WeHaul Rental company has a main office located in the Far Southeast Side of Chicagoland. It’s not a pretty office, but then again, neither is the area it’s located in. It’s dirty and grotty and a certain LMD would say the scenes were reminscent of a move from the early ’90s. The past fifty years probably hasn’t done that movie any favours.
Agent Samantha Carter and Justin Steele have decided to poke around the company – the vehicle that was used in the slip the other day came from here. They might have also called in some backup – just in case.
It’s just on closing and Samantha is talking to the only employee on the premises – or so she believes. The conversation has been going well – but then again, the vintage agent is good at this. Justin has been poking around the office out back, changed into … something.
Justin had given some thought to what he should change into, and he decided a rat was a bad plan. Mouse was a little too close too. Because they’d already seen a rat at the slip. He needs something small enough not to attract too much attention and something deft enough to get in there and get the job done. Something that can slip around in there. He ultimately had chosen a small black cat. Cats are really known to get into all sorts of places they shouldn’t be, just look at the This Is Not My Cat Tumblr, where people take all those pictures of cats who just sort of wind up in the house like they own the place.
Cats are also fast, they’re good at squeezing into places nobody can reach. As different as it is from his primary bird theme, it is one he’s used before. And sometimes people even like them, which means if he gets seen he will have an opportunity to make a save by hamming it right up as only cats can. Plus cats retain the good sense of smell, hearing, and sight that he’ll need to see all he can see.
So for now he prowls around in the back office. Also a feature of cats, the ability to leap all kinds of places. And they’re quiet. Which is also nice.
Yes, Samantha has been playing up the charm to keep the employee distracted when Justin sneaks into the building after her, and for as much time as possible so that she can visually scope out the building as thoroughly as possible. However, there’s really only so long that she can keep that up.
“Thank you again for the tour. It has been very informative. I will most certainly be giving my superiors a favorable report on your company and recommending you for our logistical needs.” Because she was here pretending to be a representative of a new shipping company looking to establish a base in Chicago.
Cats are mostly quiet and it’s good idea that Justin has. He’s noticed a few things of interest. Like the flyer on the peg over there, advertising a ‘church’ of some sort, promising to change lives for the better. The ‘church’ is run by a local Purifier group – not so unusual out this far in the city – though Purifiers are more active in the South Sprawl. There’s a computer of course and a hard copy diary, listing the hires for each day. It’s probably a good bet that the van that was used has been written up there as well.
It’s all going swimmingly, the sun is dipping below the horizon. Well, it was going well till Sarah, the woman that Samantha has been speaking starts sneezing uncontrollably. “I’m sorry. Please excuse one moment. Somethings…” achoo achoo achoo “… triggered my allergies.” The brunette turns to the office only to see …
“What the hell are you doing in here … Fred. Who let this cat in?” Fred? Wasn’t she the only one there?
Outside, Kaylee Simmons is listening on the comms system. “It sounds like we might have a problem.” Is all she says.
Justin puts on his most innocent expression. “Mwrrowwwwww?” he asks, and then he slow blinks her. He immediately begins acting like a cat. Looks like this is going to be an initial scouting run and Samantha’s going to have to come back here after all, but at least he’s identified some points of interest.
Like all cats who give zero bothers, he saunters and flops down by the door, where he begins licking his paws. With any luck she’ll just let him out. He lets out a long yawn, flipping his tail back and forth. He is Cat and so Owns Your Storage Room, Miss Allergic To Cats.
Bugger. She hastily feigns concern as Sarah start sneezing. “Oh good heavens. Is there anything I can do to help?” She pulls a handkerchief from her purse to offer to the woman. Because. She peers into the office and after quickly scoping out the room regards the cat as if she’s never seen it before. Which, she hasn’t. But maybe she can find out who this Fred person that Sarah just now mentioned for the first time is.
“Perhaps I can try to evict the cat for you? It doesn’t appear to have a collar.” she offers in an attempt to help helpful. Which, of course, she conveys to Justin with a glance, is exactly the opposite of what should happen.
Sams tour had revealed a couple of things of note. There were only two vans in the depot that matched the description that Justin gave her. Sarah had confirmed that that’s the only one they had on their books.
Sarah is still sneezing as a man, a tall man with shaggy hair comes in from the garage, the part that Sam hadn’t toured. Wearing overalls and covered head to toe in grease and oil, carrying a large wrench, he blinks at the Storage Room owing Cat.
Justin might not recognise him, except for the hair – and maybe the scent, if he can get anything through the oil and grease. But the hair, at least, is familiar. “Get of here …”
//Thwack// The wrench comes down right next Justin. At least he’s not trying hit him? One small problem that Justin is now faced with – Fred is between him and the door and the door is most firmly closed.
Sarah shakes her head at Sam and gestures as she blows her nose. “Fred hath it, I think… ” she sniffles.
Right. Time to be full on freak out cat.
Justin puffs up and hisses as that wrench comes down, leaping away. Then he darts for the front of the room. This will take him closer to Sniffly Sarah, but there’s no help for it. He can’t afford for Shaggy Fred to link him to the bird that was acting weird. He goes running for the front office, near the door. He needs someone to give him an out. He is full metal puffball now as he prowls backwards across the floor of the front room, ears flattened to his skull and kitty teeth bared.
He of course doesn’t look at Samantha. He doesn’t do anything human. La la la, just a black cat, trying to get away from the crazy dude with the wrench.
Jeez, people. Why not bring out a vacuum cleaner next, while you’re at it? Freaking Cat Haters.
Samantha also plays up her role, gasping and startling exaggeratedly when Fred slings that wrench at Justincat. “You’re planning to kill the poor creature, are you? Would it not be easier to just chase it away?” She looks after the feline and pretending to be helpful, she blocks Fred’s path after the shapeshifter and makes for the main front doors to open them. She’s aiming to ‘shoo’ him out. “Go on, out with you now.”
Wrench-wielding man may make coming back later a bit more problematic than she was expecting.
Poor Justin. Sniffly Sarah sneezes again, getting in the cats way as he bounds. He’s going to run into her if he’s not careful.
Sam can see, where she is, the diary with the hires in it. If she’s careful she might be able to snag it – it’s obvious what it is. Of course, she doesn’t know Shaggy Fred, so that would seem sensible wouldn’t it?
“Damn thing shouldn’t be in here …” Fred grumbles as he brings the wrench down one more time. Clearly not an animal lover. And yes, he might make it more difficult for them to come back.
Justin //bolts// when given the opportunity to do so. He nimbly does his best to dodge Sneezy Sarah, letting out more yowls as he does, runs runs runs and makes sure he’s well out of sight. He feels a stab impatient, for people who want the cat up and out of there they sure are making stuff hard on them.
He takes a moment to collect himself in an alleyway, makes sure there’s nobody to see, and concentrates to retake his own form. He pulls up the hood of his hoodie when he does. Nobody’s seen him in human form, but he doesn’t want to advertise either. He heads to the van and just gets in like he’s getting into any car on the street, easy-peasy lemon squeezy, hi Mom, how was your day.
Once the door is closed he flops down on an empty seat and reports, “Fred the Happy Wrench Weilder is Shaggy the Stupendous Vibranium Buyer,” he reports.
<<+roll>> Samantha Carter rolls Deceive (+1): + – 0 – for a success level of 0.
Samantha again startled exaggeratedly when Fred takes another swing at Justincat, this time ‘accidentally’ bumping the table where the job ledger sits and knocking it and several other papers to the floor. “Oh my word, I am so sorry.” She reaches to collect the fallen items as the cat finally makes his escape, and puts the papers back on the table while attempting to sneak the ledger into her purse.
Straightening her skirt and smoothing her hair, she looks at Sarah again. “Well. That was exciting. Should I perhaps leave you be to take an antihistamine?”
Neither Wrench Wielding Fred or Sniffly Sarah notice that Sam palms the paperwork. “Thank you…” the poor woman manages to wheeze.
Sam has to go around the corner before joining Kaylee and Justin in the van. She joins them just in time to hear Justins statement and Kaylee’s response. “Interesting. What else did you find?”
The booking diary is a mishmash of information. Nothing out of the ordinary, except … the entry for the Van use the day that Justin saw it, has a small x next to it. So do a couple of others.
“There was a flier for a local Purifier church,” Justin says, rattling off the name of the thing. He’s already whipping out his phone to try to ping an address on it, frowning faintly. He’s still breathing a little fast; he’s got some adrenaline going right about now. Nevertheless, he stays pretty focused. “They didn’t throw it out or have it just laying around, it was pinned up, so it seems like it might have been relevant. To at least one of them, anyway.”
He’s also going to see if they have a website; whatever blather they subscribe to might prove interesting, after all.
Samantha Carter hands the booking diary to Kaylee to glean what she can from it while looking at Justin a bit evaluatingly. “Are you all right, Mr. Steele? I was honestly worried for a moment back there.” She looks at Simmons again. “We might need to go back in after hours to see what else there is to find. Especially in whatever area Fred came from.”
“Purifiers?” Kaylee perks up at that and looks between the two. “We got a lead earlier that that drug is being distributed by the Purifiers and that one of their points is a cult just inside the South Sprawl.” She looks at Justin with a frown “I hope you can remember the address of that church…” And then she continues “And that they have a boat called the Charlotte that puts in at points along the shores of Lake Michigan to make it drops. They have to someone collecting for them… ”
And Sams got the booking sheets.
“Let’s go get a coffee and review what we’ve got …”
Agent Carter and Justin Steele (shapeshifted to resemble a black cat) visit the WeHaul moving company to see what intel they can glean while Kaylee monitors nearby. Justin's 'disguise' earns him a bit more unwanted attention than expected.
January 08, 2051