2020-06-12 - Careless


Koa inspects his office after the bombing

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Fri Jun 12 07:04:25 2020
Location: Triskelion

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Koa is back in his office. His outside one. It is a bombed out wreck. The building didn't burn down, thankfully and insurance will cover rebuilding what needs to be rebuilt but there were a lot of things in here, artifacts of the historical kind and paperwork. Some of it was protected but a lot of it wasn't. Koa is trying to salvage what he can. It's getting late and the WAND agent is working by the light of several work lamps. He might have brought help.

His desk survived, amazingly. It's probably going to need to be replaced what with the fire and smoke damage but it is intact enough to be used for stacking things. There's a big whole where the outward facing wall used to be and that means the office - and much of the upper floor of the building - is a bit… drafty.

Koa puts another charred but slightly readable paper in one of the piles, sighs and goes to pry open the third fire-fused drawer of his filing cabinet. Damn thing partly melted so it is definitely a case of prying and not opening.

"Why don't you just cut it out?" Keiko came along to help. If you could call it help. Elena had been put to bed an hour ago and left a sitter the small agent trusted.

Barely being able to read is a problem when helping like this. But she's able to sort things into piles of 'readable' and 'not'.

"Because I am a little bit afraid that if I do I'll damage whatever I could salvage from this." Koa says as he pries the drawer open and looks at the files. These are also charred but some of it might just be singed. "Also because I don't have anything that could cut that." Other than his own claws but he doesn't want to call on his power for this.

Something makes a 'tink' sound under Keiko's foot. It's the sound of snapping metal and that hasn't been entirely uncommon here but it feels like she just stepped on something and that IS a bit odd since one of the first things they did was sweep the floor.

It's a lockpick. Well, a broken lock pick. Broken in two places because it was already broken when Keiko stepped on it. And the floor board that she found it on is loose. In fact it has been pried up and not by Koa. There's something that looks like a safe or lockbox underneath that she can just see through the new gap in the floor by her foot.

"A small blow torch would do it. And I'm sure SHIELD has some gizmo or another you could borrow." She's probably not wrong but her attention is caught.

Not say anything to Koa, she bends to look at the pick and the loosened floor board. Interesting.

She doesn't really think about it - just lets the demons claws manifest on her hands. Using those, she gets a grip of the timber and wiggles it around, moving it so she can lift it.

It is a lock box, she can see when she gets it. It's an unusual lockbox though. Very ornate. It has gold filigree and gargoyle heads leering at the four corners. There's part of a lockpick stuck in the lock. Seems like someone tried to break into it. And given what she just stepped on it seems likely that had to be between when Koa's office was bombed and today.

The top of the box has writing on it. It looks like the kind of thing Keiko saw in Limbo. Not proper words per se, but more like claw marks or pictograms to convey meaning. The picture on the top of this one looks like, weirdly, an apple. An apple with some kind of aura around it.

Koa is muttering to himself, back turned to her, having not quite realized what she has found.


"Koa." Keiko says to draw his attention, turning the box in her hands.

It's a pretty box but with the demonic scrawled on it - something she reads much better than earth based languages - she knows it's not that. Not that she can make the meaning of what's scrawled them.

"What symbology does an Apple have? In the christian bible it's the sign of the first sin, right? There's Iduns Apples from the Norse myths. What others?"

"Erisian apples." Koa says, turning and frowning slightly. "Apples of Discord. Like from the Iliad. Where did you get that box?"

Koa steps closer to it and runs a hand over it. "It's got an enchantment on it. Maybe in it. And… Someone's tried to pick the lock."

Well, he's quick on the uptake. Glancing down he quickly figured out where it came from.

"I… didn't put that there." Koa doesn't have a reason to hide things like that in his own office. He has a whole warded section of WAND to stick magical artifacts in.

"I didn't think you had." Comes the dry response. With Koa spending more time away from WAND, Illyana … being Illyana and Elena's fathers gone, Keiko is becoming less and less … human. She rarely remembers the niceties of conversations. "It was there. I found the broken lock pick on the floor."

"Either someone came here to find it, which is likely. Or … someone put it here so you would find it."

Koa crouches down and looks at the lockpick. "Rhodium. Expensive." He says as he stands again.

"Okay. Maybe HYDRA didn't just bomb my office to try to kill me. Maybe they did it to get me out of it so they could get this without me noticing. Except why would they not just take the box in that case…"

Koa feels along the sides of the box and then under it. "No hidden latches. No key…"

He looks at the keyhole and frowns. "Funny shaped key hole. It looks a bit more like a reservoir."

Koa pulls a knife and pricks his finger to bleed into the keyhole. A moment later the box soundlessly swings open to reveal a golden apple with 'To the Fairest' inscribed on it.

And immediately, Keiko wants it more than ANYTHING.

"Maybe. There would have been a lot of opportunities to get in here when you were working at SHIELD. It doesn't really make sense - unless they wanted you to find it." Keiko answers, watching as Koa does something really rash.

"Don't you think we should do this in a wa——" Too late. The lid swings open.

"Ooooh. That's … " She reaches out to take it. Of course, she's far from the fairest by any stretch of the imagination.

"Or unless they weren't sure where it was. Or perhaps they needed the distraction so someone else was out of the building…" Koa muses on the possibilities… and then sees the apple.

He slams the lid shut before Keiko's hand can make it and that causes an unreasonable but very real resentment to well up. It's obviously for her, how dare he deny her. If one thinks about it for a moment it is obvious mental manipulation but it is of a sufficient power that this is far from the first thing that comes to mind.

And of course Koa wants it too. His eyes are wide and he is working very hard not to just snatch it off the table and say 'It's mine!'.

His predatory sense, however, isn't tripped by this in quiiiiiite the same way that her demonic sensibilities might be.

Keiko growls as the lid clips her fingers. "It's mine." And she makes a grab for the box.

She's been alone too long, looking after herself and Elena, to remember that this isn't how to behave. Or to even question it. It's like being back in Limbo, really - where she *had* to assert herself just to survive.

"Give.it.to.me…." She's already circling, lizard eyes fixed on the box.

Koa does something that he has only done once before and in a much different way than he does it now. He throws out a hand and starts pulling magic from Keiko. What the hell, he was hungry anyway. This may piss the demon off but hopefully it also weakens it and its influence.

"Hands off!" He snaps and then grimaces. That thing is potent. He moves back to put the table between him and her. "It's designed to make you want it, Keiko. You don't really want it, it just wants you to want it."

Koa drawing magic from Keiko does make her stumble, even as it brings the demon forth. It 'tastes' different to Koa too - whereas before the magic was from her bound spirits, this is now … nearly integral to her. Where the demon stops and she begins is far less clear.

"I want it, Koa." Keiko growls again, gripping the table so she doesn't fall. It slows her, Koa taking the magic, but it doesn't stop her. His words slowly sink in though … and she blinks. "I want to take it. Yes. It's mine."

That at least sounds a little less sure and aggressive.

"No, you belong to it. If you take it because it wants you to take it, it's not yours. It has you." Koa is at least somewhat versed in demon logic and he keeps drawing the power out of her. That's going to leave her mystically winded and he's going to have to be careful because that potentially puts her at risk. He doesn't want to do that. Well. He doesn't want to do that more than he has to.

"It's a good thing that they didn't get it open. They'd have taken it and god knows what…" Koa stops and groans. They DID get it open. That's why they didn't take it. They didn't need to. They got what they wanted.

The logic … sort of works. "It's … mine…" The frown deepens as Keiko tries to work it through. "I want … it." She doesn't make another try for it, but Koa can tell she's on 'alert'. Not relaxing at all.

"What? They didn't get it open and they didn't take it. They left it here … where you could find it."

Or she could. Whatever.

"No, they tried the lockpick and it broke. So they figured out the lock and opened it. Either they took something from the box or they somehow extracted some of the power of the apple. Otherwise they would have taken the box with them so they could work on it later. Think, Keiko. Why else leave it behind?"

Maybe if they were interrupted but there isn't any evidence that they were. Koa still has the box in his hand and he is still ready to back up from his desk if she makes a lunge for him though he's going to run out of room pretty quickly if she does.

"Look around. See if you can see anything else that was left behind. They left a lockpick, so they probably weren't all that fastidious."

"That … doesn't make sense and you know it. They would have taken the box and opened it later. Why else would they leave it here?" If there's one thing Keiko is, it's stubborn. She bares her fangs and hisses at Koa - whether that's because he's draining her or because he's being very possessive of that box, who knows.

"Are you hoping they left a calling card?" She was dry before her trip to Limbo. Now it borders on rudeness. No, it is just rude. A perpetual challenge.

Still she does look around, casting coveting glances at the box as she does. There's some hair that she knows isn't hers and it's not Koa's - it's too long. It survived the fire which is interesting.

"Because of what you're doing now." Koa says as he continues to drain her. "You got one peek at that thing and now you want to have it. Can you imagine bringing this thing back somewhere where people were armed and not particularly trusting? It'd be a mass homicide/suicide in short order."

Koa follows Keiko's eyes to the hair. "Get that and grab my ritual slate, it's back against the wall." He knocks over some papers, just scattering them to make room on his desk. And he puts the box down on what's left of his chair beside him. It's right there. She could just… jump over the desk and get it…

"Then why take anything of it all? You don't think that will have the same effect?" Keiko is growling, little more than the demon that's melded with her. "Get it yourself…" She means the slate but she does, moving with the fluidity that Koa has come to know. Even though he's drawing on her power, she's still … strong-ish.

Turning back, her eyes drop the box and then back to Koa, moving carefully and putting the slate down.

It happens quickly enough, the way she moves - over the desk and beside the chair, relying on her size as much as her speed to make it hard for Koa to catch her.

She makes the box before Koa can get to her and is able to grab it. But a wooshing noise tells her that he is very abruptly behind her and the hand that reaches for her has claws instead of just fingernails. She may - if she is at all able - remember that this means that his inner beast is manifesting which she can bet is going to make him a hell of a lot less gentle.

He grabs for her arm but if he can't get that he'll take whatever comes to hand. Leg. Hair. Throat. She's not getting away.

It wouldn't be the first time that Koa has thrashed her. And it won't be the last, she's sure.

As Keiko feels the air move behind her, she tumbles.

Koa's claws catch her her hair and drag her backwards. Which is when Conners head comes out of the tattoo near him, snapping and snarling … only to fade ever so quickly. He'd drained the magic from the tattooes as much as he had from her.


"Sure. Drop the box." Koa growls. He grabs her wrist as soon as he has a good angle on it and starts to squeeze. His claws bite in, drawing blood but he squeezes anyway.

"Let. Go. Of. The. Apple." He'll go get her a whole damn bushel of apples if she's really that hungry but this one she can't have. It is far too dangerous to be anywhere but in a WAND vault and Koa fears that cat is already out of the bag.

"I can't do this fighting both the people who bombed my office AND you."

Koa can feel the bones in Keiko wrists. She's not a large woman and she's very … lean. As the blood drip from the puncture marks, the bones rub together. She's stubborn enough to let him break them and it seems for a long moment, she will. "Then don't fight me, let me have it…"

Maybe it's the pain that finally gets through. Or maybe that stubborn nature finally works in his favour. The box is slammed down on his desk, with enough force to shake it. "Have your damn apple…"

That's all he gets as she waits to be released.

Koa lets Keiko go and grabs the box with a sigh. They're taking this to WAND and dropping it down a hole so deep you'll need a copy of Journey to the Center of the Earth to find it again. After he picks it up the desk wobbles a little and one of the legs breaks enough to drop that side a half inch.

That makes Koa sigh again.

The WAND Agent fights down his frustration with his demonic partner by reminding himself that allegedly this apple caused a war between gods, so Keiko can't really be expected to just deal with it easily. "Breathe. Fight the want. If you want to act like a demon I need to deal with you like one."

"Why would I want to act any differently?" The comment is sullen and as Koa lets her go, Keiko picks up her pack and heads to the door. If he's frustrated, so is she - hers though is covered by anger and bluster.

"Your slate is there. You should be able to use the hair."

Normal people would have trouble seeing her as she slides into the shadows in the room. "When are we going?"

Koa glares at his at the moment stubborn partner. "Because you want to be a person and not a creature that I visit in Limbo every so often."

Now where that hair. There it is.

"Going back to the Tri or somewhere else?" Koa asks as he grabs the hair and gets out some chalk. It takes one of his few remaining intact artifacts in this office to complete it - as Koa himself has no magic or at least none of that kind - and a moment later there are ghostly blue static images in the room. A woman kneeling over a whole in the floor. She's wearing a cat suit and on the front of it is a skull-and-serpents symbol that makes Koa growl. More interesting though is the cut of the uniform. It LOOKS like a WAND dress uniform just… more HYDRA-y. She even has a wand and an athame and what look very much like reagent pouches on her belt. Of course she also has a gun and a bandolier of grenades across her chest.

"It wouldn't be any different to now…" Keiko mutters, still hugging the shadows. Something has her upset and it's not just the apple. A little louder, she adds "To get rid of that thing and find whoever did this."

She can see the scene as it manifests. "Do you know her?"

"Soon… let me look." Koa looks about, walking to examine details such as the tools used, the uniform, the rope that says she climbed up the side of the building rather than coming in through the door.

"Notice anything in particular about this?" Keiko might. She's good with tools so she might be able to tell what the intents were by what the thief brought. Beyond that there's two other things. There's a small cylinder that looks like it's in the process of rolling under what's left of the couch to Keiko's left. If the thief left her broken lock pick she might have left that too.

The other thing of note is that there's a shadow cast on the scene by something the spell hasn't shown them. It's coming from the hole in the wall though. So someone is standing either in it or beyond it with a light to their back. Which means that someone is watching this happen.

"No I don't know her. Uniform looks pretty much like one of ours. Best I can figure is that HYDRA has decided to copy WAND somehow which is… a bit terrifying, honestly."

"She's either careless or thinks we are gullible." That's a $1.00 word - her vaocabulary is improving. "She came through the roof. Knew where to get in. Probably been watching for a while." Still hugging the shadows, the small peruvian drops to her knees and futzes around till she finds that cylinder.

"She wasn't alone … there was at least one more with her. They were standing by the door - probably fixing the device that exploded."

"Didn't Hydra have a supernatural division back in the war? No one really knew what happened to it but maybe this is the natural … evolution."

The cylinder looks like a small bottle of the kind that might have once upon a time have been used to store medicinal spirits or the like. It's glass and has a cork stopper and a rather smoky color to it. There is a light moving around in side it. A small whispy orb that seems to float back and forth at random. It's… gold colored, probably.

"I'm guessing she's just not very careful. If she were she might have been able to sneak in here without me noticing and without needing a bomb…"

He looks over by the door and goes to examine it. There isn't any device but he does find something else. Three marks on the frame that look a very good deal like claw marks. "Well what's this…" Koa murmurs.

"It might possibly be. HYDRA isn't a single unified organization the way SHIELD is. But if they're interested in magic I sort of want to know how that happened without crossing our radar. And also… when. And what HYDRA council member is responsible…"

He straightens up and looks at the top of the door frame. "Whomever was watching was wearing was tall. Tall enough that he bumped his head on the top of the frame. Possibly not human…"

"You want a lot." Keiko observes dryly "You might be disappointed" She's a bit distracted by the cylinder, as she turns it around and over, watching the whisp move inside. "What do you make of this?"

There's a look at Koa when he mentions the height of the observer "Maybe not. Then again, maybe they're just like us. Are we human anymore?"

"You're not tall enough to scrape your head on my lintel." Koa says as he comes over and looks at what she has found. "Looks like magical energy. The inside of the bottle is runed. And look here." He taps the lip of the bottle near where the cork stopper is. "Scratch mark. It was screwed into something."

The WAND agent straightens up and goes to pick up the papers he had knocked over to clear room for the slate. "We are as human as we make ourselves be." Koa hasn't strictly speaking been human for some time. Not metaphysically anyway. Human beings don't do the things he does and they don't have warped, predatory natures either. But Koa has clung to his humanity fiercely even has he has lost it bit by painful bit to this job, usually in the name of keeping others safe.

That earns Koa a look. There's no humour in the peruvian at the moment. "Like a staff or something." How her mind jumps to that is probably beyond understanding.

"Then I guess I haven't been in human in a very long time."

"Well maybe it's time to start trying again." Koa says, giving Keiko a puzzled look. Where has she ever seen a staff that you can screw a bottle into? What kind of backwards magicians did they have in that cult of hers? Bottle staves?

"You can just let those impulses rule you if you want. I don't know if you do that how long you're going to be anything even resembling a person. For myself, I always wanted to be just me. That's always been a fight for me and it's a harder fight now." One that he is losing too. "But I wouldn't go back and change that about myself. I don't think it was wasted effort."

Maybe she'd read a book or something. Well, looked at the pictures anyway.

His response to the chiding is a stony faced look. They've had this discussion and it didn't go well. "Maybe I will." Try to be human or act on her impulses? She's not saying.

"So what are we going to do about this?" She holds up the cylinder and the gestures to the rest.

"Test it. If that is what I think it is, it's energy from the apple in the box. But either way we've got to get it back to WAND and figure it out. I kind of hope my guess is wrong."

Because if it isn't it means she was there to extract the very essence of Discord. And THAT is a very potent weapon. He expects that if HYDRA or someone similar has done that, they'll see it used in the very near future. The only question is 'on what'?

"Keep it safe. Let's go to the truck. I'll even let you hold the box as long as you promise to give it back."

"You hold onto it." Keiko answers as she adjusts her pack on her shoulder and heads out.

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