Real and unreal estate.
"Sounds like a plan. Both of you should rest. I'll gather my thoughts for the next round of work," Victor suggested to them.
Union floats up the stairs again. "And Victor... I'm an engineer, not a scientist. I don't know much of anything about radiation, or biology, or sub-atomic particles. I can't even remember the name of the theoretical faster-than-light particle Duststorm was talking about earlier. But I'm sure you can, and could tell me all about it. *That's* why I need a science advisor, and why I can't act equally to you in that capacity. I'll see... hear... you again in two hours."
"Take as much rest as you need. I can wait," Victor answered.
Union floats upstairs and looks around for somewhere to lie down. After a few moments he sees that Alfred had laid out two of the guest rooms for the men toiling away downstairs. Unquestionably grateful but still troubled by the thought of a manservant, Adrian stripped off his armor, shut off the bodysuit and fell gratefully into the featherbed.
The Game's Afoot! I
Once clear of the lab, Malachi turns to Ravdna. "Well, the renegade Asgardians have been in the city long enough to try and find a place of their own. What sort of place would appeal to them?"
Thinking for a moment, chin on her fist, Ravdna says "Aye, thine sewers are more akin to the home of trolls not mine kinsman. I have not seen much of your realm but methinks thou would not have a vast mead hall in this day and age... perhaps the miscreants hath gone to ground in some sprawling wooded sanctuary. Again I say I know not where or even if your New York City has such a place amongst all it's steel and glass."
"Wooded sanctuary, eh? Sounds like we're going to be checking parks and cemeteries. Central Park is the largest, let's start there."
"Lead on, Malachai. Mayhaps on our journey you could regale me with tales of your prior battles?"
Malachi begins walking towards the kitchen area. "Well, there's not all that much to tell, I haven't been doing this for very long. And meaning no offence, ma'am, but its not something I like to brag on. It usually means that I haven't been clever enough to find a better solution."
Entering the kitches, Malachi asks for and is directed to Alfred. "Excuse me, but might you have something a little less... striking for Ms. Ravdna to wear? She might attract a bit much attention on the street or train in her current attire."
Island Hopping I
Meanwhile, Aegis and Dark Angel rendezvous as the sun is rising. Seems that more than just Union thinks that visiting the epicenter is a good idea. Bethany returned to her office to find a sealed courier message waiting from Gyrich. Inside, neatly printed on a single sheet of paper, were longitude and latitude.
SHIELD team will be on site by 0600. Care to join us?Henry Gyrich
"We're going to have company," Aegis informs Darkangel, a tad curtly. "SHIELD's heading out to the crash site, or whatever it turns out to be. Lets see if we can beat them there."
"That is fine. Gyrich seemed like an honorable man," Dark Angel intoned.
She hasn't been happy in days now. First Alexander, then (an imperceptible shudder) last night. She's not sure how it was that everyone else seemed to think it was perfectly normal to be talking to a dead man. Even if there was some strange effect of his powers causing it and he wasn't *really* a ghost, she'd still seen him physically splattered across a couple yards of pavement. The idea was going to take a lot of getting used to.
And now there is this little jaunt to be accomplished. The only person she'd less like to spend a day with right now than the weirdest Avenger is her mother. She's going to have to try very hard to be on her best behavior around Gyrich.
There's a lot of ocean between them and the presumed position of whatever it is, and not much to see on the way; they head east.
They flew in silence out over the city, but quite soon Dark Angel burst ahead of Aegis and while flying backwards, urged her to pause, hands up in a placating gesture. Once she complied, Dark Angel spoke. "I did not want to yell." He paused but when she didn't say anything, he continued. "I sense your discomfort." Again, another pause.
"My devotion to God disturbs you," he said in a flat monotone.
_No, the fact that you may be several cards shy of a full deck disturbs me._ But this is not the place to mention that.
"Your beliefs are none of my business," she replies briskly. "I just want to get this over with and get some actual sleep."
Dark Angel nodded solemnly and flew off toward ground zero.
Duststorm and Emerald, in their respective homes, were awake somewhat later. Rick had to be on the set to start shooting a couple of his earlier scenes, as well as to work with the dialogue coach. Janet, who has other plans, is busy elsewhere.
The next morning, Janet sleeps in late. She eventually makes it to the office, and catches up on some paperwork. _I don't know what I would do without Sarah, she takes care of so much, maybe I should give her a raise._ Janet closes her office door, and calls Capital Realty.
"John, I was wondering if you could do me a favor. I'm trying to get a hold of the Avengers, and was wondering you knew how to contact them? .... No? but Duststorm was at your window yesterday morning. If she comes back, could you give her my home number, Thanks John, you're a dear."
Later that afternoon, Janet takes the afternoon off early, and Duststorm is soon flying over the City. Knocking on the window to Capital realty, she goes to finish the conversation from yesterday, and perhaps to begin plans to move into the new headquarters.
"You said you may have something to fit our needs?"
"Err..." John begins. "Sorry, ma'am. I'm not used to women flying in my windows." He laughs a bit nervously. "I have a nice brownstone near Central Park that's available for lease. Terms are quite reasonable, considering its location. I am, however, a bit concerned about the legality of the contract. I don't know if I can lease to a nom de guerre, pardon my French. Does your group have an agent or some sort of public representative?"
"There is a foundation set up from the Von Doom Estate. You may contact Alfred Pennington. I am simply doing the legwork to find a suitable facility." Janet looks over the floor plan and other documents. "This looks like it will meet our needs, please make the arrangements. Mr. Pennington will bring it to the rest of the Avengers, and the final decision will be made by the Council."
Duststorm steps over to the window. "Unless there is nothing else, I will take my leave."
There is nothing else. The realtor promises to make the necessary arrangements quickly, and to be in contact with Alfred within the next couple of days. Her work done, Duststorm heads back to the mansion to check on Union and company.
Invention Exchange II
After two and a half hours of blissful sleep Adrian climbs out of bed, gets back into his armor and reactivates his suit. A brief snack from the foods Alfred had laid out in the kitchen and he made his way back down to the lab. "Sorry I slept so long. How'd the self-test work out?"
"So far. So good. I've managed to insolate the exact range of frequencies which means that we could theoretically run through them all, but depending on the delivery option and the time investment, it might not be feasible. I've also found out that I'll have to be in exact attunement with the atmosphere's frequency or something bad could happen from spreading my atoms throughout the atmosphere to ejecting into space. Well either way, it should prove quite interesting," Victor mused.
"As long as we can avoid Delta V's worst theories I'll count myself lucky.
"OK. Back to work." And with that Union throws himself back into one of the most perilous and cautioned projects in the history of electrical engineeringbringing the dead back to life.
He chuckled slightly, "Hey, Delta V? You feeling a little like the Modern Prometheus here?"
"Or perhaps even Doctor Frankenstein...." Victor added with a slight bit of humor to his mechanical voice.
After a little more work, Victor speaks again, "I was also worried about what happened at the United Nations? Was Captain America arrested? Did anyone else get seriously injured or worse yet, killed?"
Union looks over at Delta V, wondering if the speedster will want to give his own rendition of the UN incidenthe's only heard Aegis' after all.
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© 2001 Mark L. Chance et al