Cliched Spycraft Still Works

September 05, 2017:

Sally Stojespal hands over a new tool to Rin Nakano for use in their mole hunt, and they discuss what the job is really like.

A nondescript movie theater

A random screening room of yet one more generic movie theater, probably a chain of some budget brand. The names don't matter, simply the privacy and the background noise.


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Phil Coulson


Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

Sally Stojespal is new to the spy game. In some ways, this makes her useful - she doesn't follow the typical means of communication, doesn't know what you're 'supposed' to do and can be occasionally unpredictable. Perhaps not always in the best way, but at least she has a logic to her actions all her own - and hopefully, not easily discerned by whatever mole there is in SHIELD.

Assuming, stomach-churningly, there's only one.

She'd recieved her package from Stark, and knew that there was only one way to test it. At least this won't give her a severe electric shock and put her down for the count for a few minutes. She'd hooked up the small device to her own tablet, the one from Stark Industries - and then sent a message with it.

At some point in Rin's day, she receives a message. Normally a message like this is the equivalent of a text sent over cellphones, but there's something curious about this one, the way it pops up on Rin's information system. Starlight Arthouse Cinema. 3pm. 'Rush' showing. See you there. Sally. Then the strangeness starts.

There is no identification. It isn't a recorded message, nor is it a live transmission. It's simply there. Checking the means of input - voice, keyboard, or other - simply gets an "I don't know." How was the message delivered? The same answer. There's not even record of it even existing in her message history…yet there it sat in all its impossibility.

Meanwhile, Sally waits in the theater - she's seen the film twice already, the drama about race driver Niki Lauda. Totally makes sense for someone like her to see it again, right? Right. Back of the theater, dressed in a Ferrari polo shirt, white slacks, and her favorite driving shoes, she's only half paying attention to the movie. Blue eyes flick left to right, taking in the few people on this weekday matinee that happen to be in the audience. Noone near her, and so far - she's pretty sure - noone paying any more attention to the girl in the back than makes sense.

Now for Agent Nakano…

Rin has been toilling away at her list, trying to make sure everyone is doing as they say they are doing. Unforunately at this time she hasn't crossed anyone else off of her list. But it takes time, especially if she wants to remain undetected. It's frustrating to say the least, and the fact that she can't go to Coulson and consult with him is equally frustrating. Still, this is her job and she's determined to do it.

Rin doesn't like receiving odd messages on her devices. If Sally's name hadn't been attached to it, she might have dug in a little further. At least she hopes it's from Sally. Still seh researches the theater, verifies that the movie is actually being played and decides to check it out for herself.

She arrivees cloaked, using her implant to make herself appear invisible, she scans the room to verify that Sally is here, and slips into the seat next to her. It probably looks odd to just see the seat lower, but she slowly leans in and speaks in a low voice. "Don't sceram, it's just me."

She'd have worked a bit further in digging into people's pasts, but hadn't wanted to get any deeper without a means to cover her tracks. Being spotted snooping around, and without the typical training to learn how to avoid said spotting, would leave her completely 'up a creek' as the saying goes. So Sally had turned to Stark, first, with Coulson's hesitant blessing.

Of course, being called away to Ukraine for handling a stolen nuclear material shipment and dealing with the aftermath of that had made her covert mission a little more difficult as well. At least it had led to a fairly comfortable day off, a day she'd needed to talk…and to think.

It's a small theater, out of the way, typical of a low-audience arthouse place that gets most of its funding through grants and special events. Certainly not anything big and bombastic, and in its way comfortable and quiet enough. It's also sparsely populated, making it easy to keep track of just who's arrived and what they're doing…as long as they're not wearing some kind of full invisibility camouflage.

The quiet voice from her side gets a jump, but she manages to strangle the yelp in her throat. A man in a black balaclava, for an instant, sits by her side - but a blink later, there's noone there. Noone at all, despite Agent Nakano's voice. "Alright. That…is very cool. It is also terrifying. A stealth cloak?" She half-smirks. "No wonder he picked you. Among other things." And then she can't help but send the smirk into full, looking around again and then watching the movie halfheartedly.

That smirk comes with a small sigh of relief. "Did the message arrive, ah…'properly' I suppose?"

When it gets busy like this, Rin doesn't bother with days off. After all she needs to continue to be a full time Field Agent, as well as doing Coulson's side projects and tinker on her own as well. This is probably the first time she's left work in days and still this is more work as she doubt sthis is a social call.

When the 'cloak' is mentioned, she shakes her head. "This isn't Harry Potter." She says dryly before she lets herself fade into view and rolls up her sleeve. There is an implant in her forearm with various ports and a small led display on it. "He picked me because I'm good." She states plainly turning to look at the movie for a breif second before she nods her head.

"Yes, it was receieved. Do I get to know how it was sent or do you intend on driving me insane with it?"

Time off would be nice. But there's a lingering feeling that time off is like sitting in the pit stop, watching cars - or Hydra - pass you by with their own plans for the future. Sally's seen that Hydra's also not the only game in town - they've got copycats, other organizations, and of course the pile of simple mundane terrorists that the world keeps seeming to puke up like a homicidal social hairball. No wasting time allowed.

"Harry P-oh. Da. Ah, though, I was thinking a little more Star Trek, but." Rin apparates, and Sally glances down at the woman's forearm. "He did indeed. Do I call you Invisi-woman now or something?" It's a superhero thing. And being able to turn invisible and sneak up on people is definitely a superpower.

There's a momentary soft snort at 'driving me insane' that Sally manages to cover with a cough, in case it draws anyone's attention. It isn't as if the movie's a comedy, after all, and it really wouldn't do to seem like she's mocking the film. "I suppose that it worked then. It's what I mentioned on the boat. Mr. Stark's bragged about being able to enter SHIELD databases despite their security, and the boss said that much of their equipment comes from him."

She shrugs. "It seemed logical he must have something that lets him in, a mousehole or something. In case of repairs, of course, but." She reaches into the pocket of her jeans, drawing out a small device - a USB drive, with a reconfigurable port for whatever might be at hand. It's also a little larger than a typical USB, but shows nothing else on it.

"I asked him to make me a key. To share his mousehole. This is it, and how I messaged you earlier." Hand kept low, covered by a small bucket of popcorn, the little device is held out where noone can see it to Rin.

"No.. Agent Nakano is fine." Rin says with a slight frown as she tries to picture herself in a caped costume. She makes a face before she shrugs. "The things we face out there? We need to have every advantage possible, so I am more than happy to agument myself so that I can better fight our enemies." Sitting as far back as they are, thankfully they are not disturbing the few patrons that are there.

When she spots the 'key' her eyes light up, and she refrains from snatching it out of Sally's hand and hiding it away to pick apart and learn from. Still she slowly nods her head and smirks. "Well, your test was successful. That bastard does have a back way in, I'm going to need to resecure my things." And make sure she isn't using Stark-tech on her personal devices. "Am I able to use it? I don't want you to break his rules."

"I suppose you're right. Back in Sokovia…" The girl's soft accent says a lot. While Sokovia isn't 'home' anymore, not the default thought that New York City has become, it's still a turning point. "I'd never realized just how big and dangerous the world is, but…I suppose, that's something you do quickly. Realize it, I mean, in this job." Sally shakes her head…and perhaps just wishes, for an instant, that she could turn invisible at will too.

It would certainly have its advantages, that's for sure.

The movie flickers on, the dialogue and sound effects drowning out for anyone else what the two might be talking about. As spy moments go, it's certainly cliche…but also still one that works. When Sally hears her little test was successful, she can't help but grin while watching the film.

"Good. I was not sure how it would appear. And yes." It's a small device, a little larger than a typical USB key. "I've already thought about that too…at least, keeping my diary on paper. That can't be remotely read, I hope." Then again, with the kinds of spy equipment and detection gear…ugh, it's like a police state, almost.

She nods, handing the small device over to Rin.. "Yes. He knows I'm not the best when it comes to hacking," she adds with a snort, "but understands that there's clearly someone involved. And that we think it's someone within SHIELD, but Mr. Stark doesn't know why. He thinks this is about…something else. I didn't like lying to him, but Agent Coulson insisted."

Hopefully he'll understand and forgive her soon enough. Or more preferably never find out…but no, she can't hide it forever. Honor Unyielding. She'll have to wait until after this 'mole hunt' is over, but she swore an oath to Stark on her family name.

"I'm not sure what you might find. But this at least can look through and copy things without leaving a trace, or send messages the same way. The interface looks just like a standard Stark Industries operating system, so…be careful.

"The earlier you learn that, the better." Rin replies, and for a moment she almost explains further. Perhaps she is willing to tell a bit of her past, one of her reasons for fighting these monsters. She thinks better of it, and for a moment gets distracted by the movie on the screen. Since she's coming in half way through, she has no idea what's going on.

"It's best that if you don't want something to secretly find out about something, that it's as non technological as possible. Granted, someone can easily just swipe it off of your desk but I'm sure a tiny padlock on the book itself should keep people away." There is the faintest hint of a smirk on her lips before she continues. "One of our suspects only uses paper, and is playing the, 'I'm too old for this shit' card. So I'll have to figure out a way to get that information the old fashioned way." Which her spy training should cover, but it's been a while since she's done it.

When the piece of techology is handed over, Rin immedatly begins to look it over. Part of her wants to tear it apart and read what is inside, and part of her really wants to hold her promise to Coulson and not hack into Sark's things. So for now she turns it over in her fingers, letting her eyes read over the signals it's pouring out. "Beautiful. This will absolutely help, especially with communications. Hopefully this gives us the edge that we'll need." Not that she's in any rush, she knwos that this is going to be a long game she has to play with the mole and she needs to do it carefully.

"I have a few leads I'm going over and I will update the data on secure drive shortly. Hopefully it's enough for others to dig into their own investigations. I haven't spoken to Phil in a while, I figured it was best to not be seen with him more than I need to be, this will at least open up communication with out compromising his position."

"It is something I am learning very quickly." The observation is grumbled, but frankly…if she hadn't been present for it, if Rusalka hadn't known about what was going on, and had been able to bring so much help together and help design that fighter that Stark built? It's not a pretty thought to consider.

The mention of the suspects gets a nod - then a blink of surprise. "Really? Hrm. Who is it?" She wonders, thinking…any of the five could be that person. 'Too old for this' - they'd be as old-fashioned as Phil Coulson is. "At the very least, if they're the mole, this will still exonerate the others. If we don't find anything incriminating, I mean. Ah, that's right."

There's half a smirk given as she stares at the movie, not really paying attention to it. "Miss Lewis was going to try to make contact with one of them, did she have any luck? I got wrapped up with an incident with Agent Coulson in Ukraine and Sokovia that…" No, there's not a balaclava-wearing dead man in the seat in front of the movie theater. Blink harder. "That didn't go as well as it could have, I suppose. Not to mention being eaten by mutant rats."

The first rule of that battle is, you do not talk about the pigeon.

The second rule of that battle is, YOU DO NOT TALK ABOUT THE PIGEON.

"Good. I admit, absolutely I am unsure of what to do. I'm not an intelligence specialist or subversive or anything. I'm an engineer," Sally pouts. "But absolutely I can not let Agent Coulson down. Not personally…and if this is serious, then it's a blow to SHIELD as well. I mean…what do we do when we find the mole?"

Her great-grandmother's suggestion might well be a valid one - but she enjoys different circumstances. Especially when fighting for Polyuchyn's survival against Hydra and all other comers, it's far too easy to simply slit the throat of a known spy and leave them on the battlefield. Especially when those spies believe that if you strike one down, two more will rise. It calls for more subtle and dangerous methods, Sally realizes.

What will you do, Agent Coulson?

"I am sorry you have to learn it at all." It's not that Rin is all that much older than Sally, but she was pulled into SHIELD at about the same age, it's really not the place for a normal transition into adulthood. Still she returns to the task at hand. "Roscoe. The man is almost retired, so you would think he wouldn't do anything that would jepordize that. Unless perhaps the retirement is forced so they could bring in someone younger and SHIELD can pay them less, or perhaps he's in debt. Or maybe he just didn't like what SHILD has become since the 'good old days.' This is all speculation, but just because he's practically out the door doesn't mean we should rule him out."

When she mentiosn the rats, Rin raises a brow and shakes her head. "I'll have to read that debreifing later when I'm bored. Mutant Rats is a new one to me." She replies with a smirk before she shakes her head. "When we find the mole? We then need to find proof. We could easily figure out who it is, but if we don't have the evidence to back it up, they could turn it against us. I know I am expendable, if it were to all blow up I can easily be a scapegoat. They could also go into hiding, or hit the shiny red button to ruin everything. It's hard to tell what a mole will do, which is why we have to be careful. I could have easily solved this in a few days time, but it would have been sloppy and I would have failed to get the proof we need. That's the frustrating part. The waiting."

Reaching up she rubs the back of her neck and shrugs. "I don't want to let him down either. So I suppose we have to do our best."

Sally waves a hand dismissively. "It is alright. I just…" She gestures to the movie screen, showing a clip of a Formula One racecar screaming through tight turns. "Thought I would be that, when I was older. Maybe sooner. But I suppose this is more important, don't you think." Shrug.

"If he is old…perhaps he seeks a better retirement. Or perhaps he has been part of Hydra for a very long time. Baba, at least, would still pick up her rifle and fight for Polyuchyn and Sokovia; she has been fighting them since they first existed." Which would put the matriarch of the Stojespal family in her nineties, of course. "I suppose there would be similar, hm…'old-school' men as well. If, that is, he is the mole."

Sally looks over, and reaches out a fist to gently bump Rin's. "Indeed. Knowing what is next would be nice, but…I suppose it all depends on what we can find. And prove. Watching the trial of Sergeant Barnes, the idea of evidence back and forth…" Sally shrugs. "My mother has it easy. As baroness, her word is law if it comes before her. And most things aren't nearly this complex. Nor…long."


"I suppose this is going to be an endurance race, then. The only way to win is to stay in, and never let anyone get past you the entire time. Well." Sally frowns, wondering. But then takes a long deep breath and decides. "At least we can keep in touch with Agent Coulson this way. We can get his guidance on what to do, and keep in touch without anyone noticing. Um."

Sally looks over, blue eyes taking in the Japanese woman for a moment. "I suppose…you are the specialist, what do I do now?"

"That looks like a dangerous profession." Rin gestures to the screen. Though it just might be less dangerous than being a SHIELD agent, but that's a bit of a toss up. "I would say it's more important, but less fun." She can't help but to laugh softly at the thought of her grandmother joining a fight. Her's is far less animated than that and she would more than likely just nag someone to death than use a weapon.

When Sally asks what to do next, Rin shrugs her shoulders. "Let me compile some information and get back to you on that. I have to make sure you're equipped for what I'm asking you to do. I don't be the one answering to Coulson if you end up getting hurt."

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