An Aspect Answer

Summary:
July 29, 2014: Paul runs into Agents Barton and Hill. A direct continuation of The Aspect Question.

The Triskelion

A bastion of order and secrecy with lots of hallways but no 'You are here.' signs.


Characters

NPCs


Mood Music:


As May stalks off to go find Trent, Paul stalks off int he other direction. The problem is, May knows where she's going and for all he's been in the Triskelion more times than he's been home in the last two weeks (or so it feels), he really has no idea where he's going and promptly gets lost. "Damn it! Where the hell is Hill's office?"

A day or so later and Hawkeye's dropped the sling, though he does still favour the left hand. He's in the hallway, a corridor that looks very much like every other one in the Triskelion, only this one has a soda machine that is getting beat up on. Shoving the thing with his right hand, one *thump*, two *thumps* and suddenly the sound of a can rattling down the shoot can be heard. "Damn right, give me my soda," is groused by the archer.

Reaching for the can, Barton gives a quick glance left and right, and those in the hall are more than happy to look elsewhere. Nothing to see here! Nope!

But those blue eyes of his do catch a familiar figure, and straightening again, pulls back on the tab of the soda while calling out, "Hey, Manning.."

"Barton! About time!" About time Paul found someone he recognizes even if he didn't find what he was looking for. "I need a damn road map for this place. Or those 'you are here' signs posted in the intersections. This place is worse than the subway. Where's Hill's office?"

News travels around the Triskelion. Mostly because people are bored of dealing with security feeds. That and people love free drama. Calling out the name 'Hill' is a great way for someone to take notice then start passing it down the line, whether because they're afraid of the Deputy Director's wrath or because they're hoping that someone's about to get into trouble, which translates into free drama.

It always beats what's on TV!

"Miss Hill, we have a guest looking for your office."

"Oh goodie. Get me their location." Three guesses as to who it might be. Really, she's been dealing with three non-SHIELDies as of late. Paul, Sara, and Jericho. It's probably one of them. She may as well go and find out which one it is.

Barton actually chuckles and twists around to look at the corridors in question. "Part of it's charm. Can get turned around in here. You're supposed to." Approaching the man, he sets his soda in his left hand, extending his right to the man. "Hill? Must be something serious." Brows rise and his head tilts just a touch, "Mind sharing, or is this eyes/ears only?"

Paul clasps the hands automatically as he answers. "I just want some straight info on Trent. I tried to get it out of May but all she did was call up his official file which was obviously falsified and she even knows it. I'd like to know why she's constantly covering for him. Why does SHIELD trust him?" Cause he sure doesn't but if they know something he doesn't, he wants to so he can be sure of him. "And then he gets in contact with her, tells her someone tried to kill him /yet again/, refuses to come to safety and instead insists she come to him, and she runs offs to do his bidding more like a worried lover than a SHIELD agent." That all comes out in one obviously pissed off growl. And then he replays what he just said and pauses. Was that his outside voice?

"I lose my own office some days," Hill calls out from behind the pair as she briskly walks down the hall. Oh, and she gets here just in time for the good stuff, too. "SHIELD -doesn't- trust him. The man hacked into our secure lines. That sort of action isn't something that we're in the habit of forgetting about."

Now, the part about Jericho having come to May to call her to -him- is news to her. Troubling news, in particular. "She did -what?-" So much for having someone in this damn building she feels she can trust…

Insert Unhappy Hill face here, complete with arms folded together. Someone has some serious explaining to do. Now, if she could trust -Barton- enough to bring May back home…

"I'm starting to wish that second attempt at Jericho would have been a little more successful."

Once the greeting is made, Barton transfers his soda back to his off-hand, and promptly forgets that it's there at the venting. He seriously considers everything the man is saying, weighing every word with what he knows, understands, has read and has been told, and frankly? It really isn't all adding up.

Well, it is, but it's not coming to a number he likes.

"I don't trust him as far as I can throw him." Which apparently is seconded by Hill as she stalks her approach. Moving to the side, Hawkeye is put into a position of having to agree with Hill, and he doesn't like it at all. "May's been a good agent," he begins in defense. What is silent is 'up 'til now', but it hangs in the air. "But that bugs me. A lot." Running out to Aspect?

"Why didn't she tell any of us?"

Paul turns as he hears Hill's voice and quietly sighs despite his pissed offness. He really hadn't intended to make things difficult for May. He just wants answers. "Someone tried to kill him again and he texted her." he explains in a more normal tone. "When she called him, he refused to come here so she left. I didn't. I'm not going to go chasing after him. I just want some answers since it seems I'm always running into him and he sure looks like he's your operative, de facto if not de jure. Everything else aside, that he's tainted and hanging out with a demon when I've got an artifact every demon would kill for is a bit troubling." He's not paranoid, they really do want to kill him.

"Frankly I don't know what the Hell is going on anymore, and I don't like that one bit," Hill near-automatically replies to all of the information now being presented between the three. "May's got a lot of explaining to do. She's known what she's been doing before, I'm going to assume that she knows what she's doing now." And still refusing to follow protocol with.

"Jericho is bait," she openly admits to Paul with his concerns. "Way too much of what's been happening of late seems to be surrounding that man. We're just setting the hook. When this is all resolved, he'll have plenty to answer to as well."

"Any idea who attempted it?" While he doesn't know all the mercs 'out there', Hawkeye does know some of the bigger, heavier hitters. It's a 'been there, done that, got the t-shirt', so technically, no. Hill can't (and won't) trust the archer as far as she can throw him.

Shaking his head, he lifts a hand to dismiss the question that hangs in the air. "Doesn't matter. But, this guy…" Now, Hawk looks between the two, deliberately moving his head back and forth and exhales. "All's I know of the guy is, yeah.. he's a hacker. A damned good one. But one that can't be trusted to do anything but what -he- thinks is best." Sound familiar there, Hill?

"Sounds a little like me, actually." Clint actually says that out loud, with something of an off-handed shrug. It's not dismissive, but more like… saying it out loud brings it back. "Still, no one ever ran home for me. I was expected to actually come up to the plate." And he has. Over and over.

At Barton's question, Paul shakes his head. "Not a clue. Hydra most likely. Seems they're the ones behind it all." He does nod at the man's assessment. "He's a criminal and a thief. But so was Robin Hood and look at him. Not that Trent is giving to the poor but there's a certain tightrope it's possible to walk. The problem is, he's not. And with the demon…" He shrugs. "So the straight answer is, SHIELD doesn't trust him, only May does." He pauses then adds "And Sara." But then they've already shouted at each other over Partisan.

"And that's why you're still here as an Agent and not occupying one of our oh so accommodating cells somewhere bland and remote," Hill replies to Clint with a sidelong glance/glare. "-You've- managed to prove yourself enough that runs down to Turkey still seem like a vacation. You're also on a constant Division leash." Like every one of them happens to be, herself included.

Now in regards to the problem with their current wayward Agent… "I want surveillance on May. We don't bring her in, not yet. I want to know what's going on and how badly she's planning on hanging herself before we start pulling." Yes, and she's keeping Paul in this loop. It's always helpful to see how -he's- going to react to all of this in the long term, too!

"We're dealing with way too many variables here, and most of them have been turning out to become major terrorists somehow." When this all comes to a head, she's planning on becoming the hammer which crushes it all.

Barton rolls his eyes at the idea of Hydra attempting it. Still, it's as plausible as anything else. "Jesus Christ. I swear, someone stubs their toe and they blame Hydra for it. Maybe he pissed someone off somewhere and now they're getting back at him. Wasn't there something that May, Widow and Rogers went on? Didn't he go there, too? With those other two lowlifes? The world is filled with assholes that want to take that perfect shot."

Is that a compliment, though? Really? Barton doesn't trust that either, though she's right. He's at their call. Pretty much because what else is he doing any given day? And… he -likes- being a good guy at day's end. "SHIELD doesn't have an official stance on the guy. Hill doesn't trust him. I don't trust him. I'm willing to guess the Old Man doesn't trust him. But, giving the benefit of the doubt here, I -think- there's something there that someone is banking on. But the moment he's more trouble than he's worth?" Hawk shrugs his shoulders. "Far as I'm concerned, that time's come and gone." Still, "I'm not the one to make the call on that one. So, I watch and listen."

Paul's not SHIELD and he's certainly not anyone's superior here so he's just staying out of all that. He got at least one of his questions about Trent answered if not the details about the man himself. As Barton talks about that mission, his lips twitch. "I'm guessing by 'those other two lowlifes' you don't mean me and Pezzini? Because we were on it too. But yes, the terrorist cop killer Partisan was one and the other shot a hostage in cold blood. Based on those three, I really wonder about the rest of your operatives."

"Now hold up there Manning," Hill intervenes. "Jericho, Partisan, and that other psychotic meta are -not- SHIELD. Don't let those people taint the Division's image, we still have standards around here, dammit." She's not about to have the whole organization dragged through the mud because of a couple of people acting so carelessly.

Speaking of standards, if she wants to keep getting outside intel like this from the NYPD… "We appreciate you coming to us with this information, Manning. Please continue to do so."

Yep. She did actually say 'please.'

Clint is actually kinda happy he's getting a relationship with the NYPD. It makes things so much easier; reference the mission only a few days ago. Even if Hill screws it up, he -personally- will still be able to function. That's the way it works!

"Yeah, you and Pezzini," is given with a completely deadpanned expression. "I'd wonder too." Clint breaks and chuckles, shaking his head. "No, those others." He does sober quickly, and inclines his head once. "Yeah. Saw her once. Screwed up an op of mine. But haven't seen her since. And the other guy? Only heard what he'd done. No names, but damn." His best friend was one of the handlers that soon distanced herself. They don't deserve anything but to be put out to dry.

"I'd rather you -not- judge the whole organization by some miscalculations. It happens. Believe it or not, we don't always have all the information. Sometimes, something'll come around after, making us bury our faces in our hands. Not always, mind. But sometimes." Which is why Hawkeye plays by his gut most of the time. There are some 'tells' that give him an idea of the measure of the man, as it were. Sara, jury's still out. May… jury is out. Aspect, jury's out. Manning, for some reason, he trusts the guy.

Paul's very first exposure to SHIELD was a mission with those three: two cold blooded murderers and Trent who, at least, is not quite that bad. That he knows of. "You do seem to be more discriminating with your actual agents." he allows. That he knows of. "You're welcome. But really, I was just looking for answers. Speaking of which, did you discover anything about your security breach? That you can tell me." he adds after a moment.

"As a matter of fact there is," Hill confirms regarding the security breach, now turning toward Paul so he gets her -complete- attention.

"I've examined some recordings taken shortly after our return that places several people involved down in medical, complete with a man whom I have never seen before but am certain is not one of our own and -probably should not- have been granted clearance that far into the building. It also appears that you had been sharing classified intel with this individual at one point which means we now have a security breach regarding a security breach, so thank you for taking that into consideration before opening your mouth."

Hawkeye puts his hands up on that one; he was drugged to the gills and for a while there thought that he was being interrogated. And the only thing he was able to come out with was a decided and willfull act of noncompliance. Such dedication! (That's not to mention he's experienced 'the real thing' before in his life. More than once.)

Now that Hill isn't looking at -him-, Barton raises his head a little and shakes his head 'no'. No information of note. Techs are still working. But! Didn't see a thing! Nope.

"That was Harper. Roy Harper. Was on a couple of ops where he was around. One in particular was the one for Croft." Not a bad guy, really. "I have no idea who brought him in." Who could have signed for him? May?

Paul needs a moment to try to figure out what Hill's actually talking about. Okay, medical. Narrows it down. But then Barton figures it out. "Oh, Harper. He's with Checkmate. Don't you cloak and dagger types all… No, I guess you don't." Seems they're no better than the NYPD and the FBI when it comes to talking to each other. "Sorry. I'll try to remember to censer myself if he's around."

"We really don't," Hill confirms with her arms remaining crossed as if hunkering down behind a giant armored panel. "Other organizations run their own operations. Sometimes we step in, sometimes we don't. Either way, we know more about them than they know about us. We're mighty happy with this arrangement, too."

To the apology she continues to eye Paul but she does nod once. That seems to relax the matter for her, for the moment at least. It also seems to be the last point she wishes to cover for the time, as she's now turning to leave.

"It's going to be an interesting year, kids. Make sure you've got a hole deep enough to run to before the fallout hits."

Barton remembers that he's actually got a soda in hand, and finally takes a swallow. Once done, there's something of a smirk that plays across the agent's face. "It was explained to me once like this. 'There is a SHIELD helicarrier hovering right over your head. Someone comes and asks you -where- that helicarrier is? You tell 'em it's classified.'"

Hill's dismissal brings Barton's attention around and for a long moment, looks considering. He's got more information than even Hill has, and undoubtedly Manning, but there is no way he's sharing it. When the fallout hits, the chances are good that he'll be on the dirt wall piled up from where that hole was dug, protecting those who have taken shelter.

Once she departs, Barton takes a step towards Manning and offers, "Walk you out? Unless you have more stuff to do here. Then I'll give you a hand."

Paul nods back to Hill and is happy to leave it at that. Trying to remember who knows what and who shouldn't know what is more trouble than it's worth. Happy to be a cop, yup. At Barton's question, he shakes his head. "No, I'm done here." Hopefully for a while. Except Hill did mention something about training so maybe not. But he'll see if he can go two days without thinking about SHIELD. Though not necessarily SHIELD agents. "About that Chinese food…" he says to Clint as they head for the elevator. "Whenever you're feeling hungry, give me a call and I can pick up a six pack or something. Or if you feel like making it more of a date, that's cool too. I don't know where your preference lie but…" He shrugs and smiles. "Never hurts to ask."


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