Flight Pattern

August 30, 2014:

Agent May, Jericho Trent and Steve Rogers prepare for take-off.

The Bus

A big plane somewhere in Syria (and over Syria).


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

It's been an hour or two since May talked with Jericho and they agreed on relocating the Bus to Morocco. She's not been back for very long, but apparently enough to make Tony flee for the lab and to invite Steve to help her do the pre-flight checks on the Bus. So, they are both currently outside the giant bird, walking around and checking her frame and surfaces for anything out of place. And, May is trying to encourage the time-displaced man to ask questions so she can offer explanations. It's … kind of outside her comfort zone.


"On the outside it's the same basic thing," Steve offers, ducking down slightly to look under the Bus and then glancing back to May. "We had these in my day as well. Less computers but they still ran mostly the same way."

He glances up to give May a bit of a mischievous grin - could it be possible that he enjoys making her a little uncomfortable? Surely not. He's Captain America, after all.

"I appreciate the walk through, though. Any chance of getting to fly her at some point? Do you still call planes and boats 'she' or is that sexist now?"

The last part wipes the smile off his face and replaces it with an awkward look.


There's a glow behind May and the Cap. When they turn, Jericho is there - fatigues, amber eyes, rifle and all - and a large, demonic looking lizard is hopping up on his shoulder because walking is for suckers. He looks a bit tuckered out, the lizard. Possible Jericho's been running again.

"Hello May, Captain." He nods approaching. "I figured I'd drop in before headed out to Morocco. Everything going well here?" He'd come in time to hear Cap ask about something being sexist but since he didn't hear what he lets it lie.


Melinda May gives Steve a look. It's either an unamused flat stare, or she knows Rogers is messing with her and tolerating it for his sake. Kind of a toss-up. "Not everyone sticks to that convention anymore, it really depends on the individual. Coulson and I, though, we're rather old school." And there's no doubt that Steve has heard mention of Lola, the pristine cherry red Corvette currently taking up the right space on the loading ramp next to that plain black SUV.

"I can't let you try to fly her during take off and landing," May says, and that's because the Bus is not a little bird, and the air strips they've been frequenting are nowhere near enough for her to do the conventional jet thing. "But on the way to Morocco, sure. Just no barrel rolls. Logan would never forgive either of us." It's probably obvious to everyone now that with the full complement of passengers on the Bus for this mission, May has actually been sharing the pilot's bunkroom with Logan.

May looks over toward Jericho when he arrives and narrows her eyes at the 'little' demon on the man's shoulder, but then very clearly dismisses the creature. "We're doing pre-flight checks now." Which, the external checks are all pretty much done.


"Old school. Right."

Steve nods, hands clasping behind his back as he cranes his head to check the external workings of the Bus. He even kicks one of the gigantic tires to test that it is inflated correctly. There's no denying the Captain has been around planes before.

"He's just worried those bottles of brown he's got squirreled away in his kit'll get broken. Heaven forbid he spills a drop of that precious hooch." Steve smiles slightly. It's all in jest, it would seem. He's noticed that May is sharing a bunkroom with the Canuck but he wouldn't dare say a word. Or even pretend such a word was in his head.

"Hi, Mister Trent. Know anything about planes?"


"Rotorwing craft mostly." Jericho nods looking over the Bus' massive airframe. "And small fixed wing stuff. That's what I flew for the Army. Never got anything this big. Mostly Air Force territory these days. Or SHIELD." If anyone can handle it though, it's May. He's seen her combat piloting ability first hand, in Kush. Damn impressive.

"You were airborne as I recall yes?"


Melinda May finishes the last check on the outside of the plane then starts toward the loading ramp to head inside. She stops at the edge of the ramp, though, and gives K'Nert another very stern glare. "Everyone who boards my Bus will be on their best behavior, or they will be forcibly removed. And I don't care what altitude we're at when that happens."

Turning her attention back to the two men, May offers, "We can be on our way in fifteen to twenty minutes." In other words, stow your crap and buckle in, or follow her to the cockpit.


"Me?" Steve asks, tilting his head at Jericho's question. "Occasionally airborne. Occasionally underwater. Once we dug our way in through the basement in a mechanical drill contraption." Long story. "Never quite had planes this big, though. Closest I ever came was a Flying Fortress but that … wasn't this by any stretch."

He looks to May and then back at Trent, shrugging his shoulders and following her towards the cockpit. Say what you like, it's refreshing to have somebody not treating him like a hyper-sensitive Luddite or some sort of idol.


Steve Rogers is a legend and a war hero, but Jericho knows better than most what makes men like him uncomfortable. "Sure, let's get strapped in. You don't mind if I watch from the cockpit, do you May?" Partly he'd appreciate the view and partly it'd be nice to scope out some of the toys SHIELD has outfitted this thing with.

"You can call me Jericho by the way, if you like." The hacker tells Steve as they move to board the aircraft. "More or less everyone does. Unless you want to be like May." Light teasing. She calls him 'Trent' and little else though in the time he's known her it's gone from almost a curse to a name she doesn't usually seem to mind saying.


Melinda May can still make Trent hop to with a single utterance of his last name if she needs to, that's all that matters. She levels one last look at K'Nert then leads the men into the plane. As everyone else is already aboard, she keys in the sequence to close and secure the loading ramp then leads them up the spiral staircase and through the length of the jet to the cockpit, giving everyone she passes a reminder that they're taking off soon. Luckily, the cockpit was originally designed for a crew of three.

Belting into the primary pilot's seat, May lets Steve and Jericho figure out which one of them is taking the co-pilot's spot and which of them is at the console seat behind the pilot. Donning her aviators and headset, she starts toggling switches and pressing buttons with the fluidity of much practice, the various panels and readouts and displays waking up and responding as she does so. "The main panels are pretty much the same as you likely remember them, Captain, though a lot of them are now digitally generated instead of true analog."


Steve takes a seat at the rear console, letting Jericho occupy the co-pilots seat mostly out of politeness. He turns the chair slightly to crane his neck and look at the readouts. He's taller than the pair of them, anyway.

"I can see that. Don't you worry about losing touch with the outside of the plane? I mean, if those readouts go haywire you're flying blind."


Ordinarily… Jericho would be chuffed. In this case though… "Captain…" He says with a good natured roll of his eyes. "May offered to let you fly the plane. Not me." Once the seats are properly switched, Jericho settles in. K'nert gets brushed off his shoulder and, after sniffing a bit at Cap's boot (Whoo. Do Gooder. He knows the type. Even the idiot human he has to watch is more palatable) he curls up under the hacker's chair. Jericho leans back and gets a kind of faraway look in his eyes. May might recognize it as the look he gets when he's paying more attention to the digital world than the physical one.

"ATC's clear. No military traffic in the area except for the Nimitz Battlegroup near Malta." He says quietly. "I'm transferring that simulation data to the Bus's internal storage." His right hand is moving over his left arm, tapping little motions that resemble typing, then he seems to come back to reality. "Oh it gets better. This could be flown remotely if it came down to it." Not that May would approve of him demonstrating. Rather the opposite, really.


Melinda May glances back over her shoulder at Steve, then at the window panes spanning from in behind her seat all the way around to behind the co-pilot's spot. "If it gets that bad, all I really need is this." She indicates a relatively tiny and truly analog horizon line indicator in the front and center of the panel. "Not to mention, if we hit something severe enough to take out this bird's systems, we have a LOT more to worry about than not being able to read a display."

With a nod at Trent's doing the communications thing and sparing her the effort, May hits still more switches and things, starting the giant bird taxi-ing serenely away from where it had been parked for the past however long and stopping again a safe distance from all of the surrounding buildings. "Hang on to your butts." Yes, she DID just quote Jurassic Park.


Steve switches seats when prompted to, settling into the co-pilot seat and looking over everything that is there. The Super Soldier Serum enhanced his mind just as much as his body, and even as he watches May go through the pre-flight procedure he is already picking it up and locking it away in his memory. Even if it is not a true flying lesson, he'll have some valuable insight if he is ever called upon to fly the Bus. But what the heck kind of messed up situation would that be?

The quote gets a blank look from him that devolves into a baffled quirk of his eyebrow. He chooses to ignore it, though. He gets a dozen of them a day - even more with Stark aboard. He just focuses on the flying part of things.


"Too bad we don't have a lawyer to eat." Jericho murmurs with a chuckle. Too bad also that no one can see K'nert grab his own butt as they take off. Nothing goes over his head. His reflexes are too fast.

"Have you gotten much of a chance to get out and about in Syria?" He's not gotten the chance to operate with the Cap yet. Or Tony for that matter. Morocco's going to be a bit different. Casablanca is a lot lest wild west than most of Syria so resorting to shooting is going to be a lot less of an option. Still an option, just… harder to use and get away with.


Melinda May hits a different set of switches, and the jet starts its VTOL sequence — only a Stark design would be able to get a jet this big off of the ground so smoothly. And, sure enough, under May's practiced hands, within ten minutes they're safely on their way, climbing to cruising altitude. "All right, Captain. Ready to give her a try?"


"I got a look at the Al-Hamidiyah souk," Steve answers Jericho. "Beyond that, not too much. I'd like to go back there one day, though." He doesn't add that the brutality in the streets reminded him all too much of things he'd seen decades ago. Things he would probably rather forget but that an eidetic memory will never allow him to.

He turns his attention to May when she offers, nodding his head and moving to take the wheel. "So, you said only one barrel roll, right?"

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