My Agent is Trying to Kill Me

Summary:
July 29, 2014: Wonder Man is told the unfortunate truth about his Agent situation…

Harlem - New York City

A quiet neighborhood with less traffic, featuring a small, clean neighborhood bar where people come to socialize more than to get drunk.


Characters

NPCs

  • Paste Pot Pete
  • Porcupine

Mood Music:
[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=StTqXEQ2l-Y]


Jericho Trent has had a busy few days. But a promise is a promise and he'd promised Simon he'd look into his agent and CPA. And… whoo boy. Yeah. Simon's intuition had been correct. The CPA was speculating with his money and Murray, the agent, has been out and out embezzling. The charges are covered, but not well. They don't match up in location to Simon's known whereabouts. Seriously. The guy's a super, but he can't be in two places at once. Across the country.

Anyway the upshot is that Simon isn't broke, but his two 'associates' have indeed robbed him to the tune of a few million over the course of things. Pretty easily provable by looking at the financials. There were other things. Charges that went to… some pretty shady people. Recently. Might have something to do with some gangland attacks, possibly.

That in mind Jeri called up Simon to arrange a meet. The location for this one is at a relatively nice bar in Harlem, overlooking one of the smaller parks that get ignored in a city that has a Central Park.

~

Cricket isn't sure if she is a drinker, but she's reached to point in her recovery where she just wants to experience things and decides if she likes it now. And so, the young woman sits at the bar in her summer dress looking at the park as she sips lightly at her glass of Chablis. One leg crossed over the other, she bobs her foot up and down, deep in thought.

~

Simon's kind of nervous about this. If Murray is indeed behind these attacks, well, he's going to have to go back to LA, and he's going to have to hire a lawyer, a GOOD one, and do some really unpleasant things. And then he'll need to find a real agent who's willing to deal with Mickey Baye's ridiculous games. Not to mention someone with good contacts otherwise. And that's going to keep him out of New York for a few weeks at least… which sucks.

He goes into the bar, sunglasses at night equipped, and looks for Jericho.

~

There's a very, very, nondescript, boring man about three seats down from the pleasant looking, girl next door cute woman in the summer dress. He's not, if you look at him closely, actually unattractive. Not super attractive either. What he is, though is emoting like a part of the background. Most people's gazes just slide over him. This is the guy who waves Simon over.

"Hey there. You okay? You're not looking so hot." Jericho murmurs, just barely able to be heard above the buzz of the crowd.

~

Watching the sun set, Cricket is mostly in her own thoughts. She glances over at the man a few seats down from her, but doesn't butt in. It's not her place. It's not like she knows either of them. It must be how close she is to the man close to her because she looks over to see who he is talking to. a quick glance to see who it is and then back to watching the sunset.

~

Simon looks at the nondescript guy and shrugs, easily hearing the voice and recognizing it as Aspect. He sits at the table in a barely controlled slump.

"Please tell me you have good news, or at least proof one way or the other," he says. "I've been avoiding being seen in public. It's bad for my inflated ego. How will I keep my picture on the front page of the trades if I'm not out there attention-whoring… I mean, glad-handing my fans."

~

"It's not good news, no, but I do have proof. I'm sorry Simon, but I'm afraid you were right. Both Murray and your CPA have been stealing from you…" He pulls out the documents to prove it, giving the actor a quick run down of how much, when and where.

"The worst part though, are these charges. All of these men here are associated with the LA gang or mafia scene. There's really no good reason to be giving them money and after what you told me about staged attacks, I have my suspicions."

~

A private detective? Hmmm. Cricket hadn't actually thought of that as an idea. Someone who makes a living finding things would be much better then she is at it. What if she hired a private detective? Like that guy there. She regards Jericho more steadily now.

~

Simon does that 'sigh' one does when one learns that a trusted friend has been prostituting one's dog instead of taking the poor beast out for walkies. He closes his eyes, and doesn't move, for a good thirty seconds. When he opens them again, they're leaking red effulgence so bright that the glasses don't hide it any more. He slips the documents into their envelope and puts them in the inside pocket of his jacket.

"I'll fly to LA myself," he says, "so if they're watching the airports, they won't get any warning. I need to find a decent lawyer there. No idea who's decent now."

~

Of course, now's the time that Murray's most recent attempt at getting publicity comes to fruition.

Everyone knows about LexList, the universal 'for sale' bulletin board that was bought up by Lex Luthor four years ago. What most people don't know is that there is a job-offer board for 'questionable' jobs, open to mercenaries and folks who don't necessarily care about the law. It's not officially a part of LexList, but it is hosted by them, somehow. And Murray has put up $125K to embarrass Wonder Man in public, with videos.

The job notes, 'do not kill civvies, do not kill Williams, payment in escrow at escrow.vil/91920141-LXB on delivery of video to U-Tube.

Alexander Gentry is in the bar, along with his friend Peter Petruski. The two are looking at the listing, even now. Don't kill civvies. Maybe.

Petruski nods to the other man, and casually leaves, dropping some money on the table for his bill. Gentry goes into the bathroom.

A few minutes later, there's a THUMP-CRUNCH noise from the bathroom, and a man in a strange looking suit of armor covered in what looks like hundreds of short, sharp bamboo tubes1, fights his way out of the men's room and stomps out into the bar proper.

"Wonder Man! I'm callin' you out!" he declares, voice echoing weirdly through his armor.

~

"Talk to Matt Murdoch before you go." Jericho's heard the name several times around the 'net. "I don't know if he's licensed in California but he can probably sugges-" There's a crunch and a pause and…

"The hell is this?" Jeri looks over to Simon. "When did you piss of Captain Rainforest here?"

Jericho leans back from the bar. He's armed, as often he is, but Simon's no slouch.

~

Cricket looks over her shoulder at the sound of crashing and then just simply stares. She looks to her glass of wine and wonders if perhaps she really can't hold her alcohol because this can't possibly be real.

~

Simon puts his glasses down on the table, and stands.

"You really don't want to do this here," he says, in a disturbingly calm voice. "For one thing, this is a nice place where people go to relax. You want to fight, let's go out into the street. But the other thing, I'm really pissed off right now, and I might have a hard time not breaking you and taking your goofy armor apart and feeding it to you."

He nods toward the door, and the Porcupine — yes, he even has a vil-name — looks through his weird green mask, and says "Oh no. You go first. I insist."

A green mist begins drifting from the tips of several of those bamboo spines on his armor, and people near them, as soon as they inhale, start vomiting. Ipecac gas. Vile.

~

Jericho's eyes cut over to Simon. Silently asking if he wants him to get invo- Oh… gas. No that's not happening. "Get to the street." Jericho says flatly, leaning over to grap Cricket by the wrist.

"Come on miss, you're not gonna want to be here in a moment."

He's not sure what he's gonna do yet, but if Simon needs backup… these guys are starting to piss him off already.

~

Cricket stands up when she sees the vile gas. She tries to back away, not wanting to breath it in if it's going to cause that. This has officially become real and her rich girl sensibilities tell her to get the hell out. Vomiting. Yuck! Her hand twists as her wrist is grabbed, rotating around to grab his own and pinching at a pressure point. She then quickly lets go.

"Oh! So sorry. Yes, yes. We need to get out of here."

~

The Man of Ions moves to the door, hoping that he can get the nauseating menace out of the place before everyone loses their beer like a bunch of freshmen at their first kegger. The waitress and bartender begin vomiting, and Simon suddenly moves, zipping over to where the Porcupine is standing, grabbing two of the gas-emitting spines and squeezing them shut, then dragging the villain back out the door into the street; he doesn't break the sound barrier, but he moves faster than anyone his size should be able to move.

Once on the street, currently devoid of traffic, Simon shoves the Porcupine back, and says, "Let's dance, captain panda-food."

The Porcupine growls, "PORCUPINE! This is not bamboo, this is armor and weapon in one!"

To prove it, a blast of vomit-gas shoots from the other two tubes at Simon, who shakes his head, tapping his chest, and mouths, 'I'm not breathing, idiot.'

~

"Ow!" Jericho jerks his hand back. "Sorry. We do need to move." There's a fight brewing outside and if Simon doesn't wrap it up in fairly short order, Jericho's going to intervene. And this young lady doesn't deserve to be caught out when it happens. "Find some cover, 'okay?"

The young woman nods to Jericho when he tells her to look for cover. With the two men now outside on the street, it does seem being inside is the best thing, except for that gas. So, she grabs her purse and sunglasses and then heads out of the bar, keeping close to the wall as she tries to make her escape.

~

As the young woman makes her escape, a mere two doors down the street, she is shoved forward by a man dressed in… what looks like a giant purple art-smock and a floppy beret that would have made Salvador Dali a happy artiste2. The man doing the shoving is carrying a big bucket that looks like it's full of paste, and a sort of … gun? … that has a hose reaching into the bucket.

"Don't block the camera," the man snarls. And yes, there's a small digital camera glued to the side of the building, pointed at the ongoing battle.

As Simon makes rude faces at Porcupine, the man with the pot of paste squirts some at Simon's feet, and it hits!

"YES!" Porcupine yells. He presses his belt and two of the tubes raise, firing small missiles at Simon… the explosions shred his jacket off him and tear big holes in his black tee-shirt. Fortunately, they don't damage the pants, or this would be going on XX-Tube instead of U-Tube.

~

"Micro Missiles? Oh lord. And I thought my house guests were rude." Jericho produces a gun and… hey! Where did that glue come from. The weapon snaps from Captain Rainforest to Mister Elmer and he opens up. "Simon! You've got a second down the street."

Oy. If this is Murray and his irritating CPA, Jericho is going to help Simon string them up by their toenails.

~

- Proximity Report: One man of average size at 6 o'clock of current location.
- Estimated threat to personal safety: Negligible.
- Recommended Line of Action: None to ensure safety of assumed identity.

The voice in her head is as much a shock to her as the voice behind her. Cricket turns to look at the artist and steps away from him. "What… what are you doing?"

~

"AWESOME!" Simon yells, and another flight of the missiles hits him, removing the rest of his tee-shirt. He tries to move forward, and … yes, he is in fact glued to the street. Cute. Pulling harder, tears his boot from his foot, and then the second one.

"YOU ARE GOING TO PAY FOR THOSE!" Simon yells again. Maybe his ears are ringing from the missiles exploding on him? Well, whatever, the Porcupine guy levels another four tubes in his direction, and with a chugga-chugga sound, they begin firing in sequence like a gatling gun, flechettes. They leave tiny red slices across Simon's skin where they hit, which immediately begin to bleed red-purple energy.

Paste Pot Pete — that's the refugee from the Dadaist School of Glue — says to the potential hostage, "We are going to humiliate that so-called Hero, and put the video on U-Tube. And when we do, we will be paid enough to get my actual weapons and my friend's second-generation battle-suit out of hock."

Well, that's a confession, of sorts. It's good to have goals.

~

It may be, at this point that Pete notices the gun aimed in his direction. Hopefully because where Jericho is concerned, bullet follows gun. Rapidly and loudly. Now is not the time for subtlety anyway. Though… when one considers that this is one of his most subtle options… well… that's possibly a little sad.

The barrage of micro missiles and… porcuipine quills? Cute. That gets Jeri's attention for a moment, but so long as Simon sees okay, he'll focus on getting Pete out of the picture.

~

Frowning, Cricket doesn't like the sounds of that.

"Humiliate him? Why would you do that?"

Since this reject from an art school seems to be in the mood to confess, why not let him? She does step away from him though, hoping he keeps his concentration on her and not the bullet that is flying towards him.

~

Pete is not a stupid villain; far from it, he's a gadgeteer par excellence, and a mere step away from the aforementioned potential hostage, now promoted to human shield — at least, that's his intention, as he grabs at her to put her between him and the hero, and luckily, the bullet speeds past him to murder a stop-sign.

Simon's not stuck. Porcupine notices this when he finds that those red eyes and a rather angry face are RIGHT IN HIS MASK, and he releases three smoke grenades from his leg-tubes, and a flash-bang from a chest-tube, preceded by a tiny 'eep' noise.

Simon jump-spins out of the way of the flashbang and slams an elbow down on Porcupine's armored head. Really, you'd think the guy didn't see the robot assassin in "Robonator Vs. Thorminator" try the same move. And get the same response?

Maybe he's not a Syphii Channel watcher, though.

"For money, I just told you," Paste Pot Pete replies, trying to tighten his grip on the woman's wrist.

~

"Well… that's kind of problematic." Jericho murmurs. Guy's got a human shield. Fine. We'll do this the old fashioned way. Jericho's traces flush amber and he sprouts wings, crouching and then leaping with a powerful flap into the sky. He's going to drop right down on the jerk, if he can. And doesn't get glued… that'd be bad.

~

Gasping as she is suddenly grabbed and made a hostage in the midst of gunfire, Cricket starts hearing the voices in her head again.

- Threat Assessment: Re-evaluating. Assumed identity at risk of being revealed
- Chosen Line of Action: Based on assailants height and body weight, with right hand break enemy's left thumb, use hip as fulcrum, throw enemy into line of fire. Maintain cover by screaming and cowering.

Cricket moves so fast that she barely had time to finish the thought. All she is aware of is cowering by the building and screaming.

~

Oh, of course he'll get glued… well, he would if the human shield hadn't just done a judo-twist and broken Pete's thumb OMIGHOD THAT HURTS! and sent him, shrieking like a baby, into the air. Instead, the glue pot flies through the air with him and the gun fires randomly, spraying a line of glue through the sky in the path that the winged warrior is likely to traverse. This is an incredible glue, tenacious and requiring a special solvent to dissolve, and strong enough to, well, glue Wonder Man's feet to the ground. But it has one small flaw, as revealed when Pete tried to glue the Fantastic Four together — it doesn't stick to energy fields.

Meanwhile, the Porcupine has slumped to the ground. He's not dead, but his head is ringing like a prizefighter. Simon is taking his suit apart, with prejudice.

~

Jericho lands, awkwardly. It's a good thing that it didn't tick to his wings. It did stick to his chest and right arm, though. Ick. Fortunately he's a smart cookie. It takes a moment for him to ripple an energy field over him to detatch the damn stuff. By that point Glue Pot Pete may well have recovered enough to make an exit. If not, he's getting shot at some more. The difference this time is that Jericho's just trying to put holes in his hose and bucket. He can deal with the glue! Jericho's gonna deal with the hostage.

"Sorry miss." He says as he grips her arm again and flap-jumps back to the bar-front and better cover.

~

Cricket clings to the man that is carrying her away, sobbing. She doesn't even know why. She is going mad, surely. Who is that voice in her head? And how is she doing all the things she is doing?

- Discovered: Cybernetic Intelligence, encapsulated in the meat body of current aid.
- Chosen Line of Action: Learn more of entity to learn more of cybernetic intelligence.

Cricket smiles at Jericho as he gets her to safety. "Thank you."

~

The suit is in pieces, Porcupine is in My Little Pony boxers and an athletic tee. Pete's bucket only LOOKS like a bucket, but that doesn't protect it from bullets. OK, it's actually well enough armored to stop most bullets, but the hose is a weak spot that no cop would aim for. Except Aspect, apparently. The glue goes out where it isn't wanted, and Pete's pasted to the wall just below his cell-phone, which has been recording the whole thing, including the Glowing-Winged Hero. The jolt of Pete's crash into the wall causes it to pop out of 'record' mode and into 'upload' … it prepares to upload its report to U-Tube.

Simon walks over to his boots and pulls a wallet out of one, and a phone out of the other, and then picks up his shredded jacket. Looks like he'll need a new copy of those documents.

~

Jericho shuts his traces off and his wings flicker out of existence.

"You're welcome. Stay down. Cops won't be far I imagine," he says to the former hostage and then stands and walks over to Simon.

"Murray?" he says in a quiet tone. Since one of them announced their names in his hearing it shouldn't be too hard to figure out.

"Ugh, you need clothes again, don't you. Someone should really design you something that doesn't shred."

"Do you remember that pretzel stand a few days ago? Meet me over there in an hour. I'll bring a change of clothes and some fresh documents for you."

~

Cricket rises to her feet.

"Um…. excuse me? They were filming it. Trying to humiliate you, Sir." She points to the phone glued to the wall. "They were getting paid to publically humiliate you. Post it to U-tube."

She takes a deep breath, trying to calm and center herself after the excitement.

~

"The he- Oh hell no!" Jericho intecepts the upload and yanks it all into his buffer. Then he hacks the phone and changes all of the ringtones to 'The Song That Never Ends' out of spite and makes all of the contact list come up in chinese. Then… after he's done being an imp, he tracks the IP address. Where was it going, he wonders, specifically.

~

To U-Tube, actually, with a particular name. The browser history does have an interesting website cached, though. Something on LexList. It lists the name that's supposed to be used. The sound of police sirens approaches, though; time for spooks to disappear. Porcupine is also trying to disappear, but he doesn't get far before Simon picks him up and holds him overhead one-handed.

"Since you won't keep your hands up," he says, "I will."

Pete desperately tries to trigger his emergency solvent bomb. Wriggle? Nope. Try harder. Wiggle wiggle. Dammit.

~

Cricket brushes her dress down, making herself presentable. She takes a deep breath. She adjusts her hair and then notices that the nasty little glue man is trying to wriggle free.

"Please excuse me," she says to the two heroic men and walks over to Pete to kick him squarely between his legs.

"That is for ruining my new dress, cretin."

Jericho makes a face.

"Cops. Not my biggest fans. Knowing my luck I'll wind up in an interrogation room with Manning."

He nods to Cricket.

"Thanks for the warning miss. And I hope you're okay. Sorry I can't stick around but the cops and Simon'll take care of you. Simon, see you in an hour."

Jericho sprouts wings again. This is how you make an exit fast. In just a few moments he's out of sight.

~

That kick triggers the emergency solvent bomb! Painfully! A cloud of pink gas erupts from Pete's collar and around his pants, and the gas dissolves the paste, allowing Pete, and his phone, to hit the ground.

Simon is there when the police arrive, with Pete in his other hand. There are perhaps ten minutes of reporting, twenty minutes of explaining, two minutes to get the corpses of Simon's boots unstuck from the road, and the pair of perfidious perpetrators is preparing for a prolonged period in penitentiary!

And, then, Simon takes to the air, flying off to a mysterious pretzel vendor, with a "Thanks, sorry for the hassle," to the young woman.


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