1963-11-02 - Cleanup in the Park
Summary: Following the closing of the Hellmouth, a cleanup in Central Park begins, but turns violent…
Related: N/A
Theme Song: None
kingpin max mree sinjin olivercheng jennifer 

Central Park has become a hub of destruction over the last month and a half. The Hellmouth and those who used it as a portal have created a mess of Central Park. The grass has been roughed up, major holes exist where trees have been, and then, of course there's the glass and remnants of the stray building that came to life shortly before the Hellmouth closed.

Today, however, volunteers have come out to clean up whatever they can. The smell of death and dying has already overwhelmed some as they have taken to cleaning up the grass just in front of where the Hellmouth had been closed. Rotting body pieces line the ground — evidence of the former zombie-cicles that had been rained down following some magical intervention.

But today isn't about magic. It's not even about the supernatural (not that neither of these things have or will make a presence). In fact, today, has predominantly been about the everyman as people from different section of New York's population have taken to cleaning and fixing the Park and the doom and gloom around property values.

A portly gentleman works alongside the others, dressed unusually for the occasion in a grey suit. He very carefully rakes some of the body parts before lifting his eyebrows towards the volunteer nearest him. "At least the weather is holding out," he offers mildly before glancing up at the thick clouds overhead. Rain is certainly in the forecast.


Lingering near the edge of activity is another man in a grey suit, though Oliver's is made far less businesslike by the loud floral-print shirt he wears beneath it. The asian fellow is not actually participating in the clean-up — not yet, at any rate. No, right now, he's leaning against the hood of a parked car and watching as everyone else actually puts in some effort, a lit cigaratte perched between his lips and a tightly-closed umbrella tucked under one arm.

Occasionally, Oliver adjusts the lay of his cap or casts a look up towards the clouds. But he absotively, posilutely does not come anywhere close to the rotting body parts or chunks of rubble that need to be cleaned up.


Sinjin is not supposed to be out and about. He's in the company of his agent, though, Owen — a pleasant enough fellow with a mop of black curls and a rustic kind of fashion sense better suited to a country noble in England. Owen keeps a slow pace to accommodate Sinjin's use of a cane for support.

"This is how you want to spend your first day out?" Owen asks. "You should be at home, eating rice pudding and watching telly."

Sinjin does look appalling. He's gaunt, still slightly bruised, stitches showing along his hairline on the left side of his face, and he moves as though someone's been beating him. At least his hair is fantastic. Somehow, all those long, red curls survived the fighting and the fire and even the subsequent surgeries. "I hate rice pudding," he says, barely audibly. "And I hate doing nothing." He makes for some of the organizational folks with Owen in his wake.


Some people are everymen. Some women are most definitely not. Chalk up Jen in the latter category being that she's somewhere around seven feet tall and comfortably outfitted despite that height. Jeans and a jersey cotton shirt help her somewhat blend in. Minus the fact she is, of course, green.

Those who fail to enjoy her lovely green shade can simply suck it. This much is apparent when she walks by holding branches by the cord, or rather about two of them, stacked between her elbow and her shoulder. The curl of her arm secures the mismatched load connected by a twist of twine in the hopes this might feed a hungry furnace somewhere. As far as matters go, she smiles at anyone who dares to meet her eye. Or relatively the spot, given her sunglasses are preventing direct eye contact. The organizers at least have to be somewhat pleaesd how fast that relatively like task of 'dismembering evil tree' is going.


Not everyone is a volunteer. Clustered around the remains of the animate building is a work crew wearing identical hardhats and rugged coveralls with a logo on the back— employees of Damage Control, Inc. on their daily grind. They've been anticipating park ckeanup, of course, and they've been here since the area was declared safe.

One of the workers, a short blonde woman with thick goggles over her eyes, vanishes from sight as she's called over to do something about a wall. What becomes clear, when the debris shifts and she reappears under what must be close to a ton of concrete and other building bits, hoisting it over her head like a weightlifter doing a press.

"Watchyer 'ead, Louie," Max says, as she starts carefully trudging towards a dump truck with the load.


The leaves and branches strewn across the Park's lawn demonstrate even more of the mess. Fisk leans on the rake he's using before turning to his nearest employee, "Ensure the crew coping with the building is well compensated," he claps the man on the shoulder and twists back to where the green woman is working. He issues her the warmest smile he can muster followed by a faint nod. "I believe I recognize you. legal council, correct?" He attempts to grant her an even warmer smile before going back to his business. "It's promising that so many are so committed to our fair city."


And as so many people — women in particular, it seems! — openly use their powers to help clean up the park, what does Oliver do?

The same thing he was already doing: nothing. Well, unless dropping his cigarette and crushing it under the toe of his shoe counts as doing something. But it probably doesn't. He shifts his closed umbrella up to lay across his shoulders, draping both arms across it as he lets his cheeks puff up. Someone looks bored. How awful.


"For fuck's sake," Sinjin mutters painfully. He lifts the camera strap from around his neck and hands the damn thing off to Owen. "You manage this."

"I'm your agent, not a photographer," Owen protests. Still. He takes, and starts using, the camera.

"And if you take my picture, I'll fire you," Sinjin adds. He's on his way over to the big man in the suit — though he also has his eye on the lovely green woman as his next target.

"Mr. Fisk?" Sinjin catches up at last. "St. John Allerdyce." He's pretty sure Fisk already knows he's a reporter.


An imploding sworl of greenish mist rolls in onto itself nearby to Jennifer; with a sonorous *POFF!* there POFF!s into existence her white-green assisstant, the long-tailed Mree. "Hi, Miss Walters!" he chirps merrily, eyes squeezing half-shut into a jolly squint. "Hi, Miss Walters!" A pause, and he takes a moment to take stock of all the people about. "Oh, wow, there's a lot of people. Am I late? Can I still help?"


The very tall figure carrying around the limbs of trees like it's nothing halts when addressed. She might have to adjust her stance but Jennifer is comfortable, avoiding beaning anyone in the head with a big spooky bough containing bits of dead bodies. True fact, several have ugly chunks of corpses and limbs studded throughout. "Attorney at law, that's me," she tells Fisk, a hint of a nightshade smile. "Though today, same as anyone trying to fix up the city."

She does not make a point of calling out anyone who should be working and isn't. It would be rude. At least one step is made to get away from the reporter whom she notes and gives a pert nod when something appears out of nothing. He is all the way up there, is he? Another green figure on her pile of wood, please no jokes. "Hello, my dear! You are never too late. Transporting this somewhere to be burned, and after that, maybe I can dig them a new irrigation canal." She's probably joking to Mree. Probably.


Max goes about her work, lugging several large sections of building to the waiting trucks, and then promptly joins the rest of the crew in shovelling smaller debris into cans, to be dumped on the trucks. it's all quite effecient and done with the kind of quiet conversation and joking around one gets in these kinds of blue-collar jobs the world over. Max might be the girl on the crew, but she gives— in general— better than she gets.


"Mister Allerdyce," Fisk replies as he straightens to face the reporter. "I was sorry to hear of your," his eyebrows draw together, "circumstances some weeks ago." His throat clears as he inspects Sinjin for several moments, taking particular care to note the damage to the man. "I trust you're healing well." He tugs on the hem of his coat, causing it to straighten and remove all wrinkles within it.

He turns back towards Jennifer and issues her a small nod in greeting. "It's good you came out. The law is always busy." He shoots her a small, very serene, not-wholly-present-smile, "Which firm are you with? I will be sure to send some business your way. Anyone who can make time for their community," he nods at her. "We have some real estate deals currently in progress." His eyes scan the horizon almost as if considering the market he can physically see.


"An attorney?" Sinjin looks Jennifer over with a smile — which is harder to manage than one might think, given his present condition. "And Mr. Fisk… disaster brings out the best in New Yorkers, seems to knock down all manner of social barriers." Speaking of knocking down — Sinjin takes a seat on the edge of a very full wheelbarrow. He seems unperturbed by the body parts and wreckages everywhere.

"I'd love to speak to both of you at some point about all that. And, of course, volunteer my services. If you had something that needed incineration — " Sinjin rests both hands on his cane, takes a look around. "That happens to be a specialty of mine. No sense in wasting it, since the city already knows who, and what, I am."


If Jennifer's joking at him, Mree doesn't get the joke. "Oh! Are they— do they need an irrigation canal?" he asks, a little baffled, but no less for the idea if needs fit. *POFF* he vaporizes into that green mist, which dissipates in a split second into the open air. Then *POFF* he re-appears down off of the woodstack and to one side, facing Mr. Fisk as he makes inquiries. "Ms. Walters is with Goodman and Lieber," he offers up helpfully, then begins looking across the ground with a scan of his eyes, slinking along and stooping to grab up a stick of significantly smaller proportions than those his boss is hauling. But he's trying. "I'm Mree. I work there, too," and he looks fairly proud of the fact, looking back to Miss Walters with a glance of dutiful affection.


The market stretching out along the most valuable real estate in the city, barring that along Wall Street, must be very good. Jen is quick enough to put two and two together, and exponentially grow it by something like a magnitude of four. "Goodman, Lieber, Kurtzberg, and Holliway, in Brooklyn." Admitting to not being among the big boys downtown is probably a bold move on her part, or something that turns a few heads. "It's a fine place, altogether, and we handle civil matters primarily. Though we can be of assistance otherwise. I am not carrying any business cards." Where would she put them?

Mree might, however. She smiles up at him, and then gives a nod to him. "We did not come out for publicity, though, but to work."


Max finishes hauling a bunch of the cans to a truck and dumping them, then heads off the work area on a break. As she steps past the DCI cordon, she pulls her hardhat off, clipping it to her hip, shoves her dusty goggles up into her hair, and stops at the water truck for a fresh bottle. Then she wanders over to find a patch of shade vaguely in the vicinity of the other principles gathered. Because sometimes plot convenience is totally a thing— what? Nothing.


"Of course, Mister Allerdyce," Fisk replies smoothly. "I am happy to provide whatever I can to whatever you happen to be working on." He manages a tight smile as one of his employees retrieves his rake from him. A very small drop in Wilson's chin indicates that the employee has done well by fulfilling the unspoken duty.

His chin lifts again and he indicates the wheelbarrow to Sinjin, "Perhaps you would," his gaze speaks volumes as he motions towards the body parts collected inside its space. "We really do require someone of your talents, Mister Allerdyce. I am pleased you came out despite your condition."

His gaze shifts to Mree and then Jennifer. Both are provided another nod. "Of course. I would not expect you to have a card here," his throat clears as he reprimands himself, "How silly of me," he lifts a hand to address his aide, but the aide is already scribbling a note on a piece of paper. Approvingly, Fisk nods again.

Sometimes plot convenience is a HUGE thing, Max.

Overhead, some masked figures soar. While this isn't a wholly unusual thing to see in New York these days, the black figures may grant some individuals pause.


It is purely a matter of happenstance and coincidence that the car Oliver is leaning against is so close to where Max has elected to take a load off. He flashes a rakish grin in her direction, nudging the brim of his cap upwards in a salute with a nudge from two fingertips. "How much does work like that pay, anyway?" he asks, sounding genuinely curious.

Not for the first time, Oliver casts a glance up to check on the Rain/Not Rain status of the clouds — just in time for the figures to soar overhead.

Oliver clucks his tongue and opens his umbrella.


Owen makes a dissatisfied noise and pauses in his photography duties. "Can I at least take one shot of you setting things on fire?" he asks Sinjin. Sinjin looks up from lighting a cigarette, then nods grudgingly.

"For my memoirs, if nothing else," he says dryly.

Sinjin leans heavily on his cane as he rises, then turns to survey the various piles of corpses. He gestures, just a flick of his fingers, and flames wrap the contents of the wheelbarrow. It's not showy. The flames go white, they tighten around the corpses and in moments the fire is painful to look at. It collapses into a white marble that returns to Sinjin's hand, leaving only ash behind.

"Fortunately, it costs me little to do the work, Mr. Fisk." Sinjin looks over to give Fisk a crooked smile. "Not that I wouldn't do it anyway."


Mree takes the hint from the boss lady and gives her a cheeky grin before prancing on off to find more sticks to pick up, whisking a bigger limb up in his tail and drawing it along behind him. When the figure fly overhead, his hind end doesn't recognize them, bent double as he is to look at something on the ground. That something makes all the green drain from his face and he wobbles woozily backward, having come across some bit of gore. He uses a stick to try to wedge it up without touching it himself.


"Good enough for rent," Max grins wryly in reply to Oliver, eyeing him thoughtfully. "Depends on how much of the city's wrecked. Kinda gonna miss the demon shit, in a way— I've been on time and a half for weeks." She shrugs. Max is a practical girl like that. Her head tilts, and she nods in his direction. "Probably doesn't pay as well as whatever you do." Because one of them wears a nice suit and it's definitely not her.


"Goodness, Mister Allerdyce, I can only imagine having such a talent. Thank you," Fisk treads towards his employee who immediately relinquishes the rake. With another nod, Wilson returns to the work of raking at the mess.

Of course, at the same time, a large sheet of ice emits from the sky as someone — presumably one of the masked figures begins an assault on the world beneath.

This prompts many, including one Wilson Fisk, to find cover behind whatever clean up supplies exist within the Park.


"Time and a half is a beautiful thing. Sorry you're losing it," Oliver says to Max, and he sounds like he means it. He looks to the sky again with his umbrella open and held low in front of himself, and when he sees the sheet of ice, he looks… sad.

Aw, man. He can fix that. This is awful.

With a longsuffering sigh, Oliver just extends a hand towards the sky, his lips still twisted into a terribly sad frown as he actually expends some effort to effect gravity's hold upon the ice.

With a good ten feet to spare before any innocent heads are in danger, the ice just… stops, hanging there in the sky.


Mree stands up, twisting his lips in a less than pleased visage at what he's managed to scoop up off of the ground. And then he notices the ice hanging out overhead. Not that he can see anything past it. "Wh—" he kind of starts. "Huh?" He lifts up the big branch he's holding in his tail and uses it to poke at the ice hanging there.


Owen yelps and dives for cover. Damn it, John! He's a literary agent, not a hero! He does keep that camera going from under a picnic table, though.

Sinjin takes a drag of his cigarette, then raises his hand — he really has to stop that habit, he reminds himself — to release that flaming bird he used to fight the vampires in Macy's.

The flaming crow opens its mouth in a wordless screech, expands and expands to swallow up the ice. It soars off into nothingness, trailing fog behind it. The tiny white marble in Sinjin's hand takes off with the speed of his thoughts. It flies not in a straight line but on a course to intersect the leading figure in the sky.

Sinjin leans heavily on his cane, watching it go. It is so small, it is hard to spot against the sky, but it is incredibly hot — hot enough to bore through flesh.


Oliver's gaze pulls Max's upwards. She doesn't complain like he does— yet— and she also doesn't move. One supposes she has reason to be unconcerned. Instead, she places a hand to her mouth, index finger and thumb in the coners, and whistles shrilly towards her coworkers.

"CODE 13! CLEAR THE WORK FEILD!" One has to hand it to the DCI crew— they work disaster and hazardous zones, when somone calls an unsafe working condition, they de-ass the area with the quickness.

Meanwhile, Max trades her work gloves for a pair of red leather fingerless— her "punchin' gloves"— and makes a face at Oliver. "They technically don't pay me for this part, tho. Pain in the ass." She takes a couple of steps back, hand sheilding her eyes as she tries to get a bead on the perpetrators above. Flying is hard enough without going in blind, to be honest…

Once she's lined herself up, her form becomes… sort of subtly immaterial. She just doesn't feel as 'there' as she did a second ago. She takes a short couple steps of run-up she does not at all need in order to take off, and ascends into the air. Goddamn supervillians or whatever messing with her work schedule…


One of the men in the sky yelps as the hot fireball burns through his flesh and the black outfit that the fellow wears. The figure flies hard and as fast as it can manage to disappear amid the New York skyline.

Fisk's men usher the large fellow towards a car amid objections from the large man. As the yelp occurs, Wilson's chin lifts and his eyes trail the now-retreating figures. He stands in place a few beats. "Smith," he urges one of his men, "call the bus. We must move the civilians from the area. I will not move until they are safe," he states gruffly.

It's then that four black-clothed figures make a second pass. Once again, one emits a long sheet of ice, while a second that follows presses forward with a veil of fire. Someone doesn't want the Park cleaned up.


Mree watches the ice melt away with a wide-eyed fascination, but doesn't seem in any great hurry to be away from the scene of Shit Going Down. And he doesn't know what a code 13 even is, the call making him turn in a slow-shifting circle. Oh, everyone's running away. He should probably get on that. Cue the *POFF*, and Mree simply disappears in that wisp of green of his. The branches and ick he was holding all tumble back to the ground. Cleanup will have to wait.


Someone wants to ruin Oliver's day by making him do things, is what someone wants. He does get a moment of respite when fire melts away the sheet of ice he caught, and he drops his hand back to his side with a relieved smile. Thank God. His day is saved! Even if Max's whistle has, he is pretty sure, left him deaf in one ear. That's shrill. "Don't pay you for — oh. No hazard pay, then?" he calls after Max, shielding his eyes with one hand. "Are you in a union?!"

And then the figures in black are coming around again. Rude. Resting his umbrella over his shoulder, Oliver sighs and once against extends his free hand towards the new sheet of ice. Once again, it halts in the air — but this time, its motion only halts briefly before it immediately reverses, and the ice goes whipping back the way it came.

Oliver just sighs. This is such a drag.


Sinjin is not particularly steady but he's managing. His control wavers enough that a thin halo of fire crackles around him, not burning but simply glowing as his power overflows his narrow focus. He wrests control of that veil of fire, winding it up around the returning tiny fireball, and he uses the whole of it like a wrecking ball to smash into the four flyers above him.

There's a fine sheen of sweat on his brow and his face is very white — his freckles look like paint spatter — but he's not about to give up at this point. He outed himself, he wants to let people see that mutants are more than monsters. He's got responsibilities now, isn't sure how this is his life.


Mree are still here. All thirty two billion and something of them. The microflora flood outward along the ground, into the air, invisible to the naked eye, but swarming aloft in a rarified herd some twenty meters across to go investigate those flying above.


Fighting while flying is trickier than anyone who hasn't had to do it thinks. Max knows this personally. Of course, it's a little complicated for her— she can only fly when she's of sufficiently low-density to pull it off, which laso tends to make her, you know… intangible. It takes a lot of practice to turn it into an effective technique. On the bright side, it's pretty hard to see someone flying about when they're roughly the same density as the air.

There's also a host of other issues, though. So when she pulls up in front of the group on their second pass, she takes a few seconds with one arm stretched forward to line up her aim, one eye closed and her tongue between her lips. Once she's satified, she swears unhappily and launches forward, angling to get a bead on flame-face. That's the technical term for this jerk she just made up, yes. Once she feels confident about the ballistic trajectory she's got going, she abruptly solidifies, rapidly running up the density scale until she is approximately a literal human wrecking ball hurtling in an uncontrollable parabola at her target, fist cocked for a punch.

It is excessive? Probably. But if you don't want your skull shattered in midair maybe you should make better life choices before some pissed-off cleanup crewer throws herself through the air at you.


The ice thrust back at the figures causes one to be thrown off course, and it begins to descend back towards the earth with a long painful scream. The body falls to the ground quickly only to be met with the fire as it falls. The body lands on the ground with a thud. The three remaining, in short order are alight with flame.

Max's target is creamed against the force of the woman against him. The body is thrown off-course and descends back towards the earth. The figures limbs flail until it meets the ground with a pound THUD.

The two remaining flyers seem to disappear into the skyline.

Sirens echo. Police are already on their way.

A bus pulls up to the park, and Fisk's men begin ushering the more defenceless civilians into the vehicle. "Please people, move quickly. We must get everyone to safety…"


When he sends the sheet of ice high enough that it leaves his (comfortable) range of influence, Oliver just releases his grip and lowers his hand back to his side. But his eyes remain fixed on the sheet of ice, watching it with a tired, resigned expression on his face. Up, up, up… ah. There it comes. Down, down, down.

This time, Oliver doesn't extend a hand, or stop the ice completely in its tracks. This time, he just narrows his eyes in concentration and slows the ice sheet's descent, steering it towards the middle of the intersection nearby. It's relatively open, since Max's crew cleared out, and close enough that maybe whoever's flinging fire around can melt it when they get a chance.

Or they can just leave it there and go skating later. Tis the season.


Sinjin is seriously considering never leaving the house again. But, in the moment, he quite accidentally uses a cube of fire for a seat as an alternative to just collapsing. It's unsubtle — and it doesn't burn him, though the grass around the base of it is singed — but at least it's solid. That's something.

"You're really a fucking mutant," Owen says from under the picnic table.

"Yes, Owen," Sinjin says faintly. "I'm really a fucking mutant." A tired mutant.


Several of Mree get severely singed in his invesstigations; even die, before the rest of them veer away from the fireworks, and crawl billowing through the air in a narrow gust, another narrow gust, moving along with the remaining fliers, persistently curious, seeing whether there's an opening in their costuming they could make use of for initiating a hitchhike.


With the situation looking at least half-handled and plenty of firepower on the scene, Max returns to her flight state and arcs around for a landing. Which… okay, looks, she's still not good at them under anything but a small number of controlled conditions. She comes in too hot, stumbles, trips, bounces off the street, phases through a truck, rolls and manages to somehow finish slowing down by hopping on one foot, windmilling for balance, all while saying exactly what one her mind.

And just what is on her mind, you ask? "Shhhhhhhhhhhiiiiii— Shitshitshit fffffffff-fff-fffuuuu~ ….okay."


The bus full of civilians leaves just as the police car pulls up.

The police tread to the scene quickly, and take each of the bodies on the ground. They usher the men into their cars, and Fisk gives a brief nod to each of the heroes who have managed to keep the situation in balance. "Well done, each of you. These people, and myself owe you all a debt of gratitude." His weight shifts. "Come. We must let the police do their jobs. The authorities are designed for such things." It's then his people manage to put him into the car, to be taken to Fisk Towers. Homeward bound, it seems.


Mree get left behind by the speed-demons tearing for the horizon, and for a while they just drift in mid-air and let the wind carry them where it will, while all thinking among themselves in a flurry of plantlike cogitation. Finally he settles back to the earth, falling in an invisible blanket of Mree oer everywhichbody, getting in everyone's clothes and business all at once. But it's only the fallen body that some of them flit their way into, up the nose and into the lungs, into the veins and around the body, reading its oddities on the way to the brain. Anyone at home up here?


Leave the scene, now that the cops are here? Fisk doesn't need to tell Oliver twice. That's music to his ears.

So why is Oliver lazily ambling his way towards where Max has landed, then? That is the opposite of what he should be doing. He cocks his head to the side as he watches her catch her balance, absently spinning the umbrella while it rests against his shoulder. Once she seems steady, he flashes his most charming smile. "Buy you a coffee?"


"I need a drink." Sinjin leans heavily on his cane as he gets to his feet, letting the cube fade to nothing. "But this area still needs cleaning. It might be better now that it's clear." He straightens his shoulders and draws the last of the fire from his cigarette. "Hold onto your hats."

A wave of fire rolls out from his feet, spreads across the park, moving faster and faster. He begins to learn the feel for organic and inorganic, living and dead, touching everything through the fire. He's never gotten to focus like this. The fire eats the corpses, devours trash, sweeps away dead plant life, leaves nothing but a thin, pale ash behind.

Sinjin stands there for some time while it roams, consuming, creeping around people, leaving baffled animals in its wake. Then, when he can't hold the flame with that kind of focus anymore, he lets it go.

"Done here, Owen," he says wearily. "Let's go home."


"May as well," Max grumps, patting concrete dust off her coveralls. It doesn't really help. "Job's on hold til tomorrow, now." When an officer walks up to do his job, she just fishes a card out of her coveralls and hands it over. "You can call DCI Legal for a statement tomorrow, Officer. Company policy." Which suits her fine. She doesnt' like dealing with cops more than anyone else with powers or a 9-to-5 does.

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