Don't Trust Anyone

February 06, 2016:

Clint has news for May and Jemma - news that they don't want to hear but need to.

Metro's - New York

Characters

NPCs: Agent Jefferies, Agent Matthews

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Clint's asked to meet May and Jemma. Urgently. Outside the Tri. On a SHIELD matter. Since Clint left SHIELD and dropped the 'Hawkeye' name he's been suspiciously quiet about his former place of work. He doesn't appear to like bringing it up and it's not at all a stretch to think that his experiences left a bad taste in his mouth. He certainly hasn't had any kind of clearance in forever.

So what, one might ask, does he want to talk about.

To find out? Meet him at Metro's. It's a bar near the bullet train to Metropolis.


When Barton makes a request like that, even if he isn't a part of SHIELD any longer May knows better than to dismiss it. Collecting Simmons to accompany her is a matter of only a moment or three, and then they're on their way.

Stepping in to Metro's, May's eyes scan the entire room for Barton's presence, for possible exits, for … well, everything.


When May came to collect her, Jemma hurriedly locked down her workstation and cleared her desk before following the Senior Agent.

Flanked by Agents Matthews and Jefferies, the biochem enters Metro's, tablet in hand. She's not said a word on their way over, she knows that she'll find out what she needs to when they reach their destination. "Over there, Agent May." Jemma motions to where Clint is before making her way over to the ex SHIELD agent. "Mr Barton."

Jefferies and Matthews take another table, near enough to grab the biochem, should it become necessary.


Clint is there, for once not hiding. His sandy blonde hair and not quite easy grin are easy to spot. He's nursing a beer at a table in the corner and waves to the two agents as they arrive. "May, Doc. Nice of you to come. Have a seat, take a load off. You're gonna want to be sitting for this news anyway, honestly."

The demeanor is… guy meeting friends at the bar. The words and look though? Say trouble. Of the kind he needs kept quiet. "SHIELD's in some shit, I'm afraid."


May's demeanor as she settles into a chair at the table is the same as it always is. And Barton's words have her THIS close to scoffing. Because really. When ISN'T SHIELD in some shit? "Who is it this week?" She could start rattling off names and likely keep going for a minute solid, but she wants to give the archer a chance to explain.


Jemmas response might be something similar, but she's noted the look on Clints face. Sliding into the chair, she looks like … well, let's just say that Jemma's no secret agent.

Given Mays already asked the question, she'll remain quiet for the moment.


Barton looks carefully from May to Jemma and back. "Before my… absence I was given a task from Director Fury to look into certain… holes in our internal operations. Things that were not going expected and projects that were a bit suspicious. Agents acting without their usual competance and so on. As part of that cover I was to have some… er… mechanical assistance and we all know how that worked out." He was actually abducted and replaced, more evidence that someone had been onto him.

"Anyway, before all that I had made two interesting and related discoveries. The first was that SHIELD had been compromised. I don't know at what level and I don't know names anymore. They've probably changed by this point. But there were too many little things adding up to agents gone rogue and projects and initiatives failing because someone wanted them to. My first suspect was HYDRA but as I began investigating them it started to become clear that HYDRA was also riddled with some kind of metaphorical cancer."

The archer shakes his head. "I've been tracking patterns and looking into things from the outside. And it's all adding up to the same picture. I can't tell you who, or where or how bad, but I can say with certainty that SHIELD has been compromised. In a big way."


The only visible reaction May has is a brief clenching of her jaw, though that's likely enough for Barton to realize his information has been heard loud and clear. "Any guesses about how far up the food chain you're implying here?"


"Can you tell us how?" Jemma's eyes are slightly wide at the news that Clint has just dropped. She'll never be a good a field agent, she can't school her expressions. This could also relate to the leaked information on SHIELD assets around the world.

"Wait, did you say HYDRA was compromised just as badly?" Hoo boy, if it is, then then usual suspects are off the table.


"HYDRA is compromised as badly if not worse." Clint confirms with a nod to Jemma. "Different branches to different degrees but as a whole they're absolutely riddled with people who appear to be working at cross purposes in their own ranks."

The archer then turns his attention to May. "No. Well yes but guesses only. No facts. It's high enough though to have possibly gotten to the division head level. I just don't know. There were a lot of unanswered questions when I went missing and in that time they may have moved to other covers if they're still in SHIELD at all. I just don't know, other than its real and its bad. And we need to keep this quiet while we look into it."


Melinda May nods slowly. "Do you want me to tell Fury?" Because, really, that's the only part of the food chain she's concerned aout.


Jemma falls silent for a moment as she considers what Clint has told them. "You don't want us talking to anyone else within SHIELD, do you?" Except maybe Director Fury. "How do you propose we continue, Mr Barton?"


"Only if you find something to report. Otherwise I'm sure he knows and is working other angles and it's not worth the risk that someone will notice you having an out of the ordinary conversation." Clint murmurs. "For now I'm not sure. We need to pick up the trail again. It's gone cold. I'm seeing patterns but without my SHIELD access my ability to trace them stops the moment they hit the SHIELD grid. I'm fairly sure there are anomalies in Sci-Tech, the Academy and Tac-Ops and maybe some regional issues in North Africa and Central Asia but that's all I've got that's actionable. The rest is rumors and very disturbing ghosts."


Well, tracking the anomalies in Sci-Tech should be easy enough considering Jemma's right here. She nods again to Barton, already mentally reviewing the divisions and the people she has to deal with on a regular basis, as if she'll be able to REMEMBER anyone behaving strangely.


"If you can show me what you found previously, I can …" Jemma cuts her eyes to May "… poke around the systems. With the role I've been doing lately, I have access to a number of systems."

At the mention of the Academy, she perks up a little "The Academy has been asking me to visit and deliver a talk to the students there." It would be a good chance, with the fact the biochem has a permanent secret agent detail, to get a look inside that part of the organisation and deliver some intel.


"What I found previously won't be any good to you but I can show you what I have now." Clint just needs to put it into a more or less secure format.

The problem with SHIELD is that it's highly compartmentalized. WAND, for example, operates mostly at May's discretion. She reports to Fury and coordinates with Tac Ops but she runs WAND. So it is with a lot of other SHIELD subdivisions and task forces. So 'odd' is kind of hard to quantify. Now that she knows to look though…

Actually now that she thinks about it, there's a facility that has been losing 084's enough for it to be kind of embarrassing.


"Do that." May won't share this with Fury, not yet and not all of it, but she will soon enough when they have enough to do something about it. She thinks she's already come up with one lead to pursue, and it's something that Fury will green light almost immediately. "Do you have any guesses about who might be behind this?"


Jemma nods to May. This might get sticky for the two women… if Jemmas found accessing systems that shouldn't be… given can't lie well… "I'll contact the Academy and set that up. Agent May…" she casts a look to Jefferies and Matthews "… is there a way we can vet my security detail deeper?" If they're compromised… anything Jemma does is suspect.

Frowning, Jemma pulls up her tablet, taps on the screen and puts it down so everyone can see it "You mean like these kind of incidences?" It's not just the 084's that are going missing, it's the unauthorised access to Jemma's findings on the devices as well "And the person in payroll who's been leaking my information to someone…." It's all odd.


"Things like that yes. Also operations failing when they shouldn't due to what appear to be unlikely flukes. Subdivisions operating with very little oversight is normal but they start to take more resources. Become less accountable. There's a lot of signs and symptoms of things rotting from the inside. And SHIELD is." Clint shakes his head. "I'll do what I can but right now I can't move freely on the inside. You can."

"As for who's behind it May, I'm not sure. Someone with a lot of influence and either a natual or unnatural talent and a lot of training. They seem to be interested in 084's of all kinds too. So possibly another shadow organization…"


Melinda May actually manages to not sigh. That's all they need. ANOTHER shadow organization. Maybe this has some link to that SIGMA group that Jemma's been trying to trace pretty much since the realized that Barton had been replaced with an LMD? "I think I have a place to start, and I'll look into it while Simmons makes a visit to the Academy. Is there anything else we need to keep in mind?"


"You know I don't believe in coincidences, Agent May." Jemma looks between the Archer and the Agent. "We're already investigating another shadow organisation, Mr Barton. I'll … extend my investigation to include that … discretely."


"Just this. Whomever it is seems to have the ability to turn previously reliable agents. Whatever you do, watch your back. And ring me if you find anything I can act on." The Archer glances back and then sips his beer. "You guys should stay a few. Just to keep up appearances."


She'd really rather get going and deal with what she thinks might be the first lead, but Barton has a point. Just don't tell him. She nods, and looks at Jemma consideringly. "When did you eat last?"


Jemma looks at Clint, thinking hard. She doesn't know who she can trust outside May, him and Rain … maybe Sara. But Sara's just returned to SHIELD fold and she can't be sure. She can't be sure even of security detail.

Pale faced, she startles as May asks the question "Eat?" it sounds like she has no idea what the Agent is asking "Uh… I had a bagel for breakfast and some tea for lunch…" Oh dear.


"Right. Pub burgers for both of you." And if they happen to coordinate a bit more, if Clint suggests a few things that might be good for JL:A contacts or WAND agents to follow up on… so much the better.


Melinda May opens her mouth to protest the pub burger but then relents. If it'll get Jemma to eat something even only vaguely nutritious, she'll eat junk this time around. Though she insists on salad instead of fries. And the other bits of useful info to follow up on are pretty handy as well.


"Burgers?" Jemma's eyes light up. "And chips? with Gravy and Vinegar?" She's … so english … She'll be happy to stay and eat her fill and if she gets more intel and information so be it.

Oh yeah. Pub Burgers for Jefferies and Matthews as well.

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