[center [font "Times" [B Some people aren't meant to live. But they live anyway.
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[font "Times" Loki's eyes narrowed softly, easily understanding the mortals as they spoke but gave no indication that he was doing so save for his eyes flickering to Viktor's face before casting down. The woman seemed to understand, it seemed, but it made him wonder to what end. Often, only those with accursed names would understand a thing like that. Having not heard of this... creature before, he was not positive what to make of it. He assumed Pandora was a pseudonym, Loki possessing quite a few of his own through his centuries. But curiosity was nibbling gently at the back of his mind, eager to find out. It would certainly be a thing to hold, information like that, to give them some clout with her... but that was almost a whimsically simplistic fantasy of a very complex and difficult thing to even attempt. But the idea of a challenge, something to remind them of why they needed him and to remind them what he was capable of.
The raven haired foreigner's eyes slid over to Gweniviere beside him before switching to Vladislav as he began to speak again. The Lieutenant's eyes had been on the duo as they had spoken, narrowed in disdain it seemed when really she was focusing on catching what smattering of Russian she could even remember. It irritated her, yet made sense at the very same time, that they were speaking amongst themselves in such a way during a mission like this. It still gave the impression of secrecy. She caught name, mentioning names and a question... she couldn't remember what question word it was however and soon gave up.
Her eyes switched to the man, Vladislav, as he spoke again and placed a thin, politely receptive smile on her face as he spoke. Felix smiled, even though he knew no one would see, and nodded in agreement and reception of the man's words. He appreciated the effort the other made of changing the subject away from the aside. Had he felt more bold, he would have done the same, but Felix Arndt was a man particularly prone to awkward silence in the face of something he should speak up about.
Makins seemed particularly relieved, her shoulders having tensed at the mention of cameras, and then subsequently relaxing when she heard their rooms and bathrooms were safe. She looked over at Gweniviere to see her reaction, the super soldier keeping a relatively cool look on her face as she received the information and nodded in understadning. When the subject changed, her eyes moved over to Loki to both judge his reaction and to catch his eye. He met hers and held them for a moment before arching a brow and looking over to the food approaching them.
As soon as she was asked, Makins nodded, her hand coming up a bit to catch Pandora's attention, "[#92005d [B I've cut lactose and gluten from my diet, and I don't eat pork.]]" the little woman mentioned before continuing on about her personal opinions regarding those things and how much it enhances a person's quality of life and so on and so on, seemingly oblivious to the silence that was received from her words on it. The crew from Medusa, grown rather used to it, seemed relaxed and ognored it, Gweniviere glancing over the others to see their reactions, amusement flickering in her eyes. Catching someone's eye at one point during and gave a bare twitch of a shrug. Cynthia was, in fact, always like this. And soon the little gothic woman quieted down when she was finally overcome by her anxiety regarding the lack of reception. They all looked more confused than anything, these Russians. She simply shrugged and pretended to pass it off.
"[+slategray [B We would be delighted.]]" Felix said in response to Pandora, nodding emphatically at her and trying to match the cordiality that she was attempting to sow between the two groups.
They were shown to their rooms once again in a manner akin to a hotel service. At least they were beginning to try and smooth the relations between them, Gweniviere and Felix thought alike to one another as they went. The rooms were split up in a little cluster sharing the same hall. They were private rooms, as well, they noticed. Cynthia was overjoyed at being spared the potential awkwardness of sharing a room with the Lieutenant, much less either of the boys, but felt something of a distinct feeling of isolation once she got into it. There weren't many windows in this place and as it was, it was still rather chilly in them. Not just aesthetically, the concrete compound despite having fireplaces/internal heating was still a concrete compound in winter. It was cold.
It was a little suite setup with the four rooms connecting to a hall/common room. It seemed the entire wing was set up that way with little clusters of rooms set around like that, each with a bathroom of their own. On the one side of the hall, Felix and Gweniviere had rooms, and on the opposite were Loki and Cynthia next to one another. They soon, now that they had some time, set to unpacking a little and getting acquainted with the area.
Not having much to his name that he even bothered keeping with him on any material plane, Loki soon found himself with little to do while the rest doddered around their respective areas. Not keen on speaking to Cynthia, who seemed not only trivial but uninspired, and having nothing aprticularly to speak about with Felix, his thoughts turned to the Lieutenant.
He lingered in the doorway for a little bit, Gweniviere noticing him and initially not responding, used to him lurking here or there. But presently standing up after she retucked the fitted sheet over the mattress, having been searching through the room to ensure it was neither bugged electronically or populated by organic ones. "[B Can I help you?]" she asked.
Her voice was so familiar to him, he thought, and yet hearing her address him somehow after so long made it feel novel all over again. She had stopped coming to visit him for a while, periods at a time; either for general stress, he figured, or for anger at him specifically. He never knew, just guessed, and wasn't about to ask. But he wanted to ask her, he wanted to find out somehow where he stood with her. Loki hadn't the patience to find out arbitrarily by reading her body language, he knew that only went so far with her. Those scars on her face had disfigured enough to lend even the god a disadvantage. Loki shook his head once, barely, and continued looking. His question hovered on his tongue. Or rather questions. He wanted to sit down, he wanted to be welcomed in and spoken to, and to ask her the things he could hardly fathom putting into words, but yet were pressing against his ribcage and fluttering desperately to be released. He placed instead an attempt at a little smile on his face, trying to break the tension. "[#003300 [B Perhaps.]]" and gestured towards the portal within which he lingered, "[#003300 [B May I come in?]]"
Gweniviere's eyes narrowed with the politeness. It signalled one of two things with him; either an attempt at charm, focused enough to try and tease because when something was really bothering him, he would go for it without filter, or it meant that the emotion she hadn't failed to see hovering in his eyes was being masked from her which would only prolong the issue that was to come- whatever that would be. It was a familiar pattern. A cynical part of herself speculated that the immortal had just possibly remembered that she had boundaries and that those were to be respected- meaning he had understood the chasm that now had been drawn between them. But she highly doubted that. Half of the reason they had become so involved was because he pushed her boundaries; it was just the sort of person he was. Gweniviere arched her brows, nodding in mock inquisitiveness, "[B Perhaps?]" before she nodded, indicating he was welcome to enter.
A little, fey smile came up onto Loki's face at that, pleased at her malleability and stepped into the room she had chosen as hers. Hesitating a little as he drew to a stop as Gweniviere continued shuffling around her things, he swallowed, hating the juvenile inadequacy she summoned within him. Loki passed to the window, looking down at it and into the courtyard where he spotted the notable figure of the redhead and the larger Russian agent. His brows arched, "[#003300 [B Gweniviere,]]" he prompted.
The white haired woman looked up, noting where Loki's attention lay and rose, coming up beside him and looking down towards the window, keeping herelf back from sight until she only saw the two in the courtyard. Coming closer she leaned her forearm on the frame, humming a note of bemusement. Her eyes rose above them to catch the glow of what she assumed was the fire they mentioned earlier in the distance, silhouetted against the night sky with its glow. With that, the woman turned and went to the closet, taking her coat and pulling it on. The long material fell just above her boots as she shrugged to properly allow it to settle over her buttonup.
Loki watched her as she turned, closing it on her body, with a question in his eyes even as he suspected she wanted to speak with them. "[B I'm curious.]" she confirmed a moment later, and he nodded, following after her. Summoning a coat to himself, the god swung its heavy fabric onto his own shoulders as the two long-legged individuals strode down the hallway.
"[B That's quite a statement, the death of all humanity.]" came the husky tone of the super soldier as she walked up towards them, Loki following slightly behind her right side. His eyes glanced between the two, mostly ignoring Viktor and looking over the redheaded woman instead.
[right [pic http://th03.deviantart.net/fs43/200H/f/2009/137/4/e/Scarred_Girl_by_Samiross90.png]] Gweniviere's eyesmoved over them both, lingering on Viktor just a moment. The instigator, more keen on shutting them out than asking for help, and as far as she was concerned a loose gun with a hairpin trigger she didn't need. His clear, green-blue eyes held hers for as long as she looked before her own turned to Pandora. "[B I had wondered why I hadn't received a file on any of your agents, even when I provided ones of mine own.]"
Neither failed to notice the use of the familiarity from Pandora to Viktor.
[center [font “Times” [b ‘Art thou not afraid?’]]]
[i He had toiled over his idea of the perfect creation for many moons, the man that all living creatures feared. The Priest that had controlled over all dark things to walk the land of purgatory. He was the fallen priest, and he was immense in power and soul.]
[i She was to be born of fire and ice, of the blackest night and the darkest of souls. She was to be a creation of perfection, a weapon so powerful that neither God nor Lucifer would ever be able to stop, let alone control.]
[i On the bloodiest of moons, when the stars of the underworlds finally all aligned with those above, he gathered all that he would need and threw the items into a huge fire hotter than Hell itself.]
[i It was here, on this night, that The Weapon was born and the powers of the Earth shifted in a way of which it would never change.]
[i He raised her as his own, ensuring that she knew nothing other than the life that he would give her. In a stone cold palace made of bones was her playground, the ghastly animals deemed too dangerous for Hell were her pets. She was raised as the future Queen of Purgatory, the to be mother of all the worst of the worst and eventually the bringer of the end of the world.]
[i From the beginning of her existence, the girl was blessed with features that would melt even the coldest of hearts. Her eyes would appear either the most sapphire blue colour ever to be seen or the blackest night imaginable. Her hair was blood red and hung in thickness touched by curls, her skin whiter than the purest of snow. She was a sight to behold.]
[i The Fallen Priest watched his creation, his daughter, grow of many years. She grew rapidly and quickly, soon reaching her full adult potential where finally she ceased to grow or change at all. Her features and body belonging to a human female between the ages of twenty-eight and thirty.]
[i She was beautiful, strong and powerful. She was everything that she had been created to be, she was dangerous.]
Not a single glance between the two escaped the gaze of the red headed woman, clearly there was still much bad blood regarding the background of Loki.
Pandora smiled politely at the man, registering the clear distaste the title, her eyes conveying her silent apology.
Her line of sight shifted now to Viktor sitting to her right, her lips moving quickly and quietly.
[font “Times” [b “Ему не нравилось это имя , старайтесь не использовать его в будущем,”]][i ‘He does not like that title, try not to use it in the future’] the words fell from her lips with a soft smile, ensuring that Viktor knew exactly what she had picked up on.
[font “Times” “Шекспир сказал, что имя не было ничего больше, чем название , почему это важно ?”] [i ‘The great Shakespeare said a name was nothing more than a name, what does it matter?’] the male responded in his native tounge.
[font “Times” [b “Название довольно часто кариес гораздо большее значение , чем вы бы все равно думать”]] [i ‘A name quite often caries much more than you would care to think,’] her words were final on the subject and Viktor did not push any further.
Vladislav cleared his throat, although the conversation between the two only lasted no longer than a few seconds, he felt it was long enough.
[font “Times” [i “I do feel as if it is incredibly important for me to thank you in person, for all the work that you have done so far. I know it is far to travel and I am sure I speak for my entire team when I say we have so much appreciation for this, hopefully this may be the beginning to a wonderful alliance between our two beautiful countries,”]] the man said in a timid voice, trying not to convey his true shock at the power before him, the super soldier, the Leviathan and the God. His shock was not born from fear, no, his shock was born from his lack of knowledge on the things that were hidden from the view of most humans.
[font “Times” [i “And I do feel as if I should mention, in the main sitting rooms of each wing and most other rooms there are cameras. I am sure you have already noticed this, I highly doubt a detail as such as this would have slipped your mind. However, there are no cameras in the bedrooms nor in any bathroom facility. Please do not take this as insult, it is throughout the entire compound. I felt it only fair that the soldiers and officers alike should be privy to the same form of security,”]] he finished his sentence as the food was brought towards them, a modest array of meats and salads. Options for all dietary requirements, as all were unsure as to what was needed.
Most of the meal was eaten with small conversation, no issue discussed while the food was on the table.
The visitors were encourage to eat as much as needed or wanted as there was more that could be cooked, Pandora also asked should there be any special dietary requirements that would need to be attended to.
Finally, after the plates were cleaned away and the group left with a tidy table, the conversation finally turned to the real reason all had gathered together.
Viktor had lit the fire and turned the heating on, as now the sun had set far from sight and the temperature dropped into the negatives. The type of temperature Russia was notorious for.
[font “Times” [b “I was hoping that tomorrow morning, a group of you would join Viktor, a few soldiers and myself on a small expedition to follow some tracks that was have recently found not too far out of the main city. It would be about an hour’s drive to the site and then another half an hour walk, if you do not feel up to it, that is no problem, however I would like for all those who can join me to come. I do not need an answer now, in the morning will suffice,”]] she directed question and statement not at just one of the group yet all of them, for all were welcome.
Pandora continued to make small talk further on into the night until the feeling of her foot being kicked under the table signalled that Vladislav was ready for the dinner to wind up, and in no other words, go to sleep.
[font “Times” [i “Well, on that note, I think we better call it a night. Especially if you are interested in going with Pandora in the morning,”]] Vladislav held the doors open as the entire group departed, in no particular rush, he dawdled slowly with them before finally coming to a stop at the bottom of the stairs.
He opened his mouth to speak but stopped suddenly as a soldier came running through the back doors to the courtyard, for a moment he stopped to catch his breath before saluting his superior officers and the guests.
[b “Извиняюсь за вторжение , сэр.”] [i ‘Apologies for the intrusion, Sir,’]
[font “Times” [i “Все прощается, говорят . Пожалуйста.”]] [i ‘All is forgiven. Now, speak,’]
[b “Существует пожар на расстоянии , мы считаем, что это будет еще одно нападение на маленьком городке .”] [i ‘There is a fire in the distance, we believe it to be another attack on a small town,’]
[font “Times” [i “Мы уверены , что это то, что мы ищем ?”]] [i ‘Are we sure this is what we’re looking for,’]
[b “Нет, сэр”] [i ‘No, Sir,’]
[font “Times” [i “Разошлите команду, отвечающую за Emergancy , если они нуждаются в помощи убедитесь, что они получают его . Все, что им нужно.”]] [i ‘Send out an emergency response team, make sure they get any aid they need. Whatever they need, give it to them,’]
[b “Да сэр,”] [i ‘Yes, Sir,”] the soldier saluted and turned on his heel to move away from the group.
[font “Times” [i “Oh and Solider, make sure they are sure what caused the fire,”]] he returned his attention to the group, [font “Times” [i “There has been an attack on a much smaller town in the mountains, although at this time we are able to confirm whether it was caused by the beastie that we are after. We should know in a few hours. Come, I will show you to your rooms,”]]
It is here that Vladislav departed from Viktor and Pandora, who gave their best wishes and apologies to the others for not joining them for Pandora wished to survey the site from the courtyard.
Pandora and Viktor stood in the courtyard; the windows above overlooked the entire area. The same windows that were connected to the rooms in which the Germans were currently staying.
While the pair could not see eyes peering from the windows above, Pandora was almost certain that they were watching.
[font “Times” [b “Do you think it was the hound again?”]] Pandora kept her eyes on the smoke, she stood in the cold without a jacket yet could not feel a single thing.
[font “Times” “I doubt it would be anything else, we will find out in the morning,”]
[font “Times” [b “You know this may very well kill us if we do not act quickly, it will breed and spread. There is a war coming, and you know I am right,”]]
[font “Times” “We have no proof of this, none at all. Only what you believe to be true and even then, how many years ago was this said?”]
[font “Times” [b “It was not said, Viktor. It was foretold, just as my existence was foretold. Just as me being here was foretold,”]]
Viktor now turned to face the woman, raising a hand slightly before dropping it to his side. His intentions to stroke the side of her face dissolved into nothingness after remember they may be being watched.
[font “Times” “You were told you would be the death of all of humanity, yet I have yet to see that happen yet in my lifetime,”]
[font “Times” [b “Yes, but you forget, моя любовь, that I will outlive you by many, many hundreds of years,”]]
[center моя любовь = my love]
[font "Times" Brows shot up at the warm greeting from the response to Felix's chipperness. This was quite a change... however, Gweniviere glanced at the other two men behind her as they remained stoic as usual. Apparently the warmth was from the woman with the warm-colored hair alone. Made sense. She quirked a brow as she reached down to pull her shoe properly on herself. Tonight, the Lieutenant was in a suit and brogues underneath her overcoat, as were the rest.
Gweniviere didn't fail to notice the strange accent, coming up to Loki and placing a hand on his shoulder for balance. He glanced down at her and held her arm to stabalize, an absent motion as she likely didn't need it, but it was habit by this point as his eyes returned to the strange little welcome they were getting. The way Gweniviere had posed these Russians was quite different from this warmth. The two exchanged a glance as the Lieutenant stood on her own again, clapping him on the back in silent thanks before starting forwards with everyone else as they moved towards the compound.
In the jeeps, Gweniviere and Loki remained with one of the other two at all times, a quiet gesture, but a secure one nonetheless. The lot of them, Sylvia unincluded, weren't exactly famous in a good way and the Russians weren't as uninformed as the world would make them out to be at times, and Hydra and various Russian military and sciences factions were often at odds. Gweniviere herself had been the purveyor of such insurrection and violence many a time. She could only hope one of two things; that they knew her reputation and it warned them against trying anything, or that they absolutely didn't. Glancing around, she shivered a little at the thought of having to possibly on her guard for who knows how long they were here. It sounded exhausting. Exhausting and they hadn't even started yet.
The Lieutenant, pressing a hand over her hat again, hopped out of the jeep after the small man. "[B Of course.]" she responded, inclining her head as she slipped her hands into her pockets, looking up at the doors. They were exquisite, really, and surprising to her from the hard, cold metal and the concrete of the majority of the rest of the entire facility. She wondered if this was an officer's or official building of some sort. "[B The Germans are historically famous for being hunters,]" she said, slanting a little grin. It was made crooked by the scar that pulled on the right side of her mouth, but it existed nonetheless. "[B so let's hope we can catch this beastie of yours.]"
"[+slategray Now, that being so, only twenty-five percent of this group [i is] German,]" Felix spoke up, waggling a finger and pulling himself to his full height as they started into stride. He pressed a hand to his chest. "[+slategray I'm [i Austrian], actually. South and to the right a little.]" he glanced to Gweniviere. An old, prideful woman who needed to remember that.
Gweniviere exhaled slightly, shaking her head and looking amused. "[B Du wurdest nicht in Österreich erhoben. [size10 You were not raised in Austria.]]" she murmured to him in German, not wishing to make a name for herself denouncing him in front of strangers. Despite his claim, the man was perhaps born, but not raised. And now he had German citizenship.
"[#92005d Du bist ein Amerikaner, nein? [size10 You're an American, right?]]" Sylvia said, looking confused. Sylvia lingering near Felix. She didn't know Loki at all, and she had been under his curious pestering for part of the flight, and surely that was enough of the man for her.
"[B Aa,]" Gweniviere responded, gesturing at the little goth. "[B sie weiß besser als du. [size10 Aha, she knows better than you.]]"
Felix frowned inside of his mask, turning his head to her. "[+slategray Ich weiß, wo meine Wurzeln sind. [size10 I know where my roots are.]]" he grumbled back to her, giving her a dismissive gesture.
The woman scoffed, "[B [i Shallow] roots...]" she said, and then pointedly returning to everyone's common tongue in English and removed her gaze from Felix as he turned back to her, bristling, shown by the way his hands closed in front of himself. Gweniviere winked at Makens. Loki just smiled. He missed this, his eyes becoming reflective as he thought about it. Even if it wasn't directed at him, he missed working with these two, hearing them, hearing Gweniviere speak in a lighter tone at least than the cool reservation she was so known to slip into.
The tour was appreciated, Gweniviere thought, as they went over almost all of the facilities. She hadn't been expecting anything extensive at all, and frankly she, Felix and Loki had been prepared for a cage, almost. High security, being under heavy guard at all times as foreign bodies. The like. But this was a contradiction to the way she had briefed everyone. And as much of a more welcome change as it was, the ever paranoid woman was set on edge as she wondered about it's possible implications. It wasn't something that ate at her too badly, but it was a nagging thought at that back of her head that warned her against anything that could be a possible avenue to take advantage of her, or of Hydra. Swallowing quietly, as eyes took in what she could, brows knitting. None of them knew how long they would be here, so learning about the facilities was an inevitability, but the gesture was highly appreciated. The Hydra operatives were gracious, reservedly so, but gracious nonetheless. Though they differed, all three held a social or personal background that would deem them so. The Germans were a reserved people among strangers, and only had few, few actual people they called friends, the rest acquaintances even if they had numerous. And the rest, for the elder adults in the group, it could be attested by the trauma each had suffered in their lives, in their respected ways. Wary eyes and quiet words to one another even as they followed along and responded to their hosts.
Makens was the most outwardly, effusively interested in everything around her. Even being an agent, her professional disposition and lack of training or requirement, she hadn't ever been on the grounds of such a facility. Her dark eyes were bright and wide, catching everything she could of the place and oohing and aweing at some of the things, or mentioning "[#92005d I've never seen a so big before!]" Her pale painted face turned up and around them to take in everything she could. Gweniviere watched her, hoping that this mission wouldn't turn out to be too much for her. Sylvia Makens was a newer agent, taken in on the reference of another. She had hardly seen any action from her advisory position.
Felix, too, cooed about his fair share of things. A curious fellow who had grown up around the second world war and had been so focused on his own research in biological and neurology and genetics and such. Mechanical and such man-made things never ceased to amaze him. He was a chatty, effervescent fellow at times, especially when he was nervous.
Let for a short while to situate themselves and at least bring their bags into their rooms, choosing them and such, Gweniviere had caught Loki's glance and then directed her gaze up to the cieling and its corners, then arched a brow. Loki then made a sweep, sending out tendrils of his magic to explore the walls of the rooms and such books and crannies within to discover anything. When they reconvened he mentioned to her that they were/weren't* being watched.
[right [size10 *whatever you had in mind. I imagined that they would be but I have no idea, ultimately.]]
Seated in the dining hall now, the Hydra operatives all in a curved line next to one another. Sylvia was desperate to be seated in between Felix and Gweniviere and not on the edge so she couldn't be engaged in conversation at all on the side.
Gweniviere's eyes flickered up to Pandora, a frown of confusion crossing her features before she turned them to Vladislav. She had sent the message to him as he had requested. Had he not told them that they were taking him? Her mouth tightened, perturbed by that, and then grew still as she went further to name him a god. Silence fell over the table.
Loki stilled, at the mention, unsure of what such recognition would mean for them and fought the temptation to look to Gweniviere, as Felix's lack of a visible face would do him no good at present. But the reaction of the man Vladislav pulled an amused look across his lips.
It took a split second for the little tremble of hesitation at being recognized to devolve into a sharp twinge at the title that had become a curse upon him, reminding him of a great many things he worked not to think about with his "father". Loki's smile stiffened at the mention of his false parent, eyes holding the redheaded woman's. Gweniviere's eyes flickered to him, trying to read his expression and to see if it would signal whether or not she should say something...? But the mild smile pulled slightly wider, eyes narrowing slightly. That name still struck him internally after being banished, stricken from Asgard and its filthy hypocrisy. The temptation to correct her was largess, the heated knot of intention growing in his chest, willing him to speak, but he held himself back. She was but a Midgardian child, but the feeling of being forever in the shadow of his childhood guardian was more insufferable than being forever compared to his adoptive brother.
His eyes traced slowly over the redheaded woman. So, she was the 'gifted' individual, as the Lieutenant had said. Loki wondered if she could smell the seidr in him, or if she simply recognized him at face value. The god's green eyes then slid to Vladislav, predatory amusement in his eyes at the man's incomprehension for a moment, arching a brow. His eyes returned to Pandora, "[#003300 [B I'm flattered,]]" the Aesir responded. "[#003300 [B Not many would say so.]]"
Gweniviere cleared her throat, feeling the beginnings of a problem coming as she tossed a glance at Vladislav. Gweniviere intended to nip it in the bud; having the identity of such a person dropped on you could be seen as an act of war, based on the penchant of at least Viktor to overreact, and Gweniviere didn't have the energy. The woman's scarred throat flexed as it could, voice ever with a rough edge to it as a result of the wounds that once held their place even despite her clearing it. "[B Perhaps you thought his name on the security dossier I gave you was a simple codename.]" the woman said, arching a brow. "[B I assure you we were quite serious.]" Gweniviere decided to own it. "[B Loki was a member of RIP* during its brief convening some years ago, if you are familiar.]" she explained, "[B and a valued member of our organization for a couple years now.]"
[right [size10 *I can explain that again if you don't remember]]
Loki's eyes turned to her at that explanation, smiling to himself. She had called him a valued member. It surprised him some that she hadn't introduced him as an indentured servant or some sort of power play to the Russians. He was a part of them, and recognized as such, officially. Even after all he had done, or rather he supposed especially after all of that... Save for his grave childishness, his thoughtlessness, a mistake that would weigh on him quietly for the indeterminable future. He enjoyed the attention, of course, a part of him basked in all eyes on him. But at the same time his notoreity was a dangerous thing. He had led an invasion force to Midgard, and had drawn the Mad Titan as well, much later as a result of his actions. He was responsible for thousands of deaths, whether directly by his hand, or simply by the consequences of his activities. Not many were aware of his attempts at altering. Never amending, for he could not, but altering.
Where was Pandora? Viktor did not answer the white haired woman’s question, for he did not know the answer.
As far as he knew, she could be miles from the compound by now or simply be hiding within a tree behind the hangers.
There was no telling where she would be or when she would return.
Instead, he directed his attention to their further demand of her being used as an advisor. Vladislav was the one to answer this.
A single cough cleared his throat.
[font “Times” [i “I am happy to fulfil this request, for there is no other more qualified to assist you who is under our roof than her. I will meet with her as soon as we have finished speaking,”]] he rested a loose arm on the table before him.
Darkness had fallen over the compound once again; Viktor tucked his hands deeper into the large overcoat’s pockets as he buried his face further into his scarf.
The cold Russian wind beat around his face; ensure his features were frozen cold. The sound of his feet hitting concrete as he wandered from the armoury to the right of the back field, only a short walk from the main building itself.
He could hear the sound of movement in the trees that sounded the concrete courtyard, leaves rustling in more than just the breeze.
His footsteps stopped, eyes peering to the trees around him. He was searching for the slightest little glance that she was out there, silently watching him rather than choosing to confront him on their earlier conversation with the Sovereign.
[font “Times” “You do not have to come down if you do not want to, you know I am not going to force you to do anything,”] he spoke into the darkness, allowing a few more minutes of silence to pass before sighing and shaking his head, [font “Times” “Very well then,”]
Viktor continued down his path, moving towards the large double doors to enter the compound. His hand rested on the handle as the sound of movement once again came from behind him.
His body shifted to face the figure now standing in the darkness.
[font “Times” [b “You belong to a race of people that are not made to last, you require help from others like myself yet when you are given that help, you squander it on materialistic things. It’s pathetic,”]] Pandora’s voice filled the large gap between them as stood in the middle of the courtyard.
They now stood facing each other, as if to draw weapons and shoot. There was no kindness in Pandora’s face yet fatigue crossed Viktor’s.
[font “Times” “I cannot begin to comprehend the things that you have seen, the people that you have met, Pandora. You of all people must understand that humans have many flaws, yes we are not meant to last, but give all we have in the short span of time we are here,”]
[font “Times” [b “You do not give as much as you are capable of giving,”]]
[font “Times” “Do you?”]]
[right [pic http://i375.photobucket.com/albums/oo199/lady_lucfier/Mobile%20Uploads/image_zpsslii4wzq.jpg]] Security on the airfield had not increased, under much distaste from both Viktor and Vladislav for they both wanted the extra hands on deck. But Pandora had insisted that it would just be a crude and distasteful show of supposed power, they were guests here to help and not prisoners.
They had received the communication via the radio in Vladislav’s office that their plane had now entered Russian territory.
Upon order, the four army jeeps were brought to the front of compound, awaiting the order of the three highest powers.
Quickly, the jeeps took the trio to the airfield to the far left of the compound. It was small in size compared to most international airports but sported fifteen sets of impressive steel hangers sat in rows. Within them they held various flying machines, starting at early war birds to jets and bombers. Their sheer size alone was a marvel.
The airfield had four runways, two in and two out. Along with a huge taxi bay area, it was here that the German’s plane was to pull up after coming from the runway.
Surely enough, not long after they had arrived, the plane was taxied before them and the door opened.
The sun was covered by the colds, the wind still. Yet the cold still bit at the skin with a vengeance.
The trio stood in a line, both men on either side with Pandora in the middle. Vladislav looked almost ant like in size standing next to the soldiers, dressed in his dark navy suit and pointy shoes. His hands rested comfortably by his sides.
Viktor stood a few feet tall than Pandora, extending to his full height of six foot five. He was clad in the senior officer’s black Russian army dress fatigues with the ushanka upon his head, the sides tied to meet at the top. While his expression offered neither violence nor aggression, it was as cold as the Russian weather itself. His black army boots polished, yet deemed no reflection, seemed to bring out the focal point of the soviet symbol embodied onto his collar.
The man’s green eyes peered down to Pandora as the figures began to emerge from the plane; he had no interest in anything other than her.
Blood red hair wiped around her face by the wind of the engines not held back by a single tie. Her eyes shone an unnatural blue, a slight tinge of black veins being seen through the centre of her iris, threatening to show her true nature through. She wore a pair of tight black pants, followed by an army jacket similar to Viktor’s in markings and pattern. Within the depths of her mind she could hear the sounds of their heart beats, the different scents. She knew they had not come to harm them, not that she needed more conformation of this.
Pandora moved forward as finally they all emerged from the plane, her red lips parting to form a smile and a warm welcome.
[font “Times” [b “Welcome to Russia!”]] she said as she clapped her hands together, a thick accent that could not be placed as Russian rolled of her tongue, [font “Times” [b “Come, come, let’s get you out of the cold and back to the compound,”]]
She directed the team towards the jeeps, instructing the drivers that they were to be taken back to the compound.
The trio climbed into the same jeep, Pandora sitting in the back with Viktor as they journey the short trip back to the place they called home.
Vladislav was first to exit the cars, offering the same warm smile he had the first time they had met. He stood before the large wooden carved double doors of the main build; two security guards armed with assault rifles and dressed in Russian army uniforms guarded the entrance.
[font “Times” [i “I’d first like to thank you for travelling all this way, I do hope that your stay will be comfortable. If you ever need anything, please let me know and I will do my best to arrange it for you in a timely manner,”]] the doors were opened, [font “Times” [i “Please, follow me,”]]
For the next hour and a half, Vladislav showed the Germans the grounds in which they would call their home for the time being, the ins and outs along with the daily functions of certain areas. Lastly, he showed them to their rooms.
They were situated in the east wing of the main building, the same area of the Sovereign’s personal living quarters while Viktor and Pandora were located within the west wing. The whole west wing was closed off to the Germans, strict instructions placed to respect the privacy of those that dwelled within.
Within the West wing stood both Pandora and Viktor’s living quarters, a privacy laboratory purely for testing on Pandora and a secret office belonging to Vladislav.
Finally the group returned to the large dining half, for it was late into the afternoon and time for food to begin being served.
All were situated around a large round table, also Pandora’s ideas, to ensure that no ill manner was put across.
[font “Times” [b “So, I see you have brought someone else with you. I was not aware that we would have a God among us,”]] Pandora spoke with a smile, knowing well that the other two men had not noticed yet.
[font “Times” [i “I beg your pardon, a God? Surely there can be-“]] Vladislav began to speak only to be cut off by Pandora.
[font “Times” [b “That gentleman sitting there would be none other than Loki, God of Mischief and son of Odin. It is a pleasure to finally meet you after all these years of hearing about you,”]]
[font "Times" "[B I'm going to give you a chance,]" Gweniviere said, her long body positioned against the frame of the room's door. Her arms were crossed over her chest, the slanted light behind her shadowing her pale face slightly and making her golden eyes glint at him.
His tired eyes were lingering on her, shifting slightly from the seat on the bed. A thin smile came up on his lips, looking her over a moment as it softened. He was glad to see her. It was the first mission she had allowed him alongside her since the incident. For her, he supposed, it was a quick recovery, perhaps due to necessity and he should be grateful; but the thought that she had come to him specifically was both satisfying on an animal level, and it warmed him considerably. But he was wary of speaking, as if the sound of his voice would break the fragile peace that was between them. She had asked how he was, and how his trial had gone. She said that Hermann missed him and he had smiled, really smiled. Did that mean she did as well...? Perhaps this chance was her way of showing him that she was ready to start again. Quietly, the foreigner inclined his head to prompt her to continue.
"[B We are going to follow up on a reported world threat in incubation in Russia. They have one gifted individual already on it, but they need our help.]" Stepping closer, the white haired German took the file from under her arm and crossed to him, handing it over. It had the compiled need-to-know information that the Russian agent Pandora had gathered for them.
Loki took the file in his slender hands and opened it, glancing over the pictures with curiosity. Nothing he had seen before, regarding the creature, skimming the descriptions. His eyes flickered up at Gweniviere's mention of a gifted individual, tilting his head slightly before his eyes returned downwards. Was that too why she wanted him there? A little feeling stirred in him. She wanted him there to protect them. Loki's lips parted slightly and his brows rose. So she was taking him up on his offer, the words that had been pulled from him so desperately when he had followed her to the house after her trial? She wanted him to help. The raven haired man swallowed, letting that sink in.
"[B There have been a number of civilian casualties in waves, or spells, watever you want to call them. The Russians are worried. They aren't prepared like we are for peculiar threats like this. Felix and Makens are being deployed as advisory and research.]" Gweniviere said, glancing over the upside down images that he was looking at. Her brows came together over her eyes, lips pursing as she took a breath. "[B I want you there.]"
Loki looked up at her again, her eyes already on his. "[B You won't have the inhibitor on, no serum. I need you at your full strength. We don't know what we are walking into.]"
His eyes widened a little. That was a lot of trust from her. And all at once. She must either be desperate or... Gweniviere's scarred face was serious, but her eyes held that quiescence in them. It had been some time since she had looked to him for assistance, and he was trying not to jump too eagerly at the opportunity. But his fingers were kneading at the folder in his hands, eager to get out. Eager to serve, to prove himself. Tilting his head down slightly, Loki took a slow breath, hesitating on how to answer. The slight smile could not be fought. "[#003300 [B I accept.]]"
And that was how he ended up flying to Russia alongside the two advisors and the Lieutenant. He hadn't met the young woman before, this Sylvia Makens. Apparently she was a studier of folklore. Curious, he wondered if she knew of him, eyes glancing over her. During the flight he had peppered her with questions, her quiet and nervous nature irritating him slightly. But she had enough spine on her to tell him to back off, bringing a smile to his lips and glanced to Gweniviere who had her eyes on him quietly. It was a nice distraction from the crawling anxiety in him to be strapped into this flying contraption. He was grateful when they touched down. It was only for his wariness to exit into unknown territory that had held him back from climbing out first. But once he did, the true chill of the Russian day touched him.
Felix had exited first, his anxiety for flying far surpassing Loki's. Outside he pressed a hand to his chest and caught his breath, looking up to see their hosts approaching. Gweniviere ushered Makens out in front of her, the young woman dressed in a long, thick coat with a wide brimmed hat over her head and looked out over her powdered nose at the true height of the man Viktor, balking slightly and lingered by Dr. Arndt's side. Gweniviere let Loki go in front of her, his raven head reaching out of the small door, the ends of his hair whipping about his shoulders fro the engines of the plane. It contrasted sharply with his pale pallor and bright green eyes, also dressed in a long, black coat. He was a tall, slender fellow with aristocratic, angular features, standing at just under Gweniviere's height, the impressively tall woman having a couple inches on him but not much. And lastly the Lieutenant herself, stark white hair now under a hat as she placed it on her head and followed out.
"[+slategray Good day!]" Felix greeted, a hand pressed against the hat he had somehow fit over his mask, sounding a bit breathless and popped into a quick little bow, still working to calm himself down.
[font "Times" The doctor nodded, his brows quirking inside of the tinted mask he wore. "[+slategray Very good.]" and drummed his knuckles a little against the table once in acceptance, sitting back in his chair. The slender man then turned his head back towards the white haired supersoldier. "[+slategray Director?]"
Exhaling, the white haired woman tilted her head to the side and considered it a moment. It sounded too good to be true, but they were earnest. A long, slow sigh before she addressed Herr Vladislav. "[B Well, you'll be glad to know that the doctors Makens and Arndt will be present, and a team we choose to come with us.]"
The Lieutenant had noticed that the woman was gone but it hadn't occcurred to her as anything out of the ordinary until the man Vladislav brought up their team. Her brows pulled together, stepping forwards from the wall and glancing between the two men, her bright eyes cool. Her expression didn't change, however it tightened some when the large, angry man from before began to speak. His words sank in, of course, and she understood his intentions in apologizing. The woman nodded to him in acceptance of the apology. It was the second part of his apology, the validation of it that made her teeth clench. "[B Aggressive and elusive,]" she repeated, a sneer threatening to seize her expression. "[B Yes, I would say so.]" Her eyes remained hard on the man, before exhaling and glancing to the side. The temptation to elaborate on that was great, but the German woman resisted the urge. "[B Your humility is appreciated in this instance, thank you.]"
"[B But,]" her eyes snapped back to Viktor, "[B Just like Germany's, the 'Russian empire' has fallen, and has been dismembered since your last dictator.]" Gweniviere's tone was formal and authoritative. She would not handle more Russian nationalists. She had spent too many years of her life doing so and her disdain hovered just under the surface of her"[B This is the twenty-first century; and if Germany has moved on from its nationalistic ways from [i the second world war] I would appreciate if you lot would. It would make this so much easier.]"
Her eyes snapped back to Vladislav, frowning a little. "[B Where's your soldier?]" she asked. Wasn't she the one who should be here for this as it had seemed to her that the ginger woman was the one who would be handling most of this. She had gotten the information to them in the first place, outside of the orders of this man the Sovereign who seemed to have humbled some, not this agent who was dismissed from their last meeting. "[B Not this one.]" she said, gesturing to Viktor on the side, eyes returning to the blonde* man.
[right *[size10 or light brown. Tweedy can't remember.]]
Felix took pause, frowning a little underneath his mask and turned back to her, glancing over them briefly. "[+slategray Warum ist die Frau wichtig?]" he asked in a quiet voice.
"[B Sie gab uns die Informationen.]" she responded, nodding sharply towards the screen. "[B Ich will die Rotaarige. Sie wird die Kreatur zu diskutieren.]"
"[+slategray Also,]" the doctor responded, nodding.
"[B I want your redheaded soldier as an advisor on this matter,]" Gweniviere said, crossing her arms. She was the one who had actually cooperated in the first place with them- and it had seemed that she was something... new. Hydra wanted to keep tabs on the 'gifted' individuals. They were of course much, much more discreet about it than the failure that ended up being SHIELD. With that the woman nodded.
"[+slategray We will send you our roster once we choose them.]" the masked man said, nodding to them and folding his hands in front of himself. "[+slategray You can expect our next communication within a week. Where can we reach you?]"
A number of days later, a message was sent- it contained the names and photos of the agents that Hydra had intended to send. Almost all of them were internationally known names, save for a few. Their descriptions were brief, and the majority of them were the agent names/pseudonyms of these people.
Following the fall of the United States' SHIELD agency; infultrated, orchestrated and executed by Hydra, all of the names of the agents on the list were, in fact, recognizable as a result of one of the agents' last minute attempts at bringing to light their actions by spilling the entirety of their shared databases' onto the general internet. A quick search would bring up the notoriety of any of these individuals.
The first was 'The Lieutenant' the woman the Russians already knew, the white-haired and golden-eyed, 6'3" German war veteran with scars all over her face known for decades upon decades of intelligence and violence. The list of offenses and atrocities in a popular search would have been startling, and reached back to WWII in Nazi Germany when Hydra was founded and then later split from the Third Reich and transformed itself into a liberal extremist group before the close of the war. She was an augmented super soldier who was famous for being the 'antithesis' of the famed American Captain, star spangled super soldier of the same era. She then later was a part of RIP in a subsequent [i defense] of earth against an AI that had decided to decimate humankind, and an extraterrestrial stone of power that had drawn its master back to the planet to destroy it.
The second was the good Dr. Felix Arndt, the mysterious masked man whose information was in fact not found, as he was uninvolved with the SHIELD conspiracy and thus his information was not found save for published on a number of genetic and neural discoveries and organic prosthetic patents. All beneficial.
The third was 'Viper', famously known as the pastel lieutenant of Hydra and one of their biggest and baddest general-human agents, and a graduated toxicologist. She wore a jaunty grin on her security photo, sporting a bright, pastel lilac spring of short hair about her head, a number of colorful tattoos seen to be stretching up her neck from the collar of her button up.
The fourth was 'Loki' an agent of whom there was no record. Just a name and his details- male, caucasian agent. His security image showed a young man with an angular, aristocratic featured face with long, dark hair swept back over his head with brigt green eyes and a delicate mouth. His detail said that he was on call for backup and security solely.
And then there was Sylvia Makens, from the video call, the first most important individual that was coming along as it was her expertise mixed with Dr. Arndt's and just possibly the Lieutenant who were there as the consulting agents. Graduated and accomplished folklore major and cryptologist from an American university.
The call was cut, the Germans disappearing from their screen.
Sound of knuckles knocking on wood filled their ears, the door opening before closing once again.
Viktor stood before the sovereign and Pandora, a knowing look on his face.
[font “times” “They didn't give you an answer, did they?”] Viktor said as he checked the seal of the door, ensuring that complete privacy was in place.
[font “times” [b “No, they are going to call back.”]] Pandora pinched the bridge of her nose, sighing softly to herself, [font “times” [b “Most of their team still believe that we are doing this for money, they we did not actually need their help. Why else would we call upon the Germans? We are able to function solely without their help, can they not see that?”]] the anger began to rise in her body, the baby blue eyes reseeding into soul suckling blackness, [font “times” [b “They are putting everyone at danger! This WILL spread, I have seen it centuries ago and I will not see it again,”]] she smashed her fits onto the table before throwing her hands into the air.
Her body turned from the men, hands balled into fists, she now stood near the side wall with her head rested against the concrete.
How stupid could an entire species be, to believe that their own issues would come before the preservation of their kind?!
[font “times” [i “How much longer can we keep this up for?”]]
[font “times” [b “We?!”]] Pandora roared as she spun to face the Sovereign, her black eyes darting to his brown ones, [font “times” [b “YOU haven't done a thing! All you have done is hinder our relationship with the Germans! Speaking of money and power! Vladislav, you sometimes can be one of the most IGNORANT humans I have ever met!”]] she took three step towards the smaller man who shifted uncomfortably in his chair.
[font “times” “Pandora, please. Calm yourself,”]] Viktor placed a hand on the red headed woman's shoulder. It was quickly shrugged off violently.
[font “times” [b “And you! You are worse than him! Your pride will suffocate you, showing anger towards them! The both of you are arrogant and ignorant. If this world burns, I hope you both burn with it!”]] her words were spat with such violence and promise of death that the two men were left speechless, blinking with open mouths.
Pandora stormed from the room, slamming the door behind her.
She refused to return or partake in the returning call of the Germans.
Let men fix their own problem.
The problems of humans did not concern a goddess.
[right [pic http://i375.photobucket.com/albums/oo199/lady_lucfier/Mobile%20Uploads/image_zpskk6hxihh.jpg]]
Two hours later the call came through, the two men had not left yet the room.
They knew better rather than to go after the woman when she was in this kind of mood.
[font “times” [i “I can understand your concern and your reasoning for now wishing to transport the creature, I respect that and will fulfill this condition. That being said, I extend an invitation for any member of your staff to access it's body once it is acquired. I can guarantee their completely safety and accommodation and meals provided during their stay. You may all come and go as you please, all I ask is to be notified of who is here at any given time so I may account for those within these walls. For administrative purposes,”]] Vladislav was tense, that much could be seen by the clenching of his fists and tight jaws, yet it was not a sign of anger, it was a sign of fear.
Viktor cleared his throat, [font “times” “If I may,”] he spoke, continuing after no form of interruption, [font “times” “I would first like to apologise for my earlier actions and my sign of out of line anger. To tell you the truth, we are terrified. What are we other than an army? When it comes down to the basics, we simply do not have the resources or the knowledge to beat whatever this is. This is why we have called upon you and, granted, we have been rather aggressive and illusive on the matter. It is difficult for us to admit defeat, let alone call upon someone that has for years been an enemy of the Russian empire. But that being said, I harbour no bad blood nor do I wish for anyone else to. If you are to help us on this matter, we will eternally be in your debt. Not just this facility, but the whole of Russia,”]
[font "Times" Makens stared at the woman in the screen, shying from her weirdly cold look. What- was she not performing as well- she was fucking [i nervous] okay?- and dropped her eyes, leading to her shift to allowing Dr. Arndt to take over, practically begging him. Sure, this was mostly her research, but she fell silent. She swallowed heavily, bringing her eyes back up to the redhead through the screen as she began--here we go, those were the words of the dissenting, the criticizing, like a 'bless your heart' type of condescension and she steeled herself for it.
The young woman looked confused at the Russian's explanation. Blinking, confused, she kind of just looked at her a moment, and then over to Felix who sat back in his seat, laying his wrist on the table, listening to her proposition but had nothing to say.
"[#92005d Um, with all due respect to [i you]- I suppose- this spurt of the populace have come back to this hemisphere?]" she said, posing it as a question even though she knew she was right, but in situations like this she got so worried that her research was wrong somehow and she just didn't know it. But Sylvia knew she kind of was the expert on this, but didn't want to insult these people. Hydra dealt with all sorts of kooks and villains, and it wasn't like those other militaristic folks didn't look at all weird and stereotypical in their uniforms and shit. A glance at her own companions and their very German uniforms didn't really help her case, but then again she was working with two literal relics of a world war, and a crazy classist 'scientist' aristocrat. How much more cliché can you get? Makens swallowed, glancing to the side. "[#92005d Because--well--the thing is with that is- Eldritch creatures specifically aren't foreign, they have been researched to plague every corner of the globe at one time or another, in different mythologies across the board. I don't- they are something that hasn't shown up in Western mythology since the days when the plagues were still, ya know, plagueing people. They- these kind of canine-like ones, they're kind of English, based on the name.]"
"[#92005d These are very, very old creatures as a larger species, if you can even call them that. Their behavioral patterns resemble strongly many constructs of similar size that reach all the way back to. Their lore is at its oldest Russian, I guess before it was Russia, and, like English who had the most research on it done by an M. and G. Hackett back in the early 1800's, like and even then they are pulling from much, much older lore. This is just the compendium edition of [i their] research, but before then they hadn't heard from these creatures since the end of the beginning of the 1400's when Kind Arthur is supposed to have been about, and 'magic' became popularized in the west. Many in Western literature are linked with Christianity.]" She gave a nervous, single little laugh, "[#92005d You know like everything else.]"
Makens looked up at Pandora again, her eyes having drifted again as she explained, "[#92005d They're referred to as 'hell hounds' in this form specifically. Not like Hound of Baskervilles hound, but like weird, reptilian horror helhound.]"
She shrank back again a little, tucking her hands in between her legs and swallowing, "[#92005d I mean. If- because- that's what I- we think these things are...]"
A silence fell over them a moment as Makens swallowed and cleared her throat again, "[#92005d Um, to- to actually like answer your question though, generally they come in waves like this because someone has awoken a nest. It is supposed that they aren't really summoned as accidentally disturbed, unless you know they aren't.]"
Von Strucker stared at the alternative young woman as if she had grown two heads right in front of him, which she might as well have. This sounded entirely ridiculous, all of this. And he had seen the pictures, but would have expected this to be something entirely without connotation to mythology that wasn't proven as anything but. Wasn't this woman, a cryptologist as she was, supposed to be proving these things were real with science, not whinging about old tomes and King Arthur? His eyes dodged back to the Russian as he began to speak to them again. All eyes were on him now as he began again. The Lieutenant's hand, having lain comfortably on the edge of the table, now curled into a fist, the scar tissue between the first knuckle of her middle and ring finger stretching cleanly pale. Her eyes narrowed again, not liking how eager he was to keep his hands clean of this business, sending his suspicious and alien men off and now his own fucking problem, shucked onto them it seemed.
[right [pic http://th03.deviantart.net/fs43/200H/f/2009/137/4/e/Scarred_Girl_by_Samiross90.png]] The woman's mouth almost twisted into a crooked sneer before she tightened her lips and they became a hard, despising frown. "[B Why do you keep pushing this on us?!]" she snapped, leveling a chilling gaze, holding his with unswerving authority, her hands closed on the arms of her chair. "[B If this [i infection] is contained to your borders we will absolutely not bring it to ours, that is one of the stupidest things we could possibly think of doing unless you absolutely have no possible facilities to research this creature on your own, in your [i great country].]" the woman sneered, leaning forwards in her seat. The Lieutenant knew the manner in which she packaged this was less than easy to take, but her patience was wearing thin. "[B Taking this [i foreign] body into our facilities is hardly a proper executive decision in containing an outbreak! I am now beginning to question your [i competence] regarding this matter.]"
Felix grew tense at that, his hand snapping open and sweeping in a ceasing motion to the woman, "[+slategray Gweniviere, please!]" he hissed earnestly, glancing at the faces in the screen. His fist clenched before her, clearing his throat a little and turned to address them in a softer tone, "[+slategray I- I apologize, but I'm afraid I am inclined to agree. We- don't know if it is as much of an epidemic as you've claimed or not, nor do we know what sort of reproductive capabilities it has or even if we can control one of these things with our entire removal from this situation that is seated in Russia, sir, based on your testimony.]" The Austrian doctor inclined his head, gesturing to the side a bit, "[+slategray Thus far it has been a rather contained issue within your borders. I find it highly illogical, sir with apologies, that we should extend the its reach before we can absolutely 'ensure we can destroy this thing'. Germany is a small country in the middle of so many more, you realize. Any number of things could go wrong with allowing something like this to come into our country because it could spread so easily.]"
Gweniviere's mouth twisted into that sneer again, unable to silence herself again. "[B [i Is] this a distress call or something else, sir.]" she demanded, her suspicions coming out now, having grown tired of this parleying. "[B As we've said before your eagerness to wipe your hands of this issue I find [i highly] suspicious. You have done [i nothing] to make a case for yourself.]"
Listening to this, the black haired woman brushed a little bit of her messy hair behind her ear, glancing at the woman beside the man who was being, well, little more than attacked by the Lieutenant. She swallowed as she felt the need to say something... it took her a little to gain the courage, however, until she finally found it in her to speak. "[#92005d Well-]" she didn't raise her eyes, twisting them in her lap and cleared her throat, "[#92005d we should at least look into it, you know. Maybe if we- collaborate- or you let- [i me]- collaborate. I would like to look into it, at least, especially if these creatures are what you say they are.]"
There was a pass of silence for a moment as Gweniviere took a breath and looked at Makens, "[B You are out of turn.]" she said in a low, warning tone.
"[#92005d I'm not!]" she protested, "[#92005d Look at him, he's terrified! Shouldn't we be, too?]"
Felix cleared his throat, leaning forward in his chair and reaching for the power button when the two began to get into it, "[+slategray We'll call back.]" and the screen went black.
[left [pic http://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/14/ec/c5/14ecc5089a5a2e50f8b612809f51396c.jpg]] Roughly two hours later, the German signal came through, ringing in its automated way before the faces of everyone though the Lieutenant was sat back, leaning against the wall. Her face was notably smoother now, the doctor clearing his throat and brushing a hand over his smooth head, covered by the glass-faced respirator that he wore, "[+slategray Ah- hello!]" he tried a hesitant wave before just- just putting his hand down, glancing to the side at Makens who sat next to him. A silent moment that they shared, Makens giving him a glare as she assumed he wanted her to speak. He dropped his head and then looked back at the screen, leaning his elbow on the table. "[+slategray Ehh- so- um, [i we]- might be open to discussion about this. Actually.]"
"[B Felix-]" Gweniviere both warned and prompted from her position against the wall.
"[+slategray Under- under [i one] condition!]" he said, pointing at the screen. "[+slategray We will absolutely not consider transporting this [i thing] to our facilities until we have a better understanding of what this is. As a part of these facilities' scientific staff, I cannot condone following your request, even if in earnest, as I do not think you understand the risks that follow taking responsibility for this endeavor, you realize.]"
Pandora listened intently to both Makens and Dr. Arndt, their views were something along the lines of her own.
She smiled slightly, impressed by how well they had pulled themselves together. It was quite obvious that the Germans were running a much more efficient organisation than the Russians.
While Pandora’s loyalty and life may lie with the Russians, she saw no need to harbor any ill-will towards the Germans who clearly had everyone’s best interest in mind.
[font “Times” [b “Will all due respect Makens and Doctor Arndt,”]] Pandora began slowly, choosing her words carefully, [font “Times” [b “I did not have any help when it came to gather this information and the fact that I was still expected to uphold regular duties, it might explain the lack of information. I do apologize, believe me, I would of liked to have more to send to you,”]] she paused slightly but did not allow the Sovereign to speak, [font “Times” [b “But let me continue with my thoughts based off your ideas,”]]
Pandora moved back slightly in her seat and relaxed, not once did she direct her attention towards von Strucker, she did not warm to him, in fact she disliked the man rather quite a lot. He’s constant rudeness despite her countless apologies, not that she would make her true feelings known. She did not need to deal with more rudeness from the man, he was already pushing more than enough buttons with her.
[font “Times” [b “I’m curious although, Makens, from my person experience Eldritch beasts should not be venturing this far past the equator. I don’t understand why, if they simple need to reproduce and die, which is highly logical, they would come this far? “]] she paused and ran her hands over her face, [font “Times” [b “I do not think this is just a survival instinct, their attacks are much too vicious to be just that. I mean, these things are attacking out of absolutely nowhere, almost as if they were hunting. I could understand that, but not this,”]]
A silence fell over the room, Pandora thinking over the new thoughts proposed to her.
[font “Times” [i “I have a proposition to make, and I am not sure how any of you will react to it,”]] he took a long sigh, [font “Times” [i “If we were to catch one of these things… And do not ask me how, I do not know, would you open to having it transported to Germany so both Makens and Doctor Arndt can study it? It may the key to ensuring we can destroy this thing…”]] Pandora looked over to him with wide eyes which then dissolved into nothing more than her shaking her head.
Was she a miracle maker now?
The night had come to a close, after the meeting, after the secrets in the snow and the two sat before a fire in the library.
Viktor was sprawled out in a large leather arm chair, surrounded by books which lay upside down and on their sides around him.
Upon he’s lap sat Pandora, curled slightly into a ball and asleep.
Amazing to the naked eye, the powerful and large woman looked rather small curled up to the man who simply ran a hand over her blood red hair continuously while the other hand held a glass of scotch on the rocks.
A slight knock on the door alerted him yet he knew it could none other than Vladislav, all other soldiers were confined to their bunks after hours.
Another moment passed and he let himself into the room, closing the door softly behind him. The smaller man poured himself the same drink as Viktor’s and took the chair opposite of him, not speaking for a moment.
[font “Times” [i “You’ve been more aggressive than usual, Viktor,”]] he met the other man’s violent green eyes.
[font “Times” “You are putting her in danger,”]
[font “Times” [i “I know,”]]
[font “Times” “Why.”] the words spat harshly out of he’s mouth, he could not understand after all these years, after all the three had been through, he would dare do such a thing to harm the woman.
[font “Times” [i “Do you remember the first time you laid eyes upon her? Seventeen years ago?”]] Vladislav questioned him.
[font “Times” “Of course, how could I ever forget,”]
[font “Times” [i “Look at her face, Viktor. She has not aged, not a single day. In seventeen years, she has retained the same beauty she had when you first saw her. And in seventeen years, you have aged, you have become older and bigger. You are not the love-struck teenager you once were,”]]
[font “Times” “I know this,”] Viktor was visibly shaken by being reminded of the fate that sealed over the pair
[font “Times” [i “One day, we will both die. Whether it may be in battle or of old age, we will both die. And only she shall remain,”]] he’s voice was quiet, this was not a topic the Sovereign liked to approach yet he needed to remind Viktor the goal that was here.
Viktor did not answer, he simply pressed he’s entire body further into her sleeping figure, refusing to let go.
[font “Times” [i “You have three options, you can let her watch you die and then be alone for most of her life, you can kill her with the serum when you know you are to die or we can give her to the Germans.”]]
[font “Times” “The Germans will kill her,”]
[font “Times” [i “No, they won’t. They simply need to understand her that is all. Just like you needed to understand her,”]]
[font “Times” “I cannot bear the thought of living without her after all these years. Not now, not ever,”]
[font “Times” [i “I know son, I know,”]]
Both Pandora and Viktor sat in the office of Vladislav, awaiting the conditions that the Germans had been sent over to be read out to them.
She could not fight the feeling in the pit of her stomach, the feeling that this was very far from over.
Viktor held a hard glance across he’s face, not a single look was placed in Pandora’s direction.
Vladislav wrung he’s fingers against each other and swallowed the lump in he’s throat, he still harbor distaste towards the woman for embarrassing him in front of the Germans.
The soft conversation from the night before as Pandora had slept was not mentioned between the two males. The distaste was faked and once again, they held a secret about the fate of their beloved Pandora.
Viktor tried as hard as he could to keep he’s persona, he knew there were other ears listening around the four walls.
Vladislav warned him to ensure that the Germans once not suspected the relationship between the two, it was the last thing he needed them to know at this crucial stage.
[font "Times" The group fell silent at Pandora's words, shocked at the sudden outburst from a woman towards a man who up until recently had been stressing his position and importance. The baron, of course, was horrified to see a [i soldier] doing this to someone who was clearly an officer of some sort- ranked far above her. What sort of a ridiculous lack of decorum did they have over there in Russia? This was highly unprofessional- highly, outrageously ridiculous! How were these people supposed to be taken seriously when they were so petty? And why didn't the man know how to seek basic information? Wasn't it a simple task? Just observe and such?
Felix's hands tightened a little, folded on the table as they were, and Makens next to him looked uncomfortable. "[+slategray I'm- I don't understand-]" A soldier's position wasn't one of information gathering [i specifically] and a background generally didn't... mean... one had no skills... What sort of ideological caste system did Russia [i have]?
The silence stretched as Pandora forced the man to continue, the Lieutenant's brows drawing together over her eyes as she watched this grotuesque show of dominance. Was this some attempt at forming an opinion arbitrarily? The German woman's expression remained stony as she watched what was going on.
Makens was simply looking increasingly uncomfortable at this- was this what normal meetings sounded like? It sounded more like this woman was mothering him rather than anything else. What had happened at that meeting before this? She had heard there was one but nothing about it, of course, just that there was an attempt at a communication and it went awkward. Her shoulders hunched a little bit. [i I mean I'm no professional, but like this is a little different I think, even for the Lieutenant and Dr. Arndt.]
But the Lieutenant wasn't as phased, she and the doctor on occasion had had to do similar with the baron when he began to speak too out of turn and with too much privilege and such to others. But seeing it was always a bit unsettling. So with a sigh, the recrossed her knees and listened. She met the assumedly Russian woman's gaze coolly when it was met, arching a brow.
Felix ducked his head at the mention of 'helping people'. Oh how he tried, he wished, he [i wished]. And Makens just dropped her gaze shyly.
von Strucker cleared his throat at Vladislav's request for another meeting. "[+orange Sirs, I would appreciate it if we could stop [i continually] making these ridiculously short and numerous meetings. We've gotten absolutely nothing done during either of these and if you want us to take you seriously we're going to have to actually discuss something.]" he said in a cold tone, looking at Pandora. "[+orange If this threat is going to wipe out all of [i humanity] as your colleague says, then I think we should have a sense of urgency regarding this mess of yours.]" he tossed a glance to the masked man and the black haired woman next to him. "[+orange Would you like to hear what we believe is going on? Why we brought one of our cryptoid and folklore masters at all? Or are you going to continue showing us your nonprofessional and personal political issues?]"
[right [pic https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/57/6f/83/576f83f9361b37960a904e2d29cab0cf.jpg]] When the others finally allowed for the Hydra operatives to continue Makens nodded a little and cleared her throat. Her eyes dodged down continually, shyng away from the [i angry] looking people she was addressing. This was so awkward now, this was already really awyward with the one guy now like super embarrassed and that woman like staring her down. She was so weird and like unreal, even though her makeup looked flawless. Makens envied the bone structure of her face, but tried to put that aside.
"[#92005d Um, so based on what these things sound like, from the information you guys sent over, I tried to do some research.]" Sylvia looked up at them briefly, glancing between the two people who were staring at her. Brows twitching together a little in nervousness she brought up one of the printouts she had gotten. "[#92005d It sounds like an Eldritch beast.]" The image of the creature was a quadrupedal creature with a long, alien looking snout that looked a cross between a canid and some sort of reptile, almost. The creature had no fur, and a fringe of what looked like little more than tentacles or the type of dreads that she had seen in the Predator movies. She held up the skeptch she had made of the creaure's biology. "[#92005d A creature much akin to a Nephilim creature, or Nephilii, from an old tome obscure we found, and its suspected history, if it is what we think it is might explain what [i sort] of beast this is, as in what it does. Not its source, though.]" she said, sighing and putting the paper down again. "[#92005d Um- The-the handbook on beasts take mythologies from a number of cultures and has as legitimate writeaups on these that I can find because they come in so many different kinds. These are creatures that really have no other purpose than anything else natural.]" she glanced up, "[#92005d And I use the word natural lightly. Um- because it's like a pseudo-nature we're working with here. Something created out of something else on either accident or on purpose...]" she then looked over at Dr. Arndt, afraid of continuing to talk to much and slid one of the papers towards him, givig him an earnest look. [i Please talk now.]
He glanced at her, a moment of silence falling until he realized what she was asking. "[+slategray Oh. Um,]" Felix now pulled a piece of paper out from under her black painted fingernails and held it up, "[+slategray It says here that the only purpose that these has- er, have- is that it wants to survive.]" Pausing a moment to let his artificial eye focus on the paper's print he cleared his throat, filtered through the mask's mouth. [left [pic http://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/14/ec/c5/14ecc5089a5a2e50f8b612809f51396c.jpg]] "[+slategray 'Much like a swarm of locusts and such, their purpose is to use up as many of their available resources for no other purpose than to continue the existence of their own species.' So yes, very much like locusts.]" He set the document down. "[+slategray We assume that these things, due to their temperamental nature- um,]" the slender little man gestured at Pandora, "[+slategray Your report mentioned that they come out and attack in number over a period of days, and then they disappear for a period of time in which no activity can be seen at all until they decide to come back again.]"
"[+slategray With that we can assume they are retreating to rest or to- er-]" he cleared his throat, "[+slategray build their numbers?]"
Makens nodded enthusiastically, gesturing at the Austrian man, "[#92005d Yeah, just like that. Like mayflies- once they reach adulthood they don't even have the equipped body parts to eat, they just mate and die. Maybe it's something like that? We really don't know, this is all based off of what little you gave us...]"
Pandora’s eyes peered over to the Sovereign. Yes, why did [i she] have to do everything? Why had he not collected the information himself? It was a very good question.
A smile hit the edge of her lips as she turned in her chair to face him.
[font “Times” [b “Yes, Sir, why did you not get the information yourself?”]] she blinked, twice.
[font “Times” [i “Dangerously gross pride?!”]] the words fell from he’s lips before he met the harsh gaze of Pandora.
[i Don’t you dare.’]
He’s eyes lowered.
[font “Times” [i “I do not have the skills required to gather this information. I am not a solider and I never have been a solider. I come from nobility, not warriors.”]] The words slid through he’s teeth; he did not like to admit that he was severely under qualified for the role he filled.
[font “Times” [b “Keep going.”]] The words fell quietly from Pandora’s lips, not loud enough to be picked up by the microphone. The movement of her lips caught on the camera,
[font “Times” [i “I also wish to withdraw my comment regarding the money, as per an earlier conversation we will no longer be request for any form of compensation. Pandora has expressed her feelings towards that situation multiple times,”]] this sentence came out through he’s teeth harder than the last one.
First came self-preservation.
Then followed money.
Last came the fate of the world.
He’s attitude was not one that Pandora would stand very easily.
[font “Times” [b “He wanted to profit because he is a greedy man and through the constant funding of the Russian government and private sectors is how he continues to keep this little military operation running. [i Everything] is always about money. It is what makes the world go round and it resonates with most of us. Although no all of us, some of us are soldiers,”]] her eyes moved towards the super solider, [font “Times” [b “And some of us are scientists here to actually help people.”]] her glaze moved over the Doctor and Makens.
The Sovereign gave her a violent glare. She returned it and he cleared he’s throat before adverting he’s glaze to the floor.
He had thought better of he’s attitude.
[font “Times” [b “You were not offered any more aid because he did not want to offer any more aid, he did not want to risk losing more money than he would gain,”]] she paused, [font “Times” [b “But I am more than happy to and I will sign off on any aid we would require.”]] another pause, allowing her words to sink in cool and calculated.
[font “Times” [b “If you agree to help us, if you allow me to join you in this, I will do whatever you please. I am not involved in this political fight between the two countries and I am certainly not interested in who has the better soldiers. What I want, is to rid the world of this creature before it destroys humanity and takes all of us down with it.”]] she took a moment to look each of them in the eye through the screen, her unnatural blue eyes boring into theirs with the truth, lingering a moment longer on the eyes of the super solider.
[font “Times” [i “I do not expect an answer now, that would be absurd. I would like to meet in another week’s time, to finally draw this to an end with an answer. Should you have any conditions you would like to be met by ourselves, and this organisation, please have them sent to me before our next meeting so we too may have a chance to discuss.”]]
Pandora and the Sovereign wished their goodbyes and removed themselves from the room; the woman did not stay to speak with the man.
Quite frankly she did not want anything to do with him at this moment.
[right [pic http://i375.photobucket.com/albums/oo199/lady_lucfier/Mobile%20Uploads/image_zpskk6hxihh.jpg]] The male stood alone within the snow, the automatic weapon within he’s hands as he fired at the target far in the distance.
Pandora moved slowly up behind him, knowing better than to startle someone with a gun in their hand.
[font “Times” [b “Your aim is slightly off,”]] she murmured quietly before him.
[font “Times” “And you shouldn’t be here,”]
She remained quiet for a few more moments.
[font “Times” [b “Viktor, what has made you like this? For the fourteen years we have fought together, for the fourteen years you have stood by my side, for the fourteen years we have saved each other’s lives never once have you ever acted this way towards me,”]] she placed her hand on he’s weapon and lowered it slightly. She could see the rage within he’s eyes.
[font “Times” “They will kill you,”] he’s words were quiet, the man who brought fear to others was hiding he’s emotions well with he’s body.
[font “Times” [b “And you have not already tried multiple times?”]] she smiled and placed her gloved hands on either side of he’s face.
[font “Times” “I cannot lose another good troop, [i boginya]”]] he’s green eyes raised to meet her now completely black ones.
[font “Times” [b “Just another troop?”]] the smile met her eyes as she raised on to the very tips of her toes to kiss the man’s forehead.
A rare moment of emotion between the two, hidden within the snow where no other could see. A slither of two different people, something else they could have been in another life, but not this one.
Both Pandora and Viktor sat in the office of Vladislav, awaiting the conditions that the Germans had been sent over to be read out to them.
She could not fight the feeling in the pit of her stomach, the feeling that this was very far from over.
Viktor held a hard glance across he’s face, not a single look was placed in Pandora’s direction.
Vladislav wrung he’s fingers against each other and swallowed the lump in he’s throat, he still harbor distaste towards the woman for embarrassing him in front of the Germans.
[center boginya = goddess]
[font "Times" When the box arrived, the baron was absolutely not expecting it, let alone two of them. After operations had checked them over to make sure they weren't a vicious 'thank you' from any of the angry Russians, they were sent up to the little man's office. Impatient bcause he was on his way to a luncheon anyways so he sent them down to Dr. Arndt to deal with. He sat looking at it for a moment, or rather [i them]. "[+slategray Um...]" he murmured to himself, a thin fingertip tapping lightly against the mouth of his mask. Reaching out he opened one of the boxes to find a mess of information and materials. Inside the mask, his brows rose at the plethora of photographs, cases and reports. "[+slategray Good gracious.]" He picked up some of the leaves with a shake of his head in wonder.
Upon reporting this to his superior, he who was the most relevant being, for all of his distasteful company the baron von Strucker. Dr. Arndt was taken up on his request for a meeting when the man decided to return from his luncheon with another person he likely would rather entertain. And as was his fashion, the short man was also [i late] to their designated meeting by fifteen minutes before calling and saying he was busy. The Lieutenant was prompt, Felix having contacted her after the fact. The nice thing about having a relatively small team to coordinate was that it wasn't a largess effort to call them all. He glanced over at her perched on the corner of the table as she looked through some of the papers as they waited for the baron.
"[B She's giving quite the effort, isn't she.]" Gweniviere said, picking up another of the samples and looking at it. A tiny vial of blood, now turned a blackish brown; putrescent because it wasn't left chilled. "[B Well...]"
Felix came up to her, glancing over her shoulder. "[+slategray Well, at least we know it is carbon based and has an expiration date.]"
"[B They must.]" Gweniviere said, having set the putrid vial down, frowning at one of the reports near it. "[B It says here that the attacks come in waves, or spells I suppose. Random, but with a correlation around a period of time between attacks but the period of time was too short to get a proper average.]"
The little doctor's head snapped up at that mention, "[+slategray Really? That's almost like a cool down time. That might be really important to the case.]" he said, coming over to look over her shoulder. "[+slategray Do the creatures just disappear or actually expire or anything like that? Does it say? Did she find any dead bodies to record forensically? Does she have a conclusion about that? That's interesting.]"
Gweniviere just handed it over, the Austrian scientist's thin hands accepting the document eagerly. They pored through the materials slowly, slowly making a picture of what the creatures were or did. But still it made only so much sense out of it. Felix was a forensic and biological scientist, but pertaining to human beings, and the Lieutenant was an ex-military nurse and now a soldier. Neither of them knew what to do about this- and the baron was honestly useless. They didn't care that he wasn't present because he was more of a nuisance than anything. That said, neither of them were cut out for this...
"[B Well, we have proof that these things exist now, at the very least.]" The Lieutenant said, "[B She's gone to the effort of proving her-]" a slow rotation of her wrist as she tried to think of what the man's position was. He had made mention of her being a soldier, so was he a superior officer? She didn't know, it didn't matter. "[B Their information. But why the hell didn't they bother telling us this before? When we were [i in] Russia.]" the Lieutenant said, scowling in frustration, the emotion pulling hard on her face through what muscles could still present the emotion through the scar tissue. "[B [i Scheißleute.]]" she hissed, throwing down the papers.
"[+slategray It's suspicious.]" Felix said, "[+slategray Why call us to go meet them and go so far to not offer us anything- but suggest that it connects somehow? To- that woman, her- Pandora? Was that what happened?]"
The Lieutenant sneered, "[B I don't know, they were advertising that inhuman more than they were their own interests regarding this 'problem'.]"
Felix sighed, sitting back against the counter, "[+slategray That's true... that was also very strange. I still really don't understand.]"
[right [pic http://th03.deviantart.net/fs43/200H/f/2009/137/4/e/Scarred_Girl_by_Samiross90.png]] When contacted about it, the Hydra operatives refused to travel for another meeting and instead the decision was landed on a communication on their terms, via a video call. The others hadn't argued about it, so a date was set. Felix made his way down the hallway, noticing the Lieutenant on the way. "[B Oh, is that today?]" The Lieutenant asked, glancing down at her watch. "[B I'll go get Makens.]"
Soon when she had found the young woman and brought her, the Lieutenant followed the doctor inside, this time instead of dressed in her militant uniform, she was in a dark, three piece suit with her shirt's collar unbuttoned, displaying if vaguely the scars on her throat reaching down past the sliver of skin shown towards her chest. She had no hat this time either, nor boots, having traded them for wingtips and black slacks. They all sat down, the Lieutenant in between Felix and Makens and the baron to the masked doctor's left.
"[+orange Don't act like it was your idea, sirrah.]" the little, frog-like man blustered. "[+orange You knew there was no other way we would meet with you after that useless mess. Next time defer to these calls so that we don't have to waste our time further.]"
Dr. Arndt turned to him then, "[+slategray Please stop.]"
von Strucker turned to him, "[+orange Be quiet.]" and the other fell silent. With that he returned his gaze to those on the screen, arms crossed. "[+orange What, no Russian attack dog, this time?]" the baron asked in reference to the missing mountain of a man that he had seen raging at them the last time they were there. He glanced around the edges of the screen as if to see the man's shadow somewhere around it.
The Lieutenant slid him a hard glance before clearing her throat, despising his needless antagonism. Certainly her own temper was no lighter, but she wasn't about to antagonize people without them deserving it first. She was hardly so secure that she would make enemies simply for the fact that she could. She sighed, unamused by the pointless request as much as she was by the attitude of the man. "[B The baron von Strucker, myself, Dr. Arndt, and allow me to introduce Sylvia Makens who is our leading cryptologist and mythology consultant are present.]" She didn't see the reason for the roll call, but didn't see the point in bringing it up, instead sighing and shifting more comfortably in her seat, folding her hands in her lap loosely and crossing one knee over the other.
[left [pic http://i.imgur.com/rN9zr4Q.jpg?1]] Makens gave a vague, uncertain smile, raising a hand in greeting. "[#92005d Hi guys.]"
von Strucker glared at the other man, narrowing his eyes, "[+orange Alright.]" he said, tilting his head up to look down his nose at the other. "[+orange Firstly, I want you to explain why you were so keen to ask about [i profit] regarding this world threatening issue, as you seem to see it. [i Especially] because it seems that you've not offered any sort of aid on your behalf and instead have implied that you wish to rely on ours as far as we have seen after insisting that you send your man to our facilities. I find it concerning that you'd rather send an agent rather than offer anything else to us and [i still] expect compensation.]"
"[+slategray Um,]" Felix added, feeling anxiety start to crawl into his chest, sighing quietly in dread of what Wolfgang von Strucker's oft ill taken brazenness might ensue. "[+slategray on the subject of information sir,]" he began, shifting his position in his seat, swallowing his hesitation. "[+slategray I find it incredibly shocking that you had no intention of sharing the entirity of your information in any capacity. We have recieved a package from your [i subordinate] that had supplied us even a farthingsworth of knowledge about these creatures instead of any word from your mouth at all. It is highly peculiar and increasingly concerning that this sort of censorship would even be considered when you said you were in such great need. I do not want to assume that it is a mater of dangerously gross pride, but it slants a very suspect light on your own involvement in their generation. Is there anything you need to tell us about that?]"
The other of his concerns, regarding the advertisement of the inhuman soldier, would come later if relevant. Both the Lieutenant and the masked doctor were looking for contextual clues as to why. They would not ask, despite their creeping suspicions about this or that end to doing something like that. Certainly the man seemed proud of his soldier, or pet or whatever he considered her, and that he trusted her but with his lack of offerance of information on anything else they could do nothing but view it with reservation.
Of course Viktor did not react well to the trio turning down their plea for help yet he waited till they moved out of the room before smashing he’s fist down on the table with a strenuous force.
Pandora stood by the window, watching them climb back into the car they arrived in. She remained a moment’s eye contact with the woman. She needed to know more about her and who she was.
[font “Times” [b “Leave it for a few weeks and invite them back, I will have enough information on the creature by then to give them the answers they require. Vladislav, I will send a package to the doctor of the three to ensure he and the others have all they desire before they return. So when they do return, the only one who will need to prove anything is me,”]]
[center [b ~]]
Pandora had spent the past three weeks documenting as much as she could on the beast they were fighting. She took photos of the effect on victims and had the lab run tests on countless blood samples taken from both the predator and its prey.
She hide in trees and used the stealth training to the best of her ability, photographing and taking notes on the way it moved and the way it attacked.
By the time the woman was done, she had filled two boxes full of information regarding the beast. Surely enough to satisfy the curiosity of the doctor and maybe convenience the others that she could be trusted. Pandora left a single note inside the first box.
[center [i ‘I’ve spent weeks gathering this information on the creature, hopefully it will be sufficient.]] [center [i Pandora.’]]
Viktor refused to have any part of it, practically denouncing he’s involvement from the mission any further. The man could not stand to be embarrassed like he was the first time around twice. Not that this was really an issue to Vladislav or Pandora. They did not need a hot-headed control freak ruining any chance that had left of drawing this alliance.
It was late at night when Pandora finally reported to the Sovereign, ready for the next meeting.
[font “Times” [b “I’ve collected and sent every inch of information that I could. It should arrive early tomorrow morning, then would be the time that we request another meeting. Maybe we should go to them this time, show our trust?”]] she sat across from the older male at he’s large dark mahogany desk and lit a cigarette, sighing deeply.
[font “Times” [i “As much as I do believe that would be the appropriate thing to do, I cannot risk the fact that their troops may open fire on you. It would be too much of a loss,”]] he watched her careful, he was never able to judge the way she would react.
[font “Times” [b “Well, the only thing we have left to prove is really if I am a worthy soldier because we both know they think I am nothing more than a shock factor,”]]
[font “Times” [i “That my dear, is something you must handle yourself. Although I have a good feeling they will not be so willing to travel out here once more for another face to face meeting. Especially not after the way Viktor handled himself in our last little.. Encounter,”]] the Sovereign spoke quietly, taking another draw of he’s cigarette.
[font “Times” [b “One of these days I will have a pleasure of putting a bullet through he’s skull,”]] she reached past him to the packet of cigarettes, pulling one of the cancer-full sticks and lighting it between her blood red lips.
[font “Times” [i “I will not have the two of you bickering like little fucking children, do you understand? The both of you are adults, Viktor is almost 36 and God only knows how old you are. Do your job and we won’t have an issue,”]]
[font “Times” [b “Whatever. What are we going to do about this issue? It’s clear the distaste they have to working with us but we cannot do this without them. What are we supposed to do?”]] She took another draw and sighed.
Vladislav rubbed he’s free hand down he’s face, what exactly what he was supposed to do? There was no denying it, he really did not want to work with these people but he didn’t have any other option.
[font “Times” [i “I’ll make a phone call, maybe they’d prefer to meet via video call first and discuss it further. It would help, hopefully.”]]
[center [b ~]]
Viktor was not happy when he had been told the news, but there was not much he could do in the way of protesting. The Sovereign was already annoyed enough at he’s earlier outburst at their last meeting so it really came as no surprise when Vladislav had ensured that he would not be present during the video call.
Vladislav and Pandora sat at the table in front of the camera, in front of them was a large projector screen awaiting the call of the H.Y.D.R.A agents.
Pieces of paper and documents mixed with photo scattered across the desks, Pandora had ensured that they had a copy of all the information they had collected on the beast at hand. It would make it easier to discuss her findings.
The sound of the speakers ringing cut in as the call popped up on the screen. Moments later the images of their companions came to light.
[font “Times” [i “We’ll start with a simple role call, just so we are aware of who is present. Both myself and First Sergeant Major Pandora are here,”]] Vladislav paused and allowed the others to answer as well.
[font “Times” [i “Wonderful. Now I would just first like to thank you for your co-operation to have this video call. I felt as our last meeting did not go as well as I would have liked, this would be more appropriate and also save you the trip.”]] He cleared he’s throat and took a sip of the water before him.
Pandora watched the agents on the screen and nodded when her name was called, she did not need to speak. Not yet. She would wait her turn.
[font “Times” [i “Next, I would like to bring to subject the obvious concerns that yourself,”]] he motioned to the Baron, [font “Times” [i “And your team have about this collaboration. I do believe it comes with good reason and please, by no means think that I am trying to demean your feelings towards this nor yourselves. If you would be so kind, I would like to know what these certain issues are so I may address them. Because, as I am sure you have already noticed, I am very well concerned we will be unable to rid this creature without you help. So, I feel as though if we address this issues and maybe I could explain and try to work with them if not completely eradicate them all together. What do you say?”]]
[font "Times" A silence settled over the room, each member of the invited party gazing at Vladislav in their respective manners as the silence stretched. Gweniviere gazed at the man who gave her the explanation, a hard frown on her face. "[B You don't know... anything.]"
Felix exhaled slowly, sitting back in his seat and turning his head to take a look at both of his colleagues. His thin, gloved fingers twitched into motion, drumming a little on the table as he and the Lieutenant exchanged a glance, the white haired woman frowning as the baron next cleared his throat. "[+orange You called us all the way over here to tell us- you don't [i know]. What kind of nonsense is this?!]" the man demanded, snapping his hand down on the table.
Dr. Arndt's shoulders twitched a bit at the man's demanding question, sitting back and trying to claw together an answer when the asset, yes the asset, the doctor and the rest knew what sort of implication her 'different classification' meant, spoke instead. The slight man's fingers went to slip around his tie, stroking the ring of his thumb and forefinger down its length, clearing his throat as she turned back to him. "[+slategray Well,]" he began, nodding his head to the side and sitting up a little straighter to meet her stiff manners. "[+slategray As your S.O. so eloquently mentioned, you don't know what this threat is any more than we do. I would think you would agree that documenting what this is will lend to research on the condition.]" he replied in a polite voice, remaining patiently still. "[+slategray Do you [i not] wish to share with us the details of your involvement in this issue?]" Felix challenged in the very gentlest of tones, folding his hands on his notebook in front of himself.
Gweniviere frowned at Vladislav's first condition, feeling suspiciously wary about the clearly defined mistrust he held, namely his continual mention of the 'history' which brought her attention specifically, and then again about the mention of profit. This sounded more like he wanted to use them and expected equal pay for offering one single agent when Hydra were the ones expected to put up more than he would. This brought a tight, sneering frown to her lips.
Dr. Arndt cleared his throat, making an attempt to remain polite even though he felt the specific heat of irritation and insult hovering in his chest cavity just as the others did. "[+slategray Um,]" he began, inclining his head some. "[+slategray well, I would imagine that would be a given, wouldn't you?]"
The baron's irritation was ill hidden as his words leapt over the doctor's, "[+orange Are you insinuating that our people would take out some long-dead grudge on your people? This isn't 1945, [i sir].]" the little man said with a disgusted sneer on his face.
Felix's head turned a bit sharply towards the baron, his hand going out instinctively to stop him from speaking but held his tongue, looking back at the outburst from the largest agent of the three opposing. Gweniviere's mouth twisted down in distaste of the show of unruliness, but she wasn't one to talk. She had been many a time slighted for this or that for one reason or another and remained silent, watching how the large Russian took it, arching a brow. Such explosivity, she noted. He would be easy to control.
Gweniviere noticed that through this that the inhuman woman was gazing at her. Discreetly, yes, but the lack of movement of her head, that which Gweniviere took note from the edge of her peripheral vision, she pointedly ignored.
[center [pic https://onestoryslinger.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/untitled.png]]
[right [pic http://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/14/ec/c5/14ecc5089a5a2e50f8b612809f51396c.jpg]] When they were left alone, a handful of moments of silence passed between the three. Felix sat back, Gweniviere's eyes sliding over to the baron. As it was, both augmented agents could advise and argue as much as they could, he was still the highest autority out of the two of them. That wasn't to say that neither was there for anything as simple as [i security], for goodness sakes Gweniviere would have to protect the both of them should something happen...
Felix began, his fingers presently twitching into nervous movement, drumming on the table, his pen woven between them. "[+slategray Does anyone else...]" he began in his faint, gently wheezing voice, switching to German. "[+slategray get the feeling that we are being possibly mislead?]" Gweniviere's lips pressed together, swallowing a bit, and turned her eyes to the baron. He was looking at her, it seemed, for confirmation. Certainly it had occurred to him? She glanced at Dr. Arndt who she assumed was returning her gaze.
The Lieutenant cleared her throat, speakign in her own low, rough voice, reflecting off of the amount of scar tissue that ribbed her throat. "[B Perhaps. I don't like his specific mention of profit on top of that.]" The German rolled of of their tongues gently, their gestures accenting the fluid syllables.
"[+slategray Precisely,]" the masked man said.
"[+orange Yes,]" the shorter man said, rubbing his chin, "[+orange they've little to no information on exactly what this threat is, they say it has something to do with their agent, and they want to send that same exact agent to our [i base] of all things. I mean-]" he gestured in front of himself, "[+orange even then, we weren't planning on bringing them anywhere near head. But the [i audacity] of that claim is what bothers me so much. He dares ask us for our help when they are helpless, then foists his [i thing] on us, and then dares request for equal [i payment].]"
Gweniviere remained neutral, nodding to herself. "[B It concerns me that he mentioned it like that. And then he plans to get her on a plane [i tout suite] for wherever he thinks we're based.]"
"[+slategray It's clear they know nothing of us, I realize we're all of German descent in this room, but he is convinced that we are only Germany.]" Felix said, looking down at his notes briefly, thumbing his pen in his fingers, "[+slategray As Baron von Strucker mentioned, I am positive he thinks it is still 1945, hence his concern for the health of his agents.]"
"[B -Which he also then mentioned multiple agents. They made it seem like they were desperate, losing this battle and then they [i cannot] give us any information? What is that?]" Gweniviere and Felix exchanged a pointed look, nodding to one another. Two WWII veterans, and one specifically who had been violated and maimed by Russian soldiers, now asked to simply [i trust] them. The baron and the doctor knew what they would hear from her. The baron nodded, deferring to their opinions. He glanced between them. "[+orange I think we've reached a decision?]"
[center [pic https://onestoryslinger.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/untitled.png]]
When the others returned, none of the trio rose to greet them and simply waited for them to seat themselves. The Lieutenant sat forwards in her seat, arms crossed over her chest. It was Felix this time who sat back, knees crossed, with his notepad in his lap, pen poised, clicking it gently in his hand. And the baron nodded to Vladislav as he spoke, "[+orange Yes we have.]" he said, folding his hands on the table in front of him. "[+orange And based on your virulent lack of information and your insistence on our grace to assist you, we cannot call it a smart decision to work with you. We appreciate you reaching out to us,]" he said, reaching into his coat lapel, "[+orange but we don't have enough information. We think you're being too suspicious.]" with that he set down a card with a number and a name on it with a little 'plat' and patted the table after sliding it towards him. "[+orange Cheers.]"
Of course they wanted to know what the creature was, Pandora had told both the Sovereign and Viktor this long before they had even called for the meeting. When Vladislav had first brought this idea before them.
Viktor had kicked and screamed, he had resisted as hard as he could to stop this from going ahead. Yet Vladislav did not feel as though they could make it through this on their own.
Pandora shared he’s very thoughts.
Pandora sighed slightly to herself, looking down at her hands. She could not tell whether or not there was offense meant by their words. It was easy to read the emotions of the two males, but when it came from the female in the middle, she had no idea what she was looking at or what she was dealing with.
Yet she had some idea the feeling was mutual. It was not often that people reacted well when it first seeing, or even meeting Pandora. Many before had refused, quite often new recruits would try to strike out at her and more often than not abuse her.
It was to be expected, yet they still fell into place sooner than later. Everything had a place. Everything and everyone but her. She would never know where she really stood within the world.
Her creator had made sure of that.
[font “Times” [i “To be honest, we do not know what we are dealing with. We do not even know if this is something that has been seen in this world before. All we know is that the way it attacks and that we cannot kill it as of yet.”]] Vladislav replied to the woman.
[font “Times” “Why so many questions?”] Viktor was still on the defense, eyeing off the man with the mask vigorously writing notes. Why did he need to document all of this?
[font “Times” [b “Viktor they need to know what they will be going up against should they choose to join us. They are more than welcome to note the enemy we are against, and if we are lucky, they may have more knowledge on how to defeat this beast. God knows that we are starting to run out of options and time. We cannot afford to loose anymore good soldiers.”]] Pandora’s words were calm towards the man on her side before turning her attention to the Doctor once more, [font “Times” [b “I believe… And I may be wrong… But they seem to be creating an organic matter in it’s own image. It’s as if once the poison is entered into the body it tries to merge with that of the hosts yet the genetic make up of humans is not strong enough to handle the different chromosomes. If they even are chromosomes. Maybe we are dealing with something that is created of completely different matter. But from what I have seen and experienced, it’s almost as if they are trying to seek out the correct host body and convert the genetic makeup to something similar, if not the same as their own. I don’t understand why this would even be needed.”]] she smiled softly at the doctor after providing her understanding.
Pandora noted the woman looking at her once more, her eyes scanning over the porcelain like skin. It was bluntly obvious that the other female was having a hard time coming to terms with Pandora sitting in front her, that she did not make sense to her.
Many times the woman had been told she looked like a living doll.
[font “Times” [i “Conditions? I did not really get that far ahead. I suppose that ensuring none of my soldiers, men or woman would be harmed by your own would be a large one. I am not saying that out of distaste for your organisation, it is just that our two do not have a good history of getting along, as such.”]] he shot a look at Pandora, [font “Times” [i “I would also request that Pandora would be to work closely with your team, I wish to keep Viktor here with me.”]]
[font “Times” “WHAT?! When we discussed this you said I would be the one on the front line!”] the words escaped violently from Viktor’s mouth.
[font “Times” [i “Viktor we will discuss this later. Not now.”]] for the first time since the beginning of the meeting, venom dripped from the Sovereign’s lips. The man that was able to appear polite and calm showed a sign of cracking, the reason why he was in charge for many years and the pure power and violence hidden behind he’s eyes.
He regained himself once more before returning he’s attention to the trio.
[font “Times” [i “If you are to agree to this partnership before the end of this meeting, I want to have Pandora on a plane and shipped out to your base in a week.”]] he ran a hand down he’s nose and over he’s mouth, [font “Times” [i “And my final condition is that I wish for both recognition and any earnings that are made from this to be split evenly fifty-fifty.”]]
He allowed a few moments of silence to pass before clearing he’s throat.
[font “Times” [i “I’m aware this is something you may need to speak about privately so I will allow you the chance to do so. Pandora, Viktor, come. We will return in half an hour.”]] The three left the room and walked down the end of the hallway.
The anger was radiating from Viktor so harshly it almost took the breathe away from those passing by.
[font “Times” “Why does she get to go! I am the best solider we have! If anyone should be paired up with those German scums it’s me! Someone needs to keep them in line,”]] he’s words reeked with venom.
[font “Times” [i “THAT Viktor, is precisely why you are NOT going. You explode to easily, and why that is accepted here, I will NOT have this mission jeopardize by your shitty fucking temper! And that is final, do you understand!”]
The trio sat for a good part of three quarters of an hour before Pandora felt it was fair to return to the room. She lead as they returned, softly knocking on the door before entering.
She did not wish to display any ill-will to the three. Tensions were already high enough and if they did by some miracle agree to this going ahead, she did not like the idea of having to walk on egg shells for god knows how long.
They seated once more, in the same position as before.
[font “Times” [i “So, have you reached a decision?”]] Vladislav clasped he’s hands in front of him, elbows resting upon the table as he addressed he’s question to the three before him.
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