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Hardware Hoodlum Heist


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Saturday, February 5th

Riverside Savings & Loan, Freedom City


It was a sleepy day in Freedom City, the shining face of the Riverside Savings & Loan reflecting the sun off the surface of the river. Officer Morel pulled into the bank parking lot, noting that there wasn't much activity in the bank this Saturday morning. Usually plenty of folks were lined up early in the day to take care of their banking on the weekend. While Morel saw a few cars in the lot -- including a pair of cherry roadsters that looked to be from the 20s or 30s -- he didn't see anyone moving around inside the lobby.


That prickled his senses and probably saved his life. The officer turned to reach for his car's radio, saw a glint of metal, and dove behind the engine block. Gunfire roared across the parking lot, rounds glancing off the pavement and exploding against metal. A figure stepped up to the broken bank window and Morel paused the gape at it. The man was dressed in an impeccable pin-stripe suit, wide-brimmed hat, and was balancing an honest-to-God Tommy gun on his hip. What shocked the police officer the most, though, was the face of steel and iron that looked out from under the hat.
Another burst of automatic gunfire made Morel hug the ground. "That's right, copper," the metal-faced robber shouted. "Keep yer head down and keep the other flatfoots out of, and no one in here has to get whacked!"
Edited by Raveled
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And at the eleventh hour, when all hopes is lost, the cavalry rides over the horizon . . .


Kat wasn't familiar enough with Riverside to port wherever she wanted. She could barely even tell where the gunfire came from. Luckily (ha!) it kept up, giving her a chance to find it. She had to rely on quick, short warps instead. She balanced, precariously, on a rooftop, peering at the horizon. Flash. Landing easily at the top of a street lamp, balance like a cat. Flash. Where were they? More gunshots. Flash. Was everyone safe? Flash. Those were real bullets. Flash. If she wasn't fast enough . . .


The world cut open for a fraction of a section in violent red light, and out popped Kat. She landed easily on the stone outcropping of the building, grabbed a weather vane and leaned out over a hundred foot drop, squinting. Trying to remember where the gunshots were from, already looking for a better vantage point to search from when . . . "Here we are." Warp knelt down on her perch squinted and considered her approach. So. Armed robbers. A bank. How should she deal? 


Loud and hard. A part of her insisted and Warp couldn't help but smirk. "No, wait." She shook her head. "Hostages. They could have hostages."


So, what? Rescue anyone who needed rescuing first, then kick some behind? 

It'd do.

Edited by Curious Key
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Warren wasn't used to being in the city on his own. For almost his entire life he'd been within sight of one or the other parent -- usually his mother -- from when he woke up until when he went to bed. Now he was living in a dormitory at a school, admittedly less than an hour away from his house. It felt like unbelievable freedom.
In order to combat his ignorance, the boy had taken to traveling around the different neighborhoods on the weekend, sometimes riding the passenger train but more often using his phenomenal strength to jump from building to building. It was exhilarating, to be able to move so easily and so openly, with no pain or shaking limbs. It was worth any price just to feel the wind in his hair as he moved through the city.
He was shaken out of his reverie by the sound of gunfire floating over the buildings. He looked around, searching with his eyes and more esoteric senses for the source of the violence. His mind reached out into the air, the radio in his head picking up the police band chatter. He'd passed the Savings & Loan bank just a few minutes ago; cursing himself, he deactivated the image inducer on his belt and soared away, a blue and silver and gold blur against the sky.
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Freedom City had a lot to offer in the way of tourism.  Kwame had started taking his time off to get a better feel of the city's boundaries as well as doing a little self promoting.  Today, he was dressed in his costume, spreading the word about the UWL to the many young artists that usually hang out in Riverside.  He was in the midst of talking with a small group of artists when the sound of gunfire rang out.


What the--!? Kwame looked at the artists around him and was surprised by their limited reaction to the sound. "Was that gunfire?"  Having grown up on the streets of Chicago, Kwame was no stranger to the sound and it took all of his will power to refrain from instinctively running for cover.  I've got to remember that bullets can't hurt me anymore.


One of the young men, a painter, turned in the direction of the sound.  "Yeah, I think so.  Somebody must be up to so no good again."


"Aren't you worried about getting hit by a stray bullet or something?"


"Naw, some super will come along and make sure everything's okay," said the musician sipping on his drink.  The others quickly nodded their heads in agreement.


Kwame looked in the direction and recalled the advice he had gotten from a friend. Well, if I want to get known as a hero, I'll need to make my presence known.  "Well, you're in luck.  You'll be able to tell your friends that you were there to see Hammer getting down to business!"  With that said, Hammer leaped into the sky in the direction of the gunshots, a wide smile upon his face. 


It's Hammer time!

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Chrome landed hard in the parking lot, the asphalt cratering under his feet. He posed confidently, the sun shining off his face and bare arms. "Have no fear, citizen," he shouted. "The heroes are--" his prepared speech was cut off when the figure in the window opened fire on the teen, bullets suddenly bouncing off his chest and arms. Chrome yelled in shock and dove behind the police car, his metal skin smudged but unbroken. He found himself kneeling next to the police officer and tried a smile that tried to be confident but came off as wan. "H-hello, office. Uh, have no fear?" He cringed as another volley of bullets impacted on the car.

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As some metallic—Warp was going to assume hero until further notice—soared in and posed in front of the bank, the robber opened fire again. The other hero ducked behind a car, and Warp grimaced. No time to think about what to do now.


She stood up straight, took a deep breath and stepped off the building. For a harrowing fraction of a second, the wind rushed past her face as she pulled one legback and pointed one big red-booted foot at the ground. Another tear of red light and Warp was gone. 


Warp appeared again not three feet away from the robber, momentum redirected toward the . . . Robot? She didn't have time to think on it. Her foot smashed into his torso, and while she felt it give a little, it didn't give enough. She flipped backward using his metallic torso as a springboard and landed easily in front of him. "Did that hurt?" she smirked. "Awww . . . poor thing,"

Edited by Curious Key
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Hammer landed a short distance from the sound of gunfire.  Instead of leaping directly to the scene, he ran at full speed, coming around a corner just in time to see Warp falling from the roof and into one of her signature rifts.


Was that Warp?  What the hell is going on here?  He looked about the area catching sight of the bullet riddled squad car sitting in front of the bank.  Unfortunately, he couldn't see the police officer that was driving it from his angle.  "Officer!  Are you alright?" he called out.  If it was me before I changed, I would have used the car as cover. He started moving slowly to get a better view of the opposite side of the car.


Hammer's muscular form stood out in the street, making him an easy target.


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Warp's foot hit metal with a resounding clang and drove the be-suited android back a few steps. "Wise-ass dames in this city," he muttered, swiping at her and swearing when she danced out of reach. "You mugs should know better than to mess with Moxie Malone's gang!"


Behind the police cruiser, Chrome pinged his RADAR out, easily picking up the metal criminal and even Warp's position. "Stay down, officer," he said to the cop next to him, as one of his arms quickly rearranged itself into a hollow-barreled gun. Moving quickly, the shining teen popped up and fired a shot into the side of the building, not far from where Warp and the robot were fighting. "Put down the gun and step away," he shouted, "and no one will get hurt!"


The thin robot laughed and moved back away from the window. "That's what I've been saying to you this whole time! You come in here and you're gonna be mopping up brains." He turned and ran, moving deeper into the bank.

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Warp fell into a deep stance, ready to engage in a bout, but the . . . mobster robot was springing for the back. She wanted to go after him, but . . . Her first thought when she'd looked down on this place from above hung heavy in her mind. Warp wasn't afraid of him managing to nail her, but . . . 'You come in here and you're gonna be mopping up brains,' he had said. She muttered something foul under her breath, turned her head to look out the window and vanished in a sudden flash of red.


She fell out of a rip in the world and landed, catlike, on the hood of the car that the officer was using for cover. Warp put a hand on her hip and gave a sly, half-smile. "Heya," she said. "I'm Warp, just to get that out of the way right now." she gave a little wave to Hammer. She knew him at least, and he knew her. "So." She turned toward the officer. "Three questions: Who are they, how many of them are there? Annnnd . . ." She took a deep, steadying breath. ". . .Do they have hostages? "

Edited by Curious Key
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Hammer was surprised to see a teen with a cannon for an arm appear from behind the cruise.  His wild shot at the bank and his demand for the robot's surrender stunned the hero.  Wow! Some of the heroes in this town are very flashy!


Hammer moved closer to the cruiser as Warp reappeared atop it.  He nodded a greeting to the young woman before turning his attention to the police officer and the other hero.  "I'm Hammer," he says in response to Warp's introduction.


Her rapid fire questioning of the police officer amazed Hammer.  Three simple questions and she's already taken control of the situation.  Best to let her take the lead and simply go where directed.  Hammer watched the officer, waiting for a response to the questions.

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Chrome startled at the woman who just appeared next to them. "Oh. Um, I'm Chrome. I don't know who's inside, I just got here myself." The three superheroes turned to the police officer, who was dusting himself off. Morel stood and looked around the parking lot. "It's pretty early, the bank just opened up," he said. "If I had to guess, there's probably just the employees inside now. But no one should be gambling with hostages on the line." He turned a dark look on the heroes."


Chrome coughed self-consciously as the gun disappeared into his arm. "Maybe we can sneak around the side? There's a drive-through lane, maybe someone can try to get around and see inside." He looked down at his own shiny skin, flicking off a piece of debris. "Probably not me."

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Hammer looked over at the bank. "That's a good idea, Chrome.  Warp, can you teleport us inside?"

He spread his hands out, gesturing at his appearance.  "I may be dressed in mostly black, but I'm not really the sneaky type.  I'm a close quarters combatant. If I can get them within arms distance, I should be able neutralize anyone.  Of course, I'm better one on one though."


That should be enough of an explanation of my abilities.  I just hope I can be useful here. Hammer waited for an answer to his question.  Occasionally, he would glance at the bank to be sure that the criminals weren't trying to escape undetected.


Edited by MBCE
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  • 2 weeks later...

"I mean, Warp frowned a bit, tilted her head to the side and gave it a bit of a think. "I could, I think. But, I don't know where they are in there. And you can't really look through my Tears to see where you're going. We could end up right in the middle of them, sitting ducks . . . But, well, if I could see exactly where I want to go, that'd be a different story . . ." But she couldn't. Warp gave a helpless shrug.


Chrome had some sense. She liked him. "I could definitely take a peek around." Warp said, "But I could definitely take a peak around. I can be quiet when I want, and can cover a lot of space fast. Good thought." And then, without giving opportunity for any more discussion, Warp disappeared in a flash of red light.


But she hadn't gone far. She was moving up toward the drive-through windows in short, staggered teleports, trying to stay out of obvious sight of anyone who might be watching from inside the bank. In no time at all she was underneath the service window. Biting down on her lip, Warp dared to lift her head enough to try to get a peek through and see what was happening. 

Edited by Curious Key
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What Warp saw through the window was mostly what one would expect to see from a small community bank. The inside was done in carious cream colors, and a pair of faux wood lecterns were in the middle of the space with a counter of the same material running along the wall, between Warp and the hostages. Oh yes, the hostages -- two men in dark suits, a man in a charcoal one, and a woman in a purple suit and too much jewelry were all sitting next to one wall, alternating between staring at the ground and taking fearful peeks at their captors.


The thin robot from before was in there, talking to a shorter robot in an otherwise-identical pinstripe suit. He was clutching a pistol in either hand, and gesturing angrily with them while he spoke about how to deal with "coppers and buzzkills." At one of the lecterns, what Warp could only think of as a robot-lady dressed in flapper style was counting and stacking bills, presumably taken from the empty registers the Claremont graduate could see. Lastly, she noticed an open door that didn't seem to lead back to the window the first robot had been standing at. Maybe it lead to the vault? If that was the case, there could be even more hostages and robot-robbers to consider.


While Warp was reconnoitering, Chrome wandered over to one of the cars in the parking lot. It was, from his point of view, ancient -- an open top roadster from almost a hundred years ago. He glanced inside and noticed the well-preserved leather and what looked to be an actual ivory stick shift. He left out a low, appreciative whistle -- even in the midst of this literal life-and-death moment, he could recognize and appreciate craftsmanship like this vehicle.

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Hammer blinked once Warp disappeared.  I'll never get used to that. He watched the bank, hoping that warp's approach went undetected.  When he saw Chrome move over to the roadster, he said, "Think this is theirs?  Not like there's any other vehicles they could use to get away."


Hammer walked slowly around the vehicle, examining the relic.  "It kind of fits their style of clothing, don't you think.  Hey, Chrome, do you know anything about robot bank robbers?  I mean, could they be regulars here in Freedom?"

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Warp hissed through her teeth. Of COURSE they had hostages. And they could even have more, as far as any of them knew. If these four were the only ones, she coudl get them out no problem. Gods, she should have just let the robot grab her and take her 'hostage.' That would have made everything far more simple. She . . . Could go further in, couldn't she? Check it out? 


But there might be a robot waiting around the corner, watching for intruders, and she might have gotten better about sneaking recently, but . . . She wasn't THAT good! Deciding against it, she opened a fissure beneath her feet and fell easily into it.


"Yo." Warp's voice came from behind Hammer, because she was behind Hammer. She stepped past him and up to the car. "Yeah, there are hostages in there. At least four." She gave the two the gist, going over what little she'd seen so far. ". . . And I couldn't see what was going on any deeper than that." She scowled at the car, seemingly seeing it for the first time. "It's like they stepped out of the nineteen twenties, from this to the way they talk and their dumb outfits. What's up with that?"

Edited by Curious Key
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Chrome jumped slightly when Warp reappeared, spikes briefly appearing on his metal skin before the instinct subsided. "Yeah, I don't know what's going on with that. The guy who was shooting earlier -- he had a Tommy gun? People don't still use those, right?" He shook his head, bewildered. "I've never heard of robot bank robbers before. Maybe Doc Otaku got really into Baccano, I don't know." He sighed, wiping a hand over his head and pushing back strands of fiber-optic 'hair'. "I don't know how to handle hostages, though. Maybe if we can get a couple to come to the window, can you pop in and grab the hostages? If, like, only the lady-robot was left?"

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Warp tugged absently at her hair, looking up in thought. "Fifteen . . . No. Ten seconds, max. If you can give me that then I can get those four out there. All of them are probably more than I could take in one trip, or it'd be faster." Warp started chewing at her lip again. "Then the only question is whether they have any more people hidden in the back."

Edited by Curious Key
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Hammer managed to keep his feet firmly planted on the ground when Warp returned behind him.  He listened to Warp's answer to Chrome's question.


"Ok.  So you'll need some kind of distraction to do your thing, but there's a chance that more hostages are hidden in the back.  Do we know what they want?"  Hammer looked back and forth between the two heroes.  "Perhaps, we can use diplomacy to get something done?"


Hammer pointed down at the roadster.  "Also, think you can disable this?  If it's their getaway car, then making sure it doesn't move might be in our best interest.  I'm going to talk to the cop for a second. Maybe he knows something about the bank."


He turned and walked over to the police officer.  "Excuse me, but we need your help.  Any information you might have on the robbers, or of the bank itself would help us protect the hostages.  Is there another way into the bank?"

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The officer was sitting in his cruiser with his feet on the pavement, talking to someone over the vehicle's radio. He paused in his conversation when Hammer walked up. "I've never seen these guys before. I mean, this is just some tiny community bank, right? They're not doing million-dollar loans out of this building, there's probably just a couple grand in the vault. Who would risk that in Freedom City?" He shook his head uncomprehendingly. "I think there's a fire exit around the back, but it just enters into the main lobby. They're gonna see you if you go through that door."


Meanwhile Chrome considered the vehicle carefully. He didn't see an obvious catch on the engine compartment, and even if it was open he didn't think he'd be able to recognize sparkplugs or anything else vital. After a few minutes of thinking, he concentrated on his hands and watched his fingers sharpen and lengthen into thin, sparkling spikes. The Claremonter drew his arm back and pushed the finger-spikes through the thin metal of the car hood. When he felt resistance from something stiffer, he leaned into his finger spike and drove it deeper into the engine block.

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Warp shrugged. "So we don't know what they want right now, and it sounds like we don't have a way to find out." Kat bit down on her lip. "But . . . They're robots who talk like old movie mobsters, might not need a reason. This could just be acting out like they were made. But . . .Doesn't really matter? They have hostages. We can worry about the how and why and what when everyone's safe, yeah?"


When she heard the soft sound of metal breaking, Warp's head twisted sharply to the side. When she saw what Chrome was doing she relaxed.  "Nice," she said. "Best I could have done was slag it or put it away, but they'd probably freak out when they realized it was just missing."

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Hammer walks back to join the others.  "It seems there is a back entrance that opens into the main lobby.  Having someone ready to enter from there, might be a way into the building."  He looked over at the bank as a plan began forming in his mind.


"If we can draw their attention to us, then we should be able to save the hostages without them getting hurt.  Warp, can you see through your rifts?  I mean are you able to place a rift on an object, say a wall, and see what is on the other side?  If you could do that, I think I have a possible plan."


Hammer crouched down and began using the ground as a whiteboard.  "Here's what I'm thinking.  First, we get Chrome to the roof with you Warp.  If you're able to make that opening, we can use it from above to see down into the bank and check the positions of the hostages and robbers.  Then, once chrome is in a position to burst through the ceiling, you'll head to the back door.  I'll approach from the front, drawing their attention and fire.  At the sound of gun fire, Chrome you burst through the ceiling and take out the gunmen too far from the door for me to get.  Warp, you come through the back door and work on getting the hostages out to safety."  


Hammer looked down at the makeshift diagram and smiled inwardly.  Reminds me of the football game from last month.  Seems that playing around is also a great way to work on superhero tactics.

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Warp blinked. Her expression was caught somewhere between befuddlement and belligerence. Is leaping to conclusions one of your superpowers? Was her first thought. No. That's unfair, he doesn't know how they work. So, tell him, then. "Okay, my tears look like this:" She absently held a both into the air and took a deep, careful breath. The marks on her skin flared up in a deep, sinister red as the group heard sound like the universe's whimper. The world opened like someone had pushed a knife through the other end and tore a long slash through reality . . . two slashes, actually, one above each of her hands. They were solid black, outlined in festering red, like an open wound. "If you can come up with a way to use these to spy on people without them noticing, be my guest."


"Also, I've seen what the interior looks like, and I know where the first four hostages are, and warping just me and what I'm touching is easy." She closed her hands into fists and stopped the flow of power. Her marks faded back to black and the tears mended closed in the air. "I don't need a door."

Edited by Curious Key
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Hammer nodded his understanding.  Those tears look very dangerous!  I wonder if she can use them on people as well.   "I have no ideas on how to use your abilities to spy on them so I  guess that's all the info we'll have on the bank and it's contents.  It would have been nice to know if there were more hostages hidden out of sight.  Still, the plan is fairly good.  Chrome, if you take the back door instead of the roof, Warp, can quickly get to the four hostages and get them out while the two of us distract the robots."


Hammer took a moment to look at the others to see their reactions to the idea.  "What do you guys think of that?  think it will work?"

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  • 3 weeks later...
The team broke to their different jobs. Chrome sneaked around to the side (as much as a human wrapped in reflective metal could sneak) and paused near the fire exit, focusing on keeping his breathing steady and even. He was about to try something very dangerous, but not very dangerous to him -- he was about to try and provoke two robots holding people hostage. He was going to make hostage-takers angry, and if he was wrong or Warp was slow or the robbers were smart people were going to die. He focused on his breathing to keep himself from going crazy over the stress, and only just realized they hadn't decided on a signal or timing or anything. If he missed his cue --
There was the sudden sound of rapid-fie gunshots from inside the bank and Chrome startled forward, claws suddenly appearing on his hands and slashing the fire exit open. He spotted the tall robot with the submachine gun firing out at Hammer, and as he paused at the threshold he met the eyes of the short robot. The shorter bank robber started firing his two pistols and Chrome was driven back, waving his arms frantically through the air to knock the bullets away. He just managed to hear, over the gunfire, "Bobby and Freddy better get back with the dough quick! There's more of these freaky types out here!"
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