Real Authority
Roleplaying Log: Real Authority
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Carol and Jessica catch a Red Sox game and discuss current issues

Other Characters Referenced: Captain America, Iron Man, Amon Bell
IC Date: July 14, 2019
IC Location: Fenway Park, Boston, MA
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 16 Jul 2019 03:40
Rating & Warnings:
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

Fenway Park. Dodgers versus the Red Sox. Top of the first.

Carol Danvers has been dealing with a tremendous amount of investigations and soul searching of late. After one particular mind-boggling expedition for wisdom from the Sanctum Sanctorum, she craves a solid grounding in normalcy and relaxation. Suspecting Jessica could use some downtime as well, she all but insisted on bringing her to a Sox game at Fenway. A paper tray filled with a hot dog with sixteen kinds of condiments and a tall Coca Cola in the cupholder, she wears her casual outfit of denim pants, aviator jacket and glasses with a Red Sox cap on her crown.
"C'MON PRICE, BRING THE HEAT!" She bellows along with the roaring crowds as said pitcher is doing his best to ensure the Dodgers batters are having a bad day.
For the most part they are incognito, though a few neighbors have already scoped out Carol and excitedly asked for autographs here in the nose-bleed section of the bleachers. Its a hot evening with a sunset barely visible in the Bostonian skyline beyond the famous ballpark. A good night for baseball.


Jessica Jones definitely needed the distraction.

It's not the first time she sat up here with Carol in the cheap seats over the course of their long friendship. They've done it enough that the Boston Red Sox, rather than the New York Yankees, have become her favorite team. Not that this is an opinion she shares with people back home in New York. And if people recognize her easily in Hell's Kitchen and often in New York City, past it's bounds she's nobody in particular. With her Red Sox t-shirt and ripped jeans, her combat boots and her matching baseball cap, she could be practically anyone at all. And right now that is just fine by her.

She is working her way through a hot dog as well. The missing engagement ring on her finger received as little fanfare as the moment it first appeared, which is to say: none at all. And if Carol would have found her back to nearly pre-2016 levels of sourness and sarcasm on the ride up, even if it wasn't aimed at Carol even once, the game is relaxing her. She is not one to yell, but in Jessica's case, the lack of yelling is a sign of something rare.

Relaxation.

She's just sort of casually sprawled beside the far more effusive Carol Danvers, watching the game with interest. She's already folded the sunglasses she started with and tucked them into the V of her shirt.


It certainly would have made the friendship more difficult if Jess chose allegiance to her local teams. Those in the orbit of the Boston Red Sox are doggedly devout in a way few other franchises are. Not to mention their rivalry with the nominally evil New York Yankees is the stuff of legend. Certainly if Jess ever needed a reason to brawl, wearing a Red Sox cap in Hell's Kitchen is grounds for more than one drunken duel.

The missing ring is noted but Carol speaks nothing about it yet. That's a delicate subject that a public ballpark may not be the best place for. She intends to bring it up in a far more private local to give Jessica some dignity.
For now, Jessica can join Carol in venting frustrations upon those that would seek to do battle with the Sox .. Whom unfortunately are doing a really good job in the first inning. Price gives up base hit after base hit until -CRACK-.
Dodger's Pollock smashes a homerun and carries three men home. The entire stadium lights up in pure outrage. Carol herself is instantly on her feet, jostling several ice cubes from her drink and threatening her hot dog's integrity as she roars, "OH C'MON!-" going into a long monologue cursing the Dodgers, their geneology, and any number of surprisingly intimate details of their character.

After a handful of long minutes of vehemence does Carol crash back into her seat and pour a third of her drink down her maw.
"Feh. This is gunna be a long one. UGH." Handing over her small mountain of extremely garlic fries should Jessica want any.


Jessica had actually put out a hand, ready to catch the hot dog from its perilous position. When Carol manages not to dump it everywhere, the hand switches to the garlic fries instead. She dabs them into a generous amount of ketchup and devours them before she says, "It's early yet. This thing's barely started."

Her lips twitch a little. "You'd think you'd wanna save getting this worked up until the 7th at least. At this point anything can happen."

She suddenly huffs out a laugh. There are some conversations in a friendship that sometimes seem to happen over and over again. She feels a distinct sense of deja vu over this one, but it's a pleasant thing.


Carol grumble mutters as Jess coaches patience, savaging her hot dog as Jessica avails herself of the fries. Speaking as she chews, cheeks slightly puffed like a chipmunks she murmurs, "Their still a bunch of-" further commentary is silenced by a hearty swallow.
Though her eyes follow the game she disengages a few degrees as she begins to speak of recent events, "It really, really sucks losing my clearance Jess. So much crap has been going on and I've had to leg it hard to back channels for the smallest crumbs. I do not know how you do the investigations gig. It seems impossible to get anywhere half the time.." Punctuating the statement with another gulp of soda.
"It's easy. I don't need clearance, I don't care if I should have it or not, and it's the only thing I'm good at. Put those things together and you get…getting somewhere. What are you trying to investigate? I can help, you know. I am basically the ultimate back channel."

A pause. "Patience helps too," she adds, on the matter of investigations. It's one of those qualities people would be surprised to discover she has. But nobody who goes digging through records for hours, or who does surveillance for hours, or who has to initiate all kinds of conversations just to get a scrap of information can be anything but.

Being patient is not, after all, the same thing as not having a temper.


"Heh!" Carol laughs at not needing clearance. Ever since she joined the military so long ago, clearance defined what you could do. One had to be cleared for anything and everything in the Air Force and SHIELD was even more paranoid with its information and equipment. Hilariously enough, even after years of knowing mostly what Jess does as a job she can't help but see it through the lens of government policy.

Carol's eyebrows shift with mischief at the suggestion of 'patience', chuckling under her breath. That is a virtue that Carol has had little truck with. Any patience she'd gathered had been hard learned with experience rather than a natural trait of hers.
She watches the players shift positions as they transition to the bottom of the first. She becomes a bit more introspective as Jess offers her help. Very quickly deciding it would be.. An extremely bad idea to involve her with certain Mutants for a number of reasons she internally dismisses that avenue.

However.
There is more than one thread dangling right now where freedoms are on the line. After a suspicious pause she finally speaks up, "You know.. There is a guy I wonder about." Tone picking up strength as she considers the idea. Punctuating the statement with a name.

"Amon Bell."
Jessica arches an eyebrow.


In general, she dislikes it when people go all oblique. But Carol being oblique is mostly still Carol being straightforward, with a hint of plausible deniability thrown in for spice.

She leans back and takes a long, thoughtful sip on her Coke. The ambient noise of the crowd and the people fixated on the game, shouting and cheering and babbling and occasionally on her phone, reassures her that the venue is probably even more private and safe than any attempt to find a private, safe venue, especially given SHIELD's penchant to spy on people.

And in Boston, there's a good chance nobody knows who the Hell that guy is.

"Oh yeah? I take it you're not wondering whether he's cheating on his significant other."


In this particular case, Carol is doing it to protect her friend. Turns out the individuals in question are mind readers and controllers and she very distinctly recalls what happened the last time Jess encountered one such individual.
It made headlines.
Certainly high above amid the roaring throngs, pound for pound tickets to a ballgame are the best white-noise generator money can buy. Audio surveillance is far more difficult but not impossible. That said SHIELD very likely knows exactly where she is but.. Bell isn't a popular man in that organization either. If they are being surveilled, there's an excellent chance this conversation isn't going to get reported to the DPS. At least, its an unlikely possibility enough that Carol is willing to chance it.

"You were there, weren't you? When he sicced those Sentinels on New Yorkers for crowd control? I still have hope for making Registration work for Mutants but it's impossible with that jackass as DPS Director." She mutters, throwing a few garlic fries into her maw as she masticates on that thought.


"I was there," Jess says grimly. "He basically provoked a protest, got a bunch of people hurt, trampled, killed, sent the Sentinels after pretty much every protestor and some bystanders, and then gleefully rounded up both Registered and unRegistered individuals and shipped them off to the Raft. It was ugly, and it was shitty, and it definitely pissed off everyone I know. It pissed me off, too."

It did make headlines.

That one.

The truth is Jess has faced off against several more mind controllers and brainwashers since then. It's just that none of those made headlines. They still infuriate her, whether they use magic, technology, mutant powers, or good old fashioned brainwashing. But one of the things that has allowed her to sober up and move forward is a belief that she went through what she went through so she'd have the empathy and ability to help others. If nothing else, her brain is locked up tighter than Fort Knox now.

She nods a little about Registration. "The damned law is fine as long as it's just a driver's license for powers," she admits. "As long as all it's doing is forcing accountability. But with that heavy-handed bullshit going on, it's leaning in a far more dangerous direction."

A far cry from her initial stance. She has gone from being firmly anti-Reg to taking a cautiously moderate stance. Which side of the line she wavers to, on any given day, depends on who is using or misusing either powers or the law, who she's trying to protect and why, and what side of the bed she got up on. But she's at least starting to acknowledge complexities.

She polishes off her hot dog, licks her fingers, and slides the empty cardboard basket under her seat. She wipes her hands with her paper napkin, and lets that settle into the tray.

"You think he's operating outside the bounds of the law? Doing stuff that he could get called on, or that will get his Sentinel program shut down?"


Carol is grim as Jess recalls the details of Bell's event. She remains quiet and grim even as the Sox score a run and the stadium erupts into cheers.
With Jessica adding how the Law is being driven out of bounds, Carol finally agrees, "Yeah. I always knew that the law could be used for something bad. Everyone was so damned certain that's what it was for. But Bell.. Nngh."
Carol went from being extremely pro-Registration but has taken a step back in the last few months. Though she had always been optimistic she is far from a fool. She can see which direction the powers that be are taking the Law and it is not in the direction she had been hoping for.

If only SHIELD wasn't crippled JUST when this thing started to turn!
"I don't know." Danvers admits at the latter questions, "I'll tell you what though, any man who could do that to innocent people has more than a few skeletons in his closet. I don't know if he's in bed with Trask to push the Sentinel program but I will bet my jacket that man has illegal shit hidden somewhere up his sleeve."
And for Jess, Carol swearing upon her favorite leather jacket is as close to absolute truth as metaphysically possible for Danvers.


They are quite the sisterhood of leather jackets, if entirely different types.

Jess moves her straw up and down in her drink and thinks about it. "Yeah, you're probably right," she says.

She drums her fingers thoughtfully, then says, "Fuck it. I'll have a look. For now I'll keep my investigation strictly within my legal boundaries as a licensed PI. Because otherwise, anything we find on him is going to be tainted. That means I probably won't be able to find every skeleton, but I might be able to find a corpse or two. Enough to give other, more official parties, and the media, some sanction to dig a little deeper."


"That would be terrific." Carol approves, also finishing her hot dog in victory. Mumbling as she chews like the classy lady she is, "I'll take anything and everything we can get on that guy." Swallowing and wiping her lips with napkin she then furthers.
"Everyone from the ACLU on down is hunting for that bastard's scalp. He's taking heat but there's enough anti-Mutant sentiment right now that there won't be enough political pressure to stop him. We need a silver bullet to take him out before he really starts to get things out of hand. A few more metahuman roundups and Brotherhood attacks and he'll have a Sentinel at every street corner and worse."
Meditating on that dark future with a gulp of cola, eyes narrowing at the Dodgers on the field as they catch a pop fly from the Sox, "If we can get him out, that might weaken Trask's relationship with the DPS to help stop the Sentinels and maybe cooler heads can start getting innocent people out of the Raft."


"Well…Trask is a bit of a different target," Jessica muses. "He probably has skeletons in his closet too. Which means I can probably dig into him as well. And start figuring out who else is attached to them both that we can weaken, discredit, or see brought up on some kind of charges."

There's a pause, and she says, "But me turning this into my new case means I…might need your advice."

She hardly ever asks for advice, so the source of the slight hesitation in her tone is easy enough to gather.

She glances back at the game, shaking her head. It may be early yet, but it seems like their team isn't playing very good baseball tonight.

She hopes its not some sort of sign.


Danvers grouses in acknowledgement as Jess mentions Trask being a different target, "Probably but.. One thing at a time. Bell is critical. He's the head of the snake. Trask.. Rnn." She shakes her head as she grabs a handful of the remaining fries, "There will always be assholes like Trask. Small men pushing their weapons like they solve anything but their own inferiority complexes. The Sentinels are a problem but if they get shut down, Bell will just turn to another provider or PMC to do the same thing. There's other tech companies out there just as bad as Trask. Without Bell, they can't sell their weapons to the DPS and that's what we need to stop."
Reasoning that Jess' caseload is overflowing as is. However, as Jess actually speaks the word 'advice' Carol makes a comical 'hrnk?' sound as she turns to look to her, fries sticking out of her mouth in mid-chew. The crack of another hit punctuating the beat.


Jessica shoots Carol one of her signature sour looks at the sound. But she can't keep up her momentary burst of ire. She puts her empty Coke cup under the seat too, and exhales.

"It might take a bit of explaining," she says slowly. "But…I guess…to give you background without rambling forever. Did you hear about that thing at the YMCA?"

She actually lowers her voice here. It's one thing to talk in abstract terms about a politician and a case. It's another, entirely, to get into a thing that the media is painting as a terrorist act.

Then again, Carol would know all about the media painting things in big, broad brush strokes that are only half true. Or not true at all.


Carol swallows her mouthful of fries, shaking her head as the YMCA is mentioned. Her memory not serving her at the moment. With so many different things going on she has a feeling she probably heard of it in brief but promptly forgot with current events.
Doctor Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum is terrific for making you forget everything you thought you knew as you walk in the door.
She does however lean over to offer a conspiring ear to Jess, always willing to listen to her friend if something is going on.
Certainly, Carol is becoming an expert on how fast the media's opinion can swing.


Jess sees the expression. "I went with a few people to liberate a bunch of trafficked metas," she explains. "For all I know, some of them were in the custody of these assholes even before Reg. But they were definitely prisoners, and most of them were kids. Well, we did it, but the fight made a huge mess, as one might expect. Nobody with enough firepower to keep a bunch of enhanced humans prisoner is going to make anything an easy fight. The press painted it as a terrorist act, and instead of helping the adults, they arrested them. And shoved the kids into…well. They said they were wards of the state. I'm afraid it might be a detention center masquerading as a group home, but I haven't been able to track them down yet."

She frowns down at the game, more for something to frown down at than anything else. "Do you think it might have gone differently if I'd had some sort of real authority, and could have safely stayed on the scene?"


Carol's expression is grim as expected as 'trafficked metas' are brought up. She reserves growling until she hears how this raid went down. Exhaling as Jessica states how the media spun it, making a note to herself to look this up after the game. She'd do it now if she didn't have a personal policy of never using a smart phone or fielding information from the office unless an absolute emergency while at a Sox game.
As she processes what went down she has follow up questions, taking her turn to tilt her head and whisper to Jess' ear, "Where was this? Did DPS pick them up?" Pausing a moment as she offers the requested advice, inhaling before adding, "Taking apart meta trafficking is right up SHIELD's alley. If you at least dropped a dime to us we would have backed you up. Yeah. When you have real authority then you can push back. You can set the rules not those.." Her voice trails off as she realizes her anger and frustration with DPS is growing the volume of her voice.
She leans away from Jess a moment to cool. Waiting for the pitch on the field before leaning back over, her tone calmer, "If you catch wind of those kids again, let me know. I'll make sure the right people at SHIELD know about it."


"It wasn't my operation," Jessica says simply. "I was called in to help. And…well. I didn't think of it."

Jessica thinking about contacting an authority is still very new to her paradigm.

She gives the address of the Y, and chews on her nails for a moment. Then she says, "This isn't the full advice-seeking question. It's— "

She exhales. And mutters, "I'm going to sound like an asshole. There's a thing. I'm considering. Doing."

Which of course is about as much of a non-explanation as it's possible to get short of saying 'I can neither confirm or deny.'


"Give me a percentage chance of you coming back from it alive."
Carol responds reflexively as Jess segues to the true question she's wanting to ask. This is not the first time Jess has put herself into these kinds of secretive situations and.. To be honest Carol has done the same thing herself. In fact, though Jess doesn't know it precisely she's did the same thing earlier in the conversation. As such, she gives her friend considerable slack.
Neither of them do things that are particularly safe, just usually worth it. That said, it has to pass Carol's Calculus of Worthwhile before she signs off on it and there are specific criteria she takes into account.

Survival being an important one. Maybe not the most important, but up there.
"If the number has only one digit we need to talk."


"My whole life is in the goddamn single digits," Jessica grouses. "Somewhere around you and Trish all like, oh Jess, be a superhero. And then Zatanna being all idealistic and believing in me and shit, and now I'm running around punching above my weight class more days than not, and/or bopping people on the nose who I probably shouldn't bop. No, this is— "

She makes another irritated sound and then just dives into it. "So. Look. I've had this sort of…low-level reservist Avengers card for awhile. I helped them with a case, and Tony just…kept it active. Sometimes I've sort of leaned on it to get that tiny edge of authority. And I don't know the whole roster, but I know a lot of them, and a lot of them are friends, right? So…if I asked. They'd probably make me one. Even if I am a B-lister, they might. It would mean publically being for Reg— "

She grimaces, well aware she's talking about doing something well into the neighborhood of a thing she turned Carol down flat for not 4 months ago. "And I guess it would mean doing all the stuff they do. But it might mean that when the cops show up, I can say I'm an Avenger, and this was a trafficking ring, and these people need help, not a goddamn arrest."

She rubs a hand over her face. "On the flipside," she adds, "I had visions of being just…the lady in the middle, you know? It's hard to get the Avengers on the phone, or just about any other group. But anyone can get Alias on the phone. Anyone can get me on the phone. And then I can put them in touch with whomever needs to handle their thing. And…given my thing is being a detective, and detectives piss people off, and solving the case is sometimes mutually exclusive with coloring inside the lines…I mean whatever I did would reflect on them at that point, right? So maybe it would hobble me instead of helping me. Maybe I ought to just…stick to leaning on my 'If you don't really know the difference between cards, you might be impressed by this' ploy when I need to."


What does not help Jessica's irritation, is when Jessica dives into it and explains just what kind of card she's been holding onto Carol Busts Up Laughing.

Carol Danvers laughs hard enough that nearby fans begin to turn and look to see what the hell is so funny. She rocks herself in her chair and slaps her thigh, slumping over in her chair as she hugs her middle just laughing!
It takes a few strikes at bat before Marvel composes herself long enough to breathlessly apologize, "S..Sorry Jess HA! If I knew Stark was all it took for you to finally take the plunge, I would have put that rich asshole in a headlock and dragged him to Alias years ago, haha!" Not only is she laughing at Jess' stubborn refusal for the superhero life finally crumbling, but also at the fact that Tony is usually a force that drives people away from it. The two improbable events neutralizing each other out is not something she predicted. Even slightly.
"Okay! Okay!" Holding up her hands defensively, wiping the corner of her eye as she collects herself, "Okay! So.. Since I've been trying to get you to be a superhero as you so mockingly pointed out earlier. Yes. I think you should make the call." She formally states as her tone achieves a modicum of normality.
"You are absolutely right. If you flash the Avenger card that is a privilege that gives anyone pause. Cops, Feds, whoever. Even a Justice Leaguer is given pause. Look.."
She leans back in to further comment with sincerity, "That card flashing ploy might work for a rent-a-cop but for something serious they will make the phone call to follow that card. Frankly, if Stark sees in you what I see in you.. " That comment gives her pause as she suddenly glances to Jess, "..By the way, dress conservative around him. The man is thirsty as hell." Then continuing on, gesticulating, "If Stark sees in you what I see in you he wants the whole package. The Avengers aren't just about punching super aliens in the junk. Black Widow and Hawkeye fill in gaps of expertise that Ironman can't do. And you can talk to people that they can't. People want to talk to you, that would never talk to them. Everyone brings something different and they absolutely need you."


Jessica endures the laughter with narrowed eyes and crossed arms. But she doesn't snarl about it. She just waits it out, noting, "I almost asked you not to laugh. I dismissed it as a futile ask. Seems I was correct."

But she listens to the rest, nodding. Until that part about Tony. She chuffs a laugh. "Tony and I have been just-friends for a long time," she says. "I dress like I dress in front of him, and he never looks at me twice. Which is just fine by me. He did kiss me once, but it wasn't even a thirsty kiss. I brought him a piece of tech he'd been unable to get his hands on, years ago, and he was excited like a kid."

But the rest of what Carol says? Is taken far more seriously.

She nods once, then leans forward, draping her elbows over her knees. "Thanks. I've been going circles in my head with this for awhile now."


Carol ahs and nods. Anyone who's known Tony for longer than five minutes has a pretty comprehensive view on what he's about, so she lectures Jessica no more on that topic.
The laughter though? No. That was laughter of triumph that was literally years in the making, no force on Earth would have prevented that.

Apart from the hazing, Carol seems genuinely excited. Grinning brightly as finally, finally Jessica is stepping up to where she knows she belongs. Danvers has long known that Jessica deserves every bit of recognition and celebration as any public superhero. Finally it seems events of long ago have finally started to unlatch their claws from her scarred psyche and are allowing her to move on.
At least.. That's what Carol hopes it is. Perhaps she sees Jess through rose-colored lenses but she refuses to see her under any other light.

"I'm telling you! You are right on the money. You can still fight for the little guy and be there for the people who have no one. You are absolutely right that being backup for another person's unofficial and unsanctioned op got you nowhere. And it got those kids nowhere but a different kind of prison. Now if an Avenger stormed the place?"
Her shoulder swing upwards in a shrug, "Look, it's not perfect. Nothing ever is. But I tell you what, if Captain America says he's taking kids somewhere safe there isn't a cop in the nation who will tell him any different."


Jessica laughs softly at that. "I'm hardly Cap. I neither have his sterling reputation, nor his friendliness. But your point is taken. And I suppose the whole point is that even if the op is someone else's, I can sanction it real quick just by being the one who stands around until the authorities get there. Unless someone bullshits me or doesn't give me the whole story, I don't go on stuff that isn't important, isn't trying to help someone in trouble, you know? And you're right. Nothing stops me from continuing to pick up the phone."

As for her psyche, Carol isn't at all wrong. It's not that she doesn't have some really goddamn bad days, but three years of therapy, AA, and getting focused on other people's pain instead of her own has done her a world of good.

"I absolutely refuse to make public service announcements though. I can't exactly make a, "Hey kids, smoking is bad, the More You Know video with a cigarette dangling out of my mouth."


"Maybe not." Carol has to admit, her head tilting. Though she does sing-song, "But you would have his phone number.." She smiles.
Nodding as Jones goes through the points and bonuses, trying to help her talk herself into it and encouraging the brighter picture.
At the comment on public service announcements she laughs, "Don't worry, Cap has that one on lock. Now I'm telling you. All white suit? Blue sash? You would look terrific in it Jess! Might be time to dust off the old superhero name again too.. What was it.." Carol taps her bottom lip playfully in thought.


"I do have his phone number," Jessica mutters. "I have a lot of people's phone number, Carol. He was the one that helped me get antidepressants through SHIELD for awhile. Not that I can get them now, but I guess it's not as bad as it was when I really fucking needed them."

But then Carol starts in on that.

"No."

She turns in her seat to face her. "N-freaking-o. The only uniform I'm ever going to wear is my jeans and my leather jacket, Carol Danvers. And Jessica Jones is the only name I ever need."

She makes a mental note-to-self. Do not. Ever. Let. Carol. Around. The. Birds.

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