2019-08-28 - Special Delivery-Not as fun as Advertised


Crucible in Bronze - Agents Harman & Black get to have some fun with bit of bizarre psuedo-magical metal from Thea's prior encounter in the sewers. Follow up scheduled!

Log Info:

Storyteller: hank-mccoy
Date: Wed Aug 28 03:25:58 2019
Location: Triskelion - Cafeteria and then Secure Medical

Related Logs


Theme Song

Mozart 'Queen of the Night' aria from The Magic Flute


It is a big place, the Triskelion, huge building, lots of levels. Shiny chrome and steel, and dark glass, security doors and measures everywhere! The place is always abuzz with the myiads of agents, field agents, support staff, scientists, arcanists and even menials. Definitely a big place, nearly a city in its own right - albeit in microcosm. Thankfully there's also secure terminals all over to allow one to navigate, though of course they're badge activated and the results highly tied to one's clearance, but that's as it should be.

One area that pretty much everyone can get to is the cafeteria, the place is actually fairly relaxed looking with various planters sprinkled liberally about, many with full blown trees. The ceiling arches, and one can see out the impressive array of windows to the city outside. A Quinjet makes a fly by, the air thrumming in its wake even through the glass, yeah, that pilot is probably on report! Probably has a callsign like Buckaroo, or Maverick!

It is evening, just after what most would consider normal dinner hours, but the place is still fairly busy when both Sarah and Thea end up at semi-adjacent tables with their trays. It is just as Thea is getting herself situated that a harried looking young man with a cart approaches, looks like he's from the mailroom. A glance at a tablet, then he looks releived. "Agent Harman?" He asks. As the towheaded kid moves past Sarah she'd feel a /twinge/. There's something…maybe, possibly—SOMEthing feels like it might possibly have some magic to it in the cart.

Thea is looking down at her salad with less than enthusiasm. Sure, it's a good looking Chef salad with all sorts of goodies, but none the less. When you're craving dumplings from that one place in Chinatown.. salad just isn't going to cut it. Though maybe it's the company she misses, and the biokinetic will look at her phone. He'd probably hang up on her if she told him who she was working with now.

There's the faintest sigh, as Thea tucks currently pale blonde hair behind her ear. Blue-gray eyes glance up at the mail-cart kid, brows lifting. "Yes?" She'll never get used to this place. What was she thinking?

Sarah had come in to do her obligatory quarterly requalification on the shooting range, something she'd been putting off until she simply couldn't any longer. She seldom actually carries a gun in the field, but rules are rules, and as an active field agent, she's obligated to periodically prove her proficiency.

That chore being done, she chose to indulge herself with a slice of the cafeteria's rather good lemon meringue pie before leaving, and it's from that half-finished dessert that she looks up, a bit startled. Active magic? Something that would make itself known to her without her having actively been looking for it? Yeah, that's not something that trundles into the SHIELD cafeteria every day.

And so, Sarah Black closes her eyes for just a blink, and when they reopen, she might seem to anyone looking at her to be giving a thousand-yard stare at nothing in particular. But that's just what it looks like when she first enters The Sight…

Relieved even more, the kid's shoulders sag a moment, before he -beams- at Thea as he reaches into the cart, sorting, sorting…then pulls out small sealed containter. "Agent Stitch filed this before he went on sabatical - but the paperwork was not completely and accurately filled out, so my boss sent me to get it filled out." The kid looks a little embarassed. "Anyway—when Agent Stitch filed things, he listed you as another agent who was 'in situ' at the time, so…here you go!" He offers the package.

Sarah's Sight would spot that package and sort of 'DING-DING-DING! Winner winner chicken dinner!', whatever that semi-psuedo-kinda magical emanation is, is there. It is very low key, but also very distinct for all that. Doubtful she'd feel it beyond fifteen, maybe twenty feet!

The kid will offer his tablet with the other hand to Thea. "Just need your thumb-print anda retinal scan to confirm receipt."

"Agent… oh." It takes a moment. "I didn't know he'd gone on sabbatical." She wants to ask if this is really something she should be doing. Paperwork is not something she knows how to do. She's used to no names, no papertrail, and digitally hiding her tracks. Still, she sighs, offering her thumb and eye for signing for it. "I'll do my best."

Getting up from her seat as she shifts back to normal vision, Sarah starts toward the cart, and it's then that she notices Thea there. "Oh, hi, sorry I didn't see you sooner," she says, apologetically, before turning to the mail kid. "Um, hi," she says, holding up her WAND ID from where it was dangling against her chest on its lanyard. "You seem to have something magical on your cart that's not properly contained or secured. Do you mind if I have a look who it's for, or where it's going?" Her tone isn't at all pushy or impolite, but there's also the sense that 'Why no, I don't mind' is the only acceptable answer. Maybe it's the London accent.

"Yes, I don't have the details of course, Agent Harman, above my pay grade." The kid says with a faintly sheepish smile. When he sees how flustered she is about the paperwork, he offers a more reassuring smile. "There's a pad inside, it has detailed instructions and help files." Yes, he actually believes that the documentation will be -easy-, clearly, too young and naive. Once she scans out the package he hands it over, and is about to leave when Sarah approaches.

The kib studies her badge, comparing her ID to her face, then scans it with his pad before he nods. "Oh, um, no ma'am, agent Black. Have at, ma'am." Oh my god this kid is YOUNG! Of course the weird 'ping' isn't in the cart, in fact it is either in Thea's hand, or on the table, depending on what she did with the package.

Thea smiles at Sarah. "We must have both been thinking about something else. I didn't see you when I sat down, or I would have said hello." The smile is quick, but genuine and warm. She glances from the kid, to Sarah, to the cart. "Oh man, not again. I am not proof against magics, people." She will murmur under her breath.

She'll glance up at the kid again. "Instructions. Right. It's above my paygrade too, I'm sure, but say la vie." She sets the package down on the table, looking at her salad in a whole new light. Suddenly it is much more appealing, but she'll press it aside to start opening the envelope.

Timing is, indeed, sometimes, everything. Like Sarah having been switching back to normal vision and taking her eyes off the cart just long enough for That Particular Package to be the one the kid was handing to Thea without her immediately realizing it, until she came closer and the difference in its direction from her became evident.

"Oh, bloody Hell… Harman — Thea — That's the package I was asking about. Set it down, and back away, just in case…"

The kid, believe it or not his nametag says 'Buddy', backs away post (in his case literally post!) haste. He looks around for security, but then realizes there's TWO Field Agents -Right There- already. "Is it dangerous?" He asks, his voice a blend of excited and frightened.

The emanations are quiet now, and as has been said, very subtle and low key. The package is in two parts - the envelope with the bevy of forms to be filled out, apparently someone else wasn't a big fan of paperwork too! And the pad with the papers. The second part is a sealed security container, the kind used for potentially hazardous materials, but there's no bio-hazard, toxin or other labels affixed. Which is a little odd.

Thea is already reaching inside when she realizes Sarah is talking to her. Those big blue-gray eyes blink, as she pulls her hand out. Which pulls things out of the envelope a bit. "I thought the thing was kaput, dead, whatever, when Stitch and I walked …well I walked, he wheeled, out of there."

Sarah pulls out her phone, and thumbs it over to the secure-comms mode. "O.D., Sarah Black, codeword Equinox. We may have a magical containment failure in the cafeteria, agent Thea Harman and I on-scene… Yes, I said the bloody cafeteria! Don't ask me, I'm not the one who put it into the interoffice mail system! Will advise, over." She taps the phone over to 'Speaker' mode, and looks at Thea. "So what /is/ our mystery trinket that's apparently Not Quite Dead Yet?"

There's really only one thing that could be in there, the remants of the clockwork critters they encountered by the clinic, it is literally the only time Thea and Stitch were 'in situ' together in the field. The container isn't glowing, or moving or doing anything particularly interesting.

«Confirm Equinox, tac team being prepped, support en route at your say-so, this is control.» Comes the immediate response. SHIELD and WAND, -not- known for ignoring potential threats!

The blonde will look up at the Brit, a faint smirk appearing. "It's hard to explain with precision." Isn't everything in their jobs? "I was on scene volunteering at a medical clinic, along with Agent Stitch. A young man came in with injuries that were beyond what should have been expected from his description of being attacked by a ferret. There were…clockwork creatures. Almost like steampunk and magic got drunk one night and spawned things."

"Peachy," Sarah says, "Good thing my Dad's an ocean away or he'd be all over this… whatever it is. So're these things dangerous, or just weird?"

"Pretty dangerous. The help of another… special individual is the only reason Stitch and I didn't get really cut up. They sort of exploded, and the metal shrapnel. The young man who brought it to our attention lost an eye, so.. I don't think it could reassemble, but the magic stuff isn't my skillset." Thea is slowly backing up away from the table. "I'm far more the physical side of things."

Nodding to Thea, Sarah says toward her phone, without taking her eyes off the package, "Control, Black. Did you get all that? Let's have that team here, stat. We have what looks like a Class III container, no hazard stickies, definite active magic inside it, and bleeding dangerous, by the sound of it. We're gonna want better containment on this ASAP. Over."

«Copy, Equinox…tac team en route, eta two minutes, Control, over.» After that crisp acknowledgement an alarm sounds, and regular security clears the cafeteria, including Buddy the Mailroom Hero! Just under two minutes later, the tac team arrives along with a shielded and reinforced containment unit. The team leader approaches Sarah. "Agent Black." Yup, he's deferring to the FIELD agent.

Sarah nods to the team leader and says, "That would be me. And that's the Mystery Box right there on that table." She points to the container as she continues, saying, "Do be careful with it, right?"

"I mean, it can't be dangerous. It's in tiny pieces, after all. I mean, they would have done a better job with it if it was really operational..right?" She glances at Sarah as she rises from her chair to her feet. "But the magic.. well, if it's magic, it's always going to ping your radar, right? If something's enchanted?"

The tac guy nods, then turns to the two carrying the containment unit to motion them forward with two fingers. They do so, one looking a little concerned at the rapid fire questions from Thea, but they do their job! The box is set down, and opened. They then use essentially high tech tongs to pick the box on the table up, gingerly, and put it in the box, once sealed that 'ping' — yup, it goes right the heck away.

Tac Agent Stearns looks to both of you. "Okay, ladies…we need to go to sublevel three, you'll need full decontamination and arcane purge, shouldn't take more than an hour." The worst part? Sarah was probably expecting something like that!

Looking to Thea, Sarah says, "For all we know, inside that closed box your Face-Eating Wonderwidget has been quietly reassembling itself. Or not. But if it's as dangerous as you say, or at least was, I'd rather not take any chances with it. We have proper places in the labs to open that box safely, where whatever's in it probably can't do any harm. The middle of the cafeteria would not be one of them."

Turning to the team leader, she says, "Thank you, Stearns. Have your team get that down to the WAND labs and let whoever's shift supervisor know it needs seeing to. Take that paperwork on the table there, too, and let them know where Harman and I are if they have any questions."

Then, sighing, she looks to Thea apologetically. "And now you get a taste of the fun part of my job."

Thea ill lift her eyebrows. "I can assure you no one in this area has been physically ..contaminated or infected." She can't say diddly about arcane purges, though. "An hour?" She looks at Sarah, and then forlornly at that now wildly appealing salad. It's all about perspective.

"Yes ma'am, Agent Black" Stearns replies with a quick salute. "They'll probably want to speak to both of you after your 'hour of power'." Yeah, nothing like antimagic cleansing with extra anti-everything else they can think of as well tossed in for good measure. Stearns grins at poor Thea's obvious delight about things. "Don't worry, ma'am…it is only thoroughly unpleasant for the first fifteen minutes, the rest after that? Cake walk." That said the tac team hastens off with the now contained package, all but one woman who will escort the pair of Thea and Sarah down into the secured medical wing, and to Wand's section therein.

Once they're checked in, the woman, Lieutenant Jacobsen, smiles. "Okay…head into the locker room, strip, put your clothing and possessions into these…" She hands each woman a couple of opaque plastic bags. "…put them into the cart, then exit through the double doors at the back marked Purge. Questions?"

For Sarah, of course, this is nothing, new, though she does give Thea a sympathetic look. "I ran out of those after my first three or four times through the 'rinse cycle', she quips.

Thea will roll her eyes as she takes a plastic bag. "Good thing I'm not wearing anything too precious to me." She will mutter, before she looks at Sarah. "Ran out of what?" She will offer her fellow agent a smile, as she slips out of her heels first to drop them into the bag.

Jacobsen nods crisply. "Don't worry, you'll get your stuff back." Beat. "Usually." And then offers a reassuring smile sicne there's no questions, and exits to let the pair do as asked.

"Questions, I meant," Sarah replies to Thea. "As you may have guessed, I've been through this a few times. It's not my idea of fun, but it's not that terrible. I've fought demons who smelled worse." There's just a hint of a grin on the English mage's lips as she says that last part.

"You do give off the air of ennui about the whole thing." Thea says, and her words are more crisp, verging on accented much in the way Sarah's are. "Demons, right. I am learning there's a whole lot more to the world than I was raised to believe."

Sarah raises her right hand and snaps her fingers, speaking a quick, strange word as she does. A little flame appears to dance in the air above her forefinger. "Magic, demons, other creatures that most people have never heard of, they're all real," she says. She opens her hand, and the 'flame' dissipates. "It's why WAND, and national agencies like MI-13 back home, exist. When things bump in the night, someone needs to bump back. Harder, if necessary."

"And here I am, with my powers most firmly rooted in the physical." Thea's tone has plenty of amusement in it, as she moves towards the purge exit once her clothes and everything are bagged up. "Let's get this done."

Her little demonstation done, Sarah casually undresses, not seeming terribly shy about her nudity. She was wearing some very cute lacy black undies, though. Her things bagged, she grins at Thea, and with a quick laugh, says, "Onward into the breach, and all that?"

"More like the sooner we start, the sooner we're done. I'm going to be starving, by then. I didn't even get to finish my lame salad." Thea grins, unconcerned with her nudity. "I'm going to go order something and rot my brain watching something at home. You're more than welcome to come along, for commisseration's sake."

"That sounds like a lovely idea," Sarah replies. "I should warn you that even after the, ahem, conventional shower at the end of this process, you might feel like you want another once you get home. I'm fairly certain at this point that it's psychological as opposed to an actual need, but I have also learned never to completely discount intuition."

"Well, good news is, I have a gorgeous large shower. You're more than welcome to use it, after all this." There's a quick smile there. "I appreciate you pretty much holding my hand for all this. They don't cover this in the SHIELD handbook."

Heading on in to get the process started, Sarah responds to that smile with one of her own, and a slight quirk of an eyebrow. "I expect they don't want to scare anyone off," she replies to the comment about the handbook. "And, well, most SHIELD agents don't have the, ahem, good fortune to cross paths with things that would make this necessary."

"Oh, lucky, lucky me." That tone is as dry as a day in the Sahara, accompanied by a roll of her eyes. Then her gaze is darting around, taking in everything she can. "I'm sure they prefer we keep our eye on the Occam's razor prize. So we don't overthink it into demons and magic and things." There's a shrug.

The purging process is…fairly awful. The girls get into the purge room, a grim area ringed about with warding symbols. Once the door closes, there's a palpable sense of isolation, and Sarah's magical senses would simply stop about an inch from the wall. Perversely, someone queues up some classical music - from the Magic Flute by Mozart, the Queen of the Night aria.

Ungents and salves have been aerosolized for dispersion, and the stench is actually something that you can taste, and it is vile. Add to that streams of other less pleasant substances, that first fifteen is as promised completely awful.

Then there's a respite as cleansers are prepped to deal with the purgative cleansers just used.

"Just let the cheery decor take your mind off of it," Sarah 'suggests', with a chuckle and a shrug.

There's a wrinkle of Thea's nose. "Gods, the taste." She will mutter nasty thing in Arabic, before she's using her powers to make herself not taste the horrendous flavor of cleansers. She does smirk at Sarah, though.

Sarah might actually halfway catch a word or two of Thea's mutterings, from places where her arcane knowledge intersects with Middle Eastern texts of varying antiquity. "Maybe best not to repeat that last bit, or at least not more than once," she suggests, and only half-jokingly.

Thea will glance at Sarah, a brow arching. "Trust me, if any combination of that last bit was going to summon a demon, I would have done that at seventeen." There's a hint of a grin. "IT was my favorite thing to say, for a while.

"Why, agent," Sarah says, with her own grin, "You may have had a more colorful past than I had surmised."

There is a lift of brows, a long look at Sarah. "Trust me when I tell you it is a rainbow littany compared to what most people expect after meeting me."

"If you're willing, I look forward to hearing more about it," Sarah replies, with an enigmatic smile and a raised left brow of her own.

Stage II is considerably less awful than stage I, again the pair are doused with various cleansers, but these are designed to remove the residude form the first batch and leaves the body actually tingly with how clean it is. Best of all some of the agents used are specfically tailored to deal with much of the stench. Next comes a rinse in herbs and silver and exotic oils, and then a final wash in holy water completes stage II. The doors open, and the wards collapse, the exit leads to a room with several conventional showers, and finally a changing room where basic SHIELD sweats, socks and spartan white undergarments wait.

"You may have to work it out of me." IT's true, Thea does not often speak in much detail about her past. After the holy water deluge, when the doors open. "So does this mean I pass the test for not being host to anything metaphysically nast?" She will ask Sarah, wringing her hair out. "I say tomorrow, spa day. Deep conditioning, facial, massage, mani pedi. You in?"

With a smile of obvious delight, Sarah answers, "Assuming Dormammu's demon dachsunds don't pop in to terrorize Times Square, I'd love to. I'm on call, but not scheduled to be in the office, so." ('Scheduled' is pronounced in the British way, of course.)

As they're getting dressed, Lieutenant Jacobsen's voice comes from overhead. "Once you're decent, ladies, the techs had a few questions then you're free to go, your things will hopefully be done cooking by then." Wait, COOKING?! They're COOKING your clothes and stuff? Jerks.

"I'll set it up once we're out of here. Maybe then I'll feel less wretched. I don't know what's in some of those things, but my poor hair!" She makes a face, even as she twists it up into a bun that will stay on its own without pins, before reaching for the sweats. "I'm sure these will not help my mood."

As she's fastening the provided bra, Sarah comments, "Not exactly La Perla, I know, but at least they know our sizes. The computer gets it from the scans taken during our physicals. Your own things are probably fine. The process can be a little rough on fine leathers, but most fabrics come through just fine."

"Note to self, be careful where I wear the leather jacket and boots I brought home from Italy." Thea will mutter, before she's dressed. It's a joke, mostly. "Tech have questions… I will likely be useless, but I'm all ears.

After slipping into her sweats, Sarah shrugs, and says, "Well, let's not keep them waiting. They probably just want to know about any details of the exposure, such as it was." She waits until Thea's ready, then leads the way out.

As they leave the shower there's a brief pause as they're passed through an airlock, and hit with a burst of radiation akin to the solar, and then a tingle of some sort of charge and only then do they get back to the real world, emerging into a corridor where Jacobsen awaits talking to a gaurd, before handing him a tablet and then turning back to Sarah and Thea. "This way, please." She leads them to a an interview room inside of which is a WAND agent, Major Luther Payne. Yes, he's actually major Payne.

"Agent Black, Agent Harman. Thank you for joining me." Like they had a choice really? "So…some questions about the materials recovered in the cafeteria. I read here in your report Agent Harman that you were present at an altercation with a 'clockwork weasel' and 'clockwork roaches' in the Disaster Zone, is that correct?"

Thea will just give the Major her unimpressed face, as she follows him. "Sounds about right, yes. IT wasn't what one calls pleasant." She shrugs. "I just found out that the senior agent didn't finish the report."

Sarah sits quietly and attentively. The question wasn't directed to her, of course, and she wasn't present for the incident.

"Be at ease, Agent Harman, you're not up for disciplinary action, I just need the information so I can get the records up to date, mm?" Major Payne even offers a brave attempt at a smile - CLEARLY not his most often used expression, the guy looks like his face was stamped out of iron and molded into a frown. At least he tried!

"Now…it seems Agent Stitch faiiled to fill out the proper paperwork, and sent the samples in via interoffice mail, but it only just arrived." He looks to Sarah. "And that is when Agent Black sensed active magical emanations." Blue-grey eyes are steely as he looks to Sarah, again, not accusatory the guy just seems to be naturally grim. "Is -that- correct?"

Thea gives the blandest look ever towards the Major. She wasn't thinking she was about to be disciplined, but then again, she's used to her own rules.

"Exactly so," Sarah replies, in her best, clipped, brooking-no-nonsense, 'I am an agent of the Crown who is simply on loan to you colonial amateurs' manner. The temperature in the room may have just gone down several degrees, at least on Payne's side of it. "The package in question was clearly not sufficiently warded and secured, and carried no warning stickers. It was my responsibility to put that right, and see to the safety of Agent Harman and others present."

"And you were quite right to do so, if anyone is up for censure it will be Agent Stitch should he return to active duty, in any case there will be an incident report on his record." The man actually looks tired a moment, rubbing at his eyes. "Forgive me, not trying to be an overbearing prig, but there's so much that crosses my desk each /day/ that it has probably soured me." Gee, you think? "First of all, you're each going to have a merit citation filed, second, we'll want to have you both spearhead an investigatory opp with a tac team in support to follow up with this incident. Tentatively…the day after tomorrow."

He looks to both of you then. "The metal inside was something we've never encountered before, it had some very unique properties including some sort of alchemo-magical resonance, and extraordinary durability. Can you both make it at the appointed time?"

"If you can speak to the watch supervisor, yes," Sarah replies. "I am currently scheduled for a shift in WAND Operations, but it should be no trouble to rotate in someone else if I have a more pressing assignment."

There's a faint shift of Thea's weight, she doesn't want Stitch to get in trouble. They'd both had to use their abilities so hard, with the little metal bastards that blew up. But she will wait, and address it when the moment - and investigation- have passed. "Day after tomorrow is fine for me."

Major Payne makes a notation on his pad. "Done, we'll cover the rotation, I want you there as you've first hand experience sensing the resonance, Agent Black." When Thea confirms as well, he nods, another notation made in the tablet. "Excellent, Agent Harman. I believe your personals are waiting outside, thank you for your time." He rises, offering you both a hand, then gets the door. "Good work tonight, ladies."

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