2010-09-04: In From the Cold

Players: Angelo and Corrin

Angelo_icon.jpg Corrin_icon.jpg

Summary: When Angelo agreed to help Corrin with his medical issues, he didn't count on there being professional issues, too.

Date: Sept 4, 2010

Log Title: In From the Cold

Rating: PG

The action begins in an ordinary one-bedroom apartment in Mutant Town, and ends up in the middle of New York harbor. Such is the life of a SHIELD agent… or a mutant.

Corrin has been obsessively cleaning his apartment since he first got word that Angelo had agreed to help him heal. Not the most healthy of reactions, but at least it is a useful one, far better than the fretting that he's also been doing. He'll open the door and Angelo is going to get hit with the smell of cleansers, the nervousness of Corrin's smile of greeting, and the sight of an ordinary apartment that looks like it's been spit-shined. "Hello, Mr. diLucci. Thank you for coming. Please, come in."

That's actually a pretty familiar reaction to Angelo — the cleaning thing — as he remembers it from his work with the Chelsea clinic when they would go to visit the home of someone who was using the clinic's outpatient visit service. Then, as now, it was usually the person whose illness or situation didn't actually disable them, but it could be annoying if it was the partner or roommate. They would sometimes clean away things that would have made diagnosis easier, or made the patient comfortable. Good that this isn't one of those.

"Hello. I was asked to visit by … OH! Hi! You're the man I met some months back, aren't you? Corrin?" Misha may have told him, of course, but the actual connection didn't take. Ange goes inside, of course; he's carrying an EMT satchel, sort of a modern version of the 'black bag' establishing his identity.

Corrin nods as he closes the door behind Angelo. "Yes, I think so… I don't remember it well, myself. A bit rattled at the time. I'm sorry." He sweeps a hand at the main room, a combination kitchen/dining/living area, containing a small table with two chairs, an old futon sofa, a sling chair, and a coffee table. Another small table bears a boombox which has combined radio and CD player functions. "Sit anywhere. Um… can I offer you something? Coffee? Tea?"

Angelo smiles, and answers, "Actually? I'd like to take off my jacket, if you don't mind. It's a little warm out for this stuff, but it keeps me from being identified as easily if my power decides to turn on. And just water will be useful for both of us, in a bit."
He takes in the living area - sparse but adequate. No excess. Clearly the man hasn't had time, or has no inclination, to hoard physical things. He waits to sit, for Corrin to do so. Take the cue from the patient for where they're most comfortable.

Water. He can do water. He actually prefers water, at the moment. Corrin turns away toward a cupboard and pulls out a pair of glasses, then to the fridge for a pitcher of water. "Would you like ice?" he asks, setting everything on the table. "And sure, take off your coat. I'll hang it in the closet for you."

"Ice isn't necessary, thanks." Angelo removes his coat, and that knit cap, revealing the shock of short-clipped brilliantly white hair matching his eyebrows. He takes off the sunglasses too; it's going to be easier to do without that. Under the coat, he's wearing a tight blue microfiber shirt, short-sleeved, almost more flagrant than spandex, which shows off that he now spends MORE time in the gym, since there's not really a lot to do where he works, during his 'off hours'. And, of course, Ange's hoping that after this is done, he'll be able to stop at his Mother's place, then visit some friends. Having every other Saturday evening off has been very hard on his reputation — but also very good for it, in an obvious way.

Corrin takes cap and coat and puts them away, then comes back into the dining area and puts a hand on one of the chairs. He won't sit first; if Angelo is waiting for that, this could easily devolve into a Chip and Dale comedy routine. "Um… what do you want to do today? Is there something else I should be doing, or make ready?"

The dining chairs are the choice, so Ange pulls out the other chair, turns it around, and sits facing the wrong way, resting his arms on the back of the chair. "Just sit and relax. I'll give you some explanations, first, then we'll continue with actual treatment."

He waits for Corrin to get to a more comfortable, or at least less-standing-and-fidgeting, position.

'Less-standing-and-fidgeting' is the appropriate phrase, all right. Corrin blinks at the choice of how Angelo sits, but then shrugs and sits himself—though there's a twitch as if he were about to swing the chair around and copy the other man. Just a twitch, though.

Now he's sitting and trying not to fidget. He'll pour some of that excess energy into filling water glasses and passing one across to his guest. "All right. What are we going to do? How are we going to do it? What should I be expecting?"

Deep breath. Swallow of water. Glass returned to tabletop. "I don't know how much Misha told you about how I work. I'll be up-front then. I'm not a mutant. I acquired some magical tattoos that actually connect me to an energy source called the Living Light, and focus that power through spells of healing provided by beings who are called the Seraphim. I don't know that they have any connection to any actual angels described by that name. As a physician and someone who practices the science of medicine I was deeply annoyed to find this had been done, but I wasn't really given a completely informed choice in the matter."

Angelo waits to see how that's taken.

Corrin thinks about this. Seraphim. Living Light. Tattoos. He picks up his own water and sips at it, letting the concepts soak into his mind. "I don't think I understand," he says at last. "But then, I don't think I understand much of anything, about powers especially, but certainly not restricted to that topic." He gives Angelo a level look. "Do I need to understand how your ability works? Would that help?"

Ange shakes his head, no. "It's not necessary. It simply sets you at ease for knowing what's about to happen. I'm going to access the power, and the ink, and my eyes, will fill up with light. This can be startling if you're not prepared for it. I want to make it clear that when it happens there is no pain involved, and I am not on fire. It doesn't even look like fire, but some people have been sensitive to that kind of thing, and I wanted to reassure you in advance. Also, it will get rather bright, so you might want to draw the blind on the window. You won't need sunglasses though. The healing effect prevents it from blinding the person I'm working on."

Another smile. No, Ange's teeth don't light up, that he knows of. That would be really weird and disturbing.

Corrin's eyes grow troubled. "I… am not good with fire," he says, and he gets up to draw the shades.

As he does so, he asks, "Do you need to know what I do? I am a mutant, and I have light powers, too… not healing, though. Mostly force fields." He finishes with the blinds and comes back to the table. "Around me," he lights up, bright gold. "Or on something else." The table lights up. "There's a surface affect, too, which makes it super-slippery." He touches his water glass and it floats across the glowing table, stopping with a tiny jerk when the light disappears. "Will this interfere with you?"

Angelo shakes his head. "No, it didn't before. I can examine you without touching. I'm like the world's most portable magical cat-scan, and regardless your power shouldn't interfere with that. I might ask you to turn it on for a moment during the exam, in fact. I got the impression, now that I'm thinking on it, that there was something that wasn't quite the way it was supposed to be."

Angelo takes another sip of water. "Say when you're ready, and I'll start the first stage. I'm told that when the wings unfold it's the trippiest part."

Corrin pauses halfway to sitting down again. "Wings?" He gives that microfibre shirt a hard stare. It doesn't look thick enough to hide wings…

He sits down. "I'm ready now. Just tell me what to do and when to do it." He reaches across the table for his water glass.

The short-but-wide man's smile doesn't light up, but his hair, eyes, and the two ankh symbols inside each wrist, covering half the forearm, slowly suffuse with light, at first like seeing the first dawn traces in the morning, then growing to a glow that's not brighter than the light from a television. As that happens, lines of light pull away from his back, spreading out and curling around like feathers made of glowing words, suspended in an arc around and thru the table on one side, the air on the other, so that the wingtips, with each pinion terminated in a tiny ankh of its own, are steady in the air on each side of Corrin.

"OK, that thing you did the first time, where you lit up with the gold field, please do that," Angelo says, in a voice that sounds exactly normal and utterly un-seraphic. Not even a ghost of heavenly choirs behind it.

"Ooo," says Corrin, hands lax on the table as the light forms wings and sweeps through the air around him. He's slack-jawed dazzled by the effect. Angelo has to repeat his request before he notices it. "What? Oh, sure." Ping! Bright gold light all around him. He blinks and smiles beatifically at the SHIELD agent on the other side of the table.

Angelo reaches his hands out, "Take hold of ny hands, please. I've identified something that looks wrong."

Alas, it's not a fundamental interaction with neurochemicals; that would have been something he could take back to SHIELD, so they could develop it as a healing tool (or more likely a weapon, SHIELD being who they are.)

The first thing that's needed, separate the power-activation from the mnemonic linkages. That would hurt like anything if the spells didn't simply prevent pain. Of course, Corrin will need to take hold of his hands for this to start.

Corrin blinks once, then pushes his water glass out of the way and reaches across the table to lay his hands in Angelo's. He's still glowing gold, since Angelo hasn't asked him to stop. Angelo can likely tell, once physical contact is made, that maintaining the shield is not a burden for Corrin. It is a naturally stable 'low energy' spot for him, it seems.

There is a price for that stability, however. The activation of the mutant gene in Corrin's body will be exposed as sudden, traumatic, and under the combined influences of extreme stress and chemical toxins. He bears the signs of someone who should have lived his life as a carrier of a dormant X gene; its activation has played merry hob with both brain and body. Power channels blaze through sections of his mind that should carry memory; in other sections, mind and mutancy tangle together, strangle each other, suppressing memory, even self. He functions, but it's make-shift functioning.

The light increases on the contact. No longer gentle television, it's more like staring into an arc-welder, except that there isn't any actual pain or blind-spotting. Three intense pulses of light travel through Corrin's body in the next three heartbeets, incidentally removing any minor injuries, abrasions, cavities (and fillings), and any of those annoying signs of being old and having done too many hard things to his body recently. The third pulse is the one that opens the eye to the past. It's still the same reflexive action to activate the shield, it just doesn't LEAK. Neurons shift, ever so slightly, connections that shouldn't be there, un-grow, and new ones fill in. A fourth, then fifth, pulse solidifies that change.

It's not complete, of course, and now that the wrongness of the memory-suppression bridge is gone, Angelo can see the mess that happened when the power "grew into" parts of the man's brain that are usually used for associations and connections.

That fifth pulse also goes through Corrin's liver and repairs the subtle, long-term damage done by poisons as they were processed out. No surprise liver cancer at age 55, please.

Corrin wavers on his chair and his hands spasm to grip Angelo's very tightly. He's blinking rapidly—not because of the flare of light in his eyes, but because of the shift of … self … in his mind. He looks past Angelo and for that moment, the room, the apartment, and his entire life since he came to New York is completely and utterly alien. "What's happening?"

He hasn't noticed yet that the burn damage along the left side of his body is fading, or that the pull of scarring on his hands has disappeared. He switches his sightAngelo will likely note the change in the flow of his energiesand looks at the life flowing through Angelo's body. It's so beautiful he weeps.

"Healing. It seems you've been injured for a long time, Corrin."

The illumination remains at its brilliant level, for the moment, but no more pulses until Ange sees that the energies in Corrin's body have calmed and stabilized. They've been rather forcefully made right, and need to "set" so they won't try to slump back right away. "Just breathe, for a bit. You're going through an accelerated recovery."

The Eye inked onto his chest looks back at the mutant's life-sight, and blinks … which surprises Angelo. If he, rather than the Eye, were controlling this process, he might even have dropped the intensity of light. But the spell is running itself at the moment.

"You l-look like an angel," Corrin whispers. "All bright. Seated." Which is the best way he can think of to describe what he's seeing. He knows there are two parts to this—Angelo and the Eye. He can see them. But they're one, too, and he doesn't have words.

And yes, the energies that flow through Corrin's body are not entirely stable in these new configurations. Habit has dredged deep channels in his mind, echoed in the neurons of his body; putting up a few dams and etching a new, shallower canal in a different place does not guarantee that the power will continue to flow where Angelo directs it.

At the moment, his name is definitely appropriate. Fortunate, then, that his not-terribly-sainted father's joking suggestion of Luciferi Diavolo diLucci had been so forcefully overridden by grandmotherly wisdom (and a swift kick) because the irony would have become tiresome. "Thank you, but I'm not really an angel, no more than any other man."

The eye is now looking through those loose places, and Angelo is thinking about what looks for a moment like a strange, secondary ghost-image, something telling him that he needs to discuss that part with someone else first before it's retouched. There are pieces of childhood, bits of self-image, that may also be unconnected. But a last, forceful FLASH strongly suggests to the body that it feels better in this configuration, that it's easier than the other one. (Not necessarily really true at the moment of course; the magic is taking a long view.)

The light dies down to mere television-and-75-watt-bulb levels, and the wingtips brush across-through Corrin's forehead then pull back into a more traditional "in back" position. "So, how do you feel? Are you remembering things more comfortably?"

"I…" Corrin blinks some more, especially as the wingtips move through his forehead. His brain is sliding in that way that he's learned to associate with falling apart… except this time, he isn't going to pieces. It's more like he's falling together, and that's a whole mess of weird right there.

He's silent for a long moment after Angelo's question as he waits for the last pieces to settle, and past the point where they would have started flying apart again… which they don't do. This time. "I… my name. Is. Michael Corrin… Kelly." Wide-eyed. "Oh, my god. I know my own name."

Then his gaze fastens on Angelo and his hands grip the SHIELD agent's hands, knuckles bloodless. "And I'm SHIELD."

Well dammit. Angelo laughs at himself then, and says, "Then welcome back, Agent Kelly." So much for the planned night off. This is one of those clear, unequivocal situations that even the not-trained-as-spies medico branch knows the procedure for: when a lost agent is recovered, they must be brought back for debrief, their situation verified. Still, it's hardly something he can be upset over, the man's life being repaired. And even if it IS required, he's not going to rush it before the man's ready. "In that case, I'm Angelo diLucci. SHIELD Medical. Pleased to make your acquaintance."

Corrin's shield is still running. Angelo can see it nibble away at the fresh repairs, like water running over an earthen dam. "I'm … Michael Corrin Kelly, detached service to…" blink "SHIELD Europe, Division Ireland. I," blink "I… was seconded to DI for…" blink "something." He breaks the contact and rubs his forehead with both hands, and finally drops his force field. "Um. Something. Something to do with… uh… shipping. I think. With…" His face screws up tight as he tries to remember. "AIM. It was AIM."

Angelo interrupts, a hand raised apologetically as the wings fold into his back, and the light fades from his eyes and hair, lingering for a moment in the ankhs before fading there as well. "Agent Kelly? Corrin? I'd like you to not use your shield for a few days, if you can avoid it. It interferes with the nervous system healing that we started tonight. Also, I'm not able to do your debrief, I don't have clearance for it, but I do have a direct line to the New York director of operations, and I can put you in contact, if you wish."

That, and he'll probably have to do some additional healing, after that erosion, but Psych-Ops will probably want to look at what's there before Angelo potentially confuses things further. The telepaths scare him a little (and fortunately, the same is true in the other direction).

Corrin rubs his hands through his hair. "God. I have to go in. I have no clue how long I've been out." He looks up at Angelo as he speaks, and nods to all of it. "I need to go in. Sooner the better." He's been feeling like he's been walking around the edge of a vast hole for a long time, without knowing exactly what it was or where. Now he has an idea, and it may be worse than he imagined. Depending on his debrief, this may be the last free day of the rest of his life.

He's quiet for a long moment. "I don't know where the New York office is. And I should call Avengers Mansion and let my boss know that I won't be in in the morning."

The answer to that "how long has it been" will come fairly quickly then: Angelo nods, opening his satchel, and removes a simple, black cell phone with no particular markings, one of those micro-flip models that looks totally futuristic. Opens it, and says, "Secure line," and the device does something electronic and profound and quite beyond Angelo's ability to grasp, which basically ensures that any bugging device known to SHIELD simply will not operate within earshot of it; the simple tiny LCD display flashes red three times, and at the touch of a key, the device projects a holographic image, about three inches high, the SHIELD logo spinning. An electronic voice says, "Secure line established."

"Reporting. Angelo diLucci, Medical division, PA Barnes Academy, reporting recovery of lost agent. ID Michael Corrin Kelly. Agent's last memory before prolonged amnesia was SHIELD Europe DI. Assignment involved AIM. Please route highest priority."

Corrin listens quietly, letting his hands drop and fold together on the table. He watches the spinning logo, half-hypnotized by it. It seems to him that Jarvis is not going to get that call….

There's a thirty second lack-of-hold-music, followed by the same robotic voice. "Report processed and routed. Response pending. Agent Kelly is directed to report to debrief center Ellis compound, Sub-Carrier. Escort will be provided if safe transit is at risk."

Angelo looks at Corrin. "Escort already provided. Agent Kelly has been employed at Avengers Mansion. Please notify them that he will be unavailable for work tomorrow."

The voice replies again, "Request routed. Message will be provided. Transportation en route to your location, please stand by for pickup."

The logo stops, and then the phone is just a phone. Angelo takes a long drink from the hitherto-untouched water glass, and remarks, "So efficient I forget they're a government agency sometimes."

Corrin tries to smile and fails. His fingers flutter as his nervousness returns, and he reaches for his own glass. He's still using his life-sight, though, and he misses it, hitting it with the back of his hand, pushing it off the table. It falls and shatters on the floor, and he's up and out of his chair, shield on, in reaction.

"God. Sorry." The shield pings off and he turns to face his kitchen… and stops. What was he about to do? "I'm sorry, Mr. diLucci. I'm sure you had other plans than dealing with a freaking space-case, and on a Saturday night." He looks down… what…? Oh. Switch off the life-sight and see… "Glass? Glass. Right." He needs to clean that up.

So Corrin is still a bit flustered, and that shield is definitely going to be a problem, Angelo realizes. Well. Theoretically he could block it temporarily but that would probably give him a crippling feedback headache and besides, it doesn't feel right. Well, tell the man something.

"I did have plans, but they'll keep. I can visit my poor old mother in Long Island tomorrow morning, and I was just going to hang out with friends, and between you and me, there's only so many times one can watch tivoes of Jersey Shore before wanting to go over there and punch out the first person you see."

While this is true, the fact is, they'd all get together and act out the most ridiculous scenes together. One reason Angelo's wearing that very tight muscle-head shirt. But they can do that any time. All of them are medical, they're used to the drill.

Corrin gets out broom and dustpan for the glass, and a towel for the spilled water. "Still, it's your Saturday night, and my problems have hijacked it. I owe you." He doesn't know how he'll repay Angelo for this, or even if he'll get the opportunity to repay him, but there it is. "And… uh… I don't think I've ever seen an episode of Jersey Shore, so I have no idea why they'd need punching." Weak smile. Trying to be friendly.

As he's folding the towel for the laundry, "Um… how long do you think they'll be?"

In the old days, the flying car would be hovering by his window. Now, they're more discreet, and the thing is cloaked and hovering just over the roof, after a search through building plans determined that Corrin's building had unblocked roof access. A slim woman in a generic chauffeur's uniform is at the door. (No need to confuse things by making it appear that a SHIELD agent had kidnapped Corrin after all.)

Angelo has his ID out, the phone put away, and helps Corrin finish the cleanup. "It's classic American television, the people are unbelievably dumb stereotypes," Angelo starts to explain. Tap tap tap.

Corrin eyes Angelo dubiously when he starts describing Jersey Shore. "Then why watch…" Tap tap tap. "Uh." Freeze for a moment, then calmly go to the door and open it. "Er. Hello. I'm Corrin…" blink "Kelly." He steps aside and looks toward Angelo. "Mr. … I mean, Agent diLucci? We…" What? If he wanted to pack something, he should have done so already. Too late now. "Your coat. And hat." He abandons the front door for the closet door.

Ange is there for the hat and coat. "Thanks. They'll have anything you need there, don't worry. Might want to grab a book or something if you've got one on hand. The one thing I remember most from my interviews was that you sometimes get stuck waiting, and they don't have anything to read in their waiting rooms.

The woman at the door is almost mechanically patient, checking Angelo's ID with a glance, and waiting for Corrin to have everything he needs. Angelo makes sure that all the lights and electrics are off, etc. He's realized by this point that even with his memory somewhat recovered, Corrin is still secretly Easily Distracted Man, the hero from the Planet Short Attention Wow, a Butterfly!

…Which Corrin probably wishes didn't show this much. "Uh, I have a library book…" which is on the stand next to his bed… in the next room. He looks at the chauffeur—will she let him out of her sight that long? "I'll be right back." Worst comes to worst, someone will say something, or maybe just tag along, to make sure he doesn't jump out the window or something.

All other things being equal, he'll be back with the book a moment later. "I'm ready." No, he's not, but he is. Or close enough.

The chauffeur watches from just outside the door as Corrin goes into his room, almost as though she could see through the wall. Fortunately Corrin isn't looking at her with Life Sight, because it'd be worse than trying to figure out the Vision. She has artificial life-fields that might fool someone who perceived such things by feel, but they'd stand out clearly to Corrin as simulations. Too regular in their irregularity. Angelo tries not to look at the LMD's when he's lit up, for that reason.

As they step onto the roof, the chauffeur clicks a key and a door opens up in the air, revealing the interior of a car. It's … nice … inside. Not rich corinthian leather from virgin cows, but nice. Ange gets in after Corrin.

It's a conscious choice to use his life-sight, and it doesn't occur to Corrin to use it right now, so he's spared the confusion of what an LMD would look like to him using it. (That's a thrill for later.) For now, he'll be nice and meek and cooperative, and a bit butterfly-ish, which Angelo has already noted. Never underestimate the shortness of the attention span…

From inside the car, of course, you can see out normally. All the best cloaking devices work that way. And they're airborne, silently, and heading for Liberty Island and stopping, dropping to the water and underneath, moving towards a suddenly visible triangular-arrow-guided tunnel. The car surfaces next to the SHIELD Sub-Carrier in its theoretically secret, underground/underwater hangar, moves into the air, and lands on one of the clearly marked landing zones on the carrier's surface.

Corrin has a butterfly moment on the way down. "Ellis Island! That's why all the plain-clothes guys were lurking when I spoke to Miss Franklin!" If he were a dog, there'd be noseprints all over the window at that moment. He'll watch the island slide past and reluctantly sit back for the rest of the ride.

And… the nervousness-meter reading goes up as the car slips into the tunnel, then a very tech-y underground. AIM isn't that different, in the design of its bases, and that image is the one floating in front of him now. Watch his hands go white-knuckle on the edge of the seat.

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