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Story [AoS, E-Branch] Mary Formal and Liz Merrick - Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Discussion in 'Non Star Wars Fan Fiction' started by Sith-I-5, May 12, 2018.

  1. Sith-I-5

    Sith-I-5 Force Ghost star 6

    Aug 14, 2002
    Mary Formal and Liz Merrick - Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

    Alt Title: Mary Formal and Liz Merrick are seconded to S.H.I.E.L.D.
    Author: I-5
    Fandoms: Agents of SHIELD (the concept, not the TV series), Necroscope and E-Branch, Backstrom
    Characters: Mary Formal, Liz Merrick
    Reasoning: The RP (Marvel Heroes: Resurgence) is dead, long live the fan fic. I am recovering posts from a roleplaying game that the GM has too much on, to run, and hopefully, I will get a chance to continue those adventures.
    Disclaimer: The MCU and AoS is the property of Marvel / Disney; E-Branch and Necroscope were created by Brian Lumley; Mary Formal was a one-shot Torchwood character, and has been developed by myself.

    Ancillary Cast Note: A PM has gone to the GM to use his npc liaison character, Arthur Chesterfield, but in the meantime, I have substituted Backstrom lieutenant, Peter Niedermayer.
    Dr Sebastian Scarletpebble substituted for Dr Sebastian Redstone.
    Bryan Dale, SHIELD chauffeur, was an npc I was allowed to create.
    Dr Moira MacTaggert is an actual Marvel character, so I can keep her.
    I have permission from Kahn_Iceay to use his Alastor Zingari.


    Starts with an ‘I’ and ends with a ‘You’

    (NSWFF Prompt Entry re-post)


    “I signed you both up for the Superhuman Registration Act.” The head of British E-Branch, Ben Trask, announced, the bald man leaning back in his executive chair, a skyline view of an overcast London through the double-glazed window behind him.

    The what?” Mary Formal, E-Branch agent and unbeknownst to her human colleagues, an extra-terrestrial shape-shifting refugee from the planet Arca, retorted, her expression giving the impression that she had bitten down on a wasp.

    Liz Merrick, a telepath who was one of the branch’s more recent intake, leaned from her own chair to Mary’s. “I think it is related to SHIELD.

    "Wasn't that a make of soap?"

    Liz sighed. "Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division. They rallied super-heroes to deal with Doctor Doom in Latveria, a year ago?"

    The two had worked together at times on a vampire-hunting operation in Australia, and Trask subsequently tended to pair the two women as a result, when there were no over-riding factors.

    It’s the Superhuman registration act, Boss.” Formal pointed out, bare legs crossing under her black pencil skirt. Since Oz, she had ditched her usual hippy-dippy backless tops and bright ra-ra minis, and started dressing in a more corporate manner, short-sleeved white blouses, knee-length black or blue pencil skirts, and a snub-nosed Beretta in a dinky little holster at the small of her back, in the manner of a fictional female U.N.C.L.E. agent.

    For some reason, all the colleagues familiar with the 1960s series, were perfectly happy to go along with her pretense that she was a liaison for the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement, and help string along the co-workers, Liz included, who had never heard of it.

    Hold on.” Merrick piped up, raising a finger. “How can you sign Mary up? I know she works with us and all, but do you have the authority to do that for her?

    Mary glanced at her friend, who habitually took advantage of the Branch’s relaxed office policy to live in jeans and checked men’s shirts. “That’s a point.” She glanced back at Trask. “Mister Waverley is going to be pi-, I mean, uh, rather put out.” She referred who would have been Trask's opposite number in the U.N.C.L.E., you know, if it actually existed.

    “It was his idea.” Trask deadpanned.

    Her boss was an enigma to the Arcan. She knew that his psychic talent, as all of E-Branch’s top bods had one, was that he could not only sense lies, but felt a physical pain in the presence of one, which was the main source of the hostility that she received from him, for she frequently had to hide her intentions or plans to feed, which since it involved the traumatic removal of a still-beating heart from a human’s chest, was not something she could rely on his understanding.

    It was a source of constant amazement for her that with all that going on, he played along with her masquerade, even though he frequently made her pay for it, like forcing her to write reports in duplicate, for himself, and for her "real employers".

    “And while he agreed that E-Branch should pick up the tab for Liz’ flight across the Pond to S.H.I.E.L.D.’s headquarters, Mister Waverley suggested that you purchase your own ticket, and claim it back in expenses through U.N.C.LE.’s New York field office.”

    Formal glared at her grinning but wincing supervisor. “Oh, **** you.



    IC: E-Branch agents Mary Formal and Liz Merrick, SHIELD's London HQ; Qunijet; and ante-hall outside Medical, Triskelion Building, respectively
    Locations: London to New York, Shieldair Flight boarding at Gate Three


    The girls had been met by a SHIELD liaison officer, a dapper, self-proclaimed American, by the name of Peter Niedermayer.

    Both agents had expected more of an accent from the tall, dark-haired individual, in his, to the Arcan's experienced eye, bespoke suit and tie.

    He had shown them laminated pages of uniform styles in navy blue, then despatched the E-Branch agents to cramped changing rooms with full-length mirror, a bench, hooks for the clothes, and the big circular SHIELD logo featuring the silhouette of a bird of prey and the words spelling out the acronym, as if someone had told them that she couldn't remember what the hell it meant.

    "This is just like when Dad used to take me shopping for school!" Liz' excited voice gushed through the thin walls from the adjacent compartment, whilst Mary was still negotiating her hands along the stretchy sleeves of the bodycon dress that she had wriggled into, and was gathered around her torso and hips in folds, waiting to be tugged down. "Though in those days, trouser-suits were not an option."

    "Yeah," she called back, "and the Harry Potter vibe doesn't hurt either. I will readily admit that I was suspecting some sort of wind up with all Trask's insistence that we go to platform nine and three quarters at Kings Cross Station. But boom, SHIELD has a drokking base here! Right under everyone's nose!"

    One arm through, she stopped, leaning against a wall for a rest, the clingy fabric pressing her other arm to her side. "Wierd though that nobody here understands why so many kids come rushing in, screaming about the Hogwarts Express."

    Right on cue, the rising wail from upstairs, of a young Harry Potter fan that had no doubt fallen foul of the rumble strip that someone had laid a metre inside the holographic secret entrance, precisely to prevent racing kids from penetrating too deep inside the facility before anyone knew they were there. The anguished cry was like a knife twisting into Formal's heart, even though she understood where the SHIELD people were coming from, but the yellow trip hazard still disquieted her. Even a catchment net like aircraft carriers had to capture craft that landed with too much speed, would be preferable to making a child face-plant.

    "You dressed yet?"

    "Few more minutes." She bent forwards, tugging the tight dress towards her knees. She hadn't even tackled the boots yet. "If I ever have to put this on in an emergency, Liz, don't wait for me. I'll meet you at the assembly point."

    ".......I would never leave you behind."

    "Don't think that I didn't hear that pause."

    * * * *

    They had later been taken to a nearby landing pad, where a grey, twin-finned aircraft, the name Terri O in yellow script along her fat pointed nose, which the pilot proudly described as a VTOL (vertical take-off and landing), supersonic, Quinjet.

    Mary had narrowed her eyes at this proud introduction, having heard similar from a Royal Australian Navy flight crew about their Sea King helicopter.

    Was this a common thing?

    With none of their male E-Branch colleagues around, the two agents were becoming more playful with each other, and Liz was clearly relaxed and enjoying herself.

    They had traded maternalistic barbs aboard the Terri O, with Liz fussing over the older woman's seatbelt, referencing a driving incident in Oz; whilst Mary despatched her colleague to sit at the back of the plane, citing that she wasn't old enough to hear the racier Romanian profanities that she was bursting to add to Niedermayer's vocabulary, now that he had opened the linguistic door for her.

    "Look, I cannot understand what you two are saying anyway!" The telepath had pouted, one hand gripping an exposed part of the airframe as she stood close to her seated companion.

    "Go." Mary had insisted sternly, finger pointing towards the sealed ramp at the rear of the passenger area.

    The rest of the flight, the E-Branch pair had been the models of professionalism and cooperation, extending that to the landing four hours later in New York, then the regime of security and biometric checks that they had to go through.

    * * * *
    New York

    Now, waiting outside Medical whilst Niedermayer was inside talking to the medics, Formal turned her mind to the idea of feed.

    New York was a big place, if the view she had gotten over the pilot's shoulders was anything to go by. If she was here long enough to need to seek sustenance this side of the Atlantic, she should be able to easily find someone that could not be traced back to her or SHIELD, but.....but if she did have to go after someone here...

    She glared balefully through the toughened window pane at the white-coated nurse stretching and snapping flesh-coloured neoprene gloves over her hands whilst talking to their liaison.

    "That...woman who shoved the hose up my-"

    "Enema." Liz supplied.

    "Well, its a pretty name, I'll grant you," Mary allowed, innocently conflating it with 'Emma', "but-"

    "It's not her name!" Liz snickered. A shadow crossed her face at the recollection of the unenviable experience. "It's what the procedure is called that she did to you. To us."

    "So which one do you want to see first." Niedermayer asked brightly, arriving next to them. "Your office or your place?"

    "Our place." Liz insisted with a wince. "As long as it wasn't confiscated, we should have some aloe vera packed."

    "Well, at least we know now why healing factor is so popular with you people." Formal muttered. She shook herself and glowered up at him, trying out one of the acronyms that he had taught them on the plane, jabbing a finger at him. "F.Y.I., Peter. You are never doing that to us again. Never."

    To be continued...
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2020
    pronker likes this.
  2. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    Love to see Mary and Liz and their funny adventures
    Sith-I-5 likes this.
  3. Sith-I-5

    Sith-I-5 Force Ghost star 6

    Aug 14, 2002
    Thank you reading!

    How are you doing?
    pronker likes this.
  4. pronker

    pronker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jan 28, 2007
    An excellent beginning to refresh the memory of the personalities of these two - their banter well done and hilarious - and for gosh sakes, Waverley! I am so enjoying picturing the man and his sly twinkle in the eye, also the image of their 60s dress uniform that UNCLE gave to its females in the ranks, sort of businesslike but with that weapon at the small of the back. Well done.
    Sith-I-5 likes this.
  5. Sith-I-5

    Sith-I-5 Force Ghost star 6

    Aug 14, 2002
    Thank you for reading and commenting, @pronker .

    Pleasure to have you here, and to have entertained you with the UNCLE references.

    I will have to try inserting Mary into an UNCLE vignette sometime.
    pronker likes this.
  6. Sith-I-5

    Sith-I-5 Force Ghost star 6

    Aug 14, 2002
    IC: Agents Mary Formal, Liz Merrick
    Triskellion HQ, New York

    Despite her discomfort and state of righteousness, Formal was interested to see how Niedermayer reacted to her getting in his face over what had happened in Medical, but apart from a short burst of nervous-sounding laughter, it bounced off him like moisture trying to bother the heated base of a clothes iron.

    “Well, then…*ahem*… yes, we shall visit your assigned habitat first.” He did look uncertain for a moment, then made a quarter-turn away from them and waved a hand towards the exits. “This way, if you please.”

    Liz pulled the metal and plastic handle up from her wheeled luggage, teasing, "I cannot believe you thought her name was actually, 'Enema'"

    "Shut up." Mary retorted gently.

    The agents carried or pulled their bags along the highly polished floor that would either be a lot of fun or a ******* death trap in socks and stockings. Ahead of them, daylight hit partially clear, partially frosted glass etched with the SHIELD logo.
    The glass slid aside at their approach.

    "Did you think she was related to Eminem too?"

    "Shut up."

    Waiting outside the clinic, was an official transport. The four passenger sedan was a handsome vehicle, which sported the agency’s logo on its side. It looked too blocky and unwieldy to be any good in a car chase, so it probably had some special surprises. Game monitors in the back of the car seats, machine guns behind the headlights, or something. The dark polished doors were adorned with the logo.

    “After you.”

    Liz observed the sedan sitting there and looked aside at her friend. "Do you remember what SHIELD stands for yet?"

    "Shut up and get in."

    Thank to her 'Director Hill' rompersuit, the telepath was able to just step in with one foot, duck in and sit down, and then drag the other leg in after her.

    Mary had to be more ladylike, turning her back on the open door while a functionary put their bags in the 'boot' at the back, sitting down on the edge of the backseat, then careful to keep her bare knees clamped together, get both feet into the sedan, followed by her knees then finish the move by facing the front and settling back into the cushions.

    Honestly, the whole technique looked so demure, that if Agent Niedermayer thought that the way the English pronounced his surname sounded dignified, this'd make hm positively wet.

    Niedermayer sat in the front, to the right of the driver, which disorientated Mary for a moment, then remembered they drove on the wrong side of the road over here.
    She mused to herself that she must have blacked out or something earlier, because this was not the first car they had been in since touching down.
    Or maybe the liaison had kept them busy with his 'This is how we say things at SHIELD, and what they mean' tutorial.

    A curious number of words seemed to refer to pairings between SHIELD agents. If they were to hear "skyward", they were not to interpret it as a local equivalent of the old Japanese "Tora! Tora! Tora!" 'planes coming out of the sun' warning, and warily check the heavens for Iron Man or a hijacked Quinjet; nope, apparently Agents Skye and Grant Ward were taking things to the next level. Staff were even running a pool.

    How do you run a pool? Formal queried silently as the car pulled smoothly away from the curb. You run a tap. You dive into a pool. You fill a pool. Actually, you check to make sure the pool has been filled before you dive in, unless you want to be air-lifted from the pool by air ambul-

    "This is a lovely vehicle!" Liz gushed beside her, hands gripping the back of the driver's seat.

    Musings interrupted, Mary stared at her excited friend, putting in, "She means it's shiny." Two hundred years plus under her belt, she had to have put some time in, watching human behaviours to better stay hidden. "You do know that shine fades unless you keep it up, right?"

    "Not with the waxes we use." The driver advised, glancing up at the rear view mirror between him and Peter.

    "Special SHIELD brand is it?"

    "Not everything we use is a SHIELD brand, Miss!" He laughed. "Though yes, we do slap a SHIELD decal on when it passes the security checkpoint, but that is just to show everyone that it has been adjudged safe."

    She winced in pain at the unexpected sensation of the flesh on her left arm being pinched through the blue material of her sleeve and twisted by Liz' fingers!

    Ow! What the hell, Hero?! She focused on the younger woman's features, and recognised that fierce I saw him first! look in her eyes, instantly deploying her own wide-eyed look, which she hoped conveyed, What am I, psychic? because her Arcateenian mind was a closed book to all the telepaths she had ever encountered.

    She counted that as a key component as to why she was still alive. If anyone at E-Branch, Liz included, could read her mind, she expected to be dead and dis-sected within the day. And no matter how much of a friend they thought they were to her, if they would be willing to prtotect her, she seriously doubted that they would be able to stop themselves blurting, "Wait, what? You're an alien?!"

    Same result.

    There was no way this girl could read her mind, right? They hadn't known each other that long when she had tried the UNCLE fib on her; she'd have had no reason to go along with it if she knew.
    And then other times, she seemed to know when Mary was trying to get the S.H.I.E.L.D. acronym straight in her head, like when they had seen the sedan for the first time.

    She stayed out of Liz' way for the rest of the fifteen minute drive , till Niedermayer went all Professor Farnsworth and waved out the windscreen, "There it is, the international district!"


    Ahead of them, a series of futuristic medium sized buildings clustered together, more details coming into focus as they sped closer to that area of the campus.

    Even as they arrived, the sedan gliding smoothly to a halt in front of one residential-looking building, sunlight glinting in many of its windows, several valets emerged to assist them with their traveling effects.

    Liz hopped out her side of the vehicle, while Mary reversed her refined 'vehicle entry and exit wearing a skirt' procedure, fancying that she was hearing a very low, appreciative throat rumble from Peter as she swung her knees out after he opened the door for her.
    Probably her imagination.

    The U.N.C.L.E. fangirl tugged the dress hem down, then straightened, and stepped up onto the sidewalk, as they called pavements over here.

    She wondered if the Federal Agent Training Facilities covered this vehicle entrance and exit ettiquette, cos they were all over this for female recruits at The Farm, where she had trained back in the Nineties, in Cambridge, England. Curtseying, the right terminology and behaviour at an ambassador's diplomatic soiree, the whole nine yards. She and the other girls who went on to become probationary agents in their respective Services, would be representing "dear old Blighty", after all.

    She looked across the car's polished roof at Liz, checking she was okay.

    "Can you give the driver a tip?" Merrick asked.

    "'Kay." She leaned back in, facing the seated driver from the back seat. "If you hurt her, I will break both your arms."

    "Thanks, Mum." Liz bit out caustically when she emerged, the telepath now joining her while the liaison observed patiently from the lobby entrance.

    Formal frowned, then brightened in realisation. "Oh, you meant 'money'!" She bounced on her block heels. "You hear any coins?" She nodded at the telepath, adding rhetorically, "You're the one with the pockets, unless all those zips are just for ventilation." In fact, the only zip she could see was the one at the woman's throat, like the one her own uniform had, only Liz had pulled hers down to show an inverted V of faintly freckled flat-chestiness.

    The three Fs, she thought, following the valets and Peter inside, joining them as they butted up against another security checkpoint.

    “Alright, let’s see. Here are your keycards” Peter handed the girls two clear looking ‘credit card’ sized keys. “Press your right thumbs at the center to activate them.” He instructed easily enough, even as he swiped his own card.

    "Oh my God."

    Formal's eyes widened in surprise and awe to see her own face appearing next to her name on the keycard. "Wow." She had seen precious few signs that this was the much-imagined Twenty-First Century, but this was impressive.

    Welcome Agent Niedermayer. A pleasant female voice said in greeting, drawing a grin from the Arcateenian.

    "Oh, sod off!" She exclaimed, looking around the source of the clearly artificial voice. "That is amazing!"

    “Thank you, Jocasta. Have you met Agents Formal and Merrick, yet?”

    Not officially. Welcome Agent Formal, Agent Merrick.

    Both returned the greeting, shyly adding little hand waves.

    Your designated living quarters are 8E-27.

    “That’s 8th Floor, East Wing, Unit 27.” Peter whispered at them.

    As excited and over-awed as she was, Mary quickly discovered that unless she was missing something, the uniform designers must have skipped a meeting. She fanned her new keycard. "These are great, but where we supposed to keep 'em?"

    "No problem here."

    The blonde Arcateenian looked on, scandalised, as Merrick slid her card down the open zip into Triple-F territory. "Did you even go to The Farm?"

    "What farm?"

    Mary turned to look up into Niedermayer's carefully neutral expression. "I am so sorry, she really isn't like this at home."

    Within moments, after all security protocols were observed, the trio made it up the secure lift, and into the transplanted E-Branch agents' new apartment. Peter had insisted one of them officiate their access to their apartment. What better way to start their great adventure.

    Once the door finally opened and the ladies were allowed in, they would find that their apartment was actually a duplex. Their living arrangements contained two floors, one for each agent. He was going to allow them to decide who got the top floor.

    "This is nice" Liz gushed.

    Keycard still pinched between thumb and forefinger, the older agent was all business as she nodded appreciatively, appraising the features.

    Despite SHIELD and E-Branch being allied intelligence agencies now, the place was probably bugged. They'd have to talk in the bathroom with the shower running. The legs on those tables holding the PCs, both levels, could be ripped off and used as stakes in a vampire-related emergency. By herself anyway; Liz would probably just dislocate a shoulder.

    She found she had been left behind as Peter went on to show Liz all the amenities, and stepped across the sun-drenched off-white deep-pile carpet to catch up with the pair. Two bedrooms, two bathrooms, two computer stations with office space, a full kitchen, and even floor length windows with an actual view of the neatly manicured green lawns and mosaic pavings of Triskelion Square.

    “I think you’ll like it here.” Peter finished.

    "Seriously, no-one has ever mentioned the pockets thing before?"

    "She means this place is lovely. We will definitely like it here. Great view."

    Formal this time ignored her friend's warning glare, doggedly carrying on. "Not on an FAQ list or something?"

    "I brought a sewing kit with me. I will make you some pockets before tomorrow." Liz volunteered, then asked Peter if they could see their offices.

    "What about the aloe vera?"

    "What aloe vera?"

    Mary shook her head. Honestly, throw a man, a card with her face on it, and a talking A.I. at her, and Liz would forget her own head if it wasn't screwed on. She took a deep breath, clapped her hands together and smiled at Peter. "Fine. When can we see our offices?"

    To be continued...
    Last edited: May 28, 2018
  7. pronker

    pronker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jan 28, 2007
    These two play off each other so well --- and Triskelion is a vividly remembered place, well depicted. Pockets, never can have too many pockets … :cool:
    Sith-I-5 likes this.
  8. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    I was fully on board as soon as you said AOS: the concept, not the TV series. [face_mischief]

    As always, it's great to see your Mary in another mash-up of fandoms. I'm usually have to pay extra attention to follow what's going on in your stories, but Marvel is actually a fandom I know, so I'm extra excited to read. This is off to a great start, with the ladies arriving and beginning the process of getting acclimated. I particularly liked:

    [face_laugh] I have to echo pronker in saying how well these two play off of each other. :)

    An excellent beginning. =D=
    Sith-I-5 and pronker like this.
  9. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    love the banter between Liz and Mary
  10. Sith-I-5

    Sith-I-5 Force Ghost star 6

    Aug 14, 2002
    @pronker @Mira_Jade @earlybird-obi-wan - Thank you for looking in and reading and commenting.

    I am glad you are enjoying the pair's banter.

    I feel I should point out that as these are recovered roleplay posts, the words and actions of the liaison agent were done by greyjedi125. My original "banter" only covers Mary, Liz, the chauffeur, and the Jocasta A.I., going forwards.

    * * * *

    IC: Agents Mary Formal, Liz Merrick
    8th Floor, East Wing, Unit 27, International District, Triskelion, NY

    Despite her continuing to drive home the pockets issue, Formal was privately relieved that their liaison was not getting annoyed with, or tired of, them.

    She did not know if he would be leaving them after today, and she did not want to leave the man with a bad impression.

    He quickly interjected with a smile. “There are pockets.

    "Oh yeah?" She countered, "Wh-"

    “Pardon me, Ladies.

    She stopped, stunned, as his index finger slipped inside a seamless groove that served as a ‘breast pocket’, and did an impression of a top-down windscreen wiper against her areola, before snatching the hand back and indicating two larger pockets just under the ribs.

    She inhaled to verbally retaliate at the invasion of personal space, then released the breath and relaxed, silently conceding that she probably would never have found it if he hadn't done that. "Thank you."

    She slipped her keycard into her breast pocket and slid her hands down the dress' stretchy fabric till she encountered the discreet faux leather patches, which seemed to be more on her hips than anywhere else. Those were pockets?

    “In addition, we have several stylish utility belts and all purpose bandoliers you could choose from."

    "Oh, I'll have some of that!" Merrick put in. "Got anything like a white stormtrooper belt?"

    "I'll go for a utility belt as well. Perhaps something in yellow to contrast nicely with this blue. If you have themes, I'll have the Batman utility belt."

    "Who's Batman?"

    "Ever watched The Lego Movie? He's the self-referential one with the black cape and the gravelly voice."

    "And the Batmobile"

    Mary indicated her team-mate. "As she says."

    "I'm behind on my movies.", Peter admitted ruefully; then breaking into a new smile, bowing his head and with a hand flourish, he indicated the doorway to the hall. “Alright then, let’s move on to your shiny new office.

    The women left their luggage just inside the doorway, and sealed the door behind them.

    Formal had been planning to ask when she could carry her Bren Ten automatic in its shoulder rig, but shelved the idea during the walk back to the lift. She had been observing the various personnel since Medical, uniformed and not, and precious few had been packing heat.

    The blocky security types at the checkpoints, in their ill-fitting blue uniforms and caps, seemed to be the only ones visibly armed.

    Mary followed Niedermayer through the glass barriers of the lobby checkpoint, then turned to check on Liz, who was on the other side, one hand probing into the throat zip of her tunic.

    She reached up a hand to cover Peter's eyes. "You don't need to see this. She's re-arranging things in case we have the same driver." She glanced over it time to see Liz' scowl.

    "Yeah, funny haha. The card's slipped inside my tunic."

    Formal frowned. "The keycard?"


    The Arcateenian shook her head. "See, that's why you should have gone with the dress. In your situation, all I would have to do is loosen the belt, and let it fall out." She looked up, "Jocasta? Can you just let Agent Merrick through, please."

    Negative. Please utilized your personalized keycard for access.

    Mary hesitated. She did not know if the AI had access to cameras in order to 'see' things. "Well, the thing is, she cannot actually reach her keycard."

    What seems to be the problem, Agent Merrick?

    "The card has slipped down inside my uniform. I can't actually get to it without going somewhere to get undressed"

    Very well. Please stand next to the security panel for deep scan.

    Liz visibly grimaced at the idea. "Yeah, that won't be necessary, Jocasta.

    "Translation:" Formal muttered too low for Niedermayer to hear. "**** that." She watched her partner drop her hands to the slight bulge of tummy above the light grey belt, fingers trying to grab at the card through the taut material. She glanced to the pair of taciturn-looking guards. "You guys got a fluoroscope that you can attach to the gate sensor?" The device she referred to was a thin, pipe-like, steerable surveillance device that could be pushed under doors, through drilled holes or along ventilation shafts, to spy on people without being detected.

    "Yeah, think it through," Liz whispered harshly through the glass, "what would they see?"

    Mary sighed, pulled her card out of her breast pocket, and pressed it against the barrier's sensor, stepping between the opening glass panels, and gently slapping Merrick's hands out of the way as she stood toe-to-toe with her. "The foresight of the people at The Farm," she muttered, shaking her head as she pulled at the skin-tight material of Liz' uniform with the thumb and forefinger that had grown muscles from carrying her own keycard, and used the other hand to trace the whereabouts of Liz's one. "We're going to get a reputation if we're not careful-"

    "Too late. Andy over there," the telepath glanced meaningfully at the guard on their side of the barrier, "has already cycled through some portmanteaus."

    "Some what?" Formal paused, her fingers detecting the hard surface of the keycard against her friend's firm solar plexus. She grasped at it, her fingers sliding over the unyielding material, and glanced up into Merrick's face.

    "Portmanteaus. Combined words. At the moment, he's settled on 'Merral'."

    "Okay, found the card. Which way do you wanna go, up or down?"


    "We can go down-" She paused at the snicker from the direction of "Andy", and doggedly carried on, "-actually sod it, I'll go up."

    A log on the issue has been filed. The Jocasta AI advised, just as the keycard saw daylight, several moments later.

    "Well, you can jolly well un-file it!" Liz snapped over Mary's bent head.

    "If I see any of this on Youtube, I am coming after your data centres, Jocasta." It was probably bad form to threaten your host's artificial intelligence, but the Arcan was so annoyed to be interrupting Niedermayer's schedule again - the man had more patience than St Elsewhere - that she was past caring.

    * * * *

    Eventually they made it out to the car, the same sedan and driver that they had had earlier, which would have been awkward but for Operation Card Retrieval.

    Mary sat in the back next to Liz with lips pursed and arms crossed while the car steered round several corners, and Peter regaled them with information on where they would be working.

    “Your office is located in the Metaphysics Building, where metahuman studies are conducted. You are now part of our Paranormal Phenomena Department.” Peter said, “It does sound somewhat more official than ‘Defense Against the Dark Arts’ or ‘Ministry of Magic’.

    She frowned to herself. He had explained on the plane that the term 'metahuman' was another name for a person with super powers.
    But she was troubled by the jobs they were being assigned. Did SHIELD know about E-Branch's anti-vampire activities? Were they aware why she and Liz were here?

    The sedan's sharp right turn had her leaning slightly to the left, bumping shoulders with her fellow agent.
    The impact seemed to spur Liz to blurt something that had been on her mind: "She isn't really my Mum, you know!"

    Mary rolled her eyes. This again? She raised her gaze to see the driver looking back at her via his mirror. "Yes, I am, and if you take her out, she's to be home by ten. And by home, I don't mean Quinjetting her across the Atlantic back to England, I mean, Unit...dammit, where are we again?"

    "8E-27." Liz supplied.

    This prompted Peter to pipe up. “I almost forgot. Here are your communicator headsets and hand-held datapads." He passed a pair of tiny devices that clipped over the ear, between the front seats, and then a pair of rectangular grey tablets with the stylised SHIELD bird stamped into the back. "Activation is fairly intuitive and interactive. You can always ask Jocasta to assist you. The pads already comes with a map and locator, in case you need to get around in a hurry.

    "Or forget where we live."

    Formal felt her face heat slightly with embarrassment as she brushed hair back to put the earpiece on. Fitted perfectly. She angled the short black rod that contained the microphone, along her cheekbone, and turned to make sure Liz was okay with hers.

    She perhaps micro-managed more than she needed to, but ever since Australia, when she'd been assigned to accompany Liz Merrick and fellow new E-Branch recruit, Jake Cutter, out into the Gibson Desert, probing for their first vampire trace, she had taken on the more protective and maternal role.

    Give him his due, Peter gave a quick demonstration with the datapads once he twigged that neither had the first clue how to turn the things on, but it took Liz balancing her tablet on her knee and tapping delicately at the black screen with a fingernail; Mary biting hers; then Merrick murmuring, "Intuitive, my arse."

    He showed them how to operate the devices and join the secure network. “You can browse for additional apps later. Those can be fun.” he added, their blank expressions prompting him to explain what apps were. Inside a moment, they arrived at their destination. Naturally, there was a security checkpoint, and as they had clearly ironed out any hiccups, their entry proceeded without incident. The trio boarded a lift, then disembarking promptly on the third floor.

    The white corridors that greeted them were well lit and spacious. Security cameras regarded them from the ceiling and the walls, but Peter seemed oblivious, as he was enjoying giving the small introductory tour. They passed several large unmarked doors, then finally arrived, after making a right at the end of the corridor. There was a silver chrome plaque on the single door, which simply read: Section 23.

    Liz indicated the route they had taken. "Were all those other doors, Sections 1 thru 22?"

    “After you.” Peter ignored the question, indicating the security pad. The card and biometric combination would need to be provided by either E-Branch agent.

    He looked bemused at their shared bouncy excitement upon getting their eyeballs scanned by a fan of blue light, when leaned down to the security pad.

    "This is just like MTAC!" Liz squealed happily, clapping her hands like a seal as she backed aside from the security pad, pronouncing the acronym as "Em-Tac."

    Mary was also grinning. "That's what we should call it!" She turned to look up at Peter. "You have taught us some of your words, this is one of ours. When you hear us referring to 'MTAC', it'll be this place that we are talking about!"

    As they gained entry, entry, the lights flickering on before them, Liz explained that MTAC was the secure communications above the squad room in the show, NCIS.

    She stopped as the modest sized room was revealed before them. The carpet and furnishing were of a neutral color, contrasting against the white walls. Before them was the far wall, where the vertical blinds were closed at the moment. To the right were the work stations, computers, monitors and filing cabinets, complete with work tables and forensic tools. To the left side of the room was a small conference area, also, a kitchenette was beyond it. A refresher and small sleeping area were last.

    "You know, I might even change my codename to 'Agent Todd'."

    Recalling him saying on the flight that their office would be windowless, Mary strode straight for the vertical blinds, pulling them aside enough to peer behind them, bracing herself for a square of red brickwork, but pleasantly surprised to find a view of the grounds, and the sun-drenched, neatly manicured green grass.
    She was tempted to express surprise that they had not cut the SHIELD logo into it, but she didn't want to give them ideas.

    “Ah” Peter said, closing his eyes and inhaling deeply. “I so enjoy the ambiance of a brand new office.

    The smile slipped from Mary Formal's face as she thought she recognised a way to start checking if there were any vampires or Wamphyri that had infiltrated the organisation; and she crossed quickly to Liz' side and whispered meaningfully into her ear, the telepath nodding as Mary stepped away.

    Peter turned to both of them and opened his arms wide. “How do you like it?

    "Fantastic." Liz beamed. "Really great."

    "Awesome. Especially after telling us we wouldn't be getting windows!"

    Merrick maintained her happy expression. "Speaking of which, are there any poor sods for whom both their accommodation and offices are windowless?"

    To be continued...
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2018
  11. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    the trouble with the card, hilarious and the new office with MTAC, love your references to the shows
  12. Sith-I-5

    Sith-I-5 Force Ghost star 6

    Aug 14, 2002
    Thank you for reading and commenting about those things you liked the most.

    For me, I take particular pleasure, with "Did you even go to The Farm?"
  13. Sith-I-5

    Sith-I-5 Force Ghost star 6

    Aug 14, 2002
    Double post from phone, as not clear that update had worked.
    Last edited: May 30, 2018
  14. pronker

    pronker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jan 28, 2007
    What a fun RPG that must have been. If it lasted a long time *I've no notion how long RPGs can go* then I salute everyone's patience!^:)^

    Oh yeah, the ultimate blackmailing venue in 2018 - showing up on social media to be hooted at … *shivers*

    Really cute and accurate depiction of n00bs at work here LOL


    … but, "no windows" … could this be a 'green screen' lawn and scenery??[face_dunno]
  15. Sith-I-5

    Sith-I-5 Force Ghost star 6

    Aug 14, 2002
    @pronker This RP lasted about 12 pages, and died maybe four or five pages after I joined.

    The GM took a better job at work, and found it to be more responsibility than he figured, going in. Real Life comes first, sooo...

    Thank you for highlighting the tablet scene, and other moments that you liked.

    The pair's office and apartment both have real windows, with real views.

    In the actual game, while on the Quinjet, the girls were told that they would not have any windows, but by time they got to the place, the GM must have forgotten that, which is why I made such a deal of it in my post.

    Thank you for reading. :cool:
    pronker likes this.
  16. pronker

    pronker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jan 28, 2007
    That's really interesting about the length of the game. I was in a small one with just one other fan and discovered … I don't have the patience.[face_chicken] I felt the drive to finish and well, that's contrasting with the whole idea of leisurely playing, it seems … in your U, it's great that the office and apartment have windows, picture how living there would be otherwise, urk[face_sick]
  17. Sith-I-5

    Sith-I-5 Force Ghost star 6

    Aug 14, 2002
    IC: Agents Mary Formal, Liz Merrick
    Location: MTAC (nee Section 23), 3rd Floor, Metaphysics Building, International District(?), Triskelion, NY

    The girls were delighted that Peter Niedermeyer had thumbed up their re-naming of their new workplace as MTAC.

    That’s great. MTAC it is.” He had said, smiling indulgently.

    Liz and Mary decided to shelve until an actual mission, should one occur whilst they were here, to respectively re-visit the matter of the Englishwoman's new codename, and the Arcateenian's [gun] carry permit.
    It looked like they would be starting out as researchers or analysts; backroom staff.

    To be fair, most of the work in an intelligence agency was backroom stuff. They could hardly be sent home till something happened that required their particular Talents.

    Peter chuckled and shrugged at the windows comment.

    "Speaking of which, are there any poor sods for whom both their accommodation and offices are windowless?" Liz had asked, as prompted by her team-mate, but not tried a telepathic probe, as Peter had mentioned on the plane that this was against S.H.I.E.L.D. statutes for agents to use their powers on each other, without official instructions to do so.

    She herself disliked using her Talent on fellow psi-powered individuals, and while she had no evidence that Niedermeyer was so endowed, she did not want to risk it on the off-chance.
    They had been given communicator headsets, datapads, and computer access both here and at the residence; if they wanted to trace Wamphyri that had could have infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D., there were other avenues to try first.

    You have a visitor, Agents. Jocasta suddenly announced, her artificially melodic voice filling the office.

    Liz looked up with a twinge of unease. It would be wise to remember that that ***** was constantly monitoring them.

    A red-haired man, taller than both of them, and seemed to have a little bit of a paunch on him; and who did not seem that much older than her own twenty-six years, certainly no more than a decade, entered through the still open door as they turned to face it.
    Her gaze was drawn to the convex slash of navy blue that betrayed the presence of a one-piece SHIELD uniform under his white lab coat. His green eyes regarded them, before his serious expression softened a bit.

    “Perhaps so…” He said, answering her question. “But that needn’t be a concern, or at least I hope not.”

    “Ah, you must be Dr. Scarletpebble.” Peter surmised.

    “That I am.”

    "Really?" Mary vocalised in high-pitched disbelief. From what she knew of schoolkids these days, a kid rocking up in the playground with the name 'Scarletpebble', would have been bullied into oblivion!

    Peter turned to both Liz and Mary as he gestured to the newcomer. “Dr. Scarletpebble has been assigned as your immediate supervisor. He is quite the expert in your field of expertise.” The liaison officer moved to one side as to give the red haired man an unobstructed view of his new colleagues.

    Liz waved and smiled, good-naturedly. "Dr Scarletpebble. Agent Liz Merrick."

    Ah. She would have to make 'nice', Mary realised, nodding a greeting. "Doctor. Agent Mary Formal."

    “Pardon the intrusion, I was passing by and decided to meet you both, quite ahead of schedule. Welcome to META.”

    Formal nodded to her colleague, "Well, now that you have META," and tapped her own blue chest, "and now that you have met me...".

    She let the pun hang, watching a faint smile grace his lips, though framed by a five o clock shadow. His arms remained inside the pockets of his lab coat as he took a few steps into the room.

    “Let me know if there’s anything I can do to make you feel at home.” He added, in an attempt to offset the awkward moment he had unintentionally created by ignoring her attempt to break the ice.

    The Arcateenian has a serious response to that, but paused as she followed Scarletpebble's gaze down to Liz, and the telepath's back to the good doctor's stout torso. Had she not just got that driver's number?

    What, do you have a fetish for men in tight blue onesies? She wondered quietly, then waved dismissively at her partner. "Oh for pity's sake; just bring her back by ten."

    A startled-looking Merrick looked up. "What? No!"


    Liz pointed at Scarletpebble. "His suit zip-" She pressed her lips together and stepped round the back of Niedermeyer to cup a hand over the blonde woman's left ear, "His suit zip goes all the way down to his belt. I'm thinking that uniform design would be easier for me to work with, in case I have to, y'know, ever get through a security checkpoint again."

    Realising what Liz was referring back to Operation Card Recovery, Formal's gaze flicked down to her friend's chest, which impossibly, looked even flatter than normal. In the interests of scientific discovery, of course, she tapped it experimentally with a bent knuckle, detecting a plasticky sound through the stretched cobalt-coloured fabric. "Datapad?"


    Mary shook her head. "You need help." Looking up at Scarletpebble. "Well Doc', Agent Merrick wants to swap clothes with you."

    "Well, I wouldn't put it that way." The brunette blushed round her scowl. "His tailor will do fine."

    "And for me, so we are all on the same page, Dr Scarletpebble, just what have you been told about our field of expertise?"

    To be continued...
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2018
    pronker likes this.
  18. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    Oh dear, Scarletpebble is a most unfortunate name - that's for certain. But it's interesting to meet another colleague as they settle in. I enjoyed Mary's pun to break the ice - you have a fun flair for dialogue, as always, and the META line was further proof of that. It's unfortunate that Dr. Scarletpebble wasn't able to respond in kind right away. They definitely seem to be off on the wrong foot, so to speak. :p

    This was an entertaining update, and I'm enjoying your cast of characters as you move things into place! I remain eager to see where this goes. :) =D=
  19. Sith-I-5

    Sith-I-5 Force Ghost star 6

    Aug 14, 2002
    Good to see you back here, @Mira_Jade .

    As for "Dr Scarletpebble", not being able to use the Games Master's npc' name of "Dr Redstone", seems to have created an opportunity, and it is unlikely that I will retcon back to Redstone even if I did get permission to use it. I'd have to remember to clean up Mary's reactions to the name, for a start.

    I also can't wait to get to some later posts; thanks to a player whose character and material I have permission to use, I was able to have some fun with heli-carriers...
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2018
  20. pronker

    pronker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jan 28, 2007
    It's a neat touch of realism here; I seem to recall that one UNCLE episode at least concentrated on a poor backroom/lab rat forced into the front lines of gun battles, etc.

    Ickypoo, constant surveillance.[face_nail_biting]

    [face_tee_hee] re the continual clothing difficulties!
  21. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    love the name Scarletpebble and like to see where this is going
  22. Sith-I-5

    Sith-I-5 Force Ghost star 6

    Aug 14, 2002
    Thank you for continuing to read and give feedback, @pronker.

    Hi @earlybird-obi-wan , glad you like the name. The Doc' could have done with you beside him in the school playground, "See! She likes my name!"

    I hope you continue to read and enjoy.

    * * * *

    IC: Agents Mary Formal, Liz Merrick
    8th Floor, East Wing, Unit 27, International District, Triskelion, NY

    Agent Formal sat on the sofa in their quarters, welcoming the accomodating softness of the cushions under her and against her back as she unzipped her kneeboots, put them together, and tucked her legs underneath her, kneading some life into her right foot and toes with her fingers.

    The girls had jumped at the chance when Peter had asked if they wanted a break to unpack and rest back here.

    Mary had immediately taken the 'Mother' role and relieved Liz of her security card and keeping it with her own, only handing it back when they reached the security checkpoints.

    She actually quite liked the S.H.I.E.L.D. security arrangements, having glass barriers and a pair of armed guards downstairs, rather than E-Branch's idea of security, which had really never progressed beyond a card-operated private elevator at the back of the London hotel whose top floor served as their headquarters.

    The Arcan shifted over to give her left foot some loving, and glanced up through the glase-panelled balcony, towards the closed bathroom door through which Liz had gone, taking her toilet bag and the bottle of aloe.

    So, Doctor Scarletpebble knows that we are investigators, does he? She mused to herself, recalling the abbreviated exchange with their new supervisor. With experience in paranormal activity?

    They had a little thing in Britain called the Official Secrets Act. Which the two British agents had of course signed up to.
    Neither she or Liz could share proprietary information before knowing what S.H.I.E.L.D. knew of their business, and whether it was due to their own intelligence-led efforts, or because Ben Trask, their own boss back at E-Branch, had told their American cousins more than he said he would.

    The Arcateenian glanced towards the bathroom at the faint sound of the toilet being flushed.
    She had tried to coerce Jocasta into telling Liz that a log had been created, each time she heard that subtle splash of water, but at the end of the day, she realised that she could not do that to her best friend.
    No seriously, she couldn't; the AI had asked if her if she had 'administrator privileges' and the E-Branch agent had known she was beaten. For now.

    Mary sighed at the missed opportunity, and picked up her datapad, switching it on with a swipe of the black screen, and tapping in her IIS (individual identity sequence). She scrolled to the local news services, aiming to find out something about this area of the world.

    A headline about SRA (Superhuman Registration Act) demonstrations in New York, caught her eye. Anti-registration camps being set up in Central Park. New York's Police mobilised in case things got worse.

    "What the hell is a NuSentinel?" She mused aloud, furrowing eyebrows as a pair of excitable news anchors on the screen, compared it to a more familiar-looking robot called an ED-209, which appeared in a smaller square in the top-right corner of their studio shot. "Now, where the hell do I know you from?"

    The shot on her datapad changed to show news footage of one of those NuSentinel things, a two-toned bipedal Transformer-like mechanical, holding court on the streets of Manhattan. It's multi-faceted armour was purple below its upper chest and shoulders, silver chrome above.

    She was imagining the colour scheme was from the thing gaily running through blackcurrant hedgerows, just before being called to duty, without time to get to a carwash; when a loud click from above, alerted her to Liz sauntering out onto the landing, chased by wisps of steam, her hair up in a white and blue towel, and a larger SHIELD bath towel wrapped around her at underarm-level, giving the appearance of a fluffy off-the-shoulders party frock, half a blue eagle disappearing behind her left hip.

    Moisture dripped off the telepath's datapad as she quickly skipped down the carpeted stairs from the upper level, turned and sat so heavily on the sofa that Formal almost tipped into the depression created, before the memory foam seating rallied and pushed Liz back up.
    "I found it!" She whispered excitedly as she crossed her legs with her feet under the opposite thighs, and placed the tablet on her lap.

    Mary set her own mini-comp aside and looked down at the condensation-speckled screen of Liz' tablet. "Found what?"

    "My new uniform, of course." Merrick blurted, "I was using the datapad in the shower, and scrolling through the on-campus services."

    Formal groaned. "Oh, don't tell me they call this place a campus."

    "It's just the vibe I get."

    "Oh yeah." Mary looked sidelong at her friend's face. "You went to Uni'."

    "What do you mean, I went to uni'?" Liz countered with an interrogatory tone. "So did you. Cambridge."

    "Little known fact; Cambridge University shares real estate with the City of Cambridge. That's where The Farm was, and I was only there for six or so months."

    Merrick gestured with the datapad. "Anyway, I found this place called 'Star', with the letters like an acronym, y'know, S.T.A.R." She read out the letters.

    Formal brightened, thinking about Resident Evil. Heck, if vampires were real, maybe the events of Raccoon City were as well! "Special Tactics and Rescue?"

    "No. SHIELD Tailoring and Repairs." She dabbed the screen to activate it, and flicked the picture that was presented with a tactile finger swipe, then repeated the action, settling on the third image, showing two front and one rear shots of a wavy-haired brunette in a black one-piece bodysuit, with discreetly thin yellow piping outlining the shoulders, forearms, and running down the sides of the torso on both sides, past the hips and down the outside of each pants leg. There were patches and strips of a thicker and shinier smoke-coloured material at different points for no apparent practial reason. The model wore black flat-soled kneeboots, and metal bracers protecting the back of her fists and her forearms. "Those things on her arms look very practical."


    Liz' catalogue selection

    "That they do. I didn't think they were made any more." The Arcan thought the idea had died out centuries before. Even given her own history on the planet, the only time she had seen that look was in history books, or in films.

    "I gave them my measurements and ordered one. They deliver to the International District."

    Mary frowned. "What good is that going to be for us?"

    "We're in the International District."

    "Oh right, yes!" Mary nodded enthusiastically to Liz, but internally shook her head to herself. No idea. "Got it."

    The telepath shook her head, the towel turban dislodging ever so slightly. "You in blue, me in black-"

    "We'll look like a bruise."

    "-people will be able to tell us apart."

    "They can already do that." Mary glanced up towards the bright square of their window. "All they have to do is see who is holding their tablet in their hand whilst in polite company."

    Liz grimaced and elbowed her in the ribs.


    To be continued...
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2018
  23. pronker

    pronker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jan 28, 2007
    Always love subtle touches in a fic … =D=[face_rofl]
  24. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    Nice looking uniform and love to see them wearing those
  25. Sith-I-5

    Sith-I-5 Force Ghost star 6

    Aug 14, 2002
    Thank you for continuing to read, and pointing out bits that you liked.

    Only Liz will be switching to that new style.
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2018