2011 07 02: Divide and Conquer

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Mission report found.

Mission Name: Divide and Conquer
Date of Mission: July 2, 2011
Locale: Tenth Floor, The Manchester — Upper East Side - Manhattan

Tamara drops in on Thomas and they plan out some strategies.

Tamara Thomas

Several days have passed now since that eventful night, and things have so far been peaceful. Tamara doesn't trust it to last, considering, but she's also refused to let the psycho killers run her out of her new home. Still, being away as much as possible seems wise. Warily now, she's made her way out into the hallway, a gun ready at hand and half her attention on the elevators as she makes her way down the length of hallway that separates them and then raises a loose fist to rap lightly on Thomas's door. "It's me," she calls out for good measure, not wanting to be a surprise guest for anyone else who might be a bit twitchy.

Inside the apartment, Thomas is tapping away at a laptop, doing his best to make sense of what he's reading. There's a mixture of the jargon he knows, and another sort he doesn't— and he can't exactly ask anyone at the office to help. "Be there in a minute," he calls out absently, tapping out a brief message to someone going by 'Subzero Paradise' before snapping the lid shut and answering the knock at last. "Ah, come on in," he says, nodding and opening the door wider.

"Am I interrupting?" Tamara inquires, her eyebrows arched slightly, but even as she's asking, she's also taking him up on the offer to enter, stepping over the threshold and then clear of the door so that he can shut it. She might be foolish about personal safety, but she still feels better having a door between her and the hall. "I had hoped we could, hm, discuss a few matters, but I can come back later if you'd prefer," she offers, glancing around the apartment briefly before returning her attention to him.

Besides the laptop, there's a pen and a pad of paper by the phone, and a briefcase leaned up against the side of a chair, but nothing that's obviously been in recent use. "No, I just finished," Thomas answers, "at least till I hear back from someone. What did you want to discuss?" Closing and locking the door behind her, he heads over to the fridge to pour a couple of drinks— the least he can do, after helping empty one of her bottles the other day.

"Ah yes, the waiting game. Possibly the least fun game ever contrived by man," Tamara replies with a little smile, turning to continue facing him when he heads for the kitchen, although she remains still in place for the moment. "I was hoping to discuss my next move, actually. Our next move, perhaps," she continues, actually hesitating slightly on this point. She's not used to either needing or wanting help, but after some deliberation with herself, she's decided if she's in this deep, it would be stupid to pass up a valuable asset - and she does try not to actively be stupid.

Thomas shrugs. "I can probably come up with worse." Waiting to be allowed out of Siberia ought to count, for one thing. And there's been no hesitation on his part; they're a threat against him, too, and distancing himself now seems unlikely to help. "Speaking of waiting, have you heard back from your contact yet?" A glass is passed across the counter, and another poured out for himself.

"Yes, well, it still sucks," Tamara replies with a shrug of her own, moving over now to claim her drink, lifting the glass in a half-thanks-half-toast sort of gesture. "I haven't heard much of anything. I'm tired of waiting. My patience was never much good to begin with, and a few attacks haven't improved it. As soon as I'm physically able, I figure I will just go gather information myself." She is healing, at least. With a thoughtful frown, she glances down at one of the cuts, as though she's musing over whether or not it will yet withstand more physical activity.

Thomas goes through the motions of clinking glasses, knocking half of it back at one go. He's never been shy about those. "You're looking better, at least— you might want to play that up next time you run into them, let them think you're weaker than you are. So where do you plan to gather from, where did all this get started?"

"It seems they've underestimated me twice so far. Let's hope it keeps up," Tamara concurs, taking a sip of her own drink but not hitting it quite as hard as Thomas - but she's not being terribly demure about going slowly with it either. "My original plan was to visit her shop, but the leg injury delayed that. I'm not sure how much is still there that would be of use, but I may still pay it a visit. The security system isn't terribly good and it'll be easier now that it's no longer an active crime scene. On the other hand, it's probably a big waste of time at this point." She lets out a sigh, looking almost angrily at her leg. This is all its fault, really.

"It might be," replies Thomas, "but go anyway. These people have resources, but they're sloppy— maybe they left something behind that they don't think is important. Maybe somebody else saw something. And if you don't find anything… then maybe you can act like you did, try to draw them out again before they're ready." Let's hope the third time isn't the charm for them.

"Using myself as bait. There's a novel idea," Tamara replies, seeming almost amused by the suggestion, despite the two near-misses. She takes a moment to consider while sipping her drink. "It's a place to start, at least. I feel better doing something. The other option is to chase down the guy I had her looking into, but I'm not even sure whether he's a link in the chain or not. They didn't start coming after me until I started poking around. It could just be a coincidence."

"Maybe I should try to talk to him, then, if he's less likely to work out. Do any of these people or places have actual names? I can help more if I have some details to work with." A nod from Thomas serves to indicate the notepad by the phone, sitting within more or less easy reach.

"Force of habit," Tamara admits without any real chagrin. Setting her drink back on the counter, she leans over to retrieve the pad of paper and begins to write in elegant, ladylike handwriting. She pauses partway through the first name though, looking back up at him. "I can trust you with all of this, right?" He may have saved her life, but sometimes one does not equal the other. Still, the moment's consideration seems enough for her - without really waiting for his answer, she continues writing in the rest of the name and what few details she has on the man.

Thomas leans across and tries to read upside down, then gives up and pulls his chair around next to Tamara instead. Yes, that works much better. "Well, if it's just about talking to him, then best to catch him while he's out riding or something. Is there something you need at his house?"

Tamara glances over as he joins her on this side of the counter, but her attention is back on the pad, neatly finishing off the few points and then setting the pen down beside the pad again. "Originally there might have been, but that job has definitely gone sideways. At this point, I'd just like to know if he's involved or if the timing was simply bad. If we can rule him out as a suspect, at least it narrows the field. And if he is involved, it could give us some leverage. I'd much rather bring this fight to their turf than to have them keep bringing it to mine."

"It should, yes. 'Pity if your wife found out about this, she's already under so much stress'." If he's involved, otherwise they're just creating another enemy for themselves. Satisfied that he's got a handle on that side of the case, Thomas looks up again, though he leaves the chair where it is. "Think he'll be easier to reach than the shop? Whichever one we only get one shot at should be second."

"The wife is definitely an ace up our sleeve if we need to play things that way," Tamara agrees, sitting back in her seat as she eyes the pad thoughtfully. "Honestly, I have no idea how difficult he's going to be. He remains the unknown factor in all of this. Shame my source of intel was killed before I had the chance to hear back." She's not quite so indifferent to the woman's death though - there is some wryness to suggest she isn't just brushing it off so easily as that. "The shop is more of a sure thing, but also time-limited. I can't imagine it will sit vacant for long in downtown Manhattan."

Thomas shakes his head. "It'll be pricey, but someone will be willing to pay that price. And probably screw up any evidence that might be left." He inclines his head at the mention of the death, but leaves it at that— that's what people do in this line of work, after all. "I've got some time in the morning, I'll do some footwork and see where I might be able to catch him. Less people around near his house if I time it right."

"My thinking exactly," Tamara agrees with a nod. "Once new owners set up shop, I don't think we'll find anything worthwhile there. Then it really will be nothing but a waste of time." She shrugs to the incline of his head, picking up on what is perhaps an unasked question, but having little to say in response either. "All right. If he is involved, you're less likely to raise his suspicions anyway." She takes another sip of her drink, thinking on something for a moment. "And I imagine this goes without saying, but do be careful, hm?"

If there was a question, it would be 'who was the source of intel'. But what would it mean to Thomas, really? One dead stranger is about the same to him as any other. Instead, he snaps his fingers. "Can you pose as a buyer yourself? It'd get you inside, but if the wrong people would notice you doing it…" Well, she probably knows the answer, either way. "And of course I'll be careful, I don't want to die any more than I want you to."

Tamara considers this, looking skeptical initially before the idea begins to gel in her mind, and she seems almost impressed by it. "That might work, actually. I'm not exactly at the top of my game for doing a little light B&E, even if it doesn't pose a great deal of challenge. Going above board avoids that risk. If I'm going to attract attention, I'll probably manage no matter what I do." She takes another sip of her drink and then looks over at him sidelong, smiling at that sentiment and then raising her glass in another mock-toast. "To our continued good health, in that case."

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