Wait, What?

July 19, 2017:

Jessica Jones follows Nathaniel Richards back to Avengers Mansion to give her more info on his case. She manages to tick Spoiler off without meaning to. Iron Lad manages to poleaxe her.

Avengers Mansion

This is where all the Assembling happens!

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Red Robin, Batman, Tony Stark

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

To say the truth Nathaniel didn't expect Jessica would want to check the Avenger files right away. Good thing he has time to processed her associate-level clearance while on the way. On the other hand investigating the Hood gang has been long delayed already.

And on checking new messages from the Avenger secure channels he has a 'stress report' from Stark. On the Spoiler armor. No… he didn't. (Yes, of course he did - he took Spoiler to field-test the armor against ALIENS).

At least it means Spoiler might be in the mansion, so he calls her to join them. As the team's street-crime specialist she might have valuable insights in the case.

"Remind me to give you a passcard before you go," mentions the young man, giving the detective a brief tour on the first floor of the building. "We can talk in the living room, I can access the servers from there it has holoprojectors so you can see the reports."

*

Spoiler had gamed the score. She hadn't reacted to the few hits she took. Granted, the stealth suite she was running had given her several valueable seconds of invisibility before the chitauri started taking pop shots in her general direction. She wouldn't have been so sloppy if she had't been in suped up armor. Ah well.

Indeed, Spoiler was in the mansion, having finished her portion of the stress report so the armor coul dbe reworked, again. Spoiler glances at the summons on the HUD of her AR lenses in her cowl. A few more hours until she really should nap before her summer class can be spared, and so Spoiler makes her way into the living room.

*

That's the thing about Jones. She doesn't much believe in wasting time. She had the time. She had nowhere else to be. Thus, her 'no time like the present' style attitude. "Sure thing," she says, on the reminder about the passcard, looking briefly surprised. After all, she didn't exactly expect to be let in a second time. She only has to look at their files once, and maybe start transferring information into her own.

That's not to say it won't be handy to have access to those files.

She is dressed pretty simply in blue jeans and a black V-neck t-shirt. Upon entering the mansion and seeing the unfamiliar woman she raises a hand in somewhat uncomfortable greeting, suddenly just very conscious of where she's standing versus who she is. "Hey," she says.

Hey? That's what you say to one of the Avengers, Jones? 'Hey?' Great, that's fantastic.

*

"Miss Jones, this is Spoiler, she is from Gotham," which is certain circles is a badge on itself. Super-heroes from Gotham usually come with the Bat-stamp of approval. "Spoiler, this is Jessica Jones. She is a private investigator with experience is cases dealing with super-humans. Mr. Stark spoke highly of her."

Nathaniel invites the older woman to sit down and the information on the Avenger's files is set up on holographic displays for Jessica. Two incidents, the first one dealing with a high-tech energy projector 'lance' built by one of those early genius super-villains. Also, voodoo necromancy. The second case was an odd encounter with three super-criminals and a girl with adamantium claws. But that trio escaped custody pretty much the same way most of the criminals from the first case did.

"These are the only incidents so far involving the Avengers. But the police has a dozen more incidents in their files," he explains. The Avengers are not much into fighting street crime in New York. At least not as a team.

*

And a smaller circle of those super heroes get to wear said Bat-stamp emblazoned on their chests. Spoiler's is a dark aubergine against teh charcoal black-grey of her bat suit. The name 'Jessica Jones' earns the tilt of her head. It's the physical cue to her suit to run a search on the Batcomputer via DELPHI for informatino on the name. She stands, silent, as whatever information her systems can find is packaged up to scroll across her HUD for her to read as she listens to Nathaniel's introduction and then into what's happening to bring a PI into the building. Of course, the comment about NYPD having more cases on record prompts the Avenging batling to pull her phone free from the hip holster and sumbit a full query for said files.

*

"Spoiler. Actually yeah, I think I've heard the name. Red's mentioned you, I think. Nice to meet you," Jessica says, relaxing just a little bit. Or someone mentioned her, but Jess is pretty sure she's heard the name before, like personally, not out of news reports or something.

As Spoiler pulls up the display she'll get some basic information. Date of birth, November 1, 1987. Born in a suburb of New York City. High School Transcript shows a straight A student in her freshman year of high school, till a car accident killed her family and put her into a 2 year coma at Metro General. She was adopted by Dorothy Walker before she even woke up, foster-sister to radio and television icon Patricia Walker. Spotty, unsuccessful employment record. Fell off the grid entirely in January of 2014. Launched Alias Investigations in 2015. The Bat Computer got some psych information from somewhere. Severe PTSD, reason unknown, depression, anxiety, alcoholism, began attending AA in February of 2017. Wrapped up with Zatanna Zatara. Metahuman with super-strength, enhanced endurance with a healing factor, and some sort of leapy-jumpy not-flying thing. Works with Red Robin a lot. Close rate statistics on her cases indicate a high success rate despite seeming, on her surface, to kind of just be a thug.

Meanwhile, the troubled maybe-thug (who is definitely not drunk right now) sits down and starts pulling over the information. "Yeah," she says, as she reads. "I really hope the police have a Hell of a lot more than this, because I can't do dick with this. The only common denominator is Hood, these guys seem stupid as fuck but also nasty and deadly, and their activities with you guys don't seem to have a lot in common either. Not much rhyme or reason here. I'll need the rest to notice any kind of pattern. One thread to tug on is all I need, but I do need at least one."

*

At first the name 'Red' doesn't even ring a bell. Spoiler makes no reaction to it as she ponder who Red could be. And then the information starts tracing past her vision. Zatanna Zatara… Tim. This Jessica Jones is yet another work buddy of Tim's that he's neglected to mention. Just like that 'oh yeah I forgot to introduce you to this whole group of supers before you let everyone think you died in an explosion' moment with the Teen Titans. Spoiler's purple colored lips curl into a half-smirk.

"Likewise, Ms. Jones," says the blonde batling, head shifting to watch Jessica settle down to look for threads of information. A detective, like the rest of us. Them. Stephanie's the weakest link when it comes to the finesse of investigative work. Occassional moments of brilliance. Mostly, just stubbornness.

"Hood?" she asks as she too settles down, sweeping her cape clear but keeping her ankles folded together. She shifts her query of NYPD from phone to tablet, though lets her phone continue the bulk of the preprogrammed back door hacked Oracle and Robin left on DELPHI for use on her phone and off Avengers servers.

*

Nathaniel takes a seat in front of Jessica and nods, "yes, except for the Hood, from which little is known, their criminal records show very low competence. They are thugs and killers usually used as cannon-fodder by crime-lords. They rob banks and get beaten up by Green Arrow or Spiderman in twenty seconds despite on paper being much more powerful." Exceptions maybe Black Talon and Grey Gargoyle that have done some subtler, semi-clever schemes a few times. But even they are low in cunning and patience. "They are the kind of thug that should be serving ten to twenty in the Raft or Belle Reve. And yet they are avoiding this fate because they have help. It is a serious concern what will happen if all of them try something together. It is a veritable army of super-criminals and someone is organizing them. Look at this one." Holo up, powerfully built metal man. "Ironclad. He is part of a group of four, the U-Foes. One of the, Vector, was a brilliant businessmen. Not a simple thug. They always worked together, except this time."

*

Jessica's face twists into another expression of incredulity at 'U-Foes.' "These names. Christ."

She says no more about that, but she's frowning. "Yeah, I understand the problem and what you're trying to prevent, I just don't see a starting point yet. It's possible they hit a bank, get Whomever's attention, they track these guys down, recruitment speech, bam, you're in the club, and then okay."

There's one way she can think of to draw them out, but it's not really something she's willing to do, not right now, maybe not at all. Undercover work requires a far less complicated life than she currently has.

She shakes her head. "I'll look at the police files. There will be something." Unaware that the batling is on it.

*

Spoiler has a similar reaction to the names, but when your dad is Cluemaster and hangs around with bat villians like Condiment King, you tend to just gloss over name of hte week. It's safer for your sanity that way.

"Sounds like a change in wardrobe migh the needed," says the batling, mind picking up on Jessica's One Way. Undercover and infiltration, not unknown for the purple batgirl. The tablet with police files queued to be transfered via secure email is waiting for Jess to input an address.

"So far, the records dont' have much, but if I see anything I will send you an alert. In the meantime, here's what I've gotten on a preliminary search for you so you can start looking," Spoiler tells Jessica before lifting her chin to address Nathaniel.

"I'll find the best target that from data appears most likely to draw Hood's attention and go in."

*

"You want to bait him?" Nathaniel already has the police files compiled. Also some files SHIELD provided. Not much, he has low clearance. But Spoiler has email now. "Could work, perhaps we can put a tracker in one of the thugs. Something modern tech will not easily detect. Or infiltrate them." All the super-criminals known involved so far are male, but there must be female costumed criminals Jessica or Spoiler can impersonate. A good thing of some costumes is no one knows who is under the spandex/armor.

*

"Yeah. No. I can't do that right now. It's the best and only way, but I can't. I'm about to take the stand in about one to two weeks. And like, a real undercover exercise…well, maybe not as bad with these stupid costumes and names."

Jessica rubs a hand over her face. "But I can't be in a situation where like…like I have to go pretend to be a supercriminal and nobody else for days and days and days at a time. Because there's also Decimux. And about four or five other things that I'm working on, people I can't just skip out on."

Not even to work with and for the Avengers.

"And this would only work with me if I did have a mask that they never tried to see under, because my fucking face is all over YouTube these days. If they require their people to out themselves in the inner circle? What's basically going to happen is I'm going to blow the whole operation and maybe get everyone involved killed."

She paces around, irritated. She doesn't like walking away from a case, but in this instance it might be responsible. "I dunno. Maybe if we knew enough about supervillian protocol to know if they're going to try to get under the mask or follow people home to their real identities. Though I think I could give anyone the slip if they tried the latter. Maybe. I mean if I were a supercriminal I'd thoroughly vet any new supercriminals that came onto the scene before I tried to recruit them. I'd try to know everything about them before I approached them. I'd have to, maybe, to even approach them at all. Maybe I just need to find one of the Bozo Brigade and beat the crap out of him until he spills. That could work too."

*

Spoiler turns to look at Jessica who clearly is exactly like Tim in the whole 'take the weight of the world on shoulders and forget that sharing the load is what team mates are for'. It's clear that she's quirking a brow under her cowl. Silent a moment, letting Jessice get it all out and out of her system, Spoiler turns back to Nathaniel.

"I'll start on a rework of a suit, change out some of my gear, and get ready to try to infiltrate. If I do get unmasked, it won't lead them quite so far," Spoiler states, putting the tablet Jessica didn't take down on the table in front of the detective. Her gaze returns to the other woman as Spoiler rises to her feet.

"If you Beat a Bozo, give your information to Nathaniel. I'll be checking Avengers servers from time to time, but I will maintain radio silence until I've got enough information for the lot of you to come in." Pause. "Your life is important, Ms. Jones." Which hints that Spoiler's own isn't. Nevermind that she had summer finals next week. And an intern gig at Gotham DA. These sorts of things take precidence.

*

Nathaniel nods, thoughtfully. So no infiltration for Jessica. But there are many other options. The rank-and-file of the gang seems to be formed by people like Rhino, Boomerang and Shocker. Pretty much morons. But they have to assume there are smarter people in charge.

"You said it would take time," notes the young man. "They have been around for over a year, perhaps more. Destroying this group might take a long time and several attempts. But I think it is about time we begin trying. The police are not having much success, but we have more resources."

Then glances to Spoiler. "And definitely not going forward without a good plan. Make it seven good plans. Lets reseach for female criminals you could impersonate very carefully. Pick a role, prepare for it. Then try to draw their attention. If this takes us a month to prepare, that is fine."

*

Oh, there's a tablet. She's a fantastic detective. She missed that.

As for team mates…even having friends is new to her, and having an actual formal team? That's never happened. She's worked alone all her life.

Jessica scoops it up, but she can't focus to read over it just yet. So she just holds onto it. She frowns at Stephanie. "And…yours isn't? That's some bullshit. Man, you're just like Red with that self-sacrificial shit. Do you forget to eat and sleep too? And Christ, you're going to have to rob a bank or hurt people or something. Though I guess I could show up to 'stop you' and you could…well. I heal fast. You can shoot me in the leg or something. Might give you some cred, if you're then forced to flee in time by other factors like Mr. Richards here."

She sighs. "I'll help, but I'm not taking your money for this, okay? Cause look, Spoiler here is doing all the real work. I'll take this— if you don't mind— and I'll go read and see if I can find any dirty cops or anything that might be in here, and I'll let her shoot me, and I'll try to beat a Bozo, but just…I don't feel right taking money for it, cause I'm not doing all the work here. We'll just do it cause it's a thing. That needs to be done."

Inside she's crying a little, cause she's slowly going broke now that the Stark is not generating any billable hours whatsoever. She's STILL not sure what an Operational Fund is all about. And her paying caseload has been nada and nil. But them's the breaks.

"Trust exercise for like. Punching a machine god in the nuts together later, I guess, if we figure out how to do that. And it will, Mr. Richards. It will take lots of time. A month to prepare. That's good, smart."

*

"I always have a plan," Spoiler informs Nathaniel. Always. Even if that plan is #MakingItUpAsIGo! The offer to research earns a smirk.

"Leave that to me. I'll use the month to build the street cred on this new villian that it's going to take to properly be made welcome by that group," she retorts to Nathaniel, more than ready to block any attempts at researching into Gotham villians. Her face turns to Jessica, the smirk fading slightly.

"Don't compare me to him. Who do you think reminds him to eat and sleep?" she says curtly. "I know exactly what I'm going to have to do, the consequences of this. If I didn't deem it worth the risk it wouldn't have been offered." Spoiler turns back to Nathaniel.

"If she's concerned about it that much, give her my pay for the duration. I'm going to be actively working against you, after all. If she's going to be the hero to stop me… she should have my paycheck." It's been helpful, but really, Steph's just been sitting on the account. She's got her trust fund, her YouTube revenue, and Batman. She turns now, ready to walk away and head to her private Spoiler Den. After all, there are case files of her father's to look up, a more villianous mindset to get into… and a new suit to design.

*

Nathaniel gives Spoiler a slow, frowny glare. Yes, she makes plans, and somehow she ends up bleeding and beaten up more than all the rest of the Avengers combined. "We will be reviewing all your plans before you implement then." He states firmly. Yes, Jessica will be reviewing her plans too, since she has more experience. Or at least more common sense.

He can hardly believe Spoiler jumped at the chance to do something this dangerous like this. That woman. As if she didn't had enough in her plate already.

Then he gives Jessica an apologetic look. "I expected you to do the bulk of the groundwork, to be honest. Spoiler is…" nuts? Overeager? "well, I thought she too busy already."

*

She just said not to pay her, and now Spoiler's offering her paycheck. Jessica rubs the back of her neck and looks baffled in the extreme. "Uh."

Also she stepped in something. Cause Spoiler just turned all curt. Well, there might be a reason why Spoiler is an Avenger and not swinging around Gotham. Yay for awkward social interactions being awkard, as per the God damn usual.

She has nothing more to add as the woman just stalks off. What the fuck just happened there? Probably more Fantastic Jones Peopleing. Probably that.

Then Nathaniel's apologizing to her. "Well, and I pissed her off," she says lamely.

Wait, what? She'll be reviewing plans too? Why the Hell are they consulting her? Oh wait, yeah. Cause she's the detective. That they're hiring.

Or something.

"I sure don't have a month to go establishing an identity of my own," she reiterates. "She may be better suited to doing it. But if there are common threads in these police reports? The same cop names showing up again and again? It'll point to someone potentially dirty who may have more information."

*

"If it will make you feel better than a staff to the head," Spoiler retorts over her shoulder on the way out. As if she's going to upload more of her plan than she has to - HA! After all, he plan involves letting them in behind the mask… or else making them wonder at why Spoiler targeted a batman villian's daughter, a Pre-Law Student at Gotham U, who graduated from Gothem Prep, and maintains a YouTube channel aimed to explaining how to do things and is about as far from villianous father as she could possibily make herself go. The recent dip in grades, the decline in visitations to Arkham Asylum… these were all warning signs of what Spoiler's going to exploit as a full break down and spiral into Bat-Villiany.

Of course she's perfetly suited to turning into a bad-guy.

*

"That is why I suggested stealing an identity," comments Nathaniel. But Spoiler has a plan, or half a plan. "I do not want her to go alone," he adds quietly, mostly for Jessica. Maybe he can convince Varanus to go too, he is a shapeshifter. Or Arsenal, who is a trained secret agent after all. Where is the Black Widow when he really needs her?

"Lets also talk about different approaches," he suggests. "I agree they might have informants in the police. But it is probably not just one. Some of the escapes definitely show great insight in the workings of law-enforcement agencies. Then again, they might have a psychic among them." He mentally adds psi-shields to the gear Spoiler needs for the mission.

*

"Psychics," Jessica all but spits. "Well. No psychic is going to get into my brain for long if they know what's good for them, but the protections I have are distinctive. If they try, and then they meet up with Jessica Jones later and try, it's going to basically out me too. I have some very specific stuff going on in this noggin. But…yeah. Not wanting her to go alone is good. I don't mind going if we're waiting for awhile, cause maybe things would have been sensible by then but like…"

She gestures. There's just no way she's getting involved with a team argument. That's not her place.

"It's going to take me awhile to read through all these files anyway," she says. "Why don't I take this back to Alias, do that, see what shakes out. You guys can um. Talk."

*

"I can build you psi-shielding," replies Nathaniel, thoughtfull. "At least for casual scanning by alpha class telepaths. A deep probe… you would have to run away." He nods, standing up. "I will give you a datachip with all the police reports. And the card. HOMER?"

A mechanical voice replies. "Awaiting instructions, Mr. Richards." It sounds a little like JARVIS, but with less personality, perhaps.

"Retinal scan for Miss. Jones, please. Level two access to the mansion," he turns to Jessica. "Come back any time, welcome to the Avengers."

*

"A deep probe and they're going to hurt themselves," Jessica says dryly, "but I won't say no to more shielding." She'd never say more to that. People could build a god damn tank around her head and she'd just nod sagely and be like, yep, can't have too much psychic shielding ever.

Oh look, another AI. Jess really has a weird soft spot for these things. "Hi, HOMER."

She sort of looks up and staaares with her eyes open in case that will help with the scan, having no idea how he'll do it really.

And that's why she nearly misses the statement.

"Wait, what?"

Did he just say…

Hold up.

Hang on what? Did…what just happened now?

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