Swords Are Just Overkill


elisabeth_icon.gif matt_icon.gif hiro_icon.gif

Scene Title Swords Are Just Overkill
Synopsis Cockroaches scatter under scrutiny, but the guy with the sword? That's just overkill
Date February 16, 2009

Ruins of Midtown

Standing in the ruins of Midtown, it's hard to believe New York is still a living city.

There's life enough around the fringes — the stubborn, who refused to rebuild somewhere else; the hopeful, who believe the radiation is gone, or that they somehow won't be affected. Businesses, apartment complexes, taxis and bicycles and subways going to and fro — life goes on. Perhaps more quietly than in other parts of the city, shadowed by the reminder that even a city can die, but it does go on.

Then there is the waste. The empty core for which the living city is only a distant memory. Though a few major thoroughfares wind through the ruins, arteries linking the surviving halves, and the forms of some truly desperate souls can occasionally be glimpsed skulking in the shadows, the loudest noise here is of the wind whistling through the mangled remnants of buildings. Twisted cords of rebar reach out from shattered concrete; piles of masonry and warped metal huddle on the ground, broken and forlorn. Short stretches of road peek out from under rubble and dust only to disappear again shortly afterwards, dotted with the mangled and contorted forms of rusting cars, their windows long since shattered into glittering dust.

There are no bodies — not even pieces, not anymore. Just the bits and pieces of destroyed lives: ragged streamers fluttering from the handlebar which juts out of a pile of debris; a flowerbox turned on its side, coated by brick dust, dry sticks still clinging to the packed dirt inside; a lawn chair, its aluminum frame twisted but still recognizable, leaning against a flight of stairs climbing to nowhere.

At the center of this broken wasteland lies nothing at all. A hollow scooped out of the earth, just over half a mile across, coated in a thick layer of dust and ash. Nothing lives here. Not a bird; not a plant. Nothing stands here. Not one concrete block atop another. There is only a scar in the earth, cauterized by atomic fire. This is Death's ground.

The fringes of Midtown are *always* the source of a lot of unhappiness and mess. Tonight the rolling blackouts have hit the area nearest Central Park, which means two things: The bums using barrels for fire are not in the least affected, and the thugs who like to rain down hell on the aforementioned bums are pissed off. It started out simply enough, but as is always the case when thugs get pissed, people started getting hurt. A patrol car spotted what looked to be a group of about 20 people congregating, and it's after curfew. So they called it in. And about the time they called it in, some jerk in the middle of the crowd started screaming, "Hey, get off my *STUFF*!" and thugs started flying. Which prompted shouts of "FREAK!" and a big brawl. Per NYPD policy, when Evolved are suspected to be involved (and in this case, the cop SAW it), SCOUT is immediately informed. And two officers — or rather, an officer and an agent because SCOUT is trying to be OH-SO-COOPERATIVE with Homeland Security — are dispatched. Liz even let Matt drive. It's mighty white of her.

As they arrive on the scene, the blond stares at the scene before them. Three patrol cars, not a single patrol officer OUT of his car, and a group of 35 or so bums and thugs *literally* having what looks like an old-time bar brawl. She slants a glance at Matt and raises a brow. "They called us in for this?" Just about the time a thug flies through and lands on top of their car. From well over a hundred feet away.

Exactly how he got involved in this mess, why he's here, and how badly he would like to leave are subjects Hiro is likely never to explain to anybody. Suffice it to say for the reader:

Hiro Nakamura saw trouble starting and folded space to get here, not really to do anything about it but just to see what the fuss was.

When a Japanese man with a katana across his back shows up anywhere NEAR a fight, somebody's going to notice. Never mind that he didn't draw the sword and just stood there at a distance looking concerned.

Sometimes being away from the center of the disturbance is not good enough, because sometime some people come running to these things to join in. And one such person ran up behind Hiro with a metal baseball bat to try to club him over the head with it.

This resulted in a thug getting his hand cut off and Hiro standing there with sword drawn repeatedly kicking a second man (this one a very confused and aggressive bum) in the head who is trying to gnaw Hiro's ankle off.

So yes, it's quite a scene.

Of course, with SCOUT and Parkman himself called in (either because the latter was already in the station or there was some other tactical reason for doing so), dispatch was fully aware that the situation involved at least one Evolved individual. Still, when the body flies across the hood of the car, the DHS agent tenses, sucking in a short and sharp breath before he reaches for the radio with one hand, giving Elisabeth a concerned yet tense look.

The order goes out over the radio for the responding units to keep their distance right before a call is made for paramedics, and then Parkman leads by example, stepping out of the patrol car and squatting near the front wheel in order to use the front half as cover. He scans both the faces and thoughts of the angry mob, leaving it to one of SCOUT's superior officers to handle the megaphone work. Of course, with a sea of thought as thick as this one - pea soup thick - the telepath's skim doesn't go very deep. Thankfully, most members of mobs tend to think relatively loudly.

When the body lands on the roof, Liz instinctively shrinks lower in her seat. The honkin' dent in the top of the car is going to be a pain in the ass to explain. She scrambles out of the car on her own side, taking in the mess and debating how to handle the situation. But you know what? She's pissed off this week. It's been a crap week. Liz sucks in a deep breath and cuts loose in the loudest voice she's *ever* thrown, at least twice as loud as a megaphone.

Conrad would be so proud.

"This is the NYPD! You are violating curfew and creating a public disturbance! Stand down now and disperse, and no further action will be taken! Continue, and we'll run every one of you in for Registration!"

Yeah… that's gonna be real popular. But then again… it'll get people's attention.

"Listen to your police!" Hiro says, not so much pleading as commanding as he kicks! kicks! kicks! the bum who has his ankle bearhugged and is at the same time futiley biting into the side of Hiro's boot. It's a thick leather boot. The man's not going to get his teeth through it…either one of his teeth.

And then the stampede begins and people begin to scatter. Two of them rush past Hiro and head off into the dark. Hiro turns and tries to follow them with a limp-hop hindered by ankle-man. It's so tempting to just stab him with the sword, but ultimately Hiro just can't bring himself to. It's not like anklebiting is a serious threat. But Hiro does have another option.

In a blink he is suddenly about ten feet away from the ankle-biting bum who finds himself hugging nothing while prone on the dirt. It at least gives Hiro enough opportunity to resheathe his sword.

And it gives Parkman an opportunity to clearly see the man with the sword, who is an likely suspect for the amount of blood currently on the cracked pavement and the undoubtedly imminent death of the thug who is currently screaming both verbally and mentally about how unfortunate it is to lose a hand.

Parkman can sympathize.

Still, the man with the sword is, at present, aiding them. So it isn't too difficult for Parkman, gun in hand, to sidle up to Hiro, glancing hurriedly from him to the scattering crowd. "Care to make a statement?" No Miranda Rights. Not yet.

Gotta love it when the lights go on and the cockroaches scatter. The amusement factor for Elisabeth is twofold: Criminals on the run, and the thought of what her old mentor would say seeing it. She spots Parkman making a move out into the crowd, and she moves to follow him, looking vaguely alarmed by the fact that the guy he's approaching has a SWORD.

The patrol cops finally get out of their cars to assist in the cleanup, one of them bringing a first-aid kit to help the guy with the cut-off hand, tying a tourniquet around the stump of his wrist.

Seeing the authorities approach isn't too surprising to Hiro. After all, he knew what kind of area this was. And there's not a shred of guilt in him about what's gone on here tonight.

Not even about the hand that's lost its owner lying on the dirt next to a metal baseball bat. The thug it used to belong to is still crying about it.

Hiro sighs and begins explaining what little he knows. He points around, "I heard a fight start and came to see what was going on. It seemed like it was happening over there," he points near some still-burning trash barrels. "I got too close I guess. This man came at me with a baseball bat. And then that one was trying to do something to my feet."

Ankle-biter makes an attempt to get away but it looks more like speed-walking than running. He's probably in really sorry physical shape.

Hiro looks more fully at Matt and says, "…I know you."

"And I know you." Parkman's voice is hushed and terse, and he turns his focus to what remains of the mob - the broken and wounded remains. Thankfully, it's not long before the ambulance arrives in order to provide medical treatment beyond what the patrol cars' first aid kits have to offer. The man without a hand may live, if he's lucky.

"They're going to want to see ID, when they take a statement from you. Got some?" It's a perfectly innocent question, or so it seems. And the last time Parkman had a run-in with an Evolved he'd known before the Bomb, she'd been in Primatech's employ. But the last time he read Hiro's file, such was not the case. Still. It doesn't hurt to ask.

Stopping several steps behind Parkman, Elisabeth crosses her arms and listens to the men. She didn't see the guy with the cut-off hand until just now, and since the cops and very quickly thereafter the paramedics have it in hand, she just goes ahead and remains where she is. She studies Hiro quietly, no indication of recognition. Since Matt does seem to know the man, she opts to let him handle it. She does idly note that the guy on top of the car she and Parkman arrived in is rolling off the top and staggering away.

Hiro squares his body to face Matt and then gives the other man one of those mildly exasperated looks that reads: Do I LOOK like I have ID? "What if I'm just an anonymous tip?" he suggests. And through this it's clear that while Hiro recognizes Matt visually, he's grasping for the man's name, or where he's seen him before. It's not gelling.

With a slight craning of his neck, Hiro looks past Matt at the woman standing some distance behind him, acknowledging that she's there with a look before turning his attention back to Parkman.

"You cut off a man's hand, Nakamura." It would seem that Parkman has no trouble remembering Hiro's name, but it is likely that such a recollection was helped by the fact that it was one of the only words in the man's head that trigged his own memory. "If you want self-defense to fly, we need to take a statement." As for having the sword at all, it isn't something that Parkman addresses.

"If you'd come with me?" Parkman turns as if to go back toward the patrol car, but he doesn't move just yet, looking from Elisabeth to Hiro. He can come quietly, sure. And truth be told, Parkman would prefer it that way.

Elisabeth acknowledges Hiro's glances with a tip of her chin in his direction and when Parkman asks Hiro to come along with them, she moves to flank. Because backing up her partner is what she's going to do here — and Hiro *did* cut off a man's hand! That Parkman is willing to entertain self-defense… with a sword? Yeah… he's getting a bit of a puzzled look. "Mr. Nakamura," she addresses Hiro. "Would you mind handing me your weapon for safekeeping, please? I'll take good care of it until you make your statement." And if we wind up arresting him, the thing will wind up in evidence.

There's something of an amused look as Hiro hesitates. And actually, for a second, one might be sure that he's about to resist quite drastically.

But then he says, "Yes, I'll come with you." And Hiro unslings the sheathed sword from around his body and holds it up level, facing Elisabeth and letting her take it from him with a slight bow of the head. "I let you hold this in trust that you will treat it with respect."

"Thanks," Parkman says with a relieved sort of smile as he escorts Hiro to the patrol car.

The walk is silent only for a few steps. "Answer me one question," asks the DHS agent, unable to contain his curiosity any longer. "With what you can do, Nakamura, why'd you swing at him? Why not just…stop time and get out of the way of the bat? Or take it from him or something?"

"Of course," Elisabeth replies. She is careful with it, for many reasons. It's evidence, it's clearly important to the man, and it's a sword! When he hands it over willingly, she steps back toward the car and then raises both her eyebrows. Stop … time? Are you KIDDING me?

Hiro walks easily to the car, watching Elisabeth carefully. Not just because she has his sword, but it's almost like he's testing her somehow. Maybe that's what he's doing with the sword. Parkman's question is answered readily, "I could have. But what he tried to do to me was a killing blow. This way he can never mis-use that hand again." Then he has a question of his own. "What are your names? You seem to know who I am."

There needn't be any doubt then. While Hiro gives his answer, Parkman holsters his pistol once more so that his hands are free to pull his cuffs once the desicion is made for him.

"My name is Agent Matt Parkman with the Department of Homeland Security. Hiro Nakamura, you're under arrest for battery and carrying a deadly weapon in public. You have the right to remain silent…"

Unwilling to offer any resistance physically, Hiro lets Parkman do his thing, even giving the agent his other hand to cuff. And while he does, the Japanese man makes eye contact with Elisabeth and looks right at her as if not a thing is bothering him. Almost like this is part of some sort of plan. Matt Parkman. The name echoes in Hiro's mind. That's what he wanted to know. So far he's quite silent.

Elisabeth doesn't introduce herself, but the only real shocker to her is that Matt waited this long to make that move. She'd have cuffed Nakamura as soon as he didn't run — he chopped off a guy's hand! It's for the lawyers to sort out, so far as she's concerned. She looks curiously at Hiro, though, wary at his expression. She steps back, meaning to put the sword in the trunk.

Parkman finishes off the Miranda Rights, and soon enough Hiro is being guided into the patrol car with the obligatory "watch your head" hand guide. Sure, it took time, but Parkman's not above making sure there are grounds on which to make an arrest. It's so much easier for the entire process to work out the right way when things are done correctly in the beginning. So when Parkman closes the door, he smiles across the top of the car at Elisabeth.

Letting himself be guided into the back seat, Hiro waits to see if he's going to be sitting in the car alone or if they'll be taking their ride already. It could go both ways, he knows. Believe it or not, Hiro's been arrested before.

The sword safely stowed in the trunk, Liz just shakes her head at Matt. "It takes all kinds," she comments as she moves to the door. "But I gotta ask… if he stops time, why'd he even bother to let himself be locked up?" she asks, then climbs into the car.

"I'm not complaining, Harrison," Parkman answers with a chuckle, strained as it may be. Once in the car himself, it is only a matter of moments before the cruiser is started and he starts to pull away from the scene. There are more than enough badges to handle what's left of the commotion, after all.

Hiro thinks he heard the question, but isn't sure. It was outside the car door so it was a little muffled. Once the two are in the front seat and the car is moving, he says, "You seem like good people." Pause. "I'm sorry if this gets you in trouble."

Seems a cryptic thing to say, yes?

It's made weirder as the headlights of the car play across Hiro standing on a street corner, sword across his back, nodding once to them as they pass.

In the back seat is a slightly used set of handcuffs. And the sword has once again found its owner. Truth to tell, it was gone the nanosecond before Liz managed to close the trunk. Time and space.

There simply isn't enough of the former for Parkman to reason out what Hiro's riddle means before he sees the very man he had arrested on the street as he drives down it. With a wordless yet angry grunt, Parkman pulls over, grinding out a squeak from the tires. Both he and Harrison clamber out of the vehicle, but it's all in vain. Hiro's long gone by then.

Parkman grits his teeth and trembles with frustrated rage and turns on his heel back toward the car, giving the already dented hood a pound with the side of his fist.

"Son of a bitch."

February 16th: Meat Market
February 16th: Red Herring
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