The Softer Side of SHIELD

Summary:
October 31, 2014: A hesitant Beast meets with SHIELD again, but this time it is with an enthusiastic scientist.

East Side - New York City

Sutton Place, Turtle Bay, Tudor City… all of these recognizable
neighborhoods help define the eastern side of Midtown Manhattan. From 6th
Avenue to the East River, from 40th St. to 59th St., the East Side contains
such notable landmarks as Sotheby's headquarters, the UN building, and the
unmistakable Chrysler Building. It is home to some of the city's brightest
luminaries, since it's far enough away from the bustling city center to
afford some privacy, but close enough to the action to make it one of the
more in-demand areas outside of the Upper East Side.


Characters

NPCs

  • None

Mood Music:
[*<http://insert.video.or.music.link.here>]


It's been a little bit since he was given the information by SHIELD, but true to his word, Dr. Hank McCoy has been diligently working on what he could. The thing is, it wasn't the easiest thing to decode and he pretty much got what he could out of his available equipment in his lab.

The next step was to contact SHIELD with the information he -did- get. He wasn't about to send it via the internet…especially with the suspected leak he still believes is at the Mansion. Instead, when he got through to someone who seemed able to help, he offered to meet someone to deliver the information personally.

He had to start sometime.

That person is one Jemma Simmons. In fact, there was never a question as the biochemist frankly insisted on being the contact of interest. She used a lot of SHIELD jargon about being the one that would understand the data the best and being able to understand what was being said. But, truly, she just wanted to meet Dr. McCoy.

The prim, British scientist is dressed in her usual business casual attire: dark slacks, a fitted plaid collared shirt and a cardigan over top. She's even wearing pearls and a warm jacket. Eager and early, the SHIELD Agent does her very best to not pace with nervous energy, glancing this way and that for Dr. McCoy. For now, she stands out on the street, close by the door to a fancy coffee shop.

Beast was rather expecting to meet at some sort of SHIELD auxillary office…so when the coffee shop was mentioned, there was hesitation, but he finally agreed. The others were right - there was only so much hiding he could do.

Armed with a very well-protected tablet with his results and dressed in fairly conservative slacks, a button-down, and a blazer with an overcoat, scarf, and hat on, he pulls up to a spot near the coffee shop mentioned. There's another moment's pause before he gets out of the car, hitches his shoulders, and heads towards the entrance. The pretty young woman standing by the door is noticed, golden eyes glancing her way, but he merely presumes she's waiting for someone who doesn't resemble Cookie Monster.

Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately for Hank, Jemma was briefed by Agent May as to what to expect when she met Dr. McCoy. So, seeing the furry scientist step out of the car, she straightens, grins and gives a friendly wave. Apparently she doesn't seem taken aback by his appearance. "Dr. McCoy, I presume?" she asks, tones immediately placing her as having a London accent. "It is a real pleasure to meet you, sir," she grins, moving forward to outstretch her hand. "My name is Dr. Jemma Simmons, I was sent to speak with you. I hope you don't mind, I thought it might be more relaxing to do it over a good cuppa. I prefer tea, myself, but I've often found that the American stereotype about their love of coffee is not exactly overstated."

There's a pause as he's addressed and Beast turns to look at the woman standing there. He blinks for a moment before his glasses get pushed back up his nose and he takes the offered hand, albeit a little gingerly. "Dr. Simmons. A pleasure to meet you and I certainly don't mind. I'm just a little surprised." But he'll get over it.

He tilts his head towards the coffee shop, "If you're all right with this, then so am I. I'm an equal opportunity enjoyer of both coffee and tea…" and he even attempts something that might be a smile. Nevermind that he's rather anxious about this meeting in the first place. Baby steps.
Reaching for the door, he opens it, "After you…"

"Certainly not. They have a stellar earl grey mix," Simmons beams at Beast as she steps into the coffee shop in front of him. Being Midtown, it is not incredibly crowded and it is quite a small place. Most of the businesses about this area of town cater toward the quick Starbucks. "Thank you," she says in an offhand manner at the gesture of opening the door for her. "Agent May informed me that you were a bit hesitant with working with SHIELD on the matter, so I thought it may be more comfortable for you to meet in an area that was not quite so formal."

Selecting a small table near the back of the room, she allows Hank to choose where he may wish to sit - facing or not facing toward the door - before sitting down herself. "I must say, I'm incredibly anxious to see your results. I've read all of your scientific papers and I've been impressed with your work for quite some time. Fitz - er, Dr. Leopold Fitz, my research partner - has been forced to listen to me ramble about it for days."

"We recently had what I can only describe as a Security Breach," Hank points out as he steps into the shop, "In which I have a feeling SHIELD might have a hand in." It's not the entire excuse for his previous behavior, but it's enough for now.

Taking the seat facing away from the door, he removes his coat, scarf, and hat before sliding into it. He loks a bit furtively about at the other patrons, no doubt taking stock of who might be staring or upset by his presence, but then looks back to Simmons, "I'm sure I'm quite the odd sight in here. I apologize if I'm a little jumpy." Of course, her statement has him tilting his head, "You have? Thank you…"

He then takes the tablet out and begins to tap on it to open it up for the requested results.

"I'm sorry if you feel that way. But, I would be sure we had nothing to do with that," Jemma tells Hank with a quick shake of her head. Though, she is only Level 5, who knows if she even has the clearance to make that claim confidently. But, she still will, as she wouldn't work for a company she felt capable of that. "We're not in the habit of breaching research labs. Unless they're controlled by HYDRA, of course, which I will assume you are not working for."

The patrons, of course, do look up, study Hank and then go back to what they were doing. Maybe one or two of them continue to look up in interest at the fuzzy blue scientist, but it's New York and it's Halloween, they must think he has a stellar costume. "Oh, perhaps, but there are far stranger things in New York, I'm sure. They would lose their 'cool cred' if they let anything phase them." There's something vaguely hilarious about Jemma attempting to use that slang in her prim accent.

"I have, yes, of course. I've always been interested in biology and in developing science and you have seen some remarkable break throughs - especially your papers on biological mutation. The passion with which you write about it is plain and I always looked forward to reading them. It's clear that the subject is close to your heart." Seeing the tablet, she leans forward just slightly and reaches out a hand out eagerly. "Is that it, then? May I?"

"I'm not, no. But perhaps the one who caused the breach is." But really, he's not there to lay blame on someone who seems to be completely innocent of any of those particular suspicions.

It does take Hank a moment to realize that it's Halloween…and he's not getting as many stares as he thought he would. "Either this meeting was a coincidence or..I appreciate the timing. The subject has always been of interest to me, perhaps too much interest at times." There's another bit of a smile and he even seems to relax just a bit as he turns the tablet so Simmons can see.

"As you can see, there are two compounds…one is a street narcotic, but if you look down about 3/4 of the page, you'll see that whatever has been harvested is also purposefully being altered. Mutated, even. The original form of this is a fairly strong street-level narcotic, but as you go down the line of mutation, it becomes something very different and much harder to determine. Like two compounds are being spliced together. The other seems to be some sort of carbon-based weaponry. They seem to be harvested from metahumans. Not necessarily solely mutants, either."

Jemma smiles to Hank when he realizes that it's Halloween, but does not quite answer as to whether it was set up this way on purpose. Especially now that she's looking at the data that Hank has parsed. Science trumps niceties in her point of view. As the tablet is turned, she scans through the lit screen. She's a quick reader and has no problem dissecting and analyzing the complex chemistry in front of her.

"Interesting…" she says softly. "That's quite remarkable, look at the binding of the narcotics. It looks like a forced mutation." She glances up to see if that is the same thing that Hank has come up with. It's a troubling idea. "So, it's possible that the metahumans that were recovered from the train were being used as hosts or were being harvested in order to help create this carbon-based weaponry. Perhaps using them to accelerate the mutations?"

Beast shakes his head at the question, "I don't know. It's hard to say exactly what such a drug will do. Intense hallucinations would be one of the side effects, I would imagine. But it's not clear as to the -why- it was created and -why- it's being taken from those hostages. Perhaps they're trying to simulate mutations? There have been rumors of drugs on the market that give temporary mutations. I haven't seen any, but I've heard rumors." He leans over the table a little as if trying to peer at the tablet as well, "The thing is, it's being taken from both metahumans and mutants. Our genetic material is…there are differences. Subtle, but they're there."

He then shakes his head, "I don't think it would speed up a mutation. I could be wrong, but it doesn't seem to be an accelerant. The compound itself is being mutated…"

"Hm," Jemma continues to look at the results. "Then, perhaps they are using them as controls? Studying their own mutations so they can replicate them in attempt to make the narcotics stronger." As for the rumors toward drugs simulating mutations, she nods. "I believe I've heard similar, though I have yet to get my hands on any in order to study them properly. Perhaps this is a precursor to that. Or even is the drug itself."

As for why, Jemma frowns and shrugs. "I can imagine people would be interested in inheriting super powers for a short period of time in order to accomplish tasks they normally wouldn't." She sits back a moment. "Hm. Perhaps it's so that they can get the best data set. They're attempting to use both the mutant and the metahuman genes to ensure mutation, perhaps."

"It's a rush," Hank points out, "And it's temporary. Would you temporarily like to be able to fly? Or read people's thoughts? Or run faster than the speed of sound? You get the benefits of being a mutant or a metahuman without the potential drawbacks," He gestures to himself at that. "It'd be like an acid trip, but better, I would imagine. I never actually tried acid."

He looks back at the data, "Maybe they're trying to figure out how to use powers against us so we can't stop their nefarious schemes? Maybe they're trying to come up to our level? Maybe they are just seeing how far this can go?"

"I would liken it to steroids," Jemma smiles to Hank. "Giving yourself an edge you are unlikely to have, but I am sure it comes with drawbacks. Everything like that does. But, I imagine it has less to do with stopping you as it does with wanting the power for themselves." Folding her hands on the table, Simmons thinks this over.
"Just imagine," she says, eyes tilted upward as she thinks, "if you were able to get a mob that had incredible powers. However, because you were the one who supplied their powers you would be completely in control of them. You would hold their supply to do whatever you wished. And if someone stepped out of line, you could cut them off and then deal with them when they didn't have their abilities."

As for acid, she smiles and blushes a bit. "I have studied people on acid before. What I saw involved someone taking off their clothes and speaking of colors. I would assume that mutant abilities is not quite like that."

Bushy eyebrows lift at the explanation, "It's possible," he concedes. "It's certainly a theory. I don't know if it's a correct one, but I suppose it's as workable as any other…maybe more so. The thing is, we just don't know exactly what this can do at the stages to which it's being compounded." Hank clasps his hands together on the table, "What we need to do is cut them off from getting more or mixing more."

"Some mutants, I suppose…certainly could have abilities like that. It's…pretty incredible the wide range of mutations I've seen."

"Yes, that is certainly in the works, though the problem is finding them again. We don't know, yet, who is manufacturing this or even how many others they have kidnapped." Simmons frowns, leaning back against her chair. "SHIELD is doing their best to track down where they came from. That is partly why we came to you. Perhaps there was something in their make up that you had seen before." But, apparently, that part did not carry through.

Then, despite the science talk, she gives a soft laugh. "That would certainly be quite the ability - to make people take off their clothes and talk of colors."

"Seen before?" Hank looks back at the tablet to go over the results again, "No…none of these look familiar." Not that he's going to tell a SHIELD agent that he has the genetic mapping of every mutant he's had the pleasure of meeting for more than about five minutes. "None of these look familiar but I don't know every mutant or metahuman about." He looks back up to Jemma, "Did you know almost 10 percent of the human population could be a mutant?"

"No, I wasn't suggesting that you had," Jemma grins. "I simply thought that you might be more likely to have seen them, from what I've read in your papers." The British scientist sits up a bit straighter. It's not that she expects the man to divulge everything to her, but if she thinks he is holding back she doesn't quite show it. "I did, actually. Though, I believe the number may actually be a little low depending on the population. Statistics are hard to find, as - for understandable reasons - mutants do not wish to be studied."

"Some of the street drug properties are somewhat familiar in terms of their makeup," Hank admits, "But the specific genetic material that they've used isn't, I'm afraid." He isn't holding back on that, even though his expressions may be harder to read than some. It helps in this case, when one's features are so non-traditional. There's another sort of smirk then at the mention of the numbers being low, "It may be…and not just because of hiding. It could be that many just don't realize they're mutants yet."

Simmons is not the best with people, so it would not be that difficult for Hank to hide his facial expressions from her. She knows grids and science, not so much how to read another person's emotions. At the information she nods. "Of course. That does make some sort of sense." And then, she nods. "Yes, that also makes sense. There may be many people out there with latent mutant abilities they're not even aware of. It's certainly interesting to think of."

Beast shrugs, "Or some who may not realize that what they can do is a mutant power. Some could be subtle. Some could be worshipped as gods in their cultures. There could be many reasons why they don't realize it." Although the latter are probably fewer and farther between. "I would say that the important thing now is to rescue those who are being harvested for this material. That and stop this fabrication of this unknown drug. Although if they have data, they may be able to synthesize it."

"Yes. That is certainly a possibility." Simmons nods. "But, you're right, the most important thing right now is to ensure the safety of those who were kidnapped so that no more of this drug can be manufactured. It's just a matter of detective work now, then. If you are interested in helping with the searching, I will be sure to let Agent May know. Or, at least make sure that you're kept up to date with the findings. Either way, thank you very much for your research. It's been a complete pleasure to finally meet you, Dr. McCoy."

"And the samples and formulas that they have destroyed, if possible," Hank adds. "I…would like to help, I think." Because he does need to get out of that lab and this seems like something he could do. It's not about PR. It's about search and rescue. "And do please let me know if the X-Men can be of any help as well. We can be a resource…potentially…at least."
There's a moment's pause before Hank offers, "Since we're here at this coffee shop and all, can I at least buy you a tea before we part ways?"

"Yes, of course. Though, I wouldn't mind a sample to at least study." Jemma suffers from the need to know all things and to understand them. At his offer to help, she beams. "Of course. I'll let Agent May know. I'm sure she'll find a place for you. And for the X-Men." Conspiratorially, she leans forward, "She can probably kill you with her pinky, but she's incredibly skilled at knowing how to move people the most effectively to find a target. I think she's actually worked with an X-Man before. Is that the proper term? For a singular X-Men? X-Man?" She rolls the term over, trying to figure it all out.

As for buying her a tea, she grins. "It would be honored. As long as you take a tea or coffee, as well. I can't abide drinking in company alone."

Beast arches an eyebrow again at the whisper, "While I'm sure your Agent May is quite skilled, I wouldn't place a bet on that." After all, they have Jean Grey, among others. "I think that's the correct singular term for it…we tend to use it mostly in the plural because we're a team." They work well on their own but they work best as a team. Or, at least, they used to.

When the invitation is accepted, he nods, "Of course. It would be my pleasure to spend a few more moments with you." He then stands from the table and moves to place the orders for the teas…and a couple of fresh pastries to snack on as well. It doesn't take long before he returns to the table with a little card with a number on it and a bemused grin. "I got three compliments on my 'Halloween Costume'.


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