2019-10-23 - A Dagger Through The Heart


Another blood draw for Steve, more information and some potential ways of saving him.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Wed Oct 23 04:51:20 2019
Location: Jemma's Lab

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Theme Song



It's about mid-morning when it finally comes down the totem pole to security in the WAND holding cells: yes, Steve can come out. Freedom!!! He hasn't wrecked more pillows and thank god for Banner's gift of the paper and charcoal. It kept his sanity more intact than he'd originally expected. A thank-you gift will be proffered in turn for the thoughtful scientist.

Of course, freedom comes alongside another series of blood draws. This is where Steve balks — not because he doesn't want the blood draw, but because, frankly, he smells like a gym sock even despite his best efforts for keeping himself clean while in the cell. Escorted to the athletics sector's locker rooms, he indulges in a shower that seems like the best thing since sliced bread.

As such, wearing another borrowed SHIELD t-shirt and sweatpants along with sneakers he found in his Triskelion gym locker, the Captain arrives at Jemma's lab. He's escorted by senior members of Triskelion security with ICER laden in the latest admixture to stop Steve dead.

"Jemma." Steve announces himself quietly and pauses far away from her nearest lab table, his thumbs hooked in the pockets of his sweatpants. He still has dark circles under his eyes, but the true-blues appear only somewhat haunted now.

Mid morning means Jemma's been at work for several hours already. There's only one person who knows how bad her dreams are at the moment. They're a mixture of Were wolves and Deathloks that are blending together all with one goal - to scare her and possible kill her.

She never sleeps long enough to find out.

"Steve." the biochem looks up from her workbench, a 3D model rotating lazily above it.

"I'd say you're looking better but I've a thing for blonde wolves …" It's such a poor joke, she just shakes her head. "How *are* you feeling?"

It's only natural that a WAND containment specialist should be present for this. Enter Koa Turner, the hardworking mostly human chew toy of fate in general. Or at least, given all that's happened to and around him he could very much be forgiven for thinking that's the case.

"Captain Rogers." The large man says amicably. His eyes aren't even glowing this time. Isn't that nice? Though it's still true that he FEELS off and predatory in several ways.

It is a terrible joke and for a second, Steve's mouth lingers parted as if he's not certain how to reply. Those expressive brows lift high. Even the senior security members glance at one another without comment.

Then comes the Captain's huff of a laugh; the tips of his ears pink. "I could complain, but it wouldn't accomplish much for me," he admits as he lingers not far within the laboratory proper. "Things're still hairy, I guess." Such droll humor on his part in turn.

The arrival of Koa is sensed even before the man himself is sighted or heard. Fine hairs on the back of Steve's neck as his senses beyond the pale forewarn him of the fellow would-be predator. Flanked by the senior agents, the super-soldier turns in place with a wane smile.

"Agent Turner. Glad you're here. I was going to submit another blood sample. That, 'nd check on the status of Doctor Simmons' work." Jemma gets a grateful if still guilty look. He's still far enough away that he hasn't caught any scent of lavender or fear-sweat yet. The smell of his bodywash from his Triskelion gym locker is still close in his nose.

It's a mix of lavendar and lemon today. The handwash Jemma uses in the lab is lemon and she must have used it recently. Seeing the reaction to her joke, the biochem pinkens right up to the tips of her ears. "Hairy in all the right places, I trust."

In for a penny, in for a pound. As her grandmother used to say. The blush just gets worse as Jemma turns to her bench to get her equipment.

"Come in and make yourself comfortable." Koa's appearance give the biochem some peace of mind. Sort of. There's been something off about Koa for a while - at least *her* hasn't tried to eat her.


"I've some interesting news that I shared with the other evening. Your … mutation is starting to resist the admixture I've created. You're developing an immunity to it."

Koa gets a look. "I was told that I probably wouldn't find a scientific cure for this and we haven't found the one who bit him yet. Do you have anything more you can share, Agent Turner?"

Koa comes in and takes a seat behind Jemma and about fifteen or so feet from Steve, giving the currently hexed super soldier some space. In the past it has seemed that the Patriotic Lupine has taken an exception to him. Various gods only know why. Well okay… he can probably guess a bit.

"Maybe a little bit. There are a couple rumors about how to get rid of curses like this but it's always kind of chancy. The cure may or may not work. Or the cure may or may not prove to be lethal. That kind of thing."

If Koa looks tired it's because he sort of is. World Ending and all that.

"So we could go chasing fairy tales. Or we could just try to… overwhelm the wolf."

|ROLL| Steve Rogers +rolls 1d20 for: 12

Blush begets blush, it appears. By the time Koa has settled and Steve's managed to bring his gaze up from this toes to listen to Jemma's report, he's definitely red in the ears and lighter along his cheekbones. His broad shoulders slump to hear of the immunity development — that's not good news, not particularly…unless someone else gets hold of the admixture for more nefarious reasons, he muses silently to himself.

Agent Turner garners his attention from across the lab and the Captain's brows lift. "Overwhelm the wolf…? You mean, the virus? Curse?" He glances over at Jemma. "I got to talking with Barnes 'nd we were musing that if the admixture works, it might still be something scientific about all of it, but…isn't there that whole saying about how unexplained science might as well be magic? Could be both…? Could…"

He peters off and shakes his head, momentarily tucking his chin. A deep frown knits his brows. "…dunno if we could find the one who bit me. I can't…" His mouth twists. "There's something in my memory about a familiar smell, but not the right one. When we were at Prospect Park before, the scent left behind from the one who attacked me? I couldn't tell if it was the same or not."

Jemma's in control of her blush after that last dreadful joke, pulling up results on her displays after she's laid her equipment out. "I need you to come closer, Steve." It's said a little quietly "… so I can take that blood draw. Roll up your sleeve and all that …"

"Overwhelm the wolf?" That's to Koa with a lift of her brow. "I really hope you aren't suggesting you wrestle with him." Because she's seen the astral beast and it's horrifying.

"I keep trying and hoping, Steve. Nothing, as yet, seems to cure the virus though. You've met my lab partner and bullet shield - he's been warning me that I might not come up with something."

Taking a deep breath, Jemma continues "I have a control from the first wolf we recovered. Comparing that ones blood samples to yours then and yours now, the virus seems to be adapting with the Serum. Let me ask you, how badly hurt are you now?"

Because he'd taken a hell of beating when they recovered him.

The news about Prospect Park has her thinking "There was another … pack … there. Yours and a second. When we took your pack down, they scarpered."

"Steve had a pack?" Koa quirks a brow. He isn't exactly up on how Steve got recovered, only that he did. Koa's had his own extradimensional problem to work on and it's getting increasingly worse.

"No not wrestling. See, the Loup Garou curse isn't a virus per se. There's a spirit component to it. It's more like a sort of generalized possession. On transmitted by bite. Neutralize the wolf-spirit within him and he won't change anymore. And I do have a thought in that direction. See. My partner is a spirit caller and due to circumstances beyond her control she needs to temporarily rehome her bound spirits. We can put them into jars but they'll do better in a human host and the most powerful of them might be potent enough to suppress or drive out the wolf."

The WAND agent pauses to let that sink in. "There are a couple of other options though. There's a ceremony that's sort of like an exorcism that we could try, though I should warn you that CAN result in the death of the subject, and we can also go looking for a silver knife that went missing in the Transylvanian mountains about five hundred years ago."

So you know. All good options really. Ahem.

Escorted again by the agents, Steve approaches the young scientist. He swallows hard — because dear lord, the LAVENDER AND LEMON AND NERVOUS SWEAT, THERE IT IS — but manages to wrench his focus back to offering up his arm rather than watching for the minute tells and twitches of Jemma reacting to his presence. His attention stays on the far corner of the lab counter instead, as if it were the most fascinating thing.

"'m perfectly healed up," he reports almost resentfully to Jemma's question about his health. "Nothing left of the ICER shots in my system."

Koa asks his question about the pack. It makes the Captain look up and between them before off to one side. His spare hand rises and he rubs the back of his neck, as if that might jog his memory. "I remember…others, yeah," comes the near-whisper. More loudly, as he looks up at Koa: "Yes, it was my pack." Oooh: his pack. There's an oddly defensive undertone to his words; ever so briefly, some shadow dances through the back of his eyes.

His attention is on Koa for the remainder of the blood draw. "…so, you're saying this spirit caller's bound spirits need a babysitter."

Steve squints. It's clearly one of the weirder things he's heard lately, which might concern those who note he's unconsciously showing how he's getting used to being hairy. Uh oh.

"Uh. Lemme talk to Barnes about that one. It's…an option. Maybe the knife too, silver's supposed to work." He still winces. There are some bad memories about knife wounds from the war.

They're such *fresh* scents. Light and airy. Almost … delicious.

Jemma is wary, but manages not to tremble as she approaches Steve. "Exactly as I thought. The super serum healing factor has been amped up, the loup garou virus is making you heal even faster. Which is why my admixture wasn't working. I've adjusted my formula which is why it worked the other night, but I'm going to have to keep adjusting it and I'm sure at one point, it will just stop working."

With a hand motion, after taking the blood from Steve, the images of the three other wolves are displayed "His pack. If I understand what Bucky told us, Steve managed to Alpha this pack by simply being dominant. I've tested these wolves and they're not showing any of the serum in their bloodstream - which means, I believe, that they weren't created by him."

One can thank a deity for small mercies.

"What would need to perform an exorcism?"

"Molten silver to draw a circle. Wolfsbane and sandalwood. Several other things that we mostly have in WAND. The trickiest part would be the fresh edelweiss, picked by a maiden by moonlight." Koa's dead serious about that. "And then chains strong enough to hold him down because the ceremony is deeply unpleasant. It's burning away the inner wolf. That's why it kills the subject sometimes."

The WAND agent, unlike Jemma, is totally relaxed. Almost excessively so. It's the attitude of a large animal watching another. Nothing to see here. Nope. I'm not bothered. The dynamic is usually present with him and today is no exception.

"The artifact is allegedly enchanted and was used by a woman to break the curse of her beloved but that's the catch. IF you can find it, and again it has been missing for five hundred years, it has to be driven into your heart by someone you love and who loves you."

No smile. No smirk. Koa's not joking about that.

"If their love is true, so the legend goes, the wound will only prove fatal to the wolf."

Steve folds his arms tightly, his chin tucked, as he listens to the finer details of the options listed earlier by the otherworldly agent. His eyes flicker to Jemma and linger for a handful of seconds before he again wrenches his attention back to Koa.

His eyebrows nearly disappear into his hairline. Then he laughs, once, faint, his mouth half twisted in another grimace. "Dunno if Buck's going to go for that bit about the knife…" Still, by the way he glances to one side, grimacing harder yet, it's been weighed in as a difficult but viable option. "I'd rather not be burned from the inside out either."

Jemma is given another vaguely guilty look. "…I'd rather be knocked out by the ICER shots. Can you…'m sorry to ask, but can you keep working at those? Just in case?"

In case of another venting of primordial accursed emotion.

Jemma can't help but take a step back as Steves eyes linger on her for that moment. It's just a momentary spike of adrenaline that accompanies it, but it's there none the less.

"I'm not sure he's going to have choice, Steve. We need to get you back to being a ordinary super soldier. Everything I've read about this curse is never pleasant and I'm not sure those who are cursed ever learn to control it."

She stops that line of thinking straight away. "We can take you back to Prospect Park though, see if you can track … Agent Turner, is there something WAND can do there? Track relatives or linked individuals? I guess it would be something like sympathetic magic?" Because of course, Jemma has been reading.

"I also don't wonder if Steve was able to convert some to his Pack, if he might not challenge that other Pack we saw and if they might be the key to all this."

There's a number of options but none of them scientific. The blood samples are put on to run, as usual they'll take a little bit.

"I intend to keep working on the formula. I just want you to know that our options are limited. I took you down with three darts to the back - just before Tony blasted you himself. They would have worked, but Tony's precautions whilst over the top, where indeed apt."

"Stabbed in the heart? And a maiden? Where the hell will you find a Maiden in this day and age?" Jemma's taking a very classic translation of the word, it seems.

"Pennsylvania Dutch Country?" Koa says, looking at Jemma. "Or right in front of me. I said Maiden. Not Virgin. You'd do." Koa considers Jemma's other request. "Maybe. We could do a focused divination on you, Steve, and see if it turned up your attacker. Which it might but these curses are a bit tricky so no promises there." If they could get a good scent? Yeah then they could track it back to the source.

"It's probably best not to let Steve get too far into pack making Jemma. Just… trust me on that." The ways it could go wrong are extremely numerous and nearly all of them are bad.

"That reminds me. You're a conspiracy, Cap." Koa takes out his phone and hands it over to Jemma so that she can show it to Steve. It's on The Watchfire, a conspiracy theory blog run by an absolute nutcase that has been linked in the past to organizations like ULTIMATUM. Front and center is a grainy picture of Wolf-Steve. And a detailed rant about how Captain America was a cover for a werewolf breeding project all along, and what else is the government hiding?

"Thank you, Jemma." Steve's gratitude for her continued work at the formula for the neutralizing tranquilizer is profuse; he does 'hang-dog' even MORE skillfully these days, after all. "I'm here if you think it's wise to try 'nd track."

He nods towards Koa. "However, 'm thinking Agent Turner's right on that account…no making my own pack." Even if it appears to hurt the shadow lingering behind his eyes. It's enough to make the Captain look askance again and grimace as the curse ripples up woefully beneath his skin. A slow sigh and he appears to regain his composure with iron will set into place.

But he's a conspiracy?! That has Steve staring and then leaning across the counter to look at the phone's imagery pulled up.

"…werewolf breeding program," he says flatly. Palms rise to scrub at his face. "God…don't show this to Barnes, he'll have a field day with it." A groan follows.

"Of course. I wouldn't let anyone suffer, Steve and you're my friend." Jemma answers. The 'hangdog' look is quite good really.

Koa's information on tracking gets a nod. That's something to try at least. Another angle in a rather snarled up mess. "And no packs, though my lab partner tells me I need a real pet …"

He said cat, not werewolf, but you know.

"A were-wolf breeding program. Well, I suppose we should have seen that coming. I suppose Intelligence are onto this already?"

"This blood test is going to take a bit to analyse. I'll keep working and you two can use the other end of the lab, if you want."

"PR is but there's only so much to do. Suppressing this kind of rumor tends to just spread it faster." Koa says with a wry chuckle. "Well. I'll just be here until the blood draw is done." Because that is indeed what Koa is here for. Security for Jemma. Because the LAST thing they need is a Deathlok Wolf right now.

"I'm going to brew some tea though."

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