RAVEN/DOVE Joint Headquarters, White Coast_
Before the majority of the RAVENs could file out of the room, however, Director Reed Taylor stepped into the room from a side entrance, whilst a broad man of stocky build stepped into the room, donning an unmarked variation of the RAVEN field uniform, a telescopic baton resting on his hip. "Agents Taylor, Zhao, Takashiro and Jean-Pierre - can I keep you for a short moment?"
It wasn't exactly unusual for Baybridge's local DOVE authority to personally involve himself in the affairs of RAVEN, but it was still an act which probably raised a few eyebrows - save for Maximilian Cornell, who was fully aware of what his intentions were. "Sorry for keeping you, but given you're among our senior field agents, both Max and I decided it was worth making you aware of this and, well, involving you. As you're aware, both DOVE and RAVEN ares currently participating in an exchange program with our counterparts in Britain, Germany, France - etcetera. We've already sent a few of our agents from various branches overseas for this purpose, but we're also playing host to several foreign agents as well."
Reed briefly turned towards the stocky man behind him, then gestured towards the rest of the room. "Everyone, this is Frank Marshall, one of our counterparts in the MISW who will be working among us for the foreseeable future. Agent Marshall, this is Quentin Taylor and Meifeng Zhao, both part of RAVEN's field command structure and, as you might've guessed, Quent here also happens to be my brother," Director Taylor briefly flashed his elder a smile, before gesturing to the other two agents in the room, "We also have Shizuka Takashiro, one of RAVEN's senior field agents and Francis Jean-Pierre who, I recall, was actually recruited from another one of our counterpart agencies in Brazil not too long ago. I expect you'll be working together rather soon."
"That is correct, sir," Francis nodded his head as he looked at the man. Well, this was certainly a surprise. Francis wasn't informed of this ahead of time, but it was maybe because he was too busy with this case. Making sure the Devil of Verthaven didn't return tends to do that. He made sure to react to Frank Marshall the same way he did with everyone: with a smile! "It is great to meet you, Agent Marshall. Shall I get you up to date on our case? There's a lot to it."
"Please, I'd appreciate it." Frank nodded to his counterpart, who happened to share the same name. Then, Francis quickly ran through an explanation of the case to Frank, though in truth he probably ended up missing a a few things because of the need to keep within a short timeframe.
The MISW... Meifeng raised an eyebrow as she looked at Frank. It was common knowledge what the MISW did for a living, so there was no point in going over it. It wasn't something that Meifeng approved of, and she wasn't in the mood to just go 'Oh, okay, it's the past,' and forget about it. While she sure as hell didn't approve of the actions of terrorists, she felt like the MISW had got what was coming to them. Then again, it came from far above her pay grade, and Maximilian's big fat pockets, so there wasn't much she could do. She merely looked over at Frank, and remained silent.
Shizuka rolled his eyes at how Reed had introduced him to their new comrade. "Well, if being the head of the more back-end intelligence department counts as a demotion from front-line duties, yeah." Though, there wasn't a hint of sarcasm in his tone. He wasn't really complaining about taking the 'backseat' in most RAVEN operations now - it seemed that way in the eyes of most (not helped by his lazy, laid-back reputation), because none of them truly knew the huge responsibility he had to shoulder in his current job position.
Not like anyone would care, anyway. It was all either about getting the job done, or be the scapegoat for the failure.
He wasn't as easygoing as Francis, nor bitter like Meifeng was; he'd be lying if he didn't feel mixed about MISW due to their past relation with the Founding Faggots, but at the same time it wasn't entirely the organization's fault that things had to turn out that way. He merely greeted back with a quick wave, leaving it to the rest to deal with the awkward silence.
Quentin was the first to step forth to exchange a firm, albeit formal handshake with his MISW counterpart, before getting straight to the point as always. "Forgive me for asking, Agent Marshall, but... you're aware of the kind of threat we're dealing with at the moment, right? The last few years have seen us facing dangerous individuals with backgrounds in paramilitary and terrorist organisations, resourceful and well-equipped at that." The veteran RAVEN wondered just how this Brit would deal with the likes of the Hound, or even the Changeling Unit, after all, particularly given it was an open secret that the man's superiors had at one point been tied to their kind.
For a moment, Frank was tempted to feel slightly offended at the notion, before realising that neither of these men (or the woman) had spent a great deal of time with the likes of him or his lot. "Absolutely. I suspected you might have had your concerns - we Britons aren't exactly known for our militaristic approach towards things, but I can assure you I've had my share of training and experience in similar matters." In fact, Frank was willing to bet that he'd dirtied his hands in business that none of the men in this room would have - after all, the DOVE/RAVEN twin agencies weren't exactly known for dabbling in the undoubtedly unethical areas of espionage, subterfuge and manipulation as the MISW had come to be thought of. "That said, I'm as much here to observe and learn as I am to contribute. I'll defer to your lead - this is your operation, after all."
Meifeng had the same sentiments as Quentin. She was somewhat tempted to ask Frank if his experience beating Metahumans would transfer, but that was more than a little snide. But, she couldn't help herself but ask one question. "How long have you worked for the MISW?" His answer would lead into her next question, or if Meifeng would relent.
"About ten years, more or less - but I was picked up for training two years before then, so I've had twelve years under their wing." Frank said, after a moment's thought, picking up on her skepticism (and perhaps noticing the apprehensiveness in the room). "I take it you're well-versed yourselves?"
Ten years... Yeah, Meifeng couldn't just say that he did nothing wrong while working for the MISW. Even if he was just another tool of the Founding Family, he was probably complacent in some degree. She would keep her eye on him, at least for now. For now, she managed to force a smile as she said. "That's great." She shrugged, as she said. "I'm as well-versed as any other RAVEN, so let's do some good in this operation."
"Alright, are we done with introductions?" Maximilian Cornell said as he crossed his arms. "We need everyone to suit up and roll out."
Oakdell Harbor, White Coast_
The drive there was brief for some of the RAVENs, but for the likes of Meifeng, it felt like an hour. Even though it was ten years ago, the greatest tragedy in the world; the Verthaven disaster, was still fresh on her mind. The idea that somebody out there wanted to use what was left of her to create more abominations was frightening. Meifeng lost many close friends of hers to her. She merely sighed as she sat in the back of this armored truck with the RAVEN symbol as everyone who wanted to prevent anymore bullshit closed in on Oakdell Harbor. She merely kept her rifle in close as she gave everyone else in the vehicle a glance. She smiled for a moment there, as she remembered all the other bullshit they made it through. The Founding Family would had destroyed the world if it wasn't for them.
They had this.
The truck came to a stop, as the back doors opened, and Meifeng quickly grabbed her rifle. She heard Maximilian's voice in the comms,
"Remember, we're going to be supporting the BPD," Maximilian started off. "You are only to engage any Metahumans that the Mafia may have, and you'll be bringing the arm back to headquarters."
"Understood, sir," Francis answered, and tightly grabbed his shotgun. Well, that made their job easier. Just wait for the BPD to handle the goons. The only problem is that Francis had little idea what Metahumans they had at their disposals, or if they had any Metahumans to begin with. They didn't have a whole lot of time to find out. Either way, Francis was going to make sure that everyone gets out of here without a single casualty. He slid down his helmet's visor, as he looked at his team, "We should get a move on," He smiled, "It'd be a shame if we kept them waitin'."
On that note, the group got out of the armored truck, and went into a single file as they stuck to the walls, the BPD's finest SWAT moved far ahead of them. As RAVEN was merely there for standby, after all. They missed all the action too, but they saw several of the Russians being taken down, and arrested. Not a single shot fired, or a single sound. Meifeng was impressed. But, the group pressed on.
"We have a Metahuman!" One of the police said over the radios. "He's by Docks B... you really, really, can't miss him! He's a monster!"
"That was fast," Meifeng said to herself. "Let's get a move on before anyone gets killed."
Quickly moving over to Docks B... it became pretty obvious what the police were so worried about. A truck was overturned and punted into a nearby warehouse. That made them pick up the pace. They stopped at a corner where they heard the most stomping, and Francis looked around it... he saw a massive Metahuman that looked like a man made entirely of muscle fibers. He was getting shot at, and shrugged it off like it was nothing. He continued his rampage like it was nothing. He tore the doors of yet another
"Strong, impervious to bullets, big..." Francis explained as he slid back towards his group. "We're gonna have to containment foam him... but we have to get close. Any of ya'll got a gameplan?"
"Counterpoint here, I suggest we draw him away from the SWAT teams first, then into range of our containment foam," Quentin's voice hailed in over the comms, after what felt like hours of radio silence on his part. As they spoke, the veteran RAVEN was seated in the passenger compartment of an armoured truck with the organisation's logo printed across the body, a team of his own stacked inside as they moved to intercept their target. "Wave, can you get a team ready to lure him our way? We're just coming up to Docks C."
"Yeah," Meifeng answered. "But, how are we going to subdue him...?"
It was a valid point, though there wasn't a great deal of time
"Copy," Quentin affirmed him, lurching forward in his seat for just a moment as their truck rounded yet another corner, "Wave, we're moving into position now."
Meifeng nodded, going through the motions in her head : take out this Meta, then find the Devil's arm at any cost. She peaked around the corner... she had the feeling that this guy was just a big distraction, and they were just going to use this moment to get the hell out of dodge.
"Francis," Meifeng got her coworker's attention, "With me. You're going to lead a team that'll flank the bastard from the back while I go in from the front. Got it?"
"Loud and clear," Francis answered, "Captain."
Hmph. He had a lot to learn, but in the meantime, Meifeng would make good use out of him. She nodded her head at the RAVENs behind her, and gestured for them to follow her. She was, once again, going to lead the charge. They got in position behind (and on top of some) some shipping crates, while Francis took the other side. She peaked around the corner and saw the bastard go on a rampage. They needed to stop him now. She pressed her earpiece.
"Fire!" Meifeng shouted as the RAVENs opened fire on the beast from all sides. The bullets don't pierce him, but it was becoming apparent that it was hurting him. He covered his face with his muscular arms as he swung around to find an opening to escape, shifting his great mass towards the far side of the docks as it proved that at least one of the alleyways between the warehouses hadn't been fully locked down by the fireteams.
Quentin's team quickly deployed from their response truck, taking up positions in preparation for the behemoth-sized target that was heading their way. Two men were immediately positioned at either side of the open space that was the emptied dock, each equipped with an M4 rifle and M203 launcher, followed by three men (including Marshall, who had been attached to Quentin's team for the course of this op) positioned in the center - Quentin himself among them. Whilst Marshall and the other man beside him were equipped with the typical AR pattern rifles, the veteran RAVEN firmly held an M23 MGL in hand, along with a slung Remington M870 that had been loaded with slugs, just in case.
"Once the target crosses into sight, fire on my mark - but hold the containment foam until I call it, upon which I want you to hold back on lethal force unless the situation calls for otherwise," he said, keeping a finger pressed against his transmit button, "Remember to check your fire for friendlies as well, they're pushing the target our way." Then, he relinquished his grip, turning to either man positioned close beside him, "Crown, I want you to put a fireball down if he gets too close." He received a prompt nod from his colleague, before returning the same gesture to the Briton in their ranks to acknowledge him. Hopefully this would pan out well enough, even with an unknown such as Marshall on their team - Reed had vouched for him, as had Max, so that meant something at least.
"Target's heading your way." Meifeng spoke.
"Acknowledged, Wave - hold your team back, but make sure he stays on-course."
Soon, as expected, the behemoth-sized man made an appearance, lurching forward into their line of sight. "Fire!" Quentin squeezed back on the trigger of the launcher, projecting a metal canister towards the target - inside was a fast-acting mixture of metahuman suppressant and tear gas, intended for use against the likes of their rampaging target. This, combined with a volley of fire from both Crown, Marshall, and the other two agents under his command seemed to suffice in at least staggering their target, causing him enough disorientation that he almost seemed to lose his footing, slowing him down enough to enact the next tier of Quentin's plan of attack.
"Contain, contain!" He barked again, then fired off a second canister into their target's mass. It ruptured upon striking him in the arm and from it burst forth a dull grey foam which quickly began to expand, coating the rampaging metahuman's arm in the substance - at the same time, the two men that Quentin had positioned at either side of the dork a mere minute before had fired off their own canisters from their underslung launchers, coating the target's leg and mid-section in the same substance which too began to expand and harden against his mass, only this seemed to spur him on to fight even harder. Quentin let off a low grunt, then fired off more canisters, covering the target with more of the expanding foam yet even then he still fought wildly, trying to cut loose and flee elsewhere. Containment foam was always a godsend to see in action, but even then the big bastard was making it a hard-fought battle - and Quentin knew from experience that the foam needed time to harden, time which was scarce if the target managed to force himself enough leeway. Dropping his M23, he reached for his slung M870 and levelled it towards his target, just as Crown got ready to put a fireball downrange towards their target.
Yet before the veteran RAVEN could resort to firing off a series of decidedly lethal slugs at the target's exposed vital areas, Frank intervened, stepping forward, "Marshall here, I'll try and calm the target down, hold fire!"
It was at that point that Quentin recalled from the brief glance at Marshall's file that the man possessed some form of empathic abilities, the details of which he was not particularly aware of, though if it worked it would work, "Copy, check fire, check fire!" Nonetheless, he kept
As Frank closed in, he could feel the sheer rage and blind panic that seemed to seep out from the foamed behemoth, No doubt he'd probably been dosed up with something in order to spurn him on - it was like watching a steroid junkie on a rampage in a gym, only instead of weights and barbells the man had taken to punting cars and chunks of scenery all over the place. And, if he wasn't too careful, he'd have wound up on the list as well - not exactly the best start to his time in the states. Pushing these thoughts aside, however, Frank forced himself to concentrate on the matter at hand, delving into the depths of the man's drug-addled, twisted mind, reaching inside and plucking at whatever strings he could, forcing his way in past the rage to bring the man to submission.
From an observer's perspective, it was strange to see Marshall in action. It was like watching a man taming a wild mustang yet at the same time was also reminiscent of watching the same man smother someone with a pillow as they fruitlessly fought against the attempt. In some respects, it was almost unsettling to see - yet it got the results needed. Slowly, but surely, the behemoth's fighting resolve seemed to weaken, the hardening foam further suppressing any spirit that had been within him and preventing him from lashing out as he had before. Quickly, Quentin moved in, weapon at the ready.
"Keep him down, get a collar on him." Once the metaphoric dust had settled, the team moved quickly enough - one of the agents who had been on foam detail hastily returned with a collar and snapped it on around the man's comparably diminutive neck, eliminating any remaining (albeit minute) chance of further resistance on his part.
"Counterpoint here," Quentin hailed in, yet again, "Target's been contained but we'll need a transport detail for this one. Might need a medical unit on standby too, looks like another overload dosage." More derivatives of the infamous drug once used by the Founders' agents had spilled into the criminal underworld over the last few years and it was an easy guess for Quentin that this man had been subjected to one of the many examples out there.
"Good work Agent Counterpoint," Maximilian answered. "Other agents will take it from there."
"Heh, knew we could count on you, Counterpoint,"Meifeng answered. "Let's hurry up and get back into position. The BPD will be waiting for us."
Okay, it had sounded like Mr. Marshall there was a Domination-type... specifically when it came to one's emotions. Meifeng wished that she could have known that a little earlier during her little issue with him in the meeting. Eh, either way. She would worry about that much, much, later.
"Target neutralised," Meifeng reported over the comms with a press of her earpiece. Oi, he wasn't that tough. Probably one of those bastards who thought they had big dicks because they-
A bullet came from out of nowhere, and pierced the head of one of the RAVENs under her command. "What th- Find cover!" She immediately jumped into action as she, with a swift movement, swung her hand upwards, and summoned a wave of water. However, once the wave reached peak height, it froze solid. She slammed her back against it, and prepped her rifle. She was just afraid to stick her head out in case the bastard take it off.
Francis, on the other hand, punched the ground, and summoned his psychic-shell, which gave off a lilac, transparent hue. Bullets rippled off his shell, just as he was confident they would, yet he knew that he couldn't take too much. He'd only chose to do this instead of running for cover because he wanted to see who in the hell was shooting at him. No mobster could have fired with this degree of...
He looked at the rooftop, and saw men and women in helmet clad in armor. He saw the faint red glow of their goggles... and the emblem of the dog.
"ZODIAC!" Francis shouted as he rolled behind the wall of ice.
"Fuck, those animals..." Meifeng knew it was just about time that the ZODIAC fuckers show up. She was ready for them, and she was going to kill the Hound this time. She pressed her earpiece. "This is Agent Rogue Wave! ZODIAC has been sighted by Dock B! I repeat, ZODIAC has been sighted by Dock B!" She shouted into the comms.
"Damn it!" Maximilian said. "All RAVENs, you are to engage ZODIAC and keep their fire away from the BPD at any cost."
"I'm wondering where in the hell their portals are!" Meifeng added. "Or..." Maybe they're mixing up their tactics to throw all their enemies off. Whatever the reason, Meifeng had to make sure that RAVEN were the ones who acquired the Devil's arm, not ZODIAC. That was the important task here.
On top of the same rooftop, the massive and terrifying frame of the ZODIAC group's leader... Sovereign, stood tall and mighty above the growing chaos. He grasped his own M23 Grenade launcher, pointed idly towards the sky as his digital goggles gave off a dull, glowing red shimmer. Sovereign pressed a button on the side of his helmet, and said,
"Everyone here is a combatant..." He trailed off. "...Which means everyone is fair game. Bring me that arm..."
He stared at the RAVENs below him.
"...And kill anyone in your way."