|The Morgue Visit|
|What: Clint and Natasha pay a S.H.I.E.L.D. visit to the Gotham Morgue to check out some zombot bodies.|
When the news came through on the wire, Clint was instantly suspicious. Napalm explosions in crime-ridden sections of Gotham? Reports of stumbling bodies? Tense, short press conferences from police representatives? Yeah, something is up.
Getting in contact with a buddy within the Gotham PD, Clint is quick to set up a meeting at the GCPD morgue to go over one of the recovered corpses that the department is publicly denying exist. Currently Clint stands outside the back door to the morgue, hands stuffed into pockets as he tries to hold an umbrella aloft for him and his partner. Of course it's a downpour. It's Gotham.
Natasha is in a trenchcoat with her regular Widow gear beneath it. She looks a bit soggy and bedraggled in the rain, but leave it her to her make soggy and bedraggled look fetching. Decades of practice. "Does it ever not rain in this armpit of the northeast?" she asks grumpily.
"If it did, we'd be just of the luck to not be on call," Clint speculates with a wry grin, giving Natasha a look that she can tell is silent admiration, though he will certainly deny it if pressed. Just as he opens his mouth to say something else, the door to the morgue opens and a dissheveled blonde man peeks his head out.
"Barton? You alone?" he says, glancing from Clint over towards Natasha then back again.
Clint offers a wide grin. "No, I'm not in fact. Oops." He gestures slightly between the two. "Natsha, Travis Nie, one of Gotham's finest, which isn't saying much given the tail that internal affairs on him. Nie, this is Natasha. Don't get on her bad side."
"Mister Nie, thank you for your cooperation in this matter," Natasha says, with textbook SHIELD niceness. There's just no niceness in the tone or her eyes. Rain. Morgues. Not a fun way to spend your Sunday evening. "May we come in?" she asks.
"Yeah, Travis, good thing we're not witches or we'd be nothing but puddles out here," Clint adds, a bit more informally. Nie glowers slightly before moving out of the way, allowing entrance to both.
"For the record, Barton, if I didn't owe you one, I'd have told you to fuck off when you called," he grumps, which gets just a shrug to Natasha before Clint steps in. "Body's this way, along with the mechanism we found with it," Nie tells them before stepping into one of the large body-labs.
Natasha steps inside, the Russian's eyes moving immediately around her vicinity, spotting things that could be used as a weapon, avenues of escape, places to hide. She picks out security cameras first, and makes sure her face is turned away from each of them. It's hard to be a mysterious spy in this age of technology so she takes more care than she used to.
The Widow follows Nie, her hands in the pockets of her trenchcoat. If the smell of the chemicals used in the morgue bothers her, she doesn't show it, stoic as ever in the face of death. "Mechanism?" she asks, encouraging the man to continue.
Clint's nose twitches slightly, possibly more affected by those chemicals than his stoic partner. For the time being, he just looks around curiously. "Yeah, the public reports didn't mention anything about a mechanism," Barton follows up, knowingly.
Nie sighs slightly as he comes to one of the many rows of body freezer lockers, pulling it open. Inside is...A DEAD BODY! DUN DUN DUN! Namely, a young dead person, male with bright green hair in a mohawk hairstyle. Next to the body is a small round device in a plastic baggie. Nie takes it in hand and holds it up. "This mechanism. Our boys are still researching it, and we suspect it's the trigger device for some of the explosions." He eyes Nie knowingly. "But I suspect your friend here already knew all that."
For his part, Clint looks completely innocent. He is /far/ too good at that.
The Widow leaves the technology to Clint for the moment, instead pulling a pair of nitrile gloves from a box nearby and donning them. She begins inspecting the corpse curiously, checking inside the mouth and ears, looking for injection sites, implants, or the residual smell of known chemical compounds. She also looks for identifying marks such as tattoos, birthmarks, or deformities. "How many explosives were detonated, and have the authorities found any which were not?" she asks as she works.
"Each of the...corpses had one implanted in their chest. Most of them had already discharged, we have a few under observation that hadn't," Nie explains evenly, rubbing the back of his head. "We...suspect it is possible that a few of these things are still out there." He looks at both of the agents with clear contempt before asking, "Do you even know what these damn things are? I mean...what they REALLY are?"
"Walking dead meat puppets controlled by some megalomaniac? Welcome to my day job Nie." He takes the mechanism and examines it. "Identical to the ones we confiscated for the Helicarrier," he reports outloud.
As Natasha explores the body, she finds a few key signs of drug use along the mans arms, but also two tattoos along his neck. One matches the complex chinese symbol that Doug translated as 'The World shall burn, and we still stand', but the second is new, looking for all the world like a hawk's talon.
"Same symbol Ramsey translated for us, but this is new," Natasha notes to Clint. She pulls a digital camera from her coat pocket and begins snapping shots of the tattoos, the evidence of drug use, and the device. "Where in the chest was the device located?" she asks idly as she continues shooting images. The flash pops a bright blue-white light each time, eerie in the morgue's confines.
Nie raises an eyebrow. "So you do know about these things," he says glumly before shaking his head. He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a cigarette, lighting up as he reaches down to pull the modest covering off of the corpse. The pull reveals that there is a deep cavity in the center of the man's chest, about the same depth and diameter of the mechanism in Clint's hand. "Just a guess, but we think it was right about here."
Clint clicks his tongue slightly as he looks at the second tattoo. "Definitely new. Might be a dead end, but could also not be." Pearls of wisdom from Clint Barton.
Natasha takes shots of the chest cavity as well before straightening and tucking the camera away. "How many of these did the GCPD recover after the incident?" she asks. "And how many got away?"
"We currently sorting through three dozen corpses," Nie admits darkly, taking a long drag from the cig, waving the smoke away slightly. "As far as the ones who got away...we're looking into that. Could be none, we don't have any reports. Still, can't be too careful with something this...nasty."
Clint frown deeply at the number. "That's...way more than we found in New York. Where were they found?" He reaches down now to examine the body visually, especially the impacted chest area to see any evidence of wiring.
"The Bowery. Even by Gotham's standards, people consider it a real shit-hole. Most of the victims were riff-raff that disppeared over the last few months," Nie admits, sounding none too proud.
"Perfect victims," Clint muses. "No missing persons reports."
"Drug users? Prostitutes? Small time hoods?" Natasha asks. The track marks seem to indicate that much. She asides to Clint quietly. "Desperate people who can be manipulated by their desperation." Being a lab rat in exchange for money or drugs perhaps.
Clint straightens back up and nods towards Natasha. "Probably explains why we couldn't find any records on the six victims from New York. We should probably get feet on the ground in other major delapitated ghet-" That thought it cut off as Clint's phone starts to ring. Reaching into the inside pocket of his suit jacket, Clint pulls out his phone and answers it. "Barton here, what's on your mind?" he asks, before frowning deeply, going pale. He wanders off as he continues his call.
"Some of each, often times mixed together," Nie admits to Natasha as he watches Clint walk off. "Most of them had records, and those that didn't had tell-tale signs of hard living." He leans in closer, his voice falling to a whisper. "Say, is that guy still a major pain in the ass pretty much 24/7?" he asks.
"He's my partner," is Natasha's reply. Yes, Clint is a pain in the ass 24/7, but she's the only one that gets to say that. She gives Nie the /eye/. Clint knows the one, the one that makes grown men wet themselves. She steps back from the body to watch Clint on his call.
Nie does not wet himself. He does, however, shiver slightly and taking a step back to smoke at his cig. He glances down at the corpse and shakes his head. "Between you and me, I think you're better company."
"Roger, fill me in if anything else develops," Clint says, wrapping up his phone call. He gives Natasha a grave look. "We have visual in Detroit, another small hive of about eight, but that could mean there are more around the country. This...could become a serious problem."
"I have a bad feeling about this," Natasha says flatly. This usually means she and Clint will end up being undercover pimps and hos, or druggies to try and get scooped up by whoever is doing this. She shakes her head, eyes her partner, and deadpans, "If this happens the way I think it's going to, I get to be the damned pimp this time."
Clint cracks a smile, which he quickly kills as he points accusingly. "No fair making me laugh when we have an undead invasion on our hands. Bad partner, no cookie," he admonishes, using her own shaming techniques against her. "And if I had my druthers, we'd just find the creep behind all this and you kick him in the face. Preferably with heels on."
"Promises of face kicking. You always did know how to woo a girl, Barton," Natasha replies with a smirk. She turns back to Nie. "The talon tattoo. Did the others have this one as well?" she asks.
Nie looks up from his conversation with the departed. "Hmmm? Um, yeah, I think so. I mean, a lot of them had some serious ink, but those two were pretty consistent. I'd have to check to see if they all had it though." He rubs the back of his neck. "We honestly just kind of assumed it was gang related."
"Yeah, well you know what happens when you assume, Nie," Barton says, stuffing his phone back in his suit pocket. "For what it's worth, you Gotham scum did the right thing suppressing the information on this one. Really stellar work. Granted, I'm sure you did it for your own scumbaggy reasons, but hey, that's why we love you." He then glances towards Natasha, mouthing, 'No we don't.'
That gets a snort. Tash'll laugh about it with him later over drinks, but not in front of the cop she's trying to freak out. Instead she keeps her scary intense face on. "We'll be in touch. Mister Nie, if SHIELD is in need of further information. Thank you again for your cooperation." She turns on a booted heel to head for the door.
Clint hides a pleased little smirk behind scratching his nose. He got a snort! A world record! He nods his head towards Nie. "You have my card," he says as he starts to follow Natasha out of the building. He pauses a few steps from the door, glancing back over towards the detective. "By the way, a friend of mine will be here within the hour. Starched out hair, smells like sin, but he'll take the bodies off your hands, so I'd be nice to him if I were you. Ta-ta, Nie, nice to catch up." And with that, Barton follows behind Natasha, bringing his umbrella back out to hold over her. Such a gentleman.
Natasha is already sending photos up to the Helicarrier where the uber nerds can figure out what it all means and then send her to put bullets in whomever is responsible. "Exploding zombies. And I thought Nazis and ninjas sucked."
"They're ninjas too," Clint informs her as he tries to keep up with her pace. "Or not, because their Chinese or something. Belroy tried to explain it. Anyway, yeah, we have a serious zombie issue here, and not sure the SHIELD handbook covers this exact kind." He pauses before adding, "You know, if you want me to be your hoe, you always just have to ask nicely."
Tash finally cracks a smile. "Oh, I just have to ask Fury, I'm sure he'll be thrilled he can humiliate you AND pass some sensitivity training in one go." She sashays towards their vehicle. "I'm sure we'll both be heroin addicts or something though. Which I hate, because that means we get to pay Nurse Ratchet a visit in Medbay and she gets to jab us with needles for 'realism.' Ugh."
Clint raises an eyebrow. "You /really/ hate her, don't you?" he says before cracking into an amused smile. "Some one must be afraid of shots," he teases.
Just a moment later, Natasha's phone beeps in such a way to indicate a text message has been recieved.
When she checks it, the screen reads just one sentence, five words.
'Icon Identified as Yellow Claw.'
Natasha pauses in her steps as she reads the text and scowls. "Wonderful." She passes the phone to Clint so he can see for himself. "I don't recall the training manual covering dealing with villainous biochemist communist Mandarin masterminds, do you?" she asks sarcastically.
Clint peeks over Natasha's shoulder, raising an eyebrow before glancing towards her. "Sure, right after the HR rules. God Tash, did you even /read/ the handbook?"
"I used it to prop up the broken table leg in my safehouse," Natasha admits with a shrug. She tucks the phone away again. "We're definitely going to be sent undercover, aren't we? Better brush up on your Mandarin, Clint."
That causes a genuine scowl across Clint's face, as he shakes his head. "Great, shoot me now," he says as he finally reaches the Beemer that brought them here, opening the passenger side door for his partner.
Tash slides in and adds in a quip, "I can tutor you. The only time in my busy schedule is late, late at night though." She's teasing, right?
Clint just looks down at her, arching an eyebrow. "Busy schedule, huh?" he says before breaking into a grin. "I'll bring a bottle of wine," he adds before shutting the door.