Happy Hour


asi_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif elliot_icon.gif erin_icon.gif hailey_icon.gif wright_icon.gif

Scene Title Happy Hour
Synopsis NYPD and Wolfhound employees meet at a bar after work.
Date April 21, 2021

The Thirsty Crow

"Darts. Why did it have to be darts?" Asi mutters to herself as she squares herself and lines up her shot, arm lifted and testing the weight of the projectile in her hand. It's her last throw for this round and she's just landed her previous dart clear off the side of the large circular bullseye of an arena. "Why couldn't it have been billiards? Why couldn't we have just gone to City Slickers?"

Because that place is an affront to anyone who's remotely American, Asi.

She knows it and smirches her tongue off the inside of her cheek as she lobs the dart and lands again on the 16, near her first shot. Grudgingly, she'll take it, and she sighs as she stands upright and lets the sounds of the bar filter in. The friendly after-hours get-together between Wolfhound and their NYPD partners wasn't exactly required content, and the friendly competition in this bar game during the happy hour even less so, but it felt highly enough recommended that Asi is here despite the silent affliction her condition is putting on her today.

She nurses the beer she's left at the corner of the bartop like it's medication, a cure for what ails her. "I don't know who's up next," the former-technopath agent of Wolfhound balks, "But you'd best throw better than me."

“Could have just gone to City Sliquors instead,” Erin offers, slightly slurred and somehow still emphasizing the Q-U, sidling up to the vaguely familiar darts player, “just go right for the bottle. But that place is all the way near Astoria Park, so that’s a huge waste of time. Have we met? I feel like we have. This is a cop bar after all.”

She takes a hearty slug of her own drink, a watered down bottom shelf Scotch (gotta start the evening light but with water in it you can’t possibly call it “neat”), and leans her lower back against the bartop, between two empty stools, and eyeballs the dartboard across the way. The dingy, green-tinted light creates a weird tunneling effect on her inebriated eyes, like widescreen but drunk. Erin Gordon, off the clock, is often drunk, and drunk Erin Gordon is friendly with mostly everybody except random men trying to get her attention.

“Billiards could have been fun,” Elliot says, walking up to take Asi’s offered darts. “A lot easier to line up a shot when you’re standing in two places at once. Darts on the other hand…” A series of soft thuds land unimpressive results. “I guess playing fair is fine too.”

“Wow, you’re not good at this,” Wright says, carrying a tray of bar food over to a tall table. She sets aside a plate of steaming red/orange fried chicken that sends a wave of spice through the air, and a tall and hastily assembled burger on the messier end of the dining etiquette spectrum. She smiles guiltily as a server swings by to reclaim the discarded tray. Taking the darts from Elliot, she quickly racks up a score that’s easily as unimpressive as her partner’s. “Now that’s how it’s done.”

“I said make these spicier than white-people spicy,” Elliot informs her as he half-sits in a tall chair at the table. “No idea what they added to the sauce but we’re really not shooting for Michelin stars here.” He tries one and nods.

“Jesus,” Wright says as she tastes it vicariously through him. “Like spicy spicy. I may actually not steal any from you now, this seems like it’s probably above my tolerance.”

"C'mon Wright, you gotta represent and toughen up!" Hailey cackles from the corner. Then she sets her face into a stern grimace and goes back to concentrating on a very important arm wrestling match. The man she's got her hand clasped with is much larger than herself, but she's been lifting a lot of weigh—ty things lately and she wants to test her mettle.

There's money, a few crumpled bills, laid on the table that she's not willing to lose.

Good thing none of her roommates are here to witness what is likely to be her inevitable defeat. Still she tries, and tries… and flexes so hard that she's actually in some danger of popping a blood vessel. Knowing she's losing doesn't deter her enough though. It's a friendly game, after all, and she's unwilling to let go without giving it her all. So against her opponent's one arm, she's got two… then her entire body weight, pitted against his right arm.

Erin, floating like a cartoon dog following an anthropomorphic steak, finds herself near the wings and takes one with a wink - winking, that is, through horrible pain.

Perhaps Asi wins through the sheer distraction of the recently-arrived food, anyway. She drifts that way without as much clear affection for the bar food as Erin does, but picks up one of the supposedly spicy wings to try for herself. She's not in the network given that she's drinking, so she can't rely on Elliot and Wright's collective experiences.

She sets aside her beer to delicately bite into the side of the sweating red tender, eyes narrowing thoughtfully afterward. "We have met before," she finally answers Erin. "Just in passing. I feel like we tend to support other units more than SCOUT, usually."

If she has strong opinions about the food, she keeps them to herself. One hand covers her mouth politely as she turns to Erin. Her aloofness paints a far different picture than the casual air she thinks she's adopting as she introduces herself. "Tetsuyama, Asi. Wolfhound. A pleasure."

Erin looks at the proffered hand, looks at her own covered in fluorescent orange buffalo sauce, looks at the hand again, wipes her own on a nearby napkin (whose? Who knows? The crumple is universal), and nods at Asi. “Detective Erin Gordon. I’d shake, but there’s no wet naps around, so please excuse the rudeness.” At this, she also suppresses a belch as the unholy blend of deep-frozen-deep-fried wings and garbage-tier Scotch start a war that bridges The Pond and assaults the treaty line of the gastrointestinal cavity. She’ll have pimples next week.

“You’re good with the darts.” Small talk. It’s hard. “I…am less so. Really, I’d say I’m better at hitting exactly the worst number to hit.” A beat. “Maybe it’s a metaphor.” Then a wink.

She turns casually to the bartender, or at least the space where a bartender should be, and orders some fries instead of the chemical poultry simmering in her gullet. If she’s off the clock, it’s cheat day, and bar fries are the best worst option for the best worst kind of time.

Elliot watches his dinner get burgled with stoic resignation and an emotionless movement of his eyes from Wright to the food and back to say, Are you seeing this shit? She shrugs, wisely having chosen a sample-resistant hamburger. "Hailey, come try one of these wings," she says, keeping maniacal eye contact with Elliot.

There’s a sudden shout from Elliot’s pocket—


—followed by an abomination of what sounds like dubstep being played in a busy arcade, though the interruption is blessedly short. Elliot retrieves his phone, reads the text along with Wright, whose mouth is too full of burger to ask what it says like a normal person.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021 ᛫ 18:52
hey just got your text
i’ve gotta stay in tonight, tasha’s taking a late deposition and i think pippa is conspiring with hugo to secede the second floor from the ground floor
so i’ve gotta go play cia and break up their government
tell everyone to have a good night for me
and/or pray for me
Understood, good luck with that. Let Wright know if you want her to send Ames over there to make the situation drastically worse

"Colette can't make it," Elliot says as he types out his reply. "She demands that everyone have a good night or you’re fired," he adds.

Asi lets out a short laugh fueled by surprise more than anything else when Erin declares her darts game to be good. The alcohol really must be impairing her judgment already. Note to self: arrange a ride home for that one.

She, too, ignores Elliot's protest about his wings! Bar food is not a single-person buy. Today he'll learn. She does the courtesy of at least waving at the bartender over Erin's head and signaling for another basket of the wings they've already nearly-completely demolished, though. This is the closest to an apology she'll come.

"Are you local, Gordon?" Asi asks when all that's taken care of. "Or were you brought in when the force was being reassembled?" A question asked by the blissfully oblivious, certainly. She was living an entire world away with barely a thought spared for New York at that point in her life.

It has been literally more than a decade since Elisabeth has sat with a group of officers for a night like this. She almost didn't come out — command presence can put a damper on other people. But even her husband urged her to go, to make the connections to her people that have always made her happy. She quietly makes her way into the tavern, skirting around the group at first. Her man-mountain shadow Mike has a talent for blending in, and Elisabeth grins faintly as the bodyguard makes himself comfortable at the end of the bar where he can see everything without being obvious.

At the bar, she orders a full round of appetizers for the entire group, and pays for the next round of drinks as well. A grin crosses her face at Colette's relayed threat to fire people. Sounds like Colette, for certain. Then she takes her pint and makes her way toward one of the tall tables to watch the dart game.

Mental note, Erin totally needs a ride home.

She doesn't interrupt, though, taking a long moment to watch the fun.

“Okay, it’s not that good,” Erin concedes, shrugging with a laugh. “I know basically nothing about darts except throw thing, hit cork. But to answer your question…both? I am a local, been in Brooklyn since I was a year old, but I was also brought back when they reassembled the force. I was a rookie cop in ‘06. I was around for a bit until the war, and then they brought me back and promoted me. I almost didn’t take it, but…” A drag of the drink. “Well, here we are. Still wondering if it was the right choice, but all we have are the choices we have made.”

Sagely scotch advice as she claps her very sober superior on the back in a knowing sort of way, oblivious to the fact that Elisabeth may have absolutely no idea what she’s talking about.

Elliot allows his meal to be pilfered. His eyes track from Erin to Wright, concerned but not showing it. Need to leave? he asks, keeping the movements discrete.

Wright shakes her head. In the weeks since her parent’s latest attempts to drive her to drink, she’s gotten her feet back under her. She’s even mostly gotten over her self-loathing about having told her father that she hunted his friends for sport. Grateful at least it’s kept him at bay for this long. With most of the obstacles to sobriety removed she’s comfortable making an appearance here.

“If you’re looking for a change of career,” Wright says to Erin, face tilted in a conspiratorial expression as though she’d trying not to let Elisabeth hear, “you should apply at Wolfhound. Plenty of excitement, plus you have to work for the NYPD anyway so you don’t even have to tell anyone you’re quitting!”

"No don't!" Hailey pipes up as she makes her way for the wings. Her arm snakes in, winding almost impossibly around Elliot to snag one. Growing up as she did, you learned all the tricks to grabbing food when you could. "Wolfhound is like… big government and you know what that means. Besides, I hear the Ell-Tee is buying us the next couple of rounds. You think the Wolfhound boss would do that for you?"

She has no idea who that is, but more government means more rules in her mind.

Grinning as Liz approaches the group, she reaches her free hand up to catch the attention of the bartender. "Heeeeeyyyy Ell-Tee! Speak of the de-ville!" Once she knows she has the attention of the figure behind the bar, she twirls her finger around and then points to the top of their boss' head. "Collette said you were buying the next two rounds."

A near-snort of her updated drink precedes Asi coughing out, "She didn't, actually, but I don't think anyone would argue." She follows that with another short, hollow laugh as she wipes her fingers on an all-too-thin paper napkin. "Though I have to point out Wolfhound works with the NYPD primarily, these days, so if you're interested in moving into only responding to high-intensity NYPD situations…"

Asi slants a vaguely apologetic glance toward Elisabeth and then takes another sip of her drink to clear her throat.

Slanting Erin a slight grin as the young detective leans on her shoulder, Elisabeth is more than a little amused at the back-and-forth. "Already opened the tab," she chuckles. Etiquette says if the LT is joining the group, the LT buys a round or two, right? At least that's Liz's opinion on the matter.

"And don't go snaking my people, Tracy," the blonde retorts mildly. "SCOUT is the very definition of high-intensity NYPD, and dammit, I finally have this squad almost to my liking." If she could just get Kaylee and Abigail back, that is. She winks at Asi in amusement at the sorry-not-sorry expression. "Avi can go find his own people to recruit. Besides, I let him keep Dev!" She didn't let him do anything; Devon makes his own choices, obviously, and Liz hasn't tried to snake her 'son' from that team.

Elisabeth's expression continues to hold amusement as she leans back in her chair. "Gordon, remind me to teach you darts – you can't aim for shit," she adds lazily. "No self-respecting cop shoots that badly."

At this, Erin lets out a bark of laughter and slaps the lieutenant playfully on the back, perhaps a bit harder than intended. “You’re not wrong, lieu! Maybe this is why it’s always so difficult for me to pass my firearm cert! I could easily shoot something flammable by mistake one of these days! I swear, they must be getting desperate if they keep letting me carry. I guess the whole walking through walls thing makes me valuable enough to let my horrible aim slide. Either that, or it’s my winning personality.”

A sloppy two-eyed wink and another slug of…what was she drinking again?

“Listen. I think we all got into this job to help people, didn’t we? And sometimes you find yourself wondering if the help you’re giving is the help that people actually need, or if it is ‘help’ that makes the people in charge feel better and ends up just wasting people’s energy for stuff nobody even asked for. I wonder what it means to be ‘in touch’ or ‘out of touch’ now.” Air quotes, of course, one side of which is complicated by the highball glass in short-nailed fingers and teeters slightly as the meta-narrative is revealed via gesture, but none of the precious icar escapes. “Not to turn this happy hour into an unhappy hour, but I gotta say, I wonder what the meaning of helping even is whether you’re in NYPD, big government, or somewhere else.”

“I feel like I should point out that there are two open bars in the Bastion, which from someone else’s point of view might seem like a better deal than two rounds badgered out of a reluctant lieutenant,” Wright says with a bleak laugh. “It’s nothing if not a constant excuse to exercise my willpower in the face of addiction.” Elliot chuckles just as bleakly.

“And I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Wolfhound is Big Government,” Elliot adds, “as that implies meaningful civilian oversight and the ability to follow orders.” He catches the bartender’s eye as well to gesture for more wings, please. “And having recently been robbed myself—in front of no fewer than three police officers—I must say my faith in law enforcement has been shaken to its core.”

"For real?" Hailey chirps, mouth full of wing. She stops chewing quite suddenly and begins to wave a hand in front of her mouth as the air comes out like fire. She looks around frantically for something to ease the heat coating her mouth and finally grabs the small cup of dressing.

Dipping the remainder of her wing in, she sucks the sauce and the last of the meat from the bone. Then, she downs her entire pint of beer in one long pull.

*slam* The glass goes down on the table for a refill, "Oh my God that was hot… I need more." Beer? Wings? Who can be sure.

Asi ducks her head to hide her amusement rather than sympathy for Elliot's plight. It's easier to shift and address Erin's wonderings, even if she might be remembering less than the full recounting come tomorrow. "I think that's a question each person has to ask themself, Gordon," she answers glibly. "And then aspire to achieve it."

"How you want to provide that help should determine where you want to go. Hell, you could argue that your marksmanship being bad is a sign of being a good cop, honestly." The earnest elbowing is done with a hint of a smile more present in her eyes than anywhere else. "One less-militarized, more focused on community outreach and providing positive presence."

“That’s the dream, ma’am!” Erin blurts back, taking a wing from the red plastic basket that a waiter is whisking by towards Elliot’s call and, upon seeing it is the popcorn variety, eats it wholesale. “During the war, I wasn’t a cop at all. I was basically an…activist? Organizer? A whomever. What you said.” She looks around for the source of wings, can’t find them, and mirrors Elliot’s more wings over here please, good sir motion to nobody in particular. “And I agree. I do think that that’s the best means of policing. It’s naive to believe that the world can exist without law enforcement, but the shift should be around what that means. What is enforcement? Helping to follow the rules and act in everyone’s best interest. And when that fails, rehabilitation is the key.”

She stands up and paces back and forth a few steps like a frazzled professor in his study, before placing the glass back on the bar and muttering to the bartender, “Whatever non-IPA is most delicious on tap.”

As she listens to the semi-drunken ramblings of Erin and Asi, Elisabeth finds herself strangely dissociated from the conversation. How many times did she and Felix talk about such things? How many times has she asked herself in the past months whether any-damn-thing she's doing makes a difference at all? These are not thoughts the Lieutenant really wants to be having on what is supposed to be a pleasant bonding experience.

Taking a long swallow of her beer, Liz moves to stand up and take a turn at the darts. While she gathers them, she eyes Elliot. "Please tell me you're fucking kidding." If he is not kidding about being robbed while cops stood by, she might be going back to the precinct to have a serious Come-to-Jesus with some people.

Stepping back to the taped line on the floor, she adds mildly to Erin, "Laws change slowly because society changes slowly. Civilization only works because the people living together agree on a set of core rules that everyone is supposed to follow." Liz throws the first dart, hitting midway from center to the right edge of the board. "Understand that your job as enforcement is, at its core, to enforce those rules – whether you like it or not. If the answer is 'not', it's time to find a new job." The second dart flies, low and still slightly right of center.

Slanting a glance at the assembled, she points in an extremely dry tone, "I had to find the same answers… but don't use me as an example. You might not get so lucky as to be hailed as some kind of hero." The third dart lands, still slightly low and this time left of center.

“Sorry Ma’am,” Wright says before Elliot has a chance to ruin someone’s career, “he’s just complaining about people eating his buffalo wings.”

“I was!” Elliot adds. “Joking,” he then clarifies. “But also robbed.”

“There is however a moral imperative to refuse to enforce unjust laws,” Wright says, “which I understand that not everybody is in a place where they can do that and not get black listed. But willingly enforcing laws intended to better some people by the suffering of others makes the enforcer an active agent in state violence, and intent carries less moral weight than action.”

“Or, in this case,” Elliot corrects, “inaction.”

“I am gonna suffocate you with a bar rag,” Wright says with a manic laugh.

One of the wing thieves seems quite unapologetic and pours herself another pint from one of the pitchers on the table. She also seems to be not paying attention to most of the conversation until Wright’s death threat, which nearly causes her to choke on the large gulp she’s taking. She manages to swallow, then barks out a laugh. “So gross… so so gross…”

To make amends, Hailey waves to the bar and orders yet another plate. Though she is quite careful to call over the din, “”Lemon pepper please!! No no not .. what? NO!! LEMON PEPPER!!” She lowers herself and grimaces in panic, hoping that they don’t get yet another plate of inedible fire. “So… is it bad that you were robbed in front of three police officers, or worse that it was the officers robbing you?”

Erin looks into the non-IPA she’s been handed, wires crossed, and wonders if someone’s put lemon pepper in it. She then decides that that sounds like a delicious thing to try and knocks back a gulp. There is no lemon pepper here. Very sad. She’ll tell Elliot to try mixing that up sometime; he seems like the type to try such things.

Eying the darts on the board, Elisabeth snorts derisively. "I used to be better at that." It's truly a crappy set of throws. But she's amused at herself anyway. Picking up her beer, she gestures at the board. "Gordon, I owe you an apology – apparently drunk you are a more self-respecting cop than I," she quips, referring to her earlier critique.

Getting robbed of his wings over there, Elliott is not getting sympathy for that one from the LT. "File a report," she tells him with a wink, now that she knows it wasn't something out on the streets or whatever. "I'll find a latrine duty for the offending thieves or something." Not.

Pointing at Wright with her beer glass hand, Liz adds, "Just be sure you can justify your moral imperative to the person who oversees you. I'll cover my people's calls on such things, and if I disagree with their call I'll deal with it in-house. Not everyone is quite so… flexible." She's not a big enough hypocrite to try to tell anyone to enforce laws that she fights against.

Wright gives Elisabeth a thumbs up in acknowledgement, mouth currently occupied by her remaining burger. Once she's free, she elaborates. "I'll make sure to reveal my reservations only to the good ones," she says with a smile.

Elliot helps himself to one last bite of chicken and decides that he'll bring his own hot sauce next time and slip it to the cook. Chemical warfare is in order.

He slides his phone from his pocket to text Merlyn, feeling a sudden burst of baffled butterflies for the hundredth time today when she quickly responds. He can be at the park in half an hour, and despite Wright's assurances, he can feel it's time to give her an excuse to leave the bar. His emotions have already drawn her attention to the messages, and she blinks in acknowledgement.

"Okay folks," Wright says as she cleans her hands on a napkin, "it's been fun watching Elliot lose at darts in front of all of you, but we have to head out. Places to go, people to see, wrongs to correct. Wednesday night shit, you know how it is. Enjoy the wings at his expense."

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