Six Degrees of Pezzini

Summary:
September 8, 2014: Paul and Lara finally meet, and realize they are connected through Sara.

Gym - Triskelion - NYC

The SHIELD Gym


Characters

NPCs

  • None

Mood Music:
None


Paul's not an agent so he doesn't make a habit of hanging out at the Triskelion. But Hill did offer the use of the premises to train/test his abilities and he's finally decided to do so. Having called ahead to get permission, he found one of the more out of the way gyms in the building so as not to disturb anyone. And more importantly, not to be disturbed. It's also where the more physically capable can go to really push themselves. Read: supers. At the moment though, he's just using the bench press and giving himself a good work out while he psychs himself up for more.

Lara Croft isn't any sort of super, unless super awesome is a power. She, too, however, has sought out one of the more out of the way gyms because she's new to SHIELD and would rather hone her skills quietly before having to test the pecking order. The tomb raider steps into the facility in a tank top and yoga pants, with a towel slung over one shoulder. She gives Paul a nod and a small smile as she makes her way to one of the leg machines. "Evening," she greets.

"Evening." Paul answers once he's lowered the bar to its resting position. Damn. He was hoping he'd be alone at this time of night. He sits up and reaches for a towel to mop his forehead, frowning slightly as he sees who entered. Familiar but not from SHIELD. It'll probably come to him.

"I apologize if I'm intruding," the woman says in a British accent. She sits on the bench of the machine and begins carefully braiding her hair to keep it out of the equipment. "I was looking for a quiet spot to exercise here. The place is so large, I may have gotten a little lost."

"No, that's all right. It's your gym; I'm just visiting." Paul lies back down on the bench and his tee shirt outlines the large double cross he wears around his neck. "It is a rabbit warren." he agrees. "Easy to get lost." He certainly has done so more than once when he doesn't have an escort.

"Sort of. I'm somewhere between a field agent and a consultant, if truth be told." Lara sets her towel aside and slides her legs into the machine, to begin lifting. She lifts a considerable bit, clearly athletic, but nothing superhuman. "Are you just visiting then? Or associated?" she asks. "Lara Croft, by the way."

"Detective Paul Manning, EI." he answers. "They call me a consultant." Lara Croft. Lara Croft. He knows that… "Lara Croft? Archaeologist? You were involved in that Axe of Perun case weren't you?" And now the face is placed as well as he watched her and Sara square off against that ass Murdock and his criminal du jour.

"Manning? Sara Pezzini's partner? She's one of my best friends," Lara says with a surprised smile of delight. "A pleasure to finally meet you, Detective. I imagine it's quite a ride keeping up with Pez."

"Yes, Sara's my partner." Paul tilts his head up to look over at Lara. "That's right, she's mentioned you though I don't think she used your last name. Or mentioned that you were in SHIELD. Nice to meet you too."

"SHIELD is a recent development," Lara explains between sets. "I had an agent with me on my Baffin Island expedition and apparently my field expertise was notable enough to make me an offer. Since I'm avoiding my family back in England, working here is a perfect fit right now."

Family issues. Paul doesn't ask. "I'm sure your expertise in artifacts will be very useful, especially now." After a brief pause to give the bar a few reps, he asks, perhaps a bit too casually, "Is that how you met Sara?"

"Something like that, yes," Lara vagues back. The supernatural elements are Sara's story to tell, and she doesn't know how much Paul knows about his partner. "She's someone I can always trust to have my back."

"Yes, she is that." Paul agrees. "So tell me… That axe. Was there anything special about it? I heard it was recovered but that's about it. Does it have any special properties? Return to your hand if thrown? Cut through anything in one blow? Ferment herring?"

"Not that I know of. I haven't had a chance to inspect it personally," Lara admits. "But as the lore goes, it belonged to the Slavic pantheon's version of Thor. There are hundreds of small pendants made in it's form to ward off back luck and evil magics."

"Yes, one reason I asked." Paul agrees and sits back up. "Have you ever run across any real artifacts? Of the magical kind, I mean. And then what do you do with them when you do? Or is that one reason you decided ot join SHIELD?" Does SHIELD have a magical artifact containment unit?

"I'm really very new, and mostly hired on for my expertise in navigating difficult areas of the globe, but I'm sure they have containment; they're SHIELD," Lara says with a chuckle. "As for things of a supernatural bent, I seem to have an uncanny knack for finding those artifacts that are more than just items of history. Some may call it a curse."

"I'd guess the magical ones are few and far between even for someone cursed?" Paul asks curiously. "How many have you run across? Any really dangerous ones?" Giving her a small grin, he adds "You must be tired of this question but is it at all like Indian Jones?"

"Definitely, including the snakes, and boulders, and such. Well for me at least. I know many a well-respected archaeologist who just digs in the dirt in safety. But I've found more than my share of strange things in my adventures." Lara finishes on the machine and turns to sit on it sideways. "But I imagine it's not as dangerous on a daily basis as a police officer's life."

"No, I'd think not." Paul agrees then pauses. "Say, as long as you're here… I'm wondering if you wouldn't mind giving me your professional opinion on something? It's pretty old but I don't know anythign about it. I'm hoping maybe you could tell something about it?"

"I'm at your disposal. If you tell Sara she owes me one for the service," Lara jests with a wink.

"Done." Paul agrees and reaches for the chain hanging around his neck. Pulling it up through the neck of his tee, he lets it rest against his chest. "Like I said, I don't really know anythign about it but maybe something about the design or construction would give you some hints."

Lara doesn't touch the artifact, simply observes it through narrowed eyes. "It's not from any culture, ancient or otherwise, that I'm versed in Detective. I'm sorry. Where did you find it?"

Paul nods, not really looking surprised or disappointed as he tucks it back into his shirt. "Ah well. It was a long shot so I can't say I expected anything different. It was given to me by a…" No, Jason is definitely not a friend. "By someone who owed me. Supposedly, it'll protect me against bad things." Demons certainly qualify as bad things. "But then, that's what all crosses are supposed to do right?"

"So we are told through lore, Detective. And I have seen enough real magic in the world to believe that objects can help us, or harm us, through means we may not understand." Lara admits.

"More things, Heaven and Earth, blah blah philosophy." Though the words are dismissive, Paul's tone isn't and he's pretty much agreeing. "It's a strange place and time we live in."

"It is. If you have a phone and can take a photo of it, and send it to me? I can look further into it. Consult some experts in areas I lack deep study of?" Lara offers.

"No, that's all right." Paul demures. "It's not worth a lot of effort. I just thought since you were here, I'd ask. It's not like I'm looking to sell it or anything. Curiosity more than anything. Thanks though."

"Anytime. Let Sara know I still owe her lunch and an explanation of my…lawyer situation," Lara quips.

"I'll do that." Paul agrees. Draping his towel around his neck, he stands up and walks over to grab a bag against a wall. "Lunch and a lawyer. It sounds like it'll be an interesting meal."

"You could say that. I'm dating him, and she hates him. More dangerous than any of my tomb raids, I promise," Lara quips and gives him a wave at his departure.

"Murdock." Paul guesses. He and Sara share an opnion of the lawyer and that's evident in his tone.

"Oh dear, that sounds like you've run afoul of him as well," Lara seems amused, like she knows something her friend and Paul do not. "But I assure you, he's a better boyfriend than he is a lawyer."

Paul just gives a dubious grunt at that comment. "I'll relay the message. A pleasure to meet you." Give Lara a nod, he heads out of the gym, not really feeling comfortable in using the Rapture with someone else there.


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