2011 06 19: Mission Possible 2

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Mission Name: Mission Possible 2
Date of Mission: June 19th, 2011
Locale: Staples knock-off in Brooklyn

Alex runs into Jack at an office supply chain in Brooklyn. He's rushing. She's smooth.

Jack Alex

It's evening in Brooklyn, and an hour before closing time in one of the run-down stores situated along the hub of a less-than-reputable district.

The store is simply an office supply chain that's just a few blocks from Jack's apartment.

As his dirtied converse sneakers hit the pavement, half-jogging away from the large black SUV that dropped him off, Jack whisks right past those double doors and flies straight to the aisle that stocks your typical letter-sized multipurpose paper.

His expression is somewhat hurried as he grabs a case, zipping past one of the customers and nearly taking her out in the process. "Oh geez, sorry!" He calls back, already heading for the empty shopping cart that he just spotted right now.

Apparently Alex is taking care of her paper supply needs too, coincidentally enough. A basket hanging off her arm has a few packages of Post-Its and a box of pens, rattling a bit as she moves it out of Jack's way when he goes blowing past. Looking over, her eyebrows lift in surprise as she offers a little grin of recognition. "Jack?" she verifies as she pulls the iPod earbuds from her ears, transferring them to one hand and then tucking them away in her pocket with the music device. "Oh my God, hey." It really is a small world after all, or that's the tone she's trying to sell.

The cart that was just about to make it to aisle seven comes to a screeching halt. When his name is called, Jack turns around in surprise, an eyebrow lifting in response.

Cute girl. Embassy. Oh, right.

"Wow, um, hi?" His inquiry-come-greeting manages to whistle past his lips without sounding too rushed.

"You're the nice girl who never gave me her name," he continues, without missing a beat. Were he in different circumstances at the moment, Jack probably would have cracked a smile.

Alex gives a self-conscious grin with that, ducking her head slightly as she runs her hand over her hair, worn down in large, loose ringlets today. The uniform has been swapped out for a pair of tight jeans and a short-sleeved shirt, casual but still carefully chosen to enhance her womanly assets. "Oh yeah. Sorry about that. It was a weird day. I'm Andie, by the way." Her smile fades a little as she gives him a closer look, head canting slightly to the side. "Are you okay?"

Jack cautiously turns his head to peer at the massive window behind Alex. The SUV is parked pretty close to the doors, and he doesn't need laser-vision to know that the three large doofuses are still inside. Waiting for him.

Without really answering her last question, he swings his cart back towards the aisle behind seven, where no one can really see them. "Um, are you cold? We're too close to the window — there's a draft, I can feel it." Though he definitely appreciates Alex's outfit tonight, his intentions this time are more noble. And it really doesn't have anything to do with being cold. Jack looks back at her and smiles, finally. "Hi Andie, it's really nice to meet you." Hopefully the idiots outside aren't watching him…and her. He heads over to the side of the aisle that's displaying the ink cartridges, and grabs a few black ones off the shelf.

Alex doesn't seem too worried about the men in the SUV — but then, why would she be when she knows nothing about them? She glances towards the window when he gives it an odd look, but her attention is soon back on him, like she finds nothing of particular interest outside. At a calm pace, she follows him over to the next aisle, her eyebrows going up a little at his question. "I guess it's a little drafty," she grants with a slight shrug, even if she doesn't really feel very cold. Whatever the case, she doesn't seem in a real hurry with her own shopping, and is quite content to follow him to the ink cartridges. "I can never remember which type I need," she notes with a wry smirk, nodding her head towards the cartridges. "There's so many numbers to keep track of."

Half-nervous and half-dazed, Jack clears his throat, adding a few more inkjet cartridges into the mix. They're yellow and cyan. "Oh, yeah? What kind of printer are you using? There's laser and inkjet," he points out, trying to sound as casual about it as possible, but failing. He's not good at keeping his emotions under control when he's under stress. Clearing his throat to get a better grip on himself, he flashes her another grin.

But it's forced.

"Your best bet would be to bring an empty cartridge with you, if you haven't already." For the most part, his tone is friendly, if not a little shaken. There's a long pause after that.

"Inkjet?" Alex replies, sounding like she's guessing, before she gives a little laugh. "I think? I don't know. It came with the computer. I don't really need ink right now, anyway. But I'll remember to bring the cartridge next time I do. That's a good idea." She gives him a grin with that, seeming relaxed herself, but then, it's easy to seem that way when compared to the nervous hacker. She gives him another long look, her eyebrows lifting and she seems rather sympathetic. "Are you sure you're okay? You seem a little, I don't know … tense?" Trying not to show too much interest, she idly picks up a cartridge and takes a look, making a face at the price.

"I know, right?" Jack answers her in the form of a question, noting the face she made at the ridiculous price stuck over the cardboard package. "I think I remember telling you how incredibly expensive NYC is. And Brooklyn's just the same." He reaches over her to pull out another cartridge, but it's a generic brand. "I usually stock up on these when I'm almost broke," he admits, looking sheepish. His jitters gradually fade as she continues to speak to him, and he shows the cartridge to her. "They make laser too, in case you're interested in buying these next time."

"Isn't it almost cheaper to buy a new printer?" Alex wonders, picking idly at the price tag to make sure it's not some sort of trick. She loses interest in it quickly though, and tosses the cartridge back into the bin. "Yeah, you mentioned the cost of things. I believed you," she assures him with an easy grin, not needing ink cartridges to prove his point. She leans in to get a better look at the generic cartridge — while conveniently also bringing herself into his personal space, if only by a few inches. "I'll keep it in mind. Do they work the same? I don't need to be some sort of technical genius to use them, right? Sometimes the cheap stuff is way harder."

Jack's mouth seems to go dry as she gets closer to him. Whether it's the hormones or the fact that he's disturbed out of his mind for this girl — possibly both? Swallowing in reaction to her sudden closeness, the teenaged hacker nods. It seems he's at a loss for words, but then he recovers just in time to respond to her. "This particular brand makes them compatible for certain printers. It won't work on all of them, but if you read the back of the package it'll tell you which printer it's useful for." That said, the kid takes a step back. "Um, do you live around here?" He looks a little bit skeptical as he asks, stretching his hand back to mess up the side of his hair.

Alex straightens back up, nodding a few times. "Sounds easy enough. Just the same, maybe I'll have you come and check before I drop all this money on some ink," she suggests with a laugh, making it hard to tell whether she's actually serious about asking for his help on that. At his question, she pauses for a fraction of a second before smiling gently and shaking her head. "Not really. I have a friend who lives nearby. And it's hard to find big stores like this downtown." She gives her shoulders a shrug as she glances around at the big box store. "So are you working on a big project or something? All this ink and paper…"

"Yeah, generic store brands are the way to go," Jack murmurs, as she mentions spending a lot of her money on ink.

"And it's definitely bigger than most places I've been to," he concurs, "…but it's also conveniently located close to home." Wherever home is, he makes it sound like he's not going to be staying there for long. In regards to the big project, Jack simply nods. "Oh you know, sometimes you're just working on your school thesis and it ends up taking a lot more paper than you initially had expected it to." He's fibbing. Not that Alex would really know, but the telltale signs are sort of there. Jack looks away from her as he says this, speaking more to the wall than the pretty girl in front of him.

"So." He then looks for something else to grab, if only to distract him from getting all nervous again. "If you're serious about me coming over to check, I certainly wouldn't mind. I mean — whenever you're not busy?"

"Moving?" Alex guesses, from the way he speaks of home. She tries to look just generally interested in a conversational way. "That sucks. Especially if you're trying to work on a big project too. You must be pretty busy. No wonder you're stressed." He may not have admitted to being stressed, but she moves ahead with that assumption anyway. She offers an easy grin at his offer and nods her head. "Sure, it would be good to know that I'm buying the right thing. I'd hate to waste all that money. I bought something once… well, I don't even think it was for a printer," she confides sheepishly.

"Pretty much." That's really all Jack has to offer for now, as she mentions both the moving and the stress. He doesn't seem to want to delve into that.

The boy smiles back shly, "Don't worry, we'll make sure that you buy the right thing. I know it can be a bit overwhelming for some people." He says it in a way that's not at all condescending. "Tonight's going to be a rough night for me, but I can stop by tomorrow morning if you'd like. I mean, it'll be a quick visit. We'll take a brisk look at what you have and go from there."

Alex backs off the whole moving/stress angle for now, instead focussing on the positive and offering Jack a grateful grin when he agrees to help her out with this printer problem. "That's be great," she enthuses, nodding a few times. "A brisk look. I like that. If you have time, I can even provide breakfast. Or coffee, at least. You know, since you're being so nice to help me out and all." She shifts the basket from one arm to the other, the few items rattling around in there.

"Wow, that's awfully nice of you," Jack replies, though there's definitely a look of disbelief coming from him, at that. He pivots and takes a step forward to grab at a few of the USB flash drives that are hanging by the ink cartridges. Then he throws them into his cart. "I'm not sure how long I'll be able to stay, but since you're offering, how can I refuse." He grins, "I'd like that. Guess I'll see you tomorrow then, maybe at around nine?" The young hacker isn't moving towards the cash register just yet.

"Hey, you're the one coming out of your way to look at my crappy old printer," Alex points out with a laugh, shrugging her shoulders. "Tomorrow at nine. Sounds good," she confirms with a nod, glancing down at the items he's added to his cart, but quick to return her attention to him. "If you want to give me your number, I'll text you with the address and directions and everything," she offers, reaching into her own basket and pulling out the Post-It notes, which are quickly unwrapped, and then a pen from the box. She came prepared, apparently.

It takes a few seconds for Jack to decide which number he should give her. The veritable rolodex of sequences are quickly calculated in his head, before he opens his mouth to speak. "Seven-one-eight, five-five-five, two-four-two-four." Once that's said, he glances carefully back at the darkened window, watching someone get out of the SUV. "Whoa, shit, um…yeah, so there you have it! I'll see you in the morning, Andie." He swings his cart around and starts heading for the cashier, practically running towards her. It's probably not the nicest way to end things, but for Jack, it's better than letting those thugs outside see Alex.

Alex jots down the number that he gives her, holding the pen cap in her mouth. It means that she gets the number but is a little late in replying to his hasty exit as she quickly drops the Post-Its back into her basket so she can take the cap out of her mouth and re-cap the pen. "Uh, yeah. See you tomorrow, Jack," she calls after him, moving closer to the end of the aisle so that she can watch more closely to see where he goes after paying for his purchases. She picks up an ink cartridge to look busy in case he looks back, but considering his speed, she's not too worried about that.

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