Rail Cars

September 24, 2015:

SHIELD witnesses what happens with those danged 084's (emits by Aspect)

New York

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Nine Eleven was fourteen years ago this month. It was the day the world changed. A lot of things that seem… trusting and innocent now went away. People learned to be suspicious. To expect and suspect the worst when unusual things happen, especially around public works and other places where people gather in numbers.

It might be a bit unusual for Peggy. The constant wartime frame of mind on the part of the police and civil authorities with no war in evidence, at least, not in the way she would remember with the rationing cards and the blackouts and all the men away on foreign fields. The threat of random death, that's still there though, but not from airplanes and rockets. The things people fear these days are much more hidden - the betrayal of friends and neighbors.

SHIELD is not a conventional policing or counter terrorism agency. It's focus is global. Big picture. But there are some things that automatically trigger an escallation. This is one of those. Fifteen minutes ago at Grand Central Station the security feeds cut out for exactly 90 seconds in the lowest portion of the building: The subway. When they came back on there was in one of the walls, five feet in diameter cut through two and a half foot thick concrete near the subway maintenance sheds. It looked as if it had been cut with a laser. In fact, it might have been. Even on the grainy security footage, the edges were glowing.


Peggy lived through an actual war back in the 40s. It still doesn't feel that long ago to her, so arriving in a time where there is a officially unofficial War on Terror is quite a strange time. She's used to certain black and whites, even though she tends to deal with the greys. The one thing she does understand, though, is fright and bad guys.

When Grand Central Station's power is cut off and SHIELD has dispatched agents to take a look into it, she is among them. She does not much look like an agent from the 40s today. She is dressed in modern SHIELD combat armor, her hair pulled back into a pony tail and minimal make up. She could be any other SHIELD agent on the team. However, as she moves there is a sense of authority and no nonsense. Something strange is happening and they will get to the bottom of it.

The former head of SHIELD makes her way down the stopped escalators as softly as she can, moving with a certain grace even as she unholsters her gun.


Jemma was at the Triskelian when the alarm went off but it doesn't take her long to 'suit up', as the case may be, and joined the group at the Subway.

Dressed in her SHIELD field gear, field bag held firmly in one hand and an ICER pistol strapped to her waist (seems the biochem is learning).

Letting the real field agents go ahead, Jemma hangs back with the Science crew, following along.


Grand Central Station has several entrences and no one wants anyone in or out right now. The building has been - allegedly - evacuated but no one has checked the place over yet so it's anyone's guess whats in there. "All teams, go."

Peggy and Jemma are on the team headed down to the lowest level, well one of two teams doing so. Peggy's seniority and expertise and Jemma's own experience with this stuff means they're the ones going to look at the big hole. The entry goes off without a hitch, the only sight and sound being other SHIELD tac teams clearing the transportation hub.

Down at the bottom, of course, things are quiet. The subway trains have stopped for the time being while this is sorted out. When they get to the hole they can see fairly quickly that it's unusual. The edges are smooth as glass and of course the security footage suggests it was cut in less than 90 seconds. It's still hot to the touch too. Most mysteriously, the round that should be laying around somewhere is nowhere in sight. The hole damaged the electrical connections and the lights on the other side, in the maintenance area are flickering, casting ominous shadows.

"We'll make sure no one doubles back, Ma'am." One of the tac troopers addresses Peggy. "Did you want any of us to come with you?"


Melinda May has been less likely to get called out for local things since she became the head of WAND, but this is too close, and too severe. It's all hands on deck. She's in with the first group of the SHIELD responders, moving down a similiarly stopped escalator a few rows over from Carter. Of course, being part of the 'Weird Ass Nasty Division', she might be better able to figure out what's happened down in that subway tunnel.

She meets Carter and Simmons' team at the opening, looking at the glassy-smooth edges. She looks at the trooper that spoke up as if trying to decide if he asked that sarcastically or sincerely.


As soon as Peggy is at the bottom of the escalator, she addresses the trooper over her shoulder even though her eyes are still scanning the area. "We should be fine on the frontal. I want a perimeter established around the area. Whatever made that hole is somewhere here and we need to make sure it doesn't escape. Someone call to have the third rail disabled and then have teams of two search the tunnels starting from 33rd upward and then 51st down. Everyone else spread out and keep in radio contact."

As May approaches with her team, she gives a nod of acknowledgement. "It seems the best way forward is toward the eerily deserted maintenance area," she tells Simmons and May. "Shall we, then?" She waits to ensure everyone is situated and then makes her way toward her intended target.


The tac troopers spread out. One of them gets on the radio to call back up to Overwatch and have that third rail turned off. "Subway power will be cut in two minutes." He calls back.

That leaves May, Simmons and Carter to head into the apparently deserted maintenance shed. The overhead lighting, damaged as it is, isn't helping to do anything but confuse matters and cast and eerie pall over the whole place, so lights will be needed.

They haven't gone far when the first odd thing (if you don't count what brought them here to begin with) makes itself known. A spatter of what looks like blood but seems a bit too… viscous. There's a trail of it, leading deeper in. It's not a large amount of blood, but neither is it a small amount. The cut that generated it would probably result in a short hospital stay on a regular person.

Moments after they come upon it there's a groan and clunk from metal scraping on metal before settling violently into place. It came from the subway cars themselves, neatly settled into rows about a hundred feet away.


Melinda May moves forward cautiously, but stops and nods Jemma toward the viscous liquid on the floor, knowing she can make a quick preliminary guess as to what the substance is. Then at the noise ahead, she looks to Carter and tilts her head toward the lined up subway cars before leading the way.


As the trio make their way forward toward the creepy maintenance shed, Peggy stop short when she sees the viscous substance. It's odd and from all her time in wars, she certainly knows usual blood spatter when she sees it and this isn't it. Gun muzzle pointed toward the ground, she looks toward Simmons and then toward May. At the nod from May, she responds in kind and heads toward the subway cars along with them.


Simmons is just behind the two other women, happy for them to take the lead. When Peggy looks at her, she steps forward to look at the liquid herself. Putting her field kit on the ground, already wearing gloves, she takes a sample container from her bag and starts to collect it.

It's sticky, like it's already congealing, but for the most part it looks like blood just maybe thicker - and no, Jemma's not going to try and smell it.

The delay in collecting the sample, leaves her several steps behind May and Peggy as they head towards those subway cars.


Now they can hear a scraping sound. It's… odd. Like stone on stone. It sounds like something's being twisted or turned. And that was definitely a grunt of effort.

Just ahead of Peggy and May the lights briefly cast a distorted but unmistakeable human shadow through one of the windows. Someone is between the cars, and thus also between the tracks, fiddling with something. The trail of blood, if that's what it is, leads here too. Scrape, screpe, scrape, scrape…. chink! That sounds like something locking or falling into place. There's another grunt of effort as a flash of light shows the shadow bending over, as if fiddling with something low to the ground.


Melinda May hesitates at the sound, then watches the silhouette briefly before looking to Peggy and gestures that she's going to go around the subway car on one side, then indicating that Peggy could go around the other side. Jemma gets the probably increasingly familiar gesture indicating that she stay put. At least May no longer has to leave her a sidearm.


Peggy trusts both May and Simmons on a mission such as this to know their strengths in weaknesses. She feels no need to direct them one way or another to keep them safe. As they move forward and hear the scrape of stone, her brow furrows and looks to May, just about to indicate the same things he does. With a bare smirk on her face, she nods and heads in her designated direction. The gun barrel pulls upward, though her finger stays off the trigger for now.

Instead, she makes through the doors of the subway car and then through the in between ones that no one is supposed to walk through when the train is in motion. Her gun is level with the figure she saw silhouetted in the light, trying to figure out what is going on before she alerts the person of her presence.


Jemma stops when May indicates. She's used to this - being the squishy in the group. Leaving her ICER holstered, she turns her attention to the blood trail… does it look like someone came from the depths and stopped where she took that sample… or was it the other way round. And if so, what caused them to start bleeding just there… was it whatever caused the damage?

She's fairly lost in her thoughts as the other two women approach the cars.


There is some directionality to the blood spatter from which Jemma is able to reconstruct at least a bare bones version of events. Someone cut in from the outside, likely via the hole that she, Carter and May came through. They moved, possibly fled, in the direction of the cars, which is where the trail leads and are now apparently, fiddling with something there. Why, and what exactly enabled them to cut through thick concrete, remains conjecture.

May can confirm some of this as she edges into position. A man with greasy black hair wearing a suit jacket and jeans has just pushed a two foot long, six inch wide cylender upright. As he does several runes glow along the sides. Peggy has a better view of that through the window. They resemble chinese writing in form and structure but are clearly not that language, nor any other that Carter is familair with. The device begins to hum as the man looks about nervously, as though looking for someone. That humming is getting louder and pulsing more frequently. Jemma can hear it from where she is.

Then everything comes to a head. There's a sharp bang atop the car Peggy is in and it dents in as though something just landed there. May can hear it too but not see it's source. What she can see is the man look up sharply toward the roof and then down and see her. He whips out a pistol and fires, bullets striking off the edge of the car near May. Peggy and Jemma can both see the muzzle flash in the dark room.


From her position, Peggy can see that there is a large glowing object that she doesn't understand with a language she doesn't know. This is what Simmons may understand. "Simmons!" she intones through the communications link. There's no need to shout when they can communicate through technology. "There's some form of artifact through here."

That's about when a large crushing sound interrupts Peggy. She quickly jerks her head upward to see the dent in the roof of her car. Cursing under her breath, she quickly moves toward the built in ladder, slowly moving to see what is on top of the subway car. "We've got someone else here and it's spooking the guy who possibly started this all," she relays to the others.


Melinda May moves almost perfectly silently around the far side of the subway car, but of course, the man withthe cylinder sees her. She fires at almost the same time he does as she tries to get to cover, but she has no way to know if she hit him or not. All she can tell right now is that she's been hit. She's not about to announce that to their target, though. DAMNIT.


Agent Carter said she'd found something and Simmons can hear the humming "Get out of there, Agent Carter… now!" She suspects she knows what's going to happen next. "Everyone… down…" That will totally help! Then there's gunfire and the biochem jumps. Why? Well… she's a scientist, damnit.

She really wants to see that artifact though and she slips slowly through the gloom, trying to catch sight of it.


What also isn't helping May tell if she hit her target is the increasingly bright glow of the artifact which begins to emit a high pitched whine. Ten seconds after the first shots are fired beams sweep out of it. There's a sensation of 'sucking' as all the air and anything even remotely loose is drawn violently toward a two dimensional plane that bisects the car Peggy is in. Then there's a bright flash and the artifact goes dead. There's no sign of the man who put it down nor whatever dented in the subway car.. speaking of which, that car, and the four to either side of it, are cut in half as if by a laser.


There's that noise that Jesana described, but there's nothing May can do about it except cover her eyes against the bright flash. Then, once everything has gone quiet and still, May calls into her comm unit. "Simmons. Carter. Status." Anyone who doesn't know her would likely missed the edge of strain in her voice.


Simmons throws her arm up over her eyes to protect from the bright flash of light. It works… sort of… she's not totally blinded but she still see's black specs dance in front of her eyes. "Here Agent May… I'm ok" she speaks into her communicator as she dives into her field bag to retrieve one of her gadgets and starts measuring the area before much longer.


The action seems to be over for the moment. The device is inert. It's just a tube of odd metallic or perhaps rocky material sitting on the ground next to an absolute wreck that it created. Well, almost all of it. That dent on the one subway car's roof isn't its fault.

There's shouting from the perimeter team. "Agent May! Simmons! Carter! Are you alright? HQ we have shots fired."


Melinda May still hasn't moved from where she fell. "Carter hasn't responded. Send a med team." And then she actually turns her comm unit OFF before trying to move. Ow. Crap. She thinks it's a through and through, but she can only guess whether or not the bullet missed anything vital. Frigging inconvenience.


Torn… Simmons can hear Agent Mays voice, but Agent Carter hasn't responded… Making a decision, she heads into the car - where that artifact is - the last place she saw the other woman. "I'm going to look for Agent Carter, Agent May." Let them try and stop her. Taking a flashlight from her bag, the biochem picks her way through the mess, carefully… looking to see if she can find the other woman - she hadn't been caught by that beam, had she?"


Melinda May starts to try to sit up, and… yeah, NOT a good idea. But she at least is able to choose where she is when the med team arrives. And whomever is responsible has just made this VERY personal.


Carter has in fact not been caught by the beam. There's no indication of where she is though, at present. Possible she took off in pursuit and isn't responding, or is unable to respond, to the comms. Possible something else happened. Either way, she's not here.

The med team isn't long in coming, along with more tac agents. "Agent May? Agent Simmons? What's going on?"


Turning her comm unit back on again, May responds to the incoming teams. "Another 084. Otherwise, the area is clear."


Simmons has made her way to the artifact and explains to the team that arrives. "Agent Carter isn't responding to her comms. She may have given chase, but I'm not sure." Now that she's seen the thing in action, the biochem looks thoughtfully at the device "Standard 084 handling procedures. Collect everything you can and take it back The Triskelian for analysis." then to Med team "Follow me to find Agent May." It won't take her long to find the Agent, she saw roughly where she was before the device went off.


The medteam follows Jemma over to May. Where they find her… shot. At least the gun was normal. Nine milimeter. It's in her thigh just above the knee. Lucky shot likely as not. The fire was not aimed. It seemed like the guy wanted her head down more than anything else.

As to where he went? Good question. Possibly consumed in the beam, possibly not. They'll have to do a sweep of the area. There's a small trail of blood toward where the beam plane intersected the subway cars and then it just ends. How or why? Well, maybe it's dead.

"Hang on Agent May… this doesn't look too bad for a GSW…" It'll take a few minutes to bind her up. They'll want to carry her out, but they know she may well not let them.

Meanwhile other agents collect the device, seal it in a crate and take it away to a secure facility. Such a mess and more questions than answers…

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