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Instant Action: Just Add Ninjas! (IC)

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7:30 PM

Mar. 22, 2012

Warehouse Row, The Waterfront

Freedom City, New Jersey

Sundown. Shadowy figures scurried in the gaps between the silhouettes of darkening warehouses, on duties of truly varying legitimacy. Some were workers. Others, watchers. All had purpose.

It had been a curious week in Freedom City; a rash of petty thefts had swept across the entire downtown area, perpetrated by a sizeable amount of the city's younger set. The police and several heroes had been overworked stopping everything from pickpockets to full-bore jewelry-store robberies, but the sheer scale of it was both surprising and a little bit frightening. An army of thieves had been loosed on the streets, and nobody knew the cause.

Well, almost nobody.

This day, like the other days of this particular week, several teenagers had been caught in the act; however, unlike their brethren, these ones (due to various methods on the parts of some particular heroes) had actually talked. Four heroes had been directed, albeit with great reluctance on the parts of the witnesses, to one specific warehouse on the outskirts of town. The arrested teens had boasted of a huge number of others and "the great party place, man". A place safe from parents or authority, where they could do as they pleased. They said that "the boss" was "one mean dude", and he built the place for anyone who the world rejected (in short, anyone with a notion of youthful rebellion).

Now, at sundown, four heroes converged near the warehouse on the waterfront; wittingly or unwittingly. Something fishy was going on here...

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Blodeuwedd was struggling at school. It wasn’t the people, they were mostly friendly enough, or the work, and she was a capable and fastidious student. It was just the place itself, she struggled to fit into the general hustle and bustle of school life fading into the background, sometime literally, of everything going on.

But up here on the rooftop of the city she felt total at home; she was in total control and command of the environment and she had spent many hours alone on the rooftops of the city getting a feel of the city. She’d also had a few minor encounters with the lowlife of the city and it was whilst one of those encounters she had learned of the warehouse.

So perched on a nearby roof, concealed from the entire world, watching the coming and goings from the warehouse.

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Crimson Tiger had no fear of the dark. Indeed, she enjoyed keeping to the shadows sometimes. It helped her fall under the radar back at her old school, and more importantly, it let her go unseen.

She preferred, whenever possible, to confront her foes directly and without hesitation. Being a superhero tempered that aspect of her personality. now she only went for a direct fight when she knew she could afford to.

She hid nearby, watching the entrance. Her precious Tigercycle was parked some distance away. She'd arrived on foot, sneaking from shadow to shadow as she neared closer.

Now she waited with bated breath. This wasn't the first time she'd gone to a warehouse expecting a fight, and this time she was going to be more cautious.

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Glow approached the warehouse from a different direction to Crimson Tiger, using the lengthening shadows to mask her passage. Not wanting to be too obvious she was wearing a darker jumpsuit than her usual yellow-and-blue Claremont suit. The young telekinetic paused by the corner of an adjacent building to watch for a few moments, unaware of Blodeuwedd lurking in the shadows on the rooftop above.

I guess this looks like the place. Wonder if I can get a look at this 'bad boss dude' or something.

It wasn't a situation for charging in blindly, so she crouched silently and watched, alert for any movements in an out of the building and ready to respond with her telekinetic defenses at a moments notice.

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Blodeuwedd dropped down behind Glow, she’d dropped the concealment but her foot falls still made no sound. The goggles glowed a faint green within her hood, allowing her to see everything going on in the darkness. When she got close enough she spoke into Glow’s ear.

“Your stealth leaves something to be desired.â€

She stepped back her pose relaxed, she was trying to suggest that she wasn’t a threat to the two, but she was still ready to defend herself if necessary.

“I’m Blodeuwedd. I’m here to help.â€

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On the other side of the alley Catalyst just finished putting on the stickers and heading up the stairs. It didn't take long to get to the top and prepare her perch with the sniper rifle strapped to her back. She did find something odd. Three figures below, two near each other, on on their own. They were difficult to make out in the shadows. It was hard to say whether they were related to the recent incidents or robberies or were there to investigate as they were rather shadowy. But she didn't want to jump the gun and just trained on them quietly from her sights up above.

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Glow yelped in surprise and fell backward onto her butt as she turned towards Blodeuwedd, a decidedly unstealthy flare of green light illuminating the corner of the warehouse as her telekinetic shielding snapped into place between them. When the other heroine made no aggressive moves the young Australian relaxed slightly and the barrier quickly dimmed, leaving the pair in near darkness once again.

She righted herself back into a crouch and cocked her head at Blodeuwedd, hissing "What are you, some kind of freakin' ninja? Don't sneak up on people like that! Well, unless they're bad guys that need sneaking on. What are you doing here? Are you checking out this warehouse as well?"

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Crimson Tiger scanned the darkness. She didn't just look at the warehouse, but all over. She couldn't afford to be caught by surprise from behind, such as ninjas returning to base.

It was then that she spotted something very, very unusual.

"Who would deliver pizza to a warehouse?" She mumbled, very quietly to herself. She suspected something unusual, and approached the van quietly.

She had no way of knowing what, or who, was inside, but she wasn't going to approach like an enemy. If it were the ninjas, why would they wait outside in a pizza van? It could be the police in some sort of sting, or maybe government agents. Either way, announcing her presence would be a pretty smart move.

It could also, she realized, be another hero. But what kind of hero drives around in a pizza van?

She walked over to the van, hoping her costume would be a dead giveaway. She walked around the van, trying to see who was inside it, if anyone. What was going on here?

She looked around it, too, trying to see if anything was amiss.

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Catalyst stayed on the two conversing, but her sights drifted looking for the other one until she found her examining her van. It looked like a pizza van at the moment, which honestly she may of wanted to use a different disguise. Maybe she could get some stickers for a pretend delivery company. Not that it mattered terribly the alarms hadn't gone off, but if they did, it'd kind of draw attention to the van wouldn't it. Not many vans really blasted Ride of the Valkyries as an alarm. She tapped her fingers for a seconds then sighed as she pressed the button for the blue tooth in her ear.

Down at the van there was a few seconds lapse before Crimson Tiger heard,

"I wouldn't if I were you, the stereo on the alarm could wake the dead."

The sound came from the cracked windows of the car as a phone glowed connected to the dashboard.

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"What are you, some kind of freakin' ninja? Don't sneak up on people like that! Well, unless they're bad guys that need sneaking on. What are you doing here? Are you checking out this warehouse as well?"

Despite herself Blodeuwedd couldn’t help but smile under her hood “You could say that. I’m also here to investigate the goings on at that warehouse. And I suspect…â€

She had noticed the strange van at the other end of the alley on her way down to Glow. Something about the van had stuck her as odd; she wasn’t quite sure what but had learned to trust her instincts, so as she was talking to Glow she had been keeping an eye on the vehicle.

“…we’re not the only one here to investigate. Follow me.â€

It took some effort but she remembered to make enough noise so Glow could follow her if necessary. She arrived just in time to hear the warning from the vehicle.

“I would do what she say’s we’ve probably already made to much noise. It looks like we are all looking for the same thing, may I suggest we pool our resources?â€

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"Oh, okay, well, um. I wasn't planning on touching it, I just didn't know what was going on. Who are you? I'm Crimson Tiger. I'm a, well, a superhero I guess. I was just wondering why there would be a pizza van here. If you're a civilian, I don't think it would be a good idea to stick around. I mean..." She smacked her forehead. She really needed to keep her head straighter sometimes. What if this was some sort of ninja pizza delivery van or something? That was a silly notion, but, she had fought ninja art thieves before.

She looked over the vehicle, obviously puzzled by it's presence. Who was in it? Why were they delivering pizza here? Was it some sort of disguise?

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Glow followed Blodeuwedd towards the van reasonably easily, then smiled in the dim light as they approached Crimson Tiger. "Oh right, you sneak up on me and scare me half to death but she gets plenty of warning!" she chuckled as she nodded a greeting to the third heroine.

She raised her eyebrow as yet as she saw the phone hooked up to the dashboard of the van. The vehicle definitely seemed to be more than its outward appearance might suggest. I'm guessing that's not a delivery guy, and if the alarm hasn't fired off yet then.. well this place is clearly attracting some attention tonight..

"So do any of you lot actually have a plan? I was just coming by to check the place out, but if you're all here too then I'd say that there's definitely something going on around here?"

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“I’m Blodeuwedd.†Without turning she responded to Glow “That was for your benefit I can be… difficult to follow.â€

A quick glance confirmed what she suspected about the van. “This is no commercial vehicle the way it sits is all wrong for a vehicle of that type. I suspect the owner is also trying to gather information on the warehouse.â€

She did a quick scan around the alley looking for any sight of their possible ally.

“I was just here to gather intelligence, but with us pooling our information we could easily come up with a plan of attack.â€

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"I just heard rumors of bad people up to no good around this place." Crimson Tiger said. "I fought some ninjas a couple of weeks ago, I wanted to know whether or not these guys were connected."

She looked at the other two young women, and then shook her head.

"OH! I'm sorry, I'm Crimson Tiger, nice to meet both of you!" She said with a polite bow. Neither of these girls looked that much older than her. How many teenage girls were superheroes in this town anyway? She was sure it was rare, but...now? Not so much.

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Kristin smiled faintly at Blodeuwedd as the clearly very stealthy heroine introduced herself, then nodded a greeting to the one who introduced herself as Crimson Tiger as well. "Nice to meet you too. I'm Glow," she said simply. "I heard about this place after nabbing some idiot kid trying to pickpocket a few people. Really badly I might add. Thought I'd come by and check it out. There's been an awful lot of petty crime and I figured it might be connected."

She shrugged a bit and looked around the nearby buildings as she tried to spot the owner of the van. "I don't really know much else about the place though. I'm clearly not as good a sneak as ninja-girl here and my powers come with a bit of a light-show too, so stealth really isn't my thing!"

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“My introduction to this place was an alley way mugging. It didn’t end well from them.â€

Considering Glow’s words Blodeuwedd was still and thoughtful for a few seconds

“There are several option I can see to enter the warehouse. We could take a more indirect route.†She looked up towards the rooftops surrounding the warehouse. “Or as we all appear the right age we could attempt some form of infiltration, though that would involve a degree of trust from all of us.â€

She gestured to the van “Unless our friend has another option to hand?â€

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She adjusted her goggles and frowned at what she saw before responding,

"Well I've got infared on the place and as far as I can tell, either they're using heat cloaking, or their AC's on the fritz. Either way, lots of red flags for a warehouse. If you do go in there it's likely they've prepared for someone snooping around. I could probably flush them out, but we really don't know what will come out once we kick the hornets nest."

Looking at the building she let out a sigh,

"Infiltration is likely an option, but we need to stay connected. Do you guys all have cell phones?"

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Infiltration seemed like a handy plan, but it posed a bit of a problem for Kristin.

"I do have a cellphone, but I don't have any plain clothes that are going to work for me just walking into that place. I left them back at sch- er.. home, and I don't think I'm going to get away with going in the front door dressed like this!" she chuckled as she gestured at her skintight jumpsuit.

And besides, between youtube and that jerk Jackson I'm pretty sure someone in a crowd of teenagers is going to pick my face for someone they've seen before.

"If you still want to try an infiltration deal I can hang around as backup in case something goes wrong though. I'm pretty sure I could get in in a hurry and make a nice loud distraction for you to get clear if you get busted!"

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"A distraction would be useful, what can you do?"

She admitted there was an assumption that the young woman who was speaking did in fact have powers. She knew that was not always the case, but she measured it out like this, usually people who didn't have the benefit of bullets bouncing off their skins were either more heavily padded or semi-decent at moving around without other people noticing them. Either way, she didn't know these heroes (that's whom she assumed they were from the manner, if they were villains they certainly didn't act like it), so it was best to get an overall scope of what they were capable of.

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Kristin nodded. "It'd probably be a reasonable idea if we all knew what everyone else can do before we start getting in trouble. I'm telekinetic. I can move stuff around by thinking at it real hard and I can make shield to defend myself if I need to. Or I can chuck some pretty heavy stuff around. Everything I do comes in bright green though, so I'm not really built for the sneaking."

She looked around once more to see if she could spot the owner of the van, then at the other two standing with her. "How about you lot?"

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Blodeuwedd considered her option before replying, she was reluctant to reveal all her secrets but sharing some knowledge wouldn’t hurt.

“Whilst I have no natural abilities like Glow here natural abilities and equipment allow me to be extremely stealth. I am also capable of holding my own in any form of armed combat.†It was a matter of fact statement rather than an idol boast.

“As for communication I bought these in case I discovered allies.†In her hand were a couple of communication ear buds she had borrowed from Claremont. “It should be easier for you to tap into the devices frequency if you wish to preserve your current location.â€

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Glow picked one of the communication buds out of Blodeuwedd's hand and inspected in. After a moment she glanced at the other heroine and chuckled. "Well these look familiar. I wonder where you got these?" she said with a grin, then popped the device into her ear.

"Staying in communication is probably a good idea," she said. "Especially if you're keen on the infiltration idea.."

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"Well, let's just say I'm good in a scrap." Crimson Tiger said with a grin. "I can also sneak if that's what we're doing. I mean, it wouldn't be smart to just charge in blindly."

She looked at Blodeuwedd's communication devices and nodded. "I don't bring my phone on missions, so that would really come in handy."

Well, it seemed as though she wasn't alone in this particular situation. That was always good. Allies would be a major help in the event that she got caught unawares by villains. Glow and Blodeuwedd definitely looked like they could handle themselves should the situation arise.

That, and she always liked meeting new friends.

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A sensation hit all the heroes at once. The feeling they were being watched. One heard the whisper of steel on a sheath. Another heard the hiss of cloth on brick. Another heard the lightest step of sandal on water. And everyone felt the distinct sense of malevolence that suddenly surrounded them.

The first hero to look noted a very disconcerting fact. That one minute the heroes had been talking amongst themselves, and the next? They were surrounded. By about twenty-five or thirty...ninjas!

Ninjas in dark-red uniforms, swords across their backs and faces entirely covered, save for narrowed and very malevolent-looking eyes. The ninjas didn't attack. Didn't move an inch. They just stared. Perched on dumpsters, on the tops of street lights, on nearby rooftops, fire escapes, or simply standing around the street having emerged from who-knows-where. Then as one they drew their swords. And just kept staring. Waiting.

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"Interlopers."

"Spies."

"Shackle-bearers."

"Enemies."

One moment, it was a uniform group of ninjas, whose uniforms disguised race and gender and age, leaving only the vaguest idea of general shape.

The next, there were four among them that were more unique. The first who spoke was more clearly female, though even the four new arrivals were disguised head-to-toe in their somewhat more elaborate uniforms; this one, perhaps the leader, bore two slightly shorter swords on her back, and stood with her arms crossed over her chest as she stood straight as a rod atop a street light. The next one crouched on a nearby fire escape, almost like a predator, his voice harsher, his twin sai drawn and poised to strike without warning. The third was almost casual as she leaned up against the post of the street light the first ninja was standing atop, lazily twirled one of her paired tonfa, her voice somewhat more fanciful. The final speaker simply stood, his staff held straight in front of him, feet planted like a rock that would not be moved; he sounded almost bored with the whole affair.

"What do you think, Susanoo? Should we leave them in peace? Let them try their feeble attack against our sacred fellowship?"

"Nay Amaterasu. They seek to dissolve bonds forged in fires of hardship. They think us a mere gang, a collection of hoodlums and thugs. We are so much more than that. We have purpose. We have discipline. And more than that, we are something more than a mere gang. Tell them what we are, Kitsune. Tell them what they are trying to disrupt."

"Well, family of course! Silly "heroes". You think you're doing anyone here a favor? We belong. All of us! We're brothers and sisters, reborn through all the things we've faced, reborn under the Master's guidance! We're going to show all of you that we won't be kept down by the likes of you. Isn't that right, Shenlong?"

"Yes. There is only one penalty for interfering."

He lifted one hand and pointed an accusing finger at the ragtag group of heroes.

"Death."

"Go, brothers and sisters. Defend our family."

"Their bodies must never be found."

"Hehe! Can't have the rest of you capes finding out about us too soon! Not before The Reckoning!"

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