1964-03-15 - Meeting of the Mammals
Summary: Mild mannered reporter Clark Kent has a conversation with the not-so-local fauna of Central Park
Related: None
Theme Song: None
clark rocket 


It's a chilly day in New York City. So chilly in fact that the normally busy central park is down to the diehards who are out sledding the hills on leftover snow from a bizarre late season flurry the night before. None of this seems to matter to the fellow in the trenchoat walking with a steaming cup of joe and a newspaper. Naturally, he's reading the newspaper, this morning's New York Bulletin, with one hand while sipping the coffee in another. The fact that he hasn't tripped or walked into anyone is more that there isn't anyone to walk into today. Of course, speaking too soon, Clark finds a bit of paving that was lifted by a determined root and stumbles, spilling a bit of his coffee on the back of his hand though thankfully he manages not to get it on his suit.

*

As the man falls and spills his coffee, a nearby raccoon pokes his head up from behind the tree belonging to the renegade root. Normally, this wouldn't be too out of place… save for the fact the raccoon is covered with blue and orange armor, sporting a pair of blaster pistols at his waist and a much heavier looking weapon on his back. In his right paw is some kind of transluecent device, which displays what can only be assumed as readings of some kind, though whatever he's looking for seems to only make sense to him.

"…bloody idiot." he mused, before shaking his head. But a quick spike in whatever readings he has makes him pause, creeping a bit closer and waving it at the root the man tripped on.

*

Hmm? Clark heard something. Even as he's trying to awkwardly fold the newspaper and tuck it under his arm, he's holding out the steaming hot coffee from his body and looking around. "Golly!" He exclaims as he seems the.. is that a racoon? In Armor!? He passes the coffee to the hand with the paper tucked under and gives the little fellow a wave. "Well, hello there!" Yep, he's still waving.. then.. well.. he kneels to get to Rocket level because he's tall. "You're a talking racoon." Yep, that's clearly obvious. "That's amazing. I.. forgive me for asking.. I'm not meaning to insult.. but.. are you.. from.. Earth?" Clearly, he's fishing awkwardly for the right words. Because, hey, he could also be a mutant! These things happen now. There's a curious glance given to the device in his hand. "What's that for?"

Rocket paused in his assessment of the root, looking up at Clark and quirking a brow at him. He wasn't entirely sure how to respond to him… normally, humans freaked out at the sight of him, but… this made the second one he's found that doesn't seem… perturbed by him. "Well, yeah, of course I am, ya- ..hrm…" he paused again, clearly tempering whatever he about to say before looking back at Clark and nodding. "…nah, I'm not from here. Planet called Halfworld is my home."

When Clark asks what the device does, Rocket shook his head. "It's a sensor. Helps me track down certain signatures… in this case, it's looking for spores. A… partner of mine emits special spores. This thing helps check where they are and how collected they are. I need to find him…"

*

"Neat." Clark declares as he listens to the explanation of the device, nodding along. "Halfworld. I can't say that I've heard of that one." He smiles. "But I'm not an astronomer." Extending a hand, he glances down at it then quickly sets down his coffee and paper to fish the hankerchief from his jacket pocket and wipe the coffee from his hand. The hankerchief is tucked away and the hand re-offered. "Clark Kent with the New York Bulletin… but I won't go on the record if you don't want me to. I understand it's hard to maintain privacy when you're.. different." The last he offers with a sagacious pragmatism. "I'm from Kansas."

*

"Not a lot have. We used to be a simple nature preserve… then it got turned into an insane asylum. Modified us when keeping the robots maintained got too expensive." Rocket replied, tilting his head a bit more at the reporter. He was very… casual about this. "…only met one other human who didn't freak out meeting me. You sure /you're/ from this planet?" Ridiculous question, though. Humans came from Earth. "…Rocket. Bounty hunter. And… yeah, if you could keep it hush, that'd be a help. I don't want to be caught and tested on to see what makes me tick. I've been pulled apart enough for one lifetime."

That warrants a blink from Clark while his handshake is, perhaps, overgentle. The little fellow has.. little hands.. after all. "Jeepers. Well, that's not very nice." Clark looks left and right then gestures to a nearby park bench before rising so that he can take the few steps to sit. He folds his paper more neatly and sets it beside him along with his coffee. "Raised in Smallville." He replies with a smile. "Home of the Crows." As he settles in, he offers to Rocket. "Well, Rocket, I'm a reporter and it's my job to report objectively and without bias. I've seen a lot of strange things. Interviewed mutants, aliens, regular people, rich, poor.. everyone has a story. A history which makes them the person that they are irrespective of their species. I've found what's most important in a person is what is in their head and heart." He taps his head then his chest. "So.. you said.. bounty hunter? I don't know about Halfworld.. but here on Earth that's an odd profession. Certainly, they look for wanted fugitives.. but well.. and I'm not saying you do.. most people I've met who are bounty hunters aren't in it because they want to catch the bad people."

Rocket flicked her ears a bit before quickly ducking for a bush near the bench, so he could speak without being seen too prominently. "That's how things work in the universe at large. You find a lot of folks who do things just because they can… like me." He listened to Clark regale him with his work and history. Boy… this guy sounded like a real shut in. All to optimistic for his own good. "It's an odd one on my homeworld too. Most of us take to tending to the crazies. I didn't want to… so I left. I never asked to be made into… this." He half-nodded down at his diminuitive stature and sighed.
"I'm not after it to catch bad guys. I'm in it because it pays. It keeps my ship fueled. Keeps me fed. You do the reporting thing to make money, right? Well, this is how I make money. Not a whole lot of jobs for a 3 foot tall cybernetically rebuilt raccoon, ya know…"

*

"Actually, I do this because I believe the people deserve the truth." Clark doesn't seem at all put out with the fact that he's now talking to the pidgeons.. who seem to think that he's going to be tossing seed soon and are gathering with inquirious beaks. "There's too many bad people in the world trying to keep what they do under wraps… so I turn on the light. Try to catch a few of them before they scurry back into the shadows." He takes up his coffee and his paper, sipping the former. "Take this article here by Stan. He uncovered a scheme where a local bank was defrauding it's elderly patrons. People wouldn't know about it if we didn't ask questions. The poor and elderly often don't know who to turn to because they don't do math well and the police require proof before they can arrest.. as it should be.. so.. we go ask the questions. Find the evidence. Then the police go make arrests." He smiles. "Mm, do you need a few dollars? Being from off world, I don't imagine you have much Earth currency."

*

Rocket flicked his ears again, eyeing the pigeons and making a guttural snarl to scatter the annoying winged rats. "…well, good for you. Not all of us have such pure intentions. Some of us just do it because we need the pay." And find their friend, but Rocket had never really admitted that out loud to himself. He certainly wasn't about to in front of this boy scout! "Orrrrr, you could just hire someone like me to blast the bastards back to the stone age… which, given the development of this planet, isn't that far back."
Another snarl at the pigeons and Rocket shook his head, the branches of the bush rustling around him. "Not anymore. Some little lady by the name of Luthor gave me a hefty haul for my cybernetic schematics and a few measly star charts. Kinda weird type… most of your females seem to have a lot of hair… she didn't. Maybe that's why she's so easy to work with. Doesn't care about looks - just results. Should ask if she needs any more work, now that she's seen me in action!" He seems a bit proud of that last statement. Any chance to show off his skill with a blaster is always nice.

*

Clark stops in mid sip at the mention of Luthor. "I'd be careful with her, Mister Rocket. Alexandra Luthor has quite a reputation in business circles. It has been my experience that the rich get that way due to a lack of empathy. Which.. makes me concerned that your concern over being taken apart again… is not without merit." He shrugs, finishes his coffee, then lays a business card on the bench. "I'm just suggesting to be careful, Mister Rocket." The newspaper gets folded up again and he rises from the bench. "But I'm afraid my lunch break is about over. Good luck finding your friend. If I hear anything about odd spores.." He looks around. "I'll.. just tuck a note in that tree there." Since it's not likely the racoon-man has a telephone.

*

Rocket twitched his snout a little as he recommended to watch out for Luthor. "I'm not giving her everything. It's just business… she's straight forward about it. Wish a lot more humans were like the two of you, though. You don't freak out over me."

He eyed the card Clark laid on the table, quirking a brow at being called "Mister Rocket". Very… formal, wasn't he? "…I can handle myself. You don't travel 60 star systems without keeping an eye on your back." He reached out and snatched the card. "…you just be on the look out for a giant walking tree fellow, would ya? He'd be much easier to spot…" He eyed the tree over there, before shaking his head. "That'll do, I suppose. I'll check it…. thanks."

*

Clark got up from the bench and brushed it off behind himself. Not that there was anything on it but he's a courteous fellow that way. "Mister Rocket.. people fear what they do not understand. In ten minutes, I've come to understand you and that I've no reason to fear you." He smiles. "It's amazing what happens when people talk to one another." He tips his hat.. to the bush Rocket is hiding in. "Talking tree. Got it. You take care now, Mister Rocket. Stay safe." He turns to walk away then catches his face on a low hanging branch. There's a fight for his hat and his glasses which.. he eventually wins, readjusting himself, and he walks on down the path with one last eye at that tree. Clearly, not Rocket's friend, that tree.

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