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The Games Afoot IC

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The Doktor narrowed his eyes a bit, and reached into the inside of his labcoat pocket, drawing out... a wand-like device.

He may have our communications jammed, but there's still a lot more this baby can do!

The door! Go for the door, find out what he is concealing!

"Do you know vhat did is, Herr Finn? It is mein Elektromagnetischer Schraubenzieher, mein Electromagnetic Screwdriver. I can do a lot mit it." He scraped the 'barrel' end of it along the Finn's cheek, "It can maim. It can vound. It can even kill. But do you know vhat it is best at?"

He points it at the concealed door in the floor. The wand flashes, and emits a whirring noise.

"It is very good at opening doors."

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The Finn flinches away as the strange device is pointed his direction and holds up his hands, "Hey hey hey now I tol juu what I know buddy." He stammered nervously and shot a pleading look randys direction. As the Electromagnetic Screwdriver is pointed away from him he breaths a sigh of relief.

There is a small click of a lock being disengaged on the trap door and the Finn sits up, "I dunno what that is, never seen dat door before in my life." he murmurs almost by rote eyes still locked on Archeville.

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Between exiting the cab and entering the Finn's store, Archeville used his Electromagnetic Screwdriver to send out a pre-recorded "general alert" message, which would be received by any of his allies within a few miles. It was a bit of insurance in case things got hairy inside, though he was not entirely certain it would actually reach anyone. Still, it made him feel a bit more confident.

You pansy!

We have no idea what is in there! This could all be a trap!

You think I can't handle whatever this clod might be leading us to?

It is better to be safe than sorry!

Bah! If it were completely up to you, we'd still be Beta testing the wheel!

As luck would have it, a certain teen teleporter with an ArcheTech bionic arm was within a few miles of the Doktor....


"Never seen it before?," Archeville asked in mocked surprise, "vell den, Herr Finn, since dis is your place of business, I believe you should be de first to go down vhile ve check it out."

Archeville pointed his techno-wand at the Finn, one end glowing an angry red.

No lasers!

I'm still playing it your way... for now.

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Devin Splice was about to order a pizza when the radio in his cybernetic arm buzzed. He stepped out of Little Tony's Pizzeria in the West End and listened to the recorded message from Dr. Archeville. Shaking his head, he opened his cell phone and called the girl he was supposed to be on a date with.

"Hey Cassandra,"

"No, Tony's was open, it's just..."

"Yes, I know I promised you awesome pizza..."

"Look, we're just going to have to do this again next week, okay? Dr. Archeville needs me to -" *click*

I'm never going to get a girlfriend at this rate. He sighed, stashed his phone, and focused his mind on the location indicated by the message. An instant later, he was standing on the sidewalk outside a run-down pawn shop in the Greenbank district. Through the dirty windows, he could just see the backs of the Doktor and two other men as they entered a back room and closed the door. Doc wants backup, but if he's walking into a trap, it won't do him any good if I get pulled in too. Devin considered a moment, then teleported inside, just inches away from the closed door, and leaned in to see if he could hear what was going on.

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The Finn sighed heavily and shot an angry look at Randy as he waddled over to the door, "Point that thing elsewhere." he said to the Doctor, "Or does the great Doktor Archeville really fear an overweight fence that much." he added with a roll of his eyes as he dropped his pretenses of innocence.

With a series of rather pained sounding grunts he maneuvered his bulk down the ladder into the storehouse below. It was mostly empty at this point which had undoubtedly contributed to his lack of concern about its revelation. In one corner was a small stack of crates with Japanese script along the side and in the center of the room was a small table with a pair of chairs and a few scattered papers laid out. These the Finn regarded with a small frown as if he wasn't expecting them to be there but attempted to school his features before the others descended.

Outside the room Devin could oddly hear nothing but a barely audible high pitched whine.

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Ah-ha! The truth comes out!

Still, no lasers!

Archeville said nothing in response to the Finn's jab, and hovered down after him once he was down the ladder. Once down, he did a quick once-over of the room, then used his Electromagnetic Screwdriver as an ultra-tech document scanner to scan the Japanese script on the crates, and whatever was on the papers.

"Vell, vell, vhat haff ve here?," Archeville hammed as he looked over the papers. "Pictures of Claremont students? Schedules for dem? Now, now, Herr Finn, you vould not be expanding from dealing in items to dealing in people, vould you? Forging notices to cancel a field trip so you can redirect de students to some vaiting cronies in vans?"

What? Where do you get these ideas? Wait, no, I do not want to know!

Spineless fool! He's obviously in league with the ones behind the robberies, ones who can alter their appearances! They're likely planning to infiltrate Claremont, slip those "canceled field trip" notices to the real students, making sure they are out of the way while-

while the duplicates go on the real trip -- to ASTRO Labs!

Late to the party, but at least you got here!

But... but why make him think we suspect he's in some sort of child abduction/slavery ring?

To throw him off-guard, of course, and maybe let something slip!

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"Whoa whoa whoa now." The Finn exclaimed holding up his hands, "I don't know anything about any kids." He looked around slightly frantically for Randy to back him up but the cabbie had seemingly vanished. With a wince he turned back to Archeville, "I don't know what that stuff is." he explained trying to keep calm, "I rent out the space down here to people who want some privacy that's all." he explained cooley.

"Last time was a week ago, an I don't haul my oversize self down here very often." he elaborated, "But I got footage of the guys who came down here." he was easily ready to roll on his clients when things looked bad, to the police and heroing community it was one of his more charming qualities.

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"Und you are going to show me dis footage, ja?," Archeville asked in a tone that indicated he wasn't asking. "As vell as everyding else you haff on dese individuals. Because I am sure you vould not vant to hinder an investigation..."

He paused and lifted up a picture of the youngest girl amongst the surveillance phots, "pertaining to potential slavers und sex traffickers, ja?"

That's right, you simpering oaf, tell me all you know.

... well, at least you are not using a laser on him.

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The rotund fence eagerly nodded just wanting the German nut job out of his damn store. "Yea yea of course. Tapes are upstairs." he says and cautiously makes his way to the ladder and if allowed up it.

As he goes he explains, "The guy who arranged the meeting is a PI I know. Don't know how he got tangled up in this mess he usually runs clean." he said with a shrug, "Other guy I don't know. Was a real jerk, hardly opened his mouth just flat demands wait downstairs." he explained as he swung a rather advanced looking computer display out from behind one of the piles of apparent refuse in his office and quickly typed in a series of passwords useing his bulk to block the Doktors view.

When he stepped aside he saw the exchange as the Finn described it the only salient point being that the unknown man the Finn had mentioned was well known to Doctor Archeville. One Erik Espadas, of course Erik was never so taciturn nor likely to turn up involved in such a situation.

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Archeville's eyes narrowed at the sight of Erik Espadas.

Well, this does add another wrinkle. Did the ones behind this choose Erik's appearance, knowing he is the hero Jack of all Blades and attempting to discredit some heroes? Or did they take his appearance at random?

Likely the latter... which could mean the ones behind this are based out of the West End!

"You haff been qvite helpful, Herr Finn," the Doktor said after a moment's thought. He drew forth his techno-wand and passed it a few times over his computer, "vhich is vhy I shall keep de copies I haff just made of all your computer's files to meinself, und not share dem mit de police. Now, you are qvite sure dere is nutzing else, ja? If not, I shall be on mein vay."

After the Finn says his piece (or he indicates he has nothing more), Archeville walks out of the shoppe, and -- seeing the cab is long gone -- teleports to the roof of the Interceptor's Brownstone.

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The Finn slowly nodded, "Yea yea seems fair." he agreed perhaps a little too easily but then again he really was an abject coward. He turned off his privacy shield as the Doctor left glad to have the all too astute hero out of his establishment and went about ensuring that even if those records did find there way to the police he'd be safe.

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Hovering in a cross-legged seated position a few inches above the Brownstone's roof, Archeville brought his phenomenal intellect and ultra-advanced tools to bear on the evidence he'd gathered.

Oh! The ASTRO Labs field trip is today!

Oh, look out, everyone: Doktor Obvious is on the case!

And I suppose you found something better?

Of course! Look, here, as I slow down the video and run it through our filter program. See... there! The telltale flicker of a hologram unit, cloaking the Erik doppelganger.

Ah, good, good... but... it cannot make out who it is.

Well, no, whoever it is is in some sort of armored suit. Looks like... well, like Malice's suit, if anything, though far less bulky.

And mostly black. Well, perhaps if we scan the audio for any communications signals, we can determine if- oh! A spike in the subharmonic range!

I know that... that's... that's... Maestro's sonic mind control device!

Solo job? Or could there be other Crime League members behind this?

Only one way to find out: zip over to ASTRO Labs and nab the armored holomorpher!

The Doktor closed up his techno-wand, and steeled his mind for the coming events; he knew he'd need both clarity of senses (to discern the impostor) and strength of mind (to resist any mind control, in case the Maestro was nearby).* Once that was set, his fingers flew over the controls of his Gravimetric Belt, and a wormhole flashed open next to him, carrying him to the lobby of ASTRO Labs.

"Hello!," he greeted the nearest receptionist or other staff member. "Dere is a field trip from Claremont here today, ja? Haff dey arrived yet? I... am a surprise guest lecturer."

* Switching to Enhanced Wisdom.

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As he stepped through the portal into ASTRO labs the receptionist recognized him immediately, "Oh thank God you're here!" she exclaimed and hustled him past an impressive security cordon and up an elevator. As he passed by he saw Fire, Police and Medical services arriving outside. Once the elevator stopped the receptionist passed him into the care of a security head who quickly led him to the ruins of a laboratory.

There was a hole blown in one wall, the thieves apparent mode of entry, and amid the seemingly recovered students several piles of wreckage in black with blue accents. The remains of robots of some kind. Talking with another security chief was Estelle deHaviland and hovering just off the ground in one corner was a tall young man in a form fitting jumpsuit and cape in blue and gold.

((Link to other thread))

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