HP: 1 - LP: 0
Adam, sitting at table for two at a New York City cafe, sipped his coffee as he flipped through the file in front of him, an amused smirk on his face. He was looking at a photo of himself, in all his emerald glory, wearing a hat and sunglasses pulling a massive slab of concrete out of a storefront window. It was dated five years ago today, the day of the attack on New York. There were no other photographs in the file, just various reports of a green giant performing feats of great strength in the service of others before disappearing as quickly as he had appeared. There were some notes written here and there in the scribbled hand of a LEO. 'Another alien? Isolated inhuman? Banner connection??' He closed the file, looking at the angry red letters on the manila surface: CASE FILE: VERDANT.
"Ohhh, nice sunglasses, Jolly Green," a man said as he slipped into the chair across from Adam. He was a little overweight,wearing a uniform shirt with a stained apron over the front of it. His salt and pepper hair only grew on the sides of his head, and glasses hung from a chain around his neck. "With them and the hat I hardly knew it was you."
"Hey, that's a solid incognito outfit. I hardly recognize myself, really." Adam replied, squinting his eyes as he defended himself. Of course, he was kidding. Standing over 7 feet tall and pushing 800 pounds might make him stand out enough, but his green skin and hair also made it hard for him to do much of anything discretely. "I wasn't on the books then like I am now, I was trying to keep a low profile. My SHIELD file here, however, suggests I didn't do a great job."
"The only thing 'low profile' about you is your taste in coffee, kid," the man replied, tapping Adam's coffee cup with the back of his finger. "Seriously, Dunkin' Donuts? You insult me."
"The world runs on Dunkin', Ernie," Adam replied, taking a big drink and giving an embellished sigh of contentment. "Besides, you know I come here for the Reuben."
"And the Cuban. And the beef. And the meatballs," Ernie said, shaking his head. "I swear, kid, the only reason I don't run you outta here for scaring away all my customers is because you buy more food than any one of 'em."
Adam looked around the cafe, and Ernie wasn't wrong. Most times you go into a cafe, the people are more concerned with their food and friends and phones than the person at the table next to them. Adam, however, draws a lot of eyes. It's not every day someone sees a hulk-like supermodel towering over them in a suit. Some of the people in the cafe were polite enough to pretend they weren't watching, but their body language made it clear to Adam that they were 100% aware of exactly where he was.
Police officers experience something similar. They call it being "cop aware." Completely innocent people still get nervous around them, but they don't want to look suspicious, so they hyper-focus on whatever they're doing. Like the executive-looking woman in the corner staring very intently at the screen of her laptop despite the fact that she isn't typing anything. Or the college kid chewing his sandwich with incredible dedication while the guy across from him hasn't moved his neck since Adam sat down. Meanwhile, an old woman stares at Adam across the cafe. He meets her gaze and gives her a wink. She opens her mouth in outrage and adjusts her shawl, turning her eyes away as a smile spreads across her face.
"And that is exactly why I don't send my waitresses over here," Ernie said, chuckling at the exchange. The chuckle trails off as Ernie looks out the window of the cafe, people and cars streaming steadily by. "So...five years, huh?"
They grew quiet for a moment. The attack is a soft spot for New Yorkers: everything they knew changed on that day. Adam had just recently gotten his powers, and fled NYC to the Appalachian mountains upstate. There were some incredibly poor communities out there, and after the initial shock wore off they were happy to put Adam to work. In return, he got food and shelter while he tried to figure out just what had happened to him. He was there when the attack happened. He wasn't from the city originally; he was a Midwest boy. To him, though, NYC represented freedom. It was where he was really on his own for the first time, the first place he felt like he could be his own person. It had changed him, in more ways than one, and he refused to leave his city during it's time of need. As soon as he heard, Adam was there pulling people out of the wreckage and helping with the clean-up. He hit the road soon after but NYC would always be important to him, no matter how far he went.
"A lot's changed since then," Adam said, taking another drink from his coffee. "When I first got like this, I thought I was completely alone. Then the invasion happens, and people with powers start popping up left and right. It's crazy."
"I'll say," Ernie intoned. He glanced from Adam to the table. He was going to say something uncomfortable. "Look kid, you know I like you. You helped me out back then, and I'll always be grateful for everything you've done. But--I gotta tell ya--the rest of you enhanced types make me nervous."
"Yeah, I get that," Adam responded, nodding with a sheepish expression. "That's kinda my thing, though, Ernie. I'm very clearly different from most folks, but people like me. I help people, I build trust, I make friends. So, you know, if your friend Adam is enhanced and he's a good guy and you hear something about 'all enhanced people' being dangerous or evil or whatever, you think 'now that's not true, my buddy Adam pulled a fuckin' sidewalk out of the front of my cafe.'"
"Alright alright, jeez, I didn't ask for sales pitch, kid," Ernie said, throwing up his hands and scooting the chair back with his legs before pushing himself to his feet. "I'm gettin' used to the idea, alright? I'm old, it takes a minute. Plus, I'm naturally nervous, I'm an entrepreneur. Your sandwiches should be out by the time you get off your soapbox."
"Thanks Ernie," Adam said, smiling as his friend walked back behind the counter.
"Here's the Ruben, the Cuban, the meatball sub, the italian beef, aaaaand...the salad," a female voice said behind him. "Was that it?"
"Yeah, that's--" Adam started, looking at the waitress with a grin. She was cute, short with a pixie cut and a slim build. She also had tan-colored scales and black eyes, with what might have been feathers intermingled in her hair. "That's it. Thank you."
Smiling, she nodded and walked back into the kitchen. Adam looked behind him towards the counter where Ernie was leaning against the it, looking back at Adam with a bemused look. Ernie gave him a wink before stepping through the swinging door into the back. Shaking his head, Adam tucked into his salad.
OOC wrote:Perception Check: 1D20+4 = +4 = 17