Visiting the Nest

Summary:
August 18 2014: Sara Pezzini and Angelo DiLucci meet Jericho and Nancy out at the nest.

The Nest

A formerly defunct ranch about 20 miles off the I 95


Characters

NPCs

  • None

Mood Music:
[* None]


It'd been a while, but after everything shook out and… and after Jericho got himself settled, he finally gave Sara Pezzini a call. Nothing important, really. Just an invitation to come out to the relocated Nest and see the fruits of their hard labor. He's come out himself to fix a few electronics things and set up a secure network. He's been out there for a couple hours, setting up a rather subtle satellite dish. Manual labor is one thing but some things require someone who knows what they're doing.

The place is twenty miles off the I95 between Gotham and New York City. It's as out in the middle of nowhere as one gets in this area, on a wide parcel of land that used to be used as a ranch but fell into disrepair about ten years back. Clearly, though, that's starting to change.

*

Sara's had a hell of a time lately. But since she needed to drive out to Metropolis for something else, that means she had a rental car to take the hike out to the farm at hand. She's left Paul behind; her partner would flip if he knew she'd had anything to do with the operation that freed the mutants. Flip, as in turn her in as some sort of terrorist. There are limits to Paul's indulgence of her unusual friends. The car rumbles up the drive at low speed, with the sort of caution that comes from driving solely in the city for one's entire life. Once she reaches the house, Sara puts it in park and starts to climb out, getting a look at the place.

*

There's a brightness in the air. A sense of movement that cannot quite be seen, like a thousand wings moving, a hundred eyes blinking, wheels turning inside wheels. A stray flash of light off a window in the distance reflects off the moving stillness and it suddenly shatters into a single figure, a man, apparently, with wings made of light, but different from the technological wonder that Jericho Trent uses. Convergent Evolution, perhaps. Angelo diLucci, MD, and apparently something else, floats to the ground. He's not dressed like the typical angel - he's in blue scrubs rather than a tunic or armor. But he is carrying a big stick, and he lands near the area reserved for parking, and nods a hello to Sara.

*

The fences that line either side of the long drive up to the farm houses is almost done. One one side. And then the other side will get some love. And then there are all the repairs to the fences that line the whole property! Yay! Labour as therapy for the win!! The 14 nutates and the members of their families that are at the Nest, are all working on the fences. Including Nancy who is looking all 'countrified', wearing jeans, boots that don't have high heels, and a t-shirt. It states that -273.15 is the Coolest! She is glaring over at one young man who is attempting to skive off. "Jason, if I have to come over there and work next to you, I will," she says in a tone that is breaching no arguement. Little con artist bugger, using his power to get his way again.

As Sara's car starts to pull up, the nutates and family all start looking up to see who it is. When Nancy sees Detective Pezzini, she smirks. "Gus, I should go say hi. I'll introduce her in a bit. Could you send Becky to keep an eye on Jason. Tell her she's allowed to Gibb slap him if he tries anything funny." She approaches, wiping her hands on her jeans. Then the angel shows up and a hush goes over the crowd, all staring at him. "You just had to put on a show. Again. I think you like the attention, doc," says Nan with a playful smirk.

*

Jericho is up on the roof of the main ranch house with some tools, some mundane, some electronic when the cars pull up. There's that usual almost palpable tension in the air before Nancy begins to dispel it by not panicking… and then, of course, Angelo steals the show. No one can be too worried when there's a not angel about. He grins and slides down the ladder, coming round the house as Nancy comes from the field.

"Sara! Angelo! Nice to see you both." An odd coincidence that they should both show up at the same time, to be sure, but Jeri's growing used to those.

*

Sara can be worried when there's an angel about, but she's a little biased by experience. In fact, when Angelo appears, she's already starting to lift her right hand before she recognizes the doctor. "Every time," she murmurs, letting out a breath and thumping her hand on the top of the car instead. "Afternoon, Doc." Closing the car door, she crunches down the path toward the others, getting a look at the place. "O'Neal, Trent."

*

"They should be used to me coming like this," Angelo says to Nancy. "I mean, really, I'm not even half as remarkable as these guys."

He grins at Sara, "yeah, I know, I'm just waiting for the day your 'friends' try to yell at me for not being them."

He lets the wings fade out, even though his traces remain glowing, and joins the others.

"So anything new I need to know about," he asks Gus after nodding a hello to Trent. He does not ask Nancy. She worries about everything, too many false positives, but she's learning from Gus. It's all good.

*

Nancy uplifts her chin as a way of saying hello, a quick jerk up to Sara. "Welcome to the Nest. Or at least Nest version 2.0. We get to keep this one, hopefully for longer then the last one. What would you like to do first? Get mobbed with thank yous or head up to the house to meet the Moms." That one word, you can hear the capital on it and it sounds as if it's laced with just a hint of dread. "Ange, just cause they are used to you, doesn't make you any less amazing to them. Yer a frickin' angel."

Leaning now on his part of the fence, an older man in his early 60's gets out a handkerchief and wipes his brow. "The ladies of the house are doing real well, Dr. DiLucci. Annabeth is damn near lucid all the time these days and her drinking is down to just meals, far as I can tell. The one of twins got into a bit of a problem with some poison ivy, but nothin' serious. Just hard to get 'er to stop scratchin'. So we actually put Jason's power to some *useful* purpose for that." Nancy smiles over to the older man, her second. She tried to make him be in charge, but he assured her that acting as advisor to the figure head is right where he wanted to be.

*

Jericho offers a hand first to Sara then to Angelo. "So what do you think? You're looking at the newest subsidiary of the Maria Stark Foundation dedicated to the recovery and resocialization of the victims of human trafficking. Above board funding and all. You can thank Nancy for that." The mention of the 'traditional rescuer welcome' or 'meeting the Moms' has the hacker grinning. He's really, really curious how she'll manage it all. He gets the sense that she's not one to get effusive praise or matronly meddling often.

*

"Definitely not friends," Sara grimaces to Angelo, pushing a hand through her hair as she takes it all in. "And, uh." She pauses, quirking a brow at Nancy. "You sure those are my only two options? I wasn't sure one of them wasn't going to be, you know. Getting chased out with pitchforks."

*

"Calomine lotion, still treatment of choice in most cases," Angelo says, grinning, to Gus, and giving him a careful scan. Heat can be a problem, but the man's heart and circulation are free of issues today. Jericho is glad-anding so Angelo does the handshake thing, sending a faint almost-reflexive energy-pulse into Jericho, not even patterned mana, just life energy. Because boost healing. He looks up at Sara with a wide grin as she mentions pitchforks.

"Still looks like a farm to me, but they don't have anything growing yet that needs pitchforks. Yet."

*

Nancy has the twins tasked with making sure everyone is hydrated. When they are touching, they might be considered one of the brightest minds on the planet. When they aren't, they both seem autistic. Gus nods to Angelo and gets back to work. The fence isn't going to fix itself. Some young woman smacks a young man upside the head with a warning look as he tries to feign innocence.

"No, we had a long talk about the rescue. It was bloody, and gruesome, but the way most of us see it is that they were likely gonna die in that place. We got them out. They're grateful, even with the toll. They were imprisoned for some up to six months, after all." Nancy gestures over to a long way off. "We have a wind break there that we are going to plant an orchard. In about 5 years, we'll be able to start harvesting the fruit. And we're going to see about being certified organic."

*

Jericho steps back and lets Nancy take the lead here. Well, mostly. "Sara, I don't think you've ever met Nancy's mom, have you?" He's working, for once, without long sleeves, so the traces on his arms are quite visible. And, though Angelo may be used to seeing it, there's a lot more amber in his eyes than there used to be. Those amber bands he had when they rescued the nutates are now easily more than half his iris now. Not a whole lot of grey left in them.

"She's inside in the kitchen. Gossiping with the other two mothers." Favorite pastime that.

"Also don't be super alarmed if everyone here calls me 'Jeremy.' I didn't get introduced by my right name."

*

"I was always pretty sure if I met Nancy's mom, it was going to end with Nancy getting grounded for life," Sara smirks at Jericho's question, moving along with the group and watching the progress on the fence. "Sounds like you've got a whole business plan going on here," she nods to Nancy.

*

Angelo looks around. "I don't see any indication that the plants here are poisoned, so you may be lucky that way. Realize, though, you can't use chemical fertilizers on the trees, and the old fashioned method of burying a fish between them isn't going to work any more with all the mercury the fish have in them."

He takes a moment to go talk to Jason, in a low voice. When he's done, and Jason doesn't say more than two words, Ange says, "We can make it available if you need it, so you can practice. But it'd be a bad idea to use it too much, it could make your self-control weaker."

He taps the young man on the shoulder, smiling, and goes back to rejoin the visitor group. When a chance opens to talk to Nancy, he takes it, "I've been back to see Jinx. She's doing better, no longer a Hydrant, but when we take her out of the Sanctuary, things start going nuts. I gave her a shot of the suppressant and it was better, but … that stuff isn't good to use too long. I'm thinking, we can arrange for her to visit a couple times a week, but she'll have to go back to Sanctuary or she'll be stuck doing the curse you or die myself thing again. Frankly, and this is really … I'm thinking of a Reset. It's just… potentially pretty dangerous."

He looks at the Kitchen. "Avoiding that until I have to. They'll eat a half hour before I can escape."

*

Nancy chuckles as Jericho starts asking Sara about her mom. She starts walking towards the main farmhouse, three middle aged women who have all lead very hard lives sit on the porch, talking and drinking iced tea. And real iced tea for a change! No alcohol! Angelo is making progress with the Mom's.

"Well, Mom is getting a lot better. She is more and more acting like her usual self. Oddly enough, April was a social worker before she was taken in as an incentive for Wade, so when they have bad days, she's the one that deals with them." She heads up the steps. "Hey mom. This is Sara," she says, only using the first name. "She helped us with the rescue." The women look over Sara and then one of them gets up and offers a hand. "You're one of the people that got my girl's head set on straight. Thank you." Nancy just sighs and closes her eyes. It's the closest her mom will ever come to saying that she did a good job, but she'll take what she can get.

"We have the grant for five years, I would like us to be as close to being able to sustain ourselves as possible before we have to apply for a second grant. I don't think we're gonna do it this time around, but I think in ten years, we'll have this place in good working order and really helping people out. Not just us Nutates, but other people that are found in this situation." Angelo gets her attention though as he mentions Anne, or Jinx as she prefers to be called. "A reset? Have you talked to her? Seen what she wants? I wish we had N-3 here. She would have been hugely useful."

*

Jericho tends to defer to Angelo in medical matters and Nancy in Nutate ones. It's only polite. After all, neither of them tell him how to hack or fight Hydra. So he steps back - past Sara - and lets her and Angelo take the focus of the mothers three. He doesn't need it. He's still trying to figure out a way to broach the topic of who and what he actually is with Anabeth. The more lucid she gets the easier that'll be but Angelo doesn't have 'em quite there yet. At least she's not (usually) convinced any longer that he's engaged to Nancy.

The mention of Jinx gets a little sigh from Jericho. The young lady needs help but she's also responsible for a lot of the way things went to hell. So mixed feelings there. On the other hand, he's hardly one to throw stones there. Poor Gwen is still more than a little skittish around him. And, having punched her six feet into a brick wall, he can't really blame her.

"Sara's in the NYPD." Jericho volunteers, knowing how that'll probably stir things up.

*

"Nice to meet you, ma'am," Sara nods politely to each of the mothers, keeping her hands in her pockets and doing her best not to look threatening. When Jericho points out her occupation, she arches a brow, trying to figure out what he's going for with that announcement. "Ten years is a long time, Nancy," she points out. "That's a lot of commitment. But I hope it works out like that. I do."

*

"It is a long time," Angelo says, "and yeah, N3 is Jenny, right? The inventor? We should find where she is. This could be very important." He reaches behind his head, pulling three feathers of light off a suddenly-there wing. They don't come out, they just 'copy' into his hand.

"Your evening tonic, ladies," he says to the three moms, handing one to each of them. "You're all doing really well, I'm very happy with how your livers are looking today, and I'm sure you're feeling a lot better. But don't forget, one teaspoon of brandy in your morning tea, Sara. It's not enough to mess you up and it keeps the brain weasels caged."

When Ange started giving them the spells they would dissolve them in their tea or coffee. He's not sure how they use them now.

*

Annabeth goes back to sitting down. The mention of where she works gets a curious spock of brows and new looks up and down the more police officer. "She helped us without the knowledge of her employers, Mom. We're still under the table." After over 20 years with her, Nancy sometimes seems to read her mother's mind. Nancy sits on one of the railings along the porch but feels it wobble under her and so stands up. She mutters into her phone. "Fix porch railing on front porch of main house. Falling hazard," before slipping it into her pocket.

"I know it's a lot of dedication, but you know what, it's worth it. I thought my music defined me, but… it's just a part of me. It helps me center myself, let my emotions just flow and let me be at peace. And that's great. But it's a little selfish. My music has never been for other people, even when they enjoy it. It's always been for me. This… this place, these people. I realized that if I'm not helping, I'm just like those supers I told you I hated when you had me in interrogation." She smiles as Angelo hands the ladies their daily feather. "Yeah, I'm just worried she invented something to keep people from finding her." The ladies start stirring their iced teas with the feathers and watch them dissolve, making jokes about their daily dose of angel. Dirty old birds. It's while the bunch are all talking on the porch that one of the women points to the entrance of the farm, about a quarter mile down the dusty dirt road. "Who's that then?"

A solitary figure stands, silhouetted between the poplars that grow on either side of the driveway along the street.

*

Jericho turns to look, his traces flipping amber. It makes his eyes glow the same, giving him incredibly acute sight. Part of setting up security for the farm had been setting up some monitoring devices which he'd been testing on his own internal systems. He frown, doing a quick mental count. The nutates and family are all still working on the fences or on the house structure himself. "Mmmmmm. Pardon me."

Jericho is one of the few people armed here. Nancy has a strict no-violence policy that Brother Wolf is quite happy to follow. However, Jericho has 'fans' that don't feel the same way and while he wouldn't come here if he thought it were an undue risk, there's always the outside chance…

In either case he starts walking toward the front entrance. The others can continue their tour or go with him as they will.

If something goes wrong, they'll likely know.

*

"Sounds like a good question, ma'am," Sara says as she turns to get a look at the figure down the road. "Hold up, Trent," she calls after Jericho, jogging to catch up with him. She doesn't have any visual enhancements, but she knows enough to investigate who's hanging around the farm before they can get to the kids.

*

Angelo looks down the road, and casually, touches the lintels of the house. «Shield of Seraphim Spread Like Wings To Guard the Nest» … he says something in a murmur of some fluid sounding language, and the house for a moment glints as it becomes more of a safe place, with some magical oomph behind the "safe" part of that.

He continues watching the encounter, especially paying attention to things like the apparent 'spiritual balance' and the sense of threat to the health of Jericho or Sara. Hm. Need to offer Sara some healing sometime soon. There's some not-quite-healed-perfectly that's beginning to stack up from her frequent injuries, or so it looks from seeing her move.

*

Nancy looks over and frowns at the person walking towards the farm now down the road. She jogs over to catch up with Jericho and Sara. "Need me to get the shotgun?" she asks. Loaded with rubber bullets, it is one of the few things that breaks the no-violence rule. And unless people plan on breaking the glass to get it, only a couple people have the key.

Gus knows that look on Nancy and Jericho's face. "Alright folks, time to wrap up. Head to the house and wash up and we'll see if we can't get some stuff done around inside the house." There is grumbling and groaning, but no one says no, packing up and heading up to the houses.

*

"Dunno yet. I don't see any visible armaments." Jericho's still it up like an amber Christmas tree. Not exactly his most subtle. At least he hasn't drawn his weapon yet. "To be honest, if something starts, my plan is to hide behind Sara."

Sara gets a wink. He wouldn't do that, but he's got a very healthy respect for her abilities after having seen her in action a few times.

*

Whoever it is that is walking along the road is limping. It's female. She has a backpack on her back and seems weary. She appears in her early twenties, maybe her late teens.

*

"If Jericho and I can't take it, I don't think a shotgun's going to help," Sara points out with a brief smile. "Besides. Could be nothing." That doesn't mean she isn't going to make use of the Witchblade, a few tendrils curling around her fingertips as she moves toward the young woman on the road. "Hey there," she calls out, raising her other hand in a hailing motion.

*

Nancy smirks sheepishly, dipping her head down in a touch of embarrassment. "Oh, yeah. Sorry." She just doesn't like the idea of being soft and squishy the way she is. Really, the shotgun is more of a security blanket then anything else. Not that she would ever admit that.

The young woman stops, leaning against the fence and grabbing at her ankle. "Hey. I hate to be a bother, but could I use your phone? I twisted my ankle while I was on a walk-about and I just want a cab to get me to the hospital."

*

The angel-even-if-he-denies-it looks carefully at the woman. He can definitely go look her over. But she might get the 'light feather roofie' treatment to forget the details, because paranoia is not only for the N-series.

He jogs over, looking like some guy who for some reason is in scrubs. His big stick is leaning against the door.

"Hey, you OK, Miss? I'm a doctor. I can take a look at that ankle."

*

Jericho shuts his traces off and folds his arms. "May not be necessary as it turns out." He gives Sara and Nancy a sidelong look as he runs the woman's face through his databases, looking for hits or partial hits on people he's on the lookout for. Most of them are people trying to capture and/or kill him or his friends. Some of them, though, are not.

*

This isn't really the sort of place people wander by. Sara gives the girl a look as well, though it's less for facial recognition and more for any signs of trouble.

The minute Angelo gets close, he can sense it. The same sugar dependence, the same twist in the genetic code that makes them mutates. This girl, having happened on the farm by an incredible series of events, is an N-Series Mutate. Jericho too gets it at the same time, one of the faces on the photos from the files that they took from the Hydra base.

"You are? Hey, whaddya know? It's my lucky day. I was just walking. I guess I found a deceptively flat spot cause I twisted my ankle. I don't think I've ever done that before." And then, there is a scream at the house. "BEEEEETH!"

Margaret, one of the three moms, is running down the road for all she's worth! "Beth! Beth!" The pretty blonde girl looks up and blinks in shock. "Mom?!"

*

"Murphy and Karma, Fake Lords of Coincidence," Angelo says, "Stop Dicking Us Around!"

The sprain is real, and Angelo reaches over, and touches the girl on the shoulder, and a single pulse of focused light returns the ankle to undamaged. She can run to her Mom now, at least.

*

The girl is looking as Margaret is running for every ounce that an overweight middle-aged can run. She has to slow down after a few hundred meters because she's just not up to that sort of exercise. Once her ankle has been healed though, Beth is running to Margaret. She drops her pack and runs even faster. It's not long before the two are hugging in a very tearful welcome and the other Nesters are starting to approach.

*

Sara lets out a slow, relieved breath when the girl finds her mother, leaning against the fence with a flicker of a smile. "Well," she says quietly to Jericho and Angelo, "I guess they're right when they say all's well that ends well, yeah?"

*

"Alls well that doesn't end in a firefight, yeah." Jericho's standard for 'ending well' is possibly somewhat skewed. At least he has the sense to get out of the way. No one stands between a mom and her daughter. No one. The other three get a mild look. "Coincidence much? I'm not sure I really believe in it but she scans like Beth from the files. Nan, I think you've got a new one."

He lets his breath out in an amused huff. "She checks out, right Doc?"

He watches for a moment longer. "Sara part of the reason I wanted you to come see this place is because of what it is. Nancy agreed to take on other victims as part of her agreement with the Stark Foundation. I figured if anyone ever might need a resource like that, you'd be likely to know."

*

"I still think we should make sure there's no satellites or hydrants lurking around," Angelo says, but he's smiling at the reunion. "Hey. While I've got office hours going here. Both of you have been banged up a lot lately, either of you need some healing? I promise not to use the roofie feathers."

He picks up the girl's pack, holding it out for Jeri to scan for bugs and tracers while he scans it for magical jiggery-pokery. Because he's not that naive, but sometimes, hopefully, life just does good things for a change.

*

Nancy is standing there, dumbfounded. She tries to find some snarky comebakc for this and just can't. The girl's back is perfectly fine, as is the girl herself. "Let's go and get dinner and meet this Beth person."

*

"I'll keep it in mind," Sara nods to Jericho, watching the reunion. "Though you know how it is. One step at a time, and I can't be springing delinquents all the time." Despite her words, though, she smiles crookedly. "Good to see something work out for a change." At Angelo's offer, she pauses, considering. "I…you know, I appreciate the offer, but I'm not sure how well it'd play with the Witchblade. Don't want to upset the balance."

"I probably should let you, Ange…" Jericho sighs. "Or at least take another feather or two. I had my brain almost hacked by a killer robot last week." At the looks he's fairly sure that'll generate he simply shrugs. "I have a strange life. Taken care of, though."

*

Angelo nods. "Fair enough, Sara. And yes, Jere, you should let me. Your cyberware doesn't know what a human body is supposed to work like, you don't want to end up turning into a robot, right?"

He holds his left hand open, palm up. The ankh on his wrist ignites into fire, a spill of light in tiny tiny letters pooling in his hand.

"I've told it not to overwrite your perception, but I'm not sure if that'll keep your cyber from doing it anyway."

*

"Knowing my luck…" Jericho murmurs, letting Angelo do his thing. "I'm not entirely sure I appreciate my cybernetics talking to people behind my back." It's half joke and half resigned sigh.

"I understand Sara, but since this place is, you know, above board, I figure there might be victims every once in a while that need it. Anyway… I should get going when you're do- what is that Ange?"

*

"I usually brute-force one of three basic healing patterns. This one's custom tailored to fix your body first, then talk to the neurotransmitters and the tech interface, reduce the intensity of the feedback damage you've been having. Maybe. There's also some simple light-bound-as-pattern so you can balance your, uh, whatever that pool is that's filling up with dark-flavored stuff. I'm betting it'll make Sara's 'bad boyfriend' more comfortable if you did that too."

The angel guy holds it in both hands now as it pools and stops.

*

"It's not Sara's bad boyfriend I'm worried about," Jericho grimaces. "It hasn't tried to kill me yet, after all." Then again, he does try to avoid putting Sara in positions where that's a viable option. He's not sure which scares him more: the Witchblade or the woman using it. He's glad he's never had to really put much thought to the matter.

Once the words form in Angelo's hand Jericho holds his own out.

*

Ange raises the pooled light up to let it touch Jericho's fingertips, and the light begins to flow in the way that super fluids do, out of the cupped hands and into and across the hacker's body, but this time, the traces don't light up first. The spell, enough energy in it to repair seven degrees of damage — that'd bring someone back from death, basically, if they could still be brought — goes through all the burns first, then the bruises and muscle tears, then the organic poisoning, and then repairs wounds back to something that reads like no injury ever happened, except that there's slightly stronger tissue left because of the healing. Then and only then, the remaining lightly patterned energy flows into the cyberware.

Ange wonders, for a moment, what that looks like to Jeri, or feels like. There's a spell he could craft to know, but it would be invasive, not something to do without absolute need.

*

It feels like sunlight and a good scrubbing and weirdly at once both gentle and harsh. The expression on Jericho's face says that the feeling is, at the very least, unique. It also is greatly eaten in by the traces. The demonic scent about Jericho diminishes, though doesn't abate. He was fairly hurt and he's absorbed a lot of demonic. And, if Ange is any judge, is likely to absorb a lot more.

"Do you need more, or will that hold for now?" Angelo asks.

*

"Should be good…" Jericho straightens out. He's tempted to go meet Beth but… there's other things to be done and he's spent enough time here for now. "Headed back to the city. Give you a lift?"

*

"Driving or flying?" Ange asks. "If we're driving, sure. Otherwise, I'll fly myself."

That makes the hacker grimace. "Driving. I can fly but I don't do the carry thing so well unless someone's quite a bit lighter than I am which you… uh… aren't. All that muscle you built up." He points to a rather nice X-5 that was a post op gift from Partisan. "But you came without wheels though I thought I'd offer."

*

"Awesome. I appreciate it. Let me get my stick, and we can go."

Ange dashes back, moving a bit too fast, not Flash-speed, but maybe half that. He returns with his quarterstaff, and hops into the passenger side. Way too big for him, this SUV, but motorcycles have limited room for passengers and cargo. Oh well.

Jericho waves to Nan and Sara, chuckling a little as he pulls out onto the road that eventually leads back to New York. It's been a decent day and he can't say that very often. He's learned to savor them. One never knows when the next one will be.


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