Observe and Report: IHOP Edition

Summary:
January 14, 2015: Agent Recruit Darcy has been given a tough assignment. Can she pull it off?

International House of Pancakes - New York City

IHOP, the temple of breakfast goodness- that place that sees the strange
overlap of late-night college students hanging out and early-bird senior
citizens looking for a good (or at least satisfying) morning repast. This
particular locale maintains the franchise's standard look- with comfortable
booths in muted patterns, tables featuring the classic arched-back wooden
chairs and dark green carpet.

This particular locale seems is used to the comings and goings of the
super-crowd, and the far wall has a host of framed pictures of notable groups
of heroes (most of them on the young-ish side) who have stopped here for one
reason or another. Busy servers dart to and from the kitchen taking orders
and carrying dishes to their respective tables. No matter the hour, this
particular IHOP seems to enjoy a decent level of activity.


Characters

NPCs
Alice, long-time server at the International House of Pancakes


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. Especially for new recruits that the brass wants to give some nice busy - work to make them appreciate their lot in life better.

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

Within the past few months, 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.

That was the start of his unlikely and way too convenient for the number - crunchers.

Then in the past few months, there apparently has been some winged figure that was responsible for some sort of property damage that was *not* him but was hunting him. The situation on that one got muddied even further with the destruction and subsequent rapid rebuilding of Mr. Reha's Queens apartment — though the building inspectors are taking their sweet - ass time trying to get it certified for living conditions…

But the most troubling of recent note is the fact he was spending a significant amount of time at Themyscira House. SHIELD has been unable to penetrate that demense for one reason or another, so once again, the order has gone out.

Observe and report. Do not approach. Do not speak to. Do not buy him lunch or coffee. Do not sass.

It's almost like someone knew who would be getting this particular mission!

***

Jim Reha is in the Queens International House of Pancakes. Unlike most folks who come here for, well… pancakes… he has tried three different times now to get Eggs Benedict with an additional order of hash-browns, but every time either the order got messed up and he had to get back to work… or weirdness happened.

So now, on that rarest of things for him with his dual masters in Stark Industries (currently undergoing some serious reconstruction after an attack) and Drakos Recovery Solutions, LLC he is attempting to partake of his most desired 'day off' breakfast food.

He's even managed to get in at about ten o'clock in the morning, even, so this should be quite easy to pick him out and remain utterly unobtrusive!

***

When the order comes to her email, Darcy laughs. Out loud. One loud guffaw. 'Do not sass'… do they know who they're sending this to? If they didn't want sass, this should have gone to May! Or Coulson. or… someone NOT Darcy, The Sass Mastah herself.

So, with an amused roll of her eyes, Darcy gathers her things, heads home, and dons something less Agent Lewis and more Darcy Former-College-Intern-Who-Is-STILL-Paying-Off-Her-Student-Loans-You'd-Think-SHIELD-Would-Have-Taken-Care-Of-Those-By-Now-But-NOooooooo-Lewis. Scuffed Doc Martins, a forest green shirt over a brown courdroy skirt over grey leggings that disappear into said Docs after first vanishing into mismatched mutli-colored multi-patterned socks which were likely thigh-highs that Darcy scrunched down to rest just under her knees. One might have a hole in it, if one looks close enough. Over all of this is an over sized knitted sweater jacket thing and a light scarf that's bright pink with black metallic threads and little white skulls patterned into it. There are bright red broken hearts mixed in to. Like, an anti-Valentine's scarf, or something.

As she makes her way into where Darcy had followed, she eyes Jim a moment, then picks a seat nearby and orders coffee… and a short stack… and eggs sunny side up… to be put on TOP of the short stack. OMG and the syrup. She pours happily, knowing that SHIELD's got the tab for this breakfast. Eating out is a rareish treat. Only to partake in when someone else is buying (ie: Darcy goes on lots of dates or she gets work to cover it).

***

Mr. Reha is such a dinosaur! No, not literally. But he's reading a copy of the Wall Street Journal — the front has some picture related to the financial costs of the terrorist activity in the Tri - City area — and appears to be really INTO the paper. Hasn't the guy heard of an iPhone, or a Starkphone, or a qPhone… goodness, that's actual paper that he's actually moving!

The waitress, a weathered older woman with the name tag 'Alice' comes over and pours him another cup of coffee.

A keen investigator's eye might pick up on the fact he's already about halfway into the front section… that combined with the boilerplate that is the Journal would seem to indicate he's been here… a while.

He doesn't appear to have noticed that Darcy — of the significantly long tag sign — has sat down hear him… yet.

***

Eating, Darcy pulls out her phone and with her camera on silent, and while looking like she's just playing with her facbeook app, grabs a quick pic of Jim. Because of reasons?

Wow does that make her feel like a Stalker. And Darcy deletes the pciture in favor of updating her Wall Status: OMG. Imma troll. - feeling distraught. D:

With a sigh, she drops her Otterbox'd (Hulk-boxed?) phone to the table and stabs into the yolks to make them 'bleed' onto her shortstack. Troll troll trollolololol.

***

The paper folds down slightly and the salt - and - pepper'd haired fellow squints at the Agent Recruit for a few seconds, as if trying to remember her. Granted the encounter they had was short, and Jim WAS bleeding profusely from his nose at the time thanks to an errant bit of roller skate. So he may have forgotten.

'Alice' returns with a plate that looks like something died on top of something dying and Jim's expression drops into a frown.

He makes a motion to the menu, pointing out the Eggs Benedict, then points to the plate with boggling eyes. 'Alice' nods in both sympathy and the hope that this won't screw her tip over, and takes the plate, zipping to the kitchen whereupon some yelling emits from her.

***

Hangdog Faced Darcy notices Jim looking her way and she looks over at him. She smiles with a slightly guilty half shrug before Alice comes over and Eggs Benediction happens. Darcy wouldn't've cared except Alice starts yelling, and Sass Mastah glances toward the kitchen.

"Wahholy shit, do I NOT what to get on Her bad side," Darcy sasses. Becasue this is Darcy and sassing is what she does and this wasn't sassing at Jim and so everything is fine, for now.

Right?

***

The paper folds down then in half as Jim puts it down.

"Wait… I… Darcy?"

Recognition begins to register in the portly fellow's eyes.

"How are you and what's - his - face working out? Did that ever go anywhere? I mean, not to pry anything, but… Well, hell, I'm prying. Don't mind me. Funny meeting you here, though. They get your order right?"

***

"Heya Jimmy," Darcy chirps, smiling brightly as Jim recognizes her.

"Who?" confusion settles in for a moment as Jim asks about…

"Oh! Him! Umm. No, not really. Work's kept me busy so… Social life's sucked more like hell," she explains with a faint grump, not seeming to mind the prying.

"Yeah. Funny that. I was in the area. Wanted pancakes. And.. IHOP. IHOP and I go WAY back," is added with a grin before she looks at her order thoughtfully.

"Kinda hard to fuck up short stack and runny eggs, so yes? They screw yours?" she asks, leaning over to look.

***

"Jim. Jimmy's my dad's name." Jim nods as Darcy explains. He's all too familiar with the 'have all work, have no social life' concept. In fact, recently he's been sort of living that as a dream because hey, Pepper's been great by him, as has Mike… and Diana. There's really no way his life could go south right now, even if he isn't a mega - bajillionaire or anything.

"Huh. I've only found them since I've gotten to New York, and Eggs Benedict isn't that easy to mess up. Poached eggs, hollandaise sauce, Canadian bacon… gah."

He facepalms a bit and shakes his head. "Not Alice's fault, though, she's been awesome."

Yes, the re-do is still being made.

***

"Jim. Sorry," Darcy says grinning as she cut-pokes at her pancake stack. "Maybe they're out of holiday sauce?" she muses, mispronoucing it because she's ignornant of what it even is. "Yeah, she does seem reallyl awesome. Gonna still tip her well?"

What did that report say about no contact? Darcy forgot.

***

"It's really not that hard. Last time I was here, they made a pancake instead of a waffle. I'm not mad, it's just… well, you go to a place expecting a thing and you don't get what you're expecting and you don't know why you're just rolling with it?"

He pauses as Alice comes back. It looks like the picture, it has potatoes… and ham…

Jim sort of lights up and begins to cut it up.

He takes one bite and considers.

"Yes, I'm going to."

***

"Roll with it?" Darcy asks, a grin forming. One of those wicked little Sass grins.

"I love rolling with it." Yup, sass. Cuz.. roller skates. rolling with. HA!

Look, it was funny in her head, okay?

"So. Whatcha been up since Wheel-to-Face Day?" she asks around abig mouthful of food, not seeming to care about the social taboo of talking with ones mouth full.

***

"You're not the only one. Me, on the other hand, I'm a bit more… conventional and down to earth? I kind of miss getting fired up about that kind of thing but my personal care provider insists that letting that kind of stress go will add years to my lifetime.

Okay, he doesn't mention that his PCP is aeons old! If you started doing that, people might think you're crazy or something!

"Oh, uh, hold on a second, gotta eat this before it gets cold, then we can chat, okay?"

He dives into the dish with gusto, interposing cups of coffee almost mechanically.

***

"Yupyup," Darcy responds to Jim's request as her mind tries to work out what he meant about the personal care provider. She too turns to her food, eating and enjoying her coffee.

***

Much as Jim is a burly sort of guy, he has an appetite to match, and in the matter of moments his food has nearly evaporated from his plate, hashbrowns and all.

Alice is by after a moment and deposits a nice chocolate muffin on his table, giving the middle-aged fellow a nod. Darcy gets a glance to make sure that she's all good and taken care of, as well.

***

Darcy gives Alice a smile, a nod, and a thumbs up to say that she's good with what she's got. Which is one cheek all puffed out with pancakes. Like a pancake-squirrel.

***

After Jim finishes his repast, he considers and taps on his fingers. "Let's see… Had my apartment blown up, got stalked by a crazy bird-woman, got shot by that psycho over in Gotham…"

He shudders a bit at the memory. Getting shot fucking HURT! Even if Corv was there to bail him out! Who the psycho is he leaves to the imagination, but that factoid definitely wasn't in Darcy's dossier on Jim, nor was the 'SPEAKING TO THE TARGET OF THE OBSERVATION'. So… that might have actually worked out well, there…

***

"Damn! I had Crazy Clown Princess break into my apartment and trash all my derby clothes," Darcy says by way of sympathy as she polishes off her food and coffee.

"I'm glad she /didn't/ shoot me. Never been shot before, but I can imagine that it would suck like hell," she comments, not at all concerned that she's gone off mission. She'll make up some BS if asked… or soemthing. This is way better than counting staplers!

***

"Trust me, it's better than having some winged psycho fly in, blow up your apartment — asbestos in all your stuff meaning it needs to be incinerated sucks, 'k? And you don't want to get shot. 'specially not in the back."

Huh. For getting shot in the back he doesn't SEEM to be showing any signs of that injury. Huh.

The plot thickens!!!

And then the interview is apparently over as Jim's phone rings.

"Pepper? I'll… I'll be over in a little bit. Do you need me to bring anything? Is anyone hurt? Did… Oh. I see. Still. Yeah. Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Yep."

The portly fellow glances at the Agent Recruit.

"I'm so sorry, Pepper is calling in all of us that are off to help with the clean - up over at Stark Industries. I'd love to talk to you some more at some point, you got a number?"

***

"Yeah. Totes," says Darcy, pulling her phone back to her hand as she adds in a quip: "I'll give you mine if you give me yours." There's total sass and innuendo in that. And a wink to soften things.

***

Jim shakes his head and laughs. "I think I'm almost twice your age, Darcy, but thanks for making me feel young again?"

Was that a bit of return sass and/or snark? He pulls out his ancient nearly 'burn-phone' and tosses it to Darcy. "Phone number should be in the settings section, and go ahead and send me a call or a page or something with 'Hey, Darcy' or such so I don't just ignore it?" He'll take it back after a few minutes and he's off to apparently do… some more work.


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