IC 5 - Hamburg - Day 2

Gatac 2018-07-13 20:06:29
Operation SWITCHBACK continues. Your actions have uncovered a potential new ally in Section 9 and stalled an attempt by RoI to frame local community activist Dr. Sulemani for an attempt on a secret G7 summit. But you still need a way into the Black Vault and RoI is far from done with the city...
Gatac 2018-07-17 18:54:54
Rising and shining after a well-deserved good night's sleep, you filter out of the apartment's two bedrooms to find Operations already up and about, with her Agency phone set on the table and on speaker.

"The boys are here now," she says.
"Well, if that ain't timing," Deputy Director Marsh says. "How are you holding up?"

Some general and inconsequential niceties later...

"Reason I'm calling is that we have new intel on Asim Tuma," Marsh says. "Hoi Yan, if you would -"
"Yes, Sir," Hoi Yan speaks up. She sounds like she's forgotten what sleep feels like. "When Operations forwarded the request for BLACKFIN intel, we had nothing, but since you exposed Major van Roemburg in Amsterdam, there was been substantial movement in his periphery - culminating in a reactivation of a dark channel used by BLACKFIN previously. Authentication checks out, but so far we haven't responded."
"I thought you might want to weigh in before I make the call," Marsh says. "Being as this is your rodeo."
"The way I see it," Operations says, "RoI has to consider Tuma compromised at this point. So this is either him trying to cut a deal - or it's a dangle for God knows what."
"Do yous have a location on that channel?" Alira pipes up.
"Miss Holden, I take it?" Marsh says. "Operations briefed me about your presence. Glad you took the gamble."
"No worries," Alira replies.
"The approach was made to a contact in Varna," Hoi Yan says. "We can't substantiate anything at this point because we have no assets in the area other than the freelancer BLACKFIN left the message for."
"Now I don't have to tell you," Marsh says, "but just so we're clear, there's Europe and then there's Europe, as for as the DNI's office is concerned. Operating there would be a lot more...palatable, politically speaking."
"With just the minor drawback that that's not where the action is," Operations responds. "We'll keep it in mind, Director. Anything else?"
"Uh, yes," Hoi Yan says. "Don't go downtown today. We have reports that protests are already gathering throughout Neustadt, St. Pauli and Altona. Federal police has been mobilized."
"They're not quite outside our windows yet, but thank you for the update," Operations says. "Ops out."

With a press of the touchscreen, she hangs up, then runs her hand through her hair.

"Everybody knows what to do today?" she asks.
punkey 2018-07-22 01:21:14
"Lira and I are looking to run down that phone call that dropped the dime on Sulemani," Mason replies.
Gatac 2018-07-22 06:58:53
"Busy day, then," Operations comments. "Get to it."

---

Tim arrives at the observation post to see that the party, such as it is, has already been started. A group of protesters in black clothes, bandanas and hoods up have assembled in front of construction site, with clear intent to fuck shit up. The good part is that it's brought some K-Group security out front, as well as two patrol cars worth of cops who are currently trying rather fruitlessly to contain the group until reinforcements arrive.

"Fuck the bourgeoisie!" comes a cry from within the group, followed by a brick through one of the construction site's windows. No real risk of them damaging any of the stuff in the perch, but if the cops lock down the site, there goes the post - and worse, if the owners arrive to assess the damage, they might find the post before you guys can clean up.

---

By contrast, the cop to protester ratio at Dr. Sulemani's community center approaches infinity, ringed as it is with patrol cars and cops on protection detail. After yesterday's fuckup, Section 9 leaned on the local constabulary to make a show of force here to ensure that nobody uses the protests downtown as a convenient cover for attacking a mosque. That said, the cops are clearly not very happy babysitting here when they know their colleagues are downtown in the thick of it. A more practical problem for Blake might be that they're now watching everyone coming and going, which may make it a little difficult to leave with Dr. Sulemani without anyone noticing.

---

It's a decently long ride to Section 9 HQ for Mason, being that he's riding in the back of Ze Van and Lucy has made it very clear that she gets the best seat there, having been banished from the front row by Alira riding shotgun. Laith has the radio set to a German station that has somehow managed to combine "hot 40" with "sly commentary on current events" by playing a certain jaunty tune.

"Call when you're ready for pickup," Laith tells you as you climb out. Alira's barely out when Lucy jumps out from the back, trots past her with as close to self-satisfied as a dog's expression gets, and then jumps back in onto the front passenger seat.
As the van drives away, Alira turns to Mason. "How big is the stick up the arse of these particular Germans?" she asks.
"Boss lady likes things to be done properly, but aside from that, no better or worse than anything else," Mason says as he punches in the code for the door. Once it closes behind them, he continues. "She didn't like it when I helped them get the G7 evacuated."
"At least you didn't use smokies this time," Alira says.

Walking in, Alira takes the "tower of shipping containers in the middle of warehouse" look in stride, ducking her head into the main lobby right behind Mason. Standing at the kitchenette is Elias Senai, whose chili-based concoction threatens to overwhelm the fume hood even at full tilt. Sitting nearby on the floor is Jadwiga, noise-canceling headphones on as she watches something very intently on her laptop - she doesn't even look up when you enter.

"Hello," Senai greets you, then looks past Mason. "Should I get the boss for this?"
"Possibly, we're hoping you could help chase down the tip that sent the police after Sulemani," Mason says.
"Alright," Senai says. "Would you - ah, just keep stirring this, please."
As he leaves his cooking spoon in Mason's care, Jadwiga finally looks up from her laptop and slides off her headphones. "'sup?" she says.
"G'day," Alira says. "I'm -"
"Venus de Milo?" Jadwiga guesses. Alira looks to Mason. "We got kind of a Ninja Turtles thing going on with you guys."
"That...actually, that explains nothing," Alira says. "But sure. Venus works." She grins at Mason. "Right?"
Mason shrugs with a smirk. "As long as you keep your arms."

Just then, Senai returns with Wiesner. Her expression doesn't drop when she sees Alira - it already was at "annoyed".

"Boss, Venus," Jadwiga weighs in. "Venus, the Boss."
"Mandy Wiesner, AiC," Wiesner says. "Elias says you're here about the anonymous phone call?"
"We're hoping you can help with running it down," Mason says.
Alira nods. "I was hoping you'd let me peek at your MCID dump for the call?" she says. "We can do the reverse search ourselves."
Jadwiga smirks.
"Suppose that we let you know the name and address we traced the call to," she says, "what exactly is it that you intend to do? This is for our colleagues to work, I'm sure you have more important things to follow up on."
"Knock on the door, say hello, ask a few questions," Mason says. "You know, normal spy stuff."

(Mason uses Tradecraft to persuade Wiesner to work with them.)

Wiesner's eyes narrow, but having witnessed Mason deal with the Bulgarians without messing up anything too badly, she nods.

"Tell them," she says.
"Number is registered to a Stefanie Gruenewald," Jadwiga says. "I also looked up some background. She's a student at HfMT - Hamburg Music & Theater Hochschule. Not her that did the call, obviously. Facebook pictures have tagged a roomie of hers, one Abdul Muti Sabari. Guess where he's from."
Mason looks to Alira. "That should be enough, right?"
Alira thinks. "What's Sabari's connection to Dr. Sulemani?" she asks. "Other that they're both from Afghanistan."
Jadwiga shrugs. "Didn't have time to dig that deep yet," she says. "Might have better luck asking him directly."
Wiesner sighs and shakes her head. "Or you could let us handle this the low-profile way."
"Always know the answer before you ask the questions," Mason says, and looks back to the main conference/lunch table. "Mind if we set up for a moment?"
"Not if you mind me looking over your shoulders," Wiesner replies.
Mason looks to Alira. "Do we?"
"Oh, I don't mind someone watching," Alira says, grinning and earning a withering glare from Wiesner.
Gatac 2018-07-25 05:13:54
(Mason spends Tradecraft to get more intel!)

Is there anything better than some good social engineering? Alira digs into Sabari electronically, quickly jacking his Instagram by guessing that the password is the name of his cat - Bala, as tagged in another of Gruenewald's posts after doing that cat thing where she fell off a cupboard and then pretended nothing happened. Meanwhile, Mason and his command of accents comes into play again as he goes after Sabari's student loan account with the info Alira got from his private pictures - dude, don't put scans of your bills in the cloud! Sheesh, everyone knows that. Anyway, it takes about half an hour for the tag-team of Alira and Mason to find out that Abdul Sabari is just as underwater on his loans today as he was three months ago. However, his brother Ahmad now enjoys unfiltered air after Abdul paid for his bail - looks like Ahmad tried to settle a brawl at an outdoor pool with a knife. It stands to reason that Abdul was very receptive to an offer for quick cash on a small favor. Check his PayPal account - seriously, dude, the same password on two different services? - and you find two large coming his way just the day before, sent by...a member of K-Group's security team? What the actual fuck?

Wiesner's face assumes a shade of consternation rarely seen out of congressional panels. "...did you just implicate K-Group in a frame job?"
"One of their employees, at least," Alira beams. "So, how about a warrant?"
"That's not going to work," Wiesner says. "But this is...worrying."
"Megacorp in bed with terrorists?" Jadwiga says. "Cyberpunk af. I believe it."
"Less jumping to conclusions, please," Wiesner says. "You're still surveilling the place, yes?"
"We are," Mason confirms.
"Anything you managed to find out about their security?" Wiesner asks.
"They're very bored," Mason says. "Mostly digital security, mostly focused on the underground areas."
Wiesner considers the matter. "Okay, here's how I want you to play this," she says. "The guard -"
"Matthias Loewe," Alira says.
"Talk to him," Wiesner says. "No offense, but I don't trust the connection here. Before I go authorizing anything we can't take back, I want at least some old-school detective work and a personal assessment of the man."
"Well, before we go -" Mason starts.
"Got his home address!" Alira says.
"Yes, that's -"
"No social media presence, though," Alira continues. "You don't happen to have a live tap into city surveillance, do you?"
Jadwiga chuckles. "We're in the land of Datenschutz, babe," she says. "Also, the hardware out there is vintage 90s. Pre-big data. You'd have better chances with open-source weather cams." She coughs. "Not that I've ever tried that..."
Mason spins around in his chair. "Finances?"
"Hey, you wanna guess his PayPal password, be my guest," Jadwiga comments.
"Sorry," Alira adds. "We have nothing else to go on and I can't pull a bank account and PIN out my arse."
Mason spins back to Wiesner. "I don't suppose -"
"Get me something that will convince a judge to issue a warrant," Wiesner says. "Unlike you guys, we have to play by some rules."
Mason spins back around to Alira. "Then I guess it's time we say hello, then."
"Oh, I do so love meeting new people," Alira beams.
Admiral Duck Sauce 2018-07-31 18:42:00
Tim smiles and heads downstairs, zipping up the hoodie he was already wearing and pulling his shirt up over his nose and mouth. Some rebar and a hefty chunk of concrete from the construction site let him seamlessly blend into the crowd of wannabe-Baltimoreans.

Fuck it, Mason or Blake were probably going to put them in the hospital anyway.

Tim shouts "Fuck you, classist tool!" and chucks a brick at one of the K Group security guys - except his aim isn't to hit the guy, it's to hit the camera on the northeast corner.
Gatac 2018-08-01 15:57:37
(Tim's Athletics: 1d6+1 = (4)+1 = 5)

Tim pitches the brick through the air, nailing the security camera just over the personnel entrance to K Group's yard. The stone shatters into pieces and rains down on a security guard beneath, who reflexively grabs for the side of his waist and comes up empty. Oh shit, these guys are willing to draw down! As police continues to not be present for the altercation, another one of the guards steps up to try and calm the situation, but he gets peppersprayed and whacked over the head before he can even start talking. After the crowd's chant heats up and the downed guard eats a few kicks to the ribs, several of his colleagues wade into the fray with collapsible batons and start swinging, literally beating back the protesters and adding some pepperspray of their own to the party. From the corner of his eye, Tim can see two more K-Group guys rushing from the all-glass stairwell down to the entrance, and these guys are packing guns. Shit's about to get ugly.

---

Mason and Alira are parked street-side, in a position that gives them a good view into the third floor living room of one Matthias Loewe. In his hands is the note that Jadwiga slipped him on their way out the door - Loewe's cell number. Officially, Section 9 couldn't provide that information, but unofficially...
"So how are we getting inside?" Alira speaks up. "I've seen just about all I can see through the window and this Loewe character doesn't sound like he gets a lot of mates dropping in with a pack of coldies to watch the game."
"First things first," Mason replies, and dials the cell number.

Beep...beep...

"Mathias Loewe," Loewe(?) says on the other end of the line. Can't be very busy at work if he gets to his private cell phone this quick.
"Hello, are you satisfied with your current Internet Service Provider?" Mason asks in German.
"Take me off your list, please," Loewe says. "Goodbye." click Well, he doesn't dawdle, does he.
"And we're clear," Mason says, grabbing their breakfast fast-food bag out of the back.
"Right behind you, Masie," Alira says.

Mason walks up to the front door and hits the buzzer for the apartment of an old woman they spotted doing her gardening.

After about half a minute, the panel comes alive. "Hello?" the old woman asks in German. "Who is this?"
"Hello? I have a food delivery for an apartment here?" Mason asks. "It's for someone on the third floor, but the apartment number is rubbed out on the receipt and nobody is opening. Can you buzz me in, ma'am? It's really important."
"Oh, my boy, I know everyone in this house, I've lived here for 27 years, you know," she replies. "Who are you looking for?"
"Engel?" Mason asks.
"Ach," the old woman says. "Let me guess, pizza again? It's a wonder Frauke can get anything through to you on the phone with her little rascals in the back. She probably just didn't hear you. You're new, aren't you? Your colleagues already know." She buzzes you. "Well, no sense keeping them waiting and hungry. Come on in."
"Thank you, ma'am," Mason replies, and holds the door open for Alira.

Mason and Alira squeeze through the narrow entrance hall and past a couple of bikes as well as a folded-up pram, then up the winding staircase. Hanging from the walls are prints of fancy paintings showing 19th century Hamburg harbor and ships. Up on third floor, you find Loewe's apartment to the left by process of elimination - the Engel apartment has a little painted stone sign with hand-lettered "WILLKOMMEN" hanging from it and the sound of children loudly playing coming from behind it, while the Koenig apartment has an adhesive label with that name on the doorbell buzzer. Mason knocks on the door - there's no response from inside.

(Mason's Infiltration to open the door: 1d6+1 = (3)+1 = 4)

No muss, no fuss. The door clicks open as Mason jimmies the lock. As Mason and Alira enter the apartment, all remains quiet, but there's a faint whiff in the air, the smell of something...chemical. Mason motions for Alira to step inside his footprints as he advances into the apartment. Advancing carefully through the apartment, Mason and Alira detect nothing too out of the ordinary, though a glimpse of the bedroom reveals that the bedsheets are in disarray. The smell leads back to the bathroom, where opening the door gets Mason a face full of poorly vented bleach vapor. Looking beyond the stinging chemical residue, Mason can see that someone did a hell of a job on the bathroom. It probably hasn't been this clean since it was last renovated.
"You got anything for blood?" Mason asks.
"Left the luminol in my other handbag," Alira quips. "I have a flashlight, though."
Mason digs his own mini light out of his pocket. "Grout and corners, then."
"You want me to check the other rooms?" Alira asks. "Could get a little cozy in there with both of us."
Mason nods. "Check for bleach stains and check the path between here and there. Anything else that smells off."
"Got it," Alira says.

(Mason spends a point of Notice.)

Mason's search for blood residue turns up exactly zilch in physical evidence, but that's a very telling result in itself. On the assumption that violence happened in here and needed to be cleaned up, Mason would expect a would-be criminal to clean up the visible blood spatter as best as they could and then GTFO. An obsessive weirdo might douse everything in bleach, too, but even that would leave some of that tough blood residue detectable. No, whoever did this went farther: abrasives and oxygen-cleaners, with a bleach stage on top of that just for kicks - or to mislead investigators? In any event, this must have taken hours of painstaking work by someone trained in evidence disposal techniques - and not just the "Forensics Disruption 101" class they give you at the Farm.

As Mason ponders that, Alira returns. "The trash isn't older than twelve hours," she says. "I think whoever cleaned this place took out the real trash bag with them and left a decoy with some opened and dumped cans. The bedsheets and so on are also new, though they've been made to look like someone slept on them. The only thing I'm pretty sure hasn't been deep-cleaned is the hallway rug." She frowns. "Masie, if there's a bloke in a gimp suit waiting to jump out of a closet, you'd better go find him and shoot him right now."
"You check under the counters and cabinets for dust?" Mason asks. "Tables and chairs?"
"Yeah, I turned up a whole three specks from here to the bedroom," Alira says. "Unless Loewe's workday routine is to mop and wipe down his whole apartment, I think we can add that to the tally, too."
"Other rooms normal?"
"The living room looked proper lived-in," Alira says. "Crusty ramen noodle cup on the table, couple of empty bottles next to the sofa. And no mail lying around, either."

Mason recalls the mailbox downstairs: a free "sample" Bild newspaper stuffed in Loewe's mail slot and about half the others, too, with the other half presumably already removed. Might be worth opening that to see if there's any mail below that he didn't collect. Mason leans out of the bathroom to look at the wooden board mounted to the wall next to the apartment door. There's a ring dangling from it with four keys - Mason guesses apartment, cellar, bike lock, mailbox - and another ring with a car keyfob.

"I'll be right back," Mason says, grabbing both keyrings and tossing the car to Alira. "I'll meet you in the garage, but -"
"...do we know that Loewe actually showed up to work today?" Alira asks back.

Mason nods. He then heads straight for the stairwell and hustles downstairs, pausing to see if anyone is waiting or watching out the front from behind the privacy glass.

(Mason's Sense Trouble: 1d6+2 = (4)+2 = 6)

Mason scans the street outside, his eyes lingering on a guy on a bike having a bit too much trouble with starting his bike, but then he notices something different - a glint from the roof of the fire station across the street. The reflection's too strong for a serious gun optic - especially an unmagnified one suitable for the short range - but it'd be about right for a fat lens on a camera.

"Babe, you got that monocular?" Mason asks over text.
"always what do you need eyes on" Alira texts back.
"Roof of fire station, guy with a camera" Mason replies.

Half a minute later, the reply comes in the form of an MMS containing a zoomed-in snapshot. It's not the best picture, but Mason recognizes the mug as one of the Bulgarians he met the day before. Looks like the photo sniper got countersniped here. Then again, if he's been waiting here for someone...did he see Mason and Alira enter? Did he take pictures of them then? What is he sticking around for, in that case? Mason runs down the options. If he had pictures of them going in, then why would he hang around? If he had pictures of them in the apartment, ditto. Either one would be enough to make their lives uncomfortable.

"he doesn't have pictures of us yet" Mason texts Alira.
"whats the play" Alira replies.
"garage then surprise party"
"k ill keep an eye out for more friends" Alira responds.

Mason nods and then heads for the garage downstairs. He's been to plenty of garages. This is not one of the better ones. It is clear that the Gilded Age construction of the area was done without much attention paid to future parking needs, so the newly constructed garage in the backlot is more of a cramped afterthought, each nominal space doubled by car lifts that fit one car below and one above, with copies of the license plates next to each lift, presumably to signify that these and only these cars are allowed to be parked there. Going by the keyfob, Mason locates Loewe's car, a Land Rover Freelander 2 in a subdued 799/HFU "Keswick Green" that just barely fits into its spot. From what Mason can see through the windows, the car looks about as clean as the man's living room. Some dirt in the footwells, empty plastic water bottles dumped in the back, a well-worn road atlas wedged in the space between the center console and the front passenger seat. No signs of struggle, either. The bottom shelf of the center console contains an assortment of printed "tickets" from parking meters.

Mason changes position to see what the date on the top-most ticket is. Good thing that Mason's got that 20/10 vision! The topmost ticket is from yesterday evening, actually. Looks like someone parked in Rostocker Strasse. There's shiny black ticket for something else wedged underneath it - actually make that two tickets - but Mason can't get a good angle on those from outside the car. Mason pops the locks and grabs the two tickets. The tickets are two admissions to the "SLUT Club Hamburg", punched for yesterday evening.

Mason pockets them. "leaving via garage any new friends"
"hes on the phone" Alira responds.

(Mason's Preparedness for "Did we bring the Stingray?": 1d6+2 preparedness for Stingray = (2)+2 = 4)

Mason closes and locks the car before heading back into the rear stairwell, away from the fire station. He pulls out his good phone and calls Laith.
"Schnitzel-Express, we bread it you dread it, can I take your order?" Laith responds.
"You got the Stingray warmed up?" Mason asks. "Looking for any calls from a 1 block radius around my location, Bulgarian country code."
"Surprising amount of Romanian calls going on, but one Bulgarian call, got it," Laith says. "Okay, go ahead, guess the city."
"Akron?" Mason asks.
"I thought that was a myth," Laith says. "You ever meet anybody from Akron? Anyway, no points, Sir. It's going to a landline registered in - wait for it - Varna. I can't get a detailed fix for it on the fly because Bulgarian telephones apparently don't have ECHELON priority but I'm sure our team back home will be all too glad to find us another reason to go there."
"Let's start growing some trees from these numbers, yeah?" Mason says.
"Sometimes I feel bad for Hoi Yan," Laith says. "Anyway, call's done now, I recorded what I could of the convo. We can go over it when you're back in the van. Anything else?"
"Machine translation pick up anything like 'he's here and we have the kill squad on the way'?" Mason asks.
"Something about...new orders?" Laith reads off the screen. "The machine is like 80% guessing, though. I've seen better transcription on YouTube's automatic closed captions."
"All right," Mason says. "Tracker on his number, and this number," and then rattles of Loewe's cell. "And a current location on that one."
"Tracked and tracked," Laith says. "It'll take a while to get a fix on Loewe's phone, though, it's not anywhere in the vicinity. I'll let you know."
"K Group?" Mason asks.
"That's a question for someone physically at the observation post," Laith says. "If they can detect it through the shielding on that place."
"Yeah..." Mason says. "Okay, good. You're a doll, Laith."
"And don't I know it," Laith says. "Stay safe out there."
"Always," Mason says, and shifts back to his text app. "friend still there?"
"packing up in a hurry"
"get the car ready" Mason replies, not needing to fill in the gaps.
"on my way" Alira replies.

Mason pockets the phone as he slides out of the rear stairwell and back onto the street. Swiftly stepping along the apartment building, he waits and watches around the corner for the man on the roof to step away, then full-on sprints across the road to get in position around the corner from the side door to the fire station that leads to the parking lot for the firemen, and waits. As he works to still his breath, he can hear the footsteps of the Bulgarian operative approaching. A decent pace, but not rushing, not drawing any more attention than necessary.

(Mason's Infiltration to set up Player-Facing Combat: 1d6+2 infiltration = (1)+2 = 3 NOPE)
(Player-facing combat fails. Initiative goes to the character with the higher HtH score - in this case, the Bulgarian.)
(1d6+2 Bulgarian HtH = (1)+2 = 3 NOPE)

Mason swings out of cover - only to get swung on! No time to think about what gave him away - Mason deftly ducks under the Bulgarian's right cross.

(1d6 Mason HtH = (1) = 1)

Mason's counter fizzles - he's too close to build power for a proper punch, so it ends up as more of a shove. As both combatants back up a half-step and size each other up, the Bulgarian's face turns to anger. "Znaekh, che si predatel!" the Bulgarian growls, then comes at Mason again!

(1d6+2 Bulgarian Hth = (2)+2 = 4)
(1d6-2-1 Bulgarian damage = (5)-2-1 = 2)

The Bulgarian feints with his fist, then sends a lightning-quick straight kick at Mason's midsection. The armor lining spreads the impact, but still, that smarts pretty good.

(1d6+1 Mason HtH = (3)+1 = 4)
(1d6-2 Mason Damage = (4)-2 = 2)

Mason's counter jab rings the Bulgarian's clock. He blinks a few times, but before Mason can capitalize on it, renews his attack.

(1d6+1 Bulgarian HtH = (3)+1 = 4)
(1d6-2-1 Bulgarian damage = (6)-2-1 = 3)

Pow! That punch goes straight to a nerve cluster near Mason's shoulder, sending a spike of pain through his chest and arm.

(1d6+1 Mason HtH = (4)+1 = 5)
(1d6-2 Mason damage = (4)-2 = 2)

As the Bulgarian tries to push his advantage, Mason stomps the instep of his left leg. The Bulgarian grits his teeth and powers through once more, though.

(1d6 Bulgarian HtH = (3) = 3)

Whiff! The swing goes wide as Mason has managed to step back far enough from his momentarily hobbled opponent.

(1d6+2 Mason HtH = (5)+2 = 7)
(1d6-2 Mason damage = (1)-2 = -1)
(Per the optional rule we're using, every attack that hits does a minimum of 1 damage, so this is not a whiff.)

Mason sweeps the leg, sending the Bulgarian to the concrete ground. He's still not knocked out; Mason sees him reach for his belt, drawing a small blade from its disguised belt buckle sheath. Before that can see much use, though, Alira runs up next to Mason, gun out.
"Don't you fucking move another muscle," she says, aiming at the grounded operative. "You okay?" she asks Mason.
Mason reels back, and kicks the Bulgarian square in the face with the heel of his boot, knocking him out cold. "Gonna need a massage to get this nerve pinch out," Mason replies as he zip-ties the man's hands behind his back and hefts him into the waiting trunk.
"I think that can be arranged," Alira says. Grabbing onto the Bulgarian's feet, she helps Mason quickly load the operative into the roomy trunk of their Local24.de dull grey Volvo 760 wagon - with the optional 6-slot CD changer, of course.
"Back to the warehouse first," Mason says, and gets out a clean phone and dials Wiesner. "Loewe is dead," he says as she picks up.

---

Blake does a quick double check at the ANHALTEN sign. Checks himself in the mirror - frowning, he tightens his tie a bit, but is otherwise the model of a Foreign Office employee. The dossier, from the passenger seat - containing files on a asylum seeker to be recommended to Dr. Sulemani (provided by Section 9 to "Donatello"). The cordon causes Blake to stiffen reflexively for a moment before settling a little - no weapons in the vehicle means he should have nothing to fear from the police presence, but Blake still feels ill at ease without some weapon on hand. Everything he needs where it should be, he drives up to the perimeter, signaling his intention to enter the community center. As Blake rolls up, one of the cops walks into his path and signs for him to pull over and roll down the window. As Blake does so, the cop walks around to meet him.

"Good day," the bored-but-by-the-book cop says in German. "Name and purpose of your visit?"
"Heinrich Foehrkolb, AA," Blake responds with a tinge of a Berliner accent, "Here to see Dr. Sulemani."

The cop looks over Blake, clearly thinking that Heinrich's daddy must have been in the US Army, but he's on the list, so the cop waves him through. Blake's face betrays nothing as the officer, like so many before him, gives him the black-man-double-check, and pulls in to park. Time's a-wasting. As Blake pulls up at the community center's front door, he is greeted by a nervous Muhammed, whose eyes sweep the police perimeter even as he moves to shake Blake's hand.

"Mr. Foehrkolb?" Muhammed says. "Please come in. Dr. Sulemani will join you momentarily."
Blake gives a firm shake and a momentary smile. "Thank you...?" he responds, waiting for Muhammed to introduce himself...and so Blake can get a better read on him.

(Blake uses BS detect on Muhammed.)

"Oh, you can call me just Muhammed," the young man says. "I'm just the the assistant here." Blake can't escape the feeling that quite a bit of Dr. Sulemani's successes involve Muhammed doing the grunt work, but it's not very culturally appropriate for Muhammed to take credit for that. Overall he seems anxious and clearly hasn't slept well.
"Thank you, Muhammed," Blake says, and allows himself to be guided to his appointment, though he does comment, frowning, "Awfully large number of officers for so few rioters."
"I don't think they're just here to protect us," Muhammed mumbles.
Blake frown deepens at Muhammed's observation, and at realizing just how deep the fear goes. He'll have to give Mom a call soon. Make sure she's okay...

Muhammed then leads Blake into Dr. Sulemani's office upstairs, where Dr. Sulemani is tapping away one last e-mail on his laptop before packing up. His suitcase is already packed, sitting next to the desk.

"Mr. Foehrkolb?" Dr. Sulemani asks, then introduces himself and dismisses Muhammed. After Muhammed is out of the room, Dr. Sulemani looks straight at Blake. "I usually get more warning when I am called upon to consult on an asylum case," he says, leaving that hanging for Blake to respond to.
Blake nods, acknowledging the justice of the question. "I apologize for the abruptness, but the Ministry decided to fast-track this case just last night." He passes the file to Sulemani. "Here is the dossier for your perusal. I will drive you to your destination." He pauses, and adds with some sympathy and apology. "We both know this is all highly irregular, but the riots have everyone on edge. My superiors will want to know you made it to the airport safe."

(Blake uses Reassure.)

Dr. Sulemani nods. "I understand your bosses wanting me safely out of the city and I see no reason not to play along," he says. "Just as long as your colleagues in blue out there don't take liberties with my staff. Also," he adds as he scans the file, "I expect that my recommendation for Angeza and her children will be...impactful."
"Your evaluation will be taken quite seriously by the Ministry," Blake says gravely, making a note to pass Dr. Sulemani's sentiment onto Section 9, who can then pass it along to...whoever their contact is. Besides, the whole point is for Sulemani to keep doing good while out of danger here.
Blake escorts Sulemani to the vehicle, but asks for a moment to inspect the vehicle. "Rioters threw something at it earlier," he says apologetically.

(1d6+5 Blake Sense Trouble = (6)+5 = 11)

EXTERIOR DAY. BLAKE and SULEMANI walk out of the front door to head to the car. As BLAKE puts on his sunglasses, his eyes meet with a ROGUE COP. The ROGUE COP turns away and says something into his radio, his hand resting on the MP5 SUBMACHINE GUN slung across his tactical vest. BLAKE looks down at the ground, seeing something reflected in a water puddle underneath the car. It's a BOMB! (This description guest directed by John Woo.)

Blake walks forward a little more, reaching into his pockets, pulling out his burner and typing a quick text to Laith: "Need fac rec on photo, badge no. if poss." He also makes a show of not finding his keys. "Oh damn," then looking up and around, then pointing: "Officer, are those keys yours?" If the officer gives him a good angle, Blake snaps a pic.

(1d6+2 Blake Conceal vs. 5 = (3)+2 = 5)

Blake's snapped the odd surreptitious cellphone pic before on arms inspections, so getting a mugshot from the cop is NBD.

"I can't help you, Sir," the cop answers in German - but Blake can pick out that, good as he is, he's not a native speaker. Seconds later, Blake's phone buzzes. "Forwarded to Section 9, stand by" is Laith's reply.
Blake doesn't even look at the phone. "Damn," Blake says, looking at Sulemani and speaking more softly while keeping the 'cop' in his vision. "I must have left them in your office, Doctor. Let's go back."
"...okay," Dr. Sulemani replies.

As he and Blake walk back inside, Blake notices the rogue cop moving away, probably attempting to first get some distance and then fade away before he can be made, probably with some sort of distraction -

Maybe you should walk faster.

Blake picks up the pace, adding even more softly, "Get in front of me, Doctor. Now."
"What is going -" Dr. Sulemani tries to say.

BANG! The bomb detonates as Blake shoves Sulemani to the ground to shield him from the blast. Out of the corner of his eye, Blake can see a lance of fire pierce through the car and flip it over. Explosively-forged penetrator. Blake knows immediately. This bomb would have injured the driver, too, but it was made and placed very specifically to obliterate the backseat and even cut through whatever armor a possible transport vehicle could have packed.

As the cop perimeter outside breaks into shouting and chaos and Muhammed comes running to help Dr. Sulemani, Blake catches a glimpse through the column of fire and smoke outside - the rogue cop is jogging away, past the ring of patrol cars.
Blake growls to Sulemani "Stay here," (complete with stabbing downward, for the hearing-impaired) and dashes after his first real lead on RoI in Germany.

(This is an Open chase on foot. As Blake is less armored than his target, he gets to be the faster one by default, which means every chase roll he makes is at +1. Starting lead is 6, starting difficulty is 3.)
(Ross, go ahead and test v 3, spending from your Athletics as you see fit.)
(Going to spend 1 from Athletics, and will also spend a point of Notice - I figure the flustercluck is strongest here, and that's me trying to keep my mark on him)
(1d6+1+1 Blake Athletics = (1)+1+1 = 3)
(1d6+1 Rogue Cop Athletics = (4)+1 = 5)
(Okay, you both succeeded, but the cop's margin was better. LEAD SHIFTS TO 7. The Notice spend means the cop will have to declare first what he's spending in subsequent rounds.)

Blake motors after the rogue cop, bouncing out of the community center - and straight into the cops swarming the car that just blew up. Blake vaults over the wreck and tumbles past the cops, but it's not the flat-out run that would let him get closer to the rogue cop.

(Next round, the rogue cop spends nothing. Ross, you're up.)
(Gamble Time! Swerving, Spending 3, and throwing a point of Urban Survival on top - using my knowledge of the area to get a better advantage)
(1d6+3+1 Blake Athletics = (2)+3+1 = 6)
(Do you want to spend the three Athletics points for the Swerve on top of the three you spent on the roll or do you want to use Urban Survival to gain the benefit of the Swerve without spending Athletics?)
(Oh shit, that's right. Let's go with the latter.)
(1d6 Rogue Cop = (1) = 1)
(Blake succeeds, while the Rogue Cop fails miserably. Due to the Swerve, all lead changes are doubled this round. LEAD SHIFTS TO 3.)

Blake glances at a street sign and correlates this information with his knowledge of Hamburg's geography - plus the tram timetable. He runs to the left, nudging the rogue cop into a right turn around a corner - and directly into a busy intersection, where one of those very punctual German trams is currently executing a low-speed turn. The cop freezes while Blake makes up ground; in fact, he's only ten meters ahead of Blake still when he finally sees a route through and starts running again. Hoping to lose Blake in a crowd, the cop runs straight for a pedestrian zone.

(Rogue Cop raises the difficulty to 4 for both of you and spends 2 next round. Ross, you're up.)
(Going to spend 1 and a point of human terrain to grok how the pedestrian zone works/where it goes/something like that. Also want to use Parkour, but not sure how you want to handle that right now)
(I will give you a situation and you write up how Blake moves through it.)
(1d6+1+1 Blake Athletics = (6)+1+1 = 8)
(1d6+2 = (2)+2 = 4)
(Both succeeded, Blake has the bigger margin. LEAD SHIFTS TO 2. Also, Blake's insight into the workings of the pedestrian zone reduces his difficulty back to 3.)

Blake snorts as he charges forward, veering to the right edge of the throughfare. The man charging straight down the middle is impossible to miss by following the wake of angry walkers in his wake, and he's fighting the current. Blake sticks to the right, which means an easier way forward with the current. He shifts closer, but not enough to seal the deal yet. The officer starts elbowing his way up some stairs onto a busy pavilion - people start falling down and clog up the stairway with bruises and wailing curses. Blake frowns, but kips up onto the raised marble framing the stairway - in time to see the 'cop' elbowing his way across pedestrian traffic closer to the opposite side of the stairs. Blake takes one step, two, plants his feet and pushes up and over while tucking - somersaulting once over the supine victims of the moving mosh pit and landing feet first on the smooth railing with a CLANG. For an encore, Blake jumps into another roll to stick the landing on the other side of the stairway. From there, it's a simple push, step, and flip to land in the wake of the runaway 'cop.'

(Okay, Cop is spending 2 next round. Ross, go ahead and roll.)
(...Okay, this is going to get...interesting. I have a floating point for Investigative abilities, and I'm going to spend it to get a rank in Cop Talk, then I'm going to spend that point to basically shout "You're under arrest" and that sort of thing, try to get the crowd to part for me, clearly an officer of the law. Also, spending 1.)
(Cool, roll it.)
(1d6+1+1 Blake Athletics = (6)+1+1 = 8)
(1d6+2 = (4)+2 = 6)
(Okay, I'm ruling that the Cop Talk spend straight reduces the lead by 1. Together with this result, the lead drops to 0. CHASE IS OVER.)

Blake, close enough to see beads of sweat and conscious of the eyes of the populace on him, dredges up his best cop impression and shouts "FREEZE! YOU'RE UNDER ARREST FOR IMPERSONATING A POLICE OFFICER!" The crowd parts instinctively, thinking of and/or fearing the consequences of getting in the way of an officer of the law, and the space lets Blake surge forward and tackle the man to the ground.

(Okay, you have him down on the ground. Hand-to-Hand v6 to snatch the handcuffs from his belt and cuff him before he can effectively fight back.)
(Spending 5, and will use Martial Arts here if it applies.)
(Sure, gimme a description of wrestling the MP5 from his hands and applying a joint lock or something.)
(1d6+5 Blake HtH = (3)+5 = 8)

Both men go down on the ground, and the scuffle starts almost immediately. The right hand of the 'cop' goes immediately for the MP5, now pinned between his chest and the ground, and he tries to buck Blake off his lower half and free the firearm in one motion. Keyword: "tries." Blake's heavy enough, and has his arms around the man's thighs, so he just rides the wave. The 'cop' has his wrist at an angle and the gun isn't free yet, and that's all the opening Blake needs. The ex-SEAL unwraps his arms and springs over. He gets his fingers over the man's knuckles and wrapped into the palm, with his left arm cupping the shoulder at it's base, and from here it's all leverage, baby. The nikyo comes back to Blake without prompting; feet spinning him around to the man's shoulder, his left arm sweeps back towards the 'cop's belt and clasping the handcuffs before swinging back toward the wrist, his right arm caught in the prone man's elbow and forcing the bend. With one arm locked against Blake's chest and the crook of his elbow, the fight's almost over - the only reason it's not is beacuse the cursing man's other hand is reaching into a side pocket on the belt for something. Blake drops the cuffs into his right hand, and reaches over and flicks, catching the 'cop's left wrist in one end of the silver bracelets. The 'cop' tries to tug either of his arms away, but no dice, and with a moment's work, he's trussed up like Thanksgiving turkey.

As Blake secures the rogue cop, the crowd around him steps back and clears the immediate area around him. To be fair, they're being asked to accept a lot: someone in a police uniform who is not a cop, and then this guy in a suit who says he is, all ending right in the middle of the market, but for the time being, Blake's explanation seems to hold water. It is, perhaps unintentionally, reinforced by reinforcements; Blake can make out a few cops from the protective perimeter entering the market, trying to find where the chase ended. Question is, does Blake want to stick around for that? Dread starts eating away at Blake as he realizes he didn't really think up an exit plan, and what happened back at the mosque, is Sulemani okay-

Blake rubs his face and pulls out his phone. First, check if Sec 9 got him a match for the identity of the 'cop.' Second...probably call Sec 9. Regardless of whether he can fast-talk the real police or not, he should arrange for them to send another car for Sulemani. The phone does show a match, together with a mugshot and a telephoto shot - must have been Wiesner's work from when Mason met with the Bulgarians. The man is identified as Radislav Kozlek, formerly of the 68th Special Forces Brigade, 3rd Battalion - para-recon, deserted four years ago.

With a sigh, Blake punches in the number Wiesner had given out for Section 9.

(Blake uses Intimidate to get Radislav's compliance.)

As the phone dials, he hauls up Radislav and whispers in his ear. "We're going to go, and you won't make a fuss, because I won't feel guilty about leaving bits of you behind...Kozlek." Then he starts pushing Radislav forward through the crowd, aiming to get them out of the police's net.

(1d6+5 Blake's Surveillance to slip the cops and get out = (6)+5 = 11)

Radislav knows when he's beat, but more than that, he knows that Blake is the better choice than the cops - so he cooperates quietly, even helping Blake get him back onto his feet. As the real cops close in, crowd attention turns momentarily to them, which is all the time Blake needs to push through a gap in the ranks of people, past a clothing stand. The breezy coat was in the women's section, but it covers up most of Radislav's uniform, while Blake dumps his suit jacket into the trash and dons the Marvel Cinematic Universe disguise of basecap + sunglasses, even leaving behind enough cash to pay for everything - just because you're a spy doesn't mean you have to be rude about it. Blake and Radislav duck past a couple of lollygagging tourists, dodge a crew of street cleaners picking up trash and disappear into a side alley with nobody the wiser.

"Hey, Donatello," Xavier's voice answers him on the Section 9 number. "We got Sulemani, you need a ride, too?"
"Spri se -" Radislav coughs as Blake's arm presses in on his neck, but it's much too late to think of fighting back. Within seconds, the Bulgarian passes out and collapses into Blake's waiting arms.
"Sorry about that," Blake responds in the phone. "Sure, as long as you have space for a terrorist in the trunk."
"Uh, sure," Xavier says. "See ya."
Admiral Duck Sauce 2018-08-14 16:31:21
Shit, if those jackasses shoot someone the post is fucked, Tim thinks. Go big or go home, I guess...

Making sure his face is as covered as possible, Tim weaves and ducks his way towards one of the police cars. He's gotta bleed off or redirect the steam from this situation, and stealing a cop car might be just the Pied Piper he needs.
Gatac 2018-08-20 14:52:29
Tim "Lock King" Barstow easily cracks open the door of a patrol car and climbs inside just as one of the cops - hot off his latest attempt to calm the situation - chances a look sideways.

"Halt!" the cop shouts, trying to part the human sea before him, but he's not nearly fast enough. Tim just cranks the engine to get everyone's attention, does a little burnout to the cheer of the protestors and then speeds off. As expected, a good few protestors follow him, whether to see what he gets up to next or to shield one of their own from the cops catching up to him. In any event, the protest spreads out and starts to dissipate.

Flawless, really, except for -

"All units, all units!" the radio crackles to life, just as Tim turns the corner to see another, even larger demonstration a few intersections down - with cops rolling out armored trucks with water cannons. "Be advised we just...someone stole our car! We're in pursuit but we need backup!"

Yeah, the part about getting rid of the cop car just as downtown is on lockdown and there's zero civilian traffic to blend into. That might be not so flawless.