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alderwitch

The Long Arm of the Law [IC]

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Sneaking into the museum late at night was a piece of cake. Bombshell slithered down through the skylight after carefully cutting it open. She hung suspended at the edge of the rope before working her legs back and forth to get some momentum. She flipped through the air, sliding through the laser trip wires and landed lightly on top of the edge of the case containing the bust of some long dead Egyptian Queen. She remained poised for a moment, rising carefully to the tips of her toes before backflipping off of it and onto the sarcophagus the next exhibit.

Flipping and leaping, she made it across without touching the floor. Idly, she took in the necklace at the far end. Pretty. Priceless. Perfect.

Just to prove she could, Bombshell went to the trouble of disabling the alarms and the trip wires and pulled it out of the case to admire it. With a sigh of genuine reluctance, she put it back in the case and reattached the alarms.

"Sorry for the ham-fisted antics, but I'm afraid I'm in a bit of a rush." Bombshell spoke to the museum at large and the necklace in specifics before she hauled one arm back and smashed the glass around it with her elbow. Alarms went off and gates started to slam shut all over the museum. Whistling, Bombshell pulled herself up on to the edge of one throne, perching on the ancient arm of it, her arms looped around one leg as she waited for the capes and cowls set.

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Not far away, the mysterious Fusion swung her way through the skies, Joan Collier exulting at the freedom she felt in her costume. I can't believe I waited three weeks to put this thing on! I thought Lois would never get to sleep. But Lois finally was down, after spending most of the night watching scary movies, and Charlie had agreed to make breakfast in the morning. Which means _I_ get to take to the skies again! She laughed when she heard the alarm from the museum and pivoted neatly in the air, swinging from long, muscular arms as natural as the ones she'd been born with as she started swinging her way towards the museum.

Hah! No thief can stand to the might of Fusion! She thought, letting herself be more melodramatic than usual. She'd been quiet long enough, it was time to make some noise! Swinging off the rooftop gargoyles, her suckers parting with a pop, she whipped her way around and glided through the open skylight, letting her mantle catch her as she fell, so that she glided to a neat landing in the circle of light underneath the window, cutting an exotic figure in her all-black costume, partially-extended arms at nearly ten feet long whipping around her body.

She saw Bombshell right off and narrowed her eyes, slick copper tentacles whipping around her body. "Hey, blondie! I don't know what you think you're pulling, but the party's over!" Fusion was experienced, enough to let one arm drag against the ground in case an ambush was waiting for her in the shadows.

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Well, that was unexpected. Under forty-five seconds too. Not half bad...

Bombshell uncoiled from her seat and gave the super hero an appraising once over, "Well done, you've stopped my nefarious scheme and saved the day. I congratulate you, I'd applaud but I find its better not to get my wrists too close together when someone might have a pair of handcuffs hidden about. Although... that could be fun too."

Bombshell gave a slow and sultry sort of smile as she prowled down the steps and closer to the tentacled titan.

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With blinding speed, a gigantic octopus arm lashed out from Fusion's midsection, wrapping its way around Bombshell's waist with practiced ease despite the thirty feet or more between them. A moment later another followed, this one around her ankles. "I don't know what your game is, crook, but you can tell it to the police." She added with a smirk as another tentacle lashed up onto the roof, pulling them both up and out of the museum. "And you can save the come-ons, honey, because that's one way I _don't_ swing."

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Bombshell repressed the desire to leap out of the way and watched the tentacles lash around her waist and ankles with an oddly dispassionate sort of curiosity. "Oh, but its banter. You have to banter or really, what's the point of wearing a costume if not the need for panache. Would you rather I make tentacle jokes, because I think that's just gouche."

Bombshell rested her folded arms on the coil around her waist and her chin in that hand. "And I absolutely refuse to do maniacal laughter. It grates on the nerves."

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Up on the roof, Fusion held Bombshell at arm's length: which in this case, turned out to be about ten feet. Though the tentacled titan was wearing a full face mask, Bombshell could almost make out the frown hidden behind Fusion's black mask. "You're damn right you'd better not make tentacle jokes," she fired back. "Don't women in this business have enough trouble without your supervillainesses trying to make everything about sex all the time?" As she spoke, her tentacles kept moving, and soon they were whipping fast above the streets, Fusion staying moving with the help of her other two arms. "Not that the boys help any," she groused aloud. "Oh look, she's a bad girl, but I can reform her! Blah blah blah, keep it in your pants, short-stack."

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"I think, love, that you might have some serious unresolved anger issues." Bombshell glanced down as she started to feel a little like Fay Wraye. "I would like to point out that we helped lay the foundation for the sexual revolution. The first women to get around in trousers were the women of my generation. Bad girls pushed the envelope and the heroes followed. So I happen to use my sexuality, but do you think the men don't? I also use my brains and the sort of physical skills a star athlete would be proud of. I'm no asexual wilting virgin nor would I want to be."

Bombshell glanced around and tapped the tentacle politely, "Where, may I ask, are you taking me?"

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"Yeah yeah yeah, you're a real sexual pioneer. I'm sure the dudebros who keep your picture under their bed and the nerds who make Bombshell porn on the Internet think you're a real role model." She swung the immortal thief around again, holding her half upside down while she glared at her. "Face it, sister, men aren't rewarding you when they catcall you. They're jealous they can't rise to your level, so they're tearing you down to theirs, and getting their rocks off in the process. The patriarchy's a game where nobody wins. And as for where I'm taking you, you're going to the 45th Precinct, where I'm sure they'll be _very_ interested in what you were doing in that museum."

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"Oh, please," Bombshell laughed, "You're just indulging in the very same virgin-whore dichotomy as the patriarchy you rail against. That sort of behavior of cat calls and nudey magazines only reflects on the men who indulge in that sort of behavior. Owning my sexuality and wearing short skirts and painting my nails isn't giving in to The Man. I'll dress however I choose to dress, thank you very much, without needing your permission or anyone else's."

Bombshell had a smile on her lips, her head tilted to the side as she enjoyed the rousing debate. Then she sighed as she realized she'd have to change the subject, "Oh, well, while that sounds like a very fun evening indeed, do you suppose you could do me the teensiest favor of thinking about the Scarab instead? I really do have plans to keep."

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Fusion almost gave Bombshell a good squeeze at the mention of short skirts, but Joan restrained the impulse. There was that frown again, clear as day behind the mask, and what looked like a visible eyebrow raise. "And why would I want to think about the Scarab, exactly? Do you have something for her?" They kept moving, but slower now, as if Fusion was debating where to go. And in fact she was, sensing that the shifty supervillainess was up to no good. "Is this one of those things where she steals my bust?"

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"Not... exactly," Bombshell temporized, her tone almost appologetic. "It isn't so much about her stealing your bust as I really do need to speak with the Scarab and I rather need to borrow your brain to do it."

Bombshell gave her a brilliant smile and patted the tentacle one more time. "I thought the whole Egyptian museum would be enough but sometimes the plan takes a little time to fall into place. You did do very well, by the way. Aces all around."

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With a look of deep disgust on her face, Joan leaped off the roof and swung them towards the Pyramid Plaza, faster now that she wasn't playing around. Use me as your errand girl like I'm some C-lister. Lock you up in Scarab's basement, she thought peevishly, dance around like that so all the little girls think it's so cool to look like Bombshell, the hottest thief on Cellblock C! When she'd reached the Pyramid Plaza, Bombshell still held in two big tentacles, she leaped from a smaller building in the complex to the side of the north tower, where she clung, spread out across the glass as she folded her human legs beneath her and hung on with her two free arms. For lack of a better idea, she yelled, "Hey, Scarab!"

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Ironically enough, while Fusion was swinging between rooftops, calling out for her, The Scarab was at the museum. The supercomputers in her Lair alerted her to the alarms, and she had appeared shortly after Fusion and Bombshell had departed, passing them like ships in the night. Now, she stood in the main security office, watching the playback from the surveillance cameras. She couldn't help but be impressed despite herself at Bombshell's feats of stealth and athleticism.

"Obviously, she wouldn't have been 'caught' if she didn't want to be caught. A fact which seems to have escaped the notice of this new player on the stage. She was toying with you all. Using you to send a message, because you had the dubious honor of possessing artifacts which shared my chosen motif."

The Scarab turned to the museum administrators. "I will find her. But she did not actually steal anything, and she caused only minor damages. If you will be gracious enough to abstain from filing any formal charges with the police, I will see to it that an anonymous donation from a numbered off-shore account finds its way into the museum's hands by the end of the week. I guarantee it will offset the repair bill and the fees to your security contractor with room to spare."

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After The Scarab had finished cleaning up after her quarry, she released her mind from its puny shell and unleashed it upon the city, leaving no stone unturned in her search. She couldn't perceive Bombshell directly, but she guessed that was why she'd involved a third party in the first place.

As soon as she'd located the tentacled heroine, The Scarab opened a gate to her Lair, then another a short distance away from the three towers of Pyramid Plaza. She descending through the swirling vortex and flew straight at the screaming heroine clinging to the side of the tower. "A new champion has stepped forward to protect Freedom. I regret that we had to meet under such circumstances." She turned to the captive thief. "Consider me simultaneously impressed, and annoyed. You know how I feel about involving innocent bystanders."

The Scarab's voice resonated inside Bombshell's mind. You told her where I live?

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"I would like to debate the innocent bystander accusation. She's very good, you know, I would really have to work to get free. It would be a significant challenge." Bombshell pointed out, lightly tapping the coil around her midsection. She turned guiless blue eyes to Scarab and focused carefully on letting the telepath into her thoughts, 'Of course I didn't. I lied. A skill you loathe but a handy one nonetheless'

"I'm afraid I didn't catch her name or I'd make introductions. Forgive my rudeness but there was a rousing debate." She glanced to Fusion and flashed a quick smile, "What is your name, my dear?"

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"My name is Fusion," explained the tentacled heroine, hanging easily off just one gigantic limb as she dangled Bombshell from three. "I've been working in the Pacific Rim for the last five years, but I'm new to Freedom City," she admitted. Focusing on Bombshell, she said, "I've wrestled slipperier snakes than you, honey. Try playing hunt and peck with a couple dozen Krait cultists and we'll see how wriggly you feel like being."

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"Fusion." The Scarab nodded in acknowledgement to the tentacled heroine. "I applaud your efficient and conscientious efforts in making my adopted home a little bit safer place to live, and I apologize for any inconvenience my...she caused you this evening. The situation at the museum is under control, and the are being compensated as well. You can release Bombshell into my custody now, and be on your way."

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Fusion made a face behind her mask. Great. "So I just hand her to you and you take her to the cops, huh?" She tossed Bombshell idly from arm to arm like a child playing with a toy. "All right, I guess this is your turf." She wrapped just the tip of one arm around Bombshell's waist and handed her off to Scarab, waiting till the legendary esper could take her. "You see!" she called to Bombshell as she started to slide down the edge of the building. "You can throw yourself at the men all you want, but it took two ladies to bring you down, sister! Woo!"

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The Scarab shot another quip down the telepathic connection with Bombshell. Heh. If she only knew...

She held out her arm, her hand outstretched with her palm turned upward. Bombshell felt as though she'd been dropped into an invisible chair, which then floated slowly toward The Scarab. "Please do not take it personally. As tonight's antics were no doubt an attempt at getting my attention, an assessment I doubt she will even bother to contest, I see no reason to take up more of your no-doubt precious time than absolutely necessary. I am sure your talents would be better applied elsewhere, and thanks to the footage from the security cameras which allowed me to locate you in the first place, your involvement in this affair is already well-documented."

Not that I'm actually taking you to the police, but she doesn't need to know that. Involving innocent bystanders and putting me in a position where I have to lie by omission. You're off to a bad start tonight, Talya. Albiet an entertainingly theatrical one. I can't condone your actions, but I can't help but be impressed at the lengths you went to, either.

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It was only with great restraint that Bombshell contained herself while the heroes spoke. Partially, because Elena would be even more cranky if she had to bail her out of jail and partially because she was briefly entertained by being tossed around by giant octopus arms. Most people would have probably been sick to their stomach but Bombshell was, after all, a highly skilled acrobat. As she was handed over, she did her best to look at least vaguely repentant.

"Yes, alas, if only my wicked wiles worked on women," she said with an utter straight face as she was a much, much better liar than Scarab. "At least I have time to repent on my actions. And I really did need to talk to the Scarab."

She slipped easily into the invisible chair, her ankles loosely crossed and looking remarkably at ease at being floated about high above the streets below.

'Thank you, I take that as the backhand compliment that it is. I really do need to talk to you.'

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Down below, Fusion was just about to leave when something crossed her mind. That was the Scarab! The last Scarab was on the old Freedom League: what's this one up to? Giving into what she liked to think of a natural journalistic urge, she let her skin change color, her costume and flesh shifting appearance to match the mirrored building beneath her, before she began a slow, deliberate climb up the side of the building to catch wind of what was happening above.

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The Scarab floated up past the top of the tower, "lifting" Bombshell along with her. But rather than depositing Bombshell upon the roof, The Scarab merely hovered several feet off, leaving Bombshell suspended in the air before her, over a thousand feet above the city.

Her massive cape fluttered and waved in the wind behind her, nearly filling up Bombshell's entire field of vision. There. Now we're at least above the prying eyes of any residents. You wanted to talk. I'm listening. Is this the beginning of The Game, or a call for aid?

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Bombshell shifted so she was no longer 'seated' like she was awaiting a lecture from a stern teacher. Standing up, she stretched slightly and responded aloud to the mental tone rumbling in the back of her skull, "Not a game, darling, nor quite so much a call for aid. I have information that I rather thought should reach your ears. I'm not under water and needing a rescue. Yet."

She laced her fingertips behind her back, remarkably unconcerned about the drop awaiting her should the Scarab let go. One did not start on a career of leaping off buildings with a fear of heights, and she was confident that she was not about to be dropped. Bombshell flashed her most charming smile at the Scarab, "You have to admit, even if you're cross, that it had a style sadly lacking in criminal affairs these days."

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"Very well, if you insist on having this conversation out loud..."

The Scarab laughed. "Yes. I am the first to admit that your particular brand of mischief-making is sadly becoming a lost art. Not only are most modern supervillains severely lacking in the style, class, and sense of pure showmanship which you exemplify, but their motives tend to be as brutal and banal as their methods. So yes, kudos to you for being a better class of criminal."

She crossed her arms over her chest. "Now, what is this information that it is imperative I learn and yet somehow, with my considerable resources, are not yet aware of? I know you too well to even bother asking why you felt the need to pull a stunt like this when you could have just called me on the phone or knocked on my front door."

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"Well, actually, as much fun as I did have. There is a method to my madness. For example, now you can say I traded you the information for my freedom rather than having to ask all those oh-so-difficult questions of just where you ran into me. And you say I never get you anything." Bombshell teased for a moment before her expression grew sober, "As to the why you haven't heard of it, it's rather because they're recruiting individuals like myself with a certain set of... shall we say skills. Not even you see everything, my love."

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