Metropolis Mercs

Summary:
September 14, 2014: Domino arranges a neutral meeting with Paul Manning which quickly goes bad when Winter Soldier makes his next move. (Violence/language.)

Route 9, beneath the Stanlee Bridge

The giant suspension bridge crosses the Delaware Bay and links Metropolis to both NYC and Gotham.


Characters

NPCs

  • None

Mood Music:
None


Things never go exactly according to plan. Ever since Domino and Hawkeye last bumped into one another there had been some unfinished business involving a certain detective to work out. As far as fun things to do go, dealing with the police on any level is quite low on her list.

Which is why she organized the meeting outside of New York State. The chosen meeting location is right along the Metropolis shore, neatly tucked away beneath the overbearing shadow of the monstrous Stanlee Bridge. It should be secluded enough for a meeting, though it's a short distance away from the crowd in case things go poorly and a fast exit is required.

The only problem with the plan is her proverbial ace in the hole, Hawkeye himself. Her 'get out of jail' card. He couldn't make it.

Planning for the worst she left behind her lovely Stingray and most of her serious pieces of hardware, traveling light with a 'borrowed' car that isn't going to turn heads under the best of circumstances. Detective Manning is in for a special treat today, an honest face to face between the right side of the law and the wrong.

It's a tedious balance. Hopefully nothing goes astray.

*

After the impromptu meeting in Hawkeye's office, Paul had decidely mixed feelings about meeting with Domino. On the one hand, something probably big is going on and he needs her info. On the other, hired assassin. When he's informed of the details of the meeting, he's almost smiles. Metropolis. Smart. He has no authority to arrest her there. The only question is does he alert the Metropolis police that an international felon is ripe for the plucking? Taking the magrail down, he rents a car and then drives to the location she chose to meet. She's easy to spot and after getting out of the car, he walks toward her.

*

The albino's ready for his arrival, sitting along the edge of the hood of a drab looking brown sedan. Her hands keep herself propped upright, empty beside the fingerless gloves she seems incapable of living without. It's about as neutral a presentation as she can offer. When he arrives she looks up without lifting her head, smirking thinly.

"Phonecalls can be traced."

If she's going to have the cops stepping into her life she at least has a little more control over -how- they get involved this way. Out here she has options for escape, pre-planned routes. More freedom of motion. She wouldn't be at all surprised if the Metro SRD are busy surrounding the area, either. It's been accounted for.

"Does this seem awkward?" she then inquires with a tilt of the head and a narrowing of the eyes. "This seems awkward."

*

Stopping about six feet away, Paul studies Domino a moment then looks around to see who, if any, are close enough to over hear. Or perhaps he's checking for SRD. "Just tell me who hired you." he finally says. "And anything else you know about him and Kelley. Since you agreed to this, it's obviously occured to you that you were set up so you should have no loyalty to whoever it is. I'm sure sending the police to capture the one you hire to kill someone voids all implied warranty of secrecy and the 'honor among thieves' shit."

*

It's nice and quiet around here, so far. Just the two with the sound of the water along the bay and the droning wind of traffic far overhead. It would be a nice place to take pictures, if one is into that sort of thing.

Here Dom leans her head back with a slight flick to get some hair out of the way. It's soon followed with a sneer, "Difference between thieves and mercs. There's a lot less honor. I don't have a name, but I do have an address. Phonecalls can be traced," she repeats while slowly reaching into a pocket with all of two fingertips to retrieve a folded slip of paper.

"Native to Metropolis. Total amateur, didn't use a secure line to set up the hit. I've gotten the feeling that this was something entirely new for him. A few circumstances nudging him in the right direction until he decides to take the next step. You won't be getting any answers by asking him directly, though. Guy's history," she says while unfolding the paper then twisting it about within her fingers. "Died of 'natural' but oh so mysterious circumstances."

"It wasn't me," she adds. Just in case.

*

Note to self: she's not a thief but an honorless merc. That's good to know. Paul takes the piece of paper and flips it over to look at briefly before putting it in a pocket. He almost sighs to learn the guy is dead. And, though he'll have his hacker check, whoever hired him in turn will probably be too professional to have used those oh so traceable phone lines. "Wonderful. I don't suppose you looked into it yourself and found out who killed him or hired him?"

*

"So I can get in over my head even further?" Domino asks with a grin. "I've been a little busy trying to keep my head low in this part of the country, when I'm not trying to negotiate with our SHIELD pal." Among other things.

"What I know so far is that this runs deep. There's a lot of backtracking, a lot of covered trails. For starters, Kelley had 'fall guy' written all over him yet it sure looked like he had hired on some protection for himself. The mystery guy that loosed a couple of grenades at the joint. No idea who he was but he seemed pro."

"Best suggestion I have for that guy," she motions toward the page with a nod, "check his financials. If he's not sure how to cover his call list then he's probably not any better at keeping his bank records clean. I suspect that someone put him up to this, which would mean a large payment had probably been made to one of his accounts. Just follow the money."

*

"Yes, I figured he had protection." Paul agrees. Though not necessarily hired by Kelley. "There was no other explanation for the one trying to kill you. I only got a look at his back however." Damned flashbang. "And then the SRD arrived in case he failed and to clean up. Someone is able to pull some important strings." He's already having Trent looking into Kelley. He'll just have to add another name. "Did you even care why someone wanted him dead? Or did you just take the money without bothering to look into it? Why him? What is this all about?"

*

The Winter Soldier knows that what he's about to do is absolutely, one hundred percent wrong— and he still can't stop himself from carrying out his mission.

He's been clinging almost breathlessly to the bottom of the Stanlee bridge for hours, courtesy of a quartet of flat, metal disks attached to his hands and knees. There's an assault rifle strapped across his back and an assortment of other weapons attached to and holstered on his person; once he managed to narrow down the slippery albino's whereabouts, he knew that he'd have to come prepared if he was to have any chance of taking her. Tailing her had proven ineffective; when she didn't just outright catch him lurking in the background of her life, circumstances always seemed to conspire to break his focus on her.

He still isn't sure what set all of those dogs off, not that he cares very much at this point.

Ultimately, it was an intercepted phone call that got him the location of this meeting, and being that it was a meeting— he debated for a while whether or not to take his shot or wait for another opportunity to present itself. A public hit, with the law present, after having already run afoul of the SRD? Risky doesn't begin to describe it.

On the other hand: the man who'd insisted he protect Kelley has been even more insistent that he produce results; given the difficulty he's had with pinning her down so far, catching her in a relatively secluded space may well be the only chance he has to please his handler. As much as he'd have preferred otherwise, patience simply isn't an option.

Ever so slowly, he slides his arms out of their discs until he's able to unhook the rifle on his back; as he does so, he gingerly unfolds his body until he's finally hanging perpendicular to the bridge. Two hostiles, one viable target, two modes of escape; as soon as he has a bead on her, he tries to kill two birds with one stone by raking a spray of lead across the car.

*

"And isn't that just so -very- peculiar that the SRD had been that quick to respond," Domino thinks aloud with another narrowing of eyes. As far as the mystery man trying to kill her, she sheepishly offers "Welll… Don't put too many eggs into that basket. There's plenty that would love to see me taken out. It's a little convenient for a random attack of opportunity but coincidences and I have an extra special relationship."

The next few questions she happens to get asked quite a lot, which..is understandable. That's the sane, rational approach to the idea of getting paid to kill another. The albino merely rolls her shoulders a little. "Didn't matter, didn't ask. We've all got bills to p-"

The rhythmic drumming of bullets through the hood of her car is immediately followed by the sharp crack of automatic fire, one of the shots clipping the back of her shoulder inches away from where her head had been a second earlier and another very nearly piercing through one of her hands before she can react.

(Move. Judge direction, distance. Find cover to compensate - there's no cover. The shots are from directly -above,- there's no cover. Dammit! Hadn't counted on a Spiderman hit!)

"You can continue your investigation by asking that guy some questions!" she yells out while drawing pistols and running..running where? Paul's car still runs!

*

At the sound of the first gunshot, Paul immediately drops and takes cover against the side of the car. Sniper! It takes slightly longer to figure out where those shots are coming from though. Above! Which means there's no cover. Shit. By that time, Domino is already off and running. Drawing his gun, he lies on his back and returns fire since he's a bit too large to fit underneath the car. He should have called the Metropolis' police, dman it.

*

Nobody has any cover, and nobody is dead yet; worst case scenario! Luckily, the Winter Soldier's climbing discs have a quick release feature; less fortunately, in the time it takes the Winter to build up enough momentum for a proper release and hit the switch on his belt, Paul is already returning fire.

A bullet carves a trench along half of the small of his back as he vigorously pendulums to and fro, and when he finally slaps the button to send himself hurtling towards one of the bridge's walls, another clips his thigh. Blood spurts from the wounds as he fights to shut out the pain and turn his body over in the air so that he's finally able to get a grip on the concrete structure by burying his left hand a few inches inside of it.

His cover is still non-existant, but at least now he has a path down; all he has to do is climb. And not get shot; in the hopes of increasing his odds on the latter front, he pauses before actually beginning his descent to squeeze off another few rounds across the car.

There aren't any proclamations, no orders to surrender, no taunts—there weren't even any cries of pain when he was shot. Just solemnly dispensed violence.

*

The detective's car should work. For the moment. It's not going to be the fastest exit option but it's going to be better than running. Of course Dom's going to go for it. This doesn't mean that she's going to leave Paul behind to catch the fire for her. The distance between vehicles will put the sniper at more of an angle than before, it's not much but she'll take what she can get.

"Get out of there, c'mon!"

Cover fire is offered as her hands jut out from over the fender, a few specks of blood hitting the hood as her sidearms lob projectiles back up toward the underside of the bridge.

One to cover, one to drive. If there had been another merc involved she would have happily let them draw the fire for her, but… Not a merc. Paul's not a damn merc.

Crap. And she lost eyes. Target's on the move! There, return fi-"Gah!" Dom drops low to the ground, reaching back to hold a hand to her shoulder wound. That shooter's like a damn machine… They have a window, but not for long.

"Get your ass in the car before I add grand theft auto to the list!"

*

Christ, what the hell is that guy doing? Guys a damned metahuman the way he's jumping around the /underside/ of the bridge. As more bullets ping around him, he hugs the side of the car to minimize his exposure. At least he's not the primary target! Digging into his pocket, Paul lobs the keys to Domino. "Catch! Drive it over here!" Smarter move than running across a parking lot with no cover. Once he hears the engine start, he fires upwards almost blindly to provide his own covering fire.

*

'Not getting shot' is a lot harder to want than it is to do, especially when one is stuck trying to scale a bridge with no tools but his own two(one, really) hands. Time spent climbing was time spent not laying down suppressive fire, and now that Domino has entered the fray in full… it's nigh on impossible.

Bullets drill into the Soldier's fleshy shoulder after he's made it a few feet down; his other hand is withdrawn, leaving him with no solid mooring, and no choice but to tumble from the structure. The gun spins wildly away from him on the way down, but he's much more focused on trying to avert his fall than he is on sparing it. His initial, flailing attempts at scrambling for some handhold with his cybernetic arm slows his descent a little, and both body armor and his eventual committment to tucking his limbs in and rolling with the impact lessen the damage done, but all the same—it's a bad fall; he bounces along the ground several times before eventually coming to rest in a groaning heap.

He doesn't try to stand, but does slowly roll towards his injured side so that he can use his metal arm to unhook a smoke grenade and lob - or, perhaps more accurately, bowl - it in Paul's direction to try and give himself some cover while he figures out just how badly hurt he is.

*

Alright, Dom can't fault Paul for not wanting to run out into the open. As far as she knows he isn't a meta, himself. So, the keys are caught and she's on the move, returning largely unaimed fire simply to keep the sniper from landing a kill shot on her while she leaps for the door. Ammo's cheap and she knows an -awesome- guy for fixing up cars, what's a little cosmetic damage?

Dive in behind the wheel, duck low, keys to ignition, turn starter, cross fingers. Life! She doesn't bother with a seatbelt or any of that fancy stuff, dropping into gear then hauling tail over to where Paul's hunkered down. There may not be any honor amongst mercs but she never did follow the normal patterns of behavior.

The timing of the smoke grenade is downright ideal, it blocks everyone's view. Less time shooting or dodging, more time leaving. This time she has no sarcastic remarks to make, she waits for Paul so they can get the hell out of here.

*

Paul has similar thoughts about the smoke grenade; it provides excellent cover for a retreat. As the smoke billows up, he gets up and sprints for the passenger side door, pulling it open and almost diving in. "Go!" he's shouting before the door is even closed

*

The Soldier hears scrambling feet and car doors as he struggles to stand; he makes it upright eventually, but his stance and gait are almost drunken as he limps towards the parking lot, and there's an agonized grimace hidden beneath his mask. After the first few steps, he yanks a pistol from his hip and fires blindly into the smoke— not that he expects them to hit anything.

At this point, he's pretty much 0 for 2 in catching Domino; his employer will doubtless be displeased.

*

"Going!"

Time to see what this car can do. ..Wait a minute. Waaaait a minute… Something isn't right, here…

"Is this a rental car? This is a rental car. You brought a rental car to a gun fight?"

As if to punctuate the question the rear window suddenly breaks as a pistol bullet smacks into it, cracking the glass before glancing upward away from the vehicle.

"GAHdamn-!"

It isn't much further before the rental's sliding across the road to rejoin the flow of city traffic, amidst the blaring song of several different tones of vehicle horns.

"I don't think insurance is gonna cover this one," comes through a tightened jaw. A quick glance is then passed Paul's way, a frown etched upon Domino's face. "You hit?"

And are they being followed? Not so far… Good, she doesn't want to push her luck with any more close encounters today.

*

"Of course it's a rental!" Paul snaps as he scoots down so his head is below the headrest. "I live in New York! And I wasn't planning on a gun fight." The rear window shatters and he can hear the ping of at least one bullet against the frame. "This is your fault." It's almost a sigh and once they get out into traffic, he fastens his seatbelt. "You should surrender to me right now and turn states evidence. We can put you into witness protection." Even to himself, he doesn't sound convincing. Who'll notice her along with all the other albinos working in Kmart?

*

"-My- fault!" Domino snaps back with widened eyes. "I didn't ask that guy to come in and start shooting, he nearly killed me back there!" And she's bleeding. And driving. Generally not the best combination. And here, with Paul's suggestion… Is it scary that this isn't the worst idea she's heard? Could a whole fleet of cops keep her safe?

Could Hawkeye get her -out- if she went back to the station?

She has to give it some thought. Weigh the odds, and all. Then with another narrowed glance his way, she says "That all depends on if you're going to let me walk out of here or not." Before they get back to New York State.

Asking others for help has never been her style.

*

That's a very good question and one Paul's been thinking about. "I have no jurisdiction outside of New York." he points out. And he doesn't make a habit of shooting someone who just saved his life even if she was the one who endangered it. "Was that the same guy as in the bar?" He didn't get a good look at him either time. "Someone definitely wants you dead." Half turning in his seat to see if anyone's obviously following, he says "We need to pull over and stop that bleeding."

*

"I'll live," Domino mutters to the last part first. "Though I'm willing to swap drivers." Since it seems like the shooter isn't on the road anywhere she finds somewhere to pull over, though she's still thinking everything over.

"Given timing, use of a smoke grenade and that he's not easily deterred, I'm thinking it was the same guy. Figures that he's the only link in all of this who's still alive." Which means she really shouldn't try to kill him, given the chance. Which means he'll always be out there. Joy!

"Look," she finally decides while shifting into park. "I can tell this guy's not going to care about things like collateral damage, and probably not about anyone else getting in the crossfire. Thanks for the offer and all but with a target this big on my back it'd be like placing a bomb in the middle of the station. I'm going back to ground before this gets any worse. Barton knows how to reach me."

*

"You're right." Paul decides, remembering the incidents with Trent and Hydra. "I don't want you putting cops in the line of fire either. But speaking of Barton, you can surrender to SHIELD instead. I'm sure you know enough they'd be interested in to make a deal. Probably a better one than you'll get with the NYPD given the scope of your activities." And they can talk to the government and the government can talk to the NYPD and no one will be happy. But it won't get his people killed.

*

"Yeeeeah that's probably not gonna happen," Domino quickly replies while popping the door open, weapons once more out of obvious sight. "But for what it's worth to you kids, I have started to play ball with the archer." Kind of. More or less.

(Cripes, I'm offering to help the cops now. What the hell happened to my life?)

"Maybe next time we do this you can organize the meeting point. If you're lucky."

She'll leave the car idling while closing the door, apparently planning to walk right along the side of the street. Just ignore the bleeding, citizens.

*

Getting out of the car, Paul walks around it but stands by the driver's door as he watched Domino walk away. "If I see you in the city, I will arrest you." he lets her know. "Dangerous or not. So if you need to meet me, do it in the Triskelion." SHIELD headquarters has their own jurisdiction. And it means he doesn't need to deal with the paperwork. Except with Hertz.


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