Operative – MERCURY continued her assignment to make friends with Celestia Flores (ANGEL) and Phoenix made contact with her via Mr. Kobayashi. In an attempt to broker a deal to send The Banshees after DRAGON he was willing to spend a considerable sum and provide logistical support during that mission. However, Celestia refused the initial offer saying that “I don’t work for names and numbers I work for faces, if this is going to happen you will need to arrange a meet with your boss.” Kobayashi concluded his business leaving MERCURY on assignment as he tried to contact his boss.
Somewhere in the Caribbean
HAWK, FALCON, and LUNAR continue their operations from their secret base when HAWK finds something very interesting, OWL came back on the grid which meant that all his old enemies would be able to find him now. Concerned for his safety and curious about his fate the pair left immediately for Charles de Gaulle in Paris, France and then onto OWL’s address.
Acting upon RAT’s intel while it was still fresh DRAGON left OX to mislead SPIDER and left Hamburg headed to France. While traveling he encountered a cute pair of girls who were trying to get back to Amiens which was on the way so the group traveled to that town without incident. DRAGON, RAT, and VULTURE continued on to OWL’s last known location but were detoured due to utility work.
Between Amiens and Saint Quentin
HAWK and FALCON arrived at a pastoral house in the middle of the french countryside, FALCON knocked on the door and shouted for Jean but there was no reply. The door was unlocked and the pair began to investigate the house looking for their former boss. Approximately the same time DRAGON, RAT, and VULTURE arrived on the scene and started entering the home. As they entered FALCON and HAWK found the body of OWL and attempted to resuscitate him, before they could do that DRAGON, RAT, and VULTURE entered the room. Seeing his former boss dead on his bed and his most hated enemy there was to much for VULTURE who drew his gun and shouted to FALCON “So you’ve come to finish your treachery, eh Ignazio, EAGLE and CONDOR weren’t enough so you decided to end the old man.” Stunned by the sudden appearance of two of his enemies at the same time FALCON was speechless for a moment but quickly recovered “Oh yeah well why are you here then Hugh? Looking to finish the job after you sold us out the Chinese.”
There was silence for a moment as each man processed the others statements, VULTURE broke it with “Those men weren’t Chinese Ignazio, they were some underground paramilitary group posing as them, they shot EAGLE and CONDOR but they imprisoned me for four years at a covert location in the Sudan!!! All the while the rest of you were living large, I don’t like the look Ignazio what are you trying to hide, your guilt and shame or something else.” Clearly something was wrong FALCON responded with “The report though it claimed you sold us out the Chinese”, “The report from the Agency that you got a nice cushy job at after the Birds were disbanded, seems to convenient”, “Well why did they imprison you then and accept me”, “I don’t know you tell me?”
Before FALCON was able to respond the window behind him shattered as a bullet destroyed it and impacted VULTURE in his left shoulder (his gun hand) narrowly missing FALCON’s head. Suddenly everyone hit the deck and it dawned on them that it was certainly strange and handy to have these particular men all in one room together without them shooting each other. Then it dawned on them, it was a trap meant to bring them all together so they could be removed in a single blow. DRAGON and RAT left the room first huddling in an interior hallway with guns drawn desperately trying to come up with a plan.
FALCON crawled nearer to VULTURE, realizing that this was likely a mortal wound and that he should say something, if what he was saying was in fact true it changed everything. All the nights he spent wondering how he would kill this man for his betrayal were for nothing but vengeance born of misinformation. VULTURE knew his wound was mortal as well and grabbed FALCON pulling him closer so they could be face to face
“Do you want to know how I ended up in prison Ignazio? I killed my father while he was in the midst of beating my mother to death. I saved her life but she died later of the injuries he inflicted, if I was quicker I could have prevented many things from happening but I’m glad I held fire this time. So Ignazio, we should both be sorry for what happened in the past but none of us will have a future if we don’t put that behind us.”,
“I’m sorry for everything Hugh, six years of my life this was all I wanted (to see you dying in my hands), but I didn’t want it to end this way, good bye” Before he spoke that last word VULTURE was dead.
With that concluded and still fearing for their lives FALCON and HAWK both began crawling out of the room. FALCON was unfortunately the first one out and he felt cold steel on his temple, DRAGON was there finger on the trigger “Give me a reason I shouldn’t shoot you right now.”
“Well Paul you have no where else to go, you’ve been burned by the Agency and no one is going to touch you now, but I think we can work together to bring down the person responsible. We will unfortunately have to work together again to take her out though.”
Trapped in the house it was a few moments before HAWK realized he could remotely pilot his van and drove it right to the door. Before they left the group searched OWL’s office and found a lot of secret looking notes in a secret compartment. Notes in hand the group then grabbed the bodies of their fallen OWL and VULTURE and loaded them into the van as well and left just as the house caught aflame.