Firebrand

January 03, 2016:

Jericho gets a lead on Sigma activity and lets people know…

M-Town - New York

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Jericho Trent has had a busy day, between action on behalf of the JL:A, a pop into Limbo (sort of an extended pop) to keep a handle on things there and an investigation of his own in Hell's Kitchen. In fact it's the latter of those that has him calling folks for an unusual meet. In M-Town, in one of the slightly run down, slightly overgrown parks the area hosts. City services aren't the best here for reasons both subtle and obvious but the locals pitch in and the place hasn't gone enitrely to pot. It's just seen better days.

Still, whatever fresh hell has the hacker calling X-Red, SHIELD and other contacts must be a doozy. Jericho is waiting at a bend on one of the biking paths, not far from a bench, leaning on a tree where he can generally watch most of the approaches. The one he can't… he's watching anyway. Bad areas like this get security conscious. Which means cameras. Which means extra eyes for Jericho.


Melinda May arrives by leyline because really, so much faster than sitting in traffic. And, she's towed along anyone who doesn't have that same dubious privelege. Like, say, Brinley. She's long since become used to the disorienting sensations. But to someone new to that mode of travel…


With a quiet purr, Roberto's silvery one-of-a-kind coupe parallel parks at the sidewalk next to the patch of greenspace where Jericho called their meeting. The door opens (upward instead of outward), and he steps onto the pavement wearing a light blue button-up, dark gray trousers, and a winter coat, gloves, and scarf. It's just a bit more formal than his usual clubbing outfits, so he must have canceled either a date or some kind of business meeting to be here.

He reaches into his pocket and hits the 'bad neighborhood' button on his key fob. With a series of metallic ka-chunks, the Robertomobile extends its exterior plating and hunkers down into high-security lockdown, retracting its wheels and covering its windows. He really doesn't thank Mike for this car often enough.

He heads over to Jericho's bench at a casual pace, breath fogging in the winter air. "Olá," he greets the hacker, just before May and her group appear out of… seemingly nowhere. He points at them and turns to Jericho. "That's new. Somebody must have gotten jealous of our Illyana."


Rain's existence is busy in its own way. Rain tends to prefer travel by broomstick, because for some reason, when she teleports, she often ends up in drag, naked and covered in chocolate or some other weirdness. Teleportation is just not her strong point. She does have her pendulum, in the shape of a crescent moon with a cat sitting atop it made of a rainbow type quartz. We'll get the exact name later because FireFox is currently exploding.

Nevertheless, Captain is on the back of the broomstick, and they can avoid most traffic. Pigeons are unavoidable, and also the enemy. She has to be bundled up, as it's like riding a motorcycle. She finds the others, blinking a bit. "… huh."

"Yo," Captain greets them.


At least May let Brin get dressed … although she's still adjusting the armour that had been provided by another acquaintance to test as they 'stepped into' the Leyline and then out.

You'd think that someone used to travelling via Stepping Disk wouldn't be put off by the Leylines … you'd be wrong. Brin pales and put her hands on her knees, breathing deeply before looking up at May and then over to Jericho. "May, " she swallows and licks her lips, straightening "Next time… a bit of warning."

Slowly, as much to let her stomach ease, Brin heads over to Jericho, Rain and Berto.


"Plenty of reasons to be jealous of her." Jericho grins, eyes flashing as he greets Berto. May's arrival is expected though the mode… well Jericho's had experienec with that before. It was a bit shocking. Rain is also not unexpected. Nor is Brinley though the fact that she comes with May does get a raise of the eyebrow. He'll ask… later.

Hopefully she doesn't lose her dinner.

"So thanks all for coming. I'll get right to the point. I've been looking into the activities of a bunch of international mercenaries who call themselves SIGMA. They're not nice people. They've worked with HYDRA in the past, and are responsible for a number of high profile killings abroad. Professional, expert, really good work on all fronts too. My investigations have led me to suspect that they are recieving their instructions at least in part from a source or sources deep within the US Government, possibly in connection with iniaitives that may or may not be related to the classified portions of Exective Directive 51." All that's a mouthful, but necessary background. "Today I was doing my usual snooping when I recorded this over a secure VOIP line." Well, not as secure as they wanted. Jericho raises his arm and it glows blue before it starts playing, audio only.

"Natalia Utrecht is getting bolder each day. She's a destabilizing interest at a time when we can ill afford instability. She's got big plans in the next couple of weeks. Take care of her. Omega Protocol."

"Consider it done."


Melinda May frowns at Jericho's quick sum-up and at that recording. "They're stepping up the time table. What intel do we have on Utrecht?" She's stayed next to Brinley, likely understanding how disorienting the ley line travel can be. Especially for the passenger who's got zero connection to it.


"This is an interesting cast of characters you've assembled, Jericho," Roberto says with wry humor, casting a glance especially at the woman with the talking cat. One of his schoolmates had a pet alien dragon, so he's not judging, but it's still a curious sight. (And anyway, Lockheed doesn't talk.)

He listens idly to the background information, gloved hands deep in warm coat pockets, but he doesn't really engage with what he's being told until he hears the name 'Natalia Utrecht' on the phone recording. At that point, his head snaps upward with greater attention, eyes flicking over the sky as he listens closely to the rest of the conversation.

"I don't know about 'intel,' but I know Natalia. She does good work, and she's an excellent writer. A bit of a firebrand, though." A quiet smirk crosses his features — one that would set any of his old classmates groaning. Roberto never could resist a firebrand. "'Omega Protocol' sounds ominous," he continues, expression sobering as he reaches into his pocket. "I should call her and see if she is alright."


Rain is quiet, catching in and listening. "Hello," She nods. Captain is quiet, too. His tailtip flicks. Today, he's in a warm coat and his hat. Detective cat, morale officer. It's all hard work. She's likely catching up. She doesn't like the sound of it all. There's a polite smile for Roberto.

"It really does," She offers to Roberto. Captain peers at Roberto and Brinley in turn. Hey look, talking evolved hairless great apes. Funny how that works.


Taking a deep breath, Brin greets those gathered and nods politely to Captain. "I'm alright, May…" she murmurs, recovering relatively quickly. "Hello, Rain isn't it? and Captain." but then Jericho's playing that recording and she grimaces.

Natalia's known to Brin, no where near as well as she is to Berto - the brunette rolls her eyes as Berto expounds. "Another one, 'Berto?" does she really need to ask? "I know /of/ her. An activist for mutant rights. High profile and she's been on my 'watch' list … but she's not all that bad, not at all." beat "I can provide the dossier, I keep on her."

"Calling her is a good idea, 'Berto." Brin speaks quietly, as is her nature, "Jericho, what do know about Omega Protocol?" She … can probably guess what it is. Omega being the last, final, letter in the Greek alphabet.


Jericho quirks a brow, this time a bit questioning at Berto when he… no, you know what? He doesn't want to know. Berto knows the woman and that's enough. "Give her a call if you'd like. Maybe you can pursuade her to accept a protection detail? I asked you guys and SHIELD here because this touches on both of your areas of concern. The server stamp on that conversation was a Federal system. So it was a conversation with someone who at least had access to government hardware if not in the government itself and any hint that the government is cracking down on mutant activism could bode ill in general." So, yeah, he figured X-Red would want to know and the two present are, other than Illyana, the two he trusts most to handle it.

"I don't know what Omega Protocol is." Jericho says to Brinley. "I do know, though that it only shows up a few times in the communications I've intercepted so far. So it's something they use rarely, whomever 'they' are." Berto's largely answered May's question about Utrecht so instead he simply adds: "Based on other traffic, I think whatever SIGMA and their employer are going to try, it'll be in the next week or so. Utrecht has travel logged after next wednesday, and they may want to act before then."


"I have an idea." May looks VERY displeased. "Omega Protocols are usually the most extreme measures used to neutralize a target. The equivalent of wiping them completely off of the planet." She nods to Roberto. "Reach out to Utercht, but do NOT tell her what's going on. She'll try to flee and tip our hand. You might have to have someone ghost her until she's ready to travel to catch the people wanting to remove her."


"Certo. There should be a rule that if you're going to come up with a plan to kill people, you can't name it something that sounds like an airport thriller novel," Roberto continues, nodding at Rain and May. "Either something honest, like 'my plan to kill people,' or something really sneaky, like 'pick up swiss cheese at the supermarket.'"

He shrugs and huffs out a frosty breath. "Although I guess the latter could lead to some awkward misunderstandings if somebody just wanted to make a sandwich."

Now thumbing away on his Starkphone, he glances askance at Brinley with a roguish expression. "Another what? I'm sure all the details are in that dossier of yours. But I'll be happy to 'ghost' her, if that's necessary… ah, descuple." He finds the number he's looking for, taps it, and puts the phone to his ear.


Rain is catching up. She's been on witch and shield projects. Omega: Finality. Often associated with Terminus and apoptosis. Captain earflicks at Rain, who nods. The cat nimbly hops off Rain's shoulders to May. "Yes, that's us." Smile. Captain nods in confirmation. "Miss Mana, correct? And - Mister Sunspot?" Rain's polite, if a Dire Introvert. She giggles at Roberto.

"It sounds ominous and is cryptic. It's probably meant to be slightly intimidating or militaristic." Few people would really tangle with what sounds like it would get them in a truck load of trouble.

Nevertheless, Captain hops over to May easily, so she can pick him up. Rain doesn't seem bothered. At the talk of the person, she does offer, "Captain might be able to tail her. Few people suspect a cat, and he can carry a go pro or I can switch senses with him."


"It probably is, 'Berto" Brin gives his rogueish look, a flat one in return. "And I'm sure you'd pleased to 'ghost' to her." she might be ribbing Warm Twin a little but it's a good idea and she nods to May to confirm that.

Rubbing her forehead, she can feel a headache starting, the brunette lets out a sigh. It's not enough, what they have their plate … there's always something else that needs attention. And she still hasn't told anyone but Nick and Pepper about the letter she'd received.

"Mana and Sunspot, Rain. Or Brin and Berto. Both names work …" the lavendar eyed witch gets a smile. Brin … knows about being reserved.


Jericho nods. "Any ways you have of keeping as close an eye on her as possible would be good. I'll work on tracking this down on the other end but…" He shrugs. He's not sure if he can make headway in time to save the woman.

Speaking of, Natalia picks up on the second ring. "Damn it Roberto I told you never to call me unless you had champaigne or really good sushi. So which is it? Also, are you coming here or am I coming to you? I've got a speech I'm in the middle of writing to make it snappy." There's a bit of teasing in the otherwise entirely stern and scolding voice on the other end but she's not actually mad at Berto. Which may make Brin change her mind on the 'ghosting' thing.

"Rain I know you do magic as well. Any chance you can, I dunno, bless her for extra protection?" Jericho is often exposed to magic but he's very much a layman when it comes to its actual execuation.


Melinda May picks Captain up and tucks him comfortably under one arm, her other hand starting to scratch THAT itchy spot under his chin. She then steps over and says into Berto's other ear too quietly for the woman on the phone to pick up, "Tell her sushi." She knows a place. And she can order in Japanese.


Roberto's eyes glimmer with amusement at 'Mister Sunspot.' He's not going to disabuse the witch-girl of the honorific if she likes it. (Although he does miss plain old 'Bobby,' sometimes. The things one sacrifices for one's twin.)

He takes a couple of steps away from the group as he waits for an answer. A few seconds later, he greets with a bright, sincere grin: "Talia!" Then, in mock reproach, "Gata, you should know I am never without the very best drinks and food to spare. Do you want to go out for dinner, or should I deliver? I know a great sushi place that works either way." He nods graciously to May — as requested, he is keeping the conversation light and avoiding any sense of anxiety.


Time for purrpurrpurring. Captain is a great prop for Masterminds! For now, Rain quirks a smile at the two, amused at the idea of ghosting. "I see. Okay, I don't assume," As far as names go. But Rain is odd in that her code name is her daily name. "Yes. I can certainly bless and/or ward her. That's no problem." She seems happy to do this. Other than that, she lets the people do their thing. "I won't need to be too close to her."

Captain is digging being pet. He seems at ease with May, the sort of respect one apex predator gives another being of power, or at least confidence and prowess. She grins at Roberto. "I go by Rain." Mostly because Winter gets her an awful lot of arrival jokes, or wished away. And Silverwolf? Yeah… yeah.


Brin listens in, catching some of the conversation, certainly catching the tone. She'd known what to expect when she agreed 'ghosting' would be the thing. Seems… she was right.

Making mental notes about how they could best protect 'Talia'… including a tracking device in something the woman would always have on her.

"I would have offered to go there…" she mumbles.


Jericho gives Brin a half smirk half understanding grin. He has been around Berto a bit. Not as often as his team but enough to know how he can be. Plus the man has an internet footprint the size of sasquatch. "I'll leave you to it. May, Rain if I find anything SHIELDworthy I'll let you know." Otherwise he'll let May do her work here. He's told them the woman's a terrorist target. They have options, May has allies and agents. And a witch. And a cat.

"Well I think I can make time to go out for dinner. I should probably get out of this damn apartment. But you'd better be prepared to deliver anyway, Mister! So, shall I meet you there or you gonna swing by. I'll be wearing the little black dress."

Yeah, Natalia likes to live… er… large. She's got a lot of passions, and her firebrand nature in her political work translates very well into other aspects of her life.


Melinda May returns to standing by Brinley's side, and tries to mollify the woman by offering softly, "Roberto is a good choice. He's got history with Utrecht, and with his internet notoriety, seeing him drop suddenly back into the target's sphere will likely not raise too many red flags for the people targetting her." That's her explanation, anyway. Oh, and Captain's motorboat routine ears him even more scratches, relocating from under his chin to along one side of his jaw. Let's see those whiskers arch!


Roberto is still smiling, but he's also looking a bit thoughtful around the eyes. A restaurant is public enough to keep away wary attackers, but there are more covers to approach if these guys don't care about stealth. Natalia's apartment will have specific avenues of attack to guard, and no additional bystanders to get caught in a fight if the terrorist group tries anything.

What finally decides him is the question of discretion. They don't want to alert the terrorist group, and having a known superhero parading her around in public might throw a few red flags. Better to keep this relatively private.

His decision definitely isn't influenced by any ulterior motives. Nope. None at all.

"You know what? Much as I would love to take you out, I would hate to interrupt your writing," he says. "Then I'll just have to wait longer to read the finished product." He shakes his head. "Will half an hour be long enough to get ready?" He glances at May, then nods — apparently she agreed, because his next words are: "See you in thirty, then. I can't wait."

After he hangs up, he looks at Rain and May. "You can follow me to her apartment, if you want. Get those wards set up, or anything non-magical SHIELD wants to put in place." His eyebrows knit, and he adds, for once awkward, "I mean, short of, like… monitoring equipment. You won't need that, will you?"


Captain is totally digging the scritches and scratches. The whiskers will slowly, oh so slowly arch! Whisker arch successful!

"I won't need any equipment," Rain remarks. "Wards and blessings are doable," She smiles. "I will go where is best for you all. I am not one for tailing people. I do divination, but…" She's a bit shy and gangly to really pull off tailing someone well. Plus, purple eyes? Totally memorable. Rain nods. "I am ready when you are."


"I know May, it's fine, truly. In fact, it's the best choice we have by far." Berto certainly doesn't complain. And the fact that he's volunteering to do this? It's a good sign.

"Thirty minutes? Can we get a tracker on her, 'Berto? I've a few back at HQ we can use." Smirking slightly at 'Berto's moment of awkwardness, she covers her mouth with her hand. She'd tweak him again, but they've not got time.

Rains comment gets a nod from the brunette "Follow them and put the wards up, if you can."


"I'm looking forward to it. Been too long, Roberto." And then the line goes dead, leaving Roberto with a smirking Jericho not far off.

"Well, you have fun with that." Jericho does not admonish Berto to keep his eyes peeled. He knows that it's foremost on the man's mind. He's oddly chivalrous in his… not quite womanizing. It's one of the things, one among many, that makes the ex-soldier more than okay with the tycoon and what he does.

"Okay. Give me a ring if you need anything. I'm off to look in on other pits of vipers." Be he literal or be he exaggerating? Well, probably not the later even if he's also not the former. The hacker gives everyone a wave, straightens up and heads off toward the park exit. After a few mintures he rounds a corner, there's a glow of light… and then he's gone.


Melinda May stops petting Captain finally and sets him back on Rain's broom carefully before snatching Berto's phone away. She very quickly adds an entry to the contact list then dials the number she just added. After a moment, she's speaking over the phone in fluent if very faintly accented Japanese. She talks for just a couple of minutes, then ends the call and hands the phone back to its owner. "The sushi will be ready in ten minutes and the address is in your phone now."


"A tracker? Hmm." Roberto considers the possibilities. "She's never without her computer. I might be able to slip something into the case, or into the casing, if we have a tracker small enough. But the side trip to get it…" He looks across the unkempt green at his tanked-out car, then sighs, fishes in his pocket, and tosses the keys underhand to Brinley. "Take care of her. She can be skittish with new people." The reason being that most new people aren't prepared for that much torque in urban driving.

The Brazilian steps to May's side. "I think the only way we're going to make this trip fast enough is with that teleporting trick of yours." He gestures at Rain's broom. "I don't think that was built for passengers."


Rain nods. "Sure thing." The moment of awkwardness and such isn't lost on the witch. She just sort of smiles. Captain carefully steps onto the broom. "Why thank you," He offers to May. Rain and Captain will prepare to do their thing. "Have fun with the sushi and stuff." A wry smile. Then she looks to Roberto. "I can carry a passenger, or open a portal. But uh." She rubs the back of her head. "We're open." And really, sitting on a broomstick is probably not the most comfortable for a dude. At least, not without seeing sidesaddle.


Catching the keys, Brin frowns at Berto than the car. "Uh… I will." Nodding slowly to as Warm Twin explains, she details where he can find the trackers "There's one that can attach to her computer. But I've had a few made into brooches and pendants. See if they grab your fancy."

She'll let the others work out how they're moving forward… she gets to drive 'Berto's car…

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