Roleplaying Log: SPYFISH
IC Details

Warren catches up with Sloane on the matter of Terrigen, and asks a favor regarding a certain Domino.

Other Characters Referenced: Domino, Dani Moonstar, Kitty Pryde, Phil Coulson, Atli
IC Date: April 29, 2019
IC Location: Columbia University, New York
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 30 Apr 2019 14:03
Rating & Warnings:
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

It's been some time since Warren Worthington checked in on Sloane Albright, and when she finally gets a message from him to meet, the location is — curiously — not at the Institute. I hope you do not mind meeting at your alma mater. I happened to be in the area, and it's a lovely enough school.

The polite choice of 'lovely enough' says a lot without saying anything explicitly, when coming from the Harvard-educated Worthington.

It's a lovely Monday afternoon, at the least, and the sun shines down from a cloudless sky on Columbia University. The school, while fairly enclosed within the few blocks it occupies on the Upper West Side, does not bar random pedestrians from passing through the grounds, and so it's a simple matter of just walking in through the main gates at West 116th.

Once in, the campus opens up with clear sight lines across College Walk and the well-kept South Lawn, which is currently hosting a vigorous game of ultimate Frisbee. Warren has chosen to wait on the steps of Low Library, across the Walk from the lawns, which is really kind of insolent of his feathered Harvard ass; especially since he's sitting not too far from the statue of Alma Mater, and eyeing it with some amusement.

The last time she set foot on these grounds, it was not exactly under good circumstances. Much less sure of herself, barely able to feel comfortable with the scales that had grown out of her skin and the other exotic changes that had gone on with her body.

When she enters the campus, it's with a huff, blowing loose bangs up and crossing the lawns; sidestepping students studying and watching the springtime games carry on with pangs of regret.

Back then, she had made her decision. Sloane L. Albright was a prodigy, called a rising star — with how things move on, would her professors even remember her now?

As she draws close enough, an arm lifts from the pocket of her jacket to wave at the Angel, plucking the sunglasses off her face and hooking one of the arms into her collar. She looks unsure of how to proceed, by opening with a quip or joke or being serious. Instead, Agent/X-Friend/former student sits down, elbows resting on her knees, and lets her fingers lace together while her chin rests on her thumbs.


Warren catches sight of Sloane from a distance, and so he's able to gauge her expression as it evolves, from the moment she steps foot back on campus up until she's climbing the steps to his side. The wistfulness, the regret, the ultimate look of resolution. If it makes him think he perhaps should have chosen somewhere else to meet up, he doesn't betray that; there isn't any particular remorse as he returns her wave with an 'over here' nod.

There's a brief moment where Sloane doesn't know quite how to engage — whether with humor or seriousness — and the remark she eventually settles on lifts his brows. "Being back here, do you mean?"

"Or perhaps do you mean seeing me here? You wouldn't be alone in the sentiment if so. The pigeons don't quite know what to make of me," he says, his tone light, as a few of the said birds go strutting hastily away with wary looks at Warren's half-open white wings. He appears to actually be sunning them in the afternoon light, letting the warmth drench his feathers.

He does look rather incongruous here. Not because he doesn't look like a student — he's past thirty, but still looks young and beautiful enough for the demographic — but because one doesn't usually think to see Warren Worthington camped out on a set of steps, as at ease as he might be in the formal parlors and boardrooms which form his actual native habitat.

"I'd have just caught you at the Institute," he says, "but these days it's… hmm… a little safer to be random in one's choice of locations." He cocks a sky-blue eye at her. "How do things fare with SHIELD? There is a great deal for which they must account, and very little has been said." From his tone, it's obvious what he means: the matter of the Terrigen.

"No — Yeah."

Letting the statement stay vague for a moment, her hands shift, making it a little easier for her to speak without doing so directly into her hands. "Mom and Dad were so proud to send me here. Dad was expecting me to be a concert pianist. Mom understood I'd rather be a rock star. She was the one that taught me how to play … basically everything. Never taught me how but she could even play bagpipes. Lady's never been to Ireland or Scotland in her life, either."

Without skipping a beat, she grins, digging for her earlier, considered jokes and humor. "But now that you mention it, I would've expected you to start molting in outrage, here," she says, forcing a small grin while turning her head slightly toward Warren. "Or using your bird powers to talk to the pigeons."

But Warren asks about SHIELD, and her demeanor becomes more somber, eyes drifting down first. "It's a mess," she says, frowning. "It's — honestly, it's damage control mode right now. Coulson understands I want to get out. He's trying to create an opportunity for me. They've got a lot of plates spinning right now because of the Brotherhood. Like … Danvers aside, I don't think you're gonna see a lot of Agents running around trying to enforce certain laws, at least for now."

"I got some face time with Nick Fury. That was. … That was something. But I'm officially assigned to 'observe' now, so it's not just me going AWOL because they won't take my resignation."

Warren's blue eyes soften a little to Sloane's talk of her time at the school… of the plans she had which were changed forever when Terrigenesis turned her into the person she is now. His gaze turns a little tellingly wistful when she talks of how proud her parents were to send her here… even despite their divergent expectations for their daughter.

"It is a good school," he says. "Either for concert pianists or rock stars. Of course, you know I have no objection to rock stars myself." A faint smile.

The expression blooms fully into a laugh when she expresses surprise that he is neither molting in outrage nor commanding the pigeon armies of Columbia. "Hmm, well, it's certainly not Harvard," he says with staunch loyalty, "but there are many worse Ivies at which to spend an afternoon. As for the bird powers, communication was not something which came with the overall package. Even if it was, the birds to which I am related are certainly — " He fans his wings abruptly, and the raptor silhouette sends all the pigeons scattering, " — not pigeons."

His wings fold neatly away afterwards, and he turns the topic to more serious matters. His blue eyes watch her closely as she speaks of the situation at SHIELD. "I met him the other week," he says of Coulson. "Seems a decent man." Even if Atli did want him to seduce everything, for some reason. The mention of the Brotherhood tightens his eyes in a telling, tense way, but he says nothing about that age-old enemy. "I doubt even Danvers will be so overzealous as she was before," he remarks instead, with a mysterious curve to his mouth that might be the ghost of a smile. "She owes me."

His eyes half-lid at mention of Fury. "And did he tell you anything with regard to the Terrigen? The Brotherhood was convinced it was to be weaponized. They seemed to have seen something which convinced them so. What does Fury say?"

"That's true," Sloane replies, looking at Warren. She still has yet to really meet Dazzler, other than giving her starry eyes in the most slim of occasions and timing.

As he demonstrates the power of his wings, the metahuman lifts her hand to the side of her head, keeping her ponytail from whipping around too hard from the broad swoop of his wings and the air disturbed by the action, grinning hard. "I can see that now."

"Like I said before, Coulson recruited me. Kept me safe. Got me training, a place to stay. Made sure I wasn't eating junkfood. SHIELD's a den of vipers, especially now, but … he's a good one." Her eyebrow arches, however, mouth quirking a bit into a smirk. "I'm sure she loves that."

"Yeah… about that." Sloane straightens, reaching to her belt, unclipping the canteen of water. Rather than weaponize it, she takes a drink, shifting the weight of it around in her hand. Truth be told she'd rather have something harder in there right now.

"They had it in moth balls for years. When metas without the X-gene started showing up, they started digging into it and researching it. Once they realized what it could do, they tried to bury it. He said that some diluted samples got out but they were trying to keep it buried — ultimately, see if there was a way to protect mutants from it. Fury said they got some biased intel."

Her mouth opens, and then she stops after drawing in a breath. There's more. Of course there's more — but the way she hesitates, the way her mouth opens and then closes, she isn't quite sure how to say it.

"SHIELD is a den of vipers," Warren agrees, "but, one would like to think, a den of vipers dedicated to the protection of this planet." A pointed pause. "Everyone on this planet. That was the purpose under which the organization was first chartered, if I recall correctly."

And that leads, naturally, into the question of what exactly SHIELD was doing with vials of Terrigen. Warren listens as Sloane relates what Fury told her, and while his expression doesn't substantially change, his eyes do darken. So the Brotherhood says one thing, and SHIELD itself says another. Both are telling exactly the story they want, of course…

"That implies the Brotherhood did not bias the intel themselves," he muses, with a certain tone like he wouldn't put it past them to do so. He opts, for now, to speak as if Fury's own claims can be believed, which — let's face it — is equally questionable a prospect. "I take it this was the work of those moles within SHIELD that we've been chasing. Well, if the destruction of the Triskelion was their purpose, they have succeeded, though I imagine they will not rest until the organization itself is no more."

He looks away. "But there are times I think SHIELD presumes entirely too much with its secrecy, and its arrogance to singlehandedly save the world," he says, his voice clipped with annoyance. "We should have been told. This pertains to us, more than anyone else. We should have known about this threat and had a chance to protect ourselves." We could have studied it ourselves, he does not say. True, the X-Men had been effectively an independent paramilitary team for a long time with its own intense secrecy, but ever since their more public emergence in the wake of the Chitauri… their attempts to meet other organizations halfway…

He falls silent, and in that quiet is a heavy pause where Sloane starts to speak, and doesn't. Warren doesn't say anything to try to prompt her to continue. He just looks at her, directly, which is probably even more potent a pressure than if he tried to say anything, because he has eyes with the focusing power of a raptor.

Warren speaks his peace. For whatever it is worth, now is also one of those moments where Sloane does not offer jokes, quips, or humor about the whole thing. She agrees, really — SHIELD is a den of vipers, even if that's Coulson's termonology. Even if he said it in front of Fury, to her.

But then his gaze is on her. It's a pressure almost on-tier with that of Peggy Carter and her Disappointed Aunt voice, or when Nick Fury himself directly addressed her. She opens her mouth again, hesitates — but this time she looks toward Warren with the slight turn of her head as though there were weight on her shoulders.

"I don't actually have an X-gene. I guess… somewhere in my family history, there was some latent genetic alteration — a really, really old one. 'Cause of … uh … aliens," she says, mouth pulling into a flat, nervous line. "But the catalyst that caused me to change… was Terrigen. Apparently we're called 'Inhumans.'"

Sloane's head tilts forward, now, fingers tightening on her canteen, that lingering pit in her stomach getting deeper. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to hold it back from you. I just didn't think it was important until suddenly it's being waved around and called a weapon."

Warren doesn't say anything at first to the revelation. He just blinks slowly, and then finally takes his gaze back off Sloane.

"No, it's not particularly important," he eventually says, "what type of metahuman you are. It would be against the tenets under which I was brought up to discriminate. It's all types of us which are being put on the block, isn't it?" A pause. "And everyone is holding their own secrets close."

He slants half an amused smile at Sloane. "Besides, it's not as if you are Terrigen yourself, otherwise we would have noticed some nasty effects by now."

He considers the information. "So it's lethal to mutants, but induces a change in others with a different genetic makeup. An alteration by — aliens?" It's telling that he doesn't seem shocked anymore about aliens meddling in things. "Any idea which aliens? Whether the alteration was purposeful in order to interface with this Terrigen substance?"

He is quiet a moment. "And to speak of secrets, there's a favor I would like to ask of you. And of Dani. Both of you." His mouth quirks with humor. "You may consider it your penance for holding your secrets back from me. You still have access at SHIELD, right? To, say, perform a background check?"

"I don't know. … I guess Terrigen was meant to be a trigger to activate the … genetic stuff. I only know tiny scraps about it, and … what I've heard from Fury and Coulson are all I know about it otherwise. There're a few other Inhumans out there I know of, but there's not enough of us that I know of that are … out there. I was exposed a couple of years ago. Woke up out of a cocoon a month later, covered in green sludge and," her hand lifts, thumb running across the lobe of her large, pointed ear.

Sloane grins. It's the kind where she's trying to build her confidence back up, especially after letting her guard down. "Dani's in better with them right now, more than me. But hey — If they're not gonna let me quit, I might as well leverage every advantage I get, right? Since I'm … officially supposed to be observing, now."

Twisting the cap back on and pushing the canteen back into the holster on her belt, the scaly metahuman sits a little more straight. "What's the name?"

"Hell of a trigger," is Warren's opinion on the matter. "Gives some people powers, and kills others." He laughs. "I suppose mutants already have 'powers,' so they can't exactly get more. Fair's fair." He shrugs. "In this day and age, I've heard of stranger ways to get 'abilities.'"

As for the matter of what Warren wants from Sloane? There's something quite like an approving glint in his blue eyes when the young woman says she may as well 'leverage every advantage' if SHIELD won't let her go. "Exactly how you should be thinking. Use those who use you," is his advice on the matter. Of course the mention of her being officially assigned to 'observe' is a concern, especially given that whatever she might learn is likely to flow back to SHIELD, but Warren seems to find the ability to use their resources and gain glimpses into their secrets to be worth the risk — for now.

Of course Sloane could be passing false information, too, knowingly or not — but that's why it's not only Sloane that Warren is asking.

"Domino is her working name," is Warren's answer to the request for the name, as he pulls an envelope out of his jacket pocket and hands it over. There's some images of the woman in question within, extracted from recorded Danger Room footage. "You may have met her before, in fact. Certainly at that last training session. I assume that name is not her real one, of course. But SHIELD's facial recognition algorithms may be able to put a name to the face — and find out more, besides."

His eyes half-shutter. "Keep it under your hat. No need to put her on SHIELD's radar. One simply… in times like these, likes to know exactly who one is working with." His gaze rests thoughtfully on Sloane Albright. "I'll be asking the same of Dani." He pauses thoughtfully. "Kitty Pryde too, I think."

"You mean like magic and demons and shit?" Sloane asks, faint smirk on her face. That was a hell of a week in and of itself — on top of learning that Hell was real, but … all in all, it was one of those things she should have expected when also making friends with an Asgardian.

Taking the envelope, she shifts it to one side before nodding. The woman from the Danger Room — not anyone from her team during the exercise, but they arrived toward the tail end to try to find Domino and her crew after being sped over and Sloane's somewhat poor showing with super speed. "We didn't get to talk for more than a few seconds, I don't think."

Keep it under her hat. "Understood," she replies, nodding. "You worried about her? What if I find something you don't like?"

"Yes," Warren says, with a flicker of amusement and a playful nudge of one wing against her side. The feathers are vanishingly soft, but the strength behind the limb is palpable. "Magic and demons and… 'shit.'" The profanity somehow seems wrong coming out of him. Not just because of the wings or the looks, but just because of his generally cultured demeanor. "And toxic spills, and pills, and, and, and…"

But the more congenial aspect to him slips away as matters turn to a rather more serious request. Sloane's inquiry on whether he's 'worried' about the woman draws a thoughtful look. "I wouldn't say worried," he says, leaving out all the extraneous information about how she totally snapped at the Mutant Town raid, or how she maybe tried to get him killed when he pried into her business more, or any of that, "so much as thinking that it's time for a little due diligence. She's mostly been a… contractor, I suppose is the closest term for it, and it was enough that she did what was asked. But now I would like to know more. We're going to be under many more high-pressure situations in the near future. You need to know how people… tick, beforehand. You can never be too careful with anyone." He cocks an eye at her. "That should be a familiar tenet. SHIELD lives by the doctrine of 'never trusting anyone.'"

What if she finds something he doesn't like?

Warren's beautiful features turn dismissive, his profile sharp and cool. "You let me worry about that part."

Warren Worthington said 'shit.' It takes Sloane back a little, her face scrunching into something along the lines of incredulous before laughing, wobbling to the side as she gives a playful push back at the wing in return with the back of her forearm.

"Yeah, … I get it. We'd had a few assets like that involved with SHIELD in the past. Everything's still in crazy mode over there, so it shouldn't be too hard to do a little bit of digging and keep it under the radar." Going in and out might be a little bit problematic, if the ginger meta's assigned to be elsewhere; living out of her duffel bag and the money Coulson gave her has been problematic enough, at least when she's not crashing at the mansion.

'Never trust anyone.' Is it really SHIELD's doctrine…?

Considering Warren's reply for a moment, Sloane eventually nods, her face serious and businesslike. "You'll fly her up to a giant condor nest on a mountain peak, got it."

Just wait until the day Warren Worthington says 'fuck.' You know he is truly upset then.

…Alison might have heard it before, when he was mad at her.

Warren himself doesn't seem aware of how weird it is for people to hear him speak so crassly, judging by the mildly affronted look he gives her laughter. "Well, just take care with as you do it," he says, nudging the conversation back to some semblance of 'dignified.' "Not just in regards to SHIELD, but… I would prefer Domino herself not get wind of it." Not before time, anyway.

As for Sloane's guess what Warren will do if he doesn't like the outcome? "Bite your tongue," is his affronted reply. "I am not a condor." He does not confirm or deny angrily flying her off to mountain peaks.

He simply rises smoothly to a stand, instead. "At the very least, she would be fired," is his eventual assertion, stretching his wings before folding them neatly. "Now come on. I'll buy you a drink for the favor before I send you off."

"Got'cha." For Warren to trust her with something like this — maybe this is, in it's own way, a test to see what he's got planned for her, or to bring her further into the fold after seeing things like the Danger Room? Or maybe this really is him trusting her with a sensitive task out of necessity? Regardless of what the truth is, it does anchor her back in reality before she nods again, to confirm it.

Sloane's hands lift in reply to Warren getting ruffled, only barely managing to keep — well, only half of the grin down, the envelope tucked under her arm. "Hey, I'm just speculatin'." That she's employed and fire-able tells her a little bit as it is: Whomever she is, she has access to the facilities, and they may be able to afford to cut her loose.

"And I will take you up on that," the Inhuman replies, slipping on her sunglasses and gesturing grandly away from the steps, adding with dramatic flourish, "Let us be away."

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