Broken Watch Protocol


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Scene Title Broken Watch Protocol
Synopsis Devon and Huruma travel to Fort Jay to investigate the Broken Watch Protocol and find themselves pulled deeper into the intrigue.
Date December 18, 2020

The accommodations for the SLC-Expressive Services Agency New York branch are nothing short of iconic. From the moment one sets foot on Governors Island, they’re presented with the juxtaposition of modern architecture against old colonial style. Cobblestone paved walkways intersect with asphalt roads buzzing. Immaculately tended lawns and towering oak trees create a verdant pass up through a collection of two-story office spaces belonging to individual agents and United Nations observers.

But up on the hill overlooking the entirety of what was once New York City is Fort Jay, a star-shaped former army post upon which the SESA offices are perched. Up the old stone steps scattered with rock salt against the ice and snow of December weather, the building represents the attitude that SESA presents to the world: the new, built atop the foundations of the old. For two members of Wolfhound, the walk up the front steps of this building is like walking into the jaws of a dormant beast. There was a time, not all that long ago, that Wolfhound was on SESA’s radar with an embedded agent. All thanks to the efforts of one Colette Demsky and one Avi Epstein.

But today’s reality is different. Key card entry, pleasant entry security, stale coffee, brief wait, unpleasant office admin. The Hounds’ path to their ultimate destination is fraught with familiar levels of bureaucracy against an office atmosphere that isn’t sure whether it wants to be a Crate and Barrel advertisement or an Etsy Store. Glass walls, wood paneling, everyone has a plant on their desk. SESA’s offices are designed to feel welcoming, even if they crib a bit of style from 1970s couture.

Fort Jay
Governors Island, NYC Safe Zone

December 18th
10:12 am

In the still-early morning hours, three representatives of Wolfhound are invited into the offices of Executive Director Farah Nazan-Gutierrez, head of SESA’s New York branch. This isn’t who they were trying to meet with. Director Nazan-Gutierrez comes from a SIGINT background, formerly a head of one of the United States’ most dedicated intelligence bureaus. In the aftermath of Claudia Zimmerman’s death and Madeline Choi’s ascension to the role of Secretary of SESA, Farah Nazan-Gutierrez was pulled in from Kansas City to oversee the New York branch.

As Huruma Dunsimi and Devon Clendaniel arrive in her office, they find Farah sitting behind a sleek black desk decorated with a cream colored lamp and a black vase filled with an arrangement of sage branches. Farah isn’t alone in her wood-walled office, though. Already seated at one of the two chairs at his desk is a man who the Hounds had wanted to meet: Deputy-Director Kristopher Voss.

“Dunsimi. Clendaniel.” Farah greets with an incline of her head. “Please, have a seat.” She says with a motion to two other low-backed chairs in front of her desk.

Although Huruma is technically Devon's superior, she has given him the professional distance he needs on this; he was the one to start the ball rolling, even if the time between has been full of waiting and intermittent disasters.

"Director." Huruma slips the door closed behind Devon as they enter, her voice even, eyes moving from Farah to Voss. "Deputy-director." Pale eyes move back to the Director, where her greeting turns to a slim smile. Her dark suit is loose, shirt fitted; movements are small as she takes one of the indicated seats, one leg over the other.

“Thank you for seeing us,” Devon adds after a polite tip of his head to the Director and Deputy-Director in turn. In contrast to Huruma’s more business presence, he is every inch the Hound in a more utilitarian appearance. BDU style pants in charcoal gray, matching polo beneath a well broken-in bomber jacket. “I understand your schedules have been very busy, but I appreciate that you've found time to meet with us.”

In spite of all the waiting, he speaks in earnest. After all, it was Voss who'd waited longest for an answer to a question that possibly never reached its intended destination. And Devon himself had happened across it by chance.

He glances slightly, a fractional flick of his eyes as he settles still standing with hands clasped behind his back, to Huruma. “As I mentioned before,” Dev continues. He pulls his attention to the pair that are seated, “it's in regards to a contract offer that was made some time ago.”

Farah nods to Voss, who pivots somewhat in his chair with an arm slung over the back. “Broken Watch,” Voss confirms with a raise of one brow. Farah, much like Huruma, seems content to sit back and allow the deputy-director to drive the conversation, but at the same time she isn’t letting him do so without supervision.

“Our interest had been with Major Gitelman,” Voss explains carefully. “One, because of previous leadership’s feelings for her, but also because of her ability. Obviously with Madame Secretary’s passing, SESA is under new leadership with new preferences. Much as your organization is these days.” Voss says with a brief motion to Huruma, before looking back to Devon.

“How much do you know about the Broken Watch project?” Farah asks, one brow lifted and dark eyes fixed on Devon.

Huruma wants to allow Devon to spread his wings in this environment, but she'll not let him fall from the sky either. Supervision, with a flight suit. She has faith in his ability to adapt, and even more these days.

As Voss begins, the empath turns her attention from Farah to the man Devon's been waiting for; one arm folds to allow Huruma to rest her chin on folded knuckles. His gesture towards her is given a somewhat tight smile, her field absorbing the subtleties of the room while the exchange moves onward.

“I understand SESA’s reluctance to reach out to anyone else.” The fiasco that Epstein and Demsky is not an urban legend, after all. Devon could even wager its use in training up new recruits, if the Hounds reach that point in existence. “Unfortunately, at the time the communications were sent, Hana Gitelman had already left the organization and no one was made aware of the offer.” Until he'd found it. The second time.

“For what I know about it.” A shoulder lifts with a slight shrug. “The email left out enough specifics that I could guess for days and possibly be right once or twice.” Just like a broken watch. Devon looks between Farah and Voss as he goes on, “But I also heard one of the agents use it when he called in regarding the arrest of Rue Lancaster. So I feel confident in assuming it has something to do with the… alternates.” For lack of a better word.

When Devon utters the word alternates Huruma picks a twinned tremor of nerves flutter through both Farah and Voss, though neither outwardly show it. Voss smiles, though. Something of a tell.

Quietly, Farah reaches down and unlocks a drawer in her desk and retrieves a manilla folder with several red stamps on the outside. She sets it down on her desk and begins leaving through paperclipped stacks of documents while half-listening to what Voss ultimately has to say.

“That’s… not very public knowledge,” Voss admits with a raise of one brow. “In fact, a great deal of what you just mentioned is highly classified information.” Huruma senses the bitterness of paranoia building up in Voss, but also a current of frustration. “The people who are aware of… alternates as you called it, signed confidentiality agreements — binding legal documents — to not divulge that information. To the best of my knowledge, neither of you were individuals entrusted with that level of security clearance.”

Voss leans to the side, elbow on the arm of his chair. “It would be kind of you to indicate where you received that information now, rather than at the end of a subpoena.”

Farah looks up from the documents she’d been sifting through at the same time, laying a small stack face down beside the folder. “I assure you that this information will stay here between us. We need to more clearly understand where there have been breaches in national security. Neither of you are in trouble at the moment.”

Huruma's expression is unmoved by the ripples dripping from both Farrah and Voss, the senses of her field more keen on examining the latter. His nerves say more than he would like, she knows this. The knot of restlessness and irritation is one that the empath watches while its owner speaks.

Farah's addition is the thing to disturb Huruma's stare, and even then it is to reorient it on the woman across from her. Her foot sways some from her knee's perch atop the other, mouth pursed for the length of a short consideration.

"I could not rightly say." Her words are far different from a Will Not, jaw still against her hand as she scans the space beyond both of the directors. Huruma's voice settles into its low register, the drawl of words a carefully plucked bouquet. "It has been years on years. The long story is blurry. The short version is not, so much…"

"We will sign any further agreements that you desire… Discretion is, after all, intel's bread and butter." As are these particulars.

“As to this subject specifically,” Devon adds even as he nods an agreement. It wouldn't be the first agreement he's signed and he has no reason to argue the point. “My knowledge of the alternate is simply deductive reasoning.”

Though he glances at Farah, it's Voss he's watching. “I am very familiar with the security footage of the kidnappings, I was also present at the meeting with Rue Lancaster when the plan to arrest publicly was conceived and I was in the Bastion Lobby when three of your agents arrested her.”

This Rue hasn't seen Epstein face-to-face in more than four days. “Lancaster’s a good actor, but even she couldn't fake the lack of understanding.” They let the wrong person go. “One of the agents on that detail realized that there was an alternate, that they were arresting the wrong one. He left to call it in, saying there was a broken watch in effect.”

Devon lifts a brow, now angling a look to Farah. He hasn't forgotten she's in the room as well. “It doesn't take much to follow that line of events and realize what's going on.”

“Deductive reasoning?” Voss says with a strain in his voice. “I’m deducing some— ”

What the deputy-director is trying to say,” Farah cuts ahead of him, “is that this story feels thin. Paper thin. But that’s fine, if you don’t want to have that conversation with us here in the privacy of my office, we can continue it at a later date, elsewhere.”

Farah’s countenance may be stoic, but Huruma picks up the frustration and resentment building. Voss is easier to read, Devon got under his skin. But his anger is being tamped down, if only just.

“Unless you wanted to elaborate on your answer, I suppose this concludes our conversation for today,” Farah says, putting a folio on top of the paperclipped documents, as if to indicate their unavailability.

Whatever nerve Wolfhound had struck, it appears to be a very tender one.

Deterrence and Huruma never did get along. She is quiet through Devon's explanation; it's not a lie- - simply half-truths. They can see that, of course, and in a way, it is a test of both Voss and Farah. While she does not offer the pulse of her ability in tandem with it, Huruma sits up more readily and lifts a placating hand, eyes hooded. No need for all of these hackles.

"With all due respect… let us start this over again." Huruma unfolds her legs and moves onto the edge of her seat, pale eyes studying both directors. "You left this sharkbait for Hana. Hana is not coming back. We have gone over what she left behind. Here, we have this 'Broken Watch' missive. We want to know what it is… and perhaps you still need help." The empath gestures with open hands, one brow raised towards Voss.

"We heard one of your agents referring to it in an incident to do with one of our operatives and a doppelganger." Huruma holds up one finger to cease any potential interruption, should her manner and the deliberate tone of her voice is not enough. "Now, while this may be paper thin- -"

And it is, she knows this- - but Devon was attempting to work discretion's angle and see where they stood. Somewhere new, it seems.

"There are some other avenues with which we may be able to explain." The air of a 'let's see' flutters through. "Mister Voss, tell me," Huruma folds her forearms on her lap, as respectful as one can offer. The space around her seems weighted with her choice of words even before she continues.

"Have you ever met Hiro Nakamura?"

Devon’s weight shifts slightly when Huruma first lifts a staying hand. It restrains any counter arguments he may have been preparing, puts him into a stance that relinquishes the conversation to her lead. A glance angles to the Commander, a brow ticking up at her choice of questions, then returns to the Director and Deputy-Director for their answer.

Nakamura’s name might as well have been the Elvish word for friend for all Voss seems to open up like those doors in Fellowship of the Ring. He looks over at Farah, who has a much more measured approach. She folds her hands in front of herself and sits forward, interested.

“The intelligence community is familiar with the legend of Mr. Nakamura,” Farah explains, “but there’s a large enough gap in our understanding of him to fly Wolfhound’s jet through.” She motions to Devon and Huruma.


It's not polite to be smug. Huruma retains her composure, outwardly; on the inside, she enjoys the perks of interest and the shift of demeanor.

Now that I have your attention, ladies and gentlefolk.

"Then I'm sure you know that every legend has its kernels of truth." Huruma begins, a careful game of keeping that interest like a hypnotist. Devon knows her better than to give much when unprompted, and that she typically gives non-answers, or hyper-specific, always deliberate in her half-truths, as they are.

"Mr. Nakamura possesses the ability to traverse space-time. Simple, and not." One hand turns out, wrist briefly exposed. "Because time is not a line." The phrase is one Devon knows by heart. "It is a multitude, and quantum studies more or less support this- -" She wets her lips, chewing on which path to venture down.

"For everything there is a season," Huruma laughs, lips curled in a smile. "And the same can be said for time. Theory tells us that every decision has another path, where another choice was made. A place where Hannibal never crossed the Alps. Where no first world war occured. Where places such as the Institute never came to be- - or took the world in its fist. A world where Mitchell won. A world where Operation Apollo failed." And then civilization was flooded by the Vanguard. She's seen it.

"Some, bigger than others. All of them running concurrently, alongside one another, webbed for people like Nakamura to go slip-sliding away to his heart's content." A moment lapses where Huruma exhales through her nose, mouth pursed. "What do you know about Moab Penitentiary? Surely there is something left after the napalm of Petrelli and Mitchell."

Silent, seemingly passive, Devon listens to Huruma’s explanations with a keen familiarity. He's long been aware of alternate futures, perhaps not as long as the senior Hound, but long enough that even what he doesn't know doesn't come as a surprise when it's learned. Time is not a line. If it were, he'd still be considered a terrorist and on the run from the government, instead of a civil war veteran and operative in restoring justice. But for now, and where he stands, he is patient, studiously waiting for the next swing of the pendulum.

“I’m familiar,” Voss says before Farah can chime in. “Alright, I’ll hand it to you that Ms. Dunsimi may have had her hand in this bag of chips long before we did. Maybe I got off on the wrong foot here. I think the bigger issue is that the public is kept on a tight leash as to how they will or will not learn about that information and we’re trying to do everything within our power to control it.”

“For national security, if not the security of the whole world.” Farah says succinctly. “The last thing we want is to incite a temporal arms race, or anything of the like, with some of the technological and biological discoveries of the last decade. The world has barely caught up to Expressives. Can you imagine the wars that would be fought over something bigger?” After retrieving the documents from her side that she had nearly put back in her desk, Farah offers them out to Huruma and Devon.

“These are non-disclosure agreements that will allow us to discuss the particulars of Broken Watch with you. Furthermore, it prohibits you from discussing these matters outside of official channels and strongly encourages you to not speak of any temporal matters with anyone, regardless of their presumed knowledge or acceptance of these NDAs. The matter is information control and protection.” Farah says as she leans back in her chair. “We don’t want to inadvertently cause any panic.”

Voss, helpful as he is, retrieves a pen from his jacket pocket and places it on Farah’s desk in front of Devon and Huruma with a smile.

It becomes clear that Huruma is steering the conversation just in time for Voss to acquiesce; whatever more she had prepared on deck is kept behind the curtain, machinations remaining hidden. Huruma's mouth curves in a tiny smile, not thin, not wide, somewhere in the middle. Her hands now rest on the arms of the chair, fingers drumming on the edge of one.

"I've restrained myself from finding a street corner to shout it from for this long, so…" It's the truth, delivered with a twitch of a smirk; Huruma knows the seriousness, of course, or she would not have exposed the potential of what else she may have. The invisible preening and low regard is a show.

"We've touched the edge of more effective space travel, so perhaps humanity can… stick with that." Even if the launch, etc, was an objective failure, maybe the Dawn is out there. Somewhere. Voss' passing of pen gets an amused glance from the Empath, who leans forward to take up the document and open it up. Provided there isn't something she may dislike, her intent is to sign once she checks it over.

Always read the fine print and hear the flow of words, Devon. There's always more if you know where to stick a tap.

Devon tips his head forward as Farah and Voss finally seem to accept the depth of knowledge Huruma chose to share as proof. It eases some of the tension that had been building throughout the exchange. “Of course,” he says as he steps forward to take the document meant for him. “We aren't in the habit of discussing matters of national security over beer at the bar.”

His eyes go to his paperwork while Huruma finishes with hers. Each line is read, his face becoming a mask of scrutiny as he goes further into the stipulations. But eventually he does come to the end and, as he does, he takes the pen next to scrawl his name on the line provided.

Both are returned, with a look to Voss and Farah.

“I’m more concerned about your casual acquaintances and family,” Voss says with a slow spread of his hands once the agreements are signed, “but let’s concede the point for now. Unfortunately for the longer view of this conversation, part of the bureau’s interest in Wolfhound for Broken Watch was directly tied to the programming and computational expertise of Major Gitelman. Her expressive ability was singularly unique in as much as we’ve seen from technopaths, especially with regards to her global reach.”

Voss folds his hands in his lap, then looks to Farah who gives him an approving nod, before he looks back to Huruma and Devon. “Broken Watch is a national security initiative to detect, identify, and track extratemporal individuals. Anyone not of this time. Scientifically possible, and given certain events politically critical, as you’ve come to learn from your encounter with the alternate February Lancaster.”

“We’re in the process of developing the technology with corporate partners, but it’s in its infancy. Major Gitelman’s technological expertise would have been a significant boon. After all, she’s the one who dismantled the Company’s tracking satellites before the war.” Voss goes on to explain. “We want to develop a less abusable and more robust system. So, as you can see, it’s a technological ask, not a military one.”

“What you heard Agent Bluthner say was in reference to operational protocol surrounding events pertaining to extratemporal visitors.” Farah adds, folding her hands in front of herself on the desk. “In order to keep this information a secret we obviously have to limit who has exposure and knowledge of the events and their true nature, lest we open a Pandora’s box that can never be closed again.”

Huruma's concession on personal circle disclosure comes with a tilt of her head as Voss says as much. She gets it. The rest she settles in for, all open ears and eyes, hands still on her lap. It makes sense that it's a task borne to Hana; so much of the time people sought her out for only that. Knowing what she may have felt puts Huruma's perspective into play, especially here. Ultimately, the fact that someone like Bluthner knows, it says more than one might think; anyone with the power at hand to be able to see these people in some way- -

"I do hope a portion of the tech is reverse engineered from things like the Hunter models. The tracking. Guessing that and the satellite tech…" Huruma hums, "There are more experts than just technopaths. Given Hana is unreachable, there are others who have left imprints, and I'm certain select non-expressives with the brainpower. If it hinged on her cooperation….well, perhaps an oversight."

Eggs, basket, counting, chickens. Et cetera. No judgment, though. Huruma's mouth flattens some, brows knit. "So what you need, essentially, is a way to discern extratemporal people from the rest, and then a way to implement it peacefully?"

For his part, Devon remains passive, and even placid, while Voss and Farah explain the purpose and goal. Except for one point, in the mentioning of corporate partners, which earns a very slight tick of a brow. That could be a red flag, a potential for abuse in the wrong hands same as the protocol itself.

His eyes angle to the commander when she speaks up, nodding his agreement. “The hunter tech would be a place to start. Attune it to pick up variances in strings instead.” It can't be that hard, can it? A look back to the Director and Deputy-Director indicate the unspoken question is likely meant for them.

“This sounds like it ought to be a joint operation.” Devon glances once again at Huruma, cautious in overstepping after returning the lead to her. “With all due respect,” he continues, redirecting that apology to the SESA heads. “I don't doubt SESA’s mission. But, for the same reason most government organizations will hire independent contractors, it gives an additional layer of accountability. A sort of failsafe.”

“Raytech already made that proposal, as did Yamagato before the Renautas-Weiss merger,” Voss explains. “Renautas is the legal owner of the Compass technology patents that the Institute co-opted. But unfortunately the amplitude of signatures the Compass detected versus what is required to track extratemporal visitors is on a wholly different scale. Apples and oranges, really.”

“But, Commander Dunsimi is right,” Farah concedes. “Our goal is to develop a non-hostile means of detection that doesn’t solely rely on SLC-Expressive individuals, because over a long enough timespan people will eventually retire, and Expressive abilities aren’t trainable.

“Anyway,” Voss says with a gentle clap of his hands together, “it’s a moot point at the moment. We’ve considered reaching out to Asi Tetsuyama through your offices, but given the current predicament she’s suffering from we’ve decided to wait on that venture. In the future? Possibly. But for right now there isn’t much of an involvement we necessarily want Wolfhound to have with the protocol.”

Farah leans forward, hands folded in front of her. “That isn’t because we don’t value our partnership with Wolfhound. But it is because we do not want to associate our response to extratemporals with a military operation unless such a thing becomes necessary in the future. We’re trying to not repeat the mistakes of the past.”

A pity that the compass tech ends up as apples and oranges; it would have given her a little more something to lean on from here, vis a vis the compass tech. Huruma catches her jaw against open fingers again, leaning into the bend of her hand, eyes roaming to a far space past both Voss and Farah.

"I quite understand. It's a delicate balance between transparency and presentation." Huruma's pale eyes move back to the two of them, drawn back from whatever thoughts she'd set them to. "A lot of things will look worse than they are, no matter how much people can see." Something about this strikes a touch personal, the empath's gaze hooded. She glances up towards Devon, the knit of her brow somewhat apologetic. If he has anything specific to his found file, now's the time.

"With all due respect, it sounds like you need less technopaths… and more astronomers and physicists. Tech can always catch up." This, it appears, is the limit of Huruma divulging her sphinx-riddles.

“Of course. A military presence would be overkill.” Devon had specifically not suggested a military approach for that reason, and he can't fully blame the SESA heads for stating the obvious. Wolfhound does have a bit of a reputation, both good and bad. Unfortunately, the bad seems to hold a shadow over the organization as a whole, if Voss’ demeanor and Farah’s more subtle attitude is any indicator.

He glances at Huruma, meeting her gaze briefly. They'd both seen the extent of the file, a simple email that had been left unread for months. As far as he could tell there were no golden tickets hidden in the text.

His gaze slides away, slanting from Huruma to the documents on the desk, to the pen Voss so helpfully offered. His brows furrow faintly as a thought comes to him. “What if we agreed to a plain-clothes, trial operation?” Devon’s eyes raise enough to look at the Deputy-Director and Director in turn. “Lancaster’s double is still out there, still responsible for kidnapping and murder. If this tech is even partially usable, then…” Catching himself before he goes too far with bargaining, passing another look to Huruma.

“Presently, it’s not field-ready.” Farah says with a measured frown.

“Meaning it’s quite a bit bigger than a breadbox. We’re trying to leapfrog time-tables with Expressive work-arounds because waiting isn’t really…” Voss trails off, looking at Farah and then down to the desk where he drums his fingers.

“Since you’re here…” Farah changes the topic away from whatever Voss was getting at. “Perhaps there is some assistance you can give us, Commander Dunsimi. We would be interested in pursuing some avenues in the nation of Madagascar, but obviously the US has some complicated political relations what with the fallout from Apollo. Obviously your son is an influential figure there, but your daughter also has the ear of Celerity’s CEO.”

Raising her brows, Farah leans back in her chair. “Would you be willing to play the middle on this? I know diplomatic liaisons aren’t Wolfhound’s bread and butter, but I feel like it would go a long way to making inroads for us.”

Not field ready isn't surprising. Huruma briefly lifts a hand to Devon's shoulder. They can revisit the problem of 'Marlene' later on, with all of Broken Watch in mind. Bigger than a breadbox or not, now they have a more detailed perception of what is actually needed.

Farah's seque, however, is quick to have Huruma sitting straight again, gathering her hands back to herself and levelling a narrowed look across to the Director. Less defensive, more interested, still guarded.

"You may be surprised," Huruma's mouth flattens somewhat, tightening at one corner. "At how quickly they move on." The past is only pain. The future matters.

"If what you want is my daughter's wife, I wonder if it would not be more practical to speak with her?" A tilt of the empath's head nevertheless comes with the ghost of a smile, and a lazy coo to her voice . "I would be happy to referee, though, if that is what you really want…"

Disappointment at the apparent finality of things is the obvious reaction, while frustration simmers beneath. But Devon maintains his outward calm, accepting of the circumstance because he knows he's not in the position to negotiate further. His weight shifts slightly when Farah changes the direction of the meeting. Madagascar and Huruma’s connections there haven't involved him directly, nor do they seem to now. His eyes flick toward the commander, then settle on a point between the SESA heads.

“If you two are interested in helping us pursue this endeavor, we trust your judgment on how best to go about that pursuit.” Farah says with an incline of her head to the side. “We’d like to send a SESA agent along for the trip with you. A junior agent and a handler, actually. You might be familiar with Commander Epstein’s daughter.”

Voss raises one brow and looks over at Farah, but keeps his opinions to himself. Instead, he supports her side of things and looks back to the hounds. “A diplomatic operation sounds like one that could benefit us both. If you two and Agent-Trainee Epstein want to coordinate on this, we’ll be sure to send along information on who her handler is as soon as we hammer out the details.”

“If nothing else, this will be another successful partnership between our orgs, and Wolfhound will receive its typical fee.” Voss adds, which will be music to Avi’s ears. Even if the rest will be airhorns.

"I know Emily very well." As does Devon- - of course- - though she'll let him say what he wants to say. Having them both would at least mean Huruma wouldn't need to chaperone too heavily. Apart from pranks, they generally… behave. The empath seems more keen to deal with Farah on this matter, leaving Voss in her peripheral vision for the time being. Huruma smiles thinly, amused. "At least we can be of use somewhere, and this wasn't a complete loss."

"The more non-military cases we cooperate on, the better." Given the concerns on 'military' involvement before. Huruma angles her gaze to Deputy Voss, smile lingering, turning into a slight purse. "We'll be looking forward to hearing from you. And whomever you decide to send with Ms. Epstein." Avi won't like any of it regardless, and that's something else she'll have to deal with.

Devon’s attention sharpens, with a small tip of his head to acknowledge the invitation of his involvement. Huruma might register the ripple of surprise that he feels. He's going to Madagascar too? He promises himself a tiny celebratory whoop once back at the Bastion.

Then, as Farah continues and names Emily as the agent accompanying him, his brows raise slightly. He's going to Madagascar, and so is Emily? Surprise ripples again, but he retains his outward professionalism.

“I know her also.” He'd say more than that, but that might start to blur some lines he'd rather keep in the present company. Even if they already know or think they know. Although Huruma knows. Devon and Emily both try to keep personal and professional separate as much as possible. And at least, with the commander on the operation, he feels a little less worried about Emily's safety.

“Thank you, Director. Deputy-Director.”

“Don’t thank me,” Farah says with a thoughtful smile. “Do a good job.”

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