Elder Gods

August 14, 2014:

Do you believe in demons?

The Triskelion, NYC

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Another day, another meeting. Hill just loves meetings, really she does. By now there's a whole group of people that know exactly where to find her office, and half of that group doesn't even work for SHIELD. Rather than book an actual conference room she decides to stay within her own realm of power, everyone else can do the marching involved to make it up to this level of the building. She's just going to sit back and enjoy a fresh cup of coffee, thank you.

Once people file in she eyes the group from over the top of her mug for a moment, as though mentally switching gears for the task at hand. Then setting the mug aside, she states "I've called you all in here because of the growing threat named Loki. Most of you were involved a few nights ago so I consider any related information to be relevant across the board. Manning, the stage is yours."

*

Barton's got his spot by the door, standing and leaning against the wall, arms crossed in front of him. Now, he's heard the name repeated, which causes more than a little concern. Still, knowing is half the battle, as it were.

*

Paul eyes the coffee mug, perhaps a tad wistfully, but isn't going to ask for one. Instead, when Maria gives him the floor, he says "Well, actually I wanted to talk to you about two things. And Loki is the lesser issue and one I don't know much about. I didn't even know he was involved until Evelyn mentioned him at the gym. I wanted to know if you recovered whatever was in the truck because something in it was supernatural. I'm hoping you did get it and not the Coast Guard?"

*

Good ol' Evelyn is here, bringing up the rear. That was not an intentional rhyme, per say. More just an accidental happenstance. She stands a bit behind Paul but infront of Barton. That doesn't make her nervous, but she does nervously check behind her to gauge his expression before keeping eyes on Maria. She's wearing just a SHIELD issue jumpsuit, and her arms are folded behind her back. She still. Still.

*

Melinda May is standing further into the room than Barton, and is very intentionally not crossing her arms. "Yes. That truck is in SHIELD custody."

*

"Relevant across the board," Hill repeats after Paul begins. With May's confirmation the DepDir inclines her head toward the other agent. They've actually recovered quite a number of things from the site, some of which she's not so keen on sharing despite her claim of it all being relevant. Security around here has been ..a bit lacking of late. Stark had pointed it out himself just the other day.

"As far as anything supernatural being involved other than Loki himself, we're still investigating."

*

All this is something that he wasn't a part of, so Barton is more than happy to stay quiet at the moment. It's actually a position he prefers; watching. At Evelyn's entrance, blue eyes linger for a moment longer, perhaps, than the others, but soon enough, he's back to paying attention. Whatever it is that flitted across his brain has moved on with the goings on at hand.

*

"Well, I'd appreciate knowing what it was mostly out of curiousity." Paul tells Hill. "I'm not looking to add a Norse god onto my plate in any case so it's not all that important." He pauses to think a moment then reaches up to tap the cross under his shirt. "Ever since getting involved with this thing, I've been looking to get a crash course in all things demonic. It's proving more difficult than you might expect. But I've been learning there's a lot more going on than most people really know. Or should know. Have you heard the term 'Elder Gods'?" he asks, glancing around at everyone.

*

Melinda May looks at Paul for a moment, but has nothing to contribute regarding demonic activity or lore. Her answer to his question? "No."

*

"Computer components, mostly," Hill explains. "Maybe he's finally learning to embrace his inner geek." Seriously, what -did- the guy need with all of that stuff? Their secure warehouse currently looks like a cargo jet bound for NewEgg exploded all over it. The techies have been having an absolute field day, she's had to increase security just to make sure that they didn't lose evidence due to 'unscheduled system upgrades' on personal terminals.

Leaning forward and lacing her fingers together, she goes on to explain "I understand your current fascination with the occult of late, Manning, however we've no reason to suspect that a Norse God is currently affiliated with Demonology 101." But, here comes something unexpected. "An 'Elder God?' I doubt this has anything to do with them often being drawn with huge white beards."

*

"Are we talking HP Lovecraft? Because that stuff wasn't anywhere as creepy as reading Poe in the dark." Barton quips from the back, near the door. Looking around, he shrugs. "Just sayin'." But demonology? Nope. Elder Gods? Nope

*

"Supernatural computer components?" Paul asks, looking puzzled. "That's an odd combination. Anyway, no. I doubt Loki is involved at all. Okay, let's see if I can explain this in a way you'll understand easily. Think of the little demons as firecrackers. Trent's little pet being one of those." he adds to May. "Then the normal demon is dynamite. Something like Etrigan? A nuke. Now you've got the Elder Gods. Think planet busters. The good news is, they're locked away in soem dimension or something where they can't break out. The bad news is they have followers trying to free them. Pretty much constantly from what I'm led to understand."

*

May's eyebrows draw together briefly. "where does SHIELD factor into that? Other than having to clean up the messes caused by everyone else?"

*

"Etrigan? I met him in a dream. Dude's not real is he?" Evelyn says out of her silence. She's been standing still this entire time. A good soldier. She looks between Paul, Maria, and finally Hawkeye. Melinda doesn't get a glance for now. "He had like.. Tea and stuff with me. It was a really bizarre dream."

*

"Don't you Cthulhu me, Barton," Hill says in a completely deadpan tone. That..that might have been an actual attempt at a joke..! Except..that the idea appears to be not all that far from what Paul starts to explain. "Oh goodie, yet -another- collection of impending apocalyptic crises for us to worry about. Thank you, Manning, I'm sure I'll sleep extra well tonight."

She's still not drawing the connection, herself. Before she can add anything more to the discussion she stops short and sloooowly looks toward Evelyn. Ooookay, then… Back to Paul, she asks "Are you worried that Loki might be attempting to call forth one of these 'planet-killer' demons?" Because she's -so- not wanting to get stuck with clean-up duty! Nobody likes to take care of someone else's mess.

*

"Okay, never heard of the guy 'Etrigan'. Granted, I haven't been in church in like… okay, never. That I can recall, anyway. But demons?" Clint shakes his head, "Not buying it. High powered creatures, sure. Demons as in 'things that go bump in the night', well. Part of it's a head game. Say the word 'demon' and everyone freaks out on a visceral level. Same as 'god'. But, rachet it down and give it another name?"

Looking over towards May, the archer nods. "Usually the way it is. Big surprise. Sorta like being married and always having to pick up the socks and the dirty glasses from the living room. It's a job and we get stuck."

Casting his gaze towards Evelyn, brows rise. She dreams?

*

"Etrigan is very real. He's the one who killed me." Paul explains. "But I don't think he's the type to drink tea with you. Did he rhyme?" Frowning, he pauses. Even to himself, that just sounded bizarre. Shaking his head, he looks at May and then Hill. "From what I read about Loki, he's not the type to want to share power. And if the Elder Gods got out, he wouldn't be sharing, he'd be completely subordinate to them. No, May has the right of it. If I ever give you a call and say I need backup to keep the Elder Gods from being released, I want SHIELD to know what I'm talking about and to mobilize ASAP. You might not be much in the magic department but I'd think being shot in the head is enough to stop most insane cultists." Now he turns to Hawkeye. "Barton? Take my word for it, they're real. Leaving out the religious crap, if the word demon conjures images of supernatural evil who delight in tormenting and torturing humans once they've left this planet, then you're spot on."

*

Evelyn looks apprehensive. Why is everyone staring at her? What did she say? Yeah. She dreams. So what. Make a federal case about it and file a petition with the CIA to see how many fucks are given. How many fucks are given actually? About as many as are present in Maria's vibrant field of fucks. She eases up a bit and furrows hey eyebrows. "Hey, it's just my dream. Give me a break. I've always had weird dreams. But yeah, antique shop or something and tea."

Shrugging, she looks to Maria to move on from this aspect of her personal life. Moving right along.

*

May, for the record, does not stare at Evelyn. Instead, she simply nods as her mostly sarcastic assessment of Manning's reason for choosing to ally himself with SHIELD proves to be fairly accurate. Though the nod is followed by a mild (for her) glare. "Do I look like I work for a cleaning service, Manning? It's annoying enough when people mistake me for a taxi or school bus driver." Though really, it's as often as not when she feels like one or the other. Or both.

She cants a brief look at Barton, as if silently warning him against even thinking of calling her a soccer mom.

*

"Sorry," says Steve Rogers as he enters the briefing room, "I didn't get the appointment alert."

It was like pulling teeth to get him to actually use the SHIELD-issue smartphone that he was given. While he might answer calls (and even the occasional text message) now, the finer points of the device such as its calendar tend to fall by the wayside. He's eyeing the device with a look of vexation as he occupies his seat, setting it down on the table and giving those present his full attention.

*

"Well then clearly we have little to worry about," Hill deadpans once more as her attention darts back to Paul. You know. The dead guy. Who's standing in her office talking to them all. She's so scared.

'Once they've left this planet.' "Hold on, let me find somewhere to add 'interstellar' to their description in a way which is both sarcastic and rich in drama," she chimes in.

May's commentary is appreciated, and something which Hill fully agrees with. However, there's one itty bitty speedbump in that otherwise free-flowing declaration. "Not a cleaning service, no. But we -do- have an oath to protect the people-" And there's the Captain. "Come on in, Rogers. You're highly proficient at punching demons in the face, aren't you?"

Where was she… Right.

"Should such a call be made it will be treated with an appropriate level of concern. -That said,- there's not going to be a single person within the entire Division who is going to be happy to hear that someone, somehow, let a bunch of Hellspawn into our turf. Seeing as this is more the area of expertise for you and your partner I'd trust that you both would do everything within your power to make sure that it never came to that point. You want artillery then fine, but only once things are well out of your hands."

*

"If he looked human, it was probably Jason. It it looked like a demon, that would be Etrigan." Paul tells Evelyn then notes to May "I don't ask taxi drivers to show up and shoot people." When Cap shows up, he smiles at the man. "Steve." he greets but then shakes his head to Hill. "You misunderstand. If the Elder Gods get 'into our turf' it's already too late from what I understand. 'Game over, man. Game over.'" Yes, it's an Aliens quote. "The point of the call would be to kill anything trying to do that. I've been trying to learn as much about this all as possible - I mentioned to Trent's friend Illyana you want to talk to her, by the way - and was not happy to discover that demons are a low priority when compared to Elder Gods. I thought SHIELD would like to know if they didn't already."

*

Turning to Steve, Evelyn offers a small smile to. She's in uniform and chilling a little bit behind Paul. Acting SHIELD detail based on her report. Even if her report basically said 'This is how the shit was beaten out of me'. Paul gets another look. Jason. Etrigan. She can barely remember the dream. And her memory is phenomonal. That's a feat. Dreams are kind of chump change and don't last long in her memory, though. Like most people. "Paul, we're not .. Sorry. Ms. Hill." She bows her head a little bit. "With all due respect, if I may.. It's not that we don't think they're a threat. It's.. From my understanding.. Something that would benefit greatly from material facts and proof to back up your word." She looks to Maria and May for confirmation.

*

"'Once they've left this planet'? Hell, some of those could describe my ex-girlfriends," Barton deadpans. He's taking this seriously, he really is. But 'demon' just isn't going to be a name he'll put to it. It's too … emotional. Visceral. "I don't care if they call themselves demons, Manning," he comes again. "You put that innate, visceral fear and we're behind the 8-ball, lost before the battle even begins. Anyone'll tell you a name means a whole lot, and I'm not willing to give them that sort of power over me." Bravado? Most likely. But he's a human playing with the big boys. He lives by his wits, and part of that is, well… headgames. Psyche-out.

"Hey, Steve."

*

Illyana. May mentally files that name away as intel Trent has not shared with her. And of course she has to retort back at Manning, "I don't shoot people." That's Barton's job. She just karate chops them into wishing she would shoot them. She nods to Wolstenholm's explanation of SHIELD's stance on demons, or whatever those creatures are. "The more we learn, the better prepared we'll be."

*

Steve nods back at Clint and then Paul, glancing sidelong to Maria and letting a faint smile tug at the corner of his mouth. "I don't have much personal experience with demons, ma'am. But I'm inclined to take Detective Manning at his word."

A mildly pained look crosses Steve's features for a moment, grappling with some sort of inner-turmoil, "That said, proof is proof and you can't expect an organization like SHIELD - with so many irons in different fires - to seriously consider a threat without it."

He leans forward, fingers knitting together thoughtfully, "But I volunteer to send whatever comes creeping out right back where it came from, be it animal, vegetable or the Devil himself."

*

Hill releases a slow breath when Paul continues with the explanation. "I'll be sure to hire on some occultists." Because really, what else can she do? There's the usual show of force, naturally. "Let's hope it doesn't ever get that far, though if the situation really is so dire then I doubt you'll have to call us. We'll already be there."

Evelyn gets her chance to speak, though there's a scowl etched into Hill's features. More than usual. "Fortunately, we -have- had some of this proof. It wasn't that long ago when several of us nearly shot Manning at point blank, myself included. The problem is that, from what we're hearing, we have absolutely no scale to compare any of this 'Elder God' stuff to. There is no known analogue. So, Barton's got the correct mind about it. Right now they're just words slapped onto physical targets. To quote a cheesy and dated movie, 'if it bleeds we can kill it.' And thank you for having the right spirit, Rogers."

That Paul had gotten word through to Illyana is received with a nod. That should help in tracking down that elusive woman a great deal. "Then we should be able to start building ourselves a proper scale from the ground up. Manning needs to understand the Rapture, we need some live targets. If any of you have some marksman quals in the works I'm willing to write off an extension for this."

*

Paul rolls his eyes a bit. "Fine. Once they've died." Which he wouldn't swear in court he really did since how could you be dead and still self aware? And that brings in the whole soul thing. "Call them what you want but I'm pretty sure that's our label for them not theirs." Evelyn's point get a small shrug. "Learning more is good. Trent's friend can tell you more than I can. She's the expert." He's just been thrown into the deep end. Wait. "Live targets? She's not going to summon demons for you to kill." He might not know her well but he's fairly sure of that. "For that matter, I wouldn't kill them. That would be like… beating to death a cuffed gangbanger."

*

Barton lifts a hand from where his arms are crossed. "I always have marksman quals."

Smart ass.

"Actually if they bleed, I sure as hell can make them." The archer has a few different tricks up his sleeve than those that carry guns. It's a sort of levelling of the field, though obviously, his job is just a little harder. And it is true. It is -his- job to shoot people.

"And there's nothing wrong with beating a cuffed gangbanger to death. Get your cuffs back. It's a win, win."

*

Evelyn nods when Maria explains. "I see." She didn't have that information to begin with. It's probably best she's quiet again. Though, Steve raises interesting and valid points as well. Frankly, she doesn't really have all that much to add given that her only interaction with Loki was briefly and probably not any more severe than what one could expect from your regular maniacal asshole. Atleast, she has nothing to add that she knows about. It's not like she knows that when she's switched off her soul goes wandering aimless through the city, as demons tear through the carnage of tragic events in the past, all laid together through time and space in the present as if nothing's changed in hundreds of years. That'd just be weird.

*

Steve visibly blanks at the mention of quoting cheesy movies. It isn't one of the films he's seen, so he makes a mental note to ask Maria which it is so he can add it to his list afterwards. The mention of beating cuffed enemies to death makes him frown, and he fetches a small notepad from his pocket and writes in neat cursive: Gangbanger - definition?

*

The resident super-soldier's blank expression isn't missed. Hill can see it in her peripheral. "'Predator,' Rogers," she automatically clues him in.

She actually cracks a small grin when Barton mentions the win-win. It's fairly short lived however, once again due to what Manning has to say. "She won't, huh. Setback," she quietly remarks while reaching for her cooling coffee. "They're -demons,- right? Like you said yourself, torturing people for fun? They're purpose-built to be targets, and you both have reservations about it?"

Sigh.

"Well this impossible to track down 'expert' had damn well have -something- we can use because I'm not one to enjoy feeling as though I'm wasting my time. Drawing horns and fangs on the range silhouettes leaves a little something to be desired." Pause. "Do you have any photos of your ex-girlfriends handy, Barton? That might be a step in the right direction."

So much for discussing Loki tonight. Hell, -she's- not omnipotent. Organizing all of this data amongst all of these various situations isn't easy to do while also seeing to the entire Division. "In the meantime steady as she goes, people. My coffee's going cold and my attitude's going sour. If Illyana's not willing to play ball then we'll find something else we can slap around in the name of critical research."

*

"Funny. They all have horns and pitchforks drawn on them already," Barton shoots back. "The occasional tail. Hell-fire. You know. The real mature stuff." That's just the kind of guy he is. Really.

The archer turns to open the door to the office, more than willing to be the first one out. "If I find something that looks like that, I'll give you a report on how quick it died and with what load." More than happy to oblige! Really.

*

"You'll need to ask her yourself. I can't speak for her." Paul can only speak for himself and he's not going to kill captive demons whether they deserve it or not. He does smile at the ex girlfriend remark. "But send her my way if you can work something out.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License