|Gabriel Cohuelo/Velocidad Gabe discovers the 'training run' he's just undergone was a dress rehearsal for him getting his own network.
"What the—" Gabriel couldn't even try to be cool and hide his surprise. His initial shock turned into a smile, and he shook his head. "I was getting ready to board the plane without you, honestly."
"Good. That means you've been listening to me." Kevin said, taking the ticket Gabe offered. "There was no surveillance on our hotel. Means they didn't know who was showing up for the meet. I lifted a phone and passport from one of our pursuers. Phone's in a shielded bag until Doug can dig into it. Passport is a decent forgery, not government printing. I'm almost sure this is organized crime. Some East European mob, probably washing money through a bank that employs Pavone."
"Oh good. The Russian mafia. Or is it not the mafia if it isn't Italian?" Gabriel sighed. "Guess it doesn't matter much. Do I need to worry that some capo from Warsaw is following my every move? I can't change my face the way you do."
"I'll tell you a little fact about organized crime. It isn't that organized." Kevin shook his head. "It's less likely you'll run into any of these guys in the future as it would be to stumble into someone you pickpocketed half a decade ago in Midtown. Unless there's something on that phone that concerns us, this is likely the end of things. But, you're going to do this run on your own next time, so feel free to stay a little paranoid when you do."
"Really?" Gabriel furrowed his brow. "Alone? You sure that trust isn't misplaced? Even with you, we got tailed, and I'm not sure I would have figured out how to get out of that situation without the kind of zoom-zoom that attracts a lot of attention."
"And now you know how. At least one way." He paused on the way to security, shuffling his documents together. "There's still a lot you need to learn, but you've got the right instincts and I trust you'll make good decisions. This run is how we'll start building more skills, adding to your experience, until you're ready for the next step. You did good, kid, whether you're willing to believe that or not."
It was strange how Gabriel could be so confident in every aspect of his life (and cocksure in many of them), and yet something about being tailed by a bunch of strangers had so utterly rattled him. But every time he'd been followed, some stupid shenanigan had followed, and he chalked the nerves up to that. "I'll choose to believe it," he said, scratching the back of his neck. "But thanks. Appreciate the vote of confidence."