(2016-08-28) Agent Gamma-Upsilon-P-Five-Upsilon
Agent Gamma-Upsilon-P-Five-Upsilon
Summary: Pete takes Amanda to MI-13 to look into what's inside the warded box. Things do not go well for our heroes.
Date: 2016-08-28 Evening
Related: http://marvelreborn.wikidot.com/log:2016-08-28-welcome-back-to-london
NPCs: Agent O, The Thing in the Box, Unnamed MI-13 scientists
Scene Runner: NA
Social/Plot: Plot

Since she was up all night, Amanda sleeps until well after noon. She dresses when she gets up in a snazzy suit that is her impression of what a female spy might wear. Naturally this was something she conjured since she didn't pack anything of the sort. She comes out of the bedroom dressed thusly and says, "You have to feed me before we go to work."

"Well, good morning to you, too, cranky," Pete told Amanda as he slipped some papers back into their folder, and closed it back up. He got to his feet and immediately set to prepping in the kitchen. "Be a nice guest and sit tight while I fix tea, and breakfast for you." What was Pete going to make?

Sliced tomato, baked beans, mushrooms, eggs over-easy, sausages, and English bacon. And toast.

Popularly known as a traditional English breakfast. Or a Tipperary Fry-Up.

Because if he was going to entertain his guest, you'll be damned sure he'll feed her well, too!

Oh yes, white and black pudding, too. Which isn't pudding at all. Just more sausage.

Amanda Sefton chuckles softly as she follows him into the kitchen to watch him cook. "And just what's cranky about saying that I am hungry?" She mmms as she watches. Perhaps she was actually serious about her favorite cuisine being whatever she's eating just now.

Pete had puttered about in the kitchen quite jovially. He was no chef, but damn it, he wasn't a lazy bachelor. Grilling the tomato slices until they're soft and just a bit drippy. Slicing and frying the mushrooms. A quick sautee of the sausages and puddings in the bacon fat. Beans were warmed. The toast was then set to fry atop the leftover bacon and egg grease, for just a few moments.

Yes, delicious naughty toast.

It was an enormous plate set up for her. Two eggs, two rashers of bacon, two sausages, one small piece of white, and one of black pudding. A single slice of bread made two triangular slices of toast. Was about four mushrooms altogether, sliced in half. And there was tomato leftover, which Pete may use for himself, later. Two slices for her.

"Now, come come," he said, gesturing to his dining room table. "Sit your gorgeous little bum down, and get ready to tuck in. Tea's ready, too. How do you take it?"

Amanda Sefton walks over to the table and sits as she replies, "Honey and lemon if you have honey. Milk and two sugars if not."

Pete Wisdom asked, "Do you still want milk even if I ha- wait. No, milk and lemon don't mix. I have it all, luv. Your preference?" He smiled at her as he set the big plate on the table, steaming and smelling like delicious heaven and PETA's hell, and then a knife and fork were added shortly thereafter.

Amanda Sefton smiles, "Honey and lemon are my preference for tea." She begins eating happily as though Pete's cooking were restaurant cuisine.

Tea was poured. Honey was added, and a slice of lemon for her preference. Her mug was brought over. As for Pete, himself, honey and milk. He sat across from her, and casually sipped his tea, trying not to look like he was hoping for praise.

Amanda Sefton asks teasingly between bites, "Did you decide I need a few more curves, Pete?" General soft sounds of enjoyment are made during eating. One is not supposed to be overt in England right?

"Anything more than a handful requires an extra hand," Pete teased right back. "You sounded *famished*. So I thought I'd give you a little local cuisine. Rumor has it most folks who have this skip lunch, unless they work in construction."

Amanda Sefton laughs softly, "Well an extra hand can be interesting even when it's not required." She seems happy to clear away all of the food he has prepared for her. She didn't eat on the plane thanks to the jerk in first class.

Pete Wisdom was quite pleased to find the magician doing the most believable trick in the book: Making food disappear.

"How'd you like it, luv?" Pete asked, as he sipped his tea.

Amanda Sefton finishes her tea as well before she goes over to kiss Pete on the cheek. "It was all wonderful. Thank you for cooking for me, Pete."

"I'd be a horrid host if I didn't add a personal touch and just order, like, Thai, or something." Pete reached over to give her a hug with one arm, the other busy with tea. "How'd you sleep?"

Amanda Sefton smiles, "Your bed is very comfortable even without you in it. I slept quite deeply."

"Wonderful. You look, by the way, the picture of a sixties-era spy." Only cross-dressing. "Should we go check on that artefact and hope that whatever's inside it isn't currently eating my staff?" Phrasing.

Amanda Sefton grins at the compliment to her attire, "Marvelous. That is just the image I was going for. If your staff opened that box without a trained mystic nearby they deserve to be eaten."

"Probably Jenkins, then," Wisdom theorized. "Stuart and O would be smart enough to stop him. I hope. Ready when you are," said Wisdom as he finished his tea.

Amanda Sefton chuckles softly and gestures for him to lead the way, "After you, Mister Wisdom."

Pete led the way back to the elevator. Of course, when hitting the button for the 13th floor, it prevented this car from picking up any other people in the lift. Down they went. Down to the thirteenth floor, where the really weird stuff was kept. Out they went, to… the R&D Department. There was a small Asian fellow in a white labcoat to greet them. "Oh, hello!" was his greeting.

"Hello, O. Any progress?" said Pete.

Amanda Sefton paid particular attention to what happened when Pete pressed the magically cloaked button 13. She wanted to understand the magic involved in the elevator. When she steps out of the elevator behind Pete she nodded to the people already there and waited for the report to be given of what they've done so far.

"Oh, yes," said O, as he beckoned the two to where the artefact was held. "We've studied it through every mundane non-invasive method we can. It may even be a little radioactive now, because of it!" O sounded amused.

He didn't seem to mind Amanda there, likely as Pete probably informed O on a need-to-know basis.

Pete asked, "Well, what did you find?"

"Well, we studied it with sound waves. High-focus electron microscope photography to look at the details of the runes. We also went over it with psychokinetic energy detectors, spectrometers, you name it. We also have the X-rays right over here…"

For reference, the artefact was settled quite comfortably on a cloth, laying on its 'back,' on a wide table, where a few scientists were puttering around it. It was also taped onto the table, with two strips criss-crossing of electrical tape.

England's number one defense against the supernatural. This was to ensure it didn't fall and end up breaking, if bumped.

The sound waves passed through the ward box like they would through anything else. Their speed of passing through indicates something vaguely circular and about half an inch thick. The x-rays confirm there seems to be a metallic disk inside the box. The psychokinetic energy is so off the scale that the detectors cannot provide a discrete reading. It also appears active on the electromagnetic spectrum, very faintly.

Amanda walks toward the box slowly and gestures to the tape. "Really? You didn't have something better?"

"Tongs might be too strong to hold it down. Tape was pliant and sticky. It works nicely to prevent falling," O explained, and Pete positively beamed.

"It seems that there's a circular disk made of metal in there. It's giving off so many different signals, I'm not sure if we'll all have cancer by the time this conversation is over," O joked. "But the power that's emanating from it is also off the scale. Look!" O shoved the spectrometer in Pete's face, who had to take a step back. "You know I'm just as excited about these things as you are, O…" Pete started. "But what this is telling me is we need to put it in a lead box. Put that box in a yew box. Pour iron over that wood box. Pour concrete over the iron box. Wrap it in chains made of brass. Drop it in the Lady's lake, and not listen to her complaints."

Amanda Sefton arches a brow at Pete's response to the results. She gestures to the psychokinetic readings then asks, "Have you managed to isolate the signature of those yet?" She moves to stand right next to the box and crouches down to extend her hand over it. Under her breath she mutters, "Should have brought my crystal ball. It's excellent for focusing down on something now."

"NO," said Pete and O in unison.

"We intentionally did no direct magical investigations of any kind!" O said with some sincerity.

"If those behind this are smart enough to brand their own people with magical defensive wards…" said Pete,

"You must be sure they've done the same with the artefact! Or at least be extremely paranoid of it," said O. "That said, I have already checked my I-ching and Kabbalah, and if I read my yarrow sticks right, an auspicious time for seeing things may come to pass, tonight. You see, a cold front is coming in from the northeast. And tonight is a crescent moon. The moon that peeks while still being hidden, To seek the things that think they are free from the moon's gaze," O explained.

"And with the cold front coming up, there may be ice crystal formations far above in the sky, which may bathe London in crystal-focused seeking moonlight. Perhaps tonight, Ms. Sefton, you should scry. But until then…"

"You can be damned sure we're going to spend the next few hours drawing up a containment seal to ensure whatever's in here doesn't escape. And we're going to draw one around you, too, Amanda. In case it gets inside you." Pete didn't want some Lovecraftian horror stomping through his own home base…


Amanda Sefton glances between O and Pete then again. "It's a disc of metal. Do you really think it poses that sort of danger?" Even so, it is Pete's base so she withdraws her hand.

"A metal disc could carry a series of inscribed runes laser-cut into it that could summon all sorts of things," Pete said.

"Oh, yes!" said O. "Like Mephis-"

"Shut it," Pete silenced O.

"Or Satanni-"

"I said quiet!"

"But what about D'Spa-"

"NO!" "Or Blackhe-" "NO!!!" "Belasc-" Pete physically grabbed O and put his hand over the little man's mouth. "Stop saying names you know that brings their attention you over-curious little-!"

At least nobody mentioned Dormammu.

Amanda Sefton straightens and gives O a HARSH look. She knows a great many of those names personally. The last one draws a particularly black look. She says calmly, "You should never say something's true name unless you want it's attention."

O looked sheepish. "Sorry," he told both of them. But he lifted his forefinger, and said, quite proudly, "What about Shuma-"

Now it was Pete who gave O a look that could spoil produce.

"…Mai. Shu mai. Japanese dumpling dish. Very good," said the suddenly cowed O. "Ahem. Well. We should prepare the containment wards. Ms. Sefton, we may need a little of your blood. Or saliva. We cannot skimp on the precautions."

Amanda Sefton frowns a little in Pete's direction at that request, "I do not give my blood to people, Pete. It's a little like letting someone write on your soul when you're magically active."

"Then we might need to shackle you down with iron, silver, and brass," Pete told Amanda. "Iron and silver for their purity, and brass for its properties in deflecting evil magic," traditionally curses like the evil eye. "Unless there were other magically resonant and protective things we can bind you in, or paint on you. We don't want to do anything permanent."

And Pete might find Amanda with protective runes painted on her body quite attractive…

Amanda Sefton admits, "My magic is weak to iron. Anything something that possessed me could do with my powers would be blocked by iron. Also the more dangerous things tend to need either words or gestures."

"Which is why it's a nice idea to use your blood or spittle," Pete responded. "Neither O nor I know the proper words or gestures to restrain whatever it is might be in there. And if we knew words to restrain you, my goodness, you'd know your way out of them. You're a Gypsy, Amanda, at least let me give you credit for it." Pete was smiling.

Amanda Sefton smiles faintly at that then sighs, "Oh alright. You can have one drop but the blood trace gets destroyed before I leave here. Do you have something consecrated to put it in?"

"That, we actually do," Wisdom said. He looked at O. O looked at a junior scientist. The junior scientist ran away. Returning shortly thereafter with a… silver chalice. Bejeweled, with a few royal, and holy, symbols and seals. Along it was engraved St. George slaying the dragon. Along the neck of it, there was a small glass container holding a reliquary. A very small bone, perhaps a finger bone.

Amanda Sefton smile at the chalice, "Now that is lovely. I would love to look through your collection." She produces a pin from somewhere and sticks her finger before squeezing a single drop into the chalice. The finger is then placed in her mouth to suck off the remaining blood.

"All right. We'll undergo the preparations and make the seals. First, over the artefact. Then, over you. We'll have your supervision," Wisdom told Amanda, "If you would be so kind as to consult with us. We're great with magic, but you *are* it. I'd call Tink, but I'm fairly sure she'd kick me right in the bollocks if I bothered her about something like this."

Amanda Sefton gestures to the cup, "That's got my blood in it. It's not leaving my sight. At all. And yes, she probably would." She glances back at the warded box unable to stop thinking about what might be waiting inside it.

"Stop looking at it, Amanda. You're not allowed to touch it. Nobody in here is allowed to touch it. Note that I *will* remove hands to prevent people from touching it."

O pipes up, "We may have unearthed the method Miach made at restoring lost limbs!"

Pete told O to shut it, and not to mention anything about Ireland again.

But hours passed. First, very talented, if not very skilled people drew esoteric and magical runes and circles around the table, in a paint made of sheep's blood and the boiled essence of certain magically-resonant herbs. Candles were lit. A live cat was set nearby.

What? Cats were weird, man.

Once that was done, the staff, and even Pete, would start to paint a series of circular patterns and runes around Amanda, where they'd politely ask her to sit. They'd also put iron bracelets and anklets, with brass and silver bells on them, on her wrists and ankles. With her permission.

Once that was done, a connecting circle would bind the silver chalice, with the drop of Amanda's blood.

"So. How do you feel?" asked Pete. "Got your ball?"

Amanda Sefton is not herself a Fae, so the iron does not burn her but having it in contact with her skin directly makes her vaguely uncomfortable. She rolls her head on her shoulders, "I feel like my skin is crawling. We are definitely taking these off soon. And since I do not have my crystal ball, I will need a mirror. Preferably a large one. Scrying in a compact mirror is annoying."

"We'll get you a good one," Wisdom said, and he snapped his fingers.

What came from the vaults was a large mirror. A standing one. But Amanda said the iron made her skin crawl? This would be worse.

This was an evil mirror. It was a mirror that was used to contact the dead. A mirror that copycat killers used to imitate Bloody Mary style murders. It was inspired by, and further inspiration for, urban teenage legends and scary stories. It was an ugly thing. The wood for its housing was cracked, the finish falling off. The silvered glass was tarnished, discolored, with a few old brown stains here and there.

"We know it's not the best mirror, but it's the most resonant one we've got right now that we're willing to part with," said Pete.

Amanda Sefton takes one look at the mirror and gives Pete a shocked look, "Oh absolutely not. I am not scrying with that thing. A normal mirror. I cannot have anything else influencing my magic."

Pete snapped his fingers, and the staff took that thing away. They returned with a plain old mirror, silvered glass and a stainless steel casing. A very, very basic, and very cheap mirror.

"Just making sure," Pete said. "Don't worry about breaking it. We've got salves and soaps to wash away temporary self-imposed bad luck."

Amanda Sefton studies the steel casing of the mirror with a long-suffering smile, "That's going to dull the effectiveness of the scrying I do with it obviously, but I suppose it will work."

"Really? In my experience, putting impurities in the iron weakens its effectiveness considerably." Impurities as in, steel. "But we can find one with a wooden frame, I mean, we've got time…" Pete said, sheepish. "Could you also, um. Could you try walking out of the seal?" Seeing as they'd already set up the seal around her, and attached the chalice with her blood to a joining circle. "It shouldn't backlash, unless you try to force it. Just be a wall, otherwise."

Amanda Sefton nods, "Steel isn't as much of a dampener as pure iron but it still hurts my magic." She gently pushes on the edge of the seal and frowns a touch when it works as it should since she doesn't particularly like being confined. "Looks like it's working."

"Once again, our sincerest apologies, luv. We… well, we really *can't* be too careful. I do rather like my idea of dumping it in the Lady's Lake…" Pete said, as he waved the steel mirror away. Off to get a wood-framed mirror. This one was just as normal. Nothing horrible, or even wonderful about it.

They took it from a room in the Shangri-La hotel.

Amanda Sefton nods to Pete's apology. She rubs uncomfortably at the iron around her wrists which makes the bells jingle on her. "I understand. I don't fancy the idea of wandering around as someone else." When the wooden mirror arrives, she stretches out a hand toward it just to see if she can actually touch it with her magic while wearing those damned bracelets.

They were just iron bracelets. And Amanda was, hands down, one of the most powerful magicians in the world. She could affect the mirror… but only after it was handed to her, through the seal.

Amanda Sefton proceeds to prove to Pete just how dangerous she can be at a distance. In the mirror, Amanda opens a window on the world outside the seal, IE the room she's standing in but on the other side of the seal. She makes a slow focusing gesture until the image in the mirror is Pete Wisdom's backside. Then she controls the air behind him to slap his backside before shutting down the scry again.

Amidst the titters and laughter of O and some of the other scientists, Pete just huffed. "Very funny, but I suppose you need to keep your sanity. Do go on, luv. Think the moon's out by now, anyway."

Amanda Sefton chuckle softly once then nods. She draws a slow breath and closes her eyes to center herself. When she opens them again, she's all business again. She places a hand in the center of the mirror as if that would make the images come clearer.

For the time, Wisdom watched, his hands at his sides. Just in case he needed to hot-knife someone.

O, and some other scientists, put on goggles. Some stood behind some thick, plastic blast shielding. Others stood behind Pete.

Amanda Sefton focuses the image in the mirror on the warded box very slowly. Then she tries to pass the scrying window through the tiny spaces in the wards, slipping it around the runes. Unfortunately, she was right that touching it with magic would be bad. The backlash of the interaction between her scrying and the wards sends a blast of concussive force out from the mirror. Amanda barely manages to keep hold of it as the force slams the gypsy into the wall of force that is the magical circle around her. There's pained grunt as she basically slams into a wall.

The backlash is not restricted to Amanda's circle. It blasts out from the one around the box also, but fortunately is again stopped by the protective circle.

Wisdom immediately ordered one of the scientists to go get a bottle of water and some painkillers, for Amanda. She needed to be at her best, with this. Probably should have gotten them earlier.

Amanda Sefton slowly slides down the 'wall' until she's sitting in the circle. She looks dazed but bells jingle on the bracelet about her wrist as she forces her scrying window the rest of the way through the wardings. The grimace is on her face even before the backlash happens because she knows it's coming. Since she's already against the circle, there's nowhere for her body to go when she gets caught between the backlash of her scrying and the circle. She groans loudly and blood begins to trickle from her nose.

Knowing just how tough and stubborn many of these people can be, Pete asked, with some volume and authority, "Tell me if you want to stop." He didn't say her name, because now, if something was waking up, it could likely hear. "We have a medic on-hand. One of the best medics in the world." If only because her super powers involved taking people apart and putting them back together again, good as new. Faiza Hussain, also known as the sword she wields, Excalibur.

Amanda Sefton coughs after a second. Her voice sounds a little off when she mutters, "I'm though it now. I just have to make it focus. Is something recording the images in this mirror in case I pass out?"

"Yes, we've got cameras of many different stripes focused on you and the artefact," Pete said. Spectrometers, infrared cameras, and about SIXTY Kirlian cameras. Mostly because twenty of them have already blown out from those backlashes of power. Other scales and detection thingies were pointed at the woman and the artefact, as well.

Inside gestures and the image slowly comes into focus. It is indeed an inscribed metal disc, but the power flowing from it is producing its own light. Amanda's expression goes first blank then just a touch fearful at what she's seeing.

"Talk, Agent Gamma-Upsilon-P-Five-Upsilon." Or GYP5Y. Or… Gypsy.

Pete had to think of a code-name quick, that made little sense.

"What do you see? Don't read the characters aloud, just what they mean." Pete was trying to sound gentle, even encouraging. But this was his home. His turf. His land. And he didn't want whatever was in there unleashing something Very Bad.

The codename gets Amanda's attention. She almost makes the mistake of looking away from her scrying, but if she did that she'd have to push through those wards again and boy does she not want to do that. She clears her throat to try and make her voice work better. "This would complete the summoning sigil on his chest, but it's more than that."

"More than that? Don't delve too deep, Upsilon," Pete said. He was watching, concerned. Then it hit him. "Will you be able to close this back up?" he asked.

Amanda Sefton says quietly, "I am currently holding back what's trying to reach out. I think… if that touches me it's going to scribe the rest of the summoning. So he was a volunteer, but it can take someone by force. It is strong." Her breathing is becoming labored as she brings up her other hand to try and control the magic.

"Then shut it out. Block it, shut it down." Pete… stepped forward, and picked up the cat. He sort of waved the animal, who flopped lazily in Wisdom's arms, here and there, toward the artefact.

Cats were good for some things. In this case, it was absolutely pointless, but the gesture was sincere. The way people put mirrors at their children's window sills to scare away bad things that might come for them, Pete was waving a lazy, hairy lump of a feline at the wooden artefact in its seal.

Amanda Sefton sounds tired when she responds, "What do you think I'm trying to do, W?" If he's going to call her by a letter she'll call him one back. More blood trickles from her nose. The bells on the bracelets begin jingling as her hands shake involuntarily with the effort.

"You can do it…" Pete encouraged. The others all started to move towards the blast shielding. Just in case.

There is a lot more jingling from the bells and then a super-bright blinding flash of light. When the light finally clears, Amanda is lying on the floor, bloodied as if she'd been cut by the thousands of tiny shards of glass the mirror has turned into. Even so the unconscious gypsy doesn't seem to have a cut on her anywhere.

"Damn it." Pete crossed the wards - incredibly careful not to smudge or ruin them, leaving the cat behind. He'd look at Amanda, study the cuts. Were they deep? "Gypsy? You okay?" He knelt down at her side, reaching to take her wrist and check her pulse. He could do emergency first aid, but preventing scarring would be impossible for him. Then he realized she wasn't cut at all, even as Pete's fingers were smeared with blood.

That's not a good sign.

Checking Amanda's pulse reveals that despite the apparent bleeding, her pulse is still strong. She's just unconscious and covered in her own blood. With the mirror shattered, the scrying link between the thing inside the box is broken. The question becomes what happened before it was broken.

Unfortunately for Amanda, Wisdom has strictly enforced a level of caution when it comes to MI-13 dealing with things. That means they're leaving her here. Pete called up a medic - not Faiza, as Pete noticed that there wasn't a mark on her, just a lot of blood - to come check her vitals.

Amanda is battered and bruised from the two times getting slammed into the wards. Her vitals are a little weak as a result but the medic indicates she doesn't seem to be in any danger and will likely wake on her own in a few hours.

Pete Wisdom asks for the following. A pillow, a bottle of water, some strong painkillers. She can get clean later, they're not going to risk washing away the seal. But Pete would put her head on the pillow…

"So, that seal should hold the thing in there for now?" Pete asked.

"We think so, sir."

Pete nodded. "Then nobody touch it. Nobody go near it. Leave the seal up. In fact, wall the seal off with blast shielding, just to be safe for all-too-curious mad scientists who want to do more than look but not touch."

"Oh…" said O, dejectedly.

The ward box appeared to still be functioning so keeping whatever was still inside it inside it was not going to be difficult. Someone went to a lot of trouble to make a box that would isolate it.

By the time Amanda begins to stir slowly, the blood on her skin is dried on. She groans and tries to push up only to let herself slide back down.

Wisdom could just imagine how sticky and unpleasant all that dried, crusted blood felt.

Well, that's not true. It's happened before, he didn't have to imagine it.

"Are you okay?" he asked her.

Amanda Sefton thinks about that question for a while then finally says, "I think I need to call my airline and say I had an accident and will need to get pushed to another flight. I think I am somewhat less than okay.

Pete Wisdom immediately handed Amanda his phone. "Whisper to me," said Pete. "Tell me your name. Where you are from. Your mother's maiden name." Just to try to verify that, if something's in her, it hasn't had the time to really root through her psyche.

Amanda Sefton rubs at her head slowly before whispering "Amanda, Germany, Szardos." into the phone for him. She then adds, "And I would like to clean up."

"We would love to allow you to," Pete said. "Call your work. Take those pills. And I can get a protein shake or a green juice or something to help revitalize you, if you like."

Amanda Sefton dials the personnel scheduler for her airline to report her accident. There is a brief conversation in which Amanda lies quite eloquently and indicates that she has no idea when the doctors are going to release her. She sighs after she hangs up. "I'm going to have to work some extra hours at some point to make up for pushing the flight on short notice."

"Good," Pete told her. "Now, I'm very sorry, but as a precaution we can't let you leave the seal just yet. We need to be sure. But for now, can I get you an energy drink or something, so you can clean yourself with a little bit of prestidigitation?"

Amanda Sefton gives Pete a concerned look, "Why not? Did it get out?" She pushes herself into a seated position despite that it is very clearly painful. She holds out her hand as if to begin casting.

"We don't know. The problem with a lot of things is, sure, they like to make spectacles. The D-man, and big M. But subtler ones, the other D-man, or even N, like to be subtle." Dormammu and Mephisto being dramatic, with D'Spayre and Nightmare being subtle. "So. We're going to scan it again, study the wavelengths, auras, and such, and see if there were any changes in measurement.

Amanda Sefton isn't entirely sure who the initials are meant to refer to but she nods as she hands the phone back to him. "Just some water would be great then if you can. Otherwise I might just sleep again.

Taking his phone back, Pete gestured to the bottle that was nearby. Along with some British version of Tylenol. "There you are, luv."

Once the water arrived, Amanda made a point of washing the blood off before doing anything else. She did finally give in and take some of the pain medicine.

Once some time passed for Amanda to get clean and/or drink that water bottle, one of Pete's staff would come by, carrying a wheeled… camera?

"We took some recordings of… well, all of us. Kirlian cameras and spectrometers and stuff. Here, take a look," and Pete turned the whole thing around so Amanda could see the pre-recorded display. Auras. Auras everywhere. The baseline humans were small blue, purple, or green electrical fields. Wisdom's was odd. It was absorbing nascent, or nearby energy fields, and had a strong concentration in his core. Amanda, on the other hand? What did she look like from a Kirlian camera… before all this hubbub?

As a genuine magical phenomenon, Amanda is quite interesting in Kirlian imagery. Indeed Amanda is interesting even in comparison to other mystical people since her aura has a tendency to draw in natural magic from its surroundings and hold onto that in preparation for doing magic. Before she started doing magic in MI-13 Amanda's aura was practically bursting with energy that swirled around her, and reached out toward the other magical things in the room as though trying to bring them to her.

"See? Isn't that neat!?" Pete was genuinely intrigued with it. "My sister would've thought it was cooler than I do, but…" Pete shrugged. "She went nutters, and she's dead, now." He turned the camera around again, and recorded both Amanda, and the artefact. To compare auras before, and now…

Compared to before the magic, Amanda's aura is quite dim but the imagery of the thing inside the box appears basically unchanged.

Satisfied, Pete stepped over to the chalice, where he dipped in his finger and wiped up that tiny droplet of her blood. Showing her the little red smear on his fingertip, Pete's fingertip glowed the color of molten metal, and that blood was completely vaporized.

After that, he'd scuff a line with a shoe through the circles of her seal only. The seal around the artefact remained untouched.

Amanda Sefton stretches her hand up to Pete and says, "I think I might need help standing up. I don't feel like I'm entirely whole."

"Wait," Pete stopped suddenly. "Explain. Please," he told her, uncertainty and worry in his voice.

Amanda Sefton continues to hold out her hand, "Physically, not magically. What I just did was brutal and exhausting."

He reached out a hand for her to help pull her up. "We can get you looked over in the medbay, if you like," he told her. "And then we'll gladly put you in one of the best rooms at the Shangri-La… or, honestly, just a really cheap, but guaranteed quiet one, so that you can sleep comfortably for a day and a half and it won't cost us *too* much. Glad you had that breakfast, though, yeah?"

Amanda Sefton smiles, "I am indeed glad that I had your extra filling breakfast. I think I might sleep for more than one day straight after that if it's okay." She leans on him heavily once he's helped her up.

"So we'll get you the cheap one. No point in getting you a really nice room if you're just gonna sleep in it," Wisdom said wisely. "Now come on. Let's get you checked out, clean bill of health, and then off to bed with you, young lady." Was he teasing? "Though…" He reached out to undo the iron bands at her wrists, and they clattered to the floor. Then followed the ones at her ankles. "What did you see?"

Amanda Sefton frowns slightly, "I thought I told you what I saw? When are you talking about?" She rubs at her wrists when the iron bands come off and takes a more relieved breath.

"Just as a frame of reference. In case it's been permanently burned into your brain, or if you've already, blissfully forgotten it." Pete was just making sure… and concerned.

Amanda Sefton winces at the first possibility then murmurs softly, "It was the completion of the summoning seal on the man I caught who was trying to get the case in the first place. But it was reaching for me through the window I opened with my scrying. I can send my magic through those windows. It makes sense something might be able to reach back, but I admit it's never happened before."

"Then let's be careful. You're the big cheese here, when it comes to magical know-how." Pete smiled a hard little smile. "What do you suggest we do with it?"

Amanda Sefton admits softly, "What you said before about covering it in things and dumping it in a lake? At first thought that might be a good idea, but you'd have to do something to protect those warding runes first. If they get damaged when you are coating it in things, that thing is getting out. It's too strong for physical materials to keep it in. Those warding runes are essential."

"Many, many layers of prayer strips, to use as an insulating cushion?" It was an honest, if slightly silly suggestion from Pete. "You know. Like how you put a lot of newspaper or whathaveyou over some fine china before you ship it, to ensure it doesn't get banged around."

Amanda Sefton manages a little laugh for the suggestion. "Something like that, but I don't think that's the right idea. It needs to be carefully preserved and environmentally controlled the same way we preserve other artifacts that are too priceless to risk losing."

"Ohhhh!" Pete very nearly complained. He did curse, however. "That's all science. I suppose we could, with O's help, very, very carefully utilize a molecular rearranger to apply a nanominium layer, or finish, atop the layer of the artefact. Nanominium is *highly* magic resistant. The former Captain Midlands' shield has it. And I'm sure we can find some Adamantium lying around to put a layer of *that* over the nanominium finish. That way, nothing will get through!"

As if on cue, some of the other scientists started very practiced maniacal laughter.

Amanda Sefton nods very slowly, "That might work so long as they are very careful not to damaged any of the runes while applying the nanominium. It even one of those runes gets scratched through, it could open a gap."

"Utilizing a molecular rearranger would be precise enough not to. It's effectively sort of adding a layer of spray-paint of nanominium. Only it's one molecule thick, but covering the whole thing. In all the little cracks. And then Adamantium to do the same, to render it completely scratch-proof. And bang-proof. And nuclear-weapon-proof."

Amanda Sefton smiles, "Well then that should be good enough. Then you just have to keep anyone from doing what I did."

"That's what the nanominium is for. Highly magic resistant!" O said. "Yes," added Pete. "I suppose we should get right on it. I'll have to make some calls, and maybe owe someone a favor, for a few ounces of Adamantium. No shortage of nanominium, here. Now, then, you get off to bed. We should have a room ready for you by the time you're out the door."

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