Incendiary Device

April 11, 2015:

Snatching Contingency C off the streets, the SHIELD team attempts to remove the incendiary device from his head

An offsite SHIELD location




Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

Ever since Flash discovered some of the facts about Project Rebirth it became hard to calm down, to act normal around the people in the project. It also became damnably hard to try and ignore the fact that he was being monitored in the apartment he was renting. Hard enough to sit still knowing there were cameras on him. But he had to, to do otherwise could trigger a series of events that would have an… explosive outcome.
Inside the third floor apartment, Flash Thompson was getting ready to head to class. He had his backpack, his cane, and was wearing the pair of prosthetic legs that give him the most mobility of late. Sure it's still rough, but it's getting better. If he sticks to his routine he'll be leaving the apartment in… five minutes.

SHIELD Agent Melinda May is walking slowly toward the front stoop of Thompson's apartment building, seemingly engrossed in her smart phone. Very faintly, she touches base with the others on this hastily assembled extraction team. Hasty, because she was in Oregon until just day before yesterday, so didn't find out about the need for an extraction any sooner. Picking only trusted agents, she has Pezzini at the wheel of their chosen vehicle — a very mom-like grey minivan — with Simmons and her gear situated in one of the back seats in case medical intervention is needed, and Skye set ready to catch Thompson just as he's exiting his apartment building. Let's hope keeping it simple works and no one puts up fight.

"Skye, be ready. He left about this same time yesterday," May tells the younger agent over their commlinks.

The extraction had been planned, and a team had been assembled. Get Eugene out of his apartment without letting Project Rebirth know they were doing so. Skye had told him she would find a way to help him out; he truly did look scared, who wouldn't with a bomb in their head. As they pull up to the apartment complex, Skye is busy tapping away on her laptop with a furry of key strikes, "Come on…where are you. " Her foot taps as she impatiently waits for what she is trying to do, "There you are." A few more rapid taps and the images of the cameras in Eugene's apartment come onto her screen, "I am going to record a few of these and then run them on a them on a loop for 5 minutes in case he runs back in. We do not want anyone thinking he is scared of anything." One more click of the computer, "I'll run the loop when we see him." She watches out the window, and hands the computer to Jemma, " this button here when he exits." With that she exits the van and steps juyts around the back of it out of sight.

Sara Pezzini doesn't do mom very well. But then, this is New York. Moms come in all shapes and sizes. Granted, she's sitting there in a pair of sunglasses and a leather jacket, so she certainly doesn't look like a SHIELD agent. Sara did her fair share of undercover work before she got shifted to the spook squad. "At the ready, Agent May," she murmurs, slowly circling the block in the time-honored tradition of New Yorkers hoping to find a good parking space.

There's little for Simmons to do at this point, except make sure she's ready if Thompson needs help. "Ready, Agent May." The biochem falls silent as she watches for Skye to do her thing.

Meanwhile, within the building, Flash finishes putting the right books into his backpack then slings it over one shoulder. He starts towards the front door and it perhaps becomes clear to the SHIELD agents hitching onto the the video feed that he forgot to mention a small fact in that he has to get around with a cane when not using the symbiote suit. But, to his credit, it doesn't take him long once he disappears from the first set of monitoring cameras to appear on the downstairs ones.
A few moments later and the front door to the apartment building opens and the young blonde man steps around Melinda, telling her politely. "Excuse me, ma'am."

Melinda May nods to the young man walking with a cane as she passes by and waits until she's just far enough away that he can't hear her. "Skye. Visual confirmation, please." No one mentioned the cane in the briefing. She takes a couple more steps, then feigns realizing something and turning to go back the way she came.

"When I saw him, he was not using a cane, he was dressed as a Special Ops and hanging from a web. I know this is the right address. I tri-centered the GPS a dozen times." There is a pause on the other end of the comsys and then she speaks again as he gets closer, "That's him. That's his face. We don't want to work him up. He knows Sara and I, but we cannot just take him. He has internal GPS tracking. I need to throw up the jamming signal for all the transmissions in the immediate area, then I can duplicate the homebase signal. Tho I cannot do that until we have him and he is not at risk to run outside the signal." She holds a small device in her hand with a dial on it, "Sara…are you close? Jemma be ready…if he works himself up we may need a sedative to calm him or we might become a fireworks show."

"I can be where you need me to be, Skye," Sara answers, pausing by the curb about twenty yards away as if hawking a particular parking space. Really, the woman at the car is clearly getting out, taking bags out and slinging them over her shoulder, but it's a passable excuse for hanging around without drawing too much attention.

Simmons prepares a sedative, dendrotonix actually. "I hope the dosage is right… It's hard to tell what's needed." Looking at the equipment and then out the window, she nods "I'm ready, Agent Johnson, Agent May."

Those are definitely the man's features, and the ARMY jacket also gives some insight. He adjusts the hang of his backpack and then starts to make his way down the sidewalk, moving towards the subway station that's a few blocks away. His usual route takes him there, he makes a transfer, then reaches Empire State approximately twenty minutes later. Also when he goes underground the Project Monitoring system usually loses him for a period of time before the subway relays pick him back up. So their window of opportunity starts… now.

Melinda May planned for trackers, and gave Skye a powerful but extremely short range signal blocker — as in if she plants it on his backpack, it won't block any trackers on his feet. She has another in her own pocket and gave one each to Pezzini and Simmons as well. Just in case. She sees the man approaching the subway entrance and knows this is their best shot. "Skye. Now."

Eugene did see Skye before. In fact Eugene asked Skye for SHIELD's help, and Skye is going to use that. She steps out from the crowd in front of Eugene and nods to hi, holding her hands up. Her voice can be heard on the comsys, "Eugene. It's me. Give me your backback and go with the woman behind you. She's with me. Okay? You asked for help. Just do what we say." She extends her hand to take the back back, "May..come take him to the van. I'll meet you at the facility." She activates the jammer, but there is something else in her hand, "He is going to be riding the subway for a while…at least until we get this out of his head." It is clear that Skye is going to plant the backpack with the other device upon the rail system; a failsafe to backup the jammer.

Slowly, Sara starts to pull the van up closer to Eugene and the SHIELD agents, aware of the locations of cameras in the area that might be recording what happens. "Ready for the call, May," she murmurs, checking the rearview mirror.

Those bright blue eyes of his meet Skye's and she can see the glimmer of recognition. Suddenly he looks up, eyes sweeping the area as he tries to gauge the situation quickly. The next instant he looks back to Skye and gives a single sharp nod as he hands over his pack, picking up the pace on his cane. "Roger, moving." He steps after them, moving where he's led and as soon as they break line of sight of the subway and part of the crowd they'll see a sudden plasmic form slide into being over the young man's legs, black tendrils slithering into the titanium framework and helping him move faster.
"Hope you guys thought this through."

"We have." And that's probably as eloquent as May's going to get. She leads the young man over to the very unimpressive looking grey minivan and pulls the side door open for him, waiting until he's settled inside before closing the door after him and promptly claiming shotgun. "Let's move." Part of the plan was to pick Skye up again a few more blocks away, barring any unforeseen circumstances.

Skye does not wait, she knows her time is limited. She knows Agent May will get him to the van. She has a train to catch. Down the stairs she runs, backpack in hand. It is busy and she waves between people. She is dressed in a pair of jeans and a flannel shirt, so she kind of blends in as a student late for class. Timing is everything. Right down to the train pulling in as she reaches the platform. The doors swing open and she steps inside. Two stops, exit, up the stairs and meet the van again. She takes a seat and turns on the GPS signaler, placing it in the backpack. The backpack is slipped under the seat in the corner. She could have put the device by itself on the subway, but she did not want to risk it being discovered. She can replace his books. She moves to stand by the doors, awaiting her stop.

Sara pauses for the door to be opened and to pick up the passengers, then starts to drive around the block to Skye's extraction point in that same, crawling, parking-spot searching pace. "Buckle up, kids," she says as she goes. "Wouldn't want to throw anyone around if things get crazy."

Simmons touches her communicator "We have him, Fitz, we're on our way." Her best friend, and lab partner, is waiting at the facility they're heading towards to aid in the extraction of the device.

As May and Johnson enter the vehicle, Simmons is already starting a physical check. The results will be transmitted back to Fitz.

"Simmons," comes Fitz's voice over the comm. "What do we know about the incendiary device? Anything?"

Inside that Van, the newly rescued Eugene Thompson attaches his seatbelt and lets the symbiote flow free. The plasma tendrils slither over his form, transforming his civilian clothes into the black combat suit and harness, though now he has no firearms nor equipment. Still, with the suit over him and the balaclava hiding his features he suddenly feels more in control… even in the moment he's surrendering himself of it.
He lifts his voice, now an eerie and alien-like thing that reverberates strangely. "Any one care to fill me in on the plan?"

Skye's voice comes over the comsys, "Just go. I ran into some of the cities finer individuals who think I have more on me than a library card and a starbucks coupon. It appears Skye has been targeted, but must be off the train, as it is clear.

May watches the subway entrance as they approach it, "The plan is to keep you from losing your head." She then touches the comm unit in her ear. "Understood, Skye. Lead them to me." She then nods to Sara to let her off by the subway terminal, getting out of the van quickly so they can get going again. She knows the younger agent can more than take care of herself, and getting Thompson to the secure facility is currently top priority. But, sometimes muggers need a reminder that they are NOT the top predators out on these streets.

Lead them to May? Well, that is exactly what she wanted to hear and rather than engage them she darts for the stairs, hopping the turnstyle and turing before giving the the three men the finger. To make sure she really pisses them off into following her, she grabs herself. So lady like, but it does the trick. The three punks start to chase her and she finds herswelf darting up the stairs as fast as her legs can take her, "Incoming…three. One knife and a bat."

Overhearing some of what's going down, it's never been Flash Thompson's role to sit back while the team's in play. He squints a white eyelet to the side, looking at May as she responds. Last thing he needs is a drawn out fight between this older woman and three young toughs or some security guards or something. So when Skye's making her mad dash for the van… and when Melinda opens the door…
Suddenly there's an _explosion_ of black tendrils, the man in back seeming to erupt into a nightmarish and macabre almagamation of alien predator and fanged harpy… the face bursts with a huge gaping maw with teeth several inches long and the eyelets opening wide with utter wicked abandon. It's enough to cause the men pursuing Skye to skid to a halt… and then it speaks.
"Good, we were hungry. Let us eats it."
The trio turn around and immediately beat feet, turning several shades of white and disappearing back the way they came.
And as quickly as that the tendrils retract almost instantly, fading back into the fabric of the suit and Flash is just sitting there looking normal. A moment passes and he says, "Ahem. Sorry."

"Whoa, hey!" Sara slams the breaks and pushes the van into park when Flash goes…Well, ugly. Then again, he's not the only one in the car with a symbiotic suit. Sara's leaning into the back seat with a gauntleted hand of her own reaching for his throat when he pulls it all back together. Finally, she settles a flat look on Eugene. "Stealth operation, dipshit. Not stealthy."

Jemma actually yelps when the black tendrils erupt and without even thinking jabs Eugene with the Dendrotoxin dart. He'll be out in a minute or two. Nodding to Sara, Simmons sighs as Eugene becomes himself "Sorry about that, you'll have a nice sleep though."

Responding to Fitz "Fitz, I'll get you that information in a minute. Just had a spot of excitement."

Normally an attempt to drug someone bonded with a symbiote would be an act of futility unless you were using a pretty huge… oh ok. Like. A really huge dose. And then with a direct stream injection. Yeah that also helps, and then with elite SHIELD tech. Suddenly the world goes hazy, the myriad of colours that he normally sees with the curious symbiote's added vision go wild and swirly and then suddenly it's as if he's travelling down a long long tunnel.
From outside he looks sidelong at her and has time to say, "Hey, what's tha…" And suddenly he kind of leans over to the side, held into place by the shoulderbelt as consciousness leaves him pretty soundly. He'll be out for a while, until the suit can adapt, which should be long enough to get him stored away.

To her credit, May simply stands there while all of those black tendrils burst out of the van and scare the muggers away. She turns to give Thompson a sound scolding for that but Sara beats her to it and with class. So instead she steps away from the open passenger's side door. "Get in," she tells Skye, then moves quickly around the minivan to get in through the sliding door on the driver's side just as Thompson slumps over from Jemma's quick response with the dendrotoxin. "We need to get moving. Now."

Sprinting for the van, Skye does not look behind her, but she does startle when Eugene does his little scare tactic. She actually sreeches to a halt and through her heavy breathing exclaims, "What the…." He words are cut short at May's command and she dashes into the fan collapsing on a seat, trying to catch her breath, "Another…flawless..SHIELD…mission."

"We're gone," Sara replies to May as soon as the doors are closed, making it around the block before shifting into New York driver gear. Which is to say, the van could just as well be a motorcycle, the way she whips it through traffic at high speed. She doesn't slow down until they're within a block or two of the Triskelion, when she goes back to something a little more normal until they're safely inside.

(Or wherever we're going.)

SHIELD maintains a number of secure 'offsite' facilities. Simmons has been to two of them. One when they were examining the Winter Soldier, the other for the poor beings that came through the time rifts. It doesn't take Sara long to get them there and whilst they're moving, Simmons completes the tests, speaking to Fitz on the way.

"From what I can see, Fitz, the incindiery device is at the base of the skull. But that's all I can tell without proper imaging equipment. The subject is …. ahhhh …. asleep. Meet us in 5 minutes, we're nearly there."

Melinda May makes the call to the facility proper while Simmons is relating information to Fitz, so when they arrive at the location the guards are ready and waiting and the very boring looking minivan is able to just drive through the gates and right on up to the main building. She opens the driver's side sliding door on the van the moment it stops. "Coulson, we've arrived. Thompson is still unconscious, we'll need help getting him inside."

She did what she was supposed to do. Assist in not allowing Eugene to be tracked during this whole process, and now Skye knows it is out of her hands. She exits the fan and stands beside it, awaiting a further command from Agent May or Coulson. She thinks it best right now to just be out of the way and let Simmons call the shots.

Meanwhile, Coulson is in the level 9 clearance lounge enjoying coffee with Tom Hanks..

"So you're telling me WIlson was a metaphor for Pete Scolari and Cast Away was just the lost season of Busom Buddies we never got? Amazing.."

Then May ruins his fun by calling him to help bring in the kid with the bomb in his nugget. "On my way," he says in his usual dry manner. He turns to Tom and says, "Okay, so when I get back, You're going to explain exactly what the hell you were thinking when you made Volunteers." before heading for the elevator. A few seconds later he's meeting with May and the rest of Scoobies.

"I can get him," Sara says as she gets out of the car, tendrils of the Witchblade forming around her arms and legs, crisscrossing her torso. It's enough to augment her strength - more than enough for picking up an unconscious man. Though there might be a little bit of awkwardness as she figures out how to get him out of the van.

For his part, Eugene remains out of it, though luckily because he's wearing the mask there's no drool.

Fitz is waiting for them, in the medical facility they've kitted out. Jemma leads the group to it and looks at Sara "On the table please, Agent Pezinni." The rest of the group gets a stern look as Simmons begins to 'robe' up… "Agent May it may be worth you being in there with us. Maybe Agent Pezinni as well." If something happens and he wakes up, the protection will be welcome. "Nice to see you again, Agent Coulson. The rest of you can wait outside and observe if you like."

Washing her hands, the biochemist enters the room waiting for those who are coming in to enter and the rest to wait outside.

"Ready Fitz?"

Melinda May leads the very odd procession to the room indicated by Simmons, and nods when the biochemist asks if she would stay in the room as an extra bit of security. She looks at Coulson, silently checking to see if he'd rather observe up close or from via the security cameras. They might have had very few opportunities to work together of late, but long standing habits are very difficult to lose.

Phil Coulsondoes opt to get in close on this one. He doesn't jump right in, rather than circle around a bit and check the kid out before they take him in. "I'll observe out here. If the situation turns critical, I can react quicker out here than you can in there, maybe we can contain whatever's going to go boom in there. He gives May a nod in return to her raised eyebrow.

Skye also chooses to remain outside and watch from afar. She has done her part. She helped get him here, and she knows in there she would be nothing but in the way. Outside the room she peers through the glass and then sidelong glances over at Coulson, "Hey." Her eyes go back to peering through the window, "How's Lola?" Small talk from the hacker as her focus remains on the man with the bomb at the base of his skull and her teammates and friends that are risking their lives to remove it.

Sara sets Eugene down on the table, then steps back, Witchblade fading away into a bracelet again. "I might everyone step out of the room until he wakes up," she suggests. "If he's not in complete control of whatever he's working with there, you might not actually be dealing with him before he's one hundred percent awake." Thus speaks the voice of experience.

"I need him asleep, Agent Pezinni. What we're about to do…" Simmons smiles at the woman, she appreciates the thought "If we're ready then…" Simmons looks to Fitz "No passing out…" he has a tendancy to go green when Simmons does this type of work.

Simmons works slowly and carefully, scanning Eugene and checking the device in the base of the neck, taking samples before starting the removal process. "Look, Fitz. It's an accelerant. What do you make… " the biochemist frowns "Oh, I see. It's designed to teminate the person with the least amount of collateral damage." She pauses then and frowns a little "It's a symbiote… that means our job is even harder."

"Agent May, in the drawer over there is extra Dendrotoxin, I'm going to try to subdue the Symbiote as we go… the beggar will likely try to heal the subject while we work."

A man in a surgical mask steps up beside Jemma and looks over the subject, then the displays. He frowns behind that blue mask, shaking his head slightly to himself. "Blood pressure is normal, heart rate mildly accelerated. Getting some curious readings on the spectrometer from the suit slash symbiote."
Stepping around the table he begins to tend to the administration of drugs needed and gets an IV ready for a steady introduction of the sedative to keep both the symbiote and its host silent and unresponsive during the operation.

Melinda May accepts the extra dose of dendrotoxin from Simmons and actually pulls a small dose of the same stuff from a pocket. The delivery system is different, more compact. Like something that would fit into an arrowhead. She stays out of the way of the people working on Thompson, but close enough to step in and intervene if the need arises. "Skye, start working on making sure that Thompson's tracker is permanently disabled."

A man in a surgical mask steps up beside Jemma and looks over the subject, then the displays. He frowns behind that blue mask, shaking his head slightly to himself. "Blood pressure is normal, heart rate mildly accelerated. Getting some curious readings on the spectrometer from the suit slash symbiote."

Stepping around the table he begins to tend to the administration of drugs needed and gets an IV ready for a steady introduction of the sedative to keep both the symbiote and its host silent and unresponsive during the operation.

Melinda May accepts the extra dose of dendrotoxin from Simmons and actually pulls a small dose of the same stuff from a pocket. The delivery system is different, more compact. Like something that would fit into an arrowhead. She stays out of the way of the people working on Thompson, but close enough to step in and intervene if the need arises. "Skye, start working on making sure that Thompson's tracker is permanently disabled."

"I would expect that." Simmons responds to the assistant before turning her attention to the task. Working slowly and methodically, the biochemist prepares the area, opening the suit and then cutting into the area around the symbioate. Every so often, she looks up a Fitz and to the assistant. "You doing ok there, Fitz?" The assistant is expected to monitor the readings and let her know if something changes. "Ah, there it is… " she murmurs and reaches for implements to start the extraction.

"Agent May, I would expect that this little blighter is going to give me a bit of a fight, if you could be ready please?"

Melinda May nods to Simmons, taking a step closer so she's with quick jab range. Picture something like Uma Thuman plucking out Daryl Hannah's eye in that Kill Bill movie. "Let's just hope it doesn't build a resistance to the dendrotoxin." That. That would be very unfortunate.

The initial scans of the device in Thompson's brain stem seem to be a hyper-miniaturized communications device connected to densely compacted thermite. The design is elegant in its own way, the chemical should burn and destroy the linkage of the brain to the spine as well as the cerebellum, neatly ending the patient's life while preserving the apparent location link for the symbiote which is in the cerebral cortex.
The assistant blinks and leans closer at one of the displays on the monitor, "Looks like they stole some Starktech for the comm unit, or stole the design I mean." He blinks and shakes his head, then starts to map out hot spots for Simmons, places that might be troubling in the coming surgery. They light up on a nearby data display.

Raising her eyes to May, Simmons nods "If it does, I'm sure I can use that to make a variation. Something adaptable perhaps." The assistants commentary has the scientist frowning "If it's Starktech, then we may need to let Stark Industries know. They may blueprints or be able to track their own tech."

Taking a moment to pause, Simmons breaths deep, steadies her hand and then begins the exercise of separating the Symbiote. If all goes well, it shouldn't be long now.

Melinda May honestly feels like she has the easy job here. Just stand by and stay alert. That she can do. After all, most of what Simmons' assistant just said was just short of complete jibberish to her. And she doesn't admit to that lightly, even to herself. Thank goodness she's not the one expected to do that impromptu brain surgery. Just… no.

Once Simmons focuses on the task at hand it becomes no easier. With the subject lying on the cot face down and his head locked into place by a myriad of supports, he couldn't move even if he wanted to. The entry is clean, and with the symbiote anesthetized the healing is slower than normal. It takes some time to get to the object itself, the assistant having to routinely clear the plasmic formless skin or tendrils as it tries to knit itself back together.
The extraction of the device is no easy matter either. The connections to his brain stem are firm, and when she has to break that connection it would kill any normal person… but the symbiote healing behind her efforts at least helps in that regard.
A few hours pass and eventually resting in a faintly bloodied pan upon the stack of tools beside the gurney is the device in a set of three parts. No longer able to explode nor to function, it's set to be taken away and dissected by all sorts of curious SHIELD scientists.
The assistant steps back and turns off one of the monitors then tells Jemma, "Mission accomplished?" He asks, as if making sure she's happy with what went down.

"I believe so." Simmons is still inspecting the work, making sure it looks all A.OK "That went surprisingly well, considering." She hadn't even really thought about the fact it was brain surgery on the fly. "Agent May, thank you."

Looking back to the assistant, the biochem nods "Please transfer him to the recovery section. Agent May, an armed guard is probably in order. The incendiary device was one thing, the symbiote and suit quite another."

Melinda May nods, taking a step back to call in the security detail. "I'd fully expect him to wake up about as cheerful as Banner, especially with the way you surprised him." Though she can't help think that Thompson deserved it at least a little bit, considering that stunt he pulled during the extraction. "Let's get him settled quickly."

As easy as that, the assistant nods to his superiors and signals to the incoming people the location of the restraints and the secured wheels on the gurney. They start to pull him out of the room while man gives a nod towards Jemma and then to May as he taps a few buttons onto his data display, keying up a few key dosages to help Flash on his recovery as well.
"Good work, Agent Simmons." He gives an appreciative nod and then a few moments later the two are left alone in the area with the device and the aftermath.

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