Home Court [Dis]Advantage

It's a bad day at the office for SHIELD, whose sudden lock-down cannot prevent damage that's already leaked inside from taking place.

SHIELD Base, Russia

"What do you mean you missed?!"

"Please tell me it's not part of a new decor— " Captain Rogers pleads quickly to his companion as the two enter the SHIELD base undergoing lock-down. The pair had arrived to bodies moving quickly around the temporary Russian base, a constant alarm, and flashing red lights in the hangar bay. The building is going into lockdown.

Locks along the hangar doors clamp shut, one at a time with thuds in quick succession, beckoning Captain America to cast his companion another glance. Something is wrong. What that is, Steve has no idea. Nor should he. He sort of 'just' woke up…

"No, SHIELD isn't one for the rave atmosphere," Sharon quips, then realizes that Steve won't know what a 'rave' is and tacks on, "A rave is a party with a lot of flashing lights and drugs." As the hangar doors clamp shut behind them, she meets her charge's gaze with a questioning look of her own and then gestures for him to follow. Flagging down the closest person who looks like they have some authority, she calls out, "What's going on?"

Bobbi is running from one end of the room to the other, "Secure the evidence!!!" The order is yelled rather than asked— a very uncharacteristic move. "If Sterns thinks he can get his toys back— " her jaw tightens as she's interrupted by Sharon very briefly, "We don't know. We're in full lockdown. Someone or something set off the alarm— " and with that, the blonde is directing her team once more. "Back room now!" As she begins running away, she peeks over her shoulder, "Coming?!" Mostly because if Sterns is after something this particular something needs to be protected— the very reason why Carter and Rogers were invited here in the first place.

Gunfire echoes from down the hallway, richoceting off multiple surfaces, prompting Captain Rogers to tug Sharon to the ground towards one of the many bulkheads in the hangar bay. His reactions are those from a trained soldier rather than an agent. "I thought this place was top secret!" he yells over the pandemonium that appears to have broken out.

The evidence? Sharon is pulled down by Steve as the gunfire starts to ricochet. "Yeah, well, perhaps top secret doesn't exactly translate well into Russian." Pulling out her own gun, she glances over at Steve. "Do you need a weapon?" He fought in WWII, she's going to assume that he knows how to handle himself in a fire fight. "'Cause I'm following Bobbi. Either help secure the perimeter or come along." It wouldn't look very good if she got Captain America killed, but just because she's escorting him around doesn't mean she's staying out of the fight.

Steve parts his lips to say something only to be interrupted by a loud boom just down the hall. "What— ?" the question isn't given much time or regard. And then, to the question posited, he nods. Emphatically.

"The tech!" Bobbi gasps as she runs to the nearest weapons locker which sits askance to the entranceway. Her hand is planted on the tablet beside the locker, and the computer responds: Welcome Agent Morse. This, of course, causes Captain America to turn to Carter with a look of astonishment. Morse grabs a large weapon and straps it across her shoulder. "It's in the science wing— " she reaches into the locker and tugs out a comm unit, plugging it into her own ear. "Morse here. What the hell is going on?" The normally perky doctor isn't happy. Not if she loses what they've been working on.

She tugs two more comm units from the locker and tosses them towards Sharon and Cap in turn. Cap manages to fumble his, mostly because he's still staring at the tablet beside the weapons' locker. He's not off to a great start here.

"It's all just automated. They had scifi back in the 40s, right? It's like that but now real." Sharon catches her com and skillful places it in her ear. Scooping up Steve's link, she shows him how to put it in his ear properly as she states outloud, "Carter, checking in with Rogers. Ditto to Morse's question." Softly, so that it won't be picked up, she tells him, "Once that's in, you just have to start speaking. The others will hear you." She passes off her handgun to Steve and grabs a gun similar to Bobbi's from the weapon's locker. It's probably better for him to use something familiar than some high-tech SHIELD gun that he doesn't know how to use yet.

Steve watches with rapt attention as Sharon puts the link in her ear, demonstrating how to put it in. He follows suit.

Over the comm a male voice cuts in, "Director Fury is down. Repeat, Director Fury is down." Whatever that means. "We don't know how they got in. There are at least thirty unwanteds in the building. Repeat minimum thirty assailants. One made it through the vents. We've been locked out of our systems at central command— does anyone have image— "

Steve can't hide his amazement at the clarity of the voices. "Wow," he says out loud, only to follow it up with a quick, "Sorry," remembering that it's now all over the comm. Probably important to ensure that he watches what he says. Everyone will now here it. Whoever everyone is.

"Right. So no one has a visual," Bobbi is already moving towards the hall. "The science wing is getting broken into— try to get ahold of Trent Carter. If he's in there, he might be able to pull things on screen— " She clears her throat, "Trent, are you there?"

For a moment, Sharon gives Steve a grin. Even in a fire fight, he's still amazed by technology. It's almost sweet. Prepping her gun, she follows Bobbi toward the hallway - it's all business now. "I haven't gotten a chance to look at the plans of this place. Is it possible to pincer them off? How secure is the science wing?"

As for Trent, there's a long silence. It doesn't sound like he's on the com.

Then, there's a loud sound of gunfire that echoes across everyone's earpieces. It quickly turns down and that must be Trent's voice that whispers to everyone. "B-barely. I--I managed to seal the doors. But, they shot...they shot Peter. They're trying to get in. One managed to slip through before the doors shut and sealed. I---I had to—-" This is not a man who has been trained to kill. This is probably the first man he's had to shoot in cold blood.

Steve doesn't know Trent Carter, he doesn't understand technology, but he does get the every man. In fact, Steve understands powerlessness more than most. "Take a deep breath," he encourages gentler than anyone else might expect from the famed Captain America, "Is there safe space inside at all? Any corner you could seek refuge while help tries to find its way in— "

Bobbi arches an eyebrow at Steve and then Sharon, in turn. She presses her fingers to her ear as her teeth toy at her lip. "The science wing is central to the base. Mostly because there are layers and layers of security to get through before ever getting there— it was designed so nothing and no one could easily get in or out. After past breaches," her from reflects in her tone, "we made quick work of it," her steps have quickened some. "But maybe we can launch a three way attack. One from the back," she points down the corridor. "Two from the sides. It's basically a giant circle— "

Where Trent is, the banging continues. But then a different sound seems to come from over head. Metallic in nature. Echoey.

"Do we know who is attacking and why they would be after this base?" Sharon has heard very little about what happened in Russia other than the fact that a bomb was found at a party. But, she is following Bobbi at a brisk pace. "What other forces do you have here?" She glances about, expecting bustling and perhaps some hustling. "We can come in from any where." With a side look to Steve, she asks, "Any side calling your name?"

Over the com, Trent's voice is still shaken, but he most likely took that deep breath. "We made a fort, er, barricade of tables. They're metal, so they should be—" There's a long pause as Trent looks up. "I, uh, hate to be the guy who is like, 'You have to hurry, they're in the ceiling,' but…yeah, I'm that guy."

"How the hell did they get in the ceiling?!" Bobbi hisses to herself more than anyone else, prompting Steve to frown for just a moment. "How the hell did they even get in the building?!" She clears her throat and quickens her pace just a stitch more, "We're operating on less than ideal numbers— we're in the process of transferring agents out here to deal with the growing Sterns threat— " she frowns, "I'll update you on that later— "

Captain Rogers narrows his eyes, and replies back towards Trent, "Good job. Sit tight and try to stay calm. If you can find anything else, blockade the door more." He turns back towards Sharon, "Right. That's what's calling me— "

Instinctively, Sharon looks up, then smirks. "Captain America, always fighting for what's right. On the right side." She has tons of these. "Okay, so, somehow either these people got lucky or they knew we're understaffed. Be on the look out for anything suspicious. We should get Carter to look for any suspicious activity on the servers. Bobbi, anything else we should know before we try and relieve the science department?"

"Calm. Sure. Totally calm." Trent takes a deep breath, as instructed before. "I'll, uh, start sifting through the server." That, actually, will calm his mind down some. Pulling one of the laptops that he upgraded and modified himself, he starts blocking out the fight outside and whatever is coming from above and looking through server logs.

Steve casts Sharon a weary glance before taking a single step to the right only to stop after Sharon's question. Is there anything else they should know?

"Just make sure you're both armed— " Bobbi says abruptly. "The base is supposed to be in lockdown, but considering more alarms aren't going off, for whatever reason, the security system is failing." She frowns again. "Take on from both sides and maybe, maybe we can protect the science wing." She rolls her eyes at herself.


He'd had said it would work. The sewer entrance to the building had multiple security measures. The first was a handprint. The silicone hand had worked perfectly. Evidently he'd given good intel. The second was the retinal scan. The contact lens worked just as well. It had seemed like a trap— too easy that she had thought to exercise more than a little caution.

He suggested she enter through the front door using the same method.

The list was enough to inspire better ideas.

One million per hit.

She would've taken less, but she'd said nothing during negotiations, prompting him to negotiate with himself, as if the price had been an insult from the start. His twitchiness made him easy to play. She'd wondered if he'd ever really sat with a woman in the same room before. That, or her reputation preceeded her.

The first name was easy enough. She'd broken into his home, and replaced his coffee sugar with a wonderful substitute. He'd be in a coma by the day's end.

The second name meant coming here. For him. Of course, Sterns had pushed for more than that; he needed more than that from this place. She had to credit him with that: he was, at the very least, an opportunist.

It had been quiet in the building. The comlink in her ear buzzed with his voice, "Do you see him? He's a wily cyclops with an attitude problem~ Sticks out like a sore thumb~" That had irritated her, prompting her to turn him down. She needed to work. She'd tell them when the hit was done and make it out of the building while they did what they did whilst distracted.

She never loved range shots. She preferred hand to hand. No one could beat her at hand to hand. She could take out virtually anyone that way. Range, well, that's always been another story. It's not that she's a bad shot, it's the unpredictability of the situation. Hand to hand she could react. Range was a science. Which is why she had watched and waited far longer than Sterns had wanted. But she watched him. Fury's every movement had familiarity. Like some grand general from lives passed. She'd lingered in the vent, watching. Staring.

Which is why she caught a glimpse of the screen. Her image. Was she already blown?! How could they know about the first one already? She'd tried to see it, but vision is what vision is.

Which is why she'd botched the shot. Scarcely. Missing by mere inches: guaranteeing he'd have an opportunity to see her. From her perspective, the warning would be clear: don't chase the Widow. You'll only end up dead.

He'd be down, but not out for the count. And when the shot was fired, the troops came in. Their infiltration was on a number of fronts. Including the vents.

When she'd reported back, his irritation was palpable, "What do you mean you missed?!"

She'd played innocent. And then he'd upped her mission: telling her to follow her instincts through the building. She'd argued for two million. He'd agreed. And he better make good.

Everyone pays the Widow.

Or they pay the price.

The vents were strange. The turns relatively normal enough, even among the maze…



Inside the science wing, the metallic vent pops off the vent with a very loud bang like a booted foot had come against it.

No no no, that is not good. As the booted foot comes through the ceiling, Trent is quick to lock his computer and is prepared to smash it should it come to that. "Uh, they're through," he alerts the others. Grabbing the gun that he used earlier to protect himself, he aims it at the dangling limb, waiting for a good shot.

Upon hearing Trent's statement, Sharon takes a look at both Bobbi and Steve and then picks up the speed, running forward toward the science lab. "Come on," she tells Steve. "I can pick them off fairly quickly if you can keep them off of me."

An odd smile creeps over Steve's lips at Sharon's statement. He runs after Sharon, gun at the ready as the chase down the hall of the facility. The white floors reflect the light into infinity, until they round a corner. And then they hit a round of not-so-friendly fire, prompting the Captain to pause and look at Sharon. He'll cover her. Or he can go first…

Inside the lab, the leg retracts into vent, only to jump out quickly and vault into the room. It's fast. The figure in black is almost impossible to track with a weapon. Save for the occasional flash of brilliant red wavy hair.

Focusing straight ahead and into the battle, Sharon doesn't notice the smile. As they come up against the fire, she flings her back against the wall. With a quick look forward, she takes a count and then looks at Steve. Ready. Set. Go. Wheeling around the corner, Sharon uses her quick look to start shooting. She was top of her class with firearms and she hasn't let the skill get rusty. She's quite accurate, not wasting time to take shots that she knows will miss.

Trent is not a good shot. And despite that, he has to attempt to defend the others and himself. He takes two or three shots at the arcing figure that's impossible to make out, but they all go wide, hitting the ceiling with loud pinging noises.

Sharon's bullets catch four guards down the side of the hall, but the rain of fire returned is equally threatening. The attackers intend to turn this into a good old Mexican standoff— at least that's what it seems like at first. Until the squeaking of rubber can be heard around the corner. They're on the move.

A single booted heel spins around to kick the weapon from Trent's hands. Whether or not it lands, when it's assailant literally jumps back to a standing position, it's undeniably Natasha Romanoff. Her eyebrows draw sharply together as her gaze shifts about the science wing— examining each of the shelves for something.

Hot on their heels, Sharon quickly barks into the com, "Right wing on the move. In pursuit." She's like her own police scanner. She does a quick head turn around the wall and then follows after, shooting as she goes.

The gun goes spiraling out of Trent's hands and lands on the floor with a metallic thud. In the heat of the moment, he hadn't noticed who he was shooting at until now. "Natasha?" He'd heard she was captured. He'd been worried about her. "Sorry. I thought—" he notices her expression and the way she surveys the room as if she'd never been in here before. "What's wrong with you?"

Two of Sharon's targets fall. One easier than the other. The one that lingers fires shots of their own: Bang. Bang. Bang. This one is persistent and probably needs additional action.

The noise echoes through the hallowed halls. Steve fires as well, three shots of his own towards the last they're chasing. It hits. Rogers can't help but cringe. Hopefully he's fighting on the right side of this fight. Things were so clear-cut back in his day.

The hall opens up as they round the corner. No obvious baddies in sight, but they have some ground to cover before reaching the science wing entrance.

The name Natasha inspires a comment from Bobbi on the comm, "What?"

Romanoff plucks the weapon from the ground and returns it to her belt. Like it belongs there. Even though there is obviously no room for it. Nothing looks amiss on her person otherwise; she's even outfitted in her SHIELD uniform.

Trent earns the slightest tilt of her head and faint quirk of Natasha's eyebrow at the name. Followed by a narrowing of her eyes. Natasha. But her features smooth over moments later, like wrinkles ironed out of cotton. His question is met with silence as her eyes once more scan the shelves. Only to find what she's looking for.

The Hydra symbol on the machine is unmistakable for anyone that knows their SHIELD-related history. The device is small, and has been an object of study since the incident at the party— which admittedly wasn't long ago. The team had recovered it from Sterns' on-site lab.

One thing Sharon is certain of: if she didn't shoot them, they would shoot her. They were already attacking other members of the team. She is careful with her shots to take care of the last remaining man. With no one in sight, the agent picks up the pace - assuming Steve will be right behind her. She keeps an ear out for approaching intruders as she pushes forward.

"Uh, yeah, I'm looking right at her," Trent responds to Bobbi, speaking of Natasha in the third person. "And, uh, she's looking at something we pulled out of the party site. In a not exactly creepy way, but in a very intense laser eyed sort of way. Which, admittedly is creeping me out."

From behind, three assailants take up the rear. Fortunately, Captain America has sharp senses, and even sharper reaction time. He's already turning when the first shots are fired towards him and Sharon, his own weapon at the ready. He takes a few shots, causing the baddies in the rear to slink back behind the corner for just a moment. "They're still coming in— someone needs to find this breach point— " he calls into the headset. Unfortunately, this means, for this moment, Sharon is on her own.

Sharon can hear the assailants ahead. Particularly when they begin randomly opening fire. Of course, they're behind a barricade that they've built, providing themselves with some semblance of coverage in the relatively empty halls of the SHIELD base. Of course, one overeager individual doesn't maintain his safe place behind the barricade, jumping over to try to engage the female Carter in hand-to-hand combat.

"…What?" Bobbi can't quite piece this together. "How the hell are they still coming in?! There's no way they could know our defenses— did he hack us again?!" Her face scrunches as she presses two fingers to her earpiece, "Get Romanoff out here— ASAP."

Romanoff, however, isn't exactly chatty. A vague glance is given to Trent, followed by the smallest quirk of Natasha's eyebrow. Please. It's the same glance given to anyone who interrogates her. The same glance given when she was first brought to a facility not so different than this one. Her eyes narrow and her lips twitch into a near-smile as she scales the shelves with undeniable ease. But then a little acrobatics are no match for the Widow.

Sharon can handle herself. If Steve has her back, she can make sure their way forward is clear. As the man jumps over the barricade toward them, she squeezes off a few shots before ducking back against the wall in an attempt to keep out of the way of the suppressive fire coming her way. She waits a beat and then, after judging the amount of time it would take the man to close the distance between them, steps forward and attempts to smash him against the wall. If she can, she'll use him as a human shield between herself and the other shooters as she attempts to incapacitate him.

Inside the science lab, Trent is watching Natasha with curiosity and not a little bit of distrust. "First of all, duh I'm sure we've been hacked. That dude moves through our firewall like paper and I've been staying up around the clock in attempt to stop him, but that doesn't seem to do anything. And, uh, getting her outside is going to be hard," he tells Bobbi, "as she's climbing the shelves and not really talking to me at the moment." He stays behind the makeshift barricade and studies her. "Hey, uh, Natasha, would you mind not climbing on the shelves while we're being attacked? Bobbi says she'd like to see you outside. If that's okay by you."

The man shield works and acts as a barrier between Sharon and the shots being fired. Meanwhile Steve catches up some, running backwards while firing mad bullets against the oncoming onslaught of baddies. "I don't think we can go back that way," he replies honestly into the link.

Another assailant stands in the way, complete with a large bazooka is at the end of the hall.

"…what…" Bobbi states rather than asks into the commlink. She says nothing else, choosing instead to stop at the weapons locker. "New plan," she utters quickly, "since I appear to the senior agent on the link…" without the command experience needed to match— she's a scientist, "clear out the science lab. Evacuate the building. We can regroup at a drop point— "

"Captain Rogers here," Steve speaks into the link. "With your permission ma'am— maybe we consider sinking the Titanic. This is one enemy that it might be best to leave under rubble."

The repetition of her name warrants another quirk of her eyebrow. Her lips purse as she sucks on the inside of her cheek and reaches for the small machine, which she regards with vague curiosity. It seems like a lot of work for something that's so small. Trent, however, warrants another twitch of her head as she casts her gaze downward.

Her head cants, and she jumps off the shelf and tumble rolls at the bottom. The top of her SHIELD uniform is tugged and she eyes Trent, and each of the lab geeks, in turn. Her lips press together tightly. "Call me Romanoff," she says evenly, in the deadpanned way she does. Her eyebrows draw together as she glances among the scientists. And then, evenly she asserts, "I think Bobbi is wrong. You need to move out of here. All of you." She takes a few quick steps to the centre of the room, "The ceiling vent is the easiest entrance and exit from the building." She stares at Trent expectantly.

Sharon slams her human shield against the wall a few more times for good measure and then tosses him forward into the aggressors. "We need to get to Director Fury," she says in the link. "There's also codeword clearance and sensitive materials here. We can't just leave it to these goons." Of course, she'll do what is ordered, but that doesn't mean she won't put in her two cents.

Running forward, she jumps into the middle of them, realizing that they have pinpointed her as a sharpshooter and aren't preparing for a hand to hand fight. Ducking, weaving and then slamming where necessary, she attempts to take them out in a flurry of motion and surprise.

Trent moves forward when Natasha jumps off the shelf - it's silly to attempt to help the super spy to her feet, but the movement happens. As he realizes what he's doing, he takes a nervous step backward. "Of course, Agent Romanoff. Sorry. Didn't mean to get all familiar." He's normally careful of that, but he's in a stressful position - shot at and disarmed and now unsure of what is going on. "Ceiling vent. Sure. I know all about ceiling vents. They're…in the ceiling…and vented." He's a scientist, not a field agent. "Um, sure, I mean, I'll definitely take orders from the woman that could kill me with her little toe. But, uh, you're leading the way, right? We're all scientists here - not field agents."

"Right," Bobbi agrees quietly. This is so not what she's been trained for. "Communications aren't working right, we're lucky to have any with the science wing— " She just needs to think. Think. THINK. "Once it's secure, head to the bridge? There's a destruct sequence, I think… I'm sure… we did build that failsafe, didn't we Trent??? Has anyone located Hill or Coulson? What about the Director, did he— is he ok??" She pauses. "Is anyone on this line besides the Carters and the Captain?!"

The aggressor thuds against his buddies, knocking at least two out of the five at the end of the hall over. A second aggressor bounds forward— his kick aims to take out Agent Carter at the knees.

Natasha seems like herself as she issues SHIELD's best tech guy a vague nod. "Help me move this shelf. We can use it like a ladder." She's already walking towards it. This is definitely not in Sterns' plans. But she does what all good spies and improvisers do. She just goes with it. "You can climb, right?" Her eyes narrow some.

The shelf is heavy, but not impossible to move. Her gaze turns upwards. "I'll go first and make sure it's clear." She forces the most reassuring smile she can muster. Yet it's weirdly exaggerated for Natasha, even if not for one of the many roles she plays. "I know these vents," the words had been calculated as a lie. But in some way, it feels true. "You can do this," she says evenly before climbing up the makeshift ladder again and moving one of the ceiling tiles out of the way. She moves the panel out of the way and reaches downwards to help each of the techies in turn.

Trent starts to move the shelf along with Natasha. It's clear that she's doing most of the heavy lifting - he's not the sort to go to the gym after a long day of coding and inventing. He's looking at Natasha with a measured gaze. Something does seem a bit off about her, but if she's helping them out of the blocked science lab, he's not about to complain. "Every base has a failsafe," he tells Bobbi over the link. "Romanoff is leading us out through the vents. Once we're clear, I'll let you know." After putting the shelf in place, he quickly grabs a bag and shoves his laptop into it. No chance he's leaving without that. After a pause, he moves over to the gun that was knocked out of his hand and brings that with, too. "I've climbed trees," he tells Natasha, defensively. "I just, you know, fell out of them a lot."

"We're, uh, a little busy," Sharon tells Bobbi about locating Hill and Coulson. They have yet to turn up on the link, so she cannot speak for them. After tossing one of the attackers forward, she blocks one or two more attacks before the kick catches her in the knees. This causes her to tumble forward onto the ground. "No…relation…" she mutters into the link when she and Trent are referred to as the 'Carters'.

Natasha arches a single eyebrow at Trent, "That is vastly reassuring." She reaches out to take the gun. "I don't think you should have this." Only to stop, "Can you shoot?" Her eyebrows draw together, "I need to take the lead. Someone armed needs to take the rear. Tactical imperative." Her chin lifts as she looks up the expanse of the bookshelf. Without waiting for the answer, she vaults up the bookshelf to the vent opening. She turns around and offers a hand to help her newfound comrades out. Her eyes narrow some as she wonders when she got so soft so as to lose focus on her mission.

"Uh, well." Trent doesn't wish to be in a firefight without a gun. "Sure? I mean, I have shot before." In fact, he had to kill someone earlier and it was traumatizing. But, in the heat of the moment, the sickness and terror of that has faded to the back of his mind. As he watches Natasha flip up into the vent opening without trouble, he opens his mouth, closes it, then turns to the rest of the science department. Waving like a traffic conductor, he starts to urge them up the shelf. "Okay, you heard her, everyone up in the vent. I'll be last up. I'm the tactical imperative."

Again Natasha's eyebrow arches at the notion of Trent as the tactical imperative. "I wouldn't personify that remark if I were you." She reaches downward to help the first of the scientists upwards simultaneously as there's a bang against the barricaded doors. This, of course, causes said scientist to lose their footing on the makeshift ladder. Fortunately, Natasha is stronger than she looks, and this particular scientist is rather waif, thereby allowing the widow to pull her up, following which she gives Trent a look as she reaches down to help the next in line who has already began to climb the shelf.

"Ma'am," Rogers repeats on the comm, "permission to take down the science lab?" He moves behind a large piece of rubble and peeks over it to fire. This is not what he wanted — to wake up to the crazy of this century. "Are the civilians secure?" Because, clearly agents classified as science folk are civilians and not real agents, right?

Sharon's engagement of the assailants is met with fire in turn. A lot of fire in turn. The bullets ricochet against the metallic walls, causing further echoing in the building.

Bobbi, however, is beyond overwhelmed. This is not what she's been trained for, and so, senior agent or not, she asks back to the comm, "Trent, are your people out?! Carter, report? Any word from the Director? Anything?"

Feeling and seeing the doors bow, Trent keeps helping people up the bookshelf. There aren't too many scientists, luckily and they are nearly up. Into the comm, he says, "You know, I can hear you. Typical field agent…" he mutters, adding, "We're almost into the vents and then we're clear."

Sharon jumps back up, swinging her legs to cause the other man to fall. Ducking and tumbling, she dives behind another wall in order to keep out of the way of the increased fire. "I think there's more of them coming from my direction, guys."

One by one the scientists are loaded into the vent among more banging against the door. Evidently whatever army lies on the other side desperately wants whatever lies on this side, prompting Natasha's lips to straighten into a thin line. And then finally it's the tactical imperative's turn. And once more, Natasha offers a hand, finally asserting, "Tactical Imperative," like it's his name, "make sure you level the weapon at anyone that follows behind. Don't hesitate to shoot. The aim matters less than the deterrence. If it gets to be too problematic I can hang back and fire at will." Pause. "Don't worry," her tone lacks a modicum of reassurance, "I've gotten out of worse."

The Captain's nose wrinkles as he peeks up from behind his small shelter. Shields. Right. He reaches to his back and grabs his shield and jumps up from his perch. A whistle can be heard. Someone has fired the bazooka, prompting him to jump forward to reach out for Sharon to get her behind the shield and his own body.

Hey, when Natasha calls you Tactical Imperative, you answer. Trent helps the other scientists up through the shaft, making sure they are clear, with anxious glances behind him at the angry metallic noises the locked door is making. When it's his turn, he gladly grabs her hand to lever himself up. "I've heard the stories," he smirks - a bit of his old self shining through. Then, he's back to business as he's given orders. "Okay," he says, sounding a lot more confident than he feels. And as he does not feel that confident, his voice is still a little shaky. "Got it. Let's get out of here, then."

Bazooka?! Sharon quickly dives for Steve to get behind his magic shield, eyes squeezing shut as the whistle grows louder and angrier. Then, hunched down between a bona fide American Hero and certain death, all she can do is, give him a grin as she covers her head with her hands. "So, come here often?"

And the building is coming down at the seams. There's no sign of more cavalry despite the distress calls. Fire rages around them, but Cap and Sharon remain unscathed by the flames behind the safety of the metallic object. The heat is real, but the flames are not. Scorching is not going to happen. Cap ducks a little closer, "Is that.. a line?" his eyebrows draw together, but there's no time to wait for an answer. The captain rights himself and thrusts the shield like a frisbee towards the bazooka assailant. Getting the weapon out of his hands would be the ideal at this moment.

The team of scientists are lead through a meandering vent system that seems to have been designed by a sociologist running a lab experimet rather than an engineer. Natasha doesn't lose focus despite her suspicions having been piqued. They know her. She knows this place. She's been in these vents before. The smells, the feels, the sounds — all of it is familiar. But why?

Meanwhile in the rear, they can here clunking. The assailants are in pursuit and someone is climbing into the vent.

As Cap stands and tosses his Shield, Sharon moves slower (she doesn't have any sort of super serum helping her) but in the same realm. Her guns are reloaded and she offers suppressing fire while their cover is now hopefully taking out a man with a bazooka. Despite their circumstances, she laughs. "I was trying to make you feel at home. That's what all the ladies say to the dashing men in the film noir movies I watched growing up."

From behind, Trent can hear the clinking. Pointing his gun backward, he hisses to Natasha. "I think there's someone coming."

Meanwhile the assailant's buddies begin shooting at both the captain and Sharon in turn. It rains bullets on them, producing a path of danger in front of them.

Across the comlink comes a very different, garbled, and staticky message: "…Agent.. Donovan… Strike Team Beta is in deep… Hiss… Repeat: The..lost… Agent Ross… dead… MAYDAY. Calling… SHIELD units…"

Not knowing who Donovan is, Natasha's eyebrows draw together sharply and she exhales a quick breath. She whispers some directions to the scientists just behind her, so they can find their way out of the tunnel. She begins waiting back, letting some of the crew pass her in turn. But truth be known, the spider is still far enough from the back so as not to do much.

An armed guard, dressed in black, appears in the shoot and lifts his weapon to open fire.

"We're fighting a losing battle, here, Bobbi." Sharon yells over the comlink as she dives to put Rogers behind a barricade. Without his shield he is just as vulnerable to bullets as anyone else. "Has anyone seen Fury? Or Hill? Or Coulson? We need to pull out! Trent, are your people out?"

As Trent sees the man in black behind him, he pulls the trigger and fires. "Working. On it."

Bobbi, has already found her way back to the docking bay. "I don't know if comms aren't working and only some people are receiving the signal," she quips back quickly. "But I can get a vessel out of here. C-class. Big enough to evac some people out. Can you make your way to the bay?!" As far as Coulson, Fury, and Hill — "I don't know. Fury was shot. Likely airvac'd out." And then she mutters under her breath, "Hopefully." She treads to the largest vehicle in her sights and shakes her head, "I have no idea if I can fly you — " but there isn't much choice. The shiny metallic vehicle looks as if its never seen air, probably because it hasn't.

Bobbi marches to the vessel's back gate and opens it up, "Calling all personnel. ALL SHIELD personnel. Report to Docking Bay five — " it's time to abandon this facility. Assuming she can fly this thing.

In the vent, Trent's shot takes down the masked invader, clipping him hard in the shoulder, and halting any movement towards him.

The widow actually smirks at the sight, despite being a bit back, the smile is palpable in her tone, "Huh." Her eyebrows draw together with vague surprise, "You got him." Her head ticks towards the end of the vent, "Let's get out of here."

"Steve!" Sharon knows that he heard what Bobbi said on the com. "Come on, we have to make for the Docking Bay." She's not sure how the Captain will react to retreating. It seems as if she is anticipating him not liking the notion. "We're on our way, Bobbi," she says, hoping that Steve will back her up on this.

Trent stares at the invader that he shot, both surprised and somewhat horrified by what he has done. "Y-yeah. I…I did." Despite his hesitance, he quickly follows after Natasha. "S….sure. Out of here." Quickly and hoping it will not take long, he follows after Natasha and hopes that he will be out of these vents shortly.

"We should try to take back the a — " gunfire reigns supreme, interrupting Steve's words as he holds up his shield just a little higher as he reaches out to grab Sharon and enfold her into his grip. Once the gunfire ceases, he tugs at her again to move forward, "It would be tactical err — " more gunfire. He tugs at her again to protect her. "They might have a — " A glance is given around the corner which the pair are situated. With a sharp exhale he states, "Yeah. Ok. Tactical retreat."

"You lead the way. I'll take the rear." With those words, the Captain pops away from the wall and begins firing at the baddies.

Bullets fly towards Sharon and Steve.

Meanwhile, one by one the scientists reach the end of the vents which are… strangely open. Hmmm. The vent exit is somewhere in the woods, a thick forest dense with trees and greenery. But cold, as is the norm in this type of climate. When it comes Natasha's turn to exit, she climbs out with ease, like she was designed for such movement.

She hangs back a moment though to offer Trent a hand to help him out. "Unexpected sharp shooting," she states rather than asks idly while looking at her fingernails. "I wouldn't have expected that. Field trained?" It seems casual enough. She swallows hard, "We've worked together before," at least so she's gleaned, "but I didn't know that was in you. Especially after last time." There's a wry arch of her eyebrow as she allows her hands to fold across her chest.

Once the shield if back with Steve, Sharon easily tucks herself in to Steve's grasp to take cover. They're both operatives and will do what is necessary to protect the other member of the team. She checks her ammunition and cocks another bullet in to the chamber, moving up and back with Steve as he wavers between charging and retreating. She won't leave him behind - he is her charge to look after - but she will give him a look that clearly states they were given an order. "We'll make sure everyone we can save is aboard before we leave," she tells him with an authority she does not have. Her only mission is to assure his well being. Her quipping and easy manner are gone now in the face of overwhelming defeat and the need to retreat. "Come on, Captain." Then, a hand on her ear piece, she informs Bobbi, "We're on our way."

Trent slowly starts to recover from his second shooting of the day. His hand firmly grips the gun and he moves automatically toward the exit. It is only Natasha's questions that start to drag him out of his own thoughts. "Yes, of course. In Russia. But, you knew I was there. I was in the van." Though creepy in any other sense of the word, for a stake out and infiltration, his position there makes sense. Trent takes Natasha's hand and allows her to help him out of the vent. "If by field you mean, "My cousin's farm" and by trained you mean, "Crying after I shot a pig", then yes." Despite his banter, his eyes go to the opened vent and then to Natasha. "Who opened this before us?" He asks, eyes narrowing. "Why was this vent already breached?"

Steve watches Sharon's decisiveness and his own confidence finds its footing. "We get everyone we can out— we can't leave until the building is secure. These men and wo— " but his words are cut off as a large piece of ceiling begins to dislodge above them, prompting the captain to encase Sharon in an embrace while extending the shield above them as a sort of ceiling umbrella. He releases Sharon from his arms but continues to hold the shield overhead. "Lead the way," pause, "ma'am."

Natasha's head cocks to the side at Trent's thought. A single eyebrow arches upwards and then, rather unexpectedly to the scientists, her weight shifts from one leg to the other with the latter reaching out to knock the gun from Trent's grasp. Her green-eyed gaze weighs heavily upon him. And then, as if it needs to be said, she states, "Don't fight back. You're not on the list."

There's a bit of a yelp as the ceiling gives way and Sharon once again finds herself on the Captain's Shield umbrella. However, she does not pause nor does she comment on her behavior. Instead, as soon as she stands, she gives him a curt but thankful nod and then quickly moves down the corridor. "My pleasure, sir." As best as she can, she keeps underneath the outstretched shield, much like a lady taking cover under a gentleman's coat during a sudden downpour. Except, this lady has fully loaded guns and is making sure their backs are covered every few steps as the barrel through crumbling ceilings and hostiles toward Bobbi and freedom.

The gun is knocked from Trent's hand and the resident geek's eyes widen. He was growing suspicious, but it was not of Natasha, it was of someone else that must have been able to make it through the vent and infiltrate. He slowly raises his hands. If Natasha is a traitor, there is no way he can fight her. He knows this. Instead, he makes sure he is speaking clearly and toward his comlink when he says, "I won't fight back, Natasha. But, what list are you talking about?"

Sharon's shooting does its job, clearing a path for the two SHIELD operatives protected beneath the shield. It's ironic in a way. The SHIELD that couldn't protect them crumbling around a much smaller shield that seems to. The pair pick their way down the corridors as the building continues to rumble with duress. When the pair enter the hangar bay, they can see that Bobbi has already fired up the engine to a large plane. She frets about the controls in the cockpit while her eyebrows draw together. "The Bird man," Hawkeye, "gave me a few flying lessons but I'm hardly qualified — " she takes a step away from the pilot's seat. "Thirteen, do you know?"

Trent on the comlink, however, gives Bobbi pause as her gaze flits between Captain America and Agent 13. "What. Trent, what's going on down there?"

Natasha meanwhile has proferred Trent's gun. Like all good spies, she pockets it rather than wields it. Killing is always secondary to the mission at hand. As is giving away information. There's a sly smile at the question, openly delighted with just a twinkle of mischief in her eye, "And who's playing spy now?" The question warrants a small uptake of her lips.

The voice in her ear goads: "Take one of the SHIELD agents hostage as collateral," prompting Natasha to roll her eyes (although Trent may think it's at him) and vaguely shake her head. "Not in the deal," she counters. There's a pause. "I'll find my own extraction." She issues Trent a tight-lipped smile. "Stay alive, crying pig killer," she doesn't even know his name.

Sharon quickly shifts into the pilot's seat. "Yes," she tells Bobbi shortly. Immediately, Agent 13 moves in to her pilot mode. However, she remembers her promises. Readying the plane for takeoff and to get out of the danger zone, she glances at Steve and then gives Bobbi a steady look. "We'll leave as soon as we've got everyone we can aboard the craft." As she is hooked in and essentially the pilot of their craft, there can be little arguing with her at this moment. In her comlink she says, "All personnel, the last craft will be leaving in fifteen minutes. Get aboard or get another means off this place. Starting…now."

Trent is nervous and shaking as he looks at the woman he knew as Natasha. "I'm not playing at anything," he tells her with as much bravado as he can manage. "We're both supposed to be in this together, Natasha. I gave you that lock picker thing so you could get out of any situation you thought was too difficult. We look out for each other." His hands stay upward, but he keeps his eyes on the Black Widow, though he smirks at her title for him. "I will as long as you keep not killing me, Natasha. I don't know what you're playing, but I'm your friend." As much as he can hope that she has friends.

"Good!" comes Bobbi's reply, delighted that FINALLY something seems to be going her way. Now that that is taken care of, her attention redirects to her comlink, "Trent, are you alright out there? Did you all make it out safely, what's going on?'

There's a pause at the use of her name. Not Romanov. Not even Natalia. Natasha. She turns to watch Trent for a moment, not just look at him, but watch him. There's a wordless curosity in her gaze, open, but oddly detached. "You aren't the mark," she repeats. And she won't kill for free. Unless she wants to.

She glances at each of the scientists in turn before disappearing around the corner.

The rumble of an engine gives hint of how she got there in the first place, confirmed by the motorbike that rounds the corner. And with that Romanov is gone.

Back on the vessel, SHIELD agents begin to draw into the cargobay for enmass evacuation. Among them is a dark man dressed in black with an eyepatch. "Move it people! Hustle! This building is toast—" Shot he may be. Bleeding he certainly is. In fact his shoulder is wrapped in layers of gauzy material turning red. "This is not a drill." He steps onto the plane. "Thirteen, get us out of here."

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