<Cessily> "Thanks, Sarah, see you tomorrow." Cessily gave the cashier behind the counter a smile and stuffed the change she had received into the tip jar. The silver mutant picked up the bag of pastry, its sweet contents still feeling warm in her hands, and slipped out of the small corner cafe that she had discovered as her favourite.
<Viper> Viper had been following the girl since she'd left the grounds, looking for an opportunity. Now she had one. The girl was distracted and the street was quiet, she waited at the end of the alley, taking the pastries first because why waste good food?
<Cessily> "Hey!" Cessily fidgeted with the keys for her scooter when someone snatched the bag of delicious goodies out of her hand. She looked up to find herself face to face with another woman. "What the-" Something about that stranger struck her as eerily familiar, and it instantly set the silver girl on edge. "Who-"
<Viper> She grabbed the girl next, the pastries tucked under her arm, and pulled her into the alley. "I'm not going to hurt you, I need you to listen." She was going to try talking first.
<Cessily> "Viper..." Cessily breathed, her shiny eyes wide with shock. Without thinking, she pushed the other woman away and slithered out of her grip. Her first thought was to turn and run, her second to lash out. The third one won out, when she noticed Viper did not move to attack.
<Cessily> "Why should I listen to you?" the silver mutant hissed, her fingers morphed into metal claws. "Tell me why I shouldn't cut you up where you stand."
<Viper> She eyed the claws before refocusing on Cessily's face, "Firstly, because your pastries would end up on the floor... and secondly because I have some information for you." She offered the pastries back as a gesture of good faith.
<Cessily> Cessily clenched her jaw and bit her lip, silently watching the woman in front of her. She would never forgive Viper for what she had done, but she also wasn't someone who believed in exacting bloody revenge. And Viper most likely knew that, or she wouldn't have chosen her to talk to.
<Cessily> Her left arm stretched out to snatch her pastries back. She made very sure to keep her distance from Viper. "Say what you have to say, and then I decide if I'll let you go." Cessily thought she sounded pretty menacing there. Mel would be proud of her.
<Viper> Viper smirked at the display, "You sound so sure you could stop me leaving." She inclined her head in the direction of the other end of the alley, "Not here."
<Cessily> "If you give me a reason, I'm not afraid to find out." Cessily tucked the bag of pastries under her arm and glanced where Viper was nodding at. "After you."
<Viper> Viper inclined her head and turned to lead the way away from the street and prying ears. She stopped at the end and waited for the silver girl.
<Cessily> Cessily kept a close eye on the windows and rooftops of the buildings on either side of the narrow alley, before cautiously following Viper. A silver tendril reached into her pocket, grabbed her phone, and sucked it into her malleable body. If something were to happen to her, she knew it was the only way the others could track her.
<Cessily> "Out with it, what do you want?" she demanded to know when she caught up with the other women, while still scanning her surroundings.
<Viper> Viper took a cursory glance around to check for eavesdroppers before she started, "You are close with the SHIELD liason at your school, yes? I need you to get SHIELD a message - for obvious reasons, I can't do that myself." She reached into her coat and pulled out a folded file.
<Cessily> Cessily eyed the folder for several second, before again looking up at Viper's scarred face. "What kind of information?" she asked. "What reason would you of all people have to help them?"
<Viper> She sighed, "Two decades ago, a ship crash landed in Brooklyn. The government covered up the real cause and Hydra got to the wreckage first. We took what we considered to be useful and left. Later, what we took from that ship, we used to create what were essentially giant insects. I'm sure you remember those?"
<Cessily> "The Brood," Cessily answered. "Wait, are you saying these things are not something cooked up by your twisted little lackeys, but that they actually came from space?" First alien raccoons, now alien insects. What would be next? Alien birds?
<Viper> "Yes." She sighed, "That isn't all. Before the ship entered our atmosphere, we picked up signals over satelite feeds - weeks before. SHIELD don't generally listen in to those channels which is how we beat them to it... recently we've been hearing them again but in greater volume. Those creatures are of a hive mind and there are some still living from the first ship."
<Cessily> Cessily's eyes narrowed when she began to process what Viper was telling her. "The first ship?" she asked. "Are you saying there is more than one?"
<Viper> "Every indication suggests there may be several more. One may be managable by us if their entry was uncontrolled but, just in case, SHIELD should know what to expect. It is not in anyone's best interests to let these creatures get a foothold here... and they may head for this general area. The survivors are kept nearby."
<Cessily> Cessily's thoughts were directed at Broo, and she pressed her lips into a thin line as she reached out to take the folder from Viper. "What else do you know of these survivors?" she asked, hesitating to take her eyes off the woman in front of her to look at the file in her hand.
<Viper> "They're contained. One is separate from the others under study..." she sighed, pushing a hand through her hair. "In the interests of transparency... The subject is located in a house near your school. I left him for Broo to study so that he could learn more about how he may grow. The Brood are a robust race... we used their DNA to help keep Broo alive when he was a baby. He and Jessica are aware of this."
<Cessily> Cessily resisted the urge to press for more answers regarding Broo's past, even though his and Jessica's involvement with Viper didn't sit well with her. This was the boy's business, and his decision how much of it he was willing to share with anyone. "Why are you telling me all this?" she asked instead. "Why help us?"
<Viper> "Because, as much as they pretend otherwise, SHIELD needs you people to handle something like this. You will have to help them deal with it. And I cannot go to SHIELD myself - it's bad enough that I'm talking to you. I don't want to burden Jessica with this yet, she is still recovering. You seemed a logical choice."
<Cessily> Cessily took a deep breath and glanced at the file folder in her hands, before fixating Viper with a firm look. "You knew I would give you the benefit of the doubt, or at least a chance to explain yourself," she admitted. "Certainly more so than most others at the school. Don't believe that means I have forgiven you for what you did, though."
<Viper> "I don't expect forgiveness," she replied, "I was doing my job. In this instance, I am not doing my job, I'm doing what is best. You have the information, it is up to you what you do with it."
<Cessily> "Don't expect a thank you card from me," Cessily replied, yet held on to the folder Viper had given her. "I don't trust you even one little bit, but I know you're selfish enough to save your own hide from vengeful alien insects whose family you experimented on. So, I will pass this on."
<Viper> "That's all I ask," she inclined her head, "Enjoy your pastries... and please warn Broo for me."
<Cessily> "I will." Cessily hugged her bag of pastries tight, not taking her eyes off Viper. She held up the folder. "And should we ever meet again, you should hope I won't find out you tried to trick us again."
<Viper> "It's not a trick," Viper assured her, "Just passing on relevant information." She turned to walk away.
<Cessily> Cessily brought herself to give Viper an appreciative nod, but kept her eyes on her until she was out of sight. Only then did she turn to leave in the other direction, looking back over her shoulder more than once.
<Cessily> She did not stop until she was back on the street, in plain sight of other people, before she dared to pause and look into the folder that she had been entrusted with. Only some of the things she saw at first glance made sense to her, but she had spent long enough time in McCoy's classes to understand some of it.
<Cessily> "My god..." she uttered, before shifting her phone back out of her body to dial the school's emergency number.
<Carol> Carol was on her way for coffee when the phone rang and she picked it up as she passed it, "Hello?"
<Cessily> "Carol? It's me, Cess! You won't believe what just happened. Viper tried to steal my donuts and she told me of an invasion of alien bugs and I think she's right. You've got to alert SHIELD and the X-Men at once! Not because of the donuts, but about the aliens. I'll be at the school as soon as I can find my keys!"
<Carol> Carol paused half way down the hall because she was just confused now, "The leader of a Hydra cell tried to steal your donuts? ... Cessily... are you high?"
<Cessily> "No, I swear I'm not! I know this sounds crazy, but you gotta believe me. She waited for me outside the cafe I always go to, and she handed me this file, and most looks like a bunch of gibberish to me, but from what little I understand it looks like a real thing. I couldn't do anything because she held my donuts hostage."
<Carol> "Are you still at the cafe?" she was worried about Cessily's tone, she was clearly shaken up. "Go inside and wait for me, I'll be right there, okay?"
<Cessily> "Okay, I'll wait for you here," Cessily agreed, and hurried back to the cafe door. "Please hurry." The silver girl waved at the young woman behind the counter, who looked surprised to see her again so soon. "Hey Sarah, what's your largest cup and your strongest coffee? I take two."
<Carol> Carol slammed the phone down and shut her office door then took off for the cafe at Mach 3. Arriving in moments and landing in the same alley Cessily had been in with Viper. She headed into the cafe and scanned the place for Cessily, spotting her bright hair in an instant.
<Cessily> Laden with donuts, coffee, and the mysterious folder, Cessily saw Carol enter the shop and quickly crossed the distance between them. "You're here!" She managed to hug her girlfriend without dropping anything. "Thank you."
<Carol> Carol returned the hug, "Of course I'm here," she pressed a kiss to her cheek, "Are you okay?" She gestured to a free table so they could sit.
<Cessily> Cessily nodded. "Yeah, I'm fine. I just didn't expect to meet one of our arch-enemies this morning. Jeez, I sound like a comic book character." She sat down at the free table and slipped Carol one of the tall mugs. "Here, I got this one for you."
<Cessily> After scanning the crowd to make sure no one was watching them - which was rather pointless, considering she was silver and her girlfriend had just landed outside the shop window - she pushed the file folder across the table as well. "She told me to get this to SHIELD."
<Carol> "You read my mind," she smiled at her girlfriend, "She didn't hurt you?" Pulling the file to her, Carol opened it to have a look inside.
<Cessily> Cessily shook her head. "No, except for taking my donuts. Oh, speaking of, want some?" She put the bag on the table with the rest of the stuff. "I really don't trust her, but I had the feeling she was sincere about this. Why else would she take the risk to approach me like this?"
<Carol> "Why indeed?" Carol turned the page, frowning a little. "This is... comprehensive... maybe SHIELD should hire her..."
<Cessily> "I'd rather have them lock her up in a dark hole and throw away the key," Cessily mumbled, cradling her coffee. "I'm sorry, I just really don't like that woman. She's ruthless."
<Carol> "Yeah... but she's also smart and thorough. Look at this stuff...." there were diagrams of the Brood anatomy in amongst the signal frequencies and descriptions of the technology stolen from the original wreckage. "And she just handed it over?"
<Cessily> Cessily nodded. "Not without selfish motives, I'm sure. She flat out told me that she needs us and SHIELD to stop these things." She reached out to flip to the pages with the satellite data. "It seems wherever these things came from, there are more on the way, and they're headed for their brethren."
<Carol> "Damn... and where are their buddies exactly?" She raised an eyebrow at Cessily, "She happen to tell you that?"
<Cessily> The silver girl bit her lip. "She said there's one specimen close by the school. Apparently for Broo to study." Another thought crossed her mind, and a distraught look appeared on her face. "Wait, doesn't that mean Broo is part alien, too?"
<Carol> "Sure looking that way..." she slouched in her chair and picked up the cup of coffee to take a sip, "I don't trust Hydra any more than you do but... this woman's intel is good. I know we can trust it, we have to take this seriously."
<Cessily> Cessily watched her girlfriend across the table. She realised Carol knew things she did not, and for the most part, she understood the reason why it had to be that way. This was one of those moments where she wished it weren't so, and she found herself wondering exactly how much SHIELD was withholding from them.
<Cessily> "Well, I have no intention of taking this lightly," she said with a nod. "In fact, I think we should inform the others as quickly as possible. If they're really headed in our direction, we need to be prepared."
<Carol> She nodded, "Yeah... and I need to make a phonecall to Fury... this needs to go all the way up... fast." She sighed, "And I was hoping for a quiet month." And now they were in debt to Viper again. She didn't like that.
<Cessily> Cessily offered a small smile of comfort. "Well, try to see it from the good side," she said. "At least they're only space insects, and not space spiders."
<Carol> "If they were space spiders we might have their kryptonite already hiding out in the city...." Carol reached for the donuts and claimed one.
<Cessily> Cessily giggled. "Better not tell Jess or any of the other spider people, or they might want to go space and try to find them. Who knows what Danger and Rocket will bring back from their trip to the stars."
<Carol> "Hopefully not more spacebugs..." She closed the file over and passed it back to Cessily, "Put this somewhere safe for me?"
<Cessily> "Alright." Cessily took the folder and stealthily slipped it under her shirt, carefully absorbing it into her liquid form without bending it. She flashed Carol a grin. "Safest place I know."
<Carol> "Have I mentioned that I love you?" It was awesome, her girlfriend was a safe that brought her fast food and coffee. Was there any more perfect person around? She couldn't think of one.
<Cessily> "Many times, but not today." Cessily's grin became even brighter. "I love you, too." She reached across the table to take Carol's hands in hers, before leaning across to plant a kiss on her lips. "Mind giving me a lift back?"
<Carol> "Of course not," She gave Cessily's hands a squeeze, "I'll come back for your scooter too and I'll be so very careful with it."
<Cessily> "Have I told you you're awesome?" Cessily chuckled and bagged the rest of the donuts for the trip home.
<Carol> Carol laughed, "I know I'm awesome, you shouldn't feed my ego like that." She leaned to press a kiss to Cessily's cheek then picked up her coffee. "Want to go for a walk while we finish these?"
<Cessily> "I'd love to," Cessily replied and picked up her own mug. "Maybe we'll run into more Hydra agents. I know this doesn't sound like me at all, but that encounter with Viper has left me with the urge to get into a fight."
<Carol> Carol stared at her for a moment, a previously impossible sounding thing had just happened. Cessily had become even more attractive. "I'm sure we can find something."
<Cessily> "Awesome!" She leaned over to press another kiss to Carol's cheek. "And if we don't, I'll just have spar with you." She made her way towards the door. "Preferably without any clothes."
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