America Needs Shift

May 31, 2014: Captain America tracks down Shift's apartment to recruit him.

Shift's apartment, The Bronx



  • None

Mood Music:
*Led Zeppelin - Babe I'm Gonna Leave You (Spotify Link)

It's getting hot in the city. Too hot in some of the cramped, lower income neighborhoods, surrounded by far more concrete, asphalt, and glass that reflect the heat right back in on itself.

A typical summer day in the Bronx.

There's an apartment building. It looks like all of the others in this part of town, given minor architectural differences. In a small, one bedroom apartment on the eighth floor there lives a mutant in his thirties; a hardened criminal turned low level mercenary. He's worked very hard to stay off the government's radar. He's used false identifications and cash to help conceal his real name, but it's out there, lingering at the fringes of some intelligence networks and police watch lists.

Inside the apartment, Shift is blasting Led Zeppelin I. The apartment reeks of expensive marijuana, and it's in the process of being tidied up. Kwabena, wearing shorts and a wife-beater, is steadily rushing to and fro, throwing items into a garbage bag that were left there for far too long.

Steve Rogers pulled the file last night. The final piece of the puzzle was found in an apartment on the other side of the city from his own home in Brooklyn. The wooden stairs creak slightly as his hand grips the old banister.

He's wearing a pair of work boots and jeans with a plain white t-shirt over his muscular frame. The bomber jacket he usually wears-well, it's too hot for that.

The odor strikes him as surprising, mostly because he's never smelled it before-he's not quite sure what it is. The old dirty doorbell has that look that seems to suggest it might not be working. Behind the door he can hear a somewhat familiar sound. It wasn't the first Zeppelin album, but he received a tip from a guy over at SHIELD to listen to Stairway to Heaven on Steve's enduring trip to be re-ingratiated to society.

He eyes the bell as the music blares 'Baby I'm gonna leave you' in Robert Plant's harrowing voice.

Soon enough, the music is joined by a heavily accented voice, by the sounds of it, African. He sings along with the music and is somewhat off key but it's close enough, even if he is singing an octave lower than he should be. At one point, however, there comes the sound of breaking glass, followed by a loud curse in what one might only guess to be the man's native language.

Moments later, the door begins to unlatch. When it opens, Kwabena is revealed, the garbage bag in hand and a broom in the other. He seems upset about something, and behind him upon the freshly cleaned floor, a large glass seems to have fallen and shattered upon the old, hard wood floor.

Kwabena looks up and is visibly startled when he sees Steve standing there. For a moment, he stares at the clean cut guy, military by the look of him. There's a judging expression upon his face that soon gives way to a narrowing of the eyes.

"Just who de hell ah you?"

"Steve Rogers."

He positions himself in a way that he can block the slamming door, if and when it comes.

"I'm here to recruit you. I'm from SHIELD. I just need a moment of your time."

Rogers stands just off to the side, but can get a look into room and the broken glass. "Seems like I came at a bad time," he murmurs. As if the timing for the nation could be any worse.

Kwabena comes awfully close to slamming that door. He comes close to it a second time when the man claims that he's from SHIELD. The narrowed eyes, however, eventually take upon that funny angle that precludes a smirk. "Jesus," he answers. "Govahnment's really dat hahd pressed? Or ah you struggling dat hahd with your recruitment quota?"

The murmuring causes him to go a bit silent though. "Aw, what da hell," he answers in a similar murmur, then moves out of the way. "Me casa su casa." He gestures for Steve to go ahead inside.

The apartment is small, partly cleaned. Those parts that are cluttered suggest that this is a man who doesn't spend too much time at home, or perhaps takes long trips out of the city. There are a few beer cans littered about in the unkempt places, and an ash tray with both cigarette butts and what is referred to in the drug world as "roaches" inside of it.

"So, you're here. To recruit ''me''." There is definitely doubt in his tone.

"Yeah," Steve says absently as his eyes take in all the sights to be had. He puts two and two together on the smell and moistens his lips with his tongue as he tries to think of how to put this.

"Mr. Odame, I'm going to make this quick. I think you're a man who appreciates honesty, so I'm going to be frank with you. You need people on your side. You've got an amazing power set. And there's no one we're looking at recruiting who has a more intimate knowledge of the African underworld. Our nation is at war and we need to get into Kush, Napata more specifically, and we need to take al-Tawhid. We think you're the guy to help us out."

Kwabena is partly through lighting an incense candle to help curb the smell, when Steve uses his given surname rather than one of his false idents. He looks up, frowning, then straightens and begins paying very close attention to what the man is saying.

"Didn't realize I'd attracted dat much attention from de feds," he murmurs to himself. Not quite incriminating himself, of course, but still an admittance to some of the things SHIELD may already suspect of him.

The African reaches up to wipe some lingering sweat from his brow, then folds his arms. "Alright, so, what's in it for me?" he asks. "What ah we talking… payment? Expunging my criminal recahd? If you tell me it's my civic duty, I'll laugh in your face." Beat. "No offense."

"None taken." Cap says quickly in response before jabbing his hands down into the pockets of his jeans. "What's your price?" This was the part of the job that Rogers has had some problems with, but the thought of those State Department officials being dragged out and shot…to see their blood spattered onto the pavement in such a brisk and simple way…One minute shuffling along, fearful for their life…the next minute it's all over.

He's had to make some personal sacrifices in regards to his own integrity, but winning wars is not a clean sort of endeavor.

Kwabena turns away then, looking around at his apartment. He had the money to live elsewhere, sure. His eyes go toward his bed, where hidden safetly between the mattresses is approximately $57,000.00 in cash. He was saving up for something.

After a long moment of thought, he looks back to Steve. Asking for special favors would be an admittance of guilt on crimes someone may have him pegged for. His attorney would shit himself. So, payment it is.

"Well, dat really depends," he admits. "If we're talking… humans, regular old bullets, non-incendiaries and things like dat? I'll do it for ten thousand and some few thrills. But if we're talking about metahuman types, plasmaic weapons…" He visibly winces. "Gonna jack it up about thirty grand. You think dat'll set ok with de American taxpayah?"

"Deal," Steve responds, not bothering to tackle Shift's jibe about the taxpayers. The taxpayers want to be safe. The tax payers want justice. Most of them want revenge. 10 thousand dollars to get al-Tawhid is not an exorbitant price. Not at all.

"I need you in DC tomorrow at 5pm," he says flatly.

Two eyebrows shoot upward into the air. Of all the things Shift expected to run into in his life, working for the government was not one of them. It brings a bad feeling into the pit of his stomach, but… what with his failure to collect on any meaningful jobs recently, he was starting to burn through that pile of cash between his matresses. Something had to give.

"Alright." There's a numbness to his voice, a seemingly uncharacteristic emptiness. He turns away from Steve, eyeing his place. It'll probably have to go unkempt again for a few more days.

"I'll pack light."

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