Confidential Kryptonian Matter

April 05, 2018:

Superman visits SHIELD

The Triskelion

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Faora X-Men

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Look, up in the sky. It’s a missile, it’s a single engine craft off course, it’s…

Superman’s arrival was likely tracked by SHIELD somewhere between the edge of the stratosphere and airspace above New York. The sophisticated array of satellites and antennae above the Triskelion detected a hypersonic projectile of roughly humanoid size bearing down upon its position. At first blush it could have been any number of alarming things but the speed with which it slowed – as if seeking a result beyond collision – and then abruptly so – making it clear it was in no way avoiding direction allowed for a perfect image of what was approaching..

[Exterior – The Triskelion – Visitor’s Gate]

Knuckles rap gently upon the glass of the hut that exists on either side of the heavy gates which control the ingress of egress of visitors startling the attendant who had been briefly focused on something entirely different than his duties.

“Sorry,” Superman says earnestly to the fellow’s moment of shock following up with, “I need to speak with someone about a confidential matter,” the Man of Steel ‘s casual nature and good-natured temperament seemingly to not notice the fellow’s sudden speechless inability to perform even the basic functions of his job.

Though he does add, “It’s important,” as if believing that such an addition is necessary to secure entry to a facility where he has no official clearance. His arrival in this manner doubtlessly a signal that this is not a matter for which he is officially representing anyone but himself.

*

The sudden arrival of Superman at the gates is enough to cause the guard on duty to fall off his chair. Though the Man of Steel is made to wait for a little bit, eventually he is directed to the office of Peggy Carter.

The woman is dressed modernly, though her hair has recently returned to the pin curls of the time period with which many associate her. He is shown a chair, is offered tea and then the woman studies him for a brief moment. The door is shut firmly and that leaves only the two of them inside.

After that pause, she breaks the ice: "Would you prefer Superman? Or is there another name or term you would prefer me to use? I am Agent Peggy Carter, I was told that you needed to speak to someone about an important confidential matter."

*

Strange visitor from another planet. Superman is acutely aware of the terrible threat he represents to intelligence operations. A being whose gaze can peel back material objects not coated in lead and visualize the flow of the electromagnetic spectrum that permeates the structure or casually eavesdrop upon clandestine secrets occurring outside of a sealed sub-basement nine stories beneath the ground.

And so, he does not seem at all bothered by the wait. Whatever precautions are necessary he accepts offering polite conversation with whoever attends to him before he reaches Peggy Carter. “I appreciate you seeing me up, Eli.” he says before the door closes and with such honesty that it’s not easily dismissed as scripted social courtesy.

He accepts the tea if she has already poured herself a cup and thanks her for it if it’s provided. Peggy’s tremendous training in the psychology of others would make it clear that he’s inclined to sit if she is but would otherwise stand. Polite. A bit old fashioned. His posture relaxed but professional without any sort of heroic bluster or posture.

“Kal-El,” Superman responds, “Is my given name. I’m comfortable with either,” he says and pauses as if giving the conversation a more formal starting point, “I appreciate you meeting with me, Agent Carter, and so I want to make sure I value your time today.”

“I’ve recently made contact with a Kryptonian woman, Faora-Ul,” he begins, “I have reason to believe that she intends to align herself with terrorist groups supporting the advancement of human evolution and that any attempts by any power to curtail mutancy or mutant rights will be met with extreme violence.”

“I know this because she explained it to me before she almost successfully took my life,” lips press there as he exhales slowly and there is a look of unspoken sorrow to his invulnerable gaze. Sorrow not for the attempt upon himself but for the terror his kinsman now may inflict upon mankind and that it is Agent Peggy Carter who must now share the burden of that knowledge with him.

*

The tea is poured and offered politely. There is a tray of sugar, milk and half and half between them, should he wish to cut the black tea with something else.

Despite the file SHIELD is sure to have on Superman and all of his dangerous abilities they have observed, Peggy does not seem ill at ease in his presence. Instead, she is rather at ease with him: at least as much as any spy can be with a stranger. Polite and old fashioned is very much like someone else she knows. "Kal-El, then."

From the information that is given, Peggy takes her own tea - milk and sugar added - she frowns and contemplates. "That is certainly worth the time of the meeting." Not that she would have tossed Superman out on his ear if what he wished to speak about was something she did not deem incredibly confidential.

"Faora-Ul…being Kryptonian she would have many of the same abilities that you do?" she's trying to think things through, make sure everything is in its place before a plan of action can be reached. "Do you happen to know why it is she is aligning herself with such terrorist groups?"

There's an even more pronounced frown. If this woman could almost kill Superman, SHIELD is going to really need to look into how to subdue someone with such power.

*

Superman takes a sip from the side of the cup drinking it in the same way a man of Metropolis might drink his morning coffee. The taste of it brings no reaction to his features as if he might as well be drinking lukewarm water though given the topic at hand he might be forgiven for not complimenting its flavor.

“She does,” he confirms her capabilities with a simple nod of his features, “what she has not developed yet she will develop in time with prolonged exposure to the sun. I think that it’s important to realize that what she lacks is nuance and control. Imagine a bull in a china shop; So far as the owner is concerned it may not matter whether the creature might develop the ability to perform a ballet of tremendous grace if its only immediate intent is charging through the wall.”

His brow furrows a bit there, “My family were scientists and I was educated in that way,” he explains to her, “her lineage is militant. So in understanding the situation realize that we’re not dealing with an explorer but rather a conqueror who is likely to fall prey to any gambit against her only once and then adapt her strategies to never be taken advantage of in such a way again.”

Holding the cup with his right hand he taps the side of it with his fingers as if unconsciously wanting to steeple his hands as he speaks, “Which goes to your question. The best way I can think of to distill Kryptonian culture is that however advanced we must have been to travel the stars our culture operated in a system of castes. The eugenics of our world adapted these castes overtime such that each person was born with a specific societal purpose. Science. War. Artistry.”

“To build to that point our people made many mistakes and one of them was the suppression of natural genetic evolution. In our ancient history we too underwent natural mutation. To preserve our society we choose to suppress that evolution – sometimes violently. She does not want to see those errors repeated.”

“I think that she feels that if humanity suppresses its evolution then sometime, ten thousand years from today, it too will choose to determine the fate of each person before they are conceived such that military service will not be viewed as an honorable choice but rather the enslavement of those who have been chosen to fight and die for others.”

He seems to peer into Peggy Carter as if able to somehow witness the core of her person, "Does that, make sense?" He probes.

*

She does. The acknowledgement that this woman who nearly defeated Superman has all of his abilities as well more of a militant attitude is met with a studious expression. The explanation of Faora-Ul's abilities and Kryptonian society is met with something a nod as she starts to extrapolate, to build upon what she has been told.

"I understand you, if that is what you mean. However, if you are asking whether the system itself makes sense to me? No." If she worries about what Kal-El might see when he looks straight at her to discern either her quality, what makes her who she is, there is no flinching. That is certainly the core of her person: she finds herself a person who will deal with things as they happen. She will adapt information, she will act, she will take the meeting with the Kryptonian that scared the pants off of the security guard posted at the gate. She will also tell that same Kryptonian what she thinks.

"Beyond the politic of the matter, what you are saying is that she is equating the recent mutant issues with Krypton: the talks of registration, Genosha. She thinks it is history repeating. And you believe her to resist violently otherwise you wouldn't be here, warning us about her."

Peggy sighs. "What do you thinks she might do? Do you know?"

*

“That’s right,” he agrees matter-of-factly, “The idea that one of the surviving members of my race has somehow found her way here is deeply personal.” His casual nature seems to ebb here as the hero from the news reels emerges, “However, I have a duty to the people of this world for sharing their home with me and so to potentially jeopardize your safety as I try to quietly work through this – knowing that she may kill me and in doing so also gain the element of surprise is a clear violation of all the promises I have made.”

“I’ve already looked for her in every face within Geneosha,” he says the friendly demeanor returning, “She was not there just prior to my arrival here; But I only have one set of eyes and so while I am here to warn you… I would also like to enlist your aid. She is not native to this world. She does not have my refinement. She will betray herself but I may not be there for it.”

“I need you to keep a look out and when you find her to let me help you. How you handle her – handle us, that is your decision but I want to be an asset where you will allow me to be.”

“I believe she will ally herself with whatever militant faction will align with the goals of her mission and work to support them first in secret and then, when the strategy is correct, openly. That’s why I’ve already been to Genosha but because that’s the obvious place to look for her I think that is why she is not there. But because she is still inexperienced new here I do not think she will be able to hide too deeply, not unless I have drastically underestimated her time on this world.”

He lets that stand a moment and then adds, “I also believe that you have contact with those within the mutant community who would oppose violent extremism and I believe that the nature of opposing ideology is such that they might be the first to unwittingly uncover her. I think that I owe them this same warning and offer of aid but have no means of appearing at their door without tipping your hand and making inquiries of those who might be on either side of the struggle.”

“I’m not experienced in the clandestine arts,” he says in simple admission of vulnerability, “I don’t want to blunder this by making it clear I am working against her and so I rely on you to decide how to warn others but feel that, in allowing me to doso personally, the gravity of this situation can be made plain.”

*

"That I also understand to a certain point." Peggy frowns as Kal-El speaks of what Faora may do to him now that he has divulged this information. "I know this may be a laughable exercise in comfort to a person with the powers that you have, but if you require any help or protection from SHIELD, I am sure that can be arranged."

As she moves on, there are more nods, more drinking of tea. "I can assure you, bringing her to our attention will certainly mean we will be on the look out for her. Especially with the knowledge that she may be interested in joining terrorist factions."

The cavalcade of new information is met with no note taking - that will be later. Instead, she focuses on the meeting itself. "Yes, I do know of a contact that you may be able to reach to offer this same information…unless it is your preferred method that someone from SHIELD relay it to them."

Unable to help herself, there is a bit of a smile. "I think your reputation might precede you. That tend to do wonders inside and out of the clandestine art community. I believe the information might be better coming from the source, however if you would prefer, I would be glad to relay it myself."

*

There is a beat of time after the offer of protection is made before he reacts to it. In that moment his features betray the unexpectedness of the situation as he is caught flat-footed by the offer and then in the next moment deeply appreciative of it. His humanity comes fully to the surface then as he sips the tea which earlier he seemed unable to taste in order to buy himself a moment of social respite to determine how the most powerful man in the world is supposed to respond to the offer of Agent Carter’s protection.

When the cup leaves his lips he gives her a look of true affection, “I..,” Kent half-stammers despite his preparation, “Thank you.” He holds there a moment and then glances down into his mug and up again.

Kal-El then nods and his shoulders sag a bit as if relieved by her willingness to support him in contacting others, “No,” he says, “This is a personal matter to me and so I want the people who may be in harm’s way to know that I support them.”

With the moment of earlier connection he feels as if he better understands something about Peggy Carter. Something that will not mind him a bit of indulgence as he rises from his seat so that the crimson cape falls fully down to his ankles and ripples subtly as he walks towards her printer.

Reaching to the paper-tray he gives it a faint tug and it <CLICKS> an LED indicator flashing briefly red upon its controls as he slides a single sheet of white paper free and closes it again. Taking a pen from the surface of her desk he sets the paper down and seems as if he is preparing to jot a message upon the paper..

..except that a single slow stroke grows suddenly precise. The motion of his hand quickly blurring and the sound of a hundred thousand strokes merge together into a single sound that occupies nine seconds.

Returning the pen to her desk he approaches with the paper and when he hands it over it is warm – nearly hot – and upon its surface is a photo-realistic image of a woman’s face that could not have been more clearly captured had it been taken at high-resolution from three feet away with some-sort of black-and-white pen-stroked filter applied overtop an otherwise perfect image.

“Five-foot seven,” he says then, “Athletic. Increased mass compared to a human though gravity tends to be a bit elusive and so..,” he shrugs, don’t trust a scale.

*

Peggy gives Kal-El a nod at his thanks. This is not simply a professional courtesy, she truly did mean the offer of help and what that entails. "You're welcome," she tells him sincerely.

His insistence on meeting with who she knows personally is met with a nod. Despite her offer, she had a feeling that would be his answer. "I will get in touch with this contact. They will hopefully set up a meeting. I cannot promise anything, this is a group outside my own purview. They may not wish to speak. However, I will certainly impress upon them the magnitude and urgency."

As Superman stands, so does Peggy. It's both agent and polite protocol to stand as your guest does. The sheet of paper is taken delicately, fingertips shifting against the warm surface reflexively. The portrait is expertly done and she blinks a few times.

"I might say, if you ever tire of the life of a flying hero, you could certainly have work as an artist." Setting the paper down, she looks back up to Kal-El and extends her hand to shake his. "I appreciate that you came to speak to us. We'll keep an eye out and be in touch. Thank you, Kal-El."

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