2019-06-28 - A Song For The Birds


This diner has gone to the birds.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Fri Jun 28 08:15:52 2019
Location: Financial District

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Theme Song



The financial district is a fast-paced place, people rushing from one thing to the next, always strung tight and tuned for a high note. At least, most people.

Jimmy is taking it a little easier this morning. He'd forgotten he didn't actually have a shift today, and rather than head straight home, he's got a milkshake from a tiny little street cafe. While the milkshake slowly warms on the table beside him, he has his notebook out, scribbling down short, sharp thoughts. Brainstorming, it looks like, with an awful lot of struck-out entries.

The particular spot that Jimmy has found is just across the street and down the block a little from Stark Tower. It's a popular place to stop which is why a big brown wolfman is coming out of it with a Turkey Club - that he is jealously guarding - and five hot dogs which are clearly NOT for him.

Well, that would be why a normal person would be doing that. It's presumably why a big brown wolfman is but WHY again is there a big brown wolfman? In normal clothes too. Talking on the phone while he tries to balance all the food he's carrying.

Bump. Oops. There goes a hot dog. Right onto Jimmy's head.

"Ack. Sorry there." The gruff voiced wolfman says.

"Can I have my hotdog, please Nick?" The tanned woman walking next to Werewolf is saying just as the hot dog hits Jimmy's head. Before Nick or Jimmy can do anything, she pounces. Catching it before it tumbles to the ground. "I can't eat this. I need another one…"

Isis is on the tall side of middling height. She's lean, lean enough that the clothes she wears seem to hang off her.

If the slitted piercing blue/grey eyes don't distract Jimmy. The cats ears on her head and the feline caste to her almost human features, probably will.

She holds the hot dog out to the man. "Do you want this?"

"I really want some hot dogs. Go get me some hot dogs, Pep. It's like he thinks I have nothing better to do." Pepper's muttering to herself in irritation, rapid-fire tapping at her phone's screen as she walks. Unlike most people who walk while looking at their phones, she is completely aware of her surroundings, proving as much by deftly sidestepping other less-observant phone addicts.

Also, she stops dead just as a wolfman bumps into someone else and drops a hot dog on him, only to have the food rescued by a catwoman. Her eyes flit from one person to the next in the little group, and she can't help the sudden random Bill Murray on the brain. 'Mass hysteria' indeed.

Jimmy blinks at the sudden impact on his head. He looks upwards, but even if the hot dog hadn't bounced off, turning his eyes isn't going to give him the view he needs. It does, however, give him a view of a rather large wolfman, and a slit-eyed woman pouncing to catch the hot dog even before it starts the three-second-rule countdown. That draws a slow blink, but…

If anyone's going to see a person as a person — wolfperson included, catperson included — it's Jimmy. Yes, he has to suppress some instincts regarding large claws and fierce teeth, but that only takes a moment. Then he's smiling up at Nick. "Quite alri—" And then there's a hot dog being held in his face. He goes cross-eyed looking at it. "…ah, thank you, but I'm fine. Sure you don't want it? That was quite a catch." One hand idly half-covers his notebook. Openly covering it completely would just draw more attention to it.

"You mean your hot dogs, right Isis?" Because it's not like Nick is going to eat any of those. It's not like he wants them - he ordered them for the catwoman - but it's also not like he's going to get a chance even if she did. She eats like a small herd of horses.

This is why he is jealously guarding that club. Which is what makes it a tragedy that he drops it just as Jimmy asking if Isis wants it back and as Pepper is walking by. Drops it right at her feet as his ears fold back and he whines, covering them.

"Do you hear that?"

Jimmy and Pepper won't hear anything. But a pigeon does land on Jimmy's table. And then another. And then a third. And then one in front of Pepper.

And then one on her shoulder.

Isis eyes the hotdog mournfully. Yes, Nick has 4 others for her but this is the one she was going to eat … "Yes, I do." It's gone in no time flat. "Can I have anoth—-"

Nicks dropped club would normally occassion comment, except for the pigeons that start arriving. Isis stills as one lands on the table and then another and then another, catseyes darting between them, ears tilted forward.

One step. Then another. Then another as she gets closer and closer. So much like a kitten stalking a toy.

She leaps when she's close enough. Right onto Jimmy's table.

Pepper looks startled when Nick suddenly drops the rest of his food and looks like something auditory is causing him pain. She goes from annoyed with her boss to concerned almost instantly, and then goes startled and confused when a pigeon lands on her shoulder. That NEVER happens.

Lifting her phone, she taps at the screen once then talks at it like a speakerphone… or a Star Trek communicator. "JARVIS? Is there a sound in the area around me that is above normal human hearing range?"

Jimmy doesn't hear anything. He hears THE VOICE OF THE HEART, not ultra- nor infrasonic frequencies. But after the hotdog incident, he has more of an eye for dropping foodstuffs, an alertness which aids his reaction time. So when the club begins to drop, he dashes from his table, leaping with baby-saving reflexes to catch the sandwich and twist to land on his back. Nick's lunch is saved!

He sits up slightly. "No, I don't… hear…" He blinks up at Isis. "…are you quite alright, there?" He doesn't /think/ he had any catnip on the table.

Nick would be very, very impressed with Jimmy if he could think right now. In fact he'd wonder if Jimmy was perhaps a mutant. And he'd be grateful for having his lunch saved.

All he can do, however, is sink to the ground holding his head which feels like someone is driving an ice pick through it.

"Affirmative, Miss Potts. There is an anomalous sonic frequency permeating the area. It seems to be coming from somewhere in front of you, in your immediate vicinity."

The pigeons flutter away when Isis leaps. But seconds later…"

"Oh God, what is that?!" One of the patrons screams. The sky darkens as a SWARM of squab descends upon the cafe area. It looks like a scene out of The Birds and while the pigeons are initially just flapping and cooing a scream somewhere in the storm of birdflesh tells everyone that the birds are starting to attack.

There must be THOUSANDS of them. And they're all orbiting a central point, which is a table with no one sitting at it about ten feet away. Isis, Jimmy and Pepper can all see it through the mess of feathers and wings.

Immediately in front of her? Pepper steps toward the two men — the woman having leapt away to … pounce at the birds on the table? Okay then — but then gasps and closes her eyes as her shoulders go up around her ears at the arrival of the SWARM of pigeons.

"JARVIS!" She sounds just a little bit freaked out. "Can you emit a counteracting frequency?" If the AI manages this, she'll tuck her phone into one of Nick's hands on his head and then try to make her way to the table that all of the pigeons seem really weirdly focused on. If he can't… she'll head for that table anyway.

"I'm fine…" Isis answers Jimmy as she flicks her head, the sound annoys her too but she's very preoccupied with those pigeons.

Or she was, until Nick collapses. "Nick!!" The woman leaps, landing on the ground by the big brown werewolf. She's growling now as the sound intensifies. "Nick!!"

Taking the phone that Pepper shoves at Nick, Isis growls a little more. "He can't make any phone calls, he's in pain." But the sound seems to lessen, so she clutches, hoping Nick can take it a moment.

"That table." She points from where she crouches.

She doesn't move yet, she's trying to focus and decide the best way to handle this.

Jimmy has already saved one thing today. He's on a roll — unlike the sandwich, since it's a club, not a sub. Now there's something going on for people to really scream about. Time for a second good deed. He rolls back up to his feet and lays the sandwich on a table, hopefully one that won't get too molested by pigeons. He nods to Pepper and her counteraction. "Good thinking. Or…" He raises his voice. "Does anyone have earplugs?" That would at least protect Nick from any further aural harm.

But it's a symptom treatment, not going for the cause. Well, if there's an eye to this storm, why not? He pulls his coat's collar up as high as he can get it and pushes forwards, to press through the birds and towards the table. Hopefully, something more will become clear as he gets closer.

Nick clutches at the phone and Isis' shoulder simultaneously. The frequency it's emitting lets him at least get up and move. Which is a good thing because Isis feels something hit her back. It's a pigeon. Pecking at her. Another one swipes at her with a foot. Nick is getting the same but his fur is pretty thick so he feels it less.

But OH is he annoyed.

"It's got to be Reverbium!" He yells to Isis who can barely hear him despite being right next to him. Pepper and Jimmy are too far away to hear that now but Nick points toward them anyway. That way. They have to go that way Isis.

It's not hard to find the source of the trouble. In an empty takeout box there's a device that looks like a mostly disassembled miniature stereo. In the center of it, surrounded by wires, is a bar of metal a few inches long and about an inch wide. It's vibrating so much that it's become red hot. And it's getting hotter.

But it's a pretty crude hookup. It should be possible to pull the wires assuming this isn't some kind of trap.

Like, that's not a bomb, right? It's just a Crazy Pigeon-inator.

Speaking of those, they're starting to swoop and dive bomb Pepper and Jimmy now too.

Get him hot dogs Pep, he had said.

Pepper has her arms up to try to shield her face, but today WOULD be the day she chose to wear a cap-sleeve dress, and with the birds starting to actually attack them… ouch. She doesn't make it to the table, as the pecking and scratching and swatting of wings and pulling on her hair is getting to be more than she can handle.

Tony can get his OWN damned hot dogs from now on.

She yelps as one pigeon gets a particularly good peck in on her ear.

"Of course it is…" Iris growls as she leaps this way to try and get the pigeon on her back. And that way, shaking her foot and trying to boot the aviation pest like a soccer ball. "Get off me… " Unfortunately for everyone about them, Isis isn't controlling her empathic broadcasts.

And with Nick getting annoyed… things are getting amplified. Angry canine and angry feline emotions roll out everywhere.

"Kill the box…" Isis yells to the other two, trying to get through the flock. If they don't do it soon, she's going to bite it.

Jimmy can't hear the shouts that Nick and Isis try to send their way; there's too much feathery sound, too much cooing, too many wingbeats. He at least has his coat, but that's rather limited in the armour department. He takes more than a few pecks and scratches along the way, especially as he refuses to let any of them actually /stop/ him. Yes, he could call up a shield, but… this is rather a public venue for that. So he's left just with his arms to shield himself with as he pushes through, and—

Takeout container. What kind of jerk brings another restaurant's takeout to a place like this? He pulls it open, pokes through it, and there it is. The Crazy Pigeon-inator. There's nothing else in the vicinity which looks like it could be the culprit. Though he can't hear the voices of others around him, he can still 'hear' the screaming from inside their spirits… and on that same wavelength, he can hear the rising frustrations.

That, perhaps, nudges his reasoning down a certain path. He slams the box down on the ground, and then… reboots it. In that he kicks it, and kicks it again. And then again for good measure.

The sound abruptly stops when Jimmy slams it onto the ground and the pigeons all seem to freeze. They don't really stop moving but many of them land for just a split second and there's enough of a break to the chaos that it seems like it all stopped at once.

And then they all fly off as fast as they can in other directions when Jimmy starts kicking. And for good reason. The second time his boot connects he hits that bar of metal and…

WHOOOOOM. It's not an explosion but it is a blast wave. An enormously loud sound tosses tables onto their side and people onto their asses. Except Nick.

Because Nick had already pulled Isis down and covered her ears. He knew what was coming.

Jimmy's quick actions get the pigeons to stop attacking, and Pepper looks out from under her arms as if wondering if this isn't just a momentary lull. Then, unlike Nick, she is not at all prepared for the blast wave and knocks her completely off her Louboutins. You know, to add injury to insult.

She doesn't get up again right away.

"Nick… what are you doi——" Isis is dragged to the ground by the big brown werewolf. Her nails extend and she scratches at him. Between the sound and the anger and frustration, the feline-like mutant has been pushed more towards the feral.

He's probably lucky she doesn't try to bite him.


That's enough to have Isis freezing and peering over Nicks shoulder. "That … oh right. It does that, doesn't it?" beat "Is everyone ok?"

And Jimmy's right there at the epicentre. On one foot to boot, given the other is mid-stomp. It knocks the foot out from under him, leaving him to briefly cartwheel in the air and slam, thankfully shoulder-first, onto the ground.

Maybe it's a good thing he's doing this as Jimmy and not as whatever he'll call his other ID. This is not a terribly dignified form of rescue. After a little while, he does push himself upwards. Maybe his brain's just scattered from the jolt, or maybe it's still recovering from the storm of others' emotions. Because there's only one question he can think of.

"Is the sandwich okay?"

"Good question, Isis…" Nick gets up and helps Isis up as well. He looks first to the sandwich because Jimmy asked about it. By some miracle…

"Uh, yes, actually. Thanks." Of course it's now in danger. Isis is gonna be hungry and the pigeons carried off her hot dogs in little bits.

"Oh, crap. Are you two okay?" He prods Isis to go help Pepper up while he helps Jimmy up. That looked like a nasty fall.

Also, he's still holding Pepper's phone. And it's talking.

"Miss Potts. Miss Potts are you unhurt?"

Pepper starts to stir when she hears JARVIS trying to get her attention. She's frazzled, her hair is a mess, she's got scratches and tiny cuts all over her arms, and she seems disoriented. She's likely going to be a giant walking bruise in a few hours, considering her pale complexion. "JARVIS? I'm, um, I'm okay." She sits up a bit wincingly and looks at the others.

"What just happened?"

Isis manages to get her claws away as Nick nudges her. It doesn't take long for her to help Pepper.

She looks sad though when she realises her food is. "Nick. I'm hungry." she says and then looks to Pepper. "That was a noisy metal that exploded."

Noisy metal. That should sound familiar to Pepper.

She's distracted by Jimmy though now there's no bright shiny's to focus on. He's … interesting. Feline curiousity engaged.

Jimmy gets himself straightened up again. "Good. Good." He pulls himself to his feet, brushing down his coat, and heads on back to his table. He is not a bright shiny, thank you; he's keeping that nicely under wraps. But he can tell that there's /curiosity/ headed in his direction, which means it's time to skedaddle; he grabs his notebook — torn up a fair bit between the birds and the cat on his table — and heads on out. His milkshake, sadly, got spilled all over the place.

Nick recovers his sandwich and with a sigh, holds the box out to Isis. He's going to need to go back inside, that is if everyone hasn't panicked and run out the back.

Actually if they have he might be able to just make his own food…

"As she said. It's a kind of metal we've seen a couple of times before. Reacts to sound oddly. I've never seen it used to create horror movies though." Though he hadn't been around when someone used it to call a swarm of rats.

"Miss Potts, I've analyzed the sound amplification wave and it's very similar to the metal SHIELD took into custody a few weeks ago." That's JARVIS. Being very calm about the near disaster.

Pepper manages to regain her feet and claims her phone back just in time to hear JARVIS explain his analysis. "Wait, what?" She looks from her phone to Nick and Isis and Jimmy. "That was…?" She closes her eyes for a second, then takes a deep breath. "JARVIS, please forward a description of this incident and your readings and analysis to both SHIELD and Captain Rogers."

And then she mentally rewinds as her sharp eyes focus on Nick. "You said you've seen this a couple of times before?" She's focused on the wolfman, her collection of minor injuries seemingly forgotten for the moment.

Oh. The man is going. Isis is tempted to follow him but Nick has given her a BOX! She takes it but she doesn't sit in it. Tempting as it may be. Somethings she's actually able to control. Until … later.

"A couple yes. We found a bar in a car that Nicks salvaging. Who was it owned by, Nick?" The feline-like mutants memory is like goldfish. "And we found some at an abandoned research facility."

"There's a sandwich in the box…" Nick says quietly to Isis. He knows she'll want it. Hopefully now and not after she's sat on it by accident. Or… 'by accident'.

"It was owned by Lobo Technologies. Company car, as it turns out." Nick says. Now it's his company car and it's being reconditioned. And having the crap investigated out of it because… well yes.

The wolfman reaches into his pocket and pulls out a card. "Nick Gleason, by the way. Paragon Investigations. This is my partner Isis." Who is a cat. Who is SO much a cat.

"It's come up in a… case we're handling, yes. A couple of times."

A case? Well sort of. They're not getting PAID to investigate it unfortunately but they are investigating all the same.

"I am forwarding the data Miss Potts. I should point out that the material is still on the ground in front of you."

Pepper looks from Isis to Nick as they explain and JARVIS speaks up. Accepting the card, she tucks it against the back of her phone then offers the wolfman a handshake, seemingly not at all bothered by his less than purely human appearance. "Good to meet you, Mr. Gleason, Ms. Isis. Virginia Potts. I happen to be looking into this strange metal also."

She steps over and very gently presses one shoe to the bar of metal to see if it's cooled down before crouching down and repeating the heat test with a finger. Only if it seems to be cool enough to handle does she try to pick it up. She … doesn't see any of whatever electronics were used to make it shrill the way it did. A shame, as Tony might could have identified some things about the components.

"Well, I still need to pick up lunch for my boss, and it looks like both you lost at least half of your meals." This is, after all, what her expense card is for.

"Just Isis." the feline-like mutant says as she munches on the sandwich. She doesn't seem to worried about her appearance out her. Then she remembers her manners "Nice to meet you Miss Potts."

"You are?" That's of interest. Isis looks to Nick. Can they use that?

"You are?" That gets Nick's interest as well. He perks his ears and glances to Isis. The two of them really are like cat and dog. It's a good thing one isn't chasing the other around the place because Pepper might get the sense that under the right or catastrophically wrong circumstances, that's on the table. (Also Isis. Isis is on the table. When she wants to be. Otherwise she's in a seat. Or on the floor.)

"Virginia Potts…" Why does he know that name? He looks to see if Isis knows.

"How did you come to be looking into this?" Can they use this? Possibly yes.

Pepper studies the pair for a moment as if trying to determine something about them. She makes a mental note to have JARVIS look up what she can about Paragon Investigations.

"It was brought to my boss's attention not too long ago," she offers, not at all sure about divulging everything she knows to these two people she's just met. "And it was enough of a concern to keep our attention."

"I see." Nick still doesn't know why that name is familiar and he knows it's going to come to him at the worst time. Like when he's trying to shower. And out of shampoo. Again.

"Well… there's the bar of metal right there. I gotta say it's not like we're March of the Dimes or anything like that so we don't have access to anything forensic. If your boss does…"

That is not strictly speaking true. Nick knows of a school with VERY good labs that he can ask politely to analyze them. And he has a bar of the metal. In a soundproof bag. With ALLLLL the packing peanuts.

Pepper looks at the bar of metal in her hand. "I'm sure we can get someone in R&D to give this a thorough once-over." Like Tony himself. Or, more likely, it'll be handed off to SHIELD to study, though if it's the exact same fake-vibranium alloy as the replica shields, there won't be a whole lot of new information to glean from it.

"JARVIS, please place a rush delivery order for Tony from the Nathan's in Times Square." She doesn't have to specify beyond that, knowing the AI is even more familiar with the inventor's food preferences than she is.

And now that her boss's lunch is sorted — and really, she should have done that in the first place — the myriad cuts, scrapes, scratches, and bruises on her arms are starting to make themselves known with a vengance.

She's gonna want to get some bactine or something on those. Pigeons are dirty, dirty birds. Nick only ate them when he was starving and even then he charred the ever living hell out of them. Isis, on the other hand is a different story. Because cat.

That's really all that need be said about that.

Nick's ears flick though when Pepper gives away that wherever she works it has an R and D department nd he glances up to Stark Tower. It IS rather close by…

"Just be careful with it. Though if you've seen it before I suppose you know that. I've got some hints, though, that there might be some seriously bad people mixed up in this."

Isis gets another glance. Just to make sure she's… okay. Those memories cut deep.

Isis is munching on the sandwich and watching the pair of them. The recognition factor for the names Pepper is dropping is almost non-existent. Where the hell has the nineteen year old been for that to happen?

"It's bad metal." Is what she finally adds. "Bad metal that was doing bad things to …" she looks at Nick. "In that research facility. They were using it on people weren't they?" They hadn't actually discussed that but she's drawn the conclusion herself.

"I'll be careful," Pepper reassures Isis. "And if either of you think of anything else, or find out any new information about this metal, please contact me." At that, without her appearing to do anything, Nick's phone indicates a received text message.

With that, she takes her leave and heads back toward, yup, Stark Tower. As she's going, she says to her phone, "JARVIS, clear my schedule for the afternoon and contact my doctor…"

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