Philosophy in a Cup of Noodles
Roleplaying Log: Philosophy in a Cup of Noodles
IC Details

In which Isa Reichert has a chance meeting with Groot and Rocket Raccoon over a round of cheap cup-noodles, and discusses a number of things.

Other Characters Referenced: Phil Coulson
IC Date: March 06, 2020
IC Location: New York City - Roosevelt Island - The Renwick
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 06 Mar 2020 08:09
Rating & Warnings:
Scene Soundtrack: None
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

The S.H.I.E.L.D. facilities on Roosevelt Island aren't half as polished as the Triskelion had been, but they get the job done. The careworn, dingy old facilities still work. Being a few decades behind the rest of the world isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Indeed, the anachronism is a familiarity, to some. For an agent with a price on her head it might as well be paradise.

One such is Isa Reichert, one of the newer agents. She's been with the agency for a few months, assigned to the field during the Triskelion's destruction. Since then, she's been carrying on in the background, ferrying agents around the globe and driving the agency's quinjets. While sometimes assigned to field operations, piloting is where she shines. Of her personality, word in the corridors has it she's an unyielding perfectionist, hot-tempered at times, but a real ace of a pilot.

Tonight finds her making her way from one side of the underground facility to the other. Still dressed in a standard-issue flight suit, embroidered with agency roundels, she has her helmet tucked under an arm and a duffel bag thrown over her shoulder. While she'd been on her brisk way, she has to stop and eye a vending machine along the way.

True, she hasn't eaten all day…

* * *

Officially, the Guardians of the Galaxy are off the books and non-existent so far as S.H.I.E.L.D. is concerned. Of course, it's rather hard to forget a talking raccoon and a bipedal tree, and the very-not-quinjet that used to be parked in the old hangar. It's also hard to forget the missing furniture and the vending machine raids, among other things.

For those in the know, the Guardians are S.H.I.E.L.D.'s unofficial liasons for all things space-related. Well, mostly space-related. Whenever Rocket finds himself called in, he's not disappointed because the one usually doing the calling knows his specialties.

Today…is not necessarily one of those days.

"I know I didn't use it, and it's not in the bag where it should be, and the last place that bag was was in that ship we stole for Phil, so we just sneak in there and have ourselves a look, that's all."

Rocket explains the situation to his partner-in-crime who's more or less been an unenthusiastic pain-in-the-backside ever since he got out of his toddler state. He wears…what looks like a three-piece-suit, as though he's trying to blend in. 'Cuz S.H.I.E.L.D. agents are all about suits right?

* * *

Because Rocket is here, Groot is also present. And, as previously stated, he's not in the state-of-mind to be going along with this fool-proof plan in getting stuff back, but he really has nothing better to do at the moment.

"I am Groot."

The repeated refrain of Groot-ese comes in a grumble, rolling in the back of his wooden throat as he saunters after the raccoonoid. He doesn't even bother to play dress-up either, sighing every step of the way. "Iii am Groot."

* * *

The pilot is stone-faced as she regards the vending machines, but a strange sound brings her out of her contemplation. It's going to be dinner, whatever it is, wrapped in plastic. It's too late to bother with cooking, and she's doubtless going to be hauled back to the flightline before dawn…

A sound brings her out of her consideration, whirling to see…

A raccoon in a three-piece suit bickering with an animate tree.

Isa doesn't say or do anything.

She just stares, expression absolutely unchanging. She blinks several times, but her face never actually changes. Her single blue eye is flatly uncomprehending.


Wait, was that her out-loud voice? It sure was. It's a rough voice, low for a woman's, gravelly. In her flat incomprehension it's closer to a croak than anything else.

* * *

Said smartly dressed raccoonoid also carries a suspiciously large duffle bag over his shoulder. He jabs a finger in the treenager's direction as he glnces over his shoulder at Groot. "Hey, what'd I say about that attitude, huh?"

He walks by the pilot and the vending machines.

And then he backtracks, stepping over towards the lit up machines to peruse their goodies. Usually S.H.I.E.L.D. had some pretty good selections…

Rocket strokes his chin as he looks at everything, reaching out with a disturbingly humanlike hand to tap at the buttons and cycle through the goods. "…you know, 's kinda rude to stare," he finally says, his eyes still skimming over sandwiches and instant noodle bowls and the like.

* * *

Groot makes a disgruntled noise. So much eye-rolling happens right then and there, his arms slack as he looks up at the ceiling. Attitude! The nerve of the little Guardian in the three-piece suit!

Still, he follows after Rocket, muttering the same three words under his breath in passing the pilot and the vending machine.

…Only to back up a few steps shortly afterward.

Groot's heavy brow arches, all nuances of attitude gone at the drop of a hat. Unless one counts the snort he gives as a 'greeting' of sorts. "…I am Groot."

* * *

"Am sorry. Is first time I have seen…" Isa lets the sentence trail off. She isn't sure what Rocket actually is. Or Groot, for that matter. After a second or two more she manages to collect herself, gesturing toward the vending machine Rocket's flicking through. "Ramen isn't bad. Is little salty, maybe."

Her voice is rough, and the impression is only accentuated by the way she speaks. Her word are clipped without quite being curt, and she eyes Groot for a moment with her single eye.

Wait. Single eye? Don't most pilots have two of those? Indeed they do, but not this one. This one has scarring where the right side of her face should be, long red hair worn loose in such a way that part of it spills over to cover the scarring and the eyepatch where her right eye should be.

The one that's left is the blue of a winter afternoon's sky, shrewd, and also a little blank in the way of one who's halfway convinced they've lost their own mind.

Food is a good distraction, though. She reaches in around Rocket's perusing, feeding a bill into the machine and punching a button before he can keep scrolling. Out pops an instant noodle bowl, and one can almost smell the salt wafting from it. Dry contents rattling, she tosses it into her helmet, before reaching into a pocket and feeding the machine another bill.

"On me," she says, gesturing toward the machine. "Get what you want." She pauses, eyeing Groot. "Both of you." Her tone is dubious. Do teenage sentient trees even eat anything? Oh, Great God, he's not some kind of vampiric Venus fly trap from space, is he…!?

* * *

"Gotta love those Terran preservatives," Rocket replies with a grin. He jerks back his hand when the woman slips the vending machine some money and pushes a button to secure her selection, almost glaring at her for the interruption. It does allow him to finally have a good look at the pilot, whom he's pretty sure he hasn't seen around here before. Then again, they'd left S.H.I.E.L.D. well before the old headquarters bit it, and he'd heard of the losses. Maybe this one's new.

He nods towards her helmet, which now holds a ramen bowl. "So you actually use that thing or is that what the kids're usin' for grocery bags these days?" Fuzzy brows lift when she offers the machine another bill, and then offers to cover them with it. Well, she's definitely earning points with him.

Rocket grins again, looking back at the machine before jabbing at the scrolling buttons again. "Chunk of dried noodle substances oversalted and dusted in questionable preservatives, here I come."

* * *

…All right, so Groot has to admit the eyepatch is pretty rad. He's not gonna tell Isa that right off the bat, obviously. He has his reputation to uphold!

(In before 'what reputation?' because he has one. No one knows about it, that's all.)

That doesn't stop him from trying to mirror the pilot's missing eye, however, lifting one gnarled hand up to the side of his bark-y face just to shift it in the position that works best as a temporary blind spot.

A small lightbulb goes off in his treenager brain a couple of seconds later with a strange chuckle. "I am Groot."

Fortunately for the other two, Groot's dumb passes once his attention falls back onto the money being fed into the machine. A free meal? Why YES. "I am Groot," he says, calling out his ramen selection as Rocket plays ramen roulette.

* * *

"Hunh." The woman stares blankly at the vending machine for a second or two more before her gaze tracks after Rocket, then down to the helmet he's pointing at. Sorry, she's still trying to process the fact that there is a bipedal raccoon talking to her and pointing at stuff she's holding. Oh, and wearing a three-piece suit.

Oh. Helmet. Right. "Da." A beat. She gestures with the ramen cup, shaking its dry contents with a rattle. "Yes. Flew for nine hours today. Pretty sure went halfway around globe." There's a short pause; her head tilts slightly to one side. "Quinjet pilot. S.H.I.E.L.D., but you knew that, or I wouldn't be here." She thumbs at the surname embroidered onto her flightsuit. "Isa. Reichert. You need to go somewhere, you have clearance, you talk to me. I get you there. Fast."

Her single eye tracks back to the vending machine, eyeing it speculatively. "Haven't eaten since this morning. Don't care what it is, need to eat something." Her gaze flicks over to Groot, who seems either incapable of speech, or speaks something bizarre. Really bizarre. He's only introduced himself! Several times. Weirdo. And why is he covering his right eye like that?

Once more she flicks her gaze back to Rocket. "He say anything else?" Actually, come to think of it, is the 'he' even a he? Maybe she should have paid more attention to her botany basics. Groot is eyed, somewhat speculatively… and she switches to Russian, rapid-fire and flowing. "<Maybe you speak Russian instead, then?>"

* * *

"That right? Huh." Rocket gives her a thoughtful look before turning back towards the machine to claim his ramen. "I usually fly myself," he says as he absently gives the instant bowl a shake. "And usually I don't care if I got clearance or not, but hey. Sometimes Deadeye calls us in an' it's for other stuff so who knows." Isa, huh. He can remember that. He's not even going to try saying the last name.

"Name's Rocket. And that's Groot, in case you didn't catch it the first five hundred times. But no, that's about all he says, in 'pecifically that order with varying intonations."

He waves the treenager over to make his selection. "Hurry it up. I have a feeling Isa here's gonna be needin' more than just dried noodles. Empty stomachs ain't anything to joke about."

* * *

"I am Groot," the treenager affirms, minus the enthusiasm older Groot would have happily provided given the situation. Looming over the bipedal raccoon, he punches the buttons with a gentle teenage touch, perusing the selection before stopping on one he wants to try. The rarest of smiles crosses his features before turning back into a scowl, taking his dried noodles with a harrumph.

And then Isa starts talking to him in Russian. Groot sees she's saying stuff, but he's very sure those are not real words coming out of her mouth. "I am Groot?"

* * *

"Fly them where they need to go, then take quinjet back here." Isa rolls a shoulder, holding her ramen cup up so she can study it a little more closely. Just what did she order, anyway? "Is living." There's a faint pause, and she tilts her head at Rocket. "'Deadeye?'" So sayeth the one-eyed pilot.

When he gives his name, Rocket is eyed a moment, seemingly flatly, and then Groot is also eyed for a moment. Well, it was a long shot, whether another language would do any good. If they're familiar with it, they'd know she's speaking her Russian much better than she speaks her English. Fluently, in fact.

It doesn't seem to help much, though, so she sighs and shrugs, shaking her head at Young Master Tree. Nope. Sorry, bud.

"Crunchy, but good enough." Isa rattles her cup of dried noodles as raccoon and tree go about making their selections. "Waited this long. Can wait longer. Am patient." Sometimes. Scuttlebutt around the proverbial office suggests she's actually kind of a firecracker if people mess with her charges. That is to say, the quinjets she pilots and keeps a hawk's watch over. They say she even cleans them. Must take her job pretty seriously.

Isa folds her arms around the various things she's balancing, eyeing the vending machines. "So. You fly?" Her lone red brow arches. "What?" Her eye, however, stays right on the vending machines, and she may be considering surrending more of her hard-earned pay for cheap, chemically-flavoured foods for dinner. "I mean. What do you fly?" A beat. "Is probably not quinjet." That single eye studies Rocket, scrutinizing. "Couldn't reach yoke, or maybe pedals."

Groot is eyed a half-second later, a little more dubiously. "Am not sure how you piloting would even work." He's a tree. Trees aren't known for their startling reflexes. Rocket is turned to, and the pilot pulls what might be an intentional or unintentional scowl. The scarring seems to lend itself well to scowling. "…How do you even understand him?"

* * *

"Oh, so like…a fancy taxi. Or a Lyft." Rocket can just imagine the chaos if random people were allowed to fly. It's already bad enough on street-level. He blinks before oh'ing. Right, not many people familiar with their nickname for a certain S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. "Phil Coulson."

When Groot speaks, Rocket shrugs at him. "Don't look at me, I ain't no expert in Terran languages." He steps aside and then scowls at Isa. "You makin' fun of my height?? I'll have you know I'm the best pilot in the frikkin' galaxy!" Peter Quill isn't here to say otherwise. "You name it, I'll fly it. Mostly I fly the Milano. I've flown quinjets before. Guess they ain't so bad for Terran-tech."

Rocket looks up at Groot and then snorts at the assumption. "Pfff, Groot don't fly. He takes up space. Plays video games." Pausing, he shrugs at the question of understanding. It's not something he thinks about much these days. "We've been together a long while. It just sorta rubbed off."

* * *

Groot appears to chuckle when Rocket clarifies that Phil Coulson is Deadeye. "I am Groot."

He's also not surprised when Isa set the spark that sends the raccoonoid into a rant, shaking his noodles to the tune of angry pride. He may be biased as well, nodding since Quill isn't there to defend his title as the best pilot in the galaxy.

A slight face is made, but Rocket isn't wrong. "I am Groot," he emphasizes, knowing that no one can match him in his video game scores. But after a pause, he nods again in quiet acknowledgement of the fact that they really have been together for a long time.

He just refuses to add onto that verbally, shaking his noodles out again to make sure everything is finely coated.

* * *

"No, not taxi." Isa shakes her head. At least she doesn't seem insulted by the implication. "Only fly agents. Only fly where they tell me to fly." She's very careful about playing things by the books, and that's another piece of rumour about the scarred pilot. She does things textbook. Everything is done in a way that satisfies protocol.

To Rocket's clarification, she only eyes him a moment. If there's any familiarity at that name, Isa doesn't acknowledge it. She nods after a second, the barest inclination of her chin; just enough to dip her face partway into shadow from the bright overhead lights.

"No. Just pointing out fact." Isa sketches gloved fingers through the air, as though to indicate the constraints of a cockpit. "Have to be able to reach yoke, throttle, air brake, toggle bank, firing switch, aileron pedal…" She gestures again as though dismissively. "Could reach some, but not all. Groot, maybe. Is tall enough." The woman rubs her jaw, eyeing the teenaged tree. "Not sure if used to piloting…"

Back to business. She shrugs, in regards to the quinjets. "Is like… cross between jet, maybe, and helicopter. Am used to piloting jet. Little different, for me. Took getting used to. Used to them now. Other aircraft, might feel wrong now."

To Groot's understanding she only shrugs, taking her dried-noodle prize and detouring to the nearest space that serves for a break room. They can follow but she's going to go eat not-dinner. "Guess is mostly… context? Is right word?" Her English is uniquely awful, but she seems to understand them perfectly fine. Shucking off her gloves and twisting them around her belt in the same motion, she sets to preparing her not-dinner.

Her left hand is normal, but the right is mottled in shades of paler skin, scarred much like the side of her face and neck. Whatever got her must have gotten her good. Tearing open the packet of seasoning, she shakes it in, glancing over her shoulder at the unlikely pair. "Have only been flying in S.H.I.E.L.D. for few month. Was in field when Triskelion was destroyed." She shakes her head as she pours in hot water from the coffee maker, eyeing the thing and stopping precisely at the fill line incised inside the carton. "Helped fly construction material in to rebuild, few month. Now, back to flying agent from one place to other, da? Anyone with clearance. Or who they tell me to fly. Is not very glamourous… but is living." 'I guess,' her tone seems to say.

* * *

"Where's the fun in that," says the Guardian who's all about getting around rules as it suits him. He's a little disappointed at the lack of a reaction to the revelation of Phil 'Deadeye' Coulson, but it saves him having to tell a story he probably mostly embellishes by now anyway, old as it's gotten. Or maybe she's just lacking in a sense of humor when it comes to things eye-related.

"Okay, yeah, quinjets and most Terran vehicles ain't designed with people of smaller statures in mind, but there are ways to get around that. And if there's no easy fix, I can build it."

Rocket only nods a little as Isa touches upon her own flight experience, following after her. They're not in any particular hurry, at least. They can enjoy a snack. He can get how that works. Even when switching between spaceships and Earthbound ones there's a bit of a gap for readjustment, but he knows where all his actual know-how comes from and it's not something he cares to touch upon. There's a heavy if brief moment of silence as he looks at her hands, more tell-tale traces of something Isa probably almost didn't walk away from. Rocket shakes his head, pushing away the thoughts of scars and past wounds and hurts as he waits for his turn to add water into his ramen.

"Probably a good thing on your part. Heard it wasn't pretty, what happened to the Trisket." Didn't look pretty either, when he'd seen the ruins. New York just got crazier as the months wore on, although it seemed that things got a bit quieter. Not that he's counting on any sort of quiet to last.

"Well hey, you wouldn't be doin' it if you didn't like flying, right?"

* * *

Well, everyone is going toward the break area. Groot tags along, still shaking his noodle bowl out of time to a beat only he is thinking about.

The grownups are talking about similar interests. They're talking about piloting. If it's in video game form, Groot can pilot, too. Except this is about the quinjets and the Milano, not some video simulation. So he has nothing in common and can easily be bored with the conversation between the two pilots.

As he sets down his bowl, he also looks at Isa's…gloves. And then her hands. His eyes don't linger on the differences, but he notices the silence that falls over Rocket, giving the raccoonoid a brief sidelong glance.

"I am Groot," he musters, now that the Trisket is brought up. He wasn't there either, but the newscasts that followed were hard to ignore. But he sniffs in that uninterested kind of way, holding out to get some hot water for his bowl whenever Rocket finishes.

* * *

It's possible this woman knows Phil 'Deadeye' Coulson, but if she does, she's keeping her cards close to the vest. The agency is large, though, and it's not outside the realm of possibility she simply hasn't met him in all this time. Or she has met him and she's hiding something.

One never knows in an agency that thrives on secrecy.

"Not really." Quinjets aren't designed for midgets. Especially fuzzy ones with a penchant for explosions! That's probably a good thing. Maybe. Isa shifts her weight, eyeing the instant ramen and waiting, impatiently, for the stuff to steep. Instead, she pulls over a chair to one of the dingy tables, throwing herself down in it with the air of one exhausted. "Have trouble reaching some thing, but not much. Is well-designed. Never flown anything like them."

The noodles are eyed somewhat impatiently; somewhere between the counter and the table, she's procured a pair of cheap chopsticks, and she taps them impatiently against the table in some kind of almost-rhythm.

If she notices how Rocket eyes the scars, she doesn't comment. Probably she's gotten used to people staring.

"Don't know. Wasn't here. Only saw what was left." Here something approaching real annoyance flickers across her single eye; there and gone in an instant. "Wish I'd been here. Could have helped, maybe. Trained as combat pilot. Instead, I bring material in afterward. Haulage… but, way I see it, they didn't call me back for reason." A faint shrug.

Wouldn't be doing it if she didn't like flying? The woman's mouth, the unscarred side, curls in a faint half-smile. It seems more cynical than anything else, pushing the line of bitterness without quite fully committing itself there. "Da." Beat. "Yes. Could say that." She flexes her scarred right hand, blue eye locked on Rocket. "Is all I have left."

Well, that's another puzzle-piece. She may not be a mutant of any kind, but it seems like she still wound up in the overarching agency for lack of someplace else to go or belong. With injuries like that, it's a wonder she can perform at all. She must not have any depth perception. It doesn't look like the agency slapped any cybernetics in her or anything like that, but she's too confident not to be able to back that up somehow.

Takes all kinds, in this agency.

And then the noodles are done, as the running timer she'd been counting off in her head reaches the appropriate brewing time. Peeling off the lid, Isa leans over it, inhaling deeply as her good eye flickers shut for a moment. Ah, that's the stuff. Good ol' sodium-in-a-cup.

"So. I fly material," she continues, as she stirs the contents with the chopsticks, swilling around clumped-up thawing noodles. "If that is what they want, is what I do."

* * *

Rocket drops his duffle with a suspiciously heavy thud beside the chair he commandeers as he clambers up into it, having set his bowl on the table. Nope, none of this furniture is sized for anyone of his stature but he deals with it and doesn't make a fuss. He's got plenty of other things to get angry about, he doesn't need to add height requirements to it. Only sometimes.

Folding his arms, he waits. The worst part about instant anything is still having to wait, although at least it's a short wait. You didn't hurry instant noodles or you might as well be chewing on plastic.

"I dunno. From what I heard, the mess at the Trisket was an inside job – and then the whole place was turned inside-out. You make metas mad, they make you sorry." It had been pretty obvious to him that the whole Registration Act was bad news from the get-go. It's the main reason the Guardians left S.H.I.E.L.D. in the first place. Not that they particularly kept their other-worldly origins a secret, but Rocket didn't like being indebted to or watched by anyone.

"Eh, maybe they'll get somethin' else for you. You know S.H.I.E.L.D. Full'a busybodies. And people always needin' to go somewhere."

* * *

Groot, on the other hand, places the bowl down carefully like it's a family heirloom. In complete contrast to such movements, he lazily sidles into another chair with little effort, letting it screech against the floor as he plunks his trunk butt into it.

That part about Trisket and the Metas who practically destroyed the place gets a grunt. As Rocket says, they couldn't really say anything due to the fact Registration is and continues to be stupid. He already knows what it's like not to be wanted anywhere, and how others react to obvious differences.

He's a tree. But he has feelings.

Feelings he would rather not discuss, but they are still valid. And to see others go through a similar ordeal is not cool.

This only reminds him of how he hates waiting for the noodles to become noodles. It makes him deep dive into topics he doesn't want to go into.

So Groot nods, agreeing (for once) with Rocket's thought process about S.H.I.E.L.D. and its inner workings. "I am Groot."

* * *

Isa watches Rocket clamber into his commandeered chair, but doen't comment on it. She doesn't offer any help, either. The scarred woman probably has her reasons. People have probably tried to be smotheringly helpful to her with wounds like that. She has her dignity and pride. So too does the ring-tailed raccoon.

Swilling the chopsticks around in her noodles, she glances up to Rocket every few words to show she's still listening. Most of her attention is on the food, though, waiting with only the barest modicum of patience. Stirring them is just something to do with her hands.

"Heard rumour was inside job." Isa look grim as she shakes her head, hair threatening to escape its pins. "Not sure what to think of that. Have had… problem… with feeling safe." A clue to the woman behind the eyepatch, perhaps. Someone who had left their past behind? Maybe those scars have something to do with it. She doesn't clarify. "Better not to think, for me."

To Rocket's observation, she nods, even as she swills the carton around again. "Da. Meta can be… dangerous. Can also do good. Know some, myself. Have good friend or two, is meta." One chopstick is waved for emphasis. "Take all kind in world."

Evidently deeming the noodles cool enough, she takes a second or three to dip her chopsticks in.

Half the carton is suddenly gone.

"Da, maybe." Isa munches noodles between topics. "Am flying agents again, now. Have been for few month. Is good enough for me. Have other thing to do, but still have detail to work out." Her grin, when she looks up, is a little ghastly; the right side of her face is less responsive, scarred skin creasing.

Half a glance is shot to Groot as the woman studies the tree. Is she trying to pick up nuance or context? Maybe, but mostly she's just shrugging and filing it away for later. There's probably pattern to what he says and how he says it, but she won't learn that in a day. Not while exhausted.

"Is complicated." This, on the matter of the Registration Act. She gestures again with her chopsticks before disappearing the noodles on the ends. "Is no good way to handle, I think, for what they want. For normal people or for meta. Am afraid… will maybe get worse before better. But… is life. Thing happen. Then you deal with them."

Like this empty noodle carton. Isa looks down at it somewhat morosely. "In meantime… I fly for S.H.I.E.L.D. Have nothing better to do. And is way for me to fly. No one else take pilot with injury like this." Her mottled hand is flicked at the eyepatch. "Beside. Need S.H.I.E.L.D. help for something, before I am done."

"Am glad we bump into each other, though." Gathering up the empty carton and chopsticks, she grins. It's a little ghastly with the things it does to the scarred side of her face. "Ever need to go somewhere and can't use ship, let me know. I take you there. Flying… flying is where I belong."

She reaches up to pluck the pins from her hair; a cascade of red spilling over her shoulders, as she leans her head sideways to pop her neck. "But for now… should go. Good night. Enjoy dinner." A grin, and a wave. "Maybe we meet again, da? Look me up any time. Am usually here."

* * *

Not one to bother with chopsticks when you can use a perfectly good fork (okay, so plastic ones are hit or miss), Rocket takes a peek under the lip of the ramen cover, watching the steam curl up from the opening. He pokes the cheap plastic fork at the noodles, apparently satisfied as he rips off the lid and starts swishing the noodles about a little more to separate them.

"Well, if anything, S.H.I.E.L.D. got back on their feet pretty quick. They don't seem like the kind of group to let the same thing happen twice. This place is a far cry from the old one, but it's something. I'm with you though. Better bein' able to watch your own back and be prepared for anything." But if you have people you can rely on, that's infinitely better than going it alone, not that it's something Rocket will admit.

"Oh yeah, I know lotsa metas. They're just peoples. You go to space an' Terra's meta is another place's norm. The main thing you learn is to be careful who you piss off. Terra hasn't seemed to figure that out yet. Either that or making people upset is just one of this world's many quirks."

He jabs at the noodles with his fork, stabbing at a clump before swirling it around for a proper mouthful. If he's bothered by Isa's grin he doesn't show it, but he's probably seen worse. Still, the stiffness of the pilot's face makes for something more of a leer, and the eyepatch makes him think of space pirates. But Isa's been much nicer than any space pirate he's come across, and looks considerably better than them too.

"How very true. Stuff happens. You deal. Although some things I'd rather not have to deal with." Like fix other people's problems. He frowns around another mouthful of noodles, chewing and swallowing. "Yer injuries holding you back? I get the feelin' they don't. Otherwise you wouldn't still be doing it. So good on you for not lettin' someone else hold you back just cuz'a that." He grins back at her, his own more of a smirk and filled with pointy teeth.

"Always nice meetin' people with some sense. See you around, Isa. If we need a lift or somethin' I'll do that." Never hurt to build up contacts. Or alibis.

* * *

One day. One day she will be able to pick up Grootspeak. Coulson, for instance, has tried and continues to try. Sure, his can use work, but everyone's gotta start somewhere.

But for now:

SLUUuurk— *

Who needs any utensils when you have a perfectly good bowl to swig from? Groot doesn't seem to mind the temperature or the small mess he's making, soup dribbling down the sides of his jaw in tiny rivulets.

But all of what is said is true enough. Things happen. Things get worse. Then they get better. Maybe. Everyone shares experiences, but they don't know it until they say something about it. And sometimes, you just need to be a friend.

…Failing that, there's always punching.

As Isa grins, Groot tries to mimic her expression, his mouth turning into more of an open grimace with a few noodles dangling out and over his patchy chin. His jaw moves up and down so that his teeth cartoonishly wobbles along like he's stuck with a limited animation budget. "I am Groot."

…Although he does admire the pilot for the unraveling of her red hair and the neck pop. That combination is sick yet artfully executed.

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