They Might Be Geniuses (But Probably Not)


francois_icon.gif huruma3_icon.gif raith_icon.gif ryans3_icon.gif

Scene Title They Might Be Geniuses (But Probably Not)
Synopsis Special Activities has a meeting to discuss recon missions and that stealing a tank would be bad.
Date April 29, 2011

Abandoned Warehouse

The warehouse along the railway recently acquired by the Ferrymen needs work. Besides being poor in supplies, there is still the matter of the tripwires on the stairs going down to the basement. But the offices upstairs still have their uses. Spacious, defensible, and protected from the outside, they work perfectly as a meeting space.

Set up in the largest of them is a small card table, and spread out on top of it is a map of Staten Island. Although hardly the most feature rich of images, it possesses all the really important features, and is further covered in words and symbols drawn on with a red marker, courtesy of Jensen Raith. The ex-spy presides over it, although he has not positioned himself in such a way as to claim all of it solely for himself. This is, after all, a group effort. "So far, this is where we stand, with our targets and relevant points of interest. As for what to do about them, that's why we're here." The ex-spy affords a glance around at his comrades in arms. "Off the cuff, any thoughts on what might best draw attention?"

There's no power and thus no elevators, and Francois' ribs— as ribs do— are still healing. But he'd practically bounded up the stairs like someone who has healthy, gets eight hours of sleep an evening and has enough of a budget to eat well, and none of this is actually accurate enough to be honest. But there could have been clouds beneath his feet for all the lightly leapt steps he took up and up, and the discreetly passaged walk for the warehouse itself, and the bodily swing out the front door when he'd left within the last hour.

The room's sobered him since. Reality, and whatever. The map is familiar and laid out again, and like before, he stands rather than sits, arms wrapped about himself. "Well, we do not aim to murder every soldier on the island, because they will only be replaced. It is their operations we attack." Not to be too obvious, but Francois, maybe, finds it relevant to frame the conversation.

"We want to convince them that we are a presence there, oui?" he adds, echoing the sentiment of the last meeting, reaffirming that this is the attention referred to. "Perhaps there is room for theatre. Supply runs we do not need but appear to."

Huruma may be the odd woman out from afar, but she is able to easily slip into things which makes this all the much easier for her. She can always be that extra piece that fits like putty, into such necessary roles. Standing as well, Huruma is more than eager to be able to join the boys in hawking over the marked up map, watching the gestures and absorbing the language. A couple times she does pause herself to peer closer on the map, to something written in miniscule letters, or to the hoops of geography on the island that it does show.

"Theatre sounds accurate." For now, she only opines when there is something that she needs to add, or something that she finds the need to back up. "Distraction, subterfuge, you know…" She smiles, just a moment long, voice low. "I think that trickery is due when it is given." Good thing that they are so very familiar with it.

For the moment Benjamin Ryans is content to just stand back and listen to the suggestions. Arms crossed and head angles down enough to look over the map and what's being shown there. "We want to get them to look at the left hand and ignorant of what the right is doing." He rumbles out softly in agreement. "But we also don't want them looking too closely at the Ferry."

He glances up from the map, brows lifting a little. "So keeping deaths to a minimum would be best. If possible." He's certainly not beyond killing people when cornered.

For the moment Benjamin Ryans is content to just stand back and listen to the suggestions. Arms crossed and head angles down enough to look over the map and what's being shown there. "We want to get them to look at the left hand and ignorant of what the right is doing." He rumbles out softly in agreement. "But we also don't want them looking too closely at the Ferry."

He glances up from the map, brows lifting a little. "So keeping deaths to a minimum would be best. If possible." He's certainly not beyond killing people when cornered.

Raith considers the offered options for a moment, and reaches a conclusion: "I think that's the way to go. Sleight of hand and targeting capital instead of personnel. They'll miss a million dollar tank more than a thirty thousand dollar soldier. Or fuel or munitions, or even just the roads."

Following up on the prospect of roads, the ex-spy uses one hand to direct attention to the map in front of him. "Staten Island railway," he begins, "We've got some preliminary information from bird fly-overs, but all we can tell is the Army is doing work on it. Can't rightly say why, and that's something we'll maybe want, or need to know. Especially if they're planning to use it to move troops or equipment.

"Now, the only experience I have with railways is riding them, and being aggravated when they don't arrive on time. Can anyone do better than that?"

Francois pauses before shuffling closer to the map, studying the terrain in silence for a moment, before he points towards where the railway runs for Arthur Kill rivers. "They sometimes have bridges," he says, with a glance up towards Raith, and the other two. "Which, if anything happened to them, would be longer to repair than wrecking things on sound ground. It also looks like it runs into New Jersey, which would be a simple way of bringing things in instead of relying on ships.

"Or removing things, also, if there are desires to relocate. It goes right by the village they reclaimed."

"I hope that was a suggestion that we steal and destroy a tank." Huruma's immediate response is somewhat flat, though there is certainly the vague hope in her eyes, that yes- Raith just may have suggested that they steal and destroy a tank. One of those many things on anyone's bucket list, right? Tanks are tanks but those are U.S. Military tanks, not leftover Soviet tanks that get stuck in the deep mud.

She follows Raith's hand again, casting a second look to Ryans before it goes back to the map. "Rails are delicate operations. When you disrupt a major vein, it needs t'be precise, or there is a risk of accidentally making sure your rivals remain in full force. Bridges are best taken in between patrols, shifts, what have you, so that the enemy is split from one another."

"Railways also run th'risk of being clogged up, and there is literally no way around when that happens. It happens a lot where there is a single tram line…" Huruma draws her hand across the map to show the Staten Rail. "It happens in bush country, sometimes. Supply trains that get put up against one another, it stops th'entire line."

There is a slow shake of Ryans' head at the question, but Francois' answer has him thinking. "He does have a point." It's rumbled out softly and thoughtfully. "Slow down their progress for a time." Arms unfold and he moves to lean in the table carefully.

"It will also force them to shift some of their forces to guarding other bridges." He taps others outside of even Staten. Lips press into a fine line as he falls silent again. Not really overly talkative tonight. But he is completely on board for the idea of stealing a tank… he just doesn't say it out loud.

"Suggesting we steal a tank," Raith repeats, "Sure. Why not?" The issue of the tank, and the railway, are immediately fotgotten. "Great Kills Harbor-" Direction to a different mark on the map- "Is notable for a couple reasons, the least of which is not that it's right next to Eltingville. We've noticed an increase, again, through fly-overs, in shipping traffic right after Eltingville opened to the Evolved public. Could be a lot of reasons for that, but if there's a connection, then we need to know what's being shipped. Which we, of course, cannot do with birds." If only for the moment, Raith looks up from the map to again visually address his associates.

"We want to find out what's in them, only way to do that is to send a team in through the reclaimed zone. Benjamin, it's my opinion, based on available information, that you ought to take that team in. Fake papers, anything else you need, we can probably get ahold of. You know, within reason." That's one of them. "Francois and Huruma, if the two of you could take another team and go to town on the rails, you've both done this sort of thing before. You'll know where the best spots to strike are. And speaking of striking, I don't think the Council is going to like at least half of this.

"How do we convince them that we're geniuses?"

Francois almost says a bad thing. Must we? He doesn't. It's a bit early in the day to readily argue for treason and besides, he doesn't feel that way. After nodding once at Raith's suggestion that he and Huruma handle the rails, he falls silent this round, mouth twisting in what could either be a resisted grimace or smile, although he does add, unhelpfully, "We tell them we're acquiring a brand new tank, apparently."

Fingertips edge along the side of the table.

"We don'have t'keep it. Theatre." Huruma gives Francois a rather coy smile, for the topic at hand, before she scans the map again. "Though Admittedly, it would take off the task of making any explosives. Self-serving sabotage." The dark woman seems to be trying to calm whatever it is that the Frenchman feels as unnecessary, though she does not actually say something to the effect.

"Actions convince louder than words, I expect. Easier t'beg forgiveness, too." She does infer not actually telling the rest of them, yes, but obviously that is not how things work. "We can't convince them. This is going to go off of faith, when it comes up. If they believe we can actually do it."

Personally, Ryans can see the looks on the council's faces over the tank. Mainly :| or maybe more like >:| His fingers tap lightly on the table, before he says, "I think we should… skip over the idea of the tank with Council." It's said flat and rather matter of factly. A glance going to Francois.

Yes, he just suggested they not tell council. "We'll put a red bow on it and surprise them." It's hard to know if he's joking as he sounds sodamnserious about it. "As Huruma said… It's better to ask forgiveness."

"How about we, forget about the tank altogether?" Raith suggests, "I don't know if any of you have gotten a close look at a modern American main battle tank, but between the reactive armor plating, the sealed entrances, and the computer-controlled anti-personnel weapons, it's unlikely we'd be able to manage stealing one in any case. And more to the point on asking forgiveness, there is the issue of Susan Ball. Didn't like the way Eileen was trying to steer things, tried to assassinate her, ordered the systematic murder of the original Ferry council, sold out most of our safe houses to Uncle Sam. You know, the whole reason we have to do this bullshit in the first place?

"You know what the least popular branch of the Ferry is? Special Activities. Us. And Ball still has her fans in our ranks. We start asking forgiveness instead of permission, editing too many details, and generally crazy go nuts, we're going to be the ones with poisoned cigarettes in our mouths. Stealing a tank? Points for originality. But it's going to piss off all sorts of people. The council is going to be the least of our worries if we start doing shit like that."

"Barbara was at the meeting," Francois says, after a second, a glance from Huruma, to Ryans. "Eileen was the one who brought it together. It would be foolish to believe that we can do this completely behind the backs of the Council. Perhaps, instead of asking they have faith in us, we must have faith in them, non? Unless— "

He tips his head in a show of concession. "We are the least popular branch because we do what they cannot vote for. But I think we should give them the opportunity to do so. Especially as if we are recruiting directly from the people they look after, potentially putting them at risk of execution, arrest, the network in jeopardy should we fail — unless we desire to act independently and outsource our muscle.

"To be clear. I will do this thing no matter what happens, but. I agree with Jensen."

"Keep your boots on, cowboys." Huruma responds with a quite short and to the point for Raith. "If I were terribly serious about stealing a non-Soviet tank-" Inferring she's driven the other kind- "I would just do it while we were out there." Because then people might actually try to dissuade her from it, as now. And though the idea is an amazingly crazy one, Huruma is not that desperate for attention. "I wouldn't want t'do anything behind anyone's back by default. Meaning I'd rather we would all be on this same page, but if push comes to shove I will step off of this page." Personally.

"If anyone must bring this to t'Council it needs t'be someone objective enough to make them see it is right. And do we know who else we are taking? To either of these places, at least for the reconnaissance?"

He holds up his hands in a placating gesture to them both, taking a step back from the table. Ben start to say something and decides not to try and explain himself. Would he really suggest a red bow if he was serious?

"Anyhow… I have an identity I can use, but the others might need it." His paperwork for Richard Blaine is tucked away for things like this. It's been awhile since he's used it. "We'll get this done." Without tank stealing, of course.

Looks like they're all on the same page about everything after all. "Persons for the infiltration, we should be able to get without, a lot of problems. We just need to screen them carefully. The sabotage is going to be more of a problem, if we go that route. I don't know about volunteers, even for just recon, and the council is unlikely to approve bringing in outside help. I wouldn't fault them for it, either.

"We're moving on both of these within the next week, so whatever arguments we're going to present, we need to come up with them fast. I'm happy to make our case, since I won't be along for either ride. Loose ends need tying up." The ex-spy leans back from the table, just slightly. He seems, for the moment, finished and leaves any remaining comments to everyone else.

There is a distracted shake of Francois' head, and he has more to say. More to suggest. But perhaps it will come at a later time, at the gathering of information, and it's on that note he looks towards Huruma thoughtfully, and for now simply gives her a nod, before acknowledging the close of the meeting. "Perhaps we should let the diplomacy rest in Eileen's lap," he suggests, a half-grin for Raith as he retracts a step back from the table. "But I will be glad to talk, if you need another voice."

"Screening won't be hard. There are some that have been on scouting patrols and things that have proven themselves useful. We can start there." Huruma even has some ideas of who it might be that they should look into. "Same for me, though obviously I am less of a presence and more of- kin." She does give Francois a short, similar nod. "We'll figure it out."

Raith offers a few nods of agreement all around, and seemingly, that's that, if only for him. "We will figure it out," he echoes, "Just like we always do." Whether or not he means that every operation undertaken by Special Activities has been entirely made up as the operatives went along is left uncomfortably vague. "We've got some daylight left, and then a couple days to get a plan and proposal together before it's go time, including logistics, plus our own orders of business. I say we break and then get moving. We have a lot of work to do if we're going to be geniuses."

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