You sure you wanna sign up fer this?

January 22, 2017:

Lara Croft pays a visit to the Triskelion

The Triskelion


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

After speaking with a young English woman at a chance meeting in the New York City Library, May got the ball rolling on collecting information on a Ms. Lara Croft. It took a bit longer than she'd anticipated, and mostly because there was apparently a LOT of intel to gather, but once it was all together, she had Lewis contact the woman and invite her in for a chat.

Additionally, May tapped Logan to also come in and listen. She knows he's got a VERY finely tuned bullshit meter, and she'll use it while he's nearby and not doing anything else because… wow. Some of the intel on Croft is a bit much for May to swallow, even now after having been the WAND division head for a while.

The call was pleasant, and Darcy gave an address. And then hustled to get the conference room ready so she can wait in the lobby to lead Lara in. It's work mode uniform this time. Black pencil skirt, white blouse, black jacket, almost too tall heels and her hair up in a bun. Same grin though. Hard to change that with your attire.

"Hi, Ms. Croft. Thanks for coming by. May'll meet you now. If you'll follow me?" Darcy gets Lara past front desk and then opens the door tot he conference room for her to enter first.

When Melinda May needed help, Logan was always there to lend a hand. He took it seriously, even if he might not have dressed for the part. As he often did, today he wore his blue jeans, a white t-shirt over that, though he also had an old bomber jacket with a sheep lining. He was dressed casually, but it suited the current weather in New York. No uniform for him. Instead, he had a badge. It was clipped to his belt, since he had to show he actually belonged here. He waited with May.

It was all becoming a bit too familiar for Lara, this sort of thing. She'd dealt with the Japanese government after leaving the once-lost island of Yamatai, then she was turned over to the United States Navy and met with several of their 'nameless representatives' due to the involvement of a downed USN Cargo plane on the island that resulted in both crew members dying and the plane's destruction… and after that, she returned home, only to deal with her own homeland's reps, members of MI6.

Now this.

Lara smiled at Darcy and she nodded and followed after her. Lara was in her black leather jacket, a matching black hoodie beneath it with the hood obviously laying back off of her head, a pair of new-looking blue jeans and black leather boots. "Thank you, Darcy." Lara told her softly and walked into the conference room to find a place to sit

Once settled in, Lara took a moment to adjust her jacket and hoodie and then leaned back in the chair and let her eyes roam around. She was all too prepared to answer some questions about the events of Yamatai, she knew how crazy her answers were likely to sound too. But nobody had thrown her into a rubber room yet…

May nods to Darcy and Lara when they arrive, then moves to also take a seat at the conference table. Already waiting on the table is a new-looking but already thick file that, once opened, has a photo of Lara attached to the inside of the front cover.

"Lara Rose Croft, daughter of Richard and Amelia, raised in Sandford-on-Thames near Oxford, England." May's eyes leave the file and look at Lewis, then glance toward where the coffee — and tea — preparation stuff sits. She then looks at Lara squarely. "I could go on, but I'm more interested in the events that happened on Shima Yamatai, in Akuma no sankaku."

The Japanese words May spoke were in the accent of a northern-Japanese native, and flawless enough to not sound learned.

As the interview begins, Darcy stood off to the side where she could see May, in case she was needed but otherwise was out of the way. About to zone out, the pause in May's voice draws Darcy's attention and she turns to follow her SO's gaze. RIGHT! Coffee and tea. Three of the four people in the room, she knows how they like their drinks. Tea for May and Coffee for Logan. Darcy brewed the coffee hella strong, and she pours it straight. Which means this is the last cup she preps. She makes the teas first, making sure that Lara's is pretty standard. Each cup is delivered to each person at the table. Darcy'll get mocha later.

Lara's eyes went to those others gathered at the table. She accepted the tea from Darcy and thanked her softly again, then wrapped both of her hands around the cup, inter-lacing her fingers together around it. She regarded Logan's tough stare for a moment before looking to Melinda when she spoke.

A gentle nod, a sip of the tea.

"The simplest way of summarising it, ma'am." Lara started then, distant stare toward her file on the table. "It was Hell on Earth." She took in a heavy inhale.

"My mentor, Conrad Roth, was contracted by James Whitman to be the primary guide for his… television program's third series. I believe it aired on the Travel Channel here in the United States, but I'm not sure." She pursed her lips and gently shook her head.

"We never knew that what we'd find would be… like it was, if we found anything at all. But what we found was, sadly out of our control. None of us were prepared for it, and this is why so few of us came out alive."

Logan nodded his head to Darcy as she serves him up a hot cup of very strong black coffee. "Thanks," he says, despite the conference room atmosphere, there's no reason to be rude to one of the younger agents. He takes a sip of his coffee as Melinda talks, watching, listening, and observing with his senses. He was something of a human lie detector by power, and a bullshit detector by choice.

He sat back, so far, he hadn't heard anything that he objected to. Unusually, he was forcing Melinda into playing the so-called nice cop, as with him by her side, she didn't really stand a chance at playing the 'bad cop' role. He did start to wrap his fingertips against the table, the sound was unnerving. He was strong, but the noise seemed louder than it should be, almost as if his fingertips were weighted down with something, or unusually dense. It was a ploy, using the adamantium in his fingers, trying to unnerve their newest guest.

May nods her thanks to Darcy and takes a sip of the tea when Lara does so that she can give the woman's explanation her complete attention. After the explanation is finished, and May is now pointedly ignoring Logan's finger tapping, she asks the other seated woman a seemingly simple question. "And what did you find there?"

Must not cringe at Logan's finger drumming. Darcy glances at the fingertips, then slides her eyes to Lara from her post by the drink station. Don't mind me. I'm just the waitress.

Lara's eyes glanced to Logan's finger tapping, he sure had heavy fingers… but she didn't think about that for very long as May responded and she sent her eyes back over to her.

It took her a few lingering seconds to figure out her response.

"Death." She said with an airy-whisper of a voice and a shake of her head. "The legend of the island was that nearly a thousand Japanese sailors had perished when going near to its shores, military ships… cargo ships… fishing boats, all lost at sea in the Dragon's Triangle that supposedly surrounded the lost island of Yamatai." A small pause and an intake of oxygen. "Well the legend was true, the vessels are there… at least most of them are anyway, from what I witnessed."

Lara continued then with another head shake. "But it was more than that. The island was being protected by the spirit of its former Queen, the Sun Queen Himiko. She was a ruthless ruler whose reign over the island supposedly ended thousands of years ago, said to have the ability to control the weather with her mind. This is how, in spirit form today; she was able to protect her Island from any would-be explorers or anyone, who happened to pass too close."

"The island was inhabited by men who worshipped her, however… lots of them. Descendants of previous shipwrecks." She gently shook her head. "And recruits from the outside world. This cult wanted Himiko to return in full, flesh and blood. And they were willing to attempt ritual sacrifices of women, in hopes of achieving this goal."

The finger tapping continued. It was a psychological trick. Lara was probably familiar with it, but like Chinese water torture, knowing about it doesn't prepare you for it. "If the Sun Queen Himiko was able to protect the Island from would-be explorers, how did you get in?" He believed her so far, but he wanted to know more details.

"Hitobashira's one o' the worst kinds of human sacrifice." Mostly because the people are often left to die of thirst or starvation, as there's usually some air when they're buried at the base of the sacrifice. Buried alive and allowed to die slowly was a terrible thing. "Not that any human sacrifice is good." And when he spoke the Japanese word, he did so with a Kamigata accent, as if he were a native of Kyoto. Funnily enough, he did not look Japanese. It was also a surprisingly elegant and feminine form of Japanese, which sounded somehow off coming from Logan, at least to those who could tell them apart.

May glances at Logan when he tosses in his two cents about the deity mentioned and the method of sacrifice likely employed. It probably says a fair bit about the both of them that he knew that particular style of sacrifice, and she was unsurprised by it. She then pulls a sheet of paper from the file, with about a dozen different small symbols printed on it — HYDRA mixed in with the rest.

"Did you happen to see any of these symbols anywhere on that island?" This is another test, and one that Logan likely knows to be on the alert for. If she reacts to any of the symbols on the page — but most especially the HYDRA symbol — she'll need to know about it.

Did she leave her oven on? No. Because that would mean she cooked. Darcy doesn't cook. She microwaves! What about the iron? HA! Like she OWNS one. Darcy grins as she stands over there, away from the table, hands behind her back, not really listening. Kemchi banana hottie doodoo human sacrifice. Wait. What? Darcy looks over just in time to see May pull out the Test. Oh! Darcy knows the octopus symbol. Octopii are cute. That group is not.

Lara's eyes went to Logan when he spoke; she listened to his comments and questions, a gentle nod of her head. "They wanted us to reach the island… at least some of us. They simply wanted us to be beaten to our knees when we got there. Lambs to the slaughter…" Another short pause.

"And when they first captured me on the beach the following morning, after the storm, that's how I woke up… tied-up, hanging from the ceiling of a cavern, thankfully I was able to free myself, and that's when I saw it all starting around me, realising the gravity of the situation… The chamber I was in was filled with the bodies of others who'd perished before me." Another short pause. "As well as another crewman from my ship… A woman, one of the cook staff." She seemed mournful about this memory.

When Melinda brandished the rundown of symbols, Lara broke from her memories and she sipped her tea, and then reached out to turn the list and drag it toward her.

Her eyes scanned it all over… she put her right hand down on the symbols with pointer-finger extended… tracing them one by one. "This one." She said quietly, turning the list back toward May. "On the lapel of a German Officer whose bones still wore his uniform." She remembered it specifically because his body shared a cavern where she'd had to use an arrowhead salvaged from his skull to heat it with fire and… Well, it was another bad memory.

Lara's fingertip, however, tapped at the HYDRA logo twice.

Logan listened to her. He was pretty sure that she was telling the truth. And what's more, he wasn't sensing any bullshit coming out of her, just professionalism. He took another sip from his coffee, a long sip. It was nearly empty at this point. He looked for Darcy, making eye contact with her at one point. Her heart was obviously in the right place, but she needed more help being brought up to speed than this Lara Croft seemed to.

He stopped rapping his fingertips against the desk. It hadn't worked yet anyway. But he was impressed and he believed her. He then turned to Mel and gave her a look. When you knew someone the way he knew Mel, he didn't need to use word to convey some thoughts, and he thought that Croft would work out fine.

Catching Logan's glance, May nods back ever so slightly before turning back to Lara again. "That symbol is for a division within the Third Reich known as HYDRA. They were… loosely, a scientific research division. More accurately, they were Hitler's goon squad tasked with all of the more fringe theories and weapons. Like aliens. Magic. Mystical artefacts'. Creating super soldiers through genetic manipulation, though at that time they didn't even know what DNA was." The fact that May offered that much information is a clear indicator to at least Darcy and Logan that she plans on putting a job offer on the table for Croft. But in the meantime, she wants to see what else the woman knows.

"Are there any other symbols here you recognize?"

And it's the signal Darcy needs to get into her tablet and cue up the things May needs to make an offer.

If Lara knew anything about Logan, she'd be pleased to know that he didn't hate her. But sadly, to her, he was just a handsome man who was a member of the same group as Melinda and that super cool Darcy Lewis.

"Hydra…" Lara repeated quietly. "I've… ran across the name before." She idly commented, her mind running a kilometre a second. "They were on Yamatai in-force… There were Nazi hardware and base installations all over the island. There was every indication that a series of major conflicts took place all across the island, way back then. Most of it all was in severe disrepair and… What I found that wasn't, I salvaged to survive."

Lara glanced to Darcy when she saw the woman move, but when the question about the other symbols was asked, she refocused on Melinda and then on the list. "Several." She said, setting her tea cup aside she pointed at each one, specifically naming them off. "Asgardian influences, not Thor or Loki… someone else, I would need my journal to cross reference it." She moved her finger down. "Ganapati and Vinayaka, or Ganesha… this was represented on several artefacts' I found on the island, but I believe they were recovered items from shipwrecks around the coastline." A soft sigh. "A symbol of the Magi." She commented on another icon.

"And I believe the last logo is… the Ghostbusters?" She narrowed her eyes; it was indeed the Ghostbusters logo. "I'm rather certain it was not on Yamatai in any capacity. Not that my two eyes saw at least."

Logan continued to listen to Croft and May, but at this point, he was more of an observer than anything else. It was not his interview. He was here for support and a second opinion. He'd already made up his mind and conveyed it. But, things could be said or done to change that opinion. He began to rub at where his claws protruded. The skin was normal, but it sometimes itched there, especially when he had gone too long without unsheathing his claws. There was no reason to do so, which meant he decided to give it a bit of an itch.

May nods as Lara lists off the symbols she recognises, and is mildly impressed that she even placed the Magi symbol and the character for Fenris. "Well, then, Ms. Croft. I think you will prove to be a valuable asset to S.H.I.E.L.D. in general, and W.A.N.D. in particular. Lewis has all of the necessary paperwork." She closes the file and moves to stand. "One last question: Do you recommend against W.A.N.D. sending as task force to explore Shima Yamatai?"

Wait. Asgardian? Darcy pauses briefly, looking up to try to spot which one Lara pointed out but the archaeologist had already moved on, and so Dracy sighs lightly and returns to her work on the tablet. Background check agreements, W9… and the standard S.H.I.E.L.D. H.R. forms. Darcy's making sure that the fields she can fill out — name, date of birth, age, etc — are filled out. Thank you May for the handy dandy dossier. Forms ready, Darcy smiles and steps forward to offer Lara the tablet and a stylus.

Lara would glance to Logan again, he was definitely holding that aura of 'bad cop' about him, which she understand the use of that tactic so it didn't perturb her at all.

An inhale was had at the words that May spoke, a gentle nod was given. She wasn't entirely sure of the full scope of what she was signing up for, but it was a necessary step to take in hopes of avoiding the use of the finances that belong to her parents, even if they had been signed over to her (after a lengthy battle with her extended family over them this past Fall).

Lara's head gently shook at Melinda's question. "It is up to the Japanese government now, they and theirs have laid claim to it. But the Island itself? Is safe now, as safe as an island covered in centuries-old military hardware, pitfalls, ancient ruins, lethal booby traps… and well." She paused. "Himiko is gone from it. I killed her myself… What's left is, a truly remarkable site though that, in my opinion, puts even King Tut's Tomb to shame." A small smile. "In a manner of speaking, of course."

A glance was given over and up to Darcy when she brought those forms and the stylus. "Thank you again, Darcy." Lara softly spoke and then scanned the forms visually.

Looking to May at Lara's description of the place, he smiles. It's a warm and genuine smile. "Sounds like fun. If you want, and she's willing, Croft and I could check it out." Yeah, he was a man of many words. He was more than willing to walk into that hell hole. For him, it'd be a Tuesday.

May gives Logan an evaluating look. "All right, Logan. You take Croft through the standard weapons and training certifications and once she's passed them all I'll schedule for you to go explore Shima Yamatai." Of course, saying that way means she's putting it on Logan to make sure that Lara passes those certifications, or trains until she does.

"No problem. Welcome to the crazy train. I like hitting the taco truck on Thursdays," Darcy says to Lara with a warm smile. When Logan and May conspire to get Lara certified for Field Work, Darcy grins lopsidedly. Aw yeah.

Conrad Roth had been a major gun-nut and in their time together he had passed a lot of his knowledge off on her. Where her father had taught her about the history of the world, Conrad had taught her about survival and how to use your surroundings to simply 'keep moving forward'.

Lara listened to Logan and Melinda share words and then she looked over and up to Darcy, smiled at her words. "That sounds like a time I will have to share with you." She tells her, handing her back the stylus and signed forms.

With a light exhale, Lara went to stand up then. "I cannot say that I'm personally eager to return there." She told all three of them. "I lost… several friends during those days. But I understand that you will need to see it all, to truly believe it. And I know that it won't disappoint." She always seemed eerily calm, rarely ever seeming to go one way or the other in emotion.

"Don't worry, I got a feelin' that she'll pass with flying colours." He spoke about Croft as if she weren't in the room when talking to May, but then he turns to her. "I know how ya feel. Believe me, I've had my share o' those." But he was curious, S.H.I.E.L.D. was curious, and the best way to tell if someone was good, was with a field test. He was fairly certain that Croft would pass that too. He wanted to see her in action. "You sure you wanna sign up fer this?"

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