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Mission #268

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"I look ridiculous, Carl."

"I assure you your clothes are appropriate," said the voice from Rebecca's wristband. "This is hardly the first time you've worn period clothing."

"But I'm a pirate!" she exclaimed, gesturing broadly, as if there was anyone to see it. In this get-up, she was happy there wasn't. "Should I add an eye-patch? A peg-leg? Round out the look?"

"There's nothing amiss. No one will expect that you're out of place," Carl said.

"I look like a caricature."

"You're fine. Can we get on with it?

Rebecca sighed. "Fine, whatever. Let's do this."

In an instant the walls of Rebecca's apartment disappeared and the incandescent light vanished; she found herself instead standing at twilight on a dirt path. As her eyes adjusted she realized that she was in an alley. She approached the mouth and glanced out at the street beyond.

Revelers were everywhere, drinking and fighting and . . . doing other things. Obviously this was a party town, and Rebecca had no idea how she was supposed to find the tavern. Any one of the buildings could be it, they all had enough people drinking outside of them.

"Where is this place?" she asked.

"To your left," Carl directed, and proceeded to guide Rebecca through the crowd until she reached the tavern door. Just as she entered, a bottle hit the wall next to the doorway and shattered. Rebecca leapt into the room and away from the door, already picking glass fragments out of her hair.

"I swear to God, Carl, this better be worth me risking getting brained by a drunk pirate."

"This mission is extremely important. It is vital that you locate the Leak operative before he meets his contact from the Spanish government. With the information that the Leak could provide - "

"Yadda yadda, irreparable damage to the timeline, blah blah," Rebecca said. It was the same line every mission. "I didn't say I wouldn't do it, just that I'd like my death to be a bit more dignified than being hit on the head. Okay?"

"Fine," said Carl. "The Leak agent hasn't arrived yet. Pick a surveillance point and settle in."

Rebecca sidled up to the bar and settled on one of the rough-hewn stools. Leaning back against the bar she had a perfect view of both the entrance and most of the tavern itself. Still, with the room packed so full and the crowd so rowdy, Rebecca wasn't confident that she would spot the Leak agent when he arrived. She would have to be vigilant, keep all of her senses alert for even the slightest -

"Oi!" came a loud voice from behind her. Rebecca jumped, startled, and only just managed to keep herself from tumbling off of the stool she sat on. She turned to face the bar and found the barkeep standing there, an exasperated expression on his face.

"Well? What'll you be having, then?" the man asked, and Rebecca had the sneaking suspicion that he had tried asking her once already.

Rebecca suddenly realized that she didn't know what people ordered in pirate taverns. Was the rum thing true, or was it just Hollywood bullshit? The last thing she needed was to attract attention and tip off the Leak that she was there. She cast an eye up and down the bar, thinking quickly.

"Aye," she said, jerking her thumb toward a fellow patron a few stools over. "A pint of whatever that scurvy sea-dog's having."

The barkeep grunted and went to pour her a mug. As he left earshot, the patron down the bar lifted his head from its resting place cushioned on his arms and studied Rebecca intensely. Eventually he spoke.

"Under normal circumstances, such familiarity from a pirate would raise my suspicions. But I see that you are no pirate."

Inwardly, Rebecca groaned, her cover blown already. "Of course I'm a pirate, matey," she said, accepting her drink from the barkeep and keeping her eye on the room. "Why else would I be in this fine establishment?" And wearing these clothes, she silently added.

The man shrugged, drank deeply from his own mug.

"Yeah, well," Rebecca retorted, "you don't look like a pirate either. Matey."

The man glared. "You may call me Norrington. And I'm not."

"Well, then why are you here?"

The man sighed and looked back to his drink. Ah, Rebecca thought, so it was something like that. She was considering some comforting words when, suddenly, something caught her eye. Turning her attention back to the room at large, Rebecca spotted a man in a tricorner hat weaving through the crowd towards and empty table at the far side of the room. Despite his clever disguise, Rebecca would recognize the trademark suit and sunglasses anywhere: a Leak operative.

A quick sweep of the room showed no one else paying the man any attention, so Rebecca knew that his contact hadn't yet arrived - but he could arrive at any moment. Without thinking, she emptied her mug on the floor beside her and tossed it across the room towards the agent's head.

And missed.

"Shit!" Hoping that the Leak agent hadn't noticed her failed attempt amongst the chaos of the room, Rebecca cast around for some other weapon and her eyes landed on Norrington's mug. "Next round's on me!" she told him, then sent his mug to follow her own just as the Leak agent turned to sit down.

This time she saw the Leak agent heave forward from the impact of the mug against the back of his head. He landed, hard, against a man with an honest-to-God peg-leg, but after that Rebecca couldn't keep track of what was happening. At some point someone threw a punch and the whole tavern went from raucous reveling to bare fist bar brawl.

"Interesting technique," Carl commented.

Rebecca glanced around quickly before lifting her wrist to respond, finding everyone in the room too distracted by the fight to notice her. She spoke into her wristband. "Well, did it work or not?"

"It did. The contact from the Spanish government saw the disturbance and left. Good work, Rebecca."

"Great." She stood up. "Let's blow this popsicle stand."

A man tumbled to the ground in front of her before she took two steps away from he stool. He wasn't moving, but Rebecca nudged him with her toe a few times to make sure he was unconscious before bending down and taking the small bag of coins from his belt.

"Hey, Norrington!" she called, turning back towards the bar. The man had not joined the fight; his head was resting on his arms once more. "Norrington!" Rebecca called again, then tossed the bag over to him. It landed with a rattling clink next to Norrington's head, causing him to jump and turn around, startled.

"For the next round," Rebecca told him. He smiled and nodded his thanks, and Rebecca turned her attention to navigating her way out of the tavern. Once outside she ducked into the nearest alley.

"Okay Carl, take me home."

As her kitchen shimmered into view around her, Rebecca glanced at the clock over the stove and groaned. Almost time for her shift at the video store. Well, she thought, at least at the video store she didn't have to wear breeches.