Oh Dark--SURPRISE! (Language Warning)

August 26, 2014: Jim can't sleep because Corvinus drank too much tea. Suddenly, a gunman appears!

Apartment 320B

This studio apartment has seen better days, and the walls have the amazing property of muffling only the important noises but not the noisy neighbors at all hours of the night. It has a kitchenette with a counter, a futon that's been spread out, and a small bookshelf with some books. Along the door and the window there are horse shoes with the 'open' end 'up' and various other folklore markings. A laptop on a small kitchen table is the Internet Window To The World.



Mood Music:

It's been almost two and a half days since Jim was bailed out of a tight spot by a certain blonde ruler of Limbo. Almost two days since he planted himself in the middle of a potential international incident with plenty of on-looker photos and a couple of folks from beneath the waves. And about a day since he ended up running obscene amounts of paperwork around at his second job at Stark Industries.

So it is in the early morning hours of a day before a ten hour shift over in Jersey that he finds himself struggling to wake up or go to sleep, and his rather cheap apartment rattling from the noisy neighbors playing some urban music way too late. He sits at the table in his kitchenette with a coffee mug, thumbing through his laptop with a bit of a grumble.


Jericho Trent is on the other side of the world. Watching a group of people he's fairly sure he's going to have to deal with in a moment. His circuit traces are flushed blue and he's holding an 85 pound mini-gun like it's a plastic prop. That's a lot of fire power. Unfortunately for everyone involved Jericho has absorbed a lot of magic into his cybernetics in the last few months. It's building up now to the point where the occasional strange happening is to be expected. There's a brief sensation of falling and a flash of something that almost looks stepping-disc like but not quite and suddenly a very disoriented commando-hacker is in an apartment with his mini-gun pointed squarely at a man sitting at a table, still spinning up.

Jericho Trent was on the other side of the world.


Jim finds himself flung to the floor and behind a small counter even as his birdly other takes over on some gut acknowledgement of the spinning up sound of the mini-gun.

Assassins? Here? In *his* apartment? Who the fuck wants him dead? He's nobody special! Is it someone who hates the fish-folk? Or someone from Homeland Security clearing up a loose end? He has a mouth and must scream, but even that is denied him as Corvinus takes full charge!

With an internal apology to its partner it springs to full combat awareness even as wings spring forth over the top of the small counter. Profanity may have dribbled out, though.


Where the hell has Jericho wound up. His internal navigation systems are all kinds of screwed up by the sudden cross world hop. He had been about to put the gun down and see where he was when holy crap it's a were-crow! The weapon continues spinning but he hasn't pulled the trigger yet. Still working on location… searching. New York? How the hell did he…

Oh crap.

"Um… I'm going to guess this is your house?" The bird… looks kind of familiar. Why… ah yes! The angel things. With Sara. Same bird. Facial recognition says so. Well. This isn't awkward at all.


"This one hopes there is a very good explanation for this. This one is in full protective mode at the moment and will use lethal force if necessary. Partner says: 'STAND THE FUCK DOWN!'"

If there's one bright side to having loud music neighbors, even this won't be heard over the music, so it's covering beat is good enough for now.

The bird-thing reaches into the cabinet under the small kitchen - bar and pulls out a frying pan and a pot to use as improvised weaponry.

It doesn't count down the five-count it's giving the mini-gun wielder, but it does wait at least that long.


"This one has a mini-gun pointed at it." Jericho points out rather snarkily, but he does lower the muzzle and let go of the secondary trigger to stop the barrel spin. How did he end up in New York? Well crap. Now he has to get back. Hrm… He looks about, peering into the shadows. No K'nert just yet…

The improvised kitchen weaponry draws an involuntary snort the pointedly non-descript man. He could be just about any armed, dangerous blue circuited guy from the middle east.


"This one is not understanding why an intruder to this one's apartment would aim a weapon at itself. That is highly paradoxical." The avianoid slowly peeks around the edge of the counter, almost creeping slow.

"So why the - Partner term: 'FUCK' are you in this apartment? Partner highly agitated. Understandably so.

Slowly it stands up with the kitchenware in hand, blinking at the man with the state - of - the - art man - killing cannon.


Um… well…" Jericho slowly eases the weapon down on it's sling and hooks it over his back like it's a rifle and not a weapon normally bolted to helicopters. "I don't actually know. I was somewhere very far away just a minute ago and the weapon seemed like it was going to be handy." It was, indeed, going to be very handy. Hrm. Still no K'nert. Possible this is a prank… but seems unlikely. What then? Jericho has no idea.


The bird-like being slowly puts the pan and the lid onto the counter. It makes no mention of the fact of the off-appearance of weight management - after all, it can do some strength tricks of its own.

"Let us try to parse why one might be here. This one can only imagine it might have something to do with partner activities during down-time. What did he do now, and is this a matter of law enforcement, vengeance, or ignorance?"


Once again, I don't know why I'm here. I was some place where it made a lot of sense to be pointing a mini-gun at folks… and then suddenly I was here. I'm not sure wh-" Jericho's explanation get's cut off by the appearance of a small reptilian creature, clearly of the demonic type which hops up on his shoulder out of nowhere hissing in irritation.

"Oh there you are." The hacker says mildly. "I take it this wasn't your idea either?"


The bird - thing picks up the frying pan when the demon appears, and gets ready to wing the thing at the demon.

"Partner says: 'WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT THING?!'

Despite the volume increase, still not over the volume of the neighbor early morning music.

"Partner is very agitated and upset and is urging a shift to a direct conflict stance. Explanation requested. Yesterday."


"This is K'nert." Jericho says with a sigh. "Please don't hit him, I'll be obligated to defend him." He looks back at the mini-gun on his back. That could get messy pretty quick. "He won't harm you in any case. He's under strict orders from his Queen not to do so unless you threaten me. K'nert's been made responsible for my safety, more or less."


The bird thing sniffs at the air.

"The K'nert does not have a particular aroma about it. Are you the emissary of the one who aided the partner during Down Time?"

It tilts its heads as it listens to the explanation, attempting to compare the notes and information.

"If so, then this one would humbly point out the peace offering is in the cabinet above the table and gently recommend its use."

Despite this description, it still doesn't have all the information which is really bugging it. It needs more.


"Given that I don't know who you're talking about, I think we can safely say 'no'." Jericho's not in the habit of being an emissary in general. He's suspicious and paranoid with fairly good reason. Still, he reaches up to open the cabinet and see if maybe it will provide some clues. The bird-thing… isn't at the moment.

K'nert hops down off Jericho's shoulder, onto the table and peers up at Corvinus searchingly before deciding that nothing needs to be done at the moment and flopping down to laze a bit.


The avianoid peers at the mini-demon, staring into its eyes with the wisdom of the ages as it peruses the thing.

Inside the cabinet are assorted vodkas, high-quality stuff, 750ml bottles. Why would the bird have vodka in its cabinet as a peace offering?

"This one is beginning to wonder…"


Jericho looks kind of askance at the bottles. Vodka? He likes vodka, mostly because he's been around someone who likes it a lot. Odd, but, probably a coincidence. Then…

"Um, what are you wondering?" The hacker has noticed Corvinus staring at K'nert. For that matter, so has K'nert and he's staring right back. Okay, he's glaring, not staring but same difference for a demon.


"The partner claimed to have had… his term, not this one's 'his bacon bailed out of the fire by some blonde woman with fangs and portals' There is also a probable exaggeration of a demonic entity that had pursued him with monumental hygiene issues. The bird-thing tilts its head back and forth as it appraises K'nert. "It is entirely probable that he was exaggerating the size of said demon."

That last is loaded with wariness and resolve.


Jericho goes very, very still and his eyes narrow. The tension in his body returns but he doesn't at least go for a weapon just yet. "A blond woman with fangs and portals? Did she give your partner a name, perchance?" He's hoping she did, because this would explain a lot. Well, about the bird-thing, not about why he's here.


"Designated individual consumes vodka but does not watch South Korean Soap Operas. Cultural Heritage: Russian. Entity in question has permission from local landlord to hunt errant demons. Stand by. Updating."

The bird thing continues to stare at K'nert. "Entity utilizes sword made of energy pulled from alternate space. Entity did NOT provide a name, but inquired as to partner's name. Partner says "Quote: 'Oh trust me, I'll come find you.' "


Okay… sounds like her. Jericho replays a bit of conversation he'd recently had with Illyana. The easiest way to verify without potentially giving anything away to someone who could be a problem. "Does this sound like her?"

"One of the things you learn, being involved in this kinda stuff? sometimes you just gotta wait. You're not always the best tool for the job and sometimes, you're just in the way."

Jericho folds his arms, awaiting confirmation. He suspects, somehow, he's going to get it.


"Update complete. Data file retrieved. Individual quote in regards demons "Eh, I have too many of them to keep track of." Individual had white glowing eyes for a brief moment. Individual upset that assaulting demon 'broke her law'. Demand for allegiance verification. Demon responded with name 'MissTRess DarkCHiLDe!'. Nomenclature: Uncertain."

After another moment of intense perusal of K'nert occurs, then the bird-thing takes it's index and middle finger, pointing at its eyes then at K'nert.


"Darkchilde…" The way Jericho breathes the name, it's clear he's familiar with it. "I know her. She's a friend of mine. You were assaulted by one of her escapees, mmm? She can't have been fond of that. K'nert here belongs to her though he's been tasked out to keep an eye on me. I'm not her emissary, though and I wouldn't presume to speak on her behalf."

K'nert gives Corvinus a gesture that may well be a middle finger, though it's hard to tell with the way it's limbs are structured.


"The partner was assaulted. Cost in clothing damages in excess of two hundred dollars US plus emotional trauma and potential long-term nasal structure damage due to over-riding stench."

Wait, the bird's a lawyer now? Or is he just relaying a dollar amount for some peculiar reason?

"This explains derivation of the entity in question. This one, however, on behalf of the partner, wants to know, quote "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot with the minigun in the studio?!"

The avianoid bows almost mockingly to K'nert then turns its attention to Jericho.


"I think I mentioned." Jericho smiles, now knowing Corvinus likely isn't that kind of dangerous. "I was getting ready to use it in someone more appropriate when I suddenly bounced here. That was rather unplanned, just so you know."


"This one understands all too well the chaos that exists in this world and those surrounding it. It is what gives Humanity its strength, its resilience, its durability… and also a profound taste for the absurd. This one has met one, in the melee with the beings of Light. This one does not currently see one as threat, though one's partner leaves a bit to be desired."

Is that a slight hint of snark in there?

"Is one intending on taking the peace offering to one's 'friend'? If not, it can remain here until one's 'friend' arrives to retrieve it for herself. However. It would be viewed as theft if she does not share with the partner. Given the trauma of his situation, this one will allow him a 'pass' for 'a couple of shots'."

It pauses for a moment.

"It was a very good thing one did not engage the mass-projectile hurler. It would have been exceptionally detrimental… for one. That being said, where WAS one attempting to utilize it?"


Jericho hides a smile and shakes his head. "Uh, no, I'll leave the vodka, I have plenty of my own. And she may decide to drop by in which case, you'll want it. Be nice to her, if you can. She's a friend of mine."

He pauses, as if weighing his next words carefully. "I was in Syria." He says. Hopefully that'll tell the bird all it needs to know.


"This one is cordial to all invited guests. That would be considered an invitation to visit to re-inforce her offer to visit. This one is decidedly less so to those who would seek to cause harm to the partner. This one is certain one understands the distinction and will speak on it no further."

"Syria. Location updating. Wait one."

It tilts its head then fans its wings wide and extends its talons for a brief instant, before retracting them.

"This one is appalled at the barbarity that sentients on this world visit upon their fellow sentients. Is there anything this one can do to mitigate loss of life and/or assist with tactical/strategic considerations to minimize said loss of life? This one understands via partner 'sanction' but this one is concerned about partner term 'Bleedover' partner term 'Collateral Damage'. "


"Mmmm. You're worried direct action could have disproportionate consequence. Yeah, it's an issue but against the backdrop of a brutal civil war…" The soldier shrugs. "Sometimes the most ethical thing to do is end the fight as decisively as possible. Oftentimes, in my opinion. Hence the Unreasonably Large Gun (tm)."


"There is a Storm coming. All sentients that can be saved to defend against it, regardless of ideology, need to be prepared for the potential of a mass extinction event. This one is not a partner term 'bleeding heart' but this one is concerned that when the Storm arrives there will not be enough defenders available to deal with it. It is unknown what factors will deal with the Storm."

That… is probably the most worried anyone will hear the avianoid.

"Partner terms 'civil war' is 'not so civil'. Partner is attempting to push musical performer Edwin Starr and ironically named 'Guns 'n' Roses' to discussion. Sorry for distraction."


The look Jericho is giving Corvinus says that he's probably going to follow up with him later. "Well in that case I should get back to work soon, since the people I'm dealing with could kill a quarter of the population or more if their weapon gets out of hand. And after I'm done… we need to talk."


"Is there any logistical or physical support this one can provide? This one is exceptionally good at negotiation. Even the spirit of Mischief saw the power of this one's logic. The partner is not as good but is capable in other means and directions and is willing to risk ire of both employer in Jersey and at the Tower of Stark to assist."

"This one is ALWAYS willing to pursue Enlightenment with willing students. That is what gives this one purpose and meaning."


"Well, if you're willing to come to Syria, risk a warzone and fig… wait, you work in Stark Tower?" Jericho pauses. The Starks have been hiring some really odd people lately. "You don't happen to work for Pepper do you? Because if you do, I probably shouldn't drag you off to a warone. Doubly so because I'll have to take a shortcut through a hell realm to get there and you're not marked the way I am to make the demons avoid you."


The bird-thing hops up and heads to a cabinet, pulling out a very large 'Family Style' bag of candy, perhaps acquired at a grocery store Halloween section and gently lofts it to Jericho.

"It is not much to start with. Partner should not be eating and perhaps it can help partner term 'win hearts and minds'. Partner wisdom 'sometimes one can catch more flies with sugar than vinegar'. Nomenclature uncertain."

At the mention of Pepper the wings droop a bit. "The partner does. This one allows it for mental health reasons." Is that a dejected tone?

It brightens up at the mention of demons.

"This one is READY for demons! This one has implemented Patch 667.1 : DEATH TO THE DEMON POSSESSING SCUM!"

Okay, perhaps a bit TOO eager, there.


"Whoa, hold your horses there Avian Skynet. You implemented a patch? What are you, a computer? In any case, A) There are armies of the damn things in there and B) the ones we're likely to run into and have trouble with belong to the woman who helped your partner. I don't think it's a good way to make nice with her, massacring her subject like that." Hell, he tends to only beat them senseless.

"Is… there something wrong with working for Pepper? Look I just don't want you to get in trouble with her. I certainly wouldn't turn down the help though… philosophizing about not killing people in a war zone does tend to get people shot."


"Yes. This one is fully autonomous and capable of self-patching to adjust one's capabilities to existential threats. This one prefers the term Extrapolated Intelligence, but The Corvinus is the official terminology."

Bright and perky this one is!

"That would be… counterproductive." Dejected again.

"There is nothing wrong working for Pepper or with JARVIS or Cricket. This one even appreciated getting a chance to stretch during one of the partner's 'lunch breaks'. Partner terms 'Foxtrot November Golf, Delta November Whiskey'. This one does not understand the nomenclature but passes the message along nonetheless."


"It would be yes…" Jericho has to lift a hand to conceal his smile at the phonetic message. "Maybe one day he'll explain to you. In the mean time my best advice is to make nice with the blond haired Angel and not get eaten by demons. And if you happen to be in Syria in the next couple of weeks… look me up." Hopefully Corvinus won't tell Pepper what he's doing there though JARVIS may be tracking him. Hard to say.


"This one will do that. Partner offers "Golf Hotel Oscar Tango Kilo Tango Alpha" Again, nomenclature uncertain. This one will respect partner's privacy and not pry. And this one will inquire with Pepper directly to see about options in such regard. Perhaps this one can help with a partner term 'humanitarian relief effort'. Partner now attempting to convince this one that remaining here partner term 'On Watch' may be optimal for partner term 'Homeland Defense'?"


"Given that this could easily blow back State-side, that may not be a bad idea. Folks are working on this. More than just me. I've got my role to play though and if you decide to get involved… well I'll leave that up to you. Gonna be ugly business though. Anything that makes K'nert happy usually is." K'nert sticks his tongue out at Jericho who rolls his eyes.

"What? It's true."


"Anything to keep optics out for? Any existential threats that one can inform this one about without compromising partner term 'operational security'? The way one makes this sounds, this is something everyone is involved in, whether they like it or not."

The bird-thing peers at K'nert.

"This one can see that The K'nert needs Enlightenment. Badly."

"Mutant disappearances. Or bodies showing up with Ebola-like markings. It's ugly all the way around. Mutants are at the center of it. Beyond that, basic terrorist crap. People doing things they should not be doing at this hour of the night and so on."

Jericho grins over to K'nert. "Perhaps, but good luck getting it to stick. At least he usually sees things my way. Usually." Wing slaps were educational in that regard. "Not everyone welcomes enlightenment, Corvinus. Some will think they have a better way. Or the only true one. It's just human."


"Understood. Uploading data on Ebola now. Disgusting." It pauses, then nods. "This one will keep the mind sharp and the wits pure. And the thing to realize with Enlightenment is that it is a very personal thing and no two sentients have the same exact method. That is what makes it so amazing. And humanity makes it ever more so, if this one were to offer an opinion. However, this one would highly recommend one pull out one's multiple projectile hurler and get it warmed up so it is ready for the return."


"Yeah. Well, I've got a jog through another dimension to get there unless you have another way to get me back." Which, Jericho knows, is entirely possible. "Been… well, an interesting talk Corvinus. I'll look you up when I get back State-side and things get settled, mmmm? You can tell me about this 'storm' that's coming."


"It will be a lot faster if one takes the side - step method versus the Corvinus Express. Sadly, this one lost most flight capability upon entry into atmosphere and has not had a chance or resources to recover it. This one will be keeping optics primed for things amiss as well as yourself. Perhaps one could… partner term 'Drop a text' to one's 'friend' to let them know about this instance so they are aware? And this one will most assuredly have information for one. Partner terms 'Sierra Hotel Golf Tango Foxtrot Oscar Alpha, with all due respect.' "


"Keep you in the loop? Or the one who saved you? She knows, trust me. She's got her own things to work and she has her own angles on this mess. I'd work closer with her but it's a case of everyone having their specialty. In any case I'll appraise you if there's anything I think you can help with." Jericho nods and tosses Corvinus a half salute and signals to K'nert.

The demonling walks into the kitchen where an actual stepping disc opens. "See you in the funnies Bird-Man." Then he's gone.


The birdly fellow tosses a salute back though it is uncertain as to the context, only that the partner suggested it as a means of respect. After the guests have vanished it stands down, slowly reverting back to Jim, who sips at some coffee then starts rushing to get ready for work. The yard won't run itself and that stupid bird drank way too much tea last night!

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