What: Follow Carol to take her "student" Anya back home
Where: Eastern Washington
When: September 21, 2006
Swooping back to the SUV, Warren scanned the barren desert landscape one last time before he landed, shivering slightly in the crisp fall air. "What I don't get is why the hell she headed up here, there's nothing for miles, just some little crap towns and more desert. You would think that Ms. Marvel and her protoge would have started back to kiss Stark's ass and find SHIELD backup before now. Or at least toward Seattle and civilization."
He climbed back into the vehicle, "And haven't we gotten enough footage of them putting the kid in a combat situation? I mean what's our plan here to catch them, or just document what's going on?"
Jean checked the GPS on the tracking beacon they'd attached to the compact car Ms. Marvel had chosen to make her getaway in. She'd felt fortunate that Jean-Paul's speed had made tagging the car with the homing device mere child's play. Pursing her lips, Jean wondered what had made Carol choose this godforsaken place to stop.
Once she had pulled Arana's home telephone number and her father's name from the child's thoughts, it had taken one phone call to establish that no, her father did not know where his daughter was, no he did not approve of his minor child being involved in the transfer of a dangerous prisoner and that furthermore he was furious that she had been taken on a combat mission at all. The furious torrent of Spanish into the phone explained that he had only left Arana with Carol because he had been assured that she would continue to live the life of a normal teenager.
"Is this normal? I ask you? That woman took my daughter out on a trip to be attacked by dangerous criminals, now she's flying around dressed like a puta. Is that a good example for my little girl? What if my Arana is hurt? Mother of Mary, I hope she is not hurt. Arana, she is my life. Please, Miss Phoenix. Bring my Arana back safely."
While Jean thought that calling Carol a whore simply because of her costume was a bit harsh, and she delicately decided against pointing out that she was one of the dangerous criminals that had engaged in combat with Ironman, Ms Marvel and Co... she understood the man's anger and fear. Jean reassured him the best she could during their brief phone call, promising to keep him updated. She decided against sharing with him how difficult getting Arana back was going to be, especially considering they needed to do it without being arrested themselves or causing any more civilian casualities. The memory of her conversation with him made her head hurt. Jean turned to the others in the car, "I talked to Arana's father. He wants us to bring her home." She sighed.
"God, I need coffee." Jean turned to Scott, "Shit, I don't even see a Starbucks. I guess we're stuck with that place." She gestured to a gas station with a large sign that advertised, "Grand Central Coffee Station."
"If this place is hideous, we're going to search for Starbucks. I swear to god, I cannot function without a decent latte. Hell, if I know Carol she's probably looking for one herself."
"I think I'm just gonna wait this one out in the car." Jean-Paul said looking at the dull landscape outside. "I suppose there isn't anything you could do about the boredom?"
Jean-Paul looked over at Bobby who at the present time seemed to be sticking with him in the Suburban. For this, Jean-Paul was thankful. He didn't want to be the only one who opted out of disgusting coffee, and Red Bull.
Bobby leaned back against the seat and wondered if it were possible for a place on earth to be any duller. He didn't think so, but then there were places in the Midwest that he hadn't been to yet, "I think they're gonna do drive through. God forbid that our perfect princess get her ass out of the car."
"Oh shut the fuck up, Bobby." Jean replied from the front seat, without turning around.
Bobby turned to Jp, "Yeah, just one big happy family. That's the x-men. Is Alpha flight any more.... friendly?"
Jean-Paul couldn't help but laugh at the dynamic set up between frontseat/backseat. Jean-Paul leaned forward, trying to get himself closer to the front.
"I can't blame her." Jean-Paul said smiling. "If we're doing drive-thru I'd like a water with lemon."
"We pretty much stayed out of each other's way in Alpha Flight." Jean-Paul said matter-of-factly, looking over at Bobby as he continued. "But I suppose that is why the X-men are still in existence, and Alpha Flight is long gone."
Jean snorted inelegantly from the front seat, "Do you want anything, Bob?"
Bobby winced, "I hate that. Bob. It sounds like something evil floating in a pool. Yeah, give me a fruit granita."
He turned to JP, "Who knows if we're going to be in existance by the end of the day? Seems to me we're turning into nothing more than a glorified daycare."
"I suppose that thrill is why we do it though." Jean-Paul said in reference to Bobby's comment. "I mean, yeah we do it to be heroes - and those selfless reasons as well -- but I think a good part of being a hero - is being an adrenaline junkie."
Jean-Paul let the comment sit for a moment before adding.
"- or an egotist."
"I hate 'Bob' too by the way. You don't act like a 'Bob'. Nor do you really look like one. Whatever that means."
A genuine smile lit up Bobby's face, "I love that rush you get in the middle of a fight.... or the way you feel afterward. It's the best high ever."
He took the drink that was handed over the back of the seat to him and took a sip, "Yeah, Bob is my uncle, the plumber." He made a face.
"I know exactly what you are talking about." Jean-Paul said smiling. "I remember back when I first entered Alpha Flight with my sister - we both used to just get the biggest thrill out of helping our comrades in battle." Jean-Paul said thinking about his sister breifly then continuing. "My powers weren't what they are now, back then."
"Jean-Paul has always suited me as far as names goes. My codename fits as well." Jean-Paul leaned in close to Bobby and dropped his voice to add. "It sure as hell beats Polaris."
Bobby resisted the urge to kick the back of Jean's seat thinking for a moment that it while completely immature the satisfaction of pissing her off was almost worth looking like an utter ass in front of Jp...not quite, but almost. He settled for laying one finger on the back of her seat and chilling it subtly, she turned to Scott and said sharply, "Damn it, Scott I thought I asked you to turn the air down, I'm freezing my ass off, here."
Bobby leaned back and took another drink of his granita, "Yeah, you look like a Jean-Paul. Northstar is pretty cool, too. Polaris sucks almost as bad as.... Marvel girl." Bobby said quietly.
"Marvel Girl was an error in judgement." Jean-Paul said not wanting to offend Jean, but in full agreement with Bobby that the name was terrible.
"Still - there have been worse codenames I'm sure. I always thought Vindicator and Guardian were kind of lame names myself." Jean-Paul said referring again to his former teammates in Alpha Flight.
"You just think Polaris sucks 'cause she wouldn't," Warren muttered in a low voice, bracing himself for a bitch-queen glare from Jean in the front seat.
Spying a familiar car ahead of them, he gratefully changed the subject, as Scott moved to follow it. "I think we just found what we're looking for. You guys wanna distract our friend Carol, and I'll sweep our soon-to-be guest off her feet?"
Bobby rolled his eyes, Like I wanted that, well, I guess head is head, but, oh, fuck.... "Well, god... what about Wonder Man... I mean, Jesus. Who came up with that? His publicist? That shit is lame." He shook his head.
Jean looked at Warren, "Like you would know either way. Ass. I swear going any place with you guys is like being on the road with a group of mutated frat boys in desperate need of Prozac and blow jobs. God, Charles owes me for this." As the SUV came to a screeching halt, Jean slammed the door open and used her telekinesis to fly after Carol.
"I certainly hope you aren't putting me in the same group of these head-seeking frat boys!" Jean-Paul said laughing. "Although to be fair to the boys of Omega X, who doesn't enjoy oral sex?"
Jean-Paul thought the question was a fair one, plus it allowed him access to both sides of the fight. Which for Jean-Paul, was more satisfying than - well anything else at the moment.
"Probably Jean. She's too prissy." Bobby shot back quickly as he laughed along with Jean-Paul. He looked up at the sky where Jean's red hair streamed out behind her.
"Well, except when it comes to a chick fight. Then she's gets all fired up." He leaned against the car and took a drink of granita.
"Damn straight, if Scott got any head ever, there's no way he would be such a fuckin' tightass," Warren watched as their leader followed Jean, hand to his visor, looking serious and uptight as always.
"Okay, guess it's time for me to go play babysitter," he said, unfurling his wings and swooping toward Carol and the teenager. "Does anyone remember what the kid's name is?" he called.
"Non." Jean-Paul said already taking his suit jacket off. "Somebody should find that out though."
Although he wasn't exactly what he was leaving the car for, he did know that he could always just follow someone until he got his bearings. He looked over in Bobby's way as he exited the car.
"You ready?" he said with a smile on his face. "Let's go."
Jean sighed, and replied, //You know he gets more head than you three put together. Now can we please just get to work?// The wind whipped through her red hair as she flew after Carol.
//Carol, C'mon. You know this isn't what you signed up for. Fighting with a kid? Her dad wants her home.// Jean sent to Carol as they headed away from the city limits out across the sage brush. A low concrete building came into view just as loud speakers blared:
"YOU HAVE ENTERED THE EXCLUSION ZONE OF THE HAMMER FACILITY. THIS IS NOT A DRILL. LAND IMMEDIATELY OR RISK BEING FIRED UPON ON THE AUTHORITY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY. THIS IS NOT A DRILL" Klaxon sirens rang and troops began to pour out of the building. Carol looked over her shoulder with a triumphant grin.
"Looks like I've found my calvery, Jean."
"Shit," Warren was swooping toward the teenager, an amazing acrobat who swung from webbing, as the sirens began to go off.
"Look, spiderkid," he shouted, dodging as the troops made good on their threat to fire. "You're Dad is worried about you, we talked to him. You're missing work, school..." Like she cares that she's missing school, he thought, glancing at the swarm of soldiers below.
Thinking about all the training sessions he had suffered through with Hank leaping and flipping all over the place, he focused on her moves, then dove, aiming for where she would be, not where she was. Grabbing her, he held on tightly, gaining altitude as she tried to squirm out of his grasp. "Do you have any idea how high we are, I wouldn't try that if I were you."
As the girl, still swearing at him in rushed Spanish, stilled in his arms, he asked, "How about you lose the mask and we talk about this... out of range of homeland security?"
Jean-Paul and Bobby both heard Jean's psychic call.
//Bobby, Jean-Paul come quick.//
Knowing that his flight was the quicker method of transportation Jean-Paul looked at Bobby and extended his hand.
"We have to get to Jean." He said looking at him. "I'm going to need you to hold on to me pretty tight."
Jean-Paul stopped for a second to gauge Bobby's reception to the idea.
"We'll be going pretty fast up there."