1965-05-15 - How to Crack a Coconut
Summary: Agent Harman is brought in to interrogate captured General Nibiru. SHIELD learns critical information when he finally breaks.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
carol-danvers thea coulson 

General Nibiru, Nigeria. He's been rotting in the sublevels of the Triskelion for more than a month, while some of SHIELD's best interrogators took potshots at him. The nefarious, rogue commando, partly responsible for the classified discovery in Ghana, has proven to be rather difficult to crack.

The General sits shackled in a plain, armored room. A two way window shows a mirror on his end, but in the other room, Senior Agent Coulson paces back and forth, clearly unsettled. An old copy of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn lies next to a pot of coffee, a half-filled mug, and an assortment of reports.

Coulson checks his watch before looking toward the door, awaiting Thea's arrival. He didn't expressly tell her to come alone, and the Triskelion is a busy place.

Thea shows up, blonde hair back in a classic braid down her back. Small sapphires wink in her earlobes, a darker echo of the pale blue blouse tucked into simple black slacks. Her heels peek out from under the hem, black heels that give her a couple inches. There's a bag in her hand, a first aid kit that she doesn't expect to need.

She glances back into the busy hallway, a smile before she's looking at Coulson. "Sir." She looks through that two-way into the room. "Are we ready?"

Carol walks in shortly after Thea, wearing a rather nondescript SHIELD uniform… save that all the identifying patches have been removed. So nothing exactly tracing her back to SHIELD itself as she nods slightly towards Phil and Thea, leaning against the wall to observe, from what it seems.

It is a very rare moment for someone to see Phil Coulson so irritated, so enjoy it while it lasts. "Damnit, yes." He had just picked up Huck Finn only to slam it down onto the table again. "We're ready. I should have made this call weeks ago, before -" He motions around at the walls "- Nibiru and his goons started blowing up cities across America!"

Carol's arrival seems to remind him that he's acting unprofessional. He immediately cools, and turns away from both to walk toward the two way mirror. A hand is brushed back trough what hair he does have, before it presses against the wall next to the window and allows him to take some weight off his feet. "Harman, I am giving you permission to do whatever you need to break him. I need to know where his mutants are. I need to know how to find them, and for God's sake, I need to know how he's motivating them."

There's a lift of brows from Thea at that irritation and his exclamation. There's a hint of a smile that hovers around her mouth as she moves to set her bag on the table. The smile blossoms into real life as she glances at Carol, a glance of friendly affection.

Brown eyes shift back to Coulson, her expression sliding back to seriousness. "I will do my best, sir. I do have a couple questions. Has he eaten or drank in the last hour or so?" That may seem like an odd question, but there is a reason she asks.

Carol arches a brow at Phil, but doesn't contradict him as she gives Thea a faint smile, "Well, this should be interesting to see." She nods towards Thea, giving her a confident look, "You'll be fine." Not that she's too doubtful, but well… if things get weird, then that's why she's here.

Phil takes a look at his watch. "Ate… three hours ago, and a cup of water not long after." He nods his head to Thea, then walks over to press a button on the wall. A buzzing sound can be heard, and the door becomes unlocked.

"Carol," he finally says, glancing her way before watching Thea through the window. "Sorry. I've been up more than forty eight hours talking with… everyone from military advisors in Ghana to the Deputy President of South Africa. Nigeria's been particularly tight lipped. Nobody has anything on this guy."

Inside the holding chamber, General Nibiru looks up from the table to which he's shackled, scowling as the door unlocks.

Thea pauses, a glance at Coulson, but right now she can't waste powers on helping him. "Can someone bring me in some water for him?" There's a hint of a smile, that is cold and leaves her eyes anything but warm. But then she'll nod to Coulson, taking something from her bag before she goes on through the door.

She will offer a shallow smile to the General as she moves inside, letting the door clang shut behind her as she approaches the table. "Mr. Nibiru." She purposely leaves off his rank, while appearing polite. "You can call me Al." Althea Harman being her whole name, it's not a huge stretch, but.. "I'm here to ask you some questions."

Carol nods, "Understandably so… been a little busy dealing with problems… out of town." She keeps it vague, focusing her attention on Althea and the General, eyes narrowing a bit, "I understand the need for this, but that doesn't mean that I like it." A resigned sigh escapes her at that, as she doesn't look happy… but what else can they do right now?

Promptly, Coulson walks over to an intercom system. "Holding Room 27, can you bring a plastic pitcher of water and some styrofoam cups?"

That finished, he walks back over to Carol's side, arms crossed over his chest. "I don't like it either," he clarifies. "But I've already thrown Williams, Francino and Schreiber at him, not to mention anyone else qualified. The nice way just isn't working." He's leaving out the part about people dying, race tensions mounting, things like that, though he does glance Carol's way with a lifted eyebrow. "Has this case file been declassified to you, yet?"

Geberal Nibiru's sneer only becomes more sinister. "Al," he says in his heavily accented English, "is not de name for a woman. Tell me, is dere a prick hiding under dose trousers?" He leans back, laughing. "You people. Getting desperate, aren't you!" He gestures with one hand, the shackles jangling against the desk. "I will tell you what I told de oddahs." He leans forward then, glaring at Thea with ill intent. "Fuck… off."

"Al is short for my given name." Thea explains as if she's not at all bothered by his tone, as she slides into a chair across from him. "Why, are you afraid I have bigger balls than you do, Nibiru?" She's all wide brown eyes and near innocent expression. "Now why on earth would you say we're getting desperate? Because I came in here, being polite? And to think, I requested some water for you. I understand it's been a while since you were offered a drink." One hand rests on the top of the table, the other holding something in her lap. "That's no way to speak to a lady, Nibiru. Trust me, you want to treat me like a lady."

Carol snorts at that, then looks over at Phil, "I knocked out the classification but I haven't had a chance to catch up on it just yet. Would be nice if I wasn't putting out all the other fires… good thing I don't really need sleep anymore." She looks a bit wry at that, "Never let it be said that Kree gizmos don't have side benefits."

"Jealous," Coulson jokes. The bags around his eyes tell a whole story. He turns away from the viewing window, collects a file that has everything on 'Operation Miami', and offers it to Carol.

Nibiru seems humored by Thea's remark, to the point where he actually seems to adopt an expression of friendship. A weird, sort of 'let's go blow people's brains out' camaraderie in his eyes. He turns away from Thea, and shouts toward the mirror, "Dis one, I like! Can I keep her?" Nibiru looks back to her when she recommends he treat her like a lady. He glares for a long moment, before showing his pearly whites and a single gold tooth in a disgusting sneer. "If you want me to treat you like a lady, den I suggest you get on your knees, and unzip my pants."

Coulson pauses in handing Carol the file. He turns in disbelief toward the window, mouth ajar, then grimaces.

"Alas, no man yet has been able to keep me, and you certainly aren't man enough." Thea says, her voice blandly amused. "That is not treating me like a lady, you complete waste of human flesh." She's smiling as she says it, leaning forward, letting her forearm on the table. "Besides, you wouldn't have the ability to do anything, even if I as so addlebrained as to be tempted." That smile turns into something cruel. And because she is exactly the way she is, Thea will let her fingers curl against the table. She'll affect the blood flow to that particular area on Nibiru's body, using her powers to cause him the sort of pain men are always eager to avoid.

Carol smirks, "Men are so predictable… now I think I might actually like what happens next." She hrms and glances down, paging through the file as she reads quickly, arching a brow, "We have anyone we're coordinating with as far as the mutant angle is concerned?"

General Nibiru seems wholly entertained by the entire affair. That is, of course, until his face is screwed up into an expression of torment. His fingers clench, and for a few moments, he's able to 'man up' and take it, but not for long. Soon enough, he begins to scream. The door is closed, so it won't be nearly as enjoyable to Carol and Phil, but the sound system feeding it into the monitoring room gets a bit fuzzy with overmodulation at each cry of anguish.

Coulson watches for a few moments, eyebrows lifted, before he answers Carol. "Uh, yes. Doctor Jean Grey, civilian, university teacher and administrator." He turns to Carol, mouth turned into a half grin. "I suspect she leads something of a… double life. But she's one of the good ones."

That part isn't in the report. Phil is clearly keeping it off the record.

Thea lets her hand flatten out against the table, that pain ceasing though it will 'echo' for a couple moments. "Now, we were saying.." There's nothing but cool blandness in her tone. "I have some questions for you. Are you feeling ready to be accomodating?" Brows will lift at the general.

Carol nods, "Makes sense, and keeping them out of the spotlight is best." She hrms, "Good to know that we have contact with some of the angels out there, at least. Don't think it'll be much longer before we find out what he knows."

"Way I see it," Coulson tells Carol, "if they're fighting the good fight, who am I to complain?" He smirks. "There are politicians who probably see it different, but… they don't have access to classified SHIELD files."

Nibiru, meanwhile, is groaning and sweating. However, he's about to prove Carol wrong. "You can ask your questions, woman. I will not help you."

Back to observing, Coulson shakes his head. "Oh boy. See that's the problem with these radicalized types. You know, they just… won't…" He waves a hand around. "You know?"

Thea smiles at Nibiru. She will lift her arm to let her hand cup her chin. "See, I am the real thing. What you were so desperate to create." It's nearly a whisper. "Tell me, Nibiru, do you know what it's like to die from a strangulated testicle? It's slow, and very, very painful." She acts like that's just a random statement, as she sits back in her chair. "But you can help me, or I can make you hurt in ways you can not dream of or hope to understand." There's a brief, stabbing pain in his groin again, before there's a clicking sound from under the table. Thea will move quickly, moving in any way she has to to slice her personal blade against Nibiru's forearm.

Carol frowns a little, "Well, maybe…" She hrms and shakes her head, "Normally 'generals' like this don't believe in the cause so much as their own power. Of course we find one that's the exception to that rule."

Nibiru doesn't even have a chance to say anything in response. His body tenses again, teeth gnashing and chest growling at the pain she's bringing. The man's eyes widen when he sees the blade, but given that he's still shackled, well. Metal cuts skin and a smear of blood splatters the table. "You can do whatevah you want!" the General shouts. "I will not help you!"

At this precise moment, a SHIELD aide walks in with a little stack of styrofoam cups and a plastic pitcher of water. He stares at the two way window, then looks to Phil, then to Carol, then back to the window.

"Maybe," Coulson answers Carol. "Thing is, we don't know if this guy really is a general. Even an officer. That's how these guerilla types work, they make their own rules." He sighs a bit as things do not seem to be progressing, but the night is still quite young. He does turn toward the aide, eyebrow lifted. "Well, what are you staring at?" He presses the button and unlocks the door. "Send that in to Agent Harman."

Thea smiles as she steps back, retreating to her seat again. She hears the door unlock, and without looking away from Nibiru, turns her head slightly. "Thank you, you can set it here on the table. Would you like some water, Nibiru?"

Carol hrms a bit, "True. They do, but sometimes you can take advantage of that." She considers the 'General', then gives Phil back the file, "Of course, Thea is just getting started, too."

"She's got a plan," Coulson agrees. "And I sincerely hope it works." He looks away to Carol, frowning. "Because I have a backup plan, but nobody would like it." He looks back to the window then. "Especially that man."

The orderly sets down the goods, then quickly gets the hell out of dodge.

Nibiru pries his eyes open. They're watery, but he still seems to have his resolve. "For what?" he asks. "You want me to tell where de mutants are, what dey plan to do next?" His mouth forms a grin. "They've already made de first strike, haven't dey." His eyes dance with mischief, but a good cold reader may see something. Behind the insanity and radicalization, he's worried.

"Dis is only de beginning," he tells Thea.

Thea will move to pour herself a cup of water, setting it near Nibiru, before she'll pour herself her own. "I want to know numbers, plans, if you gave them directions for safe houses, that sort of thing." She shrugs. "I mean, for me? I could just go hunting. Kill them all." She'll sip her water. "If they had made their first strike, I'd be talking to them, not you." She'll make that slice along his forearm throb, and start pouring blood. "Oh dear." She'll mock concern.

Carol hmms, "Something gone wrong for him, but he's not sure what. Well, aside from the obvious…" She arches a brow, sipping from her cup of coffee as she shakes her head slightly.

"Oh, that's good," Phil remarks with a smile when Thea lies to the prisoner. A lie to a man without calendar or wristwatch, without access to the risking and falling of sunlight, can be a most effective tool.

Nibiru scoffs at the question, but he seems confused and disappointed by the lie. He looks down, thinking through his own perception of time. They should have hit by now! He looks back up and reforms a sneer. "It will happen, den. Very soon. When it does, you…" He cuts short though when the cut begins to bleed more than it should. He looks down, then back to Thea, sweating a bit more on his forehead. "I die, my answers go with! You cockaroach!"

In the other room, Coulson steps forward. "She's gaining on him," he says, then quietly urges under his breath, "C'mon, Thea."

Thea laughs, a mirthless chuckle that is almost more forced exhalations of breath, looking at Nibiru from under lashes. "Oh, it might. But you know how you forced their mutations with radiation?" Her head tilts to the side, the braid dangling over her shoulder. "You see, people can't handle that sort of radiation as a rule. Just to let you know. I'm a nurse, you see." She murmurs, sipping more water. She glances down at his bleeding arm. "Oh, don't worry. You're a long, long way from dying yet." It's almost casual, before she'll flick fingers in his direction, and let him watch the bloodflow slow, stop, the slash healing. "I can do anything I want to you, you see. No one is going to stop me."

Carol nods, "She's getting him. He's on the hook now, I think. Give them hope, then take it away." She finishes her coffee, setting the mug down on the table in the observation room as she looks over at Phil.

Perhaps it is a stroke of luck. Or perhaps this was all part of Thea's plan. The deep truth is, Nibiru dislikes mutants as much as he dislikes whites. Both deeply rooted in his own experiences, perverted by bad influences and an ugly world. His end goal is to end white supremacy through violence, yes. But the other aspect of it… he wants to ruin the reputation of mutants.

Nibiru looks on in horror as the wound seals itself. He mutters something in his own tongue, prompting Coulson to quickly snatch a pencil and jot down the exact time, so that technicians can later replay the recorded audio tape and have it translated.

"You will die like de rest of dem," Nibiru shouts. "When my mutants are done, your governments will outlaw dem. You, cockroach, will be hunted!"

In the other room, Phil nods his head. "There's the motive. Man, this guy is off his rocker." He sets the notepad aside then, and walks over to pour himself a cup of coffee. "You know I have my hands full, and I… definitely need sleep. Like, a days worth. But if there's anything I can do to help with, you know, whatever it is you've got going on?" He looks to Carol with a curious eye.

"You see, we know about your mutants. Any African mutants misbehaving will be assumed to be yours, and the fact American mutants, people like me, will be helping capture and stop them. It will do wonders for gaining us protections and rights." Thea sounds completely unruffled by the screaming and threats. "It must really get under your skin, hmm? A white woman, a mutant.. everything you hate and curse.. and you have no power against me. Indeed, it must burn." Indeed, where that slash had been, she makes muscles twitch, as if she had slipped something under his skin. "So, where are they supposed to strike? The only way to keep mutants from this country from looking like heroes, is to tell me so your little groups can be stopped quietly."

Carol shakes her head, "Wow, this guy is a serious piece of work, that's for sure…" She looks back to Phil, "But nah, what I'm doing, I can handle. Honestly, it's a little outside of what most agents could do, which is why I got the short straw. But I do have a bit of help with it, anyway."

"There's also that whole, no sleep, super powers advantage," Coulson says. There's a touch of jealousy in his tone, just a touch. "Agent Fitz thinks he can make Lola fly," he adds. Everyone who knows Phil knows of his love for gadgetry!

Nibiru looks down at his arm, frowning. Lips twitch uncomfortably, and he looks back to Thea with a frown. He… honestly never considered that angle, and it's clearly bothering him. "You think I am dis stupid? I let dem pick dere own targets," he tells her, voice heavy and conflicted. "I will give you dis." He smiles sweetly. "De targets will be filled with white people."

Coulson has the note pad in hand again. "Plausible. Fits the motive." He jots something down, then sticks the pencil between his teeth to chew on it. "C'mon, Harman, you got 'im now…"

"Yes, actually, I do think you're that stupid. You wouldn't trust *mutants* to think for themselves, let alone in a group." She rises again, one hand trailing along the edge of the table. "And without directions to follow, their radiation sickness will keep them from being motivated. But of course, as an African man, you may not have been *Smart* enough to use that." She'll use his hate, even if being racist is not her bag. She will eye the shackled man, a hand out as if for his throat. He will start having to struggle to breathe, as the biokinetic will keep the blood away from his lungs, letting him feel like he's suffocating.

Carol hmms, "Well, if I need help, Phil, you'll be the first person I'll talk to about it." She shakes her head at the interrogation, "I should probably get back to it, but if you need my help, don't hesitate to get me, okay?" With that, she heads out of the observation room, passing a glance back through the one-way mirror before leaving.

For a moment, Coulson is speechless. He's quite the interrogator himself, but the way Thea is working over General Nibiru… he shakes his head. "I don't know if I could…." He stops, looks back to Carol, and nods his head in a sober way. "Thanks for being here," he tells her, then looks back toward the window. "I think this is almost over."

Using his hate is the moment when Thea strikes gold. Nibiru lashes forward, straining against his shackles. "DEY WILL STAY MOTIVATED!" he screams. "Dey will because WE HAVE DERE FAMILIES!"

In the other room, Coulson's eyes go wide. "Oh my God," he murmurs, some of the color draining from his face.

Nibiru, meanwhile, begins choking, gasping. The anger and rage is replaced by a sudden onset of fear, coming at him from multiple angles.

Thea tips her head, brows lifting. "Not anymore, you won't." She murmurs, the faintest hint of sound. She doesn't look towards the mirror, but she knows Coulson will have heard. "Motivation only works when someone isn't dying of radiation poisoning. Your only real chance, Nibiru, of not seeing my superior white ass every day, is to tell me what you ordered them to do." She leans in, just a bit, to almost lovingly whisper. "I can kill you again and again, and bring you back for more of this."

Thea lets him go enough to breathe, wandering the room with that switchblade out and showing.

Nibiru isn't thinking clearly anymore. Everyone has a breaking point. It took a lot of different things to get him there, but here he is. He gags and wheezes, fingers clenched. "Kill whites," he says. "Kill whites, dat is what I told dem to do. Long as we have dere families, dey will not stop!" He wheezes deeply, then spits out, "You will nevah find dem!"

"You really /are/ stupid, aren't you." Thea sounds almost bored, turning to watch Nibiru again. "I can find them. How do you think I'm doing what I'm doing to you, you ignorant ape?" There's a flicker of anger in her voice now, but compared to Nibiru, she sounds so mild. "They're going to be all but glowing in the dark from direct radiation. Dying." She moves closer to him, hand out. She doesn't need to move like this, but.. He'll feel his heart starting to race. "Dying like you're dying, right now." She won't actually kill him, Big C! "Only I can bring you back, they'll just die. They'll die, and nothing will happen, and you're stupid if you think we didn't know about the families. I know some of them have already been rescused from your joke of an army."

Coulson comes close to shutting it down. However, they don't have the families. Thea has brought it this far, and he really doesn't want to go to stage three here, so… he waits.

Nibiru struggles in his seat, but it's all getting to him. The rage, the humility, the failure, the fear. His struggling becomes desperate, and he finally manages to squeak out, "What… what else do you want from me?"

"I am sure you gave them specific targets you'd prefer them to hit. I want that list. I also want to know your network here in this country. I want to know the specific places you're holding all the families." Thea paces to the table, leaning on it. "I want this, and I want it now, or you can see my glorious blonde self again tomorrow, and we can go through all this fun and pain again."

"Fine!!!" Nibiru doesn't even realize just what a fool he's been, but villains are rarely truly that clever. He scowls at her, but repeats himself. "I will tell you."

Coulson draws a deep breath, removes the pencil from his mouth, and sets down his coffee. The door buzzes and this time, it is Coulson who enters, with a pencil and a notepad. "That'll do, Al," he tells her. "I'll take it from here."

Lord knows she probably needs a break. "If you'll kindly wait outside," he tells her, "until I'm done?" He looks back to Nibiru, smiling. "Just in case Mister Nibiru here needs a reminder of why he's chosen to cooperate."

Thea will fold her knife closed, sliding it into a pocket as she watches Nibiru's face. "Of course, sir. I'll wait just outside." There's an air of a threat to those words, not looking away from their captive. "Just shout if you need me." She will flash Coulson a big smile, before she will head out back into the observation room. She will sit and put her head between her knees, taking deep breaths, now that she can't be seen.

Nibiru spills his guts. Coulson jots down everything. There are targets in Europe, the cities in America that were already hit, and smaller cities ranging from Cincinnati, Ohio to Boise, Idaho. He gets names… everything.

When all is said and done, Coulson leaves a cup of water in Nibiru's grasp. When he reaches the door, he looks back to the General and shakes his head. "You know, this hairbrained plan of yours…. doesn't make anything better."

The door locks, and Coulson walks over toward Thea. He sets the notepad down, then sits down next to her. He bears a heavy expression, but he's also thankful. "Hey. Good job in there. You okay?"

By the time Coulson comes back, Thea looks totally composed other than a touch of paleness. "Well, we got what we needed, right?" Brown eyes run over Coulson's face. "That's all I care about."

"More than I honestly thought we could get," Coulson says, nodding his head in a sober way. "We go after the families first." He puts a comforting hand on Thea's shoulder. Every SHIELD agent has to make difficult decisions, and regardless of how well composed she is, he understands, because he's been there.

Phil stands and says, "Take the rest of the night off. That's an order."

She'll flash a bright smile. "Not an order I'll disobey. I think I need some strong drinks to get past tonight. " She makes a face, before she'll get up. "Good night, sir."

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