10/05/2014

Fate of SHIELD: Episode 1 - Hunger

Our game opened with the two SHIELD teams arriving at the hot springs where the mysterious 0-8-4 had holed up.  Bravo team was being led by Agent Stalson, accompanied by other agents gathered from throughout SHIELD's western teams.  Bravo moved up via inflatable boat across the lake, landing near the outdoor hot springs and moving towards the domed-over indoor hotsprings.  The cold, winter night combined with the heat from the springs filled the area with fog, reducing visibility to about 10 yards.  Stalson ordered a cautious advance to the rear doors of the building.  Agents George, Dyson, Laughton, Oliverez,Watson, Garcia, and McKenzie were with him, gathered from other teams throughout the western region.

From the south, up the road leading to the springs, and pulled in close to the southern doors.  Agent Victoria Rennaker, operating as field commander for SHIELD's CANWEST response team, gathered her own agents to begin their end of the engagement.  With her were Agent Richards, newly assigned scientific-minded agent; Agent Sparks, an old flame of Agent Rennaker's called in from New Mexico; Agent Savage, field operative called in from Portland; Agent Redd, specialist; Agent Short, field operative; Agent Calrissian, field operative; and Agent Barone, communications specialist.  Sparks began grumbling about Rennaker's approach, so she detailed him, Redd, and Savage off to move up to the doors.  Sparks quickly spotted the 0-8-4 via a pair of yellow, glowing eyes staring out of the darkened building at the assembled SHIELD agents.

Bravo secured their door with C4 and quickly circled the building to join with CANWEST at Rennaker's command.  Agent Richards suggested attempting to blind the creature with a flashbang, theorizing that whatever heightened senses allowed it to sense their approach would likely be more detrimental to SHIELD than the 0-8-4.  Agent Redd threw his in, and things went haywire.

Agent Gott, who had been monitoring the situation back at The Observatory (where Commanding Agent Stephenson and Agents Gott, Murphy, Dresden, Ramirez, and Patel had remained), was suddenly replaced by static.  Similarly, the Observatory AI, Zorya, was cutoff.  A strange pulse could be heard within the white noise of static on the comms.  Several of the agents seemed to nod to themselves, as if they almost understood it.  Sparks spun and raised his rifle, ready to fire on Rennaker, but Stalson got there first, almost as if he had known it was coming, just narrowly missing blowing Sparks' head off.  Agent Short shot Agent Redd dead in the confusion.

Richards, who had been toying with his Icer, suddenly felt a gun barrel in his back.  Agent Calrissian threatened, "This is your one recruitment offer, kid, better take it," but Richards thought fast and shot him in the foot with the Icer, knocking Calrissian unconscious. Nearer the door, Agent Savage traded fire with Agent Short, neither quite able to get a clean shot.  In the same moment, Zorya broke through to Rennaker on a secondary channel, warning her that it appeared that HYDRA was responsible for the sudden betrayal of her team.

Agent Watson confirmed it by screaming "Hail HYDRA!" and charging past Agents Garcia, Oliverez, Laughton, and McKenzie while pulling the pin on his grenade.  Watson closed on Rennaker, but lightning fast reflexes allowed her to spin away, diving into the SHIELD jeep and bracing herself.  McKenzie made a diving grab for Watson, but the motion only jarred the grenade loose, The four loyal agents and Watson were caught full-force by the blast and killed.  The jeep took minimal damage, being rolled to one side.  Stalson, who had been atop it, was thrown to the ground, but he quickly recovered and put another bullet through the shoulder of Sparks, who shot back at Stalson, missing.

Short took a shot at Richards, who managed to dodge, but ended up in the mud.  And then things turned for the worse.  The 0-8-4, screaming "WENDIGO!" crashed through the doors, scattering Sparks, Short, and Savage.  Zorya came back on the secondary channel to Rennaker and informed the agent that HYDRA was within the Observatory and that she had lost contact with Stephenson and most of the remaining agents.  Victoria retorted that she was a little busy and several of the agents, SHIELD and HYDRA both, fired at the Wendigo.  Unfortunately for Short, Wendigo was only angered, and the hulking white beast grabbed him by the throat and took a big bite.  Sparks prepared to use the distraction to kill Rennaker, but Stalson was ready and shot the traitor dead.  Savage turned on Wendigo, but missed.

Richards also fired on Wendigo, slowing it slightly with his Icer, but not stopping the raging force of nature.  Stalson fired a moment later, quickly followed by Rennaker, dealing Wendigo the first real damage it had taken since it had appeared weeks before.  Enraged, but shocked by the fact that it had been wounded, Wendigo rocked the jeep as the Agents ducked for cover.  It moved so fast as to have nearly vanished, as the agents could hear it retreating in the distance while crying "Wendigo!"

Stalson cuffed Calrissian, who was still under the effects of the Icer and Rennaker, Stalson, and Savage rocked the jeep back onto it's wheels.  Richards defused the C4 that had been planted by bravo and the team began the hour long drive back to The Observatory.  On the drive back, Zorya contacted Rennaker again, asking permission to patch in the entire team.  Rennaker agreed and the team was informed of events at The Observatory.  Agent Gott was locked in the communications room, trying to get the main channels back online.  Agent Ramirez was identified as HYDRA and cornered by two of Zorya's drones.  The other agents were still unaccounted for, but it appeared that Agent Dresden was the other HYDRA agent.  Zorya also privately informed Rennaker that most SHIELD facilities had been overrun, with only The Observatory, The Hub, The Fridge, and The Sandbox holding strong.  She added that there seemed to be an assault on the Triskelion by Captain America.  Rennaker relayed some of that information and Zorya informed the team that she would be allowing them in through the hangar bay and opening the main entryway as well in an effort to flush out the traitors.

Savage cut around the main entrance on foot, where he was backed up by two automated, motion-tracking turrets.  Stalson began cutting from the Hanger to the Armory (located centrally between three spoked wings of The Observatory).  He stopped briefly to check on Gott, who was securely locked in the communications office.  He then moved on.

Back in the Hangar, Rennaker and Richard had strapped the slowly recovering Calrissian to a wheeled dolly.  They briefly discussed their suspicions of Stalson, who had seemed to act a little too fast on HYDRA's revelations.  Rennaker began to shadow Stalson through the facility.  Zorya, whose drones had been hunting Ramirez, had them move in for the kill, and one of the two rogue agents was neutralized.

Stalson found no one in the armory and evidence that the bunks in the barracks for science staff had been ransacked, especially the one belonging to Richards.  He moved down the hall.  Rennaker checked on Sparks' bunk in the same barracks, but couldn't tell what had made her feel uneasy about it.  Stalson reached the lab after passing the body of Agent Patel, who had clearly been shot by the HYDRA agent.  He reached the doors to the lab and knocked, only to be answered by a shot.

He peered inside and saw Dresden, a gun trained on a heavily wounded Agent Stephenson and another on the door.  Agent Murphy appeared to be down and dead across the room.  Rennaker pulsed out the code that had played over comms earlier on the door and Dresden finally noticed who he'd shot at.  He opened the door and let Stalson inside.  He encouraged Stalson to help him get information from Stephenson.  Stalson looked like he might do it for a moment, but just as Rennaker arrived, he drove his combat knife up into Dresden's throat, killing the HYDRA agent.  Both SHIELD agents rushed to Stephenson's side.

The Agent in Command was clearly dying from several bullet wounds.  Rennaker had more training in medicine, so she stayed to try and keep him alive while Stalson rushed back to the barracks to get a better medkit.  Stephenson reminded Rennaker of their mission and left her in charge of The Observatory, a change Zorya quietly noted.  By the time Stalson returned and Savage joined them, Stephenson was dead.

The remaining agents, Rennaker, Gott, Richards, Savage, and Stalson all gathered in the lab for the moment, discussing the next plan of action.  Savage and Stalson both advocated for interrogating Calrissian, and Rennaker agreed, taking the first shot at it.  She prepared the interrogation room while Richards set to work restoring Zorya's ability to control all the systems of the laboratory wing.  Once the interrogation began. Calrissian hinted at knowing her secrets and hinted that HYDRA wanted The Observatory to try and get alien technology (to which Richards scoffed "there are no aliens, the Battle of New York was just modified humans").  He also hinted that someone still on the team was part of HYDRA.  The team began discussing what Calrissian had said when another problem cropped up.

In Washington, Agent Romanoff had begun dumping SHIELD's files onto the internet.  Zorya urged Rennaker to prevent the files on The Observatory from leaking with the rest of the data.  Rennaker assigned Zorya and Richards to lock that information out.  Somehow, Rennaker's own file seemed to disappear, too.  Unfortunately, Richards couldn't prevent most of the team's information from getting out.  With the team re-united, he began Googling the members, showing off his Academy records and Savage's old afro.  The team also discovered that Stalson had once had to destroy his hometown, as it had been invaded by some sort of reptilian insects that Stalson said could turn people into more of their number.  SHIELD had managed to keep it hidden until Romanoff leaked the agency's files.

The team resolved that they couldn't leave Wendigo on the loose and that SHIELD appeared to be broken, though it was hard for them to give up on the idea that they should try and regroup with what remained.  Richards offered that he might be able to discover a way to track the chemicals in the Icer rounds, and set to work on it.  Savage and Stalson headed outside to patrol the perimeter and make sure no other HYDRA surprises.  Savage admitted the desire to kill Calrissian and Stalson expressed a great deal of hate for HYDRA.

Eventually, those tasks were completed, and Savage and Stalson made a last attempt to try and get information from Calrissian.  Calrissian accused Stalson of being the other HYDRA agent, but Savage didn't believe him and when Calrissian couldn't give any information, the two agents killed the traitor.  Richards told the team he'd found a way to track Wendigo, but that it would only work until the Icer chemicals weakened enough in Wendigo's system to become undetectable.  That gave the team about 24 hours.  The geared up and took The Observatory's quinjet, headed to where Richards' tracking array said Wendigo was stalking back and forth in the woods...

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