Summary: The Friends of Humanity higher-ups are having a semi-clandestine meeting, and all sorts of various intelligence and law enforcement groups are surveilling the meeting. Slava is here for SHIELD. Andrea is here on her own. And then things go pear-shaped.
Location: Lower East Side in New York City
Participants: Lots of unnamed NPCs, Whisper (who is also emitting), Logos
Lower East Side - New YorkEdit
Historically, the Lower East Side has served as the home for various immigrant groups. Over the last decade it has been filled prominently by to two major communities. One is a medium-sized Jewish population which sees the Lower East Side as a sort of Hebrew Haven in the sprawl of New York and takes solace in spots such as Katz's Famous Deli and several famous Temples. The other group is a growing population of Puerto Ricans, who refer to the area as Loisaida. Besides the local communities, the Lower East Side is known for a vibrant music scene; while the historic CBGB has been closed, several other bars and nightclubs in the area still keep the dream alive, searching for the next musical revolution.
- Andrea Tellierra
- Slava Chaika
- Obvious Exits
- [BB] - Brooklyn Bridge
- [CT] - Chinatown
- [FD] - Financial District
- [LI] - Little Italy
A tall young woman, standing maybe five foot nine. Dark brown hair is secured close to her neck in a pony tail. Her complexion is a little on the dark side, although not nearly enough to be accused of being 'ethnic', and her eyes are a lighter brown. She might be pretty, were her expression and makeup not so severe. She moves quickly, with a certain confidence to her. Her voice is mezzo soprano, and carries with it a strong accent of Eastern Europe.
She is wearing a black double breasted suit, with a light blue shirt visible in the V of the jacket. Her sleeves are long, and she wears black shoes with a couple of inches of heel. Around her neck is a gold chain, but the pendant on it is hidden inside her shirt. Small gold rings glint in her ears.
Tall for a woman but not towering, there is a solidity about her that draws the attention. Broad shouldered with a decent hourglass figure, she has visible musculature that does not detract from her feminine beauty and curves. Mid-back length raven hair tumbles down to frame her face while swept well clear, leaving her dark slightly almond-shaped eyes unobstructed, peering out of a oval face with a strong jaw, high cheekbones, full lips and a pert nose. Her skin tone is a darker golden shade, the sort that speaks of countless hours under the sun. She does not seem to have bothered with much in the way of cosmetics, perhaps merely a shaded lipstick and some eye liner. Her voice is clear, a rich soprano with just a hint of Southern California to her accent. Her movements are confident and strong, a sort of unconscious grace.
She is currently dressed simply and casually, a pair of hip-hugging low-cut faded blue denim jeans with a simple brown leather belt, paired with a stomach-baring crimson t-shirt, emphasizing that flat, muscled abdomen and her small waist. Short modern hiking boots, well-worn but well cared for cover her feet, and a small kakhi canvas backpack dangles from one shoulder.
The meeting is relatively low-key, really, considering the agenda of those in it. The Friends of Humanity are not quiet folk by any means. But sometimes some of the upper echelon folks get together for something both more and less than a stump speech and whipping the crowd into a frenzy of hatred and intolerance. Right now, ten people - eight men and two women - are gathered in a conference room in a law firm's offices to discuss their next moves.
Outside the meeting, those in the know and with an eye for detail would quickly pick up that it's like a convention of law enforcement and intelligence services. FBI. CIA (and yes, the CIA is here, despite it being a domestic operation. They're just taking a /very/ long lunch break ... with equipment on site). NYPD. Three different news services. At least two teams from private investigation firms. And more. All of them apparently watching, listening, and taking notes. Lives may depend upon it.
Amongst those currently watching is one figure most of the others haven't even noticed. Tall, dark-haired, in loose khaki work pants, dark green t-shirt and with a ratty tan canvas backpack, she would appear to be just another less than gainfully employed resident of New York City, doing the best she can. So she sits quietly on a concrete curtain wall surrounding a small two-tree raised spot in the midst of a plaza-width stretch of sidewalk, her back against the bole of one of the trees. She sips water, and she watches the people go by. Or at least, that's what it appears she is doing.
In point of fact, the young woman once known as Whisper is zoned out, her mind concentrating instead on signals fluttering back and forth as she taps into the very surveillance feeds these other agencies are employing. She is keeping tabs on the people who - according to what she has read - want to make it impossible for someone like her to work for the US government, including the military. That would ruin her life and livelihood. So she is paying attention. It's not as if she has much better to do right now.
It's *probably* because Colonel Fury caught her taking an unscheduled lunch break that Slava Chaika is stuck on stakeout duty. Law enforcement convention indeed. On the other hand, like Whisper, Chaika has a bit of a personal...interest...in these people. She's fortunate in that there's nothing this organized where she comes from. Any moment now, the CIA are going to fall over the FBI, the NSA are going to bump into the NYPD (What do you mean, there's No Such Agency?). She's in an empty office about three floors up, pretending that she's the janitor taking a break...whilst really listening. Unlike Whisper, she can't hear ALL of the feeds, but she's getting enough. Enough to make her frown.
Andrea is doing the best she can to keep herself from responding visibly to what she's hearing, as the FoH leadership discusses how to best use and spin the latest image attacks to their benefit, eliciting pity from the liberal media and demanding 'equal time' to be heard and defend themselves against such accusations. There are also some oblique mentions to 'making sure the situation is capitolized-upon, regardless of losses', with the clear implication that whether or not they are actually responsible for the recent attacks against their organization or their allies, they are now positioning themselves to use these things to ramp up to even greater successes in the future by playing the 'unfortunate, misunderstood victims.' It's pretty disturbing, really.
Slava Chaika frowns even more, leaning against her mop...the equipment's hidden in the desk. She's listening, but there isn't anything she can really do. Unless they do or say something truly stupid...and the news media honestly has more power in that than SHIELD. As odd as that may seem.
The focus of these surveillance ops is almost entirely upon the offices, the conference room, and the remote pickups inside. Andrea's ability to be more aware of her surroundings despite that focus is what pays off, really. She is still sitting in place, sipping her water, when she spots the anomaly. The first hint for her is the high power cycle on the electronics. That's no cellphone, or even a smartphone, on that guy.
Andrea glances towards that direction even as her mind is analyzing the tiniest details, picking out the vague outline beneath the light jacket he is wearing. Given the cooler weather lately, the jacket doesn't immediately clue others in that something is wrong. But Andrea was in country. She knows that sort of outline, and she goes vibratingly tense the moment she picks it up.
That cannot be real. Can it?
Slava Chaika is, as of yet, oblivious to the approaching stranger. She's focused on... Oh, these people. These people...she'd be very glad to get enough evidence to put them behind bars...but they're just talking, for now. Hate speech, true, but just speech. It might earn something...with time.
A quick assessment of the situation, and Andrea falls back into ingrained patterns. This guy is a clear and present danger to the city and the citizenry. She's not sure what his target might be, but she can't really afford to just let him reach whatever it may be and do what he came to do. Unfortunately, she's not armed. Being on medical leave, she isn't cleared for firearms, and since she lives on base currently, she doesn't have any personal arms. That rather limits her options.
Thing is, there are dozens of other guns around. They just happen to be in the holsters worn by the agents and law enforcement personnel all around her, all watching the FoH pow-wow. The tall raven-haired woman slowly stands from her seat on the concrete retaining wall and starts strolling down the sidewalk, past the cafe space, heading towards the cross-walk. Meanwhile, she starts rifling though those comm frequencies, looking for something. Or more particularly, someone.
Then an earbud sputters. A soft voice speaks. "Possible terror suspect. Caucasian male, late thirties, dark pants, workboots, light grey jacket. Three blocks west, coming east on the northern sidewalk. Outline and power signature suggest possible vest device."
Who did Andrea pick?
SHIELD. Not an unreasonable choice for a mutant. "Who are you and how did you get this frequency?" As Slava says that, though, she's leaning the mop against the wall and moving to the window to try and see said 'terror suspect'. This is...just her luck. But she's not about to admit to whoever's cutting in that she's an analyst with very limited field experience and the primary reason she's here is in the hope that she can grab somebody's briefcase and rifle through it. "I see him," she adds, softly.
"You won't know me, Ma'am." says the soft, gender-neutral, mysterious voice. "But when you get back to a base, you can probably look up 'callsign Whisper' and find a profile. For now, look to your radial two-o'clock. Dark green shirt, long black hair, kakhi pants. Moving to crosswalk ... proceeding across on intercept vector."
As Slava watches, the woman in question does just that, jogging across the street with the pedestrian traffic and then turning westward, walking down the sidewalk to potentially intercept the 'threat', if threat he is.
"I am unarmed, Ma'am. Going to have to subdue him very quickly if this turns out confirmed." She's not saying 'gosh, I could use some help.' But it should be obvious. Right?
She's an analyst. She totally should *not* be doing this. But the image of Fury's cigar drifts into her head. Yeah. Its a disapproving cigar. She's packing...but from where she is, it would need to be a sniper rifle. The equipment is on record. Quickly, quietly, she' moves back into the building. Being a sensible agent, she takes the stairs. Its only three storeys down. Thank God.
"Going to attempt a brush past, to confirm the vest, as soon as I can get close enough." Whisper reports to Slava, as she continues. Andrea can 'see' the other woman coming down the stairs rapidly, then taking the side alleyway to the street as fast as she can without drawing panicked attention.
Once Slava reaches the sidewalk, she'll be able to pick out Whisper down the sidewalk, though the other woman is apparently doing a masterful job of portraying 'just another city resident' so convincingly that no one is paying her any mind. Between the two of them, they have a block of distance to cover - half a block each in opposite directions - before she and the guy will meet up, right about the cross walk between blocks.
Slava Chaika is still wearing a cleaners' uniform. Which means she elicits no attention whatsoever...except from the odd person who might note she's not Hispanic. People's eyes gloss right over janitors.
The figure already identified to Slava as Whisper pauses at the crosswalk and then starts to walk across slowly, hanging back as most of the foot traffic going her direction passes her by on their way to the next block. Instead, she waits until the man she thinks is a dangerous terrorist draws near, and then turns so that she seems to trip, and bumps against the man, brushing past. "Oh, sorry." she offers.
Darned politeness. It's ingrained. She can't stop herself. But it's not normal behavior for NYC streetlife minions.
The man Whisper just bumped into backs up a step, looking around himself a bit wildly. There is an erratic, frantic air about his movements now, as his pattern, his intent has been disrupted. Even as the transmission comes in to Slava, "Oh Hell, it's for real, it's for real, confirm, confirm, confirm ..." the man's frantic nature erupts, as he seizes the jacket and rips it open, shouting out loud, "Let them pay! Bring down the House of Hatred!"
As the jacket flutters away in tatters, what is revealed is not quite a classic 'bomb vest', though it's shape is very similar. This vest, however, seems to be wired and connected directly into the bare flesh of the man. A glowing crystal sits on the chest where the sternum should be, and its light is intensifying, flickering with increasing speed as if a heartbeat gone wild.
With surprising calm. "I confirm." Inside her jacket, the gun, retrieved and drawn. But he's wearing a vest. She's going to have to go for the trickier head shot, and with people scattering...at least one of them seeing her, torn which way to run before fleeing past her. "I can't believe I'm protecting those losers." The gun is raised, the shot checked, and she squeezes the trigger lightly, just as she was taught. Under any other circumstance, she would not do it, but if you have somebody about to kill half the block...what else DO you do?
Realizing the woman she called for help is likely about to take the shot, Whisper works as quickly as she can, shutting out as much of the extraneous information a possible and focusing ... on the vest. She dives towards him, hands outstretched, realizing he is about to set it off.
The shot goes off, thankfully with Slava miraculously not jostled while she squeezes it off, allowing her to maintain her aim and most of her surprise. The shot hits, if not dead-perfect, more than well enough to splatter the brains of the target quite messily. All over Whisper. Ew.
Whisper dives in, grabs the vest, and sucks in all of the radio and electronic energy she can, right through her hands. And just as the vest is about to clearly go critical, its tenuous balance disrupted ... it goes dark. Just ... dark.
The dark-haired, gore-covered woman holds onto the vest and rides the body to the ground. "Everyone back!" she shouts, somehow far more loudly than she ought be able to accomplish.
And then that voice is back in Slava's ear. "Call in EOD. I can't contain this energy forever."
Slava Chaika comes out of the alleyway, lowering her gun. It's going to look like she's...nobody who should have been doing that, but she's talking into a mike. Rapidly. The word 'SHIELD' is in there several times. But will that get people to relax...or, well, not?
Within less than ninety seconds, a large van comes down out of the sky, landing in the middle of the disrupted street. Police have cordoned off the area rapidly, and seem intent on covering the scene without actually interfering with either of the women closest to the action, which is a bit weird. But when the Commissioner of Police says 'jump', these guys say 'frog'. And they are not interfering with what they have been told was a SHIELD UN Security operation.
Out of the van come a team of geared-up folks who surround the vest and the body, and move in, taking possession and throwing the vest - body and all - into an explosive ordinance disposal mobile vault. Whisper lets go once they move to close the lid, and lowers her head, keeping her face out of sight behind gore and limp, smeared hair.
Slava Chaika moves over, keeping her own face somewhat hidden. After all...even though she was in disguise...well. She might well be...she's either going to get a commendation or a chewing out for this one. Especially as it MIGHT have worked without him dying. "Are you alright?"
The taller woman shrugs her gore-covered shoulders. "I'm a mess. But I'll live. I can't exactly walk back ... home, looking like this." Trials and tribulations of having no field resources. There are times she really misses being out in the middle of the damned desert. "You guys OK if I hitch a ride in your pretty flying van?" she inquires, as nonchalantly as she can manage, as if she sees this sort of thing all the time. Honestly, she just wants a quite place where she can strip and put on spare clothes from her bag. But she's betting spy girl here isn't going to let her just wander away without answering a few questions. Better the spy than the cops, she's guessing.
Slava Chaika is going to get in massive trouble for this. Maybe. One of the agents in the van signals them both inside. Which is, at least, proof that she's SHIELD. And therefore...allowed to do what she just did, if there's no other good solution. Bomb vest...there's no other good solution. Short of...the other mutant. Which is clearly what Whisper is.
Mutant. Metahuman. Somehow not quite normal. That much at last must be true. The other woman follows, climbing into the van, and takes up a post in a corner of the cramped space. Showing an apparent lack of much in the way of modesty, she immediately starts peeling out of her gore-splattered clothes, dropping her backpack as she pulls off her t-shirt - revealing a solid athletic bra beneath - and then uses it to wipe away the worst of it in her hair. She toes off her boots, then peels down her pants as well and finishes the job as best she can, dumping them into a bag when one is offered. Then she opens the backpack, fishes out a pair of black fatigue pants and puts them on, then adds a similar shirt. She accepts a towel and does a slightly more thorough job on her hair, then twists it and stuffs it through the back of a black baseball cap. Then and only then does she sit down, and start lacing up a pair of black combat boots.
"Sorry for having to break into your comm channels. When I spotted that guy, I knew I didn't have a lot of options. And you seemed the calmest, most level-headed of the surveillance teams in place. That, and you were alone on point. No bureaucracy to debate with." Whisper offers, explaining her choice. It's really the first time Slava has heard her real voice. Husky as it is, firm and sharp and clean, it doesn't sound nearly so genderless and soft as the voice she heard in her comm channel during the crisis.
"Fury's going to either give me a commendation or pitch me off the deck of the helicarrier," Slava says, finally. She sounds a little irritated...but its clearly aimed at herself and the terrorist. Not Whisper.
The other woman glances at the SHIELD EOD crew, and shrugs. "He does that, I'll snag a chute and jump after you. Promise." It's that simple in her eyes. Slava did her job and backed up Whisper when she asked. She did what had to be done and saved lives. If Fury has a problem with that, then he's not the man Whisper always heard he was. "If he gets pissed, blame it on me. I broke protocol, and I know it. I did what I had to do, but I knew the consequences. I'll face them." Brave, hard woman. Sounds like that's the kind of decision she has faced before.
Slava Chaika nods. "But there might have been another way than killing him." Even if he was determined to kill himself and everyone else around just to take out a few FoH higher ups. And joy. They're going to spin THIS for all its worth. "Far too much paperwork." She's hiding something...Whisper can hear it in her voice...the professionalism a shell, masking...something.
"Shooting the vest would have risked a breach of containment with unknown consequences. Wounding him would only have increased the risks. You did what had to be done." Whisper answers. She can sense the waver, the other tells, but she does not push. She's guessing this woman hasn't had to do this before, or at least often. And killing is a hard, messy business emotionally, even when it has to be done.
As they continue their flight towards the helicarrier, both women are summarily questioned, after-action reports taken in flight and recorded for posterity. Whisper gives her name only as 'Callsign Whisper, US Army SOGC' and a long serial number. But she does not stint on the details of the encounter. Though how it is she could possibly 'see' and 'hear' what she claims to have seen and heard is confounding to say the least.
Which means, of course, that Whisper will learn the rookie's name...although she doesn't give her full name. Too many people have problems with 'Branislava', after all. Heck, even Slovakians stumble over it.