Gotham Nights

Summary:
June 15 2014: Lenny and Vinnie are Gotham street sweepers, ordinary city maintenance men who see some very not ordinary things in the Gotham night.

Gotham City Streets

Dark, dingy, dirty and occasionally violent. That's what it's like to be in the down and out part of Gotham, but even those conditions don't stay the bold street sweepers from their appointed rounds.

Run by Talia al'Ghul!


Characters

NPCs

  • Lenny and Vinnie - Street Sweepers (spoofed by Talia al'Ghul)
  • Nameless Mooks

Mood Music:
[*]


It's about 9pm. The sun set about an hour ago, and the just-past-full moon sits low over the brooding buildings of the dark city by the bay. An old street sweeper rumbles along Kane St. in Old Gotham. Lenny MacPherson sits behind the wheel, half draped over its large frame. He's a skinny guy, a lanky redhead with thinning hair and copious freckles. Beside him is Vinnie Palumbo, a middle-aged Italian fellow with a scrub beard and the paunch that comes from heavy pasta dinners and a lifetime of Mamma Palumbo's pignolati.

"Ya ever notice how we're always the mooks that gotta clean up these streets?" Lenny grumbles, glancing sidelong to Vinnie, raising his voice to be able to be heard over the whirr of the sweepers beneath the heavy truck.

"Ain't no one can clean these streets," Vinnie replies, bending forward to dig around beneath his seat for the battered thermos of coffee he stowed there. "Even tha Batman ain't had any luck. Not really."

"Ya think the Batman really exists? I mean… really?"

"Well, if he don't there's gotta be someone like 'im, 'cause my cousin Jimmy's best buddy Louie said his other buddy's cousin's brother got nabbed by him last year. Broke his jaw and got him sent upstate."

Lenny snirks. "Yeah, and my sister's friend's aunt's cousin twice removed goes to see him in the big house."

Vinnie gives Lenny a light punch in the arm. "Hey! Don't you be knocking my family, ya skinny mook. Just 'cause you ain't got nuthin' but—" The knock in the arm causes Lenny to swerve a little and there's a loud clunking sound at the bottom broom collides with the curb. A knocking sound follows as something rolls under the vehicle and gets sucked up into the vacuume. A red light flashes on the board and the two men groan.

"Dammit, Vinnie, now lookit what you did. Gotta open up the damned vacuume housings."

"Aw, shut up and just pull over. I got it…"

*

Jericho likes rooftops. Especially in Gotham. They're generally much safer than ground level and they afford a great view of goings on. After the disaster at Amusement Mile a while back he'd promised himself he'd avoid the city for a while but sadly his Polyglobal links and investigations into a few criminal enterprises both led here. He's not sure which of those investigations landed him in this particular spot though. Four mildly more than human toughs in gang colors. "I don't suppose anyone wants to do this the easy way?" The only response is the creaking of leather gloves and the whirling of heavy chains in the air. Jericho sighs. "Fine. Wolf Out"

In an instant a field of light surrounds the hacker, formed into a vaguely werewolf-like shape. He's bigger like this. The toughs don't seem impressed. Gotham rooftop cage match round one, ding. One of them makes a grab for a sealed canister with biohazard warning signs on it. That unfortunate man gets backhanded. Both he and the canister drop off the roof and down three stories. "Damn it." Jericho growls as he deals with the other three. Now he has to go down and get that. When he's less… busy.

*

All over Gotham, there hangs several posters that proclaim 'Lost dog' or 'Lost cat', or even 'Have you seen her?'. They're at every intersection, ever busstop, every entrance to the subway; each proclaiming the sadness, the despair of the owners/parents of said lost creature.

Really? It's not a matter for SHIELD. Not now, not ever. Mostly never.

But, maybe it's his 'look' that attracts those hapless souls to him. As Hawk finishes the purchase of a pretzel from a vendor to tie him over to dinner (which will also probably be from a wagon), there is a 'gang' of kids, each brandishing a poster, and every one of them shakes it at him,

"Mister.. mister.. you seen my dog?"

"What?" Barton doesn't get the first bite finished before he's accosted by the guardianless crowd. "No.."

One rather astute little boy studies him for a long moment and waves a hand dismissively in that 'who needs you anyway' gesture. It's echoed by a few of the others, and they start to wander away before one little girl hands him a poster before running off behind the others.

*

Meanwhile, in a small and dark parking lot nearby three dark vehicles are parked and a small collection of individuals are standing around between them. A quiet conversation continues, one which has only just gotten started. One which is very nearly interrupted by the sound of something falling to the street below, not very far away.

"Damn pigeons," one of the dark figures mutters. "Friggin' rats of the sky. Bet one flew into a window again."

"You're changing the subject," one figure that stands alone cuts in. "Do you have it or not? My evening is not going to last forever."

One the other side one man nods subtly to another standing beside him. That individual turns to pop open the trunk of one of the sedans, removing a metal lined case. That, too, is opened up for those present to see.

"Now it's your turn."

*

Paul's a good son and visits his mother on a regular basis. Unfortunately, that means coming to Gotham since she won't leave the damned place. Worse, she's a morning person and up before dawn so is already in bed at nine, a time much to early for Paul to go to sleep himself. On his way to go find a place to get a drink, someone was stupid enough to snatch a purse. Of course, this being Gotham, the snatch was accompanied by a punch to the face first and that's something he can't just watch and do nothing about. He's been chasing the guy for two blocks when something falls from the sky, hits the thug in the head, and rolls into the street just as a street cleaner is passing by. Hey, it means the purse is recovered.

*

Vinnie clambers down from the cab of the truck, once Lenny has pulled it to one side. He pops a hatch on the side and pulls out a tool box.
Lenny climbs down from his side of the rig and starts walking around the truck, inspecting the brooms for damage and checking under the front to see if there's some sign of what they might have hit. "Remind me again to have Petey look at right wheel catchment," he grumbles, reaching under to wiggle a loose part that's been loose for ages and never really done any harm before now. "I still think it's fubarred."

"It's fine. Petey wouldn't send us out with a bum rod." Vinnie says, his voice muffled as he stretches inside the side hatch to get at the vacuum casing.

"Yeah, right," Lenny snirks. "And he wouldn't— holy hannah!" There's a guy laying on the sidewalk, knocked half senseless, alongside the rig, a lady's purse laying a few feet away from him as another guy comes pelting down the street towards him. "Jeebus, Vinnie, I think we ran over a mugger…"

*

The last of the thugs still on his feet swings a chain at the glowing lupine form standing over his comrades. The chain wraps around the… thing's left arm. Ooops. Yank, whump. That glowing light is remarkably solid. The impact is enough to crack bone, certainly enough to put the man down, inhumanly tough mutant or no. The man slumps to the ground with the other three.

"Switch off." The power field fades as Jericho casts about. "Oh right. Thing fell off the roof. You three… er, four, just extended my night." He mutters as he walks over to the edge. "Eagle out." Wings of amber light sprout from his shoulders as he steps off, slowing his descent to the ground enough to make his landing mere hard and not bone breaking. "Okay. There's one thug." He says eyeing the prone form of the thug he knocked down. "And where is." He glances about and sees the street sweeper. "Eff my life…"

*

Twisting around as the street sweeper comes to a slow, stuttering halt, the paper in Hawkeye's hand goes ignored for a moment. Not his jurisdiction, really. Not a cop. Don't care.. but a canister with a hazmat warning sticker on it? Hazmat team… still not his jurisdiction.

Further down the street, there's a gang of youths, so not like the little band of allies that had just departed, and they've got some muscular dogs straining at the leash. Long healed battle-scars dot the short fur on some of them, and it looks as if they really are up to no good- aside from the stereotyping.

In a 'huh' moment, Barton begins to walk towards the gang, holding up the paper like a shield, "You guys seen this dog?"

One 'tough' begins to laugh, another follows suit. "Man.. that thing didn't last 3 minutes…"

*

Oh, and there's apparently some goon getting knocked out not too far away, either. "Anyone you know?"

"Why would I keep company with that caliber of idiot?"

The lone figure moves next, holding up a case that happens to be full of cash. The whole thing's so utterly cliche, but it's a classic for a reason. "I assume we don't have to stand out here and count it?"

"Nah, you know what happens if you try to sell us short."

Money is exchanged. ..For a blue colored syringe? As it comes into the hand of the lone figure they hold it up to the dim glow of a distant streetlight, swirling about the fluid within.

"Sure don't look like much, right?" another teases as the case full of money is destined for the still open trunk."

"And it takes effect immediately?"

"Or damn near it. Just hit a mutie with it and it'll do the rest."

"Thank you."

*

Paul slows to a halt as he comes to stand by the mugger then glances up at the rooftops. What the hell was that? Pause. And what the hell is tha… "You." he says as Aspect lands on the sidewalk. "Is SHIELD following me?" Twice now he's run into Aspect in Gotham, completely out of the blue. The first time with Agent May. The second time… He looks around for a SHIELD agent and frowns when his expectations are met. Agent Barton. "Ok, why is SHIELD following me?"

*

"We did no—owwch!" Vinnie clunks his head on the hatch as he pulls out at Lenny's words. Rubbing his head with a hand, he lets out a string of expletives. "We didn't hit no one."

"But, there's a guy here-" Lenny stops short as Paul's steps slow and stop. He takes a breath, only to expel it in a rush when the guy with the glowing eagle wings lands on the sidewalk. "SHIELD? Huh? Wha-?" Wow. This is way above his paygrade. "Uh… Vinnie… y'wanna hurry maybe? The crazies is coming out."

Vinnie snirks, his swarthy head popping around the side of the truck, hand still on the back of his head where he knocked. "Fer chrissakes, Lenny, quit yer bellyachin' an… Wow." He stares round-eyed at the eagle thing too. "See? I told you Batman was real!"

*

Jericho turns at Paul's voice. "Detective Manning?" He frowns. "Um… I'm not sure. Why is SHIELD following you? Clean living?" Let the snark begin. "Switch off." He starts to walk toward the street, looking for the canister, though it's not immediately clear why. "What're you doing here in Gotham?" Is he tense? Yes, yes he is tense. As he makes it onto the street he sees Hawkeye. "Okay, what are the *two* of you doing in Gotham? Mole Man hit here too?" That was, indeed, the last time Jericho saw the one called the 'buff archer guy.'

*

"He.. what?"

Hawkeye's fist closes around the poster as he steps into one of the tough's 'personal space'. "That was some kid's dog…" as if anyone in that group would really care?

Catching the running commentary about SHIELD, Barton begins to turn around to give the other men his attention, but not before a feinted attack comes in. Leg sweep, palm to the face, and the tough goes down, blood streaming from his nose.

"I think he broke my nose!" is yelled.

"What the f—?!"

Others begin to spring into action, and the dogs now begin to bark, and loudly.

"What?" Mole Man.. oh.. oh hell. "No. Day off. You guys—"

Clint ducks as one of the gang makes a leap for him as another thinks that he's got surprise on his side, and the agent sweeps a leg, sending the young man down howling, "You broke my leg, yo! Not cool!"

*

"C'mon, it's getting a little busy out here for my tastes."

"Won't you gentlemen stay for a while? We're only getting started."

With the convenient distraction now taking place nearby the first shadowy figure in the parking lot goes down to an elbow across the head. By the time the second has a gun in hand, far from being leveled, a foot seemingly lashes out from nowhere and smacks it out of his hand, clattering across the street and spinning about before clunking against the curb where Lenny and Vinnie are working.

The third goes down as the lone figure flips through the air, a boot heel catching the guy in the jaw. His gun, dropping from numbed fingers, falls into the aggressor's hands right as the fourth and last man gets body-slammed into the sedan's open trunk. The case of money comes out right as he tries to reach out to his attacker. For his trouble the trunk slams closed on his hand, complete with an audible crunch of breaking bone atop of a mostly muffled howl.

*

Mole Man? What? Paul wasn't involved in that though he heard of it, of course. The entire city did. Probably the world. "Don't pretend you don't know why I'm here." He's certain SHIELD has a full file on him every since the mission Cap recruited him for. The fight with the thugs draw his attention and he says "Why don't you go help your handler." Not that Hawkeye looks like he really needs the help. He's just not feeling inclined to do so himself, all things considered. But then a gun slides across the street and hits the curb by his feet. The sight of the gun immediately causes him to draw his own and the howl gives him a location. "Get down!" One can assume that's directed to the street cleaners. Sprinting across the street, he stays close to the wall as he makes his way toward the parking lot.

*

"That ain't Batman!" Lenny says, backhanding at Vinnie — though the blow doesn't at all connect, there being the full width of the rig between them. "Ow!" he says as his knuckles hit a ridge on the grill.

Then, the fight breaks out down the street… and across the street in the parking lot. And there's a gun that comes skittering across the asphalt to slide past Vinnie's feet. His brown eyes grow wide and he bends to pick it up, even as the detective is telling them to get down. Paul's sprint, causes Vinnie to bumble back, startled by the movement in the periphery of his vision.

"Closethehatchclosethehatchclosethehatch!" Lenny yelps, scuttling around to the driver's side of the rig. "Forget the vacuum tube! We'll get whatever it was out later!"

Responding to the panic in his partner's voice, Vinnie backpedals, leaving the gun in the gutter. He bumbles past his open door to the open hatch and starts picking up tools, tossing them into the box. He yanks the box up, to put it into its compartment, the vacuum hatch still open. The latch on the tool box gives way and tools go scattering all over the street. "Aw, hell…"

*

"I actually don't know why you're here, Detective. Not on business I assume or your partn-" Jericho doesn't hear the gun clatter over the noise of fighting. He does see Paul go for his gun though and immediately assumes the worst. He's a bit paranoid like that and he knows for an absolute fact that getting run in by the NYPD means getting killed shortly thereafter. So he turns and bolts. He'll have to find that canister later. "Panther." He snaps. Red circuit traces glow on him and his fingers and boots spout small, cat-like digital claws. He leaps a good six feet up, snagging a wall with the claws before kicking off that, over the tuck, and bolting toward the a knot of fighting men across the street.

*

'Don't pretend..' Whu?

It's not all registering for Clint as he takes on one tough, two.. and send them down in turn. The dogs are barking, but it seems as if the gang's losing just a little of their nerve. Particularly now that he's been outed as a SHIELD agent.

"Fuck this shit.." one proclaims and drags his dog back with him as he backs up, ready to beat feet out of the area. One by one? The guy on the ground is screaming still, but now (mostly) unintelligible things peppering it with some rather colourful language.

It's when the gun skitters then, and Paul's got his gun out and at the ready, barking orders quickly towards the pedestrians and the hapless street-sweepers.

"Day… off…" is mumbled as his own always carried piece comes from his holster, safety on and finger -off- the trigger.

Aaaand… panther? What the hell? In Gotham? Really.. day off.. and those that he'd rather deal with (warped, isn't it?) are getting the hell out, leaving him with .. all that that lies before.

*

Bloody Hell. There always has to be -one- that puts themselves in a position to be a screamer before the work is complete. With the 'get down!' yelled and someone now rushing straight for the lone figure in the lot, the only one of five left standing, they suddenly whip about on a heel and send another pistol flying, this time through the air and straight for Paul's face. That there's something of a digital -panther- now rushing in will just have to be avoided for the moment.

Then they go and one-up themselves. The trunk lid on the single, and notably sportier car, isn't closed so much as stepped on, the latch catching as the figure slides across the roof, spins about, then ducks in through the open driver's side window to land neat as can be behind the wheel, complete with the case full of cash.

Whoever that person is, they're probably either not human or are experts at martial arts or something to move with that sort of grace. A sweep of the legs to change their momentum, a twist of the shoulders that would make a contortionist proud…

None of it changes the fact that they still have to start their car.

*

Paul dives forward into a shoulder roll to avoid the gun and comes up into a crouch. Since everyone seems to be down already, he takes careful aim at a tire and fires off a single shot. Meanwhile, the one who started all this - or part of all this - groans where he lays on the sidewalk. The mugger reaches up to touch his head where the canister struck and his hand comes away bloody. He blinks several times as he looks at his fingers, trying to figure out what happened then painfully levers himself back to his feet. Almost falling over, he catches himself against the side of the street cleaner leaving behind several bloody fingerprints. Matching ones are on the sidewalk where he pushed himself up and both sets have begun to eat into the metal and cement. Not even noticing the purse he stole, he staggers off.

*

Lenny starts up the motor of the sweeper, and the vacuum clunking resumes for several moments, while Vinnie scrambles to try to pick up the tools. The digital panther leaps past the Italian and he yelps, "Whaugh! NottheBatman! NottheBatman!" His fingers scrabble on the tools, throwing them into the tool box without regard to how they fit.

"Hurry up!" Lenny yells, blue eyes wide as he sees the crazy action across the street. "Hurryhurryhurry!" He eventually scrambles out of the cab and around the back, all the way around to where Vinnie grabs at tools, so he can lock down the vacuum hatch with the odd canister trapped within.

*

Jericho twists to avoid what he thinks is a shot at him, bowls through what used to be a fight before someone ran out of bubblegum and winds up in a crouch on the top of the a car that… people just dove into. He has to use his claws to stop himself, winding starting past the shady businessman with the steel case full of anti-mutant yuck and toward Paul and Hawk and the street sweeper. "I soooooo hate Gotham." He contemplates taking to the sky again. Where's that damn case now…

*

Barton isn't far behind the youths swearing up and down, left and right.. and it's a game of 'spot the priority'. What is one for him isn't one for Manning, as far as he knows, still one of NYPDs 'finest'.. and there is the damned metallica panther? The dog fighters.. and the street sweepers.

With a rather put-upon sigh, the de-arrowed archer begins a slow jog towards where Manning is— before he stops to see the hint of smoke that burns as metal and cement begin to burn. (There's a reason why he's called 'Hawkeye'..)

Supes..

*

A shot tire?! Well now, that's just inconvenient. It's also not going to be enough to stop the person as they try to make their escape, the car firing up then chirping away as traction control struggles to keep up with one wheel being vastly out of commission. There's only one person left standing from that confrontation, one that's hell-bent on getting out of there.

Except that now there's something riding on the roof. Three guesses which one got there first!

That roof-rider's going to be in for a big surprise. Or rather, five long and skinny ones. There's a sound like a fork being jammed through the side of a steel can as five slender, needle-like barbs that sure appear to be made of -metal- pierce upward a good five inches, attempting to skewer the unwanted passenger. While flooring it back out into the streets. Seems that person can do some multi-tasking, too.

Heck, that driver just took out four shady, and armed, thugs without taking a single shot. Maybe they aren't all that bad! This is Gotham, after all.

*

One shot at a stationary target is one thing. Firing again on a public street at a moving target when he's not being fired at will get him yelled at. Especially since he's way out of his jurisdiction. As the car peels out with an Aspect on the roof, Paul stands up and reholsters his gun. "I really hate Gotham." he sighs.

*

Lenny slams the hatch close and then turns around to help Vinnie put the tools in the truck. "We gotta get outta here, man."
"Yeahyeahyeah, tellmesomethin'Idunno. Getinthecab!"

Lenny stumbles around the passenger door as Vinnie tries to climb up onto the bench seat. He half closes the door and Vinnie yelps as his foot's caught in the closure. "Yeagh! Lenny!"

"Sorry, man, sorry!"

The foot gets yanked in, the door gets closed, and Lenny goes running around to the passenger side, while the vacuum box clunks on.

*

Jericho yelps in shock and jumps again, off the car. Not worth getting skewered over. Or falling off a car and getting run over. He stands for a moment, watching across the street, the cop, the agent, the street sweepers and… the canister. Which he'd really like back because he's got the sneaking suspicion it's important. Unless… He eyes Manning again more carefully this time. "Not going to shoot me, then?"

*

Barton kneels down where the blood evidence has burned away the cement (metal, well.. that's on its way to going..) before twisting around to yell at the pair in the cab, "Hey, where's your yard?!" (He has to yell to make himself heard over the clanging and banging of the vacuum. For good measure, he commits the vehicle number to memory; he'll find it later.

Now, however, the phone is whipped out and Barton takes a picture of the metal before it's gone, and of the ground. Checking the gallery to be sure all was right, he sends the pics up the chain (and into his own 'box'.) for later eval.

The car… well.. that gets a glance. Manning's got that one.

*

There's one way to get rid of unwanted passengers. The needle-like talons disappear as the driver fights with a somewhat unstable vehicle, getting away with the money they had brought and the one blue syringe full of anti-mutant ..stuff. The biohazard canister they had nothing to do with. This time.

Should someone be looking at the escaping car and also be in possession of acute eyesight they may notice that there's a glint of glowing yellow eyes glancing back their way through the rear-view mirror, there and gone like a streetlight mirage.

*

"Why would I shoot you?" Paul asks though he's watching the car speed - more or less - away and not Aspect. "Did you do something that needs shooting?" Not waiting for an answer, he turns and walks back across the street, giving Clint a wary look as he bends to pick up the purse. That's all he wanted. He got so much more. "What the hell?" Bloody fingerprints etched into smoking concrete.

*

Lenny climbs into the cab, not even registering the SHIELD agent's voice. Vinnie is pounding on the dash, yelling, "Gogogogogogo!"

"I'm going! I'm going!" Lenny thumbs the ignition and the engine whines. The brake grinds. He thunks it off and guns the gas again. The rig lurches forward, brooms spinning. The gun on the street is swept up into the vacuum chamber with the canister and a new cacophony of thunks and bangs and clatter. The rig lurches forward… and it might actually reach a whole 25 mph as it rumbles along the street, whining and clunking the whole way.

*

Jericho walks forward as the rig lurches away, eyeing both Manning and Hawkeye as he sighs. "You know I'm going to have to chase that damn thing down now." He doesn't make a move yet to do so, now that he sees he's not being chased. "So what exactly in the hell are you two doing here? And who the hell was that guy who almost skewered me… Through a car roof?"

*

"Yeah.. what the hell." Now, Clint's not about to escalate the crime. He's got no idea what went down, and he gesture's towards the purse. "Doesn't match your shoes," is given in a deadpan. "Little fancy for the town, isn't it?"

When Jericho joins them, brows rise- particularly when challenged. "What? I'm walking down the damned street." Beat. "Day. Off." Shaking his head, Barton chuffs a sigh and shrugs after- "No clue. Did you get the plate?"

*

Meanwhile, somewhere else in the city…

Mystique needs to find herself a new car.

*

"It's not mine." Paul tells Hawkeye evenly. "I never carry a clutch." To Aspect, he notes "I'm visiting someone." His tone's dubious as if he still doesn't believe they don't already know that. "You two aren't together? Operative, handler? In any case, you'll want to stop that street cleaner. It's getting away with evidence. And there's another gun on the ground across the street you'll want to bag." He's been keeping an eye on it in case a Gothamite is inclined to take it. Which is a near certainty.

*

Lenny's hands are white on the steering wheel. Vinnie keeps looking back over his shoulder, though there are no signs of pursuit. "Gun it, Lenny! Gun it! We gotta get outta here 'fore someone comes after us!"

"I'm goin' as fast as I can!" Lenny protests, slapping at him repeatedly with one hand to keep him from punching him in the arm again. That's what started this whole mess. "This ain't a nascar, y'know!"

And, really… 25 mph for this decrepit old model is really booking it.

*

"Six Two One Echo Tango Eight Whiskey." The hacker answers Hawkeye. "Though I don't know how far that'll get you. And no, detective I don't work for SHIELD. Mostly, I try to avoid getting arrested by them. Or by the NYPD. Or the GCPD. You get the idea. I'm just here on business." He sighs after the departing truck. "Which I should really finish before someone decides to take a chunk out of me like the last time I was here." Slade made quite an impression. "If you gentlemen don't mind then." Aspect turns and sprouts wings again, taking to the rooftops. He'll have to tail the damn truck until it stops again and he's got a chance to get what he wants. "Give my regards to Agent May." He calls back to Manning and Hawkeye.

*

"Got pictures of it. And what happened? Crime? Turn it in to the SRD."

Suddenly, it seems that Manning's sprouted a couple more heads in the few moments they've been standing there. "What? Handler?" Twisting around, Barton's staring at Aspect and thumbs in his direction, "Him? What the hell are you talking about?" No.. just.. no.

Though with the plates, Clint shrugs, "Worth a try to track things. Never know. People can be pretty stup— what the—"

Okay, maybe Aspect is the one who would be more likely to sprout those heads, and with the parting comment? "Agent May?" Okay, she'll have things to answer for…

*

"Right. He doesn't work for SHIELD." Paul just shakes his head and hefts the clutch. "I'm going to go return this to its owner. If I'm not mistaken, a friend of the ones you beat up earlier is eyeing the gun over there. You should probably make sure he doesn't get it. Good evening, agent Barton." Saluting the SHIELD agent with the clutch, he turns and jogs off. "And next week, Chinese food." he calls without turning.


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