Encroachment | Logan & Peter
Despite all evidence to the contrary, Logan still felt apprehensive around Peter, and would’ve preferred to send him off on his way rather than welcome a potential imposter into the school. Without knowing the full extent of the Skrull’s invasion force, when he wasn’t putting his tracking skills to work helping the others uncover the hostile aliens, he had doggedly roamed the school’s halls, scrutinising ever sight and sound.
Moving closer to the kitchen he stopped just before passing under the room’s rotund arch to share a quizzical look with the webslinger. Noting this dry sense of humour, Logan couldn’t deny that not even the best mimics could replicate his particular brand of choice quips and schoolboy gags, even if they wanted to. It was a thought that granted partial relief, if only fleeting: he really wished it was the truth. “Nah, no-one. Got Toad mowin’ the lawn instead.” The Canadian made an instant beeline for the fridge after that.
Paralleling the appliance, he flung open each of the adjacent cupboards one at a time, exposing their inventory. Each cupboard was stacked to the brim with food from every end of the spectrum that didn’t require refrigeration or freezing. From an assortment of canned items to readymade noodles and sugary treats for the sweet toothed, there was enough stored in the presses to feed the students, faculty and any potential guests for at least a week, with more food reserves contained in purposely hidden larders.
Logan had personally made sure that, should a new cataclysm befall the country, as they frequently seemed to do, the X-Men would be prepared to face it. He was, if nothing else, a survivor, after all. “Eat up, Parker. And, while yer at it, you can fill me in on anything you know concernin’ this Skrull mess that might be considered important.”
"Toad is your cook?" Peter felt his stomach lurch almost immediatly. He had been unfortunate enough to encounter the mutant in the past, Toad having expressed interest in being his partner. It wasn’t as though the webhead had anything against mutants, but Toad had been annoying to say the least. He’d also had less than stellar personal hygiene. Rather than make a mess that someone would have to clean up, he just pushed the thought aside, somewhere deep deep down where he could weep about it later. Those poor students.
Thankfully, the opening of the cupboards proved to be an excellent distraction. Peter’s stomach let out a little gurgle, reminding him just how hungry he was. Walking over, he grabbed a package of dried noodles, “Hey, I haven’t had these since college.” He didn’t even need to look at the instructions, muscle memory taking over as he found a pot, filled it with water, and set it on a stove to begin heating it.
"I don’t know all that much more than you. Never really encountered Skrulls before. Everything I know I learned from talking to Reed about it. Obviously they can shape-shift, either into organic or inorganic forms. They’re near impossible to detect. We’re trying to figure out some way to detect them but its going slow." When the water started boiling, Peter tossed the square shaped bundle of noodles in, beginning to stir it idly.
Glancing back at Logan, he shook his head, “I still can’t quite believe it. You’re the Headmaster of a school. Even I can’t hang around kids all the time and I’m nice. How have you not gone crazy? Ancient Japanese secret?”
Aboard The Peak || Open to Team White
"Well, Lockheed, it looks like your membership in a top-secret intelligence organization is actually going to be helpful for once." Kitty laughed as her dragon friend angrily puffed some smoke in her direction. "Hey, you know I’m only teasing…"
She walked around the lab, thankful for the gravity control technology inside the Peak, and surveyed the equipment that was now at her team’s disposal. They needed to stay inside the space station until they had successfully built a machine for detecting Skrulls - Kitty just hoped they all remained sane until they finished.
She decided to sit down in one of the lab’s bolted-down chairs until the others arrived. They had all come up to the space station in one shuttle, but Kitty and Lockheed had been the first ones to reach the lab. She rested her elbows and head on the cool metal counter next to her, suddenly realizing how exhausted she was. She had barely gotten any sleep since the whole Skrull ordeal had begun, and she knew now of all times was the worst time to rest. But she also couldn’t start working until the others showed up.
She heard footsteps from the other side of the lab’s door, and it slid open with a loud buzz. Kitty lifted her head to see who it was.
“So what’s this organization? S.W.O.R.D? Does this have something to do with Dane, or is this Wendell’s—” Eros began a barrage of idle questions as he entered from the lift door alone but before he saw Kitty. He’d been in a belligerent mood lately, especially about this whole Skrull thing because it brought yet another empire (no matter how wrecked) into the mix. If Earth didn’t spawn so many powerful beings, then maybe it would attract less attention; same would go if the solar system weren’t a bottleneck point for intergalactic transport.
Well, that wasn’t true. If Earth didn’t spawn so many powerful beings who were so intent on making enemies across all of space and time, then maybe things like invasions wouldn’t happen quite so often. Then again, if an invasion did happen, the invaders would win and humanity would be extirpated or enslaved, so it was a bit of a gray area.
Much like this place. Okay, it was more silver, what with its chrome-plated theme giving what would be called a futuristic feel – it was a cultural thing, similar to how people think people who wear glasses are smarter. The more shiny and cold, the more futuristic and high-tech, right? Okay, fine, maybe smooth nonporous surfaces were easier to clean, but still.
By this point he’d reached Kitty and put on a small smirk that would be appropriate regarding her aura of exhaustion, to which he was sympathetic. Lockheed was here too, the little Flockling, and he couldn’t help but reach out to pat him on the head. He wondered if Lockheed had any abilities to detect Skrulls. “What if Lockheed’s a Skrull?” he jokingly asked.
At least up here away from Earth they could focus on what was already known about the Skrulls and to do it in relative isolation. Actually, the close contact in confined space might allow them to observe each other for odd behavior with greater scrutiny, too, in case one of the them was a Skrull.
Cassie had been sitting on the cupboard for the past half hour. Not long after Shadowcat entered the room and the blonde had been about to jump down from her position and greet her team mate when she saw a dragon follow close behind the mutant. The blonde had stopped short. She had heard of Lockheed before but hadn’t really believed the fact that he was a dragon. But looking at him right then, she was rather shocked and excited at the prospect of meeting a dragon. Although she really hoped it wouldn’t breath fire on her if it did breath fire. And she hoped that it would allow her to ride him just for fun!
Starfox’s voice acted like a wake up call to her and she snapped out of her thoughts. Maybe now was the the to make her presence known. As soon as she heard what Eros said she jumped down from the cupboard feeling herself grow taller until finally she was her original height. “S.W.O.R.D. is an acronym for Sentient World Observation and Response Department and it is a counter terrorism and intelligence agency which deals with extraterrestrial threats to world security.” She shrugged. Not even paying attention to the looks she was getting on appearing so suddenly, she continued. “Its just something from the top of my head, cuz this Department goes way down.” Given the, apparently, many, many hopeful alien invaders and victors Earth had, had, it wasn’t a surprise when she first found out that SHIELD had made a separate branch that dealt with the whole alien tourists thing. Seriously! What exactly did they see in the small speck?
Was there something in the Earth that just pulled all the E.T.s towards it or did lovely Mother Earth just hold up a sign saying ‘Invade me! Invade me!’ just for the heck of it. Cassie shook her head, exhaling deeply as she did, muttering. “I really hope this situation is over sooner rather than later.” She slumped down into a stool, slouching as much as she could without falling off. She was getting tired of how SHIELD continued to give them orders rather than tell them about the whole situation. It was safe to say that she liked to know who and what she was dealing with before she decided to dive head first into the situation. Did they even know the whole situation themselves yet though? She highly doubted that as she frowned in thought.
Shaking her head she glanced towards the door, before looking back at the current people in the room. ”Are we waiting for someone else?”
Team White had been doing quite a bit of traveling in a brief amount of time, although a station like this was not somewhere Brandt had ever expected to find himself. He had just finished wandering round the station, acquainting himself with the various emergency and safety features. When he returned to the others, he didn’t say a word, simply watched them. It struck him, not for the first time, that although the team had a great deal of potential to be quite good, there seemed to be a pervasive lack of morale and drive.
Brandt remained silent, simply waiting to see what it was their leader wanted them to do now - if anything. He stood with his arms folded, halfway lost on thought on their task.
Peter had been.. uncomfortable traveling up to the space station. He liked it on Earth. Earth was nice, and familiar, and all his things were there. Space was not nice, or familiar, and nothing was there. So, one could understand his hesitance. The web head lagged behind the others, thinking about the things going on down on his little blue and green rock. Skrulls were invading in that quiet way that they liked to do, but there was still plenty of ordinary super-criminals up to no good. He was a great deal more experienced handling those kind of threats, not so much with thwarting extraterrestrial invasions.
After briefly getting lost and having a mean lady with green hair point him in the right direction with her gun, Peter found the lab. “I really don’t belong here. In space. See, you guys are fine with this, because you’re X-Men and aliens and whatnot and this stuff is totally normal to you. I’m starting to think someone at S.H.I.E.L.D. made a clerical error in putting me on this team.”
Running a hand across his forehead, Peter sighed and slumped into a chair at one of the lab tables, “Okay. So, lets save world.”
Don’t worry, Peter. You’re too hard to impersonate. No one can be as annoying as you are.
This coming from Logan’s teenage sidekick? Ouch. I’m hurt. Gonna need some aloe for this sick burn.
Do you have a death wish or do you just hate life in general?
I’d like to think that I’m cleverly pointing out the absurdity of this paranoid witch hunt, but I guess its open to interpretation.
Dissection Session - Open To Team White
The cold click of heels on tile echoed down the hallway, as Genis’ S.H.I.E.L.D escort lead him to the autopsy room, his own shoes scuffing as he went, the shoes almost accompanied each other, separated by only a second. Click. Scuff. Click. Scuff. Click. Scuff. Pale halogen lights line the ceiling, casting a headache over those who walked down the hall. He kind of pitied the people who worked here, because surely they must have left work everyday with terrible migraines.
A door swung open after the clicking heels stopped, onto a dark room. As the door had opened Genis’ nose was attacked by the heavy smell of cleaning supplies, and surgical equipment. If he’d ever needed one, he would have said that it reminded him of a hospital. The agent flipped a switch behind the door, two lights flickered to life above them.
The Autopsy had been cleared out, all but one table had been removed. A corpse lay under a white sheet, on the table, features of the alien form underneath, poked through the sheet. Ears, chin(s) pectoral muscles, their shapes plain to see. A number of chairs were stood by the wall, he pulled one up and sat by the table.
He knew that the team had been told to come in today, apparently they would be meeting a scientific advisor who would assist them, through use of the corpse, in finding a way to detect the invading alien force. Being part-Kree, it was expected of him that Genis would by his nature, despise the Skrull, and he wondered if this was why S.H.I.E.L.D had brought him in as part of their response to the invasion. But even so, he felt in the pit of his stomach, a sense of disgust writhing about within him, at the thought of what they were about to do.
Kitty walked slowly down the white hallway and checked her cellphone to make sure it was completely powered off. She couldn’t have anyone tracking her location. Not today.
She wasn’t even sure where she was - SHIELD had sent her the map coordinates in an email that mysteriously disappeared a few moments after she read it. She understood the secrecy, though. No one could know where the agency was keep their Skrull specimens. The building looked like any other industrial office building in the run-down Brooklyn neighborhood that the coordinates had led her to.
"Hey, you know what this feels like?" She turned to the stony-faced SHIELD agent who walked alongside her, "You know that part in Independence Day, when they find the alien and take it to the lab…" Her voice trailed off when she realized the agent’s face had not reacted at all to her attempt at light conversation. She also remembered that a scientist died in that part of Independence Day, so it was probably not the best topic to dwell on.
She thanked her escort when they reached the room she was being led to. He walked off silently and she took a deep breath, and walked through the door.
Genis looked surprised when she appeared, seemingly out of nowhere. “Sorry if I startled you,” she said sympathetically, “I’ve gotten into the habit of just walking through everything. Why bother with doorknobs when you don’t need them?”
She cracked a smile, but her face became serious quickly. “How much do we know about this… creature?” She said, indicating to the body on the operating table in the center of the room, “It’s definitely not alive, right?” She had dealt with Skrulls before, many times in fact, but each time taught her to be even more wary the next time.
Why would SHIELD want to bring in a ‘Teenager’ like her to deal with a problem that she hadn’t had a clue about, until an hour ago, was lost to her.
Stature had enough work experience with SHIELD to know that they didn’t really consider the Young Avengers as a reliable source when it came to dealing with problems that they declared was bigger than all of them. Stature had almost pummeled the Agent when she heard him say that. It didn’t help either that said Agent was leading her down the hall of the building she had been told to go to.
She had woken to another rather hot day and turned on the television just in time to hear the News Anchor say something about a mysterious crash landing. But where it had occurred hadn’t been specified, or maybe she had been too late to catch it. Either way she had shrugged it off and prepared herself for the day and had just stepped out of her apartment, locking the door behind her, when her phone had pinged alerting her of a new message which had the co-ordinates of a SHIELD location she had vaguely heard about, and the words ‘Skrulls’. She wondered if they had anything to do with the crash landing she had just heard about.
When she arrived at the location she had been escorted into the building by a rather familiar face. She had spent the majority of her time, as he led her down the many corridors, trying to figure out where she had seen him before. Finally her mind clicked and she scowled as she remembered when she had once heard him call the Young Avengers a group of teenagers who thought that donning costumes and making up names would just make them heroes.
She clenched her fists, holding back her sudden urge to punch the Agent for saying that. Even though it had been a long time ago, Stature never forgot an insult as small as it may be. She had heard others call her weak all her life and at first she had thought of herself as weak until her father, the Avengers and her friends had taught her otherwise. She was strong, she was a Young Avenger and she was going to prove all the people wrong by being the adult she knew she could be.
The Agent stopped in front of a pair of metal doors, gesturing for her to go inside with a small jerk of his head, his face an emotionless mask. Holding her chin up, she jerked her head in a nod, walking past him without a second glance and pulled the door open, stepping inside. Looking around at the familiar and unfamiliar faces alike, she smiled, hoping it wouldn’t come off as a grimace.
"Any idea why these people called us in on such short notice?" She shrugged. "Cuz’ I sure as hell don’t."
“I suppose they want us to see if these Skrulls are different,” Eros drawled from the open doorframe against which he leaned, arms crossed in closed posture. “Why they aren’t giving this to Reed Richards I still don’t know.”
Shifting his weight to his other leg, he looked down at the white sheet covering the corpse. What was he supposed to do about it? He was no Skrull biologist or doctor or anything of the sort. He wasn’t even much of an expert on Skrull physiology – it only took a handful of bad experiences with shapeshifters to make the Eternal leery.
About two seconds passed before he spoke again.
“Well, I’m not touching it.”
He folded his arms against his chest once more as he took a step back, nose wrinkled in disgust and perhaps a bit of pity for the dead. Where had they obtained the body? Was it from the crash site? That seemed unlikely. Had they found one already? How?
His grip on his own biceps was relatively tight because he was already frustrated. His empathy could work on some Skrulls, but there were types upon which it didn’t. It bothered him that these Skrulls could somehow mimic the brain waves of those they imitated, even if they weren’t brainwashed into thinking they were actually that person. Eros, cynically confident in his empathic sense that he was, presumed that he maybe could tell the difference but only by exposing himself to their cerebral emissions to such an extent that it would be painfully overwhelming. If the person was a Skrull, they could easily neutralize the Titan at that point.
His bad mood was in part directed towards Genis, as well. Though he could understand why Genis would refuse to use his Cosmic Awareness given that it was a similar if not more dramatic version of Eros’s own aversion to using his powers, Eros did not know what had caused the sudden change of heart. Genis had used it without a second thought on the crashed Kree scout ship, and that was recent … still, Genis was, well, Genis, and defied rational explanation by his very nature.
His sense of propriety had to kick in sometime, though, so a few moments after his fit he dropped his arms and greeted the two women. “Cassie,” he acknowledged, having only met the Young Avenger a handful of times yet never forgetting a name; “Kitty – it’s nice to see you. It’s been a while,” he said, mouth loosening with the hints of a smile.
Peter had no interest in dissecting a corpse. He’d been bothered just by dissecting frogs in his science class at Midtown, and now they were going to be cutting open a person? Sure, it was an evil alien bent on infiltrating and then overthrowing human society, but it was still a person. He reminded himself though, that if they didn’t, it would be a lot harder to get any useful information on how the Skrull worked. If they figured out what made them tick, maybe they would be able to find some way to track and locate them. The wall crawler was very torn on the issue. Of course, none of it shown through the mask he wore.
Bothering to turn his attention away from his own thoughts, Peter took a moment to consider the S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent walking ahead of him. A woman, probably in her mid-to-late thirties, dressed in a simple black and white suit dress, complete with sunglasses, one of those little ear things, and a security card on a lanyard. She had been the one to greet him at the door but had been utterly silent during the tour. Clearly she was not a Spidey Fan. Peter picked up his pace to walk beside her, crossing his arms and tilting his head, “How long do you think before this alien autopsy shows up on FOX?”
The agent didn’t even glance in his direction, causing the wall crawler to wince just a bit, “Yeesh, tough crowd.”
Eros was already at the door when they arrived, and he noticed the others once he walked in, offering a little wave. Peter’s super agent escort promptly turning and walking off, leaving him with the body. An uncomfortable little cough followed and he did his best to act nonchalant next to an alien corpse. There was a tenseness to the entire affair and Peter, being the best there was at what he did, decided to be awkward and stupid in an attempt to lighten the mood. Moving over to where the instruments were, he picked up a particularly sharp looking knife and said, “So… who wants the first slice?”
I would imagine you wouldn’t want to be accused of something bad?
Well no, but with all the accusations I see in the Bugle I’m kinda getting inured to it.
Was that supposed to be some form of insult, Peter? If so, it was terrible. You do realise that taking the place of supermodels would in fact have been an incredibly smart move by the Skrulls. They’d have influence over not only the fashion industry but in fact every other form of employment it ties in with, which includes the media and - in some cases, considering the fact that many models have relationships with very rich and powerful men - even politics.
But perhaps they merely thought I was just too pretty to ever be able to replicate accurately. Either that or they knew I’d put up too much of a good fight.
It’s not a compliment to be called one, Parker. And besides, it’s unlikely they’d choose you as their target, isn’t it. I mean, they have the pick of the city’s heroes, I’m not sure they’d even look twice at a web-slinging, spider-sensed, Daily Bugle photographer unless they were in the neighbourhood for a few decent photo portraits.
Thanks for the tip. If I hear anything about a devious alien plot to take over the planet by infiltrating the supermodel community, you’ll be the first to know.
Do you want me to accuse you and make you feel better?
Well, I’m not going to say no.