Looped In
Roleplaying Log: Looped In
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

A phone call between Warren Worthington and Jessica Jones in regards to the Case of the Missing Telepaths.

Other Characters Referenced: Dazzler, Domino, Tony Stark, Dani Moonstar, Psylocke
IC Date: June 25, 2019
IC Location: New York City
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 26 Jun 2019 06:16
Rating & Warnings: PG-13
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

I have a private investigator in mind for that…

A little after Tony leaves, Warren digs out some contact information he received months ago from a certain Jessica Jones. No formalities or intermediaries this time, at least not on his part — he just places a direct call to whatever means she left him to get in touch.

"Mr. Worthington," Jess greets, after a quick glance at the caller ID. "Any chance you're calling about kidnapped telepaths?"

She never was much good at small talk.

Warren can't help a smile at that response.

"You get straight to the point," is his answer. "I take it from your reaction you're already following the matter. How much do you know already? I would prefer not to waste anyone's time by repeating what you already have."

"Not as much as I'd like to know. I know they're professionals, either military or ex-military, maybe some sort of mercenary group. Whether they're acting on their own or are working on behalf of someone else is a big question mark. They have, or maybe rather had, a hacker who was putting keyloggers into the computers of at least two of their targets. In at least two cases— the two college kids they snatched— they have used illegal parties as a platform for their kidnapping. I think as an attack of opportunity; less work for them. They definitely hack security and traffic cameras. In at least one case they used a Lincoln Town Car, but I don't know if it was a rental or something they owned, and don't even have partial plates. Neither do the cops. I know at least a couple of them are in the custody of either police or SHIELD, at least one of them is there thanks to you, and they've given up a little bit of information, but not mountains of it. And there are three victims I know of, though for all I know there could be 18 or 20 of them. In at least two cases they struck in Queens, but whether that means anything or not, I couldn't say."

Though it's a long info dump, she at least runs through it all in efficient fashion. And then asks: "Having heard all that, have you found anything else?"

"Yes," Warren says. "There was one we put down and turned over to the police. Ex-military, like so many of the others seem to be, though he hasn't had steady work since leaving the service. What I did turn up is that he had been getting work through an agency, which — funnily enough — it's rather difficult to get any real details about. Not what they do, nor what their record is. Its public-facing presentation is attractive but very threadbare."

There's a pause, a slight rustle of paper. "There's also a missing electrical engineer by the name of Jim Frankowski. Started in biotech prototyping, now works on the patent side of medtech. About a decade ago, he received a grant to develop a deep brain stimulation system, funded by Emma Frost, which is my guess as to why he has any relevancy in this particular case. He's not even meant to be here — he's based in California now, and was due to speak on patents at a conference in Vegas. Which I assume isn't happening any longer…"

Silence on the line for a moment, before Warren says, "I think of this new information, I'm most interested in the agency, and how involved they might be in driving this mess. This is about rescue, but it's also about pulling up the problem by the roots."

This is all fantastic info, and on the other end of the line Warren might well hear Jess taking sudden, furious notes. "What's the name of the agency?" she asks. "Is it based here in New York?

Not that she isn't interested in running down everything she can find out about Frankowski too, just to see if these people made a mistake. But in this case, she more than agrees with Warren's assessment: the Agency is the priority.

"Rampart Security," Warren answers, after a shuffling look at his own notes. Apparently he's a fan of paper and pen, just as she is. "Physically they look like they're based here — their main office is located here, if they even _have_ branch offices elsewhere — but if you trace it back they're not registered as doing business in the state of New York."

A pause. "Not impossible for that to be legitimate. So far as I can tell, they are not a corporation, and as I mentioned… their activity is a bit thin. But it's unlikely, for reasons with which you are likely already at least passingly familiar, and which I will therefore not bore you with. And — well, given the overall shady circumstances."

He exhales. "I'll courier you all the information I have thus far. It should be a start. I can go quite a long way with the resources I have, but I'm a little — too public, to do some of the more intensive digging. People have a way of poking their nose into my business once they notice me staring at something too long."

"Well, that's what I'm for," Jess says, thoughtfully. "I'll see what I can do. These fake corporations are a pain in the ass, but…someone still had to write a check or run a credit card number to set up what they have set up, and that means there's a trail. Maybe not an easy one, but certainly one I am happy to run down. Do you know who else might be working on this thing? I think three times now I've gone to talk to someone about it thinking they were a witness only to find they've been running their own investigation. It seems wise to keep everyone in the loop as much as possible."

"Yes, it is," is Warren's sly reply to 'that's what I'm for.' "You made a good impression at our first meeting, my dear. When you find the end of the trail, let me know. There's only so far I can dig, but when it comes time to bury someone, I'm very good for that." Never mind that him steamrolling smaller companies has already become the subject of some controversy. It's for a good cause! It's fine! The PR department will straighten it out.

As for who else is working on it? "Hmm," he muses. "Of my people… Alison, of course. Dani Moonstar. Psylocke — I believe you met at that charity event in Harlem? Now, Domino, I do not recall that you have met." Warren, like most socialites, has an impeccable memory for social connections, even those of other people. "Now, as for not my people — Tony Stark, though I would take a wager on you having contact with him on it already."

”Yeah, I’m sitting in one of his offices now. I don’t think I have met a Domino either but I’ll touch base. As for Psylocke…”

There is a moment of hesitation. And then: “She and I had a run in. I acted badly. She…hit a hot button. But she sounded a lot like she was using her powers in a very malicious way, and then changed her story about it three times. I don’t know if she is a liar or just a shitty communicator, but. The uh. Altercation…apparently hit the web. I hope it doesn’t cause you guys any problems. And I sincerely hope the answer is: she is a shitty communicator.”

She isn’t sure what kind of reputation or impression *that* will leave Warren with, but the woman is a straight shooter no matter how it makes her look.

There's a few distinct beats of silence, in sharp contrast to his playfulness of a moment before. When he wants to, Warren can turn off the charm immediately and go very opaque. Kiff calls it "CEO mode," and usually gets glared at for doing so.

"I hadn't seen," he finally says. "I will hope it was a misunderstanding. Understand that I'm not personally an authority on telepathy — but I was raised by a man who was. It's an extremely difficult power for most to be comfortable with, no matter what is done with it. That makes its responsible use even more important."

He exhales. "What was said?"

"First, she implied that she might have used telepathy to quote-unquote 'sway' the guy she caught's opinion. Then when I called her on it, she said, no no, that's not what I meant! I only mentally torture people when I really really have to! And when I told her that was shitty, that she had a whole bunch of other ways to defend herself, she was all like, no no, I meant maybe just mind blasting them! And then she tried to tell me she was trying to say the dude had been 'swayed' by his employers and she just read his mind to interrogate him."

There's a brief pause, and then Jess adds, "Look, I've learned a lot about telepathy on this case. And I don't deny there's some really useful and ethical ways it can be used. And like I said, it's possible she just doesn't communicate worth a shit. But to me it sounded like backpeddling and a whole lot of revisionist history, which is often the sign of a liar. I think she's at least dipped toes over that line before, if not outright made gleeful ninja leaps over it, and I think she's the type who will say anything to make herself look better, especially if it means not having to admit she's done something wrong. I mean. I pretty unethically flung her into a cage match and tried to beat the shit out of her too. She's fine, I didn't land any blows. Like I said, I'm not blameless here. I have a real. Thing. About mind controllers."

"So I gathered," is Warren's sole initial response to Jessica's explanation, in reply to her assertion that she has a Real Thing About Mind Controllers.

There's a few beats of silence, across the line, in which Warren is no doubt earmarking a mental note about all this labeled with Jean's name.

"Miss Jones," he finally says, "I'll watch the video, and maybe I will find that you have misunderstood one another. Maybe I will find that you haven't. But what I can tell you for certain is that our core purpose is as a teaching and rehabilitative institution. We work with a lot of people who do not control their powers well, have some sort of background which has prevented them from learning to use their abilities in a societally appropriate way, or similar. We keep an eye out for these things."

A pause.

"That said, I can also tell you that we have a few ironclad boundaries which cannot be crossed. Torture. Mind control. Memory replacement. And so on and so forth, in that vein. When we find people insisting to hold these things as options in their arsenal, they do not remain one of us."

"That's good to know. Mostly when you mentioned her name I realized it was something that you probably needed to hear about. From me, and not second or third hand," Jess replies. "And knowing it is in your hands, Mr. Worthington, I can stop worrying about that, and focus on getting these people rescued and their kidnappers found and stopped."

She has neither been apologetic or unapologetic as she has reported on this: it's very 'Just the Facts, Angel' in its delivery.

"I appreciate you bringing it to our attention," Warren says. "But your focus is, in fact, better placed on the issue of these kidnappers. Any potential misuse of powers… well… that's a comparatively straightforward matter: the Professor gave us a set of principles to keep, and we keep to them, and when we see that someone does not, they are dealt with."

A mote of bitterness sneaks into his voice. "Besides, there's an entire army of DPS agents ready to help with neutralizing lawless metas, isn't there? Hopefully they are capable of telling the difference."

A pause, before he shakes off the bitter tone. "I digress. That is all I know. I'll ensure that it is sent to you, sealed."

Jessica's suddenly more ambivalent stance on the entire issue of Registration causes her to hold her tongue on that point, rather than commiserate. "Great. I'll shoot you an email as soon as I know more. Oh, shit, I've got another one to shoot you anyway…it's a list of thoroughly vetted and investigated meta-friendly apartments I compiled that I thought would do the most good in the hands of your agency. I'll fire that over in a sec.Thanks for reaching out."

The absence of any words is noted, though Warren doesn't say anything. His own silence speaks for him on the matter.

"Please. Whatever you discover, I will disseminate to anyone else who needs to know," he says instead, when she promises to keep him in the loop. "And that list would be appreciated. We'll give it a review. We're working on ramping up on our outreach to metas who want to stay or have no option but to stay. Help them figure out ways through the system.

There is a considering silence after she thanks him for reaching out, before he adds, "Well, I think we all ultimately have the same goal, at the end of the day. Thank you for your time, Miss Jones."

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