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Raveled

Changing Times, Changing Minds

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August 24th, 2013

10:03 AM

Freedom City

Tona Baudin was caught in the horns of a dilemma. "I want something that flows," she said, staring down at the magazine in her hands. "I want something that would billow and can present a larger target, you know?" She showed the magazine to Sam Vance, the girl sitting next to her on the rail car. "Like these ladies are wearing."

The periodical wasn't what Tona usually read. Flight of Fashion chronicled fashion designs based off superhero costumes; most of the pieces had one or two dominant colors, and fit close to the body. The pages Tona was looking at were showing off tall, slim models wearing longcoats. Each was in the act of turning, the tails of their coats fanning out dramatically.

"Something like that," she said, pointing at the coats. "That's what I want to find at the mall."

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"Hm..." Sam looks from the magazine to Tona quite a bit, trying to picture her in this and that. "I never did like superfashion. Most of it's either too showy or too much black latex."

She studies the longcoats. "Oh, those are nice. And they actually work a lot better than capes. I tried capes a while back, and if you don't want 'em to be a liability, then they're either super fragile or on a quick release, and you're gonna burn through 'em every mission. Fox had something like that, but..."

She looks off in the general direction of the mall. "I know a few places we could get a nice coat, but it's not really something you'd want on the job. It'd get ruined fast, and the tails're still kind of a liability. On a coat for on the job, you need the tail to shred or break. Some even snap off so you just have to replace the tail. Fox was about as apt to get in a fight as I am, and she bought tails for her coat by the crate. We can start here for something to try out, but it's probably best to go to a specialist for something to use on the job."

She hands the magazine back and adds, "And a specialty store will give you more pockets." She knows how Tona loves her pockets.

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Tona took the magazine back and flipped through a few more pages, shaking her head at the swimwear. "I'm not too worried about getting grabbed," Tona said. "That's why I'm looking at a coat, I can get out of it pretty fast. It's not like the coat is the only thing I'm going to be wearing," she added, bumping her knee against Sam's and grinning.

The pair rocked from inertia as the car slid to a halt at their stop. The two girls exited and quickly located the signs pointing the way to Millennium Mall. From the high vantage point, however, they could make out the red and blue flashes of police sirens. Pushing her way to a railing, Tona joined a gaggle of citizens watching a gaggle of police cruisers gathered outside a bank. The front door was ripped clean off, but from this vantage point she couldn't see much else inside. The archer glanced back at Sam, her expression set and determined. It seemed the shopping trip would be sidelined.

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GM

Marie Anderson was having a very bad day. Her day had started smoothly enough, and just after breakfast she'd had a visit from a police officer, someone she recognized from her parole hearings. After that things went dark, and when she woke up she was in a bank vault, hefting a gold bar in each hand. A little investigation revealed that yes, the bank patrons and employees (who were already unfortunate enough to have to work on a Saturday) were secluded in an office. And that was when the first cruiser pulled up outside.

Now she was arguing with the police negotiator over the bank phone. "No, I'm saying this wasn't my fault. Someone forced me to do this."

"Who was it?" The negotiator was well-trained and trying to be sympathetic, but Marie's head was pounding and she merely found the tone cloying and saccharine.

"I don't know," she snapped. "I blacked out, and next thing I came to in here, and... Listen, whatever happened in here isn't my fault. I want something from the DA -- immunity, or a guarantee of a reduced sentence, before I come out!" She peered out the window at the police barricade outside. That was a lot of cops. Hopefully she'd be able to get a deal before they sent for the League, or STAR...

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"Aw, boo!" Sam teases at the mention of there being more to Tona's wardrobe.

As the pair spots the gathering of cops, Sam's grin disappears. "Checking that out's one of those hero things we're supposed to do, isn't it?" She lets out a sigh.

After a moment to think, she speaks up. "Follow my lead and don't act like you're on the job; let's see what we can get the old fashioned way."

She slips her hand in Tona's and leads her over to the bank, looking innocent, vulnerable, and a little afraid. An act she's disturbingly good at.

"Um..." she says as she creeps towards the cops, to get their attention. However, she stops herself for the bit, first. A look to the gaping hole in the building. A frightened flinch, a sudden spike in visible concern, and she pulls herself a little closer to Tona, as if for protection. "E-excuse me, ma'am..." she calls out to an officer, then swallows hard. "What's... what happened?" Add a little quiver to her lip. Just to let the officer know that she doesn't have long to give a satisfactory answer before she starts freaking out.

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Tona did everything she could not to roll her eyes at Sam's performance. The officer seemed to be completely taken in, however. "Listen girl, everything's going to be fine, okay? We've got STAR coming, they've faced Toxic before, and everyone's going to come out of that bank alive. So please, just stay behind the barricade."

Tona pulled Sam away until they were swallowed by the crowd again. "I think I remember hearing about Toxic," she said, "when Mr. Hawke was talking about Project Freedom. Did she go back to doing crime?"

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The Blue Fox frowned behind her mask.

Several minutes earlier she had been traveling from her residence in Lantern Hill to an appointment with her legal team when she stumbled across this fine mess. Normally she'd be inclined to leave the matter in the hands of STAR, but part of the focus on the new initiative she was forming was on circumstances such as this; and she'd set a poor example to the others if she just moved on.

So she found a place to park, a place to change, and now she was on the roof across the street overlooking the bank.

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Once they're back in the crowd, Sam drops her vulnerable act and puts on her scheming face. Everyone who's been around her long enough knows her scheming face, and it always ends well. Always. Never trouble or a complication. And no, she still isn't apologizing for the peacock thing, because that totally worked.

"Good questions. Let's find out!"

She drags Tona to a shadowy alley to prepare for heroism. There, she performs her epic hero transformation sequence... of taking a crappy dollar store domino mask out of her pocket and slapping it on. Because the cop who just got a good look at her isn't going to have any idea who the ginger wearing the exact same clothes as her is if she puts on a domino mask. Eh, but it's the idiom; comes with the job.

"Okay, let's go take a look. Let's stay out of sight until we know what's up." She offers her hand when Tona's ready. "Deep breath." With a moment for her girlfriend to brace herself for the trip, and they fall through the shadows, into the bank proper, in a decent hiding spot.

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Tona shook off the clinging feeling of cold that always accompanied Sam's quick jaunts through nothing. She had brought them out in what was usually the best-concealed spot in any building -- straight overhead of everyone else. Tona, at home in the broad-beamed rafters as she would be on the ground, knelt and began pulling out her gear.

As the archer was pulling on her jacket and her mask and her quiver, they had plenty of time to watch the scene below. Mainly it was one woman, dressed in hard-used jeans and a long-sleeved shirt, pacing between the counters and the front door. A few folks dressed in guard uniforms sat off to one side, restrained by bent iron bars that looked like they'd been pulled off the walls. They might've been intended for decorations, but they were holding the guards fast.

One of them spoke, but with the distance and echoes, it was hard to make out. Something something, police, something walk out. Whatever it was, the lady pacing back and forth -- Toxic, presumably -- reacted badly. "Oh sure! I just walk out and everything is dandy! Or hey, they lock me back up in Blackstone for another twenty years. Which do you think is going to happen!?"

Blue Jay rolled her shoulders, settling her quiver comfortably, and shot a glance at Sam. Go for the hostages, or go for Toxic?

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This all seems weird. That's not how a bank robber acts. If this 'Toxic' is strong enough to bend metal like that, she should have been in and out long before the cops showed up. And it's not like this is her first rodeo; at the very least, after getting caught, she'd learn the ropes from her fellow inmates.

She pulls out a pen and pad, jots something down, then passes it to Tona.

Wait. Watch. Line your shot. I'll case, then watch the hostages.

Something weird is happening. When you go in blind, or knowing in your gut something's up? That's when things go wrong. When you get caught, or killed. Patience is the first tool of the thief, information the first weapon. She gives the perch a quick prowl to get the lay of the land, then goes to hawk the hostages, for a chance to get them out of here. A double-edged sword, that. Leave the hostages and they're in danger. Save them, and Toxic doesn't have her security blanket anymore. She's cornered, but has options. Take that away? Well, then her decision-making abilities may take a sharp decline. Best to wait and watch for now.

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Jay nodded, then drew and nocked an arrow but declined to draw it. A compound bow would take most of the strain minimal, but training died hard. She didn't intend to draw on Toxic until she was ready to fire. Until then, she sat still and waited.

For her part Sam had no trouble finding a convenient shadow to slip into, reappearing in a darkened office. The door was unlocked, and while there were security cameras dotted about she didn't see any sign that Toxic had any back-up back here. There were a lot of office doors, however. The thief quickly got to work, springing locks and checking for hostages. Before long she was faced with an eerie sight; a double handful of men and women in business casual, sitting on the floor of a darkened office room. They were arranged in two rows facing each other, and they all simply sat quietly, staring blankly ahead.

Across the street, the Blue Fox watched as the bulky, boxy vans of STAR pull up to the scene. It seemed like the FCPD was preparing to go in soon.

Edited by Raveled

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Well. Running out of time.

Sam considers her options. If the boys in blue come in, somebody is going to die. Hostages seem... safish. Hopefully whatever they're on will wear off. And it keeps them from doing something stupid and panicky.

Sometimes, the direct approach is best. Time to get it straight from the horse's mouth.

She makes her way back to an overlook above Toxic, and motions for Tona to stay patient. The time to attack is not now.

Instead, she opts for an illusion. Something that can't be killed in order to hold a conversation on her behalf. A giant crescent grin fades into view atop a counter before the villainess, followed by a skeletal figure in purple striped rags, with a feline face that is just as likely to be a face as a mask. "My, this is quite a fix you've gotten yourself into," it says in an echoing voice that seems to come from everywhere, the grin unmoving. "What's the out plan? Hop head-first off a skyscraper?"

All the while, Sam keeps signaling Tona to hold her fire.

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From her position across the street from the bank, Eve noted the arrival of the STAR vans, and frowned behind her mask. She had every bit of faith and confidence that STAR would eventually get a handle on whatever it was that was going on inside, but their arrival also meant an escalation that could have violent consequences.

Not that her own intervention couldn't have similar results, but good things happened when the uniformed and costumed protectors of Freedom City cooperated.

One powerful telekinetic assisted leap and the small, masked and hooded Frenchwoman landed silently among the officers present. Her eyes swept around, looking for and finding the person who appeared to be in charge--always simple in a situation like this--and made her way to them.

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GM

The police took the arrival of the diminutive psychic with ease; a couple of rookies started and began to reach for their sidearms, but most were used to the masked men and women appearing during crises. It wasn't hard to find the one in charge, either, a middle-aged man wearing a Kevlar vest his sportcoat. He was typing on a laptop as Blue Fox approached, and spoke to her without turning his head. "You showed up just in time, if you want to help," he said. "We're about five minutes from sending STAR in." He finally turned to her, looking the heroine over. "So what's your plan? We've got about twenty, twenty-five civilians inside and one very pissed off Blackstone inmate."


Toxic looked around and her jaw dropped as Kit's Chesire-skeleton thing leered at her. "Of course I'm bananas," she said, rubbing at her eyes. "I woke up in a vault holdin' a bag of cash. And now I'm seein' dead cat... things." She eyed Sam's sending. "What are ya supposed to be, anyway, Bones? My death wish, or somethin'? Edited by Raveled

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The skeletal... thing rolls off the table, face down, feet-over-head in a manner that ought to be physically impossible on anything with human joints.  Its massive grin and lifeless eyes never leave Toxic, however, by virtue of it detaching its own head and holding it steady for the motion, putting it back on when it comes to a position sitting cross-legged.  Four feet off the ground.
 
"Bored, mostly.  Thought this might be a good show."  It looks around at the scene, and in the direction of the cops.  "That's quite the sleepwalking.  I don't think they'll agree with the story, though," it jerks a finger in the direction of the police.  "They are quite rude that way, no?"

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