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Okay, so, S.H.I.E.L.D. just swept in and took all their data. All their data. Data which Erik is now willing to accept is potentially viable and interesting. On the other hand, there was a literal blank check in return, but, even so, last nights data, the images etc, based on what they'd got before that, won't be replicated for a long time. That was literally priceless to the scientific community. And S.H.I.E.L.D. just walked in here and took it.

So, with nothing else to do, the three of them find themselves on the roof of the laboratory, looking out over the town.

"Years of research, gone." Jane states.

"They even took my iPod," complains Darcy. Which, in Erik's opinion is the least of their worries at the moment.

Erik thinks for a moment, before inquiring, "What about the backups?" It's not his lab, he doesn't know what their backup procedures were.

"They took our backups. They took the backups of our backups, they were, extremely thorough," is Jane's dejected reply. Oh, okay.

"Just downloaded, like, thirty songs onto there," says Darcy.

"Could you please stop with your iPod?" Jane nearly explodes at Darcy, before asking, "Who are these people?"

Erik considers his reply, "I knew this scientist. A pioneer in gamma radiation. S.H.I.E.L.D. showed up and um, he wasn't heard from again." Not the nicest statement to hear, given their situation.

"They're not gonna do that to us." Jane insists. "I'm gonna get everything back."

"um er please," Erik stutters. "Let me contact one of my colleagues, he's had some dealings with these people before. I'll email him and, maybe he can help."

"They took your laptop too." says Darcy.

A despairing look is shared between the three of them, before they realise, hang on, the Library has computers and an internet connection. It's at the other end of town, so Erik and Jane jump in the van and head down there, while Darcy gathers something for lunch for the lot of them.

It takes Erik a little while to get the wording of the e-mail right, but finally, he's happy that it will be accepted at face value as being true, without giving away just how dangerous a position they could be in.

As he walks back out, he passes a trolley with recently returned stock, that hasn't been placed back on the shelves. He notices The Giant Slayer on there, and picks it up, memories of a childhood playing games in these worlds bringing a smile to his face. Then he notices another, Myths and Legends from Around the World. He flips it open, and finds the section on the Norse myths. Glancing through it, produces pages on the Bifrost, and Thor, from who's name Thursday is derived.

It's ridiculous, it's children's stories, but that's exactly the point, this is the same story the Thor guy is talking about. He decides to take it out, to prove the point to Jane.

Except, she's not there. What the hell? I specifically told her to wait there and not leave the van are his first thoughts when he sees it gone. He takes a good look round, to check it's not parked up some way down the road, although why Jane would do that is beyond him anyway. With no other options open to him, he sets off to walk back to the lab, where Darcy should have been getting some lunch stuff ready, if she wasn't doing something impulsive and stupid as well.

Fortunately for Erik, she was being sensible, and had lunch laid out for three when he walked back in, late.

"Where've you two been?" she demands when he walks in.

"Did you hear the van? It's just me," he replies, placing the book on the table before continuing, "I'm hoping she's gone off to get some supplies to start rebuilding her equipment, but..." he tails off.

They dig in to lunch without Jane, in the end. After lunch, they flick through the book, but don't really notice what they are looking at.

As night comes in, vast thunderstorm gathers overhead. It destroys any and all cell phone signal they had, which was minimal in the first place. When it eases up, and phone signal returns, Erik finds a message from Jane waiting for him.

"Hi Erik, it's me, don't worry, I'm fine, but um, just in case you don't hear from me in the next hour, just, come by the crater site and, try and find me, okay? I did exactly what you told me not to. I'm sorry, so sorry, bye." She doesn't sound fine, despite what she says, and the rain will surely have soaked her to the skin, so Erik and Darcy head out to persuade someone to loan them a car to drive to the crater.

They pick up Jane and the van and head back to the lab. Due to them being separated, Darcy having to drive the car back, while Erik drives the van, Jane waits to tell them what happened until they are back at the lab.

One recap later. Jane wants them to go and get Thor.

Erik, though, is having none of it. "He committed a crime. He's in jail!"

"I can't just leave him there." Jane continues to insist.

"Why?" comes Erik's sharp reply. Darcy, bored by the continuing argument, is looking through the Myths and Legends book again.

"You didn't see what I saw."

Maybe he didn't, but he's heard her tell it several times over now, just to make sure he's got all the details correct in his head.

Darcy gasps, "Look, it's Mjolnir." She still mangles the pronunciation, but it's better than last time. Jane, frustrated by the interruption, moves around to look, she saw The Hammer at the crater, even if it was through the plastic sheeting and rain.

When she sees what Darcy's been looking through, she's quiet for a moment, before asking Erik (because it's obviously a Library book, and he'd been the one to enter the Library) "Where'd you find this?"

"The children's section," Erik concedes. It's not technically true, but it would have been had the book not just been returned. "I just wanted to show you how silly his story was."

Jane gets rather animated at that. "But you're the one who's always pushing me to chase down every possibility, every alternative."

Erik hadn't quite expected her to pull that one out of the bag. "I'm talking about science, not magic."

Darcy, realising she's not going to get any more reading done for the moment, with these two arguing, removes her glasses.

Again, Jane ripostes. "Well, magic's just science we don't understand yet. Arthur C. Clarke."

Arthur C. Clarke, the author. That quote is used in so many contexts, often where it's not relevant. Here though? "Who wrote science fiction." are all the words Erik can gather to defend his position.

"A precursor to science fact!" Jane yells back at him.

"In some cases, yes." Erik concedes. Although it's clear he doesn't think that's the case here.

Jane continues to attack, "Well, if there is an Einstein-rosen bridge, then there's something on the other side. And advanced beings could have crossed it." A perfectly well reasoned argument.

"Oh, Jane!" Erik exclaims. With the exception of the evidence they have collected, which is by no means conclusive in any way, the evidence appears to favour the concept that such things are not possible, or only so on a microscopic scale.

Darcy chooses this moment to weigh in with her thoughts. "A primitive culture like the Vikings might have worshipped them as deities." Well, isn't that political science study useful! No one would have thought of that!

Jane takes a small moment to realise Darcy's agreeing with her, before saying, "Yes, yes, exactly!" Half a second later, she adds a "Thank you," to Darcy.

"mm hmm" Darcy finishes.

Erik, double teamed upon and beaten, sighs and says no more.


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Dr. Erik Selvig

January 2013

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