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Operator, Won't You Put Me On Through

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Brody Nelson was one hour from quitting time and there was only one thing he was looking forward to: going home, falling face first into his bed, and not waking up until his alarm went off the next morning. They had finally wrapped up a joint investigation with Metro PD involving a cyber-stalking threat at a major metro school, and while not field-intensive, it was definitely brain-intensive. Brody was a few steps away from being burnt out. Sleep would be beautiful, as long as nothing crazy happened in the next hour.

Another fifteen minutes ticked away with no incident as he filled out some paperwork for the last case, wanting to get it in before Avery had to ask for it. And then his laptop pinged. And pinged again. He glanced down to the corner of the screen, and there were the alerts – he had set up a program to be alerted whenever his old username was used more than once in the old black hat forums. While it hadn't happened in months, here it was. His shoulders drooped. Hopefully, it was somebody trash-talking. That didn't require anything more than closing the window.

Yo Qu35t, need your d1g1t5 asap

SRSLY BKTRC ME QU35T 911SOS use the uze

“What's shakin', man?” Krumitz asked, sidling up to his workstation. “You've got your constipated face on.”

“Dude, my face is perfect, I think you're looking in a mirror,” Brody retorted, but without his usual fire. His fingers were already flying across the keyboard. “And I am not sure, but we might be getting a direct digital 911 call.”


“Son of a BITCH!” Jane cursed, slamming through a half-open door in the alley they had fled down. Darcy, too late to see Jane had fallen down the few steps to floor level, came skidding in seconds later, falling over Jane with her knees on one side and her palms on another, gasping for breath. “Are you okay?” her boss asked her.

“So not okay, but yeah, okay,” Darcy replied, rearing up to un-trap the other woman. “I mean, did you see those guns? Fuck my life.”

“I think I dropped my phone. Thankfully I don't keep anything on there, I mean, except for Thor's number. Shit.”

“I definitely still have mine.” Darcy's fingers touched something familiar and plastic in her back pocket- her phone case, thank fuck. As she pulled it out and hunkered down into a crouch on her heels, Jane was checking the latches on the shoulder-bag that contained some of her equipment and research documents. “Unfortunately, cell service here is shit.”

“Great. Just great,” Jane replied. She had re-strung the bag over her shoulder and across her chest, and was working on the door. It was at least aluminum, newer looking than the rest of the ramshackle garage they'd stumbled into.

“Not so terrible, actually. Provided my message got through, shitty cell service is at least pinging our location,” Darcy said, pretty calmly for the situation. She felt like they did as the Destroyer was descending in New Mexico, and when the Dark Elves were bringing the imminent apocalypse in Greenwich – fairly calm, and partially removed from the situation. Shock, the paramedics called it – survival was what Darcy called it.

“Is that what you were doing?” Jane asked, shooing her further into the structure. “I knew you wouldn't give them my data, obviously, I just yelled for effect. I hope you don't mind.”

“An old forum I used to dabble in. I have a friend, he's with the Feds now, or so I hear.” As Jane's eyes narrowed, Darcy raised her hands, one still holding the precious phone. “Listen, if you'd had a better idea, I'd have been happy to hear it. But they stuck me in front of the computer, so I did what I do.”

Jane opened her mouth to reply, and the phone rang. At the same time, shouting voices came closer outside.


“Hello?” came a girl's voice over the speakers.

“Darcy?” Brody asked.

“Oh thank fuck,” the girl sighed, causing Krumitz's eyebrows to raise. “Brody, you're a fucking angel. I hear you work for the Feds now?”

“You heard true. I'm a white hat now, so if this is any black hat shit, Darce...”

“It was the only way I could reach you!” There was a muffled voice, somebody else, and then the sound of machine gun fire. “I need you to hook me through to a federal extension, direct line. Alpha Kilo four one two Victor Sierra. Dammit, Jane, stay the fuck away from the door!” The last seemed to be directed to whoever she was with. He nodded to Krumitz to try the extension, just as Raven was walking through the door with Avery. “And hurry if you could, Nelson. It's literally lives on the line.” There was more gunfire over the line, and it sounded closer.

Krumitz was holding up a tablet that Avery took after glancing at it. “This is Agent Ryan, and the line you're requesting -”

“Listen, you can get the whole damn FBI up my ass if you think I'm lying to you, but I'm telling you we are as good as dead if you don't dial that number. It's SHIELD. I don't think I'm prank-calling SHIELD.” There was a very brief pause, and an 'ow' like she had been elbowed in the ribs. “Agent Ryan. Ma'am.”

Brody looked at his boss, and saw the question in her eyes, and nodded. Darcy seemed desperate, and she wasn't prone to lying. At least not when he'd known her. Avery hit call on the tablet, patching the call into the current one. “Adding call line for Alpha Kilo four-”

She was interrupted by a smooth, cool voice. “Hill.”

“Agent Hill, Darcy Lewis. I need a rescue like it was yesterday!”

“Miss Lewis, local authorities had alerted us that you and Miss Foster had been taken. Glad to see you made it. I've got a STRIKE team that just came out of Wakanda – I'm rerouting them now. Are you and the good doctor safe?”

“For the time being,” Darcy said, her voice getting tinnier. “They'll probably start with EMPs soon, they know I work computers. Can you tra-”

The call died.

Brody twitched.

“CSI Cyber, thank you for helping us out today,” the mysterious Hill said, sounding like this was a normal conference call. “This doesn't fall into your jurisdiction, but I thank you nonetheless. Please treat this as a case with all confidentiality. I'll be in touch, Agent Ryan.” And her call ended, too.

Brody just wanted to go to bed now, please.

The way his boss was looking at him right now assured him that he would NOT be leaving the office at quitting time.