It was already half-past seven by the time Jai arrived, and most of the DPD was closed down for the night. Crime might never sleep, but there were only so many unpaid overtime hours you could claim without stretching your cover a little thin. The lights in one of the side offices — Auggie's current base of operations — were still lit, though, and the door was half-open (an obvious invitation, if ever there were one), so he headed in, tapping briefly on the door frame as he passed it.
"Why do you bother keeping the visual up?" he asked, nodding to the screen. At the moment, the display was showing a fountain in what was apparently a random city park. The camera seemed to be at about waist-level, and there didn't seem to be anything of particular interest going on at the moment.
"I like to humor random drop-ins," Auggie said, tapping at a few keys. "To what do I owe the pleasure? I thought you were out for the day."
"I was, but I just got back." He'd spent the day tailing a woman, Jennifer Elsa, who was thought to have connections to an arms trafficking group, and had gotten precisely nothing, other than about ten hours of frustration, for his efforts. "Too wound up to go home. This isn't the Garson drop, is it? I thought that was this morning."
"It is, and it was. This morning, this afternoon, and again right now. He keeps waving her off at the last minute."
Jai snagged one of the chairs and pulled it over to sit next to Auggie. "Didn't it take four months to get him to agree to the drop in the first place? What's with this guy?"
Auggie shrugged, apparently unconcerned with the reasonings of Willie Garson. "He seems a little paranoid. Then again, if I were him and he's really got what he says he's got, I'd be paranoid, too."
They were saved from further speculation by movement on the screen, as a man in a green-brown coat made his way purposely toward the camera. He stopped just shy of off-screen, looking around furtively before he started speaking.
Jai frowned at the screen. Even if his lip-reading was up to the task, the man had a scarf half-obscuring his mouth — which was more than a little ridiculous, considering it was barely fifty outside. "Does she have a mic?"
"She does," Auggie confirmed.
Jai waited a few seconds before continuing. "Can you put it on speaker?"
Auggie grinned, obviously pleased to be bearer of bad news. "Nope. Benson blew half the speakers in the department this morning listening to a hostage situation when a helicopter flew in too close — you should look up the security tapes, Joan's reaction was pretty spectacular. My speakers were drafted by Julie, since I can just use my headphones." He tapped a finger to them to demonstrate.
"So you're the ears and I'm the eyes. Great." Jai watched as the scarfed man moved off-screen, theoretically to take a seat. "What's he saying?"
"Not much. You know, the usual. Nice weather we're having, is this bench taken. He seems to be enjoying calling her 'lady spook'."
Jai rolled his eyes. "Cute. How's Annie taking that?"
"In good humor, you know her. Well, good humor considering this is try number three of the day, anyway." After a moment, Auggie smiled. "Oh, good, they're finally going to make the swap."
"I wouldn't be so sure," Jai said, watching two men trying to move closer without drawing too much attention and doing a pretty terrible job of it. "It looks like she has company."
"Yeah, she just saw them, too." Auggie crossed his arms and leaned back in his chair. It was almost to the part where he got to try and guess just what was going on from the sound effects — not his favorite game ever.
"So why isn't she leaving already?" Watching random, unrelated people walk calmly by was not doing much for Jai's patience. It was bad enough that they couldn't change anything from where they were anyway, but having to hear all updates second-hand (and after prompting) was making it worse.
"She's still trying to talk him into handing over his information."
"They're too close," Jai pointed out, shaking his head. "No way she'll get out of there in time." Auggie laughed, and Jai turned to give him a confused look. "What?"
"She just took it from him," Auggie explained, "he's yelling about how he should have expected that from the government."
"Good for her," Jai said, grinning, before focusing his attention back on the screen. "Do you think Garson's with the other two?"
"I doubt it. He's just your average, slightly paranoid, ever-helpful U.S. citizen."
"Right." Jai snorted. "So helpful we have to pay him."
"What's more American than that? It's capitalism at its finest."
"Your model American just ran away," Jai noted, a blur of green-brown passing in front of the camera's view.
Auggie just looked more entertained. "He's still finding new and improved ways to insult Uncle Sam, even on the run." Just as the other two reached the bench, Annie finally stepped into the frame. "Do either of them look armed? How worried should I be?"
"Not so far. There are still enough people in the park that they probably don't want the attention."
"And trying to knock out a seemingly-defenseless woman won't make people look twice?"
"That depends on how they were planning to do it." He leaned forward, watching the screen intently. "Alright, Annie, let's show them how it's done." She approached them, smiling and casual — as if she didn't already know why they were there — but the instant one tried to grab her, she struck.
Auggie's eyes went wide. "Did she just hit him where I think she just hit him?"
"You really don't want to know." They shared a moment of silence and a particularly male wince. "The other one looks like he might follow Garson's example."
"I don't think I blame him. She was in heels this morning." But the second man's hesitation passed, and he moved in toward Annie, much more cautious than his predecessor.
She let him, curving away slightly to stay on the move. He paused, and then took a quick step forward and a swing at her face. She dodged it, shoving his shoulder forward to make use of his momentum and cause him to stumble, following that up with a quick kick to the back of his knee. He didn't stay down long, turning to lunge for her, but she managed a solid blow to the side of his face, and he fell again.
Waiting a second to be sure neither one was going to spring back up again (in fact, the first man had just recovered from his previous paralysis and was stumbling his way in the other direction), she calmly adjusted her shirt before walking over to pick up the case with the camera.
The phone went off a few moments later, and Auggie pressed the speaker button with a grin.
"Nicely done," Auggie said in greeting, pulling his headphones off and setting them on the desk.
Annie let out a breath, sounding like she was aiming for confident, but hitting something closer to relieved. "I got it."
"So we saw," Auggie agreed. "Jai's here, he decided watching you is more entertaining than sitting at home. I wouldn't know, of course, but I'd guess it's a pretty good decision."
"So, what, you guys are sitting in a dark room with a bowl of popcorn, watching me take down bad guys?" Annie asked, her grin obvious even over the phone.
"Something like that," Auggie conceded. "Why, do you mind?"
"I just think one of you should take care of the taking down next time. Let me sit around and enjoy the show," Annie said.
Jai laughed. "We'll see what we can do."
Auggie held up his hands in protest. "Hey, don't look at me, I'm firmly planted on the bench. Unless one of you can find somebody who'll sit still while a blind guy knocks him around."
"What, are you camera shy?" Annie asked, laughing. "You're always trying to get some field work, I'm not buying it."
"Maybe I'm just finally taking Joan's warnings to heart." It was probably for the best that Auggie couldn't see Jai rolling his eyes.
"If you say so." Her headshake was more implied than anything, but her grin was audible. "Well, I'll see you two in about half an hour. There is a coffee and a cab with my name on it, and then I'll be in with the briefcase."
"Got it," Jai said. "Stay safe."
"We'll be waiting," Auggie added, before hanging up the call. "And she does it again."
"Of course. Hopefully whatever she got was worth all the trouble." Jai stood, moving the chair back to its original place. "I think coffee sounds like a great idea, do you want to join me?"
Auggie stood as well, nodding. "Sure, why not? I wasn't planning on sleeping tonight anyway." He logged off the computer before grabbing his cane and following Jai out, flipping off the lights on his way past. "So, tell me about Jennifer Elsa."