2010-05-19: Debriefing Sundowner


Corrin_icon.jpg Keld_icon.jpg

Summary: Sundowner (Corrin) returns from his breakdown and Keld gets his version of the Mutant Town attacks

Date: May 19, 2010

Debriefing Sundowner

Rating: PG

NYC - The Avengers Mansion (Living Quarters)

The hall is long, and decorated with paintings here and there, a Persian rug running along the floor, and some vases (complete with fresh flowers) on small tables along the walls. The wood is warm and dark and squeak-free, even along the floor.

Keld has been somewhat concerned, since the other day when Corrin didn't return and there were back-to-back incidents with uniformed mutant-hunting human amateur paramilitary. He's in the hall on his way downstairs, having showered and changed into casual clothes, about to head for the communications center to contact the police again for any further leads on Corrin, and/or on the paramilitary. This cannot be allowed to stand, this kind of murderous predatory stupidity. Don't the humans know that if the Badoon attacked, the mutants would likely be their best hope for repelling the lizard-spawn?

Corrin comes in through the delivery entrance, as usual, though rather more tentatively than before he disappeared. Jarvis is in the kitchen, he looks up, smiles, and says, "You're out of uniform."
Corrin looks down at the pile of Avengers livery in his arms. "I thought…"
Jarvis shakes his head, minutely, and Corrin shuts up. "If you would put out fresh glasses in the day room, that will do to start. I have a list of chores for you."
Corrin blinks a couple times. "Yes, sir," he says, and turns toward the servant's break room. He turns back and Jarvis says, "Later, Corrin. We'll speak later," without looking up. Corrin ducks his head and goes to change.
Five minutes later, he's in the day room, setting out crystal goblets along the sideboard. Eyes down, attention on the task. Invisible! Or trying to be, anyway.

Keld passes the day room and sees that Corrin is back. But he's also focussed on the task at hand, which means that there is no good reason to disturb him yet. Still, it's possibly important, so Keld finds Jarvis.
"Jarvis-shokt, I need to speak with Corrin about something, but I do not wish to impede his labor. May I join him and then speak during the break times?"
The alien Avenger does still have an appropriate Avengers service uniform around.

Jarvis is in the process of assembling morning brunch; not all of the Avengers are early risers, and not all of them like waiting until noon to eat lunch. He smiles when Keld enters the kitchen. "Corrin should be available in an hour," he says. "If you would be so kind as to allow him that time to complete what he is doing, I believe you will find him cooperative." He looks up from arranging parsley sprigs. "I would not interrupt him just yet. He has just arrived."

"As you wish," Keld answers. He fidgets for a moment. "OK, I'm going to see if there's anything new from the police. Thanks!"
He heads for the comm room, to spend an hour and five minutes following up on communications and trying to get information from SHIELD contacts.

At the one hour mark, Corrin taps on the communications room door. "Keld? Jarvis wants to know if you would like a mid-morning snack. He has fresh muffins, including those seed ones that he says you prefer."

"Oh, excellent," Keld says. "Do you have a moment or two? Would you like to join me? I assume that since the seeds go everywhere, that food service would be in the day room."
Keld stands, stretches a bit, and closes his private mail account reflexively. Military discipline says we don't leave stuff open.

Corrin remains by the door, far enough away from everything in the communications center that he can't see what Keld was working on. "Yes," he says, in reply to the comment about the day room. And, "I'm doing inventory in there… did you want to speak to me? Do you mind me working while we talk?" He's less hesitant than he was earlier, less withdrawn.

"I have no problem wih that, if you've eaten already."
Keld approves of the apparent return of a warrior attitude, or at least less of the return of a jumpy small-furred-food-animal attitude.
He heads with Corrin to the room of day, with seed muffins.
"I need to learn how they make these," he says, blissing out for a moment.

Corrin has a clipboard. He gives Keld a smile and starts counting glasses in the cabinets (amazing how much glassware gets broken around Avengers Mansion in an average month). "I am sure Jarvis would be willing to give you the recipe, if you ask, although I'm not certain it would be the same. I watched him create these… he doesn't use measuring cups." The last said with clear admiration.

"True. He IS a master of craft. So, Corrin, I was a bit worried when you were gone, since you're normally dutiful to a virtue… I attempted to find you, assuming there was a chance of injury or imprisonment, but you came back this morning before I was successful. I'm glad to see that you're all right. Was your absence connected to the terror attack on Mutant Town or on Salem Center?"
My, they're direct and abrupt wherever Keld is from.

Corrin's shoulders tense and he winces at the questioning, but he looks around and his gaze is direct. "Mutant Town," he says. "At least a dozen men attacked, in three man teams. They shot from above and…" He sighs and rubs the back of his neck. "People died."

"I did see some reports of mixed quality regarding that incident. None of them described it in those terms. Have you debriefed SHIELD or the police yet?"
Keld takes a second muffin. And since it's brunch, some bacon. All honor to the beasts who gave their life to provide the confection of meat.

Corrin sits on the floor with his clipboard in his lap. "No. I haven't debriefed anyone. I've been… ill." He ducks his head and runs his fingers across the clipboard in his lap. "Recovering. That's what I was doing the last couple of days. Sorry."

"Ah. Do you feel up to telling more? I don't want to cause a relapse but, as you said, people died. The attack on Salem Center was better… I believe the only ones injured were the attackers."
Keld finishes the muffin, eating the crumbs off the paper napkin he was using as an impromptu plate, and wipes his mouth, then crushes the napkin into a pellet, in lieu of fidgeting.

Corrin sighs. "I suppose I could." Not happy about it; 'relapse' is a good word. "I haven't been reading the papers or listening to radio — I didn't know there was a second attack. In Salem? Was it the same people?" He watches Keld mangle his napkin. Er…

"I don't know if it was. The M.O. was similar. That's why I wanted to ask you what happened, if there was perhaps anything that you saw that would match, that we could use to find and stop these people."
Keld continues to crush the paper napkin into a tiny ball. A faint odor of scorching paper comes from his hand.

Corrin considers the question carefully, his hands flexing in his lap. "Well organized," he says. "The telepath was repeating them. Red Crow, Blue Crow, Red Boar, Blue Boar. Two high teams, two low ones. The telepath took out Red Crow, and I think he took out Blue Crow, too. I took out Blue Boar. I don't know about Red Boar… I think that must have been the telepath, too." He rubs his hands along his thighs and winces. "Lots of bullets. — Do you know if the kids are all right? Boy and girl… he was hit in the leg, her in the chest. He had tentacles." A bit wide-eyed over that.

"Strike teams." Keld frowns, remembering the way his own platoon was used during the retaking of Gara Akdru ikt. "Strafing run, random targets, civilian casualties authorized. Filthy work."
His eyes go pure-red as the memory replays, but his face remains impassive. He pushes it away and brings back the image of the mail from the police.
"Two minors, mutants, the girl had a punctured ribcage and subsequent pleural ventilation, the boy had … bullet wound, no further detail on the report. In City Hospital. Police guard, Expected to make full recovery but may require extensive physical therapy."
He shakes his head. "There was an older male who was a fatality."

Corrin's shoulders straighten at the words 'expected to make a full recovery'. "That's wonderful," he murmurs, and his shoulders slump again at the mention of the old man. "He was in the crosswalk. He had a *walker*. They dropped him in the first volley." He looks up at Keld. "It makes no sense. It's like they weren't expecting opposition, but… it's *Mutant Town*. Someone's going to be able to do something! Hell, the old lady with the shopping bags might have tailed them home, for all I know! How would they be able to tell?"

"I wasn't there, Corrin, so I'm not sure why she would have that capacity. Could you explain?"
Keld finishes compressing the paper napkin; it's a pellet about the size of the tip of a little finger, slightly scorched by the pressure exerted in a brief fit of superstrength.
"Did you get a visual identification? Were they using vehicles? Can you describe the telepath, and their weapons? Did they have accents?"
He's remembering this all, of course, his borrowed Acanti starsong boosting his mind to greater sharpness and clarity. Perhaps he'll be inspired to pull together some random information, perhaps identify these fools.

"The lady? She… dissolved. Into a crowd of rats." Corrin shakes his head. "I think parts of her got hit, but I saw most of them get away. They could have gone anywhere. And no, I didn't know any of them." He pauses a moment, thinking. "Midwest or Southern, but urban more than rural. Working class. One of them said they'd be back. I figure he was telling the truth." Hands flex. "I think I heard some sort of silenced helicopter. The telepath said something about evac… or they did, and he repeated it." Another pause. "The telepath… black clothes… he BURNED." Corrin shudders and turns away. His hands are in fists, the knuckles white.

"Was it actual fire, Corrin? Did he seem to be damaged by it?" Keld's voice is gentle, pitched to catch his attention.

"I don't… I don't know. I didn't stop… stop to check. I…." Corrin stops and his hands uncurl, then curl again, white knuckled. "Don't ask, Keld," in a stronger voice. "Please."

"It's OK. Focus on the other things that happened. What did you do while you were there? Report says the glowing man saved people, drove them away?"
Keld puts the compressed pellet (now cooled) into a pocket.

Corrin takes a deep breath, and another, and one more. He turns back. "Just Blue Boar," he says. "The telepath was repeating radio orders, and one of them was the move-in for the Boar teams. The kids were in their path… I already knew they couldn't defend themselves. And I couldn't let Blue Boar at them. The old man… I think the bad guys had announced their intentions entirely adequately." Bitter? A bit… "I charged them, damaged their guns. Smacked one in the throat. They couldn't continue, so they retreated." He looks at Keld. "The telepath did most of it. He was shot, but he still did most of it."

"Given the situation and your resources, I think you were wise not to pursue," Keld says, and pours a glass of water, offering it to Corrin.
"Did you get a good view of their uniforms and equipment?"

Corrin looks at the glass of water like he doesn't know what it's for. "The kids… the girl couldn't breathe right… I couldn't leave them." He reaches for the glass. "Uniforms… no. Not really. Standard stuff… not military. Not SHIELD." He sips from the glass. "It was mostly black, but one of the men had a dark blue shirt. Similar webbing, but not standard within the team. No insignia. Weapons…" He closes his eyes. "Two of them were carrying AR-15's, different sizes — one had a pistol grip. Number three was carrying an UZI. Whoever was up top had something else — at least two different weapons there, you could tell by the sounds of the shots." His eyes open and an eyebrow quirks. "Urban warfare, but no shotguns? Who were these guys?"

"Shotguns are not a terror weapon," Keld says. "Rifles, or explosives, or poisons or biologicals. But, this is interesting. The group that attacked Salem Center was paramilitary in appearance but clearly poorly trained. They had very good equipment, though much of it was damaged in the fight. Some of your mutant humans objected to being singled out as targets, and there may have been teleporters involved. The eyewitness reports were strange. They were all using fully automatic weapons, slug-throwers. No information on whether they were organized in teams or not. No report on file from their interrogation either, which has me concerned. If they're treated as terrorists they may disappear into military custody without any useful information coming to us."
Keld thinks for a bit more, eyes red again. "If they're connected, and coincidence is unlikely, then perhaps it's because there's someone funding them. They seem to be two separate groups, really, but recruited, and pointed at places where mutants liv
live, and set loose to attack."

Corrin levels a stare at Keld. "They said they'd be back."

"I'd expect them to return to Mutant Town with that threat. It's possible that they were the same group, but I still suspect an outside party using them as expendable low-priced mercenaries."
Keld watches Corrin's body language, tremors, hand movements, to see whether he seems to be over the panic attack that had seemed to be brewing.

Corrin's hands are still and he seems calm again, considering the topic of conversation. "I've been looking for a place in Mutant Town," he says. "I think I'd better stop dragging my feet. Those people…" His fists clench and his mouth tightens. "They don't deserve that kind of bad behavior! Mutants aren't evil, just because they exist, any more than any other person on the planet!"

"No, they aren't, and don't. I suspect it's because your people are still stuck on one planet, and haven't realized how very much the same you are, despite the powers some of you have. You need each other and are too short-sighted to realize this. But enough armchair anthropolgy. I'm considering a move myself. For a while anyway."
Keld smiles grimly. "I think it would be interesting to live on the streets of Mutant Town for a bit. SWORD can spare my valuable services translating things they already know the translations for."

Corrin tilts his head at Keld. "You are a translator? I thought you were a soldier?" He rubs a finger on his temple. How much did he misunderstand, when Keld introduced himself? "What else do you do? I mean, you're an Avenger and with SWORD and you … do you talk to SHIELD, too?"

"I speak several languages that aren't known on Earth, at least, not by very many people. So I am sometimes asked to serve as a translator even though they have better translators. And I'm also an implicit threat. And yes, I have contacts within SHIELD, though Spider-Woman is really one of the most important of these."
Keld half-smiles at that.

"An implicit threat…?" Corrin is just plain baffled by this comment. "Uh… yeah? Because you're a soldier…? But you're an Avenger…" He frowns. "I think I am not understanding. Could you clarify, please?" And he has contacts in SHIELD… but not like Spider-Woman. Should he ask about Barnes Academy? Maybe not just yet….

"The particular KIND of soldier," Keld answers. "We were used in … nevermind. It's not important, I don't do that here. It's also that I'm an Avenger — there's a reputation that can be useful. When you're negotiating the Skrull Ambassador's latest attempted trade plan, it's one thing. The Rigellian Recorder can provide a bit of stability to both sides. But when it's a Xyxian trade-weasel with a similar plan, you want someone terrifying to make them fear your entire negotiation party."

Corrin blinks at Keld. "Oh." That actually makes sense to him, but not in ways that he has words for. He'll have to think about it for a while.
He looks down at the forgotten clipboard in his lap. Wasn't he working…? "Um. Do you want more about the thing in Mutant Town? I don't know what else to tell you…."

"I think you've given me sufficient information. I'll add your information to the information that SHIELD has. Thank you for your help."
Keld puts a hand on Corrin's shoulder, a reassuring touch, then returns to the communication room. Time to put things together.

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