It had started when White had asked Angel to look into a possible new spy, a kid with the right ambitions and the heart in the right place, but with the kind of looks that made you wonder if he wouldn't snap in two halves if he just sneezed. So he had asked Angel to to give the kid a proper health check and then tell him the results.
He didn't really know why he felt something was different. Angel had taken spies through physical tests before, and now was no exception as she according to the report had taken the kid through the more normal tests one could think of. Running, lifting things, climbing and so on. This had in the end showed, that the kid was perfectly capable of doing the proper physical things needed for spy work.
But then it had been time for Bone's yearly medical evaluation. When that particular order had come in, White had found himself flinching, both out of slight pity and because the name brought up a few bad memories. Bone was one of the White agency's senior agents, and like White he had been considered one of the better agents back in the day. Now however, because of circumstances that had taken place during the Cold War, he was resigned to only do simple desk work. And the reason for that was Bonk Poisoning.
'Bonk' was an experimental energy drink, and a few spies had been roped into being an experimental group. Bone had been among them, and he had been one of the few lucky ones to survive the consequences; The drink had been proven to not only be a concoction that only mad scientist could think of, but it had also been laced with radioactive materials. According to the label of a blue can that White had seen once, it was 'now with REAL isotopes.' It was not the most impressive, or useful experiment that White's agency had ever been a part of, and he couldn't help but wonder if Black's agency had been experimented on as well. It frankly pissed him off that they had been used as guinea pigs like that, but there had been nothing he could do.
Bone had survived, but parts of his inner systems had been
liquefied was probably the best word. On a bad day, he was twitchy and paranoid, sometimes going into insane mood swings where he claimed he was immortal. In the early days, he had needed to be escorted 24/7 so he wouldn't do something drastic to prove how invulnerable he was (like attempting to jump into traffic). On a good day, Bone suffered mostly from bad shakes, and he was if anything glad that he could type reports on a computer, so his superiors wouldn't tell him off for having terrible hand writing.
White had at first thought about warning Angel about Bone's condition, but a few old habits kept him from it. The whole incident with Bonk had been tightly shut down, after the experiments had failed the way they had, and any agents who knew about it had been forced to be silent if they knew what was good for them.
'Besides, she will probably just give him a routine examination, and nothing beyond that.' White thought, 'so there's no need to say anything, unless she questions it directly.'
A few days later, he received the medical report on Bone. White had expected some of the usual to be reported, about how Bone's systems were slowly failing and how he had been treated so and so in order to prolong his life (though knowing the poor bastard if he'd been having one of his bad days, he might have begged the doctor to end his life somehow.) He wasn't entirely wrong as Angel had stated on the first page that she had performed a routine examination of the man's heart and lungs, and taken the usual samples, and of course had found the complications that followed as a result of Bonk.
'Nothing you can do about that.' White thought, as he took a sip from his coffee. The next page had him do a spittake however.
'The patient has suffered from Bonk Poisoning for approximately 20+ years. I have administered the proper Hand der Barmherzigkeit treatment and medication required, but I can't guarantee that the patient will recover completely. Note: The patient couldn't tell me how he had come to be in this predicament. Must remember to ask Superior White about it at some point.'
White grabbed the phone, using it to call the infirmary, telling the person that picked up the phone that he wanted to see Angel ASAP.
Half an hour later, there was a knock on the door. White looked up with a frown. "Come in."
The door opened and Angel peered in. "You wanted to see me, sir?"
"Yes, I did. Come in, close the door and sit down." Angel nodded and did was she was told.
"Now, here's the thing." White said, leaning forward with a slightly menacing expression. "How do you know about Bonk Poisoning? And don't try to spin out some fairy tale about how you read about it in the medical file system. Any information about Project Bonk was declared classified!" He narrowed his eyes. "And then there's the Hand der Barmherzigkeit treatment. Where the hell did you get information on that?! Only one doctor had the information on that, and he disappeared before any of the agencies could get hold of it!"
Angel just sat there, blinking a bit owlishly. "I- I apologize sir, I know that agent Bone told me his information was classified, so that he couldn't give me any detailed information. All he would tell me was that he had been part of an experiment that went wrong." She bit her lower lip, looking uncertain. "As for the treatment
One of my uncles taught it to me. He figured it might come in handy one day." There was a long, awkward silence before she carefully spoke up again; "no offense sir, but you're giving me the 'I don't believe a word you're saying' look."
"And I have a very good reason to." White said coldly. When he noticed how Angel was starting to look spooked, he gave a frustrated sigh and sat back down.
"I think you need to tell me about your family." He said, crossing his arms over his chest. "Because all we have on file are their names. You've never given any proper detailed background about them, not even in your psychological reviews. I know we all are supposed to be secretive, but you do realize how this looks otherwise, don't you?"
Angel grimaced. "I do, sir. My apologies
I just hadn't thought about it before, and never giving any full details is just a habit I've grown up with. My family is very
unusual; Which is the only reason I haven't said anything before." She frowned, looking at her superior, "but I have never lied about anything otherwise. Pavlov can confirm that."
White just nodded. "I can understand wanting to not share everything. Some of us do come from some shitty backgrounds, but from how I can understand it, it was different for you. You were removed from your abusive aunt, and then adopted by a loving family who supported you in any way."
"Yes sir." Angel confirmed. "I better start from the beginning. As you will already know from my file, my real parents died in a car crash when I was four years old. I was then sent to live with my mother's sister, who was an abusive alcoholic, which she managed to hide from
just about everyone. She loathed me for some reason, and took every chance she could to abuse me. I met Sheila, who would become my adopted older sister, at school and she pretty much took me under her wing. She caught my aunt in the act of beating me with a broken bottle and
well, she stole me."
"Stole you?" White raised a brow.
"Heh, that's what she called it." Angel said with an amused smirk, "and she did so by taking me home to her place. I had been there a few times before, but it wasn't until later that I realized how that family was unusual. That's pretty much when I was introduced to one of the men who would become one of my uncles. He was a doctor, and the man who would become my adopted father wanted to do some things discreetly; Sheila's mother was furious and hated sitting around, but she knew that some things had to be done
"Legally, to be more exact. They had their own ways of dodging the law with some things, but my father knew that this was something that had to be taken care of by the courts, no matter how tedious it was. He had an advantage however, that I didn't find out about until much later. My aunt was arrested for abuse and the court had her sentenced to serve time; She died in prison from a brain tumor, and I was adopted into Sheila's family."
"I see." White nodded, "and the rest of your family?"
"My parents had been part of a team." Angel said. "My mother was the only woman there, and she was an expert in arson techniques, while my father was an engineer, mainly having expertise in specially constructed weaponry. The entire team was an experimental part of the military, but it was an experiment that was eventually discontinued."
"And the rest of your team were men you came to see as uncles?" White asked, to which Angel shook her head.
"The youngest member of the team was someone I and Sheila came to see as a cousin. He's mellowed a bit over the years, but he's very boastful. He taught us both how to run in 'the right way' as in how to run for long enough, without having to take too many breaks." She shrugged a bit. "I learned something useful from all of my uncles as well, really
Discipline from one who had been a sergeant in the army, about explosives from another, and Russian from a third who was also a heavy weapons expert. There was only one real 'spy' on their team, and he was one of those ladykiller martini-drinking types."
"I hate those guys." White said instantly.
"Um, that's my honorary uncle you're talking about."
"I take back nothing."
Angel thought for a moment but then decided it didn't matter and shrugged it off. "Finally, there was the man I called 'uncle Medic' but I know his real name was Dietwolf Engel."
"The only man who has ever found the cure for Bonk poisoning." White said with a sigh. "He was very thorough with gathering his things, when he vanished though."
Angel nodded. "He taught me about it though, along with some other things. It's how I got interested in medicine, though I can say I was taught both sides of the coin."
"Well there *is* a good reason, that my uncle lost his medical license." White snorted at that, sitting back a bit in his chair.
"Well, I can't disagree about having an unusual family, but it's obvious it's been to your benefit. You *have* been a great help, and it does explain why you have that 'take no shit from anyone' attitude, though that's a good thing. I take it that your 'spy' uncle's teachings did that you were able to find out where we held Alabaster's funeral back in the day?"
Angel nodded at that. "It was. He always taught me how to notice specific small details, and that newspaper ad was one of them. The rest was a bit of a lucky guess." She then paused when she suddenly thought of something. "Oh, you can't miss him if he visits either. He'll be trying to imitate one of ours."
White raised a brow at the casual way she said it. "Imitating how?" He said with a frown.
"I was never sure how it worked, but he wears a paper mask with the person's head drawn on it." Angel said. "We always figured it might have been some kind of technology, rather than possible hypnotism, since that is theoretical at best."
"Brain-wave specific." White agreed. "I heard they experimented with that a bit, but it tended to make the targets... unhinged. There was this one company that did a lot of that kind of thing, including that Bonk energy drink, which caused Bone's condition. All their products tended to be just as harmful for the user as they were for the enemy. Rumor has it the owner died trying to perfect 'shark-repellant spray.'"
Angel was quiet for a bit, before she carefully asked: "Was it named something along the lines of Mann Co.?"
"Sounds right." White said with a shrug.
"That would be who my parents worked for." Angel said slowly, "along with my extended family."
White stared at her for a long moment at that before he spoke. "...Wow. Guess it runs in the blood, huh?" Then he recalled what Angel had said about being adopted. "Or rather, nurture instead of nature then."
"Pretty much." Angel agreed, "but they would drop everything in an instant for all of us. My uncle Heavy could be a bit over the top sometimes, but he meant well."
"Hey, family is family. You're lucky you had one that loved you unconditionally." White said seriously. "We still get a few who have pretty much run away from home for one reason or another."
Angel nodded, knowing fully well who White meant. "They're not against my career either, " she then said with a smile. "Another uncle of mine is actually pretty proud of how I'm a medic for a spy agency."
White nodded. "That's good. A lot of the spies can't talk about their work at all."
"I have never told them about some of the incidents we've had with rival agencies, though." Angel said slowly. "Or the Anarchists for that matter."
White grimaced and nodded in agreement. "Probably for the best. Revenge is... messy."
"And my mother can get very creative with flammable objects. Or people." Angel said, in a tone that very much suggested she was not joking. But then White hadn't expected her to.
"I bet Fourth of July was fun at your place." He said with a smirk.
"I'll put it this way." Angel said, returning the smirk. "The neighbours evacuated weeks beforehand."