A Team Again

March 13, 2016:

Oliver asks Felicity to visit him at the Queen Mansion in order to decrypt some files he recovered from an op looking into SIGMA

Queen Mansion

The Queen Mansion can be found near the outskirts of Gotham, and is
officially part of the neighbouring Bristol Township. Lying in a heavily
wooded area, it affords the Queen family absolute seclusion. The closest
neighbours are almost 10 kilometres away. Constructed primarily of
Sandstone, the East Midland castle was transported from England to its
present site in 1894, where it was painstakingly reconstructed stone by
stone. It has served as the main estate of the Queen family since 1976, when
they purchased it.

Since then, it has undergone several renovations, sometimes due to changing
technologies, and others due to the whims of the Queen family. But while the
interior may change with each generation, the main residence remains 60
metres long, 26 metres wide, with a 25 metre high turret in the centre.

In addition to the bedrooms, bathrooms, living areas, and foyer, the mansion
includes an office, library, armoury, exercise facilities, ball room, dining
room, natatorium, wine cellar, and quarters for the full time servants.

Some of the design features are less well known, such as the panic room, the
secret corridors, and the security facilities. Overall, it has an old world
feel to it. The Queens may not have had money as long as some other
families, but they've adapted quickly and comprehensively. As you walk
through the Queen Mansion, it will remind you of a museum, with its ornate
decorations.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Oliver has been, well to put bluntly has been rather MIA the past couple of weeks from the office and there's been little action as the Green Arrow either. Ever since the encounter with The Joker in which he got blown up he's been laying relatively low around Gotham.

The where of his hiding has been Queen Mansion, a place that has been turned into a mauloseum of a past life with plastic dust protection on the furniture and a bare amount of staff that come in regularly to clean and maintain it. Even Oliver rarely visits the mansion except to get away from things, like his own Fortress of Solitude. In the suburbs. Worth Millions.

He sent an email to the tech-wonder that is Felicity Smoak a few hours previously, asking her to come to the mansion to pick something up. A package he needed her to work on specifically.

Felicity Smoak arrives at the Queen Mansion a bit nervously and worried. However, ever since his disappearance on the island awhile ago with no word and no contact, she should assume that he is just going to do things on his own without telling her about it. It's taken quite a bit of self restraint to not just hack into his whereabouts and spy on him, as she is a worrier.

Approaching the enormous mansion the Queen Fortune has left him, she has her laptop and various other tech needs in a bag slung across her shoulder. Whistling at the sheer expanse she rings the doorbell. She figures if she knocks, no one will ever be able to her it.

Oliver hears the doorbell and clambors out of his chair where he was sitting to head that way. He has been a bit cautious of late and so the door opens slowly as he peeks out of it.

The man looks probably how he looked on the island. Unshaven with tired, weary eyes that have their twinkle to them but not as bright as usual. Seeing Felicity, he nods in greeting and opens the door fully while stepping to the side to let her in, placing the sword that he had behind his back into it's sheath that was resting near the door.

"Thank you for coming Felicity. I was wanting to lay low for a few days to make sure nothing was being traced back to me; didn't want to place you in unnecessary danger and it looks like things are clear… ish."

"Danger? Me? For coming to see you?" Felicity quickly looks behind her and then behind. This is the Queen Mansion. Unless someone's figured out he's the Green Arrow, she can't imagine why should would be in danger for that. She's inside the door in a few steps and looks at her employer and friend worriedly. Then, her eyes widen at the sword.

"Woah there, Inigo Montoya!" Her hands stay up as if waiting to be stabbed until he puts it back in his sheath. "What happened? Some body didn't— I mean, they haven't " She waits till the door is closed and mimes shooting an arrow. "-figured that out?"

Oliver hesitates a moment then shakes his head, "I don't think so. But there's always the chance and I did … well I did something." Only then, with the door closed, does he offer Felicity a small smile and an incline of his head further into the mansion, talking as he walks. The temperature in the building is cool, like one would find in a museum to preserve artifacts which really this place is akin to.

"During my meeting with Former President Bush he had said something about a FEMA site known as Mount Weather. I decided to act on this information and infiltrated it. For a place that is supposed to be… well let's just say there was more security than I was expecting and it led to some explosions."

He stops in the living room area and picks up a flash drive. "This is a copy of their computer systems, I can't even come close to sniffing at it… only one person I know could. But this could be a key to that SIGMA situation." That's when Oliver bites his lip, "And if anyone puts together that the Green Arrow is Oliver Queen, they'll come after both."

"Explosions?" Felicity frowns. "Oliver, why didn't you call me? I could have told you just how much security they had!" She chastises him before realizing, "Wait, did you say Former President Bush? That's just, someone you can ask for a meeting with?" Her eyes widen and she studies him. "Of course it is. You're Oliver Queen." She shakes her head, disbelieving.

Following him into the living room, she takes the flash drive and blinks. "Was this just lying around? Or did you get it copied from their servers?" she asks. It's an important question, as far as she's concerned. "So, someone attacked you as Oliver?"

"It is a a copied from their servers." Oliver offers towards Felicity. "I broke into the facility, stopped a couple of guards from alerting anyone I Was there and copied the server data onto the flash drive." He nods towards the object in Felicity's hand. "Once I had the data, I blew up the room to make sure there was no way to trace what was taken or why I was there."

The explanation of how being done, he moves on to why. "With that data, I'm hoping we can find out just what specifically, or rather where, the SIGMA people are operating, find out about their structure. But the problem is, how do I explain how Oliver Queen came across that data? That's why I'm worried. Once it's known that I have the data, they'll come after me. But I can't get the data to Jemma any other way."

Felicity works the thumb drive in her hand, moving toward one of the dust covered couches and sitting on it a bit delicately - it's as if she's expecting it to collapse under her. Plucking her laptop out of her bag, she puts it on the coffee table in front of her and leans over. "Well, good thing you came to me! I eat encryptions for breakfast. Not literally, of course, as I would die of starvation. But, if encryptions were wild game, I would be a master hunter."

The laptop powers on and she plugs the drive into the USB port as she loads up the data and her programs load. Her eyes are glued to the glowing screen. "Oh, they're good. They've got encryption on every level of this data, not just at the entry point. If they weren't evil? I would want to have a long dinner with their coder. Luckily for you, whenever someone is this paranoid, it means they usually use the same few keys to make encryption faster." Furiously she types for a few minutes.

Then, she looks up at Oliver. Her expression is worried, as it often tends to be when discussing his dangerous plans. "We could submit it anonymously. Like a cat bringing a dead mouse to the door. I'm not quite sure why I've got all these animal and hunting metaphors happening, but you don't have to put yourself in danger to make sure we get these guys. We can find another way to do this."

Oliver retreats to his chair and sits down in it, picking up a glass and pouring himself some water before doing the same for Felicity, pouring it out of the pitcher that has been iced down and sitting on the coffee table. "And how do they trust the data if they don't know the source?" He asks it quietly towards the tech. "I thought about that angle, but if we got a package of data from an anonymous source how trusting of it would we be? It needs to come from someplace, we just need a story of how we came by it that is believable enough."

He doesn't relish the idea of lying to Jemma but the layers of protection need to be maintained, for all of them. "When you get into the data, if it looks like something a former White House staffer might have had access to, we could sell that story. I made a donation to the Bush Library after the meeting, so that could easily be the way it was paid for. I don't know, I'm not really into espionage myself. We need to hire a spy or something to advise us."

"And how will they trust it from Oliver Queen, who can't say how he got the information?" Felicity replies just as easily. Her algorithm is running now, so they have a little bit of time to discuss this. "That's pretty suspicious. Look, Jemma and I are friends. Let me give this to her and she can pass it to SHIELD. I'll tell her someone asked me to decrypt it and I thought she should have it."

Felicity raises an eyebrow at his cover and then just gives a disbelieving laugh. "You gave some money to the Bush Library and they said, "Here, Mr. Queen, please have this multiple encrypted thumb drive filled with dangerous and untraceable information?" That'd have to be quite the donation." Pushing her glasses up on her nose, she looks down at the screen agin. "Look, I don't want to get into it, but I…I used to know people who would do this sort of thing. I told Fitz about it. If I just tell Jemma that it came from them, she'll get what I'm saying."

A ping pops up on her screen. "Okay, first level's done. Looks like all this has a log of phone entries. That's a Gotham area code." Typing, her expression is serious, concentrating on the information in front of her. "It's not listed. Buuuttt…" more typing sounds, "From what I can see from that phone number and its activity, it looks like it's a cellphone. One that's been operating from 2007. I'll start putting a trace on it. WE should be able to figure out more about what they're doing and who they're calling that way."

Oliver's shoulders lift up in a shrug, "I never said I was good at thinking up the stories. You're the brains of this operation." He hasn't called her that in some time and his water comes up to take a sip again. "A cellphone number? Ok, that's at least a start for us. Make sure to get a copy of that so we don't give away the only source; although you probably already did that."

There's a long sigh now. "I'll trust you to find a way to get the information to Jemma. I just wanted to try to keep you out of things Felicity, so you weren't in danger with it."

"I was nearly not the anything of this operation," Felicity tells Oliver with only a bit of snark in her voice. She doesn't like being excluded from things when she knows she could help. At the request to get a copy of something, she merely raises an, 'are you serious' eyebrow at Oliver. She's already securely copying the decrypted information elsewhere.

With her own sigh, she shakes her head, looking over the laptop at Oliver in his chair. "I already told you that you don't need to do this alone, Oliver. I'm your friend. I'd be glad to help you. I don't really care if it's dangerous. I may not be a fighter or able to do all that parkour that you can do, but I can do this," she gestures at the keyboard, "very well. And I can help keep you safe while doing it. You wouldn't be walking blind into places any more."

"Probably wouldn't be getting blown up by missiles either." Oliver comments dryly to himself before he winces. Oh right, hasn't really shared that tidbit with Felicity to indepth either. "I try to involve you Felicity, just sometimes I get.. caught up with things is all. I get into the moment and pursue the moment. It doesn't always give time for a phone call. And I don't particularly like interrupting your evenings especially when you are out on a date with what's his name. That just seems like overbearing boss things."

"But when I'm making plans, I'll keep you involved, scout's honor." He holds up three fingers, then two, not really sure how to do the whole scout's honor gesture and shrugs, giving up on it.

"Blown up by missiles? Is that why you haven't been shaving?" Felicity is great with these questions. She does sound very concerned, however. It's not a sarcastic remark. With a sigh, she waves a hand. "I get it, you've got a busy vigilante life to lead. His name is Leo. And we haven't been out to dinner in quite awhile. He's been on assignment out of country. I'm not sure when he'll be back. If he'll be back." It's clear the idea upsets her as she focuses very closely on the screen scrolling text and numbers in front of her. There's another soft chime. Another layer of encryption is gone. It's a good distraction.

"Hm. This is a bunch of names and dates. Looks like they were all members of that facility you raided. Theywere there in 2007-2009…" her voice drifts off as she scans the information in front of her. "Looks like they were transferred out all over the country. I'm seeing New York, California, Colorado…" Then, she pulls up another window on her tablet to continue searching through identifiers. Felicity is one of those few people who can process multiple computer screens filled with information at once. "That place was supposed to be a FEMA site, right? None of these people are on any federal employee roster. And these places they were transferred to don't exist any more. They're all military bases and federal facilities that were shut down."

Looking up at Oliver, it's a serious moment, but she can't help but grin at his trouble with what a scout's honor should look like. "Something tells me you were never a Boy Scout."

Oliver leans forward at what Felicity says; not about the boyfriend or anything along those lines but rather the part about former bases and the like that were shut down. "Now, when you say they're shut down, are we saying reported shut down or really shut down? Is there anyway we could check to see if they're still active locations but just removed from the federal databases? Ghost sites that people aren't supposed to know about?"

The fact that they are on a trail of something definitely has Oliver piqued, enough that he delays responding to the missile thing for a moment before adding. "Yes, trying to rebuild the confidence and evaluating my tactics on things. So yes, I have been hiding in the mansion for a week or so."

"Wait, you really got blown up by a missile? Did you go to the doctor?" Felicity gives him a skeptical look. "Let me guess, no. You didn't break anything, did you? We should take you somewhere. Say you fell off a cliff while skiing or whatever it is rich people do when they get grievously injured." Still, the worry and the mother henning.

Though she's reluctant to do so, she moves on. "I'd have to take a deeper look into that," Felicity tells Oliver with a bit of a wince. She likes to portray herself as an unstoppable hacker, but she has limits at times. "I can definitely find out for sure, but if they're sending people there, it's gotta mean they're just taking them off the map, right?" She gasps, putting a hand to her mouth. "Unless the government is like my mom and these people are like the hamster I had when I was seven and this is their way of saying these people went to the hamster farm where they'll be able to shed through toilet paper rolls forever and won't get stuck in the spinny wheel."

"I'd bet the 45th floor of the building that they are taking them off the map." Oliver offers with a small grin touching his lips. "It makes sense, doesn't it? You need this group of technological agents, what better source than people who don't exist because they are off teh books. Then base them out of facilities that no longer exist. It just… seems to fit. Use the government's set up then close it off from the government itself."

At least it makes sense to Oliver, he leans forward placing elbows on his knees to think before going back to the previous topic. "I was actually dead. Well, mostly dead. Building collapsed on me. A friend was able to find me and get me to a mystic healer witch mage person."

The last encryption level pings, but Felicity doesn't care. "You were dead?!" Felicity actually stands up at that. "You were dead?! And you didn't tell me until you needed help with an encryption?" At the 'mostly dead' phrasing, her voice actually gets a bit higher pitched. "Don't Princess Bride me, I already Princess Brided you in the hallway!" There's both worry and hurt in her voice. "I can't believe you didn't tell me!" Frowning, she looks down at the screen and then back up at Oliver. "Why?"

"First off, Dead is an overstatement." Oliver counters quietly. "It was really just a few broken bones and some internal bleeding." As if that is going to in any remote way make it better. "Second, I didn't tell you because what could it change? I pick up the phone and call and say, 'Hey Felicity, it's Ollie. Yeah just wanted to let you know I survived a missle explosion and a building collapsing on me.'". His green eyes look up to the tech. "Third. Maybe I don't want you to see me like this. Maybe I don't want my partner to know how weak I am."

"You said you were dead!" Felicity raises her hands up only to drop them again, frustrated. The description of his wounds does not make it any easier for her to hear and she slumps back down on the couch with the white dust cover over it. Her voice is softer now. "Maybe I couldn't have changed anything, but I could have helped. Brought over Big Belly Burger or something." Because, obviously, fast food is exactly what the doctor ordered. Then, she sighs and shakes her head. "You're not weak, Oliver. You survived someone shooting a missile at you. That's pretty much the opposite of weak."

"And in the process, couldn't protect civilians who were killed or stop the Joker." Oliver counters quietly towards Felicity. "Because I'm distracted. I'm focused on too many things." He sighs and sits down on the couch rather than the chair, near where she had been sitting. "If it makes you feel any better, the magic healing only took like 30 minutes. I slept for a day and was fine afterwards."

"But you tried," Felicity reminds him, the anger gone. "And you nearly got yourself killed in the process. I'd say that matters where it counts." It's the type of gentle encouragement that she's very good at: reminding people of the small and large victories. "Well, soon we'll be done with these SIGMA people and that'll be one less thing you'll have to worry about."

Returning to the screen, she reader through the last level of encryption the thumb drive holds. "It looks like it's just a partial file, but it's listing materials that moved through that place. Guns, bombs, weapons, ammunition…I'm pretty FEMA doesn't deal in those." She scrolls through. "Looks like there's a few serial numbers. If you give me some time, I think I could track down who sent these to that location."

After a pause, she looks back up at him. "I'm not sure what the typical turn around time is on mystical healing," she replies, this time there is no snark or anger there. "Is thirty minutes a short or long time to get magically healed?" That will decide her answer on whether it makes her feel better or not.

"I… don't know if it's a short or a long time." Oliver responds with a small chuckle. "The woman who did it mentioned a totem or some kind of protecting ward. I've been trying not to think about it, because mysticism makes me; well it's not the sort of thing I like to delve into more than I have to. But I may look into it, if I do, I might need a second opinion with me?" Clearly he's offering her the chance to be the voice of reason on those decisions.

"We have serial numbers, we have a phone number here in Gotham, and we have some old bases to check out. I think Felicity that this might not be a smoking gun, but it's enough for us to start. And of course Jemma'll be looking into things as well most likely but they have bigger fish to fry. Take her the information, figure out which angle we should pursue." The We is mentioned several times.

"I'll take it to be a short time," Felicity says, though she has no idea. It's more than possible she'll start researching it more. That's just what she tends to do. "I'd be glad to be a second opinion," she tells him with a smile that shows how pleased she is to be included. "There's quite a bit here, yes. I think there's a lot to be investigating." Once everything is copied, she unmounts and pulls out the thumb drive. "I'll take this and the unencrypted information to Jemma. And we'll take it from there." She also uses the We. It's nice.

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