Compound 14921-X

July 04, 2014:

A joint effort between a couple of NYPD detectives and SHIELD is formed in regards to a growing concern in the Tri-City area.

The Triskelion


NPCs: None.


Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

There's a number of reasons for Paul and Sara to be seeking out SHIELD. There's the whole Partisan mess, of course, and Agents May and Romanoff agreed to keep them in the loop. There's Sara maybe joining up and coming out of the closet though Paul's not so sure about that for himself. The former, the latter being unnecessary. And then there's that vial of blue liquid he got from Aspect and delivered to May. He never did find out what the hell that was. Which is a good excuse to make an appointment to meet with her. And it's definitely work related so they even get to be paid to do it. "Detectives Manning and Pezzini to see Agent May." he tells the guard slash receptionist. "She should be expecting us."


"And I'm telling you that is the biggest piece of shit that I've heard all week," comes a loud complaint across the distance, the voice of one Agent Clinton Barton carrying quite easily. "You honestly expect me to believe—" He's walking backwards, his hands in the air gesturing towards person or persons that may be hidden by walls, fixtures, or that really neat fountain that is usually in most lobbies of important buildings.

Blue eyes catch a familiar face; his 'contact' (currently) in the NYPD…? What's Manning doing here?

Pausing in his steps backwards, luckily for him as there is a step that is probably as of yet unseen just behind him, Barton shifts gears and begins to move forward, in that direction.


"Yes, on purpose," Sara assures the receptionist with a smirk, hands in her pockets as she turns her back to the desk to take a look around the lobby. When Clint starts over, she shifts enough to poke an elbow at Paul's side, alerting him to the approach as she leans back.


Yep. It's looking like another night of alcoholic indulgence for the Deputy Director. "Why the hell am I even here if Fury's going to keep overruling every third thing I say," Hill mumbles to herself while massaging her forehead. "Directive four twenty-seven, need to know basis, secret agendas, insolent agents, classified level ten material, shadow ops within shadow ops…"

A white gloved hand slaps down on the smartglass of the table in Hill's office, the sound resonating within the room but, fortunately, barely making it out into the hall beyond. The soundproofing also keeps the following string of profanity from making it to the ears of anyone else walking nearby.

"To hell with this. I don't need higher clearance to know he's got a rod up his ass the size of Rhode Island. What do I need to know, I'm only keeping this damn place together while he's too busy being full of himself."

She needs a break. A break that takes her far, far away from her office and its paperwork, and right to the front lobby.


Melinda May actually happens to be the one 'following' Barton and looking suitably unimpressed. "Believe what you want, Barton." She sees Manning and Pezzini waiting at the lobby front desk right on time and approaches them right alongside Barton. Giving the person at the front desk a nod, she looks to the two NYPD officers then gestures toward, well, Hill. "This way."


Paul glances over at Sara at the poke then looks over to where she's indicating. "Agent Barton." he tells her. "I spoke to him about that human trafficking case and that odd storm in the harbor a while back." And there behind him is the one they came to see. He nods a greeting to them both then follows May.


Approaching the desk, Barton is ready with a question obviously ready to be asked when he gets the answer. Meeting with May? Spinning around, brows raised, he looks momentarily deflated. But not undone, no! "Hey, Manning."

No, no.. he doesn't have to hurry a little to catch up, right? Right? But, Barton is stuck looking like the 'little brother', aways having to break into a jog in order to keep pace. "Hey, May.. this about the thing a couple of weeks ago? 'Cause I'm pretty sure that got resolved."

Great.. as if things couldn't get worse, here comes the personification of 'worse'. And, she's on the warpath, at least from the looks of it. Not. Saying. A. Word.

"I think we've crossed paths before," Sara nods to Paul. "Though I never caught a name. Agent May," she greets when the other woman arrives, falling in with the others as May leads the way. When Clint talks about some thing a couple weeks ago, she quirks a brow curiously, but doesn't ask. Yet.


And there's an Agent right now, motioning a small group of people right toward Hill. Three steps forward, three steps back. The DepDir actually comes to a stop, staring at the others with a look of 'what the hell did I do this time?' Seriously, was she horribly cruel to puppies in a former life or something?

"What's going on, May. You've got that 'we need to talk' look about you again." Which is particularly funny because May's expression pretty much never changes.

"Oh, Barton. I didn't see you from under your teammate's shadow." And then there's the other two detective sorts present. Hill's hands find their way onto her hips as she examines the group. "Right. Conference room three." She'll lead.


"Possibly," is all the clue that May gives Barton as to what this meeting is about. She's more certain that it's about that blue stuff and … oh. Hill. She might be in the know. "Deputy Director." Hill's snark aimed at Barton earns her a raised eyebrow, but then they're on the way to Conference room three, and she can nail the taller woman to the wall about that attitude later.


"Hey Barton. We never did get around to that Chinese food." Paul answers. "Got the file though." Or rather, copies of it. He reaches into his inside jacket pocket and pulls out some folded up papers, offering them to Clint. "You can owe me." Hill, on the other hand, he has no clue about and looks to Sara to see if she does.


File.. file!

Reaching over to take the paperwork, Barton grins, looking more than a little relieved, "You're right. I owe you one." Of course, the moment of victory is always snatched at the last moment, and once he's in possession, there's a fleeting, definitely thought of doing a football carry and just getting the hell out of the lobby, but no. Nope.

Not gonna happen.

Hill's comment gains a tight smile, the intent clear underlying it. Barton's thrilled, no really. Really. "Right. Conference Room Three." The archer falls into line, sparing a glance for Sara, brows rising briefly in a quick 'hey' acknowledgment.

"This should be interesting," comes out in a soft singsong.


Sara Pezzini shakes her head slightly to Paul's look, lifting her shoulders in a shrug. Nope, no answers here. Not that she can't connect a few dots. Since talking to Steve about the possibility of signing on, she's been doing her own research on the agency. As much as one can research a place like SHIELD, at least. "Like, going to the principal's office 'interesting'?" she murmurs at Clint.


It isn't until the conference room is properly secured that Maria bothers to introduce herself to the newcomers. "Deputy Director Maria Hill. Welcome to the Triskelion, home of the Strategic Homeland yada yada," she mock-announces while leaning forward with her hands spread out across the table, looking around at those gathered.

"While I'm sure you all don't need me for whatever it is that you're working on you're lucky enough to have caught me in between shuffling large amounts of highly pointless digital paperwork around the office, so what's the situation?"


Melinda May's eyes follow the papers being handed to Barton by Manning, but she seems otherwise uninterested. Not anything to do with the blue stuff or the implications that go with it, then she's not interested. Well, unless it's intel about that Joker person. Then she's very much interested. Once they are in the conference room and Hill proves she's every bit as pleasant and friendly as a porcupine with an ingrown quill, May takes a guess and speaks up on Manning's behalf. "They're here to ask for an update on the research into that X-gene inhibitor compound. And whether or not R&D has managed to create a counteragent yet."


"Another bad tempered superior officer?" Paul murmurs just as quietly. "Are they turned out in mass production like Buicks?" He shuts up as they get to the conference room and answers "That's exactly what I was wond…" Pausing, he looks at May. "Well, that answers my first question. It's an X-gene inhibitor compound. I even understand what that means. I didn't even know I was going to ask if your R&D managed to create a counteragent yet but since Agent May thinks I was going to, I will." Significant pause. "Has it?"


"Oh yeah," is murmured back, "And having to call your dad while he's at work." Not that Clint's had a father through his formative years. But it's the thought that counts. "I think it's a class they have to take and pass."

Barton trails into the conference room but doesn't take a seat. Instead, he stands at the door and crosses his arms against his chest, leaning. "Well, apparently the guy I hit in the bar a couple of weeks ago isn't going to press charges?"

Or… that. What May said. After May comes out with her bit, Barton has the decency, at least, to shut up. Now. Particularly in that he hasn't heard anything about this X-Gene.. something or other, whatsis.
"I was curious as to whether or not you all have had contact with the Partisan recently," Sara adds to Paul's comment, raising her hand briefly. "And I was going to see if Steve was around and wanted to stop by Paul's gym. Personally. The X-gene thing sounds interesting, though, I'm in for that." She looks between May and Hill, expectant.


"Well thank God for that," Hill deadpans in response to Clint's first comment about not having charges pressed. "At this rate your Christmas bonus might yet be in the positive numbers this year."

"Ah, yes. 'Compound 14921-X.' Just because R and D had to give the damn thing its own classification. Makes them feel important down there. What I know is that it's cyanide-based, which makes it somewhat problematic to stop once it hits the veins of anyone packing an X-gene."

"Neutralizing it before it's used is a cakewalk. Stopping it after the fact is on the realm of impossible. Best case scenario is to put the victim into a deep freeze before their heart stops, which means working within a matter of very short seconds. You want a 'cure' for this stuff then it needs to get taken out of production and pulled from the streets altogether."

"As for that crazy girl with the wolf obsession, contact has been made. That's another one of Fury's pet projects, I'm not part of that mess. As for Steve?" she pauses with a humorless smirk. "Guy could be doing anything from helping old ladies cross Manhattan streets to saving us all from foreign invasion. I swear he never sleeps."


Melinda May narrows her eyes at Barton. "We'll discuss that later." Translation: She'll ask him what the heck he's on about. Later.

She looks at Sara when the officer asks about the Partisan, and shares something she's likely not told anyone else. "She asked me to help her with that crusade of hers. I told her where to shove that crusade. I guess she decided to go over my head about it." And that means the decision also will happen above her head. Fine. Whatever.

Listening to Hill's explanation of what's been found thus far about Compound 14921-X is … frustrating. Not surprising, just frustrating. And she just shakes her head at the thought that Fury might give the Partisan what she wants. That's a disaster just waiting to happen.


Paul holds up a finger in a clear 'just a moment' gesture. "Just to clarify… I assumed an X-Gene inhibitor inhibited the X-Gene. As in shut it down somehow. But cyanide based? Before their heart stops? That sound more like a general human being inhibitor unless it only works on those possessing the X-Gene? Also…" And here his tone becomes deliberately neutral. "Can you please define what 'Fury's pet project' means? Because that crazy girl with a wolf obsession is a cop killer and wanted by the NYPD for murdering one of its own. I would hope that SHIELD would be turning her over to us, suitably contained, should she come into your… possession."


"Oh hey.. a bonus? Might be able to keep the electricity on this winter. That'll be a nice present," is shot back. Still, Barton is trying to follow the conversation, but isn't having all that much luck. He's still on the 'Compound.. whut?'

May's comment is very much like how a conversation with a parent would go AFTER being sent to the principal's office. Barton looks to the Agent and simply shrugs; it happens. Particularly in bars.

Though now, catching wind of a 'pet project', brows rise and he straightens somewhat. This… this might mean that he'll be involved. It has all the hallmarks. Something everyone hates and has to do with a sociopath with a love of guns and blowing stuff up. Where has he heard this before? "Great. Just… great."


Despite her usual matter-of-fact attitude, there's a flicker of relief in Sara's features when Hill says Partisan is being handled, though it doesn't seem to have any fear in it. More along the lines of 'someone else's problem.' "Yeah, she offered me a job, too," she grimaces at May's confession. "I didn't exactly tell her where to shove it, but I told her there were better ways to do it. I figured you all were better equipped to deal with those sorts of things than I was." She half turns, looking toward the door. "I mean, I figured the manpower in this building, if nothing else, could put a crimp in-" And then Paul is back on the try the Partisan train, and the rubs a hand at her brow. "Paul, we went over this, you can't contain someone who can literally jump bodies. We don't have that cell. We don't have that courtroom. And cop or no, we still haven't proven she didn't have a good reason to put a hit on the guy."


This is exactly why Hill happens to appreciate May. They still have their moments of butting heads, anyone worth their weight as an agent here does where Hill's concerned. Hearing that May told Partisan to stuff it very nearly makes the DepDir smile.

Oh, and she's going to handle the Clint situation later. All by herself. Delegation is a beautiful thing when it works.

"Out of my hands as well, May. Feel free to ask me my personal opinions regarding that later." A disaster of epic proportions waiting to happen, right there.

Paul gets his moment, Hill looking back at the detective with the sort of gaze that would intimidate most people. Probably not so much with anyone here, though. She has other looks for that. "You'd think that, wouldn't you? Unfortunately, for obvious reasons, we haven't had a surplus of X-Gene holders to test it out on. If the chemicals interact with the corpses in any significant fashion that'll be news to me, but you're exactly right. If we're all talking about the pretty blue syringes then yes, cyanide-based. The compound is lethal when injected into anyone. You can understand our frustration in trying to figure it all out, as well."

Pet project… Here she draws in a deep breath and holds it, her head bowed forward slightly as she collects her thoughts. When she next looks up to Paul she does so with a forced smile. "I don't know. Our lovely Cyclopean overseer has a fun habit of making calls which not even I am allowed to know about. If I had my way we would have solved this little problem with liberal amounts of napalm years ago, but I'm not in charge. Between us, I hope like hell that you can throw that rat into the -very- best cell your department can provide."

Yeah, 'the rat' is still running wild and free. Happy hunting!


Melinda May looks from Hill to Sara to Manning. "The Partisan told me that her targets are all associated with Hydra in some form or other. Didn't go into details." She is being very careful to completely avoid mentioning Aspect, figuring that kid (yes, in her brain he's a kid) has enough problems of his own to deal with without ending up with SHIELD turning its hairy eyeball on him.

Barton might be singularly unenthused by the thought of a 'pet project', but considering that she's been told to shadow Barton by Hill, they'll BOTH be having to deal with whatever comes down the pike.


It's as if the SHIELD agents aren't in the room at the moment. "Lots of super powered criminals are contained." Paul says, turning to look directly at Sara. "If New York City doesn't have the facility, and it doesn't, we'll do what we always do. Send them somewhere that can handle them. And since when does cold blooded murder have a justification? He could have been Attila the Hun and he still needed to be investigated, tried and convicted before being sentenced to death. Or why are we even bothering? We should just be out there killing anyone we /think/ is breaking the law. And then where do we draw the line? Murder? Except I don't recall her even claiming he killed anyone in her little speech after. He was working for Hydra. Is that an automatic death sentence? How about those working for the various crime syndicates? How about actual murderers? Like Partisan. Why bother with trials?" He could go on. He even seems like he's about to before remembering where he is and he glances around at the agents. Right. Deep breath. Back on track. "So it's basically just a lethal poison no matter who you are? That seems… like it doesn't need to have anything to do with X-Genes in order to do that. There must be more to it. Has anyone asked that guy Trent? Aspect, he calls himself."


There. As no one is actively talking at him (not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing!), Barton is free to listen to the other three discuss matters that actually don't pertain to him (yet). That way, when it invariably does involve him, he'll at least have some foreknowledge of what the -hell- is going on from the ground.

"I'm just saying, it isn't our job to decide before there's any trial, either, and you're getting a little bit obsessive here," Sara retorts. "Her entire existence doesn't make any more sense than the thing that climbed out of that glowing hole down by the private school on sixty-fifth three weeks ago, and you didn't seem to have any problem with my judgment on 'extradition' there." Partners are cute, right? As the topic turns, she rolls her eyes, crossing her arms over her chest as she looks between the others. "Are there any secondary effects to the dosage? Like…" She waves a hand, searching for the words. "Like if you injected a mutant with it and they went back to M-Town, yeah, they'd die of cyanide poisoning soon, but would they be some sort of Typhoid Mary infecting everyone around them with a secondary virus until then?"


"Sounds like a flimsy excuse. 'I had to kill Jennings down in communications, turns out he was Hydra.' Who could tell if he really was or if I just got tired of hearing his lame-assed jokes all the time?" Hill's thoughts are left in the air as she listens to Paul's rant about the situation. And Sara's, in turn. The bit about something crawling out of a private school has an eyebrow raised. But, as it turns out, she says to Paul "I couldn't agree with you more. If -I- was running this damn Division we wouldn't make a habit out of taking in strays, or anyone that seems to think the laws don't apply to them."

Barton may wish to avoid the momentary brown-eyed glare that's being leveled his way.

Back to Paul, she offers "If you all want to handle the situation on your own? Watch me not complain." Because right now the whole matter is well and truly out of her hands, and she does -not- like that. Justice from any other source is justice all the same.

As for the Inhibitor, Paul's on the mark once more. "I'd have to agree. Frankly the whole thing's been difficult for anyone to pin down. We aren't the only ones trying to get to the bottom of it. Aspect? Doesn't sound familiar, but it sounds like it's time we paid him a visit."

Sara's question about the Inhibitor causes Hill to silently bob her head a few slow times, as if agreeing. Then, turning to the female detective, "There's a good chance that's the case. What our boys -have- managed to figure out is that the compound seems to have a potential of going airborne. How effective it might be as an aerosol I couldn't tell you, but even considering New York's subway network I wouldn't want something like that getting loose. Our friendly neighborhood mutants won't be the only ones in the crosshairs."


Melinda May lets Manning and Pezzini get their rants out of the way — they've earned them. The Partisan /might/ have the right goal in mind, but the ends NEVER justify the means. Which is ninety five percent of why May told the woman to stuff it. Sara's very valid questions about the Compound and Hill's replies actually manage to make May's expression change. She looks even LESS happy now. Though when she levels that less happy expression at Manning for throwing Aspect out onto the table (no, not literally), she has to make a choice. Leave mention of the kid at that, or volunteer that she knows where and how to reach him.


Paul turns back to study Sara a moment and then nods once. "You're right. I didn't have a problem with it. And since you put them in the same category, I won't have a problem with it if you treat Partisan the same way." He does try to avoid hypocrisy, after all. But Partisan is swept to the side as the talk turns back to the blue stuff. "A poison that spreads like the flu? That's not a pleasant thought. Perhaps it's a lot more fatal in small doses to those with the X-Gene." He frowns even more Hill's ignorance. "Aspect. Jericho Trent. You used him on the same mission we were on to kidnap that dictator. The same mission that Partisan was on. And that Shift guy." The one who shot the hostage.



Barton does manage to avoid Hill's gaze in the aftermath of her 'If I was God' statement (Director, God, same thing.). As far as strays go, yeah.. he's there. And oddly enough, he was actually -hired- to do things that law enforcement couldn't and wouldn't do. So, he is very carefully keeping his mouth shut in terms of 'killing first and asking questions later'. It's rare that he's given a judicial order to take someone out.

See now, this is where it gets interesting, however, and that lean on the door's edge isn't so much anymore as he straightens, unwrapping. Brows rise and now he'll look right at Hill before he slowly turns his attention towards Manning. "Hokay.. now.. what it sounds like is a little bit of communication issues. Pretty sure Hill wasn't the handler on that mission. Not her speed." What? "If there's going to be any fingerpointing, I'm thinking the office to do that in is upstairs, and I think the secretary is holding all the calls for the time being. So.. I want to hear more about this poison, and why HYDRA is so damned interested in mutants." He's looking past the 'how' and headed to the 'why'. Easier for his brain that way.

"And what have they been doing in preparation for this."


"I keep running into that guy," Sara adds on the topic of Aspect. "Caught him when some hitters blew up his apartment, then again when I ran into a…disagreement outside a clinic in M-Town. Some of the hitters were mutants, actually. And it looked like there were mutants on both sides of the clinic thing. For whatever that's worth, may not mean anything. Or it may mean there's more connections here, because I was looking at the clinic after hearing about the kidnappings from those two in the bar," she adds with a look to Paul. "So we've got a clinic, which is a great place to manufacture things like that. An organization that's supposedly kidnapping mutants. A hitter group that includes some mutants. And an injection that kills mutants, and may or may not be able to kill more than just the mutant who's been injected. That's what I've got," she concludes with a brief smirk for Clint.


"Oh, you mean the mission that I was in no way involved with but found out about anyway and was too busy warpathing about the loss of a hostage's life to take notice of the finer details," Hill counters to Paul's recounting of the situation. "-I- have not had any dealings with Aspect, and thus far he has comfortably slipped beneath my radar while I attended to more serious matters. You must be mistaking me for Fury again. Common mistake, really. We have the same sense of humor." Or lack thereof. "But thank you for telling me all about my job, I forget sometimes."

Then it's Sara's turn to come up with something perfectly logical, which is enough to spare Paul any more of Hill's sarcastic wrath. "Regardless of how well connected he is, it sounds like his name's coming up an awful lot. This isn't the sort of coincidence that I'd believe in, which means it's time to dig deeper."

Someone else has been quiet for a time, which isn't at all unusual. All the same, Maria glances back to May. "Something on your mind, May?"


Well, hell. Thanks, Manning. "I know how to contact Trent. But from past experience, he's got more than one bullseye painted on his back. Getting him here to talk to might not be as simple as asking him to stop by." She looks from Hill to the two police detectives and then to Barton. "Permission to bring him in covertly."


"What?" Paul asks, peering at Clint. "No, she's not his handler. It was Agents May and Romanoff on that mission along with Cap." He didn't mean to sound accusing just explanatory. But he is more than a little annoyed in general all things considered. Twisting his neck to the side, it cracks audibly and then he reaches up to rub it. "Did you run the clinic? Who owns it, etc?" he asks his partner. "We should do that. Not much more to talk about it seems till we can find out more from Trent about that crap."


"If he's brought in, maybe should be protective custody at the moment." Because, well, if the guy is spooked, who knows what ground he'll run to? Barton knows the feeling. He really does.

When Widow's name crops up in the 'handler' list, Barton has to pause and exhale. He's got faith.. he does. There's got to be a reason that no one is seeing. (Not even him at the moment.) May, on the other hand… and the archer looks to the woman, brows rising. (And they say he's bad?)

"Right.." and a nod is given to Sara as she recites what is known up to that very moment. "I think we need to ID the mutants on each side. Get in contact with someone to help." And SHIELD knows that Xavier's got those people in-house. "Then, we can see what factions might be at play. Who knows. We could be in the middle of a mutant war, and HYDRA is supplying one side or the other." Not likely, mind, but it's a thought.

"But.. that said, I have some reading to do. If you all don't mind, I'll be stepping out. Manning, good to see you. Partner, good to have met/not met you…" And May and Hill? Heh.. a nod and a salute is given with the file folder before he lets himself out.


"Pezzini," Sara supplies to Clint's vague farewell, tapping her fingers to her brow in a fake salute. "And the local department picked up the clinic thing," she adds to Paul's question. "Wasn't sufficiently weird for us, just neighborhood tension so far as they were concerned. I kept the case info, though, we should be able to pull it up on the computer. Paul and I were planning on hunting down the kidnapping angle, we can keep you read in if we find any more connections there."


The nod is given from Hill to May's request, and to Barton's suggestion about protective custody. If he is an important piece of this puzzle then they can find out before using him as live bait, too.

It would seem that the Deputy Director's priorities are changing on her once again. On the upside this is the biggest crisis at the moment so it makes sense to shift her focus. Having these two detectives involved should help the process along nicely, they actually seem happy to share information with the Division. What a concept! These two could prove to be quite useful.

Barton's call out is met with another simple nod, Maria doesn't need anything more than 'I've got work to do, seeya.' Run off like a good little agent, etc.

To Sara, Hill confirms "We'd appreciate it. I'll track you both down once we've got this Aspect guy secured, it'll be a fun night of interrogation."

She's probably joking.


Melinda May nods to Barton and Hill, then to Manning and Pezzini as she stands to take her leave. Before she moves to see the detectives back out to the lobby, though, she has one teeny little demand for Hill. "I interrogate Trent. No one else." Hmmmm.

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