Two Pines Restaurant & Bar, Downtown Seattle, 19h21 August 3, 2073
"No sign out here," Blaze said, annoyance creeping into her tone. "Are you sure he comes here on Thursdays?"
"The target always comes here on Thursdays," Mr. Crab answered. "He has no reason to not come tonight. Is the chip-head in position?"
"Confirmed." Greyline's voice sounded like it was several metres away from his comlink's mic. "Are you sure that the chip-head can do this?"
"The chip-head can hear you." Tempest took a sip of her cocktail to hide her subvocalization. "She wouldn't have been recommended if she couldn't do the job. Now stop referring to me as if I'm not here." Assholes. She took a longer sip of her drink to let herself calm down. I have this under control. No BTLs on the job.
"Heads up," Greyline said. "Drones one and two have spotted the target. He's heading your way, Blaze."
"Got him," Blaze said. "Not bad looking. I could've taken the chip-head's role."
Mr. Crab's laughter crackled over the commlink. "Your not his type. He prefers his women soft."
Tempest rolled her eyes. "Still here, jerk."
"I've got him. Going to tag him for you." Tempest's commlink flashed briefly as Mr. Crab fed it data. "He's almost at the door. Tempest, you're on."
Tempest adjusted her skirt, revealing a bit more leg. She had chosen her outfit to both blend in and stand out in the white collar crowd. Most of the crowd clumped in groups of three or four, with a few couples taking advantage of dark corners to be affectionate with each other. There were maybe half a dozen other people who were alone like Tempest, possibly looking for a quick hookup. The runner's commlink buzzed on her wrist as her target, Darren Mason - Assistant Procurement Manager-Administrative, Future Developments, United Oil - entered the tavern. The team's goal, extraction, whether Mason wanted it or not.
Settling in her bar stool, Tempest turned to face the bartender. She sent an order for nachos to him over her commlink, then winked at him as she added a healthy tip. Tempest felt Mason sit down beside her, but didn't pay him any mind just yet. No need to show interest in him yet.
"I haven't seen you here before," Mason said. He ordered a draught beer. "New here?"
Tempest shrugged, letting her dark hair cascade over her shoulders. "Just transferred in from Pittsburgh last week. Finally got time to get out." She swivvelled her to let Mason get a better view of her profile. "Between unpacking and learning the new office, I didn't even get a chance to breathe."
Mason laughed; Tempest noted the practice he must have put in to make it sound almost natural. "Management never gives time to adjust." He turned to get a better look at her. "You look familiar."
"Haven't heard that one before." Tempest arched an eyebrow. "Are you hitting on me?" She giggled, her laugh far more practiced to sound natural than her target's.
"You wound me." Mason let his gaze linger. "But you do remind me of someone."
"I get that a lot. I've been told I look like some simsense star or another. I don't see it, really." At least he's not that skeevy to follow a teenage band if he doesn't recognize Aimee Klein right away.
"Don't sell yourself short. Have you seen the remake of Against the Hive Masters? You'd be perfect as Jade."
Tempest allowed a smile as she ducked her head in mock embarrassment. "Really?" The bartentder arrived with her order of nachos, setting them down in front of her. Once he left, Tempest stared at the plate. "I didn't know how big the order would be. I'm never going to finish this." She looked up shyly at Mason. "Please, help yourself."
Mason picked up a large chip smothered with salsa. "Thanks. I didn't get a chance to have dinner tonight. You know how deadlines are."
"Tell me about it. Back in Pittsburgh, I put in twenty hour days. Didn't give me much time to get out, you know?" She offered her hand. "Mandy."
"Darren." The target shook her hand. "How did you get through them?"
Tempest looked around, seeing who was nearby. The bartender was at the other end of the bar, making complicated drinks for a young couple. Tempest leaned close to Mason and lowered her voice. "Cal Hots." She sat up straight and put a finger over her lips. "Shh."
"Really?" Mason said.
"Really?" Blaze echoed over the commlink. "Reel him in already!"
"Cut the chatter!" Mr. Crab said.
"Really," Tempest said. "And, sometimes, something a little," she let her voice trail off a bit, "more."
Mason grinned, revealing pearl white teeth. "I might be able to hook you up there."
Tempest widened her eyes. "No way!"
"I could even take you there tonight."
"I--" Tempest looked down at the plate of nachos. "I couldn't leave this untouched." She winked at Mason.
"I'm sure we can take care of the nachos together. So, Mandy, are you in?"
Tempest picked up a chip and bit into it with a crunch. "I'm in."
"Mr. Johnson's meeting us at 2200 along the Tacoma docks."
"Clear the window!"
"One BTL isn't enough for you?"
"The best mindbender you'll ever experience."