It's Serious Business at the DEO

July 09, 2018:

A day or so after the bombings of HK, Dani and Owen finally meet to discuss how he knew something was going to occur.


NPCs: None.


Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

It really sucks right now. Like really sucks.

Hell's Kitchen could almost be described as a war zone. Sometimes the power is on and sometimes it's off which makes the heat wave hitting the city even more excruciating and dangerous.

That, however, doesn't stop the people and agencies that are helping to dig the area out. Like SHIELD for instance. They've had relief coming into Hell's Kitchen from that very first night, and just about every agent has pulled a shift (or two) since then.

For Dani she's been there as much as she can be. Both to help people within the various aid stations set up, but also to help with the heavy lifting of things. After all Brightwind can push, pull and lift half a ton of weight. It's only now as the sun begins to dip towards the horizon that the Cheyenne woman finally calls it quits. She has a few other things she needs to do before the wheel turns and she finds another day has passed by in a blur.

Like talk to Owen.

And that's why Owen finds his phone jingling with the text alert he's set up for Dani. The text simply reads - 'I'm good for a chat when you are' and also 'and please don't make pull SHIELD resources to locate you'.

Along with that message is a location for the meeting; it's a rooftop of a building that rises several stories high and while Brightwind can't be seen nearby, Dani can be. She stands looking over the edge of the rooftop, looking scruffier than she ever has. It's clear she's been working within Hell's Kitchen, thanks to the dust and soot that lingers upon her clothes and the faint acrid scent of smoke.

Owen should be doing a hundred different things right now. He should be tending to people he cares about who were hurt or at least involved in the bombing. At the very least he should be taking care of himself. But instead he's making his way through the crowd of government agents that are working to secure, investigate, clear and repair the area. And just like the last disaster with the demon bear attack Owen has found a way to integrate himself into the chaos.

Wearing a DEO windbreaker and sipping from a DEO mug filled with coffee (among other things) he is wandering in and out of various briefings. He occasionally raises points in these briefings, insider information that he knows but only if he can do it without bringing undue attention.

"Who are you again?" The commanding officer demands, not unkindly but certainly sternly enough.

"Agent Clinton, sir. Meta human suppression unit." Owen is at least familiar enough with DEO sections to make a passable answer. But he is thankfully saved from any further questions by his phone notification. "Sorry, I need to take this."

Owen finds his way to the rooftop almost immediately. He's been expecting this since the bombing. He hasn't thought through what he's going to tell Dani. And he's still struggling with how to even talk to her. Let alone talk to her about something this awful that he was a part of.

Climbing up the ladder access with a cigarette in his mouth, the mug apparently discarded, Owen steps out onto the roof. He slowly makes his way over towards her, nods and greets her with a simple.


And somewhere, in the records of the DEO, there is now listed an Agent Clinton that helped upon the scene.

No first name, just Clinton.

And while Dani waits for DEO Agent Clinton to arrive, she keeps tabs upon the SHIELD operation through her SHIELD issued phone. It's not quite as good as listening to the comm channel, but it's something at the very least. Eventually she tucks her phone a way and turns her gaze in the general direction of Hell's Kitchen. What she sees makes her mouth thin to a tight line, because she sees far more than just destruction and chaos. She literally sees death. It's a shadow that hangs over the area, a variety of images that clump together to form a pall above it.

While she could look away from it she doesn't, or perhaps she can't. Not until Owen finally arrives and offers his greeting. Hearing that finally prompts Dani to half-turn away from the horrors that flicker within the air. "Hey right back at you." She initially says, her eyes narrowing when she spies his jacket. "Nice look. How're you doing?" She asks, not yet segueing into the other matters at hand.

"I'm alive."

It's not a joke. His tone is completely serious as he offers the sparse answer. It's more than many people in Hell's Kitchen can say. And the weight of that is obviously on his mind.

He does a bit of a double take about the 'nice look' part before looking down and remembering what he's wearing. He gives a half laugh and says "Yea, uhh, I was cold?" Sure, that's why he's wearing a DEO windbreaker with an earpiece in.


It's still weird. The one sided familiarity between them still feels unnatural. He looks for a second like he's about to open up, and say something meaningful. But then his expression chills over and he pulls back just a touch.

"Thank you for coming the other night. I'm sorry I didn't have more details."

Because like Owen told Luke, he hoped that he had at least one person who would listen to him. And though the threat turned out to be something so far beyond what Owen and Dani could manage together, he was still glad she came.

He's alive. That earns a nod from the black-haired woman. She understands this.

His excuse of being cold pulls a corner of Dani's mouth upward into a faint tic of a smile, but not much more than that. There's too much death behind her calling to her Valkyrie senses to currently find much humor in anything.

Still, moments of sardonic humor can be found, much like it is now.

It's, however, her name that refocuses her attention upon him. There's an edge to it, that shows the out-of-place familiarity to it. It brings her eyes up to Owen's face in time to see him struggle with the awkwardness of it all and the possibility of saying something more. She says nothing to help or hinder, and when he retreats slightly perhaps there's a note of relief from Dani.

It is awkward, after all.

His gratitude allows her to dip her head in another nod, "Of course." She says, "We may not be bosom buddies, Owen, but I didn't figure you to be the type to lie about potential threats to the city. Especially not on the scale that hit Hell's Kitchen." Which brings Dani to, "Tell me what that was all really about? It was something more than just your general thugs running amok, and how the hell did you get wind of something like that?"

The cigarette in his mouth is taken out to exhale a long plume of smoke. You would think he'd have had enough smoke to last a lifetime in the last few days.

"Yea. I hear ya." Owen understands her stating the rules of their relationship. It helps him in some way, to be reminded of how things stand.

"Dani, I had no idea of the scale. All I heard was that 'something' was going down in the kitchen." He glances up at her trying to gauge how much he's going to say. How much does he even want to involve her or SHIELD in this? He still hasn't decided the same thing about Jess and Luke.

Owen's life has always been a mess of secrets and lies, but nevermore than now.

He heard. Her expression shifts to consideration as she considers what he just said and also what her follow-up questions should be. It causes her to be silent for a few seconds longer than what might be deemed normal.

"Well, it was something to say the least." She murmurs, before her voice rises to a normal conversational level. "Who told you 'something' was going to happen? Will you give me names?" She asks, her gaze continuing to stay focused upon Owen's features.

"I'll tell you this - word on the street, at least for SHIELD, says this wasn't from the Brotherhood of Mutants, no matter what the news says and I'm in agreement with the analysts. The Brotherhood isn't like this - sure, they're all for mutant rights, but even they have a line that they hold to and all of this death and destruction surpasses it."

"So, can you tell me who did this? Or point me to the person who can lead me down that path. I give you my word I won't bring your name into any of this, if you're worried about retaliation."

Another long slow drag on his cigarette as Owen considers his options. He tries to work through his mistrust of everyone, particularly government agents.

"It wasn't the brotherhood. That's a garbage line based on shitty meta-panic." He says it with disgust but not venom, Dani doesn't need to be convinced. Or lectured. "No. My tip came from someone who as far as I can tell is just good ol' mass murderin' human."

The spent cigarette is tossed onto the ground and stepped on as Owen further deliberates on how much to share. "I'm assuming SHIELD has files on the Kingpin. New York crime boss. Lots of drugs, lots of money, good for a bit of strong arming here are there. Blowing up great little dive bars with the best lookin bartenders in the city." The last part is maybe a bit off topic, but it's Owen so that's to be expected.

"My tip came from him. Directly. And if the name Kingpin don't mean anything to you, I guess others have run into him more directly as Wilson Fisk."

There's the question of whether Dani believed Owen would really tell her the truth. If he would really give her the name of who tipped him off, or more importantly who was behind the destruction that stretches out before the two.

The short answer is simply no. No she didn't think he would give her too much. The longer answer is really much more complex. She knows there's more to Owen than what he presents outwardly to her, but she doesn't ask too many questions. The two aren't technically friends, at least in this reality.

So, when he does offer a name and a name she knows the woman can't quite stop the surprise that flashes across her features. That surprise soon turns grim, however, at the name offered. "I've heard the name." She confirms, though she doesn't elaborate on how much she's heard, "Two questions - first, why would he give a tip that the city's going to be blown away? Bad for business?" She hazards, before adding, And second -" And here she looks directly at Owen, "- how are you close enough to hear tips directly from the horse's mouth?"

Maybe it's because they are not close here. Maybe it's because they were so close there. Even Owen is surprised by how frankly he answers her question. But in some ways it's freeing that he doesn't have to worry about disappointing her. He doesn't really care what this Dani has to think of him and he's pretty sure it already isn't much.

He catches the flash of recognition across her face and just nods. Good. So this isn't news to her. But then she has follow up questions. Owen's head tilts back and forth and says, "Look. I'm giving you information. You can take it or leave it. But it don't mean you get to get all up in my business. Especially after the shit you pulled with tailing me the last few weeks."

"Dani." Owen's voice softens just a touch before he catches himself and regains the edge, "It ain't safe f'r you to be poking around my business. And I don't mean from me. Or did you think I wouldn't notice you?"

Others might be embarrassed that their skulking activities were caught by the one they were following, but if Dani feels any shred of embarrassment she doesn't show it. There's no sheepish look, or slight reddening of her light brown skin, instead there's only a dour twitch to her lips. A brief smile tries to form and if circumstance were different perhaps that smile would actually appear, but right now it doesn't not with the fallout of those bombs so close to them.

"Guess I need to brush up on my shadowing." Is what she allows, with the barest drop of amusement there. It's only when his tone changes and he says her name without an edge that the woman's own expression shifts. The familiarity heard from him brings a small degree of uncomfortableness to the woman's expression and here, Dani shifts her attention away from Owen.

Her gaze stays resolutely off of him up until he regains that edge to his voice. Almost she sighs in relief, but instead she just returns her gaze to 'Agent Clinton'.

"Let's be realistic." She says, "Neither one of us exactly work in safe environments, but I understand what you're saying. To be perfectly honest -" She continues onward, "SHIELD didn't authorize me to tail you, I did it on my own. I was curious as to why our paths intersected in that warehouse and how you got wind of what was going down that night, but if you need me to back off I will. I can be reasonable."

Owen doesn't exactly expect her to blush, but he does chuckle at her frank assessment of her shadowing skills. He does a small half shrug as if to say they weren't that bad. "You were fine. I just got reasons to be paranoid right now." There are no fewer than three things that might be interested in stalking him down right now, so watching over his shoulder is more than a passive thing.

"Yer right. I ain't sayin.." Owen starts to placate her that he's not saying she can't handle herself. But then she agrees. His eyes narrow, suspiciously. "Really? I would.." Huh. He had expected more push back there. Finally he stops trying to come up with something and finally says, "Thank you." He soberly looks at her and says somberly, "I need you to back off that." And with that, he wants to move on.

"Look this Fisk thing is going to get people involved. There's people here… That aren't going to sit on this. I know you can't just throw SHIELD resources at whatever, even if it's as big as this… but I'll get you want I can to help on your side. And maybe give you a heads up about what's happening on this side?"

He thanks her and that brings a vague narrowing of her eyes, a slight tilt to her head. That just confirms to Dani that whatever he was doing in that warehouse for whatever reasons was important. Important enough to bring out the less jocular and more serious side of Owen Mercer. It's something to think upon, but Dani gave her word so for now she will curtail her tailing of him.

"You're welcome." She manages, before it's back to Fisk and with that Moonstar's expression tightens to anger again. Thankfully that anger isn't necessarily directed at Owen, just at the terribleness of what happened here.

"I can't throw all of SHIELD resources at it." She agrees, her next words carefully said, "But I can help with what I have access to." Her hand motions toward the destroyed neighborhood, "Because this? All of this? This goes beyond my responsibilities to SHIELD. This deserves an answer that SHIELD wouldn't like." Her demeanor is dark, "So many souls were lost with this." And she saw them all as they fled this earthly plane for another, "So whatever intel you can give me or send my way I appreciate it. Truly. If I can pass it to SHIELD I will, but if I can't without dropping who my source is I won't. You've my word on that, Owen."

"And while I'd never betray SHIELD, I'll try to send anything your way to keep everyone away from hot spots. I think it'd be best if SHIELD didn't run into any of the non-sanctioned operations that might be going on. And if you need an extra pair of hands let me know. I'll gladly pull their worst nightmares from their minds so they know what it's like out here."

A small nod is all that Owen gives to acknowledge the closing of that topic. He knows it was a dumb idea to expose himself like that, and that the price could be steep considering the lengths Waller has gone in the past to keep things quiet, so he's glad to at least for now not worry about it.

"Yea, I get it. Beauroc-crazy." SHIELD is a huge organization and as big as this event was, they probably have a dozen more like it to worry about stopping. The change in Dani's tone and demeanor draws a nod from Owen. He gets it.

"Oh don't worry 'bout keepin' me out of it. I'm just about as far in it as it gets. On all sides." Owen Mercer's name is sadly plastered everywhere by virtue of his past. It's not his identity or himself that he's worried about protecting. "I just need to keep as many others names out of it as I can."

Why? Why is he able to just talk straight with her. It's almost like this weird compulsive earnestness that is otherwise very foreign to Owen comes over him. He frowns and pulls out another cigarette to light up.

"I should.. get back to my DEO work." He cracks a smile at that at least, "But thanks, for … all of it. I know we could use your help. And I think there are more than a few people who need to know exactly what the people of Hell's Kitchen went through that night. I'd love to help you show 'em." With that he nods again and heads back down the ladder to the street below, to join another briefing and try and find something useful, anything, to help make this better.

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