Hospitality Smile

July 28, 2016:

A convergence of time disruptors in Metropolis. A woman simply disappears from the timeline - gone, obliterated.

Metropolis

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

There is a phrase that people like to use: ‘Let history judge us.’ It’s an odd phrase, one of those things that generally gets said by people who are going to do what they are going to do regardless of what anyone else around at the time says or does.

Most people who have ever uttered this phrase might not stop to think that history actually does do just that. Well, if you’re important and lucky enough to be noticed by it, it does. Or perhaps unlucky enough.

Unlucky would certainly be the way one Thomas Nashoba puts it. His interaction with the judgement of history has been far from positive taken as a whole. It’s become something to which he’s devoted a lot of thought, mostly in the ‘how do I make this stop’ department. He… hasn’t come up with much there. Which is frustrating if not very surprising.

At the moment he’s getting an order of very nice sushi from his favorite restaurant. The one in the very nice hotel in Metropolis that isn’t too far from his work. You know. The sleek, modern hotel with the touches of the traditional that’s frequented by all the Asian businessmen. That one.

He gives the receptionist behind the desk a little wave as he looks up from the files he’s reading. Working lunches are often a thing with him. It’s interesting reading, most of it about a pair of Yakuza fugitives that haven’t yet been caught. Riveting really.

Yes, he’s doing that on purpose.

What he is unaware of at present is that history is judging him again, and history has a cell phone plan with unlimited texting. Two particular individuals just got a text from an unlisted number that simply says ‘We appear to have common problems.’ One of them is the manager of the hotel in which Thomas sits.

The other… a person of… rather unique qualifications.


Kimiko’s staff doesn’t remember Thomas. Every time, they don’t remember him. For her, it’s a bit frustrating. She gets around it by having a picture of him posted in security and at the reception desk with a flag to call her if they see that individual. Whom of course, they’ve never seen before. No matter how. Damned. Often he comes to visit.

He likely isn’t surprised when the cool, immaculately dressed, not-a-hair-out-of-place Kimiko Tatsu comes into the Hotel Niwa restaurant. Her expression is her usual mask, so she doesn’t seem displeased to see him. But Thomas doesn’t need to be psychic to know she is so-very-not-happy.


“Marshall Nakoba.” She greets him as she approaches in that British-accented English of hers. Her gaze flickers down to his folders, and then back up to him. The brow she arches is more of a ‘really?’ than any sort of curiosity.

She doesn’t say anything else. She doesn’t figure she needs to say why she’s here. HE’s here. In her hotel. Again.


Time is a strange thing and being around people who affect the time continuum can have strange effects on the 'muggles' that deal with them regularly. It's just that those 'muggles' don't realise it.

As Kimiko approaches the table where Thomas is sitting, she'll get a glimpse of a brunette - who she's at least familiar with - heading into the ladies bathroom. Just as that same brunette walks through the restaurant door and pauses, her phone is ringing.

Answering it, she gives Thomas a small wave in acknowledgement. She had come to see him, she's some information on something they'd found.


Technology in this era is laughable but surprisingly not as out of date as Mike O'Mara believed it would be. Lyla fortunately doubles not only as a cellphone but a vast range of other high tech gadgets that would make most in this timeline stare dumbfounded and she is not even considered high tech in the year 2099. At least not as of the past couple years.

A simple red button up shirt, black slacks, a dull grey tie and sunglasses. Always the sunglasses one would think O'Hara was a vampire if they didn't pay close attention. Having fangs also doesn't hurt but inspire that idea.

"So, fancy that, I end up in Metropolis again and the guy giving me a ring is… drumroll… " A motion of one hand towards Thomas. Yeah, recognized. The woman on the other hand…
A low whistle and an acknowledging tip of the head is given.

It is once in close proximity that he spies the trouble magnet that is Jemma Simmons. It just doesn’t stop. His smile grows wider at the irony.


“Miss Tatsu. Nice to see you again. Lovely day. And fine sushi too.” Laying it on thick? Yeah, perhaps the Marshal is a little bit. Truth is he’s also curious. Kimiko Tatsu is one of only a few people he knows to be connected somehow to the concept of ‘Time’. Coincidentally, one of the other people on that short, short list just showed up. Right. Now.

“Mister… O’Mara, isn’t it?” Irony that he should be having trouble remembering someone’s name but he’s only seen the man once or twice. “Wait? I’m giving you a ring?” Thomas pulls out his cell phone. Huh?

The texts come again to Kimiko and Miguel. ‘If that Marshal were to simply… go away, that’d solve a lot for all of us I think. I can make it worth your while. Think on it. In the meantime, also think on how things might go… otherwise.’

The beam of energy comes out of a clear sky with no warning and strikes a woman across the street, clearly visible through the window of Hotel Niwa’s attached restaurant where all of the temporal disasters have congregated.

You’d think someone being ray-gunned from above would cause a stir but… no one seems to notice. The woman simply vanishes without a trace and as she does a ‘ripple effect’ spreads out from her previous location causing changes great and small. Some of them are… cosmetic. Clothes change styles and colors. Haircuts change. People’s positions change slightly.

Other changes are… less insubstantial. A homeless man becomes a fairly well to do looking man in a suit, talking animatedly on a smartphone as he strides purposefully up the street. A city worker becomes female. The wave of temporal ‘adjustments’ washes into the restaurant and over the patrons… and Kimiko, Thomas, Jemma and Miguel. Jemma hasn’t been able to see this in the past. She probably can’t now. But given her, um, issues, it might well have an unexpected effect.

Regardless, one thing Kimiko and Miguel can see quite clearly though in different ways. That woman wasn’t killed. She was obliterated. Erased from time. The time allotted to her simply ceased to exist. Anywhere. And anywhen.

And consequently, so did she.


Kimiko hadn’t read her messages, intent on coming over to glare at Thomas. Miguel’s addition gets a blank-faced look. Even that whistle doesn’t get a raised brow. Yeah, Kimiko’s cuddly as an icicle.

When both her phone and Miguel’s chime in time, there’s a sense of pause. Now she does bring out her phone, glancing at the messages there. A look is then given to Miguel, and finally Thomas. Jemma’s added presence doesn’t have time to be acknowledged as the Time effects ripple outwards and now Kimiko’s expression changes as she pins Thomas with a glare.

“Get. Out. You’re a walking danger to everything around you.” While she might certainly consider the message’s suggestion, she’s not going to be doing anything in her own hotel.


Jemma is blissfully unaware of the texts that people are getting. If she knew, she'd be pale and shaking. She might guess who's been sending them. The same entity who's been trying to 'convince' her to change jobs.

Still talking on the phone, she does recognise Mike and her eyebrows rise. The 'time club' guy. Interesting.

As the changes wash over everyone, she too changes. Long hair goes to a bob cut, pants suit swaps out for jeans and T-Shirt and she stares blankly at the phone in her hand. "Who is this?" Yeah, this is going swimmingly - of course she doesn't notice the changes.

Nor the brunette with long hair that leaves the bathroom and heads out the restaurant door.


"Tatsu? Tatsu…" A small voice in his ear chimes, "Nothing on Tatsu." In a sing-song attempt at seductive. Stupid personality matrix. His ex had to have added that in on purpose.

"Right, O'Mara and you were Tom Mitsubishi?" "Rude, Miguel. Marshal Nashoba, you know that though don't you?"

He would love to tell his AI to shut up but no reason in letting people think he's talking to himself or nutty or wired. "Wait, no, you didn't send that did you… you just happen to continuously be a time anom-a-fuck…" A look around and Mike watches as the world goes through a visible shift, flicker, shift, warp and it's just not right. Like a video game glitching only its REALITY itself. "Not good. I'd just gotten over my panic last time at this garbage…"


Ordinarily Thomas might make a fuss about being asked to leave the restaurant partly because it’d really annoy Tatsu and partly because they do genuinely serve really really good sushi here.

Under the circumstances, though, he’s not going to. He’s not sure how Kimiko knows that he’s the one who is a danger to everything around him. Then again, she had said something about his temporal nature being… very dangerous.

Somehow though, given what just happened, he’s fairly sure that’s not what she’s talking about.

“Yeah we should g-” The Marshal cuts off as he stares at Jemma. She was not dressed like that a minute ago. At least she hasn’t became ‘James’. His sometimes partner turned into a woman the first time this started happening and that still weirds him out on the regular.

“Why don’t we take this outside…” Thomas grabs Jemma’s wrist and tilts his head to O’Mara and Kimiko if she’s at all inclined to follow. His body language should tell the lone muggle among them that something is very, very wrong.

Unlike the other temporal ‘events’ that Kimiko and Mike have been witness to, this one leaves behind some lingering effects. A place where time is… interacting with something that is not time and doesn’t much like it. There’s actually a scientific term for that (anti-time) that the future Spider Man might be familiar with. It won’t be hard at all for both to tell that it’s there though. It grates on the senses like fingernails on a chalkboard.

-

Does Kimiko know that Thomas is the source? No. She’ll blame him anyway. Besides, this only seems to happen when he’s around, so that’s proof enough, right?

The Japanese woman steps back as Thomas stands, the fact that he’s not going to put up any protest almost as annoying as having him there. If he protested she’d at least be able to give him a tongue lashing, since she can’t give him an actual lashing. Here. Now.

Her gaze moves past him as he gathers his things, narrowing a bit as she looks at that spot. She rolls one shoulder a bit, the Sense of it as offensive as the Marshall.


"Who??" Jemma speaks into the phone, frowning some more "I … think you've the wrong number." she finally says as she disconnects the call, looking up just as Thomas grabs her wrist and stills.

"Thomas? What is i—-" the Biochem, who is still at least female and a biochem, picks up on the tension and flicks her gaze between the other three "oh, something happened again, didn't it?" Letting the Marshal tow her along, she digs into her field bag and pulls out a handheld device, sort of a cross between a phone and a … tricorder.

Yep, Fitz would be rolling on the ground laughing at that.

"Let me try to get some readings. It might help." Whether or not the device she created to measure tachyons in the area will actually pick up the anomaly, she's no idea. But this is Jemma and she has to try to do something.


"Outside it is." Mike can't help but agree. The oddness is becoming every day to him but it is nerve wracking when you feel that the slightest jerk twitch or act of fate to ill fate will just snuff you in a heartbeat, everyone worries about death eventually it could happen at any time but this, this is different, this is far more harrowing and each instance makes his own future seem that much further away.

"Yeah, something majorly is happening. We're in like a temporal epicenter and it is teasing calamity." It also sounded very much like a threat was involved.

“What are you getting readings on? Let me see.” A hand extends towards Jemma. He is not his brother but he is still a scientist with some decent measure of techno-knowledge, plus, well, Lyla.


Jemma’s instruments aren’t really… tuned to find temporal distortions. How can they be? Science here wouldn’t even know what to look for beyond theories of ‘chronitons’ and ‘anti-chronitons’ and other terms that sound more like they belong in an episode of Star Trek than a serious conversation. Mike might actually be able to help Jemma refine things. Perhaps she should consider having him around SHIELD some…

Nevertheless she is picking up something. It’s a bit like hunting for submarines or stealth aircraft. It’s difficult to find direct readings on them, so you look for the readings of the things around them that they disturb. In this case, tachyon radiation. It’s not common, certainly there are no natural sources of it on earth. There is a faint source coming from that spot across the street though. That spot where there used to be a woman that now no one remembers because she was never there to remember to begin with.

Isn’t timeline manipulation fun?

“You know I’m not the one doing this, right?” Thomas is less trying to defend himself than he is trying to see where the other timewalker is on things. She is - rumor has it - Yakuza. No one’s ever been able to prove it but the rumors around the law enforcement community won’t go away. This makes her someone who plays on the other side of that great chess game of law enforcement. She’s also however one of only two other people - the other being Mike himself - that Thomas knows is directly connected to any of this and able to perceive it in a way that matters.

Which means, uncomfortable as it is for him - and probably annoying as it is for her - he’d really like to know what’s going on inside her head.

Well, he thinks he does. If he actually did he might be worried right now.

One more text comes up on Kimiko and Mike’s phones. ‘Compensation would be forthcoming. Just saying.’


Kimiko can’t help but overhear Mike’s interjections and she swears to herself in Japanese. The fact that she does so has her pair of suited bookends behind her glancing at each other with what might be concern.

Thomas’ objections have her giving him another one of those icy glares. “You say that, and yet here you are. At the center of these disturbances.” And causing someone to send her text messages that she doesn’t want anywhere on her records. She works very hard to keep her official records very, very clean.

Kimiko gestures to Mike has he moves over to Jemma to swap geeky stuff. “And you are apparently multiplying.”


Jemma blinks at Mike and then down at her device, before holding it out to show the screen "Uh, well… that's the thing. I'm not really sure. What I do know is that temporal events leave traces but our science really isn't that advanced." Someone might need to interrupt, and soon, before the Scientist goes into full babble.

"What I am seeing is traces of Tachyons, which means something happened but … that's all I can tell. For the moment at least."

Maybe Mike can help. Maybe Lyla can. This is cutting edge Science!! for this time.

Kimiko's words have the biochems eyes snapping to her "He doesn't cause them though." Before she looks to Thomas "Was it TRINE, do you think? Or just one of those things that happens around you?"


"Shall I translate the colorful words of Miss Tatsu, Miguel?" Lyla chimes.

"No, Lyla, shut up." That was out loud and deserved. Sarcastic A.I..

Without looking at Kimiko and focused upon Jemma's device Mike actually snatches it from the SHIELD Scientists fingers, whether she wants him to or not. "You're just as likely a source, lady. You can see this just as clearly as him and I." That was for their hostess benefit.

"Hrm, basic adaptive resonance theory garbage, huh? It is actually fruitful if you forget the fuzzy part of it and have the right sensors. I think your Ghostbusters reality TV shows try to use these sort of things just different wavelengths. Best used if you have a mapped grid. It is too patchy with actual sensory devices that are point-to-scan relies heavily on algorithms and traffic pings. You'll need something bigger or a lot of money and someone like my brother…" Who is in the future. Shock it.

"Nifty toy, in theory anyways." Mike flings it back towards Jemma. Not having realized they were walking while he spoke.


“Well… yes…” Here Thomas is, in the center of all this. Can’t argue that and he can’t really defend it. He’s hopeful that he’s not the source of random streams of anti-chronitons obliterating random people. Well, except he doesn’t know that they’re anti-chronitons and odds are that the person in question was not at all random. These removals and adjustments seem to be precisely targeted. For what, Thomas has no idea.

Which seems to be a theme here.

While grateful for Mike’s support in the issue - he thinks - Thomas blinks at the suggestion Kimiko makes. “Multi- uh…” He looks at Mike, then to Kimiko, then back to Mike, then back to Kimiko. “Uh, no no. I didn’t do that. Whatever that is.” He means ‘Mike’.

For all that he’s connected to time, he can generally only vaguely sense temporal things. He’s not sure about Mike but he’s sure that the Yakuza Ice Princess can actually see them.

Damn it. He’d really like to figure out a way to get this woman to tell him what she knows, or at least can find out. Even if he could figure out a way to meet with her without it seeming suspicious though, there’s no way in hell he thinks that she’d actually want to help. She’s noted several times that even his presence is… unpleasant.

“Uh… what’d he say Jemma?” Mike’s stream of Tech-Talk has gone waaaaay over his head.


Kimiko looks at Jemma for a long, long moment as she assures them that Thomas isn’t the cause. “I would hypothesize that were Marshall Nashoba’s anomalous presence to be corrected, the disruptions to the Timestream would lessen, if not abate altogether.” Her head tilts over to one side. “I would welcome testing on this matter.”

Mike’s comment draws a soft exhale of breath that might almost be a laugh. “I assure you. I am not. Of course I can see them. But unlike him, I am not an aberration.” The long, steady look Mike gets might suggest that, like Thomas, he is.

Kimiko finally looks back to Thomas. “Your steps continue to unravel the fabric of reality. For all of our sakes, I would implore you to remove yourself from it.”


"Hey." Jemma yelps as Mike snatches her recorder, looking thoroughly impressed for the moment. That look fades though as he starts to talk and she nods slowly, growing thoughtful. "A mapped grid? You mean look at it in its normal state and then …" she can see that might work.

She doesn't even seem disturbed by needing something bigger "Something that could scan grids in one go … Who is your brother? I'd like to speak to him." Yeah, Jemma hasn't worked out that Mike is from the future.

"If it's just Thom— the Marshal's presence" Jemma looks to Kimiko next "then why am I subject to incidents as well? Really, you should get all the information before hypothesising. That's just good scientific process." The biochem sometimes forgets who's she talking to.

"I believe what Mister O'Mara was saying Thomas, is that I need to change my approach. Take scans of an area, baseline it and then look for the disturbance. Which doesn't help us now, not at all." Still, that's something she might be able to arrange, if she wants to speak to Director Fury that is.


"She's got it. I'd snap point but I hate that looks somehow chummy but condescending all at once. Oh wait, that's me in a nutshell." Snap Points at Jemma. "Nope, nah, I can't do it." Teasing his own fingers in a rub back and forth over each other he can feel the micro-hooks.

"These hot spots of time drama are popping up in other places, I've witnessed them though, if what she is saying is true you could be a tether drawing a lot of this towards you. I mean, anything is possible right. Way it works too is time tries to gobble everything up, its greedy, so likely those like… us, are all drawn together so we can be mass devoured, erased or… corrected. I mean, that's A theory in a list of them and that's assuming time is aware something is amiss, like us, er, you. Yeah, I feel I have completely failed at this secret identity thing."

Like the babbling brook he has. A shrug and Mike adjusts his sunglasses, those glossy reflective shades bouncing light off of them.


“Jemma, it’s fine.” Really, Kimi’s view is kind of an outgrowth of the fact that every time something has happened he has been present. He’s been present for a lot of these things. What he doesn’t know and can’t know is how many have happened that no one has noticed.

Because, you know, most people can’t notice this kind of thing.

Though she did just suggest - in a very polite, very earnest Asian fashion that he go die in a fire - which suggests that perhaps he should withdraw and regroup. He’s sure he’ll run into the totally-not-a-criminal timewalker again. Things seem to be going that way.

And if Mike’s right, something is actively herding them all. Which is an unsettling thought.

“It’s okay. I think there was only one of us who didn’t know.” And now she knows, but Kimiko could probably see it already.

“Well IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII think that I should be moving along. I’ll take your suggestion under advisement, Miss Tatsu. Mister O’Mara are you headed our way?”

He’s totally not going to take it under advisement.


Kimiko just gives Jemma one of those calm, blank looks. Yes, if she were scientifically inclined, the fact that these anomalies are happening without him as well might be important. But really, she just wants to skip to the ‘testing’. Which would involve getting rid of a certain pesky sushi-eating Marshall. Mind you, that Jemma is apparently a potential ‘source’ will not be forgotten.

The Japanese woman stops at the property line of Hotel Niwa as the others decide to move right along. Finally, she gives them her best, polished Hospitality smile and gives them all a slight bow. “Thank you for visiting.”

She totally doesn’t mean it.


At Thomas words Jemma has the good grace to blush, brightly. She just realised what she did. She'll berate herself later though. "Uh, sure, Thomas." She'll quiet for now.

Mikes snappoint gets a look "You didn't tell me how I might contact your brother." She notes, considering the possibility that they do form a nexus for …. something. So many variables and not enough hard data. The Scientist simply doesn't like it.

"I guess we're eating lunch elsewhere then?" she says to Thomas. She still has the findings to discuss with him. "You're welcome to join us, Mister O'Mara." Because then, Jemma can ask more questions.


“Yeah, sure. I have nothing better to do. I’m hungry and the only dinner I have back home is a bottle of scotch.” A motion onward with an up nod and Mike thrusts hands in to his pockets, “Also, I am not getting the bill because if all things go as they seem to be with the Marshal in close proximity I’ll order a Tilapia and end up with a thousand dollar Bluefin. That is several stretches out of my price range.”

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