Matters of Trust

July 05 2014: Jericho's long night is winding down, and he and May discuss matters of trust on the way to a safe house

SHIELD Safe House

An unremarkable little renovated place in NY's Chinatown, owned and operated on behalf of SHIELD



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Mood Music:

After a few more hours of having Trent give them seemingly endless amounts of detail about the HYDRA emplacements, the dirty people in the NYPD, and pretty much everything else he's willing to share with them with May always staying close by, she leads him out of the Triskelion and into a parking garage. And to a VERY generic looking Toyota Corolla. "Do you have a safe house?"


Jericho is glad to be out of the Triskelion. He had a brief, unpleasant mental image of attempting to force his way out. It didn't end well. For anyone.

"Still setting them up, after the last one burned down. It's taking a bit of time, so, no. Not at the moment."

He looks back up toward the building above them. "Thanks for conducting that. I don't know that it'd have gone well otherwise." Translation 'I trust none of them. Especially now.' He doesn't know that Sara was one of them. He trusts Sara, more or less. She's done him some good turns.


Melinda May nods to Jericho, unlocking the car and waiting for him to be belted in before they're on their way. She doesn't ask if there's anywhere he wants to go, she just drives. About ten minutes into the drive, she places a phone call, speaking in Chinese.. or was that Vietmanese? Something of that manner. The conversation is brief enough, though. And once they're firmly in a VERY Chinatown looking area, she stops in front of a restaurant and leaves the engine running. "I'll be right back." It's only a couple of minutes, and then she's back again with a bag of takeout that smells positively divine (and yet not spicy). Then they're off again.


He knows better than to ask though she catches a grateful look when she returns with food (delicious smelling food at that). He seems to relax now that it's just her, he seems to relax. A lot. He's not worried, really, that she'll either kill him, or get him killed. He's watching the lights go by out the window.

“Will any of that be of any use?" He asks finally.


"I'm almost certain of it." If nothing else, having someplace to start to get the Hydra-tracking thing started. May drives them around seemingly randomly for a bit longer before pulling into one of those quiet little residential streets and parking in front of a nice-looking renovated brownstone. "Though, sorry to say, I doubt it'll be enough to help pull that stick out of Hill's ass."


That gets May a chuckle. "Probably not. She worries me, honestly May and I don't say that just because she was a bit of a bitch. The way she seems to view things, at least the way she sold it to me, is an awful lot like folks who wind up in Hydra knowing exactly what they're doing and why. Watch your back, in there."


Melinda May leads Trent to an apartment on the top floor of the building, not discussing the topic at hand until they're inside the honestly boring little apartment. She gestures for Trent to make himself at home while she goes into the kitchen for dishes and silverware and beverages. "Hill might be caustic and have the world's straightest stick up her spine, but she could never be Hydra. She is one of the loudest of SHIELD's voices against any thoughts to accepting what the bigwigs like to term 'collateral damage'. I've seen her scrub entire missions because there was the chance of an innocent getting hurt or killed."

She sets the dishes and utensils on the little dinette table then goes back for what looks like glasses of ice water. "Sorry, last person here didn't restock the fridge."


Jericho smiles. "It's not a problem." Water. He likes water. "That's at least commendable. It's the part about me making myself useful to her organization that makes me worry." He waves his hand.

"That's neither here nor there, though." He says as he has a seat and watches May work. He's never seen May in any situation that wasn't somehow work related. So this is interesting. And nice, to know that she isn't a machine who happens to like him a little bit.


Melinda May sets the glasses down and when she sees that Trent hasn't even started to unpack the takeout gives him an unimpressed look and starts revealing the cartons herself. Turns out she ordered Vietnamese. There are two cartons packed tightly with vermicelli, and one each of savory roasted chicken and seasoned pork, and then two more with a collection of still-cold veggies. She then offers a set of chopsticks to Trent before collapsing the bag the takeout was in and starting to serve up her own portion of everything.

"Trent, if Hill tries to tell you that you have to work for SHIELD, tell her you're a civilian and she can't boss you around. End of story. She can sound as mean as she wants, you're still a civilian."


After letting May serve herself he packs his plate full too. This smelled good so he doesn't care what it is. And he can use chopsticks! So that helps too.

"Thank May." He says with a smile. "I figure she figures like a lot of folks do. I'm some kind of criminal and they can get some kind of leverage on me to make me do what they want."

A bite of the vermicelli and then another of chicken follows. "Which, okay, yes technically I am a criminal. I don't really like thinking about that part. It's the leverage that worries me. I have a few friends and it would be really upsetting if someone were to try something like that."

"Mmmm, so. I didn't want to say anything but it sounded like you had a full house in that room. Hope you didn't mind me listening in on your earpiece. That sounded like Manning in there who doesn't like me or Parti."


Melinda May smirks faintly as she starts in on the pork. "I did. And I'm sure you noticed how many times I wanted to tell them all to pipe down. Honestly, I'm glad that you were listening in. Of all of them, and really, of anyone in SHIELD, I think you should realize that Agent Coulson is worthy of your trust."

She is quiet through a moment and a bite of food. "He and I have worked for SHIELD for a very long time." Possibly almost as long as Hill has been alive. Okay, maybe not. But close.


"Hrm. I'll remember that, though it didn't sound like he was entirely sold on me either. I guess I get the notion of people like me operating without oversight being something folks might be uncomfortable with. But if you trust him…" Hell, if May trusts him how bad can the guy be.

"I may need to steer clear of the NYPD, sadly. Getting picked up is only going to result in another shot up police station. I didn't realize I incurred quite that level of disgust."

Jericho eats a bit more. This stuff is good. "If you need help with those Hydra facilities though, give me a call. Always happy to help clean up those messes."


Melinda May nods at the offer. "I'll likely call you in for other things as well. I think the more that SHIELD — especially Coulson and Hill — sees you know how to play well with others, the less likely they are to keep trying to strongarm you."

She considers for a moment. "Rogers however, him I'm less certain about. In my mind he's right about Partisan, she's going about things completely wrong. But, he's more than stubborn enough to not stop and realize that going after her directly is the worst thing to do."


Jericho sighs. "Yeah, even if she could be contained, and I'm not convinced of that, it'd be bloody and messy and she'll cross lines a lot faster than I will about certain things." May might well note that he did not say 'cross lines that I won't cross.' "Though, respectfully…" He genuinely means the respectfully part. "… I'm not sure I agree about 'going about it the wrong way.'"

Jericho pauses to take another bite of pork. "Probably a bit different for SHIELD, but when Hydra can turn our own police forces, legal systems, terrorist no fly lists, news media and so on against us… well, what are relatively ordinary people like me to do? I'd have been caught or killed a long time ago if I hadn't decided to fight back. I'm not saying that I don't understand your reservations… I just…" He shrugs and sighs again. "I don't know what people expect from me otherwise, you know?"


Melinda May looks at Trent for a long moment. "I know you have good reason to believe that due process won't happen for anyone involved with Hydra. I would like to point out that when SHIELD promises to drop someone into a hole so deep they'll never be found again, that is usually done without the public version of due process." She then levels that dangerous look at him. "You did NOT hear that from me. Got it?"


This only makes Jericho less trusting of the organization. "Got it." He nods.

"Anyone? Well no, most Hydra operatives aren't worth that kind of effort. And none of the criminal contractors are. Most of them don't even know who they're really working for. But the important ones? The ones they can't afford to spill secrets or have caught? They'll either never survive it or they'll never do time. I have personal experience on that one. Most people wouldn't even get so far as trying to apply the law to them. I hadn't been on the run for two days before I was on every terrorist watch list that exists. Took a while before I could break into enough systems to make that more effort than it was worth."


Melinda May takes a deep breath and nods again. "We're not concerned with the low level flunkies either. But SHIELD does have to start somewhere to build enough intel to act on. And that means starting small." She finishes her meal and sits back. "Just remember, be completely honest and no one in SHIELD, not even Hill, will have justification to strongarm you or try to lock you up."


"It's not justification I'm worried about. I trust you May, I really do. But your organization is compartmentalized and secret enough that if there were - hypothetically - agents willing to act outside the regs, or for another party, well it might be a while before anyone figured out what was going on."

He takes a swallow of water. "Having said that, I'll tell you no lies, I promise. I may hold back once in a while, but if I do please trust it's only because I'm trying to protect my friends. If they come after me that's fine. If they go after them… that's less fine." He'd rain digital hellfire down, but he doesn't say that because he figures May knows.


"I wouldn't expect any less. If you are holding something back to protect someone, at least tell me that much. All right?" May stands and collects her dishes. "If you want to take a nap, I have some paperwork to catch up on so I'll be here for a while."

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