Chilling News

July 27, 2014:

Jericho has some news to share with May about the Hydra anti mutant virus. May… brings a few friends.

Jericho's Midtown Safe house

One of the things Jericho did not consider when selecting this place was entertaining SHIELD op teams. Silly Jericho.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Jericho has gotten used to working with May. Very used to it. He'd really trust her to have his back with just about anything if she weren't so committed to an organization that he just cannot trust. Still, that aside, he likes to think he's got a good rapport going with her so when his investigations finally started to bear fruit - important fruit to boot - he immediately texted her to ask her to come over to his safe house for an important discussion.

*

'Captain America has changed his tune a bit in recent days regarding the question about Aspect. He hadn't believed a word the man had said when they originally met. But when he helped save him from what was clearly an assassination attempt, he'd begun to change his tune a little bit. When May got the call, he offered to come and offered Paul a way to get out of the hospital bed, if the Detective was so inclined.

*

Paul wasn't in the hospital bed per se. He had to return the car May checked out for him the night before and Sara insisted on going with him. Why does everyone think he's fragile? And for some reason, the doctor who stitched him up also wasn't really happy about him deciding to leave on his own and as soon as he stepped into the Triskelion, he was informed in no uncertain terms that he was to get up to Medbay and be examined to make sure he didn’t pull out any stitches. Why does no one remember he's not actually a SHIELD agent? But the pain meds wore off and he's subsisting on ibuprofen so he's happy to get see the doctor and make sure he leaves with a prescription. Which is where Steve found them. And dragged them along on another SHIELD… whatever. This is what happens when the NYPD suspends them.

*

What Paul doesn't know is that Sara insisted on coming with him just to get out of the house and keep from losing her mind. It's like vacation, only without the pina coladas and cabana boys. And what fun is that? She winks at Steve as she falls in with the parade of agents, sipping at the coffee she brought with her. Since the last coffee delivery was so rudely interrupted.

*

When the Captain expresses his thoughts about getting Paul into the information loop and headed for Medical, May simply follows along, though she does pull her phone and dial a number quickly. "Barton. Meet us at the motor pool. And tell Murray I'm going to sign out an SUV while you're there." Us? She doesn't elaborate. She just ends the call again. And the comment about the vehicle is to remind the archer that SHE is going to do the driving, but mostly because she knows where Trent's safe house is.

This group going through the halls of the Triskelion is likely memorable enough to make regular non-field agents skitter out of their way, so even walking unhurriedly in deference to Paul's not being at 100 percent, they're making good time toward the motor pool.

*

Barton is on the move, even with an arm in the sling. He's got all that paint crap off his face, grabbed yet -another- shower, and is feeling human. Down to motor pool, he's scrawling his name on the paperwork, grabbing up the keys, and when May shows, tosses them over in an underhand flip.

And once on the move, sunglasses are placed over his eyes, and he sits in the front seat, free arm crossed, and is silent.

*

Trent's place, well this one anyway, is in Midtown, not all that far from the Triskelion as the Blackhawk flies. Of course, the grand group will be driving so it'll take a little longer. The place they'll all end up is a nice apartment building overlooking the water on the west side of the island, toward the rest of the city. It's remarkable in that it's unremarkable. Nice, but in no way stands out from anything else. May can direct people, if she's feeling chatty, to a place on the sixth floor. Or she can lead the way. Either way it's a damn sight nicer than the loft he was staying at when Sara interrupted that hit several weeks back.

*

Steve grins as Sara winks at him and when it's time to pile into the SUV he is sure to take a seat next to her. His eyes glance out towards the city as he ponders the ordeal they all went through earlier and what meaning it has for the rest of the city. For the rest of his country, really. Is this Trent person involved somehow? Still more questions than answers.

*

"Shotgun." Does that work with SHIELD? Poor Paul's wounded and he's willing to use that to get the good seat. Regardless, he stays mostly quiet on the trip to see Trent and waits for the narcotics to kick in.

*

Sara is appropriately quiet on the ride over to Trent's, apparently content to sit wherever. Once they get there, though, she arches a brow at the building. "Damn," she murmurs. "Going into hiding must pay well. Clearly I went down the wrong career path."

*

Melinda May catches the keys easily when Barton tosses them to her, and possibly a bit surprisingly, she doesn't give him any flack for relinquishing them so easily. After the shuffling over seating in the vehicle, the drive to the predetermined safe house is uneventful enough. She stops the car to let them all out in front of the building while she finds a parking space. She can catch up again quickly enough.

*

Barton smirks at the announcement, even after he's buckled in. "Oops," is given in response, but he doesn't sound the least bit repentant. Once there, and closing the door, he offers an olive branch of sorts, "You can have it on the way back."

Now, he turns around to look at the building and whistles softly. "Damn. I didn't live this good… ever. Wonder if he's into speculation."

Shrugging, the archer is ready to head up where and when told, keeping an eye out for anything that might prove to be difficult- like that CCTV camera…

*

Going into hiding pays just fine so long as you're willing and able to swipe the bank accounts of the hit men who fail to kill you. The hours are long and the benefits kind of suck, but you do get to set your own schedule, so there's that.

The front door opens shortly before anyone has a chance to knock. Jericho blinks, standing there in a red tee and jeans with tumbler full of clear liquid in hand. He'd heard a group of people headed his way but hadn't realized that it was kind of… everybody.

"Don't you people have logistics to be enforcing or something?" Paul and May have seen Jericho recently, to everyone else the fact that his eyes are banded amber like a tigers-eye may be a bit surprising.

"Come on in. I presume May's on her way up?" He says turning to go into his apartment. The TV in the living room has what seems to be an interactive world atlas on it, several places highlighted in red. Shadows briefly skitter at the edge of sight and there's a slight hissing sound before something moves at a rapid pace down the hallway on the left.

"Help yourself to the fridge. Soda, beer and vodka in there." Trent calls back. Oy. This place is gonna get a little cramped.

*

Steve walks out to check the view as he holds his belt with both hands, sort of his classic at ease pose. While he wears a dark version of his suit, he doesn't have his helmet with him. His shield, however, is fastened to his back. He whistles, "Nice place." But he doesn't take Aspect up on the refreshments

*

"Our reward is not in the pay but the fulfillment we get from helping others." Paul tells Sara as he also looks over the building. "Plus we don't commit computer crime and steal money over the internet." As they approach the apartment, his steps slow a moment and his nose wrinkles. Giving Trent a nod on the way inside, he looks around and remarks "I see you didn't take my advice about getting rid of the demon."

*

"Uh huh. Call it what you want, Paul. I can be a little bit jealous." Sara flashes a grin to Trent when he opens the door, shrugging. "Paul and I are still on suspension until the department decides what they're doing with a dead man. I don't like getting bored. Also, it's back up in case someone starts shooting again," she adds with a smirk, finding herself a corner to claim as the party files in.

*

Clint catches the flitting about, but regardless of where he looks, it's always out of the corner of his eye. If he had his bow, sure… as an archer, one is always looking at shots, even those not taken. It's habit.

Steve may not take the guy up on beer, but Clint will, and he wanders towards the fridge. Opening it up, the free hand sways over the choices before he decides against any of them, and closes the door again. Better not. "Nice place. Rent controlled?"

*

"He's a nicer house guest than some." Jericho retorts, sipping his vodka. "And he's a friend of a friend. So no, I didn't get rid of him." Besides, that not why Paul senses demonic on him. Not that Jericho knows that.

"I didn't realize my discoveries had generated that much interest around the office…"

Sara's comment that she can be backup if things start hitting the fan provokes a pained little laugh. "God I hope not. I just got this place set up a little while ago. I'd like to hang on to it for a few months before something inevitably goes wrong.

"Yeah… Barton isn't it? Very controlled." Not rent. More like access controlled. All those nice bugs he's got in the hallways are only the beginning.

"So really, what are you all doing here? Is it just the thing I asked May to come here for? I mean that's important, but I didn't think it'd get an OP team down in my living room." Cap gets an… odd glance. "Are you expecting trouble?"

*

Steve looks over his shoulder and shrugs at Jericho. "More and more, I am." He takes a look at the display that Jericho has up and idly listens to the conversation going on.

*

Paul finds a nice, single chair that's not too deep for him to sit in. "Lately, all I ever expect is trouble. And it seems, at least a quarter of the time, it involves you, Trent." Life used to be so simple when his biggest headache was filling out paperwork for shooting someone.

*

"To be fair," Sara points out to Paul, crossing her arms loosely over her chest, "I'm pretty sure the same could be said of us. I mean. Let's look back at the last few weeks and tell me no one would be looking at us thinking maybe some of this was our fault. But. You know." She shrugs, pushing a hand through her hair as she looks to the atlas on the television.

*

Melinda May does finally catch up and looks at everyone — and that shadow — when she arrives. She doesn't help herself to a beverage though she already knows she could if she wanted to. At least this time she didn't bring Trent one of his own bugs from the hallway. He must have done a better job of hiding the one around the fire extinguisher.

And of course, because that's how she is, the moment she's in the room with the rest of them she focuses on Trent. "What did you find?"

*

Barton catches the 'controlled' part, and doesn't bother sitting down. Instead, he finds a spot by the window and leans there. He's not got his arrows, but he does have his 'hold out' pistol. Doesn't go anywhere without it.

Noting that May's got the same thoughts, he raises his gaze to one more that he finds and nods. Not sitting down. Nope.

*

Steve gets a concerned nod and Sara a thankful one. "I had a breakthrough in tracking that Hydra Virus. It's being made overseas. A lot of it comes in through Canada but it gets shipped there from somewhere."

He turns and picks a few documents off the coffee table and scans them. While he's so occupied, the shadow that Hawkeye is looking at manifests glowing red cat-slitted eyes.

"A lot of the components for this kind of bio-engineering have to be kept extreme cold storage. There are only a few corporations in the wor-" He glances up. "K'nert! Knock that off!" The eyes disappear. "Ay…"

"Sorry. He doesn't like company. Anyway, there's only a few places it can be gotten and no one's bought or stolen any recently. Which means that they have to be storing it in places where it's naturally cold enough without the refrigeration gear."

At that Jericho turns and waves his hand at the TV. Iceland, parts of Greenland, several spots in Antarctica, some places in the Tibetan Highlands and a half dozen other similar remote and chilly locations show up highlighted in red. "I don't, obviously, have the ability to actually search all of these." Not without doing something notable like hijacking and re-tasking spy satellites.

*

"But we do," Steve replies, but his eyes aren't on the displays anymore, and aren't even on Jericho. When he notices the shadow, his eyes look towards Sara, wondering idly if the thing has something to do with her. When Jericho chastens the demon, Steve raises his eyebrow. Good thing he brought a shield.

*

"Not exactly the most hospitable places in the world." Paul points out. "Or the easiest to get to. And any physical investigation will be pretty obvious considering how remote and isolated they are."

*

Sara shakes her head to Steve's look, pausing when she actually gets a glimpse at the cat. "That thing is uglier than a darkling," she murmurs, rubbing a hand at the back of her neck as she looks back to the screen. "Unless you go in as something people expect to see in those places," she adds to Paul's observation. "Archaeological or geological team. Scientists."

*

Melinda May actually, honest to god, pinches the bridge of her nose between two fingers. He's gone and NAMED the thing? "I'm fairly sure that if any of us were to just gallavant off to any of these places, our bosses would pitch the biggest fits ever." She can almost hear Hill's vitriol now. It would NOT be pretty. "How can we help?" She's willing to ask for server time on SHIELD's systems, but she knows Trent would be leery of that.

*

Clint catches the glowing red eyes, and drops the good arm down, ready to reach for the pistol. Thing is… yeah. Thankfully Cap's got his shield. After the other night, serious profound respect for that thing.

Though, a Hydra Virus? Brows rise; always things to learn when one sits and watches. Or rather, when one reads files. "I'm fairly certain if the thing is made by Hydra, upstairs would be pretty hot about us NOT getting them involved."

He looks around at those gathered, "And, by the way? Cold. Still waiting for Hawaii." Now that he's gotten to say his piece, the archer falls silent once again. Anyone needs his opinion, he'll give it- after.

*

"Short of actually sending an OP team out there - and Detective Manning is right, it'd be pretty notable, all those places are pretty remote - what I need is a subterra imaging satellite that people won't notice me taking over for long periods of time. Or some other means of… I dunno… scrying those places?" Paul and Sara get a curious look. He's got no idea what their limitations are nor really, despite appearances, about things magical.

"I can just take one over, but people will get upset and it won't be long before Hydra isn't the only group of people that wants me shot."

There's a pause. "Or a better option. I suppose…" Oh gods, he can't believe he's about to mention this. "I suppose I could actually take a shortcut out there, but there's no way in hell I'd want to do it alone." He means that. K'nert might be persuaded to do that, but there's time dilation issues for folks who have regular jobs. And going out alone seems like a good recipe for going missing, either half a globe away, or worse in Limbo itself.

*

Two weeks ago, Cap wouldn't have trusted this guy to feed his fish, and now he's surprised he's so willing and agreeable. Perhaps it's because it has something to do with Hydra. Perhaps there's another reason. Either way, Steve doesn't really have a regular job. "I'm interested."

*

Hah. Did they think he was kidding when he said Trent had a demon? When Trent glances at him, Paul looks over the locations again and shakes his head. "No. I don't care if there are gates to hell near there. I'm not going in there again and I'm certainly not taking anyone. You can think of another way." After a pause, he adds "That there's a couple in Antarctica kind of scares me considering what Lovecraft wrote." Did the guy know something no one else did?

*

"He said no way in hell," Sara points out helpfully to Paul, smile quirking despite herself. "We can't scry, though," she shakes her head to Jericho. "We might know a few people with a few tricks, but I don't think any of them have anything where it's that easy an answer. If you need support in a fight?" She shrugs, looking around the group. "I'm still on suspension, nothing better to do."

*

Melinda May quirks an eyebrow briefly at the various hell comments. "If someone's going anywhere, it'll be by plane." And she's driving. Focusing on Trent again, she says with just emphasis to mean that there's something going unsaid, "I'll put in a request, see what can be done." Aka, she's going to ask Romanoff to speak with the director and regardless of how much it annoys Hill, the request will NOT go through 'normal' channels.

*

Jericho nods. He can work with that. Sara and Steve will be nice to have with him if only because he's fairly sure both are better fighters than he.

"Alright. I'd really rather not do the Limbo thing except at last resort. Looks like we may have some globetrotting to do then."

Jericho will work with absolutely whomever he has to in order to get this done. On the list of people he might have to work with, Sara, Steve and even Paul are all pretty palatable options.

"Thanks." He adds, meaning not only May, but all those present.

*

Steve nods but turns back to the view and looks out over the city. He's glad Sara will be there. They could use her and it'll be nice to have her around. May too. He's going to want a heck of a lot more information than they currently have before they set out.

*

Limbo? As soon as he thinks of it, he knows where the nearest portal locations are. It's actually very annoying since he doesn't particularly want to know. "You can really hack into a spy satellite?" he asks curiously. "No wonder so many people want you dead."

*

"I object on general principal to targeted biological weapons," Sara smiles ruefully to Jericho. "I'm glad to back you up on this."

*

Melinda May lets the others chat idly for a bit, pulling out her phone and tapping a message into it before putting it back into a pocket. When she's returning the phone to her pocket, she can see that red-cat-eyed shadow in peripheral vision, so without so much as turning her head she sweeps a foot sideways to push the critter away, as one might a cat or small dog they're not really wanting to have approach.

*

Jericho pulls out the bench to the electric piano on the far side of the room and sits down in it sipping more vodka. "I can, Paul. I don't advertise it much but there aren't many things I can't hack if I'm not concerned about the consequences. Like, getting into a spy satellite? Doable. Getting into one without someone eventually noticing I've done it?" He makes a so-so motion with his hand. "Depends on what I'm doing." The reality is the number of hackers on his level probably wouldn't fill a good sized classroom. They're out there and there are folks better than he, but he has too many ways to cheat for them to be many.

"Yeah, I do too. And the doctors I've been working with on this tell me we're looking at something that could take out a lot of people. Like, black plague levels of people. I don't know why Hydra throught this was a good idea. Maybe one of their cells went off the reservation."

K'nert gets an amused smile. He'd let the thing skulk about as it likes but he doesn't want it to cause Paul or Sara any discomfort. "K'nert, make yourself scarce. Go get some jerky. Just don't eat too much or Illy will put you on an exercise regimen. Again."

*

Paul watches the little demon with narrowed eyes before he looks back to Trent. "It seems you're getting more and more tainted every time I see you. I don't know what you think you're doing but if you're not careful, you're going to end up destined for Hell. And believe me, it's not a place you want to be."

*

"Or black plague level of death is in their plans," Sara shrugs, shaking her head. "I don't know much about these guys, but they certainly don't seem to be the sort to worry too much about collateral damage. Anything we can do to put a wrench in their plans, I'm in for it."

*

Melinda May isn't expecting to hear back from the message on her phone any time soon, so now she does finally go help herself to a beverage. Water because she's driving. "Doesn't matter why. THis just needs to be stopped."

*

"No argument here." Jericho nods. Paul gets a curious look. A sort of 'what happened to you anyway?' kind of look, but he doesn't push because it's not his place to ask. "Detective Manning I realize that I don't inspire trust… but I am taking all the precautions I believe appropriate. There are other factors at work." Mostly he bets the taint Paul is seeing is the large amounts of demonic magic he's absorbed. He's really gonna have to figure out how that all works at some point.

*

"It's your… soul." Paul finishes after a pause and shrugs. He's not really sure of the whole soul business but whatever it is, there's a bad place for it to go and it feels just like Trent. Except much, much worse. "But past a certain point, I'm guessing there's no going back so think carefully about what you're doing. In any case, this needs to be stopped so I'm in."

*

"So I'll take him to confession, Paul," Sara sighs at her partner. "Nothing too great that we can't be forgiven if we truly repent, and all that." She checks her watch, pushing away from her perch. "Are we good here?"

*

Melinda May finishes her water quickly, figuring they are done here, considering Captain and Barton (doesn't quite ring as nicely as Captain and Tenielle) are woolgathering and brooding respectively. "Yes. Trent, If you narrow the search field some more, let me know. And I'll keep you posted on my side." She looks to all the others, ready to head out and drop the two detectives off where ever they want on the way back to the Triskleion.

*

"Yeah, I think so. Thanks for coming May. And everyone else." And showing them where I live. Well at least he has other safe houses. Worse comes to worse they can meet here again and no one will have to ask where it is. He rather doubts any of them will be coming over for dinner any time soon though."

"Let me know when you have something. I'll be up to my usual tricks until then."

The two NYPD detectives get an apologetic glance. "Sorry the place was a bit… dark. Just how it is with me right now. Be seeing you both around?" Other than for this, he means.

*

"I bet the Magdalena went to confession often." Paul murmurs and stands up. Granted, she had help from Etrigan. "Let's get out of here." At Trent's question, he gives the man a dry look. "I suspect that's unavoidable."

*

"Inevitably," Sara smiles ruefully to Trent. "Take care," she nods politely, helping May herd the others out of the apartment. "And, uh," she adds on her way out. "You might want to look into that pest problem." With a wiggle of her finger toward K'nert.

*

Melinda May has no illusions about where her soul will end up, and sooner rather than later. But, she doesn't mention that aloud to anyone here. She figures as long as she keeps consistently trying to do what she feels is right, she'll go where ever she ends up with no real regrets. Okay, maybe several, but not over what she's done for a living.

*

"K'nert isn't the one you need to be worried about." Jericho chuckles wryly. "But I don't think it'll be an issue for any of you, at any rate. I'll keep it that way, long as I can." The things he does for friends.

"Drive safe." This said with a smile to May. "I'll be in touch." And then he closes the door behind them.

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