Welcome to the Suburbs. Population: Odd.

Come on an adventure in the Marvel Universe. Your character could be a superhero, regular person, or a wacky alien...Basically, anything else that exists in that 'verse.
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Quaxo9
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Re: Welcome to the Suburbs. Population: Odd.

Post by Quaxo9 »

Cait McIvor

That was the question of the hour. Clearly Ginny was a problem, but it wasn't like they could just bundle her up and send her to Timbuktu - lovely as that would be - as she was definitely working for SHIELD. Which meant that if something happened to the 'good doctor', well, someone would have to take the blame. It was fairly obvious where that blame would land. No, simply getting rid of Doctor Thornton would not solve the problem.

"Well, we could just leave. I have spent many years living under the radar and I have no doubt I could make us disappear...but I have a feeling that these SHIELD types aren't going to just let us be. It'd be a life on the run, and that isn't much of a real life. Honestly, I'm not sure what exactly should come next, but I know that your life could use less 'Ginny'. I mean, for the record, so could mine...but yeah."

Plotting the next step was going to have to wait. Hurried footsteps struck the flagstones, the front step - the door banged open. Without being able to see the front door she could still picture the agents with pistols drawn covering each other as they made their way inside. She winked at Marshal, then called out,

"In here boys. The doctor here had a bit of a dizzy spell." The black suits entered and the man in front tried to stare her down. Cait simply shrugged and gestured at Ginny's clearly live form on the couch. "We were just trying to decide whether or not to call 911."
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Monkey Kitty
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Re: Welcome to the Suburbs. Population: Odd.

Post by Monkey Kitty »

Marshal Knox

Marshal knew that he wouldn't - couldn't - take Cait up on her offer. He could never ask that of her. She had a family... her sister, her niece and nephew. He would never agree to her leaving them behind for his sake. Those ties were so important, and he would never want to see her cut them.

But the offer still meant a lot. What Cait had done - saying that, and how she had been there for him last night - these were the kindest things anyone had ever done for him. The thought of the magnitude of it caused his chest to tighten with emotion and gratitude. For whatever time he had left, he wouldn't forget it.

The SHIELD agents clearly weren't buying Cait's story. But their suspicion seemed to be mainly turned toward Marshal. They were here because of his breakdown, after all. And they had no reason to think Cait was deeply involved in Marshal's problems.

"So tell us again exactly what went down here, Mr. Knox?" one of the agents asked skeptically.

Good. Let them focus on him. He didn't want Cait to get caught in the crossfire.

"Everything happened really fast," he said. "Doctor Thornton started to say my command phrase, and I just..."

Marshal had been about to confess to everything... just leaving out Cait's role and acting like he alone had incapacitated Ginny.

But to his surprise, Ginny's assistant abruptly stepped in. "Looks like she had some kind of seizure," the young man - Kristoff, if Marshal was remembering his name right - said, with no apparent basis for the conclusion. "We'd better get her to a doctor. Folks, we're done here. Let's just get Doctor Thornton out of here. Quickly."

When they were gone, Marshal turned to Cait with visible confusion. "Uh. Do you have any idea what just happened?"
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Quaxo9
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Re: Welcome to the Suburbs. Population: Odd.

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Cait McIvor

Her eyes retained the squint that had spontaneously developed when the odd man out spoke up. He was the odd one out because his suit wasn't quite regulation and while the others had clearly been the ones in charge when there was a supposed threat - when it came to dealing with Doctor Thornton, they had deferred to this man and left. Just...left. Clearly no one had showed up for Marshal - though she was a bit surprised that no one had commented on the removal of the bugs. That aside, the arrival and involvement of the SHIELD agents was pretty clearly aligned to the arrival of the good doctor.

"I think...that fellow in the expensive suit didn't want you telling the guys in the cheap suits about the treatment Doctor Thornton has been giving you."

Cait turned toward Marshal now, colour starting to creep into her face. "In my experience, fighting fire with fire doesn't work so great in psychology. She should never have given you a control phrase as a treatment for having a control phrase...that's just...how the hell does she have a licence?"

The last words fairly exploded out of her. She didn't mean to let her opinions fly, but to Cait, they weren't just opinions. She had enough experience with mind control to know that two wrongs didn't make a right. This...person...had clearly overstepped more than just personal boundaries, but the professional as well. As she fumed, an idea formed in her mind. She grew still, contemplating the thought. Then smiled.

"Oh Marshal. I think you have the means to have Doctor Thornton out of your life for good without having to go anywhere yourself or cause anybody any trouble. Well, other than our dear Gin-Gin of course."
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Monkey Kitty
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Re: Welcome to the Suburbs. Population: Odd.

Post by Monkey Kitty »

Marshal Knox

"She said she had to control me," Marshal said hesitantly. "That I was too dangerous otherwise. Someone had to be able to... I dunno... keep me in line if I started to cause trouble. If I started to hurt people. She said she had to..."

The thought suddenly crossed his mind - why was he defending her?

She said she was dangerous. And maybe he was. But he hadn't hurt anyone since he got free of HYDRA, and he had no intention of doing so. So maybe he wasn't as bad as all that?

No, that was denying accountability, he countered. He had to take responsibility for his actions and make amends. His amends meant making sure he could never hurt anyone again.

What was he going to do?

The thought crossed his mind that he should give his control phrase to Cait, instead.

But first things first.

No matter what he chose to do about his future control, he was more than ready to be done with Ginny Thornton once and for all.

"Okay," he said. "I'm open to ideas. What do we need to do?"
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Quaxo9
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Re: Welcome to the Suburbs. Population: Odd.

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Cait McIvor

The plan began to come together in her mind as she spoke.

"We have to tackle this from the professional angle. If I'm right about what that stuffed-shirt goober was upset about, that's the way to take apart her empire. We need to get ahead of this and report her to the higher ups. Listen, do you know how to get a hold of someone above Gin-Gin's pay grade?"

Here, she paused, and squinted at Marshal.

"What I really need you to do, though, is to write down what an average session looked like. I know it's going to be difficult, but I really need you to detail what 'strategies' she employed. Of course..."

Who was going to believe him? Whether she liked it or not, Ginny Thornton was far ahead of them. She had the network - and all the evidence.

"And we need to get ourselves some recordings of your sessions. Preferably notes in Thornton's own hand. Yeah...the nail in the coffin. We need those notes before she has a chance to get wise and destroy them."

Her grin turned a little more self-satisfied than she probably intended.

"Lucky for you, you happen to have a professional thief standing in your living room. I'm told she works for peanuts."
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Monkey Kitty
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Re: Welcome to the Suburbs. Population: Odd.

Post by Monkey Kitty »

Marshal Knox

"She's gotta have a boss, right?" Marshal mused. "Everyone has a boss. But I don't know who... wait. She gave me a business card when she first started treating me. I think it might say. I'll try to dig it up."

Looking around the nearly empty house, it probably wasn't going to be hard. Marshal owned almost nothing. Very little furniture, basic clothing and living supplies, almost no extraneous possessions. Even if he had to go through everything he had to find it, that wouldn't take long.

"An average session? Uh. Sometimes she talked to me. About how dangerous I am and how I need to be careful. All this stuff I have to work on it. I... uh... kind of got overwhelmed and lost track of it all. Guess I should have taken notes. Heh. Sometimes she made me remember my past, so I could take accountability and make amends. Sometimes she did stuff with my control words, or used my new ones... I don't remember those sessions too well. And then just a handful of times we would..."

Marshal turned bright red, but pressed on.

"A few times she and I. On her couch. That was really confusing. I should have told her no, but I didn't. I dunno why. I guess my body overruled my brain. Anyway, that's probably not relevant."

Why was he so embarrassed? Why would Cait even care who he slept with? Even if it was someone like Dr. Thornton? 'Boys will be boys' or whatever. Right?

"Cait, uh. I really appreciate how much you want to help. I truly do. But if you do this, you'll get in trouble with SHIELD. I don't you to have problems over me. Or for your family to."
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Quaxo9
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Re: Welcome to the Suburbs. Population: Odd.

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Cait McIvor

The more she found out about Doctor Ginny Thornton, the more ways she imagined killing her.

Not that she was going to reveal any of those thoughts to Marshal. Clearly, SHIELD had him under watch - practically under lock and key - and still suspected that he could snap at any time and go back to working for the other side. This suspicion, no doubt, at least in part fed by the good doctor's findings. Of course, she was just making assumptions, but Cait felt that she could trust her instincts on this one.

She managed to keep her face neutral while Marshal described his sessions. It gave her a better idea of what to look for once she did manage to get into the office. If only she had her gear. She imagined that it might be a challenge to break into a SHIELD-aligned psychologist's place of work, but if anyone could manage it...

"Oh, you don't need to worry about that." Cait was clearly amused by his concern, fingering a shirt button absently as she chuckled. "SHIELD can think what they like of me without my family being in any sort of trouble. Rhys and I may be twins, but we've never been close. Really, the last six months has been the longest time we've spent in each other's presence and I do believe I've worn out my welcome. I'll bet Rhiannon would be thrilled if SHIELD locked me away and threw away the key."

There was no mention of the children. No hint that she was being overly glib. Her lopsided grin looked a bit sad, perhaps, but the sadness disappeared as the spark returned to her eyes.

"Speaking of which, I should probably go inflict myself on them at least one more time. Let me know when you find that card and I'll do some recon - see what we can do about getting a look inside that office without supervision."

She gave a little wave, then disappeared out the door. Marshal would hear her greet someone, footsteps on the walk, some murmured pleasantries - then a tap on the porch's post followed by a "hello?" It was the family from the house fire. The little boy hung onto his father's knees, eyes huge with excitement. His father, however, looked a bit embarrassed. The boy's mother equally so.
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Monkey Kitty
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Re: Welcome to the Suburbs. Population: Odd.

Post by Monkey Kitty »

Marshal Knox

Marshal suspected that Cait's breezy denial of her family's attachment wasn't the whole story, but he didn't push. It was none of his business how she handled her relationships. If she wanted to leave it at that, he would go along with it.

He was just retrieving the business card from beside the TV he had never turned on - why did he put it there? he couldn't remember - when there was a knock on the door.

For just a second, he froze, but the shapes he could see through the window clearly weren't SHIELD, so he relaxed for a moment... till he saw who it was. He remembered what he had done, why they must be angry.

Marshal stepped onto the porch. "Hi," he said awkwardly, shoving his hands into his pockets. "Uh. Sorry I broke your window. I'll pay for it, I promise."

The mitigating factor that he had broken it while saving their child from a fire would hopefully make this easier to smooth over.
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Quaxo9
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Re: Welcome to the Suburbs. Population: Odd.

Post by Quaxo9 »

The man and woman looked stunned for a moment before recovering, smiling and chuckling, taking the comment as a joke.

"Oh haha good one. Don't worry, I'm sure insurance will cover it. But uh, the real reason we popped by is that we wanted to thank you for your heroism. You saved our son. And for that, we can't thank you enough."

The boy popped out in front now, "I'm Greg! And I brought you a present!"

The boy's parents embarrassment came back in a rush. "Oh of course, sorry, how rude of us! I'm Trace, this is my wife Gloria - and um, obviously little Greg here..."

"Dad, show him what we got him!"

"Ah, well...Greg here insisted. We wanted to thank you properly of course, and our son had his own idea..."

The boy ran up the step toward Marshal, holding a little box up with no small amount of excitement. The box had little round holes in it, the odd bit of straw sticking through. If Marshal picked up the box, he'd notice that it unbalanced itself at will - clearly there was something alive inside the box.

"It's a hamster! Just like mine! He's my best friend and now you have a best friend too! We can be twins now!" The boy was exuberant, clearly convinced that this was the best possible way to thank someone for saving his life.
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Monkey Kitty
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Re: Welcome to the Suburbs. Population: Odd.

Post by Monkey Kitty »

Marshal Knox

"Haha. Yeah. Totally kidding," said Marshal, who hadn't been kidding.

But when he realized that thanks were actually the order of the day, he blushed and shuffled his feet, and said awkwardly, "Oh. Uh. You're welcome. I'm just glad the little guy is okay."

As they introduced themselves, he shook all their hands - dropping to his knee to shake Greg's, so they would be at eye level. "Nice to meet you all," he said. "You didn't need to get me anything, honestly..."

When he saw what the present was, though, he found himself getting choked up. What was wrong with him? But the thoughtfulness hit him right in the heart.

"Thank you," he said, trying to sound stoic and 'manly,' but not quite managing to hide his emotion. "That's really kind. I.. I never had a pet before. This is great." He smiled at Greg and ruffled his hair. "Yeah, we're definitely twins now. Wanna help me come up with a name for him?"

It suddenly crossed Marshal's mind that he couldn't kill himself now. He had someone to take care of now. He had a responsibility. Who would feed the hamster, give it water, clean the cage if he was gone? Somehow, this furry little rodent had anchored him to life in a way he hadn't imagined anything could have.
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