Draconic Suspicion
Roleplaying Log: Draconic Suspicion
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Vange asks Jessica Jones to look into suspicious events surrounding Warren Worthington's surgery and state.

Other Characters Referenced: Warren Worthington, Alison Blair, Matt Murdock, Foggy Nelson
IC Date: September 27, 2019
IC Location: Alias Investigations, Hell's Kitchen, New York
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 27 Sep 2019 15:21
Rating & Warnings: PG-13
Scene Soundtrack: [* ]
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

On a normal day, or a normal week or even month, Vange might make sure she were dressed to impress. A pair of off the shelf slacks in flat grey and pinstriped white along with suspenders over a black t-shirt give her a half-give-a-fuck kind of look. She had a jacket when she came in to work today, but she left it behind as the day got busy and she got more and more fed up.

Which led her here. Why here? Because of who her upstairs neighbors were, even if she only had a casual familiarity. Because of a reputation that went to Tony Stark and and a dozen other places. And because, all things being equal, she was like them. Vange had no idea where Jessica Jones got her special tricks.

She didn’t give a fuck, but she knew it’d give her perspective.

She doesn’t knock on Jessica’s office door, and so it might have her stutterstepping into a locked door when she tries to open it, or just bursting in. Her hair is not perfect like it was when she left for work. The stops she often made to make sure she looked every bit on the edge of professional and avante garde just don’t happen right now, because shit’s fucked up and has been for awhile.

“Jessica Jones?” She has that kind of voice that’s good in a courtroom. Silky smooth and used to spinning tales that make a point without her ever arriving at one, and intimidating people with a few words twisted in just the right way. The way she says Jessica’s name, and the way she clutches a folder in one hand, tell an urgency that is covered by very little of her usual theatrical bullshit. Her tone says something else entirely.

Right now, Vange Whedon, the X-Men’s lawyer and Warren Worthington’s last line of defense, needs a hero.


The door is not locked. Jessica is at her desk, typing away on a holographic keyboard, making alterations to files on a holographic screen. When the door bursts open, she just hits a button to shut it all down, leaving her phone on the desk in front of her.

Half-give-a-fuck is not a bad look to have when visiting this particular woman at least. The woman gives zero of them on the best day, at least not for clothes. The jeans aren't ratty today, and the blue scoop necked shirt is a good color on her, but it's still jeans, a casual short-sleeved shirt, and combat boots. Her jacket is slung over the back of her seat.

But urgency? Urgency she gives a fuck about. Urgency she keys in on immediately. "You're in the right place," she assures the woman at her door, lifting a slim pale hand to wave her in and over to the seat across from hers.

"What can I do for you?"

"Vange Whedon." She reaches across the desk to shake Jessica's hand, paying attention to the fact that she had a holographic computer. Mother fucking Stark no doubt. but she doesn't bring it up. Honestly, it's encouraging. She needs someone who knows all the wierd shit so they can get to the fucked up part. After that she sits, and goes into her opening statement of sorts. "So we're clear, I'm a lawyer, but I don't have a real practice. I spend all my time fighting against registration, and for people who are being persecuted for the great and terrible crime of being born different. I'm also the X-Men's lawyer, and retained, permenant counsel for Warren Worthington. Worthington Industries and it's holdings has a lot of lawyers, but Warren Worthington entrusts me to make sure it doesn't turn into Stark Industries ala the year 2000 or whatever it is you get when the man with his name on the building doesn't give two fucks."

She looks tired when she says it all, and then perfectly tosses her little folder in a spiral so it lands in front of Jessica. "I'm hiring you on my own dime, however. Not on behalf of any of that, but I'm sure as hell going to use all of that to give you a ton of access, so that you can find out what exactly the fuck is going on with my friend."

Warren Worthington. Chairman of the Board of Worthington Industries, who's trust owns a majority share of WI. Out mutant, who's powers are glorious fucking wings and a healing ability that can fix up himself and others. It also details a horrible mangling of his wings which happened only over the last few weeks. And the tragic removal, after they turned septic. Scrawled in big red marker at the top of the page outlining his abilities 'SHOULD HAVE HEALED HIM'

Cameron Hodge. Pictures. Basic background. All typed up and put together as a brief, not from some database. Vange did this on her own, because she knows how people can get caught snooping if they just try to pull a file from somewhere. It details his position as CEO in Worthington Industries. Various terrible PR disasters in recent months which have led to a downturn in Worthington Industries and it's holdings, and instability in the board and it's confidence. It also mentions that Cam is Warren's best friend, and has been forever.

Some details on the rest of Warren's family. An Aunt. A cousin. People on the board who don't like him. People who have their claws in board members. A recent vote of no confidence.

Vange watches Jessica, and gives her all the time in the world to absorb what she's put together.

Jessica puts out a neat hand to stop the folder. Through Vange's introduction, she'd listened quietly. Her first comment is, "Jesus. He's a good man. I'm sorry this happened to him."

But her second comment is to pull out a pad of paper and a pen. She rewrites "blood, should have healed him," and then writes the important question: "so, what happened to ensure that it didn't?"

The brief is impressive and useful, and she narrows her eyes thoughtfully at the suspect list. She says: "Okay, tell me every detail you know about the day his wings were mangled. What the Hell happened in the first place? Does anyone know?"

She's had cases before where even a living victim had no idea. "And where did it happen?"

She also writes: Dig deeper on PR disasters. Were they helped along somehow?

That she will start digging into everyone on the suspect list regardless of their numeric position on that list (from most likely to least likely of course) is so basic that she does not in fact write it down.

She stands and grabs an empty physical file folder and a label maker, which is how this all gets marked as Alias Case 20190926-WORTHINGTON. She's apparently going to take the case.

There are things Vange doesn't mention. She doesn't mention that she's a mutant or powered, but that might be implied given her close ties to the X-Men. She doesn't mention that her attention moves with an edlritch bent, eyes shifting over Jessica in what most people might expect to be mundane scrutiny. But she looks at her with experience from another age. Another realm. It's what makes her good at her job. A sense of who will be good at their task, and who will try to betray her. Vange has often mused that it was meant to inform her of who might be a good servent as she lords over a world of fire and blood. It is not in and of itself supernatural.

These are simply the honed instincts of a Dragon at work.

And these instincts tell her that Jessica Jones is everything her reputation says and so much more. "Mauled by some sort of supernatural bear. But I checked. So were other people. They're healing fine. His other injuries healed fine. I have some coordinates on that back page of where it happened. Dani Moonstar knows the most about it." Her expression grows longs. "Stepped between it and a little boy."

Her gaze averts. Down to Jessica's nameplate. "Honestly, Ms. Jones, I'm not coming to you with hard evidence here. But you can already see that isn't mud right there. Mud is everywhere. Mud is the inconvenience of fate. You step in it and hope your shoe doesn't come off when you pull your foot out. But that? That's shit. Ankle deep, and rising. I've felt it for awhile now. Couldn't ever figure it out.. The world is particularly fucked up right now, so it really makes it hard to tell the difference between mud and shit. But someone is filling Warren's life with raw sewage right now and im really sorry for that visual but i'm just so fucking tired and my friend just had his wings cut off. They might have well carved his ego out and murdered it in front of him. I tried to go to see him, to talk to him. I couldn't get past the door because of how he looked. Because of how that room felt."

It isn't something she's proud of. It isn't something she's admitted to anyone else. "Alison Blair, the love of his life, wasn't there when the decision was made. When Cam told them to take his wings to try to save his life. I'm not sure she would have let it happen. I don't know what I would have done. But I tell you right now, he'd have wanted to have died first. Oh, and look at that, Ali's plane was delayed right when things got bad at the hospital. Some kind of maintenance check. I'm telling you Jones. Shit."

"That fucking bear," Jess hisses. Do draconic senses pick up on guilt? Jessica bowed out of Bear, Round II. Consciously bowed out. Too aware that she was in no mental shape to deal with it again. Still feeling the maggots beneath her skin, from time to time, after Round I, to say nothing of the spiral it had sent her on in what had been a good time in her life, more or less, until it had come along.

How much worse might it have been if she'd gone in feeling the depression she'd been feeling? She deemed herself a liability and got out of the way. Now she has to question that decision. Would anything have been different if she'd been there? Was anything really different the last time? Ultimately, she investigated the bear, fought the bear, but had little to do with putting it back in its giant demonic box.

"The good news is that the guy turning the spigot on the river of shit has left some leads behind. I'll figure out who did this to him, Ms. Whedon. Cam's a strong suspect, but it's too early to make assumptions."

Every person on this list is about to come under this woman's scrutiny.

But she drums her fingers on the notepad. "The bear doesn't have any powers that should have shut off his healing factor though. It attacked me loads of times and it never fucked mine up. His is loads more powerful. Someone used that as an opportunity. Did the hospital do a tox screen at all?"

She writes: maintenance check…who ordered it? Phone trail? That notepad is like a map of Jessica's brain, really.

"Look, I don't know if Cam is a strong suspect. It could be someone playing Cam. Someone who knew Cam would choose Warren over those wings no matter what. To be honest I suspect someone in his family. His cousin is a giant dickbag. His aunt is a piece of fucking work, always sniffing around his bank accounts. Maybe they got a professional to start fucking up shit from the beginning. I might.. I don't really like him. It's my own bias, and I don't even know why I don't like him. I just have a sense about people. Maybe it's because he's a CEO. The first time I met Tony Stark he was a CEO and I hate that guy."

A beat.

"And I still hate him but mostly because he left town when it sure would have been cooler if he'd unrolled a nice big banner that said 'fuck registration' from the top of his tower." Her sneer could start a fire on it's own, and of course, it's all lacking a bit of logic, given that Tony did that as a form of protest. She sinks into her seat like she might live there. Is that… is that someone fucking singing in the hall? Her head snaps around, annoyance showing in her eyes, but the song retreats as if somehow, whoever is responsible realized there was a meeting they shouldn't interrupt.

A deep breath and Vange pulls out her phone, a well loved, double screen protected thing that is in a case that is nearly destroyed. She wipes some scuff off of it, and starts scrolling through her own notes. "Yeah, they tox screened him, in theory. If it wasn't faked or doctored or who knows what." Vange seems less interested in Jessica's history with the bear. Why? Because fuck that bear!! It's dead. Good riddance. But it does seem to confirm some of what Vange was thinking. That Warren's healing factor should have fixed everything. It sends her mind to a dark place. Like, whoever did this should burn.

But that comes later. "I'll talk to some people. Find out for sure. I can probably pull medical records for some legal reason or another, no problem. I'll also talk to Alison. I haven't had a chance since she got in. Since.. look she's with Warren right now. All I know is that all of this? It's still really sensitive. We can't let anyone know we're snooping around. So, low profile. Maximum clench. If his family or the shareholders or anyone catches a hint of what we're doing they might pounce, and I'm using every bit of leverage I have to keep them at bay for a few more weeks."

Her phone sinks to her lap, and she leans forward a little. "What else do you need from me? What else can I do?"

Jessica puts a star next to the aunt's name and the cousin's name. She arches her eyebrows at the Tony rant but really, one doesn't work for or with Tony without getting real used to those. Few people like Tony Stark, and he doesn't need one Jessica Jones to leap to his defense with a client who is already stressed and unhappy.

"Alright, yeah. See if you can subpoena the phone records from the airport too, and…mmm. Employee badge swipe records from that particular wing of the hospital, along with a record of who was supposed to be on the rotation that day: doctors, nurses, orderlies, even cleaning staff members. I'll run a comparison. Actually skip the airport, I think I can come up with a pretext that might get me that information. But the Hospital bit? You just have to make noise that says you're gunning for a malpractice suit. That shouldn't threaten their interests either, and they might even help it along since a Warren who is wrapped up in a malpractice suit is a Warren who is blaming doctors, not anyone on this list of suspects."

As to what else she says: "Not much else. Frankly what comes next is a big long slog most people find boring."

And that Jessica is excited to be doing. Vange's sense picks up on it, the way she's all hound on the hunt, absolutely undaunted by the prospect of tasks which would put anyone else to sleep. It's not all exciting chases down dark alleys. It's not all standing around with a camera. It's also a whole lot of this stuff.

"But staying available and keeping me posted on new developments is a great idea."

It's a kindred spirit that she sees. She's done the long nights, pouring over phone records and obtuse legalese for just a hint of hope that might swing a case. She's sat outside a house that's so still she might second guess it's empty three or four times before catching a guy leaving who shouldn't be on this side of town, much less that building. It's so rare, to find anyone who enjoys this shit. It makes her want to smile a little. Maybe reminds her why she didn't try to hire Jessica for other work, until now. But Vange is to close to this situation. Driven as she is. Angry as she is. She needs help. She's worn out by the emotion tied to Warren's maiming. To the loss that so few could ever really understand.

She's looking at a window as Jess talks. She's looking at the sky like it's a second home. When she stands, she intends to leave, but she stops herself and shifts her gaze back to Jessica. Yeah she has to. She avoided coming here and doing exactly this because emotion besides 'fuck you' makes her so very uncomfortable.

"I might be speaking out of turn here, but it's kindof what I'm known for anyway. Two years ago you were just a series of tweets to me in the trial of the century. I was going through a pretty bad time then. Just outed. Husband left me. Got fired from the city DA's office. Got evicted. Nearly killed by the military. All because I didn't have control of my own actions and hurt a lot of people. I just.. I really appreciate you sticking up for him, and for yourself. Kindof felt like you were sticking up for me too. Alright. Good talk, Russ. Awkward moment I had to do over. I'm going to go upstairs now and bother Nelson and Murdock, drink all of their coffee and formulate a plan to save the world. Unless they aren't there then I'll probably just sleep on one of their couches until someone kicks me out."

There's a buzzing on her phone, Vange checks it, and then shakes her head. "Fuck I hope they have a couch. I'll keep in touch."

—-

Jessica Jones doesn't seem to know what to do in the face of this sudden confession. She certainly listens, much like she'd listened to the flood that had come when Vange had first entered. The trial is certainly on public record, certainly accessible to lawyers, that she knew. Some of her issues with the whole thing was all about having to spill out all her secrets to do that. She'd just conveniently put it on a back shelf of, 'well, that happened,' in her mind, and had stopped thinking about it.

The idea that all of that might have inspired anyone is a new one, but she says: "Lots of people stuck up for him. Lots would stick up for you, too, I bet."

She blinks about sleeping on Nelson and Murdock's couch, opening and closing her mouth. Finally she decides the right call there is just to…warn Matt that apparently Warren Worthington's lawyer might want to sleep on his office couch, and no, she has no idea why that might be. "Great, I'll let you know what I dig up," seems to be the better part of valor to that final statement. So that is what she says.

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