Summer 2018: The Shaws

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Svartfreja
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Summer 2018: The Shaws

Post by Svartfreja » Mon Mar 28, 2016 12:16 am

Sometime in June.


Ah China. Land of tea. Viper dearly hoped she wouldn't be discovered here. The possibility was remote - both Hydra and SHIELD had limited operations in China. But Hydra were very upset with her and persistant in their searching for her. She wasn't sure David would forgive her if Hydra found his house here and blew it up.

She was, at least, familiar with the area - she and David had met up here a few times over the years. But, every time she came, there were new people that watched her curiously. She wondered if it was just that she was unfamiliar to them or if they saw something in her that kept them so interested. Whatever it was, it was annoying. She didn't like being stared at.

Once she reached the house, she started the process of unpacking her car, watched by many curious locals. Some offered to help but she refused - she had a system. Files on her people of interest littered every available surface. Once she was finished, she stood amongst them with some tea. Where to start?

Hydra had seven heads... well, one head and six tentacles, if you wanted to be specific. She probably only needed to take out one or two for them to take her seriously as a threat. Not that they didn't already (as evidenced by their determination to kill her), they were just under the mistaken impression that they could intimidate her.

She ruled out the head and two of the tentacles right away because they would be too much of a headache. Assassinating the head of the organisation would start an internal war and, while that could be fun, it would leave her with little time to work. She tucked their files out of the way. This left her with four potential targets. The question now was... who did she hate the most?

That was a question that she could answer easily. The one she hated the most was the only female leader of the organisation. She wasn't jealous of the woman for her position - that would imply she cared - but she did feel somewhat irritated. She had been in Hydra much longer and all they did for her was to stay out of her way. Until now. But the Contessa liked to point out what she saw as failings - even though her failings were, in many cases, far worse - they were less noticable as they weren't happening in SHIELD's back yard. This pissed Viper off.

It was a shame, really, as Viper quite liked working for Hydra. They had excellent resources and they let her do pretty much whatever she wanted to. It had been this way for decades. They were like a very accepting family. Now, though, it was like they'd forgotten everything she'd done for them - and it had been a lot - all over one (completely sensible) indescretion.

She'd show them how stupid that was.

-

It took days to sort through the information she had on the Contessa. She'd papered the walls of the small living area with maps and other relevant items. Coloured strings linked her with other people or activities and one thread marked out her regular routine.

The Contessa's home base was a fortress. It was built beneath a castle, a vast sprawling warren of tunnels. Doubtless, it was also full of booby traps. The woman was extremely paranoid, even before this - something that was sure to have gotten worse, if anything. There was no point worrying about additions to the traps Viper already knew about - there was no way to get this information. So Viper concentrated on what she knew, though she did mark spots that she considered possible locations for further traps.

Once she was finished, she stood back and looked at it all. This was going to get very complicated. It was not going to be a one person job.

She was going to have to call in a couple of favours.
:quicksilver Pietro Maximoff [Quicksilver]

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Re: Summer 2018: The Shaws

Post by Svartfreja » Mon Mar 28, 2016 12:16 am

<Jessica> It had been a while since she'd had a proper chance to spar with anyone and Jess was enjoying herself. With Meggan to look after Miriam she could actually focus on what she was doing. Evading a move from Sebastian, she swept a leg across to try and knock him off his feet.

<Shaw> The nagging thought that he shouldn't hit his wife was still in the back of Sebastian's head, but it was getting easier each time she tried to incapacitate him. He jumped out of the way of her leg and skipped back from her with a smirk.

<Jessica> "You're not trying," Jess guessed, "I promise, you won't break me." She stepped into his space to try and take him down again.

<Shaw> "Perhaps I'm worried you'll break me?" He grinned and this time let her get close. Blocking one blow, he caught her arm and used her own momentum to spin her away from him.

<Jessica> She kept the momentum and came back at him with a higher kick, "You'll heal."

<Shaw> "Not at the moment." The kick connected with his hip and he swore, nearly losing his balance.

<Jessica> "Faster than I will." She attempted to take advantage of the slip and aimed for his knees next.

<Shaw> Sebastian saw that one coming, at least, and used his longer reach to catch her calf and yank.

<Jessica> She yelped and twisted, catching her balance with a hand on the mat, "Better!" She grinned.

<Shaw> "You've seen me with the bag, love - that's what I was made for. Not acrobatics." He laughed at her delight and waited for her to bounce up.

<Jessica> She didn't bouce up, but stayed low, tangling her legs with his and applying pressure to the back of his knees. "Maybe you should reconsider your specialities."

<Shaw> Sebastian let out an undignified yelp when his leg buckled, sending him down on top of her. "Clearly!" He grappled with her in an attempt to pin her.

<Jessica> She laughed, twisting beneath him for better purchase so she could roll and pin him instead. "I could teach you."

<Shaw> He fought her tooth and nail, since he was still much heavier than her. "I wouldn't be opposed," he said with a sharp grin.

<Viper> "Should I come back later?" Viper leaned against the door frame, her arms crossed over her chest.

<Shaw> The voice made him freeze, and sadly he had been close to deploying some unusual tactics to distract his lovely wife, whose bosom was heaving quite nicely. Sebastian looked up. "Oh. You're not dead."

<Jessica> Jess rolled over and scrambled out from underneath Sebastian to hug Viper before she could protest.

<Viper> Viper attempted to reverse back into the hallway but Jessica was remarkably quick and she found herself captured. "No. I'm not dead." She eyed Sebastian over Jessica's shoulder.

<Shaw> "Congratulations, then." He got to his feet more slowly and flashed Sarkissian his best predator's smile.

<Viper> She patted Jess gently and waited for her to let go. "It's not over yet, though."

<Jessica> Jess' worried look turned toward Sebastian too, "Are they still looking for you?"

<Viper> "I assume so... I've been out of the country for some time, though. They haven't found me yet." She moved into the room and reached to pick up a towel, tossing it to Sebastian.

<Shaw> Taking that as a hint, he scrubbed his face and hair, then flipped it over his shoulder. "Hydra seemed to maintain a low profile during that Brood business."

<Shaw> Sebastian found the clasp on the inhibitor bracelet and flicked it off, relishing the return of his abilities, and his link with Jessica. He gave her a quick mental caress and picked up a towel for her.

<Viper> "Yes, I imagine they were waiting to see if SHIELD and your school could handle it. I heard it went well."

<Jessica> Jess took the towel, studying Viper. She didn't look like herself with dark hair and normal clothes.

<Shaw> "Mmm, yes..." He still wasn't entirely certain about that. "So, what have you been up to?" He moved beside Jessica, resting his hand at the small of her back.

<Viper> "I've been working on a plan," she took a seat on a bench.

<Shaw> "Yes?" he prompted, one eyebrow lifting as the woman made herself at home. As usual.

<Viper> "I need to send Hydra a message. Something that they will understand. I intend to assassinate one of the High Council." She looked at Sebastian, holding his gaze.

<Shaw> "Oh? Taking a page from my playbook, are you?" He smirked.

<Viper> "If you mean your ridiculous attempt on my life... I was not and have never been a member of the High Council."

<Shaw> "No," he laughed. "The former Lord Imperial, my dear."

<Viper> "Oh that. He had it coming." She shrugged, "And he was old." Younger than her but that was absolutely not the point.

<Jessica> Jess glanced at Sebastian, "Sooo.... your target doesn't have it coming?"

<Viper> "Oh no, she does." Viper nodded, "But I hadn't intended to be the one to do it myself."

<Shaw> "Well, of course he did," Sebastian sniffed. The bastard had wiped his mind and robbed him of time with his pregnant wife. He'd deserved worse than death. "Just as I had no intent of doing it myself, yes?" His lips twitched. "Do you need to borrow something of mine?"

<Viper> "Yes. Two things. Your tiny Asian assassin and... your wife." Her gaze slid to Jessica.

<Shaw> He'd anticipated the request for Yukio, but the other... "Pardon?" His eyebrows rose to his hairline.

<Jessica> Jess's expression mirrored Sebastian's, "Why me?"

<Viper> "You have a unique skillset. I require it."

<Shaw> "Which skillset, precisely?" He exchanged a glance with his wife.

<Viper> "Are you willing to help me?" She ignored Sebastian's question.

<Jessica> "What would I have to do? ... And where is this woman?" She pressed her side against Sebastian.

<Viper> "She has a base in Europe..." She studied Jessica, wondering the depths of her first question. She took a guess, "You probably won't have to kill anyone."

<Shaw> "Then what would you ask her to do?" He slid his arm around Jessica protectively. She was just starting to recover and he wasn't going to stand by and watch her slide back.

<Viper> "I need her help to get inside the facility... though she may have to incapacitate some guards." She looked between them, "I'm aware that this is unexpected... but I do believe you offered to help." She raised an eyebrow at Sebastian.

<Shaw> He bit back his response and looked at Jessica. "So I did."

<Jessica> "Where have you been hiding all this time?" Jess watched her, "Somewhere safe if you're planning to break into a base..."

<Viper> "China." Viper looked between them, "All I need is a simple yes or no. Yukio owes me a favour."

<Shaw> Sebastian swallowed. It... is your decision, koibito. Not mine.

<Jessica> Jess frowned a little, realising the significance of Viper's choice of hideaway. She doesn't have anyone else to ask. "Alright," she nodded, "I'll do it."

<Shaw> Closing his eyes, he took a deep breath, willing himself to stay calm.

<Jessica> Jess put her arm around Sebastian's waist and gave him a gentle squeeze, I'll be alright... and I won't be alone.

<Viper> Viper nodded, "Good." She would have had to rethink her whole plan if Jessica had said no.

<Shaw> "You realize if she comes to harm you will beg for Hydra to end what you will suffer by my hand." He held onto his wife, meeting Sarkissian's eyes and holding them. You know I will also ask Yukio to ensure you come home unharmed.

<Jessica> Not at the expense of her own life. Jess prodded him in the back.

<Viper> "I have no intention of endangering either of them but it is not going to be a walk in the park. The woman's paranoia is legendary... and she knows I don't like her."

<Shaw> I would prefer you both come back, yes. He leaned into her. "Where is her base? I will at least be included in this plan inasmuch as knowing where my wife will be and what she will have to do."

<Viper> "Of course..." she dug in her pocket, "The details are here." She offered out the tiny storage device, "I wanted to be sure you would agree before I gave this to you. No sense putting you in more danger than you need to be in."

<Shaw> Sebastian took the device with a nod. "What is your timetable?"

<Viper> "As soon as possible. I have no desire to continue this tedious hiding. It's boring."

<Jessica> "Stay here for a couple of days until we're ready to go..." Jess offered without a second thought, "No one's going to look for you here... it'd be too obvious."

<Shaw> Sebastian nodded in agreement. It would give him more time to work on the woman, at any rate. "Our guest quarters are finished now, and I believe you know our security." He smirked.

<Viper> She nodded, "Alright... If I'm going to stay here I will need access to some things..."
:quicksilver Pietro Maximoff [Quicksilver]

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Re: Summer 2018: The Shaws

Post by Svartfreja » Mon Mar 28, 2016 12:17 am

<Viper> Viper sat amongst some of her information and attempted to order it again. She'd been printing it out in sections from her storage device and taping it together. She dearly missed her holographic technology. It would be so much easier to just have it all scanned and projected.

<Viper> After numbering a few more corners, she decided to take a break and plonked herself down on the bed with a sketchbook. While she'd been in China, she'd taken up drawing and painting again - it was a good way to pass the time and let her mind rest.

<Yukio> With Pishi in tow, Yukio bounced down the hall of the Shaw's new annex to their church-house. Humming the latest J-Pop sensation under her breath, she stopped outside the door, considered knocking, and then grinned. Why do that? She opened the door. "Kon'nichiwa!"

<Viper> Viper had heard her coming and so was not the least bit surprised by her entrance, she turned her head, "Good afternoon... did you want something?"

<Yukio> "Nope." Yukio came in and Pishi padded behind, sitting down beside her master when Yukio folded her legs and dropped right into the center of the floor.

<Viper> Viper was glad she'd removed all the papers from that spot before Yukio's entrance, "Then... why?" She raised an eyebrow at the woman.

<Yukio> "I just thought I'd say hello." She smiled and petted Pishi when she climbed into her lap.

<Viper> "Oh..." she frowned. Saying hi didn't take long enough that she would have to sit down. "That's all?"

<Yukio> "Well, yeah, I guess." Pishi started nomming on her arm and she tackled the silver creature, who looked like a sleek doberman today.

<Viper> Viper watched them, wondering absently where her predator had gotten to. Probably in the hands of one of the High Council as a trophy. "Did Sebastian inform you of my plan?"

<Yukio> "Yes." She rolled away and pounced on the predator, who woofed and slithered into a shimmering eel to get the upper... fin. Yukio giggled at Pishi and signaled her to relax, looking over at Viper. "But no."

<Viper> "No?" She was confused, "No you don't want to come?"

<Yukio> "Oh!" She laughed, then ruffled Pishi's ears when she shifted back to a dog shape. "No, I'll come! I need some excitement! He told me you wanted me, but not for what."

<Viper> "Good..." she set her sketch pad down to one side, "I'm intending to assassinate one of the Hydra High Council."

<Yukio> Yukio paused in ruffling predator ears and looked up. "Really?"

<Viper> She nodded, "Indeed... perhaps two if one isn't enough."

<Yukio> "Sounds fun. I'm in!" She tackled Pishi and the two rolled around on the floor.

<Viper> "Good. Because Jessica is coming with us and I'll need someone to bring her home if things don't go to plan."

<Yukio> The rolling stopped, with predator and prey tangled in a mess of limbs. "Jess is coming? How!?"

<Viper> "I asked her if she would like to help and she agreed." Viper shrugged a shoulder, "I think Sebastian would rather she said no."

<Yukio> She laughed. "I'm sure he would!" Yukio sat up and tried to straighten her hair a little. "But... I'm sure she wouldn't say no."

<Viper> "She seemed to be thinking about saying no... but she changed her mind." She frowned, wondering what had caused that.

<Yukio> "Really?" It was a little surprising, considering their conversations.

<Viper> "Perhaps I read it wrong... but she seemed to be concerned..." she shrugged again, "But she agreed so now we can plan properly."

<Yukio> "Concerned? Well, she has more to... worry about, I guess? But she wants something like this." Yukio gave Pishi a kiss and hug.

<Viper> "You think so?" She raised an eyebrow, "Well... I suppose that's progress. She does seem better than she was when I was last here. Less anxious."

<Yukio> "Oh, girl was a hot mess." She nodded and tossed Viper a grin.

<Viper> Viper laughed, "Yes. But she's okay now? And this new nanny... do we like her?"

<Yukio> "She's... better." Yukio shrugged. "Well, I like her. She is... funny."

<Viper> "Funny? Funny how?" Viper cocked her head on one side wondering why there was the stress on the 'I'. Did the others not like her?

<Yukio> "She's a shapeshifter, and she's as bad as Pishi." The predator pawed her in the face. Yukio sneezed from the smack to the nose.

<Viper> "I think I need to observe this woman more closely." She was intrigued now. "Are you finding Pishi useful?"

<Yukio> "I love my Pishi-Pishi!" She slung both arms around the predator and squeezed.

<Viper> "Well... I suppose that's good..." but it wasn't what she'd asked. "At least worth the favour you are doing for me now?"

<Yukio> "Yes, absolutely." She made a kissy face at her pet, giggling when Pishi licked her across the mouth, making her roll backward on her ass and wrap both legs around her.

<Viper> "Good." She offered a small smile, "Will Pishi be coming to Europe with us?"

<Yukio> "I wouldn't leave her behind!" After a little floor wrestling and a few brave threats, Yukio sat up. "So. We're killing a Hydra leader. What am I getting paid?"

<Viper> Viper raised an eyebrow, "The fun of the mission isn't payment enough? And you owe me a favour. That was your agreed payment for Pishi, was it not?"

<Yukio> "I do like a little fun." She grinned at Viper. "I suppose she's worth this kind of favor."

<Viper> "In any case... as much as I hate to admit it, I'm not currently in a position to offer you anything. I hope to regain my position within Hydra... perhaps earn a promotion... but this plan is ambitious, even for me."

<Yukio> "Well, I already have Pishi, and she's fantastic!" She grabbed the silver creature in another hug.

<Viper> Viper offered a small smile, "Good." She glanced at the sketch book then got up, "Do you suppose Sebastian will allow me in the kitchen where the knives live unsupervised?"

<Yukio> "Are you planning on stabbing him with one? Because he does sign my paychecks." She gave her a mock-suspicious once-over.

<Viper> "I never plan to stab anyone. I prefer guns." She raised an eyebrow at Yukio, a small smirk on her lips.

<Yukio> "Both are fun, actually." She sprang up, Pishi jumping excitedly. "Let's go get your knife."

<Viper> She laughed, "I don't want to go for the knives. I'm hungry. Contrary to popular theory I do actually eat." She stretched and adjusted the hem of her top before she went to the door.

<Yukio> "Oh, a snack run! I can get behind that, but I have to warn you that Mrs. Shaw isn't much on decent food."

<Viper> "Really? I was under the impression that Jessica was a good cook... or is she still avoiding meat?"

<Yukio> "She likes too much healthy food for the liking of most of the other residents, and yeah, there is the meat thing." She giggled. "One time Mr. Shaw tried to make steaks... that was fun."

<Viper> Viper laughed, "I can imagine." She stepped out into the hall, "Perhaps I could cook... of course, Sebastian would insist I'd poisoned it."

<Yukio> "He might make me his royal food taster." She made it into the main house and looked around for any Shaws, Starks, or robots.

<Viper> "Lucky you." Viper headed up toward the kitchen, "Let's see what's in here so we know what we're dealing with." She might have to send someone shopping.

<Yukio> "I can burn water, and live on ramen and pocky, so you are on your own." She jumped up on the kitchen counter and was soon joined by Pishi.

<Viper> "Is there any meat in the house? Hiding somewhere? Because, if not, then we need to address this. Soon." She started opening cupboards.

<Yukio> "Only what Mr. Shaw sneaks in, or the meat for Sharky and Pishi."

<Viper> "Where does Sebastian stash his treasure?" She stepped back from the cupboards once they were all opened and surveyed their collective contents.

<Yukio> "In the fridge in his work room, if he has any after the steak incident..."

<Viper> "Would you mind?" She glanced at the other woman, "I think he would be upset with me if I ventured in there."

<Yukio> "I live for clandestine missions." Yukio vaulted off the counter and headed for the stairs. Pishi stayed seated on the kitchen counter and gave Viper a very dog-like smile.

<Viper> Viper cocked her head at the expression on Pishi's face. "I hope I'm not going to have to retrain you before we leave."

<Yukio> Pishi's head tilted to match Viper's.

<Viper> "Combat or company?" Viper elaborated.

<Yukio> Pishi bared teeth in response.

<Viper> "Good." She turned to pick up a glass and help herself to some juice while she waited for Yukio to return.

<Yukio> In a few moments, she did just that, with a package of bacon. "I don't think he even knows how to cook this."

<Viper> It wasn't much but it would do for now. "Then we'll remove the temptation to try from him.... and then I think I might have to ask you to go to the store and fix this lack of meat problem. Jessica needs to eat real food or she won't be in as good a condition as she could be for our mission."

<Yukio> "As long as I have a list." Yukio dodged Pishi. "No, this isn't for you!" She handed off the package to Viper. "I don't know how to cook it either. I only know how to order it at IHOP."

<Viper> Viper shook her head, "How do you people live?" She pulled a selection of other things from the cupboards and fridge and got to work.

<Yukio> "Perfectly! Duh." She grinned at the back of her head and then helped herself to some of Drake's stash of soda.
:quicksilver Pietro Maximoff [Quicksilver]

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Hawkeye: What is that noise?
IronMan: That is the noise Pietro makes right before he's tossed out of the airlock. ~ Avengers: The Children's Crusade #6

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Re: Summer 2018: The Shaws

Post by Svartfreja » Mon Mar 28, 2016 12:17 am

Jess couldn't recall a time she'd ever been summoned to her own kitchen. Least of all by a tiny Japanese assassin on behalf of a crazy German terrorist fugitive. It was weird.

Viper had been busy in the kitchen. Having sent Yukio out on a quest for substantial food, Viper had rearranged the contents of the fridge, sharpened all the knives, and cooked a small lunch. It was on the table but currently hidden beneath the lid of a serving dish.

Jess came to a stop in the doorway, surveying the sight in front of her, eyebrow raised. "What's all this?"

"Take a seat." Viper gestured to the table.

Jess eyed her suspiciously - and the hidden surprise on the table. She did sit down, however, "What's going on?"

"I'm helping you." She lifted the lid on the plate, revealing a grilled chicken breast and a small salad.

The reaction was immediate. Jess was half way out of her seat in a second but was pushed back down again. She attempted to become one with the backrest once her escape was foiled.

"Jessica. It's not going to bite you - it's already dead." She felt the woman shudder beneath her hands. "It won't harm you."

"It's harming me just sitting there." She tried to escape again and whimpered when Viper stopped her.

"You need to deal with this." Viper's tone was firm but not unkind, "You have said yourself that you want to be able to function normally again. That will not happen if you continue to avoid even looking at meat."

"I've looked at it. Can I go now?" She looked up at Viper.

"No. You have to eat it." Viper raised an eyebrow, "You know it's not going to harm you. I cooked it for you, you didn't have to look at it when it was raw."

"But I can smell it now..." she frowed at the chicken.

Viper rolled her eyes and clipped an inhibitor she'd 'liberated' around Jessica's wrist. "Eat. You are not going anywhere until you do. I know you like chicken. It's good for you."

Jess' frown deepened and she eyed the inhibitor. Sebastian would have a fit if he knew she had one of those in her pockets. "Just because it's good for me-"

"Jessica. I can be extremely stubborn and I've had a lot more practise at it than you have. Eat your lunch."

Jess sighed heavily, reaching shaking hands to pick up the knife and fork. She cut off a tiny piece and popped it into her mouth, chewing and swallowing before she'd even really tasted it or thought about the texture in her mouth.

"Good. Now keep going until it's all gone."

"... I hate you right now." She probably meant it too.

"That's okay. Just as long as you eat your lunch." Even if it took all day.
:quicksilver Pietro Maximoff [Quicksilver]

Quicksilver: Howisshe?Isshealright?Imusetspeakwithmysisteratonce.
Hawkeye: What is that noise?
IronMan: That is the noise Pietro makes right before he's tossed out of the airlock. ~ Avengers: The Children's Crusade #6

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Re: Summer 2018: The Shaws

Post by Svartfreja » Mon Mar 28, 2016 12:19 am

<Viper> Viper had taken over one of the unused rooms in the extension of the house and was sat on the floor amidst a collection of deconstructed toasters, kettles and other small electronics. The walls were papered with printouts of the layout of the facility they were going to be infiltrating and one small corner was screened off.

<Shaw> Sebastian wandered into the extension, trailing a finger along the brand new woodwork admiringly. He hadn't ventured into the space allotted to Sarkissian as of yet, but he found himself curious.

<Viper> Viper was busily stripping wires when she heard the noise in the doorway and glanced up, "Oh, hello." She gestured vaguely to the only small appliance still in one piece - a coffee machine with a fresh pot on it.

<Shaw> "Hello." He took in the wreckage and decided coffee was perhaps the best way to deal with this. Sebastian went to pour himself a cup. "Keeping busy, I see."

<Viper> "You want me to be prepared, do you not?" She glanced up at him again.

<Shaw> "How is this helping you prepare?" He sniffed the coffee, then took a small experimental sip.

<Viper> "Do you know what it takes to overcome security on a Hydra base?" She raised an eyebrow at him.

<Shaw> "Apparently, three toasters, an electric kettle, and... what is that?" He cocked his head. "A rice maker? Agent Sum will not approve."

<Viper> "He'll understand." She gave the rice cooker a look, "Greater good and everything..." She frowned and went back to her wire stripping. "You'd be amazed how useful these parts can be when they're constructed properly."

<Shaw> "For what, may I ask?" He scooted a piece of toaster casing out of the way with his foot and lowered himself to the floor, folding his long legs.

<Viper> "A multitude of things." She put down her tools and looked at him, "Did you come in here to interrogate me or for some other reason?"

<Shaw> "Yes." He gave her a toothy smile and took a sip of her coffee.

<Viper> She rolled her eyes, "I don't work well with people asking me questions. Are you sure you want to risk antagonising me?"

<Shaw> "Well, you are staying in my home." He tilted his head and watched her.

<Viper> "I am... and I'm sure you're just thrilled about it." She smirked a little, "But it was at your wife's invitation."

<Shaw> "Indeed it was, and as loathe as I am to admit it..." He looked into his cup and spoke around the rim. "You are good for her."

<Viper> Both eyebrows went up, "Well well, that's some progress you've made there."

<Shaw> He raised his eyes and lowered his cup to give her a sneer.

<Viper> "I assume she told you about our conversation earlier?" She picked up her coffee cup again as she wasn't working for the moment.

<Shaw> "Indeed." And how his arguments along the same lines had failed when he'd offered take-out he'd never understand. It was irksome, but the benefits outweighed the annoyance.

<Viper> "She's not cured, you know. You'll have to keep making her eat it until it's normal again." She took a sip of her coffee, "She needs to."

<Shaw> "Oh, I'm well aware. Still, she's improved tremendously over the last few weeks." Thankfully. He wasn't sure either of them could take much more insanity.

<Viper> She nodded, "Yes, Yukio told me. I'm glad... and I'll endevour not to jepordise that."

<Shaw> "We've had several close calls, and it took its toll on her."

<Viper> Viper nodded, "I suppose she hasn't had time to deal with so many things happening at once... but she is not weak."

<Shaw> "No, I know she is not weak, but you must know I have my concerns about this mission." He picked up a bit of circuitry and started attempting to decipher what she was up to.

<Viper> "Of course you do. But, as you can see, I am making sure to plan for several eventualities," she gestured around her at the mess on the floor and the papered walls. "And Yukio will be there with her predator."

<Shaw> "Well, if any of you need toast, you are most definitely covered." He smirked at the circuitry and took a sip of coffee.

<Viper> She rolled her eyes, "If I had access to my own lab I wouldn't have to resort to cannibalising other items."

<Shaw> "Perhaps if you asked nicely for parts you need, something could be arranged?"

<Viper> "I'd rather not draw unnecessary attention to your home." She watched him over the rim of her cup as she took another sip, "But, if you're offering, I can furnish you with a list and you can decide what it's safe to order."

<Shaw> "While I do appreciate your discretion, I don't think a list is out of line. After all, I tend to order quite a few components on my own."

<Viper> Viper set her coffee cup down on the floor and got up, going to the screened off area. She tore a page out of her sketch book and wrote a short list of essentials in pencil. "Start with these," she held the list out to Sebastian when she returned.

<Shaw> He skimmed the list and nodded, folding it into a neat square to place in his pocket. "So... I suppose we're past the death threats for my wife's safety."

<Viper> "We've been past that for a long time. You just took a while to catch up." She picked up her coffee cup and decided to top it up while she was on her feet.

<Shaw> Sebastian rolled his eyes. "We'll just pretend it makes me feel better about the situation, yes?"

<Viper> "It makes you feel like you're in control when you attempt to intimidate me. I know." She held up the coffee pot, "More?"

<Shaw> "It's an endearing character trait." He grinned at her, then held his cup aloft. "Please."

<Viper> "If you say so." She crossed to him to top off his coffee then set the coffee pot back down again. "Intimidation is not a particularly effective method to use on me."

<Shaw> "So I've noticed, but rest assured I'll keep trying." He inhaled the aroma of his coffee and thanked her, watching her cross the room again.

<Viper> "At least you're consistent?" She raised an eyebrow, a small smirk on her lips.

<Shaw> "As the sun that rises in the east." He raised his mug in salute and took a sip, hiding his smirk.

<Viper> She sipped her own coffee and crouched to start putting things she wouldn't need for a while inside one of the empty toaster boxes. Better to have them out of the way than to step on something later while she wasn't wearing shoes.

<Shaw> "Speaking of the east..." He watched her from the corner of his eye, still fiddling with the circuit board. "Why China?"

<Viper> She glanced up as she put things away, "Both SHIELD and Hydra have a low presence there, they were less likely to find me." It wasn't a complete lie.

<Shaw> "Mmm, I imagine Agent Sum could provide you valuable input there." He wasn't really expecting to see any tells, but you never knew.

<Viper> "I'm sure he could." She picked up the box as it was mostly full and took it to set it against the wall and collect another one for the larger pieces.

<Shaw> "He does owe you a debt of gratitude, if not life," he observed.

<Viper> "I'm sure SHIELD would be thrilled to find out he'd been helping a wanted terrorist." Viper wondered what had prompted this line of questioning and she wanted to shut it down as soon as possible.

<Shaw> "I don't believe for one second that SHIELD dictates his every move and motivation." Sebastian tilted his head, watching her still.

<Viper> "Well I would hope not - he's older than the organisation after all." She finished filling the second box and put it with the first.

<Shaw> "Precisely." He sipped his coffee. "While I'm well aware it's not considered good form to ask a lady her age, but consider it a... scientific interest."

<Viper> "Also older than SHIELD." In fact, she was coming up on a Century. "I was already working for Hydra during World War II."

<Shaw> "Mmm. So it's been a lifelong vocation, has it?"

<Viper> "Something like that." She returned to her spot on the floor with her coffee now that most of the mess was gone. "I didn't choose to join Hydra."

<Shaw> "Oh?" Sebastian tilted his head, watching her. "Do tell."

<Viper> She sighed, at least he'd stopped talking about David. "They.... recruited me, I suppose, when I was six or seven."

<Shaw> Despite himself, Sebastian was shocked. "That young? How?"

<Viper> "They adopted me from an orphanage. I wasn't the only one." She shrugged a shoulder. "They treated me better than the orphanage."

<Shaw> "How old are you? Truly?"

<Viper> "I don't see why it matters... but I was born in April 1919."

<Shaw> His brows rose. "And you don't look a day over... lovely." Sebastian smirked and took a sip of his coffee.

<Viper> She raised an eyebrow at that.

<Shaw> His grin widened. "Also an endearing character trait."

<Viper> She had no idea what he was talking about but managed not to let the confusion show on her face. "Is your curiosity satisfied?"

<Shaw> "Quite." He nodded to himself and set the circuit board aside. "I have often wondered what my natural lifespan will be."

<Viper> "Potentially very long if you're careful... unless you got bored, I suppose."

<Shaw> "I'm already down a spleen, but otherwise I'm in perfect health. At one time I was concerned the ten year gap between our ages might put Jessica off."

<Viper> "In twenty years, she may have the same concern." Viper swapped her coffee for her tools and attempted to get back to work.

<Shaw> "She's told me as much." That made him look down at his cup with a frown.

<Viper> "And do you feel this way?" She glanced at him, "Should she be worried?"

<Shaw> Sebastian shook his head, raising his eyes to meet hers. "No. Not at all. She is my wife. She is the mother of my children, living and dead. I fully intend to honor the vow we took unto death."

<Viper> "It doesn't bother you that she will die long before you do? Possibly your children too?" She was interested now and watched him, her head cocked on one side.

<Shaw> Sebastian kept her gaze for a moment longer and smiled to himself softly. "Yes, of course it does," he said, eyes falling to his hand wrapped around the cup, and his wedding band.

<Viper> "I never understood why people do this to themselves."

<Shaw> "While I certainly will never tire of acquiring money and power, my entanglements with others have by far become the most satisfying elements of my life." He straightened his band and sent Jessica - wherever she was in the main house at the moment - a wordless rush of affection through their link.

<Viper> "I'm not overly fond of people." She wrinkled her nose a little, remembering all the people she'd been forced to spend time with in her work for Hydra.

<Shaw> "It depends entirely on the person," he said with a smirk. "I find most people fascinating for various reasons."

<Viper> "Sometimes things people do interest me, but it happens less and less often." She focused her attention back on her work.

<Shaw> "Present company excluded, of course." Sebastian leaned to watch her.

<Viper> "Occasionally you are interesting," she conceded. But it was probably because she'd never had the opportunity to observe a (relatively) normal family up close before.

<Shaw> "Occasionally." He clucked his tongue and turned his attention back to his coffee.

<Viper> "No one can be interesting all the time," she commented, setting part of her project to one side and picking up something else.

<Shaw> Sebastian chuckled. "I will concede that."

<Viper> She offered a small smile, reaching over and taking the circuit board he'd been fiddling with. "How would you feel about me cooking a few meals while I'm here?"

<Shaw> He looked up and studied her face, head tilted. "For Jessica's sake, I would appreciate it."

<Viper> "I promise not to poison them," she volunteered with a small smirk. "I know it's a concern of yours."

<Shaw> "How generous of you," he laughed.

<Viper> "I can be very generous if I want to be," she turned her attention back to her work.

<Shaw> "Such as sharing your abilities." He reached over and shifted her hair just enough to see her scar.

<Viper> The gesture was unexpected and she couldn't help jerking her head back away from him, "That wasn't generosity."

<Shaw> "What was it then?" Sebastian raised his hand in a placating gesture and sat back.

<Viper> She frowned, "It was necessary. If I hadn't have done that he would have died."

<Shaw> "Yes. You could have let him die. No one would have been the wiser."

<Viper> "Hope would have never let that go," she shook her head. Neither would David. She rubbed absently at the scar on her cheek then tucked her hair behind her ear.

<Shaw> "No, and it's quite likely she never would have recovered," he said quietly. "Still, you owed her nothing. I believed you did it for Jessica."

<Viper> "I do many things for Jessica... and also for myself. If Hope believed I had allowed him to die, do you think she would allow me to continue existing?"

<Shaw> "Even I thought he was beyond saving, not to say I'm not extremely grateful to you for that as well."

<Viper> "You are rationally minded. Hope has not demonstrated that capacity, particularly when it comes to your clone." She glanced at him.

<Shaw> "That is true enough," he chuckled.

<Viper> She considered that psychologists would probably find their weird relationships very interesting - perhaps even more than she did. "So I saved myself a headache by saving his life." These days she was wondering if she shouldn't have just let the Brood land their ships. They'd probably be more of a pain than Hydra and SHIELD both trying to track her down, though.

<Shaw> "And, of course, you did further ingratiate yourself to us." He smirked.

<Viper> "Yes." Though she hadn't really been thinking about that at the time. "Are you concerned I wouldn't do the same thing again?"

<Shaw> "Would you?" He had assumed she would, if it made Jessica happy, so the opposite thought had not occurred to him.

<Viper> Viper frowned, her hands stilling in their work while she tried to puzzle that out. Eventually she shrugged a shoulder, "I don't know."

<Shaw> Sebastian hummed. At least she was honest, and it would appear she needed to think about it. "I've often wondered if you didn't save his life twice."

<Viper> She turned her frown toward Sebastian, "What do you mean?"

<Shaw> "When all of his genetic tests came back normal." He gave her a half smile. "It seemed nothing short of a miracle."

<Viper> She nodded, "I suppose that could have done something... but that depends on whether or not you trust SHIELD's original medical report." She went back to her work, "My healing isn't as good as some but it's fairly efficient."

<Shaw> "And the effects stayed with him for some time. Frankly, I'm still unsure if they've faded." He shrugged.

<Viper> "It's simple enough to test, you know." She picked up one of her tools - a nice sharp one - and used it to slice the end of her finger. Then she held up the finger so Sebastian could watch the cut knit back together.

<Shaw> "Forgive me if I'm disinclined to approach him with a bladed weapon," he said with a disbelieving laugh, shaking his head at her.

<Viper> "Well you could get him to do it himself... it hurts but it'll get better." She gave a small shrug. "Somewhat slower once my powers wear off."

<Shaw> "I'll keep it in mind." He was still chuckling, but watched her finger with interest. "It's a tad quicker than mine, unless my abilities have been fully, ah, charged, so to speak."

<Viper> "My healing prioritises... The more life threatening injuries heal first... Healing mutations are surprisingly varied."

<Shaw> "Mutations as a whole are shockingly varied. And some make no damn sense at all."

<Viper> She laughed, "They're not supposed to make sense. Mutations are nature's way of testing things. You should know that."

<Shaw> "There are some things that need no testing," he observed with an authoratative nod and sipped his coffee.

<Viper> "Such as?" she raised an eyebrow. This coming from a scientist.

<Shaw> "There was a student at Xavier's some time ago whose stomachs were sentient and liked to go on walkabout outside his body to eat." He raised an expectant brow over the rim of his cup.

<Viper> Viper thought about that for a long moment, "That would cut down on time wasted eating meals."

<Shaw> Sebastian scoffed.

<Viper> "You don't think so?" She raised an eyebrow, "Or perhaps you don't think it's wasted time?"

<Shaw> "I don't think it's wasted time. If you're in a rush, a protein bar will suffice, but food is a pleasure I would not forego." He raised his cup to her in a mocking toast.

<Viper> "Sometimes there isn't sufficient time for that luxury..." she focused on her work again, "Especially when you're short on staff and have a working deadline."

<Shaw> "Yes, I suppose your current circumstances would present challenges." He watched her curiously, thinking again.

<Viper> "I'm less concerned about being discovered here. At least you people can take care of yourselves."

<Shaw> "Most of us, yes." He took another drink. "Have you seen Miriam since you've been back?"

<Viper> She shook her head, "Why would I do that?"

<Shaw> "I'm sure Jessica would be pleased."

<Viper> Viper raised an eyebrow, "Why? She doesn't need any help to take care of her except, I assume, for the help you pay for."

<Shaw> "It has nothing to do with a need for additional caregivers." He sighed and inspected his coffee. "It is something done among... people," he said in a bored tone. "Jessica considers you something of a... family member. So, as such, it is expected to coo over family infants."

<Viper> "No one in their right mind would expect me to coo over anything."

<Shaw> Sebastian grinned. That got her attention. "Indeed, but perhaps you could observe that the small human has grown, and her development seems sufficient in comparison to her relative age."

<Viper> "This implies I have any knowledge of normal developmental progress. I do not." And she had no strong desire to learn either.

<Shaw> "Well, then perhaps you could simply observe she has grown." He smirked. "Jessica is risking herself on your behalf, after all."

<Viper> Viper rolled her eyes, "I fail to see how this observation would contribue to Jessica's wellbeing."

<Shaw> "Believe me, it would. It shows you are interested in her life."

<Viper> "I'll see what I can do in between training her to eat meat again and building things to keep her alive."

<Shaw> "Madam, it would only take a few moments of your time," he said, rolling his eyes in return. "And yes, I am appreciative of your efforts on her behalf."

<Viper> "I've said I'll see what I can do... though, speaking of children, where are the other two?" She glanced at him.

<Shaw> He waved a hand. "They're about. Michael is auditing classes at MIT and Hope has finished her time at Xavier's with completion of Jarvis."

<Viper> She nodded, "I suppose you've told them I'm here?" Perhaps the news would reach David and he'd be reassured she was alright.

<Shaw> "Oh yes. We don't need a chance encounter when searching for midnight munchies, now do we?"

<Viper> "Whyever not? They're the most entertaining." She offered a small grin.

<Shaw> He laughed, shaking his head. "I believe we've had enough excitement for the short term."

<Viper> "Speak for yourself. My last couple of months have been excruciatingly boring. I hate hiding."

<Shaw> "Well, I'm certain if you stay here for long you will have more excitement than you like."

<Viper> "Hopefully not the excitement that involves Hydra finding out where I am." She sighed, lately she'd been wondering if she should have taken David up on his offer to join SHIELD before it was SHIELD.

<Shaw> "No, we'd like to avoid that sort of excitement at all costs."

<Viper> "I will endevour to complete my preparations swiftly," she assured him, "The less time I spend here, the less likely they are to find me here."

<Shaw> "And, of course, I have beefed up my own security. Discretely." He ran his tongue over his teeth and shifted. "What is your timeframe?"

<Viper> "As soon as possible... it depends on how quickly I can finish this and whether or not Yukio and Jessica are ready before then."

<Shaw> Sebastian simply nodded. "Well, then all the more reason for you to coo over the infant sooner rather than later," he said, watching her from the corner of his eye while he raised his cup to his lips.

<Viper> She frowned, "I already told you. I don't coo."

<Shaw> "I know." He smirked and winked at her, sipping his coffee.
:quicksilver Pietro Maximoff [Quicksilver]

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IronMan: That is the noise Pietro makes right before he's tossed out of the airlock. ~ Avengers: The Children's Crusade #6

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Re: Summer 2018: The Shaws

Post by Svartfreja » Tue Apr 12, 2016 7:13 am

As per her instructions from on high, Viper found herself in the nursery. She settled herself in the rocking chair and turned the baby monitor off. No one in the house needed the damned thing anyway. Such a waste of money. Maybe she could cannibalise it for parts? Just as she was considering popping the batteries out to investigate its potential, Miriam stirred.

She waited for a moment to see if there would be any crying, at which point she fully intended to flee, but Miriam merely blinked her eyes open and seemed to be watching back now. Viper held the infant's gaze, wondering what babies thought about when they stared at people like that. Could she even see that far across the room? Probably by now.

Miriam graced her with a smile and Viper awkwardly returned it. She'd read somewhere that babies respond well if you mirror their expressions and she was sure Sebastian wouldn't thank her if she sabotaged Miriam's emotional development even if it was an accident. Miriam flailed her legs and the smile broadened so mimicking her seemed to have had the desired effect. Now what was she supposed to do? There was a lot of flailing and now she'd rolled over... did that mean she wanted out?

Broo had not had a normal development so Viper was ill equipped to handle a small child. A fact she kept pointing out to Sebastian to no avail. With a sigh, she got up from the chair and bent to lift Miriam out of the cot, "Is that better, Mäuschen?" At least she knew how to hold a baby, that much had been instinctual, even if she felt nothing for the child. Miriam blinked up at her. Green eyes like her mother. Peering into the empty cot she found the small spider plush and picked it up, raising it into Miriam's eyeline - she reached for it so Viper let her have it.

She took Miriam to the window and peeked out while Miriam chewed on the spider's squishy head and stared at her. It must be nice to be a baby, Viper thought, no one expected anything of you really as long as you ate, slept and pooped. Unlimited potential. Until some adult came along and fucked it up for you anyway. In years to come would Miriam be looking back and blaming her for fucking up her life? Maybe... in fact, probably. Sooner or later, her association with Miriam's parents was going to bite them in the ass. But, as usual, Viper found she didn't care.

She moved away from the window and sat down in the chair again, cradling Miriam against her. She seemed a happy baby, though Viper wasn't sure it was really possible to tell one way or another because babies only cried when they wanted something. It was their only way to communicate for several months. That was probably a bit frustrating. She cocked her head on one side, now wondering if babies felt frustration. She thought about removing the plush spider to test this but decided that the crying would be too annoying if it turned out that frustration was something Miriam felt.

Miriam was doing that thing where she didn't blink so Viper prodded the end of her nose to force one. Miriam giggled and flailed some more. "Staring is considered rude, you know," she informed the baby, "Lucky for you, you can get away with it." Not for long though. Miriam made another sound and grinned gummily around her spider. It was times like this when Viper wondered if Miriam understood more than she was letting on.

By now, Jessica was used to Miriam's napping schedule and she had gone to the nursery to check on her at around the time she usually woke up. Hearing the voice, she paused in the doorway, out of sight of the rocking chair that was facing toward the cot. She watched Viper with Miriam, struck by how odd it was to see her doing something so normal as talking to a baby. Maybe it was her tone of voice? It was unusually soft, a tone she sometimes adopted when she spoke to Broo.

Jess didn't want to disturb them and break the spell but, at the same time, a small part of her was worried about leaving the woman with Miriam. It wasn't so much that she didn't trust her - she did trust her, probably more than she should - but it made her uneasy to see her there. Perhaps it was that Viper looked so much different to how she was supposed to now, or maybe it was that (forgetting the scar) they looked more alike than ever. Miriam was staring at her, transfixed. Did she sense that Viper was different from other people? Or was it just confusion? Either way, Jess shifted her weight from one foot to the other and cleared her throat softly to announce herself.

Viper turned her head toward the sound; Miriam followed her gaze. "Hello Jessica," she shifted in her seat, moving to get up.

"Hi..." she crossed the room to her, holding up a hand, "It's okay, don't get up," she offered a small smile, "I was just coming to check on her..." She bent to press a kiss to Miriam's forehead, noticing that the baby monitor had been turned off. "Has she been awake long?" she moved to take Miriam from Viper, feeling suddenly protective.

Viper shook her head, surrendering the child to her mother, "Sebastian suggested I visit with her," Viper offered an explanation. "I'm not sure why."

"Oh..." Well now she didn't know what to think. "Um... at least she didn't cry or throw up on you?"

She gave Jessica a small smile, "Indeed. I did try to tell Sebastian I'm not good with children."

"You seemed to be doing okay," Jess returned the smile, relaxing again now. "She's growing fast..."

Viper nodded along, frowning a little at Jessica's tone, "Are you worried you will miss much while we're in Europe?"

"A little bit..." Jess sighed, pacing the room with Miriam, "That's not to say I've changed my mind..."

"I don't intend to be there for longer than a couple of weeks," Viper assured her, "You won't miss anything important in that time."

Jess nodded, thinking that over some more.

"Are you having second thoughts?" Viper watched her as she paced back and forth. Miriam's namesake used to do that.

"No... yes... I don't know..." she sighed, "I'm just worrying... I can't help it."

"What are you worrying about? Perhaps I can help?" She thought about offering Jessica the chair but she was comfortable and she knew the other woman wouldn't take up the offer.

"Okay..." Jessica stopped pacing to look at her, "What if it all goes wrong?"

"Then Yukio has instructions to bring you home."

"... But what about you?" She wrapped her arms around Miriam unconsciously, echoing the protective feelings she was experiencing toward Viper.

"I am not your concern, Jessica. I have lived long enough, if things go badly and Hydra captures me, or SHIELD for that matter... then I am prepared to face the consequences. You should come home and raise your daughter and think no more about it."

"But I will, though..." she chewed her lip, in two minds about continuing her thought out loud. She decided to go for it; "What about David?"

Viper was surprised by the question and it showed briefly in the raising of her eyebrows before the mask came back down, "What about him?"

"What do I tell him if it all goes wrong?" Jessica's tone made it clear that she would accept no wriggling around the subject.

Viper sighed, "Speak to no one about this. Especially not Sebastian." She glanced at the window, "Just... tell him I died. Even if you don't know for certain."

"You're worried he'll come to find you..." Jess felt a sudden swell of pity for them both and bit her lip, positive that Viper would not appreciate her voicing how sorry she was. It was the first time since Japan that she'd shown any sign of caring for someone that didn't have a direct connection to her. She wanted to ask what it was between them but it was none of her business.

Viper merely nodded to the statement, "There's no point him getting involved. He has a life here and a job to do, let him keep those things." She decided now was the time to exit the chair before Jess asked her any more awkward questions. "I should get back to work..."

"Um... okay..." Jess watched her head for the door, somewhat surprised by the sudden change in subject even though she should know better.

"Keep indoctrinating Miriam with spiders," she said over her shoulder, "Your mother would have encouraged it too." She disappeared down the stairs before Jessica could respond.

Jess watched her go, simmultaneously frustrated and contented. How was it that the woman continued to surprise her? She never could get a proper read on her motives. She couldn't really be as heartless as she'd have everyone believe... but, if that was so, why could she never pick up any emotion from her? It made no sense. Miriam started making the snuffly noises of imminent wailing for food and distracted her from her thoughts. Maybe one day she'd pluck up the courage to ask David if he ever figured her out.
:quicksilver Pietro Maximoff [Quicksilver]

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Hawkeye: What is that noise?
IronMan: That is the noise Pietro makes right before he's tossed out of the airlock. ~ Avengers: The Children's Crusade #6

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Re: Summer 2018: The Shaws

Post by Starfish » Thu Apr 14, 2016 10:56 pm

Awesome fic! I really like Viper's interaction with everyone (though I believe Mel would still prefer to claw her face off >_>).

Also, I couldn't stop thinking of this when I read about her cannibalising kitchen appliances for parts:

Image

Svartfreja
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Re: Summer 2018: The Shaws

Post by Svartfreja » Tue May 03, 2016 1:12 am

<Viper> It was late, far too late for her to be awake, but Viper's mind was still too busy for her to get any sleep as she ran through her plan over and over. Her preparations were complete and it would soon be time to leave for Europe with Jessica and Yukio but she wanted to give them a couple of days more to get used to the idea now that they were ready to leave.

<Viper> Rather than be shut in her room surrounded by reminders of their mission, Viper had moved to the kitchen and was sketching at the table. She was through several pages, some lay on the table top drying after she'd painted in some colour.

<Shaw> One of the disadvantages of enhanced hearing was knowing exactly when there were late-night raiders in the kitchen. A rare call of nature pulled Sebastian from the warm bed and his sleeping wife and now curiosity was doing all the calling. He wandered up the stairs and paused at the top to take in their most notorious houseguest.

<Viper> Viper was focused entirely on her task, not expecting anyone to sneak up on her. She was uncharacteristically relaxed, her bare feet resting on the seat of another chair, sketchbook propped up on the table as she worked on her latest drawing.

<Shaw> The woman looked shockingly normal, sitting there with a pile of... drawings? At first he thought she was working on paperwork, but then he realized the movements were wrong. Fascinating. With bare feet, he made very little noise as he entered the kitchen.

<Viper> The sound of her pencil drowned out any noise that Sebastian's feet might have made and she shifted a little bit to get a more comfortable reach to a corner of her page. She'd seen many things on her travels and was drawing from memory, almost a century of it to work from.

<Shaw> He suspected sneaking up on her might prove fatal, so he cleared his throat before he went to the refrigerator to get a bottle of water.

<Viper> She sucked in a breath of surprise at the arrival of Sebastian and sat up a bit, "It's late." The statement was a request for an explanation but she suspected Sebastian would ignore it.

<Shaw> Of course he ignored it - this was his house and his kitchen, after all. Opening the water, he hummed and slowly stalked toward the table. "Indeed it is."

<Viper> She rolled her eyes and went back to her drawing, "I hope you're not going to lie and say I woke you."

<Shaw> "Of course not." He took a drink and pulled out a chair, eying the drawings. She really was just sketching, not drafting plans for biomechanical terrors or weapons of mass destruction. There was a colorful blue and orange bird as well as flowers and - oh, Jessica would approve - insects. How pedestrian. "My bladder did that."

<Viper> An eyebrow rose, "And so you are giving it more ammunition?" She glanced at him again, her pencil pausing on the paper.

<Shaw> Sebastian bared teeth at her and took another drink.

<Viper> "You needn't keep me company. I'm quite used to being alone and I think I should have reassured you enough by now that I can be left to my own devices in your home without anything untoward happening."

<Shaw> "Perhaps you've simply piqued my interest with your... artistic ventures?" He picked up the sketch of the bird and studied it.

<Viper> "It helps my mind rest," she offered in explanation, "Though it's also useful if I'm bored." As she was now distracted, she decided to make coffee and set her sketchbook down on the table.

<Shaw> "I see. There's something else that helps one rest in the middle of the night, and I hear it's also excellent for boredom." He grinned at her back, watching her move about the kitchen. "Sleep."

<Viper> "Sometimes sleeping is not an option available..." she didn't look at him but continued about her task. "I don't require much sleep so it won't do me any harm."

<Shaw> "Mmm." He turned his attention back to the sketch, then picked up another. "Perhaps you and Jessica are related then."

<Viper> That did make her turn, raising an eyebrow at him, "Pardon?"

<Shaw> Sebastian looked up at her with a slow blink. "Believe it or not, it was a jest. I do make them from time to time."

<Viper> She frowned, still not sure what he'd meant by the comment or why it would be funny. She gave a half shrug and turned back to the coffee machine.

<Shaw> He smirked to himself and set the drawings down to take another sip of water. "Interesting subject matter - your sketches, that is."

<Viper> "Interesting in what way?" she turned and leaned against the counter while she waited for the coffee.

<Shaw> "Well, frankly, they seem quite... normal."

<Viper> She raised an eyebrow, "What would you expect me to draw?"

<Shaw> "Something a tad more diabolical." He again flashed her his teeth.

<Viper> She laughed, "Are you disappointed? These are not for work, it would hardly be relaxing if I did what you expected would it?"

<Shaw> "Oh, I don't know," he said, leaning back in the chair and tapping the water bottle on the table. "I tinker to relax, and the lines between business and pleasure blur."

<Viper> "Well you enjoy your work, it is a hobby for you... My work is more widely varied, I would have to choose a discipline... But I was doing this long before Hydra." She gestured to the sketches on the table.

<Shaw> "Are you self-taught?" He went back to the bird, primarily because of the splash of color it brought to the table.

<Viper> She nodded, "Yes... there was little else to do." Well, for her. Everyone else was busy making friends.

<Shaw> "I thought you said you came to Hydra quite young? When then did you pick up the hobby?" He tilted his head to study her.

<Viper> She sighed, "I used to draw in the orphanage... and I continued the practice when I left there and after I officially joined Hydra."

<Shaw> "Interesting." He turned his attention back to the sketch. "It's not a species I'm familiar with, I'm afraid."

<Viper> "It's a European kingfisher... I first saw one when I was sent to England during the war." Her eyes fell to the bird in question, remembering that day well.

<Shaw> "It's a bright little thing." He shuffled through a few of the other sketches.

<Viper> "I was supposed to be watching a field but the kingfisher on the river was much more interesting," the coffee machine sputtered behind her and brought her back from her mental trip into the past.

<Shaw> "I can see why." He inspected a flower, stretching his legs out beneath the table.

<Viper> "We weren't sure they'd even given us the right location... they were always getting confused," she shook her head, pouring a cup of coffee for herself.

<Shaw> "I can't even imagine how intelligence operations functioned then," he said, looking up and suddenly interested.

<Viper> "Leaning out of an aeroplane and taking photographs was a large portion of it," she shrugged a shoulder, "I imagine the english countryside all looked the same from above back then... but, being on the ground, it was frustrating to be sent to the wrong places.... and, of course, it was the era of the spy. There was a lot of that."

<Shaw> "It sounds apalling, frankly."

<Viper> She laughed, "It wasn't all bad... some of it was quite fun, actually."

<Shaw> "Oh? I can't imagine." He arched a brow, urging her on as he picked up his water for another swig.

<Viper> "New technologies were being invented all the time and Hydra wanted all of them... so stealing them was something to do." She sipped her coffee, "And there was more freedom to create new things back then... less ethics." She wrinkled her nose.

<Shaw> At that, both his eyebrows shot upward. "Less? Well, now I really can't imagine," he laughed.

<Viper> "It was a war, people usually don't worry about ethics until they're over and then there's a scramble not to look like boogeymen in the press." She had another sip of coffee before heading back to the table, "Which is a ridiculous waste of energy - it never works."

<Shaw> "Who were you working for then, if not Hydra? They tend to avoid the press altogether, yes? So the populist opinion would hardly matter."

<Viper> "Hydra did some work for the government then... it was a different time." She settled back in her seat and picked up her sketchbook again, frowning at the picture she'd been working on and trying to work out what was missing.

<Shaw> "Clearly." Although, he could imagine Tony working with Hydra if it met his needs. Curious, he leaned to study the pastoral scene. "That does not look like England."

<Viper> She shook her head, "No... it's China." Maybe there needed to be people? She cocked her head on one side, picking up a her pencil again.

<Shaw> "China? Interesting." He studied her face as she worked for a few silent moments. "I've been to Hong Kong and Shanghai, but not in the country."

<Viper> "It's better in the country - less smog." She glanced up, "But it's humid."

<Shaw> "When did you first go there?"

<Viper> "Not long after the war was over..." a small smile tugged at the corner of her mouth as she remembered her first time on that farm. "I hated it."

<Shaw> "You hated China, or that place?" He nodded toward the sketch.

<Viper> "I have to pick one?" she raised an eyebrow, shooting him another glance, "Travelling back then was not like it is now... it took a long time to get anywhere and it was very uncomfortable."

<Shaw> Sebastian huffed a low laugh. "Why did you go then?"

<Viper> "I wasn't going alone," her pencil traced the shapes of people into the picture. "I wasn't too pleased when we arrived either... which was a source of great amusement."

<Shaw> "I suppose I shouldn't be at all surprised at Hydra operating in China," he mused, watching her reactions.

<Viper> She shook her head, "They don't have much of an operation there... that's why it was safe to go... sometimes we were sent to acquire something there though." Her pencil movements slowed as she worked on some details.

<Shaw> "Anything interesting?" He kept his voice low in an attempt to keep her talking.

<Viper> She shrugged a shoulder, "Sometimes... it was often easier to steal things they'd stolen from other people..."

<Shaw> "And they often kept top secret projects on farms?" He leaned to look at the sketch and smirked.

<Viper> She raised an eyebrow, glancing up at him again, "No. But they are a very good place to make top secret plans."

<Shaw> "So is that the farm you visited then, or the farm where you concocted your most recent plan?"

<Viper> "Is there some reason they can't be the same place?" She finished adding the people in then put her sketchbook down again to drink more coffee.

<Shaw> He hummed and sat back with a grin, taking a drink of his water. "I've heard David get all wistful about his farm in China... I believe he said he raises tea?"

<Viper> She studied him over the rim of her cup, "Is that so?"

<Shaw> "Mmm. Indeed. I'm quite sure he said it was tea. He and Jessica tend to bond over that filthy tepid leaf water."

<Viper> "Tea isn't so bad," she settled back in her seat, "And it's better than nothing when you can't get coffee." She was having to be very careful with her answers again and she didn't like it.

<Shaw> He was watching her be careful with a very satisfied expression on his face. "I suppose. And it would be difficult to find coffee on a tea farm in post-war China I would assume."

<Viper> "Most definitely." She had a sip of her coffee, "It was hard to find coffee in a lot of places then."

<Shaw> "I'm sure he would have tried, if only for your sake."

<Viper> She blinked. At what point had she said David was there? She was sure she hadn't. She was very careful. An eyebrow raised, "I highly doubt he would have gotten me anything - we were on opposing sides." Maybe she could shove him off that thought train.

<Shaw> "Well," he said, still smirking as he got up and capped his bottle. "I do believe the Bard wrote about that sort of situation before. Bit of a downer ending to that one, unfortunately."

<Viper> She frowned, "I think you may have got the wrong impression from somwhere." She set her coffee down and got up to start checking the painted pictures were dry.

<Shaw> "Of course," he said, giving her a quick pat on the shoulder. "I will leave you to your memories then. Good night." He gave her one last once over.

<Viper> She sighed, her frown deepening at the pat. What the hell was that supposed to mean? This was why she hated people. "Good night." Had she given them away? Should she say something? Damn it, where was David when she had important questions to ask? She didn't want to get him in any trouble.

<Shaw> Sebastian chuckled quietly at the look on her face as he padded down the stairs. Oh, he had a story to tell Jess in the morning.
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Re: Summer 2018: The Shaws

Post by Svartfreja » Fri Jun 17, 2016 11:39 pm

<Jessica> There wasn't much to pack. What did you bring on a top secret mission to break into a Hydra base and assassinate one of their heads? There were a couple of things it made sense to bring but, besides that, she was at a loss. So she'd packed what she could and was now staring blankly at the katana resting on top of the case.

<Shaw> He disconnected his business call with a sigh. It was always a dire emergency - in their opinion - when they called him at home. Pocketing his phone, Sebastian wandered from the empty nursery to the bedroom and leaned on the doorway, watching his wife. He tried to stifle the pang of apprehension he still felt.

<Jessica> Jess sucked in a breath and sat up straighter when Sebastian appeared in the doorway, tearing her eyes from the katana. "Nearly time to go...."

<Shaw> "Yes." He agreed with a nod, strolling into the room and behind her. Sebastian slid both arms around her and pulled her back against him, resting his head against hers. "Are you ready?"

<Jessica> She leaned against him, turning her head so her face was more toward him, "I don't know..."

<Shaw> Is there anything I can do? He sighed and brushed his nose and lips over her hair.

<Jessica> Push me out the door? She sighed, her eyes falling on the katana again, There's just a lot of anxiety about that... and being away from Miriam.

<Shaw> I would be more likely to lock the door before you can get out, he sent with a low chuckle, his arms tightening around her.

<Jessica> I know... I want to go... I want to help her... I just don't know how I'm going to handle it...

<Shaw> Well, as I know distractions from home can be deadly, I don't want you worrying about us. Miriam and I will get along fine.

<Jessica> I know... it's just that she's my baby and I grew up without a mum... I know I need to be so careful not to get hurt... and I also know Viper will make sure I don't... but I'm still worried... can't help it.

<Shaw> He closed his eyes. I'm worried as well, koibito, but if you feel you need to do this... then you should. It was physically difficult to form the words, since his every instinct was screaming to forbid her from going.

<Jessica> She promised, you know... if it goes badly she'll tell Yukio to take me home and leave her behind... and she always keeps her promises... She turned in his arms to look at him, So, no matter what, I'll be coming home.

<Shaw> I believe she wouldn't gamble with your safety, yes. He smiled faintly at her and raised a hand to cup her cheek, brushing his thumb over her skin.

<Jessica> So you have nothing to worry about... and neither do I. She smiled back, I guess we're just both a little bit on the neurotic side?

<Shaw> Sebastian nodded and bent to kiss her.

<Jessica> She smiled and returned the kiss, sliding her arms around him. I'm sure it'll be fine... I won't be like this when I'm there... it's just the anticipation...

<Shaw> It's been some time since you've been on a mission, so to speak. He broke the kiss and tilted his head. "I do hope you're not wearing that X-Men uniform."

<Jessica> "Why? Would you be sad to miss me in it?" she teased, "Don't worry, I wouldn't want to get the school implicated if anything went wrong..." she offered a small smile. "Anyway, Viper made me something to wear a while ago..."

<Shaw> "Oh, I remember - that red number. At least it will keep you insulated from your own venom." He smoothed her hair back and smiled. "Please. I was always more partial to that school girl outfit than that horrid black uniform."

<Jessica> She laughed softly, "I'll bear that in mind.... and yes, the red thing. I need all the advantage I can get."

<Shaw> "Indeed. Because I haven't reiterated it enough yet, I do want you to have every advantage." He leaned in and brushed their noses together.

<Jessica> "Do you think I should take Sharky with me?" She'd been considering leaving him with them to watch after Miriam.

<Shaw> "Yes, please." He nodded, kissing her nose. "I would feel better if you did."

<Jessica> "Okay then, I'll bring him," she smiled, getting to her feet. "Probably should find him then...."

<Shaw> "Rattle his food dish and he'll come running. He is most definitely a dog in that regard." He let her go, reluctantly, and let his gaze fall to her katana.

<Jessica> "Yeah..." she frowned, "Still not a hundred percent good with that... but I suppose Viper would dub it therapy..."

<Shaw> "Well, your pet does need to eat." He glanced at her, but his attention was soon pulled back to the weapon.

<Jessica> "He does..." she started toward the door but paused and looked back at him, following his gaze, "Are you okay?"

<Shaw> Sebastian looked up at her, caught, and smiled slightly. "I will be." I miss you already, love.

<Jessica> I'm going to miss you too... but we won't be gone long, really... She held a hand out to him.

<Shaw> He took her hand and drew her in, brushing their noses together. May I get that in writing?

<Jessica> Viper thinks it shouldn't take more than a few days... a week tops. She held his gaze, In and out... with a tiny assassination in the middle.

<Shaw> Is the mark a midget? Sebastian smirked, bumping their noses.

<Jessica> Jess shook her head, Nooo... probably just as well.... there'd probably be lots of crazy being concentrated into a smaller package....

<Shaw> It made him chuckle and he pressed his forehead to hers. Also an apt description of Sarkissian herself, yes?

<Jessica> Oh she's not crazy... she's just different. She gave him a small smile, I think she likes people to think she's crazy though. Makes her more scary.

<Shaw> More annoying, he corrected.

<Jessica> No, the genius part makes her annoying, Jess ammended, Plus she's really old....

<Shaw> No older than Agent Sum...

<Jessica> You think so? I think he has more of the grumpy old man vibe....

<Shaw> He raised a brow at her. Oh, I believe they're kindred spirits.

<Jessica> "You do?" She cocked her head on one side, "How do you mean?"

<Shaw> Sebastian blinked, debating if she was playing dumb. "You haven't noticed?"

<Jessica> "What am I supposed to have noticed?" she was playing dumb because she'd made a promise.

<Shaw> Pulling back, he studied her face. "Honestly?"

<Jessica> "Well I don't know until you answer the question, do I?" she frowned at him.

<Shaw> "She risked her life for Agent Sum. He was clearly her priority in Japan." He raised a brow at his wife. "It was fairly obvious, I thought."

<Jessica> Jess mirrored the expression back at him, "You know being a psychopath means she has no emotions, right?"

<Shaw> "Perhaps she's not truly a psychopath? Who knows what secrets that vault she calls a mind holds." He scoffed.

<Jessica> "I'm an empath, Sebastian..." she reminded him, "She's a void... I like it that way though, it's helpful..." she decided to give a little however, despite her promise, "But I have noticed there's something weird with the two of them."

<Shaw> His expression softened and he smirked. "I knew you had to have seen something. Have you felt anything from Agent Sum then?"

<Jessica> "No... but he's cagey." Her nose wrinkled, "I think he can turn it on and off.... but he was super evasive after the Japan stuff... and so was she because I asked them both but she's always like that...."

<Shaw> "Hmmm..." He smirked, satisfied that she was coming around to his view. It was entirely too amusing to view those two as a couple.

<Jessica> "Sebastian... you're not going to say anything to anyone else about this, are you? Because that could put them both in a very awkward position and kind of screw up David's job..." She felt honour bound to at least try and extract a promise from him for Viper.

<Shaw> That caused him to give her a very slow blink. "And whom, on this great green Earth, would I tell?"

<Jessica> "Tony?" She offered, "He is Hope's dad and your best friend..."

<Shaw> "Oh, believe me, I've been keeping my associations with Sarkissian fairly close to the vest, love. Even from Tony."

<Jessica> "Good... I know you hate it but we need her around... I need her around...." her eyes tracked to the katana again. "I don't want to regret doing this..."

<Shaw> "I would be lying if I said I wasn't concerned, koibito." He glanced at the katana, but gathered her back against his chest. "You've only begun to recover..."

<Jessica> "I know.... but it's not that I'm worried about, not really." She sighed, sliding her arms around him, "I'm worried something will go wrong and Yukio will follow her orders..."

<Shaw> She had damn well best follow her orders. Sebastian didn't dare give this thought voice at the moment, however.

<Jessica> "I don't want to have to leave her behind... How can I do that?" She lifted her head to study his face.

<Shaw> He closed his eyes and tried to project calm. "If worse comes to worst, how could you not? Love, you have Miriam to think of. She needs you." He swallowed, losing that calm a little at the very idea. I need you.

<Jessica> "We owe her so much, Sebastian..." she dropped her gaze, cuddling close to him. "I don't know if I can just leave her there and not do something to help her... but she made me promise... and now I'm regretting it."

<Shaw> "I know we do, but she knows what she's walking into." He held her, reaching up to stroke her hair.

<Jessica> "Yeah... and that she still wants to do it is either brave or insane..." She sighed, "If we have to leave her there... can we at least go back for her with reinforcements?"

<Shaw> It took him a moment to consider, though he already knew his answer. "Yes."

<Jessica> She lifted her head to smile at him, "Thank you." It made her feel much better to know that they wouldn't be abandoning Viper to her fate if the plan failed. She had no idea who would actually want to help them rescue her but it was the thought that counted.

<Shaw> "You're quite welcome, love." As he already had an extraction team on standby should Yukio prove unreliable, it wasn't a stretch to expand their possible scope of work.

<Jessica> She released her hold on him and turned for the door again, "I suppose I should get all the goodbyes out of the way... I'm not sure Viper would appreciate being made to wait anymore."

<Shaw> He let her go reluctantly. "Do save some time for another goodbye for me before you leave?" The attempt at sounding lascivious came out more pleading than he liked, but, well, he supposed it was to be expected.

<Jessica> "Of course I will..." she gave him another smile over her shoulder, "As many goodbyes as I have time for."
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Re: Summer 2018: The Shaws

Post by Slarti » Sun Jul 10, 2016 8:29 pm

Shaw: "Come now, just a few more." Although the upgrades he'd done to Widget's balancing mechanisms had made a world of difference, apparently it only mattered at home. The school's stairs were an entirely different matter. "That's it..."

Shaw: The robot chirped sadly at him and remained on the landing. "You won't fall. I won't let you." Sebastian motioned to the reluctant creature, then sighed and went back up a few steps to offer his hand. "You're doing well." There was an uncertain whistle in answer. "No, you are."

Danger: Having decided to investigate the curious noises coming from the hallway, Danger stepped outside the lab and turned towards the staircase. "Hello, Sebastian," she said, approaching the visitors. "What a pleasant surprise."

Danger: Her electric blue gaze fell upon the small robot that was holding his hands. "Hello, Widget. Nice to see you again, too. You appear to have grown."

Shaw: The silver foot paused in midair and Sebastian held on more tightly. "Easy, Widget." The robot whistled in greeting to the AI and went back to his very difficult task.

Shaw: Sebastian glanced over his shoulder. "Good afternoon, my dear Danger. It's good to see you." He smirked. "He's accustomed to the steps at home, but these are new and different."

Danger: "Yes, that much is evident," Danger replied. "There are plans to have an elevator installed, but I'm afraid with the constant repairs the school faces, they are not very high on the list of priorities right now. Especially since I'm here to help with most of the heavy lifting."

Danger: After several seconds spent watching the other robot struggle with the stairs, Danger tilted her head sideways. "You came this far, Widget, did you not?" Danger asked the smaller machine. "If you handled that many stairs, why be scared of the rest of them?"

Danger: "And should you be worried of falling, I can assure you there is no reason to," she added. "Your frame should handle the impact without serious damage."

Shaw: Widget shrugged and warbled, taking another step down. "She has a point, you know. You're quite sturdy." He chuckled at Danger's summary of the school's priorities. "Well, now that you've returned from your unusual adventure. I must confess, I find all of this terribly interesting - invasions and alternate dimensions and alien raccoons - but I'm more than happy to observe from a distance."

Shaw: "Plus... the fleas." Sebastian gave a theatrical shudder. Widget whistled in agreement and succeeded at descending another step. "Almost there. You're doing well, see?"

Danger: "If you mean the latest incursion of extradimensional giant parasites, I can assure you that we managed to exterminate all of them... with a high probability," Danger replied as she patiently waited for Widget to make it down the final step.

Danger: "I could help you develop a better pathfinding routine," she offered with a glance towards Sebastian, before she turned back to the little robot boy. "Of course, in the long run he will benefit the most from developing his own."

Danger: She bent down to get closer to Widget. "I know active learning may seem ineffective and often challenging, but it's the only path towards true intelligence."

Shaw: Widget looked up at the other artificial lifeform and whistled in awe. His large eyes appeared to grow rounder and he nodded. Sebastian chuckled and let go of his robot's hands when he was on level ground. "He was designed to learn organically, and I've been quite pleased with his progress so far."

Shaw: He tilted his head and gave Danger a sly smile. "Jessica has taught him to cook."

Danger: "That is impressive," Danger said, looking down at the small robot's big eyes. "So he does have a sense of taste?" She asked, turning back to Sebastian. "Personally, I found sensory impressions among the most enlightening means of gathering information. The most stimulating, too."

Danger: "Besides, I imagine the task of cooking would be more rewarding with them, as well."

Shaw: "Well, I think he enjoys Jess fussing over him while they bake cookies in the kitchen. She's adopted him as yet another child in our ever-expanding family." He rested his hand on the robot's shoulder. Widget was still staring up at Danger.

Shaw: "I don't know that he's ever indicated one way or the other if he enjoys sampling any of the fruits of their labor, although he should have the faculties for it." He looked down at Widget questioningly.

Danger: "You could try to find out by offering him food with different ingredients and sees if he has any preferences," Danger suggested. "Maybe he likes cookies with nuts and bolts better than raisins." She looked down at Widget, as well, whose large eyes moved from her to Sebastian and back.

Danger: "He does not say much," she remarked, giving Sebastian a sideways glance.

Shaw: Sebastian chuckled. "Nuts and bolts? Does that sound good?" Widget let out an uncertain whistle. "Well, he doesn't say anything point of fact, although he understands and has all the faculties required for speech. Jessica has even attempted to teach him to talk, but he seems to have his own way of communication. Right, Widget?"

Shaw: The robot nodded and chirped in the affirmative. His eyes tracked back to Danger and he held out a hand to the other robot, curious appearing to be debating a poke.

Danger: Danger looked down at the small robot, her flexible brow bent in a slight frown. "That's most curious indeed," she said, and raised her own hand, an invitation at the other machine to touch the metallic tips of her fingers. "Do you have any idea why he might be doing that?"

Shaw: "No." Sebastian watched Widget carefully brush fingers with Danger and then edge closer to take her hand and inspect it, burbling quietly to himself. "Though he acts quite childlike, he does run the entertainment and security systems in our home with remarkable efficiency. It doesn't seem to be a flaw in programming..."

Danger: "Possibly," Danger conceded with a small nod. "But perhaps not." She looked up at Sebastian and motioned down the hallway. "We could give his program a closer examination in the tech lab - if both of you agree."

Shaw: "Of course." He smiled, giving Danger a once-over before turning the smile to his creation. "Widget, would you like to go with Danger? I'll come, too." Widget nodded and folded his fingers around Danger's, looking around her down the hall with a soft chirrup.

Shaw: "Well, that would be a yes if I ever heard one," he chuckled, raising his hand toward the AI. "Lady's first." Sebastian gave her a smirk and a wink.

Danger: Danger returned Sebastian's look, keeping her head at a slight tilt, appearing to study his reaction. "As you wish," the robot eventually replied, and when she turned to lead the way down the hallway, her steps seemed to have a bit more sway to them than before.

Danger: "Don't worry," she assured the other machine holding her hand. "There won't be any more steps."

Shaw: His eyebrow rose and he couldn't help but watch the artificial intelligence's hips. Sebastian hummed to himself and slid his hands in his pockets to stroll along behind them at a distance suitable for observation. For science, of course.

Shaw: Widget whistled in relief, looking up at her from time to time, and once over his shoulder to Sebastian.

Danger: The reinforced security door slid into the wall when they approached, revealing a gallery of complex machinery. "There is no reason to be afraid," Danger told Widget as she led him towards an elevated platform in the centre of the large room. "The process is harmless, and you will feel no discomfort."

Shaw: "She helped me to create you, so you're fine," he assured the robot, following them inside and looking around with a low whistle. "Very impressive, my dear," he observed, closing the distance to them.

Danger: "Thank you," Danger said, while she remotely interfaced with the scanning equipment and arranged it to run their diagnostic routine, then bent down to help Widget up on the platform. "Mister Lensherr permitted me to modify this laboratory as I see fit, under the condition that none of my projects carries the risk of blowing up the school."

Danger: As the machine dominating the ceiling above the platform hummed to life and extended multiple limbs equipped with various scanners, Danger brought up a hologram updated with their results. "You were correct," she said when the diagram took the shape of Widget. "There appear to be no physical defects or malfunctions."

Shaw: Sebastian barked a loud, surprised laugh. "And do they? I believe blowing up this school is a time-honored tradition, so why abandon it now?" After giving Widget a reassuring nod, he appeared behind Danger, looking at the results. "Well, of course there are no defects," he said with a smirk and a side glance at her profile. "I made him."

Danger: Danger turned her head to return his look. "In this case, your high opinion of yourself is actually deserved," she said and stepped closer to her patient to continue with the examination, but paused for a glance over her shoulder. "You seem to have a hand for machines, Mister Shaw."

Danger: She then looked at Widget. "I would like to access your program to search it for the cause of the problem. Will you allow me to do this?"

Shaw: "Thank you, madam," he said, giving her a self-satisfied smirk. "I have a hand for many things, after all." He turned his attention back to his creation, who reached our for the other machine and gave a low affirmative whistle.

Danger: Connecting Widget to the lab's diagnostic equipment proved straightforward, thanks to Danger's shape-adjusting technology bridging any design incompatibilities. "I am starting the analysis of his program," she said, while holographic images displayed the results of the readout.

Danger: As the computer constructed its virtual imaging of the inner workings of Widget's mind, Danger turned to Shaw. "So far I can detect no damage or malfunction in his neural network."

Shaw: Sebastian kept one eye on that readout, while also watching Widget for signs of distress. He suspected that the little robot was taking Jessica's absence as poorly as he was, and that certainly would not help his development.

Shaw: "Excellent. I've not tried to press him overmuch about the topic, but it is curious. Sometimes I've wondered if Jessica's treatment of him doesn't encourage him to remain child-like and semi-dependent on her for... affection, I suppose?" Even now, he felt a bit uncomfortable just talking about Widget as if he weren't there. So, he attempted a reassuring smile. "I hope he knows I care for him as well... yes?"

Shaw: For the time being, Widget's large eyes weren't giving him any clues, though they were focused on Sebastian.

Danger: Danger remained silent for a moment, impossible to tell what the blue glow of her artificial eyes focused on. "Yes," she eventually said, the holographic representation of Widget's mind suspended in the air before them. "I feel you might be correct."

Danger: "In the absence of a physical cause, we may have to consider a psychological explanation." Her gaze shifted from the hologram to Sebastian. "I am sorry if that answer will leave you unsatisfied."

Shaw: His eyebrow had risen at the noncommital yes, but he soon nodded, giving her a filthy smirk. "My dear, I assure you I rarely leave unsatisfied."

Shaw: "I've often been told I should just keep a therapist on staff," he added with a sigh, moving closer to Widget and reaching out to pat the AI's upper arm. "I never suspected it would be for you, however."

Danger: "Even though many accept the idea that an artificial intelligence can possess the same cognitive capabilities as humans, only few believe them to also be capable of the same emotional complexity," Danger said, tilting her head as she watched Sebastian and his little robot.

Danger: "I simply wish I could have done more for Widget and you. At the very least, you now have the reassurance that I wasn't able to find anything that could be impeding his development. If it helps, I believe he will begin to use language in due time."

Shaw: "Do you miss your mother?" He fussed with a bit of lint clinging to the edge of one of his shiny metal shoulder panels. "That's perfectly normal if you do. I do as well." Sebastian smiled. "Perhaps you could attempt to say hello to her when she returns?"

Shaw: To his surprise, Widget seemed to brighten at that suggestion and let out a happy whistling chirp. It made Sebastian chuckle and he moved to assist Danger in unhooking the cables tethering him to the diagnostic equipment.

Shaw: "That sounded like a yes to me," he said to Danger. "Thank you for your continuing expertise in this, my dear."

Danger: "It was my pleasure," Danger replied, her eyes on Sebastian. "If there is anything else I can do for you, do not hesitate to ask."

Shaw: "I am certain my wife would not approve of any other requests I could make of you," he said, giving her a suggestive glance and a wink before he laughed.

Danger: Danger tilted her head. "Pity," she replied, then helped Widget down from the worktable. "Nevertheless, please let me know should either of you need my help again."

Shaw: Once Widget was settled, he took Danger's hand and pressed a kiss to the cold metal. "You shall be the very first to know," he said.

Danger: "Of course, both of you are welcome to visit anytime," Danger replied, the glow in her eyes appearing the slightest bit brighter for an instant. "I take a great interest in Widget's further development."

Shaw: "Indeed." He straightened and returned to Widget, his hand back on the AI's shoulder in reassurance. "You're just as much a mother to him in many ways as Jessica, after all."

Shaw: With that, Widget looked up at the larger robot and once more extended his hand to her, this time with a questioning warble.

Danger: Danger looked down at the small outstretched hand, though did not reach out for it. Instead she went down on her knee, to meet Widget's gaze on his level when she took his hand. "Do not feel scared."

Shaw: Widget chirped, and instead of trying to poke her again, he instead mirrored his maker's actions and patted Danger somewhat awkwardly.

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Re: Summer 2018: The Shaws

Post by Svartfreja » Sun Jul 10, 2016 10:08 pm

<Shaw> Widget had been with Danger for some time, but as Sebastian already had his hands full he was in no rush to retrieve his robot.

<Shaw> Propped up in her car seat and clapping happily, Miriam was "eating" in the school's kitchen. May Hades have mercy on them all.

<Beth> Beth needed caffeine. Caffeine that was quick and sugary and COLD. She fanned herself with one of her thinner textbooks as she shuffled the length of the hall barefoot. She weaved her way through the cafeteria because it was cooler than most of the building and wandered into the kitchen making a direct line toward the fridge.

<Shaw> A mouthful of green pea slime oozed from Miriam's mouth and Sebastian wrinkled his nose as he scooped it and a healthy dose of slobber off her chin and attempted to re-insert. "There you go..." he said, voice soft.

<Shaw> His enhanced senses were mostly a hindrance at the moment, and though he did hear someone come into the kitchen, he could care less.

<Beth> Beth was taking a sip of her rescued root beer before she noticed someone else was in the kitchen. Then she pretty much inhaled it and had a coughing fit. It didn't come out of her nose but it was embarrassing enough anyway.

<Shaw> That, however, did make him sit up and look around. "Are you quite alright?" He assessed her, realizing he didn't recognize this student.

<Beth> "I'm fine... fine..." she gasped. Mortified. But fine. She had another sip of root beer to clear away the fizzy coughs. "Sorry."

<Shaw> After another once-over and a smirk, he turned his attention back to Miriam. Her squeak helped in that and she reached for the bowl of pureed peas. Sebastian tsked and held it out of reach.

<Shaw> "I'm sure she would be happy to share," he said, glancing back over his shoulder to the girl and flashing his teeth. "If you're interested."

<Beth> "I refuse to eat anything that doesn't look like real food." It was then that she realised who she was speaking to and she almost inhaled her drink for a second time.

<Shaw> His brows shot up when the girl managed to choke, again. Setting the bowl aside, he flipped the towel from over his shoulder and wiped his hands, then gave the cloth to Miriam to entertain her for a moment.

<Shaw> "Are you certain you're alright?" The death of a student in his presence was not something he wished to explain to Erik.

<Beth> "Mmhmm... I'm fine..." her voice had risen in pitch and she coughed in an attempt to cover it up. She had inhaled root beer in front of Sebastian Shaw. Her life was over.

<Shaw> "Yes," he said, drawing out the word. "Clearly you are." He was torn between amusement and slight concern that they had yet another emotionally unstable waif enrolled.

<Beth> "It's just... um... you're... you..." she gestured vaguely.

<Shaw> Sebastian was silent for a long, uncomfortable moment. "I am. The last time I checked my identification, that is." He took a step forward and offered her his hand. "And you are?" He'd best know her name when he called Erik to report he'd apparently broken something.

<Beth> Beth wiped her hand on her jeans in case it was sticky or sweaty before she returned the handshake. "Elizabeth Braddock," she offered a smile, "I think you know my brother."

<Shaw> "Braddock!" Well, that explained a great deal, and jogged his memory of an email on new students that he'd barely skimmed. "Well, it's a pleasure, my dear."

<Shaw> Now, he couldn't resist, so he raised her hand to his lips, bowed and kissed her knuckles. "I do indeed. I apologize I didn't recognize you."

<Beth> She blushed but laughed and waved it off, "Don't worry, mother likes to hide me in the back because she's ashamed of me."

<Shaw> "Well, that is truly a crime against art and beauty." He smiled, giving her hand a squeeze before he released it and straightened, glancing back to Miriam. "I'm surprised you recognized me, frankly."

<Shaw> With Jessica gone and school not in session, he'd hardly bothered to dress to impress. Plus, he hadn't shaved in a week. "Luckily, she doesn't care what I look like," he said, moving back to his daughter. "I'm afraid I've taken full advantage of her indulgence."

<Beth> "Brian went through a beard phase. I'm good at spotting the face beneath," she moved more into his line of sight now that he was back with the kid. "And I've seen your face a lot so...."

<Shaw> "Have you?" He pulled out a chair for her, then resumed his own seat. "I suppose it is memorable," he said with a smirk, picking the peas back up. After a beat, he raised a brow and made to offer her the bowl.

<Beth> She held up her root beer. Her hands were full! FULL! "You're in lots of pictures... and you publish things."

<Shaw> Chuckling under his breath, he scooped up another spoonful and offered it to Miriam. "Not for some time, I'm afraid." He glanced at her with a smile. "As you can see, I've been rather busy. This is Miriam."

<Beth> "I know, I was starting to worry you'd gotten bored... but I can see how a baby would be distracting." She waved at the small child, "Hello Miriam. Nice to meet you."

<Shaw> Miriam heard her name and gave a happy squeak and a gummy smile. "She's just beginning to teethe, so pardon the... dampness." He leaned in and smiled back at his daughter, trying to catch the pea cascade yet again. "Also, just beginning to eat food. Obviously."

<Beth> "Well she's doing fabulously," Elizabeth gave Miriam another smile before turning her attention back to Sebastian, "So.... you're still teaching here this year, right?"

<Shaw> "I do intend to, yes." He rather hoped Jessica would come to her senses and go to MIT instead, but if she was coming back to Xavier's he was certainly going to be here, too.

<Shaw> "You appear to have come a bit early for the fall term," he noted, looking up from his task to meet her eyes. "But, I generally teach business and engineering courses, as well as robotics."

<Beth> "I wanted to get used to the crazy weather.... and get ahead in my reading." Which reminded her that she'd put her text book down by the fridge. "I'm taking robotics and engineering," she offered a grin, getting up to fetch her book before she forgot about it again.

<Shaw> "Really?" His smile spread into a toothy grin and he watched her retrieve her book. "What are your specific areas of interest?"

<Beth> "I like building things so mostly the construction part of robotics... I don't really like all the tedious programming bits," she tucked her book back under her arm and returned to her seat. "I'm already working on building something with Melati so maybe I can concentrate on programming in class if I have to."

<Shaw> "Ahhh, yes, frankly I've always enjoyed hardware more than software as well, although each can have its own rewards." He thought of Widget, smiling to himself.

<Beth> She had something in common with Shaw! Awesome! "I tend to find its only reward is being tossed into a corner never to see the light of day again."

<Shaw> "Normally I would be in agreement, but I've had a few quite pleasant surprises from intensive artificial intelligence coding work." He grinned. "Have you met Danger yet?"

<Beth> "No but I really want to! Except Mel made me paranoid that I'd accidentally insult her and she'd melt me or something...."

<Shaw> "She would have melted me long ago if she were that easily offended, my dear." He spiraled another spoonful of peas into his daughter's mouth.

<Beth> "But you're a teacher - I'm just a pesky student... and British, which is aparently a crime in this state."

<Shaw> He couldn't help his smile at that and lost himself in memory for a moment. "Oh, but Xavier's has always had a special place for our brothers and sisters from across the pond."

<Beth> "So I'm told," Beth managed a smile, "It's okay. I'm sure I can change the mind of anyone who doesn't think I'm welcome."

<Shaw> Interesting. He tried to recall what he'd read in that memo while scooping up another bite for Miriam. "I'm sure few would be immune to your charms," he said, watching her from the corner of his eye to gauge reaction.

<Beth> "Haven't met anyone I haven't been able to convince yet - I have a lot of tools in my shed." She nodded sagely.

<Shaw> He gave a hum and prodded the edge of her mental shielding. So I see.

<Beth> She felt the prod and raised an eyebrow, picking up on the thought as it bounced off. "You're a telepath?"

<Shaw> "Indeed, although I suspect your tool shed is more lavishly appointed than mine." He flashed her a crooked grin and dodged Miriam's attempt to grab the spoon from his hand.

<Beth> "It is pretty epic..." she nodded in agreement, "But... I wasn't just talking about the telepathy. I can do upper-class prattle too."

<Shaw> "That is indeed a gift all to itself," he agreed with a chuckle. "It's one I had to learn from the ground up, I'm afraid." He set the spoon back in the bowl and gave her an assessing glance.

<Shaw> "It would appear you've had the advantage of some training with all your gifts, however."

<Beth> Beth shook her head, "Nope. Never met a mutant before I got here. I'm a self-taught prodigy."

<Shaw> "Oh?" Now he was truly curious, and scrutinized her shielding once more.

<Beth> "I test my powers a lot... and I found a way to sleep without them messing it up all by myself. Much to mother's horror.... and the detriment of my internet access..."

<Shaw> His expression urged her to continue, although Miriam was vying for his attention as well, reaching for the bowl again.

<Beth> "I made a faraday cage in my room... if I pass a small electrical current through it, it interferes with my freaky mind powers. They built one for me here which is nice."

<Shaw> "It blocks them in some way?" Sebastian tilted his head and blinked.

<Beth> Beth nodded, "Yeah... it's like static.... sort of..." she wrinkled her nose. "Hard to explain.... I could show you."

<Shaw> "That would be quite fascinating, thank you." He looked down. "It is often a struggle for our kind, when the abilities manifest and it seems there is no help and no hope."

<Beth> "Well, I'm lucky that I'm pretty resourceful... and I don't care whether or not my parents would disapprove."

<Shaw> It broke the spell and he laughed softly. "Well, good on you, my dear."

<Shaw> Miriam was not pleased that her father's attention was focused elsewhere and let it be known with a high-pitched yell and a flail that upended the peas.

<Beth> "Gah! Esca-peas!" Beth jumped up to avoid getting covered in them.

<Shaw> Sebastian's arm and leg were not nearly as lucky, and neither was the floor, since the peas flew in a quite artful arc through the air before splattering.

<Shaw> Pleased with her work, Miriam clapped and giggled.

<Beth> "Miriam is no friend to peas and their noble sacrifice...." Beth mourned the peas.

<Shaw> Sebastian mourned his jeans. "And she's entirely too proud of her work," he complained, making a face at his daughter.

<Beth> "She's an aspiring artist... or legume assassin..." Beth decided to get some paper towels to clean up the mess from the floor.

<Shaw> Scraping up the largest mass with the bowl and plopping it aside, he tried not to think overmuch about assassinations. "I'm aflutter with anticipation over what she could do working in berries and pudding then."

<Beth> "She's destined for sculpture..." Beth nodded sagely, passing him some paper towels. "Pretty sure you could probably find some rich idiot to pay for it too. They'll buy anything."

<Shaw> He laughed. "Indeed. Although, I confess from time to time I'm the rich idiot purchasing some work that caught my eye." Picking up a particularly slimy blob from his thigh, he paused to smirk at her.

<Beth> "I'll try not to judge you," she assured him, "But only because you're an engineer. It's a get out of judginess free card."

<Shaw> "I am most honored," he said with a laugh as he continued to clean up while Miriam happily banged her spoon. "So, a faraday cage? My abilities are limited, but I am curious now if that would be a method all telepaths could use."

<Beth> "Worth a try. Never met another telepath before to experiment so... guess that makes you a guinea pig?" If she kept a diary this would be exactly the kind of thing she would write about.

<Shaw> "My abilities are hardly bothersome anymore, and in fact I have come to cherish some aspects, but the implications are fascinating." He made a face as he finished cleanup and stood to deposit the mess in the trash.

<Beth> "Fascinating, huh?" Best compliment ever! She worked on hiding the grin.

<Shaw> The girl was practically glowing and he hid his smirk, turning back to her with a grin. "Indeed. Do you not think so?"

<Beth> She gave a small shrug, "Well... I wasn't really thinking like that... it was just a solution to a problem..."

<Shaw> "Well, that trait is the makings of a good engineer," he said, watching her and moving back to Miriam to clean her up. The spoon banging had moved on to spoon gnawing.

<Beth> It was getting super hard to contain that grin now. "Um... thanks...." she was totally blushing.

<Shaw> Charmed by the girl's red face, he lifted Miriam out of her seat, locating a plop of peas beneath her. Well.

<Shaw> "You can thank me by holding her for a moment." With a flash of teeth, he passed the baby off to the girl.

<Beth> Beth was slightly alarmed by this new development and had to resist the compultion to hold the baby at arm's length. "Um...."

<Shaw> "Oh, she's harmless! Hardly has any teeth. Yet." He grinned again and got more paper towels for the slimy mass of pea debris in the car seat. "Do be mindful of the rear, however."

<Beth> Beth pulled a face and eyed the toddler like she was an unexploded bomb.

<Shaw> Sebastian was enjoying this far too much, and took his time. "Have you ever changed a diaper, Miss Braddock?"

<Beth> Beth shook her head slowly. She had no intention of changing that either.

<Shaw> "No? It's a singular experience." He threw away the towel and smirked, extending the moment.

<Shaw> Miriam twisted to see who was holding her and blinked, then gave a gummy smile. She reached for the blonde hair with chubby, pea-coated fingers.

<Beth> Gah! Beth held her back out to Sebastian. She didn't want peas in her hair! Gross!

<Shaw> Laughing, he accepted his daughter back and she cuddled into him with no regard for his feelings on peas.

<Beth> Beth offered some paper towels for the peas.

<Shaw> Making a face, he accepted the towel.

<Beth> Waiting for him to be done cleaning up the peas, Beth then turned to lead the way to her room and the faraday cage within while she tried to remember if she'd tidied in there or left underwear out.

<Shaw> He supposed turnabout was fair play, so he tucked Miriam into the crook of his arm and followed.

<Beth> Beth opened the door enough to poke her head inside and have a look around. It was reasonable. She stepped inside, moving a stack of textbooks from the floor to her desk so he didn't fall over them.

<Shaw> He didn't remember these rooms being so small. Sebastian's eyes were drawn to what was easily taking up most of the room. It was, indeed, a faraday cage.

<Beth> "This one is much nicer than the one I built at home..." Beth told him, "Probably because the people at SHIELD have more experience in welding than I do and they didn't make it out of random things they found and chicken wire...."

<Shaw> "...that would make a difference, yes." Miriam was less enamored with the cage than he, and grabbed a fistful of his beard to yank.

<Beth> "Want to try it out?" She offered, "I mean... I know it works on me..."

<Shaw> Still hissing with pain, he untangled Miriam's fingers. "You do realize that means you would need to hold the baby, yes?"

<Beth> "She's not covered in peas now." Beth grabbed a band off her desk to tie her hair back out of harm's way and held her hands out for Miriam.

<Shaw> Amused, he handed the girl over. I'm quite curious about this, he sent, meeting her eyes. Historically, he had no fondness for the methods used to block mutant abilities.

<Beth> She picked up the thought directed at her, Me too... She crossed to the door on the cage and pointed to a small switch inside, Flick that switch when the door's closed.

<Shaw> Sebastian wasn't accustomed to hearing the din of other voices in his head - not anymore, at any rate - and the school was already fairly abandoned due to the summer vacation. As he ducked into the cage and sat on the edge of her bed, he lowered his years of shielding.

<Shaw> He could pick up on her nervousness and intent attention, as well as the warm fuzz of Miriam's formless thoughts. Reaching for the door, he swung it closed. Right then, he sent, and hit the switch.

<Beth> Beth waited for a few moments, "Well...?" She shifted Miriam's weight and eyed her worriedly as she went quiet and seemed to be focusing intently. "... You're pooping, aren't you?"

<Shaw> It looks like you may get to try those diapering skills after all, he sent, giving her an innocent blink.

<Beth> Beth didn't pick up the thought at all but she did give Miriam a worried look, "Is she supposed to go that colour...?"

<Shaw> He laughed. "It would appear your invention is a success." Tilting his head, he surveyed Miriam's face. "Oh yes... you don't have enhanced senses as well, do you?"

<Beth> Beth shook her head slowly, "I should be glad, shouldn't I?" she wrinkled her nose, "But yay for my brain?"

<Shaw> "Quite," he chuckled, eyes unfocusing as he surveyed his abilities. It was curious, and he dropped his shielding entirely, waiting. When nothing happened, he switched it off and gestured to her. "Come. Come inside, I have a hypothesis."

<Beth> "Uh... okay..." she waited for him to open the door and then passed him the now probably stinky baby before she pulled the door closed behind her. Now this was extra awkward.

<Shaw> Sebastian slid sideways on the girl's bed, oblivious to her unease, and settled Miriam on her back in his arm. "We'll see to you in a moment, little love."

<Shaw> He glanced over at the girl. Ready? Without waiting for a response, he flipped the switch again.

<Beth> Beth poked about with her powers again, the familiar static of the electricity was there but now she was able to touch the minds inside the cage with her. Secret clubhouse?

<Shaw> So it would seem, he replied, giving her another toothy grin. Still, it's remarkable, and quite effective unless you plan to canoodle often.

<Beth> Beth blushed again and decided not to share the thought about how people would probably disagree about a cage being a bad thing. It's just for sleeping...

<Shaw> Sebastian restrained himself from laughing at the girl. Her shade matched Miriam's from just a few moments ago, after all. He saved her from further awkwardness by turning the electric field off and rising carefully.

<Shaw> "I'm certain it will serve you well, though you may find you don't need it after some additional training."

<Beth> Beth opened the door and climbed out, "I don't know... not sure how useful training is when I'm unconscious..."

<Shaw> "Eventually, shielding becomes a subconscious action, my dear." He turned to give her a sincere smile. "I speak from experience, after all."

<Beth> She frowned, "Not sure what you mean... shielding what?"

<Shaw> "You're doing it to an extent now, but perhaps you're unaware?" He gave her a more appraising look. "It is like a wall, built in your mind. Some visualize a bubble instead, but I've had success with walls. They hold your thoughts inside and keep others' thoughts out."

<Beth> "Oh... I never really..." she frowned, deciding it was probably okay to tell him this, "I never really had trouble keeping other thoughts out..."

<Shaw> "Oh?" His head tilted. Hearing the thoughts of others had been the bane of his existence until MIT.

<Beth> She sighed, leaning against the cage, "I can ignore all the thoughts if I want... go on as normal... but it's really really easy to go poking around in other people's heads..." scarily easy.

<Shaw> "Ahhh, I see. Still, in theory, it's hardly a one-way street, and without proper shielding a stronger telepath than I would find you easy prey."

<Beth> "Well... at least I don't have to worry about it while I'm asleep?" Sleep was important.

<Shaw> "It would require further testing to determine if you're at all reachable by others inside that cage, but it seems stable. And, I'm afraid duty calls." He jiggled Miriam, who was starting to look sleepy.

<Beth> "If we're gonna test the cage I should probably build one that's not in my room..." Beth nodded to herself, "I'll go ask if I'm allowed to do that... have fun with the poop?"

<Shaw> "I'm sure Erik would be happy to accommodate such a lovely young lady," he said with a knowing smirk. "Oh, I will. It was a pleasure to meet you, Miss Braddock." Sebastian inclined his head.

<Beth> "You too, Mr Shaw." She gave him a polite smile and waited until he was walking away before she closed the door and squeed.
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Re: Summer 2018: The Shaws

Post by Svartfreja » Sun Jul 10, 2016 11:18 pm

<Viper> In the bustle of the teleport station, hardly anyone noticed the small flash of light as a package appeared on the teleportation pad. They did notice when the tear gas cannisters started to fill the room, however, and ran for exits in confusion until a larger flash of light deposited three figures in the smoke. Viper wasted no time in opening fire.

<Yukio> Normally, guns were not really Yukio's weapon of choice. This didn't stop her from having a tremendous amount of fun in mowing down anyone within her range - all while keeping a careful eye on her charge for the mission.

<Jessica> Jess did not like guns. She was too busy covering her ears to fire back but that was okay. She didn't need any mask to protect her from the gas but she crouched to avoid the shots from surprised Hydra agents and waited for Viper to move.

<Viper> Viper mowed down anyone between her and the door then started forward, rolling another grenade into the hallway beyond in case reinforcements had already arrived.

<Yukio> Yukio fell back as Viper moved, tapping Jess on the shoulder with her free hand. "Not having fun, boss lady?" She spotted a straggler over the other woman's shoulder and took a quick shot, grinning behind her mask when the Hydra agent fell.

<Jessica> Jess shook her head and followed her and Viper into the hall where she jumped up to the ceiling as per instructions. She could be more useful up there, venomblasting anything that tried to sneak up behind them.

<Viper> Viper kept moving along the corridor, turning corners when she needed to. She'd memorised every inch of the place in the weeks of planning and had only one goal in mind.

<Yukio> "No talk. Got it." She gave a mocking salute to the ceiling and whistled for Pishi, who'd gotten distracted by the smell of blood and stopped for a snack.

<Jessica> "Too loud in there," she supplied to Yukio, following Viper along the hallway. Sharky was being useful by providing Jessica with a layer of protection against bullets. A door opened behind them and more Hydra agents spilled out into the hall.

<Yukio> "About to get louder!" Yukio gave a whoop before kicking the nearest agent back into his compatriots to earn herself some breathing space. Then, she opened fire. Now on task, Pishi charged a wounded agent, catching him by the throat with a snarl.

<Jessica> Jess fired a few venom blasts over Yukio's head. "Stay with Viper, she's not going to stop for this..."

<Viper> Viper was some yards ahead of them now, hacking a terminal to access the elevator to the lower levels. Occasionally she would glance up and fire at a random agent as a deterrent.

<Yukio> She looked over at Viper, who seemed to be holding her own just fine from what Yukio could tell. Also, while she was working for the woman on this mission... she was also still working for the Shaws. Not leaving. Sorry not sorry! She fired again, picking off an agent who made it past them and closer to Viper.

<Jessica> Jess dropped down from the ceiling to spare her venom blasts somewhat and started swinging the katana. She didn't want to kill anyone but she could incapacitate them fairly efficiently.

<Yukio> Oh good, and now there was a Shaw in the line of fire. "Don't be a hero, remember!"

<Jessica> "I know!" Jess internally rolled her eyes, "I just don't want to tap my energy out."

<Yukio> "I suppose that's allowed..." She grinned, throwing herself back into battle with the next wave of greenies.

<Jessica> "We only have to hold them off til she gets the elevator working," she looked behind them at Viper, "Hopefully that's soon."

<Yukio> "Yeah, what's up with that?" Holstering her firearm, she drew her own sword. "I thought you were supposed to be good at this!" she called to Viper.

<Viper> Viper looked up, "It would go faster if I didn't have to keep pausing to shoot people!" she called back then smacked the console. The elevator doors dinged politely and opened.

<Yukio> "Only a few! Besides, you enjoy shooting people." She whistled again for Pishi and sent him into the elevator to check for any unwanted passengers.

<Jessica> Jess spared a final concussive blast for the Hydra agents they were dealing with at the end of the hall to knock them back so that she and Yukio could catch up to Viper.

<Yukio> Impressed, Yukio gave herself a moment to admire before she followed Jess down the hall. Mutants were so much fun!

<Jessica> Jess climbed up to the ceiling of the elevator once they were inside, safely out of the way. She was trying very hard not to look at the blood on her katana.

<Viper> Viper hit the button for the lowest level and leaned up against the wall, checking her ammunition on the ride down.

<Yukio> Yukio hummed, making up for the lack of elevator music, while Pishi crawled up the wall to lick the blood from Jess' katana for her.

<Jessica> Jess tried to ignore that too. "This is the floor where we might get weird surprises, right?" Conversation would help. Or make it worse. Today was a day for taking risks.

<Viper> Viper nodded, "Yes we could encounter anything beyond those doors.... or just more idiots."

<Yukio> "The idiots are fun, but I'm a girl who likes variety." She checked her equipment, flicking blood off her own blade and pleased when it spattered on the wall in an artistic pattern.

<Jessica> Jess suppressed a shudder to that and moved further into the corner when the elevator finished its descent.

<Yukio> While she totally noticed the Shaw's reaction, she didn't feel any guilt. Blood was what you got on assassination runs!

<Viper> Viper sighed as the door opened to allow them into the hall beyond. It was empty at first but then it was filled with the sounds of shrieking followed by the appearance of one of the Contessa's experiments. Momentarily stunned Viper shook her head, "This woman is mad."

<Yukio> Calling Pishi back to her side, she barked an order in Japanese and he shifted into a more simian shape to climb onto her shoulder. She soon realized he wasn't the only fake monkey on this floor. "Wow... can we keep one?"

<Jessica> Jess peeked out from her corner. "Flying monkeys? Flying monkeys?! Why the hell are there flying monkeys?!" She should probably be grateful they weren't blue but what the hell?!

<Viper> "You see? This is the reason I'm the better choice." She raised her weapon and started firing.

<Yukio> "Oh, I don't know, I still think it would be fun to take one back to-" Her thought was interupted when what looked very much like a chimp with bat wings whizzed just beyond her reach and screamed in her ear. "Nevermind! I much prefer Pishi!"

<Jessica> Jess left the confines of the elevator and took to the air to try and thin the numbers of flying monkeys from above.

<Viper> Viper started the process of walking along the corridor, dodging which monkeys she could. Stupid things.

<Yukio> Pishi screamed back at the thing, which made Yukio laugh at the evil flying monkey thing's indignant expression. While the two lab experiments engaged in a screaming contest, she drew her gun and removed the monkey's ugly face. Messy!

<Viper> Viper took out anything that got too close to Jessica's back or herself while she looked into labs to discover the location of her target. The limited lab staff ran for cover when they saw her.

<Yukio> Catching up and taking out a few more creatures - a baboon with skin flaps like a flying squirrel was not something she could unsee! - Yukio skidded to a halt beneath Jess and looked up at her.

<Yukio> "Everything good?" She offered a thumb's up, and kneecapped a whitecoated lackey... just for fun.

<Jessica> She looked down at Yukio and nodded, "Yeah... just... flying monkeys." She zapped one just for the hell of it and watched it crash to the ground where it lay in a twitching heap. "Just... why...?"

<Yukio> "For science!" She scanned the perimeter and let Pishi go to have his fun. For her own fun, she poked at the twitchy one on the floor with her toe.

<Jessica> "That is not a good enough reason. Surely the Wizard of Oz movie displayed what a bad idea flying monkeys are...." She dropped back down to the ground.

<Viper> Viper ducked into a lab and accosted a technician for answers.

<Yukio> Noticing Viper slipping out of sight, she sighed and gestured. "We need to put a bell on her!" Turning back to look at Jess, she rapped her knuckles on Sharky, who was still wrapped protectively around his mistress. "I agree these are way cooler abominations against nature."

<Jessica> "Sebastian says that a lot..." She looked down at her chest, "Yeah... but maybe don't do that too many times...." She turned to follow Viper into the lab.

<Yukio> "Oh, he likes me," she assured Jess, and her chest. "Right, Sharky?" she cooed, generally at her boobs, then laughed and followed as well.

<Viper> Viper dropped the scientist into a heap on the floor when Jessica and Yukio showed up and set off again through the lab toward a door at the back.

<Yukio> "Does that mean you know where we're going, or simply that you need a different scientist to torture?" Yukio had the presence of mind to close the door behind them, hoping the monkeys didn't understand the handles.

<Jessica> Jessica shrugged helplessly at Yukio and followed Viper, "I'm assuming the first one because if she had to ask another scientist she'd probably have been more pissed at that one..."

<Yukio> "This is true." She leaned to ensure the scientist was unconscious before cutting in front of Jess to make sure she tackled any dangers head-on. Unfortunately, once she'd leaped into the room, weapon raised, she was greeted with nothing but rows and rows of tanks. Boring.

<Jessica> Jess came to a stop in the doorway, her arms dropping to her sides and the katana falling from her hand. She backed up a few steps but she couldn't look away.

<Yukio> The clatter got her attention and Yukio spun. "What's-" Taking in Jess' expression, she looked back over her shoulder at the room... still just tanks. They were filled with some sort of nasty murky fluid and there were things in them, but still.

<Yukio> "Jess? What's wrong?" She bent and picked up the fallen sword, ordering Pishi to guard them both.

<Viper> The sound got Viper's attention too and she paused to look back, eyes going between Jessica and the tanks. Oh crap. She glanced at the door she'd almost reached before starting back toward Jessica and Yukio.

<Jessica> Jess ignored Yukio's question because she hadn't really heard it. Her eyes were still on the tanks but her mind had gone back to Japan.

<Yukio> "Jess? Jess." She even waved her hand in front of the taller woman's face. Oh boy. She'd read the report from Japan, and heard about it from Mister Shaw, but... wow. What did she do with this attack of crazy?!

<Yukio> Yukio looked around for Viper. Help!

<Viper> Viper walked around Jessica, put both hands on her back and started to push. Of course she was stuck to the floor. "Jessica. This is not Japan. There are no Hope clones in those tanks and there is no idiot with a katana trying to blow you up."

<Yukio> "It's probably more flying monkeys," she chimed in, quite helpfully, she thought.

<Viper> Viper raised an eyebrow at Yukio over Jessica's shoulder. "Jessica...." she moved around so that she was in front of her again blocking her view of the tanks. They really didn't have time for this.

<Yukio> "Would it help if I.... I dunno, blew them up?" Her tone was entirely too hopeful, and Yukio moved away from the other two women to inspect the nearest one, all while getting a feel for Jess' katana. Nice! She spun both swords in an intricate pattern.

<Viper> "No it would not help!" Viper snapped. That would be the opposite of help. She stowed her weapons and wiped her hands off before reaching to take Jessica's hands in an attempt to ground her. "Jessica. Look at me."

<Jessica> The voice filtered though with the help of the contact and Jess dropped her gaze, focusing on the face in front of her.

<Viper> "Are you alright?" she watched Jessica's eyeline start to drift again, "Don't look at those. The door is straight ahead. Look at that."

<Yukio> "Do we know what's behind door number two?" She turned back around to watch the show, but gave that door a wary glance. If there were more tanks that was not gonna help. Like, at all.

<Viper> "Probably something else ridiculous." Viper gave Jessica's hands a gentle squeeze. "Are you alright?"

<Jessica> Jess took a steadying breath, returning the squeeze and giving a small nod. "I think so.... thanks..."

<Yukio> Whew. Crisis averted. She wasn't keen on trying to cart a catatonic Shaw out of here on her own, which was going to be her next duty if things went tits-up. Again.

<Yukio> She moved closer, then checked behind her to make sure she wasn't in direct line of sight of one of those fish tanks from hell.

<Yukio> "Ready to have this back?" she said, offering up the katana. "Otherwise, I'll totally keep it. This thing is sweet!"

<Jessica> Jess' gaze drifted to Yukio, "No! It's mine! I earned that!"

<Viper> Viper took her hands back and turned back for the door.

<Yukio> There she was! Yukio laughed and relinquished the blade to its owner. Mission accomplished. "Let's make for the door, yeah?"

<Jessica> Jess took back her katana and followed Viper toward the door, tightening her grip on the hilt of the weapon as they got closer.

<Viper> Viper opened the door, the space beyond was completely black. She raised an eyebrow. Stepping into the room, lights came on along the polished black walls, thin white strips of LEDs. This was obviously supposed to be intimidating... or perhaps she was making a statement about her hair....?

<Yukio> Bringing up the rear, Yukio tried to peer into the tanks on the way. That totally looked like a cow person! That was a new level of crazy. It was impressive.

<Yukio> Catching up, she stopped inside the next room. "Well this is awfully dramatic for no real reason." She swished her blade and looked around."

<Viper> "She's like that." Viper rolled her eyes. "She thinks she's intimidating."

<Yukio> "It's more just... impractical. How can you see to do anything?"

<Viper> "I don't think this is a doing anything room." She did unholster her weapon again just in case. "Just for show... what a waste of space."

<Jessica> "It's weird... and very shiny..." she paused to peer at the wall more closely. "Do you think she has staff dedicated to polishing it?"

<Yukio> "Probably. Is there a throne at the other end?" She squinted and motioned for Pishi to stay close.

<Viper> "That would not surprise me one bit." Viper glanced over her shoulder at Yukio. "She's also potentially watching our approach."

<Jessica> "Does that mean we should insult her some more?"

<Yukio> "I could moon her?" Yukio prided herself on her helpful suggestions.

<Jessica> "Uh... sure...." Jess gave Yukio a funny look and sped up to walk with Viper because she didn't want to see a tiny Japanese woman moon anything.

<Yukio> Well, look at that, she even had permission! After searching out a camera, Yukio made good on her threat.

<Jessica> Jessica face-palmed.

<Viper> Viper laughed.

<Yukio> She readjusted her waistband and grinned at her partners in crime.

<Jessica> Jessica made a mental note that sarcasm was lost on Yukio.

<Viper> Viper finally located the part of the blackness that was the door and gave it a push. Nothing happened and she frowned then looked at Jessica.

<Jessica> Jess helpfully applied her foot to the door and made it move.

<Yukio> She whooped at Jess' application of sudden violence and rejoined their little group. "Okay, let's get this done. We might still have time to go shopping!"

<Viper> The Contessa was indeed sat on a throne on the other side of the door but she was also aiming a rifle at the doorway. Viper stepped in front of Jessica without hesitation just in case the Contessa was trigger happy.

<Yukio> Yukio did some aiming of her own, then gave Viper a questioning look. Could she just shoot her already?! She supposed there was some cliche villainous speech coming up first.

<Viper> The Contessa did not disappoint there. "Aww protecting your favourite pet?" she laughed, "I was wondering if you'd try something like this."

<Viper> Viper raised an eyebrow, "Try implies I won't succeed." She raised her weapon and aimed at the Contessa's head. "I know you'll be streaming this to the others so I may as well say this: you brought this on yourselves."

<Viper> The Contessa opened her mouth to reply, clearly for something profound, but Viper fired an explosive round before she'd gotten past the first syllable.

<Yukio> "Awww, I wanted to do that!" Yukio very nearly pouted, lowering her weapon in disappointment. "You didn't even let her tell you we'd never get away with this!"

<Viper> "There are plenty more where she came from." The round had also destroyed the throne but a screen activated across a wall displaying several silhouetted heads and shoulders. "Oh look, our audience. Surrender and I won't kill the rest of you."

<Yukio> "Or, we might," she added. "Just for fun." Yukio glanced over at Jess to make sure she was doing okay.

<Yukio> There wasn't much blood really left in the debris to bother her. Hopefully.

<Viper> Viper raised an eyebrow at Yukio over her shoulder but turned her attention back to the screen and folded her arms. "I want my bases back."

<Jessica> Jess eyed the throne crater and looked at Yukio and leaned to whisper to her, "Do you think they have a button that makes this base explode?"

<Yukio> "...that totally sounds like something these people would do. And if so, I need to get you out of here before she goads them into mashing that button."

<Viper> There was some conferring going on between the shadow people on the screen and Viper tapped her foot impatiently before the borders around one of the people glowed. There was a sigh from the direction of the screens before a voice spoke, "Fine. Our people were struggling to figure out what the hell you were up to in most of them anyway."

<Viper> Viper smirked, "Of course they were. They're all idiots."

<Yukio> "So that's it?" Yukio blinked, head swinging back to the screen instead of looking for the exit to abduct Jess.

<Viper> "Of course," Viper looked over her shoulder at Yukio, "Were you expecting something more complicated?" The screen deactivated on its own and Viper turned her attention to a scraping noise on the far side of the room.

<Yukio> Yes, actually. She totally was. Then, she tensed at the sound, moving back in front of Jess and taking aim.

<Viper> Viper traced a hand over the wall, finding a panel to depress. It slid aside under light pressure and revealed a cage containing a predator that was scratching to get out. "There you are."

<Yukio> Relaxing a little, Yukio instead scanned the room for any other threats. "Okay, we all have our silver friends back - time to go!"

<Viper> Viper released her predator and it took the form of a large cat, going to investigate Yukio and Jessica. "One more thing." Viper activated a screen on the wall and selected a few commands. "Flying monkeys... what was she thinking?" She tutted and hit enter. A base-wide alert sounded in multiple languages informing the staff that the auto-destruct had been activated and they had 30 minutes to vacate.

<Yukio> Yukio just looked at Jess. She gave a slow blink.

<Viper> While Viper walked back toward the others, the message went on to tell the staff that the hostages had been released and they should make no attempt to bring their work with them. "We can leave now," Viper announced pleasantly, "Valeria, stop tormenting Sharky." The silver cat stopped sniffing at Jessica's chest.

<Yukio> "I would say we've made an impression." She deadpanned, looking up at the ceiling to listen to the automated countdown as she sheathed her sword. " Are you sure we can't take a monkey home?" she asked, turning to look at Viper, then grinned. "For science, of course."

<Viper> Viper's look gave no room for argument; "No."

<Yukio> Yukio's lower lip popped out and she looked to Jess.

<Jessica> "... I have to say, I'm with Viper on this. Flying monkeys are creepy."

<Yukio> Yukio's answering sigh was heavy and she whistled for Pishi.

<Viper> Viper started for the door, "Come on, we don't have long and I intend to borrow a ride."

<Yukio> With her predator in tow, Yukio followed back through the base. She can neither confirm nor deny if she looked for any pocket-sized flying monkeys. But, squirrel monkeys do come in a convenient travel size...
:quicksilver Pietro Maximoff [Quicksilver]

Quicksilver: Howisshe?Isshealright?Imusetspeakwithmysisteratonce.
Hawkeye: What is that noise?
IronMan: That is the noise Pietro makes right before he's tossed out of the airlock. ~ Avengers: The Children's Crusade #6

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