Appointed by Fools

March 16, 2017:

Loathe to let an unregistered Asgardian roam around New York, Phil Coulson seeks out one Atli Wodensdottir.

Times Square, New York

Now with extra garbage.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Thor

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

THREE WEEKS AGO.

One police officer dies. Another is injured. Shadow creatures attack a New York City intersection, and the heroes that saved the day were well known! Or at least, one of them. The other, a fiery haired girl with a similar disposition to the God of Thunder was there for a brief time, and then vanished.. riding a flying goat.

TWO WEEKS AGO.

The NYC Zoo is forced to evacuate as a girl wrestles several, large, modified animals, all changed by the abilities of a Nuhuman who could not control their abilities. Thankfually, no one was hurt, though a five ton Crocodile did suffer a mild wrist strain.

ONE WEEK AGO.

The Tin Roof bar. The Guardians of the Galaxy and Atli Wodendottir began drinking. …really, nothing more needs to be said.

NOW.

The cry is glorious. Epic. A battle cry of great proportions that comes from deep in the belly. Behind it, power untold. Vicious. Unrelenting. The power of a hero leaping to the protection of an innocent. It is a charge that that powers across an intersection just north of Times Square, startling bystanders and calling attention from all around to the target of the charge.

Then, the brave goat impacts the garbage truck that had hit it only moments before, as a very hungover Atli Wodendottir decided to jay-walk it across the street. The truck screeches, spinning sidelong before it impacts a car and sends it up on the curb, both vehicles flipping over, and much of NYC's beloved trash spilling out everywhere.

Atli, for her part, seems oblivious, clawing a hand down her face as she stumbles and staggers about, scowling the sky and the sun that has come with it. "By all things ancient and new, goat, keep it down! I am.. wait. Where have you gone to? Do not impart yourself as a burden, fitful creature, or I…oh yes. Yes, woe to the metal beast that thought to unseat me! BATTLE IS JOINED!"

A hand raises to the sky in a fist, halfhearted, and she leans against the overturned truck as she gives the massive space goat a pat on the back.

—-

Phil Coulson had been away for a long time. There is certainly a passle of things to get caught up on, starting with all of the problems these mists are causing left and right. But his rank imparts a certain ability to choose his own adventures, so to speak, and he has cherry picked quite a few reports over recent days and earmarked them as his own. The reports of the goat riding girl was definitely right on the top of the list.

A mixed bag of heroism and wanton destruction, all culminating in the need for ambulances to start working their way through traffic to try to deal with the scene of the accident.

When he steps out of his own car, quickly parked in an alleyway after his flight here, his expression is less than amused. He pat pats Lola on the hood twice as he strides out to meet the unrecognized Asguardian girl. He flashes his badge at her and looks at her with a stern and unrelenting expression, though his voice is terribly mild. He looks nothing like a mighty warrior. He has the air of an efficient, fatherly bureaucrat about him. Nevertheless, there is a strong inner core to him. He strides up until he is face to face with her and her goat, and casts a hand at the giant mess in the street. "You celebrate as if you have won a mighty battle this day, and yet your actions have harmed civilians who travelled in those vehicles, and have perhaps killed them." He points, frowning. "You must do what you can to make it right, for it was not your turn to cross. There are people in those cars. Since you have strength to spare, you can get them out of there for the medics, hopefully without damaging them further. That car looks suspiciously like a pop can. Then? You and I should talk. I am Agent Coulson, and I am tasked with defending this world."

Somewhat flowery, perhaps, but he has never known an Asgardian to speak in anything but flowery terms. Whatever it takes to get through to her.

—-

There is a squint, long and hard at the sound of someone talking at her. Talkers. Her life has been filled with them. Or at least, half filled with them. Okay, maybe only her sister Elissiv, who could talk for hours and hours and hours and HOURS about books of this sort of that. Adventures told over and over again, all unobtainable.

Until now.

"Whoever tasked you is a fool." Well, maybe she's a little less flowery than some, but her and Phil seem to be speaking the same language.

Midgard. Filled with fragile things. The goat barely struck the truck, and here it is, piled against so many other cars. There is a sigh of annoyance, and the Asgardian girl reaches out to pull on the turned over truck back to it's wheels. Of course, doing so means she must walk towards Phil, who can either get out of the way or help bench press the truck a little. It'll hit the ground with a satisfying thump, one of the tires giving out with a hiss. The driver inside, miraculously, seems unharmed, if completely and utterly confused.

"Toothgrinder! Right some of this wrong, or else I will… enact some punishment. For goats!" The goat does nothing, simply wandering close to Phil to lean in and sniff at Coulson's pants leg. A snort later, and Atli throws her hands up. Finally, she draws her sword, something that might make this situation worse, but she uses it to cut free someone trapped in one car, and then she kicks another empty car down the street to a sliding stop so that an ambulance can get closer.

The task done, the sword is put away, one hand pressing to her forehead with a groan. "It is a strange thing, the faint taste of this world's wares is like the nature of it's people - flimsy on the outside, and yet harboring a strength most terrible. Tell me, Agent, Son of Coul, where might I find more to turn this terrible buzz into a pleasant one? We can join in the foolish nature of your task, celebrating, and after, I will tell you of how doomed this world is!"

She seems most adamant, if a little.. under the weather. Godly hangovers are exactly that, after all.

—-

'Whoever tasked you is a fool.'

Phil merely gives a secretive little smile, one that neither confirms nor denies the foolishness of those who placed him firmly between the people of this world and things they weren't ready for.

But he does get out of the way, as he can do absolutely nothing in the service of bench pressing a truck. Except wince, hoping the person inside didn't just have his or her brains dashed to powder. Or people inside. That wasn't entirely what he had in mind but he relaxes as soon as he sees that the driver is, indeed, unharmed. That's a start.

He watches her other solutions, reaching out to pat pat the goat in absent fashion. As long as he doesn't start eating the suit, Phil is fine.

"I'll buy you a ham sandwich and a Coke," he says dryly. "But I'm not helping you indulge in the hair of the dog. I think that's caused enough mischief for one day. But I look forward to hearing your story." How doomed this world is definitely attracts his attention, narrowing his eyes just a little bit. "Either way, we must get out of the street." He gestures to the sidewalk, asking, "What is your name, daughter of Asgard?"

—-

There is a moment there where Atli pauses at the offer, hoping dearly that a coke is the kind of drink she can drown her woes in. And yet, somehow, she is sure it is not. There is a petulant puff of air that escapes her, blowing a bit of her hair from her face. As for the goat, it seems to be almost oblivious as it wanders over to a piece of fender that lays on the ground and begins chewing at it.

The Asgardian's shoulders slump when the goat once again resorts to eating cars. This is not the first time the beast has feasted on Midgardian conveyances. A hand reaches for the fender, and without another word, Atli leads the goat to the sidewalk. Eventually she finds a bit of leather at it's harness and ties it to a bike rack that could not hope to hold it. She does not try to strip the meal from it's mouth, instead moving inside Joe's Sandwich Shop, which has the closest set of outdoor chairs, plopping into one with a scowl only youth could perfect.

"Atli, daughter of Woden. Grandaughter of.. someone else." The scowl intensifies, and she sideeyes the sandwich shop, and the people gawking, and finally makes a face at them, tongue and all. Many pictures are taken. Finally, she waves a hand. "There is no story. I know not the parts between this one and the one that comes far at the end of time. Except to know that this world is a blasted landscape that my grandfather loves dearly. I can only imagine he sent me here for that reason. So, perhaps we are both protectors of this world. Both appointed by fools. As for the carriages your people love to usher about without animals to pull them, I have no way to tell their intentions! They should learn well to know that when a Daughter of Asgard crosses, she has the right of way."

—-

Phil listens to all of this in silence, musing on it. So she is from the future, and she has been sent back to avert some sort of catastrophe. But she has no details. Well. That's fantastic. Displaced in time, displaced in world, and as lively as 'Donald' himself.

He waits for the waitress to come, and indeed just orders ham sandwiches and cokes. Three sandwiches for her, one for him. He does this all as if everything she is telling him is all taken in stride, this little man past his middle years who looks like absolutely nobody at all.

"When in Midgard," he says patiently, "you must watch the crossing signs. They tell you when to walk…and when to halt. If you do not halt, you will harm the people of this world, who cannot be expected to recognize you on sight, nor to remember special traffic rules just for you."

In a lot of ways, the conversation is surreal.

But he bears it with good grace. "So here you are, hoping to avert catastrophe. Do you have a plan?"

Her actions, at least given the reports he's read, do not indicate a woman with a plan. But he'll give her the benefit of the doubt, and at least ask.

—-

This desire to give Atli Wodendottir the benefit of the doubt only proves that, indeed, Agent, Son of Coul was appointed by fools. And he must be a fool himself. The wheels turn in her head as the drinks come and she considers these hard questions. Arms cross and she sits back deep in thought, no doubt weighing all of her many plans. Or at least she's trying to look that way.

"I will fight. And I will win. But before then, I will return this goat to Thor the Avenger. I think it has come to miss him. This should solve the problem of crossing at appropriate times as well, as you have requested. For while I might learn your symbols, I am confident that the goat would not. Or at least, not care even if he did. He has… his own plan."

Her gaze turns then, eyes going slightly wide as she looks to the goat. That's right. She's certain he planned all this. "For now, I will continue to sit atop Stark Palace. No one has yet bothered me there. And it is a good vantage to watch for calamity, Agent, Son of Coul. You should come with me if you are to look for destruction on the horizon."

The sandwiches come too, and then she reaches out to roll them all into a pile and mash them together. She reaches out to take a bite, and then begins to laugh, indicating Coulson's single sandwich. "Wenchling! Bring this defender of Midgard another, he is not want for tiny meals! His bones almost show through his armor!"

—-

Coulson holds up a hand to forestall the bringing of another sandwich, shaking his head slightly with a smile. He listens to this 'plan' gravely, wisely.

He takes a thoughtful bite of his sandwich, deliberating, trying to decide how to respond to all of this. At last he says, "What is required in this situation is investigation. You saw something. You say you remember very little, and perhaps that is true. But you likely remember more than you think. The roots of calamaty tomorrow are buried in the actions of today. Watchfulness is good. Investigation of these things is better. Later, we should work together to get the details. But…we can sit on top of Stark's place if you want. It does have a good view."

Then he switches gears. "Before that, though, it is needful that you take steps to be held accountable for your actions here, so that we may know the honor that you bring to yourself and your family." And the dishonor, but that goes unspoken. He puts a small device on the table, meant to gather biogenic data. "It will only take a few moments, and you will feel nothing. This will gather information about you. You can even continue eating your warrior's meal while I do it. Here in Midgard, it is a sign that we have nothing to hide, and you surely are an honorable woman, a woman who has nothing to hide."

—-

The coke comes next, a long pull given before her face screws up, and the belch of glory issues forth. Then, she sneezes. It is a surreal moment. Drink in one hand. Massive sandwich in another. Her face screwed up in abject confusion. And then Coulson presents her with some kind of trinket, something that would be.. "You speak to me as if you wish me to buy it from you. Or as if you know many things, filled with numbers and other such nonsense, and wish me not to know your secrets. You remind me somewhat of Decimux, though.. less. It is not your fault, Agent, Son of Coul. The gatekeeper of Asgard is very tall. And made of some sort of metal."

She gives a firm nod, and takes another bite of her sandwich, chewing through it as if it were some great feat she were tasked with. Her mood seems on the uptick at least, and perhaps it is the sandwich, and this strange drink she is learning to like so very much!

But really, it is just the company. The goat does not speak to her like some of the animals do on this world, and few people know how to engage her, except to gawk. At her clothes, or at her manners.

"Very well, perform your test of truth and honor. I shall pass it. I was trained by the very best, in whatever it is that thing measures."

Her smile is the bright dawn at the end of a long night, even if it does feature a bit of mustard on her teeth. Kindof. A yellow dawn. "And then, tell me of your adventures, protector of Earth. I must know the measure of this man I break bread with."

—-

Coulson inclines his head in a manner of thanks, then turns the business end of the scanner to her and hits the button. A blue grid zooms over her entire body, sweeping up, then down. He types her name and a few other bits into the other end of it, fingers flying rapidly. It's all done in less than a minute. A blue light on the top flashes, and he smiles. "You have passed as predicted, Atli."

Then he tucks the scanner away, content that she is registered with SHIELD. "Now we may know the worth of your future actions."

And when she's causing big raging amounts of trouble that they shall have to clean up.

She asks for stories, and he considers. There are a few that he may offer her, declassified ones from early in his career. He sifts through his memories until he finds one that will do.

"A few years ago I was in Central America with a small team investigating the theft of certain technologies. We discovered that a group of revolutionaries had taken a group of nuns— holy women— hostage. We were the only ones in the area who had the ability to respond. They also happened to be our technology thieves, so we were able to kill two birds with one stone…"

He takes her through the entire rescue in a blow-by-blow, describing how he led the team and got the entire affair to a good outcome. This one involved far less talking than many hostage situations do; there was a lot more infiltrating the building and taking down revolutionaries with alien guns one by one. Which is precisely why he chose the story. It also happens to have a happy ending, one of the few with a straightforward, black and white happy ending that he can think of.

It's not entirely comfortable reporting on his own performance like this, his own good deeds. But…in this case, it is the appropriate thing to do.

—-

The Girl of Thunder listens to the mighty tale and devours her mighty meal, paying no nevermind to the blue scanner or how it so offensively touches all over her everything. The important part is that she passed, and as she downs the rest of her coke she begins to crumple the can into a progressively smaller ball, one that a machine might have trouble producing on such short notice.

"Ah, yes. YES! A tale of proper glory! From the Asgard I know, there are few moments for such grand adventure, and fewer for proper revels after the nine realms had burned. Though.. we did find some. Displaced Gods. A Midgard we could seed again with the first vestiges of more resilient life. And the giant.. I…there was a giant we fought."

Her gaze squints off into the distance, as if she's trying to pull it forward, into her mind's eye. But she cannot remember. Even things she previously told Thor. Such a /haze/.

"Mm. It's name escapes me. But I know that we won the battle and celebrated by.. by.. I believe we had to help give my grandfather a bath."

Her face screws up into a less than mild disgust, and then she slowly shakes her head as if wishing that memory into the abyss that slowly consumes her mind. "Well. In any case. Enough of all this of my pitiable tales. Tell me! How many of these holy women did you bed that night? The revel that comes after is as important as the victory! Tell me, Son of Coul, how many Sons and Daughters of Agent did you leave in your wake this Central America?!"

—-

Phil Coulson is mentally recording every memory. Every fragment. Every last little clue. He will end up going back and feeding all of these bits of data back into SHIELD's databases, constructing a special simulation just for the purposes of putting them together and finding ways, means, and opportunities to avert the dark future she says she comes from. It may come to nothing at all in his lifetime. Some counterpart of the Son of Coul might end up looking at it 70 years from now, only to find the answer. But what he can use, he will use.

"The holy women do not bed anyone," Phil explains with the slightest of smiles. "They have taken vows of chastity." Sons and daughters of Agent. That's hilarious, but he doesn't correct her.

"I've no children, save for the children of my heart." Agents he has trained, at SHIELD. That is not to say that he has been celibate, but he's certainly been careful. He also doesn't kiss and tell, so he simply holds that tidbit close behind his terribly tolerant smile.

—-

Chastity. This is not a word she is familiar with, but the explanation that comes before is more than enough for her. Oh what a horrible world she has found, where there are drinks that do not put you in mood for celebration, and people who do not believe in proper revels. There is a scowl, an expression she has perfected, and then she rises, tossing her aluminum ball at Coulson as a keepsake of their conversation.

"These children of your heart sound as if they are very special indeed. You have the measure of a man of honor, if not the stature of a warrior proper. But sometimes I am surprised by such things. So I will say this to you, Son of Coul, father of children your heart has birthed, they would seem fortunate to have you as a father. You.. are good at speaking, but without annoyance."

A firm nod, and she waves a hand towards the goat. "The beast grows restless. It appears to have eaten through the metal I tied it to." For that, she leaves a gold coin. She makes a face at how many she has left, for her wake of destruction has been most vast. "I must return the goat, but then I would speak with you more. If you wish to help me remember, so be it. We can find what will destroy this place. You should speak first to Thor the Avenger, however. He is a fool, as all Thors are, but he is a warrior of great.. well. He has a hammer."

That should be explanation enough.

—-

"I shall speak to him," Coulson promises, taking out his wallet to pay for their lunch. "And I shall speak to you again indeed." The compliments had caused a little bit of a smile. Hey, even Agent Coulson is not immune to the enjoyment of being told something nice about himself. He looks at the gold coin in bemusement, then decides, well, good enough. At least she's paying for the carnage left by the goat, and gold is gold and probably enough to take care of it too. He'll just make sure it gets to the owner.

"Until we meet again, Atli, daughter of Woden." He seems content to let her get about her business now, his own in this matter more or less concluded and wrapped up in a satisfactory way. The door is open and there's a line of inquiry to pursue…all good things. He takes up the coin after she's gone, moving inside the building to settle the matter of the bike rack with the owner, as well as his sudden windfall should the price of the bike rack be more than the worth of the coin. Which. He suspects it will be, but that, at least, is not a problem SHIELD must solve this day.

—-

The good Agent will get a firm grip by way of an arm-shake, one meant to invoke sisterhood. Er, well. Siblinghood. Yes, indeed! "Fare thee well, Son of Coul. I shall seek you out and we will unwind this mess." There's a brief look around to all those staring at her, at them, and then she beckons the goat closer so that she might leap upon his back.

Crushing that hangover was a mighty victory on it's own, and now she felt the need to celebrate. With a drink! A real drink. Certainly she'd find one on her last round of travels before returning the goat.

Or at the very least, she'd find herself a new adventure, so few in the future, and so numerous here in this oblivious present.

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