Shift's Debriefing

Summary:
June 01, 2014: Following the operation in Napata, Black Widow and Captain America debrief the mutant known as 'Shift'.

S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, Waiting Room

The 'Waiting Room' is little more than a comfortable holding cell. Rather than there being the obvious signs of security, it has the feel of a comfortably lobby… with a locked and reinforced door.


Characters

NPCs

  • None

Mood Music:
Panda Bear - Tomboy (spotify link)


It's the nature of things that bureaucracy, even in an organization like SHIELD, that can move heaven and earth when it chooses, always does move slowly. And in the aftermath of the op in Napata, it's inevitable that the death of a single hostage would take lower priority than the capture of her fanatical husband. When the Black Widow is finally dispatched to go have a chat with Odame, a couple of hours have passed since he was left to cool his heels in the 'waiting room' she brought him to. That he's been so cooperative, thus far, is a bonus. She's hoping it'll last, as she walks toward the room and pauses outside the door to put her gameface on.



Captain America was asked, and wanted to, join Widow in the interrogation room. He didn't witness what Shift was accused of, and wants to hear for himself the explanation for the Ghanian's actions. Truth be told, since it was Steve's call to bring Odame on the trip in the first place, the American feels responsible for the loss of al-Tawhid's wife.



Its a good thing Kwabena thought to bring along the nicorette gum. It's not his favorite, not by a long shot, but something tells him his SHIELD hosts wouldn't take too kindly to him lighting a smoke in their waiting room. Regardless, the situation has him feeling more anxious with every minute that passes. He was hesitant to get involved in the first place. He had his reasons, but he was not the type to be openly chatty. Especially with people he considers acquaintances rather than friends.

Especially with government types.

When the time comes, his jaw is going to work on a fresh stick of nicorette. There's a book in his hands, an older title named, 'The View From the Fortieth Floor'. He's made it a third of the way through, and the way his eyes dart suggest him to be an experienced reader.



Widow glances to Cap as they meet at the door. A tight smile touches her lips, no humour in her eyes. It's one of those here-we-go-again smiles. And, truthfully, she's still fully intending to get back to Napata ASAP to collect al-Tawhid's remaining wife, if only to spare the woman torture at the hands of her kinsmen.

Thus, she opens the door to the room and enters, her expression now entirely neutral in a professional sort of manner. "Sorry to keep you waiting so long, Odame," she says, waiting for the Captain to pass before she closes the door. "Things have been hectic." She's trying, at least, not to create an initially hostile environment. That can come later, if it needs to. But, she's still hoping it won't.



Captain America follows Widow through the room and gives a solitary, solemn nod to Odame as he enters the room and moves towards the far part, giving Nat center stage. He folds his arms over his chest, inspecting how Shift's been treated under SHIELD supervision.



When the door opens, Kwabena looks up from his reading. Black Widow is acknowledged with eye contact, nothing more at first. Rogers, however, earns a bit of a response from the Ghanaian. His back straightens a bit, and he folds the book closed just a bit faster than he'd have intended. Then he stands up to meet them. Call it a sign of respect. It's notable that there's no hostility in his expression, but it certainly isn't carefree. Pensive might be a good way to describe it, and the slow heaving of his chest signifies that… yeah, he's a bit nervous.

"To be honest?" He looks back toward Widow. "I was half expecting to be here for some few days." A pause, before he answers her explanation. "I am sorry if I've been a paht of dat." He finally turns aside, setting the book neatly upon the table where he'd found it. His attention returns then to Captain America, and his eyebrow shoots upward. "Al-Tawhid?" Curiosity is in his voice.



She gives Odame a small smile. "I have no doubt there are a few on the assault team who'd like to see you locked up and forgotten. I think that's counter-productive, myself." She meets his eyes and lets him see the truth of those words. No, she wasn't any happier than anyone else when this all went down, but she's had too many years of experience to continue to react in that fashion. She pulls out a chair, now, and gestures for the two men to sit, as well. When they do, she does. (Otherwise, she remains standing.) "We need to debrief you, Odame. Have a seat, please."



"Not saying much, from what I understand." Steve shrugs his shoulders just a bit before adding, "As far as his trial, that won't be any problem. I think we were all hoping he'd give up more than he has as far as intel both in Kush and in Druzia."

Steve takes a seat next to Natasha and folds his arms over his chest as he looks towards the table.



The cops, most likely. It's the unspoken thought behind a smirk that forms on Kwabena's face, one that is cut short when Natasha counters the idea of locking him up. He sits down when prompted, and resumes chewing on his nicorette gum.

"A debriefing," he murmurs. "Dis'll be mah first." Yes, a bit of dry dialogue might do well to keep a fuse from being lit. He grows more serious, though, given Steve's answer. "It seems he's bettah connected dan anyone realized. More resources, more intelligence. You peopah don't seem like de type to put togedah a shitty op. If you don't mind my speaking frankly?" There is a brief pause, where he'd shut up if prompted. Otherwise, he adds, "I think it's extremely important to find out what his connections are." A light smile comes to his face, just barely revealing his pearly whites. "But, you probably have dat undah control." Once again he grows serious, and gestures toward Widow. "Please." And attentively he sits, waiting to see just what a debriefing his like first hand, while keeping the greater severity of his predicament in the back of his mind at all times.



Natasha listens to Shift's opinion and gives a faint nod. "The thought had crossed our minds, yes," she acknowledges. "Just so you know," she continues, "this entire conversation is being recorded. To start, Odame, I'd like you to summarize your actions during the mission to Napata. Include any details you think may be important — what you saw, heard, other cues that guided your actions, and what happened as a result. Start at the beginning, from the time we were deployed, and continue until the mission was complete, if you would."



Steve can't argue with Kwabena's point, and feels the same about some of his concerns. Nevertheless he stays quiet as the interrogation begins. He feels no need to mention that Odame has already been fingered by others as a possible spy for Hydra. Steve, to be honest, isn't sure about any of it.



Rather than leaning back to grow comfortable, Kwabena sits forward, resting his forearms upon his knees. Most of the debriefing goes as one might expect, simply recounting the moments, decisions, and events that took place. Of particular note, however, is when he chooses to describe just how he was able to accomplish some of the feats that took place.

When explaining just how he was able to breach the rooftop without a parachute, he offers an explanation. "I can't explain what happens scientifically, but if I encountah something lethal — a bullet, a high speed impact — pieces of me or my body as a whole turns into smoke. I can see, I can think, I can even hear and speak, but my body is… it… becomes something else. Something I can control. Dis is why I didn't requiah a parachute. So. When I reached de rooftop, I was able to take de guards by surprise and dispatch dem easily. I made it a point to leave some few alive, in case we needed dem." He glances between the two as he speaks, though his attention folds in on Black Widow next. "Breaching de door was a similar thing. De opposite of turning to smoke. I made my arms hardah and just… busted through." He shakes his head. "Again, I can't explain de science behind it. I just know how to do it." He's had plenty of practice.

"Once inside, we found de place empty. No soldiahs, no al-Tawhid. Given we couldn't say how long ago he'd jumped ship, I began rummaging through de place, looking for anything I could find. Files, maps, thumb drives. But…" He shakes his head, frowning. "De place was empty. It had been cleaned out."



Natasha nods simply to Kwabena's account. She doesn't comment, however. So far, what he's said matches what she knows. This isn't a surprise, either. She expects it will right up to the point where she has ask him about his decision to murder al-Tawhid's favourite wife. Because, really, that's what all this boils down to…



Similarly, Steve knows the story via the documentation. He sits through it, nodding every so often. He's waiting for the same thing that Natasha is, it seems.



Soon enough, that moment comes. Kwabena is well aware, and his body language changes. He sits back, adopting a far more professional posture, and there is a moment or two where he grows very quiet. His expression, at first, is a mask. Blanked out. Quite possibly the onset of PTSD, considering he's had plenty of time to think about his actions. "When we reached de sublevah, al-Tawhid had already taken one of two women hostage. Wives, based on dere garb and de fact dat dere faces were uncovahed. He had a weapon trained upon her temple, and from what I could tell, his fingah was firmly placed upon de weapon's triggah."

Shift's voice has adopted a softer tone, the words coming quietly. And yet, there is a sense of resolve in each word. "One of our peopah was trying to talk him down. A potentially foolish gesture, given de nature of radicalized terrorists. I took a quick assessment of de situation, trying to weigh de potential outcomes and come to a decision. Someone, eventually, was going to make a move, and I could see any numbah of solutions dat would end with al-Tawhid killed."

He looks to Steve. "I fully undahstand dat killing him was an acceptable outcome. Howevah, I decided he was more valuable alive. I could not see a solution dat would not involve his hostage being killed. A miracle, pahhaps, but… I don't believe in miracles." He looks back to Black Widow. "Since I already had my weapon trained, I shifted ita small degree and shot his oddah wife. It was my determination that, if one of dem was likely to die, such an action would make him think twice about shooting his hostage. It would also significantly turn the odds of capturing him into our favah. It was not an easy decision, but… it worked. It threw him off balance, and we were able to detain him and see dat Asilah al-Tawhid lived."

His expression has become guarded now. Still empty for the most part, his eyes now relieving themselves of contact with either Natasha or Steve, but guarded. As if he was trying to protect something.



Again, Natasha nods faintly to Odame's words, without giving either support or hostility to him. She's very good at the neutral game. Besides, she's made these calls before, and with far less guilt (at the time) than he subtly displays now. "What made you conclude that the agents in the room couldn't have gotten the job done without the loss of life?" Personally, she expects it has more to do with the fact that he really would have had little way of knowing what Pezzini or she could do, nevermind Partisan. There were options there, yes… but he didn't necessarily know them.



"Lack of relevant information," answers Kwabena. "All due respect, dis was put togedah quickly, and without much time to review de various skill sets of dose in our team. Undahstandably so. War doesn't favah ideal circumstances. I saw an opportunity to change de course of what was taking place, and I took it. Dere was simply no time to come up with a strongah plan." He swallows, visibly, and there's a suggestion that he may have had more to say. Whatever it was though, he swallows it down too. Those were the facts. They didn't likely need or want his personal opinion on how much he hates working on teams.



No, they don't need to know how much he hates working on teams — unless, of course, he wants to hurt his chances of a favourable outcome to all this. Even so, Natasha would certainly empathize. It's a helluva lot easier, working solo. She nods again. "Thank you, Mr. Odame," she says as he wraps up his story. "Is there anything else you'd like to add? This matter is going to have to go to a full review, and anything you say here will be submitted to that review. I'm also going to have to ask you to keep us appraised of your whereabouts until the review is concluded." Otherwise, he stays here.



This was not exactly what Kwabena had expected. He's fortunately had a great lack of experience dealing with government types, which may explain why he'd expected something else. His eyebrows fire upward, and he looks back toward Widow, openly displaying his surprise. Then, he takes a few minutes to think, leaning forward to rest his forearms on his knees again.

"I damn near didn't come on dis op," he admits. "I'm not going to sit here and tell you about de stupid things I did in my twenties, eidah. I try to lay low. I don't have credit cahds, and I pay cash for a crap apahtment in de Bronx so peopah leave me alone. But, I didn't like what I saw on de news. I know it may not look like dis right now, but I'm not a big fan of innocent peopah getting killed. So, when Captain Rogahs took effaht to find me?" He smirks a bit. "I figured, maybe I can put dese talents of mine to good use." The smirk fades. "I undahstand dat what I did was against de rules, but I didn't exactly have time to read de rule book. I imagine it's pretty heavy. Do I regret dat an innocent pahson is dead because of my actions? Yes. But I refuse to decide wheddah I was right or wrong to do what I did. We just might have saved a whole bunch of lives by getting al-Tawhid in custody. Do me one favah, agent, and make sure your review board knows it."

He sits back again, chewing heavily upon the nicorette gum, which has long since expended its supply of nicotine. "I'll keep you appraised of my location. I'm not interested in making enemies with SHIELD or de UN."



Natasha glances briefly at Rogers, perhaps privately wondering why he did seek out the Ghanian. But the thought itself doesn't at all telegraph across her face. Instead, she refocuses on Odame and her lips twitch slightly at his assessment of his situation. "Heavy enough," she concedes as to the weight of the rules. "Unfortunately, ignorance isn't really an excuse. Mitigating circumstances, however, may be." She meets his brown eyes, now, with clear blue. "I've been in your position, Mr. Odame. More than once. I won't promise you a favourable outcome to the review, but I will promise to present an unbiased report." Partly, it's her job. Partly… she has a partner who insists on giving people second chances. "I appreciate your willingness to cooperate with us on this. And, I'm sure, Captain America here does, as well." She rises now. "I'll provide you with a number and a burner you can use to reach us at anytime, and a procedure for updating us with your movements, if you choose to leave New York for any reason."



A touch of gratitude sneaks through the hardened expression upon Kwabena's face. The professionalism is certainly appreciated. He rises and walks over to extend a hand to each. "Thanks." He seems ready to go wherever they'll take him while securing his release, but before he leaves, something else comes to mind.

"Give me a chance to read dose rule books, and I might be willing to help out again. A man puts a gun to his wife's head? Aftah executing a bunch of diplomats? Bettah believe I'm willing to help tear his empire down."



Natasha allows a bit more of an expression to touch her lips, now. "You're not alone in that, Odame," she assures him. She still fully intends to go back and rescue his other wife. "I'll see what I can do for you." That said, however, the interview is pretty much concluded. "I'll walk with you to processing," she says, "make sure you get that burner," rather than leaving him to cool his heels too much longer. Its actually in their best interest to cut him loose, anyway — see where he goes, what he does, and ensure this isn't, in fact, part of a larger… something. Nat's gut says it's not, but she's been played before.

Not that she'll admit it very often.


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