They don't make em like they used to

January 30, 2015: Steve and Aethera realize they run in similar circles.


The Big Apple



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She has been spending most of her time lately in Stark Tower, but the Victorian-era heroine has been venturing further and further around to see the sights of the City of the Future. It's not quite what she or anyone had expected.
Aethera is not obviously in armor, exactly, but she is obviously oddly dressed. She has a long wool coat cut like a tailcoat and a full wine-colored skirt beneath, but when she walks it's quite clear that her boots are made of metal. Her hands, too, though gloved, appear oddly structured. Apart from her face — a bit pale and wan but pretty and young and definitely human — she does look a bit like a robot in a dress.
A tourist robot in a dress, too: she has a small digital camera and is using it, staring up at the buildings as if she's never seen anything like them before.

Steve Rogers is seated at the window of a small cafe and doodling in a notebook while taking in a meal. The image is a cartoonish image of the landscape out in front of him. He sips at his coffee and puts the pen down as he takes stock of everything going on with SHIELD at the moment. These are difficult times.

Though Captain America, at least, has been in the newspapers quite frequently, people rarely notice Steve Rogers. Or rather, some of them do — he's a handsome man, polite and friendly and kind of massive — but somehow it's hard to match him up with the iconic image.
It's even harder for someone who went to sleep long before Steve Rogers was even born.
Aethera is starting to get a bit peckish, though, and she tucks away the camera as she heads to the same little cafe. There's a faint 'clank' as she opens the door and, in answer to the hostess, answers that she'd like to look at a menu first.
"It's just that this place looked very different when I was here last," she said. Which might be its own oddity — the cafe has looked pretty much like this for eighty years.

"Must have been a while for you too then," Steve says embarrassed slightly at his imposition. Steve gives her a sheepish smile and a nod before he goes for his own cup of coffee. He can empathize, of course.

She looks up from her menu to the man sitting really just a few feet away. Aethera gives him a pleasant smile and shakes her head in agreement. "Longer than most," she says. "Are you a recent re-arrival yourself?"

"You could say that, yeah," Steve says. Having no real concern about secret identities and always willing to meet a new friend, he doesn't hesitate in telling her his name. "Steve. Nice to meet you," he says as he reaches a hand over.

"Josephine," she replies, extending her own hand to shake his. Yep: definitely not flesh and bone under that glove. Or if it is, it's encased in metal. Glancing about the cafe — unsurprisingly busy, given the lunch rush of young executives — she goes on: "Are you waiting for someone?"

"You could say that," Steve says a bit wistfully before he chuckles. "But she's not coming. What about you?" His blue eyes peer at her hand as she shakes his, but he doesn't mention it.

"…Ah. No indeed. The very few people I know at all don't get out much, my work has been interrupted, and…" Everyone I used to know is dead. She doesn't say it, but she glances away and muffles a cough with a fist. Looking back to Steve, she rests a hand on the back of one of the chairs at his table: "Perhaps I might join you? I wouldn't want to impose."

"By all means," Steve says as he motions to the chair. "What about you? What's your name?" He pulls his notebook, drink, and plate a little closer to her to give her some room at the table.

The man may be a little distracted. "Josephine," she repeats, settling down in the chair. Any likelihood of being recognized is muffled nicely by her clothing covering up her armor. She's rather a niche historic hero, but she's been getting recognized left right and center. It's rather nice to be anonymous. "And I am sorry for your loss. I know something of it myself. Particularly when it all comes at once; it can be… shattering."

Steve shakes his head with a bit of disgust, "I'm sorry. You said that. It's been a heck of a week at work. It's nice to meet you Josephine." He pauses and tilts his head at her slightly, "All at once? Are you okay?"

"Well of course, I'm — " She was about tos ay that she was. She's quite all right, of course she is. But she presses her lips together and turns her head to look out the window, idly toying with her napkin. "Everything in the world is different," she says. "I might as well have been dropped on Mars. I always thrive, of course I do, but everything I knew is — is obsolete. Discarded. I have nobody I can truly talk to. No one I know, no one I can really trust. I'm — I'm terribly sorry, I have no right to lay this on a stranger. I shouldn't have said."

"Well, you'd be surprised out much of a good idea it was. Because," Steve takes a sip from his coffee, "I went through something like that."

Josephine tilts her head slightly. "Go on?" She gestures slightly: "Perhaps I can be of some kind of help."

Steve chuckles, "Well, my name is Steve Rogers. I sort of spent 70 years stuck in an ice cube. And I was revived about a year ago, and been playing catchup ever since."

Steve Rogers. The name rings a bell. She's been reading quite a few news articles lately, after all… and as he says so, it all clicks into place. Josephine blinks a few times before breaking into a delighted smile. "My goodness," she says. "I believe I've been telling you nothing you haven't heard yourself think. I have read about you, Captain Rogers. I suppose — well, there's no real sense hiding it, in that case. My name is Josephine Themylthorpe. You could say I was quite an early… what they call 'superheroes' now. Frozen for decades more or less sums it up for me as well."

"You know the city is getting more and more filled with our types these days. I guess it's only likely that we'd run into someone like us," Steve says with a laugh. "So, how did you end up here, Josephine Themylthorpe?"

"There's you, there's me, and there's Howard Stark," Josephine agrees. "I'm quite pleased to be older than either of you. And that? That's a very good question. I haven't the foggiest. I was in some very underground laboratory run by… SHIELD, I believe, but I'm not quite certain. I was in a stasis pod that was deactivated. I thawed in the middle of a fight and left as quickly as I could. The only other person who was there who I spoke to later wouldn't give me any particulars."

"You know, I ran into Howard just a few days ago down in Metropolis," Steve says with a grin. "We run in the same circles. Who was the person you spoke to? Maybe I could do some digging and help you find out."

"I have no idea," Josephine admits. "It was a derelict base. I'd been left there for perhaps fifty years, apparently. I gave him a ride back to… Hoboken, I think. As far as I could tell, the man was liberating any curious technology he could find. I don't even know if I was woken intentionally. All I saw was a fight, and I haven't seen the men involved elsewhere. If you would like to be of help, though," she adds, actually brightening a bit, "perhaps you could put in a good word for me. I was working on a project with SHIELD until just recently. Their increased security has rather put a damper on things. I'm not sure how a background check is supposed to work on someone who has spent a total of a month in the last century awake."

Steve nods, "Yeah, whatever help I'll be able to do will have to wait until things cool off for a while. But I'd be happy to poke around. Who were you working with over there? I could compare notes." The technology thing she mentions makes a lot of sense, but he doesn't bring it up. Again.

"Doctor Leopold Fitz and Agent Argyle. They'd both be pleased to have me back, I expect. I will be making my appeals where I may. Given that I was very possibly SHIELD property for some time, I think I should have a relatively clear record."

Steve makes a mental note to discuss the matter with Fitz and Socks. He's come to know them both pretty well in the last week, if such a thing is possible. But he's eager to learn more about this Josephine, that's for sure. "Property?"

In answer, Josephine reaches to one hand to pull off her gloves. "I am quite human. Reasonably human," she says. But one glove and another are removed to reveal what appear to be metal hands. Maybe metal-encased, but definitely a lot of metal. "When I was inside, I was wearing my helmet as well. The pod would have been generating electricity capable of powering devices wirelessly — that is likely what the strange fellow was salvaging from the lab. The senior Stark said that he had lobbied to have me removed from stasis, but SHIELD declared they were uncertain what exactly was inside. His thought was that they were more likely to want to study me than free me." She says it all rather dispassionately, as if this were not unreasonable.

Steve shakes his head in disbelief. The idea shouldn't seem completely foreign to him—this sort of thing had been rumored and he'd seen things that would suggest these types of programs out there, but he'd never met someone intimately involved. He decides he'd like to help her, when he can. "And how do you feel about that?"

"Not utterly thrilled," Josephine admits, "but I will say this: if they had woken me before, I might not have lived. They wouldn't have had the technology to help me. Nor do they now, but they are at least closer. For the men who knew there was likely a living person inside, however? I may have understanding, but that only changes my contempt to dislike."

"Well, I hope you're wrong, but I'm not convinced you are. I'll try and see what I can find out…Is there a number I can reach you at?" Steve asks as he raises his glass to his lips.

"Oh — yes indeed. One moment." She starts sifting through her bag, finally finding a quantity of what appear to be very small business cards — about half size. Calling cards. They have no more than her name in fancy lettering and her contact information. "There's an email address as well on here," she murmurs, "if you're at all familiar with it. I have had to become very familiar with modern technology myself." Says the woman who's passing Steve a calling card instead of sending him a contact on her phone.

Steve takes the calling card between his fingers and nods as he inspects it. He pulls his wallet from his back pocket and slides it in. "I've actually got to head into work pretty quick here. I hope to be able to call you soon." It'll be tough to catch time, of course, but he seems eager to help.

"I do appreciate it, Captain Rogers. My best to you, and I do look forward to hearing from you." Josephine smiles and reaches out to shake his hand once again — pauses, takes a moment to remove the gauntlet itself, and extends a hand that seems to check out as human.
"Take care."

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