Whatever it was that Miranda was reading was causing her no small amount of stress. Her forehead was knitting. Her coffee was being drunk without savoring it. Eventually, she turns off the tablet and tucks it away in her satchel with a small sigh. Eyes closing a moment as if she was processing the significance of her reading. They did open again. Now, she was looking at her coffee as if it were some sort of existential crisis in a cup.
Collecting her tall order, she pops the lid to check it. Snapping it back shut she turns to contemplate the seating arrangements. She pats the older gentleman who is still awaiting his more complicated concoction “Better weather tomorrow….more ionization.” Whatever ionization has do do with weather. Lill decides to head to the back of the room so she can do her normal people watching. Settling into the back seat of a two person table, she sets her tea down and gets down to the evening’s entertainment.
Chicago is always busy and the street that the Busy Bean is on, even more so. The Busy Bean is also the ‘haunt’ for many a SHIELD employee looking to escape the rigours of the building. It’s //almost// an office away from the office for some.
The holographic screen on the wall is displaying the latest game of E-Sport League. A local team, Team Solo Mid is playing an East Coast Team, named Fox Echo. It’s loud and it’s bright and a small group of youths at a table near there cheers loudly when … something happens.
The door jingles and a brunette of middling height enters, shrugging out of her jacket to reveal a long sleeve t-shirt, jeans and hiker. It takes her a moment to adjust to the lighting, blinking owlishly as she does – raising her hand towards to Miranda, heading to the counter to collect an order that’s already waiting, there’s probably two mugs with that, before joining Miranda at her table. “Decided to get out of the medbay for a bit?” she says quietly.
The door rings behind the casually dressed SHIELD employee to reveal what looks to be a guy off the street. Which happens. This is a public place after all it’s just a known SHIELD hangout. He’s tall with grey eyes and short shorn hair and a style of dress that tends toward practical. Jeans. Boots. Faded tee shirt.
When he takes his jacket off, though, there’s an odd circuit pattern running up both arms. Tattoo of some kind perhaps?
With a tossing gesture he takes sends his order from his wearable to the computer system overseeing the drinks production. Modern tech. It’s wonderful. He doesn’t even have to stand in line and pay. That’s handled for him. And a serving drone will bring him the drink.
“Busy today.” He remarks to the woman in front of him.
The wave from Cailean distracts Miranda from her reverie and she looks to see who’s waving. It takes her a second to place the other woman but then a smile of recognition comes. By the time, Kaylee is moving to join her at her table, Miranda’s scooted a little to make sure there’s room and settled herself for.. conversation? Her smile has warmed anyway. “Had to. Sleeping on my couch between reading briefs and local policies was reminding me too much of my residency.” There’s a wry shrug offered. “So.. thought I’d grab a cup on the way home. You?”
Well, known SHIELD hangouts are gonna have SHIELD agents!
That’s why even perhaps the most renegade-minded out of all of them arrives: Lincoln Fox. Entering whilst wearing a rather nice black suit with a silver watch on his wrist, he looks around and the billionaire gives a few people some bright smiles. “Why hello there everyone.”
His cajun accent very easy to spot and recognize as he moves to get something from the drink counter. He just wanted soda. he was never much of a drinker.
Folding open the ‘spout’ on her tea and raising it towards her lips, Lilli contemplates the beginnings of a gathering. Sipping, her attention flicks over towards the drone, which for some odd reason brings the beginnings of a smile to her lips.
Shaking her head almost imperceptibly, she returns her attention back towards the table. Setting her tea down, losing the smile on her lips and shifting slightly, to cross one leg over the other knee – the gathering now has her full earest attention.
There are, of course, other SHIELD employees in the coffee shop. Some give Kaylee a strange look when she enters, others wave or nod. Jericho and Lincoln also get acknowledgements but it’s all very low key. This is just another day for them, after all.
“Jericho…” Kaylee greets the grey eyed Hacker as he enters. “… I thought the Fitz’s had cornered you in the computer lab.” she teases with a wink to Miranda. Miranda has to know what the Fitz’s are like.
“Me? Oh, well. If I didn’t get out of my lab, someone was going to drag me out. So, it’s tea before I get back to it. Do you know Agent Fox?” She jerks her head in the direction of Lincoln when he enters.
As Kaylee picks up her mug, the sleeve of her shirt rides up revealing silvery lines that form what look like chemical valances on her skin. Oddly, they look similar like the lines on Jericho’s skin – just the pattern is different. Maybe … they are tattoo’s.
“Agent Fox. Keeping out of trouble?” That’s a funny thing for Kaylee to ask – the trouble magnet Scientist that she is. Lilli’s interest in them earns a smile from the brunette. “Who would have thought that in our parents time, drones just weren’t a thing…”
Miranda Moore catches the motion.. the similarity.. it brings her forehead to knit ever so slightly in thought but then she’s smiling back at Kaylee again. “See, this is what I like about being a doctor. I can prescribe treatment and call it doctor’s orders. Even if they are for me.” She gives Kaylee a wink then is looking towards the ‘Agent Fox’ curiously. Suit and tie? She does at least lift her cup towards the fellow in greeting. “I’m afraid I don’t, no. Though I do now.” Looking back to Kaylee, there’s a tilt of her head that makes her blow hair from her face. “Back to it, eh? I’m not going to have to go prescribing time off am I?”
Giving Kaylee a bit of a wink and a smile, Lincoln walks on over after he has his drink and gives an upnod to Kaylee. “Well, well, well. Agent Simmons, good to see you alive and well. As for keeping out of trouble, well, the best way I know how.” which is getting into all kinds of trouble, but his charming smile denotes any of that. A glance to Miranda, and he gives a bow of his head. “Well, I don’t think I’ve had the pleasure.” he extends his hand to Miranda. “Agent Lincoln Fox, mon ami. A pleasure to meet you miss..?”
Interlacing her fingers around her cup, Lilli lifts it to her lips to take another sip. Still contemplating the group, she crooks a finger at the drone, aquiring its attention.
As it begins to float towards her, she sets her cup back down on the table, popping off her lid, but mostly watching the small gathering still, rather unashamedly.
As the drone arrives, she reaches out slowly, almost playfully and touches it. With that simple touch she gives it one verbal request, “A tiny bit of whole milk, please.” Other requests are not quite requests, but all not verbal. Four of them. Two normal jobs it typically does and two not so much, well – almost never.
“And there he goes…” Kaylee watches as Jericho leaves. “I guess the Fitz’s really have cornered him.” She’ll catch up with him later, she’s sure.
“Of course, Agent Fox. But call me Kaylee, everyone else does.” She watches Lilli out of the corner of her eye. Particularly how she interacts with the Drone. “Did you bring me back anything from your last mission?” It’s well known that Kaylee loves a biochemical mystery though she seems to get into all manner of other mysteries.
“Doctors order, hmmm, Miranda? That’s a good idea. You do know there are beds reserved for the med staff in the med wing? I avail myself of them regularly. But no, you can try and perscribed more rest for me but I’m likely to ignore it. My job doesn’t really allow for that, does it?”
“Doctor.” Miranda corrects almost immediately though she is smiling. “Moore. Miranda Moore.” She takes the offered hand but makes sure to give it a firm handshake. Her hand is dainty and a little cold to the touch despite the warm coffee. There’s probably half an ounce of fat on her which explains why she’s got on such a heavy coat. A look to Kaylee and she frowns. “Oh I saw them. Most every medical facility has them. We’re just not supposed to /use/ them. Not short of an emergency.. and I can argue mine doesn’t allow for it either but then I do have a little power called fit for duty.” She sticks out her tongue at Kaylee. “Which is to say, we’re all on call. We’re all overworked. And none of that excuses the basic requirement that we all get enough sleep to function without pushing the wrong button or snipping the wrong ganglea. You’ll notice I’m not doing any surgery until I’ve gotten over the change in timezone.” She taps her nose.
“Doctor Moore, a pleasure to meet you, certainly.” Lincoln gives her hand a firm shake in return, before he keeps his charm going, attempting to give her knuckles a gentlemanly kiss before releasing her hand. “I hope I didn’t interrupt anything important?” he pulls up a chair, giving a chuckle to Kaylee. “Kaylee it is, but ya gotta call me Lincoln or Fox, then, since we’re experiencing the informality.”
His eeyes shift to Lilli though…another person he hasn’t met! “Why, how rude of me. I don’t think I’ve met you either.’ an extension of the hand. “Agent Lincoln Fox.” the rich Shield agent greets once again.
“… and after all, I did promise you a proper cup of coffee.” Samantha’s prim British accent likely heralds her arrival as the Grind’s door opens to let in a blast of late November chill and two new patrons. Leading Ian into the establishment, she loosens the scarf around her neck, the emerald green wool standing out brightly against her camel-tan peacoat and brown leather gloves.
“And believe me when I say there is nowhere in the office capable of making a proper cup of coffee.”
The Drone. Commands queued, it takes off to get the lady’s milk. While en route it executes the first of the non verbal instructions. Nothing new. It pings all devices and wearables for requests.
Secondly, it turns its microphone on, to record mode.
Milk in hand so to speak, it heads back toards Lilli’s table and deposits the milk.
Lilli actually smiles and it and sends off with a wave of her hand, her attention drops back down to the table of late night shift regugees(?), eyeing Lincoln’s offered handshake from afar…
Slipping from her chair she approaches mostly him, no so much the table, drone also approaching the slightly ahead of her. Leaning way forwards she hakes his hand tentatively (also taking a sample of his DNA in the process?). The drones chimes an inquiry for the table. “Uhh. Pleased to meet you….” Lilli says before retrieving her hand and starting to back away.
The last command for the drone has yet to be executed.
His hands buried deep into the pockets of his dark coat, Ian smiles crokedly as he steps in after the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. “Oh, I believe you. But I also have to say that in comparison to some places I’ve been and previous places I’ve worked, it’s still infinitely better than some.” That probably says a lot, but Samantha knows what end of town the librarian used to work in.
While he’s been spoiled by the coffee available at the shop at the Institute’s campus, he doesn’t mind the brew here, and it’s just nice to be inside after being out in the chill air for any amount of time, and that’s with winter just starting to sneak its way into asserting its place.
Glancing around, Ian’s not surprised to see there already quite a few people within. The shop is usually busy so far as he’s seen it to be, and while his eyes adjust to the lighting he at least manages not to move a hand to adjust the glasses he’s not wearing at the moment, out of habit. It’s been nice not having to deal with them, anyway.
“Perhaps you’re correct. Home is the better place to sleep, but don’t forget the beds are there to use when they’re needed by staff.” Kaylee murmurs, taking an appreciative sip of her tea. It’s not Mays Special Blend, but it’s damn good.
“And there’s Agent Carter and Mister Owenshire… ” Kaylee gestures, hooking more chairs around so they can join them when they’re ready. “Seems everyone’s decided it’s time to get out.”
As the Kaylee’s wearable pings back to the Drone, it also alerts her that someone is querying it. Trying to hack into SHIELD tech probably isn’t a good idea. All of the SHIELD agents in the cafe will be getting similar alerts – nothing to worry about, but something to be aware of.
Still, Lilli will know that Kaylee at least has a wearable.
“And Lincoln. How long are you here before you go back out on mission again?”
Miranda Moore offers a wry laugh at Kaylee’s reminder. “Oh don’t worry.. they won’t let me forget. I’ve got a couch in my office, too. And then my office chair is far too comfortable.” A small shake of her head and she takes up her scarf, wrapping it about her neck. “But if I’m going to get any sleep in my.. in a hotel bed anyway.. I should get moving. Anyone have any recommendations on take out that I can get on the way there? Or neighborhoods to avoid for rentals?”
Lincoln smiles to Lilli, giving her a small bow of his head, and also a gentlemanly kiss to her knuckles (if she allows). “It’s nice to meet you too.” he releases her hand, before he looks to Kaylee. “Oh, I dunno.” he does an exhaggerated gesture with his hands. “Whenever they get sick o’ me winnin’ at cards, I guess.” he pulls out a card deck. “speakin’ O’ which..” yeah, if anyone knows about his powers…he is EXTREMELY dangerous even with a pack of cards.
“anybody feel like a good ole game?” he does glance to Samantha and Ian. “well, hello, hello and welcome. Mind a game o’ cards? Doesn’t even have to be poker.”
Nodding to Ian, Samantha acknowledges his statement. “You do have a point there.” Then she blinks and looks straight at the drone as if it had made a loud noise, and her eyebrows draw together in a small and very brief frown. But then she notices Kaylee, Miranda, and others, and smiles a hello to them. “Ah, Kaylee and Dr. Moore are here.”
Leading the way if Ian opts to follow her instead of detouring to order a drink at the counter, she heads over to where everyone else is while pulling the gloves off of her hands. “Good evening, everyone… oh, thank you, Kaylee.” She accepts one of the chairs pulled over to join them. Lilli and Lincoln are each offered a polite smile hello, and at the offer of a card game, she glances at the biochemist before looking at the young man offering again. “All right. What are the stakes?”
Peggy Carter played poker alongside the Howling Commandos. She was no slouch at it. It remains to be seen if Samantha retains any of that skill.
To Miranda, she offers, “I can give you a small list of good takeaway places between here and your hotel, as well as the contact information for the SHIELD admin that can help you find a suitable residence.”
The Drone again. It hovers over the table, being a bit ‘nosey’. Requesting any updates from each and every one of the patrons at the table, turning incrementally to ‘face’ each person. It chimes at each response in the affirmative or negative, verbal or electronic. Just before it seems to really seem obtrusive, it flits off, turning off its mic and sending all information gathered out the normal channels to a cloud address, which was created months ago, but never used and promptly erases its log of those events.
Lilli, on the other hand, continues back to her table, keeping a pleasant enough smile on her face, eye flicking towards the drone as it finally leaves the table and heads back towards the bar to fufill and requests.
Taking a seat, she retrieves a cellular device from her pocket and glances at it briefly before promptly pocketing it. Reaching for her tea she caps the lid back onto and swirls it a bit before raising it to her lips.
“So they are.”
Ian slips a hand from a pocket to offer a wave in their direction, following after Samantha to the occupied table. Slowly he shrugs out of his coat and hangs it on the back of the other chair that Kaylee’s made available to them before sitting himself down.
“Hello,” he says, nodding at Lincoln and the others around. His eyes flick towards the drone there with something of a confused if not slightly wary look, but he leans back in his seat and looks back at the others. “I think I’ll pass. I’ve never been much for playing cards,” he admits.
“Take out, there’s lots. Depends on what you like. All of the places deliver by drone so it’s easy.” Kaylee remembers what it was like ‘waking up’ and discovering that. Drone delivery. She was so used to waiting for people or having to go out and get it. “The Hot Grill does great Korean BBQ. The Lemongrass for Thai. That’s my recommendations at any rate.”
“As to rentals, North-West side and Far-North Chicago are probably the best and most affordable and safest. The Sprawls … are inexpensive but they can be dangerous.” The Sprawls are the pieces of the cities that have ‘sprawled’ together and become, for want of a better term, slums. The North Sprawl is home to mutants, particularly Morlocks. The South Sprawl claimed by the Purifier churches and groups.
“When you’re in the office next, I have that file you wanted, by the way.” The one Miranda wanted on Ian.
“Then I’m sure that won’t be too long, Lincoln, from what I hear you clean up each time you play. I don’t mind cards if you play SNAP or Go Fish…” she’s joking of course.
The Drone gets a hit from a wearable. One that’s accessible if she cares to try. It seems to belong to one of the young women watching the game on the screen. The network id it gives back indicates she works for Cybertek, one of the pre-eminent suppliers of Cybernetic equipment to the market.
“I’m here, yes, Agent Carter but not for long. I’ve a series of experiements that I need to see to back in the laboratory. Are you well, Ian?”
Lincoln just smiles from ear to ear at Samantha and Kaylee, whistling. “and that’s why you two are my favorites.” and oh yes, he’s notorious for cleaning house in card games. But, it’s just the luck o’ the draw, right? though to Kaylee, he does chuckle. “Probably not too long at all, I believe. But, we still havea ways to go.”
He does look to Lilli and looks happy that she’s joined the table.
to Ian, Lincoln looks almost agast. “My friend, ain’t nobody in this world bad at cards. All ya need to know is how to play.” he grins at Ian, trying to lure him into playing some cards with the mischievous Edge. (Lincoln’s codename) and finally, he looks back to Miranda and Lilli. “You could stay awhile and play a game or two?” he is just smilliiing. To Samantha, he hums. “hhmm…we could bet money, or truths, or dares. I’m not too cruel. Or we can play for fun, but I know you’re a bit of a daredevil yerself, mon ami.”
After settling into her seat, Samantha sheds her scarf and coat while watching the drone for a moment. Then her attention is back on Lincoln. “Perhaps, loser buys beverages for the table? And Ian, you don’t have to play if it’s not something you enjoy. Kaylee, would you like to be in on one hand? Five card draw, please.”
Samantha sends an order to the counter with a thought — coffee for Ian and tea for herself — while watching the young man with the unusual accent. She then offers a handshake across the table. “Samantha Carter, by the way. And you are?”
Back at her own table, Lilli reclines back into her chair. Taking another sip of her tea, she wonders at how a simple dallop of milk changes the taste.
She smiles briefly as not one, but two drones zip over to the gather of SHIELD agents and deposit Samantha’s order. Stiffling a giggle she wills herself to look elsewhere, perhaps at the game in full display along an entire wall.
Her ‘attention’ might be on the game, but most of it is directed inwards on her own processes: organizing, prioritizing, confirming, and other assorted daily tasks.
Occasionally remembering to sip or seem excited at the game.
The librarian nods at Kaylee. “Yeah, I’m doing all right,” he says, shrugging. He thanks Samantha when she puts in an order for them, looking forward to a steaming cup of black coffee.
Lincoln’s words to him coax something of a half-smile. “Then I’m already at a disadvantage. The only thing I’ve really played is Solitaire.” He shakes his head, distrusting that smile as it seems to confirm that even if he did know how to play card games, this is not a man to be playing against.
“I’m fine with just watching,” he assures. He’s not sure who Lincoln is, but it sounds like he’s familiar to Kaylee. Another someone from S.H.I.E.L.D.? With the proximity of this establishment from their headquarters, it’s not all that unusual, and as per his and Samantha’s discussion earlier, likely more preferrable a choice for beverages than what’s on hand at the office.
“I don’t think so, Agent Carter.” Kaylee smiles a bit. “Card were never quite my thing and I know Agent Fox’s reputation…” Agent Fox. That’s deliberate on Kaylee’s part. “Have you not met him? I would have thought his reputation preceeded him.”
It’s possible that everyone at SHIELD ends up doing a tour through her lab in the first few days of their assignment.
“He’s a devil with the cards. Both in playing and using them. Maybe he’ll offer you a demonstration when he’s finished fleecing you.” No matter how good Peggy was, Kaylee doubts anyone is a match for Lincoln. But time will tell.
“That’s good Ian. I’ve arranged some time to speak with Ioan and Cullen tomorrow. You might to be present, I think… How’s the job at The Institute going?” It’s been a while since Kaylee could … just relax.
For Lilli, the information being discovered is fairly mundane as things go. Not withstanding what the SHIELD agents are talking about. The group of E-Sports fans are arguing who’s best the mid-laner and Jungler and taking bets on who’s traded come season end. Though there’s some ribbing about the womans latest project – well, that’s not exactly fit for public company, that talk.
Lincoln offers a knowing grin to Ian, giving a bit of a nod. “alright, alright, alright.” it’s a look of approval….because Ian’s probably the smartest person in the room right now. Either way, Lincoln looks to Samantha and gives a nod. “sounds quite good to me, chere.” and thus, five cards go out to each player, including himself, all face down, before he sets the deck aside.
“alright, draw.” and he shows himself his cards, humming, but keeps a solid poker face. He could have a terrible hand and people probably wouldn’t know.
Kaylee’s comment about his card playing does get him a smile, a wink at her. “Le Diable Blanc.” the White Devil.
Lincoln gives a little smile to Ian and Samantha. “Oh how rude of me, once again I forget to introduce himself. He puts his cards face down so nobody can see what he’s got. “The name’s Agent Lincoln Fox.” the billionaire? Well, apparently he’s a SHIELD agent too. “A pleasure to meet, ya.” and he’ll extend his hand to Ian first for a handshake, then to Samantha, though with Samantha he’ll offer a gentlemanly kiss to her knuckles.
He’s old fashioned when meeting new people.
Flatterer or not, Lincoln will not be able to sway Samantha so easily, most especially not with old fashioned mannerisms. She watches him shuffle his cards and deal, and takes her cards to look them over. She seems unconcerned by what she sees, or by the young man’s poker face. “I’m not concerned, Kaylee. The cards will land how they will. Though I would be interested in seeing what I will presume now are either slight of hand tricks or thrown card stunts?” Truth be told, she’d been playing to buy Ian’s coffee for him already, so she has no real need to win this hand.
After spending a few moments looking her cards over, she sets two face down on the table. “Two, please, Mr. Fox.” The rest of her cards are kept in her hands to prevent anyone from seeing them.
The drones are have a fairly perceptive AI, at least when it comes to marketting values. He cup about empty one approaches Lilli’s table, which she premptively waves off. Apparently its AI is good enough to reocgnize this too, probably a customer service routine. Nicely done.
Scraping her chair backwards, Lilli gets to her feet picking up the nearly empty cup. Draining before she starts towards the recycling chute near the door, she pauses briefly at the table, glancing down at Lincoln’s cards. “Hmmm.”
She smiles fleetingly at the gathering. “Enjoy your game, Agents.” With that, she continues her journey towards the outside…
“Ah, it’s nice to meet you as well,” Ian replies, recovering quickly over his surprise at the name with a blink, but he smiles politely as he shakes the agent’s hand. “Ian Owenshire.” No agent’s attached there, although for all the time he finds himself spending at S.H.I.E.L.D. one could be forgiven for thinking it.
He looks over at Kaylee, nodding. “Might?” He chuckles a little. “I’m sure I can make time. Just let me know when. Ah, things are going all right. If there’s one thing I miss about being in New York, it was being able to go through their printed collection, but we’ve been making progress in transferring and reorganizing things at least.”
By then Samantha’s order’s brought over, cups set before her and Ian, and Ian pulls his over to wrap his fingers around as he inhales the scent. Ahh.
Kaylee glances at Lilli as she stops at the table and greets them “Oh well, I’ll enjoy watching.” Her accent is a crisp british one but it differs from Sams just a little. “You too. I hope you enjoyed the coffee. I’m afraid I didn’t catch you name…” She hadn’t actually given one, had she?
“There’s still a printed collection in New York?” For the moment Kaylee’s eyes turn misty “I used to love perusing those stacks. I remember when we created a lot of that data.” Jemma had, not Kaylee but Kaylee often has trouble separating those memories. Though, it does seem to be getting less.
“Well, I’m sure Gnosis is pleased to have you back. I’ll have to drop by and say hello. Maybe she’s got some insight into our current problems…”
The biochems eyes are on the cards as they’re dealt. Without really thinking on it, she’s … counting them.
Lincoln gives a friendly smile to Lilli as she announces her departure. “I sure hope we will, chere. Be seein’ ya on the dusty trail.” he chuckles, before he looks to Sam at her request, and thus, he takes the two facedown cards, not revealing them, and he puts it at the bottom of the deck, before dealing a burn card and giving her two more cards face down. Curiously, Lincoln seems mighty content with his cards, and keeps his 5 face down. Does he have a good hand?
A chuckle is given to Ian, giving a smile to the fellow. “Ian, I’ll be sure to remember that name, friend. As with all this chit chat about what I can do with cards, well, after the game, I’d love to showcase it.” he winks at Sam.
Samantha accepts the two cards and settles them into her again, still seeming completely unconcerned. She does take a moment to take a sip of her tea. Hm. Not as good as the custom blend kept in the office by the Simmonses and Fitzes but quite acceptable.
“I would like to see that, Mr. Fox. Though perhaps not here, I’ve seen thrown cards knock over breakables before.” And yes, that was entirely Dum Dum and Morita, she WARNED them. Wait, who? I’ve never met anyone named Morita. But, he was one of Steve’s team, he was Fresno. I’ve never been to Fresno, either.
Samantha goes completely still for about five seconds, staring at her cards and not blinking. Not even breathing.
“New friend?” Ian asks, glancing from Kaylee to Lilli’s departing figure. Just a random patron, probably. He lifts his coffee for a sip, smiling faintly as the biochem speaks of fond memories at the Institute’s New York branch library. Or…someone’s memories, anyway. By now the slip isn’t something so unusual that he can take it in stride, although it’s still a little strange to hear.
“Had a lot to talk about with her, but I’m glad to be back as well. I mentioned something about your recent findings and she seems eager to discuss it with you- hope you don’t mind.” He’s careful about the information he shares, but Gnosis seemed like someone who’d offer a unique perspective, as Kaylee so suggests then.
His own eyes going towards the others at the table, he smiles crookedly at Lincoln. Well, if the man’s an agent there’s probably a good chance their paths will cross outside of this coffee shop, especially given the things the librarian’s found himself involved with. He probably spends more time between the Institute and S.H.I.E.L.D. than his own apartment, a sad thing to realize once he thinks about it.
“…Agent Carter..?” he asks, his attention drifting towards her and the somewhat abrupt stillness to follow. She’s someone he’d bet has an excellent pokerface, but…
“I’m delighted you did, actually. Gnosis always has such interesting insights into these things. Might be all the … reading … she does.” Kaylee gives Ian a wink but carefully watches the cards, frowning a little when Lincoln doesn’t discard any.
She does wonder about sleight of hand.
“So have I—-” Kaylee sighs when Sam freezes like that. “Agent Carter?” Very carefully, she shakes the woman. “I really don’t want to have reset her …” She could but it’s not good form to do so here.
“I’m sure she’ll be back with us in a moment, Lincoln.”
Lincoln blinks at Sam when she seems to just…freeze. “Is she laggin’?” Lincoln looks curious, or he was wondering if she couldn’t handle her possible defeat, But, he seems to tilt his head, looking to Kaylee and Ian. “so…does she do this often, mon amis?”
Then Kaylee speaks, and he seems to nod. “well…okay. Did I break her?” Lincoln looks genuinely worried, but he briefly wonders if this is his chaos power at play. He doubts it though.
Jim Morita, he used to bicker constantly with Sargeant Barnes and Dugan. But, those people died DECADES ago. The War wasn’t THAT long ago. THE War? Which one? World War 1, World War 2, the Korean War, Vietnam which the government refused to claim was a war? …
When Kaylee shakes her, Samantha blinks and snaps out of whatever just happened. “So, are we upping the ante at this point, Mr. Fox?” It’s almost as if she’s unaware of the time she just lost.
Taking another sip of her tea, she looks at Kaylee then Ian and her eyebrows draw together for a moment. Did … something just happen?
It’s not often Ian’s seen Samantha freeze, but he looks concerned as he watches Kaylee attempt to snap the LMD out of it. “Ah…” He hesitates in responding to Lincoln, about to shake his head when Samantha finally resumes.
Letting out a small sigh in relief, he smiles a bit awkwardly at her before he glances away, as though he’d witnessed something he shouldn’t have. “You just…kind of got quiet there for a moment, Agent Carter,” he says.
“Lagging. That’s possibly a good word for it. Her LMD program is a mixture of engrams and sometimes … they conflict with each other. She must have been remembering something.” About playing cards no doubt. “And not often, but often enough. It’s something we’re all working on.”
Kaylee’s familiar with how that feels – she had been an LMD to start with, after all. A faulty one. One … who’s corrupted chassis and crazy alternate persona’s still running around out there somewhere.
“And there we go, she’s back with us. Agent Carter, will you please download your logging file? We’ll need to review it.”
Kaylee downs the last of her tea and smiles. “Well, that’s probably my cue to get back to my lab. There’s a series of tests about to finish up and I’ll need to get the next part started.”
Standing, nodding to the others, Kaylee shrugs into her coat before heading on out.
Lincoln gives a simple nod to Kaylee, though he doesn’t seem to be upset or disheartened by this knowledge. “Makese sense.” he knew SHIELD sometimes made LMDs if it meant they could keep the minds of their best and brightest. He never liked it, but what can ya do?
“It’s good to see you, Kaylee. I’ll see you again soon and maybe then we can play some cards.” he chuckles, before he looks back to Sam. “Welcome back to the land o’ the livin’, cherie. Oh? uppin’ the ante? and how would you prefer we do that, hm? strip poker?” of course, he’s joking, judging from the way he laughs, but he was genuinely intrigued. “hmmm…I’ll bet $20, if we’re really uppin’ the ante.”
“Oh,” Samantha replies softly to Kaylee. That’s why she and Ian are staring at her like that. It happened again. She nods as the biochem stands to take her leave. “I should be back in a short while myself.” She then turns back to Lincoln and considers. Because really, $20 isn’t really all that much money anymore, but this is also a coworker of hers, technically. “How about, including the cost of a taxicab back to the office?” Yes, ‘taxicab’ is an antiquated term, but really, is it at all surprising that that’s the terminology she’s comfortable with?
Kaylee’s wearable receives notification of the downloaded logging file just as the scientist is stepping out of the cafe.
“See you later, Kaylee,” Ian calls after her, giving a small wave as he watches her head off.
Turning back to the others, he resumes sipping his coffee, looking between Lincoln and Samantha somewhat amused as they decide on putting in actual bets. Something tells him this isn’t a game he would have wanted to get caught up in even if he knew how to play poker.
Being in no real hurry to go anywhere, and thinking it might be rude to excuse himself anyway when he’d accompanied Samantha here, the librarian seems content to watch how things go as he enjoys the rest of his coffee.
Lincoln smiles to Sam. pointing his finger at her in an approving way, like a ‘I like how you think’ kind of manner. “I like you. Alright, pay for drinks and the ride. I’ll take the deal. Time to show our cards. Ladies first?” he grins at her, wondering what kind of cards she has.
Though, he briefly wonders what she has. But, he asked her to show first, so he supposes that it’s time to see who’s paying for what!
he also wonders what happens if they tie a hand.
Offering a smile after Kaylee and then to Ian, she nods to Lincoln when he accepts her ‘raise’ and then offers for her to show her cards first. Sure. She sets her cards out, revealing a modestly respectable three of a kind in nines. And she still seems unworried about it.
“You know, Ian, if you want another coffee, now is the time to order it.” And she finishes her own tea as if to punctuate her words. “What cards do you have, Mr. Fox?”
The librarian nods absently at the suggestion, swirling the last bit around in his cup, but a mouthful’s worth. “Mn. Yeah, I think I’ll do that,” he replies to Samantha. He shifts in his seat with the intention to do so, although he doesn’t just yet as he’s curious to see who’s won this match.
Swallowing the last of his coffee, he looks between Lincoln and the LMD as the latter shows her hand.
Lincoln whistles. “Well, I’ll be damned. See, that’s a really, really good hand.” either he’s buying time because he knows he lost, or he got cocky because he knows he won. “But see, if only you had one more nine.” he shows one of his cards, that being a nine…
“you MIGHT have beat my flush.” and he shows the rest of his cards. 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. All in the same suit, that being ‘of hearts’. He just smiles to Sam.
Kaylee was not lying.
And, Samantha seems completely unsurprised. “Ah, well, that is as I expected. I knew better than to think I had even a ghost of a chance at winning that hand. Get me a fresh tea as well, would you please, Ian?”
She hands her cards back to Lincoln. “Now, Kaylee said something about your other skills with cards? Do share.”
It might have been more dramatic if Ian knew how exactly poker worked. Ian arches a brow, nodding to himself as he works things out. “Hm? Oh, yes. Sure,” he says to Samantha as he pushes out of his seat and stands.
“Anything for you, Mister Fox?” he asks Lincoln in turn. Since he’s up, he figures it doesn’t hurt to include the man. Regardless of whether Lincoln has any requests for refills or not, Ian will head towards the counter while the two agents talk.
Lincoln chuckles a bit, and he smiles to her. “Well of course, my Queen of Spades of an opponent, allow me to demonstrate what she meant.” his eyes look to Ian. “Oh, just a tea for me, Mister Owenshire.” he hopes he got the name right. before taking one of the cards from the deck, showing it’s face to Sam, before that card starts to glow purple, and then it’s thrown out the window with lethal accuracy. Whne it got outside and started slowing down?
It was like a firework of an explosion.
“Thank you, Ian.” Samantha nods her thanks as the librarian stands to get their beverages, then looks at Lincoln as he proceeds to explain what Kaylee meant. And, okay, that IS interesting. And it seems familiar to her, though it would take a bit of thought to place exactly how.
“I see. And I presume that you are able to scale the strength of that little pop at the end there?” She adds with a bit of a smirk, “Also, your deck is no longer complete. You likely carry more than one deck at all times, I would suspect.”
While out of range to hear the course of their discussion, the bang outside of an exploding card is something that draws Ian’s attention with a bi of a start. And likely a good number of the other patrons in the room. But with nothing further occurring, most go back to what they were doing.
Still a little tense, Ian finally lets himself relax a bit as he turns back towards the barrista and waits for the order to be ready. With there being a bit of a lull for orders, it’s not long before he’s returning to the table with a small tray of cups. Better than trying to hold three hot cups in his hands. “Here we go,” he says, setting the drinks down and then sitting back in his own seat.
“Ah, so what was that noise..?”
Lincoln gives Sam a charming smile. “Yeah, I carry a few of ’em around. I love playing cards too much, don’t you know.” playing cards in every sense of the phrase. But, eventually, Ian returns with their drinks, and he smiles to the man. “Why thank you, mon ami.” when asked, he shrugs. “Oh, just one of my cards blowin’ up outside with a bit of a razzle dazzle.” very animated, Lincoln is, a smile on his face even still.
“So, saw you two comin’ in. Hope I didn’t sidetrack you two if you was on a date.” clearly, he’s teasing to see how they react.
Samantha accepts her tea from Ian with a quiet thanks and takes a sip while Lincoln explains the noise that Ian asked about, and nods to verify that the man is in fact telling the truth.
Sorry, can’t scandalize Sam by implying she was on a date. She merely raises an eyebrow at the jovial young man. “That would be inappropriate, Mr. Fox.” She knows (hopes) Ian won’t take offense, even if he is very likely already well on his way to turning a very vivid shade of red.
“I see,” Ian replies, brows arching, but he nods in acceptance of this explanation. Exploding cards. That’s different. If Lincoln was looking for more of a reaction he’d have to forgive the librarian for not providing much of one, but he’s encountered much stranger, and so long as things aren’t exploding at -him- then there’s no sense in anything more.
Clearing his throat, he shakes his head at the assumption made. “Oh no, no date,” he chuckles dryly, he confirms at the heels of Samantha’s own response. To his credit he doesn’t flush in the slightest, but perhaps it’s due to the LMD’s own words that makes it almost amusing. He raises his cup. “Just came for a decent cup of coffee and tea. As opposed to what’s available in the breakroom.”
Lincoln seems to chuckle and sigh in a sense of relief. “Oh, magnifique, I was worried that I strangely had an effect on whatever purpose you two originally arrived. One worry off my shoulders.” Plus, Lincoln won’t feel bad if he flirts with Sam. But, alas.
“Inappropriate indeed. and please, just calm me Lincoln. I never did like them formality meetings.” he shrugs lightly, sipping his tea. “So, you know my tricks, but I don’t know yours.”
Samantha hides a smirk behind her cup of tea as she takes a sip, then nods her agreement with Ian. “Mostly here to get outside for a bit, and yes, to have a cup of tea.” Though really, the tea that the Simmonses and Fitzes keep on hand is better than this, and Kaylee usually refers to it as a special blend.
“Tricks? I really doubt that either Ian or I have any ‘tricks’, per se. However, you have likely already guessed what makes me different from the usual run of the mill agent.”
Ian shrugs a little himself, resting an arm against the table as he lowers his coffee. “I…can help look up any books you might be interested in through the library,” he offers, smiling faintly. “Now and then get caught up in the right place at the wrong time? Although I don’t know if that’s so much a trick as it is luck of some sort.”
There doesn’t seem to be anything more he feels he need reveal about himself. Another S.H.I.E.L.D. agent though Lincoln may be, they’ve just met, and exploding cards don’t seem to warrant much to be said in reciprocal. Kenlaris had exploding buttons, after all, although Ian might be inclined to trust Lincoln more with explosives of any kind over the ex-merc.
Lincoln was very responsible with things that explode! honest!
But he looks to Sam, a smirk forming on his face as she makes an assumption that he knows why she’s different. “Because you’re ridiculously beautiful?” he chuckles. “I know why you’re different.” he doesn’t publically mention that she’s an LMD in case she’s insecure about the matter, but what he does do is offer her a smile. “Which is quite something to be proud of in and of itself.”
A look given to Ian wit ha smile. “Well, that’s a neat trick.” he winks at Ian, knowing that it takes trust to learn the tools of the trade. “I have been looking for a book, actually…” Lincoln sits up in his chair, looking at Ian. “The Once and Future King I think it’s called. My dad loved that book, but I can’t seem to find it anywhere. He literally took the thing with him to the grave, and I wanted to know if there was another copy lying about.”
he sips his drink then.
Samantha returns Lincoln’s smirk at his comment, even if she honestly appreciates that he doesn’t openly call her out as an LMD. It’s not that she’s ashamed about it, more that she’s not yet sure how the general public feel about synthetic life forms. Especially considering this country’s history involving Sentinels.
When the agent mentions a particular title, she sits up straighter as well. “The T.H. White novel? I remember when that was first published, though honestly, I much preferred the original publication of The Witch in the Wood from 1939, some of the revisions that White put into the Fifty-Eight compendium were a bit heavy-handed. I had a first-edition copy in my library in…” She frowns faintly. “In…” She blinks rapidly and shakes her head. “You know what I mean.”
Not that Ian had been lying with his response, but he offers a faint smirk himself at Lincoln. And the reply to Samantha? Smooth. Shaking his head, he takes another sip of coffee.
“It’s difficult finding things in print nowadays,” he nods solemnly. “There are copies, although sometimes it does prove a little more troublesome to track down given that some books are truly seen as collector’s items these days. I know the library in Ashburn where I used to work had a copy, and I’m sure the Harold Washington branch here has it…”
He looks at Samantha as she rattles off her own thoughts in relation to the author, blinking. That…seemed a little rambling for the agent he knows, and that look of concern he’d given her when she’d blanked earlier revisits itself on his face. Ian opens his mouth, hesitating to ask if she’s all right again before he decides perhaps she’d rather not have it addressed in such a place.
“Yes… I…don’t think I read ‘The Witch in the Wood’ but perhaps I’ll look into it. But if you’re looking for a copy to purchase, Mister Fox, I can certainly keep an eye out for ‘The Once and Future King.’ There’s a few used and antique book sellers tucked away here and there, and I’ve been meaning to go at some point anyway. A couple of my personal collection kind of went up in flames during my trip to New York last week.”
Among other things. It was a terrible first trip to New York.
Suddenly, especially at Samantha’s intrigued arrival in the new topic of conversation, Lincoln smiles to her. “Yeah, yeah, that’s the one. I know exactly what you mean.” he’s staring for a moment, before he shakes his head and chuckles. “admirers of great pieces of literature! I only had time to read the Sword in the Stone and the Ill-Made Knight.” he sighs sadly. “I’ve been meaning to read the whole thing.”
His eyes then shift to Ian, laughing a bit. “Hey, I get it, mon ami. and thank you for being willing to help me look for it. It’s greatly appreciated.”
Sitting back a bit, Samantha realizes that Ian’s giving her that concerned look again. “Well… If Ian can’t find a copy, perhaps I can contact someone in London to have a look around?” In other words, she might consider reaching out to the Carter estate there in the UK to see if anything remains. She … hasn’t really worked up the courage to do so for her own sake yet.
“If I remember correctly, The Witch in the Wood was retitled The Queen of Air and Darkness when it was included in the 1958 publication.”
Ian laughs. “I’d be a poor librarian if I didn’t appreciate literature,” he grins. “It’s been a while since I’ve read it, but the Sword in the Stone is a classic. Certainly though, it will be no trouble, and I’m always happy to help someone find a good book.”
It occurs to him that there’s very little he knows about Samantha Carter as she makes that suggestion. His concerned expression smooths into more of a weary smile as he nods. “I’ll let you know how my search goes, then,” he tells her. “Although I think we should be going soon. Or at least I should. It’s not a short ride back home for me.”
Lincoln looks truly touched by the offers of both Ian and Samantha, bowing his head lightly to both. “Thank you, both. I owe you two the world.” a heartfelt look is given to Sam, then another to Ian. “Truly, it means a great deal to me, mon amis.” he then stands to his feet. “I should get going though. At this point, command should have a mission for me.”
and so, off he goes, with a little wave, after he puts his coat back over his shoulders.
After all, he didn’t want to get weepy.
End of the week sees many gathering at the Daily Grind for a well earned cuppa.
November 25, 2051
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