A Bridge to Sell

August 13, 2018:

Jane and Bucky have their clandestine activities interrupted by a woman who wants to make a deal.

Bay Ridge, NYC

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

2 AM on a weekday night finds New York as quiet as it'll ever be, especially in the outer reaches of Brooklyn. Bay Ridge is calm as a grave. People sleep in preparation for the coming workday, and all is still.

Well, up until movement catches the eye.

Two figures, moving efficiently down the street away from a certain apartment building, walk with the kind of purpose that suggests they have somewhere to be. Given the time, either they've got a red-eye to catch at JFK, or they're Up to Stuff. The man has a shoulder bag slung over his left shoulder, carrying it easily; both are dressed darkly, with a utilitarian look to them that suggests they mean business. Whatever the business is.

They won't be too hard to intercept. They haven't ducked off 4th Avenue yet.


Angela has a problem. Angela has several problems, actually. Like any good professional, she has an enumerated list in her head that she is addressing in order of priority.

Earth has been an agreeable place to be stranded. Despite her lack of government credentials, Angela has amassed an acceptable portion of assets using various illegal means that tend to crop up on any planet at this tech level and governing style.

She has had time to research. Develop her plans. Address flaws. Identify necessary resources.

Angela has been tailing the figures, but not from anywhere that a normal person would be following from. She is two streets over, out for a parallel stroll. Her preternaturally keen senses are enough to satisfy her tracking needs.

She has studied this area in her gradual memorization of the city's streets and quirks. Angela closes her eyes. Hearing heartbeats, judging time spent moving, assessing the local points of interest. Yes. Right about now.

A tall, redheaded woman steps out of an alleyway. She isn't dressed like the kind of person who would be coming out of an alley at this hour: a white button-up shirt with herringbone-patterned gray slacks and a lightweight blue coat.

She stops in the sidewalk, turning to face the other two. She emerged far enough away that she isn't within casual speaking distance, but, by her positioning, she's functionally blocking the path. Her hands are in her coat pockets, but an experienced eye may notice that there's nothing larger than her hands in there — no guns, no significant knives.

Her expression is stern, but maybe she just looks like that. Some people can't help it.


2 a.m. on a weekday night, and New York City still swelters.

The cement city fits too-tight on the skin, trapping in humidity and heat; Jane feels it, especially, through her dark clothing, and the pressing weight of her own messenger bag, slung across her body.

It doesn't worry her. The stifling climate brings back memory of one year ago, in the suffocatingly hot cities of Wakanda — doesn't feel like a year, feels like lifetimes — so acutely that she has to double-check that James Barnes is still here at her side. Not missing, fighting for his life against some furious panther king.

Her head was a dark place to be then, underslept, tortured into a constant alertness by the too-fast blur of time, and whispering with nascent addiction — wishing for more magic in her blood, to put the rest at peace.

Similarities bring that headspace back, the foremost of them Barnes at her side — quiet in a way he's not been in a long time. Quiet in the way she knows. Fucking Murdock's doing, but at least this time, Jane can be here to keep James from going at his work alone.

The work he believes is the only worthy thing he can do.

Swathed in shadow, face disguised somewhat under the brim of a hat, and her hair pulled back and up, Jane looks anything but herself — same for the familiar, shrewd way her eyes turn, taking in the woman who intercepts her path. Her own pace slows, and she stays silent, watchful; there is a communication of her body to the Winter Soldier, letting him take point. He is the expert in threat assessment.


James Barnes is in a mood. A familiar one to Jane Foster, one that hasn't swum to the surface in many months. It's a mood that keeps his step light, his gaze sharp, and his demeanor spare as the edge of a knife.

It's a mood that brings his blue eyes up, warned by some deep instinct, a moment before a tall figure steps out of the shadows to intercept into their path. Not close enough for speech, not far enough to nurse any illusions she's here for anyone but them.

The dance that James and Jane subsequently do is wordless and rote, carrying the practiced ease of two people by now very accustomed to working together. Jane slows slightly, watching from the wings, and James maintains his stride. He takes point so he's the first to draw into conversational range, not altering his trajectory nor trying to avoid the woman up ahead.

No weapons doesn't mean no trouble, and being the first to balk isn't usually wise. In the absence of any information, confidence usually carries the day.

His head lifts as they draw near. "You looking for the R train?" he asks blandly. "It's not for another couple blocks more."


Closer means detail, and Angela has a few. In comparison, the more pedestrian of the two primary things to notice has to do with simple threat assessment: she's tall, she's built, and she stands like she knows how to fight. The more unusual detail regards her eyes, which have strange silvery-white irises.

She looks down at Bucky. Not that much. She's not that tall, but it's there.

"I am looking for Dr. Jane Foster," she says. Her voice belongs to a woman who is accustomed to making herself heard and making it sound natural. Economy of speech just comes with the territory.

Her gaze flicks up and over James' shoulder, to where Jane stands. It remains there. She certainly has little concern for social niceties like 'it's rude to stare.'

"I know you are her."


Hanging back, Jane Foster is a forgettable presence.

In the dark, she is dulled out of features, pared down to the most prominant quality about her — her abject tininess. Like a little smudge of shadow, she lingers, hands in her coat pockets, neither heavy with weapons nor hostile in presence, though that cannot imply Jane is harmless.

Her thumb slides along a ring she wears on her left hand — platinum thing she engineered herself. One swipe and she'll turn the local power grid into her plaything.

With her veritable finger on the trigger, Jane waits, eyes on James. Any little tell from his body language is her alert. He can see things, with his near eight decades of hunting, killing, that she cannot ever hope to notice.

But sometimes one does not need to see too hard at some stranger, bluntly, directly, declaring they've come to see her.

Jane pauses a beat. On the other side of the Winter Soldier, she meets Angela's stare. Christ, she's tall. Built like a fighter. Eyes aren't human. Can't be sent by Fisk — could she?

"I suppose I am," answers Jane, guarded, but resigned enough to draw closer — closer to James, closer into hearing range. Her hands stay in her pockets. Her movements are brief, simple, a holding pattern for the Soldier's direction. "Who's asking?"


The simple things, the Soldier notices immediately. Stance, build, general carriage. She's tall, but that isn't particularly relevant to his assessment of threat. The Winter Soldier built a great deal of his career on teaching slight small women to fight up, and it's something the trainer of the Widows knows very well how to do himself.

She looks down, and he looks blandly up. His expression only closes down when she states she is looking for Dr. Jane Foster, the Soldier and James both flickering in those slightly-narrowed blue eyes.

He doesn't move out from between Jane and Angela. His stance simply settles, calcifying a bit into guarded defensiveness. Not looking for a fight, but prepared to conclude one to the best of his ability. The unusual quality to her eyes adds another layer to his threat assessment, but at the moment it does not mean much — not with Angela getting to the point without overt hostility.

His body language does not signal any alert quite yet, though he does shift to keep his left side in front of Jane even as she draws closer. So asked for, she speaks up instead, and he recedes into watchful silence.


Angela is apparently confident enough that all the shifting of stances and positioning around her do not cause her to make her own changes. The Soldier bunkers down in front of her, and she does nothing but watch from the other side of no man's land. All three feet of it, granted.

"My name is Angela," she says, gaze yet fixed on Jane. "I am a person who is hired to procure certain items. A hunter."

Angela glances back to the Soldier, not turning her head but looking at him sidelong. "I am going to remove my hand from my coat pocket. I will have a phone."

She waits a moment. Then, she does what she says. It is as she promised: she holds a mobile phone, a few generations old and a little beat up. Once again, the Lore of Doing Shady Things may allow once to notice that it is almost certainly a burner phone purchased from any number of the people who resell all those phones that get stolen.

Angela slides her thumb across the screen a few times, and then holds up the screen for Jane to see. The Soldier has less good a view, but everyone can't get everything. The picture is slightly grainy, and might be confusing to anyone who did not have subject matter expertise. The telltale signs are all there: a hole-like distortion in an unnatural cloud formation, some kind of plasma phenomenon dancing around the mouth.

"You have knowledge of this. Of Einstein-Rosen bridges. I seek to procure your skills for an ongoing project. I am willing to negotiate an equitable trade."


Perhaps a few weeks ago, Jane's face would open up, surprised and reverent, to see more photographic evidence of her oldest friend. Even now, with a darkness shrouded like some ephemeral shroud over hers and James Barnes' heads, her dark eyes stare at the phone too-long.

The obsession calls even now. Comes with a faint ache to it: how long has it been since life was so simple, all she was, all she needed to be, was that singular, polarizing drive to chase the stars?

Jane has no regrets for the way things are, but humans are maudlin creatures at heart.

Eventually, her eyes come off the photo, sliding a brief glance up on James. A wordless communication that she doesn't think this the threat it could be — a twinge to her gut — though Jane does not linger beyond the proximity of his left arm. Safest place she's ever known.

"Research proposals usually go through SHIELD," intones Jane, mouthing off some bureaucracy that sounds like it means little to her. "They've beholden themselves to my findings. But you don't look like someone who probably cares about that."

Her brown eyes look Angela up and down. "You don't speak like you're from around here. It's a little too fancy."


Angela's deliberate manner, her proffered warnings before she makes a move, earn the Soldier's cool blue eyes. He studies her a long moment, before his head inclines slightly in acquiescence. He glances at the phone when it emerges, but when Angela explains the subject matter…

James looks at Jane first, before he looks at the actual image on the phone. All it takes is hearing 'Einstein-Rosen bridges.' He knows how she feels about them — but he also knows her current mood, and the long road that brought her to it.

For a moment, something flickers in his eyes that looks a little like shame, a little like regret, a little like an old and dusty guilt.

Her glance up at him finds him watching her already. Something wordless goes between them, and the Soldier relaxes marginally away. James finally looks at the image on the phone, contemplative, even as Jane speaks on to parrot some SHIELD party line that really means nothing at all. She doesn't sound like she's from around here, Jane says.

James has another question. "What kind of trade?"


When James looks at the phone for the first time, when his expression changes oh-so-flicker-slight, Angela's gaze moves subtly. She saw that. Very perceptive, this one.

She does not comment, however, instead returning her gaze to Jane. The screen darkens. She moves to replace the phone in her coat pocket, using the same smooth, unhurried motions that were earlier intended to make her actions transparent and nonthreatening.

"How many of us are from around here?" says Angela, letting the topic of SHIELD slide by her. Her gaze moves more pointedly and more obviously to James now. "How many are lost to time? And that is perhaps the least unusual trait of the many unusual people in this city."

Angela is silent for a beat, long enough to signal an orderly change in topic but not long enough to make it seem like she's finished speaking.

"As I said, I am prepared to negotiate. We could trade in currency. Or, perhaps you would prefer to exchange service for service."

Fancy talk or not, Angela does have an admirable poker face. She is conducting this conversation with a tone as if it were perfectly ordinary.


A year and a half ago, Jane's answer would be simple.

Yes. Yes. Yes yes yesyesyes, please yes, no matter on the whos and whys — pointless things in the scientific process, wastes of time! — just yes, she will do whatever is wanted, no payment needed, no trade necessary, all she wants is just to get close enough to the phenomenon so she can actually graduate one step forward in her work.

Now?

'Come with me if you want to wormhole,' invites a silver-eyed amazon emerged from the alley, and Jane holds hesitant. Too much time passed, and so much in it to temper the impulsive knots in her soul. James Barnes stands guiltily at her side, thinking himself the shameful reason she does not react the way she should; to Jane, he is a different sort of reason, one that has helped made her wise, ready not to repeat old, reckless mistakes.

Recklkess mistakes that had her hands create terrible things.

In a glance, she meets his eyes to see that familiar weight; Jane gives him an equally-familiar look in answer. None of that.

"Look… Angela," Jane finally speaks, using the woman's name, "fact is I don't know who you are. I don't know what you mean by 'project.' A bridge isn't something you play with. It also isn't something you weaponize. And you could. Just say we help you, and say you go on and use my expertise to do a lot of harm — hurt a lot of people. There's no amount of currency or service that I'd ever let that happen." She pauses a beat. "So who are you?"


James stiffens a little at the pointed glance Angela gives to him when she speaks of men lost to time. It is not unusual for people to know him, but something about the way she looks at him when she recognizes him is different. And it's not just the odd eyes.

Her answer as to the negotiated trade does not seem to elucidate much for him — gives him no hints as to the woman's intentions. James looks pensive, vaguely dissatisfied with the vagary of that answer, and the other answers which have come before.

Dissatisfied, too, with the dampening of the bright spirit he first met years ago. Jane exercises caution now, an increased wisdom, though to such a weighted spirit as James Barnes, such just looks like tarnish. A tarnish that is his fault —

A glance askance catches Jane staring at him. James looks guilty to be caught looking guilty. His expression flattens out again into a sort of controlled blankness, as Jane proceeds to ask the important questions.

Who exactly is this woman? If she means to do harm with her 'project,' no trade would be worth it. "My skills have been put to poor use for long enough," is all he says, but it states a strict line in the sand.

He waits for the answers to Jane's questions.


Angela is left to review further significant glances between the two she has waylaid. She observes them with detached interest, never seeming affected by what she sees but watching all the same. A decent pastime for a self-described hunter.

"Ah." Angela inclines her head slightly. "Moral reassurance. A price simple enough. I will give this to you. Though," she raises her head and levels her gaze once more. Her peculiar eyes catch a gleam in the light. "By your words, you would be better served by knowing what I want to do rather than who I am."

A moment passes. Angela turns her head to look over her shoulder, down the other side of the street. "Were you two on your way to commit a clandestine act? We should continue walking for the time being. Standing still draws attention, and I trust your enemies have been roused to greater fervor in recent nights."

Angela turns to continue walking. Her pace is leisurely enough that her long legs are not too much of a concern.


Neither does Jane miss remarks about men lost to time; she makes no comment about it, not yet, but stores fact to memory. Whoever this woman is — if 'woman' is even an apt description for someone obviously not human — she's done her homework on the both of them, and has no reticence to inform either of them of same. Whether it's tactical, or some mark of honesty, Jane still makes note.

She also senses James is being vaguely guilty about something. Again. Far from a telepath, she still knows him well enough to get that intuitive hunch, and he seems to glean well enough from her look. An old argument between them, soothed, but never truly resolved on the Soldier's part. He's tarnished nothing. Life happens.

And Angela ascertains they're off to commit a clandestine act. The way she says it — declarative, literal, and at the same time, matter-of-fact — brings some twinge of amusement to Foster. Reminds her of Thor, that expositionary way of talk. She was convinced he was a few hits deep of ecstasy. If only.

"Of a sort," she replies, with another of those nondescript glances toward James. Jane weighs his thoughts on Angela's proposal, and to his approval, starts to walk. Her body language loosens, but there's something telling in the way she walks at James Barnes's left side.

"I'm usually served knowing as much as I possibly can," she continues, "so if you could share. You obviously know a lot about us."


James can't help but betray a flicker of amusement at Angela's very matter-of-fact way of picking apart a situation. Reminds him of Thor, too. "Who a person is often informs what they want to do," he observes, "but you got a point there, nonetheless. Still — as the lady said, you know a lot about us. We'd like to know some about you, along with what you want to do."

Angela surmises they're off to commit a Clandestine Act, and that in that case they should probably keep walking, as enemies abound. James lifts a shoulder in a shrug to answer Jane's unspoken query on whether to comply, and falls into what looks like a very practiced way of walking alongside her that allows him to cover her with his strongest side.

Of a sort, Jane replies out loud. A low sound escapes the man that might be a laugh.

"We got enemies enough," he says. "Yeah. So what's this about what you want a bridge for?"


Angela is not only a matter-of-fact conversationalist, she is also a patient one. She is tolerant of small gaps in speech as people string thoughts together, never attempting to seize a chance to speak until it is her time. Whatever insight this may yield about the nature of her personality, it also allows for Jane and James to indulge in nonverbal conversation and still get all their question-asking in.

"I only know what is available to public inquiry. It is only that I was aided by both of you being figures of public interest."

Angela makes no effort to counteract how her new walking partners choose to arrange themselves. To one side or the other, in front or trailing behind; she keeps to her pace. Maybe it is a gesture of good faith, or maybe just confidence. Or both. The world contains many things.

"As I said, I am a hunter. I do not intend to be mysterious about what I do. The generic term is due to the broad nature of my services."

She is definitely someone practiced at being perceptive, in any case. Even now, her strange pale-irised eyes methodically sweep their path, lingering briefly on points of interest. She does this casually enough that an uninterested observer may not notice her purposeful vigilance.

"My work is often occult in nature." Angela turns her head to briefly regard the other two. "I trust you have both experienced enough in your lives that I need not argue the existence of such things."

She looks away again. "I am currently contracted to retrieve a person who was…" Angela uncharacteristically — at least for current values of knowing her — pauses before selecting a word: "…abducted. She is being held in an adjacent plane of reality to which I do not currently possess the means to travel. Acquiring Dr. Foster's services is one method that I am currently assessing to overcome this problem."


Brooklyn strides endlessly past in its rows of old brownstones — some so old they stand unchanged from James Barnes' early memory, ageing away the decades he spent on ice, as another man.

The streets are quiet — quiet, on New York standards — and largely empty, flanked by the distant Manhattan skyline, the endless road of the Brooklyn Bridge.

And Jane, with her eyes on the lot of it — familiar sights to her, now, when did she begin to think of New York as home? — listens as Angela obliges their questions.

"It works," she says about 'generic terms.' "Not the first hunter I've met. It's a lucrative profession, I'm finding."

And she trusts they've experienced enough of the occult?

Jane slants James a look. Humour breaks through the guard on her face. "Yeah, we've been initiated."

But as Angela admits the mission is essentially a retrieval — no, worse, a rescue of someone abducted, Jane sobers. Weight comes to her expression, met with a slight tightening of her jaw, Dr. Foster with feelings to spare about that. People being taken against their will. People with no way out. "Listen. If that's the case — there's no way I wouldn't help you." She glances back, again, on James, eyes gentling at the corners. " I think I can speak for both of us on that."

There's a pause between words. 'But,' is its universal translation.

"But." Jane's voice thins out with an old frustration. "I haven't exactly yet proofed my own Einstein-Rosen bridge. If what you're saying is true, I can do what I can to help, but I can't make any promises."


I was aided by you both being figures of public interest.

The statement brings a grimace to cross James Barnes' face, though it's brief and understated. The circumstances under which the two of them became figrures of public interest were not pleasant, though James learned to keep his emotions on it all to himself long ago.

Instead he makes a study of Angela: her patience, her forbearance, her perceptiveness. Her assertion that she is a hunter, simple as that. Mercenary, he mentally categorizes. He watches, as Jane takes point on speaking, though he does display a matching humor when Angela makes mention of their assumed initiation to the occult.

"Yeah," he says. 'Everything they ever did with John and Zatanna' flashes through his mind. "We've seen some shit."

It's a humor that melts away as Angela gets to the bones of a matter — the retrieval of someone who was abducted. The pause doesn't escape his notice, prompting him to slide a glance sideways at Jane. Her reaction causes him to hold it.

Jane admits she hasn't proofed her bridgge, however, and she can't make any promises. That's when James lays a hand on her arm, both a tacit reassurance and chide alike. No doubting yourself, the gesture says. "With that said," he states aloud, "we have a thing against people being held against their will. We can try. That's what we can promise."


Angela's gaze seeks points of interest. When Jane is more clearly visited by emotion following the mention of abduction, Angela's gaze cuts sidelong to settle on her. She watches, keen and quiet, as the doctor elucidates their stance on such things. Then Jane pauses to pursue another part of the conversation, and Angela resumes watching what is ahead of her.

Either she does not notice the humor shared by the other two, or she does not think to make outward acknowledgment of it. After Jane says what they cannot promise and James says what they can, Angela does not immediately respond, instead favoring a measure of contemplation.

Angela turns her eyes skyward, tilting her head slightly to see, enough that her shift in attention is noticeable even to casual observation. A moment passes. Then, as she has again and again, Angela returns her focus to the path ahead.

"There are certain individuals and groups who possess the power to give me what I seek," she says. "I chose to approach you first because I anticipated that you would be the least likely to take advantage of my need. Perhaps it is not that you lack in capability, but rather in opportunity and materials."

Angela stops walking, turning to face the other two. She waits a beat before continuing so that they can adjust. When she speaks, her attention is fixed on Jane in particular.

"Let us make this bargain, then. I will provide you with exotic materials — magic, if you like — with which to pursue the construction of your bridge. I will undoubtedly be able to locate instructional documents that may be of further assistance. In return, I will make use of your bridge until my contract is completed. The bridge will remain in your possession afterward. If at any point in the process you come to doubt my motives, I will take what I have procured and seek another to aid me. Is this fair?"


The touch to her arm draws Jane's brown eyes.

She's not doubting, says that look. Promise. At least, not much. It's her own tired guilt where work is concerned — and work is identity to Jane Foster — and that years on, she still hasn't advanced any farther practical application of her theory.

While it stings, all the worse, when portals seem to open for all damn reasons, again and again, around her. Could drive a scientist insane.

Her hand touches James's briefly, in wordless appreciation, before her attention recurves when Angela stops. Jane does just the same, though with no longer her initial guard; now, she's simply listening.

It's a trade she promises. A good one, by Jane's standards. A really good one. Resources to calcify her life's work, to give it some sort of end — when she's been putting it on hold the last nearly two years, because there's always something else, always something important — and simply get it made.

An old, old obsession holds Jane deathly still, consumed by the greed to say yes. If only for one thing —

"I don't tell many people about this," Jane begins, "but I'm not precisely an amateur when it comes to magic. I know if I so wanted to, I could have used it to make my bridge. But I also learned that it usually comes with a price. Shaping reality — cutting corners with quick fixes. Giving up to get something you're not ready to attain. I can't pay a price again. Whatever you might be able to get me — it has to be clean. Legit. I promised myself that when I proof my theory, and I make my bridge, it's only ever going to come of me. So I know what it is, and so I know it's safe."

Guilt alleys her face, the reason something she does not say. "Under that warning, yeah, it's fair. If it's rescuing someone, we'd want to help you in any way."


James has less direct input on this transaction than either Angela or Jane. His role, which he settles into easily enough, seems to be that of the watcher and skeptic. The one taking the measure of Angela, and assessing the risk of the interaction — and of agreeing to what she asks of them.

Perhaps for that reason, his gaze lingers on Jane when she pauses. He knows her, knows how tempting this will be. A free offer of resources and backing to pursue her life's work, under the apparent auspices of a cause that seems righteous and straightforward enough. Nothing like the ambiguous things they've done in the past. Just the rescue of someone being held under duress.

The Soldier's been around long enough to be wary of how stories can be spun by the speaker, however. He knows all about spin. He lived the Cold War.

For now he seems to adjudge it safe enough to cautiously proceed — though Jane has her own stipulations. Her own warning. Clean magic. No Faustian bargains. No leaps into the unknown to gain power without understanding.

"That's a firm condition," he says, a little more strongly. "And we'll want to be involved in the usage of the bridge. Or at least see how it's being used. Makes it easier to gauge your motives, yeah? The thing that makes us unlikely to take advantage of you also makes us real reluctant to have our skills used to bad ends." Again, goes unsaid. "Fair deal, if that's acceptable."


There is no way that Angela does not Jane's bearing. Her hesitance, the indecision. Guilt upon her expression. Angela is not shy about looking where she wishes to look. There are no polite little glances away to break the intensity.

But looking does not mean understanding. Probably. The weird eyes remain unexplained.

"I mislike that word, magic," says Angela. She glances at James for a moment, long enough to get his attention as she moves her hand toward her pocket. She withdraws her phone again, apparently considering the abbreviated forenotice appropriate enough this time around. She unlocks her screen and makes to open her contacts.

"The best of it does only what it was made to do. Of course, all magic does only what it was made to do. We are unfortunate enough to live in a universe governed by the predatory bargains of those who came before."

Angela looks up from her phone, turning her head to settle her attention on James once again. The pallid glow of her phone makes her features sharper and exacerbates the reflective strangeness of her irises. Though her tone throughout this conversation has never been close to warm, a new and subtle direness suffuses her reply.

"Where I am going is no place to take your loved ones."

The moment breaks. Angela looks away, holding up her phone to Jane. It displays her number, presumably for the doctor to enter in her own phone so that she may contact Angela at her leisure rather than the other way around.

"But if that is your wish, I agree. If we have found concordance, I will leave you to complete your activities with one fewer witness. Dr. Foster, I will soon require an explanation of your challenges so that I may properly direct my search."


"I mislike it too," echoes Jane, wryly appropriating Angela's vernacular. "I'm in a contentious relationship with a lot of magicians because I think it's misunderstood science. That is, if science can lose its objectivity and glean subjective will."

She pauses at that, giving thought to Hydra, their abominations of technology. "Though I suppose it can."

She exhales. "But if you can show me, or at least direct me, to a sort of magic I've not yet seen — something I can wield without a cost that's beyond me to bear. Then, yeah, I think I can be of service."

All spoken with the same stuff what makes Jane Foster: a bit of arrogance, a bit of a reticence, and a whole lot of weary extrapolation of variables. She'll worry about the details when she comes to them.

Her eyes look towards James in a minute glance, looking for hesitation on his part — after all, her abstinence from magic is largely founded on a promise to him. Looking on him for concern, but also, in her expression, a promise to discuss this further in private.

For now? Jane holds a measured pause, watchful as Angela speaks to James — speaks of the reality she wants Jane to breach. Her lips press together for a beat at the prospect. Her first bridge, and it may be one to route and connect Earth straight to some interdimensional hell.

Details. Details to sweat later.

"All right," is all she says, as if this bargain could be metered down to two insignificant words. Her dark eyes flick down, taking in a glance of Angela's number on her screen. Jane has it to memory the instant she sees it. "Give me a few days, and I'll have that ready. I can tell you, in a general sense, what it'll be: energy. And a lot of it."

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