2019-07-19 - Into The Sewers


Nick brings news of an abduction

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Fri Jul 19 08:00:21 2019
Location: Financial District

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Theme Song



Nicholas Gleason is not a subtle man. This is not because of a personality quirk, though. It is because he is a six foot tall wolfman in a polo shirt and jeans with a cellphone. There are, indeed, plenty of mutants who look as odd as he does but against the general population that still makes them generally rare. He's ignoring the looks he's getting as he stands in front of a bakery just a cross the street from Stark Tower, texting on his phone.

No, we do not need five dozen doughnuts, Isis. Just get your eclair and come out of the bakery. I'm already here.

There's been a break in the case and Nick has asked to meet with Pepper Potts and Jimmy Baxter. He's also been put in the slightly awkward position of asking if either of them has a line to SHIELD because… things might be getting slightly serious.

This is why Isis got the idea of getting pastries. Meetings need pastries, right?

Hellboy doesn't exactly blend well either, being a seven foot tall demon in a big coat. He just spent the last four hours inside of an abandoned subway tunnel exterminating a nest of Dire Maggots, bloated five foot long wrigglers with more mouth than brains. Still, nasty as they were, better to kill them now then wait until they pupated. Apocalypse Flies were not fun.

Surprisingly, after all that, he has a hell of an appetite worked up, which is why he's here to carbo-load. He gets out of the Uber that brought him and gives a wave to the slightly terrified driver before he finds himself staring at a wolfman outside of the bakery. Since the furry fella seems to be texting, Hellboy's going to assume he's not an immediate threat.

"Hey there, Big Bad. You better not have gotten all the raspberry jellies or I'm gonna be real heckin' pissed."

We need more? I'll get six dozen then. You're right. I'm hungry. I won't drop these ones. What do you mean you're here, I can't see yo- Oh there you are. I'll be right out. Isis texts back.

It's a few moments before Isis wanders out of the bakery, two trays of doughnuts in her arms. "They only had two dozen …" she says mournfully. "But they did have the eclair you said I could have!"

The feline-like mutant looks up at the werewolf, the ears on her head tilting forward just slightly.

"I didn't get jellies…" Her nose wrinkles at that thought when Hellboy shows up. "… I got cinnamon ones and chocolate coated ones. Everyone likes those." Which means, Isis does.

Jimmy had been on-campus today, studying the daylights out of some medicine; as soon as class is done, it's time to head over to the meeting. He flies under cover of his veil, hidden from the perception of most people. Not that most people look into the sky too often to begin with, luckily for him.

A moment after his arrival, he steps out of a nearby alleyway, hands in his coat pockets, looking as normal as he ever does. But even at full glow, he probably wouldn't even be in the top three most attention-grabbing people. He withdraws his phone to message back, but then he spies the three of them already. He gives Hellboy a slightly surprised look — hey, he /is/ a big attention-grabbing demon sort — but brushes that aside and approaches, hand raised. "I invited a friend, since you said to get in touch with SHIELD. She'll be a little while."

Having been privy to the need for a meeting via the avenues of SHIELD intel, the interior main lobby of Stark Tower hosts a representative of the off-shoot government faction. Steve carries a bag of kolaches as he enters the place, looking around for a familiar red-head. After all, Pepper Potts shot him a text earlier on his travels in about picking some up for her (and for Tony — mostly Tony). The little shop was on his motorcycle's travels in, so why not?

Looking decidedly civilian in a white t-shirt beneath his leather motorcycle jacket and in boots beneath his jeans, the blond glances outside over his shoulder and espies the group across the street. Isis he knows by dint of a handful of broken windows and helicopter wrangling; nobody tell Barnes. Hellboy he's aware of through SHIELD files. The other faces are…new. He smiles to himself. This'll be interesting and story-worthy for dinner tonight.

Ah, there she is. "Miss Potts," he says just loudly enough for his voice to carry and he lifts a hand towards Pepper.

Yes, she was waiting for Steve in the lobby, but she's not the tallest person around, so not surprising he didn't spot her instantly. But when he does, she smiles and waves back to him as she meets him partway. "Thank you so much, Steve. I know Tony will appreciate those as well."

She takes a moment to have some of Steve's offerings sent off with an assistant to Tony, and then follows his gaze toward the others. She recognizes … well, most of them. "I hope you don't mind waiting a moment. The rest of the people for this meeting should be here any moment." Yes, that motley crew. Surprised? You really shouldn't be.

"Uh, woah." Nick is used to people looking weird but Hellboy takes that to a new level. He only really looks vaguely humanoid. The sawwed off horns get an immediate two second stare followed by the hand. "Uh, sorry. Big… well I'd call you Big Red but that makes you sound like a chewing gum. Sounds like my assistant did not raid the jellies. Are you here for the thing with Miss Potts?"

Seems like an odd thing to ask randomly but then how often do you run into a big red guy like Hellboy?

"Hello Jimmy. A friend eh? She's quite welcome. That looks like Miss Potts over there and… oh holy hell. Is that Captain America?" Wow. So, uh, SHIELD is here.

Isis gets a rather flat look and then Nick glances at Jimmy and Hellboy. "Well, uh, help yourself to a doughnut then if you're here for us. Before she eats them all."

He starts to move toward Pepper, waving at her as he does and herding the rest of the group with him.

"Miss Potts. Mister America. I presume HornGuy is here with you? Oh, sorry, what was your name?" That's to Hellboy.

"So, thanks all for coming. I found something a bit… well. I think it's best if you all see it."

He takes out his phone and hits play. An image of a woman, clearly filming on her own phone, comes up. She's moving through tunnels it seems. Maybe sewers. She looks scared.

"I'm uploading this to the cloud in case they get me again. Some freaks grabbed me and Derrick from our house and put us in pens. I don't know where we are right now but I think they're in the disaster zone somewhere. I got out of my holding cell but they were already experimenting on Derrick. Had him on an operating table. Something is chasing me. Like, huge effing werewolves. Everyone there looked like an animal, it was like some crazy Dr. Moreau shit. I'm hoping this tunnel leads me out and I've lost them but if I don't-" There's a scuffing sound behind her.

"Oh shit. Oh shit oh shit."

She starts running. The phone is knocked from her hand. "No no no no no! Let me gooooo!" Her screams fade into the distance before the video ends.

Hellboy shakes his head, "I ain't with nobody but me, but I am sort of an official-like investigator government ass-kicking monster, so consider me havin' enough security clearance to take a peek," he says. "I'll RSVP later."

He leans in and peers at the screen, "I swear, we oughtta just fill up all the underground tunnels with cement. I just cleaned out an infestation of bugs in one and now we got wolves in another," he says, then peers up at Nick, "Whatcha say, Lon Chaney? You got any insight?"

"Bloody hell." That would be Sarah Black, reacting to the video. She shakes her head a bit. "I don't suppose that came with location data? Or would that be too sodding convenient?"

So many people.

As people turn up, Isis looks around and draws closer to Nick. The doughnuts at least are offered about. "I was in your dream, wasn't I?" That's to Hellboy "And his names Nick, not Lou Chaney." Ever so helpful.

There's Jimmy at least and that nice Captain America and Miss Potts.

"They … do think it's them, Nick? AIM…" Sarah gets a look from the feline mutant.

Unfortunately for everyone around her, the sense of unease she experiences is broadcast empathically. It's not just the group she's with that's affected.

Jimmy looks around the lobby. Oh good, Pepper's here. And— is that Steve Rogers? Jimmy's eyes go momentarily wide and starstruck before he gets himself focused again on the matters at hand. Or at least, he gets it /outwardly/ under control; Isis' sense of him would still include the psychic equivalent of fangirl squealing.

That is, until Nick shows the video. Then Jimmy's blood goes cold, his face slipping into an icy mask except for his wide eyes. One hand clenches into a fist, and he's still staring at the phone's screen even after the video's over. Hearing Sarah, he steps to her side, a hand raised to lay on her shoulder. "At the very least, we know it's in the Disaster Zone. And we were planning to head in there already, weren't we?" He feels that uneasy radiance from Isis, and makes an effort to take her mind off it, seeing where she's looking. "This is Sarah Black, that friend I mentioned. She's good, reliable people." And from there, the agent can make her own introduction.

"Captain Rogers, please." Steve nods at the group as a whole before he leans in to observe the film on the werewolf-like being's phone. He seems unphased by the group as a whole — no longer being the weirdest thing around is an internal relief to him, and the best aid comes from surprising places.

The video from beginning to end is enough to make him frown. He gives Pepper a significant glance and then scans the group as a whole. "How recently did this video come to light?"

Pepper waves hello as others gather and then Nick's showing them the video and despite managing to remain calm-faced, she goes pale under her freckles. "Mr. Gleason, I… think we should go into the conference room to talk."

Her eyes dart around the lobby briefly, and land on one security guard in particular. As she turns to lead the group toward the conference room, said bodyguard — for the sharp-eyed, his nametag says 'Dmitri' — follows them at a discreet distance, seeming more alert than a random passerby would think necessary.

The conference room itself is the same as last time Jimmy, Nick, and Isis were here, though with a few new touches. The pitcher of water and glasses also has two insulated carafes and several coffee mugs alongside it as well as a … cat toy? It's a conical-like shape, with golf-ball sized spheres trapped in three tiered tracks.

She knows, or at least has met, about half the room, but for the benefit of those she hasn't, the brunette young British woman speaks up as the group is relocating, saying, "As Jimmy said — Sarah Black. Field agent, SHIELD, WAND Division." Her accent is that of an educated-sounding Londoner, but not at all 'posh' or trying to put on airs. "And yes, a timestamp for that video would be good. And do we have an ID on the woman who sent it?"

Nick movies into the conference room. Hurriedly.

"Nice to meet you Miss Black. I'd love to say we do, but I got forwarded this by a contact and I don't really have the resources to run it down. I run a small private investigation agency, we're not exactly March of the Dimes." Nick indeed, is quite resourceful, but he has his limits.

"I can tell you that it was uploaded to the cloud at 3:10 PM yesterday and was forwarded to me two hours later. I don't know the first place to start looking but someone with the ability to get the phone company to do some geolocation could probably find it if it hasn't run out of power yet."

Nick looks to Isis. "I'm not sure it's AIM. It could be though."

AIM. Advanced Idea Mechanics. All the SHIELD folks present should be familiar even if two of them deal with magic more than that kind of thing. Why Isis should know about AIM is a bit of a mystery.

"I can also tell you that I've heard some bad rumors surrounding the Disaster Zone recently. Ghost lights. Werewolves. Strange noises in the night. Word on the street right now is that the folk still living in the zone are starting to avoid the northwest quarter of it."

Hellboy reaches into his jacket and pulls out a cigar. You can tell him not to, but he's just going to look at you and he doesn't lose a lot of staring contests, honestly. Just take the L.

"I dunno anything about clouds or geolocawhatsis, but I do know that anyplace where bad shit happened and people leave it alone, it usually starts to attract bad mojo. It's like in Minecraft, when you don't put out a torch and the creepers spawn in the dark."

A beat.

"What, I can play games."

That last bit gets an amused look from Sarah at her big red friend.

Around them, people in the lobby start to get restless. Some seem to get a bit aggressive, others more tense. Anxiety and fear does strange things to people and Isis is a powerful empath, even accidently.

So it's a good thing Pepper moves the group and Nick drags her along.

Seeing Dmitri though helps Isis' mood shifts. "Oh hey Dmitri! I'm not a cabinet toda——"

Her blue/grey cats fix on the cat toy when they enter the conference room and Nick is left with the trays of doughnuts and his phone to deal with as she makes her way over to it.

Bat Bat Bat

The balls start moving in the channels - they make a terrible noise.

"Who was she?" The woman manages to ask about the video. "Was she a mutant? Hard to tell from the video…"

Jimmy nods to Pepper's suggestion, and follows towards it; though he hangs back to hold the door for others, being the last one to actually enter. He notes the new additions, but is in too sober a frame of mind to find them amusing. He just takes a chair beside Isis, offering her his attempt at a calming presence. He nods to Hellboy. "Hopefully, it hasn't been going on so long that there's too much harmful resonance, but… I doubt we're that fortunate." Oh, so he uses technical terms instead of 'mojo'. We shall call you 'nerdboy'.

He gives a thoughtful look to Nick. "The northwest corner… that at least gives us a general starting area. And from about a city block away, I can sense someone by their emotions. Get underground there, start probing around for people as terrified as those captives must be, couple it with looking for" He nods to Hellboy. "resonance, and we can track them down." The phone issue, though, that's another thing. He chews his lip as he looks towards the SHIELD people. "Sarah, sirs" Yes, he called Hellboy 'sir' as well as Steve. "could SHIELD get hold of that information?"

With everyone safely inside the conference room, Dmitri the security guard smiles after Isis then stays outside the door as if to guard them from interruptions.

As terrible as the noise from that cat toy might be, it's still better than having Isis pushing beverages off of the table. Speaking of, she pours coffee into a cup and sets it out for Steve without asking him which he prefers. "Mr. Gleason, if you'd allow JARVIS to access your phone, he might be able to determine a little more about that file, maybe even a geolocation stamp embedded inside it." She's seen the AI glean surprising amounts of information in the past. Why not this?

"Would anyone care for a drink? We have coffee, tea, and water. Keep a hand on your mug, please, Steve."

Having moved with the group into the conference room, Steve takes up a lean against the nearby wall rather than seating himself. With arms folded across his chest, he listens to further information about the video unfold.

Jimmy gets a curt nod from the Captain. "Took the words out of my mouth. It'll be a task for SHIELD intel to resolve. We'll tag-team with JARVIS and see where the triagulation lands in the disaster zone."

Having been handed a mug, he indeed keeps it still for a pour of fragrant hot coffee. Tony does keep the good stuff around.

"Water would be lovely," Sarah replies to Pepper. "And yes, that sounds like a good plan, Jimmy. I can provide transport, and particularly, emergency exfil if needed. And backup, of course."

"Sure. Go ahead JARVIS. Uh. Wherever you are." Nick is still not clear on the whole invisible assistant thing. It's certainly theatrical, he'll give Pepper that.

"Don't know who she is, Isis but…" He pulls out an old polaroid.

"She does match this picture that we think was culled from the old registration files. I don't have a name to go with it but again, you guys are better with that than I am."

Nick is a good investigator but he knows when he needs to ask for help. That is why he's here.

"Analyzing… the phone was clearly damaged prior to the upload and the metadata requires some sorting out." JARVIS' crisp accent responds. "If SHIELD is willing to assist, however, I am sure we can get a positive location for the phone's last transmission in the next few hours."

Nick nods toward Hellboy. "He's right though. Whatever's going on has gone on long enough that people are getting bold. I'm gonna keep looking into other angles but if you guys can find those people…"

He swallows. "Well, assuming it's not too late. I imagine, Miss Black that you and Jimmy and… Big Guy over there… could do a lot of good."

"Isis. Isis. Isis. Hey! Isis." Sigh. "If there's nothing else we should get going. I think I've done everything I can here. Uh, do you need the phone? I can come back for it later."

Bat Bat Bat

Rumble Rumble Rumble

Isis is mesmerised by the way the balls move. It's not clear if she's paying attention. Until …

"Do you think you can all that information from a video like that?" That's to the room in general. At least she's so distracted that she doesn't see the glasses of water as they get put on the table.

"So she's a mutant. It could be AIM. Do you want me to go dreamwalking, Nick?" Dreamwalking. Bat Rumble

"Yes Nick?" The slim feline-like mutant looks up in confusion. "Can I take this with me?" She gets up and pads over to Nick looking a little bit sad.

"We're going now, right?"

"Thank you, JARVIS." Pepper glances over at Steve, who she's sure will ask for SHIELD's help with finding out where that video clip was recorded, and then she hands Sarah her requested glass of water. "No, we shouldn't need to keep the phone, I'm sure JARVIS has already pulled all relevant data from it."

She can't help but look amused and trying to hide it at Isis asking for permission to take the cat toy, and she gives Nick a subtle nod indicating that she's okay with the young woman taking the toy with her.

Jimmy takes some deep, calming breaths. They're putting a plan together; they're going to find those people and get them out. That goal, that direction, helps him to focus.

And then he gets that curt nod and those words from Captain America. It's cool man, just play it cool. "Th-Thank you, sir." Dammit.

He answers Pepper with, "Tea, please." And a nod towards Sarah. "We'll want a fast exit in any case, to get those people out. Preferably with a medical team standing by; there's no telling what's been done to them, how bad those" He looks towards the phone with a grimace. "experiments might be." Nick's spoken thought, of it potentially being too late already, makes him grit his teeth and clench his fist.

Though Nick calling him by 'Big Guy' again highlights a certain detail. "Sir?" He tries to catch Hellboy's eye. "What should we call you?" When you're dealing with someone mystical, you don't ask for their name. It's kind of like asking someone for a blood sample and their social security number.

Hellboy strikes a match on the Hand of Doom and lights his cigar, "Hellboy's the official name. Red'll do just fine. I work for WAND, like the li'l lady," he says, nodding towards Sarah Black. "Specialty: wreckin' evil fools."

"I ain't no investigator. You all figure out what's goin' down and, when you need some faces stomped in the dirt, you call me in. Seriously, did no one get jelly donuts?"

"Yes Isis. We're going and…" Nick glances up at Pepper. "I think you can take that. Come on. I'll get you lunch." That's sure to get her moving.

"If any of you need to contact us, Miss Potts and Jimmy both have our number. Or you can look us up. Paragon Investigations. We're in the book."

Beat. "Not, uh. Not that anyone reads the book these days. We're also on Yelp."

Either way. "Come on Isis." And with that he herds the feline woman out of the conference room, saying as they leave. "Yeah, we're gonna need to do some dreamwalking, Isis…"

"Is it bad that I pity the fools?" Is the last thing that drifts out from Nick before he's out of earshot entirely.

Nodding to Jimmy, Sarah says, "We could use the same protocol we did on another rescue op a while back." The SHIELD personnel will know she's talking about recovering stolen children from Nightfall, but she's not going to talk about that openly in mixed company. "I portal them straight to one of the containment rooms in the basement at HQ, so in case any of them come with any surprises, we aren't turning them loose in the Infirmary or anywhere else they could hurt people or do damage. And we have med teams and security standing by. We'll probably want to talk to Jemma about setting that up."

Jimmy lifts a hand, waving farewell to Nick and Isis. "We'll be in touch." There's definitely some curiosity about the 'dreamwalking' omen, but they can leave that for later discussion. He nods to Hellboy. "Hellboy it is, then." He's not going to keep pushing 'sir', but he's not quite casual enough for 'Red'. "I'm Jimmy, or Heavensent if we're… in the field." And a few nods for Sarah. "That sounds sensible." While he's looking at her, something about her dress catches his eye. "Oh it's /leaves/. I thought it was feathers."

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