Who needs trust, when you've got power?
That wasn't always Mariah Dillard's philosophy. She had never sought to trade trust for political gain. No, she wasn't going to be like all of those policy pushers who only wanted to get their name in the press. Mariah Dillard was going to make changes. She was going to change Harlem. She was going to make it what it once was. She would be the one to usher in a new Renaissance, to inspire the new Langstons and Zoras and Cullens. A new Harlem Renaissance. That would be her legacy.
But so much shit just kept getting in the way. From Cornell and his reluctance to move let go of his hustling, to Luke Cage and constant need to stick his uppity ass in all of her affairs, and Misty Knight who had been playing fast and loose with the police regulations.
Even after successfully removing Luke Cage from Harlem, dealing with Diamondback (that gun pushing son of a bitch wasn't anyone she wanted in her city), and weakening the cities overall trust in the Harlem Police Department (of course, that wasn't a hard task to do), she now had everything she could ever dream. But, she felt as if something was still missing, as if it could all come crumbling down at any given moment. Hell, Cornell learned that lesson the hard way...and Mariah was more than happy to teach it to him.
Cottonmouth was dead. Diamondback was gone. Luke Cage was gone. Harlem was hers. She could use her position as a politician to push her own vision. She could use her Cornell's connections to the streets to push guns, and deploy whatever fear mongering tactics she wanted. If she had learned anything from Diamondback, it was that fear was the best motivator.
But why did she feel so unsatisfied? Sitting in the office of her brownstone home, her floors as immaculate as a trumpeter's tongueing. Mariah Dillard felt a vague hunger than gnawed at her every time she held a pen close to her chest, or looked over a new policy that would be introduced to the board.
"What you're feeling right now is longing, my dear. The perfect fuel for ambition."
Mariah froze. Fear was a powerful motivator alright. Fear of failure. Fear of missed opportunities. Fear of the unknown, and worse, fear of knowing what was to come. She tapped her finger against the polished wood of her desktop, and sighed. "Oh, so you're a mind reader now too?" she asked.
Mariah turned in her chair, and laid eyes on the man who now stood before her. Drew Bigsby. A tall lanky man, who smiled with the ease of a fox, and spoke with the force of a preacher. He was as white as the gentrifiers who kept coming into Mariah's city, pushing up the taxes and driving all the black people out. And that was reason enough for Mariah to distrust him.
But...there was something more to him. Something other worldly. He had claimed to be a time traveler, someone who could help steer Mariah's political career in the right direction. Harlem would be nothing compared to where she could go with Bigsby's help.
Normally, Mariah viewed herself too sensible to be wooed by a story as ludicrous as time travel, but in the last few years, it had become apparent that the world was changing. Harlem now existed in a world where gods with hammers could command thunder, where portals from space opened up out of nowhere and rained fire down to the earth. There were men with bulletproof skin, and super strong women who would snap a man's neck because he mind controlled her to do it. A Time Traveler was the most believable of all of them.
And besides, what kind of a politician would she be if she didn't take opportunities when they arose? And if this Bigsby character really was just a con man, she could do away with him as easily as she had Cottonmouth. There was nothing to risk, and everything to gain.
"Oh no," Bigsby said, "Not a mind reader, just someone who has an appreciation for history. You know, all of the great leaders throughout time had the exact same hunger in their guts."
Bigsby's flattery was faker than Tony Stark's humility. "Bigsby, I'm a politician. I know how this shit is played. Offer up a little nice words, and you think people'll just fall in line." Mariah scoffed, and felt for the gun that was hidden beneath her desk. Shades had been insistent that she keep it near her at all times, and lately she was glad for it. "I swear to God, Bigsby, if you're promises don't come through I'll-"
"I understand Madame Councilwoman," Bigsby said, his palms out in a sincere apprehension, "Believe me, when this is all over, you and I will both get what we desire. I guarantee it."
It had been weeks since Bigsby started hiding out at Mariah's estate. She had the perfect cover for him. He could go about his business at Harlem's Paradise, the club she owned, which was still undergoing renovations. No one would be there, and Bigsby could conduct his business with no interruptions. Whatever it was he was doing (which apparently involved disappearing for long periods of time, and coming back to her brownstone with splatters of blood on his coat) Mariah didn't care to know the details of. She had long gotten over her discomfort for sacrifices of petty lives. If this future man's dealings involved making a few people disappear, so be it. It was all for the betterment of her career after all.
Still, Mariah could not fully trust this man. She may have been ambitious, but ambition is a flame that can be dangerous as well as advantageous. The matter of Drew Bigsby had to be dealt with delicately. Things would move slowly. As all rises to power did. But...Mariah was patient.
She stood to face Bigsby, his face a deep shade of deceitful. An image Mariah knew too well. "I may be behind you," she said, "But that doesn't mean I trust you."
Bigsby merely shrugged, "Well, who needs trust when you've got power, right?"