Ghosts in Print


claire_icon.gif hana_icon.gif

Scene Title Ghosts in Print
Synopsis Claire brings an image of dead men walking to Major Gitelman, and very initial plans are made for a larger investigation.
Date March 29, 2018

The Bunker: Hana's Office

Following slowly after the last of Wendigo’s team, Claire stood in the doorway and watched them finished pack up the Wolfhound’s jet. Paper held loosely at her side, she was impatient and almost left twice; but, she was good.

The regenerator at least waited under she started to hear the engines whine up, before she turned on her heels and headed into to the halls again. Already, she was formulating a plan that she hoped that Hana would sign off on. Avi hadn’t given her a lot of time to get the information.

Claire huffed a sigh. No pressure!

The sound of the Tlanuwa’s jets have started to fade when there is a sharp knock on door of Major Hana Gitelman. Claire is only having the faintest twinge of nerves about this. Back straight, she waits for the permission to step into the office.

Operations such as today's are unusual events, inherent disruptions to the norm of the Bunker's everyday activities, and yet they have a dependable rhythm all their own. This is especially true for Wolfhound's command staff, whose frenetic preparations begin early and out of sight of the teams. And for all that Hana is staying behind, the fact that Tlanuwa has lifted doesn't mean her work is done; far from it. The sound of the craft's engines may be fading, but its digital systems remain uniquely loud in her awareness, as does the anticipatory chatter of the people on board.

Nonetheless, the craft's departure would normally herald a period of waiting, a lull even for her. Today, it seems, is not a normal day even by ops standards. "Come in," Hana calls to the person outside her door, two words spoken without any evidence of surprise at the interruption. Within, the office is faintly disarrayed, a subtlety only those who see it often would recognize, writ mainly in the particular scatter of papers across the major's desk. But then, that's only to be expected on this day.

Once permission is given, Claire slips into the office, offering a tight lipped, if a bit haunted, smile. “Pardon the intrusion, Major. I wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t important,” the regenerator promises, “I may have stumbled across something that… well…” There is no real way to put it.. without showing it.

Stepping forward, Claire offers the slightly abused paper with the picture of men positioned around a helicopter. “Seems the Vanguard are rising from the grave,” the woman says with a completely serious tone. She points at the paper. “I know for a fact two of those men were killed during Operation: Apollo. Lang in particular was gutted by Gabriel.”

Hana takes the paper and lays it atop everything else on the desk. She makes no comment on the subject of intrusion — takes as given that Claire wouldn't drop by for trivial matters — and regards the image with flat expression, tapping her finger briefly along its margin. "Yes…" The image has also been making the rounds of the Internet, which the technopath chooses not to mention.

"It would be too much," she remarks a moment later, "to expect them to accept they're done." The Vanguard as a collective, that means, not the two seeming revenants caught on film. "Both dead," the major continues, more directly on-topic, "and not in circumstances you would expect to leave anything salvageable. But. Clones, impersonators, their deaths rewound…" In the weird world they live in, there are several ways to achieve this image, even before considering whether the picture itself is real.

She falls silent a moment, considering. "I can say this much," Hana adds at last. "If someone among the Guardians took this, it's probably real. We can confirm with them." Unlike the media. "I can also try to determine if the image has been manipulated in any way."

Head lifting and lowering slowly in a nod, the regenerator listens to Hana, before offering, “It seems like too much effort for clones of dead Vanguard… or even impersonators of these guys. Maybe they wanted us to see this? I mean those of us that knew about Apollo?” Claire looks like she almost regrets saying that outloud, as if doubting her thoughts suddenly. “Just seems convenient that this picture managed to be taken.”

“Being where they are, is there a reliable way to get ahold of them?” Claire asks curiously. There is a moment of hesitation, before she adds, “If need be, I would not be opposed to going out to meet with them and maybe do some recon on this.” A part of her, wants to see all of this for herself. “Though, Epstein wants my to have information before he gets back.” There is mile amusement in her tone.

Brows furrow in thought, then after a moment, her head tilts a little. “What about Sasha Kozlow? He was Vanguard during all that, wasn’t he?” Operation: Apollo. “Maybe he’ll have an idea, if we are dealing with someone we didn’t know about? Someone who could do this?” Her shoulder shrug a little, a little uncertain, “He might be a good consultant on this.” The whole takes one to know one.

Hana raises a hand, open-palmed, fingers splayed, at the suggestion of too much effort. "It seems ridiculous to us," she agrees, "but we can only speculate on the underlying objective. To their eyes, it may be exactly worth the effort." To the convenience of the picture, she says nothing. Many things seem convenient that aren't truly so.

The technopath arches a brow at Claire's subsequent query. "We're in touch," is all the reply she gives. The look shifts to incredulous as the younger woman continues. "Idiot," Hana observes in the pause that follows, spoken without any particular heat, clearly referring to Epstein. "Nothing on this is going to develop that quickly. Especially not with how many cooks will want in the kitchen, if Vanguard is back in play."

Validation of the image, yes; any other intel, no.

She too falls quiet then, a moment of mutual consideration. Claire breaks the silence first, evoking an outright scowl with the mention of Kozlow. "No," Hana decrees, absolute and unyielding. "Not Kozlow." She taps a finger briefly on the desk, then nods minutely. "Nick Ruskin. The feds will want to investigate; we might as well try not to trip over one another, and the Guardians would rather deal with us than them."

Her gaze refocuses on Claire. "Epstein, you, Ruskin," she states with finality. Which also means the outing won't happen until after Epstein returns.

There is a small nod as she listens, even a bit of a smirk at the name calling.The Major can say it, Claire isn’t sure she would dare. “You’re right of course… you know what they say about assuming.” Claire concedes on the point.

The young woman is a bit surprised about the reaction to Sasha’s name. Claire might not like waiting, but she understands the need to have the right players… this is why they pay Hana the big bucks after all.

“I’m not sure I’ve heard of Nick Ruskin before, but I recognize the last name. Related to Eileen?” Claire admits after a moment of combing her memories.

"Brother," Hana supplies readily. "Older. Former Interpol, now CIA, collaborates with us fairly often on intel." Just not necessarily where the strike teams get to see.

The major pauses for a moment, reaching out with her ability to get the coordination aspect started; particularly on the bureaucratic side, that will not move quickly. Then she nods once to Claire, the gesture possessing a sense of finality. "I'll send you the image analysis later tonight," she says. "You can deliver it to Epstein as soon as his feet hit the ground, and tell him to come see me."

There is a firm nod of the blonde’s head, “Thank you, Major.” For more than just the image really. “I’ll make sure. I’ll brief Francois on this as well. So he knows what is going on.” He is Claire team leader after all.

“Thank you again, Major,” Claire repeats as she takes a step back and turns for the door; to go about her duties and prepare for the upcoming trip.

Once out of Hana’s sight, Claire looks relieved; shoulders slumping and sighing out the tension she had felt. She would not have been happy sitting back and letting others go check this out. She wanted to see it for herself. No doubt her nightmares will be back tonight.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License