A Strange Set Of Circumstances


berlin_icon.gif hana_icon.gif

Scene Title A Strange Set Of Circumstances
Synopsis Berlin brings her treasure to the boss and finds out the greater context.
Date February 23, 2018

The Bunker

The trip back to the bunker is a long one, much longer than Berlin would have liked. But it has the bonus of giving her time for her nervous energy to bleed off. So by the time she reaches Hana’s office door, she’s recovered her calm demeanor and neutral expression. Her hands are what give her away, as they clutch a large envelope like it might disappear if she loosens her grip.

Like it might be a lifeline.

It isn’t, of course. It’s more like the exact opposite of that. And important enough that Berlin didn’t even stop at her room, just came straight here. To knock. She even manages to keep that from sounding too frantic.

Inside, Hana is doing paperwork, because there is always paperwork. Invoices to process. Inventory reconciliation. Reports to review. Of course, some of that paperwork is the responsibility of Harkness, and a few subjects have been reluctantly devolved back onto Epstein since his return in November, but Hana makes still a point of keeping herself informed.

That doesn't mean interruptions from the tedium that comes with running a company are unwelcome. No matter that no one knocks on her door for trivial concerns. Hana sets her current stack of bureaucratic nonsense aside and regards the closed door pensively. "Come in."

Berlin pokes her head in first, then greets Hana with a nod. She slips in and closes the door behind her before coming over to the desk.

“So I was out in the Zone today,” she starts, cutting right to the chase instead of giving Hana any sort of real break that chit chat might allow, “and I was talking to a source and that source pointed me to another source and— well, I came away with this.” She sets the padded envelope down on the desk. It is, interestingly, addressed to February Lancaster. It never got to her, though. Maybe it will in a roundabout sort of way.

“It’s… information from the Institute.” She’s better at saying that name without a flinch these days. It wasn’t always the case. “I recognized some of the names from our lists.”

The lure of information is more to Hana's taste than any purely social chatter might have been; her attention sharpens at the mention of a source and again at the word Institute. She considers the envelope curiously, tugging a corner to orient the writing on it — not that she hadn't immediately resolved meaning from the words, regardless of their alignment.

"Summarize," the major prompts. There will be a full report later, of course, and she could just start looking at the envelope's contents now — but she wants Berlin's perspective first, before she begins forming her own.

“Names and cities of high-level Institute safehouses,” Berlin starts with, which is simple enough, but she starts to pace all the same. “Some of them are already gone.” Cambridge, for one. “A list of employees, looks like it was taken off their network at some point. Pictures. I think of the safehouses, looks like after the war. They’re not in good shape.” Even so, when she pivots back to Hana and steps closer to the desk, her eyes are wide. Bright. “But there’s a picture of Dunlap, I think. She’s coming from a high rise, something nice. Thriving. So pre-war. But I think we might be able to find it.” She hopes, anyway.

“Also, someone in that organization named the Seattle safehouse the ‘emerald city’,” she says, complete with finger quotes, “I mean, how obvious can you get?”

Hana's eyes narrow as Berlin goes over the envelope's contents, her expression pensive, the mind behind those eyes already calculating. Codenames. Employees. Pictures. She huffs softly at the emerald city comment, shaking her head briefly. "Some people think they're clever," she remarks.

Hana pauses for a moment, gaze turned into the distance, fingers pattering idly on the desk beside the envelope she still hasn't opened. "If it's in one of these cities, we should be able to distinguish on architecture," she muses, not as absently as it may seem. "Still a needle in a haystack, but at least a smaller haystack."

Her attention refocuses on Berlin. "Have you talked with Lancaster about this?" she asks, resting a finger on the addressee name.

“Maybe they should think a little harder,” Berlin says, dryly. But she nods to the plan, even if it is a needle still. “I’m not familiar with most of these cities. But I figured, pooled knowledge and research and we could ferret out some options.”

The question, though, that has Berlin sinking into a chair on this side of the desk. “I came straight to you,” she says, which technically answers the question, but there is clearly more to it. “The thing is. My source? He said it was from basically a box of junk taken out of someone’s apartment. A “smash and grab” job,” she says with a deepening frown. “He bought the box, got to keep whatever good stuff he found in it. But the, um, the apartment— not the— the person who lived there. They were killed. Arson. I don’t know how close Rue was to them. I didn’t want to just drop it on her. And I’m not sure… what to say.”

Hana nods to Berlin as she speaks. "She and Epstein flew out this morning for that very reason," the major remarks. "I don't mean to imply you should have," she continues mildly. Just determining what she needed to ask about.

She goes quiet, not volunteering any further details of Rue's errand, and her fingers tap on the envelope. "Curious," Hana observes, "that we get this on the same day. The burglar was quick to offload it, the fence quick to pass it on." Of course, money makes the world go around. But the analyst files that convergence away nonetheless, just in case it becomes relevant later.

"Thank you, Beckett," she says at last. "I'd appreciate if you can get me your full report by tomorrow." She glances slightly to one side — in what would be the direction of their makeshift airfield, in fact. "I'd suggest you send Lancaster along if you see her, but I expect she'll be by shortly all on her own."

Oh.” That seems to be the extent of Berlin’s reaction to the news about Rue and Avi’s trip. And she’s quick to follow Hana’s next train of thought. Her own comes with a blink and a tilt of her head. “He was hired. The guy that hit the apartment. My source said his friend was hired.” She didn’t think much of it at the time, but now she does. And she looks to the envelope with a little more suspicion than she had when she came in.

But she stands at the thanks and nods. “Of course,” she says, to the request, “I’ll get to work on it while it’s all still fresh.” At the mention of Rue, she glances toward the airfield, too, but then back to Hana. “If I see her before she finds you, I’ll point her this way. Thank you.” Because she is grateful for not having to have that discussion herself. And taking her dismissal, she nods once more and heads for the door.

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