We Need One More? We Need One More.

October 18, 2018:

Rami tells Simon about her plan to rob the Met, and recruits him to make her team complete.

Bastion, Rami's Apartment

It's the second bedroom of Rami's apartment.


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Rocket Raccoon, Groot, Michael Carter


Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

Parambir Ghai is at home. In recent days, she has been going straight home without any real interaction with those in SHIELD — including her rumored beau Simon Green. This aloofness coincides neatly with the disappearance of Michael Carter into the depths of Hell. It only confirms those rumormongers who believe that — even if they are not together now — the two former MI-6 agents had a romantic relationship at one point… because there is no other explanation why Rami might be concerned for the spy she had worked closely with all these years. Tonight, she's back in the Bastion. Take-out has been ordered, comfortable clothes have been achieved, and now she is looking over blueprints while loud techno music blasts into her ears through the over-the-ear headphones. Her systems are in place despite the loud music, meaning any interruption by a knock on the door or press of the doorbell will stop her music and let her know someone is there. For now, she's focused on the music and her task.

Simon knows about obsessive hours. He's been putting in his own extra hours, not just with the demons, but also around SHIELD HQ, helping with projects here, there, and practically everywhere. Sometimes, helping someone with their work is the best way to see what they're really up to, after all. He knows about the tendency toward loud techno music, but not about the special sound-dampening system, so after he intercepts the take-out (the delivery guy doesn't much care, as long as he gets a nice tip), he rings the doorbell and leans one shoulder against the door frame and starting to pull the scarf loose from around his neck. The plastic bag of takeout foot dangles from two fingers of his other hand, the field agent studying it a little dubiously.

It's Chinese food. Rami had not expected Simon, so it looks to be only enough to feed half an army instead of a full army. It has a lovely smell that just incites the taste buds and hunger pangs. For Rami, when the bell rings, a small rectangle pops onto her screen and shows the feed from her hallway camera. She blinks in surprise at the sight of Simon Green instead of Arthur Huang. She pauses her music with a tap, and then spins out of her chair. She's running her hands through her hair, pulling her braid back over her shoulder. She pulls open the door, her headphones now around her neck and still blaring that music — now a bit quieter. She leans into the doorframe opposite of his own lean, arms crossed. "Did you intercept my take-out guy?" She narrows her dark eyes accusingly.

Simon offers up a smile as the door opens, lifting the plastic bag and dangling it from one finger, "Don't worry, I tipped him well. Your rep won't be hurt. I mean, unless you were looking to get a spicy won-ton delivered." His teeth flash in a grin, but he nods into the room behind her, "I figured that if I texted, you would say you were busy. So I showed up." His smile spreads, warmer and broader, gaining a teasing twist, "And decided to hold your take-out hostage. So. How do you defuse a hostage situation?"

Parambir narrows her eyes a bit more threateningly at the spy slouched in her doorway. She crosses her arms defiantly, staring between him and his hostage. "I find your American charm to be incredibly irritating." Then she tips back into the house, and pulls the door open wider to invite him in with her hostaged food. "Are you here to give me the cliche talk about how I cannot save Michael from the depths of Hell by staring at my computer?" She shuts the door once he's inside, and she locks it before she turns back to Simon. "I'm starving, so give me your terms so I can eat."

"You might even say you find it… revolting?" Simon's grin is truly shit-eating at that point, although it settles back as she invites him in physically. He offers the bag out to her as he steps in, holding it out as she closes and locks the door. "And no, I'm not going to give you any cliche talk… at least not about that. I was actually going to offer to help however I could." Shrugging a little helplessly, he continues, "I'm not a techie, but I'm pretty good at spotting patterns. Plus I'm not bad as a distraction, but I don't know if that's a very good selling point right now."

Rami scoffs with a dramatic eye-rolling as she steps fully back into her apartment. She takes the bag from him with a bit of a glare for Simon before she heads back toward Bastion. "It isn't about patterns or being a techie." She says this over her shoulder as she steps over the barrier back into her little safe room. She nods the fellow agent on inside, and she sets the hot food down on a table away from her computer setup. She starts to untie the plastic bag, and then unloads its contents after checking the pen marks on each carton. She smiles toward Simon, though it is a tired smile. "You can eat and then try not to be an annoying, bloody Yank." She offers him a pair of chopsticks.

"Everything's about patterns. Or at least, that's what the lab-coats say our brains think." Simon seems to be at his teasing best in the face of a dramatic eye-rolling and a glare. He follows her into the Bastion, and takes the chopsticks, "Unless you plan on punching me, I don't think I'll be a bloody Yank, but I suppose that depends on how annoying I am, doesn't it?" Snapping apart the chopsticks and dusting off the splinters, he shrugs a little, "So what is it about, Rami? If it's not about techie stuff or reading patterns?"

"Robbing the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Egg roll?" Rami holds out the carton to Simon with an expectant lift of her brows. Then she sets it down and starts to unload some of the mandarin chicken from its carton and into her mouth. She glances up at Simon after a heartbeat. "There's some religious artifacts in there that may be useful against our current demon infestation. But we don't have time to go through the right channels to obtain them, and there's no guarantee I'll return them in the same state I was given them in, so… I've rationalized to stealing them instead."

Simon grabs for the egg roll with his chopsticks when the carton is offered, and then promptly drops it in surprise. He recovers… almost quickly. Blinking hard, he crouches to scoop up the fried tube in his palm and shrugs apologetically. Replaying her words draws a frown onto his previously-smiling face, "That sounds… extreme. But so does demons invading New York." He's clearly still trying to catch up, "You should probably get diplomatic cover from the higher-ups anyhow. Just so you can ask for permission as you're getting ready to ask for forgiveness." There's another pause, and then he inquires, "How big are the artifacts?"

"I'm from the black ops division of MI-6." Parambir delivers this wryly, and she tilts her head slightly while narrowing her eyes. "Nothing is too extreme." Then she takes a bite of her own egg roll, leaning back into her chair now that she's settled back in. She taps at her keyboard, and the blueprint pops back up on the large monitor. "I give you the visiting exhibit of The Holy Crusades. It has a number of relics that were recovered from the Crusades." Then she takes another bite of her egg roll before she dips it into the plum sauce. "I selected only the handheld artifacts. One is the Lance of Antioch… or at least it is rumored to be the Lance of Antioch. It is really just a sizable spearhead." She then tilts her head back, smiling ruefully at Simon. "You enjoyed our last visit to the Met, didn't you?"

"Oh come on, Rami, even the CIA doesn't usually steal things from American civilians." Beat pause, "Usually." Simon blows off the fallen egg-roll, then reaches out to dip it in the plum sauce, "A spearhead's not so bad. A collection of handheld artifacts. I can manage that." His brows lift slightly, "So why didn't you come to me first? Since we enjoyed our last trip to the Met and because you know that I can get in and out without anyone seeing me." And then he takes his bite from the egg-roll, chewing steadily.

Parambir drapes her arm across her chair as she turns to face him a bit. Her vibrant red lips curl with a warm smile. "Love, I didn't want to tell you until I was confident in the target and acquisition. There's plenty of false relics in that exhibit… but I think the spearhead might be legitimate. If it is, that will be a powerful weapon against the demon threats in New York." And could be a potential weapon in any retrieval mission to get Michael Carter out. "I must confess… I have found two potential SHIELD consultants that could help get in and out. Rocket Racoon and his mini Bonsai friend."

Simon's brows lift further, "You talked to the raccoon before me?" There's a pause, "And he has a mini banzai friend? Wait… did you say bonsai? Like a tree?" Popping the rest of the egg-roll in his mouth, he chews as he tries to put all that together. Swallowing, he rubs at his chin with the back of his chopsticks, "Don't get me wrong, if they're consultants and can be denied if they get caught, there's a benefit there. But wouldn't it be better to not get caught at all?" There's another pause, "And didn't they like… blow up half of the hanger at the Trisket when the demons attacked?" That's not quite how it went, but not far off. Quill helped too.

"Don't be jealous." Parambir is grinning almost too broadly at the spy. "I mean, he is quite handsome and has an endearing amount of sass, but he's not my type." Her dark eyes glitter with warm amusement before she pops open one of the containers, tucking it up to her chest while she starts to pick through the sweet-glazed chicken. "I would like to believe these two will have some restraint in a museum." She pops a bit of chicken in her mouth, and then offers out the carton for his own perusal. "I honestly was not sure if you would be keen on stealing from a museum, Love… or you would have been my first call."

Simon laughs easily at the accusation of jealousy, "He's a raccoon. Ish." He holds his chopsticks out at about waist height, "Plus, I'm pretty sure he's a little too short." He leans against the edge of her desk, reaching out to claim a piece of chicken with his chopsticks and shrugging a little helplessly, "I'm not, particularly. But I've done a lot of things that that I'm not exactly keen on, and if you think it's important, I think that it's worth listening to you on it. I don't much like the idea of stealing from the Met, but I get the idea you're going with."

"Is this when I say, 'If you love me, you'll help me steal from the Met'?" Her smile is rueful as she pops another piece of chicken into her mouth. Then she runs her fingers languidly through the short hairs at the back of her neck. She looks back at the blueprints. Her expression changes slowly, expression slipping from rueful and sly to serious and uncertain. "Michael's my responsibility." She looks back to him. "I need to find him and extract him, and then make sure that he is safe. It's my job, and it's what I should do… as his friend. I need resources, and the Spear of Antioch is an important resource… but the Met isn't going to give it to me. And there's no guarantee that I will get it back to them. Even if they are watching demons torment this city, they aren't going to just give it over to me."

"No, because that's blackmail. I work better with clear orders or reasoned logic." Simon gnoshes on the nugget of chicken, and then he shakes his head as he chews, "And no, Michael's not your responsibility. Or at least, not only yours." Setting the chopsticks down, Simon braces his palms on the table on either side of his hips, "He was on the mission as a SHIELD operative. He's one of ours. That means that he's all of our responsibility." He glances down at his toes a moment, then looks back to her, "I would seriously go up the ladder, get some political cover, then we do it." His voice quiets slightly, and he adds, "Even if he wasn't working with SHIELD, you could have asked me because he's your friend."

"Hmph." Rami reaches for another carton, this time with fried rice in its contents. She pops it open, but stops when Simon refutes her statement. She frowns at him, looking quite stern until he offers at least some adjustment to his words. "I'm the one taking responsibility for him, then," she says gently. Then she breathes out a slow exhale, and begins to nod. "Alright, if that's your recommendation, but I'm not going to wait for bureaucracy to kick in." She might not even accept being told 'No' either, but one thing at a time. She starts to tuck into the rice, eating without hovering by her computer now. She glances at the blueprints, and then back to Simon.

Simon shrugs a little helplessly, "I'm just saying that you might as well get the bureaucracy on your side, even if you don't wait for it." Simon glances over to the blueprints, then notes, "They're not exactly inconspicuous, are they? Rocket and his… bonsai? So does that make me the phantom distraction? Because if they get spotted, the guards are going to go in for psych exams or they're going to be able to peg them pretty quick." There's a moment's pause, and then he collects his chopsticks again and steals a little more chicken, "Is this something they do often?"

"They are most certainly conspicuous, but I'm not planning on making this a day heist, love." Rami leans back in her chair again, smiling ruefully at Simon with her arm tucked around her folded knee. She takes another bite of her fried rice, chewing through it before she says more. "Rocket is small, so is Groot, both are notably resourceful on their file. You can choose to be ignored, and I am the best handler in SHIELD. I think together, we will make a rather good Oceans 4." She takes another bite of rice.

"I'm just saying, if they're spotted on camera, we're in trouble. I guess that's where you come in. Or does this have to become Ocean's 5?" Simon pauses, considers, "If you're Danny, am I Rusty?" He thinks a little more, "Crap, no, you got them in first. I'm probably the brothers." Sighing a bit, he adds, "I don't want to be the brothers." Another pause, "Or maybe you're Debbie and I'm Lou. I think they were sleeping together. Before prison, I mean." Because clearly figuring out who they are in the movie of this heist is more important than actually planning it.

Rami patiently lets her Lou work through what movie they are currently trying to emulate with a warm, gentle expression. Then she gives him a little poke with her chopsticks. "I'm Debbie, you're Lou, and they are Awkwafina and Nine Ball." She takes another bite of her food before she turns fully in the chair, facing him with a tilt of her head. "You're in then?" She smiles ruefully. "I think the four of us could be quite good at this, though if you think I should invite Albright along, I certainly could."

Simon 'oofs' far more dramatically than necessary for the chopsticks poke. "Of course I am, Rami. I'm not sure if I think they're Awkwafina and Nine Ball though. I don't know the bonsai, but I think Rocket is Amita." Beat pause, "Mindy Kaling." His lips purse in thought, "I don't know Albright too well, but I think she might be a little too straight-arrow for something that isn't okayed by command. I don't think she has the Company's stance on Ends and Means." Pivoting on the edge of the desk, he looks over her shoulder to the computer screen, one hand resting lightly on her shoulder as he does, "So, avoid cameras or cut them. In, out, alternative exit. And a way to disable the alarms on whatever artifacts you want us to bring you."

"Hmm… perhaps of Amita also blew up SHIELD hangars." There's a sly amusement there before she takes another bite of the Chinese. She leans back slightly toward him, forging a gentle connection as she continues to eat. "You might be right about Albright. I honestly haven't sussed that out yet… she's a lovely partner though, good sense of humor, but I wager that she's a bit more eager being surrounded by the X-Man than I am. I think she's looking for some belonging that I don't require." Being one of three bearers alive means that Rami already has a sense of belonging with her own family.

"She would have if she had the opportunity," Simon counters with just as much easy amusement. His chopsticks are shuffled aside, the ginger agent having apparently eaten already. His eyes flicker over the image of the museum on the screen, for all that he listens readily enough to Rami's words. "Right, you have your tribe. Michael and your family." There's a little hesitation there, as if he's considering adding another name to the list, but he leaves it off for now. "I would imagine that feeling like you've always been different — and unable to hide it — might make you look pretty well on a place where there are far more people who look 'different' than most places."

Parambir narrows her eyes thoughtfully at Simon, and then she nods gently. "Alright. I'll give you that." Then she turns slightly back toward the computer and the blueprints. She scans over it as he speaks, and when she smiles back over her shoulder to him. "You're part of my tribe, too, love." She reaches out for him, giving him a tug as she stands. Her chopsticks are put aside, tipped into the carton fo Chinese food. "I hope you know that. I only didn't tell you about the museum until now because I wasn't sure where this fell in your acceptable versus unacceptable actions." She curls her fingers together with his.

Simon nods at her reassurance, following up on the tug easily enough to stand close to her, smiling crookedly. "I do. I just didn't want to presume too much." He chuckles softly, then shrugs, "Not too much. Just enough." His fingers curl with hers, and he slips his hands and hers around behind her, clearing the way for him to lean in and claim a quick kiss. "A lot of the things I did for the CIA weren't exactly legal. Some of them seemed as reasonable as stealing artifacts that might work to stop a demon invasion of New York." His fingers tighten around hers, and then he rumbles a chuckle, "So how bad is the security around those artifacts?"

Rami's eyes flutter shut at the soft kiss, and then she leans in closer against him until her body settles against his. She tilts her head, smiling up at him with those warm brown eyes and full lips. Then she brushes her nose gently against his until she is resting her forehead into his own, forging that affectionate connection. "Awful," she murmurs. "Ignoring the guards, the technological security measures are about what you would expect."

"Well good thing I can ignore the guards then, isn't it?" Simon's words are a low murmur, and then a chuckle starts to rise in his throat, "It'd be nice if I could do more than the basics of disarming an alarm, wouldn't it?" One hand looses from hers and strokes down her spine lightly, "Somehow I don't think I'm going to be playing Indiana Jones there with a bag of sand. Rocket seemed to know what he was doing with tech, maybe I just go all poltergeist on the guards to distract them. I'll still need to know what happens when an item gets moved though. So I don't bring down cages and gates and stuff if I do move something."

Rami's smile warms deeper still at the gentle caresses. She tilts her head, admiring his features so close to hers. Out of a slowly-forming habit, she gives his red beard a short scrub of her fingers. "As handsome as I am sure you are in a fedora and bullwhip… I don't think we will be going the Indiana Jones route on this." She tilts her head, and her brow arches slightly at his actual suggestion. "Poltergeist? Hm. But that will mean that Groot, Rocket, and I do not consider much about you, will it? How will you make sure we don't mess up your own mission." Then she shifts slightly from foot to foot, and nods soberly with his thought. "Mm, well… I would avoid things in cases, but most of the museum only goes into lockdown by exhibit hall. There's not many portcullis that close, but quite a few silent alarms."

Simon smiles slowly under the scrub of her fingers, "I can arrange those any time you want, by the way. The fedora and the bullwhip." Sure, it'll require at least one trip to a store, but he'll totally do it. "It'll limit the length of the mission too. Going all ghosty is hard. Not football hard, but a whole lot worse than a long walk. I was just figuring that if you all gave regular comms updates, I'd improvise around you. Leave you a few contingency notes that I can drop out long enough to tell you to read, that sort of thing." He sways lightly back and forth, enjoying the shift of their bodies together, and then chuckles, "Of course, the moment I start moving things around, alarms start going off. The guards will be going to the wrong place, but they'll still be running around. Maybe there's a better way."

Parambir laughs brightly at his teasing words, and then she shakes her head with a twitch of her lips. "Hmph. I'll keep that in mind." Then she starts to slowly disengage from the spy so she can reclaim her seat. She turns slightly in it, looking back at the blueprints. "I think that is actually a fine idea, love… the more distraction we can have in other parts of the museum, the better." She glances coyly toward him. "I suppose we can let you in, but… please do try to be as inconspicuous as you can. I do not want this job linked at all to any SHIELD agents."

Simon lets Rami go a little reluctantly, then leans in behind her, looking at the plans on the screen, his hand settling on her shoulder, "Well, you know how distracting I can be, Rami." His fingers tighten on her shoulder a moment, and he flashes a grin, "Oh, I'll make sure that they don't connect me with SHIELD. Besides, I've got a couple of slights to pay back." By his anticipatory grin, he has some ideas already. That can't be good.

Rami just arches her brows at that, but there's a small and curious smile tugging at her lips. "Mmhmm. Well, let's see just how much of a troublemaker you can be. I'll let Rocky and Bonsai know we're ready for operation 'Oceans 4.'"

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