|Interview with a Warlock|
|What: ...and not the magic kind. Dr. Banner deals with one of the jobs in his contract with S.T.A.R. Labs, and a rather unusual one...|
Working at STAR Labs can be considered a dream come true for many scientists, as this is where the great discoveries are being made. However, this is at the expense of being near some of the most dangerous criminals and beings this planet has ever faced, and all research is dedicated to subduing such criminals indefinitely.
This is definitely a place that would hold Bruce Banner. Fortunately, or otherwise, this is his new work place. It may seem like a prison, but to him it is a great opportunity to finally be on the path to his own discovery: getting rid of the Hulk. If there was any place that would give that to him, it would be here.
However, the job doesn't come without its... consequences. For one, while Bruce's research is top priority, it isn't always what he will be working on. And for him, he is to be helping with a new project, seeing as some of the scientists are... unfit for duty due to a recent incident. That could mean anything in STAR Labs, so we'll just leave that to the imagination. Now, Bruce Banner can only wonder what marvel he will witness today.
In part, he thinks he's been sent here because if anything goes wrong, 'he' would be able to handle it. Well, someone will.
If something were to go wrong today, it might well be something that even Bruce's alter ego might have trouble dealing with. Especially if the guesses about the true extent of the abilities of today's special guest a S.T.A.R. Labs, as opposed to the stuff he has admitted too, is not just wild speculation. The guest in question is being brought in by S.H.I.E.L.D. agents under the name Warlock.
Any paperwork on the subject that might have been handed off to Dr. Banner probably has a number of parts blacked out, names of people and places mostly, but would include interesting facts about the alien, including his nature as both organic and technological and extreme capabilities as a shape shifter.
A trio of almost impossibly vague to remember men in dark suits are escorted to whichever lab Dr Banner is working out of with only the smallest stops at various security check points. Once the three are face to face with Dr Banner one of them offers over some paperwork and a nod of greeting. "Dr Banner? Our guest here is being brought here on the agreement that he will be able to decide decline to answer any questions or avoid any tests he finds too invasive. Other than that, you are free to do what you feel necessary for whatever goals it is that STAR labs has in studding him." The agents make sure Dr Banner understands that Warlock is not a prisoner but here of his own free will before two of them withdraw to let the doctor do his thing. The third cants his head a little watching Dr Banner while the others leave him alone.
"How generous of you," Bruce says as the two agents left. He thought this was interesting: either the government is putting on a more friendly face than usual, or he's not exactly controllable. Bruce can relate.
Bruce then looks to the man left over. "So, your 'guest' that's coming in, what exactly is he? The files sent were not very conclusive."
The agent left behind, one adressed nods and does something one rarely sees SHIELD agents do. He smiles at Dr Banner. As he smiles his skin starts to change color becoming gold laced through with carbon black lines giving an ppearance of bing both mechanical and biological. "Self is the guest. Self is known as designation Warlock." As he speaks the alien shifts shape again, physicaly becoming something akin to a robot built using left over peices of other robots that were not all the same size, or even entierly humanoid in shape. "Self is a mutation of the species Technarch."
"Technarch, huh? That's a new one on me." Bruce's eyes widened a bit, surprised by the introduction of Warlock. But that soon past, as Bruce is accustomed to such surprises. "So, Warlock, before we begin, just let me introduce myself." Bruce holds out an arm to the robot alien, wanting to show soem trust. "My name is Dr. Bruce Banner. You can call me Doctor or Bruce, whatever you prefer."
Warlock's head cants to the side a second before he remembers some of what he as learned of human customs and shakes Dr Banner's Hand. "Greetings unit designated Dr Banner. Be glad you have no knowledge yet of the Technarchy. Self's people are less than friendly." Someone will probably have to appologize to Dr Banner for how the alien was introduced to him. They probably wnated to move him incogneto, and if you can shape shift like him wouldn't you want to play at being a SHIELD agent too?
"That is a shame, but it seems you have been given a good impression of humanity. At least, I can only say that considering you're cooperating." Bruce nods. He wasn't too sure if he could say that his own people were completely friendly, but for the most part humans respect others... Those they consider humans.
"Well I don't know how you feel about standing, but would you like to take a seat with me? This may take a while." Bruce gestures to the nearby table with a chair on each side. They look strong enough that even the Hulk could sit on them and they wouldn't break. The floor is another matter.
Warlock nods at Bruce. "Self made friends with many humans on his first visit to Earth." Which would explain the good impression of humanity, he met real humans first before getting mixed up with government agencies with cleaver acronyms instead of names. Warlock steps over to the seats, elongating his left leg first then shrinking it as he elongates the right so that he makes the transition in one step. "Self feels no discomfort with either."
"Alright then." Bruce has a bunch of papers in front of him, with a list of questions that he had been 'recommended' to ask, along with some 'suggested' tests. However, if he didn't do them, who was going to complain to him?
"So, before we begin, what did the agents tell you about the reason for you being here? I'd like to hear your perspective before we begin." Hardly a question from a scientist when talking to his study subject. But Bruce has been at both ends of the dissecting table, so he wants to be more comforting than others would be.
Warlock gives Bruce his confident and reissuing smile, which no one has yet explained to him neither projects the first or instills the second. "Self is here because of curiosity, and fear. SHIELD wishes Self to be studied so that they can understand self and any danger Self may represent." He is honest, you have to give him that. Unfortunately, its not very reassuring that he is as matter of fact and calm about knowing why he is there. He probably understands that he is a guest because SHIELD guesses that he would not be containable if he did not want to be.
"Okay, thank you for being so direct." Bruce nods, a bit taken aback by his honesty. But he knew that any alien life would not have the same mannerisms as those in Earth. Heck, people in the next room don't have the same mannerisms as he does.
"So, Warlock, I would like to know what it is that you can do. I mean, what are you capable of, besides your shape-shifting?"
Warlock stands at the question and shape shifts into a pretty fair replica of the actor Kelsey Grammer, despite keeping his normal coloration. Without a pause the alien breaks into song, ~I am the very model of a modern Major General. I've information animal vegetable and mineral. I know the kings of England..~ All told he goes on a bit, but does a rather splendid version of the song, complete with musical accompaniment without using any instruments. Either he has a very strange sense of humor, or the song conveys some message to his thoughts on the question. Likely both. After sitting again and retaining his normal shape he shrugs at Bruce. "Query: How would unit designate Dr. Banner answer such a question with no explanation of limiting parameters?"
After a bit of clapping and a small chuckle, Bruce nods at the question. "I admit, I would answer in the way I preferred. I like your answer, by the way." After a small smile, Bruce goes back to task. "So, let me try to put on some parameters. I want to know what abilities you have to defend yourself when others attack you, and what abilities you have when you need to go on the offensive. That's typical of what my people are interested in." More about the offensive abilities.
Warlock nods and with an understanding of what is wanted shape shifts again, this time into a much more imposing form...that of a smaller version of Optimus Prime. "Self can be armored to a strength equal to Tempered Titanium composites, can lift more than 25 tons of weight, has had defensive training and..." He pulls a laser gun from someplace before pointing it at a wall and...not pulling the trigger and causing a hole. "Self can replicate laser and plasma weaponry of a level still rare on this world." Warlock returns to his normal state before suddenly being surrounded by a translucent bubble. "Self also has learned to project defensive force fields and can replicate any technological device, as well as any biological existence."
"Fascinating..." Bruce couldn't help it, as he scribbled down his notes. Not that he needed to, as this was all being recorded. "So, is this a power you can use freely, or are there conditions you need to meet to use them? In other words, is there something that can make it so that you are unable to use your abilities?" A bit of a risky question, but Warlock is free to answer any way he wants, even if its a non-answer.
Warlock takes a second to actually think about the question before he answers. "Self is capable of maintaining sape and ability as long as Self is able to concentrate and has sufficiant life glow. Self is also limited to machinery and biological form he understands, but is very knowledgable about technologies and a quick study."
"Good to know." Bruce nods as he scribbles. "So, that leads me to my next question. How to you keep your... life glow sufficient? Is there an energy source that you need in order for you to maintain your life?"
Warlock says, "Self's species is capable of converting organic and technological beings into beings like Self and extracting life glow from them." Or in other words, they convert you to something like them and suck the life out. "But Self does not infect sentient life, Self converts non-sentient organic matter and feeds from direct energy sources such as electrical plugs or solar energy conversion. Warlock is the Technarch equivalent of a vegetarian, and probably a dirty hippy too.
Bruce nods at the answers. "Good to know. It would be a shame if you couldn't find a way to survive. And so, I want to know about your origins. Where did you come from, and why did you leave?"
Warlock nods and agrees, it would be a bad thing if he could not survive. "Self came into existence on the planet Kvch. Self's Siredam is ruler of Technarchy. It is tradition to fight one's Siredam at the completion of maturation. To die is to prove one is not worthy of existence, to defeat and destroy one's Siredam is to prove worthy of taking their place. Self is...mutation of Self's species and did not wish to fight, to conquer. Self fled."
"I understand." Bruce nods. Siredam, the equivalent of parent, so Bruce thinks. He knows all too well the issue with parents. "And, how is it that you came here to Earth?"
Warlock hmms and shape shifts into a copy of Rodan's The Thinker for a moment perched atop his seat. Its a good question, and one that requires some editing if Warlock is to avoid telling secrets he has been asked to keep. "Self first came to Earth tired, injured and nearly depleated of life glow seven years ago. Self friends and self soul friend taguth self about Earth. Self left after..." Warlock's face droops noticibly, almost comicaly, wilting with sad memories and thoughts. "Self left after self-Soul-Friend's death. Self returned recently, was damaged but has healed after crashing into Earth."
"I see." Bruce didn't know too much about Warlock's mannerisms, but he could tell when there were some things that people didn't want to ask. "Well, that will do. Now, since you are here on Earth, what do you intend to do?"
Warlock nods and brightens up considerably. Of coure the fact that his Self Soul Friend is now not dead, apparently undead is not the right term even if it feels like it should be. "Self wishes to live in peace?" He asks in an alost hopeful voice. "Self does not know. Self's friends protect Earth, and protect other humans. Self wants to help as well." He also wants to avoid his Siredam ever finding Earth, ever haivng to go through his self Soul Friend's death, and possibly ever dealing with the Phalanx too, but those are all issues that might scare off a poor scientist brought in to deal with him.
Bruce nods in approval. To be able to use your powers for the betterment of others, if only Bruce could do that... "Well, we can always use a helping hand. Earth has gotten pretty dangerous recently. I know this may seem like a question that you may have answered already, but I do want to know. If your people came to Earth, what would they make of us? What would they do to us?"
Warlock leans back and is not sure how to answer. It would be wrong to lie too Dr Banner, not when he is being much more polite than most that have poked and prodded him. "Techanarhcy conquers, and destroys. Humans would become phalanx, and would be destroyed by Technocracy." There, Bruce gets the dire predictions on what happens if warlock's people come to Earth, and another sad face to go with the thought of all the wonders of this world being destroyed and feasted on.
"I see. It sounds like you left... a very dangerous people. But they are your people, so you have my condolences." Bruce wasn't sure how to console Warlock, but he hoped his words have meaning. As to the revelation of his people, Bruce could only think of that happening if the humans don't kill each other first. "We are pretty capable of destroying ourselves, though. However, there are many people here, and people not from here, doing everything they can to prevent that. Myself included, and now, the same as you."
Bruce ended up closing his notes. "Well, I think that's all for now. I have a pretty good idea of what I was looking for, and you did help a lot. I thank you for your cooperation. I hope to see you again, in better circumstances."
Warlock actually considers the X-Men more his people than he does his own species. Of course that is because his species does not have concepts like friendship, or compassion, or love and with the others at Xavier's he had all of the above. "Self considers Self's friends more Self's people." When Dr Banner closes his notes Warlock nods and grins. "Self finds this agreeable. Self would like to call Dr Banner self-friend?"
"I would definitely enjoy that." Bruce gives the robotic alien a big smile, and holds out his hand again. "And, you can call me Bruce. All of my... self-friends call me that."
Warlock gives Bruce a happy smile that is far too big for his face, adding to the slightly cartoonish tendencies of the alien as he takes the hand held out to him. "Self-Friend Bruce!"