2019-03-20: Twenty Questions
|Featuring||Spider-Man, Captain Marvel|
|Synopsis||This takes place just after On The Hunt For The Truth - Part One. Carol and Peter get a little one-on-one time to find out just who the other is.|
A few minutes ago...
After sneaking out of the hospital through stealth, spider-sense, and a great deal of luck, our intrepid duo of Carol Danvers and Peter Parker, have made it to the safety of a fairly poor part of town. Safety being - at least they weren't being chased by officers of the law.
For her part, Carol is currently on a very old, dated, smart phone, speaking with someone in low tones. "No, I didn't intend to make your life more difficult, nor did I intend on making MY life more difficult. These things happen." Is the first part that can barely be said, as the tall blonde paces to and fro in the small alley-way that the two have taken refuge in.
"Yes, you can fully blame him. I'm sure that his bad luck is rubbing off, and it wasn't my fault." Carol's blue gems focus on Peter, then back to the mouth of the alley. "Can you at least find out the address they gave? Or the name? Anything? Okay. Okay. Thank you, you're the best I owe you!"
And with that Carol shuts off the phone, turning towards Parker with a clearing of her throat. "So I called in a favor, of a friend, who's going to see if she can't track down the last location of those kids that were released, or any information she can find out - in the meantime. We can do twenty questions. You can go first, ask you question."
Checking over his shoulder a few times for good measure as the pair exit the hospital, Peter finally allows himself to let out a small breath of relief as he and Carol find a spot that seems more or less safe. Well, safe at least from the predicament they were running from. When the sun goes down, it's clear that this part of town is pretty rough, judging from the bars on the windows, the gates that can be pulled over the shop doors and the copious amounts of gang graffiti that's plastered just about everywhere. The chalk outline that's across the street doesn't help the ambiance much either.
Still, no one is looking for them here, which is the point. Peter leans back against the nearest wall, idly holding his camera in his hands and examining the archaic equipment as Carol makes her phone call, occasionally glancing over as she's easily heard speaking to whoever it is that's on the other end of the line. Someone that Carol has spoken to about Peter, it seems? "Hey," he blurts out in reflex at the 'bad luck' comment that's spoken very suspiciously just as Carol looks at him. "I just stayed quiet and took pictures." His face wrinkles up a little, nose scrunching, though it's hard to tell if it's because he was wrongly blamed for being 'bad luck' or because the label fits only too well and he's just not sure how Carol knows that about him already.
He quirks an eyebrow at the explanation of the friend and the favor, followed by the offer of 'twenty questions'. "Twenty questions? You mean like, you're thinking of something and I ask things like, is it bigger than a breadbox, or, do you mean if I ask things like, why do you keep giving me looks like you know me but I've never seen you before, you'll answer them?" He pauses. "Uh, shoot, if it's the second one I just wasted a question, didn't I..."
"It's the second, and yes you did." Comes Carol's comment, as she gestures towards the opposite end of the alley. "C'mon Parker, I'll answer while we find some place to eat, while we wait for Jess' call back." Stuffing her hands into the bomber jacket she's wearing, Carol's steps lead her out of the alley and towards the street beyond.
Considering it is New York, there is still a lot that is open, active, and ready for customers. One such establishment is a small, hole in the wall eatery that proudly displays the fact it caters to the greasy spoon crowd. Usually that means cheap food, something that Carol is keen on right now, and she's pretty sure Parker is as well.
Stepping through the threshold of the door, then finding a quiet booth in the back, after menus have been given and glasses that appear to be water placed on the table, does Carol finally answer the question. "The answer to that question is, I have never seen -you- before, but you remind me of someone I do know. Or. Knew." She pauses a bit at that, furrowing her brows together, "So, my turn. Are you a registered STRAY?"
Indeed, Peter is definitely also on board with the cheaper is better idea. Accordingly, he gives a nod of approval at the choice of eateries, following Carol towards the secluded and private booth towards the rear of the place. He's pretty congenial to the waitress - despite being a born and bred New Yorker, the young man has a small town charm about him, an earnest and polite way of dealing with people. He issues a genuine 'Thanks' to the water and menus, then too waits until he and Carol are alone before expecting her to resume discussion.
"Oh, well, that clears it up," he answers at first, taking a sip of his ice water. The side of his mouth quirks inwards just a little bit as he ponders - and it's when Carol follows up the statement with her question as to his STRAY status that gears can almost be visibly seen turning in Peter's head. "So... You've met an alternate version of me... Either one that's come and gone before me, or... He was from whereever you've come from." He's piecing things together as he speaks, but they're starting to fit together well for him.
"Yeah, I registered," he answers, then, as if suddenly remembering he hadn't responded to the question. "Figured I may as well get citizenship and ID and all of that. Once I figured out what happened and... Well, that the chances of getting back home were pretty slim." A brief shadow passes over his features when he says that, but he shakes off the emotion with a small shrug. "Didn't see any reason against it. Not that I've been able to collect on any of that STRAY assistance funding people keep saying is out there somewhere..." He takes another drink of his water, levelling his gaze across the table to the blonde woman. "Okay. My next question." Another pause as it's clear he's formulating the inquiry carefully in his head before he asks it, his voice lowering a little. "This other Peter Parker. What... did you know about him?"
The expression that Carol offers Peter is pure evil, right down to the smirk that creeps itself across her features. One brow even quirks up just a bit higher than the next as she ponders just what to say about how much she 'knows'. She could be evil. She could be good. She could be sly. She could just out right say everything she knows.
Or, Carol could also pause and turn as the waitress returns asking for their orders. Within quick order, Carol has ordered herself a coney dog and fries, a soft drink will just be water, have to take cuts somewhere these days. The thought still stings, she use to have a nest egg for goodness sakes!
When the waitress has finally left with both orders, Carol leans back and idly takes a sip of her water, pondering just what to say. "First, bingo, I'll even give you another answer to that, I'm a registered stray as well, you get -two- answers to this, because the one that you really want to know? Yes, Parker, I know you have an Aunt May. Or is that not what you want to hear? Look, lets just say that I know all about usefulness of having an arachnid around to catch pests. My turn! Have you ever heard of the Avengers?"
What a disturbing look that is given to Peter - a look of the proverbial cat that ate the canary, if there ever was one. Peter is about to say something in response to the smirk that Carol is giving him, but before he can do so the waitress is there and everything needs to stop for the moment. And not only because neither he nor Carol want the waitress to listen in - Peter's hungry and he needs to place his order if he wants to get any food! He also sticks just with water, and orders a club sandwich for himself, no side. It seems he's used to ordering on the cheap.
Then, the waitress is gone and the conversation resumes - complete with a name dropping of Aunt May. The mention of which probably gets a different reaction than Carol may have been expecting. While there is a small amount of surprise there, the expression on Peter's face is mostly sadness and loss. And it's fairly raw too, that sort of pained look of grief that sucker punches you when you weren't expecting to have to deal with it. To his credit, Peter reins in the emotions fairly quickly, but one would have to be blind to have missed them. "Aunt May... she's..." he begins, voice cracking just a little. "She died. Before.. Before here. I couldn't save her." The words are heavy, laden with guilt as well as grief, and Peter clears his throat a little as he collects himself.
The fact that Carol so slyly drops the arachnid reference is enough to help Peter get his mind off of the fate of his Aunt May, and he nods slowly as he focuses on the blonde woman. "Well. That helps explains things... And. I guess it's good to know that even in another universe, some things stay constants." Then, the question about the Avengers. "Well, sure! Iron Man, Captain America, Hawkeye, Thor... " He blinks then, as another deductive leap seems to spark inside his head. He leans in, eyes wide and his voice whispering fervently. "Oh, waittaminute. You're one, where you come from aren't you - and if you know that I... Oh man. Was I an Avenger there?? Tell me I was an Avenger. Was I?"
Carol was NOT expecting the first part, the grief, the wavering of his voice, the fact his Aunt passed and there wasn't anything he could do about it. "Ugh, Pete." She uses the name she's use to calling him, versus the more formal of one. "I'm sorry, but yeah, in - where I come from, she's alive and doing well. If that comes as a small consulation. In other worlds out there, all our loved ones are still going strong, something to think about, yeah?"
Carol's had her share of losses, people she's loved that have been taken from her. Just letting that sink in, the glass of water in Carol's hand is set down, her blue eyes focusing in on Peter as he takes the intelligent leap from Carol's question, to the next one that he has for her.
"Okay, I'll tell you that you were an Avenger." The blonde Captain Marvel begins, the rye grin still on her features, yet she doesn't make Peter wait too much longer, as she's quick to state, "Yes, to all of the above. We worked together, or, your alternate counterpart and I. It's why I know as much as I do, and why I say I don't know you, but I know of you."
"Funny how things work like that. So next question, did you come over with anyone else?" Those intense eyes of Carol's once again stare intently at Peter, watching his face ever so intently.
"Awesome!" Peter can't help but blurt out at the confirmation of his alternate self being an Avenger. A bit of a silly grin is plastered over his boyish features as he settles back against the booth bench, enjoying the thought of being one of the Earth's Mightiest. Sure, it wasn't *him*, but - there's still something to be said about one's alternate self having earned something like that. And, it's also a pleasant thing to dwell on instead of the loss of his family or the fact that even though his loved ones may still be alive somewhere out there, that he'll never be with them.
"Makes sense," he states then, nodding slightly as Carol explains a little bit more. "Hope I, ah, don't disappoint compared to my alternate self. I mean. On my world, they never asked *me* to join the Avengers..." It may be hard to tell how much he's joking or putting on, and the fact that he's quick to answer the next question doesn't help in those regards. "Just little ol' me," he answers plainly, leaning back forward to cross his arms on the table before him. "At least, as far as I know. Hopefully I don't have any surprises waiting for me, you know, building up a small army of thugs or whatever... No idea how those portals work. I mean, is it a proximity thing, or what? Been trying to read up on them, but the scientists here don't really know either. Sometimes whatever comes through goes away, sometimes it stays... Who's to say that when I came through, something else came through with me from halfway across the city?" He shrugs, apparently having given this some thought. "Still. My gut says I was it, and usually my hunches are fairly on point."
He regards Carol for a moment then, lips pursed a little as his hazel eyes regard the woman. Trying to figure out what question to ask next. "Okay. So you already clearly know a lot about me. Or, the other me, anyways. I have some ground to cover. I don't remember anyone like you in my version of the Avengers, unless you're some kind of female Thor. Which..." his eyes flicker over Carol's stature for effect. "Possible. But... Okay, realizing that this probably isn't the place for specifics, let me ask you this. After lunch, will you let me find a rooftop or empty warehouse somewhere so that you can show me who you are and what you can do?"
"Not a female Thor." Carol is quick to answer, "She's a bit of a bitch, actually. Can't say I'm a fan." Really though, the woman is just very intense, and so Carol has taken a bit of a dislike to her. Still, the blonde is quick and easy with her words, and her opinion, something that Peter should find to his benefit. Carol doesn't open up to many about such things. It is a sign that Carol trusts Peter and more than that, is comfortable around him. It also betrays a little more should Peter pick it up, Carol and her world's Peter have had more than small talk conversations before.
Once again Carol doesn't get the opportunity to answer the question Peter asks of her, instead their food is delivered, and Carol shoves the french fries towards the middle of the table. "I can't eat all of this, here, dig in as well." The coney dog is ever bit as greasy and messy as imagined, though Carol's quick to take several bites as she contemplates just how much she wants to give away on their first real 'meeting of the minds'.
Finally, the blonde offers a wry grin. "Hmm. That's a tricky question, I'll answer with a 'yes', though with the reservation that if you've never heard of me, you may not fully understand who I am, which leads me to this question. This world, they've never heard of aliens. Never. Ever. They believe themselves to be unique, are you of the same opinion? Do you believe the universe is empty except for mankind?"
It's not lost on Peter, the casualness with which Carol talks about an actual female version of Thor. The fact that yes, there is both a male Thor and a female Thor where Carol comes from and that there's at least two versions of the God of Thunder isn't all that remarkable, and also the fact that she feels pretty comfortable not just chewing the fat with Peter, but also with talking about heavier subject matter. They were at the very least colleagues for a time on the Avengers, he pieces together, if not good friends. The realization causes him to take another look at Carol, thoughtfully, though the arrival of the entrees brings him out of the quiet reverie.
"Oh - thanks," he answers to the offer of the fries, not shy about reaching out to take a couple of the golden sticks. His own club sandwich isn't greasy, per se, but the lettuce looks fairly wimpy, the meat slices are pathetically thin and the bread is only passably toasted and looks soggy with butter and mayo. Still, it's food, and a guy's gotta eat. So, Peter digs in and enjoys, munching happily.
"Incomplete understanding is leagues better than no knowledge at all," he's quick to remark between bites of food."And yeah, I've noticed that! The science fiction sub culture is crazy here! I mean, the John Carter movie was a blockbuster and had three sequels already, how weird is *that*?" He has another bite of his food before he actually answers the question about alien life, then, shaking his head. "I'm lucky to say I've not run into any myself. That I'm aware of," he's quick to clarify, "But. The Avengers, the Fantastic Four... They've wrestled with more than a few. Some good, some not so much... But yeah. They're out there. I have a hard time believing they're not out there here too." He pauses then, head tilting just a little to the side. "Why do you ask?" Yeah, it's his question. But he's asking it like it's a natural follow-up to this part of the conversation, and truthfully, Peter's lost count as to how many have been asked at this point.
"Have you -watched- this world's version though?" Carol is quick to inquire, realizing that perhaps she juse used up her question. Her nose wrinkles momentarily, before she just shrugs and goes with it. "It's a lot better than my world's. A -lot- better. I'm on the second sequel and even the television version is good."
"And I ask, Mr. Parker." Carol states, "Is because I'm -half- alien, myself." With that little tid-bit of information given, Carol's quick to finish up her hotdog and is soon sitting back in the seat, idly slurping on her recently refilled water. Gaze moving to look out of the slightly dirty window.
"In my world, there's this guy, nice scientist. Nerd. When he isn't being an angry monster, he's a nice guy. It's why I'm so passionate about finding out if the Hulk is just an uncontrolled beast, or the nice guy within that experienced something bad. I think those thugs jumped him, hurt him, and forced the Hulk out of him." Carol's gaze flickers towards Peter then, "It's why I had to find out, why I'm risking my 'new' career on it. I have to know, so I can either help him out, or try and stop him." And the manner in which Carol states 'stop him', may express something else too.
"Okay okay, five questions is enough I think for now. Shall we pay for our meal and I show you what I can do, Petey?"
"No, I've actually been strangely obsessed with Buck Rogers," Peter admits a bit sheepishly. "Also, really different from back home, but, sort of the same. Just better." He grins, finishing up the last of his club sandwhich and reaching for another couple of fries when Carol drops the bombshell that she's half alien, news which does cause Peter to pause a moment, eyebrows lifting.
"What? Get out," he whispers, fingers finally closing around the french fries as he draws them back to plop them in his mouth, chewing as he focuses on Carol with equal parts disbelief and fascination. "Either you didn't get much appearance-wise from the alien half, or all of those Stark Trek memes about all aliens being so human looking are pretty spot on," he quips then, grinning. "Either way. I'm guessing there's a lot bigger story there...." One which he hopes he'll get to hear, though he doesn't press at the moment.
Instead, he nods, finishing up his fries as he listens to the details about the Hulk and the scientist who apparently harbors the large beast. "Stopping him won't be easy," he notes matter-of-fact. But, he does say 'won't be easy' rather than 'can't be done'. And his tone of voice matches that indication - that he's up for making the attempt, regardless of how hard it might be. "But I'm with you either way. Especially if we can help him."
Then, with a nod, Peter starts to push himself up and out from behind the booth table. "Sounds like a plan to me," he begins, before reaching for his wallet and opening it - to reveal a lonely pair of one dollar bills, quite crumpled and sad looking. "Uh... You know I was asking HR for an advance...?" He gives a hopeful smile that Carol will spot him for the bill, before he suddenly blinks as something she said just now clicks. "Wait, you were actually counting questions?"
"And as far as some things go, nothing ever changes." Carol's wallet is a bit more filled, as she foots the bill for the two, and even adds enough of a tip for the waitress to have ten percent. "I'm surprised a moth didn't fly out of that wallet, Pete."
"Oh, there's a lot more I'm not telling, but then, we all have to have our own mysteries don't we?" A wry grin crosses Carol's features again, as she's quick to offer a smile. "And to think at the beginning of our day, I was about ready to vaporize you."
Making her way out with her back to Peter, Carol doesn't stop to see his expression, because frankly she was quite sure she was going /to/ send him flying.
The moment, and Carol does mean the MOMENT that Peter is out of the door, he'll find one of Carol's arms wrapped about his midsection as the woman takes off in flight. One instant they're at the doorway, the next Carol's moving at nearly her top speed, zooming off to the top of what appears to be a darkened warehouse, putting Peter down soon afterwards. She hovers a bit in the air, arms crossed over her chest, a cheeky grin on her expression. "So, just remember the next time you try and either avoid me, or look like you're going to run at the sight of me, I /am/ an Avenger."
If this were a cartoon, there likely *would* have been a moth flittering out of that wallet. But, as it is, Peter just gives a hapless shrug and then closes up the thin wallet with a heartfelt, "Thanks. I'll, ah, I'll get the next one..." He hopes. Well. He'll just have to keep to a Ramen diet for awhile, at least until he can get something better paying than the freelance gig.
As Carol turns to head out - and confesses of her idea to vaporize him - Peter does look a little taken aback by the words, wondering how much of the comment is figurative and how much is literal. But then - he *does* remember that very, very awkward elevator ride. And decides that discretion in this instance is much preferred over asking for clarification. So, he instead just moves to follow Carol out the door - only to find himself scooped up and soaring through the air!
On the one hand, he's not *too* worried about the high rade of speed, or even the sudden abduction - after all, there's multiple ways he knows he's not in danger. His spider-sense isn't going off, for one. But, he's also gotten to know Carol fairly well over the meal and at this point, he trusts her. Which - as she is only too happy to point out to him - wasn't necessarily the case at the beginning of the day.
Landing nimbly, Peter looks up at Carol as she hovers there, a bit of a rueful expression on his features. "In my defense," he starts out with a grin, "You *were* acting fairly suspicious. But, point taken." He continues to smile, regarding her. "So. Flight. Strength... For starters..." He reaches up to start unbuttoning his shirt, revealing a white-emblemed Spider-Man suit hiding underneath his street clothes, the red and blue trip of the outfit looking very familiar but the bright coloration of the spider logo quite a contrast to anything Carol would be familiar with. "Okay," he continues with a grin. "I guess it's time for show and tell..."