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Left to My Own Devices

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Thursday, June 1st 2017


Riverside Community Savings and Loan

Sunny and Humid


The blustery spring thaw had long since gave way to the balmy heat of the season and with it the accompanying "good cheer".  Of course none of this was helped by a pace that could only be called glacial, in some final and cruel irony, with which the line moved.  The line to the business window was little better given the number of business owners and managers grabbing extra change for the weekend ahead of the rush and the highly cash dependant nature of the artisanal shops that dotted the tree lined boulevards of riverside made it all the more necessary.  Ray was reminded not for the first time why he usually made this busywork for an apprentice.


Behind the almost angelic being, Ace Danger stood nonchalantly in his disguise as he waited to empty a safe deposit box left over from his brief semi disowned period in the late eighties.  He wasn't even entirely sure what he had left in the riverside stash but clearly it had seemed important enough to go above and beyond the usual bus station locker that was the norm for that less than exemplary period of his long life.  Idly examining the man in front of him he was much distracted by the twisting runes hidden by the more vibrant inks of the painted man lest he might have taken note of the unseasonably heavy coats of the men who slowly filtered into the busy bank and arrayed themselves around the lobby with practiced precision.

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Ray was oblivious, scowling at the line and the people who stood between him and a nice, quiet afternoon. Bureaucracy was the absolute worst thing that humans had ever invented. Of course, heaven had their own interminable red tape as well but this nonsense of having to deposit the till in a bag in person was pure human foolishness. There were plenty of tattoos for Ace to peruse, although the ink was currently stationary, it never fully hid the enochian sigils that ran down key lines of the angels body. As usual, Ray was wearing what he could get away with in public; a tank top and black pants over his heavy boots. 


Ray was fixated enough on trying to silently will the octogenarian at the front of the line into moving at least a modicum faster. "I knew I should have paid for the express window," he sighed only to groan when it seemed like there were coins to roll for her. "For the love of..."

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Even had the earthbound angel been able to complete that sentence he hadn't the time before a bad morning got substantially worse for the bulk of the customers.  "EVERYONE ON THE FLOOR!"  boomed one of the thieves as they in unison pulled guns from their coats with uncanny precision of movement.  The lobby erupted in screams as the crowd scattered and flung themselves to the floor.  The one young security guard at the door followed his training thankfully and raised his hands free of his sidearm clearly non confrontational in body language as he tried to offer some calm support to the crowd, "Just do as they say."  he instructed though the fine sheen of sweat that glistened on his brow belied the calm he tried to summon.  


Four now masked thugs stood guard over the lobby, One warning the cashiers away from any potential alarms one one taking each side of the room to maintain a watchful eye and field of crossfire should anyone grow overbold.  The one who had bellowed their demands took up station in the center of the room not far from Ace and Ray but still dangerously close to the bystanders coiled fearfully on the floor.  One more vaulted the counter to begin clearing out the tills, into a bag in hand though for a crew of even that size the take from the tills was hardly worth their time a fact elucidated by the final pair sprinting down the hall toward the vault.


Ace quietly cursed under his breath, "To many for this size bank even if they can get the vault open."  he murmured as he tried to pick out details of the strongarm artists.  "No time to get the vault open before police arrive."  he paused hands raised over his head but still on his feet, "So I assume you've all done the math.." he began cautiously as the guns swung to be aimed on him and not the crowd at large.

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"Of course. Of course this is my afternoon," Ray grumbled, lifting his arms up towards the sky as if he were going to lace his hands behind his head. Like Ace, he was still on his feet since he'd certainly rather present a better target than any slow moving older person... like the one at the front of the line. His gaze flicked over the assembled crowd and then towards the bystanders who at least were huddled together. Some sort of barrier was probably his best bet if things went messy. Fortunately, it was highly unlikely that any of the bank robbers were likely to notices the ink on his skin start to shift as the runes along his spine began to glow. 


"Is this going to.... you know, take a while? I got a business to get back to." Ray commented idly, nodding towards the door. He lifted the one hand holding his shop's till a little higher. "Can I go first?"

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The thief in the middle of the room trained his gun on Ray as the angel spoke, behind the counter his masked cohort emptied the last of the tills and vaulted the counter to silently approach Ray reaching wordlessly to tug the bag free of the tall tattoo artists hand.  The apparent leader repeated his earlier command, "I said on the floor."  he growled at the pair who lingered too long on their feet.  The other gunmen retained their aim at Ace though kept a wary eye on the crowd in case the room should turn on them.  The guard quietly pled from the floor, "Just do as they say, you're gonna get someone shot." 


Ace kept his hands raised with all too comfortable a smile as he had the majority of the attention safely on him, "No way this breaks even on a six man job without cracking the vault."  he pointed out equally to the guard as to the thieves trying to drive a wedge between them if possible.  "And no way to crack the vault before the police arrive even without a teller hitting an alarm."  the ageless adventurer opined tilting his head slightly as he looked to the apparent leader, "So we're going to end up with hostages."  Earning a derisive sneer from their apparent captor, "You know an awful lot about bank robbery Mr...."  


"Danger."  Ace replied pulling his trademark fedora from thin air like magician would a coin and placing it atop his head dropping his disguise, "Ace Danger."

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"How is this even real life?" Ray muttered, giving Ace a side long look. Oh, he wasn't disputing Ace's suggestions, and he'd vaguely recognized the man once he started talking. After all, Ray HAD a television, but the angel couldn't honestly tell if the man was posturing or if he really thought people talked like that. Ray released the bag to the crook that was trying to get it before sweeping his hands down as he drew glittering power from his skin to spin it out quickly in a matrix over the bulk of the hostages. He'd not had time to rework his tattoos into something more appropriate so the thick barrier appeared to weave itself out of the thorns and chains that wrapped up one of his arms; the flower buds a faintly glowing gold. 


There was no real hiding where the barrier came from, after all, Ray's abilities were the opposite of subtle. "Just sit tight, in there... and I wouldn't touch the walls if you could avoid it." 

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The lead thief's eyes grew wide as the living legend revealed himself and he took an unconscious step back not even breaking from his stupor as the mystic barrier was conjured and his compatriots opened fire on Ace and Ray.  The room filled with the echoing cracks of gun shots and ricochets and the shots that went wide of their target deflected off of Rays thorny wall or sunk into the walls of the building.  As the thugs moved to find cover two shots found home the first scoring a searing line across Aces ribs leaving a ragged tear in his shirt and thin line of blood while the gunman who had been targeting the tellers stepped out to fire a well aimed shot at the man who clearly was conjuring the protective wall.


Looking down at the torn shirt Ace glared at the shooters with affront more than real anger, "Oh now that is no way introduce yourself."  he exclaimed as he flowed dexterously out of the path of the next barrage advancing on the bag man as the thief backed away drawing a bead on Ray.  "And that is just rude,"  he challenged ducking under the mans gun arm as it swung toward him to come up with a firm blow to the chin laying the thief out with a wicked uppercut.  "No manners at all, no wonder you can't get a gig working for a higher class of villain."  he remarked as the man fell.

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Ray grunted as a bullet thudded into his shoulderblade. He wasn't exactly bulletproof, not entirely, but his nature provided protection that a proper mortal would not have enjoyed. "You're robbing banks in Freedom City, I don't know what you expected," Ray groused as he turned around, shifting smoothly from his conjuring to toss flames from his other hand. The tattoos on his skin moved, adjusting to his mood and actions. The flames went wide, likely do to Ray's haste in pivoting once he was being shot at and that they missed did not improve the rogue angel's mood. 


"Okay, now I'm annoyed." Ray added, letting the flaming wings unfold from his back. "Why don't you assholes sit down and wait for the cops to arrive and save yourself some bruises?"

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Ducking for cover the target of Rays wroth narrowly avoided a well earned smiting the flames engulfing the pillar he hid behind leaving a blackened scorch mark on the drabbly inoffensive wood veneer.  As the flames receded he ducked out to make a haphazard potshot in the angels direction the unaimed shots going well wide of their intended target to thud into the wall harmlessly.  Snapping out of his fugue the apparent leader let out an angry snarl and raised the barrel of his sawed off shotgun unleashing a burst of shot at the immortal adventurer as his cohorts around the room continued to fire at the bobbing and weaving Danger.  The remaining thugs near enough to manage ducked for cover as well as Ray revealed himself which may well have worked to the Danger family scions benefit.  For his part Ace paused in his evasions long enough to offer the dramatic show an approving thumbs up.


Ducking and dodging once more Ace neatly avoided the fusilade with trademark cocky grin fixed on his face.  There was no doubt about it the lunatic was enjoying this.  "You'll have to do a damn sight better than that if you're gonna try to hit the big leagues kiddies."  he taunted as he slowed raising his hands in mock surrender, "Here we'll give you an easy one."  he challenged as he came to a stop at the center of the room  surrounded on all sides now by the armed aggressors.  "If you think you can manage."  he added stingingly as he met the leaders eyes then looked away towards Ray to offer the angel a confident wink.

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Ray rolled his eyes at Ace's grandstanding and then with a grunt of effort turned his efforts to the idiot that seemed like the nominal leader of this particular band of criminals. Clenching his hand into a fist, the flame tattoos burned as bright as the real thing along Ray's arm as they gathered around his fist. He discharged the power with a 'THWOOM' of energy that blasted that particular criminal into the teller's desk with a resounding crash. Alive but clearly unconscious, Ray's only real acknowledgement was a small nod of satisfaction. 


"This is the last time I let my assistant manager off early," Ray groused although it held no real truth. He'd certainly not have willingly sent one of his human employees into this sad-sack attempted robbery. "And I'm not 'big league'," he added to Ace, "I'm an artist!" 

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With a wail fading to a whimper the criminal taking cover near the tellers collapses in a singed heap on the floor, "DON"T JUST STAND THERE SHOOT HIM!"  bellowed the leader as he sets his sights on the taunting form of Ace Danger clearly not having seen Ace Danger and the amulet of Kvoth where this precise move had much the same effect.  As the thieves fired Ace made a subtle twist the shots passing just in front of him as he deftly avoided the bullets leaving them to carry on their merry way to impact the gunmen on opposing sides of the room.  


For but a moment the Leader was shocked by the sudden change in odds but shook it off as he opened fire, "Won't be that easy Danger!"  he rasped as the shot rang out passing through Aces hat knocking it from the immortals head before ricocheting off the heave brass door frame to slam into the plaster ceiling overhead loosing a large chunk directly on the would be thieves head.  Ace merely shook his head as he reached down to pluck up his hat once more frowning a the hole as the leader staggered and collapsed.  Smiling to the now obviously angelic Ray, Ace smirked, "Oh apologies, burning bush league then."

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