2010-10-09: Arrival




October 9, 2010


Flughafen Berlin-Schönefeld


Even spies sometimes have to worry about lost luggage and how to kill a Saturday night.

Danika feels naked, as the plane touches down. Here she is, on a plane, passing through customs and she really doesn't have anything illegal on her. Checked in her luggage? Well… sure, in the form of one thoroughly disassembled Walther p99. And the can of shaving cream? Right. Full of cartridges. But really, that's all. She's not on a mission. Her boss is too sick to take any action right now and wanted to be left alone for a few days. She has a good supply of the things it takes to keep her altered body going, so what to do with her time? Well? Dani's going home. She hasn't been here in years. She's never just seen the place. Not in her whole life. There was always some mission, either for the Stasi or for some other intelligence organization. So here she is, on a short trip just to see the place she was born.

While some may say that going to ANY other country other than you home country can be a joyous event of travel, it doesn't help when your there as a part of an intelligence agency. And not only that, but you've got to pretend to be enjoying yourself because you're undercover as a performer in a band. Oh, the joys of undercover life. Getting her passport stamped and passing along through to the luggage area, KeLyssa Laval, AKA Rain Allison as she's going by today, taps her foot to an unkown beat as she waits for the luggage to arrive.

And rounding out the other end of the business-to-pleasure spectrum is Thomas, hands stuffed into his pockets as he watches other people's suitcases go around and around. It would be nice to come here for some sightseeing - though Berlin seems to go in more for endless stretches of rusty trainyards, compared to Munchen - but as soon as the city was mentioned, he knew that no such thing was in the cards this time around. Berlin invariably meant he was still on the clock.

A few minutes later, the steady rhythm of luggage rolling down the conveyor belt to the loop trails off, and still there's no sign of his bag. Nothing that can't be replaced, but he'd rather not go to the trouble if he can avoid it. « Excuse me, » he says, beelining toward the nearest desk clerk and launching into accented but passable German, « can you check whether they've finished unloading flight 574? I've got a schedule to keep. »

Danika gets her bags without comment. She travels pretty light when she's not on a mission. She looks over her fellow passengers, sighs and takes a slow breath. Be herself? Be herself, her boss said. She wonders if he has any clue how difficult that really is, after all these years of being nearly anybody but herself. But her German still works, still sounds like Berlin as it should.

Continueing to tap, tap, tap, her feet, Rain Allison, watches the carusel. Good thing the rest of her band arrived earlier, otherwise the wait could make them late at to the hotel. If there's one thing they've learned, it's that you don't want to arrive late to the hotel, otherwise they get annoyed and give away your room. Approaching the attendant next to the one that Thomas is speaking to, she attempts to speak German to the person there. However, she completely and utterly fails. German is not her strong language. "English? Francais? Do you understand the words coming out of my mouth? Hellooooo?" The attendant just stares at her blankly as if she's the most unintelligent creature on the planet.

Oh, great, a first-time visitor. This can't possibly make the delay any worse. "Were you on 574, too?" Thomas asks, this time in English, as he gives Rain a quick once-over and tries to place her accent. Wisconsin, he thinks. "Don't tell me, your bag hasn't shown up either? I was just asking—" Meanwhile, the assistant is already on the radio to the staff out in the landing field, impatiently gesturing for the passengers to go take their conversation somewhere else so he can hear.

Danika extends the wheels on her luggage and walks over where the other two are standing, more out of curiosity than anything else. One is young. Rude. With the combination of French and English as her languages, Dani's inclined to bet Canadian, rather than American. The other? Seems more experienced. She looks them both over habitually, but nothing really sets off any warnings for her. "I wonder why my bags arrived and yours didn't?" she says, her English showing only a slight German accent.

Glancing sideways to Thomas, the blonde eyes the man. "Yeah. I was on 574. And my bags, which include a bass guitar, haven't come shown up yet. And that's bass is specially made! One of a kind! If it's gone missing, I might blow a gasket, like a car bakfiring in a parkade!" If speaking English and French doesn't give it away that she's Canadian, using the term 'parkade' might, with the word being Canadian in origin. She looks back at Danika as the woman speaks. "I dunno…maybe they hate musicians." She tilts her head at Thomas. "You a musician?"

Alas, the term goes over Thomas's head. Again. It's not one he's heard before, but then there's a wide variety of dialect just within the States. "Me? No, I'm just trying to get my bag back, I didn't put any clothes in my carry-on." A lie, but one that should grease the conversational wheels nicely. "They must have put them on a different cart or something," he adds, glancing over toward Danika.

When he looks back toward Kelyssa, the clerk is gesturing toward the baggage claim, which has started up again in the meantime. Nothing with a distinctive guitar shape yet, but it offers hope, at least.

Danika says, "I'd expect your bass to come through in the oversized luggage area, like skiis." She looks at Thomas. "And you're a brave man. I've been on these flights before. I don't go through without a change of socks and panties and a toothbrush, minimum." She gestures toward her purse meaningfully. "With all the electronic junk I carry now, it's a wonder I don't need a separate bag.""

KeLyssa raises an eyebrow at Thomas. "Seriously? You didn't pack any spare clothes in your carry-on?" She lets out a soft chuckle. "Dude, you must not travel much. A beaver knows to carry a spare piece of wood around in case of a leak." Okay, she doesn't exactly know that as a fact, but it's the point that it's trying to make that's important. She gives a shrug to Danika. "That's beside the point. I mean, it's like crows and ravens, they look alike and they may even be closely related, but it's the principle of the matter. They're both ugly, loud, annoying black birds. Same goes for the baggage areas. My baggage went on at the same place, it's all still in the same place."

While the others go back and forth on the likely whereabouts of the guitar, Thomas heads over toward the carousel, leaning down to grab a well-worn black duffel bag as it swings by. Maybe he's well-traveled after all. Or can't afford better than a hand-me-down bag. Or he's rich enough to buy whatever he needs, and just can't be bothered to replace the old thing?


"If it's longer than five feet," the clerk pipes up, his English about as clear as Danika's, "then it will be unloaded over there." He points toward a large set of double doors that's basically right next to the regular area, and they can hash it out all they want so long as they don't keep doing it in front of his desk.

Danika nods. She meanders that direction, just to see what happens. It's not like she has anything on the agenda. Just three days to kill in Berlin. Maybe take in the Stasi museum. Mm. Maybe not. "So what kind of music do you play?" She asks Rain. Inwardly, she braces herself not to really understand the answer. But hey, Rain could be an improvisational jazz artist for all Dani knows.

Giving the clerk an annoyed look and a little huff, Rain, formerly known as KeLyssa, rolls her eyes and heads over toward the special baggage area. There she finds…if you guessed her guitar case, you were correct! She opens it up just to make sure, taking out a heard shaped bass. "Now that is what I'm talking about! Rain smiles, replacing the bass and looking at Danika. "Rock'n'roll. It's the only way to boogy." She says with a sly grin, obviously starting to get in a better mood now.

Well, it's Thomas's favorite type, at least. (Rock 'n roll. What sort of name is 'boogie', anyway? Ever since Weird Al did that one song about it, he couldn't take it seriously any more.) He's already shouldered the duffel bag and started heading out toward the taxi stop. "Kind of luck we're having, the hotel's going to be full up, too." Come to think of it, maybe he should consider a music gig as a cover story next time - that guitar case could fit a lot of other interesting things in it - he doesn't really know how to play anything, but how hard can that be to fake, after all?

Danika finds herself thinking along the same lines as Thomas, though she doesn't know it. Guitar strings would make a pretty reasonable garrote. Which she knows how to use, but prefers not to. "Okay," she says, "Where are you playing? And hey, maybe we could share a taxi if you're all going to the Templehof."

That's her bag! That's Rain's bag! That one! The pretty pink, frou-frou one with the glittery rhinestones! Getting the heavy looking bag off the carousel with apparent relative ease (she carries it a lot!), she smiles brightly at Thomas and Danika. "You can always come to the hotel I'm staying in and check! After all, it might have room. You never know!" She seems to get even brighter when Danika mentions the hotel she's staying at. "I'm staying at the Templehof too! It would be awesome if we all shared a cab! It would certainly safe us money!"

As far as his work goes, it doesn't much matter which hotel Thomas winds up in, so long as he (a) checks in no later than 0000 and (b) reports for a briefing no later than 1000. "Works for me," he replies, "I just need to call my dad when we get there. He gets— nervous if I don't, you know how it is." After that, if Rain wants to drag them to a late-night gig or something, then more power to her.

Danika smiles and heads toward the cab stand, where she will unleash her utterly fluent German (native speaker) on the cabby. The wolf within her just lies with its head on its paws, keeping its ears cocked and its eyes open, watching, but uninvolved. Vacations. Not something it deals with.