The North Sprawl. Where the unfortunate congregate. As the name suggests the developments have sprawled into one big mass of buildings and roads. Business is still conducted here, people still live here but the ‘long arm of the law’ rarely reaches this far and existence is often dismal.
It’s in one of the side streets that two SHIELD vans pull up and a group of TAC agents tumble out. Following them is an agent with sea-foam coloured hair – hair that’s considerably shorter than it was yesterday. “Alright, Agent Long. I know you’re a scientist, but this is what we do for our Agents in the field.” Kaylee Simmons is saying. “You’ll be assigned to a team to go in with them, use your ICER but stay back and let them do the clearing. There’s always work for people like us once a building is stormed. Have you got your field bag with your tools?”
“Now. Where is Bastion Shaw? I’d love to know how he pulled the strings to get two TAC teams and two scientists to help him.”
“Like this.” comes the charmingly egotistical voice of the Corp VIP in question as he saunters up to the lot of SHIELD vehicles. There wasn’t much of a warning from their perimeter, but then he’s not dressed as his usually suited up high end self, so… maybe they mistook him for a local and he slipped through? A pair of worn sneakers, jeans with wear and tear in them, some sort of long sleeve shirt and a slightly over sized military issue flak jacket circa Vietnam, it’s print faded and it’s sleeves stained. He /definately/ doesn’t look like himself, the tobagon on his head doesn’t help either, one of those slightly floopy hipster jobs that works as a hat and a fashion statement. Currently he’s holding his hands up and wriggling his fingers inside a pair of fingerless gloves, as if he were a puppeteer commanding marionettes.
He flashes a smirk at Simmons, “Same way I always get you lot to do what I want. Dance puppet dance!” the last is said in a mock master of ceremonies over the top sort of tone as he eyes Simmons and mimes tugging her strings. He gives up quickly, “Meh. Was always more of a muppet man anyway.” this he does not mime. “Also, you guys take /forever/ to get your shit together. I mean seriously. You have any idea how long I’ve been here in these parts looking like a fashion reject from the homeless turn of the century? Uncool Simmons. Uncool.”
Emi Long is gripping her ICER. Very tightly. In the proper way for safety, but very very tightly. Biting her lip, she looks to Simmons. “I uh, um, I’ll do my best,” she stammers, before letting out a nervous giggle. She’s wearing a helmet. Brand new by the looks of it. There’s a little sticker on it still, that says REMOVE THIS and has an inventory code on it. “I’ve got my bag,” she then adds with a nod, patting the bag hanging off of her shoulder.
Agent Gorman is a mustachioed man with a broad chest and absolutely no imagination in the fashion department. He’s wearing what looks like a suit underneath a flack vest. “Our apologies for your wait, Mister Shaw. The wheels of government and all that.” Or maybe they’d dragged their feet a little bit.
Probably not though. They want a peek at Whitaker as much as Bastion does even though the agreement does stipulate that he’ll be turned over to Corporate Authorities and tried in the corporate courts. During which time SHIELD will get to pump him for information so they get something too. Seriously though. The higher ups are all about ‘cooperation’ at the moment.
At least until they’re not.
“Do you need a moment to… shower?” Gorman smiles slightly and waves to one of the tac teams. They move out. They’ve got a flanking entrence and some of their members are on overwatch.
“We can go whenever you’re ready. Will you be coming with us?”
“There you are, Bastion. Do you really want me to dance for you? I will as far as SHIELD dictates but more than that, it will cost you and I’m not sure even you have enough money…” That’s dangerous and she knows it but she enjoys teasing the Corporate mogul.
“Agent Gorman…” At least he will try to smooth things over as Kaylee dons her armour and checks Emi’s. “Don’t try. Do.” she says to the younger scientist and gestures for her to follow the first TAC Team.
“When you’re ready, Bastion.” She’ll follow the second TAC team, once her ‘dwarves’ – seven small spherical drones – are in the air. When he is, hopefully the shower doesn’t take too long, Kaylee joins the second team and they move to the next entrance.
Bastion rolls his eyes towards the location and grins, “Oh I wouldn’t miss this for the world.” and more and more Bastion is gaining a reputation as some sort of luckier then a lepracaun kinda bastard. Numerous attempts on his life, some by true proffessionals, and none have come close to being successful after all. His eyes flash a bit, “So, which one of you wants to give me a firearm?” he asks looking around, “Something big and loud and matches the impressiveness of my manhood? Like a howitzer. Who here has a howitzer I could borrow for a bit? Mmm?”
When nothing is offered up he sighs, “Fine. I suppose I’ll just use Simmons here as a meat sheild. Simmons!” he beckons, “Front and center, chop chop! Protect the pretty one!” he is course kidding. Isn’t he? He makes one of those hand gestures they make on TV when someone is motioning the SWAT team or whatever forward. He grins at Simmons, “You have no idea how much money I have dearie… and did you like that?” he makes the motion again, “I saw that on Law and Order: Corporate a couple weeks back. Looked fun.” no. He clearly does not bother showering first. There’s work to do!
Emi Long takes a deep breath, and with a firm nod at Kaylee, she goes to join the first TAC team, which greets her by tearing the sticker off of her helmet. Realizing what that was, she blushes. “Sorry, I’m with you.” Keeping her weapon ready, she nods “Alright. Here goes,” looking over one more time to Kaylee to make sure she’s doing the right thing.
Gorman manages not to make a facial tic either in the direction of smile or frown. He’s a professional. And an LMD but shhhh. Those aren’t too common.
“Right. Move in.”
The Tactical Team moves up to the door with an entry tool and smash the door to this particular building complex open. “Team A, making entry. Proceeding toward suspected target location.”
The quiet lasts for all of two seconds when the first two agents in are hit by what looks like a six foot long Scorpion-Centaur and a man sized skeleton encased by a human shaped glob of pink jell-o.
“Hard contact!” The weapons fire is brief. The first two agents barely have time to shoot before they’re taken down which leaves Kaylee, Bastion and Emi face to face with the… whatever those are.
Kaylee just shakes her head at Bastions words and gestures for Gorman to outfit the man. There’s SHIELD armour, much like the set she gave Aleksei and a weapon. A //small// weapon that would fit in the palm of his hand. “You wanted something to match the size of your manhood.” The green haired scientist murmurs with smirk. “And I’m a Scientist, not a meat shield. But Davis and Matthews will be your point men.” Two of the agents just nod to the woman and give Bastion a distasteful up and down.
Then they’re moving.
And Davis and Matthews are down. “What the hell is that?” The words are out of her mouth before she can think, and her ICER is up and she squeezes the trigger twice. “Split right, Agent Long. Split it’s attention. Bastion, with me.” The higher ups will have her ass in a sling if he gets hurt – and there’s no guarantee that the dendrotoxin in the ICERs will work, or even if the darts will penetrate the skin of that scorpion centaur.
Her shots just pass right through the blob thing. “Heat.” she pants, thinking furiously. “It looks gelatinous. Maybe heat will slow it down …”
Bastion takes the gun and looks down at it, “Is this the gun that my real gun fires at the enemy? Because if it is not I feel like you havn’t googled me nude yet, which is a real treat in waiting for you Simmons.” the two men give Bastion the up down and he shakes his head, “You two can skip the googling, nothing there for you but a lasting sense of inferiority and endless questions about the meaning of it all. Ignorance is your bliss.”
Then there be monsters and Bastion just sort of stops to stare for a moment. “Huh.” he says, before darting for cover, “See? Bet my asking for the howitzer isn’t so funny now, is it?” he quips as he fires in the general direction of Skarner The Scorpion King or whatever it calls itself.
Emi Long can’t help it. When all this stuff happens right in front of her, she squeaks out an ‘eep’ in surprise. Taking a heavy breath, she nods, hops nervously to the right, and lowers her weapon. “Ahh,” she says short and sharp, before firing three times rapidly at the scorpion. If the shots DON’T penetrate, well, she’s going to be squeaking again. Either way she’ll be taking a step BACK, in addition to her move right.
“Ack! Ack! Blob!” The scorpion A) Has wings and B) goes hopping back as he is shot at, finally scuttling up the wall and poking at the agents with his sting-tipped tail from above. “Away! SHOOO!!!”
Not exactly… intimidating. The jello-man jumps in front of him and absorbs several bullets, some of which do indeed go through and other which just… sit in him. Like he’s made of ballstic gel.
“Here we go!” He doesn’t sound very intimidating for a blob. Really he sounds like he’s fairly young. And his maneuver? Well… a leap followed by what can only be described as a Belly flop. It’s aimed at Bastion but his aim isn’t great and in these tight corridors Kaylee and Emi are kind of right in the way.
“Try it and find out.” Kaylee mutters to Bastion about his weapon. “And I prefer my men with a little more humility …” She’s sure that’s going to get some snark back.
As the scorpion scuttles back and the jello man leaps at them, she puts her weapon up and shuffles back herself. “We’re not here to hurt you, we came to find someone who was here. Do you know him? A Mister Whittaker?”
Bastion wasn’t stupid enough to come to a shin dig like this without being powered up, but before he can do anything Simmons if over there trying to negotiate, and so he opts for something considerably less flashy then he had originally planned and instead, hurls himself backwards into an artfully tucked roll. Mock him all you like, but the corporate stooge is clearly athletically gifted. He comes up on a knee, weapon raised and pointed at Gooey’s uh … face like region, holding his shots. Maybe being nice and chatty will work. Stranger things, right?
Emi Long hears the two talking, and frowns momentarily. They sound like… regular people. But then blog is doing his belly flop, and she back off, hands up in front of her face, squeaking “Sorry, sorry…”
Splat. The blob man hits the ground in front of Bastion and just kind of… jiggles. It makes getting up a slightly slow process. He also slightly pancakes so now the whatever-it-is is substantially wider than he is thick. “Uh… meant to do that…”
“What’s goin’ on?” The voice sounds like an avalanche and the reason soon becomes clear. A mutant – probably a mutant anyway – that looks like a living pile of rocks comes out of a side hallway at a jog and slides to a halt in front of the shield agents.
“They just busted the door down!” The scorpion being says to the big rock guy. “They’re here for Whitaker.”
“Huh…” White eyes go from Bastion to Emi to Kaylee. “Alright, ya’ll don’t look like Purifier thugs or HYDRA spies. What’s your beef with Whitaker? We’ve got him in back. Had some questions we wanted to ask him.”
“Of course you did.” Kaylee says consolingly to the jiggly pile in front of her. Her life is so strange sometimes. She still has her weapon in her hand but she doesn’t raise it as the newcomer arrives.
“Well of course we don’t. We look like we’re from SHIELD.” The armour and the insignia are a dead giveaway “Agent Gorman have the teams stand down please. It seems like we’ve been beaten to the punch. I might need your assistance in here, though.”
She’ll let the other two explain more…
Bastion just… stares. This is the most surreal thing he’s been a part of in like a whole week. “Simmons.” he says in a conversational tone, “You sure don’t disappoint do you? I mean as far as first dates go, when I asked for not boring, you /delievered/. I gotta give it to you.” he slooowly lowers his pistol, “Whitaker stole something from me. I want it back. As well as a list of his accomplices so I can keep this sort of thing from happening aga-I’m sorry. Did you say HYDRA spies?” he asks, holding up a single finger in the universal sign for ‘everyone gimme a minute here’.
Emi Long hoilds her breath. She’s still feeling reall bad about firing shots at that guy. That scorpion. Even if the team members in front of her went down fast. They should be fine, right? She looks down at them to make sure they look okay, as Bastion does his thing.
“Stole something from ya, huh?” The rock guy does not look especially bothered that the scorpion or the blob-man were shot at. Interestingly enough it was ‘broke down the door’ that made the ‘report’ and not ‘shot at us’.
“Alright. You two go on.” Scorpion boy skitters away. The jell-o man has to more… waddle. As he waddles by the rock guy squishes him back into a more balanced shape.
“Names Rocky. No jokes, please.” He’s about to invite them in but then Bastion signals that he needs a moment so instead he grabs a little 2-way off his belt. “Hey, Moncia, bring our guest up front, yeah?”
Emi gets a look as if to say ‘why are you holding your breath’ while Kaylee gets a ping from Gorman that says he’s on his way.
“If this is your idea of a fun date, we might be able to do more…” Kaylee quips to Bastion but she’s just happily in the background for the moment, letting Bastion do the talking. This is his bust, after all. Emi will help as well, she’s sure. “Agent Kaylee Simmons. This is Agent Emi Long and that’s Bastion Shaw. There’s one more joining us.” is all she says.
Through the door comes a very feline looking woman, darkish fur and skin and hair in ‘tufts’. She looks dangerous and her yellowish eyes peer out at everyone. With her is a man that Bastion will recognise. “Why, Rocky?” she shoves Whittaker in front of her. “He ain’t said anything yet.”
Bastion takes a deep breath and lets it out slow, “That shit.” he says, standing up with an angry face firmly plastered on his otherwise good looks, “I’m gonna punch him in the everything.” he says as he starts to walk past everybody, clearly no longer caring about things like ‘lines of fire’ or ‘cover’ or ‘tactical whatever’, and instead he’s headed for Whitaker and the cat lady. “Oh,” Bastion says as he pulls the hat off of his head and tosses it aside, “I wouldn’t worry about that.” he says as he advances on Whitaker, “Problem is going to be getting him to shut the fuck up when we start chatting.”
Emi Long exhales once she sees that the TAC members in front of her were alright. Moving. apparently okay. Lowering her weapon, she looks to those speaking, and lets them speak. And in fact, when her name is mentioned, she lifts a hand to wave, an apologetic look on her face.
“Looks like we aren’t his only friends.” The stone-made man says to the more feline woman. Rocky just sort of steps aside for Bastion which probably doesn’t register to the Shaw. And because his back is turned he won’t see the look he gives to the two agents.
“Whatever he stole must have been pretty important, huh?”
Whitaker doesn’t look especially happy to see Bastion but with Monica having him in an iron grip he can’t go anywhere.
Monica laughs low. It’s the cross between a growl and a purr and her yellow eyes seem to gleam. “He’s been hurting the Morlocks … ” Morlocks, that’s a name that gets bandied around. The more ‘inhuman’ looking mutants that no one wants to adopt often get dumped in the Sprawl to fend for themselves. There might be more to them than that … but that’s what many know of them.
“His name keeps coming up with a number of things … what he steal from you?” She gives the man in her claws a good, hard, shaking “I’ll hold him for you while you punch if you like …” No negotiating with Whittaker, it seems.
Kaylee’s wearable beeps and she checks it “Agent Long, would you take Agents Davis and Matthews back to the trucks please and see them back to headquarters. Something tells me, I’ll be here for a bit.”
Bastion stops in front of the pair of them, and takes a slow breath, “So,” he says conversationally, “usually this would be the point where I take what I want and I just leave the rest of you holding the bag trying to figure out what just happened. But I’m trying something new lately, see how it works out. So let’s play this by market rules.” he rubs his hands together slightly, “You have something,” he nods at Whitaker, “and I want it. So. What’s it gonna cost me to take this off your hands? What’s the going price for one peice of polished uptown shit?”
He ignores the comment about what was stolen from him as it may effect the pricing of the currently being bargained for lot. “If you like, I can ask about your uh, friends, when I’m questioning him about my property. Answers to your questions in exchange for him could be considered a fair deal.” because they have no idea who they’re talking to of course.
Emi Long flicks her weapon into safety, and then pushes it into her bag. Looking to Kaylee, she bites her lip and nods. “Happy to help,” and then gets to it. Crouching beside one, she takes his hand, and grunts, trying to help him up. then the same to the other, before leading them both. Letting them lean on her. Which really means she has to work, but it’s not THAT far. “I’ll uh, be outside,” she says softly, breathily, as she works to bring the pair out.
“We wanted to know who was pulling the strings. He’s a money guy. They’re usually not at the head of the pack. Someone’s been peddling some really nasty crap around though. They hawk it as a way to ‘improve’ ourselves.” Rocky’s expression becomes – ahem – stony.
“It’s only an improvement if you think that mutants like us should be dead. If you can get that info for us, we’ll call it square.”
They might have asked for more sure, but there’s also a question on whether or not they think Bastion will actually hold up his end of the bargain. Keeping the ask reasonable increases the chances that he actually will.
“Also we want him to hurt. A lot. Because he’s hurt a lot of us. Ain’t that right Monica?”
“The hell did I miss?” Comes Gorman’s voice from behind Kaylee as he approaches. This is definitely not how he imagined this mission going down.
Bastion grins slowly at this, and the smile doesn’t quite reach his eyes, “So, in exchange for Whitaker, you want me to find out who’s been passing around that MGH crap?” he nods once, “Done.” he says, holding out his hand towards the cat woman, apparently expecting her to literally hand the man over, “He may not have the information you’re looking for, but if the answer to that question is the price of what I want, I will get it for you, if not from him, then from another.” he shoots Rocky a look, “A Shaw pays his debts.” something about the words sounds official and also vaugely ominous.
“I’m gonna hurt him anyways.” Monica growls as she shakes Whittaker again. She’s … not nice … and the others know it. “But you get that information we want, mister, and let us rough him up.” And not just a bit “… You can have him. I promise we’ll leave enough so he can speak but he won’t forget what he did to the Morlocks and won’t want to do it again.”
Kaylee hasn’t shifted, just watches. She doesn’t agree with this kind of thing but she’s not going to interrupt just yet. “Seems someone else got to Whittaker first, Agent Gorman.” Kaylee murmurs “And now our friend Bastion is trying to negotiate to get him. It’s rather refreshing, actually.” Still, she’s not missed the implication in what Rocky just said “And the drugs, which I’ll assume is MGH, have been distributed to mutants…” which is concerning all on its own.
Monica sighs as Bastion holds his hand out “Can’t I just hurt a little?”
“Monica.” Rocky admonishes flatly. “If hes actually a Shaw, and this guy stole something from him. he’ll hurt plenty. Let ‘im go.” The stone man walks over to deliver unto Caesar as it were. Perhaps not an innacurate usage either considering Bastions position.
“Take ‘im. He ain’t hurt now and this way it ain’t on us. Word of warning though? When we snatched him up he was being guarded by guys woth green and yellow power armor. Looked corporate. And foreign.”
So yes, Hydra spies. “You guys dont need to arrest us, right?”
Gorman looks at Kaylee. “I don’t think so…”
Monica growls, her fangs baring at Rocky but she lets Whittaker slip from her claws. “If you aren’t done with him, when you’re finished, I’ll have him back…” She turns and stomps out of the room.
“What on earth would we arrest you for?” Kaylee asks as she straightens. “I think you did us all a service. If you ever need help and can stomach asking us, you only have to call.” She hands over her card to Rocky. It’s unlikely. SHIELD isn’t well regarded in these parts.
“Corporates in Green and Yellow power armour?” That doesn’t ring a bell with her, but she’ll put it through the system when she gets back. “If you’re ready, Bastion? I think our date night is about to get even less boring …”
Bastion seems to consider this for a long moment, his head tilted to the side, “You want to know the truth about torture?” he asks, and finally he’s taken his eyes away from Whitaker and settled them on Monica, “It almost never works. Sure, everyone breaks in the end and they’ll tell you the truth eventually, but by then most of them have already lied so often about so much you don’t know what you hear /is/ the truth when you hear it. And so you keep cutting off bits. Soon all you have is a torso that whimpers and frankly, what are you going to do with a torso in your office? Sure, it’s a conversation peice, but I mean so it a moon rock and it doesn’t require a collostomy bag.”
Bastion turns his gaze back on Whitaker, “The trick to true intelligence gathering isn’t torture in the sense that most people understand it. Did you know that in all of your exsistence only two things have ever given you pleasure?” he asks, once more eyeing Monica, “It’s true, no matter who you are. Dopamine and seratonine. The same rules apply for everything else you feel.” he plucks Whitaker up by the collar before the man can stumble more then a step and he grins wider, “Excellent choice.”
He glances at Rocky and shakes his head, “You’re free to go.” he says, putting authority into the tone that Gorman seemed uncertain on, “In fact, I’m inclined to reward you for your civil service. If you don’t like working with SHIELD, feel free to head on over to United Allied Construction any time you want a real job. Unlike a lot of the corps I don’t give a fuck what you look like, so long as you’re willing to work.” He turns to begin walking back towards the SHIELD units, either dragging or guiding Whitaker along with him, either way his pace doesn’t seem to slow nor does he seem to mind trading between the two, “Green and Yellow power armor.” he says flatly as he walks past them, “HYDRA.” he clarifies, “Which explains why the money for the attempts on my life have been filtered through his bank,” Whitaker is given a good shaking, “and originate from somewhere in South America.” best his people could find out.
“They’ve spent a lot of money on this asshole then.” Rocky nods. He glances back towrd Monica as she stomps off and then nods to Bastion, pensive. Real jobs, with real pay… that’s worth something out here. He’s got people he can talk it over with. Any money they can bring back here is more than they have right now. First though. He’s going to have cook something that smells really good. That always calms the feline woman down, when she… smells what the rock is cooking.
“South ‘Murica? That’d be AIM right?” That’s been in the news, but Rocky doesn’t know much about it. “Sounds like you got some people to deal with then. You have fun… not torturing the scumbag.” That’s said with a small smile. He’s sure that ‘not torture’ will be worse than anything they could manage here.
Rocky nods once more and then heads back to make sure Monica doesn’t break anything they can’t afford to replace.
“So…” Gorman says with a small cough. “Are we dropping him off at your place?”
Whitaker looks… terrified. Which, you know. He should.
“I wasn’t going to torture him for information.” Comes the feline growl as Monica stops at the door. “I was going to do for it pleasure. Like I said, if there’s anything left of him when you’re finished, I’ll take him. He’ll look nice with a collar around his neck.” The she’s gone. She heard the rest though and yes, it helps. UAC will have Morlocks turning up in the morning.
Rocky’s cooking does seem to calm the Feline woman down, so there’s that.
“AIM and HYDRA. You do attract the most interesting of admirers.” Kaylee quips and nods to Gorman. “So … it would seem. Come along then..” With a nod to the remaining Morlocks, the green haired scientist, leads them out.
Bastion shakes his head, “AIM may have cut ties with HYDRA decades back, but it wasn’t a clean break. South America was resource rich and cash poor when the take over happened, ever since then to accomidate the difference they’ve done a goodly portion of HYDRA’s laundering in risky deals. It’s the worst kept secret in Corp town, that and Stark had a small penis.” he uses his grip on the man’s collar to send him hurteling into the back of the nearest transport wagon, not hard enough to break anything, but bruises are very likely a guarentee.
“If you don’t mind. I have someone who’s been waiting weeks to get their hooks into Whitaker and if he is who I think he is in this little charade of ours, he’ll give us our first real leads Connors fucked me into this shit show to start.” he takes a deep breath and looks around, “Hey Simmons, before the interrogation begins I’m headed back to my place to shower, wanna come? You can bring any other attractive female SHIELD employee you know, I won’t be jealous at all. No? Okay. Next time.” he looks around, “Who’s flying me up to my penthouse? You? You?” he points at random SHIELD Agents curiously as things are quickly being packed back up in preperations to leave.
“Him.” Gorman volunteers a pilot. Benefits of being a senior agent. “Alright folks, lets get Mister Shaw’s package delivered. He has a hot date, I hear.” The agents are efficient if nothing else.
Must be Bastion’s charisma. They’re moving so much faster here than they were when they were getting here.
Bastion leans on the big guns at SHIELD to help him take down Whittaker
February 19, 2051
North Sprawl - Chicago