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Cold War, part 1: AIM for the Mountain!
Rplog-icon Who: Pete Wisdom, Roy Harper, Domino
Where: Somewhere in Siberia
When: Afternoon
Tone: Gritty Comedy (Heavy use of colorful language, innuendo, violence, explosions!)
What: Somewhere on the other side of the planet, AIM has taken over an old Soviet military installation. Someone should really do something about that.


After the fall of the Soviet Union, what remained of the Soviet Railways were fractured into fourteen national railways, all poorly maintained and deteriorated to the point that they weren't quite as useful as they were. The industrial railways suffered a similar fate, but there were attempts to keep them for transportation for military and industrial purposes.

Unfortunately, some of these attempts would end up being for less-than-savory purposes, as mobs and other organizations could often co-opts empty train cars for their own purposes in off-loading various weaponry and other less-than-savory means.

Ordinarily, this would be a matter for the KGB... were it not for that there was suspicion of the international terrorist organization, AIM, being involved in co-opting some of these industrial railways for their own purposes.

And while SHIELD was -interested- in this, they opted to bring in some outside contractors. And while the lead agent in this case was Pete Wisdom, Roy Harper, another agent assigned temporarily to work on this in the absence of Natasha Romanoff, had made a suggestion.

"C'mon, Domino, what's not to like? If there's -no- AIM involvement, at least we got a free trip out of it... and I'll even buy you dinner afterwards."

"Yeah, because I just love wasting two days of my life flying in rickety old planes to Siberia," Domino gripes with a sigh. "What the hell."

Later...

"I take that back, a rickety old plane would have been a hundred times better."

And so there they were, sitting in an industrial train car, surrounded by cows and...

"Goddamn it, Wisdom, it STINKS in here."

"Shut it, Harper."


"I don't want to shut it," whines Roy as he huddles deeper down into his Russian-style parka and winter pants. Not that they were a bad idea for this cattle car, given the conditions of the not-well-maintained Russian railways, but Roy was constantly spitting out what he -thought- was cotton. And if it was anything else, he didn't want to think about it AT ALL, not in this -bloody stinking car... oh god, he was even starting to talk like Wisdom.

Bad enough that they had to be stuck in this particular car given how some of the other cars being loaded were scrunitized heavily, and that their mission involved figuring out what was -going on- with these cars, but at this particular moment, with the wind chill factor being what it was, there was -no- way Roy Harper was going to go out and try to check the other cars... not even if Pete told him to do it or get a hot-knife up the head. NO WAY. NUH-UH.


Cold coffee. Cold feet. Cold fingers. Cold face. In the company of two of the most peculiar men that Domino has ever had the pleasure of working alongside.

Oh, and cows.

Dom makes eye contact with one cow in particular that wanders on over to her side, all white with a few black patches across its body. Including one that surrounds its left eye.

"Mrrrer?"

"No one asked you."

She's about to finish the last bit of coffee only to recoil and look down at the cup with a grimace, turning it upside down and letting a dark brown disk of ice slide out to clatter upon the floor. She gives it a swift kick, bouncing off of the boxcar's wall where it lands in a pile of straw. Another cow decides that it looks tasty enough to start licking the discarded wedge.

"Remind me again why I did this, Roy?"


"He doesn't have to. The first half of the payment in your bank account betrays your motivation, Dom-nom-nom," Pete says mildly, slouched up against the wall with his parka wadded up behind him to pad the jarring rumble of the train; he's been methodically disassembling and reassembling his service weapon for the last hour, and the bastard's obviously not bothered by the cold. "And you *know* I could've fixed your coffee issues for you." He reaches up to tap his temple and looks up at her, hair half falling into his eyes, which are altogether too entertained. "And cold's supposed to be good for clarity of thought. Tsk."


"What he said," Roy retorts, as he gets up, stomping his feet around the floor and causing the cows to look askance at him while placidly chewing their cuds. Peeking through one of the many warped boards of the railcars towards the outdoors, Roy winces, backing away. "Dammit, I think I froze my eyeball. And no, Wisdom, I'm not interested in having a knife in my eye. Any idea how much longer...?"

And then everything goes dark, without even the moonlight flashing in.

"I hate tunnels," a plaintive voice whines.


"You just keep your mitts off of my coffee," Domino jokes in a monotoned voice. "If this is the path to clarity, I'd happily be twenty percent more muddled."

Oh good! And now they can't see.

"Look on the bright side, Harper. Tunnels mean less wind." Part of her is tempted to find a pistol light and shine it beneath her chin like kids tend to do around campfires but spooking the cattle seems like a bad idea. What's the expression when they try to stampede but have nowhere to go, meat grinder?

Then there's the sound of Pete playing with his weapon. Over, and over, and over. "That's never gonna heal if you don't stop picking at it, Wisdom."


"Oh piss off," is the genial sound from Wisdom's little corner of the cow car. "You're just jealous of my, what's you call it, my /piece/. Despite the enormous arsenal at your disposal no comments Harper." Impossible to hear in all the rumbling of the tracks and the rattling of the nigh-derelict car, he gets up and holsters the gun, then moves to look out the side as well, despite the dark. It may be startling when his voice comes from the other side of the car. "Check the GPS when we're out of the mountain. Should be nearly there."


"Hey, I know how to handle -my- piece," Roy rejoins, as he remains near the wall. "Though I've got no objection if Dom wants to try..."

Whatever else he might have said is cut off as there is a deep rumble, and then the train starts descending downhill.

"What the hell...?" Roy says, at least -aware- that the railway wasn't designed like this.

Slightly above them, there is another rumble, and then an unmistakable sound of another train starting up and starting to move forward, out of the mountain. A classic switch-the-trains maneuver, apparently, with -this- train apparently going onwards. Oh yeah, Pete's GPS was -accurate-, at least... just off by depth.

The ride continues on downward, at least until artificial light starts gleaming in, and the train slows to a stop.


The sudden descent of the rail car isn't enough to interrupt everyone's thoughts. "I prefer a larger caliber, Roy."

"Though I wasn't aware of there being a switch in the route." Dom's favorite battle carbine comes out from beneath her poofy arctic camo coat, the stock collapsed to shave another foot off of its already truncated profile. With the sling yet around a shoulder she peers out through the side of the car, pale blue eyes scanning the area beyond. Artificial lights are a pretty good indication that they're getting close to their destination. Lots of concrete, lots of rusted metal with peeling grey paint that's probably just loaded with lead additives, bare lightbulbs that are probably as old as the train is... It could be downtown Moscow. Or, it could be an old Soviet base that's been taken over for AIM's various purposes. All she has to do is spot the personnel wandering about, her expression slightly grim. "We've made it to grandma's. Get the cookies ready."

Just what are the cookies she's referring to? Hard to tell, though the bulky suppressor for her carbine is now getting threaded into place. The view outside gradually changes into a subterranean railyard, a vaulted ceiling revealing an ancient tracked crane used for transferring cargo and repairing engines alike. Off to the side are a set of concrete stairs that lead up into the base proper.

With one final lurch and the rattle of shock-absorbing couplers, the train hisses to a stop. There's a few voices but they sound like they're a fair distance out.


"...cow cookies?" whispers Wisdom with a look over his shoulder, backing away from the wall and the gaps between the slats. He unrolls his parka and pulls it on, then takes his gun back out of his holster. Once the train's fully stopped, he holds up a hand, listening for a moment. Then he gestures to the side of the car closer to the wall; more cover, obviously. He silently rolls the door open -- one does not take a battered cattle car into Mordor without first getting a shit-ton of graphite on the door track -- just wide enough for them to get out, then minds the gap. Because one does. And when he's out he immediately looks up. Cameras? Guards?


Roy's response towards Domino is that of a wide grin followed by a one-fingered salute to the brow and a flip-off, before a serious mien settles onto his face, and he takes his place on the other side of the door. Given that Pete seems to be taking recon, Roy's observation is towards peering between the slats.

The guards were a while off focusing more on the large trainbeds with boxes stacked up in position, as workers started to clamber aboard to secure the ropes for the crane to start gathering up the cargo billets.

The vaulted ceiling does not seem to contain any cameras, but there might be some in the distance, in the usual entry-point locations. Meaning the usual blindspots were likely available. Getting to them would be the question...

"So, infiltration time, Wisdom. What do we do, grab a few workers and hope their clothes fit?" Roy asks, as he casts an analytical gaze at Domino.


"Maybe just the cows," Dom quietly replies. "Nothing like a bunch of livestock on the loose to distract people." Roy earns himself a wry smirk. "Keep dreaming, Harper." With Pete out first she hops out second, carbine at the ready as she sweeps the large room and mentally marks the points most likely for an ambush to occur from, and which spots would provide the best cover for them if necessary.

"Whatever we're doing, we should do it somewhere else. Feelin' kinda exposed in here," she quietly points out. Yet again it's Roy's comment that gets the biggest reaction out of her, this time reaching out to catch the top of his head in order to turn his point of view somewhere other than where she happens to be. "Disguises might work for you two. I'm at a slight disadvantage." Pause. "My Russian accent isn't the greatest."


"Yeah," says Wisdom quietly, archly ignoring the juvenile antics-- until Domino's last comment, at which point he has to school his face out of grinning. "Right. Getting out's going to be stupid, we're in the middle of a fucking mountain, so we may as well make a big bloody mess of it. See if we can find some sort of alarm system or something to set off." He regards the people unloading cargo way over there, then reaches up to rub his nose. "Soon as we're closer to that end, Harper, blow the door off the cattle car. This lot should run toward it, give us an opening to get to the exit. Alarm's because killing morons gives me indigestion. If they're too stupid to evac they shouldn't've got into this business. Then we set fire to everything and run. Massive game of ding dong ditch. Faster and less complicated than her shitty accent and my poor listening skills. Come on. And catalogue everything you see on the way so we have *something* to show for it."


His head redirected towards the cows, Roy looks thoughtful. "Mmmm... Okay. So how're we getting out of here, take the train?" Probably with just the engine for speed.

At Pete's command, Roy nods, "I'll be with you in a minute," the ginger SHIELD agent says, as he starts towards a shovel in the corner. "I promise you'll get your bloody mess."


"We're good at big bloody messes," Domino says with a tiny grin. "The 'bloody' part's not a literal translation, by the way." Some sort of alarm system... "What, you want me to do a little jig in front of the first camera I find? Or maybe Bessie could put on the moves," she offers with a thumb back over a shoulder to the cattle car.

Hold up a minute, here... What's nearby that is bound to have some sort of alarm connected to it? Dom's eyes slowly look back, and up, to the giant fucking crane poised over their heads. "Here's an idea..." she starts in. "These old Soviet installations tend to have nuclear reactors. Real oldschool tech, be child's play to Chernobyl the sucker. Also, we're standing beneath the second biggest noise maker in a hundred mile radius, short of Roy bitching about tunnels." Creating a fire sale down here won't be a problem. It's all down to how much time they want to spend rooting around for intel.


"Don't even joke about Bessie being in there," Wisdom says fervently, casting a brief paranoid look back at the car they were in. "We were in there in the /dark/ with them." He pauses, then turns back to -stare- at Domino. "Don't-- all right, fuck, no, none of the intel I had said there was any nuclear facility in the area. If it's nuclear we're not setting jack /shit/ off. We get out and we report it. This country's people can't afford another Chernobyl, not even another Fukushima, nevermind the rest of the world. If you can set off the alarms for it without actually bringing it into meltdown -- provided that's what's here -- do it, we'll steal the whole fucking train. Get off, crash it off a cliff."


A few minutes of stifled cursing and a waft of freshly overturned manure, and then Roy is out of the train car, tossing his used gloves behind him as he perches on his haunches to look down at Pete and Domino. "... what, no explodo?" Roy grunts, looking disappointed for a moment. "So what're we gonna do, get into the command room to find out if we're sitting on a nuke, and if we are, we -don't- make like Dr. Strangelove?"


"We're under god knows how many tons of mountain, Pete. What happens down here will stay down here until the end of time and then some." Not that Domino's argument gets her very far, finally conceeding by holding up one open palm and one suppressed carbine. "Alright, if you know they don't have a reactor it's all a moot point. Just don't go pointing any fingers my way when they develop the next X-Gene killer down here, I'm all for the Scorched Earth policy."

Dom does another quick look around, making sure that their cover is still in good order. "We've found the joint. Let's dig up what dirt we can on it. Roy shouldn't have all of that fun." Really, though..! "If we can find a main terminal we could swipe a data dump and be on our way before anyone's the wiser. I know for a fact Fury's not gonna want to send another team down here to do the actual work after we've firebombed their porch. Could always let Roy set up some charges on the limbs of that crane while we go rooting around in their drawers. Gods know the only way to keep him out of trouble is to let him cause some."


"I doubt I could take /that/ kind of heat, Harper, and I'm *built* for it," Wisdom says, glaring up at Roy. And then he gestures at everything!! with his gun and turns that exasperation on Domino, finally shutting it off when she concedes. "Yeah. Because us staying down here until the end of time is a great idea too," he mutters, then just jams his gun in his belt and his hands in his pockets, starting to stalk away from the car. "Yes. You fiddle with the pushbuttons and blinkenlights. I'll watch your back. Harper will cause distractions by being loud and ginger. It's like a match made in an AIM base under a mountain in the bowels of Soviet Russia. Fucking /nuclear/ I don't even. If the layout's anything like the others it should be this way."


"Wait a minute, are you two going to be going around being all sneaky and scouting while I go explode things and be distracting?"

Roy ponders this for a moment, before grinning. "Fine. I'll even make it look good. They won't even suspect." Making 'get going' motions with his hands, Roy shoos them off. "Get going on. Oh and Domino? I'm so totally rooting in your drawers later."


"-We- wouldn't be down here, Wisdom, fuck," Domino quickly counters, "give us -some- credit here." Seems that their course of action is established at least, though why Pete went and disarmed himself seems rather puzzling. "Getting tired of waving it around?" No problem there, she's still on the case.

"Gotta know how to find 'em first, Harpman. And don't go bringing the roof down until we're -out- of this place, huh? Cows distract. Crane covers escape. Don't mix up the triggers. You've got enough trouble with that, already." Think of the pay, always think of the pay... It's rare that saying "Let's press on, Pete" is actually a relief to her. The room may be relatively quiet but the facility as a whole is crawling with people that don't want these three to be here. It's a good time to stick to a plan and make things happen.

The first guard that Dom sees up close and personal-like is getting his face driven into the nearest wall, too. "Sorry, kiddo. Didn't see you standing there."


'Kiddo'. Pete snorts. Every time. "Neh," he says to her arms question; he lifts his hands from his pockets, holds them up as they walk. And just for precaution's sake, he switches to Russian. {These are just quieter. Besides, I figured it'd be a better idea to let you blow off steam. After I insulted your professionalism and la.} The corner of his mouth quirks down, as though he's once again decided a lack of visible amusement is the better part of valor.

Since the next time they come upon AIM personnel there're two of them, Pete helps, because he's a helper, and he brings his elbow down hard on the back of the neck of one of them. As the guy crumples, Pete grimaces, but keeps on. {I still owe you fifty quid from Reykjavik, don't I. Command center should be around the next corner.}


"Ha, sorry sweetheart, I know my right from my left, and cows from cranes. And I'll take that as an invitation to go find out," Roy grins, before nodding at Wisdom. "Good luck, man."

With the duo gone, Roy is left to look at the cows and at the manure pile he'd set up. "Stop looking at me like that, Bessie, you're not staying for the fireworks," Roy sighs, patting the lowing cow on the head.

And while the guards are being tended to by Pete and Domino, the workers might find themselves distracted by...

"Hey, who let the cows out?"

... the sight of bovines slowly clambering down a ramp. How Roy managed to get the cows to -move- was probably a question best not asked.


It doesn't have to make sense. Sometimes it's more fun if it doesn't. Dom calls -everyone- kiddo. It had to have come from somewhere. {My professionalism can handle it,} she offers back with an accent that's not nearly what she had suggested it might be. {You're right about one thing, though.}

Crack!

{Always happy to release some tension,} she finishes while stepping over another downed guard. These guys are so very lucky they're not using lethal force yet. {Yep. Though I've lost track of how many drinks I technically owe you. May as well just call it even and--} she stops short, finally rounding the corner to the control room. {Jesus, this place makes Atari look like cutting edge tech. We'd be doing them a favor by wrecking it!}

Before that, there's a number of people inside to dispatch. Bullets and blood don't tend to mix well with electronics, but what can you do? Well, besides switch over to blades. Mark up the first casualties of this run, one guy going down with a matte black blade sticking out of his back right over the heart. Time to steal themselves some data!


"{Yeah, just focus on the atari, will you?}" is Pete's flat statement-- something's got him running unhappy anyway, and now he scowls and there's an abrupt change in his body language as the first casualty hits the floor. Without any warning, he's lancing brains and security cameras with blades of sun flung from his fingertips, and then he crouches down, keeping one hand held up and aimed toward the door. And-- he collects ID badges. "{I have trouble with my answerphone.}"


And in the meantime...

"Mooooooo?"

"GET THOSE THINGS OUTTA HERE!"

"Mooooooo..."

And while workers were trying to push cows forward or backward and the bovines chewed their cuds placidly while swishing their tails and wondering why these silly two-legged things wanted them to move -right now-, arrows fly towards the cranes. Not to explode... at least not yet. Just twine up the arm with explosives and a timer.

The not-quite-Atari-tech monitor is displaying a very simple picture. A mountain. A hollowed out underground chamber. Train tunnels, one for the regular mountain travellers, others for the sekrit underground chamber. Some sort of -pit- or something inside it, far below the chamber, which apparently displays a bunch of numbers. Besides it are a bunch of numbers that apparently displays how much kilowatts are being generated by...


Click-clickety-click. Click... "Um." Click-click-click. "Wisdom?" -Click.- "You're right. No nukes in this place. I don't suppose your intel told you what they -do- have? Because I'm looking right at it." Looking at, and barely able to believe it. "This bitch is geothermal. We're inside a dormant volcano."

Domino spins around in her seat, looking back to Pete with a tiny grin. "Someone clearly read the 'Cliched Villain 101' handbook.

The -files,- right..! Back to the keyboard she turns, finding (thank god) a piece of modern technology slapped onto the older interface. A USB drive! How's that for dumb luck. She calls up a mass sweep of the system's drives, trusting in that same dumb luck to get her some positive results without having to spend all night hand-picking through the collision of binary. "Alright, let's go see how the Lord of the Cows is holding up."


"Fuck. No. Ha! Shit. A fucking volcano-- yeah all right, aren't any villages in Pompeii distance, in case we fucking set it off," Wisdom says, a half-incredulous, choked little laugh coughing out of him as he straightens, pocketing the ID cards. "Oh hell with it, let's set it off. I hear mooing," he adds, sticking his head out the door and then ducking back in, gesturing for Domino to go ahead. "So yeah. You go do that, I'll catch you up in a couple of seconds." Now *he's* headed for some controls-- but they're not anything like what Dom was playing with a minute ago. No. He's gone for the PA. And he takes out his phone -- he's on number six since coming to the States -- and thumbs through it, then pushbuttons, then leaves it in front of the transmitter on speakerphone.

As the Englishman takes a jog to catch up with the mercenary, tinny and overdriven music comes over the loudspeakers. And yes. It is Soft Cell.


Okay. Crane rigged. Uh... how long are they supposed to keep up the distraction here? What was Roy supposed to do now to keep up a distraction with cows while not getting caught?

And then -that- music comes on, and Roy glances up, before slapping his head. "Oh for... damned Brits. What's he trying to do...?"

Sadly the cows seem entranced enough, as their pace pick up, and they start plodding back towards the train. "Aw man... Lian'll never let me hear the end of it if she finds out I blew up a bunch of cows," Roy mutters...


Domino's being given clearance..to set off..a -volcano.- "I take back what I said before about wondering why I agreed to take this job. In fact, I love this job." The only question now is how to tickle a sleeping volcano into ..well. Doing its thing as a volcano. This facility may be lacking the more traditional nuclear reactor, but those crazy Soviets were still firm believers in not letting anyone else get hold of their fancy toys if things went sideways. She's read reports of setting off sizeable enough explosions within the heart of a volcano in order to trigger an eruption. And hey, let's face it. It's fucking cold out in this corner of the globe. A little magma is just what the lady ordered.

"So," Domino says to herself while getting out of the chair and looking around the control room, "if I were to be a self-destruct button... Where would I be?"

There. It would be over there. She quickly makes her way over to one of the consoles and finds a locked panel upon the workstation. This might stop some people. It doesn't stop her. Inside the drawer of that same desk she finds exactly one bottle of vodka, and one key. The vodka fits her love of alcohol. The key fits the single slot within the lone panel. "Hey Wisdom? How done do you like your beef?"

-Click.-

Red lights suddenly blink into existence. One of them near the control room pops in a spray of sparks, too old to be up to its task any longer. Joining the lights is a deep, metallic alarm that blares through rust-caked speakers, the device itself sounding old and tired as it calls out its death cries.

A positively malicious grin spreads across ebony lips. "Whoopsie."


Now honest to god running (and once again sort of irritated with the side effects of smoking), Pete tags Roy on the way past, melting the couplings between the cars as he goes. "Do it!" he yells. Naaawwww, they don't need all those crates and crates of weapons and explosives weighing them down, do they? Tssh.


"What the hell..."

"Quick, get the train going. We've got to get out of here!""

"... what the hell, am I supposed to blow the crane now or wait...?" Roy mutters, as he watches the train start rumbling, roaring up. And then Pete comes running, and Roy is tagged.

"Oh. Dammit!" And Roy starts running after Pete, pushing the button as he runs.

And while there's a mad scramble for the train, the crane arm explodes.

The billet that was being supported by the crane arm comes crashing down, hard. Boxes explode, scattering its contents across the floor... in the way of the poor people who were slower to catch up.

Swinging up on the last car that Pete had left attached, Roy turns around... aw, where's Domino now? HURRY UP, WOMAN.


Where is Domino? Busy running her little albino -ass- off. Down the hall, banking up off of the sternum of a guard that rounds the corner, down the -other- hall, vaulting over a railing and dropping to a roll across the floor as the damned -crane explodes.-

"Harper..! That was supposed to cover our exit, not -cover- our exit!"

Crap. Crapcrap-- Huh. Before Patch-Eye can stop and assess the mess that's quickly taking over the rail bay she sees a whole new path open up before her, as though the very Divines are creating a way to guide her along. The crane's still in the process of falling, their ride out of here is starting to pick up speed.

Odds of having a parkour's shot of reaching the train in time: 1 in 957,221.

Heavy combat boots slam against the twisted yellow pillar that had once kept the crane vertical, leaping and catching a twisted portion of the crane arm itself to reach -another- part of the wreckage, then she rolls out across the roof of a neighboring boxcar and sprints like an absolute fiend across the top of one parked train to finally dive across open space toward the back of the escaping one.

Domino catches the ladder of the last car to get pulled along.

"Sorry guys, forgot my ticket back there!"


On the train, as Roy and Domino are variously sprinting and acrobatics-ing aboard, Pete's gesturing like crazy, hanging on with one hand to the train car's back door. "Come on come on COME ON--" and he helps the both of them into the car from where they attached themselves to it, laughing with disbelief. "Holy fuck, that was brilliant!" he crows at Domino for her what-the-fuck-robatics, punching Roy's arm and grinning, and then--


And then something large, heavy, and blunt comes flying towards Pete's head.

... oh right, the train -had- been started by the AIM workers, hadn't they? And they weren't alone, not with dozens of armed AIM soldiers all glaring at the little party.

... TUNE IN TOMORROW.

MARVEL! At the lucky minx staring down a rifle. "Don't aim that at me unless you plan to use it, kiddo."

SHOCK! At the SHIELD Agents under fire.

SCREAM!

"Aw man, YOU want us to -light these explosives right -now-?"

SAME BRIT-TIME, SAME BRIT-CHANNEL."

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