HoM: All the King's Men

March 02, 2018:

Dani and Owen find Nate Summers soon to be cadet for SHIELD and powerful telepath.


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

Lunch in Carrion Cove, beaches in the Australian Gold Coast. Surfing for Nate. Maybe a nap for Illyana under a beach umbrella. Feels like a Saturday, right? Not for Nate, but he fakes it very hard. What else is he supposed to do?

Only when they return Dani sees cadet Illyana's SHIELD's communicator go live again.

The search for high-power telepaths has not gone well.

There are a few on SHIELD, of course. Cassandra Webb being the eldest, one of the most skilled. But she had a heart attack five days ago. Currently in coma, prognosis is not good. The other telepathic operative usually in Genosha is the mysterious Black Swan. He has been missing for two weeks. Not unusual for someone like him, but still a strange coincidence.

Rachel Summers, technically not SHIELD, but famous for her power and skills, is supposedly in Genosha, but no one is sure where. Sensors are failing to track her. Perhaps she returned to Britain already.

That leaves… some younger ones. Students of Xavier College. There are some great young talents there.

Ruth Aldine, long suspected to be related to the war hero Destiny, was the first name in SHIELD's list. But she collapsed into a precognitive trance a week ago. She is in an hospital, in coma.

Quentin Quire, the most powerful mutant telepath recorded since the death of the famous Charles Xavier. Total nervous breakdown six days ago. Now in a padded cell, drugged up to the gills and muttering nonsense about fire birds from space and the wrongness of the world.

Third in the list is Nathaniel Summers. Interesting one because he has applied and being accept for SHIELD psi-division and would be starting training next September. But his behavior has been erratic the past few days. He skipped classes at College, which he very rarely did before. He flew to New York at a speed exceeding his supposed power levels. In fact he has been spiking, causing some concern in SHIELD's central because he was already considered a very strong psion.

Nathaniel was seen in Carrion Cove with Illyana Rasputina. Then they fell off the grid. Now they are back. Teleporters will do that. And Summers is on the radar again. Looks like he returned to his apartment near college.

The oddities with the psionics of this reality isn't lost on Danielle Moonstar, but that also doesn't stop the search for viable candidates.

Eventually that search led SHIELD to Nathaniel Summers; future cadet of their organization.

And while he's popped on grid and then off, like everything eventually he returns to his apartment. Alone presumably, though not for long.

Not when SHIELD has their eye upon him and also has their own teleporters. As such, the hallway that leads to his door within the apartment complex is suddenly filled with the presence of two specific Agents of SHIELD.

Agent Moonstar and Agent Mercer. The teleportation isn't the easiest on the body as it gives the person with a sense of dispersal, before being reassembled again. When the two find themselves back together again, Dani takes a second to compose herself. "I hate that teleporter." Mutters the Agent, even as she straightens her shoulders, and spine and glances aside to Owen, to make certain he's likewise okay. "Ready?"

This one? Crazy. That one? Dead. That other one? No one knows. As the two agents work through the list of telepaths Owen just turns to Dani with his best solemn stone face deadpan and says "That's not disconcerning at all. I'm sure it's fine that so many have either died, gotten sick or fallen of the grid in that short of a time frame." With the obvious sarcasm setting the tone of impending doom far better than the internal hysterical screaming in Owen's mind.

However when they finally find one candidate that is not crazy, dead, sick or missing Owen is relieved. At least this guy is pro-SHIELD from the looks of the profile. Of course who knows with everything that's been going on but at least they don't have to use someone who is openly hostile.

Going through the teleportation is obviously unpleasant. Dani being the more stoic of the two weathers it gracefully. Owen pukes. It was probably that third bagel. So sorry about that hallway plant everybody. He coughs and gives Dani the one finger sign of I need a moment before recovering.

"Okay. I'm good. Let's go get mind wiped."

The hallway is pretty nice, even for Genoshan standards. Apparently Nathaniel's dad is a wealthy American businessman and also a powerful mutant. The boy's rooftop studio is larger than Owen's apartment.

Yes, this Nate Summers has everything. Good family, great power, wealth, good looks, a hot blonde teleporting 'friend'… lucky guy.

He also opens the door before Dani touches the doorbell. He stares at the two agents, shock and surprise going through his eyes in quick succession, he tenses. "You… are not looking for Illyana, are you?" He is looking intensely at Moonstar missing eye. Kinda rude.

Finally, he breathes and steps back. "What can I do for you, agents?"

Disconcerting, yes. The two are definitely in agreement with that, but the Prince has given an order, and Dani (to her own detriment at times) does what Pietro commands.

Being the stoic one of the pair her composure is found quicker (though perhaps not easier) which allows her to watch Owen reject all those unfortunate bagels. Her expression stays pretty placid though a hint of amusement glints within her one good eye.

Likely this isn't the first time he's tossed his cookies - or bagels.

She waits with patience and when Owen finally regains his own physical and internal footing, the Agent moves. Though that last of his - that earns a sharp side-eye; who cares that he's her blind side. There is still side-eye happening.

When the door opens without even one knock, Dani frowns ever-so-slightly, but that expression doesn't last long when it's Nate who's behind the door. His immediate concern brings a headshake from Dani, "No, we're not looking for Cadet Rasputin." States Dani, her expression neutral once more, "We're actually looking for you Cadet Summers."

His rather rude staring is simply ignored thanks to the mission at hand.

Owen has never disobeyed a command. He has also likely never obeyed a command without snarking about it. Dani has come to accept that the humor doesn't negate the loyalty. And Owen knows she secretly finds him funny… some times.

At Nate's opening of the door, he might sense Owen's psy-training kicking in with full force. He's obviously not a telepath but has been trained like all agents how to shield his mind as best as possible. He seems a little more on edge about it than maybe Danielle. Something specifically that he wants to keep Nate out of.

"I would say it's your lucky day kid, but we're more hoping it's ours to be honest."

Danielle is obviously the more formal of the two as befits their personalities, but Owen hopes that the crack lightens the mood a bit and sets Nate a little at ease. Maybe. He might also find it patronizing and get pissed off.

Not a cadet until the Fall.

But that is not what Nate says. Instead he blurts out. "You are Dani Moonstar. I think Illy… must have mentioned you," beat, "something about bears and flying horses?" Noooo. That sounds crazy. He handwaves. "Nevermind," he grumbles, "you want to sit down or are we going somewhere?"

Feels wrong he is not surprised or nervous about having a pair of agents dropping by like this. It feels wrong. It feels normal. He has never met Owen, but Moonstar… he looks again to the eye patch.


It's good that Dani can't facepalm with what Owen says.

Though inwardly she does understand that their personalities is what really makes this partnership work.

The good cop/bad cop vibe that often happens between the two rarely goes against any situation they encounter.

At her name, Dani nods. That she doesn't find unusual, Illyana could have mentioned her, but the rest of what he says - that brings a sharp look to her one good eye. "Excuse me?" She asks, even as he waves his words away and while Dani allows those words to be brushed aside, a look is covertly sent over to Owen. Something that reads - how did he know that.

"Do you think perhaps we can come inside, Cadet? This isn't a conversation I'd like for us to have on your doorstep."

Owen's jaw sets tightly when Nate knows Danielle's name, his teeth outright grind when he mentions a bear and flying horse. «Those are private you telepathic little shit. Stay out.» That is a thought aimed squarely at Nate. It's not surprising that a telepath would know things that no one has told him. Of course Owen just assumes the worst that he is reading into their minds to find those visions. And that is exactly what Owen's shields are up to prevent.

Dani's look to him is met with very serious low side eyes. They actually have an entire language of side eye between them with the ridiculous situations they face.

He's not really waiting for an answer from Nate either, he's pushing forward as Dani asks if they can come in. Of course they can. They're SHIELD.

"Thanks. We appreciate it."

Well yes. Nate was not going to tell the agents to sit down outside the apartment. He has a nice dinner table and grabs three beer cans from the fridge along the way.

Owen 'loud' thoughts get him a brief glance. Blink. The what?

His mom taught him not to pry into the minds of SHIELD agents, for fuck sake. (Except, of course, when one really, really needs to break the rules - she also taught him when and how).

He slumps on his chair, looking at both agents warily. "Okay, so what the hell is going on?"

That low side eye from Owen is seen and it brings the smallest of finger-flicks from the woman.

An acknowledgement to that look and understanding.

Once inside the apartment Dani can't quite stop herself from assessing what can be seen. It's an automatic gesture; looking for things out of place, oddities, and the general safeness of an area. For now it seems safe and that's what allows the woman to return her attention to Nate Summers.

While Nate sits, Danielle remains standing, her stance is very parade-rest, "There is a situation." Begins the black-haired woman, "Something that we believe those with psychic abilities might be able to help us with. When reviewing the databases in SHIELD your name came up."

Third on the list, but that doesn't need to be said out loud by Dani.

"We'd like to bring you in -" And while it's phrased in a rather questioning way, really that question is rhetorical at this point, "- to try and help us either validate the issue at hand, or invalidate it."

Somewhere in another world the very pillars of foundation are shaken by the fact that Owen Mercer declines a beer. He waves it off as he is on official business and doesn't drink on duty. Ever. Obviously this is some nightmare realm that must be destroyed.

He remains standing as well, though purposely doesn't look at Nate while Danielle explains what they are doing here. He takes in the scene, the details of the apartment, as if they might help explain what is happening to the other telepaths. In truth, though Owen's orders are only to track telepaths for the purpose of confirming or refuting Wanda's visions, he is now already mentally calculating how to investigate what is happening to the telepaths.

"It's nothing serious. We just need some telepathic help, and we thought it might be an opportunity to help a new recruit prove their merit. We know you're eager to show how useful you can be to the corps."

Because Owen is at least trying to get back on the good cop track by making it sound less like Nate is being arrested, but rather volunteering for this.

Like SHIELD doesn't have enough telepaths they need to call a nineteen year old college student that is not supposed to start training for six months.

This is very likely the point where Madelyne Grey would sneak into Dani and Owen minds to see the true reason of this irregular recruitment thing. And Nate does consider it for a few seconds. While he opens the can. "Of course, just show off how useful I am," he sips from the beer. In other world he would have already blurted out BULLSHIT.

But his brain is not dealing with a technovirus infection and constant power overload. Or at least it doesn't -feel- like it is.

"It would be my pleasure to help you, agents," which probably will get him to the real problem faster. "Oh. I have sodas, too," he mentions to Owen. Smirk.

The double talk is quite thick in the apartment, but that doesn't let Dani miss a beat, and like Owen she too passes on the beer. The soda, as well.

There's a focus to the woman even as her good eye watches Nate thoughtfully. "Good to hear, Cadet. Like Agent Mercer stated, we like self starters and those that show initiative."

A slight heel-pivot is done then, as Dani shifts her attention to Owen momentarily before it's back to Nate. "I would pack a bag for several days." She states, adding after a second of thought, "Perhaps a week. Make certain to add a few nice outfits too - there will be an opportunity to meet the Prince."

The last of what she said is delivered in a casual no-nonsense voice. As if meeting Prince Pietro is an everyday sort of thing.

"Oh fuck, and if we're porting I wouldn't drink that."

Owen breaks his official SHIELD voice to lay some reality on Nate. More because the reality just dawned on him that he's not going to get much time to recover from the 'port in before they are going back on the return trip. He does recover some semblance of professionalism though and amend that to.

"Some people find the teleportation method we're using to be a little disorienting."

Oh crap, throwing up in front of Dani is one thing. If he loses it in front of this smug little punk it's really going to burn him up.

"And it should go without saying but what we discuss with the Prince is of the utmost confidentiality. We know you are not yet enrolled, but we would expect to be able to trust your discretion in this manner. If that is an issue, it would be better for all if you simply decline." There is a beat. "Though I don't recommend that either, for your intended future."

And now it makes even less sense. The 'nothing serious' problem involves the House of Magnus royals. Yes, he shouldn't get involved. "I don't need SHIELD, agent. SHIELD needs telepaths," he notes to Owen.

But he stands up moves to the window and looks at the spires of the royal palace. "There is something very wrong going on," he starts, "I can feel it nibbling at the back of my mind. If I focus, it goes away. It gets worse when I dream. I am also psychometric and theoretically precog, did you know?"

It was all in his file. SHIELD is throughout.

He turns back, "of course I'll help you. You can get me one of those snazzy cadet uniforms if you want me look great for the prince." But getting pretty clothes along the way is not a problem for him.

Against her will Moonstar's lips quirk into the smallest of smiles at that initial outburst of Owen's.

After a second her expression finds its back under control to stone-cold once more. The mention of confidentiality earns a nod from the woman.

So many secrets.

Owen's mention of declining, but not really causes a faint tick to appear within her expression, but all the woman says is, "I have to agree with Agent Mercer, our current teleporter on duty leaves a unique feeling within your stomach. Best to go without anything in it." And while more could be said Dani quiets as Nate speaks. His words bring a faint frown to her features now.

"Yes." She says, when he asks if they know he's psychometric and a precog, "We know. Have you had any precognative visions we should know about? Dreams?"

Owen's eyes narrow when Nate speaks about SHIELD needing him. Boy, it would be best for Nate if he steers clear of Owen during his training because he would enjoy taking him down a peg or two. Not that Nate is wrong, but that makes it worse.

"We know."

They know.. what? That Nate is a precog and has pscychometry abilities? Or they know about what he was just describing. The cold almost menacing tone doesn't really help clarify to which Owen was referring.

"Well be sure to get you the fanciest dress for the ball, but I don't think you're gonna turn the Prince's eye. I don't think you're his type."

He manages to say with a wry smile, knowing full well exactly how Dani is going to interpret those words, and how furious she will be t having to stay straight faced for it. That is a dangerous joke, but sounds innocuously like heteronormative machismo. It's not.

"No visions, nothing solid," just the nightmares of post-apocalyptic landscapes. Which are somehow more familiar than shinny bright Genosha. It all piles up in the general unease of the last few days. Weeks?

Owen's joke gets a smirk. "I am going to a ball? Awesome."

Last chance to walk out of this, he guesses. But he can't walk out of this, because whatever *it* is, it is going to hit him in the face sooner or later. He prefers it sooner and to see it coming.

It is mostly overconfidence and recklessness, Agent Mercer. There is also some arrogance, of course. Traits neither Forge nor Cyclops managed to correct.

"Teleporters, meh," it will have to be a really obnoxious one to upset Nate's stomach after being ambushed by Illyana so many, so many, many times. "Just let grab my top hat," kidding, doesn't have a top hat. He just puts back the cans on the fridge and follows the agents out.

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