Worth It
Roleplaying Log: Worth It
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Jessica Jones, Ulysses Arngrim, and Emery Papsworth make a trip to Alaska in the hopes of a lead on the missing telepaths they've been hunting.

Other Characters Referenced: Tony Stark, Emma Frost
IC Date: July 07, 2019
IC Location: Kenai, AK
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 07 Aug 2019 19:42
Rating & Warnings: PG-13 for Violence & Language
NPC & GM Credits: NPCs by Emma Frost
Associated Plots

During Tony, Raven, and Impulse's Excellent Adventure (to Kiev), they captured the hacker known as Vasyl. And they got some info out of him, but they also got what is akin to a Jessica Jones combination Christmas and Birthday present.

Bank records. And cell phone records.

She'd spent the latter pouring over the former only to find a dead end. The latter, though, bore fruit. She'd managed to identify which calls went to burner phones. From there, she was able to piece together that the recipient burners were all over the US, after matching them to the cell phone pings off their local towers.

And that painted a big red arrow towards Kenai, Alaska, a tiny town that got pinged several times, and which definitely got pinged a few days just before Liliana Ortiz went missing. After a little more work she got it narrowed down…the thing isn't from city limits. It comes within range, and then leaves again. Someone is out in the tundra.

Granted, inside the city limits are where she wants to start, because that might offer some insight into camps or abandoned cabins or people who come into town from the boonies on the regular.

For once, she was smart enough not to go haring off on her own. She put in two calls, one to Ulysses, and one to Emery, asking them to come along. Which brings them to today…out in the middle of nowhere, several time zones away from home.


Built in the 1780s, Kenai is a tiny but breathtakingly beautiful city, with only 7100 people in it according to the last census. Its buildings—comparably few and with a disproportionately high number of bars—sprawls in a way that makes it feel nearly alien and deserted to anyone more familiar and comfortable with the compact quarters of urban living like New York and London, and still shows numerous signs of the Russian settlers who built it. Their lives are evidenced in landmark names and the tiny Eastern Orthodox cathedral with its blue onion-domed spires.

It is also more than a little wild, as would have been evidenced by the entry into Kenai Municipal Airport as caribou watch on at the wood’s edge. The river has been known to have belugas and seals come up into it for a couple of miles, hunting the same salmon that bring industry to the city by means of the cannery down at the docks. There are four active volcanoes who have spewed up plumes of sulfur and ash in recent memory, two of which do so from beneath a thick blanket of glacial ice.

Only a handful of days past the summer solstice, today is sunny and a crisp seventy degrees fahrenheit without so much as a whisper of the threat of rain. It is full of the promise that sunlight will hold until almost midnight, a full eighteen hours of light, and it improves the general morale of those who live here. It’s a lucky day to be a visitor.


Fieldwork! Or something! This definitely counts as fieldwork, right? Alaska isn't one of those places that immediately comes to mind as a choice vacation spot. Just the mention of it conjures up images of snowy tundras and dogsleds. Thank goodness for the internet.

It's kind of a relief that he doesn't have to pack any heavy winter gear for the trip. Unusual surroundings aside, the weather's pleasant although awfully bright.

"And it stays like this for how long..?" Ulysses murmurs, shading his eyes as he squints past the tinted polarized lenses of his sunglasses up at the sky. He glances at his watch before poking at his phone again. "Least there's decent reception…" But if there hadn't been then Jess wouldn't have been able to pinpoint things to this place, after all.

Dressed in a gray and blue windbreaker over a t-shirt, jeans and a pair of mostly new hiking boots, he doesn't look anything much like an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. He's plenty fine with that, even if he's still wondering what he's gotten himself into, but he knows Jessica hasn't just invited him for sightseeing.


Oh…what a call that was. Lots of ‘you want me to go where?’. One ‘let me think about it’ and upon calling back Jess got in Spanish ‘Sorry, I don’t speak English’. But finally, when/if she calls back Emery just chuckled softly and finished packing.

So now he’s here. He saunters up to where people are gathered and he glances up towards the sky for a moment. His own eyes hidden behind a mirrored set of sunglasses. His long hair pulled back and tucked into a dark grey beanie. There is a long moment where he just stands behind Ulysses for a moment, pulling the shades down to appreciate just how the light shines down and highlights…

He sighs and moves forward. “Aye, givin’ ye quite the standing ovation from where I am at such a beautiful sight boyo. Just like watching a sunrise over two peaks…” He speaks in a melodic Irish lilt.

He’s wearing a pair of black cargo pants, tucked into a pair of combat boots, a black and grey zip up hoodie, and a black backpack. His duffel bag also resting over his shoulder. His holsters and what not hidden god knows where. “Alright, I’ve got…mochas in me bag and some muffins….who wants to tell me why I’m out here in the tiny town in the middle of feck-all nowhere?”


Jessica, relatively nice jeans and a black t-shirt, looks pretty non-descript. But she is prepared; these are her Starkweaves, which is all she packed. And if she's all too aware that a bullet in the right spot can get her in a place where the clothes don't cover, she at least isn't walking out in a place where they might get shot at.

"Someone attached to your client's kidnapper and the missing kids I've been after kept making burner phone calls to the hacker in Kiev from here. And receiving them. They pinged a lot the day one of them disappeared. We just gotta figure out who they are, where they are, and what they're doing. I somehow doubt it's Kiev-Hacker's Aunt Marge."

She glances about, looking for the kind of store where they might sell said burners, even as she taps the query into her phone. She's not real sure if Google Maps made it all the way up to Kenai, though, so she relies on her eyes first.

Absently, she adds:

"And I figured Ulysses could help with the hackery side of it, and you just kick asses, when you're not staring at them. Also I counted the number of people who would yell at me if I came out here alone and ran out of fingers, so thought I'd be smart and take backup."


There aren’t a whole lot of options on the front of burner phones. An AT&T store. A Verizon. An electronics shop. An almost-everything-under-the-sun shop called The Trading Post because this place is too small for Wal-Mart. Jess will find in a hurry that every street view map on the Kenai peninsula is greyed out and labeled ‘For development purposes only’.

But, the upside is that the nondescript trio doesn’t find any sort of welcoming committee standing by with guns or tranqs. It’s just… so small, and there are a lot of small businesses who have opted to have their plate glass front windows protected by iron bars. Probably because custom glass is harder to come by.


"The what now..?" The trio's resident hacker glances over his shoulder at Emery, confusion riddling his face. It only clicks as Jessica speaks. He's not blushing, that's the direct sunlight. While he doesn't know Emery, he knows Jess doesn't do things without reason. It kind of stings that he's just here for tech support and the other guy obviously meant to be more meaningful back-up. …not that it's wrong.

Turning about so he can look between the two, Ulysses switches his backpack over to his other shoulder. He's packed light but he's certainly not carrying mochas and muffins. "…I'm all for a mocha. What kind of muffins?" It's been a while since he last ate, okay?

"Soooo…"

Looking around, things don't look very promising. Or at least not very difficult to narrow things down to with the limited selection. "Small towns. Gotta love 'em?" He'll let Jess pick a direction. There are some things he'd like to check but he'd feel better doing so in a less conspicuous spot.


The Irishman quirks an eyebrow as he glances sidelong to Jess as she explains, letting the combat nutso he tries to think of as separate in his head start running through strategic analytics while Emery just sucks his teeth and gives a short chuckle. “Well ye dun ‘ave to point out to the current feast for me eyes that I’m stupid as shite as compared to him and obviously only good enough for a brawl. I tink that counts as Irish profiling.” He takes a sniffle before shrugging his shoulders. “I knew a lot of scrappy arseholes that looked like this gentleman, luv. I am sure he will kick his fair share of arses as well.”

He does make his way up to Ulysses though and passes over a metal thermos and a Tupperware container. “I didn’t have enough time to make paninis, but I did manage some sandwiches and such for afterwards, there are blueberry and chocolate chip muffins in there luv. Emery Papsworth, professional Butler and certified Personal Assistant at your service.”

He is looking around though waiting for Jess to take the lead as he pauses to unholster a glock and check the clip before sliding it back into place and tucking it back into the sheath somewhere at the small of his back.


Jessica shoots Emery a slightly exasperated look for any number of reasons, but she is soon looking around at their options as she drops her mostly-useless phone back into her pocket. Banter can't hold her attention for long, not on the hunt.

"Not AT&T," she mutters. "They run a credit check even for burners. Not Verizon, same reason. If I were our guy, electronics store wouldn't be my first choice, because the electronics guy is going to try to sell me a better model, and I want a phone I can throw in the snow. But it's possible. Still, my first choice would be Trading Post."

She looks over at Ulysses and, keeping her voice low, asks, "Once we start asking questions it's possible someone will put in a courtesy call to our guy. Can you…I don't know. Spy on the wireless or whatever, or even interfere with a call like that?"

So educated, so technical, on what SHIELD hackers can do. But her whole MO is to gather up people smarter than herself and to ask them questions until useful things happen.


Don't mind him as he's having a sip of mocha while mentally 'eenie-meenie-miney-mo'-ing between muffins. He settles on blueberry but that was probably the obvious choice in the first place. "Nice! Um. Ulysses Arngrim. Nice to meet you, Mister Papsworth. Or do I just call you Emery? I've never met a professional butler before. …how does that figure in with…"

Ulysses glances at Jessica, connecting dots mentally as he nibbles at the muffin. Which for a moment derails him. "Oh wow, this is delicious and I am slightly disappointed now for the lack of paninis." Even with the look from the P.I. not directed at him, he can get the idea. They're on a mission here. He nods to himself as he finishes connecting dots as to what Emery's stakes are in this, giving the man a crooked smile that kind of flickers into a frown. "Heeeey. Are you saying I'm scrappy looking..?" He looks down at himself. …. Okay, moving on.

As Jessica goes over the options for shops to look into, he finishes up his muffin and washes it down with more mocha. Shifting his backpack around, he slips a hand into it to dig around for something, pulling out a couple of tiny, circular knob-like devices only slightly bigger than the head of a thumbtack.

"Er, yeah. Sure. But if you're playing interrogator then maybe I'll hang back somewhere nearby and monitor things from there. You'll just have to plant one of these somewhere close enough to a digital source so I can have something easier to home in on."


Flashing a cheeky smile to Jess at the disappointed look. “Dun worry Velma Daphne Holmes. I’ll make ye grown up grilled cheese when we get back home.” Emery drawls, tugging an old fashioned cigarette case from his pocket and flicking it open, that grin morphs into a wry smile as he listens to Ulysses.

“A pleasure to meet you boyo, and its just Emery if ye please, Master Arngrim.” He then shrugs a shoulder. “Aye, ye be scrappy lookin’ in all the right ways….and as a Butler, I’ve got to clean up and see to the messes me clients might find themselves in. And this is a feckin’ big mess. Also, she might kill anyone who doesn’t show up with painkillers and some wine that costs at minimum 2000 a bottle. So, I’m ‘ere to save lives as well.”

Then he tucks the cigarette behind his ear and looks between his two companions and bows his head. “After you two.” Gesturing onwards.


Jess tries not to look pleased by grown-up grilled cheese. She really does. She tries to look grown up and cool.

And fails. Not only does she love grown-up grilled cheese, but the nickname shakes her out of her somewhat foul mood. Brought on, mostly, from being in a plane and away from the Eastern Seaboard, two things she really hates.

"I'm gonna hold you to that," she says.

Then she takes the little device Ulysses gives her and says, "Can do."

And then Emery is tucking a cigarette behind his ear. She double-takes, makes sure it's not lit, and shakes her head. Trusting everyone else to get into their most useful positions, she just turns and heads inside the Trading Post.


The Trading Post’s exterior certainly has seen better days. It’s faux brick exterior, painted over metal siding, has peeled in more places than its stayed put. But the interior is in better shape.

Not great. But better.

The speckled tile floors have pale trails worn into them by shopping carts, and the shelves have more than one spot rubbed down to bare steel in an otherwise beige finish from the constant on-and-off of merchandise from the shelves.

But, hey! There are people here in brown vests who at least don’t go actively hiding.

Here, Jess and Emery gain more than a few glances from folk, but it has a lot to do with the fact that they are unfamiliar—if attractive—faces in a city that doesn’t get a lot of visitors. Still, they’ll help all the same in getting them pointed to the back of the corner of the store where a ridiculously small electronics department boasts a modest selection of goods—easily a quarter of any boutique in New York could offer—and a half-bald man with a potbelly to be their assistance. On his vest, a pin reads: Assistant Manager.


Master Arngrim. Damn, that sounds good. Emery might spoil him. Ulysses nods at him. "Emery, then." His grin falters at the casual price drop for a potential bottle of wine. "-you're just exaggerating, right? Otherwise I have something new to cry about when it comes to the frivolous expenditures of rich people."

Once Jessica takes the device he offers, he nods at the two. "Good luck," he says, turning to go scout out a nice, out of the way place he can sit and consult his special equipment. He doesn't go all that far, just around the corner of the Trading Post and behind a dumpster where he can be out of immediate eyesight.

His nose wrinkles at the smell as he sets the thermos down so he can pull out a few things from his pack. He powers on a small device that looks like another cellphone, save with a few fold out attachments as he scans the nearby rooftops for anything resembling an antenna. If nothing else, he'll just have to work with whatever network they've got. At least with both a Verizon and AT&T here, there should be some coverage he can tap into. With that set up, he pulls out his laptop, fingers dancing across the keyboard once it's powered up.


Emery takes a moment to pat himself down, just by memory tracing over the various holsters and sheathes and what not that’s hidden and he nods to himself. There’s a small smirk to Ulysses and shrugs a shoulder. “….rich people, mate. They are stranger motherf***ers.”

Then he tosses a salute to Ulysses before following after Jessica. He flanks her as they approach the electronics and he veers off to let Jessica start the conversation. He grabs a small shopping basket and moves off to start gathering random items. Browsing but never drifting out of ear shot of Jessica. There is no seeming…pattern to what he gathers but he’s gathering.


Jess should have asked more questions. She isn't sure how close is close. She ends up holding on to the little device for now. She hasn't seen a great place to put it yet.

She puts on her best uncertain smile. And suddenly sounds a bit like an airhead. "Um. Hi. My name's Tiff, and I'm here with my brother Dan?" He may be grabbing items at random, seeming unconcerned of danger, but there's no hiding that they're strangers.

She shifts in apparent uncertainty, and says, "Our um. Sister seems to have run up here with like, a guy. At least, that's what my boyfriend says, because he looked at all her phone numbers and…oh I don't know what he did. But…he said it looks like the phone might have been one of those…?"

She points at the burners and then says, "Anyway Starla's just out of rehab, and she like, picks the worst guys, and I'm hoping to get her home. Have any other out-of-towners wandered in to buy phones like that?"


The man behind the counter doesn’t even bother hiding his squint. Or the suspicious tilt of his mouth.

“How old’s your sister?” he asks, pausing in his work of scanning the merchandise that he’s hauled out from inside the rundown glass counter for inventorying. “I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we aren’t exactly a tourist hotspot. I might’ve seen her.”

There’s a note to his voice. A note that Jess might very well recognize.

He’s willing to at least entertain the questions.

…….for a price.


Outside, Ulysses slips in a wired earbud, connecting it to his laptop, that in turn connected directly to the other device. No point in having multiple bluetooth IDs floating around.

And then he hits a key and gets audio. And suddenly has this urge to stab himself in the ear. "Wow Jess. Just. Wow," he mutters under his breath as the device she holds picks up, if somewhat muffled by her hand, the conversation going on within. He switches over windows to pull up a digital readout of electronic activity in the area, overlaid on a map of the town.


Okay, there was a time…years ago. He was 72. He was going undercover at a prison. He was the only person with all his teeth and clean hair. That was one of the times Emery can remember being in a room, hearing a voice, and his asshole clench at tightly as he just does in this moment when Jess’s voice makes that shift. It reminds him of one night stands, one weird summer in the 70s, and how to tell who is wearing an elegant or a cheap thong.

He closes his eyes for a moment, and exhales softly, and he murmurs a soft prayer in Latin under his breath and crosses himself. Then he sidles up to Jess, with a quirk of an eyebrow. He starts putting things down from his basket.

Box of tampons. Bottle of Glue. Roll of Tape, Bottle of Cheap Alcohol. Generic Laxatives…

And then he offers a wad of cash to Jessica, nudging it into her hand. Its just 4 one hundred dollar bills. But he just sniffs and speaks in an Towie voice. “She’s like, proper fit mate, ya know. But she’s always after the wankers, ye know? But like, she was all like…whateva mate, ye can’t tell me what to do and I’m like, I know he’s got like 9 inches but I was like…I’ve been there mate, its not all that ye stuck up slag.”


Jessica Jones stares down at what Emery has brought her. The tape and glue stand out as mysteries. Everything else follows a sort of theme, really. She peels off one of those hundreds and damned if she doesn't stuff the other three into her pocket for now. If she can figure out how to keep them she basically will for the tampons alone. Well, no, probably not. That's too much money to keep as a return tweak.

Besides, now she's got the problem of explaining away one right proper fit problem, boyo, or whatever. And that is…she sounds like a New Yorker and Emery sounds like…Emery.

She puts on a winning smile. "We're all adopted."

She pushes the $100 bill across the counter. "Anyway. She's about that old."

She idly starts playing with the tape, pulling out a little peel of it. That mystery is solved. Emery's right. She needs tape right about now.


Jones is right that she needs to explain the mismatch in a hurry, because it’s not two syllables out of Emery’s mouth before ‘ASSISTANT MANAGER’ is looking between the two of them. Of course, that’s readily solved not by Jessica’s heartwarming tale of adoption so much as the age of a woman he’s reasonably certain that the pair has never met.

An age spelled out in a hundred dollar bill. He pockets it in a hurry.

“Yeah. A few months back. Went through a bunch of ‘em. Woman old enough to be your mom and, I dunno, Indian, maybe. Older guy with less hair than me. Some others, too.”


While Jessica stares at the shopping basket, Ulysses is staring at the screen of his computer, although it's not the lines of text scrolling across a side window that makes his eyebrow twitch. He casts a confused look towards the wall of the Trading Post, shaking his head.

Opening another window, he taps out the information he catches from the 'assistant manager' as he gives it. It's not much help but it's something to do while he keeps an eye and ear out for any telltale blips.

A sigh. A sip of mocha. Could be worse, he supposes. He could be sitting in the freezing snow.


Emery gives a huff and roll of his eyes that only he can see as his soul dies a little more, pulling from the Rolodex of many people he’s had to be for different reasons and his library of little black books with similar characters. “Oh whateva! Get outta here with that ‘adopted’ bullshite.” And there’s a hand motion that bring grabs for nothing in the air before being brought to rest over his heart.

He looks to Assistant Manager. “She’s all like embarrassed right? Cuz we both ‘ave different mums because our dad’s a feckin’ loser right? And this ‘as been really stressful because like…this is our sister mate.” A single tear rolls out from under his left sunglasses shade and he moves a hand to brush it away.

He’s taking another hundred from his own stash and pushing it across the counter as he waits for the items to be bagged. “Can I get a packet of smokes luv? There’s a dear…oh! Does the mail come through here bruv? I’ve got somethin’ I might need to send out. Let our wanker of a da’ know we’re still looking for the Snapchat filter face lookin’ afternoon chat show wanna be guest of our Sister…” Such a random question that he hopes the smarter people he is with pick up on the rationale for.


Jess feigns outrage. "He's not a loser, he's just…he's just complicated, okay? God!"

She huffs, falling right into character herself, riffing easily with Emery. She leans into the counter, her left hand moving expansively while her right takes the opportunity to tape the little device to the bottom of it. There. That's sorted.

She also finds she's having a real. Real hard time resisting the whiskey for a whole variety of reasons. She sniffles herself, and opens the bottle, and takes a long swig of it, and caps it. It's for the character. And not because she's having trouble staying on the wagon. Totally.

"Oh shit, I gotta let Frankie know we arrived here too. Cause I can't text." She sounds so disgusted. "No signal for Sprint at all. God. He'd have come with but his job wouldn't let him come, the jerks."

Granted, at this point they're playing a bit of bribe and overwhelm this dude until he'll give up just about anything just to get them out of his hair. But even as Emery goes for the mail, which should yield quite a bit, she goes for a quick pass at information that "Tiff" and "Dan" wouldn't fail to ask for.

"So like…they came through, do you know where they like, went? Because like, I guess there are all sorts of bears and stuff out there? And if they're not staying in town or whatever…"

Yes, she has just uttered more likes than a vomiting Facebook post.


ASSISTANT MANAGER gives the pair a long, flat stare. Perhaps he is in the middle of nowhere Alaska, but there is nothing that can spare a person of retail a certain measure of existential dread when forced to endure what one would rather not endure.

‘What has my life come to?’

‘Why didn’t I move to Anchorage?’

Many life choices fly through ASSISTANT MANAGER’S thoughts as he listens to what are quite possibly the most annoying bastardizations of English in the history of ever. And he’s not familiar with either of them to be able to say whether or not they’re counterfeit.

But he has a bill that slides into his pocket, disappearing, to help him preserve his own sanity. “Right,” he says simply to the volley of excuses. And then, Emery will feel it ping against his senses as ASSISTANT MANAGER shrugs. “I don’t remember if they said where they were going.”

Untrue.


"…maybe I should have taken another muffin," Ulysses mutters to himself over the thermos as he isn't sure if he's amused by the goings-on within the store or having second thoughts about his being here. It's probably a little of both.

It could be a new drinking game- how many times has Jess said 'like'? He's kind of glad he doesn't drink and has comforting lines of data to keep him sane. Yep. Probably was for the best that he hadn't tagged along in there with them. His improv game isn't as uh…top notch…? as theirs.


Soft little gasps and ‘right right right’ as Amens to Jess’s explanations and what not. Emery makes it through all the likes. Then he tilts his head to the side and hmmm softly as his question about the mail is ignored and then there’s something that makes his eyebrow quirk a bit before he sighs softly, checking his watch and looking to Jess and then up towards the ceiling.

They don’t have time for this.

He just gives Jess a subtle shake of his head. “You remember like when that rank tosser we met in that bar was like trying to start stuff and then like, I was like whateva but then he went to hit me and then all the power went out?” He hopes that message went over. “And that like nobody could call out or anything because like there no bars or whateva? And so I thoroughly beat his arse into the floor? Maybe it was that arsehole that got her out here?”

He sighs and then saunters over to where a display happens to be. “Oh right mate, you don’t remember? I saw on the Telly this like special way of gettin’ people to like, remember shite.” He knocks over the display. “Let me know when like, it starts coming back to you mate.” He knocks over another display, hoping like hell their ‘man on the outside’ is monitoring any potential outgoing calls or attempts to call out.

He tears open a bag of crisps and inhales before nose wrinkling before dropping the bag on the floor.


Power outages and failed calls are all Uly's department. Jess offers a flicker of a frown over time, not sure what has caused this determination. On the other hand? The act was getting really old.

Emery starts knocking things over. She just steps over to a drink display case and lifts it over her head with a lift of her eyebrows. She's careful to do it in a way that keeps all the drinks more or less racked inside.

"I think you've irritated my friend," Jess says, in her normal voice. By the time they're breaking shit and intimidating people, she figures there's no more need for charades. "Liars tend to do that. You wanna try again? Wanna be tacked on as an accessory to kidnapping? Federal charge, friend, lengthy mandatory minimums, probably not a great career move."

Somehow she's good cop, but she can make that work.


As the first display goes down, the store assistant manager shouts. “Hey!”

Then the second display goes down, he raises his voice more. “HEY!”

Then the bag of crisps goes on the floor, and the man in his light flannel shirt and brown vest officially loses his cool. He sets down his handheld scanner, and starts running around the corner, fully intending to take Emery up by the shirt front and physically toss him out of the store. Potbelly or no, he’s gotten used to the practice for dealing with any manner of unwanted personages in his store.

“Hey!” he calls to a clerk who comes out of the sporting goods aisle, her hazel eyes opened wide in horror. “Call Ed, get him down—”

And then Jess lifts up the drinks case, and he takes a few steps back in a hurry. “WOAH. Okay, you put that down, cheechako! I don’t know how you act back home, but…”

But he does not sound at all certain about his current course of action. And he continues to back up to get behind the glass electronics case. The clerk goes racing off for the office with the store’s phone.

“I don’t know any damn thing about any damn kidnapping, you lunatics!”


"Ho boy, here we go…"

Emery will have to forgive Ulysses for having a bit of a hard time trying to follow what the butler's saying. He frowns, brows furrowing. Was that a cue to take out the electricity? Kill the phonelines? But that would kind of be antiproductive, wouldn't it? Unless they've gone from trying to trace these guys to drawing them out.

He's not sure he can just kill the power and everything anyway, he didn't come with that sort of equipment. Sure, he could do it the old-fashioned way but it would have been nice to have a head's up on that possibility so he could find the breaker or something.

So instead, he sits tight and waits, holding his breath as he can hear the shouts and the commotion even without the device he'd given Jess. "Don't get too crazy, guys…" he quietly presses, even though no one can hear him. He brings up one of the windows from the foreground on his laptop and enters a few keystrokes. If someone's going for the phone, he's ready to tap in. Hopefully it goes somewhere useful though. He has no idea who this Ed guy is. For all they know, it could be the local PD.


There is a moment, where Emery is waiting to see what the reaction will be. There are tells that people have and he squints slightly as the man is coming for him and he lets himself get hauled up and pushed towards the exit. Then right when Assistant Manager is distracted by Jess, he catches himself in the doorway.

“You took bribes, so I could tell Ed that ye greased us for 200 dollars for a packet of crisps, tampons, tape, glue, bottle of whiskey, and some laxatives. If Ed’s law enforcement then he’ll have some questions.”

His nose wrinkles. “But then you also took bribes and wouldn’t like talk before being paid so Ed could be somebody who helps ye with some less than savory bullshite or whateva which means like, we’d love to ‘ave a conversation with him because he might not have as many memory gaps as you?”

He saunters forward as AM is backing up. His nose wrinkles as he idly tugs on a pair of fingerless leather gloves. “Are ye still not remembering anything, mate?”


Emery's words are a good foundation, but Jessica adds to them. She sets the drink case down, figuring she's made her point. She crosses her arms and hesitates. She's not licensed in Alaska. She's not really law enforcement. There's no registration law giving her broad leeway here. Emery took things in a direction she doesn't often take them. They are the ones who have blatantly broken the law here, but she has one card she can play. One she always feels awkward and pretentious playing, but whatever.

She pulls out her wallet and flashes an ID. "I'm with the Avengers," she says. It's a reservist's card. Low level access for a job she consulted on once. Tony kept it active. This isn't the first time she's pulled this. But reservist or not, it's a thing. "We are seeking two kidnapped woman and one boy. That we know of. A highly professional group is taking them, and we've traced members of that group up here. You know something. That means one of a few things. You just wanted more bribe money, fine, I don't care, except you lied instead of trying to 'grease us' for more, as my compatriot says."

Her head dips to the side. "So that means you're either scared shitless of these people, either because they threatened you or they have leverage over you, or you're with them. Maybe they paid you off too. To keep your mouth shut. And if that's the case, you are an accessory to a federal crime. Really, the case could be made that you're an accessory to a federal crime in all three cases. Two are understandable, one pisses me right off. But you can keep me from wondering which it is by giving us the location of the people we're looking for. Right now."

She steps forward and yanks off the small notebook page where she'd jotted down the phone number they traced, sliding it across the counter. "You sold one of them a phone that you programmed with this number. You don't sell that many burner phones. You sell reup cards to the locals, mostly. You don't get a lot of strangers. I'm willing to bet you can direct us straight to their location. Hell, maybe Ed's renting them a place or something."

She arches an eyebrow. "Time to make a choice."


“Ed’s the sheriff, you idiots!” ASSISTANT MANAGER belligerently insists, backing up until he hits the second glass counter behind him. He watches Emery warily, and his hand is already groping behind him for something appropriately heavy to hurl at the other man.

And, true to his word, Uly will find that the outgoing call is absolutely going to the sheriff’s department and the panicked clerk is talking about a trio trying to attack her boss. Nothing seems particularly amiss, there.

…until.

Until something goes just a hair screwy with the landline. A bug. Someone’s bugged the line. …other than Uly.

Emery is pulling on gloves and should appear to be the more imminent threat, but it’s Jess that has his immediate attention. First the soda fridge. Now an Avenger. Any red-blooded American knows the Avengers after the Chitauri invasion, and this man knows he wants none of it.

“And I told you, lady, I don’t know any damned thing about kidnapped people! I mean, it’s some Indian lady who talks like the queen, and a bald guy! They come in sometimes! Pick up supplies! It’s them. Sometimes they have a pair with ‘em. But they head out of town. East!”

That much seems to be true.


"…I hate it when I'm right," Ulysses laments to himself as the call connects with the sheriff. His fingers hover over his keyboard, but he knows it's too late to do anything on that end without drawing further suspicion. But then he sees the signs, something like an echo as the line is tagged. Brows arch, and he mute the mic end of the device Jessica has so that full power can be devoted to monitoring other things.

Like get a trace on whoever else is listening. His fingers are a blur as he executes a few raw commands, eyes flicking between that and the window with a local map brought up.

"Come on, come on…"


There is a moment where Emery just gives a look at Jessica as she pulls the Avenger flex. But thankfully it is hidden behind his shades and he waits for a moment. He takes a deep breath and then just folds his arms over his chest and just keeps looking at the Assistant Manager and then glances back towards where the employee went running.

He thumbs the side of his nose and just gives a small nod. "Do you 'ave like anything else you wanna share or whateva?" He asks with a quirk of an eyebrow.


Jessica flushes as Emery looks at her. She does hate pulling it. It's like a community theatre actor saying she's a Hollywood star because she got a bit part in a movie once. But embarrassed or not, she will use any trick she can. And while it's safe to say she and Emery don't agree on the proper strategy here, and may even have to discuss that later, they're at least pulling more or less in the same direction.

"Their location," Jessica says. "Their specific. Location. You know where they're staying. We want to know how to get there."


“I really don’t,” the man spits at Emery, only to then glare in Jessica’s direction.

“You can want that, and a million dollar lottery ticket. I don’t know what you’re talking about! Yeah, they were out-of-towners, and yeah, they bought phones! But I didn’t do anything.

Finally, the man sighs a sigh of relief as his hand wraps about a fire extinguisher. He does not yet pull it forward.

“You people have lost your minds.

Meanwhile, the conversation with the Sheriff’s department continues for a few minutes, and the clerk stays on the line with dispatch while they promise to send someone down for the disturbance.

Meanwhile, Ulysses can keep tracking the bug’s signal and, as he watches, it will start trailing to a spot on the outskirts of the small city. Before he has its exact location, however, the call ends. Fortunately, there isn’t much out that way. It can be hoped that the search will be simple.

And the reason that the call ends is because the car is already pulling up in front of the store. In just a minute more, Ed will likely be introducing himself.


The hacker bites down a curse just barely, if only because he hears the car pull up. Stupid small towns and their tiny populations.

He hunkers back in his hiding place, eyes going to the screen where the trace had gone cold. Well, they've got a direction, at least. Ulysses tries to pull up the details on the map even as he works to put the rest of his setup away. He has no idea how Jess and Emery are going to explain themselves out the front door but he figures it's best to be ready to move as he starts packing things up.


“Good on you mate. Thanks for the info. That’s all you ‘ad to say to start with.” Emery nods towards the door. “Are we cool or do you want us to stick around to explain to the Sheriff how you wouldn't answer any questions without significant bribes.”

He glances back towards the door and back to Assistant Manager. “Or was this alll a big misunderstanding' or whateva and like, we were rewarding you for givin’ us helpful information to help someone we care about?”

There is a long pause as he gestures towards the counter. “…are you gonna bag that lot up so I can pay you ooor….” Where his poor box of tampons, glue…and etc are still resting.


Jessica decides she's keeping the bottle of whiskey. She stares at Emery and finally blurts, "Oh good friggin' god. You're going after another firehose plan, aren't you? Damn it!"

But she also digs the $300 out of her pocket and puts it on top of a downed television. "Sorry about the mess," she adds. Because. She needs to be able to tell Jane Foster that she got that line out in the appropriate moment, and perhaps even forever claim her spot as the femme Han Solo of their group of friends.

Everyone's got dreams. She ought to have flicked it contemptuously for full effect, but she'll take it.

She decides to just meet Ed head on, and realizes she can't do that while holding the frickin' whiskey bottle. She takes one last pull on the hot, glorious liquid…she so needs this right now…and walks outside, already fumbling for her badge again, and all the rest of her identification. Maybe she can talk them out of it before he feels the need to start making arrests.


For what it’s worth, ASSISTANT MANAGER takes the cash. Because, of course, he does. And he slowly releases the fire extinguisher to bag up the things that Emery has laid out beyond it. He doesn’t hand over the bags, so much as finish throwing everything in and then step back.

This leaves Ed just about enough time to get to the door and nearly step inside the building, when Jessica bowls her way out. Tall and broad, he stops short when she does, a hand hovering warily on the sidearm at his waist. “Afternoon,” he greets in a slow drawl.

He cranes a little to look around her into the store without entirely taking his attention off of the shorter, dark-haired woman. Looking for the manager, probably.

Or perhaps the confirmation that this is half of the pair that the clerk called about.

As Ulysses works, he’ll find a chain of warehouses belonging to the cannery in the area in question, as well as a gas station and a vehicle dealership.


And Ulysses allows himself a tiny fistpump, sending the data across a cable link to his phone before closing up shop on the laptop. He checks the phone screen before blacking it off again.

As he hears footsteps around front, he slings his backpack over his shoulder and after a quick glance around the dumpster, gets up and dusts himself off as he strolls along. Probably better if he doesn't immediately convene with the others right by the Trading Post, so he plays the part of a wandering tourist, bringing his phone up as he does a quick Google search. Why would anyone come out here..?

"…Moosemeat John's Cabin. That place sounds like a winner."


The Irishman takes a few steps forward to take his sack of goodies just smirking gently at Jess at her idea of another firehose idea. Emery bows his head politely to Ed as he enters and gestures towards Jess as he follows, hoping Ulysses got all the info he needs.


An irritated look crosses the detective's face. But she can't follow; she's got to deal with Ed. She looks at Emery like she's got absolutely no idea what he's about. She flashes her own badge at Ed again.

Besides. Ed might have information too.

"You go on ahead," she tells Emery. "I'll catch up in a second."

She looks up at Ed as she puts her wallet away. "We're here tracking kidnappers," she says. "A cell phone dump and cell tower ping tracking tracked calls from one of their accomplices here, a few days prior. I was just trying to get some information. They've taken one of my colleague's personal friends. He got a little carried away when he thought the assistant manager was lying about knowing where they were. We did leave quite a bit of money for the damages, and I certainly apologize for the dust-up. They've been missing for weeks now and everyone's feeling a little desperate."


Ed doesn’t rush as brings his gaze back to take in Jessica, looking down the distance that separates them. The muscles along his jaw dance a little as he clenches and unclenches it, considering. His dark gaze shoots to Emery, but his head only turns a few degrees in that direction before turning to the woman and reaching his hand out to actually take said badge.

He offers the thing far more in the way of scrutiny than the man inside. Avengers, huh? His thick eyebrow lifts suspiciously.

“I’m sorry to hear that,” he rumbles, heaving a frustrated sigh. “Look. I know you’re not from around here,” any man with eyes and ears would know, “but I’m pretty sure that they have manners where you come from, Jones. And I mightily dislike new folks coming in and forgetting them just because they’ve seen a few movies about Alaska on TV.”


"Please don't get caught, please don't get caught, please don't get caught," Ulysses murmurs under his breath as he tries not to appear to anxious as he wanders towards the next nearest shopfront, where he can still see the Trading Post and won't be missed if Jess and Emery look for him.

He tucks his cellphone into the inner pocket of his jacket, digging out his other device from his backpack again, popping an earbud in as he plugs in the jack. Looks like that device of his is still active, where Jess stuck it, so he switches the audio back on to see what he can catch of the goings-on inside.


Emery just leans against the wall near the side of the building, tucking a hand in a pocket as he watches from behind the safety of his sunglasses as he untuck the cigarette from behind his ear and placing it between his lips.

He glances down at his watch and then back up and just sets a timer as he waits for Jess to wrap up the niceties and officialness.


Jess tries not to shoot Emery an impatient look. She fails, but she tries.

Still, she shoots Ed a wry smile. "I don't know, Sheriff. I'm from New York. We're known world-wide for being mannerless barbarians, aren't we? Nevertheless, I am deeply sorry that we caused such a disruption. We won't let it happen again."

She gives him a slightly pleading look. "Maybe you can even help us get these people rescued. Have you seen an Indian woman with a British accent, or a bald man, out-of-towners who have set up somewhere to the east of here? Do you know where they might have set up?"

She digs out Liliana's picture. "This is Liliana Ortiz. She's one of the missing people I'm trying to bring home to her parents."

She digs out Jimmy Webber's photo, too. "And this is Jimmy Webber. Both good kids, both at the wrong place at the wrong time, both with people who love them that are worried sick about them. Please, Ed. We just want to bring them home."


The sheriff takes up both photographs and considers them. To his credit, regardless of the story and his initial thoughts on them, Ed gives them both the weight of genuine consideration.

He sucks on his teeth a moment, and then heaves another long sigh as he hands them back into her care.

“Her? I’ve heard of her being around. She showed up… ehhhhhh, six months ago? If you haven’t noticed, we don’t have a lot of folks around here talking like that. But not for anything crazy. Just coming in for supplies. I think she had a snowmobile, then. Driving a truck now. She buys supplies, she fuels up, and then leaves. The going theory is that she and Hair Club for Men have a place about thirty or forty miles out. Nothing but wilderness out that way. She doesn’t buy enough to last her between trips, so we figure they’re probably just a pair of eccentric survivalists, yanno? People usually go out there to get the hell away from other people, so we don’t ask a lot of questions.” A pause follows as he tilts his head to one side, raises those eyebrows again, and clucks his tongue.

Until they start making trouble. I catch wind of you doing it again, you’re both going into cells.” There’s a spark of remembrance as he thinks on the Avengers badge. “And then I’m calling whoever you Avengers call boss. Charlie in there can be a bit of a prick, so we can chalk it up to that. …This time.”

Ulysses might be both frustrated and relieved when the only outgoing call is now the clerk as she’s called home and is crying to her mother about what just happened. They don’t pay me enough to put up with this, and assorted wah wah wahs.


"Wonder if they'll make the local news," Ulysses muses to himself as he hears everything else play out. He brings up the map on his device where the signal tap was traced roughly before it stopped, inputting the approximate mileage that the sheriff mentions to see how things might match up and whereabout, were they to head out in that direction.

He winces just a little as he catches the phone-call out. Well, she'll live. And thank them later for an exciting story to tell because if hot attractions up here in Kenai include a cabin that was owned by some guy nicknamed 'Moosemeat John', then a little stir-up from some out-of-towners should be more than palatable.


In another time and place Emery would be flailing and going ‘wtf - we don’t know this dude!’ But more Irish. For now, he is letting Jess takes the lead on this as he takes a hit off the cigarette and tilts his head back to exhale a cloud above his head and tries to look as bored as can be.

Then he takes a few steps forward, nodding his head and idly flicking ash aside with a deft finger tap. “Ta’ guvenor. Aye, Charlie in there is a right tosser or whateva but like but…but he’s alright for a socially inept and completely ‘eartless wanker who can grease out of towners askin’ questions better than like those bloody yanks who rub down pigs or whateva. We won’t be anymore trouble alriiight.” He gives the Sheriff a chin-up and then nods to Jessica. “I do feel kinda bad for like scarin’ the poor gel though. She looked so scared, but like…I hope Charlie in there will like, give her a raise or something…”

He starts wandering off. “Bloody ‘ell, why’s the sun /still/ out…” And so on as he goes.


Jessica waits for Emery to continue playing his character. And then she just brings out a business card.

"My boss," she says. "Personal line on the back."

This, in fact, is a lot less of a stretch than I'm an Avenger. Tony, the boss of the Avengers, has basically been her boss for a long time. It's just that Tony as "boss" means doing stuff he asks her to do but rarely, and getting paid to help people the rest of the time.

So the card she hands him is indeed Tony Stark's. And she spares a hint of a flicker of a smile, as she walks away from him, trying to imagine what that conversation might sound like. They're lucky Tony didn't come in person. For Emma Frost, he'd have smashed up a Hell of a lot more than Emery, probably.

She walks back over to Uly and says, "Anything on the satellite photos that fits the parameters? They've got to be close to a road, or have a really good private drive. There's no way someone is off-roading a truck in some of this countryside. And…something that's not close enough to any other town to ping off cell towers, or to make going to any other town convenient."

She is not explaining because she thinks he doesn't know. She's thinking out loud, by her tone, piecing together the bits of information they've been given. Mostly used to working alone, she is used to walking herself through these deductions, and often speaks puzzle pieces out loud as she snaps them into place or comes to understand them.

Her earlier apparent ire at Emery has evaporated. Either because he amused her by staying in character, or because now that the lady bulldog is back on the hunt she's a lot happier by far, and completely focused on that.


Ulysses will find there is very little promising out in the area. Kenai being on the coast, half of the searchable area is ocean. Beyond that, at least on the surface surveillance, there are maybe fifteen or so small cabins, most of which are accessible by roads that are closer to goatpaths than actual roads. Out in the wilds, there’s a lake, too, with but a single cabin on its shores and a very long dock. Ed wasn’t kidding when he called it wilderness.

Emery continues his act, and the sheriff’s expression only darkens. He doesn’t like fuss, and this is supposed to be the season of less fuss. But Tony Stark’s card is—as it so very often is—a golden one. Or the black variety. Or the platinum variety. Whatever happens to float to the top. One of the joys and perks of being Tony Stark is that even your paper business card carries value. Ed gives an audible ‘huh’ as he flips it back and forth, but then he extracts one of his rarely used own to give back to Jessica. Edward Lewis of the Sheriff’s Department really kinda ponders over the chances of anything like this happening in the little city of Kenai.

He then considers how much happier he’d have likely been if it hadn’t.

That thought only becomes more intense as ASSISTANT MANAGER—in this case Charlie—starts bellowing and coming towards the door with, “WHAT?! You’re letting them go?! You have to do something! Stop them! Have you seen the shop, Ed?!”

Ed merely lowers his head and heaves another sigh. “Obviously, I haven’t, Charlie, since I’m still outside.” The sheriff pockets the card and then disappears inside.

That’s a good sign that it’s a wonderful time for Jessica and Uly and Emery to be on their way.


"It'd be a stretch calling it a road…" Since Jess jumps right into things, Ulysses is right on her heels. No need to go over how things had turned out in the shop, annoying slang and crazy accents aside. He's frowning as he continues to fiddle with the phone-like device before turning it towards the other two once they've come over to join him.

"When our pal Ed was being called in, the line was tapped and I got a trace as far as this point before it cut out. I ran a rough number based on what the sheriff by way of distance, going in that direction, and well, you see how scenic it gets."

He taps a finger at the points on the display as he explains. "On the upside, we don't have too many possibilities to go through. Downside, I don't know how much they caught of the commotion in the shop from the phone tap, but it's probably a good thing to consider that they might suspect trouble."


Emery sighs softly and when they group back up, he’s tugging his dark grey beanie off, and turns his back to the others as he tucks the beanie into his duffel bag, kneeling down to tug out a black beanie. He pulls his hair back again to tuck his hair back into the new beanie. He slips off his shades, and replaces them with an entirely different type. He crosses his arms over his chest and just prepares to follow.

—-

Jess is ready to get out of there, and after seeing the options she says: "I like the cabin on the lake if the phone tap location doesn't pan out. They won't want to be around anyone else. Let's go have a look."

She only shrugs at the idea that they may be ready for trouble. "I assume people like that are always ready for trouble, unless they're idiots."

She seems content not to defend her methods right now too. She just slips behind the wheel of the rental SUV they drove out here in so they can get out of here before Ed changes his mind, turning towards their likely prospects.


The string of warehouses where the tap seems to have landed near are still mostly occupied as workers wrap up their long day. All but one smaller—but still significant—building on the fringe. It doesn’t seem to be occupied at all, save a man sitting in a small and out of the way booth in front of it.

The weather-worn fuel station with its rusting tin roofs over its convenience store and the gas pumps advertises itself as the last one for a hundred miles if you’re heading out of town.

Fuel up! Don’t dry up!


"…good point." Ulysses nods, and after a glance at Emery, follows him and Jess to their ride. "At least there shouldn't be any traffic."

He's otherwise quiet for most of the trip out, save to offer any input by way of direction, not that there's much room for error given the sparse roads and sparser residents. "Does this count as rustic?" he murmurs as he peers out the window at the old structures. This is the kind of place he's only seen in movies. He half expects a few zombies to start shambling through.


Emery had been quiet for some time during the ride, settled in the back and carefully pulling a couple other items from his duffel bag. He passes the container of chocolate chip and snickerdoodle cookies forward, making sure they have bottles of water and what not.

When he does finally speak, the Essex party boy is gone and back is his lilting Irish drawl. “Aye boyo, it counts as down right serial killer ‘as a cabin round the corner and you ‘ave to carry a bat out to the outhouse just in case there are /bears/ rustic.”

He sniffs delicately and starts passing forward the turkey and cheese sandwiches, with optional corned beef and cheese sandwiches from where he is. “Do either of you ‘ave any tactical infiltrate and extract trainin’?”


Jessica drives a bit like an old lady, but she takes the sandwich. And takes a large bite of it before answering in her world-weary way. "Yeah. On-the-job training. Missing people. Kind of my specialty. Real high solve rate. But also working with a few teams who would actually put it in those terms."

Nevertheless, she is too knowledge-hungry…and too actually respectful of Emery despite her earlier annoyance…to leave it at that. "But if you've got any tips or advice, I'm always eager to learn."

And that is simple truth. She has taken training, bits of knowledge, and anything she can get like a sponge from anyone who will teach her. Emery would have, when she still lived at Gramercy, observed her reading all manner of random crap, all non-fiction, all on different subjects. One never knows when a random bit of information is the one thing one needs to make a connection.

She doesn't slow down for the gas station, but she says, "Uly, any hits on what that guy in the booth is doing?"

She doesn't want to alert him if that guy is one of the bad guys.


The clean-cut man in the booth is, for all outward appearances, just sitting there and reading a book. He sips coffee in the 70 degree weather, and props his feet up on the console. The fence that circles the lone building is tall and bears a small warning as to its electrified nature every fifteen feet or so.

What may be harder to see is the muzzle of the automatic rifle that sits casually leaned up in the corner against his hip or the pistol on the opposite hip, but the body armor is pretty visible.

He looks up occasionally, and then flips his page.

The speaker near his ankle is quietly spewing a voice if they could just get close enough that Ulysses and company will recognize, however, as the clerk’s own.

She’s still whining to her mother.


Ulysses is sorry he asked, but at least he seems placated by the offering of sandwiches. He nibbles on a corner of it as he digs around his backpack again. "Uh… theoretically?" he answers in response to Emery's training question. "But I haven't really gone on any official field missions yet." Did this count? Regardless, he was mainly the back-up guy. Although that leads into Jessica's question.

His eyes flick towards the warehouse with the man in question, and he clamps the rest of his sandwich between his mouth so he can use both hands to pull out the toys he needs. In this case, it's a tiny drone with a transparent but frosted finish that he'd sanded himself to cut down on light reflection. He finds the controller and his laptop, connecting the former into the latter and testing out the camera.

"It's no Pulled-Pork, but until Santa puts in a good word for me for some cool Stark-tech, it'll do."

He does have to frown when his sandwich falls from his mouth and onto his stuff, however. Sighing, he switches the drone on, then reaches back to hand it off to Emery. "If you could stick him out the window? Just balance it on your palm. I promise I won't chop off any fingers." His record's been good so far!

Once that's done, he'll set to work at getting the thing to launch, and the drone's camera will bring up everything it sees on his laptop's screen. Granted he can get it over the warehouse without incident, he'll toggle the switch for another of his 'listening' devices like the one they'd left at the shop. Again he frowns. "Huh? Did I…" He checks the other device with the map but the Trading Post feed had definitely been muted. "Okay, so for some reason I'm picking up the whiny clerk from the store on something around here." Okay, it's not just 'some reason', but it's not a good one either. He casts the other two a meaningful look.


Emery does not go ‘well for f*cks sake’ at Ulysses’s response to his training. Thankfully, Emery is also not smoking in the car. He just takes a flask from an inner pocket and takes a long swig. His nose wrinkles and he sighs softly.

“Alright, dun use names which I tink you both should already know. Give me parameters, lethal or non-lethal force. See something, say somethin’ and dun break character…”

Then something catches his attention, as he is adjusting something under his jacket and then he’s working on something in that backseat with all those things he purchased. He has a little makeshift device by the time they pull up and he eyes out the window and his jaw sets. “Because that motherfecker is goin’ to be hard to just ‘wound’…”


Jessica's hands tighten on the steering wheel at Emery's assessment. She pulls off as soon as they're well out of the guy's line of sight. "He's gotta be their advance spotter, right? If I'm right that the main event is at the cabin then they already know we're coming. And if I'm not, they know that anyway."

Thinking out loud again. Lethal or nonlethal. She hates these choices. She really does. But in the end she thinks back to decisions the Defenders have already made. And, well…the Avengers who she just leveraged, who publicly at least say they aren't going to kill save as a last resort. And how it felt to kill people. Sometimes it can't be avoided, but.

"Non-lethal is my first choice. Just because something's hard doesn't mean it can't be done, and dead men don't give info. I think I can get it done. Emery, can you be ready to come rescue me if I fuck it up? With Ulysses watching you'll know soon enough. Maybe you can work on getting close enough to do that while I go in."

She points to the rooftops to outline her plan. "I can leap up there, run the rooftops, come down behind the booth, punch through the booth, grab him by the face, and slam his head into the back of the booth before he knows what hit him."


"Yeah, this guy sure looks ready for a fight. I don't know how often one expects an armed robbery or anything out here in the middle of nowhere…" Ulysses murmurs as he maneuvers his drone to see what can be seen of the guard in the booth. He nods his agreement with Jessica on the non-lethal option. "Once you move in, I'll run interference in case he tries to send a signal out. Aaactually…"

He pivots the drone around to look for any cameras as he keeps an eye on a side window for any signals incoming or outgoing. "Gotcha," he says to himself, grinning as he eases his little spy in before pulling up another window, fingers dancing wildly across the keyboard as lines of text scroll and then in a moment, a split window pops up showing different areas around the warehouse from its security cameras.

"Doot-de-doo… Let's see, if you're coming in from…there, then we'll just have this guy shift thiiiiis way…" As he speaks and taps at the keys, one of the views on the camera window starts to move towards an unsuspecting tree. "And this guy moooove…. oooover there," he continues, making some remote adjustments. "That should provide a convenient blindspot for you to work in."


Allll while this discussion is going on, Emery has packed up the left overs and is strapping on a leather back sheathe, with what might be a blade with an elegant hilt in it. And he's checking a hip sheathe as Jessica lays out her plan.

That eyebrow of paternal concern does raise but he just gives a tiny nod and adjusts the bandana around his neck. He checks the clip of another gun and tucks it back away before patting his chest to make sure his knife vest is secure where it rests under his jacket.

He does lean forward to offer Jessica a syringe. "That's a dose strong enough to keep him under after ye knock him out. So he doesn't pop up like a daisy and call for help within a few moments. Mebbe a 2 hour, 3 hour window. Knock him out, stick 'em…"

Then he's just preparing to make his move, bowing his head in quiet prayer and crossing himself as he mutters in Latin. The faint glow of his eyes hidden behind those shades.


Jessica nods, takes the syringe, slips that into the inner pocket of her jacket, and gets out of the car. She does spot Emery's look of paternal concern, and for a moment she seems a little unsure of what to do with it. "I'll be okay," she promises him, but doesn't wait around for him to change his mind.

Then she's leaping up to the roof, landing with a quieter grace than the leap itself might suggest. She used to thump and bump and crash, but she's put in a lot of practice sense then. Then she's racing across the rooftops to do just as she intends, leaping behind the booth and slamming her hand through it.

She tries to grab him and slam him back, wasting no time because she's counting on the element of surprise to help her win this super strength v. gun fight.


One doesn’t really expect a sudden team up of bodies to outpace all of the security measures in place. The cameras. The fence. The booth’s walls.

When Jessica’s hand punches through the glass that is — to its merit — a lot thicker than typical window pane, the man really only gets so far as to pulling on the barrel of his rifle with all intent to set it against his shoulder. It’s a practiced motion in the way that speaks to training. It requires no thought. It does require, however, time.

There’s a bit of a grunt, but then in the close proximity he decides quickly to abandon the more powerful rifle as he makes a play instead for his pistol with every intention to draw down on Jess. Maybe it’s the adrenaline that makes it hard to figure out ahead of time that he’s physically outclassed, but he certainly doesn’t show any sign of it, as he tries to pull his elbow back into whatever personal bits of his attacker he can.

Oblivious, the store clerk whines on through the speaker at his feet, “But mom, I mean, really. He’s never gonna let me take leave over this. He’s the absolute worst!”


If they didn't have a clear view of the scuffle from the car, they'd certainly have a good angle from the drone's perspective. Ulysses winces at the collision of Jessica's fist and the glass, looking from his laptop to the view out the window and back. He steals a glance back at Emery before looking back towards the laptop. This guard guy is being more difficult than they were probably anticipating.

"Come on Jess…" he murmurs under his breath, even as he tracks the other windows for any other problems that might arise. Under different circumstances he'd have a few things to say about the whiny clerk. Seriously, how long has she been blathering over the phone? That's definitely cutting into work-time, missy!


“Keep the cameras off me, luv, I only tape well in the bedroom.” The Irishman winks and tugs up a bit of a black bandana to hide his nose and mouth.

There’s a faint click in Emery’s neck, as he idly cracks it and takes out a gun, checking the clip of darts and loading one into the chamber. Then he’s just rolling down the window and diving through it, landing in a tuck and roll back on his feet. He glances back towards the truck and presses his fingers to his lips in a ‘shh’ motion before he takes off running for the booth.


Jess has a handgun of her own, tucked into her jacket. She knows how to use it, but she's never once pulled it. She bought it for cases of absolute last resort.

And apparently having a guy trying to pull one of his own on her doesn't count. But then, the impetus for purchasing the thing and asking Bucky for training on it came from being crap kicked by freaking Frenzy, which sets her bar for 'when I draw this thing' pretty high still.

Instead she gets a little more physically vicious. She tries to catch the guy's wrist, yank it upward, and crush it. And then she tries to headbutt him out.


The “security guard” has the pistol half out of its holster when Jones makes a play for his wrist and catches it. He tries to set her off-balance when his elbow fails, leaning forward to dodge the headbutt and hopefully bring her with him over his back and roll her into the booth with him entirely. To set her in front of him, at his feet.

She breaks his wrist instead, and there’s a bellow of pain as the pistol is dropped and tumbles the rest of the way out of the holster and onto the floor.

His still-capable hand reaches behind his shoulder, grasping for a handful of whatever he can get ahold of— sleeve, a collar, her hair—to try to break the hold on the cracking bone.

And he doesn’t even notice Emery’s approach.

Thanks to Ulysses’ swift work at the keys, neither does anyone else. The sentry’s personal radio activates somehow (probably more by accident than on purpose), only to find itself promptly intercepted and scrambled.


That's what he's here for! …back-up? Watching Jess and the guard go at it from where he is, Ulysses is pretty sure that he doesn't mind being support. He can still feel the slight weight of his own weapon in its holster snug around his shoulder beneath his jacket, but like Jessica, he'd rather not have to use it unless as a last resort.

A glance at Emery, accompanied with perhaps a faintly odd look at the quip, and then the hacker nods and makes sure all the cameras are still redirected. "You're good to go," he says, watching then as the professional butler (????) goes diving out the window like a super spy, and when he's off, Ulysses turns his attention back to the technical side of things. He has to cringe as he sees the blow the guard takes to his wrist, and he catches the radio signal attempting to go out, so it's just a matter of making sure everything on his end is working properly.

He does have to wonder again about the clerk's call. Why was it coming through to here? Especially after the trace had been cut so quickly after the patch through to the sheriff. Frowning to himself, he opens up a fresh window. Now he's just curious. His tracker back at the Trading Post is still active, so maybe between there and this reception he can work out where the call is connecting to.


Emery moves just a little bit faster than the average human might, but its just with the professional training of someone who was/is had military or some combat experience. His approach to the booth is swift, and without breaking stride he sidles up behind the guard, angling the barrel of his gun and with a quiet ‘thwip’ the dart is finding his way into the side the guard’s neck.


Jess is a hard woman to flip; she's got the strength and stance to just stand her ground. There was a time that wasn't the case, but Bucky drilled and drilled and drilled the fact that strength wasn't everything into her, and made her do a fair amount of throwing and avoiding throws.

That doesn't mean she gets much further than the broken wrist bit while she tangles with him though, her concentration all on avoiding the thing that the bad guy wants. It's quite the scuffle, but it does at least set him up nicely for Emery.


In the end, all the training and positional advantage does the sentry little good. He is outgunned in a very different sense of the word, and Jessica does indeed manage to hold him plenty still enough for the dart to hit its mark and—beyond that—to do its work.

It’s not even a minute before the larger man stops struggling and goes limp in her grasp.

“Ugh, Mom. I gotta go. Sheriff Lewis just left, and I haven’t finished unpacking this morning’s shipment. See you tonight?”

It’s perhaps a little jarring, the mundane soundtrack to a scene that is anything but.

It’s also more than a little strange that the intercepted radio… finds a match not 1000 yards away. Ulysses won’t have to work too hard to realize that there is someone trying different frequencies inside the warehouse. Trying to figure out the source of the interference that has broken contact with the outpost that is a simple guard booth.

And more radios are coming online inside.


So suddenly focused on his technical tinkering is Ulysses that he misses the outcome of the scuffle in the guard booth. He's practically hunched over the laptop, eyes skimming lines and flicking to an onscreen map as dots appear and blink with his input.

"Uh-oh. Ummm…"

He looks up and towards the warehouse, and grabbing his drone controls, he brings it in low to where Jess and Emery are, tapping a key as he whispers over his mic. "Guys, someone might've caught onto us. I'm picking up radio signals from inside the warehouse—"


Emery bends down to carefully retrieve the pistol that the man who has fallen unconscious, hands working methodically to unload its clip and tuck it way in his own belt as he takes the firearm apart. He lets all the pieces fall onto the unconscious man to avoid the clattering against the ground.

He also shoulders the rifle that is now abandoned, muttering under his breath. “Veni, Sancte Spiritus…et emite caelitus…Lucia tune radium…”

His head cocks to the side at the sound of Ulysses’s warning and he glances over to Jessica for a moment and then just starts heading out. “Find us a way in me little gargoyle.” He adjusts his grip on the rifle.


“Shit,” Jessica says. To Ulysses’ warning, most likely. She eases the guy down and lets Emery do his thing while she considers the problem.

“Ulysses,” she says, narrowing her eyes. “If they’re onto us anyway, maybe we should give them a proper hello. Can you make every one of their radios give an ear-splitting screech at once, on our signal?”

She glances at Emery and considers. She doesn’t want to get into a gunfight. And that was only 1/3rd of a plan.

“Four good stomps…” she mutters.

She looks over at Emery. “Badasses with guns or not, I don’t think a lot of them are going to be at their best if I drop a roof on their heads. If I do that, can you catch whoever comes out and deal with them? I imagine a lot of them will be too hurt or pinned to function. It could damage some of the evidence, but better damaged evidence than no evidence.”

Then, to the both of them, “What do you think, guys? If someone has a better plan I am all ears.”


Ulysses’ additions to the excursion become more valuable with each passing moment, as he’s going to find that there’s one… two… seven… twelve… fifteen separate personal comms that are now online and nearly synchronous as they go through frequencies trying to find a clear one to use.

Of course, all of them are mysteriously unusable and whatever they’re saying into them is lost.

Mysterious, indeed.

But the mystery is probably fading quickly inside as the devices all settle on the original frequency.


The hacker echoes Jessica's earlier sentiments as he watches the number of communications signals go up. He makes mental notes about what could have helped a lot more in the situation, purely out of habit as his fingers work at the keyboard. Cameras, were there internal cameras? He'd been so caught up on things outside that he'd neglected to look in. Well, that's one thing to look into- but first…

"Yeah, I'm counting about fifteen, just a head's up," he reports to Jess. "Give the word and I'll pour on the feedback."

That, at least, will be the easy part.


Emery sucks his teeth and looks down for a moment at Jessi’s plan and he just shrugs a shoulder. “Risking collateral damage to the kidnapped individuals. But it’s your op…”

He closes his eyes for a moment as that lilt shifts into something sharper, more polished. “Non lethal disablement of those who flee, and be prepared for medical triage.”

Yep, he is just waiting for his cue.


"Yeah. Okay, revision," Jess says. "Small revision."

She leaps up to the roof and says, "OK, Ulysses. Now."

She does not collapse the roof. She'd originally gotten hyperfocused on all the guys with the guns. Emery's reminder is a good one.

Instead she's just going to grab a portion of the roof and rip most of it up. That'll let her see inside. And if she doesn't see any victims? Then she can drop roof on their head. And if she does, well, she'll have just become a hell of distraction with a big piece of roof to fend off gunshots…and to keep most of the attention on her.


The sound—assuming that Ulysses takes his mark from Jessica—is sharp and swift. The comm on the man’s collar that they have already shrieks loud and shrill. Surely, had it been still in his ear, he’d have been screaming for it and possibly nursing a wounded ear drum.

Meanwhile, the roof—which would be a sturdy thing for most folk—crumbles and peels up in Jessica’s hand, confirming at least at first glance, that it’s wide and open.

Crates are stacked on one side, emblazoned Rampart Security. From her superior height, she’ll also see where crates and pallets and various construction materials have been put together to create a training course of a kind.

And then there are the men who are ripping out the earpieces they wear to combat the disorientation and pain.

Seventeen, in all, most in boring flannel shirts and jeans. A few all in black.

It takes them a moment to figure out what’s going on, for the ringing in their ears to stop enough to hear as the one part of the roof gives to the forever long sunshine of the Alaskan summer. Their eyes do begin to stagger upwards, though, and so too their assault rifles.


Ulysses has one job then, and he isn't about to blow it. He also can't help but grin a tiny bit maliciously as he triggers the feedback, turning things all the way up. Even with it going off, he's already maneuvering his drone up top after Jess, keeping off to the side as he tries to find any internal links for cameras.

"Some kind of flashbang would've come in handy," he mutters to himself, another mental note in the case of potential drone upgrades and equipment. …and ways to keep communication with the team. "I am so not ready for field missions…"

Plenty of time to lament later. He's still here and will run back-up to the best of his abilities. Making sure that Jessica and Emery don't get themselves killed. Monitoring for outgoing or incoming signals apart from a way to see inside, otherwise he'll have to send his drone in to scope things out. Emery's earlier point was a good one—were their kidnappees even here?


So, all those things that Emery collected from the store? He’s crouching down out of sight near the largest opening of the makeshift warehouse, head cocked to the side and rifle set to the side as he’s emptied the bullets and they are added to the contraption he’s been making. As he hears the ripping of the roof, and pushes himself up to his feet.

Rifle is left behind darts around the corner to throw the smoke Molotov cocktail into the room, smashing it in front of him to not only draw attention but also create better cover for himself, as he walks through the smoke drawing the blade from his back and brushing two fingers against the palm to ignite it. A blazing sword, and his eyes dark behind those shades as he strides forward. “Too many look up towards heaven to escape the approaching storm of hell’s hounds…” That low and polished accent adding a cold menace to such a simple phrase.

It is almost slow motion, but it happens in a matter of seconds and then he’s sprinting towards the gathered group.


Oh. Huh. The shit Emery was getting from the store actually did make sense. Good to know.

"I don't see any hostages," Jess says into her earbud, figuring this is the only really important bit of information they need to know right now. And then rifles are raising in her direction. She really does use her chunk of roof as a sort of shield, even as she rips a big heavy chunk of it away. Time for some precision work.

She leaps to another section of the roof that remains, and then hurls her smaller chunk o' roof at the head of the guy closest to her.


Ulysses’s drones will—if they go inside—quickly get confirmation on Jessica Jones’s initial statement, although with much greater certainty: no hostages here.

After that, everything starts to fall apart very quickly.

Jess will find that the bullets are close groupings were she but to look… Although it’s probably best that she doesn’t. The piece of roof she holds shows all the evidence of them. When she dodges behind the other piece of roofing on the large warehouse, the rifles follow.

They’re men who know their craft well enough and they’re looking to pin her down, even as she throws her chunk of roof and sends one man sprawling backwards and into a table where they were playing cards. His rifle sprays wide and carelessly before clattering uselessly to the ground in his wake. The others keep firing.

Except that then… Well, then Emery Papsworth, Certified Personal Assistant.

First it’s the smoke he sends in. The smoke is easily comprehended and digested. They’ve seen this. They’ve trained for this. They know what to do with this.

Then there’s the sword.

“WHAT THE FUCK?”

A handful of the automatic weapons turn in the seemingly floating sword’s direction, but the initial fit of coughing makes it hard for them to keep their lines clean. One of the men goes racing for a panel on the wall to key in a code.

And then, Ulysses will find a new signal escaping the old warehouse as its thin walls and open ceiling get punched to hell by bullets, cocktails, and superheroes. Small, and non specific. It doesn’t have a targeted destination.

A distress beacon.


"No hostages is good. Or not. Good and bad, really. …oh boy."

Ulysses hasn't slipped the drone in yet, not with Jessica and rifles and… what is Emery macgyvering over there? "Ohh… Very nice." He catches a glimpse with his drone through the torn up roof to see the flaming blade amidst the haze and grins. It's a very brief one as side windows start flashing along with a little beeping sound.

"That's…probably bad," he reports, even as his fingers start across the keyboard, then hover as he thinks. "We got a signal going out, but it's a broad burst so I have no idea who will answer." Stop signal. Might be too late, but he can do that much, maybe. Unless someone tries contacting in. He's scrambled frequencies, how about rerouting anything incoming to come to him?

"I knew I should've brought more drones…" the hacker mutters as he directs his drone to hover back from the building a bit, still overhead. He has no idea if he can track if that signal's been received by anyone, but he attempts to cross-check with whatever things he can access. Otherwise the best he can do is have his drone keep an eye out on the roads for anyone coming.


There’s a dagger yanked from Emery’s boot and he spins smoothly into throwing the dagger at the man running for the panel, aiming for the hand that is hitting the panel. He pushes another button on his fingerless gloves as that dagger also catches on fire.

The Irishman, hears the ‘no hostages’ and then just catches a bullet in his shoulder without flinching and just dives into a roll back into a crouch, swinging his other flaming blade towards one man’s legs, holding up his hand to catch the dagger that would wiggle its way free due to those gloves. (Thanks to Owen) Each move flowing into the next an elegant yet lethal dance with blades.

She said no killing, not no handicapping. He just growls out making sure the one he hopefully knocked on his ass can hear him. “You have a choice my son. Speak and Live or be consumed in the flames and let ashes tell your story…what are you training for?”


Jessica feels heat as a bullet burst comes uncomfortably close to her head. And she's out of things to throw. She ducks back for a moment, muttering, "Shit," at the distress beacon.

Even if Ulysses shuts it down in time, that could mean trouble. But they've got so much trouble right here.

Emery is all subtlety. Jess hops down so she can pull up a tree like a normal woman might pull a weed out of a garden. Back to the roof, where she again notes Emery's position; the better to drop the thing on some gunmen.

"1-800-Flowers," she calls. "Anyone order the Grande Ficus?"


Let the screaming begin.

It starts with the man who has his hand pinned to a panel and then flambéed.

It continues with the man who is practically hamstringed by a swinging sword.

It keeps going as a handful of men find themselves suddenly pinned by a tree.

It’s a bad day to work for the Kenai branch of Rampart Security.

As he bleeds profusely all over the floor, the ex-soldier who will henceforth be known as Limpy growls. “It gives us somethin’ to do while we’re waitin’ to rotate through! Who the hell are you?!”

Ulysses will catch another broadcast cut in as he listens in, even as he manages to likely stifle the emergency beacon. …This one? The police frequency. It’s like a game of whackamole. A terrible, terrible game with too many moles.

“—’m almost there. They say if it’s still goin’? And you’re not sending me over there by myself, are you, Lauren?”

“This is 702. I’m also en route.”


All he hears is screaming and he's suddenly glad that his drone's camera isn't directed back at the goings on within the warehouse. That's fine though, because Ulysses has other things to deal with, it seems.

He stares at the screen, pulling up his headphones and plugging in as he catches the incoming transmissions. Licking his lips, his finger twitches over another key. Police. Good or bad? Bad for them if things get more hectic but… He bounces his finger lightly, nervously against the key, mind turning over furiously. Oh no, oh no, this is terrible come on do something…!

His finger hits the key down as he clears his throat.

"-ah, negative, negative. False alarm. Minor trouble with the alarm system, accidental trigger."


Sword is twirled to smack the hilt into someone else’s swing as Emery is listening to what is happening around him and his eyes narrow before with another finger motion the sword flickers and the flames die down.

“The options are limited.” He slides his sword back into his back sheathe and kneels down near Limpy. He pushes his shades down ever so slightly so the man can see his eyes, dark and emotionless yet glowing ever so slightly. “You give me what your next give deployments were that you have scheduled on the rotation and you all live to work security another day. Or I will escort you all to the fiery gates myself, walking you through the flames that will burn this place to the ground.” He idly twirls that dagger as he straightens back up. “There are angels who are messengers and angels who are warriors but I reap souls for my master.”

“You all are just doing your jobs.” He pushes the glasses back up. “Please do not force me to do mine…” And he waits to see if someone will speak before motioning to Jess that they need to get out of here.


No hostages, no real point in continuing the battle. They've found the Rampart link, anyway.

Hearing Uly quote another Han line makes her briefly smirk.

She decides to just leap down, grab a Rampart Security crate, and leap out again. "Withdrawing," she tells her team, tucking the newly acquired box o' evidence beneath her arm.


Limpy might be tempted to put both of his hands up, except that he’s too busy curling over his bleeding leg and trying to stave the flow of blood. Next deployment, Emery demands.

“We don’t have a rotation for another couple of weeks, when the other team comes in for a supply and delivery run.”

Jess, for what it’s worth, makes a very clean getaway to the other side of a still-standing and mostly unpunctured wall. It’s nice when you can just hippity hop away, and no one else can follow.

There’s a pause in the police chatter, and then there’s the dispatcher’s voice cutting through angrily. “Who the hell is that? Jeff, if that’s you, I swear on everything that’s holy, I’m telling Sheila what you lost in last week’s poker game.”


Ulysses would breathe a sigh of relief as he hears Jessica report, but he's still trying not to panic as he stalls the police. And hearing Emery's threats are really jarring as he finds this creepy persona difficult to line up with the butler who makes awesome snacks. …and then there's whatever he'd heard in the Trading Post.

Shaking his head, he finds himself gaping at the response over the radio frequencies. "Err…" Well he can't very well shoot his laptop as that would be anti-productive on all accounts. "Sorry, you're — ksshh — up — ksshksshk — can't hear — ksshkkk — need — shkk — reboot —"

He turns up the white noise just in case his uh…sound effects didn't sound convincing enough, then sits back to listen as he focuses on having his drone sweep of the area while he waits for Jessica and Emery to get back.

"I sure hope this was worth it…"

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