Love & Plunder – 9

With our flying suits in hand it was time to move to phase two of the plan, tracking the helicarrier that I was going to steal.  When they’re not creating rogue LMDs that try to wipe out the human race or accidentally digging up magic books that can wipe out the human race or screwing up the timeline and putting HYDRA in charge of the world and endangering the human race, SHIELD or SWORD or STRIKE or whatever the hell they call themselves now spend a lot of time and energy trying to be covert about what they’re up to. 

Like most people they aren’t nearly as clever at this as they think they are.  Or maybe they’re too clever for their own good.  If he didn’t get this chest caved in maybe Monster Machine and I could have hacked into their systems, we probably would have needed to bring in help from someone like Centipede or Vulcan to do it but maybe we could have gotten there.  Maybe.  But why mess around with all that?  Designing malware is about as exciting as it sounds.  It’s much easier just to ask someone to give you the information.

The thing is, no matter how good you are at covert bullshit you can’t fly around in a sky-city without people noticing.  Or maybe you could, but you can’t fly around in a sky-city and occasionally land without people noticing.  The rumor is that SHIELD, or SPEAR, or STAKE, or SHAPE whatever they’re called now does have at least one helicarrier that stays in the air continuously but that’s because it gets supplied by other aircraft that don’t.  And regardless most helicarriers aren’t that one/those ones, most of them need to land to take on water and Zagnut bars and tampons and phone chargers.  

And sure, they do their best to obscure things by having one company ship a bunch of crap to one warehouse and then another company takes it somewhere else, and then a third outfit does whatever but at the end of the day SHIELD, or SPAWN, or SMURF, or SILKY, whatever they’re called these days doesn’t keep a bunch of truck drivers and warehouse loaders on staff.  Which is mildly funny because they have the word logistics right in their name.  They do have logistics people, sidenote that has to be the best/worst way to pick up someone in a bar. 

“Hey, don’t read too much into but I work for SHIELD.” 

“Oh wow, really, you’re a SHIELD Agent, how exciting!  Are you one of those people who try to throw a net over the Abomination when he’s going to kidnap Dua Lipa?” 

“Uh, no, mostly I just organize deliveries . . . I look at a lot of spreadsheets.” 

“Oh, cool, well I have to go be over there now away from you now, BY-EEE.”

Anyway those logistic agents do their best, but it’s not that hard to figure out where the helicarriers go to refuel and take on staple removers and manila envelops if you look hard enough.  And I did look hard enough.  

Originally I was going to cover the social op myself but I decided to make It Girl do it instead since she’d been largely useless other than bringing Jammer on board.  Also I wanted to see how she’d react to the assignment since she seemed like the most likely person to be the mole in the operation.  She was surprisingly enthusiastic about going to a bunch of bars and being hit on by short haul truckers.  But not SO enthusiastic that it seemed like she was covering for something.    

So basically I learned nothing.  But on the plus side, I didn’t have to get all dressed up to get pawed at by some short haul truckers.  


Once we had the suits Jammer and Magnum Master went to work modifying them for our heist.  I thought Magnum Master was just a gun guy, but I guess he’s a technology guy too.  I mean at first I thought he was, well never mind what I thought he was at first.  I offered to help them with their work but they said no in a way like you would if you 8-year old nephew asked if they could wash your car with rocks.  The dumb muscle label is one that’s hard to scrub off.  They were right, I don’t know anything about electronics or robotics or armory, but they didn’t have to be so obviously condescending about it.  I have feelings.    

It Girl was off seducing information out of a UPS driver so that left me and Helen with some quality alone time.  By which I mean she was obsessively going every part of the plan again and again and again and again.  If she has any flaws, and I’m not saying that she does, it’s that she has the tendency to overthink things.  

I’d say to her “Did you see Yellowstone last night” and she would respond with something like “Point of entry 31-mark-one, proceed to checkpoint one and wait for security counter measures to come online.  Do not engage enemy personnel at this point, if discovered retreat and go to secondary point of entry 17-mark-two.  Once security counter measures are operational proceed to checkpoint two.” And then I’d start to tell a funny story “speaking of point of entry, were you at Anna Conda’s 4th of July party a couple years back when . . .” but she’d already be on to the next thing.

She said “Do not engage on combat near the turbine or turbine control centers under, the probability of engine failure is unacceptable high.  That does mean if we need to scuttle the ship we have an easy method” so many times that the words lost all meaning to me.  Scuttle.  That’s a funny word.  

I told her that since everyone else had their job to do my job was to help her relax and not get so wound up.  I told her the plan was perfect and everything was going to work out perfectly, that she didn’t need to obsess over it, that we had things covered thanks to her plan.  I joked that I was appointing myself the morale officer and I was giving her an order to chill.  

She looked at me for a moment and said “If you want to fuck again just ask, you don’t need to go through this whole charade.”

I admit that I blushed so hard that she in turn laughed so hard that her face was as red as mine was.  Look, I’m no wilting wallflower or whatever the expression is, I’m a supervillain for god’s sake, but I think that’s the first time I ever heard a woman say fuck in that context.  I’m not saying that every girlfriend I ever had said we were “making love” all the time, but fuck?  That’s so direct.  

What I’m saying is that it caught me off guard is all.  I’m not used to a woman being so up front about things like that.  Especially in that specific case because that was not what I was hinting for at all!  I really was just trying to help her.  I’m not one of those gross guys that comes up behind you and starts rubbing your shoulders and saying that you need to loosen up.  I’m not like that.  

I at least was smart enough to know that trying to explain that to her would only make me look more of a fool in her eyes.  In my head I really wanted to ask her “where we stood” but I knew that would be a worse disaster than engaging in combat near the turbine controls.  Talk about catastrophic engine failure.  I bet she would have kicked me off the team if I had said something like that.

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