"Moby Jones?" The barista called as she slid two drinks onto the table; Moby passed a mumbled "thanks, mate" to her. She responded with a nod as he grabbed a couple straws and their coffee, and made his way back to their usual seats. They had met for coffee at the Garibaldi lodge pretty much every week at this point after going for a quick run to polish their moves. Proof that team SSX hadn't entirely died, he guessed. They had been living pretty under the radar. Ever since the first day team SSX had been around, legally, Moby Jones and Zoe Payne had been dead. Leaving the team was leaving yet another life, assuming yet another identity among everyone except each other. It was his old friends who used his real name and knew the real him that Moby missed the most.
The call he had gotten to meet his old friend at the lodge this week seemed odd, though. None of the usual niceties or talk about all the various ways she'd kick the shit out of him in a race down Garibaldi. It was more or less just a, "hey. meet me for coffee." Moby was never the worrying kind, but it was a little unsettling, considering Zoe's usual confrontational and confident demeanor.
"Venti again, fatass?" Zoe greeted Moby as he made his way back to the table, and a mischievous grin spread across her face. Moby chuckled in response.
"I'll knock you right in the head, I swear on me mum."
"Shut the hell up, you know I love you, man."
"Yeah, yeah." He fidgeted with his straw, eventually caving in and taking off his thick gloves before trying to work the straw again. "So... you sounded different when you called, mate."
Zoe smirked, a halfhearted sort of smile. Something was on her mind. "Did I?" She muttered, stirring the whipped cream.
"You're acting weird too. By now you'da downed half that damn drink."
"Guess my appetite ain't too hot either." Her eyes fixated on the snow outside the window, the falling flakes melding into the powder spread along the windowpane. There was always something beautiful to Zoe about snow. Even for her, someone who craves danger and has an unquenchable thirst for the utterly badass, she still knew there was beauty in the calm as well, although an unsettling beauty nonetheless. It was never clearer to her than when she had a board on her feet. Moby's voice broke the silence, catching her attention again.
"Really, babe, what's up?" He prodded, and there was a pause for a moment while Zoe tried to gather her thoughts.
"I've been thinking."
"That's a new one."
"Suck my dick." Zoe joked, lips curling into a smile. "No, really, though. I talked to Mac the other day, and-"
Moby rolled his eyes and groaned. He never liked that kid. He and that fop JP were probably the only people on the team he never found himself missing. Even Psymon and Eddie had their charm. Kind of.
She ignored his obviousness and continued, finally taking a sip of her drink. "Do you know Tane Mumea?"
Crossing his arms and leaning back, Moby cocked his head to the side. "Sure. Seems like a good guy, that one. Why do you ask?"
Zoe took a breath. The way this was phrased would need some thought. Moby raised an eyebrow, waiting patiently for a response. Finally, she inhaled through her nose, sitting up straight.
"Me, Mac, and Tane might need to be getting the team back in business."
Silence for a good few seconds as Moby met her eyes. Even though they had all become like family during the time SSX was together, the only reasons they ever were was because somebody fucked up. Or was about to fuck up. Either way, nothing good ever led to team SSX being in place. Ever since Zoe was appointed as one of the heads of the secret Internal Reconnaissance and Intelligence division of the United Nations... he had assumed she had kept things in check. If team SSX needed to be back in business, she'd know if it needed to happen. "Any reason?" Moby finally spoke. "Mapping, scouting, that sorta thing?"
"Flavor of the day is espionage, I guess." Zoe sighed. "There's just some recon that needs to be done. At this point, we've pinpointed about nine locations on the globe that have been flagged as hot spots for international crime and possibly terrorism. They're all pretty inhospitable, so the UN needs a team of crazy motherfuckers to get up there anyway. I mean we're talkin shit like trees, rocks, avalanches, thin air, crazy drops that'll swallow you whole..." With each mention of the danger, Moby's curiosity piqued a little more. Soon he found himself grinning widely at the prospect. He had somewhat of an obsession with the idea of life and death- there was no reason why he did. It just reared its ugly head whenever Zoe mentioned things like this. From his expression alone she could tell he was all in. "We've got the funding and the engineers to have the means to gather all the intel," she continued, "we just need the manpower. So I talked with Tane and Mac and they were up for it."
"And everyone else?"
"Elise and Kaori are in from what I hear from Mac. I talked to Psymon and Eddie too, personally. I haven't gotten too much out of Eddie. But Psymon seems on board from what I can tell."
"Figures. The little pricks are gonna bloody well flake out on us, I'm sure." Moby fiddled with the wrapper from his straw, tearing it into pieces absentmindedly. "Who else we got?"
"I'm looking at recruiting some newbies. There's this French model-"
"Sold." Moby grinned, raising an eyebrow, and was met with an unimpressed scowl from Zoe across from him.
"You don't even know who she is."
"I know she's a model and I know she's French. Good enough." When her expression failed to soften, Moby smirked and added, "Life on the team kind of sucks when you're the only skirt I've got to chase that doesn't make me gag. And sorry, but American accents aren't all that attractive."
Zoe ignored him, breaking out a manila folder from her messenger bag and tossing it his way. He thumbed through the files; newspaper clippings, rider stats, even scans from the record books. Moby smirked-Zoe always did do her homework. "Got 7 world records for both skis and snowboard," she said. "Alexis Moreau. They call her the Chamonix Assassin. And then..." She motioned with a flick of her finger to the tabbed off section of the folder. Moby flipped to it and cocked his head to the side, pursing his lips.
"Yeah, Ty Thorsen. You had your eye on him too. He was one of our test riders. Norwegian guy, raised on the slopes. He showed interest in the recon aspect of it from the very beginning." Moby nodded once without a word, flipping through Alex's records again, raising a curious eyebrow at anything he noticed that he found impressive. Zoe took another sip of her drink, leaning back in the chair and crossing her legs. "That's all we've got for now as far as actual members. So you figure, best case scenario," she counted on her fingers. "You got you and me, then Mac and Tane is four, Elise, Psymon, and Kaori makes seven, then the two newbies makes nine. If Eddie shows up, that's ten."
Moby looked up from the file, shutting it and setting it aside. "Sounds like enough to me. We can make it off of that if it's just recon. We're not doing any special ops here, right? Just scouting and espionage for the UN." Of course, he had a feeling it wasn't just that. The phone call kept coming back into his mind.
"Yeah. Uh... just... yeah, man, meet me for coffee, okay? We gotta talk about some shit."
Zoe shook her head, rubbing the back of her neck as she always did when she had bad news. "That's not what's been heavy on my mind though, just getting the team back in action. I'm ready and raring to go for that. I've trained, done my shit, hell, I'm ready for Everest. My issue is that..." she trailed off slightly, crossing her arms onto the table and leaning to rest her chin on her forearm with a sigh. "Elise and I got intel from Allegra and Viggo before the third team disbanded that Griff might have been going renegade."
Moby jerked his head up. "I remember that. The little pigshit can't hardly keep still for even half a bloody second."
"I figured it was that he was just a kid, and we hadn't had anyone that young on the squad since Mac and Marty. So I sorta brushed it off. But then Kaori sent me this." She reached into her bag again and pulled out her phone-with the touch of a few buttons, Zoe slid the phone over to Moby. A group of text messages were on the screen.
Text from Kaori Nishidake [9/17/12, 2:39 PM]
Ohayo gozaimasu, senpai~~~!
Moby screwed up his face. "The hell does that mean?"
"Beats me, but she calls me that a lot."
He smirked, bringing his attention back to the phone. "Prob'ly means 'dumb bitch' or something."
"Can it and keep reading."
Text from Zoe Payne [9/17/12, 2:40 PM]
hey tricky wassup
Text from Kaori Nishidake [9/17/12, 2:43 PM]
I took pictures of Griffin.
Text from Zoe Payne [9/17/12, 2:43 PM]
i dont like the sound of that lol
Text from Kaori Nishidake [9/17/12, 2:44 PM]
He is giving everything we have found out away to the bad guys.
Text from Zoe Payne [9/17/12, 2:44 PM]
are you shitting me?
Text from Kaori Nishidake [9/17/12, 2:48 PM]
[4 new pictures] -open- -delete- -save-
I took these on my new camera!
Moby touched the "open" command on the phone, and the damning evidence immediately popped up. Griff had been spotted, out in the goddamn open of all places, meeting with the exact same people he had gathered intel on. The same people he took an oath not to associate with. And in the last one, sure enough, he spoke to the same goddamn man he was supposed to be observing quietly as he held in his hand a manila folder with the SSX insignia on it. Moby didn't want to believe it, but it was true. The little fucker was double-crossing the entire team. Moby's mouth hung open in a mix of shock and disgust. "How the..."
"Pick your jaw up off the floor, it happened. Don't know why the fuck he's doing it, but it happened." Zoe sighed. "At this point we're backed into a corner. I've wanted to wail on the little twerp for so long and I think finally I'll have my chance without having to give a fuck about the repercussions." She popped the knuckles on her left hand. "We've gotta get him out of commission. That's our main goal here."
"It's national fuckin' security this little shit is messing with." Moby snarled, his teeth gritted. "I'll kill the bloody kid if I have to do it with me own hands. I'll rip his fuckin' limbs off his body."
Casting a glance out the window, she crossed her arms and stared wistfully at the flakes of falling snow gathering on the window as she took another sip of her coffee. "I want to fuck him up as much as you do, but we do have to keep in mind that we're endorsed by the UN first and foremost. All it comes down to is making sure that he's caught and court marshaled. We can't go all vigilante on him. Not yet."
"They'll give him what's what in prison anyway." Moby smirked evilly, crossing his arms, and Zoe couldn't help but smirk as well, even though she knew she'd be going to hell for it.
"I just feel shitty because I didn't take him out earlier. He has full fucking access to our database. He knows everything. He's a walking fucking time bomb and I didn't do anything to fucking stop it." She gritted her teeth, balling her fist.
Moby gently slid his hand onto hers. "It ain't your fault, mate. We'll make it right."
She couldn't meet his eyes. This entire time, right under her fucking nose, Griff was playing his fucking games. All Zoe could think of was his face. Those fucking cute little cheeks that Elise and Kaori and Eddie always used to pinch and tell him how fucking adorable or something he was-the same ones that she'd have always loved to smack the shit out of. Now this is real, and now this is personal.
Fuck Griff. She leaned the front legs of her chair off the ground and folded her arms behind her head, sharing a knowing glance with Moby as she took another sip of coffee.
The team's getting back together again for one last run. If it comes down to team SSX vs. Griff Simmons, then Zoe would make damn fucking sure that team SSX would come out on top. As always.