Narcotics Anonymous

October 07, 2015:

Shift is tracking down a thug who turns out to be involved in something far deeper than expected. The altercation and developments draw in members of SHIELD, and the elusive Oracle. (LANGUAGE)

New Friendship Baptist in Greenwich Village, NYC & Abandoned Building in Mutant Town, NYC.

Characters

NPCs: Greg McKinney, B-Dawg, NA meeting mediator and attendants

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: Where Is My Mind? by The Pixies


Fade In…

"Hello. My name is Greg McKinney, and I'm a heroin addict."

The Narcotics Anonymous meeting is being held in the basement of New Friendship Baptist over on Bishop Street. It's a good group, these people. They look after each other.

Greg McKinney talks for a while about his addiction. Before his most recent relapse, he'd managed to stay clean for one year, two months, and thirteen days. During the attack on Metropolis, however, an old friend had been killed. It was enough to push him back to the needle.

Not far from Greenwich Village, a delivery truck is rolling through Mutant Town. It bears the branding of a popular furniture store whose headquarters is out in Long Island, but holds multiple stores across the region, and has a warehouse over in Jersey. Perhaps a bit odd for it to be pulling up into a building thought to be abandoned ever since the market crash in '08. Word on the street says that some overseas investor picked up the place on Sherrif's Sale back in 2010, but it hasn't seen any work since, in spite of the soft gentrification taking place in nearby blocks. People say it's the crime; this particular block isn't the safest, but it's no Compton.

The van parks, and a handful of rugged dudes emerge from a loading dock to direct it's backing in.

Meanwhile, at New Friendship Baptist, a dark skinned fellow lurks against the wall, dressed in boring jeans and an old dark navy hoodie. Odds are, he's another addict who doesn't feel brave enough to sit with the others. Such behavior isn't uncommon, especially among newbies. However, the truth is, Kwabena Odame is here because his nose has been itching lately, and not for a line of cocaine. His silver eyes are upon the fellow sitting across from Greg McKinney; an unshaven man, rough around the edges, easily tricking the others into believing he's suffering withdrawal symptoms.

Kwabena knows him by another name… B-Dawg. Used to sell trees to the ghetto boys out in Bed-Stuy before he made it big and moved up to the smooth market.

*

Lunair is likely near Greenwich. She'd be a hipster if she didn't find the culture so obnoxious, so really - she likes art, peaceful areas and cafes when she's not blowing up or shooting people. It's just how she rolls. She is unaware of the NA meeting. Instead, she's probably picking up some tea. Or something tasty.

*

Betsy is fairly stealthy. But she doesn't 'blend'. So she is stalking the addicts group, an alert eye out as she stands in an alley, swaddled in shadow and functionally invisible to most human eyes. She has no need to see through the window- her telepathy gives her a perfect view of the interior, and the minds of the occupants inside.

Because one of them is not here for the moral support. He's scouting out addicts potentially on the rebound, and he's dealing his smack in the ruins of M-town, in the FEMA disaster camps where the desperate and the downtrodden have no relief from the weary drudgery of being refugees trapped in their old homes.

*

New Friendship Baptist, Greenwich Village

Before long, half of those in the NA meeting have shared some things. Finally, it's B-Dawg's turn to speak.

"My name's Chris, and I'm a smooth addict."

Its enough to draw much more attention from the group. Smooth is the newest drug to have hit the streets in recent years. It won't be the same old story. Kwabena, however, narrows his eyes.

"I've been doing it, since, pretty much the beginning? See, I used to sell weed. Moved up to crack and all that shit, but when smooth got around, I tried to get in. All them niggas back on the block said it was gonna be the next hottest shit, so I made my play. Got in with a group, real hard thugs, gang shit. Said if I wanted in, I had to pass the test. Made me shoot the shit up to see if I could handle my own. Come to find out, that shit was a line. A big, fucking line of shit. Them niggas wasn't testing me for shit. They wanted to see what would happen when some non-mutie shot up. Wanted to see if it was just as addictive as it was to muties."

Kwabena quietlylifts the hoodie to cover his face, so that the others won't see him glaring at B-Dawg. Where he wields the knowledge of what B-Dawg is really up to, Betsy has her telepathic radar zeroed in on him. The more 'Chris' speaks, however, the more nervous he becomes. It's true; he's here to pick out targets to sell dope to, but he's got his hands wrangled up in something much bigger. He discovered something he shouldn't know, and that something is being unloaded into an 'abandoned' building in M-Town as he speaks.

"So yeah, man." B-Dawg turns to look right at Greg McKinney. "I get you, dawg. This shit ain't easy, man, and like, if you want, I can shoot you my number, we can go grab coffee and bitch to each other. You know? Try and stay clean."

Kwabena works very hard to stifle a snort.

The mediator turns to look at Kwabena, raising his eyebrows. "How about you?" he asks. "Would you like to join?"

The Ghanain shifts, and a Desert Eagle .50 cal is produced from beneath his hoodie. It's aimed directly toward B-Dawg's head.

"Everyone, be cool," he speaks above the gasps and murmurings of discomfort. "Chris here isn't exactly telling you de truth. Ah you? 'B-Dawg'?"

*

At least she's not dressed in gothic or elegant lolita these days. For now, Lunair is meandering through Greenwich, and trying to avoid an overly aggressive mime.

And for her part, Lunair is alert, because pretty much everyone and their mom does try to kidnap her. But she is unaware of what's going down - not to be snide.

*

Betsy's eyes widen and her head comes up a few inches. She moves a step away and vaults up ten feet effortlessly, seizing a window ledge and hauling herself up one-handed to look through the window. Concealed by shadow, she stares at Kwabena, and then makes a small, extremely focused effort of will. It's doesn't take much- just focus. She probably couldn't do it under duress, but it's a simple matter to bend the firing pin inside the pistol a few degrees out of alignment, effectively rendering it useless.

*

Betsy will probably never find out if her trick worked. Kwabena's play isn't to shoot anyone, which is why he chose such a ridiculous weapon to brandish. Intimidation factor, however, can speak volumes.

"The fuck, man?" shouts B-Dawg.

The mediator rises, trying to calm the situation. "Okay, listen, why don't we put away the weapon. This is a safe pl-"

"Bullshit, it's safe!" interrupts Greg. "How the fuck did this piece of shit get in here?"

"Man, I don't know who the fuck you think I am," starts B-Dawg.

"I know exactly who you are," Kwabena growls. "And I know you're here to sell dope to dese peopah, so get yah ass off dat chair and -"

B-Dawg whips out a Kel Tec and fires. The shots ring out into the street, drawing eyes to New Friendship Baptist.

Inside the church basement, the people scatter. Some hit the floor, others head for the red EXIT signs. Kwabena, however, makes a bee-line for B-Dawg, in spite of the holes now torn through the chest area of his hoodie.

*

Now there's a sound Lunair is familiar with. She has known it almost all her life. Her hazel eyes flick towards the church. She ducks behind a trashcan, crouches, armors up and then bolts into the church.

It's like a discount Superman maneuver, really. She doesn't really need to fly so she goes on foot, hurridly towards the church. She won't get in the way of those leaving unless they seem to be armed. "Really." Really?

*

Oracle watches many things in the world and she's been tracking some unusual transactions. Don't asked what tipped her off to them, but those trucks that were rolling into M-Town? She's watching them.

The building, that's sat idle since 2010, is owned by a 'Bish Food Exports', supposedly an Indonesian based business… and the business itself has experienced an uptick in incoming foreign funds. It's taken a little digging but the wiley redhead has tracked the payments sent from an Afghan Investors Swiss Bank account.

Why haven't they been caught by Homeland? They help up to the PATRIOT act Currency Transaction Report standards.

Right now, she's watching the trucks unload and seeing who's in the area.

*

Betsy moves fast. The window is barely wide enough to accomodate her, but she smashes it in with a burst of psychic effort and flips through it with a neat pinwheeling motion. She's moving quickly, almost too fast for the eye to follow, and her first stroke is to flicker a small, tassle-bladed knife directly into the index finger of B-dawg's shooting hand. She vaults over someone ducking for cover, eyes intent on running B-dawg to ground. Even being twenty feet and a long jump away, she's pulling well ahead of catching him afore Kwabena does. She lunges out, grabbing him by the throat, and whipping him off balance until he's struggling for purchase on the ground and balanced against her hip.

"Back off," she tells Shift, coldly. "We don't need another shooting in this town, and a dead man can't tell us where his distributor is."

*

Oracle's findings piece together to read like a handbook for 'trafficking'. Could be drugs, could be weapons, perhaps something more nefarious like humans. Either way, she's onto something. The M-Town building, owned by Indonesia-based 'Bish Food Exports', has been lightly wrangled up in a zoning dispute with the City of New York for a very long time. So long that the zoning department doesn't really believe they'll ever build an upscale fish market out of the place, so, nobody else seems to care that a 'furniture delivery' is coming in.

Betsy's words inside the church are followed by the sound of Kwabena 'armoring up'; a rapid series of crackling sounds that pair with the transformation of his skin into something that looks more like matte obsidian. Based on how she moved, not to mention the greater question of 'who the fuck is she and what is her play in this?', he's immediately assessed her as a potential threat.

The words, however, catch him off guard long enough to prevent him from trying to smash her leg into pieces. Instead, he considers the weapon in his hand, and spares Betsy the boredom of conversation around the fact that a real killer would know not to bear such an overdramatic, useless firearm.

"I've been dead before," he answers drily.

The mediator looks up from his hiding place beneath a desk. "You… you guys," he stammers, "I'm gonna call the cop-"

"You stay down and shut up!" Shift answers, before looking back to B-Dawg, all choking and frightfully eyeing his wounded finger.

"You heard de lady," he says. "We want to know where your distributah is." He chucks the .50 cal over into a corner of the room after ejecting it's magazine and pocketing the ammo, then takes a few steps toward the detained drug dealer. His hand reaches for B-Dawg's gun, and quite effortlessly bends the barrel into a 84 degree angle. "Start talking, punk."

Meanwhile, Lunair will find her way into the basement, just as B-Dawg begins croaking out his answer. "You both know I can't do that, she- - he'll kill me!"

Oracle's systems just might begin pinging on social media reports of a church shooting in Greenwich Village.

*

Lunair is totally there! Just as B-dawg answer. "She?" She pauses. Then Shift! There's a tangible aura of happiness now that Shift isn't the Walking Dead or whatever. She pauses. "I'm happy to see you but displaying it would be inappropriate. So know that if you try to get away from them, Mister Dealer… well, there's loooooooots of things worse than death. So many!" SO MANY!

The threat is doubly menacing, since Lunair seems gleeful. Admittedly, she's mostly happy to see Betsy and Shift. But it works.

*

That's what Oracle certainly suspects and she's been watching the business for a while. This 'furniture delivery' is the first 'concrete' thing she's been able to put her finger on.

It's not just the social media feeds that alert the Redhead to trouble in the Village. Cait was given a JL:A communicator the other day and that shows her in the location, Lunair is already on O's radar and for some reason, who knows why, so is Shift.

"Shift, Armory, Fairchild. This is Oracle. I'm monitoring the situation where you are. What do you need?"

There's one more person that Oracle will notify and ask for assistance from and she switches comms channels "Agent May, this is Oracle. We've a shooting in Greenwich Village. Location details incoming. Can you get there?" May will know that Oracle doesn't request assistance lightly. "More details being transmitted." and she sends a summary of what she's in the Baptist Church basement.

*

That's what Oracle certainly suspects and she's been watching the business for a while. This 'furniture delivery' is the first 'concrete' thing she's been able to put her finger on.

It's not just the social media feeds that alert the Redhead to trouble in the Village. Lunair is already on O's radar and for some reason, who knows why, so is Shift. Unfortunately, she barely knows about Betsy.

"Shift, Armory. This is Oracle. I'm monitoring the situation where you are. What do you need?"

There's one more person that Oracle will notify and ask for assistance from and she switches comms channels "Agent May, this is Oracle. We've a shooting in Greenwich Village. Location details incoming. Can you get there?" May will know that Oracle doesn't request assistance lightly. "More details being transmitted." and she sends a summary of what she's in the Baptist Church basement.

*

"Back up," Betsy snaps at Shift. She looks about to speak again, then Lunair addresses Kwabena. She glances from the other metahuman to Shift, then back again.

Forgoing civility for a moment, she rummages through both Lunair's thoughts and Shift's in a flickering analysis of their relationship. Coming to a decision, her body language relaxes but she gives Shift a warning look.

"Talk," she tells the prisoner, squeezing a pressure point in his neck painfully. "Or this will get very painful very quickly," he assures him in cold, precisely controlled British tonals.

*

Melinda May hears the message from Oracle, and thankfully is already off duty from SHIELD for the day — a very rare thing. "Acknowledged, Oracle." She flicks the turn signal on the honestly boring little Japanese import car and takes a right turn to get to the location supplied by Gotham's goddess of information. "ETA, three minutes."

*

'She?' That mistake is noticed by Kwabena as well, and it shows. Betsy will see it in his silver eyes, just beneath the rim of his concealing hoodie; that word seems to have changed the game. He glances her way, her warning dissolving against other developments. In his old life, he'd have taken it personally. In this one? All she gets is an expression that suggests they both might have a bigger problem on their hands, one that isn't each other. In an effort to dissuade the woman's wariness, his skin reverts to its normal flesh and blood with a series of quiet pops and hisses; his acknowledgement of her request to back down.

"Word is you're with de Bloodhounds," Shift tells B-Dawg, ignoring his squeal of anguish at Betsy's treatment. "Bloodhounds, not Bloodbitches. Dey don't let girls in unless dey're de entahtainment."

At the moment, Shift is not wearing his earpiece, so Oracle's message goes to his phone. He's also happy to hear Lunair's voice, but it doesn't show. What with the hoodie and all.

"Nnnnnurrrgh it's not the Bloodhounds!" answers B-Dawg. "I don't know what's going on. Really, I don't! N-not the details, anyway, but… look, yeah, okay, I was supposed to sell to these chumps, but it's more 'n that. He -"

"She," Kwabena reminds him.

"- wanted me to get 'em on the hook, wanted me to get friendly so they'd come with me to some… some meeting place!"

Meanwhile, Agent Melinda May of SHIELD is closing on the abandoned building in M-Town. As she does, however, she'll begin to pick up on some things with her experience and training. A man sitting at a bus stop paying more attention to passing cars than he should be his phone; a man smoking out a third floor window with eyes of a sniper, rather than the blue collar warrior he's dressed up as. The building owned by Bish Food Exports is being watched. By professionals.

.

*

Lunair is quiet. She likes Shift. He's a buddy. And she doesn't interfere with their interrogation. She pauses, getting the message. Yes, she has a nyancat ring tone. Lunair is still very much a teenager. "Eh? Oh." Pause. Should she- "It's okay, it's okay. Shift found a bad dude in this umm…" Peer at a pamphlet, "Narcotics Anonymous thingy. No one seems to be hurt. And I didn't shoot, so I actually didn't kill anyone today." She's a thoughtful messenger, really. Even if one gets the idea that Lunair may have an alarmingly high body count like a silly 80s movie.

*

Oracle very nearly facepalms as Lunair gives her update. She'll speak to May about training the teen a little more. "Well, it's good you haven't shot anyone today, Armory." Ever the coach, Oracle responds. At the update though, she's already accessing NYPD's call despatch. There'll be a police attendance at the basement in … 7 minutes. Those there may even hear the sirens.

"I've despatched police, Armory and I've access to the building systems. Evacuate the civilians please."

Now she has the update from the site, Gothams Information Goddess starts to run B-Dawgs' credentials … cross referencing Bloodhounds … and looking at his movements over the past few weeks. It will take a few minutes for that information to start filtering through.

All the while, she's watching M-Town … and the feeds from the street are giving her the information that Mays seeing as well.

*

Betsy continues to throttle the fellow by virtue of massaging nervous pressure points, but more subtly she goes digging through his brain. Every time Shift prompts a response, the flood of information that accompanies it lets her burrow deeper and deeper into his memories and reflexes.

"Mymy, she sounds perfectly horrendous," Betsy says dryly. "Interestingly, you're not really telling me anything I want to know yet. I'd recommend you start talking before I start breaking limbs." To emphasize her point, she grabs his grasping thumb and twists it painfully back with surprising strength.

*

"Oracle," May says softly as she continues driving positively sedately toward the target coordinates. "Suspicious activity." She lists where she sees the odd people out as she drives past them. "Can you tell anything more about them?"

*

Phil Coulson is sitting next to her, and as she calls it out, he's already pulling out one futuristic looking gun and chambering a round and smoothly does the same with a second. "Suspicious, dangerous..these days it's one in the same. Keep the wheel steady. I'll play street sweeper."

*

Oracle's handiwork will cross reference B-Dawg with a lot of people. However, most of the females he's encountered can be easily classified into three parties, some of which blend together; hoodrats on government assistance, prostitutes, and those with possession raps. With one exception; Puja Fen. Indonesian businesswoman who earned dual citizenship in 2010 through a series of lucrative and legitimate business deals, none of which directly tie her to Bish Food Exports. If that paper trail exists, it's not digital. Digging more on her would require a more organic approach.

As Betsy further goads the thug, Kwabena reaches for his phone. It's been buzzing at him, and there's good reason why; Oracle's communications are streaking across the screen in a flurry of SMS messages.

"Whoa whoa whoa!!" B-Dawg panics when Betsy bends his finger, the strain evident in his voice. "I dunno what, I didn't ask, but she's gonna pay me twenty thou just for this easy job! That, that kinda money ain't normal!"

B-Dawg may be too stupid to realize what he's gotten himself into. However, Betsy's telepathic probing will paint a picture of organized crime at its highest level. From the way Puja Fen located and hired B-Dawg, down to the way she spoke and the clothes she and her entourage wore, it's clear that something beyond simple narcotics trafficking is at play here. Mutant Town came up a number of times in their conversations, and it was in that neighborhood where Fen originally tapped B-Dawg.

"Why don't you take us to her, den?" Kwabena asks B-Dawg. "Or, we could just wait for de police to arrive. We got about -" He lifts his hood, doing a quick head count. "- fifteen witnesses who'd love to testify against yah sorry ass."

"If I do that, I'm dead."

"Bettah dat den becoming a prison bitch," Shift answers. "Which is what sqealahs become."

Lunair will have little difficulty rounding up people to evacuate from New Friendship Baptist. Police sirens sound in the distance; time is running short.

"I'm supposed to meet her Thursday!" B-Dawg sings. "I, I can, I can… show you where."

*

"Police are likely on the way. Unlike Gotham, they respond in reasonable amounts of time," Lunair points out. "I'm going to help get people outside. Good luck." She nods at them. She really was pretty happy to see Shift, and will help people off the floor and out the door. "C'mon, don't worry. I have you." Pause. "Nnnooo… I don't know Iron Man, but I am so not fan of red and gold together -" Or copyright infringement, really. "Just - c'mon."

Lunair: Best people herder ever.

*

"So I can see, May." Oracle responds to the SHIELD agent. "Say hello to Coulson for me… They're all former military or mercenary types. If you can ever really be a former mercenary. The only connection I've found is a series of code words sent via text message from asingle phone. I'm tracing that phone." She advises. "I'd suggest they likely need subduing."

An update is sent to Shift and Lunair "She is Puja Fen. Indonesian Businesswoman, dual citizenship granted in 2010. I'm tracking something with another Indonesian business 'Bish Food Exports'… but there's nothing digitally connecting her to them." She's going to need 'The Birds' to help her find more. "But maybe your little bird can sing some more."

*

Betsy looks around the room and narrows her eyes. As one, everyone except B-dawg, and the metahumans, nods off right where they stand, sitting heavily on the ground or slumping into chairs.

"In point of fact, you drew a gun first," Betsy tells Shift. "A conversation with the police would be awkward, at best. I have the information I need from him." She puts her hand on B-dawg's brow, and his eyes roll up and he falls on the ground catatonic.

She gathers him onto her shoulder effortlessly. And while she's tall and fairly muscular, she does so with an ease that belies simple mass and physics. Let alone doing it in heels. "We need to go. /Now/," she tells Shift and Lunair. "Get your firearm. Leave his here. All that they'll remember when they wake up is that he started shooting. Thankfully, there are no cameras," Betsy says in those dry tones. "They won't know how he made his escape and it'll give us time to interrogate him at our leisure."

*

Melinda May glances at Coulson briefly, and keeps the car at a steady pace that even cruise control would envy. "Oracle says hello, and the POIs are all mercenary types." She pauses briefly before adding, "I'll help you with the paperwork."

*

Phil Coulson nods, "Tell her I said hi, and let her know that we've got everything under control here. Mercs scare easily enough. More that they won't get paid rather than they might lose their lives." he says and glances over briefly, "We'll keep the pressure up. That'll tell us just how well they're trained versus how well they're getting paid."

*

Betsy gets, of all things, a grin from Shift. "Did I?" He has no intention of being around when the fuzz arrive.

There is mild surprise, however, when she poses her suggestion. He looks around to watch as the collective NA attendants just nod off, at which point a suspicious look is cast back toward the woman. "Change of plans, Lu," he calls to Lunair backing Betsy up. "Tell Oracle to tag everyone present; in case we need to put 'em into Witness Protection latah."

Moments later, the Desert Eagle is back in his possession, and he's headed for the busted window behind Betsy. His expression remains bland, but his hackles are raised nonetheless. Her words suggest her to be a telepath, and he doesn't trust telepaths.

Meanwhile, in M-Town, May and Coulson see their destination; the abandoned building in question. The delivery truck has backed completely into the loading bay, concealing whatever it is that might be inside the truck. They've got to choose between sweeping out the POI's and alarming those making the delivery, going for a more stealthy approach, or backing off and investigating on their own terms once the delivery is complete. Either way, the time to make that decision is close to passing. May's driving, meticulously as it is, will eventually draw attention if she does anything suspicious.

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