Virus Hunt Syria: Moving On

August 29, 2014:

Jericho confers with May on the results of their operations in Syria and the surrounding area, then informs her of his newest lead.

Black Market Port, Northern Syria

A small, almost abandoned port facility used by smugglers and black marketeers.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Jericho had called May up from a small, dilapidated port facility that most days passes for abandoned. In reality, it's a black market unloading facility which is ideal for Jericho because he doesn't really want people to ask questions about why he needs to unload some specific containers, look inside them, and then put them back on the ship.

All that done, though, he's down in the cargo hold where he's run about a mile of power cable into some make-shift hard drive housings (another convenience of the black market port) and been plugging at the contents for about an hour. The more he works, the more unhappy he looks. He's clearly making progress… he just doesn't like what it's telling him.

*

Melinda May steps gingerly through the scattered spaghetti-plate of cabling all over the floor as she approaches Trent. "You look like you're finding out all kinds of wonderful information.

*

"Marvelous, wonderful information, yeah." Jericho turns and nods to May as she enters. "Thanks for coming. I'm just pulling all of the ships navigational data into this but let me bring you up to speed so far."

A holographic projector flickers, showing a globe with various mutant enclaves highlighted in red. "Hydra has been running complex social simulations to determine how the world would react to a pattern of mutant massacres. The goal seems to be to drive the mutants into Hydra's camp so far that they'll begin to openly fight for them, along with any supporters they may have. That's why we've been recovering virus caches in various mutant communities around the world. This isn't genocide we're looking at. It's social engineering."

*

"So this is all geared toward pushing the mutant communities into allying with HYDRA." May frowns. This is even worse than genocide. "Have you found anything that spells out their plan in so many words?" Something to hand to Fury that can be shown to the WSC. She crosses her arms, studying the hard drives as if they'll just start showing her the information she wants.

*

"Yeah. I'm running their full simulation now. I can give it to you along with their extrapolated data. It's a lot though. The upshot of it is just what I said. You just have to wade through the parameters and simulation specifics to get there." Jericho waves his hand and the globe resets. "Right now though I'm a bit more interested in where this stuff has been coming from, and I have a lead on that too thanks to our busts and this ship. Multiple hits on this stuff passing through the Port of Casablanca in Morocco. They've got to have a warehouse or checkpoint or something there. Sounds like our next stop, don't you think?"

*

Melinda May nods. "The Bus is ready to go when you are. Morocco is a short hop." Relatively. "Anything in there saying that they're aware of what we've been doing?" She hopes not. "And will I need to make room for more people or equipment for the hop over?"

*

"Mmmm. Well I suspect you won't want Partisan on the trip. The two of us can get over there via our usual methods. If you want any of this gear here, we can send it over. Otherwise I'm going to have the virus shipment neutralized and then the ship towed out to sea and scuttled. No reason for Hydra to ever find it." Jericho looks about the crowded hold with a nod. "Is everything okay back on the Bus? We rounded up a pretty… eclectic group of people."

*

Melinda May shrugs lightly. "I'm honestly surprised that Logan is getting along with everyone so well. But then, I think Wilson's a good influence." And it likely doesn't hurt that Tony has truly taken 'hiding in the lab' to heart.

*

"Sam's a good guy. I think he'd do well with your organization." Where Jericho would not, goes unsaid. "Logan… he seemed to know or know of our guest the other night. Did you pick up on that? I only did because of some friends but it seemed like it might be a bit more personal for him."

Jericho trails off, thinking before he shakes it off. "For another time, I suppose. If we can track this back and shut it down that'll be step one. Then we'll have to find all the cache around the world and neutralize them. And by we I mean mostly SHIELD."

*

Melinda May nods a bit absently as well. She's been meaning to ask about the red-visored man that Trent seemed to recognize somehow, and this is the perfect lead-in to that question. "Speaking of, who was the party crasher? It seemed like you recognized him."

*

"Hadn't seem him before, per se, but I recognized the insignia he was wearing under his uniform." The hacker turns and leans on the table supporting his weight. "I promised not to out them because I have friends involved with them, but since I happen to know some of them recently had a meeting with Hill I can tell you a little bit. That was a member of the X-men. They're a mutant vigilante group and they're highly, annoyingly secretive. I haven't done any digging on them… mostly as a courtesy. Same reason I don't dig on SHIELD." Not because he can't so much as that it is at present more trouble than it is worth.

"That particular one goes by the name of Cyclops and I don't really know anything more about him. I do know that a group of X-men recently decided to come into the light and operate above board and in the open. So I'd expect to see more of them in the future."

*

"All right." She's actually not all that surprised. This whole mess has been bringing people out of the woodwork, and maybe for the better. "If he shows up in Morocco, I can't be held responsible if Logan takes it personally." Honestly, she knows the diminutive man well enough to trust his level of self-control even around a potentially volatile quantity. Regardless, though, she'll talk with Logan. Get his take on all of this.

*

Jericho nods. "If you trusted him enough to let him on your Bus, May, I'll trust him to handle himself. I'll be honest with you, my experience with these X-Men has not been universally positive. My read on them is that they can be sanctimonious, self-righteous, moralistic jackasses." The hacker looks over to the bank of drives as something beeps, taking a moment to handle whatever it is. "But then, my experience with SHIELD hasn't been universally positive either and much like I can trust you in SHIELD, the friends I do have on the X-Men are good people. And there's one there I trust implicitly." He hasn't seen her out here, but he hasn't expected to.

"So… all that to say, if we run into them I trust you guys to handle it."

*

"Fair enough." May doesn't voice her suspicion that should Trent be tapped for the Initiative, he'll actually have to worry about SHIELD less instead of more. But as that's only her impression, she keeps it to herself for now. "Should I take the team ahead, or wait for your go?"

*

"Take 'em. I'll round up Partisan and meet you there. If you can run down whatever it is before I get there, so much the better." Jericho sighs. "We're on the clock, but you've been doing this longer than me, I don't have to tell you that. I don't think Morocco is the origin point. We'll be looking for something that links that place to somewhere cold and remote. Mostly cold." He pauses. "Anything I can do for you before we get this show on the road?"

*

Melinda May shakes her head no. "Just be careful." And with that she turns and picks her way out again

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