The Captive: Part 3

April 30, 2015:

Agent Carter visits Shift to ask him some questions.

Top-Secret SHIELD Holding Facility

Location: REDACTED

Characters

NPCs: SHIELD Guards and scientists

Mentions:

Mood Music: Awake by Tycho


Fade In…

The facility where Shift is being held has quite a high clearance level. Not just any SHIELD Agent can wander in.

Luckily, Peggy is not just any SHIELD Agent and she has the advantage of actually having been here before. She's not quite sure what to expect when she walks into the room that holds his well sealed cell. She's dressed in much a similar way as she was the day she arrived this time period, the only addition is a fitted leather jacket. While there are always guards and security, it seems for the moment the pair have the room to themselves. With crossed arms, she glances about before studying Shift, wondering who she will find there.

"Good afternoon," she greets in an almost polite manner, though there's no friendliness or welcoming in her tone.

*

When Peggy comes to the high tech cell, she will find Shift sitting cross-legged upon his cot, wearing a fresh prisoner's jumpsuit, given the unfortunate fate of his last one. His eyes are closed until Peggy speaks, at which point his eyes open.

They are silver.

There is a touch of surprise in the Ghanaian's expression. He glances about, looking for others, which only further serves to befuddle him. "Your Doctor Simmons is a talented indahvidual," he tells her. "I haven't had any memory blackouts since your peopah woke me."

*

It's really only when Peggy looks into Shift's eyes and sees them as silver that she relaxes at all. It's not exactly a perceptible thing, though. She moves just slightly closer, that studying gaze not moving from her subject.

"She is, yes," she replies, eyes leaving his now as she finds a metal chair and pulls it over toward the cell. She sits on it - the very vision of proper. Her legs are even crossed at the ankle. "She's one of the most gifted scientists I know." And since one of her best friends is Howard Stark, that is certainly saying something.

"I thought I might have a word with you when we were not surrounded by scientists, if that is alright with you." Though her words ask for permission, it does not sound like she actually is asking for it.

*

"For de past four days," answers Shift, "I've been accompanied by my own thoughts, and de guards who only acknowledge me when dey ah sliding my meals trough dat sophisticated airlock over dere." He nods his head in the airlock's general direction. "Yes. It is alright."

Something is clearly amiss. Kwabena has no idea what is going on in the outside world, but he is clever enough to know that something is going on. Otherwise, he wouldn't be rotting here in this wonderful little vacation home.

Bare feet hit the floor, and he rises, coming a bit closer to the glass. His eyes never leave Peggy's; there is a strange sort of resolution within them, but oddly enough, no signs of aggression. Rampant curiosity, however… yes. "What is on your mind, Agent…?"

He truly does not know her name.

*

"I have been told that SHIELD food is better than prison food." Peggy's humor is a bit dry.

There are quite a few things that are going on outside the prison walls that will certainly effect Kwabena. Perhaps that is what is on her mind when she rests her hands - red fingernail polish catching the light just slightly - on her legs. "Carter," she supplies when his voice trails off. "Agent Peggy Carter." She's not expecting that to mean anything to him, but then again, the strangest people seem to know her on sight and by name. It's still something she is getting used to.

"Honestly, I just wished to know more about you, Mr. Odame. You are wrapped up in some horrible things, as I am sure you must realize by now. And I might have been someone who would easily have believed that your shift in demeanor was simply a very good attempt at escaping your punishments. But, that other voice knew me when you clearly do not. And Steve believed in you."

*

The Ghanaian's brow furrows a bit when she introduces herself. Something about it felt… off, even though he can't explain it at all. Perhaps it's the fact that she's the only SHIELD agent he's ever met who dresses like something straight out of the 1940's.

The horrible things Peggy alludes to are foremost on Kwabena's mind. However, in his current predicament, he has adopted patience as his own particular brand of armor, so for the moment he sets it aside. The latter part of what she says, however, brings a frown to his face.

"I don't… like… being manipulated." The words are clipped, concealing a very deep inner hatred surrounding what little he does know of what's been done to him. After all, he essentially 'wasn't there' when that ugly thing inside of him was permitted to rear its ugly head. "Now you know something about me." It's not his attention to be short with her, but, there it is.

Kwabena closes his eyes for a moment, settling himself with a deep exhale of breath that had found itself captured up in his lungs. "Please ahccept my apologies, Agent Cartah. You'd be right to considah me something of a caged animal. Tell me, what would you like to know about me?"

*

Old habits and all. Peggy only really feels comfortable in the heavier vintage fabrics with which she is accustomed.

"That does not exactly seem like a sudden break through in understanding you," she tells Kwabena with a bit of an amused smirk and a raised eyebrow when he says he does not like being manipulated. "I can't imagine it is pleasant to have your memories compromised and to be made a puppet to what I can only assume is a brainwashing, or a possession." That, at least, it sounds as if she believes.

At his apology, she pauses for a moment before she nods just once. "I don't believe that is something you need to apologize for." There are, of course, the matter of other things. "I don't consider you a caged animal, despite your predicament. Honestly, there are the more mundane things I would question, such as how you became involved in this whole mess. But, what has been weighing on my mind is that when you changed here last, whatever it is that speaks through you mentioned that you had encountered and ancient evil."

*

A long silence lingers following Peggy's words, to which Kwabena had patiently been listening. Aside from a small grin that could possibly be misconstrued (or even properly placed?) as friendly at her first remark, his expression has remained utterly stoic.

Until she mentions that ancient evil.

At this, the Ghanaian frowns. His eyes grow thoughtful, then concerned. Contemplative. As he recollects the broken memories, he tracks back to Paris. He has to go back further, to the long suffered operation infiltrating Gotham's crime organizations just to find out where exactly Richard Dackleman had skittered off to.

Then he comes to it. The ancient evil. How could he have forgotten?

Truth is, he never had.

The Ghanaian turns away and walks across the cell slowly, reaching for a chair. He lifts it and brings it over to the transparent wall of that cell, placing it so that, had the wall not been there, he and Peggy might have been close enough to hold what the British might call a proper conversation. If only the wall were to be replaced by tea and biscuits.

"An ancient evil," he finally says, though now, his voice is quieter, dry and cracked. Vulnerable. "Yes. Dat is a very good way to describe it."

*

Peggy watches Kwabena's expression as it moves from a grin to stoic to concerned. She's a patient woman and is willing to let him work through his thoughts in order to answer her properly. This is not really any sort of interrogation: it's her attempting to understand what is happening better.

As he pulls a chair closer to the transparent barrier keeping them separate, she folds her hands in her lap and leans back. He certainly has her attention. She lets his words hang in the air a few moments as she considers them. Then, she continues, "Do you know what it was?"

*

"I don't know it by defahnition, no," answers Kwabena. "When de smooth first came onto de streets, I made it my personal mission to find who was behind it and be rid of it. You see, Agent Cahtah, I haven't led de most admirahbah life. Dere was a time when I was a drug addict. I know what it does to peopah, what it did to me, what it did to my friends. I also undahstand how dat world works, because dere was a time when I was out dere with de hoodlums, in de shadows, slinging dope and living a life of luxury because of it. I don't believe in God, not anymore, but I do believe in penance."

He pauses for a moment, if only to gather his thoughts. It wasn't like him to trust someone with his secrets so easily, but he's been cooped up, and Peggy has made herself easy to speak with. Besides… at this point, what does he have left to hide?

"A man reached out to me. Formah mob boss. He didn't like smooth being on de streets eidah, because he undahstands how dangerous a drug like dat can be to his clientele. He offered to help me put an end to it, and I took it. But… dere was something. Some powah he had. De best way I could describe it? He could summon demons. Terrible, ugly little creatures dat devoured anything dey could get dere teeth on. Drugs, shelves… people…"

He pauses, a shadow upon his face for a few moments of silence.

"When we finally found where dey were manufacturing de smooth, I put togedah a team to take down dere production facility. It was sponsored, by a govahnment organization you may know of, called 'Stormwatch'. We'd ended it, but we hadn't captured de man behind it all. Richard Dackleman. He went to ground, no one could find him, and we all knew he was de key to putting an end to dis nahcotic once and for all. I had to find him. So, I spoke with de man who controlled de demons. One of de men who had been manufacturing smooth had been imprisoned in… anodah place. A place dat wasn't of dis world. I went in to bring him back…"

Kwabena suddenly cuts himself off, the words choked. His hands clench into fists, and a haunted look passes through his eyes.

"If I have evah encountahed an 'ancient evil', Peggy, it was in dat place."

His words? They're actually trembling. Whatever happened to him there, he speaks of it as if it was a fate worse than death; something that may have scarred his psyche for the rest of his life.

*

Peggy listens to Kwabena's tale without interruption. Her face is serious and while it may not look it on the surface, there is actually some sympathy granted to him as she listens to his tale. She's interrogated enough people to know the tell tale signs of someone lying or making up tales. This sounds true to her. And it obviously effected Kwabena in a very real way.

"I'm sorry." Her words are sincere, though there is not so much pity there as an attempt to understand what he went through. It's unlikely that she ever truly will, especially as she has no idea what this other world could be. Again, she let's the information digest for a few moments, silence remaining before she speaks again.

"So you found him there. What was this other place, if I may ask?" If it has something to do with how to stop whatever it is that is happening to Shift, it's worth the question, despite it all.

*

Its not often that someone apologizes to Kwabena Odame. He could likely count on one hand the apologies he's received in his life. The momentary vulnerability lingers for a few more moments, as he looks back to meet Peggy's gaze, until his hardened heart wins him over and he looks away. Another silence lingers as he considers just how to describe it in words she may understand.

"It was like living in a very real hallucination. I was forced to live my nightmares. Dahkness. Dahkness everywhere. I… lost count of de days, after… a year and a half? But it was twice dat, it must have been, even dough dey all tell me I was only gone for some couple of months." He shakes his head, drawing a sharp inhalation through his nose. "You… don't have a cigarette, do you?"

He could always hope.

"I can only guess dat dis is de realm where Estacado drew his demons from, because if dere is a Hell, I've been dere."

*

The mention of what he went through is again processed. Peggy is not one of those people who will rush to attempt to console or fill silence with meaningless words. Instead, she listens to what Kwabena says, realizing that whatever it was that the voice was speaking of must have been talking about that darkness. Now she just has to find out how that links to his memory losses.

"I don't smoke," she tells Kwabena, almost as an apology. Not only because it's a rarity for a woman from her time period not to smoke, but because she wouldn't even chance giving him a cigarette without the guards. She's sympathetic, but she's also careful.

Peggy sighs and pushes her curled hair behind her shoulder. "And because of that, it made you more susceptible to whatever it is that is happening to you," she summarizes. "I don't suppose you remember a shadowy figure at some point and then a darkness overcoming you? That would be remarkably helpful in a clue as to who or what took you."

*

For a few moments, Kwabena does in fact try to remember. An expression of realization comes over his features, and his mouth opens, struggling to form words. "I… remember a cave. A cave and… and candahls? Lots of dem. Dere was a man, shrouded, chanting… some strange language."

His face begins to tremble, a clear sign of struggle. His eyes begin to roll back, and the monitors set up by Simmons begin to blare and alarm. Something is definitely going wrong.

"URRRAAAGH!" he suddenly cries out, dropping to his knees, hands clutching his face. "NO!" he shouts. "NO! LEAVE ME! DO NOT - DO NOT -"

His eyes roll back into his head, and blood begins to seep from the corner of his eyes. His mouth opens wide, and he lets out a horrendous howl, before collapsing on the floor, asleep.

The monitors gradually die down, as Simmons' technology inhibits those otherworldly brainwaves once more. As for Kwabena… it doesn't appear that he'll be waking soon.

*

Once again, Peggy listens to whatever information is given to her with an understanding mind. But, then, something starts to happen. The alarms sounding cause Peggy to quickly push herself out of her chair to standing. There is very little she can do to stop whatever it is that is happening to Kwabena.

Scientists and guards start to file into the room at the blaring alarms, adjusting things and ensuring that the prisoner will not escape. The bleeding from the corners of the eyes and the howl are enough to set the Agent on edge, but she steps back to allow the others to do their job.

Talking with Kwabena was enlightening on multiple different levels as to who this man is and was, but it also left her with quite a few more questions. For the moment, though, she will wait to ensure that he will be alright before heading back to the city.

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