Sharing and Smokescreens

December 08, 2017:

Scott Summers visits Alias Investigations to find out what Jessica Jones knows about the demon bear. Jess is willing to share…to a point.

Alias Investigations, Hell's Kitchen, NYC

Al? Al's harmless.


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Lorna Dane, Alex Summers, Marcos Diaz, Dani Moonstar, Emery Papsworth, Illyana Rasputin, Stephen Strange, Ripclaw, Jane Foster, Bucky Barnes, Matt Murdock

Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

After a little bit of phone tag a date and time got set for Scott Summers to swing by Alias Investigations. Thus, he gets a Jessica Jones who is more or less ready to receive him. She's up. Dressed. At her desk with some work to do until he gets there. Dressed in clean jeans with no holes, an olive-green V-necked shirt under a green, black, and white flannel shirt, boots, and a little panther tooth necklace.

The 46th Street Building is, of course, nothing to write home about. It looks exactly like what it is. A low-rent Hell's Kitchen apartment building. There's a homeless guy sleeping in the elevator, the floors are dingy. But the frosted glass window at the end of the hall reading 'Alias Investigations' is clean and nice enough, and the push-button key-code lock that is beneath it seems both out of place and recently installed.

Once Scott enters, by whatever combination of knocking, door answering, and being asked to come in they eventually land on, he'll see that whatever the exterior, the interior of the office is reasonably clean and nice, freshly painted, polished hardwood floors, decent furniture, a few nick-nacks on the built-in shelving, from a small thank-you card to a foot and a half high statue of Athena on the highest shelf.

The detective gestures to the chairs on the 'client' side of her desk, shuts down her work (which appears to be happening on a holographic keyboard courtesy of a Stark phone, rather than on a laptop) and asks, "Want a cup of coffee?"

Her tone may not bode particularly well. It's as grim as her pale face, which is set into deep worry lines.


For Scott it was a long night. The unexpected Lorna-Alex-Marcos triangle adding to a list of turmoil surrounding the X-Men. At least this is the trivial sort and can almost be looked at with some amusement if it didn't have the potential to destroy even more Xavier's property. With the current Demonic Bear situation that extra danger isn't necessary. Insurance is going to go through the roof.

Added to this propaganda for and against mutant registration all across New York is sprouting up. The worst photocaptures and blurred imagery taken from events surrounding Magneto's offspring back to the Charity event used as ammunition. It's ugly and getting uglier. There is a lot to shoulder for everyone and not just the mutants out there. A mutant registration push could encompass all metahumans if they can figure out ways to identify them.

Scott's head is a mix of the same old thoughts, beaten like a dead horse thats on display, a carousel pole throug it just circling his mind over and over so when Lorna gave him Jessica Jones' card it became a good excuse to get out and away. To enjoy one of his handful of loved ones a last time before shes stowed in the garage for the winter. A snarling Harley Davidson Titan V-Rod. It made the trip despite this being New York traffic heavy hours at least mildly enjoyable if the cold could be ignored.

Summers knocked politely, the tall brunette wearing a leather bikers jacket lined with red veins and a couple empty patches, hair shorn close, red always worn reflective glasses and a motorcycle helmet under one arm.

"Coffee would be great and thanks for meeting with me." First things offered out before he is looking the office over.

"Also… do you realize there is a homeless man laying in his own piss in your elevator?" Scott did his best not to step in it.


Jessica crosses to her cabinet, opening it up to pull down a coffee cup. The one sitting on her desk, still full of coffee, says "Black Like My Soul." The one she gets down for Scott declares, "I Don't Do Advice Well. Can I Interest You in a Sarcastic Comment?" She pours the brew, gathering some diner packets of cream and sugar and a small spoon along the way.

At at the mention of the homeless man she simply blows out her cheeks and tosses a wry smile back in his direction. "That's Al," she says. "He's harmless. But thanks for letting me know. I'll go grab him and get him to come in and clean up in a bit. If I try to do it right now he'll probably drown in the attempt."

She brings him his coffee cup, sets all the accoutrements down, and now, with the bare minimum of pleasantries for any exchange out of the way, dives right in. "So, Dani Moonstar. I'll warn now, I don't have good news for you, Mr. Summers."


Scott sets his helmet down in one chair on the 'client' side of the desk and takes the other for himself. That coffee mug taken and examined out of open appraisal of what it says, a half-smile tilting his lips and both brows lift, he'll drink it. It is coffee no sane adult refuses such a gift especially with the season.

"He didn't look rabid. Just very comfortable." Scott admits.

"Right… Dani Moonstar." A tap of a fingertip on the side of the mug in hand, "As it stands any news I've gotten recently is bad news so, might as well just fire it out there."


"When I came to your school looking it was because her name had crossed my desk in relation to a case. This is going to sound insane. Well, no, given who you are maybe not. But I was attempting to learn more about a sort of demonic bear spirit that's been rampaging. I got word that she was trying to hunt this thing too. At that point I was just trying to talk to her, but I was already starting to get the idea that she was MIA."

Jessica resumes her seat in the roller chair on the PI's side of the desk. "Later, I got my chance to meet her face-to-face. Enthralled by the bear, with her soul likely in its clutches."

She pauses to let him react to that, studying him. After all, she's telling him crap that a lot of the population wouldn't believe in particular. She suspects he'll take it in stride, but. One never knows.


Scott and Cyclops are known as one and the same by people who know how to actually read the news or do even basic research. It is highly unlikely this private investigator doesn't know who he is on both fronts. The school housing the X-Men a different story all together but the 'School for the Gifted' title says enough about the rest there.

One of Summer's hands reaches up allowing fingers fingers tug his jacket collar out away from his neck like its bothering him or hes just uncomfortable. It is safe to assume the second. "It's a hard thing to approach even in conversation. This whole… dDemons, spirits, magic but what you're saying is dead on. I'm not sure when you met Lorna in Westchester, either before or after we were attacked but yes, Dani Moonstar has been compromised. We hoped at first she was just playing the solo card but it turns out… basically to be what you're saying." A pause. Consideration of what that means souls and evil bears puppeteering them'… "I suppose."

"When you met her face-to-face did she tell you anything you might think was important? Mention any names… just something for us to work with?"


Jessica lifts her eyebrows to hear the school was attacked.

And yes, she did her research. The failure to link the School for the Gifted to the Westchester address was more a matter of not believing the address itself was significant and being too distracted to notice the sign. She has since rectified matters by learning everything she could about the X-Men, especially in preparation for this meeting. Still…she has faced skepticism before. Most recently from an Avenger. She just sort of expects it.

"I stopped by on November 16," she says. "What was the date of the attack on your school?"

If anything, that news deepens the grim lines around her mouth and eyes. The expression says this piece of news from him is about to invite more sharing from her. Sharing he might not like.

But she'll answer Scott's question first. "When I met her face-to-face," she says dryly, "it didn't take her long to shapeshift into a nightmare Care Bear and call up a few more shapeshifters. From there she proceeded to kick my ass and the ass of everyone on my team of the moment. She didn't really seem to be in the mood to share. What happened at the school? Are your students okay?"


Misdirection and cover up for the X-Men is a deal made with SHIELD and a more limited extent the Department of Extranormal Operations. Agent Lewis presence at the school is usually the sign they're still in good graces with SHIELD though, Coulson was less than approving of Scott's call on Genosha. There has been no communication since. Just more things to worry about.

Scott's attempting a grin but it comes off more like a grimace. He can feel it and the coffee shields his mouth briefly in another drink, composure to be considered. "The day after. The 17th. The school is fine we were dealt a lot of property damage, many of the children were shaken up but kept safe, we have protocols in place for such things and only a couple injuries. Fortunately nothing fatal. Safe to say we've thrown out the entire horror movie isle of our library."

"The asskicking you've mentioned has been mutual." Though as she mentions 'team' Scott's chin tips in interest just slightly. A small thing but noticable.

"I appreciate the concern for the students though. I wish I had gotten ahold of you sooner… " A day. One day and they might have been more prepared when Dani and her 'Nightmare Care Bear' pal showed at their doorstep.


"I apologize," Jessica says sincerely, a grimace of her own twisting her lips. "At the time I didn't have any reason to believe that bear would go knocking on your door. I think I mentioned it to Miss Dane but I didn't really have a history, a pattern, or much information to draw from at that point."

She takes a gulp of her own coffee, and then puts it down on the desk, curling her hands around it. "I have case details," she says at last, "that did not come from Moonstar. From my research, and the research of others. But before I tell you that, I need to go pragmatic. If you don't have a uh— I don't even know what to call this. A soul reader?— somewhere on campus, then you might need to have an expert of mine come take a look at everyone who was involved in that fight. Telepathy might cut the mustard, but I don't know for sure."

She looks up, at him. "This thing collects multiple souls, it can do it right in the middle of a fight where everyone's busy grappling with their own nasty nightmares, and you'd never know. The people who are enthralled by this spirit, who it decides are strong enough to use? They continue looking and acting exactly like they did before. They can pass themselves off as normal for a real long time up until the moment they decide they want to kill you. And, of course, every body walking around without a soul is a body on borrowed time, unless the bear also has some way of sustaining the body because that's useful to it."

It occurs to her that she could be telling this tale to yet another bear thrall. But. Not bear-shivved until proven bear-shivved, and all that. If her latest guest decides to pop into the form of a giant animal-o'-darkness she'll just have to leap over that chasm when she comes to it.


"Not your fault." Scott says quickly to the apology. "None of us had a clue. Our resident expert in these things is even struggling to get a foothold in this. We're swinging blind and any information can help. As you've already figured out Danielle Moonstar is one of us, she was one of our students and we're tight there, family. This thing, this Demon thats either already taken her soul or is using her like some screwed up marionette against the people she cared about needs put down." It is obvious for the X-Men and their leader Cyclops this is very personal. No need to mention again the school was attacked, their wards and the blighted beast crushed his Shelby AC Cobra. Thats added sting.

"I want to work with you on this as much as we can and figure out if there is any way at all to save Dani. If she is still in there. Thats our primary concern." The soul reader mention has wheels turning behind those glossy deep rose shades.

"I'd like to have your soul reader involved." His first thought is Illyana but after seeing the Darkchylde while trapped in Evil Moonstar's Shadowrealm hes second guessing himself, second guessing his trusts he's formed in the Limbo Sorceress.

"Telepathy we can try to employ as well. Safe bet might to do both. If its terrorizing and inflicting horror to amass souls its doing a good job so far. Have you any further insight, anything new? I mean, if we can establish patterns in this… because, why would she… it… come after you? Does Moonstar know any of you?" The questions are stacking up. The coffee mug is getting lighter.


Jessica Jones is no fan of telepathy. She's also aware her particular predjudice is just that. A predjudice born of bad experiences. And she finds that today it's bothering her less to contemplate telepathy than it did in the past. Used ethically, she supposes it's no worse than anything else. It's the making sure it's used ethically bit that's the hard part. But. That's just like her strength, too.

Certain nightmares have been locked away. And she's as protected as it's going to get. Maybe it's time to ease up a little on that front.

Jessica's smile is wry as he asks for patterns and information.

"Here's what we know. The rest is speculation."

She ticks the points off on her fingers.

"The phenomenon may be a result of an enslaved and corrupted bear spirit. Dr. Stephen Strange believes it may be the spirit if the Great Bear from Iroquois legend."

The she ticks off the next finger. "It seems to be linked to a family curse, which might explain both why Moonstar felt compelled to hunt it, and why she got swallowed by it."

Another tickmark. "Which may be linked to an Algonquin legend of the Mockwamosa, the Bear Cults, which is pretty much this family curse bit."

Another point. "But we won't know for sure until we talk to a real live shaman, and so far, no dice. Others, including Strange and his own expert, this guy Robert Bearclaw, may have gotten farther."

Another finger. "Strange thinks there's some weird star link too, and uttered the words 'elder god,' which frankly, having read my Lovecraft, I never want to hear him say ever again."

The next finger. "It never went after me, actually. It went after a scientist who was studying dimensional anomalies, though, one who recorded a blip seconds before she got chased down by this bear. As far as I know the scientist had no pre-existing ties to Danielle Moonstar. I was recruited into a rescue team; that was my first encounter."

Next finger. "I then went to interview a witness— the soul reader— but he brought me to a location where he was trying to initiate a showdown with the thing, so that was my second encounter."

A wry smile. "Third encounter…after my soul reader friend told me what he suspected about this thing scooping people's souls out of their bodies like goddamn watermelon balls, I started having him check everyone from the rescue party in a fun-filled game of duck, duck goose. We located two more soulless individuals that way, and when they realized it, they attacked."

She hitches a shrug. "Frankly, being attacked because I keep pushing and investigating is pretty much, you know, the job, so I never assume it's personal to me when something knocks me on my ass. It's always poking too hard, getting too close, right?"

She opens her desk drawer, then, and begins rummaging.


"Thats a lot to take in." Scott actually pulls out his cell phone, "Hope you don't mind? Just quick notes. Not recording so I can try to hand some of this off to one of my team." Illyana will get all of this. Whether she says she minds or not the man's thumb is already swiping and tapping quick memos.

"The scientist that got attacked for dimensional anomalies, that blip… " A look up at her from his texting, those glasses not showing his eyes behind them but hes studying her face. "Can I have her name? If she detected this thing once and it went after her that might be exactly what we need. One of the biggest weaknesses we have against this thing is it's mobility and its afforded so much unpredictablity. The fact its so far reaching says its scope is larger than the X-Men assumed, it's not just a personal thing with Dani alone in mind and if its tied to her family, its got her. Why is it still here?" He is frowning now. Dark brows trying to knit together.

"The trail of these unfortunate victims, these… husks." A purse of lips as if he just offended himself calling them that. Immediately regretting it. "These people. Any thing connected between them outside of Dani?" Likely something already considered but Scott has to ask.


She doesn't seem to. She even slows down a little so he can take the notes. It is a lot to take in, and she knows it. She just doesn't know how to give information any other way than to give it.

She leans back as she is asked the name of the scientist. She's quiet for a moment. Her face becomes a little unreadable.

At last she says, "I'm sorry, Mr. Summers, but the identity of the scientist and her work are covered by confidentiality agreements both I and Alias Investigations are bound by. I would have to consult with my attorney before I simply up and decide the situation warrants a release of said information. I understand how important this is, and I'm all for cooperation, but I'm still bound by the laws governing my profession. As it is, she is at the moment indisposed and her research is similarly unavailable, a matter greatly complicated by the fact that it got left unattended on a rainy Brooklyn rooftop."

That bad news delivered, she adds, "I think it's just a rampaging crazy thing that likes to eat souls at this point anyway. I don't think it has a plan. I think it just is. I do know it carries vendettas though. It's possible to piss it right off, and when it does it goes back looking for people it's pissed at. As for the— " She's not calling them husks, she decides.

"The soulless," not much better, but it will do, "They were taken at the same time and at the same battle, so…that connects them."

She finally finds a piece of white cardstock. She writes a name and a number on it and slides it over. Emery Papsworth. "You'll want to mention you got his name from me."


Scott's mouth opens when Jessica starts to explain she cannot give up the scientists name but he also understands. The show of teeth fades as he closes his mouth again. "I get it." He murmurs quietly then leans forward to take the piece of paper up. It too is added in to his notes on his phone, the paper left there.

"When and if you can find out more about the scientist, if you will consider us that would be appreciated. I have a considerable amount of resources and powerful allies." More telepaths than a stick could be shaken at. "We all want whats right in this." The chair under him slides back by force of his legs straightening out and him standing, boots on the man is a good six foot four.

"Keep my number please. If you need anything at all or come up with something relevant, contact me right away if you would?"

That coffee cup is empty. It is set down on that desk, he'll aim for a coaster if she has them out. A hand then extends to hers for a polite handshake. "I appreciate your time and I'll mail you anything we have that could help, its not honestly much. I think you've gathered more than us so far." A sigh and a withdraw, gloves placed on and helmet found once more.

"A long day ahead. I look forward to speaking again sometime."


Jessica Jones looks a touch relieved he did not press. And maybe, for just a second, a little conflicted and a little guilty, even. His words make it instantly clear he's most likely aware her legal agreements aren't what's causing the sudden smokescreen of formal language and omissions. At the same time…

She's got a lot to protect, and some rock-solid loyalties making her real, real cautious.

The talking to her attorney bit is certainly 100% true enough.

So she stands and she shakes his hand. "Of course, it's right in my phone," she says. As to gathering more than them, she simply smiles wryly. "Gathering info's what I'm good for."

Releasing the handshake, she adds, "It was nice to meet you too."


"You as well, Miss Jones." Scott adds before closing the door, then he stops.

"Hey, would you like some help moving Al inside? Least I can do before I go."


This causes a flash of Jessica's own teeth in a very real smile. "I think I got it, but I'll come get him out of the elevator for you so you don't have to ride down with him."

True to her word, she strides out into the hallway and presses the button to get the doors open. Not entirely caring about the mess— she's washable— she simply scoops this giant man up like he weighs no more than a four year old, arms under his knees and head as she walks him down the hallway. No evidence of any straining or struggling. She can't do much about whatever lingers in the elevator, but.

For her? This really is no trouble at all.


"You positive?" Scott compares her own frame to the man's on their way. Then she's up and moving him with an ease that says to a trained eye shes definitely 'more than meets the eye', a genuine smile appears for the mutant as he observes. "I see. Very cool." Meaning to that. A 'shes like us' comfort perhaps.

"Once again thanks and the smell is fine, I mean, its not pleasant but it won't kill me. I am more worried about your friend than my nose. It's getting colder out." As the door to the elevator closes the X-Man gives an updnod with his depature. "Take care."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License