“Found something odd,” Grace stated.
“What is it?” Ophelia asked, moving over to her.
“There have been a bunch of transmissions from different locations at seemingly random times to the Geralt family,” Grace said. “What’s interesting is that they’re all written in the same code.”
“What would the troublemaker have to do with the Geralt family?” Ophelia wondered.
“One way to find out,” Grace said.
Ophelia nodded. “I’ll look up the alliance records. You look for back doors.”
Leon and Lucy finished examining Madame Prudence’s room. It was larger than Abe’s but the difference was barely noticeable. Hers had been the very last room hit. They found out that her records had been kept in a locked box in her office safe. Which hadn’t been touched. The two proceeded to their meeting with Kat, Farah and Allison.
“So, what did you find out?” Lucy asked.
“It seems like our culprit hit Miss Tanner’s room first,” Kat stated. “Afterwards, they went after two of her direct subordinates. A Miss Young and a Miss Dupre.”
“Miss Tanner didn’t have her records in her room so it seems likely that the culprit went after the other two to find their records,” Farah added. “Combined, the two of them had most of the information.”
Lucy opened her eyes slightly at Farah’s addendum and smiled. She quickly shut her eyes again. “All right, Farah, it’s time to play detective. What can we tell by the evidence?”
“They seem to be looking for personnel records,” Farah began. “Since they started in the boy’s area before coming to a spot with mixed staff, we can surmise that they’re looking for a particular man. Thy have reason to believe he’s here but don’t know where he’s working. We can also safely guess that they haven’t found him yet, since you said that Madame Prudence’s records hadn’t been touched. What I don’t get is why they don’t just ask for him by name and save the trouble.”
“Because a lot of workers at places like this take on new names,” Allison answered. “Like Candi, or Cinnamon or Mistress Bodacious.”
“And it’s generally the policy not to release their real names to the public,” Kat stated. “Many of these guys and girls ran away from home or don’t have anywhere to go. They don’t need people tracking them down.”
“In other words, they don’t want to get found and Liberty Station isn’t telling people shit,” Leon said. “Our opponent isn’t an amateur. Whoever it is will lay low while the heat’s on. They won’t act carelessly when they’ve come this far without being caught.”
“Like hell they won’t,” Allison said. “Any rat will get careless if you dangle a delicious enough treat in front of them. I say, we bait this putz with something they can’t resist.”
“Like the master records?” Lucy asked. “Just what I was thinking. But, we’ll have to find a way to let them know that the records will be vulnerable without making it an obvious trap.”
“But won’t they suspect a trap regardless?” Farah asked.
“That’s it!” Kat snapped her fingers. “Farah is right. They’ll be suspicious regardless. That’s why we should get careless!”
“Explain, Katie,” Lucy demanded.
“We get the master records, spread the information that we’re going to have them in a particular place with very little subtlety and we pick our hiding positions poorly,” Kat stated. “We’ll let them think that they have us pinned down. We give them the opening that they want while giving the appearance that we just suck at traps. They’ll probably use gas to knock us out. Opening fire is too risky for them. Even if they got one of us, the rest would be instantly alerted.
“I think I know where you’re going with this,” Lucy stated. “I pretend to be knocked out with the rest of you and grab them when they come in for the records.”
“It could very well work,” Allison said.
“I don’t like the idea of letting myself get knocked out,” Leon muttered. “But if it gets the mission done I’ll allow it.”
“As expected from the Alliance,” Ophelia said. “These official records are bullshit.” She looked over at Grace. “Anything on your end?”
“Maybe,” Grace stated. “It seems like their eldest son and heir to their totally legitimate business went missing several months ago.” She rolled her eyes when she said “totally legitimate.” “The details are a bit vague, but it looks like he got in a fight with his dad.”
“You think that the fight was a ruse so that he could cause trouble here?” Ophelia asked.
Grace shrugged. “Hard to say without hearing from the team over there.”
“I’ll check with Yuri,” Ophelia said. “See what they told her in their last report. They should have sent one not long ago.”
“I’ll go back to those messages and work on decoding them,” Grace said.