"OK. Let's see what we've got for you..." The Malakite started loading the table with assorted pieces of hardware. "Heckler and Koch MP5 Police: three. Extra clips for same: five each. Boxes of ammo for same: two each. ISTEC ISL202 37x122mmR Grenade Launcher: three. Standard Suppression/Elimination pack for same: ten each. Bernadelli pump action shotgun: one, with one box of ammo. M-14 rifle: one, with two boxes of ammo. Desert Eagle .50 Magnum: two, with four boxes of ammo. S&W Model 19 Combat Magnum: three, with six boxes of ammo for each. Dan-Inject JM Standard, 11mm: one. Nonstandard curare/radium/silver nitrate/Eucharist loads for same: forty. Flash-bang grenades: 20. Semtex: 20 1kg blocks, with forty detonators. Primacord: 100 yard coil. And, finally, you're in luck, I just got this one in: Lockheed Martin RAW Predator, 142mm: one. I'd like a report on that one, if you don't mind."
The three nondescript people on the other side of the table were already holding up weapons in the weak basement light, checking, stripping and reassembling them to their satisfaction before squirreling them away in various cheap plastic boxes. The apparent leader nodded finally. "Everything looks to be in order. Our thanks."
"Always happy to help the Inquisition, Most Holy. Feel free to give us a call if you want backup."
"Unlikely, but I'll keep it in mind."
"Too bad: it looks like you're going to go have some fun. All right if I ask what all this is for?"
"Yes, but we aren't going to tell you. Do I ask where you got all of this?"
The Malakite shrugged. "Nothing particularly secret about it. It was per the usual: we got the word from Collations that some arms dealers were bringing in a big shipment for the American black market. So, we went to replenish our stores."
"What happened to the arms dealers?"
"They're no longer." The Malakite smiled; after a moment, so did the Seraph. She nodded.
"I see that Protection is as vigilant as always. We'll take it all; if you have the receipt handy, I'll authorize the resource transfer right now."
"But of course." For the next minute or so, the only sound in the basement was that of a pen meeting paper. The Malakite retrieved the clipboard and started leafing through.
"Right... right... right. I attest that the metaphorical i's have been dotted and the t's crossed. Happy hunting, Inquisitors." The three nodded and began to move various hand trucks to the elevator. "Just one other thing..."
The Seraph turned. "Yes?"
The Malakite smiled. "Now that we've gotten official business taken care of, I've got something that you might find personally interesting." He brought a small wooden box up to the table and opened it with a flourish: three sets of eyes opened in surprise at the sight of the little toy figurines inside.
"Three Unique Nightcrawler Hero Clix. Fully certified and authenticated, of course, and absolutely mint - note that they're individually sealed in a pure nitrogen atmosphere containment unit. Price as per standard E-Bay quotes as of 9AM this morning, minus of course the usual 10% Host and 10% Judgement discounts. If you buy all three, I'll throw in a couple of extra maps and some loose metal mailboxes, dumpsters and flagpoles."
The Seraph drummed her fingers. "Ah..."
The Malakite held up a hand. "Don't worry, Most Holy: I understand the special requirements of the Inquisition. They'll be wrapped in brown paper and sent to the usual dead letter drop. No extra charge."
No, it actually makes perfect sense for Zadkiel to keep her weapons caches in the basements of certain gaming stores. Really and truly, it does.
First off, she's got to keep them somewhere, and Zadkiel can't always count on there being a handy, or even suitable, Tether to Protection being where she needs them to be. Trade and Revelations (and, to a lesser extent, the rest of the Host) can help with that, but not perfectly. It makes a certain amount of sense for Servitors of hers in trouble to know where they should be looking, too, even if they're not familiar with a particular area.
So, it's agreed that weapons caches are useful things to have, no? - which leads to the question of just where you put them. Ideally, you need a place where people are always coming and going with lots and lots of boxes, at all hours of the day and night. Preferably, said place should be one where the presence of unusual individuals will not raise too many eyebrows; in other words, where the odd isn't. It'd be nice, too, if it's a place where you can more or less freely talk over your plans and recent activities without all those onerous security protocols: most places, people look at you oddly when you start talking about that Cleveland nest of zombis you burned out last week. Finally, it'd be really, really handy if a wide variety of sugar and fat-rich snacks and drinks were available at a reasonable price: for celestials, the limited nutritional value of same are not an issue, but the quick energy/caffeine buzz is a different story.
So... gaming stores. Hiding in plain site, really.
Zadkiel is careful, of course: not every individual Friendly Local Gaming Store (FLGS) of the chain she uses as a front ("Isher Games", for the curious) has a basement where all sorts of interesting hardware may be picked up. But quite a few do - and the staff of those is more than happy to do business with angels throughout the Host. Just call ahead, let them know what your requirements generally are - and show up with sufficient boxes to take it all away.
Well, not entirely: there are requirements. First off, while all FLGSs offer a very nice basic selection of North American weaponry, they are not guaranteed to have more esoteric items in stock. Give them enough time, and they can usually manage to get it, but unless one needs a specific weapon, it's best to place more generic orders. They'll always have pistols, revolvers, rifles, SMGs, shotguns, automatic weapons, grenades (plus adequate ammunition for each), and almost always some sort of reliable explosives - but esoteric weapons, mystical artifacts and unique items are strictly cash as cash can. Again, they can do special orders, but one might not have time for that.
Then there is the tricky issue of why you need the items in question. Generally, a FLGS' staff will not ask too many awkward questions, especially if it seems an emergency, but deliberately burn them and you'll have Protection's entire organization on your ass - and, remember, Zadkiel is a very Old Testament sort of Archangel underneath that slightly dowdyish, matronly exterior. Don't play games with them.
Finally, there's the payment question. Angels can charge to their Superior's accounts - Trade's influence, and a good one - at the cost of formally signing a contract stipulating that they are, a, drawing on their Archangel's resources and b, he or she won't be objecting unduly to this later. Now, it could very well be that the angels in question already have explicit or implicit permission to do just this - but if they don't, well, better hope that the old saw about forgiveness being easier to get than permission is True. Superiors will honor a FLGS contract signed by one of their Servitors, but that doesn't mean that they won't administer internal corrections to someone who wasted their limited resources.
Alternatively, angels can buy things on their own dime - at the cost of a standard purchase report being forwarded to both the relevant Superior and the Offices of the Inquisition. Attempting to bribe a Servitor of Protection to do otherwise - not to mention just hijacking the place - is contraindicated. Repeat: con-tra-in-di-cat-ed. You Have Been Warned. Cash only, please.
All in all, though, FLGSs are still quite useful. The weapons are guaranteed reliable, come in both 'no previous criminal record' and 'registered to somebody we feel like shafting anyway' versions, are attractively priced (still, remember, some of these things are expensive) and can be returned (unused) for very competitive rates. Many angels swear by them. Just remember, though: you go to Gaming Stores to get guns. Gaming stores. Not paintball stores or comic stores. It's a common mistake, oddly, but that's no excuse.
So, remember: it's Isher Gaming for the guns, Constantine Comics for the quick-response exorcist squads and Sicarii Paintball for the emergency field surgery...