After a somewhat depressing delay of a little less than two years, here's the latest part of my BtVS/Angel/Marvel crossover Wolfbane, set two years after the end of Angel Season 5 (and ignoring the comics), and shortly after the end of the first story arc in The Pulse. For more on Jessica Jones see her Wikipedia entry, and various Marvel comics, most notably Alias (nothing to do with the TV show) and The Pulse. Some aspects of this story are a little AU for later issues of The Pulse, just assume that they're part of the general "fuzziness" of the Marvel universe.
This seems to be headed towards fairly adult concepts, so I'm now setting it as an 18 rating.
Previous parts of the story are archived here.
Marcus L. Rowland
This is an Angel / Marvel crossover, set two years after the end of Angel Season 5 (and ignoring the comics), and shortly after the end of the first story arc in The Pulse. For more on Jessica Jones see her Wikipedia entry, and various Marvel comics, most notably Alias (nothing to do with the TV show) and The Pulse. See part I for disclaimers and acknowledgements. Many apologies for the long delay on this, I hope that the rest will come a little faster.
“So Nina was running in the forest,” said Jessica, “and somehow stumbled across a kid and… and what? Raped him?”
“He’s a werewolf too,” said Miller, “He vanished from a farm near San Francisco two nights before the full moon, turned up locked in a shipping container at San Diego docks a week later. Forensics eventually found traces of a female werewolf in the container, and traces of Rohypnol and other drugs in his blood. He has no memory of the missing week.”
“His cousin’s a friend,” said Finn, “but even if he wasn’t we’d want to know who’s behind it, and what the hell they were up to. First, though, we need to make sure that Miss Ash wasn’t a part of this.”
“I’m sorry,” said Finn. “We’ve either been travelling or getting caught up on the situation for most of the last two days, I think we’re both running on fumes. I wanted to get a quick reaction, catch her off-guard, but we shouldn’t have upset your client like that.”
Mallory Book, of Goodman, Lieber, Kurtzberg & Holliway, rubbed her forehead and wished that Jennifer Walters had been on emergency call. The green bitch deserved this one... “Okay, let‘s get this quite clear. Miss Ash is not being charged with anything, but you need a DNA sample and think that she should have a lawyer present when she’s questioned.”
“Miss Ash isn’t a suspect at present,” said Riley Finn. “We’re pretty sure that she’s as much a victim as the father of her child... if it turns out that she was the other wolf. But we need to check if it was her, and if so find out exactly how she came to be there. If she was a willing participant there might be a statutory rape charge, but we have no reason to believe that at present.”
“So why didn’t you arrange that in the first place?” asked Mallory. “And why isn’t this being done at FBI headquarters?”
“We’re working on the assumption that there might be another attempt to kidnap Miss Ash,” said Finn, “so we need to keep the investigation moving. Anything Miss Ash remembers might be vitally important, but we need to know it right away. Miss Jones suggested that we call your company.”
“Okay,” said Mallory. “If that’s how it is... Let me talk to Miss Ash, Miss Jones, and Mister Cage; then we’ll see.”
“I wouldn’t trust them further than I can throw them,” said Jessica, “Word on the street is that they’re something to do with Homeland Security. With all the talk about a mutant registration act it wouldn’t surprise me if they were planning to register people like Nina too.”
“Wait a minute,” said Mallory, “let’s set some ground rules here. Miss Ash is my client, you’re not. Do you have legal representation?”
“Matt Murdock of Nelson & Murdock is my attorney.”
“Mine too,” said Luke.
“Why am I not surprised?” said Mallory. “Okay, that clarifies things a little with regard to lawyer-client privilege. I need to talk this over with Nina. I’m not your attorney, and if you’re present you could be compelled to testify on the contents of our discussion, so I need you to wait outside. If you have any powers that would let you overhear please don’t use them.”
“We’re still guarding Nina,” said Jessica.
“You can do it from the other side of that door, there’s no other entrance to this room.”
“I guess,” said Luke. “Nina, if anything happens that you don’t like, yell and yell loud.”
“Trust me on that,” said Nina.
“If you want to do something to pass the time,” said Mallory, gesturing to a computer in the anteroom to her office, “see if you can find out anything more about our friends from the FBI.” She shooed them out and shut the door firmly.
“Any ideas?” asked Jessica, looking towards the outer office where Finn and Miller were presumably still waiting.
“You phone Strange,” said Luke, “I’ll check if there’s anything on the Avengers’ computers.”
Fifteen minutes later Mallory came out, followed by Nina, and said “Did you find anything?”
“Finn and Miller used to be members of something called the DRI,” said Luke, “seems to stand for Demon Research Initiative. Very hush-hush. They’ve been seconded to the FBI for a couple of years, handle a lot of weird shit cases, X-files stuff.”
“Anything else?” asked Mallory.
“I spoke to someone in that line of work, a friend of Doctor Strange,” said Jessica, wondering how much reliance she could place on the word of someone who called himself Blade and wouldn’t give any other name. “He says the DRI was dirty in the nineties, Finn blew the whistle on them; there was a big scandal and some sort of disaster that was hushed up. Finn quit then joined up again a year later when they’d restructured the organisation. Finn’s wife was also a DRI agent, they divorced three years ago, which is why he transferred to the FBI when they wanted some supernatural expertise. Miller went with him.”
“Can we trust them?”
“They both have good reputations. He said that most of the DRI were quote ‘incompetent assholes’ unquote. Finn and Miller are considered to be the best of them, hard but fair. There’s probably more, but nothing I can verify at this time of night.”
“That sounds about right,” said Nina. “Angel mentioned the Initiative a couple of times, said I should avoid them. I think he mentioned Finn too but I can’t remember the details. I don’t think he liked him, or knew he’d moved to the FBI.”
“Okay,” said Mallory, “I think we go out there and see what cards they want to put on the table. Let me do the talking, and you two want to remember that I am not your attorney. I speak for Nina, not you, and you don’t speak for Nina. Are we all clear on that?”
“I think so,” said Jessica. Luke nodded.
“If I ask any questions reply truthfully, but don’t volunteer any information. ‘Yes,’ ‘no’ and ‘I don’t know’ are good answers. Do not speculate or guess. If they ask you any questions be very careful, and if anything looks like it might be incriminating, get your own damned lawyer. Clear?”
“Crystal,” said Luke.
“Let’s do it before I lose my nerve,” said Nina.
Mallory put her hand to the door. “Showtime.”
“My client wishes to cooperate with your investigation,” said Mallory, “subject to the usual restrictions. You will only talk to her in my presence; if I am unable to be present you will wait until I arrive or have arranged for replacement counsel. You will not attempt to trick or coerce her, or deprive her of her rights. Is that clear?”
“Yes, ma’am,” said Finn.
“Absolutely clear,” said Miller.
“Now, what exactly do you want from my client?”
Finn and Miller questioned Nina for the next half-hour. At the end Finn leaned back in his chair and said “Okay, I think that’s enough. Your version of events is a little sketchy, but I’m guessing you were tranquillised for several hours which would explain that. You’ve given me enough that I’ll be able to verify some of your movements that day, and it ties in with what we already know. I think we can assume you weren’t involved voluntarily.”
“So what’s next?”
“Just a moment,” said Mallory, “I want to be sure that this is quite clear. My client is no longer a suspect?”
“I’ll want that in writing. Miss Ash, I think that if you make an official complaint about the way you were approached you would have a very good case for compensation. Do you wish me to make such a complaint?”
“No,” said Nina, “I want to know who did this and why, and I want the bastards brought to justice!” As she shouted the last words her face started to twist and look more bestial, and Luke put his hands on her shoulders, partly to comfort her and partly to hold her down if she went wolf again. She shuddered, and seemed to make an effort to calm herself. “So what do you want to do about finding them?”
“First thing,” said Miller, “we want DNA samples. We need to make sure that it was you in the shipping container; for all we know another werewolf was there, and your pregnancy is some sort of coincidence. Not likely, but we need to be sure.” He handed Nina a swab and spent a couple of minutes taking samples of her saliva, hair, and epithelials.
“Next,” said Finn, “we check if you’re bugged.”
“Bugged?” said Jessica.
“We believe that she might have been implanted with a tracking beacon. The other victim was.” He reached into his pocket and pulling out a small grey box, about the size of a pack of cigarettes. He pressed a stud and it began to buzz quietly. As he moved it within a foot or so of Nina it began to make a pinging noise at intervals of several seconds. “That’s confirmed, you’ve been tagged.”
“Tagged?” asked Nina, sounding frightened.
“Nanotech tracers,” said Miller, “powered by your body chemistry. They would have been injected while you were unconscious; they’re virtually untraceable at any distance unless you have the right receiver. They’ve probably been monitoring your vital signs and location since your abduction in California.”
“What… how can I get rid of them?” asked Nina.
“More to the point,” said Mallory, “who put them there?”
“We have no idea who did it,” said Finn, “but we’re working on it.”
“Wait a minute,” said Jessica, “if the nanotransmitters are untraceable, how did you know to look for them?”
“Dumb luck,” said Miller. “Two weeks ago a big RV was side-swiped by a truck beside the East River, rolled off the road and into the water. By the time it was dragged out everyone aboard was drowned; two drivers, and two technicians in the back. Nobody recognized the equipment in the trailer, and the plates and registration were faked; it was stolen six months ago. And there were no records of any of the people in the RV. That got the FBI and Homeland Security very interested, and eventually someone recognized the receiver.”
Finn took up the tale. “We both used to work for the organization that developed the transmitters, one of the reasons why they were never popular is that a receiver with enough range to be useful barely fitted in an RV; a semi would have been better. And the project was supposed to have been abandoned more than ten years ago, and all of the equipment should have been broken up and scrapped.”
Nina was slowly recovering, and said “So what made you think of me?”
“The technology was originally developed for tracking… well, supernatural creatures generally. And your name’s flagged because of your association with Angel, we knew you were a werewolf. When we heard about your kidnapping someone put two and two together, and we started digging. The timing of your pregnancy tied in with our abduction case, so we wondered if they were connected. We were in Nevada when we heard about it, so I got hold of the hand-held scanner and made a stop in California. It turned out that Jor…” He stopped in mid-word “…the kid we think is the father, he was bugged. So it seemed a possibility that you were too, especially since the RV was only a couple of blocks from your home.”
“Okay,” said Jessica. “I guess that makes sense. So how do we get rid of them?”
“There’s a chemical that breaks down the transmitters,” said Miller, “but it’s never been tested on anyone pregnant, let alone a werewolf, so I wouldn’t recommend it for the moment.”
“Nina’s body defences will probably destroy them down in a month or two,” said Finn, “always assuming that the transmitters that are in you now were injected when you were in California.”
“I haven’t had any other injections since then,” said Nina.
“The nanobots are tiny, you probably wouldn’t feel anything if someone brushed against you and used a spray hypodermic.”
“Great. So, what do they get from me? Did you say vital signs and location? Why would they want that?”
“Before you go on,” said Mallory, “maybe I should remind you that this is my office and the clock is still ticking. It’s nearly midnight and I’d like to get some sleep, and I’m guessing that you would like to finish this before my bill gets into four figures.”
“Good point,” said Luke. “Okay, let’s get out of here. Nina, I don’t think you should be at home by yourself, do you have somewhere you can stay?”
“You can use my spare room,” said Jessica, when it was obvious that Nina wasn’t coming up with an answer. “We can shove all the baby junk that’s in there into the closet, you’ll be OK.”
“Okay,” said Nina, “but just for tonight, you’ve already gone to too much trouble.”
“Say that again when you’ve seen my bill.”
“Ladies,” said Luke, “I’ll bring the car around; you wait inside until I say to come out.”
“We’ll follow you,” said Finn, “it might flush out anyone else who’s interested in your movements.”
“Works for me.”
The journey home was uneventful. As Luke was helping Jessica and Nina out of his car a black sedan pulled up, and Miller and Finn got out. “You weren’t followed, as far as we could tell,” said Finn.
“But..?” said Luke
“We’ve just heard. Joey Dane is dead.”
“The guy who tried to kidnap Nina?”
“How did it happen?” said Jessica. “I didn’t think I’d hit him that hard.”
“You didn’t. Someone didn’t want him talking. They got to him in hospital, smothered him with his own pillow.”
“What do you want us to do?”
“Just keep Nina safe and out of sight. Whoever did it must be running scared; I don’t want them to perceive either one of you as a threat.”
“We can do that,” said Luke. “And then we find the bastards and go medieval on their asses.”
“Crossbows or swords?” asked Finn.
“I’m more of a bludgeoning kind of guy.”
“I wonder if Buffy would lend us the troll hammer,” said Miller.
“Never mind,” said Finn, “We’ll get back to you as soon as we know more.”
“Let’s get inside,” said Jessica. “I have a feeling that tomorrow’s going to be a busy day.”
Comments please before I post to archives.