4845/Germination: A Pet Fungoid

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Germination: A Pet Fungoid
Date of Scene: 07 July 2018
Location: Triskelion, New York City
Synopsis: Skye, May, and Hellboy interview the man with the pet fungus.
Cast of Characters: Shadow King, Melinda May, Quake, Hellboy
Tinyplot: Germination

Shadow King has posed:
    There is a very odd visitor who has arrived at the front of the Triskelion. At first, it was not so interesting, but then he because extremely interesting. But not due to himself personally, by all appearances.
    Quick research reveals it is just 'some guy,' with no real record, that runs a bakery in Manhattan. His name? Roland Peck, 38. He's married, no children, with a clean, boring history. Deeper digging reveals he may be a mutant, he had some difficulties when he was younger, some mental health problems related to it. But that was years ago.
    And now, the man has calmly visited. The oddest part is he has brought one of the fungal spore-creatures with him: approximately the size of a cat. He's just carrying it, casually, in his arms. It is not violent. He's asked very politely to talk to someone at the entrance, and has been wisely moved to a secure room just near the front of the facility. He sits in the room now, just waiting.
    "Can I have some water? And I'm going to go ahead and smoke," he calls out.

Melinda May has posed:
Having been told there was a visitor waiting to speak with someone, May nodded to Skye and headed down to the room where the man had been asked to sit. One the way there, listening to the feed from the room on her commlink, she detours into a break room and pulls a couple of bottles of water before proceeding on.

Just a few minutes after the man asks for the water, there's a knock on the door before May steps inside with the bottles of water in hand. "Mr. Peck, I'm Agent May." She sets the bottles on the table and if he's already smoking, she doesn't comment. She detests cigarettes, but she can keep that to herself for one interview.

Quake has posed:
Skye makes it to the room shortly after May. Probably just as well. If she'd gotten there first, those smokes would be gone. Skye isn't unaware of May's predilictions towards the things, though she does arch a brow in questioning surprise that the senior agent hasn't told him to put the things out. However, she's the junior on this, and willing to let it go. If only to see how things play out.

"Sorry. Got waylaid in the hallways. Someone.. uh.. wanted a password reset." Skye says it with a tight little smile that says just how much she enjoys that these days. She was fairly certain it was a joke - which was all fine and dandy... except she was on a case.

Shadow King has posed:
    Mr. Peck is smoking, he had a few minutes to do that when nobody yelled at him not to do it. So he is relaxing into his vice, seated in the chair. When agent May enters, she may wonder where the creature is, but an immediate visual check will show that it's just on the floor by Mr. Peck's chair, to his left, partially behind the table as the room is entered. He isn't paying much attention to it, and was staring off into space as she arrives. "Hello Agent," Mr. Peck says politely. "Did they just forget?" Mr. Peck asks of Skye, friendly enough.

Melinda May has posed:
"We didn't, Mr. Peck. But we are busy, and your request merited an agent of sufficient rank." May's eyes seem to glance about the room idly, but she's looking for the little fungoid, and is momentarily relieved when she sees it on the floor sitting quietly. She nods to Skye as she enters, then returns her attention to the man.

"Can you tell us how you came by your little companion there?"

Quake has posed:
Skye flashes Mr. Peck a grin. "It's a long story. And mostly a joke. At least I think it was a joke." She gives May a shrug. Surely nobody was left at the Trisk who still thought Skye was the IT girl? Surely, right?

She takes a seat, and peers at the plant. "Holy crap, that's one of those things, huh? Those spore things. Uh.." It doesn't *appear* to be a danger, but she's all kinds of wary now.

Shadow King has posed:
    "I meant, did they just forget their password. I'm fine," Mr. Peck says, still smoking.

    "Yes. I walked up to a mushroom and took it," He says to May. "Though, at a certain distance from their parent they just go docile anyway." He doesn't bend to look at it or heed it much.
    The creature itself is very strange looking; it has no head or other anatomy other than being a horrible oozing bundle of off-white, vine-like tentacles with a central body. It has five tentacles, this particular one, though they do vary. "I brought it so someone would speak to me about it, though."

Melinda May has posed:
May quirks an eyebrow at the man's simple explanation. And, the VERY useful little tidbit that the smaller fungi go docile when removed far enough from their 'parent' mushroom. The news coming back about them thus far has been anything but positive, so this is actually a rare bit of good news.

"What did you want to know, Mr. Peck?" She's been too busy flying supply and transport runs to engage with one of the fungus things herself personally, but she's heard a fair bit about them. Hopefully, she'll have the information the man is seeking.

Quake has posed:
"I know what you meant..." Skye begins, but like she says, it's a long story and he's not got the whole of it, so to him she sounds like she misunderstood the question. Desk jockey number 7 hadn't lost their password, they were just joshing Skye. Because they could.

She's more intrigued by the plant, though. "Just.. curled up and made like a houseplant when you took it away from the parent? No complaints? The parent didn't notice? No.. nothing?"

She blinks and looks at May. "Weird. You'd think they'd have some sort of connection? But that's.." The rest of her thoughts get filed away for after the debriefing.

Shadow King has posed:
    "Ah. Of course," Mr. Peck says serenely to Skye. He laughs softly, "No, I had to encourage it to not rip me into pieces, I admit. I am able to do that if necessary. I can detail how they work if you're curious." He looks Skye steadily for a long moment, but then returns to May's question, as if needing a moment to decide what to say.
    "I know a good amount on my own. What I wonder is, if you /could/ control them, what would you do with them? Would you destroy them? Use them somehow, like to eliminate waste products?" Mr. Peck asks. He squints a little, as if thinking about what other ideas there might be, his gaze skimming the walls, distant. He's friendly but a little distant. "The digestive patches seem to eat through almost anything, don't they."

Melinda May has posed:
May hasn't moved to claim a chair at the table where the man is seated, and she seems only mildly interested in what the man has to say. As he shares his opinions on the mushroom creatures, she watches him with increasing amounts of boredom -- if one doesn't know May well. She even shifts her weight as if she's losing her patience, settling her hands behind her back in a variation on a military parade rest.

"How exactly did you encourage it to not not react violently, Mr. Peck? Because your suggestions do have merit in the long term."

Quake has posed:
Skye knows May well enough. But then again, her job here isn't to be May, it's to be.. Skye. Which is to say engaging and a diversion, and all things you can't put in a box. Because, well, Skye.

"No way. Nobody has been able to do anything with them. You just what? Thought at it? Hey, thing, don't eat me.. and it listened?"

She scoffs lightly.

"Sounds like a crock of shi- uh.. Yeah. Right."

Did worlds just end? Skye. Did not finish the swear. The number of times that has happened are documentable upon the fingers of one hand. Peck is unaware, but he has witnessed a miracle.

"And what do you mean, use them? We don't know what they are. We can't communicate with them. And unless we can make them not include us in that eating thing, anyone could learn to use them against helpless people. In case you missed it, there are a lot of creeps out there."

Shadow King has posed:
    "How ...elusive of you," Mr. Peck says, approvingly to May. He seems to partially 'wake up', as if he'd been daydreaming, and his gaze ratchets quickly across May and Skye. It is very subtle, but the agents may catch it. As if he focused more on the discussion as it became more interesting to him. He orients more raptly on Skye, as if glad that she's making fun. He likes it. "Yes, I think at them, of course. They are not plants. They are more than fungus. So they have thoughts. Do you request demonstration? That is why I brought one, to make proving this so much easier."
    "Did you have a /request/? What shall we have it do?" Mr. Peck asks Skye.

Melinda May has posed:
"Perhaps a simple demonstration, Mr. Peck. If you'll put your small companion on the table, that might be easier." May is still doing her best 'I really have better places to be right now' demeanor, with her hands still clasped loosely behind her back. Hopefully out of the man's line of sight, she makes a subtle hand gesture behind her back where anyone monitoring the room would notice.

She also glances 'idly' toward Skye. It would resemble someone expecting what usually follows the phrase 'hold my beer'.

Quake has posed:
Skye jjust shakes her head imperceptibly. It's likely noted as a head shake of disbelief at Mr. Peck. Really, it's the pre-cursor and acknowledgement of what May is about to get up to.

Casually, she flicks her fingers through ~I think we're dealing with the plant, not the man~

It's a gut feeling, but Skye's gut has been a very good companion through thick and thin and gotten her through thus far. She's willing to go with her gut on this one.

Hellboy has posed:
From the one-way glass, a pair of yellow eyes has been watching the scene unfold, and the figure snorts when he finally sees the signal. First thing's first, his gun is taken out of its holster and placed for safe keeping. He knew that it wouldn't do much good against a thing like this anyway. He also placed the pack of Marlboros in the same tray as the gun, though one was taken and placed behind his ear. For later, after this sideshow was dealt with.

From outside, the sound of 'clacking' would be easy to hear as the form got closer and closer, cloven hooves not designed for stealth in mind. The security door beeped and screamed its usual warning, the lights flashing orange briefly before switching to green, and allowing entry to the agent. Hellboy walked in with his usual coat and shorts, his massive right stone hand rolling around and the fingers flexing, the left closing that door behind him carefully.

"Hey, kids, what'd I miss. You know these things almost look cute when they're not tryin' to rip you apart limb from limb."

Shadow King has posed:
    Roland Peck has decided to have another cigarette and isn't looking at Skye or May to see any signing; he's digging around back in his pockets, and locates the cigarette pack. He puts it out near him, draws one. Lights it. While he is doing that, the strange plant-like fungus monster leaps directly onto the table. The things are, obviously, very strong, and can lunge like rabid wild animals. It lands there, and raises tentacles in the air. It isn't aggressive but it also is no longer quite as docile acting. It is as if it woke up. Mr. Peck coughs thickly twice, gagging oddly, but then recovers, and continues to smoke, relaxing into it. "What else? Roll over? Play dead?" Mr. Peck isn't looking at the creature, more at Skye.

    And then Hellboy comes in. Mr. Peck stares at him. It is a silent, calculating stare. The creature on the table does absolutely nothing in reaction to him. Mr. Peck barely moves, before the politeness comes back. "You /do/ look ripped," Peck says, smoking, pleased with his own joke.

Melinda May has posed:
At the small fungus monster hops up onto the table directly from the floor, May looks at it in apparently mild interest, as if it were simply another small creature and nothing out of the ordinary. "You seem to have an unusual amount of control over the creature, Mr. Peck. Did you simply realize that you have this ability, or is it something you've worked at?"

When Hellboy enters the room, she glances toward him and nods a greeting, but still keeps the man and his fungus in her peripheral vision.

Quake has posed:
Skye slowly pushes her chair back from the table, and scrounges through her memory about what works on these things. Does an ICER? Hell, does it matter? It's all really rather moot if the thing wants to have a discussion rather than a confrontation. That, and she doubts she's going to be the one on quick draw in this engagement.

So she talks to the thing.. Or Mr. Peck. Or the pair.

"What, you think I'm suggesting you.. er, they should be performing dogs? Hell, no. I used to expose companies for that kind of shit. Unless you mean Mr. Peck there, and not sure, but I think you kinda need him to be your mouthpiece, huh?"

Hellboy has posed:
The man chokes and coughs, and Hellboy looks right at the man with an expression that was difficult to read. Really, with his face being as shockingly ugly as it was, and being something other than human, Hellboy actually had a pretty good poker face. When he spoke, his smooth baritone voice rolled right over the natural ambience of that room.

"Picked up smoking recently, did ya chief? Funny thing, I never woulda started in this day and age with damn near every bar and store in America getting so strict on it. But hey, yer an individualist, good for you."

He wanted to punch the man in the face. He didn't know why, but whenever he got that feeling, the person usually turned out to deserve it in some way or form. He looked again at the cigarette smoke, the burning embers of that stick, then looked over down at the creature on the table. Moments later, he reached out his left hand to gently place it against Agent May's shoulder. His left hand was smaller than the massive stone right, but it still took up a lot of real estate in its own wright.

"Hey, these things really like fire. I ain't here ta interrupt the chain of command, but if I was actin' independently, right now I'd be telling him to stuff the smoke, and I'd be telling the boys in the other room to crank the AC, high as they could. They hate cold, they can't function in it at all."

Shadow King has posed:
    "Oh, I could tell they had minds. So I can influence them. It really is that simple, Agent May. Different minds from your kind, though," Mr. Peck says. He looks at Skye again, even if he's still answering May. "These don't think for themselves much. They have no willpower. So it really isn't that difficult," Mr. Peck says with a touch of arrogance to his tone. "Even easier without the big stalks around. They control them usually. In their way. And /they/ control each /other/. It's a heirarchy. The strongest, the biggest, from the top on down." He puts out his cigarette... on the creature. It gains a tentacle, but still doesn't move. He didn't make a mess on the table, see. He also did it while staring at Hellboy.
    "...But that's how most things are," he keeps talking. "The top leans down and devours what it wants from those below. So I'd like to redirect. If you could control them, what then? Perhaps you'd like them to eat your enemies and not you."

And then, a smile at Skye. "Whatever could you mean by mouthpiece?" Cheerful. VERY cheerful, as if that was pleasing, again, to the strange baker.

Quake has posed:
"Mouthpiece," Skye repeats. "You know, you've got him speaking for you."

Notably, she's addressing the plant. It's a long shot of sorts, but she's willing to be wrong, or looked at funny on the off chance she's right.

Hellboy has posed:
Hellboy, deciding to act on his own initiative, gave a signal to some of the boys in the next room, and instantly cold arctic air was cranking up overhead, blowing down and would be turning this room into an uncomfortable winter wonderland for everyone inside...which would effect some much more than others.

"So is there a reason we're even talking to you? Instead of just boxing you up and sticking you in the freezer downstairs? I mean it's pretty obvious that you didn't land on our planet to get your green cards an' start payin' taxes. You came here to be the only game in town, didn't you?"

Shadow King has posed:
    The creature doesn't react. Mr. Peck looks more unhappy than the creature does. then again, it lacks a face, and Mr. Peck has one. He does rub his hands together and huddle more. And then actually looks at the fungal creature, but seems to decide against whatever the idea was. It wasn't hostile, it was more thoughtful. But the eerie quality to Mr. Peck reduces, as if he's more distant.
    "I came here and gave you a lot of information. You have an interesting viewpoint of hate and anger. I wonder which of my answers to your questions /displeased/ you so, when you have entirely refused to answer mine."

Quake has posed:
Skye scowls a little, thoughtfully, and holds up a hand. Signals the guys outside to bump the heat up a notch. Two even.

"Right, so this is a serious question then. What would we do with you if we had you." She's still insisting on the 'you' not 'them'.

Hellboy she shakes her head at, he mght be bad cop, but she'd rather he be last resort if the thing were actually doing information exchange. And if not, they could still turn down the heat later just as easily.

"We're not really in the business of using other sentient beings in quite that way? I mean, I'm presuming you have enough thought to hold this conversation, right? So.. you're smarter than the average German Shepherd dog. Not thinking you're houseplant material. What is it you actually want? Assurances? Some global treaty? I'm trying to work with you here, but stone fist over there is cranky, so throw me a bone. Please."

Hellboy has posed:
Big Red hung back and nodded when Skye took some of the pressure off of the creature. But he was still standing there, still adjusting and clenching and unclenching his right stone fist. Every so often yellow glyphs and runes could be seen glowing from the ancient artifact, little clues about the thing's importance that nobody here cared about, at least not right now.

"And just so you're clear, we can turn this room back into an igloo the second you start getting nasty. You're in our house, so you play by our rules."

Hellboy looked up at 'Mr. Peck' again. The security cameras were recording every moment of this. After this interview, Hellboy would request that they search for the man's face, try go figure out who the puppet was originally.

Until then, asking couldn't hurt, though he wasn't sure they'd get the truth.

"So who is 'Mr. Peck', here? Be honest, did you just find some schmuck walking by, and think 'yeah, that one works'?"

Shadow King has posed:
    Mr. Peck seems to listen to Skye and then Hellboy. There is a grin at being called a schmuck.
    "A bone. All right." Mr. Peck leans back in his chair, looks at the cigarettes as if tempted, but leaves them alone. He puts his hands back behind his neck, reclining in the chair, and shuts his eyes.

    The fungal creature leaps off the table backwards in a tumble and slams into the wall. It leaps and lunges at the wall over and over with extreme force, bashing into it in a frenzy, entirely berserk on that spot, going after the wall with all tentacles in a desperate assault.

Quake has posed:
"Okaaaaay," Skye drawls. Maybe it was the other way around. Man pushing plant. She wasn't entirely sure anymore. And she really had no clue why the thing would be so desperate to claw through the wall there. As far as she knew there were no direct lines out of the Trisk there, nor any heating units. In fact, none of it made any sense, this little display of power.

"Care to share with us what the bone is? Because right now all I see is that.. uh.. plant.. trying to destroy itself and become part of the wall.. OH.."

Skye nods. "Okay, then. I had it backwards. You really are in charge of the thing. And it's scared. So, what's your deal then, Perks? What jollies do you get out of subjugating that thing?" And why the hell are you so smug given you're sitting in /our/ interrogation room? Not that she says that last out loud.

Hellboy has posed:
For his part, Hellboy wasn't about to sit idly by and watch this thing tear apart the building. He knew the guys that clean this place, he met their family on Christmas. Sweet people.

Instantly the powerful form was moving, his red right hand reaching down to try and grab the thing. He wasn't squeezing hard enough to smush, but he wanted to make sure it didn't get away. He really wanted to smush it, though.

More and more, though, especially after Skye's revelation, Hellboy was paying the man more and more attention. Something wasn't adding up.

Shadow King has posed:
    Mr. Peck ignores her questions a little while longer. He tilts his head, eyes still closed. The fungal monster drags itself along the edge of the wall, still bashing. It doesn't make sounds, but it has lost a few tentacles now. then Hellboy gets it. It wiggles, trying to smash itself on his big hand. It then shudders, trembles, and dies in his grasp. It collapses slowly, starting to turn to the fungal spore dirt that they always do as they die. Mr. Peck gestures with a hand as if conducting the end of some music, and opens his eyes.
    "Right then. I'm suggesting it be used for something more /creative/. Perhaps I could be well compensated for my time, should you want it to do something. Or, we could make it pay. So I still wonder, what would you have it do?"

Quake has posed:
Skye settles back, and makes scowly-thinky face. "Not sure it's my call, what we would have it do. Not into torture, though. Sure as hell wouldn't agree to that. And not sure it came here because their world ran out of an acceptable supply of plastic garbage to eat."

She's still adding numbers and not coming up with 2+2=4. She's still getting a firm 3. Or a 5 if things swing way over into the obscure. Which might explain the smug.

One way to test the theory.

Skye stands, and motions for Hellboy (given May has removed herself already, for expediency's sake) to accompany her.

"I need to discuss something with my colleague." the something being the testing of a theory. And that theory being that the man in their room might not be a man in their room. And regardless, if he was, he wasn't going to hurt being chilly without a sweater, or having to sit there and stew for awhile.

She murmurs to Hellboy, "That sample should go to Fitzsimmons. Bring it."

Hellboy has posed:
Hellboy followed, now carrying a bunch of fungal goop on his hand. Although, before leading, he produced a large plastic bag from his utility belt, wrapping it tightly around his stone hand up to the elbow, and tying it off until he could feel a little less circulation. Didn't want a mushroom spore creature to walk around spreading spores around the office, any more than has already happened.

Outside, HB looked down at the small woman, listening to her ideas, her theories. After a moment, he looked down, then looked over at the man still in the room.

"Y'know...ya got me thinking. We've seen those things dragging people off to the big 'mama' mushrooms. We kept thinking they were just eating people but...what if that's not it, at all? That could be a mushroom inside a mansuit. Jesus, you're good at this Agent Johnson. You're really damn good at this."

Quake has posed:
Skye, once outside the room tells the techs to crank the AC. Bury the thing. If she's right, or they're close to right, whatever it is won't be happy. Hell, a straight human wouldn't be, but hypothermia would solve some of their immediate questions.

"Still not entirely sure what we're dealing with, but if it's not a man in there, but a meatsuit, it's already been written off. Which means we've been given just enough information to hang ourselves."

She tilts her head up and back at the much taller man. "Why hasn't anyone called a council and created a firm database on what we know about these things? Like seriously, are we all not on the same side?"

Shadow King has posed:
    Mr. Peck waves at them as they go, and starts to get another cigarette as soon as they leave him alone in there. He just sits in his chair and stares out at nothing, as if daydreaming of warmer places.

    An agent taps on the door, and offers through it to Skye an update recently gotten from Mexico.

Hellboy has posed:
Once outside, Hellboy took the cig from his ear, and put it in the corner of his mouth. He still wasn't gonna light it, he knew how Skye felt about that sort of thing. But this sort of heavy stuff worked his nerves enough that he was going to need something to calm them later. He also grabbed his gun from the desk, twirling the massive-sized revolver before holstering it and feeling the familiar weight at his hip again. From beneath the bag, that fungus still sat there against his hand. Thankfully, there was no risk of THAT getting infected. He was fairly sure, anyway.

"Nah, governments move by decades. Immediate world-threatening stuff like this gets 'em all discombobulated. That's why it's up to us to put our thumbs in the dyk...in the dams, and hunker down while the big wigs get their act together."

Quake has posed:
The report is taken and read. "Oh, delightful," Skye mutters. "So they're making a move. Whatever is in our ready room there has pals. I'm willing to bet we'll start seeing these trickle in from any place with laxer security laws and bugs up their asses than Mexico, and some plausible deniability and lies from others until they can either figure out what they have or won't look like fools. Either way," Skye goes to hand Hellboy the report, then thinks better of it given his hand. "I'm willing to bet dollars to donuts every major intelligence agency has an emmissary visiting making similar offers. So they're making a move. Either the spores themselves, or.. enh, could be a mutant group. Less sold on that. Very sold on we need to have a chat with friends and see what we all have and start tossing theories into the pot."

"Tell Fitzsimmons an energy inert environment for what you got at all times unless necessary for testing."

Shadow King has posed:
    "It's very cold in here," Mr. Peck says loudly, looking generically towrads the reflective mirror wall. It's a statement. He otherwise sits there and smokes and shivers.

Hellboy has posed:
"I'm lousy fer situations like this. Aliens, outer space, mad science, put me in a crypt with a deadman or a Medusa any day. Here, I feel like I'm a hammer in a world of screws."

Hellboy did still have a left hand available, one that he could read reports with. But he didn't pry, and he'd get the gist of it from her eventually, he was sure.

"That guy in there, that guy sets off my 'Weird Shit-O-Meter' almost to the brim. I never met the Joker before, but I imagine if I did, it would feel like meeting that guy. You get that feeling? Like you were talkin' to a blank wall instead of a person? We ain't gonna just turn that guy lose, right? We're gonna keep him somewhere nice an' cold until we can figure out what's going on with him? Maybe get some blood tests or some facial recognition or somethin'?"

Quake has posed:
Skye shrugs. "Little bit of column A. Little bit of column B. I think were going to have to go back in and talk to the guy, though. Just too much weird. Do the smokes mean anything? The water? Like what was that all about anyway."

Shadow King has posed:
    "How about a jacket and a cheeseburger? With fries," Mr. Peck calls at the window, in the same tone as before. Flat, and vaguely amused.