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Unusual Tourists - Harndon - 07-29-2021

Königsstadt, An-Astral

Ginak cast his eyes out across the square, a burnt-out cigarette balanced between his thumb and forefinger.
All around the cafe storefront, the crowds bustled and flowed just as they always had, the hum of traffic never far from an incessant backing track to the sounds of An-Astralian life.
He sighed, and crushed the still smouldering nib of the cigarette against the tiny platter provided just for that purpose. Just because he had been stationed here for years didn't mean he was used to the intoxication of it all. He doubted he ever would.

There was a scrape of metal against stone as the chair just to the left on him was dragged out from underneath the table in a banal display of nonchalance.
Ginak's eye twitched, almost imperceptibly. "Hey Jakob."
The corner of Dafkane's mouth was pulled upwards in a half-smile for little more than a second before he smothered it. "Good morning, Burnd."
The false names they had operated - no, lived - under for the past few years (or substantially longer than that in Ginak's own case) had changed with the seasons of An-Astralian crises. Thankfully for him and his team, there was no shortage of those. 'More practice,' Ginak reflected, more-or-less sardonically.

The creak of Dafkane's seat as his lithe frame lowered itself into it was all but lost over the sounds of the city.
By the table closest to them, a young couple floated, uncertainty painted across both their faces and the way they stood. Ginak could near feel the nervous energy crackling around them.
By the glitter in his young comrade's eyes, Dafkane had already clocked them. Good; the newest quera was significantly better suited to the role than the last pile of crap HQ had sent Ginak.
Apparently 5 years of intensive training was not always enough to sort out the quera from the children who couldn't find their own arse without a wetnurse.

"What's new?" Ginak's An-Astralian had more or less lost any trace of foreign accent long ago. From the reactions of the natives, he had mastered reasonably passing as someone born and bred in Königsstadt.
"Not too much. Bored, though." The younger agent's lilt placed him somewhere to the west of An-Astral, though not Harndon itself, for which Ginak was more than a little grateful; it is one thing to have a cast-iron alibi, but if your nationality dominated your voice, then the whole enterprise was built on boggy foundations.
Especially at a time like this.

"Oh dear. How so?" It didn't take a genious to guess, but getting agents to get things off their chest was never a bad thing.
"I've run out of things to do, places to see. The group that I was supposed to be going to see the sights of the city with have largely been unable to quite organise something yet..." Dafkane's eyes trailed off into the distance along with his voice.
"Don't worry about it. Once they're ready, they'll reach out. There's certainly no point to hanging about like a bad dream if they don't have the time for you." It wasn't only the younger operative that was straining a little against an apparent lack of action on the part of the Communist Party - he'd heard the exact same from nearly everyone in the team over the past day or so. Ginak was just happy to get a break. He'd been in enough of these situations before to know that initial caution and good planning can potentially stop a nightmare down the line. Potentially.

"Besides," Ginak continued, "we have more toys coming over: enough to share. Stuff to write on and with to record our time here, with more than enough spare to gift to our friends. If that's not enough to perk your interest, we've also got some entertainment devices coming over with them."
They'll certainly make an explosive entrance, if nothing else; they had enough arms and equipment for themselves and their own team, but a shipment of Harndonian-made weaponry would equip most of the Communist Party members too.
Ginak rolled the cigarette through his fingers.
The decision had been made to give the An-Astralian revolutionaries recognisably Harndonian equipment, as a public show of solidarity. It was certainly a risk - they could have the same impact without such easy identification. And yet instead there was going to be an announcement of intention in the clearest material way possible.
He just prayed it was going to pay off.

"We just have to wait--"