2019-07-01 - A New Consultant


Sarah catches up with 'oi you with the wings'.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Mon Jul 1 04:10:31 2019
Location: Brooklyn

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Registration came to an end years ago, but some of the old records still exist. Enough for Sarah to cross-reference between observed power set and what else she already knows: height, build, approximate age, and whatever other physical traits she could glean through the glow. That gets her a name: James Simon Alvin Baxter. Apparently, his eyes are normally blue.

From there, she works towards more up-to-date records. He's still in the system, and so she readily tracks him to his workplace, Doctor Victor Yendez's mental health practice. He's in good standing with SHIELD, sometimes recommended for *ahem* special cases.

It's the end of the work day now, and Jimmy wears his coat loosely open as he heads out to his normal bus stop, bus pass in hand.

"Hello, Jimmy." The voice from behind him might not be familiar in the sense of being that of someone he knows well, but it is one he's heard recently, and the distinctiveness of that London accent among Brooklynites and other New Yorkers will certainly help to jog his memory.

If he turns to look, Sarah Black is standing there, smiling. She's dressed casually, if not quite so much as she was during the rescue from the burning and collapsing building a few evenings ago, when she and Jimmy first met. (Current outfit: https://i.imgur.com/xffkccR.jpg, omit the jacket being carried.)

Jimmy should have been paying more attention to the sense of those around him. He may sense others' feelings, but doesn't always get a bead on their direction; he couldn't tell that approaching feeling of 'I found you' satisfaction was pointed at him. So he at first tenses when he hears his own name, turning to look at her.

His attention rests, neutrally, on her face. Well… if she's already got his name, then he figures she already knows a fair bit, one way or another. "Hello, Ms. Black." She has her own ways of getting information about people, but for him, it's practically an admission that he recognises her from the rescue.

if Jimmy can read such things, the young Englishwoman practically radiates warmth and good intentions. Whatever her reason for being here, she herself doesn't perceive it as being any form of threat to the man.

"I don't mean to interrupt," she begins. "If there's someplace you need to be, don't let me keep you. But if you have the time to spare, I'd like to talk a bit, if we could?"

Jimmy looks at the approaching bus — eh, it's not his anyway. When it arrives, a number of people file off, and a number more press on. "I was just about to head home. We can talk, but…" He manages to avoid fidgeting by slipping his hands into his pockets. "Can we walk?" Less chance of being overheard that way, at least; he may not hide it well, but it's still something he likes to keep private.

"Of course. I'd be delighted," Sarah replies, still with that warm and friendly smile. "That was really quite something, what you did the other night."

Jimmy starts walking. He knows his bus' route, so he just picks the path to the next stop, still planning to head home afterwards. Just after a detour. He lightly shrugs. "Thanks, but you're the one who actually /saved/ him. I couldn't have got in in time. All I did was just what anyone should do, if they, you know." Had wings.

"I would not have known he was there, without you," Sarah answers. "And that's part of why I'm here. I wanted to thank you again, personally, for helping to save lives. Not everyone would have done that, with or without powers. You stepped up. That matters. It particularly matters to the people who are alive now who would not be if not for you."

Jimmy chews his lower lip, mulling it over. He can't deflect the thanks forever, and what's the point anyway? "You're welcome." There, thanks received, and without puffing himself up too much. That's important. "It's funny. The last few years, I kept it so low-key that I didn't bump into other capes. Didn't even think of a name for myself. Lately, I don't know if it's coincidence, but I've been encountering more… others like me."

"Well, the other night was a bit of chance," Sarah replies, with a chuckle. "I live just a few blocks from where that happened. I was just leaving my flat when I heard the explosion. After that, well, I couldn't very well not go and see what the commotion was. 'No such thing as off duty,' and all that, right?"

While he walks, Jimmy watches her more than where he's walking, but still avoids bumping into anyone. He smiles. "Don't sell yourself short. You absolutely /could/ have left it well enough alone. If it's worth it to thank me for stepping in, then the same goes for you. So thank you, Sarah." He tilts his head. "Duty? Are you an X-Man or something?"

That question draws an amused look and a playful smile from Sarah. "If we're playing the guessing game, I'm afraid that one's rather cold," she says, with a quick laugh. Drawing a small, black leather wallet out of her purse, she flips it open, revealing her SHIELD ID. "I'm with SHIELD, WAND Division," she explains, and the ID confirms that, listing her position as Field Agent. "Technically, I'm MI-13, London Central Branch, seconded to WAND, but it's a distinction without a difference, or the other way around," she adds, with a grin.

Jimmy laughs. "WAND. That's pretty on the nose… and explains some things." He's warming up to her, so there isn't the reflexive defensiveness or worry that there might have been otherwise. Instead of fidgeting or withdrawing, he just takes a breath. "Like why you're particularly interested in someone like, well." He jerks a thumb towards himself. "Not a magician, but I'm still more in that… ballpark." Supernatural.

Nodding, Sarah laughs. "Pretty much like SHIELD itself. Story has it that a recruit was asked once, 'What does our name mean to you?' And they answered, 'It means that someone really, really wanted the initials to spell SHIELD.' They weren't wrong."

"Anyway, yes, that's the other part of why I'm here. It's standing policy to reach out to people with powers that are in our 'ballpark', as you put it. To offer a closer relationship, if you're willing. There are a number of individuals around the city we work with, when something comes up where their particular skills or knowledge or abilities might be helpful. So I'm here to invite you. If you'd rather not, no harm, no foul. But we could do a lot of good together."

Jimmy grins at the story, shaking his head. Oh such tortured acronyms. And then there's SWORD on top of that, isn't there?

The offer sobers him somewhat and he spends a little while walking in silence. He's definitely thinking about it, neither jumping at the chance nor discarding it out of hand. "Sort of like… an asset, then. Not an agent, I just don't have the training for that. But a known asset, someone who works together regularly. Or who at least isn't a surprise when it happens." Pause. "I'd have to come up with a codename, wouldn't I?"

"Well, that part's purely up to you, but it's fashionable," Sarah replies, with a grin. "But yes, exactly so. An asset, or 'consultant' is another term that gets applied. But essentially someone with special talents that can be applicable to our work, who we can call on when need help that they're particularly suited for."

"A consultant." Jimmy feels the word around in his mouth. Not bad. "If I say yes, is there anything special we'd have to do? I'm hoping there's no 'sign your complete full name in blood on the dotted line', just… procedures. Some kind of… placement test, to see how you could use me? Anything like that?"

"A bit of paperwork, but nothing terribly odious, and some orientation to procedures and such," Sarah answers. "Comms protocols, coordination in the field, that sort of thing. The paperwork is more about our obligations to you, while you're working with us — liability, health coverage in the event you're injured, that sort of thing. And, of course, compensation. The main impositions on you have to do with confidentiality and so forth, as you'd probably expect."

"Health coverage." There's a touch of wryness in his tone. "I don't expect I'll need much of that. That's part of the whole… package. I heal better than most." Yet, not as well as Sarah herself. "Confidentiality is no problem. That's a major, important part of counselling, too." Something else seems to be on his mind, bringing him into silence while he chews it over. "The other night, you said something like I'm… 'the real deal'?"

Sarah's smile returns. "As you may have guessed from the other night, I'm a magician. Combat mage, trained to Thirteen's protocols, if you want to be precise about it. One thing that comes with that is learning the rather pretentiously-named 'The Sight'. When I choose to, I can shift my vision to see magic and other supernatural energies. With that, I could tell that your power is, well, pretty much what it says on the tin, with the light show and the wings and all of that. Angelic. Not full-strength, though. If I had to guess, I'd say that one of your ancestors had one of the Host as a lover, and you inherited some of that?"

"Something like that," Jimmy says. They've reached the next bus stop, and he lingers there, hands in his pockets. Talk of his ancestors brings a hardness to his features, though he doesn't dwell on it for long. "I just wanted to point out that I'm as much 'the real deal' as, say, Thor. You could argue I'm /less/ the real deal, even. He's full Asgardian, and I'm five-sixths human." Five-sixths? Six isn't a power of two. How does that work? "So I don't take myself as being 'proof' of anything. I'm not a real enough deal that people need to start rewriting theology books, you know?"

"Not what I meant, no," Sarah replies, with a chuckle. "I'm infused — tainted, some would say — with demonic energy, and I was raised a good Anglican, so I should hardly be one to judge. I only meant that your source of power matches up with what you look like when you're using it. I can tell you that that's often not the case."

"At any rate, it's not as if I need an answer now, There's no pressure here, and the offer will remain open. Here, take my card." She slips one of her business cards out of the other side of her ID wallet. It's pretty much as you'd expect, a white card with the WAND logo in pale grey as a background, and her name, position, and contact information printed in crisp black lettering. "Call me if you'd like to talk more, or to meet in person. Texts or email are fine, too. That's my secure line, so as much as anyone can claim it these days, it's private and confidential."

Jimmy nods firmly. "Good. Glad we're on the same page with that." He takes the card, considering it. Chewing his cheek, he nods. "You know what? I think this kind of encounter is just going to keep happening one way or the other. It's not like I'm going to /stop/ stepping in when there's trouble. So… yes. Sign me up, and let's get the paperwork started." Pause. Sigh. "There is /always/ paperwork. That's in counselling, too, especially anyone with insurance. And referrals. Have to make sure the right person has signed off on every single referral."

Sarah's smile brightens. She restrains herself from offering a hand to shake. That might in some instances be perceived as a bit too like to sealing a deal with the (or a) devil. Instead she says, "Brilliant. I'll let the office know, and they can work it out with you when it's convenient for you to come in and deal with the formalities. Is there a number or email you'd prefer for them to reach you at?" She's putting away her ID case and taking out her phone as she's speaking. It looks like the latest-model Starkphone, but it's probably safe to bet that it's a SHIELD custom model.

Jimmy gets his smartphone out of his pocket. "This phone's best; email just doesn't have the same attention-grabbing factor." He opens his contacts app. For some reason he jerks his gaze away from the screen for a moment while scrolling, before he comes to his own entry. He holds the phone out to her to show her the number and email address attached. "I wonder. Do /you/ have a codename, Agent Black?"

"Yes, but you're not cleared for it," Sarah replies, clearly teasing. "More of a codeword for use in particular circumstances," she explains, more seriously. "And there's no need for formality unless we're on an op together. 'Sarah' is fine."

Jimmy nods, putting his phone away once Sarah's copied down what she needs. "Sarah, then. And Jimmy is fine, too. Whichever codename I end up taking." He glances up at an approaching vehicle. "Ah, and here's my bus. I'll hope to see you soon, Sarah."

"I'm sure you will," Sarah replies, smiling, with a parting wave. "Take care. Until then."

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