Justice Wing, Serial, Superhero

⎇001JW Interviewing Leather: Being the Steve #6

This entry is part 6 of 7 in the series Interviewing Leather - Being the Steve

“You change your circumstances, so you change your role. You wear a different face.” The Steve took a deep breath. “I do it all the time. Every time I head into the field, I’m somebody else.”

“I can’t imagine that,” the blond said. “Just… flipping like that.”

“Sure you can,” the Steve said. “When you call your grandmother, your whole attitude changes — you even get more of a southern accent.”

“Well… sure… but—“

“We all do it. Everyone does. I just… do it more completely. And every Cowl or Cape and every Crook who keeps a secret identity does it every day. The masks are external. The change is internal.


In the alternate universe coded ⎇001JW, super heroes and villains have been around for decades and tensions are rising between parahumans and their unpowered prosahuman cousins. This is Justice Wing in nadir.
A professional Steve never stands out — that’s the entire point. Supervillains employ Steves to act as lookouts and the Service employs Steves to monitor supervillains. The Steves were no one at all, and whatever opinions or needs they might have they kept to themselves.  But now, the Steve assigned to the third-tier crook named Leather was standing out in every possible way. Having been forced into a compromising situation by Moriarty James — a well known ridiculous wannabe who was secretly the mastermind behind the Service and Guild alike — the Steve passed her ‘test’ in time for the two to be identified by the hero Darkhood. They escaped, but James made it clear the Steve’s feelings didn’t matter even as she offered him a significant promotion. After the other henches returned, jumped to the wrong conclusion, and attacked reporter Todd Chapman, the Steve found himself coming out to Leather as apothisexual — asexual sex-adverse — and couldn’t handle the constant sexual harassment Leather put him under after a night of being directly traumatized by Moriarty James. Expecting to be attacked, fired, or worse, the Steve was stunned to learn Leather knew his actual name was Jacob, and instead of being angry she apologized and made it clear that what she and James had done was unacceptable.
Now the Steve has to figure out how his life has changed, decide what to do about his job offer, and most of all… figure out just what being the Steve meant now.

Being the Steve

An Interviewing Leather Concurrence

Part Six


Wednesday Morning

After Leather had gotten fully garbed up in her ‘Dynamo Girl’ fighting togs, she’d told the Steve to – in her words – get a cup of tea and lie down. “No logging into your computer. No doing work. No nothing. We’re not on tonight, so for the next few hours or until I get a whim you are off the clock. You hear me, Oops-Steve?”

Despite everything, the Steve snickered. “I hear you, boss. Or Oops-Leather.”

“I also answer to ‘your beneficence,’ ‘your malevolence,’ ‘your ladyship,’ and ‘Dara.’ But the last is only if you’re a cop.” She paused, leaning closer – for once not trying to maximize her appeal as she did it. “You’re not a cop, are you? Because if you are, you obviously don’t have to tell me because entrapment doesn’t work like that, but the laws of television cop shows claim you need to give me a high sign.”

“I’m absolutely not a cop,” the Steve said, half-smiling.

“Okay then! ‘Scuse. Got to get back into it, which also means getting my own poker face back on.” She took a deep breath, then stretched, did a knee bend, and stood. Her bearing had shifted – not the more personal bearing she’d just had with the Steve, and neither the belligerent nor the seductive ‘Leather’ bearing. No – she stood straight and looked both sixteen years old and… well, ‘All-American Sweetheart’ came to mind. But then, she’d been an Olympic Gymnast. ‘All-American Sweetheart’ was practically as important as the Uneven Parallel Bars.

He watched her bound off, scratching the back of his neck. He felt… hollow, really. Like the emotional dam bursting had drained his emotional reservoir. It had been a mistake. Of course it had been a mistake. You didn’t out things. You didn’t mess with the Crook. You sure as Hell didn’t give out any of the Service’s secrets.

But he didn’t feel upset or scared or even relieved. He just felt hollow.

And yet… it didn’t feel bad.

The Steve went downstairs after locking up the storage. He grabbed a mug and grabbed a cup of coffee. He added a little cream, then looked at the mug.

It was an old Far Side mug. The ‘School for the Gifted’ strip, where a boy had walked up to a door to the Midvale School for the Gifted and started pushing the door to get in, right underneath the sign that said ‘Pull.’ It was a classic. Well, they were all classics, since he’d long since quit, but still.

That had been the mug Leather was carrying when she went out to meet Chapman, two days and a thousand years before.

The Steve snorted. Genius had never meant practical, right?

How had Leather known that name? Or the names of the henches? The Steve hadn’t know the henches’ names. The Service certainly wouldn’t have told Leather. And it was clear from Moriarty James’s attitude towards Leather… she clearly wouldn’t think Leather was capable of that kind of thing.

Leather had told him to go lie down, but he went back to his office instead. His bunk was in the barracks, so it wasn’t private. The office was. He made a concession to Leather’s order by turning the computer off, without even checking the board first. He then sat down, swiveled the office chair away from the computer, leaned it back, and looked at the mug in his hands.

“Being Moriarty James is as exacting as being any other Steve. I need to be an absurd little tart joyriding through Super-society. And you understand — I needed to get eyes on this situation myself.”

“You didn’t see much.”

“I saw all I needed to see… Leather’s still the insecure little girl Beguile wanted to shelter, but she wants to play in the big leagues.”

The Steve frowned, thinking a bit more.

Fucking precious Leather and her fucking precious inferiority complex… She has a few admirers. She did group for Anchor and she apprenticed under Beguile. Both like her. I don’t need Anchor and Beguile on my ass.

The Steve looked at the cartoon on the mug. Looked at the boy pushing the door.

“Yeah. I know. It’s a big secret and everyone knows I’m a numbskull, because I want them to think that. But yeah, I know that name. You’re Jacob. Marco’s actually Milo. The bagmen are Larry short for Lawrence and Tab short for Tabor. Jesus — of course I know all your names. You work for me.”

The Steve’s eyes slowly narrowed. Moriarty James spent a huge amount of time losing fights and setting herself up as a worthless groupie gadfly, all while controlling the villain support services that made modern supervillainy possible. It was an overly elaborate construct that sooner or later would collapse — it was inevitable, because there were too many moving parts. Any real Steve who tried it would get fired or even murdered over it. There was no way it could last.

And Leather?

Leather just pushed the door instead of pulling.

And despite the fact that two first tier villains had taken Leather on and were clearly still invested in her success, even Moriarty James thought she was a third-tier, second-rate glory hound villain.

What was more… James broke cover when and only when the Steve had made it clear he’d seen through her disguise. Leather broke cover because…

“Take a breath. It’s okay. Just breathe.”

“Oh,” the Steve said, very quietly. “Oh.”

There was a rapid knock at his office door. The Steve turned to face it, setting the mug down on the desk. “Yes?”

The brown-haired bagman stuck his head in. “You’re not gonna believe this one,” he said, almost bouncing with glee.

“I can believe a lot of things,” the Steve said. “What’s this one?”

“Well – first off, Leather jumped us, done up all Dynamo Girl style!”

“Leather still has a Dynamo Girl uniform?” the Steve asked. He wasn’t quite as convincing as he’d like, but he’d had a hard morning.

The bagman hardly noticed. “Yeah! Anyway! They got some pictures of her in the togs, and they were talking, and the Boss is talking about her last night as Dynamo Girl and how she stole a bunch of money that night because that’s when she crossed the aisle, and that she felt badly – ’cause Dynamo Girl had done good and her last act was to rip off a liquor store–”

“…you know I’ve got a really bad headache. Can we–”

“Oh! Right! Sorry. Anyway, Chapman asks why that has to be her last night! I mean, we cancelled tonight’s job, so why not take a run in the ol’ red white and blue?”

The Steve blinked. “Really?”

“Really! And she–”

“–said yes,” the Steve said. “Of course she’d say yes.”

“Right?” He laughed. “Can you imagine? You figure she’s crossing back over the aisle?”

“Crossing back over?” The Steve asked, thinking about it for a second–

“No one gets to make you feel the way you do right now, Jacob. Not me. Not anyone. And if someone hurt you last night, I will fucking end them.”

The Steve snickered. “No,” he said. “No I don’t think she’s crossing back over.”

“Hah! Yeah, me either. I think. Anyway – I dunno what any of that means but we all still have a night off, so – score!”

“Yeah,” the Steve said. “Yeah. Score.”


Wednesday Evening

The brown haired bagman’s amusement wasn’t universal. Marco and the other bagman were both clearly uncomfortable with the whole thing, made harder because Leather had embraced the idea with all her monofocused gusto – working out routes, figuring out gear, costuming and recostuming…

The Steve was quite frankly relieved. Leather’s jaunt out as a Cape meant his own issues would be passed off as being uncomfortable with the situation the same as the others, and he had a lot more thinking he had to do.

Still, his unexpected down time had meant he wasn’t sure what to do with himself. He still didn’t feel up to doing Service work. And he’d been thinking too much about things. Or not enough. He really wasn’t sure.

He was sitting in the common area when Leather — or Dynamo Girl, he supposed — crossed through, hair now something close to chestnut brown and put up into a loose bun. With a weirdly normal looking trenchcoat over her togs, she looked like a twenty-something office worker about to go on a date. Chapman, on the other hand, had been given a turtleneck, armored leather jacket, and a pair of the vision enhancing sunglasses out of the general stock. And he was wearing a collar with a transmitter. Leather and Marco had explained in gruesome detail just how explosive that collar could be if he tried to use this as an escape attempt. Despite that, Chapman had put the collar on and now he was sitting nearby, waiting.

There had never been a question that he was going. This was the story he was covering. The Steve understood that now. He kind of wanted to punch Chapman’s smug face, but he respected Chapman’s commitment.

Marco was pacing. The bagmen were setting up a video game console on the TV — it was pre-release. There had been five hundred of them shrinkwrapped with a floor date in the First Electronics warehouse — as it turned out, they got significantly above market value for all of them, and they’d held one out to keep. It wasn’t the usual procedure, but every Crook kept trophies. The henches knew not to go online with it, and otherwise…

“Are you ready, Chapman?” Dynamo Girl asked. Marco had gotten up when she’d come in, and waited.

“Yeah,” he said, picking up the collar. He put it around his neck, locking it in place, and jumping a bit. The Steve knew there was a tingle when it was turned on. All just for show, of course. “I’m ready.”

“Good,” she said. “Roll up your turtleneck and come on.” She headed for the vehicle bay. Chapman rolled his turtleneck up, covering the collar, and follow. Marco followed behind Chapman.

“You know the worst thing?” the blond bagman said.

“I know a lot of worst things,’ The brown haired bagman answered. “Which one you got?”

“She’s really cute in the togs.”

“Ugh. I know. And that’s the thing — she’s cute. Not sex on a plate like usual.” He shook his head. “I know we talked about it before, but I can’t get over how different her attitude is wearing that thing.”

“I can,” the Steve said, softly.

The bagmen turned. “You can?” the brown haired one asked.

“You change your circumstances, so you change your role. You wear a different face.” The Steve took a deep breath. “I do it all the time. Every time I head into the field, I’m somebody else.”

“I can’t imagine that,” the blond said. “Just… flipping like that.”

“Sure you can,” the Steve said. “When you call your grandmother, your whole attitude changes — you even get more of a southern accent.”

“Well… sure… but—“

“We all do it. Everyone does. I just… do it more completely. And every Cowl or Cape and every Crook who keeps a secret identity does it every day. The masks are external. The change is internal.

The bagmen looked thoughtful. “Man,” the blond said. “My job is literally running behind the Boss and scooping up whatever we’re stealing. There are days I feel inadequate.”

“Your job’s a lot more than that. You have skills and training you don’t even think about. I couldn’t be bag. And after last night I promise you I don’t want to be wheel.” He half-smiled.

Marco walked in. “Good,” he said. “You’re fucking crazy. You two hear? He drove down the fucking embankment from Braddock to Riverside!”

“Jesus,” the blond said. “That’s nuts! You’re lucky you didn’t break your neck!”

The Steve shrugged. “There were a lot of cops. Sometimes breaking your neck seems like the better choice.”

“Man, jail’s just jail,” the brown haired Bagman said. “It happens, you get out. You know the score.”

“For you, jail’s just jail,” the Steve said. “That’s literally why you have me on staff — to make the call and get things taken care of. When a Steve gets caught out and goes to jail, he’s done. Most of the time they leave him there.”

“Wait — really?” The blond looked shocked. “I didn’t know that.”

“Yeah. It’s… it’s quite a job sometimes. So they went out?”

“Yup,” Marco said. “Got an earpiece on. They’re yammering about Leather’s dumbass Q car.” He shook his head. “It’s like we said, man. Nothing good comes from thinking too hard about what you do. I hope to fuck this doesn’t start something. If she crosses back over—“

“She won’t,” the Steve said. “This is unfinished business. This isn’t who she is.”

Marco cocked his head. “Why do you say that?”

The Steve thought about that moment in the storeroom. Thought about her nervous apology. Thought about the glimpse under her mask – her real mask, not the leather one on her face – and what that had meant. “Because before she was Leather, she couldn’t be herself. Now that she can, she won’t go back.”

“Good,” the brown haired bagman said. “I like this gig. Give me a nice third tier rainmaker who goes out of her way to attract all the punching and bullets her way any day of the week.”

“I hear that,” the blond said. “Hell, my stomach still hurts and I don’t care. I made five figures last night and tonight I’m making twelve hundred bucks to play a prerelease video game. None of this grandiose plan bullshit. I henched for this Crook named Zipline? The guy spent every fucking day planning out his jobs like he was staging a coup against whatever city we were in. For a third-tier nobody in half-armor whose whole schtick was having mechanical ascenders and linecasters.”

“Yeah, well…” Marco sounded distracted. “Don’t ever get too comfortable. Things change. If this article does what the Boss wants, she’ll move up at least somewhat. That means more infrastructure, not less. If it goes wrong she’ll move down and our paychecks’ll drop and you’ll want to go elsewhere.”

The blond frowned. “Why’s it have to change? Things are good. She’s happy, we’re happy…”

“Yeah,” the Steve says. “But life happens.”

“That’s way too fucking deep for me,” the brown haired bagman said. “Let’s play this thing already.”

The Steve watched as they loaded the game that came with the box, but he didn’t move to join them. He was tired, he realized. Really tired. But he felt okay. More okay than he had most of the day, anyhow. Marco was right — things would change. But tonight…

Tonight, for that one moment, he felt like he fit in. He’d probably be upset about it the following day, but just for tonight…

“Hey,” the brown haired bagman said, turning to look at the Steve. “You want next?”

The Steve considered for a moment. “Yeah,” he said. “Yeah I do.”


Thursday Morning

Thursday was frenetic. On the one hand, they had the Mountbatten Urn job to do. The Prestige Gig. Leather had practiced it for days leading up to all this, but since a leak had blown the Quiet Job no one was entirely sure that Darkhood wouldn’t be waiting for her.

On the other hand, Transport Services wasn’t providing anything for that run, so they decided to go ahead with it. After all, if they didn’t do a Prestige Gig then the blow-off wouldn’t be as effective, and of course Chapman was going to write about all this, so they needed as effective a narrative as possible.

Besides. Darkhood’s possible involvement was a major complication… and a major complication would make Leather more sympathetic and relatable, just like the jewel heist did earlier in the week.

The Service hadn’t come back with solid answers about the leak — not yet, anyhow — but were shifting different parts of the organization into place for the Friday move as a preventative measure. As neither Darkhood nor the cops had raided the place, it seemed like the leak wasn’t quite that comprehensive. So, if it were in Transport Services, it was someone involved in arranging the truck, the car, or the dropoff to the fence, but not involved with their upcoming move to New Mexico. That narrowed down the possibilities.

As the move would happen Friday morning, and the Mountbatten run would happen in the evening, that left Thursday for packing up the lair, just as they’d planned in the Saturday weekly meeting. A Service representative would be along, so Marco could walk them through and point things out. In the meantime, Leather made arrangements and finalized details, and the Steve and the Bagmen were left to pack up the common areas.

And Chapman, of course, was there to get in the way and ask questions. He was good at that.

The Steve was working on the kitchen when Chapman pigeonholed him. The Steve was wrapping dishes in newspaper and putting them into box. “Hey,” he said, looking around. “I thought a service was going to do all this.” He grabbed one of the mugs that had been drying on the counter, so he could make coffee.

With a flash of annoyance, the Steve reached over and plucked the mug out of Chapman’s hand, pointing at the to-go Dixie hot cups on the edge of the counter. “In an emergency bug-out? Sure. But that costs more. And do you have any idea how hard it is to find shit that the emergency service packed?”

Chapman nodded, getting a cup and heading to the Keurig. “Is there a lot of breakage?”

The Steve went back to wrapping dishes. “No, nothing’s ever broken. Think about it. You going to break a supervillain’s favorite coffee mug? Some of these guys destroy whole towns because they’re pissed off that their bacon was undercooked. But they don’t have time to organize. They never know how quickly the F.B.I. and Justice Wing will come over the hill, seeing vengeance, evidence and the occasional chance to catch a hot supervillain taking a shower.”

“So you’re packing? When do you leave?”

“Tomorrow morning. We hit the blow-off, and within five minutes of us leaving the lot to do that, the service will come, haul all our shit out, and do the necessary.”

“The necessary?”

The Steve ignored the question. Going into too much detail wouldn’t be a good idea — and it was the opposite side of the Service than the part he worked for, anyway. They weren’t about avoiding attention — they were about removing evidence and destroying what was left over.

“Oh — I saw your friend show up a few minutes ago,” he said, adding milk to the coffee.”

The Steve frowned. “My… friend?”

“Yeah — one of the bagmen had her wait in the vehicle bay. He said Marco was going to show her around?”

The Steve turned a bit, so Chapman wouldn’t see him react. He felt a little ashamed — such a simple thing to control his reactions. Why would this be any different? Just another day. “Yeah. She’s here from the Service,” he said. “They need to do a walkthrough. She’ll probably help pack.”

“Makes sense. ‘Scuse.” Chapman didn’t spend a lot of time talking to the Steve — he’d figured out by now that the Steve was less forthcoming than the others.

The Steve watched him go, then put the wrapped mug in the box. He took a deep breath, and headed for the vehicle bay. No reason to put this off.

Moriarty James was waiting. She was in her ‘Steph’ disguise again — the same wig and everything, or near as damn it. She was wearing a polo shirt and slacks, but otherwise looked the same as she had that night. “Hello there,” the Steve said. “You made it back all right, I see.”

“Oh — hi. Yes. Yes I did.” She was looking around. “So we should—“

“So, you’re a Steve, right?”

The Steve froze. Leather’s voice had come from above.

James looked up, along the spiral stair that lined the wall of the vehicle bay. Leather was on the second landing — wearing a tank top and flannel sleep pants, her hair freshly dyed black and green. “Yes — yes I am,” James said, still in the ‘Steph’ accent.

“Cool.” Leather hopped off the landing, dropping the thirty feet and landing in a crouch, then standing smoothly and walking over to the Steve and ‘Steph.’ “That reserve plan was a good one,” she said. “And it kept our Steve our of jail or worse. I wanted to thank you. He’s the best I’ve ever worked with.” She smiled one of her more winning smiles. “I like it when people help my people. Is there someone I can contact? You deserve a bonus.”

“It’s… fine,” James said. “It was part of the standard service.”

“Not hardly. Plus that car was sweet. I tinker sometimes. Yours?”

“…no, it was part of the reserve plan, that’s all.”

“Oh — sure. Okay. Well. I just wanted to thank you. I was pretty rude when you were here before, but like I said. You helped one of us, and I appreciate that.” She frowned slightly. “Have you found the leak?”

“I’ve been told the leak was identified and dealt with, yes. I expect you’ll be receiving a credit on your fees.”

“Tell you what. I’ll have them give that credit to you. That just seems fair, don’t you think? ‘Scuse me — a thousand things to do.” She whirled, running and springing up to the landing, then in from there.

“My God, what was that?” James asked quietly, having reverted to her received British accent. “Is she that clueless, or did she think she was being threatening?

“We record and film in here,” the Steve said. “You shouldn’t break character.”

“I know you’re recording. I’m jamming it and subbing in an interference pattern. We put the system in, remember?” She smiled. It was a smug smile, her eyes silver once more. “So, I am here to do final prep on the move, but mostly I’m here to give you the offer.” She slipped a folded piece of paper from her pocket, handing it over.

The Steve unfolded it, reading. The money wasn’t simply more — it was easily three times what he made in an average year. The duties were extensive — oversight, logistics, internal investigations — even observing Transport Services and watching Steves in the field without their knowledge. Steveing the Steves. The Service never admitted that was a thing, but most Steves assumed it. Better safe.

“My thought is you get separated from the others during the move,” she said. “We fly you out to your new office environment and get you settled in. We can then make arrangements with dear little Leather to get a new Steve assigned. I’m sure she’ll be just—“

“Yeah, I’m not taking this.” He offered her the paper back.

Moriarty paused for a long moment. “I know the tradition is to negotiate, but this isn’t up for that kind of debate. This is the offer, period.”

“I’m not negotiating. I don’t want the job.” He kept holding the paper out to her.

Her eyes widened slightly and she pressed her lips together. ”Quite,” she said, dryly. “You do realize that it’s never wise to be overly loyal to a Crook? Especially one you despise.”

“I realize a lot of things. Maybe even a couple of things you don’t.”

“Is this really because of a few ridiculous pashes? She does worse to you at breakfast.”

“She has. Maybe she still will. She’s like that. But she didn’t arrive at breakfast knowing I would hate it, and she never forced me into it just to prove she that could.”

Moriarty lifted her chin, looking down her nose at him. “Yet,” she said. “Catch her wrong, make her mad — and you know she has stability and perspective issues — and she could do far worse.”

“Do you know the difference between ‘yet’ and ‘did?’ It’s the difference between a possibility and a certainty. You wanted to see if I’d follow orders? You learned what you wanted. But I learned something, too.” The Steve was trembling slightly, but didn’t look away.

“This changes nothing. I could reassign you tomorrow. I could force any number of humiliating situations on you. I could order you to do anything I wanted. And you would do it.”

“Yeah. I know. But you’re clearly not driven by pettiness. You’re a businesswoman. Screw with Leather’s Steve, and the Service will have to field uncomfortable questions. You said it yourself — she knows people. You don’t want Anchor and Beguile on your ass.”

“Do you seriously think she will rush to defend you? I know she played Cowl last night, but that doesn’t mean she’s crossing the aisle.”

“I know. She’s not a hero.” The Steve looked at Moriarty. “But I know her better than you do, Miss James. I’m her turf, and just like you said — Leather has no sense of perspective. Fuck with her turf, and she will go to fucking war and happily burn as much of your empire to the ground as she can in the process.” He took a deep breath. “Are you telling me you’d do the same?”

Moriarty arched her eyebrow, then snorted. “Clever boy,” she murmured. “All right then.” She took the paper back. “The offer is rescinded. Congratulations. You’re a third tier Crook’s Steve. And it’s quite likely that’s the most you’ll ever be. And when she breaks your heart and leaves you behind I can’t promise you’ll find yourself in as comfortable a set of circumstances.”

“Maybe so. But life changes, Miss James.”

She snorted again. “Excuse me, I have to be midwestern for the Guild foreman. I’m sure you have something you should be doing.”

The Steve watched her go. He realized as she left that he was still shaking, ever so slightly. That was almost certainly the stupidest move he’d ever made. It probably ended his career — either right now or over time. And it certainly wouldn’t change the way Moriarty James did business.

But he couldn’t do anything about that. All he could do was pick the person who said she was sorry over the person who didn’t. And maybe he’d be staked out, or turfed out, or stuck in a Closure. Maybe he wouldn’t be a Steve much longer.

But for right now, he was still a Steve. And being a Steve meant blending in. Keeping watch. Judging situations. And making the call when it had to be made. He owed it to his client, his employer, and his Crook.

This one time, he was his own client. And naturally enough he’d made a call. And now he’d stick with it.

“Hey!”

The Steve looked over his shoulder. The blond bagman was sticking his head in. “Are you gonna leave the kitchen half done or what?”

The Steve smiled a bit. “On my way,” he said. Always work to be done.

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5 thoughts on “⎇001JW Interviewing Leather: Being the Steve #6”

  1. Leather really enjoys being underestimated, doesn’t she?
    But, yeah, even if most people dismiss her, Barbra Babcock has twigged to the fact that there’s something funny about Moriarty James, so she’s definitely not hiding it as well as she thinks.
    She’s also not paying attention as well as she should be. In fact, she reminds me a bit of Colin Church actually. A Brilliant Asshole who can see how to get use out of anything they consider important….but quickly dismisses and ignores anything they deem unimportant.

    Really, you’d think she would know better, given how much effort she puts into being impossible to take seriously. I mean, hijacking a plane just to make sure Chapman thinks she’s a moron seems a little …much.

    1. Hijacking a plane to its own original destination, no less…

      …but then, I guess the question there, really, is why would she go to all that just to spend a few hours pretending to be interviewed by Chapman? Was it indeed brand building? I mean, it obviously might have been.

      Leather really enjoys being underestimated, doesn’t she?

      It goes back to Greenhorn. When Leather internalized Anchor’s advice, she went all the way. She never wants to play a single card she doesn’t have to, so that if she needs that card later no one will be ready for it.

      1. I mean, it does seem to have gotten Chapman to the point of firmly dismissing her. I can absolutely see her scheduling their interaction on her own terms, in an completely isolated environment (well, I mean, a few people *could* interrupt on a plane, but for just Moriarty James hijacking a plane to the same destination, there wasn’t exactly a need to).

        1. I always assumed that Moriarty James did it just to make absolutely sure that Chapman wouldn’t connect “Steph” with her. And if he did, well, she can probably make a plane crash look like an accident.

          Plus, well, it also builds her brand. One more reporter talking about how much of a flake she is can be useful.

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