1963-10-21 - Hanging Up
Summary: A lawyer makes an unexpected house call, and many other unexpected calls unsettle those present.
Related: Pandemic Panic Pandemonium Plot
Theme Song: None
sue jennifer johnny 

It's noon in the Fantastic Four residence, and the phone has been ringing off the hook for the better part of an hour. Only to be.. ignored. The messages that Roberta has recorded variable, but all seem to assert that an unstable molecule suit was used in the perpetration of a bank robbery in Eastern Europe. Which is probably why Sue has taken to ignoring the phone.

Having passed her defence just a week ago, she's just coming back to the world after ignoring it at the spa for the better part of a week. Evidently nothing settles down while away. Least of all, the news reel. Her eyes scan the pages of the Bulletin and Bugle, prompting her to cluck her tongue. "Not quite justice," she mutters as she eyes Stryker's picture in one of the tucked in pages. "But a start." Her jaw tightens, however, as two names resemble familiarity. The papers are set by side — their dates sequential, and her eyebrows draw together. "Wilbur Needle and Klaus Thurston had breakdowns within days of each other… huh… " she frowns.

She sniffles quietly, and her eyes water with some unknown allergen that must've invaded the apartment while she was away. No matter. Nothing an antihistamine can't clear up.


Whatever illness has tried to stop Jen in her pursuit of justice just isn't prepared for gamma radiation. Neither is half the city, but she has the advantage of being driven around by a gentleman with a convertible, rather than riding the bus. Walking green has not earned her quick so many accolades as she might like, either, but by this point, it barely matters. Said driver helped her get into the vicinity, and the rest comes with a raincoat given the miserable weather, broaching even on snow lately.

Any sort of doorman is probably fit to faint at a seven foot tall green woman here. Hopping off her pedestal, ditching the torch and tablet, and having a walk around New York apparently is the grand new hobby. All the same, she will patiently show her credentials to at least have Sue notified she is in the vicinity; and the rest of the club, which no doubt warrants the box of cookies she's brought along. Home-baked! The smell of chocolate is a seduction and a cruel tease.


The Baxter Building is strangely used to the unusual, so while the doorman certainly found the green woman's presence intimidating, he is, at least, somewhat used to oddity — even if its form wasn't exactly reflective of its personality. Ben Grimm has always been a teddy bear, even with a rock-body. The woman's credentials were requested, but not really looked at (would he have the power to really deny her entrance anyways?!) before Doctor Storm was called, and Sue encouraged the other woman to come upstairs.

Lingering in her own unstable molecules suit, with a lab coat over top, the Korean woman waits patiently outside the elevator. Her arms fold over her chest and the phone rings again, prompting a roll of her eyes.

Roberta does what she does best, and the answering machine buzzes in a mechanical voice that the caller may leave a message. Like the rest, this one does: //Hello. I am calling to personally invite the Fantastic Four to the Latverian Embassy for a reception. Victor Von Doom cordially invites each of you to attend. He has sent out a press release as such to demonstrate his goodwill towards you despite the window incident — //

Sue glowers.


It helps, then, for the strange to be at least expected. Ben will earn himself three cookies, surely, and not one for being himself. Jennifer doesn't even worry about smoothing her coat or generally improving her overall appearance. She is more than confident, as one must be, hoping that sensible shoes will hold up and no ichthyosaur will take its opportunity to leap out and cause her misery and despair at ruining yet another pair of good footwear. It seems common of late.

Elevator technology is tested, and she zips up the way in a metal tomb, considering the pragmatic approach of whether or not to shrink down and suffer the sniffles for a few seconds. Probably unnecessary. Doors open and swish aside, eliciting a step forward that causes the car to rise by half an inch, wobbling excitedly on its cords. Thank goodness for engineering and brake technology, too. "Good afternoon!" It pays to be nice, and her general cheerful mood is compounded by the offering in a box. A box summarily offered to Sue, as soon as her eyes land on the Korean.


Sue Storm has seen many strange things over the course of her time as the Invisible Woman, and some even well before that, yet normally she expects the strange she encounters. Today? Not so much. Her lips part and she openly gapes at the tall woman that exits rather jovially from the elevator. "H-hello?" it's nearly a question as she steps forward to accept the offered gift. "I certainly wasn't expecting — " her throat clears and her more diplomatic self takes over, "well. Welcome, Jennifer," she squints, not entirely certain it's the lawyer she was expecting.

"Please," she takes a step further into the residence.

The phone rings again and Roberta once more picks it up. //Hello, I am calling on behalf of Rita Smart, the society columnist, from the Bugle. We just received a phone call from the Latverian Embassy saying the Fantastic Four were to be Victor Von Doom's honoured guests at a reception at the end of the month. I was calling to confirm that you will, indeed, be there. Miss Smart will come in person if the four are to be in attendance — //

Sue rolls her eyes again. "Sorry. It's been a strange day," she glares at the phone as she leads Jennifer into the home towards the living room and large couch. "Evidently Victor Von Doom requests our attendance somewhere," she waves her hand and rolls her eyes before sniffling again. Blasted allergies.


The interruption of Roberta and the phone hardly causes a blink from the tall green woman, her wild hair flattened by an iron to lie beautifully straight down her back, even if its natural volume is aiming for a beehive she cannot avoid. The gaping is met with a faint smile, the nightshade curve pretty as much as it directs attention to the lizard brain, that part which remembers the dark is dangerous, stay out of that deep lake, and run away from everything with claw and fang on the savannah. She is the primal horror in human form, in a very nicely tailored suit. "Jennifer Walters," she offers after Sue confirms, nodding. "I'm approximating normal today, though I hardly mean to give you a start. However, after the last two weeks, and Vienna… this, I'm afraid, is a necessity." A hand waved down her body suggests the obvious. "I did not quite intend for you to be introduced to my better side this way, but here we are. As you can see, I've a few scientific and biological adaptations of my own."

No beating about the bush with this one.

"The cookies, though, are quite normal and baked using a very solid recipe. Mrs. Crocker approves." No doubt Betty would, unless she realized the culprit was copper green and probably troubled by New York kitchens. No matter.

And one added note follows afterwards: "I would be very hesitant to accept that request. That man…" It need not be said.


"Is it weird that I feel like he's inviting us to be dinner at his reception? Through assistants, of course." Sue's eyes roll. "And to be frank, I'm not comfortable in Doctor Doom's company." She shifts to a seat on the couch and her fingers lace together before sitting down and then adding, "Please have a seat." Pause. "And don't be concerned about any of the furniture. It doesn't stay here if Ben can't sit on it. We adapt," she manages a tight lipped smile.

A small sign follows suit, "So you… are now green for…" her head cants to the side. "Is this permanent then? I was under the impression — " she starts and then stops.


Jen's manners are vibranium, an excellent defense against the dark arts of assumptions. Her stride is easy and smooth, a perfect image of being ladylike. "You cannot possibly offend me with questions, Sue. I'm a lawyer, for one, and honesty is always a good policy. Not only between attorney and client, but peers." The nearest seat is taken and she tucks her feet under her, listening to whatever poor groans or sighs out of the furniture will follow. "I started feeling unwell in Austria. That is unusual in the first place, since I tend to be rather healthy. Like this, most virii don't have a hope."

Her explanation is fairly practiced. Easy to imagine her sitting in front of a mirror, getting it natural and down, no doubt. "It's not permanent. I can control the shift. I would resume my normal self, except some people have been trying to put a bullet through the back of my head. Like this, most bullets don't have a hope, either." Shoulders roll slightly, a very controlled shrug. Mustn't tear the nice clothes. "Doctor Doom may be a perfectly sensible and friendly megalomaniac. That doesn't sound odd to me at all. I have a bit of trouble with him myself, and I made sure to divert my attentions to the Queen of Wakanda. She seemed more approachable. Even if she might eat us all too, at least it would be good company."

The elevator gives another quiet ding! moments before the doors open, and out walks Johnny Storm — who is supposed to be on campus. Given his attire includes a backpack slung over his shoulders and, when he spots his sister, a slightly wide-eyed expression akin to a kid caught elbow-deep in a cookie jar, he knows it, too. Maybe if he just keeps his mouth shut, Sue and her tall green guest won't even notice he's there. Yeah. Fat chance.


"Intriguing company, regardless," Sue agrees about the Wakandan queen. And certainly an adventure." She manages a slow breath and nods. "Well, if there's anything we can do to help dissuade anyone from putting bullets anywhere in your person — remember we do have some pull. Some places, anyways." Storm's tongue clucks, "Victor doesn't like Reed. At all. So any time we are in Victor's company things become very uncomfortable very quickly. I'm not someone who typically thinks one person can brew a conflict. Victor is an exception."

The quiet ding of the elevator calls Sue to attention and she leans back to spy Johnny coming home. Her eyebrows lift and her head twists over her should to spy the clock on the wall. When she turns back towards Johnny, the Korean is clipped <Class doesn't end for hours.> It's a statement of fact.


"What is the cause for that animosity? Professional rivalry, something else?" Jennifer shares that question, shaking her head slightly. The glimmer of her slightly glowing eyes shifts towards the elevator right as Sue looks that way, and she hardly gives any concern for it. He can eat the cookies; she baked them after all. Let him enjoy whatever came from her oven.

"I did wish to apologize for being somewhat scarce. Between the work and the rise in attacks on mutants, and those beastly events in parts of the city, I'm kept busy. Though never too much for you. Hello, Mr. Storm." See, she even greets him with a little curl of her fingers. Little on her relative scale.


Yeah, Johnny didn't think so. <If they were teaching me anything new, I would have stayed,> he counters, though he does at least sound a touch guilty. Whether it's for ducking out or for being caught ducking out, well. Who's to say?

Especially when he's distracted so quickly. "Oh, God, are we talking about Victor again? Why?" Johnny asks, a pained expression coming to his face as he makes his way further inside. He may not recognize the green woman — yet — but he doesn't seem at all concerned by her presence. Sue seems comfortable around her, that's good enough for him. She gets a friendly smile and, after a pause, a squint of his eyes. Wait. Waaaaaaait. "…Jen?"


"Oh!" Sue waves a hand as if brushing away Jen's apology. "Nonsense! We all have life catch up with us sometimes. I defended my dissertation last week and disappeared briefly before and after that. And I've been feeling a bit off lately. Allergies," clearly.

<It doesn't matter. You need to be there. You not going is a reflection of how Aunt Margay and I raised you.> Welcome to a healthy dose of sister-guilt. But the guilt-trip fizzles out some when Sue is made to talk about Victor, "He called. Well, his people did. We are invited to a reception. And then he did us the service of calling the press to tell them we are invited as his honoured guests." Her eyes roll.


"Off how? Like you have no energy, your thoughts sliding out of your ears, and the inability to comfortably concentrate? Or that your inner organs are trying to crawl out your body to curl up and find a comfortable place to rest without having the flu?" These are details shot by someone who is green for a reason. It happens not to be because she looks spectacular, though that is a side effect. Her elbow knocks the back of the chair. "Yes, Jen. Surprise, this is other me. I would go back to the original, but then the clothes would be ghastly large, and I would start feeling badly again. If Mr. Richards takes requests, I'd beg, borrow, or steal clothing that expands better than the rest. Shifting is frustrating without tearing."

Sue clearly has to understand such. Yes. Right? Her smile fades a bit. "You know, telling the public he is doing something corners you into a decision. That's manipulation and passive aggression, through and through. Not showing up looks bad, but going makes you feel pressured. I'd personally say spend the night getting tacos and doing something nice with underprivileged students. Moral victory and a better dinner. "


The sister-guilt earns Sue a brief, flat look from Johnny as he shrugs out of his backpack and sets it on the floor next to his feet. "For you, of course Reed takes requests," is what he says aloud instead, turning back to Jen and flashing a bright smile. "His suits stretch and contract with him, after all, so there shouldn't be any problem putting something together for our favorite lawyer, right?"

Still beaming, Johnny finds the nearest clear bit of counter and hauls himself up to sit. Like a mature adult. "I'm with Jen on this," he tells Sue, waving his hand. "How silly will Victor look if he makes a big deal about us showing up, and then we don't? That reflects on him, not us. Especially if we have better things to be doing." Like… literally anything else.


"Well, I'd rather not be in Victor's company," Sue states blandly as her eyes train on the ceiling. "And there's always something else to be done. The phone is almost constantly off the hook today. It's like everyone decided to call on a Friday. Phone calls and appointments are Monday activities. Wednesdays, maybe. Not Fridays."

She hums softly and then shrugs her shoulders. "To be fair," and there is a fairness piece, "he was strangely understanding about the window… and he didn't break that news story about what really happened." She swallows hard.

And then the phone rings again, winning a loud, "Aish! What is with today?" Followed by the familiar annotation of Roberta's voice and yet another message: Hello, the voice is heavily accented //I am seeking the assistance of Doctor Reed Richards. My name is Klaus Thurston and I believe something has te — // the line goes dead.

Sue's eyes flit between the other two.


"Drop in on something important, like a charitable event, he's not going to have much to stand on. 'How dare Four not show up when they're opening a new school instead?' Believe me. Philanthropy is a shield used to escape unwanted social engagements for the better part of four thousand years. I'm pretty sure we can find some tablet that Ramses or Hapshetsut wrote 'Sorry, inaugurating an orphan's hospital in Thebes!' to the Hittite king, because Pharaoh was just not trotting up to Sinai, thanks very much. And can you blame him? Getting all dressed up, that long drive through a desert… When you could have smiling little faces!" Jen's logic is probably terrifyingly solid. At least to her, but it should be. She smiles back at Johnny, and then softens her tone a little. "I don't care for how he put you on the spot. That is a power move, an act of dominance, and my initial reaction is to stomp him." Given the implicit violence shaped into a her rock-hard muscles and wool-worshipful clothes, that might be one hell of a fight. If she knows how to fight. Every line of her body suggests, yes, she does.

"Klaus…" Her voice trails off. The look is returned, and the attorney's expression drains into something alarmingly thoughtful for the granddaughter of the Statue of Liberty, and about as far-sighted. "Oh dear."


With a thin frown, Johnny slides back off the counter and to his feet. He doesn't like it when calls to the Baxter Building get cut off like that — doubly so when he recognizes the name of the person making the call in the first place. "Nunim, I think we just got our excuse to blow Victor off."


Sue's eyebrows draw together and she slides off the couch only to tread back to the table where she'd left each of the newspapers left out. One is plucked from the pile and reads aloud from Sunday's edition: "Stockholm scientist Klaus Thurston, a known mutant activist, and equality scientist was arrested early Sunday morning following an altercation between Thurston and the police. Thurston is alleged to have used radio waves to break into a central bank…" her eyes slide down the page and review the details before she starts flipping through the last few days worth of papers. "I don't see a follow up."

Her jaw tightens. This begs one important question for Doctor Storm: "He wouldn't have called us from prison, would he?"


"We can always find out," Johnny replies confidently, loosely folding his arms and stepping over to peek over his sister's shoulder at the article. "Where was he arrested? I can make sure the Fantasticar's fuelled up and ready to go as soon as we can dislodge Reed from the lab, I'm sure he'd be willing to take a break for this." Especially since it doubles as an escape from Victor's clutches.

"I read the article. It bothers me that it coincides with a number of other mutants and metahumans recognized for their contributions or affinities to science. You may say I've got a vested interest." The frown from the young woman follows. "You might have to check the dailies in Stockholm, even Copenhagen, to get much out of it. The US papers aren't especially noted for paying attention to Scandinavia. Maybe London; the Independent and the Telegraph are a bit dishy, but they'd still talk." Her thoughts amble through the possibilities.

The unhappy smile on her nightshade lips is dangerous. "He may have. There is a good chance someone like that could be held in military confinement. I'm not an expert on what Sweden does." Yet. "That's an ugly thing, containing him for that. Can I help in any way?"


"Well, if I recall anything about Doctor Thurston's work," which doesn't remotely coincide with Sue's own research, "he was interested radio wave applications." She winces, "I really wish I'd gotten to look closer at the posters in that session. I was too busy standing by ours and then running away." For good reason.

Sue nods at Johnny, "Stockholm, I believe. That doesn't mean he's still there, but maybe there's a trail we can follow. Anyone that calls," her lips press into a thin line. Her gaze turns towards Jen, "Possibly. I'm not sure how to grease the wheels of this political machine to even find him. That said, if he called wanting help, there is more to the story…" she frowns lightly.

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