2007-10-14: Mile High Club

Starring:

Meryl_icon.gif Benjamin_icon.gif Nova_icon.gif Megan_icon.gif

Summary: Snakes and Australians and Scots and Americans on a plane to Australia. The mission is outlined and discussed, and it begins.

Date It Happened: 14 October, 2007

Mile High Club


OVER THE OCEAN

Somewhere in New York, there's a private airport for the use of people who can afford it - mostly people with their own planes. In this case, the plane in question is a rather large jet designed for things like travel overseas, and given its rarity of use, is incredibly clean, well-kept, and otherwise in almost new condition.

It's positioned out on the tarmac, the engines runnig to warm up as the sun sets through the smog over the city. It's actually kind of pretty, but the fact that they're heading into danger is kind of sobering.

Except to Meryl.

"God, guys. Australia. This is so cool. We're going to see kangaroos. Possibly other — things— Sharks. We'll have to go swimming and sight-seeing and camping, in the desert. During the full moon! WITH SHARKS." She's all smiles as she turns to the runway crew, who are loading their baggage onto the plane. It's going with them, so hopefully it'll arrive with them, but one never knows.

Meryl has a carry-on bag, as well as a shopping bag from the mall, with 'SEARS' crossed out and 'SECRET AGENT STORE' written in in purple Sharpie. Benji will probably have the other one. As well, tucked under Meryl's arm is a shoebox, though given the fact that nothing's moving in it, she hasn't actually packed Basil. THANK GOD. "Almost a full day together on a plane, guys. I can't wait. We're gonna roast marshmallows and tell ghost stories about ghosts!"

(:D :D :D :D :D)

—-

Meryl may be all smiles like :D, but Nova is :|. Or more accurately, B|. Dark sunglasses cover her eyes, perhaps to disguise the tired, red look about them, as she seems perfectly fine otherwise. Dressed all in black, she wears professional looking ankle boots, skinnier black jeans, and a more masculine black mens shirt that flaps on occasion in the wind, revealing the white wife beater beneath it. Her hair is left down about her shoulders, which she now smoothes back as she dully watches people put luggage onto the plane, her own carry-on luggage hanging from her hand: a small, sporty looking duffle bag. She's ignoring the rest of the team for now, and only raises an eyebrow when Meryl points out they'll have a full day together.

A full. Day.

She casts a glance to Megan and Benjamin, shifting uncomfortably from one foot to the next. "You can't roast marshmallows on a plane," she points out, stoicly.

—-

Who wants to break it to Meryl that this is a business trip, filled with danger? Any takers? No? "Meryl… work comes first.. I've always wanted to see Australia, but this is business." That, and Benjamin is more sober than usual, what with the past two weeks. They started with a bang, and haven't gotten much better. Indeed though, the narcokinetic does have his own suitcase.. and the contents of his shopping bag? Well, they're cleverly hidden in a shiny new suitcase. His own bag is handed off to the crew loading the plane. The other one? Still holding it. There's a reason for this. And no, it isn't handcuffed to his wrist. He waits for the ladies of this team to board first. Chivalry is not completely dead. There's still a time and place for ladies first.

—-

An entire day's plane ride trapped in a sealed air tube with Nova and Benjamin isn't exactly high on the list of things that Megan would like to do. However, she's agreed to go and agreed to do this and not harm anyone. So. Here she is. Boarding a plane. Her own suitcase is being packed away under the plane, but she's brought a few things with her - a totebag with a book or two and a magazine - normal things to try to distract herself from the company that she's about to keep. "Can ye see sharks inna desert?" she also adds to the list of implausible things that Meryl has just listed. Glancing around the plane, she moves for a seat by the window. Maybe she can sleep the entire day away. "And I dunna think fire inna plane's a good idea."

—-

Eventually, their steward for the ride - a nice young Company man named Byron, with the ability to levitate large objects (namely planes, should the engines burn out, thusly he can prevent them all from crashing as a fiery ball into the ocean) opens the door for them, waving them aboard as one of the bored crew wheels a stairway up to the plane. Meryl? TOTALLY the first one on, taking the steps two at a time. "Business my ass," she shouts over her shoulder. "Dorsey isn't on the plane, Bingo. I'm gonna have fun. I brought the sternos." Otherwise known as portable mushroom-roasting apparatus. Who cares if they aren't allowed.

By the time Megan, Ben, and Nova make their way up, Meryl has her bag open, and there are a few dozen small rubber snakes strewn about the cabin. Seriously, duh.

There's plenty of room, with about a dozen seats spread about the entire plane. Four of them circle a table, and Meryl plops her butt down into one of those, and waves the others over. C'mon! Cooshy seats, lots of room, /ELECTRICITY PORTS/ so Meryl can plug in her hair curler - which she does. Just because she can. It's an excellent use of resources. Seriously, if you have to be stuck in a plane with three other people for twelve million days, why not have fun doing it?

"Sure there are. Steve Irwin said so." Or maybe those were crocodiles in the desert. Foxes? Whatever!

—-

Nova kind of extends her arm in an indication that Megan and Benjamin should really want to board first ahead of her, before the tall woman finally makes her tentative way into the plane. Despite all things pointing to the contrary, Nova is happy to get out of this country for a little while. Things are falling apart at the seams, and Level Five is supposed to be one of those places where nothing can get in or out. So much for that. No, Australia seems like a great place to be right now, which is saying something, considering everything there wants to kill you (except for some of the sheep).

She finds a place to sit down, head slightly ducked, considering it brushes the plane's ceiling when she stands up, and not really caring if she steps on a snake or two. "No sharks in the desert," she confirms. "Not even in Australia. And we're not going to the desert anyway."

—-

Benjamin follows the ladies, including Nova, up the steps. (Then again, maybe not. Nova doesn't seem to believe in chivalry!) Once on board, he stares wordlessly at Meryl. Okay, so this is his first time on a classy, cushiony and very private jet. It's a far cry from flying coach.. but Meryl being Meryl? It gets a stare that's a little too long to be polite. He's /not/ going to ask what she's doing. It's best to not think about it. "Megan? Meryl and I got you a few things," he says, hefting the suitcase just a little to indicate this is the gift. It could have waited until they got to a cruising altitude, but with Meryl being herself? Distraction is in order. He sets the suitcase down then lifts his carryon bag up from around his neck to stow away in just a few moments.

—-

From her seat, Megan eyes Nova and from there tries to figure out what exactly is going on here. Work, play, it's all so strange. She'll just sit in her plushy window seat and pretend like she's not even here. "There're no sharks in Australia? 'Ve heard stories of people eaten by them, though." Because, really, Australia seems like such a welcoming place. Everything can eat you or poison you. Then, she give Benjamin a surprised and guarded look. "Ye got me things? Why? What're they?" For now, she'll stay in her safety zone. She's not sure she wants to know what the two of them came up with as gifts for her.

—-

"Well, there's sharks in the ocean, and we're going to the ocean," Meryl says. "And we might go to the desert, depending on how fast this guy can run." Meryl gives them all a funny look. "Guys, we're going to have a real rough time of things when we get there. Nothing's gonna happen on the plane. Come on, live a little! How often do you get to spend twenty-two hours on a Company private jet. They have beer."

Still, she settles down a bit when Ben mentions the gift. "Yeah, we figured you'd maybe wants some clothes. Couldn't get you clearance to go to the mall, so we thought this'd be the next best thing." From Meryl? Fun stuff. Nice shirts for days at the beach, shorts, designer sunglasses… STUFF. And there's a nice suit or something in there, too. For… Other stuff. Whatev. She tosses the shopping bad with 'SECRET AGENT STORE' written on it in Megan's direction.

Then, she picks up the shoebox. "Got Nova something, too, actually," Meryl adds. It looks like she's thinking very seriously about throwing it, but no. Bad idea, in this case. Standing, she heads over to her fellow Australian and hands over the box. There aren't shoes inside (alas), but there's a small custom-made pistol. "Firearms aren't allowed in Australia, o'course. Thought this might be easier to hide."

—-

SHOES?! Oh, no shoes. But guns are pretty good too. Nova cranes her neck when Meryl hands over the box, which is peered inside. After a moment's hesitation, she picks the weapon up, inspecting it and a little too impressed by the gift to totally hide her reaction. She darts a look up at the woman before sliding the weapon back into the box, for now, sitting up a little straighter in her seat. "Thanks, Meryl," she says, just a little awkwardly, and glances towards the other two. "'preciated. I didn't get you anything though," she adds with the barest hint of a smile.

—-

"It was really Meryl's idea, but we shopped together for everything. You've been held for so long, you don't really have any of your own clothes.. so we got you some things." Benjamin hands over the suitcase to Megan. Maybe he went a little overboard actually buying her a nice case, and there's also a nicely stocked toiletry bag inside with the clothes too. A smile is cast towards Meryl as she explains too. "I kept Meryl from going too crazy with picking things out." Leaving the suitcase to Megan, he takes his own carry on and picks out a window seat to settle into. Meryl's generousity earns another smile from the man, even when it's directed to Nova.

—-

Everything is so bright and shiny and new. Megan pulls the suitcase over to herself and starts to carefully rummage through what was bought for her, eyes wide at the thought and the nice clothes. And even nice sunglasses. In truth, she doesn't know what to say. "Thank ye," she offers quietly. Because, really, it's quite a lovely gesture. Who needs firearms when she has a whole new suitcase full of clothes? And, yes, she'll even say it to Benjamin and not just Meryl. Even if Benjamin's thanks is a little more grudging. The Scotswoman still holds onto her grudges, even if they're slowly fading.

—-

No shoes, alas. She was afraid to purchase a size 94 for Nova, only to have them thrown at her with the assurance that she is not Bigfoot, GOD-DAMMIT. A firearm was the next best option. For Benji, she got all the rubber snakes littering the plane. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

"I don't need anything," she assures Nova, settling back into her seat. Jeez. They have the whole plane to themselves, and they're all spread out! Well, Meryl'll fix that later on in the flight. For now, she's goig to curl her hair as she offers a wink to Megan. "Least we could do. If you have to go after psychos in Australia, you might as well look damn good doing it."

An hour into the flight, Meryl has not shut up.

The takeoff was perfect, the ascent was smooth, they're out over the ocean, and she's just finished the 53rd verse of '100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall.' "So, guys." Obviously, she's grown bored of that. "Anyway, we should get to know each other a little better. We've got a cover, so we kinda have to learn the part." She pulls some stuff out of a bag. Folders. "We're a family. We're all siblings, traveling to Australia because our parents have died in a horrible desert shark accident." Dune buggies. Desert sharks. See? She was telling the truth. "We've booked a whole floor of the hotel for 'family.' The elevator will only stop on that floor with an authorisation code, which I've included in your folder as an addendum." (In pink marker, just inside the folder's cover.) The family has asked for Privacy. The resort is reknowned enough that all this isn't strange for them. They're used to it. Anyway — Megan, you've been studying abroad in Scotland, and Ben, you're the goon who, for some reason, decided you were going to forsake your god-given accent for an American one. We don't have a clue why, but there you go."

—-

There is beer on the plane (and snakes) and Nova has made a little bit of use of this. More so than she would normally, just to relax herself, crumpling her first can with strong fingers before reaching for another. This talk of a cover is important, however, so now she actually listens, though she had already scanned over some of the paperwork that detailed some of this stuff. "Do we have a last name?" she asks, focus on Meryl rather than the other two. If her attitude can be read, it's that the crazy lady is slightly more important to her than the two Evolved they're traveling with, her questions and attention having been directed more to Meryl. Of course, this may be welcome for Benji and Megan.

—-

Benjamin doesn't seem to mind if Megan still holds a grudge. He's not going to get her forgiveness overnight, if ever. All the same, he's pleased that Megan likes what was purchased for her.

Once the flight is in full swing, Benjamin looks over to Meryl, and, looks disappointed. Hurt even. "But honey.. our engagement? You cancelled it without telling me?" This is said with all seriousness and sincerity.

—-

Quite used to Meryl's brand of company - it was the only kind she had for awhile - Megan doesn't seem to mind the singing or the lack of breath in between talking. Though there may be beer and snakes, the woman is fine with staying clear of both of them. She's not really a drinker and she's not a huge fan of snakes. Fake or otherwise. Instead, she just tunes everyone out and starts in on her book until Meryl actually starts debriefing on what will happen when they land. "We dunna really look like each other, though," she also adds. They've got varying hair shades, eyes, heights, weights…they look like they come from all over the world. Which they do. Then, there's a blank stare as she looks between Benjamin and Meryl. "Engagement?" What?

—-

Meryl pages more through her folder. She's gone over all this before, but short-term memory means she needs a refresher sometimes. "We were just going to go with 'Smith,' but that was a little too plain, so we're going with 'Jones.' First names should be fine. I've already changed mine once. Kinda hard to keep track." She taps her head, smiling. "According to the file, we're related. We should be able to make it work. They have all the background information prepared. It's a long plane ride — just make sure you read through it at some point, because Lord knows I'll forget." She'll try not to. But Meryl has trouble with stuff— like—

Green eyes look up to stare at Benjamin. They narrow. She sputters. She blinks. "I— Mean, I — Well, the Company. They said we have to— " She looks helplessly at Nova and Megan. "I didn't think you — " Pressing her lips together, she leans back in her seat. "Well, Bingo, if you'd like to join the Mile-High club, we'd best get to it."

—-

Nova casts a glance towards Megan, shrugging broad shoulders. "If it's in the paperwork, it doesn't really matter," she assures, and this may be the first time she's even addressed either of the Evolved. Reaching over, Nova picks up the file for wont of something to read through— when Benjamin and Meryl… Nova doesn't even know. With wide eyes, she looks across at her fellow Australian, then across at Benji. Then, she… she raises the pages to read— well, to hide her face, really, because god knows no one is allowed to see her smile, ever.

—-

Benjamin just.. smacks his hand against his forehead as he laughs at Meryl. "I'm kidding.. I'm kidding." See what happens when he tries to make a funny with the wrong people? Besides, touching Meryl just seems very wrong. Like eyeing the slow kid or something. "I'm joking. This cover works fine." Still with good humor, he turns to Megan to explain, "She sort of proposed to me at the mall. It could have worked as a cover, but we'll go with this nicely prepared scenario."

—-

As Meryl continues talking, Megan starts to blush more and more furiously. Not only because she's talking very loudly about the mile high club, but also because she's nervous about something that she really needn't be. Other than making the Scot embarrassed, she's done nothing else. "N-no. Yer…" Okay, this isn't really working in her favor. Just like Nova, she ducks her head down behind her book, but this is to make people stop from seeing her turn a nice beet red as opposed to seeing her smile. "Ye can cover whatever ye like."

—-

Oh, right. Did she forget about that? It's possible. "You sure?" she asks, arching her eyebrows. "Last chance— Time's up. Sorry. I'll just have to meet a beautiful Australian prince to sweep me off my feet." Was she thrown? Yeah, a little bit. But she's stumbled and sort of come out on both feet. Mostly. She shoots Benjamin a look. Moving on, though. "Some other stuff you should know. Megan and I are on probation for getting the files we needed. There's going to be an agent meeting us in Austrailia - a Mister Sawyer. He shouldn't give us too much trouble He'll just be reporting back.

"And now the moment you've been waiting for. We've got temporary assignments." One of us, one of them. Really, they'll all be working together, but if they do go off on their own, the should have a buddy system… All things considered.

Looking down at the sheet still in her hand, she smiles. "The Company's assigned Megan to me, and Benjamin to Nova. And for all intent and purpose, once we step off the plane, Nova is the team leader. She calls the shots." Suddenly serious, Meryl briefly looks downward. "You've all read the file, and you know the danger involved. I picked each of you for a reason, for your unique ablities and talents. The mission objective is to capture Jeremiah Dorsey and bring him back into Company custody. But under no circumstances are we to forfeit the life of an agent for that objective. If it comes down to one of us, or him…" That's why Meryl and Nova are along, essentially.

—-

The file is lowered once Nova has her Serious Face back on, watching Meryl as she speaks much like the Company agent she's supposed to be, before looking towards Benjamin and Megan as if to gauge out their reactions to the debrief. She smirks quietly to herself at this last part, and shrugs just a little. "Look after yourselves before you look after the target," she agrees. Glance towards her temporary partner, even if she appears to be speaking to the group. "And try not to get in the way."

—-

"Is that the all clear to wear my speedo then?" Benjamin says in response to Megan's comment about covering what you like. He's also all grins as he looks towards Megan, even if she's turning beet red. There's embarrassment mingling with surprise at his own words as he gets comfortable around these three. If it's any consolation, he's a little red-faced too. Right, joke time over for the moment. He turns and gives Meryl his attention as she gets to the nitty gritty. Somehow, he doesn't look surprised about the probation part. Humor fades as seriousness takes over. A nod of acknowledgement is made about the assigned partners. So far, no questions.

—-

The last time Megan heard Benjamin talk like this he was getting so drunk he was yelling out in the bar. So, this is sort of a surprise for her. She'll just remain hidden behind her book for now until her face turns back a respectable color. Though she looks over the pages at the assembled parties just to show that she is paying attention. The top of her forehead is red, which should show just how the rest of her face should look. "Alright." At least she has Meryl as a partner and not Nova. The woman who broke her arm. That would have been a little awkward.

—-

Satisfied with the 'serious' part of this trip, Meryl sighs, sitting back in her seat and reaching for a cold beer. 'Serious' doesn't come easily for her; she did, in fact, spend several hours memorising what she intended to say — Even if it would have been fairly easy to just read from a sheet of paper. It's a matter getting the information out, professionally, and in a reasonable amount of time. Even if she loathes professionalism and much prefers bunnies. And sparkles. GLITTER.

Noticing Megan's redness for the first time, the black-haired woman looks over to her temporary partner, smirking a bit. "Oh, don't listen much to Bingo, Meg. Trust me. I saw him trying on women's underwear while we were shopping for you."

See, Meg? She's got your back.

—-

Benjamin is stone cold sober here. He's just feeling relaxed and comfortable, all things considered. Now that the work portion has been dealt with, he reaches for his carry on to get out a book.. then sputters. "I so was not!" Pause. "They didn't have my color so I didn't. Meryl was the one who ran around ladies' lingerie with a D cup on her head, claiming she was good witch of Oz."

—-

Though getting herself under control, Megan is slowly turning back to her normal coloring. Still pink around the ears and cheeks, she finds that she may be actually able to pu ther book down again. At least part of the way, though she holds it open just in case she needs to hide behind it again. It's quite a convenient shield. Looking between Meryl and Benjamin, she's not even sure what to make of their argument, since both sides seem so ridiculous. "Did ye no' find a bra that fit?" It sounds almost like a real question, it's said with the same kind of amazement that she uses for most questions involving Meryl and Benjamin.

—-

"Well, I am the Good Witch of Oz," Meryl replies, denying nothing. It might be true. "Still, I'm allowed to wear underwear on my head." Female, after all. It's a question of entitlement or something. Benjamin's a guy. So… "Well, I wouldn't say he didn't find anything, it's just that we were on a budget, and we'd already exceeded it."

Turning her chair, she looks out the window at nothing but clouds and ocean. Someone really should put something interesting between here and there for curious people to look at. She can't help feeling a little excited, though, wondering what it must be like to have fewer than a million thoughts all going through her head at the same time. Meryl doesn't really remember anything else, but she imagines it must be nice.

"So, I promised story time and marshmallows." Meryl won't pull out the fire, but she does dig through her bag until she comes up with a bag of marshmallows. "Anyone want so share?"

—-

"Well.. I'm kind of a big guy, so there's no way I could have been used to guess your size. Meryl's better for that.. and we also got your measurements off your file." There. How do you like that Meryl? Benjamin's finally playing along. To Megan's question, he answers straight-faced, "No. They all kinda pinched." Leaving his carry on where it is, he swipes some chocolate bars from it before relocating himself to sit next to Meryl. "Sure. I've got the chocolate." And it's rather high quality stuff too! "We need graham crackers. Think the kitchen on this plane has some?"

—-

The talk of underwear and other silliness draws an eyeroll from Nova, and she finds herself watching out the window as they talk. The conversation diverts, however, and she eyes those marshmallows warily. When no evidence of fire starting seems to forthcoming, she relaxes a fraction. She doesn't offer up a story, but she is, at least, listening.

—-

Unsure of what exactly this little impromptu campfire session with no campfire will entail, Megan finally sets down her book. The talk, while still about underwear, has become tamer and not included her, so she hasn't found her blush returning. Thank heavens for small favors. When Meryl offers marshmallows, the auburn haired girl reaches forward to one or two to nibble on while listening. "Yer no' really gonna try and roast them are ye? They're fine without the fire." And she's fine without having to worry about a fire on the plane.

—-

After everyone settles in a bit - and Meryl denies that she will be roasting anything - the rest of the flight goes on uneventfully. Thankfully, they all seem to behave thmselves on the plane, except for certain outbursts of excitement from Meryl, and Benjamin singing along on his iPod from time to time. Eventually, though, all horrid things must come to an end.

Hours and hours later, the plane will land in another continent entirely. They'll all be tired by this point; thankfully, they have a day to settle in before they start with the search. The hotel is nice, their room is a suite, though, really, they have the whole floor to themselves, should anyone have the desire to run off to another of the rooms on their own. Tempers might run short and all that, as time goes on.

Besides which, Meryl claims a whole bed for herself.

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