Watch Dog

June 04 2014: When you deal in secrets, sometimes you learn things you wish you had not. And sometimes you learn things that make you break into a snarky goth's house and have a sit down chat with her.

O'Neal House, Queens

An apartment building that aspires to one day be merely run down. This building has seen better decades and reeks of cheap booze and cigarettes.



Mood Music:

Nancy O'Neal lays down in her bedroom, the window open. Mom is in the living room, having managed to score a bottle of Jack and is proceeding to see if she can't finish it in one night while she watches the tv. Nancy will wait till she passes out and then clean her up and tuck her into bed, a routine she knows far too well. She sits in the dark, only the lights from the city street lighting up her bedroom. The posters on the wall, Apocalyptica, 2Cellos, Rasputina can barely be seen except as dark shadows on the wall. Her cello case sits in a corner among a shelf full of sheet music. It's a messy room, and not what one would really expect from a Goth. There are a small assortment of stuffed animals on the bed with her.

There's a ring at the doorbell and… curiously not the usual sound of her mother fussing. Then another. Still no indication the door has been answered. Perhaps mom passed out. Anyway, whomever it is seems to have given up.

A few minutes later, a window opens in the room down the hall. Then it shuts and someone with a fair bit of solidity comes down the hallway.

Nancy O'Neal sighs. If mom is already passed out, she must have mixed her medication with it again. She sits up with a sigh, going to check on her mother, reminding herself that her mother's alcoholism is a sickness. At least with her passed out, she doesn't have to listen to the hurtful things that come out of her mouth. She slips on her fuzzy slippers and then hears the window open, then the feet. Oh hell no! Seriously? This apartment is practically condemned. What does the moron that just B&E'd into her place think he's gonna get? She grabs her baseball bat out of her closet. Not that she's ever played the game, but it's useful for exactly this purpose. She heads to her door, listening, waiting for the robber to pass her room.

The footsteps, booted ones it sounds like and fairly light for that though not precisely quiet, approach her door… and then stop at it. There's about a thirty second long silence before she can hear someone lay a hand on the doornob and, rather shockingly, knock softly to the beat of 'shave and a haircut'. Almost at the same time there's a long, tired sigh on the other side of the door. The kind you make when life in general just seems to require a noise to express the place it's at.

Nancy O'Neal waits for the door to open. If the robber is going to come into her room first, he's in for a big surprise. Batter up! She stands on the side of the door in her frumpy flannel pastel striped pjs and her fuzzy bunny slippers and waits. The minute that guy comes into room? Pow! Right in the kisser.

The knock is repeated. Another, perhaps ten second wait. When she doesn't answer the handle jiggles, almost as if someone is checking to see when the door is locked. Then it turns, very slowly and the door slowly starts to open, creaking on it's hinges. This has to be the dumbest robber in the history of mankind, announcing his presence and then forgoing any advantage when he opens the door. Maybe he just doesn't think anyone's in the room. The way the door is opening it's less like there's someone behind it and more like someone just pushed it.

Nancy O'Neal is starting to get antsy. The waiting to hit this guy is just about making her burst. He's careful too. THe knocking, the not actually entering. He's not taking any chances. She changes tactics and rather then swinging the bat, she slides it like a pool cue through the open door to hit whoever might be beyond it.

Her efforts are rewarded by a surprised and somewhat pained 'Oooof!'. Then the bat get's grabbed and trapped against the door frame. He's quick, whoever he is. "Hey!" A vaguely familiar voice says in the tone of someone trying to not disturb a sleeper. "Knock that off!"

Nancy O'Neal says, "Paul?" It has to be, but why would he be here? Who else knows she lives here? She opens the door and sees… "Jeri-curl? What the hell?" Her voice stays quiet, hissing as she speaks in a way so as to indicate her mood without at the same time waking her mother. "You broke into my apartment? Are you nuts! This is Queens! You're lucky I don't have a gun.""

"Yeah, but it's important and no one was answering the door." He may be nuts, but she hasn't seen him be an idiot. Unless you count this. Still, he thought it was important enough to risk getting shot to get in here. His eyes leave no doubt that he's being sincere.

Nancy O'Neal is about to say something really nasty when she suddenly looks down. Fuzzy slippers, pastel flannel pjs, no make-up. Oh dear god! The door is suddenly slammed in his face and the sound of scrambling in the room can be heard.

Jericho blinks. He's not got what one could call an active love life, but he's not a total novice at this. He's… familiar with certain compulsions of the young and female. So he leans the bat Nancy abruptly let go of against the wall and folds his arms, waiting. Another sigh, though this one perhaps slightly more amused.

When Nancy finally opens her door, she is barefoot and wearing a black tshirt and shorts. If the stuffed animals were noticed in the brief time Jericho had seen her dark room, they are gone now and the door to her closet is closed. "Okay, so what do you want."

Rule one of trial law. Never ask a question to which you do not already know the answer. Jericho isn't a lawyer, but he's learned this rule pretty well in the last year when dealing with hacker types. He holds up a digital recorder. "Just answer me one question. If the answer is yes, we need to talk. If it's no, I'll leave you alone. Do you know this voice?"

He hits play. Another familiar voice comes out, clearly speaking in a panicked fashion into a cell phone. Possibly while cowering under something. "She just jumped into a moving van! You have to do something about this! She's gone nuts! She's acting like those heros she hates so much!"

Nancy O'Neal crosses her arms over her chest. Jericho brings out a video camera and she rolls her eyes. "Seriously? You wanna… what?" She listens to the playback. It's hard not to recognize the effete lilt of her best friend's voice. "Y… yeah. I know that voice. What… where did you get that?"

"Yeah… we need to talk. Do you…" He really doesn't want to intrude on her room, but this isn't hallway conversation either. "Is there somewhere relatively private in this house we can do it? There's more you need to hear. And know."

Nancy O'Neal beckons you into the room. "Just let me check on my mom first. If she's already passed out, she mighta done something dumb. Hopefully, it's just she forgot to take her meds again not the other." She passes by Jericho, glad that he didn't break into her apartment to try and seduce her. She goes to the living room and sighs, turning off the tv. She looks for her mother's meds and, not seeing them sighs with relief. It's more painful for Nancy when her mother forgets to take them, but better then the alternative. She lifts her mother up and guides her into her bedroom, softly singing a lullaby to her as she tucks her in. Closing the door to her mothers room, she comes back into hers. "Okay, so what's happened to Paul? Is he in danger?"

Jericho sits… well not on her bed, because that would be awkward. He finds… someplace that'll support him and sets down there. "Not that I'm aware of. You on the other hand, I think, are in some danger. That's why I thought it important enough to break in and see if you were here. Sorry about that, but it wouldn't wait."

"Paul has been, based on his cell logs, phoning a certain number every week, on Tuesdays at seven PM and having long conversations with whomever was on the other end. Recently, those calls have been happening more frequently. The number he calls every week? That was the same number he called for the bit I just played you. A bit odd, don't you think, that the subject of that call was you? I thought it was odd, anyway." He pauses, watching to see her reactions and if she follows.

Nancy O'Neal says, "So he calls some guy every week. He's got needs. He's… he was talking about me? Why would he be talking about me? And why about that van thing? Oh hell." She groans and rubs at her temples. "I gotta stop this vigilante thing. It's gonna get him hurt."

Jericho's arm is glowing now. He's tapping what looks like an odd holographic keyboard hovering above his left arm. His neck is also glowing, with blue circuit traces. "I wondered why he'd be talking about you. And to whom. So I did some digging. Wasn't hard to come up with the cell phone number he was calling. It was a bit harder to come up with the name attached to it, but I got it eventually. That cell phone belonged to this man." He looks up. "Don't ask how I got this either. Play back clip four seven."

His arm projects a video image that looks like it was taken from a security camera on a parking structure. She can see five wrecked SUV's and a number of dead guards. Guns are going off, off camera. A large man is hauling a smaller one in a suit into an alley, away from the gunfire A woman in a gas mask bolts onto the frame, spraying down an alleyway with automatic fire. The large man goes down. The gas masked woman hauls the other to his feet and after talking to him for a minute (the words can't be heard) shoots him in the head. The room darkens a bit again as the image goes blank and the playback stops.

Nancy O'Neal walks over to get a closer look at Jericho's arm. She saw him at that fight in the far east, but she was disguised. Luckily. She remembers the wings though and gives him as much a once over as she does the video footage. She sees the Partisan and there is a moment of recognition in her eyes. It goes away to her flat countenance. "Okay, so, he calls some guy that works for some big company that just got raided by a terrorist. This isn't making any sense. What does this have to do with me?"

At that Jericho pulls a cell phone out of his coat pocket. "The man you saw get iced was named Adison Meyers. He's an investor connected primarily to a company called Polyglobal. They do… well, they're actually pretty private about what they do. But this was his cellphone." It's seen better days, clearly. "Don't ask how I got this either. What's important is I started going through the text message history. Funny how much stuff sticks around after you delete it." He opens up the cell and hands it to her. It's already qued up to a series of text messages that run like this.

You've got to fix this. She's going crazy. I think that serum shit is starting to get to her. -P

Keep your head. See if oyu can convince her to come into our NY site for testing. Make up whatever you have to, I don't care. -A

You don't get her man. She's stubborn. I had a hell of a time just getting her to come out to dinner. -P

I don't care how stubborn she is. This is what you get paid for. We're not losing all the work we put into N13 just because she has a stubborn streak. Make it work. That's an order. -A

Nancy O'Neal hears the name Polyglobal and looks up at Jericho, stunned. "That's the company that did the testing on my mother. They just called me this morning asking me to come in for another round of blood tests. I told them I wasn't interested." She grabs the cellphone out of the man's hand and looks over it. She frowns. "N13… that's the number of the drug run my mother was on. It's why she named me Nancy. THis is… why is… Paul is working for Polyglobal?" She sits with a thump on her bed, looking confused. Her whole world is being shaken. Again.

"I'm still looking into that. If I had to guess, he was hired to keep an eye on you, in case the drug you were subjected to had latent effects. That's the way it is with drug research, y'know. Sometimes it takes years for certain things to come up." He looks at her sympathetically. That's more or less how he looked, and felt, when he realized his own life was getting torn down around him. "It gets worse I'm afraid. I'm sorry to keep piling this on you, but Polyglobal isn't just a run of the mill pharmaceutical corporation. They're a front for a dangerous organization known as Hydra. I have some… personal experience with them."

Nancy O'Neal says, "I wasn't subjected to the drug. My mother was. While pregnant with me. They just wanted to make sure that I wasn't affected by them. You know, long term effects and all that." She runs her fingers through her hair, looking out the window, listening to the sounds of late night traffic. The name of Hydra gets her complete attention. SHe's been told about them and a few others by the Partisan. "Hydra? Owns Polyglobal? But, aren't they a terrorist organization run by the Nazis?"

Jericho's had a chance to do some research on Hydra. It's a complete rats nest of conflicting stories and he doesn't feel like going into it here. "That's part of the story, yes. They have their fingers in a lot of pies, but not usually as completely as this one. They don't just steal from Polyglobal or have people in there, they run the damn place. And I doubt very much that they were keeping an eye on your for your benefit, you know?"

Nancy O'Neal says, "Why would they want to do drug tests on my mother? What are they looking for from me? What… oh god. They… my kill zone. That's the drug. They made me a mutant?" She gets up and starts to pace. "They really do want to make an army of mutants. I was just joking, but… What do I do?! They know where I live. If they have invested this much in me, they're not going to take no for an answer. WHat are they gonna do to my mum?"

"You need to get clear of them. I'd offer to help with that but I'm on the run myself. Sorry. I have no idea what they'll do with your mother, but she's only important if they think they can use her to get leverage over you. They might not have to try that hard either. The fact that she's living free right now suggests that she was probably a willing participant in the study… and likely agrees with their agenda too. If you have friends, like your blue furred one or the guy with the eye beams… maybe they can help." He frowns. "Where's your phone?"

Nancy O'Neal says, "Living free? Seriously? We survive on green stamps, you goon. They used to pay us but the money dried up when I didn't have any powers. And she was a total willing participant." She goes to hand over her phone. It's an old one. Not one of those smart phones. This is more of a dumb phone. It was probably cutting edge about 8 years ago. "I guess I could call Doug….""

The hacker reaches over and touches it. "Better that way actually. Let me just… scramble the signal real quick. Make it a bit harder to track you." He concentrates for a moment, interfacing with the phone via blue tooth and encrypting the signal. "There. Least I can do. If your friend Doug can't help you could always…" He thinks for a moment about other options. He doesn't have a whole lot of friends… buuuut… "Go to the Thermyscrian consulate up town. If you tell them Aspect sent you and it's about Hydra… I'm sure they'll keep you safe. They don't exactly like me there, but they know I'm not kidding about the Hydra thing." He glances over at the phone. "My 'number' is in there too, if you need to get ahold of me. I can't offer much, but if you need help, I'm more than willing. No one deserves to be victimized by these bastards."

Nancy O'Neal says, "Actually…. that woman. In the vid. She's pretty good and handling them. I'll give her a call. I just got to find a way to help my mother first."

"You know Part- er, The Partisan?" His eyebrows go up and he puts two and two together. "Ah. O'Neal. I should have guessed. Yeah, I think that's a good call to make. She's much better at hiding than I am too. Just… watch your back okay. With your mom, I mean. I think that's a blade that cuts both ways."

Nancy O'Neal goes to her closet, the stuffed animals spilling out when she opens the door. She grabs a duffel bag from inside and tosses it on her bed. "I can't stop going to school. It's Juilliard!"

Jericho bravely suppresses a laugh. It's not funny. It's not funny. It's totally funny. But he doesn't laugh. He'd argue for a clean break, himself, but this doesn't seem like a win-able battle. Besides, if she got that far, she's got some serious talent. "Doesn't mean you have to keep living here though. If you choose to keep going though, keep an eye out during your classes. If they figure out your schedule and do decide to do a black sedan act… that's when they'll do it. The fact that they haven't yet, though, suggests that they don't think they need to, so you may have a bit of time. I'm still tracking this, Nancy, and you can bet I'll tell you if something pops up on my radar that you should know about."

Nancy O'Neal throws things into the duffle, including a stuffed owl into the duffle bag. Lots of clothes go in too, not worrying about folding them, just stuffing them inside. "My mom… what's she gonna do without me here? She…. she's gonna drink herself to death." She looks over in the direction of her mother's room, worry on her face. "This is all just… this has been the world's screwiest month ever. Can you look in on her? My mom? Just, make sure she's okay?"

Jericho hesitates for a moment, considering, and then nods. "Every day, if you'd like. Every day I can, anyway." When I'm not running from Hydra… and SHIELD, he amends, mentally. "Can you get clear on your own?" This is a more polite way of asking a strong willed twenty year old if she'd like a hand.

Nancy O'Neal keeps stuffing her duffel bag. She nods her head. "I'll be fine." She opens a container of talcum powder, emptying the contents out the window through her fingers and pulls out a wad of bills. "Party takes good care of me. She's trained me on what I need to do in case I ever needed to bug out. Now, unless you got a car down there that yer givin' me the keys to, get the hell out. I'll come by yer bar when Party tells me it's safe."

It may or may not surprise her that he tosses a set of keys across the room to her. "It's a Jetta. It's about the most boring car on the face of the planet, but that's kind of the point. I'll have the registration changed to your name by the time your down the block." He shrugs as if to head off potential questions. "I considered the possibility that you might need something if you decided to get out tonight. I do occasionally think things through."

Nancy O'Neal looks at the keys in her hand that she just caught. SHe just scored herself a car? Sweet! Good thing driving classes were part of her high school curriculum. "Well, I still need to put some clothes on, so I still need you to get out. And go out the door, for pete's sake. Don't need someone seeing you crawling out the damn window and heading out the fire escape.

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