(2016-09-06) Conscious Surgery
Conscious Surgery
Summary: At Amanda's request, she's chained down firmly for sigil removal… while she's awake.
Date: 2016-09-06
Related: http://marvelreborn.wikidot.com/log:2016-08-30-under-quarantine
NPCs: Death's Head, Excalibur
Scene Runner: Pete Wisdom
Social/Plot: Social

After a week of various magical attempts to get someone to come back inside with her, Amanda gives up on all the ploys and simply goes to knock on the door and say Pete's name, quietly, almost calmly even.

Nearly a week's gone by. They've fed her, of course. Nutritious, even tasty and wholesome food, three hots a day, as they say. Liquid refreshment has also been provided. But the cups have always been plastic-ware.

With Wisdom hearing that he's being asked for, he's back now.

The slot opened up, and Pete looked inside.

"Amanda? I apologize again," he told her. "Working very hard on getting that thing removed. Might be working in some risky channels, but… it's something."

Amanda Sefton lifts a hand as if to touch him even though her hand stops at the edge of the warding surrounding the room rather than going through the slot to him, "Pete, I'm not possessed. It's not letting me get rid of it but it doesn't control me. I'm going crazy in here."


Pete frowned. "It tries to kill you if we try to remove it. I've tried contacting an old friend or two, I had some ideas on how to stop it long enough to leave an unhappy scar. But I… I can't tell you them."

Amanda Sefton points out, "I think the anesthesia makes it stronger, because I'm not consciously in control it can work more openly. You have to restrain me and then have me conscious and in control which you do it."

"We're willing to try that. Lift up your hands, luv," Pete told her. He wanted to see the iron bands.

Amanda Sefton draws her hands to either side of his face so he can see both the bands intact on her wrists.

It was at this point that Pete started barking orders to his fellows. Well, not fellows. Underlings.

Iron chains were brought. And another hospital bed, this time made with iron springs and wrought iron bars. Honestly, it was quite possibly Victorian. There was no bad juju on it, though, just antiquity.

Then Pete opened the door. "You're going to be screaming. And bleeding. This is going to be unpleasant, and messy. You will be effectively having a section of skin carved right off, followed by a suitable replacement sprayed on. Sometimes SHIELD does good things," Pete admitted without reluctance. He was more worried about Amanda. "You're a Gypsy. I'm British. We're both quite good at being knocked down and pushing ourselves up. But how good are you at gritting your teeth and taking serious pain?"

Amanda Sefton frowns a bit. "Every bit of my magical instinct is focused around preventing that from ever happening, but I think I can survive it." She pauses then warns softly, "You will have to lock me down tight. No words. No gestures of any kind. I cannot kill with my magic but I can do other things are are not so nice given the chance. You don't want me doing magic while in unthinking pain."

Wheeling in the iron hospital bed, Pete lifted the chains and clasps off of it, before instructing her to lie down. Then he would clasp the chains to her bracelets, anklets, and the bars of the hospital bed. What followed was a strip of leather that Pete would insist he tie around her head, and over her mouth so she can grit her teeth on it safely. And as a measure to prevent incantation.

Something unusual was added to her hands very old-fashioned, wrought iron knuckles. Why? To muddy up any mudras or hand gestures. Often enough magic can come naturally, or supernaturally as the case may be. But it took guidance, and Pete wanted ambient magic to remain as dormant as he could help it.

"O developed this in the week you were here, in case we'd try this again," Pete said as he opened up a small box to produce what looked like a scalpel made of gold. "Pure nanominium. Expensive as a prince's piss, but hopefully you won't be able to turn it into butterflies while it cuts you," Pete told her.

Before she let him put the strap across her mouth, Amanda whispers, "If it goes wrong, get Kurt. There's nothing I couldn't do for Kurt. Do you understand?" And then she screamed a little as the strain of holding back the instinct to protect the sigil from danger brought another drop of blood to drip from her nose as just laying still in the face of knowing what is about to happen becomes an effort.

Pete then lifted a hand to his ear. "Bring him in. I know he doesn't like this, but he's a freelance peacekeeping agent. Let him help keep this peace."

The door was opened again, and in stepped a tall, imposing figure. All spikes and a cape and a metal face. Dark eyes with pinpoints of light to accentuate the skull-like visage of the dark metal countenance of the man. Or machine.

"This almost sounds like torture, yes?" asked Death's Head.

"Just hold her down," Pete told the mechanic mercenary. "You're not being paid to hurt her. That's what I'll be doing, and I won't like it."

"A waste of my talents. Though you're still paying me. This is amicable, yes?" "For God's sake, yes, just hold her down, and make sure she doesn't squirm too much. Don't hurt her."

Then very strong, very cold hands from the tall, looming presence were on her body. Her arms and legs were free, but they were also in chains. The idea was to keep her body from wriggling so Pete didn't inadvertently slice too deep into her chest. This was just to remove some skin, after all.

And Pete, so excellent with his hot-knives, was surprisingly skilled in the use of regular, smaller cutting implements. "I need you steady, Amanda."

"Stop talking and cut, I'm paid by the minute for something like this," Death's Head intoned.

"Aren't you supposed to be dead?" asked Pete.

"Perhaps. But times often change, and I often travel through time. A little peculiar, but unlike your friends, folds like me have a habit of coming back, yes?"


That's when Pete leaned forward to tug open Amanda's shirt, to expose her, and the mark.

More blood stains the space below Amanda's nose. Too late the sigil is able to force her into trying to protect it. This results mainly in fruitless attempts to make gestures and the odd conjuring of a knife that she cannot keep hold of because she is too firmly restrained. Then Death's Head's hands are on her and Amanda is trying to say something around the leather in her mouth but her words are not clear enough to gather any magic to her.

Pete had to lean forward to really measure her breathing. And then… he cut. One. Two. Three. Four. Four lines in a very small square surrounding the mark on the poor woman. A quick wipe to get some of the blood away, before Pete used a pair of iron tongs to lift up a little bit of that skin, that he can cut the connective tissue away.

Off came the mark.

Scalpel and tongs clattered to the floor, bit of skin still held in the tongs, as Pete immediately reached for, and applied that spray-on skin.

Immediately it went to work, the chemicals and nanomachines bonding with Amanda's particular cell structure, and began to replicate and replace the missing skin there, good as new, indistinguishable from her old skin, but no more mark, and… not completely organic.

Once that business was done, Pete reached down to grasp the tongs again and pick up the bit of her. "Okay, let her go," came Wisdom's order to Death's Head, who complied without a fuss. Pete then dropped the skin in an extremely small little cup with screw-on lid, gold in color.

More nanominium.

Then Pete set to freeing Amanda. Bracelets, anklets, and the leather strap over her mouth.

"I'm so sorry," Pete said, as Death's Head merely said, "I'm off to the range. Though your bladework is impressive and elegant, there was no real pay-off besides what's to be in my account, yes?"

Leave it to the machine not to care overmuch for this. "Pip pip."

Wisdom glared at Death's Head, as the robotic rogue retreated to other parts of MI-13.

It is only Death's Head's restraint that keeps her still when the scalpel came near her chest. Amanda screams before the first incision is made. The sound is no better for being muffled and somewhat mangled by the leather strap over her mouth. Even with the skin removed she does not stop screaming and trying to get free until the nanominium cap is screwed in place, isolating the sigil on her removed skin from her.

Finally the gurgling screams cease and when the straps come off, Amanda slides her arms around Pete and holds him tight even though that smears the blood on her face on his neck and cheek.

There was a very grim look on Wisdom's face, even as she hugged him. Even as he ended up with a bloodied cheek, neck, and collar. "You were still under its influence even after it was removed," he murmured. "Because it was attached to your skin. Luv, I'm scared for you. I want to destroy it. I'm sure you do, too. I can turn it to ash without hesitation. But I also don't want to kill you." He kept holding onto her, sighing. "We can leave the bit of you along a seal as well as keep it in that little cup. But that still risks it eventually being unearthed and set free to fuck with you some more."

Amanda Sefton leans her head against his as she holds him, "Pete, you are not just going to keep that skin locked up somewhere. You're not going to leave me tied to that thing. You are going to destroy it. Of course you are."

"Good. I hope it doesn't kill you if I do." Pete then pulled the hospital bed with him, scuffing up the seal on the way out so she can leave. Then Pete stepped back inside the room… and he asked for some of his people to restore that seal. He had the cup with him.

"Hopefully it's influence can't reach through the circle," he suggested, smiling at her through the open door.

Amanda Sefton does indeed go outside the seal when allowed the opportunity. She's very tired of being in that room. "I'm going to need a doctor to write something up saying I'm finally cleared to go back to work. You come find me after that is all taken care of, okay? Somebody show me where I can clean up."

"Hang on. You need to see this, for your own peace of mind," Pete said as he unscrewed the lid of the cup, and upeneded it.

The bloody little flap of skin with the rune hit the floor with a sticky sort of 'plap.'

Pete set the cup down, and his right hand immediately glowed to the full intensity of molten metal, bright orange and luminous. Pete blasted that flap of skin with hot-knives so intense they scorched the floor. As he did so, he watched Amanda's face, hoping he wouldn't kill her, too.

Though there's a circle between them, Amanda and the sigil are still linked through the blood. Blood is a very strong magical tie. When the hot knives hot the skin bearing the sigil, Amanda screams and goes down in a heap, but after the skin is gone, she's still breathing.

Once that was gone, Pete then ran to Amanda, and called for his best medical people - including Faiza Hussain - to help her out.

Sure, she was slippery with magic, but Faiza's really good as a doctor in general. She was even able to fix a magical being like Spitfire after she got staked by Blade. Ensuring Amanda was okay should be little to no problem.

The damage Amanda took from the initial encounter with the box hasn't really completely healed during the time she was touched by the sigil but Faiza's able to confirm that she seems on the mend now and should be fine. It's over now, right?

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