Data Mines Part I


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Scene Title Data Mines Part I
Synopsis Elliot meets Gideon d'Sarthe to discuss the particulars of the job.
Date March 11, 2021

d'Sarthe Group Complex

The wait isn't long, but it isn't short. The details Elliot waits for come in the shape of a one-on-one, with Gideon d'Sarthe calling him in during the midweek. It's not the office wing that he's set to meet in, but the courtyard that sits nestled between the lot where the main building lies, and the way onward to the terminal itself. Still a briskness to the air, the smell of the bay hovers in it, all salt and steel.

In the most unassuming way he could possibly have mustered, Gideon waits out the arrival while seated behind the wheel of a motorized cart, kin to the two-seater mini haulers used by the dockworkers. As usual, dressed for business rather than labor. The watchful pair of men that oversee this meeting are tucked out of sight, outside of the bothersome radius though still ready should anything happen. Same goes for if someone doesn't hear something he likes in particular.

The front gate will soon give Elliot access, but he will still have an acting escort by one of the gatesmen.

Elliot arrives in casual clothes, something any dock worker might wear to work. His hands are stuffed into the pockets of a worn winter jacket, his pants and boots showing signs of regular use. A bright orange beanie is pulled low, and he carries himself like somebody who wants to talk to his coworkers as little as possible and then go home.

At the gate he pats his pockets as though he’s looking for a badge, and only abandons the pantomime when the guard opens the gate for him. He says nothing in greeting, and pauses long enough to look like he and his escort just happen to be headed the same way.

Of course they were ready. The single man that walks ahead of Elliot moves with purpose, accepting the nonchalance from their visitor without question. Perhaps because Gideon waits with the same manner of it.

"Mister Hitchens," comes the aforementioned's drawling voice as they reach the side-by-side, d'Sarthe open in his welcome, which includes a panning hand gesturing for the younger man to take the passenger side. "Glad to see that you didn't choose to stand me up." From the sound of this, a rarity- - at least with an amicable kind of meeting like this one, and it's enough to coax up a half-smile.

Elliot settles into the cart, bracing himself against the seat by pressing his feet into the floor opposite him just in case the cart should suddenly lurch into motion. Should Gideon d’Sarthe decide to lead him on a tour of the chocolate factory.

He eschews a proper greeting as d’Sarthe has already chosen to. “Wouldn’t dream of it, Sir,” he says, dismissing the fact that he’s here because Gideon has something he wants. That he hasn’t spent these weeks waiting on Gideon to get back to him. The inconvenience doesn’t show, nor the wary calculations he’s running on the space around them through his sunglasses. “Thanks for the invitation.”

The chocolate factory is likely an apt comparison; the terminal is busy, at that steady pace of ants and bees. Cranes and boats on the skyline, mazes of shipping containers. Gideon has the wheels in motion once his guest is seated, hands heavy on the wheel.

"So," After a trek out along the terminal, the dull hum of engine underlines Gideon moving the exchange forward. "This problem I have, he has a name. Jason Mines. He's been valuable over the years, so I'm regretful in my need for this. Surely you know how it is." For all that the topic has come straight to the point, d'Sarthe does have the tinge of a man remorseful, clearly having had respect for this person. But things need done.

"For some time I know he has had his side-hustles and other aims… and now he is deliberately skirting his luck. Not undermining my company, per se, at least not openly. It is all very concerning." Gideon refrains from specifics, just yet. "I'm in need of someone like you to set my records straight."

Elliot nods along in silence as the cart moves through the busy work area. The air is chilly, but he can’t help but marvel at the efficiency of the operation. Far from just a false front, most people working here will be far removed from any of the darker side of the owner’s endeavors. Real people working in a city shambling its way back out of the grave.

“You’re looking for confirmation that he either is or is not actively working against you,” he says as though he were working out a problem on a whiteboard. Not a question, but plenty of room for clarification. It helps depersonalize the target, Target 1, keeps Elliot from skirting too close to the emotional consequences of the morality of this situation.

That assessment of real people is the honest truth. Blue collar Americans looking to be productive and waged. There is certainty in having the Group moving the pieces, and in a way it becomes a comfort that at least someone is looking out. It's far from the Monkey Paws of most corporate boons. And the why is simple- - trust is straightforward.

"Right." The small engine idles as Gideon stops for a forklift to cross ahead. He casually waves a hand to someone waiting on it from afar, their return gesture enthused in the way of someone not having a terrible day. "As I said, he's been with us for many years. I'm not looking for confrontation, and with anyone subpar," d'Sarthe lifts a brow to Elliot before they start moving again. "I know very well that he would suss them out with little effort. He knows that I know about his side work- - an unspoken thing. But there is a time for everything and a line somewhere." In Gideon's eyes, he needs to make sure of those transgressions.

Elliot nods in understanding, and isn’t worried about providing sub-par service. “What can you tell me about his schedule and areas of operation? If you want to hear him talk about it, it’ll need to be somewhere he’s likely to discuss any side work in confidence. If it’s just data you’re looking for I’ll need to have some idea what to look for otherwise you’ll end up with a hard drive full of mostly useless information.”

His hands stay stuffed in his pockets for warmth, and his eyes on the industrial traffic around them. It’s a hard habit to break providing Wright another perspective while she’s driving them around. “If you think he’s up to something specific that could have a negative impact in the near future, that’s where I’d focus.”

"It's the data, correct." A sigh moves through the older man, and he gives Elliot a somewhat pointed look. "Specific, not precisely…" At the end of the accessible path, Gideon wheels up and parks facing the busiest of the barges. "I know he's been making headway doing hands-on work for tech groups- - they always need manpower, if you get my drift…"

Of course.

"I can use information, whether or not it's a hard drive dump or a book report." Both of Gideon's brows lift up, and for a moment he seems amused. "I've traced some things to Canada, but it gets… blurry. I fear if I press that surface too hard it'll break prematurely, and I'll have nothing for it."

“I’ll tread softly,” Elliot says with a nod of understanding. It would be a miracle if he somehow already had a paper trail to shown Gideon. It was only recently that he performed his off-books hack of Renautas Weiss in Canada. It almost certainly wouldn’t be that easy, but he can dredge the data again just in case.

This seems like a task not well suited to his and Asi’s brutish malware. Despite its proven efficacy, this is a job for subtly. An old-fashioned snoop. It’s been a while. “I’ll get started on this, though a light touch is rarely quick.”

Perhaps luck will be on his side as it has so far. Gideon doesn't often hedge his bets, but with little other recourse, he feels a need to. Working off the books with a Hound sits on the cusp of many lines, but treading softly goes both ways.

"You must not know many pickpockets." Levity sneaks into the older man's expression, the second of something playful there and gone again. "Give me a quote and I'll see to it that it's met. Do a fine job, and just maybe there will be a second."

"This place means too much to too many- -" Gideon's fingers splay open in their clasp against the wheel, a gesture meant for the view of the docks. "- - and I need you to see that. I can tell you until I'm blue in the face, but I find that a visual helps."

"There is something to be said about reevaluating one's perspective."

Gideon’s comment about pickpockets gets a huff of laughter. It takes a moment before Elliot remembers that he actually did know a pickpocket. He still uses the sleight of hand he learned from Yancy to this day. Little motions, words with sudden intensity, minor tricks to keep people from looking at the oddities of using his ability. The way his eyes lose focus for a moment when he streams another’s senses.

It reminds him why he’s doing this. Working toward closure for his Ark co-hosts. Protecting people like these workers, like Wright’s family, from the fallout of failure. From a return to the carnage that came before it was his turn in line. There’s something bleakly optimistic about potentially never coming back from the Root. About restricting the damage.

He takes in the tableau Gideon has prepared for him. So many lives just having placed one foot on solid ground. One catastrophe away from the brink again, the dark days. But stepping up, stepping forward for firmer footing. “I assure you that I have no desire or intention to disrupt the livelihood you’ve provided these people,” he says.

Gideon is patient for those long moments of thought. The mental break down is necessary, for some people. He doesn't know that it is even more important in this case- - but what he does know is that Elliot can see the big picture, no problem.

"Good." The response is quiet and certain. "Good. You can see why I have hope for a new set of eyes here." It may be all about him, but when it's about him, it's about them. Inexorably tied together. "If you need resources you'll have them, I will refer you to my assistant for that. As for information, it'll be directly to me. She won't know the purpose, just that she is to give you what you need."

“Understood,” Elliot says. “I’ll figure out what I’ll need and get back to her. I’ll let you know if there are any hiccups along the way.” His mind is working on the problem already. Lining up the next steps, where to look, what to use. How to remain invisible throughout, considering any data Mines has for the taking may lie behind the advanced firewalls of tech corporations.

He looks around to make sure he knows where on the property he is. “I can find my way back if you’ve got other things to get to, Mr. d’Sarthe,” he says. He doesn’t doubt he’ll remain in the line of sight of Gideon’s protective detail the whole way.

"I have faith you can find your way around without touching any sensitive lynchpins." Gideon slings an arm over the back of the bench seat behind him, expression flat as he considers Elliot with one last scrutinizing twist of brow.

"Be my guest." Literally. "Have a look before you go, if you like… it will impress the importance, I'm sure." Yes, everything is personal- - and everything is far-reaching. The sooner the job is done, the sooner that Gideon can pull on the leash.

“I’ll keep my hands in my pockets,” Elliot says with a smirk. He nods a farewell, then stands from the cart. He’ll take the scenic route for Gideon’s benefit. Cultivate the expected reactions. The well-meaning man who stumbles in a bit too far. Who’s looking at the workers and their livelihoods and not the layout of the d’Sarthe Group Complex.

He knew going into this that his footing wouldn’t be solid. Leaving for the flooded world will buy him some time to build a firebreak against whatever Gideon expects to gain from such a valuable asset. He has no illusions about a simple end to this transaction.

As Elliot disembarks to explore, as later he'll be told- - he expected as much- - Gideon allows his gaze to follow the younger man's path. Once the Hound is out of sight, one hand slips a phone free from chest pocket. A few pings. Nothing he needs to address before opening up a text box.

Blue eyes wander over the docks, sharpening until another vibration in his fingers pulls him back. Back to other business, back to current affairs.

Pass on an affirmative to D. I'm sure he'll be thrilled.

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