Exciting Junk Bonds


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Scene Title Exciting Junk Bonds
Synopsis …or not. Hana and Raith talk about Raith's current project, and what information the technopath can provide.
Date July 26, 2010

North Brooklyn

Street fairs are one of those things that are usually welcomed in cities, giving residents something to do and stirring up the local economy a bit. If there is one thing the local economy in New York needs, it's a good stirring up, and that makes the street fair in North Brooklyn (Monday thru Tuesday only) all the more welcome. Welcome to the city because of the boosted influx of revenues. Welcome to others because of something else it provides in large quantities: People. Hundreds of people, milling this way and that, buying and selling, 'ooh'ing and 'aah'ing, and most importantly, making it difficult to pick out a particular face from the crowd.

Jensen Raith loves the crowd, loves being a part of it. Being a part of the crowd means he's not Jensen Raith, but just 'part of the crowd.' Good place to meet an associate for a business discussion. This leaves him waiting, messing around with his phone like he was managing his e-mail or messages, in between the homestyle chocolate fudge and deep-fried pickles and funnel cakes. A tough find for someone without instructions. For someone expecting to find him there, however, not so challenging at all.

For someone who recognizes the phone in Raith's hand and can hear its presence — not challenging in the least.

Should I give you something to actually fiddle with? is the text message that appears in the former Vanguard's inbox.

Dressed in a lightweight khaki jacket despite the summer sun, a drably jade-green shirt and stone-blue denim pants, Hana splits off from the crowd milling about the space between stalls. Hidden behind sunglasses, her eyes linger on the fudge, skip over the deep-fried pickles and ultimately settle on the stall of funnel cakes, waiting for the kid before her to carry off his purchased three so she can exchange dollar bills for one of her own.

With a smirk that lasts scarcely a second, Raith looks up from his device to stretch his neck, and who should he chance to see but an old friend of his? Well, how about that, perhaps he should say hello while he has the chance. It's not a bad cover, good enough that the average people surrounding him won't think much, if anything of it. His phone goes back under his jacket and he sidles over to the funnel cakes, and to Hana. "Fancy seeing you here, stranger," he says to her with a smile, before affording a glance to the stall, "Never figured you for a fan of fried food, really. Got time to walk and eat?"

Hana looks over her shoulder to Raith, pushing sunglasses up over her hair, lips quirking sideways as she exhales a brief humph. "In the proper place," she replies; which is to say, in the name of appearing casual. "All in the proper place. Here, have some," the woman offers, tearing off a good-sized piece and holding it out for him. She hasn't eaten any herself, yet. "Sure — I don't have anything else to do this afternoon." Not true, but it fits with everything else they're not talking about so far.

Gesturing towards the street before them, Hana steps away from the food sellers' stalls and merges back into the ever-changing, ever-constant flow of pedestrian traffic. The vendors shade from edibles of dubious nutritional value into arts and crafts, some of them worth notice, others not worth much at all. "If you expect me to talk about the fair while we're walking, you're going to be sorely disappointed," she points out once they're moving.

Pluck. Raith is certainly not about to turn down free food, even if he receives it just before a walk. As for the fair, though, just a shrug and a slight tilt of his head to one side. "I can live without talking about the fair," he says, taking a small bite of his funnel cake. "In any case, there are some other things I'm more interested in. Institute's about to make a move, and we have a chance to interrupt it without direct confrontation. The tip comes from a Company man, though, so naturally, I'm suspicious of it, even if we got it through Abby. Thought you might know something about him, and I always appreciate experienced input." Another bite of fried dough. "Besides, first real test of whether or not my division can work with another, or can even accomplish something. Want to have as much info as possible, you know how it is."

Hana shakes her head, glancing towards Raith. "Trust nothing from the Company" is her opinion, and she's quick to state it, eyes narrowing. Still, although it takes her several steps, the woman lets out a quiet sigh and continues speaking. "Who is this 'Company man'," she asks, her half of the funnel cake still in-hand, untouched. She does smooth her expression as she looks towards the stall of art currently drifting past, pausing briefly to examine one print more closely.

"Ryans is the name I have. Benjamin Ryans." Hana pauses, and so does Raith. Really, the prints aren't so bad. He might even consider buying one. "I'm intending to follow up on this, of course, but you know this crowd better than I do. Figured that you'd be able to advise me on how best to proceed." Another bite. Almost done now. "Disin-" Swallow your food first, Raith. Chew, and then swallow- "Disinclined to put much faith into them, but if the tip's valid… Well, I'd rather not pass up an important opportunity to get a little bit ahead in the game. Things as tight as they are right now, we need every little leg-up that we can get."

Hana doesn't pause for long; she isn't here for art. "Company's a serpent's nest of manipulators," she states flatly, paying no apparent notice to Raith's difficulties with simultaneous eating and talking. "They'll probably treat you nice enough while you're doing what they want," the Israeli continues, lips twisting as if saying that is equivalent to biting into a lemon, "but if you're lucky they'll drop you like a hot coal after. Probably somewhere they think will get rid of loose ends for them." The crowd around them is the only reason her snarl is kept to a muted undertone.

She falls quiet again, the sound of their footsteps fading into the hubbub of noise, bells and whistles, tinny music and slightly more distant cars. Grudgingly, Hana adds, "Company's in a tight place, now that their competition's arrived. Could be they're desperate enough to play honest — but you ask Bennet, sometime, how many times he's done that in his life. And then decide for yourself whether to believe the answer." Her free hand flicks sharply to one side, scornfully dismissive. "We probably don't have a lot of choice," Hana allows. "Institute does its damndest to run an airtight ship. Don't put faith in anything they say — but can we afford to pass on this opportunity?"

The sour twist of her lips isn't going to go away any time soon.

"I'm pretty sure that we can't." Afford to pass on the opportunity. "There's an individual slated to be picked up by the Institute. Date for that op is Wednesday. All I have besides that is a name and an address." No sense keeping the relevant information to himself. Raith is supposed to be working with other division leads: He saw the results of failing to do so first-hand, before he left the CIA. "Don't know about ability, age, family, any of that. Benny-boy can probably provide that and maybe some other things we can't find out ourselves. Can't find out before Wednesday, at least. Other names and addresses on the list he gave us check out, near as I can tell. If it's a trick, then the only goal can be to grab as many of us as possible, but the information is likely still valid. Big risk, all the same."

Big risks are the worst kind. The greatest rewards for success possible combined with the most serious penalties for failure possible. "One worth taking, I think. I'm going to try contacting Ryans tonight, that way we have a day to make a plan or, adjust for my sudden disappearance. It's exciting, buying a junk bond. Don't you think?" Finance metaphors. What's next, Jensen?

Hana snorts softly. "By Wednesday? Probably he couldn't give you anything I can't find." So why bother asking 'Benny-boy'? "Especially if this 'Ryans' didn't bother to provide more." Obviously she is of the opinion he has that information.

Hana looks sidelong at Raith's quip, brows arching. "Exciting. Sure." Perfectly flat in tone: whatever you say. Apparently financial metaphors aren't her cup of tea; but she hands him the tray and its remaining half of funnel cake nonetheless. "I know the name you're talking about," she continues, now-unencumbered hand sliding folded sheet of paper and pen from her jacket's inside pocket. Her writing is reasonably deft despite the fact that it happens while walking; the page is likewise passed to Raith, the pen is not.

The funnel cake being surrendered is not much of a surprise. Less so is the piece of paper with the information thusly disclosed. The surprise, if the scrutiny present in Raith's expression is an indicator, is the information itself. "A T0?" he asks, "They're throwing in resources to pick up a T0, that is absolutely going to be missed, and will absolutely have people looking for her, and will very likely show up in the paper when she goes missing, given what she does for who?" With some degree of aggression, the ex-spy folds the paper around his thumb and drops his hand to his side. "The fuck?"

Can Raith be blamed for being incredulous? Could anybody be blamed after the news that was just revealed? "This is not rational operational behavior, you and I both know that. If they're going after someone fitting this profile, then whoever's directing the op is a complete idiot, or they're going to use her for something they know will let them get away with kidnapping her, and probably her kids too." And that would be breaking the rules: 'No kids.' "I'm going to start pulling a team together. If you could, do you suppose you could do some more digging into Parmenter? Her appointment schedule, what she does after work, where she goes after work. We can't confront her at the office, and if we get her at home, she might feel more threatened by us than the Institute, if we can convince her it even exists." A heavy sigh escapes Raith's lips. "This week is going to suck, I can already tell."

"Stab you in the back in a heartbeat," Hana remarks, clearly never finished beating that particular dead horse. "Could be she lied about her ability to get a low Registry. Could be the Institute is setting a trap. Or the Company. As if there's a difference." From out here, perhaps not much. From her perspective, definitely not much. The Israeli shrugs, then nods to Raith as she changes topics. "I'll get whatever I can. I can track her cellphone, her kids' phones, copy a map with the locations to yours— " Regardless of whether his is natively map-capable. "— or any other device. Just tell me when you want it."

"Mine'll do just fine," Raith replies. Finally, he folds the paper over proper in his fingers three times, and then places the resulting package in his jacket next to his phone. "I'd rather whisk her away and be wrong, than do nothing and have her go missing regardless. Maybe we can cause enough of a hiccup in their plans that they'll make a mistake and leave themselves open to attack, who knows? I don't. But it's nice to think about." From the topic at hand, the ex-spy turns his attention more fully to the cake in his hands. "I've got to get started on a team and a plan. Contact me when you've got whatever info you can get. I'll pay you back for this later. Adieu." Without another word, Raith changes his heading, moving in one direction while Hana keeps going in the other. A large crowd, hundreds of people, and in he scheme of it all, they're just two faces in the crowd, there one moment and gone the next like features of no importance: A pair of shadows lost in the dark.

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