The Road to Hell

May 07, 2015:

After crossing off names on a list, Shift comes to one conclusion. There's an old friend who runs in Gotham and he needs her help.

Watering Hole - Dubai, U.A.E.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

GOTHAM CITY, AMERICA

A letter arrives at the residence of Dinah Lance. It's postmarked from Miami, Florida, but inside, there is letterhead from a fancy hotel in Dubai, U.A.F. The letter quite simply has a date, a time, and an address, signed 'Ghana'. There is also an airline ticket, round trip, paid for, with only one connecting flight in Paris.

-

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

The address contained in that letter points to a shaded watering hole along the shores of Dubai. The time, 8:30 pm, is close to sundown; a beautiful time of the day, given the westward facing shores of the highly developed city. The bar isn't a tourist trap; it's the kind of place only the locals know about. There's no sign outside to advertise what it is, only a simple door leading into an old building, once shelled during a conflict many years ago, with a reinforced thatch roof to keep out the rainfall.

An African, wearing a black tank top, cargo pants and riding boots is seated at a table by himself, with a pack of smokes and a glass of whiskey to keep him company. A chain is worn around his neck, dropping into the tank top to reveal whatever may be attached. Short cropped hair and a well shaven beard adorn his face. Silver eyes glance toward the cheap watch on his wrist, before glancing back toward the door patiently.

*

GOTHAM CITY, AMERICA

Laurel Lance had received the letter, opening it with some trepidation and hesitation when she thought it might be a bomb for a brief second. When she sees the word on the letter she decides to check it out, whether it was a trap or not; since she had a gut feeling it would only mean one person.

-

-DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

After her flight, Laurel had made her way to the address dressed in local garb to avoid drawing attention before discarding it in favor of a pair of jeans and a tank top before arriving at the bar; a black baseball cap worn over her head along with dark wide rimmed sunglasses.

Stepping through the door, she glances around the bar before her gaze settles upon the man that half the superhero community had been looking for only weeks earlier.

*

It takes a moment or two for Kwabena to really register Laurel. She had taken efforts to blend in quite well. As soon as eye contact is earned, the African slowly lifts his chin in a subtle, prolonged upnod.

Assuming she comes near, Kwabena will wait until Laurel is almost seated, at which point he says, "I'm giving you a chance to get up and walk away, befah I ask you to do some difficult things fah me." The tone of his voice is quiet, stern and heavy, his eyes never leaving Laurel's. She… might notice something odd about them. Where red veins should be visible in the whites if any human's eyes, instead there are veins of inky black.

*

Laurel takes a seat, noting the differences in the man's eyes before asking him, "Have you spoken to Rant since you went missing? She and a lot of others have been looking for you. There was a big meeting about it. Heard you killed a congressman."

She gazes at him, waiting for a response to her questions before she answers his.

*

Looks like she's not taking the chance to run away.

For a moment, it would seem that Kwabena isn't going to answer Laurel's questions. He raises a hand, a gesture that he'll get to that, then looks over toward the bartender and calls out to him, "يرجى أخرى," a simple phrase in Arabic.

The bartender starts pouring another drink. Something Laurel had fancied in Ghana, years ago.

"I'm dead. You need to undahstand dis. Upton ordahed my execution, and as fah as he knows, my corpse is in-firmed at Guantanamo. Nobody can know oddahwise. Not yet. De public probably doesn't even know, but… you have to play along." If word got out that Laurel even knew of Upton's Order of Execution, Laurel would be up to her ears in shit.

*

"Alright. My lips are sealed." Laurel didn't like it, but she knew how these kind of things worked. A pause as she looks towards the drink, "Nice to see how quick Upton is adjusting to his new chair, it didn't take him long at all." The fact that Shift was ordered to be executed due to Hydra made her just a little angry, "What is it you need help with?"

*

"We need to talk about Rant."

Kwabena looks up as the bartender delivers Laurel's drink, nodding to him politely, before taking a sip from his own.

"If she finds out I'm alive, she'll do something very fucking stupid." Like hack everything in the world just to find him. "If she finds out I'm dead? Dunno what she'll do."

There is a break in the flow of quiet, foreboding dialogue. Kwabena glances away, then down toward his glass before lifting his somewhat creepy eyes toward his drinking partner. "I'm not guilty of killing dat Congressman."

*

Laurel nods her head and begins to sip at the drink while she listen to the man sitting across from her, "I believe you and yeah given Rant's condition and whatever drugs she's on, it's probably best not to let her know anything. Who knows how she might react." She asks the question again, "So what do you need help with Kwa?"

*

Word that Rant is on drugs again has the African's face darkening, his jaw working back and forth. That anger? That rage? It's pushed real deep.

"I need you to keep an eye on her," he requests. "Make sure she doesn't get tangled up in what I'm tangled up in. She's shacked up at a club in de East End. Tin Roof. Protected by Catwoman, so, tread carefully."

Kwabena reaches for the drink again, swirling the amber liquid around and around as he considers everything. "I'm working for de good guys, Laurel. It's an inside job. I'm gonna need to get my hands dirty. Real dirty. Dey know I'm capable, and willing. But nobody else can know. You're now one of three people in de world. You get me?"

*

Keeping an eye on Rant? That was going to be retardedly difficult especially given who she lived with, but she had contacts who would hopefully be able to help her, "She's already been looking into the smooth stuff with others including a SHIELD agent I know. Your secret is safe with me and I'll keep an eye on Rant as best I can." She pauses and finishes her drink, looking sad, "Just don't let them turn you into a Monster. The road to hell is paved with the best intentions Kwa."

*

A slow nod is given. He understands limitations. An offer to try was enough. It wasn't as if he had anything to offer himself, not yet.

The last words have him looking down, gazing at his drink again. "HYDRA got me," he says quietly. "Used some kind of arcane method, magic, to manipulate me." He reaches up to pull the chain from beneath his tank top, revealing an uncharacteristic charm. "Dis is holding it at bay. Dis job I'm on? I don't really have a choice."

Because Nick Fury did him a favor; because SHIELD developed a weapon that can bring him down if he doesn't obey. That, of course, goes without saying.

The glass comes up, the rest of it put down in one swallow. "Got to see dis through to its completion."

A cell phone is produced, unlocked, and slid toward Laurel. Upon it, a picture of a passport, complete with a false identity for one 'Bryan Goodard Jimene'. Kwabena allows her to look at it for a few moments, before he swipes a finger to delete the photo and take his phone back.

"You'd bettah go. Take some time, see de sights while you're here." He gave her a few hours when he booked the flight, after all.

*

Laurel memorized the photo on the phone and nodded to the man, giving him a brief hug as she got up, "Take care of yourself and keep in touch if you need anything. If you have information to supply, you know how to reach me." She winked at the mutant, "Try not to get yourself killed." Heading for the back entrance to the bar, she was off to blend back in before heading back to the states via Paris!

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