A Little Side Business


claire_icon.gif devon_icon.gif hana_icon.gif

Scene Title A Little Side Business
Synopsis Devon and Claire are sent on vacation, albeit one with an ulterior motive.
Date March 15, 2018

The Bunker: Hana's Office

It's midmorning when Nambiza pings Claire and Devon: Come by my office. I have a job for you.

The array of papers on Hana's desk is ever-changing, yet simultaneously ever constant. What's unusual are the two file folders that rest out at its front, one before each of the two guest chairs. Apparently it's a job that necessitates notes — though not very many of them. Between the folders is a small black camera case with one main pocket and a separate bottom compartment, both zippered. It does contain a handheld camera, although that's technically unimportant: nothing more than cover for other cameras, the kind that can be stuck to walls and other convenient surfaces.

The woman behind the desk sits with her chin propped on one hand, regarding the powered-down monitor to one side with what seems an air of mild distaste. It's not really the monitor that's the target of her attention, of course.

There's hardly a pause when Devon arrives at Hana's office. He knocks on the door and waits barely a beat longer before letting himself in. He folds his hands behind his back as he steps inside and just to the side, lest he block the door and get run over if anyone else needs to come in as well. A glance ticks over his shoulder then settles on Hana. He's waiting, politely quiet, until she's ready to address him.

Before the door fully shuts, a hand snags the edge of it and pushes it open again, revealing the tiny form of Claire Bennet. She steps in, offering Hana the tiniest of smiles and a dip of her head before she notices Devon there. There is a slight twitch of her brow in surprise to see him there before her, but she moves over to stand next to him. It is a little comical with the height difference between the too.

"Reporting in," Claire offers for the both. Signaling that they are there and waiting for their marching orders.

Straightening as the two Amarok members arrive, Hana gestures towards the seats in front of them — or the folders, if they prefer to peruse while standing. "While Rue and Dearing were in Detroit," she begins, "they tapped a landline our target was using. She received an interesting call while they were there. Working hypothesis is they were coded instructions," Hana adds by way of elaboration.

"Her handler, if handler he was, called from a landline in Boulder, Colorado. The number for it appears to be associated with a maintenance facility, and is not usually used to make outbound calls." Sitting back, Hana folds her hands on the edge of the desk. "More importantly, he called again from the same number the other day. That suggests a two-week schedule."

As he takes a seat in one of the two chairs, Devon picks up the folder and begins looking over the information within. "Out of a maintenance facility. Coded instructions for what," he muses, casting a sidelong look to Claire. He closes the folder, finger marking his place, and lifts his gaze to Hana. He waits again, for further instruction and legitimate statements from the lieutenant.

Devon's questions save her from asking, he echoes her thoughts quite nicely. Except one. If it had not been Hana sitting there telling her this, Claire might have asked if she was sure about the origin. However, it is Hana. So Claire keeps quiet, listening, head nodding a little in acknowledgement.

To Devon's query, Hana lifts one hand, momentarily turning it up: who knows? "Seems to have been coded with a one-time pad." In other words, nothing she can break without actually possessing the key.

"We can't determine what… but we may have a chance to determine who." She nods towards the folders, the camera case. "The line belongs to the University of Boulder, and — if their records are accurate — is located in a maintenance room under the Leeds School of Business." Hana pauses, looks at them both. "I want the two of you to take a little vacation out to Boulder, find where that phone is, and place bugs so they'll record anyone coming to and using it."

Hence why there's a map of the university campus, a page with the phone number and additional information about the Business School, and plane tickets in the folders. There's also what looks to be an unofficial schematic of some tunnels.

"Interesting cover." Again, Devon's musings are spoken quietly rather than kept within his head. His folder comes open again and he's perusing the information a little more carefully, taking his time reading over the documents. Especially once he comes to that map work of the tunnels. That is opened up and placed below the map of the campus so that he can compare the two. And commit the maps and schematics to memory.

The folder is snapped shut, but only after glancing at the contents. Claire looks thoughtful, maybe already making plans in her head. "I think I have some clothing appropriate for a college campus, tucked at the back of my closet." There is a touch of amusement in her voice and a slight smile on her lips. "I think a vacation with a little side business, sounds like a good idea." A little time away, would be nice.

Looking down at the folder in her hands, Claire adds, "We'll get this done. When do you want us to roll out? Soon I imagine?" She looks up again, eyes focus on their boss.

"Tomorrow," the major confirms. "I've planned it as a four-day trip, but if you need to change that, we can adjust." She glances to where Devon is studying the two maps. "The tunnel schematic is not necessarily to scale," she remarks. "I pulled that off an amateur site that makes a hobby of exploring steam tunnels."

"Ideally," Hana says, "you'll be able to enter the building directly and proceed down from there. However…" College campuses are lively, maintenance rooms are secured, they can fill in the blanks. "If that proves too difficult, the tunnels are an alternative access. More risky," she adds. "Old construction, tight spaces, asbestos, steam lines, live electric wires, adventurous students, who knows what else."

"I could possibly figure out the scale," Devon responds. He closes the folder, papers returned to concealment but not in their original order. "There's some math to it, and it may not be exact. The variables for where they actually fall under the buildings…" Trailing off, he shrugs. "If Claire thinks it's necessary, I'll figure out the scale."

"What are the parameters for this trip?" They already know what the goal is. Devon leans forward a little, eyes on the cover of the folder and elbows resting on knees. "I mean. What kind of guidelines are we working within?"

An appreciative look it leveled on Devon, "That is an excellent idea. Do it. Better to be over-prepared then not prepared at all."

"I think, maybe, try the direct route first, check out the campus, see if we get lucky." It would be preferable in Claire's mind, but things rarely go as planned. "I'm sure we can get by as prospects checking out college options." An amused look is leveled in Devon's direction. Both of them looked young enough for it.

"Blend in," Hana replies promptly to Devon. She ventures no opinion on the figuring out of scales — although close scrutiny of her expression might suggest approval — but nods to Claire at her suggestion. "Don't draw attention. Don't flash your ID, try not to even drop the company name, and don't get caught. We have no idea who this person is, whether they're involved with the campus or not, how extensive their contacts may be."

"That said, I don't expect they're watching the airports," she continues. "Boulder is the last city before the Dead Zone, it's packed with refugees which means more travelers, and Wolfhound has no reason to be looking there. But the last thing we want to do is spook what might be a brand new lead."

"Understood." It was pretty much the answer he'd been expecting. He doesn't expect to have any problems with blending in; in another life he'd likely be in college right now. Devon stands and picks up the camera, then takes a step back. He places himself in line with Claire and near to where he'd stopped on entering the office. A glance is directed over to the lieutenant, then back to Hana. "Aside from what's easily concealable, what other gear should we bring?"

There is a side-eyed glance at Devon, before she looks at Hana looking rather impressed with the younger teammate's questions. The folder gets flipped open, the tunnel maps searched for. "I don't think we need much at all, like you said things easily concealed for close combat." She watches Hana to see if she is on the right thread of thought. "Though I imagine with special documentation we can bring other gear, if needed? Might be nice to have the armor, if we must take the tunnels. But, only if it won't catch attention."

Hana watches as Devon stands, then inclines her head to Claire. "Military hardware is not 'blending in'," she remarks dryly. "Taking that through airport security is bound to attract attention. Maybe not our mark's," she allows, "but we have no guarantee of that. It would also be a red flag that you're out on an actual op." Vacationers aren't doing things that need armor.

"Take whatever else you feel you'll need, but nothing that will raise eyebrows with airport security," the major elaborates. "If you need something security won't approve of, let me know and I'll give recommendations for purchasing there."

"We might be able to improvise," Devon suggests, "if it comes down to it." If not, well, he'll figure out a way to improvise regardless. Or they'll make the call when they actually see what's out there. Out of questions and comments, he folds his hands behind his back again, folder still clutched in one hand.

There is a firm nod of her head, she understands. "Sidearm, only, it is." Inwardly, Claire grimaces at that rookie question. She should know better in her own mind. "With your leave. We'll get packing." The woman offers with a smile, tucking the file close. She gives a quick glance at the departure time on the ticket. "And I'll make arrangements to get a ride to the airport." There is a touch of mischief in her eyes, who was going to be denied a night of drinking? They will have to get up before the crack of dawn to take them. Maybe Avi….

Hana nods to the pair, waves them in the direction of the door. If further questions come up, they certainly know how to reach her. "Good luck — and good hunting."

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