November 29, 2011
Michaelis Household - Aphrodesia's Room
"Have a nice dream about Michelle?"
"What? No!" Wiggling away as far as Aphrodesia's full size bed would allow, Cordelia sat up and ran her fingers through her sleep-mussed hair. "Why would you even ask me something like that?"
"Because you were drooling on my shoulder." Rolling onto her back, Aphrodesia made a show out of rubbing her left shoulder back and forth against the sheets before eyeing Cordelia. "You know, when I told you that you could stop by after school to pick up the box that Frost International sent me? Not exactly what I meant." When Cordelia merely rolled her eyes before climbing over Aphrodesia and slipping out of bed, the blonde pushed herself up onto her elbows and tried again. "Seriously, though, I'm not going to be the Dean Thomas to your Ginny Weasley. And not just because I have a boyfriend, either. There's this little thing called self-respect that I have an-"
Snarling, Cordelia whirled around and threw her hand out, sending one of the gleaming gold cheerleading trophies on her dresser rocketing toward Aphrodesia. It stopped barely an inch from her face, bobbing up and down slightly, before dropping to the mattress beside the blonde. "Will you shut up about Michelle already? This has nothing to do with her. Well, I'm here because I couldn't sleep over there for obvious reasons, but that's all. And… I'm not sure whether to be offended that you're comparing my love life to Harry Potter
or ashamed of myself for getting that reference."
Unbidden, a moment in time she'd never lived through wriggled its way to the surface from the depths of Aphrodesia's mind. "I do! I understood that reference." At Cordelia's odd look, she waved a hand dismissively before sitting up and letting her legs hang over the side of the bed. "Cap memory. Man out of time. Pop culture fails all over the place. It's a thing."
"Kay. Don't really care, but kay. Seriously though? I meant what I said. Right now, I am so completely glad that Michelle picked Gwen over me, it's not even funny. For that matter, I'm glad that Rosenberg's taste in cheerleaders run toward the blond." Cordelia's shudder made Aphrodesia raise an eyebrow in curiosity, and while she didn't even want to think about it, much less talk about it… Cordelia supposed she did owe the blonde after using her as a human teddy bear. "You know how I always say my parents have a loveless marriage? Turns out that my mom wanted to put some love back into her life. With Michelle's mom. And Willow's uncle. At the same time."
Aphrodesia blinked owlishly for a few seconds before grimacing. "Wow. Um… ouch. Ick. Ouch? I'm not entirely sure what the proper response to that is. Something negative for sure, but…"
Wandering over to the duffle bag she'd yanked through her window on her way out of Dodge, Cordelia bent down and began considering her wardrobe prospects for the day. "Yeah. The sentiment's appreciated, though. Oh, and to make things worse? Michelle's apple sorta fell out of the tree and splattered on her mother's roots." Cordelia shot a glance over at the bedroom door before frowning and deciding to pick her words carefully; she was pretty sure she could hear the blonde's brother wandering around, and both of her parents were likely up and about too. "Michelle takes after her mom in every way." When comprehension failed to dawn, Cordelia leaned over and tapped a finger against a blue t-shirt that Aphrodesia had left lying on the floor near her. "In. Every. Way."
"Oh?" Aphrodesia appeared to ponder that for a moment before screwing up her face in disgust as she finally put two and two together. "Oh. She can… do that thing that Michelle does. Her… makeovers." Cordelia gave a sharp nod. "Which wouldn't be bad unless… oh no. No no no. Your mom and her mom as twins?" Another sharp nod and Aphrodesia let out a squeal that she cut short by clapping her own hands over her mouth. Even muffled, the next thought she shared was clearly intelligible. "Eww!"
"Ayup. So I'm probably going to spend a few days here. I've got enough clothes. Might go to the mall and pick up a few more if I need to." Finally deciding in favor of a purple and gold top to go with the jeans she'd already picked out, Cordelia rose to her feet and headed for the door. "I'll try my best to be quick in the bathroom but… well, this is me we're talking about. You might be better off seeing if you can use your parents' bathroom. We'll sit down tonight and figure out a better system for tomorrow morning."
Before Cordelia could make it to the door, Aphrodesia lunged off the bed and grabbed her by the wrist. "Woah, what? No, see, I get that told you 'I owe you one' and all, but I'm pretty sure that doesn't cover you getting to move into my house. That's like… I do a paper for you or help set you up with someone or-"
Cordelia glanced down at where Aphrodesia's pale fingers were wrapped around her wrist, waiting until she was released before slowly looking up and meeting the blonde's gaze. "I've already gotten you further than you could have on your own by putting you in touch with Emma Frost to get the metal you'll need for this little project. Now… where else do you think you can take a pile of synthetic vibranium to get your shield made? Gonna look up 'metal working' in the phone book and give someone a call? See if any of the guys in the auto shop can turn it into something kinda sorta disc-shaped for you?" Aphrodesia shook her head slowly. "That's what I thought. Which means I have all the power, and I can tell you what the deal is. If, for some reason, you think our deal involved an IOU with limits? I am altering the deal. Pray I don't alter it any further."
November 29, 2011
Demon Research Initiative - Conference Room
Tapping the end of her pen against her collarbone, Laura let her eyes wander up and down the pad of paper in front of her as she double-checked the notes she'd made. While she was relatively certain that she'd absorbed everything of worth from the Initiative's videos of Sunnydale's mutant activity, there was no such thing as being too careful in her line of work…
Fact #1: The mutant vigilante group known as the 'X-Men' were at best occasional visitors of Sunnydale, and were therefore only peripherally relevant to the town's overall rise in superhuman activity.
Fact #2: Even if they had been relevant, the X-Men appeared to possess training that was substantially inferior to her own, particularly when it came to the members in her own age group.
Fact #3: Contrary to what she'd told interviewers in the past, Emma Frost's mutant abilities extended beyond her transmorph state. Telepathy at the very least based on the surveillance tapes; many telepaths were also telekines and so Laura would include that in her personal threat assessment of Frost until proven otherwise.
Fact #4: Frost apparently commanded her own group of teenage mutants who were far more cowardly than the X-Teens; their level of training was irrelevant since they seemed disinclined to involve themselves in a conflict.
Fact #5: She needed to thank Miss Oyama for helping her develop a larger vocabulary. It made for better report writing. It also made for longer reports. Perhaps thanks were premature.
Fact #6: Sunnydale's mutant population appeared to be concentrated at one of the town's three high schools; furthermore, all of the town's most important players knew each other. Cordelia Chase, Janet van Dyne, Brittany Pierce, and Santana Lopez were all teammates on the Sunnydale High School varsity cheerleading squad, while the remainder were tied to Chase by either blood (her mother Miriam Chase) or friendship (Michelle Flaherty, Willow Rosenberg).
Fact #7: Cordelia's chest was enormous. How the girl could cheerlead without giving herself black eyes baffled Laura. Accordingly, attempting to ingratiate herself with the leader of the group she'd be infiltrating by offering back massages was likely a viable plan.
Fact #8: Willow's shorter hair was kinda cute, even if it would look horrible on Laura herself. Maybe she'd look good with an undercut, though? It was starting to rise in popularity among her age group enough that she wouldn't stand out…
Fact #9: Willow did indeed have an amazing ass, as backed up by the dozen angles that the surveillance cameras had captured her from.
Fact #10: Her uncle Victor was not only present in Sunnydale but in contact with Willow. Two-for-one deal, then; she'd always wanted to meet him but he'd left Weapon X's service by the time she was born.
Fact #11: On the subject of family, Wanda and Pietro Lehnsherr had been spotted in Sunnydale twice in as many weeks to visit the Chases, bringing their children along both times. That made befriending Cordelia even more important; actionable intelligence on their movements could prove useful.
Fact #12: Doctor Margaret Walsh was going to lose one of her squad leaders if Agent Hertzberg didn't figure out where her face was soon. Laura was used to both covert and open admiration of her assets, but doing the latter while she was delivering a briefing was just unprofessional.
"Considering how messy things can get when first contact goes bad - X-Men meeting the Sunnydale Sirens, for instance - I'm thinking I should find a way to approach them away from the general populace. Once we remove school, the Bronze, and commercial properties, we're left with three noteworthy events. Number one: X-Men versus Sirens at night in a graveyard. Number two: one of the X-Men and two local girls at night in a graveyard. And number three: Sirens and Sabretooth at night at Saint Barbara Parish. So… given that they know about your HSTs and seem to be stepping up their efforts to fight them? Going out at night - particularly to graveyards - seems to be a good way to find them." Tapping the end of her pen once to retract the tip, Laura spun it between two fingers and then tucked it back between her breasts. "And if I don't run into them, I'm sure I'll run into someone else interesting." Her fingers curled into a fist, two adamantium blades emerging from between her knuckles. "Then run them through."
Doctor Walsh let out a snort as Laura retracted her claws, the thin cuts in her flesh where they emerged healing almost instantly. "What a charming daughter you have, Sarah. I suppose I can send her out with one of my teams this evening. Although we'll have to find some suitable clothing for her first. I don't need one of my soldiers dying because they were too busy admiring the winter line from Hookers Я Us."
Glancing down at herself, Laura raised an eyebrow at the doctor's words. What was wrong with what she was wearing right now? Sure, her tank top rode low enough to show off a whole lot of cleavage… but pretty much anything short of a turtleneck left her showing off the goods to some degree, and she sure as hell wasn't going to wear a turtleneck out in seventy degree weather. Looking back up, she found Hertzberg staring intently at the exact same spot her eyes had just been. Again. On the other hand, Laura conceded, Doctor Walsh might in fact be on to something. If this was one of the best - perhaps even the best - soldiers under her command, Laura didn't even want to think about how the others might react to her. "Right. I'll hit up the quartermaster for an ACU before I head out tonight. Doctor Mom, did I miss anything?"
"Hmm?" Looking up from her laptop, her mother blinked a few times before reaching out and pausing the video she'd been watching. A clip of Willow, for some reason. Not that Laura could blame Doctor Mom; her half-sister made leather look almost as good as she did. "Oh. I checked a few things out of the armory before we left home. The case is under my bed; combination is your birthday. I know you hate being weighed down, but I want you to take at least a taser and a baton out with you. Stabbing things isn't always the answer. And do you have any spare thumb drives on you?"
"Of course stabbing things isn't the answer. 'Stabbing things?' is the question. The answer is 'yes!'." Chuckling at the look her joke earned her, Laura rose to her feet and patted at her pockets before frowning. There were no thumb drives in her left pocket and three in her right; in other words, all the ones she'd left the room with that morning were full of purloined data gleaned from the Initiative's poorly guarded computers. Not that she could say as much in front of Doctor Walsh. "And no thumb drives. Want me to grab you one while I'm in your room?"
A high-pitched voice cut Doctor Mom off before she could answer Laura's question. "Oh! Shoot! Those are all not mine." Rose furrowed her brow in concentration as she clutched at her iPad with one small hand, swiping the others back and forth across the screen. And it still amused Laura to no end that everything from home was marked with a silver 'XS'. Weren't they supposed to be a top secret project or something? "These are mine! That's mine! That one! And that one! This one. These ones. Not those. Those aren't mine. But those are mine!"
Wanting to believe the best of her sisters, Laura had assumed that the rapid tapping at their iPads meant that Bella and Rose were taking notes about the briefing they were sitting in. Even if they wouldn't be participating in this assignment, she reasoned, they did need to learn that field work was often ninety-nine percent preparation and one percent stabification. But no. They were playing games. If she had to guess… Bella let out a cheer, her iPad clattering onto the table as she thrust her fists up into the air. "Again I have bested, the littlest Fruit Ninja, bragging rights are mine."
Sigh. Yup. Fucking Fruit Ninja
Thankfully, Doctor Mom seemed to agree with her on that front and leaned over, sliding Bella's tablet across the table until it bumped up against the size of her laptop before making a beckoning gesture that saw Rose likewise surrendering hers. "Keep it up, girls, and I'm going to call the Colonel and ask him to send Miss Oyama out here to help me keep an eye on you." That made Bella and Rose sit up straight and look attentive, not that Laura blamed them. Even if 'Lady Deathstrike' was Laura's favorite instructor, she was still scary as hell. "That's more like it. And yes, Laura, I'd appreciate it if you could grab me… two thumb drives. Better safe than sorry."
"Can do." Turning to leave, Laura paused and looked back at Doctor Mom. "Speaking of grabbing things, can I snag some food on the way back to base? You know how much I tend to eat and compared to the mess back home, the DFAC here is stingy as hell. And they're worse cooks than me." How that was even possible, she had no idea; Laura was firmly convinced that being absolutely worthless in the kitchen was one of her mutant powers.
Before their mother could even approve or deny the request, Bella had her wallet out and five dollars was being thrust toward Laura insistently. "Chicken McNuggets, go good with an extra large fry, and a Diet Coke."