Catch and Release

February 13, 2015:

February 13th, 2015: May and Agent Gorman interrogate the Taskmaster who turns out to be an MIA SHIELD agent named Anthony Masters. (Emits by Jericho)



NPCs: Agent Gorman



Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

A blank, featureless room. The only things other than the painted concrete floor, walls, and ceiling are the pane of mirrored glass that fills most of one wall and a utilitarian set of steel table and chairs. It's likely a step down from Taskmaster's 'accommodations' since he's been brought to the Triskelion, but not by much.

Having been cuffed to the metal table and left there, several minutes go by before the door opens again. This time it's May with an accompanying agent — one of those Men in Black types. She steps up to the table and sets a folder down, but doesn't immediately claim the chair across from the man. She just stands there for a moment as if waiting to see what reaction she'll get from the man.

The Taskmaster is not the sort who ends up in situations like this, no mask, weapons stripped from his person, Omni-Tool no longer latched about his forearm, they even peeled the hidden tools from underneath his skin, he has nothing to fall back on aside from his winning personality.
"Not even a reach around… this new SHIELD regime has really got to work on it's bedside manner." A squinting eye peers up past the bright light past equally dark hair to spot the woman who just tossed down the file, "Agent May, yeah?" Not that he really knows her beyond what he has seen in footage or files. Familiar but not remembered. "I'm getting sloppy. Don't worry I'll come up with a nickname for you soon… "

Accompanying Agent May is… well, one of those men in black types. Suit. Serious face. Earpiece. Sidearm in a shoulder harness. They make these guys in a factory don't they. He's looking through a dossier. There, uh, isn't much in it.

Still he is a name, not a number. Agent Gorman. Remember that mess about some idiot resurrecting US presidents? Yeah, that was all him. He fixed that up and no one ever even heard about it. Besides, how many times do you get say you killed Harry Truman?

"Let's see if you're more inventive that some other people around here." May flatly ignores the inappropriate comment and finally moves to sit, pulling the file over and opening it to reveal a photo of… Taskmaster. But by no means a recent photo. In fact, there are several little details about the photo that are curious. The man in the image is younger than Taskmaster but is either the same individual or an identical twin. There's a date stamp on the image that lists it as from 2004, more than ten years ago, and yet the age difference between the man in the photo and Taskmaster is so little as to be almost indistinguishable. Most importantly, the image was apparently taken on a SHIELD facility, based on the wall-sized eagle symbol in the far background behind the man.

May turns the photo and sets it down for Taskmaster to see. "Anthony Masters. Level Five field agent and leader of D.C. operations team Epsilon." She pauses then, to let the handcuffed man get a good look at the photo before she continues. "Listed as MIA in May of 2005. I'm wondering why you look exactly like an agent that's been missing and presumed dead for nearly ten years. Any guesses?"

"Uh, no." All Taskmaster manages though his confusion is obvious for a moment. "Contingency T, Tony, Taskmaster, T-Bone, T-Virus even but don't call me Anthony Masters… " Odd that this bothers him and his acting skills are failing as May slaps him with an info bomb that he really has no memory of. "Never lead any teams for you guys and what the fuck is team Epsilon? You're daffy. The cute ones are always nuts."
May's no stranger to profiling people and the man's gears are whirring. A look from her towards Tom "Selleck" Gorman and the dark brows of Taskmaster knit closer together. "I've only worked for SHIELD a couple times and those were all under the table solo missions, training stints, your usual bullshit none of you types want tied to… back in 10 years ago… " He cuts off. What the hell did he do 10 years ago… Team 7? No that was sooner. Fuck Deathstroke and Lynch.

Gorman's been around a hot minute in SHIELD, though he's never had the kind of clearance May did. Still he remembers the rumors. SHIELD operatives don't go missing every day after all, particularly not ones as skilled as Masters. And the photo does have an uncanny resemblance. "Team Epsilon was a deep cover intel gathering operation. Hand picked. Best of the best." And, word had it, Masters was the best. "So yes, SHIELD wants to know what someone is doing wearing our honored dead's face, because either someone's plastic surgeon has some explaining to do, or our honored dead isn't as honored or as dead as we thought." He didn't have the clearance to know that then. He does now (barely).

Melinda May leaves the photo on the table staring at Taskmaster. "So you're saying that you have no memory of working for SHIELD as an agent." She leans back a bit and crosses her arms. "Would be willing to permit us to take a blood sample to verify that you are or are not Agent Anthony Masters?" Okay, that she's admitting aloud that SHIELD hasn't already done that might be her offering him a concession. Or maybe she's phrased it that way to make it sound less intimidating. Difficult to say.

"No plastic here, pal. This is all natural." Masters would pull at his own face in example but he's not really able to move his hands. A tip of his head and he swivels his attention back towards May, "I got a choice in whether y'all want my blood or not? She-it… maybe I was wrong about your bedside manner. Where do you want to start biting?"

Agent May and Gorman's phones both begin to go off, synchronized, imagine that. The name flashing across each device Fury.

Gorman takes his rather generic looking smart-phone (government issue) out of his suit pocket and glances at it before stepping back, giving May the 'I'll take this call, until he asks for you' signal. No really, there's a signal for that. "Yes Director?" The mighty mustachioed man says as he half turns.

Melinda May glances back at Gorman and nods, then turns her attention back to Taskmaster. "I'll have someone from Medical come in to take the blood sample. And what if the blood sample comes back and says that you are Agent Masters?" She's asking partly out of curiosity, partly to stall for time while the Mighty Mustachioed Man talks with the boss.

"Then Agent Masters is one smart SOB if he wanted to be me when he grew up."
Taskmaster grins at May, head still canted to the side, a smile on his features, "Almost getting me with these head games, dollface. I been down this road before though… not my first rodeo. You shoulda just asked questions about you know… HYDRA, them other guys, the fun stuff… I gave myself up. I might just be ready to roll over on some folks for some added security. Just sayin'." Probably not likely but Task is having a little bit of fun with the back and forth.

"Gorman, we need to talk. Put that goldfish brained combat monkey in a cell and you two get upstairs." Fury hangs up and gets suited up so he can have a small chit chat about this new development. Bound to happen eventually.

"Yes Director." Well, the line was already dead before he said it, but it's habit. One does not say 'No Director' to Nick Fury. Nor does one ignore him. Agent Gorman puts his phone back and looks at May. "We need to table this discussion. Director Fury wants to see us right away." He looks over to Taskmaster. "Back to lockup for you for a bit. Two nice agents with shock batons will be in to see you shortly." He glances over to May. She can lead.

Melinda May puts the photo back into the folder and stands. "I suspect we'll be talking again soon." Then she steps away with the folder in hand to step past Gorman back out of the room. No point in asking the agent what Fury wanted, she knows she'll find out directly soon enough.
"Oh shock batons. Cool, I'll need a change of drawers again." Taskmaster slumps back in to his seat and winks at May, "It's a date."

Floors and minutes later they stand in Fury's newly renovated office with extra spacious walk out balcony. That is where the man currently is, an unlit cigar in his teeth, black fatigue pants and a cozy black sweater. No trench and surprisingly no booze.
"You two are up late." The Director's greeting.

Melinda May steps into the office stands there with the folder still in her hands. "Sir." She doesn't say anything about the being up late comment, because it's simply true.

"Heard you caught us a big one May. Good job on that, I didn't actually expect that to happen this way but… what we have here is a catch and release scenario." The cigar in Fury's teeth rolls in a circle. "You and Gorman and anything you talked about in there with fishbrain stays right here." A hand waves in a circle indicating them.
"The Taskmaster is one of ours. He doesn't know it and it's worked wonders that way."

Gorman's eyebrow goes up. Worked wonders? As in… this was intentional. Taskmaster, if the files are correct, has been an off again, on again agent of both HYDRA and COBRA (who is also HYDRA, kind of. Damn snakes) and has generally been a menace and a pain in the ass for some time. "Sir?"

Wait, what? "Let me guess. Need to know." Clearly annoyed by this but knowing that she can't exactly tell the Director 'no', she slaps the folder with the information on Agent Masters onto Fury's desk. He can deal with putting that back or destroying it or whatever. "How do you want him cut loose? So he knows we're letting him go, or make it look like an escape?"

"Yes, at the time very need to know only. He did his job like any good SHIELD agent would and infiltrated Stormwatch's team programs for us. But that all went south when his marbles started spilling allover the floor. Which, we monitored him for a while after all that too, watched him re-invent himself, watched him become this carnival clown he is now. Worked to our advantage there too with some prodding in the right directions we gathered all kinds of new intel on over a dozen organizations and then we lost contact with his handler. But you just changed all that Agent May you brought him back home and now we can re-establish that channel again. So, this can be flipped in to a very positive thing for us." A quiet follows Fury as he looks from Gorman to May and manages a smile, "And honestly, I don't care how you cut him loose just make sure you do."

The Director considers a moment, "How is Trent working out May?"

Trent? That's a name Gorman hasn't heard before. But honestly so many things are need to know in this damn place that it's stopped surprising him. The agent stands with his hands behind his back, a sort of modified form of 'parade rest' though SHIELD doesn't require anything so military. So May is working with some kind of 'Trent' eh? That's odd, because the last thing he'd heard around the water cooler was that she was seen close to a week ago coming out of a house belonging to a park ranger. In civvies. It's the kind of thing that gets certain types going. He tries not to listen. Even if it is kind of interesting.

"We'll arrange it, sir." Already he's thinking maybe the best way is to 'transfer' him to a 'secure' holding facility that he can then 'escape' after additional surveillance is put on him.

Melinda May nods to Fury, and can tell by the tone of Gorman's voice that he's already got an idea on how to 'lose' Taskmaster. "Make sure his equipment is transferred as well, but lock it securely. Can't make it look too easy." She returns to addressing the Director. "As well as can be expected, sir, though he wanted to offer Fitz a hand with his current assignment and the kid was afraid to accept it because of that… mandate that Hill sent down. "You got my reports on Ral-Tech in Metropolis and the op in Colorado?"

"Yes, I got the reports. Well done, keep them coming and if Fitz wants his damn help he can have it just remember I want to see your name on any and all paperwork involving Trent. Full responsibility and a trail after the man. " Fury is aware Melina knows all this but he's not taking chances. The reasons are documented.

"Gorman, May, the Hub will re-establish eyes on Masters once we get him out of here. I want you two to connect up with 'em again and get them back on our side. Convince the Hub to come back, it's for their best interest. I'll give you the access lines, files and codes to fix that up nice like."

"All right, I'm going to get a few more winks in before I have to crack some skulls. You two, get some rest too, you make some ugly goddamn roosters and I sure as hell don't want to hear Gorman singing come sun up."
The Director hand waves at the air to dismiss them before slinking off to his office door.

Gorman nods. May is the senior agent here. Fortunately, May is also one of those agents who listens to ideas, provided they're politely phrased and don't come in the middle of firefights inappropriately. "Yes Director." He turns and waits for May to make her exit, wincing internally. He was really, really hoping the Director hadn't heard about Karaoke Night in Manilla…

"Yes, sir." May turns and leaves, presumably with Gorman in tow to plan on Taskmaster's 'escape' and reconnecting with the Hub. After a few hours of shuteye. Because even if Fury did say so very unflattering, she knows she doesn't pull all-nighters nearly as well as she used to. She also makes a mental note to contact Trent and tell him there's a green light on getting in touch with Fitz so long as she's there to chaperon.

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