2020-04-30 - Breaking up break-ins


Anon catches Ford at his other job. He is not in a particularly good mood about it.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Thu Apr 30 01:08:22 2020
Location: Brooklyn

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Brooklyn was not the sort of place Ford liked to linger. A bit too close to the Disaster Zone for his tastes, even if Lower East Side wasn't that much further away. But that's what made it such prime material for snatching something that nobody would miss… or notice until it was too late. Police presence was a little lower around this area, despite the danger. Ford could understand the need for safety, certainly. If he could, he'd have moved further away a long time ago. But, the chop shop boss made the rules, not him, so tonight, he and a couple other members of the crew were looking to snag a couple of vehicles - vans specifically - from the streets and bring them back for "processing".

Ford was not keen on playing muscle - he felt bad enough pulling apart the cars as it was - but if things went south, he'd be the one who had to bail the others out. Not that anyone was aware of that, but him. Ford leaned against the side of the van, disguising himself in a simple black face mask. Two other crooks were working on loosening the doors of the van in the front, while another was trying to jimmy the lock on the back. "Please, take your times, boys. It's only grand theft auto, after all." Ford mused, eyes watching this way and that in the dark light of the moon. "Just keep a look out for trouble, Jack. We'll handle this. Better prove good on your word when we get this back to the shop…" the criminal handling the driver's side door snipped back. "Jack Callahan"… it was the name Ford used when dealing with his criminal associates. They didn't need to know his real name. He was confident "Fritz" wasn't his associate's real name either.

"Let's just get this thing open, get back, and take 'er apart. Then we can all go home and sleep…"

Too close to the Disaster Zone, a dangerous neighbourhood… that also makes it a prime location for a heroine looking to do some good after a stressful day. Hence, Anon is out on patrol, mostly visible as a golden blur racing along streets or zipping between rooftops. Even just running is a good way for her to clear her head, a chance for her to simply exist for a little while. To spend her time focused on the next footstep, the next jump, while keeping an eye out for dangers—

Dangers like a group of masked men all ganging up on a poor, parked van. Well that's suspicious.

But not suspicious enough for her to introduce herself fists first. The hooded, masked, leotarded figure zips into the head of the alleyway, hanging from a windowsill to make herself seem that little bit taller. "You know, if you wanted to really sell the 'I just locked the keys in the car' bit, you'd need a coat hanger. I'm guessing that van doesn't belong to any of you."

Oh hell…

Ford immediately spun on his heel and stepped back to get a good look at the newly arrived heroine. Huh… third lady he's run into with super powers so close to the DZ. Ford was having an internal debate on whether that was a good thing or bad. For now, however, he was simply fine with the notion that a dangerous zone attracted the attention of ladies. What was NOT fine, however, was being caught breaking into a van that definitely did not belong to you.

His partners in crime, however, made the situation even worse. While Ford was trying to come up with a witty comeback, they had already pulled out their firearms and began shooting. Ford simply rolled his eyes and slapped his forehead. "Sure, let's start shooting and draw even MORE attention! Because the handguns always work on these nutjobs!" Ford said in exasperation. Interesting to note that he himself had a gun, but didn't go for it like the others…

"Oh, for—" It's not like Anon is bulletproof, not in any 'just stand there and take it' sense. It takes work for her to keep safe when people open fire. Sure, it's easy when it's just three guys with handguns and no internal coordination: she can calculate the trajectories before they even finish pulling the trigger, and then just be somewhere else by the time the bullets reach her. But it's still work. She does as little as possible, just ducking to the side or twisting away rather than zooming to the other side of the alley.

Gunshots like those, she'd give it an even chance that someone in this neighbourhood calls the police, and even then it'll be minutes before the police arrive. That's enough to put time pressure on the crooks, but not enough for her to count on backup. So she closes the distance, to pull the guns from each man in turn… though for now, she isn't paying attention to Ford. Who knows? Maybe he's an ordinary crook who sees the writing on the wall for once.

Ford sighed. Looks like he'd have to take point on this one. Not that he wanted to. As Anon relieves the other crooks of their guns, Ford barked for their attention. "Alright, dumbasses. Back to the car and head for the shop. I'll try and salvage something out of this whole mess." Ford ordered. "Fritz" shot Ford a dirty look, clearly about the respond, when Ford gave him a withering look in response. "…fine! Be a hero, you moron!" was the only reply Ford got before the others turned tail and began to dart to a pale yellow hunk of junk that technically counted as a street-legal vehicle.

Ford exhaled again, clearly not looking forward to any of this. "Look, sweetheart. I don't like hitting ladies. And I don't like super powered whackjobs butting into things that, frankly, they really don't have a right to be bothering with anyways. So what would it take for you to run back to wherever you came from and just pretend you saw none of this?" Ford asked, cracking his knuckles and rolling his neck. He already had an inkling of what was coming, but he wanted to be fair.

Anon ducks down, picking up a few stones, nails, and other bits of relatively sharp debris left lying in the alleyway. She idly tosses and catches them as she rises back up, her eyes focused more on the space past Ford's shoulder. If he's actually trying to face off with her, then he's likely someone to be concerned about… but she can keep attention on him and the car at once, starting with memorising the license plate. "Felony grand theft auto attempted in my presence, means grounds for a citizen's arrest. I have every right to get involved." She tilts her head, listening for the squeal of tires to keep track of where the car's going. "You want me to leave them alone? You surrender and come with me to a precinct right now." He's clearly the most dangerous of the group, and thus it'd be more important to get him off the street than a few humans with guns.

"But you do have something no normal person can hope to compete with: unnatural speed." Ford quipped back, watching her gather her debris collection cautiously, never really taking his eyes off of it as she juggled it in place. "You jumping into to stop this is like a SWAT team stopping a jaywalker. The overkill is absolutely disgusting." Ford folded his arms, sighing and shaking his head. "I… truthfully don't. I just don't want to catch hell and lose this work. It's illegal, but it pays the bills."

Ford rolled his shoulders and uncrossed his arms. "I can't come with you either. I have work in the morning. Besides, I have a sneaking suspicion you wouldn't keep your word even if I did. I make it a policy not to trust anyone with super powers outright…" Ford exhaled again, before vanishing from sight and charging forward, hoping that if Anon couldn't see him, she couldn't properly dodge him. It's with that mindset that he hoped to try and tackle her, not really hitting her so much as shoving her back and too the ground. "Now leave!"

Anon points to him with one finger, the others keeping her debris clasped to her palm. "And yet, you're not a normal person. You, up against ordinary police officers — or, say, up against the rightful owner of this van, just minding his own business and trying to defend his property — is the exact same kind of overkill. Difference being—" She points towards her masked face. "This costume, this mask, announcing myself. I don't hide my 'abnormal' like a trump card."

She rolls her eyes. Work in the morning? "Tell you what." She drops her debris, letting it fall to the ground. "I won't even go get them right now. We'll keep this between you and—" And he disappears. She can't see him, not directly, so she's not going to just stick around. Instead, she bursts into her own motion, dashing back and forth in the alleyway. In part to keep away from where he'd expect her to be, and in part to kick up dust. But as she moves, she unknowingly passes right by him. Is he fast enough to get an attack off, or does she just breeze past?

If only Ford had the ability to respond. He didn't *want* to be abnormal, but her comment only seemed to solidify the lie in the back of his head. Even among the folks that he probably should fit in with - being super powered and extraordinary - he still didn't fit in. In any other scenario, he'd probably be a bit more melancholy. But at the moment, he didn't exactly have the frame of mind to mull of philosophical opinions. He just kept barreling forward, likely into Anon's path and just crashing into her. Purely unintentional and inelegant, but effective all the same.

"Gah, criminy!" Ford wasn't entirely scotfree in that tussle, though, sending him on a continued path and just stumbling right into a wall. He took a moment to recover, before looking around in the dust Anon had kicked up. Deciding he needed higher ground, he leapt up and out of the dust, grappling onto a window sill above the pandemonium and just trying to find her. She had to stop eventually, right?


Anon never asked for her abnormalities, either. Her everyday life would be considerably less stressful if she could cut that secret out of herself and just Stop Being A Mutant… but she can't stop being who and what she is. And now that she's tasted heroism, she can't ignore those opportunities, either. It isn't always combat: pulling a man from a car before it finishes crashing, running through flames too fast to be burned. That's what she prefers, but she won't just shut her eyes before something else that needs her intervention.

Physics is a bitch. When he crashes into her, she may have more speed, but he has so much more mass, and the hit sends her sprawling, grunting as she skips along the alley like a stone across a pond. Yet she recovers her footing for the last bit of skidding, eyes turned on the brief dust cloud — just in time to see the disturbance showing him leaving it, to see the rattling as he hits the window. There's about a half-second when she's stilled, processing.

Then she's off like a shot. She really should not be able to get that much speed from a dead stop. The dust cloud swirls behind her as she kicks off, aiming her own tackle at that window. She doesn't carry the kind of force you'd expect from speed like that — it would still be more like 'teenage girl doing a flying kick' than like 'a human-sized ballistic projectile'. Physics is a bitch to her because she screws with it in strange ways.

Ford tried his best to follow Anon's speed. His senses were much sharper than a normal human, but not necessarily that well trained or that sharp. He's still doing his best, but it's not enough to dodge the flying kick to his torso… or… was that it? That did a lot less than he thought it would do. He was bracing for something the speed of a race car impacting. Instead it was more like… just a normal kick. Granted, it was enough to actually knock him loose from his perch, but not enough to actually hurt him.

Falling back into the cloud of dust below, Ford coughed as he got up, opting to reveal himself as he stumbled out of the dust cloud, trying to make himself look more injured than he really was. He clearly couldn't keep up wih her in raw speed, so he'd have to do something he detested, much like everything else he seemed to do in his off time: play dirty. Hopefully, it would bait her closer, allowing him to surprise her with a sudden, unexpected grapple.

Maybe other heroes would have to come closer. Maybe they'd worry and come in for a closer look, or they'd press the advantage. But Anon's advantage is that she doesn't need to stay close to get close when she wants to. She comes back down to street level, staying at the other end of the alleyway. For one thing, she knows all kinds of tricks when she sees them.

"Really?" Her tone drips with sarcasm. "You're either playing possum, or trying for a guilt-trip." She knows all about those. Hard to live with her mother without picking it up. "Everything you said… I don't even need to play 'I'm rubber, you're glue' because you were talking to a mirror in the first place. You don't trust metas because you know you're untrustworthy. You're disgusted by the overkill because you disgust yourself every time you put on that mask, don't you? You're wasting yourself, and you know it."

Ford exhaled again. Clearly, his ruse was not working. He straightened up, before turning and eyeing her. "You're right on one thing: I don't trust metas. Mutants in particular. Because I've seen what happens when you give them free reign and no accountability. In my experience? They hurt people. Badly. They show no restraint and it hurts the folks who try to play by the rules. If it wasn't for mutants? I wouldn't have to resort to this bullcrap." Ford frowned a bit, shaking his head and shrugging. "But what's the point of arguing it? Everyone has already decided where they stand on the matter. And I was in the loser's corner."

Ford turned and stuffed his hands in his pockets, glowering at Anon. "So what now?" As far as Ford could see, this was a draw. He couldn't trick her or hit her, but she couldn't actually hit him hard enough to damage him, if that kick was anything to go by. He looked up at the half moon and sighed. "Guess that's rent I'll have to find from somewhere else. Thanks." Once again, metas making his life harder. His ears twitched a bit as his sharp hearing caught wind of police sirens in the distance. "Sounds like play time is almost over… count yourself lucky."

A few words in particular make Anon twitch, her fists clenching at her sides. She can hit harder than she did before, much harder. She usually doesn't because of Newton's third law: as hard as she can dish it out, her body can't take it as well.

But instead of turning into an aggressive assault, she just speaks, her voice low, cold, and soft. "Fuck. You. Fuck you and your racism. If you were anything more than a hypocrite, you'd 'play by the rules'. You'd march into the nearest government office and volunteer to register yourself, and accept every bit of 'accountability' you want on mutants."

She lifts her chin. "Now? No we prove who we are. I could pull that mask off you, take a picture, go catch up with your boys, wrap them up with a bow, and come back here before your mask's hit the ground. But I told you I'd let them go, didn't I? One of us can be trusted." She blurs away, vanishing to the rooftops. Close enough that she'll know if the van starts moving, but not stalking him.

Ford chuckled a bit, before holding up a finger and wagging it. "Don't have to. Registration laws were repealed. Remember? I was all in favor of them, by the way. I figured it was fair. If you want to use your powers, you gotta get a license. But… nobody agreed." Ford glanced back, figuring he was talking to nobody by now, and sure enough, she was gone. There was actually a part of him that would've loved to see the look on her face when she tried to pull his mask off, only to find she was literally yanking at his actual face.

Ford inhaled a deep cleansing breath, before letting it out in a slightly dejected sigh. He had heard all this before. Heck, it made him a target for bullies. But at least she was gone. Hopefully headed home. A part of him wondered what home for her was. He hoped it was somewhere safe and secure. He forced a smile to his face, hands in his pockets as he trodded down the street and once again vanished from sight.

"Stay safe!" was all he said, calling out into the cold night air.

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