Magnets: How do they work?

May 27, 2016:

Falcon discovers the Winter Soldier attempting to assassinate a SHIELD agent. Will the winged Avenger be able to stop him?

The Triskelion

The Headquarters, Armory and Fortress of the Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement and Logistics division is, for the most part, an unassailable tower in the midst of the diplomatic sprawl that is Midtown East. The primary intelligence clearing houses and most of SHIELD's senior leadership are all housed hear, along with a veritable army of agents and staff to keep the place running, the world spinning and the weirdness at bay.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Letting his recent SHIELD target walk free (or rather, be taken to the hospital to be treated for severe but not fatal injuries) cost Winter Soldier in that he was reconditioned yet again. Mistakes like that are not tolerated. While he should have been put back into stasis, too much work needed to be done so the reconditioning was brief and brutal before he was sent out on his next mission.

This one, he cannot fail if he wants to remain active this decade.

Once again, SHIELD is targeted, but this time it is another in the organization and this time, Winter Soldier isn't going to get up close and personal with his target. With his sniper rifle set upon its tripod on a residential building about a ten blocks away, he waits for his target to emerge. There is nothing particularly special about this building, but at one corner there is a perfect, straight-line view of the Triskelion, SHIELD's New York Headquarters, and a perfect view of the door where his target has been tracked entering and exiting over the last week.

The reports have the target exiting for a daily walk within this hour's block, so all he has to do is wait.


Sam Wilson wears a lot of hats. At the moment, he's playing liaison between Stark Industries' medical division and the SHIELD cell he most often contracts with. The former develops and markets some of the most advanced anatomical scanning devices on the market, and the latter needs to be able to distinguish shapeshifting, mind-controlling aliens from the humans they're trying to pass as. You know: a typical Friday.

Sam managed to get the right people from both groups into a conference room, which means he is enjoying a brief, blessed reprieve from being necessary to the proceedings. He's standing on one of the Triskelion's many balconies, headphones humming Curtis Mayfield and eyes on nothing in particular, when he realizes something's off.

He pulls his headphones back, frowning. It takes him a second to figure out what's bugging him: his extensive recon training included a newly-developed technique to expand situational awareness by observing local wildlife. (Ugh, fine, whatever: he "talks to birds.") And some birds several blocks away are pissed.

He identifies the species in moments, based on size and flight profile. Normally they nest on rooftops, but they're unsettled: something else has taken up their space and is emitting a bunch of weird-ass smells and won't go away. There's also a particular pattern to their restless circling that just screams (to Sam, anyway) 'lurking predator.' In short, if these birds could speak, they'd be saying: "Sam, you idiot, rooftop sniper!"

He goes back inside casually. One quick-change later, he jets out the opposite side of the building, riding the lift from a pair of space-age wings and the thrust from Stark Industries' most sci-fi propulsion system. In full on stealth mode, he keeps below the line of the buildings and makes his way over to the source of the (sigh) bird-signal.


Birds. That's not something that Winter Soldier's training included. Pissing off birds has never really been on his radar. Besides, aren't all birds in New York permanently pissed off?

Displacing or freaking out avians aside, Winter Soldier continues his vigil, binoculars to his eyes as he watches the area.

Maybe he catches some movement, maybe it's just a sense he gets, but he lowers the binoculars from his eyes and pulls out one of his pistols as if he's expecting company.

That, or maybe the chatting of those pissed off birds have finally gotten on his nerves and it's time to shut them up.


Falcon dials his goggles to give him an infrared overlay and, at the pitifully short range where such a thing is possible, flag chemical markers for munitions and explosives. Doing his best to balance speed and stealth, he executes a flyby of the rooftop and scans for threats. It doesn't take him long to spot the Winter Soldier, but judging by the drawn pistol, he might have been rumbled in turn.

The sidearm is the bigger threat to Sam personally, but the tripod and rifle are precision engineered for murder at a distance. Protect yourself, or save lives? If that were a quandary for Sam Wilson, he wouldn't be an Avenger.

He cuts thrust, gliding toward the Soldier silently and (he hopes) unseen. Then, folding his wings back into a delta, he dives, takes aim with one gauntlet, and fires his talon grapple: a cable that splits at the end to terminate in four electromagnetic clamps. Barring interference, he'll snag the rifle and yank it away, at which point his cover will be blown and he'll just have to hope he can fly evasively enough to escape return fire.


Perhaps it's the tension in the air that alerts him…or more likely, the sudden flight of the birds who were so recently chiding were enough of a warning. Even as the clamps land on the rifle, he dives for it, grabbing onto the end with his left hand even as there is an attempt to pull it away. Dark, shadowed eyes look at his would-be assailant and his right hand raises the pistol to fire at him.

No words are said, no warning…it's not his M.O. to make snappy quips in combat. He'll leave that to those in spandex.


The magnetic clamps adhere solidly to both the gun and the Soldier's ferrous arm. Falcon (who is wearing a highly sophisticated flight suit designed by the Air Force to absorb and scatter RADAR signals, "spandex" my ass; so what if it's kind of tight-fitting, that is a military necessity) grits his teeth, spins into a roll, and throws his wings wide, turning his dive into a high-G swoop. The harsh lateral course correction takes him out of the path of the first few shots, and with any luck, will give his opponent enough of a yank to forestall any more.

Sam glances back along the cable and swears in surprise when he sees the Soldier hanging on to the gun. This guy's grip must be insane! Thruster flaring, the flier drags gun and gunman rapidly across the rooftop, aiming for a cluster of bulky HVAC units. If a short, sharp jerk doesn't convince the would-be assassin to let go, maybe some blunt force trauma will.


Winter Soldier hates it when he misses. It's a rare occurance and it usually means that he's going to have to deal with a fight. So be it. He does try to pull the winged opponent towards him by pulling the rifle, but even as he does so, he's being dragged along the rooftop. Fine. He can play this game as well.

That left hand isn't letting go, despite the sharp jerk and despite the fact that he's being dragged towards the HVAC units. In fact, he seems more than willing to be dragged. As it looks like he's about to be smashed against one of the units, he crouches to leap up, using the momentum of the drag, to get him on top of the machines so that he can run across them or, better yet, use one to anchor himself to try and pull the gun and its thief back towards him and the rooftop.


When the Soldier does find a solid enough hold, Falcon is brought up short by the gauntlet. He grunts in pain; there's a system built into his sleeve to absorb these pulls, but it's strained to its limit. Worse, he's thrown into a spin and loses lift, veering earthward before he can regain control and swing back toward his opponent.

"You want up close and personal? Fine," Sam mutters. He drops almost to roof height, roaring toward the Winter Soldier as the cable connecting them goes slack. He's clearly aiming to ram his enemy, which is why it might come as a surprise when, just a couple of seconds from impact, the tether connecting them electrifies. His fingers clamped on the trigger for the talon's built-in taser, Sam pitches upward, nearly inverting as he aims to hit the Soldier feet-first.


Winter Soldier goes to yank the gun back as the line goes slack, but the electrified tether causes him to roar in pain and anger even as he lets go. The electronics in the rifle may be fried now…or maybe they survived, but it's ignored even as he tries to leg to of the tether, the jolts of electricity going up his metal arm. There are safeguards so that the electronics and mechanics inside the arm don't get too damaged, but it's not pleasant.

Unable to focus for a moment, he just risks getting rammed even as he raises his pistol and fires rapidly at the incoming Falcon.

When in doubt, shoot.

It means he'll most likely get a kick to the chest which will send him backwards a few feet but hopefully away from the charged tether.


The Soldier's fire is wilder than usual — which is understandable, given the electricity coursing through his system — but not wild enough. Going in for a flying kick means Falcon is presenting a big target: just before his boots connect with the Winter Soldier's chest, one bullet caroms off of his left wing, another grazes his left side, and a third embeds itself in the sole of his right boot.

The Avenger drops into a crouch with a cry of pain, but is up on his feet and backing away in less than a second — although he's favoring his right foot. "Oh, you've done it now," Sam growls, drawing a modified Uzi from one hip holster and covering his opponent. "If you chipped the paint job on that wing, I will drop your ass in the Hudson, I swear to God."

The taser has deactivated, but the magnetic clamps are still holding fast to the Soldier's arm. Seems Sam needs to trigger a release and hasn't yet.


His hand is still on the sniper rifle then and he pulls it close, despite the fact that he's now sitting on the rooftop, having taken a solid boot to the chest. There are probably some bruised or cracked ribs, but he gets to a crouch as if pain is ignored. The sniper rifle is aimed at Falcon and Winter Soldier finally speaks, his voice low and calm…if a little breathy due to the recent wind being knocked out of him. "Leave. Now." Before he pulls the trigger on the rifle. At short range, it'll do a lot more than scratch some paint.


"Yeah, sure thing," Sam says, taking a step back and dropping off of the HVAC unit onto the roof on the opposite side. He has to land carefully, with only one unharmed foot to support himself, but this puts him in full cover — from which he again triggers the taser. (No sense electrocuting someone when an involuntary muscle contraction might pull a trigger and take your head off.)

"You should really work on your people skills, man," Falcon continues conversationally. "Like, you know I've got you tied up in a zappy net. Guy with a weird metal arm, electromagnets rated for air-rescuing soldiers in full kit, a Stark mobile generator's worth of voltage? That is the time for what we call 'manners.'"


There's another snarl as the current goes into his arm, his fingers relaxing on the trigger of the rifle. But even as the taser courses through his system, he grits his teeth and presses a place on his arm, allowing it to emit its own electro-magnetic pulse to counteract the current from Falcon's line.

As a nice side effect, it also counteracts the magnet, the talons dropping off of his arm and the rifle.

There's barely a moment before he pushes back to his feet and begins to stride towards the HVAC pile where Falcon has sought cover. "I said, LEAVE." This isn't his target. His target is his focus. This is too much of a distraction and it needs to be dealt with, permanently, if necessary.


"Oh, damn," Sam mutters, the HUD in his goggles flashing 'grapple malfunction' at him in impersonal yellow letters. At least his onboard systems are still working. His infrared filter lets him see the Soldier's approach and time his response carefully.

Wings up and around him as a shield, he bullrushes straight at his opponent just before the assassin has a chance to round the corner. Staying low, he tries to drive in below the rifle's barrel — it's not made as a close-quarters weapon, and he's hoping to take advantage of that. That done, he'll redefine the term "flying tackle" by triggering an upward jetpack assist. With luck, the Soldier and his rifle will be parted. With less luck, he'll at least have a chance to try to wrestle the gun away or disable it.

Luck or not, this move is really, really likely to hurt.


Since he doesn't see the other leaving, it's easy to presume that the fight is going to continue. The Rifle is slung onto his back, leaving his left hand free while his right holds the pistol. At the charge, he backs up a few steps and fires his pistol at the wing-shield even though he knows that it's not going to do much. There's just too much movement for an accurate headshot which would be the best and quickest way to take him down.

He then leaps to the side to try and avoid the brunt of the tackle attack but he still gets slammed. At least it's the other side instead of the side that was kicked.

The real concern though, is has his target left? But then again, he can try to finish the mission tomorrow. It's not entirely open-ended, but neither is it immediate.


More bullets. Paint has been scratched. There will be no forgiveness.

Falcon knocks his enemy aside, but gives an inarticulate growl of frustration as he jets into the sky: there was no chance to make a grab for the rifle. Worse, now that he's airborne and doesn't have to rely on it to survive, the pain from his injured foot is really starting to kill. He has had just about enough of this crap.

Executing an evasive flight pattern and keeping his wings between himself and the Winter Soldier, he says into his headset, "Falcon to SHIELD. We've got a live shooter at the location I'm sending. Bionic upgrades, sniper rifle, sidearms — but he's good."

Barely waiting for confirmation that backup is on the way, he loops back, draws a machine pistol version of the ICER that he was able to finagle from some SHIELD techie contracts, and prepares to strafe the rooftop.


Winter Soldier is going to have to cut his losses for this location. He has his rifle and his pistols…the tripod is going to have to be left behind. As his enemy flies into the air, he doesn't continue to shoot at him. Instead, he quickly retreats, practically swinging off of the building's fire escape to make his way to a waiting motorcycle on the street.

He knows that this place will be swarming with SHIELD agents in just a few minutes and that it will be watched for a while. He'll have to go back to the dossier to find a new means of assassinating his target.

It's quite possible that one of the machine-pistol's bullets hits him, but again, the pain seems to be ignored. Another couple merely ding off of his left arm.


The Winter Soldier is out of sight before Falcon is close enough to properly tail him. His HUD systems are great for picking out hidden targets, but less so for picking a specific individual out of the teeming mass of Manhattan's humanity.

Thinking fast, he does manage to grab one last clue: switching over to a view filter that picks out high levels of ozone, he manages to spot the recently-electrocuted mystery assassin before the wind of traffic clears away the telltale volatile gas. He gets the make and model of the Soldier's bike; even his optics aren't enough to get a license plate at this distance.

It's not much to go on, but it's something. And given the questionable situation at SHIELD, something he'll have to follow up with trusted friends rather than take to the spy agency. Still, it's worth looking into. He doesn't like snipers in his hometown, and this particular bastard scratched his paint.

Oh, and, as another stab of pain reminds him: shot him in the foot.

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