There She Is, Miss America

Summary:
September 19, 2014>: Simon Williams runs into Miss America Chavez doing what she does best: Punching people.

Queensland Park

Originally, this land was set aside by King George III for his consort Queen

Charlotte, though after the Revolution those who wanted to live like 'Kings'

quickly set up their farms and became the shining welcome to newcomers to

Metropolis.

This area is home to the bulk of the immigrant population and while in other

areas, like New York and Gotham, would say that members of these diverse

ethnic cultures cannot live in close proximity, the residents of Queensland

Park prove it untrue.


Characters

NPCs

  • NPCVillian

Mood Music:
Dangerous


Being a movie star is one thing. Being an in-demand movie star is another. Being an in-demand movie star means you should at the very least have a good agent. Simon Williams had a terrible agent, so bad that he ended up having the jerk arrested. Strangely, being a semi-hero type has been getting him bits of good publicity, and in the hands of a competent agent (not one who tries to set up such "good publicity" moments by hiring criminals to attack him) Simon's actually had a few job offers for something that wasn't made of suck.

And one of these job offers was for a small production intended for Sundance, that wasn't based on him being "Wonder Man" the stunt/actor who walks through explosions, and wasn't based on him being Mister Muscle the dumb jock.

Simon's frankly a bit scared, more than he was fighting Namor. But he's here in Metropolis, doing his Craft — that is, living among the people who are the part he's going to be playing. He's in a Polish neighborhood, one that was founded before the first World War, and then turned into something else and then back into Polish during WW2 and then back into something else and then recently, for economic and family reasons, it's polskie miasta again. He's gotten a letter of introduction to a man who has a small warehouse business and has been living with his family, working with them at the warehouse. They seem to have gotten past the whole 'movie star' thing a week ago when he got them together, and watched three of his worst films, and he gleefully destroyed his performances. So now they've been a tiny bit hero-worshipy after the whole Harbor incident last week, but it's not so bad.

Simon is walking along a main street, heading back after pulling the swing shift at the warehouse. He's not sleepy, but he's not sure what to do… doesn't want to stay awake at the house. Maybe stop in a tavern or something.

Right along that street, a most unusual sight. A young man, perhaps in his early twenties or even very late teens, running at breakneck speed down the street. He is attired in a black bodysuit with glowing red piping and linear patterns. He appears to be strong, but also extremely alarmed by the expression on his face.

Who is he running from? Further up the street there is a young hispanic woman of about the same age. Appearance-wise, one could call her striking. She is attractive, no doubt of that, with an impressive mane of wavy brown hair that complements her dark skin. Red, white and blue apparel- not a uniform so much as a motif echoed in casual wear, she has her hands tucked into the pockets of her hoodie and she is not running down the street. She is walking, confidently and fast, but walking, and her brow is creased in only a slight frown.

"Get back here, chico," she calls after him, "I'm not done with you."

The young man stops, looks over his shoulder, and then redoubles his efforts at running. Right towards Simon.

This is interesting. Simon has figured out that it's no longer a good thing to just jump into a situation like this, because you don't really know what's going on, unless you see it … and he's not in any kind of special attire, really. A brown pull-over hoodie, a pair of blue jeans … OK, it fits very well, but that's because he got them at the right place. Otherwise, unremarkable for a wall. Especially with the aviator glasses on. At night. OK, whatever, druggie, right?

If the guy is going to try to run over Simon, though, he's not going to do well, because Simon's not really willing to move nor to be run down. He might CATCH the kid if he doesn't slow down. But people who wear glowing "supers" gear should be more careful.

The young man finally notices Simon, stopping a few feet before running into him. This guy has red eyes, and they're focused on Simon for a few seconds in which he is clearly deciding what to do. Some internal calculation must have told him something about the man, because he decides to run in a different direction-

He doesn't get to do that, though, because the woman is right there. How did she move that fast? The fact that her sneakers both touch down on the ground at the same time as her hand grabs the man by the back of his neck provides an answer. The captive clearly panics and throws a punch in the air attempting to fend off the woman- but it falls in Simon's direction. If it lands, it is surprisingly strong.

"Hold still!" The young woman says with a grimace.

Simon actually FELT that punch. It wasn't painful (for him) but seriously, that could have damaged someone. And that girl is blink-walking. An interesting trick.

"Huh. That won't do," he says, snapping a hand forward with intent to close it around the wrist of the miscreant — if the kid is able to keep up with the speed he's moving it, then he's probably on good terms with the speed force.

"What do you think you're doing, kid?" Simon asks. It could be directed at either. Of course, at 24, Simon's not much past 'kid' himself … especially with the long hair again.

Simon's attacker lets out a yelp as he struggles, now being held down by two forces! The lines in his suit glow brightly for a second, and then all of him begins to glow, preparing to-

"Not this time." America's haymaker is fast and furious and aimed straight at the man's face. The strength of such a blow jolts the man right out of Simon's grip and sends him flying against the nearest wall in a blur of scarlet. Masonry cracks as the man is driven halfway into the wall, before falling forward onto his knees. The glow, at least, is extinguished. The force of the blow would have been enough to kill a regular human… but it was clear from this that the young man was, by no means, regular in any way.

"Make yourself useful and hold him down," the young woman says as she begins to remove her fingerless gloves. "This is going to take a moment."

"What's going on, anyway?" Simon asks, politely, having let go rather than breaking the guy's wrist by holding on. "I'd say excessive force, except no. So is there a reason why?"

"You're not holding." America observes tersely. The man she has driven into a wall is beginning to get to his feet now, but still looks unsteady. She isn't moving, though, but rather she is standing in place with her fists clenched. Two five-pointed star marks begin to glow on her wrists, but although she seems to be trying to do something, diddly squat is going on.

The black-and-red clad meta tries to steady himself, one arm pointed at America unsteadily. The energy blast that comes from him is poorly-aimed and thus it ends up gouging a part of the wall by Simon instead.

Simon reaches over and grabs the guy by the neck.

"You need to stop powering up or I will choke you the fuck OUT," he advises, eyes flaring bright red through the aviator glasses. "You REALLY do not want to make me mad."

At being manhandled thusly, the man can only let out a whimper- all pretense of powering up quickly shutting down. This works perfectly for the young woman since, after a lot longer than she intended, a large star appears in the fabric of reality. It just hangs there, and it does funny things to the eyes- no matter where you look at it from, it is always perfectly two-dimensional.

A swift kick from America, and the star shatters to display a swirling mist in a star-shaped portal. And what seems to be a war going on in the background. It is hard to get many details, however, as she essentially snatches the man out of Simon's hands, grabbing the full-grown youth as one would a teddy bear, and punting him through the portal just as easily, too. The young man is sent howling through it and the portal collapses behind him.

"And stay out," the young woman remarks, reaching into her hoodie to retrieve her gloves.

"So far no explanation for tossing some guy into a war somewhere. Explain please? Since you made me into your accomplice?" Simon says patiently.


She looks up from fastening her gloves with an 'oh, you're still there?' look. Once she's gloved, she brushes her hair out of her face while her hazel eyes look at the man for a few seconds.

"He wanted to start all of that over here as well." She dusts her hands off. "Parasite. They bleed through sometimes. That enough?"

"Uh, no, not really. Who are you, who was that, and what do you mean 'bleed through'? From where? Why? How? You know, all the newspaper questions? Look, there's a tavern over there. They have terrible fries and adequate beer and really good fried chicken. I'll buy if you'll explain," Simon negotiates, quite reasonable sounding for someone who's just seen a girl kick a hole in reality.

It seemed as if she was never going to get decent Dim Sum. This particular pest had manifested right in the middle of the restaurant, which was now a veritable disaster zone which would take several weeks to repair. Her stomach pleaded with her, pointing out that in the absence of manna, fried chicken will be a passable substitute just as long as something is fueling her.

"Fine, it'll be your treat," the girl concedes and she begins to walk in the direction indicated by Simon. She would be flying, really, but what she just did ensured that she won't be able to fly for at least a day. This dimension did not like it when you kicked holes into it. It was special.

The tavern is not far. It's also only mildly crowded, with the 'late night dinner' crowd not quite hitting yet. The food is as described: long, greasy, flaccid thin cut french fries made from fresh potatoes but not double-cooked the way they should be. The beer on tap is not Good Ol' Country Bear Whiz Beer (it's in the water, that's why it's yellow) but it's a competent local microbrew because the people in this neighborhood don't LIKE German-style beer, and the chicken is pressure-fried and crisp and has been brined in buttermilk before the coating is applied, and angel choirs sing whenever the hopper is opened.

"OK," Simon says once the fries are delivered on a plate the size of a turkey server, "spill, and I don't mean on yourself."

He starts dumping ketchup on a second smaller plate, creating a dredging zone for the necessary condiment. These fries are salty, insultingly powdered with rosemary and garlic, because honestly it doesn't help, people! and they're droopy in a way that might make one think they simply can't get the starch into the pants any more.

The fries provide to be the kind that you pick up, normally wouldn't really eat, but then can't seem to stop gobbling down. It has been a bit of a while since she's had a chance for a proper sit-down meal. That probably was the culprit.

"There's a certain place," America says as she takes a bite out of one of the fries, "where certain creatures are made. Dimensional parasites that like to travel to certain dimensions and taking them over. They feed by assimilating. They turn places into things more like themselves." She thinks about Mother. She wasn't the only one of her kind. "Fortunately it's very hard for them to leave that place. They usually need some idiot who thinks it's a good idea."

"I see," Simon says, but he doesn't. Well, ok, looking at the french fry he's about to eat, and considering how completely it deviates from french-fry-ness while still being a fried squared-off length of potato, perhaps he does. So.

"Was that guy the idiot or the parasite, or both? And what stupid thing invited it in? And what particularly was it about him? I mean other than the bad Tron imitation and the copycat eyes?"

"That was the idiot and the parasite. Super-powered mutant decided to mess with dimensional research. Wanted to bring something to this side and use it to take over. It took him over, and then it was about to start assimilating others when he materialized in the restaurant." She looks at the fry in her hand. It looks like a vegetable eel. Hunger is greater than disgust, however. "So I sent them both somewhere where they're very good at hunting their ilk."

"Good. I hope I didn't bruise his throat too hard. Make it more difficult to swallow." Simon tastes the fry. It's fried. And salty. And much better with ketchup. Sadly, it's not an ex-wizard or somesuch that would become CRUNCHY and go well with ketchup. That's too much to ask of the poor thing.

"So, how did you take up this particular line of work anyway? I'd've thought I'd have heard of you by now. Oh. I'm Simon Williams."

Simon offers a handshake after wiping the grease off with a napkin. Gonna need more napkins.

America looks at his hand for a second and then wipes her own hand, shaking it. "Miss America," she says. "You wouldn't have heard of me. I don't exist anywhere else." Which is true- as a creature of the Utopian Parallell, it means that she was created by Billy Kaplan, the Demiurge. And being the Demiurge means that all other Billy Kaplans that became the Demiurge would be part of the same entity. There was only one Utopian Parallell. And only one America Chavez.

Earth 616's Loki probably said a prayer of thanks for that.

"It's not my job," she says, referring to controlling parasites. "I just do what needs to be done when it needs to be done."

The chicken is slower in arriving because it's prepped to order, not sitting around.

"So… you're uniquely equipped to do something nobody else can do but it's not your job, just a hobby. That would mean it's not something that happens a lot?" Simon ponders. "That's probably a good thing. I'm not at all sure I could have put it down by myself, because I wouldn't know that it needed to be done."

"I'm equipped to do a lot of things," she clarifies. "My hobby is kicking little evil lying gods around for sport."

In her time on Earth 616, America actually did not run into Simon. She has heard of him, but it's not the same. "How about you? You seem to know your way around this sort of situations."

"It's kind of complicated. I'm mostly that stunt-man who can't be killed so they can blow me up, but it turns out that I've got a knack for playing hero sometimes, and it helps my acting career, but I won't do it just for publicity."

Yeah, clearly Simon could be a Heel on any Pro Wrassling match, he's got the build and the menacing eyes, but could he be the Face? And could be be a real actor? Well… with decent CGI or some really good contacts maybe.

Beer is delivered, and the chicken-hopper is opened, allowing the gust of fresh-cooked chicken to waft through the bar. This causes many new orders to be placed, because damn. That smells good.

America takes in the scent and feels her mouth watering. Perhaps Earth 626 held more than just the best Dim Sum in the universe. "An actor with a conscience. There's something new," she says, helping herself to the first samples of deliciousness. "You don't do the super-group thing that seems to be all the rage these days?" She looks at him with a calculating glance, a strand of her wavy hair falling across her features.

"I kinda almost did," Simon replies, "and if I find the right people I might, I mean, I've helped out Wonder Woman and some others once when the Mole Man stole the UN building. But normally I don't really do that much organized team stuff. My work gets in the way."

Not to mention, it's terrible for contingency insurance when your star is snatched away by Crisis of Infinite Redundancy and doesn't return until a year later, but has been impersonated by an alien for most of that year, and the alien doesn't know how to act. Not being on a team is a great way to avoid that kind of trap.

Wonder Woman. There was that name once again- "I have heard of a Wonder Man, but I'm not familiar with that one." She had heard that she was a princess, and that she kicked ass. Since America was and did both of those things, that seemed alright in her books. "There's a lot more here than in the last place," she says cryptically, in between appreciative 'mmms' as for the quality of the chicken.

Simon would blush but … yeah. "Wonder Man was what Doctor von Baron Nerdzoid Evilpants wanted to call me. Unfortunately it stuck."

Now that's a confession and a leading line. The chicken is delivered, beer is refreshed (but unlike coffee, it costs every time).

She looks at him with a look that almost says 'Ah.' But there are no questions forthcoming about Simon's past. It's very simple, really: America doesn't talk about hers. Not about the Parallell, not about her mothers, and especially not about Kaplan. Ever. If pressed, she will go back a couple of her ten years of career, but where she comes from and who she actually is?

That book is closed more tightly than anyone she's ever met would be able to force open. Only creatures such as Loki, who had a purview greater than that of mortals knew. And she was happy letting that stay exactly that way.

Might as well get out the pre-rehearsed, 'don't ask me further than this' story. "I travel through dimensions. I punch threats to take them down, and kick them when they refuse to stay down. I've been to places like this one. But different."

"And the deep story is personal. I got it, I won't dig. My agent would be all over it but they'd probably try to turn you into a guy since women heroes don't sell in Hollywood. So you have the right idea."

Simon takes a swig of the beer. Ahhh, swampwater. All beer tastes to some degree like swampwater. You just have to choose a good swamp. He makes it go away with a french-fry and ketchup, and pokes at the chicken. Too hot for a human. So wait. Don't want to accidentally lure the cute girl who kicks the universe into burning her mouth on too-hot chicken.

"I punched a guy into a wall. I don't think your agents can offer a counter-argument," she smirks, reaching for her water. She wasn't interested in movies, but she did enjoy pointing out that, as far as most people were concerned, they were going to lose.

The heat doesn't seem to bother her much. And she does take a generous helping of the food, because it is simply magnificent.

"Provided something like this happens again," she says, "I wouldn't mind having someone to call on in case I need someone held down." She makes it very clear that that is his purpose. It's not that she can't handle them- because she can. It's this reality that she has problems with. Back on Earth 616, opening a portal was as easy as kicking. Here? It took a lot out of here, and then she couldn't fly for about a day afterwards. Impermeable reality barriers. Hated them.

That gets a laugh out of Simon. "Yeah, because I'm good at being an immovable object. You know, punching agents isn't really a good idea. They're made of squishy and close friends with remoras, ticks, and ambulance-chasing lawyers, so it's probably similar to your anti-parasite hobby, but it might get you in bad with the authorities. That can be inconvenient."

He pulls a titanium "flask" shaped case out of his hip pocket and pops it, and the inside contains the things you'd expect to find in a normal wallet - and one of those is business cards. He selects one of those.

"My personal number. I don't answer it if I'm not available, but it takes a good message."

America takes the card and looks at it, then takes out something that looks suspiciously like a Starkphone. It doesn't really have an account- how could it?- associated with it, but it's something she can see to. Despite her distaste for Stark, she does admit that the man's company makes a dependable phone.

She enters the number into the phone's memory and then slides the card into her jacket. Now there was time for more enjoyment of chicken.

"Noted. A question, though I probably know the answer— have there been any sightings of Loki around here?"

Loki. Yeah. Sightings, even a successful shooting.

"I've seen him, yes," Simon admits. "He's been playing all sorts of games. Nearly murdered a friend of mine. I didn't get a chance to punch him, but another friend managed to shoot him in the face."

He's not going to say who it was. Loki doesn't need to hear that, and some of the ugly rumors Simon has since heard involve him being able to listen in when his name is mentioned.

"Why do you ask anyway?"

A very slight smirk appears in the corner of America's mouth. "Let's say that I spent a good time in that other place testing his ability to bounce off surfaces. It sounds like I should get back into the practice again."

America slides off her chair, the smirk is now a very slight smile as she takes out a flash of greens, which she leaves on the nearest surface. It's not just overtipping. "Thank you for the chicken, it's delicious. We'll see each other. When Loki appears next, call me." She puts her hands in her pockets and starts walking away. "You'll get my number."

Simon tilts his head as the young lady leaves, and Simon's not even halfway done with his food. For some reason after that stupid collision and the ensuing rescue, he really needs to eat more. Still, he's not getting fat, so it must be some kind of weird science thing.

"I'll be waiting with bated breath," Simon says, grinning. And returns to the crispy chicken. He's not sure that she'll find it as easy to do casual violence to Loki here as she seems to think - perhaps he's a pushover in other universes? If so, she may regret it, or if things go well, Loki will. It's probably worth watching in any case.


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