Kory's Halfway Home For Hotties
Roleplaying Log: Kory's Halfway Home For Hotties
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Kory has stashed a dimensional-displaced Gwen Stacy at a large shared apartment used by her agency to host frequently-traveling models. They mostly just have a rambling conversation and get to know each other.

Other Characters Referenced: Tony Stark, Bart Allen (implied), Red Robin, Lex Luthor, Superman…
IC Date: September 29, 2019
IC Location: New York City
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 29 Sep 2019 08:13
Rating & Warnings:
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

Having been partially-guided, like a needful orphan, and partially-dragged, like a mildly feral animal being dragged for a bath, Gwen Stacy AKA Ghost Spider had been shown into a room and told to change into her civilian clothes so she wouldn't freak out all the other people staying there. And also keep her hands and feet off the ceiling but that's, you know…

Actually that was a direct concern.

While Ghost Spider didn't protest with words, she did protest with big, soulful spider-puppydog eyes. The crocodile tears, unfortunately, required imagination. Her suit didn't do that.

When she returned from changing behind closed doors, her attire was… gremlin-riffic. Mid-length blond hair was stuffed under a black beanie with a skull print at the fore, a pair of cheap plastic aviators with those trashy oil-spill opaque lenses, and a turtleneck that got all the way to the top of her neck kept her features more-or-less hidden, and because it was New York in the fall, a big fluffy red and black scarf was wrapped around her neck and pulled up around her chin. A plaid button-down fluffy overshirt under a denim jacket was her outerwear, with a pink-and-white baseball t-shirt left the flares of pastel just barely visible where the color changed at the shoulder underneath. And, of course, jeans and a pair of cheap REI hikers.

"H-hey, it was… definitely cold in there, so I dressed up."

Gwen seems more mortified than when she had first met Koriand'r, laughing anxiously and averting her eyes just-barely visibly behind her shades.

Yeah, she's not slick.

* * *

Despite any anxiousness and discomfort displayed in her new surroundings, Kori treats Gwen with a (sometimes almost annoyingly) consistent understanding and total lack of criticism. She's kind of like an annoying morning person when you're too sleepy to deal, but 24/7. It may have something to do with being (like half the aliens out there) literally solar-powered.

Or she's just a happy person!

Of course this also translates to a lack of listening to actual protests, and just sort of bulldozing over all of that with all that positive energy. "Please, there is no reason to worry about anything. As I said, many people are coming and going from here all the time, because they have work abroad." If it seems like such a setup could lead to some sketchy situations, well… it is the fashion industry. Of course, they also apparently have actual super supermodels around. Better than a doorman!

"I lived here when I first arrived, and my new apartment is in the same building. The agency handled all of it for me." Which may seem odd, until one considers how difficult it is to a rent an apartment in NYC when you *have* a social security number, bank account, residence history, and long-term employment. And aren't an actual alien. So presumably, someone had to fudge all of that for her.

The place itself is basically a huge duplex apartment with a ton of rooms, a common kitchen (that nonetheless looks under-used) and a pretty nice view of the skyline. The decor is all modern and artsy, and everything is fairly pristine, except for the fact that there's a lot of clothes all over. On the way in, they pass a waifish young lady heading out. Gwen's odds of keeping a low profile are bolstered by the fact that she doesn't even look up at them from her phone.

So Kori shows her a room she knows to be empty (the resident is in Paris for the next week, and then to an island somewhere for a shoot) and lets Gwen settle. She dons her gremlin attire while surrounded in the cast-offs of the legitimate owner, a mess that alternates between frilly and chic.
And when the young woman re-emerges, Kori is waiting in the living area, having put a kettle on the stove to heat as well. "Is it cold? Perhaps we can turn it up somewhere, although I have never bothered changing the settings. Hmm." She says nothing of the choice in wardrobe.

* * *

Gwen has a lot of strengths, but one of her weaknesses is bulldozing and positivity. And Starfire has truckloads of both.

"Yeah, well… I've got some things to worry about. Personal stuff. Still…"

Civilian!Ghost Spider frets with the corner of her scarf, twirling a trailing tassel of the clothes she had gotten from her backpack mixed with a few choice pieces 'borrowed' from her roommate that doesn't exist for now, and perhaps forever.

Hint: It's the scarf. The nice scarf is not something she'd be able to afford, normally. Then again, she did get the clothes from alternate-alternate-universe-her, who had managed to get free stuff from Lex Luthor and get a job at Frost International…

"That… Makes a lot of sense, actually." Gwen relents. "That you showed up, all" Gwen's eyes flit back to Koriand'r, and the alien woman's 'Her-ness'. "the way you are, and had to get helped out. Set up. A princess from another world. I think I met my 'agent', too, but they weren't ready to be my roommate again. I can't blame them."

"I'm pretty much a horrible roommate. Used to have three, actually, when I wasn't crashing at my dad's place."

Gwen's shoulders tighten, her arms moving in to cross, hands under arms, half-hugging her lower torso. "I miss them, too. So I guess, my question is: Well, why? I mean, beyond all the 'until Red Robin makes a decision'. I'm not quite sure what you get out of this."

* * *

At least presently, there's no overabundance of other models skulking about to eavesdrop, and as a consequence Kori is not particularly guarded. "Of course you have a great many things to deal with. But this is one less thing, yes? You can go see what you can sort out about this place and whether you wish to stay, and then come here to rest. It is better than camping on some roof, I am sure."

It is a pretty posh place, even if the number of young women crammed under one roof may erode at some of the sense of luxury. The bathrooms will be the greatest battlefield of all! On the upside, 'borrowing' one another's clothes must happen with a certain frequency, permission or no! So the scarf may not be missed.

"I was lucky, because I met the other Titans right away. I being pursued by the Gordanians, who work for the Citadel, Tamaran's enemy-" It wouldn't be a Kori talk without space nonsense! "-and they helped me fight them off. So immediately I had friends, had someone- people to love and care about, and to feel the same. I was very lucky."

Saying this, she turns from where she has ambled over to the stove again, smiling back at Gwen. "So why would I -not- help, now that I have the chance? We're all a bit more grown up now, the original Titans, but we still help guide the team. It is a way of passing on that good." And then, with a very simple shrug, she adds. "Besides, I have the good feelings about you. So I am sure it will be alright, whatever you do."

* * *

'Models' and 'Skulking' never seemed to go together as well as 'Spiders' and 'Skulking', and Gwen, even in hikers, has shockingly light steps. Following Koriand'r around the shared kitchen she lives up to her hero name by making nary a sound at all save for her breathing, pausing at the burners.

"The Gordanians, the Citadel - are those dangerous? Wait, no, stupid question. Uh…"

Eyebrows narrow, brow furrows, and Gwen nibbles at the corner of her lip. "Are they… Going to be a problem? For you, for Earth. Are they like you, too? You said they captured you, and you're, well, a flying alien super-princess who shoots power blasts. Are they like the aliens that attacked New York?"

For all of her hesitation, her concern, her deep skittishness over 'being herself' and spreading out or relaxing from a fully wound tension spring, Gwen's tone is of quiet concern - for both Koriand'r and 'This Dimension' vis a vis terrible alien threats.

"When I got started, I met some people, but it was never really a team. I kind of pushed my 'team' away to be Spider-Woman. There were weird kids that tagged signs and buildings, I guess, but mostly I was a solo gig. Nothing around my dimension was 'hard' for the longest time. Even the Kingpin, everything was just smaller. Easier, more 'normal'. Didn't have aliens at all."

Gwen doesn't know that last part is not true.

* * *

"There is danger everywhere in the universe. But there are wonderful things too," Kori offers, starting things on a positive note as she always does. "As for Earth's situation… I was concerned about this too, when I arrived, that I would be too dangerous for the planet. I had even separated from some of my old crew to keep them safe. However…"

You just know this has to be an 'other shoe' kind of situation coming. "From what I have learned, I am not the first alien to visit here, nor the only reason for interstellar interest. Although Earth is still somewhat primitive on a galactic scale, it seems to draw considerable attention. So I have decided the best thing I can do is help it prepare, help humans understand the dangers that face them."

Which sounds very admirable and all, but she does have a secret identity and it's not like the world's governments have united in common cause against the space menace. "Things like registration unfortunately stand in the way of this." That would do it.

"Gordanians themselves are not very dangerous, but they are organized and use of technology supplied by other Citadel races. As for myself…" Here, the alien woman's usually soft and expressive features do harden somewhat. "The average Tamaranean is not this strong, nor able to expel energy, although we all do absorb it and fly. When I was captured, another race working for the Citadel performed certain experiments that heightened my abilities. This was a poor decision on their part."

"But you are right. Earth's heroes are numerous, it is one of the unique things about this planet, and they provide a good defense. It is simply a matter of being ready for larger, more coordinated threats." And there, she leaves the matter alone for a moment, taking the water off the stove. "I hope you do like tea? While I enjoy many of Earth's more… zesty flavors, there is something nice about its natural taste."

Managing with whatever request she gets, her attention turns to Gwen's own history, or rather, where it has led her. "But you are interested in a team now? When Robin decides to stop being Robin, you will consider joining? That is a big step, not that I do not speak highly of them all."

* * *

Gwen's expression softens with Kori's opening barrage. "Yeah." She agrees simply, a little clandestine more-than-a-smirk-less-than-a-smile tugging at the corners of her mouth. "The world is pretty wild and amazing if it's not trying to whip you for being an idiot. Heck, the whole reason I got out of bed most mornings was to wear the mask and fly around that big beautiful world."

Her almost-a-smile heaves into a happy, fluttering exhalation. "Or texting from a hammock, eighty stories up. You really feel the wind up there. You—"

"—actually probably know exactly what I'm talking about."

The reality of multiple intergalactic visitors goes unchallenged. "I read about some. Superman, and Super…girl? And so many others. There's demons and angels and guys NAMED Angel and a dozen satans with sons and daughters and fairies and… I mean, I guess it just comes back to what I said: everything's so very *extra* around here."

Registration is brought up again, as Gwen points at the lemon herbal tea near the pot, and Starfire almost certainly obliging her. "Stand in the way of threats? I think… I read about it, and I wanted to say it's legal, but it just sounds like segregation, or fear. Sentinels, too. The whole thing feels wrong. Picking people apart is wrong, too. And super-prisons for powered people… I mean, shouldn't people have figured it out?"

There's that young adult coming in. Gwen mutters darkly a moment, but her tension ebbs out bit by bit as she talks, her arms loosening around her chest. "It should be better here, and it's not. Really not sure this is even a two-spider job. Or a spider and an alien princess. You know. As it is."

With her too-hot barely-steeped Suggestion of Lemon water that she can lower her scarf and sip at as a thing to do with her hands, Gwen finally opens up a bit. "Just normal slavers, then. Still, I'm—" She stops before 'sorry'. She's not 'sorry', she isn't responsible and couldn't have done anything about it. "I think it's awful that happened to anyone. Well, you gave them a wake-up."

The team comes up. "I don't really think I have a choice. I was looking at my options, but it really seems to boil down to 'go big crime' which…" She grimaces, making a face like she had licked an entire tube of Bitrex. "Hard pass."

"Xavier's, which seems nice, but I'm not sure they take in people who just got bitten for their powers, and they've got really bad enemies — someone I know told me about Magneto — and a lot of weird… baggage, even if they seem perfectly nice…"

"Registration or going solo, which seems like a super fast way to get taken off the streets and locked in a science jail bunker forever…"

"… And the Titans, or even just hanging around for you guys playing back-up drummer and stealing sandwiches from your conference caterings."

"Not a lot of better options out there for me."

* * *

Oh, Starfire very much knows. She smiles in a reflection of Gwen's own reminiscence. "In the morning," which, if you consider what comes next, is probably a somewhat abstract concept itself to someone with a planetary view of things, "I like to watch the sun rise, unhindered."

In space. She means she watches her sunrises in space.

"But it is true. Earth has many interesting inhabitants. Some of this is not unusual, everywhere, life appears in many variations. But the… concentration of such things is high here. While this is a benefit, I fear it may also be the thing that ultimately draws wider attention to this planet. The aliens that studied me, and their masters, they are very interested in such things. In fact, I am not the only one on our team who has encountered them."

The drinks are poured and steeped, and Kori takes hers gently in hand to walk a bit back around, to where the large window with the costly view looks out over the city. They definitely think alike, in their appreciation for such vantages.

"Laws like registration, and some of the government organizations that enforce them, they reflect… the first response of humans to their tiny glimpse of the bigger universe," Kori explains, oddly generous even with something she disapproves of. "They act logically, to protect themselves. They do not understand the scope. That for even a relatively mid-sized vessel, destroying a planet is a simple task, or that there are individual beings with equal degrees of power. They would be better off embracing our aid, but it frightens them, because they cannot control it."

From there, she is quiet a moment, and continues to be so Gwen offers a bit of comfort. What she finally offers is a correction of the idea she gave them a 'wake up' call: "I killed them all."

"Well, all of those on the ship, and with the aid of the other prisoners." Yet one can imagine the powered princess doing the lion's share. Kori turns back, and she is smiling, albeit in a more contained way. "I know some people react poorly, so I wished to be honest."

Returning from the window, she approaches Gwen as she goes through her options. "Just because you did not join a team would not mean that you would have to go without friends. I think it is good for people to work together, but do not feel you are under any pressure, yes? That applies to this place, as well. If you are not comfortable, if you pack up and run off after I go- I will not be insulted."

* * *

"I've never really been far enough outside New York to see the stars for real. Too much light in the sky. As for sunrises… You know, I don't think there really is a way to hinder one if you're looking for it. That's kind of how a sunrise works."

The steam from Gwen's tea, held in both hands as she stands by the window, steam curling up around her nose as she breathes slowly against the surface of the yellowing liquid. "You can't have one without something hindering it. A lot of life is like that. The pain of something hitting your system, a bad situation getting worse, danger looming up…"

"The sunrise that comes after, hidden behind that awful stuff, that's what makes everything worth it. Even if it hurt like heck, I don't think I'd want to go back to normal. And I like the sunrise on the skyline, gleaming off every window from first to fifty-second street is a sight to see too."

Her smile has finally relaxed into full bloom. "But I bet your way is better. Just a hunch."

There's a faltering of her smile at 'even for a mid-sized vessel'. "Yikes. Yeah, I'm a little frightened too and I sure as heck can't spider at a whole space-ship. But what can you even do at that? Turtle up more? Draw in, be more paranoid? Something has to give. And it's probably not the people who can destroy planets."

With a few rapid breaths to the top of her tea, Gwen starts drinking in earnest. Thanks to ADVANCED, ENHANCED SPIDER-BODY FEATURES, Gwen has the superpower of drinking tea that's slightly more hot than normal and not losing her entire mind and burning the entirety of her mouth like a dummy. It's through that, and her advanced spider-reflexes, that she doesn't spit her tea out.

It gives her moments to compose herself, both mentally and physically. To think about the implication, the idea. Finally, with her teacup half empty, she formulates a response carefully: "That… Is not something I think I can say 'good job' or 'oh my gosh, how could you?' to."

Good job, Gwen Stacy, you've cracked the case! But there's more! "If I was captured and tortured and out in the middle of space, and it was me or my captors, I'd probably pick me. I'd definitely pick me. And I'd keep picking me. I can 'get away' with pushing that responsibility off because I believe in the justice system. Police, and judges, and laws. I can string people up by the lamp-poles near the station and trust they'll get booked, or even just taken off the streets for a bit. Out in space…"

"I don't know if I could stop from crossing that line. I don't think I'm strong enough to have the luxury to choose."

On teams, she shrugs. "It's here or a roof. New York is cold. I'm not… stupid, Starfire. I'm just lost and grumpy and having a bad week."

* * *

"I meant hindrance in the sense of atmospheric scattering, versus physical obstruction. The latter is still quite possible in space, particularly if you remain in a low orbit. Yet it is equally beautiful, to see the colors of the sky as the light passes through it all." Kori does not sunrise-shame. You can enjoy them in many ways! "But it helps me feel… not quite so far from home, I suppose. To feel the atmosphere dissipate and feel light through the void. You know…"

And one would expect another space trivia tidbit to follow. She changes topics instead.

"… but yes, there is something in the contrasts as well. And the city has its own kind of beauty. It surprised me, actually, how… built-up Earth is. For its size, it has a great many people. Soon, surely, you will have to build colonies!" Well duh, what else would you do?

"Preparing for armed conflict on an interstellar scale is a complicated topic, but generally it involves a more proactive approach than a strictly defensive one, although planetary shielding is of course valuable. But humans will have to grow to inhabit more of their system, send satellites further, build defenses beyond their home orbit." She speaks in a way like she might go on and on, but does finally seem to realize that it's a little pointless, or worse, with Gwen's reaction.

"I am sorry. I do not mean to worry you. I am confident Earth's heroes can fill the gaps, in the short term. And your technology advances rapidly. You said something about Mr. Stark, in your dimension? He is accomplishing much, here." With a smirk, she adds, "And he is quite charming. It is a shame the event I met him at devolved into a brawl, but we did get to carry a monster away together."

Then she shakes her head when Gwen comments on that darker chapter of her history. "It's alright. I understand that such thinking is normal here. The Titans share your view, and I had to come to appreciate it when I first came. I suppose I am used to a harsher world. There are few police in space." Few? Not none? "You must understand that my people love love above everything. But as children, we travel to a dead world, and we learn war from another species that lives it completely. We learn every part of it, from diplomacy to violence, so we will have every tool to protect those we love."

"Fortunately there are a lot of police here. It is usually sufficient to do the knocking-out and tying-up." Yet moving from there, she is encouraged by Gwen's apparent choice of accomodations. "I just do not want you to feel any pressure. I will leave you my information, and you can contact me if you need any help, but I am sure you do not need me leading you around otherwise."

* * *

"Oh."

Light finally dawns on Gwen.

"You meant, like… Space. You fly to space so you can feel the… sun. Better."

Oscillating between 'oh, ha ha, silly me, how could I have been so silly' and 'you what' as seconds stretch on.

Blinkblink. Blink.

Gwen lets it go. She has to meditate on that one, because her first impulse is 'and I'm useful… why?' and being double EXTRA giga-moody about futility and nihilism, and nihilism is the worst and most basic of dumb liberal arts college feelings to engage in.

Still, she works in a "Yeah, the sun's nice… Don't know about the void much… ha ha…" And the conversation blessedly carries on. "Mister Stark? He's kind of a piece of work. Has a super-PMC, runs a cutthroat coffee business, ships products. Just sort of a capitalist."

'The Titans share Gwen's view' is one of the biggest comforts, even if she's realizing that it's a bit naive. "Wild that you learn from an entire other species about fighting and stuff. But… I think I can definitely respect love and protecting it. Better reason than most! And, you know, everyone thinks we've got tons of police, but it's always that strange thing right in the middle, where there's too many for people to do whatever they want, but there's not enough to ensure it's fair and complete. It's that weird spot where everyone's trying their best. And bad stuff happens."

Starfire musing about leading Gwen around gets an emphatic shake of the head. "No! Erm - no. I'll be fine. I know my way around New York, mostly, and you've done a lot. I can text you if anything bad gets really bad. Your, uh, alien thinger gets SMS, right?"

* * *

Naturally, Starfire just smiles as Gwen processes the space foo.

Radiantly. Get it?!

"Mr. Stark is an inventor, here," she goes on. "He is… close, to some foundational new technologies. And K- ah- erm. One of our team members actually works with him quite closely." Starfire is AWFUL at keeping all the secret identity nonsense straight, who is allowed to know who is who, who is associated with who, and so on, both with real names and false ones. If she didn't stop herself, she'd probably spill all sorts of beans on a regular basis. Of course in this case, she's probably got it backwards, since Bart's dealings with the company are presumably in the public record now. "It might be useful for you to speak to him eventually. Though it would probably be better if, ah, our member made the introduction!"

"Okaara and Tamaran are in the same system, and we share some history. So it is not particularly an unusual arrangement." Practically neighbors! That blase treatment of mere interplanetary distances aside, it's soon Kori's turn to be a little baffled by Gwen's thoughts on the police situation. "I am not certain I fully understand. It is true they cannot handle every problem, but this is why we offer our aid, yes? We must stop the 'bad stuff.'"

Querried about her device, Kori turns to go and find her bag. "I do have a normal phone as well, but it is more convenient to forward all communications here, including the Titans channel and the link with my ship. Oh." Although she'd obviously only intended to grab the communicator to confirm whatever details with Gwen, there's evidently some alien equivalent to a notification on the screen. "Curious. Do you like to swim?" Bwuh? "But you may use my normal number, it will work fine. I can give you one for the agency also, just in case I am ever stuck in the middle of a shoot. If there is ever an emergency, do not hesitate. I can fly quite quickly." No shit miss 'hangs out in space in the morning.'

* * *

Reading between the lines, and perhaps a few steps ahead of things, Gwen nods along at 'Oh we'll introduce you to Tony Stark' as she finishes the rest of her tea, before popping the tea-bag into the side of her mouth and sucking at it audibly.

You know. For the flavor.

"Yeah, I was looking for someone to take a look at, uh, me, without the whole 'register and become a lab experiment spider' part. It was him, Norman Osborn, or Lex Luthor… And I've not heard great things about Osborn around here. Luthor had some promise… But if you can introduce me to Stark, I'd be fine with that."

The implication - or rather 'all but shouted response' being: It's okay, but basically solely because it's your referral.

Stellar neighbors are accepted as-is, but police? Gwen has opinions about police.

"So, okay. Laws literally don't exist without enforcement. If I tell you 'Always refer to me as Ghost Spider, or I'll hurt you' that's me trying to make a rule, or a law. If I can't hurt you - or won't - that means I'll not enforce on the law. It means that you can either follow it, or not, at your whim. It's not *really* a law. It's just a request. A suggestion."

"If you take something that's not yours, and there's a law against that, but no police catch you, then that law really didn't exist for you in that moment. There's not enough police presence to enforce the laws. But also, if there were no police, then you and I could agree on how we'd like our relatonship to be, and no Sentinels would be able to tell us otherwise. Sure, you have to have good laws… But people to make sure they're followed, too. I'm not busting people for tax evasion, and neither are you. That's also a police power."

Caught entirely blindsided by Kory's followup question, Gwen's jaw works. "Do… I like… to swim? Uh, sure, it's fine? I spent a few summers at the pool, it was alright. Why?"

Meanwhile, Gwen gets out her phone to trade business numbers with Starfire, A Supermodel Princess Entrepreneur.

Her business number is also her normal number, attached to a phone given to her out of a panel van full of phones.

* * *

"Mmm, yes, Osborn and Luthor are… probably not the good choices." Starfire does not elaborate at the present, but does speak with a certain 'this is my dimension and even though I'm an alien from the space boonies even -I- know that much' tone. If that's a particular tone. "I will ask B- I will ask about getting you a meeting! You should meet the other Titans anyway. If everyone likes you, Robin can grump all he likes but he will eventually give in to the peer pressure!"

Uh, hooray for peer pressure?

The philosophy of law and order bit, with some teasing out, does seem to finally 'catch,' maybe suggesting that she is more troubled by the wording than the concepts. "Yes, I see. The Okaarans taught of such things. On Tamaran, hmm, there was not a great deal of crime, although of course, we did have the royal government, including not just my family but various others leading other continents and cities, as well as a council of wise individuals. But of course the resort to force remained as an option. And we have known some who… do not embrace the general philosophy of love, and have enacted betrayals or rebellions." She does not give details! "And of course, we have our external enemies. I think you are right that there is more difficulty enforcing all the laws here, because there are so very many of them, and so many people, and so many-" She waves a hand vaguely. "Tamaranean life is simpler, even if our technology is far advanced."

It is obviously a topic for future consideration. But for now, there are urgent swimming related matters. She holds up her device: it shows what, to the unitiated, is clearly a 3D graphic of Earth and some… line-y things on a vague trajectory toward it. It then zooms in past what Gwen might (or might not, depending on how similar maps look on the two dimension) recognize as the vicinity of Metropolis, then to its nearby coast, where a few dots blink.

"If you look in the news, there was an incident the other night, where two meteors almost struck Metropolis. I moved one of them. But there were some smaller impacts in the ocean nearby. I have been analyzing the trajectories to try and figure out what might have diverted their course, but it may require working backward from the impact sites."

Normal. Totally normal.

"You do not have to worry about it now. I will leave you to settle in, as I need to go speak with Robin and the others about it. But perhaps you might like to come along on an investigation? I will keep you up to date." And with that, Kori is soon on her way out, leaving Gwen to settle in. Though she may eventually be forced into retreat by the onslaught of some of the other residents as they return from their crazy late night model parties, or… whatever it is they do.


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