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Thevshi

Win or Lose [IC]

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Greenbank
Freedom City, New Jersey
Tuesday November 3, 2015, 10:23 PM local time

Halloween had come and gone, but Freedom City was still clinging to warm weather, with the temperature having reached the mid-60's during the sunny day.  And though the sun had set hours ago, the temperature had so far only dropped about ten degrees. 

Although night had fallen, there was still plenty of activity in Greenbank, as many of the warehouses continued to operate around the clock, and several of the establishments that had built up in the area to cater to workers getting off shift were open as well.  But for every few warehouses or other business that were in operation, there was one that was out of business and sitting empty.  Or at least mostly empty. 

Along the northern edge of Greenbank near the West End sat what appeared to be an empty warehouse.  Taking up about a quarter of a block (with an enclosed shipping yard covering another quarter), the building was three stories tall and had once handled a variety of international exports.  But now many of the windows were boarded up; the signs were dull and faded; and scattered about the shipping yard were weeds that were growing up through the concrete. 

But such empty buildings did not always stay that way, and currently there was word that a group of weapons smugglers were using the building's basement to store illegal arms shipments.  It was these rumors that had brought three individual costumed crime fighters out into this part of Freedom City tonight....

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A large shadow, like that of a great bird, swooped over the street to land atop the warehouse. It landed with barely a sound, the shape of it deforming into a rough black mass. A glimmer of red flashed from within it as the shape silently moved across the roof, pale moonlight revealing the shape of a man in a long cape creeping across the roof. He moved in a brisk stalk, with the slightest trace of a limp, but moved utterly silently.

 

Arrowhawk moved to the edge of the roof, cape bundled around him against the cool night air, silently surveying the area around him for any other individuals or vehicles liable to interfere with his operation.

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Terrifica had been following the activities of a band of weapon smugglers for some time. They’d had an excellent supplier lined up once. That group was enjoying a jail stint now, thanks to her. They had some lovely tractor trailers to transport their merchandise once. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms had them now, thanks to her. Then they even had a prospective buyer lined up. He had to drop out once Interpol (along with an international task force) seized most of his fortune, thanks to her. And then she’d lost them. Poof. She hated it when criminals went underground.

 

Terrifica wasn’t sure if this was the same band she’d been stalking, or a different one. Hence tonight’s outing. She should be grading papers. Holding Meilin or Lucas as they fell asleep. But, the price of obsession is high, and thus here she was. Standing under a broken streetlamp, ensconced in shadow, across the street from a warehouse in Greenback. She was virtually invisible, as the streetlamp’s closest neighbors on each side were out as well. Despite the slight breeze rippling her longcoat, she wasn’t cold. Her battlesuit (part dense, tough cloth and part chemical wizardry) took care of that little problem quite easily.. Could’ve been a coincidence, but she doubted it. She examined the warehouse with binoculars. Old and disused did not mean empty. The relative lack of light was not a problem, as her suit’s eyes lenses were specially treated, more or less in the reverse of the Transitions effect. When it got dark, they let in more light than usual to compensate. The Terrifi-cycle was parked a few blocks away, in front of a diner. In fact, she’d had a roast beef sandwhich made, as this was a stakeout.

 

A shadow flitted across her vision. Interesting. I thought they were being a trifle obvious. Criminals here. Please punch us until we are in jail. It could’ve been something else, but in this city? Landing on that roof? Hero. I wonder who it is. I haven’t seen Nevermore in a while. Speculation, however, was pointless. She’d see whoever it was soon enough. Vanishingly few heroes in this city had anything resembling patience.

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It all started with a gun, three guns. Three thugs robbing a store together who found themselves at the wrong end of a punch. The guns weren't weird, but they were all the same model. That struck her as odd, so her gut feeling lead her to question them. That lead to more questions, and more people. More punches, more questions. Now, here she was at a warehouse. Warehouses were always fun, she'd once stumbled into a bunch of ninjas. Her cousin once had a bunch of his men ambush her in one. 

 

So now she was on a rooftop, surveying a warehouse and trying to get a plan together. How to break in, how to take them down. Weapon smugglers obviously meant weapons. She had no intention of barging into a barrage of gunfire. She was tough, not gunfire absorbing tough. Careful consideration had to be made. She could go in through the side, skulking and getting the drop on them, knocking them out one by one. So she crouched and planned.

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A gruff voice suddenly spoke from behind Crimson Tiger. "Looks like I'm not the only one trying to bust up this little operation." Arrowhawk took a couple of brisk steps, standing beside her, looking steadily forward out into the street, red eyes flaring beneath his cowl. "And on a school night."

 

He lifted one arm up slowly, head cocking to and fro. His arm wavered, before his head suddenly settled on a point near a streetlight. His arm snapped to point at it. "There." He glanced sidelong at the Tiger. "Never get to work alone in this city, do you?" The archer shook his head slowly. 

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"Heh, can't swing a longbow without running into another mask?" She chuckled. "Alright I see what you're pointing at. Multi-directional assault. Keep to the shadows, get the drop on 'em." She started moving to sneak over to where Arrowhawk had pointed. "Oh, and I'm in college." With that, she moved back in to the shadows. She doubted that he'd lost track of her. He was older, more experienced, probably more skilled. He got the drop on her, not an easy task, definitely suggested skill. His build, costume and gear suggested a lack of powers, or at least powers that weren't overt. His voice was probably exaggerated to make him sound scarier, but he still sounded noticeably older than she was.

 

Someone worth listening to, she thought.

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Patience was a virtue. Patience was a virtue. Patience. Was. A. Virtue. Terrifica took a bite of her roast beef sandwich. Yes, patience was a virtue, but did that automatically make impatience a vice? She pondered that for…quite a while, actually. Though to be honest, the length of time outside of her head was seconds at best. She swallowed, having come to no real conclusion. There was another thing. She had caught a glimpse of someone going onto that roof. Heroes weren’t, as a rule, a patient breed. She should have noticed the sounds of a fight coming from inside. Perhaps someone being smart and running away. So many possibilities. So many variables. Terrifica didn’t like uncertainty. The unexplained caused both irritation and anxiety in her mind. But in this case, she’d settled on a plan of action (or inaction, as the case may be), and by thunder she was going to stick to it. So she watched. She waited. And she slowly munched on her roast beef sandwich. It was uncommonly good, and after this she planned on getting another two for the trip home.

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Air rippled in the night behind Terrifica. "There are many better ways to stake a place out than standing under streetlamps eating sandwiches," came Arrowhawk's low growl, the large man having snuck up behind her without her even noticing. 

 

He paced around from behind to her to stand at her side, gesturing at Crimson Tiger as she approached as well. "So. It looks like we all came for the same thing. God, you wouldn't get this back home." The big man sighed and shook his head. "If you don't know me, I'm Arrowhawk. I," he pointed to the warehouse, "am going to stop the illegal arms shipments going into there. While keeping someone to interrogate on where they're coming from, so they don't relocate. And I want to do it with a minimum of casualties, collateral damage and if preferable I would not like to be shot." He glowered at the other two capes beside him. "Can you do that?"

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Terrifica jumped slightly, surprised. Between that and the insult to her capabilities she went from relaxed to icily irritated. “Yes, of course there are other ways.” Her voice positively dripped with some condescension of her own. “However, none of them allow those of us who choose not to swing from buildings as if we were monkeys quick and easy access to the building. Furthermore, my intent for the evening was to watch and wait, not re-enact Pickett’s charge and shortsightedly let one or more of the perpetrators escape. And lastly, this is a damn fine sandwich and high quality stakeout food.”

 

She paused for a breath and got her irritation under control. “With that said, your plan is the way I operate, except I generally give low level criminals the opportunity to run. It’s always interesting who they run to.” She tucked the remains of her sandwich into her belt. “I was hoping to see some incoming or outgoing traffic before I went in so I could find out who they were doing business with, but there’s nothing inherently wrong with the direct approach.”

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Crimson Tiger scoffed. "Yeah, I get you. This business gets shut down tonight, and everybody walks away alive. Even if they've had a very bad night." She shrugged. "I don't want to get shot either. I have better things to do with my time." She looked to Arrowhawk.

 

"Now are we all just going to sneak in and punch or shoot them until they're all on the ground, or do you have a different plan in mind, oh great Scottish scowly one?" She was joking a bit, but she had every intention of listening to his ideas. She'd never worked with Terrifica before, but if she'd traced the guns back here that meant she had at least a little in the way of qualifications. As for Crimson Tiger, she felt it was best to do a multi-pronged assault, have everyone go in a different way and meet in the middle. But she didn't know how Terrifica fought. 

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Arrowhawk shrugged. "Well, we've got three of us and a sandwich. I've got two ideas. I go in with a bow in one hand and a sandwich in the other, and ask which one they'd prefer." He took on a more serious tone. 

 

"Or we play it smart. We approach from all angles. That way we can get in and neutralise them all without leaving them an easy angle to escape or take cover. It seems the smartest, safest option, and least likely to get any of us shot. Hell, play our cards right, if we surround them, we could force them to surrender without having to fire a single shot." A small smile formed on his face. "That would probably be too optimistic," he drawled drily.

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“I don’t see anything wrong with a little optimism.” Terrifica had a slight smile on her face. She had learned much from interacting with other heroes. They preferred not to be dictated to. To come up with their own plans. Instead of trying to take control with her own plan, she let her colleagues suggest their own ideas and then she offered her…improvements. Or, in the case of loud and obvious persons, worked around them. “However, may I suggest a little theatricality?” She outlined her ideas briefly, expanding on Arrowhawk’s plan.  She would go first and address them, with the other two lurking in the shadows. As tensions rose, Crimson Tiger could step out of the shadows in the appropriate position, blocking an exit. After a time, Arrowhawk could do the same. The archer was to be last for the specific reason of being able to respond to unexpected events quickly, quietly, and at range. “If it works properly, this shouldn’t be anything more than a brief break in our nights. Of course, things could always get…messy.” She omitted her reasoning for taking point. Saying something like that would be…embarrassing and perhaps bruise egos. Which was the last thing she wanted after her poor reaction beforehand.

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"Not a bad idea." Crimson Tiger admitted. "But I think the big guy that can sneak up on me and uses a bow? Should stick to the shadows. A lot easier to hit people if they don't know you're there. The other thing is, I'm not immune to bullets. Are you? These guys are gun merchants, I do not want a small army to aim at my face. I'm good, I ain't that good. Panicky people with guns tend to use them a lot, and even if it makes them too nervous to be accurate, they might throw enough lead for it not to matter." She said.

 

She wondered what Arrowhawk would think, and anticipated he'd disagree. He seemed far more inclined to stick to the shadows, and that's where she herself preferred to be. Better to be sneaky than shot full of holes. She wasn't afraid to die, but she wasn't going to volunteer for it if she didn't have to.

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