Cleaning New York: New York Harbor

May 24, 2015:

A certain cleaning custodian using caustic chemicals causes cetacean concerns.

Weathered docks, New York Harbor, New York City

A particularly scuzzy section of the Harbor that could really use some cleaning…

Characters

NPCs: Captain -- //Rain's Feline Familiar//

Mentions:

Mood Music: [*\#https://youtu.be/btPJPFnesV4 "Eye of the Tiger" -- Survivor]


Fade In…

The toothpick cleaning woman who is affiliated with *redacted* and an undisclosed major multi-billion dollar tech firm for the tasks of Cleaning has also other projects as well as her self-avowed obsession with the cleansing of the City of New York.

No, not ethnic cleansing, you goof, cleaning, like, making pretty and shiny and all of that!

Her efforts upon this path thus far have been horribly haphazard and more a form of chaos than any actual plan or design. Despite that, someday… someday the entire city will have been cleaned at least once and then she can go back and do it again!

Today's focus, even as folks are just starting to make their rounds and whatnot for Memorial Day? New York Harbor. In particular, the industrial docks, which are determinedly *inactive* today as union dock masters and cargo-loaders are getting their contractually obligated day off. The few security guards that WOULD arguably have the task of pursuing any trespassers? Conveniently distracted by a Yankees game.

Ah, sports, the great American past-time that… But we digress.

Part of Jay Donohue's cleaning ensemble is a variety of acrid chemical mixtures that the average sane person wouldn't go within ten feet of, and we need not discuss what sort of environmental impact these particular sorts might have — something really heavy duty to get the oil and grease and other stains out of an industrial dock that probably hasn't been thoroughly cleaned since the Second World War.

Still, there is nothing greater than a challenge to the strange woman's skills, no mountain high… again, we digress.

There is singing, even as she is ferociously attacking a particularly onerous blotch of 'something'.

"Rising up
Back on the street
Did my time
Took my chances

Went the distance
Now I'm back on my feet
Just a man and his will to survive…"

***

Rain isn't really big on cleaning, but she does so she doesn't end up dying in her manor Hoarders-style. While she does turn some money over mending Memorial Day Weekend injuries, it's still not the profit generator other holidays are. So Rain and Captain are out and about.

Rain isn't sure what to make of the city some days, but it's home ever since her aunt's manor landed here. Rain isn't big on sports, though. But she does decide to visit the docks, maybe hit up the fishmongers. They aren't aware of Jay at first, although they are heading towards her on a flying broomstick. The two seem to be in high spirits at least.

***

Ulani has no idea what 'Memorial Day' is, the Blue may have something similar but not being all that familiar with Surfacer customs, she's come to this area to explore a little and invited someone to join her.

When they arrive, it's the smell of the chemicals Ulani notices first and the Blue Envoy cants her head at Mera before rising from the water and padding over to where the singing woman is working.

***

Mera picks up on the chemical smell also, but unlike the Blue, she doesn't step onto land to try and approach the small woman doing the cleaning. Instead, she simply stands several yards out from shore, standing on a pedestal of completely clean and clear water. ~ What information is she attempting to convey there, Ulani? ~

Rowan hasn't seen Jay. But he has seen a flying witch on a broomstick. And being a somewhat mischievous dragon, he's decided to buzz her. And Captain. Super lizard prank take one. Here we go.

He hopes he doesn't get set on fire for this. Or… oooh. Is that Mera and Ulani?

***

"So many times
It happens too fast
You change your passion for Glorrrryyy
Don't lose your grip
On the dreams of the past
You must fight just to keep them alive….

It's the…
Eye of the Tiger
It's the thrill of the fight
Rising up to the challenge of our rival
As the last known survivor stalks the prey in the night
And he's watching us all in the…
Eyyeeee of the Tiger…"

Where the scrawny custodian has been working?

Sparkly, shiny 'like new' dock space. Which tends to stick out in contrast to the other parts of the dock that she hasn't worked on yet. And of course, there's the ten-gallon drum of *something* that has visible waves of some sort of chemical reaction with the air, bubbling every so often. She spins with a wire brush, dips it into the caustic concoction, and splashes it against some more of the dark spot, scrubbing away with energy that has to be seen to be believed.

As she is singing and working, she hasn't quite caught onto the fact that she's the focal point of many slacker witnesses.

***

Rain is buzzed! Captain laughs, Rain eeps and wobbles in flight. "Whoa, hey!" "Hey, man!" The two greet him. First Rain, then Captain. They steady, both seeming glad enough to see Rowan. It is kind of funny to see the two and the broom bobble and fly along after Rowan buzzes them. "How are you?" Rain asks. They will fly along with Rowan, then pause. "Is that her highness and Miss Ulani?" Rain is polite when addressing Atlanteans, after all. At least a few of them saved her bacon, and she doesn't think ill of the ocean people.

Rain huhs softly. "I hear someone sing- oh. What is she-" What is Jay doing cleaning that? It looks dangerous.

***

~~ I'm not sure, Your Highness ~~ Ulani sends back to Mera, as she cants her head ~~ But whatever it is, it is polluting the water… Do you detect signs in the water there? ~~ The Blue, like most water-people is extremely concerned about the surfacer tendency to dump waste in the oceans.

The appearance of the sparkly section on the dock garners more interest ~~ It does make things shine though, Your Majesty. ~~ another thought back to the Sea Queen.

"Um, hello there…." She'd better make her presence known, Surfacers do that, right? The approach of Rowan, Rain and Captain has not yet been noticed.

***

~ I do not care if it is used to grow new Surfacer buildings. It is toxic, and yes, I can detect it from here. ~ Still standing on her water-pedestal, Mera moves closer to the docks where the tiny woman works so diligently. And fruitlessly. Why is she slinging about such vile chemicals without a thought to the consequences?

***

Rowan grins. "I believe it is." He slings over and dives for Mera… pulling up just short when he recognizes that look on her face. Now there's a dragon hovering over Mera looking to see. Ah Ulani. And a weird surfacer. With cleaning chemicals. Oooooooh. He sees a potential problem here. And a potential tidal wave coming from Ulani. Or Mera. Or both.

***

"Face to Face
Out in the Heat
Hangin' tough
Stayin' hungry
They stack the—"

Jay whirls on the person approaching her with wire brush held in her right hand, slitted eyes peering at the woman as she approaches. The bandana wrapped around the upper part of her head twitches a bit on the sides of her head, as if something was held captive there.

"HellothereI'mcleaningthiscouldyoupickanotherspottodoyourphotoshootorvillainyorwhateveritisyou'redoingkaythankyou?"

Dear god, a machine-gun couldn't fire that fast. No Speed Force presence, though.

She half-turns to appraise her work with a bit of a squint, then back to the growing pile of people.

"Youcanallcomebacklaterifyoupromisenottomessthisplaceupwhenyou'rehere!"

Perhaps she doesn't realize the magnitude of firepower arrayed against her, or perhaps she does not care? She's decidedly odd, though.

***

Rain smiles at Rowan. Her and Captain follow easily enough, though their noses wriggle both triangular pink with black dots and person nose. "That smells awfully harsh. That can't be good to have in there…" Let alone around its user. This might not end well. And Rain is sympathetic enough to both parties, but really, surely there's a better way…?

"We should introduce her to the magic of Eco-friendly cleaners, including good ole vinegar." But they will have to act soon. She waves to the trio, then.

***

Ulani nods in Mera's direction ~~ Let me speak with her ~~

Then the rapid fire words and the Blue Envoy just stares at the young woman… she hadn't understood a word. "Please stop using those chemicals. They are polluting the water and our homes." She's phrased it as nicely as she can.

The presence of the group above Mera is finally noted and Ulani turns her head to look at them… seeing Mera was not under threat, her attention returns to the woman.

***

Rowan rotates midair so that he's upside down, looking at Jay and Ulani from that perspective, as if somehow tilting the scene could make what's going on any clearer. He glances over to Rain and Mera and then back to Ulani. "It's… public?" 'Can come back later?' he's hovering over the water. That doesn't make much sense.

Also, how he's staying aloft doesn't make much sense. Magic? Maybe?

***

Mera glances at Rowan, then back down at Ulani and the tiny woman. "The substances in that container are pollutants and that Surfacer is blithely slinging them about." As if to prove her point, all of the polluting solvents AND the greases et al they already removed are lifted out of the already not very clean harbor water in a clear 'container' and set to hover slowly closer to Jay. Stop, or the filthy goop will be splatted onto all of that nice, clean dock surface.

***

The toothpick woman blinks a few times at Ulani.

"AreyouofferingtomakeaDealforthecleaningofthisarea? Ifso, thenwhatareyouofferingforaswapofcleanersknowingthejobwilltakelonger?"

This must be the 'street level' Dealing, not the fancy schmancy stuff she normally would work in.

Rowan gets a bit of a squint, then a shrug — a shrug for the dragon?

The presence of the gunk she JUST cleaned off the spot in the past few hours makes her grit her teeth, as the corners of her mouth try to fight upwards. Just that mere expression is kind of uncanny, and in that disturbing sort of way that the Joker could only dream of.

"Ifyoudumpthatallovermycleanworkthenit'sgoingtoendupbackinthewatereventuallyjustthesame. Forsomeoneworriedaboutthat, thatdoesn'tsoundveryforwardthinking, doesit?"

Jay shifts her footing slightly, assuming a more defensive stance and… starts to hover above the ground about a foot.

"Wedon'thavetofightaboutthis, butIwillprotectmyselfandmyhardwork."

Jay does recognize Rain from an encounter at Moontree Manor and subsequent encounters after that event. However, she doesn't want to endanger the witch or her cat by acknowledging that just… yet.

***

Rain is quiet for a moment, looking thoughtful. "Well, that's not good," Rain frowns. "Maybe we can suggest something like bringing a container for the waste products…? Though…" Rain and Captain settle quiet for a moment.

***

Ulani still doesn't understand a word of what Jay's saying, but she relays it to Mera telepathically anyway as she works it through. ~~ Do you understand what she's saying, Your Majesty? It sounds a little like how the dolphins talk, but less intelligible. ~~

Rowan hanging upside down in the air has the Blue Envoy looking his way, and there's another surfacer on a broom hanging in the air as well ~~Do you know who those others are? ~~

Ulani does, most certainly, recognize the stance that Jay takes and takes a similarly defensive one… she doesn't want to cause an incident but those chemicals. "Those chemicals you're using are harming the water and our homes. Please stop." ~~ Maybe Rowan can help here, Your Majesty. I don't want to cause any problems. ~~

***

Mera looks from Ulani and Jay to Rowan and then to Rain and Captain ~ The Surfacer woman and her 'cat'. Yes. They are allies. ~ It takes her an additional moment and an attempt at brushing past Jay's mind to make sense of the very rapidly spoken words. ~ She speaks the normal surfacer language, but accelerated. Like a sea turtle left in sun-warmed water too long. ~ She then looks at Rowan again. "Rowan. Please assist Envoy Ulani with persuading that Surfacer to cease sending pollutants into the water." Her eyes roam over the area again, and then the foul concoction of solvents and dissolved grime are very carefully 'poured' into a water-tight metal drum nearby. Mera has no idea if that container is rated to handle those vile solvents, but if it'll hold them long enough to get the Surfacer to stop and maybe procure a PROPER disposal container…

***

Rowan huhs and flies forward, finally landing on the docks right side up. "Oh I remember you. From the markets. Um… why are you… what…" He looks over to Ulani. He's good and poking people with sharp sticks and breathing fire all over them. He does have a fairly good idea what would get Jay to stop. But he can't do it. At least, not non-violently.

Since it involves submerging the docks.

***

As the conversation between the Blue and the Atlantean and Rowan and Rain transpires, the diminutive woman squints a bit, cocking her read to the side.

"IfyouwanttoDeal, I'mlistening! Environmentallyfriendlycleanersdon'tworkaswellandarehardertofind. IwouldliketohavethiscitycleanedsometimebeforeIdieofoldage, okay?"

She looks awfully young for a human adult to be worried about that kind of thing. She gives Rowan a glance. "I'mcleaningNewYork! Allofit! Becauseithastobedone! Evenyoucanseehowfilthyitis!"

The glop goes into the drum, which still hisses, steams, and pops every so often in menacing fashion. It is also rather warm now, mixed with the brackish water from the harbor. Whatever Jay was using there, it was definitely not OSHA-approved.

***

Rain watches the exchange with quiet concern. "That's a pretty big task. Is there any way we could use something less harsh and have a good container at hand? Captain and I can at least ferry things for you," She offers. "But we shouldn't dump things into the water since our friends live there. I think you would be upset if someone dumped chemicals and trash all over your home, no?" She is trying. Rain's not the best negotiator because she's desperately shy, but by gum, she'll try. "There's some pretty good enzymes, vinegar and other alternatives. It might be safer for you, too." They would all be sad if Jay got melted, after all, right? She smiles politely to Mera and company. There's a Ulani!

***

~~ Thank you, Your Majesty. ~~ Ulani narrows her eyes as she tries to separate the words Jay speaks. "Do you think you could speak more slowly? I'm not able to keep up." Rowans comment gets a raised eyebrow well, if he's not concerned by the small woman "I am Ulani, Envoy to the Blue."

The hissing of the container has her turning to look at it. "That container won't hold for long, I think. Can we remove it?" she murmurs to Rowan. Taking a good look at Rain, Ulani remembers "Ah, yes, from when that man in purple and green was doing something by the docks in … Gotham …"

***

Rowan takes a few steps forward and sits down. This is going to be a bit problematic. Idly he scrapes at the dock surface. Huh. Very clean. Well, it was until he sat down on it. "There's… millions of people here. You're never going to be able to get it all clean you know."

***

Jay listens to Rain makes some valid points, as well as reinforcing what the Blue envoy and Mera had already said.

"All you had to do was ask. I can slow down because sometimes people can't keep up! I'm Jay Donohue, Custodial Expert and Cleaner Extraordinaire! I'd offer you my card but they're made of paper and judging from the water streaming down from you that wouldn't hold up very long. But that's—"

The barrel gets a worried look. "Um, I was just going to dump it in the water when I was done, I mean, the Hudson is already a cesspit it'd help clean it up, maybe?" Okay, she honestly hadn't thought that far ahead. "It's a combination of five different industrial solvents but I think you might be able to dump baking soda on it, maybe? I… don't normally think about how to get rid of my cleaners, because I use them?"

The discussion of the person in purple and green makes her eyes narrow and… she can't help it… That insanely fearsome horrid smile that's a combination of a pudding smile, a redcap's grin, and the Clown Prince's ruined face springs to life.

"You Deal with THAT GUY?"

Is she… snarling a bit? No, that's apparently her effort to try and pull herself together and not just lash out at Ulani with the wire brush.

"His clowns tried to kill me! A lot. With shooty pieces!"

Rowan's transgression is missed for the moment with the possible revelation of alliance with that bastard guy from Gotham.

"If I clean it up enough, then other people will see it clean and keep it that way."

***

"I think he means he's had to clean up after him or deal with him," Rain offers on behalf of Rowan. "I can go fetch some containers. I'll be back ground. We can probably use kitty litter and baking soda to neutralize the stuff," She considers. "Hey, you leave my litter alone," Captain offers. "Not yours, a bigger container of it…" "Okay." Captain needs his privacy and his box, okay? Sheesh.

***

"I don't deal with anyone, I'm not authorized to" Ulani answers honestly. And then something occurs to her "You're trying to clean the streets up… and putting the dirt into our streets. Does that sound fair?" She's no idea how the Surfacers do things, but…. moving the mess somewhere else doesn't seem right.

Rowans comment about the number of people in New York has her looking at him "So many… in one city…"

***

Rowan has a better idea.

He flies over and hovers near the barrel. Hrm. Yeah. Thin metal. Bunch of chemicals. Looks pretty standard. His belly starts to glow and a moment later dragon fire covers the entire thing. And keeps going. And keeps going. And keeps going. Until the barrel's gone. And the chemicals gone… and… yes.

***

Mera refrains from saying anything, as she could very easily threaten the Surfacer and make things so, so much worse. And then Rowan immolates the sludge she'd pulled out of the water, barrel and all. That seemed to work well enough. She steps off of water-pedestal to look at Jay squarely. No smiles. "I am Mera, Queen of the underwater realm your people know as Atlantis. You said something about a deal. What must one do to stop you from polluting our waters further?"

***

The toothpick woman frowns. Unlike the horrific smile, that's… just a frown, not a smile turned upside down. "No, that isn't fair." See? She's not a completely horrible person! She knows 'right' from 'wrong' and she can see she's very much on that grey side of 'wrong' on this.

And then… DRAGONFIRE! WOOOOOOOSSSSHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Aside from the fact that being burned alive hurts like a sonuvagun, the ample disposal of the really horrible cleaning stuff does get her attention. But then an actual Queen offered to make a deal. And even politely ceded the initiative to her!

Okay, it probably doesn't work quite like that.

"Hmmm. What do your people use to clean without polluting the waters, Your Majesty?" So formal and polite all of the sudden. "Maybe if you were willing to provide that as a cleaning agent then I could use that around the water and such?" These are hypotheticals, of course, unless someone agrees to a Deal.

***

Rowans creative way of dealing with the barrel gets a nod of approval from the Blue Envoy. Now that Mera and Jay are talking deals, Ulani settles back on her heels and watches the proceedings. The fact that the young woman isn't smiling is lost on the Blue, interesting.

***

Dragon fire. The best sterilizing agent known to man. Except not so much. He's rather an urban legend. The big lizard wafts back over to the other two sea-folks. When this is concluded he'll likely accompany them… wherever they're going.

***

"We use either abrasives, typically ground coral skeleton, or sonic cleaners. Do Surfacers not have similar?" Mera is looking down at Jay, but actually only because she's taller. Not because the small cleaning woman is in any way inferior to her.

***

Jay gets looked down on a lot. It goes with being short. If it really bothered her, she'd hover at eye-height. "Most of the good cleaners are kind of like what just got burnt up." We won't talk about how many safeguards she may have broken mixing them all together…

"I've tried using pumice stones in the past, but I wear them out too fast. And… never heard of a sonic cleaner before. That'd probably make my teeth ache, though. A lot of commercial sponges I burn through even faster. Oooh! Oooh! Do you have natural sponges?"

That was an odd tangent, there.

***

Ulani knows where there are sea sponges but she's not sure where this is leading too, and it's important that Mera negotiate this deal. Looking towards Rowan, Ulani goes to stand by him "I just came to explore a little today." she murmurs to the Dragon and then slightly louder so Jay can hear "The coral skeletons are very effective, perhaps I could retrieve a sample for you try?"

***

Rowan nods slowly. "When her majesty is done there, perhaps I can go with you?" Sponges. Huh. Who knew that they could be currency. Or perhaps it's just currency to Jay. Jay is kind of the definition of his mantra 'surfacers are odd.'

***

Mera nods to Rowan and Ulani. "But I suspect they would not work for this purpose." She looks around at the dock surface.

***

Sometimes Deals are in food. Other times, in lodging, or in equipment. The inquiry about natural sponges would put this into the latter category. Jay's cleaning equipment is Surfacer gear, and some of it is bound to be just as bad to the environment as the chemicals she just used. But natural sponges? Those things hold up amazingly well, even when they're beat to heck.

Ulani gets a bit of a head tilt, then the toothpick nods to her. "That would be awesome thank you very much."

And then the glance is back to Mera, to see what she has to say.

"I clean other things. If I have better things that are better for the water-people, then I don't have to use the stuff that is bad for the water people. It will mean I have to work harder in some ways, but it will be cleaner in the long run."

***

Mera nods to Jay. "I will have sponge corpses brought to you, and I will inquire about the coral-bone abrasives and the sonic cleaner. We must speak again. Another time, though." She then nods to Rowan and Ulani.

Time to go.

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