Loose Ends (Language)

Summary:
June 09, 2014: Pepper Potts follows up on some loose ends from the Gala, and runs into Aspect and the Partisan

Trago Mine Number 6

A long defunct coal mine, purchased two years ago and now sitting empty and seemingly abandoned… or is it?


Characters

NPCs

  • None

Mood Music:

  • None

Trago Mining, has been shuttered since the 80's when they ran out've coal to mine. It's a big boring pit, with numerous shafts leading off into the mountainside. It's notable, because it's right next to a sort've important Stark industries industrial complex. Important enough that it was trying to expand, and well buying the mine was automatic. Unfortunately in 2012 it was bought overnight, by a mysterious party who supposedly paid in gold fucking krugerrands or so the rumor goes. It's such an oddly specific detail, and such a weird thing even it was true. Who the fuck buys a dead mine, with gold Kruggerands? Anyway today things are, out of the norm. There's this signal Jarvis has been tracking, and then there's the gate.
Normally it's this big industrial gate which seems to have chains around it for no reason in particular, and the whole sight's been derelict for -years- now. Today though, isn't that odd? The gate's wide open, and the chain's hung near what had been the administrator's office. Fresh tracks lead from the gate, down that short rutted road to the mining site itself. There's a amazingly crisp 1988 BMW M3 in stark white parked down by a trailer office there, and goodness what is that but a light on?

Partisan had been gone most of the evening after getting things settled, and Aspect doped up enough not to rip those stitches wide open. She's really only just now returning really, five foot six, tan, athletic with a raven black ponytail pushed out through the back of a ratty ballcap. She adjusts her collar curiously, before stepping into the trailer and doffing her pack. Chancing a glance after Aspect, as she begins to produce all sorts of little bags and bins and cases. A handgun, a wallet, a few watches to pick from. "Wake up you useless fucking cunt, and don't fucking try to get up or I'm going to beat your stupid ass into immobility understand?"Even the voice has changed, a new woman indeed.

*

New voice. New woman. Same Partisan. Jericho can't help crack a wry smile. "I've been awake for an hour. And no, I'm not quite dumb enough to start moving just yet." Not only would it hurt, a lot, if he ripped those stitches but he's quite willing to believe that she'll beat him within an inch of his life. Well, maybe a foot of his life. He's not up for more pain, just yet. He's a soldier, not a masochist.

*

The Stark Industries security guards sure as heck take notice when something like that changes, so they call it in. As luck would have it, Pepper's on the premises for the day and hears the call-in. Normally, that would mean very little to her, as it doesn't sound like anything that affects this plant directly, but JARVIS's most recent update on that aspect signal placed it in that exact direction and distance. So, she insists on going to check it out herself.

Glancing at her phone as she walks toward those now-open gates, she can see she is truly homing in on the signal. Maybe this aspect person is the one that paid for the mine with gold? Can't completely rule it out. Her heels weren't exactly designed for walking on the caliche track that pretends to be a road into the mine area, but she's keeping her footsteps as steady as possible. The last thing she needs is to turn an ankle and wipe out over here. White, dusty road. Black suit. It's just a disaster asking to happen.

*

From a bag comes a weathered Glock-19, which Partisan sets on the table beside Aspect, followed by holster, spare mags and a proper pistol belt. "Your kit is still shit you, and the Glock isn't any better but it's the only spare I have out here. Your Kriss is fucked up, and it's made with teutomic gnome magic so I ain't fucking with it." She's got little bags and bins packed into every hidey hole in that trailer, and well guess where she was earlier that morning? Soon enough she sets a pair of brand new Keens, bamboo socks, proper ripstop trousers, a wicking undershirt, a neat semi-dress shirt and a ballcap out. Sized not for her, but for Aspect. " All your shit's bloody as hell, I was gonna burn it but I didn't feel right looting your pockets." Stepping back to produce a broken in dark brown jacket, before she pauses mid movement. "Aspect, stay still and quiet and make like your unconscious until I say otherwise alright?"

Partisan offers her 1911 a quick press check, before pulling that M65 over the gun and stepping outside. Making a show of being casual, as she produces a pack've cigarettes and dips her head to get a menthol smoldering. Turning her head coolly towards Pepper as the woman walks her way, Hands falling casually to her belt line. "Good morning, and whom might you be?"Part doesn't even look like she's old enough to drink, much less owning a mine of course. Military surplus jacket, cargo trousers. Clearly, some sort of ruffian type.

*

Jericho quickly does as he's asked. He doesn't need eyes to see right now anyway. The local security cameras will do just fine, though until just about ten minutes ago he was too drugged to even think about doing anything online. He does now though, tapping into them as he closes his eyes. Damn. Resolution on these is crap. So it's a woman and… that's it. Mmmmm. Parti looks like she's Nancy's age now too. That's gonna take some getting used to.

*

"Pepper Potts, Stark Industries. We've just… not seen these gates open before and I'll admit to being curious. Are, um, the property owners here?" She glances at her phone again and sees an indication of a spike in the aspect signal's bandwidth use. And it seemed to coincide with her approaching. That's … telling.

Partisan narrows her gaze just a touch "You're looking at her. I'm every so pleased my failing to re-chain the gate could provide you with some entertainment Miss Potts, now did you come here on business or are you just trespassing because all the cool kids are doing it these days."She keeps her hands open and empty at her sides for the moment at least, as she sucks at that cigarette.

*

The hacker can't really quite clearly hear Pepper over the wind in the door and the pounding headache that polymorpher use always gives him. At least the drugs are taking the edge off it. He does catch Stark Industries though. Loooooooovely. Just what we needed to make this morning go better. He'd sigh but that involves breathing. Which hurts.

*

Pepper Potts ahs faintly and nods. This woman seems too young to be smoking that disgusting cigarette, much less owning an entire mine. "Actually, I was.. also wondering if you own or know someone who owns the email address 'aspect at darkside dot com'." She glances down at her phone, wondering whether or not she should admit that she's had JARVIS tracking the email user's signal.

*

It's an impossibly fast movement, from the moment the word "Aspect" leaves Pepper's mouth to when Partisan is staring at her down the barrel of a gun. "Listen to me very carefully, and stay as calm as you are able. It is my preference, that I do not murder you and bury your body where nobody will find it. It is also my preference that no harm in general should come to you, but you just said something very fucking dangerous and you have involved yourself in my affairs. I have no desire to pick a fight with Stark right now, so if you play along I will see to it you are released unharmed and in a timely manner. I'm afraid despite preferences, need is something of the ultimate decider. So, please come here and set your phone on the trunk of my car. I know exactly what I look like, so you're going to have to take my word for it that I'm a professional. Alright?"

*

That Jericho hears quite clearly. It would be hard for Jericho to lock JARVIS out of Pepper's phone, even if he knew what he was dealing with. It is fortunately less hard to simply kill the nearest cell tower, which is what he does. Let's hope there's not satellite function on that thing. Still playing 'dead', though, limits his looking around options. Please don't make her shoot you, he thinks. Please don't make her shoot you.

*

Pepper Potts looks up from her phone and startles at the abrupt presence of that 1911 staring her down. (What? She's worked for Stark Industries for years, she's learned a smidgen about pistols just by working there.) "… all right. But I have to ask that you put that away again VERY quickly, before the security guards over there notice and take exception to it." Her phone blips once, indicating that it has automatically switched over to satellite mode, and then JARVIS feels the need to speak up. "Miss Potts, the cell tower in your area is being intentionally blocked." She walks as calmly as she's able (and still careful of her shoes on the caliche) toward the woman with the gun and reaches to set her phone on the trunk of the M3 as bid. "It's okay, JARVIS. Give me a few minutes here, please."

*

"Miss Potts I just killed forty SRD troopers by myself last night , any sort of firefight will result in your death followed by very many others."Part seems, unimpressed before following around. She holsters that Pistol at her leisure, easing one hand round the ring of her Kerambit as she steps up behind Pepper to slip those hinged cuffs on. "Now here are the rules Miss Potts, if you basically sit this out and answer some very basic questions which will hurt neither you personally nor your employer? Then I am willing to promise your safety, and your return by this evening. If you play games, I will hurt you and I will hurt everything you love just out of petty spite. You're a smart woman I'm sure, so consider the risk vs reward here. I don't expect you to like it, but you control how much more inconvenient this becomes." Pausing to snag that phone, before tugging open the trailer door. "Please, step inside. I'll make us some coffee, and you can call off your guards."A pause, as she flicks that cigarette aside. "And for whatever it's worth, I do sincerely apologize for the inconvenience. Normally this isn't my style, but someone else's life is on the line here alright?"

*

Jericho can see the situation unfold on (woefully grainy) security camera footage. Which… he's going to have to wipe so Parti doesn't end up on any police lists. Yet. Still, seems like he's done with the cameras so he shuts off the feed and… wait a second. He recognizes that number from earlier… the Gala. That number is registered to… oh crap.

*

Pepper Potts allows the woman to put the handcuffs on her wrists placidly enough, knowing her hands and wrists are small enough for her to pull free if they're not locked at the tightest setting. "JARVIS, please let Mr. Jones know that I'm going to speak with the owner of this property, and that their security is merely taking precautions against industrial espionage. I'll return as soon as I can." Not that JARVIS didn't already listen in on everything Partisan said. But, the AI dutifully replies that the message has been sent even as the phone is being scooped up by the dark-haired woman. Pepper looks at said woman calmly, that same calm that has been used to face off with some of the planet's biggest names in the high tech industries. "I understand."

*

Partisan guides Pepper inside the trailer, which is probably not encouraging. There's bloody clothes, bandages, in a neatly tied plastic baggy among surgical waste. Guns, explosives, oh look a hand grenade! Gently however, she guides her to the far end. The chair set beside Aspect's bed. "Please, have a seat. If it's any consolation, the gentleman with the double gunshot wounds and a partially collapsed is Aspect. I'm known as the Partisan, yes the one who's been killing folks these past few days."Stepping back to the little kitchen to start the kettle, and rinse the cups out. "Why don't you ask him why we're doing all this mess."Pausing a moment as she peers back towards Aspect. "Oh and if you ripped off Stark, I'm going to be very displeased. Unless they're involved in which case good job I guess."

*

Jericho opens his eyes and peers at Pepper for a long moment. If she wasn't too distracted she may remember his face. The very boring looking server who carried her message about the champagne at the Gala. Seems like that was forever ago even though it really wasn't. "Miss Potts. Not in a gown tonight, I see." He sighs and lays his head back, his skin glimmering green. "No, Parti, I did not rip them off. Did them a favor actually… well, had some help. What she's doing here I have no idea."

*

If Pepper has any reaction to the contents of the trailer, she's good enough to keep it to herself. Well, until she's settled into the chair next to Jericho, anyway. Then she's promptly reaching to put a had on his forehead as if checking for fever, regardless of the handcuffs. "You said this happened last night… it was the mess in Battery Park City, wasn't it?" She knows what SHIELD media cover up looks like, she's been part of it a couple of times herself. As she's looking at the injured man, her eyebrows furrow a bit. "So you're Aspect?" she asks of Jericho while still trying to place why he seems familiar-looking. "Not that I don't appreciate your information the other night, but why did you choose to reveal O'Mally as Hydra the way you did? Why didn't you just bring the information to me, or anyone from Stark Industries?" Or even Diana, for god's sake.

*

"Hydra is absolutely everywhere, and they don't wear uniforms. Well ok that's not true, they did when they were all Nazis and no shit I didn't have a hard time just killing every swastika I saw."Coarse ground, but bulk store bought. At least she uses a metal meshed french press, with glass instead of plastic. The promised coffee is not long in coming, before she takes her own cup. "We've been hitting Hydra exclusively, they've got the SRD as evidenced by the mess in Battery park."and there she goes, right back to work. Loading up her backpack with all the usual goodies, which includes alot've grenades but of course. "He got fucking shot in the chest, he's fucking lucky it didn't clip his god damned spine never mind the heart. They filled me full've lead, shot me in the god damned head. Were loaded for bear, they were a fucking hitsquad."

*

The hacker chuckles mirthlessly, though it's cut short by a wince. Shot in the chest. Even with the polymorpher dumping all its power into speeding his healing up (Which could still take days), it hurts. And makes him run a bit hot, which Pepper feels when she touches him. "As for the Gala…" He shifts a bit to get a bit more comfortable. "I got wind of the kidnapping but couldn't ID the Hydra agent. I narrowed it down to those three only after the Gala got started. I didn't really think Stark would take an anonymous tip from a hacker alias connected to cyber-crimes seriously. And I don't run in circles rarefied enough to be regularly approaching the Themyscrian embassy."

*

Pepper Potts accepts the cup of coffee with a nod of thanks even though she's more of a tea drinker. Not gonna be picky here, nope. "Well, you see, Aspect, I have a friend named JARVIS, he's … a bit of a computer whiz himself. He would have been able to verify your data, and possibly helped catch these people without all of the unnecessary drama or collateral damage." And no, it has not escaped her notice that Aspect's been talking about hacking and all of this stuff but there's almost zero evidence of any kind of techie equipment in this trailer.

*

Partisan jerks out an empty chestrig, and begins stuffing it full of plates and magazines."Caught these people, huh? Caught them and then what, what court could be effectively separated from their influence? Presuming even that we could lock the assholes up, where would that be? They're in Shield for fuck's sake, There is no peaceful option for dealing with these sorts of people. I was perfectly happy going after narco traffickers, human traffickers and the odd murderer that came my way. I haven't fucked around with these shits since I left for Vietnam, and I didn't miss fighting them. I'm the Partisan, not the executioner. This is distasteful even to me, but it's absolutely necessary." Out comes, oh man that's a SiG553! Then, oh hey a brand new gasmask and some paint.

*

"I've got to be very careful who I release that kind of information to, Miss Potts." Jericho shakes his head a little, careful not to move too much. "I'm sure your man is very good, but as my friend noted, Hydra has people everywhere. Courts. Police Departments. IT companies. Heavy Industry. You name it. I've been shot at - and shot - quite a bit as a result of talking to the wrong people. Or letting information slip out over unprotected networks. Don't take this the wrong way, but I was taking a pretty big chance just contacting you on the matter. And yeah, it was a near thing. Might have been the end of us all, but considering what they were going to do, it would have been worth it even so." Aspect turns his head for a moment to watch Parti gear up. "New Mask, eh? How many of those do you have?" He looks back at Pepper. "Miss Alderisi's non profit is responsible for the lion's share of the meds going into M-Town. Hydra wanted to control that flow. I don't know why yet, but the fact that they did seemed bad enough by itself."

*

Okay, Partisan has a point there. Though she is clearly surprised by mention of Hydra having infiltrated SHIELD. "Do you have any evidence to support this? I could take it to someone I trust in SHIELD. And I'm willing to bet after the other evening, this has Diana's attention as well." Can't get much bigger guns than that.

*

Partisan reaches over quite casually, to ever so delicately pop the cuffs around Pepper's wrists and tuck them away. "Right, so you can be trusted to an extent. Do I need to tell you what will happen if you told anyone you saw us here today Miss Potts? I tend to be particularly territorial, and overprotective and talking about who you just had a chat with would endanger both -my- mine as well as my very injured friend here. I apologize for the whole taking you prisoner bit, but I really can't move the stupid idiot for a few hours yet." She turns back to her handiwork, painting her gasmask it seems. Bright vivid colors, a wolf's skull. "You're free to go if I wasn't clear, I said I didn't want to pick a Fight with Stark and I meant it. If you're not a threat, well you may depart at your leisure." See, terrorist or not she is -awfully- polite. Well she's polite to Pepper anyway.

*

Jericho has by this point just lain back and is concentrating on… well, something. "Nice seeing you again Miss Potts." He doesn't ask how the hell she found him. He'll do that later. When he can breathe. And run, if need be.

*

Pepper Potts lets Partisan remove the handcuffs again, and looks at Jericho one more time. She's still trying to place why he seems familiar. She's about to say something else when her phone speaks up from where Partisan set it down. "Miss Potts, Mr. Jones is becoming agitated." She sighs and moves to stand. "Sounds like I do need to get going, then. Please, if you can, tread carefully. What you're doing has already attracted a lot of attention, and it's only going to keep getting worse if you keep going the way you are." She steps toward the trailer door, reaching for her phone as she goes. "Aspect, please call me at any time if you feel you need to. All right?" And without waiting for him to answer, she leaves and heads back to Stark property before the security people there call Tony and tattle on her.

*

Paint flows over the gasmask's clear polycarbonate, in silence she works the pattern she's painted a million times before. Only when she's heard Pepper's footsteps take her far from the trailer does she speak up "Your a fucking dumbass, you know that?" She glances up after Jericho and pauses with a sigh. "No, you sure don't because you've passed out. Shit."Gaze falling to the mostly completed mask in her lap. "You know, you're getting too old for this you silly girl." Frowning silently as the mask's empty eyes just stare mutely back to her. "Fuck…"


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