Tears from the Aethyr, Part 1

August 14, 2014: Sara Pezzini investigates a brutal murder in Chinatown that points to a very concerning perp.

Chinatown NYC

One of the major enclaves within the city proper, Chinatown boasts a
population near 100,000 people. Here is where, historically, the Chinese
immigrants came in to land and created a small piece of home in their new
land. The streets are always busy, and the air at most times is filled with a
bewildering mix of Cantonese and Mandarin, and all the lesser dialects that
are only found in China. The commercial areas within Chinatown are a riot of
colors and traditional decorations, particularly on festival days like the
New Year. Once again, streets are closed for such a grand party.



  • None

Mood Music:

Note: Superman ran this scene but is only hinted at in the context.

An unseasonably cold rain pelts down on New York at night. Homicide never sleeps, and either does Sara Pezzini seemingly. Not long after ending a shift she's called back in to the Li Zhang restaurant down in China Town.

According to the officers on scene, some lady just brained a waiter with laserbolts from her eyes and threw a cook through a wall. By the time Sara gets there the scene is taped off and, as requested by every Detective ever, the crime scene has not been contaminated. Three cheers.

You can still smell the food from the evening rush; workers didn't even bother to turn off the burners as they fled along with diners in what must have been a chaotic scene.

Sara hardly even keeps track of when she's actually supposed to work anymore. People call, she shows up. And this time, it's in Chinatown. Well, at least she can pick up some Chinese to eat on the way home. If she can get the smell of the burnt stuff here out of her nose. She moves a little stiffly as she steps inside the restaurant, looking first for any sort of security cameras. "Hey, Jim," she nods to the uniform on duty. "Putting in the extra hours, too, huh?"

"You bet, Pez. Hey, nice work on that Fisk thing. Roosevelt said you guys were coming in from another angle. Glad you're partner's not dead." Jim Nolan nods over to the dead body in the middle of the dining area. "Burned to a crisp above the neck. A witness we caught up with said it was almost immediate. Just wham bam, and then he was on the floor, face still smokin."

"Yeah, me too," Sara smiles ruefully back at the uniform as she ducks under the tape, wincing slightly at the movement. "Unfortunately, not even the first time this week I've seen something like this. Laser beams out of the eyes, huh? Funny. Had a sort of similar thing just the other night." Her brows furrow as she walks around the restaurant, taking in the scene. "Witnesses say there was any sort of confrontation to begin with? Build at all?"

"Yeah, they say the perp didn't want peanuts in her dish. Oversight, I guess." Nolan walks her over by the counter where it's clear that some was literally thrown through a wall. "Poor cook woulda lived too," he says motioning towards the other body which is visible through the gap in the swinging door on the inside of the kitchen. "But he landed on a piece of broken wood. Went right through his heart."

"Hell of an allergic reaction," Sara snorts, grimacing at the sight of the body. "Sounds like a mutant to me. Hope it's not another case of the Smooth withdrawals. Last one had some sort of energy-related ability, too." She steps back from the kitchen, eyeing the distance between the scene of the confrontation and the dead cook. "She get away, or someone manage to bring her in?"

"Fled. Superspeed. The kicker? We got it all on film. Security camera," Nolan nods up to the camera. "You wanna check the carcasses or you wanna watch the vid?"

"Speed and laser eyes?" Sara asks, brows rising in surprise. "That's…not promising." She sighs, pushing a hand through her hair as she nods. "Yeah, let's get a look at the tape. At least if I inevitably run into the bitch in a dark alley I'll know what I'm up against, right?"

"I'm sure you could take her Pezzini. You're a New Yorker. This chick? I dunno, man, she looks like she's from another world." Nolan takes Pezzini to the back room and shows her the grainy black and white video tape. The video isn't clear enough for a positive ID, but it may be able to be sent in for facial recognition. In any event, what is clear is that a woman in a black bodysuit straight out of a sci-fi convention moves stoically to her seat and sets herself down in an elegant manner. Everything about her seems overly professional or formulaic. She makes an order, sets her menu down, and stares off into space with her hands upon the table. When the waiter returns with her drink, she barely even acknowledges him. It's only after he returns with her food that she looks towards him angrily, stands in a blur of speed. Pulls him up over her head and incinerates his face. She moves over towards the counter, where a cook runs out from the back. She lifts him as though she's lifting a peanut and almost flicks him through the wall, before disappearing in a flash.

Sara leans against the desk as she watches the video, frowning quietly to herself. "Yeah," she murmurs to Jim as she watches the woman enter. "Definitely has that upstate look to her." Her lips purse as she watches the rest, arms crossing over her chest. "Well, doesn't get much clearer than that, does it? So the next trick gets to be tracing her. Left without paying, I'm sure," she says, stepping away from the back room to move toward the table. "Probably didn't come with a purse or credit cards."

Nolan shakes his head, "Not according to the video, no. I can make it a point to go back and question the witnesses about whether she had a purse or anything, but no, she never paid."

"She doesn't seem like the sort of woman who carries a purse," Sara shakes her head as she crouches near the table, searching for anything unusual. "Not even the penthouse wives come down to Chinatown and act like that, Jim. They just don't come down to Chinatown. Which begs the question of why this woman was out here. The whole speed thing makes it hard to tell if she stopped to grab anything else in here while everyone was panicking over the whole blasting someone's head off."

Nolan shrugs his shoulders, "That's why you get paid the big bucks, Pezzini. No idea. But I do know that no one reported anything missing, and one of the managers said that no money seemed to be taken from the till. To us it just sounded like this lady really, really didn't like peanuts." He rewinds it again, and suddenly a glint of light that Sara didn't see in the moving photograph before: A crest on the black suit. It looks faintly similar to a hero with similar powers, and a very dissimilar MO.

"Whoa, hold that." Sara moves back to the monitor, flipping frame by frame through the scene and pausing where she can get a better look at the crest. "Big bucks, my ass," she mutters. "No way in hell I get paid big enough bucks to deal with that." She scrubs a hand over her face, staring at the monitor. "Shit."

Nolan peers, "What is that?" The bickering over the pay comes to a stand still as Nolan looks at her, "What in the hell?" The crest isn't the same, it's not the familiar S that everyone knows, but it's close enough to ask some tough questions.

"That is a flashing neon sign that says 'way above my pay grade,'" Sara grimaces, shaking her head. "Look, keep this quiet, okay?" She leans over to mark the spot on the tape, then rewinds it to take the copy. "Not enough information here to say anything conclusive, and nothing to be gained from people - like the press - getting wind of it."

"Yeah," Nolan says, almost a bit worriedly. "What are you gonna do? We won't be able to sit on it forever."

"Research," Sara answers. "Touch base with some people elsewhere who might have a little bit more information. Network. What, you think I keep trading cases with SHIELD just because they've got the beefcake?" she says with a teasing grin, the sort of reassuring banter that says this is all under control.

Nolan nods, "Alright. Sounds good, Pezzini. Let me know when we can move on it. I don't do well with the press. This'll have me worried." He looks around, "Anything else you want from here before we start bagging and tagging?"

"No, this is good. Unless you find something that obviously doesn't belong in a Chinese restaurant, just keep it quiet. You get the chance, caution people about the new drug going through M-Town," Sara advises as she straightens. "Warning needs to get out anyhow, and it should throw any interested parties off the scent for a couple days, at least."

"Yeah, alright," Nolan says with a nod. It's clear he feels uneasy, but it seems as though he's willing to see how this plays out. "I'll let you know when we get the evidence down to the station. Pleasure, as always, Pez."

"Yeah, you too," Sara nods to Nolan, smile flashing reassuringly. "Tell Elizabeth I said congrats on the baby, yeah?" She says, clapping a hand to his shoulder as she heads for the door. Once her back is turned, though, that brave smile fades.

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