Getting with the Program 5: Short Stories

Summary:
August 24, 2014: May is prepping the Bus to go to Syria with her hand-picked team. An old acquaintance shows up to ask for a ride.

Hangar 14 - The Bus

All matte black, this jet — heavily modified from a Boeing C-17 Globemaster — is enormous. The main pair of wings sport two huge jet engines each, and a second smaller pair of wings behind the primaries just ahead of the tail sport two more engines as well. Small porthole-like windows are scattered down the sides of the jet's body, and when viewed from overhead, the jet has a black-on-black SHIELD logo centered over its primary wings. When not in the air, the jet's cargo ramp is typically left open to allow people and supplies to come and go easily.

The inside of this cargo jet has been completely redone, outfitted to be used as an airborne mobile command station. The interior areas no longer used for cargo have been split into three levels — the topmost being a smallish command deck with a large bullet-proof glass skylight, the upper main deck divided into three comfortably sized staterooms and nine smaller bunk areas as well as a kitchen/lounge/dining area, the lower deck divided into laboratories and storage and prisoner holding/questioning rooms. The back fourth of the plane's interior space has been kept as cargo space, including room for two vehicles to be secured to the loading ramp.


Characters

NPCs

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*None


Mood Music: It's rather late at night, usually the only activity on the airstrip area SHIELD maintains is scheduled flights to and from. Yet tonight, strangely enough, there's one hangar — one of the largest out here — that has lights on and to sensitive ears the sounds of activity. Not much activity, though. It's not a full team of people in there anyway.

~

It's always been a bit of a toss up which mixture of actual credentials and earnest animal magnetism, deception and trickery, or stealth and guile Logan is going to use even when returning to an outfit he's, well, at least marginally part of. After all, what's the worst thing that's going to happen, some overzealous guard empties a clip into or at him? The Wolverine's had worse— to put it very, very mildly.
There's no such ruckus to worry about tonight, as he slips into that large, half-lit hangar, abandoning all pretense of silence just inside the doorframe as he props one broad shoulder against it and lights up a cigarette bearing the brand stamp of a nearby reservation. While wary eyes scan a wide arc ahead of him, smart money would be on Logan having some idea who— or at least what— he's walking in on. The Bus, in particular, simply reeks, for the record.

~

Melinda May has been expecting people to start arriving all evening. So the door opening and closing doesn't faze her. She walks down the ramp of the Bus to see who's arrived and… he wasn't anywhere on her mental list. "Logan." And if her Bus reeks, say how, so she can fix it.

~

Fixing it— that's part of the problem. The grease, the jet fuel, the oil, to say nothing of the eighteen kind of incendiaries, conservative estimate, that Agent May may have on that boat. Logan's perspective is that of a militarized canine, silently suffering the vast cornucopia of modern life's olfactory delights. It's enough to drive a man to smoke. "Mel." He greets gruffly, the note an odd mix of familiar and cautious— a man gets that way when everyone else he knows remembers more than he does. "You hear about this HYDRA virus?" He's never been a man for 'Beautiful night, tell me about them Mets.'.

~

Melinda May simply nods. "Why I'm prepping the Bus. Taking a team out to investigate that mess in Syria. I'd invite you, but I don't want to put you near that gou3shi3 if it can be avoided." Yes, she did just say a bad word in Mandarin.

~

"Funny." Wolverine muses in the style of someone using the word while finding little amusing at all, pausing a beat to take a deep haul off his smoke and blow the resultant plume sidelong and skyward. He steps out into the hangar more fully, crossing the light and revealing a duffel bag to go along with the denim and black t-shirt he creatively dons, along with a brown-and-cream cowboy hat that looks older than he does. Of course it's likely Logan just ages a lot more gracefully, "I was thinkin' of asking you folks to arrange the fast hop there, myself. No idea if the vaccine does its job in my system either, or if this thing can take me down in the first place, but if I catch a scent of somethin' unique— if not someone— on the ground there, it may be the ace we need to find HYDRA's boys before they do their thing." In other words, he shrugs off the prototype bioweapon engineered to kill his species; it's not the most reckless he's been.

~

Melinda May considers for a few seconds, then offers across at Logan. "Hop a ride on the Bus. I know you hate it, but it's faster than anything else going that way right now. But, someone a lot smarter than both of us has already mentioned concern over the possibility of this virus mutating in the presence of a healing factor and making it impossible for us to counteract. He'll be on this bird also, most likely, so you can talk with him on the trip over if you want."

~

"Great." Logan sounds about as happy about that news as one would expect: which is to say not one iota. Not that it seems to be a surprise— something like this targeting a wide mutation almost inherently has to be adaptive. It's not his first rodeo. Which is why there's more resignation than surly indignation in the response. To his credit, there's not even a single 'I go where I want to go' or 'whatever, I do what I want!'. A huff of breath accompanies a shrug of one shoulder that drops his duffel to one hand as he stalks up towards the bird, eyeing her dubiously before casting that sidelong look at May. "I'm over quota on endangerin' all life on Earth and shit, so we'll play it by ear. But if I can help shut these assholes down before it gets more out of hand…" Easy call.

~

Melinda May nods. She is completely okay with letting Logan take a crack at the people responsible. They deserve everything they get. "You're the first one here, so you get your pick of berths."

~

That wary look is cast towards the behemoth's boarding ramp anew, as one bare hand rises to tip the wide brim of his hat back from his eyes and enable an even more thorough examination of the Bus from stem to stern. It's not even like it's the first time he's seen her, or her type, but Wolverine just shakes his head. "Berth I want's the one I strap into right before we fly, and jump out of when we land." Until then, the clawed Canuck is quite satisfied to hang out in the hangar double-checking the maintenance work on the jet. He's an old hand at a few things, "All I really know is this shit targets mutant genes, and HYDRA used it to wipe out those poor bastards in Syria. That M-Town might be the next ground zero." In the middle of NYC. What more did he need to know, really? "Anythin' else that should a' been in the briefing?"

~

Melinda May simply nods at Logan's declarations. "R&D might have a sniffer system ready by the time we reach Syria. And if they don't, Stark might well have it. I've also heard on the rumor mill that someone outside of SHIELD is working on a counteragent, but no clue how close they are to making it happen."

~

"The counteragent exists, but it's limited right now by how it can be administered. Drinkin' it with milk." Wolverine offers up, filling in that blank with a touch of flippant scoff for the absurdity of it all. She told him what he needed to know, or at least more of it, and one good turn… "By now the right brains should have samples of it to stare at. If we're lucky they make sense of it before the virus decides what 'normal human' means for us." All final-like. Not that he's bitter.

Wolverine -might- have been overstating it when he said that was /all/ he knew.

~

Melinda May raises an eyebrow at that. Sounds like typical Logan sarcasm, but she can't be one hundred percent sure. "Well. Maybe I should add to the food stores on this bird. Who all is included among the 'right brains'?" Because in her mind at least, the fact that Stark, even with as ill as he is currently, was still thinking circles around everyone else when they met… that says something even if he's an engineer and mechanic and not a bio-chemist.

~

Logan shrugs one shoulder with a degree of disinterest that's probably not entirely genuine, "Not my call." The right brains. Deciding that shit is just right outside his paygrade. Luckily, he happens to know a lot of a certain type of person. If SHIELD can't get his sample to the right minds— like Stark if they can keep him sober— maybe that Oracle robot-thing can handle it. One way or another, hedging one's bets is better than dying to weaponized racism. "If yer bosses are smart, Mel, I'd say all the best they've got." It could be one of those rides, if he's smelling the proverbial weather right.

~

Melinda May nods. Good enough. "You been in to talk with Fury yet?" She moves around to work on some section of the Bus or other that requires regular upkeep before putting the Bus into the air. "Bet he'll be glad you're hitching your wagon to this mess of a mission." She's at least vaguely aware that Logan and Fury have … history. She's been with SHIELD more than long enough to see bits of their camaraderie, and can tell it goes beyond even what's redacted all to pieces.

~

"Not tonight." Wolverine answers— or more accurately, doesn't really answer— with a wolfish half a grin. "Sounds like he should save his gratitude till I -don't- become patient fuckin' zero for this year's infectious record holder." Self-deprecative or no, Logan knows better— he's still the best there is at what he does. If any of that broad, nasty bag of tricks is what it takes to take HYDRA to task for their inhumanity, well.. that's what the deadly little mutant is here for. "We'll get it done." He offers less sardonically to Agent May, clapping SHIELD's other shortest badass on the shoulder reaffirmingly— and intentionally all too solidly.

~

Melinda May takes the clap on the shoulder without flinching or letting it knock her off balance, and with the barest hint of humor to her voice that most likely never get to hear, she warns the most dangerous quasi-agent in SHIELD. "Watch it, old man, or I won't share my Bun Tom Xao La Que with you." It might even be a hint of humor she's not even shown HIM in recent times. At least since Bahrain.



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