The mission brief was succinct, just like Leo liked it. A mission, a timeline, and free reign for him to accomplish it in any way he so chose. This was how he hoped becoming a recognized Shield agent would go, adapting to the situation as it developed. The extra information at the beginning about obeying orders and not completing the task were non-issues, failure wasn’t an option. He’d find a way or die trying.
Zero hour, ninety six hour window begins now.
Getting to California, was the easy part; he couldn’t fly, he didn’t have a mechanical suit that would take him there, but he did have one of his father’s legacies. Shield picked his father up out of a US Air Force silo, a twenty year nuclear engineer with full access to hops and cargo travel for having retired- and transferred benefits for his family. A quick stop at the armory and the lab that he practically grew up in and he was on his way to Joint Base Andrews, just a sixty minute ride away from campus. A flash of his dependent ID and a set of falsified secure tags later, was waiting for the next plane to the west coast. Six hours after that he was up in the air, sitting next to several surly special ops on the KC-135 Stratotanker who probably just wanted to sleep in an actual bed for more than two days.
Nearly nine hours.
The best part? Aside from his backpack, the two locked Pelican cases under his jumpseat that he’d been allowed to bring on the aircraft with their false surety information. The first held his beloved modified M9, a silencer and a variety of bullets crafted in the fashion of Hawkeye’s arrows; multi-use casings including explosive, knock-out, blood spatter, along with several clips of the traditional lead and copper. The second held a piece of Stark tech that he’d borrowed from an old friend, the small computer able to connect to a variety of search engines even at twenty two thousand feet.
Thirteen hours, two more stops.
From there it was a simple matter to pull up Los Angeles’ public works drawings and the opensource Assesor’s maps, overlaying them and noting discrepancies and gaps in the city plans. A dozen or so buildings came up, but digging up on the history of the sites, only one was located on the outskirts of what had once been the Santa Susana Field Laboratory. The perfect acquisition for a company that happened to dabble in nuclear energy and the potential disasters that could result. Through the multistop flight he researched, finally hedging his bets on the collection of warehouses. Locking his equipment back up h attempted to doz for the last leg of the flight as best he could, the adrenaline pumping through his system making it incredibly difficult to keep his eyes closed.
Twenty hours gone.
Touching down, Leo picked up a series of cabs to break up his journey, paying in cash to leave no trace and always affecting a standard California drawl, just another dreamer on his way to make it big with the clothes on his back and his dreams in hand. The act dropped as soon as he was out of the last vehicle in his destination town and he hiked the last mile and a half, stopping a safe distance away to survey the warehouses, change and ready himself.
An entire day down.
Scanning the buildings, lead walls kept him from identifying a heat source but not the faint electromagnetic energy that radiated from one… very much like the signature that their own compound and Stark Tower gave off, marking it as his target. Then came the part he liked least, staking out the locale to appraise security instead of running in guns ablazing; the brief had specifically mentioned being discreet and while it wasn’t his first choice, or even his fifth, he wouldn’t fail on a technicality. Knee bouncing, darkness fell and with no movement in sight, he thankfully changed into a dark, skintight shirt with built in holster and tactical pants later, pistol loaded with a live clip and several alternates at his belt.
One day and seven hours.
The door was a simple pick, so easy that he didn’t know whether to be cocky for his skill or desperately worried as he crept in. Each step measured for silence and allowing him to test floor panels as well as scan for traps, he cleared every room. Fatigue was forgotten as he made his way through the building, sweat soaking his shirt from his heightened vigilance, the question of where his target was just beginning to enter his mind when he opened a new door to a figure sitting on a chair. Trigger finger itching, he held off, had to see exactly who it was he was supposed to execute.
He wanted to be an operator, not a mercenary.