The Opening Volley
Roleplaying Log: The Opening Volley
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

The Merit Community Center gets heat for offering shelter and support for metahumans. It's unlikely to be the last bit blowback they face.

Other Characters Referenced:
IC Date: November 30, 2018
IC Location: Merit Community Center - Hell's Kitchen
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 01 Dec 2018 15:11
Rating & Warnings: Language
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

Danny's phone lights up at just 1:36 AM with an incoming text message. Colleen's abruptness translates well over text, short words and sharp periods. All it reads: Trouble @ Merit. Then there's the three dots flashing beneath the message that suggests she's typing something, but a second message never comes through.

Outside the community center, Colleen is standing before the once-glass inlaid doors to the center; glass is scattered all in the front lobby as well as about three heavy bricks. There's a couple of kids — older teenagers — moving plywood off the back of a tiny Japanese pick-up truck, and setting them against the frame of the doors. Ugly neon spray paint stands out vibrant even in the shadows of early morning on the exterior wall to the left of the doors. It reads: META FUCKERS GET OUT. Colleen is glaring at the words, arms crossed at her chest.

* * *

Danny's first impulse is to try and call. When that gets no answer, he's tugging on a pair of jeans and a puffy green winter coat and he's out the door. He hails a cab like a regular person and not a billionaire, though he has more sense than to do so immediately outside Gramercy. The press have been paying a bit too much attention to him lately for his own comfort. Something about an anti-registration press conference a few months ago, yada yada yada.

So it's just after 2 AM when the cab rolls up outside. Danny frowns, really frowns at the graffiti and then pays the cabbie before getting out. "Colleen," he says as he walks up towards her, upnodding. "Hey, when did this happen?"

* * *

When the cab pulls up, everyone pivots toward it. The two kids are both male — one about Danny's own height and the other a half-foot taller than that. They hesitate a moment, casting glances toward Sensei before she offers a faint nod of encouragement. "Michael, Reeves… keep working, alright? We want to get that in place."

Then she steps up toward Danny, arms loosening from her chest and hands tucking into the pockets of her jacket. "About 45 minutes ago. I was up in the dojo, grabbing some gear I had left. Heard the glass shatter." She grimaces. "I had the alarm turned off since I was in the building." She shakes her head, looking at the crude graffiti. "Guess they know some of our kids are metas."

* * *

Danny keeps frowning and digs his own hands into the pocket of his jacket. "I guess this was bound to happen. I mean…I didn't use the word 'meta' or 'mutant' in this place's mandate, but I made it clear everyone was welcome." He takes a long, slow breath. "I don't want this place to turn into a fortress but I want people to feel safe, too." He glances to the young men helping, but just gives them a little nod of appreciation.

* * *

"Kids from Chikara." Colleen nods toward the boys before she looks back to Danny. "Wasn't sure if I was catching you at a bad time, so I called them after I messaged you." Which is a clear emphasis that she thought to get in touch with Danny first. She shuffles her feet a bit now, looking at the window and graffiti and then she sighs. "We're going to lose some kids… there's no way to stop that from happening. I can talk to the families, try to convince them that we will up security."

She rubs tiredly at the back of her neck, bruised up knuckles from her recent night at the fight club glaring on her pale skin. "We'll get this squared away. Reeves used to be a tagger. He'll know how to get the paint off the walls. Michael will get the plywood in." She hesitates. "I didn't call the cops." Her mouth thins. "Should I have?"

* * *

Danny is quiet a moment. He looks at the tag, jaw clenched. "No, no you made the right call. Whoever did this wants to draw attention to this place and get their message out there. Better to not give them that. And…" he looks over at her, "…lucky you were here when this happened. I'd rather find out about this in the dead of night than in the daytime when we have no choice but to call the police and have everyone find out about it."

* * *

"Yeah." Colleen's monosyllable acknowledgement is a slip back into her quiet, closed-off way. She looks up at the community center, lost in thought as a thread of black hair loosens from behind her ear. She flicks it back into place before she gestures. "You're here. Want some tea?" She steps forward, indicating her path toward the broken doors.

* * *

"Yeah. We keep a good stock in the kitchen." Danny says. Colleen probably knows that, but he'll say it anyway. "This worries me because we're supposed to be a youth shelter soon too. That means there'll be kids here at all hours. But that paints a target on them. But they also need somewhere to go. Metahuman kids are statistically more likely than non-meta kids to get kicked out of their homes."

* * *

Once Danny agrees to the tea, Colleen is leading the way. There's something about the Sensei and the way she moves into a space with ease and confidence. She's not been with the Center long, and yet each stride exhibits this impression that she's been here since the beginning, that she knows these walls and floors well. She leads him back to the kitchen, and the moment they are inside, she is preparing the tea. She's infused the space with some of her own requirements. She gets down a solid iron tea kettle, and two small cups — the kind you need to hold at the very rims to avoid burning yourself against the hot metal. She then gets the canister of tea down.

"I know." Her words are soft, edged. "I have a girl who is living at a shelter down in Chinatown… she's unique. Mutant, I think… but I cannot really tell. She has been coming to the dojo on a scholarship for a few months now." She goes through the steps of teamaking, barely looking up as she works. "The community needs to know that this won't stand, Danny… but I'm sure how to make that statement known without drawing attention to it."

* * *

Danny watches her make the tea. It's not so different from the way he made tea as a young man for the older students and the masters. Maybe the leaves were different, maybe it was an open fire and the teapot was a slightly different shape, but the ritual of it remains. He sits down at the communal table in the break room and moves aside yesterday's papers.

"That's the problem, yeah. I can make myself a target. I can protect myself." Whether he means with his money or his skill isn't clear. "But if I speak up again about this, if I keep doing that…" he looks around. "…this place could get destroyed before we get it off the ground. And people need a place like this."

* * *

"I'll do it." Colleen sets water on the stove. She turns to him now, resting her hip into the butcher block countertop beside the stove. "You've done enough in that regard; people know your opinion. I'm part of this community, and Chinatown's." She frowns slightly. "I'll speak up." Then she turns toward the water, watching it for a moment before she presses off the counter and strides to the table to sit beside him. She regards him with serious dark eyes, and then a small smile starts to edge forward. "You'll let me do that, right?"

* * *

"Colleen…" says Danny, that goofy smile of his making an appearance. "You and I haven't known each other very long but I don't think anyone 'lets' you do anything." He rubs the side of his neck. "But if you speak up, you're drawing attention to this place, too. And people know this place is connected to Rand. I don't know if it would be better." He looks around. "It's…messy. If we don't stand up, then people won't feel safe here. If we do stand up, we risk making this place more dangerous."

* * *

Danny's endearing goofiness has the right affect. She tilts her head, giving him a wry smile as she looks at him. "Very observant of you." Then she gets up, guided by an internal clock that tells her the water is hot, but not so hot to scald the leaves. She starts for the stove, taking the pot off the stove and then pouring the water into the tea kettle. She sets it onto a tray with the cups, and then begins her steps back to him. It gives them both thoughtful silence, and allows Colleen to come to terms with her next words. "Is it worth hiring someone to look into these threats, so we can confront them ourselves?" She slides back into her seat beside Danny, turned to him.

* * *

"You mean like…a private investigator? Cause I know one of those." Danny looks like he wants to say something, but there's a voice in his head (maybe the voice of his friends?) telling him not to tip his vigilante impulses to this woman he barely knows. So instead he adds, "…that could get messy, too."

* * *

"Danny…" Colleen starts, tone laughing but terribly mirthless. "There's no way this isn't going to be messy… but that's sometimes what this is." She gestures between the two of them, indicating that they are in this together. Then she gestures beyond them, too, to the community center that encases them. "I care about this place." Her voice is… genuine. It almost surprises her. She cares about this place. "I want to protect it. So, what do we do to protect it?"

* * *

"Well, the first thing we do is I get Rand's private security to do a review of this place. They're really good at securing things without making it look like it's secured. I don't want bars on the windows, but I know there's glass that can't be broken with a brick. Quiet security measures. Things that we can tell people who are worried about their kids but won't make public knowledge." Danny considers, inhaling through his nostrils. "And I talk to my private investigator friend. There's a chance it's just scared kids doing this. But it's also possible some worse people are behind it. I'd like to know what we're dealing with either way."

* * *

The next internal timer in Colleen's head goes off, and she reaches for the wrought handle of the pot. She pours tea into both cups in a graceful, precise pour. She's been a student before, it's obvious in her mannerisms. She serves Danny tea, but she serves herself tea, too. Then she settles back in and breathes out a slow exhale. "Alright… and I'll see what I can turn up." She looks up at him. "I know some people connected to the metahuman community who might know if other businesses or centers have been targeted."

* * *

"If this is just some scared kids or…" Danny gestures, "…some other thugs putting them up to it, then I don't want to persecute them. But if this is from dangerous people, people who are going to threaten the people who come here…" he trails off, then reaches for the tea. He picks it up like a man who is used to drinking tea from little handle-less cups rather than mugs. "Everything…is messy, isn't it? Nothing's got a clear answer." He seems to mean this as a kind of quiet revelation rather than a statement of fact.

* * *

Colleen has already taken a sip of her tea, listening to Danny through his thoughtful consideration on what kind of danger might lay ahead for the Center. Then her mouth tightens a bit, and she nods soberly. "Always is." The Sensei breathes out a slow exhale, and then she's curling her hand around the back of her neck, rubbing at the long lines of muscles there. Then she looks up at him, dark eyes taking him in. The Immortal Iron Fist. He's a complexity she hadn't anticipated. "I think there is a clean answer, though, Danny… we protect the people who need this place. Right?"

* * *

"That's a simple goal with a complex solution," says Danny. There's an echo of a soldier's logic in those words. "But for now, we keep this quiet…" he looks towards the door. "We clean it up quietly. We get more security installed. And I get my friend looking in to who did this. After we know that, then we'll know how serious this is and how we can fight back without making things worse."

* * *

Colleen follows his glance, looking out beyond the door toward the shards of glass and busted doors. Then she flicks her glance back to Danny. Her hand reaches out instinctive, and she touches his wrist in a friendly connection. "Alright. I'll follow your lead." Or at least that's what she tells him as she's already deciding she's going to poke around this herself. She has her own contacts to use, own connections… things Danny can't know yet. The she hesitates, hand drawing back around her cup. "Know a glass guy?"

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