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Roleplaying Log: An Empty Text
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Firestorm gives Captain Marvel a phone call about his future.

Other Characters Referenced: Superman, Doctor Strange
IC Date: February 20, 2019
IC Location: New York
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 21 Feb 2019 05:47
Rating & Warnings:
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

Carol types.
Fingers rattle off on the keyboard in fits and spurts as inspiration takes her. A process that has steadily slowed in the past hour as she finishes replying to her fifty seventh email during what should be her usual dinner break. A half-finished box of pad thai lay adjacent to a haphazard stack of perforated-edge draft manuals and two SHIELD tablets.
A glimmering screen reflects in her eyes - full of complaints, demands, threats, commendations and promises. She wears a loose white t-shirt with a pair of Red Sox pajama bottoms disheveled on her figure.
Chewy, the mighty orange tabby, primy cleans his face on the opposite side of the desc. In his own time he contemplates another attempt at batting over that box of greasy food in what would be a great victory for feline kind but for now the Kree Warrior has rebuffed all attempts to do so. He regroups as only one of his species can. Grooming like it was all a part of his plan.

Otherwise, this evening Carol is numb. Emotionally exhausted and the damned Registration hasn't even come into effect yet. The waiting game may be worse than the coming storm itself, at least that's what Carol tells herself.


Somewhere hovering in the frigid skyspace of New York, Firestorm stares at his phone. It still seemed strangely easy to find the number for S.H.I.E.L.D., but he supposes that they were as much yet another face of the government as anything else these days, and with registration demanding more openness of such protectors, to be expected. He expels a long sigh, watching his breath mist in the air, carried off by a breeze.

"Well, here goes nothing," he says, staring at the number he'd entered a little earlier before finally moving his thumb to brush the 'send' button.

It's a few moments before Carol's line rings, a diligent S.H.I.E.L.D. operator informing her that she has a call, someone asking to speak with her by name of …Firestorm?


To be sure, SHIELD isn't quite as easily accessible as local law enforcement or even the FBI. As an institution they do serve the people but in a far more clandestine and oblique way. They used to be all but invisible to the common populous.. But these things changed with the Chitauri Invasion.
As such, they do in fact have an 800 number and a front desk pool for fielding common questions.

As Carol's smart phone rings, the air fills with the notes of the national anthem for work related calls. She pushes away from her keyboard, offhandedly rubbing Chewy's head while picking up the phone. Staring at the dispatcher identification to make sure it isn't an emergency call she thumbs the green arrow, "Carol here."

As dispatch gives details Carol's eyes light up. Memory coming back to her with a jolt of excitement, "Yeah, Yeah! Patch him through."
Finally, some good news! She was beginning to despair nothing would go right this week. She grabs the mouse and minimizes windows, hastily opening a notepad window in preparation. Once the dial tone rings through to the other side she speaks up, "Hello? This is Captain Danvers, how can I help you?"


It's probably a good thing that he'd opted to call, although Carol had said that it probably wasn't the best idea to go straight to the headquarters as he was. Just hearing her voice makes Firestorm feel a little more reluctant to go through with saying what he'd called up to say. …not that he felt it right to dive right into it. He summons up a smile on his end even if though she can't see it, hoping to transmit something of it into his tone as he speaks up.

"Captain! Hey! It's…it's Firestorm. Um. Hi."

Even without Professor Stein's vocally urging him to continue he can sense the nudge. "Ahem. So I just called since I said I'd get back to you, right? On things..?"


There's a happiness in Carol's tone. She sounds genuinely happy that the young man called.
"Firestorm, yes! I remember. I'm happy you've decided to call."
On the speaker there's a light 'meow' then sounds of a scuffle, "Chewy! Chewy no! No thai for you!" a few more scufflings followed by a dejected reowl. The sound of a phone being switched to a different cheek, "Right, sorry about that. Yes! Things, yes. Just in time! Can I put you down for an appointment? I can fast-track you through the system and make it real easy on you." Sounds of keystrokes.


Blinking at the noise, Firestorm can't help but laugh a little as the source of the sudden disruption reveals itself in the form of a cat. "Heh, is this a bad time? Chewy the name of your cat? That's cuuuu—"

Ronald? Professor Stein interrupts with a meaningful cough.

"-te. Er, yeah, no problem! I uh, well you see, ma'am, that's kinda… Well of course that's why I called to talk to you about. You see, I…"

He hesitates, but this time the professor doesn't prod him. They'd both heard the cheer in Carol's voice. They both remember their meeting with her. It's not her fault at all that they've come to the decision they have.

"…I'm sorry, Captain Danvers. But I'm going to have to turn the offer down," Firestorm finishes, his own tone subdued, but leaving no question as to how bad he feels for saying what he must.


"Oh! No no, not a bad time. Heh yeaaaah, Chewy can be.. A difficult little man." The sound of the phone readjusting along with a purring cat.
"Uh huh? Go on." The voice still sounds hopeful. There is a patient silence then as Ronny musters up his courage.

And then the rejection.
The silence persists on the line for long moments more. After a time there's a faint meow that nearly sounds like concern, prompting a reply.
"Do you understand what that means?" What glee that voice once possessed is gone. Not anger, per se, more of a slow monotone. A careful guard to her tone.


This is so much more difficult than he'd anticipated. At the silence that follows his words, Firestorm swallows, anxiously waiting but simultaneously dreading the response that might follow.

The voice that finally speaks up on the other end may as well have been a punch to his gut for the vast difference of emotion that had enhanced it earlier.

He wouldn't have offered any quips in reply even if he weren't feeling utterly miserable for letting Carol down. "I might guess, but you'll probably tell me anyway. But this doesn't mean I'm like, against you or anything. I still want to help people, and do what's right. …but I don't think that SHIELD is the place for me."


As the words are spoken, Carol eagerly speaks up, "This means you still intend to Register at least?" To be sure, the voice is still dejected but now there's a new shard of hope. A silver lining that she lunges for quickly. Not all is lost, after all. There's plenty of excellent metahuman institutions to choose from, SHIELD is just one path he could take.
Maybe she hoped for too much and jumped to conclusions too quickly..


Captain Danvers is quickly starting to remind him of some of his high school teachers, encouraging and always pushing for him to do better. Firestorm sighs again, but Carol can't see the weak smile nor the head shake that follows.

"Not exactly. I'm…still thinking on that one. I know it's all for good intentions, but…" He trails off, trying to gather his thoughts. "There's a lot of new things I have to consider, being what I am, who I am now. Who I'm related to, what I do. I have a life outside of doing this, we'd never planned to be Firestorm, but now… Now there's two sides to things and registering will lump it all into one, won't it? And I don't think I'm ready for that."


The silence returns. The same heartless quiet as before. There are slight sounds on the other side of course, proof that the Captain did not just hang up. The very faint hum of a personal computer, the soft purr of a cat being absently stroked. No sounds of breathing, however. Nothing at all.

Only after a minor eternity does her voice return, "It will be illegal for you to be unregistered and within the state limits of New York. You know that right?" The dull monotone. A string of words, forced by a defeated surrender to be uttered. A warning she is obliged to state on record.


It's Firestorm's turn to be silent, and not for lack of knowing what to say, but in letting it sink in as it's the first time he's heard it directly informed. It gives it more weight, even for the lack of emotional inflection from Carol. Perhaps that's what makes it more condemning. The breath he releases isn't a sigh, just a long, careful exhale.

"I know," he replies hoarsely before he tries swallowing again a few times to moisten his throat. "I'll be working with the Justice League." Even now it's kind of surreal a thing to say. He'd been over the moon about it when Superman had extended the official invitation, even if the wait had been like a bad end-season cliffhanger since his talk with Doctor Strange. But saying it now he just feels guilty.


As the words 'Justice League' are spoken there's a clatter. The sound of something being knocked over and a cat yelling in surprise. Inaudible sounds that could be a grumble can be heard, along with the phone being juggled for a moment.

After a few seconds the voice returns, "I see. The League has good people. I hope you do well there." The even voice offers. A faintly forced pitch tries to humanize the response to little result.
The commotion dies down after several moments and the silence returns for exactly eight beats before, "I hope you do help many people. Good luck."
The phone then flips into darkness, broken only by the highlighted red 'Call Ended'.


It's not terribly loud, but the reaction or the response, the combination of both? It has Firestorm cringe. He holds his breath without realizing it, releasing it when Carol comes on again. Her congratulatory words are even more difficult to digest, and as he tries to come up with something to say in response, the quiet returns, that uneasy, unsettling quiet.

"Captain, I—"

The disconnect sound blips all too cheerily, and Firestorm lowers his phone, staring at the screen as it blinks the call duration beneath the initial phone number he'd dialed. Again he heaves another sigh, his shoulders drooping.

"Man, why does it feel like I just had a break-up with someone?" he groans, closing windows on his cellphone before stuffing it into a pocket.

It wasn't an easy thing to do. I'm sorry, Ronald, the professor offers quietly. Captain Danvers seems like someone who very much believes in what she does, and the route that she and SHIELD are taking isn't going to be a popular one. I hope for her sake that things work out.

"…me too, Prof," Ronnie murmurs. He turns in midair, arms outstretched as he takes off for home. "This whole thing sucks."


Carol's smartphone clatters onto the keyboard, adding a random string of letters onto a text file only populated with 'FIRESTORM' in bold letters at the top. The pad thai currently decorates the floor, Chewy sniffing the confines of the fallen box with curiosity, discerning what morsels he should test first.

Carol reclines in her chair, slumped and slouched with a hand shadowing her eyes completely. Elbow propped up at the arm rest as she remains motionless and silent.
Her screen awash with a half dozen minimized emails and messages, only half hidden behind the empty FIRESTORM note. A background noise of a thousand and one concerns and forbidding worries about the future.
In the lower left corner a custom calendar counter ticks down the days.

Eight Days Remaining.

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