2010 11 30 Oh Jeez Not Him Again

"But I'm /busy/, dear," is Sersi's primary complaint upon getting the call to, er, assemble. Sort of. She's in the middle of shopping which is, in her world, Very Serious Business and worthy of capitalizing. Irritation aside, the Eternal /has/ been bored of late and it's only that boredom which can be blamed for her eventual arrival at the appointed room … if fashionably late, as should be expected. She's in civvies, granted, and carrying a bag filled with a few boxes of shoes … but she's there, by the gods.

By the Gods, indeed. Hercules is a different sort of disgrace on the call to assemble. He is more than eager to head for the office- but he is also, unfortunately, in the midst of a keg of merlot. Having found no good way to seal it safely (the spigot having twisted off during the course of his drinking), he arrives with a goblet in hand and the keg over one shoulder. The best solution, he has resolved, is to drink the entire keg as quickly as possible, and so he refills his goblet about as quickly as it empties. Somehow, he manages not to spill the alcohol everywhere. It's a gift. He's eager- both to hear the debriefing and to finish his drink.

Fabian Stankowicz bustles in after the two Avengers, standing shorter than both and seeming a lot more human than either of the legendary characters in his company. His normative light-blue support staff uniform has been replaced with an uncomfortably-tight black turtleneck, jeans, and gloves. He sets down a laptop at the head of the table and turns off his Bluetooth to share a shit-eating grin with the Avengers, "Thanks for joining me tonight, folks. I didn't want to call the whole team down for a relatively minor operation, but I figured the two of you could handle this fairly easily."

"Shall we just get on with it already?" Sersi quirks a brow, a glance spared to the booze-toting Hercules before those eyes flick back to Fabian. One hand settles at her hip, the other still holding firmly onto the bag. "Frankly, I don't even know why you bothered ringing me up; if /he/ can't handle it, surely we're all doomed." For as irritated as she's trying to sound, there's a strong thread of humor in her words. Oh so very wry, this one.

"She's right. Why didst thou call her in?" Herc is grinning however, his slightly goofy, sly grin that comes before he ends up completely schnockered. He's always full of good cheer. Herc refills the goblet and throws back the entire thing into a great gulp. The wine is flowing more slowy now. Surely he will run out soon. Surely. Hercules glances over at Sersi briefly, but then lets his eyes focus on Fabian for a moment. He blinks once, apparently attempting to clear them. "Ready when you are. What is it? The Hydra, perhaps? Or Enchantress…?"

Fabian smiles nervously and looks down, unable to maintain Sersi's gaze. He scratches the back of his neck and says, "Well, this operation requires a certain subtlety that I thought that you were better suited for." Clearing his throat, Fabian continues, "Although the Avengers act under a United Nations charter, we do try to work with law enforcement on all levels when requested. Well, we've been brought in by the New York State Board of Corrections." He pauses to bring up a projection of several men in long black hoods, "The Corrections Board believes that their institution may have been infiltrated by an agent from the criminal conspiracy known as the Secret Empire. More than one suspected agent of the conspiracy has managed to escape, most recently and spectacularly when the Griffin was sprung during a transfer to the Vault."

"You /would/ like it if it were the Enchantress," she teases, a lopsided grin cast in Hercules' way. "Perhaps you could defeat her with your inebriated charms, dear." The hand at her hip moves, lifting to attempt a pat at Hercules' cheek before her gaze settles anew on poor Fabian. She's listening, she is. But her expression is composed mostly of pursed lips and a raised eyebrow. It might be penciled that way. Who knows? "Soooo," she finally says, "what, exactly, do you want us to do, dear? Hunt down this mystery agent and this Griffin and bring them to justice?"

"The mighty fist of justice! The Prince of Power approves." Herc Squeezes the barrel over his shoulder until to starts t crack. Then he blinks and hastily releaing it. One can actually see it sag and a few drops of wine seep out now. He pours another cup, although this one he holds onto for the moment. "Where do we find him so that we can bring him to justice?" Herc takes a long sip of his drink. Maybe even he realizes he might be descending too far into his cups to be of use. Or perhaps he is just concerned that the wine may run out.

"Ah, sorry to disappoint, but the Griffin is not our target. He's actually now a ward of the Sub-Mariner. Our target is the enemy infiltrator who we're hoping to expose in a sting operation." Fabian sips at a scummy-looking cup of coffee and continues, "Now, we've had a pretty good working relationship with the state, and it looks like Corrections didn't want to take it federal, as it'd likely result in a pissing match between UN-backed SHIELD and the FBI over who had jurisdiction, hence why we're here. Well, there was a recent Secret Empire bust of these three characters." Fabian switches the image on the projector to reveal three men in power armor, "They're old Iron Man foes known as the Seekers. Second-rate bad guys bankrolled by the Empire. Based on the pattern we've observed so far, we have every reason to believe the Empire is going to be looking to collect these high-value assets. Well, thanks to my ingenuity, we've placed GPS tracking chips in the suits and are ready to follow the Empire all the way home. What we need from you guys is to be on hand during the suspected exchange in case anything goes wrong."

A slanted look is given to the keg, then to Hercules, then back to the keg before she wiggles her fingers at it. Atoms are shifted, the keg sealed, and then she's just reaching across to claim Hercules' cup. He can keep it if he wants to, but that won't stop her from /trying/. As Fabian keeps talking, she heaves a long-suffering sigh, a sigh that bespeaks of utter boredom, until there's a lapse and she's able to blurt out, "Well, we're here /now/, dear. When is this lovely little party supposed to happen? I'd hate to be underdressed, after all. Shall I bring appetizers, since it seems the entertainment has already been arranged for?"

Hercules is busy examining the keg to figure out why the wine is not flowing from it, and so the goblet snatching takes him by surprise. Herc jerks around suddenly to face Sersi as she pulls it away from him. "Hey! Wait a second. That's *my* cup. Get your own!Plenty of wine for both of us, Sersi." Herc scowls, reaching out to attempt to snatch the goblet back. He's big and- at the moment- a little slow, so he might very well fail. "So… We are going to follow the Seekers to the Empire… And smash them? As the Greeks once snuck a great horse into Troy."

Stankowicz, who has been unusually businesslike this evening, momentarily slips into a pout, "Look, I know this isn't facing off against Terminus, but it's a hell of a political victory and'll go a long way to ensuring further cooperation from the authorities. Besides, in all likelihood, this thing should go off without a hitch." He brightens visibly from the positive reinforcement from Herc, and continues, "Yeah, pretty much exactly like the Battle of Troy, except with less smashing. Anyways, the operators of the suits are currently scheduled for a transfer this evening, and the GPS indicates that the suits have been illegally removed from evidence. We suspect that the Empire will intercept the convoy and re-equip the Seekers. At that point, we just follow them home. All that you have to do is stay in the surveillance van and not get into any trouble."

"I'd watch it, Hercky." And, oh, the impishness of that smile of hers. The goblet is held just out of reach, with her taking a sip … before making a sour face and holding it stiffly back to yon Prince of Power. "/Dreadful/. Did you get that keg from a box?" It's also water now. He can thank her later. "I refuse to make any giant horses, for the record. And- wait, what? In a /van/." That last is flat and incredulous, paired with a Look. "In a /van/, dear. And you expect him to stay out of trouble?" Her? She's an angel here. Really.

"The Lion of Olympus does not answer to the name *Hercky*." Hercules is glowering at Sersi now, and hten he turns his attention to the goblet. "This is one of the finest vintages in all of Greece!" Now the Greek is busy figuring out the new sealed barrel. He settles for jamming a finger into the side of it after several seconds, creating a new opening. "Stay in the van… And smash nothing." Herc is finally responding to Sebastian, and doing his best to keep his tone neutral. But disappointment is palpable. He finally nods slowly, filling his cup without looking and raising it toward his lips. Not a sip yet… "I see. We will follow the Seekers home in the van after they are requipped. But we are not going to show them the might of the Gods? Wherefore dost thou plan this trip?"

Fabian grins at Sersi, "C'mon, it'll be fun! I've packed all sorts of cool surveillance gear, plus warm cocoa and Jarvis' fresh-baked cookies. We'll get a chance to hang out, stake out some baddies, and do the avenging bit, all at the same time." He then turns his best stern look to Hercules, "Now, look, state authorities think they can wrap up the whole Secret Empire cell, given time. It just requires some patience. Establish their base of operations, set up a wire, do a little digging. After, maybe, six months they'll be ready for us to roll in and close them down for good."

"Shall I ring up Alexis? I /do/ have her number." Sersi might be pulling his leg. Maybe. If he's lucky. She doesn't push the button again, but her smile is the devil's own as she regards the poor fellow. And then it's back to Fabian, this time with a pout. "I do hope you'll at least wear a good cologne, Fabian. Or are you going to wait elsewhere whilst I'm stuck in a veritable tin can with this fine gent here?" Her head tips to indicate Hercules.

Hercules looks positively horrified at this point. "You wouldn't!" He's lowered the cup of 'wine' again now, focusing on both Fabian and Sersi. It takes him a moment to recover from what must have been a horrific threat given by Sersi. "Patience? Of course. We can sit and tell great tales of glorious conquest! Such as, perhaps, my battle with Kyknos, son of despicable brother Ares…" He might be about to go on a tangent, but he raises the cup to his lips finally and starts to drink. Then his eyes begin to bulge.

"Are you kidding, Sersi? I wouldn't miss it for the world. Chumming around with two of the most revered figures from Earth's mythic past, trading stories of fallen empires and long-forgotten exploits by ancient heroes?" He claps Herc on the back, "That's the spirit, Herc! Can't you see that this is going to be a great time, Sersi? Now come on, we've got a rendezvous point to reach."

She would. She totally would. And she doesn't even need to say it to convey it. Sersi does wind up sighing again, her bag of shoes being hefted and jostled a bit. "Can I at least run these back to the loft? I'd hate to leave them here, unattended." A sidelong look is given to Herc-of-the-bulging-eyes, then back to Fabian, brows lifted. Even if he says no, she'll do it — after a little bit, that is. Because that's just how she rolls.

"M-my… Wine," Herc manages after a moment. He looks down at the cup with furrowed brows for several seconds. Then he is focused on Sersi. "You!" Hercules seems to be locked in place for several seconds following this revelation. Then he begins to squeeze the barrel over his shoulder, which bursts into shards, spraying water around the room and drenching the massive Greek. "Twas one of the finest vintages in history! How couldst thou do such a thing?" Mixed archaic mannerisms. Someone is upset. He's also sobering just a little bit.

"Well, we really don't have time. Why don't we see if Peggy could run over your shoes? Besides, I simply cannot wait to show you the cool new surveillance van I tricked out. It's a modification of Cap's 'stealth' van from SHIELD, sure, but you won't believe what I've…" Fabian loses his train of thought as the keg explodes. He stares in disbelief for a moment before burying his face in his hands.

"It was a mercy killing. It /had/ to be done," Sersi replies matter-of-factly. Not that she'll answer 'how'; that's a silly question to start with … nor does she try to look innocent. That act hasn't worked for thousands of years. The Eternal just smiles winningly at Hercules despite his hurled invectives, and then leans in to try to kiss Fabian's forehead with a positively purred, "I'll be right back, dear, and then you can show me the inside of your van /all/ you like." Hit or miss with the kiss, she's quick to twirl her way out of the room, intent on tending to the shoes /anyway/, now that her job here is done.

Herc is left staring after Sersi, the bursted shards of the keg in his hands, and a pair of iron bands now hanging from his left wrist. With Sersi departed and Fabian uried in the cofort of his own hand, it leaves Herc to stand here and stare at the soaked room. The Demigod finally sniffs at his water again and slowly shakes his head. He drinks the contents of the goblet.

Sighing loudly, Fabian grabs Herc by the arm, dragging the Lion of Olympus along after him like a child, "Let's go, Herc. Maybe the cocoa will sober you up."

Several hours later, along a service road off the New Jersey turnpike, Fabian watches his laptop from inside the van with rapt attention. Several cups of cocoa and countless cookies later, he's become increasingly more amped. He begins to babble, "Okay, folks. We're expecting the transfer to happen any time now, so stay on your toes."

"In here? Surely you jest," Sersi replies, having found /somewhere/ to sit in the van. Yes, she's still casually dressed. Yes, she looks bored. Yes, this probably means she's going to start getting in trouble soon. She's managed to entertain herself for a while with jotting things down in her planning book … but now it's really starting to wear on her.

Hercules can't be helping. If he finds another version of 'bash the monster' to tell, he might set a record. He's gone through everything from the Hydra to Ares, Enchantress, and all other manners of war stories. He's drunk, and thus almost impossible to stop. "….And so I placed a boulder on the Hydra's head so great that none save I could lift it." Nevermind the fact this was hardly permanent. Herc grips a mug of cocoa tightly in both hands and drinks it down. "We will be ready for them. Are you certain we are simply to watch and not play a more… active role?"

Fabian pats Hercules on the shoulder, "Afraid not, big guy. The only way we become mission-active is if something goes pear-shaped. We're the reserve cavalry, ready to swoop in if there's any trouble." The Avengers support crew member pauses then, leaning in to concentrate on a communique through his Bluetooth, "Okay, looks like the prison transport has taken an unauthorized detour and is moving to rendezvous with the agents who've retrieved the Seeker suits, just as we've planned. Once they're about to make contact, I'd turn the feed to the wire live."

It's probably for the better that Hercules has filled the void with his stories; hers are liable to be far more wildly inappropriate. Somehow, a vodkatini finds its way into Sersi's hand and she sips it, leaning over to glance at whatever Fabian's looking at. Then to Hercules. Then back to the laptop. Then at the ceiling with a sigh. "The suspense is positively /killing/ me."

"Vodka?" Herc sniffs at this, wrinklign his nose slightly. "Surely thou hast a few drops to spare for me?" Herc sounds positively hopeful at this, although he does finish his cocoa off. He nods slowly to Fabian, but his attention is one hundred percent on Sersi. Nothing else matters… "And then they will go home and we will follow them. What if they fly away like Icharus and Daedalus? …Without the melting wings."

Fabian begins flipping switches and turning dials on a control board within the van, "Okay, folks, here we go."


"Number 72, have you prepared the dossier?"

"Yes, Number 54. All the preparations have been made to activate the Seekers immediately upon their release."

"Good. Here they come now."

There's the sound of an engine in the background, and then car doors opening and slamming shut.


"Not for you, dear. Until you learn to handle both your booze and your women, I'm not sharing a lick of it." Sersi sips her drink, slanting a look to the door at the back of the van. "I /can/ fly, you know. Not nearly as good as Ikaris, but-" oh, goody! Sounds! And … things. She squints at nothing in particular while she listens, lips pressed flat. The resulting silence elicits a mild, "And is that, pray tell, the sound of things going pear-shaped?"

"It sounds as if something may just have gone wrong." Laughing, Herc moves to clap Fabian on the back now, not quite hard enough to send him flying. A bit more than most would generally consider friendly, but this is Hercules. He cocks his head to the left now, grinning broadly. "Perhaps we will get to take action after all! Is it time for us to go forth and conquer?"

Fabian smiles nervously at Sersi, "Not at all. Presumably they'll return to pick up the suits. We just have to wait for a bit."

A few moments later, what sounds like doors opening can be heard. A gruff voice says, "About damn time you jokers got us out of there. With Strucker having taken over HYDRA, I was worried that we were going to get shanked by some loyalist dirtbag who's got a bone to pick with the Empire for going rogue."

Feedback begins to kick in, along with a number of jostling sounds. Weakly, you can make out, "Then I imagine you'll be very pleased to hear about your first assignment. Number 1 has ordered you to become operational tonight. Intelligence sources have uncovered a HYDRA base loyal to Strucker operating out of Upstate New Jersey. You are to immediately travel to the coordinates provided in this dossier and disable their operation. Bring in those who are willing to convert and eliminate any resistance."

She's already tuned most of it out. Or, more likely, it's just a bunch of gibberish to the likes of her in some sense. Sersi calmly sips her drink, listens to the babbling and feedback and everything else with a calm, measured nod of her head … but that's really about it. "And /when/ do you suppose they're going to retrieve those suits, dear? I /did/ have plans for the evening."

"Baron Strucker?" Hercules blinks several times, relatively slowly. This revelation cathces him in the middle of pouting at Sersi over the lack of vodka headed his way. He sets down his cocoa mug and attempts to stand. The result is aa dent in the roof of the van and the Greek immortal rubbing the back of his head with one hand. He looks to Fabian. "What do we do next? They aren't headed back."

"Sorry if I wasn't clear, Sers. The suits have already been retrieved. You're hearing their voices from the internal microphones in the suits, which we've co-opted." Fabian rubs his chin as he considers the latest from the wire, "This could easily work out in our favor. If we play this smart, we could get a two-for-one, wrapping up both Secret Empire and HYDRA cells." He then sighs, lines of worry playing out over his face, "Except that the Seekers will likely take flight to get to the HYDRA base."
He turns to look at Sersi, giving her his best serious face, "Sersi, listen to me. I need you to shadow the Seekers without being identified and to bring Herc along for the ride. Do not interfere until backup can arrive, or unless they start shooting. I'll patch their signal through to these headsets," he passes a Bluetooth to each of you, "so you can continue to monitor their chatter and so that I can keep in touch."

"Dreadfully sorry, dear." She's not sorry in the slightest, naturally, though she manages to smile apologetically enough. Sersi pushes to her feet with a glance given to the dent left by Hercules … but her attention turns to dismissing her drink and reaching out for the Bluetooth. "So. Hercules. Shall we go as Pegasus and Perseus? I'll even let you wear a cowboy hat." … this can't bode well. "Unless you have another notion in mind, Fabian?" Her brows lift just a touch, curious to hear what he suggests … though whether she'll indulge or not is another matter entirely.

"Pegasus and Perseus?" Herc blinks a couple times and furrows his brows at this. "Well… We have no time to waste!" He takes the bluetooth and eyes it for several moments before attempting to place it in his ear. He seems to be struggling, but eventualy with it more or less properly placed. A little skewed, but it stays and he can probably hear through it. "Pegasus and Perseus. Let us be gone!"

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