2019-03-01: On The Hunt For The Truth Part One
|Featuring||Captain Marvel, Spider-Man|
|Synopsis||Carol seeks the help of Peter to find out the truth about, perhaps, an old friend?|
The New York Record. One Carol Danvers has already made a name for herself, and perhaps not exactly in the good way that most reporters have around the newspaper. Carol is not happy with just being an assistant, and has already gone through three different 'superiors', in the very short time that she's been employed. It isn't that she's mean, or nasty, far from. It's more that Carol sticks her nose into their business and questions everything that they write. In fact, on one such occasion, which is going on right now at the cubicle of her new 'boss', Carol is arguing a point.
"How do you -know- that these kids didn't cause it to begin with?" The tall, blonde bombshell is stating, arms crossed over her chest. "Look, let me go over to the hospital, I'll take a nice photographer, we'll do this as a follow-up to the article. We can even do it as a nice social piece, how are the victims doing now, and if in the course of my interview, they spill what really happened, you've got yourself a masterpiece of an article."
The older man that is now Carol's 'boss' just sighs. His haggered looking eyes narrowing upon the blonde. He's seen it all before, up start and eager young news reporters wanting to step out of the shadows and into the light. Eh. Kids. Harold holds up a hand. "Fine, take the new kid. Pete something. Pete. Pete. Pete Parking."
Carol's expression blanches ever so slightly at that, "Parker. Peter Parker." She states, thought Harold's quick to continue, "Whatever. New kid. But this is your last chance, Danvers. You mess this up, and you're going to be fired. Got it?"
"Yeah. Yeah." Carol intones, turning around to grab a beat-up old backpack and looking for Parker.
Without a car to call his own (or much else in the way of material items, for that matter), Peter isn't parking much anywhere these days - except perhaps at the Human Resources desk of the Record, trying for the umpteenth time to get an advance on his next paycheck. He's there at this moment, as a matter of fact, putting on his best sad puppy eyes as he fiddles with the camera that's hanging from his neck while talking to the payroll assistant there. "I wouldn't ask if it wasn't important," he's explaining, "But, it's the first of the month and rent's due, and I'm already behind because I owe the initial deposit on the place." Try as the brown-haired photographer might, his impassioned plea doesn't seem to have any effect on the rather bored-looking assistant, though, the slightly plump and middle-aged woman looking up from her computer with a tired, cold stare. "The landlord says he'll evict me if I don't pay on time, and--"
"No advances, hon," the woman drawls out, interrupting him. "No exceptions. You need some extra cash, get another job. My kid's working double shifts down at the Gas'n'Sip, and I had three different jobs when I was working my way through college." Peter opens his mouth to protest, but isn't able to get in a word before the woman continues. "No exceptions. Next payday is the middle of the month. Any photos the paper buys before then, you'll get paid for at that time." Apparently finished with the conversation, the woman turns away then, focusing back on her computer screen.
Peter is left to stand there for a moment afterwards, gaping slightly. Finally, he closes his mouth and sets his jaw, scanning the rest of the office space with new determination - as if perhaps a different target within the small collection of HR desks may yield different results. "...so much for humanity and charity," he mutters quietly to himself as he starts to stalk down the aisleway between cubicles. "What I really need is a job in a lab somwhere where they just give me a practical test to apply instead of needing a resume..."
Quietly, the tall blonde that was once known as Captain Marvel, and may yet still be known as that. Maybe. One day. Did, indeed, find Parker, and has been listening to his impassiond plea the entire time that he made it. What is it about Parker and money, the two just never seem to go hand in hand, not even in this universe.
With her arms crossed over her chest, it wont take much to see Carol standing in the aisle that Parker is moving down, a wry expression on her features. Damn, but she'd love to say something snide about in every universe it's the same. But. She can't. So Carol, instead states. "Money is always a woe." And it fits. In a way. "But I might have an answer for you, Mister Parker." And she emphasizes the mister part.
"I need a photographer to come with me to the hospital and take some pics of the men that got vaporized by B..the Hulk." Carol's voice holds a tone of seriousness, even if she's just having an absolute ball knowing something that Parker doesn't know.
"I really need some help on this, and Harold suggested taking you. So, care to join me?" Carol doesn't want to beg. She really doesn't want to beg. She wants to just have him say 'yes', so she doesn't have to beg. She will beg. She doesn't want to, and Jessica must never know if she does have to. Please say yes, Parker?
As he moves down the aisleway, Peter does indeed see the statuesque form of Carol Danvers - and at first, in fact, seems to adjust his path so that he gives the woman a fairly wide berth. But the course adjustment is just a little too late, as the woman has spoken to him and now he needs to acknowledge her and respond, at least if he's a polite and nice person. Which he is. Even if he is a little intimidated and, well, confused by the woman and the strange expressions that she gets when she regards him. "Hey, I'm not into anything illegal," he starts out at the indication of an 'answer' to his money woes, before Carol details the rather legitimate job she's going on.
"Oh," he continues, blinking. "Yeah, I read the original report on that. I don't recall anything about anyone being... vaporized... though? But..." His gaze darts over to the older man, Harold, who's blithely sipping from a cup of coffee while hammering away at his keyboard. "Huh. I guess he liked the photos I took for the piece I helped him with last week," he muses, turning back to Carol. He sizes the woman up, mouth pursed together thoughtfully. It's almost as if one can see the proverbial gears turning, before the young man nods. "Sure, okay," he answers then after a long moment, nodding. "A lot better than the Broadway beat for the gossip section." He adjusts the strap on his camera, the black device hanging off his shoulder to one side, before he asks the woman, "Carol, right? Ah... Danvers?"
A shake of Carol's head sends her hair spilling over her shoulders. She noticed the fact Peter was about to avoid her, and it ticks the blonde off quite a bit. She almost tells Parker to just forget it, but - then the younger man goes on and agrees, leaving Carol to just roll her eyes and gesture towards the elevator. "Yup." She intones, jaw clenching downward, teeth mashing top over bottom. If she could just get ONE good article. One. She could take her pick of any photographer and let Parker just deal with his own damn mess.
From being one of the most powerful super heroes on the planet, to a complete unknow is humiliating enough, but to deal with a completely ignorant Spider-Man, is just down right the lowest point ever. Making her way towards the elevator, Carol nearly punches the button to the down button too hard. Though her hand adjusts at just the nick of time before destroying that. Spider-Man's spidey sense might go off just a little, at the dark thoughts Carol has of him right now, but she doesn't act with those thoughts, just gives off the vibe of one that is ticked the hell off.
Quiet. Stone quiet. Carol waits for the elevator, then again, remains quiet as they head down it. Her jaw is clenching, and her muscles are as taunt as can be. In the grey suit jacket that is just a tiny bit too small for the tall woman, one can see her muscular form tensing and relaxing as she waits.
By the time the elevator 'dings' to the bottom floor, Carol's still stewing, stomping out to begin her journey across the streets and towards the hospital. If Parker doesn't keep up, Carol will just take the damn pictures on her own.
Soon - the hospital is in view, and Carol's pausing before the doors, turning to see if Parker made it as well.
Though his spider-sense doesn't actually tingle, it doesn't really need to for Peter to detect the stormcloud that's brewing over Carol's head - or the way she nearly pokes a hole into the elevator button. He remains quiet on the elevator ride down to the ground level, the descent downwards one of the singly most awkward moments that Peter has experienced in quite some time. Which, given the man's history is saying something! He alternates between taking careful, quick glances to the stewing, clenching form of the woman next to him, to being completely and utterly absorbed in making ultra-fine adjustements to the lens of his camera, as if performing some type of intricate surgery there. Surely they are about to the ground floor already?
And the the doors *ding* open and Carol stomps on out, leaving Peter flat-footed behind her. He nearly trips in his haste to follow the woman's intense movement, though catches himself and - perhaps surprisingly to any observers - manages to keep pace with the slightly taller woman, despite her longer legs and her very brisk pace. Parker's not winded in the least as he follows along the sidewalks and side-streets either, appearing for all the world as if the frenetic near-chase through downtown New York was a leisurely stroll. Well, except for the expression on his features, which is equal parts worried, confused and chagrined.
When they arrive at the hospital, Peter is still there, just a half-step behind Carol when she turns to check up on him. He's got his camera in one hand, the other reflexively reaching up to scratch at the base of his skull, mussing up his hair some there. "Hey, thank you, by the way," he states to her then, earnestly, that hand at the back of his head moving to gesture outwards slightly. "I really do need this job. Freelancing is... Well. The paychecks aren't steady and I appreciate the offer. I really do."
"Yeah, yeah, you're welcome Parker. Look this isn't going to be your typical social call on kids that were hurt by some random attack. You read about the Hulk attacking police on the Upper East, right? A giant green monster that kept yelling about wanting to be left alone?" Carol's still standing outside the hospital doors, her intense blue eyes focusing on Peter. She speaks with a quick and self assured voice, an intensity written in her expression as dark as the cloud still over her head.
"I really feel something is fishy about how it started. Just, call it a gut instinct, I didn't like the way the police report read from the start. Why would this Hulk person keep yelling about just wanting to be left alone, and yet there he was, in the biggest city. I feel like something triggered it, something bad, and my hunch is in this hospital." Carol's gaze flickers up and away from Peter then, turning her focus upon the doors.
"So I need you to have my back in this, when I start asking questions that may not be the nicest, fluff piece that they're going to initially think." Carol's gaze once more focuses back onto Parker. "I'm going to ask some very blunt, to the point questions and I need you to not freak out on me. Can you do that, Peter Parker?"
As the woman starts to outline her concerns about the attack and, more importantly, her intent to be fairly direct and perhaps even combatitve in her questioning, Peter lifts a single eyebrow. But he doesn't seem to be concerned or upset at all... mostly, just curious. He waits until Carol has finished speaking, and then nods once to her before speaking in response. "Of course," he answers without missing a beat. "I'm just there to take pictures." He lifts up his camera a few inches as in emphasis, before adding with a grin. "And I promise if you start a fight or something I'll make sure to get some good shots of that too." His tone of voice indicates he's clearly joking, and the smile then fades a little as his words become a little more thoughtful.
"But seriously... What do you mean by ...triggered? Do you... ah..." Peter hems and haws for just a moment, his words drawn out as he glances from one side to the other, as if making sure there aren't any passers-by in earshot before he continues. Which, there aren't, so he does. "...Do you think that one of these guys were trying to control it or something? Like, maybe they injected some type of mutagenic compound into an unsuspecting innocent and then things got way out of hand?" Peter is sort of whispering with the words, clearly serious despite the sort of far-fetched scenario, then catches himself as he postulates, as if realizing he's presenting himself to be more than just a down-on-his-luck photographer. Clearing his throat suddenly, he straightens up and shrugs, voice volume returning to normal. "Or, ah... something like that?"
"That only happens in the movies, Parker." Carol states matter-of-factly. "No I think they did something to the Hulk to get him mad, something bad, and it triggered this episode. I don't think the man is innocent, far from. He hurt a lot of people, but I need to know if these kids did something that caused his outrage." The last words are spoken under her breath in a very quiet, very hushed whisper. They sound a bit like, "I don't think even I could handle a fully enraged Hulk." Or maybe not.
The words just slip out as Carol moves towards the doors, parting them open for Parker, then stepping inside, herself. All gentlemanly. With a plastered smile on her face, Carol draws towards the information desk, flashing her reporter badge with a quick gesture. "Hey I'm Carol Danvers, this is Peter Parker, we're from the newspaper. And may I say, that color just looks so great on you. Pink is totally your color. Anyway my dear, we need to see one of the boys that was hurt so badly by that rampaging monster. The Hulk. Did you hear about that. God. It was so terrible. Anyway, we're doing a follow up piece on it, hoping we can get those boys some proper good coverage, and then maybe get them some extra cash to pay off this hospital bill, no? Anyway. Can you be so kind as to direct me to their rooms?"
And the words just spill forth from Carol's lips just as fast as that, a stream of words that are quick, to the point, and hurried. The girl doesn't really get an opportunity to even blink, she's about to say one thing, then another, and finally just shrugs and looks it up. "Yeah, two of them are already out, the third is up on the fourth floor, room four oh eight."
"You're a doll, Mitsy is it? Thanks, I'll be sure to write something nice about the staff here." And Carol's gesturing towards Parker. "Get a good picture of this lovely girl, will you, Parker? And lets go."
There's something that's been sort of nagging at Peter as Carol has been speaking about the Hulk, and when she speaks again about it, the photographer is finally able to his finger on it. The realization is almost a visual lifting of his features - the proverbial lightbulb over his head - but there isn't time to ask about it at the moment. Carol is already opening the door for him, and there's tons of people in the lobby just beyond. Peter starts to head through the doorway out of reflex, before he pauses in mid-step halfway through, turning to give Carol a quizzical look. "Hey, aren't I supposed to be the one opening the door for you...?" he asks, resuming his foreward motion so as not to block the way. He lapses into silence then, letting Carol do her thing.
While the rapid-fire compliments are delivered, Peter is already snapping some photos - or, it looks as if he is, at any rate. Really, with the camera he's using and the pretty good lighting in the lobby area, it's hard to tell if he's actually taking pictures or just pretending to. He makes a show of getting a wide-angle shot of the entry way, a close-up of the 'Information' sign, a shot down the long hospital corridor down the left. A rather tired and strung-out family half-asleep in the small waiting area there. Each shot taken by a very eager Peter who makes a show of being as diligent as possible with getting every conceivable angle and shot of interest. At Carol's direction, he's at the ready to take a flurry of shots of the receptionas well, just barely able to resist the urge to coax some runway-eque expressions out of the girl.
He double-times a few steps to catch up with Carol then as the pair heads towards the elevators. He looks at the sign for the elevators that's mounted to the ceiling, quietly hoping this elevator ride is less awkward than the last, and then notices that the hallway is pretty empty. Empty enough for him to ask about the thing he realized earlier. "Hey, can I ask you something?" he starts out in that way that people do, even though they're going to go on ahead anyways. "You keep talking about this Hulk like it's a person, a regular guy or something. I mean, you even called him a man just now. The write-up on it and all the police reports make a pretty big point of saying it was some kind of monster or beast... Why?" The question is far from suspicious or accusatory - it's genuinely curious.
Satisfied with Parker's attempts at getting enough photographs for a very lengthy article, Carol's steps move away from the reception desk and down the long hallway towards the elevators. The maze of corridors is not so easily manuevered, though thankfully Carol doesn't get lost. Still quite ticked off at Parker, the blonde has full intentions on being just as quiet, and just as awkward as before.
It's the question from Peter that turns her full attention, her mouth clamping into a straight line. She should divert. She shouldn't answer. She shouldn't say anything revealing, but she does. "I don't believe in monsters, Peter." She offers, to begin with. "And I have my suspicions about this 'green giant'. Just because he's a giant green angry Hulk doesn't mean that perhaps there is a very nice person beneath it. He may not be human, but that doesn't make him some kind of beast. Prejudice is a quick thing to happen, and the last thing we need is to have this world fall down into that kind of dredges. So yeah, I'm calling Hulk a man, maybe I'm completely off base on this, maybe he is a monster, a creature of the damned, or maybe he's just a confused, hurt person that needs a little help."
And okay, Carol just diverted, but did make a point, without revealing too much anyway. As the elevator dings open, Carol steps inside, thankful that no one else enters with them, as the elevator begins its journey up to the fourth floor.
Listening quietly, Peter nods a little here and there at Carol's answer - though whether it's because he was perhaps expecting that response or because he agrees with it, might be hard to tell. He continues to hold his camera loosely infront of him, one hand on either side of the device, ready to snap a picture despite the fact that there's nothing noteworthy to take a picture of at the moment, and navigates the long hallway as he listens to Carol's thoughtful response. When she's finally finished, Peter joins the woman in the elevator and - perhaps in an effort to make this elevator ride a little more palatable than the last one - opens up in response.
He gives the woman a long glance beforehand, almost appraisingly, his hazel eyes intent and pondering, "That's a lot more noble than most people in this city," he finally states in an appreciative tone. "Or, heck, anywhere for that matter. It's really easy for someone to dismiss something they don't know or don't understand, to make snap judgements and think that whay they see on the surface is the only thing there is. It's a lot harder to look past that surface and acknowledge the possibility of something else underneath." He pauses a moment after saying that, mulling over something while he fingers his camera, his hands fiddling with the lens out of some kind of fidgety reflex. He opens his mouth to continue, but is interrupted with the signature *ding!* of the elevator announcing its arrival on the fourth floor.
"Ah, fourth floor," Peter states instead, slipping into a lighter tone. "Kidney dialysis, colonoscopies, spleen transplants and Pulitzer Prize birthing ward." He follows up the quip with a gesture of his hand to offer an exit from the elevator that's timed with the opening of the car doors.
"I'm not going into anything that even remotely sounds like birthing." Carol offers, quick to just move right on ahead. She's not nearly as noble as Peter is making her out to be, she knows a lot about what is going on, and calling Bruce a 'monster' might be apt, she really needs to know more, not just for her own curiosity, but for the safety of everyone in this city, hell in the world if Carol is honest with herself.
If this is some kind of version where Bruce is nothing but the Hulk, a raging monster, no one is safe. If it is Bruce behind the monster, then maybe things aren't quite as bad as she feared. Regardless, if Carol makes a little noteriety while knowing more than anyone else here knows, that isn't so bad, right?
Carol's steps draw her out of the elevator quickly, pausing only a moment to turn on Parker. "I'm not so noble, Parker, I just don't like drawing to the immediate assumption that just because you look different, means you're a monster. I'm also not saying he's innocent, but what we're here to find out is - just how much of it is his fault, and how much might have been..." Carol searches for the words, and finally once again uses the word, "Triggered."
After going down one hallway wrong, Carol turns around, and heads down the correct one with a, "Not a word Peter." Soon the room to one of the first 'victims' comes into focus. Jack Brown. Carol straights a bit, then knocks on the door. "Excuse me, Mr. Brown, Carol Danvers and Peter Parker from the New York Record, do you have time for an interview?"
"Call it what you will, but in my book, *not* jumping to conclusions is a far sight more noble than the opposite," Peter is quick to answer as he walks along with Carol. Or begins to. He actually stops a step out of the elevator, starting to orient himself towards the right way when Carol strides very purposefully down the wrong one only to turn about and then head past Peter on the right course. Wisely, Peter remains quiet, though he can't refrain from the grin that creeps on to his features after Carol has issued her warning and is already a few steps past him.
Following along, Peter busies himself by taking a few photos of the hallway leading up to the room of choice, just atmosphere stuff - and then is ready to take some photos of the interview subject himself when Carol and Peter arrive at the intended room.
As Carol knocks on the door and makes her initial introduction, the door swings open - not having been latched properly, it seems. The scene that's revealed beyond is, despite Carol's insistence to the contrary earlier, quite as if it may have come out of a movie. A single hospital bed is set up in the room, with a patient mounted there in a series of casts and traction devices. Just from looking at him, it seems as if he must have more than a dozen broken bones, if not twice that many, as all four limbs are encased in plaster and both arms and one leg are held in suspension. The man's head is wrapped in bandages, though his face is largely visible, purple, puffy and bruised as it is, with one eye swollen closed and a line of stitches crossing down over the bridge of his nose from forehead to jaw.
As the door swings open, there's initially silence from the man, a silence hangs for a long moment - long enough to perhaps make one wonder if the injured man is concious or not - but just at the far edge of that moment becoming uncomfortable, the man speaks in a low and raspy voice. "I ain't got nuthin' ta say. I already spoke ta the pigs about that damn monster." He grimaces after he speaks, the effort clearly painful for him, before he forces himself to continue. "Not that they did any effing good. Heard they hadda rely on some superhero and even then the beast got away. But if ya jaywalk across eight avenue, ya got ten damn pigs on horseback there on the scene..." The man makes another pained expression, lapsing into silence. The room itself is very sparce, with little in the way of decorations or well-wishes. There are no flowers set up, no balloons or cards, despite the fact that he's been here for a few days already.
"How very eloquently put, Mr. Brown." Carol offers, not at all deterred. Her blue gems focus upon the man in traction, "It looks like you're lucky to be alive." She coos, motioning Peter in, before she shuts the door quietly behind the two. Her gaze lingers on Parker a moment, before a low, vicious smile crosses her features, then fades just as fast. Carol's hands idly unbutton the grey jacket, revealing a soft white blouse beneath, another button is removed, just enough to show off her neckline and throat, before Carol winks at Parker and turns back around.
Turning around, the blonde draws sensually towards the victim, offering a quiet, "That looks really painful. Jack. Mind if I call you Jack? Anyway I'm Carol, from the New York Record, the newspaper here in town, not the police, not the feds, not the Sentry group. Just Carol, reporter."
Her steps draw her towards the bed, fully then, as her hand gently rests upon Jack's cheek. "This just looks so terrible, Jack. I'm here to tell -your- story to the world. Your, and your friends. You had two friends, right? Didn't get nearly as hurt, I hear tell they're already gone, but here you lay. Beaten." Carol pauses a beat, her voice holding a compassion that doesn't quite enter her gaze. "Bruised." She lets out a soft sigh, "And broken. Jack. I have to tell you, if you don't talk to me, no one else is going to know what a tragedy this is, or was. And I bet, you have a lot to say, don't you, Jack?"
Slipping into the room after Carol, Peter blanches only momentarily at the state of the man in the hospital bed, swallowing once before he steels himself and draws his camera up to his eye, finger clicking shot after shot as he starts to photographically document the state of the man and Carol's interview with him. At Carol's removal of her jacket - and her top button - Peter does quirk up one eyebrow, though he quickly enough returns his attention - and more importantly, his camera - to the prone and battered form of Mr. Brown, such as he is.
For Jack Brown part, the injured man's attention is clearly drawn to the sultry tones and motions that Carol presents, the man's breathing quickening noticeably as she draws close to him, evidenced by the movement of his chest, up and down, under the white hospital blankets. "I know what the damn Record is," he answers at first, though his raspy tone is less venemous that it was before. His one good eye darts around a little bit as Carol rests her hand on his cheek, focusing for a moment on Peter, though he gets no acknowldegement from the photographer as Peter continues to just snap photo after photo, circling around the hospital bed as he does so.
"Who... who are you?" Jack almost spits out - or, wheezes may be a more appropriate terms. He can't quite turn his head, though his good eye focuses on Carol in a mixture of emotions, suspicion being pretty high on the list. "You ain't no reporter. Not like I ever seen before. I dunno what the hell you want, that damn green bastard nearly killed my boys an' I, and that's the damn truth of it... We're the damn victms!" he continues, starting to get a little more defensive then one maybe should when they haven't been accused of anything yet. "Eighteen damn broken bones I got, the docs say my arm ain't ever gonna heal right, and that damn little..." Jack coughs then, wincing and flinching with the motion as he's unable to say anything else at the moment.
"Damn little..?" Carol inquires. The sultry tone is all gone now, as the hand on Jack's cheek lowers then, down to his arm. "I told you who I am, Jack. I'm a news paper reporter, but I'm also someone who doesn't like a liar. I think you're lying. I think there's more of a story behind this then you're letting on, and I want to know the truth. You see. Most people."
Carol's fingers idly trace down the man's broken arm, finger nails slowly scraping against the plaster. "Most people don't go into a fit of rage that bad, screaming about wanting to be left alone - if something hasn't happened to trigger it. Oh sure, you have monsters, and bad guys, and all. Bad people exist. You're not a bad person, are you. Jack?" The name 'Jack' is pronounced very intentionally, as Carol's fingernails end their trace down the man's arm, and idly begin to brush against his wrist.
"Still. That much anger. Why directed at you and your - boys, was it you said there. Jack? I don't think you're entirely innocent. Jack." Carol's finger ends at the man's pinky, her gaze narrowing upon the man, eyes an intense blue. "So why don't you tell me what really happened that day, or maybe, maybe you'd like the world to know that you're a two-bit criminal, that you have a rap sheet longer than Peter's debt accounts. Maybe I can write all about how many times that you've gone to jail, on all the crimes you've committed. Maybe I'll just go on and write about that, get your name and picture spread on the newspaper, so that all your enemies can know you're here, broken, bruised, and beaten."
Admist the otherwise tense scene that is unfolding, Peter can't help himself and lowers his camera from his face just enough to chime in, "It was one missed payment, one! I don't have any other debts here yet," before he wrinkles his nose and clams up again, lifting the camera back in place to resume taking photographs. He mainly focuses on Jack's features - the panic that is starting to mix with the pain in the man's expression, that look like a trapped animal or a liar who is about to have a hastily constructed house of cards come falling down around him. Peter takes a few photos of Carol's intense, focused features as well, but wisely elects not to capture the journey of the woman's fingers down the man's broken, battered arm.
"You ain't able ta prove nuthin!" Jack hisses, craning his neck the best he can to stare daggers at Carol with his good eye, even his swollen eye opening up just enough to give a glimpse of a beady, bloodshot orb staring from underneath the purple, engorged lid. "We wasn't doin' nuthin! And Jack Brown ain't got no rap sheet!" Which, technically, is true - though the man's real name isn't Jack, either, which is why he gave the false identity to the authorities and the hospital. After all, he *does* have a criminal history a proverbial mile long under his real ID, but he doesn't appear anywhere close to admitting that to the blonde woman. Instead, he's trying to move his hand away from hers, though he's scarcely able to do so, his fingers just sort of wiggling helplessly. "Nurse!!" he finally tries to call out, rasping and desperate. "Nurse!!"
There's an instant where Carol wonders just how much pressure she should apply to this low life, this scum bag. The hunch she took on the fact Jack Brown wasn't his real name did pay off, but she really can't go having trouble with the local law, even if she's quite sure she could easily take out Sentry. Airman might be a bit of a trouble, but that would only be her holding her breath long enough to vaporize him. Snake, easy. Golden Girl, no trouble.
But. Carol really doesn't want to be a villain, so her hand lifts from Jack's arm and wrist, both hands lifting upwards in a kind of 'I surrender' motion. "Okay, Jackie boy. You're a complete innocent. A victim of a hate crime. A nasty little piece of shit that deserves what you got. You little stinking coward. What did you do? Did you rob him? Did you try and mug him? What? What happened?"
Stepping back, Carol isn't quite over, "How badly did you crap your pants when he changed, Jack? Did your shorts turn black?" Whether or not he says anything, Carol can't really continue as a nurse can be heard coming down the hallway, forcing Carol to turn around and head out of the room.
The criminal says nothing in response to Carol, nothing at all. He remains tight-lipped, silent, unwilling to give in to the woman's taunts and jibes. But he doesn't need to say anything to give her an answer - the expression on his face tells it all. Even among all the purple, black and blue of his smashed-up face, one can easily see the bright red that creeps there, the color accompanying a fire to the man's eyes that betrays his guilt - and his angry embrassment. He's just about shaking in his casts from pent-up rage when Carol leaves the room - but to his credit, he doesn't make a sound.
Peter gives a back-and-forth look between Carol and 'Jack' before he double-steps to follow the blonde out of the room, casting a final look back at the quaking criminal before he utters a low whisper to Carol as the two hastily move down the hall in the opposite direction of the oncoming nurse. "What do you men, when he changed?" He barely gets the question out when, inexplicably, Peter ducks into a nearby vacant room, just about tugging Carol with him. "In here," he whispers urgently, ducking out of sight just in time before hospital security come around the corner, moving with purpose towards Jack Brown's room. As if nothing strange happened, Peter peeks back into the hallway, motioning Carol towards the stairwell. "And how'd you know he was... Ah, nevermind that for right now. I think we need to get out of here before those guards double back. But I've got some questions I want answers to..."
Smugly. Carol can see the man's bright red face, the embarrasment, the fact she -was- right, and there's a sense of relief in that. It's one thing for Bruce to get jumped and turn into the Hulk, it's another for the Hulk to just appear and start tearing everything around up in mad, rage filled anger. When Peter whispers out his hushed 'In here', Carol allows Peter to pull her into the small room. As the sound of security passes by, Carol finds herself quite close to Peter, forcing her to take a step back.
When the sound leaves, Carol's gaze flickers towards Peter, "I could ask you how you knew that there was security coming." Carol inquires, "But right now, we both know that we've got more questions than answers about each other, and about this situation. You'll get your answers -after- we've tracked down the other two suspects, because if we /don't/ we're both fired."
And Carol's gaze flickers towards the window, she almost ponders giving up her identity, but instead ducks back out into the hallway once all sound has ceased. "C'mon Parker, we've got two bad guys to track down."
And with that, Carol scampers off towards the nearest 'exit' sign.
"Lucky guess," Peter offers as fairly lame reasoning to the advanced knowledge of the oncoming security guards. The words are accompanied by a half-hearted shrug, before he moves with Carol towards the 'exit' sign and the stairwell that lays beyond. He knows only too well that she's right about their need to track down the other members of Brown's crew, as it were, because as it stands if this excursion doesn't turn into a bonafide story their jobs are indeed on the line. Though, he can't help but comment to her with a bit of a grin. "They're suspects, now?" The comment is pure jest - he was able to read what happened with 'Jack' and was easily able to tell most of what wasn't said as much as what was, but he still can't help but give Carol a bit of ribbing about the comment. "C'mon," he states then, nimbly descending the stairwell. "Unless you have another lead up your sleeve, we've got some serious detective work to do."