Telephone Line - The Wayward

"I have a rather important call to make and I'm afraid I don't carry a handy"

In reality this was only a half truth. Sigmund, like most members of the Order was issued with a rugged work phone, though most also carried a more advanced device for personal use. Sigmund however only carried the former, but it served him well enough, that is until the 'Paris Incident'.

During a particularly tenuous hunt across the Paris riverfront; Captain Weisinger's prey, a rogue Sorcerer, had managed to escape atop a river barge. Sigmund out of ammunition and short on patience had picked up and thrown the first heavy object to come to hand, which had unfortunately happened to be his phone. The colossal brick like handset had arced gracefully through the air and smashed the cackling windbag square in the jaw, sending both he and the phone careening into the river. A good throw for the Hunter, but a poor projectile. The device had survived it's impact with the wayward spell-caster's face, but no phone could survive a dip in the infernal Seine.

When he fished the barely conscious man from the river the source of his swollen jaw was nowhere to be seen. Sigmund's ever faithful telebrick had been doomed to a watery grave. To make matters worse he'd never quite gotten around to requisitioning a new one before his exile either.

Sigmund had cause to regret his past indolence now, as he gazed down at the shining electronic puzzle box Monika had so kindly provided for his use. With great care not to touch the screen lest he activate or otherwise break something; the Hunter picked up the phone and politely excused himself to a quiet corner where he was could converse in private.

Hesitantly and with great delicacy he thumbed at the screen fruitlessly for a moment, the action serving only to flip between pages of incomprehensible symbols. "I should know how to do this! Come on Sigmund... you aren't that fucking old!" He grumbled under his breath with rising, as the phone remained undialed, mocking him. Fortunately for the old man's sanity, and Monika's app catalog* Sigmund eventually navigated his way to the keypad.

With a sigh of indescribable relief, Sigmund pulled one of the letter from inside his coat pocket and carefully keyed in the number, only relaxing when he was at last greeted with the heavenly sounds of a dial tone.

When the line at last crackled to life it was not a human that spoke, but a pre-recorded sequence of four seemingly random words; but this Sigmund had expected.

"Seek, Silent, Tower, Hunter" The recording intoned lifelessly. Once a low tone signaled the end of the sequence Sigmund responded in kind. "The, Bell, Old." He replied in a slow monotone. Another tone, higher this time marked his correct input and shortly thereafter a woman's voice sounded from the handset.

"We expected your call sooner Captain Weisinger... your orders were to report in immediately."

Sigmund's jaw tightened at that... of course they'd been watching him, even so far from home the Order's eye rested heavily on him. At least they couldn't watch him here... right? Sigmund gazed warily around the bar for a moment. Surely the staff would've noticed another stranger?

Pinching the bridge of his nose, Sigmund banished his lingering suspicions for the moment, and returned to the task at hand. "I was familiarizing myself with the locals" He began quietly, through gritted teeth, "As. Per. Orders" Typically Sigmund went out of his way to avoid antagonizing the Order's bureaucrats, but with everything he'd been through today?... This officious wanker could stuff it.

For a long moment the voice said nothing, the silence hanging damoclesean between them until... "...The delay has been noted." Sigmund's grip tightened around the phone, and the Hunter pinched the bridge of his nose again, near hard enough to break blood vessels, fortunately she continued, preempting his scathing rebuke.

"We have arranged both accommodation, and a small office for you in the town's old quarter. The facade is an import book store; it's not a public storefront so patrons wont be a concern. You'll be operating under the guise of an historical German literature importer; providing services to collectors and historical institutes throughout the North Eastern U.S. We've taken great care to create an identity that suits your background so please refrain from doing anything idiotic to jeopardize it...". The woman scarcely stopped to breath as she continued her clipped delivery. Leaving the old Hunter bristling, but utterly unable to respond.

"...The address and keys to the building have been placed in the glove compartment of your car Captain. There's a cell phone in their with them, in the future please use it to contact us in lieu of using a less than secure civilian line..." Sigmund silently cursed himself as he realized his mistake, he should definitely apologize to Monika for being dumb enough to give the Order her phone number*

Your number remains the same, save the area code; which has been changed to 419 to conform with stateside dialing patterns, please commit this to memory. Further orders will follow shortly. Good Day Captain, and remember... De Ordine Novit."

With that last ominous reminder, the call terminated, leaving Sigmund stood there in silence. As much as he wanted to rage, to scream the house down and put his fist through something, he simply didn't have the energy. Resting his head in his hands and rubbing his weary eyes; the old man heaved a weary sigh, straightened his back and made his way toward the bar. He forced a small smile as he handed the phone back to it's owner.

"Danke schön Monika... Fortunately I've just been told that the Order has been kind enough to provide me a phone of my own; so from here on in your minutes are safe". Sigmund chuckled at that, though there was little actual mirth in it and a distinct unease lingered over him.

Clearing his throat to dispel the awkwardness, Sigmund removed a small sheet of paper and a pen from his pocket. After a moment of frantic scribbling the Hunter split the paper into three neat scraps, each bearing an identical series of numbers. He handed one each to Alec and Monika in turn, then finally to Devin, to keep behind the bar in case someone else required it. "I'm afraid I have to take my leave for the moment..." He said, rather evasively "Urgent business you understand... but please take my number, and don't hesitate to call if you require anything". Stooping down to pick up his bag Sigmund favored Alec with a friendly pat on the shoulder and a smile, warm and genuine even beneath the lines of his otherwise exhausted features.

"Thank you for your hospitality Alec, it's been a bright spot in an otherwise burdensome day. Remind me to get the bill next time hmm?" Releasing his grip on the other man's shoulder Sigmund took a step back and politely nodded his head at the Devin and Monika. "It's been a absolute pleasure to meet you all, until next we meet, auf wiedersehen."

With one last bow of the head, Sigmund spun on his heel and marched back out into the drizzle beyond.

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