Short scene (that isn't actually done) but I'm throwing it out there akin to the way you throw a piece of raw meat at the wolves and then run like hell.
(For the record, I don't know if that works)
PS - This picks up right after the last snippet left off. Chuck just scaled a drainpipe, now what's Sarah doing?
Well, the NSA hadn’t been here.
Sarah could tell that much just from one glance. The NSA clean-up teams she’d tended to work with in the past had been very careful, but they’d always left things just a little bit too clean. Most people wouldn’t notice, but years of working both with and around other intelligence agencies gave her opportunity to learn the ins and outs. The NSA was fastidious to the point of fussy. The CIA tried too hard. And the FBI left the room smelling faintly of cherries. Why that was, she had no idea.
She’d let herself into Nick Tucker’s luxurious hotel suite by way of her keycard scrambler. If he was her ghost, he was surprisingly sloppy: there wasn’t a hair in the door, a nearly-invisible piece of scotch tape, anything.
And then she realized he didn’t have the “no service” tag on the doorway. He fully expected the maid would come in and clean.
She did a quick scan over the once she was inside, noting the clothes tossed over the room’s chair—the jacket she recognized from the night before—the expensive messenger bag hanging by the desk, open luggage near the closet. The room was posh enough to match the story he’d given her—wealthy playboy gamboling around Spain—but very little of it had actually been used. The covers were only disturbed on one side of the bed, and there wasn’t any clutter around that told her he’d broken into the mini-bar.
If he was the Ghost she suspected he might be, that made sense. Maintaining that sort of personality was likely all about keeping up a healthy lifestyle.
Once her preliminary sweep confirmed that the room was indeed empty of Nick Tucker, she donned gloves and began a customary search, rifling through his luggage. He traveled with an inconspicuous amount of cash tucked away in a shoe, likely emergency funds, and his clothing and toiletries were pricy if unassuming.
It was like the man had no personality whatsoever. There wasn’t a laptop case in the room; if he had a computer, he’d taken that with him. She frowned at that as she checked the pad by the phone for the last message—something in French and likely unrelated, but she pocketed the scrap of paper anyway—used her field kit to grab a few random fingerprints off of surfaces he’d most likely touched, and checked the room for any hidey-holes.
She found none.
Four and a half minutes after she’d entered, she tousled her hair, popped the top button of her blouse, and grabbed her shoes. If she ran into the maid or any hotel staff, well, she’d worked hard at a convincing walk of shame. That should come in handy now.
Thankfully, her exit was clear.
So had Nick bailed? He’d mentioned wanting to go see the sights, and she hadn’t given away anything suspicious the night before, had she? No, Sarah thought. She hadn’t been suspicious, which was half the problem.
And if he’d bailed, leaving his stuff was...actually pretty much she would have done in the same situation. She’d been compromised a few times. It was easier to buy new toiletries than it was to risk sneaking back in. And she hadn’t seen anything that Nick would seem particularly attached to, so that increased the odds that he’d done a runner.
She could do a manual search by donning tourist gear and exploring some of the local sites herself. She’d seen a wall charger in his room, though. He had to have a cell phone of some type.
She debated with herself for a moment. If she dug any deeper on Nick Tucker, there wasn’t a guarantee that the NSA wouldn’t get wind of it. Casey was willing to tolerate her because she was an asset. The minute she stopped being that, the gloves would come off.
No, no more e-digging on Nick Tucker for her. Damn it.
She used a different exit to leave—more signs that Nick was her Ghost, that he would choose a building with multiple egress routes—and, stepping into an alley for a second, donned her shoes and smoothed her hair back. She should convene with Graham, see if he was okay with her stomping all over agency lines to keep on the trail, but first, she needed to get back to her hotel room and change into more comfortable shoes.