current mood: geeky
On May 22, we had Bonnie ("Xiang Wen," a.k.a. "Wu Xie Zhi" and "Dot"), Marc ("Anabel Windsor," a.k.a. "Abigail Wilson" and "Vicky"), Mike ("Vincenzo Calliente," of many aliases), and Torsten ("Qoqa Ramazanov," a.k.a. "Zoya Petrovna Sidorov"). Martin ("Zhang Zhu," a.k.a. "Harry") remains unavailable.
Time: Wednesday, March 21, 2012 (evening).
Place: Train station, Ottawa.
Last Event: Getting from Winnipeg to Ottawa by train.
On arriving in Ottawa, Vinnie's first priority is to acquire some "clean" phones, which uses up almost all of the team's remaining funds. Anabel then calls Chaturvedi to update him on the group's status and whereabouts. Chaturvedi tells her that the Company needs a few more days to arrange new identities for everyone: "You burned through just about everything we had ready. False credentials take time." The handler suggests that the Agents stay put and keep a low profile for a while.
The catch is that the Agents have essentially no money. The 10 of them can scrape together around $100 all told – and while easy access to essentially bottomless funds is as close as the nearest ATM, nobody is inclined to refresh the team's electronic trail, just in case. They haven't had trouble in days, and letting things cool off seems wise. Thus, after a brief discussion, the plan is to acquire some cash from the local underworld, potentially cleaning up the streets a bit in the process.
The Agents decide to pursue two courses of action. Anabel, Hamid, Jili, and Paul will take the team's cash, find some sort of illegal gambling (preferably cards), and see if they can't turn a $100 stake into something more. The other six intend to barge in on the local drug trade, ambush some higher-level dealers, and take their money. After establishing a place to meet later that night, the group splits up and the two squads head into the city.
It doesn't take Anabel and friends long to get a line on an illegal card game. The goons at the back door of the club in question are menacing and unfriendly, but Anabel's charms are considerable. She talks her way in and, with a little pouting persuasion, convinces them to admit Hamid as well. The thugs draw the line at two strangers, leaving Jili and Paul to cool their heels in the street.
Unfortunately, "through the door" isn't the same as "a seat at the table" – it's soon evident that $100 won't cut it. However, one of the doormen leers at Anabel and makes a proposal: If she's willing to participate in some porn they're shooting "in the other room," he can make sure that she gets some table credit. Anabel responds by saying that if she can give her credit to her friend (Hamid), the man has a deal. The thug glares at Hamid, muttering something about "suitcase pimps," but ultimately agrees.
Before long, Anabel finds herself thrust onto the set of some kind of low-rent, direct-to-Internet porno production. Switching on her high-wattage acting skills and sex appeal, she manages control what happens well enough to minimize the most serious risks – namely, disease and violence. She still has to engage in a girl-on-girl scene that isn't her kind of thing at all. Worse, she has to tolerate Hamid watching and even encouraging this. However, the pornographer is thrilled to be working with someone of Anabel's looks and talents. When the scene is over, Hamid has his seat at the card table.
The poker itself is a bit of an anticlimax after Anabel's performance. Hamid – a skilled gambler – plays conservatively. Luck is with him; he wins enough for the exercise to be worth the effort but not so much as to make enemies. He ensures that the house gets its unfair share of money won off the other players, and then leaves on good terms with $3,500 in his pocket. When he and Anabel emerge from the club, Paul and Jili rejoin them. The four leave the area without encountering any trouble.
Meanwhile, Klas, Lev, Qoqa, Vinnie, Wen, and Zhang wander the streets until they stumble into a neighborhood that's clearly gang territory. Klas, Lev, and Qoqa – none of whom know much about this world – simply lurk in the shadows as backup. Zhang quickly points out a couple of street-level dealers to Wen and Vinnie, and the three of them observe the scene for a while until they've identified the runners ferrying cash and drugs to and from somebody higher up the food chain. Then Wen and Zhang fade back to wait with the others while Vinnie shadows one of the couriers.
After a short time, Vinnie returns and signals for his associates to follow him. He leads them to within sight of what's clearly a gang hangout, with several thugs out front and a good number of strung-out users in the area. Gesturing toward the building, he explains that's where the drugs are coming from and the money is going. Zhang says that he'll go check it out, and asks the others to stay nearby but out of sight. Before anybody can agree or disagree, Zhang vaults a fence and disappears into the night.
There's a tense wait while Zhang scouts, and then as abruptly as he vanished, he reappears. He explains that the gang's building has a back entrance with a low porch roof over it, that it's possible to climb up on top without being seen, and that from there, one can look in the windows. When he did exactly that, he saw four or five gang members counting money in an apartment. He also noticed that while the door sported several locks and chains, the windows had only cheap latches and no bars. He spotted a few handguns in evidence, but these were sitting on tables and didn't look especially well-maintained. His assessment is that it should be easy to clamber up there, break in, overpower the dealers, and take their money.
Zhang's associates decide to go along with his plan. He leads them over fences and down dark alleys until they're next to a drainpipe leading up the side of a brick building. All six climb up quietly. Vinnie manages to shred his leg in the process, but thankfully does so silently and without screaming. Glancing at this, Qoqa makes a mental note that Vinnie will need stitches and antibiotics. However, now isn't the time for that!
From the porch roof, the Agents can see the scene Zhang described. They observe four men with drugs, guns, and money on a table between them, watching a giant TV and listening to loud music on an expensive stereo. Needless to say, the home electronics are just a little too expensive for this part of town. A quick tactical assessment suggests that only two of the windows would be useful for ambushing the drug dealers. Motioning for his associates to get back, Vinnie sneaks over and silently pops the latches with a small tool pulled from an inside pocket. None of the gangers seem to notice.
Once Vinnie is done, the Agents take up positions outside the windows. The plan is for Klas and Qoqa to stand to either side of one window and jerk it open as quickly as possible, while Lev and Vinnie simultaneously do the same with the other. Wen and Zhang will crouch outside, and spring in acrobatically as soon as the opportunity presents itself. Klas and Vinnie will follow those two in at a more sensible pace, and then Qoqa and Lev will enter.
Without further ado, the Agents leap into action. The actual attack is over almost before it starts. Wen and Zhang explode into the room, kneeing and kicking two men unconscious before they can react. While the two other dealers are still trying to figure out what's going on, Zhang and Wen beat them senseless, too. A fifth punk appears from another room, blazing away with a dinky pistol and hitting Zhang, but Zhang's concealed body armor stops the low-powered rounds rather easily. An instant later, Wen and Zhang charge the gunman and take him out, too.
The violence is over in mere seconds, and sees the six Agents standing over five unconscious drug dealers. The only injury on the team's side – aside from Vinnie's scraped-up leg – is a bruised tailbone on Wen's part, the result of a misjudged kick that ended in a spill. The sound of gunfire is a larger concern, as it will certainly summon more thugs and possible even police. Thus, there's little choice but to take what's in plain sight and depart as quickly as possible.
Leaving Wen to lock the interior door, drag the unconscious gang members over in front of it for good measure, and keep watch out the peephole, the other five fan out to grab what they can find. Klas and Lev focus on collecting the firearms and professionally disabling them. Qoqa, Vinnie, and Zhang seize the readily available cash. While there's probably much more in a safe stash somewhere, there's no time for a proper search with trouble doubtless on its way in response to the gunshots. The Agents also take the drugs, with the intent of using them as a bribe or a distraction if necessary, but destroying them otherwise.
After that, all six Agents leave the way they entered: through the windows. One quick, stealthy climb later, they're well on their way out of the neighborhood. By the time the gang has figured out what happened, Vinnie's squad is at the rendezvous point, waiting for Anabel's group and counting money. It turns out that the dealers had only $2,100 in cash on them – but that isn't bad for a couple of hours' work, all told.
The entire team is reunited in the wee hours of Thursday, March 22. They share "war stories," and then take their net $5,700 in cash and look for a place to stay. After a little searching, they manage to find a place offering rooms even at this time of night, down near the bus station. While the establishment looks a bit shady, it's moderately clean and the man at the desk asks no questions. Before long, the Agents have five double rooms, and Qoqa is patching up Vinnie and Wen's bumps and bruises, and giving Anabel a quick checkup after her unscheduled turn in the adult entertainment business.