(1938-10-19) The Setup
Details for The Setup
Summary: When Bannon accompanies Cooper on a mission, things go absolutely awry.
Date: October 19, 1938
Location: Elephant and Castle Apartments, London

Elephant and Castle Apartments London
Sat Oct 19, 1938 (G,6 NE)

It is a fall night. The weather is cool and stormy.

An old Victorian era apartment building, the Elephant and Castle House has certainly seen better days. Cramped and dim the old Victorian candle sconces could probably provide better light than the flickering lights that dangle from the cracked and sagging ceiling. Despite these quirks and flaws the apartment building isn't dirty, in fact it's well enough kept after. Like a loved one being cared for carefully in their last days. Near black, from all the years of polishing, hardwood floors and wall panels stop at chair rail height and then above the paneling is either the exterior walls sand colored brick, or in the interior walls old victorian brocade wallpaper flakes and bubbles. In some spots the paper has been ripped away. Black doors with brass numbers line the communal hallways. The smaller apartments on the upper floors have communal bathrooms. The larger downstairs apartments have the doors set at wider intervals and some nooks filled with sculptures break up the monotony between doorways.

For an occasion such as this, a room has been rented out. A dank, dark sort of room, where the sheets are clean enough, but the peeling wallpaper and the odd burn mark across the floor in the corner is enough to make anyone suspicious. A stern faced Cooper opens the door, gesturing for Bannon to enter in ahead of her. "Quickly, we need to set up." It's Cooper's mission after all, one that she hopes will get her to be a full auror, but just for good measure Worthington had the much older and much wiser Bannon come along with her for backup. The idea is that a transaction will take place in the room, and it's the young blonde's job to secure said object that will be gained in the transaction. "I really appreciate your help on this," she says to Bannon and once he's in and settled she'll hand him a small vial which contains what he will recognize as an invisibility potion. "Take that as soon as you're settled." The briefing will continue once he does that first step.

His steps are quick, but measured and even. Bannon lifts up his walking stick, ensuring it makes no sound upon the floor as he enters the room. "A fine, innocuous spot. This will certainly serve well." It would be assumed that he means for the exchange. "Everything is in order, then? The transaction ensured?" He pauses and shakes his head. "Of course it is. You've worked long and hard to get to this point. Just be careful. Cautious. Anything could happen from this point forward." He accepts the vial from her, glancing at the contents. "How long is the potion expected to last?"

A warm smile spreads across the woman's face as she takes his faith in her as a compliment. "Thank you, and I certainly will," she nods, slapping her suitcase onto the bed where she opens it to reveal a number of other potions and disguises. "I learn from the best after all," she winks at Bannon, and then gestures to the corner. "A full hour and a half, exactly. Brewed it myself, and did some extensive time testing on it," she says and ties up her messy tresses and pulls out a couple of her own vials. She's wearing a man's suit which is far too big for her. "So I the transaction will take place at this table here," she says walking over to a small round kitchen table that doesn't match with the rest of the room, "And you will do best to stand here in the nearest corner." It too is an ideal corner. Partially blocked by the corner of a dresser, which the top is mostly clear save for a decorative vase. "As you already know, the potion will take care of you being seen, but they can still hear your move. So do your best not to breath too heavy and limit your movement." She gestures to the doors and windows. "If you could set up some sound security while I get ready. Don't need to have any muggles hearing us, do we?"

Slipping the vial into a pocket for now, Bannon removes his wand from the walking stick. He starts to wave it about the walls and windows, as well as the door. He murmurs the words, allowing the spells to make their mark. "Let's go over the plan just once more, shall we? One can never quite be too prepared for the events to come. Especially under circumstances such as these. Preparation is our best friend. It ensure we are not caught off guard, even when something unexpected takes place. Though there should be nothing that is unexpected. As cliche as it may seem, expecting the unexpected may save your life." He gives her a quick glance before continuing on his spell work.

"Yes, you're right. That's a good idea," Cooper says, putting the vial down just before she was about to drink it. "Right so. Stephan Lachance and his associate will be arrive here in 20 minutes. We will sit at this table, schmooze a bit what not. And then he will present the artifact to us, and I will inspect if briefly." Both Cooper and Bannon were given limited knowledge about what the artifact is. Its needed for the Department of Mysteries and according to them it will be a glowing yellow orb that will emit a brief and heavenly echoing sound when one taps their wand on it. "I will then present them with the money," Cooper gestures to a small sack of money given to them by the department. "Yada yada, we will shake hands briefly and they should be out the door. Remember it is not our job to catch them this time around. We'll leave that to someone else, we simply need the artifact." The young woman of course handle the transaction as a man, which explains the ill fitting suit. "Remember that this will all be taking place in French, so you'll simply just have to be on your toes and observe should anything be odd. I will tap my fingers on the table top if anything is unusual. Everything clear?" She uncaps her vial of polyjuice potion, holding it up to have a toast with Bannon and his invisibility concoction. "Cheers."

Finishing off the required spells, Bannon nods. Slipping his wand back into the walking stick, he takes out the vial. "And hopefully we won't have to bring them in." He obviously hasn't discounted the fact that they may have to, should things turn sour. "And, should all go well, this hopefully shan't take terribly long. Granted, we mustn't discount small talk, should it be required. Keep attentive to both social and physical clues being displayed by all involved. And while, as I said, we mustn't discount the possibility of small talk, it should also be taken into consideration that they must be kept on topic. If they do lead the conversation away from the exchange, try, with tact, to bring the conversation back to making the exchange." And with that, he lifts his own vial up, uncorks the top, and drinks it down.

"Aye captain," Cooper heeds Bannon's advice, and slips a hair into the potion before shaking it up and downing it as well down the hatch goes her polyjuice potion. She grimaces at the flavor, but then groans as suddenly her limbs elongate and her eyes darken into a pair of black irises. Her shoulder broaden to fit into the suit, and her blonde hair turns into a black and greasy short cut. "How do I look?" her feminine voice comes out from the man she has become. Dusting her suit off, she looks over at Bannon, standing straight and waiting for his inspection. She of course takes another potion to make her voice deeper as she waits for his appraisal. But something is off. There's an unnatural rise to her chest, as if she still has….breasts.

Even as Cooper changes appearance, Bannon all but turns invisible. All that is him begins to fade, and the area surrounding him becomes visible through him. He is easily able to gauge how well his potion has worked just by looking down at his body parts. However, once his attention is focused back on Cooper, he raises an eyebrow. Though, of course, she can't see said eyebrow. "You…well…may wish to take note of the area just below your neck." He clears his throat. "It seems the potion did not work as fully as desired."

Cooper looks slightly confused. "Below…my…," her hands feel around her collar bone, searching for anything strange until *grope*. "Ack!" Those are definitely still hers, she pats them down just to make sure. "Bullocks, what am I going to do?" She looks at the time and looks at the mirror, biting her lip. Turning around, she talks to where she estimates Bannon might be. She's glad at least one potion worked out. "Grab me the heavy sweater from that suitcase and then stow it away under the bed will you?," she instructs. And then suddenly heavy footsteps can be heard coming down the hall. "Quickly!"

"Transfiguration may be your best option in this circumstance, I'm afraid." There's no time for Bannon to think about it further, however. He makes to moves quickly, immediately heading to the suitcase and getting the sweater from it. Closing the suitcase back up, he rushes to the bed, the seemingling floating sweater shoved under the bed into a hiding position. He pauses, listening to the footsteps. It's now or never. He makes his way to the agreed upon corner and stays there, standing still.

"Transfiguration may also be an option in this circumstance." Though there's no time for Bannon to talk about it further. He makes to moves quickly, immediately heading to the suitcase and getting the sweater from it. Closing the suitcase back up, he grabs it as well. Handing Cooper the sweater, he heads over to the bed and places the suitcase underneath it. He pauses, listening to the footsteps. It's now or never. He makes his way to the agreed upon corner and stays there, standing still.

"It is indeed. If we only had the time," Cooper mutters, quickly throwing off her suit jacket, thrusting the sweater over her head and then putting the jacket back on. With a quick nod to the invisible Bannon in the corner, she straightens herself out, lighting a cigar she pulls out from her inner pocket and lets the smoking roll lean against a ashtray on the table. Almost as soon as she puts it down, there is a knock on the door. The heavy brogues on her feet, resound on the wood floor before she opens it with a creak. "Monsieur Lachance, come in," her deep French voice welcomes in a greying and warm looking man, who doesn't look like a shady criminal in any sense. His kind features also greet Cooper in French, but behind him trails a no-nonsense man, his head shaved with a scar across his scalp. "Please, sit. May I fix you and your friend a drink," she offers the bald man a seat, but he instead narrows his eyes at her and chooses to stand by the window, a three feet away from Bannon in his corner.

Mr. Lachance on the other hand gladly accepts a chair at the table, and says, "No no, no drinks for me though I will take a cigar if you have another." And the kind host Cooper is, she pulls another cigar and lights it for him. The young auror is a natural at disguise, pinning the masculine movements down. And for the next fifteen minutes, the two charming men schmooze away. While the association carefully scans the room with his eyes, resting on Bannon's corner for a long moment.

Bannon takes a few deep breaths in just before the others enter. Take them now, he thinks, as he knows he'll have to be perfectly still and silent once the others are in. He watches the two new men carefully. The bald man get the most of his attention, as he stands just a few short feet away from him. It will be even more difficult now, but just as dangerous. He only hopes he does not need to use his wand, as he fears the sound of it coming out of the walking stick would alert the bald man to his location.

A deep drag is taken from the cigar, as the two men puff away for another 20 minutes. The sweet smell of their smoke fills the room as the two joke and laugh. "Well Monsieur. I know how much you disdain this rainy gloomy city, therefore I will try not to keep you here too long. Shall we get to business then," she wrangles the conversation back on track. "You were able to find the orb then?" She lazily leans back in her chair, heel resting on the knee of the other leg. She exhales a drag as her dark eyes look at the man intently. And suddenly Lachance's warm features become a bit more serious due to the directional change of the conversation. "I do indeed," he says, summoning his associate. The bald man, though curious about the corner pulls his attentions away to pull out a pouch, charmed to hold a much larger capacity than the eye could explain. From the bag he brings forth a wooden box, just a tad bigger than a grown man's fist and places it on the table before Cooper. Smiling, Cooper opens the box to suddenly reveal a warm yellow light that fills half the room, and that light rises from its container to float above the table in the shape of an orb. "Spectacular…," Cooper whispers and something about her tone shows she's not acting. It is truly a splendid light that is almost hypnotizing and three men stand briefly in admiration.

"Your hard work is certainly rewarded, monsieur," Cooper pulls a pouch of money from her pocket, dangling it by the string off her fingers. And Lachance stares hungrily at it, moving his hand out to wait for her to place it in his palm. Cooper tuts and shakes her head, "I'm afraid, I'll have to do my inspection first before we make out exchange." The bald man returns back to his spot by the window, this time standing a bit closer to Bannon, perhaps by chance. But there's something that certainly draws him to that corner.

A barely audible intake of breath emits from Bannon as the container is opened and the orb is shown. He wasn't completely sure what to expect, as the description from the Department of Mysteries was, indeed, somewhat mysterious. But it is certainly a sight to behold. He can only hope that nobody heard him in that instance. His eyes are trained on the orb for only a moment before he starts watching the people once more. It's only when the bald man ends up standing even closer to him that he places his hand atop his walking stick, prepared for the use of magic if need be.

"By all means, go ahead," Monsieur Lachance abates his eagerness temporarily and gestures Cooper to have her way with the orb. And with the nod, the disguised Auror take a long look at the artifact, before pulling out her wand. Looks like a sound and genuine object. But the tap will be the true test. Slowly the tip of her wand advances and with a brief pause, she makes contact with the orb and then — ZAP! An electrical sound indicates the intense shock that courses through Cooper's body, causing it to spasm before she falls over on the floor. Whatever the artifact was, it was laced with a force that causes her body to shift back into its true, feminine form as she writhes on the ground.

Lachance's eyes widen and his bald friend yells in French, "I knew it! We were set up!" The associate steps forward to try and seize the woman.

Expect the unexpected. And this definitely counts as unexpected! And not only does Bannon have his auror training to back him up, but the element of invisible surprised. Nobody excepts the British Inquisitor! Not quite caring about what sound his wand makes coming out of the walking stick, he holds it tight in his wand hand and casts the first spell on the bald man. "Incarcerous!" He mutters, and thick ropes appear and bind themselves to the bald man, holding him in place.

Not expecting another presence in the room, the bald man is caught off guard and is wound up by the ropes with a loud groan. And once he's fully incapacitated, he falls over on his side thrashing about like the writhing Cooper. "Homenum Revelio!" the yell suddenly comes from Lachance in the direction of Bannon, a flash a light looking to attach itself to the auror so as to be easily marked.

Bannon takes a deep breath in. Well, his invisibility, at least to the 'good' seller of the item, is no use. "Expelliarmus!" He hopes to at least keep the man knocked back for a moment to get another quick spell in before he can catch him off guard.

Pleased with his charm sticking to the now "visibile" auror, Lachance dives under the table to avoid the expelliarmus. The charm instead makes impact with the surface, causing it to break and splinter. "Finite Incantantum!" the frenchman points at Cooper, bringing an end to her writhing. And in a swift move, he pulls the unconscious tiny woman against him as he stands, using her as a shield. With his wand to her neck, he smirks and backs away from Bannon. "I would tread carefully if I were you."

"Put down the wand." Bannon tells the man, his voice clear. "Think carefully about what it is that you're doing. Are you sure this is how you want this to be?" He takes a few careful, measured steps toward Cooper and her assailant. "We can certainly do this the difficult way, but I'd rather do this the easy way. I'd rather that my companion not get hurt in any way, shape, or form."

Cooper is light enough that her dead weight can be easily managed by a man much larger than her. And with every step Bannon advances, Lachance retreats toward the door, almost as if the two were in a dance. "I'm afraid the easy way is not a viable option," his English is doused in French pronunciation. "Who are you working for?" He holds the unconscious Cooper tighter against him, his wand now pointed to her temple. "Tell me."

"Work for? Work for? If the buyer hadn't wished to remain anonymous, she'd not have sent us in her place!" Bannon seems to grimace, as if he didn't want to betray anything of the buyer, including whether they were a man or a woman. "Needless to say, they'll not be happy that this transaction went dourly. Wingardium Leviosa!" He points his want toward the area underneath the bed and includes a swish and flick. From there, the suitcase that he had hid flies immedietly where the wand guides it, toward the Frenchman's head. He hopes. But instead it hits Cooper.

To be fair, Monsieur Lachance is actively using the woman as a shield. So despite the odd direction the suitcase was headed, he was certainly placing Cooper in its path anyway. The suitcase slaps against the young auror's forehead, causing a bit of blood to trickle down. And the Frenchman cackles at the sight. "It is a woman you're working for then!" he says. "Will she show herself then, should I borrow your young friend here?" He gestures to Cooper before yelling, "Bombarda!" A powerful cannonball force heads in Bannon's direction.

"Protego!" Bannon deflects the cannonball spell, but just barely. The force knocks him back a step. "You needn't let more harm come to my companion. If you must take someone, take me. She'll just weigh you down." He takes a deep breath in. "Please…don't let any more harm come to my friend…Flipendo!" He hopes the charm will knock Cooper with enough force that it will knock down Mr. Lachance as well.

Lachance's cannonball ricochets off of Bannon's shield, colliding into the far corner and causing a rather weighty dent in the wall. He barely has time to barrel another out, when the sound of a raging Flipendo heads in his direction. "Deflecto!" but his charm is no match for Bannon's impressive spell, which easily slams the Frenchman against the wall, several feet back even with Cooper's added wait. Much to her good fortune, she is cushioned by the man's body and takes very little impact herself. Luckily where he landed agains the wall has put him in a very close position to the door. And even in his painful stupor, he struggles rise from the floor to make for the doornob, dragging the auror with him. He inches closer and closer. If he could just…make… the doorknob.

As soon as his spell hits Lachance and Cooper, Bannon rushes toward them. "Oh. I don't think I can have you be running out so easily now, Mister Lachance." He tilts his head. "No, I don't think I can have that at all. This really could have gone quite smoothly. I find it rather disparaging when transactions don't go as smoothly as they are meant to." He balls up a fist and makes to punch Lachance right in the side of the head.

Wham! A fist causes a flash of bright lights to go off in Lachance's head as he's stuck under Cooper's body weight. The woman is easily tossed off and pushed to the side like a rag doll when the frenchman rises up shakily to his feet. With all his weight, he charges Bannon with a fierce "GRAARRR!!!" Hoping to push the man back a couple feet.

When the other man's body comes crashing into his, Bannon has no choice but to push himself into the other. A low growl emits as he puts his energy into keeping himself in the same stop. With his wand pressed against the Frenchman's side, the one spell that comes to mind is the very one that he had just attempted to use against him. "Bombarda!" As he casts the spell, he makes to push off the man, so as not to be taken down with him.

The two wrestle like lions, clashing their forces against one another. Until there is a distinct bursting sound of a cannonball spell, followed by a loud groan, the subtle but distinct sound of ribs cracking, and a tumultuous crash when Lachance lands somewhere next to his still bounded associate. And suddenly, the bells of clock tower in the distance sound, chiming in the hour. Both men's eyes go wide and they look at one another when the thrashing associate yells and gestures in the direction of the still floating orb just a foot away from them. "Lachance!" And in an instant the Frenchman makes a mad dash upward, shakily grabbing his partner's should, before enclosing his hand around the orb. Lachance venomously eyes Bannon before he and his associate disappear in a plume of smoke, their portkey transporting them out of the room and out of the reach of the auror.

"Bates," the weak voice of a now awoken Cooper calls for her fellow auror as she remains down on the ground.

Even if Bannon had the presence of mind to try and get to Lachance and his friend before they use their sneaky portkey, he most likely wouldn't have gotten to them on time. A low sigh emits from him and his eyes are cast downward. "Another day, Lachance. Another day." When his name is spoken, he rushes toward Cooper. He kneels down beside her, though he's bound to still be invisible to her. "Remain still." He tells her, placing a hand gently on her shoulder. "How are you feeling?"

Even with his marker, Cooper's so dazed she can barely make out where he is. So with tired eyes she rasps out, "Like utter shite." But she does remain still according to his command. And then suddenly she remembers her true mission and feebly attempts to sit up, while whispering, "The orb…" There's no yellow light. Where's the yellow light. With the way her arms shake as she tries to support herself, reminds her of the shock it dealt her, inducing a prolonged seizure. "It was a fake…"

Bannon places his hands on Coopers shoulders as she tries to get up. "I know." He murmurs. "It seems they had cast a spell on it to reverse any spells or potions." He explains. "And it seems to have been a portkey. They're gone." He looks around. "I should get you to St. Mungo's. You need to be taken care of. You've had a terrible shock."

There's a truly disappointed scowl on Cooper's face as Bannon deals her the news, her jaw locked bitterly as she looks about the damage in the room. So close. "I'm glad you were here," she admits, still bitter about this failure. The stomp of feet can be heard coming down from the hall and there is an angry knocking on the door. "Oy! Will ya keep it down in there! Some of us are trying to sleep!" Likely an angry neighbor. Sound muffling charms can only do so much to block out strong magical blasts. Holding an arm out for Bannon to take, she looks up at the man and says, "You're right. Apparate me over will you?" She'll have a team come by and clean up later.

"I'm just glad you're not more hurt than you are, Miss Cooper." Bannon does sound sincere in that. He rolls his eyes at the voice of the neighbour. Not that Cooper can exactly see. "My apologies! I'll attempt to be a tad more quiet from here on out!" He calls, looping his arm with Cooper. "Well, Miss Cooper. Nothing like an exciting bit of auror work to end the day." Clearing his throat, he adds, "And don't worry about the paperwork. I'll be sure it gets filled out correctly. You just get focused on recuperating." With a quick flick of his want, the walking stick flies toward them. Imediately upon catching it, they're disapparating and on their way to St. Mungo's.

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