A Shot in the Dark

January 18, 2015:

A SHIELD team responds to an attack in progress at a satellite office in New York

SHIELD annex, shadow realm.

A SHIELD Satellite Annex at the edge of the diplomatic quarter… gone horribly, horribly wrong.


NPCs: Slendermen, HYDRA witches, and SHIELD Personnel


Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

The Triskelion is SHIELD's primary facility in New York, but far from the only one. There are some things that are better suited to small satellite offices and let's be honest, it's not like New York is exactly small. One such office, at the edge of the diplomatic quarter, is shared space between what the military calls 'Signals Intelligence' aka, spying on communications, and a small R and D effort primarily dedicated to the same. The primary defense of these satellite offices is secrecy. Barred Gates and key card readers only keep out so much. Then again, they're on the US mainland. How dangerous could the place be?

That depends entirely on what you qualify as danger. Jericho Trent had alerted May in past weeks that HYDRA, or someone in HYDRA, had decided to target SHIELD agents and affiliates via magical means. May herself was on that list and it only kept getting larger. Case in point: At exactly 9:15 am, an alarm went out from the satellite office. Automated security breach alarm. By 9:18 it was clear that the facility had gone black. The phone lines were cut and no one was answering their cell. By 9:20 May had recieved a text from a certain nameless source that a HYDRA attack was in progress and please hurry the hell up and get over here.

Melinda May had been called on the alert when the initial alarm went out, so by 9:20 when the text came in, she was already most of the way through a rushed pre-flight sequence on a black SHIELD helicopter. Pretty much all they're waiting on at the moment is for the engines to be warm enough for a rushed takeoff and for the last of the people riding over to clamber aboard and belt in.

A quickly typed text is sent back from May's phone: 'on our way'

U.S. Agent isn't on the SHIELD texting list, since he's fully a sole employee of the United States of America - they might be on the same side, but Walker would never swear to anything else but the Constitution of the United States and the protection of its shores. All others can wait. He does, however, have contacts with the particular signals intelligence office, having been using it to try and crack down on terrorist operations in Gotham. As part of protocol, he'd been added to the alert list when that particular office's alarm went out - after all, he had a vested interest.

All of which leads him to being bent over a black motorcycle and whipping into the neighborhood, his shield strapped to his back and a black helmet hiding his features. Luckily, he was still in town after consulting on that SHIELD interrogation.

From the opposite direction, down towards the diplomatic quarter, a similar scene unfolds, but the rather the dark uniform of US Agent is swapped for the more brightly colored Captain America version. He gives the bike some gas, picking up speed down the parkway and weaving between vehicles. It might not be that crowded on a Sunday morning, but Cap continues to accelerate, making the obstructions more dangerous.

As he takes the final turn, his bike skids a little bit on the watery pavement. He holds the bike up and pulls close to where the building in question is to ditch his bike. Blue eyes peer towards the structure as he begins to think about things like mode of entry. "This is Cap. I'm here. Who else is coming?"

Sara Pezzini was trading off transcripts and reports on the interrogation between NYPD and SHIELD when the call went out, which finds her on the helicopter with May. "Never boring here, is it?" she observes to the agent, slipping a communicator into her ear as she straps in. "On our way, Cap," she replies to the question. "Anything weird sticking its head up yet?"

Outwardly, everything is situation normal, but everyone on the alert list likely knows better than to assume that's actually the case. Still, it's interesting that there's no unusual sounds or lights coming out of the building. The only key that something might be amiss is the absense of a guard at the gate. Nonetheless SHIELD access keys still work and it won't take long for Steve and US Agent to be at the front door.

May and Sara get a lovely overhead view of New York Morning traffic, but the not for long. The flight itself is less than five minutes to the same oddly quiet SHIELD office.

It's when they get close, like, up to the door, that the wierdness starts. Nothing concrete at first. Just the hair on the back of the neck standing up like the air is charged with electricity, a feeling of creeping unnamed dread and the faintst whiff of sulpher in the air. You have to be practically on the front door to smell it, but… there it is. And, odd, are there no lights on? The windows are blacked out. Secret facilities usually are so no strangness ther but you can usually see light coming from under the door… and there doesn't seem to be.

+MEET: Leopold Fitz has arrived via +meet.

Also aboard the helicopter with Agent May and Detective Pezzini is another of May's team, Leopold Fitz. He didn't take the time to change out of his typical lab attire, so the standard issue SHIELD field armor is worn over a pair of slacks, a nice shirt and tie. He'd ditched the cardigan in favor of, you know, being able to move. He's silent for a time, having buried his nose into a tablet filled with intelligence on the facility - up until now, he didn't exactly know of it's existence. Not exactly.

"Oh, just loads of excitement," comes a glib response to Sara's banter, before he's distracted by something on the tablet. "Huh. So that's where they assigned Kyle."

As soon as they've landed, Fitz grabs a satchel filled with gear and follows the others, keeping behind those who know damn well better than he how to use a sidearm. His expression is wary, but after a few sniffs of the air, he frowns. "We should be wearing gas masks," he tells May. "There's a supply of them in the chopper."

"ETA, two minutes," May answers just a breath after Sara does. Barely seconds after the last SHIELD agent straps into the helicopter, May has the bird in the air and making a normally very unkosher beeline for the remote R&D office. Traffic, news, police, and other low-level air traffic was told to move clear, and if they didn't comply, their pilots had better be good enough to get the hell out of her way.

Once they're all on the ground and Fitz warns about wearing gasmasks, she nods and sends one of the rest of the helicopter team back for them. "Keep on it, Fitz." She's trusting his brains to help them get this under control, and fast.

U.S. Agent whips his bike to a stop, pulling off the helmet and unstrapping his shield as he moves to approach the doors. He's not particularly prone to playing it safe or holding back, the only hesitance being that he knows his isn't technically his building. Although it -is- in the United States, so that makes it in his jurisdiction. Then he spots the sight of Cap coming from the opposite direction and raises an eyebrow, "Losin' a step, old man," he says with a crooked grin. "This a real problem, or did one of your SHIELD pals stub his toe?"

"Nothing yet, 'Blade," Cap whispers into the radio on his wrist. "I'm headed in to see what I can find. I'll meet up with you in there." Cap looks up at the fence in front of him, sizing it up, before he jumps inhumanely high and clears it in one leap.

He lands in a huff in some underbrush and steps low. If the computer rooms were cut that may mean that it happened down lower in the building — perhaps first floor or in a basement. He doesn't want to meet anyone right away and lose his cover, so instead, he's looking to climb up the rain drain on the side of the building to give him access to the second floor. Most of the time the windows are blacked out — is it with paint? Cap is going to try and find if he can get into the building via the third floor.

Captain America turns, looks at US Agent, and shrugs. "I've had my ensure today. I'm not sure what the problem is. The short answer is, 'I don't know.'"

When Sara steps out of the helicopter, she isn't wearing anything that would qualify as protection or armor. Which probably seems a little bit strange to those not in the know about the detective. As soon as she's close enough to get a whiff of the sulfur in the air, though, she wrinkles her nose, grimacing. "It's a real problem," she says. "That's sulfur. Sulfur is never a good sign." At her right wrist, there's a glint of silver as tendrils of Witchblade start to climb over her hand and forearm.

It's not a stubbed toe. Cap breaks in through the window, which is indeed just painted over. The front door also works just fine. When entered though all sense of light is immediately lost which is odd when one considers that in Cap's case there's a broken window right behind him. No light though. None through the open door. None through the window. The entire place is pitch black.

According to Fitz's dossier there were seven SHIELD agents and researchers here. There's no sign of them. There's no sign of anyone and if anyone turns to look back at the door or window… there's no sign of that either. The office space seems intact though. It's just all empty and eerily quiet…

Until, up head from what was the main room there's an unearthly shriek and the sound of gunfire and bladework.

Fitz offers a smile to the agent who provides a gas mask, and promptly fits it over his face. Then, the satchel hits pavement, and the short scientist is pulling out a ballistic case. "We should send the seekers in, first," he advises, while opening the case to reveal a set of eight sphere-shaped objects. "They're shielded against every type of interference we know about, so if these go dark, well, at least we'll have a better idea of how screwed we are. Maybe." He's not about to say it out loud, but he doesn't believe in this magic nonsense at all. Everything can be explained by science, and if not, that simply means that science hasn't caught up with it yet.

A control pad tilts upward, and Fitz begins rapidly programming the seekers for this particular operation.

The scientist's eyes briefly stray toward that… thing… happening to Sara's hand and forearm. His brow furrows with an unspoken question, but we all know the field isn't time for chit chat. Chalking it up to science, because everything is science, he goes back to his work. The seekers begin to spin about their charging centrifuge, receiving their programming and a burst if power until they're spinning so fast that the once dark globes have become a spinning circle of yellow. These small, flaring globes, when launched, will infiltrate the facility, scanning for every piece of scientific data available, while also feeding a map back to Fitz, denoting things such as heat and chemical signatures. They've got defenses against every technological jamming known… but no defense against things of the unknown.

The seekers pop into the air, one after the other, and zoom into the building ahead of the others. However, once they are inside, they, too, go dark. "… the bloody hell?" Fitz grumps, and taps at his control pad in an irritated way, until he hears the gunfire. That draws his attention with wide eyes.

Melinda May gives Fitz his chance to get the Seekers deployed, but the moment they go dark she nods to Sara and the other agents. Her eyes flick over to the man in the variation on Cap's red white and blue, and she nods to him as well. Going in the front door it is. She brandishes her taser-tipped batons (and makes a mental note to thank Morse for suggesting them originally) then indicates the front door. "Fitz, once we're in, I need you to get to the servers in there and secure everything that's still working." She gestures to two of their strike team to stay with the scientist. "Go."

She might be one of the first to the door, but you know what? They have a strong hand here. Or pair of hands. Namely, U.S. Agent's hands. She nods to him to lead the way into the building.

U.S. Agent doesn't lead with his foot, kicking the doors in like a cop on a drug raid. He'd been planning to use the front door anyway. Stealth is all well and good, but the alarm had been set off long ago. If they noticed him, it would just be a distraction from Cap, which was fine by Walker. He didn't mind whoever was inside turning their guns on him. All the easier to kick them down their throat that way.


Captain America's eyes peer as he proceeds slowly. Tiptoeing almost as he goes further and further into the room he's entered in. But when he hears the shriek, all bets are off.

Does he have any idea where he's going? No. Can he see the way there? No. But what he does know is that someone's in trouble and that if he hopes to save his coworkers, he must move immediately. Waiting, communicating with his teammates, and planning this out would be the more wise route, perhaps, but those shrieks changed plans immediately.

Cap brings the shield up in front of his body and powerful legs begin churning at full speed and straight ahead, as he barrels his way towards the sound of the scream. Normal architecture would say there would be a wall here pretty quickly. Nothing he's not done before.

As the drones go dark and the sounds start inside, more of the Witchblade creeps across Sara's form, armoring the detective. "Bloody hell is usually about right for this sort of thing," she assures Fitz, drawing her gun with her right hand as a ruddy light starts to glow in her left palm, centered on that strange armor. U.S. Agent seems to have the legal declarations end of this covered. Sort of. So she starts running inside, trusting the 'blade to light the way.

It seems that the pervasive darkness in this building eats any light source. Or well, mutes them at any rate any rate. Nothing shines as bright as it should but there is enough light now to make out the claw marks along the walls, wide and deep. Near the front desk there's a splash of blood, but no body.

In the main room as the agents and police converge on it is the sight of what appears to be a glowing blue werewolf made of (muted) light holding a very large sword spinning and slashing at a trio of urban legends. Large, lanky creatures that can only be described as 'Slendermen' lunge out of the shadows only to meet the blade, or rake claws hard across the glowing creature in the middle of the room and vanish into the shadows just past him. They're never visible for more than a moment but they shriek bloody murder every time they appear. One of the catches that wickedly curved sword and dies in a puff of shadow smoke. There desks and cubicles are tossed around near the walls and huddling on one end is a SHIELD agent and a pair of researchers. The combatants seem too busy to notice anyone else.

"Alright." Fitz acknowledges May's order before turning a nervous grin upon the soldier sent to protect him. "Bloody unusual," he mutters under his breath, trying one more time to bring the seekers back online before calling it. They will need to be retrieved, because he'll be damned if that technology is going to fall into HYDRA's hands. Perhaps a post-op inspection might reveal why they failed.

Regardless, the scientist is glad that he committed the place's schematics to memory, for as soon as they are inside, his tablet goes dead as well. Sara's words draw a chill down his spine; was she using doublespeak there? No, of course not, hell isn't real and neither is magic. The scientist withdraws a flashlight and flicks it to life, proving that, at least some kinds of technology still work in here. To his escorting agent, he grins. "See?" He doesn't remark about how it doesn't seem to cast much light upon anything.

To get to the server room, Fitz is actually headed the same way as the others, until they reach that main room. There, he draws up and gasps aloud, watching the fight for a moment or two, until he recognizes one of the researchers. "Kyle!" He cries out, then grabs the soldier escorting him. "Come on!" He begins working his way toward the SHIELD agent and two researchers who are huddled down. He may need their help getting what he can from the data center.

May winces inwardly at not-Cap's bellowing, but as soon as the doors are opened and the honestly grisly interior is visible to them, she mutters a faint curse in Japanese and tucks the batons away. They'd be useless here, she's guessing. Instead, from her arsenal of concealed weapons she brandishes a pair of double-edged knives whose edges gleam as if very recently cleaned and oiled. She says to the rest of the strike team, "Provide cover for Fitz and the facility personnel, and get them out of here as fast as possible. Do NOT engage." Then she's darting toward the glowing blue wolf-thing, aiming to slash at one of the Slendermen (seriously? Slendermen? Not the Silence?) when it comes shrieking out of the dark.

U.S. Agent stares for a moment. God damn fuckin' freakazoids. It was a lot easier in the war, oddly enough - the terrorists were nutbags, but at least they were fuckin' human. The werewolf seems to be the target, though, and he was pretty sure the skinny bastards weren't exactly SHIELD security. Furball was probably from some super-soldier serum with too much doggy DNA.

So he starts to wade into the Slendermen as he can, swinging his shield edge first so he can see just what these suckers are made of.




Cap pummels the walls of the upstairs until he, almost miraculously, finds the set of stairs, a spiraling set with a gap in the middle. The gap looks just wide enough to…


The Star Spangled Avenger lands on his shoulder atop his shield and is up and running, despite the pain and disorientation. A moment later the room opens up in front of him as he spills out into the battle and he sees the wolfman and the slendermen. Cap bends quickly and lets his shield go in a wide arc. With the enemies going in and out in some sort of phasing ability, Cap focuses on a throw that is designed to keep his shield aloft as long as possible while not hitting any of his allies with caroms. He's hoping to get lucky and at least knock one of them into distraction. Meanwhile he's running back and forth, trying to get close enough to one to bury his shoulder into its lower legs and use its center of mass against it. Cap is still using normal physical science logic despite what's in front of him.

Sara, at least, is used to this sort of nonsense. Enough to know there's no point in using her gun. It gets holstered, and then the Witchblade armor finishes covering her, wickedly sharp. A curved blade grows from her right hand, as the light in her left intensifies until she fires a blast at the first of the Slendermen she can see. "Trent!" she calls toward the werewolf as she enters the fray. "Are you ever not in the process of being assassinated?"

"Every once in a while, yes. But I'd hate you to think that my life is dull!" The wolf-light-thing calls back, turning to slash another Slenderman. Cap's Shield bounces off one wall and then careens into one, causing it to puff-vanish. May's blades seem to bite into them, cuasing them to shriek and actually catch on fire. Whatever it is that she's got, it's working. The Agent discovers that the Slendermen are apparently quite solid. At least the impact of claws and then the impact of shield to shadow-body probably leaves him to believe so.

The Witchblade was made to deal with things like this, though. The moment Sara hits the first one - which shrieks and disappates like the others the attacks abruptly cease and the oppressive gloom in the room seems to get a bit lighter.

The wolf-thing, 'Trent' apparently, turns to the others. As he does his blade folds up into something that looks like an oversized leatherman and he seems to fade, replaced in moments by a rather ordinariy looking man of vaguely middle eastern cast… ordinary but for the case the blade slides back into at his back and the blue circuit traces all over him. "Right. Sitrep. The entire interior of this building has been thrown into another plane." Which he knows because his sense of where a certain other someone was abruptly changed. "The shadow-things there seem to be some kind of native predator. We're missing four of the seven agents assigned to this place and I don't know how to get out, only that the one I saw taken was dragged toward the basement." He breathes out a sigh. "Sorry I couldn't do more."

Kyle is incoherant, eyes wide when Leopold gets to him. He's shaking and looks like he's close to going into shock. "L-leo. Wait, Leo! They took Alex and Marry and… oh God what's happening?!"

With the others providing cover and keeping the Slendermen distracted, Fitz and his field agent (daww, my very own field agent!) make it to the others. "Kyle!" He grabs the researcher by the shoulders, trying to steady him. "Hey, okay mate, I hear you. But we need to get to the data center." He pauses, casting a look over toward Trent as the battle dies away and the man provides a situation report.

"Come on, mate. On your feet." Following Kyle's lead, the other researcher and field agent move to stand. Fitz and Kyle Katterman had graduated from the academy together. That shit runs thick.

Turning to the others, Fitz looks from Trent to May. "The servers might have something that can help us track down the missing. We'll get to the data center and retrieve everything." He nods to the researchers, the field agent May had assigned to him, and the one who was protecting Katterman and his research partner. All he needs is a rendezvous point. Right?

Lets just ignore the decidedly paler tone to Fitz's skin and the way his fingers are clenching. Because clearly, this Trent fellow meant to say that they were in another dimension of space time. Because that's scientifically plausible.

Melinda May can tell almost instantly when the oppressive gloom of the place eases up a bit, but she doesn't connect it with Sara's weapon destroying one of the attackers. It's not that she'd doubt it in any way, she just didn't see it happen. She turns to look at the glowing blue wolf thing now looking like an ordinary dude, then pulls what looks like a heavily oiled cloth secured in a ziploc baggie from an inside pocket of her tac vest to offer him. "Can your ice cream eating friend help us find a way out once we've got our agents back?"

Yeah, May is not saying K'Nert's name out loud in front of the SHIELD team, the researchers, OR the shield-bearers. (Sara would likely be cool with the little Henson-reject… or she'd squish him in a heartbeat.) She's worried about creating skeptics and/or breaking brains. Though that would likely be easier to do with a red dress and heels. Not going there, either.

U.S. Agent stares at Trent for a moment, "Another plane, huh?" he says. Sounds like a shitload of gobbledegook way of saying that they're in some sort of hell. John's a good Baptist - there's Earth, heaven and hell - anything that says it's something else is just some pagany freak-ass version of hell tryin' to pass itself off as somethin' cutesy.

Metaphysics weren't his gig anyway. They weren't human and they weren't American. Kill 'em all, and let God sort 'em out.

"This is you folks' show - I'm just lendin' a hand. Although if y'all can't get me back home good an' proper, yer gonna have my Mama knockin' on Nick Fury's door an' pokin' 'is other eye out with a parin' knife."

Cap's head is turned to the left and upward as he's still trying to figure out what this place is. He gives a nod toward US Agent, seemingly in agreement. This isn't his expertise either. His attention towards Sara, now, as he gives her a nod as he takes a deeper breath in order to catch the rest of them. "You're kind of an expert on this sort of thing, Witchblade. Thoughts?"

As the creatures disappear, Sara lets out a breath, the blade in her hand shrinking away until it's gone. "Almost as dull as mine, at least," she says with a rueful smile for Trent, taking a look around as he explains what's happened. "I don't do dimensional rips," she shakes her head to Cap. "Not making them, at least. But it looks like these things aren't big fans of the 'blade, so that's something. You said we're missing four of seven?" she looks toward Trent. "And I'm guessing no one wants a SHIELD facility sitting around in a forgotten corner of hell," she adds with a look to May. "So. Let's get what resources and people we can, and see about getting it all back out."

They're not in hell. Or at least not the one Jericho spends most of his time in. They'd be a good deal safer if they were. "I rather suspect this is less dimensional rip and more HYDRA occultists deliberately siccing magic on these agents. I got a hit on my network monitoring shortly before the attack and I do have reason to believe there is at least one, probably three, casters somewhere in the building."

The hacker catches the oiled cloth and immediately drops it in surprise. "Ack… sorry." May might be close enough to see that it seems to have given him a bit of a rash on his hand. He does pick it up again, more carefully, and offer it over to Cap and Agent. Fitz's suggestion that they find the server room meets with a nod.

"Good idea. I don't know where it is though, and I suggest we all stick together."

Kyle swallows and points out one of the darkened doors. "That way, mmm? Okay… ah, I'll take point unless one of you wants to."

"I memorized the building schematic," offers Fitz, albeit a bit meekly. "Kyle's right. It's that way." The SHIELD scientist is perfectly fine with this while sticking together thing. As he moves to rejoin the others, he also reaches down to scoop up one of his dead seekers. Because one never knows.

Melinda May eyes Jericho for a moment at his reaction to the oilcloth, then gestures toward both Cap and Agent. "Wipe the edges of your shields with that cloth. It might help." Considering how the hacker reacted, though, she's reluctant to suggest that Pezzini do the same. Regardless of whether the shield-bearers accept or decline the oilcloth, she directs the members of the SHIELD strike team to switch from their automatic weapons to blades, and to also coat their blades with the oil from the cloth. Just… don't question it, okay? May's learned to not questions some things. "Trent, take point with Katterman."

U.S. Agent uses the cloth as suggested, although he has a dubious expression on his face. Fighting witchcraft with witchcraft didn't sit well with him, but he supposes sometimes you gotta get dirty if yer gonna go huntin' pigs. He'd be sure to put a little extra in the collection plate next week, maybe say an extra prayer or two.

"Have we got any particular way to track the missing personnel down, Egon, or are we just huntin' and peckin'?" he says to Fitz.

Cap begins to wipe down the shield with the oil as instructed, but as May goes and orders one of the weakest members to run point, it's clear to people who know him that the discomfort on his face means he's inwardly cringing.

"May, we may want to go with myself and Trent up front, Blade and Agent watching our backsides with you protecting Fitz and Katterman. The distance won't be much of an issue, and Fitz can lead us where we need to go. Katterman at the front seems like a needless risk. As long as we stay close, it wouldn't be a problem. That formation would leave us the least vulnerable."

Sara quirks a brow at the cloth being passed around, but doesn't make any move for it. As it stands, she's pretty much loaded for bear already. The armor that protects her is silver and gold with dark accents, incredibly intricate and close-fitting, with wicked spikes at shoulders and joints. "Steve's got it," she nods at the Captain's suggestion. "Trent and I can handle these things, you need one of us at front and back. Trent's got a better idea of where we're going here, so best keep him up front. Keep the brains on the inside," she adds with a brief, reassuring smile for Fitz. "Trent, you think you can keep lights up front?" she asks as that glow starts to form in her palm again.

Leopold Fitz arrives from East Side.

"Yeah." Jericho's traces flare again and in a moment he's surrounded by a werewolf-shaped field made of blue light. You can just see him levitating in the center of it if you squint just right. His blade notably changes size in proportion with him, even in the case. Nodding at Cap and Sara the hacker sets off.

He doesn't talk and there's no sound in the building. Not the air conditioner, not water in the pipes. Not equipment. Nothing. It's pitch black beyond the five or six feet illuminated by the power fields. Nothing moves. There's no sign of light.

On arrival in the computer room it becomes evident what happened to at least two of the other researchers. They're dead. Quite decidedly, ripped open by viscious claws in the middle of the room. Jericho grimaces. Kyle chokes back a sob.

"Get the data we came here for." The hacker says quietly, looking around as the gloom seems to close in and a feeling of being watched creeps over everyone.

One of the field agents, after wiping down his blade, offers the rag to Fitz. He stares at it for a moment, then quietly shakes his head and simply points to Agent May, where it belongs.

"My gears all… bloody dead right now," he answers Agent, and there's no shortage of annoyance in his tone about it, either. He tries his best to appear thankful for Sara's encouragement, but the stuff covering her has him a bit more spooked than fascinated.

"Also, 'Egon' isn't the best pop culture reference, here. I'm a scientist. There's no such thing as ghosts."

Thing is, as he adopts his place in the middle of the formation, it doesn't sound as if Fitz quite believes that one, any more.

"Oh, God." Fitz glares at the bodies for a moment, before turning decidedly away and making for the servers. "Oh, God. Kyle, get your arse over here and help me, so we can get right up out of here."

Leopold Fitz says, ""

Melinda May nods in acceptance of Cap's better plan for getting to the control room, then takes the oilcloth back when it's returned to her. They make it to their destination easily enough, and if anything, that makes her more tense. "Just pull the drives if you have to, Fitz. Trent, you said there's likely three HYDRA operatives here somewhere." Yes, she just avoided calling them spellcasters, probably to spare Fitz's sensibilities. "Any ideas on where they might be right now?"

U.S. Agent looks at Fitz for a moment, then over at Trent and Witchblade, then back at Fitz, "You say so, hoss. You got a preferred nerd you want me to call ya, you let me know. I'm accomodatin'." he says in response to he ghosts comment.

He seems to have accepted that May's in charge of this particular op, mostly because she's got the grunts. He's more likely to follow a sergeant than a captain. Just an enlisted man's instinct.

Cap follows along to the right of Jericho as they make their way through the inky night and towards the room in question. As they come upon the bodies, Cap grimaces inwardly. He leans down by the bodies and with a silent sigh he closes the eyelids of one of the dead who was giving an incredibly terrifying look upon his dead face. He rests his hand upon his chest and looks to Fitz.

Once the scientist begins his work, Captain America takes up a defensive position of protection, holding the shield casually, almost imperceptibly in front of his body as he stands in front of Fitz. He's covering him, but not trying to make it look like he's covering him in an overbearing way. Nevertheless, things tend to happen quickly in situations like this.

The more that creeping feeling of being watched sinks in, the brighter the light in Sara's palm grows, a silent threat to the things in the dark. "Do I want to know what sort of intel was being handled here in the first place?" she asks, keeping her back to the servers as she watches the area around herself. "Or when HYDRA started keeping spell casters on staff?" Nope. No problem with the weird stuff.

"We found out about it a few weeks ago. And they've used it a few times. They had some casters when we hit their base in Greenland but… nothing like this." The drives are easily found and Jericho seems about to say something else when something appears in the blackness behind them. It's a magical circle with a woman chained down to it. It because clear quickly that it's a projection or illusion of some kind… and then clear that the woman in the circle is dead… and is Melinda May.

"Well… how's that for a threat. I think they know we're here."

The shadows deepen around everyone but Sara. Even Jericho, made of light at the moment, seems to dim. "Well well. Nice of you to drop in. Killing Mary Schulster was our goal but you've gone and handed us an entire team of our worst enemies." It's a man's voice and it's coming from somewhere in the inky blackness around. It has to be close, but the walls of the room aren't even visible anymore so its hard to tell. Slendermen, dozens of them, appear at the edges of Sara's light. There's a clatting sound as Jeri's sword comes back out. "Find the caster. Kill him. He's got to be powering whatever's keeping us here."

"That's exactly what we're going to do," says Fitz, agreeing with May. The servers are dead, none of his gear is working, so he's going to do this the old fashioned way.

While he and Kyle get to work on literally pulling the hard drives from the servers, he's chewing on his bottom lip all the while. Suddenly, it dawns on him. "I'm Scottish, mate. You figure it out." His tone of voice may come off as a bit harsh; those disemboweled bodies are still behind him, stinking up the room. "Filthy, awful, rotting… horrible, and… bollocks!" He casts a look to Kyle. "Hustle up over there, mate!" Captain America's cover seems to have lit a fire under his arse; hard drives come out one after the other and are ingloriously stuffed into his satchel.

Fitz's hands are shaking. He's not turned to look at the apparitions, nor does he seem to be paying attention to the voice. Captain America is protecting him with his shield, and that is enough to keep him from having a breakdown.

U.S. Agent considers for a moment, "Highlander? Braveheart? Sean Connery? I didn't even know they made Scottish nerds - you're my first,' he says. As for him, the apparitions dont' seem to be doing much against the Marine's discipline. He's mission focused and keeping his eyes on the prize. Plus, he isn't particularly emotionally engaged with anybody here, so the gore and such is mostly just more of the same. He has nightmares like this every night. They weaken him seomtimes, yes, but, when faced with things like this, it can be a strength to have enough horror in your head that your'e hard to shock.

"Fan out and protect your backsides. Give them only one direction with which to attack you!" Captain America curses inwardly. He hates seeing his friends put in peril and there's a yearning to go out there and start bashing slendermen, but he couldn't dare leave Fitz in the young scientists vulnerable position. For a moment, he thinks of handing his shield to Katterman to do the blocking — to go run headlong into the battle, but the risks outweigh the rewards. USAgent is there. Sara can take care of herself and Trent and May are no shrinking violets. They've got this. So he stays in his defensive position and watches carefully.

"Right. Find the creepy guy." Sara grimaces, clearly reluctant to leave the others without the scant protection the 'blade can offer them. "Hold the line, Trent," she calls back to the hacker as a blade appears in her hand. "I'm going in." With those words, the detective dives into the Slendermen, blade scything ahead of her in deadly arcs. Further tendrils of the 'blade close in around her features, providing her with a shining helm, as the light in her left hand continues to burn bright.

The Slendermen come in waves. Jericho steps up near Cap, Agent and Fitz with that odd blade of his. "She may need backup." And she's trusting him to hold. "I've got it, Captain. Give her a hand. Agent…" He nods to the other shield wielder as they come on.

Jericho doesn't fence. He was taught by a woman who uses her sword for war, not duels. So his fighting is close, brutal and dirty, digital claws and magical blades scything through the shadows as they recoil off Captain and Agent's shields and break upon them like waves. Fitz is good at his job. He'll have the drives clear in no time.

Sara is good at what she does and the Slendermen seem to hate the light that comes from the witch blade. It doesn't stop them from attacking her, but it does keep many of them at by and the ones that do come a her find themselves no match for the Balance or it's wielder.

Ahead of her is a Circle and three witches. There's something they're working on, a low chant and building power. The darkness seems to gather once more as they prepare to cast.

"Done!" Fitz zips his bag shut, then looks over to Kyle.

"Almost!" he calls out.

Fitz reaches out to clap Cap on the shoulder. "Come on!" Then, he's moving over toward Kyle, helping him along.

U.S. Agent whoops any whoopable asses that come near him, sticking to the formation. Slow and steady, stay with your unit, Marine. Do your part and don't worry about the big picture. He knows all this occult magick woo-woo horseshit is completely on the other side of the planet from his skillset, so he lets people who do know that stuff handle it and he concentrates on putting his shield into anything that threatens.

He does catch something from the corner of his eye and swings around quickly, rotating along the edge to block a Slenderman that tries to take out Pezzini from behind, protecting the Witchblade with his blessed shield. "Back off, ya skinny fucker!" he yells. Pezzini may make him gnash his teeth a bit, but she's still one of theirs, plain and simple.

"Stay with Trent," Cap says, giving a knowing nod to Fitz. He doesn't quite smile, but he's trying to give the young scientist a reassuring look and for the man and for Katterman to know that everything is going to be okay.

He leaves them and bursts into a run, coming towards the slendermen quickly and ferociously. He takes the first attack, a glancing blow, up off the top of the shield. Kneeling low, he explodes upwardly in an attempt to take out one of the evil constructs out at the hip. Successful or not he pivots and slams his shield sidelong into another before kicking down hard at a 45 degree angle at still another.

Out of the corner of his vision he can see Sara and the three beings in front of her. He knows she can do this, and it's irrational for him to worry about her. He does his best to push any of those feelings aside for now while the mission needs finishing.

Sara forces her way through the sea of Slendermen, striking out with an elbow behind her as one draws close while another is getting the blade. "Like hell, bitches," she snarls at the trio of witches, throwing one hand forward. With the motion, barbed lashes shoot out from her forearm to tangle around them, even as Sara takes another swipe at a Slenderman with her blade. She tries to keep an eye out for the others, but she's focused on interrupting whatever is going on overall.

Leopold Fitz arrives from East Side.

Once Fitz has the drives out Jericho actually… passes his sword down. He's got claws… and he has to use them as the Slendermen just… don't… stop. It's as if they're driven by something… or driven away from something.

Ahead of Sara the witches unleash their magic, but Sara and the others don't feel a thing. The circle is still bright with magic and if they can just… be disrupted it'll all bow up in their faces. Cap and Agent can get to her now. There seem to be less monsters in their way.

Behind them there's a sharp cry from Jericho and the sound of sparks. Lots of them.

"Okay, okay!" Kyle stows the last of the drives away. "I'm good!"

Fitz pulls the researcher close, then turns around to finally get a look at the carnage. His eyes go wide, and for a moment, he simply stands there, slack jawed and wide-eyed, until Trent goes up in a shower of sparks. "Agh!"

He grabs Kyle and throws himself to the floor, taking the other researchers with him.

Duck and cover!

Melinda May has been standing guard over the researchers along with Cap, and when the Slendermen started attacking again, she took advantage of having the shield-bearers nearby, using them as cover to strike out with her oiled blades at any creature that bounces off of the shields. When Steve breaks away from guarding the researchers, she does so as well, trusting Agent and the strike team members to keep them safe. This might be well beyond what the SHIELD agents have ever seen before, but they're grimly determined to do their jobs, and are for the most part holding their own.

May sees Pezzini's armor entangle the witches ahead and Rogers working on mowing through still more Slendermen, and she takes a chance. She throws one of her blades at the center witch as hard as she can, keeping the other to fend off any Slenderman that comes at her. She loses more blades this way…

Once the opening manifests itself, Cap is going to go for it, just like May. Putting himself in danger of getting hit by slendermen, he reaches back and twists his body before whipping himself around in a massive amount of torque before letting his shield go in an arc off to the left and then back towards the center of the three witches.

Almost refelexively he ducks down to the right and into a roll, careful of an attack coming while he's vulnerable.

Sara gives the Witchblade tendrils a sharp yank, trying to pull the witches away from their circle, as she lets loose another blast of eldritch light from her other hand at the base of the circle. If the Slendermen don't know enough to stay away from the 'blade and the armor by now, she'll have to focus on what's controlling them.

May's blade strikes true and one of the witches goes down hard. Another gets hit by Captain's Shield moments before being yanked along with her living companion out of the circle which promptly begins to sputter and spark before blowing apart in a massive flash of searing red light.

When everyone's vision clears, Jericho is getting back up, a bit stiffly. They're not in the computer room anymore, though Fitz still has the hard drives. Instead they're in the lowest sub basement of the annex, with one dead shield agent and one shivering, sobbing researcher. The agent, Mary, looks to have been sacrificed to power the magic that Pezzini just ruined. On the upside, the gloom is gone.

"Whatever you did, we're back." The hacker says, letting his wolf armor fade. He's got burns on his neck and he's holding his left side like it's burned as well. The blade folds up and goes away. He loosk glad to have the threat ended, but with the annex wrecked and four of it's occupants dead, it's hard to call it a victory exactly. At least they have some prisoners to talk to.

Melinda May looks a bit surprised when everything just … stops, but as things return to normal — if a bit oddly placed — she looks around the sub basement and takes a quick mental inventory. "Status report. Now." Ignoring where one Slenderman got a hit in on her arm, she moves to check on the strike team and remaining facility personnel while pulling her SHIELD issue comm and looking to see if it works now. If it does, she calls in the medical and cleanup teams.

U.S. Agent looks around at the place and shakes his head, his eyes still aching from that flash of crimson light. He sees the change in surroundings and realizes they're back where they belong. From Walker's perspective, anytime the enemy didn't get what they wanted was a win. Soldiers die - just part of the job. Even if the soldier was a medic or a techie or a damn buck private fresh from the farm, they signed up to serve and they died with honor. All any man could ask for. Worth mourning, but no need to diminish their sacrifice as anything less than a victory from Walker's point of view.

Of course, he doesn't say any of that. He just says "What a load of crazy ass psycho freak magic alien witch hellfire motherfuckin' bullshit that was. Let's just never do that again, huh? Can we put that in the fuckin' report? Hunt down all the evil magic bastards and put them down like dogs so nobody ever has anything like that happen to 'em again? How's that for a goddamn status report?"

Captain America leans down by Jericho and inspects the burns his ally has received. "You alright?" He opens one of the pouches on his belt and takes out a small topical ointment and some clean gauzing. "If you want I can dress it for you."

His blue eyes flicker towards Sara, checking on her condition, but he doesn't say anything.

He doesn't happen to see that May has been hit, but he'd have something for that too if she needs it before the help arrives.

Sara snorts at Walker's statement. "Yeah, that's how it works. We usually go with gas leak." With the threat gone and the world back where it should be, the Witchblade starts to retract back toward her bracelet, leaving…Well, from a basic inspection, the detective appears to be unharmed. "Everyone still on their feet?" she asks, looking toward the others to see how they're holding up.

Everyone who was alive at the start of the fight seems to still be so. Jericho accepts the ointment from Steve with a nod of thanks. "I got it, Captain. 'precciate it though." As he rolls his shirt up the circuit traces that were glowing earlier become evident.

May's communicator does work, as do the phones in the building now, and the cells. SHIELD support is enroute by helicopter and should be there in about fifteen minutes, only about five of which will be actual flight time.

"May want to tell them to bring a burial detail." The hacker sighs looking over at the circle. "Just like the one the other night. Mixed methods. Hermetic, witchcraft, demonic. Same group, I'm fairly sure. They said something about targetting one of the people here. I'd figure out what she was working on. Maybe you'll know why Hydra wanted her dead."

Now properly salved, at least as best he can be until he can implement other options, the Jericho offers a hand to Fitz to help him up. "You okay? Nice work by the way. Nice work all of you." Privately, he's really glad they showed up, because him verses slendermen and witches was going to go a lot less well even if he had managed to win.

Accepting Jericho's help, Fitz rises to his feet. He reaches back to straighten his messed up hair, and simply takes a moment to look around at the lot of them. He seems tired. Finally, of all people, his eyes fall upon the marine. With a numb voice he says, "Scotty. Mr. Scott, from Star Trek. That's the one." Beat. "Ooh-rah."

He's gonna need some time off.

Melinda May nods to Trent and adds that to the info being related over the comms. "ETA fifteen." She'd be amused by Fitz's comment if he didn't seem a bit … shell shocked. "Secure the building," she instructs the strike team, hopefully to keep them from going shocky as well.

"Give you a ride?" Cap says quietly to Sara as he walks up by her side. They're both, most likely, heading back to the same place. "Nice job back there," he adds as he unbuckles the helmet and yanks it off.

"Sounds good," Sara turns a weary smile on Cap, giving him one more look over to make sure he didn't pick up any injuries before the last of the Witchblade retracts into her bracelet. "And we got lucky. I got lucky," she corrects, rueful. "That's the sort of thing the 'blade's meant to deal with. Which helps." It probably speaks to other issues that she doesn't seem the least bit shock after that.

"May, I should clear out before someone starts asking pointed questions about why I was at a SHIELD annex…" Questions that he can only answer with 'because I heard there was going to be bad juju there' which seems a bit… unsatisfactory. "But I'll be in touch. Still chasing this one. Sara, I'll… er… e-mail you if you want to be kept in the loop. I doubt very much I'd be welcome at the station." Since the last time he was there someone put a very big bullet hole in it.

Captain he simply nods to. He's had little exposure to the man and the while he respects hero's military service and mind for battle, he knows that the two come from very different armies and very different wars. Still, good thing he was here.

And right on schedule, there's a hiss in the shadows. Jericho puts a hand up to forestal any immediately lethal reactions as K'nert finally finds the hacker and scolds him in demonic for making his job hard. Jericho replies quietly in the same language (which is not a pleasant sounding one). "Anything for me before I get out of here?"

Melinda May shakes her head no to Trent, though she does address the little hissing creature. "An extra pint to make sure he gets those burns properly treated." Well, she had to go find a store that carries Ben & Jerry's anyway, what's one more pint on the tab?

"Thank you for your help, Trent. Those men owe you their lives. I'm just sorry we didn't get there sooner." Captain America gives Trent a nod and then moves toward an exit. Ben and Jerry's might be out of the question, but getting a drink might be right up his alley. So what if it's still morning and if it won't do much? It's the thought that counts.

"I'll keep an eye out for it," Sara nods to Trent. "Get yourself fixed up." K'nert gets a long look, but she's not sticking around to hear the Witchblade's opinion on the creature. Hands in her pockets, she jogs a few steps to catch up with Cap and fall in next to him.

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