The Dresden Files: Portland

Side Job: Redemption (Part Two)

Karkana Chronicles Twelve

March 31, 2013 (Sydney Benning’s Apartment)

Sydney and Brianna are discussing making magical objects.

“I don’t have a few weeks, unfortunately,” Brianna says. “Thank you, for your time.” Brianna gets up to leave.

Before she and Joey go, though Sydney stops them. “If you’re looking for something temporary, there are potions,” she says.

Brianna says, “I’m not looking for something to last years but for something to give me an advantage in a business dealing I have. I won’t get into any details, but something has been stolen from a particular individual and I have been tasked with retrieving it. However, the person that stole it will probably not give it up very easily. I’m looking for things to even the playing field.”

“I may be able to concoct a potion to give you a temporary veil. That would only tke me a few hours to make.”

“That’s more along my time frame. I’m looking at leaving tomorrow. How temporary is the temporary veil?” Brianna asks.

“Seconds,” Sydney says.

“Actually, with my speed, that might be helpful, though. How much would I owe you for it? Things are tight right now. I assume there are costs in making this.”

Sydney shakes her head. “Consider it part of a debt owed.”

“We’ll leave you to it then. We’ll come back around seven or eight?”

“More like ten.”

“Ten. Very good then,” Brianna says. She and Joey head back to their apartment and pack. Clothes, tools, a flashlight: anything they think might be useful on this unusual job. They head back to Sydney’s around ten o’clock.

Sydney invites them in and Regi is there to greet Brianna with a “Hiya, lady.” Sydney hands Brianna a clear sports bottle with a clear liquid inside it. “Just drink it all down,” she says.

“Thank you, Sydney. Well, we’ll head out then. When we get back to town we’ll let you know how it worked.”

“Good luck on your endeavor,” Sydney says.

“I don’t really do item retrieval, but…” Brianna says and shrugs on their way out.

Joey and Brianna load up the car and take off for their twenty hour drive to Tempe, Arizona.

April 1, 2013 (Monday, 9:00 pm)

Brianna and Joey pull into Tempe and get an inexpensive, rattrap motel. Brianna takes a shower and goes out alone to feed. There’s a bar near the hotel. She provokes a fight with a female bar patron and sips from her rage. The bartender ends up kicking them both out and Brianna comes back to the hotel. Joey is watching crappy television.

Brianna tells Joey, “Tomorrow we need to start scoping her out. We need to be careful. Apparently her specialty was White Court vampires. I’ll need to watch to make sure she’s not particularly sensitive.”

She sets her alarm to get up in time to make office hours.

April 2, 2013 (Tuesday)

First they head out to the San Marquis apartment building to check out where Charlotte Fleming/Deborah Spivey lives. It’s a three-story building, very southwestern in flavor. Her apartment is a one bedroom and centrally located, according to the online floor plan.

Brianna and Joey scope out the security situation. They do see security stickers and signs about the campus and in the in the windows—including Charlotte Fleming’s window. They also see apartment maintenance staff wandering about the grounds.

As they are checking things out, they are approached by a man with name tag identifying him as Mr. Rodriguez, the manager. “Would you be interested in one of our brochures?” he asks.

“This looks like an active community,” Brianna observes.

Mr. Rodriguez agrees and genially takes them back to the central office where he produces the promised brochures. He offers them bottled water or a coke. Both take a water. Brianna notes a bank of monitors flickering between cameras. There are also other staff members in the office.

“So what are you two looking for in an apartment?” Mr. Rodriguez asks.

“Location,” Brianna says. “Affordable. Good community. Do you have anything open we could take a walk through?”

“As a matter of fact I do. I have one of our one bedroom models.”

“Well, if you have a few moments…”

“Not a problem. Come with me.” And Mr. Rodriguez gets up and unlocks one of the cabinets on the wall. Inside is a row of keys. They are numbered. He takes out a set, locks the cabinet back and beckons for them to follow.

He takes them to a nice little one-bedroom apartment. There is a security system—the keypad is by the door. The power box is in the utility room. After asking him about it, Mr. Rodriguez reveals that the security system is an on a subscription basis outside the normal rent with a third party. And yes, parking is assigned.

Afterwards, they thank Mr. Rodriguez, who gives them his card. As they come away from the leasing office, Brianna notes that there are security cameras around the office and that the leasing office apparently subscribes to security company, as there is a keypad by the door and a sign on the lawn.

Brianna and Joey head back to the car and compare notes. This is not going to be easy. It would be nice to get a key from that leasing office. Joey noticed that the groundskeepers and maintenance all wore polo shirts with a San Marquis logo on them. Impersonating one them without that gear won’t be easy, either.

They then decide to drive by her place of business, Derek Jacobs Financials. It resides in a skyscraper downtown. They can either park in the garage and get validation or park elsewhere and walk to the building. They decide on the latter.

The first floor of the building has a security desk, food kiosk, a directory, and elevators. There are security cameras in the lobby. Joey points out a good surveillance point outside the building at a nearby café. The two take up a position and watch, waiting to see Charlotte Fleming.

Finally, around noon, they spot her. She comes out with a throng of people from the building and heads to a food truck parked across the street from the building. She is dressed professionally in a business jacket and skirt. She takes a seat at a nearby table to eat. After finishing her meal alone, she heads back into the building.

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