2011-02-21: Outsourcing



Date: February 21, 2011


From a strange recruiting session to a strange supplier of false credentials, the adjustment to civilian-run snooping remains a tricky one.


New York

The card - and the curious token; a password of sorts? - is set aside for a few days.

Initial impulses aside, Carl has decided not to burn his bridges with the old boring gig, not right away at any rate. He still has to meet Alyssa (again) and find out what sort of mission she's been on. He hasn't done any front-line work before - unless the support group counts, which it probably shouldn't - maybe he isn't cut out for it, after all.

And before any of that, he needs to get that ID squared away. Pay-as-you-go phone activated and tested a few times, he picks up the card again and punches in the number.

Stanford is in the middle of playing Halo, obviously, from the way he's leaning on the edge of his seat while rocking his headset. "ComeonbabycomeonbabyDAMMIT!" That's probably what happens when the phone rings in his ear and he's pausing the game to press the button and get himself on the phone call. "Yo. This better be important. Like, seriously, somebody better be dead." Stanford has no idea who is on the other end, but they just made his team lose him which means his team goes down and their record gets messed up. Not cool.

On the other end of the line, Carl arches a brow— out of instinct, there's no one else at his apartment to benefit from the sight. "Someone might be, before long." For all his cheery attitude, Roman seemed quite serious about having his agent taken out if she proved unredeemable. "And I'm apparently supposed to deliver a package of gummy bears. Your favorite, I'm assuming?"

"Not if they bears. I hate bears. You better look again." Stanford is back to playing the game, honestly, which is why he's not even really paying too much attention to the person on the phone. Nobody interrupts him when he's trying to win. Plus! "You got about ten seconds left before I'm finished tracing this call and the cops 'ell be there to pick you up."

Well, that's a bluff if Carl's ever heard one. Pick him up for what? He hasn't even done anything illegal. Today. "They might have been worms, I didn't think to check. You know a guy named Roman? Healthy expense account?" And if he doesn't, then Roman is gonna get an earful about what constitutes reliable contact information. Private outfits are so unpredictable sometimes.

"… Shit." Stanford doesn't acknowledge or deny anything. He just curses and turns off his controller tossing it to the side. "You got twenty minutes to get to…" A loud truck passes by as Stanford attempts to tell the man on the phone the address. "And bring my frogs with you." And that's all he says, before just automatically disconnecting from that call. Just in case something else goes down.

Carl reaches for the notepad next to the phone, halfway through writing down the address by the time Stanford hangs up. Who the hell eats something with 'frogs' in the name? Well, they can't be any worse than worms— and yes, good, Roman does keep proper track of his operative's tastes. Wallet, keys, phone, and the bribe, and soon he's on the road, punching the address into a GPS search as he pulls into traffic.

Driving Montage Ends…

It's a building that looks so abandoned that it shouldn't even be called abandoned. But that's the good news. The bad news is that the only opening to the building looks like it is through a gaping, dangerous hole in the fence. Just follow the non-trail to the darkness and ring the bell. Maybe certain people that have shown up at this address will get buzzed in by people watching them on the monitor right now.

And Carl sticks out like a sore thumb. At least he's not in a shirt and tie, but the polo shirt and slacks are still visibly out of place— one thing the computerized maps neglect to mention. Pacing back and forth, he checks the time on the temporary phone - his regular one is in his back pocket as well, but powered down - finally reaching for the button just as minute 20 is about to finish counting down.

Stanford is rolling his eyes, but there are buttons held down that buzzzz the door open and there are lights that lead through this corridor and that one and to another door that is wide open and being held that way by the slim man that's standing there holding it. "You come in peace?" is asked, the moment he can see someone that doesn't belong in this part of town down the hall.

Caution is boring, but necessary from Carl's point of view. Hey, for all he knows, the guy needed to show up first and get somebody else out of the way. Moot point now anyway. "That's me," he says, holding out the snack pack as he reaches the second door. "You got what I came for? Need a photo?"

Stanford is smiling like nobody's business at the sight of his Gummi Frogs. They are snatched up and he backpedals to leave much room for Carl to follow him inside his Safehouse. Inside, of course, it looks like some combination of Transformers, Independence Day, the TARDIS and The Matrix Saga. So many screens and keyboards and… yeah. He's got the whole world wired. "Yeah, just have a seat in front of the green screen. Once I get your picture uploaded, I'll modify it for 'age' and we'll be golden."

Ah, a truly comprehensive set of kit, or at least the appearance of one. Back a year ago, when he had a setup like this? Yeah, those were good times. Carl settles in, eyeing one of the logs as it zips past. "What age are we going for? And this one box looks wide open— please tell me it's a honeypot?" He's gonna be pretty annoyed if the stranger turns out to be more sizzle than steak.

"Not your age. Age of the ID. A lot of people make the mistake of getting a fake ID and then using it and it looking like they look exactly in that same moment. What I do, is that I give the ID a little history. A little life. A little something that makes it pretty obvious that it's not fake." Stanford shrugs and pops a Gummi Frog or three into his mouth. "You just relax and let me worry about what's going on in the Batcave." Yeah, Stanford is not going to be sharing too much information about his set up with this friend of a client.

"That does make sense," replies Carl, scratching his head. "I would've thought of giving the card some wear and tear, but the photo makes sense too." Leaning back, he keeps an eye on the suspect log— not poking at it further, but still, it's one of the few real clues he has about the guy behind the mouth.

"Oh, the card has already been taken care of. The numbers are faded on the back. The strip is scratchy. There's even a couple stains from your favorite food. You love hot sauce by the way." Things are done by Stanford as he snaps pictures and then works on Carl's face through the picture that's been uploaded to the computer. Somewhere in the midst of all this working, Stanford still manages to chewchew on his Gummi Frogs. So delicious. "You brought money too, right? I don't work for Gummi Frogs only…"

There's a momentary grimace before Carl reaches for his wallet, flipping past various pieces of real ID to get to the good stuff. "I was kind of wondering about that. Thought maybe you got a wire transfer in advance— what kind of rates are we talking?" As generous as Roman's expense account is, he expects to need most of it for other things.

"I'm giving you the Friend of a Friend Discount. So just give me like two hundred fifty and we'll call it even." It is by now that Stanford has the screen nice and filled up with the card that's ready to print. Which is why Stanford is over at the card machine, making sure that things are going according to plan and the right card blanks are inside. "And make sure nobody knows where you got it from. In case you get busted."

What is the going rate on fake IDs, anyway? Is a quarter-grand a ripoff, ven for a quality job? Oh well, the important thing is that Carl can afford it; the bills are counted out and passed across without complaint. "Hey, I'll tell them exactly where I got it from— some Mexican dude over on the east side, Jose or something. Had a scar on his left arm."

"Jose Nuevez." Stanford pops the card out and extends it with a couple of fingers to make sure that Carl has it by the time the money is back in Stanford's hands. "That guy still owes me money." Stanford has no qualms about sending whatever authorities are available to hassle people that don't pay their bills.

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