The Decorated Badge Club

February 02, 2018:

Rusalka Stojespal and Sloane Albright meet for lunch and reunite with Kamala Khan; a friendship is formed quickly.

Stark Industries employee cafeteria

It's big, it's comfy, it's got angus burgers. What else do you need from a lunch hall?


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Tony Stark, Phil Coulson


Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

The brutality of the winter that's struck at New York City has finally abated. It's still subfreezing at night, but the daytimes - mostly - have been almost balmy compared to the frost-covered nightmare the week before. Cloudy, sure, but not blotting out the sun to apocalyptic levels like it had, and the brightness of the city's lights manages to once more drive away any looming darkness. Stark Industries, both a reflection and the very heart of that return to normality, still stands. Proud, battered, but still holding a torch for the future.

Granted, it's got some help. SHIELD agents sift between the construction workers repairing the last of the damage, making sure Fortress Stark is once more secure. With the kinds of threats that came about, they're taking no chances of any of the company's technologies falling into the wrong hands. The devil alone knows what the Joker and his henchmen might do with them.

Deep inside the building, in one of the service garages, there's a sudden and unexpected pinging. An alarm, declaring it's time for lunch. It keeps pinging, before it's immediately followed by a sudden metallic thud and a quite a loud burst of swearing. Rusalka Stojespal totally did not spend the last three days awake consumed by a problem and does not have sleep to catch up on, no. That does not happen to her, she was…merely distracted and didn't hear the beeping of her alarm.

A quick cleanup, and the service bay is closed - tugging off the grease-stained jumpsuit, she's half-hopping and half-running to meet up with Sloane for lunch. Burger day. Angus steak burger day. No time to change, so all she's got on in this weather is a t-shirt, shorts, and her usual shoes. Probably the only person in the entire building with bare arms and legs, but there's no way she's going outside. Only over to the lunch room…now, where is her friend? Cobalt blue eyes scan the line - ah. There. …Already ordering. Yeah, she's late.

There is no bump on her forehead from where she startled herself awake and banged into her car's gas tank, either. Pay no attention to that.

The building is… well, in PARTS it's still usable, and Kamala has projects she's working on. The best thing about being an intern at Stark Industries? You're not just a coffee-making drone. Well, you ARE expected to make the coffee, but when one of her fellow interns tried to make an automatic coffee maker/delivery system and ended up frying most of the 9th floor's wiring, people went back to just using the Stark-branded Keurigs. Ever since the Stark tech went evil, a lot of people have been drinking tea or just stopping at Starkbucks on their way in.

One of the other big huge benefits of being a Stark intern is free meals. Lots of companies have them in order to keep employees at the building working instead of running off around the city for meals, but Stark has some of the best lunches around. Especially on Angus burger day. ESPECIALLY. Given that her powers make her a black hole for food, Kamala eats like a twenty year old boy and gains weight about as quickly—i.e., not at all. So when the alarm goes off, she's dashing for the elevator and… just misses it. Cursing under her breath, she dives through the door for the fire stairs and sprints down, down, down to the cafeteria and into line, skidding in just behind Sally.

"Flippin' agents eating our burgers… oh! Oh hi!" Brown girl. Red, red cheeks. "I didn't mean. I mean. There's plenty to go around. I'm just STARVING."

With the construction work, being an 'enhanced asset' is valuable on-site, meaning that she has to deal with almost double the foot patrols, check in with more guards, and even if she's a junior agent, filling out /so/ much paperwork. But, with the quadruple-plus shifts she pulled during the blackout, this isn't /so/ bad, at least.

Being on the job means dressing for it, too: Decked out in the full uniform of Merrow, from the customized black and blue-accented wetsuit and her jacket, though she's keeping a beanie on-hand for when she needs to sneak outside. It doesn't do much for her ears, though— one of these days she's going to have to just sneak onto one of those craft websites and commission the weirdest set of earmuffs this side of Manhattan.

The food's good, at least. When she picks up her food on the stock-standard plastic tray, it draws more than a few looks: A pyramid of eight hamburgers (with the fixins) arranged on two plates, fries, and a small prepared plastic container of greens, holding a plastic fork in her teeth, hooked partway behind one of those long fangs she calls incisors. There's a large bottle of some generic Gatorade-alike tucked under her arm, too.

Digging her wallet out of her jacket, engaging in the big balancing act as she pays, Sloane shoots a look back at the Sokovian— though the girl rushing in gets a look. Kind of familiar?— and grins, then points to one of the tables before she— and the mountain of food— heads to one of the tables.

Not just angus burger day, but free angus burger day, for the employees at least. Stark's priorities, even if Rusalka might just consider many of them completely crazy, do have nice benefits. Maybe not free for everyone, but at least he won't turn away a friendly, helpful face. Even if that face has blue scales on the cheeks, orange eyes, and pointy ears the likes of which even Spock has never seen.

She'd heard about the little incident on 9. Coffee! Americans love it too much; they need to be reintroduced to the proper thing…tea. A small snort as she watches the crowd around her before there's nearly a screech and a grumble behind her. A familiar voice, no less, though one she hasn't seen in a while. Sally turns, squinting a moment trying to remember before snapping a finger.

At least her accent's not too bad. "Ahh…Kamala! Yes? From the science fair?" Not one she'll easily forget. She can't help a snorted laugh at the comment about burger-thievery. A hand waves in dismissal. "Bah, do not worry. Sometimes I wonder if they have decided whether to charge me as an agent, or treat me as an employee." And then it's her turn in line, picking and choosing like a normal person.

One burger. A little side-salad. And of course? Tea. Because everything is better with tea. As soon as she sees the growing pile of protein on Kamala's plate though, there's a terrible thought that occurs. Just…who IS the bigger eater? "Ah, miss Khan? Would you like to join us?" Grin. Sally nods her head in Sloane's way, then gives her best friend a wave. "One moment!" If agreed, she'll happily lead her new friend to meet her old friend…trying not to shiver in the lunchroom. Maybe it is a little cold.

And totally not looking forward to turning lunch into a burger contest between Sloane and Kamala, because that would be utterly nekulturny.


Kamala smiles sweetly at the cafeteria attendant behind the sneeze guard. She stands still and waits and does not take her plate when the third burger is placed. Or the fifth.

"I remember!" she replies, beaming at Rusalka. "That was a heck of a day. But it turned out well in the end; here I am, and here you are, and Bruno's on 6 since the chem labs on 12 got a little smushed. I have to say, I feel a little… a whole lot less of a genius than everyone else in this building. So much goes straight over my head. But I'm still learning."

Eight burgers all told. A mug of tea to match Sally's, and Kamala even shyly watches how the agent doctors her tea (does she? do cool people put sugar in their tea? if she doesn't put sugar in her tea, will she be cool?) and makes hers just the same.

"Oh, I'd love to, thanks!" Kamala, for what it's worth, looks pretty much like any other nerd in the building: skinny jeans, an oversized hoodie with cat ears and puffballs dangling from the hoodie strings, and a T-shirt underneath saying "no i will not fix your computer
POT: Kamala Khan just posed.


Kamala smiles sweetly at the cafeteria attendant behind the sneeze guard. She stands still and waits and does not take her plate when the third burger is placed. Or the fifth.

"I remember!" she replies, beaming at Rusalka. "That was a heck of a day. But it turned out well in the end; here I am, and here you are, and Bruno's on 6 since the chem labs on 12 got a little smushed. I have to say, I feel a little… a whole lot less of a genius than everyone else in this building. So much goes straight over my head. But I'm still learning."

Eight burgers all told. A mug of tea to match Sally's, and Kamala even shyly watches how the agent doctors her tea (does she? do cool people put sugar in their tea? if she doesn't put sugar in her tea, will she be cool?) and makes hers just the same.

"Oh, I'd love to, thanks!" Kamala, for what it's worth, looks pretty much like any other nerd in the building: skinny jeans, an oversized hoodie with cat ears and puffballs dangling from the hoodie strings, and a T-shirt underneath saying "no i will not fix your computer". And a pair of red white and blue Captain America-looking boots, clearly well worn but proudly polished. She takes herself and her meat mountain to sit with Sloane, eyes widening when she sees that someone else has her appetite.

"Hi!" She gives a little wave. "Kamala Khan."

Pulling the chair back from the table, Sloane shrugs out of the SHIELD jacket and drapes it over the back of her seat; her arms are covered to nearly the shoulder with sleeves; cut-finger gloves are tugged off her hands and tossed onto the table before she sets her phone down adjacent to the tray, plunking down into her seat.

A few moments later, and Sally brings someone new to the table.

"Those shoes are bitchin'," the ginger says with a grin. "Sloane Albright."

The energy drink's given a twist to pop the cap off, taking a quick haul before a short 'gah' and stick-out of her tongue, setting the bottle to one side and sorting her food out. Kamala has … eight burgers. Her age, maybe? Someone who eats like that is …

… probably really hyper-active. Makes sense for Stark Industries.

"Well, I know why Sally's here, but — intern?" she asks, picking up her first burger. "Mister Stark likes scoopin' them up as soon as he can."

And then a big, big chomp with big, big teeth.

The old man behind the counter stares at the girl through thick spectacles. MORE BURGER. "You eat just like that other one," he mumbles, adding precisely more burger. Five…six…seven…eight… His eyes widen a little as Kamala finally holds up a hand, shaking his head. "Kids these days, where do they get that metabolism." He glances back at Sloane, then shakes his head again. "Gonna need another batch up quick at this rate," the old man says to the kitchen.

"Got you covered, Stan," comes from the back. Good, he thinks. Lord help us all if they want seconds!

Tea? Sally does something Kamala's probably never seen before - skips the sugar and hits up…the jelly stand? A couple packets of strawberry jelly, set next to the hot cup, before she'll lead the other girl over. "Come on then. I approve of the shirt." The cat-eared hoodie too, that's just cute. But Sally's got a bet with herself as soon as she sees the girl's shoes…

…yup. Sloane doesn't even get to introduce herself before spotting them. Two Captain America fans..this should be amusing. She's not even paying much attention to the giant pile of food for either of them; she's grown accustomed to such things - to the point that sometimes she feels like she should join in, and be 'normal' and not some picky, mousy eater.

Then she steps on the scale in the morning and remembers why she doesn't.

"Kamala, Sloane. My best friend, and most excellent musician." She'll follow the others, huddling up a bit and slightly bemoaning the air conditioning. Well, that's what the hot tea is for - and Kamala, pay attention; this is how the cool kids do it. The strawberry jelly? Goes right into the tea, no sugar, no cream. A little stirring to mix it up and Sally takes a long sip before settling down. Warmth is good. Eventually she nods to Sloane. "He does, yes. Remember the science fair last year?"

Strawberry jelly in tea?! Kamala's dubious, but she wants to try it, so she gets her own strawberry jam packets before she settles with Sloane.

She offers her hand to Sloane for a shake while the other hand grabs a burger. "Good to meet you!" And then there's some honest to goodness wonder in her face as she really gets a LOOK at Sloane. And her scales (PRETTY!). And her teeth (YIKES!). "Oh man, I LOVE these. I saved up all my money and just sort of vultured on eBay until I found a pair. It's really hard to take good care of them when I wear them basically every day, but… oh, yeah! Stark Industries intern." She reaches to one of the puffballs of her hoodie and turns it to flash her badge. There are stickers on it. Specifically, a kitty face up in one corner and a two-finger peace symbol next to her face. "Nobody really looks hard at the pictures once they recognize you, so…"

She puts her head to one side: "I don't think I've seen you here before. What kind of musician are you?"

"Oh, stop," Sloane says, shaking her head at Sally— and being polite enough to not speak through the burger. Reaching up to take Kamala's hand for the shake, she's got a good grip, but not too tight— she's got a good handle on her strength! The scales on the back of her hands and fingers are (*too*) smooth to the touch and … oddly enough, a little on the cool side?

"That's /awesome/. I've got one of those old Cap promotion posters up on my wall, one of the vintage re-prints. I had to hunt it down, though."

Sloane's head tilts a little. The science fair… the science … fair…

"That was … /Oh!/ Okay! I remember now. I had to make the water bubble around the thing, and Mister Stark was there with that drone he's got all the time," the ginger replies, snapping her fingers at the Sokovian.

"I like the guitar, but I played … um. /Yes/. My parents had designs for me being a concert pianist, but I also played the violin, flute, drums, trumpet… That all kind of went sideways last year, though," Sloane says, pointing a finger up at her face. "After the mist was set off."

For Kamala, Sally has a little reassurance. "I am glad Bruno is here too. Though, hopefully he won't be too bored until they get the chemistry department settled again. And…to be truthful, you and I both. It feels as if I have not so much been learning…so much as chasing after the bus full of knowledge trying to catch it at the next stop. And maybe grabbing whatever falls off for myself. Yes?" To describe it as an intellectual whirlwind might be more accurate, but a little scarier.

A lot more accurate, to be honest. Sometimes she looks back on the last year and a half, and wonders just how the hell a girl who just wanted to race cars and build cars got here.

Sloane's 'oh please' gets a tongue stuck out, because Sally is totally a grownup. "Is true, you know. And…yes, that day. It was a bit of a crazy one, but…" Ahem. Well. "I suppose it was fun in a way? At least nothing bad happened."

She takes a look at the boots, nodding. "I think maybe…I can find something for that? Protective oil, like for motorcycle racers." It has the word 'race' on it; if she can't remember the brand, she knows where to find it. And then Kamala holds up her badge and Sally gets a case of the giggles, hand over her mouth trying to maintain some kind of dignity. "I love it. Aah, where's…"

Pocket check. Pen! And her Stark badge, set on the table. "Do one for me too!" …Okay maybe after lunch.

There's a softer, somber voice when Sloane mentions the mists. "You were gone so long. I am just glad to have you back. Appetite and dinner bills or no," she adds with a laugh. "You got assigned to this detail so that you could enjoy the cafeteria, I bet."

"That's right, that WAS you!" Kamala would set her burger down, except she's finished it by now, so she's just wiping her fingers on one of several napkins. "You were awesome."

And then Sloane mentions the mists and her eyes get wide. Maybe briefly a little too wide? But the moment's gone in, well, a moment. She's definitely going to have to talk to Sloane about that. But first: "I really wanted to say without sounding like a weirdo: your scales are seriously gorgeous." Does that sound weird? It probably sounds weird. Ahem.

She looks honestly delighted when Sally pulls out her badge, actually pulling it closer to herself so she can take a look. Squint. Headtilt. "I am going to have to go to the sticker store on my way home. Do you have any theme preferences? Or anti-preferences?"

"Psha, I was just in the right place at the right time, s'all. Which was … kind of the result of Sals basically dragging me out of my place so I wasn't a shut-in." She leaves off all the other stuff that /caused/ her to be such a shut-in, too. "Though I totally learned some pretty badass stuff since then. They had me workin' so much overtime during the blackout," the Inhuman sighs out, slumping briefly in her seat.

Fiery orange eyes shift from Kamala to her food as she progresses through the chain, her own face getting a little red. "Ah, hell, I— no, it's not weird. I mean— it's not like. Actually I don't hear it a lot, so it's kind of a relief," she replies, letting out a laugh. "I get self-conscious about it sometimes. Do you know how long it's been since I've had earmuffs that fit?"

"Oh, you get some glitter and sparkles and a hot pink race car and she'll be all set with that badge," Sloane says, trying so hard to keep from busting back into laughter.

POT: Sloane Albright just posed.

Sally nods as Kamala recognizes the Raddest Water Dragon, but doesn't say anything - she's not going to interrupt the two of them. There's a moment when Kamala seems a little more surprised than normal, but the reasons why go past her. The obvious, simple answer, is that the day of the mists was bad for everyone. A lot of confusion, a lot of fear. Not a time a lot of people want to remember…the Sokovian among them.

"You needed to get out or you would have ended up joining a monastery as a hermit." Blah. "Just needed a nudge, is all." Overtime. "Ugh, yes. The Joker's attack…" Kometa in the garage. "His clown-men, and then JARVIS…the Hulk…" Shudder. "This week has been quiet and by God will and Khoro's whimsy it had better stay that way." Her hand bumps the little pouch on a loop around her neck. Hear that, universe? Or else!

The badge is curious. 'The Hon. Rusalka Stojespal' makes for one mouthful of a name, there's a reason she sticks with Sally - not the least of which are the first two words of that name. Definitely not the kind of thing you come across every day in the United States. She's about to answer Kamala's question, chewing on a bite of her salad, when she's COMPLETELY BETRAYED and ACCURATELY STABBED IN THE DIGNITY by her BEST FRIEND.

Those blue eyes go wide as Sloane answers, and Sally manages to swallow down her lunch for a moment - but it's too late. "That - that is not fair or true and you know it." Totally true. Hmpf!

"Yeah, I — kind of avoided the Tower for a while." And her parents did not want her to go back, but they did with the understanding that she knew every emergency exit and would definitely contact them the next time evil robots tried to destroy her workplace.

But then she's stifling a laugh when Sloane suggests the pink and the race car and the glitters. She stifles the laugh, sensibly, with a mouthful of burger #3.

When she swallows, she adds: "What kind of overtime? Are you with SHIELD too?" A musician AND a cool agent? With iridescent greenyblue scales? Tiny fanfic senses tingling in the back of her head.

"I didn't really get the option," the fish-girl says, shrugging. "Work. Though after everything was all said and done, I got to spend a few days sleeping. And filling out so much paperwork. Nobody told me I'd have to do paperwork. Not at least, this much of it."

Maybe sparse on the details, sure, but Agent Merrow knows when her joke— her utter betrayal— goes over well, well enough to nod firmly while giving Sally the side-eye and the big grin.

"Yep. Badge and cool suit and everything," Sloane says, taking another drink. "I don't know if you were at any of the SHIELD relief stations in the city during the blackout, but my powers… part of it is, I can create water. And it's potable. I kind of … I dunno, I pull it out of the air. It's tough when it's so cold, but I was mostly doing the humanitarian relief kind of thing for most of the blackout, behind the scenes."

There was also the part where she fought a demon-possessed robot suit of armor with a four hundred pound Asgardian spear and travelled the nine realms on the back of a goat to create a trans-dimensional shockwave to destroy one of them. The latter part left her a little nauseous and ready to scream.

"I do not blame you. Once or twice…" More than that. "I thought about simply going back home, but. I cannot. I swore an oath to Mr. Stark's service, and am so bound." There's a glance at Sloane; the newly informally adopted member of the family would understand Obligation like that. Evil robots, demon bears, Hydra agents, psychotic clowns, mutant terrorists, more Hydra agents, technology thieves, and Methodists. Doesn't matter…though she would sympathize with Kamala's desire to stay away.

But then Sally shrugs. "Well. For one I am glad you are back. It is good to see you again, Kamala." Grin. Which, of course turns into an imperial frown - mock, of course - and a truly elegant sniff of displeasure. "Pink race cars and glitter. Ferrari red, or nothing!" Her dignity lies bleeding, but at least she can fake the rest of it before dissolving into giggles herself.

Snort. "Paperwork, hah. Agent Coulson had me doing the same, even before I joined. He thought I would spirit you out of the country for your own good or something, after you had been in their care." Shrug. "I thought of it, I will admit, but. At the time…you belonged here. Pink glitter, pfah!" That side-eye gets returned, before she nods - more serious, and more somber.

"You are lucky." She leaves out the nastier parts. "There were some…troubles, I assume you have heard of. To hold off those lunatics was difficult enough, but then I was press-ganged into the repair crew for the reactor." Sally holds up a hand, laughing a little cynically. "Not that I know more than a tiny bit about it! I have studied it, but…no, the reason they came to me is that with the others away," she adds with a small laugh, "I was one of the only ones who could read Mr. Stark's handwritten notes! It is…a thing." The last, about the giant reactor once more humming away under the building…

…and providing the power to cook up those gloriously wonderful hamburgers they're all munching on.

"I did help out some. But less here and more at the mosque and some of the checkpoints. Handing out blankets. Organizing…" Kamala takes a deep breath: "So when an Event happens like that, people just… they donate so much stuff because they want to help, and it's this wonderful piece of humanity and it's ALSO a pain to organize and store, especially when a bunch of it we just don't need. We didn't need bathing suits. We didn't need stuffed animals. We needed blankets, heaters, coats, warm clothes. We really, really did not need an Easy Bake Oven. Not that much help, guys."

Kamala's still eyeing Sally's badge. "Don't worry. I'm really not thinking glitter or pink. Not… MUCH pink, anyway. I have ideas!" And evidently she's not saying what they are.

She listens, though, and raptly. Sure, she does hero things sometimes. But she's still totally fascinated by the heroics of other people. And when Sally explains one of the reasons she was kept around, she laughs brightly: "Oh man, he writes like a doctor. A doctor who doesn't know how to hold a pen. I swear, you need to know what he's written before you can read it!"

But then there's round-eyed fascination again at Sloane's explanation. "I remember you doing that at the science fair. That must be SO powerful. You could probably fire ice bolts if you really wanted to. Have you ever tried? Or is frozen water too hard to control? You said it's hard when it's cold."

"Ahh, I get'cha. I — w-wait. Someone donated bathing suits in the middle of a winter blizz… you know what, yeah, that pretty much takes the cake for the most crazy thing I've heard in the last week," Sloane says, eating around the next burger.

Her eyes flit between Sally and Kamala a bit. She has yet to meet Tony more than a couple of times, and in both cases she was kind of the extraneous one that stood in the background while he spouted ideas and presented Sally with some neat new toys. She frowns a little, keeping her food up to hide it as best she can. Sloane worries about her friend! It's natural. At least she can bring the grin back when they shift to talking about Tony's chicken-scratch handwriting, doing her best to keep the mood light.

Joker: On Sloane's very short list of punchable faces.

The focus jumps back to her: Boston on the spot! "I can't … /make/ ice… but I can /move/ ice? Kind of? I'm not sure if it's because it's melting and there's water to work with, or what? But if I can keep it moving, I can keep it from freezing. The more water I have to work with, the more I can do, too— You'd be surprised how well whacking someone with a firehose is to knock 'em on their ass. They usually make this, like, 'wuhhh!' face."

POT: Sloane Albright just posed.

Listening intently, Sally nods slowly as Kamala describes things on her end. "That was…in New Jersey? The blackout spread that far? I spent most of it near here, so…" And part of it walking in the middle of the night back to Stark Industries after the Joker had finished with a certain Lotus. But she smiles, thinking back to the way Polyuchyn would huddle together under the worst storms. "That reminds me of my hometown." Not home, curiously. "It is small, rural, so there is much looking after each other. People give what they can, and well. Maybe it was good for a child, to keep them distracted? But. Bathing suits?!"

Sunny side. It's a way to look at things, and morale is always a need.

Though that badge of hers might end up on a morale trip of its own. "As long as I am not flagged as suspicious! That…" Oh dear. "But I admit I cannot wait to see what you come up with." Stark's handwriting? "Absolutely yes my god yes. At least much of what I deal with, the mechanical engineering applications, a hologram is easy to understand. Or simply building it." Shrug. "I suppose that makes it somewhat easier, yes? But to be honest…at times, for the reactor…" Her voice drops a ltitle, conspiratorial. "Let us just say that I am a good guesser."

And it isn't as if Sally's the only recipient of the engineer's Clausian toy sack; she herself has that backpack thruster he wants her to try out. It's just that Rusalka happens to be around more often, is easier to experiment on, and can be blackmailed by the word 'bunny' quite easily.

Sally's head tilts at Kamala's question, and she uses the chance to finish off her hamburger - number one and only, compared to the other two. It's a fascinating ability, really, and she's still curious about it. And while Sloane explains, Sally's fingers start questing carefully - the Inhuman's badge is right there and it's far too much to resist. Fortunately she manages to snatch it before Sloane drops her firehose comment, because she completely bursts out laughing at the perfectly timed comment.

"You mean like this?" She holds it up, the redhead's picture quite visible and squinting in surprise from the flash. Sloane's poor eyes, so abused - and so is her dignity. "Miy virnyy i nadiynyy krashchyy druh, turnabout is fair play." My faithful and trustworthy friend. Smirking, Sally slides the badge over to Kamala for her professional opinion on decoration!

"Hmm-mm. In New York. I came to help out with everyone else. I know I don't live here, but… well, you know how it is." They clearly know how it is. They're HEROES. And yeah, having lunch with legit heroes is becoming a bit more normal, but STILL.

Kamala stifles another laugh when Sloane's face goes 'wuhhh!', but rather than choking on her burger she washes it down with some water. "No doubt," she says. "Have you ever tried purifying water? You know, pulling the water over here — " One hand moves sharply to the right — "and yanking out the salt and stuff over here — ?" with one hand jerking to the left. Always thinking, this one.

And then Sally steals Sloane's badge, and Kamala tweaks it from Sally's fingers and gives it a long, careful look. "Oh, for SURE there's potential here. Real talk: one of my friends put a Spiderman mask on his school ID and nobody noticed for AGES."

She can bench two thousand pounds, eat a mountain of burgers, and control water, but she can't move fast enough to catch Sally's hand digging into her jacket to get out the leather fold with her ID and badge. "Hey!"

"That was actually the picture from my first pass. — It was limited access. Long story, but actually short." Sloane says, waving her hand back and forth. "My eyes were still a little weird at that point, I hadn't gotten used to them. God, I'm still figurin' out what tastes right."

The questions start rapid-firing in. The Bostonian's head slants back, setting thumb and forefinger at her chin with a french fry sticking out from behind one of her fangs. "You know, I never really tried? I learned a lot of control more than anything else. 'Cause like, back when I changed, it was like … water. Everywhere. All the time."

"You know those comics with the personal rainclouds? It was like that, just kind of, everywhere, water droplets floatin' around. Made my apartment a mess."

"That had to be really annoying. But with more control, you can dry things out too, I guess. Because you can pull the water out." Kamala's actually maybe bursting to talk about her OWN early issues with her powers, but she glances sidelong at Sally. Who would totally understand, but she's still shy about advertising what she is, what she can do.

She stuffs another burger into her mouth, scarfing half of it in one go, and patting her belly. "Mph. Food baby. I will totally give this back," Kamala continues, "if you let me add some modifications. Nothing that won't peel off if SHIELD gets grumpy. Deal?"

There's a smile on Sally's face that's deeper than the usual laughter. "Thank you. Velyke spasybi." She gives Kamala's hand a squeeze, nodding. "You came because there was need. Just like those in Polyuchyn. A good girl, Baba would say." With an emphasis on good, the kind of meaning far beyond that of merely someone who does what their parents say. A deeper good.

The idea of purifying water is something she'd never thought of - and it's an interesting one! Eyebrows raise a little at the question, and in anticipation of the answer. Always thinking, indeed, and coming up with unexpected ideas. Definitely useful to keep around, this Kamala!

In fairness, Sloane was a little distracted - and maybe a little too trusting of her friend. "Muwahhaha." Combined with her Sokovian accent, ominous laughter actually sounds a little like proper ominous laughter. She looks back at Kamala with a grin. "That is true? Noone?" Well. "Hopefully they will not notice so much as well. Do your best."

"I remember some of those days. I remember you threatening to make it rain in Kometa, too," Sally adds with a stare at Sloane. Heh. And then, taking over for her semi-adopted would-be sister, she gives Kamala a thumbs-up. "Deal!"

Old Man Stan, meanwhile, overhears a little of the conversation now that things have slowed down. "At least she's figured out something that tastes right," he mutters. Girls and their metabolisms!

Between Kamala's inquisitiveness and the look on Sally's face, Sloane knows exactly what this means: Oh god she's between a science nerd and an engineering nerd. This means …

She's going to have to put in for some time to be part of Experiments.

Poor Stan. Sloane is still going through her collective meal with gusto.

"I…" Sloane starts, then thinks about it for a REALLY LONG MOMENT, then with her mouth scrunched up and cheeks puffed up, she says, "Just as long as they're easy to take off the thing. I have to flash that at people and be all official with it. I should've brought my lanyard."

"Anyway, just don't eat too fast. You don't want to get yourself sick," the Inhuman says, plucking her jacket off the back of her chair. "I gotta get back pretty soon. I have to head back to the office later, Sals— you gonna be fixing up your car tonight?"

"Deal. I promise you can peel 'em off. Only the best stickers. I have the hookup." By which Kamala means she knows what brands of stickers come off easily. It's important knowledge when you'er 19.

It's a little hard to see when Kamala blushes, but at the same time it's unmistakable. She even ducks her head at Sally's praise. "Thank you. I — yeah, I need to learn to take compliments better. So I'm just going to go with "thank you". And it means a lot coming from you."

It's getting to be about that time, though, and she reluctantly stands up. Half a burger left. She's a little stuffed, but it's soooo gooood. "I'll see you later, okay? Lunch tomorrow, maybe?" And then she's off, waving cheerily before snagging that half burger and munching it on her way to turn in her tray.

Somewhere in the distance, hearable only to those augmented ears of a certain Inhuman, the Doom song plays.

"Spoilsport. But." Sally shrugs. "Yes, I suppose that would be necessary. Only a little yelling from our superiors is best." Coulson, probably, wouldn't yell. Not really. Maybe be a little amused, and a little mildly disappointed, as is his way. And maybe, just maybe, might ask for one of his own.

Sally shakes her head. "You are fine. And I should get back too, yes. Much work to do. And absolutely lunch tomorrow!" Kamala is much like she remembers…and she likes the girl. A kindred spirit, at least, if not simply a font of good cheer and bad ideas - both of which are excellent things.

"Mm, this is true. And - hmm?" This to Sloane, before she nods and sighs. "Yes, I am still doing that. I would not mind if you could help for a little bit? Nothing difficult, just start it when I say. I need to finish rebuilding the fuel system, so it would be easier with an assistant. I will cover the taxi back to the Triskelion." And with that, she'll bid the others farewell, and scamper back to work - and warm clothes.

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