Serious Alien Business

August 29, 2018:

Steve Rogers visits Caitlin and Hal with a sample of a strange alien corpse.

Hall of Justice

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Caitlin can pretty often be found at the Hall of Justice, and she's inevitably in one of two spots— the gymnasium, or the cantina. As luck would have it, she'd just wrapped her afternoon workout and gone to the Cantina to meet Hal Jordan when her phone rang. Steve Rogers calling to inquire about being in the area, and would Caitlin like to catch up if it's convenient?

Anyone else who used a phone to /call/ someone would have been dismissed as incredibly gauche, but how can someone be mad at Captain America for being so darn polite?

So when Cap hits the League, Caitlin's already finished her workout, showered, and changed back into work clothes to get lunch with Hal. Her outfit's a little severe, a close-fitting dark black dress with a knee length skirt and long sleeves with matching pumps. Short white cuffs and a white collar give it some defintion, though, and her still-damp hair is slowly working towards a frenetic ginger explosion as it air-dries.

She's sitting in one of the booths with an empty tray in front of her and a gallon-sized travel mug at her elbow. It's a faded old 128oz promotional mug with faded 'Columbia U' letters on it, and looks about three-quarter full. Across from her— Hal Jordan, the urbane, cocksure aviator/Green Lantern.

"Carol's been super busy lately, Hal," she says, wheedling a little. "I need someone to help me get ready for a solo assessment. I'll pay for fuel and everything, I just need a plane to practice in. You've gotta have /something/ I can borrow," she says, pouting. Some women can pout fetchingly to get what they want. Caitlin's clearly not mastered that skill.

Her phone buzzes, and she glances at an alert. "Oh, hey! Steve Rogers is here. Wow, he's fast. Y' wanna meet Captain America?" she inquires of the man across from her.

Captain America, heading to the Hall of Justice, is not in his blatant costume or gear at the moment. Regardless of that, it is immediately apparent who he is: there is no hiding or getting around it: at least, not while lacking sunglasses and a ball-cap, which are potent elements of disguise.

Steve Rogers arrives instead in a no-nonsense personalized version of SHIELD gear; there is some paneling reminiscent of his stars and stripes, though there's only tints of blue, instead of bold coloring. He has a heavy looking large metal container, wrapped in a tress of thick black straps that allow him to carry it one-handed. It weighs something, the tension of the muscle through his shoulder and bare forearm prove, though it is not heavy for Rogers personally by any means. He walks tall and with a steady military clip, moving rapidly into the building. He does stop at the doors to smile at someone exiting, holding the door wide for them in his quiet, polite manner with his free hand, before continuing inside.

Rogers then stops, slightly aside from the door so as to not block others, taking in the foyer and front of the League building with a quiet marvel and appreciation. The building is beautiful; he takes that brief time to admire the fact: smelling the roses, as it were. He probably will not get more than a moment, because the desk has already noticed him and no doubt raised the alert about his presence. Anyone else might have been interrogated about a strange cargo container, but Captain America might not trigger the same alarms.
A French fry is torn in half by Hal's white teeth as he regards Caitlin, seatd ther across from her at this point in time, a simple outfit of a snug grey tee shirt that reads 'Born to Fly, Forced to Work' across it in plain lettering. The off-duty Lantern's brunette hair a stylishly unruly mess and a pair of shades rests low on his nose to block evil sun fron sensitive eyes, he at least doesn't smell like the brewery he feeels like he drank.

"You're adorable. I mean, like, jaw droppingly so but also hell no. Do I look like the kind of guy who just owns a plane?" A thoughtful noise and he finishes his fry, "Tell you what though, I may know a person or two.. three." He wipes salt off one finger, his ring twistinga round. "But I mean, really… I.. " He is thinking of Stark and Ferris first, one then the other with his own internal debate until she mentions Captain America.
"What?" Maybe he did't hear her right. Clueless Steve may already be here or otherwise.

The desk clerk smiles at Cap. One would have to get a thousand miles from New York to find a person who doesn't recognize Brooklyn's favorite son on sight. "Captain Rogers, welcome back to the Hall of Justice," the attendant says. There's a flickering biometric scan from the desk. "You're cleared to come inside. I understand you're meeting Miss Fairchild? I'll page her and let her know you're here."

Which is when Cait's phone goes *bbzt* and she glances at it, then rises from her seat. Duffle bag and purse are shouldered on the left, phone in hand, and she carries her protein shake in the other. "C'mon, let's head to the front desk." She beckons Hal with a tilt of her head, flashing a dimple-cheeked smile at his lazy compliment as they head to the reception area.

"I don't mind paying rental fees, Hal— really I don't. I just want someone up there who is A) competent, and B) can save me if I accidentally crash the plane. I just feel weird walking into the Hammer Aviation Hanger and going 'Hi, I'm some goober off the street, can I rent a plane?" She wrinkles her nose at him and keeps walking.

Once they're in the large reception area, she starts craning her neck to find Rogers. She rises a half an inch on her toes, then smiles and bobs once. "There he is— Steve! Over here!" she calls. Caitlin steps out to meet Rogers halfway, and with a little bob of the knee sets down her purse and duffel bag near her feet and her drink on a countertop. She beams enthusiastically at Cap and offers him a rib-cracking hug, though at least she doesn't try to lift him off the ground. "Gosh it's good to see you! I thought you were out of the country again or something." She glances at Hal, then makes a hand-waving gesture between the two men. "Oh, sorry! Steve, this is my good friend Hal Jordan. He's in the Air Force. Hal— Steve Rogers," she says, with a graceful little motion.

Steve Rogers reads the attendant's nametag, and is polite in his reply to the attendant. "Thank you very much, Jasmine. I do have an appointment, but I am a little bit early," Rogers explains, apologetic, checking his watch. A real wrist watch, not a mobile device. Some things are more comfortable and familiar to the man out of time. "To be clear, I do have a potential biohazard with me; it is contained," Steve informs the desk in his direct way of speaking. Safety is important. He has just finished explaining that when Caitlin calls out, and Rogers turns to look.

A relaxed smile turns from polite to a far more familiar one as the eager woman comes over to greet him. "I was, but I have since remedied that failing," Rogers replies, a teasing quality to his reserved response. He accepts the hug, though he doesn't squeeze in return; his shyness visible. Shy perhaps, but not restricting his ability to greet her. "You look well; better than my memory," Steve smiles to her. "Hello, Mr. Jordan." Once Caitlin steps back, he offers a firm handshake to Hal, with a curt nod that has a military touch to it. Respect.
"Fair enough and I suppose I should be flattered. We'll talk about it some more but I guess… we'll see what we can manage." Hal is already moving, grabbing up his coffee to trail after the tall redhead, stopping only once shes calling out and tossing no doubt dimple laden smiles at the legendary soldier.

Jordan lifts his cup to his lips and drinks, savoring the hot brew before he is introduced, "Mister Rogers, an honor. Was, in the Air Force. Was." He says with a half-assed smile, about as lazy as his earlier compliments of course .

Freehand extended for a firm handshake that'll be customary and quick. "Good to meet you, you can just call me Hal if you prefer. Mister Jordan was a much better man than I'll ever be."

Caitlin is undeterred by Cap's standoffishness. She's a hugger and is not apologetic about it unless people start throwing rabbit punches at her ribs. She steps back so Cap and Hal can make with the hellos, and an approving smile crosses her face when they greet each other with the weird body language of the military. Cait knows what it is when she sees it, but she'd be darned to replicate it herself.

She reaches for her protein shake and takes a few pulls from the straw. The level drops visibly as she gulps the vaguely strawberry-scented concotion.

"Well, welcome back to the US of A," Caitlin tells Steve, once the two fellows break. "Are you hungry? I kinda pulled Hal away from his meal, and I could go back for a snack if you like." Caitlin's post-workout feedbag could probably set up a draft horse nicely for the day, and she's already thinking of seconds. She glances curiously at the bag in Cap's hands, and one brow lifts.

"Or… are you here on Serious business?" she says, voice levelling out a bit.

"Hal? As you like. I am often Steve," Steve Rogers replies, willing to adjust to the less formal naming conventions, though he remains polite: his joke carries zero sarcasm. Steve is open and honest, his humor more quirky than abrasive. "Well, it isn't on you to be a better man than someone else, is it? More to be better than your past self," Steve suggests. It is said in such a way as being a view into just what Steve really does think. Improving on himself each day. He could write inspirational cards.

Steve realizes he's doing it, and gets a bit of an embarrassed smile, though he doesn't withdraw his statement. Fortunately, Caitlin's questions bail him out. He looks down and aside at the container. "While I am hungry, yes, there is some serious business first," Steve Rogers says, immediately sliding securely into a clean, concise tone. The same tone he uses to quickly give instructions to a team, or in a ready room when they need to be efficient. "But it should be very brief, as this is not my area. I have a biological sample, a deceased creature of an alien type. There have been multiple sightings of these things; they are aggressive and dangerous. We had four samples, and I felt it would be best to bring one to your team, and share knowledge."

"He went smewhere?" The spaceman asks Caitlin. He really doesn't keep up with the times, at least not here on the homeworld.

"Often Steve it is." Hal smiles politely, "Oh my past self is a mess." The Jordan he spoke of his father, it's not like he is about to elaborate though.

"Business." Hal almost groans but doesn't at least not audibly, "Sure thing." The quick cover before the word 'alien' springs up and he is suddenly full attentive."Go on. Wait… " He gives a quizzical look to Fairchild then just lets out a sigh, "Yeah, go on. The team, us, we're all those types here right?" So bad with secret identities. Why does he even try?

"Oh, crabapples," Cait mutters, eyes widening as Cap explains the situation. She looks around for Someone Else to make the call— and then realizes /she's/ probably going to have to handle it. "Double crabapples," she repeats. "Okay," she exhales, running a hand through her hair and wringing a fistful of it in an expression of nervousness. "Let's go get into one of the containment labs. I'm not an exobiologist, but I can at least do the whole decontamination/reception thing. Also if it start spitting acid, it might as well hock carbolic loogies at me, right?"

She offers to take the bag from Steve. While doing so, she glances at Hal, and it takes her a second to read his intention. "It's your mask, Hal," she tells him, softly. She flashes an encouraging smile. "But if you can't trust Captain America, who can you trust?" she ways, with a rhetorical sort of whimsy.

"C'mon. The handling labs are deeper into the facility. Jasmine, can you watch my stuff for me?" she asks the clerk, nudging the duffel bag at her feet. "I'll be back for it later."

She beckons the two men with a tilt of her head. "Let's go hit a cleanroom and do this right, then."
"Well, what I know is that they fly and are far stronger than expected. Direct force was not as effective as we may have liked, but electricity did the job to stop them. This one is deceased, so none of that should be necessary for it. I was told there is a data file in with it, but I can't confirm that, or the exact state it is in." Because really Steve doesn't know. He was being truthful about the science of the creature and the tech items related to it being out of his area of expertise. Very far out. "If they spit acid, I didn't see it personally," Steve reassures Caitlin, taking her at her word.

Steve's reaction to what evidently becomes Hal outing himself as being a member of the Justice League is subtle. Hal receives a bemused smile, Steve attempts to focus more on Caitlin. He doesn't ask or pry about it at all: if it was an accident, Captain America is going to pretend he didn't hear it. He did intend to carry the bag for Caitlin, but if she moves to take it he won't argue either, all hers, and moves to follow.

Hal's not-so-subtle reveal intentional enough due to topic, place, this being Steve Rogers and that low grade lazy the man's battling with currently. Not because he is a slothful sort but because quite simply some of the things transpiring, they need Green Lantern more than they ever needed Hal Jordan. He is has welcomed this, more and more.

"No triple? We can head to the labs but if need be we're fine.." A *taptap* of his ring on the side of his coffee cup. "Probably right, things used to be just… easier. I could wear an eye patch and they'd think I was Matt Damon. Oh well, my brother is off the hook at least." Yeah, that was a thing once.
"Green Lantern, again, nice to meet you." He upnods.

His stride again putting him on Fairchild's tail, "These are extra terrestrial not 'other' right?" He imagines they'll be certain soon enough. A passing garbage can getting his now drained coffee cup.

"Well, let's get this on a slab and find out," Caitlin says. She hands off the bag to a technician and heads into the cleanroom. "You guys just needs faceplates and gloves," she tells Steve and Hal. "I don't wanna ruin my new dress— I just need to change. I'll catch up." She ducks into a modesty booth and pulls the curtain shut.

A few minutes later, they've gone through the airblasts and UV ray filtering, and enter the work area. Caitlin's tugging surgical gloves into place, wearing short-sleeved scrubs and hospital shoes. Her hair's bound back and tucked under a surgical cap, too. She pulls a clear safety visor down over her face and activates a few recording devices, then without any effort she opens the bag up on the exam table to reveal the alien's body, trying not to let her gorge rise at the alien corpse. Mostly she succeeds, though she does make a somewhat squeamish face. "Ugh. Well… dive in, I guess, right?" She handles the corpse gingerly, positioning the alien so the scanners can get the best possible picture. "What has SHIELD learned so far, Cap?" she inquires, glancing up at Steve.

"You, as well," Captain America replies to Hal's re-introduction. "And I appreciate your expertise here with this. And yes. Extraterrestrial was my understanding." But the open possibility of otherwise is evident: Steve trusts the people that told him, but he is open to other thoughts on the thing by those that know, potentially, a lot more about critters from outer space.

Whether Hal's identity needed to be secret or not, Steve won't spread it anyway. That's not something he'd even consider doing. Judging that Steve's a safe one to give such information to is accurate. There isn't much awkwardness from Steve now: to a degree, Hal reminds him a good deal of a close friend of his, with his manner. Steve has a bit more time to reflect on that while they suit up as guided by Caitlin. Steve will go with whatever requirements are needed for safety without even a pause, familiar with the procedures from too many similar situations in SHIELD. He does stay back, though, out of the way. Because really, he's in the way with science, usually.

The creature looks a great deal like a flying larva, with appendages like a caterpillar and a large bladed, hooked face. One side of it is blasted open from an electrical pulse, but most of the thing is still there. There's an extra 'feeler' loose in the box, probably from another one of the creatures, not this one, so there's a bit of a bonus. "We think possibly a hive situation, since they recognized these ones don't reproduce. They were in groups, and coordinated: scouting, maybe, we only managed to catch four. It's early yet, research just began."

Immediate scans will agree it is not native to Earth, but there's some traces of attempts to mutate to adjust to the planet.

"Both feet. Always." Jordan agrees and encourages as they're soon at the lab. No need for them to change, not stepping close enough yet and with a flicker of will Hal has himself and Steve covered in protective masks and a thin green hard-light barrier between themselves and the display. Precautions at best and still allowing visibility.

"We all got our uses." He regards while the process begins, no questions from him yet just watching. The scanners the Justice League uses rather up to par with some of the best this side of the galaxy has to offer. If it comes up without any suitable data, he'll place his resources to bat.

(( SCENE PAUSED ))

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