‘These readings are…weird with a capital W.’ Jane said as she turned the screen enough for Loki and Tony to see. ‘They’re not exactly human, but they’re not Asgardian, they’re like a combination of the two, plus something else I don’t understand.’
‘Screenshot it and send it to me.’ Tony asked as Loki examined the Asgardian symbols mixed with the code of the security system, and that third mystery element.
‘You know what it is?’ Jane asked. ‘Because I’m stumped. There’s something else in there that shouldn’t be.’
‘It brought the Asgardian script with it, plus this…other.’ Loki pointed to the alien symbols.
‘Anything you recognise?’ Bruce asked from the other side of the table. He liked to keep large objects between him and the God, just in case.
‘They are not Chitauri in origin, nor from any of the nine realms, I know all their languages and syntax. This is something unfamiliar, even to me.’
‘Reassuring.’ Tony said as he forwarded on the screenshot to his contact.
‘Not particularly. It means while this creature has either the power or backing of a powerful Asgardian sorcerer some other alien element has thrown its lot in too.’
‘Alien element? Can you be more specific?’ Jane asked.
‘Alien as in unknown, Dr Foster, not of a particular extraterrestrial species.’
‘So, you don’t know?’
‘I am uncertain and I would not like to hazard a guess. It does mean however that all of the suggestions I made will not help. None of them fit this pattern.’
‘An unknown whatever mixed with Asgardian sorcery?’ Bruce took his glasses off as he examined the screen again.
‘You’ve pissed off someone really high powered.’ Tony said as he put his phone back in his pocket. ‘And you can’t figure out who. That’s gotta be frustrating.’
‘I am more concerned with Sigyn’s safety. This thing paid her an inordinate amount of attention.’
‘I thought it was you it was after?’ Jane frowned.
‘Oh it is, it wishes me harm of some sort, but its scrutiny of Sigyn was unnerving. While you were unable to salvage much of the security footage rest assured, it took notice of her and it took a distinct dislike to my presence near her.’
‘A jealous alien?’ Tony pulled a face.
‘I am unsure jealousy is the right word, as that describes actual emotion. This thing was not truly alive, however it spent its time trying to reach her, but non threateningly, almost as though her presence surprised it.’
‘Maybe not expecting another Asgardian?’ Bruce suggested.
‘She isn’t truly an Asgardian, she has human physiology.’
‘Not just something as simple as why she was shut in the cell with you?’ Tony suggested, even though he didn’t believe it.
‘Naïve, Anthony.’ Loki gave him a knowing look.
‘Just covering all angles.’ He shrugged as his phone went off in his pocket. He checked the display and walked away, pressing it to his ear.
‘Dr Banner, can we reverse it?’ Loki came around the desk, moving the screen with him so the three of them could look together, and Bruce automatically tensed. ‘Can we use some sort of algorithm to look for any similar traces elsewhere? Perhaps track it to its source?’
‘It could be possible, if it’s acting like a code.’ Bruce nodded his understanding, surprised at how intuitive Loki was about science. ‘I’ll get the analysts on it.’
‘Excellent. Perhaps waiting on it to attack is not the best way. Maybe we need to find it before it makes another attempt.’
‘Proactive is good.’ Bruce nodded.
‘Got a lead on the alien element.’ Tony came back over. ‘Need to give it a little time, but some of the symbols got a hit.’
‘We’re going to try trace the code back to its source.’ Bruce said. ‘Can your mysterious contact you won’t tell us about if we ask do similar?’
‘Maybe. He’ll let me know.’ Tony shrugged.
‘Also, Dr Foster,’ Loki pointed to the way some of the Midgardian and Asgardian code blended, ‘ask Thor for the direct translations where they cross like this, and search the rest of the systems, everything, even the…refrigerator computer, for example, for any other code crossover. If it came in through one system it may have travelled to any other and be laying dormant.’
‘How do you know so much about computers?’ Jane asked, knowing Thor wasn’t exactly tech savvy.
‘Your science and our magic, they aren’t so different. And I do enjoy embracing new knowledge.’ He shrugged as he went for the door.
‘That’s not all he enjoys embracing.’ Jane murmured and both the scientists turned wide eyes on her.
‘You got a story, Janey?’ Tony asked with a small smile.
Jane looked between them, realising what she said. ‘What happens at girls night, stays at girls night.’ She grabbed her mug and rushed off to the coffee machine.
Loki let out a breath as he reached the mens room. This was worse news than he had expected. So many elements working together was worrying, and if it were just he at risk he would fear less, but Sigyn? He couldn’t risk her. If not for him she would not be in any danger, he needed to find a way get her to safety. But how? She was as stubborn as she was loyal. He had lost her once and he was damned if he would do it again. He would lie, if he had to, to ensure her safety, he could always apologise and explain his motives later, and if she never forgave him, so be it, as long as she survived and this thing left her alone, he could learn to live without her again, somehow.