It's a Kind of Magic
Roleplaying Log: It's a Kind of Magic
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Ulysses and Jessica meet up to discuss the Worthington-Blair case.

Other Characters Referenced: Dazzler, Angel, Moonstar, Atli
IC Date: October 29, 2019
IC Location: A coffee shop in NYC.
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 29 Oct 2019 07:57
Rating & Warnings: PG-13, Swearing
Scene Soundtrack: [* ]
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

One does not simply go to someone and ask them to search the internet for who killed someone. Not unless you're an Asgardian and have no real grasp of how exactly the internet works, anyway. The request had prompted questions, and instead of calling Atli, Daughter of Woden insane, Ulysses had taken her seriously. What if the death of Warren Worthington and Alison Blaire hadn't been a suicide? He needed some insight from someone who was better at the whole investigation thing from a non-net perspective.

He'd gotten a more interesting response right off the back than whatever he might have anticipated. If anyone had figured something else was up, foul play or otherwise, he wouldn't be surprised if Jessica Jones had caught wind of it. He asked about the 'suicide' and been told it was rather a kidnapping. Didn't see that one coming.

From there, he had his marching orders. More work, but it's something he's open to, and if it helps everyone it's supposed to, there's no reason for complaint. The stuff Jess had requested of him was easy stuff, records for Cameron Hodge and Cecilia LeFrak, the latter the aunt of the assumedly recently deceased Warren Worthington. He doesn't ask the why's. He knows Jess doesn't ask for this stuff without reason.

She gets contacted the next day. He'd pulled a late shift the previous evening but that's nothing new; when he gets into things, he gets into things. Coffee okay? He suggests a local shop, nothing fancy but old and suddenly become trendy by the hipster crowd, although it thankfully hasn't changed the decor to fit. Ulysses is parked in a corner, his laptop already sitting in front of him on the table, a mug steaming beside it with half an eaten pound cake slice.

***

Jess arrives right on time. She slides in across from him with a coffee in hand. No pound cake for her. "Thanks for getting back to me so quickly," she says, and means it. Uly has proven to be endlessly reliable.

"I would have come to you earlier," she says, "But…I didn't have enough reason to yet."

Which makes her feel like shit now, but she'd been contemplating her life changes and choices, and had been trying to figure out how to do things the 100% legitimate and legal way. Feeling both that she didn't want to do anything which could stain the Avenger's good name, and that she didn't want to hand whomever was dragging Warren down into the mud more ammunition to hurt him with.

It was a "detective's block" that has led to some real damn dire consequences now. She rarely flubs an investigation, rarely has one where she is just not happy with her performance. Rarely has one where she doesn't know exactly what to do. Lately she's had two, has been completely off her game in every way.

At least now things are moving forward again. "What did you find out?"

***

Ulysses gives her a quick smile in greeting, one that vanishes with a shake of his head. "Eh, it's fine. Not that the situation is, but I mean, if someone's covering something like this up then they have to be damn good. I wouldn't have even really thought about looking into it if an Asgardian hadn't come and directly asked me to."

Technically he should have been staying in the hospital or at home but as he'd spoken with Jess before, work is pretty much a vacation for him. When it's not work-related. He taps at his keyboard. "Not a whole lot, not on Cam at least. I was kind of impressed by how clean his records are, kinda made me jealous." His lips twitch in a smirk that doesn't quite surface. "Got copies of all that for you to look for yourself. Ces on the other hand, was a bit more interesting."

He turns his laptop around and slides it towards Jess for her own perusal. Cecilia LeFrak's bank records include a trust allocation received from Worthington's holdings, and a few off-shore accounts established under her authorization. While nothing terribly unusual, one of the latter accounts does stand out for those with a careful eye. Her phone records also yield some interesting exchanges in the weeks following the amputation of Warren Worthington's wings.

Ulysses sits back and sips at his coffee while he lets Jessica go through things before he speaks up again. "So how'd you find out it was a kidnapping?"

***

Jessica is reading through the records and answers absently. "Dani did a magical thing, and I was there for it," she says. "I was just playing bodyguard while she did the real work, but it gave me a front-row seat to the big reveal. And I fully admit I'm not sure how Ce's banking antics fit into the puzzle. I'm sure they do, but I'm not sure how…"

She drums her fingers against the table. "I wonder if she owns any real estate, either in the states or overseas. Though if she was responsible for having Worthington and Blair kidnapped she'd be dumb as bricks to put them on anything she owns."

***

"Magic thing, huh?" He could hope for more details but he supposes it's not relevant. With Jess focused on his findings, Ulysses can only nod his agreement. "Yeah, it's kinda weird. Maybe it's something else entirely but I have no idea. I just grabbed what I could find."

He pokes at the remainder of his cake with a fork. "No chance of doing another magic thing to trace where they went? I mean, if they were kidnapped then there should be some kind of trail or hint. I'm assuming all the security footage around the building's been checked or whoever did the deed had it scrubbed?"

***

"I think if that had been possible Dani would have done it immediately," Jessica says, shaking her head. "She's worried sick about them."

She puts the paperwork aside, takes a long drag on the coffee, and looks up with a frown. "Those sorts of spells are totally possible, but as I understand it there's a lot that can interfere with them too."

She frowns and nods about the scrubbed security footage. Then she says, "But knowing it's a kidnapping changes things."

She sits up and tips a finger at him, her mind suddenly snapping a different puzzle piece into place.

"If they were kidnapped, they were pulled out of the apartment. They were reported stolen from the morgue…can you see if a coroner's van got dispatched to that location that night? They might have knocked them out of comission and transported them via that van. There's a limited number of those, so if we can figure out which vans were in commission that night and cross-reference it with traffic cam data we might be able to pinpoint another location worth investigating. The van itself might bear some fruit too. It's a long shot, but due diligence says we should check."

***

Ulysses pulls his laptop back, sliding over a thumbdrive he'd prepared with all the information he'd dug up for Jess. "Can't say I blame her. One thing hearing they're gone and another to learn it's not permanent. But who and why..?" Because if it was just for money or revenge or something, why fake their deaths and keep them alive?

He sets his coffee down as Jessica gets that look, listening as she starts on her thought, his fingers starting to tap at his computer again as he catches on. "Heh, I should be good at this. I just helped a friend track down her missing van yesterday." Coroner's vehicles should be easier to check for too. "Mm, I might have to get back to you on this one though. I think I left my new toy at home." Technically S.H.I.E.L.D.'s toy. He just…forgot to return it, but to be fair, he was knocked unconscious from that mission.

***

Jessica nods thoughtfully. "Please do. And maybe let's pull up a copy of the police report. Every officer on it is a lying sack of shit, right? So digging into those officers might bear fruit as well. If no coroner van was dispatched then it's a fake van that was set up to look like an NYPD coroner's van. Not hard, but they'd have needed…mmm, probably some magnetic decals, which means I can start calling around to the different sign-making shops in town if necessary. Someone has left a trail somewhere, Uly. I don't know who did this and I don't know why, but someone has."

She rubs her fingers across her lips and says, "And this is what else doesn't add up. Like…if this is a family member who wants the family fortune, why not just kill them and set it up as a murder-suicide? That almost makes them make way less sense. How do they benefit from a kidnapping at all?"

***

His typing is mostly notations now, things to look into as Jessica brings them up, possible angles. He's better at having direction, and with Jess he can count on having plenty to work with. And if not plenty, then at least more than what he would have thought to.

Nodding emphatically, Ulysses snap-points as he glances up from his screen. "My thoughts exactly. What's the point? And if it isn't a family issue, then who has interest in kidnapping such high-profile people and for what reason? That's like, a whole new can of worms. …why do people even say that anyway? Why would you have worms in cans- never mind, I'll Google it later."

***

"You have worms in cans so you can fish with them," says Jessica absently, she of the thousand bits of random and never-useless in some case or another trivia. "People sometimes dig up their own, toss them in coffee cans, poke holes in the plastic top of the can and then take them fishing. I imagine the saying came from someone who set their coffee can of worms next to their coffee can of coffee."

"There's the whole…infected wing zombie angle that Dani ran into," she says slowly. "Which I mean…I don't friggin' understand. They found the place where someone sent Warren's wings for disposal. Apparently it turned people there into weird techno-zombies, infecting them. It was a compound that maybe was supposed to stop them from healing…"

She frowns and says, "Maybe whoever it is just has one Hell of a hate-on. Someone went out of their way to destroy Warren psychologically. Maybe they've taken him, and the woman he loves, to add more torture to the mix. Just for the goddamn 'fun' of it, because people are fucking crazy."

***

"…it's a fishing term?" Ulysses' nose wrinkles as he has a brief fishing flashback. Not that it had been a terrible trip, but well. Fish. And nature.

The tapping of keys ceases as he pauses to stare once again in Jessica's direction. "Uh, did you just say 'zombie'? 'Infected wing zombie.' These words are hurting my brain." He's sort of glad that even the investigator admits to not understanding, because he's sure having a time of it. "But how can they…techno… but his wings were organic, weren't they?" Because feathers..! Face scrunching up, he rubs at his forehead.

"That…sounds terrible. I mean, if someone really is that obsessed with messing someone up on that level, then they must have had some deep connection. Aaalthough you bring up a good point- if it's just the work of some psycho then it could be anyone for even the slightest reason." He shakes his head. "This is why I don't want to be famous."

***

"I dunno. Nanites? I had a case involving brain-melty mind-control nanites once," Jessica says. She flashes a slight smile. "Had to steal a corpse to get to the bottom of that one. But I only stole it from criminals, so it was fine. Good times."

She really does love her job.

She tips a finger at him. "Oh, good point. I hadn't even thought about the Misery angle. Though it would have to be a fan with some serious resources and clout of his or her own. And that doesn't seem to fit, given the way the cops were falling all over themselves to sell this murder-suicide story. That takes someone with power, and powerful people don't tend to get that insane over celebrities. Why would they, when they consider themselves to be just as important?"

***

The hacker gives Jessica a long look before commenting. "…you are a strange, strange person, Jessica Jones."

Sighing at another possibility presented, he makes another face before he decides to add on to his notes, just in case any other avenues of search subjects come up that might fit under their guesses for motive. "Maybe they're jealous," he puts forth with a shrug. "Or they're anti-meta. Or just insane themselves. I'm really hoping it's not the last one because that leaves the door open for anyone."
***

Jessica actually laughs at Ulysses' observation. "You have no idea," she says dryly. She'll own that one.

Though she'd say she's one of the least strange of the people out there.

She shakes her head though. "Past a certain point, more speculation just gets useless though. Maybe this angle will dig something up, maybe it won't. Maybe one of the other people on it will dig up something better. What got you on this case, anyway? I probably would have called you myself if you hadn't reached out to me."

Just idle curiosity, but then, if Jess could bear to leave any curiosity unsatisfied she wouldn't be who she is.

***

Snorting a brief laugh of his own, Ulysses smiles crookedly, which on his face always makes him look doubly uncertain.

"Oh, hah. Now there's a story. Actually I was implored by a drunk Asgardian a few nights back. She was convinced that someone else killed them and wanted me to scour the internet for answers. Don't suppose you've heard of an Atli, Daughter of Woden, have you?"

***

Jessica pauses and frowns, as if she's trying to recall if she has or not. "I don't…think…I have," she admits slowly. "If I did, it was in passing or in some whack-ass situation that isn't jumping directly to mind."

Then the phrasing catches up to her. "…She thought you were just gonna Google 'who killed Warren Worthington' and the mystic Internet would spit something out, didn't she?"

She may not have met (remembered meeting?) Atli, but a question like that could indicate more than a passing familiarity with Asgardians in general. "Go thou, wizard, to yon magical box, and command it henceforth to speak the identities of these doers of deeds most foul?"

***

Ulysses nods. "She'd be pretty hard to forget, if you had." There's another pause from him then, and all at once he just looks exhausted before dropping his face in his hands. "YES, that's pretty much it, I think. Except she made it sound like she wanted me to email the internet to get her answers. I decided it probably wasn't worth the effort to explain how the net works. So do they seriously all talk like that?"

All at once he sits up straight again, with a slight giddiness. "She did ask me to be the wizard though." Beat. "I think I may regret saying yes."

***

Jessica casts a quick, wry smile. "I've only ever met one," she admits. "But he definitely talks like that. And is so genuinely cheerful and kind that you just can't get mad at him. You also never quite know if they're from a society so advanced that they really can go to a magic box to get all their answers and don't understand why we can't, are really just that weird, or are seriously trolling you. I tend to lean towards the first answer though."

To his giddiness about being the wizard, she can only duck her head. "Well, I sure as hell wasn't going to be the wizard," she says. "And for those of us who can't do what you do, even if we kind of get how the net works, it might as well be magic."

***

"She was drunk and super sad, it was kind of heartbreaking so I couldn't say no when she asked me to help. She was very convinced that Worthington and Blaire were too in love to have something like a murder-suicide happen. And something about firebirds. Honestly she kind of lost me half-way in her explanation."

It makes Ulysses wonders just how much of a difference it would make if he spoke to a sober Atli, if the thou's and verily's come standard. Oh boy.

Jessica's comment makes him grin again. He does love being appreciated for what he does. "I figured that if I couldn't do real magic then codework was the next best thing."

***

"Well, then she has good instincts," Jess says with a shrug. "I called bullshit the moment I caught the news in the paper myself."

His grin, though, makes her lips twitch again. And she says: "I know a woman who'd tell you that they're exactly the same. And who is an authority enough on it to back that claim."

She raps twice on the diner table though, then slides out of her seat. "Thanks for your help. I'm going to go see if I can find any real estate. If we come up empty, it'll at least be a list of places to take a look at, even if they're probably low-value crap places. Maybe we'll luck out, it'll be her, and she'll be arrogant as fuck."

***

As Jessica gets up, cuing her intention to head out, Ulysses gives her a nod. "Anytime, Jess. Good luck with that. I'll get back to you soon as I come up with anything on our new angles," he promises. "And if you get anymore ideas for things to tap, let me know."

Already he's starting to get his own things together. No sense in lingering when he's got his own work to do, and he's eager to jump on things when he gets home.

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