- 191 Mission Posts
Mon Dec 7th, 2020 @ 5:27am
Senior Headmaster Absynthe "Syn" Drake
Name Absynthe "Syn" Drake
Second Position Excelsior Team Leader
Rank Senior Headmaster
|Age||Actual: 1300 or so. Give or take a decade or two... Apparent: 25-30|
|Hair Color||Shiny, Jet-Black|
|Eye Color||Reptilian: Black, slit pupils. Red, shot through with deep purple, orange, and yellow|
|Physical Description||A small, Oriental woman that is no more than four and a half feet tall. Her body thin is and lithe, though it appears that she has spent a bit too much time in the sun, her skin just a touch too red. An ornate, black satin paneled robe, hand embroidered with a red oriental dragon, hangs neatly from her shoulders, while her legs are covered in matching wide-legged pants. On her feet are dainty looking black satin slippers, edged in gold.
Her waist-long straight hair is the color of polished jet, and it hangs over her left shoulder in a thick braid, held at the end by a yin-yang clasp of silver and gold. But it is the tiny woman’s eyes that stand out above the rest of her odd appearance, as they aren’t the bright, round orbs of a normal human. Instead, they are red, through and through, shot through with oranges, yellows, and even deep purples, the shiny black pupils slit like those of some great serpent.
|Children||None. She has always taken measures to avoid conception. She can’t see bringing a child into the world that could wind up being controlled and used for nefarious purposes, like she once was.|
Personality & Traits
|Personal History||*Camera On - Recording*
The small Asian woman sat across the table from the interviewing agent. She was no more than four and a half feet tall, slender, and her skin was a bit more red than normal, as though she had spent just a bit too much time in the sun. She wore black satin robes with a golden dragon embroidered on them. Her thick black hair was pulled up and held in place by a pair of silver and gold hair pins, a pair of yin yangs dangling from each of them. But the strangest part of her appearance were her red-reptilian eyes.
“So, what would you like to know?” the strange woman asked, smiling slightly at the dapper, yet serious looking agent across from her.
He was Powell MacAndrews, though that name had no specific importance. What did, however, was the title that formally proceeded it, Special Agent. A smartly dressed and well groomed SHIELD agent a few days shy of his 40th birthday, a big moment for many, but not as big as the one he was currently experiencing in the interview center.
He thought it likely she wouldn’t remember but he had been there earlier in the month when she first appeared. A small woman traipsing along a road just outside of Baghdad, alone, coming upon a patrol of freshly minted SHIELD field agents and British SAS. She claimed she had been searching for them and it was mutually beneficial that they speak.
Cautiously the superiors agreed, taking her to New York and SHIELD HQ — where she now sat, across the table from him.
Powell did his best to remain professional and keep his curiosity at bay. Activating a timer on the table he informed her that they would be recording the interview.
“We will be recording this process for later review and record keeping.” Powell began as he drew a yellow writing pad from under the table and placed it down. “Under freedom of information you may petition SHIELD for transcripts of the proceeding no sooner than 90-days from today.” He reached into the interior breast pocket of his light-blue sharkskin suit and produced a pen which he clicked open with his thumb. “Are these terms acceptable before we continue?”
The tiny woman chuckled, then nodded, her strangely colored eyes still studying the man known as Special Agent MacAndrews as she answered, “Your terms are acceptable. And don’t worry, I don’t normally bite. Unless asked nicely.”
Powell smirked at that, “Well then perhaps I will have questions of a personal nature for you once this interview is concluded,” he lightly joked. The woman had a sense of humor, that would be helpful. He crossed one leg over the other making himself as comfortable as he could in the folding chair as they began. “I suppose we will begin with your name?” he stated in a question, the eyes of the agent already analyzing her as he awaited an answer.
“I am called Abusan by some, Absynthe by others, Uktena by few. However, most that know me simply call me Syn,” the diminutive Asian woman responded, a slight smile sitting on her face. She had other names, names whispered in fear in many corners of the world, however, she doubted that the mild-mannered man sitting across from her would believe that she had been responsible for some pretty wild tales that had been passed down through time.
“Do you have a preference in name?” he then asked jotting down some notes on the pad. The action in and of itself was unremarkable, the pad in plain view as were the letters upon it. What was odd, however, was that Agent MacAndrews wrote gibberish. Letters and numbers, segmented words and run on sentences. A keen eye could note a pattern however. Powell was taking notes of the interview and was doing so in code. “And your age, please? Location of birth?”
“No, I have no preference in how my name is spoken,” Syn said, leaning back and folding her short legs onto the chair under her, raising her a bit so that she could see over the table a bit better. “I was born in China, though I am not entirely certain exactly where. I was abandoned as a baby on the front steps of a monastery. The monks were kind enough to take me in. As for my age, I am thirteen-hundred years old. Give or take a decade, or two.”
Powell’s pen faltered a bit as he wrote, a hint of surprise from the number age she gave. He looked up to her at first but soon past her. Over her shoulder toward a mirrored window behind. His eyes were trained on the mirror for a moment before returning to hers.
“Thirteen Hundred.” he repeated carefully making his mark on the pad. “That would put your date of birth around 750 AD. The Tang Dynasty, I believe?” he asked looking for comment or clarification. “What can you tell me about these monks and the monastery?”
“That’s correct. Impressive, by the way. Most don’t really know the dynasties all that well,” Syn said, that smile brightening a touch. The smile on the small Asian woman’s face turned mischievous mere seconds later. “Unless someone from behind the looking glass told you that.”
“It’s my duty to know things.” Agent MacAndrews said with a slight smile. He wouldn’t comment on the individual or individuals on the other side of the mirror. He returned his eyes to the yellow pad, “I will say that I have a keen interest in feudal China. And the Monks?”
The woman sighed softly, shaking her head, “I could tell you everything about them, as I spent the better part of two hundred years with them. But I won’t. They were simple men, living simple lives, as they still do to this day. I won’t be sharing secrets that will have outsiders traipsing over their lands.”
“That is understandable. We can move on,” the agent replied but, before the next question came, the door behind them opened. The pair were joined by heavy set middle-aged man, an agent also from the looks of him but one that was a degree or two more disheveled than MacAndrews.
The newcomer puffed deeply on a cigarette, clouds of smoke ringing his head and giving a squint to his eye. He tossed a manilla envelope down onto the table before MacAndrews, whispered a few words to him, and then left from the door he entered. Powell listened to the mans words and offered a nod as he departed. He opened the envelope and examined the contents. “Syn, I am curious if these photographs mean anything to you.” he stated as he pulled two grainy black and whites from the envelope and placed them face up on the table.
The first was an unremarkable image of asian styled building positioned atop a snow capped mountain. The view was in such a way that it would suggest the photograph was taken from aircraft or dirigible. The second image, black and white like the first, was far more interesting. This one seemed to have been taken at ground level and capturing a blurred scene of what looked to be monks descending on the viewer.
“What you are looking at are photographs developed from the camera of a Japanese zero pilot. The zero was discovered crashed in the Himalayas by a Rajput Regiment of Her Majesty’s Indian Army. The pilot was dead in the cockpit with a couple dozen of these in him.” MacAndrews upturned the envelope and out-spilled a number of small tasseled throwing daggers -- each embossed on the handle with thin black dragon. He folded his hands before him and studied her awaiting an answer.
“Intriguing. I have not seen one of these in a very long time,” Syn said, pulling the pictures closer, as well as one of the daggers. She studied each of them for a moment, then flipped the dagger over in her hand, the action seeming to be second nature to her. “It is familiar to me, though I have never had much to do with it. I am not from K’un-Lun, and I am not the Iron Fist of legend, if that’s what you’re asking.”
MacAndrews smirked and nodded. “I am not asking anything, Syn. Just gauging your reactions and seeing what kind of light you might be able to shed.” He made a series of marks in his Pad, “You are familiar with this K’un-Lun, then? Any history there for you?”
Syn ran a finger along the edge of the dagger, then put it back on the table, sliding it back across to the agent. Shaking her head, the diminutive woman shrugged. “Not with K’un-Lun, nor the Iron Fist. That’s not my arena, even though I have had to deal with a couple of unexpected attacks. I have to admit, I wasn’t always a good guy. Those years are long behind me, however.”
MacAndrews returned everything to the envelop and slid it to the corner of the table.”Can you elaborate?” he ask, “What or who do you consider, The Good Guy?”
“I consider the good guys to be the ones that don’t go about performing evil acts,” Syn said, giving MacAndrews a bright laugh. “I wasn’t always a benevolent benefactor. I was a Hand Assassin. Though, I will admit, I was being controlled by an evil man during that time. My dragon side made that possible with a particular gem of power. A friend helped me to break free from his control, and I’ve been trying to balance out my karma ever since.”
Hand Assassins? Dragon side? Gem of Power? Agent MacAndrews suddenly had that feeling one gets when they go for a particular pan in the cupboard but all come spilling out when opening the door. The woman had suddenly divulged a lot and there was some unpacking that needed to be done.
He adjusted in his chair, taking further notes. He knew, at least by mention, of The Hand as an ancient and powerful clan of ninja.They would come back around to that topic but for now...
“You assert you’re a dragon.” MacAndrews repeated, “Would you be willing to submit yourself to minor testing? We are curious to learn more about you.”
“Half dragon,” Syn said, a slightly mischievous grin touching her lips again. “They believe that my mother was likely the human part of the equation, and my father the dragon. Though I have no proof of that.”
“That must have been an interesting coupling.” MacAndrews observed feeling just a touch flushed at the thought.
“I admit to my own curiosity on the matter, but I can prove the dragon blood in a much simpler way than actually drawing blood. I am rather...thick skinned.”
The agent nodded his head, “As we have seen.” he said, suggesting her hide-like flesh was measured in some way but didn't elaborate further. “What might this simpler method be?”
“I could simply show you,” Syn responded, giving a slight shrug. “Though, this room is far too small. My dragon form wouldn’t really fit in here properly, and I have no desire to cause too much property damage to your headquarters.” The woman paused for a moment, seeming to consider something, then said, “I can show you a smaller version, however, that would simply be one of my illusions.”
“I am afraid that it is becoming increasingly more apparent that we cannot trust our own eyes.” MacAndrews explained. “As you yourself said, one of your illusions. At SHIELD we like things a bit more...measured...than what the eyes see.” He looked back down to his notepad, “I don’t mean to offend or suggest I do not believe you are who you say you are. Simply, if we didn’t maintain an objective scientific analysis of things we would have every Illusionist and Confidence Man coming into our offices claiming to be all manner of beast.” He looked back to her. “I hope you can understand our position.”
“Well, if that’s the case, how do you know that I’m still sitting here at all?” Syn asked, arching a slender brow over one red-reptilian eye, but there was a teasing quality to her tone. “I could make you see whatever I want to, Agent. How about this, though? I’ll give you some blood. I have no desire to be experimented on further than that. I’m willing to show you my dragon form, and I’ll also show you my powers over illusion, that way, you have a trifecta, as it were. And I don’t have to be dissected to satisfy your scientific curiosity.”
“A fair compromise.” MacAndrews commented with a polite smile and nod. More than 15-minutes into this conversation and the interviewee had yet to threaten him with atomic obliteration or the devouring of his mortal soul...all and all, a pretty good day for a SHIELD agent.
The interview continued. “Are you an illusion, Syn?” he asked the clarifying, “The woman before me I mean. This — representation — seated across from me at the table. Are you, is she, an illusion?”
That question made Syn laugh brightly. “I am not an illusion, Agent, even if I could be. I’m here in the spirit of cooperation. This is my natural form, and I’m actually sitting in front of you. I haven’t delved into your mind to alter your perceptions, even though that’s how my powers work. If you want to give me permission to do so, I will. I can craft any illusion; your worst fears, or your deepest desires.”
MacAndrews didn’t know if it was the wisest choice to take her up on the offer, but he was curious. He placed the pen down and neatly folded his hands before him. “Very well.” he agreed. “You have my permission.”
Syn grinned, surprised that the agent did take her up on her offer. She looked into his eyes and said softly, “Alright then, Agent MacAndrews. Now tell me; what is your deepest desire?”
Suddenly, they were no longer sitting in the interview room. Instead, Powell was in the middle of the war and Syn was nowhere to be found. Planes buzzed by overhead, bombs fell from the skies, throwing up mounds of dirt, tanks rolled across the land, and bullets whizzed around him. Even the smell of churned earth, gunpowder, and blood filled his senses. Only, in the midst of the chaos, Powell MacAndrews was dressed in the armor that belonged to Steve Rogers, better known to the world as Captain America, complete with his stylized vibranium alloy shield.
“So you wish to be a hero to your people,” Syn’s voice, soft, soothing, came from all around him. “And not just any hero, either. That is an admirable desire, Agent MacAndrews.”
MacAndrews was a bit off kilter at first. The manifestation of his senses all of a sudden in France at the height of the war threw him for a loop. “A hero. Yes.” he said drawing a hand up to his head, shaking the cobwebs loose for a moment. The agent could best describe this sensation as being dunked into an icy lake — sudden and jarring experience. “But not just to my people. To yours as well. To all the people who share our community.”
A german soldier appeared from a trench, dagger in hand, and announced his charge at the agent with a scream. Powell turned to him, deflecting the stabbing dagger with the shield and booting the Nazi in his chest. It was an action that, with the powers of Rogers, sent the enemy soldier sailing through the sky. He felt...powerful.
“You have given up the idea of a normal life, a family, in order to serve,” Syn’s voice came again, even as the scene rapidly shifted back to the real world, the sterile interview room, sitting across from each other. She intentionally kept the illusion short, rather than allowing him to run with the delusion, as she would with an enemy. “You’re willing to give your very life for the greater good. Fear not. You are already a hero, Agent MacAndrews.”
Her illusion was intoxicating and, as suddenly as it all came, it vanished. The instant he was back in the interview room he missed it. He saw the great value of her ability but also the incredible danger it could pose. “I appreciate your vote of confidence.” he smiled, still readjusting even from the momentary episode. “And you, Syn. Do you consider yourself a hero?”
Syn chuckled, shaking her head. “Me? A hero? No. I consider myself to be a person trying to live life to the best of my ability. I have done some horrible things in my considerable lifetime. I am still paying the debt for that, and likely will be for some time. I do, however, believe that I can be a force for good, and I do my best to live up to that ideal.”
“It’s an ideal that SHIELD shares. You were wise in making contact with us.” He spoke, a bit of shameless brand promotion while doing so. “A woman of your abilities can be quite an asset to the Agency. To all of us.”
“A woman of my abilities can also be dangerous,” Syn said, chuckling at the agent’s promotion of his newly formed agency. “Which is why I opted to make contact, rather than have you and your SHIELD hunt me down out of fear. I’m not necessarily interested in joining your ranks, though cooperation is not out of the question.”
MacAndrews made another series of writings on the notepad. “Well, I have just about completed my observations.” he looked back to her, “Observations enough to satisfy my superiors, in any case.” He took the notepad and returned it under the table from where it was collected. “If we could, though, I would like to know a bit more about this HAND. I suppose I am not breaking any regulations to say that we don’t know much about them.”
“The fact that you know about them at all is slightly impressive. They don’t exactly operate in the daylight,” Syn said, her face darkening. “The Hand is an ancient clan of Ninja, and they’re not exactly an honorable one. Ancient mysticism, assassinations, slavery. I wasn’t exactly recruited into their ranks willingly. An evil man, their leader, came across me during my travels. I have studied under all of the masters in my time, so I was seen as...a powerful asset.” The diminutive dragon lady gave the agent a pointed look before continuing, “He used a ring of power that allowed him control over the dragon blood that flows in my veins. I am not proud of my association with them, it is simply a fact.”
MacAndrews nodded listening to her story. “Fortunately, oh 150 years or so ago, a collection of men in Philadelphia decided you shouldn’t be held at legal fault for actions made under bondage or duress.” he smiled. “What little we know of The Hand we do not like but —“ he paused weighing his words. “We deal with all things in their time.”
He sighed reaching into the breast of his jacket and pulling from it a silver cigarette tin. “At present we are dealing with a gaggle of run away Nazis calling themselves Hydra.” He opened the tin and offer her a cigarette, “Smoke?”
Syn demurred, shaking her head, “My body is a temple, Agent MacAndrews. While I believe in the idea of everything in moderation, including moderation, I don’t like the taste. But thank you for offering.”
MacAndrews found her reaction to his offer a tad curious. She not smoking because it wasn’t lady-like? Something he could understand. Not smoking because of the taste? Everyone smoked. He popped one of the filterless cigarettes into his mouth and lit it from a matching silver lighter. He was very much a man of his era.
After a moment of thought, Syn sighed and shook her head. “I have heard of this Hydra. They have been around far longer than one might imagine, in some form or another. Possibly even longer than I have been alive. Your Nazi’s are just the latest to latch on to the ideals. Many powered people have disappeared lately, however. Some of them are friends of mine. I may be willing to help you hunt them down. I have little love for those of Hydra’s ilk.”
He took a long relaxing drag of the cigarette, looking to savor it before exhaling the smoke up above his head. “Any support and aid you can offer we would gladly accept, Syn.” he said tapping the cigarette against a glass ashtray. “Your... name... Absynthe.” he then said switching gears just a bit, “Do you have a sire? A family name? I am not asking for any specific reason, simply looking to satisfy my own personal curiosity.” He took another drag of the cigarette.
The small woman arched a slender eyebrow above one red-reptilian eye. “Absynthe is a name that I chose on my own. Since I have the power over illusions, I thought it somewhat humorous. I do not know who my parents were, however, so I never had a family name. Being rather well off, most simply consider me to be eccentric,” Syn said, her tone curious. “Why? Does your agency require that I have a surname?”
Agent MacAndrews smiled politely and shook his head, “No, not at all. I was simply curious that is all. You aren’t the first agent or asset to be known by a single name. It is truthfully something more common as the weeks pass.” In SHIELD’s short existence it was incorporating more and more “eccentric” individuals like Syn. Single name handles was becoming somewhat common. “Though,” he hesitated reversing a bit on his original statement. “It would make things a bit easier on our end if you had a second name to cross reference with the first. A surname best satisfies that.”
“Ah, agencies and their record keeping,” Syn said with a chuckle. She sighed a bit, glancing up at the ceiling, as if finding something rather interesting there. Or perhaps she hoped to snatch a name from the ether. “Hmm. How about Drake. Absynthe Drake,” she said, giving MacAndrews a mischievous grin.
McAndrews smirked, “Drake. Very clever. I like it.” He rose up from his chair taking a final drag of the cigarette before extinguishing it in the ashtray. “Well, Ms. Drake, I believe we are completed here.If you are ready we can proceed to the examination room to take your blood?” he asked, but again stressing, “Still entirely up to you.”
The tiny woman slid off of the hard metal chair and motioned to the door. “After you, Agent MacAndrews. I’m actually looking forward to seeing more of your facilities and capabilities.”
*Camera Off - End Recording*