4714/That Thing You Found in the Place

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That Thing You Found in the Place
Date of Scene: 13 January 2021
Location: W.A.N.D: Triskelion
Synopsis: Lara and Jane spend a bit of time together catching up and Lara-splaining about the mysterious Dropa Stones!
Cast of Characters: Lara Croft, Jane Foster

Lara Croft has posed:
Who has time for the Holidays? Not Lara Croft. She'd shipped out of the country shortly before New Years and hadn't returned until this very afternoon. A long debrief meeting had come with the upper 'ranked' members of the division and now Lara was returning to her desk. Dressed in a black form-fitting turtleneck sweater, with a black leather jacket on and black slacks... Lara looks a bit 'darker' than normal, but it's just what she had on-site for civilian clothing and had changed in to it after arriving at the Triskelion via a Quinjet hours ago.

The Field Agent is returning to her desk now, post-debriefing, with a stack of folders, a black satchel, and a box of 'things' all wrapped up in different sizes of plastic bags. She huffs out a heavy exhale as she starts to set all the stuff down on her desk, having been away from it for a while now she stares at the 'memos' littering its surface. "Oh wonderful." The Briton mutters.

Jane Foster has posed:
The road not taken can be a delight; and any road dodging bureaucracy is one to be savored. Especially without the concerns of triplicate forms and signing out gear, trying to remember passwords, the usual hullaballoo. Jane hasn't been so troubled by such matters as Lara was, partly because her travel budget might be mildly larger and the healthy influx of new studies fed through the scientific arms of R&D covers half her quota due before June. Leaving a sealed envelope on a particular desk in WAND might be considered dangerous, given the materials they work with, but it's still protocol on that front. She plunks a paperweight shaped like a laughing skull atop it, giving a light pat just because.

Then time to be turning away, her tablet in a sleeve poking out from the bag over her shoulder. It's in that moment of turning she catches some sense of awareness about others present. Another, at least, that hasn't put her totally on edge. Still, she jumps. The brunette blinks and then breaks into a smile, rubbing her forearm roughly. "Oh! God, Agent Croft, you just about gave me a heart attack. Where did you come from?"

Lara Croft has posed:
Lara is in the process of lowering down on to the edge of her desk's chair when Jane speaks and is startled by her muttering. She'd known Jane was there, but she hadn't really 'registered it' yet. Now she does though, the young archaeologist looks up and shares eye contact, following it up with a quick smile to the other woman.

"Jane." She says, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to startle you. I just..." Her eyes go first in the direction of the WAND Directors office, before she motions toward it. "Came from a debriefing. I've been out of town since the end of the year."

Her gaze goes back to Jane then, as she reaches her hands up to her chest to pick up the strap off of her torso to pull it up over her head and set her messenger bag down on the floor beside her feet. "Apparently I have a mountain of work waiting for me as well." Lara adds with a slight smile, a glance toward her desk loaded with notes.

Her eyes go back to the other though and she leans forward to place her forearms on the edge of her desk. "How are you? Have you been keeping busy?"

Jane Foster has posed:
Funny how a person can be in another's face and not actually there, overlooked by the brain that simply assumes human equals chair, or the like. Jane manages to catch her breath, the flutter of her heartbeat a storm in her throat. It takes her a moment or two to break into that smile again, her expression simmering down, composure snapped into place.

"It's all right. I hope I didn't cause you to drop anything." Resting her hand against her side, she pins the tablet in place. "A debriefing? Sounds like serious work. Have a good holiday away, or was it an academic venture?" Lara's life mirrors her own in that respect, an orbit outside of WAND as much as within, though making assumptions isn't too bad.

The rueful nod to the perilous peak of paper acknowledges its gloomy presence. "I think most of the agency complained about a plethora of email. At least ten were complaining about off-time, but you know how it goes. The world moves on, even at Christmas. You think for spies, we'd have some paper airplane method to communicate when hidden away in presents." Her smile broadens, and she lounges a little closer to the desk, but wouldn't dare to flop on it unless the nameplate reads Foster. Or a certain warrior's. "I've been trying to get ahead of my backlog for a podcast or two. New project trying to reach out to kids and science; my voice, lots of CGI, and bound to take a year to get wrapped up. I should try to pull Jemma for a health segment. Mm, we need to tell 8 year olds about sociology, right?"

Lara Croft has posed:
"Oh no, not at all." Lara says about dropping anything, her eyes taking a second to look over all the stuff she'd brought back to her desk with her. The talk of the inner-office-post-holidays makes the Briton smile coyly for a second before she shakes her head. "I had an... interesting time, shall we say. Here--" She starts to reach in to the box in front of her while Jane speaks of her own developing endeavors, which garners a grin from the archaeologist.

"If you can hold an 8 year olds attention in this day and age for longer than a handful of minutes, then I will consider you a success at whatever subject you're talking on, sociology or otherwise." Lara states with a grin cast toward Jane.

Her hand comes up out of the box and she holds a leather journal along with a few small objects inside of a plastic bag. She offers them over toward Jane. "This is what I've been... immersed in for the last several weeks. A project I've been on for almost a year now, since my first week here in the Triskelion, in fact."

Inside the plastic bag are a trio of discs with small holes and textured surfaces in them, crafted out of what looks to be jade. Jane could quite possibly identify them too, if she knows her Asian history, as Dropa Stones. The journal? It's loaded with Lara's notes and entries on her traveling related to these stones.

"I am the lucky spy who gets to deal with 'aliens'." Lara says, even doing the finger quotes like you'd see in a meme, for fun! She smirks at herself after doing them too, then promptly slumps back in her chair.

Jane Foster has posed:
The slow-motion evolution of rolling her shoulders under her coat loosens up Jane's joints, the stress of a day embedded in her body. Tension racheted between her scapulae has a habit of landing in her neck, too, and torqued like a spring until no amount of heating pads or gentle stretches help. A toll minor and modest compared to most field agents, but she's making the most of leaning on her heels. "You had a good time? Excellent! I would hate to think you got caught up in your time away with being trapped in an airport or a string of awful weather," she nods firmly. The grin is matched with a laugh.

"Don't tempt me. Your name holds weight. The producers are always looking for a better idea to chase!" Warning with a swaying finger, she breaks into a laugh, the easing to the afterhours version of herself coming around while Lara plies her with fascinating treats.

Immersed in a bag isn't the full story, they both know it, so she obliges by coming over to take a look, peering in. "Do I need to get my white gloves on? We should have boxes of the things around, given the artifacts and historical objects coming through here. Someone literally carted a sarcophagus through last week, and I've heard about it three times in the cafeteria. Apparently we're now all under some terrible Egyptian curse, even if it was Etruscan or Peruvian, for all we know. Probably an Andean culture." Divulging this scrap with a bit, she laughs, and gives an intent look. "Those are beautiful. Look at the textures on them. They aren't young, I can tell that from the wear right away. How long have you been after these particular ones? Do you know where they came from? Culturally, that is."

Door open, serve set, it's all on Lara to enthuse.

Lara Croft has posed:
Comfortably leaned back in her chair now, Lara does adjust herself to sit up a little higher so she doesn't look /quite/ so slouchy. She places her hands on to the arms of her chair and watches Jane's initial inspection of the stones. "No gloves necessary. Fingerprints won't interfere with them." She softly says before grinning at the sarcophagus subject.

"I'm legally obligated to stay away from Egyptian curses and artifacts for at least another four months." She jokes. "What with the situation that happened in CEntral Park back before Thanksgiving." A big Pyramid, a lot of 'ghosts' and a bunch of super heroes all fighting to save the city from an Egyptian god's avatar... a 'normal' day for the Field Agent known as Lady Croft.

"But I'll certainly help with that if I can." She comes to add with another little grin.

Her eyes drop to the stones in Jane's hands now and she shakes her head gently. "There were plenty of weather issues, airport issues, guide issues, transport vehicle issues, and many other... issues. But the trips were informative even through it all." A quick nod is given to the Stones then. "Those have been whittled down to being the only three 'actual' real deals in SHIELD possession. We started with 500, and have come down to just those. And... their origins are unknown, sadly. But the secrets they're sharing are... fascinating. I'll have to show you in person some time, but with the proper setup, you can use them to display a holographic map that, well, lead you on searches to many far away places. Which is where I've been. Finally set out to actually go to a few of the sites indicated by those stones." She motions to the Journal then with a nod. "Thusly detailed there-in."

Lara leans forward in her chair, eyes on Jane's own. "Open to the middle of the journal. There's photos tucked away..." If done-so, Jane'll find a handful of Polaroids of a very impressive temple tucked away in a jungle, resting beneath a rocky cliff-face that appears to be carved out of a massive mountain.

Jane Foster has posed:
No problems with being slouchy! There shall be no comments lodged anonymously on a SHIELD forum or the WAND suggestion box that last ate someone's pen about two weeks ago. Jane isn't a narc, nor entirely perfect in her own carriage, just mostly. Call it the consequence of having a worried father and a doctor-mom. She carefully looks over the stones spilled out into her hand, jade clinking softly when guided onto her palm. Their light weight belies the intriguing assortment of textures worked in, a kind of art.

"Another four months, something like that? I bet you can't wait for the day. I need to check on my schedule but I think the closest to Egypt anyone gets will be something in Morocco or that set of games in Cameroon. If they let us in, anyway." A quizzical note follows as she thumbs the impressions scarred by unknown hands, basking in the unfamiliar pieces of a civilisation's art and wondrous innovations. It's hard not to find the interest infectious, but the journal comes after, once she has looked them over. "These are gorgeous things, even if they were not real. Or something problematic. Aren't they next to millennia old? Predating the earliest proto-Chinese states, I think, though it's been an age since I read about them. I love the idea that they act as maps. Now this, I must read."

Jade mapelets go back into their bag and she follows instructions, nudging the journal open in one hand and resting it on the desk, a few flips of the page getting her into the thick of the pages and the images. "Oh, imagine getting an angle on that. I'm surprised you wouldn't have someone asking for coordinates to fly in a drone."

Lara Croft has posed:
"One of my favorite places in the world." Lara quietly says when Morocco is mentioned, now leaning on the arm of her chair on her right elbow. She watches the other's eyes as she holds the stones and visually inspects them. "That's precisely right, it's way tracking their true origins is so damned difficult. Plus, they've become a bit of a novelty item in Chinese tourist shops, loaded with fakes... But... that's also where those three came from." Lara says with a hint of a grin and a shake of her head. "Not some, revealing dig site, or fanciful auction, they were in fact... purchased at a curio shop in Chinatown."

As Jane starts to flip through the Journal, Lara glances away to two other WAND agents walking side-by-side past them on their way back toward the Alchemy aquarium down the central hallway in to the heart of the WAND offices. "They're not just maps either, they play ... music, like a record and the music that plays changes based on the location that you focus the map source on. It's simple melodies, beautiful -- if a bit haunting at times... It's all just fascinating, at least to someone like me."

At the mention of the drones, Lara grins. "This was a scouting expedition, one that was to prove these stones were the real thing. I'll be delving in deeper soon enough, drones included, I hope. These little things have a lot of secrets yet to tell, I believe."

Jane Foster has posed:
"Casablanca, Rabat, so many brilliant cities. I need to get back to Spain one day. Privilege of the job and working for SHIELD, you get those entryways into places you thought you would never see," Jane agrees, her smile lighting up and her perch by the desk increased as she pages through the photographs with care. "Have you ever been to Cadiz? Some fantastic sites to see, and something about Spain beckons to be unravelled like a good book. Must be the Moorish, Spanish, Sephardic, and Visigothic influences."

See, the good doctor isn't a total heathen. She knows the value of 'A' in STEM, which is to say, the best part of coffee or bao. Yum, steamed buns. Enough to make a girl hungry. "I can't believe someone purchased these in Chinatown. Here?" Her eyes lift, widened by curiosity. "You mean to say they were mixed in among a few things? Of course, I'm one to talk. Half the used bookstores around the city exist in hopes of finding a treasured first edition manuscript of everything from Doctor Dre's lyrics to Shakespeare or Marlowe. Remind me to take you for a good luck charm." The slender curve of her finger's path arcs around the text and notes. "Music? Really. I wouldn't have expected that, but I should. Considering we've found bone flutes in twenty-thousand year old middens through Eurasia, bird-shaped whistles and the remnants of drums. You know, a professor at Cambridge was suggesting that the earliest forms of remaining language -- Sanskrit, actually -- may exist in songs that are so old, we're not entirely sure of the meanings. These songs are still sung ten thousand years later, using forms no one else preserved or mirrored, so the rhythm and beat are completely alien and wonderful to hear. I wonder if these preserve something like that? If you play them, an insight to a world without western music styles, 4/4 or 3/4 time? Even Roman or Greek would probably be strange, come to think. One of those questions I can't just mail to Odin, you know?"

The wry twist of a smile shows, and she holds up the one photograph laden with architectural detail closer to see it, tilting it for Lara to espy too. "I think you've already discovered startling secrets. So where are these locales they show, all clustered in one spot or spread out? Surely you've a few ideas or theories."

Lara Croft has posed:
Lara quickly nods her head two small times at the mention of Cadiz. "I have a colleague, and friend, who works at the University of Cadiz. She was... close to my former mentor. We spent a few weeks there back before I left for UCL in London. My focus has always been on Asian history, but... Cadiz is legendary for its impact on western civilization. I would be remiss if I can't get back there sometime soon, along with the rest of Spain, for that matter." She says with a heavy sigh. She follows it with a little laugh. "I'd be lying if I said that one of my major reasons for accepting a job with SHIELD wasn't directly rooted in the agency's ability to get you in to places that you otherwise may not be able to, let alone... get things /out/ of places that you otherwise certainly wouldn't be able to." A Tomb Raider has to actually transport relics across borders after all, right?

"And yeah... music wasn't what I expected to find either." Lara continues then. "I'm not an expert with music, admittedly. My piano skills are rudimentary at best." She adds with a slight grin. "The breakthrough with the stones came in the acquisition of the device that accesses the maps, the songs, etcetera. I don't have it with me currently, but it's a bronze globe that has a loading port for the stones themselves, along with small rings for crystals to refract light on to the stones. This... is all what comes together to access the information stored in those intricate patterns, and this is what..." She motions to the picture and Jane angles it toward her.

"Lead us to finding those sites." Her right hand comes up and she points to the one Jane is displaying. "This is in the Andes--" She pauses and stands up from her chair. "In fact, if you have a moment, I can grab my laptop and show you the trip in to it." She grins. "I got video too, of course."