2019-10-21 - We Do What We Must


Keiko gets to talk to Pandora Peters. She really doesn't like it.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Mon Oct 21 03:47:24 2019
Location: Wand Office

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Keiko had indeed gone to collect Koa to accompany him to work. The senior agent wasn't really given a choice as she led him to the medical wing, and surprisingly one of the WAND healers was waiting for them as well.

After giving Koa a couple of flat looks, the spirit caller had left them there and proceeded to the WAND directors office after bypasing through the cafeteria to pick up two cups of coffee.

With these cups in hand she manages to knock on the Director's door and wait patiently, wondering how long she'll have a job for after this meeting.

"Come in." Pandora's voice is clear and deep for a woman's. Like Keiko she is covered in tattoos though the tattoos are smaller and tend more toward arcane symbols than actual images of things like animals. She is presently sitting at a desk that while organized is stacked high in paper.

"Ah. Coffee. Thank you Agent Kurita. Please come and sit down."

Keiko gives Pandora a look for the thanks. It's not something the small spirit caller does and it's hard for her to remember that it's normal for people to do that. Too many years in the cult followed by too many in Limbo have affected so many things for her.

Like the ability to smile, it seems.

Handing the cup over without comment, Keiko enters the office and takes a seat. "Security said you wanted to see me. I came as soon as I could."

She doesn't mention she would have been a little earlier if not for the stop by medical.

"Yes. I understand there was an incident outside the building last night. Is Agent Turner well?" Peters take a sip of the coffee and closes her eyes to savor it.

"I'm sure you're wondering why I have asked you in here. Rest assured you have not done anything wrong. You're in an interesting situation and I think it's time you were appraised of exactly what it is."

She waves her hand and the door quietly shuts. Mages. Lazy.

"Agent Turner was injured by a sword that Ananym carried. I cleaned and dressed the wound last night and took him to sickbay this morning. There's a WAND healer there now with the doctors." Keiko answers honestly. Even if she doesn't answer the question exactly.

"It would seem reasonable to wonder, Director." The spirit caller doesn't take her eyes off the woman. Pandora might get the feeling she's being sized up - like one might a predator or prey.

"An interesting situation… that … I am unaware of."

No questions. No requests.

"I'm not sure if Agent Turner told you but we have a Divinations section. People who attempt to tell the future. It's a difficult art even if one does have the gift for it. The future is a shifting, inexact thing and it can't be foretold with precision. Still, it's a valuable tool to watch for threats on the horizon." Pandora takes another sip of her coffee.

"We also regularly divine our own agents to see if they are headed into trouble they might avoid. Your current partner has been the subject of a number of rather distressing predictions lately and we are far enough along now that the sequence of events taking shape is enabling us to predict with more accuracy than usual."

"Agent Turner mentioned it. As far as I understand Divination …" Keiko lets the statement fade as Pandora continues, nodding once to indicate her understanding or the principles.

"My current partner. You mean Agent Turner. The person I joined WAND to work with." There's a very slight warning in the way she phrases the statement. "And you've divined me as well, I suppose."

"Of course. It's standard procedure when anyone joins WAND. We have to make sure that there aren't any Anakin Skywalkers joining up." Because that kind of thing would be bad to happen inside SHIELD. Pandora sizes Keiko up. She's wary now, that much is clear. She has a right to be though the woman is prickly in ways that go beyond merely being unsociable.

"Koa… is a very good agent. And a fairly experienced one. And unfortunately, his divinations indicate that your present case is going to be a disaster for him in a very personal way." In some ways it already has been.

"We haven't told Koa the details of any of this yet and I would ask that you not either. But you should know that it is important that you learn as much from him as you can."

Keiko doesn't mean to be prickly and she tries to control it but it's easier for her to be direct. Safer.

"Yes he is." A very good agent. "If this case is going to be bad for him, take him off it. Give him something else to work on and let another agent deal with all this."

"Why shouldn't I tell him? He has a right to know what will affect him. We all do. You know damn well he'd die to do the right thing, anyway - but he should have that choice."

There's no comment about learning all she can from him. Pandora should have expected this.

Pandora did expect this which is evident from her patient demeanor. Or maybe she's just good at this. Good at making sure that agents with issues don't rile her. Or possibly it's both.

"I can't, Keiko. If I could spare Koa I would but there are some things that only he is going to be able to do. What's more, I only have so many agents and each agent can only take so much. There's a sort of unfortunate math to this in that it is always better to risk burning one agent out that spread things around and risk burning several agents out at a critical time."

WAND recruits all it can but it isn't able to get nearly enough people… basically ever. It takes good care of those people as a result but if it HAS to spend them to achieve it's goals - and it does - then it's always best to spend the minimum amount.

"If you tell him it won't make things any better. At this point it might well make things worse. That's the tricky thing with Divination, Keiko. Sometimes trying to avoid something just brings it down on you harder."

"So you'd rather let one of your best agents die to save other mediocre ones?" Was there something about Keiko being blunt. "I don't know if I can work for an organisation that would do that."

Those slitted eyes look at the Director. "You should tell him and let him make his own decisions. If it makes things worse, it makes things worse. You won't be treating him like a pet or a thing."

"Would you work for an organization that tried to save everyone and failed consistently?" Pandora asks without heat. "Did Koa not tell you what we are? We are the first and last organized line of defense against forms of darkness so black that even you Keiko, who have had contact with some of them, cannot imagine. Our agents are precious to us but I do not get to act like their friend. I get to act like a general. And sometimes I have to knowingly spend people to keep other people safe. In the end, Keiko, this isn't about any of us. This is about the world and what we have to do to keep it spinning."

Koa must have gotten that speech from somewhere, after all.

"He does it willingly, Director Peters." Pandora had to be aware that Keiko was stubborn. "And it was because of that I joined. But if you're going to take our free will …" she shakes her head, grinding her teeth a little.

It's a little out of character. Keiko is usually very controlled. So controlled to the point of being emotionless.

"So you're going to let him die because you have replacement, is that it?"

It's hard to miss the bitterness in the spirit callers tone.

"It does not compromise your free will if I conceal things from you, Keiko. You can still make a choice. As indeed you can right this very moment." Another sip, the remarkably calm woman does seem to be enjoying her coffee.

"And in any case who said anything about him dying? There are other ways for tragedy to befall someone. And worse fates than death, I think you will agree."

"And if I tell him what you tell me here?" Keiko asks. She's so not happy and Pandora can see the top of the brand starting to pulse.

"Admittedly you didn't say die and there are far worse things than that. Like your employer deciding to play God with your life. I know about that on a personal level." Keiko shakes her head. "It's not right, Director and you damn well know it."

"What is it you expect me to do about all of this. I can't learn all from him, I'm not capable of magic."

"We don't always get to make decisions based on what's right for everyone, Keiko." Pandora says gently. "Sometimes we have to make decisions based on what keeps people safe. If I pull Koa off this case, at best I lose another agent but more likely that other agent fails and we have an extradimensional merger and everyone dies. You. Me. Koa. Elena. Everyone."

To say nothing of Piotr and Illyana and what happens to Limbo.

Pandora sets her cup down and looks at Keiko seriously. "You could tell him but now you're the one playing God, deciding that you know what's best and damn the consequences to anyone else. If you're comfortable with that, go ahead and try. But really Keiko this isn't a decision we would come to lightly. I like Agent Turner. And he's damn good at his job. I don't want to see anything unfortunate happen to him and I'm distressed that he's suffered what he has suffered already."

Pandora takes a deep breath and lets it out. "The thing that makes Koa a good agent, Keiko, is not his magic. It's the way he approaches his cases. It's the things he's learned about how this hidden world works. It's everything BUT the magic. And THAT he can teach you."

"You won't get me to agree with you, Director. These agents put their lives on the line and they should know what they're facing. You have information that *you* think will hinder you but you simply don't know."

"I don't know I *can* keep it from him. He's intuitive enough and …" Keiko shakes her head, teeth grinding again and brand still pulsing. There's no promise and certainly no undertaking that she won't.

"I'm learning what I can, Director and I will continue to do so." The dark brown of her eyes is slowly lightening as well, turning yellow. "I'm not happy with what you're asking me, Director. At all."

"If you continue to work here, Keiko, there will be a great many things that we do that you will not be happy with. The same was true for Koa. Ask him, if you like." Pandora says. "But we cannot afford to lose sight of our mission. This reality and the people in it MUST be protected and if that required the sacrifice of every agent in this building, would you say that the goal is not still worthwhile? We are not talking about games of national interest here, Keiko. We are talking about the preservation of life as we know it. There are no easy choices when it comes to that."

Keiko doesn't understand. Pandora doesn't expect her to. All her life Keiko has trained to be a soldier. Pandora, however, has to be a general. And a good general must be willing to send his soldiers to their deaths.

Or worse, in this case.

"Director, I have been told to do many things that I'm not happy with in my life. I've done them because that's what was expected. I *know* what Koa would say and he is *wrong*. He would give up his life so that others wouldn't get hurt. Even if the others could look after themselves. That's how he lost his heart."

The temper is there and it's starting to boil. Keiko's eyes going yellow as she sits there.

"You've given me much to think on Director. Is there anything else you wanted?"

"Yes." Pandora says as she rolls up her sleeve. She touches a tattoo and extends a hand toward Keiko rather abruptly. A wave of blue light with no force behind it washes over her and she feels a cooling sensation on her chest. Like someone put ice on that brand both literally and metaphorically.

"You may want to look into methods of dealing with that mark on your chest. Connections to the Elder Gods are often quite troublesome and they have a tendency to fester."

The shock of the cold makes Keiko shiver involuntarily. Her eyes stop going yellow but don't revert to their dark brown. "I'm looking into it." The spirit caller mutters. "Along with everything else." The temper is still there, but the edge has gone at least.

"Now is there anything else?"

"No. Tell Agent Turner to be better about getting medical help in the future." Pandora says. The door opens on its own. "And thank you for the coffee, Keiko. And good luck."

She may need it. Either way Koa should still be in medical and Keiko is free to go.

Keiko just nods in response to the thanks. It wasn't expected or needed. "Next time, I'll beat him with my staff if he doesn't." Is what she does say.

Exiting the office, Keiko pauses in the corridor, a single tear leaking from her eye as she takes out her phone.

Going to the gym. Meet you there when you're done in medical.

That's the message she sends to Koa. She's going to work out some of this anger before she sees him.

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