2019-08-19 - Professional Courtesy


A mission is discussed and orders are issued.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Mon Aug 19 17:37:04 2019
Location: Thunderbolts Black Site - Ops

Related Logs


Theme Song



The intercom chirps, then a deep voice with a indeterminate Germanic accent speaks. "Agent Savage, please report to Ops."

Ops. The control room. The command center. Call it what you will, it's where much of what's important takes place in this underground bunker of a base. The walls are occupied by viewscreens, control panels, and other equipment of all shapes and sizes. The floor is one-way glass that overlooks a training area where several cadets engage in drills and exercises. The center of the room is dominated by a large, round table. Able sits opposite the door, facing it with several hard copies of personnel files arrayed in front of him. One is labeled 'Savage, Scandal'.

Christopher. Samuel. Patrick. Since rejoining Waller's command a scant two weeks ago, his name has changed more times than he cares to remember. He answers to Able, but he has become Nemo. No One. Whatever his name is today, he's tired. The sheer amount of work to be done has been daunting. The cadets below have been handpicked and vetted by him as potential members of his squad. Much of the equipment in this room has been recently installed per his instructions. Strictly speaking, this is his break from interviewing candidates for the base's medical, technical, and scientific support teams. No rest for the wicked, it seems. While he waits, he rereads Savage's file and pours himself a cup of strong coffee from a carafe.

Well, it makes a change from Thunderbolts meetings being held on the Raft. Whether it's a *good* change is yet to be determined, as far as Scandal is concerned, but having not yet tried the cafeteria or the coffee she still dares to hold some faint hope of at least one offering something recognisably akin to pleasant fare.

Right now, however, her exploration of the new site is put on hold so that she can roll her eyes, sigh, then alter course. Trusting to the mental map she's been forming (not least, so that she can compare it with any official versions she might be shown) she heads for Ops.

Clad informally, she's opted for a leather biker's jacket, tight breeches, flexibly stompy jungle boots, and a tight top - all in black. Colour is provided by a richly blue bandana around her neck, and the matching flash of dye in her hair.

It's a moment before Able looks up at the new arrival. When he does, he studies her for several long-feeling seconds, then nods in apparent approval. "Your dossier looked too familiar to be a coincidence," he says without preamble. "We've met, in a sense. We were on opposite sides during a particularly nasty bit of business a few years back." A small, tight-lipped smile tugs at the corners of his mouth. "Your team fought well."

It's as close as he's likely to get when it comes to giving a compliment, especially considering his team took a beating during that 'nasty bit of business'. He gestures to the seats to either side of him, indicating she should take one close enough to see what he's working on. "I was known as 'Able' at the time. Here, my callsign changes too often to keep track of."

He's dressed more like an administrator than a soldier. White shirt, black tie and slacks, suit coat thrown across the back of an empty chair. The outfit was probably crisp and pressed when he put it on eighteen or so hours ago. Now his sleeves are rolled back and his tie loosened.

"A little farther back, and I might still have been enjoying my spell as an official non-combatant who didn't get caught up in field actions." Scandal's response is dry, her accent polished, educated, and indeterminately international. Folding herself onto a chair, she eyes her host with wary interest. "They managed to rope you into this, too? From the look of it, they don't feel the need to keep you behind bars, either. Understandable that they'd want you, given your record." Her own offer of a wary compliment.

A brief nod is all Able offers by way of acknowledgement. Recruitment, evaluation, and training aren't exactly cordial procedures in this outfit, but he's offering and accepting a certain amount of professional courtesy, one former mercenary to another. "I was brought in willingly, more or less. I'm here to rebuild and organize this operation, and to lead it. You'll all take your orders from me, and I take my orders from the Almighty as far as you'll be concerned."

Despite his words, he speaks matter-of-factly and there's no implied insult. It's simply the order of things. "With your experience, I'll expect you to assist in selecting and training field operatives, as well as operating in the field yourself. We've already been tasked for our first mission. Any questions so far?"

Scandal arches a brow, pensively eyeing Able. Being bossed around by men is not exactly something she tends to accept, let alone in good grace… but at least Able's reputation suggests greater competence than she would expect from the product of one of the assorted alphabet-soup agencies. "Has anyone tried talking to Eddie? I can't say that he was a friend, but what contact we *have* had has been amiable. I could imagine him… responding poorly to a sudden change in circumstances and hierarchy. Not, I admit, that I know precisely *what* his deal is in any great detail."

"Funny you should mention him." Able opens one of the files and fans out the photographs that Waller provided him with last night. They're action stills of Venom, including a particularly gruesome one of him feeding. "Mr. Brock is our first mission. We're to bring him in and reintroduce him to the fold. Whatever you know of him, it's more than what I have." He waves to indicate the heavily redacted file. "No one has been able to locate him yet. When we do, we'll talk him down if possible, but he's coming in one way or another."

Scandal nods, though she arches the *other* brow as she eyes the array of images. "I read the update. I've never seen him in action, but… well. Till now, I've only met Eddie. If we can bring him back out, then I've personally found him to be nothing but reasonable in our previous encounters. Admittedly, last night I had my own run-in with a different kind of rubbery-yet-spiky horror."

Able steeples his long, nimble fingers together into a triangle. "Management wants this resolved as quickly and quietly as possible. To that end, I'll be in command, but I'd like you to take point. With your history, you stand a better chance of bringing him in without further damages or loss of life." From his tone, it's clear that it's exposure that concerns him, not something as trivial as demolished buildings or a few civilian deaths.

The words 'rubbery-yet-spiky' elicit a brief cough and a curious glance. "I don't suppose that would have anything to do with the unknown sample you brought in? I'm told it's impressive. And dangerous."

"An octopus the size of a van, with pop-out claws or hooks instead of suckers. Ichor that corrodes concrete. And a propensity to haul itself out onto land and try to grab passers-by - presumably for consumption. Not very far from here at all, as it happens." Scandal's tone is again dry. "I don't suppose that bringing this base into operation *disturbed* anything, did it?"

She sighs, shaking her head a little. "I can't promise any results with Brock. But he seemed one of the more… reasonable types. I wasn't surprised that he wasn't kept on the Raft. This… this seems out of character, from the little I'd seen previously. But I can certainly try talking to him, if opportunity arises."

"We're government funded. We don't make promises, but I'll see that you have the opportunity to try. If it doesn't pan out, I'll be there with a combat team and plenty of explosives." A detailed plan will emerge once they have more information on Venom's location and disposition. For now, that will have to do.

There's a pause while Able considers both the question that's been posed to him and the potential implications. "It's possible," he admits. "Even I don't know how deep we are right now, or what might've been down here when the digging started. But you mean to tell me that someone released the kraken? Truly?"

"A van-sized one. So if it's a kraken, it's a baby. With all that implies," Scandal says. "If we're lucky, then it's 'just' a hitherto-unknown mutant predator that was a total one-off. But I confess that I rather doubt that…." She sighs, shrugging. "Honestly, I don't know *what* we should expect in the city, let alone the waters around it. Things are certainly strange enough that I can quite believe that Venom could manage to disappear into the metropolis for some time."

First and foremost, Able is a man of science. He considers it his job to be dubious, but this… "I'm familiar, but strictly in a mythological sense. You don't strike me as the type to exaggerate. I'll make a note in my log and issue orders for six-man squads to keep an eye on the water until further notice. In the meantime, I'll make an appearance in the lab to see what we can learn from your sample."

Shaking his head ruefully, he picks up his coffee, takes a sip, then makes a face. It's gone cold, so he sets it aside. "Our first week and we already have a rogue alien and a creature from the black lagoon. I can't wait to see what happens next."

"Exotic biology is not one of my specialities," Scandal admits. "I could have gathered rather more of it, but… frankly, I thought that one tentacle was quite enough to be seen hauling around, should anyone happen to spot me. I can't offer much of an assessment of its strength or capabilities, since I never let it connect with me. That seemed rather inadvisable. But I hope that the lab can provide some indication of quite how dangerous it might be, whether or not they can come up with any clues as to its origins. But I honestly wouldn't be surprised if we had more coming in the same vein."

There's a scrape and squeak from the wheels on Able's chair as he pushes it back and stands to observe the exercises that are still going on below them. Even now, a fresh group of recruits is filing in. Of the first set, one is holding a smashed nose and another is nursing a hand with several fingers that are clearly broken. "If you're right, it's important we learn everything we can from your encounter," he says. "Come to think of it, I want you to assemble the new guard detail. Four shifts, six troopers each. Pick whoever you think won't rattle if things get strange and make sure each squad has someone with heavy weapons training. That'll free up a few hours for me to analyze your tentacle."

He turns back to Scandal. His expression is curious, but guarded. "I have a shortage of soldiers who know how to take orders and fewer who can give them." His question is unspoken, but obvious. Which are you?

Scandal chuckles softly. "I'm much more of an 'operator' than a soldier," she warns quietly. "But I can try to assess what you have, and see if I can keep them alive. I'm sure your file says that teams under my command tended to come back with all their members. And though I make no pretence of being a strategic genius, the more you can tell me about what we're facing can actually *do* and what its origins or intentions might be, the better. And certainly whether that octupus was a full-grown specimen or a juvenile. If that's as big as they get… well. I can confirm they're tough, but not unstoppable. If it was a baby, then you might be looking at needing an anti-kaiju squad."

Able shrugs, as if this seems like an equitable enough arrangement for him. "The mission, whatever it is as the moment, will always be our priority. I prefer it when everyone comes home alive, but if it comes to a choice between that and accomplishing our goals, they're to be considered expendable. We all are, myself included."

Cold facts, but facts all the same. They're cogs in a machine, but the machine itself is all that matters. "Select your team. Provide them with whatever training you think they'll need and report back to me with any equipment you need to requisition. I'll take care of things in the lab and keep you informed."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License