2019-12-28 - To Catch A Thief


A master thief meets a Samurai and a Bat

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sat Dec 28 01:57:06 2019
Location: Staten Island

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Theme Song



Word has reached the ears of a certain … gentleman thief … of a private collection held in Staten Island. Whilst generally of interest, it's likely caught more of it when he heard that certain objects were added recently in a less than … legal … manner.

One such object was a small statuette of a Pazuzu Demon, a Mesopotamian artifact which *probably* shouldn't have left its country of origin.

The collection is held in a home in Richmond on Staten Island. A nice house, owned by one of the elite rich.

Of course, the import of these artifacts have also reached the ears of Oracle, who shared the information with the Bats. Which is why Batgirl is currently approaching the house from the shadows, waiting for her backup to arrive before she enters.

She has no idea, that it might already be … occupied by … someone else.

Even if Ambrose is slowly coming around to the idea that the holidays are to be spent with family rather than taking advantage of other peoples' lack of presence in being with family, he can't miss this opportunity — not when it filters through the grapevine and he catches wind of it.

Planning was a cinch. Staten Island in its smaller size only has so many security companies available at immediate offer and those favored by such wealthy people utilize technology he's familiar with. It's as easy as a company tech's override passcode at the front doors and then a manual reset which conveniently sets all of the cameras into technical stasis: whoops, drat those system errors!

Plucking his (stolen) hat from his head, Ambrose pauses in the vast foyer of the house itself and idly scratches at his jawline with gloved fingertips. "And now…if I were to be kept in this abode, where would I be…?"

Some of the fun includes sussing out there such an intriguing item lives. Ambrose has a running bet with himself that it's not behind glass because the family is convinced that it will survive in their hypercleaned, money-soaked environment. Even with none of the lights on inside, he's still a shadow walking in stolen uniform behind gauzy drawn curtains…even if the fringed black scarf doesn't match. Hey, it was cold outside.

At the front gate, backup has arrived. A man pulls up in a motorcycle and peers at the gate. Then he appears to work a credit card onto the gate latch and it opens. Odd. That's not the sort of gate you can typically open like that. Either way he slips onto the lawn and heads toward the house.

I am in. He says. He hasn't noticed Ambrose yet but Ambrose may well have noticed him. The entry showed some subtlety but… it didn't really pass the mark for a professional. Moving toward the side entrance.

"OK Oracle. Capture the security systems. Loop the cameras and selectively disable the security as we move through the house." Batgirl instructs the VI, turning her head as the Samurai arrives. The movement is highlighted by the pointed ears on her hood.

Batgirl, Samurai, we have a problem. The front doors were overridden with a bypass code and … the cameras are glitching.

"What?" Batgirl sighs. "We aren't the only ones interested in this. A rival faction maybe?" That's to the Samurai "Oracle, can you get the camera's online and tell us what we're dealing with?"

Trying Batgirl There's a flicker on Batgirls Hud as the camera's reset. I'm seeing one individual in what appears to be a service persons uniform. I can't get their face in the image but from their movements, I suspect they are male.

I'll leave the door for you, shall I, Samurai? Oracle asks Ken as he reaches the side door. He can open it easily and it will put him just a little ahead Ambrose as he enters.

The master thief won't realise that his carefully laid plan has been undone. His path takes him through the living area - a plush but spartan affair - to the back of the house, where he can make out a room like a library. Perhaps not a library but a display room, instead.

"Entering through the back door, Oracle you can unlock that for me." Batgirl steps through the door, sliding into the shadows, waiting for Ambrose to pass her.

It's the movement in Ambrose's peripheral vision from beyond the pulled curtains and the window which has him pausing to see someone else skirting along the fenceline. A quick hissed curse in Farsi — NO!? WHO ELSE KNEW ABOUT THIS?! — sees him then ducking off into one of the side parlors. Bypassing the main hall itself means flitting through the living room in a surprisingly silent lope on his booted feet and then towards the far end of the house. Where are his doors?

There, there, and there, the Jackal marks even as he pauses briefly in the double-doored entrance to the short hallway leading to what appears to be a room with broader layout yet. His scarf gets plucked up and wrapped around his face but for his eyes; the borrowed hat is pulled down hard upon his head. Ambient light, muted as it is, winks off glass display cases…and within the pupils of the Jackal's eyes, flashing them nightshine red at the right angle for a split second.

Drat: lost the bet with himself, things are behind glass.

Despite this, and tasting adrenaline on his tongue, Ambrose breaks into the easy smooth jog again. It's doomed to bring him right past Batgirl's hiding place. He leaves displaced air scented of corporate uniform and the barest hint of grey musk and sandalwood, his cologne. His confident pace stutters, however, as he catches the scent of something not him or the ambient surroundings, and he freezes, a still darkly-clad form just outside of the display room. …did someone beat him here yet?!

There's a soft but unmistakable sound as the side door to the house opens. It would be too soft for most people to hear but Ambrose knows precisely what the sound of someone intruding on his work is. Then footsteps. Again quiet, but not quiet enough to be completely silent. If he can get a look - and he might be able to sneak one around a corner or down the stairs or similar - it's a young man in a black leather jacket and a demon menpo - an armored mask that looks a bit like a grimacing beast. The handles of two swords peek up over his shoulder but he hasn't drawn either one. Not yet.

The person is headed for where Ambrose is headed. He has at most two or three minutes before they're in the room.

Don't see anyone in here yet. Don't hear anything. But of course he doesn't. Ambrose is good.

At the back of the house, in the last room on the right. Comes Oracles instructions. Ambrose managed to skirt both the Samurai and Batgirl.

It puts the Samurai slightly ahead of the black clad crime fighter as she moves cautiously. "I'm approaching from the west side, Samurai. We should have them cornered in a moment …" The information sent subvocally, not loud enough for Ambrose to pick up.

Her scent is leather and the faintest hint of citrus that mingles with it.

Interesting that not once has Batgirl questioned whether they should just vacate!

As for Ambrose, the items are behind glass. There's some security of the cabinets that will take time to defuse. There's all manner of artifacts on display here, many are Japanese in nature and some Greek. It's an … odd collection, to say the least.

"On three, Samurai. Three, two …."

Paused and tucked to the frame of the display room's double-wide opening, Ambrose stays very, very still and listens. The house itself is full of creaks, proof of its age, and outside, cars pass at a far distance.

"«I cannot be too cautious…»" he murmurs to himself in again the desert tongue, but confidence cajoles him into the room itself now that no one's tripped his own senses — not just yet. It's not difficult to locate the demon statuette in its own glass case and he immediately arrows towards it, already reaching for his coat pocket for tools of the trade to bypass both security and glass.

Until the Bane suddenly surges to the surface of his skin and sets him on edge; both Samurai and Batgirl will catch the way the master-thief's movements suddenly become more readied despite his back to them both. The curse screeeeams at the presence of life-force in a room supposedly empty. It makes Ambrose suddenly react and, like a stage magician, two revolvers are present in his hands as he tries to turn on a dime, twisty as a startled polecat.

The Samurai spins into the room with a blade in his hand. He doesn't advance from his position at the door though. This is partly because he sees the guns and partly because he really only wants to keep this person from leaving. Until…

"Atherton?" That comes from behind that demon mask. Which is admittedly not comforting. Nor is the aura that surrounds the katana in the man's hands and makes it looks vaguely like a a light saber. A curved light saber.

"Batgirl. Hold."

Batgirl appears like a phantom a step behind the Samurai, the yellow lining of cape catching what light there is. "Hold what?" she snarks a little as she readies a batarang, a light on her suit shining in Ambroses face.

"Do you know him?" Batgirl doesn't, even though the woman in the suit does. Very much.

Scanning his face now, Batgirl. That's the speaker on her suit, loud enough for the three to hear.

The rest of the house is quiet. It's Christmas after all. The family is likely holidaying Maui or something.

His heart ricochets off his ribs like a trapped bird as the master-thief lands in his eerily-fluid manner. Both revolvers end up pointed dead at Batgirl and Samurai, one a-piece, and only hearing his last name thrown at him in a familiar voice keeps both fingers from pulling triggers.

It doesn't make Ambrose point either gun away from each individual, however, because names are easily enough to throw around — faces are harder to disguise and there are disguises abounding in the display room right now.

He squints through the light aimed dead in his eyes — damnit, they have the advantage. "Whomever you are, you are making a very bad decision. It would not bode well to force my hand." He speaks in English now, his voice low and lulling. "Whatever you hope to find with your technology, you will find little." He looks dead at Batgirl now and the light reflects brightly red in his pupils.

The tip of the sword lowers slightly and the glow flickers off of it. "Ambrose Aetherton. You were escorting Pepper Potts at the police ball. There was an incident and you became something of a swashbuckler. Presumably, you are here for the Pazuzu Demon. That would be why we are here."

There's a short pause. "Revolvers. I can respect a man who prefers not to use the latest technology because he finds that older weapons have a soul that newer things lack."

That is, after all, why he uses swords. Well, also he's very well trained in them.

"If you let me over to the glass, I can open it for you."

Hopefully Batgirl won't be… precipitous about what she does next.

Why would Batgirl be precipitous? The Samurai maligns her by thinking that!

The black clad woman steps into the room, the light on her suit dimming "Perhaps that might be correct, we won't know until we look though, will we?" comes the modulated voice. When the spots stop dancing in Ambroses eyes, he'll see the yellow bat symbol on the womans chest. Not an inch of flesh is revealed in the suit - the only truly distinguishing is the tight braid red hair that falls down her back.

"What's your interest with here? Is is the Demon, as The Samnurai suggests? You can call me Batgirl." Her head turns to the Samurai "Are you implying that I don't have soul because I like my tech?" It's banter as she lets the man the cabinet. "Oracle, are the cabinets alarmed? Not surprised but do they have an alarm on them?"

The security on the cabinet is disable, Batgirl and I've taken control of the camera's in the house. They're looping footage, so no one suspect anything. I'm also monitoring the approach to the house. That androgynous voice sounds from the redheads suit.

Atherton, Ambrose. That's on the Drivers Licence I can find though the electronic record seems incomplete. Nothing on Social Media to match his face or name. Searching further, using facial recognition to see what I can find.

"It's an unusual collection they have in here, don't you think?"

This Samurai person has him completely pinned down. Both will see the aim of the revolvers drop a few degrees in human surprise at the candid response given to the master-thief. The guns are still a threat at this moment.

His eyes narrow further. "…Master Keniuchio…?" he asks dubiously of the man wearing the demon mask and sporting a sword he does not want to EVER touch. Batgirl's light dimming down has him blinking hard a few times in reaction to better clear his vision. He spots the insignia on her chest and lets out a slow hissing sigh even as both revolvers are finally pulled from their aim; their barrels end up pointed towards the ceiling in what appears to be a neutral response. The guns certainly aren't safetied.

But nobody lives long after shooting one of the Batclan and Ambrose rather likes his current circumstances in New York.

The technological voice, emitting from Batgirl, earns her another one of those sharp side-glances. His British accent goes crisper yet. "Really, you have better things to do with your time than hare after my information. You will find nothing to aid whatever quixotic quest you pursue — though, yes, I would appreciate it if you opened the case," he says to Samurai's offer. "I will not complain to further ease of retrieving the Demon." He answers Batgirl's question as to why his presence in this.

"I'm implying that your tech has no soul." The Samurai slowly lowers his blade and then reverses it to sheathe it. "Yes, Mister Aetherton. It is me." The mask doesn't come off but that is mostly because there are cameras here. Otherwise he might offer his face. After all it's not like people CAN'T find out that he was the Silver Samurai just by googling it.

Either way the demon-masked man comes over to the case, picking up a pen off the desk along the way. The pen glows with the same aura the sword had and he simply slices the top open. Cleanly. The edges are pefectly smooth, as if cut by a glass cutter. But cut it is. That done Kenuichio puts the pen back down.

"There you go. Case opened."

Which is infinitely better in this case than 'case closed'.

The Silver Samurai doesn't hide his identity and Batgirl doesn't seem to be phased when he's identified by the gentleman thief.

"You can't help but show off, can you?" the redheaded woman quips to the Samurai as the case is opened "And what do you plan to do with this artifact if we allow you to take it?" She asks the Jackal. She's not moved from the doorway - if Ambrose wants to leave, he'll have to get past her.

Batgirl. I've found images of Mister Atherton dating back to 1970. Well, there's a 99.99999% probability this is him. They were in the Interpol database, identifying him as Richard Blackpool. Batgirl snorts with a pointed 'hooded' look in the gentlemens direction. Sending the image to your Hud and the Samurai's phone.

It is indeed Ambrose from thirty or so years ago - not aged a day.

"You must have a very good cosmetic surgeon, Mister Atherton." The redhead notes - it would be dry except for the modulator.

"How many artifacts is that we've found now, Samurai?" At least six, prescribed ones, bought in through back channels. The question at least, should get the Jackals attention even more.

"…I thank you."

By the slightly bemused, fainter volume of Ambrose's voice, he wasn't expecting the Samurai — er, Keniuchio — to follow through with the offer in the least. However, there the Demon is, within easy reach now of his gloved hand through a precisely carved hole in the glass containment system.

Batgirl gets an eyebrow arched in her direction and a quiet scoff. The unseen snarl behind his masking scarf deepens as the technological voice spouts off information he desperately wishes were forgotten or lost to the annals of time in regards to Interpol. DAMN THEM.

"I promise on my black little heart to tell you of just what minds my charming face after you bid me goodnight and allow me to walk past you with the Demon," he informs Batgirl with a charming if false congeniality. "Though, by all means, Master Keniuchio: how many artifacts have you found?" Ambrose aims the question at the masked man now, his weigh rested unconcerned on one boot more than the other. His nonchalance masks his own readiness still.

"Twenty or so." Kennuichio says pausing to count on his fingers and then nod to himself. Yes. That math seems about right. "The illegal artifact trade is booming in Staten Island and it all seems to be focused within a few small social circles. Not, of course, that you can prove they knowingly received illegal goods. Not, in some cases, that you can prove the goods were removed illegally."

Whomever is doing this has a lot of pull on both sides of the pond but all the signs of an illicit trade are there.

"The trouble is of course that the artifacts are not simply baubles to amuse the wealthy and bored." As indeed Ambrose can feel. There is power, possibly even life, within that statuette.

Samurai checks his phone. Then looks at Ambrose. Then at Batgirl. And then back at his phone again.

Yeah that's not normal.

"There's no record of this one coming through Customs either or other 'regular' methods for importing this type of thing." Batgirl answers, not moving out the Jackals way once he gets his hands on the statue. "I would rather, Master Atherton …" the redhead echoes his mode of address "… that you tell us what you're going to do this. We were going to return it to the appropriate embassy. Once we could be assured that the embassies are clean themselves."

It's a mess, to be sure. How did this artifact get here then, if not by 'normal methods'?

"Oracle is good, Samurai." that's an aside to the man for the look he just gave her. It's amusing to see the reactions to that.

"These 'baubles' as you put it are being used in rituals around the island. The last one I attended didn't end well for us."

There goes the other eyebrow up to join the other. Twenty artifacts. That is…more than Ambrose himself has touched since he started the year with a new tally to reach. He glances tellingly over at the statuette of the Demon when it makes the Bane still lingering beneath his skin hiss in subconscious warning. Hmm. Ah, well, he is wearing gloves, it'll be just fine — the Bane is its own armor against time-worn magic from the Fertile Crescent.

Ignoring what must be commiserating glances between Keniuchio and Batgirl at his fine, fine features, he walks over to the display. Revolvers are then safetied and holstered. The Demon is then plucked from its pedestal. Holding it up before himself, Ambrose turns it left and right, clearly looking it over for imperfections or proof of flaws that proves it fake.

"I can only imagine…" he says, voice gone distant with attention on the statuette in his hands, "…that someone wanting to cause a great deal of trouble might use this as the focus for their attempt. I am intending to return it to its homeland embassy as well. If you choose to sweep up before I return it, I will also not stop you. I would be fain to not take advantage of this."

Batgirl ends up with the Jackal stopped not a half-foot before her. Somewhere in his coat now is the Demon statuette. He looks at her anonymous cowl and down her body and back up impersonally, weighing chances he ever loves with toy with…and he spots the very back of her nape: red hair. A short, somewhat put-upon sigh.


"I ask you politely, milady, please move aside."

Kenuichio looks at Batgirl. "I'm inclined to let him." He says plainly. "Keeps our involvement out of it."

Which he is rather keen to do. Batgirl and Ambrose both know that Ken has a 'daylight' persona as a businessman and being a foreigner he is keen not to have too many questions asked about how and where he is getting certain artifacts to be returned.

"How many artifacts have you… re-appropriated? Or is this a one time thing?"

"Do you trust him?" Batgirl asks the Samurai bluntly as she stands there. She saw the look at her hair and heard the sigh, making her wonder at it. "I assure you, Master Atherton, I have a soul." The sweeping look at the rest of her gets no comment. Her suit is practical, after all.

"How did you hear about this one, may I ask? I only heard because Oracle is monitoring … underground channels."

No, she doesn't move. Not yet. Some of that might be just plain stubborn, of course.

"Would you be willing to … collect … others if the need arose?" She adds to Kens question.

Keniuchio gets his reply, albeit without a turn of the Jackal's face towards him: "A goodly number of artifacts. I have admittedly lost count over the decades." Ambrose doesn't look away from the shorter young woman before him and puts more effort into a hard look from behind his masking black scarf and beneath his corporate hat.

Decades, he says.

And the young Bat-woman doesn't move despite his politesse. Again, there is a long-suffering sigh. Save him from redheads indeed. "I have my own channels that I monitor and have earned dearly. This particular statuette was mentioned recently. As to collecting other artifacts, yes. I will gladly advance my own affairs over anyone tampering with black magics. I have no love for it." Something cold and inhuman slides through the back of his eyes still focused on Batgirl. Maybe if he stares hard enough, she'll move?

Though he finally does look away from Batgirl to ask Keniuchio, "Is this what you do in your spare time? Run about with an enchanted katana and act the vigilante?" There's a bare thread of amusement to it.

"I meant recently in relation to this particular problem." Ken points out. "I am willing to extend some trust and see what happens, Batgirl." Batgirl and Oracle. Ken has no idea what the link between the two is but they are often 'encountered' together.

"Well ever since I retired from being one of the Big Hero Six, one must find something to fill the time occasionally." Ah yes. That. Ambrose may or may not be up on the hero scene but it isn't hard to find out that Ken used to be what is roughly the Japanese equivalent of an Avenger.

"Also, the Katana hasn't enchanted."

Ken… doesn't have a mic to drop. But if he did, he might do this.

But probably not. Good mic's are expensive and the feedback is awful.

"It's not some bad anime, you know. That's the normal sword that he out there." Batgirl quips, faceless mask turned towards Ambrose as he *stares*. She doesn't seem inclined to move, but then Ambrose hasn't met the Daddy Bat - or, in the words of many, the goddamn Batman.

It takes Kens words to move her. With a small nod in the Samurai's direction, the redhead steps out of the way. "Take this…" Her hand dips into her utility belt and brings forth a communicator. "You can contact Oracle and they can contact you." Yes, Batgirl and Oracle are often encountered together, but Oracle does seem to work on their own as well.

A pleased sliver of a smile hides beneath his scarf as Batgirl steps to one side. He leaves his hands at his hips however, a continued confident stance as he looks now between the two of them.

"Ah, yes, the Big Hero Six. I shall utilize Google when my business is concluded. As to your sword…what is the phrase I heard recently used in the subway in relation with anime — er, no, not anime, a game…" He manages to snap despite the black kid-skin gloves and fingerguns at Keniuchio. "Ah, yes: I roll for disbelief."

When offered the communicator by Batgirl, he visibly balks. It takes a second of consideration and outright suspicion in the technology. Ambrose then reaches to take the communicator and subjects it to the same once-over he gave the Demon statuette earlier. "Oracle, is it? I highly doubt this is all-seeing and all-knowing," he mutters, sounding amused despite himself. "Quite ambitious of you to name it as such."

Kennuichio chuckles. "The sword I was holding is quite normal. It's THIS one that is enchanted and trust me, no one likes the manner in which it is." There is something about that sword, the one he indicates. Something muted but distinctly unpleasant. It's distant though. Sleeping, it seems.

"It is all annoying." Ken looks between Ambrose and Babs. "It does have a habit of piping up to ask pertinent… or impertinent questions. However the resources it can offer are… useful."

Oracle LIKES having answers. And likes getting answers. Ken isn't sure which it likes more.

"That is the name that was given to them by those they work with." Batgirl answers. She's smirking under that mask not that anyone can tell. "And don't you start, they've helped you more than once." That's to Ken, though the sword he's drawn has the redhead stepping back a back.

The feeling in the air when it's drawn is palpable.

Hello, Mister Atherton. Or should I say, Lieutenant Atherton? The voice comes from the Communicator. I won't impinge on your privacy, unless you give me permission. Or do something illegal that we haven't asked you to do. It's pragmatic at least.

Information is power. Oracle likes both parts of Kens equation - having answers and getting them.

"If that's all gentlemen, I suggest we depart before the owners return to find us here."

Keniuchio's particular sword is given a long and leery look. Ambrose marks the manner of its hilt and build well. He's not about to willingly go blade-to-blade with it if he can manage it — not that he's even tried to fend of a katana with his pair of trench knives before, but hey, when one lives long enough, the dice can roll unpredictably.

When the communicator itself pipes up in Oracle's now-recognizable tones, the Jackal nearly gets to juggling it. He doesn't drop it, thankfully. The communicator gets a blazing, gimlet squint. "Yes, well, we shall see how you feel about my personal habits when you've disappeared into some dark space beyond even the reach of modern satellites."

It's probably going to get stashed in one of his safehouses down by the river rather than at the manor proper given the man's distrust of modern technology as it stands.

For the moment, he slips the communicator into his 'borrowed' coat's pocket and nods sharply. "I agree entirely. By all means, lead the way out, Milady of Mystery. I shall be behind you."

Right behind, truly.

Ambrose tilts his head at Batgirl regardless. "Though you have given no name this entire time. I know of your compatriot. What to do you call yourself?"

"That is opening up not a can of worms but the entire flat of them." Kennuichio says as they go. Whatever answer Batgirl gives, he'll accompany them out and then get his bike and depart. This has gone well. No fighting. No killing. No Batgirl scowling at him while he pontificates on how dumb her incredibly selective pacifism is.

Yes. A good night. "The Oracle is helpful. Better than a fortune cookie, in that sense. Though only just."

More than only just but hey. Fortune cookies are delicious and they mean you've had chinese food.

He wants that now.

"I'll take it that you were dazzled by my prowess when I introduced myself." Batgirl smirks. Cause she most certainly had done that earlier. She'll forgive him though, she is rather specatular ;) "I'm Batgirl."

Following the men out of the house, the redhead speaks to Oracle again. "When we're clear, reset the security system and restore the camera's. I'll want to see the footage of the owners returning and trying to work out just what happened."

It has gone well, for a change. She's hasn't had to chide Ken for killing. Nor has he had to snark at for not.

"We'll be in touch, Mister Atherton." As they make it outside, she disappears into the shadows. No flashbangs or smoke bombs, she's not quite as theatrical as the goddamn Batman.

And chinese. Mmmmm. Maybe Ken will have a visitor.

"She does that." Ken says with a shake of his head as he makes his bike and starts it. "Good fortune bringing that back to it's rightful owner. If there is trouble, you know where to find me." There is, after all, a dojo that can be looked up and isn't THAT hard to find. It's one of the few really ASIAN looking buildings in Staten Island.

And then he's off. Utterly unaware that Ambrose has a kryptonite and that it is red hair. His secret is safe.

For now, it's time to get Chinese food. And fortune cookies.

Ambrose visibly pulls up in surprise at the young woman's response. A moment's pause.

"…yes, right." There's no excuse and if there's one, he's not about to volunteer that it might have been Batgirl's hair color because that's a very lovely hair color…even if most of the redheads in his life have tried to kill Ambrose. It's fun! Twisted fun. Truly. Mostly.

He is on their six as promised and he does catch Keniuchio's comment about fortune cookies. There is a scoff to follow. Both Samurai and Batgirl will likely hear the Jackal opine, even as he turns to disappear off across the lawn,

"I hate fortune cookies. They are utter nonsense. Puh."

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