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Shanghai Surprise

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AEGIS Stealth Fighter
En Route to Hong Kong
Sunday, February 22nd, 2015
6:05 PM

 

 

On October 10th 2014 Agent Henry Hand, an ex-special forces officer turned AEGIS agent, betrayed the organization.  Exposure to Daka crystals had turned hand into a madman.   That was only the start of AEGIS' troubles.
 
Hand's capture did nothing to prevent various exotic stolen artifacts that the man had acquired from entering the black market.  It was the heroine Terrifica who made the first great strides in following chatter of some sort of secret underground auction occurring in Hong Kong.  AEGIS efforts to collaborate with local law enforcements had been stymied behind walls of political red tape.
 
Despite the high level of autonomy Hong Kong managed, the city state had to let the MSS (Ministry of State Security:  China's premier intelligence and security agency) take point.  The MSS agent in charge of the proceedings only relented in allowing AEGIS to conduct their operation in Chinese soil if AEGIS agreed to bring Terrifica in as an outside third party.  Apparently impressed with her investigative efforts.
 
So it was that AEGIS sent a stealth transport plane to Hong Kong in the hopes of recovering some of their stolen artifacts.  The US Government also saw the need in keeping its ducks in line.  Wasting absolutely no time in sending their special liaison to AEGIS on the flight.  Special Agent Lazenby stood in the middle of the craft holding a small laser pointer as he readied himself to brief the small four man party on board, consisting of Terrifica, Captain Henry Thompson, Special Agent Yves Zermeño, and Agent Alyssa Wild (an Israeli woman who spent most of the flight cleaning the parts to a sniper rifle).

"If there are no questions may I begin the briefing?"  Agent Lazenby openly questioned.

Edited by HG Morrison
Fixing code

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Henry looked to Lazenby, stretching out for the final time before settling in for the brutal briefing of bombasticity that was to come…Truth be told, Henry hadn’t worked with Lazenby much, thus he didn’t particularly know if he was bombastic at all, he merely liked to make alliterative statements in his head. He nodded simply, eyeing throughout the room at the others, his navy blue and green spandex suit rising and falling as he breathed.

 

He noticed Yves, a valuable asset to the agency as well as a relatively nice woman off-the job, from what he had encountered of her anyways. The lack of hair made him a little uneasy as he looked about the room, taking note of Terrifica. She’s new…interesting. He thought to himself, his eyes finally falling upon Alyssa Wild. Titan sighed and rose from his spot, stretching further as he let the thoughts in his mind fester and toss and turn, “May as well, Sir. No better time like the present.†Henry said, affirming his restlessness.

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Terrifica had nothing to say. In fact, from her seat in the back, she didn’t even appear to be listening. Instead she looked lost in thought. It would be more accurate to say she was lost in memories. The fuzzy childhood ones, before her powers kicked in. After that, everything was as real as a high def video. Moreso, even, as all five senses were involved and human senses were often more sensitive than even the most expensive equipment. She had been back to China since, of course. A one week physics conference in Beijing, and her honeymoon in Shanghai (a surprise gift from Stan, her husband and not exactly a poor man). Of course, she didn’t have the heart to tell him she didn’t entirely understand the locals on that trip, being as they spoke a different dialect than she did. However, she’d never been to Hong Kong, aside from a brief stop on the way out of China when she was a child. Obviously, the place had changed, even the miniscule amount of it she had seen then. It was…a little exciting. Even after all this time, China still felt a little bit like home.

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Yves nodded in affirmation.  Beneath her seat was a golden metallic suitcase.  The loud thud when she placed it on the ground a testament to how heavy it was to lug around.  The petite woman's intense stare did nothing to hide the fact that she showed no discomfort in carrying around the suitcase.  As easy as it was to question, it could have been written off as simple matter of focus.

 

Yves' thoughts weren't of the rest of the flight's passengers.  But, at least there were familiar faces on board.  Daka crystals had warped his mind, potentially beyond repair.  No her mind was wandering to chatter of the special op Powers had nudged her way for next week.  This could be her last week on the planet and she was spending it hundreds of miles away from family.

 

If not for the fact that she bore responsibility in the loss of the items from the vault...Yves wouldn't even be on this flight.

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GM

 

Agent Lazenby cleared his throat and dimmed the lights.  His receding salt and pepper colored hairline almost blending into the darkness. A Chinese Man in an a black suit was shown via projector on the wall.  "This is Wei Shen.  An MSS counterintelligence/counterespionage operative.  He is our point of contact during this operation.  Chinese Intelligence has been conducting a year long investigation in  a local smuggling ring and they don't want us mucking up the investigation.  We are to defer to Shen as needed, remember we are guests"

 

Lazenby explicitly put a few choice words in hand quotes.  Making no notion to expand on how 'welcome' they truly were as guests before moving on to the next slide.  This time it was a portly man.   Judging by the women pouring him drinks, he  was partaking in some sort of hostess bar situation."This is Xue Guan.  An art dealer and known hard drug user.  His art exhibitions are a suspected meeting ground for an underground auction of sorts.  High bidders who know where to look have access to this hidden black market.  Tomorow night is one such auction.  

 

Our mission is to figure out where the auction takes place and we will proceed from there.  Agent Wild will be monitoring from afar, and providing support as needed.  Agent Zermeño will be on security detail for the exhibit, carrying a phone with a direct line to Argonaut.  Using that phone is a last resort Agent Zermeño .  Terrifica and Thompson you have autonomy in how you wish to proceed.  But, do try and use some measure of discretion.  MSS will add their own input and objections."

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Terrifica stifled a laugh. Discretion? As if I’m ever less than discreet in my work. Wei Shen? Don’t be ridiculous, young lady. There’s over a billion people in China. Surely there’s more than one with that specific name. Even if I don’t know what he actually does for his job. Well, to be fair, he doesn’t know about Terrifica, specifically. “If the first part of this mission is detective work, I am fully capable of doing it alone.†She paused a moment. “There is no disrespect intended. However, it appears I’m the only one on this mission who both speaks Mandarin and has been here before.†She crossed her legs and placed her hands on her knees. “Of course, appearances can always be deceiving. Agent Wild could always have learned it in the normal course of her missions. Or perhaps Captain Thompson is a closet Sinophile. At any rate, my statement stands. I do not require assistance with mere detective work.â€

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<Cantonese>  "How is your Cantonese, Wild?  Thompson?" </Cantonese>  Yves openly asked in perfect Cantonese.  It sounded as if she were a native speaker for a moment.  

 

"It is pretty much nonexistent.  I don't speak Cantonese, as Terrifica surmised.  I do, however, know that English is just as commonly spoken in Hong Kong as a consequence of British occupation.."  Agent Wild spoke up not fully convincing Yves of the fact that she did not indeed speak the language.

 

"Right then if she wants to investigate by herself, we can try and work Thompson into the security staff.  Unless the Chinese have a different plan of action.  That is assuming they don't turn around and capture us upon landing in some odd political play."  Yves added.  Not actually all that invested on who did the investigating even if Laenby had a plan in place.  Those rarely worked out.

 

"They would likely not have informed AEGIS of any ongoing investigation in that case."

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Terrifica shrugged nonchalantly and spoke in flawless Mandarin. <â€I can understand Cantonese perfectly well. It’s speaking it I’ve always had trouble with. However, this and English should work perfectly fine.>†She switched back to English. “It isn’t that I want to go alone. It is that we’re very much a mis-matched group. As you should know, Hong Kong is primarily Chinese, with the British a somewhat distant second and everyone else a much more distant third. Even if we posed as tourists we would stand out. Perhaps our man isn’t on the lookout for such things. That said, in his position I certainly would be.†She paused for a long moment, almost as if she was finished speaking but remembered one last thing at the last possible moment. â€That would make more sense if you knew I had Chinese ancestry and can thus pass for a citizen, if not a local.â€

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GM

The plane landed on their destination some time later.  A private air strip withing Hong Kong.  Immediately upon exiting the passengers found themselves surrounded by six fully tinted black vans.  Various police officers standing by.  None with their weapons drawn...yet.

The show of force didn't make for a warm greeting.  It did, however, establish who was in charge.  Or at the very least who thought themselves in charge. A man and woman each in a suit rather than a police uniform exited from one of the vans.  The woman was holding a stack of files and struggling to match the gait of the larger man.

<"Welcome to Hong Kong">  The man in the suit called out.  Stretching out his arms as a wry smile formed.

<"Where is Wei Shen?">  Agent Lazenby flatly asked.  <"The theatrics are a bit much.">

<"They say, he who is not friendly towards a good guest will never have one.  But, I find sometimes we must remind a guest to be good.  Now, let us discuss business.  Mr Shen is very busy man.  If you cause a spectacle the Chinese government will disavow any involvement in your illegal activities in Hong Kong and you will be arrested.  If you attempt to smuggle any criminals out of the country to your American prisons you will be arrested.  If you ruin">

<"Yeah, yeah arrested.  How about we start discussing what the Chinese government will allow us to do.">

<"Why, you get to run your investigation.  Oh, friendly guests.">

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Terrifica, oddly, wasn’t irritated by this turn of events. It was, in fact, rather dull. China is still China, after all. She spoke mildly, but it didn’t entirely smooth the hard edge to her words. <”I say if you can’t count on your guests to be good, you shouldn’t invite them to your house in the first place. Which, as it turns out, is exactly what happened. My presence was specifically requested by Mister Shen.”> She idly studied the skyline behind the two Chinese officials. She sounded like someone bored out of her mind. <”At any rate, if I wanted to cause trouble in China, you would never know I was even here until it was far too late to matter.”> Her face openly displayed her ennui. <”Now, if you’re quite finished showing off how impressive your authority is and how very afraid we should be of you, I’d like to get to work as soon as possible. It is, after all, the only reason I am here and not at home with a book and some herbal tea.”>

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GM

<"Perhaps.  But, we do know.">  The official responded unperturbed by Terrifica's demeanor.  The male official snapped his fingers and turned around.  Making his way back towards his vehicle.  The female dutifully walked past Angent Dalton and over to Terrifica.  Extending her arm out and handing the investigative genius an envelope.

<"Everything there is to know on Xue Guan.  Born in Hong Kong, his brother works for the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.  No matter what he is involved in.  You are not to do anything that casts him in a bad light.  Xue Guan is protected.  There are two tickets to his gallery.  If you cannot speak Cantonese do not pretend to be from Hong Kong.  If you can, use it as a means of bonding.  He has backed grass root Radical movements for Nationalist separation from the Mainland.  He has also funded the police that shut down those movements, so the government has no interest in his prior attachments.  If you can find this smuggling ring.  Alert MSS and we shall arrest those involved.">

With that the woman turned around following after the male.

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Yves stayed quiet.  The display of force was something.  But, it wasn't exactly worrisome.   If they had actually wanted to come after them it wouldn't have been with investigative agents.  Not for AEGIS.  They would have gotten a first hand look at the Chinese equivalent of the STAR Squad.  The real problem would have been trying to get the plane in the air without being shot down.  If the plane exploded there was a chance their deaths could have been quick.

Returning from morbid thoughts of exit strategy, Yves came back to listen to the warning.  Apparently the art dealer was more connected than AEGIS knew.  It wasn't exactly a surprise that they weren't forthright with that information prior to the meeting.  Political red tape knew no bounds.  Especially when it came to international relations.

At least, they weren't arrested yet.  

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