First Assignments

May 25, 2015:

Oracle and May issues assignments for the new, and potential, Birds of Prey members

Gotham

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Apart from the appearance of the Obelisks on South Hook, the meta-human scanner has raised some major concerns. Scanning for beings that are unusual, doesn't sit right for Oracle and she can see how it could all go terribly wrong. So do her colleagues. Jericho Trent, demontainted hacker, has managed to get his hands on one and confirmed that is reverse engineered alien tech and has reached out for assistance in tracking down information. Oracle and May have just the people to help with this investigation… It's also the perfect opportunity to allow Agent Carter to see how Oracles teams work.

The 'home' of Oracles new team, at least temporarily, is an old gym located in Gotham. She's had a flat screen display installed and a security system. It's as good as meeting place as any for a briefing. The team members have been invited to meet at the Gym, or connect via the network if that's not possible, the team doesn't have to congregate in one place.

Oracle is, as usual, in the Clocktower watching her monitors and waiting for the invitees' to check in. Of course, the avatars associated with each of them appears on the map currently display in front of her.


As the so far 'face' of this new team of Oracle's, May has made a point of attending this meeting in person. Maybe in the future, and especially if this new WAND division of SHIELD gets rolling, she might out of necessity have to attend meetings remotely. But until then…

Having arrived early, May has taken the time and effort to get a simple folding table and chairs set up near the wall-mounted monitor. She's even apparently brought tea this time, but that was more for selfish reasons than out of any sense of hospitality. She just hopes someone else thinks to bring something to eat. She skipped a meal in order to get here early.


Agent Carter is used to clandestine meetings and strange summons. Despite her research, she is still somewhat wary of coming into a strange new team where she does not know the person sending them off on assignments. At the very least, though, she will check out how the team works and what they are hoping to accomplish. Plus, the 'meta-human' scanner is something she is something Jericho mentioned in an earlier conversation and she is curious about it.

Peggy doesn't arrive early - she's right on time. It means she can see who is early and who is late and what that might mean about the people she may be working with. She has not brought food; that's not something she thought was necessary. Instead, she glances around and nods in a professional greeting toward May.


The Question has the requisite punctuation as his on-screen avatar, his faceless visage easily recognized on the security cameras Oracle monitors as he makes his way in. He expects to be monitored, so he doesn't bother trying to avoid or infiltrate. He's an invited member, after all, part of the 'team'. Such a strange concept - he was never much of a team player. He got thrown off the basketball team in high school. It's considered bad form to punch opposing players in the throat when they reach in for the ball too hard.

He finds Peggy and May having already arrived. Familiar with the latter, he gives her a nod, his fedora properly doffed as he looks around the makeshift HQ. He's been given only vague details, at this point, in regard to the mission at hand, but he's curious, at the very least, and curiosity is all it takes to get the Question's attention.


Jericho was a bit surprised to be asked to attend but it makes sense if May and Oracle plan to field questions about certain things. And he's not sure how much time he has honestly. What with one thing and another - some of it not exactly on planet earth - he's been rather busy. Still he's made time for this, dressed in his usual casual. There was a quart of ice cream earlier. It's gone now. Don't ask where. Fortunately there are also tacos. From one of the few really good streetfood trucks in this area. Leave it to Trent to know where the good food is.

The hacker's arrival was… less flashy than his usual. He walked around the corner and walked in five minutes ahead of time. Where he was before that…

Just don't ask.


Of course, Oracle has also had the gym fitted out with audio/visual feeds, so she can speak with those in the gym and vice versa. "Thank you for coming." The redhead shifts slightly as she settles "I'm not sure how much you know of the meta-scanners, but they're a concern. The scanners are a detection technology that's been provided to the Metropolis SRD under the guise of a new Joint Task Force called the K-Squad. Basically, this new task force is aimed at policing metahuman threats. The police will be able to point a scanner at any metahuman and tell what they are." May can add to that.

Food and Drink… something that Oracle isn't particularly good at. She'll add that to her checklist for meetings.


Melinda May nods to each person as they arrive, though Trent possibly gets a glance of appreciation for bringing tacos. "After we heard about these meta-human scanners, Trent started doing some research on the devices." Yeah, a polite way to say 'hacking'. "He's discovered that the technology used in the devices was reverse engineered from alien technology. Ethical considerations aside, the potential ramifications of building tech around an 084 — a previously unknown and likely dangerous object — is the worst possible idea." She starts to pour a mug of tea, glancing at Peggy as if silently offering.


As the others enter, Peggy nods to each of them. She knows Jericho, of course, though she doesn't know the Question. The fedora is noted with a curious tilt of her head, but she's not about to ask. The hacker is given a wary once over, but then her attention is directed to the speakers as Oracle begins to speak.

The glance given by May is received with just a nod of her chin in grateful agreement. She'll almost always take offered tea. "They've built these scanners from the 084?" She knows the term - in fact she and the Howling Commandos were the ones to bring in what she thought was the only one. In her time, however, there was only the one, she's not aware that SHIELD has named all extraterrestrial objects after that first case file. The woman from the past moves closer to May both for discussion purposes and to retrieve tea. "That object was incredibly dangerous. Yes, I can see how that would be concerning."


The Question folds his hat, tucking it into his jacket, "Sounds kind of Big Brother to me. Only this one's designed to get a feel for your genetics and put you into the proper classification for the government to know what kind of hole to put you in. So, pretty much SOP for your average modern urban police force," he says, taking a seat and putting up his feet casually.

"What kind of aliens, by the way? And is there really a number designation for that? 084, huh? How very Kafka-esque. You'll have to get me a list of those, I'll be able to decipher the charges whenever I'm finally hauled into a kangaroo court to answer for my thought-crimes," he says. His voice has a sardonic, teasing edge so that it almost sounds like he's joking.

Almost.


"The folks I had look at it couldn't tell me which aliens." Which is a bit disturbing since the Tamaaran warship parked in orbit has a decent library of them. Could be that the reverse engineering and knock-off manufacture made it hard to figure. Jericho's not sure how much it matters though he's still looking into that end. "But they assured me that it was xeno-tech. And I trust the source. Earth manufacture though, which squares with some of the other stuff I've been seeing. This was put into production by a government agency. Not sure which either. We recovered some of the purchase orders for various sub-contracted parts. It's not DoD, I can tell you that much. It's not any of the defense intelligence arms either. Which leaves a fairly narrow band of known agencies who might have the pull for this, and the ever looming possibility of a black budget group. Right now I'm going after the civillian end of things. Trying to trace back via the manufacturers." He has leads. Too many leads, really. Which is why he asked for help.


"Yes, SOP, but that doesn't make it anymore palatable" Oracle responds to The Question "Perhaps less so. And where does it end? I'm certain that it won't just be police that use this technology." She'll let May handle the 084 question from Peggy. "Right now, we're working with Mr Trent to follow the leads he has and see if we find more information." beat "Asking questions and distilling the truth, so to speak. Something that would appear to be right up your alley, Question."


Melinda May hands that first mug of tea to Peggy then pours a second to Trent out of habit and then… maybe she can find a drinking straw for Question. She's still convinced that that is somehow a very well made mask. "The meta-scanners are not based on the original 084, Ms. Carter. The designation has become the standard coding for any unexplained or previously unidentified artifact. And in some cases, previously unidentified meta-humans." She knows that anymore, a person originally marked as an 084 is added to the Index once their abilities are quantified.


The information everyone else is spouting does not make much sense to Peggy, but she'll stay quiet for the moment. "084 was a case number that dealt with an unidentified object that was found in HYDRA possession in 1945. It was incredibly dangerous." Now that she knows that all unidentified objects are labeled after that first 084, she nods, filing that information away for later.

She takes the mug of tea from May with a bit of a smile for thanks "Agent," she says softly. "Where I'm from I'm still an Agent." And it's something she's reluctant to let go. Then it's back to the problem at hand. "So, it seems the issue should not be so much figuring out who the aliens are as who might be able to take alien technology such as this and turn it into a working scanner in a manner that can be replicated, as it seems there is more than one of these. That person or people would certainly have those answers, yes. It seems as if we should be looking into science divisions."


The Question considers, "I think I've seen the files on that, once upon a time, although I don't hang around in UFOlogist circles particularly much. There's truth to be gleaned there, but a lot of crazy along the way, not to mention far too much crouching in corn fields staring at patterns in crops for my liking,' he says.

"I can think of a few organizations off the top of my head. Hydra. The 100. Scientology. The Better Business Bureau," he says, noting people starting to look his way, "You'd be surprised what goes on behind closed doors at your average meeting of the Commerce Club. A lot more robes and pentacles and Freemasonry fun than you'd expect," he says.

"What about neutralizing the stuff? Probably the easiest place to backtrace would be from the hands it ended up in. I may not approve of the war on drugs, but the easiest way to find the dealer is to find the junkie."


"Hence the current approach. If a way can be found defeat the scanner technology I'm all ears. I have a few compatriots that want to take out the production source and hunt down any examples of the tech but this stuff's been quietly in production for months. I'm not convinced it can be 'put back in the bottle' as it were." Jericho notes, canting his head at the 'Better Business Bureau.' Huh.

"So there's two avenues of approach here and I'll take what help I can get on either. On the government end, trying to figure out who has the budget, expertise and resources to research this. There's a lot of National Serial Numbers attached to this product so the working theory is that it's government originated. On the other end, hunting down data from the subcontractors. It's a fairly long list and a lot of it hasn't taken place in the US. Lobo Technologies, OsCorp, Lockheed and Raytheon are the big players, but there's a couple dozen smaller corportations involved in making parts for this thing. Oracle has a list of facilities that might contain information."

The Question's suggestion gets a nod. "Right now it's in the K-Squad's hands but they've been demoing it for other SRD and police departments. This 'Joint Task Force' is starting to look like a major initiative. Rumor has it the DoD's thinking of lending support to it too."


"I can help with electronic searches, I know of others who can help there too." Oracle considers the request "Splitting up the searches, distributing them so to speak, may obfuscate our efforts and not tip our hand too soon." A list of potential allies who could help with that work appears on her screen, Jericho and May will know most of them, at least. "Any information you have in that respect, Mr Trent, would be appreciated."

"The Question can help at the street level, so to speak. Better Business Bureau… I'll add that to my 'watch' list as well." As for Peggy and May "Agents Carter and May, if you can run down leads as they pop up… I fear this isn't going to be an 'overnight' assignment."


Melinda May nods at Oracle's words. "I'll check with R&D to see if they've encountered anything similar. Trent, can you give me even vague specs on the part of the scanner that was reverse-engineered? With that information, I'll see what SHIELD knows about it." She looks over at Peggy. "Agent Carter, are you still in contact with Howard Stark? He might have some information as well, and while I don't think I'm on his bad side, you might be able to get to that intel faster than I could."


With most of her own contacts dead or too old to be of any use, Peggy looks back and forth as assignments are given out. "If you need help in infiltrating, I am also quite adept at that," she offers. It's what she was known for in the SSR. That and her code breaking. And her ability to turn just about anything into a weapon.

As for being in contact with Howard Stark, Peggy merely gives a bit of a smirk. "I am, yes." She, in fact, is still living in his penthouse in one of his spare rooms. "I'll be sure to speak with him. I think I may also be able to speak with the many scientists he has on his payroll through THINK if I were able to get the specs or even the device itself for study."


The Question drums his fingers idly on his knee, "I know how to investigate a police force without getting my hands dirty. Well…visibly dirty," he says. "I've got plenty of contacts in the force and a few favors owed. IF there's smoke from their source, I should be able to track it down. And I know the general run of dealers in odd technology and black market weapons on the street. A liberal application of knuckle should get the answers we're looking to find," he says.

He considers for a moment and cocks his head, "By all this agent talk, am I to presume that the ladies in question are actual, official, bonafide emissaries of the shadow government? My, my, it sets my paranoid bones a-tingle just to think of it. Kind of makes me feel dirty, mingling with the men - or, in this case, women - in black."


"The ladies are. I'm just your friendly emissary from the internet." Or a minor hell realm. Take your pick. "I'll work with Oracle and May to get all the relevant information to you. May, I'll see about uploading that technical data for you. You'll be taking it to SciTech, I presume?" Before that question can be answered a little imp-like creature skitters out of the shadows hissing and growling rather urgently. Jericho frowns and holds a hand up, replying in a twisty, resonant language that… simply isn't of this earth.

The response he gets makes him stand up. "Trouble elsewhere." He explains. "Investigating the SRD and good old fashioned infiltration may be just what we need. I'll be in contact. I need to get going though." With a wave to those assembled the hacker exits out a side door and disappears from sight. There's a flash of light visible before the door closes.


Oracle nods to herself "I'm sure we will, Agent Carter… require assistance in infiltrating places." Once they've got information to follow. The mention of Howard Stark and THINK has the redhead nodding again, the file for the project being updated. "We'll get what we can to you, Agent Carter, to help Mr Stark. His scientific resources, combined with SHIELD tech, should yield some interesting results."

"Find what you can from your side, The Question. May thought this would be your type of thing. As to who these two ladies work for, I'll leave that up to them to explain." With Jericho's departure, Oracle sends a reminder for the data they need. "Are there anymore questions or things you would like to discuss?"


Melinda May shakes her head no very slightly. "No. This is enough for me to get started." And her first stop is going to be Fury's office. It's (hopefully) part of why the Director trusts her enough to give her lots and lots of leash to run with.


Dressed as she is in vintage-like apparel - a dark blue skirt and a bright white shirt - she merely raises an eyebrow at the implication that she's involved with a shadow government. The only men in black she heard of in 1948 involved some UFO sightings. "I guess what with the discussion of alien technology and 'Agent' one might think that. Though, from my experience, they tended to wear green." Much like army uniforms. "We are here of our own accord. Though, from your own speech, perhaps it is we who should feel dirty, as your words have all the colorful metaphors of a mercenary." Which is apparently different than being there of her own accord. Her words aren't biting, merely an observation. She may be a professional, but she also won't take what she expects as a slight easily.

The creature that scrambles over to Jericho is studied. Peggy got a glimpse of it once, but this is much more prolonged look. The flash of light is given a narrowing of her eyes. It seems she still doesn't exactly trust the man. Once again, her attention turns back to the task at hand, taking a sip of tea and nodding at May's assurance. "I'll speak with Howard," she assures the others. "The blueprints or device would be exceedingly helpful, but I can certainly get started with this information."


When K'nert comes in and has a decidedly non-English conversation briefly before the hacker takes his leave, she barely gives the little creature more than a cursory glance. It's almost like she's used to seeing the critter about anytime Trent is present.


The Question shakes his head, "I'm no mercenary - I do what I do gratis. My only interest in uncovering the truth. As you might imagine, people who keep secrets for a living don't always find that a particularly likable character trait," says the man without a face, his blank visage revealing nothing as the tone of his voice is even and measured.

"We all have our own standards, Agent Carter. I have no doubts in my own integrity, which is the only thing I can ultimately rely on. So long as I'm true to those principles, I can accept that they aren't always shared by the people with whom I work."


With that done and the others discussing things amongst themselves, Oracles' attention turns to getting information out and 'other things'. "Thank you all for coming. You know how to contact me and I'll be in touch as soon as we have information to share." She'll listen in as they talk and add to the conversation as necessary, but it's important the team gets to know each other.


"Thank you, Oracle." May looks at the other two again, almost consideringly. "While we're waiting for the data that Oracle is compiling, do either of you have any questions?" About what? Well, anything, though she's pretty sure a lot of them could be answered with a simple Google search or two.


May's reaction to K'nert is met with curiosity from Peggy. It's certainly something she'll have to discuss with the woman later, if she'll say anything about it. Her attention, though, returns to Question. There's more to a person than facial expressions. While the fact that she cannot read his face does put her at a bit of a disadvantage, she's used to hiding her own expressions and feelings behind a mask of sorts. Hers just happens to be her own face. "Yes, that we do. I have respect for anyone with a strong sense of integrity," is all she replies to Question. Her own voice is calm, not giving much away as to what she may really feel.

Looking at May and Oracle, her face breaks into a small smile, the seriousness fading just slightly. "Thank you, Oracle," she adds. As for questions, she tilts her head just slightly. "Perhaps, though they might be better served as private ones. It might be best for me to search out Howard."


The Question considers for a moment and then says, simply, "I always have questions, Agent May. It's learning when to ask them that is the key. But for now, I think I'll get to work on the task at hand. We can get into exploring other things at another time. Otherwise, I'll keep you here all night," he says. He rises up from his seat, popping his hat out and slipping it onto his head.

"Keep your noses clean and all that jazz. I'll be in touch," he says, popping the collar on his trenchcoat and heading for the door, whistling "The Rains of Castamere" idly as he goes.


Melinda May watches Q leave, then looks at Peggy. "I get the feeling that that one is going to be interesting to work with." And then she finally — FINALLY — pours herself a cup of the remaining tea.

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