Accelerated Appointment
Roleplaying Log: Accelerated Appointment
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Jessica Jones interviews Warren Worthington about the Jennings gala. She doesn't get much information about that case, but that doesn't mean the meeting's not productive.

Other Characters Referenced: Dazzler, Boom-Boom (mentioned, not named), Tony Stark, Danny Rand, Matt Murdock, Foggy Nelson, Luke Cage
IC Date: January 14, 2019
IC Location: Worthington Industries, Financial District, NYC
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 14 Jan 2019 06:33
Rating & Warnings: PG (cursing)
Scene Soundtrack: [* ]
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

Ever since the recent publicity coming out of Worthington Industries — or, more accurately, out of the young scion whose family built Worthington Industries — there's been a severe uptick in calls from the media, trying to get appointments and interviews with Worthington himself. There's been a process set up to funnel such requests, starting with the main line and transferring all the way up through various cheerful members of the Worthington public and media relations staff, to a single end point: a person whose sole professional existence seems to be the arrangement of Warren Worthington's calendar for these sorts of engagements.

The inquiries of Jessica Jones were similarly taken down, after a number of cheery 'please holds' and about a half-hour in total of amiably comforting hold music, which is actually not that bad compared to the wait time you might get at other companies. Jessica was promised a response within five business days, which is about standard practice, and that she would be put on the list afterwards, and et cetera et cetera.

This is where Kiefer Kassmeier comes in.

Kiff is paid more to be an executive personal assistant than some people are paid to be C-level executives. He earns every dollar of it. Warren asked him to, in particular, keep an eye on the lists of people who come through wanting to talk to him, and so Kiff makes it part of his routine to regularly call into the media relations office and do just that. Jessica's name caught his eye — he keeps up with the news — and he mentioned it to Warren in a call. Noted meta. Tony Stark hangs out with her. She was part of the Winter Soldier trial. Possibly linked to the entire Hell's Kitchen mess.

"Huh," said Warren. "Move her to the top of the list." And so, after only two business days, Jessica got a call to arrange an appointment at Worthington Tower at her next convenience.

Whenever that may happen to be, Worthington Tower is very easy to find. Spearing up in the heart of the narrow-streeted maze that is the Financial District, it's an old building in contrast with much of the newer, flashier construction of the area; Worthington Industries has been around a long time, and its venerable old headquarters hasn't changed too much over time. The architectural style certainly seems stuck back somewhere in 1920s Art Deco; beyond the front doors is a double-height lobby decorated with a mosaic of white and gold tiles, and waiting there for her when she checks in at the front desk is Kiff himself.

The young man is as blond as his employer, though with intelligent brown eyes that suggest a character of infinite competence — and infinite patience. "Welcome," is his greeting, as he leads her back towards the banks of elevators. "Hope you didn't have any trouble finding the place. Warren had a fit and cleared his schedule today — " this said with the deepest amusement, and it is probably notable how familiarly he addresses Warren, " — so we can send you straight up."

* * *

Today, Jessica has put on her black business suit with its scarlet blouse. It's Starkweave, though that's not why she's wearing it. She hardly expects to take a bullet in this interview. Even if she hadn't done a little homework herself.

No, it's just the only business suit she owns, dragged out when she needs to speak to the type of people who need to have personal assistants managing their calendars. She's twisted her hair into a bun, too, which also only happens when she's trying to deal with professional people, or very rich people.

The waits never bother her. They're standard. Par for the course. There are always other cases to work, other witnesses to call, other leads to run down. This is why some investigations can take months, why Jessica starts most of her cases with the 'now it's time to set some realistic expectations about what a detective can and cannot do and can and cannot promise' speech.

"Thank you, Mr. Kassmeier," she says. She shakes his hand and then follows him to the elevators. "I appreciate your help, and I'll try not to take too much of Mr. Worthington's time."

As they ride up a thick strand of hair falls out of the bun to land just in front of her ear. These hairdos have a time limit when Jessica does them herself. This flop of hair is just the first trickle of invisible sand through a theoretical hourglass. This clock is ticking. This bun will die an inevitable death-by-slow-devolution at some point within the next one-to-two hours.

* * *

"Oh, take as much of his time as you want," says Kiff, with a laugh, as he takes them past the first set of elevator banks and to another set which sees considerably less traffic. The car they get in, the lowest floor it goes to is '70.' "The more he's kept busy, the less he's on my ass about various things."

The ride up is very swift, and the floor they stop at does not seem to have any other workers or other operations on it save for a secretary at Warren's door. Presumably this is where Kiff also makes his abode, because when he leaves her in the care of the receptionist and says it was quite a pleasure to meet her, he does not go back down the elevator, but disappears down the hall and around the corner.

It's not long after the receptionist informs Warren that his two o'clock has arrived that she's told she may go in. The office beyond the double doors, when she steps in, barely even resembles an office except for where there's a desk and some chairs involved, and the requisite diplomas (Harvard) on the walls; otherwise, it looks more like someone's really nice penthouse, transplanted into an office building. It seems to take up about half the floor, for one thing, and for another fully two of the walls are nothing but floor-to-ceiling windows. All of them look like they actually open, which given the mutation he exposed to the public is probably not a surprise.

In fact, as she enters, he's at one of the windows and latching it shut, which coupled with his windblown hair, slightly crooked suit, and half-spread white wings, kind of suggests he might have just come in aerially. "Ah, Miss Jones," he says, looking over his shoulder. "Come in, sit down anywhere. I expected to be here at least fifteen minutes earlier than this, but sometimes the winds don't cooperate. — Actually, don't sit down anywhere, you'll be professional and sit down in front of the desk, and then this will be entirely too formal. Sit there." One of his wings points towards a glass-topped coffee table, flanked by a sleek white sectional and an equally pristine chaise lounge.

He secures the window and turns, folding his wings neatly behind him and running a hand through his hair in some vague effort to put it in order. The gesture just leaves it in an even more tumbled state. "Can I get you anything?" Because of course there is a wet bar in the opposite corner of the room. "I will exchange a drink for your secret intel on how unflattering Kiff was about me today."

* * *

There is a whirlwind in this office, and his name is Warren Worthington. In short order, Warren has her seated on this chaise that she absolutely would not have gravitated to without his direction. And offering her a drink.

Jessica gets hit with that one unexpectedly. People with this kind of money have the kind of whiskey worth dying for. She can all but feel it flowing smoothly down her throat, the burn that could light her belly pleasantly on fire. And all she has to do is joke a bit about Kiff?

It's weird, how and when temptation strikes her. She hangs out in a bar. Lives near a bar. And never, these days, wants anything other than Coke at said bar. She's had routine stresses only for months, other than registration, but even that hasn't triggered her. So it's a moment of shock to find that happening here and now.

One she gets over with a quirk of her lips. "I'm afraid my gossip is only worthy of bottled water, if you have it, but since I don't drink much else, that works. He just says you keep him real busy. Thank you for seeing me, by the way."

Her eyes flick curiously to the windows. Questions always spring to her mind, even if she's not here to ask about those things at all. They return to Warren's in friendly enough fashion soon enough, if awkward. Her instinct is always to jump right in, but he has already given her several signals that he prefers to break the social ice a little. She is terrible at breaking social ice, but she'll give it her best shot anyway.

* * *

Clearly the package of information Warren Worthington received about Jessica Jones did not include 'certain issues.' If it had, he would have dodged that particular step in the social dance entirely. As it is, he doesn't seem offended at the decline; at this kind of level, it seems like simply a reflex for him to offer it. The alcohol itself really isn't anything more than a social nicety rich people use to increase their ability to tolerate one another for long periods of time.

There are other things that seem like pure reflex for a young man like Mr. Worthington: bred and trained to this kind of lifestyle, and moreover inured to wielding a certain set of behaviors as his mask and his brand alike. The way he holds himself in shameless confidence of his own windblown beauty — the look he slants her at her demurral — both come crowned with the kind of mysterious half-smile that states nothing up front. These things are all as much a trademark for him as a logo might be for a business.

Fortunately, he's not who he was ten years ago, or Jessica's pretty face might have brought her much more of a whirlwind to deal with. As it is, he simply crosses the room, filling a glass with ice and pouring water, and pouring himself a measure of red wine. Both are brought to the table, Jessica's delivered directly to her hand. It says something that he's so cavalier about a glass of red around all that white furniture.

"No need to thank me. I accelerated your appointment. I was interested to meet you," he says, putting his own glass aside a moment so he can take a seat on the sectional opposite her. Sitting down, for Warren, seems to involve some arrangement of his wings, though the furniture has no back — perhaps explicitly for the comfort of its owner. His blue eyes study her, taking in her awkwardness and reading the reason with a trained social fluency. Mindful of her discomfort, he cancels his own preferences in favor of hers and cuts straight to business. "I confess, in large part due to a curiosity what brings you to me, in specific."

* * *

She thinks she hides the relief on her face really well, but of course…Jess does not. That moment where she can slip into professional mode is almost exactly akin to the moment some people go home, tear off their professional clothes, and slide into their sweats. Just in reverse.

"I've been hired to uncover the identities of the people who hit Councilman Jenning's ball. Your name was on the guest list, and I'm trying to speak to everyone I can. I was hoping you'd be willing to tell me your version of what happened there that night."

It's simple, straightforward, and when it comes out of her mouth it sounds anything but interesting to most people of the world. Her lips twist into a rueful half-smirk of self-deprication. In her estimation, he probably is not going to get much value out of accelerating her appointment.

* * *

It might not sound interesting to Jessica, but there isn't any particular loss of interest in Warren's gaze as he regards her. His own demeanor switches as he takes a drink from his glass, the clear eyes watching her over it attaining the particular laser-like focus of a hawk. The wings ruffling at his back only strengthen the impression.

"Truth be told, Miss Jones, the statement I gave the press was broadly inclusive of what I saw," he says, lowering his glass. "Which was 'not quite as much as many people.' My talents were better suited to evacuation — " his wings shift at his back, " — and so were they used." He lifts his head, canting it to study her through his lashes. "I can say… most of the people who attacked seemed no different from the average human, if the average human took an interest in wearing bones for armor and making themselves up like demons. But there were a few of them who did a bit more than that. You ever seen the Hulk do his thing? Like that, if on a smaller scale." His eyes narrow. "I wish I had seen the mechanism by which they achieved it."

He swirls the red liquid in his glass absently. "You understand why the public statements I made were circumspect. This is a delicate time. Fear of us is already high enough. Which begs the question what you intend to do if and when you uncover the identities of these people."

His gaze focuses in on her clothing. "I presume you're hitting up Tony also," he says, speaking of the Stark scion with a distinct familiarity, "if you haven't already. You're well-acquainted with him, are you not?"

* * *

"I saw it in reverse once. The Hulk. After he hugged a Corgi. It was a really weird day." But it's enough to give her the picture.

She takes out a notebook and jots down everything down.

Her lips quirk as he reveals he did his homework too. "Yeah. I had quite a few friends and several clients there, and I'll be interviewing all of them. Including Tony. We have a regular meeting set up that's just as good a time as any to do that, so I haven't gotten in to talk to him yet."

But she nods about the circumspect statements. "Sure. I'm absolutely with you. Which is why what I intend to do is put a stop to their activities. Hopefully by tracking down whomever is giving them the capability to do this and making sure their operation gets shut down. This is something like the third time people have tried to sell: 'meta-for-a-day' mechanisms. Usually it's pills, but I'm not sure it is this time. It's always bad news though, and it always seems to be in the hands of assholes…"

She trails off. Shit. She didn't mean to fucking swear in here.

She tries again. "Of dou…di— Of people," she amends, her hard-bitten alto apologetic, "who like to hurt other people."

* * *

Warren's brows lift slightly at talk of Hulk and corgis, but he doesn't pry. The anecdote itself tells him enough about the sort of life Jessica Jones leads. "You've had quite a number of weird days, to all appearances," he says, watching her record his statements. "But then, so have most of us who choose to involve ourselves in this sort of business."

He listens intently enough to her stated intentions with regard to this newest 'designer meta drug' mechanism. If it even is a drug this time. "Not just the third time," he says, cryptic and grim. "Over the years, it's often seemed to me humans don't know whether to hate metahuman abilities or covet them. The incidence of people being able to develop actual mechanisms is a relatively new development, however. Back in the day, they just had to emulate it."

Jessica's verbal-slip up just makes him laugh. "Of fuckheads?" Warren says lightly, his mouth quirking in a sly smile. The profanity seems rather at odds with — all this, the pristine sense of class and wealth that hangs around him, as well as the very obvious imagery that the wings at his back inspire, but he says it as if he's said such things often enough before. "I only look like an angel, Miss Jones. In reality I sin often, and without remorse."

He shifts seamlessly out of the tease, back to business. "You should consider me a resource," he says seriously. "The offer is open. A lot of the time, these sorts of operations can simply be shuttered, fully legally, if you were to… say… apply the correct kind of pressures, on the correct people."

Warren considers her. "The thing I'd ask in return, I think, is your advice — or perhaps just your open eyes. You might be aware of my joint endeavor with Ms. Blaire for the establishment of a charitable foundation. We are in search of causes which are worthy of investing in."

* * *

Warren's shift into profanity of his own produces a rare grin from one Jessica Jones. Silent laughter dances in her eyes, and at least a full half of the socially-based tension she seems to feel drains away. And now she says with dry, but genuine humor, "I ought to have remembered that. Given you and Ms. Blair and the whole incident with Cake-girl's butt at the bar. Thanks for stopping by, by the way. That sort of stuff really helps Luke's business."

But his comment about leaning on things turns her speculative. "You ever been able to make that lean work when it was magic bullshit? Cause this time it might be magic bullshit. But yeah, of course. I wouldn't turn it down."

Worthy causes turns her attention inward, mostly to try to figure out if she's going to miss something. "You might connect with Danny Rand," she says. "He set up this whole charitable clinic and center for metas back when the whole registration thing first started hitting the news. Put his foot in his mouth about eight times trying to do it, but he has good people working there. Together you guys might be able to accomplish even more than you're all doing apart."

She smiles faintly. "A few are maybe a little self-serving. There's the Hell's Kitchen Restoration fund the neighborhood put together. Kind of a grassroots thing. Has more to do with bombs, but it doesn't get much worthier than helping people get their homes back. But I'm from the neighborhood. So. Self-serving. So, too, is pointing your attention to Nelson and Murdock; they're lining up to defend metas, they sometimes take payment in like. Kumquats and shit…and they're gonna need the cash."

She has no idea Worthington has already looked in that direction, of course. "That one's self-serving because those are both my lawyers and my friends, but I mean. It doesn't make the work any less worthy. Beyond that? I dunno. I haven't come into contact with a whole lot of charities. Though if you guys hear anything about abuses that metas are suffering, well, I'd love for someone to give me a call about those so I can document and investigate them for the Legal Dream Team. They said they'd need it."

* * *

The reminder of the Cake-Girl Ass Incident brings Warren to laugh. He seems one for laughing often, and — rarely for someone in his social class — sometimes even at himself. "You go to enough stupid bachelor parties of the type I have seen," he says, "and the ass of one lone cake-woman is not anything to faze you any longer. I have seen enough strange things in my time." His smiling fades. "Given all that, it was our pleasure to stop by. After a while, you start to prefer to spend your time on events which are put together for a purpose of actual worth in the world."

Well, that is to say, ultimately the evening overall had a charitable purpose. No one is claiming that Owen Mercer in that getup was of actual worth to anyone or anybody.

As for her speculation it might involve magic bullshit, and whether he thinks it might work if it is in fact magic bullshit? "Worth trying," he says, draining his glass and putting it aside. "In my experience, no matter how strange the means and mechanisms get, people — personalities — are always the root when you follow it all the way back. And people tend to be quite predictable in how they may be… cajoled."

As he asks her for her thoughts on connections to make, however, and she begins to respond, Warren leans forward and takes up a pad and pen of his own. It's oddly down-to-earth, seeing the Worthington heir put pen to paper to record his own notes. One might have expected him to grind the meeting to a halt so he could call in a scribe to do it for him. The name Rand brings a flicker of recognition even as he writes it down. "Worthwhile to connect," he says. "He needs a few… pointers, but his intentions seem earnest."

He smiles faintly when she admits the next few are a bit self-serving. "Miss Blaire and I were in the area recently," he says absently, of Hell's Kitchen. "There to meet with Mister Murdock, in fact, about that very subject, though I like to think I have more to offer the defense fund than kumquats. I am glad you have put a name to the restoration efforts in Hell's Kitchen; I will have our people connect with them."

He glances up again, meeting her gaze, as she asks him to be forthright about any abuses they see metas suffering. "We'll call you first if we need a private investigator," he says. He hesitates, before he adds, "There's been a distinct resurgence of mutant hate groups as of late that would be worth watching out for. Alison and I had a run-in with some ourselves, not long ago. Nothing easily nailed down as of yet, though I have reason to believe they are a revival of Reverend Stryker's Purifiers. They are…" his voice goes dry, "…easily identifiable by their zealotry."

* * *

"Thank you," Jessica says, and means it, on the matter of Hell's Kitchen. "And thank you again," on the matter of calling her first. She certainly won't turn down the opportunity, especially not when Warren is working on the kinds of things she cares about. She chuckles at some of his jokes, including Danny needing a few pointers. She won't weigh in on that, even if she'd tease Danny mercilessly about what pointers he has and hasn't mastered in private. But she does grin.

But now she writes down Reverend Stryker's Purifires. "Where'd the run-in happen?" she asks. "What were they doing?"

She circles the name several times, and adds, "When was the last time they were active?"

As much as Jessica deals in information, she doesn't always have all the pieces that are common knowledge to others unless and until she needs them. Sometimes she does, but not always. "I feel like I've heard the name of that organization in passing, but that's all."

He is watching her hire herself for a case on the spot, it seems.

* * *

Warren's head cants a little as Jessica starts to ask questions, launching straight into an interrogatory. He can recognize someone lunging into Professional Mode when he sees it. "Outside the Guardian," he says. "It's a subsidiary of mine. A paper. They were there to demonstrate on the front steps, though it turned a little less peaceful when they blocked entry and a little… violence broke out. " There is no doubt smartphone video of it, as well as the usual news coverage: the crowd turning riotous, Alison flaring up with light, a protestor striking her — and then being struck away by Warren's flared wings in turn.

He frowns with the recollection. "I am certain they were trying to provoke me to worse. They've always had a little… acrimony towards me." His wings pull in tighter at his back.

He shakes his head. "At any rate, they haven't been active since Reverend Stryker was jailed in 2010 for attempting to murder a mutant in public. Among the other hate crimes the Purifiers committed," he says. "That news coverage is likely where you remember the name from. If they are reorganizing… well, they certainly have a predilection for bigoted violence that might be of use in the defense. As well as the general need to protect people from them."

* * *

Those small signs, shifts of wings, pauses in statements. Jessica's expression never changes, but compassion flares in her eyes for a second. They all at least make her think Warren suffered at these people's hands, and badly. She doesn't address it, not her place, but she can't help but note, and care.

And then the reason for the acrimony hits her. "Ah. Religious nuts, plus white wings, plus nom de plume, equals bastards at mach 5," she says. "Got it."

She finishes scribbling that down.

"I'll see what I can dig up," she promises. "Anything I know, you'll know, especially if you wanna give me a direct contact number or email. Otherwise I'll just fire stuff over by courier for your eyes only, or contact Mr. Kassmeier if that's a better way to pass stuff on to you."

She's not angling for his number. That much is obvious. Or even his email. They're all offered up in the same matter-of-fact tone. She's truly just unfussed about how he gets his information from her. It's more important to her that he gets the information in the first place.

* * *

The compassion is noted, and Warren clears his throat slightly and puts his pen and pad aside, to have something to do with his hands. "They're a nasty group," he suffices to say. He clearly didn't really mean to betray that much in his body language and is probably doing the manly thing and recriminating himself for showing weakness.

Jessica's quick to catch on to why exactly an organization like the Purifiers might zero in on a mutant like him. He can't help but smile faintly at her summary. "Let's just say I haven't been to church in fifteen years," he says dryly. "It's awkward at the best of times. And the Purifiers are the worst of times."

He stands as she asks about contact information, with a nod. He's not going far — just to his desk, where he retrieves a steel clip of business cards. One is proffered to Jessica Jones. "Thank you," he says, of her promise. "It's a long road we have to walk before March, and it will be long even after March, I expect. But it's good to know there are people like yourself out working on it."

Warren nods towards the card. "Contact me directly. I don't always trust couriers, especially now. If you can't reach me, call Kiff. I'll ensure you have his information as well."

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