I Spy Mission Log - Entry 08/Team 2
Once inside the dorm room, Hogan unpacks his gear into a locker at the foot of one of the cots. He then lays down to relax.
Thompson, on the other hand, scans the room for bugs, cameras, and other surveillance devices. Finding the room clean, he starts doing some work with his bag of tricks.
Hogan sits up and asks, "What are you working on, Jack?"
Answering without looking up, the other answers. "I'm setting up a couple of audio bugs to leave in any rooms we might get taken to. A bug in the 'interview' room might be handy. The rest of us can hear what each other says, and we can correlate our stories better.
"I'm also concealing bug detectors by working them into a unit with a thermometer and a barometer, with an electronic readout. I'll take that device, along with my handheld, to dinner with me to tinker with. Hopefully, this will help to establish me in their minds as someone who is always playing with some electronic device or other. It will help me not to appear conspicuous as I carry bits and pieces around."
After a quiet period (only the scratchings of manual electronics assembly break the silence), Jack addresses Robert. "I'd also like to convince them to let us go outside to set up some 'weather monitors, so that I can go on with my research.' Hopefully, during this time we can contact the other team, and plant a beacon for them, along with a short range transmitter for them to contact us better upon arrival."
Hogan agrees, and will bring his radioactive detection gear along. Perhaps the trail is still hot.
Just then, someone knocks on the door. Hogan gets up and opens the door to find one of the armed guards from their rescue, and Anna Baragali by his side. "Let's go; time for supper."
Hogan is about to close the door behind him, when he realizes Jack is not following. He goes over and taps the other on the shoulder. "Okay, okay, I'm coming." Jack picks up whatever he was working on and tinkers with it on the way to dinner. Kerr meets the others on the way.
Supper turns out to be in an army style mess hall, dinner served on a tray and eaten at one of four cramped picnic style tables. All of the fifteen base personnel there take special interest in the three newcomers, although seemingly more out of curiosity than malice.
The four take their hosts' food obligingly, and quietly eat their meals, trying to avoid the eyes of the others. Then, one at the table asks Jack what he's working on. He puts down his fork and the scientific instrument which had been capturing his attention and responds.
"Fascinating atmospheric conditions down here. Did you know that the magnetic fluctuations are up by 7.3% at the moment? I think it may be related to the solar winds. That's what my current thesis is about, you know. At the poles, solar winds pass through the atmosphere and pass above the surface almost horizontally, diminishing the effects that result from reflection from the earth's surface..."
Sure enough, after a few more exchanges like that, seemingly everyone around move to avoid him. One younger woman, however, seems interested in this sort of talk. Luckily for Jack, esoteric weather is a new hobby for her, and he is able to keep ahead of her questions.
After a while, people clear out from the dining room, leaving the four, the two guards from before, and Yang, the head of security. Yang is huge, nearly seven feet tall, and solidly built. These three alone had cast suspicious faces their way during dinner.
"So tell me again what came to bring you here?" Yang begins.
Hogan replies without blinking. "We're a group of technicians called in from New Zealand to help Siple with cleanup after the latest hard winter storm. Much of their sensitive electrical equipment was damaged."
The others converse for a short time and nod that the foreign plane's course on radar was consistent with their guest's story. "And what forced you to land?" Hogan, resisting sarcasm (from the damage to the plane it should have been obvious), continues. "About five miles from land, something struck our craft and decompressurized the pilot compartment. That's when we lost our pilot.
"Our copilot kept the plane aloft and landed the damaged craft as best he could. We had a hard landing in the storm and he still hasn't recovered."
Listening to the exchanges, Kerr finds the sort of questions asked and manner of speech to be indicative of those naturally suspicious of others, but not overly so.
Yang and his security team ask more questions, which are answered with standard generic answers. After a period of silence, followed by some more private talk, they seem content-- for the moment.
"Okay; you're free to be our guests while we check out your story. Good evening."
They are allowed back to their quarters unattended. Back in the mens room, Hogan closes the door and Jack sweeps the room once again. Still clean. Kerr is about to say something, but Jack shushes him. He seems to be listening intently to a listening device in his ear.
After some time, Jack removes the earpiece and addresses the others. "We may be in luck. It seems they avoid talking to the other Antarctic bases at all costs; they like their seclusion. Tomorrow they are heading out to our crash site and try to confirm our story.
Rubbing his chin, Hogan adds, "It's a good thing I stashed the other's crewman's body, masking all evidence of a murder." Receiving a few quizzical looks, he taps his temple and says simply "engine trouble."
Before the evening is over, the group splits up. Hogan and Thompson will make their way outside to erect 'scientific equipment', covertly planting a communication devices and a beacon to signal the other team. Kerr has been working on the doctor, and thinks he may have an 'in', so he heads back to the sick room. Baragali will try to see Billeter himself.
Hogan and Thompson make it to exterior heavy doors of the complex, noticed but not as suspicious characters. Behind and to the left of the automatic doors, the door operator stops the pair.
Jack, carrying his equipment and toolbox tries his best to convince the other to let him go outside to set up some weather monitors, so that he can go on with his solar winds research.
"Yah, whatever, just don't stay out longer than an hour; we lockdown at 11 PM sharp." He hands the pair a stopwatch and triggers the door. The storm doors behind close before the outer ones open.
A blast of colder than arctic wind bites through your clothing. No longer than an hour? No problem! Shivering, the pair trudge out into the elements.
Back with Hope, Kerr pretty much has the doctor figured out. She's part of the old school of CON, survivalist but not militaristic. She thinks the work and research that's being done at Atlantis II is very beneficial, and doesn't seem to be aware of any suspicious activities going on at the base.
Brennan, is doing no better. He is managing to keep his food down, but the room continues to spin and he is unaware of where he is, or who these strangers are staring at him and shining a light in his eyes.
After dinner Anna digs her fresh Italian coffee and smuggled cigarettes out of her gear. She's intent on bribing, or flirting her way into a tour of the facilities, and hopefully a meeting with Mr. Billiter.
It actually takes a bit of both, a pot of fresh brewed coffee and a brush here and a wink there, and one hot-blooded hydraulics engineer offers to take her on 'the grand tour'.
Amazed by it all, she asks to meet the man who brought the idea to life. Edmund, checking his watch, says it's time for base lockdown. We'll see Billeter tomorrow." Giving her a wink and a grin, he asks, "What about the rest of the night?"
Robert Brennan Col. Hogan Jack Thompson