2008-02-16: The Masked Fork Avenger

Starring:

Hiro_icon.gif Charlotte_icon.gif

Summary: The diner gets robbed. Shirley the iHero strikes again. Hiro is both a gentleman and a masked avenger. Waffles.

Date It Happened: February 16th, 2008

The Masked Fork Avenger


Lucky Joe's Diner

Early morning. Well, not that early but it could definitely be considered breakfast time. Hiro sits in a booth with a large plat full of waffles and a glass of apple juice, cutting away with the supplied knife and fork as he reads over a notepad adorned in scratchy Japanese writing on the table next to his meal.

Charlotte has been here…lets call it awhile. Since before the sun came up. Of course, she could be anywhere - London, Rome, Africa, her favorite place in the whole world - but she chooses this diner when she needs to worry. And obsess. A busty middle-aged waitress with a huge blonde perm seems to be the one working the counter and Hiro's section, and she's bustling as the off-to-work crowd starts flowing in. "Charlotte, sweetheart, you should get some sleep." She explains as she runs by. "Get out of here. You know as much as I love this place, we really don't service much of your caliber in here. Go buy some caviar." The waitress says it all teasingly to the brunette sitting at the other side of the bar. "Much too salty, Gloria. Mind if I jump back there and grab a cup of coffee?" She asks, and Gloria nods as she goes to run off.

Charlotte, wearing dark slacks, a boat-necked blouse and some heeled loafers, stands on the bar of her chair and reaches across the counter, reaching, reaching for that coffee cup. Because, you know, walking around the counter is much too hard. Just a little further….!

Hiro glances over in time to see Charlotte reaching for the coffee that looks to be just out of reach. He drums his fingers on his notepad for a moment before a self-satisfied little smile forms on his face. A look of great concentration crosses his face for a moment, freezing time (or at least slowing it to the point of it seeming frozen) before he jumps out of his chair.

He moves swiftly through the diner, dodging people standing here and there as he ducks around behind the bar and moves the coffee just a little bit closer so Charlotte can reach it. His good deed done, he smiles to himself and moves back to his chair. Time begins again and he seems as though he's simply been sitting there the whole time. The coffee looks as though it suddenly shot a scant inch or so towards the woman's hand, however.

Charlotte oohs softly, grinning a dimpled grin of VICTORY! She sits back down, pouring the coffee into her mug. As she sits, a very tiny bulge in her back pocket smacks the seat just so. Shirley, the iHero, chimes to life. "I'd do anything to be your hero. I'd fly through the air, protect you from danger, walk through fire…." Charlotte mutters something along the lines of 'Oh sugar sticks' and reaches into her pocket to turn it off. Gloria returns just in time to take the coffee pot and take a brief break, leaning against the counter. "So I haven't seen you in a couple of days. Where was it this time? Italy? Spain? Japan? I can't believe you don't get any kind of jet lag, you've gone to six countries since I met you last month and you never seem to have your clock ruffled." The blonde laughs, indulging another patron with some coffee while the chatter goes on.

Charlotte lifts her coffee to her lips, blowing on it. "Well, what can I say, Gloria? Some people can wink with both eyes and some people have great metabolisms." Her smile grows, dimples deepening at the little pun she's about to make that no one else will get. "Everyone's got some sort of special ability or another to help them get through their day." Gloria makes a comment about wishing her feet were made of steel, then rushes off towards the booths to check on patrons like Hiro. Charlotte glances her way a moment, then goes back to her coffee.

Hiro offers a polite thank you when a refill of his glass is offered, sipping the contents before he puts it back down alongside his plate. He cannot help but grin a little to himself when he sees Charlotte with the coffee, deciding not to eavesdrop on her conversation and instead to go back to his notepad.

Another half hour goes by. Charlotte takes all of three sips from her coffee, while the waitress comes by twice to make sure Hiro has everything that he needs. It's getting on time for work, and the place more or less empties out, as it does every day. The cook takes his usual smoke break, leaving Gloria, leaning on the bar, talking to another patron down the way.

The bell tinkles as the door opens. Three men step inside, wearing dark caps and even darker, giant coats. One stands by the door, another goes to the center of the diner, the third goes to the bar. "Scuze me darling." One says, his voice very thick with the New York accent. Gloria stands, smiling, but never gets the word out as a glock is drawn from the pocket, directed at the blonde waitress. "But if you'd empty the register please." Robbing a diner after the breakfast rush: Easy, effective, and enough to be made in order to pay rent. Or buy drugs. Who knows. The point is that Hiro, Charlotte, Gloria and the one patron at the corner seem to be all that remain in this place at the current time.

Hiro goes wide-eyed as guns are drawn and threats are made - not at all what he expected from his dining experience. He's stunned for the moment, although his mind is racing at just what he should be doing, exactly. There is hero's work to be done here. For the man who can control time, however, it seems to be racing past him just out of his reach.

Charlotte sits up a little bit taller. "Gloria, just….go ahead, hunny." She says, gesturing. Doe-brown eyes turn to the thugs. "She'll do it, just let her, okay?" Already the P.R. rep is doing, for all her intents and purposes, God's work, at least the work God made her able to do.

But what kind of world would this be if things went so smoothly? Gloria wimpers, shaking her head. "I've only got fifty dollars, we have to drop everything else in a safe, no one here has the key." This is not what GunThug wishes to hear, and he steps easily around the counter, grabbing Gloria by her perm and pushing her back into a stack of mugs. Not hard, just enough to remind the woman that she is terrified, particularly with a gun in her face. "Bust it open, I don't care!" The other boys do not show if they are armed yet, but they remain vigilant. One chuckles.

Hiro finally decides to spring into action. He squeezes his eyes shut, his cheeks wobble and time suddenly slows to a near-stop. He climbs to his feet, taking a moment to make some sense of the situation by seeing just where everyone is. Hmm.

First things first, he bustles towards the one with the drawn gun and removes it. He doesn't want to leave it anywhere they can get it so he tucks it into his belt for the time being. He moves around to look at the others and, unable to see weapons, nods his head before he climbs up on the counter to be dramatic.

He stands there for a moment before realizing that the whole secret identity thing should probably come into play. Ah! What can he use to hide his identity. What works in the comics? Oh! Idea! He hops down off the counter, collects some scissors from a utensils draw and slips off his jacket.

A moment later, when time starts again, he's standing on the counter sans jacket with a makeshift 'mask' tied about his head to cover his hair and everything below his nose. The eye holes are not perfect, leaving them slightly askew. For the most part he looks like a bad wrestler. With the weapon tucked into his belt to keep it away from the thugs, he waves a finger disapprovingly at the criminals from on eye, "Muda, muda!"

And then suddenly, there's no asian guy in a booth, but a 'masked?' guy on the counter. Charlotte turns her doe-brown eyes upwards, seeing the wrestler-man up there. Another robber? She blinks and stands up quickly, stool making scuffing sounds on the tile floor as she does so. But there's one of the thugs right behind her, and Charlotte does the only thing she can really think to do: the hot porcelain cup of coffee is lifted, and she swings it down by the handle at the nearest guy - who probably wasn't expecting the petite thing to make such a bold move. Coffee smears across one of the booths and the floor and the cup makes a resounding shatter. What remains of the mug (broken shards on a handle) turn and are held up at Hiro Nakamura. "Get off the counter, fork-man, and just take what you want and leave. Please." Her voice is strong, yet the last word is almost a plea as her eyes turn to his for a moment.

The thug holding Gloria suddenly finds his gun dissapeared. "Huh?" He asks, looking at his hand. Gloria's not stupid - she takes the moment to shove the man aside and she bolts for the kitchen door, the one other patron following.

"Nevermind her!" Thug 2 shouts, pointing with a gloved hand. "Get the safe!" As his eyes move to behind the counter, where the safe will be kept, he and the other thug look up at the wrestler. "What the fu-" But then his voice is cut off by the shattering of a hot mug on his head. Thug 3, by the door, leaps into action, wrapping an arm around Charlotte while she's not looking and hauling her up tall to hold her taut. "No funny business!" He demands of both fork-man and Charlotte.

Masked Hiro plants his hands on his hips in his best facsimile of an heroic pose, although Charlotte acting like he is a villain gives him pause. He looks down at her for a moment, momentarily distracted.

"I'm not a birrain! Hero! I'm going to st — hey! Stop!"

When the thug grabs Charlotte, Hiro points at him and does his best to put on a deeper, more heroic-sounding voice.

"Let her go!"

Charlotte drops her little shard of defense in surprise, both hands reaching up to try and grab at the arm that has a chokehold around her throat. "He-guuuuuh!" Whatever she's trying to say is literally choked out of her. She kicks her feet back, but to no avail.
Which is why Hiro and the others might blink once or twice when the pair begin to shimmer, almost as if turning to sparkles or dust. One mississippi. Two mississippi. The pair are gone, as if they were never there.

Behind Hiro, the unarmed thug is currently using a heavy iron wrought skillet to bash the lock under the register, oblivious to the going-ons around him. The third thug, however, is starting to recover from his blitz attack, and he sits up, waving his glock groggily towards Hiro. "Hey! Where's Joe?" He demands, starting to stand as his conciousness comes back and his gun-hand gets straighter.

Hiro is himself quite surprised when Charlotte and the thug who has her in a chokehold disappear. He definitely didn't do that one but … hey, the thugs don't know that. He plants one hand on his hip again before he points at the thug with the gun, "Joe got what he deserved!"

A brief bout of concentration freezes time yet again and Hiro climbs gingerly down from the counter, almost toppling when his foot lands on a rotating stool. On terra firma once more, he moves over to retrieve the firearm from the one who was pointing it at him and tucks that into his belt, too. Note to self, learn to disassemble guns so he can be more dramatic.

When time starts, Hiro is back on the bar again but this time he has both guns tucked into his belt. His accent is clearly thicker when he's in more stressful situations, which is evident by what he demands next.

"Surrender to police right now!"

From the kitchen, after the time freeze, there is a loud, resounding 'DONGGGGGGG' followed by the sound of something hitting hard floor. The door swings open and out comes Charlotte, brandishing a large frying pan. A dirty one at that, covered in egg grease. She holds it up, looking this way and that.

The third thug looks down at his hand. "What the hell!" he demands, looking up at Fork Man and his incredible new belt o' guns. "Kenny, get the money, lets go!" Already thug three is moving for the door, while thug one is banging, still trying to bust open that lock.

When it looks as though the thugs may get away, Hiro turns quickly to spot Charlotte brandishing the frying pan. He's not one for physical violence himself (at least the non-stabby) kind but he certainly has an idea. Once more time freezes, although this time he rushes across the diner to grab Charlotte by the arm and pull only her out into the 'realm of the un-frozen'. He doesn't bother to take time for an explanation, pointing frantically at the two frozen thugs.

"Knock them out quickly, Teleporter! Before they get away!"

Charlotte blinks as the Fork-Man is suddenly there, and touching her. It may be wise to note that Charlotte is only wearing one shoe at this point. "What?!" She demands, her voice a little loud, her hands shaking - he can probably see that now that he's closer. Doe-brown eyes sway towards the one behind the counter, then the one in the middle of the resteraunt. "I can't just…hit them." It's way too much like cheating. "Just let them leave so no one else gets hurt!" That's what is important to Charlotte; that nobody else gets hurt. "Getting hit would hurt them, and if they're not going to hurt anybody else…..And who are you?"

"They are criminals! They have to be brought to justice!"

All of a sudden, Hiro kind of wishes he could shoot webbing or at least had some Hiro-Cuffs he could use to keep the thugs from getting away. He doesn't explain who he is, since that would defeat the purpose of putting on a mask in the first place.

"If you don't, they could hurt people later!"

He mimes swinging the frying pan through the air, "BOK BOK!"

Charlotte looks at him like he's a crazy man in a fake mask. Oh, wait… "I'm not going to hit them. I already hit the other guy. Do you have any idea what a hit like that could do to a person? Brain damage, that's what." And brain damage is bad. She knows, she's been spending much too much time in the labs. "And…here, I can't see your face." She says, reaching up to uncermimoniously tug off his mask, if she can. It's always polite to look someone in the eyes when speaking to them!

When the hand reaches up to tug at his mask, Hiro quickly lets go of Charlotte's arm to put her back in the freeze. He definitely doesn't want his secret being blown so early in the game. When he brings her back out of it, he is off to the side and out of reach for the moment.

"You can't let them get away!"

Charlotte blinks as he moves. Then she looks over at Hiro as he's moved. "You know it's rude not to look someone in the face when talking to them," The PR rep says. She shakes her head at the man. "Well come up with a better idea, I'm not going to go around wack-a-moleing people in the head. I'm the one who dodges things like that. I dodge things. You know." She fakes a little left and right to show him. "Look, there's no one else left here, I can just get us out of here."

"No, a hero's duty is clear," Hiro states firmly, looking to the nearest thug and moving towards him. He practically drags Charlotte with him if she'll allow, pointing at the frozen-in-time man, "Help me push him into the kitchen."

Without waiting, Hiro puts his shoulder squarely in the middle of the thug's back and starts him sliding slowly towards the kitchen door.
Charlotte flinches as he starts to push. "Here, here. You're going to hurt yourself, sweetheart." Sweetheart. Yes, to a complete stranger. She sets her pan on the counter, reaching down and placing a hand on the man's shoulder. "Where are we going with him?" She asks, flipping her hair back to turn her doe-brown eyes to the Fork Man

"In the freezer," Hiro states, continuing to try and push the thug in the direction of the kitchen, "We can lock it until the police arrive."

Charlotte smiles a dimpled smile to Hiro. "See, now there's a good idea, and nobody gets hurt. Although we'll probably have to turn off the coolers in there, so they don't get cold." So that they don't get cold? "Just…don't get scared, okay? It's going to be tingly." And it does start to tingle. From his nose, to his fingers, to his toes. And his vision will start to get blotchy. His whole body tingles, and then his vision starts to blot back into view. There's boxes of hamburger patties, frozen vegetables, so on and so forth. And it's cold.

Hiro would have teleported the men himself but keeping one person unfrozen from time is complex enough. The sudden teleportation is a little disorienting and not at all like how it is when he teleports but a tleast things are getting done. He immediately sets about helping Charlotte deposit the rest of the thugs, examining the freezer controls to see how they might be turned down but not off (he doesn't want to ruin the supply of food).

Charlotte doesn't even need to examine it. She flips open a box and turns it all right down. "There, they should be fine." The door is closed and they are deposited, and she turns back at last to Hiro. "So…really, what's with the….?" She motions to the mask, as if it were on her. She doesn't want him to spaz like he did last time. Her long, dangly earrings jingle with each little motion she makes.

"A hero must protect his identity," Hiro states plainly. He wasn't really big on such things until more recently when it became apparent there were lots of people linked to him who couldn't just freeze time and beam away when there was trouble. With the thugs locked away, he pats a hand on the door with a satisfied nod and time unfreezes. He looks around for a telephone to use, "We should call the police."

Charlotte nods, pushing some hair behind her ear. "Right, police. What….what should we say?" She asks the fork man, trying so hard to ignore how goofy he looks. Really, he seems nice, so she's trying. Although all this talk of being a hero? Well maybe he is one, but she knows she isn't, so her identity shouldn't really matter. Not like anyone saw anyway. "You…stopped time, I beat on a few guys with kitchen appliences, then we teleported them from the front to the freezer where we locked them up?" Yeah, that'll go over well. She's obviously joking. "Do you think they're okay in there? I'm really worried about the one I socked with the frying pan. I did that once to this guy down in Tennessee, he was in the hospital for awhile with his skull and all." She blushes as she explains the story, phone now in hand. Apparently she's got a pretty decent swing.

Hiro abides by the laws of comic book physics, so as far as he's concerned the guy will wake up without anything more than a headache. So he nods his head and chatters down the phoneline, reporting a robbery and where the attempted robbers are located. He looks down at the guns tucked into his belt and makes an 'oops' noise, dropping them on the counter near the door of the freezer.

"Don't tell them anything. We should get away before the police get here … "

Charlotte nods, and perhaps her next move is a little too Hiro-esque. "I hope they'll be okay." But she doesn't live in the world of comic books: she lives in the real world, where people bleed when hit, where hearts get broken every day, and where sometimes ends just don't get met and you have to spend a few nights sleeping in the back of your car trying to figure out where to go next. She's been all of those places in some form or another. But to digress, she reaches out and touches Hiro's arm, and things go tingly again. When the vision unblots? They'll be on a rooftop in SoHo.

"Thank you, Teleporter," Hiro says, still putting on that fake, deep hero voice that he was using when he spoke to the thugs earlier, "But now I must go."
Charlotte lets go, stepping back. "Thank you, too. Listen, I know this might be strange, but what kind of food do you like? Crepes? Cake maybe? Chocolates?" She asks, crossing her arms and tilting her head to the side. A few African-inspired bangles click and clash together, making a few soft sounds. What an awkward question it is that she's asking. But she seems sincere, eyes waiting for an answer.

"Waffarus," Hiro states plainly, beaming beneath his makeshift mask as he plants his hands on his hips and begins to concentraaaaaaaaate …

Charlotte nods softly. "Waffles." She'll take care of it. "Thanks again. But….get a new mask, hmm? Something a little more heroic. It'll suit you better." She takes a step back, seeing him make a facial expression that is vaguely familiar to her…and yet makes her worry all the same.

Mmm. Waffles.
But in a moment, there is nothing there save the air and the SoHo skyline.

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