The SHIELD and the Snake

July 14, 2014:

An information exchange meeting between SHIELD and a hacker is interrupted by an extremely well armed kill team.

Bar

A bar built into a brickwork building that used to be part of a now defunct brewery, it's slow even for a slow night tonight.

Characters

NPCs: Hydra Kill Team

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

It's been near a week since Jericho was interrogated at the Triskelion and since then, aside from contact with May, he's had absolutely as little to do as possible with SHIELD. Clearly, Hill put him off. Even so, with things coming to a head on a number of fronts, he's decided to give the only SHIELD agent he trusts a call. He has some information for her.

May prefers not to meet in noisy public places like amusement parks and after the last couple of times, Jericho agrees with that. Also nowhere in Gotham. 'Cause screw that place. No this time he's requested the meet at a dive bar in a mostly empty industrial area near Hell's Kitchen. Bad neighborhood. The place in question: The only piece of the sign that's legible just says 'Bar', is a brickwork building that used to be part of an old brewery, but since has become an odd two story establishment for the consumption of food and a great deal of alcohol. It, like the streets are mostly empty. Trent is on the second floor, near a corner, sipping a beer and waiting.

*

Okay, Trent's current choice of meeting place is better than Coney Island, but not by much. Having just returned from an honestly boring ferry-ride (and whoever jacked with that poor Quinjet's controls is going to hear WORDS from her), May is on her way after having hastily changed into somewhat more civilian-looking attire. Arriving in that same generic little Toyota she drove about a week ago, she parks a short walk away and heads for 'Bar' at a brisk walk.

Eyes Only be damned. After this, she's giving Trent a copy of SHIELD's covert operations manual and teaching him what a PROPER clandestine meeting place looks like.

*

With an inhale and an exhale, Steve Rogers enters the bar with that nagging feeling that he'd rather be somewhere else. Trent is a lot better than Partisan, but that's not saying much. How sane can he be if he strolls with the latter? This won't be any ring a ding-ding, that's for sure.

With his eyes make their rounds, looking for a familiar face. Not her face, but he can tell which one May is, and moves to follow her. Let's see what this wheat has to say.

*

Even Romanova might smack May for passing that document out, never mind what Hill will do to her. She's done a lot of research on Trent. His association with Partisan only bothers her insofar as she's looked into that particular operative, too, and has very definite opinions about her. Fury's insistence that the hacker could be useful for his new Initiative is enough for her. And she has to respect some of his methods, even if she thinks Partisan is excessive, even animalistic.

The Russian doesn't particularly want to tip her hand to Trent just yet, however. Nor does she want to toss 'Sarah' back into the mix. So, her disguise, today, bears very little resemblance to the red-haired college-aged waitress from Mack's. Now, she's a non-descript brunette who more or less blends into the woodwork, even as she works over one of the pool tables.

*

It's possible that Jericho has a different standard for what 'good meeting place' looks like. In this particular instance, the bad neighborhood is key. People in bad neighborhoods tend to be security conscious so there's a lot of security cameras in addition to the usual traffic cams for him to keep an eye on the area. The second story with a view is key as well. Nice be able to have eyes on, if you can. Finally the brickwork building will provide better cover than most, if it really comes to that, and the windows easy exit.

He doesn't wave to anyone when he sees them, but does nod very subtly. Amid monitoring police traffic and cameras, he's got, hidden beneath a newspaper, a couple of files that SHIELD might be interested in.

*

Melinda May actually isn't one of SHIELD's covert agents, for a reason. She enters the seedy bar, walks straight across the place and up the stairs to the second floor and right up to Trent, claiming a seat at his table.

"Okay. Remember I said Coney Island was crap? This is actually worse." If a waitress meanders by, she'll order whatever kind of beer is NOT on tap.

*

Steve Rogers hovers a few paces behind, eyeing up Trent and putting his hands in his pockets as he chews a piece of gum. After giving him a long look, Rogers scopes around the crowd, "Just two of us, May?"

*

Melinda May turns abruptly to look up at Rogers when he speaks up, then huffs and stands down again. "Captain, don't ever sneak up on me."

*

Widow's job, frankly, is to simply watch for 'surprises'. It's actually standard operating procedure. She lets the Captain and the pilot (and, by her standards, the hacker) do the standing-out-like-a-sore-thumb thing. Her cue clacks against a ball, and she moves to another shot, using the angle to allow her to watch the trio at the table.

*

Jericho looks at the Captain mildly. It's the sort of mild look that May might have come to know means 'the hell are you doing here?'. Then he slides a file out from under a newspaper toward May.

"That is everything my medical contacts were able to give me on the virus. Analysis, possible vectors, origin, and so on. The full work up. Doctor Angelo DiLucci was responsible for most of it and he'll be collaborating soon with Doctor Hank McCoy. Normally I wouldn't name names, but we all know this is serious enough to not be half-assing this." That's addressed mostly to May. Then he looks over to the Captain speculatively, then back to May.

"There's one other matter I have to let you know about." Subtext: Is it safe to discuss certain things near the Captain?

*

Melinda May takes the folders, opens the top one just long enough to get a glance at the contents, then closes it and tucks them into the light jacket she's wearing. "I think I remember DiLucci. Coney Island." She also looks over at the Captain then at Trent again. "What's it about? Hydra?" Or something else?

*

Steve nearly rolls his eyes at Trent’s comment. He may be old, but he's not an idiot and can read between the lines. He doesn't know the name Hank McCoy, but figures he'd better research it. With hands stuffed in his pockets he begins to look around the room again, letting May do her thing.

*

Billiard balls clack and the brunette adjusts for another shot. She reaches out to snag a bottle of cheap beer, swilling it back without ceremony, before she sets it back down. Widow's hearing is good enough she doesn't have to get any closer to hear what's going on. She smiles as she lines up that next shot. Truthfully, she likes playing monitor like this. It's fun.

*

Jericho takes a deep breath and lets it out. He seems to be about to say something when his eyes abruptly go very, very wide. That very second the power goes out in the building, just like someone hit a switch. If anyone has time to look, it's gone out on the street and in the surrounding building's as well.

His first reaction is knee jerk, he doesn't even think about it. He kicks his little table right at May and Cap, forcing them hopefully down and then drops off his seat himself.

And that's when the wall next to where his head was explodes inward.

*

Melinda May sees Jericho's eyes go wide just before the lights go out, and she's moving in that same instant. She started to reach to pull the hacker away from the table when the table itself knocks her sideways into Cap and that's kind of like getting thrown into a wall. Let's just hope his chair collapses and drops him to the floor or this could get really awkward.

*

Steve does his best to brace May as she comes flying at him, his superhuman reflexes sparking to work. After the dust settles, he stands and looks straight into the hole in the wall, ready to head right into the fray. He's smart enough to wait and see what it is he's going after though.

*

As the lights flicker and extinguish, Widow spins the cue and begins moving. In her hands, the stick is as much a weapon as anything else might be. She moves low, a loping crouch between tables to move closer to Trent and the others, ears straining for sounds of specific attack in the darkness as her eyes scan for the next gap of light that suggests ingress by some other attacker.

*

There are people moving in the darkness out there. People with some kind of bulky rifle that glows blue in several places. "Well… that's new." Jericho says from a crouch near the window, eyeing the shapes outside. He's immediately sent to ground as a pair of the rifles are hefted in his direction and bolts of blue light streak inward, shattering the glass and scoring the masonry.

"Great." The hacker produces a handgun from under his coat and his traces begin to flush with amber, coloring his eyes the same. "I don't suppose you two came armed? Stay clear. They're not here for you, I can almost promise." Eyes cut over to the brunette because… what on earth is she doing?

Outside a dozen men in some kind of hard armor move to surround the building and prepare to breech. Trent looks over to the roof access speculatively

*.

Melinda May follows Trent's eyes toward the roof access. If nothing else, it would give them room to maneuver, and get them away from the few innocents still in this building. "The roof. Go," she tells the hacker while pulling what look like short pencil-like shapes from an inside pocket. She flings two of the little sticks at the floor then starts to scramble toward the roof access as the small objects poof up a surprising amount of powder 'smoke' into the air. "Cap, get to the roof or get to cover."

*

Rather than go to the roof or head for cover, Rogers goes into full Cap mode without the shield or the gear. He brings a hand down upon the nearest table, breaking the wood clear in two before flinging it straight away at the closest adversary. Figuring that won't quite do the trick, he follows his shot-so to speak-and dives at the man at incredible speeds, hoping to jar the weapon loose and start firing back.

*
Widow crouches down by a window, marking the movement of the men outside. A gun appears from somewhere on her person. She glances to Trent and gives him a tight smile before she taps a comm active hidden in her ear and says on the SHIELD frequency — her voice matching the one he once heard from the Widow on another frequency.

"Hydra," she says, recognizing the sigil, clarifying for May as Cap goes on his usual offensive. She's been fighting that org almost as long as him, after all… if, perhaps, from the other side of the fence.

"Operatives are hard-armoured and armed with energy-based weapons. Go high, May. I have the asset." Yes. She's going to defend Trent.

She begins to shoot instinctively, double-tapping and aiming for the gaps in the armor. Because body counts don't bother her the way they do others… for good or ill.

*

The first man up the stairs gets a face full of table… then a face full of Cap. What are ordinary mortals to do when faced with that? Well, lose their rifle. The ordinary mortals behind him fire their rifles, blue streaks of energy filling the stairwell of Bar. Outside, the four or five left to cover the exits light up every window and aperture they can see with that deadly light. One stops to break out some kind of long, shoulder mounted tube. That can't be good. Widow's shots find their marks and the man with the tube of death goes down with a cry.

*

"No power no phones. Police don't even know this is happening yet." Jericho mutters as he looks down. He's got a few… thoughts about how to handle this. Before he can put them into action one of the riflemen below spots him and sends a burst his way. Amber wings spring into existence and wrap around him, taking the fire as he puts himself flat back on the floor.

"Damn."

The noise from beyond the smoke, in Cap's direction tells him the room is about to become untenable unless Cap can put down seven by his lonesome. "Might have to displace." He tells Widow.

*

Go high? With what? Unless Romanoff stashed a bird up on the roof, or maybe left Barton up there with a bag of snacks, there's nothing she can do from the roof. But she can…

"Trent, follow Romanoff's lead." She darts off to the waitress station to one side, and the trash can just about full of empty beer bottles. Maybe not as lethal as Nat's pistol or Cap (just, Cap), but there's a reason why she was one of the agents that helped with the 'Improvisational Weaponry' manual. In short order she's flinging the empty beer bottles through the nearest window with blue weapons fire streaking in followed promptly by a Molotov cocktail. The only real use for Everclear, in her book.

*

Cap uses the downed agent as a shield against the energy weapons while he grabs hold of a rifle. "Keep em coming, May. We have the high ground here. Widow, maybe we'd better think about getting Trent out of here. It's gonna get thick. Someone call for air evac, huh?"

*

"We need to get you out of here," Widow tells Trent, thereby acknowledging Cap in the process. She doesn't, however, look surprised at his cyber-manifestation. Indeed, she fires off another several rounds to start clearing the way. Then, she reaches out in an attempt to grab Trent and start shepherding him towards the best exit they're going to find. "On the move," she tells the others as she does. "Cover us."

*

Jericho rises, still not sure who the hell 'Romanoff' is, but remembering the name from an earlier conversation doesn't object. May's cocktail causes the ground team to scatter. Moments later there's the screeching of tires as a diver-less SUV screams into view and backs - hard - into one of them, tossing him into the fire. Jericho, if anyone looks, has a savage grin on his face. "I was wondering where they'd parked…"

The team attempting to storm the stairs is meeting with a lot less success than they'd like… in fact half of them are down now thanks to the Cap. Plan B. Up come the grenades.

*

Time to go. May abandons the impromptu projectiles and pulls that weighted sash that Trent has no doubt seen before and, standing a bit behind Rogers sets it to spinning so fast it whirs. "Cap, no sudden movements." And then one end of the black silk sash shoots past the super soldier, aiming to brain one of the Hydra soldiers left blocking their path down the stairs. She's not taking subdue-shots here either. She's looking to put these men down and make sure they stay down.

*

Grenades. Grenades aren't good just for May and Cap, but for every other single patron in the rest of the bar.

Oh hell no.

Steve does a mental count as he watches the philistine as he pulls the pin. 1. Steve's foot digs into the tiling as he pushes himself outwards, just as May's shot whirs by his ear. 2. Steve reaches to catch the grenade in mid-air and attempts to throw it back, straight from where it came!

*

Natasha makes a split decision. With the SUV's appearance, she understands exactly where their egress is. "Ok. There's our ride," she says, glancing to the grinning hacker.

"Cap. May. SUV out the front," she says crisply over comm. "Moving to secure." Then, to Trent, "With me, Aspect. And keep those shields up." She rises and leaps, kicking her way through a window and rolling out through the gap, gun firing to keep the Hydra operatives at bay as she moves for the vehicle.

*

KABOOM That's three strikes in one. The breach team is done for between the grenade and the one that May just put down. There's still a couple shooters outside but they might by now be getting the idea that this has gone less than according to plan. Especially as the one of them burns. Then Natasha leaps. Jericho… isn't quite that hardy but he has wings to slow him down. Someone gets a good shot at one of them, thinking to clip his wings and sadly not knowing that's not quite how it works. There's a spark on his neck and a grunt of pain as a feedback burn appears there, then Nat puts him down for good.

It's not clear if anyone, except possibly May, knows who is driving the SUV. But all the doors open and the engine guns despite the fact that no one is in it. Jericho's already plotting egress as he wing slaps the last operative into the wall of 'Bar and gets in the back.

*

After ducking and covering from that grenade explosion, May reels her sash back in as she races past Cap and toward the waiting SUV. And any Hydra that so much as twitches as she passes by them gets a punch or a kick for their efforts. Yes, she's aiming for the driver's seat. If any of y'all have a problem with that, too bad.

*

Steve takes a look over his shoulder, hoping that the bystanders in the bar weren't injured. He can't wait too long, however and is following May out the door and piling into the back. "Guess Trent knew what he was talking about regarding HYDRA." Cap is big enough to admit when he's wrong.

*

Natasha lands easily, reloading as she does. She tracks the remaining armored operatives instinctively. She's had too many years of training to miss often. As May rushes for the wheel, Romanova paces Trent, staying right with him and making sure there's no more blue light flashing their way. She flanks him right up until he crawls into the vehicle himself, pausing only a moment to scoop up the death tube as she goes, before she slides in beside him. "Kinda nice, not being the one they're gunning for, this time," she muses with a grin.

*

"Not so fun from this end of the ray gun." Jericho mutters as the doors close and he lets his death-grip on the car's computers go so May can do her thing and drive.

"Ai ya. They've not done that in a while. Usually it's criminal contractors. You know, ordinary or slightly more than ordinary hit men. To send an actual op-team after me?" He rubs at the burn on his neck, wincing.

"I must have struck a nerve. Too bad I couldn't tell you how…"

*

Melinda May guns the SUV and they're off, tearing away from 'Bar' at a crazy pace. Well, at least for the first couple of blocks. Then she's slamming on the brakes and stopping their vehicle at a traffic light while police cars scream by going toward where they just came from. "Sit rep," she all but snaps, pretty sure she can hear a note of pain in Trent's voice. When the traffic light turns green, she takes a right turn and accelerates a bit fast but not outside the norm for every day driving. Time to try and blend in and disappear until they get to a secure location.

*

Steve looks at the back of his arm which bleeds mildly from a wound he never noticed. "Sorry I doubted you, Trent," he says, looking up at the man.

*

"I can think of at least half a dozen ways, just off the top of my head," Romanova says with a shrug. She leans forward and pops open the central console between May and Cap, digging under the upholstery to find hidden wires, looking for a GPS tracker. She can't reach the dash, or she'd be going in through the glove compartment, too, looking for the same thing. "You've got computer access to this thing, yeah, Aspect?" Yeah. She knows that name. And she knows something about his skills, apparently. "See if there's a homing system in this bucket? May, there's a safe house three blocks east, off Raglan." Natasha almost always knows where to go to ground.

*

"Don't worry about it Captain." Jericho says with a weary chuckle. "I know I sound like a conspiracy theorist. It's just sort of hard to avoid in my situation. There's a reason I don't talk to many people about it. Well, aside from the fact that you never know who quite is listening."

Glancing over, with perhaps some mild concern when 'Romanoff' knows his name, he nods. "Yeah, it's got a GPS system. One moment." He glances out the window, bringing up a couple of screens on his HUD. Something sparks in the glove compartment. "Had a GPS system." He says with a note of satisfaction to his voice.

"Thank you, all three, for your help. That was one of the more… sophisticated attempts. It might have gone badly if you hadn't been there." At the very least, he might have been forced to wolf out. That's always pretty destructive no matter who wins.

*

Melinda May nods curtly to Romanoff and turns the SUV to head east, and no it is not lost on her that no one bothered to answer her on whether or not anyone took any damage. She'll deal with that when they reach the safe house.

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