CUTSCENE: F. N. -- A Tie's Origin Story

December 17, 2017:

BACKDATED: December 2017; the origin story of how Foggy's Impressive Tie ended up in SHIELD.

Neighborhood Garden in Chelsea, NYC

Characters

NPCs: Agents MacPherson and Quinn

Mentions: Matt Murdock, Rocket Racoon, Groot

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

October 5, 2017 - 4:56 PM

MISSED VOICEMAIL: Foggy Nelson

(out of breath) Dude, I lost it. I totally lost it. My tie, man. You remember that great tie I got last year of law school? The one embroidered with the Solar System on it? You said, ‘Man, I can feel the asteroid belt,’ and then we tried really, really hard not to make a joke about Uranus? (long pause followed by a little crack in his voice) Man, I think my mom donated it. That was my best tie.

(big sigh) Alright, well. Call me back.”

December 3, 2017 - 1:23 AM

In the crisp December air, thousands of tiny hunks of rock fell from the skies above the blot of New York City. They streaked through the exosphere, igniting into bright trails of phosphorescence. Only the brightest could be seen through the yellow haze of light pollution that encased the city.

One of these bright smears seemed to burn the longest, almost looking to burn a rip through the sky. It fell, and fell, and fell, and impacted into a small community garden in the neighborhood of Chelsea. It destroyed the last of Mrs. Spears’s pumpkin patch, dirt and vine exploding into a good three-meter radius crater around the egg-shaped rock in the epicenter.

The impact had split the rock in two — which was the biological function of the impact. Birthed in shells of rocks in the cold reaches of space, clutches of these eggs were hurled into the galaxy, drawn in to gravity wells, and slammed into the surface. Only those that hit just so would hatch, springing forth a sentient being that would live for the better half of a millennia and whose entire purpose was to absorb knowledge.

Tiny fingers covered in soft, furlike cilia curled around the crack in its egg. Eyes — bulbous and resembling a nebula caught in a sphere of glass — carefully peeked out.

Whrrr,” it hummed, curiosity impossible to miss.

Slowly, it squeezed its way out through the quarter-meter-sized gape in its egg, squishy bones allowing it to contract and compress its way into this cold, crisp alien world. Standing on its stone shell, it looked over itself, taking careful stock of it’s being:

It’s body was no more than a third of a meter in height with a prehensile tail that was easily triple that; the tail was long, slender, and scaled with tiny sensory hairs — quite similar to an Terran rat. Its fur was soft, almost silicone-textured cilia that seemed to ruffle and sway at if it was constantly underwater; its color shifted to match the world around it, and there were moments where parts of its lean, lemur-like structure would disappear altogether. Like Terran monkeys, it was both an arboreal and terrestrial quadruped, and its four-fingered hands and feet were long and dextrous. It had a face that was strikingly catlike with tall, triangular ears and a slender muzzle that created a mouth full of translucent, omnivorous teeth. Had the creature stood on a Terran scale, it’s weight would barely register as half a kilo — quite unusual for its size.

It moved in little leaps and hops as it came off the remains of its shell and up the impact crater of its nest. Each little bounce was accented by a soft grunting whirr. When it came up to the top crest of the crater, it stood back on its haunches and started to look around.

This planet was a strange world, dominated by towering structures and constantly luminous despite the dark, star-strewn skies. It moved carefully, pausing every three steps to look around. Its wide, leonine nostrils flared, taking in each new scent. Frozen vegetation was sniffed around, plant leaves chewed on, and finally it began to pull up and eat the remnants of root vegetables that had never been harvested.

Each passing moment created new synapses in its brain — information was absorbed, categorized, organized, and filtered. It could feel the world around it depositing information into its brain. While it still hadn’t created language, it still created ideas. Things coalesced into unnamed things that would later get labeled as it adapted to its new world.

It constantly was observing, taking in each detail. When it looked up with a radish in its mouth, it spotted the bipedal effigy that had been placed on crossed slats of wood. It was dressed in textile, stuffed with dried straw and synthetic fluff. It wore what Terrans would call a suit, complete with a tie that bore a tactile map of this world’s solar system.

Tilting its head in interest, the newly hatched sentient bounced up to the human effigy and climbed up its stuffed body to admire the tie. Its head tilted this way, and that, and then — with quick, sure fingers — undid the tie. It fashioned it around its own slender neck, careful to mimic the knot it had just undone. The tie, now in place, hung almost to its feet, and it lifted it to stroke its embroidery while it continued to chew through the radish greens.

Just then, the skies above it ignited with the luminous lights of something inorganic. It looked up, star-scaped eyes taking in the strange sight without fear as the enormous entity swooped low, and came to a soft landing in an open, flat, black field of solid matter fenced by slender woven planes of metal. As it finished landing, it abruptly vanished from sight.

This only interested this strange alien more, and it crept forward with ears perked toward the technological creature. As it approached, it mimicked the vehicle: its fur shimmered and shifted and then the little alien was completely invisible. Except for the tie.


Agents MacPherson and Quinn had gotten the call. Something had impacted New York City in the Chelsea neighborhood during the meteor. They’d hoped that they wouldn’t get the call, but it happened every meteor shower, and part of the interstellar defense team in S.H.I.E.L.D., it was their job to check out every call that might lead to a threat to Earth.

As the quinjet landed on the empty basketball court near the community garden, MacPherson hissed out a small curse of annoyance. “I hate flying this thing,” she said over her shoulder to Quinn, who was not licensed to fly the jet at all and just smiled at her haplessly.

“And yet, you’re the one who has been assigned to fly it,” Quinn shot back wryly.

The two had been working together for eighteen months, which meant they had only just found their stride with their unique quirks and flaws. Quinn had been in S.H.I.E.L.D. since Coulson was still trying to figure out their acronym, and MacPherson had been a scientist out of Cern when she was recruited into the Interstellar Defense Division.

Quinn rubbed at his face as he stood, grabbing up his gear. “Let’s go check out this meteor, then.”

“Meteorite,” Mac corrected automatically.

The boarding ramp of the jet opened like a gaping maw, allowing the two to step down onto the court with ease. When the mouth closed back up, and Quinn looked back, he was still bewildered to see that the jet was not visible any longer, but instead was just an empty square of space and him and Mac had just materialized into place.

Being in S.H.I.E.L.D. was never something someone was going to get used to.

The two checked the area before they crossed through the wooden gate into the garden. It was quiet, being almost two A.M.; the meteor shower had kept some folks up and eyes to the sky, but most had gone to bed by the time the event occurred. Sometimes meteors become meteorites, but with aliens now being part of the normal day-to-day on Earth, any impact needed to be investigated.

The impact site was not as big as they expected — barely six meters in diameter. At the center was a cracked rock that, upon Mac’s inspection, was revealed to be hollow. She gathered samples while Quinn stood by, anxiously waiting for her to be done so they could pack up and go home.

So far, of the three dozen sites that him and Mac had investigated, only one came up with anything extraterrestrial in nature. He didn’t expect this to be the second one, so he was mistakenly not paying close attention to the ground which — had he really looked — was covered in tiny, four-toed and -fingered footprints.

“Almost done,” Mac called as she gathered the last sample from the rock, and put the vial into the bag across her shoulder. She scrambled up the wall of the crater, disturbing the ground and upsetting the evidence she hadn’t been perceptive enough to spot. She thought, just out the corner of her eye, she had seen a footprint. When she stopped to examine it, it was hard to tell if it was evidence of something or just the leftovers of her earlier descent.

When she got back to the top, she glanced around. The area was strewn in eaten vegetables and leafy debris. She picked up a bit of thrown away carrot, frowning slightly.

“Probably rats,” Quinn said, almost reading the question flying through Mac’s mind. “Or garden squatters.”

“Probably right,” Mac said, rubbing at the edge of a half-eaten carrot. She disposed of it with a flick of her wrist.

The two started back for the quinjet, and Quinn checked back over his shoulder. In that glance, he spotted the suit-wearing scarecrow that stood watch over the garden, and it made him chuckle. He pointed toward it. “Only in New York does a scarecrow where a suit and tie.”

Mac turned slightly toward it, and then shook her head ruefully. “No tie. Must be a casual day.”

The two grinned at each other at the small, but lightening joke. When they got to the quinjet, it took just a tap of Quinn’s wrist watch to activate the boarding ramp, which lowered in a soft hiss to invite them back inside. Mac passed off her samples to Quinn to organize while she headed up to the cockpit to begin preparing the jet to head back to base.

Her yelping scream startled Quinn, vitals and small collection containers rattling out across the floor. He dropped the bag, darting up toward the cockpit in a quick series of steps. He had his night-night gun out, ready to blast whatever enemy target he spotted. All he saw was Mac pointing at a tie… floating in front of the quinjet controls.

“What is that?” Quinn blinked in alarm.

“It’s a tie.”

The two shared a glance. The tie floated and twisted in place, its knot neat and precise. It seemed to turn toward them and release a soft, purring sound. The tie floating and flicked, and made that same soft noise.

Quinn slowly stepped forward, reaching carefully for the tie. It reached for him, and he grasped it lightly between his fingers. It had a strange weight to it, like it was more than just a tie of fabric. He looked down at it, blinking at the way it just relaxed in his hand. His still tickled oddly, but he couldn’t define why it did so. It bore a rather well-done embroidery of the Solar System on its inky blue fabric. The inner planets were small beads of knots, while the outer planets were larger and more detailed circles. There were tiny stars that made up the background. When he turned it over, it had the initials F.N.

“F. N.,” he said, saying each letter.

Fffffffnnnnnn,” the tie crooned, the sudden response causing Quinn to drop the tie.

It sank to the ground and then leaped back up to… well… stand on the gentle bottom curl of the triangular end. Quinn glanced over his shoulder to Mac, and the astrophysicist shrugged helplessly.

“Sentient menswear?” She offered, voice uncertain.

Quinn looked back to the tie, and he breathed out a slow exhale that sunk him down into a squat before the tie.

“Uh, hi,” he said cautiously.

Hhhhhhhhiiiiiiii,” the tie crooned.

“Whoa, okay… well… seen odder things.”

Which wasn’t exactly true. Rocket Racoon and his tree friend Groot were probably less odd than a talking, crooning tie.

“So… F. N., huh?” Quinn couldn’t help it. His grin cracked. “I’m going to call you Finn.”

There was a vacant, serious silence behind him for just a heartbeat, and then Mac said flatly, “You just named the tie after a Star Wars character.”

“I even quoted Poe Dameron while I did it,” Quinn replied proudly. He looked back at the tie, and then sighed. “Alright, Finn. Let’s get you back to base.”

“Fiiiiiinnnnnnnn, baaaaaaaasssse,” the tie said, drawing out the syllables long and soft and gently. Then it bounced up and down a bit, expressing an almost juvenile excitement.

“I would say no one is going to believe this,” Mac sighed. “But, well.”

“Talking racoons,” the two said together.

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