Covert Reconnaissance


((From => Rogan's Room))
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The destination wasn't far. Normally, Rogan wouldn't have taken a room so close to his work, but he wouldn't be going back to the rented apartment anyway, and if all went well he'd be flying south again before night fall. His eyes flicked to the dash alcove in his hired vehicle, but Lyntael hadn't returned from he errand yet. He had to be more mindful of the resources they were allocating for her improvement – every time he thought about it, he caught himself wondering again whether it would have made a difference. It wasn't something he could afford to fret over now, at least – but it did matter that he made sure to spend the funds that accrued on purchases for her, now more than ever.

His car slid through the roughly cobbled streets slowly in the early morning mist; already the tourism side of the city was gearing up into full swing, with street-side shops wheeling out displays of pins, flags and numerous stuffed toys, but there weren't many regular people about just yet. His gaze remained on the road ahead of him, but in his peripheral he watched the various important political buildings slide by and into the background as he slowly made his way beyond the inner city and out into the increasingly urbanised town sprawl. Only... twenty years ago perhaps... the hills ahead of him had been green; now they were... colonised. He'd been much younger then. The thought was an odd one and he brushed it aside; this wasn't a time for reminiscing, and he certainly didn't need to be thinking about the places he'd left behind right now.

Before long, his car became lost amidst the twisting, winding roadways that made up the creeping residential suburbia that was still half modern convenience and half traditional farmland, all mixed together. He travelled, turning left and right, for another ten minutes before pulling into a small car park at the edge of a public playground overlooking a lake that had, most likely, originally been a bog before it was 'beautified'. This would be close enough, he was sure. A block away, he'd passed a small corner business store dealing in all the odds and ends local households needed on the regular, without going 'into town' properly. As with many things, the store served a number of other far more interesting purposes as well. He opened his bag and pulled out the various documents he needed to double check, along with his laptop. His other hand reached towards the PET in his pocket.

“Lyntael, we're here. Are you ready?” He tapped a few buttons to check his navi's status.
Lyntael had only stepped off the link pad in her living area a few moments before Rogan's voice called out to her and she nodded, turning back to touch the screen and slip out of the device. The PET was currently in Rogan's hand and she clambered out to his wrist swiftly then, when he shifted his arm to facilitate it, jumped across to the car's dash alcove so she could face him properly.

“All taken care of, sir. I'm ready to go.” Her eyes scanned the man sitting in the driver's seat as he nodded in her direction and returned to working on his laptop. He was tired; she could see it around his eyes, but he was focused as well. It was time for serious work, and serious Rogan was at the wheel – no-one else was around, or would be, but the stoic focused expression smoothed his features from giving much of anything away and the mask was up, all the same. Lyntael shifted to sit on the lip of the alcove, feet hanging and with her ankles crossed.

“So...” Things were still... complicated, after their last fight, and now was not the time to talk about it, she knew, but some part of her remained desperate to make some kind of conversation all the same, and reach for some feeling of companionship. “What do you think you'll find here? You said, this little business runs connections to Caoránach Creative, and I know you've started making plans now. I...” she hesitated, the knuckles on one hand unconsciously rubbing against her breastbone. “I don't know why, but you've got it in your head that this isn't business any more – that it's all personal. I can see it, in the way you look, when you're doing research.” She watched him for a reaction, but Rogan didn't let anything slip that she could catch; he just kept working to set everything up for their mission. When he answered it was over the soft click of keystrokes, without taking his eyes off his work

“Mostly, this is mapping some connections. I'll be confirming names and places, and a number of other details to do with data movement between this exchange and the organisations it serves. If that's all I can confirm for certain, I will be sufficient for today – I'm not rushing... but if I've made the right guess, I may be able to learn a bit more about several of the projects I want to track, where they're being worked on, and when.” He was silent for a few moments, then lifted his hands off the keys and looked towards Lyntael properly; hard eyes, bu the pain was still there, locked away tightly yet unmissable, now that she knew what she was seeing, every time he looked at her. What had she done to make him look at her like that? Lyntael shoved the thought away; no time for that today. Instead she met his eyes and forced herself to give him a small smile in return, nodding her readiness as he spoke to her. “All set. I'll be jacking you in properly Lyntael; it should be a normal dive, so all you need to do is go where I show you, and maintain the masking. Are you ready? Good. Away you go, and I'll send the signal in a moment.” He held out one hand and Lyntael jumped across to it, then again to the surface of the PET as he delivered her to it so she could slip back inside.

==

There was the brief moment when the girl's image froze, then faded away. When he was alone again, Rogan drew a longer breath, closing his eyes and scrubbing one hand over them briefly. All the little differences. All the little things that were the same. Why did she have to look at him like that, with eyes so innocent of what had happened while he could only see his mistakes, cut fresh with every smiling glance? He shook his head; it wasn't like there was a better alternative, and there wasn't time for such awkwardly prosaic thoughts today anyway. He set it aside and picked up the PET again, sending the jack-in signal to the nearby network. It was time to work.

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((Lyntael Jacking in, to => Netopian Suburban Net))