Logs:An Olive Branch
|An Olive Branch|
"Trust me -- you'll be a lot better off getting on my good side. You got enough enemies already." (Part of rift TP.)
<NYC> S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ - Times Square
The two agents who showed up to Henry Gyrich Special Correctional Facility that morning to take custody of one Sebastian Holland were clearly caught flat-footed by the prison system, though they comported themselves with persistent if sometimes awkward professionalism through the entire tedious affair. Agent Porter had finally donated his dress shirt when the facility's staff insisted on leaving their charge without clothing, and now looks vaguely silly with his tailored black suit jacket on over a plain white undershirt. Neither of them has spoken much, though they've been polite enough when they do. They played calming classical music through the entire three-hour drive.
When the -- unmarked -- van finally comes to a stop in an underground garage, it's quite impossible for someone who's ridden in the back to tell where they've come. The elevator certainly looks normal enough, and the hallway it lets them out into appears for all the world like some high-end corporate office. The few others they pass are sharply dressed, mostly in black. It's Agent Mendez who opens the door marked simply "Director", and ushers the prisoner inside.
This corner office is big, bright and airy, which is not cheap to come by in midtown Manhattan. On one side, a huge glass desk sits in front of the floor-to-ceiling window looking out over Times Square. The far corner has a leather couch, a coffee table, a liquor cabinet and a sideboard, but the rest of the floor space was left open between eclectically stocked bookshelves.
"Thank you, Agents." The deep, calm voice comes from a high-backed chair presently turned toward the window. "You are dismissed." Porter and Mendez look at each other, then at the small blue mutant between them, before departing. "Please have a seat, Mister Holland."
In the borrowed oversized dress shirt B looks even smaller than usual -- though her actually much-diminished build may not help matters, either, cracked greying skin on a gaunt frame. Her enormous black eyes swallow half her skinny face; at the invitation to sit her gills flap once, slow, milky inner eyelids sliding sideways closed.
She does not sit.
She does blink her eyes back open. Watching the windows, watching the high-backed chair. Her head bows slightly, one webbed hand wringing against the other.
The chair finally turns around. The man sitting in it is not particularly remarkable in height or build, though he's fit for his age -- perhaps late 50s or early 60s -- dark-skinned and bald, with a neatly trimmed Van Dyke beard. He wears a plain black eyepatch over his left eye, three jagged parallel lines of scars extending above and below it. His long black coat falls open over a black dress shirt and black vest with satin stripes, a black watch chain linking one pocket to a button.
His good eye studies B for a long moment. "Sorry for the cloak and dagger bullshit, but time is short and for the same reason I'll be brief." He steeples his hands in front of him. "My name is Nick Fury. I'm the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. -- I have reason to believe you may know who we are -- and I have had you released into our recognizance pending the attorney's general's change of heart about your charges." He purses his lips. "In exchange I want the use of your scientific and technical expertise on a matter of planetary safety. You will be compensated handsomely." His hands spread open. "Are you willing to discuss this?"
B's gills flutter again, her shoulders shrinking smaller inside the shirt. "S.H.I.E.L.D." Her voice is a little crackly-hoarse when she speaks, but even through it the relief is audible. She wobbles slightly where she stands, weight shifting uneasily from one foot to the other. "Do I go back to prison if I don't talk to you?"
"We were already working on getting you out -- go ask your Brothers and Sisters if you don't believe me. Call it an olive branch." Fury digs a knuckle into his left temple. "Shit got real yesterday and yeah, I needed your help, so I stepped on it. But I'm not fool enough to force a pissed-off goddamn genius to work for me and then hand him the tools to fuck us and possibly the whole world over." He leans forward. "So if you want to flip me off and walk out that door?" He sweeps one hand toward the exit. "I'll call someone to to escort you now." His head shakes slowly. "This ain't as simple as carrot and stick, but trust me -- you'll be a lot better off getting on my good side. You got enough enemies already."
B straightens, at that first statement. The fluttering of her gills stops, gaunt shoulders straightening within the oversized shirt. "Why did S.H.I.E.L.D. want to get me out before?" Her eyes blink once, slow. Her head turns toward the exit, then back toward Fury. "Does Shane know I'm out? Does my Ba?"
"I told your lawyer, so I imagine she'll let them know shortly, if she hasn't already." Fury pushes himself out of his chair, paces slow and measured in front of his window. "One of my agents thinks the Brotherhood is more stable with you than without you." He pauses at the end of his path, pivoting to face B again. "I trust my agents." He continues pacing, hands clasped behind his back. "Now, I know you pulled that Sentinel stunt, unlike the feds who just wanted a scapegoat and...well, the blind squirrel found a nut." He gestures vaguely in B's direction. "Lucky for you, I don't give a shit about the law. My job is to keep the world from burning down faster than it already is."
"Your agents --" B presses her lips together, brows hiking as she considers this. "What do your agents think about the ongoing coup attempt?" She wobbles again and only now makes her way to a seat opposite the desk, sinking slowly to perch on the edge of it. "... and after the trashfire this year has been, what --" The blink of her inner eyelids is quick, again. "-- what's so bad now that you need me to put it out?"
Fury stops, mid-pace. A grimace twists his face, and there's a small delay before he replies, reluctantly, "I made a call. Might be it was the wrong one." He returns to his desk, sitting down heavily opposite B. "Something, or someone, ripped a hole in space-time."
B's sunken eyes open wider still. Her hands clench together, then unfold to press on her knees. If she was expecting something, perhaps it wasn't that -- for several long moments she doesn't speak at all. "Okay," she says, finally. Slow. "We can talk. But I need some things first."
Fury waits patiently. Perhaps he had an inkling his answer may not have been what she expected. He, on the other hand, does not seem the least surprised by the request. "As you might imagine, I'm highly motivated," this sounds just a touch dry. "You name it."
"I need my lawyer," B replies quietly. "I need Lucien Tessier. And I need," she's sitting just a little straighter in her chair, hands curling tighter against her knees, "for nobody here to call me Mister again."