1963-12-06 - Honey, I Shrunk The Jacket!
Summary: Lynette visits with Dr. Lawson to request he give Captain Mar-Vell a gift. She, in turn, receives a gift of her own.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
mar-vell lynette 

Monday morning across the campus of Columbia University finds most faculty and students in a decidedly holiday mood. The light snowfall overnight covers trees and grounds just enough to mask imperfections and grant a winter wonderland facade that spurs talk of home, fireplaces, and seasonal recipes soon to be savored. With only a week or so left before the Christmas break, the rush to complete assignments and grade final exams is balanced with a child-like glee that leaves rocketry and robotics expert Dr. Walter Lawson at a bit of a loss. His role here is pure research and supervising graduate students contributing to the Goddard Center for Space Science's work for NASA, so he is free of the paper chase guiding many others here. But that gives him even more time to observe the strange native customs associated with this winter festival season and be mostly puzzled by them. Trees chopped down and taken indoors, then given twinkling lights and silvery shrouds? A mythical elven figure delivering toys and presents to everyone on the planet in a single night? And being tracked by government officials at NORAD? The story of the child in the manger has him completely baffled.

But for the moment, he has his work. And that consists of physics, math and other more substantial, understandable and universal facts he can ground himself in. With a plain blue scarf wrapped around his neck and his new winter coat gettng its first use of the season, he unlocks the laboratory door and conducts his first experiment of the day: Seeing if he can get the coffee-water ratio right to produce a caffeine-enriched yet palatable pot of coffee.


He wasn't hard to find, thankfully, but Lynette was an odd ball walking about the campus around other members of humanity her age that had that extra 'umph' of funding. Where they are dressed for winter in heavy coats, caps and gloves, she's still in what appears to be an oversized sweater, ratty pants complete with holes, and scuffed up boots that are only partially laced. There was something different about her, however; her collar was up and she was wearing a set of dark glasses. Anyone that gave her more than a second glance would see that there was some new texture of crimson like scales on the rounds of her jaw, that stretches back to the nape of her neck and downward. She was thankful for her collar, and that massive collection of curls she calls her hair.

Having found the lab in question, the girl curls her finger and taps her knuckle a few times against it before peeking in. "Hello? Professa Laws'n?"


The fragrant aroma of freshly brewed java is already lifting Walt's awareness, and for a moment, he wonders if there's any actual scientific evidence that the stimulant is airborne. Or is it the brain's anticipation of the coming caffeine goodness that simply makes it seem so? When he left his Kree homeworld to begin the mission on Earth and long before he took the identity of Dr. Lawson, Mar-Vell would never have imagined becoming this steeped in the alien culture. To actually spend time considering the holidays humans observe, the beverages that they enjoy. He peers at the tiny aluminum Christmas tree and the bits of holly and greenery someone has placed around the lab, the bulletin board display of greeting cards, and shakes his head. None of it is part of his assignment here, none of it will ever find its way into an official report. But it's still fascinating and, in its way, satisfying. And it is assuredly like nothing to be found anywhere in the Empire, which makes it exotic. Forbidden, even. A powerful combination, even for a warrior of the Kree. He pours his first cup of coffee and also takes his nitrogen serum, to assure that he manages Earth's atmosphere for the day, just as there's a tapping at the door.

Most visitors enter through the main hall, to be screened by a receptionist. Some also get screened by military security after their initial arrival. But the janitors usually come 'round the back way, so he isn't too surprised. Until, that is, he opens the door to find a young woman in dark glasses outside the laboratory. He recognizes her as Lynette, Captain Marvel's companion during a mad insectoid zombie attack shortly after Halloween. But as Walter Lwson should have no knowledge of her, he stands blocking entry, door halfway open, and replies, "Not a professor, young lady. Just a doctor. How can I help you?"


"Oh, sorry. I t'ought all teachas at schools like dis were, 'nyway." She stops herself from blabbering before glancing up and down the outter hall way. She had kept away from the police, the military; she couldn't handle the stress, or oppression, today. That, and well, she didn't look 'normal' enough to just pass as human. Clearing her throat, she lifts a hand from her pocket, pointing a delicate, trembling finger the man's way. "Y'Docta Laws'n, den? Dat's who m'lookin' f'r. Y'friends wit Capt'n Mar-Vell? I ain't seen'm f'while n'got s'mt'ing f'r 'm f'Christmas."


Then it dawns on him. Captain Marvel had told Lynette about his 'associate' and contributor to his tech devices: Dr. Walt Lawson. And that she could contact the superhero through his lab at Columbia University; not the best way to maintain a 'secret identity', but there was no one else to give. Playing his part, Dr. Lawson nettles his silvered brows for a moment, glances quickly around the entryway, and then nods. "Yes, Miss. I'm Dr. Lawson, and I do know your Captain. In fact, I've modified some of those devices he carries." All true, since Mar-Vell did upgrades on the standard issue Kree equipment he brought from Hala. "You must be Lynette? He mentioned you at some length. Please, won't you come in?"

Dr. Lawson takes time to lock the outer door and draw the blinds over the one observation window so tha no early-arriving grad students will interrupt them. Then he smiles and gestures to the perculator. "May I offer you a cup of coffee? You must be half frozen." He also takes time to look more closely at the dusky-skinned girl, noting differences from their last meeting. She seems more rigid, more nervous than even she was facing down zombie hordes.


"Oh? Did he now? All good I hope." Lynette smirks, causing one cheek to dimple. Giving her thanks, she enters the room and watches as the man goes about setting up his 'security'. The offering of coffee gets a grin. "T'anks. 'd love one." Her being half froze? Well, yes, she was, and it can be noticed that her steps are even a bit more sluggish, and shuffling, as she moves about. She didn't do well in the cold, she was finding out, and absolutely loathed it. "I ain't gonna stay long. I know y'busy n'y'students be here soon, non?" Even so, she looks around the room with a bit of reverance.

Moving toward the coffee machine, she pauses at the tiny tree and smiles gently, a finger out to lightly poke at one of its bobbles. "He tol' me 'bout dat, de weapons. How's he doin', by de way?" Standing up straighter, she digs into her pocket and pulls out a simple, woven coard. Dangling from it is some small, brightly colored leather bag that is stitched shut. "All dat fancy stuff, I know dis is weird, but…de world's scary f'people like us. M'sure he'll undastand. Tell'm dis 's called gris-gris. S'f'good luck n'protection."


"He did, indeed," Dr. Lawson grins back, seemingly more open now that their chances of being overheard are lessened. He takes out a clean mug from the small work station sink, a sink ringed with all sorts of unusual plastic bottles labeled as Eye Rinse, Burn Ointment and others. Apparently, the kitchenette doubles as a clening station in case of accidents. Apart, in the room proper, sit several models and small working versions of rocket engines in various states of either construction or disassembly. From a central space on the main wall, a huge photograph of Dr. Robert H. Goddard looks over the works, a portrait taken on a day much like this one: Snow on the ground, the good Dr. standing next to a thin pipe-and-motor 6 foot rocket ready for launch. "He said if I should ever stumble into a nest of giant insects and zombies-not sure I quite got the connection, but still-I should be certain to have you at my side. And I told him I was happy to leave that sort of excitement to him."

Dr. Lawson pours Lynette a cup of coffee, and takes one of the festive holiday napkins sitting near an opened tin of fruitcake to put around it as he hands it to her. "He's doing well, though he has had another run-in with the mutant causing all the giant bug problems. What he learned abot fighting them during your battle, he used against her. She did get away, but he actually managed to engage the enemy without getting his battlesuit melted by their acid. Which I was happy to see. Takes me a week to fix those suits!" It seems the right stance for Lawson to take, more concerned with the damage to his tech than the man wearing it.

He chuckles quietly as Lynette pokes at the tree ornaments, and seems compelled to defend with, "Oh, some of the students brought that in. I mean, I suppose 'tis the season and all that." When the young woman produces the gift she's brought, the small leather talisman, Dr. Lawson leans down to peer at it intently. Now it's his turn to poke a bit, watching the tiny bag swing on the cord attachment gently. "I'm sorry, I don't- a gris-gris? What is it?" It may not be a new form of propulsion or an experimental servo, but it's captured his attention as much as any of those things might.


"I like de tree." Lynette explains gently, accepting the coffee. The conversation about Bea, however, causes her to softly frown and turns her head away. He could see it, that pattern of scarlet scales that looks to be fading, but not just yet. Blowing across her drink's top, she takes a sip before her face twists up with its bitter flavor. "Y'got 'ny sugah 'r s'mt'ing?" Setting the cup down, she clears her throat and starts hunting for herself. If there was coffee, there /had/ to be sugar somewhere.

Watching him, closely, as he pokes the trinket, she wiggles it for him to take. Assuming he does, that frees both hands to dig around in cabinets. "S'gris-gris. Like I said. S'f'r protection n'good luck. Dese s'm stuff in dat lil bag n'y'do a lil ritual n' den y'wear it, or keep it 'round. If y'see 'm, give it to 'm?" The small bag was leather, both slips of skin different colors, and some hunks of glass beads were on either side of it. It looks that, at some point, it was open and something was inside, but it has been closed, securely, by thick black stitches.


The spy in Mar-Vell thinks,'tracking device' as he considers the gris-gris, takes it and feels its weight in his hand. But the other side, the side he's seeing develop almost as if by its own accord on this small, backwater world, is touched. Dr. Lawson gives a sheepish smile, "Sorry, I always take my coffee black. Never even considered. Uhm, the sugar is usually right here. He reaches around and opens a little Tupperware container near the dish soap. "The kids pocket it every time they go to a burger joint, then bring it back here. I've told them we -have- a budget, but I think it's a game to them. How many condiments can we walk out with and not get caught? I have a freezer full of those little ketchup and mustard packets, too." As if to prove his point, Lawson opens another container that has powdered creamer, also in little restaurant-sized packets.

When he reaches for the coffee additives, it gives Mar-Vell an even better look at Lynette's neck. "I'll make sure Captain Marvel gets this. And thank you! On his behalf. Are there any instructions besides just carrying it?"

Once the items are made available to her and she's busy working getting her coffee just right, the good Doctor actually pulls back her collar, gently and examines the scaly area. It's not exactly an invasion of personal space, but the scientist side of his personality isnt above that in pursuit of knowledge regarding human afflictions. Or mutations. Neither is the spy in him. "What in the world- ???"


"Non. Y'jus' wear it. Don' gotta do n't'ing else." She explains before starting to doctor up her drink. Soon, it twirls and twists into a pale tan instead of the pitch that Lawson seems to enjoy himself. Chuckling at the story of the kids and their 'pick-pocket' ways, the girl can't help but smirk and roll her eyes. then, he pulls at the collar of her jacket, and with a quick jump, she slaps his hand away and rests her palm over the pattern, hiding it away. "De hell y't'ink y'doin'?!"


He may work in a lab, but Dr. Lawson has the hand of someone who has actually done labor. Hard labor. And the slap likely smarts Lynette's hand much more than his, yet it has the desired effect. He pulls back in reflex, also faster than many office-bound scientists would do, but probably appropriate for someone working with test rocketry prone to misfiring. There's no acting involved as Dr. Lawson blinks, his focus taken from his scientific study for the moment. "I-I'm sorry? But-," he gestures to the afflicted area. "It's just- Are you hurt? It looks painful."

Mar-Vell curses himself fluently and mentally in the Kree vernacular, knowing that he handled that about as subtely as a six-legged Gorrmscatch in a shop full of reson-crystals. "Forgive me, I meant no offense. It just surprised me, to see welts like that." He retreats behind his own coffee, picking it up and holdng it like a barrier between himself and Lynette. "Clearly, it's not my affair. However, if it -is- an afflication, and if I can help, I would be at your service. I mean, if I let you walk out of here hurt or wounded and Captain Marvel found out I never even offered to help, he'd be using me for target practice with my own blasters."


Lynette glares at the light haired man from behind her glasses. She's silent, and the pursing, thinning of her full lips expression to him her displeasure of the sudden 'pop' of her personal bubble. She doesn't talk, at first, but the more she listens, the softer her visage becomes. Finally, she lowers her hand and shakes her head, sending her curls swaying. "Non', non'…don' hurt. N'dey ain't welts. Dey jus', well, me, 'suppose." She's timid about it, perhaps fearful, as she stands before Lawson in all her waif like glory. "Dey scales." She finally explains and reaches up, puling back her collar, and her hair to show him the unmistakable diamond pattern that are seen on a snake's flesh.

The look over, she puts her collar back and brushes out her kinks. "Dey jus' started happenin', n'my eyes ain't gone back t'normal yet. Dunno, jus' part 'f m'powers, maybe." Shrugging, she at least snickers at the idea of Mar-Vell popping someone for not offering her help. "S'alright. I ain't hurtin'. Promise. Jus' tired."


And look closely Dr. Lawson does, when Lynette reveals her scale pattern, even taking a half step closer, but not past the personal bubble boundaries. "Ah," he nods as she explains it may be a manifestation of her powers. "He didn't tell me, exactly, how you took part in the battle. I imagined you might be, uhm, enhanced? Powered? But he gave no details, so-" Which is also true, Mar-Vell hadn't been told; he was there to see Lynette's more serpentine seeming. But in their previous encounter, it had seemed a temporary change in the girl, and the Kree warrior hadn't expected to see a lingering element of it in her 'secret identity'. Or her street persona. Whatever she would think of it as, her normal guise.

"Eyes, too? Like- vertical pupil dialation, rather than round?" Not so much a guess as the rememberance of their zombie encounter, there. "And usually it happens when you manifest abilities, but then your appearance reverts back. Just not the last time you used them?" he hazards.

Dr. Lawson ponders the situation for several long moments, taking the time to enjoy the java goodness of his drink. He also weighs options internally, as Captain Mar-Vell of the Kree, with a ship that has some bio-med technology that could be of help. Maybe. What he had seen of Lynette before, he wasn't so certain her powers were based on anything so simple as mutation. He also was unsure if so-called 'mystical' beings here weren't simply a form of genetic alteration unknown by the Kree. Either way, it would be the least he could do after this brave young woman had faced zombie hordes at his side.

"Clearly, your situation isn't in my chosen field of study. But, if you're concerned about the failure to revert to a purely human appearance again, Captain Marvel does have access to some equipment even I know little about." Which wasn't a stretch; Mar-Vell could work a bio-med chamber. He had no idea how one did what it did. "It might be able to determine what's going on. He'd be the one to know for certain what it could do. I think it's made to heal injuries, but some of those same principles may apply."

Again, Dr. Lawson considers the little, sealed leather bag. He carefully pockets it, obviously intent on giving it to his 'friend', the one who might use him for target practice, later. Then, in light of Lynette's snicker, Dr. Lawson turns more serious. "You know, it's the custom that when one gives a gift for Christmas, the recipient should give one back. Captain Marvel would probably find some kind of sonic tooth cleaner or something," he scoffs. "But since he's not here, I'll have to find something else. Not so glitzy, but maybe more practical?"


"Don' worry 'bout it. It'll go 'way, or it won'. S'me, y'know? I ain't s'ppose t'be 'fraid of it." But the world wasn't that perfect. She nods when he comments about her eyes, but she doesn't remove her glasses for him to view them once more. Instead, she finally sips from her coffee and looks around the room. "I dunno. I ain't done Christmas in ages. He don' gotta get me n't'ing, nietha. Jus' makes sure he gets it, non?" Downing the drink, she glances out the window only to see it snowing once more. Muttering a curse, she pulls up her collar all the more and turns to address Lawson. "I need t'get goin''fore it gets colda. Nice meetin' y', Docta Lawson."


"It was very nice meeting you, too, Lynette," Lawson says, putting down his own coffee cup. "And I understand, as much as someone else can, having to find that balance of living in your own skin. In a situation you didn't pick, a circumstance you never expected. Or, maybe, wanted." Like being pulled from the front ranks of a mighty Star Empire battle wing you were on a fast-track to commanding, and being given the dangerous solo task of infiltrating an alien world in a remote space sector furthest from home. "However, if you change your mind, or if you need help of any kind, you can count on Captain Marvel. And myself, since I don't do well being downrange on his weapons raining."

The tall project supervisor smiles down on the young and petite lady, then follows her view to the snow coming down outside. "This is going to progress from picturesque to just ugly, isn't it?" he tuts. "I know, I know. Better to give than to receive, right?" he offers, regarding the matter of presents exchanged. "But I'm also not one who's taken to this Christmas season, just like you say. Maybe it's time I did. Hold up." Dr. Lawson crosses to the coat rack and takes down his new winter wear. It's a long, inslated overcoat, faux fur lining to keep he wearer warm, but with an exterior that sheds rain and snow handily. In a medium tan, it kind of fits the profile of the scientist; sensible, not flashy, and very staid. He holds it up to Lynette, proving that it's also several sizes too large for her. Then Mar-Vell holds up a finger soliciting her patience. "I know, I know. But let's see what kind of Santa miracle science can pull out of its bad, shall we?"

Lawson unlocks a drawer and removes a small wrist bracer of the sort Captain Marvel uses. This one, however, is a work in progress. Also in the drawer are a variety of small lenses of the sort that power the unibeam. "I've been working on an upgrade for Marvel," Walt shares. "And some of the lens functions aren't quite what he needs in te field. However." He selects a small, emerald lens and puts it into place, dweftly traces lines around the bracer and watches it power up. Settling the coat on his desk, he aims the device without actually putting it on. A festive green aura dances over the unibeam, and then extends in a beam to the overcoat. Which, in turn, shrinks. And shrinks. Walt watches the coat dimension as he consults Lynette, judging by line-of-sight, and when satisfied at last, he turns of the unibeam projector. Then he picks up the much-reduced coat and offers it to her. Only then does he notice that the scarf, in the pocket, went along for the ride as well. "Merry Christmas, Lynette."

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