|Dr. Stephen Strange (doctor__strange) wrote in avengers_logs,|
@ 2019-06-08 16:59:00
|Entry tags:||-complete, ava starr, stephen strange|
Who: Dr Strange, Ghost
What: Ava arrives with unexpected consequences!
When: first week of June
Rating/Warning: green, light spoiler?
This was a lot to take in, even for her.
Ava had only just began to recover from the experience of her body turning to ash and floating away, then somehow coming back from all of that; to now being abruptly dropped onto a busy street in New York City. She recognized the location well enough, SHIELD had sent her here on assignment many times in the past. Nothing else made sense beyond that.
The last thing she could recall was talking with Bill in the kitchen of his home in San Francisco, discussing adjustments that could be made to the quantum chamber; when suddenly everything started to become blurry. For a fleeting moment she thought that somehow her condition was getting worse again; that the partial healing from Janet had been a temporary effect - meant to wear off eventually.
But that panic was interrupted by the sudden transportation from West Coast to East. She looked around frantically, the bodies surrounding her on the busy main street were oblivious to her sudden appearance - even wearing the Ghost suit, no one seemed that put off. That was probably the only thing she liked about New York - the relative anonymity, even when it a state of confusion and panic, wearing what must have looked like a very strange costume.
Someone bumped into her shoulder, causing the outline of her body to flicker as she phased instinctively to avoid further contact. She walked until she reached a less occupied side street, in search of transportation and a way to make contact with Bill.
Before she could do that, sparks were flying. A portal opened and through it stepped a middle aged man wearing a red cape. The way it moved was more fluid than fabric, and it barely settled down when the man cleared his throat.
"Hello, I'm Dr. Stephen Strange," he said by way of introduction. "I'm a consultant to the Avengers and a Master of the Mystic Arts. I'm here to help after your transition into a new universe."
He paused and looked at her suit. That was going to be hard to hide, so getting her off the street was going to be imperative sooner rather than later.
"We haven't met before," he explained. "The arrival spell only sometimes gives me full names, with a eighty-nine percent chance it's right. I only received Ava. Is that correct?"
She visibly startled at the sight of a portal suddenly appearing and an odd man in a cape stepping through it. Out of habit, she shifted into a more defensive posture; assuming whomever he was, he would attack at any moment. But he didn’t, and instead introduced himself like this was a polite meeting in an office building or something equally mundane. Very odd. He also seemed to know her first name.
“It is,” she replied, still eyeing him with suspicion. She’d seen a lot of things during her days working for SHIELD, but this was certainly new. He’d mentioned the Avengers, but she’d had no personal interaction with any of them; all she knew was overhearing Scott’s animated recounting of some fight in an airport. “Are you with SHIELD as well?” He didn’t really fit the bill, but maybe they had expanded their resources to now include… men with magical capes? Why on earth was it moving like that?
And oh yeah, more importantly - “You’re telling me this is a new universe?” It wasn’t a complete shock to her system, given what she knew of the quantum realm in theory. Still, it didn’t really provide much comfort either. Immediately she began to worry if she would even be able to locate Bill here, or the Pym’s for that matter.
He wasn't eyeing her with outright suspicion but it was hard for him to get a read on her aura either. It was a shifting changing thing. There were a few exceptions where people who were incredibly hard to read. Wanda's energy was ebbing waves of red. Peter Parker was like trying to focus on a nest of bees that had been hit with a stick. Loki was an ever shifting mass that reeked of barely reined in chaos. Vision had no aura outside of the Mind Stone, since he was a machine. The only aura was of the stone, but the AI was impressively human...with far more humanity than most humans possessed.
But the wary young woman before him? While nothing registered as outright evil, trying to look at her astral energy was like staring at someone who was not fully here nor there, and by some stroke of good fortune she hadn't scattered to the four winds. He could amplify the astral spell, but he doubted it would change this result.
Setting her more at ease seemed to be a priority.
"No, I'm not with SHIELD. SHIELD ceased to exist when HYDRA was exposed," he replied. "Nick Fury is here, but he's long been a target of HYDRA. It seems most of us were, according to what was leaked to the internet."
He did note that she didn't seem so surprised, squinting a little and adding, "It is a new, unstable timeline, connected to the original one. You don't look phased by this, like most people do."
Hearing he wasn’t working with SHIELD was good, though it didn’t set her at ease quite yet. And hearing that SHIELD didn’t exist was a piece of information she wanted to believe, but for the fact that her time with them led her to think that they’d just gone further underground.
She stared at him openly, assessing him the way she had been taught with her years of training as a covert operative. He didn’t show any signs of deception in his speech, or body language. It didn’t necessary mean that she trusted him yet, but she was no longer ranking him as a threat either.
Ava gave a dry laugh at his assessment. “The concept of multiple universes isn’t so odd when you know the quantum realm exists. Not to say that this is ideal,” she gestured vaguely to her surroundings; while doing so her arm phased in and out of solidity, along with the outline of her body. For all that Janet Van Dyne’s partial healing had helped to stabilize her; during situations where her emotions were high, she still struggled to maintain control of her abilities. And right now, the mixture of wariness and confusion was having it’s effect on her body unfortunately, even with the suit on.
She needed to find Hope, or Scott; mostly she needed to find out if Bill existed here. She wasn’t sure what she would do otherwise.
“If this timeline is connected to the original one, does that mean everyone from there exists here as well?” It was bulky speech, but she figured he would know what she meant. “I’m looking for a few people in particular. It’s very important that I find them…”
It wasn't that SHIELD didn't exist, but more it was its own entity now, and insulated against outside abuses. It didn't seem like the time or place to mention that, not when it might be potentially upsetting. That should be left up to Nick Fury, and it seemed there were things that not even Fury was aware of. The former SHIELD's secrets had secrets, after all.
What was of greater concern was the lack of being solid. Dr. Strange watched with a critical eye at the way her hand moved as well. From a medical perspective, it was fascinating and had to impart some measure of physical discomfort. Even coming back into his own body from the astral plane was painful and winding the first hundred times he did it. Now it was a nightly occurrence, and one where he often woke up with aches and pains. But losing tangibility while awake? That was nothing to take lightly.
If she was familiar with the quantum realm, it was safe to assume she was either accustomed to traveling through it or had been affected by it. It was a line of thinking that he caught onto quickly enough, because there were two people that were nigh synonymous with quantum everything.
"Yes, it is," he confirmed. "I'll save you the speech. It isn't ideal, but it is strongly similar. If you tell me their names, I can offer you a way to take them to you that is instantaneous."
“I need to get into contact with Bill Foster,” she said after a moment of hesitation. She wasn’t certain she ought to give his name to a man she knew so little about, but she was desperate; and without certain resources at the moment. She’d still been using the quantum chamber Bill had built for her, just a lot less frequently; thanks to Janet.
She relied on it during times of heightened stress, and this was absolutely one of those times. The surge of quantum energy supplied by the chamber helped to ease the pain of her flare ups and stabilize her body. Her condition wasn’t something which could simply be left alone in the hopes that it would improve with time; it required constant monitoring even now. If she could find Bill in San Francisco, as well as the Pym’s; things would settle. That was her main priority.
“I also need to find Hope Van Dyne and Scott Lang,” she added, really hoping they would be here as well. “They were helping me to…” she faltered on the words, the abrupt memories of turning to ash flooded into her mind just then. “My condition is unstable. In order to fix it, I needed particles from the quantum realm. Scott was going through the tunnel when… everything faded.” She glanced down at her gloved hands as they flickered in and out of solidity; willing herself to breathe in and out steadily so that the memory did not overwhelm her. “I was doing better,” she added, as if to try and explain the sudden recurrence of symptoms he’d be witnessing. “But this shift to another universe seems to have upended things just a bit.”
That explained why he couldn't get a read off her, although it wasn't the sort of knowledge that put him at ease either. He was supposed to preserve life, not watch it fall into particularite pieces before his very eyes.
'It has seemed to disrupt things in more ways than one." He turned and opened a portal while talking, "Hope and Scott are here, in New York. They've already built a quantum tunnel. It's in the basement at the new Avenger's tower."
The upper floors were undergoing a remodeling, courtesy of a mercurial trickster god. But the sub-basement floors remained off limits and untouched, or so he was told by Stark. He was free to portal in, but the door was going to be locked without the credentials and he couldn't run the machines. That was Hope's forte.
"I'm taking you to Stark's, and I'll let them know about the situation," he told her, standing beside a now open portal which revealed a brightly lit corridor. For a secure underground area, it looked much like the upper floors did. Only with much, much thicker walls.
Her shoulders dropped in relief at hearing that bit of news. Hope and Scott were here, and there was a quantum tunnel as well - that meant the healing she desperately needed was possible, even here in this strange new universe. Ava didn’t know what she would have done had she been dropped into a timeline where her condition could only worsen. Fortunately, that didn’t seem to be the case.
Though it made her wary to trust this stranger, she wasn’t exactly in a position to be choosy at the moment, so she would have to take her chances that this man was not secretly plotting against her in some way.
“Alright,” she said, stepping through the portal carefully. She looked around at the corridor, not particularly loving the fact that it appeared to be underground, all walls and no windows - it felt constricting even to someone who would walk through them. It reminded her of the training rooms she’d spent so much time in when she was younger, the countless tests she’d undergone for SHIELD, being pushed to the brink of exhaustion.
“Thank you,” she said as she turned back around to the man who’d transported her here. “I don’t know why you are helping me, but I do appreciate it.”
"I started in medicine," he told her, closing the portal and taking out his phone to carefully peck out a text with hands that didn't want to comply as quickly as he wanted them to. "I can't practice anymore. Car accident. So if anyone is suffering or in pain, I'm going to get them the help they need whenever possible."
He finished texting and hit send, casting a spell so the phone hovered nearby, where he didn't have to hold it.
"Now we wait. As soon as I open a portal, I'll leave you in their capable hands. While they help you, I'll set up an apartment for you in their building. You'll get the welcome package, including network access. You can introduce yourself on there, if you want to. I think you might need some time to rest after...this."
Every arrival was unique. Every person was different. But never in all of the comings and goings of this universe, had Stephen experienced something like this.
"I can only imagine what that must feel like," said the man who was killed on rewind over a thousand times.
Ava really wasn’t used to kindness without something attached to it - expectations of a debt to be owed later, that sort of thing. That was just how things worked, in the world she had grown up in. SHIELD had made many promises to her, none of which they had any intention of upholding. So to be told that he was setting up an apartment, network access, and a welcome package… it was just… it was a lot.
“There’s a welcome package?” A laugh spilled out at that, and it was a little wobbly sounding; for all that she was still somewhat discombobulated. Stress made you laugh at ridiculous things.
She let out a sigh, staring at the quantum tunnel - it wasn’t lit up and active, but there were so many painful memories attached to the sight of it. Not this exact one in particular, but rather the one her father had tried to construct on his own, in an effort to clear his name. The one that killed both her parents, and left her with a lifelong affliction that made simple things like touch nearly impossible for those first few years.
“If this works, I won’t be needing anywhere near as much rest as I once did,” she said, still staring at the tunnel.
“You said you were a Master of the Mystic Arts… what would you call this?” she asked, lifting her hand as it phased in and out a bit; less so than when they had been in the street earlier. She knew only one name for it - molecular disequilibrium, but maybe there was another term for it. What she’d seen Hope and Scott do was primarily based on something external (the suits, the Pym particles), something they could set down at the end of the day. That was what she wanted with her own abilities, more or less; that kind of control.
"A welcome package became an unfortunate necessity," Strange said with a small smile and a nod in the affirmative. While he was the epitome of seriousness the vast majority of the time, he was no stranger to sarcastic snerks happening in the operating room when things started to go really wrong. Those were the times when things went from bad to worse, and scrambling for solutions became paramount.
When asked for his opinion, he watched as her hand moved...or several hands moved like a trailing afterthought behind the original hand. For all of the things he witnessed up until now, this was certainly one of the most unusual.
That didn't mean he would shy away from offering his full opinion as he gave his assessment, "I can only equate it to being on the astral plane. When someone's removed from their physical form and encountering a trans-dimensional distortion. The astral form runs the risk of dispersal. Basically, one's soul is scattered. Irretrievably.
"Pain is felt differently there. It's disconnected, muted," he explained. "However, you're in the physical realm. I doubt that's the case right now."
That must be nice, being able to detach from the body; particularly if it meant pain was muted. Though the concept of someone’s soul being scattered wasn’t worth it. She had enough to deal with when it came to keeping her molecules from ripping apart and staying that way. “The pain is excruciating,” she said flatly. Talking about it was one thing, feeling it every day was something else entirely. Words failed to convey the experience.
“But it’s not as bad as it was, before Janet Van Dyne helped me,” she added. Living with chronic pain the way she did, even a slight reduction meant a big difference; and Janet had done more than that. It was like the clouds opening up on an overcast day, letting the sun peak through for just a bit longer. It didn’t matter if the clouds came back eventually, if it meant you could have a few hours of peace.
His description made sense to her in some respects, but talk of an astral form was not an area Ava had any experience in. Based on Bill’s research, she could grasp the concept of it; but that was likely much different from the reality of that kind of experience. The same was true of the quantum realm - she’d only ever been the recipient of massive amounts of unstable quantum energy, she’d never actually traveled within that realm itself.
“I can wait here for Hope and Scott,” she said after a moment. “Thank you, again.” She didn’t want to hold him up, in case there were others arriving. She didn’t know if that was even how this universe worked, but she’d have time to figure it out later. Time to find Bill, once she was certain she was stable enough.
To be fair, there was a lot of things about the mystic arts that were difficult to explain or that would make only a single shred of sense. That she seemed to grasp his meaning was good, but 'not as bad' from a state of excruciating pain? That wasn't good at all. And this was a strictly physics based problem. It was beyond science or the litany of magic spells that he knew of.
"It's not a problem, Ava. I'll leave once I'm sure they're able to..." The text notification interrupted him. The phone floated into his hand where he read Hope's response and replied as quickly as he could. "Hope's responded. They'll be able to help you, here."
He nodded to her, turning and opening a portal out in the hallway that Hope and Scott could step through.
"I'll leave this open and find an apartment near theirs. If Scott's no longer using his, we can put you down the hallway in case you need any help. And if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask me. I always reply, either on the phone or the network."
He would have shaken her hand, but between all the pins and screws holding his hands together and with her tangibility issues, it didn't seem like a good idea.
"It's pleasure meeting you. We'll talk again," he told her, stepping through a newly created portal and turning to look back at her. "I hope they're able to help stabilize you."