The Innocent Moron Defense

June 27, 2018:

Foggy Nelson visits Danny Rand to consult with him on his recent PR nightmare.

19 Gramercy Park South

It's fancy.

Characters

NPCs: Ward Meachum, crisis PR team

Mentions:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

It's been a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day for Danny Rand. The reaction to the news was swift, and the rumours and hearsay are multiplying at the speed of the internet. It's not actually Danny who calls Nelson and Murdock. Surprisingly? It's Ward Meachum. He's an unlikely ally. His sister Joy has been the power behind the throne and the one helping Danny adjust to being CEO.

"Joy is in with Hogarth. She'll represent his interests as best as she can but her priority is Rand, not Danny." Grudging, that. Maybe Ward has a heart after all, as much as he's mostly been photographed with a tightly clenched jaw in the background. Or maybe he just knows J-Money well enough to know that her strategy might involve throwing Danny to the wolves. So either there's some sentiment there, or he doesn't think that would be a good move. Or maybe…it's a guilty conscience.

Ward's motives aside, the presence of the scrappy little law firm is requested at 19 Gramercy Park. It's a Rand employee who lets Foggy inside. The dining room has been turned into a war room with four PR spindoctors. There's pizza boxes in the kitchen, and two other people pacing while on cell phones. Danny's just sitting on one of the high stools at the kitchen island, an untouched beer by his elbow, posture slumped. His phone sits nearby, buzzing like a hive of bees.

*

Foggy Nelson had just been finalizing his brief on Asgardian goats and leash laws when he got the call. Still floating on a bit of a high from what he felt was a solid legal argument for leniency concerning extraterrestrial bovidae and their nearly-immortal, god-derived owners, it took him two extra minutes to actually piece together the call with the media frenzy. Once the pieces had been fit together, he grabbed his back, straightened his tie, and headed straight toward the Rand residence.

When he enters the kitchen behind the Rand employee, he is already looking at ease and smiling despite the appearance of his client. "You should probably just turn that thing off," Foggy says to Danny as way of greeting, unslinging his messenger bag and setting it down on one of the stools. He glances at the two pacing people and then back to Danny. "I'm Foggy Nelson." He offers out a hand. "Sorry Matt couldn't make it, but… he's, um, working with another client."

*

It takes a beat or two for Danny to realize Foggy's talking to him. He looks up, looks over at the phone, then back to Foggy. "Oh. I had it on silent. It must've timed out." He picks it up and puts the thing on silent again. He clears his throat, blinks then, "You're…oh. Matt's partner?" He slides off the stool. and straightens his t-shirt. "You'll probably want to talk to the communications…crisis communications team." He rubs his nose and nods towards the living room. "Something about a message?" He talks quietly, and like his mind is elsewhere.

*

"Guilty." Foggy bullies his way through Danny's haze with brute force cheer when he asks if he's Matt's partner. He glances beyond Danny toward where he's nodding, and then he looks back to the so-dubbed Mr. Rand. "A message? Alright. Hang tight though, because I'm going to need to get you to tell me what's going on, too." Still trying to get a grip on what's going down here tonight, the Nelson half of Nelson and Murdock steps from the kitchen toward the living room. He combs back his long, blond hair back behind his ears as he approaches the so-called crisis team. He nods to them. "Hi. I'm Foggy Nelson, personal representation for Mr. Rand. I hear you received some sort of message that I need to review."

*

"Not a message, Mr. Nelson, the message," says a smart-suited young woman as she pulls a piece of paper off the printer. She hands it over to him. "Talking points. A spin. It's still in draft. But we're trying to craft something that neither makes Mr. Rand look like he doesn't know what's going on in his company, but also doesn't implicate him." She shakes her head. "It's a tall order."

The paper is indeed rough. But it's the start of a strategy. First and foremost, it asserts that there is no evidence that the memos Lois acquired are genuine. And if they are, the statement places blame on Danny's underlings for not properly briefing him about the complexities of a company as large and complex as Rand.

Danny picks up his beer and swallows a mouthful. "I'll uh, I'll be downstairs. Come down when you're done." And then he moves slowly towards the basement stairs, into the well-appointed gym and meditation space.

*

"So. We're going with 'innocent moron' tactic." Foggy takes the draft, puffing out his breath as he looks over it. His brows deepen as he reads through what the 'crisis communications team' has developed. Rough is definitely one way to describe it. He frowns. "And Rand Enterprises is okay with whatever civil suits come out of casting blame on Mr. Rand's so-called underlings? Because, in any other circumstance, I would be those people's lawyer."

He glances back toward where Danny retreated. "What does Mr. Rand think about this?" He doesn't pass back the paper, glancing back over it again.

*

One of the other PR people just kind of smirks when Foggy asks about Danny. He doesn't speak though. Instead, the woman does. "Not if it's true. Mr. Rand doesn't have a full understanding of Rand Enterprises, and it was the responsibility of the department heads to make sure he was fully briefed. We have records of meetings he should have been invited to, records of minutes that should have been sent to his office." She looks past Foggy to the staircase that Danny descended down. "He hasn't read it yet. He's not particularly focused at the moment. Not that I can blame him. There's all sorts of crazy stories coming out about him."

*

"Uh huh. Well, stories are just that… stories." Foggy looks meaningfully at the two PR people before he folds the paper in half. "And is it true, or is it just how we're spinning it?" His mouth thins. "Finish up your spin, but I want to see the final draft before you do anything with it. Understand?"

He's already moving away, taking the folded rough draft with him as he heads for the stairs where Danny had descended. He's going to assume he's understood at this point, because no way is he going to hang around to wait for these spin-doctors to argue with him on his take-charge demeanor. There's some self-deprecation there because, really, Foggy is by definition just another spin-doctor. He starts down the steps to find Danny. Time to figure out what's really going on here.

*

As Foggy descends the stairs, he'll be hit with the scent of incense. It's earthy and warm, with notes of sandalwood and something sweet. Danny is in the back corner of a gym more well-appointed than Fogwell's. He's just finished lighting the incense and he's placing the stick into the mouth of a dragon. Even if he doesn't close the door behind him, he'll find the upstairs quickly muffled. Without hip hop blaring through the stereo, it's actually a very calm space.

Danny looks up when the lawyer descends. "I took back control of Rand Enterprises because I wanted to make sure the company was what my father would have wanted it to be." He tilts his head back, swallows. "I've tried to do good, but it keeps blowing up in my face."

*

Foggy folds the paper again into quarters, and then again into eighths, and now he's palming it gently in his left hand while he steps into the calm gym with its earthy scent. He hesitates just for a moment, and then shuts the door. Muffled or not, he does not want their conversation to carry any further than it has to. He approaches Danny, and each step into this place incites an urge to take off his shoes — as if his brown loafers might be offensive to this space, their soles tracking in the grime of the outside world.

He nods soberly at Danny's first words, sliding his hands — and with them the folded up spin draft — into the pockets of his slacks. "Does Lane have the whole story, or is there something else going on that she's only getting bits and pieces of half-truths? Right now, Mr. Rand… I'm not sure that what she's reporting sounds like you've been trying to do good." There's no accusation there, just a frank observation based on his current facts.

*

Danny is still a moment, one hand on the altar. There's also a singing bowl, various stones, a few coins. Nothing that links the collection to anything specific, mind, though it has the flavour of Tibetan Buddhism. He turns, hands dropping into the pockets of his drawstring pants. His bare toes flex against the floor. "Are you interested in the truth, Mr. Nelson, or what will help me if I get sued?"

*

Two men, both with their hands in their pockets, trying to figure out if they can trust each other. Or perhaps it's just that Danny is trying to figure out if he can trust Foggy. The lawyer breathes out a slow exhale, and then shrugs his shoulders a bit. "At this point, Mr. Rand… I think I need to know the truth because… I think we're on the precipice where getting sued is just one of the rocky bumps on the way down."

*

"Danny," he says. One hand comes out of his pocket and scratches the side of his labradoodle head. "The truth is, I had no idea any of this was happening. I should have, but I didn't. I mean, I knew about a test, but I thought it was for the reasons at the start of the article. A test to be administered during emergencies to make sure a mutation wouldn't have a bad reaction to conventional treatments. To save lives. And I was told it wasn't in active development, that the whole project got cancelled when we realized what it could be used for." He sighs. "Stupid of me to think something with the potential for profit would be just shelved, right?" He manages a small, self-depreciating smile.

*

Foggy keeps his hands in his pockets, but he nods companionably when Danny offers him an alternative to 'Mr. Rand.' He listens with a slow-growing frown, and he steps forward a bit, half-turning toward the door. "So, the spin that you didn't know what was going on isn't a spin… it's the truth. Or at least a half-truth." He tilts his own leonine head, a bit of mane slipping out past his ear. "Do you have documentation of your communication to shelf the project? If so, that would be a good start. If we can turn this back to being a Juno job and not a Rand job, that would be a good first step."

*

Danny shrugs a bit helplessly. "Maybe?" He exhales. "I'm not…I'm not very good at the business side of things. I've been trying to learn, but there's so much. And people get impatient with me." And presumably, stop inviting him to meetings or sending him memos. It doesn't help that he has a penchant for leaping over rooftops and punching out ninjas. "Look…what…" something clicks. "Wait. The PR people didn't call you, did they? Hogarth wouldn't. And I thought she'd…" he trails off.

*

"Meachum. He called me. His sister called Hogarth, but Hogarth is going to do what is needed to protect Rand Industries… that's what she's hired to do." Foggy steps forward a bit, and he draws out the paper from his pocket once more. He starts to unfold it. "They are going for the innocent moron defense, Danny. It's a popular one, but it is definitely not going to do anything for your public perspective. No one really likes the innocent moron. They pity him, but they don't like him, and you'll never really be taken seriously."

He steps forward another step, offering Danny the piece of paper. "It's up to you, if that's what you want to do to your social reputation. Personally, I think we should go after Juno… but, my guess is that the Meachums are going to feed some underlings to the public and hope that they can maintain their grip on Juno."

*

When Danny hears 'Meachum,' he just mentally attaches 'Joy.' So when Foggy says 'he,' that gives him a moment of pause. He doesn't comment right away, but that detail does get filed away. He takes the piece of paper and scans over the words. He exhales through his nostrils. "So what do we do? Say they were acting in bad faith? And what if it turns out everyone at Rand knew about this but me?"

*

"I'm here to represent you, Danny. I have zero investment in the Rand corporation as a whole. If everyone in the company but you knew, then that's the angle we go with. You were operating under false information, and they were acting in bad faith." Foggy delivers this all with confidence. "We build a case against Juno, and then… if we have to… we build a case against Rand." He hesitates. "If that's the path you want to go down. It saves you from being cast as the moron that those PR jerks upstairs are aiming for, while also… doing the good that you intended to do from the start. We expose who is actually behind this."

*

Danny has been doing a lot of frowning lately. Foggy's comment brings more. "Mister Nelson, everything I've done has been for the reputation and legacy of Rand Enterprises. It's my father's legacy. It's my family name. I want to protect its reputation. And to do that, I have to protect mine as well." He has a thought, but he clearly seems hesitant to express it. "What if…" he hesitates, "…what if the memos weren't totally truthful? What if they were doctored? Something about them doesn't feel right. Not the fact that they're continuing to test it. But…the whole gift card thing. Am I wrong?"

*

Foggy respects the perspective that Danny has about his family, and himself. He even nods slightly, shifting his weight a bit to show he's not put-off by Danny's dedication. His own frowns settle in a bit, and he nods. "Foggy. Call me Foggy." Then he lowers his chin a bit, rubbing at his jaw thoughtfully. Something Danny says furrows his brows deep and then he starts to nod. "Send me everything you got about the memos. I know some people that can take a look through them, and maybe we can see if they are doctored or not."

He hesitates a moment and then gives Danny one of his more encouraging smiles. "I'll do everything I can to preserve your name and your family's, Danny. Send me everything you have, and I'll get started."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License