7. Devil Beneath My Feet

December 20, 2015:

Storm Shadow and Fracture arrive in Madripoor; only to be intercepted momentarily by Snake Eyes.



NPCs: None.

Mentions: Baroness


Mood Music: Devil Beneath My Feet - Marilyn Manson

Fade In…


It's been nearly three weeks since Veruca was implanted with the NSA chips that hold the deadlist of all the NSA drop zones, profiles, as well as Agents within the field. Also on those chips are information and recordings that were gleamed from national agencies and phone recordings that consist of most personal subjects and subjects that gained interest. And it's been three weeks since Veruca has been MIA.

The surgery, implanting the chips in her back (row of the spine) went off with as much success as it could be, however, Veruca was under clear orders to not do anything strenuous. Which allowed Storm Shadow to act as a body guard and to keep watch over the haughty International Criminal much to her chagrin.

But at least he was easy to look at.

Bedside manners suck however.

Touch down is supposed to be ETA 21:00 hours in Madripoor, where she's to be transported to the local hospital for extraction and NSA chips delivered safe and sound to the Baroness' cache of awesomely evil shit. Though COBRA was an extension of HYBRA, the most deadliest of leaders does happen to have a crack in intel in this regard.

As the black SUV rolls up to the stop light, Veruca looks worse than wear. Paler than normal, inside the back of the SUV with glasses that hide her bloodshot grays, sitting next to Storm Shadow, highly agitated.

"The process is taking longer than normal." She mutters, her Russian lilt thick. "I'm starting to feel the wear and tear of carrying these inside of my body." She looks towards Storm Shadow, a little smirk played upon her lips. "You are fit. Perhaps next time the Krem needs a carrier you should take the job instead of me. Your constitution is much stronger, more robust. Like bull." She clatters her teeth, her toothy smile grand and nearly terrifying.. especially with the way the runes emerge from her skin and swirl just enough to know that mischief is afoot.

Storm Shadow sits wearing a plain white suit, rather than his usual costume, with a red tie to add at least a splash of color. His hair is slicked back and dark as night. His expression, as usual, betrays little to nothing as he keeps close to Veruca. Watching over her has been easy work, for the most part, with no real threats in particular popping up - they'd done a good job of keeping a lid on the operation. But Tommy doesn'ttake anything for granted - he remains on alert as he sits next to Veruca, his eyes scanning out through the window.

"I wouldn't allow it. I'm still not entirely sure how they convinced you. But I stopped asking why people do the things they do a long time ago," he says.

After the Baroness purged much of the SHIELD presence in Madripoor, it has been slow to recover. The sudden rise of attacks on the East Coast by the Purifiers and Reavers with their new friend, the Sentinel, has made the process even slower. However, there is still something of an observation that was on-going. Despite Peggy Carter returning to the States, Snake-Eyes made it a point to return to Madripoor after the destruction around Naja Imports revealed that the company was in fact still there, and only the buildings around it were razed. Having taken up into a reconaissance of the area, he had been keeping an eye on the comings and goings of the major players and transports that were in the area - however, he knew he could not linger there long without detection. Even the Silent Master would be seen at some point, after all.

That is why he was away from the Importer when he caught sight of one of the SUVs that had been registered to a dummy corporation that was part of Naja and had been seen as part of the usual vehicles that comes and goes from the company.

Retiring from his observation post on the roof of a restaurant, the silent ninja moves along the rooftops, leaping and climbing to keep track of the SUV as it moves through the slow moving flow of Madripoor traffic. His visor flickers, showing him the license plate match, but even at maximum scope, he cannot quite make out the figures that ride within. Leaping to another rooftop and climbing up, he continues on the pursuit, though he knows he will have to change tactics soon - as there is more street than there will be roofs soon.

"You would, for a price." Veruca intones, reaching out with that clawed and nearly deformed finger to … POKE HIS JAW. Just when one would think that she was a being of affection, she goes and does something like this. Surely, eventually.. Storm Shadow and Fracture would go to battle. With each other.

"Besides." A woman murmurs from the front seat of the car, her face and voice a clear match for Veruca, one of her dummy clones or wasn't it? Who could tell at this point, anymore. "If you were a masochist like our maker, you would."

The other clone, a clear driver for.. well.. herself, just rolls her eyes and shakes her head. "Keep watch on the windows. You do not want to make her mad."

The SUV's, two in all were followed by motorcycle escort, guards designed to watch the SUV's as they roll down the desolate street.

"What's our ETA, number six."


"Five more minutes and we'll arrive at the hospital."

Veruca glances towards Storm Shadow, giving him a nod to place the call that they were close and to prep the O.R.

Storm Shadow takes the jab to his jaw with a calm expression. It's only because he's gotten to know Veruca a bit over the time spent guarding her that he allows it - most anyone who tried to lay a finger on him would normally be shown how that finger subsequently tasted. But he knows both her capabilities and that, in her own way, it was teasing. He didn't particularly understand teasing, but he could also resist letting it bother him.

He's also gotten used to the presence of her dupes on occasion - and made a very close point of making sure he kept track of the real one. He would never entirely believe there wasn't a chance of a double cross, "Not everyone is motivated entirely by money," he says, getting out the phone and sending the coded text to alert their arrival.

Catching sight of the trailing motorcycles, Snake-Eyes realizes that revealing himself will come at a cost. It is better to go ahead and make a partial payment than to make a full one - and with the SUV having an escort, there could be priority equipment or information on board that could be helpful into determining what COBRA or HYDRA's next move could be. Coming across an apartment building near the hospital, he slides into an apartment through the balcony.

The large man that was sitting on the couch watching soccer doesn't even notice when the ninja comes past him and through the door to hit the hallway. Making his way down the stairs to street level soon after the SUV passes by his position, the black-suited man waits for the motorcycles to approach. The one closest to him is made the target as he darts out into the street, leaping to grab a hold of the figure on the bike and wrench him off to shove into the street as he swings around into the saddle, smoothly transitioning to taking over the motorcycle to fall into a pursuit of the SUV.


Snake-Eye's transition to one of the rolling guard goes missed by Veruca. Had that been one of her clones? She could have easily told that one of them were felled by the sudden rush of energy, but for now? It was not. And she was still down and out within that back seat. That jabbing finger soon turns to a brush of her knuckle to ease the spot upon his cheek, her hand soon dropping to her side as she presses her hand against the seat of the SUV, shifting uncomfortably.

Her wounds were raw, so much that it nearly hurt to breathe, possibly telling of some infection or her body fighting to heal around the obstruction that doesn't give way.

The clone in the passengers seat watches Veruca with a lowered brow, that icy gaze soon fallen towards Tommy to continue the conversation in her stead. "You never tell us what motivates you so that you could have whatever you please." She utters, then finally turns.. her eyes upon the window, watching. "Though I suppose you think all women must like a mystery when we could easily pry it from your cold.. dead.. "

"Shut up." Veruca snaps. "And focus on the road."

Storm Shadow could have explained a variety of meditation techniques to help block the pain, but he wasn't a particularly empathetic sort by nature. Plus, she could have always asked. In his experience, though, most in this profession had relatively little use for the more spiritual aspects of martial practice, regardless of how useful they might be. People mostly just wanted to learn how to throw sharp things through other people's eyeballs.

"The trick is learning to control your desires, rather than to let them control you," he says. "And what I desire is no one's business but my own," he says. He hasn't detected the intrusion directly, but he feels a certain awareness, a prickling at the back of his neck, like foreboding…

Snake-Eyes, for once, feels it sooner than his 'brother'. As soon as he was in control of the motorcycle, the darker of the two senses his twin nearby. Glancing up at the SUV, he lowers himself down against the bike and revs the engine, racing it forward. As he comes alongside the darkened SUV, the SHIELD agent turns to stare impassively at the 'twins' in the front seat as he speeds ahead.

Sliding the motorcycle suddenly in front of the SUV, Snake-Eyes purposefully puts the bike down in the way of the SUV as he leaps from the side of bike, blades drawn as he impacts on the hood of the vehicle and drives the katana straight through the passenger's side window into Veruca Number 2.

Ninja. The number one cause of traffic fatalities in Madripoor.

"Trust me." Veruca murmurs as the motorcycle speeds past, allowing her voice to halt for just that one moment. "I know how to control my desires. I also know when to.."

The commotion was heard outside, her gaze soon turning towards Number Two. It was like a sixth sense with her own clones, for as soon as the katana strikes Veruca number two.. whom shatters within her seat.. Veruca reaches over her shoulder to clasp the seatbelt into place. "Indulge."

Her hand strikes out to reach for Storm Shadow, as a mother to a child, keeping that arm in place as the vehicle trips up and begins to flip. The wheels makes a deafening screech as it tilts to the side (away from Snake, cause we can't kill him, maybe make him stronger, but not kill him), the screeches a hard whir as the vehicle sparks and tips, landing upon its side with a neck breaking spin that would make anyone lose their lunch three ways from Sunday.

Storm Shadow knows how to take a fall, more keeping his body loose than bracing himself. As soon as he recognized the signature of Snake-Eyes' presence, he'd realized this sort of outcome was almost inevitable. Snake's ruthlessness doesn't surprise him, as Tommy's eyes narrow even at that brief glimpse. It seemed they would forever clash swords until one slayed the other.

As the wreck slows, Shadow keeps his hand on his belt and, the moment he feels safe, he undoes the clasp, starting to slip free and closing his eyes, working blilnd to reduce the effect of the spinning as he rotates and kicks out a window.

As soon as he hit, Snake-Eyes knew they were in for a tumble. With the SUV going to it's side, the ninja leaps from it, hitting the pavement hard and rolls and tumbles with the accident, before landing on his front in the middle of the road. His uniform armor took most of the brunt of the damage from the rollover and subsequent tumble as he plants his hands into the ground and pushes himself to his feet.

If he had thought about it, he'd already be chucking gernades at the SUV to destroy it before Storm Shadow and Veruca had a chance to gain their bearings and escape. But he didn't bother to pack gernades. Next time. In the meantime, he draws his blade and starts to to move forward towards the vehicle, intent on intercepting the passengers of the vehicle as they escaped.

Storm Shadow is left to his own devices. With one Veruca down, that left two. And the one within the backseat was.. well. She was worse for wear. They were three minutes to the drop point, and the driver (Veruca 6), had to act quickly. Leave Storm Shadow to his duties, this is what the Krem was paying him for.

The driver unbuckles herself and begins to climb into the back seat, her face full of cracks but.. with a little siphon job from the original, she manages to hold it together to unstrap her and prop her upright. She was fearful, but she was glad that her 'maker' was alive.

With a poke of her head out of the back window, she grits her teeth as she sees the ninja assassin approach, her hands reaching out to grip Veruca by the shoulder to loop her over an arm. "STALL HIM." She hisses out to the man in white, her arm lifting high above her head as she crouches.. using her strong, inhuman legs to leap out of the car to land upon the side of it with a heavy, metal crunching thud.

Storm Shadow handstands up and out of the SUV, landing in a crouch. He may not have packed grenades, but he certainly packed firearms, one hand beginning to open fire with an automatic pistol while the other draws out the hilt of his retractable katana. A flick of his wrist extends the blade outwards, razor sharp, preparing to use it to deflect any potential projectiles sent towards Veruca as he covers her escape. After all, that is his job.

"Go. I'll take care of him," he hisses, body tenses and prepared to clash with Snake-Eyes once again.

With the pistol starting to fire, Snake-Eyes jerks to the side for cover. He watches as Veruca tries to make her escape and while the urge to engage Storm Shadow is great, the ninja can feel that he's only a delaying tactic in all this, and she is the true prize. With Veruca starting to leap, Snake-Eyes brings up his Uzi, firing a controlled burst at the back of the clone, looking to shatter it as well and bring down the original.

Even though if he is successful, there's still a Tommy between him and thr prize. It may also force Storm Shadow into making the same decision he's facing - battle of blood - or saving the damsel in distress. Gripping his katana tightly, he remains in cover behind the truck, waiting to see what decisions are made.

The clone drops down from the SUV, one arm wrapped around the waist of Veruca as she takes off into a full tilt run. The gunfire was at their backs and she was certain of the skills of Storm Shadow, but that doesn't stop her from pausing and seeking cover once the bullets seemed a little to…


The crack to her shoulder from the grazing bullet was all that was needed for her to close her eyes, her head tilting towards the sky as she lets out a loud.. 'FUCK'.. before she's shattered. The body of Veruca falls into the waste of glass, rolling just a little.. yet safe and tucked behind a row of trees unharmed. Or harmed enough.

The SUV continues to spark as it lays upon it's side, steam rolling from the engine itself as gas begins to spurt and squirt all over the ground. It was hot from the slide and damage of the roll, the fumes of gasoline starting to spread through the perimeter, already adding to the busted motorcycle within it's grill.

Storm Shadow doesn't swear or make an outward sign of frustration as Veruca's dupe once again fails to get her to safety. She wasn't harmed yet, but he didn't have time to dance with his 'brother' at the moment. He backflips onto the SUV and quickly lashes out with his katana, scraping the blade on the metal frame to create sparks that he flings towards the gasoline, the bulk of the wreck still separating Snake-Eyes from his prey.

"Go to hell," Shadow calls as he backflips away, leaving a massive explosion in his wake, feeling his own suit singed by the blunt impact of the bllast and trying to twist to make sure he lands close to Veruca so he can continue to evacuate her.

Storm Shadow had already made sure that he was in hell, really. As the white-clad ninja retreats and an explosion masks his path, Snake-Eyes steps out from behind his cover. The secondary explosions keep him from trailing in pursuit as he can no longer see where Storm Shadow retreated to with Veruca. Reaching up to tap the side of the visor, he reviews the footage, and the glowing runes on the back of Veruca's neck. While he may not be able to translate what they are, he's sure he can find someone that may be able to.

Go to hell.

Looking around him, Snake-Eyes can only shake his head. It's already hell on Earth. Turning to head in the opposite direction of the ninja and assassin, the other ninja moves to make his own disappearance before the authorities can arrive.

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