The Muck and Ruckus
Roleplaying Log: The Muck and Ruckus
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

After months of sleuthing… Jessica Jones finally gets a solid break.

Other Characters Referenced: Tony Stark
IC Date: April 24, 2020
IC Location: Pahokee, FL
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 04 May 2020 19:01
Rating & Warnings: PG-13 (Language and Innuendo)
Scene Soundtrack: Tooltime - Old School Florida Breaks Vol 1
NPC & GM Credits: Ruckus, Slab (not by name), and Josue Delcid by Ursa.
Associated Plots

There are many advantages (and disadvantages, some might argue) to being friends with Tony Stark. There are the eccentricities, certainly, but there is also the fact that he has one of the world’s largest private satellite networks.

A satellite network that never sleeps, watching for energy surges like the one that birthed a portal in the wilderness of Alaska months ago.

But the partnership between Jessica Jones and Stark has proven beneficial. Because he had a starting point. And she gave him a critical addition to the data set. And he did what he does best: he adapts. It reduces the number of potential energy signals dramatically.

Reduces, however, does not mean perfect results.

It means that he had to send Jones out, and go out himself, when the spikes are detected.

And it means that they find a variety of culprits that are not related to the Alaska incident.

A metahuman who was opening small portals to hide his girlfriend’s terrible cooking and pretending he had eaten it was likely the most amusing of the otherwise long trail of disappointing results.

But then… finally.

Pahokee.

Pahokee, FL.

Muck City, if you like.

The poorest city in all of Florida, right on the shores of Lake Okeechobee, surrounded by farmland.

And, to make her job easier, Jones will find a home strikingly similar to one she’s seen before. It’s rundown, ancient mortar cracking between the teal-painted bricks as the house has settled. A single story rambler stands, with a two-decade old car in the gravel driveway, right across the country road from a sprawling farm raising cabbage and beans.

And a listed occupant… with a criminal record.


Jessica had actually sat down on that guy's back porch and laughed her ass off when she discovered the bad cooking incident. The fun part was he lied for like thirty minutes about it, and when he admitted it she had to press her hand to her mouth to keep from losing it right there.

But now…

Now she is not laughing.

She's standing there with sunglasses on and a sour twist to her mouth. Her hair is pulled back into a ponytail and she's wearing jeans and a black tank top. A mistake, because she brought no sunscreen, and between the black fabric and her bare shoulders she feels like she's cooking alive. New York's hot summers seem to have nothing on this attack from the sky.

She started her morning making a 7-11 run for cigarettes and taquitos, and saw a beer bellied dude with a baby gator on a leash with its mouth taped shut. The skeptical look started then and it just hasn't gone away.

Her mouth tightens at the poverty she sees, at the repeat of a pattern.

She blows out her cheeks. She gets to leave when she gets a lead, so she'd best get to it. She steps up and raps on the door.


There is the sound of a deadbolt moving after several long moments, and then the door cracks open just wide enough to reach the end of the chain still very much in place.

On the other side of the door, there’s a man who is athletically toned, bronzed by the Florida sun and genetics, and tattoos peak out of his black tank top’s collar.

The question that he puts to her as he sizes her up through the door leave little question that she is neither expected nor wanted here.

“What d’you want?”


Jessica takes off her sunglasses, ignores the horrific glare, and gives her prettiest smile. "I'd like to talk to you about…this guy."

She pulls out the grainy photo of pink Fabio.

"Seen him?"
His reaction will tell her about the direction she's got to go next, so she just leaps right in. Anything else risks getting the door slammed before she even gets her question out.

Not that she's not ready to shove her foot in the door.


For a woman who makes a living in quickly identifying and leveraging tells, she’ll find the man has one, but it’s subtle. By human nature, he’s compelled to look at the photograph that is put in front of him. And then there’s a jump of the muscle on his jaw as he clenches and releases it.

The man seems to match what Jess had been able to dig up about the homeowner. Josue Delcid. 39 years old. 5’11”. Bought the house outright a few years ago. No known siblings. Served time for drunk driving, robbery, and false imprisonment after an altercation with an ex-girlfriend. Also for possession and intent to distribute. Also for assault and battery. There were a smattering of fined offenses on the list, too, but they seem to pale in comparison.

The door begins to swing quickly shut. “Come back with a badge,” he barks in irritation, intending to slam it in Jess’s face and fully expecting that to be the end of it.


Jessica's foot hits the door and she simply exerts her strength to keep it open. "Oh, that's what you want? Someone with a badge to show up here? Someone with a warrant?"

She looks around with raised eyebrows, still smiling. "Because. I can't help but notice you're a homeowner. A homeowner with a criminal record. Usually it's kind of hard to get legitimate employment after going away for robbery, but you…you have funds coming from somewhere. So by all means, I bet what you want here is a badge. Why stop with the local police? The ATF, the DEA, they always have interest in people living above their means. Hell, even the goddamn I-R-S does. But me?"

She holds up the photo again and smiles. "I just wanna know about your dealings with this dude."


As the door stops pushing out, Josue’s temper flares. There’s a growl, and then all of a sudden Jess will find that she feels a light tingling all over her skin—like fabric brushing past—that subsides quickly.

There’s another growl of frustration, and another push against the door.

“I ain’t got no business with him,” he spits, a hand slamming against the threshold to show an arm covered in more ink, “but I know you want to get your foot out of my door.”

And then, perhaps as a trick of the light or a result of a play of muscles beneath his skin, it looks like that ink moves.


"Huh. You're a meta," Jessica says, tilting her head to one side. "Yeah I don't know what you just tried to do to me, but most shit like that doesn't work on me."

Granted, she doesn't know what he can do to himself, with weird moving ink tattoos, or to her once he's done doing it to himself. "He show up? Ask you to knock over a store kind of public like? Offered to pay you? Let you get screwed and go to jail?"

It's a shot in the dark really, because maybe that hasn't happened yet. But if it hasn't happened yet, or if the offer has only just been made, maybe, just maybe it will make him nervous enough to talk.

"C'mon, Delcid. We're playing footsies with this door like a couple of 5-year olds but the truth is maybe I can help you out too."


“Huh,” he mirrors back at Jess in a jeer. “I really pegged you as a tramp stamp girl.”

Down by the floor, a snake begins to slither through the crack in the door, red and black: a scarlet king. It moves to brush along Jess’s boot.

“What are you talking about? I ain’t goin’ to jail for anybody. Certainly not some Jem-haired whatever. You been watchin’ the house?”


"Jesus fuck!"

Jessica does jump at the snake, but she also lifts a booted foot and tries to squash it with all of her strength, a look of rage and fear momentarily on her face. While she's at it, she also tries to shove Delcid all the way back into his home and out of her way…and away from her, with all his wriggling tattoos, while she deals with this thing.

It seems he won't get an answer to his question or a reaction to the tramp stamp dig at this time.


When the brunette pushes him inside, pulls against the chain on his door and splinters the threshold in the process, Josue growls.

The snake beneath Jessica’s boot flattens after an attempt to strike at her ankle, but what crushes there feels more like a burst balloon. It leaves nothing but a spray of orange and black across the cracked concrete stoop and splatters up Jones’s boot and pant leg.

Inside, in the dim house, the tattoos on his arm continue to shift and morph, his skin looking in some places like it’s nearly boiling. He takes another few steps backwards to make room between himself and the lady asking too many questions.


"Thanks for that," Jessica says with a tilt of her head and a smile that's grim and snarky instead of pretty. "Now that you've attacked me, I can defend myself and beat the shit out of you for answers. And it turns out, I'm in that kind of mood."

But she knows she has to take this guy out pretty fast lest she end up with more things than she can squash. She abruptly leaps over his head and tries to take him around the throat with one arm, as her other hand strikes out at the small of his back to try to knock him off balance entirely, just so she can pull him back into a chokehold. Hard to use powers usually when one is gasping for air, and despite her words about beating him up she doesn't really love the idea of laying into him with blow after blow.

But if she can do this? Hey, chokeholds hurt, and the fact that she's not leaving marks should stand her in good stead if her actions are ever questioned later. After all she's supposed to be acting within the bounds of the law now.


Josue is used to a fight, but perhaps not fights against other metahumans. As Jessica moves, he moves to try to catch her leg to interrupt her sailing trip over him in the close quarters of his small living room.

The interior of the home is just as shabby and rundown as the outside, with peeling wallpaper of a decidedly ‘old woman of the 90s’ aesthetic—grapevines and roses and way too much lilac and rose—and thrift store furniture sparsely arranged. This is not the home of a man who brings guests home.

He reaches up, a beat behind, his hand brushing but missing contact and making it so Jones can get in close enough to set him into place.
The art on his arms flattens and lies still, but then she’ll start to feel as something grips her back. Long, sharp fingernails will move to dig into her forearms as skeletal hands begin to emerge from beneath Josue’s collar to rest beside his own… but he can’t seem to get more than that to materialize as he gasps for breath.

She may not be ready to leave marks, but his ability does not seem to be ready to hold the same standard of restraint.


"Oh, fucking Hell," Jessica mutters, steeling herself to get clawed up as she firms her grip and cuts off more of his air supply.

Maybe she's rusty, truth be told. She tries not to really fight anyone for long. She prefers her words.

But that thought has her raising her voice. "Josue. Hey. Hey hey hey. Listen…listen to me. I'm trouble you don't want. I'm a goddamn Avenger. The low-key one."

That's debatable. Probably Bucky and Jane are much more subtle and low-key, but she's…low-key after a fashion.

"You think you've got problems now? Wait till the Winter Soldier's got you in his sights and Tony fucking Stark is nuking your house from orbit. That's one option. Or the other is…you put your pretty pictures away, I don't sit here choking you out, you stay out of the Raft, and it's all for the low low price of just…settling down and giving me some goddamn information about goddamn Pink Fabio. Jesus, you're such a little fish you're like fucking Nemo with a bad vocabulary. I don't give a shit about you unless you make me give a shit about you."

She lets up, just a little, to let him have half a breath. "Just. Be. Fucking. Reasonable."


Delcid continues to fight Jones, and he isn’t a weakling for someone lacking her augmentation. But he’s not enough to fight back when she pulls down harder on his airpipe. Fortunately, the female skeleton lurking under his shirt doesn’t need to breathe. She’ll break the skin and dig in, uncaring.

Except that Jones starts calling in threats that mean something. But more importantly, she raises an interesting consideration. Rich man Tony Stark in Muck City.

“Why the fuck would Tony Stark be in Pahokee?”

He seems to have missed the ‘from orbit’ part.


"OW! God fucking damn it!" Jessica snarls, and lacking anything else to do it with she snaps her teeth at skeleton lady on the arm, trying to bite her. The muck, she suspects, that follows if she pops her might taste terrible, but probably worth it.

And then: "Focus, Josue. The guy in the photo. Who is he? Gimme a name, and you get a little more air. Or I can cut your supply again. I bet that'll feel fucking great. Day of the Dead here isn't going to stop me. I've taken worse than this so get your shit together."

Of course, now there's blood just coating her arm, something Jessica realizes is a bad scene. "I swear to god I'm going to start breaking bones next, you're really pissing me off."


Josue is turning purple. More moments pass.

And then, suddenly, the claws release Jones’s arm as they’re suddenly just…. Gone. Josue snarls and lets go of his grip, too.

“Fine. FINE. Let go.


Jessica unceremoniously drops him on the ground, exhaling as she briefly claps her hand over her bleeding arm, then gives it up as a ridiculous exercise. Serves her right for not wearing her jacket she supposes.

"Who is he?" She repeats.


The man doesn’t answer right away. Instead, he just collapses first to his side, and then he rolls onto his back so that he can heave in the largest breaths possible.

“Said his name was George,” Josue says from his place on the ground, his eyes closing as he tries to stop the spinning of the room. “And that he was a mutant like me.”


"And then what did he say?"

Jessica keeps her eye on him now, not quite trusting him not to attack again at any moment. Still, despite her wary stance she's calmed back down. Now they're on to what she actually came here to do, which was question the witness. This, at least, is familiar ground.


“That he’d pay cash for me to take care of some business up in New York.”

Now that he’s laying down, Josue takes a moment to rub the back of his left ribs with a wince. And then he has some questions of his own.

“Damn, chica, where do you fucking work out? You really an Avenger, or are you really just looking to jump into this job with me? You can be honest. I mean, I ain’t sharing the cut, but you can be honest.”


She claps back with a wholly sardonic: "Gold's goddamn Gym."

But then she tilts her head to one side and lets a slight smirk play across her features, one that can be read any way he likes.

"What's the job?"

New York again. Coincidence? Or is that the only place they're focusing on?

"And how long ago was this?"


Josue closes his eyes and exhales a long breath.

“This morning. And he said he didn’t much care what I did, but that he’d get me to New York and pay me to do it there and he’d get me out after when I make it to the place we’re supposed to meet up. Payout goes up for every paper I make. I think, he makes me rich and I go traveling far from Muck City.”


"Did he give you a place and time for this meeting?"

Jessica tilts her head thoughtfully to the side again as a plan starts to form. Still, for now she's still all about getting the information. She pulls a chair over and around and straddles it, crossing her arms over the back and leaning forward. She's concluded he doesn't really want another piece of her, and she doesn't really want another piece of him.

Granted, she's more than happy to break it over his head if he gets out of control again, but she figures he's intimidated enough for now.


“No. Just said he’d be back.”

Which, really, isn’t a huge change in operations as far as Josue is concerned. People dropped by all the time in various seasons of his life. Granted, that wasn’t here or this sort of work, but the paradigm isn’t new.

And it really isn’t that Josue is intimidated, per se, so much that he’s already rolling into a state where he cares less about Jones’s presence than is worth getting up for.

It doesn’t mean that he won’t ask a question, though.

“That’s all I got, chica. So you planning to go now, or should we talk about other ways to spend the time…?”


Jessica takes out her cell phone camera and snaps a photo of him.

"Congratulations," she says. "You've just made the news."

She then stands, after a moment of thought. Fuck it, I've got more money than I know what to do with these days.

"Ten thousand," she says. "That's my offer. Two thousand now, in cash, the other eight, in cash, after he shows. Ten thousand not to go to New York, where the Sentinels will eat you alive and definitely see you thrown straight into the Raft. Ten thousand to repeat the story I feed you for when he shows up. To meet him on your porch, not in your house. He sets metas up and rarely pays out, so you're making a profit here. It's not being rich, but it's enough to start over just about anywhere you want. I recommend Metropolis if you want the big city. They have lots of good-paying jobs and reasonable housing. And by starting over, I mean starting over for real. You get out of the muck, you stay out. No more crime."

She tilts her head as if to ask him if he's interested.


As soon as she takes a photo, Josue is clambering onto his feet and is readying himself all over again for a fight—for her phone. He takes a breath, and again, his skin moves. He does not need a parole officer rolling in here because of something this stupid pu…

Except that she relents.

He doesn’t expect her to relent, and that’s written all over his face in hues of disbelief. Of suspicion.

Getting out of Muck City sounds pretty good. Delaware could be okay. More importantly, a bird in your hand is worth two in the bush. And if she has cash now, he’ll take cash now.

“Yeah, okay. You got yourself a deal. But let me see the money, first.”


"Don't freak out and keep your hands off my phone if you want your money."

Jessica scowls severely at him, and then reaches inside of the phone to pull out a few bundles of emergency cash. She always has some tucked in there, and each bundle is a thousand each. She flashes a couple at him before dropping all but two back into the phone.

She hands them over. $2000.

"I'm going to sit with the police scanner app that's already set to New York for a few hours. I'm going to match this photo to one of the crimes, then reach out to some people I know to make sure the story gets run. And that you escaped. With any luck, Pink Fabio will be along."

She retrieves the photo from the floor. It had hit the dirt somewhere in the fight. She tucks it away, scowling. She's going to do all that after she cleans herself up and bandages her arms, but she supposes she can do that while listening to the police scanner.

She scrawls down a number and passes that to him too. "I should be in position by the time he shows, but I want you to call me anyway. I can't cover every angle. Or text me, I don't give a shit, but make sure I know. Got it?"


“But… Won’t he think it’s kinda suspicious that I got up the whole east coast without his help?”

The question doesn’t stop Josue from taking the cash, mind. He does, and counts it. He also starts inspecting the bills in a way that says he’s used to dealing with his fair share of counterfeits. He turns after a moment to go and pull a marker out of a drawer to test a few of the bills himself—a mark that he’s been had before.

It’s not until he comes back that he sets his fingers on the number and studies the digits.

“And back again?”

He pauses, and then crosses his arms. “And I’m not really getting arrested for this, yeah?”


"Shit. I didn't realize he was your ride. Well…fuck. Maybe you just leave and I sit here and when he comes to collect you, he gets me instead. And no, man. I'm not interested in arresting you. But…get your shit together. Life doesn't have to be about this shit forever. I used to knock over ATMs. Now I'm doing other things."

She shrugs and decides to just give him the rest of the money. "Give me your number. I'll tell you when it's safe to have someone you trust ship your shit. But get the Hell out of here tonight. This is easier than the whole fake news story anyway."

And, bonus, doesn't require her to stir up more shit against metas just to stop someone from stirring up shit against metas…which has to be the tip of the plan iceberg.

She grimaces. She wishes, a little, that she'd brought some back up. There could be three of them. Who could she get here fast enough and subtly enough? Maybe nobody. "He didn't tell you when he was going to collect you for your crime spree?"


Josue simply shakes his head, then reaches for a pack of Marlboros and a lighter he has sitting on the table by the door beside a few saint candles.

“Nope. I mean, it’s not exactly like the headhunters are lining up to give me the employment opportunity of a lifetime. He knows I’m not probably not going anywhere. I got the feeling that he wasn’t going to let me take my time about a decision, but I didn’t really ask after hard details. I wanted the cash, and out of this hell hole. You get me cash, and out of this hell hole? I’m down with whatever.”


Jessica considers it. There might be powers she doesn't know about here at work, which means she might need him to stay until Pink Fabio and his crew get here. Even though she'd just told him to go. But if she tells him to stay, and they get pissed, he could get killed. Powers or no powers, this guy is just a civilian with a petty criminal record. He doesn't deserve to get killed just because she ropes him into his case.

"Then give me your number," she says. "I'm camping out here, and I'm going to wait for them. You're off to start your new life. Simple as that. You get paid to let me use your house and to not tip them off. Easy."


Josue considers things for a moment, pushes the wad of cash in his pocket, and then lights up his cigarette. After he takes a long drag, and a long stare at the ceiling, he nods.

“Okay, but I’m gonna wanna get some help with my parole officer. He’s…” A muttering of Spanish escapes, not particularly intelligible. But then the man goes off to the small, single bedroom. He leaves the phone on the table by the door—makes a show of the trust demonstration he’s offering.

He comes out about fifteen minutes later with a backpack over his shoulder.

“So, like, now’s good, yeah?”


"Yeah, I'll talk to your parole officer," Jessica says, reasonably sure she can get him off this guy's back. Assisted in an investigation, blah blah blah. Nobody would like it, but…probably better than the alternative, given what she can tell them about it. She hopes.

"I can't 100% promise my word alone will help," honesty always, "but I know a fantastic," and fantastically busy so hopefully she doesn't have to call on that favor either…"lawyer."

But off he goes, and she nods. "Yeah. Now's good. Good luck, man." What else can she do to give him a decent start? "When you get there, look for a reporter named Clark Kent. Tell him I sent you. He knows everyone in town. If you need help getting a decent job, he might be a good place to start."


Delcid nods once a few times. Considers the space around him with something akin to farewell, lips dancing. It may be a shithole, but it was his shithole, and that means something to him apparently.

“Alright, then. Have fun with Jem.”

And with that, he moves to make his way out of the front door and right out of this picture.


"Great. Time for Netflix and criminal catching," Jessica muttered, flopping down on the couch. Really, the shithole has a familiar feel. Kind of like her office, only muggier and full of mosquitos the moment she steps outside.

Still, investigation has always required patience. She'll sit and exercise hers until it either pays off, or becomes evident that she's hit a dead end.


And, oh, does Jess require patience for this one.

More than once, someone comes knocking at the door, only to run away with a slew of profanities and go speeding off when they realize that it’s not Josue in the doorway.

A roof guy comes through once, pressing a hard sale if Jess will open the door.

It storms regularly, turning a low spot on the lawn by the culvert into a pool. A gator then came and sat in that pool for two straight days until the pool dried out enough that it wasn’t his favorite place anymore.

At least those days were very quiet. No one was going to mess with the gator.

But then…
There’s a different sort of knock on the door.

It’s not the nervous sort of knock that comes of a person looking to score a bag of weed. Nor is it the impatient sort of knock that comes of a salesman.

Perhaps it is hope speaking to Jess’s heart in bright whispers, but the knock sounds through the living room in the middle of Day 10. It sounds confident and unhurried.

There is no new car in the driveway.

And then, through the peephole, Jess will see a man. With pink hair. And a garish coat to match.

——

The expression on Jessica's face, had, throughout this ordeal, gotten flatter. And flatter. And flatter.

More than once she considered asking someone to back her up here. But each little annoyance convinced her that she couldn't drag someone out here to sweat their asses off and stare at gators in the driveway just because she had a hunch. This was her job: investigation, which she's told many people in the past is 90% sitting around watching, 8% digging through paperwork and records everyone else is too bored to dig through, and 2% the exciting bit.

The exciting bit begins when Jessica stomps up to answer the door conspicuously…only to answer it by lifting a foot and kicking it down from the inside without ever opening it all, the better to, she hopes, knock Pink Fabio off his ass, take him off guard, and let her pummel him into custody.

She can't risk him just teleporting out of there, but she figures…between Tony and SHIELD, one of the two organizations will have some way to keep this guy under control while they get some answers.

The door cracks, loudly, beneath Jess’s boot as the threshold splinters apart.

“Pink Fabio” falls backwards and down the single step porch, landing under the door.

Perhaps Jessica Jones thinks all is well. Surely, she deserves for something to be easy for the first time in her life.

Deserve it though she may, today is not her day.

Because from beneath the door, a boom erupts with concussive force—both deafening loud and forceful enough to splinter what’s left of the door and potentially send Jones flying upwards into the air.


It's times like these Jess wishes that she could still fly. Sadly, the ability never came back, and now what happens is she does indeed soar upward, has no means of controlling a descent she didn't start, and thusly lands right in the puddle that housed the gator, with the white shell driveway beneath.

That hurts, and it sets her head to reeling, and it actually creates a whole moment where she's not doing anything other than pushing up to her hand and knees while one hand goes to her head.

"Well, that sure didn't go according to plan," she says. To Fabio? To the universe? Does it matter?


Once Jones is in the air, the man in the outlandish trench coat pulls himself to his feet. Her rough landing affords him just enough time to consider both her and the situation, although his one hand is definitely gripping his hip from his own contact with concrete.

“And you are in a house that does not belong to you, love.”

He looks down and dusts his coat off.

“Also, our hello is making me think that you’re here to interrupt business that doesn’t really concern you. Rude.

His gaze lifts to return to Jessica and, despite that hand clutching his hip, he looks for all the world as though he’s only mildly bothered by her presence.

“So why don’t you go back inside like a good girl before I have to put you underground?”


"Wow. You should have been a detective," says Jones, even as she makes it to her feet. Wet, sure, banged up, sure, but not deterred. "Though you get a zero in reading the room. Being called a 'good girl' is a sure way to piss me off. Or suggesting I should be one."

This time her launch is under her own power of course. She flings her body towards his, and as soon as she's close enough she attempts to swing her right fist into his jaw and her left fist into his gut.

Definitely very rude.


The choreography of this dance requires very careful placement.

For instance, the right line would send the man sailing through the open doorway.

Jones sends him crashing back into painted brick veneer instead, after receiving his two punches.

Beneath a powerful voice, perhaps he’s not so powerful after all.

But if Jessica isn’t paying attention, she’ll miss when an enormous and disgustingly sweaty hand moves to engulf her entire head in it from behind.


Jessica wasn't. She'd thought there was one foe, and only one, and so she lets out a startled squawk. That's the bad news.

The good news is that Bucky Barnes rather ruthlessly made her prepare for surprises back when he got tired of watching her use her strength like a crutch and wander from adventure to adventure using the world's sloppiest techniques. So she recovers quickly.

One foot lashes out, attempting to catch Pink in the solar plexus, even as she rams an elbow backwards with all her might, hoping to catch her new foe.

All said though, this isn't turning into a great situation. Really, really should have called for that back-up. Outnumbered, and she's not even sure by how many yet.


There’s a grunt from behind, as Jessica manages to sink her elbow squarely into a massive thigh. Jones will be tossed a small distance, by the head, at the whim of what is ostensibly a giant, large as the house itself unless she’s a brilliant way to stop her new flight.

“I thought you said it was a new guy, Ruckus,” the new voice rumbles, pained. “This doesn’t look like a guy.”

Ruckus, still backed up against the brick of the house, wheezes from where he takes Jones’ foot fully to the gut. “Shut up,” he hisses breathlessly. “It’s not the guy. Mission’s compromised.”

There’s a beat of pause, and then the giant remarks simply, “Oh.” And then turns to look in Jess’s direction. “That makes more sense.”


Jessica doesn't. She gets thrown by the head, an experience that leaves her neck screaming at her and makes her think for a moment this is it; she's going to get her neck snapped right here and that will be the end of her heroic career.

Instead she lands awkwardly, grunting in pain, pressing one hand to her neck as if she could guide it into a happier position.

Her eyes flick from one to the other. Right. She has one chance at this, because if this turns into a protracted fight she's really, really toast. If she just sits here she is also toast. If she runs away from the best lead she's got…well, that might make friends of hers happier than the shit she's pulling right now, but the whole operation will fold up and the screw up will be hers alone.

So she swiftly develops first a Plan A, then a Plan B.

Plan A…She leaps to her feet, runs at Pink again, and tries to just slam his head against the wall for a quick knock out. If successful, she'll grab him and start hop-scotching over rooftops to try to get away.

Plan B is that if she can't get him? She's going to grab a hunk of his hair and then hopscotch out of here. What will look like useless viciousness to him will be like gold to her. Because she happens to know what they might not…Raven, or any other magic user, should be able to use that hair to track him down later, with a bigger group, and that might be all they need to unravel this thing.

Not exactly the ace detective work that an interrogation might have been, but…it would do in a literal pinch.

If neither of these plans work she's going to stay in the fight until she can either figure something else out or can't fight anymore though, because…that's the kind of stubborn idiot she is.

They've at least shut down her banter.


The giant with his balding head looks like the thing of nightmares and fairy tales as he begins to lumber in Jessica’s direction. He’ll tie up the loose ends, by the look of him, and restore whatever the plan was to its tracks to continue on.

Except that he’s slow, and Jessica will find that it’s easy to dodge the meaty hand that comes her way to try to bowl her over. And as she comes closer, Ruckus claps his hands together loudly and painfully takes a deep breath—presumably to launch another attack at Jones—only to find the giant is standing on the other side of her.

His fury is immediate, and his hand swipes to the side emphatically. “Get out of the way, you—”

The next sound is that of his beautiful pink-maned head hitting teal brick. He collapses forward towards the investigator, which will make it all the easier for her to heft him up.

The balding giant makes a play to grab his co-conspirator back, lunging in the pair’s direction.


"Bye," Jessica tells the giant, leaping right over that shitty little home with Pink slung over her shoulder like the eponymous damsel in distress. Her eyes are wide as she does it, but that's a little thing she likes to call distance, and now she's going to add more of it.

Nevermind that she looks like a kidnapper now, whatever, she'll sort that out. She puts on some speed, and goes for another leap over another building. A boat. A boat would be a good thing to find and borrow right about now. Commandeer? Ask for really nicely?

Whatever. It's time to leave before Gigantor there catches up with her and before Pink here wakes up.


Down below, as Jessica disappears over an outbuilding and vast expanses of cornfields with his team leader, the giant frowns.

And he pushes a button on his wristband. “Boss, I think we got a problem.”

There’s a dark, rich voice that responds on the other side, and then… about a mile down the desolate road… another portal opens.

The giant grumbles, lumbers down the broken-up road towards it, and then disappears through.

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