Dunce Cap

November 24, 2017:

Clint comes by to bring Kate some helpful hardware.

Kate's Apartment

It is an apartment.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Jessica Jones

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

It took a few favours and some convincing, and a little support from Clint, but the Checkerbrick Building was shut down. The tenants were moved into temporary accomodations and both they and the business owners are being compensated. The excuse they were given is 'structural issues.' It's a pricey solution, and one that costs SHIELD money by the day. So the pressure is on Kate to fix the problem. The suggestion from the SHIELD agent she spoke to was that if she doesn't fix it soon, they'll take over the case.
Clint is in street clothes, but he's lugging a case that looks like it contains official equipment. It's awkwardly shaped, so Kate probably hears him coming up the stairs to her apartment before she sees him. There's a muffled, 'son of a bitch!' as he knocks the case against a bannister. He gently kicks since his hands are full in lieu of knocking.

*

Kate opens the door swiftly, looking a bit tired and edgy — and not in the hip-cool teenager way. Her black hair is ruffled into a pony tail, and her bangs are all askew. She is drinking a very, very large cup of coffee, and frowning at Clint. And then his case. Her brows arch as she looks back up at him, peering at him suspiciously. "It isn't Christmas yet."

*

Clint shoves the awkwardly shaped case ahead of him through the door before following it in. "No, but I think this knocks you off my list for the year. Between this and the good word I put in with you at SHIELD to have that building cleared." He winces as he rolls his shoulder back. He looks at her mug. "Got any more of that?"

*

Kate gets out of the way of the case, opening the door to her apartment wide. She squints at it and then at Clint, but refrains from more questioning until she fetches him a cup of coffee. "Alright, but this isn't that silly Folgers you drink… I get real Woman Coffee." She goes to get him a mug, setting hers down while she does. She works quietly in the small kitchen.

Kate's apartment is very modest for a trust fund kid. She keeps it low-key and simple. The furniture looks bargain store, or maybe just a small step up. There's no weird art on the walls, but she does have several potted plants.

"Thanks for that," she finally says as she pours him the coffee. "For getting that building cleared… guess I gotta get my ass in gear and figure that all out now."

*

"Ain't nothin' wrong with Folgers. It's the best part of getting up at 4 AM to go on a mission." Clint stretches and rolls, then finally seems to work the kink out. "OK, so, tell me what you know." He moves further in and shrugs off his nondescript fall jacket.

*

"I swear, you almost quoted the commercial there… except for the 4am bit and going on a mission. I don't think Folgers is really the coffee of choice for spies." Kate hands him the mug and then saunters over to flop on her couch. She glares a bit at the case, but then she looks back up at Clint. With a heavy sigh, she leans forward. "So… this Checkerbrick Building… is apparently like a really hot piece of real estate, but only to this one guy… Matias Lin put in this brief about replacing the building with some new structure. But the building isn't on the books to be torn down; I don't even think its up for sale. This kid is the son of some guy named Ri, and he owns Delphic Imports." She goes on after a slow breath. "Jones thinks there's magic involved, so she's getting me a meeting with her contacts in the Wizarding World. I think that those crystals were, um… what do you call it… anchors? For a spell? Enchanted objects, maybe. My guess is that they were put there to make the tenants go nuts, upping their paranoia level, and maybe getting people to move out, or go under business-wise… make it easier to snare up the building."

*

"Yes, Katie, that was the joke," Clint deadpans to the Folgers bit. He takes the mug from her and sips at it. No matter what it's like, he'll drink it. He's a spy - he's not too fussy as long as it delivers caffeine.
He listens to the rest. "Anchors, or boosters? Both are possible, but it sounds like the whole piece of property has some crazy energy." Then he grins at her. "Not the kind of case you figured you'd get when you started the PI gig, huh?"

*

Kate snorts. "You need to work on your delivery."

She takes another drink from her mug, sighing after she does. She looks up at him and scowls. "No." Then she sits up a bit straighter, leaning over her mug. She frowns a bit. "There's a few things I don't get though… there's someone out there who can look like other people. Really, really convincingly. Why would they focus on this stupid building? What's the whole significance there?" Then she shakes her head. "If I could look like anyone, I would, I don't know… look like someone famous so I could get into all the cool restaurants."

*

Clint mocks offense when she criticizes his delivery. He touches fingers delicately to his chest, but only holds it for a second. "Shapeshifters can make a killing as freelancers. The few I've come across that weren't just conning people were working for the highest bidder. If a company is smart and has the cash, then it's pretty smart to put them on retainer. Using a shapeshifter to do your dirty work is a good way to keep your hands clean. And it's a good way to make sure people don't even know a crime has been committed."

*

"Tell me about it." Kate frowns then. She rubs at the back of her neck. "I'm going to get SHIELD to do some sweeps around that… doppelgangers showing up in weird places. But there's got to be more to that… until I can meet with the Ministry Of Magic to find out about these crystals, I need to figure out about these Lin people. I'm going to get Jess to help me out there. I need to know why this building matters."

She now looks at the case, brows perked. "Will your magnificent case help?"

*

"See, that's the other problem with shapeshifters. You can track instances of people witnessing people changing shape, but you usually don't know if it's the same one. You can try and track them by MO, but some of 'em switch that up too." Clint sucks air between his teeth, then sips his coffee.
When she mentions the case, he looks to it, then up to her. "Oh, yeah. So, you mentioned this PI you're working with is immune. And you got brain-scrambled by it. This should allow you to go into the building without being affected by its mojo."

*

Kate frowns at Clint's immediate feedback about the shapeshifter, and she sighs heavily. "I hate shapeshifters." Beat pause. "I really, really hate shapeshifters." Then she looks up at Clint, taking another sip from her coffee.

The news that the case holds something that protects her brain from being scrambled causes her to get up, setting the mug down on the table. "What? I just got to lug it around like you were doing, and I'll be too distracted to get my brain scrambled?" She jabs him easily with her playful words before she shoves her hands in her pocket. "Or am I getting a really cool helmet?"

*

Clint kicks the case over towards her. He doesn't say anything, he just sips his coffee.
The case is one of those foam insert dealies to keep equipment safe and secure. It's a helmet all right, but no one would ever, ever call it cool. It looks like something Doc Brown in Back to the Future would wear. The base helmet looks like a stainless steel football helmet. There's all sorts of weird bits of machinery attached to the outside.
"We call it the Dunce Cap."

*

Kate slowly takes out the helmet, holding it as if it might be diseased. She looks over it, a small frown settling into place. When Clint tells her its name, she looks up at with a glare and huff. "I hate you so much."

Then she turns the helmet over and plops it down on her head, adjusting the straps as she does. She stands up, holding out her arms and spins around like she's showing off a new outfit. "How do I look?"

*

There's the sound of an electronic shutter sound going off. Clint is rapid-fire taking a series of pictures as she does a twirl in the stupid-ass helmet.
One of the sharp movements causes one of the little pieces to drop off the helmet. If she looks closely, she'll find a bit of…hot glue?"
The other archer is just grinning and grinning. He's now holding his phone landscape-style. This might be a video.

*

When the piece drops off, Kate looks at it almost aghast. She bends to pick it up, stopping in her twirl. She doesn't really care much about the filming, holding out the piece. "Shoddy SHIELD craftsmanship!"

Then she chucks it at him. The piece that fell off, not the helmet. Oh no. She's keeping this piece of rubbish now.

*

Clint holds up a hand to deflect the piece. "Hey! That's sensitive equipment!" But he can't quite keep a straight face. He drops the phone and slips it away. Then he reaches into his pocket, pulls out a small clamshell case and tosses it towards her. Inside are a pair of sleek, black earbuds.

*

"'Sensitive Equipment' my ass." Then Kate turns to catch the clamshell. She pops it open to reveal the earbuds, and she smiles far more appropriately at the sleek bit of tech. "Did Coulson put you up to this, or was this your idea all on your own?"

She doesn't remove the helmet as she pops out the earbuds to look them over, though she does knock it back just enough so it isn't shadowing her features terribly much. "How do these things work then? Just pop them in?"

*

"Allll me. And one of the tech guys. He's actually the one responsible for the hot glue. I'm terrible at using those things." Clint looks pleased with himself. "Call it payment for me making sure SHIELD doesn't yank this case out of your hands before you get a chance to crack it."
He motions to the earbuds. "They'll sync with your phone and you can turn the level up or down. It generates counter-interference. They've already been tested in the Checkerbrick and they work. It does muffle your hearing a bit at higher levels though."

*

"Not into crafts, huh? You should take one of those classes at JoAnn's… they'll get you hot-gluing in a a two-hour session." Kate then listens more dutifully to the directions about the earbuds. Then she looks up at Clint with a quirk of a smile. "I'll just pretend I'm old like you and ask people to talk louder."

She closes the clamshell now, holding it between her palms with the goofy helmet still in place. "Thanks, Clint. Really."

*

"Not into crafts, huh? You should take one of those classes at JoAnn's… they'll get you hot-gluing in a a two-hour session." Kate then listens more dutifully to the directions about the earbuds. Then she looks up at Clint with a quirk of a smile. "And they are so fashionable, too. You had the folks at Apple help with the design, didn't you?"

She closes the clamshell now, holding it between her palms with the goofy helmet still in place. "Thanks, Clint. Really."

*

"I think we might've poached an Apple designer or two with our sexy sexy SHIELD packages," says Clint with a wobble of his head. "Hey, no problem, kiddo. I read the report on this thing. Don't want to see you go all Carrie again."

*

"Ha. Carrie. There was no pig blood involved, though." Kate snorts slightly. She then takes the helmet off, shaking out her hair as she does. She sets it down on the coffee table, definitely intending to keep it. Its her now, nee-neer nee-neer. Then she looks up at Clint. "Hey, since its now my job to wrap this case up, you think I can pull some profiles on these Lin people? I have a hunch there's something big there that I need to figure out more about. Delphi Imports sounds like a sham that needs to be revealed."

*

"Maybe, but when was the last time you had a team huddle? This Jones person sounds like she knows what she's doing. Might be she's kicked over a couple of stones that'll fill in some of your gaps." Clint's not really one to lecture her on teamwork. He's the guy SHIELD sends off to do solo jobs because he's not real great at coordination. So maybe it's a warning based on experience.

*

Kate frowns, and she slumps her shoulders a bit. "You mean beyond calling you?" She looks aside, grimacing a bit. "I don't know. I'm not really used to this whole thing… you know, it was bad enough that I had to team-up with you on occasion." She says this quite adoringly, all the same. Then she nods a bit. "Yeah… I should call… I've been… sitting on stuff." She grimaces. "Not intentionally. Just… I forget that I should be sharing the info stream."

*

"I mean, you don't have to, but trying to work on this on your own is a surefire way to get it yanked from your hands." Clint finishes the rest of the coffee. He's even a polite houseguest and goes to rinse out the mug. "It's also a good way to waste your time because you're duplicating someone else's efforts."

*

"And getting it yanked from my hands would be really embarrassing and would not solidify my status as an Avenger." Kate says these words like she has already worked her brain through this quandary. She knows she's super close to getting in big trouble, and probably wasting resources, and not at all solving the problem at hand. She follows his movement around her apartment, fussing with her own unfinished mug of coffee. "Alright, I'll put in a call to Jess. And I'll press her to make this appointment with the Ministry of Magic."

*

"What is that, anyway? Isn't that from, uh…" Clint mimes and motions to his face. "…wizard…wizard…Harry…Harry Potter?" See? He's up with the things the kid likes. He's hip. He's cool.

*

"Oh. My. God. Clint, I seriously can't take you anywhere." Kate scowls good-naturedly. "Yes. Harry Potter. Jones says she's getting some magic folks together who can help us figure this out… that's the Ministry of Magic. Naturally. Though, to be fair, the M.O.M. are total assholes, so maybe I should hope for Dumbledore's Army, or the Order of the Phoenix. A bit more of a positive perspective."

*

"Yyeeah, just a tip?" Clint's eyebrows go up, his head tilts down, but his eyes also go up. "Maybe don't name your contacts after characters in a book about a kid?" He holds up a hand and holds two fingers a slight distance apart. "I mean, you can give them codenames. My favourite thing to do is make them mildly, but not overtly insulting, but."

*

"That's what she said." Kate never misses a beat. Though she at least has the dignity to look a bit sheepish after the immature quip back. Then she scowls at him at his tip. "Yeah, okay, Legolas. I'll keep that in mind."

*

"Yeah yeah yeah, I've never heard that one before," says Clint with a slow shake of his head.

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