The Great ATM Heist

January 01, 2019:

In which Ghost sees Sublime have a power mishap and decides to find out more lest SHIELD need her to be involved later.

Midtown NYC

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

*

Noone told Rachel Goldman that when she broke away from the DEO that life would become be set into total 'Hard' mode. From having her own little penthouse, four totally .. well, we won't get into her roommates at this juncture - and a pretty much unlimited bank account, Rachel now finds herself at a corner market, trying to access a seedy ATM machine. Those that are generally used as standalones and come with such quaint names as QuikMoney or CashandDash.

The machine beeps at the woman in it's annoying way as Rachel frowns 'Account Not Found'. She murmurs the words to herself. The DEO finally cut her off. And now, they might have a fix on her location. She has to get on the move and soon. And for that to happen, she needs cash. So. What's a woman to do?

Looking around to make sure noone's watching, she slips her hand down and shifts it's density to the point where it's sliding into the machine with ease and she reaches in through the cash release to where the bills are kept to be dispensed.

"Sorry, just need a few." she offers to the machine with a frown. "Cab fare, you know."

*

Ava isn't working today. It's an unusual change of pace, and one she is ill-suited for addressing o nher own. No one at the office particularly cares about her social concerns, however. They need her to leave once in awhile in the hopes that she will learn to loosen up someday. Not that it's worked so far. Right now, her hair is in a somewhat messy updo and she's wearing a white cotton blouse, black business jacket, and slacks. Really, it makes her appear normal even if she generally acts anything but.

As luck might have it Ava Starr is passing that ATM in midtown that Rachel has chosen for her theft. She has her hands buried into her pocket and a fixed expression on her features such that she doesn't immediately notice what is happening.

Then again, who would? It's a pretty unusual occurrence even in the days of mutants. otherwise they'd stop building ATMs in open locations.

*

"Where are you.. aha." Unlike Ava, Rachel is dressed down. Her pants are 'distressed' - which really means there are multiple tears in them exposing the leggings beneath. A sweater top is cropped to expose part of her middriff and the sun tattoo on her side. Blonde hair pulled up into a messy updo, a pair of chop sticks are used to keep it up. She misses her hairpins.

Finally getting a hold of the mechanism, she releases it - planning to only pull out a few twenties to make it for the next few days. Instead, the machine buzzes in error and suddenly starts to spill all of the contents of it's bill box onto the street.

"Crap." Rachel hisses, trying to pull her hand back out with the small wad of cash. But the machine's mechanism causes her hand to get stuck and she has to go intangible to get it to release. "Let me go!" she yelps, trying to get out the cash, and in the process, her right arm goes forward - slamming into the machine with far more force than one would expect from the woman as she smashes it open, taking out the wad. And then she looks around at the crowd forming around her.

"Sorry!" is all she can manage to say before she's trying to flee, stuffing the money into the pockets of her jacket.

*

"What are you apologizaing for, lady?" One guy calls cheerfully. People are scrambling to scoop up money from the streetside. No one has even bothered to call this in yet, and they probably won't "remember" until the money stops spilling across the pavement.

Ava, for her part, is much more reserved than the other people who are gathered around the ATM. She arches an eyebrow, but her gaze is more for Rachel than the rest of the people gathered here- or even the money. Still, she wanders foreward and discretely bends down to gather a few hundreds in a rather circumspect fashion, her gaze discretely following the Amazonian blonde now taking off along the street. The woman straightens and wanders away just in tiem for a police vehicle to pull up with a telltale siren's screech.

As soon as Ava rounds the corner she vanishes from sight. She walks parallel to Rachel's path a couple streets over, moving quickly, and then ducks through one of the buildings between them, an on old brick tenement, leaving only her after image behind to linger in the air. If she's worked this out properly she'll catch up to Rachel somewhere a bit less… Obvious.

*

The sounds of the NYPD sirens are all that it takes for Rachel to pick up her pace. Whether opprotunistic or not, she doesn't want to be interviewed - either by the local press or the police. As she turns down an alley, she reaches into her pocket to pull out the money to start to count what she managed to grab and she makes a face as she leans against the wall beneath a fire escape.

"I can't even get into a matinee with this." she says with a cluck of her tongue against her cheek. Reaching down into her pocket, she pulls out a phone - it's one of those flip numbers. They haven't been used publically in years, but Ava should know a burner phone when she sees one. Rachel opens it, and seeing no new messages, closes it back up.

"Alright, Roach." she tells herself. "We have sixty bucks, a cold night coming, and you don't want to sleep in that damn factory again. So - what do we do?"

*

"Roach? There's a nickname for you," Ava drawls as she steps out of the shadow of a nearby dumpster, her hands near her pockets. "If you're going to rip off an ATM in broad daylight you should probably consider taking enough money to at least cover the ten years in jail you're going to get if you get caught," she suggests archly.

"About six other people got it instead, doesn't seem to be doing you much good that way." Ava reaches out, a hundred dollar bill in hand, and holds it out toward Rachel then, her expression one of mild curiosity with her carefully sculpted brows furrowed delicately. "I took care of the camera for you." She continues forward with long, slow strides.

"Was quite the display."

*

"Shit." Rachel watches the woman come from the shadows, and immediately, the blonde's defenses are on alert. The money is thrown back into her pocket and she goes into a loose fighter's stance. "The point is not to get caught. You DEO? Justice League?" she asks, frowning at the fact that Ava is offering her a bill.

She knows that trick too well. Get in close enough, and her wrist will be grabbed. Her hand rests on her stomach as she offers a tight. "Thanks." but she's not going for that money yet. She's watching Ava, taking her in and figuring out exactly what she wants from her. Because everyone usually wants something.

*

"No and no," Ava replies, offering a slow, almost intimate smile as she comes just a hair closer. "I'm not here hunting you. Though what the does tell me… Is that you *are* being hunted." Ava pauses for a second, taking that opportunity to look Rachel over careuflly from head to toe.

"DEO, hmm?" the woman asks then, cocking her head to the left with a quizzical frown on her lips. Her dark hair shifts with the motion though it can't actually fall to her shoulder thanks to the bun. All save a few stray tendrils. "I'm not ging to hurt you. DOn't worry. Besides, even if I wanted to do something to you it appears you're more than strong enough to deal with the problem."

Rachel might get the impression that Ava is almost teasing her with that soft, jocular voice and light words. "You may as well take the money. You're the one who stole it, after all." Another half step closer follows.

"Justice League, hmm?" Ava continues quietly. "You don't really seem the supervillain type." She keeps the hundred dollar bill extended.

*

Ava's words darken Rachel's cheeks. If for just a moment. She shakes it off. "Done worse than that." she mutters, mainly to herself. Only then does she become aware of how close that Ava has gotten to her. She smells. She knows it. She hasn't had a good shower in days, and laundry? That hasn't been an option of late.

A glance is given again to that bill, extended to her so confidently. And Rachel finally caves. That could be the next few nights worth of meals for her. "Supervillain.. ha." she offers with a glance down over herself. "I don't even know what I am sometimes." she admits, reaching to slip her fingers around Ava's to take the offered money finally. She trusts herself to be able to break loose if it is a trap.

*

No trap. The money is transferred and then Ava's smile widens slightly. SHe gives Rachel a sly, almost sidelong glance then. "There. That wasn't so hard," Ava murmurs in her soft, posh British accent. "So…" The woman briefly purses her lips. "What is your real name, Roach? You can leave off the surname if you prefer. It isn't really going to matter…" She shakes her head slowly before sucking in a deep breath.

"And then you can tell me what you're running from. After we get off the street, maybe." Ave sniffs the air delicately before shaking her head. "You need to get off the street. I have a hotel room not too far away. You're welcome for a couple hours, if you're not afraid I'm about to kidnap you somehow."

*

"Wouldn't be the first time." Rachel starts to respond. She looks over the thin brunette and draws in a breath. There's been no poking at her brain, no trying to figure her out. "Rachel." she finally allows. No need to use her real codename. And only one other person has ever called her roach. Though the suggestion that her name isn't going to matter causes the young woman to suck in a breath, before she nods. "Okay." she agrees. Moving away from Ava, she goes to the other side of the dumpster, she pulls out a backpack with what few personal effects she has.

And then she returns, arms folded across her middle, looking to Ava in some confusion. Why would she bother to care about her, after all.

*

"Keep close, poppet. You're conspicuous no matter where we are but if we look busy and unapproachable people will tend to ignore us," Ava instructs. Then they are off and soon to join a sea of people. As promised, Ava's hotel really isn't very far. It's a solid 4 star in Midtown, meaning someone with means must be footing the bill, and no one even gives the woman a second glance as she leads her new companion to the doors, then presumably inside and over to the elevators. Ava sets a firm pace, walking with a vaguely militarry precision while words continue to be conveyed in soft tones.

"Rachel, then. My name is Ava," the petite brunette offers in a near murmur as they travel. She might speak softly but her diction is always good, like she had elocution lessons as a child.

*

Rachel follows after Ava. Now Ava may start to notice. The way she walks, the manner she carries herself. While she may look the Midwestern corn-fed farmer's daughter, her gait is strong, showing training. Discipline. There's a glance towards the doorman as Ava is able to just pass through and Rachel follows suit, and straightens herself as she pauses a moment to look in a mirror. Her first good look in a couple of days. And she looks a fright.

Giving a sigh at herself, she tries to push some blonde hair back into place before glancing at Ava from behind and then falling back to following before she realizes how far behind she's gotten. "..so what's your story? You don't seem to be the type to take in strays."

*

"You're right, I'm not," Ava agrees mildly as she takes them up two flgihts of stairs and then into a hotel room that certainly cost more than the one hundred-sixty dollars Rachel is currently carrying for a single night. Ava glances back at her companion once inside and waits for her to follow.

"Right now, I'm just trying out the good samaritan thing. I don't really have any love for DEO either, you could say," Ava offers simply. "You're clearly not a hardened criminal and I was curious why someone with your- skillset- was smashing ATMs in broad daylight. Feel free to use the shower first and then you can tell me a bit more about yourself. I'm… Used to people with powers wandering around, you could say."

Ava moves over to the bed, then kneels down to open a duffel bag. She obviously hasnt been here all that long as her clothing is still packed. "I don't really have much of a story to share, I'm afraid."

*

Oh, blessed shower. At the mention of the DEO, Rachel pauses in her step and draws in a breath. "Those powers are the exact reason.." she shakes her head. "Nevermind." Assuming that Ava probably doesn't want to hear her story, Rachel moves herself to the bathroom, setting down her backpack. She leaves the door open so that she can keep an eye on Ava, even as she moves to remove her sweater.

That's when the tattoo on her shoulder becomes more visible. The letters '29' in a military font. There are those in the know that Stormwatch and the IO marked their gene-actives with a numeric tattoo to show exactly what number they were when activated. She's the 29th in the series. After pulling the chop sticks from her hair, she starts to remove her pants, closing the door finally to give her some privacy.

*

"Tell me once you're done," Ava repeats quietly before she sits down on the edge of the bed. Once Rachel is out of the room she produces her laptop and begins to browse something. Ava is quite the skilled computer operator. Whatever she is getting into involvesa plenty of typing. The password is heinously long. But she seems comfortable enough working on it where Rachel could soon walk in. For her part, Ava doesn't disrobe. She just stares thoughtfully at the screen in front of her.

*

The hot water is thoroughly enjoyed. Rachel hasn't had a good scrubbing in a while, and she's planning on taking a full advantage of it.

While Rachel is cleaning, Ava will find out more about the gene projects and various teams - including DV8, which was listed as renegade and defunct. With one of the members being a blonde girl that looks a lot like Rachel with the codename of 'Sublime'.

Finally, after a while, Rachel comes out of the shower. Instead of dressing, she's 'borrowed' the robe from the back of the door, and has her blonde hair pulled up and tied within a towel. A toothbrush sticks out of the corner of her mouth, as she looks at the woman stretched out on the bed, and for a moment, her eyes rise in a bit of worry.

*

"I sincerely hope you didn't use all of the hot water," Ava calls matter-o-factly. She loosks up from her laptop and shifts her weight slightly to better face Rachel. "Now, you were about to tell me what dragged you all the way to New York City and how it relates to DEO and all of that nonsense, I think. Though if you'd rather wait I could get us some room service first. It's a good time… To eat." Ava grimaces slightly and then gives her head a quick shake. "Mmm." She sucks in a sharp breath. "Police are going to be looking for you or I'd suggest the cafe around the corner."

*

Rachel winces. It was too good to be true. She takes a couple of steps back. In fact, she forgets the bathroom door was closed. She bumps into it and phases through to the other side. "I don't have a story to tell." she says, halfway through the door. "Classic girl was given drugs to become a powered being. Kidnapped by quasi-government group. Used as their assassin squad. And I should go." she says quickly, that panic starting to well up in her blue eyes.

*

"No one's stopping you," Ava responds almost nonchalantly. "You don't have any reason to run, Rachel.I know what it's like. The running, I mean. It's not easy." Ava sets the computer aside. "I'm going to order something regardless. You can stay for dinner if you want." Now she's leaning over to retrieve the hotel phone. "Hello? …Yes. Two cheeseburgers? French fries…" She looks up at Rachel then.

*

There's noone stopping her. So why is she stopping herself? Something about Ava tells the blonde to trust her, and she finally pushes herself back through the door. Privacy is going to be a pain for either of them, really. "Double cheeseburger. Fries. And a chocolate shake?" she asks as she moves to sit on the bed across from Ava.

*

THe orderp laced Ava delicately sets the phone aside. She twists slightly on the bed and draws her feet up until her knees are near her chest. Cool eyes study Rachel for a few seconds after that but she still doesn't say a word. Finally, Ava purses her lips. "My name is Ava Starr. I'm a computer technician for SHIELD." Crisply, without any further preamble. "That's not a secret, my employment is public. I have no intention of trying to do anything to you at all. None of SHIELD is, actually." Ava isn't even lying, even if she left out a big detail.

No one's connected Ava Starr to Ghost. She intends to keep it that way. "Anyway. That's the important part of my story at least. You? What are you planning to do in New York other than hide?"

*

"I don't know. Hide seems like a really good plan at the moment." Rachel folds her legs into a lotus position and hugs herself. "SHIELD." she rolls the word over her tongue and frowns. "So you're going to tell them I'm here and then a bunch of goons are going to show up. Is that the price of a good meal?" she asks quietly, concern showing on her features.

For now, she looks down at her hands. "I know you said noone is tryingt to do anything to me. But I've heard that before. Too many times before. I just.. I want to live a life. And not be anyone's puppet anymore."

*

"No goons. If I were calling goons I wouldn't tell you first," Ava retorts with a roll of her eyes. "I'm smarter than that. They would have showed up while you were in the shower. There's no one coming. No goons, no tricks. Just me. I only told you because I want you to trsut me." Ava is, as always, rather matter-o-f-fact. She only shows the barest concern for Rachel's reactions. She wants a positive one but is apparently unafraid of saying whatever she pleases.

"New York isn't a bad place to start over if what you wnat is your own life. It seems like a lot of people come here to start over fresh. ANyway… Ah. There's our food." Ava slides dwon from the bed and moves over to the room door to answer it and accept the tray with a smile. SHe takes the tray and then turns toward the room, wobbling slightly. Ava takes a step , then pitches forward. She catches herself quickly, but she's grimacing slightly as she makes her way toward the bed.

"Ah. Anyway…"

*

Rachel catches that wobble, and she's up quicker than one would expect with her reflexes. She tries to take the tray from Ava's hands, her own resting over the brunette's for a moment as she looks concerned. "You're hurt." she says bluntly, concern in her eyes as she looks over the frail woman before trying to take the tray from her. "I.. how." she's not sure what to say now that she's this close, but her blue eyes meet Ava's own for a moment then she glances down. "Anyway.. should let me handle this." she starts to retort.

*

"Not- hurt," Ava replies, griamcing faintly. "I just overdid it today." She's slightly pale, though it isn't easy to tell with her caramel complexion. A smile is offered to Rachel when the woman is close and Ava surrenders the tray without complaint. "I'll be fine. It just- hurts." She doesn't seem inclined to elaborate. Instead Ava shakes her head and makes her way over to the bed once more. She's thing but also quite athletic, the contrast making it hard to tell if she's sickly or just twiggish. Except foor the symptomso f course. "Thank you," Ava murmurs sincerely.

*

"When you came out of the shadows." Rachel, despite being a blonde, isn't exactly lacking intelligence. Setting the tray down, she moves to head towards the bathroom. "Is there a laundry?" she asks curiously, though she's still watching Ava, concern creasing along the sides of her eyes before she returns, having put away her gear. "I don't want to seem weird, flouncing around in a robe and all." she admits, biting her bottom lip as she resettles on the bed near Ava.

*

"Why would that hurt?" Ava asks in a turn that actually vaguely surprised. Then she shrugs slowly. "They'll pick up laundry if we ask," she replies simply, shifting her weight slightly. "ANd it isn't weird to sit around a hotel room in a bed. The maid might get the wrong idea but that's not a serious concern."

*

"Who says the maid will have the wrong idea?" Rachel gives Ava a little wink at that before she leans down to start to eat on her own hamburger, waiting to see how Ava responds to her comment, before reaching for a fry.

*

"Hmm," is Ava's reply to the comment, along with a positively regal arching of her brow. With that rather noncommittal response she turns to her food, a hint of amusement on her features as she withdraws the first of her cheeseburgers. Right now, sustenance appear to be the woman's first concern. They would have plent yof time to figure out the rest later.

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