Outta Nowhere

Niko went back to the compound, having found almost zip, but the place was bare. Letting out a slow breath, he asked HELEN to play some Pitbull, but by the time Christina Aguilera jumped in, he was bored and had had a sandwich. He’d been waiting to hear what Rogers found, but so far no one else had reported in. Well, if he wanted answers, the first thing he should do is find him. “HELEN,” he called, “Find my friend Sam.”

In no time at all the compound’s artificial intelligence responded in a voice resembling that of Rose Byrne. “Sam Rogers is approximately 120 meters from the County General Hospital’s southwest exterior.”

Ugh. More hospitals, the speedster thought to himself when HELEN told him where he could find Sam, outside of the same hospital Theo wanted to check out with T’Chantem. Well, he was pretty sure she wanted to check it out with Thorson, but Sam told him to watch Gwen’s back - and he best be doing a good job of it! Seriously, MJ could be scary.

Stepping out of the compound, Niko stretched one arm across his body then the other, letting out a deep breath, and within minutes was in the back seat of Sam’s SUV. “I got tired of waiting,” he explained, his Sokovian accent shining through.

“Jesus!” Sam exclaimed as he jumped in his seat, being utterly startled by Niko.

“So what did you find and,” Niko nodded to Darius, “who is he, and why does he get to call shotgun?”

Sam took a deep breath and looked down, talking to himself. “Well so much for THAT.” He looked back up to Niko. “Niko, meet Darius, he’s a big fan of yours. Thought I’d bring him by for an autograph, maybe we all get a group picture, you know.” Sam was quite frustrated that the day was decidedly not going in his favor.

“Really?” Niko asked, running a hand through his tousled silver hair. Realizing Sam was being sarcastic, his shoulders slumped. “Niko,” he repeated, extending his hand to the front seat to shake the new guy’s hand, even if he did steal shotgun. “Maximoff. Do we have any word back yet from Gwen or Thorson or Theo or the others? Want me to go see if I can find them? I can be back in a blink.”

Darius extended his hand. “Darius,” he said while shaking it. Goddammit, he knew it. Darius offered a quick smile Sam’s way before placing his eyes back on the Maximoff boy. “I have no idea what you’re saying, but you’re saying it fast so it’s probably important.”

Niko snarled his lip and looked back to Sam, then made his voice dramatically slow. “IIIIII’mmmm Neeeeeekkoooo. Have. We. Heard. Back. From. Gwen. Or. Thorson. Or. Theo?”

Darius chuckled. “The speed wasn’t the problem, I don’t know why we’re here or who those people are. Got a better chance talking to Sammy.”

I’d like to be anywhere but here right now, Sam thought to himself, scratching his head. He pulled out the folder and handed it to Niko. “No one apart from you has answered my text yet. But this is what we found.” He turned to Darius, answering his question. “The rest of the ‘agents’? They’re the other Maximoff and the other enhanced we’ve teamed up with. I was hoping to give you a better introduction to everyone, but apparently plans can’t go right lately.”

“Wait, whaaaaaaat? You work with the Maximoffs? I had no idea,” Darius said in a very sarcastic tone. He was a bit surprised after all of the work Sam did to deny it, but he still had a feeling. Darius smiled, “It’s alright, but is your team usually this… scattered?”

“We’re usually worse,” Niko offered absently, staring at the folder in his hands. Ugh. Reading. And this was a lot of sit and talk, worse, it was sit and talk from the backseat, when usually he was fast enough to be shotgun before anyone could call it. Skimming the file, his eyebrows quirked, then raised. “Yahtzee,” he swore under his breath.

“Niko, where is everyone else? It’s been 20 minutes and no one else has replied to me?” Sam asked, frustrated.

Niko held his hand out dramatically. “I know! Why is the entire world so fucking slow! At everything! All the time! Solidarity.” He bumped his fist to his chest. “We have been in this car forrrrrrrrreverrrrrrrr. The only thing barely interesting to look at is the girl up there who thinks she’s sneaking in through the clearly marked fire exit door, rather than the front door which I would have paid much less attention to. I’m starving, did you bring any cereal?”

*Tap Tap Tap* A security guard tapped his radio against the passenger door and was peering in at Darius. His eyes roamed over to Sam Rogers. “This area’s for emergency vehicles only. You’re EMT; you should know better.” He stepped back and pointed. “Move this car before I call it in.”

Darius gave a look at Sam; a look that said ‘I got this’. He rolled down the window and placed his arm out nonchalantly. “Hey man, how’re you doing? Good I hope. Listen, what really counts as an emergency vehicle? Like, what if we’re in an emergency… and in this vehicle?”

This was it! This was the day Haskins was finally going to get to pull his gun in the line of duty. Well, maybe it wasn’t technically called line of duty anymore since he was no longer a shielded police officer, but he still wore a uniform - albeit a different one - and he had a utility belt with pepper spray, flashlight, multitool knife… And a gun. Sure, he was a rent-a-cop ex-cop security guard, but he had a gun and a loosely defined purpose. When Darius went into cool guy hippy talk mode, Haskins stepped back and unholstered his sidearm, pointing it slightly down but in the direction of the SUV. He used one hand to press the push-to-talk button on his radio. “I’m engaging the suspect; a black male matching the description of the individual involved in the hospital assault.” He released the button and took a two handed grip on his gun. “Don’t argue semantics with me, stoner. Keep your right hand up, reach over and pull the latch on the door with your left, then push it open with your leg and keep your hands where I can see them.”

Darius silently cursed and put both hands out of the car. He turned to Sam and Niko and said, “Ok, I don’t got this. Little help before I make the evening news?”

(I might clean this up later, but wanted to give you something to play on. And yes, Haskins was a terrible cop. Not evil, just bad at his job.)

Niko looked over at Sam. “There was an assault?” He missed all the good stuff. Still, he wondered if this was spring into action time. He was fairly certain he could have the guard on the ground before any bullet left the gun. Then again it wasn’t his own life he was playing loosey goosey with. Theo usually gave him a sign. It was usually a pretty obvious sign, like patting the top of her head or making a non bird-like (they shit on your shoes) verbal signal - sometimes ‘get ‘em Niko!’ - but something to let him know it was okay.

“There may have been an assault… and I think it’d be fine if there was one more,” Darius said through his smile toward the cop. “Sir, I think we should just relax for a bit.”

Niko thought for a split second. Darius and Sam were friends. He and Thorson were friends, if Thorson said something was okay, Niko wouldn’t have a problem with it being okay therefore… Sam thinks it’s okay. But assault? This had ‘sit and listen to a lecture’ written all over it. Plan B. The world stopped, moving at a glacial pace as he slipped out of the car. The security guy’s face was frozen in sort of an “Oh” shape, a half angry, half sex face, which made the speedster snarl his lip and feel creepy as he took the gun from the guard’s hand, ditching it in the trash bin. He made a mental note to start carrying bananas as it would have been awesome to replace the gun with a banana. Then again, if he had a banana, he wouldn’t have to depend on Sam carrying cereal, because obviously that wasn’t happening. Gun disposed of, he zipped to Sam’s side of the car, turning the engine on and putting the car in drive just as the world came back online.

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