“How do you know it’s him,” Carter narrowed her eyes at him as she leaned against the blue and white hotel wallpaper.
“I’m good with faces and behaviors. This is the kind of place he would stay, there’s a vault down below which he would trust and the manager is the type he likes using,” Brandt drank some coffee to keep from making this into delivering a report. Anything they did now was on their own, which he didn’t like. He missed his databases and being the one creating the missions not being in them.
“You’re doing that thing where you’re being the analyst and not the agent,” She rolled her eyes, she had really expressive eyes.
“No, I’m not. I’m thinking. I do that on a regular basis,” He liked analysis, it kept them alive because analysts were the ones who had planned missions before everything went to hell.
“Yes, it’s even useful sometimes but this is a point when you’re more helpful by being slick and subtle. You get to seduce the rich guy and I get to get in the vault with Benji.”
“No, no, I’m behind the computer, the two of you are being all secret agent-y. It’s much safer all around,” Benji chirped as he tapped out something in their hotel room in Athens.
“Secret agent-y? Words don’t work like that,” He rubbed his forehead. Before seeing Hunt, he had been happy to be the Secretary’s analyst. Sometimes he had missed the rush of field work, but that was why he had the best sparring partners. Now he was with Carter and Benji and IMF was a ghost as diplomats and politicians decided when they could emerge into the open once more. He could watch the news and predict the behind the scenes conversations that were happening. It also meant laying low which Carter wasn’t good at, she and Hunt were the classic field agents, they were happiest in motion.
Benji glanced up from his his screen, “I say they do. Right, need you to keep the manager talking while I get properly into hotel security. Carter will take care of that end of it, you just do that suit thing you do.”
Brandt stared at Benji, “Suit thing?”
“Yeah, the suit thing,” Benji sighed and waved over to where Carter was, “Carter knows.”
Carter asked, “I do?”
He could almost hear some laughter in her voice as Benji actually stopped typing to say, “That suit, the wearing it everywhere and still making it work.”
Now Carter did laugh, “Yup, that’s a suit thing.”
He adjusted the cuffs of his jacket which needed a good dry clean, there was still a faint smell of that computer cave, as he moved to intersect the manager, “Mr. Kyrios, there you are.”
The manager frowned then smiled as he connected Brandt to his current alias, which was far too weak, “Mr. Randolph. How good to see you. I hope that your room is to your satisfaction.”
“Yes, it is. Actually that’s what I wanted to talk to you about. You know that I invest in real estate and hospitality for a select group?”
Brandt heard Benji in his ear say, “Hermes here, we have contact and yeah, you’re who he thinks you are, money and blah, blah. You’re on the count, Artemis.”
“Artemis is go,” Carter said in his ear and he pictured her heading towards the door that led to the vault from Kyrios’ office.
Kyrios smiled, he had lots of white teeth and Brandt knew he was in need of more money for his hotels, “Why, Mr. Randolph, were you thinking of investing?”
“Well, I don’t know, with the economic situation I might do better someplace else,” Then he started to turn away, this was hard, it had to be just right or else the manager wouldn’t take the bait.
“3 minutes, Apollo,” Benji said and Brandt took a breath when he saw Kyrios take a step towards him out of the corner of his eye.
“Let’s not talk about this here. Join me in the cafe, we do have properties in the islands that are profiting,” Kyrios said as he beamed, gesturing towards the cafe off the lobby. Brandt counted to five in his head before moving to face the cafe and walked inside it with Kyrios. At the cafe entrance, the host bowed them through as Kyrios went directly to a table with a view of the street outside through a partially shuttered window, this was his table.
“Shit,” Carter cursed and he heard a worrying buzz of electronics, but no alarms, the vault must be giving her trouble. “I can hear you thinking, Apollo, stop it,” she said as he sat down and the manager talked islands and how they brought in cruise ships.
“I got you two more minutes Artemis, just grab and go,” Benji said as Brandt heard the beep of the manager’s phone.
“Do you always buy buildings that weren’t hotels originally? I’ve never seen that done before,” Brandt said as he leaned forward, trying to get Kyrios to look at him and not his phone.
Kyrios stopped reaching for his phone and Brandt noticed how Kyrios’ eyes went to his lips, eyes and the smaller distance between them. “Oh yes, it’s a way to use history and everyone loves that here. Move ahead but don’t forget. This hotel is particularly popular because of our vault. No one ever thinks of a hotel as safer than a bank. But then, not everywhere’s Greece, my parents still have their savings hidden away. They won’t even tell me where it is.”
“No, and your clientele seems rather mixed,” He’d spotted the man who was bankrolling the Onrush Conglomerate and he was the reason Carter was in the vault. Brandt knew that was a man who kept everything close by and didn’t trust people only steel.
Kyrios shrugged with a smug smile, “Hotel walls are good at keeping secrets.”
Brandt took a slow sip of retsina, doing his best to seem to savor it as he heard Carter curse again, “Some damned thing’s beeping, Hermes.”
“I’ve got it, I’ve got it,” Benji muttered and Brandt could almost hear his fingers tapping away as Kyrios’ phone’s got louder and more insistent.
“I think I have to take this.” Kyrios started to take his phone out of his pocket and Brandt could see that it was a security message. He shifted forward so that his knee touched Kyrios as he heard Carter saying, “One more minute to get and one to clean then I’m out.”
“I’ve always liked how in a hotel, you’re only seen as much as you want to be,” He lowered his voice, aiming for soft and hoping he didn’t go too deep.
Kyrios stared at him, pressing his lips together and wetting them and calculating who was watching as he dropped his phone back into his pocket before adjusting his chair to be closer, “Oh, I could show you some of the less well known amenities of his hotel. The roof deck is not to be missed,” Kyrios was almost purring.
Brandt smiled as he swallowed some more wine. “I’d love to see it.”
In his ear, Benji said, “All clear, Artemis and see, seduction by Apollo.”
“Artemis on the move, I have the master key. Keep on doing your thing, Apollo,” Carter sounded gleeful, yes, he was better suited to this assignment but any good agent should know how to read someone enough to get what they want.
Brandt finished his wine in a long and slow drink that had Kyrios watching his throat, as he put his glass down, he rubbed the back of his neck for the cool and to let some water drip into his collar. He stood up, and Kyrios mirrored him, finishing his glass in a slightly hurried gulp. Kyrios took advantage of how being Greek meant he could get away with being closer than an American would normally like as they walked to the elevator. Inside he watched the code that Kyrios keyed in as he heard Benji say, “Artemis, you’ve got eight minutes then room service arrives.”
As they went up, Kyrios leaned against him and he listened for the click that meant Carter was inside the room, “Artemis in.”
The door opened as Kyrios squeezed his butt and Brandt gave him a thoughtful smile as he headed to the edge of the roof, “It’s quite a view.”
Kyrios had to lengthen his stride to catch up. He opened his arms wide, “Athens, where the pull of history and what might be is strong and today’s a clear day.”
“Artemis clear,” Carter said and Brandt turned to Kyrios, swallowing as he noted how high up they were. If he fell, the only chance of survival was aiming for landing on a cafe umbrella because the cobblestones would break him.
As Kyrios met his gaze with a hopeful glance, Brandt knocked him out with a quick chop. He turned away from the edge. “Apollo here, he’s out.”
A service door opened and Carter stepped out, dressed as a stylish tourist, their finds were in her bag. She looked at him, breathing heavily, and was silent as she helped him shift Kyrios into a chair. Then she spoke. “What is it, with you and heights? Can you even look down?”
“I can look down,” Brandt said, sharply, and breathed again. “It’s just, all I see is the ways to die.”
“God, you’ll never stop being an analyst.”
“Yeah. Let’s go. You ready, Hermes?”
“Ready, Hermes out.”