Uneasy Moments
Roleplaying Log: Uneasy Moments
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Coulson brings in Sloane and Eddie for a brief (and awkward) briefing.

Other Characters Referenced:
IC Date: January 15, 2019
IC Location: Triskelion Conference Room
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 16 Jan 2019 04:38
Rating & Warnings:
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

* * *

Both Sloane Albright and Eddie Morales got coded orders from someone in the brass to proceed to a little-used conference room on the 42nd floor of the Triskelion. Room 67, in point of fact, because if you can't turn a meeting into a nerd joke then really, you're not trying hard enough.

Whomever called them there (of course) is not there at the time he sent them there. Entering reveals it's more like a "huddle room" than a conference room, with a small circular table, four chairs, a whiteboard, teleconferencing equipment. It wouldn't be out of place in corporate America, save for the SHIELD logo on the table, a thing which takes up most of it.

* * *

Eddie shows up at the appointed time, in her SHIELD branded baseball cap carrying a SHIELD branded mug and wearing SHIELD branded sweats. The only thing on her person that isn't emblazoned with the company logo are her tired looking boots and the pair of form fitted leather gloves she wears indoors and out, no matter the weather. She probably should have dressed up, seeming how she's not sure where the orders came from, but whomever it is will just have to take her as she comes today. She flops into one of the seats, folding herself up into the seat with one foot tucked beneath her and the other hitched on the edge, bouncing as she waits for presumably others.

* * *

From someone.

That part of the call makes Sloane's brow crease, frowning all the way through the halls of the Triskelion and all the way to Room 67. She arrives just after Eddie, glancing down at her work phone before tucking it back into her pocket with a firm push. She's dressed a little more business-like than her norm, certainly not wearing the usual black jumpsuit or her own personal combat attire: Black pants with a clip-on holster on her belt, ankle-high boots with a nice tread and *not* recently soaked through, and a fitted white blouse without sleeves.

And then she looks up at Eddie and takes a moment to stare.

Sloane can't help herself: "… Just come from the gift shop?"

* * *

Their host won't keep them waiting too long, but he enters with hesitation. He closes the door behind him and slides his hands into the pockets of the brown leather jacket he's wearing. He has already had this with Eddie, this moment of hi, I'm alive. But he has read and re-read the guest book at his funeral. He knows who was there, and who wasn't.

It has been slow, stepping back into people's lives. Awkward.

So he doesn't even really announce himself at first. He lets the two women have their moment of…well, whatever it's going to end up being…while he tries to figure out what to say.

* * *

"Yeah, why do we even have one of those anyways?" Eddie says by way of answer. "We're a government agency. No one wants an I.R.S. branded bobble head or commemorative mouse pad when they leave there." Morales takes a sip of her coffee, the only thing currently fueling her because her eyes are shadowed and tired beneath the brim of her hat. "You have scales. So that's a thing." I mean, if they're going to comment on appearances, that seems fair game.

As the door opens for a third time, Eddie uses a grip on the edge of the table to swivel her chair in that direction, noting who is slipping in. "Phiiiil." Hey, he said she could call him that. Now he probably meant in a one-on-one situation, but still.

* * *

"Hats sell, I guess. And I'll have you know I have a rigorous maintenance program to keep these scales nice and shin—"

It hits her at once, like a truck.

Back then, she was a field trainee. Back then, she lay on a floor with a hole blown through her side from some weird alien tech. Back then, she was a mess for weeks. Back then, she not only attended, but spoke at his funeral service. There was a lot of sobbing into shoulders and sleepless nights.

During the demon invasion, a lot of creatures started messing with her head: Showing her things that weren't there, and just /playing/ with her mind, especially when others needed her the most.

Sloane just /stares/ at Coulson, but it's like she doesn't even recognize that he's there. Trick? Psychic thing? Her eyes clamp shut, then open again. Eddie's call of 'Phiiiil' is met with a jerking turn of her head to the side, and then she steps back a little, stammering. "I-I— I—"

Error in feesh.brain. Please reboot. "C-Coulson."

* * *

He remembers, abruptly, that Sloane was there the night he died. Knows he was gone. Just gone. Not in his body any longer. No coma story could fool her. A pained look passes through his eyes. It mostly stays there, just in those hazel depths and in a few microexpressions. His overall facial expression remains solemn.

"Hey, Sloane," he says softly. "I was glad to hear you made it through that last mission."

Because as his vision had faded, it had looked like maybe she hadn't.

He inclines his head to Eddie and says, "Eddie. You settling in?"

* * *

Eddie is silent for a moment as Sloane has to work through the same thing she did about a month ago, not knowing the depths of what the other woman went through and so for once she's just respectful for once of someone else's process. When Phil addresses her though, she lifts her coffee mug in a salute. "Good as can be expected." Which is to say the man hasn't received any incident reports relating to Morales, so it's mostly going alright. "Itching to get the training wheels off." Because despite having been a member of SHIELD before, Shepherd ordered a bit of a refresher course for Hashmark.

* * *

"Yeah," she says, unblinking — staring at him as though she were staring right at a walking, talking ghost.

Swallowing, she averts her gaze down, then toward the table, looking for a spot to sit down. While the ginger is pretty pale all on her own, it's shifted from 'healthy' to 'questioning everything she knows about reality' and that is actually kind of Something given the line of work that she's in.

Sloane is careful, controlled, and sits down like she's fine, but it's a lot harder to say that she lost all the strength in her legs all of the sudden.

Pulling the tablet out from under her arm, she sets it on the table and tries her best to stay focused and working. "So, uh …"

* * *

If Eddie's going to be on his team, he supposes it's time she knew the truth.

"I don't know how they did it, Sloane," he says, sounding exhausted. "I just wish they hadn't buried the LMD if they were going to try. Not that it would have helped anyone there at the warehouse that night."

He rubs a hand over his balding head.

And he looks to Eddie. "I wasn't in a coma. I was gone. They did…something. And now I'm back. Don't ask me to explain it. It was a dizzying mix of magic, technology, and psionics. I'm not sure it could be repeated."

Or should be.

"I'm sorry," he tells Sloane, earnestly.

This, right here, is one of the reasons he almost didn't come back to SHIELD at all. Almost chose to take his second chance straight to Tahiti and stay there, allowing the whole of the world to believe him dead. He's not sure Fury would have let that fly though.

* * *

Eddie's eyebrows crest up causing the brim of her hat to rise briefly. There is a bit of a surprised 'huh' muttered into her coffee cup, but she's not going to dig into the how or the why of things right now, as he specifically just stated for her not to ask. That doesn't mean he's going to get off that easily, it'll just have to wait for another time.

Her sip of coffee is noisy, punctuated with a loud 'ah' before she clunks the cup back down on the table and fishes a smart phone out of her pocket. "I've got medical on speed dial, in case she faints. Sloane, right? Sloooooane." She repeats it, committing the name to memory.

* * *

It was a LMD in the coffin. A /LMD/. Nobody told her they were going to try to do any of this. Nobody gave her a clue before this that he was — up and around, alive and well, and —

'I'm sorry,' he says. Sloane frowns, trying /so hard/ to not turn into a big gigantic mess right at the table. Eddie too will get to learn the quick lesson that even with her being a big fish-girl, she's /also/ got the worst poker face in all of SHIELD.

The ginger metahuman's head lifts. "Hi, yes. Sorry. Agent Sloane Albright. Merrow in the field. It's nice to meet you," she says. 'While trying to not absolutely lose my shit' is the unspoken part.

Her mouth falls to a flat line, looking between Eddie and Coulson, but there is still a /lot/ there in her eyes. "S… So, what … can we do for you?"

* * *

"I wanted to get the two of you introduced."

Slowly Phil's poker face takes over. His avuncular Cheshire Cat smile. "Eddie's going to be joining the team. I have agreed to take back over as CO at Sharon's request. She will be resuming her role as XO. Rin has taken a leave of absence after her unfortunate incapacitation." Which had left her in a half-phased state for months. It was fixed, but Rin came out of it needing a long, long break.

"Eddie's talents are a little different, but I think you'll find she's a fine addition."

He looks between them both. "Eddie was one of my mentees years ago. She left the organization for awhile, but has chosen to come back."

* * *

Eddie type-types into her phone, either inputting some crypto-protected information about Sloane and adding her to contacts, or she's playing a mean game of Angry Bird. As Phil makes the introductions, her eyes flick up, keeping them mostly diverted until now so Phil and Sloane can have their moment. "Hashmark." She holds up one arm, unceremoniously pulling up the sleeve of her sweatshirt to show the rows of scars on her arm that became her namesake before quickly tugging the cuff back down to her wrist. "I don't really do the touching thing, so air fistbump it out." Her knuckles are extended briefly, and whether or not Sloane returns the gesture, she makes a little explosion noise and blows it up in short order. This message was made to self-destruct.

* * *

"Welcome back," she says, both polite and clipped. Hashmark. Where did—

'Oh. That explains that,' she thinks to herself.

At the comment about 'the touching' thing, she casts a quick— and apprehensive— look at Coulson, wondering if this is a legitimate issue that she has, or if the fish girl is weird to touch. She does follow through with the offered air bump, knuckles tapping the air … though she doesn't really have it in her to go through the entire series of motions.

"I'll probably… end up being point for you. O-Or, like, body blocking."

— a thousand thousand scenarios running through her mind as to how she could have —

"S…o if you need me, … you know." Don't worry— she feels exactly as awkward as she sounds right now.

* * *

The apprehensive look warrants an explanation. "Hashmark picks up visions from nearly anything she touches. It's very useful for a variety of applications. It also means touching other people isn't her favorite thing to do. It doesn't usually transmit through skin, but a brush of fabric at the wrong time can give her a lot more than she wanted or needed to know about anyone."

In other words, there's at least a 90% chance it has nothing to do with Sloane being a fish girl.

"Sloane here is an excellent combatant, and she's worth any Navy Seal team when you get her in or even near the water. Indeed, the combination of your strengths ought to be very potent once we get you out in the field together and get you to work. Which will be our next step. See how the two of you work together. I haven't pulled a mission for you yet, but I will work with Sharon or Peggy to determine where best to send you soon."

* * *

With Eddie wearing gloves, there is a good chance the 'no touching' rule is standard across the board instead of any sort of bias, Phil filling in the blanks without her needing to. There is an appreciative glance given to Coulson for the assist, but other than that Hashmark is pretty good at hiding the insecurities that come with her own 'condition', adding the quip, "I come with a warning label."

She's nodding vaguely to the explanation as to how the two teammates may be complimentary in the field, "Good to know." Her dark gaze ticks back and forth between the two from beneath the shadow of the brim of her hat. There's something else there, an question that wants to be asked, but it stalls on Eddie's lips.

* * *

"Still can't get a reliable waterproof phone," she says, trying hard to crack a joke. Visions from touching things— "Like that psychic thing," she says, somewhere between asking a question and making a statement. 'That psychic thing' being somewhat vague, all things considered.

"I can understand that," Sloane replies. The hesitation continues, considering talking, speaking, letting out sadness and anger and a building desire to just drop-kick doors open to demand answers for all of this, but she still just looks haunted by the presence of Coulson right now. She still has a very clear hard time looking him in the eye.

"I'll stay on-call, then. Do… you need my contact info, Eddie?"

* * *

And Coulson can see it. Regret passes over his features. He stands.

It wouldn't be the first time he's politely excused himself, just because him being the boss has an impact on things and always has. Makes it more difficult for some things to happen. But this isn't why in this case. In this case, that is the pretense that covers up the real. He has gotten all kinds of reactions to his ressurrection, and not all of them have been easy. It is why he's taking the whole thing slowly. Stepping forward and retreating again. It's why he's not at his best on a number of levels.

"I'll talk to Stark about figuring something out for you, Slone. When I see him." Because he hasn't been to see Tony yet either, despite a heartfelt goodbye letter. Perhaps because of the heartfelt goodbye letter.

He raps twice on the table and says, "For now, I'll be at the gun range if anyone needs me. I'm really rusty. You're both dismissed for all of me, though I suggest getting to know each other anyway."

Business as usual, except that it is not.

* * *

Eddie holds her hand up in the rough approximation of a phone receiver. Why do people still make that hand gesture as out dated as it is? 'Call me', she mouths to Coulson with comedic over exaggeration before she turns her attention back to Sloane. "Already pulled it from the company registry," At least the parts her current level of clearance gets her. "But if you have some super secret Bat signal or something I should know, shoot." Her thumb hovers over her phone at the ready.

* * *

"I don't — the phone should be fine."

They're dismissed. Sloane takes a second, a few uneasy moments to get herself back up to her feet. Holding together has taken as much as she could muster, even with Coulson excusing himself to head out; she wants to talk to him more, she wants to say a whole lot of things, but she can't.

"Sorry, if— you could excuse me quick. We… can talk in a bit."

Hurrying to slip out the door, the scaled inhuman moves at a brisk pace down the hall, hurrying to the ladies' bathroom. She may be crying inside a stall, or throwing up.

It's probably both.

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