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The world has been thrown into turmoil. Two alien invasions in as many years resulted in thousands of casualties, with both only narrowly beaten back, and dangerous advanced technology falling into unscrupulous hands. Magneto's defeat by the Sentinels drove mutant supremacists to increasingly desperate and savage lengths. Rumors grew of uncanny monsters stalking the shadows and taking the unwary. But, through it all, humanity placed its faith in S.H.I.E.L.D.

And then S.H.I.E.L.D. fell.

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 Room Service, [tag] Logan
Henry Gyrich
 Posted: Jul 5 2017, 06:36 PM
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Henry Gyrich

A.E.G.I.S.



Gyrich was tired. He'd started the day getting up early and leaving his room at the Ritz-Carleton and jogging down to Four Mile Run Park before it was even light. Oddly, neither the Park nor the river from which it drew its name was actually four miles long, but he'd long since grown accustomed to the non-literal nature of a lot of place names and simply took it in stride. The river had a path – also named Four Mile Run and happening to be about half-again that distance – that he'd discovered in his teens and still sought out whenever he was in the area.

A lot had changed since those years when his service had brought him occasionally to the Pentagon and reconnecting with his son had brought him to DC just across the river. Some of it was obvious, such as the rather more upmarket digs he jogged back toward as the sun came up, but a lot more – both good and ill – was hidden away inside him.

A final push to run up the stairs had been followed by a quick shower and change, and then the part of his day he actually found most tiring had begun. It was only about half a dozen meetings, but they'd been with politicians and other power brokers, and for all that they involved scarcely more physical effort than lifting a glass of wine, they were exhausting. By the time he got 'home' it was well after dark and he felt completely wrung out.

Still, long day or short, weary or not, Gyrich was a warfighter and he was always aware of his surroundings. So it was that when he stepped into his room, he caught a whiff of distinctive cigar smoke and paused with his hand on the door before shutting it behind him and reaching to turn on the light. "Logan," he said. Then, just as he had the last time they'd met, "been awhile."

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James Logan Howlett
 Posted: Jul 6 2017, 03:25 PM
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James Logan Howlett

X-Men



The burning end of his cigar flared in the darkness of a corner of the room, ever so slightly illuminating a very unamused face in a baleful red light that glinted in his eyes as they bore into Gyrich's head through the shadows. "Don't talk, listen." The tone alone said it was a deadly threat. The cigar flared again, just as bright as before, both highlighting his feral expression and indicating that he'd gone through more than one while waiting for Henry to return. He pulled the stubby remains of the cigar from his mouth and pitched it across the room where it bounced it off the wall and landed on the carpet. No doubt putting a burn in the rug but not having the remaining juice to start a fire.

"I'm going to tell you about truth, Henry. The truth is, I used to be a simple man. I lived and let live, I hunted for my dinner, I loved, I lost, I fought for my country in more wars than you've been alive to see. The whole time, the only thing remarkable about me was aging slow, healing fast, and unnaturally sharp senses... the best of which is my sense of smell. You stuck to the good stuff tonight, Henry. Not old bottles, but high end. Must have been multiple meetings, two cigar smokers with different brands, and enough different foods to indicate you were boredom eating. I can smell all of that, even through the cigar smoke. That's the truth." Logan took a long, deep breath that he then let out slowly, a little raggedly. "I can also smell lies. Perspiration, fear, it all has a scent. In a quiet room like this, I can even hear your heart rate go up. See the veins bulge when your blood pressure spikes."

"Truth is important. And Henry, you're gonna tell me the truth. If I smell a lie on you, if I get even a whiff of dishonesty, I'm gonna kill you. I'll snatch the life out of you before you can even process that you should be surprised. Your boys come bursting in here before I'm done with you, I'll kill them, then you. And you'll tell me the truth anyway, only it'll hurt more." Logan stepped out of the shadows and tossed an object at Henry's feet. "Twenty hours ago... I watched... seven of your men execute a child. That's what's left of them." The object that had landed at Henry's feet being a SWORD uniform sleeve, complete with the owner's arm still within. "The truth, Gyrich. Did you give them the order?"
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Henry Gyrich
 Posted: Jul 7 2017, 05:35 AM
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Henry Gyrich

A.E.G.I.S.



Gyrich's pulse had accelerated when the awareness of an intruder sent a surge of adrenaline hit his system, taking him from relaxed alertness to combat ready, but he was too old a hand to let it control him. He neither feared death nor welcomed it, so he made no move to either run or fight, simply keeping still and quiet while he listened and tried to get a feel for the situation. Logan's presence was unexpected, to say the least, but the clawed mutant's hostility was even more so. While they weren't friends by any stretch, there'd never been truly bad blood between them and their last encounter had actually gone fairly amicably.

It wasn't just hostility, though, the commando realized as Logan spoke. It was pure rage, icy and incandescent at the same time, and that was something he'd never seen in the other man. Not that he hadn't seen anger, but it had been irritation, not fury. Logan had been as blasé about anger as he had been about everything else, never seeming to be invested enough in anything for more. Until, clearly, now. Whoever the murdered child had been, Logan cared.

"I gave no such order," Gyrich said quietly and clearly, "and none of my men would obey it even if I did."

Giving a slight pluck at the legs of his trousers to keep the knees from pouching, the commando dropped down on his haunches and picked up the arm that had been tossed at his feet. Rigor had come and gone, leaving it flexible, and he laid it across his palms to examine it. It was far from the first dismembered body part he'd held in his hands, and definitely not the goriest. Severed cleanly at the joint, it had long since bled out, though the cut-through end of the sleeve was stiff with the rusty red stains of dried blood.

Frowning, he examined the part that was still clean. A sniff revealed the faint odor of cordite, then he let go with one hand and pinched the fabric between thumb and forefinger on the other, rubbing it together and shaking his head at the result. The stitching on the patch looked wrong, too, and he was willing to bet that it lacked the RFID code woven into a genuine SWORD patch, but that was a detail he didn't feel the need to share.

"Not mine," the redhead said, straightening up again. "This is Kevlar. SWORD uses a stronger, custom-made material."

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James Logan Howlett
 Posted: Jul 10 2017, 12:10 AM
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James Logan Howlett

X-Men



Logan's nostril's flaired. Such a let down, the tin soldier was telling the truth. At least so far as he was aware. "You sure about that? Not a one of them?" Logan had known a lot of soldiers. He'd known a lot of ex-soldiers. He knew them well and he knew them broken. Money wasn't the point, and he knew Gyrich paid them better than when they were soldiers. When you sent young men up the mountain to fight monsters you had to expect the occasional monster to come back down. Even Gyrich couldn't sort them all out.

When Gyrich was done, when he straightened up he found Logan standing right in front of him. Dominating the space even as he took up little more of it than the leader of SWORD. It didn't hurt that he was the oldest, strongest, most bullet proof person in the room. Nostrils flaring again. "You've got someone moonlighting, or you got someone piggy-backing your operations. Either way, you've got some house keeping to do, Gyrich." He stepped around the man and headed for the door.

Wolverine paused by the door and turned his head slightly. "You solve this, or I'm gonna start making a hobby out of that patch. You won't like the way I pursue my hobbies."

Henry Gyrich
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Henry Gyrich
 Posted: Jul 14 2017, 08:13 PM
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Henry Gyrich

A.E.G.I.S.



Gyrich blinked once when he found the stocky mutant crowding into his space, but held his position. There was no point in stepping back. Even if he'd felt so inclined, Logan would only have followed and he would have lost more ground than just the geographic variety. On the other hand, Logan was clearly on the thin edge of homicidal rage, so the redhead didn't push back, either.

"Oh, I will," Gyrich said, not without his own anger, though his wasn't directed at the mutant – who was, after all, only the messenger. Somebody was fucking with him, and while he didn't think it was coming from his own house, whoever it was needed to be found and made to pay.

An often-overlooked part of bodyguarding was learning everything you could about who was after your principal, from identity on through agendas, capabilities, and weaknesses. So, while Gyrich wasn't an investigator himself, he had several extremely competent ones on SWORD's staff. The arm would give them fingerprints and DNA, which was a place to start, but the killer was only half the equation.

Turning only his head, Gyrich regarded the departing mutant. "What was the child's name?" he asked.

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James Logan Howlett
 Posted: Jul 16 2017, 01:41 PM
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James Logan Howlett

X-Men



Logan took a deep breath, letting it out slowly to make sure his voice stayed steady. There weren't many things that broke his heart, but failing that little girl had certainly done so. "Her name was Abigail... she was twelve. She wasn't dangerous, her mutation was perfect spacial awareness. Means she knew, in excruciating detail, that I was just too far away to help her when she died." Logan let the door close behind him and was gone.
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