A Fantastic Replacement

Characters: Susan Richards, Stella Fisher, Reed Richards
Rated: PG
Summary: Reed and Sue Richards find a backup pilot fly them to Africa, and have a nice chat with Stella on the trip over on the Quinjet.
OOC Date: November 19, 2017
IC Date: November 19, 2017
Where: Somewhere in Africa

It's been raining cats and dogs for hours now, but when someone needs a lift and they know the right number to call? Well SHIELD does a pretty awesome job of playing air-taxi if only to stay in the good graces of some folks. So then the Quinjet is parked right where it should be, a full half hour early. The cargo deck has been lowered, which is a little unusual for the usual guy. So are the dull red lights flooding the interior, a feature typically reserved for the more combat oriented Quinjets.

The regular guy, Mickey Hearn? Well his kiddo was apparently sick as a dog, and so when the call came it dropped into the general pool. Stella then snagged the call, if only because she had absolutely nothing but paperwork to catch up on. Those familiar SHIELD flight fatigues, A care worn nylon flight jacket bearing the bright red and black wolf patch of the "Aggressors". A fighter pilot then, not your typical cargo hack. Leaned casually against the cargo hatch's hydraulic lifter as she waits for her "fare" as it were. Eyes downcast as she casually scans the sports page from a local paper.

It doesn't take too long for the passengers in question to arrive. Reed is first, dressed in a simple jacket over a white jumpsuit, with matching boots and gloves, a messenger style bag slung over one shoulder that looks a bit bulky, though he's managing it so far. He slows as he sees the unfamiliar pilot. "Hello miss…Mike out today?" he says curiously. "I don't think we've flown with you before."

Sue walks in shortly after Reed, wearing a leather bomber jacket and worn hat over her matching white jumpsuit. She blinks a bit, then grins, "Well, if Mickey's out it has to be pretty serious." The grin fades a bit, as she looks over at Stella, "He okay?"

"Yeah, his little guy's got the flu or something."Stella offers a slight smile, before folding her sports page and tucking it under arm. "Your call got bounced to tactical, and so here I am."She steps aside, content to let Reed take care of the luggage. Chauffeur she is not it would seem, not she seems terribly irritated with things. "I'll be your pilot today, name's Stella Fisher. Go ahead and get strapped in and I'll get us out of this mess. Next big storm line is about twenty minutes out, so hopefully we'll snag a clear pattern. Where you need to get to?"

Reed nods, stepping to the side to let Sue board first as he offers a hand to Stella. "Pleased to meet you. You've flown over the area before? I realize it's a bit out of the way…and not very well mapped, considering. The old deepest, darkest Africa they used to put on maps, especially with the mountains around the site."

Sue grins, "Yeah, well, there's pretty good reasons for that, Reed." She winks at Reed, then offers a hand to Stella as well, "Don't worry, I don't /think/ there's gonna be a Shoggoth waiting for us. Those are more common in the Antarctic anyway." Sure, she's kidding. Right? Right?!?

Stella does indeed shake, firmly no less. "Been there before? No, but I did give the charts a study before I got over here, probably for the best you got bounced over for tactical for this run anyway."And a pause as she half turns to raise the cargo ramp once the two are aboard. "We are armed, so I can stay on station and provide close air support if necessary."Ramp closed, she gives a nod and heads towards the cockpit. "Oh also I got coffee if anyone wants a cup just let me know, but I'd wait until we get some altitude."

Reed says distractedly. "Oh, probably not a Shoggoth, yes. Possibly a local demigod, if it's still about, or whatever passed for it. They tended to deify animals of great power, after all.." she says, following Sue up as the ramp closes behind them. "And a coffee would be wonderful, thank you…" he says, taking a seat in the cockpit. "I could get it for you though? We don't expect you to play stewardess too…" he says with faint amusement.

Sue gives Reed a wry look, "And Reed is a much better stewardess than I am, anyway. Though coffee sounds great once we get to cruising altitude. But seriously, we'll probably just have, at worst, some hidden dinosaurs or something that didn't quite die out."

"Well I'll take you up on that, these Q boats don't have the most trustworthy autopilots after all."Stella cops a grin as she slips into the pilot's seat, buckling up with one hand as she pulls on her kneeboard and gets to flipping switches without skipping a beat. "Man all that spooky stuff is just beyond me, everyone keeps telling me I was going to be fighting aliens and shit but so far it's all been pretty tame."Engines whirring to life as her gaze drops to her charts finally, before nodding to herself. "You guys ever heard of the Black Shuck though?"

Reed nods, then stretches his arms, sliding them over to said coffee pot as he starts to mix and pour the coffee. "Sugar, or cream?" he asks absently, preparing Sue's just the way she likes it as he hands it over first. "And the Black Schuck? Hmm. It's not coming to mind immediately. Perhaps you could elaborate and it will jog my memory…"

Sue shakes her head, "Not immediately, no… but my cryptozoology isn't quite up to par, sadly." She looks curiously over at Stella as she takes the offered cup of coffee from Reed, sipping it a bit as she grins, "I wouldn't worry, though. Hang out with us and you'll see more weird shit than you know what to do with."

"Big ghostly wolf thing, it's got some history with fighter pilots. My grandfather saw it after dogfights in two world wars, Robin Olds saw it too when he was in 'nam. You land your plane, and theres this period where things are getting shut down but they haven't brought out the ladder yet yeah? Jet's popping and making all these sounds as it cools, and you're just left alone for a few minutes. Your hands are trembling as you start coming down from the adrenaline dump. Well few years back, I was playing op-for against the F-22s when they were new. Anyway it's black as night because it's the desert, and I see this thing on the tarmac off to the right side. Big black wolf the size of a horse, just -there- looking at me."Stella pauses as she picks up the throttle, chatting with the tower for a moment to get the bird airborne and on the way. "Oh and black if you'd be so kind." One thing in her favor, She's a hell of a lot smoother than Mickey Hearn on the stick.

"Hmmm….it sounds like one of the legends of the wolf or dog whose appearance indicates the watcher is going to die soon." Reed says thoughtfully, mixing up the next cup for Stella and carefully setting it down next to her, before mixing his own. "There's quite a few legends of it, mostly as a fae dog of sort. I haven't heard that particular name for a legend before though, that's interesting. I wonder why it would appear to pilots." he says, leaning back into his chair as his arms retract, sipping from his mug slightly as he muses over it.

Sue nods towards Reed, "Yeah, the Black Dog, or even a derivative of the Banshees of Irish mythology as well, where their keening would foretell death." She hmms a bit, "How long ago was this sighting?" Her eyes focus on Stella, concern evident in her voice.

"Years ago, I was still with the 4477th doing uhh,"And a pause as Stella reclines, deftly sliding the jet up to cruising altitude before she partakes. "Lets say I was working with exotic aircraft, in a place in the American Southwest you won't find on a map yeah? Olds died in 07' if Natural causes. Grandpa made it to the 59' and died of natural causes, old men both of them. Thing has an affinity for fighter pilots, seen it a few times since. Nothing threatening, just -there- and it goes wandering off. I'd believe it's heralding death, just not ours you know?"And a shrug at that, obviously unconcerned. "Olds Saw it in 'Nam, Grandpa saw it in Germany and the Soviet Union. I've seen it sort've all over, but not regularly you know?"

"Hmmm…" Reed says thoughtfully, sipping against from his mug. "That does suggest a neutral appearance, or perhaps signifying something else than death at all, maybe. It's not really my speciality for…well magic." he says, his lips twisting in distaste. "But I am aware of some of the legends, and they often have some link to reality before they became mythic."

Susan gives Stella a wry look, "Careful, you'll get my husband going on 'manipulating quantum phenomenon in a non-traditional way and NOT CALLING IT MAGICK'." Apparently, she's been married to him long enough that she can imitate his tone pretty well, though she does toss Reed a sly wink at that, "Though, if this is a spirit, it does have definable rules… most of them do. The trick is figuring out what they are."

After a fairly long flight, the Quinjet descends towards deepest, darkest Africa…or at least, a very overgrown part of it, near the Congo in fact, but well away from the more settled areas to the more wild rain forests below. The best spot to land turns out to be the sight of a an old fire, probably a lightning strike or something, that's cleared out a area of taller trees near to a small river that snakes through the area.

Casually, Stella reaches up to start flipping switches. Powering down the Quinjet with practiced ease. "We're down and clear, I've got the ramp coming down in ten seconds."And then well, she starts casually popping her seat belt. "Alright uh, this isn't some Ebola hotzone garbage is it? I mean I really didn't bring a suit, and I feel like that's something I'd probably need if there's Ebola everywhere."

Susan hmms, "Probably be a bit dangerous for you to come along, Stella. But you can definitely stay by the plane if you want to. But no, not Ebola. Actually, just a little bit of retrieval." She smiles a little, keeping it a bit vague as she passes Reed a wry look, "At least, that's what I was told, unless your file said something different?"

Reed starts fiddling with his arm computer. 'Let's see now. It's not too far a walk, actually, if you don't mind it. I doubt there's anyone out here who could bypass the Quinjet's security, so if you wanted to come with, another set of hands is welcome." He gets to his feet, distractedly heading back towards the loading ramp, then idly smacks a fist into one of the lockers as he walks past, popping it open. Inside is another white jumpsuit with black highlights, like he and Sue are wearing. "You're welcome to wear that one, if you'd like. It'll size to fit you comfortably."

There's a moment, where Stella just eyes the pair. Then slowly, she shrugs out of her jacket and sighs. "Yeah ok, but my dad taught me never to accept body suits from strange couples."And with that, well she straps on her pistol and sources a beat up shotgun and a bandoleer of buckshot. "I forgot all the beer back in the States, guess I better make myself useful then."She follows along finally, pausing to lift the ramp before slowly turning that ballcap around.

Susan grins, "Well, if you see any baby dinosaurs, let us know. That might be what we're looking for. Or one of the things, anyhow. Ever hear of the Mokole-mbembe?" She tilts her head, regarding Stella with an approving grin before glancing back to Reed and tossing him a wink, "And honey, don't forget wear we parked."

Reed says bemusedly. "I think you'll enjoy the built in environmental controls, if nothing else. Though you're welcome to wear your jacket over it, if you wish. It's made to keep you comfortably cool and dry, even in this humid environment. Well mostly. It doesn't cover your face, after all…" he allows, before glancing over at Sue. "Uh…right…here?" he says, a bit confusedly as he's distracted from perusing the holographic map projecting from his forearm computer.

"Oh yeah, I saw a thing on it when I was stuck in Turkey. Big Dinosaur thing, right?" See, base TV might not be the best but you can't beat boiler plate pulp garbage at 5am. "And I appreciate the offer, but I'll stick to Nomex. These are my lucky utilities anyway, and I'm not going to be the one to scrub us before we get into it."

Susan nods, "Right. Well, this is the part of Africa that they are rumored to be found in. And if so, well, getting evidence of one would be a boon to science, but that's not the main reason we're here. The main reason, well, there's rumors of a lost city in this general area, and a few weeks ago there was a satellite ping off of something near these coordinates that was… very, interesting."

"An incomplete ping, thus, why we're here. And there's nothing like being physically present during an investigation. You see things you'd miss with just sensor readings." Reed says simply, hitting the release for the ramp as it lowers with a soft whine to thump lightly into the rain forest floor. "I'd be curious if the two are connected though. Stories of the Mokole-mbembe do seem to perpetuate themselves frequently in this area; it could be hysteria, or it could be something that keeps the stories alive."

"A lost civilization in Africa, well wouldn't that be something. Big dinosaur though, I reckon it'd be hard to spot."And a pause as Stella follows along, rubbing absently at the back of her neck. "Probably not much of a thermal distance from the background, doubt it'd have enough iron in it's blood to ping the Magnetic Anomoly Detector. Man that's a tough one, feel like we should have brought a better platform. If You'd said, I could have worked out an operations order and everything. You have any idea how much my guys would love the idea of hunting a Dinosaur with Exotic Aircraft?"

Susan nods, "Well, we're not hunting them so much as wanting proof they do, in fact, exist. And if they are connected, so much the better." She smiles, "Saves me writing multiple papers when I can just do one, after all." Looking quite comfortable with her jacket and hat over her white jumpsuit, she mmms a bit, "But yeah, especially around here satellite thermals aren't worth much, but there was enough anomalous readings that we should do a first-hand look."

"Also, please don't kill the likely extremely endangered dinosaurs if possible." Reed says dryly. "Well…" He consults his forearm computer again. "Looks like we've about 3 kilometers through the rainforest to the ruins. I'm pretty sure we should hear any dinosaurs as they try to sneak up on us, considering their size."

"We're fighter pilots, if you tell them upfront they don't get to bag one they'll do nothing but complain. That, or you can give them an exotic platform and make them sign like at least fifteen NDAs. The more NDAs, the blacker the op. Everyone wants their ops to be blacker than anyone else, see that's how you get those turkeys on a rope."Fighter pilot psych 101 with Stella it would seem, not that she seems all that worried honestly. Content to take trail on the couple. "Now you turn'em loose, and being fighter pilots it'll become a race to discover the thing. All you have to do is provide enough NDAs to get their interest, and tell them some clapped out piper cub is -actually- a Hyper classified project so black it's actually clear. Even the ink is classified, no joke you hand out booklets and pamphlets with empty pages? I'll get you ten pilots to search for this thing in an hour, no joke."

Sue nods, "Well, any massive ones would be easy to notice, but smaller ones could be rather sneaky of course." She chuckles, "Though, really, the problem with that is that it could do some damage to the environment, and we don't really want to cause too much of an impact."

Reed rolls his eyes a bit. "I'm fairly sure we can avoid getting eaten for the short trip there and back." he says, striding down the ramp. "Though I'll keep that in mind, Stella. There are certainly plenty of things we might need to find on short notice, I suspect."

"So is this what you guys usually get up to, ecologically mindful investigations?"As Stella pauses to peer back towards the jet for a moment, before she seems satisfied. "I'll be honest, I don't get much field work. Curse of the corner, usually stuck in an office. Reading about stuff like this, and playing a lot of Madden of course."

Susan laughs a bit, "No, not always, but we do tend to get out and about quite a bit, when not teaching classes." She actually concentrates a bit, and suddenly hovers in the air, "If you want, I can take us from here." The observant would notice that there's a transparent disc of force underneath her, and she gives Stella a wry grin, "Not that I don't trust your flying, but down this close I can be more precise."

Reed considers. "Actually, you'd be surprised….granted that might be because we're not exploring another dimension today…" he muses, stepping onto the disc without hesitation. "This could be fairly sedate by comparison." He smiles at Stella. "Hop aboard?"

Theres a pause and a critical look, before finally hopping aboard. "It's a Quinjet I don't blame you, those things are about as polished as a mail truck. Still lets, take it easy with the invisible levitation things please? I don't see an airfoil and I'm liable to break out in hives."

Susan grins, "Don't worry, we'll go nice and slow. And I figured we'd just hover over the river, mostly, until we got close…" And with that, they fly off. Not that fast, but a lot quicker than trudging through the underbrush would be!

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