1963-10-27 - Rockets
Summary: An Alien and an Asgardian walk into a club. Well almost. Really they just talk about it. Then make a date to get dinner later.
Related: 'None'
Theme Song: None
skali mar-vell 

He's not dressed like a tourist, more like a businessman taking a late lunch, but it's obvious he's no native New Yorker, either. Dr. Walt Lawson tries to stay out of the endless flow of human foot traffic in Midtown as he consults notes on a small, black leather notebook. He narrowly avoids a hot dog vendor as the man banks around a corner of the sidewalk before Walt decides to step off the concrete path altogether beneath the shade of a book store awning. Checking the notes again, he confirms the address. Yes, that's Rockefeller Plaza, and Radio City Music Hall that he's heard talk about. However, for the life of him, Lawson cannot figure out where a rocket facility would be kept in that location.


Mr. Enpeece was a pleasant enough boss. He loved his dog more than he loved women, and had a predilection to men that bested the opposite sex. When Skali introduced herself for the posted position of his secretary with no experience in such matters, only the affection of his mastiff enabled the acquisition. The beast rarely took to anyone, unless he was chewing on them and thus the placid way that he lay his heavily fleshed head in the pencil skirted lap of Miss Wolfestin was an ample amount of confidence to employ her.

Such an arrangement brought the woman to Midtown today, a deep rose jacket pinned smartly over white blouse and pleated skirts matching the paint on her lips. The heels she wore elevated her above acceptable professional heights in the United States, the calf more slender, the glimpse of thigh a bit too promising. Every click of her step came with a sway of hips, an authoritative lift to her chin that breathed confidence and begged no passerby of direction.

In fact, the waves seemed to pass for her. Something in her presence breathed the promise of violence underneath modest beauty, and thus when a drug addled youth slammed into her and sent carefully held manila envelopes sprawling, Skali did little more than blink in confusion. She should kill him. Perhaps she would later. A deep inhale categorizing his scent as he swore at her and told her to watch where she was going. A good thing she hadn't made plans for the evening.

Bending at the knee to recollect the research documents that were being delivered to the Music Hall, she paused and looked the diagrams over with mild confusion. These certainly weren't orchestral bars. However, Skali wasn't paid to care about what she delivered and thus the questionable contents only redoubled her efforts to recollect the scattered papers as quickly as possible.


Pausing in his puzzlement over the lack of suitable facilities for any rockets at Radio City Music Hall, much less the towering sort that the military was experimenting with here on Earth, Walt catches sight of the confident, smartly-dressed young woman striding past the storefront. There…there was a person who knew her way around this confusing, bustling hive of humanity. As Captain Mar-Vell of the star-spanning Kree Empire, Walt had visited alien cities larger than New York, but none as sprawling and established by a culture this primitive. It was a very unsettling combination, but also very exciting. Very alive. It would simply take some time for him to become accustomed to New York. The Cape in rural Florida, his first posting in his cover identity, had not prepared him for such a jarring change of scenery. But a warrior of the Kree was trained to adapt, and Walt watched the passing female human a bit longer, noting her posture and her body language, intent on emulating a masculine variety of it. Albeit without showing so much bare leg.

That's when another human, a surly-looking male, collides with the female, sending stacks of paperwork spilling to the sidewalk. Walt stepped back into the humanity current, fording it to help the young woman reclaim her papers, and that's when he heard the man curse at her and start to weave his unstable way around her. The Kree spy's blue eyes narrowed, dark brows knitted beneath his platinum hair, and he changed his course to intercept the male, who was sill glancing over his shoulder and mumbling invectives at the kneeling girl. Walt made what appeared to be accidental contact with him, but solidly enough to jar the youth to a halt. "Hey…hey, man. Watch where you're goin', suit, or I might haveta—-," was all the human male managed before he found his arm held, solidly, and then craned back, Walt's fingers digging deep into a nerve bundle behind his bicep. The youth pulled in a heavy breath as the pain struck him, and then Walt used the Kree martial hold to turn him about abruptly and march him back toward the girl.

"Here you go. Miss, I believe this fellow has something to say to you. An apology," Walt began befoe the kid snarled. "What're you talkin' about, I ain't gonna apolllLLLLLAAAAHHH!" Fingers digging deeper into the nerve center, Walt placed his other hand on the back of the youth's neck and applied pressure there, too, until his f=victim was standing on his tiptoes. "Apology," Walt gritted. "Now."


Focused as she was upon recollecting the delivery, Skali missed the arrival of a knight in freshly pressed suit. Had she tracked the intention of the stranger's interference sooner, she would have dissuaded him from involvement. Now it was a scene, and a scene meant she couldn't dispense justice at a later time without the situation becoming suspect. The light brown of her eyes flickered as whatever lurked just behind the iris' bristled with indignation, even as the feral intensity was smothered underneath a feigned batting of lashes. A light 'o' formed with her lips, picturesque as she clutched the files against her chest, and managed to stammer.

"Oh my, that's uh"

Unnecessary? No, it was, given the circumstances. Thousands of years of adjustment to this 'primitive' culture had designated her reaction to be gracious, and so she adjusted again and inclined her head even as the youth stammered out something that may have been an apology. It was hard to tell as he was gasping around the pain; the intensity of which drew her focus to the man imparting it and just how such agony was crafted.

Smoothing her skirts she smiled demurely and offered up, "Thanks. It's uncommon to get an apology for that in this city."


Walt began focused on his captive, steadily applying pressure until the boy's mumbles turned into a low torrent of, "…sorry…clumsy of..ow…me…didn't mean to..ack, Jeez!…pardon me, all my fault…OK?" But as the stammering went on, Walt also took note of the girl's reaction. She almost seemed disappointed, somehow, at first. But then she adopted the reaction and mannerisms Mar-Vell had seen before in Earth women. Once the young man had finished, the while he and Walt forming a kind of watershed against the flowing torrent of humans making their way past so that the female could reclaim her spilled parcel, Walt aimed his prisoner in the opposite direction and shoved him on his way, narrowly avoiding a lampost in the process. The young man rubbed his numbed arm, glanced back darkly, but quietly rejoined the migratory school of humans and put distance between himself and Mar-Vell.

Walt turned back to the young lady, checking the ground for any stray bits of paperwork that might have escaped her recollection efforts. "You are most welcome. I've noticed a distinct lack of manners since I arrived, but that doesn't mean, when appropriate, they cannot be enforced." Walt looked up then, taking stock of the lady herself to make certain she was truly unharmed nor put off by his intervention. "Perhaps, if it isn't asking too much, I might request a bit of assistance from you, Miss? I am a recent arrival here, and fear I'm a bit lost in….well, all of this." Raising his arms, Walt could well be indicatting Midtown. Or the city. Perhaps, if truth be known, the planet itself.


The stranger's stiff presumption of propriety, the careful way he extracted the reaction he wanted from the ruffian, down to the proposed exchange of information for the unwelcome assistance received; it was orchestrated carefully and Skali paused before responding. Her gaze turned up to the sky, her nose flared as she took a deep draft of the stymied city air, seeking a scent that the breeze didn't carry and an identity this man did not share with her. The revelation did little to assuage her suspicions, though she hid the trepidation well and extended an unoccupied hand in offering of an introduction.

"Miss Wolfestin. Skali though."

The name sounded abrupt, foreign to anyone with an ear for such things. Her head tilted slightly as a brown curl escaped the bobbing pins holding back the rest of the primly chaotic mass as she continued, "I'm newly arrived myself but perhaps I can help. Only lived here six months in fact."

Chuckling at the admission, she allowed their newly acquired familiarity to close the distance between them in greeting as she waited to hear his predicament.


Moving into the low traffic area enforced by the lamppost, Walt accepted the offered hand and gave what he had come to find a positive response on this world: A firm, solid but not overpowering clasp of hands, coupled with an upward and downward motion. Once, or else it became the comedic version of greeting he had seen on old films broadcast on Terran television late at night. "Pleased to meet you, Miss Wolfestin. I'm Walt Lawson, formerly of Florida, but now assigned duty here." He also made certain to meet her gaze envenly, and to give a smile during the introduction. Avoided eye contact seemed, to humans, an indication of nefarious purpose or intent. Or shyness, which, from what he'd seen of New York, Walt surmised would perhaps be just as bad. He also noticed the slightly upturned positioning of Skali's face. Walt was tall enough that it shouldn't have seemed out of place, but…it was different than the way other humans looked up at him. If the foreign elements of her name registered with him, at all, he gave no indication. The young woman's greeting was more personable than average for the city, and Walt tried to mirror it as she drew closer as he released her hand. He'd been told he could, on occasion, be charming and so he tried to take on that aspect in his mannerisms and posture, leaning down to show a page of his small leather-bound notebook to Skali.

"I'm currently working at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies at Columbia University," he shared quietly. "Yesterday, I overheard some graduate students in the lab talking about some incredible and amazing rockets housed…there." He first indicated the address in his notes, and then pointed toward, of all places, Radio City Music Hall, mainstay of Midtown with its towering neon sign and showbiz hallmarks. "But most of the facilities I've toured conducting rocketry research and development don't look like….uhm, that. At all." As he spoke, several soldiers exited the building, two of the older ones slapping a younger recruit on the back while the young man blushed fiercely. They were followed by two middle-aged blu collar workers, one being helped along by his buddy due to apparent intoxication. "Nor do tose resemble researchers or scientists of the sort I'm familiar with," Walt said, one corner of his mouth hitching into a crooked smile. "In fact, it looks more likely a tavern, based on the clientele. Did I misunderstand the students somehow? They seemed very excited about these rockets, and I had hoped to see for myself."


Skali peers over one of his arms at the little book, his handwriting neat enough to decipher what was scrawled within the pages as she listened intently to the story. Possessing neither the strength nor the station of other Asgardians, the little wolf had acquired a taste for information. She hoarded tidbits like a dragon over coffers of gold, and this was no exception. The contents of the folders, which of course she wasn't about to divulge to this stranger, in combination with his anecdotal story reassigned her impression of the Music Hall. With this conclusion came a small smirk that made no attempt to disguise, revelry in this greedy acquisition of knowledge evident in her expression.

"Do you know if it was military in nature?"

A tilt of her head indicated perhaps this was all some secret base of operations for government research, given the soldiers. After all, this made the most sense, yes? Her toes shifted as she looked up at him with mischief beginning to sneak into her expression; so helpful and pretty, surely she wouldn't lead him astray. Again, her nose twitched and the humor set like a garnet in the corner of golden eyes was chased away by whatever impression it stole from the man's olfactory signature. A notion of trickery paled in comparison to the possibility of discovering whatever /this/ was. What an odd, wonderful, completely unique scent.

Only a few millennia of experience on earth allowed Skali to catch herself from audibly sniffing over his jacket like some trained hound. As it was, she made a show of coughing to excuse her pronounced huff only moments before.


Her question is given serious consideration by Walt. Could it, in fact, be a front? But he slowly shakes his head, taking full stock of the exiting soldiers as they poass by, then watching a gaggle of sailors enter the building from another direction. "No. Different branches of the military, sharing the same facility? Not likely, what I know of how they operate. They seem as much in competition with one another unless situations demand otherwise as they do with our foreign enemies." The response rolls off his tongue easily, as he's heard nothing but talk of the Red Peril and beating 'Them' into space since landing near the Cape months ago. "And for undergraduate students to know about such a secret base…well, it would defeat the entire purpose. They are not known for their ability to keep secrets. If so, I would never have heard them talking of it so casually."

Mar-Vell glances back to Skali, and that's when he notices that playful gleam in her eye, fleeting but assuredly present. At least it was before the coughing fit struck her. Which is probably to cover her laughing at…what? Well, the situation, most likely. To think that a gawdy, neon-bedecked palace could be any kind of laboratory. He smiles and chuckles, taking out a clean and pressed handkerchief from his suit coat pocket. He offers it to her amidst her coughs. "You're making sport of me, aren't you?" he asks, though there's no offense taken in it according to his tone. He chuckles as well, unsure where the humor lies exactly but good-natured enough not to be put off by it. "At least I found someone kind to inquire about it. More than once this week, I've made an inquiry and been responded to with…let me see, how did it go?" Walt pauses a moment, squares his broad shoulders and does a psssingly decent New York accent as he huffs, "'What are you, some kinda professional nut or somethin'?' I believe is the phrasology."


Historically, she may have deferred the offer of the handkerchief. Given the fact that she had now determined the scent was coming off of his person and not carried on the wind, the fabric was taken perhaps more eagerly than she intended to betray. Immediately drawn to her nose, she took a moment to steady her breath and secure the unique nature of the signature before making a show of dabbing at her eyes, which had started to water during the feigned coughing.

"Ah, a bit."

She admitted with a shake of her head and an honest laugh, nodding to the revolving door as her keen hearing picked up on the music and ribald jests echoing within. For a moment, she seemed to be weighing some action and gauging how it would be received before deciding to abandon decorum.

"Rockets was a euphemism, I can only assume, for these."

The manilla envelopes were shifted aside as she nodded down at her chest, which was more a Vanguard model in bust than a Sputnik. Reclaiming her modesty with a wry grin, she nodded at the door to the establishment and added with a teasing tone,

"You're not from around here are you? Like anywhere around here?"

An eyebrow raised with the inquiry, something too keen in her interest to be misconstrued as coquettish.


Walt takes his hand back abruptly as his handkerchief is accept almost too quickly by Skali. He watches her more intently now as she dries her eyes, after taking in a deep breath of the cloth. Something in her nature at that moment reminds him of the Unrekah hunting beasts in the Tarrkoth System, quadroped simians who hunt almost purely by olfactory senses. But his thoughts are put aside as she gives a very honest answer, and admission that she does find some humor in his mistake.

The music also reaches Mar-Vell's ears noiw, along with cat-calls from inside the building. A frontman has emerged, a small, older human with a wreath of salt-and-pepper hear around his ears and a sagging belly over his trousers, passing out brochures in front of Radio City as he calls to passerbys, "Come in, plenty of room! Can't say you seen all of New York if you ain't seen the world-famous famous Rockettes in their latest musical revue! Step up, plenty of seats!" And then it all becomes clear to Mar-Vel and he taps his forehead lightly against the lamppost. "Rockets. Rockettes. I am an imbecile…" But that's when Skali also demonstartes the varying definitions of 'rockets' on planet Earth, and instead of continuing his abuse by street light, Walt now laughs as openly as she has, the tips of his pale ears firing up to a subtle shade of embarrassment. "Quaint, but…well, there's a certain accuracy in the connection," he manages. "I am so sorry, you must think me quite foolish. And you're right."

And so he is, if not at ease exactly, at the least unpepared for the young woman's next inquiry on his point of origin. Her expression not only confirms his fears, but makes it abundantly clear that somehow, after months of living among humans and never having one remotely question his inclusion as one of them, this woman is doing just that. For a nano-second he considers trying the answer of 'Florida?' in a humorous attempt But it would, judging by her certainty of stance and her ooen bearing, be more laughable than funny. Instead, he continues smiling and tlts his head slightly to one side. "What an odd form of inquiry, Skali," he replies, dropping the formal portion of her name. "No, I'm not. But….where would you say I belong?"


The grin on her lips only spreads, something hungry in her gaze as she takes in his deflection of the question with an indulgent sigh. Although reluctantly, the handkerchief is held back up for reclamation as she wets her lips before responding with a shrug,

"I don't presume to know. I apologize for being so forward."

The smile that had spread over her features was recollected now, dulled down into some semblance of apologetic blinking of eyes and delicately feminine wiles, a combination likely lost on him but still modulated out of habit. And though her fingers twitched and her teeth itched with the need to pry more, figure out just what about the man before her was still a mystery, she managed to clear her throat and nod over a shoulder.

"I uh-I should be going."

For now the wolf was beginning to notice just how intently he regarded her, how carefully he measured her responses, how aware he must be of her lies. The sorceresses' warning of other Asgardians treading across Midgard quickened her heartbeat and she chewed back on the fear to formulate another excuse that sounded more like mumbling than conversation.

"Running a bit late for work and all that. Lunch is almost up."


This was not the sort of response Mar-Vell had expected, and it momentarily throws him off balance. But he continues his close scrutiny of Skali, Kree espionage training firmly in place now, to determine if her actions might now be more tactic than genuine. Maybe she is a Skrull, sent to this world to do exactly what he's been tasked with: Discover how far the human species is in its technological and social development, and assess any future threat they might pose to the Kree. How odd would that be, for two alien operatives on the same mission to meet in one of the most populace cities on the planet purely by happenstance. Not odd, actually, but as unlikely as gravitational lensing from two supernovas in opposite corners of the galaxy happening at the exact same second. No longer taking this woman to be merely one more in a teeming pool of human beings, Mar-Vell acts on instinct.

"No, please…keep the handkerchief, Skali. In case of another coughing fit. It's the least I can do after wasting such a large portion of your lunch hour. You probably didn't even have time for a meal," Walt replies. "And please, don't apologize, it wasn't forward. It was merely curious, the way you asked it." The Kree warrior reaches out a hand and very lightly touches the young woman's forearm with his fingertips. "Would it be forward of me, to offer to make it up to you by treating you to supper?"

Mar-Vell studies her with an earnest and hopeful expression, waiting to witness if the hook has been set, or if he's overestimated her desire to learn more. He certainly wants a chance to determine if the young woman is as she seems, or something more. Especially if that something is the representative of another space-faring empire with interests on this small, backwater planet.


The fabric folded quietly into the palm of her hand, stolen away so as to quicken her departure instead of investing effort in argument. It found a pocket somewhere on the inside of her jacket, even as she shook her head in the customary, "You're too kind" portion of the script she was accustomed to playing out.

Just under her skin, the fur bristled and the beast flexed with warning, even as his touch graces her limb. Desensitization saved her from the instinctual urge to seize the offending hand and crush it with a deft twist of her wrist, though the momentary flash of heated affront tensed her musculature. A stillness settled over their proximity, unfelt by the throng pressing past them in idle worship of daily schedule and routine. It was the disquieting silence in the jungle, just before the tiger leaps, when all the hairs on the back of the neck stand up and the trees hold their breath.

There was no way she was human. Everything about her was ancient, powerful, and predatory. Even the smallest glimpse of it made the monsters in the night all too real. Instead of finding the words to respond to his inquiry, she swallowed her pulse and stared up at him, defiant in her natural caution, before finally managing, "Italian?"

Curiosity killed the cat, or in this case, the wolf.


The subtle shifting under his fingertips isn't lost on Mar-Vell, nor mistaken as merely a flexing of sinew and muscle. She's some form of shifter, he'd stake his Kree war medals on it. And there are many shifters in the known universe, but only the Skrulls have ever warred on an even battlefield with the Kree. Also not lost on the warrior is Skali's true nature exerting itself, fought against, placed into submission by an act of will. In that brief instant, however, even the humans sensed it; the steady parade moving past both of them gave wider berth to the couple talking quietly. Undoutedly not one could have said voiced their reasonings for doing so, it simply was required.

"I love Italian," he answers as the lovely young lady who is more than she appears accepts. Mar-Vell does his best to keep Walt Lawson's persona in place, never letting his observations spur reaction. He lets Skali exhibit her own control before removing his hand from her forearm, and taking out a pen from his shirt pocket. Quickly, he jots down directions and tears a page from his small notebook, holding it out to her. "This is the building I'll be working from this afternoon at Columbia. If you'll ask for me at the front desk, they'll page me and I'll put work aside so we can have dinner. Whenever you're finished with work will be fine. My hours are…more like days since they gave me the task of experimenting with some new form of cosmic ray shielding. So early, late…doesn't make much difference for my schedule. Just come when you're ready. Can you suggest a restaurant? You've had six months longer than I have to determine the local places least likely to necessitate bromo-seltzer."

Then he takes a half step back, holding out the proffered paper but not wanting to intrude on her personal space. In that moment he also admires how well she keeps her own warrior-spirit…that's the best description he can muster…in check. Belatedly, he also imagines how lucky the young man earlier was to treat her so rudely and walk away with his head still attached. She is dangerous, and mysterious. Which makes him admire her even more, and he uses that to fuel a pleasing, attracted demeanor.


A hand rose to untangle her hair, loosening a bobbing pin and sacrificing composure to shake out the nervous energy his brief intrusion into her space had provoked. It wasn't uncommon, the current era inclined to masculine dominance and unwelcome sexualization of the skin she wore. However, his touch was too polite and sudden to fall under such a categorization; eluding her placement of his intentions as well as his true identity. The quandary frustrated and perplexed her enough that her self-control had trembled, and such missteps were dangerous with the Odinsons on Midgard.

The offered piece of paper was taken delicately between two fingers as the wind played across her features, nose twitching subconsciously to draft in her surroundings even as her gaze traced over the directions. When he had finished his explanation, she looked up and met his eyes with a smirk that belied her nerves and stated plainly,

"I'll make reservations for us at six. See you at five thirty."

With the teasing humor still on her lips, she turned and struck out into the crowd without further ceremony. When the sea of bobbing heads finally did wash over her, she blended back into the company with a practiced anonymity that betrayed nothing notable. A lesser man may think he had imagined it all.


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