They Weren't Dreams?

July 16, 2015:

A guy with a mask and sword marches in the SHIELD office in Albania and demands they call Agent May

The Triskelian - New York


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

The call had come from Albania, in kind of the middle of the night. Some guy in a mask with a sword had marched right up to the SHIELD station there and walked in the front door. With their own access codes. Breach of security which put the agents there rather understandably on edge. The strange part had started when the masked figure had sheathed his blade and told them that he'd go quietly with them, but only on the condition that they send him to the Triskelion… and wake Agent May.

That had been hours ago and there'd been a lot of back and forth between HQ and the substation about how good an idea that really was. At length though the masked figure, cowled figre was put under guard and loaded onto a supersonic Quinjet. And lucky guy got to call Agent May. The jet's due any minute now.

Agent May stands at the edge of the landing field waiting for the quinjet to arrive. She glances sidelong at Simmons, partly to make sure the kid is holding up okay and partly to make sure she's not wandered off. It's … been a confusing day. And the person arriving on this jet hasn't helped matters AT ALL.

Simmons is highly embarrassed and doesn't remember much of the earlier part of the day. Without a particular influence being around, Jemma's completely normal and isn't going to go wandering off.

Standing beside May, field medkit in hand, the young biochem casts the older woman a questioning look but holds her silence. May has her methods and things will be clear when… they're clear.

The jet makes its final approach and lands. The tech behind these things is rather amazing. The ramp comes down and four armed agents escort a man in a ocncealing black and gold outfit with a sword over his back out. He's not cuffed, tellingly. And his face is concealed by a mask. One of them breaks off from the group. "He's insisted that he's only going to deal with you. Preferably without anyone else around." The agent glances at Simmons and notes the medbag. "Maybe you can convince him to let Simmons stay. But we'll pull back unless there are any objections." A short distance away the masked man waits quietly with the three other agents.

Melinda May nods to the Agent, then says to Simmons, "To your lab, please." The please is really the only way May can tell the biochemist that she intends to lead this person there once his identity has been confirmed. Because all of this cloak and dagger BS is more Romanoff's wheelhouse than hers, and she was done hours ago.

Levelling her eyes at the masked individual, May says in that flat tone that usually makes Fitz want to hide, "Your weapons." No please. It's not a request, it's an order. First test.

Simmons watches the masked and outfitted man, he's very tall, that's her first though. Then Mays 'asking' her to go to her lab and the biochem nods and turns on her heel, heading back to her lab. She's got things she can be doing there, anyway. Just as she disappears out of sight, she hears May's order. This will be interesting.

The other agents head off toward the hanger to get some chow and rest, leaving only May and the man in the costume. And Simmons who may or may not be evesdropping. The scabbard comes off the man's back and he extends it hilt first to May. If she draws it, it's a Katana. Very finely made. Very, very nice. Very obviously a weapon that has been used in the recent past, if well cared for.

Jemma's interested and as soon as she's out of sight, she leans against the wall listening. Not that she hears much! Between the two of them out on the platform, it's going to be a 'who can be quietest' contest so Jemma peeks around the corner to watch.

That contest lasts for a minute or so. It's not super clear exactly where on that costume there could be more weapons. Under the gi like top perhaps. After a long moment, with the area long vacated, a hand comes up to the mask and lifts…

And a mop of toussled blonde hair falls out. Along with a face that's at once both familiar and foreign. Clint Barton, but looking… drawn and strained. The kind of before and after effect often seen when soldiers come back from war. His eyes are a bit haunted and serious. Most importantly…

He doesn't really look like the same Barton who clocked out of work here at the Tri and went home about eight hours ago.

"Agent May… never thought I'd say this but it's kind of good to see you."

Okay. There is no way that Barton could go from snarky asshole overly interested in that JLA business to this haunted man in just eight hours. May's eyes narrow even as she takes a step back and gestures with the sword for this man to precede her. "I'm not sure I can say the same. Head for the science labs." She knows if anyone can identify a Life Model Decoy, it's the SHIELD science types. And, since she just sent Simmons that way…

That's Jemmas cue. Turning quickly, bashing against the wall as she does, Simmons bites down the 'ow' that she's about to utter (she's not meant to be there, remember). Hurrying, as quickly as she can without running, rubbing her shoulder, she'll be in her lab, behind her workbench when the other two get there.

Clint nods and starts to walk. Not talking. Which is, you know, a bit unusual. The entry to the main building is a bit slowed since he doesn't have an access card and May does. Still, they do arrive at the labs without incident where Jemma gets her first (second) look at the man. The cowl that had concealed his head and neck is off now. He's a bit scruffy, though not much. Other than that the same leaness of features and haunted look in the eyes greet Jemma as greeted May. "Hello Doctor Simmons." He steps in and waits for direction from one of the two women.

Melinda May gestures for Barton (if this truly is Barton) to take a seat, then sets the sword on a vacant table in the room before leaning against the same table so she's between the weapon and the former (?) archer. "Simmons. When was the last time you tested a person to see if they're a Life Model Decoy?" Her eyes don't leave Clint, as if she's silently warning him against so much as raising a hand at Jemma.

Simmons looks up as they enter, frowning slightly as she gets a good look at the man. "Hello" she says tentatively. Looking to May, Simmons doesn't really need to think "When we tested Mr Stark, I believe." They really don't have that much call for that test.

Eyes back to Barton, then to May again "Do we have need of that test now?" She's already started moving to get the procedure up on her screen …

Clint, the Clint May's seen more recently that is, has been through a few medical procedures. If he is an LMD he's got to be one of the most advanced models ever made. The man on Simmon's table is just watching at the moment. Well not just watching he's tugging his gloves off curiously. He remembers having odd dreams when he was captive but put that up to the drugs they were using on him and whatever odd procedures he underwent. He probably should have a full physical. "Look, Agent May I know I've been missing for a while but really, who's gonna release a Clint-bot eighteen months after the fact?"

Wait. Eighteen MONTHS? May stares at Barton for what is an unnaturally long time, then she looks at Simmons. "Yes. And start the full physical as well. I'll be right back." She steps out of the lab, but stays right by the door in full view of both people inside through the clear glass-like front walls of the room. She pulls her phone to make a call, being careful to keep Barton from being able to try reading her lips.

After tasking a group of agents with retrieving the pre-existing Barton from where ever he happens to be right now, she steps back into the lab. "Barton, I have some bad news for you."

That actually stops Jemma and she glances up at the man, staring for nearly as long as May did. "Right then, Agent May" Simmons gathers her things and heads over to where Barton is sitting. Working quietly, prompting him every now and then, Simmons records the results and listens as May returns.

How does one actually drop that piece of news?

Clint's been doing this long enough to know when something is up. As May leaves his eyebrow quirks a little. And then Simmons goes quiet, just working. Cough. Turn here. Get a bit further out of the gi so she can put leads on his chest (he does have a shirt under there. It needs washing), listen to his lungs. He's physically healthy if under a lot of strain. Psychologically might be a different bag.

More importantly, there's not sign at all that he's an LMD, but she'll need to run several rather complex tests to be sure. Or as sure as she can.

And then May comes back in and… "Bad news?"

May knows she has to break this news to Barton before the agents pass by with the OTHER Barton in tow. "You haven't been listed as missing for the past eighteen months." For crying out loud, May. Just spit it out. "Agent Clint Barton has been in New York and on duty consistently for the past eighteen months."

Jemma keeps her head down and conducting her tests as May breaks the news to Barton. The standard, run of the mill tests done, she starts on the next set. Certainly more involved and complicated. None of the tests indicate the man in front of her is a LMD.

Casting a glance to May, Simmons shakes her head "The tests are coming back clear, Agent May." she murmurs.

"What?!" That's the first time Clint's raised his voice since he's been back. Actually it's the first time he's raised his voice in a while. "I… you're saying there's been another me here for eighteen months?!" Or in other words, one of the top intelligence agency's agents got replaced by a robot and no one noticed.

He just stares for a second and then… "Oh god… they're not dreams."

Melinda May understands Barton's reaction completely. What she's finding impressive is how LITTLE he's reacting. Yup, it's decided. His next stop is Psych. Even if he ends up hating her for it. "What're not dreams?" Maybe if she can get him to share a little intel here and now, things will be easier for the archer in the long run.

Pulling up a chair, Simmons sits down and regards the man and then looks to May "Whatever has happened he's been physically stressed." Back to Barton "Why don't you tell me what you remember, Agent Barton?"

Clint's jaw is working, tensing, untensing. He's clearly very, very angry now. "I… was drugged. Hooked up to machines. I had dreams. Going on missions with agents here. Being in… something kind of like the Avengers Initiative. Dating a… er… young woman. When I broke out three months ago I figured they were just that. Feaver dreams from the drugs and whatever the hell they were doing to me." He looks up now. "They weren't, were they?"

Melinda May looks at Jemma. "Maybe that's how the LMD was able to fool us for so long." She's still as straight-faced as ever, but for anyone who knows her well enough, they would recognize that May is very quietly SEETHING. "They weren't dreams."

Standing and stepping back from the now angry Agent, Jemma shakes her head slowly "No, no they weren't." Mays question has her considering "We didn't have any reason to check, Agent May. And if … Agent Bartons brain was being used to power it… " why would they?

Barton takes the sensors off and stands up. His sword is across the table and he's thinking of grabbing it but he'd have to go through or around May to get it and just… no. "We still got a bow in the armories? I think those agents going to get 'me' might need a bit of backup." He really doesn't intend to take no for answer on this. He's glowering, just shy of screaming in rage. They took his LIFE.

Melinda May studies Barton for a long moment, then steps aside so his sword is now accessible. She pulls the ICER from its holster on her hip and check it. Only down one round. "On one condition." She looks at the man squarely. "I'm driving."

Simmons looks between the two and sighs "If I may, I would like to come." Her skills might be needed at some point. Of course, May might decide otherwise given Jemmas current situation.

It might be good if Simmons did, if only to prevent one of those classic 'tussle and switch and OHMYGODWHICHONEISTHEREALONE!' situations. Clint grabs the sword. He'll want a bow before they leave… and maybe out of this Gi. He's been wearing it for a while. Gotta be a SHIELD issue jumpsuit around that'll fit him right? He doesn't care who's name is on it right now. Someone's been using his. And they're going to pay.

"Fine, you're driving. Gives me time to make sure the bow's up to snuff anyway. Any idea where he is?" Probably his apartment but who knows for sure yet.

Melinda May nods to Simmons, her eyes flicking toward the field medkit momentarily. "Meet at the motor pool in twenty minutes." She still has to go update Fury before they can leave.

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