Dire Peril Doesn't Get to Go to Voicemail

May 07, 2018:

Two old friends reconnect after a long time apart.

Alias Investigations, Hell's Kitchen, NY

Sometimes, the kitchen sees some use. Sometimes.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Trish Walker, Luke Cage, Tony Stark, Matt Murdock

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

"Ok. I'll cook something."

Words that Jessica never used to utter. That she uttered just to make Carol do the double take she knew was coming. She said it like it was nothing. Like oh. Okay. I'll cook something.

Now…

This is perhaps a bit overstated. What she's really doing is browning hamburger meat, dumping a jar of Ragu in it and serving it over some curly pasta, with some lettuce, tomato, and cucumbers vaguely arranged on the side in a salad-like arrangement, with some dressing. There's lemonade. There is no booze in sight.

But she set the table and shit.

Sure, she eats takeout more often than not, but sometimes she gets the urge to open a damn jar of Ragu, which is more than she ever got the urge to do since she and Carol got together last.

Weirdly though, she is totally wearing a hoodie to dinner, with the hood up.

"So…how's space?"

One place Jessica is just not at all keen to go.

*

'Cook something?'

Captain Marvel very nearly called the Avengers emergency hotline the moment she hit the 'call end' button on her helmet HUD. That had to be some kind of desperate code phrase that something was horribly wrong and the line wasn't clear.

A cooler head prevails however, as she tapped the side of her head and dispelling the helm in a veil of static and decomposing energies. Blue eyes staring down at the planet from the upper reaches of the Thermosphere above North America. Mouth working in the mostly airless environment, 'Cook something?', short blonde hair slowly ruffling in the lack of gravity.

To the average New Yorker it's a brief shooting star barely visible in the pre-evening light. A pinprick of form against the endless skyline swarmed by high rises that darts down without aura or radiance after reentry. The only one that notices this passage is a small girl, having caught movement in the corner of her eye as she was watching a pigeon in a windowsil.

Moments later, Carol Danvers walks in from an alleyway wearing a thin leather jacket with wool trim, denim jeans and white shirt as if she just took a cab from Boston. A few hoping steps with her hands briefly in her pockets, she heads into her friends house like she's done many times before. Just the usual evening commute for a super being.

"Oh. You know." Carol trails off, having made herself at home at the chair of the table. Leaning back with one leg balanced on the opposite knee, leaning so far back one might suspect her powers of flight are keeping the chair's balance. Her sunglasses pushed up over her brow as she maintains a disbelieving look, "It's got lots of stars if you're into that kind of thing.." Her voice trails playfully, brow rising as she muses, "Soooo..Everything okay down here? When did you take up cooking?"

*

"Last year," Jessica says with a shrug. "I learned to make a scrambled egg. And then I learned to make boxed tacos. I can also make macaroni and cheese, from the box, and this. And a hamburger and a hotdog. I decided these were things functioning adults did, and that I wanted to be functioning adult."

She shrugs, uncomfortably. "It's not rocket science, Carol. It turns out it's all over the Internet, how to cook a food."

Maybe a little defensively? Sure, it's a weird thing to be defensive about, but she finds she's totally defensive.

*

"Actually I've been around rocket scientists." Carol points out helpfully, leaning back forward with an audible 'clack' of the chair legs, pointing with a waggling finger, "I can verify cooking isn't rocket science because I've smelled what they heat up in the mess hall."

She tilts her head to the side, perhaps trying to divine what secrets Ms. Jones is keeping under that pulled up hoodie, "C'moooon Jess. Let me hear it. Something's bugging you. I haven't been in town for months now, somethings up. I thought things were going good?"

The fact that the air isn't laced with alcohol as it had in the past gives Carol reassurance and emboldens her smile. In a lot of ways seeing Jess overcome the many, many challenges in her life grants Carol vicarious strength.

Both of the women know what it's like to sing the blues. Carol is resolved to celebrate triumphs when they happen.

*

"Things are going good," Jessica says, relaxing a little bit, smirking at the smell of scientist's mess halls. "I've uh. I mean you know. Stuff is good. Work is good. I have a boyfriend. Nothing's actually bugging me. I mean some work stuff is bugging me, but its' work stuff."

They do know, but while Carol is vivacious, friendly, and full of life, Jess is awkward, and has a hard time even figuring out how to talk about good things. The fact that nothing is bugging her might be why she feels so weird. She was a mess for so long. Now she's…mostly not one. And it feels weird as shit.

"Are you coming back to town? Or are you going back to the final frontier? I've missed you."

And, red alert, actual emotional words?

She's still not pulling down the hoodie though. It remains firmly in place, a black cowl that hides its secrets well.

*

Carol was not always so. Jess knows that in the past, Carol was dragged back from the wreckage of a ruined earlier life. Jess was one of the names that helped Carol recover from that precipice and thus earned undying friendship and compassion from Captain Marvel.

Around her close friends, Carol has learned to open up a bit. Work hard, play hard. A military tradition as old as war. And it seems time spent in near space on board that station has given her new vim.

Carol leans forwards now, elbows set on her knees as if still trying to peer under that hood and unravel it's mysteries, "Oh yeah I'll be in town. The Peak is now up and running at one hundred percent. I'll be going back and forth as duties require. I plan on being around a lot more. There's.." Head canting as she chuckles, ".. There's a lot going on. Sides.."

She begins to venture with a smile, "I've missed seeing you too. It feels good to have sea level atmo and to just loosen up awhile. God it's been a haul."

*

"I'm glad," Jess says earnestly. "You'll have to dredge up at least one cool space story."

But she can see it. The way that her friend is just losing it with curiosity about the hood.

She sighs.

"Undercover mission, upcoming. I'm — my fucking face is on YouTube these days, and shit. My name's been in the paper, I've been interviewed on TV, not-in-a-good-way, and I'm exactly the type of person my target would be looking out for so…"

She stalls by taking a bite of food. Mmm, food.

And then, "I'm having to go a little…extreme. With the whole. Not being me thing. And it doesn't…it doesn't look great."

She pushes down the hood and shakes out her head of just…obviously-out-of-a-bottle, obviously-home-dyed blonde hair.

*

"One cool space story.." Carol's voice trails as she begins to think, crossing her arms as she leans back again, sky blue eyes roaming the ceiling in thought.

Those thoughts are derailed as Jess is finally out with it. Undercover mission? YouTube? This seems to be news to Carol, "What, really? Seriously? Oh shit Jess are you going Pro again?" It seems being in space does mean one gets a little out of touch on current events, "..@#$ I'm a poor friend." Palming her forehead, suddenly wondering why she doesn't at least check for her friends names on the news feeds. She.. Just never expected to see Jess having another 'go' at the spotlight. Not after .. That Bastard.

She then recovers as she watches Ms. Jones, "So who's the taaAHAHA-" Losing it in mid-sentence as the hood is pushed down. A hand clamped over her mouth with sufficient force to crush a steel ball bearing as she rises hops from her seat, walking away a few steps as she muffles the words 'son of a b-!', fighting tears.

*

Jess shakes her head at Carol being a poor friend, though she looks almost guilty herself. "Phones work both ways," she says gruffly. "I haven't exactly been Miss Correspondence. A lot's…a lot's gone down. Since um. Last January. Actually."

Then Carol is losing her shit.

Jessica just facepalms.

Maybe the hair is what was eating at her.

"Who knew fucking hairdye could be hard? Do you know how many layers of bleach it takes to get it to stick to black hair? I don't know how to fix it. Not that the persona requires it, just…my goddamn dignity."

*

Carol has learned long ago that she absolutely has to fight the urge to slam her hand against objects in laughter. She's destroyed more than a few items of furniture that way. As is she just takes long breaths of air through her nostrils with her hand clamped firmly closed over her mouth, composing herself over the course of several minutes with her back turned to Jess.

As she explains about the difficulty of hair dye, Carol holds a finger up in a classic 'wait one' gesture over her shoulder, hunching forwards. Breathe in, breathe out.

"..O..Okay." Carol finally gets most of it out of her system as she then turns to face the woman again. Wetness rimming her eyes, fanning a hand under her chin as she speaks up, "..Please. Please tell me you sent Trish pictures. Please." Jess' sister must know of this. She must know. It is now a quest in Carol's life that she know.

"Okay so.. Okay. Right. Last January. Right.." Clearing her throat as she approaches the table once more, "Phone. Yes well.. Verizon doesn't exactly have coverage where I was." Dismissing any notion that a lack of communication was Jess' fault in any way shape or form, "So yeah. Target? Undercover? Is this a private eye thing or.." Trying not to stare. Trying so hard.

*

"Of course I didn't. Though I guess if anyone could fix it, it's her."

Jessica sighs. All her friends are going to end up seeing this. She can't just hoodie around.

Except Matt. No. He'll just smell the peroxide and the dye, and he'll cock an eyebrow over those glasses like he does, and tilt his head sideways, and won't say a word. Or would, if his own life weren't going to shit.

"It's a private eye thing, all my cases are private eye things. Sort of. I guess. Trask Industries. They're making collars for metahumans. Slave collars. I'm trying to find ways to bring them down. There's a whole load of bullshit going on down here, Carol. They're talking registration, they're losing their minds down here, our own politicians are pumping money into this company, it's goddamn scary."

*

That sobers Captain Marvel real fast.

On hearing it's a private investigation, Carol nods quickly. In some ways she hoped Jessica would return to the super suit as she herself did, but it is not a thing she's pressured the woman on in any shape or form. Especially since she's helping plenty of people as is.. At least of late.

The name 'Trask Industries' dismantles the reverie, bringing a hardness to the Captain's face as if Jessica spoke some horrid slur. Crossing her arms she slowly shakes her head, distaste for the very subject evident however there's a glint in Carol's eye. Her attention now solely on Jess' gaze, "Who are you tailing?"

Carol knows more of course. She does work for SHIELD, even if Mutant Affairs is not her arena. If memory serves, Coulson was dealing with the Genosha situation and..

It is a mess.

*

"At the moment, I'm trying to get a job with them," Jessica says.

"As an administrative person, because of course they get sent all over the building, and are supposed to open up files and do things with them, right? You're looking at the fledgling iteration of Cici McBride. I'm going to find whatever I can. Slave collars ought to be enough dirt, but there's people down here who will give them a standing goddamn ovation for it. I need something else. Something more. I'm going to dig up good proof, Trish is going to put it on Trish Talks. Rinse and repeat for some of these politicians and other shit that's going on. I'm not the only one working the angles, Tony's got stuff going on, other people are doing stuff, word's spreading fast, but I'm working this the way I know how, and that's as a detective."

And there's some pride in that word too. She doesn't mean to inject it, but it's there. She may not be doing the costume thing. She may not be a hero. But.

She is a detective.

*

Carol listens carefully. Nodding at the name 'Cici McBride' and mentally filing it. That Trish and Tony both are on this isn't surprising and seems to give Carol some ease of mind as she relaxes a fraction.

Danvers has long had good friends put themselves in harms way for a great cause, it's the tradition of the suit of course. As much as Carol gives and takes grief from Stark, that man is one of the best in their business. Jess wisely informed Carol she has help and backup as any good plan should have in place.

"Sounds like you got the angles covered. Be real careful of those racist bastards, especially when they got tech that can take down people like you and me as readily as mutants."

She also nods her head, "You know I got your back Jess. You make the call, I'll be anywhere in the world in a few minutes." It really didn't need to be said, but since it has been a few months and perhaps Jessica was worried things might have changed.. A reassurance seemed wise.

*

"I don't know about that," Jess says dryly, on the matter of having angles covered. For one thing, Tony is just working on a counter to collars, not on standby to her going undercover. Trish is there to use her media cred.

But she doesn't entirely realize what Carol thinks is happening, so she leaves it unaddressed. Fortunately, Carol offers herself up as backup. Which means now…there is some.

She smiles at the reassurance.

Yeah, those are happening too.

"I might just take you up on it," she says quietly. "If shit gets real, fast. You know. Anymore real than it already is. I keep managing to have trouble getting to my panic buttons when I really need them."

Because she carries multiples. "But speed dial is a little easier. Especially with a voice-assisted phone. So I guess as long as you're not at the Peak we're golden on that front. Worst case my dire peril goes to voicemail. That's not the worst outcome. Worst outcome is no message at all."

*

"Here.." Carol looks around for anything resembling a pad of paper or something she can type in, "I got a number you can use that goes to the Triskelion then gets routed to the Peak. Ah.." Head turning this way and that a moment.

"Yeah. These days I don't let dire peril go to voicemail unless I'm wrestling a squad of Badoon.." Pausing to hold up a hand, "Long story."

Giving up for the moment she looks to Jessica, her gaze firm, "Well, don't have any trouble getting to your panic button this time. I haven't heard a lot about Trask's tech but what little I've heard isn't good. Make sure Tony knows where you are at all times, God knows he probably has some lozenge that monitors your EKG or something crazy."

Danvers figures that's enough babying concern on Jones, she knows Jess has a certain threshold of it before she gets all rowdy and that's the last thing she wants. Carol's hard expression softens to a smile as she finally changes subjects, "So. With that ah.. Lets see this 'Cooking' you speak of.." Teasing the word out as if it was some foreign language.

*

"Jesus, he probably does."

And that's as good a reason as any to go see Tony before she begins this madness, it's true. She hadn't thought of it. And normally, she wouldn't go for it, but walking into the belly of the beast? Yeah. She wants Tony monitoring her vitals.

"I'll ask him, anyway. And someday you're going to have to tell me what the fuck a Badoon is. I hope they have better fashion sense than the Kree, that's all I'm saying."

But with Carol switching to dinner, Jessica smirks and serves it up. "It's just Ragu," she warns again. "It's not like. Gourmet. It doesn't necessarily count as real cooking. It is not a signature dish. It's just spaghetti with Ragu."

But more than she ever did before. And it's edible. It's fine for those who like Ragu.

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