Who Watches the Watcher

Summary:
September 20 2014: Scott Summers tracks down Jericho Trent, only to be tracked himself

Hells Kitchen Street

A couple blocks from a nice Italian place on the riverbank


Characters

NPCs

  • None

Mood Music:
[* None]


Having wrapped up the paperwork for the Greenland mission, May found one loose end she had not yet asked Trent about. So, she's on her way to ask him about it. The man they encountered in Gaza, who took a potshot at Trent with lasers from his eyes? That still just sounds wrong in her head. Hence, she's going to ask Trent about it.

Having parked a generic little sedan from the SHIELD motor pool a ways down from the hacker's safe house, she's walking down the sidewalk headed toward the now-familiar apartment building.

-

Jericho is feeling much more himself these days and is actually outside his apartment for once. He's strolling along, hands in pockets back from a little italian place on the water front about three blocks distant. He's not particularly on the lookout for anything although Jericho being Jericho, he's got new project: One that involves the source of the pirated Stark Tech that seems to be turning up in Hydra hands with kind of alarming regularity. That stuff has to be coming from somewhere and the only question is whether the leak is in Stark's suppliers or Stark itself. As for Greenland? That's put to bed in Jericho's mind. He's got other OPs to think about. And Limbo.

-

There wasn't much to go on. Scott Summers wasn't a man who carried a great deal of contacts in the underworld. There were other people he relied on for that, but those other people sometimes come through for him. The lead led him to Hell's Kitchen, but there wasn't much else to go on.

What he does have, however, is technology. A small device, easily concealed in the palm of his hand, is held beneath a cell phone. Headphones stream from the phone, presumably pumping music into the man's head as he waits on a street bench, but in truth, there is no music playing from the device.

Rather, the machine is linked into the various security measures that exist all around an urban environment. ATM cameras, security cam's in convenience stores, traffic cams and the like. The programming is complex, and passive; designed simply to observe, to download. The device beneath that cell phone is the one doing all of the computing, and it's searching for a match to Jericho's face.

-

Melinda May walks right past Summers on her way to Trent's apartment, apparently not recognizing him. It's not that she doesn't see him there, it's just that she sees a civilian listening to a music player. And while her memory is fairly good with details, that description fits a LOT of people. Civilians with red-lensed sunglasses….wait. Okay, she doesn't believe in serendipity, but if that really is the man, the odds of that are just headache-inducing.

Just like that she's on the alert even if Trent did name the man a friendly, and she keeps walking while pulling her phone from her pocket, slowing to stop as if reading a message on the small screen. She taps a message into her phone to send to Trent. < Need to talk about friend we met out of town. >

-

Jericho is very good at hiding from cameras, surveilance devices and the like. He leaves very little footprint and what he does leave gets erased very, very quickly. It's how he stays alive. Still, if you've got the tech for it, monitoring that sort of thing live is as good a way to find him as any other. And there we go. Partial hit on a CCTV camera near a store about a block up.

The HUD pops up with a message from May. Those have priority. <Headed back to the apartment from getting dinner at Giovanni's. Be back at the apartment shortly. Just about a block south."> Which is just about half a block from May right now.

-

A synthetic voice comes through Scott's headphones. It directs him toward the store, and brings up the location on Google Maps. Casually he rises to his feet, stuffing the phone (and the small device) into the inner pocket of his duster, and begins walking up the street toward that location.

This, of course, puts him on May's trail. Unintentionally, of course.

Behind ruby glasses, Scott's eyes are on the move, scanning the passersby for signs of Jericho.

-

Melinda May reads the message from Trent, seemingly nods to herself, then stows her phone back in a pocket as well. She uses the motion to look back toward the man out of the corner of her eye, and when she sees him on the move, she becomes increasingly suspicious. Starting on her way again, she 'accidentally' gets in Summers' way and walks especially casually. Don't you just hate when other pedestrians do that?

-

Scott thinks nothing of the woman walking so casually ahead of him. She wasn't the one he's hunting, and contrary to Melinda, she's nowhere near Scott's radar, so to speak. "Pardon me," he politely says while slipping past her on the sidewalk, offering the woman a friendly smile in passing.

-

Jericho comes walking back down the sidewalk toward May (and Scott) his face is, of course, undisguised but he's doing that 'boring' thing that makes people's eyes just slide over him. It doesn't always work on people who are actively looking for him but the way he sees it, it can't hurt and plenty of people are actively looking for him so… yeah, it's important to keep one step ahead on these things. He recognizes May as she approaches (and isn't looking for Scott) and angles toward her.

-

Melinda May's lips quirk into that very brief polite smile that is also common among pedestrians as the man slips past her, and as soon as he's by her expression hardens. Trent likely knows this expression as 'May is working now', and others likely know it as 'ohcrapohcrap'. Her eyes focus on Trent for only a second before they target Summers' back. It's another of those silent signals. You want her to put his face on the sidewalk, Trent? She can do that.

-

Jericho cants his head slightly to the left. He hasn't made Summers as Cyclops. Yet. He didn't really see much of the man's face, after all, but if there's trouble there's a convenient alley there to handle business off the street. Otherwise he keeps both hands in his pockets and continues on a path that'll lead him right past the mutant vigilante leader. What he does with that will likely determine how this goes.

-

Scott makes Trent a few moments before the man passes. There's no expression upon his face, but he does reach into his duster to produce a small, hand written note. When Jericho makes to pass, Scott reaches out, putting his arm right into the man's path. He'll either dodge, attack, or snatch the note free. Either way, this unassuming man in plain clothes and red glasses? He's got those angles covered.

Except, of course, for the wildcard that is Melinda May.

-

Melinda May braces for the attack when she sees Summers' arms move as if reaching for something inside his coat. Having been named a friendly or not, the moment his hand reaches out toward Trent she rushes Scott from behind and reaches to snag that offending arm bend it up behind his back. Hope you don't have easily dislocated shoulders.

-

The moment May moves, Jericho does too, in an effort to get right up against Scott and move this off the street and into the alleyway. He's not at all sure what's going on but he does know that a public scene is probably in no one's best interest. The fact that May reacted so quickly suggests first to the hacker that she's seen some kind of attempted foul play which puts him on the defensive, though the fact that this isn't Hydra's usual MO mitigates against that. He still hasn't recognized Scott, but the notion that any X-Men might try to track him down the hard way (The easy way involves getting his contact info from, or passing a message through, Roberto or Illyana) sort of hasn't occurred to him.

"Sorry sir, but if you could come with us." He murmurs, hoping folks will assume undercover policing is at work.

-

Teeth are borne when his arm is grabbed from behind. No, Scott didn't see that coming. Rather than fight, however, he slackens his muscles and goes right along with it, knowing what's to come next. The pain, the immobilization, the helplessness from being maneuvered wherever it is the attacker wants him to go.

Which happens to be into that alley. Still, there's no fight from Summers, for this is what one calls patience. He had reasons to not go through Red Team; as far as anyone else is to know, his band of X-Men don't exist.

-

Melinda May is inwardly a little glad that the man doesn't put up any resistance as she and Trent steer him into that convenient alley. Then, because those red glasses remind her of the thing he was wearing in Gaza (and that she, based on some of Barton's equipment, mistakes for the source of his unusual choice of weapons fire), she reaches with her free hand to yank those bad boys clean off of his face. No zapping the hacker this time, please.

-

Jericho, also steering Scott into the alley, is aware that he eye beams people. He's not aware that Scott's glasses are there to control the eye beams and thus has no reason at all to get out of the way. But yeah, not zapping the hacker would be very, very appreciated. The burns from the feedback on that hung around for a few days and were not the most endearing reminders of the X-Men. Red, at least Jericho can deal with up front. He's met most of them. Been to dinner with a few. The others…? Well… chance run ins on missions. Still, most of those went well too right?

-

Suddenly, Scott draws a sharp inhalation, his body stiffening. When the glasses come off, his eyes are clenched tightly, his entire face seemingly screwed into the effort. The actual skin around his eyes, not to mention the eyelids themselves, are tainted red, the skin raw and rougher than it should be.

Scott doesn't move a muscle. "May I have those back, please?"

-

Melinda May uses Scott's rather abrupt reaction to also divest him of the… slip of paper in his hand. Okay, not a weapon. One green flag in May's mind. And then he asks for the red glasses back instead of trying to fight for them. Another green flag. "First, tell us your name." Yeah, Trent probably recognizes that tone of voice from the first time he and May 'talked'. She's taking a quick moment or three to look the glasses over, including lifting them to her own eyes to see if they have some kind of HUD built into them.

-

Jericho steps back so there's room to maneuver with Scott. Now that May has him secured there's no reason for him to be crowding. There's no reason for him to draw a weapon just yet though and so far May's asking all the questions he wants answers to as well. He does, however, see… "May, there's something happening to his eyes." The way Jericho says it says that he recognizes that whatever is happening is probably fairly immediate in nature.

-

The glasses are just that, nothing more. The lenses may be constructed of powdered ruby quartz, designed to be molded to his face, but there is no technological frontier.

Jericho has a fair point. Scott didn't come here for violence, but the longer his glasses are out of his possession, the tenser he becomes. Fists clench, though he stays in place, in spite of the way his chin is drawn into a look they'll both recognize: ready to jump.

"If I open my eyes, we're all dead." May's not getting a name, not yet. "Give… them… back."

-

Melinda May glances at Jericho, and having already released the man's arm a moment ago, she takes one of Scott's hands to set the glasses into. The slip of paper gets handed across to Trent and she steps around to where she can offer a proper beat down if it becomes necessary. At least this time she seems to intend to meet this guy face-on.

-

Jericho glances over at May as she hands him the paper, and then unfolds it curiously. She snatched this from the man they just wrestled into an alley. Sees fair to assume he wanted to hand it off to him. Also, apparently May wanted to talk to him about someone they met overseas, and there's a limited number of people that could be. He's popular today, isn't he? And no one has shot at him yet either which is different.

-

There's nothing special on the piece of paper, just a phone number. Scott's phone. As soon as the glasses are back in his hand, Scott fixes them upon his face. Only then does he visibly relax.

"My name is Scott." He looks toward Jericho first and takes a deep breath. He's making himself a liability, but at least he's doing so willingly. "We met in Gaza." Now, he turns toward May, studying the woman with a critical expression.

-

Melinda May simply crosses her arms as she returns Scott's critical expression with her own all-but-patented flat stare. "You were in that basement in Gaza." She looks like she'd like to say more, but she doesn't. Not yet.

-

That puts it together for Jericho. Now he knows who this man is. And just like that, Scott's file gets a bit bigger. "You're Cyclops. We all met in Gaza, actually." May was there too after all. He refrains from saying 'you're the one who shot me in Gaza.' They discussed that already.

"I was under the impression that matter had been concluded in a more-or-less satisfactory manner. What do you want, Scott?" Down to business, then.

-

"There's concern that secrets might have been breached." Scott turns his attention upon Jericho firmly. "I extended a lot of trust in you. From what I can tell, you've done well by me." The man lifts his hands upward in a sign of peace, glasses shifting to look at May. "Just looking to have a conversation." He looks back to Jericho. "There's a lot of reason to trust nobody in this world. I'm just looking for reason to trust you."

Jericho has dealt with HYDRA. He ought to be able to understand Scott's concerns.

-

Scott. Cyclops. Names for that little part of of the report that is still pending. And, now that he and Trent are talking apparently peaceably, she seems content to stand back and spectate. But of course that doesn't mean she's not paying attention. She might be like Jericho, slow to give trust.

-

Jericho understands the need for secrecy, naturally. He understands other things where the X-Men are concerned as well. Things that he doesn't like about them. "Secrets breached mmm? Sounds like a problem, to be sure. But are you really, really here looking for reasons to trust me?" The hacker looks slightly annoyed at the implications.

"Because you should be able to answer that question yourself. What's going on? Plainly."

-

Scott turns back toward Jericho, and folds his arms. "West Chester. You knew HYDRA was going there. How?" Simple, sweet, to the point.

-

West Chester. More intel for her little file. Add that to the X emblem the man was wearing in Gaza and that might actually garner some worthwhile intel. Of course, she has every intention of keeping this info to herself unless Fury specifically asks for it. Romanoff's not the only one building her own private database. Of course, the man's question can't go without a retort of some kind. "You knew of the goings on in Gaza. How?"

-

Jericho rolls his eyes a little. "You were ready for the attack, so you found out about it. You don't think you're the only people out there who do information for a living? I tracked reports of an SRD convoy headed north, with no accompanying verification from SRD dispatch. Fake cops after the M-Town incident? Didn't take too much brain power to put two and two together on that one. As for where they were headed, there kind of is only one target in Westchester they could have been moving against."

-

Scott turns back to Melinda. "I have a vested interest in the protection of mutants. When there's a virus out there that threatens us? I'm going to be involved. An associate of mine was able to create devices that could hunt down the explosives used in distributing the virus. That's how I ended up in Gaza."

He now turns back toward Jericho. "Yes. We were ready for the attack, because we were alerted. By someone not within our ranks."

Scott remains well aware of the liability he's become. It was inevitable, from the moment he stepped foot in Gaza. "West Chester is a safe place for the gifted. There happen to be a high number of mutants at that school. This makes it a target, but the question remains, how did it become a target? How did this terrorist group know about it, and of equal importance, who alerted us, and what prompted them to consider that school?"

He looks between the two with a deep frown. "What if we killed the subtext here." His eyes settle upon May. "What are you really asking?"

-

"I'm really asking if you're going to be a random element again," May says just as flatly as everything else she's said thus far. "Or if I can expect some sort of coordination next time we're on a joint mission." And getting a veiled mention about Drakos is NOT enough reassurance for her.

-

Jericho sighs and pinches the bridge of his nose. "I hate to break it to you Scott but your school in West Chester is not nearly the secret that some of you seem to think it is and the fact that you do utterly mystifies me. You went to the bother of having it publicly accredited to offer degrees which means you committed to a certain amount of transparency. You've been operating legally and above board since the mid nineties and your alumnus list isn't exactly classified. It doesn't take that much effort compared to other secrets to go down the list of people known to have graduated from that place and realize that a fair number of them aren't normal. I offer up for your consideration on that front Ororo Munroe, who lives quite openly and isn't the only one - though I'll grant you the ones who do are in a minority, even the secrets of the ones who don't aren't so protected that they can't be found out by a group with the resources of a well funded spy agency: which Hydra is."

Jericho shakes his head sadly. "I assume that HYDRA found out roughly like that, though I didn't get a chance to go through their files when we took the cell's base down. As for who warned you: I did. Aspect is a handle that I use, something that at least a few of your people could have told you if you asked them. I'm fairly sure Red Team has a small file on me at the very least."

-

Perhaps surprisingly, Melinda's answer brings a sense of calm to the man in red lenses. Summers had started to feel like a caged animal, in spite of his assessment that such an encounter had become necessary.

Now, Scott looks toward Jericho. He listens carefully, but the words themselves are disheartening. He's held closely a belief that exposing the X-Men for who they are was premature. It's the protective side of him that takes precedence; a protective aspect that has become threatened.

"You've seen what lengths we will go to in order to protect that place." Indeed, there is a massive trench in the school's front yard that will speak to that. "But such things engender a certain level of discretion; a thing that must be carefully calculated. I only hope that you-" He turns toward May, hoping that he might appeal to the humanitarian side of her. "That both of you, might understand." That being said, Scott offers a small smile toward May. "Of course, a mutual sharing of strategic information might be beneficial to us all."

-

Ya think? The quirk of May's eyebrow says that as clear as her voice could have. "We'd need contact information for that to happen." Hint. With a sledgehammer.

-

"I do remember." Jericho nods. "I was, after all, there. You don't need to worry about my discretion Scott. At the risk of sounding like a bit of an ass, I went to war for you. I was the one who discovered that virus. I was the one who recovered the samples of it for SHIELD and your people. I was the one who shared the intelligence of what I'd found with everyone I could as much as I could and at the end of it all, I came to the defense of your home and attacked a fortress to make sure it could never happen again. And I haven't asked for a single thing in return."

Jericho pauses and runs his hand through his hair, glancing over at May first and then back to Scott. "You cannot know, because I keep a lot of secrets, what I have risked in terms of personal pain and hardship and the people I love on your behalf, but it has been considerable. If you think that I would put all of that to the torch by spilling your secrets, then you should go sit down and have a long talk about me with Illyana or Roberto. Both of them know me better than that."

-

"Use this IP address," Scott offers to May. "193.764.190.7." It's a secure node, separated entirely from the Institute, and perhaps more importantly, the X-Men themselves. A trace would bring up a nose in Moscow.

Jericho's words are heartfelt. A deep sense of appreciation exists, something that might be apparent in the way that Scott's body slackens. no longer expecting a fight.

"I'll do that." Scott bows his head to Jericho, and then, without another word, he turns with intent to leave that alley.

-

Melinda May crosses her arms again as if to punctuate Trent's words, though she says nothing herself. When Scott offers an IP address (seriously?) she takes a moment to commit it to memory and nods to the man. And with a glance to Trent to see if there's anything else he wants from the man, she doesn't so much as shift her weight in an attempt to stop him from leaving.

-

Jericho nods and steps back. He doesn't really have anything else to say on the matter, but May might be able to tell that despite the man's understanding and experience with these matters the mistrust and accusation (be it ever so polite and considerate) stings and irks him as much as it did when it was SHIELD questioning his motives for helping.


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