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Location: Freedom City Museum of Fine Arts, Liberty Park
Date: September 23rd, 9 PM

Museums, in Bombshell's never to be humble opinion, were best enjoyed after hours. It really was the best. No crowds. No rules about getting too close or not touching. And no security guards giving you suspicious looks when you stepped out of line. At this point, Bombshell had memorized the guard rotation of her favorite haunts to enjoy them at her leisure. Sure, sometimes she might have had to disable the alarms on a window or two - like tonight - but she always put them back.

"Hello, beautiful," Bombshell murmured from where she dangled upside down, eyeing the John Collier painting with a judicious eye. Glad she'd caught the exhibit before it was cycled out, Bombshell moved to unwrap her leg from her swing-line to drop to the ground when faint noise caught her attention. Noisy. That was never a good sign. 

Dropping soundlessly to the floor, a little tug released the hook on the edge of the line and it coiled back into the hilt of her baton. Stealthy and silent, Bombshell went to see what sort of ham-handed smash and grab might be in progress. No one has any appreciation for the art these days, I swear.

Bombshell rounded the corner quickly, but not as quickly as the underpaid security detail arrived on the scene. She, after all, had made it a point to be on the opposite end of the anticipated route so her boots hit the doorway just as the nervous, "Stop, or I'll shoot!" echoed out. As her gaze swept over the scene, Bombshell had enough time to notice the five masked men speedily dismantling an exhibit of some sort between her and the security guard detail. 

Not masks. Gas masks!

"No, get back! They've got-"

Whatever else Bombshell's warning might have contained, it was lost in a fit of coughing as several canisters opened with several respective bang-hiss sounds around the room. She might have been able to come back from a bullet to the head but her lungs needed air just like anyone else's.

Worst. Bloody. Luck.

Wa-THUMP.

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The Freedom City National Museum of Art was situated right along the scenic Liberty Park and abutted affluent Parkside. Which is not to say that Freedom City's finest responded quicker, per say, to the wealthy areas than the poorer ones - but the response tonight was both swift and plentiful in the amount of black and whites that drove along 64th street with their lights blazing. In their defense, though, it had been a rough month for the museums along Liberty Park what with the cultists and the monster-statue

Situated where it was, Grimalkin and her assistant and sidekick were just finishing up another relatively quiet but rewarding day at Silberman's when the first cop car streamed past. When Shrike went to turn the lock, the second and third followed shortly their after, heading towards Liberty Park. 

Crimson Tiger had already been on patrol and from her rooftop vantage, she could see the flashing lights of the cop cars converging on a small museum abutting Liberty Park. Turning her patrol in that direction, it was clear from her vantage point that one of the skylights was sitting open. 

As for Jack of All Blades, he had been enjoying a relatively pleasant evening at home when Vince's smooth voice spoke up into his ear, "Ah. I think you might, perhaps, want to hear this..." before relaying the most recent chatter on the police radio bands from the ongoing situation developing at Freedom City's Museum of Fine Arts.

Edited by alderwitch

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If it had just been a question of the police rounding up some thieves in the middle of a botched museum robbery, Jack could have left well enough alone, really. The criminals were already caught, based on the radio chatter Vince had been monitoring, and it wasn't like he was going to be much help filling out the paperwork while they were booked in. The description of the woman in black had been more than a little familiar, however. Talya popping back up without warning after staying off his radar for so long he could believe. Talya breaking into a fine arts museum in the middle of the night he could absolutely believe. Talya getting herself caught and arrested by run of the mill security guards? A metamagi swashbuckler had to drawn the line somewhere.

Swinging from his grappling line into the open air, royal blue great coat flaring out behind him, Jack landed softly on the rooftop of the building adjacent to the museum and peered over the edge at the gathering police cars. It was quite the turn out but then again Bombshell always had liked an audience. "What did you get into this time...?" he muttered under his breath, firing his grapple line again and moving in for a closer look, sticking to the shadows.

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"I have to admit, I feel a little bit guilty, Gretch," Lynn mumbled as she pulled out the keys to the shop. "I mean, what if someone stops by for a cup of coffee?"

For once, her sardonic assistant actually seemed to be excited about something, which was actually a bit alarming. "You said if it was dead, we could close up early and go see see Tycho's show. He's been begging me to come see it, and I don't want to hurt his little puppy dog feelings."

"You still seeing that guy? I thought he dumped you after you punched him in bed."

"I didn't punch him, I struck him. Totally different."

A squad car went zooming past, siren wailing and blue lights flashing; Lynn followed its passage with her eyes, then slowly looked back at her sidekick, who reared up slightly and shook her head.

"No. It was just one cop car. I said I was going, and I meant it."

Her bossed sighed and shrugged. "You're right, you're right; if we went after every cop car, we'd never get any sleep." She locked the door and turned to her young protege with a contented sigh. "So, modern jazz dance! I can't say I ever-"

Wooooo-wooooo-woooo-woooooo! Woooo-woooo-wooooo-wooo!

Gretchen looked utterly crestfallen. "No. No, please for once-"

Wooooooo-wooooooo-woooooo! Woooo-wooooooo-woooooo!

Lynn frowned sympathetically and rested a hand on the young girl's shoulder. "That's....it's a lot of cops, Gretch."

The barista's head dropped forward and she sighed. "You're right. This is what i signed up for. Let's do it."

- - -

They were still trying to work out flying as a team; Shrike was more than twice as fast than Grim in pixie form, but the tiny changeling was technically the boss, so it would be rude to fly faster than her wee superior, and so far she refused to be carried, though Gretchen knew eventually that day would come. So for now, the young woman in th bird-like mask and black cloak was accompanied by the pixie darting and weaving around her. On the plus side, the mental communication offered by Shrike's Ring of Power meant they didn't have to shout at each other over the rush of wind.

- It looks like they're converging on the National Museum. -

- Yeah. Wow, that's a lot of cops! -

- Indeed. I don't hear any shooting, explosions or power-mad screams. Do you? -

- No; actually, that's kinda weird, too. Let's get closer. -

They dropped down out of the sky towards the park, eyes peeled for further signs of trouble.

Edited by Heritage

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She could buy cops at the museum. Someone might want to steal something, that could happen. But that many cops? Maybe someone really dangerous was trying to rob the place. Maybe one of the exhibits had come to life and went on a rampage. It was Freedom City, after all. Weird things were always possible. 

Even as she broke out into a run, using her grapple gun to get from place to place, she wasn't quite sure why she was going there. To help the cops? To satisfy her curiosity? Whatever the reason ,she was doing it. Time to see what was so damn interesting about this museum. It was probably best to stick to the shadows, at least until she could assess the situation. Wouldn't do to run smack dab into something that could turn her into a smear on the wall. 

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As the heroes converged on the museum, the easiest vantage point was certainly on the structure's roof, although the roof wasn't that large. Without some stealth, the heroes would start to come into each other's view when landing on it.

There were several large skylights with vague art deco leanings, one of which sat open still from Bombshell's earlier entrance. The lights had all been thrown on inside the museum itself, illuminating what was going on inside for those peering over. The more stealthy might be able to weed their way through the cops below but there were a large number of them, seemingly milling about. 

Those more experienced with typical police procedure would quickly spot that the bulk of the force didn't really have a task they seemed to be doing except for keeping busy with cordoning off the museum itself and setting up police barricades. 

Grim's senses were keen enough to still pick up an acrid tang of something lingering in the air as the gas had begun to dissipate into the night entirely but not without leaving the stink of poison and chemical in its wake. As for Jack's magic senses, there was far more recent activity than the ripple of Bombshell's passing generally left. 

Once close enough, they would all hear a raised, distinctly British and distinctly incensed voice drifting out from the skylight.

"Now listen to me, you arrogant, inept morons," in her heyday, Bombshell's cover had been a lounge singer - one of many - but the fact that her voice was trained, led to it carrying quite clearly even through the skylight - clearest certainly to those with heightened hearing but it wasn't too muffled to be intelligible to the rest of them. "If I HAD been here to steal anything, I would have been here and gone before Paul Blartt over there had be-stirred himself from watching the game at his station."

There was a pause.

"NO, that wasn't a confession!"

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"She's not wrong, guys," a chipper voice called from overhead a moment before Jack of all Blades dropped dramatically down from the open skylight, somersaulting through the air in a flash of royal blue and silver trim to land gracefully next to Bombshell and her interrogators. Straightening back up to his full height be offered his most charmingly lopsided grin. "And if you can't trust someone who casually works 'bestirred' into conversation, what's the world coming to? Long time no see, Shelly. Still making friends with law enforcement wherever you go, huh?" With a more serious expression he turned to the police officers and raised his gloved hands in a non-threatening manner. "Lovable bantering aside, the real thieves are getting away while we stand around chatting. Can I ask what's actually missing? 'Cause somebody used some pretty heavy magic in here tonight and magic plus museums is never good news. This guy knows what I'm talking about." He pointed to the officer on the left, who looked up blinking from the notes he was talking, surprised to be singled out.

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Well, it looked like there was already another hero on the scene. She decided she might as well dive in herself.  She dropped down, just as Jack had, she got there just as he rattled off the explanation about magic, and the 'real thieves' might make for an interesting case.

"So, got a mystery then?" she said. "Crimson Tiger, mostly patrol the Fens."  she said to Jack, who was someone she'd heard of. "Or is this a case of mistaken identity?" She looked at Bombshell, and Jack. There was a sense of familiarity between them. Whomever this woman was, she knew Jack, and Jack new her. Did that make her an ally, or simply a less dangerous enemy?

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For the heroes who dropped in, the room was a large open space - typical to an art gallery. About a half dozen police officers milled through the room while one had the security guard in question in one corner, likely taking his statement. The last officer was the one clearly in charge of their prisoner. The woman in question was a curvy blonde in a catsuit that seemed to have more straps of dubious use than the last time Jack had seen her and an utterly extraneous pair of goggles perched on top of her blond head that were unrelated to the black domino mask that didn't really hide much of her features. 

Bombshell, for her part, looked definitely more annoyed than bored with the police, although the keen eyed might notice the micro movements of the muscles in her shoulders despite the handcuffs keeping her wrists locked behind her back. Regardless of her irritation, Bombshell was exerting her not inconsiderable efforts on keeping the officer focused on what she was saying, although both looked up as the heroes quite literally dropped into the scene. An amused half smile kicked up the corner of Bombshell's mouth.

The room itself was the one that Bombshell had dropped into, with paintings largely from the mid 1800s on display and little amiss although the officers were certainly combing over it looking for anything that seemed like it could be used to further their case. The room beyond, however, had been ransacked with several broken, likely once priceless pottery shards around the room itself along with debris from the canisters that had exploded. The stink of toxin mixed with magic was thicker down here but not overpowering, adding a nasty tang to the air.

As the heroes descended, the officer gave the well known heroes of Freedom City the sort of respectful attention that they were due, "Ah, hello there. Sir. Ma'am. We're still doing an inventory to find out what exactly was the target of the heist but, you see, there's been a lot of damage-"

"Hullo, Jack," Bombshell interjected with an affected drawl, popping the 'K' at the end of his name as she shifted her shoulders like she was getting comfortable. It also covered the slight wince as she took her thumb and twisted it in its socket so she could work the cuff down, "So nice when some appreciations both vocabulary and diction. And hello to your pretty friend. Always appreciate a lady in a cat suit. Such an under appreciated ensemble these days, don't you think?"

If nothing else, Bombshell was certainly succeeding in her goal to rile and irritate the officer who turned from the heroes to shake a finger at her, "Listen, missy, you're in a heap of trouble already. You could save yourself a lot of trouble by telling us where your friends went and what you took."

"They don't know, is what he means." Bombshell translated, her expression solicitous even as she proved she retained her knack for aggravating Freedom City's finest, "My best guess is that it wasn't anything on their roster but was inside one of the very many smashed things in that room over there."

Bombshell gave a little nod of her chin before turning innocent blue eyes to the officer once more, "Ex-thief. EX-thief."

"Except you disabled the security system!"

"Well, I can't say that you don't have a valid point there."

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Grimalkin and Shrike were crouched on the roof of the museum, peering down through the open skylight as the more experienced heroine pondered their next move. Gretchen in particular was fascinated by everything about Bombshell.

"Holy crap, that woman's hot!"

"Mmm? Oh yeah, she's a knockout. See what she's doing?" Grim pointed down at the ex-thief's subtle movements. "She's working on the cuffs. Ooh, she just dislocated her thumb! God, that's gotta hurt!"

"That's disgusting. So I'm seeing lots of mystical swirlies floating all over the place; is that a thing?"

Lynn idly scratched her nose. "Probably, yeah, which means the righteous stank I'm picking up might be the lingering traces of some sort of magic smoke or vapor." The changeling got up and stretched languidly, which actually managed to distract Gretchen for a few seconds. "Alright, let's do this; Jack and Bombshell are old friends, and Mali is a tenant in good standing. They might need our help."

Shrike nodded firmly. "Well, then. Lets make an entrance."

The younger heroine floated down majestically, her arms spreading her cloak wide as a familiar pixie flew around her in a downward spiral. Once at ground level, Grim returned to full size in a crouch, then dramatically rose to stand beside her sidekick.

"Well this is fun; it's not often I show up at one of these little get togethers and I know everyone! How's life treating you, Bombshell?" She turned to Jack and Tiger and waved like an idiot, a huge grin on her face.

For her part, Shrike stood with her arms folded and attempted to look menacing; eh, it was a work in progress. 

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Jack looked back up at the open skylight in spite of himself wondering if anyone else was going to suddenly appear from above. "I know what you're thinking," he added aloud, turning back to the bemused police officers with his hands raised in his defense. "You're thinking, 'Jack of all Blades, beloved idol of millions, are you inexorably drawn to powerful women and they to you?' The answer is yes, my friends, you can ask my wife." Waiting for one of the officers to crack a smile the fencer let his expression turn a little more serious. "Listen, I know we're messing up your paperwork here and I'm not trying to yank you guys around but I guarantee you whatever other rules she was breaking Bombshell is ten times too good at everything she does to screw up like this, even if she was still stealing from places like this." It was a little too qualified to really count as a ringing endorsement but he wasn't trying to convince them to be the cat burglar's new best friends, just to start looking for the real thieves. "This is sounding more and more like an amulet-in-an-urn type smash-and-grab and those always end with some lunatic talking about the stars being in alignment for his ascension to blah blah blah and that is a way bigger headache for everybody than a delightfully sassy British lady with personal boundary issues."

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"He's right, if she's as good as she seems to be, this was probably a set-up. She looks like the type to work alone. Let's go looking for the real thieves. Just in case." She shrugged. "But hey, arrest her, sure that'll bring back whatever she didn't steal. Doesn't look like the type that'll talk, or stay arrested for long." 

"With that said, I suppose we need leads. Anyone?" Jack was someone familiar, a veteran of crime fighting by reputation. Bombshell, not so much, probably fairly trustworthy. She knew who Grim and Shrike were, her landlady and her assistant. That meant she could probably trust this Bombshell person at least enough to work with her. 

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