Heads Up

Summary:
July 18 2014: Jericho gives May a heads up on an… unsanctioned operation.

Jericho's Midtown Safe House

Comfortable, nice view… very secure.


Characters

NPCs

  • None

Mood Music:
[* None]


Jericho had sent May, earlier this morning, a request to meet 'off line' which is in this case not a network reference but Army slang for a face to face, unofficial talk. Clearly he's got something up that he doesn't want SHIELD in on, but feels compelled to tell May about. That… sounds like Jer anyway. The address is to an appartment in a nice neighborhood in an Midtown Manhattan, overlooking the water. Sixth floor up. It's a lot nicer than the digs that Trent had burnt down a month or so back. Quite a lot nicer, in fact.

*

Melinda May sends back an acknowledgement message with an ETA, slated for after she goes off duty for the day. So it's early evening before she's able to head to the given address, taking public transportation instead of the generic little Toyota. Hmmm.

Entering the apartment building, May is making mental notes about everything, in particular that this is by far a much more posh type of abode than she had suspected Trent would consider 'safe'.

*

There are several features that a security conscious person might appreciate. The first is the fact that it stands out not one bit from its surroundings. The second are the blind corners on the stairwell up and the third the fact that it overlooks the water and thus any sniper perches are a lot further away. The light's on in the indicated apartment and there aren't any visible signs of remote surveillance, though if May as any ability or interest in checking, there are most certainly bugs about.

*

The short walk down the hallway is… enlightening. May even pauses briefly to pluck a bug from behind a fire extinguisher. You know, because she can. Once she reaches the door of the pre-arranged apartment, she knocks on the door like any normal person might. It's not like she's really got anything to be scared of. She's fairly confident that there aren't ninjas hiding above the ceiling tiles, and there are no good sniper sightlines anywhere on this side of the building. Well… she noticed at least one or two that Barton would find acceptable, but if he's got a nest out there, she's the last person who would have to worry about him.

*

The door opens to reveal Jericho in a short sleeved shirt. The scent of mac and cheese with tuna and broccoli is wafting up from the counter. Apparently he just got done making dinner.

"Hey May." He says quietly. "Thanks for coming over. Come on in." Jeri steps back from the door to admit the intimidating Asian woman. "Can I get you anything? Tuna-mac, perhaps, or a drink?"

*

Melinda May nods to Trent and steps into the apartment. She's wearing her version of off duty casual, and waits for him to close the door again before she sheds her light windbreaker type jacket and hangs it over the back of a chair. "I could use some water." She then holds up the bug from the fire extinguisher. "One of yours?" It's already been crushed into uselessness.

*

Jericho looks at the bug. Hrm. He thought he'd hidden that a bit better than that. Ah well. Walking over sink-ward he gets a glass down and pours some water. "Yeah, one of mine. Short range things to let me know who is where. I run sound recognition software, know the patterns of folks footfalls and all that. Hydra has some nice toys. I keep them, every once in a while.”

Returning with the glass he hands it over to May. "Care to take a seat?" Dinner will wait, apparently. "If you see the shadows moving, don't mind. It's harmless." Under his breath he adds. "So long as I keep ice cream in the freezer…"

*

Melinda May accepts the water glass then moves to sit at the dining table. "Don't let me stop you from eating dinner." She's just a picky kind of person and has never really liked the fake yellow of mac n cheese. The comment about shadows elicits a briefly raised eyebrow.

"Should I ask?" Well, really, she's going to ask why the off line call in the first place, but you know, extra questions.

*

"Only if you're prepared for a truly odd answer." He says as he spoons mac and cheese mixed with tuna and broccoli into his bowl. There's a cut on his left ear that looks like it could be an animal bite of some kind. Maybe a cat. Of course May well knows that Jeri doesn't keep pets.

"Okay, so, I've got something in the works that I think you should know about, but I'd really like to keep off SHIELD's radar." Because he doesn't trust them and this is delicate, naturally.

"Have I ever mentioned my friend Nancy to you?"

*

"Does that odd answer have to do with the fact that you probably need to talk to a doctor about the possibility of rabies?" Yeah, never-subtle-May is on the case. Her eyes narrow at Trent, though whether it's because of that bite mark or because he's telling her about something he wants to keep /away/ from SHIELD is a tossup.

"No. You haven't. Does she have to do with the shadows, the bite, or this something you want to keep away from SHIELD?"

*

"No, the bite mark and the thing in the shadows are separate. Nancy I need to keep away from SHIELD, well, at least off their books. She's a mutant and someone who’s a lot like a little sister to me. It came to my attention a couple months ago that the reason she's a mutant is that Hydra had, through a front corporation, been experimenting with some kind of drug or serum on her mother. Apparently the goal was to create children with metahuman powers. No brownie points for guessing why."

He sighs and runs his hand through his hair. "They were closing in on her, so I helped get her clear of them. Now I've located the rest of the kids they 'grew'. Hydra… already has them. Here in New York. I'm going after them. Well, me and a few friends."

*

Melinda May lets Trent share his entire explanation without interrupting, then nods slowly. "Is the Partisan one of those 'friends'?" She still doesn't like that woman's choice of tactics. But, this is Trent's world she's in currently, not her own. You can bet, though, that if Partisan steps one foot where May can justifiably tell her off for her tactics, she will. "And Nancy stays off the books unless I feel SHIELD needs to know." But then, that's always been the agreement.

*

"Really hope you don't." Jericho says with a sigh as he spoons hot tuna-mac into his mouth. "For one, she doesn't need the headache right now. I'd planned on introducing you to her later… it's possible that knowing you would be of benefit to you both, but right now isn't the time. Secondly… if Hydra gets even a whisper of this, they'll move the facility and the kids and any files they may have and we may not get another shot at them. Which means seventeen human beings will be doomed to virtual slavery at Hydra's hands, a lot of innocents will die and most pertinently to me, Nancy will be a hunted fugitive for the rest of her life." He shakes his head and makes a face. "Kind of not an option. Oh and third, if Hill gives Nancy the kind of speech she gave me, I may actually try to break her."

The question about Partisan gets a nod. "Yeah, she's in on this. She cares about Nancy as much as I do. If I'm her adoptive brother, Parti's her Mom. The others… well Angelo, you've met him and I think Partisan said he got Sara Pezzini's attention."

*

Melinda May takes a sip of her water. "Well, since I haven't even met this Nancy, I don't really have anything to report, do I?" Hm. The Partisan will be in on this 'rescue'. She idly wonders who their getaway driver is going to be. But no, she's going to stay out of this. "Tell Partisan to try and keep the public body count under control, the Captain is still gunning for her hide."

"I will, but you know how she gets. The good news is that they're using the old abandoned North General Hospital as their base so that'll at least confine the action. And there are… operational reasons for secrecy here." He's not asking May's help, not that he'd turn it down, but…

"I figured you deserved to find out about this way and not some other way. You've been more than decent to me and I do appreciate it."

*

Melinda May nods. "Likewise. I haven't heard about any action in the area of that old hospital, so I think you won't have to worry about SHIELD presence. Not right away at least. If it gets noisy enough, someone will notice." And noticing is never good. "And I don't care about protocol, if things go completely pear-shaped, you let me know."

*

The hacker nods. "I will, thanks May. If all goes well we'll slip in, liberate the subjects and hostages that Hydra has, pilfer their files and turn them over to a group of mutants for medical care. Then I go hunting and try to trace this back to the originating cell and shut them down for good."

*

"You should bring whatever info you glean to the Captain if you need the big guns. He's got as much reason to want to stop them as you do."

May is about to take another drink of water when she abruptly turns to look at the far side of the room, her eyes narrowing for a moment. "All right, what's with the shadows?"

*

That gets a slight half smile from Jericho. "Do you remember how I said I'd tell you no lies?" He says shaking his head, knowing this is going to sound just a little crazy.

"It's a demon. Or, well, something you could reasonably call a demon. Three got into my apartment. The person wrangling them forgot to take this one back."

*

Melinda May looks at Trent a bit askance. "And you're, what, keeping it as a house pet now?" Mutants, military experiments, and now demons. Her job never used to be this weird. She blames Coulson.

*

"I don't have any way to send it back. Do I look magical to you?" Jericho says, shaking his head. "I'm just keeping it fed so that it doesn't start eating people and I don't have to kill it. It's one of the less frightening examples and very fond of a friend of mine, so I'm trying not to do that. I do hope she figures out it's missing at some point, though." His eyes follow a sort of subtle shadow and sense of presence moving into the hallway.

*

"So, call your friend to come and collect the stray." May takes another sip of water, now able to mentally dismiss the shadow's movements.

"Last topic of the evening. What happened to your ear?""

*

"Another demon bit it whilst sitting on my shoulder and watching me play piano." The piano in question is actually an electric piano and in the corner of the living room behind May. Jericho delivers that statement absolutely deadpan.

*

Melinda May just stares at Jericho at that. Syntax error. Sentence does not parse. Please retry input. "Really."

*

Jericho gets up gesturing to the keyboard, walks over and sits down, flipping it on and beginning to play the first few bars of a slower kind of song.

"I was bitten by a cat sized demon named, apparently, K'nert whilst doing this and wondering what three demons were doing in my safe house."

*

Melinda May turns in her chair, half-twisting around to watch Jericho start playing something on the piano. "Why were the demons in here?" She's got another question as well, of course, but that can wait for the moment. Demons kind of trump a much more mundane thing like an ex-Army grunt knowing how to play piano.

*

Jericho shrugs, still going through the piece, though he does look back in May's direction, not that it stops him from playing.

"Apparently sometimes portals open at random from their home. My friend, among other things, wrangles them and puts them back." Illyana doesn't need a SHIELD entanglement, particularly not for something SHIELD isn't really equipped to deal with so there will be no names named on this one.

*

Melinda May nods slowly. "That sounds … inconvenient. When did you learn to play piano?" She's fully expecting the completely mundane answer of something akin to 'fourth grade'. But, that is why she asked. To see what his reply will be.

*

"I learned the basics when I was young but I never really made anything of it. I got really good when I started running from Hydra. You can make a fair bit of cash - cash being the important bit - with a musical talent." Which, if May has an ear, he has. It's not at professional levels, but he's close and he certainly could be.

"Same reason I learned to be a mechanic, do street magic and bartend… along with a whole host of other things, really. Though I'm probably best at this and frankly I enjoy it a lot more." Jer flashes May a quick grin.

*

Melinda May nods. Pretty much what she'd expected. "Warning you now, if you spontaneously break into a Billy Joel song, I will react badly." Wait. Holy crap. Was that a joke? Nah, couldn't have been. But maybe it was? Holy crap.

*

May doesn't joke. The universe would end. Right? Well… maybe she is human. A bit. A very tiny bit. Jericho smiles at the line of thought. "Wouldn't dream of it, May. Do you have any preferences. I can do… well most anything." And Jericho doesn't like to brag… so he probably can.


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