Corvid Crash

Summary:
August 21, 2014: Corvinus crash-lands and needs a quick assist from Captain America, Falcon… and Falcon's mom.

Harlem

Harlem used to be a mostly African-American through the decades, though this is no longer true (African-Americans are presently about 40 of the population.) The neighborhood has been the site of a number of amazing artistic booms, usually followed by equally devastating busts. Presently the area is slowly gentrifying, as is much of Manhattan. Other places of note include the Harlem Dance Theater whose troupe has toured internationally, the Harlem School of Arts, two well regarded hospitals and the City College of New York.


Characters

NPCs

  • Darlene Wilson

Mood Music:


The skies over Harlem are not what one would deem 'high-traffic'. In fact, given local security protocols and the like, the airways are relatively clear. This makes it ideal for the avianoid Corvinus to 'joyride' around above the city, a good three thousand feet above the ground. Granted, in terms of aerospatial manueverability and speed it is more akin to an old-style bomber than an actual ultralight or the sort, but its host appreciates these moments where all concern can be tossed away. At least for a little while.

-

A large group of pigeons clustered on the edge of a rooftop suddenly scatters, and a moment later, a much, much larger winged creature rockets past. He banks and soars low over the roofs, deftly zipping between buildings and satellite dishes, clutching a grocery bag in one hand. Yes, technically there are security protocols, but Sam Wilson's mom ran out of eggs in the middle of cooking dinner. Priorities, people.

Besides, his advanced wing suit isn't going to show up on any commercial radar, and as long as he stays low like this, it's not like he has to worry about traffic copters. Pedestrians are another matter, however, and several crane their necks up to look for him just after hearing him whoosh past. Fortunately, one would have to be up above the line of rooftops to get a good, long look at him.

-

Steve hasn't set foot in Harlem since before Operation Rebirth, and by the look on his face it has changed greatly. He's made a habit of visiting as much of New York as he can since he returned, reacquainting himself with the City he once knew so well. He walks with his hands thrust into his pockets and one headphone leading to an MP3 player in his jacket, the other headphone draped around his neck and the volume of it letting the music drift a little beyond his personal space. The drums and trumpets of Benny Goodman.

The rushing sound above draws Steve's attention, eyes turning upward to see a brief glimpse of a silhouette that is Falcon. His brow furrows slightly as he pauses and joins a couple other pedestrians watching curiously. His mouth twists slightly at the corner; thoughtful.

-

The far swifter flyer initially escapes the ancient flying thing's notice… until the third group of pigeons launches itself skywards. Eyes re-orient themselves, even as the obsidian-winged construct angles its wings a bit more, to start a driving descent with a solid enough pursuit angle to compensate for the dramatically different velocities involved. Hopefully whoever the speedster is has better maneuvering, as the bird-thing is pretty much locking in said angle and hoping for the best.

The pedestrians on the ground for the moment aren't its concern—that other flier is. One should always be polite and introduce one's self when others are about. prevents horrible things like getting sucked into a jet intake or worse.

-

Finally, Falcon spies the brownstone where Darlene Wilson makes her home. He shows off a bit of his edge in maneuverability, pulling up gracefully and decelerating from cruising speed to a walking pace with a few careful flaps of his metal wings. He touches down gently, sneakers scuffing on the edge of the rooftop. His wings retract behind him with a swish of polished alloy, and he jogs over to the fire escape.

He knows from experience that if he just takes the stairwell down from the roof, his eagle-eyed mother will ask why she didn't see him enter through the front door, and he's not quite ready to tell her that her son's days of putting his life on the line may not quite be done yet. So he'll take the fire escape toward the ground floor, and then the stairs back up to her apartment. It's good exercise, he supposes.

-

The flying something is gone soon enough and Steve shrugs his shoulders, putting the other earpiece is and reaching to pull the player out of his pocket. He flicks through the contents, shuffling an eclectic mix of music ranging from before his disappearance to the modern day. He shrugs and tucks it away, glancing up and down the street.

-

Of course, all the pursuit angles in the world are worth nothing if the target one is pursuing pulls up short. And momentum is a sonofagun, even at the relatively trivial hundred miles per hour or so that the bird-thing was flying at.

It tries to pull up and to the side at last moment and… nails someone's laundry, which starts to wrap around wings and arms and various other body bits even as it skids past the building Falcon stopped at, bounces onto the next one then proceeds to fall between two neighboring buildings.

There is an almost ear-shattering god-awful screeching sound as something far worse than fingernails on chalkboard emanates from that particular alleyway followed by a grunt and an "ooof."

Yeah, that might leave a mark, in addition to the trailing scrape-marks down the side of one brownstone.

-

Sam watches, frozen and struck dumb, as Corvinus executes one of the worst landings he has seen in all his years as a tester of experimental winged flight suits. He wavers at the top of the fire escape and winces down at the grocery bag he's carrying. Then his wings pop out again and he half-flies, half-bounds from roof to roof, perching at the edge of one so that he can look down into the alley where Buddha Bird bit the pavement. "You okay down there?" he calls out, lifting his goggles up to his forehead.

-

The crash landing does not go unnoticed by Steve. Keen senses hear the ruckus even through the headphones and he pulls them free, taking off at a jog towards the site of the crash. The screech and what comes after only make it clearer to him where to look. He hustles around the corner into the alley, tilting his head to get a look at the formerly-flying creature.

"Corvinus?"

The call from up high causes him to lift his head, squinting to make out the familiar face.

-

The battered and be-undergarmented bird-thing stirs briefly, exhaling enough to blow the cup of a bra from its beak. It blinks a few times as its wings twitch a bit and there's a bit of a moan and a groan. "This one… seventy-five percent capa — . This one— " There's a bit of a grunt as it tries to sit up. "Partner says OWFUCK! Nomenclature: Uncertain." There are not pretty sounds being made down there, though that may be clothesline with clothes and trash and debris in the alley as much as him. It is really hard to tell.

Then it lowers its gaze to Steve.

"Yes! This one apolo-f— for disrupt… quiet evening!"

It pauses in its struggles for a moment, it appears to have pinned itself in the alley with its wings, in an ironic sort of fashion.

-

"Oh, hey, Steve!" Sam calls out with a wry smile and a wave. Despite the rough touchdown, Corvinus is wiggling around and talking, so it doesn't seem to be an emergency situation. He stands and steps off the roof, wings spread wide to brake his fall. He aims for a spot between Jim and Steve, and with a few flaps, has another gentle landing under his belt. "Word of advice?" he says as he extends a hand toward Corvinus, his voice amused. "If your landing is looking that bad, just take back off, circle around, and try again. It's not the Air Force. No one's gonna judge."

-

"Hi, Sam," Steve replies, stepping past the man to pat him on the shoulder and get a closer look at Corvinus. He does his best to try and extricate the bird from the laundry and other stuff he has tangled himself up in during his landing. "Nothing to apologize for. You're not injured, are you?"

-

The bird-thing attempts to grasp the hand, but it misses by about a foot. It becomes obvious why it misses by a foot as its wings flex and pull it back. It tries this a second time then stops with a bit of a whimper. That… is definitely not 'in character' for the Buddha Bird.

"This one apprecia — insight. This one — waved — unexpected — OW. Not Air Force. Partner Navy. No judge. Stuck. Pain." It sounds almost child-like when it utters the last word, like the idea of pain is alien to it.

Once the laundry is cleared away, it's painfully obvious that the wings are pinned at the first joint into the sides of the alley, almost as if… why yes, along with the clawed furrows on the one building side it looks like the wings were extended and dragged all the way down, judging by the ruts they made.

-

Sam grimaces and his hand drops to his side. "Okay, that's a problem. Let's see if we can pull your wings out of the wall." His own are, of course, tucked back into their housing out of the way as he stoops to grasp one of Corvinus's by what looks like a sturdy structural part, but not Jim's actual arm. He's going to try not to yank on that until he can be totally sure it's in sound condition. "Steve, you think you can get the other side?"

-

"No problem," Steve answers, moving over to the other wing and looking carefully. Brute strength would yank it free soon enough but he doesn't want to cause any undue pain or injury. He moves to where the wing he's been asked to extricate is pinned to the building, reaching down to pick up a piece of cracked masonry. With all his strength he strikes the wall, sending some of the brickwork cracking and falling away to free up some space and hopefully pull the wing free.

-

The flight-limb is solid enough, almost another arm on its own. It doesn't feel like it is missing things, or torn, or the like. It does feel a bit odd, though. In a way, it is like a far more stylized version of the suit-wings, but with hundreds or perhaps thousands of years of engineering and design behind them (or more) to make them as close to life-like as possible.

With the removal of some of the blocking material on the one side it becomes nearly child's play to remove the wings from their trapped position. They begin to flap a bit spasmodically as the bird-thing attempts to regain control of them without pinning them once more or bashing its saviours in the face.

"This one thanks. Apologies. Jokes about avian-mind appropriate."

-

Sam takes several steps back. More than his own safety, he seems concerned about the carton of eggs under his protection, swiveling to keep himself between any errant wings and the grocery bag. "No problem. I'm just amazed that your wings are still working after that," he says. Clearly he noticed the tech level. "You all in once piece? My mom's place is just around the corner if you need me to take a look at you." He glances at Steve, flashing a smile. "We were just about to have dinner, if you want to join us. Mom always cooks enough for twelve, anyway."

-

"That'd be nice," Steve answers Sam with a half-smile. "But I can't, I'm afraid. I'm due back on base before long … " Not to mention a million and a half other commitments that seem to never grant him any rest.

-

"The Creators handiwork is solid and sound. Provided their agent does not mangle it." There is what is clearly a systems-check of some sort run on each wing, though somewhat faster than one might expect with say, a pre-flight startup. The right arm goes through a similar pace, then the left. Yeah, the left arm has some gouging and it starts bleeding a bit as it gets halfway through. "Left manipulator eighty percent, decreasing." It holds out its right arm (manipulator?) to the wall to pull itself up and forward a bit, even as it limp-hops some. "Left motivator ninety percent, Right motivator fifty percent. Flight extensions sixty percent. All pieces attached. This one cannot offer much in return for such assistance but would appreciate such." Well, it could, but there might be some questions about that and his partner would be none-too-pleased with it. "This one would be honored to attend dinner-ritual with one and one and one if allowed."

It tilts its head and drags a foot as it looks at Steve. "Base? Military? Branch?"

Still has some curiosity, this bird does, even when not fully operational.

-

"Sorry to hear that," Sam tells Steve. "Your loss, though. She may expect me to eat like a horse, but damn does she ever feed horses well. See you at the next meeting, at least?"

When he spots blood, Sam's easygoing demeanor gives way to serious concern. "We should sit you back down, stop the bleeding before we worry about moving you. Then check for breaks and, if there aren't any, get you somewhere you can rest." He unzips one of the pockets on his flight harness and retrieves tape and gauze. "You don't need to bribe me to fix you up, either. Come on, Buddha Bird. That's, like, basic Hippocrates."

-

"He's right," Steve answers, putting a hand firmly on whatever counts as the bird's shoulder. "You need to stay still. You can worry about where I work after." He doesn't seem ready to leave yet after all, glancing over to Sam and nodding his head. "I'll be there."

-

'Buddha Bird' tilts its head and stares at Sam. "This one upright. This one sit? Done." It sits down. There are a lot of strains, but thankfully no apparent breaks or tears. It blinks a few times. "This one doesn't… stand by." It sort of glazes over its eyes for a moment, then snaps back to attentive state. "Oath. Hippocratic. Understood. Partner informed. External fluid leakage left manipulator, internal fluid leakage right motivator, right flight extension."

It peers at Steve as the hand easily finds a good shoulder analogue. "Staying still." It's almost like it wants to add something else there, but doesn't know what else *to* add, even as it goes into an amazingly stiff position—almost like someone 'sitting' at attention.

-

Sam examines the wound the best he can through the mess of metallic feathers. "Alright, I'm gonna try to bind this, but these feathers of yours could chop the bandage to bits. If you can flatten them or retract them or something? That would be useful. Oh, and I'm about to disinfect, so keep your tongue inside your beak. It's gonna sting." He unspools some gauze and applies alcohol to it, then presses it against the wound. "Did you say internal bleeding? You're gonna have to tell me what a motivator is, because that's serious."

He glances over at Steve and forces a tight smile before refocusing on his task. "Thanks for the help. If he's got serious internal bleeding, I may need some of that super strength to get him to a hospital." Still disinfecting the bird creature's wounds, he smirks and adds, "Or a really good vet." Bit of military-style gallows humor, there.

-

"No problem," Steve nods his head, focusing on holding the Corvinus still in case the sting of the disinfectant compels him to move. Otherwise he says nothing, simply remaining on-hand in case he is needed.

-

The bird thing clears its throat at the description, but does not move or jump. Much. Apparently getting the scrapes disinfected doesn't hurt as much as pinning one's limbs into walls and then trying to free them, by any margin.

"Sensation cataloged. Motivator mover leg. Manipulator mover hand. This one requires sustenance and fluid in mass quantity to expedite recovery process. This one apologizes for not being ready for this, this one has not been damaged in… partner says… long time. This one is also not an animal, despite appearances. A veterinary doctor would be of little use to this one. Such a person may want to cut this one open to find out how this one… partnerword… 'ticks'."

The support/restraint from Steve is highly appreciated, and then gets a look from the bird-thing. "This one was un-aware that humans could be so forceful without obvious deformity or technology."

-

Gritting his teeth as he starts wrapping the arm wound, Sam says to Corvinus, "Yeah, that part was a joke. I can tell you're not an actual bird." A slight twist of his lip. "One more time, in people talk, though: are you saying you can heal internal bleeding if I feed you?" He glances over at Steve, his eyebrows rising. "That would be really convenient. Think you can lug him a block over to my mom's?"

-

Steve glances up at the bird, nodding his head. "Some of us can be." That said, he glances back to Sam and moves to bear most of the bird's weight so they can move. "I've got him. Are you sure your mom won't mind? It'd be a bit of an unusual house call."

-

"That would be correct." It pauses. "Partner Word 'Sir'. As in "Sir, yes sir." This one does not understand the emphasis and repetition. Food for healing. Yes. Will work. All injuries. Greater injuries require more." Its almost like the thing is trying to bite back paragraphs of description between the concepts in an effort to keep it to 'people talk'. "This one… partner word… promise… good behaviour and respect to matron of house. Do not have bottle of wine or other gift as guest."

"Understood. Moving with one. Adjusting synergistic algorithms." The birdly one gets a bit easier to move, as it adjusts its stance and positioning to assist Steve.

-

"No, actually I'm pretty sure she'll lose her mind," Sam answers Steve, supporting Corvinus the best he can on the other side with a grunt of effort. "At least at first. But 'he's hurt and needs help' she'll get. Besides, I've kept birds as pets up on the roof basically my whole life." Corvinus gets a sidelong glance. "That was a joke again."

With an occasional pointed finger to direct their steps, Sam leads the others back to his mother's building. They get all kinds of weird looks from the neighborhood's residents, which Sam ignores completely. Soon they're in an elevator and heading upward into the building.

-

Steve gives his best polite nod and smile to the people who happen to be staring. But outside of his uniform they don't tend to recognize him. Not that he's complaining, of course. As they go he doesn't seem to be all that burdened by the bird's weight.

-

"This one hopes that this one does not cause mental duress to one's parental unit. All lives are important and impairing one for this one's health and well-being does not feel like an appropriate trade-off?" It pauses in its speech and considers. "So one is an ornithology major, then?" Is that a hint of mirth in the battered bird-thing's tone?

It tries its level best to not stick out… which… is an epic failure. At least it doesn't shout out embarrassing things.

"Thank you very much for helping out, Mister-I-didn't-catch-your-name-at-Coney-Island."

-

"I actually have studied ornithology a little. And Mom has handled a lot worse. Don't stress about it." Coming off the elevator, the three arrive at the door to an apartment. Sam reaches out to rap on the door, but it's yanked open before he touches it. A tall, dark-skinned woman with a confident demeanor is staring at her avian house guest. "Samuel Thomas Wilson, what in God's name is going on?" she blurts out. Apparently she was watching for his arrival, just as Sam worried.

"You asked for eggs, Mom. I brought a bird. What can I say? I'm an overachiever," Sam answers in a strained grunt. Yeah: he spent the elevator ride coming up with that one. He shuffles forward, and Darlene has no choice but to back out of the way. He nods toward a worn easy chair in the living room, and eases Jim into it. Darlene stares in horror.

"He's hurt, Mom. He needs food to heal," Sam says in a more serious voice. He extends the grocery bag toward her. "And, for real, I did get the eggs." The woman gapes for a count of three, then grabs the eggs and heads into the kitchen. Apparently a willingness to take a deep breath and dive into the bizarre is a family trait.

-

"Don't worry about that now," Steve answers, helping the bird into the apartment and glancing up apologetically. He offers a polite smile to the lady of the house, "We don't mean to be an inconvenience, ma'am. Corvinus and I'll be out of your hair as soon as we get him patched up. He had a nasty fall."

-

"Mi— " Well, Corvinus was about to go into a lengthy explanation, thanks, and apology for its current condition but with being eased into the worn easy chair by Steve and Sam. Even if the wings don't fit quite right around it, well, it is an easy chair. It lounges back a bit with a gasp. "This one can do the dishes after dinner if this one is feeling better. Promise! It's only right." It seems earnest enough.

-

Darlene pauses for a second and stares over the breakfast bar from the kitchen when the giant bird offers to help with the dishes. She seems amazed that it can vocalize at all. "If you think I'm going to turn away someone who shows up at my doorstep in need, then you don't know much about me," she says firmly. Apparently this policy also applies to alien birds. "All I've got ready are the veggies. I hope that's alright," she adds.

"That'll be great, Mom," Sam says, following her into the kitchen. The Wilsons return after a moment with a plate, silverware, and serving bowls of corn, greens, and rolls. "Mom, this is Steve Rogers, and this is Buddha Bird. Guys, this is my mom, Darlene."

She gives 'Buddha Bird' another stare, but then turns to Steve with a smile. "You're Captain America, aren't you?" she asks, fixing on the one bit of this scene that she does understand. "Sam has told me all about meeting you. He was so excited."

"Mommmmmmmm…!"

-

Steve looks stunned for a moment, glancing towards Sam with a careful look. But it only lasts a moment before it turns into a grin and he stands up from the Buddha Bird's side, crossing his arms and tilting his head to one side.

"So much for the whole classified information thing." He doesn't seem bothered, though, and he walks over to hold out his hand to Darlene. "Steve Rogers, ma'am. It's an honor to meet the lady who raised such an upstanding son."

-

"This one apologizes, ma'am. This one is unfamiliar with human society and culture. This one would greatly appreciate to learn more from one, and this one just needs edible bio-mass and is a beggar at this point so cannot be a chooser, Miss Darlene. And one's child has an odd name for this one. This one is the Corvinus."

Then she drops the Cap bomb, as it were. The bird-thing turns its head to appraise 'Steve Rogers' for a moment or two before giving a brief nod. He's not denying the fact, either. Fortunately, the ancient avianoid sage is acting as a filter for the moment, so the fan-boy squee of amazing doesn't make it out of its beak from its partner.

"This one has no reason to consider one as anyone other than a… what is term… Good Samaritan helping out like everyone else here."

That, apparently, is its effort to try and say 'Your secret is safe with me.'.

-

Darlene smiles and accepts the handshake graciously. "Charmed, Captain Rogers. He thinks I don't know that he's been running around playing superhero, but I'm just glad he's fallen in with a good crowd this time around."

Sam just gapes at his mother. She waits for him to say something, but he's at a loss for words, so she tosses her head and rolls her eyes. "Honestly, Sam. The goggles? That ridiculous backpack? And suddenly you're working for Tony Stark? This may come as news to you, but I'm not an idiot. Please, eat up, Mr. Corvinus. There's plenty more where that came from." Giving her guests a smile and her son a knowing look, she disappears back into the kitchen.

Sam rubs at his upper arm with the opposite hand, looking awkwardly askance. "Uh. Yeah. Sorry. I'm… kind of a fan."

-

"Thanks," Steve says to Corvinus, giving the bird another pat on the shoulder before turning his attention to Darlene and listening to what it is she has to say. He smiles when she's done and looks back to Sam, "Don't worry about it. I doubt you're the first one who let that gem slip, anyway. And I suppose it isn't that hard of a puzzle to piece together."

-

"One's parental unit is insightful and wise. This one must speak to one's parental unit at length for deep thoughts and complex considerations. Very perceptive she is."

Did Corvinus just Yoda Sam?

Nonetheless, food things start flying into its maw at as fast a pace as its battered limbs can manage, pausing only long enough to swallow before filling up the beak once more. Is it going to become a contest… the voracious healing appetite versus the amazing cooking skills of Darlene Wilson?

It pauses briefly and looks to Steve after the pat. "On behalf of this one's partner, this one would salute one. Unfortunately, this one is busy letting the saluting limbs heal at the moment while eating, so that is not an option yet."

-

"I only told her," Sam assures Steve with a tense laugh. He seems relieved that Cap isn't upset with him. "And she can play her cards pretty close to her chest when she wants to. Obviously." He gives Corvinus a wry smile, quietly agreeing with the alien bird's assessment of his 'parental unit.' And Darlene keeps the food coming: quick-prep items like pasta, salad, sandwiches, and the casserole she had intended as the main course all along.


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