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Ever since she had come to live within the Avengers facility on Midgard, there were few people that could relate to her situation. Thor could, having been exiled from Asgard before, but that was really it. She was - as the Midgardian expression went - a fish out of water. Sure, there were some who could come close to understanding that. There was Carol, who was close...though she was beginning to acclimate much easier. Simon Williams, too, was having issues...but was doing better, or at least Sif thought. It would take some time, but he'd get adjusted. Sif was, often, sure she wouldn't. Despite her coming to understand Midgard better, she just wasn't completely certain she could take to it as Thor had.
Maybe it would come with time. It wasn't as though she was short on that, relatively speaking to humans.
One person she had found a strange kinship with, however, was the being known as Vision. He was not of Midgard either, at least not completely. He was also not a man...and not a construct, existing as something in-between. But he was an object of curiosity to her as she was sure he was to many others for a simple reason: he'd been able to lift Mjolnir. A feat that, by all rights, should have been impossible to anyone outside of Asgard, and even then it was a select group. Sif, herself, had never even thought to try to lift it. Not that she believed she were worthy of such.
But Vision had, and it interested her. When he returned from Fiji, it had sparked a dialogue between the two, early into her time in the facility and, when her training or duties did not see her performing either of them, she'd found a most interesting past time in the last few weeks since his return: chess. A game of skill and tactics. It was different now than what she remembered, but it was fundamentally the same. They had played a few games now, which had led to lengthier conversations between the pair of them.
Such as it was on this day, when Sif found herself setting up the board and Vision came through the wall rather unceremoniously. When he had first done it, Sif had believed she was under attack. Now, it was just amusing to her. "Good afternoon, Vision." She said, dressed in a simple black shit and pants rather than her armor. It was better to play chess in, she had found.
On coming back from Fiji, and the extended trip to try and acclimate to both his life and emotions, following the injury of Rhodes at his hands... Vision found that there was very little that felt familiar, but perhaps that was for the best. After all... he wasn't what one could call normal, either.
Being that he wasn't the usual sort that lived in these halls, as he was neither human, Asgardian or anything else similar... there were very few in whom he could confide or speak to about how he should address such thoughts that kept his mind buzzing. Being alone on that island did help... as it'd given him time away from all that was familiar... and given him a new understanding of why one kept their allies close. Friends, as they were, helped one cope, and the feeling he'd slowly come to understand was guilt... it ate at him. Without his usual confidant, Wanda, he found himself either talking to Mister Stark... or, as was more likely, alone, pondering so many thoughts over a simple chess board.
In time, he'd been joined by one of the Asgardian warriors, the Lady Sif.
At first, he'd found himself studying her, wondering what it was that she could perhaps hope to glean from him... but in time, he came to understand that they had a shared sort of distance from everyone else. Sure, she had Thor and he had Mister Stark, but... they were unlike most, and that made it so one looked to the other for a sort of... companionship. After all, allies came in many different forms and in different guises... and he found that he could almost call her... friend.
And, she was a skilled chess player, to boot.
But knowing that she was likely waiting, as was their usual time to partake in a game, Viz simply phased through the wall and into the room that was their usual setting, the sitting room bright and airy, lit by sunshine from outside through the large windows along one wall. At her greeting, he moved to sit in the chair opposite hers, a simply nod given in greeting. "And good afternoon to you as well, Lady Sif," he returned, just before shifting a little on the chair, his sweater and chinos no longer out of place, but completely comfortable, if not real. They appeared to be, and that was enough for Vision.
"I hope you've been well," he said and leaned in to help set up the chess board, putting pieces in their proper places. "You no longer seem afraid when I phase through the wall. It is a relief."
"A warrior who finds herself surprised on the battlefield may find herself never being anything else ever again." Sif replied to Vision's words about coming through the wall. True, there were certain things that always were to surprise you and you had to react quickly to them. On the field of battle, though, that feeling was one of many you could not afford to let overcome you. Of course, she didn't see Vision as an enemy, it had merely been a statement on preparedness. That and Vision's travels through the facility were well known. Being that the man was able to phase through walls, doors seemed a rather archaic concept.
She watched as he moved like a ghost, floating in and his body and clothing solidifying as he came to sit on the chair across from her. Like her, he had gone with more Midgardian clothing. It seemed a little strange, on his body as they were with the rest of it looking so...colorful, but she paid it no mind. As unique as he was, there were stranger and more paradoxical creatures in the Nine Realms than Vision. And even more so beyond.
"But I have been quite well, thank you for your concern." Sif said as they worked together to set up the last of the pieces. "I hope you have been much the same yourself." And looking over the board, she found that the white pieces were aligned on his side, and the black upon hers. "And, I believe, it is your move." She said with a bright smile.
"Very true, though... this is not the battlefield, and I am not armed. Neither are you," he said entirely composed, just before coming to rest opposite the Goddess of War. He knew that there were many who felt discomfited by the way he tended to float about, so he often tried to remember to increase his density and walk, as they did, but having been away in Fiji... he was still getting used to being around humanity again. There was nothing for miles... and it'd been idyllic.
Ah, well... back to the grind.
His eyes resting on the person opposite him, he helped ensure that the board was ready for play. Letting his gaze fall to the chess pieces before him, he paused to pick one up, examine it... and then settled it back in place, his expression unchanging throughout. Yes, he was going to enjoy this. "Perhaps it's best you put such a tactical mind more towards the game than on my methods of entering a room... because I beat you the last time."
And if he could have understood that he'd felt pride in that moment, he would have preened. But he didn't, and so, he couldn't.
Instead, he showed how positive he felt for her health with a nod, a faint smile, before allowing his eyes to rise to hers once more. "Of course," he murmured, just before setting the final piece down and pulled back enough to relax in the chair. "I have, thank you for asking," he said with a pleasant little nod, ever the polite android as he settled his arms on the chair, relaxing there as much as he possibly could.
Indeed, he was almost feeling as if he was ready, when she spoke about playing, and he offered her a faint smile as he leaned forward, picking up one of the pawns to settle it a pace ahead of itself. "Perhaps you will have more luck this time. Often, being beaten soundly is enough reason for some to fight twice as hard."
"Indeed not." Sif said as they worked together to set up the last of the pieces. "But my combat instructor always taught that one can never be over-prepared. There could very well come a day when it is not you who comes through a wall." Given that there were at least seventeen different species out in the cosmos that she knew of which such an ability - and that Midgard was becoming more and more a target for alien life than most - it was a true enough statement.
She raised a brow at his words, somewhat amused. "Indeed." Sif said as they settled back and prepared to play. "As I recall, I had you handily beat until you maneuvered around my bishops to break my pin." She had become quite handy with such a trick, and most less-able opponents could not compensate. Vision, however, had after a time. It seemed having the intellect of multiple men also aided in his spacial reasoning and strategy a great deal.
Sif nodded and smiled. "Most excellent, yes." She said, watching as Vision scouted out the board and prepared to make his first move. With the pleasantries out of the way, it was time to move the pieces about the board. The Goddess of War found herself raising a brow again as Vision...what was the Midgardian expression again? 'Threw shade' (She still wasn't entirely clear on what covering oneself from a star's light had to do with that)? She laughed. "As I recall, you had lost your Queen and both your Rooks during our last match. No easy feat." She said. "But just you wait, my friend...just you wait..." Sif mirrored his move, moving the identical pawn forward on her side of the board.
"Highly improbable," he returned with a nod, Vision's eyes focusing a little more on the woman opposite, his expression unchanging as he settled the last of the pawns onto the chess board. "I do believe that not everyone could phase through a wall the way I do, and if they could, it would likely be a passive power," he added, giving Sif another long look before leaning back, fingertips pressed together as he began to formulate a possible plan for the game. "But I agree, preparedness in some degree, is important."
Because he was preparing to hand her another defeat.
His amusement showed in the way his lips curled up along one side, though he didn't really feel the emotion that went along with it. He knew it was socially acceptable, from the smile she was wearing, to give her one as well. "Yes, and that is the entire point of the exercise: to show logic in the midst of battle, and win," he said matter-of-factly, just before giving her a look. "You left your defence wide-open, and I had no other choice but to ensure your defeat. I have been told by others you use such a tactic and... it was time it failed." And honestly? If he could have felt smug right then? He would have. The shock on her face had been very real.
"Good," he returned, just before taking that first step, pushing his pawn into place. Eyes rising to that of the woman's opposite, he simply arched a brow, remembering something that Mister Stark once said. "Ouch," he said, holding a hand to his chest, as if injured. "That would have hurt, if I didn't beat you directly after," he reminded her, only to motion to the board, as it was her turn. Watching her make an identical play, then, just caused Vision to lean forward, eyeing the board... before moving another pawn forward. "It seems we will find out, indeed, during this match, who is the better player."
"In the star systems known to Asgard, there are seventeen separate species who have such powers to change their solidity as you do. Given Midgard's tendency to be attacked by alien species, it could very potentially one day not be you." Sif told him. She nodded when the android agreed with her. Preparation was key to, well, being prepared. A warrior caught unaware, as she had said before, stood a very good chance or neither being unaware nor anything else ever again.
"It is, is it not?" Sif asked. If Vision were not the logical being that he was, Sif might have been insulted. But Vision did not have emotions, not exactly. Or, at least, not to the magnitude that Midgardians seemed to have them. Yet, from what she had heard, he was becoming more human all the time in his own way. It was interesting, really. Given his vast intellect and cognitive processes, Vision was likely the most intelligent out of all of them, yet he had the same grasp of social norms that a child might. To Midgardians he might have seemed rude. Sif just thought it was amusing, the level of bluntness he could achieve.
"A defense in one arena could serve as deception in another..." Sif said. Of course, that logic was exactly how he'd managed to best her this time. His humor made her laugh, as she was sure was intended. "We shall see how wounded you feel at the end of this." She teased, their opening moves made. "Indeed. If only other problems were so easy to solve over a friendly match..." She said.
Her mind went to the matter of the Sokovia Accords, and of the rift that had been formed and standing long between the two groups of Avengers. "Perhaps we should get Stark and Captain Rogers together for a game." It was a joke, but given her conversation with Romanoff some time ago, Sif wondered if that wasn't ultimately a plausible solution.
'Perhaps... but the law of averages does not allow for such beings to be here, in this particular building, at any time in the near future. The security would not permit it, if they should try and enter," Vision reminded the Lady Sif with that very same level of calm, before his eyes fell to the chessboard again. Indeed, he had read up on other species that could do what he did... but his uniqueness did not stem from his powers, but from his origins. He was well aware of everything that happened before, and during, his emergence.
He was trying to remember, though, that people did not like him entering a room that way.
Besides, he agreed with her about being prepared, but he was not about to deny that things happened when no one could foresee. If anything, though, that was why he'd used a tactic in their last game to beat her so handily, because what he'd seen of the Lady Sif, she relied too much on past experience and her smugness in the very same was not a winning personality trait, but a flaw that he understood could have been used against her. He was doing his best, then, to help her. In his own way, of course. "It is, indeed."
And honestly? He felt his plan succeeded, though he had a feeling she would be willing to pay him back, as others spoke of. He knew she was vindictive.. but he didn't mind. It was all in fun, after all. They were allies.
"Perhaps," he said as he glanced up again and then pondered what she said. "But that is the very nature of a defence. It is meant to protect one's self..." he said but then he'd been playful, pretending harm, with a hand on his chest, as if to show pain. As he felt neither, he found himself smiling, his lips forming the expression easily. Perhaps he had Wanda to thank for such things, because he remembered how she seemed to behave when he was being lighter. Cheeky, as she called it. "Yes, we shall see," he said and then offered another smile.
But then she mentioned problems being solved over such a board, and he had a feeing he knew what she was getting at. As she mentioned Mister Stark and the Captain Rogers directly after, his suspicions were confirmed. "Perhaps, but I believe they would come to a stale-mate. Mister Stark is skilled at the game, and Captain Rogers has a tactical mind. Between the two, I would not be sure of the eventual winner," he said and moved another of his pieces forward, the pawn clicking against the laminated wood as he set it down. "But bias would have to make me assume it would be Mister Stark. He is one of the few to have beaten me, handily."
"If my experience on the field of battle has taught me anything, Vision, it's that you cannot always rely on the law of averages." Sif said. The odds were against a warrior more often than not, and allowing yourself to become bogged down with probabilities and random chance was...not advisable. It allowed too much over-thinking. While some of it was good...it was something that had to be measured, or it could be as deadly to you as the sharpest of blades.
She really did like Vision. He was one of the few individuals that Sif felt she could have a genuine conversation with. Or, at least, someone who had such a perspective as she and Thor did. Being not of this world, Vision had the outsider's perspective and thus saw things in a way that was more detached as Sif did...and Thor sometimes did, as well. Thor was becoming a bit more wise to the ways of the Midgardians, and Sif would be lying if she said her experiences over the last few months hadn't changed her. So it was nice to have conversations with someone a little more objective, as Vision was.
"They seem to be doing well to a stalemate without the chess set being involved." Sif said glumly as she considered Vision's words and her next move in even measure. "Yes, you've mentioned before. I've yet to play against the man myself." She'd honestly not been overly surprised that Stark played chess. Despite his...eccentricities...he was of a genius intellect and such games were common enough to their predilections. It would make an...interesting game, to be certain. "But then that's why you don't send a Midgardian to do an Asgardian's job." Sif teased as she finally made her next move.
“This is true, though it is the law of averages for a reason,” he reminded Sif, Vision’s expression unchanging as he met her eyes. Sure, she was a warrior, and he knew that the breadth of her experiences were the basis for her opinion, but he was one who’d read much about the way that the world worked, and thus, had come to a conclusion based on those facts he’d attained. That, and from the battles with Ultron and Rogers, though short-lived in the scheme of things. “There are things inside and outside their scope that can change one’s mind… but more often than not, you have to remember that they are used narrowly. And right now, I can safely say that no one is getting into this facility without my knowledge…” he added, meeting her eyes. “And I pity whoever would try.”
After all, anyone who broke in… they’d have to deal with him AND Sif, for instance. It would be foolish.
Even despite the way that their conversation sounded, he found that she was one of those that he could hold a conversation with… and who didn’t treat him as strange, or wrong. To him, she was just as foreign as he was, being from another planet… and it was nice to carry on conversations where they could discuss things that others took for granted. Sure, she was different than Simon Williams… and breathed, ate and the rest, as a biological being, but her thought process nearly mirrored is own. That was why playing chess against her was especially enticing.
But it was the mention of one of his ‘Makers’, so to speak, that had him nodding faintly as he reached for another piece, thoughtfully holding it while he pondered its move. “That they are. But I would imagine that introducing a chess board and giving them a goal might help them steer towards it, rather than carry on a lengthy battle of words and deeds, such as they have done,” he rejoined, before meeting her eyes once more. Still, hearing her say she hadn’t played Stark in chess just caused him to nod. “That is quite alright. He is busy, and does not often play, that I can see…” he said quietly. Still, as she went on, he just simply eyeing her… before setting his piece down in another spot. “You will find that these people will surprise you.. just as I’m sure I will… once this game is won.”
He was ever the analytical mind. There would be no more chance of convincing him from that path than she would have a chance of convincing a computer to do something beyond its computations. He was young, of course. Smart beyond the telling of it, yet little in terms of experience. Perhaps time would change him, Sif knew that for all her qualities that would not be something she could achieve. She was rather amused at the thought of someone trying to break into the facility. Between herself and Vision...they would have an unpleasant time of it. "As would I." She said with a bit of a smirk on her lips.
"Perhaps we should do just that, then." Sif half-joked as they debated their moves and performed them thus. In truth, she would like to see a resolution to the troubles that had torn the Avengers apart. While Thor was a close friend of Tony's, Sif knew that he still spoke so well of Steven Rogers as well as others who had joined up with them since before the incident in Sokovia. She had even had the privilege of meeting one, Natasha Romanoff, who she had formed a bond with in their albeit brief time. A like mind to her own...much like the android she played against now.
"Life is full of surprises, my friend." Sif said. "Even in a life as short as yours has been, I am certain you have seen more than your fair share." She moved a piece along the board, setting it in the perfect position to "Check." She said, that smirk on her lips broadening just a bit.
Oh, yes. There were surprises to be found everywhere.
Vision eyed the smirk that Sif wore for a moment before his own lips mirrored hers, correctly reading that she found the thought amusing, of someone attempting to break into the Facility, and thus, would face down himself and the Goddess of War. It was a fitting name for her, because he'd seen some instances of her in action, thanks to the ability to hack into most systems... and SHIELD, they'd captured footage. He knew she would be a worthy ally in keeping everyone safe in that building. "Then we should hope that no one tries to infiltrate, otherwise they will find they will have trouble on their hands they cannot hope to beat," he said and then his lips settled out into the same calm lines as before. "Humanity can be awfully foolish at times."
Spoken like a true Android.
But nodding at her as she spoke of giving Stark and Rogers a chess board, he simply nodded a moment before making his move, followed by her own actions. It was easy to consider the ramifications of such things from a distance, but he did not think that a game would help. Time for such action had long since passed, as was shown by the battle in Berlin. He wasn't about to say aloud that he hadn't warned them, but... he'd foreseen the catastrophe that this situation turned into.
"It can be surprising, events and how they transpire... but not always. Some situations, you can see danger coming," he remarked, just as she put one of his pieces in check. In a heartbeat, he just moved one of his own knights right into the path of the piece she'd placed, and then knocked hers over, essentially ending the check she'd put his King into. "Just like that." With that, he leaned back, still meeting her eyes. "But... indeed, it's not as if we cannot act to diffuse a situation before it becomes hard to manage." And then he glanced up, meeting her eyes across the board. "Just like that."
"Indeed, they can." Sif said, chuckling a bit at the pronouncement. Their outsider perspective letting them see Midgardians in a more...neutral light. "When I first came to Midgard...again, this time, when Thor found me...I still believed as I did before about Midgardians. As I had for centuries." She told the android. "But being here...serving with the Avengers...I see them in a different light. They may be foolish, but many of them are capable of great good as much as they are capable of backwards and savage evil. After all..." Her smirk became a bit of a smile. "...they're only human."
Vision moved one of his knights over, ending the Check she'd put on his King. She heard his words as she plotted her next move...or pretended to, anyway. "From what I have heard of Berlin and of the man Helmut Zemo, no one did see that coming. Nor could have." She said. "But I am given to understand that a lot of what happened could have been avoided with proper communication. And trust." It was a shame, seeing the Avengers as a house divide. She had met with Romanoff, saw that they were not the criminals that Ross and those that supported the Sokovia Accords with fervent allegiance.
They had honor. She could potentially not be here today, if Romanoff had not acted as she had.
"Thor once told me that the All-Father had told him that a good king does not seek out war, but that he must always be prepared for it." Sif said. "That, I think, is true whether you are a king, a warrior, or an android." Her smirk came back as her next move saw her claim Vision's Queen and once more put his King in check with the use of a bishop, Knight protecting it from being taken on one angle, and a Rook behind it to do likewise.
"Perhaps advice you could extrapolate? Check." She said, grinning cheerfully.
"You are quite right. As with all things, there are good, and bad. There cannot have one without the other," Vision agreed, nodding a bit as he leaned back from the chess board, his eyes going to her face to better show he was paying attention. He'd found long ago that if he didn't, it tended to unnerve people and as he was trying so desperately to appear human at times, it was practice, with Sif. He had a feeling she understood. "But it is as you say, they are only human. They do not have the advantage of long-life or a database of information stored in their brains, the way you and I have..." he said and shrugged one shoulder, the movement one he'd caught in others. "It makes them seem more interesting, if still foolish."
Leaning his hand away as he watched her look at the chess board, once he'd made his move and saved his King, Viz merely waited for her to make her move, too... though he had to admit, she was not wrong, in her assessment of the cause of all the discontent a few years before. Baron Zemo had been an unfortunate victim, some felt, though his actions could not be disregarded. "Indeed, he was a person none of us understood to be a threat, until it was too late." With that, he glanced up, eyeing her... before nodding. "Perhaps. But even then, sentiment and that lack of communication caused there to be an unwillingness to listen, until it was already too late. Trust was broken," he added, giving her a look. "But all of this is seen with the added perspective of time, and knowing what transpired. In the moment, none of us ever c expected this to happen the way it did. That the Avengers would be broken so absolutely."
But as she went on, offering some of Odin's advice, he was about to question it... before what she did made him stop, turning his head to glance down at the chess board again. She had upped her game, it seemed, and he was in check again.
Blinking, he took a moment to examine the board, and then slowly smiled, tilting his head up to face her once more. "Indeed. It seems the last time I beat you so handily, you have prepared for it. I would applaud, but I feel you would think it rude of me." With that, he reached down to take her Bishop with one of the pawns sitting close by. "But you will see that sometimes sacrifices must be made... even when it looks as if we have no other choice. And this is one of those times."
And then he smiled.
She nodded at Vision's words. "A balance, yet constant struggle that the whole of Eternity maintains." Sif said. It was the way of the universe. She nodded further as he spoke of the perspective of humanity compared to beings as they were. She, considered a goddess by them and he - a being created by science and what many Midgardians might consider magic considering the Infinity Stone that was a part of his being. "That it does. That it does." Sif said. "Their lives are so fleeting. I have lived ten of their lifetimes easily myself. They are here for so short a time, yet they try to do so much in that time."
"They are interesting. And puzzling." Sif frowned at that thought, for a number of reasons. She knew that the things around them - the Avengers facility and the Avengers themselves - were temporary. The Avengers, Stark and his suits, even the S.H.I.E.L.D. would eventually crumble away with time. But beings like herself and Thor - and, perhaps, Vision as well now - would live on. They would see it all happened in ways that humans might only dream of. It was...heartbreaking. And beautiful. But she did not know why.
"I feel as though Thor being gone contributed to it as well." Sif said, grimacing a bit. "It seems he is a good balance between Stark and Captain Rogers." Thor likely had taken at least a little artistic license in some of the stories he told (as all great stories were told in the Asgardian way, of course), but she knew that he had occasional moments of being a voice of reason. Occasional. That perspective that Vision now gave to Stark, Thor could give as well. As could she, now.
"Such bonds take time to repair, but it is not impossible." Sif said. "A blade that breaks once can be reforged. Stronger than before. Under the proper conditions." She watched as he took her bishop, exactly as she had intended. "Very little in the universe is fully absolute." She said. Then she smirked a bit. "Like your winning streak."
Another piece taken. Her Queen in position and well out of range of any of his attackers, was moved to a likewise spot...and the word fell from her lips. "Check." She smiled. The Asgardian had the android on the ropes now, she was certain.
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