Tony Tries His Serious Face and Other Improbabilities

May 31, 2018:

Jessica Jones asks Carol Danvers and Tony Stark to a meeting to discuss what she found at the Halsey crime scene. She also snags a couple of prototype collar counters.

Stark Industries

So many windows!

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Zatanna Zatara, Red Sparrow, Big Barda, John Constantine, Azalea Kingston, Peggy Carter, Pietro Maximoff, Wanda Maximoff

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Ah Stark Tower. Its been…relitively quiet lately. For a good two weeks even. Which is a strange and worrying thing to most sane people. Nothing has exploded. Nothing has rampaged. Nothing has attacked the tower. Its like its trying to make up for the crazy beginning of the year by being…sedate.

…or its lulling people into a false sense of security.

One of the two.

Stark himself though? Well he's been busy. Furiously working on a new project. A secret project. Something that he doesn't let even most of his trusted friends see. Not that most of the people he knows could /understand/ it but…its Stark. The fact that he isn't showing something off is…worrisome.

At least if you know him.

But now? Now he has something to distract him from that. A simple text from his Private Eye friend that she needs to talk about Something Important. He doesn't know if its actually something important or the secret fight club they have in Luke's basement.

Regardless though, at the moment he's waiting. Sitting in the lounge at the top of the tower. Lying stretched out on the couch with his shoes off.

…this is about normal for him of course.

"JARVIS send…I don't know. Food or something up. And…what is that stuff that Pepper is always getting me to drink?"

"Tea, sir?"

"Yeah that."

Has Jess ever been known to waste people's time with not important when she says that it is? Granted, her sense of what is important may not in fact match everyone else's, but for the most part, she tries to keep it to scale.

Her hair is thankfully restored by the time she makes her way up, back to its rich falls of ebony instead of the bleached blonde frizz job from Hell, or the aftermath, the calico cat job where some of the new dye took and some didn't. A visit to her friend Zatanna fixed the hair problem, so she hasn't even dyed it black again. It just is black again.

Knowing wizards is the best.

It's already hot this summer, and she stomps up wearing black Starkweave jeans, combat boots, and a black Starkweave tank top. A few of the odd necklaces she keeps around her neck and the vials of holy water she wears at her belt are visible here and there. She is carrying her messenger bag, and it bulges at the seams.

A grim expression is on her face.

"Hey Tony," she says, when she reaches him. "Carol here yet?"

Because it had, indeed, been a text directly to them both.

Meanwhile, Special Agent Carol Danvers is doing something she's feared and put off for almost a week now.
The dread paperwork.
She's in her small office at the Peak in geosynchronous orbit far above the Earth. Glumly tapping away at her keyboard as she polishes up the report she dictated to the machine earlier, fixing a few cases and notably erasing any explinatives that may have accidentally slipped through. One would think years of doing this makes has given her the good grace to make her reports on time. If anything, they've managed to become even more tedious.
A vibrating buzz from her phone sitting on her desktop draws her attention, steel eyes sliding over as the pen clutched in her teeth droops downward.
'Need to talk. Urgent.'

Five minutes later and a small golden meteor is streaking from The Peak.

Five minutes after that and New York air space flight control is getting a heads up the supersonic missile incoming is Captain Marvel.
The moment Jessica Jones finished her sentence an audible rapping can be heard on what is likely some sort of nigh-indestructible copyrighted Stark Glass from the far window.
Captain Marvel hovers there in her full superheroine regalia, making a 'roll down the window' gesture with her rolling fist as she waits with restored patience now that she sees Jessica is alive and well and less hilariously not-blonde.
She meant it when she said 'she'd come running' if Jess needed help and here she is.

"It's Carol, you know she'll show up in like five seconds if she thinks its urgent. I mean she moves fast enough so its functionally teleporting…" Stark says with a wave of his hand before a second passes and he hears the tink on the window.

A smirk.

"See."

"COME INN!" He shouts as the entire pannel slides open for Carol. "…you're all dressed up. You totally scared her, Jess." He drawls as he…as usual…doesn't even bother to get up. "But I like how you look dressed up so it works out!" A pause again, a smirk. "And you fixed your hair?" This towards Jess.

A pause. "You look grim though. Is this a grim thing? Should I try to do a serious face?"

Jessica waves to Carol, looking relieved. She scrubs her fingers through her hair when it's brought up and says to Stark: "Trask thing. Still gotta talk to you about that, but let's talk about the urgent thing first. Make whatever face you want, but I bet the serious one comes easy."

She isn't in danger so much as a whole lot of everything else is.

She digs in that messenger bag and drops a portable portal that Tony will recognize, one they never sent anyone or anything to the other side of. "Look what showed up at one of my latest crime scenes, Tony. Agency's back. Decimux. Back."

She looks at Carol and says: "Short version. Dimension-eating machine God is sending forerunners into our dimension. And intends to eat it."

So yeah.

Important.

As the window panel slides open obligingly, the high altitude winds buffet the inside of the room briefly as Captain Marvel steps into the tower like offloading from an invisible flying bus.
She marches in as the door slides shut, her short blonde hair and long hip scarf calming down once the air pressure regulates, unphased by the travel as she enters conversation distance.
She clearly has her game face on, crossing her arms over her starburst symbol. Her tone belying her words, "We wouldn't want you to hurt yourself Tony." On the subject of 'serious face'.
Carol doesn't hide her surprise as Jessica actually skips over the 'Trask thing'.. Which Danvers had initially suspected to be the subject of this meeting. Hell, she half-suspected Sentinels to be scaling the building by the time she made it to New York air space.
Her confusion persists as she reveals the odd device and name drops. A confusion which hardens as the name drop is properly described.
".. Actually yeah. Give your serious face a try Tony."

"Come on Carebear." Stark drawls. "You don't want my face to stick like that do you?" However he /does/ at least sit up, looking over the back of the couch before he rolls his eyes.

"Again? I hate that guy." He mutters as he pulls himself to his feet. "You would think he would get the hint with what happened the last time he tried that." He adds with a smirk toward Jess before the smirk fades slightly. "Well, the portal in the basement hasn't been acting up. So he is trying something new this time at least."

Jess grimaces when she hears that bit of news. "Great."

She looks to the both of them. "Look, last time we made a lot of sound and fury, but once the main event was over we basically didn't get anywhere. Nothing happened, and now…he's trying something new. Maybe we need to shit or get off the pot. Get a big team of heavy hitters, open this thing up, and go punch ourselves a machine god. Extra—"

Another quick explanation for Carol: "Defector from his ranks—"

"Says every other dimension he set out to conquer lost. Maybe they waited around. Played it defensively. Thought: it's crazy to take the offensive. So maybe we do that. Maybe we go kick his ass for him and end this threat before more bodies hit the floor."

Carol doesn't rise to the bait on her least favorite nickname. Being on the Avengers gives one a certain ability to let Tonyisms roll off one's back.. Or you go insane. Or you're Thor.
Her razor focus remains on Jess as she lays out further details on what sounds like a Pretty Damned Big Deal.
"I feel like SHIELD should have a file on this. A really big file. W.."
Captain Marvel's attention turns to Tony, "Why do you have a portal to this place in your basement?"
Turning to Jess, "Why does he have a portal to this guy in his basement?"
Her arms remain crossed otherwise as further details are given, slowly assembling the bits and pieces into something really ugly. After due processing her arms slide down as she places her fists on her hips, "Alright. The next question is.." Nodding her head to the prior contents of the messenger bag, the 'portal device', "What crime scene did you find that in? What crime?"

"Come on, you're not going to make her dot all the Tees and cross all the eyes are you?" Tony says as he finally hauls himself to his feet. "Just…calm down Miss Paperwork and let, Jess here explain." The inventor replies as he turns to look towards Jess.

He also isn't wearing shoes.

"Technicly its not a portal to anywhere anymore. Least it wasn't till Nate and I repurposed it. The world it led to originally is dead now. This guy killed it, now I'm sure Extra could find us one of his worlds he hasn't killed yet. But he does seem to specialize in wiping out existences so I'd like to figure out what he's doing here again."

A frown. "The hell is it that makes our existence so damn tasty."

He draws a deep breath.

"And I have it there because where the hell else would we keep it? I mean really. You brought this idea of punch first and ask questions up to Extra?"

"No," Jess admits. "I guess I should. I'll do that today. And I've got a big list of people I want to ask, Tony. A huge goddamn list."

She brings out a folder. "My contacts in Gotham alerted me to a possible murder, possible kidnapping, and asked me to take a look." She starts laying them out. "As best as I can tell, despite the copious amounts of blood on the scene, it was a kidnapping. However, I have yet to analyze a dubious pile of ash found on site which could very well be all that's left of the vic. His name is H.M. Halsey, a non-fiction writer who writes about alternative dimensions. He's a best seller, though with the kind of 'is he for real' or 'he's a genius' polarized reputation you'd expect from someone who'd choose that subject matter. Also on the scene, in addition to portal: a thumb drive which needs to be analyzed. This notebook full of what looks like binary? Note the scrawl of Decimux's name directly on the final page. Key, can't figure out what it's for. Aforementioned pile of ash, aforementioned blood. Grabbed some of his manuscripts. I have a crime lab I could analyze some of this at but I gotta make an appointment, so if you can, Tony…"

She's just ignoring the banter. Focused to the nth degree right now.

Carol taps the side of her head, activating her Kree Centurion Helmet which assembles itself promptly in a series of digital flashes. She mutters to Tony as her eyes scroll over the internal HUD, "God forbid anyone would force you to learn grammar like that Tony. One sec.." Muttering a series of clearance codes under her breath, the words 'PROJECT MIRROR' floats before her vision, along with a series of text.
She reads as she listens at the same time, absorbing information as quickly as she can manage. She mirrors Jess' intense focus as she mouths a few words.
"Oh hey, look here Tony. It says you have a couple Gods hanging out at your tower. I'm going to guess you have no clue where they are now, right?" Mentioning without bothering to look in his direction as the text continues to scroll.
Though as Jess goes into detail on the fate of one H.S. Halsey she sweeps her finger over her faceplate, which cancels the text and disassembles her helmet, "Sounds like he wasn't so crackpot after all." Tilting her head as she reaches out, tilting the paper just enough to read over the printed intel.

"How the Hell did he figure this out? We're going to need that all translated ASAP. Care to race my analysts Stark or you got this handled?"

"Like you can beat JARVIS and SIRI." Tony smirks towards Carol as he raises his hand. "Toss me the data and give me a day. We'll get it translated." A smirk again towards Carol. "Besides, your analysists don't have all the info on the guy mine do." He adds with a shrug.

"But this Halsey guy was the real deal I guess. Answers the crackpot or genius thing pretty defintifily. Shame he had to die for it."

He pauses a moment again as he looks towards Jess. "Hopefully this'll give us some idea of what Dessikins wants."

A glance then back at Carol though. "…and one is alive and living with a friend, and the other is dead. Defiantly dead." A all too innocent pause. "Did I forget to send in a follow up memo? Damn me and my forgetful self."

Jessica pulls out the thumb drive, a copy of the binary, and then, after some thought, a sample of the ash and turns it over to Tony for his analysis. "It's true," she admits.

Her cheeks color a little when she realizes which God Tony means. He effortlessly kind of hides who it is. And Jessica tries to decide whether she will spill this data to her oldest friend, or leave it hidden.

She's got a terrible poker face.

"Or get kidnapped for it. He could be exactly the type of person the Agency might try to recruit. What's interesting though is they left the portable portal behind. Maybe they toss them about like candy, maybe something else happened, but I'd have expected them to pick it up and take it with them. I'd expect them to be valuable. So why leave it behind?"
Asking the right questions. The core of her business, and that one seems like a great one to dwell on for a moment. "There was of course all kinds of the extradimensional red energy crap all over the scene, I was able to verify that on-site with the help of one of my contacts."

It was a foregone conclusion that the data was going to Tony, but nothing like a little suggested competition to get Stark to hit the pedal to the metal. She has faith in her guys but.. Well.

He's Tony Stark.

"Yeah. Silly you. Good thing Gods aren't in my department." Carol mutters as Tony fills in the details, "I really hope the dead one isn't the one with all the dirt on this Decimux." It's too much to hope, but she figured she'd throw it out there anyway.

She notices Jess' failing poker face but she does not press her on this, Carol trusts that Jones will divulge what she needs to divulge to make sure this thing gets done.
"Well.. Looks like the recruitment went south for Halsey." Captain Marvel mentions grimly, "Give me the coordinates of the location and I can have people sweep the scene for clues or energy signatures. Its a longshot for a crime scene that cold but might as well go over it with a fine tooth comb."
She works her jaw a moment as she considers, "Did Halsey have any contemporaries, Jess? Guys like that tend to work with a circle of like-minded crackpots. IF your recruitment theory holds, he isn't going to be the last pile of ash if we don't look for other candidates fast."

And with that bit of consideration out of the way, she then regards Tony, "So. Does that portal actually work? Do we actually have a way of finding this Decimux if we assemble a strike force?"

"Well it works…just right now it goes to a pocket dimention populated by some very polite bug people that think I'm some kind of Sun God." Stark says with a almost nonchalant wave. "So wait yes, there are three gods in the tower. I'm technicly one. To them."

Just when you thought his ego couldn't get bigger…

"And no necessairly…if they left the ash there to throw off the scene he could be alive. Either kidnapped or working with them. After all this does prove his theories." He adds as he flexes his hand for a moment, tapping his finger against his leg as he cants his head to one side in thought.

He lets Carol handle the police stuff, she does that better than him and he's not going to get in her way about that. Instead he focuses his attention on the portal…

…and frowns.

"Doesn't seem like the sort of thing you keep lying around….so intentional or trap or something scared them off." He mutters as he looks towards it. "I'd say put it in a containment system till we can get it fully analyzed and pry any secrets from its circuits."

"Shit, Carol, I didn't think to look. That was sloppy of me," Jessica admits, about the contemporaries. "I'll get on that."

She got so focused on 'goddamn it, he's back.'

But she looks skeptical when Carol asks for cordinates.

"You mean like. An address?" she asks dryly. She scrawls that down and holds it out to the other woman. Space. Freaking space. Thank god she never has to go to space. Detectives do not space. Of course Detectives do not generally alterdimension, but she will make an exception for this asshole.

Hmm. Pattern on every overseas trip.

A) Someone vomits, Jess ends up holding hair.

B) Juno calls, in a really weird situation, often involving criminal acts.

C) Jessica Jones takes a horrific and life threatening injury or series of injuries.

What would happen in an alternate dimension? Four vomiting incidents, a new brush with a coma? Probably no calls from Juno.

But space?

For SPACE she predicts seventeen vomiting incidents, and her holding the head of every single one of them before her head just ultimately fucking explodes.

As for containment systems and analyzing, Jessica looks embarrassed. "Have at," she says, pushing it quickly over towards Tony.

Why no.

She did not have to be talked down by her contacts from simply diving into the portal and/or trap all by herself to rescue someone who may not even be alive and possibly just try to punch a machine god in the face all by herself. Why do you ask?

Ahem.

"Thanks for taking this seriously, guys."

And then, to Tony, "Quick seguey. Any chance you've developed even a rudimentary counter to Trask's collars yet? Any chance you'd let me borrow three for a field test?"

Because while this thing might threaten all the things, collars are still going to be on her mind until they're no longer a threat.

At the revelation that Stark is deified and worshipped by an entire race of people, Carol drolls with unflinching calm, "Boy. I bet you hated that."
Her eyelid flutters in a tic as he declares the technicality of his ascension but she does not pursue that line, instead she grunts in acceptance of the possibility the ash pile is just there to throw them off the scent. Even better reason to go over the crime scene again more thoroughly.
With the snub of her 'coordinates', Carol holds up her hands, "What? Look, I got that word on the brain okay? Sue me. Address. Yes. Address." She repeats, fighting the urge to make a face as she accepts the written note. She holds the paper up to let her hidden video suite at the throat of her suit copy the information before she hands it back.
That Stark is given the alien device is left unopposed by the Agent of SWORD. Thankfully, Agent Carter gave Stark clearance on the matter which makes the situation a whole lot easier on Danvers. Besides, she's worked long enough with Stark that she does not question he is the man to go to for the technical.
Even if she's going to get an ear full from her engineers when she gets back to the Peak.

As for the Three Steps of Jones Method, Carol is glad to head her off at the pass. The thanks is met with the first expression of incredulity from Danvers as she spreads her hands, "Jess.. It's me. The only things from you I don't take seriously was that dye job and your poker face."

As she switches gears to the 'less' threatening issue of the Collars, she just lets the two work on that. Frowning significantly at that slime Trask and those damned things. Hearing that guy get put out of business would brighten her day a whole lot.

"The dye job was adoreable," The inventor replies with a smirk as he's already getting the device and dropping it on a table. A table that suddenly manifests an energy field and starts to fold the up slightly to hover. A little drone comes in to start to push it to a proper containment system. One with a dimensional anchor nearby.

He loves the fact that people left him alone long enough that he can make those.

"Oh the collars? Yeah. Came up with a few workarounds. I'm pretty sure you don't want to try the implanted chip, but I have a necklace version that works." A beatpause. "Who even came to you about these things? I mean I've had like a half-dozen people talk to me about them."

A longer pause.

"Suprisingly no X-Men. I guess they forgot about me after that whole Gensosha thing. Look at me be so hurt."

He totally looks so hurt doesn't he?

…no he doesn't.

"Anyway. Yeah I can get you a few ways round it. Pepper is recruiting people to ruin their business quietly…" A glance at Carol. "And completely legally. If you're wondering."

Jess facepalms about the dye job. "How did you even find out about the hair?" She asks Tony. "Nevermind. Don't want to know."

But then he's asking who she spoke to about the collars, and she turns uncharacteristically evasive. "Ahhhh…"

Jessica says slowly, when asked who came to her about those things. "Just. Contacts. You know me. Always meeting people. Such a people person. Best part of my job, the people."

She scrubs her fingers through her hair and says, "I'll take two necklaces, but you are welcome to implant me. I let a wizard ward the crap out of my brain to stop shit like this, you don't think I'll take a chip? I trust you, Tony. And since I bet most people won't line up to let you test one…"

She sticks her arm out. "Have at."

Carol says something about her poker face, and she scowls. "What are you talking about? My poker face is great."

Cause she just demonstrated that one real well.

Her pretexting face is great.

That's a different kind of face, though.

Meanwhile Tony makes some distinguishing comments between legato and illegato efforts to stop Trask, and Jessica just keeeeeeps her mouth shut about her own tactics.

As the question of legality comes up, Carol simply mentions, "Mutants aren't my beat. If I happen to hear about unfortunate things happening to Trask I'll be sure to forget to file the report on accident." In a casual monotone.

Captain Marvel isn't as hidebound as some heroes out there, even if she plays it closer to the book than most in the 'business'. She's learned a lot in SHIELD about what is legal and what is right and sometimes the former needs to bend to serve the latter.
It's good to keep one's hand on the wheel however.

She does address Jess with a growing smile, "Don't worry. He doesn't have any pictures. I let Tony know long ago that if he has any hidden cameras around you or me I will feed him his entire tower."

She lets that hang in the air along with her smile, eyes never moving toward the man. "The. Entire. Tower."

As they then continue on with this clandestine business, Captain Marvel takes her leave towards the windows. Very pointedly looking away as they go about their business, strange how she accidentally turned her video commlink off a minute or two ago after taking pictures of the address. Good thing I'll come back on again once she returns to New York airspace.
"Oh. Its terrific Jess. Just.. Ah.. Leave the disguises and spy stuff to Nat."
She then offers Tony her traditional Stark salute, which is right hand pointing to both eyes then to the Sun God in a classic 'eyes on'. "I'll tell you if my people turn anything up at Halsey's place. I'll see if I can wire Carter if she's found anything else on the case."

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