Timelined for several hours after the start of the invasion.
<Heather> The bug ships had finally left, largely thanks to the arrival of different ships. But Heather felt they'd done their part protecting the planet from spacebugs pretty damn well. Unfortunately, they'd also lost people despite her best efforts. She couldn't be in several places at once. Circling back to the school, Heather landed in a clear space and searched for familiar faces.
<Cessily> Cessily leaped out of the SHIELD aircraft as soon as the VTOL touched the concrete outside the school. "Anyone who can walk please help take those who can't down to the medlab," she told the personnel waiting to unload the injured soldiers. "Our staff and students will assist you in any way they can."
<Cessily> In the aftermath of the attack any medical facility in the area had volunteered to help take in the wounded, and their school was no exception. After all, they had their own casualties to take care of. Cessily bit her lip, banishing the memories of the battle to focus on the present task.
<Heather> The shiny skin was helpful and Heather zeroed in on the silver teacher, "Cessily!" She hurried over, "Anything I can do to help?"
<Cessily> "Heather!" A faint smile briefly lit up Cessily's tired features. "Good to see you're okay!" She couldn't resist giving the winged girl a quick hug. "We're going to need anyone to see to the wounded, and try to keep those who aren't injured from starting to panic."
<Cessily> She paused, holding her breath for a moment. "Carol is gone."
<Heather> Heather hugged back, then gave her a confused look, "Gone? What do you mean gone?" She looked around for some kind of clue.
<Cessily> Her facade faltered for a second and Cessily looked like the helpless girl that she felt like. "I don't know," she replied, sounding desperate. "She went to attack one of those alien ships when we lost contact with her, and no one has seen her since."
<Cessily> "I think those creatures took her." That was the only explanation she was willing to accept.
<Heather> "Anyone see what happened?" she looked around at the shield agents, "Maybe... maybe we can go after them? If that's what happened..." she watched some of the strange ships landing on the lawn.
<Cessily> Cessily shook her head. "I don't know, there was just chaos." After a glance at the lawn, she looked back at Heather and clenched her jaw. "And we will," she said, now nodding. "We have to, somehow."
<Heather> "Well... maybe let's just go and ask for a ride?" She thumbed to the ships. "Maybe they'd know what happened to her? They probably have fancy scanning equipment right?"
<Cessily> "That might actually be the best shot we have," Cessily agreed, watching the alien spacecraft across the field. "And our next first contact can only go better than our encounter with those murderous bugs, right?"
<Heather> "I don't think it could get worse?" she offered with a half shrug. "Let's go ask - I'll try to look intimidating." She spread her wings in example.
<Cessily> "Ooh, that's a good idea," Cessily agreed, and shifted into a taller and spikier form as she accompanied Heather. "Just keep in mind that one alien species trying to wipe us out is more than enough already."
<Heather> "No problem," Heather smiled at her as she matched her in height. What she didn't notice was that her face was changing the closer they got to the mysterious ship.
<Cessily> Their approach of the alien vessel didn't go unnoticed, several tall figures emerging from its hull. They looked humanoid from a distance, even though their appearance remained a mystery underneath the strange armour covering their entire bodies. The futuristic rifles cradled in their arms made their occupation obvious, however.
<Cessily> "Hello!" Cessily said when they got close enough. She slowed her step when the alien in the front raised a hand, indicating them not to get closer to their ship. "Do you understand us? We would like to thank you for your help."
<Heather> Heather also raised a hand to wave, "And to ask a teeny tiny favour..." she added.
<Cessily> The alien soldier looked back and forth between them and said something in a language Cessily didn't understand. "Yes, the bug monsters took my girlfriend and we need help to get her back," she said, but the alien seemed to pay her almost no intention, his gaze now locked on Heather. He turned around to say something to his comrades.
<Heather> Heather blinked and looked at Cessily, "What did I do?"
<Cessily> Cessily turned her head to exchange a look with Heather, instead raising her eyebrows when she saw the golden girl's face. "Oh," she said in a low voice. "I think it's more about the way you look than what you did..."
<Heather> Heather frowned, "But I always look..." she leaned closer to Cessily's face, catching a glimpse of her reflection, "What happened to my face?!"
<Cessily> "I... I have no idea! You suddenly got those marks! I thought you did that yourself. I'm absolutely sure they weren't there before." She looked between Heather and the alien guards, now talking among themselves. "I think they recognize them."
<Heather> "Recognise them? How? I've never seen them before... either of them." She looked back over at the aliens, "It's rude to talk about people right in front of them on this planet."
<Cessily> "I know, but please don't antagonise them while they stand on our lawn with their big blaster things," Cessily whispered, leaning close to Heather. The lead alien turned back to them and stepped closer. When he spoke again, they could actually understand his words, as if translated by his helmet. "Who are you? How did you get here?"
<Heather> Heather exchanged glances with Cessily, "... I live here."
<Cessily> "For how long have you been living on this world?" the alien soldier asked, prompting Cessily to exchange a concerned look with her friend. "Why don't we have any records of you?"
<Heather> "Why would you have any records of me? My brother and I were born here."
<Cessily> "That can't be," the alien replied. "No mere human could show these marks. Whose family do you belong to?"
<Heather> "Belong?" Heather echoed, "Uh... the Camerons I guess? They adopted us when we were children...."
<Cessily> "I see," the soldier said. "I will have to report that to the captain immediately. Wait here." In the meantime, Cessily gave Heather a wide-eyed stare. "What's going on here!? What are these guys saying? That you're, like... an alien?"
<Heather> Heather shrugged, "I have no idea... I hope I didn't hatch out of an egg or something... that'd be so weird."
<Cessily> "Well, you do look a little birdy," Cessily said, unable to keep an amused smirk off her face. After talking to someone in his own language, the alien guard returned to them. "The captain wishes to see you," he said, his attention mostly on Heather again. "Please follow me."
<Heather> "Uh... okay?" She looked at Cessily, "Please come with me, they're kind of freaking me out..."
<Cessily> Cessily gave Heather a reassuring smile. "No worries, I won't leave your side." She gave the guard a look. "Right?" A moment later the alien responded with a nod. "You may come along as well."
<Heather> Heather folded her wings back as best she could, finding she couldn't make them go away at the moment, and followed the member of the crew inside the ship. Ooooh roomy! She didn't have to stoop to make it through doorways or anything! Then she caught sight of her reflection in the glass and almost bowled Cessily over with her wings.
<Cessily> Cessily was trying to wrap her mind around the fact she was walking around inside an actual alien spaceship when Heather's wings slapped her out of her thoughts. "Those are... really funky," she said, following her friend's gaze to the reflection of the markings on her face. "Did those appear anytime before?"
<Heather> Heather shook her head, rubbing at them to see if they'd come off. They would not. "What are they?!"
<Cessily> "I have no idea," Cessily said, looking up at Heather's face. "Maybe something like a late birthmark? But it's a bit odd they're only showing up now?"
<Heather> "I don't like it...." Heather tried not to panic as she followed the soldier to his captain.
<Cessily> Cessily snuck her hand into Heather's and gave her friend a gentle squeeze. "Don't worry," she tried to encourage her. "I'm sure it'll all work out somehow. I promise I won't let them perform any weird tests on you."
<Heather> "... Now I'm even more freaked out." She hadn't considered this could be some ploy to experiment on her! They stepped onto the bridge and an announcement went up before anyone said anything else which stopped Heather in her tracks. "Attention! Royal Shi'ar on deck!"
<Cessily> Cessily blinked, standing frozen next to her friend, while all eyes rested on them - or on Heather, to be specific. No one had entered the room except for them, and she highly doubted their escorts were royalty. "I think it means you," she whispered.
<Heather> "Yeah... I got that..." Heather muttered back. She was completely confused. "Um.... I'm sorry... I think you might have made a mistake...."
<Cessily> "I don't think they see it the same way," Cessily whispered to Heather, who stood at the centre of attention of the whole room full of aliens. From what she could tell, they looked surprisingly human-like, except for their very noticeable hair patterns. "Is it just me, or do they look a little birdy?"
<Heather> "Yeah... but so do I... that's why think they're confused..." she frowned a little as the one that seemed to be in charge approached them. "There has been no mistake. Your facial markings tell us all we need to know."
<Cessily> Cessily noted more similarities between their visitors and their own species when she recognised their commander as female, both the alien woman's attitude and uniform commanding authority. She had no idea about their customs, and hoped her courteous nod wouldn't mean offence.
<Cessily> "Thank you for aid, Captain," she said, before glancing to Heather and back at the alien. "But we're not sure what you're talking about."
<Heather> "Yeah... really no idea... but that's not why we're here... we wanted to ask for a little bit more help..." she glanced at Cessily, "The Brood might have taken someone with them when they left... so we were wondering if you'd consider chasing after them...."
<Cessily> "I know you already did a lot for us, and we are very grateful for your help," Cessily added, putting on a smile. "We wouldn't ask you to do this for us if there was another way, but you might be our only chance to help our friend. I have no idea if there's anything we could offer you in return, but we'd be forever in your debt."
<Heather> "It was always our intention to track the Brood and finish them off," the Captain informed them, "We can add finding your friend into our plans." She inclined her head to them both in a sort of respectful bow. Heather blinked, "Uh... thanks..." she looked at Cessily, and whispered, "Now what?"
<Cessily> "That's fantastic! Thank you so much!" Cessily gave the alien captain an awkward grin, before exchanging a look with Heather. "I have no idea," she whispered back, then spoke up again. "Uhm, so... when did you plan to leave?"
<Heather> "As soon as possible," the Captain replied, looking them over again, "If you wanted someone familiar to your friend to come with us, however, I can send the bulk of our fleet on ahead and catch up with them later."
<Cessily> Cessily looked at Heather again. If it were up to her alone, they would already be in space and chasing after Carol. "I think it would be best if we lost as little time as possible, though I guess we should at least let the others know we're leaving, and give them a chance to join."
<Heather> "Very well, we will wait here." The Captain gave another small bow and returned to her station to issue instructions. Heather sighed, "Okay... so I guess we should tell SHIELD what happened?"
<Cessily> "Thank you!" Cessily called after the captain, before turning towards Heather. "Yes, I can handle that," she said and nodded. "I'll also inform the school staff of what's going on. Maybe we'll even get some volunteers." She had to admit she wasn't sure what to make of these aliens, so some backup would be more than welcome.
<Cessily> "What about you?" she asked, looking at Heather with some concern in her eyes. "Do you wish to come along? I really wouldn't blame you if you wish to stay away from them after... whatever that was supposed to mean."
<Heather> "I could come with you..." Heather nodded, following Cessily back off the ship, "If you want... it might make it a little easier...." she caught sight of her reflection again and pulled a face. "But, before I go I should go and find Warren and make sure he's okay.... I did talk him into coming here."
<Cessily> Cessily smiled. "Of course. And thank you. I'd really be grateful if you came along." She looked over her shoulder to make sure they were out of earshot. "Whatever it is these guys believe you to be, they seem to have respect for it, so I'd say we use that to our benefit."
<Heather> Heather nodded, "Yeah... ugh I should probably call home and check on my brother too... but maybe I shouldn't mention the space thing because he might freak out and get on a plane." Life was hard.
<Cessily> Cessily chuckled. "Yeah, maybe space should stay our little secret for now." She gave Heather a friendly squeeze on the shoulder as she accompanied her back to the school.
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