|AIR DATE 09.01.11|
|Location:||Outside the Police Station|
|Synopsis: A pick pocket causes Alfie to buy Harry a coffee|
The beat a few blocks from the station is generally the least-interesting and the quietest one. Alfie - aka, Officer Alfred Shaw, sees assignment to this particular beat as punishment. He's sort of right. He's got a reputation for catching the bad guys, but for being way too…obvious as he goes about his work. He was accused of flaunting his Evolved status while breaking up a barfight last week. So he's been relegated to the kiddie table.
He's in-uniform and is just getting out of his patrol car. There's tour buses full of people and crowds out and about. "Oh god. Babysitting the tourists, am I? This is what I get for doing my job well? Christ." He doesn't even have a partner with him right now. That's how quiet things are two blocks from the station. The officer on duty with him called in sick and they didn't even bother rotating anyone else in. He's not even watching the crowds very closely, but happens to, out of the corner of his eye, spot a man slipping his hand into the oversized bag of a mother pushing a stroller. Without hesitation, he starts to stride towards the man, eyes half-squinted, fists clenched. "Oi! Sir." He lets out a sharp whistle. The man turns around, blinks, then starts to run. He pushes through the crowds of tourists, wallet in hand.
Alfie runs full-speed through the crowd. He doesn't call out for anyone to move aside or shove, or say "stop that man!" Instead, he just…passes through the crowd, as if they weren't even there. Needless to say, the sight of a uniformed cop /passing through them/ startles the hell out of the tourists.
CSI workers tend to have strange shifts. They work at odd hours and seemingly thrive during them. So, Harry is actually steering herself to work among all the tourists and other sortwith a large paper cup of coffee when the disturbance happens. Whoosh, the man who pick pocketed the wallet shoulders right into her and then beyond. Her coffee goes flying landing mostly on her, but also over everyone else around her. Spluttering, she takes a deep breath - not realizing that he's in the process of committing a crime - and yells, "Hey!" That is, until Alfie comes barreling right through her. "Waugh!" Whirling, she finally realizes what's happening and takes off running after both criminal and Alfie. "That is a very icky feeling!"
Alfie is goddamn /fast/. The pickpocket has a head start and deked to the left through the crowd, but the cop's in hot pursuit. There's a sudden sharp corner and the side of the building. Rather than veer around the corner, he runs at the wall full-speed and does a Matrix wall-walk and sharply changes direction. Though his badassness is somewhat diminished by a stumble when he hits the ground. He gets back going fast enough, though, "Bloody…problems sticking landings," he half mutter-yells to himself. He's quickly closing the gap between himself and the pickpocket, but not before he comes to a four-way split in the street.
He stops, unsure of which way to go. He's breathing steadily, but fairly hard. Then he spots movement as the pickpocket makes his way up the fire escape. "Oh right, run away from a gymnast by climbing on things. You're a bright one, aren't you? Right, then." And then he runs below the fire escape. If Harry's made good time, she'll probably come around the corner to watch him jump several feet in the air, then haul himself up onto a retracted fire escape ladder, then spider monkey up several landings in pursuit of the criminal. He seems to be enjoying it. There's really not any reason to pursue the man with such…flare. His hat drops off in the process.
While Alfie is a gymnast and a cop, Harry is a scientist. She's had to take training with Captain Ramsay - the man is a machine and ruthless about it - but she doesn't run after perps all day. She prefers to chase down facts and chemical bonds in her head. Mental work outs is where it is for the brunette. So, by the time that she slides around the corner, taking deep breaths, all she sees is Alfie climbing things as if he weren't human. "You've got to be kidding me," she groans. As if adding insult to injury, his hat flutters to her feet. "I'm not picking that up!" she calls after him.
Of course, Harry does pick up the hat and muttering some more, she puts a hand up to shield her eyes and judges to see where the man is going. Alfie can pursue through the air, she'll keep the ground covered. Using the lead she should gain by running horizontally while he's busy going vertically, she continues running.
Moving like he does, it doesn't take long for Alfie to catch up to the pickpocket. The man's only one landing above him now. When he sees the cop so close, he apparently decides it's not worth it. The wallet gets hurled down at the ground towards Harry. That also gives the criminal another hand to try and climb away with. He smashes in an apartment window and tries to crawl through, but by then the cop has closed the gap.
Alfie grabs for the man's coat. The perp spins around and tries to punch him, but it passes right through him. A second later, the cop's got him in a grapple and is holding him against the building. "Lot of trouble to nick a mum's purse." He pulls out the cuffs. And a lot of fuss and chaos to catch a man who nicked a purse. The ruckus has drawn some onlookers. There's the sound of another police cruiser as it wails around the corner and towards their position.
The wallet lands with a thud on Harry's head. "Ow!" Stooping over, the woman snatches it and moves to rub her head, but she realizes that she has a hat in one hand and a wallet in the other. Tossing the wallet into the hat, she solves her issue and rubs her head in an annoyed fashion. Then, she cranes her neck to see where Alfie and the pick pocket are. "Just bring him down," she yells at Alfie. "There's back up on the way." Though, why back up is needed for a pick pocket is slightly beyond Harry.
Someone in that crowd saw a guy passing through people chasing after a guy and whipped out their smart phones to the auto report-a-crime app or something. Or just dialed 9-1-1, maybe. It's not like Alfie stopped to call it in before bolting after the guy. It proves to be somewhat awkward to navigate the guy down, but once he's in cuffs, he cooperates.
Alfie clambers down the ladder and spots Harry standing there holding wallet and hat. He's breathing heavily but he's smiling. "Ah, you got my hat. Thanks, love." He winks and reaches out for it. The perp is on the ground, cuffed, and breathing heavily, just as the cruiser comes around the corner.
"You--" Harry shakes her head, giving him the hat, but - using the edge of her sleeve - plucks out the wallet. That's evidence now and she's going to be the one in charge of it. "--are such a show off," she ends with a shake of her head. "You've got people calling 9-1-1 when you're the cop. You scared people half to death, and you made me feel all weird and icky when you phased through me." Those are not in any order of problem, just as Harry feels fit to say them. "Plus, this guy spilled my coffee."
"Yeah well, I got the guy, didn't I?" Alfie looks a little smug. When the two cops get out of the cruiser, they don't even ask questions. They just roll their eyes when they see who it is.
"Shaw! What the hell, man? You got half the neighborhood all worked up. Jesus Christ." The two walk past him to go and take custody of the pickpocket.
Alfie just stands there, grinning at Harry. "All the complaining. I bet…" He plucks the wallet from Harry, "…Mrs. James is going to be pleased to get her wallet back, isn't she?" He's got a British accent, but it's clearly more Cockney-sounding rather than crisp and aristocratic.
And just as quickly, Harry plucks it back while Alfie's looking at the wallet. This time, she has a plastic glove over her hand that she's plucked out of her pocket. It's possible she keeps these things around just in case. "Yes, as soon as I get it printed and take catalogue of what's inside of it, I'm sure she'll be quite pleased. And you're tampering with evidence." The accent doesn't bother or stop her from her moment. "Once I catalogue the contents, she can have that back, but I'll need to keep the wallet itself if she wants to press charges."
Alfie wags a finger at Harry and squints at her. "You're ACRU, aren't you? I've seen you poking around my scenes a time or two with your black lights and your comuters. What's this have to do with abilities? It was a robbery, not a complicated murder that requires reverse bullet path mapping or DNA tests and a guy who can grow fur or whatever other science-magic you all work on." He fits his hat back on his head. The man gets loaded into the cruiser.
"Hey Shaw!" barks one of the officers as he's getting into the car, "Paperwork! You gotta book this guy."
There's a heavy sigh from Alfie. He checks his watch. "I'm off-shift, Phil. You process him. I'll fill out my report. It'll go something like this. Saw the bad guy do bad thing. Chased the bad guy. Caught the bad guy. The end."
"Don't say ACRU like that, as if it's a bad thing. I don't poke. Or, well, I rarely poke and when I do it's for a good reason!" Harry is careful with the wallet, making sure that she only keeps a hold on it from a corner so she doesn't smudge or wipe any fingerprints. "Don't get all defensive and touchy with me. This has nothing to do with abilities and everything to do with spilled coffee." With one hand, she gestures at the stains now covering her. "That guy ran into me, you ran through me and I came to help. And now, I will fingerprint the bad guy, and then the wallet, show that this is the man who took the wallet definitively so it will be easy in court, and his lawyer will probably get him a deal or something without it even showing up on a docket. I don't wave a wand over it - though, well, that's a lie, sometimes I do, but it's a black light wand not the wooden kind - but that's not my point. I had a point at one time." She pauses, thinks that over and adds, pointing again and more definitively at the handcuffed gentleman, "Oh! Right, this guy definitely owes me a large coffee."
"I doubt his lawyer would concede to the demand of a large latte. So let me do the honours. Seeing as how my pursuit of the bad guy made you feel 'icky.' I'm such a terrible cad, I know. Let me make it up to you?" The strange thing is, Alfie seems to be half teasing her for the comment about his ability and half genuine in his offer to replace her coffee. "You can go after him for the dry cleaning, though. I'm afraid a large latte is all the reparation my salary can take."
Perhaps if she explicitly stated in the reparations that she get a hot coffee out of the deal, the state would come through, however Harry isn't about to leave that up to chance. "Well, alright. I tend to get cranky if I haven't had enough coffee by the time I start my shift." Which she hasn't yet done. "Say, Phil was it? You don't happen to have an evidence bag on you, do you? I don't keep a spare in this pair of pants." Does she keep them in her other pants? It's best not to ask. "It's not so much icky as it's weird. Icky is just my default word."
"You deal with dead bodies and bits of people that you run under microscopes, and it's me that's weird?" Alfie chuckles and shakes his head.
Phil does indeed have an evidence bag. He fishes one out and hands it to her before he drives off with the pickpocket in tow.
"Listen. I have to go back and sign out and fill out my prelim report. The sort of posh coffee bar across the street from the station. Say, half hour, yeah?" And before she can say no, he's winked once and is trotting off back the way he came to retrieve his parked cruiser.
"Not you, running through people. The feeling's weird." It's hard to explain it. Harry takes the evidence bag from Phil with a smile and plops the wallet into it. "I should put this in the lab," she gestures at the newly filled evidence bag and nods. "Alright. Half and hour. That sounds about right." As she walks back toward the station, she thinks aloud, "Did he just wink at me?"
Almost exactly a half an hour later, Alfie's sitting at said cafe. It's the kind with the impressive-looking Italian espresso machine and bakery-quality goodies and sandwiches. It's got well-kept booths, bistro tables and Italian art deco ads on the wall. It's like it's trying hard to be European and just coming off as, well…an American upscale coffee shop trying to look European.
Alfie's changed out of his uniform and is in a pair of jeans and a button-up shirt with the sleeves pushed up. He's done what he can with his regulation haircut and spiked it up a bit. He looks utterly relaxed as he sips from a tiny espresso cup and flips through the newspaper. Even if she doesn't show, he's got himself occupied.
It may seem like Harry isn't going to show up. After all, she was headed toward work when this all started and perhaps she got trapped there. Or, perhaps, she decided after all that she didn't want a coffee with Alfie. However, about five to ten minutes later, she wanders in through the door with her own set of changed clothing. She doesn't really have a uniform, but it does look business-like. Spotting the newspaper reading Brit in the booth, she stands by his booth and tilts her head at him just slightly. "You know, I got my cup of coffee from a bodega around the corner. This seems a bit more upscale than that."
Alfie flips the top half of the paper down and smiles a beaming smile at her. "Well. If I was going to replace your coffee, I might as well do it properly. Besides, they have the best chocolate croissants." He folds the paper up and then folds his hands on top of it. "Harriet Parker, yeah?" He offers his hand, "Alfie Shaw." He looks at his hand, then up at her. "I promise I'll keep it solid for the shake."
As a sucker for chocolate croissants, Harry thinks about that and slides into the booth opposite him. "Yes. How did you—-oh, right, my weirdness dealing with dead bodies and bits of people under microscopes. Also, magic. Which I think is rich, coming from a man who can pass through people." With a smirk, she takes his hand for the shake. "Nice to formally meet you. And thank you for the coffee. And hopefully a chocolate croissant, since you spoke highly of them."
Alfie quirks a little amused smile. "That and, most people are curious about ACRU, especially a Negative working with them." He keeps his eyes on her as he sips from his little espresso cup. A woman in a long bistro apron comes over to take her order. "What'll you have, then? On me, of course."
"Oh me? I am very much not interesting. I have to surround myself with interesting people in order to pretend that I'm interesting." When the waitress appears, Harry grins. "Could I please have a large latte, please? Oh, and a chocolate croissant. I've heard they're wonderful. Thank you!" And then, back to Alfie, without seeming to skip a beat, "So, why do you talk about ACRU with a derisive tone? Unless that's just the accent - no offense, of course, I sometimes get a little lost on accents."
"You mistake derision for jealousy. Doesn't seem to matter how good my success rate is. I'm not human, so I'm a cheater." Alfie snorts and breaks off a bit of ginger cookie which he pops into his mouth. "But you lot, you're expected to use your abilities. If you have them.
"Jealousy! Right! That makes senses, then." Harry catalogues that away for later. "You're still human," she frowns. "Well, that does happen, however, ACRU still is kind of distrusted. If you're jealous, though, why don't you apply? I'm sure you'd be useful on the team. Captain Ramsay would maybe almost crack a smile to see someone who can climb a fire escape like a monkey."
"It was my understanding that it doesn't work that way. Besides," Alfie rubs his fingers together to dust off bits of cookie. "My Captain wouldn't write me the recommend. Even to get rid of me." The waitress returns with a very tall and elegant cup with a leaf pattern in the foam of the latte, and a flaky, dark chocolate drizzled croissant. He lifts his chin up a bit proudly. "I was a gymnast. Suppose I still am, just not in competition. Almost made the bloody Olympics. And now here I am, chasing down purse-snatchers in Beverly Hills."
Harry raises an eyebrow. "At least you can still use those skills." When the latte is set down in front of her with the croissant, she grins and turns the cup this way and that to inspect the leaf. "Look at that! How lovely! Almost a shame to drink it. But, of course I will. Anyway, what were we saying? Oh, yes. ACRU. Well, I'm sure they wouldn't mind if you talked to the Captains if you wanted. I put in a request to be transferred to ACRU when it started up."
"I guess I've never tried because I don't think it'll go anywhere. Suppose I don't really trust the bureaucracy. Truth is, I should've been promoted ages ago. I pass the tests, but…" Alfie bites the edge of his lip and shakes his head. "Listen to me, going off about my lack of job satisfaction and we just met. Sorry."
With a snort, Harry shakes her head and takes a long drink of her latte. "You're right, my, this is delicious." She has yet to touch the croissant, but that will come soon. "If there's anything that anyone is willing to complain about with anyone, it's their jobs. Or possibly bad spouses, but also jobs. It's fine. I could complain to you about ACRU, too. It's no Utopia. But, if you want to try to get there, it's worth the attempt at least. Is it because of your ability? The reason you haven't gotten promoted?"
"Not officially, of course. Can't have that. Bad example and so on." Alfie rubs bits of cookie between his fingers until it turns to dust. "I thought being a cop would be a challenge. It was for awhile. Now I keep getting pushed to quieter and quieter beats. Half the time I'm beside some old career beat cop who's a few years from retiring. I'm bad PR, as much as they say that registration's the way to go and I think I'm showing how a Positive can do good."
"Hence your disdain for bureaucracy." Another sip of latte and finally, Harry breaks into the croissant. Breaking it in half, she takes a quick nibble of one of the halves. "Well, it's still a challenge, I'd say. The challenge to get yourself a better beat. A different challenge!" She hms and thinks. "I definitely think you should talk to the Captains if that's what you want. A recommendation from your Captain wouldn't matter if they want you for the team."
"Listen, I honestly didn't ask you for coffee to complain about my job. I did feel bad about that. The mess. I know how the law enforcement runs on coffee." Alfie does look sincere. "Truth is, I don't know what I want. Been thinking of a career change. Problem is, anything outside of law enforcement and people figure you abuse your ability. I get that now anyway." He seems to be hedging around why he doesn't think just walking in with an application would get him anywhere.
"Um, hello, ACRU." Harry waves as if she's introducing herself as ACRU again. "That's kind of what we're here for. A safe place for people to feel comfortable with their abilities." With a shrug about the apology, she adds, "I don't mind, the complaining. Honestly. It's good to know that you're a show off for a reason. Or, well, that sounded wrong. I didn't mean that in a bad way - honest. If you want to go to ACRU, I'm sure the Captains would listen. If you don't, then you don't have to. That's fine." She pops in another piece of croissant in her mouth and smiles. "I find all this stuff much more interesting than talk about the weather. Don't worry about me!"
"I feel like I'm coming off as horribly self-absorbed." There's a bit of an awkward laugh that follows. Alfie clears his throat after. "Why do I feel like I'm suddenly in a job interview?" He shakes his head. "See, my personnel record isn't…spotless. I believe they label them 'personality conflicts.' Which on paper doesn't assign blame, but when I've got several listings and others don't, the blame gets dropped anyway."
"Don't worry about that, I thought you were before this. Er, well, I mean, I don't mind you discussing your job, or even complaining about it. It reminds me of why I went to ACRU." Harry gives a bit of a laugh in return. "And oh, no, don't think that. I have absolutely no say over who gets hired at ACRU. Believe me. As for personality conflicts, I'm sure they happen. We've got more than a few personalities in the company, too. You'd just have to learn to be a team player. Or, sorry, that was me assuming. What I really mean is that you'd have to be a team player. Is that still assuming? What I mean to say is that we're all a team. That's all."
"I can be a fantastic team player when my teammates aren't calling me a cheater behind my back. Like enforcing the law and keeping people safe is a /game/." Alfie wasn't being derisive before, but he is now. "I mean, they're not all like that. But it's hard to find ones that are neither jealous nor afraid of what I can do. It's not like I have a destructive power. I'm 2P."
"I know plenty of people who are No P and are still destructive. And if you expect the people at ACRU won't be jealous or afraid of what you can do…well, actually, I don't think they will. I mean, Kev can tear things apart if he wanted to. We're all still people, not the Justice League. Or, didn't the Justice League still have those problems? I'm working my way through." Harry sighs. "You know, I could poison people if I truly wanted to. I could also dissect them and possibly tell you the acidity of something by smell. But, no one is ever afraid or jealous of me. Sometimes it's not fair."
"That's the thing. If every human being did destructive things just because they could, we'd have no planet left. A man driving wildly in a semi-truck is more dangerous than most people with an ability." Alfie rolls his eyes. "The people most likely to be destructive with an ability are those people who were criminals to begin with. Which, is a scary thought, granted. But that's why they need Positive cops."
"I'm fine with there being positive everything. Well, except criminals, but then I don't really want there to be much of them either way." So, it's not prejudiced. Is it? Though, she thinks about powers, what they can do and what they are capable of and she frowns. "I can see why people can be afraid of others who are AP. I've seen and been through enough to know that it can be scary. But, that's the same as someone with a gun, too. Sort of."
"Except you can disarm someone with a gun," Alfie points out. "That's the real problem, isn't it? Not being able to take an ability away if it's misused." He leans back against the booth. "Must be strange for you. Not being a Positive in the ACRU."
Harry thinks about that for a moment. "Mmm, not all that much. Not everyone in ACRU is Positive. Even one of the Captains isn't. I find it a unique perspective. Plus, I don't even really think about it." She frowns for a moment, then shrugs. "Well, not all the time." Once the croissant is gone, she continues to sip on her latte. "I have my dead body bits to keep me company."
"Dead…body bits? I wouldn't imagine they'd be very good company." Alfie's brows arch up high. "Unless you're specifically looking for a lack of conversation."
With a wave of her hand, Harry dismisses the comment. "I talk to myself a lot, so the bits are fine company. Sometimes I give them different voices." She pauses to take a sip of her latte. "I'm joking. Obviously." Or perhaps not so obviously to anyone else. If that even was a joke. "Anyway, CSI is different than being a cop anyway. Much more science, much less chasing people up fire escapes. Though, sometimes there is the occasional fire escape chase."
"You'd be surprised how often that's actually necessary," says Alfie with a surprisingly straight face. "Chases don't always happen in a straight line, you know. I leave the science to the scientists. I just put the stuff in the bags the way they tell me to and label them like a good little spider monkey."
"Unless you need to handle them yourself." Harry still has not forgotten the grab at the wallet earlier. However, she smiles and nods. "Good, it's good for spider monkeys to know how to put things in bags properly for the proper scientists. Which I am. We're called lab monkeys sometimes, so it's good that we're all in the same simian family."
Alfie cracks a grin at that. "We're a barrel of them, we are." He wipes his fingers off on a napkin. "Well, I hate to caffeinate and run, but I should get home. I've got an early shift tomorrow. Walking the mean streets of Beverly Hills and all. Keeping the world safe from people lifting your gold MasterCard and stealing the bling off your poodle."
"Poor poodles. Thank you for the coffee, Alfie. I've still got fifteen minutes or so before I actually go on shift. I was coming in early to run some tests on a wall sample from a case." Harry raises her half finished cup of latte in cheers. "I'm sure I'll run into you again soon. Though, hopefully not literally."
"You don't run into me, love. You run through me." Alfie winks again as he stands. "Have a good shift, then. Glad I could undo the damage done to your caffeine intake."
There's that winking again! Harry just returns the smile. "Thanks. You too, tomorrow. And, yes, the running through thing. Still a little weird." It's a good natured jest, that.
Maybe it's a nervous twitch. But probably not. He doesn't seem to mean very much by it, though. "I'll try not to run through you in future. But no promises." He stops by the counter to make sure her food and drink is taken care of, then he lifts a hand and steps out onto the street.