2019-04-19 - Trafficking


Betty Brant happens upon a SHIELD agent in M-Town and gets some disturbing information

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Fri Apr 19 00:00:00 2019
Location: M-Town

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Theme Song




M-Town. Lights and sirens and police tape near one of the apartment buildings. There's a BIG scorch mark on the pavement which has various police 'evidence' markars around it and a woman with a bloodied mid section is being wheeled out in an ambulance.

It looks like a regular crime scene but it's not. The people running it aren't NYPD but SHIELD. These are those 'odd' plainclothes agents that have been spotted in the area before. One of them just pulled up in a truck with a tatooed woman. It's unclear if SHE is a SHIELD agent but he is, clearly. He flashes his ID to the guy near the tape and steps under it.

"We moved people into M-Town the other night to try and give the locals some security. This happened about twenty minutes ago."

What THIS is exactly isn't clear but people have been hurt and it seems possible based on that scorch mark on the pavement that at least one thing exploded.

Keiko is fairly normal looking woman. Small in stature, asiatic features, long dark hair pulled back in a pony tail. The only thing that really stands out about her ae her tattooes, only parts of which are visible under the cuffs of her shirt at the moment.

"I hope you got me out of bed for good reason, Agent Turner." She's saying in that mutt of an accent of hers. "I have a job that starts early in the morning and that poor YELP review and complaint to Craigslist, I can't afford to mess it up."

"What exactly happened here?"

Betty Brant had heard of SHIELD before, seen them now and then. Spooks sometimes, the suits that were not actually in suits…they were here, as was a great deal of other commotion. She had been walking her way home that evening, lugging with her the new gift and a few ideals popping in her head by one Frank Castle. It was the new chaos of another part of the city that calls her attention. "Never a dull moment…" She murmurs to herself and turns heel to get closer to the action.

Pulling out her notepad, she inches closer, pumps clicking with every step. "Excuse me, Officer?" And then she gets a name. "Agent Turner, perhaps? Betty Brant, journalist. Can you tell me what's going on here?" Smiling to both Koa, and Keiko, she nods to both in silent greeting. "Sorry to bother you with this, but some quick honesty off the bat can go a long way, especially with anything that happens here."

"One of our teams got a call about a possible incident in progress." Koa is saying as Betty walks up. "There was a confrontation and- whoop. Press." Press. Betty says she's a journalist so Keiko can probably get 'reporter' from all that. Especially the way Koa straightens up and turns around.

"Of course Miss Brant. I'd be happy to help you if I can. We've got a scene here as you can see. One person is going to the hospital but in stable condition and expected to recover. We're still processing so I won't be able to give you all the details. Oh, this is Miss Kurita, she's assisting me on the case. What can we do for you?"

Keiko is nodding slowly as Betty approaches them, her dark eyes watching the woman carefully. She takes her cue from Koa, remaining silent for the moment, offering a small polite nod to the woman.

"You're a … reporter?" she finally questions. Her accent is a mix. The type you get when exposed to many over time and never settle in one place long enough for a dialect to set. "Are you on Instagram or Twitter?" That might speak volumes for how much the small woman knows about media.

Betty Brant writes along with every word Koa is saying. Short hand, but informational, the secretary for Triple J has had more than a few years to work on her dictation skills. Her lips move as she repeats in silence, pen roaming and scribbling down. "Miss Kurita, pleasure meeting you." She smiles gently, offering her hand for a shake to each in turn before looking over her notes thus far. "Just information, honestly. An incident happens and most people will be happy to quickly point out who was at fault. I like the truth better." Smiling toward Keiko, she nods gently. "I am, well, aspiring." Then she smirks tenderly. "Neither. Web publications and print, actually."

"Um. Newspaper, Keiko. She's with a Newspaper. Probably." She didn't actually say which. But she's not got a film crew so he's gonna guess newspaper. Could be internet news but… they usually film things with phones.

Koa is so not hip to the media.

Ah. There. She said it. Print. So. Newspaper.

"Well…" This is where things get tricky. There's the standard 'be careful when talking to the press' at play, but while magic and magicians aren't secret neither are they part of people's every day lives and Koa's line of work, WANDS line of work really, is decidedly WEIRD.

"Ah well. There was what we believe was an attempted abduction by a paranormal source. We'd been concerned that there could be a risk of that in M-Town so we had agents in the area. They responded and the entity fought rather than fleeing. Hence the…" He gestures to the scorch mark on the pavement.

The agent pauses to see if Keiko has anything to add. In fact as he's doing so he hands her a small medallion. That should tell her the 'source' of the entity they were dealing with. She knows what the symbol on it is.

"Newspaper … I don't read those." Keiko offers almost in apology to Betty. Of course, that's because the woman can barely read but no one has picked that up yet.

Her face tightens when she gets the medallion from Koa. Betty can see it - a small flat disc that seems to be made of glass. As Keiko turns it, there's an image inscribed on it - a moon eclipsing a sun.

"Nightfall… " she hisses. "They weren't after the child because it was mutant. There had to be something else about them." beat "What do you know?" Oh, Betty. Yes. "We have reason to believe there's a child trafficking group operating in the city. Identifying and taking gifted children."

"Ah, don't worry, honey. No one does." Betty muses with a tired smile. The world was a crazy place. A crazy place where it was shown that things thought impossible were real. Thankfully, it was because of this that the commentary of 'paranormal abduction' doesn't rile the woman, not causes her to stop writing. She eyes the spot left behind by the attempt and then eyes the passing of the medallion. With her gaze on Keiko, she waits patiently.

Her eyes grow at the passage of knowledge. "Child trafficking? Do you know the group in question or how long this has been going on?" Child Trafficking. Nightfall, all of it gets taken down along with a crude sketch of the symbol. "Has there been any extra precautions taken for the residents of Mutant Town?"

"I'm given to understand that it's been going on for some time, but mostly in third world countries, far away from organized government authorities. Nightfall has only recently come to our attention."

Koa does NOT say that this is entirely thanks to Keiko though of course it is. With Nightfall looking for her, he doesn't want her name or picture in the papers. Well, Betty isn't taking pictures that he knows of but still.

"The present rash of abductiosn we think has been going on for a couple of weeks and investigations are ongoing. We have reason to believe the children are probably still in the area so we're hopeful of their recovery. As for M-Town…"

Koa gestures to the agents behind him. "We've moved one of our Mobile Task Forces into the area and they're monitoring and responding. Some times of… paranormal occurance are difficult to intercept but we're going to make every effort to halt the abductions while we try to locate those already missing."

Keiko might have more to say on Nightfall… hopefully she considers what she'll want printed…

"We of course are concerned about the whole city, but M-Town seemed at special risk. As Miss Kurita said there's no evidence that people are being targeted specifically because they're mutants, but mutant children DO seem to be at disproportionate risk. It's possible they're more likely to display some other quality that Nightfall is interested in."

Koa might need to train Keiko a little more on dealing with the Press. She looks at Betty and the way the pen moves over the notebook. But she does think before opening her mouth again. So yay?

"The Nightfall always work with a organisation in the cities we … it targets." A freudian slip there, yes. "W— It never targetted cities this big though. I think though it would be using a gang to take the children. It's unusual for one of the … cult … to act directly."

Betty might need to do some digging on this. There's a couple of spiders who have already been involved.

"The Nightfall look for gifted children, though. Those in the highest percentile for intelligence or physique and those who are usually … strong willed."

Betty Brant continues writing, only coming to a stop at the word 'we'. Eyes up and book down, she studies Keiko directly. "Are you a former member, then?" Pen in one hand, notebook in another, the woman ceases writing and doesn't even twitch to join ink to paper again. Taking a breath, she looks between the pair.

"What do you plan to do about this? What do you want me to include in my report and how can everyone stay alert until this is settled? How can people protect their children? What should they look for?"

"She is." Koa had hoped to leave this out but now he's going to go full into how she's been cooperating with them. "She's the reason we're aware of this problem though."

Which is true! It leaves out a lot about 'escaped from them' and whether or not she still worships the deity in question but you know. Truth!

"The cult doesn't USUALLY use supernatural agents to do it's dirty work. They're working with local street gangs with ties to South American cartels. So having people keep heightened vigilance of who might be watching their kids at school, and making sure that they've got some kind of adult supervision in general will go a long way. Locks on doors and so on. They'll prefer to snatch kids off the street. We haven't seen many home invasion attempts so far. Just tell people not to give anyone an easy chance to get their kids without anyone noticing."

The magic stuff? THAT there's not much people can do about. That's why WAND has agents in the area laying down 'tripwire' wards to tell them when something bad is going down.

Keiko pales a little as Betty asks the question. "Yes, I was. When I noticed the children going missing recently, I started looking into it and then met Agent Turner and asked for his help." beat "Now I'm helping them. I don't want more kids to end up like me …"

Betty can see some more of the womans tattoooes as they stand there. Her lower arms are completely covered with life like animals. A Tarantula, wolf and a harpy eagle. So life like, the eyes seem to follow her.

"I'm doing what I can, as I can …"

Betty Brant closes her eyes and gives a shake of her head. Her voice soft, she sooths out her tone and looks Keiko's way once more. "You're doing wonderfully. Taking a stand is usually the hardest part. I don't have to write about any of this, but what you're doing, both of you, is important." Lifting up her pad, she scribbles a few more things and then slips it back into her purse.

"I'll put out a post about this. I'll be selective and focus more on facts and how we can help protect our kids from this end. If I come across any information you might find useful, is there a way I might contact either of you?"

"You can send it to the WAND offices, care of Agent Koa Turner." That's him, but she got that already. Koa gives Betty a half smile. "Nice to find a reporter that isn't trying to roast me. I know you guys exist but everyone seems to want clickbait and sensationalism these days."

Especially at the Bugle. Well. The Bugle wants clickbait and sensationalism about SPIDERS. JJJ seems to have a phobia or something.

If Betty isn't careful this'll probably still be spun in the editorials to be somehow Spiderman's fault.

"Much as I'd like to tell people how to weave charms to keep some of the simpler nasties out, doing that en masse would actually rob them of their power." Magic. It's a fickle thing. And simple rituals often have a limit to how much power they can provide at a time. Which means if a bunch of people are doing it, it doesn't work for anyone.

Koa pats Keiko on the back as a show of support. "Tell people we're here to help, if you can. The mutants, they remember when SHIELD was helping to enforce registration. Makes 'em skittish and I can't say I blame them. But the Task Force we have here is just here for their kids' safety. We'll pack it in when we're not needed anymore believe me."

Keiko missed registration, likely. Lucky her, though given what she didn't miss Koa's not sure who got the better end of the bargain.

Keiko lets out a breath she didn't realise she was holding at Bettys words. "If they knew how … involved … I was …" They can find her, she's told Koa that. What might they do to one of their own who's turned on them?

Feed her to their Lord as tribute? Perhaps.

"Thank you." It's quiet as the tattooed woman turns the disc over in her fingers.

Koas pat on the back seems to startle her and she looks up at the agent in surprise. "Please becareful what you publish, there are people who can get hurt and we're trying to retrieve the children before they leave the city."

"I understand. I'll see what I can do for all of you." Betty promises, looking over their shoulders toward the scene then back to the pair. "Be careful out there, alright? You're doing good work." A smile later, she takes a step back, excusing herself after bumping into an officer. Without another word, or inquiry, Brant starts making distance between her and the scene.

"Huh. An honest reporter." Koa says as he watches Betty go. "Will wonders never cease? Come one Keiko. I need you to help me identify some goop…"

And with that the agent turns back towards the crime scene. It's gonna be a long afternoon.

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