Little Bird's Vengeance Chapter 45 Workload Issues

Tim heard Cassie sigh. "Rob, you've gotta let someone else help out. How big is your workload? You'll miss things if you don't take it a little easier."

"I'm coping," he said tersely. "Besides, no offense, but this isn't your strength."

"Why don't you go through just what you're working on right now?" she asked, perching on the desk.

Tim sighed. This would take time, but maybe then the blonde would let him get back to work. "The suits and drones. Investigating potential links with Kingpin and the military regarding those, and with the Ten Rings remnants due to the Middle East incident. Then there's the drug raid. I've got blood analysis results to collect, and I need to check the boss' finances. Then see if there's any evidence or otherwise of a link with the suit/drone cases. The Sons of the Serpent killing. More samples being run, and I want to search the 'net for any sign of them. Again, search for a link. Then I need to keep on top of what Stark, Banner and Foster are doing. Hood and I are going on patrol tonight, so I need to do preliminary work for that…"

"Rob, take it easy," Cassie, said, rolling her eyes. "Correct me if I'm wrong, but are SHIELD experts at information gathering? I'm sure you can persuade Fury or Hill to assign a few people to your research. And why don't you get Hood to do the patrol preliminary work? He's teaching Rogers the basics or your job anyway, so he can turn it into a lesson."

Tim looked at the floor. One of the things he'd inherited from Bruce was a tendency to hog his work. And it was true that SHIELD's people could probably get him his answers just as well as he could, and quite likely quicker. Turning over patrol preliminaries to Jason would be a bit more…problematic. Jason was just too temperamental, and probably more focused on drugs than was wise. On the other hand, he getting a bit leery about the constraints being placed upon him and may just need a bit of a show of trust and some extra responsibility to settle him down.

Decision made, Tim grabbed a piece of note paper and pen. "I give in," he sighed, starting to scribble details down. "If I give you this to deliver to SHIELD, can you persuade Fury or Hill to assign some people?" He kept writing, giving half a dozen research points for the suits and drones, one for the potentially corrupt policeman and the big Sons of the Serpent question.

"Of course," Cassie answered, half-sighing in relief. It was fairly obvious that she was grateful that for once he was taking it easier. She took the sheet and patted him on the shoulder on the way out.

"Jarvis, can you connect me to Red Hood please?" he asked.

"Of course, sir," the AI replied. The comm link snapped open.

"Hey, Hood, I was wondering," Tim started.

"What the hell is it this time?" Jason grumbled.

"Can you teach Captain Rogers how to do preliminary checks for a patrol?" Tim continued, ignoring his 'brother''s abrasive tone. "You could use tonight's joint patrol as an example."

"You sending me a fifty-page report now?" Jason sneered.

"I thought you might like to work out your own route," Tim offered, putting on an air of nonchalance. "I mean, if you think you're a little rusty…"

"I can do something as easy as that!" Jason retorted loudly.

Tim smirked. A little manipulation, and Jason was now, consciously or otherwise, determined to prove himself. "Excellent. I'll check it over at dinner. Have fun, and please try to give us something other than drug dealers." He cut the link.

Tim started shuffling his papers. He could re-prioritise now, and the biochemical and genetic tests would be best done with the freshest samples possible. An afternoon in the labs would be a pleasant change in pace.

"Hey, Red," Stark's voice echoed over the comm.

He sighed. "Yes, Tony?"

"Uh, we've run into a few problems. Not with my end, of course; that's running fine. But Bruce and Jane here, they reckon-"

"We need some more people working on this," Banner interrupted. "A biologist of some variety, preferably one specializing in some branch of human science, and another physicist. We're just a bit stumped, and we're worried that whatever method we use might kill you."

Tim massaged his brow. There went his quiet lab day. "I understand. I'll see what I can do." He cut to connection too quick for a response again.

The samples would just have to wait. Unless… He pulled out his Titans comm. "Kid Flash. How would you like to learn how to use the kind of lab equipment your granddad might use? I bet you can learn real fast…"

The young woman watched as her interviewer entered the room. She'd received a message out of the blue asking her for meeting towards inviting her to join a unique research project in New York. After several years of poor offerings and difficulty securing funding for anything non-military, she was willing to consider pretty much anything. Even if her recruiter was a teenager.

"Thank you for seeing me at such short notice, Dr-"

"Betty, please," she insisted. "That name makes me feel old and obstinate."

"Betty," the teen acquiesced. "Call me Red. I understand you have qualifications in both molecular biology and energy physics?"

"I do, yes," Betty agreed. "My boyfriend had an accident with gamma radiation, so I switched disciplines to help him."

"That's perfect," he replied. "The project is highly confidential. It's unlikely that any publications will come out of it, and you may be asked to sign a confidentiality contract. However, there will be substantial financial reimbursement and probably other research projects offered. Is this acceptable?"

"Uh…" She thought for a moment. "I have no problems with that situation in and of itself, but I need a bit more information, if you don't mind. Where is the project based?"

"New York. Accommodation will be provided, either on- or off-site, as will travel and relocation costs," Red answered.

"On-site accommodation? That sounds…rather intense. Who's running the project?"

"Stark Industries."

Betty's jaw dropped. "Stark? Should be interesting. What exactly is the project?"

Red started smirking. "Interdimensional travel. The lead researcher is Jane Foster, who's been studying the Einstein Rosen Bridge known as Bifrost. Have you heard of her?"

"Who hasn't?" Betty asked rhetorically. "Next you'll be telling me you've got Reed Richards on board."

"No, but we do have Tony Stark himself," he deadpanned.

Betty laughed. "I'm certainly interested, but do you have more details for me?"

"Of course; I have a detailed proposal right here, and I can offer you a tour of the facilities and the chance to meet the team before you decide." He slid a few sheets of paper across the desk to her. "May I ask a few more questions while you read that?"

"Sure," Betty said absently, starting to skim the document.

"Do you have any issues working with superheroes?"

"Not if they respect boundaries." Was that human subjects?

"Any people or institutes you may have problems with?"

"I have some history with the army, but Stark's not doing armaments any more, is he?"

"Reaction to possible media scrutiny?"

"I'm sure I'll cope."

"Your ex Dr Banner?"

Betty stopped reading. "Bruce is on your team?"

"Yes he is," Red smirked.

"Gonna hand him over to the first general to ask for him?"

"Of course not. He and Stark are quite good friends now; they 'do science' together." Betty could hear the air quotes around what must be one of the renowned billionaire playboy's phrases.

"I'll give you a chance. When can we go to New York?"

"I have a Quinjet ready to set off whenever you like," the teen smiled.

Betty smiled in response. "I'd like to meet your team as soon as possible. Just give me chance to pack a bag."

"Of course. Welcome to the team, Dr Ross."


AN: Two notes. First, Betty Ross. In the 2003 Hulk film, she was a molecular biologist, and in the 2007 Incredible Hulk film she was a physicist (as best I remember). These films may or may not tie in with each other and Avengers, so I'm gonna say they do and Betty changed disciplines due to Bruce's accident. I've been planning to bring her in for quite a while, and now I have.

Second, Kid Flash's grandfather, Barry Allen, the Silver Age Flash, was a police scientist. That means forensics, which is the kind of thing Tim's doing to his blood samples. Bart can learn things at superspeed; the mention of Barry is just to motivate him.

So, also updating today is Family Ties, and the first chapter of Love and Mayhem, a Disney Princesses crossover that's probably not for anyone who's too...enamored by the magic of Disney.

Next week: More Family Ties, more LBV, and the next installment of the reasonably popular Death's Avenger.

Please review, you lovely people!

Until next time,