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“I hope we do,” Greg replied when Tak said that they should find something useful here. If there was nothing to be found in this compound then Greg was going to be absolutely pissed off. While he was freely making jokes with Tak he was secretly annoyed with how the day has been going. Between the assassination attempt on Tak to now, nothing was going well on the Greg Ramirez scale. Boring was good. This action wast. At least Greg was alive and the worse injury he received today was the nonstop ringing in his ear. The ringing wasn’t nearly as loud as it was before but it was still an annoying buzz in his ears. So if nothing at all came from this infiltration he will be mad.
Going through the drawers he snorted when he heard Tak reading off the titles of the books that Sagittarius had on their shelf. “No See You At Top? Or the Power of Positive Thinking? Rookie. At least they had The 7 habits book,” he said, painfully familiar with self help books since he had a commanding officer that thought they were important reads. They were so important that said commander officer would fuck his men over in promotions if they didn’t read those books. Greg read them.
Greg paused in his search and pulled out a file, eyes scanning over the paper tucked inside of it. It was a personnel roster for Century with small markings on it. Greg scanned it and found his name on it, circled in red. A few other names were also circled in red with only one with a black line through it. Tying up their loose ends?Reading over the names a few more times until they were committed to memory he put the file away. After they finished here he would check in on those people circled. Maybe even bring it up to Tak since it may help his investigation.
The rest of the filing cabinet was uninteresting. There were a few “guidelines” stashed in one drawer along with memorandums that were stupid, like cleaning out the fridges on Friday. Or not firing in the air at random because what goes up must come down. Whatever this organization was they were ridiculous and incapable of actually being decent on the lower echelons, which was probably what Sagittarius dealt with. Which also explained the self help books. Maybe Sagittarius was trying to go go in the ranks? That was a thought to dwell upon for later.
Greg snapped out of his thoughts when he heard Tak say he was in. He couldn’t help but snort at the phrase that had been said in every bad spy movie ever. Instead of being a dick about it he simply nodded and replied, “That’s good. I’m not the best at breaking into computers.” With the computer hacked and the filing cabinet being uninteresting Greg started to go through the rest of the room, looking at the decor and carefully moving and replacing items while Tak went through the computer. He looked up from the Sagittarius statue he was inspecting when Tak called him over to look at what he found. “Huh, a meeting between two of the zodiacs... ideally we could take down two of the twelve,” he said speaking to himself. The back of his mind was also pointing out all the cons of killing the two but he wasn’t really interested in thinking too far in-depth about it.
He watched Tak crouch under the desk, push something, and the desk pushing away to reveal a metal pad. “Okay, That is kind of cool,” he quietly replied before Tak gave him an option to go down with him or leave. There was a part of Greg that wanted to play it safe and not go into the super duper secret lair. He wasn’t a field agent by any means. He was recon but he wanted to know more about this Zodiac Cartel. “I’ll go,” he said before he could go and second guess himself. Despite not being an actual field agent that is meant to kick ass and take names he was trained to do it. If he wasn’t he wouldn’t have gotten this far in the first place.
“Hopefully these are just snakes and not hydras,” he said as he stood on the metal pad. “I found their hit list by the way. I’m proud to say I’m on it,” he informed Tak as he waited for the other man to join him on the pad.
Greg was right. These people did have a rather lame motif they were playing off of, but excellent weaponry. Having almost been assassinated by such a weapon, he could attest to its effectiveness and was interested in using it in combat... But he was sure there would be time for that. They were short on resources, and effectively flying blind throughout this situation, it was only a matter of time before they tripped some kind of alarm, human or otherwise. Unless they were really [i really] lucky.
When Greg elected they find a computer, Tak nods his head at the man, a small grin on his face. Despite the circumstances, Greg's sunny disposition was a little infectious, and he couldn't help but admire the fact that he kept in such high spirits throughout this. It was a good quality to have, and one Tak could hopefully emulate while here. [b “You read my mind, Greg Ramirez.”] Tak responds, and he joins the agent as they continue through the building, checking and clearing each room as they go, on the hunt for a computer. Unfortunately, it appeared that this building mostly comprised itself of office space and lounging areas, but Tak didn't lose hope that they wouldn't find something of use to them. Someone had to be in charge here, and if they could find [i their] office, they might be able to find some of the information they were looking for.
Their patience paid off when they finally came upon a door that required a key card, and once Greg told him to be ready, he nods. Tak crouches down, aiming the beam weapon at the door, ready to fire at any hostiles that might be waiting for them on the other side. However, much to his surprise, the only thing that was waiting on the other side was an office to be pilfered. It was a tastefully done office, lots of dark colours, a heavy oak desk, three chairs, a sofa, filing cabinets, and a bookshelf. It looked like a pretty unassuming office of someone in charge, and the only thing that really showed them this is where they needed to be was the Sagittarius symbol on the wall behind the desk.
[b “Good work, Greg. I'm sure we'll find something of use here.”] Tak says and quickly begins to move to the desk... However, he stops for a moment, taking a few steps back towards the bookshelf. It took him a few seconds, but he wanted to see what the Sagittarius villain liked to read. [b “'Seven habits of highly effective people.' 'The four-hour work week'... You would not think a super-villain would read a lot of self-help books.”] He comments before moving towards the computer, turning it and the monitor on. It was password protected, but he shrugs, reaching in to one of the pouches of his belt and pulls out a few tools, plugging one in to the computer, and then a cord from the device to his wrist computer. A few seconds later, the screen turns to code, Tak pressing a few buttons on his gauntlet before going to to the keyboard of the computer. A few moments later, the screen goes black, and then to the desktop, which elicits a sigh of relief from Tak.
[b “I'm in.”] He tells Greg before beginning to peruse some of the files. They were mostly encrypted, and what he had with him now wasn't powerful enough to unencrypt it. He'd have to copy it and have his team do that later... [i However], there were a few interesting pieces of information that were accessible to him right now. [b “Have a look at this.”] Tak says, pulling up schematics of the building. It appeared the whole facility as on top of some kind of power station and lab, and it was accessible through this office. It also had its only aircraft port underground with an opening roof. [i 'Our means of egress.] [b “You might find this more interesting, though.”] And he pulls up Sagittarius' calendar. A meeting with Pisces was scheduled 'in the lab' an hour ago. [b “They are still here.”] He stands up and then crouches down to look under the desk, finding a button, which he presses. The desk slides forward, and the carpet split, showing them a metal pad that acted as an elevator. He was eager to go down and wreak havoc, but he wasn't sure how Greg felt about it. He looks up at the man curiously.
[b “Will you finish this with me, Greg Ramirez? I do not wish to push you more than you are willing; I just wish to cut off a few heads of the snake.”]
Greg nodded when Tak said to keep the blood to a minimum. He had to agree that it was the smarter choice since they didn’t want a trail of blood to follow them to their objective. Taking a deep breath, he started his own countdown as the guards approached. Dark brown eyes never left Tak until Greg hit zero in his silent countdown. The moment he his zero he spun from his corner and grabbed to very first guard that he could get his hands on. He pulled the man to him and wrapped an arm around his throat. While he was fighting to breath Greg quickly pricked him with the last of his darts to make him pass out. When the man went limp Greg let out a grunt as all the weight came crashing into his arms, but he didn’t drop the guy.
A small smile played on his lips when Tak turned to him. Their methods were drastically different, and Greg felt a small amount of pity for the guy that took a knee to the face. “He is going to have a gnarly headache when he wakes up,” HE quietly commented as he hefted his guy up a little bit more before dragging him in the room after Tak. Unceremoniously dropping the guard on the ground, he squatted next to him and went through his pockets. Pocket the ID he was halfway through unbuckling the utility belt when Tak told him to take it. “Way ahead of you. Some of us weren’t really ready for a full-blown adventure,” Greg responded as he got the belt off his victim. Quickly he went through the pockets and categorized what he had in each pouch. Any extra magazine for the man’s side arm, some type of multi tool, a flash bang, a pocket knife, and a packet of unopened corn chips which Greg fully intended to eat out of spite. Putting the belt around his waist he took the guard’s pistol and holster and attached it too his leg before taking the energy rifle. With the belt and the weapons Greg’s outfit was complete and he could properly meld with the other guards if he needed to.
“What we do know is they have a lame name and awesome energy weapons,” Greg cheekily recapped when Tak said they needed to learn more about their opponents. Despite Greg’s good mood he knew they needed as much information as possible about the Zodiac Cartel. The Fair City wasn’t the only thing at risk and Greg feared what would happen if they were able to corrupt the Fair City because what would stop them from just one city? Evil plans always started off with one goal and then grew as the organization reached mile stones.
Getting up from his spot next to the incapacitated man he looked over at Tak. “Let’s go find a computer. There has to be one somewhere nearby,” He said as he went through the hallway that the guards had come from. Right now, he really wished he had come to this fight prepared because he would have bugged the place while he went but since Greg only had the bare minimum, he couldn’t do much. Maybe he would convince SHIELD to send someone this way once he got back. These thoughts kept Greg company as he cleared every room that they came upon. His eyes constantly scanning every room only to find nothing. So far, they had only gone through conference rooms up until they reached an ID scanner. “Be ready,” he said as he took the pilfered card and slid it. Greg was fully expecting to need to put in a passcode or something but after a second of whirling sounds the door opened. It opened to what Greg could only describe as the jackpot. They hit an office with the symbol of Sagittarius on the walls and a computer sitting on a heavy wooden desk. A small filling cabinet sat nearby, and Greg instantly went over to it to go through what hard copies the Zodiac Cartel had.
When it was pointed out as to where the main building was, Tak nods wordlessly. Out of the rest of the compound it was more heavily fortified and it appeared the guards on patrol did their circuits around it more frequently. At first glance, it might not seem like they could get in with the constant patrols or the ever vigilant watch towers, but stealth, wet work, and assassination were Tak's bread and butter. There would be a moment of weakness, a chink in their armour, and it was then that the two would strike and take advantage.
[b “In and out as fast as possible.”] Tak agreed as Greg slipped in through the hole in the fence. Tak followed in quickly and closely behind, his feet making almost no noise as he took cover in the brush with Greg. Both saw the same opportunity as it seemed two guards were having a spat as another pair rounded a corner to check the rest of the perimeter, and much like his partner, the ninja sprung at the opportunity to get inside the building. If perhaps they had more time and preparation, Tak would have liked to have snuck his way to the main building, but they would have to make due with what they had now. They would have to explore the compound as they moved to its main facility. This might also afford them an advantage as buildings had more places to hide and stow neutralized enemies.
For the moment, it appeared thy had entered some kind of common area, the room sparse with furniture, containing a few tables, chairs, and receptacles full of things useless to them. It would have been majorly lucky for them if this room contained anything useful for them, but he figured that anything critical would be in or at the very least [i near] the main facility. So, their objective didn't change; they'd have to make it to the main building and learn all they could before departing as quietly as possible.
Tak looked thoughtfully at the depictions of the Zodiacs on the wall, noting that Taurus was on top. It wasn't really much to go off of, but it certainly couldn't hurt to keep on record especially considering he was the leader. Planning on scanning a little more to see if he could divine anything else, the sound of footsteps brought him back to reality. Quickly and silently, the ninja was on the other side of the door with Greg, inquiring how to approach. [b “Dealer's choice, blood to a minimum.”] Tak says. As much as killing was the easiest and most convenient way to never face an enemy twice, they didn't want to leave too much evidence of their intrusion, and Tak didn't have too many tools that didn't draw blood or ones he was willing to use on what sounded like two guards.
The footsteps drew ever nearer, and Tak makes eye contact with Greg, counting down in his head before knocking on the door. The footsteps stop and there's a tentative moment before the door to the room they were hiding slid open. Immediately Tak whirls in to the doorway, the one guard in front of the ninja and the other peering over his partner's shoulder. Before they could react, he darts forward and passed the first guard, pushing him slightly out of the way. With a fast leap, Tak lands a flying knee in to the second guard's face, the force knocking him back in to the opposing wall and putting him unconscious.
Whirling around fast and low, Tak sees that Greg had taken out the first guard without much trouble; they did have the element of surprise, after all. With a nod, Tak grabs his former opponent and drags him in to the room they were hiding in and begins rifling through the uniform pockets. [b “Not much, but he does have an ID card that could open some inaccessible doors for us.”] He tells Greg. [b “Take his weapons and utility belt, we might need them.”] And he does just as he had said. The guard had one of those beam rifles they had tried to assassinate him with earlier this evening, a side arm, and a utility belt with a single grenade attached to it. He hadn't looked through the whole of the belt yet, but elected to do it later, so instead he unbuckled it, extended it to its full length, and wrapped it around his chest like a bandoleer.
[b “We will continue to move quickly through the facility. If we can find a computer, perhaps we can orient ourselves and find a means of egress when the time comes. The more we know about this Zodiac Cartel the better, and if we can find one we take them down.”] They would keep Fair City safe from these villains and find out the true identity of Taurus.
Greg followed closely behind Tak. He kept himself as close to the ground as possible and tried to keep quiet. Greg was used to stealth missions but they weren’t his best missions. He was fine with deep undercover operations but the moment he had to sneak around he was near useless but he could meander through it. Stopping in front of the fence he glanced over to Tak. Greg didn’t have a lot of tools on him. He wasn’t prepared to go run off, fly a VTOL, and infiltrate a base at all. He had expected to deal with the fallout of the attack, poke around a little bit, and go back to the apartment and watch something mind numbing like Friends. Needless to say he wasn’t prepared at all to do this. Tak, thankfully, had been prepared to do some light infiltration and pulled out some wire cutters.
“The main building looks like it’s the one to the left and one one over. It’s heavily guarded and well lit compared to the rest,” he noted as he observed the movements of the guards. Most of them stayed on one location and didn’t move around but the ones he could see shifting constantly was the watch tower and about two different guards were stalking between the heavily guarded building. They should be able to slip into the building no problem as long as the two walking guards were distracted.
“In and out as fast as possible?” He whispered as he moved through the opening Tak had left for them. Greg slid to the side, remaining low in some of the brush while Tak came through. He continued to track the guards until he saw an opening. One of the guards were arguing with the other, both turned away from the entrance and the two that were actually patrolling had just turned the corner. Greg took it as his chance and darted across the opening and slipped into the open building. Greg started to scan the building as he waited on Tak to slip in.
Greg had slipped into a large entryway with depictions of all the zodiacs on the wall. There was nothing interesting in the room but it didn’t stop Greg from opening every drawer and checking for any hidden compartments. Once he was sure the room was as boring as it could be he began to move towards the hallways that the entry way led to only to freeze when he heard heavy steps. Pressing himself against the wall he gave Tak a look. “Kill or incapacitate?” He whispered.
He almost had to do a double-take when he saw Greg in the mercenary uniform. Luckily the man didn't sneak up on him or else he might've done something he regretted. Fortunately enough, Greg was just letting Tak know that he was rigging up explosives for Wallace just in case. Both of their secrets would be safe then if someone were unfortunate enough to decide to investigate; he'd give the man credit where credit was due, he was thorough. If Tak had been alone, he'd have most likely killed Wallace simply because he likes tying all of his loose ends in to neat little bows.
[b “An easier way to remember the number.”] Tak responds with a small chuckle. For the very short period of time that he has known Greg, it seemed like the very [i him] thing to do, and he was a man of many talents which was pleasantly surprising. They were in exceptional circumstances right now, and Tak wouldn't have made it this far without the help of Greg and his abilities. His humour also kept the situation surprisingly light, which was also appreciated, Tak himself used to long silent missions, only speaking over his communicator when he was in need of something specific. He's never really had a partner in the field before, so this was all new and exciting in a strange way.
With a nod, Tak leads the way towards the compound, making sure to stay close enough to Greg so they didn't lose each other in the dark. It became easier when they got closer to the compound, but that made getting spotted easier as well.
The compound itself appeared to be a series of interconnected buildings, surrounded by a wire fence with barbs. Its defences consisted of watch towers with spotlights, armed guards patrolling the perimeter, and no doubt more inside. Seemed standard military to Tak, which communicated to him that this Zodiac Cartel had a lot more influence than he had originally thought, especially if they were able to pull this kind of muscle in.
[b “We'll have to remain mobile to avoid detection.”] Tak says quietly, searching through some of the pouches of his utility belt. He was mostly seeing what was left of his artillery since the fight at the parking garage was a little costly. But once determining he'd mostly have to be a little stingier with his equipment, he pulls out a small pair of wire cutters and begins slicing through the fence, giving them a stealthier entrance on to the grounds of the compound. [b “I think our priority should be to get inside. There will be more places for us to hide and we can search for more information that way; stay close to me and we'll stay out of sight.”]
Greg was in the process of shutting down the aircraft as Tak responded to his inquires. If they were going to use the VTOL as an escape options they needed to preserve what little gas was left. Luckily, they had just enough to get out of the woods and close enough to a SHIELD safe house if they needed to. Taking one last glance at their coordinates Greg finally shut down the rest of the plane.
As Tak made his way out and pointed at the bullet proof vest did the lights finally flickered off leaving only the emergency lights on. “Hey, you don’t know that!” He jokingly protested at Tak saying he wasn’t bulletproof. In this day of age there was no telling who was miraculously bulletproof and who wasn’t. Greg, with the lack of any marvelous super powers, was not bulletproof at all which was the pinnacle of lameness.
Going over to the man he carefully removed the bulletproof vest when an idea struck. The pilots probably brought more clothing. Worse case the guards would see the uniform and not think twice. Turning around the dark cockpit Greg went on a quick search when he finally found small paneling with two clothing bags shoved in. Grabbing one he quickly changed into the suit and then slipped the vest on. Fixing his hair he strolled our to where Wallace was hanging, slack face horribly illuminated by the lights. Greg gently poked the man, content that he was knocked out, before pillaging the plane for everything he had. Moving towards the back his eyes skimmed outside before barely catching something, that something being Tak. “Let me rig something on Wallace just in case someone finds him. Can’t have him spilling the beans about us,” Greg whispered before hearing back in.
Now Greg wasn’t the best with bombs. He had to learn how to make improvised ones when he joined SHIELD but they were his lowest marks. This led him to be slightly hesitant with what to do as he raked his brain. Finally he settled on a lovely vest that when removed would explode or if the code was put in wrong would also explode. Working quickly with what explosives the plane did have he rigged something that was passable with only like a twenty percent chance of going off on accident. Slipping it on Wallace he armed it and hurriedly left the plane and went to Tak.
“Hopefully it doesn’t prematurely explode. The code is 3625986 to disarm the bomb. It spells Fuck You,” he whispered to Tak as he scanned the runway. They were far enough away that he couldn’t make out the entryway. The small light was all he had to go off. “Well I’m going to guess we have to go that way,” he said, gesturing towards the light. “I’ll let you go first. You are much sneakier than me,” Greg added.
Tak had to appreciate Greg's sense of humour in all of this. It kept the situation from getting more tense than it had to be, and it made it abundantly clear that no matter what was going on with Wallace, they didn't take him seriously, which no doubt helped the ninja coax some answers out of the former head of security. However, the question still lingered in the air about what they were going to do with Wallace: leave him alive or kill him? But it seemed Greg was happy to compromise on the matter with a sleeping dart.
He helps Greg drag Wallace to one of the chairs, and then suddenly his eyes widen a fraction and he looks to the agent. [b “I just got it. 'Nap time' because the dart came out of your watch.”] He grinned ever so slightly. [b “Very clever, Greg Ramirez.”] He follows Greg's lead around the aircraft as they wait for the autopilot to take them to their destination.
[b “Perhaps we can find answers from Moon Knight and Tigra if we keep Mr. Wallace alive. He knows much about us and perhaps more about this Zodiac Cartel, which makes him optimal bait.”] He pauses for a moment, thinking on that. To him, it might be much more dangerous than beneficial to keep Wallace alive. [b “But I would much prefer him dead. I have no doubt we will be seeing those two again anyways; they're connected with this somehow, but I do not know how much our missions and reasons align.”] Tak surmises. Despite their aggressive first encounter with Moon Knight and Tigra, perhaps they were on the same side in all of this? He was sure they all would meet again, but because of their last encounter, there was bound to be some bad blood between them; he did almost kill Tigra, after all. Only time would tell at this point though, and for the moment Tak and Greg had more important matters to attend to.
Soon enough, the VTOL warned them of their approach to their destination, and upon Greg's request, Tak sits down and buckles up in the co-pilots seat, hanging on as his partner landed the craft. Despite the bumpy ride on the runway, it seemed that Greg stuck the landing, and he tried to give the man an appreciative and reassuring smile however green around the gills he might currently be.
[b “That is an excellent question.”] Tak says, revealing he's sort of been 'winging it'. To be honest, he didn't expect this much action this fast, nor did he know what to expect when they finally arrived, so he needed a second to get himself situated. Standing up, the ninja places a hand on the windshield, looking over the runway and towards what appeared to be a compound. Fortunately for him, his vision was enhanced so he could see through the darkness and make out some of the details other than the obvious, like that the lights were on. It seemed they had landed far enough away where no one was coming to investigate immediately, but he was sure these people had some kind of radar system and they wouldn't have long before someone came to take a look at their ship. Fortunately enough for them, they still had the cover of night, so it gave them a few options instead of a full frontal assault they couldn't win.
[b “We go in quietly, have a look, and decide what we want to do from there. This is a big compound, so no doubt they have personnel on deck or at the very least some kind of welcoming committee since they were waiting for their comrades to bring back Wallace. We can also no doubt learn more about the Zodiac Cartel while we're here, and perhaps some key members.”] If the mastermind was Taurus, then it would stand to reason there were eleven more people at the top of the food chain as well masquerading as zodiac signs. If they could discover any of their identities, it might point to who Taurus was and they could cut off the true head of the snake before it poisoned Fair City.
Tak quickly checks himself over, keeping track of what weapons he had left and which ones might come in handy in a pinch. [b “Grab what you can from around the ship and then we will sneak our way to the compound.”] He begins t leave the cockpit and then stops, turning to look over his shoulder at Greg and the dead copilot. [b “Perhaps you should grab his armoured vest as well. You might have a nice chest, but I don't suspect it is bulletproof.”] And with that, Tak begins to leave the ship, quickly crouching down outside to avoid being seen. He would lead Greg towards the compound when the man joined him.
Greg let out an exasperated sigh when Wallace started to stutter and say he couldn’t answer such a simple question. Well… it wasn’t simple but still. Greg just wanted answers and to make this as painless as possible for himself. He was ready to user other methods of getting answers out of Wallace when Tak stepped up and crouched in front of the man. To be honest the Japanese man was much scarier looking than Greg especially in his ensemble, so Greg was okay with him taking the lead in intimidation.
Just as Greg expected the six simple words that Tak said got Wallace to swear bullets. Greg was somewhat impressed that Wallace hadn’t pissed himself at this point. Tak was just completely terrifying. When the Ambassador sliced the line and Wallace plummeted to the ground Greg had to keep himself from snickering. Tak could give SHIELD interrogators a run for their money. He was good and Greg was impressed. His appreciation only grew more when Tak opened the cargo doors. Greg grabbed onto one of the straps hanging from the ceiling to keep his balance and keep himself in the plane as well. With the door wide open there was vacuum effect start and one that Wallace was about to experience as Tak kicked him out. Instead of plummeting to his death Tak stopped the line last minute and gave Wallace an ultimatum. In that moment Greg realized one thing and that was that he found Tak attractive. [i ‘Fuck me…’] he silently thought to himself. Greg always had a type and it was the dangerous types. Tak definitely fell into that category.
Pushing that thought out of his mind he looked down at Wallace who was now at his feet. Greg gave the man an unimpressed look. [i ‘Zodiac Cartel… what the hell,’] he thought as he looked up from Wallace and let out a snort. “Moon Knight is still worst,” Greg responded before Tak prompted Wallace for more information.
“There is a lot of people interested in the project. Even my own employers have a vested interest in it,” Greg said once Tak made the realization that it wasn’t him but the project. It made sense though. The Fair City Project was an amazing idea but one that was just waiting to be defiled. Everyone wanted a part to play so they could mold the city for either better or for worse. SHIELD wanted a completely secured city and were playing their own hands to get what they wanted. Everyone wanted a piece of this pie.
Looking back down at Wallace as he was asked more about the Zodiac Cartel Greg was somewhat impressed by the fact the male replied quickly with a name. Said name caused Greg to snort. “That sounds like a load of bull,” he jokingly said, snickering a little at his own joke. Listening back at Tak he gave the man a nod. They wouldn’t be meeting Taurus anytime soon, but he would have SHIELD looking into it for sure.
Greg let out a soft hum of though as Wallace asked if he was going to live or die. Greg should kill Wallace. His cover was completely blown and that put Greg at risk. Having this one risk could reign havoc on Greg carefully crafted life. But he could have more answers. “How about a quick nap,” Greg suggested as he fidgeted with his watch. A small dart shot out and Wallace slumped down instantly. “There goes my only defense that isn’t a gun. Stupid single dart watch,” He grumbled as he dragged Wallace over to one of the chairs and began to tie him up with some of the supplies he found before covering Wallace’s eyes. “I would rather have him dead, but he may have more info. If we can get back to the aircraft after our adventures, I can take him to my employer. If not, well we can always rig the plane to blow just in case. He knows to much information on both of us,” Greg said as he took a step back and looked over his handiwork. The only way Wallace was getting out was if he gnawed a limb or two off. Happy with his work he went back to the cockpit to check how much longer they had.
“One question I have is where does Moonie and Kittie play into this. Why did they want Wallace? Do they know anything about The Zodiac Cartel?” He asked knowing that they didn’t have enough information to answer these questions, but he just wanted to air them out. They may even have to find the other two in hopes of finding more information out. Before he could ask anything else the alert went off and Greg was instantly sitting down. His eyes scanned all the gauges before preparing to land. As they got closer to the woods, he could just make out a tiny runway. “Buckle up now,” Greg said as they got closer. With single minded concentration he landed the VTOL on the empty runway. It was a little bumpy, but they arrived slightly. “Sorry, it’s been awhile since I’ve flown,” he said with a shaky smile to Tak. “So what’s the plan?”
It was a simple question for Wallace, but one that carried a lot of weight. Perhaps it was good that Greg had cut to the chase, because Tak had a few questions lined up and painful techniques in between if he didn't feel like talking. The sudden shock (literally) of being awake upside down, the imagery of his dead comrades, and the two scary men looming over him was a pretty good motivator... But apparently so was whoever was behind all of this.
“I... I can't...” Wallace says, looking away almost like he was ashamed. Tak [i tsks] to himself, crouching down in front of the man so they were at face level. He tried his best to look away from the Ambassador, keeping his eyes firmly on the ground and off to the side, but Tak could see it was hard for him to remain fixed. What now that he wasn't answering their questions? Were they going to kill him? Torture him? Let him go? Well, that was all up to David Wallace's imagination, but a little bit of prodding never hurt anyone.
[b “That is too bad, Mr. Wallace.”] Tak finally says as the silence started to get more tense. Wallace was sweating. [b “I am sure you know all about me by now, and I keep my word as a good businessman should. And just like any good businessman, I have alternatives if I do not get what I initially want.”] He places a hand on his hip and remains stoic. Impassive. [i Deadly.] [b “Your colleague here has used the autopilot to take us to your employer's whereabouts,”] He pats Greg on the shoulder for emphasis. [b “We'll be there shortly, and we were more so asking you these questions as a formality rather than necessity. When we arrive where the autopilot takes us, we [i will] have the answers to our questions, only slightly delayed. Perhaps we will find someone more negotiable than you. So, if you are not willing to answer...”] It was just as fast as a blink, Tak's sword coming from his back and slicing the line holding Wallace up. The man plummets to the ground with a hard and sad [i thud!] groaning as he lay there groggy and disorientated.
Tak walks over to a lever on the interior wall and pulls it down, red lights beginning to flash in the cargo hold with them. Machinery grinds and the area begins to get gusty as the cargo doors begin to open. “What the hell are you doing?!” Wallace shouts over the wind as Tak approaches him. The ninja kicks the man in the chest, and he begins tumbling towards the open ramp, screaming his lung out. And just when it seemed the wind was going to take him and he was going to be the second Century Security member to plummet to their death tonight, Tak slams his foot on the cable still attached to Wallace's bound feet.
[b “I always get what I want, Mr. Wallace.”] Tak calls over the harsh wind. [b “Either we know now and you live, or you die. Quite a simple transaction if you think about it.”]
Wallace just screamed for a moment, and perhaps he saw when Tak's patience was beginning to wane because he shouted. “Okay! Okay!” And Tak smiles slightly to himself, pulling the level again and the cargo hold door shuts itself again. He walks over to Wallace, grabs him by the shirt, and tosses him back over to Greg's feet.
[b “I believe it was Greg who asked the question, it would be polite of you to answer him after you apologize.”]
“I'm sorry, Greg!” He says, obviously panicked. “They're called 'The Zodiac Cartel'.” And honestly, it sounded so stupid that it [i had] to be real.
Tak looks up from Wallace to Greg. [b “'Moon Knight' doesn't sound so lame all of a sudden... Tell us more.”]
“They're some secret organization with a lot of power and financial backing; fingers in every pie kind of thing. I was put in charge of Century's security force after he got the contract and was instructed to kill Ambassador Watanabe. I hired mercenaries to do the job but I had no idea who you actually were, and I don't think they did either...”
That made Tak think on that for a little. [b “Then I am not the real target... Its the Fair City Project; everyone on it.”] And Tak's coming to America to look in to the irregularities in the Project's books provided them with the opportunity to get to him as well. With Tak in the room, they could kill him and everyone else who had a stake in the project save for the people who didn't attend. [b “Whoever did this stands to gain much from the death's of everyone who attended the signing, but that doesn't leave us with many suspects as a result.”] Knocking a good number of people from their list, but providing them much cover thanks to the many people who didn't attend, and everyone having seemingly equal motive for the crime. Tak himself had a substantial holding in the Project, so it was likely that's why they specifically targeted him... The Zodiac Cartel wants to own and control a city before its even built, giving them unlimited access to the means of construction, what [i is] constructed, and even [i who] lives in the city. The sky was the limit and they could be looking at a city literally full of villains. [b “Do you know who the leader is, Mr. Wallace?”]
“He calls himself 'Taurus', but I don't know who he really is.” Wallace answers, seemingly becoming less rattled.
[b “That is a shame.”] Tak says, thinking to himself on the matter some more. [b “I'm sure wherever we are being transported to, it is not this [i Taurus] we will be contending with... But that is who we need to be focusing on. Discovering his identity is of absolute importance so that Fair City doesn't fall in to the wrong hands; perhaps we can get some more details while we are here, or at least clues to point us in the right direction.”] He crosses his arms and taps his chin with one hand before looking to Danial Wallace. [b “You have been most helpful, Mr. Wallace, and for that I thank you.”]
Wallace looks back to him, hopeful. “So, umm... you're not going to kill me?” He squeaks out.
[b “I honestly have not decided yet.”] Tak says, leaving the man sputtering. The Japanese man looks to Greg. [b “What did you want to do with him?”]
It made sense that Century Security was just the middleman. Greg couldn’t see what the security company would gain for killing the Ambassador. Especially since their failure to protect the man would look poor on the company so it made sense that someone else was paying them to take a fall. Who and why were the two biggest questions in Greg’s mind. At least his main job, finding out Tak’s secret, was done. Now he just had to convince SHIELD to let him stay on this case instead of moving him away. After all SHIELD was going to get what they want from Greg which meant that there was a chance for him to be moved.
“Well at least you don’t have a lame code name like Moon Knight,” he said with a small grin when Tak replied to his questions about his secret life. Of course asking said questions also left him open to be asked the same. Greg knew that a normal person couldn’t do half the things he was able to do. A normal security guard wouldn’t be able to do the same stuff either. It was obvious that he had his own secrets which he was going to keep quiet. Thankfully, Tak didn’t push too much on the subject and left the question in the air. The only thing Greg was willing to tell Tak, if he had insisted on pushing the subject, was that he was SHIELD. His past was too classified to share and it was something that he kept a secret for himself.
Getting out of the chair he followed after Tak and stopped before the unconscious Wallace. Greg positioned himself with his good ear towards Tak as he silently watched the Ambassador string Wallace. His arms found themselves crossed over his chest as he looked over Wallace. The man was a little bit bruised up from going head first through some glass but Greg could careless. He was breathing which was all that mattered to Greg. To be very honest Greg didn’t even care if Wallace was alive. It just made his life easier.
Impassively he watched Tak wake Wallace up. Greg rather liked the little shock therapy that Tak used and was curious about where Tak got his technology. Was he like Mr. Stark and built his own stuff? Or did he have a team? So many questions for Ambassador Watanabe and no time for Greg to ask since Wallace woke up. “Morning sleepyhead,” Greg coldly said as he watched the man wake up. It was kind of fun to watch the man realize that he was fucked. For a few seconds Wallace’s eyes frantically farted around before landing on them and going wide. If Greg had to pinpoint a moment when Wallace realized he was fucked it was right when those eyes went big. Snickering a little to himself he let Tak go through his spiel about honesty. Greg was kind of glad that he wasn’t on the angry side of Tak because the male was rather frightening. Tak did, however, surprise him by relinquishing control of the interrogation to him but he would take it.
“Let’s start with something easy Mr. Wallace. Who do you work for?” He asked, keeping his voice even.
Tak was surprisingly pleased with Greg's answer to accompany him to... wherever it was that the autopilot was engaged to take them. The ninja was no stranger to doing things on his own, but Greg had proven time and time again to be a capable companion, and diving in to the unknown together would add a good amount of assurance for him. It was strange having a partner suddenly, but welcome.
When Greg said he had questions for him, Tak nodded his head. It was no surprise to him that the security guard would have questions for him. Like he had said, he was no simple ambassador, after all. [b “It is not Century that is so enamoured by me, but someone else. Century was paid off to act as a disposable instrument; there's someone with much more pull and power out there. I know because I asked Century myself. Make sure you watch the news tomorrow.”] He tells Greg. [b “As for the questions about my double life? I have been fighting for...”] It seems he has to think on that for a moment. It wasn't like he marked it down on the calendar. [b “A long time, and I go by many names: ghost, ninja, shadow, kemuri, ken, shinobi... You may call me 'Tak'. Code names do not concern me as much as results.”] And he thinks for a moment, looking back out in to the night sky as the VTOL flies itself closer to their destination. [b “How about you, Greg Ramirez? You have some pretty impressive moves and interesting skills for private security. I assume you were in the military? Special Forces? Flying a VTOL is a very specific skill, even one I do not have myself.”]
He would let Greg decide if he wanted to answer Tak's questions or not, but whatever the result, the ambassador eventually stands up, checking over the autopilot and then motions for the cargo-hold of the VTOL. [b “Let us go ask more questions. I am interested in Mr Wallace's take on all of this.”] The man had to know something considering whoever it was behind this sent an extraction team at the first sign of trouble. It was likely he was a liaison between Century Security and this mystery organization, but really only time would tell the measure of his involvement. Either or, they would get valuable intelligence, especially considering they didn't know where they were off to just yet. However, it was quite obvious that it would be dangerous.
Back in to the cargo hold, Tak unravels his grapple line and promptly ties it around Wallace's ankles, and then throws the line through a loop in the ceiling, hoisting the man up so he was a few feet off the ground, but his face was around chest level for the two standing. Tak then ties it off somewhere and then crouches in front of Wallace, close to the man's face. His nose was broken, he had lots of cuts from the glass, and one eye was black and bruised shut, but he was still breathing, and that was what was important.
[b “Mr. Wallace.”] Tak says. [b “Mr. Wallace, it is time to wake up.”] And he stirs a little, but his eyes remain closed. Tak presses a few things on his gauntlet and the fingertips on his gloves glow blue. After another moment of waiting, Tak touches Wallace and a small electrical charge zaps the man awake with a surprised shout. He huffs and he puffs, disorientated and as his head clears as much as it can, Tak takes his place beside Greg, crossing his arms over his chest and waits for the man to become coherent. When his eyes stopped darting around the room and rested on Tak and Greg, that's when he knew they could start asking questions. The key was to start out small and then go for the big questions.
[b “Mr. Wallace, I am so pleased you could finally join us. We have a few questions for you, and how you decide to answer them is in direct correlation with your health and well-being, so I recommend your honesty.”] He lets that permeate the air for a moment. [b “Do you think you can do that for us?”] And it looked like Wallace vehemently agreed to those terms considering the force he was nodding at them. He looks at Greg and nods, motioning for him to ask his questions first. Tak knew more about the situation, so it was a good idea to get the man warmed up first.
Greg let out a soft hum as he listened to the banging at the door He knew why Wallace was banging at the cockpit's door but didn't care at all. He was just waiting for Tak to hope into the aircraft. It was only when Greg climbed higher into the air and the alarms began to scream at him did he finally close the doors. He hoped that Tak made it into the aircraft on time. If Tak didn't he would just take Wallace back to SHIELD. If Tak did make it on the aircraft then Greg's job just became a 100% easier. With Tak on the aircraft they could question Wallace together and Greg wouldn't have to hunt down Tak later for answers.
The man got his answer soon enough about where Tak was. With his one good ear he heard what could only be the sound of glass shattering. Which the only two reasons for that was either Wallace was tired of his lack of response or Tak was on the air craft. Greg was going to go out on a limb and assume that it was Tak since Wallace didn't seem like the type of guy to break glass.
"Welcome aboard," He said as Tak walked into the cockpit and unceremoniously pushed his copilot out of the seat. "Or I could be pretending this whole time and we are speeding to our doom?" Greg suggested to Tak when the man commented on him being able to fly. It was only when Tak made a commented about him not being a simple security guard did the man look over at Tak. A dark eyebrow raised a little bit, "And you aren't a simple Ambassador." Greg knew this fact on some level because SHIELD wouldn't have been as interested in Tak. What Greg didn't expect was that Tak was a "super hero".
Greg let out a soft hum as he gazed over the instruments for a few moments as Tak asked him if he wanted to be dropped off or come with. Pressing a button he engaged the autopilot and turned back to Tak. "I think coming with you would, perhaps, be the easiest course of actions. I want answers on why Century Security is so interested in you. i also have a few questions of my own for you. Like what name do you prefer to go by when dressed like that? And how long have you been fighting? Those are just to name a few questions."
Dealing with Moon Knight was more... [i stressful] than Tak had originally anticipated. He was a very formidable opponent, but Tak's weapon advantage kept his adversary on the defensive. He just had to wait until Greg was in position before he could make his next move... But that was [i if] Greg could fly a VTOL. It would sort of throw a wrench in their plans, but at the very least he could take the pilot hostage.
And whatever way it seemed to have went, the VTOL's engines roared to life. Tak was waiting for it, but it seemed to have caught Moon Knight off-guard for a split second. A split second the ninja used to his advantage, sweeping his opponents legs out from under him and then running towards the now ascending aircraft. One of the soldiers left behind stood in the way and and began firing, but Tak was able to dodge his clumsy aim, jump, and then jump off of him.
The aircraft ascended quickly, and in mid-fight Tak knew he wouldn't be able to grab it. He quickly throws a grapple line and it latches on to the landing gears before it completely stows away. Tak climbs the line to VTOL and like before he activates his vambrace so his fingertips can stick to the surface of the aircraft. And just as luck would have it, or perhaps through the efforts of Takeshi's new favourite person, the bay door was still left open in the haste of Wallace's escapes and made for a convenient entrance.
And it seemed Wallace was having a problem with it, as he was yelling over the wind and engines at his 'pilot'. He was accompanied by two more of those soldiers and all three of them had their backs turned to him. Too easy.
“Close that damn door!” Wallace shouted as he banged on the door in to the cockpit. “If you don't I'm going to-” [i Thump. Thump.] Wallace turns around at the noise to see his two attendants dead on the floor, a single shuriken embedded in the back of each of their skulls through their protective helmets. He looks down in horror before looking up to see Takeshi. Now he had the chance to look at him. Wallace had only ever seen him in his suit and tie, but here he stood in black armour, armed to the teeth with gadgets and weaponry, his face only showing because of an unlucky accident. Even with his face revealed, he looked like an entirely different person. He was a high respected Ambassador of Japan, but now he was here as a ruthless assassin with a bone to pick.
[b “Daniel Wallace.”] Takeshi says approaching the man. Wallace quickly turns towards the pilot's door again and begins banging on it for Greg to let him in. Without much hesitation, Tak slams the mans face through the small glass window on the door once again putting him unconscious. He wasn't needed at the present moment.
With the window shattered, Tak reaches in and unlatches the lock before joining Greg in the cockpit. He grips the back of the man's seat while looking out in to the night. [b “It appears you do know how to pilot one of these after all.”] He comments. [b “Not a simple security guard it would appear.”] Tak then shoves the body that was in the co-pilots seat out and then sits in it. [b “I was going to engage the autopilot and see where I was taken. I also plan on questioning Wallace on the way.”] He tells Greg while still staring out in to the night. [b “Would you like to be dropped off or would you like to keep me company?”]
Greg silently watched Tak peak over the concrete block only to be greeted with a wave of bullets directed at him. This wasn’t the worst situation he had been in but it was definitely finding it’s way up on his list of bad or poorly planned situations. Instead of dwelling on the horrible predicament he looked back at the Ambassador who seemed to have the gears going.
Just as Greg suspected Tak had a plan. The only issue was that Greg had to take a moment to laugh as Tak said the names of their adversaries. “Moon knight? Oh god that sounds like some bad video game character name,” he quickly said before listening to the whole plan. It could work. If he could get pass Wallace’s men they wouldn’t expect a takedown from the inside and then they could fly off. Shifting towards the other end of their cover he gave Tak a small grin. “That’s a broad assumption that I can fly a VTOL,” he said as he got in position to spring from their cover. “See you inside Ambassador,” Greg added.
The moment Tak moved and smoke engulfed them Greg darted out of their cover. People were confused for a few seconds and there was no action which gave him just enough time to get to the midway point before chaos ensued. He could hear people yelling and a few shots being fired blankly but nothing at him. Happy with everything he sprinted the rest of the distance and was able to get into the VTOL. No one was inside guarding the area which gave Greg the advantage as he moved to the cockpit. He pressed himself against the interior of the aircraft and carefully peaked into the cockpit. Two men sat their discussing plans while an armed man moved back and forth. As the man shifted and moved his body towards the entryway Greg pulled his head back to the other side of the wall and considered his choices. Having given up his weapon he had to be careful but there wasn’t much room to maneuver.
He glanced at the fire extinguisher before removing it from its mounted location and throwing it out. The loud clinging caused the guard to step out which gave Greg enough time to grab the man and twist his head before grabbing his gun. Greg only had a few seconds to act and he did it without much hesitation because the other two men soon found a bullet through their heads.
As the fighting continued Greg grabbed the two of the three deceased men and hid them in a corner and shifted the co pilot so the bullet wound wasn’t noticeable but at first glance all someone would see was a body there. Taking to the blood covered seat Greg began to go through his checks. Despite giving Tak a little bit of a hard time Greg did know how to fly way too many aircrafts. Greg use to be a helicopter pilot when he was a Marine and lived a much different life. VTOLs were something he learned with SHIELD and was very well versed in them. With his checks over with he began starting up the aircraft as he heard someone run into the back.
“Get out of here!” A now familiar voice yelled in the back. Wallace had made it on board.
“Yes sir,” Greg said in the low voice as he began to initiate take off as slowly as possible. Hoping that the aircraft coming to life would get Tak’s butt into gear and he would get in soon. Worse case scenario Greg would take off without the Ambassador and secure Wallace himself before calling Tak. Greg could be a dick but not enough of one to deprive Tak the chance to question Wallace especially since Greg owed Tak.
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