5289/Shhh. We're Hunting Warehouses

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Shhh. We're Hunting Warehouses
Date of Scene: 21 February 2021
Location: SUV, Traveling, A Warehouse in Washington DC
Synopsis: May and Peggy confirm that Lance and Elena aren't HYDRA agents in the worst of ways. Then they go hunting for evidence none of them wanted to find. HYDRA and SHIELD share a Quinjet supplier...
Cast of Characters: Peggy Carter, Lance Hunter, Melinda May, Elena Rodriguez

Peggy Carter has posed:
This mission is no where on the books, but the information that Peggy got? She's very worried it will die on the vine if she doesn't pursue it nearly immediately. So, she called May on the private burner phone they've been using and laid it out. Told her to bring one agent she wants to vet and mostly trusts but, pretty much, grab the first person who falls into that category she comes across and meet at an SUV on a street in Brooklyn. The meeting location is actually just outside the secret safe house Peggy's been using, but the other two agents don't need to know that.

Once that information was given, Peggy ducked her head into the Triskelion and found the one person she's been curious to test -- really test -- for his relation to Queen and country alone. "Hunter. Come with me. I'm buying beers. Now." There is something about that 'Now' which implies way more than beer, her tone the old grand Dame of SHIELD as she says it. Hopefully he doesn't ask too many questions as she leads the way out of the compound.

Lance Hunter has posed:
Hunter doesn't ask questions, after all Peggy said the magic words, even if her tone suggested she meant work more than beers. He gets off his arse, grabs his coat and follows, taking a moment to check his ICER is still clipped to his belt. He has the feeling he's going to need it. He follows Peggy on the way out of the compound.

Melinda May has posed:
Slipping the burner phone back into its pouch, May strides through the Triskelion like a woman on a mission. Because she is. Her eyes flick over the faces of agents she passes in the corridor, dismissing each silently in turn... until they fall on the face of the long-haired speedster from Colombia. "Yo-Yo," she says. "With me. Carter needs our help." Her tone brooks no argument, and she gives very few details. Because May never does.

Thus, moments later, she's striding across the compound to join both Carter and Hunter, a pair of keys to a black, unmarked SHIELD SUV in her hands. Without more than a nod of greeting to the others, she unlocks the doors and slides behind the wheel.

Elena Rodriguez has posed:
Yo-Yo, as it turns out, was in line at the cafeteria.

In her defense, she had been training before hand and burned several athletes worth daily calories in a few minutes, so she's generally guilt free when it comes to exactly how often she consumes food. Like a trash compactor where food goes to die, really. Glancing up at May's approach with a nod, she passes her tray off to a junior (even to her, shit rolls down hill) agent. "Do not eat my fruit cup." Two fingers pointed at him, this is very serious business.

No complaints about the curt nature of her invitation or the lack of information regarding where she's invited too. She greets both Lance and Peggy with a nod, "Hold on." Honestly, it's hard to tell she ran back, except that she didn't have a fruit cup, and now she does, "I do not trust him not to eat it." Save that for later.

Peggy Carter has posed:
As they all stride out of the Triskelion at almost the same time, Peggy laughs beneath her breath but also gives a little, mental curse. As Yo-Yo greets them, she gives a rather too-sunny smile and a louder statement, "Just headed for a beer with Hunter. See you ladies later!" And a little wave as she picks up into double time walking, expecting Hunter to keep up. She mutters lowly to May as they pass, "Grab us around the corner and down two blocks. Out of camera sight." That's about all she has time to communicate with the fast stride she is taking, and then she peels off with Lance on her heels, seemingly going the total opposite direction of May and Elena.

As they are walking through the cold winter air, Peggy buttons her own coat against the chill, not saying anything else until they are down the next block over and out of view of SHIELD cameras. She pulls her own SHIELD issue cellphone out and starts shutting it down. She shakes her phone and motions silently to Lance to do the same. Whatever is up has got this woman more paranoid than even an ancient spy should be. Once she hits the corner she said, she stops, waiting for the familiar SUV.

Lance Hunter has posed:
Hunter gives May and Elena a nod and a bit of a salute as he passes, keeping up easily with Carter's pace. As they head out of the building, he follows her lead with the phone, turning it off but not before texting four quick characters seemingly at random. "So, taking it this is a I'll know when I get there kind of op?" he asks.

Melinda May has posed:
May gives another nod, very faintly, to Peggy's words. Then she slides into the car and turns it on. As she's easing it out of the parking lot -- once Elena is in and seatbelted -- she says, "You have SHIELD comms on you or a cell phone?" As she speaks, she pulls out her own (not the burner) and runs her thumb across the battery release on the back of the handset to open it. "Turn them off. They're a liability." Plucking the battery out as she drives, she tosses both the handset and the battery into the console. Then, she plucks her comm set out of her ear, switches it off, and tosses it in the console to join the rest. Eyes on the road, she waits for Elena to do the same before she's willing to turn the corner to meet Peggy and Lance.

Elena Rodriguez has posed:
And there goes Agent Carter with Lance, quite literally, in the oposite direction. One would assume that Yo-Yo were use to this sort of behavior around the Trisklion, but she stil furrows her brow when the pair head off to parts yet unknown as if that was the plan all along. She half glances over her shoulder to watch them, then looks back to May as she's buckling into the SUV. Nodding to the question, fishing her cellphone out of her pocket, along with her comms..

More oddity that really shouldn't be.

"Okay." Since it's fairly obvious, at this point, that there's more going on than just helping Carter. The battery on the back of her cellphone is slipped off, then again with her comms unit. Apprehensive. "Fuera de los libros?"

Peggy Carter has posed:
"We'll explain in the car. It's going to be a bit of a ride." Peggy mutters to Lance, though he's given a bit of a curious look at the strange set of random character he's texted. That worries her just a little more and drives home what's going to need to happen in the SUV. She takes a deep breath as she watches May pull around and down the block, swinging into the back passenger side, so she's directly behind Yo-Yo and a bit easier able to lock eyes with May.

She waits for Lance to get into the SUV as well and looks up at the dark haired woman who is now their driver. "The SUV isn't on the books, right? You grabbed the off the record one?" She just needs to double check and, once she gets that affirmative from May, she lets out a little breath. Whatever is coming next, she doesn't want to do.

She locks eyes with May for just a moment, but it's a heavy one. She gives a single, silent nod. A signal of some sort. And then, practically in exact time with May, she states. "Hail HYDRA." The split second after it's said, her eyes go to Hunter, reading every inch of his response.

Melinda May has posed:
May's response to the Colombian agent is a subtle lift of her brow and a look that seems to say 'Do you have to ask?' Then, she's rounding the corner and pulling up alongside the curb to let Carter and Hunter in.

The pair settle in the back seat and May snirks softly, the look she gave Elena transferring automatically to Peggy. Seriously, people... who do you think you're dealing with?

As she receives that heavy, silent nod, however, she locks eyes with Elena, echoing Peggy hardly half a heartbeat behind. "Hail HYDRA." And, yes, she's watching the response.

Lance Hunter has posed:
Hunter's response doesn't take too much reading to decipher, his eyes widen for a moment then suddenly he's gone the open door warning dinging inside the SUV as he rolls on the sidewalk behind it. Potential three on one scenario, it was the safest way even if his shoulder now hurt like hell. Limping to the side of the road he reaches for his cellphone, only to see it get run over by a passing car falling out of his pocket when he hit the pavement. "Bloody hell," he says, and reaches for his ICER, moving put his back against a wall, since running when they possibly have a speedster on side is sort of ridiculous.

Elena Rodriguez has posed:

Regardless of whatever Yo-Yo might have been thinking was going on, that certainly falls miles short of it. It also cuts right through the chit and the chat nature of this gathering. There's a part of her that can't help thinking that she's just hearing things. She might not be a career Agent, with decades of experience in the field under her belt, but she's been around long enough to hear about HYDRA.

And, as a general rule, SHIELD doesn't HAIL them.

Except for with morot shells.

Or Avengers.

Or both.

"Que?" Turning in her seat to look back at Peggy, then over at May, then at Lance. It's a... little scripted. That look between May and Peggy, the way Peggy is watching Lance and May is watching her.

Analyse the situation:

Peggy Carter is one of the FIRST SHIELD agents. So she's probably a bad bitch... and Melinda May is ABSOLUTELY a bad bitch... So it's understandable that she might hesitate, just a little to reach for the ICER pistol on her hip. "Uh..." If it's a test, Elena figures, either way she's pretty much screwed. So she goes for her ICER with a inhumanly fast hand.

Peggy Carter has posed:
Well, that could have gone better. It could have also gone far worse. No one's been shot. Yet. "Shit. Next time, we lock the doors. It's a test... a test! You passed. Stand down, Yo-Yo! I... I'll get Hunter. Shit." And with that, Peggy is swinging out of the car with both her hands up in the air, eyes a bit too wide but she's giving off every innocent vibe possible now as she calls down the street to Hunter.

"Just a test! A test! Didn't mean it! I swear... we had to know... just... take a breath!" Who knows if she'll even get all that out. He might just shoot her immediately and then they'll be even more delayed since she hasn't given May the directions to the warehouse yet. But she has no weapon in her hands and keeps them where he can clearly see them. If Lance is good at reading people at all, she definitely means every word she's said.

Melinda May has posed:
May's hands come up immediately when guns are drawn, even if it is an ICER. "I told you he'd rabbit," she tells Peggy. Then, to Elena. "Good answer. *Perfect* answer."

Then, keeping her eye on Yo-Yo, in case the Inhuman decides to push the issue, she puts both her hands back on the wheel and leans back so she can both see Elena and watch Peggy try her damnedest to convince Hunter he's a man and not a muppet. "Sorry," she says to Elena as she does. "We had to be sure."

Lance Hunter has posed:
Hunter levels his gun at Peggy as she approaches, studying her face and trying to block out the pain from his leg and shoulder. "It was a test? Couldn't have done in when we're not in a bloody moving vehicle," he says he gives her one last look before he trusts his instincts and lowers the weapon. "Lucky I didn't want to tell Bobs I killed her hero or I'd have ICERed May and let the whole bloody thing crash."

Elena Rodriguez has posed:
There is few things that Elena dislikes more than intentional deception. Even if the reasons behind it are sound, the act itself seems dirty to her... which is just as true now as she's holding her ICER, thankfully with the barrel pointed down, rather than at, May- since Peggy ran after Lance. That was actually a good idea and she half wishes she'd thought of it, but if /she/ ran... well she'd have snapped back.

"You know I do not like being deceived." Any playfulness is gone from her expression. She probably understands, almost certainly does to some level anyways, but that doesn't mean she likes it. Even still, she's slipping the pistol back into the holster on her hip. "I get it.. had to be sure. Don't do that again."

Peggy Carter has posed:
There is definitely a trace of guilt in Peggy's features. Elena will see it when she gets back into the car and it's probably raw and obvious to Lance now. Especially since he's sustained a bit of injury from this little stunt. She nods him back towards the SUV, walking slowly to give him time to test his leg, but the grimace on her face is apologetic. "I...didn't think we'd be driving quite so quickly. I know this is shite and... was maybe not the way to do it, but things are serious, we had to know if we could trust you and we had to know fast." She opens the door for him, letting him get in first, if he's willing, before she swings back inside.

A slow breath escapes her nose as she rattles off an address in northern DC for May to start heading towards. It'd be easier if they could get a helicopter or something, but it all needed to stay off the books. So they'll have a few hours to be mad in a car together. "For the last six months...I've had worries that HYDRA has managed to infiltrate SHIELD somehow. It started with missing files... someone deleted *all* the old files related to Project Paperclip from SHIELD's digital archives. I managed to save the hard copies. I thought maybe it was... just someone trying to erase our sins. Now I'm certain it's on purpose..."

Melinda May has posed:
"I know," May replies to Elena, a trace of appology in her eyes. "I told her that, too." May knows these two operatives, after all. She's probably known both of them longer than Peggy has. She gives a mild shrug, not because she doesn't care, but because she's May. "Her op, her call. But now we know we don't have to lie to you. We're good."

She glances back over her shoulder as Peggy finally coaxes Hunter back into the car. Once he's in and the doors are closed, she starts driving. As the address is given, she puts on her flicker and turns a corner, redirecting the vehicle. She'll let Peggy tell the story. It's not a happy one... and it should explain just why she felt this was necessary.

Lance Hunter has posed:
Lance recognizes the guilt and shrugs it off. "Had worse in Selection," says the former SAS man, though he's slowed down some getting into the car. "So that's why you weren't rah, rah, about drinking the SHIELD Kool Aid then?" he asks. "That's been bothering me since we talked that time."

The rest that there's infiltrators hasn't fully sunk in yet but it begins to. "I was going to ask how deep it goes, but if you knew that for sure we wouldn't need this test."

Elena Rodriguez has posed:
Disgruntled might be more accurate than angry. Elena is mildly displeased, for sure, but she's getting over it as Peggy speaks up about why the deception was necessary. Not specifically on the act of being deceived, nothing is going to make that sit well with her, but with being involved in the op.

Because this seems like a big deal if what Carter thinks is true, actually is true. Glancing between the trio with a depending frown on her darker lips. "Is it the hope you find some list with a manifest of agents who are corrupted? How would you even begin to find out who you can trust.." Motioning at the SUV, but meaning the trust test, "This is impractical for wide spread use. I hope, for our sake, there is more than just FOUR trustable agents?"

Peggy Carter has posed:
"I fought against Project Paperclip from the moment the US government started the talks. But...they tied it to our funding, and even giving us land that eventually became the Triskelion. I knew..." Peggy's jaw grits a little. It's as angry as any of them have ever seen her and beyond enraged for a normally calm, quiet Brit. She takes in a slow breath to calm and swallow back her emotions before she starts again. "But yes, that is why I wasn't quite so... head over heels for this organization I helped found and directed for over thirty years."

She shakes her head as he asks how deep it goes, "I'm not certain... neither is Fury. But he pulled me aside the other week to... confirm my fears. Off site from SHIELD. It goes deep enough that... we're pretty sure we can't trust any communication that happens in the Triskelion not to get back to their ears. Operations Bucky, Steve and I discussed in the cafe` were compromised this summer. Someone is listening, and it goes... deep."

The questions of who they can trust get a tired, bitter laugh from Peggy. She shakes her head faintly, "It is impractical, and a little overwhelming. So far, I know we can trust Fury, Barnes, Rogers, myself, the people in this car, Daisy Johnson, and probably Bobbi, but I haven't even vetted her yet fully. And I don't know what we're going to find here... Maybe nothing. But one of the major technical suppliers to SHIELD is also selling to a descendant of one of Paperclip's scientists. This address? This is where what Vogel is selling them has been shipped. He supplies essential parts to our Quinjets, so...if he's HYDRA..." She rubs one hand down her face. For a moment, Peggy looks very, very tired.

Melinda May has posed:
May remains silent. She's heard a lot of this before. Of course, the notion that someone may be mucking with her Quinjets elicits a tightening of her usual scowl. She adjusts her hands on the wheel, checking her mirrors before she switches lanes. Her movements, despite the tension in her brows, are relaxed. But they're also telling. She is being very careful about keeping an eye out for tails and is driving defensively enough that, on the off-chance they do pick up one, it won't stay with them for long.

Lance Hunter has posed:
"Bloody hell," Hunter curses at the news. "So what you're saying is that it's easier to say what they haven't gotten themselves into at this point..." he says he lets out a long breath. "And here I thought jumping out of the car was the worst the day was going to get. Guess I'm more of an optimist than I thought." His lips draw into a thin line. "Bobs is with us, no question, she lives and breathes SHIELD, but if you want I can try this same Hail Hydra test on her, even if it gets me tased or shot."

Elena Rodriguez has posed:
That's a lot to drink in.

Elena flops back against the seat, staring ahead through the windshield while Peggy more or less tells them that, if she's right, everything she knows about SHIELD is a lie. Which, for a person like Yo-Yo, is confirmation that all her apprehension was warrented and that nobody can be trusted. Thankfully she's not ready to leap out of a car (metaphorically), just yet.

ALSO THANKFULLY... she brought a fruit cup.

Which she fishes out of her pocket with a plastic spoon.

Fruit chunks in syrup has a way of putting things back into perspective.

Peggy Carter has posed:
"Sorry about the Quinjets, May... I know they're your babies. Maybe I'm just being old and paranoid. We'll find a warehouse of collector plates or wireless radios... I really hope you all are incredibly angry at me by the end of the night for dragging you after a red herring. But... it's worth checking out. So, the plan is fast recon. In and out. We see what's being shipped. Grab any files we can find. Leave a few bugs. Make sure we're not seen. Understood?"

Peggy's watching Yo-Yo in the rearview mirror, but even the set of the woman's shoulders and the slight tightness on the air is enough to tell Peggy just how badly this is sitting. She knows. And she does understand. She leans forward a bit closer, trying to catch Yo-Yo's eyes in the mirror. "Elena. I know... this is awful. It's bloody. Fucking. Awful." And for Peggy to swear like that? It's as serious as things get. "But... SHIELD is still here. *We* are here. I am, and this car, and a handful of others that believe in everything we built this organization from the beginning to protect. The fact that everyone in this car is willing to risk their lives for each other... and to clean out this organization we all love? That tells me it's still alive. Still what I believed in all those years ago. Hell...you both just came. No questions asks. Because we *do* trust each other and have each other's backs. That hasn't changed. The landscape is just a bit more...rocky than you first thought. Understood?" Once Peggy has Elena's eyes for that little lecture and any response, she looks back to Lance too, trying to inspire some of the same feeling there. She can't give up and she can't let them give up either.

Melinda May has posed:
May has heard this pep talk before. Hell, she's *given* it before. It's right up there with the Coulson talk. May usually prefers the 'use the rage' talk. She's really good at that one. But Peggy's (and Coulson's) is probably the more effective one, in this case. "We're almost there," she tells them, as the woman wraps up that talk.

Lance Hunter has posed:
Hunter for his part seems to be getting his surprise back under control. "I'm in," he says. "I'm not in love with SHIELD, hell I'm only here for Bobs, but I know she loves SHIELD, which is good enough for me. That and I bloody hate HYDRA so I'm happy to clean out any of them that's slithered their way in the door."

Elena Rodriguez has posed:
You hear stories about a Peggy Carter pep talk, but hearing one first hand is something else. Especially when it's directed at you. Elena feels a great deal more relieved to hear the words, but there's an equal measure of, just a small bit, of self analysing that has to go on when a woman like Peggy has to pep her up at all. Yo-Yo is... a special case. She feels like she owes it to Peggy not to get down on herself and so she nods agreeing. Even smiles a little. "Soy buena. I do not like corrupting forces in my law agencies. If it means stomping out rot, I'm in." She agrees with Lance on that point, while finishing up her fruit cup with one more hardy spoonful. Sinc ethey're almost there.

Peggy Carter has posed:
The warehouse is boring, really. In a long row of a corporate park, a few others behind it in a line, most of them huge enough to be massive vehicle storage or air hangers. There's one boring round security camera over head the front door and the back dock, hopefully something easily disabled. At the moment, the parking lot is entirely empty. There aren't even security guards on duty at this corporate park, it's that's generic and boring. Or, perhaps no one thinks there's anything worth stealing here. It is also in upper class corporate suburbia of DC. Not a place where public transit or blue collar crimes happen. This is all white collar, people who don't need to be called criminals because they bribe senators.

Peggy gives them all one last, game smile. "And after this, I'll get you both burners, just like May has. But first... let's see what Vogel is up to. Anyone got a good way to take out that camera?" She nods to the dark dome.

Melinda May has posed:
The thing about the place that May notices is that it's big enough to house a plane. Given they're talking quinjet parts... she suspects they're not walking out of here with tchotchkes. Her eyes scan the camera emplacement and she considers. "Yo-Yo," she suggests. "Think you can smear a little mud on that lens without it picking you up?" Because really, that'd be ideal, right? Something to smear on the lens so they don't have to shoot it out.

Lance Hunter has posed:
Hunter nods about the burners and checks around the warehouses as they pull up. When May suggests Elena take out the camera, Hunter nods, "Better plan than I've got," he says rolling his shoulder trying to push its ache out of his mind before it's time to get down to business.

Elena Rodriguez has posed:
"It is like decoder ring." Said of the burner phones. A half hearted attempt at humor, as Yo-Yo is ducking down enough to see the camera through the windshield. The whole park, really, but specifically the camera when May asks whether she could do something about them. "Should be easy enough. Haven't found a camera yet that can pick me up when I'm running full speed." Rather than mud, however, she runs her fingers along the inside of her fruit cup, getting all that gooey, sticky, viscous syrup on the end of her middle and ring finger. "Be right back."

The door opens... and there's a little kick of air.. but Elena doesn't really seem to go anywhere. Not if they blink, anyways. "It's not going to block the camera completely, but it should prevent any recognition. They will think it is bird poop." Easy, peasy, lemon squeezy. "Good blurry image." Sucking her fingers clean. Best not to waste the rest of the syrup.

Peggy Carter has posed:
The camera is easy work for Elena indeed. And then there's just the door. The blurry camera doesn't bring anyone running or raise alarms. No one really seems interested in this corporate park. Then it's just a matter of the door, but it's not high tech. In fact, the back door by the loading dock? It's one of those heavy steel ones with a pin operation mechanism. Ones Peggy has been picking for years. "When we get inside, get as much intel as you can. Hunter, go for any office. Elena, kill any other cameras the way you just did. May and I will get what photos we can. In and out, five minutes flat. Got it?"

And with that, Peggy's out of the SUV and moving to the door. She's got it picked and open in under a minute, but holds it open for Elena to go first, so they can keep their faces off of any other cameras. When that is done, what they see is possibly not a surprise, but also an uncomfortable, awful sight...

Inside the warehouse are half a dozen quinjets collecting dust. They look to have been here for a while, old enough there is a bit of dust on everything, but they are the same sharp, modern, state of the art technology SHIELD is using. May would know every one of them like the back of her hand. Except for one thing... Each of them bears the HYDRA symbol loud and clear on the side. All six in a neat little row, just waiting for the time HYDRA can use them in the open. A time someone clearly thinks is coming.

Melinda May has posed:
May follows Peggy in, once Elena has cleared the cameras. She snaps what pictures she can, particularly of those damned jets. She doesn't say anything about it. But rest assured, the expletives running through her head -- in several languages -- are colourful and descriptive. However, true to form, she lets the anger she feels focus and direct her. She'd consider an act or two of sabotage, but there will be maintenance checks at some point. So, it won't really matter. A cleverly hidden bug or tracker, though... that won't go amiss. May knows just where people *always* forget to look on these things. She's used it to her advantage before now and probably will again.

Thus, by the time they're back in the SUV and leaving the corporate hideaway in their proverbial dust, she knows she's done all she can for the moment... and that she'll make sure there's hell to pay about all this later.

Lance Hunter has posed:
Hunter moves quickly into the offices getting through the doors with no problems, and making his way inside. He bugs the conference room and a couple of the important looking desks before he walking off with a laptop someone left out. Who knows if there's intel on it or not, but figured these sort of things got misplaced more often than other types of gear. That done, he slips it in a bag, and heads back out to the SUV but not before snagging one last thing off a desk.

Slipping into the car again, he says, "Got us a laptop and bugged their conference room and some offices," he says before tossing something upfront to Elena. "Chocolate covered raisins, not French, so you'll have to make do," he says with a smirk.

Elena Rodriguez has posed:
There's a lot to unpack inside the warehouse. Confirmation of Peggy's suspicions foremost, but there's likely a lot more information to gleen. Elena heads to the door with the others, waiting on Agent Carter to pick the locks, and glancing over her shoulders with a heightened sense of understandable paranoia given the revelation of HYDRA potentially having infultrated SHIELD.

When the door opens, Elena whips into the Warhouse. Running faster than most cameras could see her, she's turning them or putting enough obstacles in their path, that the trio doing the snooping can do so with impunity. Safe from the watchful eyes of whomever might be reviewing the tapes.

Once operation Snoopy is concluded and they're all back in the SUV, Elena is quiet. Chewing on her thumb nail, chin resting against the knuckle of her fist and her elbow braced against the doorframe.

A whole lot to unpack.

Her hand snaps up to catch the raisins, glancing back at Hunter with a smirk as she begins unpacking... in this case, her chocolate covered treat. "One small step for SHIELD... one giant leap for dried grapes covered in melted cocoa... gracias."