Observe And Report: Queens Edition

Summary:
September 12, 2014 Field Agent Barton, of SHIELD, is sent on assignment. What he found was NOT what he was expecting.

Queens, New York City

The borough to the east, Queens is made up of many different flavors and
feels. It's the largest of all the sections of New York in terms of area, and
the second most populous. In addition to business and industry, Queens also
has many residential communities with those who work in the area and others
who commute over one of the bridges and onto the island.

Because it has more space than Manhattan, Queens is home to several of New
York's sports teams and houses cultural institutions such as the New York Hall of
Science and the Kupferberg Center for the Arts.


Characters

NPCs
Random Gang members


Mood Music:
[*<http://insert.video.or.music.link.here>]


The life of agents and affiliates of the great organization known as SHIELD is either chock full of adventure, crazy mayhem and shenanigans OR almost painfully dull, tedious tasks that leave one wondering what the brass is thinking.

Today's assignment for Barton is a pretty simple no-brainer 'Observe and Report' deal.

Within the past month, a one James Reha has started to pile up a serious and significant pile of connections that are far too convenient to be coincidental — at least, that's what the analysts are thinking. A street camera for a nascent security system caught the fellow leaving Stark Industries *just* before a most odd encounter between a bird-being and Loki wherein Loki helped undo a lot of damage that he caused in the area. A bunch of cell-phone cameras a couple of weeks later caught him helpfully and peacefully negotiating a temporary truce with a few individuals who claimed to be Atlantean on a beach in New York. And then somehow, in the middle of a lock-down in Arkham Asylum, he managed to end up in the company of a most unlikely group of individuals and somehow negotiated a peaceful end to the crisis according to after-incident documentation.

And those are just the isolated incidents.

Mr. Reha was in the Navy back in the early '90's, and honorably discharged in the draw-down after the Gulf War. He was employed by a major retailer until approximately six months ago, at which point the corporation he worked for went belly-up due to corporate issues, then suddenly he is employed within two weeks by both Stark Industries and Drakos Recovery Solutions, LLC.

Things just are not adding up for this guy, and some eyes are desired. Should be simple enough. Guy's an overweight middle-aged fella who doesn't seem to be interested in keeping a low profile.

Almost as an afterthought, his cruddy studio apartment in Queens is mentioned as his residence, despite the fact of working both on the Jersey shore and in Manhattan.

Today is Jim's day off. He is attempting to recover the 'good feeling' he had the other day at work over at Stark Industries before weird happened and things got stupid. To this end he's casually strolling about the neighborhood, currently en route to the grocery store. Hey, a guy's gotta eat, right?

***

SHIELD's CCTV system is pretty remarkable. It has global reach, and when computer systems are tossed into the mix for facial recognition? There are more positive hits than false positives (though Jim might like to know there's an almost identical twin in Poole, England, living a quiet life as an electrician), which makes things so much more pleasant. And with the activity of Red Light Cameras and drones that never truly landed after the last Superbowl? Virtually a no-brainer.

So, from just before sunrise, Clint Barton stalks this 'not so elusive' Jim Reha. Or rather?

A giant crow-bird… thing.

It could be so easy to hang out in a blacked-out windowed sedan, complete with trench and fedora, but Kate would never forgive him for doing the 40s thing without her. So, it's on the rooftops, in a crouch, watching comings and goings of those in the apartment complex. Beside, no one ever looks up.

***
Today it's the portly fellow, and he indeed is not looking up. Pretty boring stuff as he walks along — though he takes great care and pains to avoid two particular alleyways for some reason, nose wrinkling as he passes one of them. He stops by a newspaper stand, gets a paper, then heads into a local corner bodega for a few moments.

His shirt, though, is almost a crime against humanity in and of itself, some tropical thing that would be great — if one were in say, the tropics. Here, it's rather jarringly out of place. Despite this, for the most part the local residents take it in stride. It's not like the guy's murdering anyone or robbing anyone or even being a dick.

Plain old boring salt-and-pepper guy, doing his thing.

And SHIELD wants to watch him? Well, it's a cake duty so far.

Then there's movement at the alleyway that he *didn't* wrinkle his nose at, even as a group of young individuals start moving to the mouth of it, pulling out knives. Looks like Jim might be about to be mugged. Part of the wholesome New York Experience, even!

***

If Clint was ever a fan of the 'observation' animal documentaries, now would be the time for a Sir Richard Attenborough voice-over regarding the 'Reha' in his natural habitat, and that his colorful markings could be used to either attract a mate or to dissuade any predator from attack—

Nope. That's not gonna happen. Perhaps the colorful plumage is an evolutionary detriment. Most likely.

Alleyway after alley is passed, and it's that last one (it's always the last one, isn't it?) that looks like trouble. A quick glance around shows one, two gang tags that, while he hadn't missed them, were dismissed as being mostly inconsequential.

Welcome to the City!

Now, just as those documentaries, it is in the mission op there is to be -no- contact. The seagulls are to be free to pick off the baby turtles, as it were. Still, that doesn't keep the archer from pulling out his bow and a couple of arrows from the safety of his perch. Ducking and moving quickly and quietly across the roof, he takes a leap from one to another, landing easily for a better vantage.

***

The predictable happens, just like those lovely nature documentaries. The garishly clad Reha is hustled into the alley, and there is much yelling about wallet and money and various other things. To most observers, this is just the standard fare of the City and no one even blinks twice or even lifts a finger to call 9-1-1. They live in the neighborhood too, after all, and they don't want any trouble…

And unobserved to all but the sharpest of eyes from above, there's a bit of a scuffle. One of the knives actually draws a nice line across the guy's arm, spray going upwards…

Then there's something that would be unbelievable if but for the correlation with the analysts and the like. The guy collapses on the ground after apparently trying to protect himself — what an idiot! — and what rises from the kick-circle clearly is *not* human.

It takes the first few blows, the cuts bouncing off of plumage as it moves to a defensive stance. This only seems to embolden the young people that much more… and soon there are young people lying on the ground in various forms of bruising and slicing.

It is very hard to tell from this angle if those who are down are dead or just knocked out, but the remaining two punks decide that yes, they've had enough of this and they attempt to book it.

***

Now, there is a battle that rages in the Field Agent's mind; help the guy out in case the intel is wrong, or hold his shots and see how it all plays out. Blue eyes watch the scene, from the blooding to the…

Those same eyes widen as he witnesses the change, and he takes a deep breath, waiting for his heart to slow down in his chest, just a little bit. Things like this don't usually happen, not in front of him anyway. He can't (and won't) tear his attention away from the scene. Wincing now at the scattered bodies(?) of the attackers, Clint takes a step back, and clenches his jaw. Okay… little different in person than on video…

It's the two left that start to flee the area, and Clint can't find it in himself to blame them. (He'd have done the same.) Now, however- what's the giant black bird gonna do?

The bow comes up, however, arrow nocked and aimed at the avian's head just in case the black-feathered creature goes after them. (It's just a tranq arrow. Shouldn't have any lasting effects.)

***

It is the darnedest thing. The two who flee are allowed to escape, unmolested.

Then it bends down and carefully picks up the youths, gently leaning them up against the wall — their chests to appear to be moving, so it doesn't look like they're dead, unless the blackbird has some strange zombie powers. Who knows?

And then… it raises it's index finger and takes a stance almost as if… lecturing the fallen opponents? Seriously? It's impossible to make out what it is saying at this distance, even under ideal circumstances, but it does appear to be conversating at them, even if they are mostly stunned and incoherent.

***

Barton watches as the pair are allowed to flee, but it's watched pretty much down the tip of an arrow. He's got his contact and he's not getting off of it. 'Observe and report'.

"I'll be damned," he whispers. "He's lecturing them…" A soft chuckle rises, but at no time is that arrow removed from his string. "Okay, now I'm wishing I could hear what he's saying." Though he'll catch an ID of the 'kids' later and 'talk' to them.

***

The lecturing goes on for a few moments, long enough for some of the less-damaged folks to wake up. A couple more flee wildly (Who could blame them?) and the remainder sit and stare at the bird-thing with bleary eyes. By this point, there are sirens starting to sound, as bloody youth running from an alley tend to indicate some sort of gang activity, and even the cops at the local doughnut shop are not that oblivious.

At the sound of the sirens, the bird-thing casually shrugs itself back down to being a salt and pepper'd fellow, heavy-set with that loud shirt. The bloody cut from earlier seems to have stopped, and he dusts himself off, picks up his bag, his wallet, and his money. Only his money, apparently, as he put some money BACK into a person's pocket. He approaches the mouth of the alleyway, looking both left and right before shrugging and casually strolling on his way once more…

***

It doesn't appear to slow, the lecturing, and slowly, the bowstring is allowed to relax, and the arrow is unnocked; all while Hawkeye watches the scene play out below. Only when the sirens appear in the distance does he lock his bow down and set the arrow back.

The bird doesn't seem to be aggressive; rather, the opposite. Defensive, and non-lethal. Point to it.

Will recommend contact at a later date.

It's when that shape-changing happens again that Clint draws a considering breath. -Nothing- brought up about the guy even begins to suggest any ability, active or latent, which would cover this. Blood tests all show zero markers for that 'x' gene- so what happened, and when? The guys in Research are going to have to dig backwards, and like MiB, back issues of the National Enquirer may be accessed.

How the hell can he just walk out like nothing happened?

Barton sits on the rooftop for a long while, possibly long after Reha has continued on his way for the day. Nice touch. Giving money -back-.

How to start this report without using the words 'Once upon a time-'?


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