It's Not the Fall. It's the Landing

July 07, 2015:

Barry Allen meets the elusive Arrow as they both investigate a murder.

Parking Lot of Systematic Solutions

A grisly murder scene in the middle of a parking lot at the foot of a large New York skyscraper.

Characters

NPCs: Sadler, McCarthy

Mentions:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Get your ass over to the latest suicide call. Tim Sadler. Caucasian male, late thirties. Jumped out his office window and pancaked. Responding officer found scratches on the inside of the wrists that may be defensive wounds. Get over there and earn your paycheck.

Signed,

A Superior Officer Who Doesn't Like You

That's the memo that gets CSI on the scene at Systemic Solutions. Their New York facility is a massive laboratory where advanced prosthetic limbs, exosuits, and mission specific weaponry are developed. Mostly for military contracts.

At this point, everyone has cleared the area except for a uniformed officer keeping an eye on Sadler's landing site, another in his office, and a few key personnel. Jim McCarthy, head of security for Systemic Solutions, is waiting in the lot next to Mr. Sadler and his uniformed escort.

The young CSI's pair of Chucky Converse shoes plod along as Barry Allen pulls the bag up on his shoulder. He's wearing a lighter suit coat and a blue undershirt over a pair of jeans and strides towards Jim McCarthy. "Hi, I'm Barry Allen from NYPD. CSI?" He looks as if he's about to ask about the body, but looking past the man, he sees the mess on the ground.

He makes a sour face.

"Did anyone see anything?" he asks pulling out a pair of gloves from the inside of his jacket.

McCarthy is an incredibly average-looking man. Barely 5'10", modestly built, and mild-featured. He's wearing a mundane, workaday grey suit and black tie. The only thing about him that isn't overwhelmingly normal is his eyes. They're a vivid blue and tend toward uncomfortably long bouts of staring. Still, he smiles as he greets Barry. "Mr. Allen. Jim McCarthy. I run security around here. Sorry we couldn't meet under different circumstances."

The smile slides off his face as he leads the way toward the body. "Dr. Sadler's office was on the eleventh floor." He points toward an open window. "He was alone when he jumped, at least as far as I know. That was about two hours ago."

The officer nods to confirm this. "I was the first one on site. Body didn't look like it had been moved, but you can see scratches on the inside of his wrist if you stand right here and tilt your head like this." He moves to the indicated spot and demonstrates, then steps aside.

Self inflicted? Maybe he wanted to cut himself and thought better of it. Not likely, but a thought. Barry twists his mouth as he thinks. "Yeah, I meet quite a few people under bad circumstances in this line of work." He leans down close to the body to get a better look at the wounds on the arms. Out comes the digital camera where he begins to take pictures of the body.

"You know the guy?" Barry asks over his shoulder back towards McCarthy.

"Not well," McCarthy replies. "He seemed pleasant enough on the occasions I spoke with him. Everyone I interviewed who'd met him said more or less the same thing. Must not have been big on making friends in the workplace." He moves back to make room for Barry's investigation, but not before glancing up at the officer.

Sadler's body has most definitely seen an eleven story drop and his condition is consistent with that. The scratches are one of only a few oddities. His hands are clenched into tight fists that makes the tiny cuts stand out even more clearly. Only one of his eyes is visible, but it's heavily bloodshot.

Barry begins to swab the wounds on the arms, seeing if he can get any sort of metallic residue to show up on testing back at the lab. Out with the baggies and swab swab swab after putting some sort of clear, gooey liquid on the q-tips. They plop into the bag as he goes to try and take a look at the other eye.

"You think it was someone here at work?" Barry wouldn't have immediately thought that. But the slip was telling, if it was a slip at all.

McCarthy crosses his arms over his chest. "I think a man jumped out his office window for reasons I'm not aware of," he says. "Frankly, I don't care to know. As long as there hasn't been a violent crime, this is none of my concern. If it becomes my concern, I'll be in my office." He's already walking away. "I'll be the guy who isn't jumping out the window."

Meanwhile…

Sadler's other eye is a near solid red and the pupil is fully dilated. At this range, a swollen tongue can be seen though slightly parted teeth. Some of the capillaries in his nose have burst as well, leaving telltale red lines similar to but different from those you'd see on a lifetime alcoholic.

By now McCarthy is gone and the uniformed officer is getting fidgety. "Will you be okay for a few?" he asks. "I've had to take a leak since about five minutes after I got here, and I could kill for a cup of coffee. I'll bring you back one if you promise not to tell your mom." It's a friendly jab at Barry's youthful appearance, but it's a jab all the same.

"Yeah," Barry says absently as McCarthy makes his way out of there.

"It wasn't so much the jump that was violent, but the stop sure was." He takes out a flashlight and begins to inspect the nose and mouth of the deceased, making note of the bloodshot eyes and the burst capillaries. The CSI looks up at the uniformed officer and nods, "You know what? Coffee would be great. Thanks." He leans back on his heels and brings the back of his wrist up to his mouth, thinking.

"Thanks, slugger. I owe you one." Grinning, the man trots toward the front door of the building and disappears inside.

As soon as he's out of sight, the Arrow stands up, revealing that he's been crouched in the shadow of a parked car's wheel well. He's been close enough to catch scraps of the conversation, but he'd thought that both men went for coffee. Now he's standing in front of Barry in full dress uniform. It so, so green.

No point hiding now. A quick tap at the throat of his cowl activates a digital scrambler that roughens and deepens his voice. "That man was dead before he went out the window. I watched him fall and he didn't move, he didn't scream. Nothing."

There's a doubletake and then Barry Allen tries to decipher who this new shadowy figure is. He's been alongside, against, and for so many of these types when he himself wears a mask sometimes it's hard to keep track. "Didn't see anyone in the window did you?" Barry is really at ease with a vigilante. It must be because he works with them a ton at the NYPD. Or something.

"I saw James McCarthy, but I can't prove it," the Arrow replies. "Trust me, he's stronger than he looks."

With the ice successfully broken, he approaches the body and takes a knee. "I didn't see him kill Sadler, but I saw him throw the body out the window. How do you think he died?"

"To be honest, I had a bit of a feeling. He made some comment about Sadler not being well liked at work. Sounded like a slip of some sort. You the type to tail a guy?" Barry asks. "Sorry," then he smiles, realizing he's being a bit forward. "Barry Allen, NYPD. I work with you guys now and again. I'm sorry, I don't recognize you, and I'm sure we've never met."

"Me? My guess is some sort of poisoning. Perhaps mixed with his normal alcohol, it may have caused intense pulmonary or cardiovascular issues, but I'm not really sure. I'm sort of afraid that by the time we get detox back in a week or so a lot fo this will be covered up."

"You're no slouch, Barry Allen, NYPD." The vigilante leans a little closer to Sadler's face. "You can call me whatever you want. Now if there were marks around the neck I'd say he was strangled. As it is, I'll bet you find an injection site somewhere on him."

He pulls a syringe from a pocket near his waist and draws a small amount of blood. It's no easy task, but he manages.

"It won't take me a week." There's only curiousity in his rough voice. "If you keep it off the books, I'll update you. My way of saying thank you for not calling the officers back."

"I was gonna get there," Barry says with a nod and a bit of a snicker. "Puncture wound was my next search."

"I'll have to do everything by the book, but I work with you types quite a bit. That you're talking to me at all makes me have some certain assumptions." Barry nods, "I'm in the south tower. Up on the top floor. I'd give you my card but you seem like the kind of guy who can find me."

"I am," the Arrow replies blandly. A small smile tugs at his lips, which are one of the few parts of him that are visible. "But don't assume too much. I only play nice when people keep their distance."

He stands and puts the syringe away, but he doesn't leave. Not yet. "I've been following McCarthy for most of a day, and I plan to stay on his tail," he finally admits. "But if you have someone else in mind, this might be the last time you've got my ear for a while."

"Hey man, I'm over here," Barry says with his gloved hands up in the air and shaking his head. "Strangling is something that's personal. Revenge. Poison tends to be, pardon me for sounding sexist, a jilted lover's avenue. Maybe you're looking for a strong man, maybe you're looking for a woman. Maybe you're looking for both. Either way, I think it was someone who really, really hated him."

"Whatever's going on, it keeps leading me back here." The hooded crimefighter turns away, but keeps talking. "Take care, Barry Allen, NYPD. And be careful around McCarthy. I'll be in touch."

There's a series of metallic popping sounds as his bow telescopes to full size. He fits an arrow to the string, fires it, and attaches the trailing cable to his belt. A wordless wave, then he's airborn and en route to an adjacent building.

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