Elijah's Mantle, Part 3

January 23, 2015:

Beast asks Cap for some help and the gang debates Jesus.

Somewhere over the Atlantic

A quinjet cockpit.


NPCs: None.


Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

It's not the Blackbird, but the Quinjet seems to be interesting enough. Once things were settled and they were up in the air, Beast got up from his seat and moved to join Captain America in the cockpit, assuming that there's a co-pilot's seat. There is, of course, the question on his lips about whether or not he should -really- be flying since he was apparently found frozen…in a plane…that had been crashed into an iceburg. He decides, however, to let that sleeping dog lie. Instead, he takes a seat, looks at the panel, and then asks, "Do you have a moment, Captain Rogers? I'd like to ask a…SHIELD sort of question if that's all right."

Captain America had just put the craft into auto-pilot, setting course for New York City, the Triskelion, and presumably, to debrief. The information that they've gotten seems conclusive enough. But now the question begs: Does HYDRA have the mantle? And if so, where is it now? And, perhaps more imporantly—why do they want it in the first place?

Still, on the outside, Steve is calm, cool, and collected. "Sure, Beast," he says with a nod and he tilts slightly in his seat towards the scientist. "What's on your mind?"

For the duration of their journey back to the Quinjet, Leopold Fitz has been oddly quiet. One might guess him to be embarrassed about pretty much everything that happened back at the catacombs, and one might be right in guessing just that. As soon as he's back on board, he busies himself with going through his gear, making sure everything is replaced in its meticulously organized compartments.

Midnighter is back in his seat, seemingly staring out the window and listening to his MP3 player since he's put the earbuds back in his ears. He's obviously paying attention though as he turns to watch Beast head forward and he turns the volume down so he can shamelessly eavesdrop.

Sara is strapped into one of the seats near the cockpit, trying to figure out how to pass a long plane trip. They're apparently new for her. She did pick up a handful of magazines before they took off, but most of them aren't in English. Which means she's mostly flipping through them and looking at the pictures. "You know," she muses to Fitz, "I don't think the burqa is really an improvement on the swimsuit edition."

Beast looks over the instrument panel again as if memorizing it for later recall, "A colleague of mine…Cyclops…shoots beams out of his eyes? He mentioned that he worked with you on a mission recently and…well…we have some missing colleagues and we're wondering if we might be able to call on SHIELD to help. We think HYDRA may be involved and we've exhausted our capabilities. If HYDRA -is- involved, it's quite possible that our capabilities have been rendered inert in regards to them." He's not terribly concerned about people eavesdropping, but he's also trying to be vague and specific all at once.

Steve nods soberly, "Yes, I know who you're talking about." He folds his arms over his chest and stretches out his legs, folded at the ankle as he thinks. "I don't really speak on behalf of SHIELD, Beast. But I can tell you this: Regardless of whether or not my superiors will help you, you can count on me. I'd be happy to help, and I'll be happy to try and convince those who make the decisions for SHIELD to help, too."

"Nothing will ever beat the Merlin Comics Swimsuit Edition of 1997," answers Fitz in a matter of fact way. Beast's journey to the cockpit had certainly caught his attention, but it wasn't strong enough to break the brooding. Sara, however, is. The scientist closes his ballistic case once he's confident that everything is accounted for, and walks over toward where the NYPD Detective is seated.
"So, uh, I was wondering." He scratches his head a fidgets awkwardly for a moment. Most people would assume that he was about to awkwardly ask the woman out on a date or something. Instead, he points toward her hand, smiling in a bashful way. "That's a pretty neat thing, that you do. That thing you do, with the metal and the wires and the… yeah."

Sara flips the magazine closed, leaning slightly forward to look toward the cockpit conversation. "More of Nancy's group?" she chimes in, before turning back to Fitz, lifting her right hand and giving the bracelet a shake. "Pretty neat thing is one way to put it," she says ruefully. "Though I've got a feeling that if I try to explain it, it might break some of your science," she cautions. "Howard Stark was taking a look at it while he was clearing SHIELD observation."

"HYDRA is kidnapping mutants again?" Midnighter asks, raising his voice just enough to likely be heard up front. Naturally, Stormwatch heard about the last attempt given the threat to US security. "They really need to be persuaded to stop doing things like that."

Beast gives a nod and lets out a breath in relief, "Thanks. We're really concerned about these kids…and with some of the anti-mutant tactics that HYDRA has already implemented, we're drawing a logical conclusion. You've also had quite a bit of experience with HYDRA, if I recall." He turns as Midnighter chimes in, "Again? They attacked us there for a while, but we seemed to have at least squelched that for a bit." They completely hosed the HYDRA agents who attacked the Institute. "These kids have been missing for a while. We're hoping for the best, but…" one reason they can't find them is that they may no longer be alive.

Steve nods, "I'll be happy to help." He chuckles just under his breath at the comment about his experience with HYDRA. "Depending on how you count it's either 5 years, or 70." Although once Beast goes on, it's clear that the situation is no laughing matter. If they've stolen children and it has been this long…it's probably not going to be a positive conclusion.

"Well." Fitz takes a seat and leans forward. Sara is about to learn a lesson in why people tend to be cautious engaging him in conversations such as these.

"My presumption would be a combination of nanotechnology and a highly adaptable form of AI. However, considering you seem to have some control over how it works, that means there's some sort of interface with your nervous system. Thing is, it's wireless, and my scanners haven't picked up any signals, so clearly, whomever invented it has developed something that is far beyond anything SHIELD has ever encountered."

Pause for breath.

"You're probably right." He leans back, smirking. "If I really had a chance to dissect it, and of course I would only ever do so in the most secure and safe of environments, I'd probably discover some kind of alien technology. Things that might bend, or even break, the laws of physics as we know it. But, I'm up to the challenge."

Completely over his head, that one.

The other conversation draws his attention for a moment, but the matters of X-Gene bearing mutants is far more interesting to his wayward counterpart. There's a carrot dangling in front of Fitz, and it's called the Witchblade.

"Ah." So not another attack. And likely the children are dead so it's not really something Midnighter considers a priority. Not that them being alive would necessarily be either. He swivels his chair around to glance at Sara and Fitz, considering their conversation. "Perhaps you should concentrate a bit less on things that are not your business and more on things with a practical importance. Such as looking down more and learning how to remain still."
"It's magic, buddy," Sara informs Fitz, amused. "More things in heaven and earth." Tossing the magazines onto the seat next to her, she shifts to hike up her shirt and push the waist of her pants down on one side, revealing a scar the width of her hand between her hip and her side. "Spear of Destiny, used by an actual descendant of Christ. Through the armor." Settling back in again, she leans back in her seat. "Also, I tried to get it under a scope once. Breaking off pieces…is not easy to begin with, and usually has some unpleasant side effects even if it works."

"It's appreciated. I'll let you know what our plans are once I'm back in touch with Cyclops…" Beast starts but then the conversation behind him catches his attention. "Hey now…that could have happened to any one of us. It's not like the trap was supremely obvious. No need to pick on Dr. Fitz." He is a 'doctor', right? Gold eyes then flick to Sara, "The Spear of Destiny…it's a real thing?" Religion and Science are uneasy bedfellows, after all.@emit "It's appreciated. I'll let you know what our plans are once I'm back in touch with Cyclops…" Beast starts but then the conversation behind him catches his attention. "Hey now…that could have happened to any one of us. It's not like the trap was supremely obvious. No need to pick on Dr. Fitz." He is a 'doctor', right? Gold eyes then flick to Sara, "The Spear of Destiny…it's a real thing?" Religion and Science are uneasy bedfellows, after all.

"Christ didn't have descendants," Steve says idly to Sara as his blue eyes look at the scar passingly. But after that, Steve doesn't say much about the topic.

Midnighter gets a look. That look soon turns embarrassed. The fellow is right, he ought to keep his nose out of other people's business. Fitz is about to apologize, when Sara goes and reveals her scar. "Oh, um," he starts, blinking owlishly for a moment before looking back to her as she explains it all away. His face actually flinches when he tries, and mostly succeeds, in whisking away a smirk. A veritable smorgasbord of snark is about to spill from his lips, but the deluge is halted when Beast first defends him, then asks about the Spear of Destiny. His eyes flash from Beast to Sara, then back to Beast. Scientist, asking about religious nonsense… NYPD cop getting stabbed by Jahweh's great x18 grandson, not settling well with the Doctor.

Fitz whips out his tablet and begins searching the SHIELD databases for 'Spear of Destiny' and 'Known Descendants of Christian Figurheads'.

"Because he wasn't real," he echoes behind Steve's interjection.

"Stepping on the trigger can be forgiven." Midnighter agrees. "But moving enough to set off the trap was foolish and displays a lack of self control. A potentially fatal trait in an agent as was clearly demonstrated." Unlike a certain scientist, he has no problem accepting magic and looks curiously at Sara. "The actual spear of Longinus?"

"As real as the demon that ate her and tried to take the Spear after," Sara answers Beast's question. She leaves out the part where it's currently residing in her hall closet. "And I'll let you take that up with the next killer nun, Steve," she adds to the Captain. "Besides, what, you think he spent his whole life preaching love and never had sex? You can come to mass with me on Sunday, talk to Father Vincent about the crafting of the Bible. Me? I believe in something once I've been stabbed with it, thanks." At Midnighter's question, she lifts a hand, wiggling it from side to side. "I didn't have time to get the full explanation at the time. I'm not sure if it was what it was before Longinus, or if it just happened to be in an opportune place at an opportune time to become something more."

"Not necessarily true. It's believed that Jesus was a Rabbi…just not the Son of God." Yeah, this is going to turn out well — a bunch of scientists debating Jesus' existence while on a plane piloted by the epitome of an American. "Descendents don't have to be direct children. Wasn't there something going around about how he had siblings?" Magic is one thing. Religious-based miracles…that's another. Belief does amazing things, even imbuing ordinary things with legendary powers. "There are some who even say that Jesus could have been a mutant…"

"Are we done here?" Captain America asks as he looks around the room. "I think I'd like to review some of the intelligence that SHIELD has sent over."

The young scientist's eyes dart about as the group converses about such fantastic things. It hasn't even dawned on him that he may very well have insulted Captain America with his response, but the weight of that happens when Rogers makes a move to stop the conversation in its tracks. He stares slack jawed at Rogers for a moment, before slumping down in is his seat. "I didn't mean any offense," he mutters, before lowering his tablet and clearing the searches.

Midnighter nods at Sara's answer. The question was purely academic for him since he doesn't have to fight the one carrying it. At the moment, anyway. "Interesting. Is there a tie between it and the item you carty?"

"Considering the guy referred to her as the Magdalena, I've got a few guesses," Sara murmurs before clearing her throat with a look at the back of Steve's head. She had her crisis of faith a few years ago, but she's come out the other side. It's hard to lose faith entirely when you keep running into literal angels and demons. She shrugs to Midnighter - no answer on that front. "So, right. Intel. What're we looking at, Steve?"

It takes him a moment to realize that not everyone would appreciate such a discussion. Clearing his throat, Beast offers, "Apologies. I'm sure none of us meant any offense." Religion is always such a touchy subject. "Did you want me to take the controls? I don't mind…I haven't flown this jet, particularly, but I'm sure I can figure it out."

Steve pulls himself out of his seat and gives Fitz a friendly pat on the shoulder as he makes his way back towards one of the cabins. "No one ever does, kid." He gives Hank a shake of his head, "It's on autopilot. It'll let us know when we're close." With that he heads down towards the back of the plane.

Yep. That's confirmation, Fitz just offended Steve Fucking Rogers. He's decidedly not going to tell Simmons about that until the vicious SHIELD rumor mill brings it back to him. "I'll pull up the incoming packets," he answers, and begins accessing the SHIELD intel. Soon enough, anyone with a compatible device will have the (encrypted) material delivered.

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