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UNISON Headquarters
Geneva, Switzerland
September 4, 2015
10:24 AM local time 

It had been several months since the members of Vanguard had been at the headquarters for UNISON, when they had joined several other heroes, and even villains, in protecting the base from the Communion until the Uni-Storm space fighters had been able to launch as part of a counteroffensive against the Incursion.  The damage the buildings and surrounding town had suffered in that battle had all been repaired, one would not even have known that the battle had taken place now looking about. 

While the headquarters building was bustling with activity, it was not as hectic and desperate as it had been during that last visit.  UNISON personnel were busy going about the daily routine of helping run and coordinate the international agency.  Although the members of Vanguard had received a few stares as they had been led through the building toward an upper level conference room, they had been mostly brief.  After all, the agency had a great deal of contact with superheroes, including having a number as agents. 

Today the four members of Vanguard had been led into a conference room with a long rectangular table capable of sitting over a dozen people.  The UNISON staff member that had guided them to the room had provided water or other refreshments, then left them alone, stating that Colonel Ellis would be with them shortly.

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"You can fess up if you mindwiped everyone and stole a spaceship last time we were here Synapse.  Could have given us a joy ride before we got called into the principal's office though."  Foreshadow joked as to the reason of their invitation.  In actually he suspected Commander Ellis was extending an olive branch of sorts.  UNISON was held back by more bureaucracy than Vanguard in its capacity to operate.  If someone needed wrangling in and a host country was less than accommodating.

Making his way to the refreshments, Foreshadow grabbed a bottle of Henniez.  A mineral water commonly spread throughout the region.  Uncapping the bottle and giving its contents a cautious look.  Unsure if UNISON placed additives in their foods and drinks.  Like the old american military salt peters in the food urban myth.  Shrugging after conceding to himself the key word being myth, and taking  a sip.

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Dee Farrington was sitting back in one of the leather chairs around the conference table, her feet up on the table, as relaxed as if she were at home rebuilding a computer or a sports car.  The Englishwoman was in her costume as Synapse, the unease she used to have for the costume now a thing of the past.  Currently her dark hair was highlighted with a few streaks of bright green. 

When Erick broke the moment of silence in the room with a joke, Dee gave him a small smile.  "I knew there was something I forgot to do last time we were here."" She replied. 

"But if I had, I would be a bit worried that it took Jennifer so long to call us back in to deal with the issue."

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"Mmm, I Find there's most always cause to be worried when asked after by name." Alexander mumbles as he stirs from his quiet ruminations "For what though, is the question."  rising with a sigh and wandering over towards the windows to peer out at the ground bellow a familiar feeling of unease bearing down upon him as he watched an otherwise peaceful world spin on before him it felt like the quiet between storms.

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Agnus appearing confident and totally in control of the situation her feet up on the table sipping from a bottle of water. She literally glowed with her aura of light seeing as powerful as ever and it wasn’t all bluster, she’d grown into her role quite a bit in the last six month.

“It’ll be fine we returned it without that many scratches, it’ll buff out with a little polish. Plus who doesn’t like to go into space?” she gave a cheeky grin as she spoke

“And I wouldn’t worry about Jen I’ve dealt with her kind many, many times before. She’s just waiting for the right moment to bustle through that door all busy, I wouldn’t put it past her if she was outside waiting for that moment. Shall I teleport out and have a look?” her tone suggested she wasn’t completely serious.

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As if on cue, one of the doors to the room opened and Colonel Ellis swept into the room, followed closely by a man in his early-forties, with an athletic build, dark brown hair with a slight trace of grey and a dark complexion.  Jennifer Ellis was wearing her usual UNISON uniform, and while she moved with purpose and her manner was very businesslike, she certainly seemed more relaxed than the last time the team had been here. 

"Good morning everyone."  Colonel Ellis stated in greeting as she moved to the head of the table.  "It is good to see you all again, especially in far better circumstances than our last meeting." 

"Allow me to introduce Agent Salazar, a former member of the Spanish Centro Nacional de Ingeligencia."  She then added, indicating the man who had moved over to one side of the table next to her.   

"Good morning."  Agent Salazar stated, given a small nod of his head and a charming smile. 

"I am sure you are wondering why UNISON is seeking your assistance."  Colonel Ellis then continued.  "UNISON is requesting Vanguard's assistance in the capture of four rouge UNISON superagents."

Edited by Thevshi
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"Pleasure to see you Colonel and meet you Agent Salazar, it probably goes without saying that we'll be glad to help.  But what exactly is it that these super agents have done, or is the danger factor there being a super prefix in superagent?"  Foreshadow asked, wanting to make sure they wouldn't just be going after four people who simply stopped showing up to work one day.

Taking a seat on the table expecting a full explanation he made a conscious note to stop himself from putting his feet on the table like the two heroines.  If for no other reason than they were already doing it.  Bracing himself for a long explanation he took another drink from the mineral water.  Well at least it's probably not some sort of big selling spy secrets to OVERTHROW thing.  Or else they would have come into the room more concerned.

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As Colonel Ellis arrived with a UNISON agent in two, Synapse gave her a small nod in greeting, noting the Spanish agent for a moment before focusing back on Ellis.  The Englishwoman arched an eyebrow slightly when Ellis reveled what she and UNISON was hoping for from the team. 

"Why does it seem we are always being asked to clean up others’ messes?"  Synapse responded, glancing over toward Young Britannia with a knowing look.  When the two of them had first become part of the new Vanguard, they had been brought in to help the Ministry deal with what had happened with the old team, which turned out to be a bigger mess than anyone had truly expected.  But still, the young woman turned her attention back Ellis, waiting to hear what she and Agent Salazar had to say.

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“It’s because we’re so pretty! Such is our lot in life.” Agnus looked over at Dee and raised her eyebrow, keeping her tone light. However she added mentally to Dee in a more serious tone.

After what we’ve been through the last couple of years let’s get VERA to double check all the facts. Jen I trust as much as you can, but there still everyone else in UNISON.

She sipped her water and then added to the general questions.

“You know we're always happy to help you clean up the mess, but I assume there’s some reason why you asked us for this help?”

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Ulysses returns quietly to his seat, simultaneously the oldest in terms and age and the newest in terms of joining member of the team he was often a little bit out of the loop on the details of their previous exploits so he remained quiet for that section of the speaking.

"Any prizes fer guessin? cause I'm willing to bet the answer begins with a "red" and ends with a "tape"  and we being affiliated but not associated with our government can nicely limbo right under it whilst still having the kind of seals off approval that you feel suit a team sent after such...sensative targets eh?; specialy since they'd know your guys from a mile away." he says with a bemused grin, no idea if he might've even been close to the reasoning "Judging from personal experience anyway, I was heroin all over the world and on some other worlds on my travels and nobody seemed to give two hoots before or after i signed up with you kids."

Edited by Exaccus
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"Well, the red tape is not really a problem."  Colonel Ellis replied to Ulysses with a small smile.  "But the later certainly is on the mark.  Most of our superpower operatives would likely be too easily spotted."  She paused a moment, then added, "in any event, we are not entirely certain that they still do not have a contact here that is feeding them information." 

Agent Salazar spoke up next. "As for what these rogue agents have done, three years ago I was overseeing them during an operation in Varna, Bulgaria with the assistance of Velocity from the Freedom League.  Our mission was to intercept a Georgian based Organizatsiya that had obtained weapons grade plutonium and were selling it to a Middle Eastern government.  We managed to deal with the Organizatsiya members present and fend off the superpowered mercenaries that were to pick up the plutonium for the buyer, but then the rouge agents betrayed Velocity and I, subduing us and leaving us at the docks." 

"Luckily we were able to escape the Organizatsiya reinforcements and went underground for a few days, tracking the rouge agents to Marmaris, Turkey, where they were attempting to auction off the plutonium.  With the assistance of some Mossad agents and an Israeli superhero, Velocity and I were able to recover the plutonium, but the rogue agents escaped." 

"Since then, they have been hiring themselves out as superpowered mercenaries and engaging in other criminal activities throughout Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa.  But they have generally been able to keep from staying in one place too long and we have never been able to get any clear information about their possible movements to be able to be waiting for them.  Until now."

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Whilst Agnus was still acting as if she was totally relaxed she was taking in all the information she could. She was pretty impressed how neither seemed upset at how relaxed they were all acting, though they must be pretty use to dealing with powers by now.

“If they're that good it seems strange that they've slipped up now. You sure that this is all in in the level?”

And any more data should make it easier for VERA to check that this was all on the level, she was still pretty cautious about the whole deal.

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Foreshadow whistled, slightly impressed with their credentials.  Having work side by side with Velocity, he knew first hand escaping her wasn't a small feat.  Even with reinforcements providing a distraction it had to take some excellent maneuvering.  "Just putting this out there.  Doesn't really matter whether they're setting us up with a trap or the information's legit.  Either way, this sounds like it's going to be pretty fun party."

Thus far it seemed the information was kept on a need to know basis.  If even the rest of UNISON was left in the dark to not risk information getting out.  Foreshadow measured that a situation that was right up Vanguard's purview.  With the personnel changes following the less than desirable reveals shortly after the team was assembled it just made sense to bring in outside help that was used to such an environment.  He didn't estimate that his assessment was pure coincidence either.  But, kept that theory to himself.

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Agent Salazar gave a small smile at Angus' question about whether they were sure the information they had was legitimate.  "Yes, there is the possibility that this is a trap," the Spanish agent replied in response to Foreshadow's comment, "but it seems unlikely." 

"While the group has done a good job of remaining under the radar, our information is from the sources within the group that is hiring them, sources that have proven dependable in the past."

 At this point Colonel Ellis spoke up once more.  "I am sure you are interested in learning about the group you will be trying to capture."  With that she pressed some keys on a consul next to her and screens lowered down along one of the walls of the conference room.

One of the screens, an image appeared of Man in his mid-thirties, with short brown hair and also about six feet tall with a muscular build.  He was dressed in a dark grey bodysuit had dark brown accents, with black boots, gloves and belt, with some sort of energy weapon holstered on the belt.  But the most striking thing about the man was that the left side of his face was metallic, with a deep red metallic eye.

"This is Ambrose Carellash, also known as Spartan.  Formally an officer in the Greek Army, Spartan was injured during a UN peacekeeping operation in Africa, losing his left arm and leg in an explosion and suffering extensive damage.  He has been cybernetically enhanced, providing him enhanced strength, durability and reflexes.  He is a skilled tactician and combatant, and is the leader of the group."  Agent Salazar stated. 

On the next screen appeared an image of an attractive woman in her early twenties, with a lithe build and long platinum blonde hair.  Her skin tight dark grey bodysuit with silver highlights with black gloves and black boots that came up to her mid thighs. 

"Monique Fournier, codename Flechette.  French native who grew up as an acrobat with a traveling circus, before coming to UNISON's attention.  She has the ability to generate solid energy darts with which she is extremely accurate."

 The next image to appear was a man in his mid-twenties, over six feet tall and muscular.  Dressed in dark grey bodysuit with green accents and black boots that went up to just below the knees.

 "Alasdair McKee, codename Clansman.  He is originally from Scotland, possession superhuman strength and durability." 

 The last screen showed a man in his late-twenties, with a lean, wiry build. He had a thin mustache and wide nose.  His dark grey bodysuit had purple accents.

 "Johann Bloch, codename Powerplay.  Austrian native, he has telekinetic powers and also can shut down superpowers with a touch.  When the group betrayed us in Varna, he was able to shut off Velocity’s powers for a couple of hours."

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"Oh point of contention.  There won't be any trying, we'll get them, don't you guys worry.  They certainly sound capable.  I could see how they would figure being soldiers of fortune would be profitable."  Foreshadow openly mused.  Privately he sent his concerns to the rest of the team.  Or to be more precise to Synapse who could provide the means to share with the rest of the class if she so chose.

So what do you think.  Aside from the monochromatic choice in team color scheme.  They sound dangerous, but should be a potentially straightforward get.  Depending on what they were hired to do.

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Synapse had mentally agreed with Angus that they should double check everything they learned with VERA, just in case there was someone else at UNISION that was not completely on the up-and-up.  The young Englishwoman had vivid memories of the betrayals the pair had been through after becoming part of the new Vanguard.  But then, with her memory, Synapse had rather vivid memories of just about everything. 

She did pay close attention to the briefing from Ellis and Salazar, committing all the information to memory so she could later relay it back to VERA.  And of course she kept a mental link open between the four Vanguard members, so they could privately discuss things if they chose. 

They have experience working together.  She mentally replied to Foreshadow's question and observations.  That could make things tough if we cannot keep them off balance.  But with the right planning, I believe we can take them.

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Well we’ve not always excelled at the team work, but I like to think the we’re pretty good at improvising Agnus tones was bemused rather than serious

“Do we have any footage of how they operate in combat, or did they do those kind of missions?” she waggled her fingers at the last part “And I noticed you haven’t yet told us how we're going to get to them, is it going to be something we really won’t like?”

She’d seen worst in her time so she wasn’t worried but someone had o ask the questions and today it was her turn.

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Well Now is a perfect oppertunity to learn some on the job eh?

"They do sound like quite a little group there." ulysses hummed to himself as he turned the problem over in his mind, each of these people sounded quite formidable on their own let alone whatever training they'd received and any equipment they'd escaped with he decided to go with the obvious question whilst his team-mates asked the sensible ones. "Do they have any vulnerabilities? even if its just some psychological mumbo-jumbo compulsion or tick, anything that might throw em off balance for a few moments?"

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""nfortunately none of them have any particular weakness or vulnerabilities."  Colonel Ellis replied to Ulysses' question.  "But we were aware that Powerplay had a general dislike for Clansman and Flechette, and they viewed him the same way.  Spartan is what holds the group together, possibly something that can be exploited." 

Agent Salazar responded to Angus' question about footage of the group.  "We do have some training film, as well as some limited footage of them on assignments. We will of course provide that to you." 

"As for how we will be capturing them, we were getting to that."  The Spanish agent continued.  "In three days an international energy expo is being held in Dubai.  Dozens of international corporations will be there to exhibit their products and R&D.  The group has been hired to kidnap a lead scientist with one of those corporations." 

The images of the four rouge superagents vanished from the screens and on one of the screens, an image of a man in his late forties with dark complexion and hair appeared.  "This is Prasad Bhwarda, the chief scientist of PanStar's alternative energy division."

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"I assume their employers want to get their hands on the research he's going to unveil.  Or they're trying to hurt PanStar's already shaky reputation."  Foreshadow stated.  "Still, couldn't these guys wait until October?  Dubai's lovely and less hot in October.  Such a shame."

These sort of public expos weren't exactly known for skimping on security.  Especially one held in a place with as high of an overhead as Dubai.  The rogue mercenaries would be approaching their kidnapping with a thorough plan.  They likely had the ability to simply charge in.  But, that would take a complete lack of foresight.

A team with internal strife.  If it were easy to exploit, I imagine someone would have already.  But, if they do start bickering our day might get all the easier like she said.  

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“Maybe if you blessed with the right gender. I’m not overly keen on there idea’s about equality, and the countries not overly enamored with me.”

Whilst they might have been happy to accept her into her country as a musician as a symbol of her country the welcome wasn’t quite as warm and it tended to sap her of her powers.

“Are you thinking a snatch and grab or an undercover job, because I think someone might recognize my face...”

I might be getting paranoid what with what we’ve gone through but this is all so neat it hurts.

Edited by Tiffany Korta
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<Hold the phone, folks, I think I've had a brush with PanStar before now...yes, it was a while ago back when i was operratin' in America, some facility of theirs came under attack by some super eco-terrorists, a geokinetic and a pair of wondertwin energy projectors, they were dumpin waste into the river...might've made a mondo monster out of a mound of dirt....not nice chaps either way,their security took a few shots at the other heroes who intervened...young lasses they was too.>

"Probably best to exploit the element o' surprise i'd reckon, we know more about them than they us so maybe a little bit of hiding in plain sight with a obvious threat to distract from a hidden one?" ulysses offers with what passes for his wise old timer tone of voice "feint 'n' then wallop em." miming the boxing in the air before him and causing a slight whoosh of air with a swing of his fist as he does so. 

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Dee was frowning slightly as she listened to the rest of the briefing and the comments of her teammates.  But she was much more active in the telepathic link she had established with the other Vanguard members. 

<PanStar certainly has had more than its share of illegal operations going on within its subsidiaries, but somehow the top executives manage to avoid being linked to any of it, and the company is able to brush aside the problems.  While I was in Africa working on aid projects, news came out that PanStar's regional heavy construction division had caused a flood in Mozambique, using the disaster as a cover to attempt to kidnap several workers and locals who were placed in medically induced sleep aboard a freighter.  What they were intending to do with the kidnapped people has never been publicly revealed.>

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"It is difficult to say exactly what the ultimate goal is in wanting to kidnap Dr. Bhwarda." Agent Salazar admitted.    

"PanStar is not exactly a company I have much interest in assisting," Colonel Ellis began, "but this does provide an opportunity to capture four renegade agents which are an embarrassment. And who knows, in the process you all might be able to learn something that could help us link some of PanStar's dirty dealings to its chief executives." 

"As for the conduct of the mission, that is up to you.  However, while we know they are going after Dr. Bhwarda during the conference, we do not know when, or where."

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"So we can all agreed no one's losing any sleep over this guy's life being in danger.  Not that we'd let anything happen to him.  Even potential criminals need saving."  Erick would be lying if he said he wasn't interested in finding said evidence to implicate questionable elements of PanStar.  But, putting a stop to an obvious dangerous force like the rogue UNISON agents took priority.  Especially with nothing, but the company's reputation to even question the doctor's credentials.

I don't think we have enough info to go on for undercover protection as how we catch them.  I like Ulysses' play though.  We could half and half it.  Someone out in tights, someone  perhaps musically inclined out in civvies.  Assuming they even go for him at the event.  For all we know, he could be taken from his hotel room, the airport, or even in the middle of a supermarket.    If there was one thing that front row tickets to the future bought, it was a general acceptance of things going downhill at any given moment.  

Color me curious as to whether there was any overlap in the time period Spartan was in Africa and the flooding slash kidnappings."

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