Dumas, a bit perturbed at the mental intrusion of his thoughts, glared at the Asgardian and responded back mentally. *What ever gave you the idea that I thought myself invincible godling? I alone am the most vulnerable here, even more so than our charges as you will no doubt soon see,* Victor retorted with no anger in his demeanor.
*More vulnerable than even you can ken child of Gaia...*
*There is little that the mind of Victor Dumas can not comprehend Asgardian. I have seen everything that both life and death can offer us poor mortals,* he said in reply. *I've made my peace with my own demons long ago.*
She quickly broadcasts directly to the assemblers *Friend Aegis, yon charge will surely die if you do not remove him forthwith. The hand of death has also touched these mortals...* her gaze glides over Sallis and Mulhare. *We must guard these men if we seek to save this day.*
*Where?* Aegis inquires succinctly, her gaze seeking the threat's source as she moves without hesitating -- better a thousand false alarms than a single real corpse. She glides over the crowded group in smooth silence. *Let's not cause a panic. If it's just those three, probably not an area-effect weapon. Ravdna, Emerald, watch the other two -- Emerald? can you shield any of them, or all three?* she asks as she touches down, highly aware of the startled guards. Have they been compromised?
"Problem," she informs Stark tersely. He knows what that means. "Gentlemen, we've just got a tip, would you care to double-check the area?" she offers dePalo's men.
Identifying the nearest defensible position, she begins maneuvering Stark toward it, keeping herself between him and anything that might conceivably be a danger. Try as she might, she sees no signs of any sort of threat. *Specter, where are you right now?*
Mulhare issues a few terse instructions into his walkie-talkie. Inside, Wiesel's team immediately moves into action, splitting the crowd of diplomats that are heading towards General Assembly and redirecting them through alternate routes.
Victor hears Aegis and replies with his thoughts. *I am within the meeting chamber awaiting your arrivals. Though I have a bad feeling something is about to happen. Where are you and the others?*
*Just outside,* Emerald replies quickly through the mental link. He watches the surrounding crowds as the trio of men move towards the building from their cars. He concentrates for a second, and a semi transparent green shield surrounds the men in question. As they start to move inside the young man follows, maintaining his shield, but otherwise keeping his distance.
The sudden appearance of the force bubble elicits of murmur of surprise, but by then the group is inside, and the two security teams are blocking the entrances and forming a human shield around the entire group of VIPs.
"I do not appreciate hysterics, Colonel," Wiesel hisses quietly as he approaches DePalo.
"Relax," DePalo suggests. "My people are only following protocol. Emerald's shield is no threat."
A few tense minutes later, the entire US delegation is inside and the UN is on lockdown. Wiesel and his men escort Stark and the others along the route described the other day towards General Assembly.
"If you want," he says to Aegis, "you and your people can occupy the landing just inside the door. You'll have a good view of the delegation and most of the chamber as well."
In General Assembly, the chaos of voices is at first boggling. Hundreds of diplomats and their aides are spread throughout the large chamber, almost all speaking excitedly to those nearby. Stark and the others are escorted to a cordoned area where they are seated in two rows, with Stark in the second row. Wiesel's guards are quite visible. DePalo's men, led by Mulhare, take up position in the rear of the chamber, where the delegation entered. DePalo himself goes to sit with the delegation, next to Justin Hammer.
It will be a few minutes before the assembly is called to order.
Aegis is, needless to say, not happy with any of this. Too many people, too many uncontrolled variables, and she's not willing to trust Wiesel or dePalo far at all. Her gaze constantly sweeps the room, hoping to spot trouble before it materializes. She paces a short path back and forth a few times, realizes that she's much too keyed up, and relaxes with an effort of will.
*Let's keep on our toes, folks. Specter? If we're going to be stuck back here, could you find a position where you can see the part of the room we can't cover? You're our hole card at the moment, I think.*
The force bubble fades into nothingness as the men enter the huge general assembly room. Emerald waits with the others at the back of the room, alert for any sudden movement or anything out of place.
Dumas was seated near the delegates. Wearing a business suit that covered his 'costume' underneath, he watched the proceedings take place with a stoic look about him. Mentally he called out to the others. *We need someone outside of the building in case of an attack. Delta V, you would be the best candidate since you can get inside here the quickest if we end up needing you. I'll remain here with the delegates. Aegis be weary of our potential enemy's magnetic ability. He may be able to affect your suit's propulsion.*
*I'm afraid I must disagree with you, Dumas,* Delta V thinks across the mind-link. *It's entirely possible the threat to the delegates is already in the assembly hall. Even if they're not, I don't picture them as a 'kick the door in' type of crowd. I think I can best serve the delegates if I stay on the landing and keep an eye on the assembly.*
Dumas responded *I am the only one amongst us who knows some of our enemies and how they conduct their business. Its precisely that kind of thinking, that they are most likely already here, that we must counter. They know that we will most likely all gather in here. If you are outside, you can be back in here within a few seconds. But if you are outside, you may be able to prevent an attack from an avenue that we did not plan for. But we do not have a leader here in our rag tag band of heroes, so feel free to do what you like sir,* Dumas replied through the mindlink without any anger evident in his tone. *We'll fumble out way through it I'm sure either way.*
*Let us not bicker, gentlemen,* Aegis suggests, gliding through the assembly to take a position closer to Stark. *Wiesel's security team has locked down the building -- no one leaves, no one enters, until this is done. I can't argue with him taking that measure, under the circumstances. If someone tries to enter anyway, it will take them at least a few moments to reach this room. And we may need the doctor's skills on the scene in the worst case.*
_I wish we had more people. Where did the rest of them go? Union at least seemed really keen on this whole thing...._ She dismisses the thought and returns her attention to the gathering.
*It's called a discussion my dear Aegis and its vital to figuring out what our response will be if anything happens such as the Soviet Super Soldiers attacking this meeting. Neither Wiesel or his locked doors can or should stop us from doing our duty. I suppose since the good Doctor Conners does not want to go outside and since I am needed in here, we will just have to wing it as usual,* Victor thinks back through the mindlink.
While Mulhare and the other agents fan out along the back of the chamber, Aegis moves down to sit in the same section as Stark. She is just behind him, sitting next to the representative from Dow Chemical, a fat, oily-haired man with pink skin who doesn't even try to disguise his disdain for the morning's events. Dumas, in plain-clothes, sits a few chairs to Aegis's right, more or less directly behind Theodore Sallis.
Victor studies Sallis and tries to remember what he knows of the man.
Sallis is a lanky, tall man. He is a biochemist of notable skill and accomplishment, but little is known about his current projects, as he has close connections with the Department of the Army. His most recent published work pertained to methods for immunizing people against toxic biochemicals.
Emerald, Ravdna, and Delta V remain to the rear, but spread out a bit so as to get a better view of the large chamber from different directions. Wiesel's own security team are stationed at each exit. Wiesel himself is not in sight. The press box is crammed with reporters.
Specter speaks through the mindlink, *Delta V, since you're remaining with us inside the building, then I would suggest keeping an eye towards the balconies or other possible sniper type locations. I'm sure you're more than capable of beating a bullet.*
Finally, the assembly is called to order, and the droning murmur of the crowd dwindles to restless silence. The General Secretary is at the podium, thanking the delegates for attending and introducing the American businessmen by name and company. There is the occasional pop! flash! of a camera, and then a renewed buzz of excitement as the Soviet delegate is introduced and takes the podium.
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