Another thing we've done is to switch to an alternative dice-rolling method. Instead of both the player and GM rolling one die and adding the modifiers, it's almost all on the players. They roll two dice, one designated as positive and one negative. The total is then added to the same stuff and compared with a target number, usually the appropriate ability score of an NPC. In player vs. player rolls, we use the old method. Mathematically, it's the same, but it helps me focus more on what's going on if I let the players do all the rolling.
Over the course of the morning, they all eventually saw the latest Daily Bugle headline, Dazzler Lights up WITHOUT Props which showed a picture of Alison dazzle-blasting Pandora. The article, credited to "E. Brock" went on to describe the fight and continued to make the point that Dazzler had powers and was not just using stage lights and technological tricks.
There was also a short article about Moon Knight fighting a werewolf. This seemed odd to Ali, who had seen Moon Knight die, way back in the prologue. Don't worry about that, though; it's just one of those random unrelated plot threads I like to drop.
Eventually the three got together on a rickshaw because Jessica was using a Malaysian burner phone and the only ride-share app was "TurtleRabbit." Seeing the crowd of reporters, Jess pulled up her hood. One reporter asked if Jessica and Pam were Dazzler's "superhero gal pals" and Ali said the team was "Dazzler and Her Amazing Friends."
Alison wanted to talk to her manager, Harry Osgood, about her newspaper appearance and wanted Jess to interrogate Cassie, whose name was on the list, while they were there. Jessica actually bonded with Cassie about their shared issues with Alison while Ali and Pam talked to Harry.
Harry said he was disappointed that Ali had kept her secret, but he had been swamped with job offers since the news broke, and had several for Ali to choose from just for this coming weekend. She chose a concert at Stage 48 in Hell's Kitchen. Asked if this was really a good thing after all, Harry said Ali should be careful, but it was certainly a big opportunity.
Outside, Ali found out that, while Jessica had made friends with Cassie, she hadn't asked her anything about Hydra. At Ali's insistence, Jessica went back in and said, "By the way, are you a Hydra?" Cassie said she didn't know what that was about so Jessica followed up with a question about being sick after the incident with Kilgrave. She said she hadn't.
The plan after that was to split up, each one taking part of the list.
Alison started with Jackson Day, the closest one to where she already was. He was a dock worker and a first glibly denied suffering any illness after the incident. Then he got a pained look and adopted a completely different manner, saying that yes, he had been sick, and had suffered blackouts occasionally since. He had still never heard anything about a hydra, though. She thanked him and texted the others that they should look into him further.
Pam started with Dontay Jackson, a lawyer at Hogarth & Associates, but couldn't get in to see him until next week, so she moved on to Corwin Manson. Manson was a copy editor at the Bugle, and he hadn't been sick or heard anything about a hydra, but he did remember a chunk of a story that had never been printed. The reporter had interviewed and done background research on everyone present and noted that several of them were sick shortly after. Pam verified that Madelyne Pryor had been one of them and moved on.
Jessica went to see Madelyne Pryor, who was now an agent at the Perez Travel Agency. She found Madelyne in her office with a uniformed policeman who she introduced as Officer Macone. The conversation didn't last long before their eyes flashed and someone tried to telekinetically suck the air out of her lungs. Jessica grabbed Madelyne and jumped out the window, jumping to a nearby rooftop. Jessica kept trying to talk to her, but Madelyne, who was much stronger than she looked, broke free, took a swing at Jessica, and jumped away.
Jessica, enjoying the fight, followed and tried to foot-sweep her, but botched it. Eventually she got Madelyne to listen to her. She told Jessica about the bond of the Hydra units and their goddess, Fury, who promised them a wonderful new world of order and justice. Jessica convinced Madelyne to introduce her to Fury. Madelyne said she needed to arrange it because she couldn't reach Fury on her own. They exchanged contact information.
There was nobody in the parking lot, but Jessica kept going and met a transparent, vaguely feminine figure. When asked if it was Fury, the shape said, "Yes, inevitably." Fury invited Jessica to join "my children" in bringing its vision of a utopia governed by superhumans to life and extended its hand.