The Mentos Affair

September 08, 2017:

Spy and PI go hunting for more evidence in Wakanda. They don't have much in the way of resources, and they don't quite speak the same jargon, but Peggy Carter and Jessica Jones make it work as usual.

Somewhere in the Wakandan Hill Country

Now featuring: YouTube pranks and so, so much compartmentalization.


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Jane Foster, Luke Cage, Michael Carter, Azalea Kingston, Silk

Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

Jessica Jones was up at 5:00 AM this morning.

Let's all stop and take a moment to appreciate the sheer strangeness of this. Of course, it could be that she just feels too much time has passed, too much is still unanswered, too much is left to be done.

It could be things keep getting shoved onto a big steaming pile of emotions and she's saying NOPE and setting all that shit on fire to go solve this case.

Could be a little from column A, a little from column B.

At any rate, she pretty much snags Peggy the moment Peggy is up. "There's an airfield in Kupaa lands I wanna check out," she says, figuring Peggy will know why that is after her excited e-mail of yesterday. "Wanna come with?"

Assuming the answer was yes, it was time for a long, long, long car ride towards Wakandan hill country. Jessica spent most of it trying to arrange notes into a coherent timeline and outline more things that needed to be figured out. In bulletproof jeans, an electric blue bulletproof tank top and this ill-fitting armored blazer that Peggy might recognize as one of May's, she looks as grim and as focused as ever. As the car starts navigating some winding, twisting roads she banishes it all. "It's not a coherent narrative yet."

The answer from Peggy is immediate: yes. It's hard to say whether that has to do with the importance of this information or her own personal complications. Either way, it does not seem as if she is willing to speak of it. Instead, she focuses on the airfields and the case in front of them.

Dressed in sensible clothing, though perhaps less bulletproof than Jess' own attire, she starts going through her own notes. "No," she agrees with Jess about it not being a coherent narrative. "However, it's more information than we've had in weeks. This has been good work." While still grim, she does compliment Jess on her work.

While generally Peggy takes lead, parcels everything out - and if not expects but demands respect and leadership - tonight, she purposefully demures to Jessica. She is the one with the insight and lead. In her mind, this is her case and she will advice, but she will allow her to take point unless told otherwise. As such, she takes a moment and looks to Jessica. "What would you recommend for engagement?"

Jessica will now allow herself half of a feeling, the half that allows her cheeks to color just a little at this compliment. It's the only thing she can do right…

But it will all be for naught if they don't succeed.

"Ahh…I recommend you ask me that question in civilian-speak," she says, a little sheepishly, after a good minute and a half of staring at Peggy blankly. She knows what engagement means, it means to interact with things, but it's the shape of the question that confuses her. Even so, she answers it, and maybe correctly. "I figured we'd park somewhere we can hide the car, sneak up and case the place to make sure nobody's hiding in a tree looking to shoot us and so we can see if anyone's there, and if nobody is, we break into the hangar and see if we can find signs of Blackstone. Or the drugs, or the smuggled weapons, because I feel like the trails are crisscrossing over all three and I don't know what touches what yet."

A beat. "Is that what it means?"

Deferred to or not, there are a lot of protocols, and there is a lot of jargon, that she has never been taught. She has good instincts, maybe, but none of the knowledge. None of Peggy's world is second-nature to her. Really, nothing except the investigation is. Everything else she's done in the past 10 months has been a patchwork of traits and knowledge and techniques pulled from various friends. Hedge magic, science, peopling, honor, grit, grace, steadiness, a little tech lore, a hint of the spy game, a pinch of street wisdom and the balm of gallows humor. Course, she's always eager to add another little square, soaking it all up like a sponge. It's led to some awkward moments of trying to emulate various friends, or latching onto them with perhaps inappropriate fervor, but the balance is starting to even out, and what's starting to bake up is something that's wholly Jess, but still shaped, somewhat, by all of them, including the woman here in this car with her.

As Peggy looks up from her file at Jessica's request, she opens her mouth to reply. However, Jessica is already discussing her plans as to what she hopes to do when they arrive. There's a smile - almost proud - that she gives the other woman. "That is exactly what that means."

In the interest of teaching, she adds, "Engagement refers to how we wish to engage with a certain target. In this case, you are recommending stealth and subterfuge. It is exactly what I might recommend in this situation." That's certainly a vote of confidence in Jessica as far as Peggy is concerned.

"Do we have any way to monitor their surveillance or are we going in blind?" In Wakanda, she is certainly expecting the latter. This place has not particularly been friendly to her own means of espionage. That is - most likely? - the point.

"Either way, we should be on the lookout for on the premises cameras and sensors as well as security. They don't seem to be at a lack of technological devices here - security or otherwise."

Everything has kind of sucked, but…Peggy sounding proud, reinforcing her decisions, and teaching, produces a brilliant grin from Jessica Jones that lights up her whole face for a moment. It's such a rare moment, sun peeking out from behind clouds, showing someone who might have once (and might be again) been simply sassy, confident, and bold instead of sardonic, anxious, and uncertain.

But she's soon back to business. "Blind," Jessica says with some regret. "Michael and I finally saw what one of their surveillance devices looked like. It was a drone bug shaped like a beetle. We might never see their stuff. Wait! Do you have something cool that can jam things? Or might at least normally jam things? Or can we…fiddle with our phones to make them jam things around us?"

Well, Peggy is a spy, though in this case she forgets she's asking the spy from the 40s how to jam tech from 2017+.

Still, after a second she's directing the car to stop under a copse of trees, and adds something a little more low-tech, "Maaaybe we just try to get ourselves where the drones wouldn't normally be looking."

The smile that Jessica gives Peggy is met with a smile of her own. She likes Jessica, thinks her a good person and agent, even if she is not exactly a SHIELD agent at the moment.

The knowledge that they are going in blind is met with a nod. She expected as such. While she could hope for something more, she is used to having the bare minimum when dealing at times. There were not many people willing to invest money in a woman SSR agent and so she made do.

There's a bit of a sheepish grin at the idea of an app to jam the surveillance devices. "Perhaps if I still had access to some SHIELD equipment." However, that give her a bit of an idea. Looking at their phones, she tilts her head.

"Do you happen to have a phone or something that makes noise with which you're willing to part? We could toss it close by but opposite our entry point. Should there be curious surveillance bugs, they will attempt to investigate it while we move inward." It's both of their plans combined.

Parting with the phone is a no-go, but Jessica has a few other things. She thinks about it, mentally goes over the inventory of her STUFF, bites her lip thoughtfully, and comes up with an answer. She'd given away all her old phones and computers, mostly to Silk and Az, and her iPod, when she got the StarkPhone. Such incredible good fortune had to be shared. So she has nothing conventional. She has…what does she have?

And then she remembers what she has. It all comes together, ironically enough, because she showed Luke Cage the inventory of her phone in some sort of bizarre flirting ritual on a Wakandan rooftop, even knowing she was going to— nope. None of that. Focus on the mission. And when she drags her thoughts back, she thinks she has an answer.

"Y-eah," she says slowly. "I— think maybe I do."

She starts pulling stuff out. A case of Mentos— why Mentos made it into her emergency food stores is anyone's guess, but since her emergency food stores are something like a tour of Hell's Kitchen eateries plus a tour of a Sam's club maybe that's explanation enough— a six pack of Coke and six of her evidence collection gloves. And rubber bands.

"Uh, when I saw this on YouTube they packed them in with hay too, but um…Mentos wrappers ought to be good for packing material too. I'm thinking um. A mentos Coke explosion with enough mentos and packing material will blow the bottle but it's not very loud. If we put a glove on top of it though the glove should blow up like a balloon and pop when the gas gets released. I think. And um there's a bit of a time release because you have to shake the soda really good to make this stuff happen."

Who knew wasting a ton of time on YouTube could bear fruit?

Peggy might be deferring to her, but on this? It's Peggy's idea, and Jess isn't 100% sure this is the best way to execute it. So Peggy gets a quick 'yeah? What do you think?' sort of look.

The solution that Jessica presents is met with a bit of a raised eyebrow. It seems a little madcap, to be honest. However, if it makes noise, that might just be something. "Perhaps they'll think some rogue teenagers attempted a science experiment," she grins. In Wakanda, she would not find that odd.

"Having it on a bit of a timer also works in our favor. Let's set it up and get into position." Realizing that she's already sort of taking over the operation, she says that and then reins herself back, allowing Jessica to start making the calls. It's hard to give up authority, but she trusts Jessica. And so, she adds, assuring this is done with Jessica's say so: "On your mark."

Jessica doesn't seem to care one way or another. Partners pass that stuff back and forth, and for all this talk of taking lead what the woman vastly prefers is something more egalitarian. It might have made sense to go professional, to act like they were some sort of detective squad, simply by virtue of the time they've got to work with and the expertises they've got to bear, but it's not something that sits easily with her. Captain America and Peggy Carter may see that in her, and she may even have it, but it feels weird and uncomfortable to the woman kneeling in the dirt pouring 1/3rd of the Coke out of every bottle so she can stuff entire packs of Mentos inside.

It is very madcap, but MacGuyver she isn't. Jane probably could have built a smoke bomb out of Jessica's toiletries, but Jess is reduced to…well.

The kind of shit teenagers would pull as a fun science experiment.

Still, she's efficient about it. "First disarm a bomb with one Carter, then make some with the other," she quips, a little bit breathless and nervous. She hands three to Peggy.

During this entire exercise they have not seen anyone at all around the hangar.

Peggy says 'on your mark' and Jessica once again displays all that 'not being trained by people thing', because what she responds with is, "Um. Getsetgo!"

But for all that, she'll run with Peggy towards the door, staying low to the grass, shaking the two in her hand the whole time she runs. Not much she can do with the one shoved under her armpit, the second volley so to speak.

Crap, where to fling them?

Full of adrenaline now she flings hers as hard as she can, which means…

Well, bugs, if there are any, may or may not follow, for all that there are two POP POPS; she can throw a pop can every bit as far record-holding baseball players. That's about 400 feet, which might be overkill and less productive than they might want. Good thing Peggy has some.

Jessica's go mark is met with an amused raised eyebrow. However, Peggy does not disparage or say anything else about it. Instead, she treats 'getsetgo' as a red code word and moves forward with practiced precision and stealth.

With her own three Mentos bombs, she waits till the mark is said and then immediately tosses one of them as far as she can toss it. That is certainly not as far as Jessica, with her super strength, but it is a decent dstance. Then, she waits a heartbeat before tossing the others in rapid succession, arcing them in different angles and places to try and confuse the surveillance bugs. It will, hopefully, take them enough time to investigate them for herself and Jessica to move in unnoticed. She hopes.

Then, she starts moving forward, hoping that the spray of coke and mentos will do something to distract in order to allow them to infiltrate.


Mentos bombs go off all over the place. Rubber gloves shatter like balloons. And Jessica takes this moment to strongarm the door, breaking the lock as she so often does. It's fast, it's messy, and it's not particularly kind to the door, but there it is. She is glad for the gloves on her hands, leery of leaving fingerprints. It's the human-size door, of course, not the plane size door.

As small as Wakandan bugs are, it's impossible to tell, really, how much time they may have bought themselves.

The hangar is dark, and Jess slips inside, flattening against the metal wall behind a shelf just in case…though she's ready to leap out and draw fire from Peggy if need be. There's not any, not here and now, but she worries about it, tense. There is a plane in here, but it looks like it's under repairs, guts exposed to the open air thanks to various panels. There's some sort of pair of offices in the back, and a single bathroom. To get there they'll have to cross the whole hangar, taking them pretty far from both exits. Not ideal.

The distraction lands. Whether or not it actually bought them any time is something they will have to find out later. Peggy will know if she is tossed into a proper Wakandan prison as opposed to the holding one she was held in recently. Whatever the results, she is here and committed.

Following behind Jessica strong arming the door, she glides into the hangar and presses herself against the wall similarly. Her eyes scan across the room now that they are inside. Who know show long they have here? At the very least she can get a good look.

Peggy looks at the airplane first. Should they inspect it? Nonverbally, she looks to the airplane, raises an eyebrow and then looks back to Jessica. It's either that or the offices. She is certainly willing to look through either of them.

Well, at least if it's a smuggler's hangar maybe not. Or a refugee's. Or…whatever.

Jessica scrubs her fingers through her hair. Was this a shitty idea? She's nervous. Uncertainty steals over her features. But finally she makes a decision. Peggy should take the offices, because the airplane door is way up there, she doesn't see a ladder and they don't have time to search for one. She makes the appropriate gestures, and then she power leaps up to the door of the plane, sort of scrambling inside. That means she's disappeared from immediate view, and unless she is standing right at the cockpit she won't have much of one of Peggy. They gotta maintain radio silence, which she doesn't love either…

But it is what it is, and they gotta work fast. Peggy can take care of herself, and Jess can take care of herself, and the faster they're in and out the faster they get whatever lead this place has to cough up. If any.

This is Jessica's show and also it's a solid decision. Peggy would have to struggle to get up into that plane. To get to the office doors? That's far easier. When Jessica motions that she will take the plane and she should take the offices, she nods, approving of the plane.

Immediately, she is moving swiftly and silently, making her way to the office doors. Being in radio silence in a dangerous situation like this isn't ideal, but it is generally how agents work. They must adapt and trust each other. Luckily, she and Jess already do.

Readying herself for a fight, she studies and then moves into the first office.

These office doors are no bar for a spy of Peggy's caliber. They're just regular locks. Not everything in Wakanda is souped up to the highest degree of possible technology. Desk, file cabinet, and computer all offer a couple of options for investigation. They're all very non-descript, though the computer seems to need Kimoyo beads like all the other computers in this land. Low tech here, high-tech there, all dancing in a strange mix farther away from the city centers. There is also some sort of radio here, and the charts on the walls show airplanes in flight. And a garbage can. Both of these offices, from a brief glance into each, are laid out exactly the same.

So far no attack comes, but Peggy's instincts do tell her this much: something is going to go wrong here. It's in the gut, in a thousand subconscious clues that tug at her brain, at her experience.

There is always the possibility for everything to go wrong. There's a suppressed groan when she realizes that the computer requires the thing she does not have. What is the point of her even being her if she can't even properly spy?! She thinks, frustrated.

Despite the thought, she moves to the drawers and file cabinet. Despite her general attempts at information gathering that have always been stymied by the lake of Kimoyo, she still tries. After all, she's here and she's not the type to just give up at first glance. Instead, gloved hands start to rifle, delicately checking for traps and alarms before pulling open drawers and rifling through files.

There are no alarms, no traps, nothing of the sort. What she does find, as she rifles, is an encoded ledger. It's encoded in three different languages, Swahili, Xhosa, and English…but it is definitely encoded. Right up her alley. It means something. What it means is anyone's guess, because she won't have time to deal with it here. She does have time to see a shimmer, as if someone was wearing a sort of predator suit. Almost invisible. Not quite. But not really visible either. And that person raises a not-entirely visible gun and points it right at Peggy.

This is a great time for Peggy to be Peggy.

Above, a familiar: "GOD DAMN IT," which may indicate Jessica's found a 'predator' of her own. But it doesn't sound like a hurt swear, just an infuriated one.


Peggy takes the ledger from the drawer and starts to flip through it for only a moment before the shimmer and the gun. Immediately, the book is tucked into her chest and the agent drops and roll for the door.

In hearing Jessica's own curse, she can assume the woman encountered similar resistance. She wastes no time. She rolls to the side, making her way to the other office. She assumes that her pursuant will think she would book it for the exit. Instead, she attempts to double bluff. She trusts Jessica to handle herself in a fight and if she can manage to let her tracker pass her by, she can search the second office while also keeping herself safe.

Gunshots flare and hit the far wall; Peggy makes a dart for the other office, and Jessica makes noise; there is a lot of crashing and banging and such going on in that airplane. Impossible to say whether the gambit worked; the bare shimmer and hiss in the air that had warned her was nearly on top of her. She probably will get about 2 minutes to make this gambit work before someone is on top of her again, unless Jessica is able to put her assailant down fast and come to check on her. Maybe a little less, maybe a little more.

One shot to find something of worth in the second office, to identify it, pull it, and get out of there with it.

Gunshots flare, the true battle begins. Peggy only has a few moments in the second office. She has to make a choice as to what to search. The file cabinet as multiple drawers and the desk only as one, so she moves there.

She attempts to pull it open and then will move about to make sure she has proper cover against the assailants. She'll have to figure out a good way to get out to Jess, but she thinks she will be able to manage, depending. There may be only one exit, but that also means there's a choke point in people trying to attack her. She can take advantage of that.
She finds a small, flat access card of some kind. It's unclear what it goes to, but every key has a corresponding lock. If they can figure that out later it might be important.

KERBANG! to the back of the plane, then Jessica is power leaping out of it, and for once she's not bleeding from some stupid wound. "Hey, asshole!" she yells, to the predator she…can't see…but it has the desired effect. Peggy can see the shimmer in the air out of the office door, even as he tries to put some more holes in the PI. She has cause to be very happy about her bulletproof clothing; a shot spins her but doesn't drop her. It's the kind of thing that would put a normal human wearing Kevlar down; it only staggers Jessica. She picks up a huge crate and hurls it in the predator's general direction, her eyes briefly meeting Peggy's; she's being loud so…well.

So Agent Carter doesn't have to be, in point of fact.

The desk drawer is opened, but then immediately abandoned. There are shimmers, people threatening yet not actually doing physical harm. Her own research is met with a frown. What would it take for a technologically minded band to twist an invention for their own horrible needs? For a moment, Peggy assumes that these are holograms placed by a generator they have yet to find. So, she runs full bore to tackle one to prove it.

She's trying to make an exit so they can dash toward it. If she can prove these to be merely holograms, she is on the right track.

They're not doing harm cause they missed Peggy and hit Jessica's armored form. Those were real gunshots.

As Peggy will discover when she barrels into the form of a human being. The individual grunts and staggers beneath her weight, tries to twist, turn, get the upper hand, wrestle with the other woman. At least this close and personal it's no worse than fighting someone in the dark. Someone who is…trying to get his or her hands around Peggy's throat to choke the ever loving crap out of her.

Jessica darts in to curb kick what she thinks is the gun away. It clatters. Invisible. Off…over…there. Somewhere. She darts back, not really wanting to get Peggy by mistake.

Oh crap. That is not what she expected.

However, Peggy is adaptable. While she expected to barrel through, she instead uses this moment to deal damage She kicks at the sensitive areas and then shoves herself upward. Hands grab at her, attempting to choke her out, but she is used to tactics such as this. Her knee pulls upward and then kicks is in an attempt to launch the invisible away from her.

Making sure she still has the book with her, she runs toward Jess and the exit. "I think we've overstayed our welcome!" she tells Jess as she makes her way toward the private investigator. The last thing she wants is for Jessica to be hurt because they stayed here too long. There is no need for project leader deferment, she will just assume that Jess is on the same page.

Hard to tell if she's knocked this person out or what, but…she manages to get him off. She says they've overstayed their welcome, and Jessica says, "Yup."

She is definitely on the same damned page.

Peggy runs for her, Jessica spins. "Sorry about this," she says grimly. Nobody she's met enjoys being her passenger like this, but it's a hell of a lot faster. She wraps an arm around Peggy's waist and then they're in the air, whipping straight for the door with a powerful thrust of Jessica's legs. She's careful to lift Peggy up a bit so the spy's own legs don't hit ground and shatter when her feet slam into the ground outside.

Then she takes a deep breath, muttering, "Really wish I could fly for real," before she powers up another one. This one does go about six stories up; gun shots fill the air but only at person height. She angles them, and says, "Really, really pull your legs the Hell up," as they go just barrelling down towards their hidden car at ridiculous speed.

Though in reality, Jessica just nervously lifts her again to prevent the problem before they're in the car and speeding well away.

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