2019-11-10 - There but not there


Koa wakes up in the SHIELD infirmary

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sun Nov 10 00:07:57 2019
Location: SHIELD Infirmary

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"I just don't understand it." The WAND medic is saying standing next to Keiko and the bed that Koa is on. The unconscious WAND agent has a number of leads attached to him for traditional medical monitoring and several markings drawn in ash or a viscous red liquid for… less traditional monitoring.

Koa has been here for two and a half hours and hasn't stirred since K'nert dragged him into Keiko's house moments after she had been thrown clear of what certainly looked to be Limbo's last moments.

"He has flash burns on his clothes that turned portions of them into ash. He should have third degree burns or worse all over, but he doesn't. It's only first degree burns and then only in a comparatively few places. He's barely breathing and his heart is beating once every twenty four minutes. He should be brain dead but we're still registering normal brain activity. There isn't a single fact of biology or medicine that says he should be alive. And yet…"

And yet. Here he is. Unconscious and battered, but still alive.

Keiko really has no idea how to answer that as she sits by Koa's bed and holds his hand. She herself is covered in scratches and bites. There's signs of circuitry starting to show like an infection spreading from some of the wounds.

"He took a lot of power that had been stored in Limbo. I don't know if it will be Koa returning to us or …. something else."

Koa's eyes snap open. They're silver. Not silver like they have been in the past, where EVERYTHING was silver. He has normal eyes. But they're metallic silver. A ghostly outline surrounds his hand, like his inner beast that he lets out sometimes. Only it's not 'out'. It's right there. Around his hand.

He tears from Keiko's grip and his hand shoots up to her throat. She hears a low growl from his throat as he starts to sit up.

"Woah, Agent Turner!" The medic says, alarmed. Koa ignores him. He looks a bit confused, which is perhaps natural?

There's a long moment where he doesn't move and thankfully doesn't squeeze. "Keiko?"

Keiko doesn't move as Koa starts - how she does that just isn't clear. Her gaze holds his silver one, eyes going yellow themselves. "Put him away, Koa. You're among friends." It's emotionless, flat. Like she's pushed everything down.

"Or do I need to find the Darkchilde?" The peruvian doesn't look at the medic, nor does she wince with Koa's hand at her throat. "Step back medic and don't interfere."

Koa's hand relaxes on her throat and falls away. He lays back not all the way down but scooting back to rest his head against the wall. His eyes don't change. They remain silvery. His heart rate hasn't changed either. It's registering completely flat right no- wait there it goes. Yep. Once every twenty four minutes.

The medic lets a breath out but doesn't say anything else. "Where are we? What happened?"

Keiko had dealt with demons daily for seven years. Seven years of living in Limbo. Before that, she'd dealt with the magi and the fighters of the Nightfall, it's easy to fall back into the pattern. Her heart might be breaking as she watches Koa, but he'll never know - unless he can smell her.

"We're in SHIELDs infirmary, I bought you here. The imp somehow got you from Limbo when you blew it up." It's blunt. She's not pulling any punches, just dishing out the facts. "Though judging by your heart beat, I'm going to say you really didn't blow it up - but you and the Darkchilde did something."

"I'm not completely sure what her plan was." Koa admits not that this will be in any way a surprise to Keiko. "But I don't think she expected me to survive it. And I doubt she expected to survive it either." This, indeed, is why Keiko was teleported out at the last minute in all likelihood.

"What's this about my heartbeat now?"

"Your heart is beating once every twenty four minutes, sir." The medic supplies. Koa sits up and stares at him. Then at the monitor which is completely flat and then at Keiko as if to say 'really?'

"That's… not possible." And yet here he is.

He sighs. "Any sign of Illyana or Ananym? And how long have I been out?" Beat. "Wait. Did you just say that K'nert dragged me out of Limbo?" Yes he's just processing that.

"That doesn't surprise me. You both tell me I'm impetuous and brash but neither of you thought that through." The tracework on Keiko's arms starts to pulse a little, in time with the brand on her chest. "And then you kick me out when I could help …"

That hadn't gone down well, at all.

"Once every 24 minutes. Yes. Like it's linked to the Heart." Keiko doesn't care if the medic understands that. She's not explaining it any further either.

"And no. Neither of them. I was too busy getting you here and waiting till you wake. Now you have, I'm going to see the mages and have them teleport me back there so I can see what's happened."

"And yes, K'nert. Bought you to me."

Koa lets out a sigh and is quiet for a long moment. He's thinking, Keiko can see that. The medic is sort of generally ignored and in any case busies himself doing paperwork. There is a fair amount for just regular medical work but also the weirdness that is Koa at the moment.

Before he can say anything though there's a voice from the side. "You can't get back there. No one can right now."

If Keiko looks back at the tech, he isn't moving. Frozen. As if time is. From the direction of the voice… Nalani. The dance instructor. And… witch?

"Why not?" Koa frowns.

"It isn't there. Well. It is and it isn't. I just tried, believe me. Hello Keiko. I'm glad you got him here. Thank you."

Being quiet is easy. Keiko doesn't need to talk - she got used to being on her own long ago. That Koa hasn't immediately forbade her for trying to reach Limbo is telling though, and the peruvian just watches him carefully.

That and his hand. The predator … is still there.

"What do you mean, Nalani?" It's a suspicious tone the spirit caller uses. "Why did you try to get there, to start with. And what do you want with him?"

The woman moves, to put herself between the hula teacher and the Agent.

"I was trying to get there because I was looking for him, for you Koa, and I sensed there was trouble. As for what I want. We're related. I'm his aunt."

Koa blinks. "Beg your pardon? I think I might remember that."

The woman chuckles and waves a hand. And then she's there in much more… traditional - also revealing - island clothing. With a 'crown' of leaves upon her head and two smaller arrangements circling her ankles above her now bare feet.

"Am I really so threatening Keiko? I apologize for the deception. My name is Hi'iaka, Goddess of Dance and Sorcery." She extends a hand toward Keiko in particular.

"Come. Examine me closely if you like. I am not offended by your caution or your curiosity. Have your guardians sniff me to reveal the truth of my nature."

"How would I know if you're threatening?" Keiko grumbles. "It's not like I can actually measure magic, is it? You arrive here and say you couldn't get into Limbo. You let him have his heart carved out and then tell me about it later…"

The transformation gets a growl from the Peruvian. "And why are you revealing yourself now?"

The hand is glared at… Keiko's fangs showing a bit as Connor is summoned. Poor medic. There's an enormous Barghest in the room now, pacing around Hi'iaka and sniffing at her.

"Is she your Aunt, Koa? You never mentioned anyone past your parents."

"Um…" Koa says, eyes slightly wide.

Connor does smell a hint of… well he's probably never really smelled a 'goddess' before but she smells like power. Lots of it. Like Illyana but it's power of a different kind. Different flavor perhaps. Not corrupt. Not like Keiko and Koa, for sure.

"Great Aunt. A number of times removed. Also a number of greats redacted. Koa, you are descended from my sister, Namaka, the sea goddess."

"Hawaiian sea goddess." Koa murmurs. That had been a family legend and he'd mentioned it to Keiko before. "But why are you here now?"

"I thought you'd died. I'm still not entirely sure you haven't in a sense. You're… warped from what just happened to you. I can see it."

She looks to Keiko. "You are as well. And something is trying to gain a foothold on you. If you will let me. I can help you get rid of it." The circuit infection she must mean. It's interesting that she says 'help you get rid of it' and not 'get rid of it'.

"Koa? You normally have much more to say." Keiko moves only slightly, if Koa wants her to move more, he will say. "Yes, you mentioned that was a story. Maybe it was more than a tale. What's you're interest in him? And why isn't … Namaka … here?"

"There's a couple of things trying to get a hold on me, which one did you mean and how?" The circuitry should be pretty much burnt out - the demon spirit had kept it's side of the bargain.

"Sorry just a little bit surprising." Koa murmurs to Keiko. No he doesn't try to get her to move. She can stay there if she wants.

"Namaka is, as is most of my family, very concerned with the goings on of the pantheon. I'm the one who tends to keep an active eye on things here. Or at least more active than the others. I've watched Koa since he was a child. He's a decent man and I didn't especially want him to die. More so considering that you and he are protecting us from a great evil right now."

Even as they're in the process of succumbing to another.

"I mean the blood of the machine. It tried to get a grip on you did it not? I can wash away the traces of it that you're still wearing. No great feat, but if you do not wish to wear it's mark. Or risk it coming back…" It was burned out pretty well though, yes.

"You've got your own cross to bear though, don't you Keiko." She says. "I can see it. Half within you and merging even more ever so slowly."

"I don't wonder." Keiko says dryly. She never smiles anymore, not since her time in Limbo. There's little to smile about now. "Not that it affected the beat of your heart." She really doesn't like that.

"It tried to get a grip on my spirits. When they were destroyed, their injuries transferred to me." The spirits were probably destroyed as Illyana teleported her out and Limbo …. imploded? Blew up. "Why don't you tell me what I have to do?"

That's not important at the moment. "So what happened to Limbo and what happened to Koa? Why is his heart beating so strangely? And how can we help him?" *That's* important.

"It's not a cross to bear … it just is. It is who I am."

"I don't entirely know what happened to Limbo." Hi'iaka admits. "Something drastic, for certain. Something that hasn't happen in many an age if ever. The realm is in some state of chaos. Half there and half not. Still real but at least at the moment inaccessible to me." That's not good news really given that they're missing someone but Koa doesn't say anything on that just yet.

"Just let me cast on you. I am a goddess of sorcery. I knew a few spells of healing and cleansing after all."

She pauses and looks at Koa. "The heart. It's linked to the realm in some way."

"What does that mean?" Koa murmurs.

"It means that it's reasonably certain that Keiko is right. Whatever affected Limbo has affected your heart. But that's not the worst of it I am afraid. You're warped, Koa. More than you were. What happened has altered you on a fundamental level. Altered you both really."

"Like the realm has been somewhat collapsed? Folded over on itself or flattened." Keiko's thinking, trying to work it out. "Are you able to find the Darkchilde?" That's a worry to Keiko, that Illyana might be missing.

"It was beating in time with Limbo when we were there…" Keiko sighs, not moving from between the goddess and Koa. "If you harm me with your casting …" Keiko nods though. The distrust isn't warranted but perhaps understandable.

"What do you mean, changed? I knew the demon spirit had been bonded differently but you mean something more, don't you?"

"No. Like it has fundamentally changed somehow. Or is somehow recreating itself. Like darkness is on the face of the earth and spirits are moving above the deep waters."

Koa stares at her. "Genesis?"

"It's appropriate, after all."

Koa snorts and takes a breath. "It was, yes, beating in time with the Heart of Limbo."

"I will not harm you." The goddess says as she moves to lay hands on Keiko. It feels rather pleasant, really. Very different from other magic she has experienced.

"I cannot find her no. But then I wouldn't have been able to find her before without some means of doing so. If you survived what happened there, Koa, there's a good chance she did. You did not leave until bare moments before the whole realm went into chaos, so I'd say you were there up until the very last moment. And you got out while unconscious, I gathered. So, she may yet be alive. At the very least you should look for her."

"No kidding." Koa mutters with a shake of his head, listening to the rest of the answers.

"Because you made a choice. Before, when the spirit was bonded to you, you wrestled with it. But now you have aligned yourself with it and this is a far more serious thing than simply making friends with your pet wolf."

"Where is it recreating itself? And what's Genesis, except for an episode of Doctor Who." Keiko looks puzzled at the reference. Mind, that's not really an issue she's worrying about.

"You two were connected when she threw me out of there…. Could she somehow be bonded to Koa? If not, he and I should be able to locate her - we wear her collars."

It doesn't worry Keiko that's the case. Being owned like that.

"I wasn't asking how I was changed but Koa. I know the bargain I struck with my demon. I don't know what it means but … it's done. Not fighting it will be a nice change, to be honest."

There's the faintest of sighs as Hi'iaka's power flows through her. The reddened tech type lines start to retract.

"The first book of the Bible. It's not a question of where, Keiko. It's a dimension, it can't really move per se." Koa points out. Keiko wouldn't know that except that he tells her so but he's telling her now. "The question is how is it recreating itself and why."

Why seems obvious. Whatever Illyana did caused that. How…

"The heart." Hi'iaka says. "The heart is the key to Limbo. As for the Darkchilde, she and Koa are connected that seems without question. I do not know about bonded. However if what happened there has changed Koa's fundamental nature, and it has, then it may have changed hers as well. That makes tracking spells difficult. She may not have quite the same resonance with things."

Koa frowns. "What kind of thing can change someone's nature that much without killing them?"

Hi'iaka gives Koa a stare and then looks to Keiko to answer her question. "I don't yet know exactly how he has changed. However your Darkchilde channeled enough magic to disrupt the fabric of a dimension THROUGH Koa. That much power should have turned him to ash. And yet it didn't."

Now she looks to Koa and sighs. "You really are a foolish, stubborn man. That's the only explanation for why you are alive. You must have absorbed most of that harm with your astral form. With your soul. That is what has warped you. It will have sharply shaped you in the image of what you were channeling."

In this case… Limbo.

"The bible?" Keiko shakes her head. She's missing something in that part of the discussion but it's not important at the moment. "Then we need to get back there and see what it's doing. You and I, we're creatures of Limbo, it should be open to us. Find K'nert, get him to take us back there. I'll beat him till he does."

Always the direct action with the peruvian.

Koa gets a hard look from Keiko but she doesn't say anything more about Illyana. She'll have to tell Piotr they've lost his sister - that will be fun, she's sure.

"So he's becoming Limbo incarnate."

Hi'iaka laughs a bit, in a kind of demure way, into her hand. "No, Keiko. That would be the Darkchilde. The changes to Koa are more likely to be something along the lines of what he would be if he had been more heavily influenced by the realm."

"Meaning?" Koa ventures.

"Specifically? I do not know. But I imagine you will find out as you interact with your other self." Or rather the other part of himself.

Koa sighs and looks to Keiko. He can guess what she's thinking about Illyana. "We'll find her." He says quietly. He's not certain at this point that they are going to find her alive but he hopes. There is, at least at the moment, fairly good hope that she's still out there. And there's the matter of their collars. Keiko may sense it as well. Even if they don't know WHERE she is, their collars would have surely reacted STRONGLY were she no longer among the living. And at the moment while there is most certainly something DIFFERENT about the way the embedded promethium feels, it's not a change of that order.

"I'll talk to the teleportation techs, but Keiko if Limbo really is in the process of recreating itself somehow, we might not be able to go there even if we COULD open some way to get there." Because it might not be livable on the surface. And there might not be a surface.

"But we should look into it. And tell Piotr if he doesn't somehow already know."

"Just like me, Hi'iaka." Keiko isn't laughing. She's not even smiling. "Limbo changes our natures or … enhances part of our nature. Me … " The peruvian gestures. It's not hard to see what's becoming of her.

As for Koa, Keiko clenches her jaw and looks away. Pandora had seen this, or part of it, at least.

"Or she'll find us." that's a murmur to Koa. "We can use the collars, they're connected to her." As for going to Limbo "I'm going to try, anyway, Koa. Not teleporting in, but someone might be able to open a portal so we can see. It's unlikely Limbo will harm me as much as it would others … well, the changes will slower."

"And yes, we can tell Piotr."

"Ask Teleportation. See if they can open it up and if it's even livable there." It's a good thing to check but Koa suspects that the realm is 'rebooting' or something similar. If it wasn't destroyed - something he's convinced was the idea behind Illyana's gambit - then that seems the most logical next place to go. Though HOW that is possible he's not at all sure.

"Not quite like you Keiko. Your nature is being altered by exposure and also the fact that you are increasingly bonded and possibly merging with a demon. Koa was, if you will, directly plugged into the source for a short period of time."

"Time will tell what those changes are then." Keiko isn't trying to figure that out. She's seen the changes in Koa over time and these ones … are actually kind of frightening. There is some fundamental trust in the woman though, that Koa's base nature hasn't been changed.

However that might manifest from now on.

"I will do that Koa." Keiko had already said she was going to, anyway. "I will also see if someone can use the link in our collars to find the Darkchilde."

Her slitted eyes regard Hi'iaka for a long, long moment "Were you going to invite us to learn to dance or was there more you needed to tell us?" Keiko's even more removed from humanity than before, it seems.

"I think you would benefit from learning Keiko." Hi'iaka says quietly. "You've lost a good portion of yourself and it is only going to get worse. You need to reconnect with your human side. Otherwise, even if you do not drive off those closest to you, you will find yourself in a place where you can no longer understand them."

Koa looks at the goddess but doesn't comment on that. She's probably not wrong long term. Keiko is becoming more and more like a demon and demons do not have friends or family. Only masters and servants and enemies.

"Learning to dance?" Keiko just gives Hi'iaka a very flat look. "Maybe when I'm not trying to save the world from being eaten by another dimension." It's not like Keiko has a lot of time really and less now that she has to … learn what Koa does.

Because she really doesn't think like he does.

There's no comment on those closest to her. It's already difficult with Piotr. Anyone watching them will know that.

"There is always another emergency, Keiko. There's always another pressing matter. There's always one more thing that demands your complete attention." Hi'iaka says gently. "But your window of time to preserve and reconnect with who you used to be is limited."

There's a small pause and a smile. "Besides, you've got the hips for it."

Koa snorts. "Well thank you for coming along. I'm alright as you can see."

"I don't know about that. But you live and for now that's the important thing."

"This one is here right now." Keiko points out. It might be she really has no idea what else to do as well. Asking for help isn't a strong point for the young woman. As to having the hips for it the peruvian gives Hi'iaka a very flat look.

Don't talk to Keiko about her hips.

"If there's nothing else, I'm sure the medic wants to check Koa out again and I need to see the teleporters. I'm assuming the number on your card still works?"

"It does yes." Hi'iaka waves again to resume her more 'normal' appearance and as time starts moving she slides smoothly past the medic and heads out. No one stops her. It's like they can't even see her which… probably they can't.

Koa blows out a sigh and looks at Keiko. "I'll text you if they let me out of here. Otherwise go talk to Teleportation. Then you and I need to go see Piotr and give him the news and figure out what we're going to do about this. I've got a couple things I can try if-"

His eyes gleam brightly his astral form seems to pull away briefly only to zip back into him as if tethered.

"-ugh…" Koa shakes his head, clearly disoriented. "Just… ow. We'll figure it out." He's worried on a number of levels and really still trying to get his bearings. He only just woke up. But finding Illyana - if they can - is going to be their priority.

And anyway he can't afford to be taken out of the game at this point.

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