When Space-Idiots Attack

December 23, 2016:

A search for Thor leads Peter Quill to (knock down the) door of Dr. Jane Foster. Awkwardly enough, a deadly assassin happens to still be hanging out there at the time. SPECIAL CAMEO midway.

Brooklyn, New York

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Thor, Groot, Rocket Raccoon

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Encroaching winter night slides a blanket of frigid, silent peace over Brooklyn, as lights go out and people bed down to prepare for another work day. Out where Jane Foster lives, things never really get that rowdy; it's a mostly residential part of the borough, and the noisiest things that happen tend to be shouting kids.

It's a pretty safe area of Brooklyn, too. So it's pitifully easy for a man to, say, walk up to Jane Foster's home, have a look at it, disappear, and then wind up inside it a few minutes later, with no one the wiser. Which is precisely what the Winter Soldier did, many hours ago now.

About an hour after /that/, Jane herself got home.

In the hours since then, there's been no gunshots, no shouting, no nothing to indicate anything amiss. Nothing obvious has happened at all. The street is as peaceful as ever, the weak stars sparkling frostily in the clear sky overhead.

—-

Quill had been though a lot in the past few weeks. He had mostly taken it in stride, as he usually does. Grumbling. Grousing. Making the best of it as he goes. He'd spruced up Gotham. Fought off bounty hunters. Met people. Made friends. All the while he was wondering about the odd gem in his pocket.

He knew it was important. He just didn't know why.

…he also knew that it was an awesome hand warmer.

It wasn't until he made it back to a ship and found a note scribbled down in a hasty hand that said 'READ ME GODDAMIT' that he finally relised how important it was.

'THOR?!' He had said. 'I have to contact /Thor/?! How the hell do you contact Thor! He didn't leave me a goddamn cellphone!'

Rocket's plan for contact involved a very large hole, so he discarded that one. Groot was about as much help as he ever was. He was also happily decorated for the hollidays so Quill didn't want to ruin it for him.

So Peter Quill did what everyone does when they are at a lost. He took to the wilds of the internet.

…days later he remembered he was actually looking for something…

'Hay! Google! Who is an expert on Thor?'

Eventually, he came up with a name. After some mild stalking he came up with a place too. Which is why Peter Quill finds himself outside Jane Foster's house as the sun is going down. Dressed in his typical getup, his pistols under that long coat of his.

(He still hasn't quite realised thats illigal around here).

"Right. Just need to knock, get the information and boost out." A pause. "Unless she's hot. Then I'll see if she wants coffee." Yup. Thats at /least/ 12% of a plan, which is more than enough for Star-lord. So emboldened with his plan he sets to motion, strolling up towards the door at a castual gait. Stuffing one hand in his pocket he raises the other to knock…

…only to realise that the gem? Its not scorching hot.

"GODDAMN PIECE OF SPACE JUNK!" His voice suddenly shatters the silence as he lurches with a heavy thud right into the door. "I'M TRYING TO FIX YOU!" Now his hands a bit scorched and his temper is a bit frayed.

So he kicks the door.

Its not his best moment.

—-

Brooklyn is a great borough. It's also a pretty old borough. A lot of the buildings in many areas of Brooklyn were built in the 1930s.

They weren't really built to code for space pirates that have tempers.

So when Quill first slams straight into the door, then gives it a hefty kick, the deadbolt just kinda decides it doesn't feel like living anymore. It comes completely loose from the doorframe, and the entire door swings open into the apartment proper and bangs against the wall.

Really loudly.

So loudly, in fact, that the completely silent man standing across the room, at the kitchen table, in front of a knocked-over chair that he presumably just leapt up from… might not even be the first thing Quill even notices.

Despite the fact that the man is dressed in tactical black, masked, and aiming an M4A1 carbine directly at Quill's face.

—-

Well. He wasn't expecting that one.

"Shoddy Terran workmanship…" He grumbles before his eyes cross the room and he sees something tall, dark, and ominous looking.

…and he has a gun…

"Uh…hi?" Pause. "I can fix that."

—-

The Winter Soldier is not impressed with Peter Quill. Or his offer.

He is so unimpressed that he advances very suddenly, gun barrel first, rifle up and braced firmly against a shoulder. His finger is off the trigger, held straight with an ingrained militant discipline even brainwashing can't remove, so he probably doesn't intend to fire unless forced… but he seems very intent on herding Quill right back out that door.

Or whatever is left of the door.

—-

The door violently SWINGS inward, cracking decades-old drywall. The entire Brownstone rattles down to its foundation.

It opens to a small enough main room, about as cramped a quarters one finds in Brooklyn, kitchen and main room with the rest turned some corner down a hall — and nothing in sight containing a Dr. Jane Foster. There is not a woman to be seen in sight. Just the resident super soldier with his hair-trigger military conditioning, assault rifle in hand (an ASSAULT rifle) and aimed as he advances like some apex predator defending his territory.

And then there is a loud, echoing BANG like someone just dropped something in the bathroom. Probably herself, all hundred pounds, after jumping two feet out of her skin. Flinging open that door, grabbing on the way the first thing that looks reasonable —

— a third person appears, there and then, tiny behind the Soldier's shoulder, and it's Jane, pale-faced, wide-eyed, dressed in some ridiculous t-shirt that says 'BB-8 IS G-8' with a picture of what looks like a robotic soccer ball, and clutching her high school field hockey stick close. It drops out of her hands when she sees what is going on. What is HAPPENING.

Her door?! Her house?! Her soldier!

"What the hell!!" Jane shrieks.

—-

Quill regains at least a modicum of his composure at this point.

"Right look I think we got off on the wrong foot here…I'm looking for Jane Foster? And unless I've been away from Terra /way/ too long you don't look like a Jane. If you are I'm totally not judging. I mean thats your choice and all and I'm totally all for choice and all. But I don't think pointing guns at people is really polite here…woah…WOAH!"

Because now he's being advanced on.

"Dude!" And with a suprising amount of agility for someone who seemingly tripped and knocked over the door the man sidesteps at just the right moment to keep himself inside the apartment.

Just…against a wall.

"Personal space! Have you heard of it?!" He calls out and would have followed that torrent of words up with some more when Jane herself makes an appearance.

"Oh yeah. Now /thats/ what I'm talking about." He adds as he grins. "See now you look like a Jane." A glance at Bucky. "You. Defintally not a Jane. Unless you are. Cause again, totally not judging."

A longer pause.

"Do you know you have a guy with a gun in your house? Is that just normal around here?" He asks towards the flabergasted scientist.

—-

The Winter Soldier does not seem to believe in either personal space, or speaking.

Suspicious blue eyes regard Quill from over that half-mask as he advances with militant purpose. If Quill doesn't get out of the way fast enough, that rifle muzzle will butt right up against his chest and PUSH him along. He seems, ostensibly, to be listening to Quill's chattering— his eyes register recognition at the name Jane Foster— but he frankly doesn't seem interested in any of it.

Especially not the stuff about the judging and the polite behavior and the personal space and all that.

He doesn't stop up until Jane makes an appearance. His gaze flicks to one side as she pops up at his shoulder, and he meets her eyes with an obvious question.

Hey, you want me to kill it?

He only looks back at Quill when he is told he is definitely not a Jane. His eyes narrow.

—-

For a long moment, Jane Foster just looks tired. Tired of just being shellshocked, dismayed, and DISBELIEVING as a new and inexplicable insane thing forces its way into her life. Can I just have one day?, seem to beg her brown eyes. God gets one day, so why not me?!

But here it is, her life lain right out in a perfect picture, and the way things now seem to be: the same man who broke into her home weeks ago is apparently trying to defend against the same thing happening again. Jane stares forward.

But she has no time to wonder this aloud. No time to do anything, really, but dash forward, trying to carefully, but very determinedly lay a pleading hand on the Winter Soldier's arm, not frantic enough to shock him into reacting, but to try to stay him from GUNNING SOMEONE DOWN IN HER HOUSE. Not that Jane could even do that if he were insistent, but she's panicked enough to try.

Given, someone who just broke into her house, it looks and sounds, who she's never seen before, has no idea what he's been sent by — and seems to know her name. And seems to have enough familiarity or chutzpah to begin lecturing her about the company she keeps.

"Normal?!" Jane blurts back. "Normal! Who the hell breaks someone's DOOR and goes on about normal! Who the hell are you?! How do you know my name?!"

—-

Its defintally chutzpah.

"The internet." Is the first answer as he sloooowly reaches up to lay one finger on the barrel of the gun to his face and inch it so its not quite so…in his face. More into the walls face. Thats better.

"Now look, you seem more reasonable than mister tall dark and shooty here," He adds as he glances back towards Bucky, one hand on the barrel the other raised near his ears in what he hopes is a universal gesture of 'don't ventilate me'. "I didn't /mean/ to bust down the door. Must have been shoddy construction and all. My name is Star-lord."

Yup. He totally just said that.

"Well its not a name so much as a roguish moniker, but you get the picture. Anyway, I'm looking for a Doctor Jane Foster. She's supposed to be an expert on Thor." A pause. "You don't have him stashed in a closet do you? That would be awesome."

—-

The hand on his arm appears to have no effect. The Winter Soldier does not move a single iota. His gaze remains fixed on Peter Quill. It's dislike at first sight!

Especially when Quill sloooowly inches that gun barrel over so it's pointing at the wall and not his face. The Soldier allows this, but his narrowed eyes show just how grudging that allowance is.

Eventually, however, as Jane seems more interested in having a conversation with this intruder rather than getting rid of him, the Soldier does back up a few steps— though he doesn't lower the rifle. He just recedes into the background, as it were.

From there, he rolls his eyes when the intruder introduces himself as 'Star-lord.'

—-

Jane feels like her entire nervous system is walking a tightrope. Please don't shoot the strange man. Please don't shoot and kill someone in her own home. She's not sure her sanity will be able to survive that.

She grits her teeth and CRINGES along to every single millimetre Quill dares slowly move the gun barrel, the woman ducking her head and squeezing shut her eyes, unable to watch something so terrifying. He's playing with fire, seriously SERIOUSLY playing with fire — and she can't look.

But no gunshot registers through her home. Only silence, hopeful silence, and Jane peeks open one eye to focus back on both men, still alive, at least for now. Oh thank God. She slants the Soldier a quick look, watching as he steps back, seeming to take some trust in his body language, relaxing her own from the initial panic.

"How do you accidentally bust down a door?! You broke the deadbolt! This is home invasion! It's a felony in this state! Not to mention destruction of property, and — /what/?" Jane stares straight through the name 'Star-lord'. She makes such a face.

It doesn't get any better as he goes on to explain why. She's relieved he's not someone here to kill her, like another anti-SHIELD terrorist, but in a way, it's just as bad, because —

She throws up one hand and very emphatically slaps her forehead. "Seriously! Seriously, right now! I've had to deal with your Thor stalker-groupies how many times, and none of you seem to get the picture — it's been over a year already!"

—-

Quill breathes a little easier as The Dark Guy backs off a bit. "Could you point that somewhere else? Please? Come on I'm not here to start a fight or anything." If he was he would have brought Rocket!!

A glance then back towards Jane and he sighs. "Look I kicked it, I didn't know it would fall apart like that! I know someone that can fix it so its fine." Its totally fine. "You'll like him, he does science…things…" Peter waves a vage hand. "…I do other things."

That roguish smirk he gives her just settles there for a moment before he continues on. "Like pilot."

As she suddenly slaps herself he squints slightly in her direction, a flicker of a glance towards Bucky. Oh he caught that eyeroll.

Like you have room to talk Frozen Combatguy!

"Hey now its not like that! I just need to talk to him and the bastard didn't leave me a phone number or anything. I mean if I try to fly back to Asgard the'll get mad since most Asgardians seem to have taken a Xandarian blaster rifle round to their sense of humor. Kinda like your friend there."

A nod towards Bucky.

"So you have any idea how to summon him or anything?" He puts his hand in his pocket again to pull out that gem-on-a-chain. It might be glowing at bit at this point.

…and that would be when they both can easily see he /does/ have a pair of odd pistols holstered on his hips.

"This thing is getting annoying! I mean it makes great cocoa and can fry an egg pretty well but it nearly set Groot on fire, so I gotta figure out how to get it to calm its tits."

—-

The Winter Soldier stares fixedly at Quill as the man makes a case for him maybe pointing his carbine somewhere else. He keeps it raised until Quill finishes talking. Then, very slowly— maintaining eye contact— he finally lowers it, though all that really means is that he points it at the floor instead of directly at Quill's head.

Looks like nothing Quill says is going to get him to actually put it down.

He watches narrowly as this entire conversation unfolds. He appears to have no desire to contribute to it, other than a short, affronted, "I am not a friend," tossed off when Quill nods at him.

Then he pulls out a gem on a chain. His coat opens a little as he does, exposing a pair of pistols. The Soldier squints, interested against his will. "The hell model are those?"

—-

And then so much happens. So much that Jane Foster honestly doesn't know what to parse first. She looks like some wild animal dropped straight from the tundra onto Vegas strip, surrounded by a thousand blinking, pulsing lights, and not sure which one to stare at first.

Talk to him. Bastard. Phone number. Fly back to Asgard. Asgardians. Xandarian blaster rifle. Friend —

The Winter Soldier comments up that he's not her friend.

Jane double-takes at that. For a moment, she looks strangely hurt. Then she just tries to go back to the everything else.

"Can you — can you just slow. Slow down. I get it. I really do. Thor is — was — something else. And… and people get a little crazy about him, you know, get a little invested in the fanfic. Is there… someone I could call? Someone who takes care of you? A hospital or something?" Yep, Jane Foster legitimately thinks Star-lord is a crazy person.

Well — at least until he pulls something from his pocket — that gem? Jane squints at it, lips slightly parted, fascinated immediately by the way it glows. So much so she doesn't even notice those guns —

The Soldier, however, sure does.

—-

There is a quirked eyebrow at the Soldier. "Harsh man." Is all the comment he'll make at first. "Love em and leave em type. Alright. I get ya. No judgement. This is a judgement free zone for sure. Also I'm going to call you Vader, since you didn't introduce yourself but can obviously talk."

It might be noted at this point that even though there is a guy with a gun in the room, he didn't seem…worried. Slighlty concerned, but not worried in the way that a layman might be when confroted with a scary man with a gun.

Then its his turn to roll his eyes. "Really? You see all the rest of this stuff. Portal to another dimention, alien guy with hammers, big light from the sky but you can't believe me? Thats rich!" He might have gone on a longer tirade, but then the Soldier distracts him?

"These puppies?" He grins wickedly. "Custom worked Quad Blasters, leathal and non-leathal settings. Made from a propritiary carbonate alloy that evades most metal detectors, good to about a hundred yards give or take and can burn a hole though inches of Kree alloy." Yes. He does like to talk about himself.

Its a thing.

He swings the gem a bit as he goes on, but stops when he notices the way Jane is staring at it. Move it a little over here. A little over there. Just to see if she does the whole 'cat with a laser pointer' thing.

"Soooo…you have any idea what this is?"

—-

Her friend. He isn't her friend. He can't be her friend. Friendship isn't allowed for him. And to be his friend is dangerous for her.

So the Winter Soldier insists he is not her friend.

This gets varied responses. Jane looks hurt for some reason. That bothers him briefly before necessity smoothes everything back over again.

Quill's response is considerably more annoying. The Soldier frowns, some fragment of Bucky embedded in his brain grossly offended at being referred to as a callous bad date. "That's not… what? Vader? What the fuck is…" A sigh escapes him through the mask, which doubtless is part of where Quill got his new name. "…yeah, whatever. Call me what you want."

His attention moves immediately to the guns when they're flashed, though. He's never seen anything like them— and never heard anything like the description Quill gives. "What's the point of a nonlethal gun," he mumbles, mostly to himself, and mostly to cover the fact he's kind of impressed with the rest of the specs.

He can clearly sense he's stumbled into something here, however, and his eyes track back and forth as they talk about portals and aliens. His briefings never covered any of this kind of stuff.

—-

"I'll tell you about Vader after," Jane remarks, matter-of-fact. Her BB-8 t-shirt attests her knowledge of that.

For now, she just stares at that gem — something that should not be glowing, and yet something that is. A tiny thing that disputes her Mr. Star-lord is an Escaped Mental Patient theory. He may well know or be a bit more than that — and he does.

He moves the gem a bit testingly. Jane tilts her head and tracks it like an overeager cat, before she sobers, realizes she's being made fun of, and scowls. The scowl deepens at 'love 'em and leave 'em'. Her mouth twitches. She makes a mind to speak, probably to tell this What-lord to get the hell out, when he begins to relay her strange year-ago relationship with Thor. She frowns. She frowns big. "A… lot of that is classified information," she mumbles, rubbing awkwardly at her opposite upper arm, forced to eye him with some approximation of seriousness.

The Soldier focuses on the guns. And Quill proudly introduces them like some doting father, saying words even the scientific Jane has trouble parsing — quad blasters? Kree alloy?

In the end, Jane rubs wearily at her face. "OK, first off. Shut the door — what's left of my door. It's freezing and my neighbours are gonna get a free show. You can stay in here but nothing funny, all right? Or else." She gestures a little toward the Winter Soldier, still holding a weapon that looks heavier than her.

"I don't know what that is, uh, Star-lad. But I can take a look at it if you want."

—-

"Its when you want to make less of a mess," Quill helpfully explains towards Bucky. "I mean I'm not sure you actually care there, Vader but some people do."

As he speaks he turns to pick up the door and awkwardly stand it back up in place. It doesn't quite fit right. "Its Star-/lord/." He corrects automaticly as he tries to wrestle the thing back into its proper place. "Or Peter Quill to my friends and relations," A glance at Jane. "You can call me Peter." A longer pause. "Your single right?"

He is making the best of impressions.

MOVING RIGHT ALONG!

"I guess it is, but I have a knack for getting information and other things. Its a gift." Settling the door to his satisfaction he nods. "Sure. Poke all you want. Just don't touch. The damn thing is hot enough to burn now, just been getting that way more and more lately. I think its mad at me."

A pause.

"You have no idea how to get a hole of Thor? I mean I guess I can try going around shouting his name and breaking mead horns. That might get his attention."

—-

You're single, right?

The Winter Soldier's gun slowly starts inching back upwards.

—-

Mid-conversation — mostly awkward on her part — Jane flicks occasional glances toward the Winter Soldier. Part of her feels a little self-conscious to be talking aloud this part of her life, a part she hasn't really shared with anyone save two people in her life, and the goons in SHIELD, and she always wondered if he indeed knows this about her too. She assumed so, because he certainly found out everything else. She was still reticent to bring anything up, because, well, how does a person. It's not relevant and — don't ask, don't tell?

Even if he did not know, she figures he sure as hell does now.

"Star-lord is a terrible name, and it makes no sense," Jane speaks up, a little annoyed. "No one has dominion over the stars." But he offers up the name Peter. /That/ sounds more reasonable —

And she's single, right?

Jane gives Quill a long, hard, flat look. Out of the corner of her eye, she swears the Soldier's gun is ticking upward. Quickly, she changes the subject, not wanting a sudden gunfight happening. Genuinely fascinated with that gem, she lets go her lingering caution, and steps closer to her newest home-invader to get a better glimpse of that little thing he holds. "I honestly have no idea. I haven't seen Thor since… well, the incident. When he told me he'd… nevermind. You really know him?"

Her eyes meanwhile needle on the gem.

She never listens. She reaches out and tries to tap it with a fingertip.

—-

Peter jerks the chain back. "Woah there!" She could feel the heat from the stone, he wasn't kidding about it being hot enough to scorch. Which makes it a wonder the silver of the chain hadn't melted yet. But it hasn't. Which likely is good at it would have dropped that onto her floor.

Which would be bad. Right? Right.

"I try to warn people and then peole want to go and hurt themselves anyway! What /is/ it with you Terrans! Your worse than Kree!" A pause. "Well no, not as bad as Kree."

Kree are totaly dicks.

"I mean I /met/ him. I'm pretty sure I went drinking with him for a bit. Before everything got fuzzy at least."

Which means he was on Asgard.

Which means he was in space? Maybe he /is/ crazy.

A blown out sigh. "Maybe I'll have to go with Rocket's suggestion, but I have no idea where to get that many Xandarian energy pods here of all places. Its not like I can just call out for them." He frowns. "Man, my planet is such a backwater. Its a bummer."

—-

The Winter Soldier found out a whole lot about Jane Foster. But not quite everything, it seems. The prosaic stuff is easy: address, number, educational background, immediate contacts. But 'met a Nordic space alien and had bizarro adventures?' That's buried a little deeper. And it wasn't really relevant for him to find out at the time, besides.

He shakes out of his thoughts to find this Peter Quill fellow getting a little too chummy. He's not sure why it annoys him, but it does. His gun ticks upwards a bit— only to pause when Jane starts touching that gem despite just being told NOT TO. His sigh is audible as her fingertip misses it by a hair thanks to Quill's quick reflexes.

His brow furrows as Quill just keeps talking, though one thing does stand out.

"…My planet? So you're one of those space aliens." A pause. "You look disappointingly ordinary." Maybe it was preferable for the Soldier to stay silent.

—-

The gem gets pulled away before she can touch. Jane looks honest-to-goodness annoyed at being denied the opportunity to poke something that'd probably give her a third-degree burn. She even swears she heard the Soldier /sigh/. She gives him a sharp look before her vested interest has her peering back at the gem. "That's interesting," she comments, in the understatement-of-the-week award. "If you'd… part with it. I'd study it." Is it a chemical reaction? A reactor? Maybe it's radioactive. She's always wanted to play with some radioactive material.

She tries to focus on that gem because, honestly, it's about the only part in all this making sense to Jane. Peter calls about that weird Kree-word thing, then goes on to say something about drinking binges with Thor.

Jane looks both amused and irritated at hearing that, balanced on the cusp of belief and denial. She really doesn't want to take this seriously. It would hurt to. "Yeah? Well, if you ever go drinking with him again soon, tell him I'm pissed off at him."

Seriously. Thor disappears without a trace, and he's making DRINKING BUDDIES with some guy who calls himself /Star-lord/? And talks about… being some kind of person who may have actually travelled to a different realm, like, for example, Asgard, and did so effortlessly, and basically exists as a living joke on her entire life's word and if this is all real Jane may have to stick her head into her oven.

"My planet?" Jane blurts the exact same moment in unison as the Soldier. She shuts up as he gives his frank assessment of Quill, Quill's outfit, Quill's guns, Quill's story, Quill's moniker name.

"What he said," she concurs.

—-

"Oh my god I'm not an alien!" Peter pauses a moment. "Not entirely an alien." Longer pause. "I grew up upstate ok! I just…got kidnapped by aliens. Yeah yeah I know cliche, but this time its true." He gestures slightly with one hand, understanding how all this sounds. The movement makes the gem sway just slightly.

"As for parting with it…something tells me it would be a bad thing. I mean my ship's scanner said it was giving off some crazy energy readings. Like 'angry woman who hasn't eaten in a week' levels of energy. I'm pretty sure it would be a bad idea to leave it anywhere, so Princess Science, if you wanna poke science at it then I think its best if I'm there for it." A longer pause. "I'm pretty sure I'm supposed to guard it anyway."

He was so hungover when they told him about it.

His eyes flick between the pair of them and he quirks one curious eyebrow. "You two really wanted something with wierd skin and big eyes and too many limbs to be your first alien didn't you?"

—-

The Winter Soldier exchanges a glance with Jane at the whole 'my planet' thing. The further explanation doesn't really improve matters. He rubs the back of his neck, nonplussed, at the 'grew up upstate and was kidnapped by aliens' story.

"I didn't really want anything to be my first alien," the assassin says frankly. Still cradling his weapon, he certainly looks like a down-to-earth kind of guy. "Shit was fucked enough just on this planet."

He looks a little irritated, however, as talk seems to suggest that Jane's time is going to get taken up with inspecting this sparkly gem. Even worse, with Quill there insisting to supervise. He doesn't say anything, but his discontent is a palpable sort of thing, hanging heavily at Jane's back. There's only so many things one Jane can tinker at once, and he's not keen on sharing bandwidth.

…Wait a minute. Hang on a minute. The Soldier pauses. "…Your ship?"

Something stirs briefly in the back of his mind.

—-

Little by little, this conversation keeps devolving steps down the ladder, from ape to monkey to flopping fish. Jane catches and returns the Soldier's skeptical glance, partaking well in it. Her expression transparently shows her own suspension of disbelief.

"You're not any part an alien," Jane counters flatly. "Even if you were, you're not mine. Thor beat you there. But you're not. So let's just leave it there. And don't call me anything save for Dr. Foster. You're a guest in my house."

Her tiny, broken-door house. The woman crosses her arms adamantly. Princess Science, seriously.

Her stern frown only flickers when Peter seems amenable to let her study that strange gem of his — alien in origin, maybe? something he found? something to do with magic, now that's a thing? — and Jane perks with obvious eagerness, that 'Princess Science' misstep already forgiven. She parts her lips to speak, then — pauses, feeling something pressing at her back, a low ceiling of warning. Like she about to dangerously misstep, or test the very charitable patience of the assassin still holding an assault rifle.

Jane takes the hint. "Maybe I'll raincheck you on that. We can talk."

But then Quill goes on to talk about —

'Your ship?' asks the Soldier. Jane's full and captivated attention turns on Peter, her brown eyes all the intensity of a police interrogation light. "You have a ship."

—-

"Of course I have a ship," Peter seems baffled by the sudden stares he is starting to catch. "I mean how else am I supposed to eventually get off this rock? Its not like the Asgardians just beam people around with their giant friendship canon or whatever it is. Man's gotta fly when he's gotta fly."

The pilot pauses a moment, as if trying to recall something. "I'm pretty sure I just broke like a half-dozen galactic statues telling you all this but eh. They stuck me here and this is what they get!" He gives a firm nod and glowers at the ceiling.

As if Thor was actually listening.

"Anyway! Fine, but Princess Science /is/ a pretty good one." He glances at Vader for backup on that one.

Not that he expects any. But a man has to try.

"So Doctor Foster, you don't have /any/ idea how I can get hold of Thor. I guess I gotta do more research before this thing…does…whatever its gonna do. Like explode or something."

—-

Jane stares. The Winter Soldier stares. Something about spaceships with these two…

"Galactic statutes," he eventually says, deadpan. "And you… fly into space." He seems briefly captivated by that idea, before something reasserts itself and he seems to shake away the thought. Disoriented by that momentary hole in his programming, he doesn't start listening again until someone seems to be expecting input from him. Princess Science /is/ a pretty good name for Jane, isn't it?

Quill looks in for backup, not expecting any. The Winter Soldier stares back, cool, still holding an assault rifle like an extension of his body.

He shrugs, almost imperceptibly, in the universal language of 'it's OK.'

—-

MUCH EARLIER
ASGARD

Statues lay in ruin. Shadows move swiftly across the windows of the tavern, the largest in the Nine Realms. The sound of furniture breaking rings out repeatedly, followed by the staccato blast of someone's signature blasters.

A shrill scream rips through the night like a record scratching.

Glass explodes outwards, the burly figure of the Star-Lord tossed rather unceremoniously through it. He lands rough, tumbling, rolling, coming to a halt at a set of be-sandled feet. The corpse gasps, failing to be a corpse, a hand grabbing the ankle.

"Duh… do you have… any idea… how to… get ahold… of Thor?"

A crack of thunder rings out, lightning strikes, Thor's face a mass of shadows staring down at Peter Quill.

"He dared touch the ankle of Thor!" an Asgardian calls, outraged.

"Oh shi—"

NOW

Please continue.

—-

Renewed mention of Thor pulls away whatever skeptical levity left on Jane, and finally averts her eyes, her arms crossing over her chest as she stares down at her shoes. She frowns a moment to herself.

"Listen, I'll give it straight to you," she says, "when a guy tells you he'll come right back for you, and then, doesn't, and you spend a year and all of your money looking for any trace of him?" Jane glances back up. "At a point, someone stops. So they can salvage anything left in their life. So you get me? I haven't heard anything. I promise if I do, text me your number, I'll happily give you a head's up."

Her voice is flatter than a prairie highway. For that moment, Jane looks dangerously fragile, so many buried emotions let briefly back up — for her to again quickly pack back down.

Especially when the Winter Soldier is shrugging an OK at Princess Science being her new name. Jane eyes him, mouth pursed. Betrayal in her own home!

"It's a tall order, anyway, Peter, that story of yours," she finally continues. "How about this: show me your spaceship, show me it's real, and I'll believe the whole mess of it."

Peter Quill says, "Smooth way to get my number. I like it. Sure…" Quill pulls out a phone. It looks like a normal phone. Though when he pulls it from his coat they might catch a glance of a piece of equipment that /isn't/ alien tech.

A much battered sony walkman hangs from that belt, alongside all the higher tech alien pieces of gear. Its strangely out of place, but obviously something important. One more odd piece to the puzzle that calls itself Star-lord.

Fragile woman? Quill ain' got time for that. So he'll just move right along.

The shrug gets a grin, even as Jane flateyes at both of them. "What you wanna see the Milano? Sure. Why not. Not like you two are gonna steal it or anything. Its outside of Gotham though, I hid it. Miiiight be a bit awkward if some other people found it. Just gimme a call next time your in Gotham and I'll walk ya there."

If they do try to steal it he'll just have Groot hang them from their ankles.

Or let Rocket loose on them. The poor guy hasn't shot anyone in weeks.

—-

Jane tells a little story about a man who didn't come back. The Winter Soldier shifts in place, restless, his hands tightening on the rifle he STILL has not put down.

He likes his rifle.

His eyes do catch a glance of that walkman as Peter rifles through his coat for his phone, however. He studies it much the same way he studied Jane's CD player, not too long ago— and then told her, blithely, a cute little story about how he might have used it to set up and murder her. …His social skills leave something to be desired.

"Does nobody use current technology around here," he mumbles to himself, highly unaware of the irony that is him saying this.

He has no further contribution about the spaceship— not aloud. But he sure did hear Peter Quill happily say that it's right outside Gotham. Nothing bad can come of that at all.

—-

"It is /not/ a smooth way to get your number, I don't —" Jane begins to grumble, only to distract herself. She squints.

"Milano?" she utters, having the decency to look offended on behalf of Peter Quill's possibly-real, definitely made up spaceship. "What, the cookie or the Who's the Boss chick?"

She makes a face, then just waves a hand, as if she could magic trick that incredulous thought right away. "Actually, I don't want to know. But, sure, why not." Her life is insane enough already. "Tell me your number, I'll remember it." She remembers everything. "I swear to God I'll take you up on this. Give me some afternoon I have nothing to do, sure, fine. I'll check out your spaceship."

Three-year old soda has more bubble than Jane's flat, flat, very flat voice. Isn't she supposed to be a believer? Wasn't she someone who believed all of Thor's claims of godhood and story about the stars even before she witnessed him raise the hammer? Even as an exiled, stranded mortal, Thor was charming. Thor was charismatic. Peter Quill, however?

He's kind of a jerk.

Jane cuts small glances the Soldier's way through her words, keeping an awful close regard on him, his rifle, and more importantly, his bearing. He's muttering about technology — probably that walkman — but otherwise seems holding up. It's prickling at her that this is, essentially, the first any sort of interaction she's had with him and someone else — that, well, wasn't immediately dead right after. He seems tense just lingering in her private company. She hopes all of this isn't testing well — him.

It reminds her. Her mouth itches with the desire to say: 'Hey, by the way, don't tell anyone you saw an armed man here?' But wouldn't it be better to say nothing at all.

Jane thinks she'll just leave that part to the Soldier to bring up.

—-

He is kinda a jerk. At least he's not 100% a dick. Thats something.

Quill though just smirks slightly. "Cassettes just sound better." Is his reasoning as he slips his hands in his pockets and glances at the pair of them. He tilts his head slightly, then tosses off his number towards Jane. He's fine with her knowing, and doesn't seem too bothered that the gun-wielding crazyman can hear. Which either means he's confident or stupid.

…I'm sure the'll both put money on the latter…

"You'll love it, I've customised every inch of her, she's faster than lightning and can turn on a Xenrudian dime." A pause. "Their currency is really small." A pause. "They are a tiny people."

Yup. Aliens.

"And a totally sweet sound system. Which is of course required by all excellent pilots." This is true. Its in the contracts somewhere. He's not sure where cause he didn't read the contracts but its totally in there.

Totally.

"And I can come back by to fix the door. I mean I feel kinda bad for that. Even if its just rotten construction."

—-

The Winter Soldier has no comment on Milano. The only Milano he knew, back in the day, was a city.

He has no further comment on any of this, in fact. It seems as if Quill and Jane have completed their transaction. Numbers exchanged. Promises made to exchange information if any arises. Probably at times and places where there isn't a volatile supersoldier assassin breathing down both their necks in the corner.

Then a last promise is made: to let Jane see Quill's ship someday. Ship. That's interesting. The Soldier files the information about the ship.

Every so often, Jane looks his way, a little worried— she's never really, you know, SEEN him interact with other humans, other than interacting with them by KILLING them, and she's not quite sure if that's going to happen again, or if he's going to suddenly lose his shit again and have a breakdown, or what. For the time being he seems calm.

Then Quill says he can come back by to fix the door.

"OK," the Soldier suddenly says, muscling back into the party, herding Quill towards the door. His insistence is bolstered considerably by the presence of the M4A1 carbine he is STILL holding. "Talk over. No need to come back. I'll fix the door. Goodbye."

—-

Does Jane believe Peter Quill is an alien? No. Does Jane believe Peter Quill went into space, somehow charted the parsecs of distance between Earth and what Thor named Asgard, only to party with a bunch of alien-slash-Norse deities? Nein. Does Jane believe a visit to Gotham will yield her an in-the-flesh spaceship, and not just the far more likely, quaint possibility that just ends with Quill lain out on a circular, revolving bed?

She should probably take her field hockey stick with.

"Tiny people," Jane repeats, ever-skeptically. She just doesn't want to conceive of the idea that someone like this MAN, here, now, who just kicked in the door to her apartment — has priceless intelligence on alien races. She can't, she can't, she can't.

"Well, I have your number, I guess — " she begins — only for Quill to suggest returning and fixing the damage. That pops up Jane's eyebrows, surprised by the act of charity, and in that long, delicate moment, almost forced as if to gauge him under a new light, as if he may not be a bad guy afte —

The Winter Soldier officially hits his limit.

Animating to that sudden movement, she looks on in quiet surprise, cringing a little but acknowledging her utter incapability to do… anything, when the Soldier's got an idea in his head, and a decision made to exile Peter Quill right out. At the least, this time seems less likely for him to turn a gun on him, she doesn't try to intervene.

Somewhere in back, Jane just lifts a quiet palm up like an awkward wave good-bye. Cheers.

—-

As Peter is chivvied out of the apartment he…well…he is himself the entire way. "Hey now! I was being nice! Remember how we talked about personal space there, Vader? Huh? Come on now…" He gets closer and closer to the door before finally reaching that portal.

Which he just plucks off its rather rickety resting place and hands, in its entirity towards the Soldier. "Hold this then."

The door open now he sees Jane's wave, awkward as it may be and smirks slightly. Something is fished out of his pocket and he glances up for a split second. With a negligent hurl he bounces it off the ceiling, then a bookshelf, then a lampshade to land in Jane's raised hand.

Weather she actually catches it would be entirely up to her.

"Holoprojector." He drawls out as he turns to go, raising one hand in a lazy wave. "See ya two around."

…should she check it out? It /does/ have a projections of a half-dozen alien landscapes recorded in it. Ruined cities, great bustling cities, oceans with three suns and a beach with green sand populated with of a half-dozen races wearing various styles of bathing suits.

…it was a vacation shot ok. He would like that back.

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