Making It Right

June 07, 2014:

The NYPD has some questions for SHIELD.

Battery Park


NPCs: None.


Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

It's a couple days after Paul ran into Agent May in Gotham. That day when it all went to hell and reinforced just why he hates that city so much. One good thing did happen though; he got his hands on a vial of… something that SHIELD probably wants. Hopefully they want it badly enough to trade information for it. Once he recovered, he sent the agent a message that he'd like to meet and talk. About Partisan. The same Partisan who SHIELD brought with them to the middle east. The same Partisan who murdered a cop in cold blood. It's guaranteed to be a fun discussion and he's too good a partner to leave Sara out of it.

Melinda May receives Manning's message and promptly takes it to Coulson. Romanoff happens to be there. After trying to explain what happened (because, really, it sounds worse than ludicrous), she's given the go ahead to meet with Manning, and Romanoff is sent along whether she would have volunteered or not. Because that's how Coulson is sometimes. May arranges to meet Paul at a 'neutral' location. Also known as The Sphere in Battery Park. Of course, May insists on getting there early.

Sara probably would have volunteered to be left out of a discussion about the Partisan, but explaining that would be awkward, and besides, she owes Paul some solidarity after the last few things she's pulled him into. "I can't believe you're going to try to negotiate with SHIELD over this thing," she murmurs as they approach the meeting point. "I mean, I doubt she's exactly a…standard agent for them."

Thus, Natasha is left cooling her heels beside May, dressed more casually than the last time the pair of detectives saw her. Of course, that doesn't diminish her effectiveness, nor does it negate her own mission. In fact, this meeting plays right into it, despite the apparent off-hand way Coulson tossed her at May to accompany her. Her blue eyes scan the meeting spot, noting entrances, exits, security features, passing people, the nature of the crowds… in short, everything. 'Cause that's just how she rolls. As the pair of cops approach, she makes a subtle movement to acknowledge them to May… on the very off chance the other woman hasn't already spied them herself.

"I'm sure she's not." Paul agrees. "But I'm also sure they know more about her than we do as well as how to contact her if not actually find her. And after one of their 'hires' killed a hostage and a second one killed a cop, I hope they're embarassed enough to want to do something about it to make it right. Plus I ran into a third at the park along with the agent so they obviously maintain a working relationship with them." And then they're within earshot so he stops talking until they're close. "Agent May. Agent Romanoff."

Melinda May has indeed checked everything just like Romanoff. Two pairs of eyes are better anyway. She's already focused on Manning and Pezzini as they approach, and nods at the greeting. She's also dressed casually, very much like she was at the amusement park in Gotham, though this time she's wearing a deep green shirt under her vest. "You called." There's no upturn in her tone of voice to indicate that her words are not a question.

"I don't think SHIELD does a lot of making it right the way we usually do," Sara grimaces, hands in her pockets as she approaches the pair of agents. She tips her chin up in greeting, managing a faint smile to replace her discomfort with the situation. She, too, is keeping tabs on the surroundings. Two SHIELD agents in evidence doesn't mean there aren't more they wouldn't actually recognize elsewhere.

Of course, earshot for Natasha and earshot for everyone else are two separate things entirely. The joys of super-soldier treatments, that. She catches the tail end of their conversation as they approach, at least, but doesn't show it at all. No reason to. Besides… she's very good at what she does. And what she does is note the almost imperceptible and unconscious psychological and emotional tells. She gives the pair a nod in greeting. "Detectives. What can we do for you?"

"We want Partisan." Paul says with as little preamble as May. "Another of your people has turned out to be a murderer. Whether she's an active agent or not…" He doesn't quite shrug. "You brought her on the mission so you know enough about her to know she'd be useful and how to contact her. This one murdered a police officer."

Melinda May's eyebrows quirk upward briefly at that. She keeps up with the news, so she knew about the shooting. She had NOT known that it was Partisan that did that. Of course, now she would like nothing more than to hunt the woman down and put a silver bullet in her brain pan. But, yeah. Not likely to happen, if only because of the amount of paperwork that would generate.

Sara drops her brow into one hand at Paul's choice of phrasing, wincing. "Okay, that might have come out a little less than ideally," she says, looking up with a dry expression for her partner. "We know she's not exactly anyone's people. That's not really the way she works. And I'm pretty sure she thought there was a good reason for what she did. Maybe the guy was taking kickbacks, maybe he wasn't entirely clean. Could be. The problem is, she killed a cop, and she did it straight up, in front of the rest of us. So we've got to answer before someone else decides that means it's open season. If SHIELD has information that could help us bring her in, we'd appreciate it." Except she doesn't seem like she expects that enterprise to end well for anyone.

Natasha, personally? Not a fan of Partisan. She's the one who brought the crazy lady to the agency in the first place. She was not the one recommending to the Old Man that they put her on the payroll. Apparently there are some things in SHIELD that are above her paygrade. Who knew?

"I don't suppose you'd mind bringing me up to speed?" she asks now of the other three. "She killed a cop in cold blood? What happened, exactly?"

Paul glances at Sara as, for a change, she plays the diplomat. At another time he might tease her about it. Today though, he's just pissed off. It started with Shift and continues with Partisan and they're both connected to SHIELD which means they're included in his pissed offness. "A few days ago, she used a sniper's rifle to put a bullet through his head right in front of his precinct. She then announced who she was, claimed that the officer was an agent of Hydra, and promised to continue murdering people who she believes are also agents. Needless to say, this is unacceptable and we'd like all the information you have on her, assuming you can't actually turn her over to us."

Hydra. Again. Trent also mentioned them. May's expression seems unchanged, but for any one accustomed to reading her, she's NOT pleased by Paul's story. And worse, she had zero say in Partisan working with SHIELD in any capacity and now the loose cannon is smearing the agency's name through the mud with this. "I would love to. Not my call." And the fact that she wishes it was her call is very much apparent in her voice.

"It's not like they keep her in a box, Paul," Sara murmurs to her partner. "She's a freedom fighter, or at least that's how she sees herself," she continues to the agents. "Extremely anti-authority, doesn't trust the establishment to take care of anything. Whatever actually powers her, she's been playing at this guerrilla game for at least several decades, though I'm thinking she's pushing a century. She's not the same height she was when I first met her, which suggests that she's either got shapeshifting abilities, or she's jumping bodies. Either could explain the longevity. Seems like her last ports of call before she settled into the tri-city area was central and south America, which makes sense for someone who fancies themselves the underdog. Any unusual powers aside, that many years of experience paired with a body in its prime makes her a dangerous enemy. I've told her I'm not interested in seeing her antics in my city, I've told her if she finds these things she can let me deal with them, but obviously I'm too tied to the authorities for her to trust that. Or she likes the violence anyhow," she concludes with a grimace. "She's collateral damage waiting to happen, and frankly I doubt we can keep her if we catch her."

The only reason Nat brought the crazy lady in was because her superiors expected it of her. Not because she thought it was a good idea. Her personal opinion is that the woman is a rabid dog that needs to be put down. And she'd be happy to do so; she's just not been asked, yet. Worse, she also knows there is nothing helpful they can give the cops in this case.

She listens to Pezzini's run down of the woman, however, and has to smile. "You're very astute, detective." She can understand why the Old Man wants her to evaluate this woman for his latest initiative. "SHIELD has not given Partisan a license to kill, if that's what you're asking," the Russian agent says, her accent very American for all that. "And, you're right. She's not very likely a threat the NYPD can hope to contain. It would take the SRD at the very least, or SHIELD." And that's not a boast. It's just a matter of fact. "So, here's what I can offer you:" She doesn't even bother to look at May. She knows just how annoyed the other agent is. However, she also knows that getting Pezzini into the fold — and possibly Manning as well — may well trump the utility of a wild card freelancer like Partisan. "I'll see that as much of the corroborating information we have on Partisan as I can reasonably provide without compromising any active SHIELD operations is made available to you, providing you let us ride shotgun on this. This really is way above your pay grade, detectives. But I get you've got a huge stake in this. If we can play ball together, I'm happy to oblige. If you want to go this alone, however, the best I can do is promise to turn up to your funerals."

Paul studies May, weighing her words and her tone. Criminals have been lying to him for over a decade and developing an instict for the truth is pretty much a requirement to be a detective. But Sara distracts him before he can respond to the agent. "The mission was not the first time you've seen her." Which is obviously news to him. "Not just seen but spoken to. At length and in depth." And didn't warn him there was a rabid dog in town. This time it's Natasha that forestalls anything else he has to say. "So Detective Pezzini is correct in that she's a metahuman of some sort." Wonderful. At the offer, he nods. "Thank you, Agent. I - we - accept. Though I suspect it's going to have to be on the unofficial side as the department doesn't seem likely to approve of your involvement without it going through official channels." WHich seems just as unlikely. "On another note…" He reaches into a pocket and withdraws a small syringe which he extends to May. "Your operative the other night wanted you to have this. He didn't say what it was."

Again, May's eyebrows draw together, making it clear to all of them that she doesn't know what Paul means by 'her operative'. She takes the syringe anyway and looks at it briefly. "Describe this operative." She's giving Paul that LOOK, now, that one that usually means the Teal'c method of interrogation is about to begin.

"Given my record, I'll see you at Paul's," Sara smiles faintly to Natasha's offer, though she looks to her partner to see how he feels about the deal. When he agrees, she nods as well, turning her attention to the questions between Paul and May. "I've got a place we can start asking some questions," she adds in an aside to Natasha.

"You'd be surprised at the strings we can pull to get what we want," Natasha replies blandly. "If it needs to be official, it will be. If not, you get to be the star, Detective Manning." No, actually, she's pretty sure they wouldn't be surprised. But, SHIELD can out pull most federal organizations, outside of the ones that aren't on the up-and-up. Somehow, those ones are almost always able to do things the rest can't. And, once upon a time, Natasha helped them do it. She knows those tricks.

She glances to Sara at the detective's oblique reference to her own abilities. And she offers a faint nod of acknowledgement. Yes. She has some idea what Pezzini can do, too. Partly because of that first op. And partly because… well, there's a dossier with the good detective's name on it sitting in a secure location only Natasha knows, thanks to Director Fury.

"That other one from the mission." Paul explains. "The one who flew with all the circuitry." Can't SHIELD keep track of their people? Though granted, May was more than a little stoned at the time. Such a small person doesn't need to absorb a lot of drug to have an effect. Natasha's comment get a shake of his head and a scowl. "I'm not interested in being a star. I want to put a murderer out of commission. Period." Though after a pause, he does add "And find out if she's correct about him being a Hydra agent. We can't allow that either."

Melinda May frowns faintly at Manning's slightly flippant attitude he tosses in with the description he offers. "Trent is NOT my operative." And that's all she's going to say about that. Though speaking of… what happened to the Staff Sergeant after the whole mess at the amusement park? She has to set that thought aside for the moment, though, as Manning returns to the topic of Partisan. She looks at Romanoff and offers a teaser. "This is not the first mention of Hydra I've heard recently."

"Jericho," Sara supplies at Paul's description. "And if she went through the effort of setting up an actual hit, there's a reason she thinks he was dirty. Not saying what she did was right or that she doesn't deserve to be punished. I'm just saying she's not a mindless killer."

"Yeah," Widow says off-handedly to May. "I know." She's tangled with them at least twice in the past two weeks alone. "Seems to me, ladies, gentleman, we have two pressing issues before us: Possible corruption of the NYPD by Hydra agents, and a rogue freelancer nominally associated with SHIELD publicly killing NYPD officers. That's going to make this very, very tangled. And, frankly, Detectives, it's going to up your pay grade significantly before this is over. If you get tangled up too deeply in this, we can't promise you Hydra won't come after you. The best we can do is offer you ways to protect yourself."

She nods again, however, "But you're right, Pezzini. Partisan's not mindless. She has reasons for absolutely everything she does, and she rarely acts without positive proof." Which doesn't make it easier, actually. "So, where would you like to start?"

Jericho Trent. So Paul has a name now to go with the face. "Some of the criminal organizations on the street are no less deadly than Hydra." he tells Tasha. "Or barely less. They're just smaller and have less tech. You end up just as dead though." Which is not to say he's happy about it. But he signed up for this duty.

Melinda May nods to Manning, then looks at Romanoff again. "Sitwell or Whitmore?" She's using shorthand of sorts, asking the Russian which agent would more likely be the one to look into domestic affairs. Her eyes return to Sara again, remembering the woman's comment about having to give her protective gear back to the precinct after the operation they were all part of. Is the NYPD that strapped budget-wise that they don't have enough vests to issue to each officer in the field? That seems… typical of municipal level bureaucracy.

"Nancy O'Neal," Sara answers Natasha. "Julliard cellist we brought in as a witness to the mall shooting a few weeks back. I'd just come in, so they asked me to handle the interrogation. Seemed normal enough, except her part in the whole affair included restraining some of the perpetrators. With military-grade zip ties. That she just happened to be carrying." She lets that unlikely situation sit for a minute. "She dodged well enough, but she was definitely dodging. I told her I didn't want to see her in the precinct again and cut her loose. Anyone else catch what the Partisan called her apprentice on our last op?"

"Whitmore," Natasha replies briefly to May, mainly because she doesn't trust Sitwell. "You'd be surprised at how often Hydra's the one pulling the strings and supplying those smaller orgs," she notes to Manning. A brow arches, however, at Sara's determination of their starting point. Her ears rise faintly as well. "Sounds like a place to me," she agrees. She glances between them. "Okay. So, why don't you two start with O'Neal? May and I will see what information we can get from our end on Partisan, and on Hydra. And we'll meet again to compare notes."

Paul nods his agreement. "Sounds good." The meeting must have gone a lot better than he expected given his much less hostile attitude. "Let me know what the deal is with that blue stuff, if you can."

Melinda May looks at the syringe again, then pulls a small case out of one pocket (why does she carry this? Why not?) and stows the container for later review. "I'll share what I can." Translation: She has no idea what the stuff is or why Trent felt she needed to see it. But, if it turns out to be something she can share with Manning, she will.

"I doubt she'll give anything up willingly," Sara admits, though she seems distracted, working through a few possible outcomes for herself. "But we might as least be able to get a lead." She pauses, looking to Paul for a moment. "And more information. This is bigger than just one guy."

"Anytime Hydra's involved, it's bigger than just one guy," Natasha says, now. She then glances to May. Sounds to her like they're done here. So, she rises and extends a hand to the detectives. "Thank you for the call, detectives. Rest assured, we'll do everything we can to get to the bottom of this."

Paul clasps the hand then offers his to May as well. "If you could… I'd appreciate it if you were to look into our immediate superior as well. I have no reason to suspect he's dirty or on their payroll. I'd just like to be sure that if we need to, he's someone it's safe to go to. And if you can confirm Partisan's accusation." Not that he has any less intention of going after her but he does want to know the truth.

Melinda May shakes Paul's hand and nods. "I think we can do that." It's always reassuring to be able to prove that someone CAN be trusted than going around suspecting absolutely everyone. She knows this from personal experience. Of course, thinking that way HAS saved her bacon before. But still. For essentially civilians like Manning and Pezzini, that kind of reassurance is sometimes necessary.

Sara arches a brow at Paul's request, but she doesn't gainsay it, taking Natasha's hand in a brief, firm grip. "Thank you, agents," she nods to the pair. "We'll keep you updated on what we find about where to find the Partisan." She steps back then, giving Paul a look. "So you want to stop for Chinese on the way back, or are you thinking pizza this time? Because there's a really good Greek place between here and the precinct…"

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