Rats in Bed-Stuy 1

September 15, 2014:

Barton convinces Sam and tricks Amy into accompanying him into an abandoned subway station to clear out a nasty rat infestation, but it turns out there are bigger beasties living below Bed-Stuy.

Bedford-Stuyvesant

Characters

NPCs: Amy

Mentions:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

It's made it to page 15 in the New York Post. Rats are infesting Bed-Stuy to a point where they've started going into individual apartments and attacking children as they sleep. One such victim had taken her child to two different hospitals looking for satisfaction, and all the doctors could say was 'Yup. Rats.'.

Helpful?

Not so much.

Now, Bedford-Stuyvesant is one of 'those' neighborhoods. It's not the best (and not the worst), and the good, decent honest people are mixed with the 'not so much'. As a result, there are spots of it that are just not where people with any sense would go. But, that happens to be where an entrance to the now defunct Bed-Stuy subway stop is located. The portal is rather colorfully marked with gang-tags, including a 'this way' with a big arrow to the entrance.

After all, according to the news article, the rats are coming up from the old tunnels that are now in disrepair and disuse. This is from one of the city's 'experts' that also noted that all prior remediation for rats has been chewed through. By those same rats.

Now, Clint Barton is 'off duty', but he has bow in hand and a quiver full of arrows, and a determined pace as he begins to hop down those stairs into the darkness that is defunct train station. Luckily, he's got a mag-light. A big one.

-

"This is going to be straight up disgusting. You know that, right?" Sam Wilson tells Clint as he follows him into the abandoned station. He's got a hooded bird of prey on one arm; Redwing is a perfectly evolved rodent-killing machine. It's no surprise that the archer thought of the falcon (and the bigger Falcon) when he decided to take up ratting. "Not that I've ever messed around in an abandoned subway station," he adds. Judging by his tone, he may have misspent part of his youth doing exactly that. He eyes the gang signs, nudging at some of the older, dustier segments of his memory to judge how fresh they are, and therefore how active the gangs might still be in the station.

-

Bruce Banner is, for the moment, hiding out down in these particular tunnels. They smell bad, but he's smelled bad things before. After the incident in Mutant Town, he hasn't gotten back to his warehouse, so he's still wearing basically a shredded pair of pants, along with a filthy workshirt he snagged from the truck of a sewage worker one day, identifying him on the nametag as "Felipe". The rats have at least provided some form of sustenance, although most of them don't get too close anyway, the sickly radiation that always lingers a bit on Banner's skin more noticeable to animal types. When he hears voices coming down the tunnel, he pushes himself back into his alcove, his face more than a little filthy. This is what surviving looks like, when you have no place to go.

-

Amy follows Hawkeye on down. Making a disgusted face, she stops at the steps, and sighs heavily. "Oh my god," she gasps, "This is so dusgusting. Hurry up and do your test, let me like note the parameters, and then I'm leaving."

-

The Midnighter did not read that article. He does not care about rats; at least not the four legged variety. Subway tunnels however are an excellent way to travel the city and remain unseen and it's not like subways are difficult to avoid. What desperate people there are who've taken shelter down here never even know he's passed. Voices ahead make him pause to listen. Perhaps they belong to the rats he is concerned about.

-

"Yeah, but I kind of consider this my home," comes conversationally as the final steps are taken down. "And I figure that a little community service couldn't be all bad." Clint catches the eying of the tags and he's more than happy to supply the info on it. "Those are a few months old. Jack-offs who did that are gone and now we've got track-suit mafia in, doing the same damn stupid stuff. I let them be, they leave me be. I just wish they'd do something about the rats, though."

And there's that word again! Clint can't help a grin and he crooks a finger toward the R&D tech. "I wouldn't stop there. Safety in numbers. And I…" to make a point, he turns on the maglight, and it burns brightly against the encroaching darkness of the station, "…have light."

Glancing back at Falcon, brow rise. "This isn't gonna screw up the bird, is it?" Never know!

It's chilly in the station now. Fall is quickly approaching, and while clear, there is a crispness to the air that speaks of cooler temperatures at night. Forecasters have been threatening near frost conditions for the area overnight, and the last few nights have actually dipped into the lower 50s. (Fahrenheit)

Beyond, where the tracks lie, the cast-iron gates that were in place since the 1920s have rusted, and parts of them have been pushed down. Easily scalable- and Clint does just that. He's up and over with ease, only to stop and offer a hand out to Amy.

"Testing awaits."

-

Amy puts a hand on her dress, holding it in place, the other hand taking the one offered to her. That way she can very carefully do her walking. "I'm never trusting you again," she mutters, pursing her lips tightly. "This is so disgusting."

-

Bruce Banner keeps to his corner, now able to see the shadows of Hawkeye and his part of cohorts as they make their way in. He's seen the archer before, one of Stark's buddies. Great, just what he needs. He feels a tic in his face, mouth twitching at the corner. Not enough food lately, not enough to drink. Makes him weak. Doesn't make HIM weak, mind you, just Bruce. Just that thin wall of humanity that exists between the world and the monster. All he can do, fruitlessly, is hope they don't notice him. Which isn't likely, since they're clearly here looking for something.

-

Sam glances back at Amy with a slight smile. "You're… not really dressed for urban spelunking," he agrees with a quiet laugh. "Let me guess — Barton didn't tell you where we were going, did he?"

He eyes the gate skeptically; climbing over with a falcon perched on one of his arms is not going to be easy. So he unhoods Redwing, who peers into the darkness, impassive and restless. He mutters a command, and the bird takes off, but only flaps a few feet in, remaining in the dim light near the entrance. It only takes Sam a couple of seconds to follow Clint after that. "I brought flares," he tells the archer, in response to his question. "Once this place is lit up a little better, he'll be killing things left and right. I fed him before we left, though — the darkness won't mess him up nearly as bad as actually eating subway rats might."

-

A bird? Who brings a bird of prey underground? And three people. No. Four. Fourth not part of the group. Hiding? Or ambushing? And he thought tonight might be boring. Staying quiet in the shadows, Midnighter waits to see what's about to happen and whether he needs to get invovled. Or even if he just wants to.

-

That lopsided grin on Barton's face says it all. And just in case it needs to be spoken aloud?

"Nope."

This. This is the way to win friends and influence people.

Though now, with Amy up and over, he gives the tech a quick squeeze of his hand before it's dropped. She'll be fine. Once she's fully on the ground and there's no more climbing to be done, he pulls a seemingly 'regular' arrow from his quiver and takes a shot down one of the long tunnels. It's easy to know when it lands as light flares up and something of a glow emenates once the flash is done. "Thing 'glowstick'. I've got a few myself. Yellows tend to give off the best light. But flares… those'll be really helpful too. I'll use the arrows to mark passage, we can use the flares to chase out the rats." Which will then allow them to kill the buggers.

Of course, that means that it's down that tunnel he points with the bow and starts out.

-

Amy takes a cloth out of her purse, and brings it to her face, then rubbing some chap stik onto her lips, an dunder her nose. "This is so disgusting" she mutters. "No he just told me we were testing the heads I made on his shafts, to see if the aerodynamics work with the new gear. This is so disgusting." She follows Barton, trying to pay attention but really too disgusted to pay close attention at this point.

-

Bruce Banner would try to be quiet, but it's hard to be quiet and regulate your breathing. He's using those meditation techniques he'd been learning, the ones that were supposed to give him inner peace and mostly just aggravated his asthma. But he needs to stay calm, and with at least one member of SHIELD breathing down his neck, his own hint of claustrophobia, the chittering of the damn rats and OH HEY LOOK FLAMING ARROW…he's broken out into a sweat. C'mon, Bruce, hold it together.

-

A bow. An arrow with a flare. There's been a few archers in the news over the last several months so it could be one of those. Normal human, unenhanced but well trained. As is his companion. The girl? Ah, a tech from the sound of it. And the victim of a joke. The archer's sense of humor is close to his own. He sinks deeper into the shadows to avoid the light. The sound of a pounding heart becomes even more noticeable. Hiding then, not ambushing. Likely about to make a break for it.

-

Sam Wilson brings a bird of prey underground! And to the Middle East, and North Africa. He can bring his bird where he wants to; Midnighter can get his own bird if he wants to get judgey.

Redwing, for his part, doesn't seem too perturbed, hopping back to Sam's arm and peering at the spots of light Hawkeye cuts out of the darkness. A rat does, in fact, skitter out of the way where the glow-arrow, and with a whisper of feathers, Redwing tears off after it. There's a shriek of a hunting cry as the two meet somewhere in the darkness. It's pretty clear who's going to win.

While everyone's distracted by that, Sam edges closer to Clint and whispers, "There's someone else down here." He nods at the point where Redwing disappeared. "Deviation in his flight path, avoiding someone he doesn't recognize."

-

"Tell us how you really feel, Amy." Clint just can't seem to get the grin out of his tones. This… this'll probably get him swatted once they reach streetlevel again, or a putty arrow will end up being peanut butter or something.

So. Worth. It.

The whisper of feathers does gain Hawkeye's attention, and keen blue eyes follow the flight; a different sort of smile replacing the playful one the moment the shriek of 'the circle of life' echoes in the tunnels ahead. Brows crease at the whisper at his side and a quick nod is given in acknowledgment. The next arrow is pulled from his quiver; another 'marking' arrow, but he waits. Bird is downrange and he doesn't want to hit it accidentally while lighting the spot where the falcon dodged. Rule one of any projectile tossing- Know your target. Can't predict animals.

Instead, Barton begins to walk slowly, pretending that nothing is amiss in his stride, his tones conversational.

"Damn, that thing. Can I borrow him for a few days? And.. does he like pizza?"

-

Bruce Banner raises his hands as he steps out a little bit. No way he's going to hide, so he tries a little acting. His hair slicked back with some of the muck around and his face stained with grease, he steps out into the walkway, his hands up and over his head, putting on his best Mexican accent. It's actually not bad, since he grew up in New Mexico, "Excuse me, I do not want to make a fuss, but, I am Felipe de Jesus Calderon, the district supervisor for this…part of the…tunnels, and…do you people have any sort of…idenificacion? Some ID?" he says.

-

Amy is keeping her face covered. The other hand atually goes to her phone, taking it out, and taking a couple of notes about the arrows being fired. Reluctantly actually doing her job. But mostly trying just to keep from smelling anything she doesn't want to smell. She stays close to Barton, but behind him, letting him handle this.

-

The bird knows they're not alone. Animals are smarter than humans. They'll be the ones to inherit the Earth once humans have killed each other off at the rate they're going. Midnighter almost smiles at Bruce's ploy. When all else fails, go for broke. Maybe he's angling for a stay in Bellevue. Warm bed, hot food.

-

"You can give him the meaty parts, but it's not great for him," Sam answers with an audible smile, also keeping his tone casual. He's not armed — not even with his Falcon gear, because what good is it going to be underground? — and so when Bruce comes into the light, he's only going to point a suspicious look at him. He doesn't believe the cover story for a second: no lights, no caution tape, and the state of that uniform? Plus, this is an abandoned station. Still, he's not going to make any immediately hostile moves with someone who lives someplace like this. Instead: "You okay, buddy?" he asks. "You're looking pretty rough. Did you get hurt down here?"

-

Barton's bow isn't readied in that particular direction, but it's not particularly down either. Brows rise as 'Felipe' steps from the shadows into the dim light of the glow stick. He, too, is a touch dubious, but he's willing to hear the guy out. And answer him.

"Barton. Safety Code Enforcer. Inspecting and doing some rat extermination. We've had some complaints from the apartment complexes that they're coming in through here." Uh huh. But, it's not all a lie!

"Now.." And yeah, Banner is looking rough, but Barton can't yet ID him. Not this far and not in this light. But damned if he doesn't look familiar…

-

Amy has a hard time watching since she's keeping her little cloth in her face, over her nose and mouth,t rapping the fumes from her chap stick, strawberry flavored, and keeping that scent in her face instead of… everything else in this mess.

-

Bruce Banner tries to keep his face turned down, as if the flare were hurting his eyes, "Very well, senor and, er, senorita. Carry on," he says. He's sweating, hands trembling slightly as he tries to step out of the way, to let them past and give him a chance of…not escape. He's not afraid for himself, after all, although the fear certainly radiates off of him. The Midnighter can probably pick up his peculiar scent, along with the light film of radiation he's putting off.

-

And the Midnighter is the president of the union. Obviously, he doesn't need to be here for this. But it's go back or sneak through. Normally, the latter wouldn't be a problem but there's the falcon. Besides, now that the homeless man is visible, it's obvious he's not a normal human. How many of those are radioactive? Who aren't dying and this man isn't. He'll see how it plays out and whether he needs to intervene.

-

Sam gives Clint a look. No, it's not all a lie. The archer got his own name right. He's not even going to bother telling 'Felipe' what Barton's brilliant cover story makes him: some sort of weirdo city exterminator with a helper bird? Must be some sort of airtight cover stories holiday that he hasn't heard about.

"Look, man, if you're just living here or something, we're only here to deal with the rats. We're not interested in bothering you and we're not going to kick you out," he says.

-

Still, the suggestion for the meaty parts doesn't go unnoted. "About the pizza. Meatball? Sausage? Tell me he doesn't do anchovy." He offers Falcon a lopsided smile and a 'what can you do' shrug. Truth, even partial truths, are more believable in the telling. It's just how the audience receives it which can be the way to hide the truth. If that makes sense.

Though, as Bruce starts to move aside, Barton steps forward before he stops abruptly in front of the scientist. His voice cants low, "If you want somewhere to go, top floor of the apartment on Quincy and Tompkins, doctor. My place. I'd love to talk to you." But now, he's got rats he has to kill.

A step forward is taken, and finally, another marking arrow is sent, followed closely with another arrow— and a shriek from a rodent sounds in the air.

"Falcon, one. Hawkeye, one. Amy, you okay back there?"

-

Amy makes notes about the arrows firstly, even tilting her phone up to take recordings, using an add-on she built for the purpose for advanced data recording, plugged into the Lightning connector. That way this trip isn't a waste. "I'm still here," she says, her voice muffled by the impromptu mask she has on.

-

"Nah, no fish. Chicken's not bad for him, though. I… I just realized, I don't even know what's in pepperoni." Sam laughs. "I don't suppose you go for quail pizza?" He gives Banner a searching look as he passes the man, but simply pulls a couple of magnesium flares out of one pocket. He flicks the cap off of one, causing an abrupt ignition of crimson flame, sparks and smoke flowing from it freely. He tosses the flare into the darkness, away from the area Barton has covered. He's clearly attempting to systematically brighten the whole station.

-

Doctor? Radioactive. One plus one equals five. Banner. Now wouldn't it be interesting to go up against the Hulk. But foolish. And no one's accused Midnighter of being a fool. Not more than once. The question is, would it benefit the world to take out Dr. Jekyll if it means doing away with Mr. Hyde? That's going to take thinking about.

-

Bruce Banner hears Hawkeye's whisper and nods, although he's not sure about taking the archer up on the offer. Eh, why the hell not? At this point, he's got nothing to lose and he's getting tired of running. "You folks be careful down there. There are monsters down here, I promise," he warns, like the old man at the gas station in a horror movie.

-

"Quail, probably not. But I might be able to score pigeon."

One rat down, two. While animals don't move in predictable patterns as far as Barton can see, these rats -are- moving with purpose. Another comes squeaking out from a side tunnel, followed by another. Hawkeye nabs one in the fair knowledge that the falcon is going to grab the next.

"Hey," Clint nods, "you too. Really. And I've got left over pizza on the table." How left over? He just got back from Greenland yesterday…

Though now, as the rats begin to squeak with greater number now that the next torch is lit, Barton actually looks a touch concerned. His gaze moves up; not sure if there is an apartment building up there, but damn, that's a lot of rats. "Um… they're just rats, right?" Because they're looking a -little- more concentrated that usual. "Damn, that's a lot…"

Amy's got her testing app and the like, so when Barton sends off one of those brandy-new arrows, something that drops a spring trap from its land and jaws rise? The archer makes an 'eeeeh' sound and leans back, "Probably not something to put in mass production, though it might work as a bear trap."

-

Amy isn't really looking. She's just using her phone, holding it, aiming it in the general direction of Barton so the flights are recorded. Yes, his arrows have tiny black boxes in them. At least, the test models do. And they're being used to kill rats. Your tax dollars at work. "Ok," she says, mouth still muffled, thumb moving on her phone to note that down about the arrow design not being one to make many of.

-

"Just monsters of our own making." Midnighter says. That certainly applies to Banner. It also applies to the rats what with poverty and poor sanitation. It even applies to himself. He steps into the light just enough to make him a shadowy figure. "You're disturbing their nest and brought a predator with you."

-

Bruce Banner startles a bit at Midnighter's sudden presence but he's calmed enough overall that it's not that dangerous. He's not afraid of the rats at all, or anything physical, and it's clear that Hawkeye isn't planning to try and do any apprehending of fugitives tonight, unless they're furry and tailed. "Rats are largely scavengers, not predators, so their instinct is to behave more like prey. They're not typically aggressive unless you push into their territories, if they feel you're threatening the brooding nest, where the babies are," he says, letting his cold scientist voice come through now that the ruse is over. "Most monsters make themselves, whether they mean to or not, but where they come from usually isn't as important as what they're going to do."

-

At first, Redwing was having a field day, killing individual rats left and right. But at this point, even the raptor is starting to notice that the number of prey animals in its presence is worryingly high. It's no fun killing one if its angry buddies are around! So he's perched on Sam's glove again, cleaning his talons restlessly.

Midnighter's appearance is similarly worrying for the big Falcon. "You say predator like it's a bad thing," he answers after a second to gape. "Which is pretty glass-house for a guy who just jumped out of the dark at us wearing black leather."

The Air Force veteran turns to bark into the few shadowy areas left in the station, "Anybody else? Might as well just jump out of the dark at us now. There's no need to form a line."

-

Okay, Banner is one thing. Barton's met him a grand total of about once, but! But! He's also read up on the guy. Subtle and shadowy, he's not.

This guy, however? Blame coffee, blame reflexes, blame whatever it is one wants, but when the voice rises from the dark, with the film-noir overtones, Barton's swinging a suddenly nocked arrow in that particular direction, but the string isn't pulled, nor is the tip pointed -at- the figure as the light creates the form from shadows.

"Stay behind me," is whispered back towards the SHIELD tech.

Having the good doctor actually, oddly enough, gives him a little boost, though if he -really- gives it much though, it should be rather disheartening. Nope, not going there. "Okay. So, my guess is, throwing a couple of incindiaries will probably piss them off and make them aggressive." Someone may not have thought everything through?

Perish the thought!

"I kinda like the idea of them staying in the shadows until we're done. You know.. one after another rather than everyone at once." Though, the arrow he's got prepped? It's loosed into the middle of the scurrying rats, sending up an electrical current, and a handful of rats scream and fall over. "I'm agreeing with the bird right about now."

A step backwards is taken, a hand coming out behind to help guide Amy back. "But there are kids up there that are getting attacked by rats in their beds." Just read the paper!

-

Amy definitely does stay behind Barton, looking up, still keeping her face overed though, when she does. She starts to ask what's going on but he seems concerned so she's not sure she should stay anything. She just stays back.

-

"Cut off the source, the supply dries up." Midnighter states. Monsters are like drugs and someone is always making more of them. "To the rats, a predator is a bad thing." he points out, ignoring the 'jumping' accusation. Falcon hasn't begun to see him jump. "We are the only humans down here at the moment." Having an arrow almost pointed at him doesn't get any reaction, especially since it then gets fired at the rats. He'd point out that killing a handful when there are millions needing to be killed is fruitless but isn't that what he does?

-

Sam backs away quickly as Hawkeye fires a taser arrow. "Barton!" he snaps, lurking strangers and rampaging rats making him uncharacteristically brusque. "Subway station! Metal rails! Don't you know physics?" Fortunately, the burst of electricity doesn't seem to have hit anything too conductive.

-

"What?!" Though the thought suddenly occurs to the archer and he does a little dance -off- the rails and onto something else perhaps a little more grounded. "Oops. Forgot. But it would have give a pretty good test for Amy's R&D report?"

Um.. no. Probably not.

"Okay.." and now, once the families of the fried rats are getting a little more grumpy with the interlopers, Barton is more than happy to continue to step away now. "Okay.. this is what I like to call 'observe and report'. We 'observed'… and I'm thinking we're gonna have to come down here again with a -little- more firepower." Which means, more trick arrows.

"Take out. My place."

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