Cinnamon made a big show of stashing the jug of windshield wiper fluid in the back seat area of her car. "Don't think I don't remember you said we weren't going to rendez-vous after this job, Ellie."
"You'll thank me later," said Pepper, tucking her feet under the blanket Cinnamon had spread over the back seat. "There's a twenty-four hour Tim Horton's drive-through a couple of blocks from here. Go through it and get a coffee or something."
"There's twenty-four hour drive-throughs in Toronto, too," grumbled Cinnamon as she got behind the wheel and started the car. "If there is a satellite scanning us, they're going to know I went out to the sticks for something, especially this time of night."
"Yeah, but any security camera cross-references are going to show you're the only person in the car, and fingers crossed the overhang means we weren't caught on satellite."
"Fingers crossed." Cinnamon pulled onto the road and headed south to the highway.
"Put the radio on."
Cinnamon tapped the control on the dashboard and turned the volume down. "I don't think this even works anymore with the filters they have now."
"It doesn't. I just felt like hearing some music."
Cinnamon drove into the night, focusing on the red sets of brake lights, all grouped around her and her car like giant pairs of eyes.
* * *
"Great White, target has returned. Ow! Shit."
"Beer Mouse, you're supposed to be pretending to be asleep. So shut up."
"But she's back. I just saw her car drive into the parking garage."
"How did you confirm?"
"Licence plate number."
"I already am. Ow!"
"What the hell is wrong with you, Beer Mouse?"
"The grate's digging into me. I don't know how real homeless people sleep on these things."
"I don't think they have much of a choice. Who came back with her?"
"No-one on the camera... and the trunk's not riding any lower than on the way out."
"Okay. Stay put. We'll give her some time to get settled and then move in."
"Can't I just sneak into the van?"
"What if she notices the 'homeless person' up and left their nice warm grate in the middle of the night?"
* * *
"I still can't believe it. That data is on an isolated network. How would you even walk it out?" Cinnamon turned off the engine and got out of the car.
Pepper groaned and sat up in the back seat. "Same way I found it — physical media. Which means..."
"It's probably someone on the inside," Cinnamon finished for her. "Are you okay?" She slammed the driver's door shut and opened up one of the rear doors for Pepper.
"Yeah." Pepper rubbed her temples and eased out of the car. "Riding like that always gives me a headache."
They kept to procedure and chatted lightly about nothing in the elevator and the corridor. Pepper noted that Cinnamon avoided getting clearly photographed by the building's security cameras.
Cinnamon opened her apartment door and entered. Pepper followed her and walked into her back, because she'd stopped dead two steps into the foyer.
Cinnamon took Pepper's hand in the dark and used it to gesture towards the front of the apartment.
"Sorry I dropped in unannounced, Sheila," came a male voice from the living room. "Is Ellie with you?"
Pepper shut the door behind her. "Evening, Geoffrey," she said. "What's wrong this time?"
The darkness of the doorway between the foyer and the living room became more darkened as Geoffrey's body blocked the light from the street. "For starters, either we leave now via a side entrance and hopefully sneak past the cordon that's been waiting for Sheila to come home, or else my presence helps even up the numbers. I strongly suggest option number one."
"This night is really starting to suck," Cinnamon groaned as she followed Pepper out the door.
To be continued...