Word of the Day
Roleplaying Log: Word of the Day
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Coulson recruits hotheaded redhead Brann to go undercover with the Brotherhood.

Other Characters Referenced:
IC Date: July 19, 2019
IC Location: Brann's apartment, Washington Heights, NYC
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 20 Jul 2019 04:13
Rating & Warnings: G
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

It's late afternoon in Washington Heights, Brann's younger siblings are all back home from school in their apartment in Washington Heights. He walked his youngest sibling home, meeting up with the other two along the way. "Okay." He claps when every just starts getting settled. "Homework time, got it?" It sounds slightly more like 'goddit'. There's a grown or two and rolling of eyes from the two youngest. "Hey now! I ain't kiddin'! You're doin' your homework, checking it how many times?"

"Threeeee!" Ring out the voices of a younger girl and boy.

"That's right." He nods firmly. There's a ruffling of paper and pencils and the plopping down of books and the like. "And you, Miss Smarty-Pants, I know you're good for doin' your work." He says to the oldest of his younger siblings. "But while doing it, make sure them two wise-crackers don't pull any funny business while I figure out dinner, mmkay?"

He gets a slight roll of the eyes from her as well, but a nod. "Yes, Brann." She mutters, pulling out a thick math textbook that looks like his has a few miles on it.

"Alright…what do we got to throw together?" He murmurs to himself as he starts looking through the fridge.

* * *

Dinner and homework, such a domestic scene. The slight knock at the door is not going to do anything to enhance it though, for Phil Coulson stands on the other side of it.

But he also knows what time he's coming in, which is why he is also holding a hot bag, the type that food delivery guys use to bring food around to various customers. Except this one is SHIELD themed.

Because when you're a secret organization, it's important to put your logo. On. Everything.

Unassuming as ever, he looks more like an accountant or forgettable professor than who and what he is. But then, that has always been Phil's way.

* * *

"Dooooooorrrrr!!!" The youngest, the boy, shouts.

Now it's Brann's turn to roll his eyes, though he can't help but smirk a little. "Yeah, bro. I heard. Eyes on the homework, right?" However, the smirk fades and the look on his face turns to one of curiosity. They don't often get visitors. Maybe the occasional neighbour asking for some salt or sugar or an egg…yolk. Because sometimes all the need is the yolk or the white for some unknown reason. But that's a curiosity for another time. Looking through the door's peephole, he raises an eyebrow, unlocks the door, and slowly opens it.

"Afternoon, Agent." He glances back into the apartment and then over to Coulson again, and the bag in his hand. "Time for another check in?" He nods to the bag. "What other surprises will my day bring?"

* * *

"It will bring Chinese," Coulson says, offering the bag out to Brann. "And, when all your sibs are settled and we can find a moment to ourselves, it will bring the surprising topic I'm here to talk to you about."

And then, after a beat, "You're looking well, Brann."

The Agent makes no move to enter the apartment unless Brann makes a move to let him in. He's got on the benign Dad version of his smile.

Should Brann take the bag, he'll find it relatively heavy. Coulson apparently brought a lot of food.

* * *

"Chinese? You serious?" Brann does indeed take the bag. "Whoa, what you loadin' this with? Bricks?" He laughs and starts to turn before he remembers his manners. "Thank you. Seriously, man. Uh," he looks inside at the living room where his siblings all sit. "Yeah, come in. Come in. And thanks, I'm trying to keep my nose under the radar and just…you know, make an honest living. And take care of these brats." He nods toward his siblings.

He lets Coulson step inside before closing the door once again and locking it up. "Never can be too careful." He shrugs. "Hey, we got dinner! Chinese! But only when you're homework's done!" There's some cheering from the kids, because, well, they constantly bug him for takeout because, according to them, it's "sooooo delicious". He lines up the food on the kitchen counter, setting up plates and cutlery and serving utensils, for when the others inevitably come in hungry.

"We can talk here or the bedroom, depending just how 'surprising' this topic of yours is."

* * *

"Surprise enough that we should talk in the other room," Coulson says. Something strange happens then. He actually looks hesitant. His hazel eyes flick over the children, and he just pauses for a moment. But then he seems to make up his mind, the flicker of rare uncertainty passing into the ether.

Once they're in the other room, he slides his hands into his pockets. And then he asks, "How much do you know about the Brotherhood?"

Not exactly an easy topic to bombshell into someone's evening, but he does it as casually as if he'd asked how much Brann knew about the burger joint down the street.

* * *

The room is taken up mostly by bed, with a bit of space to walk around, a closet filled with a set of drawers and a bunch of hanging clothes. Picking up some clothes that made their way to the ground, Brann makes a space for them in the room, closing the door behind them to make it a bit more difficult for little ears to listen.

"The Brotherhood?" He raises both eyebrow. "I mean I heard of 'em. Some mutant group or somethin'? Don't know much, but I mean, should I?" He's obviously confused. "What've the Brotherhood gotta do with anything? Especially me?"

* * *

"They're a terrorist organization," Phil says quietly. "They take the hardline that humans are their enemies, and the only way they're going to get equal rights and protection under the law is if they drop a few buildings on people's heads. At the moment, they're doing some recruiting out of a night club in Metropolis. I'm here to offer you a job, Brann. Not as a SHIELD Agent, but as an undercover asset and confidential informant. As it happens, the list of young, unaffiliated mutants who stuck around New York City and have made it into the ranks of people I trust is short."

A glance at the bedroom door, a furrow of his brows. "Very short," he reiterates. "Given your situation with your family I normally wouldn't ask, but…"

He returns his gaze to Brann and says, "But current events have made it necessary."

* * *

The look upon Brann's face becomes practically deadpan as he hears the proposal put before him. He takes a deep breath. "You…want me?" He points first to Coulson and them to himself. "To go undercover, for SHIELD, into a group you claim to be terrorists." He speaks hesitantly, his tone unsure. "All 'cause I am a young mutant…who isn't officially affiliated," deep breath in, "with SHIELD."

He shakes his head. It's not a no. Not yet. "What's in it for me, huh? What do I get?" He points to the door. "And my family? What do we get if I do this?"

There's a pause, a brief one. "No, how about this. How about this? My sis in there? The older one? She's a smarty pants, okay? Why don't y'all pay for her to go to college? You promise, put it in writing, that y'all will pay for her college, I'll help you out." Another brief pause. "Oh, and someone to babysit 'em while I'm gone and my parents are almost always out working. You can promise me you'll get someone to watch over 'em and that you guys'll pay for my sister's college, and I'm all yours."

* * *

"Done," Coulson says, without a moment's hesitation. "The best school she can get into, full ride, whatever she needs. A sitter's easy enough to arrange."

He shakes his head for a moment. Brann talked himself around to it before Coulson even had to make the arguments. It was this impulsivity that had made him decide not to recruit Brann the way he had Sloane and many others like both of them. But in this case…

He pulls out a small pad of paper and writes down the address. "This is the nightclub," he says. "They're giving out numbers on armbands. Don't be too eager to call. Frequent the nightclub a few times, float around, listen to the conversations. When you find the angrier metas, settle in and start befriending them. Make a few points yourself. By the time you either call the recruiter or the recruiter contacts you, your interest will make sense. If you just leap right in they'll be suspicious."

* * *

Brann nods firmly. He expected some pushing, but no arguments? Well, he'll take it. It didn't even occur to him that it was his impulsiveness kicking in. But then, he never does. He just jumped right in, as he is tend to do.

He takes the piece of paper from Coulson. "'Kay. So, Metropolis? Where exactly will I be staying while I'm there? I assume you have someplace for me to live. I ain't gonna live on the streets." He looks down at himself for a moment. "Oh, should I be wearing something different? I ain't exactly the club type. I don't know what they wear there, but I'm guessing people don't usually got clothes with burn holes in 'em."

He clears his throat. "That reminds me, you guys ever think about making clothes that don't set on fire? Those'd be killer for a guy like me."

* * *

"There's fire-retardant fabrics out there," Coulson says, with a tilt of his head. "I don't think anyone's done haute couture fashion with them yet though, but I'm sure if you went to the right tailor."

He nods about having a place to live, writing down another address and passing over a key. "That's your safehouse. As for the rest…be yourself. Don't change your name. Don't change your appearance. Don't change your attitude or the way you talk or your backstory. One slip up could get you killed if you were trying to juggle all that, so just don't. There are only two lies here. The first lie is that you're the type of guy who will buy into the Brotherhood's crap. You won't be the only asset, but you and the others won't know about each other."

A pause, and he adds, "The second lie isn't even a lie, I suppose. Since you have to explain how you're paying for beers and apartments, I will be arranging for you to have a job. If you have preferences or new skills I don't know about…"

* * *

A loud laugh emits from Brann. "A tailor? You think I can afford a tailor? Especially on who'd be able to work with some fancy…" He bobs his head back and forth, "fire-retardant fabrics? I didn't know ya had a sense of humour aboutcha. That was a good one!" He laughs again, ending the laugh with a light sigh.

"Nice. 'Safe house'. Got a fancy term for it and everything!" He accepts the other piece of paper. He's careful with his ability for the most part these days, and the papers don't set on fire. He pockets them for later.

"I've mostly just worked odd jobs here and there, ya know? I'm sure you've kept track of it all. Otherwise just my uh…'light show' in the park, with the spinning and the balls on fire and stuff." He says in regard to his skills. "You know, whatever you can get me, I guess. You're the fancy pants with all the connections."

* * *

Coulson thinks about that for a long moment. "On paper you'll be a personal assistant to the CEO of one of our front companies there in town. In reality you'll have the freedom to go wherever you want. PAs can be delivering things, picking them up, and in general running around all over town. And they make good money."

He pauses, and says, "And you can afford a tailor now."

But he moves past the issue of money, going a bit more serious.

"Brann…you need to be prepared. First, for the fact that eventually, they're going to make you feel like family. I have it on good authority that they do this. Second, that they're going to want to make you do some fairly terrible things, and if you don't do them you could be exposed. Third, if they figure out what's going on they're going to kill you."

* * *

"Well, ain't that an upgrade. I guess I really worked hard and worked my way up through the company, huh?" Brann laughs again. He leans against a wall and nods. "Okay, I can spin that a bit, I guess. Poor kid from Washington Heights actually has American Dream moment by working hard and getting a good payin' job." It could happen! Even to a ginger!

"Hey, you know what? If I'm workin' for a fancy CEO, then yeah! I guess I can afford a fancy tailor now!" He grins. "None to shabby there, boss." He gives Coulson a playful wink.

Things become serious again. "Look. From what you've told me and what I've heard, seems like they're nothin' but mean ol' thugs, yeah? Bullying people?" He shakes his head. "I don't like that. I assume that what I'm doing, goin' undercover, will do some good, yeah? Then I'll do it, 'cause I don't like bullies. They ain't never really gonna feel like family to me." He stops at the second point. "When we met, you told me to be careful, taught me how to keep things in check." He brings up his index finger, blows on it, and suddenly the tip of it is aflame. He blows on it again, the flame disappears. "And now I might have to do bad things?"

He closes his eyes for a moment and starts muttering his sister's name for a few seconds. Finally he sighs and opens his eyes again. "Okay. I won't like it, but okay."

* * *

"They are definitely bullies," Coulson says quietly. He claps Brann on the shoulder and asks, "Are you sure you want to do this? Your sister's college notwithstanding, it is a big ask."

Because he just won't send anyone in undercover without making sure they're really, truly, 100% okay with everything that's involved. While obfuscation is a big part of his life and role, there are things he is painfully honest about, even when they might mean not getting what he wants. And the risks of an assignment like this, both physical and psychological, are on that list.

* * *

Brann shakes his head. "No, I'm doin' it. I said I'm doin' it, so I'm doin' it." He looks at Coulson with a gaze of fierce determination. "You need someone else on the inside, I'm gonna do it. They need to be stopped, my sister needs her education, and I need to do some good in this world to offset the bad." He may have just come up with that last part now, but he's sticking to it.

"It's like I tell them in there, as the sayin' goes, 'You can do anything you put your mind to.'" He clears his throat and nods firmly. "Sometimes to do the right thing you just gotta throw yourself into the mess and clean it up." There's his impulsiveness again. "I want to help."

* * *

Coulson nods, then pulls out a paycheck. It's addressed to Brann, and it's from a corporation called Entity, Incorporated. He says, "Entity's a C-level consulting firm for midsized companies looking to grow, if anyone asks."

It's got a paystub and everything, and from the biweekly salary it now looks like Brann makes about $60,000 a year on top of his sister's shiny new scholarship. Hazard pay is good pay. "There's a website and everything, and I do want you to report to their office from time to time. Your quote-unquote boss there will be setting up our meetings when necessary, it lets us keep an eye on you, and it adds verisimilatude if anyone is following you. Your first day you'll be filling out the tax forms, getting a headshot for the website, all that sort of thing. Your boss will also give you actual tasks to perform for the same reasons. Easy things, not that different from the odd jobs you've been doing."

Which yes, SHIELD kept track of.

* * *

"Woah mama." Comes Brann's initial reaction when he first sees the paystub. "You definitely got yourself a deal." He says, laughing again, though this time in disbelief. "Entity, Inc. C…" He pauses, thinking, remembering. "C-level consultin' firm for…" He bobs his head slightly as he says each word carefully, thinking through the description. "For midsized companies lookin' to grow."

"Versi…versi…versi-what? Look, Coulson, I don't speak, well," he holds up the paystub, "I don't speak sixty-thousand dollar words. That's more my sister's thing." He runs his fingers through his hair. "Alright." He says, sighing heavily. "I think I got it. It's pretty straight forward." He tilts his head. "Oh, one more thing…how am I getting to Metropolis and when do I leave?"

* * *

"Verisimilatude. It means realism."

Coulson claps him on the shoulder and turns to go. "As to when, soon. As to how…you've got money now, kiddo. Take the train."

His lips twitch with the hint of a smile, and his eyes sparkle with mischief as he opens the door and looks over his shoulder.

"You could even buy a word-of-the-day calendar."

* * *

"Realism. Got it. Keeping real." Sort of. He can portray the confidence enough, anyway. "The…train. Right. Maybe even a plane?" He shakes his head. "No, rather stay close to the ground." He folds the pay up and slides it in his pocket as well.

Following Coulson out, he snorts and shakes his head. "Word of the day calendar. Right." He makes sure the kids are behaving themselves as they pass by on the way to the front door. "I'd say to not be a stranger now, but I guess I gotta pretend now that I don't know ya, so uh…who are ya again?" He gives Coulson a little wink as he unlocks the door and opens it for the agent of SHIELD.

* * *

"I'm the Chinese delivery guy," Coulson says, deadpan. He pauses, and grabs his hot bag on the way out, folding it up. Then he tips two fingers to Brann in a salute, and steps back out onto the street, disappearing into the mass of people as only a spy can.


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