He would have to think about a teamname another time, because now they had to act. And carefully so.
The restaurant, which was innocuously called ‘Hong Kong Kitchen’, looked like it had jumped right out of the catalogue for clichéd Chinese restaurants. Lots of paper lanterns and cheap red dragons.
Tyche snorted at the sight. “Seriously? That’s where they meet? They’re the Black Panthers, not the Black Dragons.”
Brennus nodded, even if she could not see it from her position. “True. No respect for tradition,” he compained.
“Children, focus,” Hecate reprimanded with a long-suffering sigh. “Brennus, you said your ravens can’t get in?”
He had to take a few seconds until he finally remembered. “That restaurant only looks simple. Reinforced front to back, so no blasting through the walls. The windows are reinforced, too. Soundproofing as well. And they have protected their electronics, it is all locked down. No outside access without tipping them off. And they can probably call reinforcements the moment they realize that something is wrong.”
She nodded, thinking it over. “We should still try to sneak in. Can you pick the lock for the backdoor, Brennus? Without them noticing?”
He would have rolled his eyes if she could have seen it. “Of course. I should even be able to take down any surveillance they have, once we get inside. We just need to be silent. By the way, we should switch over to the communication system I worked up for us.” You always forget that.
<Alright, how do we proceed?>, asked Tyche. She was vibrating, anxious to finally get into some action again.
Like we haven’t had too much action lately, thought Hecate, but instead went over the plan again – as far as they had a plan. Sneak in, have Brennus hack any computers, try to spy on the meeting that was supposed to take place.
Then they jumped down from the building the stood on, landing two storeys lower – Tyche caught her fall with a fancy roll, while Brennus simply let Hecate levitate the two of them down, then cast her veil around them – it was fragile, useless if you moved too quickly or attacked others, but very useful for sneaking up to a backdoor undiscovered and letting Brennus pick the lock.
Once the lock had been dealt with, Brennus cracked the door open just enough for one of his ravens to look inside. Through it, he saw a simple, red-carpeted hallway with a cheap, ornate occasional table beneath an even more ornate mirror, and three doors. Also, three security cameras. Luckily none of them was currently looking directly at them. Brennus sent his raven out to the closest camera, the bird extending a prehensile cable from its beak to allow him to hack into the surveillance system – it was mostly proof against outside interference – mostly by just making sure that there was no outside point one could access it through – but once one got inside…
As a rule of thumb, no mundane system could hold up to a Gadgeteer. Even an Exemplar-tier Gadgeteering power could easily work through even the most advanced security systems, provided they were not designed by any Contriver (though they could certainly destroy them simply enough) or a more capable (not necessarily higher-ranked) Gadgeteer.
The Black Panthers had neither, and thus their system fell within mere moments, giving Brennus full control of every appliance linked to it. Which wasn’t much, as it turned out. Cameras, telephones and the building’s internet connection, all his now. He put the cameras into loops – with Eudocia to monitor and adjust the loops if needed – and also put Eudocia to monitor any and all incoming and outgoing calls, as well as internet accesses.
They slipped into the building, closing the door and huddling together under Hecate’s invisibility charm, while Brennus took stock of the situation inside. Frustratingly, the blueprints showed three rooms which were not covered by the cameras he could access. Not good, those were the rooms most likely to hold sensitive meetings or items.
<I can not see the interesting bits. Kitchen, dining area, staff room… nothing interesting. At least the staff is bogged down by the customers – Friday night business and all,> he explained, half smug and half frustrated.
<How many rooms are hidden, and what could they contain?>, asked Hecate.
<Three rooms are hidden, only two of whom – the customer and the employee bathroom – are included in the official blueprints. There is another room in an off-the-record subbasement which, according to what I can get from here, is completely locked down. Either a secret meeting room, or a storage vault for illegal merchandise.>
Tyche snorted. <So what? Let’s just go take a look, it’s not like they can stop us! No metahumans here, that’s the whole point why we chose this for the OP!>
Hecate sighed, having gone through this time and time again. <I told you, we only think that it’s unlikely that there are metahumans stationed here. And we’re not here for their merchandise, anyway. All we want is information, which we should get from their computer system. Speaking of which, did you find anything, Brennus?>
<Nothing on their wired systems. But the room in the subbasement is eating a lot of their electricity. And there is a separate computer in the manager’s office up on the second storey.>
Hecate and Tyche spoke at the same time:
<The manager’s office.>
Brennus shook his head. How predictable. <I vote for the manager’s office as well. That is two against one, Tyche.>
<Alright, alright, jeez…>