If It's Not One Thing


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Scene Title If It's Not One Thing…
Synopsis …it's another.
Date February 10, 2009

Minea's Loft


Traffic Jams.

Rolling Blackouts.

The End of the World.

Some days are easier than others, and it's fair to say this hasn't particularly been one of them. This is the first night in weeks that Minea Dahl hasn't had to content with constant stopping and inspecting of her credentials when out past five in the evening. With the curfew rolled back to nine-thirty, it's allowed her not the same freedom that it has others, but freedom from interrogation that constantly upset her daily routines. But if it's not one thing — it's another. A road-block hastily erected in the Upper West Side closed off traffic for six hours, trapping Miss Dahl in gridlock while the city honked, shouted and screamed around her. The rolling personnel carriers of National Guard and the black uniforms of Homeland Security officers only made it more clear that it wasn't a routine traffic stop.

By the time she made her way home, the last thing Minea wants is more complication to her day. Thankfully, when the deadbolt slides open and the locks are undone, what she finds is a neat and orderly loft with power for once.

The rolling blackouts have just been one more hassle added to her life; one minute everything in the loft will be working, and the next minute she's plunged into darkness for anywhere up to five or six hours before the world slowly comes back to life around her. Sure, she saved the world, but it's a pretty shitty world to live in right now.

And it doesn't show any signs of getting better.

"Hallelujah, thank the Lord I can get some fucking work done tonight." Muttered to herself and the apartment. Doors are locked behind her, every bolt settling into place, night chain on. Her routine when she comes in the door. Divest herself of jacket, no portfolio today. It's already over by her recessed work station. Jackets hung up as she moves further in. Divest herself of the gun hidden at her waist. Take off the holster around her leg. Both go onto table, where her high heels press the floor switch to turn on the true light set up. Kitchen, make coffee, get out leftover thai, shove it in the microwave, on and on till she heads back to her work station. She's set to do some major document forgery tonight. Government approved, of course.

The routine is a welcomed change, no cursing at the blackened lights, no swearing at the laptop that hasn't charged its battery. All through the kitchen and finally over to her workstation, Minea begins to sink into the normalcy that is her daily life, her routine. After everything that has happened, after all of the work she's done both official and not, there's something comforting about having a normal life to return to, and some modest sense of accomplishment at having a life at all, given what the last thirty days had brought.

The chill by Minea's workstation is the first thing that puts a damper on her day, though. A cold, palpable breeze rushing across her feet that rises up and stirs the steam wafting up off of her plate of leftover Thai from the other night. Right in her field of vision — of course — she sees the window to her fire escape open about a half an inch.

If it's not one thing, it's always another.

She locked that. Mentally she cursing for not having seen it. The Thai is forgotten, letting it cool on it's end of the work table. Her left hand goes for her blackberry, thumbing 911 into it and send, bringing the electrical equipment up to her ear. Her other hang going for her gun kept at her ankle, the bigger of the two. Procedure flipping through her mind with the phone pinned to her ear. Start going through the main open area inch by inch, look for clues, hints, something.

Bringing up the blackberry to dial 911, Minea's eyes track to the antenna showing her service displaying a red circle with a line through it. When she tries to dial out, a small message displaying no service quickly pops up on the screen. No service in Manhattan? It only makes the bend she takes for the gun at her ankle all the quicker, which couldn't possibly be any better timed.

The quiet thwip, thwip of a silenced gun rings out just as Minea ducks down to reach at her ankle, coming from the direction of the bedrooms. There's a loud clang and clatter in the kitchen, not quite the sound of bullets, ringing off of pots and pans. She can hear footsteps from where she's ducked, boots moving from the door of her bedroom.

Dear lord, couldn't she just get some work done. The phones put down, face up so that 911 when they answer will at least register a phone call, even if she's not gonna be speaking and send someone. That and if she has to fire her gun, it's not silenced and will be reported. "Little fuckers" Her guns out now, safety off, ducking down behind the counter, looking into reflective surfaces, darting a glance around the corners of the island and see if she can locate her intruders. Ready to squeeze off a shot if she does. There goes my deposit.

When Minea ducks around the corner, there's a man in full SWAT body armor standing in the doorway to her bedroom, with a pistol gripped tightly with both of his hands. He fires off a shot just as quickly as she does given the startle of seeing a gun aimed at her. Minea's pistol drowns out the sound of his silenced gun, and her shot is far more accurate without goggles, a face-mask and body armor to get in the way. Shot in the knee, the intruder isn't so much hurt as spun-around and sent sprawling back into her room with a loud yelp, muffled by his mask. His gunshot goes too wide, slamming in to the wall near her head. It's not a bullet, it's a dart.

Even as Minea's eyes cross to focus on the dart stuck in her wall, there's a rush of motion from the bathroom, a black streak of motion followed by her gun being wrested from her hand, and a palm delivered flat to her chest. The man moves like he's a DVD on fast-forward, just a jittery haze of motion, and in that black blur her gun is disassembled and dropped to the ground with a clatter of bullets before she even strikes the hardwood floor.

Minea rolls with the blow to her chest, using the time a roll over her back and shoulder to get into a crouch takes to catch her breath again and look up to the man marching towards her across the room. He's not moving at break-neck speed now, but he's dressed just like the other was; full cloth face-mask, goggles, black helmet and body armor, laced up boots leaving those little black smudges across her clean floor.

With a flick of his wrist, the approaching man whips out a telescoping baton on his way towards Minea, even though she can see a gun holstered at his waist. What the fuck is going on?

Darts?! And an Evolved. That's the first thought that runs through her mind. No one can move that fast. "I'm an ISA agent. I will Use lethal force" That's not even a proper warning as she's pretty sure that's a baton charged. There's a silicone pot holder and she grabs it, even as she speaks, throwing it at the man, taking in her resources. No gun. Fucker took her gun, telescoping baton, means close but not close enough. She takes the chance to try and get up, dart around the island, grab the bamboo cutting board and use it to block the baton if the man comes at her.

Crack. The baton slams against the cutting board as it's raised, and the scramble through the kitchen knocks drawers open as the man forces Minea back towards the refrigerator. She slams into it squarely, shaking off magnets from the front and rocking a champagne bottle on top of it back and forth. It tips over and rolls, falling to one side with a shatter of glass and a hiss of carbonated liquid no longer contained. Minea shuffles back, stumbling to try and avoid stepping on the broken glass as the man swings again, cracking the baton into the cutting board as she is forced towards the edge of the kitchen and backed towards some counter space.

There's no words said, no demands, and no hesitation — but at the same time there's no super-speed being used. Just as the man winds back with his baton again, Minea catches sight of a cutlery set in a wooden block just on the other side of the refrigerator on the counter top, right within arm's reach. Next to it, is a cast iron skillet.

Without hesitation, the board is flung at the black clothed man viciously with one hand, the other reaches for the cast iron skillet, aiming to throw that in it's wake with a goodly amount of force, followed quickly with reaching for the skinning knife in the middle of the block and rush the man.

The board is sidestepped, which sends the man straight into the skillet, sending him staggering back as it connects with his goggles, driving them back against his head. The baton is dropped from the stun, and Minea quickly wraps her fingers around the hilt of her knife, jumping over the broken glass on the floor to rush down the burgular, or — whatever. She collides with him, easily a hundred pounds lighter than the man, not counting his body armor. The knife is raised, and driven down between the hardened plates on beneath kevlar weave. There's a red discharge around the knife, and a loud shriek as the man collapses back to the floor, dragging Minea with him.

On her way to the floor, Minea notices the man she shot in the leg hobbling through the main room, and by the time she's down on the ground, he's circled around the island, stepping with an awkward gait to get her in his field of view, training his dart-gun up towards her as she wrenches the knife out of the other man's shoulder.

Knife dropped, one hand grabs the island to yank herself out of the way quick as can be and use it for cover, and drag Mr. Hurt Shoulder's gun with her. "Wrong house to break into mother fucker" taking a second to look at the gun, find the safety and angling her wrist, aiming for hip level, blindly fire the dart gun, pray for a hit.

When Minea yanks the gun out of the holster and rolls to the side, she watches as two darts come shooting past her to stick into the floor with a resounding pair of thunks. The muffled curse under the breath of the black-clad man is all the confirmation Minea needs to know that whatever it is she's doing, it's not what he expected. She rises up into a crouch and levels the gun at the intruder, and as she squeezes down on the trigger something strange happens.

Right in front of her eyes there's a quick flash of blue-purple metallic particles, like metal filings thrown into the air. In that same moment, a deep magenta haze forms into the shape of a tall and thin man with dark, chocolate-brown skin in a full suit. His hand is resting on the barrel of the gun, and the gun is dissolving under his touch into metal shavings. His coal-black eyes peer down at her, even as the man behind him that Minea was aiming at lowers his gun.

"Miss Dahl." He says in a deep, calm voice as there's a violet flash under his hand, and the gun flies apart in disassembled pieces down to the screws and bolts, bullets falling apart as the gun seems to flicker away into component pieces, "You passed."

The hand turns, palm up as the bald man's brows raise, "Can I help you up off of the floor?" The man she drove a knife into raises both of his hands in a gesture of surrender near her, while the one she was about to shoot with the dart gun makes sure his weapon is holstered and then does the same.

What the hell is going on?

Holy shit. Disbelief on the Fed's face, and a glance to everyone, then the now dissembled gun. "You'll pardon me if I don't take your hand at the moment" She pulls her one holding a gun hand back and uses the island to pull herself up, a very pissed off look on her face. "you better explain what I passed and you better explain quick" Unamused Minea, on edge Minea who despite the surrender gestures is ready to keep going if a wrong move is made. She maneuvers herself to where she can see them all.

There's that haze of blue-black in the tall man's hand, as a white business card forms between his fingers. "I understand your alarm, Miss Dahl. But, unlike my other colleagues, I see the value of impromptu field-tests." He offers her a too-white smile, holding out the card which reads, Biomere Research, displaying an address in Manhattan, with a subtext below of several fields of biological research. "My name is Roger Goodman, and I represent a collection of interested parties that have had their eye on you for some time."

He looks over his shoulder at the man behind him, who nods his head and steps away from the pair, moving towards where Minea's blackberry is on the floor to pick up. The man with the knife wound just stays put for the time being. "You put yourself on our radar recently, and I thought you might like," he offers the card up towards her, "To come by some time, and talk about our employment opportunities."

"I have a contract with the department of Defense Mr. Goodman. I can't just up and leave" THe card is taken though, regardless, her eyes drifting to the man who picks up her blackberry. "You can put that on the counter please" Back to Goodman she looks. "What does Biomere want with a document Specialist Mr. Goodman?"

"Oh, I'm aware of your contract, and as far as the Department of Defense is concerned," His head cants to one side as he lays the card down on the counter top, "You'll be transferring out to the Department of Homeland Security." Dark eyes divert down to the card, watching as he gingerly nudges it around the counter top with two fingers until it is squared with one of the island's corners. "Biomere itself," he looks back up to Minea, "Doesn't have any openings aside from a few secretarial positions."

Moving his hand away from the card, Roger tucks it into the pocket of his slacks as the man in the house goes about cleaning up signs of their presence. He closes and locks the window by the desk, then proceeds to walk to where the dart is stuck in the wall, removing it as he presses one hand over the punctured sheet-rock, mending the material closed with his gloved hand. "I represent an organization that thrives on anonymity, Miss Dahl, and we have our eyes on more than just your training as a document specialist." His lips creep up into a smile. "We can discuss things a bit more discretely once you've had some time to think things over, if that suits you. But I assure you, what I offer is far more rewarding than being a glorified paper pusher."

"I'll think about it" Anything to get them the fuck out of her house. She eyes where they all go, looking down to the one she stabbed with a sigh and offers a hand up to him. "Not going to say sorry. You deserved that. Be happy I didn't go for your neck or your belly" When he's up, Minea's looking over her computer area, making sure nothings been damaged there. "Homeland Security" Hugh Whitcomb? Wickham. He was homeland and she'd been questioned about the Deckard incident. voila, she gets her answer. "If your done testing me, can I politely ask that you get the hell out of my loft? you've wasted time that I don't have with the rolling blackouts to get cracking on my work. I'm sure you of all people understand the need to get things done"

Straightening his tie with one hand, Roger's eyes follow Minea across her apartment. "Of course, Miss Dahl." He says in as polite a tone as possible, circling out from behind the island with quiet footfalls. The wounded agent walks with a staggering gait behind Goodman, even as the one who was repairing the walls returns with a handful of darts and the discarded baton.

"I will make one recommendation though," He notes with an inclination of his head, "Do keep this little meeting of ours a secret," The smile lingers, a bit more fully though. "I'll be looking forward to hearing from you." With those words, Roger simply vanishes from sight in a haze of blue-purple illumination, a violet blue of muddled radiance that washes out the color around where he was for just a moment. The two other agents use more conventional means of exit, slipping to the doorway. But when they open it, there's a third agent in black combat gear waiting outside. The three of them vanish in a heat-mirage of bent light when they meet up with him, closing the door invisibly afterward.

When the door shuts, one more magnet falls off of the refrigerator with a click and a clatter as it skids along on the hardwood floor.

If it's not one thing…

Minea sighs, watching the motley crew depart from her place, a glance to the magnets. But it's back to the door and the card left in her hand that garners her attention, and thought. It's another handful of minutes before the woman moves from her spot, to grab her Thai and heat it up and bend down to pick up the fallen magnets and pop the fillet knife into the dishwasher. Erase any trace of the altercation that occurred. Through it all, now and then though, she looks to the business card, taunting her on the counter. "Biomere Research…"

It's another.

February 10th: The Girl In Question

Previously in this storyline…
Who Dares, Wins

Next in this storyline…
Great Responsibility

February 10th: Before Dishonor
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