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Earth Victoriana: Deliver Us From Evil (IC)

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Earth Victoriana: Vatican City, Saturday October 1st, 8:47 PM


There was an eclectic look of the so called holy city he had to admit. By eclectic of course he meant old, there were barely any street cars at all, most of the street lamps were still hand lit and there was none of the buzzing of odd machinery on every street corner. Still Maxwell did like the prospect of his first assignment. The recent rash of disappearances had been rather strange, and though it didn't effect the main empire, the fact that it was happening in some of their other colonies could not be ignored.

Maxwell gripped the tracker with a hand the silent beeping leading him onward through the old city. The volunteers they had planted throughout the communities with the specialized tags were somehow mostly ignored, but this one however managed to be disappeared in the same MOs as the other ones. Hopefully he was still living long enough to spread his triumph to the rest of the ministry. Though the beeping was interesting as it was getting louder it was very distracting, so much so that it was only when the pistol's cold metal touched the back of his skull that he managed to notice he was no longer alone. He turned to the man and started to speak in hasty Italian but Max didn't get much out with the barrel hit him on the side of the neck and he blacked out.

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October 4rd, 7:23 PM Riverside

It had been a while since Carrie had been to a movie. It seemed like a pretty nice concept and it was a nice break from the box office set up of action movies all summer. Sitting comfortably in the middle row she had gotten the little dollar bag of popcorn and soda the theatre sold on Tuesdays and she had her feet propped up on the next row since the theatre was only scarcely seated with people. Sitting through the credits she watched the title screen roll up and then, heard a loud beeping from her purse. It nearly made her drop her popcorn as she fumbled through it and looked around. The other people in the theatre were giving her the stink eye as she walked down the steps and out the nearest exit.

Once out on the street outside the theatre the medal she beeped on until she clicked it and said in an irritated voice,


"Why hello Lady Carrie, nice to see you are fine after that last little adventure."

"M, cut the talk, what do you want?"

The voice stopped and said,

"Well it seems we have a bit of situation, could you come over to our office and..."

She didn't hear the last part as apparently some of the less savory crowd spotted her exit and headed towards her,

"Ohh what the hell do you guys want?"

The thugs looked at her with a smile,

"Hand over the cell phone and the purse and we'll be on our way,"

Carrie rolled her eyes as she put the medal to her ear,

"Hold that thought for like fifteen seconds."

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Gabriel had done a quick patrol of Southside and turned up very little. It seemed like the various long-standing criminal groups were getting ever more paranoid, because he was having trouble even getting word of mouth information about them. So he'd resorted to positioning himself a few hundred feet above the city and just floating (well away from airport approach lanes) as he listened to the city. Several times he'd started to move to help someone, only to hear another hero intervene.

Just his moment, he focused on the sound of a mugging about to happen, one that had a target that seemed entirely too calm for the situation. He opened his eyes and frowned, and then was gone from his perch, rushing air following his wake.

Carrie might notice the sudden appearance of a man in silver armor and white clothing floating in the air behind the would-be muggers. He simply floated there, arms over his chest, glaring at the criminals.

"Ahem. Gentlemen, perhaps you should leave the lady alone. It sounds like she's on an important call."

Despite the polite words, there was a menacing promise of force behind them, and there was only a displeased expression on Gabriel's face, what they could see of it between the helmet, hood, and mask.

"I'll be generous and not call the police if you leave now and don't mug someone else. Ever."

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The thugs certianly didn't push the issue, half of them were already gone when Gabriel made it on the scene. The potiential mugee, was on her radio walking forward while she finished a conversation that Gabriel would of caught the tail end of being a British voice asking for coordinates. It didn't matter as she clicked the device closed,

"Hey thanks for the save, Urie.. no that's not right, Gabriel, knew it was one of the archangels. Huh, did you change your costume? Could of sworn it was less knight more white. It's a good look though, not utilized much anymore cause that racist douchebag sort of tanked the image but really..."

There was probably a lot more talking where that came from but it was cut off by a crack as the dimensions warped and a pod dropped out of the sky very nearly beaning Gabriel as it hit the ground with a clunk. Carrie grimaced as she walked over to it and said,

"I could of swore I told them I was at ground level."

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Gabriel frowned and tilted his head to one side.

"Have we met before?"

Why was this girl talking about his costume like she knew him? Yes, he had changed it recently, but what difference did it make? Then something clicked.

"Look, just because-"

That was as far as he got before he had to nimbly fly to one side as a pod slammed into the ground. His eyes were just a bit wider as he considered the contraption.

"Just what is going on here?"

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"There's a little trouble across the pond in both the continental and dimensional sense. Though sorry about the pod thing, they have a bit of trouble with the landing because there's a massive time and space dilation between the two worlds that it's really hard to predict where and when things end up happening. But yeah, sorry again getting ahead of myself."

Walking forward she looked up at the hero in white and held out a hand to shake,

"Hey, I'm Carrie, and I'm sort of a freelance troubleshooter for an alternate dimension where the British Empire never fell and really hasn't advanced culturally since the late eighteen hundreds."

Walking forward she glanced down at the contraption,

"This hunk of metal is technology which no one in this universe has yet to reliably master but there, well they can send it anywhere unpiloted if they have a signal to follow,"

She held up her medal for a second,

"Any other questions?"

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Gabriel took a half-step back at the rush of information, blinking as he processed it all. He nodded slowly as she spoke, and shook her hand when she offered it.

"So, basically, you've been working with an alternate-dimension version of Britain. Fair enough. Explains the phone call."

He eyed the pod.

"I take it this is your ride over there?"

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"Yeah, that's my ride. It's not very, actually it really sucks. It's bumpy as all heck, you get spun faster then a teacup ride, and then sometimes you land straight upside down. Though I'll be honest, this model hasn't blown up after entry so I guess it has that advantage to the original."

Carrie stretched a little bit as she looked at the small craft then reached in her ginger pills. She just held them up to Gabriel,

"For motion sickness."

And palmed a few before swallowing them and taking a long sip from her fountain drink.

"Well it's been nice talking too you, but I do think I should get going."

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"Hm. Like flying, but with less personal control. Too bad you get motion sickness, though."

He pondered the situation a bit, but was about to bid Carrie goodbye when he felt a warm spot on his chest. He moved a hand to his neck, and pulled out his rosary for just a moment. It was glowing. Somehow, he knew what needed to be done, at least on his part. He tucked the rosary away and took a step toward Carrie and the pod.

"Do you think you might need some help? Let's just say I get the impression I ought to help you out."

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Carrie blinked at the rosary as it glowed,

"Huh, weird, mine never does that."

She looked down at the little pod then Gabriel then tapped the top of the pod,

"Well it's not really a two seater, so if you really want to tag along and like not be thrown into the dimensional torrents that is the inbetween of these worlds I think we'll have to do some double seating. You'll probably have to get in first cause you're bigger."

She sort of scratched her chin as she tried to avoid his eyes and maybe the light blush about the fact that she'd probably have to sit on his lap for them to really fit.

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Gabriel was observant enough to note her discomfort, and sighed.

"Hm. Yeah, hitchhiking on the outside doesn't sound like a good idea. Let me get in and get arranged. I think we can make this work."

With that, he moved to the pod, opening the door. However, before climbing inside, he removed the heavy leather coat he was wearing, revealing his heavenly armor and base clothing more easily. If observant enough, Carrie might notice the metal seemed to flex when Gabriel moved. Once inside, he got himself settled into the seat, strapping in if possible, then arranged the coat in front of him.

"Not ideal, but hopefully this will provide a bit of cushion."

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Carrie watched him go in noting the armor, it definitely looked like the real deal but she had to wonder where one got real armor. Well it was a question for later as she thanked him and climbed in after and made herself well maybe a little bit more comfortable. It was awkward but at least he wasn't too offended by it. Letting out a breath she shut her eyes and pressed the button. The trip was just as pleasant as she remembered.

There was a nice rug rolled out on the room they appeared in. There was a table with multiple chairs but most importantly there was a man holding a waste bin not three steps from the machine. She only missed it by a few inches as she staggered from the pod holding her stomach and absently threw the almost empty soda cup into the bin. M standing at the table looked over,

"Lady Carrie, I see you are in your usual health."

Carrie wiped her mouth,

"You ever ridden one of those things?"

"I have not, I am far to busy. Though I see you have brought company. Allow me to welcome you to Vatican City."

Carrie's head shot up,

"You failed to mention that little detail M."

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Gabriel himself didn't seem much bothered by the spinning, though not being in control meant it was a touch disorienting. When they landed, he waited several moments until she seemed done being sick. At that point, he calmly stepped form the pod and whisked his coat back onto his shoulders with an unconsciously dramatic flair. He listened as Carrie and "M" conversed, before frowning at his last comment. He stepped forward, minding the floor as he did so, and held out his hand at this M fellow. When he spoke, there was a light Irish twinge to his voice that Carrie would swear hadn't been there before. Perhaps also she would see more clearly the various heavenly designs on the armor, as well as the Celtic crosses on the border of his coat.

"You can call me Gabriel, Mister...M, I suppose it seems to be. You said we were in Rome, in the Vatican?"

He looked around, a pensive expression on his face, before turning his full and undivided attention to M.

"Perhaps you can explain what's going on. In plain words, without the deception and doublespeak you national agents seem fond of in England."

There was no anger in his voice, but it was clear he didn't fully trust this group just yet. That he could, mostly likely, take out this entire room without breaking a sweat probably helped the confident tone and posture he assumed.

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M looked at the Gabriel for a few seconds before glancing over at Carrie,

"Is he an aquaintance of yours?"

She had gotten herself into a semi comfortable stance of some light stretching,

"Nope just met him, but he's definitely a hero so I'm sure he'll help if it's reasonable, might want to introduce yourself though, and explain why we're in Italy. Why are we in Italy?"

M gave Gabriel quick look then turned around and sat himself at the table while waving for another one to be placed on the other side. Carrie followed suit and put herself in the available chair.

When everyone was seated he folded his hands,

"Mr. Gabriel was it, I am sorry for my abruptness earlier. My name is M, and I am the head of the ministry of extraordinary affairs. Now as for why you are here, or really why we summoned Lady Carrie."

He pulled out a large scroll of paper and rolled it out on the table revealing a map of the world. Instead of countries though, it was colored blue and red, the red had B on it, the blue V with few white areas of land.

"This map depicks the colonies controlled by the British Empire and the Vatican respectably."

He pointed to a couple of black dots scattered through the blue terriotories,

"Recently there have seem to be a rash of disappearances throughout territories held by the Vatican. At first we were not prevy to provide interferance in those areas, however since several British nobility have been recently taken when on holiday there we, or should I say the Ministry of Vatican Affairs was sent into investigate."

Carrie tapped her fingers as she looked up at M,

"Right, not that I won't help, but why are we here if this isn't even your department."

M looked at her, and then,

"I think he can help you with that. Mrs. Sterlingcoin please welcome our guest in,"

From the doors on the far side entered a slight man, in his thirties or forties with greyish black hair mostly covered by a dark derbie. He was in a nice suit but it was a bit too big for him making him look a bit smaller still he came forward with a stride.

"Good afternoon, are these the agents you were talking about?"

"Not yet,"

Carrie chimed in,

"Still not sure what we're doing, and I'm under no obligation to do anything without being fully inform.

The man looked over at her for a few seconds and let out a sigh removing his hat,

"Feisty little thing, but yes, I am in dire need of assistance. My name is Q by the way, I am the head of the ministry of Vatican affairs, and to be honest I am worried that one of my agents have been among the kidnapped."

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Gabriel maintained a neutral expression as M spoke, and gave Q a polite nod as he entered. He considered the map of the world, frowning a bit as he saw that the Church was such a large world power.

'Holding secular power should not be the duty of the church. I fear this world is a shadowed reflection in many ways..I shudder to think of the condition of Ireland herself.'

He frowned still more as something about this whole situation didn't quite add up. Then something M had said a moment ago clicked.

"You think there's something abnormal at work, somehow. That's the only reason the "Ministry of Extraordinary Affairs" would be on this case, and likely one of the few reasons your Empire would be working with the Vatican, if the nature of this map is true.

Mr. Q here clearly believes there's something more at work. Something greater than a band of serial killers, organized crime, or even just one very active psychopathic killer."

He leaned forward, resting his elbows on the table as his hands tented in front of his face, obscuring his mouth somewhat and leaving mostly his eyes exposed.

"So what has the two most powerful secular powers on this entire planet in such a nervous state? What brings you together, what made you call Carrie here, and what made the Lord send me such a strong indicator I had to come here? What is so dire about these kidnappings? The kidnappers? The methods? The kidnapped?"

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Q looked over at Gabriel,

"The simple answer is even if we know there have been in fact kidnappings, we cannot actually prove it is happening. The disappearances have happened in such a way that there is no sign of confrontation or struggle, and those who have disappear seem to fall off the face of the earth. It was only by chance that one of our field agents was taken. Though we got no messages when he did not appear for work, we were the traces of his communication device to the city."

"Is that the one we're looking for?"

Carrie crossed her legs and looked at Q expectantly he glanced over at her,

"No actually, we sent one of our diplomats to the Vatican into the city, though he was not exactly there in the strictest sense."

"You sent a spy?"

Carrie raised an eyebrow and looked at Q,

"Does the Vatican know you guys are involved in all this?"

The slight gripped his hat a bit tighter,

"It is likely they already know by this point, however the pretenses of the sending of the agent was a friendly calling for tea among anything else. If it were anyone other then Agent Sharp they would of likely sent him away or threatened to turn him to the Inquisition."

"The Inquisition,"

Carrie turned towards M,

"You mean the, wait, what does that mean here, where I come from it was a period of mass persuacutions and executions by the Catholic church against those who stood against their faith."

The stouter man looked,

"It is similar enough. It is the Vatican's private police force, their problem solvers as you would see. They enforce the rule in most of the colonies saying they have the blessing of god. Bunch of strong armed brutes I say but we are not allowed to interfer much with their affairs if we do not want to invoke a war. Russia has already fallen to civil wars, we cannot let the rest of Europe become inflamed in such chaos."

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"Mm. I'm sure England wouldn't have much trouble picking out strong-armed brute enforcers.

As for the nature of the Inquisition in our world, Carrie, it's in no way that simple. Especially since there were several distinct movements and groups involved, some of them run by entirely secular groups. Questionable practices were undertaken, but the Vatican has, rightfully, abandoned the cruder aspects of those days.

As for the source of your worries...hm. That is odd, that they would disappear so rapidly and thoroughly. Offhand, it suggests a kidnapper with unusual means of getting in and out."

He turned a careful gaze to Q.

"Should I-we-expect trouble from this world's Inquisition?"

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Q straightened his jacket,

"It is hard to say, it is not supposed to be likely, they are only supposed to act against anybody clearly violating the base rules of the religions, the..."

"Ten commandments? It doesn't exactly sound that simple,"

"Well they do have some very negative sentiments towards the empire, most of the church and their officials do."

M let out a snort,

"Yes, that and any advancement, they are almost as bad as the Luddites."

Q pulled up a chair and sat down,

"Well yes, they do have some negative sentiments about some of the recent technologies, mostly it would look suspicious if we were to send another agent so soon after Agent Sharp since he technically left the Vatican on a positive note."

Carrie glanced back at M and let out a sigh,

"So, you not only think something extraordinary is going on, you also wanted someone who was obviously neither British or one of your agents. Am I gonna have to pretend I'm from Spain?"

M raised an eyebrow,

"That depends, can you speak Spanish,"

"Yes, though anyone who's actually from Spain would know that it's not a Spain based dialect."

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"The Ten Commandments are actually pretty simple, but that's not really the focus of the conversation at the moment."

Gabriel's voice was like an armored hand wrapped in silk; on the surface, they were gentle and polite, but there was an undercurrent of firm strength that worked to direct the conversation.

He shook his head when Carrie spoke of pretending to be from Spain.

"Putting aside the risk of a Spanish Catholic revealing your lie after just a couple of minutes, I'm not entirely comfortable dealing that dishonestly with the Church. I realize this is a delicate situation, but it seems to me that using as much honesty as possible can only help. If we are caught, and only a few small details are "fudged", it may keep things from escalating more than necessary. I'm sure all of you love your spy games, but this may not be the time for them.

Is there some place in particular in the Vatican we were intending to examine? Or were we simply going to look around for clues? If nothing else, I can walk about and just ask the locals some questions. It might just work, after all.

And if they ask who I am, I'll just tell them I'm originally from Ireland, but I've been travelling further, doing the Lord's work. It's 100% true, after all. Not like they need my life story."

He gave everyone present a small smile before growing serious again.

"So do we have any further information on the actual problem situation, or simply more lists of how horrible the Vatican is compared to the British Empire?"

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"I meant I doubted that they just punished people for violating the Ten Commandments, I mean they're pretty simple a concept afterall, enforcing them is a whole nother matter."

Carrie sat back and glanced at Q, M seemed to be holding his tongue on the matter,

"Information gathering would be at this point yes, the simple truth is that we are not to look like we are currently looking at this point. This whole situation has everyone on edge, and there are parties on both side who are trying to find evidence that the opposition is indeed responsible but the truth is none of us really know. We really have our hands tie to who we can and cannot get to at least confirm what in the blazes is going on around here."

Stretching quietly Carrie got out of her seat,

"So we're crossing the Berlin Wall here, lovely. I'm guessing Madam Redpowder is here."

Carrie glanced over at Gabriel,

"You're probably gonna have to change, there are really no other capes in this realm so that outfit might raise some questions. Though you might want to keep the armor, M, you got any clothes that'll fit over that?"

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Gabriel crossed his arms over his chest.

"I'm not changing. This whole outfit, every stitch, thread, and scrap of metal is quite literally made in Heaven. I cannot part and parcel it away. More than that, I do not trust any of you with my true face. I barely know any of you. I am more than happy to assist. But I am not changing my clothing and exposing my face. What if our target slips away, learns of where we come from, and goes there, knowing my face? I am not the only one to consider in my life, Carrie. You may not mind these people knowing who you are. I do."

He shook his head.

"So no. Besides. I'm sure I can smooth any ruffled feathers that come along."

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Carrie looked forward and took a closer look at the outfit, it was well put together, the stitching didn't have a single flaw or lose thread which was strange if he fought in it,

"Heaven's got some excellant tailors, you can barely see the seams. Guess it makes sense though, how else would you be able to fly through the city in all white and not have a single stain."

M's tone was less enthusiastic,

"Should I cancel calling her in then if you are so set,"

"I still need a disguise M, something other then jeans and a graphic tee. Also can you give me and Gabriel a few minutes."

He was about to say something but oblidged and he and Q left the room with the lit table. Carrie walked over and glanced down at the map. She traced her finger along the borders between the colored territories.

"Quite the food for thought, a world like this, where the sun never truly set on the British Empire."

She scratched her head a bit,

"It's really just like stepping into the past, whole culture really hasn't moved past the late eighteen hundreds with the idea of social class and bigotry. Anyway, I'm sorry if you're uncomfortable, didn't mean that earlier to reveal your idenity, could of given you a scarf and another mask to go over. I honestly don't really care who you are underneath, it's not relivant. Though you're gonna attract quite a lot of attention like that. Superpowers are almost non-existant here, there might be some magic but I haven't see it."

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"It sounds like what this world really lacks is heroes. Well, maybe it's time we showed them one. I'm not backing down on this. I won't be ashamed of my outfit. Of being a powered hero. I was given this power by the Archangel Gavriel. I'm the next best thing to an Earth-bound angel, and I say that having spent time with one. This culture, this world, needs a kick in the pants. It needs a light on the hill. If I end up being that light, all the better.

Besides, I'd almost stick out more trying to dress "normal", but wearing a scarf and mask.

I appreciate that you're helping me blend in, but in this case, I don't think it will matter much. So let's focus on moving forward."

'I wonder if I could slip over to Ireland once we're done, and see what the homeland is like? Maybe they just need a bit of inspiration to get the whole "freedom" thing rolling...'

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"It's a nice thought certainly, and heroes have had impacts on this world before. You've heard of Cannonade right? Nice guy big guy, one of those anti-racist skinheads, well he unintentionally started a split off from the Luddites called the Cannonites who are looking for actual worker reform in London instead of just smashing machinery. Not sure of their progress on that front, but it's definitely a start."

She glanced over as the door opened and revealed Madam Redpowder,

"I am ready to start when you are."

"Be right there."

They left the building by carriage, apparently the electric cabs were a no go in the less tech oriented Vatican city. It didn't matter terribly, the weather was mild that some luxuries like heating weren't too bad. Carrie had to adjust to sitting a little in the carriage in the dark brown skirt that went with the beige blouse. She didn't have any make up this time to suggest she was maybe a middle class sort of workers wife or an independant. She really didn't care much what it was called, no one was going to be looking at her anyway because of the very eye catching white clad companion who's robes didn't catch a single stain in the dusty compartment. When the carriage came to a hault the doors open to reveal them at the edge of St. Peters square. The amount of people in said square were scarce to say the least there were footsteps and people were moving around like they were avoiding something, except of course for the ones who weren't. At every doorway was stationed a guard clad in grey and with a white cross in a gold circle on there chest. None looked all to friendly as they watched the square from all around. Still dispite this, Carrie was still looking around because it was still just that beautiful,

"Funny, I thought when I finally got to visit here I'd do so in my own dimension."

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"That just gives me all the more reason to be an example to people."

He lapsed into silences as they left the building and climbed into the carriage. He let his gaze cast over Rome, that ancient city that he somehow hadn't quite managed to visit yet in his home dimension. It was amazing...but there was something about the city that didn't sit quite well with him.

'This whole planet, proof that the Chruch shouldn't hold such power over nations. Its power should be reserved for spreading the Gospel, nothing like this...'

Still, when they climbed out into Saint Peter's Square, there was something about stepping foot here that brought a smile to his face.

"Bit of irony, I suppose. I think I'll make a point to visit back home once this is done...Anyways, did we have a particular destination in mind?"

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