The Team With No Name: Prague

August 09, 2015:

Audrey and Cap head to Prague to thwart a Czech double agent's plan.

Prague, Czech Republic

An old, beautiful city in central Europe.

Characters

NPCs: Various

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

PRAGUE
CZECH REPUBLIC
11:37 PM, LOCAL TIME

Amidst the cobblestone of the old city, and inside a palatial galleria, a swanky party is happening, and Audrey finds herself in the midst of some of middle Europe's high class movers and shakers. Out in front of her, down a widening set of tile steps, are parlor games of every sort and a small dance floor where people flow elegantly in their tuxedos and lavish dresses. The champagne flows heartily and so does the gossip.

How and why she got here is a long story.

Two weeks ago, Steve Rogers got into contact with Audrey after coming across some information that his immediate supervisors at SHIELD were not prepared or, perhaps, willing to move upon. Feeling that the information was sound, Steve felt as though he needed to go above and beyond the call of duty.

According to unsubstantiated reports, Tomas Zeman, an official with the Czech military and a member of NATO had come across blueprints for a top secret, French ICBM silo not far from Chambery. It is believed that Zeman is planning to trade these blueprints to a member of the Qurac government for later commandeering and use.

Audrey's mission (should she choose to accept it) is to ingratiate herself with Zeman somehow and, with Rogers help, prevent the blueprint handoff, and get the documents back to the French.

"Testing, Testing," Steve's voice comes through from an alleyway out behind the building. He's dressed in rags and smells like patchouli. He even has a fake beard that he wears under the beanie and dark, long wig he uses.

"Copy," Audrey says softly from her spot at the top of the steps, looking over the crowd below. There's a flute of champagne in her hand, though it's utterly untouched - less because drinking on a mission could compromise it than because of the butterflies in her stomach. Sneaking into a military installation in BDUs, armed to the teeth? Sure, no problem. An art party, in a one-shouldered black dress with a slit that's almost too high to hide the gun at her thigh? A little more intimidating.

The cover was simple, at least. The name on her invitation was Sasha Ilyanova, the girlfriend slash second-in-command to a group of Chechnyan rebels, and a low-level illusion altered her features just enough not to be recognized, thinning the line of her nose and sharpening her cheekbones.

"These pieces are amazing, for the record," she says as she starts down the stairs, taking the opportunity to appreciate the art before she gets down to business.

"Not much of an art guy, to be honest," Steve replies as he repositions a bottle of hooch as he takes a seat on a stoop. In his hands is a small receiver that has six cameras, placed earlier, that give him a shuffling view of the party.

But just after he speaks, a group of hoodlum teenagers begin making their way towards him. They look to be drunk, and rowdy, and they speak Czech, which is not one Steve has come across much. "Got to go," Steve whispers and flips off the receiver, before hunching down.

Once she reaches the floor, Audrey starts to move through the crowds, apparently absorbed in the art. That part, at least, isn't entirely an act. She may be a soldier, but she has an artist's soul. Even modern art like this. After taking in a few paintings, she works her way toward where Zeman stands, using the painting as an excuse to move closer. "Stunning," she murmurs in flawless Russian, lifting a hand to follow the line of the brush-strokes through the air. "Like dance on canvas."

"I'm sorry, I don't speak Russian," says Zeman in English, the universal language, as he turns. When his eyes lock onto Audrey's, it's clear that the older gentleman with salt and pepper hair and sharp features likes what he sees. He does, however, get the gist of what he says and after a split-moment of awkwardness, he looks back at the painting. "Mesmerizing, is it not? It is my favorite of his pieces. I own several of his pieces, in fact."

Outside, the group of boys gets closer to the "sleeping" Steve, who for all the world is doing his best impression of a drunk.

«We should kick him,» says one of them.

«Fuck that, let's set him on fire,» says another.

"Ah, my apologies," Audrey replies in English, looking away from the painting with a small smile. She lets her gaze linger as she looks him over, smile warming. "I was so taken with the piece, I was speaking to myself. He does beautiful work," she agrees, looking back to the canvas. "So evocative of motion and emotion. Had I a place worthy of displaying them, perhaps I would be making you an offer." She smiles again, casting a look toward the man from beneath her lashes.

"Well, you are of course welcome to see them anytime you wish. I'd love to show you my collection," responds Zeman. He looks out over Audrey's shoulder, clearly waiting for someone. "Unfortunately, tonight I have a meeting. Perhaps sometime soon? My name is Tomas Zeman, and I am enchanted to meet you."

One of the youths approaches Steve with a wad of paper he got from the trash can and a lighter.

« You sure we should do this, Hans? »

«Shut the fuck up, pussy»

As he approaches, Steve's blue eyes snap open, and there's a look of terror upon the teenagers face. "He's awake!"

"Sasha," Audrey introduces herself, holding out a hand palm down. "Sasha Ilyanova. And it is a pleasure to meet you, Mister Zeman." She steps in closer, lowering her voice as she leans in for the European air-kiss. "Mister Zeman, I represent some people who are very interested in making you an offer," she murmurs. "Perhaps you will have time for…" She trails off, as though searching for the word. "How is it said? A quicky, before your meeting."

"Sasha?" Tomas responds with raised eyebrows even as she pulls away from him. "What a lovely name. I would love to meet with you for all sorts of such meetings, my love, but my associate will be arriving shortly. Perhaps I can listen to your offer after—"

« Sir? » A man in a suit interrupts the conversation. « Bourhani has arrived. »

Tomas turns back to the young woman, "My love, please excuse me. I shall not be long."

Zeman nods to his aide and the pair whisk away, up a set of stairs towards a hallway.

*SPITOOOOOO!*

A mouth full of booze goes straight into the kid's face and is lucky not to light the flame. In an instant, Steve is on his feet in a threatening pose, giving the kids more than they bargained for.

« RUN! » they exclaim as they all take off the way they came, trying like hell to get out of the alleyway.

Dammit. Note to file: Need to practice the seduction game.

Audrey smiles after Zeman, though it fades as soon as he's out of sight. As does she. She steps into a crowd, then goes invisible. All the better to follow Zeman and his guard, slipping out of her heels on the way. Because screw high heels for stealth.

"Cap, what's our intel on Bourhani?" she murmurs, padding quietly after Zeman and his guard.

"What's a Bourhani?" Steve asks as he watches the kids run. "Never heard of him. Iraqi? Iranian? No idea."

As Audrey follows along, she'll quietly ascend a quiet set of steps on the north east area. Peculiar, because they are not actually meeting in the board room, like Steve had originally thought. Instead, they have headed to Zeman's bedroom, which is on the opposite side of the building from where Cap is.

That doesn't seem like good news. Audrey stays quiet at that report, stalking the pair into the bedroom. "Stand by," she whispers before she steps inside. Still invisible, she moves toward a shadowed corner of the room, trying to stay out of the way of whatever might be happening.

From Audrey's vantage point she can see the two men, flanked by two others, huddled around the bed. On the bed itself are two briefcases. One is filled with a ton of cash. The other, a grip of dossiers in open brown envelopes. They are, of course, marked 'TOP SECRET' in big bold red letters.

Steve begins to pull out his receiver and boots it up. When the camera feeds go live, he has nothing. Zeman is in a part of the building he does not have access to. The super soldier has the presence of mind not to speak out to Audrey, who is on the move.

Audrey frowns, eyeing the dossiers. The money is less of a concern - money comes and money goes and everyone involved in these sorts of transactions has enough of it that it doesn't so much matter who has the briefcase full of cash. But whatever's in those files? That could be the target.

« It has been a pleasure doing business with you, » says the man with jet black hair and dark features as she shakes Zeman's hand vigorously. « Should you ever come across something such as this again, my employers will pay top dollar. »

Zeman grips the hand with both of his and shakes before pulling away. « It is my pleasure, of course. I look forward to a long, and fruitful relationship. »

The aides begin to lock up the suitcases in question as the men step away from the side of the bed. One takes the plans, the other takes the money.

Audrey really hopes this isn't the wrong set of secrets. Following the man with the suitcase means risking missing the meeting they thought they were going to catch. But if the second meeting is a front… Still hidden from sight, she moves to follow the man with the briefcase full of plans.

The meeting adjourns and Tomas exits the bedroom first, followed by the man with the briefcase and his aid. Instead of heading back down towards the party, the group with the blueprints heads for a back exit that leads to a fire escape. Meanwhile, Zeman's aide goes into a side room with the cash.

Finally, Zeman himself heads to the party, desperately looking for 'Sasha'

Poor Zeman. Sasha is otherwise occupied. As soon as she has enough distance from the crowd, Audrey whispers back to Cap. "Cap, there's been an exchange of documents already. I'm following them, but watch the monitors in case this guy is double-dealing." Reaching around the slit in her dress, she pulls out the gun at her thigh - loaded with tranquilizers. She waits until they're on the fire escape, letting the door close behind herself.

The aid begins to descend the fire escape first, holding the suitcase awkwardly as he descends. The conspirator follows, heading down the metal railing quickly but carefully. Down the alleyway, opposite of where Cap is, a black toyota van with no back windows pulls quietly onto the wet pavement.

The path that the men went was not visible via cameras, so Steve is a bit at a loss. "I see Zeman but not the others."

Of course they have backup. Audrey grimaces. Avoiding a fight is no longer an option, but at least she might be able to mitigate it. Raising the gun, she fires quickly at the men from the bedroom, leaving her heels on the landing and already running down toward the man with the plans.

The rounds fire from Audrey's gun with and soar through the night sky, mostly silently until they approach their target.

THHHHHHHHHT
THHHHHHHHHT

Both strikes hit true and within a split second, both the aide and the faceman of the operation fall to the ground in a heap. The former, slams his skull upon the pavement harshly and will be on the business end of a severe concussion at least. Most importantly, the suitcase lands onto the alley pavement, even as the van pulls closer.

"Audrey?" Cap says loudly into the communicator. "Audrey, where are you ?!"

"Back fire escape," Audrey reports, running down the stairs and jumping over the men on the fire escape. "Almost have the case." And the best way to do that is to make sure she's the only one who can see it. Gathering the shadows from the alley, she pools them around the area at the bottom of the fire escape and around the case, which pushes the light conveniently into the eyes of the drivers of the SUV.

The light begins to disorient the van driver, but rather than slow down, he begins to speed up. It's not clear if he just wants to get to the case quicker, or if he knows something's up, but he accelerates towards her and looks as though he's just about to strike the former X-Red hero.

VROOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!

From behind the alleyway, a motorcyle roars and Audrey will feel herself picked up into the air as the bike whirs by. Steve's large arm holds the young woman in place and allows her to get a better grip to get upon the bike better.

"My bet is Quraci's. And mutants with powers," Steve says as he pulls out onto the old streets of Prague, eager to make a getaway. "Wherever they are, there has to be more. This isn't over yet."

SMASH!

It looks like it might be over for the van as it smashes into one of the walls on the side of the alleyway.

Audrey grabs the handle on the case, about to dive to the ground and hope she can get between the tires when Steve sweeps her up. "Thanks," she pants as she settles herself better on the bike, holding tight to the case and glancing back over her shoulder. She lets the last vestiges of the illusion around her fade in favor of something a little less obvious for the pair of them than the bum and the woman in the evening gown, trading it out for an unremarkable pair of locals with grocery bags. "Slow down," she advises.

Steve does as instructed, and the cause for Audrey's concern is evident soon after. The after crew, the Quraci backup arrives in the form of a pair of sport cars and motorcycles. And while taking interest in both Steve and Audrey, the illusion does its trick, allowing the pair to slip off into the night.

Audrey lets out a breath as the others drive by. "Let's get to cover, see what this is," she murmurs. "I'm not sure how much longer I can hold this one, there's a lot of big elements." Invisible might actually be easier, but is not generally advisable in traffic. That ends poorly.

Steve pulls off into the small garage of the safehouse he's rented in Prague a short time later. After disembarking, he closes the old, wooden door and hits the light.

"Hopefully this is what we came for. If so, I know the French will be happy. And the rest of the free world, really."

Once the door is closed, Audrey drops the illusion with a sigh of relief, twisting her hair up into a knot at her nape. "I hope so, too," she agrees, setting the case down on the table. "That didn't go according to the intel, which makes me a little bit nervous. Hopefully this guy wasn't running multiple deals tonight." She flips the catches on the case, checking the contents.

It's tough to tell—there are all sorts of designs that don't make a lot of sense to casual observers, even superheroes such as Audrey.

"That's it," Steve confirms. "You can tell here by these—they're valves that open the bay doors. This is what we came for." For the first time tonight, a smile grows on Steve's face. "Great work, Audrey. I'll call Pascale at the French embassy and we'll get these into their hands. He offered to give us a ride to New York on one of their old, de-commissioned concordes."

"Yeah?" Audrey eyes the plans, head tilting. "I'll take your word on that part. Not my specialty." But a small smile curves all the same, with more than a little bit of pride. "Thanks," she says quietly. "First time in a long time it hasn't felt like I was betraying something or disappointing someone with what I was doing."

Steve begins to tap in the text message into his phone. It takes longer than it would normally, on account that the Star Spangled Man with the Plan never did learn how to type properly. He makes a face at Audrey's comment, though his eyes wait until the message is sent to meet hers. "What are you talking about?"

Audrey shrugs, still looking over the plans. "Compromise," she says quietly. "I was trained to be a soldier, and not a nice one, either. Every time I worked with X-Red, it felt like…like there was so much pressure not to be bad PR that even if taking a life was going to be the right answer, it wasn't an option. So there was always this fear that they'd see who I was, and they wouldn't like it. Every time I worked with the unit before I left, I didn't know why we were doing what we were doing. If it was legitimate. If it was right. It's not enough to have one or the other."

Steve looks back to the blueprints and tosses them back into the briefcase while he tilts his head. "I think you and I have had enough public relations to last a lifetime, honestly," he says with a smirk as he fastens the briefcase and leaves it on the table as they wait for Pascal. "Hopefully the change is good for you."

"Enough secrets, too," Audrey agrees, leaving the case to go rummage for her change of clothes. "It was a clean op. It's a nice change." The thigh holster comes off and pants go on under the dress. Either she's one hundred percent certain Steve's going to turn away, or it just doesn't even occur to her that there might be an issue with changing. Barracks mentality. "What happened while I was in the gallery when you went quiet?"

Steve's blue eyes almost bulge out of his head once he realizes what's happening and he quickly moves to turn away. "Uhm, just a couple of kids. They wanted to mess with me, thinking I was a passed out bum. Looks like people can be cruel all over, I suppose."

"Oh. Yeah. I used to get that sometimes at first." Dress off, tank top on, jacket shrugged into, all in about a count of five before she's moving back toward the table. "You've gotta find a good place if you're going to actually sleep. People see an easy target, they take it. But if you find a spot that's too isolated, then you end up an even easier target. It's a careful balance. Probably didn't work out the way they planned, though."

"No," Steve says as he begins to snicker and shake his head. "Not at all. One of them got some brandy in his eye." The snicker turns into a full laugh and a shrug of the shoulders. "I'm just glad we were able to get what we came for."

Audrey grins, crossing her arms loosely over her chest as she leans against the counter. "And a clean getaway, too," she adds, holding out a hand for a high five. "Even if they saw me, they're going to think they got hit by the Chechans. No one to retaliate against."

Steve gives the high five, "You can say that again. No idea what hit them." Steve pulls off the beanie and begins to pry off the wiry facial hair he's wearing over his face, throwing them in the trash can. He shrugs out of the large overcoat and musses his hair, trying to get it to not be as matted down from the hat. "You been to Prague before?"

"Yeah, once," Audrey nods, glancing toward the door. "Long time ago, though. I was ten, Dad was stationed in Turkey. He got a few days leave and we took a family trip. I don't remember a lot of it. I do remember going on a carriage ride one of the nights we were here. Dad gave us the military history of the city rundown, and Mom and I made faces when he looked away." She smiles faintly at the memory. "You?"

"Couple of times during the war," Steve says thinking back upon those days. "Things have changed quite a bit around here, I can say that much."

The sound of a vehicle down the urban alleyway can be heard in the garage, and a moment later the lights flash as the car pulls up. Steve moves over to check through a crack in between the old garage door and the trim.

"It's Pascal," he says as he reaches down to lift the door open.

"Steve," the man with brown, neatly parted brown hair says as he comes up to give Rogers those kisses on each side of the cheek. "My great-grandfather always held you in such high regard. It seems you've come to save France once again."

"Not me, Pascal," Steve nods over towards Audrey. "This was mostly her work."

"Ah," the dapper diplomat says with a smile. "Well thank you very much, young lady. Our sources believe the Quraci's were intent on using our missile silos in an attempt to create instability throughout Europe, and likely the rest of the world. My nation owes you its gratitude."

Audrey stiffens at the sound of traffic, pushing away from the table and heading toward where she left her gun. She relaxes at Steve's update, though she does slip the gun into the back of her waistband anyhow. Everyone has their safety blankets. "Glad to help, sir," she nods to Pascal, flushing slightly and keeping her hands clasped lightly behind her back. "It was a joint operation, though. And clean. With luck, the Quraci's should never know what hit them."

"Yes, I presume you are right, young lady," Pascal says with a long nod as his dark eyes seem to size Audrey up. "As promised your concord awaits." He hands Steve a map, "We figured you would already know how to pilot it, Captain Rogers. Our man will be able to pick it up in New Jersey from you. Just let him know when."

Pascal rubs at his thumb and looks as if he's about to say something else before going a different route. "Thank you again." He takes the suitcase and hops into his vehicle which squeals away into the night.

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