This will be a picnic

June 21, 2016:

The Falcon and the Black Widow meet at the Triskelion to decide what to do about the Winter Soldier. Definite articles abound.


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.


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Winter Soldier


Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

Natasha Romanoff, AKA the Black Widow, is sitting in her office at the Triskelion. She had set a meeting with the Falcon to discuss Winter Soldier in person, she's reclined in her seat, legs resting on her desk, as she looks at her the clock on the wall. Sam has 5 minutes to get there, she wonders if he's punctual, tardy or an early bird. Usually tells something about a person.

Sam might not be the type to stand on ceremony, but a few habits from his military life have never left him, and one of those is keeping to a pretty strict schedule. Good thing, too: without that skill, it's unlikely he would be able to balance his commitments to the various futurist corporations, spy agencies, and superhero teams he belongs to. A pair of quick taps on the door come with three minutes to spare, and he enters wearing a dark-colored button-up and khakis. Work-appropriate, rather than action-appropriate — he might have just taken the subway over from Stark Tower.

"Hi, Natasha," he says, respectful but friendly. "Mind if I take a seat?"

Natasha is fullly decked in her tactical gear, either she returned from an assignment, is about to go on an assignment, or she doesn't own proper clothes. Though the last option is probably not very likely. "So you're an early bird," Natasha comments, as she takes her feet of her desk and sits up straight, gesturing at the seat across from her, "of course, please have a seat," not a trace of Russian accent in her words, showing her mastery of appearing a native speaker of other languages, "so, you've met the Winter Soldier, care to brief me on that encounter?"

Easing into the indicated chair even as the Black Widow gives her permission — a formality, really — Sam answers, "Sure. I had some time to kill on one of the balconies here when I noticed, uh…" He trails off and fidgets in his seat, looking a bit embarrassed. Romanoff's reputation for observation being what it is, his particular method for increasing situational awareness makes him feel silly. After a moment's hesitation, he glides past the detail as quickly as he can and moves on. "Well. I did the bird thing. It seemed like something was weird on the Thomas Tower rooftop, so I went to check it out."

He shrugs, back to business. "Guy with a metal arm and a sniper rifle pointed at the Triskelion. Didn't really need to ask questions — just did what I had to and scared him off. Managed to get a make on the bike, traced it upstate with help from a hacker friend and traffic cams." He leans back and crosses his arms. "It's weird — the guy was staying in a crap motel. From the arm and the gun and the level of the target, not to mention his skills, I had assumed he was a top-tier assassin. Those guys get paid enough to buy their own islands. Didn't really seem to fit."

He shakes his head, then moves on: "Anyway, we fought again. His arm is susceptible to mag pulse, but he's smart, and he headed where I couldn't fly after him."

Sam can feel Natasha's blue eyes piercing him with a deep gaze when he glosses over a detail, perhaps noting is uneasiness and pondering if she wants to dig deeper. For the time being, she says nothing of it. But she rather makes it obvious she nevertheless took notice. "Good decision," is all she winds up saying about his choice of action.

"There are top tier assassins, Mr. Wilson, and then there's the Winter Soldier," she avoids noting how there's also Black Widow, it's best people don't learn of the past. "He is a great assassin because he doesn't need the fanfare, he doesn't need to build and support a rep, he simply eliminates targets." She nods when Falcon describes the encounter.

"He is also currently working for Hydra, which means they are looking to disrupt if not do worse by eliminating specific SHIELD targets." Natasha pauses a moment to think, before announcing, "we will not find him. But there's something we can find…his next target." She levels her gaze with Sam and asks very seriously, "I will be his next target, whoever it is, I'm good at undercover work…question is, can you locate him on site and take him out before he takes me out?"

"Hydra. Great," Falcon mutters, lip twisting as he sits back and folds his arms over his chest. "So he's not a gun for hire, he's a fanatic. Just what we need." He doesn't sound surprised, just grim, and that mood only continues to darken as Widow outlines her proposal.

"I can find him and fight him, sure. Only problem is that I'm at my best outdoors — which means a lot more sight lines for you to worry about." Arms still crossed, he holds up one hand, saying quickly, "Not that I have any doubts about your skills, but it is going to make your job more dangerous."

There's a momentary pause before he continues, "Which brings up another point. Are we shooting to kill?"

"It gets better," Natasha says, her lips curving into a hint of a smile as Falcon shows his experience working the field against Hydra. "No, not a gun for hire and not a fanatic, more than that, he's not originally Hydra. They stole him from the Russians." She crosses her fingers as she looks at Sam to measure his response to that tidbit.

"I've seen some American movies, I believe the answer to that is…" she pauses and in a rare show of levity, she says, "danger is my middle name," complete with a playful wink and everything. "It's easy to get to open space…I'll announce a SHIELD picnic. Some bonding time for employess from all levels. He will not miss the chance." She speaks with certainty, almost like she knows how the Winter Soldier thinks, that or she speaks from personal experience of what she'd do to eliminate a tough to reach target.

"Naturally, not a word on this to anyone, I still need to survey locations and prepare. Key point is, get to him before he kills me, but first thing first, I'll put top priority for our agent to learn his next target." When asked on whether the order is shoot to kill, Natasha answers rather sharply, "no. Not to kill. The mission is to bring him in, alive. Wound him if you must, neutralize, sure, but no lethal shots."

Sam's not an idiot, and 'Natasha Romanoff' isn't a name whose origin is hard to puzzle out. Still, when she mentions that the Soldier is a Russian export, he's unable to hide the tightened jaw, narrowed eyes, and slow exhalation that might as well be a drawn-out "ugggggggggggh" to someone with the Widow's skill at reading people. He knows he's an open book, too.

"I really, really wish Putin would keep better track of his stuff," he explains, as diplomatically as he knows how. "Dealing with that sort of thing always seems to end with me in Siberia. I hate the cold."

He flashes a smirk when she quotes the oft-used line about danger. "Just so we're on the same page. Are we actually bringing in agents for a fake picnic, or will we try to nab him before it's supposed to start?"

Far from bothered by her sharp tone, the flier nods when she specifies her no-kill policy, a bit of tension leaving his posture.

"I trust the Russians didn't let Hydra borrow his services willingly, which means it's a very high priority operation for Hydra," Natasha keeps a rather good poker face throughout, not giving anything on a personal level, until the comment about Siberia makes her laugh out loud. "So you've been to Siberia, huh?"

"We'll be the only ones in the know about it being fake, so, yes. In other words, I trust you to get to him, before he gets a lethal shot…though if we do our job right, I'll be the only one in danger of getting reacquainted with one of his bullets."

Natasha does grin impishly as Falcon seems relieved whenn she mentions a no kill policy for this assignment, "do people still talk about me? Didn't know I had that kind of a reputation within SHIELD."

"I have been to Siberia, God help me," Sam answers, literally shivering at the memory. "You know the only thing worse than being in Siberia? Being a couple hundred feet above Siberia. The windchill alone… Jesus."

The flier plants one elbow on an armrest, swiveling in his chair for a thoughtful moment. "It's not your reputation — I was just running the numbers," he finally says. "I know firsthand how good this guy is, and he knows some of us in SHIELD are onto him. He also doesn't sound like someone we're expecting to rehabilitate. Shoot to kill might not be an order I like to hear, but it would make our jobs easier." He hitches his shoulders before locking eyes with Natasha. "A lot of people, planning this op, they would give that order, and I wouldn't necessarily blame them."

His grave tone lightens as he continues, "Don't worry about getting shot. The bird thing works great in parks. I'll be on him fast, and I won't let up."

"Well, as long as you didn't need to survive on potato peels from the garbage, you were better off than most there," Natasha offers glibly, "don't be naive, Falcon," Natasha tsks playfully, "you think SHIELD would not appreciate having that kind of 'asset'?" She presents a potential scenario, of course as far as she's concerned, she'll rehabilitate Winter Soldier on her own without anyone's approval. "I am not a lot of people," Natasha says with a knowing smile, "good, then it's settled, I like to keep a small team in the know. In this case, you and I. Thank you for coming in, Falcon."

"Happy to help," Sam answers, taking his cue and standing. "This 'Winter Soldier' needs to be dealt with. Can't think of anyone I'd rather have at my back when I go to try it." He gives Widow a broad smile and a nod. If he has picked up on any hints of a personal connection between the senior SHIELD agent and their target, he isn't showing it. "When you've got a time and a place set up, let me know. I'll be there."

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