Date: December 14th, 2009
Tammy pretends that Canada is a major player in the world of international espionage. Are the Terrible Twosome bright enough to realize the lie? Tune in to find out!
"Joint Task Force Three"
Miserable weather and miserable moods seem to go hand in hand. There's freezing rain coming down outside, which should make the interior of this smoky jazz-style bar seem welcoming. And perhaps it is, to the other patrons. But for Lena and Tiago, it is a glum evening indeed. The pair have staked out one of the booths lining the wall, not far from the small empty stage; tonight the music is all piped in, since it's Monday, and there really isn't much of a crowd.
Of the two of them, Lena is looking in better shape. She's sober, for one, and beneath the veneer of depression there is the gleam of a mind working at some critical problem. On the table before her is a small notebook, which she is tapping with a pencil, and at her elbow is a prop drink: rum and coke, in which the ice is slowly melting. Places like these, you have to drink to avoid dirty looks from the staff. So she pretends.
There are other reasons to glance at the punk though. With her old castoff jacket on the bench beside her, Lena's revealed to be in her PVC bodysuit, black with neon turquoise accents, and big clompy boots. Suitable for a club, or a music video, but somewhat out of place here. There wasn't a chance to grab some extra clothes out of Sydney's place before cops descended, and while they have money enough for drinks, cash for new clothing is out of the question. But the teen ignores any looks, choosing instead to frown across the table at her companion.
"I dunno what the hell we're going to do. I mean…once it calms down, we're going to the house, right? She won't be there, she's not moving…maybe we can avoid her."
Tiago has been pounding it back. That's the best way to describe the man, who had already been a little tipsy by the time that the woman had met up thanks to the stress of nearly getting arrested in Times Square this morning. Now? He's relaxed, with his lids drooping slightly, leaning against the counter idly as he sips at his alcoholic beverage and stares at Lena. "Tha's such fuckin'…bullshit. I aint workin' with that bitch. I aint workin' with fucktards who work for that bitch. Anyone with half a fuckin' mind knows it's a bad idea…fuck, I'm /drunk/ and I know that fo' sure…" His head lolls around idly, and grimly his jaw clenches. "I dunno, man. I guess it'll be better…but I ain't doin' a fuckin' thing tha' has ta do with her…I'ma punch 'er in the face if I see 'er 'gain…"
Whatever the weather, or the mood, it was a much more festive atmosphere that followed the government employees into the pit of dankness in the afterhours of the night. Two men and two women entered, all looking studiously out of place and entirely too well-dressed for this sort of place, appearing to be more like businesspeople than those who were here out of some desire to drown away their aches and worries. The men were remarkably different, one tall and lanky, the other shorter and fit, while the pair of women looked strikingly similar, though one wore glasses.
All four seemed to be having a pleasant enough time, though the older woman seemed to hover protectively near the younger, pointedly interposing herself between her and the two men, especially the shorter one. The thin male was at the end of delivering the punchline of a joke, if the laughter of the other three was any indication, or perhaps in the midst of revealing and embarassing secret. Either way, the shorter man takes charge and begins herding them all towards a table not that far away from the brooding pair with the oddly dressed woman, even going so far as to try and put his hand on the small of the younger woman's back as they walk. It never makes it to it's destination, however, as the older female swats it away roughly, lifting up a warning finger with a glare that promised death behind the younger's back. Chuckling softly, the male raises his hands in surrender as they're all seated, an action which has the youngest of the group looking at her companions quizzicaly. No one explains it to her, though.
"Hey, your the one who just got the big raise, shouldn't you get the first round."
"Fine." Tammy, the older woman, slides out of her seat, narrowing her eyes at both men. "But hands to yourself while I'm gone."
"Tam, c'mon. You're embarassing me."
Tammy doesn't reply to the younger woman, walking towards the counter while undoing the clasp that holds her wallet closed. Just as she makes it there, the bartender turns away right as she begins to open her mouth, helping one of the regulars down by the other end of the bar, leaving the asian woman looking rather peeved, and muttering. "Well. There's goes your tip."
"No, you're not." Lena is firm on that point, and she fixes him with a look to drive that home. "You're not gonna lay a hand on her. She's a junkie but I guess they're buying she's not with a spy after all so we're not gonna do shit to her. If she's on the team, we stay the hell away, Chi." The girl pauses to drum her fingers against the table, eyes cutting towards the newest arrivals. Two men, two women, yuppie suits. They're observed for a time before she looks away. But not before rolling those blue eyes at the behavior of the shorter fellow.
"Look," she goes, returning her focus to Tiago and lowering her voice slightly. "We got bigger problems, right? If she's not working for the assholes looking for us. The cops are crawling all over Syd's apartment, I dunno where she is or how she's doing and…and are you listening to me, Chi?"
"I'd rather fuckin' stab myself than be on a team with 'er. I aint on her team. I don' wanna be on her team. I aint goin' ta be on a team that listens ta some stuck up, rich bitch tha's on the fuckin' papers every other day. They think that's fuckin' smart? Oh yeah, we're a super undercover special team, workin' 'gainst the damn government, but we got like a like fuckin' dumbass celebrity as our poster girl? Yeah, no." Tiago narrows his eyes sneering and wrinkling his nose uncomfortably. He's not aware of the arrival of new personalities, blissfully and drunkenly oblivious. His voice is a little loud, a little slurred, but that's to be expected and not overwhelming in the regular chatter of the bar.
When Lena lowers her voice, he leans forward in her direction, narrowing his eyes thoughtfully. "I'm listenin'! I'm listenin'…an'…okay. I dunno. I don' wanna be a part of that. If they're bringin' the damn police in, I dunno what we can do. There wont be no police in the new place righ'? 'Cause if so…then I dunno. Maybe we should move out. 'Cause it aint goin' ta work for me. For us. It aint goin' ta work."
It's not as if she meant to overhear, it really isn't! Tammy, having been left bereft at the bar by an inattentive bartender, had nothing to do but rest an elbow against the fake wooden surface and wait for his return. And listen to the sounds around her, not the least of which was the voice of a man and a woman nearby. Okay, so she did mean to eavesdrop, especially at the word 'team'. The woman's voice was too low for her to pick up everything she was saying, but the gist was clear.
Thankfully, the male, as men do, was much more verbose in his complaints, and certainly wasn't trying nearly as hard to be quiet about it. It doesn't take her brain too terribly long to put two and two together and come up with 'terrorist'. She casts a glance back towards her own table, noting with dissatisfaction that the shorter male was leaning a little too close to the younger woman, and that the taller one was pointedly looking at her, silently imparting a telepathic 'where the hell's the drinks' with his expression.
Ignoring the male's questioning glances, the dark-haired woman has only to take three mere steps before she's sliding into a seat across from Lena and Taigo, a pleasant smile on her face to combat the 'who the hell're you' expressions she would soon be faced with. "Excuse me, but if I'm not mistaken, I heard you and your friend talking about a team working against the government?" Her voice is kept low, even, professional. "Please, before we start with the standard denials, allow me to introduce myself." Snapping open her wallet, Tammy is careful not to let either of the pair see it's contents, instead withdrawing a Canadian driver's license. "My name is Doctor Lansing, and I represent an agency you may have heard of called Joint Task Force Three. From time to time, we've been known to covertly hire certain… discontented people withint the United States to do things we don't have the freedom of movement, as foreign nationals, to do ourselves. Shall I go on? Or did I mishear?"
A kick, not hard but carefully aimed, is sent under the table at the Brazilian's shin. "If you don't stop with the loud voice, I swear to God I'ma pour some coffee down your throat without waiting for it to cool down," Lena grumbles at the man. "Maybe it's…I dunno. It's like she's just on the edges, you know? Because if she calls me a rapist one more time, I'll let you—"
Who the hell are you doesn't even begin to cover the look Tammy is rewarded with for her interruption; add in alarm, nausea and terror might approach a better definition. Only one word out of three is parsed, but 'agency' certainly rings a few bells. Enough of them that her hands disappear beneath the table's edge, ready to rip the gloves off. "What the fuck, lady? I don't know what the hell you're talking about." Oh wait, the intruder already pre-empted the standard denials. Lena is left scowling, eyeballing the Canadian card with open hostility. "I thought Canadians were supposed to be polite."
Tiago lets out an emphatic 'oof' as he is struck right in the shin, and gingerly the man bends down to try and soothe the sting of the hit by rubbing his poor limb. Unfortunately, leaning over in such a manner is not conducive to his less-than-perfect balance, and after suffering through a moment of near vertigo, he grips at the table to keep from toppling over. "Oww," Tiago whines expressively as he rights himself, pouting as he sets his hazy green eyes Lena-wards. "Why you gotta do that for, baby?" Beat. Oh! Lower his voice, right. "Okay…don' hurt me no more, tha's fuckin' abuse. An'…I dunno. How on the edges is she if they be listenin' ta her bullshi-"
There's another woman here. Blearily, the man narrows his eyes in her direction, leaning towards her. "Who're you?" He slurs out the vocal portion of Lena's look, adopting one of pure curiosity himself. "Joint Task Force three…wha'?" Beat. "Wait - wait - Canada has task forces? Ha! That ain't true, you're a liar. They got…what's it called. Them dudes on horses - mounties up in Canada. Y'can't trick me none."
"Maybe I've been in New York for too long." The nervousness Lena shows is catagorized instantly, as both dangerous and unpredictable, yet also usable. In just those first few moments, the psychologist was already starting to form a theory on what her early childhood must have been like. It's an automatic, unconscious cataloging, going in the background, behind her foremost thoughts. "Though if I looked and acted like a Canadian, I wouldn't be very good at my job, now would I?"
Tiago receives a wane, strained smile of congeniality, one that looked almost as if she was forced to smile merely to avoid having to curl her lip up in disdain. "Joint Task Force Three is an agency of the Canadian government which counteracts terrorism at home, and abroad. Our American equivalent would be the CIA. The Royal Canadian Mounties are officers of the law, we are not."
Withdrawing her identification card, Tammy slips it back into it's designated portion of her neat, tidy little wallet, looking down briefly as she sets it in her lap, then back up, fixing first Tiago, then Lena with an even gaze. Apparently deciding to make herself comfortable, she leans back a bit in the chair, crossing one leg over the other. "I'm not here to trick you, either of you. We all know what was said, so let's not pretend any different. Let's cut to the chase: We can pay you to do what you were likely already planning to do anyway. If your conscience forbids you from acting openly against your homeland, well… information brokering is an ancient, and profitable, business. You have enemies in the government, I take it? I'm sure we can come to an arrangement that is mutually beneficial."
Lena would dearly love to slam Tiago in the shin again, but she's hardly about to do while there's a witness. Much less a witness babbling governmentese, even if it is Canadian. She does, however, elbow him in the ribs and give him a sharp look. "You need to go take a piss." His protest is cut off sharply, as elbow-jab becomes Lena-sized push. "Go to the fucking bathroom!"
Yeah, they'll probably have words about that later. But it's worth it, if it means the big too-friendly blabbermouth is away from the table. She waits until the Brazilian has absented himself before fixing a dire look upon Tammy. Her hands linger under the table as she herself scoots to the edge of the seat. "Look, lady, I still dunno who the fuck you are, but you don't just drop into a conversation and start talking about this kinda bullshit, right? Someone might make a call, men in white coats could come and pick you up, and then your date over there's gonna wonder what in the hell happened to you. Got it? And it is bullshit because there isn't anyone who's gonna pay a couple of street kids anything just for knowing how to say 'government'. They kinda teach that in elementary school."
There's mild amusement in Tammy's eyes as Tiago is forced to exit the table by his irate better half, which helps her form a few more points to add to her profile about the pair, both their origins and their relationship. She stays silent until the Brazilian has made his exit, and even through Lena's tirade, though the small half-smile becomes rather strained as she goes on with her rather coarse language. At the end, one of the dark-haired half-asian's eyebrows tick up slightly.
"You've seen too many movies. The game of international espionage is hardly that cut and dry. Your government likely already knows about me, and mine knows that they know, and they know that we know that they know, but everyone pretends not to know. But you're right, my motives are hardly altruistic, or even in your best interest. The only interest I care about is our national interests. And you're not going to see a cent from me until one or both of you can prove that you have something useful for us, information or otherwise. This is business, not a charity offering."
The wallet snaps open once again, and a small slip of paper is torn out of a tiny pocket-pad, scribbled on with a pen produced from an inner jacket pocket. "I can understand that this all might be a bit much to take in at first, and mistrust certainly does serve us well in our business, doesn't it? Here." Using her forefinger, she slides the slip of paper containing ten digits across the table. "Take my cell number, in case you think of anything you might be able to help us with. If not, then I suggest you pretend this conversation never happened, and forget what I look like. Have a pleasant day." Sliding out of her seat, Tammy stands, glancing back at her own table to see not one, but three people looking at her quizzically, holding up her hands and mouthing 'I'm going, I'm going.'
"What the fuck? They know about you?" That changes things and not for the better. Suddenly Lena's eyes are darting around the dim interior of the bar. This may have been what Gene meant when he said her first reactions were likely to bite her in the ass (although he was ever so much more polite about it). But the woman is leaving before Lena can do so, and she's left a slip of paper. A slip of paper which is snatched up, scowled at with open suspicion and then crumpled up in a messy ball before being shoved in the pocket of her coat.
"It's impossible to know for sure just what the various American intelligence agencies do, or do not know. It's something both of our governments pay billions of dollars every year to find out. Before I go, let me pay for a few of your drinks, as an apology for the interruption."
A twenty is left on the table as Tammy slides away from it, towards the bar, getting there just as the bartender… turned away again. "Oh, you've got to be kidding me." With a scowl that wouldn't have looked out of place on a thunderhead, Tammy plants her arm against the bar, fingers drumming irritably against the faux wood, her other hand on her hip. A hand on her shoulder causes her to jump, half-spinning around to catch sight of the younger woman she'd come in with, who'd apparently decided to come check up on her.
"OH! God, Sofie, you scared me. Mm'just waiting on the jackass to hurry up and take my ord-" She's cut off by the sound of someone clearing his throat, turning to find the bartender, behind the counter, facing her, with a wry smirk on his face. With a sheepish smile spreading across her face, Tammy blushes from ear-to-ear as the younger woman breaks into snickers that she tries to hide.
"Uhhhhhhh… sorry. Four beers, please?"
Tiago had protested, and begun to whine, but once he was on his feet, suddenly something clicked. Not only was he a liability - for he knew that he was drunk - but he really /did/ have to relieve himself. One pitstop to the little boys room later, and Tiago returns with newly washed hands and a smile of relief on his features. Automatically, he makes his way to their table, glancing around blankly when he realizes that the foreign woman has disappear, and while sliding back into his seat and picking at the glass in front of him, the Brazilian arches his brows at Lena. "Where's the mounty? Wha' was that all 'bout, Lena?"
If looks could kill, the one burning holes in Tammy's back might well be lethal. Sure, sure, Lena was the one who sent Tiago off, but having to wait for him to return is excrutiating when every instinct she has is singing at her to run. It's a fight to remain still; the toe of one boot is tapped restlessly against the floor to transmit that inner tension.
No sooner has Tiago seated himself once more than she explodes into action. Her jacket is snatched up, arms shoved into the sleeves and she stands from her chair. "That was goddamn wrong is what it was. Cmon. She paid for the drinks, we're out." Leaving him no chance to argue, the brunette strides for the exit, giving the "doctor" and her party a wide berth, and a last suspicious look as she goes.