Friendship and Brotherhood

August 01, 2018:

Jessica Jones and Kitty Pryde catch each other up on what they've learned on the collars from two sides of the aisle.

A Coffee Shop in Westchester


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Tony Stark, Emma Frost, the Brotherhood

Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

There has been quite a lot that has happened since Jessica and Kitty rented out a room and bought a lot of equipment to hack into Trask Industries. While the hotel room is no longer rented out, the equipment is stored in a safe location - ready to be brought back out again at a moments notice. The bombings of Hell's Kitchen took over quite a lot of Kitty's attention, though she never forgot the Trask collars.

After frantically checking in on Jessica to make sure she was alive after the bombings, she has periodically stopped by as well as offered as much service as she could to the destroyed neighborhood.

Now, though, a few weeks have past and things are settling as much as they can after a disaster of this proportion. Arranging a meet up with Jess, she invites the PI to a place in Westchester, nearby the mansion. It's far enough away from Manhattan that they should have some privacy and be able to discuss whatever they wish without fearing gawkers or eavesdroppers.

It's a small restaurant, a few families seated in the front. Kitty's near the back corner, a glass of water and a mug of steaming tea sitting in front of her.


Jessica Jones arrives right on time. There are a lot of things that are true about her, from the fact that she doesn't get up until 1 PM on many days to the fact that she doesn't dress professionally unless her life literally depends on it. But she doesn't keep friends waiting.

She slides in across the way from Kitty, dressed at least in her nicer jeans and a black tank top; the Starkweave stuff even though she doesn't expect to be shot at here. Her shoes are clean. A few amulets are around her neck: a panther tooth necklace, a small strange vial that looks like a little lava lamp with red blobs in it, and a St. Michael's amulet. She shoves most of it back in her collar as she arrives.


"Hey, Kitty, how's it going?" she asks. Easy-going if a bit exhausted; there's a world-weariness that has been in her voice ever since the bombings. There was always a hint of that in her hard-bitten alto, but now it seems to have taken over. All the same, she summons a quick half-smile.

It's certainly understandable. Things have involved quite a lot of upheaval for both of them. "How're you doing?" Kitty is first to ask, though she lets Jessica settle first. There's a quick pour from a half filled bottle of water that's been left on the table.

As for how she is, she shrugs her shoulders and nods her head. "I'm…good. Okay. There's been some development with the collars. We're learning more about them, though we have to do a lot of it through Stark and he is…well, he seems to be the sort of person who is not going to let us forget that." There is a very sour expression on her face when she says that, though she softens when she looks at Jess. She knows she is closer to the man than she is.

"But, he is helping us, which is good." Diplomacy!


Jessica waves that aside. She knows Stark grates on most people. She just gets him; a man who has a past doing shit he's ashamed of, who now tries to make up for it. And who constantly talks himself up (or down) as the world's biggest asshole, while doing everything he can to make people think this is true.

"What have you learned?" Jess asks, unconsciously rubbing her left arm. The reason isn't really evident at any real first glance. "Anything actionable? My plan to trash these people in the media has gone flat."

She hefts the water with a nod of thanks and drinks it down, ridiculously thirsty at the moment, thanks to the summer heat.


Stark already had a mark of bad favor in his corner that effected Kitty's judgement: Emma Frost. His continued behavior only made him more egregious in her eyes. Which is saying something coming from the same girl who is dating Peter Quill.

"We've gotten chips that can counteract the collars to study. It's a good step to ensure that people won't be imprisoned against their will." There's a frown. "However, we also found out that there is a new threat involved. People who have been given powers that are akin to mutation or a meta, but through experimentation. It's possible the reason they were abducting mutants is to try and find a way to weaponize other human beings. They dissected us to try and figure out how we work and then uses that to try and make some form of controlled mutated soldiers. A few of us had to go up against some of them and they are nothing to joke about."

As for a plan to trash them, she shakes her head. "No. Nothing we can take to press yet. I gathered some files and some intel, but it's not anything we can hang anyone with." Her eyes follow Jess' rubbing at her arm. She watches for a few moments, but doesn't immediately call attention to it just yet. "I'm intending to dig some more into it."


"Yeah, Stark clued me into that one as well," Jessica says, cutting her eyes swiftly down towards her glass of water. She doesn't have much of a poker face. Not for friends. Pretexting, acting, is one thing, but those are for people she doesn't really give a damn about. And who don't really know her. To those that do her face can be an open book; the guilt sort of twists at her mouth and draws it inward, crinkles at the edges of her eyes and has her playing around with the straw.

"He gave me a couple of leads, apparently there was something similar involved in an attack on Titan Tower, and on some mission Bucky and Jane were involved in. I just have to pin those guys down to talk to them about it and maybe we'll get a little more information."

This, at least, isn't entirely a lie. She did get those particular leads from Tony. It just. Wasn't the first place she got the information.


And while Kitty is not one to generally pry at friends for information, this is a subject that hits very close to home. Jess' quick downward look and her general inability to hide things is easily noted. She is not exactly suspicious, but she is curious as to what would make her friend act this way.

"What's going on, Jess?" It's mostly an innocuous question. There is no accusations, merely curiosity. Why is she suddenly acting a little guilty? It could be for a multitude of reasons.

"You okay?"


Jessica sighs and leans back. She looks over at Kitty and tries to make a decision. "I'm not doing it anymore," she says, "But…I worked with the Brotherhood for a bit. I saw those things on an island in the South Pacific. I ran into some of your teammates there. We were all there for the same reasons," mostly, "but. I don't know. They're how I found out about the collars in the first place. They showed up at my office. Dropped one on my desk. Talked."

Because Jess is also straightforward in the extreme, and usually pretty on the level with people she cares about. She might withhold information, but straight up lying to them isn't her style. "It was stupid, I know. Another friend already read me the riot act over it and I know she was right."


The Brotherhood.

Kitty looks at Jessica and blinks a few times. Things start to make sense. "The brunette with the killer punch. I should have known." However, there were other pressing matters and the thought that Jessica would ever fall in with the Brotherhood never occurred to her. "I was there. That night. At the lab. You were, too." It's not a question, it's a statement. There's no accusation to her tone, but there is a bit of bewilderment. If she hadn't been so wrapped up in other things, it would have been clear as day.

There's a lot she could say about the Brotherhood, a lot she could try and take Jessica to task about. She knows that. Instead, she asks a question. "Why?" her voice breaks a little at that. It's not sadness or betrayal, it's the idea that someone like Jessica would decide to work with the Brotherhood rather than with her own cause.


Jessica rubs the back of her neck and leans back in the booth. She isn't sure how to answer right away.

Finally, "Because they dropped a slave collar on my desk, and started talking to me about making thousands of people into slaves, that was all I could see. All I could think about. They didn't start to sound so crazy, staring at that. The more I thought about it the angrier I got and the more reasonable they seemed. And you know, just…not this foreign other called a terrorist, but people. For awhile I couldn't figure out what was so different between shit they pulled and shit I pulled. I think I've figured it out now, but I couldn't then. I'd talked to them by the time I helped you do the hack."

Which may be in answer in and of itself; Kitty's the only X-Man who came anywhere near Jess with any of this. "It wasn't a full on— I don't know. It wasn't like I joined them exactly. I just worked with them a little."


The explanation is met with not exactly a resounding silence. However, Kitty looks into her water glass as Jessica speaks. Idly and as if this is a nervous habit, she starts to phase her hand through the glass, as if she is passing a hand over a flame. Instead of a flame, though, she is just passing her hand back and forth through solid and liquid matter.

"We've been caught up in our own survival in different ways," is what Kitty tells Jessica. "The way of the X-Men is longer, is radical in its own right." There's a sigh. "The Brotherhood's anger? I understand it. I feel it deep in my bones. I see registration bills, I see collars, I see people thinking I should not exist and it just…" she gives a puff of a laugh. "I want to lose it. It's probably good my mutation is so passive."

Shaking her head, her hand stays in the water glass, phased, eyes focused on it. "I've got that luxury. People don't run when they see me. I could just be any random human without a power. Others aren't so lucky. I've known mutants that the only thing they would wish is to just be accepted as normal, to not be the frontline of a debate on what it means to be human or how their very existence upsets people."

The glass starts to show cracks, a distinct crack appearing as Kitty's fist clenches. "And the Brotherhood? They want what we want, but they make people more afraid. They make it harder."

Blinking, her hand yanks itself backward, back into her lap. "I get it, Jess. I do."


Jessica sighs and watches Kitty do this exercise. She turns her own water glass around and around in her hands. "Yeah. It's not so black and white. You know they were out there helping in Hell's Kitchen too?"

She shakes her head and pushes her glass aside. "But you're right. That gala sparked the whole debate to begin with. They say it would have come back around anyway. I'm not so sure. And sure, it was a smaller explosion than 8000 people, but it was still a big explosion. So. I've pulled back. I'll let Tony guide me on this. You too, if you want. I can't see the forest for the trees. The hot button is real. The blind spot is real. I'd cut off my own hand before I let someone make even one slave, let alone thousands. I mean. Obviously I'd rather not. Cut off my own hand."


"I do."

There's a shake of her head. "It's not black and white, like you said. They're right to be angry, to want to do things their own way. I just don't agree with their methods."

With a smirk, she shrugs her shoulders, "But I would work with the Brotherhood a million times over before I would work for a company like Trask's." As for whether she is willing to be a guide she grins. "I'm glad to help, Jess. But I'm definitely biased about the Brotherhood. A lot like I'm biased against Emma Frost and therefore don't trust Tony Stark for his continued association with her. You're more trusting than I am on those matters. However, both of us aren't willing to let anyone languish or let anyone be a slave."


Jessica chuckles. "Emma Frost is a giant bitch," she agrees. "And I have trouble trusting telepaths as it is."

She rubs a hand over her face and says, "But who knows. Maybe she shows him her good side. I dunno. Only met her twice. And not through Tony, through casework. But he took care of Trish when I couldn't be there, and he's honestly always taken care of me. He's the reason I have time to do any real work at all. Otherwise I'd still be cramming it all in around infidelity cases. Well, maybe not that bad." She did have a few really good cases besides that, after all, but like most self-employment it still would have been feast-or-famine. She shakes her head. "Anyway, let's not argue about him. Anything else going on in your world besides our mutual quest to stop a psychotic company from releasing a bunch of shitty things onto the market?"


Unable to help herself, Kitty laughs. "Yes. Yes she is." Her thoughts on Emma have been slightly curbed in knowing how Jessica is partial to Tony and how Emma fits into that story. Hearing that, though, well, she can't help but give her unbridled opinion. "She's only out for herself."

As for Tony, she gives the benefit of the doubt. Her already tainted opinion has been formed. And Kitty doesn't tend to shift things away from crystallized opinions of others. However, she will - at least with Jess- give Tony a slight benefit of the doubt. "Agreed. I'm okay. Starting to reconnect with some people I met while traveling." she shakes her head.

"Enough about mutants and mutant rights. How are you?" She pauses. "Have you found another office?"


Jessica shakes her head. "No. I'm working off a coffee table right now. Staying at a friend's house. Have a place to move into at some point, though, so I'm not really homeless anymore."

She moves her straw up and down in the water right now and says, "I'm luckier than a lot of people, so no complaints. I have the friends. I have the space. The office will shake out eventually. I have some ideas at least. Nothing concrete. How's Quill? Haven't seen him or any of his crazy crew in forever."

Because she doesn't really want to wander deeper down the path of the Hell's Kitchen bombings, and most stuff in her life still touches on that, one way or another, right now.


"If you need anything," Kitty tells Jess. "You can stay with the Guardians, you know. But, glad to know you have a place to go to." She doesn't have to say how horrible the entire thing is. They all know. It's a singular event, the sort of things people will discuss where they were when they heard of it.

As for Quill? She gives a bit of a sheepish grin. "Good. He's been staying at the Mansion every now and again. He finally met the principal of the school: Jean. I think I finally found a woman that terrifies him enough to not extensively hit on." And Jean is a good answer to that.

"Oh man, so, I was talking to Jean and Quill - of course, stumbles in. And then an Asgardian goat got involved…"

Sensing the desire to move away from the heavy topics, Kitty tells the tale of Peter and Atli's goat found on the Mansion property.

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