2020-07-19 - Thai Food Catchup


Ava and Roni show up to check on Toni and catch up with her. Discussions of RESCUE's resident Hellcat problem ensue.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sun Jul 19 01:09:30 2020
Location: Toni Ho's Lab, Foundry, RESCUE Campus, NYC

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Theme Song



Lap loaded with boxes and containers of piping hot spicy Thai food, Veronica is rolling down the hallway. "So, you really think this is the best way?" she asks her companion as they approach the lab door. Override? Any of them can override the doors, given their authority. "You do it." she murmurs.

"It always works for me. She's got to eat some time," Ava responds with a casual confidence as she gives the intercom a double ring. "Hey Toni, chow time!"
Then if there's no answer? It's straight to the chief of security's override code. Walking in the aroma cloud of their meal since it arrived has made the woman more than a little hungry.

There's a long pause for a moment, before the intercom clicks on. "What?" Toni says, sounding both distracted and a bit…grumpy, perhaps? There's a slight pause. "Ava?" There's a faint hum from beyond the lab door and a few rattling noises.

"Open the door, Toni. Please don't make me override it." Veronica adds. She would rather not upset DARPA; but she is not sitting here with her lap full of food for much longer, thank you. And she owns the building; she will open her own doors when and as she sees fit.

"Ava and Roni," the cyborg beside her adds to confirm the obvious. "We got hot Thai for ya."

There's another slight pause. "Veronica." Toni murmurs. "Fine. Hold on." There's more rattling and a hum of drone rotors, then the door unlocks, sliding open with Toni on the other side. She looks…well, a bit frazzled, perhaps. She has perhaps not been eating well, because she does look a bit thinner. Most striking is that her hair is no longer its normal purple, but just her natural raven black, but with a streak of pink running through it instead. She blinks a bit, rubbing her eyes a bit as she steps back her gaze on the pair of you. "Thai. Right. Is it dinner time?" she says distractedly, still watching the pair of you.

Beyond, the lab is…well, pretty much much like it always has been, a whole lot of workbenches and projects, many of which don't look any farther along since last time either Ava or Roni were inside, possibly because they've been put on hold. The couch area and TV have been pushed slightly to the side and some of the work benches have actually been pushed into that space, to make for a glowing, opaque purple force field currently dividing the room in two, preventing anyone seeing into the next area, which is likely where the elevator to the special lab is and perhaps anything else that's part of that project. There is one item that looks new, a long rail-like device laid across two work tables that have been put together and locked in place with a vice on either side, with robotic arms over it that look like they're aiding in assembling it. Her usual robotic helpers dont' appear to be in the room, though since they're designed tmostly to help with her armor that may be why, as you can't see the Patriot armor's cradle either.

Once the doors open, Veronica rolls in, lap still full of the piping hot source of said cloud of aroma. "Fresh Thai, all of your favorites, from the place you love most." she declares, as she looks around for the right place to start setting all of this out. "I checked with Cassandra." That's the name Roni has given to the low-end VI voice assistant computer system that assists with running the computer networks of RESCUE. "You haven't been out of here in almost thirty hours. I'm willing to bet you ran out of food within the first twelve. So we brought dinner. Doctor's orders."

Ava slips in at the tail of Roni's wheelchair then cuts a sharp but effortless looking turn to get out from behind her as the door shuts and re-locks at her back, sweeping what's old and new about the room in a pass. Sometimes it's forgettable how deeply entrenched the white-haired vet has been in the theory and practice of combat. Other times it's hard to miss.
"Dang Toni you're looking a bit ate up. Get yourself hydrated with some Gatorade too," she suggests, then raises a snowy brow at the normally purple young woman. "Dyeing your hair black too?"

Toni furrows her brow at Veronica, frowning she runs her fingers through her hair. "I guess it has been a bit since I had Thai…" she murmurs distractedly, then glances at Ava. "This is my natural color. It's…too much trouble to keep touching up the color. A stripe is easier. She looks around, as if considering where to put the food, then walks over to the coffee table in front of the couch and starts clearing it off, mostly by just pushing stuff to the side to make room, then sits down in the chair by the couch. "What did you bring?" she says slowly, her gaze going back to the other women. A little bit intently.

"I said, we brought your favorites." Roni protests. And then she produces green curry chicken and coconut soup as some of the first things out of the collection on her lap. But there are at least nine containers here, plus their drinks. Her lap was quite full. "How are you feeling?" Roni asks, as things are arranged and then out comes the plasticware. Gatorade comes first, but soba tea is also handy, and a carafe of thai iced tea. "You have been missed, you know." She doesn't ask about the brownout. Yet.

The answer she gets just leaves Ava more puzzled but the cyborg schools her expression as she helps Roni unload before taking a third spot at the table, simply crouch down and crossing her legs as if she had a chair as well. High-end prosthetics have their perks.
Sliding her own two bowls in front of herself along with one bubble tea, the white-haired vet pops the lid on her beef pad thai and digs in letting the conversation progress.

"Right, you did…" Toni says, nodding to Roni, then leaning over to take the offered boxes to give Roni a little space on her lap, getting one of the spoons as she sits crosslegged in her chair. "…thank you." she says after a moment, popping the lid off and hungrily starting to devour the curry like she's starving. She probably is, though she seems to force herself to slow down after a moment, taking a deep breath. "Mm, hungrier than I thought, I guess…" She has some of the thai tea as well, snagging a cup of it as she sips from it.

"You are very welcome." Roni offers wryly, as she starts on her pad see ew. She smiles at Toni and eats slowly, measuredly; she is not starving and has taken good medical care of herself. "So. Is everything OK? Have you stabilized everything to prevent another brown-out?"

"Don't choke," Ava teases with a subtle smile across the table. There's not much that will come out of the vet while a full bowl is in front of her but at least, in eating fast, she'll have room to talk again soon. The tawny woman's not starving too, it's just habit.

Toni shifts in her seat at the question, pausing to at least swallow as she tenses a little bit. "It won't happen again, I just hadn't…calibrated the gain right. For the field and the other project draws." she says after a moment. "Now it's set so it won't trip the campus system if it tries to draw too much at once, and if it does it'll prioritize the medical center and research labs in an emergency."

"Good." Veronica replies. She is well aware of Ava's fast food consumption, but she herself is more capable of taking her time and chatting between bites. "I know what you're doing requires a lot of power. We probably should have moved ahead with the ZPM project in simultaneous development, in hopes of having an independent, isolatable power source of sufficient strength on-hand. But we didn't exactly know how much power this would require when you started." she offers to Toni, and all without actually talking about whatever it is Toni is actually trying to make in here. She has been working on DARPA projects for a long time. "As it is, I'm clearing the east lab now, and going to spin up that project. I am assigning Hank and Nadia to start with, and letting them each choose the teams of support they require."

Ava slurps up a large mouthful of noodles and chews briskly before sipping from her drink to help lubricate the food on its way down. It's not pretty but it gives the woman a couple breaths between bites, "Will that project add any new safety risks?"

Toni leans back in her chair, digesting that, her eyes widening slightly at the mention of the ZPM project. "…that depends. How far along is the project, into the prototype stage? If something goes wrong, it would be bad to have it near a populated area. We might be better off buying a small island and constructing a new site there."

Veronica shakes her head. "They're not to prototyping just yet. When they get to that stage, we'll evaluate the risks and select the best environment for that effort." Buy an island? Just how rich does Toni think they are?! Make one, that they may be able to do. They have done it once already, after all. "They'll have to nail down the math, and start on field generation, explorations of containment options, materials science. But the two of them together are likely to make rapid advancement." Safety risks? Of course there will be safety risks. They will just have to mitigate them. Somehow.

By now the cyborg's noodles are almost gone. Though not quite finished it's close enough for her to pry her head up from her plate. The white-haired woman's been trying to slow down at least.
"Speaking of containment, Neena's locked down in her quarters again. Her cat's helping secure her so flight risk is low," Ava reports in her usual neutral tone as she looks between the women.

Toni pauses in devouring her food, her eyes narrowing slightly. "You've put guards on her then?" she says after a moment. She leaves off mention of the cat for the moment. There's a…coolness to her tone over the subject suddenly.

"This is after her actions following the Cyberian mop-up mission? What did you find?" Veronica inquires. She knows Ava was not happy when that happened, even if Ava - naturally - has refused to tell her why she was so unhappy. Sure, it was irksome. But it was not terribly distressing, and she did manage to stun Neena - by pure instinct - before things had gone too far. "How long are you expecting to keep her penned in like that?" She also doesn't quite get how it is little Oreo is keeping Neena in the cage.

"Room double-locked, air vent grated, video surveillance, and GPS tracking," Ava calmly rattles off. "Our main security is that the cat wants her secure too. It's been stepping in whenever she got cabin fever. Neena's luck doesn't work on that." Another sip is taken from her drink and the cyborg continues, eyeing Toni and Roni in turn.
"Neena's from a black project that came out of Florida, it's why she's got no official papers. The suits brainwashed her somehow and someone triggered a top priority recall to the Everglades. Her hellcat recalled the command for me and it's unencrypted so I have the command phrase and GPS coordinates from it. Her room has a video link so you can grill her for details later from safety." There's another pause for the pair to digest everything and Ava lets out a heavy breath as she moves from present to future. "Based on the timing that happened during our raid so I'm handing our full mission logs to Io for analysis - all our mic data and the proximity sensors from our suits. She can find the command phrase from background chatter and pinpoint who said it faster than REACT's commos. And we'll need a telepath with serious chops to undo Neena's programming. Hunter will know if there's one in Mutant Town but I'd like to shop in-house before taking that risk."

"It means they know she's here. They might have other things planted in her. Maybe we should move her offsite. Someplace we can make more secure there. We don't know that the hellcat is trustworthy either." Toni says, her fingers idly squeezing her food container, before setting it down and getting up to pace over to get a drink from the fridge on the wall. Needs caffeine apparently. The interior has been replaced, with the usual water and diet soda mostly replaced by Monster-style energy drinks.

Veronica listens and frowns. OK. They aren't talking about Oreo at all. Poor little one; Roni will need to check that the cat is OK. "Tell Io that finding that command is priority, even above her pet project with Lima. And no option: if she doesn't help, she gets no parts or lab time for Lima or anything else." Roni hates being a hard-ass, but their people are in danger, and she won't tolerate that.

"I do not want to move Neena off-campus. Doing that makes her most vulnerable during transit, but also means they are offered a chance to go after that off-site location at their leisure with far less security and personnel." Veronica growls softly. "If these bastards want her back, they're going to have to get through every safety protocol we can imagine." She refuses to accept that any project is allowed to 'own' a person. Let alone someone she likes.

"Good night, Toni. You need better hydration than that. At least half that content by volume should be water or restorative juices. No wonder your body is so run-down." Veronica is a doctor, first and foremost. She can't help herself. "You need rest, real rest, good food, decent exercise, and top-flight hydration to support your active brain to the best of your ability." Hence why Roni tends to work out her frustration or her thought challenges on the gymnasium floor.

There's a slight shrug of her shoulders as Toni closes the door to the fridge, popping it open. "I order food from the cafeteria sometimes too." see says, dismissing the complaint, her frown deepening at Veronica's response to her suggestion. "We can't /trust/ her." she says sharply, then pauses to take a drink, inhaling and letting out a breath afterwards, before continuing more calmly. "We don't know what other triggers they've put in her head, or what they do, or how easy it is to trigger them. What if she has one to just go berserk and wreck or kill everything near her? Her luck powers mean she could do it, even with heavy security on her. I don't think her cat is going to keep that under control if so. The cat might help her do it, if it suited it, for that matter."

She shakes her head sharply. "She's a /danger/ to y…us." she walks back over to seat herself again, reaching out to pop open the carton of coconut soup as she just sips directly from the bown rather than getting a spoon.

Ava follows Toni's walk and grins a touch at the new contents of her refrigerator. "Remind me later and I'll hook you up with some better drinks. That stuff'll give you a heart attack before it'll motivate ya."
"Don't trust the hellcat but for now it's cooperating," she continues, back to business. "It also understands English so I'll try to extract intel from it later to get a better read on it. That risk hasn't changed; anything it could do to us before it can still do now." Toni's outburst holds Ava's gaze for a few seconds but tellingly the cyborg doesn't refute any of it. Her focus turns to Veronica as she adds gravely, "Neena said that trigger phrase was top-level secure in her project. That means people very well funded, outside the law, and high-up in the government we build tech for are after her. Worst-case we'll have meta-human overt and covert assets trying to retrieve her. Think missile strike, teleporter-implanted bomb, and any DoD visitor we have is a potential threat - to say nothing of shapeshifters."

Veronica looks at Toni with horror, and spares only some of it for Ava when she weighs in. "She has worked damned hard to change, Toni. To be worthy of our trust. To be our friend, and our ally. And she has put her life on the line for us and the things we decided were important, for no real benefit to her." Anyone want to guess what side of this Roni is on? G'head, give it a shot.

She turns on Ava, and snorts. "They try a missile strike on us, and they'll find out just how much they don't know about what we can do and how we can do it." Yes. Veronica is hard enough to dare the US government's covert ops infrastructure to come after her and hers. Why? Because when defending her patients, Veronica Kelsey will tear down the goddamned world to do it. Period.

"This is not her choice. So we will find a way to give her back her choices." And Roni looks at both women intently. "And if those bastards come in here and hurt our people, I will turn off the safeties, open the hard lockers, and dare them to try." Because if they come with a willingness to use lethal force against her and her patients, Roni will hate it … but she will permit lethal force right back. She has already been made a murderer by no choice or fault of her own. She'll just have to live with more.

"You are putting the people here at risk!" Toni snaps, nearly dropping the soup on the coffee table as she sets it down fast, a bit splattering over the sides as a result, running along the wood. "She is putting people here at risk by her presence! She might get lucky, but what about you? Ava? Io, The rest of us? Her luck will save her, but it won't save the rest of you!" She leaps back up to her feet, starting to pace back and forth with a nervous energy to her, chewing at the cuticle on her thumb, then visibly fights for calm again. "Moving her off campus is safer for everyone concerned. She'd agree with me, if she's really interested in changing and protecting people here!"

A little surprised as he is en route to his lab - situated on the border between the Wellspring and the Foundry, to smell Thai food. Ooh, and lots of it, Hank grins—ducks into his lab a moment, digging out a box of home made coconut macaroons before he lopes to the door of The Toni Lab, Sanctum Sanctorum of the Genius Toni Ho! Hell, as good as her tech is, she might well be a genius locii!

A nod to himself when the doors don't open for him automagically, that's only right and proper, HIS lab is secured too after all, that's just best practice considering the things they work on, the high order energies they could unleash.

Or in his case, demon tainted fog…ah well, the new filters are mil-spec /and/ backed by force fields, -THAT- won't happen again.

Hank buzzes the door. "Doctor McCoy, here. I bear gifts."

While listening Ava remains calm enough to even eat some more of her meal. It's still hot after all. The white-haired vet dabs her greasy lips with a napkin before chiming back in. "Even if we move her, last-known intel from the Cyberian raid places her on our campus. We're in their crosshairs right now, just like we're in AIM's. You both remember the last infiltration they revealed to us," she stresses equally to both women. "Short of surrendering Neena to a group of spook criminals who don't officially exist we're living with this risk. If we can move her covertly and prevent her from being tracked, hiding Neena eliminates the risk of a successful assault or infiltration capturing her, but she would need to remain secure and that diverts defensive resources from our HQ."

A dry glance is given towards the door when Dr. McCoy's voice reverberates through the intercom. Her flat expression reveals, without saying it, that she's less than eager to greet him.

Veronica eyes Toni specutively, even curiously. "What is going on, Toni? You like Neena. You have been at the forefront of defending her, encouraging us to support her. Where is this latest change coming from?" Toni is entitled to change her opinions, of course. But Roni cannot help being curious about it; Toni has never been quite this vociferous about 'safety' or 'risk.' After all, the woman has blown up her own lab how many times?

"If the risk to campus and those of us on it remains regardless? Then I would prefer we not divert defensive resources away from here." Roni offers. She glances at the door and frowns; she isn't really looking to add another voice to this discussion, but she also knows Hank will definitely have an opinion, and may well have additional alternatives. She isntead glances at Toni questioningly; it is her lab, after all.

Toni curls her fingers, staring at Veronica for a moment, then turns on her heel and walks over to the door, typing in the code to open it for Hank, before promptly turning and resuming her pacing. This time over the workbenches nearby, as if giving herself a little space from the pair gathered around the coffee table, unclenching her right hand for a moment, then snatching at a stressball from some RESCUE corporate retreat she can squeeze it in her hand as she nods to Hank.

She breathes out. "Before it was her choice if she was a threat. Now, we have two possible vectors for her being a threat she has no control over, neither of which we can predict how much of a danger she is. AIM is already targeting us; do we need another black ops illegal group targeting us on top of that?"

Wondering what the hell he walked in on, Hank blinks at the scent of high emotions flavoring the Thai, the smile he was sporting fading and the rather sizable box of cookies lowered. Now, Hank remembers how they had to tranq Domino (again), and is aware she's in lockdown (also again), so it doesn't take him more than that blink to figure out who is being discussed.

"Neena." He murmurs. "I have not been read in on the nature of the issue, so…let me infer, the freak out was triggered. You're aware of the source, and there's serious concerns?"

Almost absently he sets the cookie box down, opening the lid, there's a LOT of cookies, and they smell pretty damn good.

Ava's brow lifts in a show of surprise as Hank is allowed in and the conversation just as quickly resumes. The cyborg stands from the table and turns to face him, not hard as she was squatting for want of a chair. Two empty plastic bowls of Thai food are on the table before her. "Thank you, Hank. What's the occasion?" she asks in a calm tone that belies the vet's own tension. Posse gets quiet when she's serious more than loud.

"Before this goes any further," she adds with a look back down to Roni, "What's his clearance level for this?"

Veronica frowns at Toni. "So now, when it's out of her control, when she is our friend and a victim, you advocate turning our back on her? I don't get it, Toni. Not at all." SHe probably shouldn't discuss this in front of Hank … but it seems the nose that Knows already put together enough. The woman in the wheelchair huffs, and turns to roll away from the close-knit circle that had been their gathering at one end of the lab around a low coffee table where the Thai food has been arranged. They got a lot, lots of different flavors, scents and styles, so another mouth to devour some likely wouldn't go amiss. But she's not offering. Not right now.

Toni's lips twitch as she squeezes down on the stress ball. "Whatever he needs." she tosses off to Ava, as if it's a distraction from watching Roni roll around and muttering under her breath. She's looking a little worn down. Thinner. Though probably what's most striking is her purple hair has had the color washed out in favor of her normal dark color with a streak of pink running through it on the right side. Easier to care for.

Her head does turn as the scent of the cookies hits her, focusing on those as she hesistates, then walks back over to the coffee table, plopping down on an empty chair after picking up a pair of the cookies, munching on one. "It's dangerous…" she says, almost stubbornly.

"The occasion, Ava? None. It just seemed rude for me to follow the scent of Thai food and not have something to offer, hence, Edna McCoy's Special Recipe Macaroons." Yup, his mom's recipe, tweaked by him of course. "I apologize if I have walked in on something private…" He starts, and then falls silent when Roni rebukes Toni.

Clearly able to hear the mutter from Toni, he frowns faintly, and moves over to stand in what looks a lot like parade rest, hands folded in the small of his back, posture rigid. "We deal with many dangerous things on a daily basis, that's nothing new. Minimizing risks is one thing, abandoning a friend and ally is quite another. So…what's the nature of the threat?" This to all three ladies present.

With silent consent from Roni and explicit consent from Toni, Posse lays it all on the table. "Black project cell of the US government. Capacities completely unknown. In the worst case it's still fully functional and funded. Neena is brainwashed and someone sent a command for her to return to base. She's secure for now."
The bionic vet turns her green eyes back upon the two leaders of RESCUE, her jaw set with an extra firmness that betrays the former sergeant's impatience. "Whether she stays or goes she needs any tattoo-based tracer removed, the leak needs identified, and she needs deprogrammed if at all possible. Do any of you three know a telepath capable of that?"

"I do not know any telepaths." Veronica answers honestly. "But I suspect Hank does." It's little things he has said before. She does not know who Catseye's mother is, though she has heard the woman speak of what that worthy did for her adopted daughter's facility with language. It's not her call, though. Hank is the expert on mutantcy, so his answers are more on point here. "What about that … Hunter, person?" Roni knows they have something to do with Mutant Town, so it seems a likely thing. And Ava did mention asking her.

"Ava has already explained: sending her away isn't going to eliminate the danger to us, unless we are bald enough to send her out where everyone can see her go, which is just hanging her out to dry." Veronica growls. "So sending her away isn't a viable option for making things safe. And I want her made as safe as she can be. Tattoo tracer removed, programming neutralized. I may not know how to do all of it, but what I can do, I will. So help me."

Toni frowns, finishing her second cookie, then picks up the container of coconut soup again, sipping from it. This cannot be a flavor sensation, but she doesn't seem bothered by it either. "Fine. So we remove the tattoo, that's easy. The telepathy, I don't know anyone so if Hank does, fine, we can take them to whoever. We can't bring them here." she says firmly. "No telepaths on campus."

"I know several, the two best choices of which are local and nearby." Hank answers without hesitation. "Let me reach out to them, in fact…excuse me." He steps out of earshot, not that there aren't means to eavesdrop if people wish to. He dials up Emma Frost, yes, he has her private number. "Miss Frost, good evening, Hank McCoy…" A nod. "…well, thank you, and yourself? Your daughters?" Another pause. "I should like to discuss something, yes, by all means. Talk to you soon." He disconnects the call, and then continues to stand off that little ways as he holds another, very separate conversation with the woman.

Moments later he returns to the group. "So…I have secured the services of a telepath, and she's agreed to meet us at a secure location of our choice. She asks for our discretion, of course, but is willing to help and asks nothing in return beyond that discretion."

"Roger. Wouldn't dream of it," Ava affirms, then crouches back over the table to gather her meal dishes and walk them to the closest thing resembling a trash can. A wide enough arc is cut to snatch one cookie for herself as well and in passing she gives Toni a small smile while glancing up at her pink-striped locks. "Tell me about that product later. I'd have killed to have washable black-ready dye ten years back."

As Hank returns from his call the cyborg gives him an approving nod. "As long as she can be trusted to keep this /absolutely/ secret. I'll find you coordinates and a time in two hours. Roni, Toni, you know how to reach me. I'll get Io access to the data." And with that Ava heads for the door.

"I will schedule a procedure with Martin, and we wil procede with the removal of the tattoo tracer as soon as possible." Veronica affirms, before Ava can be entirely gone. She widens her eyes a bit at how quickly Hank manages to make the arrangements she alluded to, but she did suggest it. So she nods at that as well. "I'll let everyone know when we're ready for the procedure. As soon as she is tracer-free, you two can make timing arrangements with whichever telepath it is Hank has reached." Roni will not be making any assumptions. Nope. Not a one. Thanks. "I admit, part of me wants to ask SHIELD for help with these jerks. But I don't want to open up Neena to owing them, anymore than I want her left for the easy pickings of the bastards who had her made." Protective 'Momma Bear Roni' is protective.

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