A Barney Miller/Incredible Hulk crossover, originally published in the fanzine Of Dreams and Schemes #22. Standard fanfic disclaimer that wouldn't last ten seconds in a court of law: these aren't my characters, I'm just borrowing them for, um, typing practice. Yeah, that's it, typing practice. Wojo, Barney, Dietrich, Harris, McGee, etc. will be returned to their original owners, relatively undamaged. Please don't bother suing me for copyright violations, as A, no profit was made from the writing of this story, and B, I don't have any money, anyway. This is an amateur work of fiction, done purely for the pleasure of the author and any readers.
Barney Miller/Incredible Hulk
by Susan M. M.
"Arrest him," Ernesto Ramirez demanded in thickly accented English. The short, swarthy man poked a finger in the captain's chest. "He wrecked my bodega. You arrest him, Capitan Miller."
"I didn't wreck his place; the Hulk did." Jack McGee, a somewhat scruffy-looking man in his late thirties or early forties, protested his innocence.
Barney Miller gently removed Ramirez's finger from his chest. "You're the only one who saw a big, green monster, Mr. McGee. And Mr. Ramirez, we have no proof that Mr. McGee wrecked your shop. If my officers find proof that he was responsible, then we will arrest him. Right now," the middle-aged police captain explained, "we only know that he was taking pictures of the damage in your shop. And that's not illegal, especially not for a reporter."
"Mr. Ramirez, all we can do at the moment is ask Mr. McGee to leave your shop. Which Officer Levitt did." Barney nodded at the uniformed officer standing nearby. "And he stopped your disagreement before it became necessary to arrest you both for disturbing the peace, which I appreciate."
Carl Levitt, a black-haired man two inches shorter than Ramirez, beamed.
"I don't need the extra paperwork," Barney muttered under his breath.
"Your men should be trying to catch the Hulk," McGee insisted. "He could be halfway to Queens by now."
"Mr. McGee, I don't believe in UFOs, the Tooth Fairy, or the Jolly Green Giant. I've got more real crime than my men can handle without worrying about trying to arrest Bigfoot," Barney explained.
"The Hulk is real, and dangerous. He's killed two people, hurt dozens of others, and destroyed millions of dollars worth of property damage." McGee tried to keep the angry note out of his voice. Although like most reporters, he'd been forced to develop a fairly thick skin, it still bothered him when other people refused to believe in the Hulk – especially when they made it clear they considered him an idiot for doing so.
Ramirez replied in Spanish, speaking too quickly for either Jack McGee or Barney Miller to follow.
"Por favor, Senor Ramirez, en ingles," Barney asked haltingly.
Just then the squadroom door burst open. Detectives Ron Harris and Stan Wojohowitz dragged a prisoner into the small, dingy room. The prisoner was struggling every step of the way, shouting and swearing in both English and Italian.
"We got him, Barn!" Wojo announced. He was a muscular man, with brown hair.
"Got who?" Barney was relieved at the interruption.
"The Debutante Rapist," Harris replied. He was a handsome African-American in his early thirties, as nattily attired as a male fashion model. "Caught the son of a bitch in the act."
"Where's the girl?" Barney asked. The Debutante Rapist had gotten his nickname because he'd raped four high school girls – five now. The first two had been students at exclusive private schools.
"St. Vincent's Hospital. Det. Epstein is with her; we thought she'd be more comfortable with a woman taking her statement," Harris explained.
Barney nodded his approval. He turned his gaze on the suspect, who'd continued struggling and shouting during the entire conversation. The prisoner was in his mid-to-late twenties, olive-skinned, with curly black hair and angry black eyes. He might have been considered handsome, if not for the outraged expression and fingernail scratches on his face. "Book him." Barney's daughter wasn't much older than the Debutante Rapist's victims. The police captain stared disdainfully at the younger man. "And make sure everything's by the book. I don't want this one slipping through the cracks because of an uncrossed T or an undotted I."
"You can not arrest me! I have diplomatic immunity!" the rapist shouted.
"Not for this," Wojo retorted.
Det. Arthur Dietrich looked up from his typewriter and shared a worried glance with Barney. If the suspect was telling the truth ….
Harris swore softly.
"And you are…?" Barney inquired.
"Niccolo San Giacomo of the San Lucan embassy to the United Nations. Count Niccolo San Giacomo," he specified.
"Never heard of it," Wojo sneered.
"I have," Barney replied gravely.
"San Luca is an island off the coast of Italy," Dietrich explained. "Best known in modern times for its casinos, but in the 15th century it was home to –"
Barney held up a hand to stop the redhead detective. Dietrich was quite capable of quoting the encyclopedia for hours on end, if left to his own devices.
"Book him," Barney repeated. "Anyone who'd rape a schoolgirl might lie, too."
"I have diplomatic immunity!"
"Maybe. We'll have to see if you do or not. Harris, take care of him," Barney directed. "Wojo, Dietrich, call the other victims. See if they can come down to identify him. Fast, before an embassy lawyer can spring him," he added in a whisper.
"I demand that you contact my embassy!"
"And we will," Barney assured him. "After Det. Harris has gotten all your information."
Harris gave San Giacomo a gentle push toward the chair beside his desk. "This way, Count."
McGee grabbed his camera and started snapping pictures of the count.
"Stop that," San Giacomo ordered. He looked up at Barney. "Make him stop taking my picture."
"Sorry, Count." Barney spread his hands helplessly. "Freedom of the press. Nothing I can do to stop him." As he turned away from the rape suspect, the police captain allowed himself a little half-smile.
McGee saw it and winked.
"I insist that you call my embassy!" San Giacomo repeated. "I have seen your TV shows. I am entitled to a phone call."
Barney turned back to face San Giacomo and Harris. "You will have your phone call, after Det. Harris has finished taking your information. Harris, given the possible international repercussions, I want you to be very thorough, do you understand?"
Harris nodded. "Gotcha, Barn."
Barney headed for his office. "Excuse me a minute. I need to call the chief's office about this." Placing his hand on the doorknob, he called back over his shoulder. "As long as you've got your camera out, Mr. McGee, why don't you get the cockroaches in the cage? Maybe you can convince the mayor to do something about them. Heaven knows he won't listen to us."
## ## ##
It was nearly two hours later when a distinguished-looking gentleman entered the squadroom. He was middle-aged, his dark hair liberally streaked with gray. His suit cost more than any of the detectives earned in a month. He looked around the dingy room, gazing distastefully at the battered furniture, decrepit typewriters, the paint peeling off the unwashed walls. His jaw dropped when he saw the cage that took up nearly a fifth of the room, and San Giacomo inside it. "Nicky!"
"Guido, what took you so long?" San Giacomo demanded.
"Who is in charge here?" the distinguished-looking gentleman demanded. His words had a slight accent.
Barney turned away from the coffee maker. "That would be me. Captain Miller."
"Guido Venetti, counsel general to the embassy of San Luca," he introduced himself. "What is Count San Giacomo doing in that – that cage?"
"You can identify him?" Barney asked in a slow, careful voice.
"Of course. He is Count Niccolo San Giacomo, attaché to the San Lucan embassy to the United Nations."
"Tell him, Guido," San Giacomo insisted. "Tell this idiot he can not arrest me."
"He had no ID on him, and you'll appreciate we could not simply accept his word," Barney explained.
"However, he has been identified by two victims of the Debutante Rapist as being the man who attacked them. The scratches on his face," Barney pointed, "came from a young lady who is currently at the hospital. My officers pulled him off of her."
Venetti turned to San Giacomo. "Nicky?"
"Tell this idiot that I have diplomatic immunity, and I demand to be released at once!" San Giacomo added, "With an apology."
Wojo sneered, "We don't apologize to rapists and child molesters."
Venetti frowned, an expression of dismay – but not surprise – on his face.
"Between the lack of ID and the nature of the crime, you understand it was necessary to investigate thoroughly," Barney said.
Venetti nodded. "Yes, but –"
"If he were lying about being a diplomat, you might have wanted to press charges for fraud. If he turned out to be telling the truth, I didn't know if your embassy would want to waive immunity, given the severity of the charges, or if you would want to have him tried at home. Either way, we have enough evidence for an airtight case against him."
Venetti looked pained. "As you say, the matter is serious. However, as a matter of principle," he shrugged, "it is a question of national sovereignty, you understand." He hemmed and hawed a minute, then admitted, "The ambassador is unlikely to waive diplomatic immunity."
"There are precedents, especially for a crime as serious as the rape of five schoolgirls," Barney reminded him.
"The ambassador will never waive immunity, not for me," San Giacomo declared.
Venetti lowered his voice. "He is right. His father is the prime minister's cousin."
Harris snorted, unable, despite his writer's vocabulary, to think of any obscenities strong enough. Wojohowitz and Dietrich traded sour looks, as if they were the finalists in a lemon-eating contest.
"Let him out, Harris. Mr. Venetti, please escort your compatriot out of here," Barney requested coldly.
"Finally!" San Giacomo spit out the word.
"Mr. Venetti, it is only fair to warn you that I will be turning over copies of my case files to the State Department and the Justice Department. I may not be able to arrest Count San Giacomo and make it stick, but I pledge you, I will do my utmost to have him deported from this country as an undesirable alien," Barney promised.
"I will have your badge for that remark!" San Giacomo declared.
"You wouldn't want it. Too many headaches," retorted Barney.
"You couldn't have it." Wojo stood up. "It takes a man to wear a badge like this. You ain't no man."
Harris nodded in agreement. "He'd have to work his way up to louse."
"Try paramecium," Dietrich added.
Unnerved by the testosterone and scorn radiating from the detectives of the 12th Precinct, San Giacomo headed for the door. "I will have an apology, and all your badges." His bravado might have been more convincing if his voice hadn't quavered nervously.
As Venetti reached for the door handle, the door swung open. The two San Lucans stepped back to avoid being hit. A stylishly dressed woman in her early forties walked in, accompanied by a teenage girl in a blue blazer and skirt.
"I'm looking for a Captain Miller," the woman announced.
"That would be me." Barney recognized her at once. Jocelyn Van der Voort regularly graced the society pages of every newspaper and magazine in town.
"You called –"
"Mom, it's him! It's him!" Emily Van der Voort started shrieking hysterically.
"Is that him? Is that the monster who attacked you?" Mrs. Van der Voort asked her daughter.
Emily nodded, unable to speak. Harris gently led her to his desk and sat her in his own chair. Wojo fetched her a paper cup of water.
"Is this the man you asked us to come down and identify?" The society matron glanced pointedly at the cage, empty except for the cockroaches. "Why isn't he locked up? Why isn't he in handcuffs?"
"He can't lock me up. He can't arrest me," San Giacomo sneered.
Venetti had the decency to look embarrassed.
"Unfortunately, ma'am, this – person has diplomatic immunity," Barney explained. "However, if your daughter is willing to swear out a deposition identifying him as her attacker, my detectives would be happy to help you gather everything necessary for a civil case against him."
"Delighted," Harris confirmed.
"Captain Miller, such – such partisanship is most improper," Venetti protested.
"Except for juveniles, arrest records are public information in this state. If this lady wants to file civil charges, she has a right to that information," Barney informed the embassy general counsel. It took every ounce of self-control he had not to smirk.
Just then a flash went off.
Barney turned to see McGee taking a picture of the weeping victim. "What's he still doing here?"
"A story like this? I wouldn't miss it." McGee hadn't covered the police beat for years, but his instincts were still sharp.
"Hand over the camera." Barney put out his hand expectantly.
"First Amendment, remember?" McGee clutched the camera tighter.
"You'll get the rest of the roll back," Barney promised. "But not that picture. The New York City Police Department does not identify victims of sex crimes without their consent, especially not minors. I'll have our lab develop the film, at city expense," Barney coaxed. "You can have them all back but that picture."
As Barney was handling the situation with McGee, Mrs. Van der Voort demanded, "Which embassy?"
"Don't answer that, Nicky. It would be best just to leave," Venetti advised quietly.
"Some pipsqueak island called San Luca," Wojo told her.
"San Luca! We went there on vacation last summer!" Emily started crying again.
"We are never going to San Luca again, unless it's for that pervert's trial. In fact, no one who is anyone is going to San Luca again," Mrs. Van der Voort declared. "The island just became déclassé."
Dietrich interjected, "In 1880, Colonel Charles Cunningham Boycott refused to lower his tenants' rents to a more reasonable rate. As a result, he was refused accommodations while traveling, his mail was deliberately misdirected, and he had to import his food, because the local shopkeepers refused to do business with him. Hence the origin of the term 'boycott'."
Venetti looked distinctly green around the gills. Tourism was San Luca's major source of income.
"You tell 'em, lady. Hey!" McGee protested as Wojohowitz plucked the camera out of his hand and passed it over to Barney.
"We appreciate your cooperation and discretion, Mr. McGee." The captain turned to the embassy lawyer. "Get that bastard out of my precinct before I forget I'm sworn to uphold the law, and just remember I'm the father of a daughter myself."
## ## ##
Barney Miller stepped out of his office into the squadroom, swearing softly.
Harris looked up from his typewriter. "Something wrong?"
"You remember the guy we arrested yesterday and had to release?"
"How could we forget?" Dietrich asked. He was at his desk, helping a purse-snatching victim look through the mugbooks.
"I just got off the phone with the deputy chief. San Giacomo will be here at 3:00…expecting his apology." Barney glanced at the clock. It was 12:10. "I'm going out to lunch. Hold down the fort."
Dietrich waited until Barney left. "Excuse me a minute," he said to his purse-snatching victim. He walked over to Harris. "You remember telling me about your publisher's party last month?"
Harris nodded. He'd sold one book and several short stories.
"You mentioned a poet you met there. You don't suppose …?"
Harris' eyes lit up as he realized what Dietrich was suggesting.
## ## ##
At 2:55 Barney Miller took a deep breath and came out of his office. He relaxed slightly when he saw who was there as representatives of the press: Rev. Malachi Weaver of WPRY gospel radio, Moonblossom Jones of the Greenwich Village Gazette, a free weekly paper that averaged ten typos per page, and – to his surprise – Jack McGee of the National Register. No TV reporters, no one from any reputable newspapers. He must have a friend down in the Public Affairs office.
Barney tugged at his jacket and straightened his tie. "Is he here yet?"
The door opened. Venetti and San Giacomo stepped into the squadroom, chattering to each other in Italian.
San Giacomo stopped and stared at the police captain disdainfully. "Well, Miller? I'm ready for you and your men to apologize."
"My men were doing their job. They will never apologize for that. However," Barney sighed, "there are those within the commissioner's office who are less than pleased with my handling of the situation. I might add this opinion was not unanimous amongst the staff of the commissioner's office."
The three journalists stopped whispering amongst themselves and began to pay attention. McGee raised his camera and took a picture of Barney in front of the cage.
"For several weeks, the New York City Police Department has been in pursuit of the Debutante Rapist. Yesterday, we caught him: Count Niccolo San Giacomo of San Luca." Barney gestured at San Giacomo. "Three of the five victims positively identified him as their attacker. One victim is ought of town and could not be reached. As for the fifth victim, Count San Giacomo was caught in the act of raping her and had to be physically pulled off her."
Rev. Weaver muttered, "If a man find a damsel and force her, and lie with her, that man shall die."
Dietrich raised one eyebrow. The minister had misquoted, or at least paraphrased, Deuteronomy. He started to open his mouth to correct him, thought better of it, and closed his mouth again.
Barney took a deep breath. " 'We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal'," he quoted. "But there's one group that's not equal in the eyes of the law. As a courtesy, foreign diplomats are not prosecuted for their crimes. The principle of diplomatic immunity was intended to protect diplomats who unwittingly committed minor infractions, but like anything, it is subject to abuse."
San Giacomo glared at the captain. "You call this an apology?"
"I apologize that in the course of protecting the citizens of New York, the police department inconvenienced the count. I apologize for not believing him when he claimed to be a diplomat, but," he spread his hands as he addressed the journalists, "when you deal with the scum of the earth, you start losing the ability to trust strangers. You automatically assume that criminals are liars. But although he is a rapist, caught red-handed, he was telling the truth about having diplomatic immunity. I shouldn't have assumed he was a liar just because he's a pederast and a predator. For that, I apologize."
Venetti looked liked he'd swallowed a live goldfish, and didn't know whether to spit it out or gulp it down. San Giacomo's face twisted in anger and outrage.
"I apologize to the young women of New York, for being unable to protect them from this man. All that can be done is to have him declared persona non grata and thrown out of the country. We've already started the ball rolling on that," Barney assured the journalists, "and a copy of Count San Giacomo's arrest record has been forwarded to Interpol."
San Giacomo swore in Italian.
"I apologize to the young women of San Luca for endangering them by sending San Giacomo back there. If I could, I'd send him straight to Sing Sing, but I can't, and I'm truly, truly sorry for that," Barney concluded.
"How dare you – " San Giacomo began.
The squadroom door opened. A woman stepped inside. Her skin was a dark as Belgian chocolate. Her ebony hair was arranged in elaborate braids. "Is dis where I can find da man who was either too ugly or had such foul breath dat he could not entice a woman fully grown to his bed, and dus was reduced to raping girl-children?"
"That slimebag over there," Wojo pointed.
The woman stepped forward. She looked San Giacomo over. "You're not ugly," she said after a moment's appraisal. Speaking in a Jamaican accent, she announced, "It must be your breath."
San Giacomo gasped, too outraged to speak.
"I'm afraid I didn't catch your name, miss. Are you a journalist?" Barney asked.
"Matilda Whitney. I have been fortunate enough," she bowed her head in acknowledgment, "to have had some poems and essays published, both here and in Kingston."
"And are you here to write a poem about my alleged crimes?" San Giacomo sneered.
"Perhaps," Matilda agreed. She raised her hand and slapped his face as hard as she could.
McGee snapped a picture.
Before San Giacomo could react, Matilda put her knee in his groin. She brought her heel down on his left foot. "Or I might just do dis."
McGee's shutter snapped again. Moonblossom applauded. Wojo grinned approvingly.
"Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord," Rev. Weaver called out.
"Miss Whitney, no matter how much you may think he deserves it, you can't just assault someone," Barney informed her. "Especially not in front of the police." However, he made no move to pull her away from San Giacomo.
Matilda reached into her purse, removed her passport, and handed it to him. "I am wit' UNESCO. As such, I have diplomatic immunity and can not be arrested."
Barney examined her passport carefully, then handed it back to her. "This appears to be in order." He turned to San Giacomo. Trying very hard not to smile, he spread his hands again. "Sorry, there's nothing I can do."
"Signorina Whitney, you must realize that this will mean an unsavory diplomatic incident," Venetti sputtered.
Matilda laughed. "I hardly t'ink San Luca will go to war wit' Jamaica over a child-raper." She walked back toward the door. As she passed Harris' desk, she nodded and smiled. "Ronald."
"Thank you, Matilda," Harris whispered.
"Okay, people, the sideshow's over," Barney announced.
"Hey, Count, how about a statement on the abuses of diplomatic immunity?" McGee asked.
San Giacomo merely swore.
"Do you have anything to say about the proposed boycott against San Lucan tourism?" McGee persisted.
Barney headed for his office. He needed to escape to a private place before he either burst out laughing or started swearing himself.
Levitt entered the squadroom, a manila folder in his hand. "Captain."
"My office, Levitt."
The uniformed officer followed Barney into his office. "I got the fingerprint report from the CSI guys on the Ramirez case, Captain."
"Already?" One bushy eyebrow went up. "It's been less than 24 hours."
"They said the fingerprints were no good, sir. They were so smeared they didn't even look human."
Author's note: Rev. Weaver is paraphrasing/giving an abridged quotation of Deuteronomy 22:25.