R.I.P., Grey V-Neck

September 02, 2017:

In the city of Birnin Azzaria Elektra strikes again. This time, her targets are the smart-ass detective and the righteous ex-con.

Birnin Azzaria, Wakanda

The fabled "City of Learning."


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Daredevil, Jane Foster, Bucky Barnes, Michael Carter, Peggy Carter

Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

Trouble in the west. Dandy Jam the Cut choosing to operate out of Birnin Azzaria. Light panthers disappearing out this way. Though Jessica thinks her next move may well be to go talk to Dandy Jam's momma, in Zana, signs are pointing to this area of the country that she hasn't been in yet. And though she hasn't yet identified any specific action to take out here yet, she has decided she'd best get the lay of the land, get a feel for the "Learned City."

A few days ago she'd told Peggy Carter she believed it was best to travel in groups or pairs now, because of the assassination attempt on Jane, and another assassination contract that Michael Carter has uncovered on "Blackstone" Wright, a person of interest they still haven't managed to find. Whether the two assassins are one and the same, Jess does not know, but the detective is taking few chances.

Thus, for all of her growling snaps that she could take care of herself, damn it when Luke first entered (re-entered) her orbit, she asked him to come with her. To play bodyguard, and to get his observations, too.

As soon as they arrive she's glad to have come to have this initial look-see. She can see for herself that the security presence is vastly different here from the other places she's been, which might explain a few things. She can see that there are libraries that might have actual paper records, and she can already figure out what she'd like to do with some of that. She has beelined on one of those now, just to see if she's right about the paper.

As she walks, she talks. "So that info you brought me about the Battle of Two Names was good work," she says, keeping her voice pitched low, for his ears only, "and is the fourth time the drug trade has come up now. I'm beginning to think it's time to revise my theory of the crime."

This isn't a terrible thing, because in Jessica's opinion if you don't tinker with your theory of the crime at least once you're probably not working hard enough, and you're probably trying to tweak the facts to fit the theory instead of allowing the facts to shape the theory.

"It also raises a question. Do you think you can do your bartender thing? Buy a bunch of rounds for some Lost Boys, get them talking without asking anything directly, and see if you can't answer the next natural question, namely…where and how they secured all those drugs?"

"Why do you sound so surprised?" Luke rumbles with that nearly ever-present note of amusement when it comes to Jessica's observations about his detective work. The man subconsciously seems to gravitate to walking between Jess and the street, and if anyone looks like they're going to walk too close coming from the opposite direction, he interposes himself in front of her a half a step so the incomer has no choice but to split off around the large man. "My bartender thing, huh?" He is a man of few words, but he seems to acquiesce in that one sentence.

Birnin Azzaria doesn't really have the taut security that other Wakandan cities boast — at least, not overtly. Not out in the open. There's no patrolling hovercrafts, no laser panthers, nothing of that kind. It doesn't mean that the city is undefended, of course, but it does lend a sense of peace to the area. It cultivates the idea that this is a city of intellect and learning.

Which is why it might be a shock when the placid chatter of the city is split by the crack of a .50 caliber anti-materiel rifle. The heavy round is aimed straight at Luke Cage's center mass.

The dossier the shooter received was fortunately from a source which apparently was not aware of his bulletproof nature. Still, it's got quite a lot of force behind it, being a round practically five-and-a-half inches in total length.

There is silence afterwards. No telling whether the silence means the shooter is just prepping round number two for Miss Jessica Jones.

Miss Jessica Jones' eyes go wide, and she sort of…whips herself behind Luke Cage as if he were a big old wall. Her tiny body certainly fits neatly behind his without exposing much of her person. Fun fact, she hasn't really actively been shot at that much. She sort of got grazed once, but nobody was really aiming for her specifically. And once she sort of did a wild leap onto a gunman at the docks. There were all those times Bucky stuck a gun in her face but never fired. She would love to tell anyone that she is really okay with bullets now, but that's not really the case. She's not used to it at all.

That's why her heart instantly enters her throat, and her initial reaction is a gasped, "Shit fuck shit!" It doesn't sound like some cool under pressure superhero that laughs in the face of bullets, that's for damn sure. Nor does it sound like an initial onrush of strategic thought or any of that sort of thing. It's sounds like pure adrenaline. It sounds like a woman who is being fucking shot at. And whose companion is being fucking shot at, but she already knows he'll be fine.

Good news though, if Luke is staggered by the bullet even a little bit she has more than enough strength to brace him. And if he's not, well, hey, bonus.

Even though Luke is bullet proof, most other laws of physics still apply to him, thus his body rocks backwards with the momentum of the bullet even if the thing ends up dropping off him like a pellet of rain to clatter on the ground. It all happens so quickly that even as Jessica is moving behind him, he is ushering her there with a protective backwards curl of his arm to keep her neatly in that shadow. "Off the street." He instructs, trying to back her to someplace more secure.

Luke, unfortunately, is used to being shot at.

His shirt, however, was a virgin.

R.I.P., grey v-neck.

The silence persists as Luke and Jessica respond to the initial shot. The shooter doesn't fire again. Somewhere, someone is assessing their total failure to even penetrate with that round, and reconsidering her options.

It does give them time to hustle themselves off the street, however. Snipers can't fire into buildings or enclosed areas too well, after all.

The city itself is rousing. Citizens are getting the hell off the streets themselves, and somewhere there's a vague rumbling as of some automated defenses spinning to life.

Once Jessica Jones asks someone to do a thing for her— like, say, keep her alive— she lets them do their fucking job. In this case, she allows Luke to call the shots on what their next move is.

He says off the street, so she simply picks a building that looks vacant, because no local is going to thank them for bringing trouble into their house. A little bit regretfully, she backs right up to the door of a "For Sale" shop that she'd spotted, and uses her superior strength to force the lock to pop open. Then she's through the door and backing away from the windows fast.

"I'd love to chase this bitch down and ask her some questions," she growls. "She's probably sitting on some of our god damned answers."

Fear is swiftly evaporating to anger, and this case is the only thing she can focus on for more than two seconds. It takes just that long for 'shooter' to become 'antagonistic lead.'

Once they're in the door, and more importantly away from any windows, Luke is doing a visual assessment of Jessica's person to make sure there aren't any large holes in any of her clothing that match the one center mass on his. "You're okay, you're not hurt, you're not bleeding." Is he asking or telling her? Because it's certainly more than just an observation. "Did you see them? It was a woman?" It's as if he's mentally flipping through a rolodex of females that are out to kill him, but thankfully all of those were left back in New York.

Things stay pretty peaceable for the first five minutes. Part of that time is, of course, Jessica and Luke seeking cover.

The other part of it is them trying to have a hurried conversation about who exactly the hell is shooting at them, and why, which they get about halfway through before a clattering heralds a CS gas grenade hitting the floor, dropped down from the upper story.

A shadowy figure unfolds down from the darkness above to follow it a moment later, wearing a heavy full face mask. Dropping soundlessly to the floor, she spins instantly into a snapped kick to try to send Jessica into the opposite wall.

Steel wire sings as the sleek, masked female figure unspools a length of garrote. Leaving the ground in a leap, she aims to land in a deceptively light perch on Luke's right shoulder, hooking her legs firmly about his torso to try to anchor herself for an attempt to strangle him with the wire.

"Because when Dr. Foster got attacked it was a wo—"

And that's about as far as Jessica gets before inhaling a big lungful of gas.

As she explained to Luke on the rooftop, new-to-her drugs and chemicals hit her just as hard as if she were any other human being on earth. She coughs wildly, pressing an arm over her mouth and nose to try to block something, anything, stumbling backwards. Back door, maybe? Did she see one? Tears in her eyes, she searches for one…

But all she sees is the blurry outline of a foot, flying for her. She hits that opposite wall hard enough to dent the drywall, and drops to her hands and knees for a moment.

Normally, she gets one power leap before her element of surprise is gone, and she has to figure out how to use it. In this case, she springs up and flings herself across the floor to try to snatch up that gas grenade in passing before attempting to barrel back to the front door; the better to toss that fucker outside.

Well, that's it. This is how Luke is going to die. At least that's what he feels like in those first few unexpected breathes of tear gas as they hit his lungs and irritate his mucus membranes. Immediately he starts coughing and heavy tears rolling down his cheeks at the sting, but he doesn't have time to think about that because - SWEET CHRISTMAS - some crazy bitch is trying to strangle him now while riding him like some deranged pony act. Thankfully, he doesn't have to worry about cutting his fingers as he reaches up to hook them around the steel wire and attempt to wrench the wench off of him.

Blue eyes dart behind that full mask, watching the way Jessica clears the floor in a single bound. She can't do anything to stop Jones from hurling the grenade out into the open air where it'll disperse, though, because she's got her hands full trying to kill the hell out of a bulletproof man.

A bulletproof man who gets his hand under the garrote before she can pull it tight. She twists it furiously, jerking the wire, trying to slice through his fingers, but of course that's not going to work.

"You are NO fun!" she exclaims, though incongruously enough she sounds like she's having the time of her life, trying to adjust her position so she can twist her legs around his neck and use those instead of her trapped wire. But the trouble with her perch is that it's very bad for any kind of dodging, and Luke is right there.

He gets ahold of her and pulls her right off him. She drops to the floor awkwardly, hitting on her hip before translating it into a roll and a spin back into a low crouch. She rockets back up from that stable position, snake-quick, driving her knee straight up towards his solar plexus. If she can't cut or pierce him, she's going to see how he does against blunt force.

Grenade disposed of, Jessica slams the door shut again. She doesn't really want this spilling out onto the streets where it might hurt innocents. She also doesn't really want security services taking an interest. She's already seen how they like to round 'em all up and let the Panther Goddess and the odd maiming sort them out. She is forced to deal with another wild round of coughing and tearing up, having basically waded into the worst of the gas. She can hear the crazy woman complaining about Luke, which at least tells her that he's okay for right now.

Considering all she's seeing is the burn of water coming out of her eyes, she'll take it. She sags against the door frame for a moment, hacking until she nearly vomits, hoping that shit will clear up in just a moment.

She puts up her hands in a defensive position, though. Just in case the woman comes dancing back to screw around with her. She doesn't know how much good it will do, but she'll do it just the same.

Luke manages to pull Elektra free, coughing and sputtering from the pressure on his neck combined with the effects of the gas. As she lithely goes rolling off, like a cat with far too many lives, he stalks in that direction. With fists balled at his sides, he nearly blindly plods in her direction. Nothing like the sight of a big, black bull that's a slobbering-snot-full-runny-eyed-ball-of-rage.

This is clearly panning out to be a more protracted job than Elektra expected. The gunshot should have done for Luke instantly, and the fact it didn't is going to have to go into the calculus of her next assault. On him, anyway. She might be able to get one of two, today, at least —

Her eyes swing towards Jessica, standing beyond the very imposing sight of Cage bearing down on her. It's the only warning before she darts to her right, moving with catlike erratic swiftness, leaving the floor and going briefly horizontal to run along the wall, springboard off it, and draw a sai (of all things) mid-flight. She drives it straight towards Jessica's heart, intent on gutting it right out of her body.

"The Daredevil chose you both for his friends?" she hisses. "I'm almost — insulted!"

Jessica Jones was at least taught by the best, and when the woman dives she executes a sharp low block. It's not at full strength not because she doesn't want to invoke full strength right now, but because "Worf has the flu" so to speak (Worf times two) and so it's just…as hard as a peak human might do it. It's not even a full block, she sort of clumsily sidesteps, but having pinned herself against the wall to prop herself up she's limited her dodge options.

The sai finds flesh, if not her heart. Jessica, who had just gotten over the coughing fit, lets out a cry of pain. There are very few places in the abdomen where it's good to be stabbed by a bladed weapon, but at least she's found one that isn't instant death.

She may not be used to gunshots, but she is pretty used to being stabbed. And the mention of Daredevil gets her attention like nothing else. Her head snaps up, and angry red-rimmed eyes meet Elektra's before she suddenly finds a second wind through the pain and adrenaline.

"Why the Hell would you care who Daredevil's friends are, psychobitch?"

She punctuates this hoarse, raspy statement with a few things. She steps forward, tries to headbutt Elektra, even as she tries to hook a leg behind her and check her with as much strength as she can muster, tries to shove her down. And tries to wrench her body to the side to…well. Force her to leave the sai in there. If it gets ripped out Jess knows full well she'll lose a fuckton of blood she doesn't really wanna lose right now.

"Oh hell no." All in all, Luke really isn't doing a bang up job of this whole protecting Jessica thing, seeming how she's been gassed and stabbed in such a short span of time. He's coming to join the fray of battling women, hoping to even that score a bit. Where the two of them have finesse, he has the brute tank-like form of someone used to their fair share of street fights. One hand goes to clamp a hand on Elektra's shoulder, to spin the fight back to him. That sai won't have much effect if used on him, after all.

The cry of pain, the feel of sai sinking into flesh, flares delight in Elektra's dark blue eyes. Not that that's really visible considering the mask. She leans in, trying to twist it deeper, to reach something vital —

— and Jessica asks why the hell psychobitch would care who Daredevil's friends are.

Elektra laughs. It's a bright, carefree sort of sound, the sort of lighthearted sound a lady without a care in the world might make. It rhymes with the odd cultured sound of her voice, her cultivated accent and posh diction plain even through the mask, which is really kind of /weird/ for a masked assassin trying to kill people, if you think about it.

She certainly doesn't sound American. Nor precisely English. Some other flavor of European. "Darling, because I shall clearly have to get rid of all of them — "

Luke's hand clamps on her shoulder in her moment of distraction. She whirls, trying to force him to let her go in the most direct way possible: she flips the sai around, having learned right quick that piercing is no good, and rams the pommel upwards towards his throat in a sharp attempt to crush the trachea.

Calm sirens start in the distance, drawing closer. Wakandan security. Elektra's eyes flicker, her body poised briefly in indecision.

Her attempts to quell the psychobitch are dealt with as easily as if they were being offered by a kitten. It's awfully hard to fight while stabbed, and the woman has her good and pinned. Her own attempts drive the knife deeper, and then she twists, which is a new level of what the fuck hero life sucks sometimes. That vicious motion certainly takes a lot of salt out of one Jessica Jones. She groans, more of her strength fleeing from her as pain flares in seemingly every nerve ending.

Oh good. Luke's doing the thing. Awesome. She'll just…she'll just let him do that.

She clamps her hands to the wound and slides down the wall, panting. She wants to spit a really good threat. A really nice I am going to find you and I am going to turn you into a human pretzel, you sorry sack of shit.

Doesn't make it out of her mouth.

While his muscles can absorb a lot of force, there isn't a whole lot of that covering a trachea, and Luke is caught with that blow that makes him sputter and gasp for breath once again. Of course that doesn't stop his instinct of throwing a punch right into the woman's gas-masked face to make this hose beast stop, especially when she is paused in that split second, distracted by the sirens.

That's the trouble with fighting two at once. When you have one down, in comes the other…

Trained to hit soft targets first and foremost, Elektra goes straight for the throat. But Luke's resilience means he isn't stopped for long. His counter punch is so quick it takes Elektra by surprise, clocking her square in the face. More importantly, it cracks the mask, letting some of the woman's own tear gas start to sneak in.

With a hiss she yanks her weapon free of Jessica — not exactly kindly — and backs up. This combined with the sirens is far too much for her, all at once, and she whirls abruptly to vault out the back window, slipping out into the falling night.

She yanks the sai free.

This produces a roar of pain and fury. "FUCK YOU, MOTHERFUCKER!"

She's not exactly eloquent.

She hears the sirens too though. She pulls her phone free. For what? To make a call? To send a text?

No. It's for a Coke. She shakes it up good and hard. Then she rolls away from the wall a bit and crushes it, contaminating every bit of the blood left here. Since 99% of the god damn DNA evidence is hers she'd just as soon get rid of that shit. She flings the empty can back into the app.

And then she tries to stand on her own power. She almost gets there, too, before she's tipping forward towards the floor once more.

Luke is not pleased. This is no victory, even with Elektra bounding off into the coming night. Between the blow to his throat, the attempt at garroting, and the tear gas, he's finding it hard to breath let alone swallow. Thankfully though, he's built pretty solid, and can remain on his feet. What kind of bodyguard would he be if he curled up on the floor right now in the fetal position?

Tempting though.

His attention comes back around to Jessica, just as she starts to pitch forward again. "Hey, hey hey." He sputters in concern, rushing forward to intercept the woman before she kisses the floor. It really doesn't take much effort to scoop her up like a rag doll. "No fucking dying on me, Jessica Jones."

"Like you care," Jessica snaps. Or, perhaps more accurately, and far more bitterly, "Like you should."

She's sorry as soon as she snaps it, and it shows on her face. The pain, the frustration, the little something that's bothering her about this encounter. Her lack of control. Her need for someone else's help. Her need to be defended. They all conspire, in this moment, to reduce her to her worst self.

Instantly, visibly ashamed, she looks away. "Sorry," she mutters. "I keep trying to tell you I'm a piece of shit. Just… get us out of here. And no doctors. Just— just anywhere." She curls into his arms, every movement causing visible agony.

"Getting stabbed makes you seriously grumpy." Luke just comments, for all intents and purposes, annoyingly calmly about her little outburst and subsequent apology. Curling her injured body gingerly to his chest, it's as if her weight is almost nothing in his arms. He only takes a moment to decide between front door and back - where the gas was disposed of - and chooses the latter. "C'non." Like she has a choice.

She can't help it. She starts to laugh. It's a soft hiss of air between her teeth, a series of chuckles as he brings her out into the night, every intake of breath more painful than the last, but it pops out of her anyway. It's actually not annoying at all. She appreciates, more than anyone in the world, someone who can take her anger, her storms, take her as she is without hating her for it. Someone she doesn't have to be particularly careful around, modulate herself for.

She has never met anyone who has managed it to the degree one Luke Cage has, and he's been getting some of the worst she can throw at him.

It's too bad, really, that he'll hate her in the end. More than too bad. It twists something inside her, makes her eyes brim up a little. But fuck that, no feelings. She still has a job to do.

So all she says is, "Think I'm grumpy now? Just wait till I have to cauterize this shit."

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