can tell he's taken a few blows to the ribs today.
"Mr. Carmichael, welcome!" Visser says, holding on to Blake's handshake like a shipwrecked sailor clings to a life preserver, his eyes darting from Blake to Luc and back again. Blake glances past Visser's fake bright smile to see Mr. Haircut holding the door to the hallway behind them, clearly watching his "boss" like a hawk. "Let us talk in the office," Visser says.
Mason can just about see all the way to the front desk, and so when he sees Blake and Luc clear the foyer with Visser, he pulls out a burner and dials the front desk of the office building. Google, a op's best friend, he thinks.
"Hallo," Mason says, putting on his best customer service voice. "Dit is Sure Fire Protection, roepen over problemen met onze verre alarmsysteem. We hebben meldingen van vals alarm afgaan overal in de stad, en moet u uw systeem te controleren." (Hello, this is Sure Fire Protection, calling about problems with our remote alarm system. We have reports of false alarms going off all over the city, and need you to check your system.)
Tim waits for Mason's nod, then makes for the door. If it matched the rest of the building, the lock wouldn't be a problem, plus the guard would rest easier knowing their alarm system was working just fine.
"Dat is wat de Deutsche Bank toren gezegd, en nu zijn ze te drogen hun computers met fans," Mason replies. "Als je iets broos, moet je nu en check het panel! Breng de telefoon en ik zal je praat doorheen." (That is what the Deutsche Bank tower said, and now they are drying their computers off with fans. If you have anything fragile, you must get up now and check the panel! Bring the phone and I will talk you through it.)
"Ja, ja, doe het rustig aan," security guy says, getting up from his desk and walking to the opposite wall - leaving the security monitors out of sight for the moment. He reaches into his pocket, retrieves a key and unlocks a wall panel. "Er, ik ben op zoek naar het. Wat nu?" (Yeah, yeah, take it easy. There, I'm looking at it. Now what?)
Mason taps Tim on the shoulder, and moves behind him towards the door. "Oke, moet u eerst het modelnummer, het serienummer van het paneel en de modem, en de kleur code voor de kabel van het aan de muur te vinden..." (Okay, first you need to find the model number, serial number for the panel and the modem, and the color code for the cable from it to the wall...)
(Tim uses Open Sesame to get the door while Mason spends two points to boost an Infiltration roll to keep up the convo while following Tim inside.
Mason's Infiltration vs Difficulty 3: 1d6+2 = 7 SWEET-TALKED!)
"...groen, blauw, geel," security guy babbles, as Tim and Mason slip through the backdoor under a camera whose red LED is pointedly not on. "Oke. Ik heb de VOIP gateway hernieuwd." Security guy takes a deep breath. "Het is allemaal rood ... ah, nee, nu is het knipperen. Het opstarten, denk ik. Moet ik iets anders te doen?" (...green, blue, yellow. Okay. I've restarted the VOIP gateway. It's all red...ah, no, now it's blinking. It's booting, I think. Do I need to do anything else?)
Upstairs, Visser leads Blake and Luc into his office. Poster of his BMW on the wall, paperwork on his desk, a decanter with a bottle of Jameson Whiskey 12 Year Old next to it on in a wooden cabinet. As far as offices and whiskeys go, you've seen more impressive stuff, but good on Visser for making his (small) dreams come true. Even if it is on the back of being a front for organized crime.
"Do you want to drink, Mr. Carmichael?" Visser says, indicating the bottle as his brow glistens with sweat. "Before we...do our business?"
Mr. Haircut stands behind you, at the office door. Seems like he's waiting to see what you're going to do.
"Nee, dat moet wel goed," Mason says. "Het systeem zou vreemd gedragen voor het volgende uur of zo, gewoon negeren elk vals alarm. Goede nacht." (No, that should be fine. Your system might behave strangely for the next hour or so, just disregard any false alarms. Have a good night.) He hangs up and stashes the phone in his pocket before taking a look around.
Blake's smile struggles to stay in place as Visser approaches. "Good ta see ya, Marius, good ta see ya!" He says in his affected drawl, "Yes, yes, we've got a lot to talk about." Only when Visser, turns away does Blake share a glance with Luc and turn to follow Visser to his office.
(Spending one point of Hand-to-Hand to size up Haircut using Eye of the Tiger.)
Blake watches the 'bodyguard' out of the corner of his eye as he waves Luc past Mr. Haircut. Haircut tenses and shifts a little, his chest puffing out a little and his fists clenching. Blake seen that sort of 'stance' on the streets. Haircut's taken some hard knocks, but he's not really trained, and Blake's dealt with boys from the 'hood before.
Inside the office, Blake claps his hands at the mention of "drink." "Marius, you know I nevah turn down a good whiskey! C'mon, Claude, you should have some too." He moves toward the cabinet, staying within arm's reach of Visser, and waves Luc over to join them. He's both trying to stall for Tim and Mason and trying to lure Haircut closer, getting him away from the door and closer to Blake's fists.
Mason scans the hallway; the construction is just as expected, with rooms off to the interior side and staircases at either end. A quick browse of the door labels reveals nothing out of the mundane, save for a storage closet and the locked utility room. The water cooler has been recently refilled, while somebody obviously forgot to throw out a cold half-pot of coffee when they left for the day. Listening reveals no sounds coming from the offices, either - everyone who works on the ground floor has long gone home, so except for the soft whirr of the aircon and the buzzing of the fluorescent lighting overhead. A glance at the phone screen reveals several wireless networks, some obviously from adjacent buildings to judge from their names, a password-protected network for Visser's employees, an open GUEST_WIFI network with abysmal signal strength and...one whose SSID simply reads "Fuck U". There don't seem to be any cameras back here - probably just the the outside entrances and the lobby. Tim notes the drop ceiling and that it does not terminate at office walls - probably not too difficult to get from one room to the next if you put your mind to it, but who knows what long-forgotten horrors lurk in the dark between cable drops and HVAC vents?
Mr. Haircut seems singularly disinterested in "Carmichael" and "Claude", remaining at the door.
"To business!" Visser says, raising his glass for a toast.
"To business!" Blake returns enthusiastically. He doesn't down the glass in one gulp - only about half. Blake swirls the whiskey around a little before gulping it down with a small smile. "Ahh, won-derful," he says before taking another sip.
He takes his time with this sip as well, supposedly savoring it before putting on his serious face. "Before we dis-cuss terms furthah, Marius, let's cleah the air, as it were," he states, waving his glass. "Yah're worried about the deal backfirin', I can tell." Blake chuckles and takes a sip. "I don't suppose I blame yah. I'm a little nervous myself, so close to the finish line." He puts a hand on Visser's shoulders gently. "Trust me, Marius."
"I...of course I trust you...Michael," Visser says, simultaneously put at ease by Blake's chummy, self-assured manner and then momentarily panicked when he realizes that he just made up the name Michael Carmichael and not being fluent enough in English to tell whether that's a thing.
"Sorry," Mr. Haircut says, finally stepping forward as the whole pre-business part of this business deal is exhausting his patience - just a step away from getting into Blake's face, and therefore within optimal reach for a swift asskicking. "Time is late," he says to Blake, then turns to Visser. "Ik weet niet wie je 'klant' is, maar we vertrekken. Te ontdoen van hen op dit moment." (I don't know who your 'client' is, but we're leaving. Get rid of them right now.)
Blake's eyes dart around quickly - first to Haircut, then to Visser, then the door(only exit in or out), and lastly, with a slight turn of his head, Luc. "Yes," he mutters quietly. "To business."
And then he strikes.
(2 HtH points on the first attack, and then an Extra Attack, costing 2 Health and 3 HtH, finishing off with a Martial Arts description to restore some of my lost HtH points. These are nonlethal strikes, so if there are penalties to that, I'll spend an extra point to eat it. In the interests of keeping things moving, I'll post the description here and now.)
If it's one thing Blake has always admired in Krav Maga, beyond its power to fuck someone up, it is the practicality it teaches. No flourishes, no fancy forms of footwork, no rules about where it is proper to hit someone...or with what.
So Blake uses the glass of whiskey in his hand, still about a third full, as an opening feint, straight to Haircut's face. He'll be distracted, and likely forced to defend himself, since no one wants the burn of whiskey in their eyes. Even as he flicks the glass away, his real attack is moving - left hand, fingers curled so the hand is a blade, not fist - straight to Haircut's celiac plexus. Too far from his face for the arms to defend against both, and Haircut shows signs of being used to blocking blows with his chest, which will make hitting the point and forcing the diaphragm to spasm all the more important. Hopefully, Haircut will be left doubled over and breathless, stumbling back just into the sweet spot for a spin kick to the skull using the momentum from his strike, but now he's getting ahead of himself. Movement must be instinctual, and continuous.
He can only hope to take Haircut out quickly and relatively quietly, or shit will get sticky fast.