Spacer Conundrums, Contingencies and Crises 53
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Trouble at the safe house.



    Bethany heads back to Stark Industries to arrange the group's entrance the next morning, and to inform the Colonel that more assistance will be forthcoming. She leaves its nature vague, not entirely willing to trust the man's motives. There's no point in going home; she catches a few hours sleep at the office, gulps some coffee and heads back out. _I'm going to need a vacation soon at this rate._
    She also leaves a message for Tony to let him know that she should be in by nine or so; they need to talk. Aegis' appearance at such a politically sensitive event, and the undisguisable connection to Stark Industries- already under attack from some quarters—might represent a public relations problem even if everything goes perfectly for the meeting; to Bethany's eyes the project is vulnerable to accusations of hidden agendas, particularly in such a volatile political climate.
    She makes her way to the UN in a less than sunny mood, somewhat wishing she'd had the sense to say "no" when her boss had asked if she was interested in "something a little different." Though she would have missed Asgard... and she'd probably be in exactly the same position right now anyway. Resolutely putting aside thoughts of failure -- no doubt a reflection of how little sleep she's had -- she waits in a deeply shadowed part of the courtyard. There aren't many signs of life that she can see in the UN building itself, but she knows security there will be just as good as it is during the day, wonders what they'll make of the visitors. Wonders if the enemy has someone on the inside. Wonders at dePaulo, trusting novice heroes sight-unseen, with all of this. There's more going on than they've been told, she's certain of that.
    Emerald shows up a few minutes later, tossing the last couple of sips of a cup of coffee into a nearby trash can as he approaches. "Morning," he greets the young armored woman. "Anything happening inside yet?" Despite the early hour the young man sounds awake and alert.
    What could have been mistaken for a diplomat's vehicle pulled up a distance away from the building at the street's edge. A familiar form, that of Victor Dumas, the Specter, exited the automobile and walked towards the other two heroes.
    "Good morning. I take it we all slept well." Their was a bit of sarcasm in his voice. Just a trace.
    "But all in service for the United Nations and Tony Stark. I do hope something comes of this."
    He looks around the plaza seemed semi quiet and half out loud Dumas comments. "I wonder who they will have in the Latverian position...."
    Delta V speeds up to the U.N. Building, his thoughts on his wife and child who he has just left and it seems he has not had enough time to spend with since all this "super hero" business started. "Hello everyone, it's nice to see I'm not the last to arrive for once."
    Dumas turned to see Delta V had just arrived. He nodded a hello to the speedster.
    Rick also nods by way of greeting to the other man. "Has anyone ever been inside the building?"
    "I was when they opened it up after the war. But that was a little while ago." Dumas replies.
    "Any information would be more than I have already," Rick tells the older man. "I'm new to this part of the world. I haven't even hit all the tourist spots yet."
    "Well their are many offices, conference rooms and the two main meeting areas. One is the security council chamber and the other is the main assembly. That is all that is really important. I'm sure the tour will provide more information for us all." He said is response.
    Despite her better intentions of NOT thinking about Patsy Ravdna was unable to escape the pull of her counterpart's home. Keeping to the fleeting shadows provided by cover of the night she did her best to conceal herself. The sun rose quickly and etched itself into the morning sky forcing the Valkyrie into the milieu of street life.
    Fortunately Aegis had given her the address of the location as she lowered her to the street last night. Even more fortuitous the architects of this great city plotted everything on a convienent grid pattern. United Nations, indeed. "This is pleasing" she thought. Centuries past Midgard was peopled with petty, territorial fiefdoms. Even decades past, she had to provide her services to the mortally wounded on the European continent. "Aye, if I can aid this struggling union from evil intent then I shall!"
    Once in range of the building her telepathy made it easy to meet her allies with a hearty hello...
    Aegis nods to the valkyrie. "Glad to see you're you this morning, although I hope Paty's not wanted at work, or something. I haven't been here in a while," she answers Emerald's question, "but I don't imagine they've changed the place that much."
    Still no sign of the Captain, she notes with some aggravation. "I guess we may as well go ahead; Cap can catch up when he gets here. Maybe something came up. Once we're done here maybe we should discuss a means to keep in better touch with one another in the future."
    "Too bad your friend's new toys aren't radios," Emerald commented to Aegis. "Something smaller than those huge handheld things the army carries. A central location would help, but it'll have to wait until after we're finished here," the young man's eyes travel over his companions as he talks. "Spectre," he looks over to where the older man is standing. "You mentioned last night that you and Doc. Banner knew of one another, at least by reputation. What's his field?"
    "The Doctor Banner I knew, was of M.I.T., though this Banner seems the same yet different. Next time I see him, I may take some readings from him to get a better theory." Dumas replied.
    The group's conversation dwindles as they notice DePalo exit the UN building and stepping lightly down the steps towards them.
    "Well here comes our wonderful host." Dumas comments low enough that only his fellow Avengers can hear.
    "Good morning," he says as if he doesn't really mean it. "Sorry to keep you waiting, but I had a bit of a hiccup with the security chief about letting you in. If you'll follow me, I'll give you the sitrep."
    Without waiting for a reply, DePalo turns and ascends the stairs. As the heroes follow, four uniformed UN guards, armed with carbines, come into view. Standing between the guards, two to each side, is a short, dumpy man with thinning black hair and a goatee. He is dressed in a rumpled suit and tie. Once in the lobby, his badge can be seen to identify him as Israel Wiesel, Head of Security.
    And this must be the security chief Victor thinks to himself as they meet eye to eye.
    "Mister Wiesel," the colonel says, shaking the security chief's plump hand. "These are the individuals I briefed you about. For security reasons, I must keep their real identities classified. By codename, this is Emerald, the Specter, Aegis, Delta V, and Ravdna."
    Specter nods to the man. He's seen this type before and knows a lot about him before he even speaks.
    "Hrrm," Wiesel mumbles, folding his hands across his belly, his watery brown eyes sliding over each hero in turn. "Fine, Colonel." His accent is distinctly Eastern European; Dumas is certain he is Polish. "You also have been briefed about the areas of concern. Ensure that your...individuals are instructed to attend to those areas alone." He looks from DePalo to the heroes. "Interfere with my security team and I will have you arrested."
    A slight laugh escapes as a tiny blast of air from his nostrils. "Mister Wiesel, be sure that you and your men stand back if the Soviet Super Soldiers end up attacking, they and you could find yourselves gravely injured if you are caught accidentally in the cross fire."
    It was nearly a threat the way it was intoned, yet the way it was phrased covered Victor from any implication of such. He finished his words with a smile. "After all, we are all here to prevent harm from coming to anyone involved." His polite smile still hung on his face.
    "Mr. Wiesel," Emerald begins. "We're not here to step on anyone's toes, and certainly we'll stay out of sensitive areas and I'm sure your security team is one of the best there is," although the young man is trying not to show it he is impressed by the building and what he's seen so far inside.
    Aegis restrains a sigh, and reflects on the idea that perhaps it would be a better world if this sort of thing was left to women to handle.
    "Mr. Wiesel," she says as soothingly as she can manage, without a hint of the impatience she's feeling, "as my colleague suggests, we are here to help. I'm sure your men are thoroughly professional, and we will do our best not to hinder their performance of their duties. In order to do that most effectively, we will need to know something about their disposition, and the emergency procedures you have in place. We won't take much of your time."
    Wiesel listens impatiently to the various protestations and explanations from the heroes, his look of disdain never wavering for a moment throughout.
    "Then it seems we understand each other," he says insincerely after Aegis is finished talking. "Follow me."
    The fat man turns on his heel and begins walking briskly, talking and pointing as he goes.
    "The American delegation will arrive at 0845 via motorcade. Security from the hotel to here is Colonel DePalo's concern. The delegation will enter via the main lobby. I will have twelve guards, out of uniform, with sidearms, in constant radio contact with central, in the lobby. The delegation will move through the lobby down this hall --" He indicates the corridor the group is currently in. "-- and move directly to General Assembly. These offices will be empty and locked, and there will be two checkpoints, one at the entry to the hall and another at the entry to the General Assembly. Four guards, uniformed, with sidearms and carbines, at each checkpoint." The group enters the General Assembly. "There are four other entrances to this room, for use by the ambassadors. All we will be guarded as with the entry for the American delegates. There will be two armed guards in the Assembly itself, stationed there and there." Wiesel points to two entrances on opposite sides of the chamber. Once the meeting begins, no one enters or leaves. I will have a striketeam waiting in central and another on the roof. In the event of an incident, our priorities are evacuate while containing the source of the disturbance." Wiesel pauses to sigh, mopping his brow with a handkerchief. "There is little for you to do," he continues. "Except get in the way."
    Aegis' polished helmet turns momentarily toward Dumas, hoping to forestall another display of breast-beating, and she ignores the final comment. "Thank you. May we have some time confer among ourselves privately?" She's not interested in letting any potential spies know too much about what the group is up to.
    "Several stages to this, then," she muses once they have some space. "Someone should stay with the motorcade, although if they're looking for maximum impact they'll wait to make their attempt here. The hall, and this room. Last night we discussed the possibility of some of us being here more or less unobtrusively, others obvious—that still seems like a good idea to me. Specter, you're hardest to notice, I think -- you could wait here to make sure no one's snuck anything into the Assembly chamber before the meeting, and be here when everyone arrives. If the Captain and I are to be on target duty, one or both of us could shadow the motorcade and come in with the delegates. Ravdna can keep us all in touch, we hope, aside from anything else." She glances at the other two, still not sure of the extent of their abilities. "Ideas?"
    "The Colonel's probably thought of this already," Emerald begins, "but has anyone considered the possibility that Wiesel might have something to do with this?" he pauses for a moment then continues. "It's remote I admit, but we should see if anyone's checked it out. Beyond that, I don't see any problems with that. Might make it hard to get to that audition though."
    "Well, I think one of our flyers should cover the motorcade, so an eye could be kept on it from a distance," Delta V says in response to Aegis' proposal.
    "I also think that I might be well suited to staying in the lobby with 'central' given the fact that I could make it to any of the other locations in almost no time at all."
    Emerald looks at the others and shakes his head. It's obvious that he's caught in some kind of dillema. "I can cover one of the cars, but if possible I'd like to leave shortly before ten AM on that day," he goes on to outline that a job opportunity has come along, and he would like to try out for it.
    Ravdna speaks "Aye, mine mental powers can keep us in touch. They may also prove useful in unveiling deceptions in the assembly chamber as well." she eyes Aegis as senses her sympathies for having volunteered to partner with Dumas.
    Dumas had been lost in thought it seemed. He was rubbing his chin then he spoke. "I don't trust this security chief at all. For now lets not count on him or his men. In fact I'd rather plan for the contingency that an assassin could come from their ranks. He is Polish and he could have sympathies for the Soviet Union. It bothers me that they would put such a man in charge of security." Victor adds.
    "I suppose there'll be other jobs," Emerald sighs as the others discus future plans. "It's possible he's just ticked off that the Americans brought us in from outside, or he just might not realize how much damage supers can do."
    As he looks at the others that surround him Rick realizes what sets him apart from the others, besides his financial status. He resolves to do something about it before the next incident.
    As the heroes and DePalo discuss plans for Monday morning, a dark suited agent—one of DePalo's men—comes running up the hall.
    "Code one, sir," he says. "The safe house isn't."
    DePalo flashes a glance to Delta V that tells the speedster yes, he's talking about your family.
    "Sonofabitch!" DePalo growls. "Get back up there! Now! Connors, you can get there before all of us! Go! The rest of you, follow me!" And with that, the Colonel is running towards the street, the agent behind him, talking into a hand-held radio.
    His companions further behind him with each second that passes, Delta V speeds towards the safe house. "Safe house," he thinks. He must get there as fast as possible.
    Dumas follows after DePalo. "Great security arrangements colonel." Victor quips as he runs feeling a little undignified.
    "Screw you, Vic," the colonel spits as he and his agent head towards a black four-door Ford waiting by the cub.
    _Follow. Right,_ Aegis thinks with a flicker of amusement, wishing she could somehow suggest to her comrades that they keep a close eye on the group's erstwhile allies.
    Watching both companions speed off in the distance Ravdna yet again curses Loki in her thoughts "Aye, abandon me without my faithful steed..."
    Glancing to Rick "Mayhaps we should take to the air as well friend, Emerald?" recalling his own unique abilities.
    A slight grin comes to the young man's face as he reached out with his newfound power and scooped up the valkerie with tendrils of energy. They're moving even as he does so, and they rise skyward as soon as they clear the building. "Can you still sense Delta Vee?" he asks Ravdna. With the Doctor's speed Rick knows he can't keep up with the man.
    Dumas figures he'll be the only one riding in the car. Then he noticed Emerald with Ravdna. "Emerald do you have room for one more?" He asked Rick.
    Rick pauses long enough to grab up Spectre, then carries the other two aloft.
    As he is getting into the car, DePalo yells to Aegis, "24156 West Evergreen, Greenwich Village."

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