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Manic Mondays

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Date & Time: June 15, 2009. 10:00 AM

Taylor was rapidly losing patience. Correction, Taylor had long lost her patience and was struggling to stay on the sunny side of homicidal rage.

"What do you mean you can't cash a cashier's check? It's the same as cash for chrissakes!"

Despite her best efforts to keep her tone even, her voice was sliping closer to Phantom's alto boom than her usually more husky civvie voice.

Thanks to a snaffu of near epic proportions with her own bank, Taylor was wasting a beautiful Monday morning trying to get her mother's cashier check turned into cash to take to the university so as to hopefully remain in her summer classes. The night life of super heroing had taken its toll on her GPA and Taylor desperately needed the summer class to maintain her marks.

"Look, I have a billion forms of ID. No, I don't want to open an account. I know that you'll put a hold on it and I need to pay my school fees today."

The teller made noises about speaking to her manager and bustled off as Taylor tapped her fingertips on the counter and reminded herself that reaching through the glass to throttle the woman was the first step on a road of super villany.

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Humming quietly to himself Ace rocked on his heels waiting for the new accounts officer to return from lunch when he took note of the young girls difficulties. Ah the beuracracy always with teh beuracracy in these places. He glanced around as the young girl fumed. Had he carried an account here he would have just offered to utilize it on her behalf but he was setting up a special project today so out of his normal financial haunts. None the less a smile and a few kind words could get you far even in a soulless beuracracy such as this.

He strode lightly across the floor to where the young woman stood impatiently waiting. "Hi there, I don't mean to intrude," Ace treated Taylor to a heart melting smile "But I couldn't help overhearing your dilemma. Perhaps I can talk some sense into them." As the teller returned she got most of her way through her robotic denial before she noticed Ace and upon that stopped and blinked uncertainly for a few moments. "Uhm so yea I'm sorry Ma'am, corperate policy." she finsihed lamely.

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Taylor had a moment of deja vu as she tilted her head up to blink at Ace Danger as he meandered up to her side like he owned the place.

Heshem's teeth, he probably does own this place.

Although she reocognized him from the party, she doubted that he'd recognize her in her faded jeans and tanktop. Still, her hand stole up to fiddle with her amulet nervously even as she met his gaze with solemn eyes that seemed out of place in her young face.

"Hello?" She said questioningly to the older hero before she gave the teller a flatly unimpressed stare.

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Ace paused for a moment when her hand went to the gem at her neck 'Where have I seen that? I think recently?' He broke free of his line of thought as the teller finished her comments. "Thanks sweetheart, I know your just doing your job here, be a dear and fetch your manager for us real quick, thanks." As he spoke his smile lit up his face who could say no to that?

As she giggled and strolled off to fullfill his request he looked back to Taylor "I can butt out if you like just looks like you kinda hit the wall here maybe the manager will be more helpfull. I'm sorry she interupted you before I caught your name?" He quickly queried.

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"Taylor. Taylor Chun. I've seen you in the papers, you're Ace Danger." She twisted to face him, her palm flat on the cashier's check on the counter. Despite her attempt to sound like Taylor imagined most people confronted with a celebrity would sound, it fell a little flat. It might have been the direct way she looked at him, her chin tilted up to meet his eyes under the faded brim of her hat. Or it might have been the amused quirk of her lips that telegraphed tha she was laughing at some internal joke.

"No, I don't mind any help at all. Beggars can't be choosers. That said, once I make my fortune, there's no way it'll be stashed at this fine institution."

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Ace smiled at the young woman "No one does my dear, no one does." He turns expectantly to the approaching manager "Lets see if climbing the chain does any good." As the manager begins to try and explain that the policy Ace interrupts "Yes, yes I understand sir but the young lady really does need the check to be cashed and it is drawn off your institution." Ace tries logic first knowing in the face of policy it will likely fail.

The Manager sighs and informs them he woudl like to help but there simply isn't a way around the policy. As Ace opens his mouth to work his magic there is a crash as a group of armed men descend on jetpacks through the skylight brandishing automatic weapons at the crowd. They are dressed in blue and white paramilitary uniform and fan out with trained precision securing the doors as well as the tellers stalls with ease.

One in the center apperently a leader calmly states "No heroics folks and we'll be on our way shortly we don't want any trouble." He completes his little speach and points back towards the vault and two of the others begin to move that direction.

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Taylor spun at the crash, hands lifting automatically to form a gesture for a spell but she forced her fingertips to relax as she reminded herself that Taylor did not use bolts of magic to blast people with and that standing at the window, she was on camera. Instead, she began to ease slowly to the side.

Ace was also able to hear the young woman muttering to herself with a creative command of Cantonese invective. Taylor was halfway tempted to let the bank get robbed but it went against her grain. Perhaps after she saved the day someone might be able to cash her blasted check. The eye of Heshem pulsed once at her throat as she absorbed the check under her fingertips into the void before she stepped away from the teller's desk.

Poised and alert, Taylor's expression was far more determined than a frightened college student at gun point ought to be.

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The two signaled interlopers make their way down the hall to the vault and begin their work while the remaining gunmen menace the assembled patrons and begin moving them into a group. One gunman begins emptying the tellers drawers into pack while the his partner orders the Tellers to move out into the customer area.

Ace goes slowly to his knees hands still raised and eyes fixed on the leader, "Stay down and this will all be over soon everyone just remain calm." The officer grins at Ace's words but his grin fades as Ace, Taylor, and the assembled customers grow hazy and vanish from sight.

The commander quickly begins barking orders the gunman who had been holding the tellers hostage moves to the door at his comand and his fellow on the main floor moves to cover the officer as well all of them peering intently looking for what happened to the civilians. The man filling the bag hurries to continue but is slow to move from his now isolated position.

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Taylor shook off the illusion as she stepped out, now clad in the billowing cloak and cowl of the Phantom. Without saying a word, she stepped and pivoted neatly, bolts of crackling eldritch power slaming into the crook at the till and sending him flying across the room. He hit the desk hard enough to crumple it before slumping into unconciousness.

Phantom spun, cape flaring behind her as she lifted fingertips still wreathed with flickers of lightning and glared at the ring leader. Her voice thundered in the shocked silence. "You could surrender now and save me some trouble. It would be a wise move."

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At the sound of fighting the team on the vault door rushs to the front of the bank once more and in concert with the team on the door catch Phantom in a deadly crossfire only to look on in horror as their bullets pass harmlessly through the ghostly heroine.

As the gunfire ceases Ace flickers into sight for a moment as he unleashes a mighty blow upon one of the soldiers at the door. Then as quickly as he appeared he is gone.

With the appearance of two of Freedoms defenders the commanding officer calls for a retreat and engages his jet pack rocketing up through the broken skylight. He is quickly followed by his companion on the main floor while one of the soldiers on the door moves towards the center of the room to prepare his egress, firing a tight burstinto the space Ace was last seen to no effect.

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Phantoms target flew across the room and fell in a crumpled heap in the corner. The remaining robbers made their way to the center of the room taking quick pot shots at where they thought Ace might be.

As the last of them arrived prepared to launch Ace and the civilians appeared Ace Stood in the midst of the shocked soldiers and spoke in a commanding tone with an echo of power behind it "Sleep!" And all but onefall into a deep slumber.

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Ace glanced over at Phantom and replied "Yes thank you," His gaze lingered for a moment on the gem at their neck "Lucky thing you showed up when you did."

Ace then began to move through the crowd checking to see anyone was injured and reassuring the frightened crowd.

Ace glanced over his shoulder to Phantom, "Those were Sky Lord uniforms, Last I heard he was dead but it looks like some one has taken up the mantle." He glanced up at the shattered skylight and added "Looks like this was just a simple grab for funds but it might be part of a more extensive plan."

Sirens could be heard in the distance approaching quickly.

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Phantom frowned up at the hole in the roof of the bank, clearly tempted to give pursuit, before she cocked her head and listened for the sirens.

"First things first, these would be thieves need to be handed over to Freedom's finest. Then, we'll see if we can track down their ringleader," she turned and lifted a brow at Ace with what was distinctly a slightly challenging smile. She had caught the pointed glance at the amulet. "If you're up for it, of course?"

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Ace smiled at Phantom with genuine glee "I would like nothing better madame." He glanced once more about the bank and added "I think I can take care of my buisness at a later date, I don't have a deadline or anything." Ace flashed phantom a knowing grin. "I do have a charity dinner over at FCU later but I'm sure the dean can wait if this takes too long." With that he whirled to face the restrained criminals.

he observed them for a moment then shrugged "Well they'll be out for awhile I think and not too likely to give up any information regardless." He crouched down and began riffling through their pockets for anything of use, but finds nothing of use.

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Phantom nodded her agreement and joined in to search the unconcious men.

Anything of worth dissapeared into her cloak and she straightened, going ephemeral automatically as the riverside cops began to arrive. As she was the obviously costumed super hero, it took her a few moments to explain that she had help but dropping the name 'Ace Danger' and being at her most spooky otherworldly seemed to effectivelly scrape the responsibility of dealing with the police onto Ace.

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The men carried no ID of any kind and no personal effects it seemed at first. However as Phantom began a more thorough search she found that two of the men were smokers and carried with them matches from a bar near the docks. Ace saw as she stuck them into her cloaks embrace and resolved to ask after the cops left what she had found.

Once the police arrived it didn't take too much for Ace to take center stage. He explained that he and Phantom had managed to restrain all but two of the thieves but he was fairly certain neither of them had managed to get anything of value. Ace explained as well what he knew of the Sky Lord and his men and that this seemed to be a grab for money likely to finance the organization. They should put other banks on alert as they may try other locations as well.

Once the police were satisfied they took the groggy men away and thanked the Heroes for intervening. The branch manager came forward to thank them as well as the police headed out the door. He thanked first Ace who graciously accepted before the manager turned to Phantom "And you were fantastic ma'am we owe you a debt of gratitude for you're aid." He said obceiquiesly.

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The irony of the bank manager's personal thanks didn't escape Phantom and her gloved hand almost twitched to pull out her cashier's check and get it cashed but Taylor Chun and Phantom were, and would always have to remain, two separate individuals. No matter the temptation.

"I'm only sorry we couldn't get their leader," Phantom responded, her expression remote behind her mask, "The important thing is no lives were lost today. Excuse me."

With that she turned and floated towards the front of the bank where she waited for Ace to make his excuses and join her.

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Ace quickly excused himself as well handing over the investigation to the capable officers of the FCPD. With a few more thanks from apprecitive bystanders he slowly made his way to join Phantom. "Shall we?" He enquired as he opened the door for the heroine. Once they stepped out Ace indicated a low slung porshe roadster and leaning in for Phantoms ears only, "So you find anythign of intrest? Or do I have to start making cold calls?" he inquired as he began to head for the car.

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Phantom glanced over the Porsche before heading to the car. It took some struggling to get her cloak all inside the sports car before she gave up and touched her amulet. There was a crackle of eldritch energy, before the costume seemed to fold back inside the amulet, leaving Taylor dressed the same as she had been inside the bank.

She held the matchbooks out to him and fastened her seatbelt while Ace examined them before leaning back in her seat and adjusting her hat to shade her eyes. It was a little disconcerting that Phantom's voice still rolled out from under the hat brim. A dimpled college student should probably not sound like the mysterious mystic but she did nonetheless, "A seedy pub from the looks of it. I bet I'll get carded."

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Ace took one of the matchbooks and examined it as he began to pull out. Hmm seedy barely covers it He thought. "Well it gives us a starting point on tracking down whats really going on." He said with a breezy unconcerned air.

He eased the porsche into traffic and began heading towards the waterfront. "Sky Lord rarely got caught up in so mundane an endevor as robbery." Ace said as the drove, "That and he's supposed to be dead, if he isn't he's older than I am." Ace glanced at his companion and flashed a winning smile "There is a mystery afoot. We should pehaps be less obvious." With a wave of his hand the car and its occupants were cloaked in an illusory disguise more fitting to the environs.

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"Have you encountered him before, then?" Phantom asked curiously, tipping her face up to look at him while one hand fiddled with the amulet out of habit. The black faceted gem set in the center was almost as large as her thumb and a light seemed to wink in its depths as she twisted it back and forth. The positively ancient setting had an enscriptian circling the gem itself and Phantom continued to twist the heavy chain idly.

She didn't remember mention of the Sky Lord in any of uncle Huang's stories but her uncle had always favored moldy, deadly tomb stories.

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Ace made a vague non-commital noise. "Never him personally, but his soldiers on occasion." The ageless hero explained. Ace glanced at his passenger once more, "Honestly this does not have the mark of the Sky Lord, he never cared much for cash rewards more of an idealist really." Ace continued.

He watched as Phantom toyed with the Eye his mind racign over where he haad seen it before. Ace had a very good memory and was rather destressed that he couldn't recall this trinket. Suddenly he exclaimed "Aha! Now I remember thats Shanghai Hanks amulet." He paused for a moment eyeing Phantom carefully "How did you come by it?"

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Ace's outburst startled her enough that she dropped the necklace and gave him a wide eyed look before flashing an amused smile that dimpled her cheek, "I came by it because Great-Uncle Huang is too old to ensure its saftey and I promised that I would keep it from falling into anyone's hands."

She drew out the name. Shang-hai Hank indeed. "Its called the Eye of Heshem and its very old."

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