Briefings and Considerations

Summary:
September 11 2014: Jericho stops by to chat with Berto. Shortly thereafter, Illyana stops by too.

X-Men Red HQ

A high tech headquarters and information center for the public face of the X-Men


Characters

NPCs

  • None

Mood Music:
[* None]


Roberto comes out of his temporary apartment on the upper deck of the Red Team headquarters, stands by the railing, and stretches. He looks down into the hub, where the day is just getting started, support staff milling around as they track events in the city and the greater world. The young man is dressed casually — one of the benefits of owning your workplace — and looking surprisingly fresh and eager, considering recent events.

He takes the steps two at a time down into the main common area. At the bottom, he offers his assistant a friendly greeting, and accepts a stack of reports and a mug of expensive coffee in return. He flops into what he has privately decided is the most comfortable chair in the headquarters and starts paging through the latest news of his team's worldwide activities.

*

Jericho hadn't known if the receptionist had instructions to let him through and, more importantly, wasn't sure if Roberto really wanted a quietly wanted man walking through his place of business. Its true that his wanted status changes day by day as he and Hydra continue their private argument via criminal databases (they alter things, he changes them back and plugs leaks) but it can occasionally be problematic for his allies on the right side of the law. Ordinarily he'd not be nearly so careful, but the X-Men Red had worked very hard to be legal and above board and he didn't want to ruin that for them all. That's simply not what a friend does.

Which is why he ended up simply landing unannounced on the deck and knocking on the window. The bright amber wings and traces were a bit unsubtle but at least here he's not super worried about assassins.

*

'Berto looks up over the rim of his coffee mug at the knocking, and spots Jericho. He's closest to the balcony — no surprise, as a bright window is definitely a factor in what he considers a comfortable spot — so he hops up and gets the door himself.

"Olá, Jericho," he greets the man in a friendly tone as he steps in. He doesn't seem to see anything odd about visitors arriving via the roof. "Good to see you again. I'm glad you stopped by — there are some things I wanted to talk to you about. Related to that overseas trip of yours." Knowing that the man might want to talk about something secretive, he doesn't immediately return to his seat, gesturing instead at that spot and a door across the room. "Which do you need more: quiet or a comfortable chair?"

*

The wings and traces fade out slowly, the hacker offering a hand to shake. "Provided you think this place safe from prying ears…" He looks about. It's Roberto's own HQ, so he assumes yes. "A chair will do nicely. I heard the news of the Upstart's attack. Sorry for the damage. But your team handled them well, if it's any consolation."

The notion that Roberto might have wanted to talk to him gets a raised eyebrow. "Mmmm. Fair enough. Possible we want to talk about the same things. Has Kitty Pryde been by to see you guys? I don't know what her status is with your organization but she uncovered some very important information recently."

*

"She's been by, but we didn't really talk shop," Roberto answers, returning the handshake and then gesturing toward his private office. Not that he doesn't trust the people here, but secrecy wasn't one of his top priorities in setting up the Red Team. Rather the opposite, actually.

He lets Jericho into the office first, then flops into another of the guest chairs rather than his own, remaining on the same side of the desk as his guest. "The mess is mostly cleared up. Just have to apologize to the Titans about the disturbance and wait for the new paint smell to fade away," he says first, addressing Jericho's thoughtful remarks about the Upstarts. "But yes, I do think we need to discuss what happened in the Mideast. Gaza, particularly. I've read Cyclops' report." It took him hours.

*

"Cyclops?" filed reports?" Huh. So the XMen have paperwork. Thats not something Jericho would have expected but it makes him smile a bit. "Good to know. Its actually roughly about that I came to talk to you about anyway." The hacker pulls up his own internal files on the Mideast operation. "What did you particularly wish to discuss?"

*

The Red Team's business side burdens Roberto with quite a lot of paperwork. It's still nothing compared to Scott's field reports, but the Brazilian keeps that bit of editorializing to himself. "I get that SHIELD is a covert operation, and the X-Men are partly a covert operation, and getting two covert operations to share information with each other is difficult," Roberto answers, cutting right to the point.

His friendly demeanor thins as he continues, "But that friendly fire incident? Completely unacceptable. We need to know who and where each other are. I personally think the two teams should deploy together until this mission is complete, to make absolutely sure that sort of idiocy doesn't happen again."

*

"I couldnt agree with you more." Jericho nods. "Were I less unique, that might have cost me my legs… or my life considering there was a hostile on top of me when he opened up, or Scott his life for that matter when the team pounced on him. We got lucky. It worked out, but if we do this again… that luck may not hold."

Jericho sighs. "Even so, Scott didnt earn the X Men any friends in SHIELD. Another incident might backlash on Red team fairly or not. Id hate to see that. Do you think you can convince your people to ooerate with them jointly?"

*

"Can I convince people?" Roberto echoes with an incredulous look that very quickly fades into something downright smug. "I thought Illyana had talked to you about me. Like, at all."

He leans back in his chair and folds his hands in front of him, continuing more seriously, "Our group may want to bring their own plane, but if I have my way, they'll fly with SHIELD, land with SHIELD, and plan the operation with SHIELD. Frankly, I was furious that it got to the point of friendly fire before anyone realized that was a good idea. What in hell's name did I go to the Triskelion for in the first place?" His tone is getting a little heated, but it's far short of the fury he describes. Maybe it's good that he's had a cooling off period.

*

Jericho smirks. "Illyana respects her friends privacy. But Im glad to hear that youre confident. It'd be nice to be working more cooperative with your people. I'll be honest Roberto my previous attempts at coordination left such a bad taste in my mouth that I was almost ready to write the group off entirely before I met Illyana and she talked me down." Its not like Jericho is the worlds most tristing man but it does take him a bit to get to that point.

"Kitty cracked the Hydra code. She found the location of their base. Its in Greenland, under the ice cap. SHIELD will hit it soon but its a big place and its going to be nasty, brutal, ugly work. I wont mind saying for them that they could probably use the help. Now might be a good time to start coordinating."

*

"That's diplomatic of you, but Illyana and other people's boundaries? Really?" Roberto answers with a laugh. "Then again, even I don't respect my privacy." He waves dismissively with one hand. "Kidding. I know what you meant."

He listens intently to the description of their next mission, nodding once or twice. "Kitty's brilliant. And that's typical — the X-men have always relied more on outstanding talent than tight coordination. I'll see who I can pull in for a Greenland operation, and get them involved in your planning. Many of them may not be as open as the Reds here, mind you. If that's a problem for SHIELD, foda-se. That's why we've got our own plane."

*

"Well, I should perhaps say instead that she's been very respectful of the X-Men's secrecy, to the point of only telling me about her own friends afte youd made the decision to operate openly."

Jericho chuckles and relaxes. "Though on that topic, you may wish to advise tighter information security to your more secretive friends. I already know the full identities of Storm and Gambit after one of them dropped first names on a mission. That and their faces was all i needed to get everything on the internet about them. Most people cant do it as fast as I, but a breach like that could compromise the entire network and some of your people have a pretty darn big digital footprint." Secrecy in the information age is freaking hard, Jericho knows.

*

Roberto stares upward and sighs. "Bem, isn't that just typical. All worried about me going aboveboard, and completely missing the real leaks." He tilts his head to one side and says, "I'll let Nightcrawler and Cyclops know it's a concern, but I'm not going to lecture them on secrecy. It's not my priority, it's theirs." He chuckles suddenly. "Also, it might come off just a little bit hypocritical, coming just after I tell them to send mug shots to SHIELD."

*

Jericho shrugs. "Price of doing business in the information age, I fear. Information's hard to get rid of once it's out there. Hackers like me thrive on that. And there's so much out there that people don't think about. I spend a lot of time scrubbing my digital presence and I'm more careful about letting it get out than most." He runs a hand through his hair. "I won't do anything with the information, of course. I have no need, and it's rude, but your folks should be aware. If someone wanted to trace people back and do bad things, it could be done. Disadvantage of trying to have a dual life, I fear. Speaking of, though, I wanted to let you know - and I've mentioned this to Illyana already - if this goes south and you need to disappear again, I'll help. I'm very good at getting rid of information and I've pulled the disappearing trick a couple times myself. And I'm pretty connected to that part of the criminal community."

*

Roberto smiles thinly. "I appreciate it, but thanks to my role at DCI, I'm more of a public figure than most of the team. I'm not sure the best hackers in the world could get that cat back in the bag." He doesn't even seem to consider the idea of taking on a new identity — the possibility hasn't even occurred to him.

Jericho's promise not to do anything with the information he has uncovered earns another brusque wave. "Illyana seems to trust you; that's not easy to accomplish, You must have done something pretty extraordinary to earn her faith. I'm not going to question it." He rolls his shoulders and adds, "Also, you've acted in good faith so far. Aside from shooting at Cyclops, which was an accident. And frankly, we've all been tempted." A small smile.

*

"Credit where credit is due." Jericho laughs. "I didn't shoot at him. He got the drop on me fair and square. Though I did throw a power armored man at him, so there's that I suppose." He pauses and winks. "Which is worse?"

The comment about earning Illyana's trust makes him smile a bit. There's something in those odd amber eyes of his, dancing a bit. "Perhaps it's because I was willing to trust her." To the point that he'd let her mark him with a magical ritual. To the point where he'd invite her to live with him, which is fairly extraordinary for the paranoid hacker.

"Well, if it ever gets that bad we'll figure something out. But frankly I'm hoping it won't. You and Illyana and Doug and the rest? You deserve this chance. I hope nothing takes it away from you." And honestly, the bright, likable team of mutants is one of the best chances their kind has of earning acceptance.

*

"I think the guy inside the armor would have hoped for a regular gun, but who's asking him?" 'Berto answers with a laugh. "But like I said, I tend to blame the higher-ups who make the decision to leave people in the dark, not the guys on the ground who are just trying to do the right thing."

He shrugs at the comment about trusting Illyana. "You might think it's that simple, but you might be surprised," he says. Granted, he doesn't know their whole history, but he can think of plenty of people who were willing to give Illyana a chance but still didn't have an easy road with her.

"I appreciate that, but I pity anyone who tries to hold back this group. We've had to deal with some unbelievable stuff since we were teenagers. We'll keep proving ourselves."

*

Jericho chuckles and takes a moment to look about Berto's well appointed office. At least this place seems to have been spared the havoc wrought upon his penthouse upstairs.

"You do that. No one should have to live like a hunted animal. No one." He seems fairly certain about that. It may occur to Berto to wonder why. Or not, possible the perceptive solar powered mutant knows.

"In any case you can contact me once you have your roster assembled. Or go directly to SHIELD. Lord knows I'm not their favorite person and they don't tend to include me in planning sessions. I should follow up with them all the same, or rather, with my contact… which I suppose I should introduce to you sometime so at least you have a straight shooter to go to. I'll take May over Hill any day, though it's possible I'm biased."

*

From Roberto's tight smile, it's apparent that he either knows or can guess where Jericho's coming from. There's a hint of empathy there, too — his life may have been mostly king beds, boardrooms, and boarding schools, but not entirely. He leans back in his chair across from Jericho and shakes his head. "I'll leave the straight shooters to you. Dealing with high-level administrators so other people don't have to is my whole job description — although I certainly appreciate the offer."

*

A circle of light appears against one of Roberto's walls and Illyana steps through in heavy boots, jeans and NYU T-shirt. "Oh look, two of my favorite guys." The blonde says by way of greeting. "Wasn't expecting to see you here." She notes of Jericho, more curious than off-put. She heads around behind Roberto's desk, looking at the things he's got on it.

*

Jericho smiles, perhaps a bit brighter when Illyana shows up. "Hey there. I'd actually just stopped by to talk to Roberto about what Kitty found. I thought, and he thought as it turns out, that it might be good if SHIELD and the X-Men weren't tripping over eachother and shooting at one another when the time came to put this Hydra Virus issue to bed once and for all."

He's about to ask what brings Illyana by and then remembers, duh, she works here. The choice of clothing, at least, suggests she's coming in from this side and not Limbo side. Limbo tends to involve a lot more leather and spikes.

"Well if you want Hill for yourself, Roberto, I'm not gonna argue. Maybe she just needs a little TLC." Yes, he'd heard from Nancy about Roberto's… proclivities.

*

"Hi, Illyana. We were just discussing how great you are with boundaries." And then you came bounding through the wall and started rifling through my desk. But 'Berto isn't giving her a very hard time about it. His desk is punishment enough — there is so much paperwork, it's really staggering. There's also a family photo and a class photo, a desktop computer and a StarkPad. Buried somewhere in all of that are thin dossiers on the non-X party guests from the other night. Kate Bishop's is open.

"Everyone always assumes I'm trying to bone every woman I work with!" Roberto complains, tossing his hands up in mock annoyance. Then he glances upward for a second, thinking, and turns to peer at Jericho. "Would you say she's lonely? That might actually be an angle I can play."

*

The photo of them as teenagers gets a brief, soft smile before she looks over at 'Berto and smirks. "You have boundaries?" She says with mock innocene, turning to perch on the edge of Roberto's desk on his side of it. This mostly gives Jericho her back, but she doesn't seem to worry he's gonna be insulted.

Roberto's objection, followed by the question gets a shake of her head. "The last thing we need is you to have a jilted ex with a global organization at your beck and call. Because she'd definitely be an 'ex', it's just a question of sooner or later." Roberto might have been a one-woman-man, but that probably died with Julianna.

*

"I try not to think about her too much, to be honest Roberto." Jericho says with a wry smile and a shake of his head. "Virtually the virst thing she did when I met her was threaten to throw me in the deepest, darkest hole she could find. Coming from a highly placed agent in a UN spy agency I don't mind telling you that it made an impression." So many jokes to be made if he found this funny, but he doesn't.

"In any case I wouldn't wish that on any of my friends. I'd sooner recommend you try to date Melinda May." Beat. "Which, by the way, I don't."

*

"Certainly not ones that you have ever noticed," Roberto tells Illyana with a teasing smile. He's not even really complaining: at this point, her total confidence that he won't be offended no matter where and when she shows up is part of her charm. If she knocked, he would probably ask her what was wrong.

*

"I wasn't saying I was going to do anything," Roberto tells both of his guests with a roll of his eyes. "I'm just saying that flirting is a thing I can do. She didn't strike me as someone who would be receptive, but I've been wrong about that before." Melinda May's name doesn't get any particular response; Roberto doesn't know her. "Bem, you're both full of suggestions to improve my dating life."

*

"Your dating life doesn't need improving. It needs a pair of shears." Illyana says dryly, but the quirk of her lips and the subtle warmth to her tone bespeaks her affection for the Brazillian.

Illyana leans back a bit, her hands supporting her on Bobby's desk. Heedless of the paperwork that he's got scattered around there as she looks back to Jericho. "Bobby taught me to dance, you know." Her eyes glitter with amusement. "Given how long I scared the hell outta him, that was an adventure."

*

Jericho chuckles. "Did he now?" The amusement in the hacker's otherwordly eyes is fairly obvious. "I'll bet it was. I recall you telling me that you frightened him quite a bit in the early days." The way the mantion of dancing gets a grin, it's probably fairly obvious to Berto that he's been out dancing with Illyana at least once. Clearly he found the experience enjoyable because he doesn't seem off put any. Not, come to think of it, that he ever has seem off put about anything around Illyana.

*

"Watching her early attempts went a long way toward not being scared of her," Roberto chimes in with a smirk. "Then made me scared of her all over again. Those flailing limbs can hurt." He gives her a dry look of his own, adding, "And a couple of times, worked very well as a temporary alternative to shears."

He grins and spreads his hands. "Of course, she's too good a student for her own good. Now if she wants to kick me in the balls, she has to admit it isn't an accident."

*

Illyana kicks 'Berto with a smirk as he talks about her flailing limbs, but the follow up gets a chuckle. She grins over to Jericho, "There are few things that will dissuade some girl set on having 'Berto for a sugar daddy like me draped around him and staring them down." Roberto's also one of the friends she's most touchy with, and given how she dances that would explain a lot.

"Most of the other guys at school… really weren't much for dancing. So I stole him a lot." So they spent a lot more time together than they otherwise would have. In rather close proximity. Jericho also knows how much she likes it, so he probably got dragged out often.

*

"I can imagine." Jericho grins. Illyana's hard to compete with on a number of levels, and given Roberto's wealth of charm and resources, the hacker can well imagine that not all of his potential paramours have had the, er, purest of intentions. Lauper may have said that girls just wanna have fun, but sometimes they also wanna gold dig a little. The risk is greater when one is someone like, well, the man in front of him.

"Lucky him." Jericho grins, leaning back in his chair. "Though really, Roberto, of the things that Illyana might do if you upset her, being kicked there strikes me as fairly measured. Besides, you're more clever than to upset her like that." He pauses. "Right?"

*

Speak of the flailing limbs, and they will appear. But a heavy boot to the leg, playfully delivered, is nothing compared to the real pain Bobby is experiencing. "Remember those times we convinced Sam to come with us? Doce Madonna — talk about flailing," he says with a wince. He may have repressed memories of the antics of any alien shapeshifters, too.

"I appreciate the vote of confidence, but I wasn't always as smart as I am now," he tells Jericho. "But we both lived through it. I would say I had a less eventful life than I might have, but going dancing with Illyana is its own kind of event."

*

"I'm not sure if I should be offended…" Illyana says, squinting at Roberto and trying not to smirk at the same time. "But yeah. Sam. Eeesh. If he wasn't blushing to the roots of his hair you'd think he was in a mosh pit or slam dancing." Poor, poor Sam. But worse. Poor anyone-dancing-near-him.

Her manner turns a bit more serious then as she looks back to Jericho. "When all this goes down, let me know where you need me." She knows how important timing and positioning can be. And she's goof for both.

*

"I will." Jericho says quietly. "It'll probably be soon. SHIELD doesn't take that long to organize and I'm going to follow up with May later tonight to make sure everything's on the up and up." There's something like relief in his features. There are not, truth be told, many people that Jericho truly trusts and feels like he can truly rely upon and those that he can he calls on only sparingly because they frequently have their own problems. Knowing that Illyana will be in the field is a weight off his mind. At least there'll be one person he doesn't ever have to worry about.

"Do you have any ideas, Roberto, of how many you might get otherwise?"

*

"Offended? I wouldn't trade those nights for the world," 'Berto answers with a grin. "Besides, I like an event. It's not a real night out until one of us gets to punt some aggressive jerk through a window or drop him into Limbo for a while."

As the conversation turns more serious, he glances up at the ceiling. "The Blues are going to want in on this, I'm certain. But some of us are likely going to be busy with the rally in M-Town for a while. I'd say we're likely to have a group of three to five. Transport won't be an issue, as I said, and I'll make sure you have all the information you need to identify our people in the field."

*

Illyana chuckles and leans forward, giving Roberto a loud smooch on the cheek before heading around his desk. Her fingertips brush the nape of the hacker's neck, briefly causing his traces to light red around that touch before sitting down next to him. "We should make our own X-Badges or something. And then put some kind of techno-eidget that lets folks know they're the real deal."

*

Jericho smiles a bit, nodding thoughtfully. The light from Illyana's touch spreads out for a brief moment before fading and as she settles he loops an arm around her. "If you put something like an RFID chip in it and give me the frequency, I can make sure you show up on friendlies on SHIELD's IFF systems. That'd be easy enough and you can ditch the RFID tags when the op is done so they can't track you, if that's a concern. Really, though, I'll be happy so long as they know who not to shoot. Non leathal methods aren't going to mean much if you put me down long enough for someone else to kill me, you know?"

*

"We've got those, actually," Roberto says with a rueful smirk. He rummages around in a desk drawer, and pulls out a prototype X-badge. "Secure communicators, in square and circular varieties. They're on the official Red Team uniforms, which we've had no reason to wear yet, and I hadn't thought to issue them to the other teams. But in the heat of battle, I'd rather they just know what we look like, so they don't have to squint for badges."

He pauses, "Also, when people stare at me in my uniform, I assume it's for other reasons."

*

Illyana nods in agreement, shifting to settle in more comfortably against Trent. "Yeah, knowing us on sight is best. Communicators are good too though, especially since we don't have a team telepath." Blue has most of them, but she'll stick to relying on their resources and counting everything else as a bonus.

Roberto's comment about his uniform gets a smirk. "Well, you certainly do put on a show." She says with a low chuckle. "Could you wear anything smaller and skimpier?"

"Don't ask him that." Jericho teases lightly. "He might take it as a challenge." The talk of uniforms makes him grin a bit. He doesn't wear one, of course. It's whatever blends in, or black tactical gear as a fallback whenever appropriate. The fact of the matter is when he lights up, there's no real mistaking who he is anyway. "I'm sure whatever you guys wear will be fine though so long as it's not a lab coat or fascist chic. Hydra security tends toward stereotypes for sure. But the IFF rigs would help. SHIELD's got a lot of fun toys for that sort of thing." Not as fun as Jericho's though. He has recognition profiles uploaded for all of the X-ers that he's met, so he's not real likely to shot them unless they start shape shifting. Not everyone wants a demonic computer in their head though.

*

"You can't see through the shadow once it goes up," Bobby points out with a smirk. "So strictly speaking, I could go nude during the day. Bad news if it gets overcast, though. Besides, I don't see anyone else volunteering to be the team eye candy!"

After a moment's thought, he says, "I may have to do variants, though. I'm not wearing speedo shorts in Greenland. And depending on the brutality of fights we get into, I may switch over to something with armor that's for getting hit and not just hitting. At the moment I'm erring on the side of getting lots of sun."

*

"Well I can't do it. I'd feel the need to put people's eyes out." Sadly, Illyana isn't entirely joking. She really would feel the need. She'd just control herself. Maybe. Hopefully. "Too bad no one on the team can be a mini-sun for you, so we could make sure you don't run dry at any given moment."

She snickers as he contemplates alternatives. "As I recall, you've never been fond of cold…" Unlike the kid from Siberia, who doesn't ever seem to feel it.

*

"I kind of have to point out, I'm afraid, that this base in Greenland is under a glacier. There's not gonna be much direct sunlight inside. Sorry." Which may render Berto's exposure worries moot… though how much exposed skin do you really want to have at 6000 feet in Greenland? Jericho'll be dressing warm, that's for sure. Not that he'll need to for long. It'll get plenty hot inside plenty fast, he's sure. Several miles of ice tunnel to cover? It's gonna be one of those days.

"Honstly Berto if you feel the need to be team eye candy, I can just e-mail whatever selection of motivational pictures you'd like to the SHIELD central database." Jericho grins. He probably could, too.

*

"Maybe I can wear the shorts for action sequences, and have something fluffy and warm to go on top of it so my bunda won't freeze when I turn my powers off," Bobby speculates. He turns to give Illyana a sympathetic look and, dropping the humorous tone, adds, "I wouldn't ask you to."

He turns to waggle a hand at Jericho. "I can make it on artificial light for a while. It's not as good for me, but it works. It's total darkness that is a real problem." He smirks again as he adds, "And why should SHIELD have all the fun? I'll just post 'em to the official Red Team site."

*

Illyana's smile is small and soft, but quite real. "I know you wouldn't, Bobby. And I like you being the poster boy for Red. Means folks are less likely to look my way." Where she'll end up smacking them or something. "Which reminds me. Maybe I should start wearing a hat, if you're going to keep up with the media blitz."

*

Jericho cants his head, seemingly quite comfortable where he is. The image of Illyana in a wide brimmed sun hat doesn't really compute… but he's gotten used to stranger things. He doesn't comment on the blitz. He's tracking, it, of course. Just in case he as to do a lot of data destruction later. It's always easier to do this kind of thing if you know where all the data went in the first place.

"Has SHIELD given you any issues beyond your first meeting?" Jericho's betting no. As much as he dislikes the organization, they have better things to do than hassle people who aren't threats. Usually. Every once in a while…

*

"No. They've seemed content to let us do our own thing," Roberto answers. "I was a little worried that Hill would take exception when that 'secret' information I gave her went fully public, but I haven't heard a peep." He shrugs. "I'm sure you would find a very flattering hat, Illyana, but so far we haven't exactly been big targets for the paparrazzi."

*

"I'm not too worried about paparrazzi." Illyana admits with a shrug. "I just don't like being bothered. And I think the dossiers we gave SHIELD had a bit more information." Like her connection with Limbo, given that they already knew it. Something that's pretty much left out of her public dossier because of the whole 'demon' bit.

*

Jericho sighs. Right, them. "Reminds me. A supernatural cop came nosing around for you earlier. I don't suppose you've given that dossier out to anyone else, have you?" Because if Berto hasn't and Illyana hasn't then Hellboy can only have gotten his information from one place. Which isn't putting SHIELD any higher on the list of people who can be trusted with things, honestly.

*

"I don't think so," Roberto answers Jericho with a frown. "I mean, the other X-men know about the demon stuff, which is pretty much all we left out of the public version. Something in particular you're after?" He's not experienced in the sort of skullduggery the hacker specializes in, so the idea of a leak isn't the first thing that occurs to him.

"I don't think you'll get bothered over it any more than you get bothered by people anyway," he says to Illyana, tossing her a smirk. "And I'm sure you'll deal with any newcomers just as effectively as you dealt with the rest."

*

Illyana has to tilt her head back a bit so she can frown over at Jericho since she's leaning against him. "A supernatural cop came for me? That wasn't Manning?" This makes her frown. Especially if he was looking to police her, and not just 'happens to be a cop too'.

'Berto's comment gets a tongue stuck out his way. So mature.

*

"Yeah. Not human. Big, tall, red, attitude. From the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense." Because yes, Jericho has done some digging. They're one of those Stormwatch organizations. One of the more up front ones it must be said but these are exactly the kinds of people that Jericho almost never trusts even if - especially if - they're well intentioned. The most dangerous ones generally are.

"Someone took a swing at me. K'nert got me out. He followed. Got into a fight with some rebels before K'nert and I could find him another exit." Which is to say, the guy's been to Limbo. "I'm sure he'll be looking for you." Jericho doesn't seem very happy about it either thoug he's doing a good job at keeping on an even keel the degree of unhappy he's got going.

"Since he know about Illyana's Limbo connection…" He glances over at Berto as he talks. "And that isn't on your public files that leaves only two options. Either the X-Men central network has been compromised - which is unlikely, I'd have heard someone bragging about it on the hacker boards if it had been - or… SHIELD gave that information out." Yeah. Jericho's not happy at all about that.

*

"See, I didn't even know supernatural cops were a thing," Roberto says mildly, tipping back in his chair and folding his hands in front of his chin, elbows propped on armrests. "I am not, however, surprised that Illyana knows one by name." He flashes a bright, roguish grin. "I knew those stepping disks couldn't possibly be street-legal."

Trust him to keep the tone light. "You say this guy's a cop?" he asks Jericho thoughtfully. "And he knows about Limbo — I assume from before K'nert took him there. What are his intentions? Is he going to try to arrest her? Because if so, he'd better do so legally and in daylight and I will have my personal army of the damned on him faster than he can blink." He pauses for a second, then clarifies: "Lawyers, I mean."

*

"I try not to throw my personal army at folks. People will think it's the End of Days." Illyana says dryly.

she's used to people taking shots at Jericho, so she doesn't immediately get incensed, but she does frown that he's been to her realm. "Why am I so blasted popular lately?" She grumbles. "I've still go to talk to the poor slob that one of my demons was really fixated on eating."

Illyana pinches the bridge of her nose and sighs. "Not to mention, I'm public. Why can't they come here and make a damned appointment instead of stomping into my home?"

*

"He followed me in when I made my exit." Jericho shrugs with a sigh. "He's… kind of a cop, Roberto. Stormwatch is an agency of the US government and the BPRD is tasked with dealing with supernatural threats to it. They're not law enforcement. I checked, but they get away with this because the vast majority of things they deal with aren't even people, much less US citizens. So their usual methods aren't exactly… kosher. As to what he intends to do? 'Investigate' Illyana and 'make up his mind' about her." The tightness in Jericho's voice and jaw suggests that the only reason he hasn't already called the Partisan and made a 'statement' to them is because this is by rights more Illyana's affair than it is his.

"As to making an appointment, I did suggest that. Maybe he will. Hopefully. Odds are I ended up on his radar too, so that could be interesting."

*

"When I throw my lawyers at people, they generally end up wishing it were Armageddon," Roberto reassures Illyana. "So between us, we've got this thing locked down." He listens attentively to Jericho's explanation of the situation with Stormwatch and the BPRD. "So they are a legitimate authority, but you don't like their methods. Hm."

He turns back to Illyana. "How do you want to handle this?" he asks her. "You're welcome to deal with it here at the office. I've got some good counsel on retainer, if you'd like to preemptively lawyer up. Any resources I have are yours, if you want them."

*

"Let me think about it. And see if I can 'find' him." Illyana says, looking thoughtful. She seems to agree though, that they should have it handled. She doesn't look worried. Maybe a bit annoyed.

*

Jericho shrugs again. "I don't like a lot of things, Roberto, so don't necessarily base your opinions off me. But, since you asked, yeah, they're a legitimate agency. No I don't like this 'watch and decide' BS since it's exactly that kind of attitude that's had me on the run for nearly two years."

Unless Illyana's gone into details, Jericho's not sure what Roberto knows of his background. It's not too hard to guess though that it's not pleasant and the places that he turns up - the middle east, for example - certainly hint at a background that involves a lot of gunplay and explosions. "I'm aware though that I'm not exactly… an unbiased observer on this. On several levels." One, because of the Hydra lite BS and two because it's Illyana, naturally.

*

"Please don't be offended, meu amigo, but I'm not basing my opinions off of yours. I'm basing my opinions off of hers," Roberto answers Jericho, steepling his fingers and tilting them to point at Illyana. "Believe me, I understand your concerns. Mutants can never count on public institutions to treat us fairly. It happens sometimes, as if by accident, but it's never something we can rely on." His expression has gone as grim as it ever does. "However, as public, aboveboard people, sirens can no longer be our cue to run into the shadows. Illyana understands that as well as anyone. I'm just making sure that whatever elements of the system ARE under our control are as stacked in her favor as they possibly can be."

*

"I'm hard to offend." Jericho waves. "But I'm more aware, I think, than most - probably more aware than you, no offense - that the system is not and was not intended to be fair and that there are other elements at play. I'm fairly sure none of those elements are at work here, but it's always a thing to be on the lookout for. I've had too many of these situations engineered for specific purposes."

He sighs and shakes his head sadly. "But as I said, I don't see any of that at work here. Yet, at any rate."

*

Roberto shrugs and answers easily, "I'm not dumb enough to play 'who had it worse.' I know that I'm lucky by anyone's standards." He offers a tight smile. "We can leverage that wealth and power, if we need to. But for the moment, I think what concerns us both most is what will make this easier for Illyana to deal with." He spares her a glance, and adds: "Whether that's a full court press, or space and privacy."

*

Jericho looks away to the side for a long moment, thinking. "I'm thinking that your method will probably work better. Mine… Mmmmm. They're nearly always courts of last resort. Agent Hellboy got off on the wrong hoof with me by basically being outside his remit." Berto will of course be aware that you can't simply put a US citizen under survielance for just any old reason, no matter what they can do. "But as you point out, this has nothing to do, or shouldn't have anything to do, with my personal issues. So just let me know what, if anything you need."

Hellboy's dealings with Jericho are, of course, another matter. Those the two will simply have to work out. Or come to blows. Either way.

*

"Hellboy? Seriously?" Roberto looks at Jericho, trying to figure out if that's just a silly name he's given the agent. The hacker doesn't seem like the type for jokey nicknames, but… "He's not actually called that, is he?"

With a laugh and a shake of his head, he says, "I appreciate it. And I hope we won't have to resort to anything sketchy to deal with this. But if we do, I'll know who to talk to." He smirks conspiratorially.

*

"He is, sad to say, actually called that." Jericho chuckles. "I've heard worse, I suppose. And you'd understand if you saw him. Sawwed off horns, tail, hooves. Seven, eight feet tall." The rest of it gets handwaved off, though clearly the hacker isn't taking this either lightly or well. The US isn't alone in creating agencies to deal with all manner of extraordinary situations and honestly it's a natural and sensible response. That said… the US also isn't alone in going overboard on it and Jericho quite agrees with Franklin when the man said that any people who would trade a little freedom to gain a little security would lose both and deserve neither.


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