The Worst Place To Meet A Spy

Summary:
June 22, 2014: Agent May does not like to rendezvous at Coney Island, for good reasons.

Luna Park - Coney Island - New York City

Coney Island is a residential neighborhood, peninsula and beach on the Atlantic Ocean in southwestern Brooklyn.
Luna Park is the largest of the many amusement parks and fun centers on Brighton Beach.


Characters

NPCs

  • None

Mood Music:
[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ChKPEKMw74]


Sunday afternoon on Coney Island. It's a guaranteed recipe for noise, activity, and general harmless civilian chaos. This is NOT May's usual haunt. But, when Trent asked to speak with her, she couldn't in good conscience tell him to shove off.

Upon reaching the agreed upon meeting point (right next to a hideously noisy amusement ride of some sort), May claims a vacant park-style bench and takes a seat. He'd better not be late.

*

A wizard is never late. Nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to. Jericho Trent though is not a Wizard. He's a hacker and a paranoid one at that. So he did arrive early and spent a while making sure that no one untoward was hanging out or acting suspicious. Beyond him, that is. But he doesn't count. He's always suspicious.

He has at least refined his wardrobe a bit. No long coat today just a long sleeved shirt, tan army boots, jeans and a baseball cap. Standard casual for him as he strides up toward the meeting point. There she is. Punctual as always. He's about to greet her in the traditional way when he remembers she seemed to disapprove of that last time.

"Miss May." He nods in greeting.

Amusement park. Yeah, that peculiar sense of 'you need to be here' seems to be satisfied, but Angelo hasn't figured out why. He leaves his motorcycle parked and locked, with the helmet in the pannier, and buys two tickets, enough to pay for one of the scam games (those baseball throwing things, or the Test Your Strength) and wanders through the place, when he spots the mysterious Jericho, aka Secret Agent Bland, talking to someone that Ange is sure he's seen … his usual SHIELD handler for the two or three times he's been asked to help is a youngish man, though.

She looks a bit older and a LOT more confident than Handler Guy. Appears to be in the usual generic 'plain clothes' that could mean anything from 'bad dress sense' to 'works for alphabet agency'. And… he needs to talk to her. Dammit, Big Guy, stop shoving. There are rules and protocols, you just don't walk up and …

"Jericho? Hey, what're you doing over here?"

Ange would clap his hands over his mouth and stagger away but that would be even more embarrassing.

*

Melinda May looks up at Trent as he approaches, visually taking in his closer to summer-appropriate attire and nodding very faintly to herself. Standing, she looks about to say something when another person's voice intrudes.

THIS.

This is why she hates meeting in crowded public places. Her eyes focus on Angelo and she studies him with a glance, looking in particular for weapons or communication devices. The fact that the man called Trent by his first name, though, keeps her from going instantly on the offensive. You have thirty seconds to prove you're not a threat.

*

Jeri turns, instantly on edge only to have his tension evaporate when he sees who it is.

"Doctor diLucci," he greets the short, built man. "I'm just out taking in the sights, meeting a friend."

His eyes narrow.

"Mmmm. Though it's possibly good that you're here since this all may be related." May, heh. UM, no, strike that. No making puns about the veteran SHIELD agent's name.

"Miss May here has assisted me in some matters on the past. I was just following up on one of them." Vague, don't out her.

*

The motorcycle jacket could be concealing a veritable armory given the breadth of the man, but all it's hiding is a phone and a wallet. But Ange nods to Jericho and addresses himself to Miss May.

"I may have seen you in Tahiti once," he says, "when I was called in as a consultant. You look rather familiar."

*

Even if Trent was immediately reassured when he recognized the man, May isn't. And his trying to bait her with mention of Tahiti does NOT help matters. She shifts her weight and seemingly appears to relax as well, though anyone with enough martial arts skill would know that the exact opposite is the case.

"I've never been to Tahiti, sorry." That much is true at least. She's never been to the actual tropical island.

*

Trent isn't reassured. He's just not going to try to hit Ange. He's quite happy to have the man's help but goodness do they keep running into one another. It's starting to feel a bit uncanny to him.

"So what are you doing out here, Doc?"

Jericho sticks both hands in his pockets while he does another network search. Mmmmmmmm. No broadcasting surveilance devices… just cell phones and tablets really. Still doesn't seem like they're being watched.

"Were you looking for me, perhaps? News from Orman? Or about that goop?"

*

"It's a magical … never mind. Jericho, without blocking Miss May's view, please open my jacket on the left hand side. In the center pocket on that side, there's a lanyard with a nerd badge attached, please remove it and show it to Miss May. I'll explain once she knows she can trust me."

The nerd badge in question is a civilian consultant authorization badge for "special assets" with the codename SERAPH on it. And a picture of Dr. Angelo diLucci.

*

Melinda May takes the badge from Trent after he pulls it from DiLucci's pocket, and gets her phone out as well.

"I'm going to call this in. Might take a few minutes."

And she walks a short distance away — still within eyeshot, though — and taps at her phone.

*

Jericho actually grins as she walks away.

"You know I find her paranoia almost endearing. Comes close to matching mine. Seriously though, Doc, what brings you out here? I mean I guess this is a public amusement park but we run into one another an awful lot for it to be coincidence." He runs his hand through his short hair, fairly relaxed if not entirely.

*

"That's right. No coincidence," Ange says.

He takes off his jacket; with it off, he's wearing a short-sleeved shirt; the metallic gold tattoos on his arms are revealed. It's odd that they weren't obvious before - ornate ankhs on the inside-wrist of each hand, and swirls of swooping, non-English lettering in large and tiny sizes tracing patterns across the skin. There are even some peeking out along the side of his head, in the hairline.

"You've got your body-art, I've got mine. Mine isn't high-tech, though."

*

Jeri leans over for a closer look and his eyes briefly glow red.

"Huh. Interesting. I take it that's not regular ink." Pause. "It's nice work though."

He'd looked for EM signatures, anything out of the ordinary. Looks like it's just regular but extensive tattoos though he's guessing that's a misinformed conclusion.

"So those tell you… things?" He's not even sure what they'd do, honestly, if they were something more than what they seemed.

*

"Not quite. They're information patterns that turn a particular kind of energy into something more focused. See, a few years back, I was offered the chance to do something more than just being a paramedic. I accepted, and these are part of the 'more than just' thing. And, the, uhm, persons, who offered, keep in touch with me. Today, they decided I needed to talk to Miss May and you. They seem to be annoyed by your many-headed friends, and they're being pushy about it."

Angelo scowls along with that last bit. Perhaps he thought he would get a weekend or something. Wrong.

*

"Hrm. Well I'm happy that people other than me are unhappy with them. They've certainly done enough to earn it… but are you telling me you can be compelled through these things?"

He goes back over what he knows about Angelo. Doctor. Bit of a philanthropist. Tattoos… light based stunning abilities, and an admitted metahuman.

"Who's pulling your strings exactly? Anyone I need to worry about?"

*

"To be honest, I can't really tell you. I've only seen them in dreams," Angelo replies. "And by dreams, I mean full-sensory hallucinations that yank me completely into another world, but don't seem to take any time at all. They're definitely good guys, though. That part I can guarantee. It's just, the occasional push to do something, comes with the rest of it. Like taking orders from your liege-lord, in medieval times."

He shrugs. Wasn't ever in the military so he can't use that analogy at all. But he does know from 'medieval feudalism'.

*

Melinda May takes this moment to return to where the two men have been talking, and offer the badge back to DiLucci.

"All right." And that's apparently all she has to say about that.

*

Jeri chuckles.

"Sounds pleasant," he says drily to Angelo.

"Right, since we're all back, let me ask a question first. Did you ever get that sample I asked Detective Manning to give you? And has it been analyzed?"

By the way he lowers his voice amid the clatter of the roller coaster and the hubbub of the crowd, this is not something he wants everyone to hear him asking.

*

Angelo decides to wait for the answer to that. But it does explain why he thought to bring a copy of his writeup on the plague-formula along. Apparently this is something VERY important to his 'bosses'.

*

Melinda May nods curtly to Trent when he asks about the syringe then with a glance to DiLucci she explains what little she's heard from the lab so far.

"It's mostly cyanide, twice the level needed to be a lethal dose for anyone short of a serum-enhanced super soldier. And some manner of retrovirus that they are still studying."

*

"Retrovirus. I was afraid you might say that…" Jeri looks down. "Damn. Looks like this is more connected than I was hoping it was. We may have a problem brewing."

The cyanide is still a puzzle to him. Probably there to cover up COD or as some manner of entry agent but why would they need so much… unless it's a backup. Maybe a version intended to be used on someone who is abnormally tough or might prove virus resistant? The look on Jericho's face clearly betrays that the wheels are spinning rapidly in his head.

*

"The retrovirus is what I'm interested in. If it's the stuff I came across elsewhere, it's a deliberately engineered plague. It'll be lethal in short order to any person with the so-called X-Gene complex, active or not - except that only a very minor change in the virus, one that can come about naturally, will make it lethal to people who are only partial carriers. And that's believed to be at least 25 percent, and possibly as much as fifty percent, of humanity."

Angelo is all about the good news, isn't he? And he didn't say what he did with the stuff he "came across elsewhere" either.

*

Melinda May looks from one man to the other. "I should take this information to the lab. Getting a counteragent started can't happen fast enough."

With a nod to Trent and DiLucci she looks ready to promptly turn and leave.

*

Angelo calls out, "Miss May? This will help. My analysis."

He offers her an envelope, containing a copy of the analysis he made of the pure-plague viral. This is why he was dragged out here, after all.

*

The hacker watches as Agent May leaves before he turns to Angelo.

"Look, this really isn't any of my business, but what do you know of Paul personally? He seems like some poor schmuck who just got caught in all this but I don't know him as well as you do. Any insights?"

*

Ah, time for the relationship report. Ange thinks about it for a second, before deciding to be circumspect.

"I met the guy in a bar, we got roofied by some jerkass, he talked me into getting inked. He was at least seventy-five pounds lighter, and a lot less careful with his body, at the time. After I got inked and agreed to the fine print, we ended up seeing each other at least once a week for about a year, sometimes for fun and games, but mostly training at the gym - he was all about getting a body like mine. He was in school, studying to be a physical therapist. And he did not talk like he'd blown an entire herd of rainbow unicorns."

Ange sighs, "Like I said the other night, I decided to get my M.D. so I lost touch. This Mark guy came along shortly after that. I thought he was bad news. No sense of humor, if you know what I mean. He was cutting Paulie off from his friends, playing the jealousy game. I have no use for that shit. I lost track of him. Only ran into him the other day by accident, that's not my usual workout time."

*

Jericho nods, considering all that. "I have to consider at least the possibility that some of the, um, rainbow unicorn thing is an affectation. I noticed that he's changed his manner the instant I walked up. As for Mark… I think I have a line on him. Trying to narrow down the sites but I'm positive that he's somewhere in California. I'm still… working on making sure Anabeth will be okay and I'm hoping the trip out there to recover him will be a day trip. Just need a bit more time to narrow down where he is. I've got to wonder if he's been in Hydra hands for that long what else might have happened. They don't seem the sort to just sit on people."

*

Ange frowns again, remembering more about that time years ago.

"I have a bad feeling about him… do some background checking on the guy before you approach him. More than usual. Paulie was a total struck-stupid-in-love idiot, but the one time I saw them together, Mark didn't look like the boyfriend, he looked like the guy with the leash. And I don't mean that in a fetish way."

*

Jericho doesn't know anything about the guy. Yet.
"Hrm. Well that does make me wonder. I'll be careful. I get the feeling I'll have to bring him back one way or the other. Paul won't accept my word for it if he turns out to be something other than what Paul thinks he is. And I really do need any information Paul's got for Nancy's sake. Not going to let her have a bullseye on her back if I can help it. That's no way to live."

*

"Yeah, you'd know that," Angelo says. "Hey. My business partners know about my special gift. They're trustworthy. If you find yourself needing help, the clinic is there. Just don't lead any actively exploding disasters that way, there's too many innocents in that neighborhood."

He slips the badge back into the pocket in his jacket, muttering something as light flashes from his fingertips. The pocket seems to be gone - how convenient? - and he zips the jacket.

"I gotta get back to Queens. My Mom expects me for Sunday Dinner."

*

"That sounds… incredibly normal." Jericho turns and waves.

"I'll keep that in mind. I try not to bring trouble with me… but it has this way of finding me. Good luck Doc. I'll be in touch when I know more."

His whole stance changes and he suddenly becomes just about the least interesting thing for yards around. Just another face in the crowd. Moments later he's slipped away into the press and that's exactly what he is.


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