Wait 5 Minutes, Then Panic

August 12, 2018:

Agent Green and Courtier pull a mission in the Punjab.

Somewhere in the Punjab

It's hot. And dusty. And grassy.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Simon Green is sweating like everyone thinks pigs sweat: profusely. He's wearing SPF 2000-ish, a boonie hat, and loose clothes, and he's still not comfortable. Of course, 93 humidity and 85 degrees will do that for you. So will brilliant sunlight when a slight cloudbreak makes you turn pink. Sitting on sacks of grain in the back of a truck bumping down a dirt road, a kerchief pulled up over his face to keep the dust out of his mouth, he taps his comms on and murmurs, "Green is go. Ten minutes out, Trisket. Who's riding shotgun on this one?"

There's barely a hint of lag as that warm, throaty voice murmurs back in Simon's ear: "Courtier. Did you not check to see who was your handler before you went into the field?" Her voice takes on a chiding tone. "I see we have a lot of work to do, Agent Green."

Occupying one of the cubicles in the operations deck, Parambir Ghai sweeps her attention between the three monitors. One is completely occupied with the footage coming in from Simon's ocular camera, while another has multiple communication channels being streamed. The last is divided into organized quadrants, each containing constantly updated information.

"Courtier, they're letting you in front of a computer now?" Simon's words are light, teasing, but there's also a pleased grin behind the recognition of her voice. Evidently, the teasing question was rhetorical, because he continues on immediately, "And I probably should have checked the duty roster, but I like a bit of a surprise now and then." Some day — possibly even this day — those words are going to come back to bite him. "Not too heavy a breakfast this morning, Courtier? I want to make sure you're light on your toes." That might still be teasing, but more reasonably, he inquires, "No change on guard patterns from yesterday yet? The two on the eastern perimeter still making a sloppy handoff?"

"Breakfast was several hours ago, Green." Rami's reply is delivered with dry humor as she continues to tap through her screens. She glances to the monitor that bears Simon's camera feed. She speaks to it briefly before she's looking back over her data briefs. "No change. Still quite sloppy. They must have been doing this for too long. There's no real expectation anything could go a-miss at this point." She pauses, leaning in toward her monitors — an unnecessary gesture, but still one done out of warm intimacy. "Did you have a pleasant night's sleep, Green?"

"Buzzed to sleep by mosquitos outside the netting." Simon glances over his shoulder, tracking the progress of the truck, then sinks back against the sacks of grain, "Not very good company. How about you, Courtier? Can't have you dozing off on me from a bad night's sleep. Or boredom." This is the hardest part of a mission sometimes for the field agent, waiting with absolutely nothing to do. It's good to have a good partner-in-banter.

While the two banter, Courtier is constantly changing her focus between her monitors. She taps through some windows, pulling up a tight satellite feed on Simon's destination. SHIELD has impressive satellites, the ex-MI-6 agent has to confess. She can almost see the footprints of the guard pacing along the south border of the camp. "I had a pleasant night's sleep. My tomcat didn't come to visit me, though." Her voice grins, even if her smile is actually quite light. She glances over her monitors again. "When you get to your stop point, you will be just about five minutes until the hand-off."

"I can make it," Simon responds to her reminder on the time crunch. And here comes the crossroad he's counting on — completely full with a herd of goats. Perfect. The truck squeals slowly to a stop, and Simon hops off and scurries into the tall grass at the side of the road. "Green clear. Moving to insertion point." There's a moment's pause as Simon starts running through the grass, darting aside to find a light track between the grassland and the field just beyond it. "Speaking of… no tomcat? That sounds disappointing. Hope he's home soon. Someone else might get interested and start yowling around." The words come quickly as he trots across the fields just off the southern end of the ancient ruins where the separatists have set up camp, his viewpoint bobbing with his loping steps and his breath coming a little quicker.

Rami's eyes sweep through the satellite footage and then the blurred movement of Simon's ocular camera. She does not immediately speak to Simon's tomcat comments until she's sure that his pathway is clear. She zooms out the satellite a bit to try to get a full view of the goat herd and Simon's running path. "Mmm," she muses casually. "Well, I rather like my orange tom. I'm sure I can hold out for his return." Then the handler frowns slightly. "Green, the hand-off is late. I'm not seeing his approach yet."

"Consistency is good…" Simon's breath comes quickly now as he darts down a crossing pathway, making his turn to the north, now racing the guard pacing the southern half of the eastern perimeter, "…until it gets boring." At her warning, he slows his pace, "Late's not as bad as early, but…" His steps slow even further, and he frowns, completely surrounded by crops, with his vision cut off — at the mercy of his handler. "…I don't like when things don't go according to plan. Can you spot both of the sentries? Did one stop?" The field agent gathers the silenced pistol from inside his loose jacket, holding it low at his right side. It's not like he's going to be able to pass himself off as a local if he's caught anyhow, not ginger and more-than-vaguely-sunburned as he is.

Parambir frowns slightly, distracted by the lack of second sentry. She shakes her head slightly, pulling out the zoom on the satellite camera as far as it will go while still being useful. "No. I don't see him." Then she blinks, panning her focus to the goats. "Wait, I got him. He's talking to the goat herder." She zooms in the camera again, this time fixed on the sentry and herder. "Hard to tell at this angle, but he is not at all pleased the goats are there." She glances to Simon's ocular feed. "The first sentry is getting impatient."

Simon looks down at the ground, doing his best to reconstruct the scene Rami is describing in his head. A slow smile spreads across his face, and he starts back south again, away from the planned entry point in the middle of the eastern perimeter, "Let me know when the first sentry goes north to see where the second is." The pistol is tucked away again, and he rubs his hands together with anticipation, "When he does, I'm going in behind him." His grin is easy to hear in his voice, "Have I mentioned lately how much I love goats? Right now, it's a lot."

The alteration to the plan is met with a slow, amused smile. "You cannot keep a goat in your apartment, Agent Green." With a quick drag of her fingers along the satellite footage, she creates three individual segments of the satellite, each focusing on a specific target: the first sentry, the second sentry, and the gate that Simon is meaning to break through. "He's starting to look back toward the goats…. he's starting to move." Then Rami glances toward Simon's ocular footage. "He's on the move, heading toward the goats. The gate is open, repeat, the gate is open." The handler is now darting her attention between the satellite feeds and the feed coming from Simon's footage.

Simon grins at Rami's amused riposte, even though it's invisible over the link, "No, but I can get a goat curry." The field agent looks back and forth along the little dirt track between head-high crops, looking for another crossing path, then just shrugs a little. Rami's running commentary draws him forward slowly, one careful step at a time between tall stalks, his eyes down, watching for any less-than-pleasant animal life that might be sheltering in the crops. When she makes the open call, he speeds up, the stalks swaying a little around him. But with the attention of the sentries on the goatherder, he hopes its enough. Far too soon, he breaks out of the edge of the crops and into an open, cleared area before a half-tumbled wall. Clearly, these separatists are not Green-Beret-trained, because he would have taught them to clear a longer sight-line around their encampment. Right now, however, he's quite happy with that fact. "Insertion imminent." That draws a little quirk of his grin, and he studies the backs of the two sentries for a moment, then crouches low and breaks into a squatting run, "Slipping in." As he nears the wall, he slows, letting her provide warning of anything dangerous in the corner of the camp directly on the other side of the overgrown wall.

"Agent Green, have you gone native?" Parambir's response is quick, and then she's distracted by keeping track of each feed, particularly as they converge together when the first sentry closes in on the second. Now there are three men all shouting at each other: the two sentries and the goat herder. Each is to blame, as she can almost hear the bellows from the second sentry as he turns on his compatriot for abandoning his post. She diverts her attention to the keyboard in front of her, rapidly firing off a series of quick code. "Green, they're being distracting, but that may mean a higher probability that we are off-timing. I've got satellite feeds tracking all sentry movements." She fires off her code, and abruptly the satellite becomes semi-transparent over a previously constructed camp layout. She starts tagging the sentries, and their movements become vibrant red pathways.

"Long, long ago, Courtier." Simon slithers over the wall, dropping quietly on the other side and glancing around. He nods to himself, murmuring, "What, I'm being distracting? Should I stop mentioning that I'm getting all sweaty and bothered?" Beat pause, "by creepy crawlies. Oh… you said they're being distracting. Don't worry, I'm good with improvising when I have to." He stops as one of the separatists wanders through the camp ahead of him, and he subvocalizes, "Have they moved the artifact from the tent it was in this morning? I see three of them between me and the original location." Once more, the pistol comes out, but it's held down at his side, a last resort.

Parambir snorts audibly over the comms, and she shakes her head. "Do you flirt with every handler that you work with, or am I special?" She chides Simon without looking away from her monitors. She has all the sentries now marked and their predicted pathways marked. "I've got a sentry headed your way, twenty feet to your southwest. There's three structures blocking line of sight. Turn right in three feet, and there's a new pathway to the tent. About a third of the sentries are converging toward the goats. I'm running predictabilities on their paths. You're just going to need to trust my directions now, Green. Can you do that?"

"Now there's a smart answer to that, Courtier, and a true one," Simon whispers. He looks to his left, as if he could see through the intervening structures. At her cue, he advances, turning right and following around the curve of the next tent, "You should know by now that I can follow directions, Courtier, especially when they're good directions." The pistol comes up in both hands as he rounds the corner of the tent, and then down again as he moves between the two shelters, approaching the target location. A low murmur from within the tent to his right draws his attention, and he lowers his voice even further, the mics on his throat catching his words nonetheless, "Two inside to my right. Talking quietly. Clothes rustling." He pauses at the end of the tent, waiting for her signal on what to do next.

"Scoundrel." The word is said half-distractedly as Parambir continues to monitor the movements. She frowns at Simon's report of two, low-talking, and rustling. She takes a heartbeat to scan over her feeds and then she says in rapid command, "Move, and move now. If you go straight ahead and then a hard left, you'll be in an empty tent. It's the loo. Hold your breath." Then she looks back over her flow of information, and her full lips tighten. "The artifact hasn't been moved, but sentries are starting to get back to their positions. The herd is starting to move along. This may fuck up your exit, Green."

Simon has sense enough to move before worrying about a verbal riposte. He can follow his nose to the privies, and he hurries, ducking into the tent and glancing back to see a pair of men tugging on tunics and growling an argument between them. "I thought I was a barbarian, not a scoundrel." The pistol is holstered inside his own tunic again, and then he shrugs slightly, "I can make the exit. Never figured the goats would be there the entire time. Just give me a moment's warning before I'm spotted." Glancing over his shoulder to the two-holer behind him, he grimaces, "Good thing we're stealing their artifact. They need to move soon, they're filling up."

"Fine. Barbarian." Then Parambir drops into silence as she focuses on monitoring Simon and the pathways of the sentries. She hasn't seen the two come out of the tent yet, and she breathes out a slow exhale. "There's no movement from that tent… you will want to move quickly, love, to get to that artifact holding. You still haven't told me how you expect to get past the guards." She hones in on the tent that contains the artifact, and she eyes the crowns of the two guards still standing at the tent. One is stepping a bit aside to shout something to a sentry walking past. Asking, obviously, about what was going on.

Simon slips out of the latrine, approaching the target tent from behind with careful steps. A slow smile touches his lips, "Yes I have, Courtier. Start the timer and look at the note." And then he goes silent, focusing inward. His Somebody Else's Problem field oozes outward, making him utterly unimportant to his handler, his co-workers, the people who hate him with a passion for what he's done to them or their causes, his mother, his step-family, and most importantly — the separatists in the camp. And then he simply strolls forward, panning his occular camera over some interesting reliefs on a half-tumbled wall, and walks straight between the two sentries in front of the tent's door. They each glance at him and then away again — he's not their problem, after all. Stepping inside, he goes directly to the artifact on a stand atop a table, pulls out a static-lined bag and envelops the thing in the bag, sealing it up and then tying it about his belt to leave his hands free again.

Ah, yes. The post-it note. She glances toward the neon pink post-it that was left with her assignment documents. Following the instructions, she had stuck it to her central monitor, and it now stands out brightly. Written in Simon's handwriting reads: Wait 5 Minutes. Then Panic. She keys up a timer on the central monitor, already set to five minutes. The seconds start counting down, and a strange disregard takes over her. She doesn't care anymore about what Simon is doing; someone else will handle that. She instead just focuses on the guards, monitoring their movements.

One starts toward the guarded tent, on his way back to his posting. He notices Simon as he glances into the tent, but… he keeps walking. He knows Simon isn't supposed to be there, but he needs to get back to his post on the northern entrance to the camp.

Simon looks over to the guard glancing into the tent, his sweat-stained brow furrowed in concentration. Still, he can't keep the crooked, cocky little smile from spreading across his lips as he offers a little wave to the man — only to have it utterly disregarded. Three minutes… or so. He walks slowly out of the tent again, getting another glance from the guards on his way. Two turns, three, and there's plenty of canvas between him and all the guards he can see. Here's the downside of his ability, there could be someone about ready to turn the corner, and he wouldn't know about it. But it's going to take him longer than five minutes at a casual walk to get out of the encampment. Letting out a slow breath, he releases his concentration, "Don't panic just yet, Courtier. I left them a present just outside the target tent. It should keep their attention long enough for me to make an exit."

Like the fog abruptly burning off, when Simon releases his concentration, her mind hones back in on Simon's video feed. She catches her breath, looking around as if she is trying to get her bearings once more. When she looks back at the monitors and all the feeds on her screen, everything clicks back into place. That's why she was monitoring the guards, because Simon is in there. "Not panicking," she reassures him with a breathless voice. Then she frowns. "What… what present?" Even as she says those words, her eyes spot the movement of the guards at the tent. One is peeking into the tent, the other stepping after where Simon had gone in renewed confusion.

"I'm in the southwest corner of the camp, closest to the road," Simon reassures the handler, "Sorry, I try not to go all spooky too often, but this seemed like a good time." He glances down at his watch, where a counter is running down from about twelve seconds, "I left them a willy pete grenade. Incendiary. Should cover our tracks a bit too." In the tent, one of the guards spots that the artifact isn't there anymore… instead there's a fist-sized cylinder… and then a burning explosion of white phosphorous, setting the table, holder, and tent alike on fire in a heartbeat. Simon, cool guy that he (sometimes) is, doesn't even flinch at the sound of the incendiary going off, just crouching down and studying some more bas-relief sculpture on one of the tumbled-down walls, "This site is actually pretty fascinating, Courtier, someone might want to check it out after these idiots move on." He's going to wait out the first round of reactions and wait for the sentries to get distracted again, apparently.

"I'll make a note in the debriefing file," Rami replies dryly to Simon's off-beat comment. She's too distracted watching all the so-called idiots being distracted by the explosion and fire now bursting from the tent that held the artifact. She tracks Simon's movements now on the satellite feeds, and then smiles when she watches the tagged guards start to move. "You have a clear shot from the west gate, both sentries are heading right for the explosion. But you'll need to hustle, love, or they are going to start trying to figure out where you've gone."

Simon waits patiently enough, flicking an ant off his boot and then looking up and out again at her warning. "West gate, I'm on it." Now on his way out, the pistol fills his hand again, and he ghosts his way between tents, slowing when canvas is between him and the conflagration and speeding up when he has a clear line-of-sight to the backs of the people trying to put out the fire. After all, the important artifact is in there, right? He hesitates a moment as another guard comes running past, and then trots his way toward the tumbled wall that is the 'west gate.' Slipping out, he hurries out into the fields once more, "Green, out of camp. Heading for extraction site now." Which means about a half-hour walk (hopefully uneventful) through the blazing heat to a point where a Quinjet can pick him up. "What do you think, Courtier? Was that job to your satisfaction? Or do I have to shoot someone first? I wouldn't like to leave a handler hanging…"

Again, Courtier snorts delicately over the comms. "I'm pleased to see that you bloody Americans can actually do something without having to shoot someone. Jolly good." Her accent is lightly exaggerated before she looks back over her monitors. She's keeping her eyes on the camp, making sure no one has spotted the departing SHIELD agent. He's in the clear. They are too busy arguing over who was supposed to be watching the tent, and how did the guards not see someone, and how that perhaps they had seen someone, but hadn't given the fellow much thought. "You leave them in chaos, love," Rami offers lightly.

"Story of my life." Simon keeps to a slow trot along the pathway between fields, now covered by the tall grains, "The leaving things in chaos, not the doing something without shooting anyone, you damned redcoat." The pistol is tucked away once again, and he slows to a walk, carefully tilting his boonie hat to an angle that protects both his face and the back of his neck. His hands are carefully tucked into his pockets, "We're not all cowboys, or minute-men. Nor are all SHIELD agents American, thank you very much." There's a pause, and then he admits, "Even if most of us are." That's probably an exaggeration.

Parambir snorts. She could point out that India was just as afflicted by redcoats as the American colonies were, but… no need to get into the debate of which English colony had it worst (it was India). Her brown eyes sweep over the monitors, and once she is sure that the chaos that Simon has left behind is contained within the camp, she shrinks those feeds and instead focuses on Simon's path to the extraction zone. "Yes, but you're a cowboy, and a minute-man, and American." Then she leans forward on her forearms, watching his little blurred figure strolling through the tall grasses. "Don't worry, love… I'm sure I can get over one or two of those characteristics."

It was definitely India. Simon peers up at the sky as he walks along, squinting up — not quite at the drone, but somewhere in its general vicinity — and then he communicates, keeps up foreign relations, you know, gives her the bird. Still, his rumbling chuckle is audible over his comms, and he looks ahead again, wiping off his face, "I promise you, Courtier, I'm a New England Yankee, but I'm no minute-man." There's a beat pause, and then he relents a little, "But I might be a cowboy. Sometimes. When someone just needs to say 'yippee-aye-kay-ay mother fucker." This time the pause is a little thoughtful, "Not quite so much Roy Rogers though. More like James Garner."

There is a small gasp at the uncouth gesture. "I saw that, Agent." Then she relaxes back into the console once more, keeping her focus on the agent while he makes through the grass. "I don't know what history books your American schools use, but I'm fairly certain I learned that a New England Yankee is a minute-man." The casual banter relaxes Courtier as she maintains her duty; she's not off the clock for this mission until he's safely on the jet for home. She smiles ruefully at his comparisons to various cowboys. "My dad was always a big fan of The Lone Ranger. He thought it was so iconic American."

"There's a difference between a minuteman and a minute-man." It sounds almost exactly the same, just a little more emphasis on the time portion of the second one. Simon's grin is still audible, "The first is a valiant and ever-ready defender of the unrepresented and oppressed against the tyranny of a mad king, the second is someone without any endurance." Beat pause, "In bed." The ginger agent's hands are tucked into his pockets, protecting them from the fury of the sun, but he still shifts his shoulders uncomfortably as the sun beats down on them, "Yeah, especially since the PC-police bitch about how it represents Indians." Thoughtful pause, "Native Americans. What do you think, Courtier?"

Courtier's laughter is warm and rich, even through the comm microphones. "Mmhmm," she muses. "I hadn't heard the distinction. I take it you are claiming you are a minuteman and not a minute-man, then." She starts to pull up the flight plan for the incoming quinjet. She interrupts their conversation briefly with, "Looks like your ride will be arriving on time, Agent Green." Then she is back to thinking about his question, brows furrowed. "I don't disagree with your so-called PC-police… but, that is looking at a show from the 1950s through a 2018 lens. I suppose I take it at face value, because there's little point of getting infuriated at something that is just a product of its era."

"The thirties, actually. Radio show first, then TV. And yeah, that's the problem, so busy getting worked up that they forget it was made before the whole Civil Rights Era, when men were men and people were stupid." Simon wipes at his brow with his sleeve, adjusts his hat, and then shoves his hand back in his pocket, "Or something like that. God damn it's hot. Every time I come out here, I forget how damned hot it gets and I ask myself why I come back." The dirt track through the fields runs out into a dirt road, and Simon turns along it, giving a wave to a herdsman watching over a clutch of cattle and then noting, "And yeah. I'm claiming I'm a natural-born rebel, not a premature explosion waiting not-very-long to happen."

Again, Simon has Courtier laughing, and she's shaking her head ruefully. "I'm glad we've clarified that, Mr. Green." Then she is looking at the feed from his ocular camera, watching his pathway through his perspective. She doesn't look away as quickly as she would have otherwise, and her smile softens. That gentleness is heard in her voice. "You know, I was born in Southall. I've never been terribly good at surviving the summers we would visit my family. Soaked bandanas and light fabrics saved me during those visits." Her voice becomes a bit sorrowful. "I haven't been back since I joined MI-6."

"From 'Agent' to 'Mister.' I don't think that's a good way to go." Still, Simon's laughing too, which probably looks a little strange, walking and talking to himself. His laughter fades away as she reminisces, and he nods to himself. "Yeah, not easy to travel… not with all that training." Or the special morning routine, of course. "And you've got to cut me some slack, Courtier, I'm trying as hard as I can to tease you about being Indian and British, but even a master like me has to take some time to work through all that." A beat-up car appears out of a dust-cloud up ahead, just another long-serving vehicle on a rural road, and Simon pulls up the scarf from around his neck to cover his nose and mouth against the dust. "Do you miss visiting?"

The car catches Courtier's attention, and she tags it with her camera sensors. Nothing isn't suspect until the agent is back on the company jet home. She watches it burr past, kicking up its dust in a heavy cloud. It masks her view of Simon for a moment, but she doesn't switch to infrared. She trusts by his voice that all is well. "Oh? Is this you trying to tease me? I've had worse from my kind-hearted Uncle." Her words are warm and laughing and then soften at his question. "Sometimes, but… then it feels like two separate lives. There's a life where I'm Parambir Ghai, and a life where I'm Courtier. Sometimes I forgot which one I long for." She then looks over her readouts. "You should be in sight of the Eee-Zee."

"If he's anything like my uncle, I've got a lot to live up to." Studying the car's driver is simple institutional paranoia, Simon checking to make sure there are no weapons, no suspicion in the man's face. Up ahead, looming out of the car's dust-cloud, there's a line of trees separating a home from the road. More importantly, it separates the road from a small open area between the trees and the house. "EZ in sight," he confirms. "And for the record, I know absolutely nothing about having multiple identities and never being quite sure which one is real. On a completely unrelated note, am I Jurgen Richter or Sam Wyche this trip? Just in case I get stopped in the next quarter mile." He knows which passport is riding in his pants pocket alongside the roll of rupees, but that doesn't stop him from asking. The question is, apparently rhetorical anyhow, because he goes on, "Nothing is ever simple when you're deciding what you want, is it?"

"You mean you actually have family, Agent Green?" Courtier knows she is teasing Simon perhaps a bit unfairly, but the spy has not shared much in the ways of details about himself. She goes back to watching Simon on the feed. With a tilt of her head, she smiles again. "You're Mr. Samuel Solomon Wyche of Wichita, Kansas." Then she shakes her head ruefully at his ending comment. "No. Never is." Then she hesitates, letting silence lapse between them before she speaks again. "I'm still always deciding what I want and how to achieve it."

"That's the rumor," Simon responds to the teasing question lightly enough, even if he doesn't elaborate on-air. As he approaches the turn-off, he glances behind him once more, smiling just a little at the column of smoke rising into the still air, "It's easy when you don't want me. I mean, look at me, I just got to carry a pistol around, play with the biggest firecracker around, and have a woman with a low, sexy voice in my ear, telling me what to do. Sounds pretty much like the best day ever." Glancing back again, he frowns slightly, "Is that still the dust cloud from the northbound car, Courtier? Or do I have company incoming?"

Courtier snorts, but her retort is silenced by his questioning worry. She glances back over her monitors, scanning the dust cloud. She frowns slightly, and then shakes her head. "No. I think it's just the dust kicked up. It's dry; takes time to settle." Then she intakes a slow breath. "But, to be sure, I suggest you get to the EZ immediately. The quinjet can get you out of there quickly in case that changes." Then she pauses, head tilting. "Once you're onboard, make sure to secure the artifact."

Simon does speed his steps at her suggestion, but he doesn't break into a run. Honestly, it's too hot for running if he doesn't absolutely have to, and either he would lose his hat or have to hold it on with one hand. Neither of those is a good option. "Got it." He starts up the dirt track that splits the trees, glancing around and… yup, that's a quinjet. "Oh, right. And get to fly supersonic over some of the most beautiful terrain around." As he reaches the bottom of the ramp, he glances over his shoulder once more, confirming that there aren't any vehicles pulling up to spray the 'jet down with automatic weaponsfire, then focuses on the interior of the quinjet. The SHIELD Agent inside offers a nod, and Simon pulls down his scarf and advances to share a clasped hand with the other man, "Sape." He gets a "Green," in return, and then the pilot gets down to the business of takeoff, and Simon moves back to get the artifact into a more secure location in the vehicle, "Courtier, target is locked in. You're off the clock. Now you just get to hang around to flirt with me." Yes, he's teasing her, as the grin he flashes up to Sape in the cockpit proves.

"It is quite beautiful," the woman agrees quietly as she monitors his advance to the quinjet. Once he's inside, she starts closing down her various feeds until all there is, is the feed focused on the quinjet and Simon's ocular camera. "I'm sorry, Cowboy," Rami says furtively as he makes his so-called demands. "I'm already being summoned up to debrief. You're just going to have to flirt with Sape instead." Then she leans her weight into her elbows. "Safe flying, Green. See you back at HQ."

"Ugh. He snores," comes Simon's complaint as he locks the artifact in and drops down into one of the jumpseats, starting to buckle himself in. "Enjoy the paper-pushing, Courtier." Once she's cleared the line, he looks up to Sape and calls out, "One stop on the way out, Sape. I'll be quick."

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