2010-03-25: I Met A Man Who Wasn't There


Misha_icon.jpg Corrin_icon.jpg Keld_icon.jpg

Summary: Misha and Corrin wreck a robber's bank plans, and then Misha ducks out, leaving Corrin to do the police report. Keld to the rescue!

Date: March 25, 2010

I Met A Man Who Wasn't There

Rating: PG-13 for violence

NYC - Alphabet City

Alphabet City used to be the slums of New York City, but now it's a trendy part of the East Village. Its name comes from the Avenues having single letter names. Apartments have been renovated into nightclubs, restaurants, and retail-establishments. Even though this part of the city isn't home to as many of the low income and artists residents, it still holds a Bohemian feel.

Corrin has been wandering around this afternoon, ostensibly trying to find a room to rent—he has money! But actually, he got distracted from that early in the day, and he's worked himself into the trendy area of Alphabet City. He's been rubbernecking shamelessly, which is just as well; the place is too trendy to be in his price range. But looking is always free.

All of which explains why his head is up and his eyes aren't on the doors when a woman bursts out of the bank he's walking past. "He's got a gun!" she shrieks, even as she barrels into Corrin and knocks them both to the street.

The reasons Corrin was here are many of the same Mikhail (Misha) came to this area of New York. Seeing the sights and getting a sampling of the people. A branch of the bank came into view, and he had ducked inside to use the ATM. Standing in line as the gunman makes himself known, the teen does what comes naturally when there's a need to defend himself… he disappears. Of course this is fairly anti climatic as there are no special effects in doing so. Most people don't even notice it happens. Misha is plain, and wearing fairly average teen-age attire. What's to notice beyond the scars he wears.
This doesn't mean he's escaping however. No, safely away in the bit of dimensional space he can access, he watches the gunman. Can see the 'real world' from there, for all it's somewhat out of focus. The teen is looking for the moment he wants, to be able to shift back into the real world, grab that gun, and vanish again. He's already armed, but that isn't the point.

The gunman wasn't expecting panic, like the woman running out of the bank, and he ends up panicking, too. "Stand still! Freeze!" he shouts, and he fires after the fleeing woman. Fortunately, she's falling by then, and the sound of the small calibre slug whicking by overhead makes Corrin wince and push her out of line of the doorway. "Go. Call the police," he says, rolling the other way. His attention is on the doors, even as people on the sidewalk scatter away from the sound of the shot.

The firing is when Misha acts. With a calm beyond his years, the young man appears at the gunman's side, hand poised over gun. A simple touch and he will be gone. Well, even if he doesn't get the gun, he will be gone. Should he get the weapon, and safely away, he checks the thing out. Ejects a round if chambered, then puts on the safety. Doesn't want it going off at some random time. That would be bad.

The gunman is jumpy; Misha suddenly appearing next to him, just inside his peripheral vision, makes him startle violently, swinging the gun around in Misha's direction. It goes off, and this time, the casualty isn't just the glass of the front door. A young man — glasses, goatee, ring in his ear — is hit in the chest. He drops the deposit bag he's holding and falls back into a line of people huddled against the wall, who try to catch him, try to avoid him, or stand and scream.

Something Misha might notice: the gun is a revolver, small and ugly; it has no safety. It's also a bit rusty in places a gun shouldn't be rusty in, which should tell him that this guy isn't a professional gunman using a professional gun, and that the gun could go off any time, for any reason.

He might also notice a skinny drink of a guy slither into the bank from the sidewalk through the broken front door. Convenient how safety glass shatters so completely.
Being incredibly new to this whole helping people thing, Mikhail totally wasn't ready for the gunman to be that jumpy. He'll learn. Someone was hurt by his efforts, which means the teen also gets angry. Really shouldn't get angry. That's when you get sloppy. However, it causes him to react. There's a glance to the man moving in, but Misha picks. Gunman first. Dropping down, he begins a leg sweep, appearing in the real world just in time for physical contact.

Corrin peeked into the bank just in time to see the gunman turn and fire — he doesn't really notice Misha, because the young man is there and gone again too fast — but he does notice that the gunman's back is to the door, and he crawls through in that bare moment. That puts him inside, and with a much better view of what's going on…

WHERE THE HELL DID HE COME FROM? This time he does notice Misha, because the gunman falls over that tripping leg, and he pulls the trigger again… but Corrin knew that would happen (how? he'll worry about that later) and bubbled the man's gun hand. It's a rough bubble that bursts almost immediately, because Corrin can't close it — the man's arm is in the way. But it does succeed in stealing most of the velocity from the bullet, and it thunks to the floor at almost the same time the man does.

Unfortunately, the man is still clutching the gun, and that means there are at least two more bullets, maybe more, that he can wreak havoc with.

No, Misha isn't there when the gunman lands. The affecting other people is hard, but the shifting back and forth of himself is something he does without effort. Makes fighting him strange and difficult. Sweep, disappear, shift position, pop back in and try for that gun again. Even if he has to grab the wrist and pull upwards before taking the gun. No more shooting other people! The teen did notice the bubble, and he'd grateful for it, but he can't take the time to say that. Shifting too much for his words to get through clearly.

The gunman is thoroughly confused. This was supposed to be a quick stick-up, just grab the money and go. He never counted on a woman escaping before he got the dough, or some jack-in-the-box character harassing him, or yellow bubbles appearing and disappearing around his gun. He does know what to do when someone grabs his gun hand, though — he pulls back. "Get back! I'll shoot!" At the moment, he'll shoot into the ceiling, though.

Corrin pushes off the floor and rushes gunman and Misha. He'd rather the guy doesn't pull that trigger again, whether the gun is pointed at someone or not. Misha has the man's hand — Corrin will do a strike against the man's elbow. Hitting his funny bone should make him let go of the gun… and it does.

The elbow was what Mikhail was going for next, but he felt getting the gun aimed elsewhere was more important. Neither is he some incredible martial artist able to do both in rapid succession. There's surprise for Corrin's sudden appearance, but the green eyes of the teen show little of it as he finally makes off with the gun. His! As nasty as the weapon is, Misha leaves it on the other side. Tosses it away and then races for the shot young man. Corrin has the gunman, right? Misha is going to see what he can do to keep the poor guy alive while help comes. "Be calling 911!" Can't even shout, for his voice is that poor. Harsh, like he'd been smoking fifty years. Also has a heavy Polish accent.

AND… he's gone again! Corrin wasn't expecting that, and he ends up over-reaching, falling over the gunman as Misha does his vanishing act again.

The gunman is confused enough that he thinks he's fighting only one man—and that means Corrin.

"Raargh!" What he lacks in glibness he'll make up for in smackdown; the gunman thumps Corrin in the back of the head with a fist, making Corrin see stars. He'll end up scrambling, trying to get away from the guy, because he's not sure if the bad guy still has a gun or not.

Yep, Mikhail is really, really annoying that way. His attention is on the man who was shot, trying to keep him from bleeding to death, or going into shock. Sadly, his options are limited. Shrugging out of jacket and shirt, he tries his best. This lets people notice he too is carrying a gun, and no doubt most attempt to flee, or might even stop him, but Misha's a little focused right now. Poor Corrin.

Some of the people from the bank have noticed the open front door and have bolted; some are still screaming. One of the men by the bleeding man mistakes Misha for a second robber and he launches himself at the young man, determined to bring him down before Misha can get that gun out…!

Corrin fetches up against the table holding the deposit slips before his vision clears, and that gives the robber a clean shot at him. The slug to the face bounces his head off the marble upright — more stars — and Corrin loses his temper. "Damn it!" he says, and he touches his fingertips to the floor. Ping! The floor is now glowing bright gold—and is more slippery than ice. Fresh screaming as people all over the bank slip and slide. At least the gunman misses his next hit — he pratfalls and bites his tongue instead.

"Hey!" Surprised at being jumped, Mikhail is rather easily knocked away and down. "Stop!" There's a quick, harsh protest for it. "I am trying to help!" Should it become clear that the man isn't listening, Misha disappears again. He's not invisible, but quite literally not there. On the other side, he picks himself up and shifts back. "Idiot!" At the one who jumped him. Then it gets slippery. Some flailing for balance that doesn't last. "Help him!" Pointing at the one who was shot, and quickly before he hits the floor… sliding. The one with Misha's shirt pressed to the wound. Too young to realize that him issuing orders so isn't going to work. "I must be helping stop gunman…" No, his English isn't all that good.

Corrin's vision starts to clear and he sees the gunman scrabbling around on the floor, trying to get to him. Since Corrin is braced already, he hauls back, aims, and kicks the guy in the face. There's a sharp, "Oork!" out of the gunman, and he's sliding, mostly out, across the floor.

Corrin drops the skidfield, which only occasions fresh screaming. Too much too quick for most of the people in here. He does notice Misha, who is shouting about helping, and the guy trying to get him, who has the right idea, wrong man. He sees the bleeding guy, and he also hears approaching sirens. Ah, good. That woman who got away called someone.

More or less unable to get at the wounded man now, Mikhail does his vanishing trick so that he can pick himself up and cross the floor. Isn't slick on the other side. And soon it isn't slick on the other. He's after the sliding, kicked gunman. That's when he goes for the Gunman's arm again. This time he doesn't play around. His power can be focused to cut, and this he tries for. Even if it means taking off the guy's finger. (Misha is /so/ getting in trouble.) The teen tries to cut the gun in half. Doesn't stop the gun per se, but might be more dangerous for the gunman! And yes, he disappears after the cut. Never sticks around during fights.

More or less unable to get at the wounded man now, Mikhail does his vanishing trick so that he can pick himself up and cross the floor. Isn't slick on the other side. And soon it isn't slick on the other. He's after the sliding, kicked gunman. This time he goes for places that hurt. The knee to start. The teen is pretty angry at this point, and not above applying some pain to end this. Appearing mid motion, he kicks at the man's knee, seeking to disable. Oh yes, and hurt. Misha wants it to hurt. Be glad he's no super strength, or other powers. No, he's mostly just damn annoying. Never draws his own gun though.

Corrin sees this — how can he not? "Hey!" He's shoving to his feet and going for Misha, putting hands on the younger man's shoulders, pulling him back. "He's down! He's out! We have to tie him up, not torture him." He looks around — anything they can cuff/tie/bind this guy with? Not that a bank is a good place to find such things. "Um. Anyone got a shoelace?"

The boy's eyes are so very green as he seeks to shake off Corrin, glaring the whole while. It's a human green though, just very clear. "Let go!" Looks angry, like he's not going to listen, and yet the teen merely disappears again. No further attempt at hurting the gunman. And yet neither is he attempting to save the wounded man either. No, he's kicking that gun as far as he can. It skitters across a barred ground, through the hologram that represents the real world.

No, the teen isn't seen again until well after Corrin is out of there. He did hang around though - watching and waiting. Even if it means going to the police station with Corrin. Where does the man end up?

Just like that, Corrin's hands are empty. "Wha…!" He spins and wobbles — he has been hit in the head twice today. Misha is gone, and Corrin isn't sure if he was really there at all. Was he? Or is that just his head playing tricks again? He turns around a couple more times but since Misha doesn't show up on any of those turns, he returns to the job at hand.

The guy who tried to jump Misha gets in Corrin's face, right off. "Did you see that? There was a second one! We gotta find him!" And since Corrin isn't sure who or what Misha was, he can't dissuade him. He does manage to get the guy to go outside to 'look' for Misha… and to tell the approaching cops that things are under control inside. Sort of; there's a bleeding man, a woozy gunman, and lots of traumatized bank customers and employees. He's in the middle of trying to keep things calm as the cops come in, and then he's in the middle of trying to explain to the cops, and …

It's going to be a long night for him.


The police station in Alphabet City is in a vintage police station that looks like it was built in the twenties and rebuilt in the sixties, and has had hordes of transients roaming through it since. There's an ongoing attempt to renovate it again; there are ladders in the hallways and the place smells strongly of fresh paint, but so far, the old is still overwhelming the new.

In the police bullpen, full of detectives, desks, and cheap chairs, and liberally slathered with paperwork, Corrin sits, waiting for rescue. No, he's not under arrest, but he's trying to fade into the woodwork and cops Just. Don't. Like. That.

A phone call to Avenger's Mansion (by way of the contact number that Kazhurr hands out to people who seldom believe it will work) goes immediately to a priority system, and the mellifluous tones of Edwin Jarvis answer the skeptical police detective, and it's barely a minute before the door to the bullpen opens, and someone in the extremely garish spandex that only '80s rock stars and almost any superheroes might be found wearing. Well, perhaps not so much garish or spandex, it's just that the man wearing it seems a bit unreal. Perhaps it's the gold-toned skin and the still-not-touching-the-ground.

"Is there a Detective Kriegstallen here? I'm Kazhurr, I'm with the Avengers, I understand you have one of our people here?" His voice is polite, but it's possible from the way he says this that he's been taking acting lessons from Simon Williams. There's no need to be that resonant.

"Keld!" Corrin stands up. Saved! "Detective, if I may introduce you…?" He's gone from tense and uncomfortable to relieved; Kriegstallen gives him a glare that doesn't really dent the relief. "Keld, this is Detective Kriegstallen. He's in charge of the investigation into the B Street bank robbery this afternoon."

"Really? I hadn't heard about it yet," Keld admits. He offers a hand to Detective Kriegstallen, "An honor to meet you, Detective." He doesn't even invade the man's thoughts.

Turning to Corrin, he asks, "Are you being held as a witness?"
His bland tone conveys that there is no other possible way Corrin would be detained, of course.

"Sort of…" Corrin spreads his hands. "I was outside when it went down. Woman came through the door, knocked me down, man fired after her. Bullet shattered the door. I look in and the guy is turning around, not looking my way, so I go in. Guy appears and disappears around the bad guy, don't ask me how, I think he took the gun because the police say they can't find one. Man in the bank was shot, and the disappearing guy was trying to help him — I think — and the bad guy was trying to break my face. I kicked him, got him off me, disappearing guy tries to break *him*, then he disappears and the police show up and no one else except the neighborhood vigilante says disappearing guy was there at all!" Frustration. Corrin even grips his hair. "I don't think the police believe me."

This last gets a snort out of Kriegstallen. "You. Kazar? You know this guy? Can you vouch for him?"

"Kazhurr, emphasis is on the second syllable. Ka-Zar is the naked fellow with the sabertooth tiger." Keld's reply is slightly dry, but he's smiling when he says it, for extra cognitive dissonance, "Yes, Detective. I can vouch for him. He works at the Avengers' Mansion, he helped me last week when we were trying to find the MetaMugger gang. There is not a dishonest bone in his body. If he tells you there was another person there, then he did see that other person."

As this is likely to cause some skepticism, his Avenger's ID is of course provided, with the proper spelling so the Officer can verify that he's not someone trying to pull a complex scam.

It's the Avengers ID that does it, that and someone coming in with an old Post with the picture of She-Hulk laying the smooch on Kazhurr… which means Kazhurr has to spend some time chatting to the curious about what it's like kissing She-Hulk. Or avoiding chatting about it, his choice, but there's a lot of interest. This business with Corrin disappears into nothing next to that.

Of course it's always the She-Hulk connection that distracts them. Saving the city from demons? Not so much, but macking on the jade giantess? It's kinda comical, especially when he assures them that he can be just as strong as she can, if the need arises. Without going green and huge, which is a bonus in the "not so much property damage" category. It's even (and a bit annoyingly) more of a factor than his working with the first metahuman member of the NYPD, which Keld finds to be more important.
"So, you have his statement, may we go now? Is there anything else we can do for you?"

Yes, they can go. After exhausting their curiosity about She-Hulk, Kazhurr is given leave to take Corrin out with him. "But don't leave town!"

Corrin looks back at that, frowning. "Why would I leave town? I like working for Jarvis." He hits the sidewalk and looks up at Kazhurr walking next to him. "Thanks for the save. They weren't believing me about the disappearing guy and I figure after giving them the report — in quadruplicate — and answering questions for several hours…" He shakes his head. "Thanks. I owe you one."

Keld is back among the mortals again as he stopped floating while explaining his peculiar learning method to the police earlier. So he walks alongside Corrin, and answers immediately, "Not at all, they should have believed you. There's nothing wrong in wanting to get away from a protracted interrogation after you've already given all the same evidence multiple times."

Or so he believes anyway. "So … disappearing man? How do you mean?"

It's only well past the station, as the two men are walking, that the disappearing man allows himself to be seen. Not immediately, but wearing a new shirt and jacket, the teen is sitting on some steps. Waiting fairly patiently over all. In normal street attire, he wouldn't even earn a second look if it weren't for the scars he bears. It should also be noted that his eyes are hazel now, a muddied color, not green. This is a subtle thing however.

Corrin flings his hands in the air. "Disappearing. Poof. There, not there. I grabbed him to pull him off the bad guy and he growled at me, something, and then he wasn't there. Like he never had been." He shakes his head. Some kind of … I don't know." He's concentrating on what he's saying… which is sort of like an extension of the interrogation. But this is *Keld*, so he doesn't mind. "Young guy. Um… dark. Foreign accent… eastern Europe, maybe Russian? I don't know. Green eyes." He blinks and looks around and does a step-stutter, seeing Misha on the steps. "Like him." Point.

Keld's eyes light up slightly as he looks at the guy on the steps. Scars on throat and eye. Greenish eyes, well, as much as most humans have them without cosmetic assistance or powers. Moderately athletic build, recent injury to hip, carrying… ah. Right. ID card. Barnes.

"What a coincidence," Keld says, "that you should come across someone who looks so much like the fellow you described."

Recognized, the young man rises to his feet. Since neither man appears to react violently, he steps down. Not in any hurry, but soon he's standing on the sidewalk. Average height, average appearance. "I am being sorry." Mikhail apologizes to Corrin, his voice not any nicer than last heard. Keld makes him nervous, but he's so very sure he can get away if there's trouble that he risks this. Kids. "Only wanted to help." Steadfast, but uncomfortable.

"Um." Corrin is surprised; why the apology? "Uh, sure. But thank you for the help. I think… you got his attention, so he turned around? That let me get in. Did you take his gun? The police need it. It would be best if it was found in the bank…."

Keld is not actually on staff at the young man's school, but he does know of the place, and will of course (like the other Avengers over time) be providing some assistance with powers training and in hic case, besides military stuff of all varieties, he'll also be teaching about aliens. Which should be just FASCINATING. But that will be then, this is now.

"You did the right thing in not being caught, but it would have been better not to be seen in the first place," Keld says to the young man. And now that he knows, there'll doubtless be some discussion about how to clear the potential mess of the disappearing young European man before it gets into the databases. Hopefully nothing involving tarnishing Corrin's reputation. Fury's people should be good enough to do that without messing up a guy who barely has a past.

Misha nods as Corrin speaks of the gun. "Already done, sir." Did that while getting his new shirt and jacket. Doesn't mention that he had to go hunting for it thanks to kicking it in frustration earlier, but who needs to know that? The teen is also carrying a gun at the small of his back. He eyes Keld, expression carefully schooled. How the man knows these things Misha doesn't know, but it scares him. "What? I should let gunman be shooting people?" Seems a little angry over that. "Already made mess." Knows he screwed up, and he's not hiding it from Barnes. Going to tell people when he gets back. "Only came to be apologizing. Made mess, lost temper. Should not have done." Eyes shift to Corrin as he says this.

Corrin shakes his head. "Don't worry about it. The cops don't really believe me about there being a second person; some of them think the vigilante was the second guy, some of them think it was someone who ducked out, and some think that things were going so fast I imagined you. But most of them just think I'm crazy." Which he isn't too sure isn't correct. "Yes, you should have done something, if you could. Do you know how the man who was shot is doing?"

Keld opens his Avengers communicator and speaks into it for a moment, then shakes his head. "He's right. Of course you shouldn't just sit by, if you have the power to help. I only said it would be better, not that you did anything wrong in fighting the criminal. You should consider a disguise of some sort, though. The right uniform can have tremendous effect. I've been in that particular station twice before, in civilian garb, and they didn't recognize me today. Sunglasses, a slouch, and a different attitude."

His communicator beeps and he holds it to his ear to hear the answer. "Jarvis has asked for a follow-up on the shooting victim, would you like to see him? They said he's stable."

Emotions aren't as easy for him to hide as he would like, and for Corrin asking of the man who was shot Misha shakes his head with more force than necessary. Eyes close during the action. Doesn't know. Keld's whole idea of a costume earns him a look like the alien is crazy. He wanted to help, not make this a living. And yet, in being told that the victim is stable, that veiled anger relaxes somewhat. Also leads the teen to decide that his is over. Looks between the two men and then disappears. Eyes shift to green, but that's difficult to pick up on thanks to how fast it happens. Time to return to Barnes and accept his punishment. Or so he assumes.

Corrin lifts a hand toward Misha; he's reading the emotions the young man is putting out, and he's wanting to help, or just let him know it's all right. Then *blink* and Misha is gone, and Corrin is left standing there, one hand up, looking at nothing.

"Keld? May I ask you if that… if there was a young man standing here, just now? Because that is how the young man in the bank appeared and disappeared and I … I am not sure if he is just my imagination."

Keld nods. "Yes, I believe that that was your young man from the bank. It wasn't imaginary. I'll tell you more sometime when I'm cleared to say more."

Which is code for, "when YOU are cleared to hear more." And at this point, given the skills and the kind of trauma that Corrin shows, he's suspecting that there will be a particular understanding of that statement.

Corrin turns to look up at Keld at that 'when I'm cleared to say more'; judging from the look on his face, he made the code translation just fine. He doesn't push, though. He turns back and stuffs his hands in his pockets. "I think I would like to check on the man who was shot. Just to say hi and such." And then go back to the temporary shelter he's staying in, and SLEEP.

The hospital isn't far. Keld leads Corrin to the place, does whatever is needed with clearing the path, and goes with him back to the shelter, before going back to the mansion… he needs to get his two hours in as well.

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