Henry Orchard - April 25, 2012 10:47 PM (GMT)
SHIELD Helicarrier - LIBERTY, Processing and Receptions Terminal.
Henry sat and watched the tide go in and out. Waves of people swept through the PRT, when a transport landed its passengers would flow in through the far doors, swell behind the security transports where they funnelled into narrow streams that broke into single particles against the levee of chairs in the waiting area. There would be a moment of quiet before the flow reversed and new travellers would be drawn back into the mysterious expanse of the Transit Sea. He watched this for a time until he remembered Jonah.
Henry was an avowed atheist but he remembered the classics. Jonah, for some reason, had gotten on a boat with a bunch of dicks who threw him in the sea when the weather got choppy. God told them to do it, so it was A-OK and definitely not murder. Poor old Jo was swallowed by a whale in which he dwelled until he repented or learned that the oesophagus of a whale could barely accommodate an orange, let a lone a full grown man. In the current climate that rather struck a chord with Henry. Something about throwing somebody to the mercy of a cruel, merciless sea because a heinous bastard who lived in the sky didn't like the poor guy. Outside he could see the whale, a C130 transport this time around. It had not yet been taxied into position and still sat refilling at the far end of the launch strip. Of Jonah there was no sign.
He'd been waiting for Lang for maybe an hour or two by this point. He was still on ”medical suspension” and as a result had nothing else to be doing, so rather than hide out in his bunk he'd come down to the PRT. Watch the tide come and go. Clear his head. Think about what he was going to say. So far he'd only successfully made nautical metaphors, and his thoughts still swam (ha ha) in little regretful circles.
A small fish wriggled out from behind his ear. It made a single orbit around his head and then evaporated into a cloud of it's conceptual components. This had been happening occasionally since the breakout, his brain activity involuntarily manifesting in the coral. the MDIV medics had differing theories on the cause: psychological trauma, blunt force trauma, side effect of medication, etc, etc. Either way Henry didn't really care, his mind was on other things and on the plus side it meant everyone was giving him a wide berth. That suited him just fine, it gave him space to think about his future with STRIKE and SHIELD.
Stature - May 4, 2012 12:03 AM (GMT)
The lift came to a stop and let her and her escort detail off at the PRT. Cassandra gave a sigh, the duffel-bag and rucksack on her containing what she'd brought along with her, what she'd procured since she came. Not even a year she'd lasted. Her thoughts traveled back to her arrival here, when the city had been in such turmoil, when the Purifiers were on the uprise. A hand passed through her tangle of blonde hair and scratched at her head idly. Stepping off the elevator, the two guards assigned to escort her here didn't follow. This area was open to the public, to civilians.
She stepped forward and stood in line, waiting to sign on what she needed to. In less than an hour she'd be a tourist until Hill decided otherwise.
And she had nothing against Hill, not really. She'd gotten the less shitty end of the stick, the superior she'd had an altercation with having been drummed up on several other suspicious counts of unfair treatment in light of his words during the crisis a few weeks ago. Hill neglected to comment on his ultimate fate but hers had been certain. Indefinite suspension with possibility of reinstatement after so-many hours of chatting at a shrink and so many months off duty in reprimand for this that and the other thing.
In the end her dad was what saved her; Scott Lang having been a personal friend to the woman.
She still held her suspension papers in her hand as she moved to the terminal's seating area, where she was surprised (not terribly) to find Orchard there, looking to be in something of a lonely outlook, and she quietly moved over and sat herself and her bags down beside him.
"Good to see you getting out and around..." She said, looking over at a cordoned off area still undergoing repairs. "Feeling better?"
Henry Orchard - May 4, 2012 09:39 PM (GMT)
Wrapped up in his own thoughts Henry hadn’t noticed Lang’s arrival until she sat down next to him.
He followed her gaze to the renovations on the other side of the terminal. There were few places on the helicarrier that hadn’t felt the effects of Spiral’s breakout. The structural damage had been extensive, the casualties high and yet here they were just two weeks later still flying, still on watch. Their just being here was a testament to the resilience and determination of SHIELD and its agents, although Henry would only admit that begrudgingly. His opinion of his colleagues and superiors currently languished at an all time low and he couldn’t count a single one among them who didn’t deserve disdain.
Most of the blame he levelled at Director Hill who had kept the Thunderbolt program running despite the ethical concerns and the blatant risks to the safety of everyone aboard the Liberty. The rest of his fellow agents had given him a fairly hard time since day one but the moment he’d taken a rifle butt to the face for trying to help, well, that really hadn’t helped matters. But as much scorn has he had for everyone else right now Henry couldn’t ignore his growing suspicions about his mission with Spiral. It was clear now, in the harsh glare of hindsight, that something had been badly wrong at the time and if he’d reported the events of that day as he should have done then perhaps they wouldn’t still be finding bodies.
With all that buzzing around his head it took him just a little too long to answer Lang’s question. When it finally came it didn’t sound entirely convincing.
“Oh well, you know, getting there.”
He turned away from the repairs and back to Lang. There was a lot to say and not a great deal of time to say it in, but in his beleaguered state all he could manage was a lame “You alright?”
Bishop - May 4, 2012 11:26 PM (GMT)
The riot and subsequent escape of three of the remaining five Thunderbolts was bad. The fact that Spiral had orchestrated the whole thing and tried to ram the Hellicarrier into the Statue of Liberty was worse. Between himself, Hill, and all the other men and women of SHIELD, that potential crisis had been averted, and Lady Liberty was still standing tall. But damn if that hadn't been one of the closest calls he'd ever experienced. One person who stood out in his eyes was Cassandra Lang, code-name Stature.
He'd gone on missions with the girl, talked with her; she was good people and now she was getting the boot for insubordination and refusal to follow direct orders of a superior...and she'd hit the guy who'd butted Orchard upside the head because he couldn't completely control his powers. That was fair. That was how things worked however, and while it wasn't a win-win situation; Chaffey and the man he'd allowed to hit Orchard had both gotten more than they deserved. He was just glad he hadn't been there for those guys sake, as he outranked Chaffey, and would have done more than deck the guy if he'd heard that racist shit or seen him strike a fellow agent because his powers were freaking him out.
Cassie and Orchard could rest a little easier though, as he'd argued his case with Hill and she'd seen fit to give him a little alone time with both of them. Nothing that broke regs, but those two were wishing they could take back everything they did and said once he was finished with them. Today was the day things were made official though and Hill's judgement would be passed. Cassie was on indefinite suspension, which was as good as saying, "you're fired until I change my mind or really need you again." She'd been good there, and she deserved a goodbye at least, so he found himself in the PRT, scanning for either a really short, or really tall blond. He found her after a bit of searching, and Orchard was with her. He walked over with his hands in his pockets and stopped before both of them. "Soldiers."
Stature - May 10, 2012 12:16 AM (GMT)
They sat there, the two of them, looking idly off into whatever distances they could find, anything to avoid what was, for all intents and purposes, a goodbye. She thought back to the day she'd met him, showed him around. They'd never formally worked in the field together but they'd spent a week of oritentation procedures together and really, you didn't get by 168 hours of that much boredom without making a friend from the person you're carting around.
"Yeah I'll be fine." She said. "I have a few things set up. My dad left me his apartment. I have enough saved up to get it livable and go from there." If she sounded like she was trying to reassure herself, it was because that was exactly the case.
"I heard the discharged Chaffey." She said. "I guess that's something right?"
She pushed a tuft of hair behind her ear and shook her head, looking around the terminal with a sigh. "Listen, I appreciate what you did, or what you were trying to do. And I don't regret for a second that I did what I did. Even if I'd gotten off the hook I wouldn't."
She turned to look at him. "And I especially don't regret punching out that whackjob." She smiled and gave his shoulder a friendly squeeze and shake. "You shouldn't either, if that's what's getting you bogged down."
"Sir!" She stood up at attention, moving to salute Bishop before catching herself and stopping midmotion, giving an awkward wave. "Guess I don't need to do that any more, huh."
She took advantage of her newfound civilian status and gave Bishop an unsolicited hug. "I didn't expect to see you here."
Henry Orchard - May 12, 2012 02:25 AM (GMT)
Lang spoke and Henry listened.
It was good to know that Lang wasn’t totally unprepared for Civvie Street. He’d heard getting the basics together after a sudden change in circumstances like this could be a little rough. The mention of her father was a curiosity. Henry didn’t know a thing about Mr Lang but what little he’d heard suggested that he had some degree of influence within SHIELD, enough at least to prevent his daughter being sent down, and also that he might be dead. He’d decided not to inquire on that front.
He let out a little snort of approval at the mention of Chaffey’s dismissal. He had a bit of a vindictive steak on him sometimes and right now he was over the moon that the bastard had been given the boot, to the point where he’d gotten a few good days of just savouring the fact. It greatly amused him to imagine the procedure being somewhat piratical and Chaffey walking in the plank at eight thousand feet never failed to put a little smile on his face. He could practically hear a little Looney Tunes voice whining away into the distance, silent for a moment before the thud.
Actually, just then he wasn’t entirely sure the noise had remained in the confines of his own head. He looked down and a tiny cartoon dust cloud billowed between his shoes. Discreetly, he crushed it under a heel.
”Listen, I appreciate what you did, or what you were trying to do.”
That was the other thing that was bothering Henry. So far his total contributions to global security were to fail to prevent various criminals from escaping. Maybe AIM was taking applications, that’d probably be a more appropriate organisation to employ the talents of ESCAPOR: THE MOST ESCAPING MAN.
"And I especially don't regret punching out that whackjob. You shouldn't either, if that's what's getting you bogged down."
Lang’s hand on his shoulder quickly set his focus back on the matter at hand. Looking her in the eye he resolved that he should admit to his concerns about Spiral’s countermeasures. It was a very real possibility that this opportunity might never reoccur and considering that was at least in a small way his fault, he felt Lang deserved transparency. No sooner than he opened his mouth to speak Bishop appeared.
They’d not actually ever spoken face to face so it took a while for Henry to twig who the man actually was. He couldn’t quite bring himself to make a salute, that sort of thing made Henry feel a bit out of sorts but he stood out of deference nonetheless. The debriefings he’d read described how Bishop stopped the Liberty from crashing and by extension had more than likely saved the lives of everyone aboard. Impressive and deserving of gratitude. Still, the “soldiers” thing rubbed Henry the wrong way for some reason. He had to make a special effort not to make some sort of remark.
Bishop - May 18, 2012 11:38 PM (GMT)
Cassie snapped to attention when he announced himself; she was still a soldier at heart, even if they'd temporarily taken her rank. That was good to see; that discipline was still there and would serve her well until SHIELD let her back in, and he had every confidence that they would. He'd talk Hill's ear off until she signed the reinstatement papers if he had to. He completed the salute with a hint of a smile and shook his head. "I suppose you don't, but at ease anyway." He wasn't expecting the hug, but then again most times he'd been around Cassie they'd been working and professional.
She wasn't working or a professional now so she threw caution to the wind. He returned the hug and squeezed her tight; he could tell this was hitting her hard, and if she needed a hug to feel even a tiny bit better, he'd give it to her. He stepped back after they were done and chuckled. "You think I'd let you leave without sayin goodbye? You're one of the better people I worked with, Cassie. You deserve some kinda send off at least. Besides; I'm off active duty until the eggheads can fully determine that I'm fine after absorbing all that electricity." He held his hand up and arced a bit of purple electrical energy between his fingers.
"I tell em' I'm fine, but nooooo, they gotta run tests day and night to make sure I don't, I dunno, light up time square or somethin.' He turned to Orchard and nodded his head; he didn't have a smile for him, and he knew the man didn't want one. "Glad to see you're not too much worse for wear after that...unpleasantness." Orchard had been the victim of racial prejudice boiling over in a time of crisis; but he'd still been a victim of racial prejudice and that was unforgivable. "I'd uh, like to apologize on behalf of the idiots who did it, and let you know that they'll never do anything like it again. I made very sure of that."
Stature - June 1, 2012 02:10 AM (GMT)
Orchard remained largely quiet and wordless and Bishop assured and apologized and this and that and an awkward silence descended on the three agents there in the terminal. She looked sidelong at the exit bay that lead to the wind-whipped launch deck, then looked at the clock. It really wasn't all too long, and despite not even having been here a year now she felt as if she was leaving a family and a home behind.
She halfheartedly and lightly threw a fist into Orchard's shoulder in a mock punch, before shouldering her bag. "Don't sweat the light stuff huh?" She said with a nod.
This was all B.S. of course, all of it a bit of posturing to keep people happy. She'd identified herself as a fairly loose canon with her actions during the riot and, sure as rain in Florida people suddenly didn't want to work with her, treated her distantly. Not everyone but enough to notice. Still she had her core group of friends, or at least comrades, and she did well enough with them, but still, being liked by a few wasn't enough to circumvent protocols, even if said protocols were bogus pieces of crap.
"Tell Eden I'm sorry he was still out when I went to see him. I'd come visit again but you know..." She shrugged. "And tell Reina that she's never gonna be my time on the High Stress course. " She half-laughed before looking back to Orchard, who still seemed positively wilting.
"And you keep up too. Be cool and, you know, if you end up being recalled, stay in touch. I'm on the facebooks and stuff.
It was a pitiful bit of addition to the conversation but there really wasn't that much to say. Everyone got at least a little screwed that day, there was no sense in making too much woe of it. Nobody got anywhere by moping. She kept telling herself that, anyhow. Who knew if it were true or not. Who cared?
Henry Orchard - June 4, 2012 01:07 AM (GMT)
Henry arched an eyebrow as energy crackled between Bishop’s fingers. Casual displays of power had always seemed vulgar to him and he couldn’t help but feel that they were somewhat inadvisable given recent events. He cast a few furtive glances around the room and to his relief nobody seemed to care about that man with the electric fingers. The cynic in him, which to be fair comprised majority of his person, decided that was one of the benefits of having the power to explode things. People could get behind you exploding stuff, but harmless cubes with legs? Not so much it turned out.
"Glad to see you're not too much worse for wear after that...unpleasantness.”
Henry had to work very hard to appreciate Bishops sentiment. In all honesty he felt like crap, and if Bishop thought that qualified as “not too much worse for wear” then he was either an awful bastard or was looking at a totally different scale of Awful Shit. In an almost masochistic way Henry was very curious to see that scale.
“I'd uh, like to apologize on behalf of the idiots who did it, and let you know that they'll never do anything like it again. I made very sure of that."
That was much better. It started out as a platitude but then that second sentence singled-handily rescued the conversation. He wasn’t particularly fussed what Bishop had actually done but the suggestion that he had actually done something decisive about the incident endeared him somewhat to Henry. Too often people like Chaffey got swept away somewhere quietly and without fuss. Henry would sleep easier knowing there had been some fuss. He nodded in response and might have said thanks if he hadn’t been punched in the arm.
Lang’s tap on the shoulder rocked Henry from one foot to the other as if he had been caught by a sudden gust of wind. He wobbled against the force of the knock until he righted himself and even managed to crack a brief smile. Despite this slight improvement in his mood he remained quiet and listened to Lang relay her farewells to Bishop. For all appearances she was taking this situation in her stride but Henry assumed that things probably weren’t so great under all the cheer. This was an ostensibly shitty situation and there wasn’t anyone here who didn’t feel appropriately shitty, even if it didn’t show. Henry had never been especially good at masking his feelings like that but when Lang turned back to him he made an effort.
"And you keep up too. Be cool and, you know, if you end up being recalled, stay in touch. I'm on the facebooks and stuff.
“Well, you know, we’ll see. I doubt it’ll come to that.”
True enough. In the event that his time with SHIELD was abruptly terminated it would probably spell the end of his career at STRIKE and he’d probably be deported rather than recalled. Although, that wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. He’d been hearing some really nice things about the private sector recently which painted it as this sort of Bohemian Shangri-La where you got to wear jeans to work and didn’t get pistol whipped for doing your job.
“And If you need anything don’t hesitate to call or Bookface or whatever.”