A Quick Consult

November 23, 2017:

Sally Stojespal stops by Alias Investigations to catch up with Jessica Jones…and to ask for a bit of advice.

Alias Investigations, Hell's Kitchen, New York

Bah Humbug. Oh wait, that's Christmas. Um. Bah Turkey.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Tony Stark, Obidiah Stane, Jane Foster, Sizani, Zatanna Zatara, Michael Carter, Rin Nakano, Maria Hill, Peter Quill, Rocket Raccoon, Groot, Captain America, Bucky Barnes, T'Challa, Peggy Carter, Sloane Albright

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

It probably isn't much of a surprise that Jessica Jones is at home and in her office on an American holiday, one of the few she takes off.

It's probably not a surprise that she's working, if a little strangely. In black sweat pants and a black tank top, with the rattiest of ratty quilts wrapped around her shoulders, she sits at her desk and types notes into a holographic keyboard, catching up on casefile updates, making to-do lists for Monday. Black Friday is no day she wants to be out trying to work cases either, so she skips that one too.

She does, though, have one of those Thanksgiving meals from one of the places that makes them. They wanted to give her enough food for any four; she shrugged and took it, knowing she'd eat it or share it eventually. It's the first time she's ever bothered, truth be told, but stuffing herself on turkey and mashed potatoes seemed a fine way to try to crawl back onto the wagon.

Which means she's got plenty to share with a guest, one who probably gives two figs less for Thanksgiving than even Jessica Jones does.

Sally might note security updates. Keycode locks, not really high tech ones, but some sort of code has to be punched in to unlock the front door now. But it's unlocked, open to anyone who wants to walk in during daylight hours.

Jess has also rearranged all the furniture. Before, the couch was up near the front, another place for clients to sit, as was the coffee table, before one stepped back to the little desk and chair client area. Now the couch takes up the back, near the windows, faces away from the door, forms a sort of barrier, makes it into another little room, with the coffee table facing the windows. The desk area is right up front now. Whether this is just some concession to professionalism Jess has never made before (maybe not, given she's busy eating at her desk) or was just some sort of thing that made her want to rearrange all her furniture? Anyone's guess. The punching bag is still where it always was, which means it's in the southwest corner of the room near the door, swinging away on its chain. No doubt chairs now have to be moved aside for her to use the thing, but it is not, after all, like moving furniture is any big hardship for one Jessica Jones.

*

Afternoons in New York have definitely turned cooler. Wind, plenty of clouds, and the occasional drizzle have finally driven away the summer that seemed to stretch on far too long, though they've also managed to clean the streets just a little bit. Even Hell's Kitchen appreciates such little gifts…even if it seems those are the only little gifts the community gets at all.

Some gifts aren't so obvious. One of those is a certain private investigator, the target of Sally's visit. The Lotus is parked around the back, where it'll hopefully be least obtrusive - ever since she'd been made upstate, she's been trying to be more cautious with her planning. Maybe it's worked, maybe it hadn't; maybe the explanation that she'd been on a training exercise had been believed after all.

Jessica Jones was a surprise, Sally thinks, making her way to the woman's office. But a good one - and right now, one she's glad to know. A soft knock from the Sokovian against the door to the office, before she looks it over. No collections of dust this time, not nearly as much as there'd been before. Now it's been heavily improved, it seems; extra hardware around the door…which is wide open.

Security only works when doors are closed.

"Jessica? You're not busy, are you?" Sokovian accent forever present, the girl at the door calls to her friend. She hadn't quite thought of Thanksgiving yet - yes, it's a very western holiday, and one she'd understand…she's just never had the chance to enjoy one. The last time around she'd been desperately hunting for the missing and transforming Sloane Albright; this time around…well, there's finally less traffic on the roads. Slightly. That and a lot of restaurants closed.

*

"Not that busy, come on in," Jessica says, waving Sally inside. "I've meant to catch up with you since getting back from Wakanda, it's just been…chaotic."

To say the least.

"I've got food if you want some." She doesn't specifically call it out as 'Thanksgiving' food, of course, that would force her to admit that she's taking some sort of stab at some sort of celebration. But it sure smells like festive food. Thick gravy and turkey, potatoes and cranberries, rolls and green beans. With a German chocolate cake in the kitchen, though that has nothing at all to do with Thanksgiving. That is apology cake, from someone to Jess.

She shuts down what she'd been typing away at. Something about a building called the Checkerbrick and some evidence she's logged. The holograms spiral back into her S-phone, which she just leaves there.

Better locks on the windows, too, and those are locked. Tightly. The glass is thicker in all cases as well. People are always breaking in here, but they'll have to work at it a little bit, now.

"How's it going?"

*

"Wakanda?" Blue eyes widen in surprise at that. "Is that where you have been at? I came to say hello once or twice, but you were locked up." Interesting. Why Wakanda? …Wait, WAKANDA!? It finally hits her, and she slips a soft <My god.> past her lips. "You were allowed to visit that country? That is…do not tell Mr. Stark this!" She steps forward, a bit slowly and respectfully as if Jessica herself is suddenly charged with some kind of royal super-energy that could turn Sally into dust on the wind.

She got to go to Wakanda!

The offer of food breaks her train of thought, though, and Sally glances at the feast - she hasn't eaten, no…and it isn't as if her friend is the kind of person to just throw away things. Perhaps a little bit will be alright to enjoy. It's that holiday thing after all, isn't it? "Yes, thank you. May I?" She gestures to the kitchen, ostensibly to grab a plate and silverware. Once she returns, a little of everything is sampled, but just a little. She's got to keep her figure after all.

That, and it's a consideration to Jessica. If she's anything like Sally's Inhuman best friend, she goes through more calories on an average day than Michael Phelps does in competition. The question gets a bit of a smile, as Sally sits. Slightly slowly, in fact, with the faintest of grimaces as she does.

"Absolutely it has been an interesting month," the engineer starts with a snort. A spot of cranberries are sampled, getting a sudden squeezed face at the tartness. Americans and your foods! "I suppose…being kidnapped and nearly taken out of the country is not a way to start a month." She laughs a little. "And then there was the Stark charity gala, and…everything that happened at that." The latter, she still bears the wounds of under her shirt and slacks. It explains her slower movements. Nothing too serious, but literal acres of shattered glass tends to leave occasionally deep cuts just about everywhere.

Another few bites of dinner, because she's hungrier than she realized. "Although it is not all bad. I have a new place to live, actually. Next to Madison Square Park; my great-grandmother decided to visit and select a place. I take too long," she laughs.

*

Jessica blinks slowly, and it occurs to her that not everybody in her life actually knows she spent a two month hiatus there.

"Go for it," she says, first giving permission to go after the food. Then, she decides, she will tell about Wakanda. The panther tooth necklace she wears without fail now is certainly visible now that she's not bundled in every piece of outerwear she owns, the way she has been when leaving her apartment for days.

She tries to figure out how to tell it, and says at last, "They put a friend of mine on trial. A bunch of us were given leave to access the country so that we might learn the truth. It didn't quite play out the way any of us expected. And Tony knows. He knows very well. They didn't let him in, but I brought him a little bit of Wakandan art."

A faint smirk touches her lips. "He promptly took it apart, of course."

As for calories, Sally would be surprised. The truth is Jessica often has very little appetite at all. A side effect of drugs she's taking, a side-effect of mental issues that overwhelm the drugs from time to time. When she eats like a Peterbilt truck driver is when she's heavily injured, when her body ramps up her metabolism to Mach 5 so it can heal her wounds. Then she eats like an insane person, just packing away calories like there's no tomorrow. Right now, she's just eating like anyone would, because if her mind has been through the wringer over the past several days, her body has remained strangely in tact, as if by way of compensation.

"Kidnapped?" Jesus, is that ever going around. "You okay?"

And then, "Stark asked me to look into that gala, but I tripped so hard over Homeland Security when I tried that I nearly broke my own face. Not to mention SHIELD and a dozen other agencies. What the Hell happened that night, anyway?"

She does, now, notice that the kid still seems injured, and for a moment it leaves her feeling disoriented. Sometimes she forgets that other people have to heal wounds at a normal rate.

"And…you like your new place?"

It's a series of very strange questions, when all put together, taking over the sum total of what Sally has said, but the detective digs in and asks them all anyway, as is her wont.

*

In fairness Sally's been a bit distracted, what with SHIELD's work. And training. And all the aside. She works on the early dinner, but meets Jessica's eyes as the investigator explains. While she does, the Sokovian looks her over, and spots the necklace, eyebrow raising in curiosity. But she'll ask about it later.

"I see. I do understand then that your friend is alright? That they were not found, er…guilty, I suppose?" Wakandan justice and law is just about as mysterious to her as the rest of the country. All she knows about it is the occasional rumor, what little information there is that manages to get published, and all of Stark's griping. And the one meeting with Sizani and her seemingly liquid-metal panther.

The mention that they would not let Stark in gets a snort, fortunately one that manages not to come with unswallowed mashed potatoes. "I would imagine not! He is…Mr. Stark is not the fan of the country. Cheaters, he calls them." Something to do with vibranium, and the exceptional technology they've apparently built on it. Something that's not stated at all when anyone writes about 'We're Another Kingdom in Africa, Now Don't Ask.'

And then Sally bursts out laughing at the mention of Stark taking it apart. He would. She gets it back under control to nod and wave a hand. "Yes, I am well. Would you believe…" Oh the hell with it. Jessica's been to Wakanda, and it's hardly like the Guardians are that much of a secret. Not after the race. She ticks the list off one by one on her fingers. "That I was rescued by a space prince, a talking raccoon, an Ent from those movies you made me watch, my friend from the science fair, and Agent Coulson?"

The gala. "It…it was well, at first. Many famous people, and the charity was going along. Mr. Stark spoke, and then…" She shakes her head, hairband keeping bangs clear from her face. "I do not exactly remember what happened next but there were explosions, I could not hear anything, and Mr. Stane - Mr. Stark's old friend - was badly wounded. And there was this giant machine that killed so many…" Shudder. "I have never seen such a thing. Atrocity. Not like this."

She leaves out the hallucination and fear she'd suddenly had that it was her own family dying before her. After all, there's no reason to suggest that was at all abnormal and not the panicked thoughts of a terrified girl. "I tried to protect Mr. Stane, and then the rest of the glass came down…" That explains the wounds, then.

Much better things to talk about. Yes. There's a slow nod as Sally detracts from the topic, and smiles a little before eating a piece of turkey. "I do. It overlooks the park, it truly is quite beautiful. Baba picked it, in the end. But it is large, and quite roomy. Plenty of room for everything, and then extra; I…need to check on how much of the entire floor she purchased. I won't be the only one living there, of course. But…at least, part of it is all mine." Family is a thing, and they're always around. "Once it is 'fixed up' as you say, I would like to show you around."

Sally stretches, settling into the couch some. "I also…wanted to ask you for your help. To be a student of sorts, though I understand you are of course quite busy."

*

"He's fine," Jessica says, of Barnes. 'Not guilty' is perhaps an overstatement, but 'not executable,' at least, was the outcome, and trying to explain the cultural twists and turns of the Wakandan mind gave Jess a headache even when she'd been trying to lay it out for Jane so that she might take advantage of the loophole. Truth is it really was Wakanda 101, not Wakanda 401, and Jessica's understanding is still pretty…surface.

Jessica smirks on this matter of her rescuers. "Sure. Quill, Rocket, Groot, right? They're a riot. It's been a long time since I've seen any of them, man, a real long time, but yeah, I totally believe it. Quill rescued me once himself, as it happens, from another dimension which fed on my nightmares. Turns out all of Quill's nightmares are kind of lame and ridiculous, so he defeated the place just by…existing."

Jessica absorbs this information about the gala in silence, though, including that Obidiah Stane was greviously wounded. Fat Iron Man suit was empty, Stark had said, but it still managed to commit atrocities enough to freak out Sally Stojespal. But then, all of Tony's suits are remote-operated…she'll have to ask if there's a range on those things. It might give her a radius to start looking for the lab where that suit came from. She holds up her finger, pops up a window on her phone, and types exactly that note, noting: "I've been chasing that Atrocity with zero luck for some time," by way of explanation.

She also listens about the apartment, and gives a grin; it's good news, and she offers a thumbs up before spearing some turkey…

But it's this last bit that intrigues her. "I'm not too busy for you," she stresses again. "You need my help, you get my help. What's up?"

*

"Good." And then the holiday hits her. "Then I suppose that is a thing to celebrate on Thanksgiving, yes? That he is well. Whatever happened, however, I do hope that justice comes to those deserving." The logic's simple, if Barnes is at least innocent - as Jessica seems to imply - then someone else committed the crime he was accused of, and that person hopefully will be soon found and tried. Simple logic…just not Wakandan logic.

Sally's eyes widen when Jessica names them off. "You know them? A riot, hah. Indeed." Well, she can't say much for Quill, but she'd definitely say that that counts for Rocket and Groot. Hm…Jessica knows the trio. She might be able to help judge things…wait a dimension that what?! "First Decimux…now that, what…why is the universe so hostile!" Fair question.

"Though I suppose…well. I want to reward them, in thanks for what they have done. There's more than just that particular incident, but." She can't talk about what happened over Sokovia. Not yet. "They…did help to save my home as well, once. I…what is the proper reward for such things? I mean, you know Rocket…" Cash, sure. But gettng an invoice from the little rodent is harder than getting anything explosive from him. Seriously, what IS she supposed to do?

She watches as Jessica takes notes, and tries to think back, clearing her mind. "At the end…somehow it was going to overload, or set off some kind of…suicide bomb? I am not sure. Mr. Stark did everything he could to send it straight up, with several suits; that is what caused that bright flash in the sky that night." It probably looked like a meteor from Hell's Kitchen. "Whatever it was, I think it has been destroyed, or destroyed itself. But it is strange."

Her eyebrows furrow a little as she thinks back. "It was…it was not what caused the initial thing. The bombs. The stage and things exploding were several minutes before the Atrocity appeared. Like…it was not part of whatever happened, at first." It's just a fact that makes zero sense. Who shows up late for their own terrorist attack?

"Ah! Yes. I need to learn proper…at least basic techniques. Investigation, how to track someone, how to follow them, and things like that." Ugh, she hates having to lie about this, but at least she's not talking to her homeland's deity. Jessica probably has an extremely well calibrated bullshit detector, but not outright divine ears that sense truth. "I have been going through some exercises, training sorts of things, but they did not go well. And since I am not part of the academy, I cannot really just…pick up a book and learn. I would appreciate your guidance, really, in learning how to do this."

*

"As I understand it only one got away. I am thinking of asking the King if I can't help hunt him down."

As if she doesn't have enough on her plate. But when has that ever stopped Jess?

"It's not all hostile," she says, with a wan smile. "It's just…a jungle. Beautiful. Full of life. And dangerous as fuck."

But as for a reward? Jessica Jones sort of makes one of the faces she makes when she has no frickin' idea. "Thing about them," she says, "is…they are better people than they pretend to be." She wouldn't know anything about anything like that, of course. "When Quill rescued me, he just…refused to let me act like I owed him. He said I'd return the favor someday, to him or someone else, and that was that."

Sally asks an excellent question, but Jess shakes her head. "Fat Iron Man is an opportunist, as best as I can tell. He piggybacks off of other people's crimes to cover his own tracks. He may have showed up late because he wasn't expecting a terrorist attack, but wanted to kill someone dead while someone else was busy running one."

Jessica Jones looks at Sally at this last bit though. She watches her very closely, and, indeed, she does have a good bullshit detector. She also knows who Sally works for, so she stands up to get a soda and says, "Alright. I'm sure you have like…a training exercise that is stumping you a little bit. Let's start there. Lay the hypothetical out for me." She can so work around this.

*

Good. Sally nods with approval at the mention that there's 'only' one escapee. "I am sure that you could do it, if they permit it." Grin. Confidence in her friends is something Rusalka Stojespal has never lacked. "Though, if that is the case, let me know next time you disappear? Just so I do not worry." Secrecy is a thing, she gets. And Wakanda loves its secrecy.

The advice on how to deal with the Guardians gets a nod. "I see…hrm." What can she do, beyond anything else? Rocket of course has his own desires, Groot…probably would be satisfied with a crate of girl scout cookies. Quill? A good question; she barely knows him. But Jessica does, at least more than Sally. "I will…consider that." Perhaps there's something she can do for them after all. It isn't as if SHIELD safehouses are all that well appointed…

…and Rocket's claim of Steve Roger's old chair is certainly a cry for help. Yes, there is a plan forming.

A sporfle of laughter slips out at 'Fat Iron Man' - she didn't get too good a look at the thing, and certainly hasn't been up to looking over whatever debris might be left. But there's something that doesn't make sense to her now that Jessica explains further. "Opportunist? That…seems strange. If he were just a person, that…" Her hands flutter a little in confusion, before she can finally get her thoughts straight.

"To make such a thing is like building a Limited Prototype racecar, never to take it to a track but just…randomly race someone at a light. You do not do such things with such a machine. You build it for something specific, not…" Sally shakes her head. "It is not the tool of an opportunist. Unless the operator is a madman, but…" She supposes that can't be ruled out.

Training exercise? "Ugh. Yes. It is…myself and several other recruits, though at least one of them is academy trained. We were trying to tail another agent, and…I think we did well for a little while but somehow got spotted, and failed the test. Agent Hill is overseeing the testing, but it is something that I must prove I can do. So I thought…" She grins. "Perhaps someone who is effective, and not using SHIELD's methods, might have an advantage in doing things they do not expect?"

*

"Certainly. I'm sorry I didn't before. I was…consumed."

That doesn't note the half of it. Jessica had been obsessed, frantic, focused. But the next time she works for Wakanda, at least, she figures, or at least hopes, she'll be in a better state. The more she thinks about it the more she needs to. They have not gotten nearly from her what she's gotten from them. She must restore that balance.

But she drags her attention back to the moment, pushing her empty plate across the coffee table.

"Maybe," Jessica says. "I mean, he basically seemed to steal SHIELD tech at the same time Agent Holmes, AKA Sieve, was stealing Stark tech, right? So. Tried to kill Cassandra Marx in a way that laid it at the Agency's feet, too."

She wonders if that problem will ever rear its ugly head again. All those refugees, looking at her as if she was the one that was going to save them. It brings her a chill even now. She can barely save herself, some days.

"Even if his ultimate goal isn't opportunism, I think he recognizes them and capitalizes on them when he sees them. This guy's smart as fuck. It's why I have zero leads."

But she gets back to the original question.

"Tailing," Jessica says, "Is fucking hard when you have to do it by yourself."

She stands up, and gets a few things from her kitchen. Just random stuff. A corncob holder, a quarter, a little twist tie for bread, and then a chess piece, a pawn that is in her junk drawer for reasons she doesn't even remember. "If I had my way, I'd always have a team. Here's how it works."

She sets the pawn down. "Target," she says.

Then she lays the other pieces of debris in a sort of a row above that. She starts walking the target forward. "Tail number one goes this far. Then tail number two picks it up. You stay in constant contact. Now tail #1 has the chance to change cars, put on a hoodie, find a wig, whatever." She moves Tail #1 to the end of the line. "Tail #2 hands it off to Tail #3. Like a relay. By now, Tail #1 is changed up, and in position to intercept again. It decreases, significantly, your chances of getting made."

*

A hand waves, before Sally sets the now-empty thanksgiving plate on the desk, in whatever might pass for an open spot. Or else underneath one of the other plates holding up the investigator's own feast. "It is alright? I just…after Sloane disappeared for several months, I was a little worried. I tried to call, but I only have the office number, you see."

That and, after her little mouthing-off incident with Sizani, it's likely the Wakandans blocked her phone anyway. She's still paying for that screwup, and will be for a long time. Lesson learned. "I understand the work you must have been doing, I think. At least, we are here now, yes?" She grins. "Columbia girls, after all."

Atrocity. Stealing Stark technology? "Agent Holmes…he was involved in the, ah, the portal incident. That other world, the one the refugees are from." Sally still checks in on them from time to time; they're stabilized…but in a sort of limbo. The ultimate group of unpersons, where can they go? What can they do? "If it is Stark's SHIELD's technology…"

There's a nasty thought. What if Coulson's investigation into a Hydra mole leads to the Opportunist? Her eyes narrow; Hydra's reputation for plans within plans makes her wonder - just who has this Fat Iron Man killed? Who would be decoy, and who its actual target? It's a chess game, with gambits and feints…but noone plays chess like Sokovians. "I think…if I might be permitted, I would like to look at what you have on this? Just…for a separate set of eyes. A new point of view," Sally asks, eyes narrowing.

Maybe she's wrong. But she'll have a good chance to prove that, or if she's right send things even further over a potential cliff. Maybe the Opportunist is more active than it seems, and just shows himself in public from time to time.

Then she listens closely as Jessica explains the way to tail properly, handing off and…yes. Nodding slowly, Sally sighs. "That is what we did not do. Admittedly…it would have been difficult, but going from a stakeout to a tail, I should have thought of that. What if you are alone, then? Is…there anything that can be done in that case? Without being too obvious?"

*

"My office phone is my cell, you should have gotten through fine," Jessica says with a frown. "I was sending almost all of it to voice mail, but I have visual voice and called back any number I knew."

So…yeah. Probably. Sally might have been blocked.

"Oh sure, it's not confidential. I mean. You're Stark's intern and SHIELD, I don't see why you can't, and I've shown others." Her ex-boyfriend, now that she has an ex-boyfriend. The relationship she took all of two weeks to tank. Ugh. And she still feels completely unable to repair that. "And Columbia girls. Here."

She flips her phone up, taps the STUFF app, scrolls through, and draws out a thick paper file. "Photos are very gruesome," she warns. "Crime scene stuff."

As for this matter of tailing…

"When I'm alone I try to let technology pick up a lot of the tab," she says. "Slip a GPS onto the car and you can tail from four blocks away. I mean I cheat too, I walk the rooftops, and nobody looks up, but that option isn't open to you. Get a tracking app onto their phone, if I can. And sometimes you just gotta do it, but some people just can't be tailed. I wouldn't try to tail a Peggy Carter or a Bucky Barnes, for example. If I wanted to know about one of them— well, really I'd just prepare to get my ass kicked, they're super good— but if I did, I wouuuuld…"

What would she do?

"Find a Peggy or a Bucky of my own, someone they didn't expect."

Well. Her ex-boyfriend may still be looking for work. And he may be bored still. She can at least do that for him.

She scrawls down a number. "Call this. Ask for Michael. For the love of God don't tell him I sent you. Say you're with SHIELD. They sent him here, but he's MI6. If this is more than a training exercise, if this is actual real work you need done…maybe he can be the ace in the hole you need to unravel whatever it is you're doing."

*

There's a nod given when Jessica suggests Sally has no reason not to see how things look with the investigation. "Alright, I will take a look." She gives the investigator a smile, wondering what caused the sudden downturn in mood - though it's easily chalked up to the following words Jessica speaks. 'Gruesome. Crime scene.'

Then again Sally's also just ever so slightly distracted by the fact she's flat out pulled a large paper file from within her phone, the proverbial rabbit from a hat. Even as she accepts the folder, one finger raises as if to pause everything, then points directly at the phone. "That- that was not there a moment ago. Did you do that?"

She knows Jessica's got superpowers, but that's just flat out cheating! Showoff.

Sally nods gently at the further suggestions. Trust in tracking devices. Taps. Something to check in with Agent Nakano, she decides; see what kinds of interesting things that Tony's backdoor-key might have turned up. "I can imagine not, I think. Most SHIELD agents…well. At least we had our target for a little while, before we were, ah - made, yes. But…"

It's all about numbers, she realizes. Nothing can be done alone, really. Spread out. Different places, different faces. Different positions. She can remember some of her family's old war stories now, and thinking back to them the parallels are there. Always a stronger enemy, one that would be much more dangerous than a mere failing grade. Yet it is possible to follow, stalk, steal, and pursue such a target. As long as you have allies.

The number's taken, and she pulls back her sleeve a little to show a rather nice old-style watch - that with a tap projects a holographic keyboard and screen, quite like Jessica's own phone. A few taps, a swipe of the finger, and the phone number for 'Michael' disappears into an encrypted computer that's almost the best Stark can build.

Almost. Hers doesn't talk back to her. "I will do so. MI6, ah, British intelligence? Hrm…at the very least, I am sure he can help. Even if it is just for pointers, after all. I would like to pass this, if I can."

And then Sally deflates, finally comfortable in the couch. "I must ask one more question," she asks tiredly. "Am I doing something incorrectly, or is doing stakeout absolutely as detestably boring as it seems?"

*

"No, my app did that. Zatanna Zatara enchanted it for me. It's awesome, my whole life is in there, but if I ever lose my phone I'm probably so fucked it's not even funny," Jessica says.

Sally all but confirms that she is working an active investigation, and Jessica chooses not to press.

Sally says he might give pointers, and Jessica's smile is a bit sad and pained. "He is a fantastic teacher," she says softly. "If you can get him to share he will make you a better agent, no doubt about it."

But then Sally asks that final question, and she snorts a laugh. "Nope. You're not doing a damn thing wrong, they are all like that. I bring the Cryptoquotes and the Crosswords, you can glance up from paper and pencil and not miss a thing, but you can't do it from your phone cause that will suck you in. Or someone to talk to, that always helps." Not that she didn't work them alone for ages.

*

Zatanna? "The performer? She was at the gala - bozhe moy. I did not realize she did true magic, not…it is magic, right? Not simply, ah, like nanotechnology assemblers and such? Ah, she is well, yes?" And she did that for Jessica? There's an awe and wonder across Sally's face, because frankly…that is easily the coolest and most amazing thing she's seen all week. Month, not yet; she was nosing around the Milano last week. That tops so far. But this is still awesome.

She'd not intended to let such things slip, but such is the danger of working covertly. At least, she believes, she can trust - truly trust - Jessica Jones. Meanwhile, the folder in her hand…she'll look through it momentarily, as Jessica continues. The smile…she's seen that smile before. Not worn it herself, but just as her friend chooses not to press, neither will she.

"Ugh. Yes. I will try that…and I will remember not to get lost in them. Or a phone. Still, I suppose when you are trying to watch someone do whatever it is they do and take as many notes as you can…there is only so many things people do through the day. 'Watched news. Watched more news. Made coffee. Watched Bachelor In Paradise.'" Shudder. Maybe her target had made her from the very start and was going to torture her with boredom.

…no, then it probably would have been a Toddlers In Tiaras marathon. What the hell is wrong with Americans and their television programs!

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