Magic Intelligence

Summary:
January 31, 2015: Jericho kicks over more snakes nests and calls in some friends

The Bronx - New York City

The only borough located primarily on the mainland of New York, the Bronx is the most city-like of all the boroughs. Highrises and heavily travelled streets mark this area of the city. The sounds of the streets hold a music influenced by island nations to the south - Puerto Rico, some Cuba, and even further to the islands of Jamaica.


Characters

NPCs

  • None

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


It's been a few days since the drone attack on Lunair. Which, while awful, turned out to be a bit of a break for him. You see Jericho was able to source back the drones (aren't that many places that sell some of the parts you need to do what they did) and figure out who bought them and when. They paid cash, naturally, but security cam footage pinged a couple people on his 'probably HYDRA agents' list, so he went to go pay them a visit. That was two hours ago.

What he found here, aside from some people to ask pointed questions of, was a bit more than he'd bargained for which is why two hours later he's at a small food court picking through the peices of a fairly advanced computer system with a couple of basic tools and a portable power source. On his left is a philly and a basket of fries that he's slowly eating. On his right a couple of disassembled hard drives and a mess of flash memory that he's working through decrypting. Oh and on his neck and arm a couple of feedback burns. Damn snakes.

***

Zee was a bit shocked to get a message from Jericho. Notwithstanding the cultists in Gotham the other night, she's pretty much bought him up to date with the magical anomalies she's been detecting. But still, the message is clear and the young magician teleports in to the food court, in an out of the way place, wearing a sweater dress, knee high boots, leggings and a diamond encrusted collar around her neck.

Taking a few moments to locate Jericho, not that it was all that hard with the computing paraphenalia by his side, she strides over to meet him. "Hello Jericho, you called?"

***

Audrey needed to go shopping. It's not that anyone on the Red Team said anything, but oversized cargo pants and flannel don't exactly fit in with the whole public image thing. And if they're going to give her a place to stay and a salary, then she figures she at least ought to try not to embarrass them. Which explains why she's here. Of course, she has exactly zero bags in hand, because at no point in her life has she ever actually had to decide what to wear. Which explains why she's wandering around the food court with her hands in her pockets in time to catch sight of Jericho. Curious, she starts in that direction.

***

What's wrong with cargo pants? And flannel is awesome. Lumberjacks and Canadians wear it all the ti— hmm… Well, that is probably why Lunair doesn't get to choose everyone's clothes. Lunair's doing her best not to get bored out of her skull or worn out from being in hiding so much. Nevertheless, she does venture out carefully to the mall sometimes. She likes to bring back treats for certain people, run groceries to a few friends in M-town and today? Today she was looking for clothes for someone.

But then, there's Jericho. And miss Zee. She decides to make her way over, waving carefully.

***

"Yeah Zee, I did. Have a seat. It's about-" He looks up as his HUD pings the recognition of a couple people he knows on the security cameras. The hacker glances heavenward for a moment in bemused question before bringing his gaze back down. "Hey you two. Funny you should show up, I was just thinking about you guys…" He gestures with a screwdriver to the table. "Have a seat and some fries if you'd like…"

There's a moment while he pops a hard drive casing open. "So…" He says conversationally. "I was kicking over a snake hole today… same group that tried to tranq Lunair earlier. When I started going through the hard drives guess what I found?" He glances up. "It turns out the test program that created Lunair twelve ish years ago was administered by a scientific think tank with ties to our favorite snakes. But it was requested by the department of defense. Specifically by one Captain James Wallace. That name sound familiar to you?"

***

Zee takes a seat and then looks around to see which 'two' Jericho's referring too with his comments. Seeing Audrey and Lunair, she smiles at them as she listens to what Jericho has to say. "Someone tried to tranq, Lunair?" That's news to Zee and she looks to the young woman for confirmation before shaking her head to the question "That name is not familiar to me."

***

"I think I'd like to get a Cinnabon," Audrey starts to say when Jericho offers a share of his fries, starting to turn around to head for the registers there when she hears the rest of what he's saying. Her steps stall out, and she's still for a moment before she turns back around, walking over and dropping into a chair across from him. "Yes. It sounds familiar," she says quietly, smoothing a hand over the edge of the table. "I'm guessing you're aware of why." There's a glance to Zee and Lunair, but Jericho's news has her attention for the moment.

***

Lunair is on a HUD! It's like being in a video game. She smiles to Jeri. "ooh, fries." She likes fries. But Lunair goes quiet, looking over to the two. She wrinkles her nose. "They even darted my pizza…" She seems grumpy about that. Nevertheless, she will join the group. She looks to Audrey. "I can get it for you," She offers. Some of this is familiar, some of this isn't. "I sort of want a drink anyway," She considers. Nevertheless, there's a pained look as he mentions created. More ugly truths from a past she had thought long buried.

***

"Go ahead and get the bun." Jericho says quietly and a bit sympathetically. "This'll keep for a few more minutes." The hacker waits long enough for Lunair and Audrey to decide if they are going to grab snacks after all before continuing. "So, best as I can connect the dots so far, the story goes like this. Back in the early nineties there was a big push for 'Soldier Improvement Programs'. Which makes sense. We'd just finished the first Gulf War and our brass was keen to take lessons learned and improve not only our gear and tactics, but the men themselves…" He pauses to fiddle with some memory and eat a couple of fries.

"Not a new idea of course. We did the same during World War Two, and Korea, and Vietnam and the Cold War in general but never on this scale before. The DoD started up or coopted dozens of small exploratory programs to look into ways of enhancing the capabilities of our soldiers by enhancing the soldiers themselves. Most of them failed, of course. Too expensive or impracical or just plain didn't work. But a few kept going. At some point HYDRA learned of all this and decided infiltrate some of the programs to funnel the resarch into their own operative efforts. My program was one of the ones compromised. Lunairs looks to have been HYDRA from the start…"

He pauses and takes a breath. "This is where it gets interesting and weird. After Lunair's program literally blew up in the faces of the administrators and by extension the DoD, the Army decided to cut out the 'civilian' contractors and just do the work themselves." He doesn't say 'that's how they wound up with Audrey's program and seven or eight more like it that I can find' because he doesn't know what she's told everyone else. "James Wallace was put in charge of those efforts because of his background and record. Most of those didn't work out so well either until he started using some old data left over from the earlier HYDRA run efforts. That's when they started getting results. But now those programs have come to HYDRA's attention again…"

Jericho turns to pull out a folder from his pack. "I found these. They're timeline plots on Lunair, Audrey and about two dozen others I don't have more than code names for. Somehow, HYDRA is forecasting their participation in near future events and trying to nudge them on a path that's beneficial to them. They really, really want Lunair. And have good data on her. Audrey… seems a lot more invisible to them." Pardon the pun. "I need to know how they're doing it, because it isn't with regular technology based monitoring. I've already checked."

***

Zee watches to see what the two other women will do she appears to be happy to sit and wait, it seems. Frowning, Zee looks between Lunair and Audrey and then back to Jericho "Let me see if I've understood this. Not withstanding the super soldier stuff… HYDRA are predicting the participation of people like these two in future events?" That has her eyebrows rising… it's a neat trick.

***

Audrey goes to get herself a Cinnabon, coming back to the table for the explanation and reaching for the folder. Between that and the giant cinnamon bun, she has plenty to distract herself when she adds her explanation to Jericho's. "James Wallace is my dad," she says quietly. "So. Some of the names you can't recognize might be from my old unit. But it makes sense you'd have more information on leaked programs than on ones that haven't. We get wiped when they bring us into the program. I don't have a birth certificate, a passport, a drivers license. The only place I exist is on mostly hard records. Same for other people in the program. That's Mason," she adds, passing one of the pictures back to Jericho. "He was being groomed for munitions."

***

Lunair listens. She nods and smiles. "Okay, my soda and anything for you?" She asks Zee. Lunair is nothing if polite. She will return a little after Audrey, whatever the case. She'll have her own soda and some pastry with - fries. Lunair really is weird. For the moment, once she gets back, she'll play audience. She frowns, not liking what she hears. "But I had parents…?" This baffles her. Were her parents - agents? What does it mean? Were her memories false? Her head is spinning a little, as yet another blow hits her old life.

She takes a deep breath and frowns. Again. It's really frown provoking. "Well, it more collapsed. So I guess it'd be an implosion… I'm not really sure why they'd want me around and the data is creeping me out." Is she bugged? Alas. She looks to Audrey, eyes widening a bit. Poor Audrey. There's a bit of sympathy. "I'm sorry." That seems tough.

***

Jericho has a faiiiiiiirly good idea that the reason for wanting Lunair around has to do with one of the first things he saw from her, which was her railgunning half a dozen HYDRA agents into oblivion in a shopping mall in Uptown Manhatten. Quite a lot of applicability for those kinds of skills in the right, or wrong, hands. He doesn't say that though. She seems to take it badly. "Mmmmm, predicting is too strong a word, Zee. More like… market forecasting. They're trying to calculate probabiliies based on, I'm going to guess, visions. The question is how the hell do you scry someone's future like that. I get that it's imprecise but the fact that they can do it at all is kind of worrying…"

He looks over at Audrey and Lunair. "I know you did Lunair. I'm still trying to figure out what happened to them and who they were. Audrey, the good news for you is that I'm pretty sure your Dad isn't HYDRA. The bad news is that he's been overseeing some elements of the Army's supersoldier program for a long time. You don't need me to tell you that he's unlikely to back off… and I think as time goes on you may see either he or his superiors get more… aggressive. My question to both of you is 'what do you want me to do'? I'm happy to keep digging, and I know you've both had a lot of contact with the Xers. I don't want to make trouble for you by kicking something off that'll end up backlashing on you."

***

Zee smiles at Lunair's offer and shakes her head "No but thanks for the offer." Sitting forward and putting her elbows on her knees, Zee frowns at Jericho's words. "There are people that say they can see the future, I'm sure my own people can … just not me right now." she shrugs "If you do enough 'seeings' you'll end up with a model that you can use to predict things." It doesn't sound too far fetched to the magician, if you really stretch to think about it. "Maybe that's why HYDRA is mixing magic practices and messing with ley lines… I don't know, but it's a thought."

The news about the two women have Zee looking at them both carefully "Well that explains why you were on the run" Zee nods to Audrey. "I'm really sorry you two… that sounds lame, doesn't it? but I am."

***

Audrey shrugs to Lunair and Zee. "There's nothing to apologize for. I didn't grow up all that different from any other army brat, really. More training, I guess." Which means the program Audrey took part in? It's the result of years of practice. Of finding out what does and doesn't work. Nipping desertions in the bud. Find them young, raise them so it's normal. Use mutants who've developed powers anyhow so you don't get the medical complications.

She looks over the folder, considering. "Or they're using data," she says after a moment. "I mean. Look at what you've got. Your bigger files? They're people who've been more public. Had more run ins. Look." Shuffling folders, she pulls out her own and Lunair's. "You can practically cross-reference mine to hers. And it's practically brand new. Sure, maybe they're using magic. But maybe they're using intelligence analysis."

***

Lunair will only return with her own goodies, though. For better or worse, she's aware that it's likely the fact she obliterates people real good is why. On one hand, killing people doesn't bug her too much. On the OTHER… Well, maybe it does. Either way, she hms.

"I can ask grandpa what he knows," She tilts her head. She looks to Audrey. "That's probably true, too. I don't mind if you wish to find out more." She looks to Zee. "I wouldn't be shocked. They had at least one place with more pentagrams than an 80s documentary on Satanism," She does have a sense of humor about it at least. "And no, t's okay. I appreciate it."

It's the thought that counts. At Audrey's comment about medical complications. "Or those of us who were effectively dead anyway. I was really sick. I probably was going to be dead by the time I was 6."

***

Jericho nods at Audrey and Lunair and motions to Zee in their direction. This is what he can't quite get, the piece of the puzzle he's missing. "Got it in one Audrey. They're using it, I'm certain, to gather information but what they're doing with it isn't anything more than standard intel analysis. It's like they think of their supernatural abilities as really good cameras, impossible hacks and of course we've already seen, transportation. Which is in a way really bad because with regular mages I could at least ask Zee or Illyana or someone what they were on about but here? I can only guess."

***

Zee nods slowly "Supersoldier mages…" she shrugs "If they've experimented with people with mutant genes, imagine if they had someone like Illyana, or me, in that program…" she musing aloud. Looking at Audrey and then the file, she inclines her head "Could any of those people have those types of abilities?"

***

"My program was straight mutant," Audrey shakes her head as she looks through the folder. "We studied some magical theory, in the sense that it was considered something we might run into. But nobody in our unit could manipulate things to the degree of magic." She pauses, peeling off a piece of cinnamon bun. "Honestly, I was probably the closest thing to it. If that gives you a standard. That doesn't mean they aren't running other programs in that field, though."

***

Lunair sips her soda. "We were all sick and dying." She had practically no immune system. "I have no idea who had what," She admits. "But I guess if we all croaked, it was just an inevitability." She isn't sure what to think of that. "That, and you burn the remains of people who die of disease. I don't know anything about magic, so I honestly couldn't tell you. We had the mind control girl, dragon guy, earth control… there were quite a few odd things about us." She shrugs. "They seemed surprised as we were."

***

Jericho nods and shrugs. More questions than answers but that's generally the case with these things and he's used to it. "Well, at any rate I'll keep digging on it. There has to be a reason that they're so interested in you guys that they'd devote occult resources to this… and has to be a reason they're doing it now rather than before." Though that reason could just be they couldn't before. "But you never did tell me… what do you want me to do? This kind of thing really pisses me off… but these are your lives, not mine. If you'd rather let X handle this I'll absolutely respect that."

***

It's not Zee's life either, she's fortunate in that way and she sits back and watches the two young women. "If I can be of assistance, you know where to find me… " standard offer from the magician, that she'll follow up on if asked.

***

"What do you think you could do?" Audrey asks at Jericho's offer, brows furrowing slightly. The very idea that someone might be able to do something? It's…strange to her. "I don't even know what I'd want you to do, honestly," she sighs, picking at the cinnamon bun again. "They're not…all bad people. They're not even mostly bad people. They're people who are doing what they think is right to keep the country safe. Sometimes that's not always the right thing. But they're trying."

***

Hmm. Lunair looks thoughtful. She is thinking. "… it is a little different when it's HYDRA who sponsored and created you, I guess," She furrows her brows. "What did you have in mind? I feel kind of bad dragging people into this," She admits. A fry is bitten in half. Nomf. She smiles faintly. "Thank you," Nod to Zee. Lunair has problems expressing emotion, giving her a blank, neutral look when she's not actively working at it or experiencing something strong. "So - yeah, I appreciate the help. And I'll try to help in turn."

***

"Make them stop. Of which there are ways that don't involve death." Since Jericho doubts that Audrey wants her father killed. "You don't have to answer right now. We'll talk again and I won't kick off anything major until we do." Since her other friends might have other ideas, but the hacker is willing to help and he has no doubt that his other friends (some of whom are the same ones) will be too. "You didn't drag me in Lunair, I offered. But the same goes for you. I'm happy to stomp snakes until there aren't anymore to stomp, you just let me know. And I'll keep looking in the mean time."

***

There isn't much more for Zee to add to this discussion and she sits quietly and listens. You learn a lot from listening. Now though, she'll take up the offer of fries… and eats one absently.

***

"Thanks, Jericho," Audrey nods to the hacker, passing back the folders. Once he's gone, she sighs, going back to eating the giant cinnamon bun. "So…That was an awkward reminder of awkward things."

***

"Thank you," Lunair nods. She waves to him and sips her soda. She is silent for a moment, twirling a fry before biting into it. "I really am a monster." Or a weapon. Hard to say. Still not a nice thought. "I only wanted to live, even if I wasn't sure why they kept me alive. Sometimes, there were more machines than people." She pauses. "I don't know. It does feel pretty awkward." And Lunair herself is awkward to start with. "But if you helped with the drones, I owe you a thanks."

"Also, I know zip about magic except that if you ignore wizards, it tends to end badly."

***

Zee waves absently to Jericho as he goes and watches the two young women. "You're not a monster Lunair. You've got a good heart and that's all that matters when it comes down to it." Audrey gets a small smile "Did you take a place with the X's, did I hear?" Change of subject is good, right?

***

"Yeah," Audrey answers Zee with a small smile, letting out a breath. "Just moved in the other night. I'm still…not entirely sure how well it'll work out. They've all got marketable skills. I can either make lights and pictures, or I can do military work. And the last doesn't seem to be their cup of tea."

***

Lunair listens. "Well. I've worked with some government agencies. That seems to be more my cup of tea. I don't know. I'm not on any set team." She is undecided. "Welcome," Then she looks to Zee. "Thanks." Even with all the murder to her name. Oh well. "Besides, you don't seem much older than me. I'd go with what you like."

***

Zee laughs and relaxes a little "I'm with the Titans but I seem to freelance a bit too." Nodding to Audrey, Zee smiles again "I'm glad you've found somewhere for now… if it's not right, you can move on, but I've met some of those guys and they are awesome." Shrugging "I think it's like trying on different coats, you'll find one that fits you better than others." Cocking her head at Lunair "Government work, that sounds interesting."

***

"I'm not sure what I like," Audrey admits to Lunair with a rueful smile. "Music, I guess. Art. Those aren't terribly useful, though. I don't know. I'm sure I'll figure it out eventually. Anyhow. I think I need to pick up some things that won't embarrass the red team if I'm seen in public with them, which is why I came out here in the first place."

***

"If it helps, I go to school part time. And they do have courses there," She offers. "Even though I'm pretty sure Botany isn't the most useful field ever," Lunair smiles back. "I'd wear what you like. But I am sure you'll find something you like. I often wear stuff like gothic lolita." FRILLMONSTER. Or something. She looks back to Zee and nods. "I can't always talk about it though. But I'm not big on being public."

***

"Have you ever done anything that nots soldiery?" Good word that, soldiery… "It's hard sometimes, when you get a new start and can choose different things." Zee smiles "If you want company shopping, I'd be happy to come. It's one of my favourite pasttimes" Lunair gets a nod "Yeah, I get the secrecy thing… and not being big in publics' often a good thing."

***

"Gothic lolita?" Audrey echoes, arching a brow slightly at Lunair's description. Yeah, that's just not a thing an army brat is entirely familiar with. Uniforms. Those she knows. Zee's question, though, gets a shake of her head. "Army. That's it. Sometimes I sketch for myself, but even that…" She trails off, shrugging, as she polishes off the cinnamon bun. "I'm sure I'll figure something out. In the meantime, I should go and take a look at some of these stores."

***

"Yeah, I found it on the internet." Beam. Uh oh. Oh Lunair. She's learning things from the internet. This could be hilarious or terrifying. Or both. "I see. I won't keep you guys. I might get a hat and move along. I can't stay in one place too long," She frowns. "But I am sure you'll find something awesome."

***

Zee agrees and nods to Audrey "Well now you've got some time to try something other than Army… you'll find something, I'm sure." She grins as she stands. "It's been nice catching you both again. Take care, Lunair, I hope you find a cool hat." She'll wait for the other two to rise and then either go shopping or teleport back to base.

***

"I'll settle for presentable," Audrey laughs to Lunair's words. "But thanks. Take care, okay?" she says as she stands, picking up any lingering trash on the table. "I'm sure we'll run into each other again."

***

Lunair smiles. "You, too. Be well. Thank you." Cool hats are important. She will go find herself a nice hat. "Have a good day." Wavewave. She will take her empty soda and fries containers, throwing them away. "See you both."

***


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