In the mind of MoonDark

February 11, 2016:

Peter and Cap work together to unleash the secrets of MoonDark

Fort Kirby

Fort Kirby is the current headquarters of the Avengers

Characters

NPCs: Moondark

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Steve slept rather soundly after the operation that brought in MoonDark. Certainly, the team had been close to tragedy after the near death of their ally, Grunt. There was a sense of success, however, as headway had been made into finding out who was trying to kill SHIELD agents, and these 'Avengers' had persevered under some pretty vast odds.

But Steve new just how powerful those who accompanied the team were. Such a group of allies presents his own problems, and those issues are certainly upon the horizon. One step in front of the other, however. Everything in its right time. For now it was time to see what this MoonDark knew.

Steve sits in the cell across from a metal table from MoonDark. The latter looks pretty worse for wear and has chosen not to eat, bathe, or anything of the sort. The interrogation room is small, made of aluminum siding, and has been erected hastily. One advantage, however, is that it is extremely dark, with brilliant bright white light shining down upon the table for contrast.

"MoonDark, I've brought you here to ask you a few questions before we hand you off to the authorities."

"Go to hell, Rogers," the villain spits back.

Peter's seated on a chair toward the back of the room. The bright light shining directly at Moondark, makes spotting him difficult and even then he'd just be a darker shadow. As soon as Cap engages him, he's reaching out with his mind to touch the prisoner's and looking for any kind of defenses.

"I figured you might say that," Steve says with a nod. "But, if you decide you want to talk, you and I both know that things will go much easier for you. In the grand scheme of things you're pretty small potatoes. If you lead us to Zemo, you'll probably do a lot less time."

"This all assumes that Zemo doesn't get to you before the Feds get to me," MD says with a smirk.

It seems as though the prisoner is well focused on Steve at this point, with no major mental defenses up. He realizes that there's someone else in the room, but doesn't realize it is Peter. The young man will be able to tell that MoonDark thinks he's there for physical protection, not for mental attacks.

Either none or minimal mental training makes little difference to Peter. He's in easily and while he is listening, he's also going deeper. A higher level bad guy probably has a strong will so he doesn't want to rush things. And if he's successful, it'll be better than just digging out pieces here and there as Cap asks about them.

"I like our chances, MoonDark. I also know that general population can be pretty rough with someone that has your sort of record. I made a phone call into SHIELD and some of your victims have family in the pen—"

"You trust SHIELD?" MoonDark says, barely concealing a snicker. "We are so deep into SHIELD you can't tell your ass from your head."

"Yeah, you mentioned that," Steve replies.

Speaking of heads, MoonDark's mind brims with confidence. And on some level, he's right. He knows that Agents White and Hastings were both uncovered by SHIELD, but that the operation took its toll on confidence. He also knows that there are several contacts still within, including his main contact: Silverman.

Silverman. Peter follows that thought deeper, looking for how they turned him, when their last contact was, and what the man looks like in case he goes by a different name. « Ask who they are. » he thinks to Captain America. « Each name he gives can get him something in return. »

"You have any names you'd be willing to give me?" Steve says with a raised eyebrow.

"Rogers, you know as well as I do that you gotta give something to get anything. And you're giving nothing. We're nowhere even close."

Inside MoonDark's mind, it's something odd that's going on. MoonDark doesn't seem to know much about Silverman. He only talks to him in codes—briefcases swapped at different points, picked up through couriers, or by burner phones and text message. Agent Thorson and Mills, however, those names and information pop right to the forefront of Peter's mind.

Two more names and each gets subject to the same scrutiny. Peter thinks of it like a road map, following the Thorson road backward and picking up information at each stop then doing the same with Mills. Sometimes they branch off and he follows those too to see if they provide any further information or something else important. « Numbers. » he sends to Steve. « How many total? How long? »

Thorson comes first. He's been in Zemo's pocket the better part of 2 years. Bought off with money, he's got a grandmother in the hospital. A grandmother who also happened to be the daughter of a Hitler youth. Meanwhile, Mills is a recent convert, only within the past two weeks.

"You could at least let me know how long this has been going on," Steve says with a smile.

"I'm not giving you anything," MoonDark says, leaning back in his chair and shaking his head.

MoonDark's mind begins to allow Peter many different things. In all there are about 5 informants who answer to Zemo, but he only knows the three already mentioned. Zemo started working on this, apparently, shortly after the Red Skull disappeared.

Deeper and deeper Peter delves. He's not sure if Cap has an idea of what he can do. The things he and Audrey talked about let him know he could read minds but that's kind of hit or miss since he can only look for what he knows exists and Steve might miss something in his questioning. So while he's pulling information, he's also trying to gain control. A strong will and self confidence makes it harder so he's taking his time to sneak in instead of just hammering his way in.

MoonDark has a healthy amount of self-confidence, but it's not so burdensome that Peter should find he has much problem. On the contrary, the young mind-walker will find he's able to eventually gain the control he desires.

"Do you know the name Ryan Phillips at all?" Steve asks with a raised eyebrow.

"No, should I?"

"Ryan Phillips was the husband of Reece Phillips."

Moondark sits back in his chair even farther. Despite his chains he kicks at the floor, almost involuntarily trying to get away from Steve.

"If I understand right," Steve says with a tilted head, "Ryan Phillips used to frequent the circus jobs you started out in, and his girl Reece was one of the ones who used to be a stage girl for you. Is that right?"

Moondark doesn't respond, but his mind flashes towards a beautiful blonde girl, eyes completely white, as she stares at Moondark in a black room.

Obviously a telling point and as Moondark reacts to the unexpected name, Peter secures his hold while he's distracted. « Drum your fingers on your leg. » It's not an order that Moondark will hear, it's much deeper than that: a command that he thinks is his own doing if he even notices it as he reacts to what Steve said.

Steve continues in, knowing that he's struck a chord. "If my sources our right, she was one of the first souls you stole. One of the first who you discarded like a sack of meat," Steve says. "Would you believe Ryan turned to drugs in his despair? And that he ended up in Levenworth?"

Moondark has gone oddly silent, but, out of the blue, he taps upon his leg.

« It's my fault. » Peter thinks into Moondark's mind. « I truly am so very, very sorry. I should explain to him. It doesn't involve what's happening here so there's no reason not to tell him about it. Yes, I'll do that. »

"I loved her," MoonDark finally mutters. "I didn't mean for her to die—Not at first. I have carried that pain within me for a long, long time."

"Well, Ryan's gonna make you feel some of that pain on the outside if you don't get to talking," Steve retorts coldly.

« It's nothing more than I deserve. » Peter continues. « I didn't mean it to happen but it's my fault. If only I could tell her. If she were only sitting there, I could finally apologize to her. Try to make it right. I can see her now, so beautiful. Right over there. Would she forgive me? » "I forgive you." Peter says out loud. "But you have to make it right first. Tell him what he wants to know and then you'll have it. Everything. Start at the beginning and don't leave anything out."

MoonDark nearly jumps as Peter calls out from the darkness. He pauses, unsure of himself. Finally he begins. "Zemo recruited me shortly after Red Skull went missing a few months ago. I should say he didn't recruit me in person, it was a sort of friend of a friend ordeal. The plan was to first infiltrate SHIELD, get rid of Cap then get rid of some of the others, you know, Hawkeye, Pezzini and some others."

"Zemo had been working on this already, I was late to the party. He had two of his men get caught recently in a sting, but wasn't too worried about it. He'd get more and soon he'd see you dead." He nods towards Captain America.

« She's really here. This is my only chance to make it right with her. » "Tell him everything you know about the agents within SHIELD. Tell him everything you know about any agents in other agencies. Tell him about Zemo's organization, about their headquarters. Tell him everything and answer any questions he has completely and honestly." Peter aka Reece tells Moondark.

"Silverman is a codename," MoonDark points out. "I don't actually know anything about him. Agent Thorson and Agent Mills our ours, though. Those are the only three I know, I swear to god, please believe me." MoonDark pauses as if trying to clarify his mind a bit. "Zemo works out of Liepzig, Germany. That much I know for sure. Once in a face-to-face meeting, I saw a recognizable building in the background through a window and was able to figure it out. That's all I know! Honest!"

Peter goes looking for that memory and once he finds it, he sends it to Cap. He once saw a cop show where they identified a location by a building in the background and figuring out the angles and such. Surely SHIELD can do it too. "If you have any questions, ask him." Peter tells Steve.

Steve nods towards Peter, "What is Zemo planning to do after he killed me and the others?"

"Nuclear warfare. He has almost acquired, if not already, several suitcase sized weapons. From there, he intends to carve out a place for himself upon the map and threaten the world powers into bending to his whims."

As Moondark answers Captain America's questions, Peter searches the man's mind for the details of Reece's death. How did she did? Was Moondark there and did he witness it? What caused it?

"Who are his contacts on the weapons?"

"I don't know, he never shared that with me."

Hers was the first soul that MoonDark ever stole. Without a body to place the soul, both spirit and flesh died away. It truly is all of his fault. After months of having her bend to his every whim, it's almost as if he could not stop himself from taking everything.

Peter knows what he's going to do once this ends. For now, he just listens and waits for the questioning to be over.

"At least tell me all that you know about the weapons," Steve implores him, looking at him angrily for the first time.

"They're out of Kazakhstan, that's all I know, honest."

It's not much, but it's something, and that's what they'll have to go on.

There's more questions but Moondark seems to have told them all he knew and can only claim ignorance to most of what Steve asks. Once it's done, Peter says "I forgive you. But that doesn't mean you get to escape punishment." He's staring at Moondark and securing his hold on the man's mind for the manipulation he's starting to perform. "First, your powers are gone. Nothing you do will work. Instead, it will only bring you great pain to even try. And second, you must remember what you did every day of your life." He found the image of Reece's dead and withered body and brings it forward in Moondark's mind, seeing it as if it was the day it happened. And he loops it there, locking it in place so it's always superimposed on reality. "Never forget."

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