TCLEC Convention (Or 'The Hoodie Game')

September 24, 2018:

The Tri-Cities Law Enforcement Coalition has their convention in Gotham City, and shots are fired. Literally.

Gotham City Convention Center

It's every other big city convention center, but very art deco.

Characters

NPCs: Jim Gordon, Harvey Bullock, Billy Russo, various other NPCs (law enforcement, legal, and journalistic).

Mentions: The Blacksmith, Frank Castle, J. Jonah Jameson

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Well, when New York City goes to literal Hell, Gotham City is apparently the next best location — and that is seriously saying something.

In the morning hours, representatives from law enforcement, media, and even civilian private investigators showed up for a keynote address from Commissioner Jim Gordon. The topic: how to best forge positive relationships with vigilantes while also maintaining law and order in this new era of law enforcement.

After the keynote, break-out sessions provided additional topics, all focused on the topic of vigilante justice. Some offered actual discussion space for how to prevent vigilantes, how to create alliances with vigilantes, and brainstorming around how to streamline communication between law enforcement, media outlets, and organized vigilante groups. Some sessions were more about info dumping: how can district attorneys actually prosecute those caught by vigilantes, are there ways to work with instead of against vigilantes, and how can there be more grief management to stop revenge-based vigilantes from emerging.

The blame was well-spread, with plenty speaking out against vigilantes, while others acknowledging that times are changing.

It is just at the end of a session, and people are moving about the convention center. Organic groups have formed, having discussions about what they have heard, what they are discussing, and whether or not this is going to actually do anything in the grand scheme of their cities. There's one more session to the day, and to Jim Gordon's surprise, the numbers at the convention have not dwindled all day.

At the small food court area adjacent to the busy conference traffic, he gets himself just one more cup of bitter coffee that he foregoes dressing. He nudges up his glasses, resetting them on the bridge of his nose.

*

Jessica Jones vehemently denies being 'a vigilante,' and nobody believes her.

If asked, she is a licensed private investigator in the states of New York and New Jersey, working to help people within the confines of what her license will allow.

But the truth is, everyone knows she's been doing vigilante-style work for over two years. Sometimes with law enforcement agencies, sometimes not. She just rounded up, as a quote-unquote vigilante, a bunch of evidence on dirty NYC cops that she brought to her lawyers to help the prosecution move forward with their arrests. And of course, she's hit the paper recently as a member of the 'Defenders,' a team which started out as a street name for a rag-tag group who had no idea they were being so named, and which seems to have solidified into a real team, with a name the team members accept and cohesion so-befitting.

Thus, one could see her hanging around any session that revolved around helping prosecutors and law enforcement work with vigilantes. And she's had input. Input which she hopes, at least, was insightful, helpful. She didn't bother with any sessions revolving around stamping out the vigilante phenomenon. Those were a waste of her time.

Over by the food table, near Jim Gordon, she can be seen talking to one of the grief counselors. "I'm sorry, but grief management isn't the ticket." She picks up a little appetizer and dips it into a cup of dip that's supposed to go with it. She's wearing nice jeans, a bright red blouse, and a black blazer rather than her leather jacket, along with her attendee badge. She can clean up, can Jones. "Not everyone who gets into it gets into it out of revenge, or grief. A lot of of people get into it because they have the skills and ability to help, and they can't stand not helping anymore. Not even for one more minute. Some lost loved ones to criminals. Not all. Some just feel a strong sense of responsibility, is all."

*

Getting out of New York City isn't exactly hard for someone like Peter Parker. There are plenty of legitimate ways, for him to sneak past the borders, to say nothing of those web-slinging varieties. No, that's not the hard part.

The hard part is convincing himself to leave the city and the people he cares about most behind in circumstances like this.

Eventually, though, he was convinced (cajoled (coerced)) by the considerate diatribe of Daily Bugle editor-in-chief J. Jonah Jameson that this was a conference he was not allowed to miss or, and to quote, "he would feed Parker to the fattest, ugliest demon he could find, and then write a story about that."

And thus, convinced or cajoled or coerced, Peter Parker made his way to Gotham. The last time he was here as a civilian, shadow monsters tried to eat him and then Batman said mean words at him.

He's hoping this trip goes even at least half as well as last time. %rDespite assurances that his aunt would be looked after (JJJ really is a sweetheart, but shh, don't tell anyone) Peter has been checking in via text or call every hour on the hour; after everything that's happened to him and everything that's happened to the city, he doesn't think it's worrying too much. If anything, it's just good sense. He's in the middle of finishing off another round of texting when he arrives at the conference, in his best white button-up shirt (only slightly wrinkled!) and brown slacks, tie worn only a BIT loosely around his neck to match the camera slung there as he pockets his phone anew. He tries not to think of how far he is from Queens as he takes a few snapshots of people at the food court in between chewing on his cream cheese slathered bagel. Instead, he thinks about more pleasant things, like all the anti-vigilante rhetoric he's heard today.

"Guess it's not surprising," he murmurs to himself, in between bites. Frankly, he's just glad this ISN'T New York for at least one thing: he potentially doesn't have to listen to accusations that he summoned hell to NYC through some sort of satanism proportionate to that of a spider.

Always look on the bright side.

*

Though not a PI, not a journalist, not a police officer, Bruce Wayne has attended the conference as a citizen and a well known major donor to both law enforcement and TCLEC. Dressed in a dark blue simple - but obviously expensive - suit he moves through the food court with a friendly smile on his face. He knows many of the police officers present and shakes hands with those that have a free moment.

While he looks incredibly out of place in a small food court, the CEO of Wayne Industries does look very at home shaking hands and elbow rubbing. He's already spotted Jim Gordon and he slowly makes his way toward the commissioner. His eyes scan over the nearby Jessica Jones and the grief counselor, lingering on Jessica and giving her a quick scan.

Finally, he stands right behind Jim Gordon and greets him with a bit of a grin. "Good speech, Commissioner, though I thought it a little dry at the end. You should have added a few more jokes. I heard a good one the other day about a lawyer and a judge at the gates of St. Peter."

*

The grief counselor nods, "Yes, but there are so many who are motivated by grief, Ms. Jones. Wouldn't it be helpful to have more effective and efficient counseling for the victims of every violent crime? Not just to prevent — ahem — limit, the creation of vigilantes, but to better the lives of the victims?" The counselor's hand gestures as he talks are small, unthreatening but emphatic, "Now, it would need funding, and funding doesn't usually come unless you can prove usefulness. So my question to you is, 'how would you prove that it doesn't help?' 'how can we prove that it does?'" That's two questions, actually.

*

Understandably, the SHIELD deatchment for this meeting is … a little thin. The repersentatives today are less field agents and more administrative, though at the end of their small delegation is a surprise guest: A metahuman, and one that has been in the news a few times before! Most recently sighted aiding the citizens of Mutant Town, too!

Dressed in a charcoal suit and slacks with a white blouse featuring wide lapels, Sloane Albright is dressed less for success and more to hide the bumps, bruises, cuts, and scrapes she's been taking over the last week. Her hair is tied back in a high ponytail, though her bangs are styled to cover the majority of her left brow— where scales are missing, and a white gauze pad is secured to her forehead. She's done her best to hide hits that are not hidden away behind iridescent blue scale with cosmetics. Aviator sunglasses sit on her face, and not to make her cool by wearing shades inside.

The heels of her shoes click as she passes the young man with the camera, pausing at the tables to get a good look at the spread before making her choices— first, a bagel and the fixins, then another brief glance at the photographer. "Er, uh — excuse me," the Agent says, gesturing toward the table just past Peter. "Need my tea fix."

*

Peter Parker and Sloane Albright gets a sudden table-mate as a big guy in a fedora — he wears it unironically — thumps down into the chair next to Parker. Harvey Bullock glances at the kid, his camera, and then his badge, and he grins ruefully. "Ah, the press… you know, we love you guys here. Though, gotta admit, I'd take the Bugle over the Gazette any day. You a vigilante columnist or something, kid?" He pops the cap on his Coke bottle, and takes a hearty swig. Then he looks to Sloane, but all the recent "sexual harassment" seminars that Gordon has put him through lately spares Sloane being called anything other than a polite, "Ma'am."

Jim glances toward Jessica, and her new shrink friend before his gaze cuts across Peter Parker, and then lifts immediately to the sight of Bruce Wayne. He knew Bruce was here, and smiles good-naturedly beneath the scruff of his mustache. He reaches out to shake Bruce's hand, squeezing his fingers lightly. "Thank you, Bruce… but you know that jokes I have are dad jokes, and I'm sure Barbara would move to Detroit if I dared used them before such a big audience." Gordon's smile turns more rueful. "You know, I didn't expect Wayne Enterprise to have a vested interest in vigilante justice, or is this a personal interest?"

*

"I dunno, counselor. When I lost my family all the grief counselors did was annoy me." Blunt but honest, Jessica Jones spreads her hands. "But I mean, maybe I just got a shitty one. I'm all for providing more comfort to victims of crime, in any case. I just think, you know, if your goal is to do it to keep vigilantes from cropping up you're wasting your time. If your goal really is comfort? Well, that's a great way to spend some resources."

Feeling eyes upon her, Jess glances back at Bruce Wayne. She inclines her head to him without seeking to pull him from his conversation with Gordon. Nevertheless, he is in fact acknowledged…by someone who looks no more impressed by him than by anyone else here.

Recognizing Sloane, she also lifts a hand to her with a faint smirk. "Hey, Dragon," she murmurs, but she won't try to drag her out of her conversation either.

*

From the fringes of the crowds, Peter Parker can hear a familiar voice, talking about the inspiration of vigilantes. How some are inspired by grief, or revenge, but others have more simple, altruistic motives. An overwhelming sense of responsibility.

Brows furrow faintly. Hazel eyes drift in the direction of Jessica Jones and her companion. And for a moment, introspective as he can be, the young photographer finds himself quietly questioning his own motives.

By the time Sloane rounds the corner, Peter's so lost in thought he doesn't even register her presence until about a second after she speaks. That thoughtful expression snaps into a blink of confusion as he looks up from where he leans — and instantly, finds himself awash with awkward embarrassment from his meek smile to the way he rubs the back of his neck.

"Uh, yeah. Sorry, I — sorry. Just a really good bagel, I guess." His smile becomes a sheepish grin, as he waggles that carb-loaded bread product and steps aside to allow Sloane access. His brows lift as he steps back. "Hey, I know you, don't I? From the news —"

— only to nearly bump into the heavy frame of one Harvey Bullock in the process. "Whoops, sorry, 'scuse me-" Peter begins as the Gothamite slumps down in his seat — but the man's question draws pause from him. "Ha ha, I guess we're a bit more colorful over there, huh?" he wonders over the commentary on the Bugle. A second passes by, before he realizes the rest of the question, and offers out a tentative hand. "Er, not quite. The columnist is…" He looks around, hazel eyes squinting. "… somewhere. I'm just a photographer. Peter Parker."

*

Crossing his arms in front of him in a relaxed way, Bruce can't help but give an amused chuckle at the imagined eye roll he is sure Barbara would give her father should he make dad jokes at a conference such as this one. "All the more reason to make them whenever possible. I thought that was part the reason to have children."

Though his attention is solely on his friend, Bruce's eyes glance this way and that, catching Sloane by Parker and then returning briefly to catch Jessica meet his gaze. His own look is steady, studying but not ogling. It's as if he's trying to recall where he's seen her before.

"I'm supportive of any law enforcement, you know that. Checks and donations are one thing, but showing up in person shows more. Plus, I wouldn't have missed your keynote speech even if it had taken place in Manhattan."

Focusing his attention back on Jim, he tilts his chin in Jessica's direction. "She looks familiar but I can't place her. Do you know who that is?"

*

"Then maybe we need more funding in education for grief counselors, Ms. Jones." The counselor pauses then, admitting, "However, there are times when people do need to be alone with their grief, so long as it isn't consuming them or dragging them down. Sometimes we need to figure things out for ourselves, but even then, isn't it easier knowing that someone is there if you want help? What I think we need," and what he made quite clear during at least one session already today, "is a study. Double-blind of course. Of significant size, because vigilantes are, if you'll excuse me for saying so, quite rare." Because you never want to offend a vigilante, even one who claims not to be one. "One population of victims of familiar violence who gets counseling specifically designed around curbing vigilante attitudes, one that gets grief counseling only, and one that gets none at all. Is that something you would be interested in getting out in front of?" For all that he's a counselor, he doesn't appear to be listening to Jessica's arguments very well, more interested in pushing his agenda.

*

"Depends on what 'getting out in front of it' would mean," Jessica says cautiously, tilting her head at the man. She won't reject anything out of hand. The reason she is here despite demons in her home city is because she genuinely thinks the conversations here are important. To her, to her friends, to the people they're trying to help, to anyone who gives a damn, really. So even though the grief counselor isn't listening too closely to her? She'll give him the benefit of the doubt and let him at least explain himself.

She's just not feeling too impatient today really. She has some good food. She's alive, for that matter. She'll speak her mind, but she's not trying to be too salty about it right now.

*

Rictor really did intend to be at the conference from the beginning. But getting out of New York City was…problematic to say the least. When he realized public transit was not going to get him there on time, he tried to track down his contact - a mutant who can create short-distance portals. But then he had to slay a few demons, and then he got sidetracked. Then there was the hot dog cart fire (don't ask) and a bit of bribing to get said contact to make the portal.

So he's there, trying not to look like such a latecomer. It doesn't work very well, given the ketchup on the cuffs of his pants and shoes, the soft layer of soot on his leather jacket, and the fact that he's just now scooping a lanyard around his neck. It was a feat to even track down someone to get that for him, seeing as registration has closed.

*

"Hah, I get that. There's a place up on 53rd across the river that's …" Sloane looks away for a moment, in the vague direction of New York, then frowns. "It's not important."

Setting down her bagel and snagging a styrofoam cup, she pulls the valve to dispense hot water and drops in a teabag before sealing it with a plastic lid. "Hey, Ms. Jones!" she replies, lifting a scale-backed hand to throw a small wave her way. She really hadn't expected to see the PI here, but … there's a lot of folks she didn't expect, like —

'Do I know you?'

"Boy, have I heard that line, but never at a conference." It's said with a grin, faint, and perhaps the first one she's had the strength to muster up in days, a flash of sharpened canine bared. She eases a few steps away to set her drink and bagel down at a table — just a seat or so away from Bullock, giving him a firm nod. "Detective."

— And then, back to the photographer, now that he's introducing himself. "Agent Sloane Albright from SHIELD," she chips in, offering her hand. If taken, her scales are … oddly cool to the touch. "Or 'Merrow' if you're reading the papers. Though — the Bugle, huh? I think you guys called me Fish Girl once."

Pulling the sunglasses off, she folds the bridges and sets them down on the table before seating herself. Fiery orange eyes squint a little to see. "So— wow. I didn't think Bruce Wayne would be here."

*

The crowds are beginning to thin around the convention center's hallways, people making their ways to their next sessions. Some loiter, having nothing left on their plate but the wrap-up keynote by District Attorney Samantha Reyes of New York. Doors to ballrooms and smaller session rooms are closing, polite-looking convention hall hosts standing at the doors to quietly pass out paperwork to late-comers.

"Hey, that's OK. I'm used to elbowing around." There's a joke there, but Harvey seems to be the only one who gets the punchline. He chuckles ruefully before he nods to Parker, tipping back his fedora casually. "Parker, nice to meet you. Photographer, huh? Hey, you ever hear about that guy… what was his name? He was some photographer from like the 20's, worked for the police as a crime scene's photographer. Ended up, he was the one doin' the killing." Not that Harvey is suggesting anything…

Down the hall, a rattled looking man in a black hoodie and a rough cut of dark hair is making his way at a run toward the closed door on the session "MINIMIZING CIVILIAN CASUALTIES DURING CRISIS EVENTS." He wipes a bit of sweat from his brow, taking the offered packet from the host, and then slips in through the door. It quietly clicks back into place.

Jim Gordon's attention had drifted just a moment to the hoodie, but then Bruce is nodding to Jessica Jones and so he turns his head away from the door and instead of Jessica. He squints a bit, rubbing at his mustasche and jawline. Then he snaps his fingers and points slightly toward Jones. "Jessica Jones… she was in the news about that Wilson Fisk fellow out of New York. Private Eye, I think."

There's two seconds — a mere thrum of one's heart — and then there's an explosion of rattling automatic weapon's fire. It is joined by screaming, and shouting. All the sound is muffled behind the door, that is until a beat cop in his blues bursts through the door, clearing the way for more men and women to come streaming out of the full ballroom.

*

Given free rein to push his idea (or at least some slight leeway that he is interpreting as free rein), the grief counselor speaking with Jessica hurries on enthusiastically, "We have a group of professionals to run the trials, we simply need funding now. If you would be willing to approach possible donors with members of the team, it would be very helpful to have — " don't call her a vigilante, don't call her a vigilante, " — someone with a media presence."

And just like that, there's automatic weapons fire, and the grief counselor completely freezes, eyes going wide. He doesn't even put his hands over his head or get down or anything, just a complete deer in the headlights.

*

Weapons fire.

Jess would love to say she doesn't flinch.

She flinches.

But she also realizes Poor Grief Counselor isn't reacting well. She gently tries to take him down to the ground, into some cover. "Stay still, stay quiet, stay calm," she says quietly. With what may be surprising gentleness out of a woman who is known primarily for swearing like a sailor and snarling like a Doberman. "You're going to be okay, man. We're not going to let anything happen to you, I promise. Don't panic, stay in cover. If you see a way to get towards an exit without leaving cover, take it. If not, stay hidden and out of the range of any shots. Got it?"

Because her Rule #1 is you always take care of the person right there with you before you worry about anybody else.

*

Agent Sloane Albright from SHIELD.

"Oh right, yeah, okay, that's where I know you. The stuff in Mutant Town," says Peter Parker with dawning realization as he takes Sloane's hand in an easy-going sort of shake; to his credit, he seems to take the stranger texture of those scales in stride.

When you work for J. Jonah Jameson, you learn to develop a high level of tolerance to well… just about everything.

Ever.

Case in point —

"Fish Girl. Er. Yeah. I'm not a writer, I mean — we're not exactly the most creative when it comes to monikers sometimes." A second passes by. Peter Parker clears his throat, just so, rubbing the back of his head. "… Buuuut you didn't hear that from me." His attention turns towards Bullock, a lopsided smile gracing his lips. "Good to meet you, sir. I-" Hey, you ever hear about that guy… what was his name?

Peter pauses. Blinks.

"Wasn't that — a movie, or — I swear, most photographers aren't hit men." Another moment passes by in grim silence as Peter watches that hooded man from his peripherals with a dawning frown of though. "… At least I think so—"

There's a tingling at the back of his skull. "Get down-!!"

Danger, prefacing the sound of weapons fire and screaming. Wide, hazel eyes snap to the source. What just happened-?!

Peter Parker must clearly be a dedicated photographer, because not seconds later is he losing himself in the crowds, in the rough direction of that ballroom. Dammit.

Things are going to hell even here…??

*

Out of the frying pan and into…Gotham. Just. Gotham. Rictor murmurs something under his breath, "I hope I feel like an idiot in a minute and that's just some educational video…" and then, louder, "Ladies and gentleman, I suggest you stay calm and take cover!" Yes, pay attention to the very respectable man with ketchup on his pants. He'll save you all.

*

Much like Jim, Bruce's attention snaps to the rattled looking man in a hoodie. He's not dressed properly for the conference and he's running - enough to ping his detective senses. He carefully watches him grab the packet and step into the event. Only then does he turn his attention back to Jim and his answer of who Jessica is. "Ah, I see. I tend to keep my news refined to Gotham. I heard about that Fisk fellow. I think there was talk of a proposed investment into his company from the board at one point."

As his senses are already alert, the moment the gunfire starts, Bruce is turning. He is not a man in headlights, but he is also not - at the moment - Batman. He is Bruce Wayne and CEOs do not go running into gunfire. However, he is also not someone who is going to run away while others in danger in his town. Instead, he gives a look to Jim and then starts picking his way through the crowd. He makes a straight shot for the wall and then starts to inch along that toward the door to the conference where the other participants are streaming out.

*

Something about a counselor being counseled has Robert Wilks the grief counselor giggling quietly — and perhaps a bit hysterically. Still, he doesn't resist being drawn down to the floor behind a pillar, and finally manages to get his hands up covering his head, even though no bullets seem to be coming his way. The slightly-mad giggling pauses long enough for him to meet Jessica's steady gaze and nod just a little.

*

"Good job, Robert," Jess says. Then she gathers her legs beneath herself and takes off…

No. No she doesn't. She sighs as her flight refuses to kick in again. That might be gone for good.

Fine. She crouches and leaps. Now she's plastered to the opposite wall, looking straight at Bruce. And now the salt.

"What, are you going to write them a check? Get the Hell to safety, Wayne, before someone kidnaps you and asks someone to cough up a small country by way of ransom."

But like him, she finds right this second there's little to do but plaster herself to the wall while the panicking civilians do what they need to do, which is to say get the Hell out of there.

*

Jim Gordon demonstrates his situational awareness by immediately looking over to where Harvey is sitting with Sloane and… well, where Peter was just a moment ago and barking out, "Get us some backup!" Gordon may not have a sidearm with him, not when he's a keynote speaker at a conference, but he still moves toward the flow of people fleeing the room, glancing aside to make sure that Bruce has at least sought out some cover.

Harvey Bullock grimaces at the order from the Commissioner, but obeys, dropping back some and pulling out a walkie-talkie to start calling for assistance.

*

Her hand is offered to Harvey, too, though she won't be offended if he doesn't shake it. Once she's down in her seat, she lifts the lid on the tea enough to dunk the bag a few times, nodding at the detective's elbowing comment — and it looks like it definitely was lost on her, too. Her eyebrow does lift when he asks about the photographer-killer, but … more at the part about 'the 20s.'

It's not *his* fault she's the Fish Girl!

Trying to not let stiffness and ache to settle into her joints, Sloane shrugs a little. "I've heard worse," she replies, lifting her hand. She's trying her best to be polite. Be formal.

But she's so mad she's here, and not in the city.

'Get down-!!'

Sloane pushes back from her seat, weight dropping to one knee and hands balling up. After a peek over the tables, after the screaming starts, after people start bailing out of the place left and right, she's standing right back up and practically jumping the table to get to the drinks, cracking a few bottles of water open.

*

Most of the people in the snack area are police, PIs, or otherwise involved in law enforcement, so in general they're moving smoothly and easily. There are, however, a few here and there who have frozen, or have clumped close to islands of calm like Rictor… despite the ketchup on his pants.

*

Rictor is scanning the room for stragglers and anyone who looks like they might do something foolish or stupid. As he does, he spots a suspicious person moving out one of the side doors. He looks at the people surrounding him, then touches the arm of a woman in a suit with an impressive title on her nametag. "Keep these people calm and get them somewhere safe." And then, Captain Ketchup Pants is moving to the far side of the conference room, keeping light on his feet and trying to keep out of direct sight lines.

*

Sloane looks up from the table — catching looks, meeting eyes with people that looks at her like she's absolutely crazy, but then she puts her hand out over the table and flicks her wrist upward, drawing the water up and out through the air before it settles into a swirling ball over her palm.

Primer. It gets her started, at least, while the scaled Inhuman hurries across the food court to meet with people hurrying out of the back of the crowd— clearly wounded. Putting her free arm out, she tries to create something of a barrier, both body blocking and using her strength to help guide the wounded toward safety through the more wild, yell-y parts of the crowd that have yet to hit the walls, the floor, or finish hurrying out the doors.

"Get me a medic, now!!"

Her eyes lift, catching sight of Rictor, then she double-takes. She didn't expect to see him here!

If she can get the wounded out of the crowd and attended to, she can turn her attention back to the source of the weapons fire…

*

Against the wall, Bruce edges his way through the crowd in a much easier manner than attempting to approach the door head on. The Jess plastered on the opposite wall is given something of a sour look. "I know how to not be kidnapped," he tells her very succinct and annoyed voice.

However, perhaps her words took some sort of root as he abandons the door and starts to flow with the crowd, eyes focused on a certain man in a hoodie. While he is rather sure the rest of the escapees would be far more freaked out by him if he was the active shooter, he certainly has something that has caught his attention and he wishes to find out more.

Slipping forward one way and then another, he attempts to get right behind the hooded figure. Once close enough, he attempts to grab an arm and toss him against an opposing wall.

*

Jessica snorts as the wealthy socialite informs her he knows how not to get kidnapped. "Sure you do," she adds…

But then an NYPD officer grabs one Jessica Jones and she stares at what he has to say to her. You're shitting me," she growls. She claps him on the back.

Screw it. She's risking another leap. Over the crowd, horizontally, looking for signs of Frank Castle. Or the person the cop thought was Frank Castle, anyway.

And all the while her mind is tossing up a very 'heroic' litany.

Please don't let me get shot again, please don't let me get shot again, getting shot really sucked…

Really, she's not even sure what she plans to do. Something. That's kind of the essence of the job, right?

Do something.

*

There are first-responders already moving quickly. Someone grabbed a first aid kit that was hanging on a wall above a ADP defibrillator. She's rushing to Sloane, and her badge indicates her name is Martha and she's from Kane General Hospital. "We need to get these people out of here," she tells Sloane.

Others are already getting the idea: people are moving quickly, heading for exits. The description is already getting round: shooter, white, about six-foot, black pants, black hoodie, maybe a baseball cap.

"We got a weapon in here!" The call comes in from the ballroom where the shooting began. A young officer wearing a NYPD jacket is coming out of the ballroom. He's got blood on his face, and he's holding his shoulder where blood pools around his tightened fingers. "I got a gun in here! He's not armed!" Or at least, he's not armed with a submachine gun anymore.

Shooter, white, about six-foot, black pants, black hood, maybe a baseball cap, and no longer an obvious threat…

Then across the room, someone shouts: "Got him!" Then there's a muffle of confusion. No, didn't? Yes, did? He's wearing a hoodie, but someone is saying: It's got the ANVIL logo on it. False ID, false ID! Then there's another call across the opposite side of the ballroom: "STOP, you there!"

*

Ahead of Rictor, a man in a black hoodie ducks around the corner. By the time Rictor gets to the corner, the man is a hundred feet down the hall, glancing behind him with wide eyes. He's clean-shaven, Caucasian, dark hair, maybe a touch under six feet, or maybe a touch over. Beyond him, in the last of the crowd trickling out of the doors on the other side of the conference room, is a Caucasian man in dark clothes with a black baseball cap.

*

Oh, hey. It's the mermaid-lady. Rictor flashes Sloane an awkward sort of smile as he rounds the corner. It's probably foolish as all hell, but Rictor drops into a full out run once he spots his quarry in the straightaway. He's clearly powering towards the hoodie man rather than making a scared dash for the exit. If this was a different situation, he'd unleash his power to slow the man down. But with so many scared people, the last thing they need is a panic because the building is shaking. "Why is everyone wearing black?" he mutters to himself, then happens to look down at the…thin black hoodie he's also wearing under his leather jacket. Oh.

*

Into the crowds Peter disappears. He could find somewhere to sneak off to, to switch into his costume, swing in and become a bright, colorful target…

… but in this situation, he decides, it might ultimately cause more harm than good to try to handle this unsubtly. Especially in Gotham territory. And so, Peter helps calm people who need calming rather than truly sneak away, helps direct those who need direction towards indicated exits… and keeps sharp, hazel eyes peeled, looking for the shooter even as he filters out the panicked conversations to focus on the most relevant details. Caucasian, black hoodie, down a weapon. ANVIL logo…?

His spider-sense abuzz, Peter tries to focus on the direction that threat might be coming from. All these people — it'll simultaneously be hard for the shooter to get out, and yet easy to lose them.

Quietly, Parker checks the webshooters concealed under his sleeves, frowns, and starts to move on a silent search. At least he has a good excuse to be acting so suicidally reckless.

He works for the Daily Bugle, after all.

*

People are getting the message— get out. Good.

Setting the water sphere to the side with a push of her hands, the glob of water bobs and rolls across the floor away from her and the wounded before the focus used to hold it's shape gives out. Sloane's focus is instead on Martha and the wounded. "All right, I can start carrying people outside. As long as I have a clear shot to the door, I can be back in just a minute."

Stepping out of her shoes to better get her balance, Sloane kneels down, carefully trying to pick up one of the fallen in a threshhold carry before heading to the exit. "Call ahead and let them know what side of the building we're getting them out on! I'll keep an eye on them as soon as we get everyone out!"

*

As Bruce grabs the hooded man, he tosses him against the wall and it's quick. He doesn't use as much force as he might have while in the Bat costume, however it is enough to get the man dead to rights. The moment the man is tossed against the wall, he lets out a high pitched and terrified shriek.

As soon as he does, Bruce notices the press pass for the Gotham Gazette. Recognition dawns quickly. This is one of the reporters who keeps railing against Batman, calling him a villain and a detriment to the society of Gotham.

"You were in there, what happened?" he asks almost breathlessly of the reporter. He gives a wild eyed look, a concerned citizen trying to figure out what has happened, what is safe to go. "Where did the shooter go?"

*

Jessica Jones stops, whirls around. "ANVIL?" she murmurs.

It's nothing she's ever heard of. She was on some good drugs when Barbara said it, but she remembers her mentioning someone called Blacksmith in conjunction with Frank. Could there be a relation?

But then, right there, a man in a hoodie trying to leave the hall with everyone else. Not Bruce's, but a different one.

She frowns. And reaches out, trying to snag him in a firm right-handed grip so she can spin him around, see who he is…and possibly detain him for the cops. Or…let him get about the evacuation thing, if he proves to be completely innocent.

One thing's for sure. It certainly sounds like she's got a hell of a lead to follow up on later. And if this isn't the real Punisher…that raises some questions too.

*

The man in the black hoodie (unknown) being chased by the man in the black hoodie (Rictor) gives a little yell and puts on a burst of speed, trying in vain to outrun Rictor. Just as his pursuer gets close enough to leap, the man bleats, "Help!"

Back at the food court side of the conference hall, a tall, handsome man in a slightly rumpled white dress shirt splits his way out of the crowd now just barely trickling out of the conference hall, approaching Sloane with a cell-phone in his left hand, "Ms. Albright of SHIELD, right? I'm Billy Russo of ANVIL. How can we help?"

*

"Oy, stop a minute!" says Rictor. As the guy yelps, the PI becomes…less sure that he's got the right quarry. He makes a grab for the man's shoulders anyway to shove him up against the wall. What he'd do then? Well…he didn't think that far ahead, really. "Let me see your ID! Your pass for the conference!" Maybe…maybe that. Good detecting, right?

*

Gotham PD cars are already pulling up outside — so is about four ambulances. Their lights are luminous in the early autumn evening, a vibrant contrast to the dark exterior that Gotham is so fond of. The space hasn't been cleared yet, which is stalling the medics from storming the place. Those who are injured who are making it out are being immediately put through triage protocols.

Peter Parker is being grabbed suddenly by Harvey, his fedora slightly askew now. "Come on, kid… time to start snapping pictures. You're now on temporary assignment to Gotham PD. I need photos of everything you see, now. Get in that ballroom, and fill the roll." Because in Harvey Bullock's world — and probably most of Gotham — photos are still taken on film.

On Jessica's heels (well, almost… he cannot fly, this ordinary man), Jim Gordon has gotten into the ballroom, and his belly goes cold at what he sees. The injured who have not yet made it out of the room have taken cover under tables, behind chairs, holding their wounds. Others who are more gravely wounded just sit, slump, or lay where they fell, spending their energy on just keeping their hearts beating. There are dead, though, and from Jim's first glance, he swears there's twenty. Anger flashes across his features, and he spots where Jessica Jones is leaping toward a hoodie going out a door. He starts toward them.

When Jessica Jones grabs the black hoodied man, he turns to flash snarling blunt features at Jess. For a heartbeat — a breath of a moment — it might actually be Frank Castle. But it isn't. He fits the description: black hoodie, black pants, and he's throwing a punch for Jessica's nose.

*

The reporter being manhandled by Bruce tries to stagger backwards, his hands going up in lightning speed. Billionaires are nuts. He stares, wide-eyed, at the man and the questions make him stutter nonsensically for a second. Then he swallows. "Guy came in from the back, through one of those doors that lead to… shit, I don't know, maintenance or something. Black hoodie, baseball cap… he tossed something onto the nearest table and then immediately opened up, totally filled the place with bullets. Then he turned… and left…"

*

"Agent Albright," she corrects firmly, trying her best to maintain an authoritative tone even if a bit shorter and younger. Still carrying one of the wounded as though they were much lighter than they look, she shoots a glance back to Martha. "We have to get these people out. Move 'em fast and safe, and let's get them—"

The sounds of sirens — police and ambulances — fill the air, sending the ginger's attention toward their arrival.

Returning her attention to Russo, she blows a hard sigh. "Music to my ears," she says, shifting the weight of the injured she's helping along. "All right, Mr. Russo, help me get these people out of here. Eyes out in case there's another shooter on-site."

Even as she starts helping the mana long, Sloane frowns deeply. She's lost track of Jessica, Rictor, and Parker…

*

Come on. There has to be something he can see, can use, can follow — something, anything. Part of Peter debates just eschewing subtlety and finding a good place to hide and swap out for a more webbing-based perspective —

When he finds a firm hand gripping onto him. Hazel eyes wide, his gaze snaps towards the disheveled (or slightly moreso) form of Harvey Bullock, brows furrowing. "But there's people-" he begins to protest — before he sees Jessica Jones, lunging in the direction of the very ballroom Harvey tries to order him into.

And if anyone knows how to find trouble, Peter Parker decides, it is Jessica Jones.

"… a-alright," he says, selling faint nervousness with a slight stammer to at least appear somewhat apprehensive about going to the ballroom he actually wants to go to. But, again; Daily Bugle. Everyone there is crazy. A fact Peter soon proves by detaching from Harvey to peel off in the direction of that ballroom, camera in hand.

He'd correct Harvey about how photos work now, but, well, there's no time. And besides. This camera actually uses film.

Shut up. It's what the pros use. Sometimes. Also, sentimental value.

But what he sees there in that ballroom is nothing short of horrendous. The familiar stench of iron in the air floods his nostrils as Peter covers his face, eyes wide; he can't hide the frustration and anger and horror in that moment. All he can do is try to find any survivors amongst the wounded and the dead, the shutter of his camera lens prefacing his discovery of anything worthy of note amidst all the carnage as he tries to make his way in the direction of the PI and her punching problem in hoodie form.

*

Rictor's prey lets out an 'oof' as he's slung into a wall, and his hands go up. Despite the gesture of surrender, though, his words are an attack, "Where's your ID? Your pass? You're the one attacking me, man."Despite the belligerent words, the man is wearing a lanyard holding his conference pass. He's an attorney, of the sort featured in late-night ads asking if you've been unfairly persecuted for driving under the influence and offering to represent you in your noble struggle against the oppression of sobriety. His name, if you can believe his commercials and his pass, is Sinclair Free.

Russo smiles boyishly at the correction, "Sorry, Agent Albright." He listens to her directions, then nods, "I have a dozen of my people at the conference. I'll get them here to help." He starts forward to assist her with the wounded person she's helping out, bringing up his cellphone, which is apparently in walkie-talkie mode, "This is Russo, gather at the south entrance for evacuation and observation. Assist SHIELD Agents," he's assuming (perhaps incorrectly) that there's more than just Sloane here, "on-site."

*

With that information, Bruce releases the reporter. "Okay!" he tells him. He waits a few moments to allow him to rabbit. Then, though, he does opposite of what he seemed to want to do: he makes his way back against the wall. It is easier than fighting against a panicked crowd. Quickly, he tries to make his way back to the conference room and then to duck inside it when possible.

The stench of blood and the carnage that meets his eyes is met with a pause and a grimace. Edging around the walls, he makes for where that back entrance may be or a door that would lead toward maintenance.

While he surveys the horrible carnage, he is also looking for clues and the bag that the reporter told him was tossed onto a table.

*

Peter's right. Jess is fantastic at finding trouble.

Jessica's head snaps back in response to that punch, though she rolls with it thanks to her training with Bucky. She lets her head move with the motion, ensuring there might be a slight bruise, but no breaks. "Ow, asshole!"

She retaliates then, by simply picking the dude up by his collar, holding him about eight inches off the ground, and slamming him into the wall. And then she's going to frisk him to see if he's got anything interesting on him.

He's either really scared, or really guitly. Either could be an explanation for his behavior. But the fact that he's a Frank Castle look-alike makes her more suspicious. Makes her think this might be their shooter. And if that's the case maybe there's something on him. She also glances down at his hands, looking for signs of GSR residue.

"I know a six-year-old girl who hits better than you, by the way."

The snarl, the snark. It helps her focus on the case, and not on the bodies. The wounded. The scent of blood, sharp in her nose. In a way, she's glad this guy hit her. She can look at a possible perp instead of the dead.

*

Rictor grunts in irritation as he looks down at the dangling lanyard. He pushes back and raises a hand to sweep hair back up off his face. He doesn't linger to talk to Mister Free. Instead he shoulders open the door and looks outside to see if he can see any other black hoodies. He's not expecting much, given the crownd and the amount of time that's passed. He curses in Spanish. It's very crude. And very sacreligious. Then he turns to make his way back to the ballroom.

*

The hoodie-wearing man who tried to punch Jess is scrambling, kicking his feet wildly as Jess hoists him up in the air. He grabs hard at her hands, trying to get him to loosen up. He is surprisingly clean of GSR, and smells more of sweat — nervous sweat — than anything else. He chokes out, "Let me go, Lady. Jesus Christ!"

He whips his head toward Peter when the photographer gets near. "You getting this? This is the shit they keep talking about! Vigilante violence!"

By Rictor's eye, he sees one hoodie making its way across the street, hands deep in his black jeans, draped head low. He glances back just briefly, and then keeps going. Then he's gone in the madness of the crowd outside. When Rictor gets back into the ballroom, he comes face to face with a cold, angry Jim Gordon. He doesn't recognize Rictor, which makes him NYC or Metropolis. He can't seem to bring himself to question the guy outright, because he doesn't fit the description, which means he's probably hear to do his job. "Don't touch anything," is all Jim says.

In the back of the ballroom, Bruce comes across the thing left on the table. It isn't a bag, Bruce comes to find. It's an envelop — one of those manilla ones with the prong clasp holding it closed. The prong is loose, making it easy to flip it open. There's a door no more than ten feet from the table, and it bears the words: RESTRICTED ACCESS. CONVENTION EMPLOYEES ONLY.

*

As they move people along, Sloane is looking over her shoulder, keeping an eye out for trouble and also on Martha if she's joining them, staying constantly alert; she's leading this caravan of the wounded and she will be damned if she loses anyone along the way. When they make it outside, bare feet padding across the asphalt, Sloane is quick to meet the EMTs halfway with the gurneys and to help load people on, directing the foot-traffic where they need to, and scouting the crowd for any familiar faces.

Once people are in a position to start getting loaded up, her attention wanders a little more— she's trying to head check for her own people, as well as those she saw attending the conference. If Russo stays along the trip, her hand lifts to her forehead, blinking back a few tired cobwebs before turning her attention back to the ANVIL rep. "I have to get back inside there and help secure the scene. Mister Russo, thank you for your help getting these people out."

*

He tries his best not to focus on all the bodies. He really does. But it's hard, even in all the chaos, not to think about them as he weaves through bloodied tables.

All Peter can really do right now is try to focus on helping those still alive, and finding whoever did this.

Which, ultimately, brings him in the direction of one fairly surly PI and her potential suspect. A steady stare strays briefly, towards the back of the ballroom, to furrow his brows as he spies a certain crazy-rich Gotham blue blood poking at… an envelope? Brows knit, and lips purse. He almost thinks of straying in that direction, except —

You getting this? This is the shit they keep talking about! Vigilante violence!

Peter pauses. He peers at the dangling hoodie-wearing man, snapping a single photo of the situation. He looks… nervous. Which isn't really an indication of anything in a situation like this, except…

"Yeah, I got it," he assures, after a moment, voice layered with a certain wryness that seems to just come second nature. "And my advice is next time maybe don't, y'know, try up and punching people in the face. You're fine."

He turns a questioning stare Jessica's way, as if to say, 'is this the guy?' But somehow — he doubts it.

*

Bruce makes his way to the back of the ballroom as he goes, he puts on the gloves he brought with him. It's not exactly cold enough in Gotham to warrant leather gloves, but he puts them on anyway to avoid evidence contamination. And then he snaps up the envelope. Instead of opening it, he slips it into his suit jacket and keeps going with purpose. There is the door that the reporter mentioned the man might have come and gone through and he is determined.

With determination, he makes for the door and tests it. Open. Curious. Restricted access doors tend to be locked to the public. However, these are leads and he is intent on following them. With only a quick glance backward toward the carnage behind him, he is quick through the door and then to quickly follow it where it leads.

*

"Lemme see some ID," Jessica says, something irritated flashing across her expression. "Then I'll put you down nicely and you can go."

Is she nervous about being in a room full of cops while this guy has his come and see the violence inherent in the system moment? Apparently not, because she stands pretty confidently as she demands his ID and definitely doesn't put him down yet. Due diligence. It's a thing. If she or anyone else needs to follow up with this guy later she needs somewhere to start. Granted, it could be a fake ID, but…

She feels that questioning stare in her direction, and Jess finds herself face-to-face with the Bugle photographer. She gives a rueful little half-shake of her head and a faint grimace in response to Peter's silent query. She sure doesn't think so, but she's not 100% sure he wasn't involved. There's also a look of gratitude in her eye for what he says…and that he's recognized that being held up and pinned isn't hurting the guy any. There are plenty who would, after all, freak right out, side with the douchebag and make all kinds of assumptions. Not to mention take a photo that would make her look terrible.

*

That's Mister Free, Esquire to Rictor. And when he's let go, Mr. Free Esquire storms after Rictor, waving a finger, "That was assault, you know! I have half a mind to bring charges against you." And there's Commissioner Gordon just past Rictor, and that's enough to make Mr. Free beat a hasty retreat, ducking back around the corner of the door and starting down the hallway quickly. Noooope, ambulance-chasing lawyer who has sued the department several times isn't going anywhere near the Commissioner.

Russo helps Sloane move the wounded out to the EMTs, then looks over to her at the comment, "I'll come with you, Agent Albright. My people should be there by now. We can help out."

Indeed, in the food court area outside the conference hall, a cluster of very fit men and women have started to gather, several of them wearing black sweatshirts with ANVIL in bold white letters on the breast. Another couple have black ANVIL hats, or cream ANVIL polo shirts. They're all starting to help sort out the noncombatants who haven't gotten themselves outside yet, and direct the flow from other areas of the conference center outside.

*

If Rictor is intimidated by Jim Gordon's swagger or by the shouts of the ambulance chaser, he doesn't really show it. But he'd be a cold man indeed if the scene of carnage didn't get to him. He sweeps a look around the room and clenches his jaw. "How could this happen at a convention full of cops?" he says to no one in particular. But he also doesn't really wait for Gordon to be out of earshot before he does. He pulls out his phone and starts to check social media for more information than might be going around the actual scene of the crime.

*

The guy being held aloft by Jessica Jones glowers first at Jess and then at the photographer. He says something that should not be repeated under his breath, and then grimaces down at Jess. "Hey, sweetheart, I'm just here, same as you." Then his expression darkens a touch. "I left my wallet in my other pants."

Jim Gordon is so caught up with what's going on around him, he misses his friend disappearing behind the door. It settles into place just as soon as he turns his head toward it. Hopefully someone notices that a billionaire went wandering through a door he shouldn't. Instead he's walking up to Jess, shaking his head ruefully. "Put him down, Ms. Jones…" And he's taking out a pair of cuffs from the back of his suit jacket. He glances toward where Rictor has disappeared, and he says a bit louder. "Time for Law Enforcement to take over." He spots Sloane when she comes in, recognizing her as part of the SHIELD group — which was just her, but let's not pick hairs over numbers. "Agent Albright. I think we can call the scene secured, we have wounded in here."

There's already some medics coming in, perhaps their better judgement foregoing waiting for the all-clear. They begin to triage the room almost immediately, though there are already some who they check for vitals, get nothing, and move along in a way that is cold, systematic… but necessary.

*

Billy offers to come along. Considering it for a moment, she breathes a sigh. "Yeah. Fair enough. Just keep in mind that this is more than likely going to be GCPD's scene, so everyone will probably have to pull up stakes the second they say-so," Sloane adds, heading back inside. Her first stop is the food court to recover her shoes — she doesn't want to track barefoot through the convention center any more than she already has without some footwear, reclaiming her sunglasses and hooking one of the bridges into the collar of her blouse.

"Hell of a week," she adds along the way, pinching the bridge of her nose.

And one day that ends as she walks up behind Jessica Jones and Jim Gordon preparing to cuff a perp. Gordon asserts jurisdiction, too, leading to Sloane glancing helplessly over at Russo and throwing a shrug. "And there we go."

She fires a quick look around the room, too— what she can see, what looks important. Rictor's off just as quickly as he arrived; her eyes track his way before they fall again on Jessica and — Peter. Backing off toward the door, she fires a look back at Jones before tilting her head in the best covert 'come talk talk info' head-nod she can muster.

She's got questions… and she's gonna have to give her bosses some answers.

*

Gratitude is met with a small, tentative sort of smile that can't quite manage more than that in a situation like this. Still, it's a silent note of understanding if there was one, even as Peter Parker turns his attention back to that restricted exit just in time to see it shut. A frown creases his lips, one that only deepens at the man's answer to Jess.

"Because that's not suspicious," he mumbles, half under his breath, as Jim Gordon arrives. The young photographer takes a step back and — once he can get a clear look at his face — will take a photo just as the commissioner puts on the cuffs. One, to have some potential form of identification that he can look into later. Two, because, well… the guy was kind of asking for it.

After that? After that, he looks towards that restricted exit, with the faintest of pensive frowns.

*

Billy spreads his hands alongside his shoulders in a good-natured gesture of surrender, "Hey, I don't want to get on the GCPD's bad side. That wouldn't be very smart of me, now would it?" He moves just inside the ballroom, then leans out again to pass orders along to the rest of the ANVIL group, getting them out to help clear pathways for the EMTs and assist actual law enforcement however they can. Coming back to Sloane's side, he offers Jim Gordon a nod and then agrees with the SHIELD agent, "Hell of a way to start a week. After a day like today, I don't know if it matters how good your Monday might have been."

*

As Bruce makes his way down the Employees Only Access Tunnel, he takes notice to see that all the security cameras have been spray painted black. That works well in his own favor, but also means that whoever came through here planned this. It was not a random act of violence, but something planned.

The corridors twist and turn, practical and industrial. Still, he follows the spray painted cameras to try and find the path the shooter took and then, hopefully, the shooter.

*

"Certainly, Commissioner Gordon," Jessica says mildly. "I was only trying to make sure he didn't feel the need to atttack me, or anyone else, again."

And she puts him down, gently as a babe, to let the Commissioner cuff Mr. Wallet-in-the-other-pants.

And then she realizes these ANVIL people are everywhere.

She steps back to let him do his job and finds herself being waved off by Sloane. She inclines her head to Peter once again, and then follows behind the young SHIELD Agent. Which means if Peter wants to slip off, well…the PI certainly isn't watching.

Agent Water Dragon no doubt has questions, but this is Jessica Jones. She leads in with one. "Who the hell are these ANVIL people? I've never heard of them before now, and now they're wandering around this crime scene like they own the place. Didn't someone say the shooter was wearing an ANVIL hoodie?"

*

Jim Gordon waits for Jessica Jones to put down the suspect, and then he steps in to get the cuffs in place. He starts to read the man his rights, ignoring the sound of the camera as Parker takes the picture. He glances to Jones. "You know, Jones… actually becoming a cop wouldn't be a bad move for you. Then you could be the one asking this guy questions instead of Detective Bullock, who I am guessing is… already outside."

"Over here!" Comes a call from the behatted man, though he's looking half amused — it is all he can do to not let his own anger roil at the sight of the dead. Jim just nods his way, and then hustles the guy forward, using his shoulder and grip on his wrist to guide him along. He's lost track of Bruce, and just has to hope that his friend has seen his way out to the ambulances and to answer any questions his officers have.

While Jim sees to the suspect, everyone else in the convention center are being seen out if they are not injured. There are some being taken out on stretchers; the dead are left where they are, sheets drawn across them so they can be photographed for the evidence collection.

*

The unexpected recruitment speech from the Commissioner does stop Jones in her tracks for a few seconds on her way to Sloane. She looks over her shoulder at him. "You'd have to suspend me at least once a month," she says dryly. "But if you get tired of Detective Bullock screwing up the investagation, Alias does do consults. With police departments, even, when they're signing paychecks. You could always put me in any interrogation room you want. See? Cooperation! TCLEC is working already."

And then she's off to ask her question to Sloane.

*

Jim Gordon gets the last word, though, as he says back over his shoulder as he walks the guy to the door. "As if I haven't done that with good cops enough times already." Because… Gotham. He does glance back to Jones at her offer, and it draws a small smile on his lips — thin and brittle, but there all the same. "I'll give you a call, Jones."

Then he's seeing his suspect out.

*

"I've been in New York," Sloane replies, looking up at Billy. "Going back tonight."

Jessica catches the Totally Covert Gesture and starts heading her way. Reaching out to touch the man's arm, she gives a quick nod. "Sorry, if you'll excuse me. It was really nice to meet you, Mister Russo. Thank you again for your help."

Stepping away from the ANVIL rep, Sloane walks to get in line with the PI as they make way toward the door. Immediately with the questions? The Agent sucks a hard breath between her teeth and shakes her head at Jessica as they walk. "Christ, I was hoping *you* could tell *me*. I was on the other side of this mess, trying to get people out." Digging out pamphlets and paperwork for the event, she starts leafing through looking for any print information on ANVIL on-hand.

Admittedly, she didn't really read it too close the first time around — the ginger Inhuman's had some other issues on her mind today…

Sloane *wants* to sigh, again, but at this rate it'll become a bad habit.

"What about the guy you caught?" she asks, eyebrows furrowing. "Did he give you anything before the cops got ahold of him?"

*

Billy nods to Sloane as she takes her leave, "Of course, Agent Albright. If there's any other way we can help, let us know." He looks up to the bloody scene at the other end of the hall, grimacing in sympathy, then shakes his head and turns to head out to where the rest of the ANVIL personnel are, offering Jessica a bit of a nod as well as he goes.

*

"No, he was just some random douche," Jessica tells Sloane, frowning. "So you don't know who these guys are either? Interesting."

She pulls out her phone and gets into two different windows. The first is a simple web search. The second is the TLOxp database, where she's running the name. She looks up at Sloane and adds softly, "Can you look in your own database and tell me what SHIELD knows about guy with the codename Blacksmith?"

And then the information comes up about ANVIL and she pauses. "Billy Russo's an ex-Marine too?"

And that narrows her eyes.

Jones pulls up another window…and puts Russo's name into the TLOxp database. The PI's best friend, capable of searching billions of public records in minutes, and putting them all in front of her.

And as a hunch? A fourth window, where she plugs in Frank Castle's name. Specifically she's trying to get at whatever military records she can, because she wants to see if those two served together.

*

Bruce follows the tunnels as best he can. Eevntually, he comes upon a door and pushes it with a creak of rust and neglect it opens up onto an alley. Annoyed, he looks up and down it to find no on there. He wasn't expecting much, but this is disappointing.

Giving a look about, he makes a few determinations by outside cameras and the best way someone with this intent might have come. And then, he shuts the door and makes his way back through the corridors and back to the horror of the conference room. When there, he'll profess a terror and a need to escape and so he went through the access door. He got lost, went outside and then realized he should stay for the police statements.

In general, Bruce Wayne seems shell shocked bud cooperative.

*

"Mr. Wayne?" Bullock had been back by the wall, taking some pictures on his super old — like three years old — cell phone. He blinks at the billionaire who just kind of appears behind him, and then notes the door that slowly closes just behind Bruce. His expression becomes flat. "Let me guess… you thought that was the pisser?"

*

"A security company, not that old, either. — Yeah. And according to this, they're all about helping out veterans in Gotham. Which … good on them," she says, folding the leaflet back up and sliding it into her pocket. Her phone is dug out of her suit jacket's inside pocket, unlocking it quickly.

"I am duly obligated to inform you at this time that there are things that I may not be able to share with you because of classified government information et cetera, et cetera, yadda yadda…" Sloane says, trailing off as she thumbs in the search into her phone.

The Agent squints at the display, frowning. "Shit."

Sloane glances around. If this were New York — sans demons — she might feel a little more comfortable sharing, but this is Gotham. It feels like the walls have ears, sometimes. Hell, sometimes it feels like the gargoyles are alive.

"Drug dealer. … like … *big* drug dealer. He's moving a lot of stuff — heroin's the biggest thing — and some weird stuff nobody's seen before, but the words 'new and exciting' keep coming up over and over. He's come up in Europe and South America, and … it sounds like he's trying to pick up the slack on the gangs after everything went down in Hell's Kitchen." Her eyes lift, the vertical slits a bit wider in the evening light. "This guy sounds like bad news, Jones. If you get anything on him, for real, call us."

*

"No, I thought that might be where the shooter got out." Bruce gives Bullock a wary look. "However, I just don't know. I'm no cop. I didn't see anything down there." Bruce pales for a minute and then shakes his head. "After an entire day of hearing about vigilantes, I thought I might be able to help as long as I just tried to find the shooter."

Shaking his head again, he moves forward, "Excuse me, I want to try and help get these people to the ambulances."

*

Jessica frowns thoughtfully. She has to go get that file from Matt. "Thanks, Sloane. I will."

Something in that catches her attention, and she narrows her eyes and jots that down in her little notebook. She says, "There's a few people I have to talk to. Some of this relates to a case I was already on, about some people who murdered a military guy's family. Cold case. I get them a lot. I don't doubt I might come up with another opportunity for SHIELD to cast their very effective dragnets, at that. For now, I'd better get back to New York. Both the people I need to talk to are there, assuming neither of them have been eaten by demons yet. But I'll be back in Gotham soon enough."

To look at the building when the cops are done crawling all over it.

And maybe even to get into that interrogation room, if Gordon was serious.

And with that, Jessica Jones claps Sloane on the shoulder gently, turns on her heel, and leaves the scene of the carnage behind her. The hound is on the hunt.

*

Bullock looks suspiciously after Bruce, but nods slowly. "Yeah, alright, Wayne… I'll let Gordo know to look out for you." He turns away from Bruce, shaking his head with a gruff rich people under his breath before he goes back to his business.

*

Sloane nods at the thanks, and presses her lips into a line. She's hoping that she didn't just get Jessica in a whole mess of trouble, there.

Thoughts being turned toward New York leads her down an entirely different path. Her head tilts, glancing toward — at least in the general direction of — the city puts her mind in a swirl. "I have to get back, too. There's a lot of work I have to get done, and I want to check in on some folks."

The clap on the shoulder is met with a faint smile, nodding as Jessica Jones departs. Standing steady for a few moments longer, Sloane sucks in a deep breath, sweeps back her bangs, and then stares straight ahead.

"All right, Albright. Time to get to work."

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