Running Safehouses

December 25, 2015:

One of Partisan's safehouses has gone quiet. She calls in reinforcements



NPCs: None.



Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

Just outside Niagra, tucked away in an utterly anonymous suburban neighborhood known as "Whispering Pines Estates" there is a house down at the end of the cul-de-sac. It doesn't look like much, and beside not having a house on either bordering plots. Theres a beat up Minivan in the driveway, a lovely wrap around porch and a soft glow from the christmas lights still shine across the rain slicked lawn. Not everyone knows then, which is the fucking point. You're not supposed to know this is a stop over safe house for Mutants, of which there are quite a few if we're honest. Tonight then, well it's one of sixteen local safe havens across the area which had Mutants come through it that met their end at the farm. This isn't the first one not to pick up the phone when the Partisan called, it is the Holidays but it's worth checking out right?
So quietly Part swings that older BMW wagon up near the curb outside and sets the hand brake before peering out the passenger side window towards the house. "Now he could just be on vacation, so lets not terrify this kindly old couple alright? Or hell maybe they just don't have their hearing aids in."Finally killing the engine before sliding out the driver side door, taking a moment to ensure her jacket hides the P-90 slung under her arm. "Once we make contact we'll need to get all these people into protective custody, that'll give us enough time to peel through the old records on our new friend."

Melinda May nods to Partisan, looking at the innocuous-seeming house. She doesn't have a P-90 to hide, but anyone who knows her knows only too well that her leather jacket has a LOT more pocket than a standard civilian garment. She disembarks from the BMW when the driver does, her eyes studying the area and the houses closest to their destination even if there is a gap between them. Suburbia. She's never trusted it.

Brin slides from the back seat of the car, wrapping her jacket around her. She's bandaged from this mornings run in with a mechanical Blitzen, the Rescue medics had suggested - strongly - that she rest. But Partisan had said this was important.

Waiting behind the other two women, her eyes take in the house and mind reaches out to detect whatever emotions she can … eyes closing for a moment in concentration.

Jericho swings out of the passengers seat as he sends off a couple messages. He's been working with SHIELD and has decided to keep X-Red tacitly in the loop. Just enough to let them know that there are professionals hunting Mutants. The hacker checks his side. 1911 holstered and his blade slung in its case behind his back. "Well, want to approach this quiet like, or want me to circle 'round?"

Theres a pause as Part walks up the driveway, pressing a hand to the van's hood before glancing back. "Engine's warm, you and Brin circle around to the back. It's probably nothing, but I don't want anyone running if I'm wrong."The christmas lights are still on, the interior of the house throbs with the sound of a TV cranked up to 11. What is that, "Emmett Otter's Jugband Christmas" on inside? Anyway Part slips up to the door, trying to steal a peak through the bay window but well curtains are troublesome bastards. "Well shit, somone has a hard on for holiday puppet movies."Pausing to pop open the storm door and step aside, before moving to knock-knock-knock on the door. Then again, "Hey Doc, It's Charlotte we spoke on the phone? Doc?"

Melinda May follows Partisan to the door and waits to one side. You know, just in case. That is in fact "Emmett Otter's Jugband Christmas", but May's not about to announce her presense to anyone listening by saying out to Partisan out loud. She IS suspicious though, this whole thing just screams 'hinky'.

"Be careful…" Brins eyes open and she watches the house "There's ill intent in there, I can sense it. Can't tell how many but that emotion is overpowering." Which doesn't mean there are people afraid there, it just means that the malicious emotion is overwhelming for the empath.

Nodding to Jericho, limping slightly as she moves, Brin follows as he leads them round the back.

Jericho motions to Brinley, giving eye to her limp before they start moving. Once they're around the corner the hacker draws that pistol and clicks the safety off. "So let's hope Part's wrong about this." He's hoping this place isn't the abattoir that the first safehouse they ran across was.

"Aww ma" or so Emmett begins inside, and then shit goes south. Soft -thacks- of rounds ploughing through the closed front door, before the storm door erupts in a fountain of neat little glass cubes. "CONTACT!" Shouts Part, and well she's not just going to hang out. She doubles back as she brings up that P-90, pops that bay window and reaches in to jerk the curtains aside before dumping the magazine from her hip. Inside, well there are two fellows standing in the living room. Black overalls, gasmasks, bump lids, black plate carriers, flight gloves and MP5SDs. They look like they came -right- out of the early 90s, down to the way the distinctively out of fashion police badges on their shoulders and the bolt "SWAT" printed across their backs. Talk about a retro trip. Anyway Part hurls fifty rounds after the two of them, and whilst it's not quite enough to pop those plates on their chest she does pop one in the throat and catches his partner on the wrist amidst the fusilade. "Two!" The door isn't being shot through anymore though.
Out back the rear door flies open, tumbling off it's hinges before crashing to the ground in a sea of broken glass. A shooter charges out the back, glancing back over his shoulder towards his two compatriots even as his boots bite the soft loamy ground. They're going to race around the house and flank the front entrance, but well the point man there has failed to notice Brin or Jericho. #2 is starting to bring that MP5 up though, and well #3 seems to have his back turned. Facing the front entrance. Tactically sound, but clearly differing levels of experience at play here.

Melinda May ducks back away from the door when the shooting starts, and as soon as Partisan has the attention of the two black-suited goons inside she pulls a pair of small disks from her jacket and throws them past Partisan to land at the feet of the men tossing lead at her. They're those little things that Romanov frequently uses to incapacitate people. Zappers? Something like that.

"She isn't, I'm sure." Brin murmurs and jumps as the door goes crashing to the ground. Wincing, she puts her hand to her side and bites her lip, that hurt.

As the first shooter comes towards them, her glowing green and gold shield appears and wraps around the man … containing his movement … what she's going to do with him, she really doesn't know, that … was reflexive.

"I've got this one…" at least for the moment, she's going to try and use the shield to lift the man and drop him … maybe it will knock him out.

Jericho's sidearm comes up. Fast. He's not trying to knock anyone out. He starts to shoot and he's not aiming at center of mass either. Sure they teach you that in every marksmanship school but… well Jericho's been engaging in CQB since longer than anyone here except… well okay only Brin. But still. The pistol begins to bark. When it runs dry, it'll be the gunblade that follows.

Part's not cursing, which should generally be considered a bad sign. May's flashbang thing is, well super effective. Those little pocket flashbangs really do the job, it puts both guys in the front off their game. The guy shot in the throat goes down with full fledged arterial bleeding, but his buddy manages to stay on his feet long enough for Part to storm through the window and get in close. One hand grasping that MP5 by the sling right where it hooks onto the handguard, before she brings that right fist around in a haymaker. She connects just below the edge of that helmet, and well theres a flash of red across the inside of that gas mask before his form goes flying down into the ground.
The first bark of that handgun snags #2 right through the gasmask and sends him careening down the stairs in a pile. The rest of that magazine is spent well, pounding three into the back plates on #3 before a single round snags that rolled kevlar collar and spalls sideling into the base of his skull at a couple hundred feet per second. He goes down hard, legs wheeling until Part can still his form with a single nasty kick to the helmet. That leaves #1, the one Brin snagged in her shield. His attention is quite taken with his comrades, before turning to glare daggers at Brinley. He jerks a single frag from his vest, pops the spoon and presses the frag against his chest just above where that collar ends. "FREIHEIGHT!"

Melinda May is honestly still not entirely used to Partisan's particularly brutal style of combat, and thus seems to be lagging a bit behind. She doesn't know the owners of this house, but she needs to find them to make sure they're okay. Breaking off from Partisan, she looks for a basement door to check there. Oh, and NOW she pulls her 1911.

"NO!!!" Brins cry echoes around as the gunmen pulls out that frag. She's got two choices - neither are palatable … release the shield or leave it. Either way the gunman is likely to die, but with her shield still in place, her friends won't be hurt.

The backlash - emotional and psychic - is astounding and she's nearly bought to her knees. Shaking, tears rolling down her face, the shield drops away and she refuses to look at what's left.

Instead, trying not to throw up, she follows after Jericho, her face a tight mask.

Jericho holsters the 1911 as the gunblade comes out and he steps into melee range. He's had a lot of practice using this blade and it extends his reach considerably. More to the point, he knows that all but the most hardened warriors don't do well when someone starts waving a blade in their face. A blade that can shear right through armor, as becomes evident moments later as Brin hears a harmonic hum and Jericho's traces turn blue.

That Grenade pops, and well then theres the familar -EEEEEEEEEE- from everyone's favorite friend. Tinnitus for one and all, and a stench of copper and gunpowder. Like a fireworks accident, only a thousand times worse. There is no enormous fireball, just a loud pop and sparks and the world draws silent. "Clear!"Calls Part, pausing for a moment to dump an empty mag and pound a spare into her P-90. Announcing her readiness to move towards the basement with a hand on May's shoulder. Jericho and Brin look like they're on second floor duty."Moving!"

Melinda May looks at Partisan and nods, then reaches to pull the basement door open quickly while standing out of the way of anyone that might try to shoot at them from below. She can't help but be inwardly glad that Coulson is not here — this whole thing has been the kind of messy that he detests.

Swallowing, Brin concentrates as her ears ring. A glowing green and gold scimitar appears in her hand. She can barely hear the hum of Jericho's traces and blade as she follows along … keeping her eyes open and letting her mind reach out, hoping it will give them an advantage for whatever might be ahead.

Jericho doesn't bother to reload the pistol. He just heads right up the stairs, blade in gun mode. "Stay with me and watch your corners." Is all he says to Brin. May has only seen him like this a few times before. The training comes to the fore and he's all business… well, maybe a bit more vicious and vindictive than he used to be.

It's a finished basement, but well judging by the golden oak and white washed pine? Yeah it was due for an update since the early 90s, nevermind that ancient enormous couch or the ancient big screen TV. Theres a billard table, and family photos on the walls. Theres also a pile of clothes, and seven lifeless forms slumped against the far wall. Their faces beaten to a pulp, and well they've all been cut on. Set in the middle is a simple card table and two folding chairs, with a pile of multi-colored rubber bands and a pair of heavy duty gardening shears set there on the table. Theres a bucket off to one side, full of, bits of fingers and toes. There are rubber bands around some of them, and more around wrists and ankles of the lifeless forms. Part slows with a wince, before calling back up the stairs. "Basement's clear, Seven KIA! Keep Brin up there, it's like the farm!" Nudging May with a weary smile and a raised eyebrow, a silent query if she's ok.
Upstairs, well the doors have all been kicked off their hinges, theres an armored figure stripped of much of his gear seated against the wall in a pool of blood. Down the end of the hall a young man no more than sixteen, slumped in the entrance to the bathroom. He's been shot full of holes, but well the "I BELIEVE IN HEROES!" above a stylized X-men logo survived well enough. The rooms have all been tossed, but well they're empty enough.

May's eyes sweep over the basement and her only visible reaction is the way she's clenched her jaw when she nods to Partisan before returning upstairs. It REALLY grates on her when they arrive too late, but she's as stone-faced as always. "Should I call in SHIELD?"

This is a side of Brin that not many see either. Jaw set, eyes hard, she follows behind Jericho… dreading, with every breath, what they're going to find. And find it they do! The discovery of the young man draws a gasp of dismay from the brunettes lips - it's The Paragons all over again. The memories it evokes, the smells and the sounds, nearly overcome her but she pushes that down and looks to Jericho. "I'll see to the youth." her tone is tight, almost angry - which might be surprising, given how quiet she is.

Looking down at the youth, the X logo, she searches his pale features "His name was Michael. Never took a codename … didn't really want to join the fight." She's spent enough time at the Institute to know at least some of the more recent students.

Jericho sighs and lowers his weapon. Upstairs is clear. One mutant and one hitman down up here. Firefight. More of the same. If we could figure out where the hell this guy is recruiting from we might be able to do a little bit of… reverse recruiting. That'd at least make it harder. Same as the last one, though.

"Yeah, go ahead and call it in."Is Part's only response, before heading back up the stairs and getting to work. Stripping the fallen hit squad pocket by pocket, before stripping open their armor to look for tattoos and so fourth. "She makes a neat little pile on the kitchen counter for things. No wallets, no cellphones, but there are little notebooks and radios. "The guy out back with the grenade was German, Berlin or so by the sound of things. This guy has the lightning bolts on his chest, MP5s and Glock 17s. Looks like, GSG9 or SEK maybe? They didn't say a word when we were fighting, so they knew each other well enough."Part glances up the stairs. "Jerry he's recruiting German Nazis, these aren't civilians. These men have service jackets, they have footprints." pausing to stack those MP5s aside before rising to her boots, and lighting up a cigarette. "I don't know why he tortured these people, beyond terror anyway. I mean this place is close enough to M-town, who the fuck else could they betray?"

Melinda May nods to Partisan and leaves her to searching the attackers while she steps out front to check and make sure no neighbors are calling the police while she makes the call to SHIELD. Oh, and she detours on her way back to SHUT THAT DAMN TV OFF.

Not privvy to the discussion between Jericho and Partisan, Brin just stares at the body of Michael and then turns her eyes to the demontainted hacker. "Did he take the other one down?" Maybe … someone will explain what's going on here.

I'll start running lists. If he's being that specific that'll help us identify potentials and patterns. Jericho might put the hurt on a few recruits too. No matter how devoted to the cause there are some things that most men are not prepared to see… and this particular glow eyed hacker is very good at showing them if he's pushed hard enough. He's getting close to being pushed hard enough.

He turns and notes Brin, taking her by the arm and moving her from the room. "Yeah. Got at least one of them. Too bad we got here too late. Nothing we can do for them now."

Partisan polices up the important stuff, she'll take one glock and one MP5 to run the numbers on. "Lets go, the authorities have been notified."Heading up the stairs to, well make Jerry carry things because thats what he's there for right? She does chance a glance towards Brin, before reaching out to offer a hand. "Lets go honey, this is a counter insurgency. It would be best if your name didn't end up on a public police report, yeah? You can't do anything for these people, you've got to survive to avenge them."

Melinda May watches the others for a moment before returning her attention to her comm link. She gets the dubious privelege of staying here to report to SHIELD and fend off any local authorities that might show up. Yay. Just yay.

Letting Jericho lead her from the body, Brin casts a glance to May. "I've nothing to hide and if May is staying…" the brunette glances back up the stairs to where Michael is 'sitting' "I should too."

She's too numb to think about the repecussions of this … and she doesn't understand what's going on. If they insist, she'll depart but … her job is to liaise and see that criminals like this face the cold light of day.

Jericho shakes his head. "You don't have anything to hide, but it's best not to draw too many extra eyes to you right now. Odds are good the man responsible has access to police reports or resources. If you show up in one odds are also good I'll wind up in a firefight at or near X-Red. Which I'd prefer not to do under the circumstances." Or, worse, at or near the homes of some of the X-Red memebers. It's less about protecting them and more about keeping the possible numbers of places that might be struck as low as possible. "We need to figure out who'se running these safe houses and where the others are." Of course the very fact that they're safe houses makes that hard.

Partisan offers Jerry the car keys, and a nod. "Get her out've here Jerry, I'll stay with May. If these guys aren't domestic, I may be able to bring the CIA crashing down on their heads."and so well she moves to join May. Pausing to light her cigarette, before offering the pack towards May. "Helps with the smell, keeps it from sticking in your memory." Gently setting her P-90 and that 1911 off to one side, if only to dissuade there from being any misunderstandings with the 5-0.

Melinda May looks at the cigarette, and appears to actually consider for a moment, but then she shakes her head no. "Thank you, though." Honestly, the smell is low on her list of concerns. Finding these people and making them pay ranks higher now.

Looking mutely between May and Jericho, Brin will go with the hacker. He's got a story to tell her … and she suspects she's not going to like it. "I want to arrange a memorial for him. I need to know when the reports are lodged and his family is told."

This is stuff she would normally know because of her work liaising with the authorities.

Another mute look at May and the brunette allows herself to be led away.

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