actions and (equal and opposite) reactions.
It's happened a grand total of three times now, and each time, Captain Marvel catches Captain Obvious on the back foot. Cara (the human, with an 'a' at the end of her name, notably not imbued with super-galactic strength) doesn't try to remember or know the things that are lurking in-between the hemispheres of her brain; they just trickle out, igniting and sending up signal flares -- firing synapses that she has no choice but to respond to. They end up being calls to action; seemingly-tiny urges and reflexes that never would've normally existed, much less acted upon, not just nagging reminders. Cara's been left to wonder, on more than one occasion, if she's actually having an epileptic fit. These reactions and this knowledge are not hers, she's surmised, and much to Cara's chagrin, they're appearing with increasing frequency, decreasing abruptness, and startling intensity.

(Breathe, just breathe. You're safe.)

The dreams were the first thing she noticed; almost lucid in nature, they were the kinds of experiences that beaded cold sweat on her forehead just before her eyes snapped open. There are only blurred faces in these dreams, nothing recognizable, but there's definitely a person and the distinct feeling of falling. There's so much noise and light behind her eyes, it coaxes her to bury her head deep into the pillows, away from the frightening feeling of being a human sparkler. It only occurs to her upon waking that the noise was either a woman or a grinding machine.. And the thought of it alone is something worthy of plucking her goosebumps to attention.

(It's quiet here. It's a dream. It's only a dream. Breathe.)

While her sleep doesn't exactly suffer, the static-cling dreams aren't relenting either. For every anonymous explosion in her subconscious, there is a conscious effort to hold it back; to shelter herself from the deluge of what some part of her knows is trying to come through.
The first time it happens, Cara's in her office, biting her nails like a teenager just before the Backstreet Boys' concert preshow. In reality, she's watching the Mars InSight landing; bent studiously over her university-issued laptop, poring over each and every detail that comes over the live stream. Her office door is closed, and a headache is pounding over her right eye (stress, no doubt), but she's enraptured, undeterred and grinning against her fist as the CNN commentator's remarks turn to a staticky hum in the background of her mind.

Seven minutes of hell, they're calling the landing process, and something spikes deep in her chest. It's ridiculous, her averse reaction to that affectionately cruel assessment. Seven minutes of hell. Ridiculous is what she'll label her riotous gut instinct, even if it's giving her a wary second thought. When the commentator comes on again, boasting about NASA's ability to track the rover all the way to Mars.. Save for these unpredictable few minutes of radio silence.. Cara's hand flattens on the table in unfettered disagreement. Unpredictable, comes an instinctive rebuttal, unpredictable for people who've never actually landed on Mars. Wait. What?

She wants to vomit instantly.

It has nothing to do with the numbers such a feat would require, and instead, it's the telltale roll of adrenaline in her legs; it's the sensation of teetering on the precipice of GLOC and the solid, unmistakeable thud of landing gear absorbing a certain tonnage of shock beneath her chair. Cara can imagine the gummy button that sticks under her pressing, and hear the voice of an artificial intelligence system that she doesn't recognize. It makes her vision nearly go black, and Cara is left fighting for breath while the world continues to rotate on its axis, none the wiser of what felt like a quake to its core. Cara does gag when she can't bear the sensory overload any longer, resting her head on her desk and hovering over the trash can; oh, how she wishes this were something like the old days, when a Gatorade and greasy hash browns could fix her throbbing head and vertigo.

There isn't anything that's fixing this now.. Not the box-breathing or the quick sips of water or the pinching of that pressure point near her thumb.. Not even the raucous celebrations of NASA, splashed across her screens, are doing a single thing to fix the way her brain feels like it's been blown wide open.

Those NASA experts don't know that a Kree starship can cut through atmospheric pressure like a hot knife through butter, and can reduce velocity even smoother than that, but apparently Cara Davies does. She knows that Harrison, an artificial intelligence system, is quite literal, and doesn't understand bad jokes after the aforementioned navigation and regulation system's been run for hours, alternating in and out of a hyperdrive state. She knows that a Mars rover, as incredible as it is for the United State of America, doesn't hold a candle to the things it feels like she's done herself.. And it makes Cara press her teeth together, willing the breath to keep some sort of rhythm, even if her fingernails are carving crescents into the palms of her hands.

The feelings, surges of indignance and ego and experience are coming hard and fast.. And Cara knows exactly where they're coming from. She thinks. All the faceless preferences, the experience without a memories to tie them to.. They all belong to her. A half-alien, titan-punching, star-absorbing pilot that lives in Cara's body for one week out of the month.

"You alright in there, Cara? Feeling okay?"

Does it sound like I'm okay with this, Maureen?
The second time, she's staring down a plane. It's a jet, actually; a private jet that they're trying to rationalize, and Cara's been blinking so noticeably at it for the last thirty seconds that it seems like a sharp piano chord should plink every time her eyes shutter closed in disbelief.

She doesn't know planes like this, not in the practical sense. Cara knows the mathematics and theoretical equations that explain how they fly; she knows how to whip a plane around in conjecture only. The only planes she really knows are olive-green fighter jets with teeth or scantily-clad women painted on their noses: the kinds of jets ol' Sarge Davies liked to reminisce about -- her knowledge just doesn't extend to something like this, and she's working hard to convince herself of her own limits. To apologize for and deny the knowledge she's been given.

Over the last few days, Cara had boxed herself in with the word 'only' (mentally of course; she didn't want to scar Wyatt too badly) as they pulled a few of the confusing threads of this situation together. She held her thoughts as still as she could, almost as if she were deliberately trying to cancel out the flashing red signs that said 'fuel capacity' or 'top speed'. She was sheltering herself against the veritable assault of a pilot's experience that had battered its way into her brain. No one could ever say that Cara Davies hadn't done her best to resist tapping into something that wasn't hers.. Or worse, having it tap into her.

Cara's fully aware that there's a nervous handprint left behind on the fuselage when they step up, and the cautious inhale is a dead giveaway to the man beside her. Two sets of furrowed brows and purposeful nods later, Cara's got her tongue pressed to the back of her teeth as she feels her way to the cockpit. Simultaneously comforted and emboldened by the wordless exchange with someone who knows, her fingers close around the entry handle.

In lieu of the looming fear of a banshee waiting to surge up in her face, the buzz of familiarity gets the better of her clammy hands; it's not a shrieking sort of overwhelm like she'd felt in her office, no.. This is an entirely different sensation, and she doesn't stop herself when she gets to the pilot's seat; she's come this far, and while -- technically -- it's his plane, Cara pulls herself into the leather seat like she's done it for years.

.. Like she's been in this very position dozens of times before.

The amount of care it takes to keep her brain still rivals the amount of effort it takes to figure out a set of matrices under a time constraint. It'd be easier to just let herself go, but that would mean letting something else in, and she's not wholly sure that she's accepted that just yet. Cara has all but set up camp in that mental purgatory, staring down at hundreds of buttons and switches and gauges that the average person'd balk at. Cara doesn't.

Her fingertips rest on the console in a way that feels like holding a pencil for the first time. Settled, ready, and unwilling to listen to what the muscle-memory of her body wants to do. It wants to adjust the seat, to change a few gauge preferences, and flick on an overhead light just for visibility's sake. Her hand moves to hit the switch, but it stops mid-rise; it never reaches its destination. Dropping back, Cara's hand rests on the throttle instead, fingertips hovering cautiously above it.. Yearning to home them in a place that felt familiar, one that was so within reach.

It'd almost happened without her notice, the way instinct had almost taken over. It'd been subtle, less of a U-turn and more of a slow bank that hadn't been recognized until she was far-too-many degrees off-course. But this is your seat, nameless, faceless instinct tries to argue back, reaching for any hold on this slippery slope, and Cara feels her mouth tighten.. Indignant and retaliatory toward the feeling of being told who she is, or what she's supposed to do. Strangely and almost reassuringly, this is a fight she's won before. It just hasn't been against a force of nature.
At least she's wearing a mouthguard and has her knuckles wrapped when the next hit comes.. Metaphorically speaking, anyway. She's ducking blows and laughing around the rubber in her mouth, hot pink tape holding her wrists steady while she bats away a hit from Jason. The ease isn't something that she notices at first; not with the speed at which they're moving.

Cara's got her fists up and a bouncing ponytail to match the boundless energy that's got her clapping blow after blow onto her partner; she hasn't explicitly told her body to slice through the air and under his elbow, but when it does, there isn't a single complaint. She's faster than he is, tighter in her movements than his haymakers (ones that have taken down a man twice her size), and he can call her whatever he wants.. Later. After she wins, she teases, light on her feet as she swings and feints around another blow. Part of her knows it isn't just a friendly jab. This is easier than it should be.

It's not as if she's a petite woman, either. Standing within a fractional inch of being six feet tall and made of lean muscle, she's not an easy person to miss, but it makes her very difficult person to take down.. Even before the super-powered muscle-memory kicks in. Mirroring Jason when she can, Cara bends and strikes, utilizing every amount of negative space that's up for the claiming like an assailant. It's difficult to discern where the game ended and the competition began, but it's only in retrospect that Cara can surmise that she's not in control the entire time. It can't be her that twists Jason's arm behind his back, almost without warning.. But it's definitely Cara that shouts out an apology.

They'd spent an evening talking about the likelihood of alien takeover, the two of them. Cara had reassured this man that they were safe, had almost lectured him on the mathematical reasoning as to why there was intelligent life other than their own out there in the universe.. And little did he know that it was a half-Kree warrior who'd almost closed off his airpipe without second thought; he'd be horrified to know that it'd been an alien who'd nearly punched holes in his chest. The very thought of it induces nausea, despite her sparring partner's good-natured laugh.

Jason, I'm sci-fi walking. I've got us if it comes to blows with a few aliens.

When next round of blows comes, it's different. This time, instead of working against herself, she consciously lets the movement come; natural and fluid when it comes to packing three punches in where there'd normally be one, or shoulder-twisting her way around a right hook. Cara's relentless, but the per her sparring partner's instructions, she doesn't hold back. Carol, despite the lack of solar energy or planetary strength behind each hit, doesn't hold back. In the end, it's fine. Maybe a fat lip or a bruise on her upper arm.. Small mementos of the day to take with them, but with all things considered, it's the third of three cases where Cara Davies and her life have adhered to a simple, heartfelt statement.

I'm Captain Marvel, and now -- by proxy -- you are too. [..] I won't get us killed. [...] Cara, we’re stuck together for a reason, I just don’t know what it is yet; trust me, and trust your friends.

Cara would be the first person to tell you that it was a tall order. Not an inherently distrusting person by nature, soon-to-be Doctor Davies had an objective way of both over and underthinking things that didn't tie directly to concrete fact. She'd blame it on the scientist in her, on the amount of times that she'd wondered what could possibly outsmart the laws of nature. Carol Danvers, it seemed, was the answer.. Wrapped up and delivered in a red and blue, flying, energy-expelling, planet-punching, expertly-piloting, Kree-shaped bow.

For every action, she supposed, there was an equal and opposite reaction. For every push, there was a pull, and for every refusal Cara slammed into place, Carol had pushed back with even more force. It was logical. Carol had asked nicely at first. Cara had.. Not relented. But what would happen if she did? Even for just a little while?