Constraints: Follows 'Please Give Me Your Full Attention'
Synopsis: The Legion set out to stop Harman's mercenaries from making population centres vanish.
The Future We Choose/Anticipate This.
Julia entered the office and Agent Fleming said "I take it you have a message for me?"
"Some questions, actually. What led you to believe the Legion are terrorists? And why the hell didn't any of you talk to me about your concerns?"
"You're a Legionnaire too, that tells us where your loyalties lie."
"I also have moral standards, Agent Fleming, my fellow Legionnaires act in an unacceptable manner, I won't support or enable it," said Julia.
"Moral standards. ... Osama has moral standards," replied Agent Fleming.
"No he doesn't. He just wants to take over the world. What makes you think the Legion are terrorists?"
"You helped Al Qaeda attack Japan, and you stole reactor fuel for what can only be terroristic purposes."
"We're mortally opposed to Al Qaeda and anyone like them, we didn't attack anything or anyone in Japan, and we were busy preventing death and destruction in Chicago when Harman's people stole that nuclear fuel, and you keep skipping past anything even resembling evidentiary links, do you even have any evidentiary links?" asked Julia.
"We have a tip off predicting your attack before the attack, right when it was predicted for, we have an Osama video claiming credit for the attack, then we had a tip-off that you guys would be attacking Chicago-"
"These tip-offs were probably from that precog we've been chasing. You're being manipulated," said Julia.
"The tips have been accurate so far," said Fleming.
"Precog," reminded Julia.
"Regardless, we've sent Daria off for interrogation, we'll have our answers soon."
"The correct answers or the answers you want to hear?" asked Julia. "You know why none of the other branches of government use extraordinary renditions?"
"You don't take your jobs seriously?" asked Fleming.
Julia laughed and said "how the hell do you keep a straight face? It's because these interrogations contaminate the evidence, they make prosecution impossible, it makes a mess."
"It also gets us the information we need to act fast," said Fleming.
"Okay, and how's that been working out?" asked Julia. "We both know the Legion has no interest in assisting terrorists. What's this really about?"
"It's about keeping America safe," said Fleming.
"No it's not," said Julia.
"That's because you're too close to see the forest. 'If you don't choose the future you want, you don't get the future you want.' How the hell doesn't that set off alarm bells?"
"You're on the Legion's case for getting people to take an interest in their future?" asked Julia.
"They're too loosely defined in their purpose," said Fleming, "I believe you yourself expressed concern about this."
"Out of concern for their survival," said Julia, "I'm now getting that having such an open ended purpose helps them do more good. That saying about a 'Jack of all trades is a master of none', that's not very accurate, in fact, the Legion has become one of the most adaptable organisations created."
"The problem with them being so open ended, is that they could decide to try their hand at being a government. What if one day they decide it's ... for the best?"
"You mean, like, a violent overthrow of the US and other nation governments? Undo everything they've worked to achieve?"
"They have such an open ended role, why not?"
"Because it's wrong," said Julia.
"Oh, right, well in that case, we can just stop worrying about them, can't we?" Said Fleming.
"You don't really think the Legion are perpetrating the current crisis, you're just using the current crisis as an excuse to nip an imagined problem in the bud," said Julia.
"Where's your proof?" asked Fleming.
"Everywhere. So many agents have jumped ship because of how retarded they perceive the management to be. Then there's your history prior to entering the CIA, remember when you were in the BATF? Your colleagues and supervisors felt you were lazy in your thinking, ham fisted in your deductions, and speaking of fists, did you get a boner every time you ordered a cavity search, or was that just an extension of your lazy thinking?"
"Have you heard of professional courtesy?" asked Agent Fleming.
"Says the man who just took interagency rivalry to a whole new level," said Julia, "I'd say we're done for now. Take my advice and release Daria. If we have to extract her, you're going to get crap canned, big time." With that she left.
"It's them all right," said Stacy, as she sniffed around the nuclear material flask.
"Wasn't it just a little dangerous to be using explosives around enriched uranium?" asked Jane.
"Not really, that is, provided there's a flask around it," said Jodie, "aside from that, they have two diclonii with them."
"How'd that protect them from a nuclear explosion?" asked Jane.
"Making fissionable material explode like that isn't that simple," said Jodie, "you need to make a supercritical mass quickly enough and keep it together long enough for enough uranium to undergo fission for the blast you want before the fuel disperses too thinly to continue fission. It's not very efficient, tactical nukes barely use up any of their fuel, most of it remains as the uranium or plutonium it started off as."
"Really?" asked Jane.
"Really," said Jodie, "another advantage we have for the moment is that they can't use it as is, if Harman has any sense, he'd have picked up an engineer or two for designing custom vehicles and weapon systems, most engineers could transfer their skills to building a nuclear weapon very easily, most engineering disciplines require the same mathematical skills, at least some chemistry theory."
"That doesn't sound very advantageous to us," said Jane.
"The part that is advantageous to us is that they'd have to build a fuel processing plant," said Jodie, "reactor fuel ain't bomb fuel, especially this stuff, it's alloyed with aluminium, makes it easier to handle once it's been expended, makes it less likely to melt down, the process needed involves reacting the metals with a halogen such as fluorine, that turns the alloy into salts of the component metals, then you can distil, dissolve, precipitate the uranium or aluminium out of the mixture, then you reduce the uranium using electricity. Biggest question will be how quickly he wants to get this all done?"
"Assume fast, next couple of days or so," said Jane.
"Small to medium industrial plot, the need for hydrofluoric acid in the process makes things really difficult because you also need to reduce the uranium when you're done, and that isn't exactly easy, he's going to have to rotate his men to limit exposure and provide healing time because gamma rays are corrosive to organic materials," said Jodie, "He'll also want to set up all the moulds so that he can get the uranium straight in there without having the change anything in their equipment between stages, any time you stop, dismantle and re-rig, you risk contamination, and no amount of money's any good to you if you're dead."
"Money," said Jane, "Riddle me this: What the hell does our precog expect to make from all this? How many movies have there been where some idiot tries to extort money through nuclear terrorism, and instead gets their ass handed to them?"
"Smart people have stupid moments too. More likely though is that she'll try to sell her wares or sell strikes. Same industry as before, except with bigger weapons," said Jodie.
"To who?" asked Jane.
"Given the ethical salesmanship she's demonstrated so far, her list of approved customers probably include everyone from Al Qaeda to the Zapatistas. She'd have an easier time hitting targets in the United States since that's where here is, crossing borders with nuclear fuel is a pain in the ass, so she'll probably approach Al Qaeda and Aryan Nations first and foremost."
"Al Qaeda who hate women, Nazis who hate metas," said Stacy.
"Mercenaries who don't care, money is money is money, money, money," said Jodie, "She'll also have to notify her prospective customers of a nuclear strike at a given time, probably not a location so it doesn't get back to the authorities in time for them to do anything about it, and demonstrate a weapon at that time."
"So no matter what, at least one city will get smoked," said Jane.
"Unless we find them first," said Jodie, "Also, to keep from alienating prospective customers, she'll probably want to ensure that the demonstration doesn't kill any of her potential client's operatives, so middle of nowhere might seem better for her."
"I have a trail," said Stacy, "vehicle moved this way," she followed the scent. The rest of them followed her.
"Here we are," said Wanda, "Stay frosty."
Wanda knocked on the door of the street level apartment in the street in the town in the woods of Bolivia. Their next best hope after that Japanese institute was the theatre where the precog and his or her diclonii were recently so long active.
A man in a Hawaiian shirt and beige trousers packing an MP5k opened it and asked "What?"
"You know your rivals that were fighting the Legion a while back?" asked Wanda.
"We're interested in any intel anyone could provide on them," said Wanda.
"How interested?" asked the man.
"We're their enemy," said Wanda.
"And you being their enemy makes you our friend?" asked the man.
"Something like that," said Wanda. "Our interest is rather specific, they recently had an advantage over you, right?"
"Yeah, they had those aberrants and a precog that only seemed to communicate over the phone," said the man.
Wanda and Tiffany refrained from commenting on his use of the word 'Aberrant', although Tiffany was thinking of exiting through the wall next to the door when it came time to leave.
"Any conversations that anyone recorded would help. Bonus if it's audio," said Wanda.
"Alright, come in, have a seat, I'll have the information for you soon."
Callisto looked around as she and Lucy wandered around the Honolulu beach front.
"How do they manage to fit in so well?" asked Callisto.
"Who?" asked Lucy.
"The diclonii we freed," said Callisto. "The whole trip, they were pretty much dressed the same, like some kind of army or something, in the institute, they were like concentration camp inmates, now they've made contact with their relatives and friends, they're ... "
There were diclonii involved in various activities, some were sunbathing, others surfing on rented boards, some shopping, all were dressed in as wide a variety of clothing as the humans milling around them. Some even had religious items such as crucifix or Star of David necklaces, or Islamic head scarves (imagine being in a religion where most the imagery depicts people with horns as being evil). Pictures of naked prisoners don't have much effect unless you actually realise that the naked people ARE IN FACT PEOPLE. People with personal styles, tastes, personality quirks, friends, families, histories, interests, thoughts, seeing them now reinforced the scale of the crime that had been committed against them.
"It probably helps that having experienced life in a concentration camp, suddenly funny looks caused by their horns are nothing," said Lucy.
"Yeah, as helpful as that gets anyway," said Callisto. "I'm really sick of living in a sewer. Why can't we find homes that don't smell like the inside of someone's deceased ass to live in?"
"Because I'm a recovering serial killer and the rest of us are faeces ugly," said Lucy.
A diclonius woman stopped next to them and said "I'm holding a meeting at seventeen o'clock in auditorium no. 5 at our hotel, could you come?" she held out a leaflet which held a time and place, no decorative trim or anything.
"What's it about?" asked Lucy.
"I have a proposal to make, I want to make it to everyone together," said the woman.
"Ohhhhh-kay," agreed Lucy as she accepted the leaflet.
"Thanks," said the woman as she continued on, approaching every diclonius in sight.
"A proposal?" asked Callisto.
"Yeah. She's nervous about it," said Lucy.
The scientist finished explaining to the next guy how to introduce the hydrofluoric acid to the reactor fuel and walked over to the rest area.
They were casting the parts for one bomb at a time. Everything else was set up including the fractioning tower.
They had also set up a mass spectrometer. If they could get away with broader temperature differences in temperature, they could process the fuel a lot faster, if they had to deal with minute differences in temperature, they would need to move the halons through more slowly or the turbulence generated would disrupt the process.
Val's phone rang. Val answered it. Eventually she said "What? But we've started dissolving the ... ... Okay."
Harman walked over asking "We have to move?"
"Yep," said Val.
"Right," said Harman.
"We only really need to be stationary for distillation and electrolysis," said their scientist, "I'd rather be stationary for all of it, but practically speaking, we can fluoridise the material as we move."
"Okay, PACK IT UP PEOPLE, WE'RE RELOCATING IN TEN MINUTES!"
"We might have something now," said Wanda.
"Took you long enough, how many days did you spend at sea?" asked Fury.
"That was unavoidable, besides, rumours that we're good people might increase the number of informants available to us," said Wanda, "speaking of informants, one of the rival cartels to the one that our favourite precog was working for, we have her voice on a flash drive, should be good for voice match, might even give us clues about her background."
"Okay, upload it and e-mail it."
"Might need to talk to NCIS about this," said Tiffany, "our precog seemed to use naval terminology when she gets stressed or tired, referred to doors as 'hatches', described Harman's people as 'good for army people,' and one conversation following my first encounter with the diclonii, she referred to me as a 'damn squid', I mean, she could be throwing the phrases in there in case the conversation get's listened in on, but I am getting a strong Marine Corps feel off of her."
"Marine corps? Someone who was discharged or who quit out of dissatisfaction maybe?"
"Other locations got mentioned, they mentioned Chechnya," said Tiffany, "we're going to try Russia for after action reports from their operation, see if anyone ever happened across two diclonius women or across any sliced up dead people."
"Okay, let me know when you get there, I'll talk to some people I know in the People's protectorate and the RRB," said Fury.
"Rocket Red Brigade?" asked Tiffany.
"Yeah, why?" asked Fury.
"No reason," said Tiffany, with barely any opacity.
When they hung up, Wanda asked "Anything that should affect my risk assessment?"
"As a meta-cop, you encounter artificially induced mutations all the time, don't you?"
"Yeesh, enough said, so RRB's mainly or all ... "
"Yep," said Tiffany.
"And the People's Protectorate?" Asked Wanda.
"Russian version of you guys," said Tiffany, "slightly Stasi-ish, used to go by the name Supreme Soviets, some people defected in the cold war, haven't really encountered them in the field, never had them come up in any briefings, more stuff I sought out myself. I guess we'll find out what they're like when we get there."
Julia landed in the field and walked up behind Jane and Stacy as they watched the plaster as it took the shape of the tyre imprint in the mud.
"See what you mean about Fleming," said Julia as she approached them, "David Koresh could scam him. How we doing here?"
"Mack and Tom are looking in through windows at business parks and industrial estates from nearest out, hopefully they'll find something resembling a nuclear processing plant. So far they've led police to three meth labs and four moonshine stills," said Jane, "Brittany and Jodie are talking to as many cops as possible, at superintendent level or highest each jurisdiction failing that has to offer failing that, at least they're co-operating with us, anyone at the federal level's being a dick about assisting us as per policy re. Terrorist watch list nominees. What led this idiot to list us as terrorists anyway?"
"Apparently Fleming has an agenda, and this was just a convenient opportunity to forward it. Daria's ... ... Got any leads for me to pursue?"
Jane didn't really need to hear Julia say that Daria had been flown out to some place where amendments against cruel and unusual punishment and self incrimination don't exist and the Geneva convention is out and out ignored, and what Julia did in switching to asking about the case went back to what Jane had been saying earlier about the greater urgency the missing enriched uranium presented.
This was not a matter of procedure, or law or anything like that, the fact was that if they didn't get that fissile material back, massive numbers of people would die, and not just in the blast, but beyond as the fallout contaminates people through contact, through ingestion, people would just keep dying after the event.
Question is what would Daria make of that when they finally turn their attention to rescuing her? Would she understand the reason for the decision or would she be unable to see beyond her pain?
Jane hoped they would find that uranium fast.
"Stacy, you and Julia try and find a vehicle that smells of Harman's folks, I can handle the tyre tread cast from here."
Lucy and Callisto entered the room. They met Nana.
"Any idea what this is about?" asked Lucy.
"No," said Nana.
There was just about enough room to seat all the diclonii that had shown up.
Eventually the diclonius that had handed out the leaflets walked over to the podium and turned on the microphone. "Okay, your attention please?" The room quietened. "Thank you. I'm Sarah Fontaine, I'm here to propose an action, and it'll sound absurd, but I hope you all will stay for the entire length of this meeting and seriously consider what I'm proposing. ... Okay, now, having come out of that torture camp, you all probably don't feel that lucky, but we were lucky to get out of that camp at all, and we were lucky that SHIELD agent and that ... Coast guardsman," she had trouble keeping a straight face when reciting the story Tiffany had told them about being in the coast guard, but the concept of a deniable operation was not lost on them, " ... we were lucky they helped us stay free when that submarine and that battleship showed up. ... Our next stroke of luck was that the United States INS has granted us permission to stay instead of returning us to sender. Our situation has been precarious since our births, and we somehow made it. ... It is time to capitalise on this luck and give something back. ... Okay, this is what I'm proposing, and you're probably going to be asking yourselves 'well, how's this our problem?' ... Well, we weren't our rescuer's problem, they helped us, and I for one don't want to feel like an asshole sponger."
Sarah eventually got started on the proposal she was making.
"I smell something," said Stacy as they passed a used car showroom.
Stacy homed in on a red 2.5T truck. She pulled a Geiger counter.
"I doubt they'll have contaminated it," said Julia, "they want to live, remember?"
"Right," said Stacy.
"Mud flaps would probably be the best place to check for trace, might have fallout from a manufacturing process specific to a place," said Julia.
A man in a suit approached them asking "Interested in this truck or just browsing? Either's good, but any questions, I'm here. Laos, if you're willing to endorse my business, I'd be willing to offer a discount."
"Yeah, who sold you this truck?" asked Julia.
"I can find out, but whatever it's service history, you can rest assured we made good any flaws," he said.
"These are new mud flaps," said Stacy, "Paint smells new, we're not going to get any trace off of this."
"Trace? What the ... "
Julia said "we're running an investigation, when did you receive this truck?"
"Well, at least a week-" said the man.
"BEFORE you attempt to lie to me, you need to know that my friend here has enhanced smell, and she's smelling a number of individuals who stole a shipment of fissionable material yesterday, so by lying to us, you're aiding terrorists, and we still have lots and lots of lovely Federal prisons that you could visit on the government's dime! The food's great - and you'll love the nightlife. Now, who did this truck come from?" asked Julia.
They pulled over and the men driving the truck with the uranium on it swapped with two from the minibus in front.
"Boss, all the fuel's been reacted," said the man who had been fluoridising the material.
"Val, Sal, do we have a safe destination yet? We've been changing our minds every four hours," asked Harman.
"You'd know if we knew," said Val.
"Our boss just said she'd call when she had a plan," said Sal.
"Right, don't suppose she'd be willing to tell us what it is that keeps happening?" asked Harman.
"Same thing?" asked Val.
"Why'd you ask about that?" asked Sal.
"So it is the same thing? That case, what is it?" asked Harman.
" ... We don't know either," said Val.
"We keep asking but she keeps saying she needs to figure this out," said Sal, "this is a little creepy, first three times, she did say 'Cops will be there', but then she stopped talking to us."
"Information control could seem essential to her for diagnosis of the problem," said Val.
"She might also suspect one of your me-"
"No," said Harman.
Sal said "it's possible."
"I'd know if it was one of mine," said Harman.
"Well, then maybe it's something else," said Val.
They eventually resumed their journey.
"Sooo, this, Nintendo detector?" asked Brittany as Jodie and Charles loaded it onto the Gridrunner.
"Neutrino detector," said Jodie, "Charles and I have been working on it for a while, it seems to work, it should detect Harman's uranium as it undergoes beta decay."
"Neutrinos lose so little energy that they are a good way of working out what's going on in a stellar core without having to wait for the heat to make it's way through the star's mantle," said Charles, "it won't matter how much lead they put on that uranium, the neutrinos will get through."
"Problem is we'd need to be in the path of those neutrinos, U235 has a really long half life, and with us being on the terrorist watch list, overflying population centres at two or three hundred AGL is going to get us some attention," said Jodie.
"No way around it," said Brittany.
"Nope. Charles will accompany me with a load of confinement mist bombs, that way, as soon as we find these assholes, we can contain them," said Jodie, she then added "provided they haven't set up any radiation containment fields."
"Well, what happens if they do have those containment fields?" asked Brittany.
"We fail to notice them," said Jodie.
"Oh, okay. I guess I should stay here and watch the phones," said Brittany "I mean, I know how to fight a mean war, but I'm not so good at investigation."
"Well, we're investigating former special forces mercenaries," said Jodie, "in fact, thinking about it, I think there's a good chance our precog is also ex military. Something about her style and the breadth of her knowledge. Harman's not been planning that much of this, the precog had to set things up and hand out instructions to get Harman's men to do what was needed, I wonder if-"
"What?" asked Brittany.
"That DNA sample Rochelle PD entered into CODIS should have been back by now. If the precog's ex military, her DNA would be on record, but that could be blocked, metro cops wouldn't get an answer off of CODIS, but the applicable military cops would be notified. Except they're all looking either for us or the Uranium, case notes saying dead people in a house might not grab their attention," said Jodie.
"You mean no one will follow it up?" asked Brittany.
"If they don't, I will," said Jodie.
"My tastebuds are discussing a mutiny," said one of Harman's men "I may need to execute some of them to quell it."
"You know the radiological diet," said Harman "minimum biotic, and the least biotic foods are-"
"Energy foods, I know boss," said the soldier as he peeled back the cover and added the boiling water to the pot noodle.
They had been doing this for a day before the train robbery, and now they had to continue until they were done handling the uranium close in. As soon as they got their bombs built, they could basically keep their distance most of the time, only handling the device to deliver it to their targets.
But they would still need to stay on the minimum biotic diet until they were no longer dealing with the bombs and even then they'd have to wait at least a week to allow their bowels to fully heal. This seemed really pointless with their radiation containment fields preventing both gamma rays and neutrinos from escaping, but in the event that the field generator packed in, they would need o be able to continue without until the field generator could be repaired.
The plan was to bury the devices in concrete. These particular weapons would be about the size of a typical trash can, the plan was to find a nowhere spot that was in the middle of a population centre they would offer to hit in exchange for a load of money.
But only if they could get the material reduced.
They were able to park up in lay bys and get on with distillation there, but if they had to use their vehicle batteries or a portable generator to reduce the hex, this regime would continue for months. Worse, they'd be using even more energy keeping the condenser at the correct temperature over that longer period of time, and stopping and restarting the process as you constantly relocate is a serious inconvenience.
They were now completely off the road and had been so for way too long, what were they-
"Boss, possible contact, tree copse at our eleven o'clock," said the driver.
Everyone in the vehicle readied themselves with their weapons, one soldier near the back window signalled the alert to the driver in the processing van.
The processing van stopped and the lead van continued until they were at the minimum response time in the event of a rocket or missile launch.
They stopped and disembarked, forming a line. They slowly advanced on the copse until they arrived and saw the five soft walled trucks parked within.
They quickly worked to check there were no x-rays loitering.
"So, what was in that one?" asked Harman.
"Generator, five hundred kVA, and there's about twelve cube metres of diesel fuel," said the first soldier.
The others had similar answers.
"Cool. ... Grab the hex."
Julia was just about the only one who could continue for five days straight, anyone else would be flying into buildings if they didn't grab some sleep.
Jodie and Charles had been flying around using the neutrino detector, hopefully Harman's people don't have radiation containment force fields.
Things were getting a little stupid. They had covered just about all the land Harman and his mercs could have reached on road, air force had been scrutinising the sky since the alarm was raised, even stealth aircraft would have had problems because there had been so many fighters in the area that no stealth advantage would have stopped them from being seen.
Yet they hadn't been found.
Julia had this feeling that they had over flown Harman and his men without realising it.
It would help if they had Daria with them.
In fact, she was starting to consider proposing they find Daria first.
Tiffany closed the folder saying "This is crap."
"Which part?" asked Wanda.
"ALL OF IT!" said Tiffany. She sat there glaring at the pile of folders filled with after action reports.
"How do you figure?" asked Wanda.
"You have three people, they make statements, two are in sync, one isn't, the liar is ... ?"
"Probably the one out of sync, but not necessarily," said Wanda, "They're not all RRB you know. Most these after actions came from regular army."
"That's where Rocket Reds get their attitude," said Tiffany, "a product of the prevailing attitude towards the internationally accepted rules of war, they're used to tough people scaring populations into obedience, and can't seem to grasp why it doesn't seem to work in Chechnya. These reports claim they got to the location after the Chechen rebels gleefully murdered the locals. Guess why they usually get away with their claims?"
"Russians and Chechyans use the same small arms?" guessed Wanda.
"The two in sync are Amnesty International and the Central Intelligence Agency. AIs observers in the Chechyan population, CIA spooks in the Russian Army. Of course, the presence of the spooks is classified, so their testimony will never appear in any war crimes tribunal. "
"Okay, so we want some candour and the Russians don't want to be candid," said Wanda, "any suggestions?"
Tiffany sighed, starting to re-box the folders and said "I have a few ideas, I just don't like them, and if you want to double our progress, neither will you."
Wanda looked apprehensive. She eventually asked "what do you have in mind?"
The bar was loud with cheers and shouts, breaking glass, and sounded like the male locker room at Lawndale High following a victorious Gridiron game.
"This had better get us the information we need," growled Wanda as she ad Tiffany stood there in their short skirts and tube tops and medium heeled boots.
"The only easy d-"
"I will co-opt your powers and fuse your feet with the pavement if I hear any more glib lines relating to your day job," growled Wanda.
" ... ... Okay, standby, standby ... and go."
They entered the boozer.
One interesting thing about running an undercover operation is that you generally keep your personal details as similar as possible, that way you don't have to think as hard as you lie your ass off to your subjects.
"Hello pretty ladies," slurred one soldier.
"What are your pretty names?" slurred another.
"I'm Tiffany, this is Wanda, one of us is in the navy, the other's a SHIELD cop. Can you guess which of us is which?"
And sometimes you don't have to lie at all, just omit that you're there on business.
"Which navy? You sound foreign," said a soldier.
"What do you mean 'which navy'? The only navy on the planet is the United States Navy, everyone else just has a collection of boats and morons," said Tiffany, prompting some "Oooooh,"s.
And sometimes you just have to take a chance and start dissing the armed forces to which a drunken crowd with NVQs in killing people and unhealthy blood alcohol levels and-
"Tiffany dear, that's not nice," purred Wanda.
Tiffany chuckled and replied "Yeah, your right, we shouldn't hold these guys to our standards," she then said to the crowd "Yeah, you guys have a Navy ... I hear."
"FUCK THE NAVY, WE'RE ARMY!" shouted one of the men that had greeted the two of them, this prompted cheers among the other patrons.
Of course, the US is unlikely to ever have a monopoly on inter services rivalry.
"Heyyy, you're the navy girl, and she's the SHIELD girl, right?" asked another.
"Damn, my tentacles are showing, aren't they?" said Tiffany as she self consciously patted herself down looking for imaginary tenticles.
"Tentacles?" asked the man.
"Don't tell me you don't know any US armed forces slang," groaned Tiffany, "honestly, I know the cold war is over, but we still get training on your slang and terminology, okay, what does the term 'Jar Head' refer to?"
"Errr, green berets?" suggested one drunk.
"Noo, it's Naval Infantary, their ... maritimes?" slurred one drunk.
"Marine Corps, it's their Marines," slurred another.
This was more like it. Getting your subjects to relax around you so they'll talk openly. Normally Wanda would have thought she'd be better at this than Tiffany, but you do need to know the mentality to get your foot in the door. To the detriment of her pride, Tiffany was taking the lead.
"YOU," said Tiffany, to the man who had answered correctly, "Are thinking too clearly. TEA TOTALLER! TEA TOTALLER! SCARED OF A LITTLE DRINK YOU ARE!"
This caused the crowd to erupt into laughter. This also put Tiffany potentially in a corner of having to accept a drinking challenge.
"Jane, I think we need Daria if we want to find the Uranium," said Julia, "We're making no headway, we probably flew right past them, we need whatever Daria was able to find out, and she might have a better perspective."
They had met up on the Gridrunner for a meeting.
"Same problem as with the Uranium, how do we find her?" asked Jane.
"My telelocation ability," said Julia, slowly and clearly.
"AH! Right," said Jane, slapping herself across her face, "stupid sleep deprivation. Boss?"
Brittany nodded and said "JODIE, RETURN TO BASE!"
"Have you started yet?" asked Tiffany.
She was actually showing some strain, but not as much as the Russian soldier sat opposite her. They were arm wrestling.
"I ... Wassss ... ... Goinnnnnn- AHHHH!" he said before he lost, to the mirth of the others.
"I wonder if those horned girls I heard about are any good at this?" asked Tiffany.
"Horned girls?" asked one of the soldiers.
"Yeah, I heard about these two girls with horns and telekinetic powers were seen around here or Chechnya or someplace like that," said Tiffany.
"YEAH, I SAW THEM, THEY-" started one.
"They're a myth," said another, interrupting the guy.
"Quiet you," said Tiffany, she then addressed the guy who had responded first saying "You, name and speciality?"
"Antin Maksim, Sniper."
"So what did you see?" asked Tiffany.
"Okay, you know there's this tail extending north west of Groznyy, right?"
"I was eight miles up that tail, I was on this old oil tank, looking west, watching for rebels in these suburbs, and I saw this rebel and he was conversing with this woman with pink hair and horns growing out of her head, at first I thought they were some kind of personal communications equipment or something, but I got a look at where the objects connected with her scalp."
"Sounds like one of them," said Tiffany, "Anything happen?"
"I reported this to the captain, he ordered a fire team in to capture the rebel and the girl, I was to provide sniper cover from my position, we had a platoon attack from the south west as a diversion, make noise, fire team approaches from the north with suppressed weapons."
"How long did the prep take for that?"
"About half an hour, we position Spetsnaz fire teams all over to hole up in case we need them, I was in such a team, the platoon was in an APC, my job was to provide additional support if needed, but I only had one view of the area. I ended up killing several of the rebels that responded to the overt action, the girl and the rebel retreated from the overt platoon towards the fire team, I directed the fire team to intercept. "
"What happened when they got there?" asked Tiffany.
Antin sighed and said "The Spetsnaz team were ripped apart, literally. It was the strangest thing. ... I reported the situation, and my CO ordered me to kill them. I followed orders as best I could, but none of my shots impacted the targets. The girl looked towards me. She couldn't see me, I was about four hundred metres away, I shot something else to try to work out what was wrong with my sights, but there was no malfunction. The shots were simply being deflected. Being unable to locate me, the girl smiled and flipped me off."
"Some of the rebel prisoners we took bragged about the two girls and said something about a precog. Apparently, this precog can predict the future, would keep the Chechyan criminals safe," said another.
The stories kept coming.
Julia got off the elevator with Brittany and walked over to Daria's apartment. They used the skeleton key to enter it, and they looked around.
After looking around the room, Julia asked "are you sure you got enough books there Daria?"
"So, what's going to be a personal item?" asked Brittany.
"I'll just have to touch things until I feel something," said Julia. She then walked around, running her fingers over the rows of books.
Eventually Julia had completed the books.
"Well?" asked Brittany.
"Insufficient psychic energy," said Julia, "She's into reading, but her devotion to all these books is spread too thin by their number."
"So now what?" asked Brittany.
"Now ... ... If Daria finds out about this, she's going to melt my brain. Brittany, how many telepaths does it take to screw in a light bulb?" said Julia. She then started looking around the room. She lifted the skirt of the bed and looked under it, and found it strange that there was a centre post linked to the four other legs, but some beds were like that.
She then looked through the wardrobe.
She failed to locate it there.
She tried the utility room, with Brittany watching looking confused.
Julia eventually returned to the bedroom and looked around confused and frustrated.
She then looked at the bed again and realised that the centre post could serve another purpose, especially with the structural elements on the floor, why would anyone do that? It makes moving the bed a pain in the ass.
Julia got on her hands and knees and crawled around the head of the bed, and found what she was looking for. Brittany looked under the bed from the front. Julia was not visible. Brittany lifted her head and saw Julia pulling something, but looking under the bed again showed no sign of Julia. Julia pulled a box out from under the bed. Brittany walked around and looked under the bed, seeing the triangular compartment that couldn't possible occupy the same space as the empty space she kept seeing. Brittany looked under the side and reached through the frame, only to be stopped by glass which, by the symmetrical reverse image of her hand on the other side of the glass, had to be the substrate of a mirror.
Julia opened the box revealing cuffs, chains, dildos, devices with time setting dials (Delayed release devices?), electrical stimulation gear.
"Wow," said Brittany.
"Who needs a light bulb, they'll just screw whenever they get the chance," commented Julia. She touched a dildo and said "Got her. Mr. Taloquan And Son Deniable Incarceration Ltd, it's in Bangladesh."
"So, none of you ever seen this precog?" asked Wanda.
"No," chorused the soldiers.
Wanda pulled the I-Pod with the voice on it and said "Listen to this."
The room went quiet and one of the conversations were played.
Suddenly, someone pushed through the crowd, this woman with corporal insignia on her uniform, "Excuse me, let me through," she got to the front and said "who the hell is that?"
"Our targets," said Tiffany, "what can you tell me?"
"That's the blonde bitch that ambushed me at my apartment! I WANT TO FUCKING KILL HER!"
"Ambushed yo- What did she do?"
"Fucking raped me, caused enough damage to my neck that I couldn't move for fear of severing my brain stem, had to just lay there, YOU'RE GOING TO HELP ME KILL HER!"
"If we can bring you along, it's possible we won't be able to get you a visa," said Tiffany, "first thing we'll need off of you is a description," Tiffany pulled her smart phone and turned it on, loading an electronic portraying package.
"Hacked the CIA satellite constellation, surface is just this little shack, radar and IR reveals a complex underground structure, there's electrical, water and sewage services connected," said Jodie, "no way to determine if metajammers are in effect, but they're holding a meta, so unless notified otherwise, assume it is."
"Okay, what do we want to do then?" asked Jane.
"Betty teleports in and sees if his powers work, if not, move away until you do, repeat this procedure at least twice on different vectors, once we have the location, Quinn, I'll direct you to hit the metajammer with an electron beam. Then we pile in, secure the place, and make off with Daria."
"CIA will just hate that," said Tom.
"BONUS!" they all chorused.
Brittany then said "Okay, draw weapons, PFT2s, equip them with T-wave sensors for electronic traps, no confinement mist, we don't want to be spending time on barriers we made ourselves, also pack plenty of anti-mist solvent, and BA, respirators are good against sedatives, but not against asphixiants, which would be highly effective in such structures, wheels up in ten minutes."
Trask was watching the way the simulation was progressing. This was getting a little frustrating.
Daria's brain had been sped up so she should be perceiving double the frame rate of normal people, the problem was they had only had six days, or twelve from her point of view. Actually, he had managed to get her to experience twenty three days, sleep time normally slows your perception down, so might as well have that occur at the speed she perceives.
She was stressing, but not as much as he'd like.
The assistant appeared next to Trask and said "One of her associates, their explosives instructor, has been seen around the area, and we heard a sonic boom consistent with the shape of the Gridrunner, I think we're about to get attacked."
"Great," said Trask. After a while, he eventually said "Okay, watch from outside, and prepare to sedate her, in a minute I'll have Armalin de-limb her with a machete, that'll be your cue to sedate her, we stick her on a gurney near the entrance."
The assistant left. Trask checked his watch and said "This time will just have to be the charm."
'Betty from Jodie, I think I have the location of the metajammer, Quinn, target is five metres from the surface structure four three degrees, I'm using masers to generate steam, Betty, as soon as you're able, beam everyone into the surface installation, everyone else join shoulders for teleportation.'
'Insertion Team Ready.'
Jodie fired the masers at the point she had identified generating the visual effects Quinn needed for an aiming point and thought cast 'Quinn from Jodie, fire at your convenience.'
'From Quinn, firing now.'
Trask emerged from the VR gear and noticed the alarms were sounding.
He looked through the window to where Daria was still being prepped for relocation.
The sound of PFT shots and things breaking from PFT shots told him "this sucks."
This was about two seconds before the door left it's hinges and three identical women wearing breathing apparatus armed with PFT M3s entered.
He was knocked out.
He then awoke staring at his crotch, tied to a chair.
He looked up and saw the Legion staring back at him.
"Hi Trask," said Jane.
"I suppose I should beg for mercy or some other crap, right?" Asked Trask.
"Actually you should be abiding by your parole conditions, one of those conditions stay within the state you were released to, only you were outside the country, and then there's the no more crimes, don't even litter or park obstructively, only you assaulted a Legionnaire, equivalent to a deputy marshal," said Jane, "you must love prison. Either one of those counts on their own will return you to it."
"Oh yeah, that's right, you're supposed to be the good guys, aren't you?" said Trask.
"That's what people who save the world constantly are generally referred to," said Jane.
"Yeah, well, I guess your perspective on what constitutes saving the world is just different is all," said Trask.
"Right," said Jane. "FYI: If Daria wakes up before we've dropped you off, she is not wearing anything that'll suppress her powers, so if you haven't applied enough sedatives to her, don't be surprised if you find your brains draining out your ear holes."
"Okay, we have five possibilities," said Tiffany, as she scrolled down the thumbnails.
"That one," said Corporal Yuliya Yadviga, pointing at a captain.
Tiffany clicked the thumbnail, and the face enlarged to the full extents (of the smart phone screen).
"Sadistic bitch held my eyelids open when she jammed that dick belt into me, yeah, that's her," said Yuliya.
Tiffany scrolled down, "Captain Kerry Thompson, deceased as of two years ago."
"So I was raped by a ghost? She seemed pretty alive to me."
"Blown up while on operations in Afghanistan, huge charge, DNA recovered from shrapnel, but nothing of her body was recovered. Blast was big enough to pulverise bones, so KIA was a reasonable assumption at the time," said Tiffany, "she's a precog, she could have tipped off the Taliban or Al Qaeda months in advance. Rest of her unit was recovered mostly intact, white butterfly effect. DNA could have come from a bag of blood placed on one side of the bomb."
"So now what?" asked Yuliya.
"We can use her appearance to narrow her location down to a country," said Tiffany, "Well, a continent, actually, I doubt she'd want to cross oceans hiding in a lifeboat on a container ship, but I can imagine her skipping border control on land borders, Wanda, need you to do the ... "
Wanda picked up the smart phone and loaded up the US INS network and uploaded the picture for a search.
Jane looked over to Daria. They were in the back of the Gridrunner. "Daria. Sorry we took so long getting around to you, but Harm's goons made off with a load of reactor fuel."
Daria sat up and felt most her body lock up. "D-AAAHHHHHHHH. One of those huh?"
"You've been in VR for seven days," said Jane "get yourself into the TIDES pool when we return."
"Uh-huh. Harm's goons made off with a load of reactor fuel, I take it it's not weapon's useable uranium."
"It may have been refined since it was taken."
"How many critical masses?" asked Daria.
"Forty," said Jane.
"In practical terms, thirty eight 3KT yield devices, ten 400KT yield devices, or maybe five of the low end hydrogen devices," said Daria.
"Yeah," said Jane, "that's why I convinced Brittany we needed to go after the fissile material first."
"Okay," said Daria, "it sounds like you still haven't recovered the material though."
"No. Thing is we think we must have passed them a bunch of times. Look, I'm sorry I convinced Brittany to leave you there, as soon as we've recovered the uranium, I'll let you beat the crap out of me, I won't resist, but anything you can bring to the investigation, we need it."
Daria sighed and said "My head's a little out of the game, but I'll see what I can come up with. ... That damn precog's the key, get me a computer terminal."
"Flight deck," said Jane.
"Right," said Daria as she got up and walked. Jane used her magnetic powers to assist Daria.
They entered the passenger seating area and Daria passed Trask. She turned to look at him. "Huh." She then continued on.
Daria entered the flight deck where Brittany said "You okay Daria?"
"Nothing about a year in a TIDES pool won't cure. Need to use a terminal," said Daria as she sat at one of the rear stations.
She opened the electronic sketch program and set to work.
"Sorry we left you in there so long Daria," said Jodie.
"Missing fissionable material Jodie, I concur," said Daria.
"Glad you do, but, I still feel-"
"You all feel that way, I appreciate it, I'm almost ready with the E-fit."
"Okay. You may need me to hack the various databases to use it though, we're on the terrorist watchlist."
"I was renditioned to another country for interrogation?" asked Daria.
"Yeah. Agent Flem-"
"Enough said. He's CIA now?" asked Daria.
"Yes," said Jodie.
"I hope it was his idea to hire Trask, if there's two as stupid as him," said Daria.
"He's a REMF," said Julia as she entered. "CIA management is full of them. I don't have to explain REMF do I?"
"Nope," said Jodie, "hopefully he'll never see a parole hearing again."
"Ready now," said Daria.
"Okay," said Jodie. She then hacked into the first database. "Want to try the military databases first, should be able to conclude those avenues sooner."
"Okay, latest movement of her likeness entered Rome, Italy yesterday from O'Hare, Chigago," said Wanda.
"Let's try Britain," said Tiffany.
"Britain?" asked Wanda and Yuliya.
"English speaker, English speaking, all she'd need to work on is the accent and a few slang words," said Tiffany, "of course you're trading cultural difference for obstructed exits, UK's densely populated, riddled with cameras ... ... Having said that, she'd have plenty of people to hide among, unless she does something to really draw someone's attention, she's just not going to be seen."
"There's always a chance," said Wanda, "I'll get onto MI5, what about the rest of Europe?"
"We'll have to contact all of ... ... " Tiffany trailed off.
"Or ... ... " Prompted Wanda.
"Yuliya. This probably isn't your favourite topic, but did you get the impression that this was Kerry's first time committing rape?"
"Honestly? No, I know ... ... a thing or two about the mentality of a torturer, and from that I think a lot of what she did was habitual and too playful for it to be her first time, what exactly are you thinking?" Asked Yuliya.
"Okay, the good news is I think I know how we can find her. The bad news is, it can't be us that captures her," said Tiffany.
"WHAT?" asked Yuliya.
"She's a precog, but she isn't omniscient, if she doesn't know how she got found, she can't evade. I think we can locate her by her habits. We narrow it down to a town, we can come up with an alternate means of getting her arrested. We'll be looking for footage or accounts of her appearing at nightclubs or red light districts," said Tiffany, she was thinking again, "trying to think what her criteria is likely to be."
"Rapists get into their criminal behaviour early, like with serial killers, they start in their teens," said Wanda, she went to work on her palmtop saying "NCIS might have something on her, maybe complaints that were filed and later dropped, maybe complaining witnesses experienced fatal accidents after or even before they lodged the complaint, anyone who mysteriously died could give us her targeting criteria, otherwise we'll end up looking all over the place. Did she say anything while she was assaulting you? That could also assist us."
"She mentioned she appreciated my technique wi ... ... " Yuliya looked agitated as she thought through what she was going to say.
"If this is going into war crimes you yourself have committed, we'd need to obtain a warrant to prosecute for such acts, and that would require a person's name or a location which could lead us to witnesses, so keep those points vague and we won't have the ability to pursue you, and that's pretending any Russian judge would approve extradition in the first place. You can check with your base's JAG attorney, but we need to get into Kerry's mind," said Wanda.
"Okay, just don't get into any moods just because you're not used to the way Russians do war."
"Five candidates," said Jodie.
"Not enough detail in the memory I accessed," said Daria, "This one, Kerry, she's supposed to be dead. Blasted into a fine mist in Afghanistan."
"So we eliminate her?" asked Jane.
"No, we focus on her, the others have 'Status: Active' on their brief summaries, that would make it difficult to manage terrorists and mercenaries," said Daria.
Jane saluted saying "Morning General, oh hang on a minute." She then put the thumb of her saluting hand near her ear and the pinkie finger near her mouth saying "Harm, this is not a good time, you're just going to have to kill US soldiers without me for now. Okay?"
"I suppose if we call NCIS for assistance with this, they'll tell us where to stick it," said Daria.
"I'll see if they got internet access to any records relating to Kerry and anyone she worked with," said Jodie, "we think she sexually assaulted some of the people she killed. Speaking of, we should get back to that police station see if CODIS turned up anything."
"How long has that been going on?" asked Daria.
" ... ... ... Oh crap. Okay, I'll hack CODIS."
Half a minute later Jodie said "They never ran it."
"You can bet the CIA did," said Jane.
"Okay, hang on," said Jodie.
Half a minute later she said "CIA use of CODIS doesn't relate to anyone resembling Kerry."
"Maybe they ran it from a police station somewhere else."
"Even I can't go through that many samples," said Jodie. "If the CIA wanted to avoid me, they'd simply go to the places where the DNA data is being stored and work offline."
"Are the CIA actually good for anything besides helping terrorists evade capture?" asked Jane.
"We should stick with Kerry for now, she actually makes the most sense, and the style of the hand to hand combat that left the bruises on the bodies at that cartel's base strongly resembled individuals schooled in Semper Fu," said Daria, "she'd have to know the military internally to be as effective as she has been, Jodie, see what AA and personal reports you can hack, maybe we can corroborate a sexually abusive precog."
"Again?" moaned Val.
"Yes, again," said their boss, "we'll find a city, just switch to Alcova, Wyoming."
"Alcova? Boss, I've been through there, there's not that many people, aside from not making much of an impact, we'll stand out."
"You've standing out anyway, besides, you're not nuking the town, there's this big flat slope with a road on top and a lake behind it."
Val grinned maniacally.
"You'll need to put it in a drum full of concrete, but the yield should be sufficient to make that dam go away. Because it's a gravity dam, it's not considered a terrorist target because the amount of conventional explosives required would preclude most terrorists from being able to attack it, so provided you don't do something to draw too much attention to yourselves, you should be able to deliver the nuke and escape unremembered and unnoticed. Now wipe that maniacal grin off your face and get on with it."
"Right boss," said Val as she hung up. "Guess what we're doing?"
"Jodie, I'm starting to see a pattern here. Every couple of weeks someone at least a couple of pay grades below Kerry suddenly get poor performance reviews, about a third of them get killed by walking in front of a tank, or walking into an aircraft's propellers, or something," said Daria.
"Seeing the same thing with the reports I'm seeing. Not much to go on with who she targets, I mean, she goes for marines and navy, all faiths, some happy and bubbly, some moody, some strong, some weak, some have parents in the military, some are first generation in the military, black, white, Asian," said Jodie.
"Means she has limited opportunity within the military, and has to take any snatch she can get away with assaulting," said Daria. "we might have better luck if we can figure out who she's been assaulting since she faked her death."
"Garden City might give us a better picture," said Jodie.
"Okay," said Daria, "we still need to keep up the pressure on Harman and the mercenaries, glad as I am to be out of there, the precog probably predicted the break in your search efforts and took this opportunity to get Harman and company somewhere the hell else."
"We expanded our search radius across an entire state before we came after you," said Jodie.
"Assume they've built the nukes, where do they stick them?" asked Daria.
"Middle of the population centre," said Jodie, "they don't want to be seen doing it, and they don't want it to be removed intentionally or accidentally, so no dumpsters, sewers might get inspected, any construction work that was recently carried out might have a nuke buried in any concrete slabs that were left to cure overnight, bearing in mind there are two diclonii working with them, they could put the nukes in a lot of places, they don't want a Geiger counter detecting it, and they don't want our neutrino detectors, so they're using radiation shields, those need power. Could be buried in someone's back yard."
"Burial leaves disturbances that radar and infra-red can pick up," said Daria.
"I'll rig a program to compare visual imagery to radar imagery, that way we can exclude buildings," said Jodie.
"What about cemeteries?" asked Daria.
"We can get the age of a burial, if they pick a plot that's been undisturbed for long enough, that'll give us their nuke," said Jodie.
"What if they use a rocket?" asked Jane.
"How would they guide it?" asked Mack.
"Wouldn't need to," said Daria and Jodie simultaneously.
"Same engineers they had design the nuke, they'd also be able to project a rocket's trajectory if given the overall mass and the propellant's specific impulse, it would also require some fluid dynamics expertise to work out how tight to construct the exhaust, but given all that, they'd have the means to put the nuke where they need it to be for maximum effect," said Jodie, "that would probably be a massive ground disturbance though, you'd bury it in a pipe at the launch angle, have some explosive device remove the soil prior to launch."
Wanda looked over to Tiffany again and eventually asked "You're dourer than usual." Tiffany had been scowling at the back of the seat right in front of her the whole flight.
"I'm glad we couldn't get her a visa," said Tiffany, "I know I shouldn't say stuff like this, but that's the one woman on this planet I know of that I feel had it coming."
"Yeah, I'm sure you've never broken the rules of war," said Wanda.
"Not indiscriminately," said Tiffany, "it's not like I come away with a guilty conscience, but I also don't get off on other people suffering, and I have at least enough self control to ensure that the people I go after are actually involved in enemy activity, the crap she pulled in Chechnya, made me want to kill her."
"As a cop, I find myself wanting to kill a lot of the suspects I end interviewing," said Wanda, "welcome to my world."
"You don't choose the future you want, you don't get the future you want," said Tiffany.
"Legion motto. Sorry you left?" asked Wanda.
"I was expelled," said Tiffany.
"You were only there when you absolutely had to be," said Wanda "Might as well have left."
"I know. ... This is just one of those times when I think back to Bakerson's attempt to recruit the Legion. I wasn't that much into deep philosophy or anything, the difference between heroes and soldiers just went completely over my head, but this is why they maintained their independence. DOJ gives them so much more independence of action, but me going off around the world saving lives would need orders to do so, or I get all kinds of done for insubordination or whatever else."
"There's that. Maybe administrative separation would be an improvement," said Wanda.
"Food for thought," said Tiffany.
"Okay, we're approaching Garden City," said Jodie.
"Okay, if Julia and myself work Garden City, you and everyone else try to find the nuclear weapons, sound like a plan?" asked Daria.
"Yeah, Brittany?" asked Jodie.
"Umm, make it so?" responded Brittany.
They landed at the airport, having let Julia and Daria off over the city.
Brittany and Jodie emerged from the aircraft and headed for the manager's office. "Maybe they'll understand once we explain to them that we're not the terrorists," said Brittany.
"I doubt it, " said Jodie, "I'll hold their attention, there's something I need you to do."
Jodie started her explanation.
"Okay, what do we want to do?" asked the inspector, now they had assembled the entire shift into the briefing room.
"We're looking for anyone who had any contact with this individual, real name's Kerry Thompson, thought to have been killed in action two years ago, we now believe she faked her death to become a mercenary," said Daria.
"We're now hoping to chase her down, but we need information on her personal habits in order to do so," said Julia. "We think Kerry is a rapist, she assaulted someone she then killed at a house in Rochelle before she killed her, and we think she was raping women in her unit prior to her desertion, now, because she deserted at a time of war, the witnesses you uncover won't have to appear in court for us to put her away, but we do need to find her, and that means figuring out her personal tastes, the people she targeted while in the Marine Corps would have been skewed by what was available to her and what she thought she could get away with."
"We're going to need you to go door to door, ask if anyone has seen her, they'll probably know her as her alias Miss Teak Meg," said Daria.
"Keep in mind that anyone who was raped by her would probably not be forthcoming about it, but seeing her face might prompt a reaction, recoil in terror, that kind of thing, if we get a list of names off of you, we can follow up with further interviews," said Julia.
"But we're telling the truth, and how many cock-ups have been directly caused by 'only following orders'?" said Jodie.
"Well, I'm sorry, but Homeland Security scare the crap out of me," said the manager.
Brittany entered and asked "Any luck?"
"No," said Jodie.
"Well, we'll just have to make do with what we got then," said Brittany.
"I suppose," said Jodie.
They then left.
As soon as they were out the office, Brittany and Jodie broke into a run.
The airport manager couldn't help but think something was wrong, like he had been tricked somehow.
As soon as the Gridrunner was starting to take off, one of the fuel crew entered carrying a suitcase with a note taped to it.
"Boss, apparently the Legion paid for their fuel in cash, what's with that?"
The manager turned ashen. "Oh, nothing, just the CIA said not to sell them fuel, and they went and took it anyway, and left the money so they wouldn't be stealing."
Jodie's phone rang. Jodie answered it saying "Jodie here."
"Phil Lien here, I got a call from a diclonius in Casper, Wyoming, they think they sensed your terrorists heading south west, probably on route 220."
"Have that, thanks."
"I'll call back with more information as I get it," said Phil. He then hung up.
Jodie changed course and hit the burners.
One of the soldiers hooked a speaker up to his Ipod and asked "Time on target?"
"Five minutes, why?" asked Sal.
"Let me know when we're at three and a half minutes."
Sal shrugged and said "Okay."
Eventually they came off the 220 and Sal said "time on target three mike thirty."
The soldier hit play.
The Dambusters theme started to play through the speaker.
This got a laugh out of everyone.
They eventually caught sight of the step-up transformers, and the powerplant at the base of the dam. The dam itself appeared seconds later.
"Right, get the nuke into position," said Sal.
Two more soldiers did that and Sal grabbed the door handle with one of her vectors, and the arming wire with one hand.
The arming wire was poking out a plastic sleeve that led to the time delay fuse in the nuke buried in the concrete. This was the only thing stopping the nuclear weapon's fuse from counting down the 10 minutes it would take to detonate. 10 minutes. They would want to be above the current water level of the Alcova reservoir before that runs out.
They ascended the road towards the top of the dam and Sal said "Stand by ... Standby ... " She then flung the door open and pulled the arming wire, saying "Go."
The two soldiers shoved the barrel out the van and it rolled down the slope into the lake.
Sal then closed the door.
Jodie was concentrating on the geo survey program. "Not getting anything within the city. Going to expand and look for a rocket system."
"Right," said Brittany.
Quinn entered looking at a map of Wyoming saying "Jodie, what's upstream of Casper?"
"Well, there's some farms, and Alcova ... And a gravity dam with 208718068 cube metres of water behind it!" Jodie switched her attention to the neutrino detector and turned hard, full burners.
Quinn fell against Brittany who was sat behind Jodie. "Sorry."
"I need Mack and Betty to be ready, as soon as I have the location of the nuke- YES! GOT IT! BETTY, GET MACK TO FOUR TWO DEGREES, THREE TWO MINUTES, FIVE ZERO POINT ONE NINESECOND NORTH, ONE ZERO SIX DEGREES, FOUR THREE MINUTES, ONE FOUR POINT NINE NINE SECONDS WEST, nuke's at the bottom of the slope. Mack, I'll need that nuke to be somewhere else when it goes off, Betty, I'll need a convincing surface blast when Mack reports the nuke detonating."
"ON IT," said Mack and Betty.
"What about the terrorists?" asked Brittany.
"I think I can find them, they can't be that far away, I'll have LEOs posing as road safety officers down the road looking out for them, get the vehicle they're in, but we can't let the terrorists know they're being followed," said Jodie, "that precog can't know we've only just found them, or she'll predict it and we'll never have found them in the first place."
"Huh?" asked Brittany.
"It's ... a temporal mechanics thing. Just go with me on this," said Jodie.
"Okay," said Brittany.
Kerry awoke again. "DAMN IT, WHAT THE FUCKING HELL IS WRONG HERE?"
Every dream she had showed Harman and her two Diclonii getting arrested.
She heard the occupier of the home she had invaded cry out in anticipation of further physical or sexual abuse.
Actually that might not be a bad idea, she could work off some of this stress.
Kerry stood up and headed upstairs with a glass and a pitcher of cola filled with ice cubes and lemon slices to the bedroom where she had left the woman tied to the bed, on an electric blanket, three quilts on top of her. She looked fearfully at Kerry, pleading through the gag as Kerry leered at her. The woman was probably slightly delirious from the heat she was being subjected to. "Hey there hot stuff. Ready for more?"
The perspiration was probably soaking through the first fifty millimetres of quilt and it almost certainly wasn't doing it's job.
Kerry poured herself a glass of ice cold cola and set the pitcher down on the bedside table, she slid in beside the girl, glass in hand. "nothing like a hit wet girl under you when you're enjoying an ice cold cola drink." She took a sip, as she rolled over, the glass of cool refreshing cola just centimetres from the girl's head.
"Hey, it just occurred to me, you might be thirsty."
The girl nodded, shuddering at the thought of the price of that drink. Poor girl was instructor qualified in Krav Maga. This was about the most satisfying kind of trophy, women who were trained in violence, getting brought down by Kerry's own hands. It was like catching and toying with a wild animal.
And the home invasions involved in the commission of these crimes weren't a bad thing either, stopped the walls and ceiling getting boring, always something interesting.
She couldn't stay too long of course, more than 24 hours would be pushing it.
She heard a bang with a crunch downstairs. The front door being kicked in.
This was followed a split second later by someone saying "Move, move, move," and footsteps, rapid footsteps.
Kerry got out of the bed, placing the glass on the bedside table and standing next to the door.
"Front lounge clear."
"Dining room clear."
Someone approached the bedroom and Kerry reached around snatching the MP5 out of the individual's hands, turning it around and shooting the man through the brainstem. She then emerged with her MP5 and shot each and every armoured individual she came across, stealing fresh MP5s as each one ran out.
She then emerged and shot the remaining armoured police officers and the plain clothed officers, wounding one. "You and I are going to have a conversation."
"Sorry," said Tiffany.
The superintendant of Cumnor Police Station who had been listening to all the gunshots through the VOX set comms from the CO19 officers placed his radio on the desk.
"I'll take your word for it," said Superintendant Brian Potter.
They watched the footage from the police helicopter as Kerry dragged the superintendant into the neighbours car, a blue Mercedes M3 what she had apparently stolen the keys for.
"From our experience in dealing with precogs, they either need to be asleep or in a trance to predict the future," said Wanda, "we have her with her pants down now."
"Right. Well, you know the current treaties between our countries mean you basically have her anyway, I'm not throwing any more of my people at her."
"On it. Thanks for your assistance. We'll add the latest murders to the list," said Wanda as she and Tiffany left the room, going to the roof of the police station.
Once they had access to the sky, Wanda levitated herself and Tiffany and Wanda switched her radio, which she had rigged with an earwig, to VOX.
"Sierra Oscar from Maximoff, heading for last known location, request directions to target."
"Maximof, Sierra Oscar, suspect heading north west on Tumbledown Hill, speed seven zero miles an hour, over."
Wanda adjusted course and replied "Have that, North west, Tumbledown hill."
As they flew, they heard "From Sierra Oscar, suspects are slowing on approach to Oxford Road, Suspect is turning left left- FUCK!"
"Sierra Oscar From Wanda, confirm left turn onto-" Wanda then caught sight of a large fireball rising into the sky from the junction "-actually disregard, over."
As Wanda overflew Eynsham Road, she saw a blue Mercedes M3 weaving past oncoming and slower cars at idiot velocity. "Sierra Oscar, Wanda, I have the suspect, I'm going to take her off the road, over."
Wanda used her powers to lift the car off the road. She had to make this look like a departure from controlled motion, but there was one yankee to protect, this was also the reason for the charade in the first place, to stop Kerry from threatening harm to the hostage. Wanda didn't want Kerry to be aware of the presence of herself and Tiffany until at least she had decided to ditch the hostage. The car spun off the road, rolling across the ditch, through the hedge and landing right side up in the field, with both left wheels broken off.
They heard a gunshot immediately before Kerry emerged.
The hostage was dead.
Wanda took possession of Kerry's weapons and collected them, holding them about four metres over her head.
Kerry stopped and looked up.
Kerry finally noticed Wanda and Tiffany.
"Captain Kerry Thompson, this really isn't your day, is it? I am arresting you for deserting at a time of war, so many counts of treason I can't be assed to count them all, so many counts of murder that I can't be assed to count them all, so many counts of rape that I- You know what? Screw it. You are busted. End of," said Wanda.
"I can't see the fact the United States has the death penalty preventing extradition after tonight," said Tiffany, "in fact, I think the judge will make it a condition that the method of execution is the electric chair."
"Oh no, you all hate me now? How did I fail to realise that would happen?" Said Kerry, pouring on the sarcasm.
"I suppose my offer to give you a chance at having your sentence commuted to life won't draw any interest," said Wanda.
"And that chance would require from me, what exactly?"
"Tell us where your minions are," said Tiffany.
Kerry considered this for about a minute and eventually pulled her phone saying "I'll ask them."
Wanda used her powers to squash the phone into nothing.
"You are the one controlling them, you're predicting what happens when they move, so you tell us where they are now," said Wanda.
Kerry put her hands in her pockets and said "Well, one thing I will tell you, if I don't make contact in a credible manner, they'll be deciding for themselves whether to continue with the sale or to just set the nukes off in the first city they come across."
"Then you fry," said Tiffany.
Kerry grinned maniacally at Wanda and Tiffany saying "You think I'd have become a Marine if a little death scared me? You know, with our obesity rate, all those couch potatoes, once alight, they'll make a lovely light."
"Okay, death don't scare you, I'll just have to find something that will," said Wanda. Kerry suddenly fell asleep, dropping to the ground like a sack of potatoes.
Tiffany watched, and after ten seconds was about to ask Wanda what was happening when Kerry woke up looking all around her, seemingly very agitated.
Eventually she calmed down and asked "what exactly was that?"
"That was me warping your reality for ten seconds."
"Ten se- ... Wanda ... Wanda, Wanda, Wanda ... By the time I break, I'll be so insensible, I'll be telling you they're on Pluto, or sailing on a yacht under Jupiter's red eye, or checking their stock interests at the tower of commerce on Ferenginar, yeah? Any fucking where but where they actually are. ... Tiffany, you're a SEAL, tell her."
Tiffany sighed and eventually said "It's probably true."
"Hmm," commented Wanda. She then put Kerry to sleep again. "Let's find out."
Jodie answered the phone. "Y'ello?"
"We think we have your terrorists moving south through Laramie on Route 30, I've started redeploying Diclonii volunteers around them." Said Phil.
"Sorry, volunteers?" asked Jodie.
"Yeah, the Diclonii that arrived in Hawaii and the ones that arrived at the USAES was it called? Anyway,-"
There was just about enough room to seat all the diclonii that had shown up.
Eventually the diclonius that had handed out the leaflets walked over to the podium and turned on the microphone. "Okay, your attention please?" The room quietened. "Thank you. I'm Sarah Fontaine, I'm here to propose an action, and it'll sound absurd, but I hope you all will stay for the entire length of this meeting and seriously consider what I'm proposing. ... Okay, now, having come out of that torture camp, you all probably don't feel that lucky, but we were lucky to get out of that camp at all, and we were lucky that SHIELD agent and that ... Coast guardsman," she had trouble keeping a straight face when reciting the story Tiffany had told them about being in the coast guard, but the concept of a deniable operation was not lost on them, " ... we were lucky they helped us stay free when that submarine and that battleship showed up. ... Our next stroke of luck was that the United States INS has granted us permission to stay instead of returning us to sender. Our situation has been precarious since our births, and we somehow made it. ... It is time to capitalise on this luck and give something back. ... Okay, this is what I'm proposing, and you're probably going to be asking yourselves 'well, how's this our problem?' ... Well, we weren't our rescuer's problem, they helped us, and I for one don't want to feel like an asshole sponger.
"Now, on the news, I don't know how many of you have seen this, but today, these mercenaries, two of whom are diclonii, stole a shipment of uranium destined for a nuclear power plant, they are being guided by a precogniscient individual. It's apparently not known if they're going to use that uranium to build a full blown nuke or just a slow bomb, but if they aren't found, hundreds to thousands of people will be killed by them for the highest bidder.
"So how's this our problem? Well, it's unlikely they'll get their weapon over here, so hang out here, and nothing will probably happen. That's the small picture. Now let's look at the big picture effect. You remember how silly things got after 9/11? Patriot act, Guantanamo Bay, Operation Iraqi Freedom? And imagine us being the centre of all this just because two Diclonii were helping these guys. I work for the NSPCC, when I'm not going on holiday to places that want to use me in a science experiment, I'm helping children escape situations that can turn them into the kind of screwed up adults that get trapped in drugs, mental hospitals, prison, who smash things up, beat their loved ones, steal for- Basically provide the demand for a police force. Society is like a kid that's constantly growing up, I don't know about you, but seeing things get constantly worse is depressing the crap out of me.
"Whether or not you still consider this not your problem, we have the ability to sense each other's presence and each other's moods, sometimes even each other's intentions. This is the part where we can do something. What I want us all to do, in concert with any released from the USAES, is we deploy ourselves in as many places as we can so that we can sense the mercenaries should they approach any of the cities.
"The precog that's guiding them may be effective against cops, it's improbable any would spot them in the first place, but with us all over the place, there's going to be nowhere the precog can send them without getting found out. You're basically going to have to beg, borrow and ste- ... I could probably buy four air tickets to any western seaboard city, any of you that decide to go along with this, get your family and friends to help you, lay on the guilt, the tears, whatever, just get into position. I'll be handing out contact details to a message board administrator a number of you might be familiar with."
"-and so they all got whatever finances they still had in their name or got their friends and family to get them a seat on a flight to which ever city they decided to take, and now we're deployed all over."
"Okay, do any of them have compasses?" asked Jodie.
"Yeah, I may need them to report a position and a vec- a direction, okay, whose bright idea was it to call your telekinetic arms 'vectors'?"
"No idea," said Phil, "one of us called them Vectors and we just went with it. Anyway, compasses, their positions, thing is, if they get close enough to nail it to the vehicle, then ... "
"I'll survey the area, as soon as they report the vehicle stops moving, if they give me the directions, I can use a time stamp and that should narrow it to no more than five vehicles, if they then diffract, we can then have them tell us when they reach a predetermined bearing, provided they're far enough apart at the time, that should give us their vehicle."
"Okay, diclonii senses, they're not some kind of radar screen, the error is going to be at least plus or minus two degrees, probably as much as fifteen."
Jodie eventually said "Right ... I can manipulate the traffic lights. ... Also, I can probably get Daria in soon, not being a diclonius, she shouldn't be detected by the enemy diclonii."
Quinn entered the cockpit and said "The disrupter packs are ready to go, even if any or even all of the detonators go off from the force of the water, the detonation will not be symmetrical, so worst case scenario, we'll have a couple of dump trucks of contaminated soil to dispose of."
"Right," said Jodie. There was another call trying to get through. "Another call, Agent Flemming? What could he want? Phil, will you excuse me a minute?"
"Thanks." Jodie accepted Flemming's call. "What?"
"You're off the list. AFIS, CODIS, and any other database access codes will be restored, and none of your hacking will be prosecuted, neither will your interruption of Daria's interrogation."
" ... thanks ... What finally changed your mind?"
"Kerry admitted obliquely that she had ordered Harman's people to steal the nukes and her voice patterns match the tip offs we received, SHIELD agent Wanda Maximoff and Coastguardsman Tiffany Blum Deckler have Wanda in custody at Oxford Police Station, Oxfordshire, England."
"Okay. Thank you. I got some minions to capture."
"They're headed for Los Angeles," said Flemming.
"Kerry say that?" asked Jodie.
"Yes," said Flemming.
"We're looking at them, they are nowhere near California, let alone Los Angeles."
"How can you be so sure?"
"A load of diclonii are tracking the two working for the mercenaries."
"How do you know they got the correct diclonii?" asked Flemming.
"Because they left a nuke in the reservoir just behind Alcova dam. I really have to go now. I'll forward your apology to Daria."
"What apology? If she ha-" started Flemming.
Jodie hung up on him, switching back to Phil. "Sorry about that, the precog's in custody, we're going to set up the capture, standby while I re-task Daria.." She then used her flight ring to thought cast 'Daria, Jodie, status?'
'Going through the witness names now, Julia and I will be planning our sequence soon.'
'Kerry's been nicked, I need you with me.'
'British slang ter-'
'Meaning busted. Where do you need me?'
'Laramie, head three one five buster, I'll send Jane and Brittany to speed you up and hide you, I then need you to confirm the targets identity.'
Jane kept looking at Daria as they travelled north west at mach 3. The magnetic shield she had formed was the slenderest thing that she could form, a double ended spike 2.5m in diameter, 20m long, this would hopefully prevent anyone experiencing any hearing loss as they were only at 300ft above ground level. Brittany was in physical contact with both to keep them invisible.
"So, how you doing?" asked Jane.
"In what sense?" asked Daria.
"That crap Boliver pulled on you in Bangledesh. You coping with that?"
Daria eventually said "Seem to be."
"Okay, pick up on that again later," said Jane. They started to approach Laramie, so Jane slowed them to mach 0.4, she thought cast 'Jodie, Jane, twenty seconds from Laramie, request target location update, over?'
'Jane from Jodie, target is moving south on route 287, join at route 80 and head south.'
'Jodie from Jane, have that, over.' Jane adjusted her course to intersect Route 80. Even though they were subsonic, Jane kept the force field up, having to talk over wind scream was an ass pain they weren't exactly pining for.
"Think we're finally safe?" asked Harman.
"Boss hasn't called," said Val.
"Why?" asked Sal.
"I don't know, something feels wrong here. She was calling every ten minutes practically, and now no more calls," said Harman.
"What exactly are you thinking?" asked Val.
"She got busted," said Harm.
"No, precog, she'll see it and avoid it," said Sal.
"Unless ... " said Val. She looked pensive.
"She was too busy looking out for us to look out for herself," said Harm.
The silence told him that the two diclonii concurred.
"Take the next turn off the road, she calls, we resume, she doesn't, we re-think our plan," said Harm, "I also think we need to turn the metajammer on."
Val and Sal looked at each other, and nodded. Harman nodded to one of his soldiers, he opened a briefcase that held the metajammer and turned it on. He then held it up to show the vehicle behind, signalling them to also activate theirs. The field wouldn't go much farther than a few car lengths, but it would hide them.
The only problem was that Val and Sal would be unable to use their vectors within it.
Daria, Jane, and Brittany overflew traffic at about 140mph.
Eventually Jodie thought cast 'Jane, Jodie, what's your location, over?'
'Just past the turn for Harney Creek, over.'
'That's too far, you've over flown them.'
"Daria, we're turning around, Jodie says we overflew the suspect vehicles."
"Damn it, metajammers," said Daria, rubbing her face in awe at her own stupidity, "forgot to look for vehicles that have no detectable presence, sorry."
Jane turned them around and they headed back north.
'Jane, Jodie, two vehicles have turned off at a turn about a klick north of W Winds Road, if you eliminate the other vehicles, those two look suspect, their registered owners don't have any business with the occupiers of that address or anyone in business with the occupiers of that address, over.'
'Jodie, Jane, have that, over.'
Harman, Val and Sal looked around the barn.
"Val, Sal," said Harman as he walked into a stall filled with wood panels, beams, and fixings. He picked up a bag of nails. "what do you think?"
"Combine a bucket of those with each of the two quad bikes outside," said Val.
"We'd be two very mobile gun platforms," said Sal.
One of Harm's soldiers entered saying "we've locked the farmer and his family in the basement, told him he was suspected of treason, and that posse commutates had been suspended by presidential order."
That got a laugh.
"That'll get those militia groups buzzing for the next decade or three," said another.
Harman eventually said "Alright, cut the funny, time to figure out our alternative plan. We kept getting captured in each of our bosses predictions, why? How?"
"Why don't we just slot them?" asked Val.
"Dead people draw attention, live people crying fed-gov conspiracy repel it," said Harman, "even though they'd have probably not been discovered for a couple of days, this'll buy us even more time. As soon as we figure out where to go and how. Our vehicles could be subject to a BOLO," said Harman.
"That means we can't just leave them here," said one of his soldiers.
"Can't drive them either," said Harman, "if we can find a tractor and two big enough flat bed trailers, we should be able to hide the vans in bails of hay, tow them cross country, we can then ditch all of them, carry the nukes cross country until we can find some alternate vehicles, use some more of our alternate identities."
"Right, let's get the vans in here."
Jane, Daria and Brittany overflew the farm. 'Jodie from Jane, no sign of the vans, did they move from this location, over?'
'Jane from Jodie, Vans have not moved from that location, they're probably in a building. Over.'
"Daria, sense anything?"
"House has six people in the basement, crapping themselves, not sensing anyone else, but since we're thinking they're using metajammers, that means nothing," said Daria.
"Okay, what do we want to do then?" asked Jane.
"Land us behind that fuel tank on the south side of the house," said Brittany, "We'll need Tom to look through the house before we enter."
Tom looked into the barn just north of the house Daria, Jane and Brittany were stood south of.
'All Legionnaires from Tom, I see about eighteen of the X-rays including the two diclonii in the barn north of the house, no X-rays in the house, just the Yankees stuck in the basement, the X-rays in the barn have two flatbed trailers attached to a tractor, they have their vans on the trailers, three are outside the vans, sacking hay bails around the vans, looks like they intend to move cross country, over.'
"Do you see the nukes?" asked Quinn.
"Yeah, there's nine implosion type, detonators rigged to a relay, looks like they're not yet fused, so up to you, but I don't see a need for the disruptors," said Tom.
'All Legionnaires, Brittany, I want the X-rays out in the open when we attack, that will give us our best opportunity to safely capture them.'
The soldier on the tractor drove along, looking around for signs that anyone was watching them.
Suddenly the engine was blown apart.
"DAMN IT!" He said as he engaged the handbrake.
"Zero Three from Zero One Alpha, sit-rep, over?"
"Zero one Alpha, Zero Three, engine's bent, over," he said as he got off the tractor to examine the engine. A lot of parts had left the engine, and the sump was gone, exposing the crank and all the connecting rod big ends. "What the fuck did this?"
The engine block itself was intact, so it couldn't be a blown cylinder.
But what else could do this? The force seemed to have come from underneath the engine, but there's nothing under the engine capable of doing this.
He then noticed a crater with some scraps of grey plastic, there were even strands of black plastic connecting the grey plastic, possibly PVC electrical tape wrapped around a grey plastic container. Looking back under the tractor, he also noticed a pair of twisted wires, blown back by the explosion, probably leading back to whoever initiated the blast. This was all looking very consistent with a certain EOD device Alford Industries had developed for disrupting car bombs.
He barely raised his radio to his mouth before he was knocked out.
"Zero Three from Zero One Alpha, sit rep, over?" asked Harman.
They had been sitting still for ten minutes.
This was starting to grate.
"Zero One Alpha, Zero Three, I think we're going to have to transplant one of the van engines to the tractor, over."
"Christ almighty tap dancing Christ on a fucking pentacycle," muttered Harman before he responded "Zero Three, Zero One Alpha, have that, standby, over."
After a few seconds, Harman asked "Which is more likely: A Tractor engine blowing out, an eventuality most farmers on the planet will do anything to preclude, seeing as no tractor equals no work and no money, or an ambush?"
"What do we do then?" asked Val.
"When the field drops, will your telepathic link with Sal allow you to communicate that we're under attack?" asked Harman, "we have to assume radio comms is compromised."
"I think I can communicate that feeling, I think she'll respond."
"Good," said Harman, he then said "Zero Seven from Zero One Alpha, I need you to standby to create a defence perimeter, we'll use my van's engine for the job, also, we'll want the jammers off so Val and Sal can use their vectors, but we need it to stay off as short as possible, so standby for my command for that, over."
"Zero Seven has that, preparing as ordered, over."
'From Tom, The diclonii are taking positions on the top of the vans, each has a bucket of nails, over.'
Everyone watched the bales of hay. Charles was disguised as the soldier they had knocked out. 'Charles, Brittany, make yourself inconspicuous, over.'
Charles turned into a secondary adamantium plated ED 209 only with PFTs in place of it's guns.
'Quinn and Betty from Brittany, standby, standby ... '
"From zero one alpha, drop the field."
The instant that command was given, the bails of hay exploded and nails flew from the buckets to everywhere around the trailers, the soldiers on the lead one aimed but held fire, probably until some of the nails fail to hit the ground (Indicating Jane's magnetic field), about half were equipped with PFT M2s.
A ring of twelve projectiles launched themselves into the air from around the trailers and produced a sound that was deafening and a light that was blinding to the mercenaries.
Following the flash-bangs, Betty teleported in off to the opposite side of the trailers from the Legionnaires and threw a charge equivalent in energy to a BLU82 into the air above him before teleporting out.
This blast knocked the vans and the soldiers off the trailers, it also turned the trailers over too.
The soldiers on the near side were moving slower than the vans and were missed by the vans when they fell, the ones on the opposite side landed beyond the vans.
'All Legionnaires, attack now,' thought cast Brittany.
They advanced on the mercenaries, using their PFTs to knock out the mercenaries. Once this was done, they went about securing the prisoners and their weapons.
Eventually Brittany asked Tom "How are the nukes?"
Tom looked through the vans and the bombs and said "still safe."
The Gridrunner landed on runway 9R at Heathrow and took the fourth taxiway o meet with the waiting prisoner transport.
As the forward port door opened, Wanda and Tiffany emerged with Kerry, restrained by a Mk 40 cuff on her wrist and the usual manacles and shackles. Kerry seemed inappropriately cheery in contrast to Tiffany and Wanda's inappropriate weariness.
As Julia and Daria met with them, Wanda simply said "Take her, take her now."
Daria smirked for a second.
"What?" asked Julia.
"Fammiliar scene," said Daria, "ask Jane what happened when I was invited to Grove Hill school for the gifted."
"'Kay," said Julia as she took a hold of Kerry's waist leash, she then pointed at Tiffany and asked "this one been any trouble?"
"Perfect Gentlewoman, only had to restrain her twenty times," said Wanda, she then said "actually she seems to be okay, a little de-burring and she'll be a model ... ... coastguardsman."
"So, who was it who foiled my dastardly plan?" asked Kerry.
"Tell you in a few years time," said Daria.
"Aw come ooooonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn," said Kerry.
"Yeah, we'll tell you, you'll predict us telling you, and we'll have to work just that little bit harder to get you," said Wanda, "Hey, we might even lose a city as well."
"Well, life's no fun without a little risk," said Daria, "maybe we should tell her."
After about five seconds, they all concluded "Naahhhhhhhhh."
"Oh come on, I'll give you a blowjob, just tell me, tell me, tell me!" said Kerry, parodying an excited kid.
"Tell you what, plead 'No Contest' at your court martial, and we'll consider it," said Julia as she led Kerry onto the Gridrunner.
"Really?" asked Kerry.
"No," said Julia.
"Awww, you're mean," pouted Kerry.
As Julia got Kerry onto the Gridrunner, Tiffany asked "The diclonii, they dead or busted?"
"Busted," said Daria, "explain it to you question mark amount of time later."
"Okay," said Tiffany.
"How's your legal situation?" asked Daria.
"Still precarious. I'm feeling more hopeful though."
"You guys need a lift?" asked Daria.
"We still got business with the CPS," said Wanda, "we'll be making our own way back later."
"Okay, good luck," said Daria as she returned to the Gridrunner.
"So, NEST arrived, picked up the uranium shells, that's going back into the civilian energy market, that's it," said Quinn.
"I was hoping Harman might have a reaction to finding out that he was being ordered around by a captain, but I saw none, that guy's no fun," said Julia.
"You want 'No Fun', try listening to Kerry trying to wind everyone up," said Daria, "titanium oxide white foundation, green hair dye, idiot big grin, suit her personality to the ground."
"Maybe her cellie could play 'Harlequin' to her joker," said Julia.
"Hey Daria, how about I get you a batman costume next birthday?" asked Jane.
Daria didn't respond.
"Perfect character," said Jane.
"Hope I'm not interrupting," said Agent Flemming as he entered.
Everyone except Daria turned to glare at him.
"What are you doing here Mr. Flemming?" asked Brittany.
"He's still an agent," said Daria.
"I need a word with Daria alone," said Flemming.
"No way," said Brittany.
"Got something to hide?" asked Flemming.
"Only the guilty have something to hide," said Daria.
"Exactly," said Flemming.
"Oh come on, that was so transparent, even you should have gotten that," said Daria.
Flemming looked perturbed. "I don't follow."
"You got something to discuss, guess I might as well hear it. Boss?" asked Daria.
"Okay," said Brittany.
All the Legionnaires except Daria left the room.
"From what you said just now, I imagine what you have to say is the exact opposite of an apology," said Daria.
"That's right. I want to know if we're safe."
"You're safe. Unless the Director decides to make a move on you, the only thing I can think of that would keep him from firing you is that he's gay for you. Thankfully Boliver's deniability allowed us to get him back into his life sentence."
"When I say 'We', I mean the United States, does the Legion approve of us Americans?"
"I see. ... Flemming, we're not you guys, we go out to save lives, American or non, meta or normal, we use our law enforcement officer status to assist in that."
"You see us as the bad guys?" Asked Flemming.
"You know, Agent Flemming, for a spy agency that recently decided we were a terrorist organisation, your inroads into figuring out what we're like are abysmally short," said Daria, "what is it you think we're about? Seriously, you've infiltrated everyone from Amnesty International to the Salvation Army, to Boy Scouts, Stonewall, is there anyone you don't think is some kind of fifth column for some invasion force? Actually, never mind that, you probably suspect yourselves of being insurgents you're that paranoid, what I don't get is why you didn't pick a more suitable method? Infiltration, eavesdropping devices, you could have sent someone along to 'liase' with us, that person could have been both a carrier for eavesdropping devices and an active investigator, instead you decided to abduct me, RIGHT when I was a hair away from blowing this case wide open, and impede our investigation by placing us on that watchlist instead of simply watching our internet activity. You haven't improved one bit, well, except I don't feel like I've had anyone's hand up my ass, so I guess you've improved there."
"Right, this is the part where you attack my self esteem to throw me off balance is it?" asked Flemming.
"Flemming, this is me being honest and straight up. You are an idiot. You nearly helped a bunch of terrorists nuke some US cities, you put a proven nut job in charge of an apparently vital interrogation, with no supervision what so ever, so he could attempt to drive me nuts so I become his weapon of mass convenience so he could hawk his sentinel robots, you, agent Flemming, are stupid."
"You know your mind control powers won't work on me, I've been Esper trained."
"Good for you, just need to work on getting that twenty-twenty hindsight everyone else mastered at age two," said Daria, "anything else?"
"Yeah. We'll be watching you. Have a nice day." Agent Flemming then left.
"Prick," commented Daria.
"Tiffany Blum Deckler here as ordered," said Tiffany as she entered and stood at attention.
"Stand easy," said the Admiral. He then asked "I received your shrink's report."
"Frankly ... No, shrink felt your lust for the hunt made you a potential danger to the mission, he wanted you out of the navy."
"He then interviewed Wanda to get her perspective on you, and Wanda knows how to speak shrink, and saved your job and your active field status, so you're clear. Just go out, relax, come back ready to kill."
"Thank you sir," said Tiffany, now seriously elated for the first time in days.
She snapped to attention again, and was out the door faster than a cartoon character or the Mask.
"Shrinks," said the Admiral with a chuckle.