(1939-11-03) Close the Barn Door
Details for Close the Barn Door
Summary: The hit wizards close in on the missing War Office file, and meet the enemy agent trying to recover it. Finding the thief, the Germans, and a portkey in Brighton, they close the case.
Date: 3 November 1939
Location: Brighton, England
Plot: Tinker, Tailor, Wizard, Spy
Related: At the Gilded Lily; A Different Kettle of Fish

When last we left off, our heroes had just pulled their witness, the only link to the person who really stole the War Office's file, out of the Gilded Lily, a nightclub with a fairly questionable reputation.

Once back at the MLE, the witness, Romeo Romero, folded like a cheap trunk, and gave the hit wizards all that he knew - which, unfortunately, wasn't very much. As an employee of the War Office, he had knowledge of the guard schedule and location of the files. The Germans approached him and threatened to harm his Romani family still in Germany if he didn't assist them. His contact was an English witch named Euclid Taylor - only her name before she changed it was Schneider. The rather odious German wizard, and proud son of Durmstrang, was Herr Beckenbauer, an agent of their intelligence service. Taylor was due in Brighton at a portkey a few days ago, but never arrived.

Once they've managed to wring every last drop of information out of the rag that is Romeo Romero, Elijah steps out of the interview room and lights a cigarette, taking a long drag from it and mulling something over in his head. There's a ponderous look resting on his face as he muses to himself, "We'll have to handle this delicately. No need for an international incident."

Peregrine leans against his own desk, with a cigarillo in hand. It's a wonder anyone can see anything around MLE, with the number of them the stress has driven to smoke. "We already have an incident, Elijah. But a wizard assisting the Germans, that'd be a major breach of secrecy. I mean our wizard. Who knows anything about the other one. And either way, he's rather not our problem."

Oh look, Hypatia's smoking too. She's shucked out of her robes, leaving her in a button down man's shirt, a pair of wide legged trousers, suspenders and some heels. "So. The witch didn't show up. Do we head to Brighton or track down Beckenbauer?"

"Well, any more of an incident," Elijah responds coolly. He takes another overlong drag from the cigarette and exhales the smoke into a long, full plume before his hand moves to scratch at his stubble. His eyes move to Hypatia and he says, "Digging around Brighton for a missing witch sounds like a lot of time spent potentially twiddling our thumbs. Beckenbauer seems like the safe bet."

"Then I suggest we all work our contacts. The thing is, though, we need the file. And Beckenbauer doesn't have the file because if it did, he wouldn't have been tenderizing poor Mr. Romero for us." Peregrine explains, with a little droll grin.

Hypatia's totally the rookie here, and she knows it. She's here to soak up some experience. "Right," she says. "Do we have any leads? Guy like Beckenbauer is likely to have gone to ground, but Taylor's probably already in hiding." She looks to Perry.

"What do we know about Taylor?" Elijah asks, moving to have a seat at his desk, right next to Perry's. He leans back in his chair and looks over to the man, "Well, I guess Taylor it is, then. So, all we know is Brighton, then?"

"We have a description." Peregrine says, with a little shrug, "And we know that she's not where she's supposed to be. Fortunately for us, or the files would already be gone. She's either making her way to Brighton, or heading in the opposite direction. I don't know. We don't have much to go on, I'll admit."

The young Greek witch perches on the edge of Peregrine's desk …she's probably the only hit wizard that could get away with it… and leans over to ash her fag into Perry's ashtray. "So. If we head to Brighton, we stand a chance of intercepting her."

"I suppose that means we're off to Brighton," Elijah remarks, dropping his feet to the floor and standing, grabbing his long coat and slipping into it, straightening his lapels. "For better or worse."

Even with the fairly limited information at hand, Elijah is able to work up an almost complete profile on Taylor. There are the basics - she's likely of moderate education, has a somewhat weak personality, and the like. But more importantly, she's the classic woman on the run - now hunted by both sides, because she carried through with stealing the file, and then got cold feet about it. She probably would be close to her destination, but she just couldn't quite bring herself to step over the edge.

Using Elijah's hypothesis that Taylor would be close to the location where she was supposed to end up, Hypatia leans on various contacts known to MLE in the area of Brighton. Success! A squib in the local police department there heard talk at the local pub that strange people were seen going in and out of a barn on the outskirts of town. The muggles thought it was likely some sort of black market enterprise.

With a *FWOOSH!* from the fireplaces in the lobby of the Ministry, the team of Hit Wizards arrive in the home of a friendly retired colleague on the sunny (well, okay, overcast and a bit misty and bracingly cold) seashore near Brighton, a brief walk in the evening air from the barn in question.

No robes. Hypatia had apparently decided that it was too close to Muggles to wear that sort of obvious gear in public, and she's probably right. The last thing needed is a complication and the Muggles asking questions. She wears an overcoat instead and has traded her heels for more practical shoes. "Right," she murmurs to her colleagues as they head to the barn. "Who takes point?"

Elijah walks along behind Hypatia, the brisk air wreaking havoc on his hair. His dark eyes move around the area and he remarks cooly to Hypatia, "We haven't even had a chance to look around yet, Abbott. Patience is a virtue."

"No wands until we're clear of the muggles, Hypatia." Peregrine reminds, as the three - only slightly oddly dressed, thanks to the cover of growing darkness - close in on the location. "Elijah is our resident ghost, though. If anyone's going to go in for a closer look, I nominate him. I'm more the wand hand sort."

The woman looks over to Elijah and smiles. "No harm in planning, Lovegood. An ounce of prevention…" She keeps her eyes moving, however, scanning around the location for anything or anyone out of place. As for Peregrine's assertion, she gives her godfather an amused look. Considering that she's in regular contact with Muggles, she's probably aware of that bit of wisdom already.

Elijah tucks his hands into his pockets and looks over to Peregrine, offering him a nod and moving forward towards the barn before eventually beginning to circle around towards the side with the least amount of outward visibility. As he gets closer to the building, he'll get lower and lower, moving into a crouch walk. Sidling up to the wall, we'll press his eye against it, peering in though a crack in the weathered wood.

Inspector Lovegood is quiet as a little church mouse as he prowls around the barn, and nobody inside seems to give any indication of knowing he's there. That might be becuase they're preoccupied. A woman matching the description of Euclid Taylor is tied to a chair, and Herr Beckenbauer is questioning her. If one 'questions' by screaming in German and punching repeatedly. She looks a terrible mess, but she's gibbering something that the German doesn't consider to be an acceptable answer.

Elijah looks over to his fellow Hit-wizards and gestures that they are right on the money before also indicating that there are three perps residing inside of the establishment. He'll most likely already be devising a plan and leaving it up to Peregrine and Hypatia to do the same.

Peregrine slides the handle of his wand down into the palm of his hand as he advances towards the barn. He signals as if to say whatever the Wizarding equivalent of 'go loud' is. It's more a question than a strategy, though.

Elijah pauses for a moment and offers a nod of his head to Peregrine before gesturing to himself and then to a nearby window, indicating his personal means of ingress.

Likewise, Hypatia has her wand in hand. She edges forward with each step placed carefully. She looks to Perry and waits for his go.

Peregrine holds up his hand. Three fingers. Two. One. Ready, steady, GO! He's going right in the front door, and slips his wand from his sleeve as he does. There's no showy shouting of 'MLE, freeze!' or anything like that. The first word that leaves his lips is, "STUPIFY!" as he sends a red jet of light heading towards one of the mooks lingering near the back.

Seeing Perry's cue, Elijah jumps back…before bolting back towards the building. Moments before he runs smack into it, he jumps and tucks his legs beneath him, wrapping his coat around himself and smashing through the window. Landing amidst a pile of broke glass, he'll move quickly to send a straight kick towards Herr Beckenbauer's knee.

Three hit wizards burst into the barn, and two stunners and a snapkick head out towards the two goons and Herr Beckenbauer. The two goons never had a chance, and each takes a burst of red light into the chest, going down with their wands half-drawn into piles. Beckenbauer, however, is made of sterner stuff, and his wand comes out as his knee buckles from Elijah's kick. His wand arm comes flailing up, and from his turned position he points at Peregrine and shouts, "Bombarda!"

The cannonball curse flies across the room, and the older hit wizard turns, but isn't quite as spry as he used to be. A blast hard enough to break bone strikes him in the arm and shoulder, and his wand drops from nerveless fingers as he flies backwards. He's still alive, though, the stream of Scots Gaelic foul words being good indication.

Taking just enough time to realize that his partner's life is in danger, Elijah grips Beckenbauer's shoulder with one hand in an effort to steady him while the other hand recoils quickly before snapping towards his face. Seems Elijah doesn't take to kindly to people shooting spells at his buddies.

Elijah's hand connects with Beckenbauer's nose, and he screams, distracted to the extent that Hypatia's incarceration jinx hits him full-force and he's bound with magical ropes. Peregrine, meanwhile, is struggling to his his feet, his one arm supporting the other, and his face screwed up in pain. Oh, yeah, it's going to be a St. Mungo's trip after they get back. You don't need to be a healer to tell it's broken badly.

Hypatia's goon doesn't know what hit him. He flies back with the force of her spell and drops to the ground like so much wet cement. Without waiting, she rounds on von Beckenbauer and snaps another spell out. "INCARCEROUS!" Ropes suddenly worm their way over Beckenbauer, binding him… very snugly in place. She stalks over and puts her wand almost point blank in the German's now bloody face. You know… just in case. The witch's expression is dark… Clearly, she -wants- an excuse to cast another spell.

Without looking away from her man, she calls over her shoulder. "Are you going to live, Uncle Perry, or can I blast his face?"

Elijah will leave Hypatia to watch over the German and Perry to…have a broken arm, while he moves to check on Euclid, kneeling down next to the woman and looking her over, seeing if she's in a good enough condition for the trip out of there.

Peregrine nods as he walks over, "I've had worse." he says, bravely, though worse probably resulted in blessed unconsciousness. "We're going to need MAC to clean this mess up. Muggles might have seen." He bends to pick up his wand with his good hand, and then grimaces as he points it at the beer stein. "Portkey, you think?" he asks, and then, "Reduc…" a pause, and he looks at the others.

Abruptly, Hypatia shifts her wand and ensnares the other two goons as added protection. She points to the two extra hit wizards who have shown up. "Grab them," she suggests. She turns then and points her wand at Beckenbauer. "Mobilicorpus," she says tersely, and the German begins to be puppeted around. "Lovegood… Do you have Taylor? Are we ready to go?"

Elijah looks over to Peregrine and asks, "What is it, Perry?" He'll half-listen as he's currently quite busy with untying the young woman from the chair. "Just a moment more, Abbott."

"Destroy it or send them back?" he asks, dropping his arm because lifting the one makes the other hurt more. "Oh, to hell with it. They can swim back as far as I'm concerned." He lifts the one again, and though it trembles, he says, "Reducto!"

And the beer stein portkey vanishes into a cloud of pulverized chunks.

"I'm assuming we'll want to take these lovely pieces of work back to the Ministry for interrogation," Hypatia states dryly.

"Well, they need to be locked up, anyway, whether they have anything to say or not. I doubt that they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time," Elijah states, finishing unbinding the young Euclid before hefting her up in his arms.

Some time later…

The three hit wizards - though Peregrine isn't really much use - take their prisoners with them back to to the Ministry and secure them in the Office of Magical Law Enforcement. In the coming days, none of the three Germans will talk. Euclid Taylor, however, is very apologetic about her role in the whole affair. She still has family in Germany, and they were under threat, but she had a last minute crisis of conscience about betraying her adopted land. The files, it turned out, were located in a post box near the beachfront. Magical Accidents and Catastrophes has a jolly time cleaning up the mess, but the muggle authories soon recover their file, with some very logical explanation about how they found it, with no one in London or Brighton being the wiser.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License