-Inside Rose Garden Airport-
Stiletto sneaked into the airport proper and immediately ducked behind a triangular stack of crates to her left because there was a fairly heavy security presence patrolling the hangars and on the tarmac. An eyeball count tallied at least twenty men around the hangars on the left side plus another six actively patrolling the tarmac. Around the hangars on the right were another ten men plus an unknown number of men around back. To make matters more difficult, the men she saw were all uniformed personnel employed by the airport and not mob muscle, so killing them to avoid detection was not an option. Besides, for years Stiletto had made it a point to only kill her target and no one else; despite her career choice she had standards.
Now was not the time to break that personal code for the sake of convenience... she would just have to be smart about the infiltration. Keeping to the code of "no indiscriminate killing" was why Stiletto was employable in clandestine jobs that required discretion and the ability to refrain from killing everyone in sight. Gaining a reputation for discretion helped one keep a lower profile, which meant a longer career in the shadows and more diverse job opportunities. Gaining a reputation for indiscriminate slaughter severely limited one's job opportunities and earned one a place on the priority list of the Rune Knights, Dies Irae, and other authorities. Stiletto had chosen her name because she used stealth and precision to get the job done.
That was all well and good, but before she could ride her high horse to the bank, she had to find Lorenzo Pegerino's plane and board it, then deal with him before he got to Lavanitir Port City and to safety.
After that round of patting herself on the back for not being an indiscriminate killer, Stiletto refocused on trying to find a way past airport security. The security personnel were spread out, but they had portable radios on their hips that would allow them to quickly call for reinforcements if she were spotted. The area around the hangars was dotted with crates that could be used for cover, but that advantage was partially negated by floodlights hanging on the side of the hangars that illuminated a 25-meter area around them. She would have to be careful, but with enough effort and luck she could infiltrate the airport and be on board Peregrino's plane before he got on board to take off for Snowfall Island. The trick would be finding the hangar with his plane in it to begin with.
Stiletto waited until a two-man security team passed by her position before moving left to slowly follow them to the next crate stack. She was hoping to glean some information about which hangar the plane was waiting in, but this pair was tight-lipped concerning any airport gossip and spoke only about unrelated topics like sports, the academic performance of their children, and how the cost of living seemed to go up more and more with each passing year while their paychecks remained almost the same. Stiletto remained in place until the team passed by, then sneaked over to the next crate stack and cautiously looked for another incoming security team.
She was halfway past the hangar and wanted to get to the back so that she could sneak around more easily, but she needed to be careful because she did not know how many men were watching the back doors of the hangars. She heard footsteps approaching from behind, so Stiletto concealed herself and let the shadows shroud her from view. Another two-man patrol passed by while talking to each other, but this time they were talking about something interesting, namely the lack of security on the left side of the airport.
"Man, what happened to all those new security guards the airport promised to hire?" One guard asked the other.
"They weren't hired. The company said something about budget concerns, but that's a load of bull. They weren't worried about the budget when the airport got those five new planes months ago." The other man answered sourly.
"That was a legitimate purchase, Steve. The planes we had were over four decades old. Parts for those old planes weren't even being made anymore and we were having to pay a king's ransom for the replacement parts to keep them flying." The first man protested. The second man scoffed.
"Yeah, but I think we got ripped off. There's no way that one passenger airplane should cost three million Jewels. The company bought five of 'em. We're barely breaking even now because we're so far in debt." Steve complained.
"It's a good thing that we've rented out a few hangars to private individuals. That'll help us keep the lights on until those new planes pay for themselves." The first man replied. Again Steve had something negative to say.
"I don't like it, though. That guy who's in Hangar 18? He's definitely connected to the mob." Steve replied to his coworker.
"Is he part of the Corlones? Weren't they all arrested months ago?" The first man asked. Stiletto recognized that name because of her unpleasant memories of meeting Francesca Corlone and hearing that the organized crime family who once ran Rose Garden was broken up several months ago by a powerful mage. Stiletto listened with interest as the two men discussed the crime family that Peregrino was part of.
"No, Dennis. Most of the Corlones have been arrested and those who haven't have gone underground. He's with the Anlecottis. Steve answered.
"Who are they?" Dennis asked. Steve sighed as if incredulous that his coworker had really just asked that question.
"The Anlecottis. They're the organized crime family that runs Lavanitir Port City and has a lot of interests there. Gambling, smuggling, human trafficking, and some other shady stuff that makes them big money." Steve introduced them as Stiletto listened intently for any more information about Peregrino or the family he was part of.
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