Ice and Bullets

January 04, 2019:

Captain Cold, Grifter and the goddess Amaterasu all want something Black Mask keeps in his vault. Trouble follows. (Scene backdated to just before Christmas 2018)

A large estate house near Gotham

Characters

NPCs: Black Mask thugs and Hand ninjas

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

After a recent not-so-subtle attack on a convoy transporting riches and relics to the vault of a private collector, others had learned to be a little more paranoid. Transportation by helicopter or more subtle means rather than heavy armor plating seemed to be the way to success. Then all one had to worry about was traitors and/or flying men, but how often was that going to happen?

The transportation had gone of without a hitch and now the item in question was laying safely in the vault of an 'associate' to a certain 'Mr Sionis'. He didn't care much for history and treasures beyond the symbol of power they were or in this case; how much money he was going to make for selling it on. Of course, the 'ninja types' that had been willing to pay his insane price creeped him out enough to use an intermediary, but money was money.

Unfortunately the associate hadn't quite kept his mouth shut and rumor had spread to ears that would know how to look for it: an extremely rare and valuable piece of Japanese culture was locked in his vault. Tracking it back was child's play for the right sort of people!

*

It was around September last year Grifter lost the person he was protecting to the Black Mask paid killers. His reputation took a hit. His wallet took a hit. His face also took a hit, from Blockbuster, not less.

So Sionis is in his list of people that deserve a bullet in the head. Since he had no luck at finding him, he will settle by stealing something from him. At least his wallet will feel better after this heist.

Now, Grifter is not a great thief. But he knows good ninjitsu (Coda-flavored ninjitsu) and he knows how to bypass most modern security. So although it is slow going, he is getting through the place defenses stealthy. He has not punched anyone yet, at least.

*

Goons were goons and shinies were shinies - it was just the way of things. She liked Gotham, too, it was just a pity this was on its outskirts. Either way, there was a prize in it, a good one, and she hadn't gone thieving in a while. Time to kick off the rust. In cold weather gear and with a chunky gun hanging on her thigh, the girl in a slim, silver visor works at the security with her own set of smooth skills. She moves her dark lips as her fingers work, even tsking with a press of her tongue at the back of her teeth. "40 seconds…I'm getting sloppy."

Plans were studied, the location was scoped out, contrary to Grifter, Lena knew what she was doing. Sionis, to her, seemed like a low running Dent - a tough guy in a suit with thugs but with less pull or push in the underground. Besides, stealing from a chump was a service to society, wasn't it?

*

Even if it wasn't the main haunt of a certain man in the mask, it wasn't without security. In fact, with the payday lurking in the vault below the number of armed guards had been doubled. Each goon was moving in a 'buddy' pair and keeping an eye on each other with such dedication that even a certain duality obsessed criminal might have been impressed. Call it 'bat-induced paranoia', but it wasn't the first big leagues payday that had been interfered with by the costumed types.

Doors were locked, alarms were set and the exterior lights were on. Certainly this was beyond the means of the average criminal but there was nothing average about those coming for the prize tonight and things were only going to get worse.

Amaterasu wasn't exactly the most subtle of people, she was a deity of the sun after all! Even so, few would notice or pay much heed to the silent wings of a white owl that sweeps from above, making its way towards the rooftops of the building where it sets down elegantly on talons that one wing-beat later are the human feat of a young and rather oddly dressed Japanese woman. These were mortals, not demons…she -would- rather avoid violence.

So far? None of the thugs had noticed either Grifter or Lena, but the closer they got to the house the quicker the patrols would come around again to make life difficult.

*

Grifter avoids another couple guards by climbing to a tree, shadow-like. Neatly avoiding the motion sensor on said tree. The night-vision goggles in his mask very handy in the darkness. But even without those the branches barely moved. The wind causes more disturbances.

He didn't bother with trying to find the plans of the house. For once it might have drawn attention. Plus if Sionis is not too dumb, the 'official' plans would be fake. Instead he relies in his experience and the fact he can, and has, designed security for places like this. Sometimes for scumbags of Sionis' caliber.

Hops down, sash to the wall. Then an impossible climb to the balcony. Pause there a minute to scan the outside and listen in the inside.

*

The weather was helping her. The chill, the dusting of snow, this time of year was often her friend. After all, it was the most /wonderful/ time of the year. She took a different avenue than Drifter did, and for now there was no notice of the oddly placed owl in this situation. Fronts, backs, higher-ups, houses like this had a number of ways to enter and exit. She counted them all, set them to memory. She paces out the steps taken by each guard unit, a duo heading her way. A soft hum and soft burst of light sets a patch of ice on the ground waiting for their arrival.

A slip, a swear, a distraction. It gives her freedom to shift around another side of the home and crack a lock that leads to a lower level. Cellars were brilliant, and so were dumbwaiters.

*

Both the mortals had plenty of experience with security from one side or the other, enough to recognize what they were probably going to be looking at. Sure enough, the subtle plastic 'hubs' in each corner of the main areas of the house would announce an infared alarm system. If bodyheat was detected? Alarms were going to start ringing and the guards were going to be looking inwards pretty quick. Still, they were far from unbeatable to an experienced heister who'd managed to avoid the guards and get this far. Breaking into a lower level or managing the hard and frosty climb to the balcony was certainly impressive in itself.

Amaterasu however, was -not- the most experienced of thieves. As she crept across the roof she had no idea of what sensors or alarms might lurk in waiting, but she too was creeping to try and lower herself down onto the balcony of the upper floor that lead to the office of the 'associate'.

*

Grifter is currently cutting the glass with a synthetic diamond cutter, all quiet like, when Amatherasu just drops there from the ceiling. The… hell…

Cole reacts with a swiftness that is almost supernatural. The cutter palmed to the sleeve as her turns, a heavy semi-auto pulled from the belt holster to aim to what he expect is a guard's head… too short to be a guard, he has to lower the barrel a few inches.

The red and black mask on his face hides Grifter expression, eye-slits dull grey, but yes, he is surprised. And mutters a curse. "Who are you?" He murmurs.

*

Lena moves up, up, and up. Drifting up only one floor, toward her goal of the evening. It was the main target of three, apparently, but Lena has no idea about that, or the goings on at the balcony. With a shift and the grinding of gears, the box in the wall comes to a stop and splits open to allow her an exit. A hiss of chilly air follows after her, rolling out of the box and showing that of a dark boot and pants clinging around a lean leg. Standing, she greets the startled faces of four men, her smirk pressing a dimple against her cheeks.

"Evening, boys. Cold night tonight." She quips, her fingers latching up the gun with practiced grace, finger squeezing the trigger to blast out a sweep of brilliant light.

*

Well, it was a night for suprises.

For the thugs who'd been on 'vault duty', there was a certain amount of certainty that they were in for the quiet shift or at least they had the best chance of learning something was wrong right before it was right on their doorstep! For the first thug who'd moved over towards the dumb-waiter wondering who the hell had the balls to send them up wine from the cellar below when he was suddenly looking at a woman dressed for cold weather. Before he could ponder non-feline fixated thieves, the blinding light of the coldgun cut short his scream of suprise as the others attempt to dive for cover and snatch up their weapons in time.

On the balcony, Amaterasu herself looks rather suprised and she'd imagine that Cole had a similar expression under his mask. Of course, he -did- have a gun in her face at the moment. Her answer comes in Japanese for a moment, but it only gets a few syllables in before she stops herself and switches to noticably accented English. "I am Amaterasu," she introduces herself rather calmly for someone with the barrel of a handcannon in her face before looking towards the begining cut on the glass Grifter had made. "If you would be so kind as to open that door for me, you may do what you will. I have come to something that belongs to my family." She hadn't even paused to ask who the masked man was.

Of course, the longer they talk up here? The more chance someone was going to notice. That was saying nothing of the violence downstairs!

*

Now Cole is well-travelled man, for a guy that never quite finished high school. Mythology is not his field, though. Amaterasu sounds Japanese. 'Illuminated Heaven' he translates automatically. "Uh huh," he responds at the answer that is not answer. "There are alarms with alarms and…" and he was here first, anyway.

Completely unimportant, as the screams begin at the other side of the door. There will be alarms going off in seconds.

Keeping the gun aimed to the woman, "don't move" he grunts. He kicks the door of the balcony open and slides inside, looking for the vault.

*

There were few things the snowbunny loved in life - her job was one of them. Grinning brightly, her face flashes white as the light from her gun rockets through the smaller space of the underground level of the home. She doesn't laugh, doesn't giggle, but the curl of her dark lips is enough to show unfathomable joy. Frost clings to the cool air that continues to grow, running the walls jagged with spikes of ice. She slips and shoots, gliding with ease and spinning against cover, her arm chucking back an orb that swirls with silver and azure. A light glows, slow then rapid, before the ball shatters, casting off even more of a wintery mix. "You boys alright?" She asks mockingly to the mooks who were still standing.

*

Down below Lena's invasion wasn't silent, but it hadn't been enough to sew more than a little confusion. Bright flashes were easily muffled by the enclosed space and the noises of the gun were 'weird' enough not to immediately cause alarm even if they did cause curiousity for the thugs. She hadn't instantly gotten them all, but the two mooks who'd managed to dive for cover were a little shaken from watching their buddies immediately turned into popcicles!

It was however, a sound that Amaterasu recognized from an encounter before. One that immediately had the oddly dressed asian woman pushing past Cole where he had just opened the door to the office using a more 'traditional' method of lock defeating. There was every chance that Grifter knew about the alarm system, or had planned to move cautiously as he searched the room to avoid the thermal sensor of the infared alarm system in the house before he stormed in. Amaterasu? She had no such knowledge or concerns…and the goddess of the Sun was probably a little warmer than most. The moment she disregards the instruction not to move and strides into the office space? The alarm begins to blast through the halls.

Alright, now the thugs inside and out were alarmed.

*

To say the truth Cole thought the time for stealth was gone when someone started a fight downstairs. It is odd the thugs are not crying for help or shooting their firearms, but he does not care enough to think about it too deeply.

He does care a little the Japanese woman ignored him and went inside anyway. People has no respect for firearms anymore. It is because all those Spider-Men, and Super-Men, he is sure.

Still, not terribly important, he is here to steal something and definitely not to protect the building from other intruders. So he jumps in, gun in hand, letting the alarms do what alarms do and heading towards the vault downstairs at quick pace.

*

The alarms? That annoying sound was enough to make her smile fade and her brows knit behind her slender visor. Muttering a curse under her breath, she looks around the winter wonderland she had created below, eyeing around for what might have tripped them off in the first place. Now that that noise was cracking around the building, it gave the mooks down the hall another reason to fire back. Cracking off shots, the girl grumbles once more, digging in her boots and counting out rounds as they scream out of the barrels. With a pivot, she lays down her track of ice and rushes forward, gun up and active. A wider beam fires off, creating a wall of sorts (more so a ram) that glides with her and crashes into the goons who were fumbling in the cold to reload.

This was getting messy, it was time to get the goods and go.

*

The guards had been somewhat stunned by the weapon that around here was usually reserved for an educated man in a big metal suit rather than some cute woman with a taste for puns, but as the alarms rang out they'd shaken themselves out of it to try and…well, do their jobs. Of course Lena was quicker and not numbed by the temperature plummet, but a wild shot still rings out with the collision. More would probably be heading down there soon enough, meaning Lena probably wasn't going to get the quiet time to woo the tumblers of the vault door the way she'd hoped. Plans never quite survived first contact, did they?

Of course, booting doors in by Grifter and a complete lack of understanding by Amaterasu ment that the upstairs infiltration wasn't exactly silent either. Two of the guards who'd been patrolling the hallway burst into the door just as Amaterasu reaches it, the swinging timber actually (embarassingly) throwing her off-balance for a moment as the men lift their firearms. While one takes aim at the obviously more armed grifter, another levels his handgun towards the weirdly dressed woman with the sword. Clearly he'd been in Gotham long enough to know the 'weird' ones could be dangerous, because he immediately begins to depress the trigger. Then the gun seems to simply 'detonate' in his hand, causing screams and a very startled companion to hesitate.

*

Grifter does not hesitate.

These are Black Mask thugs, so he shoots quickly and with deadly intent. Armor piercing bullets at both men. Then jumps down the stairs without waiting for the men to hit the floor. To meet… a wall of ice?

"Crap," because, of course, this is Gotham, and he is thinking about Mr. Freeze.

*

Lena sighs out, her breath not yet catching in the cold, but a faint exhale from anyone else would create a puff of white. Slipping her gun onto its catch on the side of her thigh, she moves closer to the vault and frowns. "I'm sorry, beautiful. I meant to spend some quality time with you but it seems our date will have to be rushed." A pause, "I won't be gentle." With that, her gloved fingers set to work, rolling over the dials and feeling, listening, for its cues. She glances behind herself briefly once hearing a word from Grifter, but the attention his way is short lived as the heavy 'shunks' of the massive bolts unlatching clunk out. "Good girl. You were perfect," she tells the door, giving its handle a twirl and beginning to pull.

*

At least the thug who was now missing several fingers didn't have to worry about it for long. Even Amaterasu looked a little suprised by the lack of hesitation from the gunman in ending the Black mask thugs' lives. She could ponder it later however, as it seemed the masked man's destination was the same as the direction her senses were pulling her. She had been a few steps behind him, but as the man meets the wall of ice? She's already simply -there- standing beside him, pressing a glowing palm to the surface.

From the way the ice cracks violently and steam shoots from the contact? She was coming through fast.

Of course, stealth was so far out the window it was practically over the fence and behind the pair? Several more men come barrelling down the hallway brandishing far larger automatic weapons they quickly raise to fire at both grifter and Amaterasu. They'd worry less about damaging the house than what Black Mask would do to them if they lost his prize.

For Lena? The vault was good, but not -that- good. She was getting in, but the sounds of gunfire and the blasting of her icewall made it pretty clear that company was going to be coming in soon. Inside the vault however? A small shelving unit rested, laden with a burden of a few wrapped bundles of cash and narcotics…and a small wooden box held closed by a simple padlock. That was probably it.

*

Of course Amaterasu has super-powers. Doesn't everyone? "Wait. It must be Mr. Freeze, he is a lunatic with a super-tech ice gun," but his words of advice get lost when a bunch of thugs with automatic guns burst in. Which means Grifter is shooting again. A second handgun appears in his left hand and he dives for cover while shooting.

There are a few guys that are better gunmen in America. Bullseye, perhaps. Deadshot. Roy Harper. Not many. He just does not miss much even while he is moving at high speed and his targets are moving too.

*

The noise was horrible, and whatever they were using to get through her wall was annoying. Growling, she turns one hand back, firing off the gun to reinforce her barricade for just a few moments longer. Her other hand reaches out, swiping the wooden box and leaving the other, more boring contents, alone. Tucking the box into her side bag, the girl leaves the vault and starts heading for her point of entry.

*

"I am not afraid of a little cold," the Japanese woman speaks calmly even as bullets fill the air, one slamming near her head into the crumbling wall and sprays her face with a splash of half-melted ice. Annoying. Some people really -didn't- respect firearms enough! Finally, the woman seems to have gotten impatient enough, as Lena snatches up her prize and begins to run down the stairs to the cellar and its promise of external exit? The ice explodes inwards and Amaterasu steps through.

Bullets pelt the stairway, but the thugs aren't quite up to the same level as the accuracy and target selection of the 'hero'.

Almost home free, Lena's quick rush would have her reaching the door to the yard when she's met with a different threat than a few mooks that now lay slumped and slaughtered on the grass of the yard. Seven masked figures in red, each brandishing blades and shurikan. 'Ninja freaks or not', it seemed the Hand didn't think Sionis was worth paying, but they hadn't quite counted on someone else beating them to the ripoff. Less than impressed, one figure makes a violent throwing motion that sends several throwing stars hurtling towards the Cold Captain.

*

Grifter follows Amaterasu a few seconds later, leaving behind a bunch of dead or seriously injured thugs. If nothing else Black Mask gang has half a dozen less members.

Well, look at that… "that is not… Freeze," he observes. Because Cole is the master of the obvious, yes. Also not the kind of merc that shoots a woman from the back. Besides she is stealing just the same thing he came to steal. It would be hypocritical to be angry about it.

Still, it is worth a lot and he needs the money. So he hurries to catch up with Lena. And suddenly there are ninjas. "Aw, c'mon. What is next? The goddamned Batman?" And he needs to reload; he has only two bullets left in each gun.

*

This wasn't what she was expecting. Not that her 'plan' had worked out, either. For whatever reason, since she left Central City, no plan went off well. Stalling in place, she eyes the figures around her, her fingers wiggling for her gun only for her body to get pelted by stars, each stabbing or ripping into her jacket. She was thankful for her armor in those moments, but not all of her was covered. A slice across her face and a few digging into her arm, the girl grits her teeth and growls toward the attackers. A button press, she tosses another one of the blue orbs in the groups direction, waiting for another crash of ice and snow.

*

Concealed armor had probably saved Lena's life; the thrower hadn't thought there a need to aim more carefully and precisely. She -was- just one woman after all. As the 'Ninja' spill into the room, the flash of the grenade immediately seperates two in a flash of white. The stairway was now blocked off and who knew if the pair had managed to avoid a frosty fate? Of course, that still left the rest of them to deal with.

Amaterasu actually does glance sidelong at Grifter and his explanation, tilting her head. "But they -are- frozen?" she questions in confusion. There wasn't really time for confusion however and one of the Hand members comes leaping over Lena's form right at the deity with sword in hand, clearly having thought the trio were allies! Perhaps he had decided that he'd prefer to fight the only person carrying a sword rather than some variety of firearm or 'ice gun' as it were.

Sure enough, Grifter would find himself lept upon by a pair of figure in red brandishing blades as well. While not the Hand's most elite, it was clear they were well-trained and practiced at fighting foes with guns. They were simply trying to carve him up before he could get on target.

For Lena? Shurikan man was out of stars, but he simply draws a rather wicked looking Karma before leaping at the woman, intending to hook her weapon and slash her with the hand-scythe.

*

"Not what I meant… sec, ninjas," grumbles Cole. Unfortunately for the Hand ninjas Cole was trained in ninjutsu by a Coda founder. He can certainly out-ninja genin. The first of the Hand killers meets a spinning kick to his mid-section and the second both guns. He fires all four bullets to the ninja because Hand ninjas are notoriously hard to kill. Some are undead. And those pajamas are often bulletproof.

But bullets to the head usually do the trick.

*

Messy. Sloppy. Worst yet? It might cost her her life. Already bleeding and hearing bullets ripping off behind her, the girl backs down due to being lept on. A hook at against her gun and blade incoming, she bites at her lower lip and digs in, even as the blade catches the arm of her puffy jacket. "No one touches Jadis!" She explains, her small fingers having dug into a pocket to flip out a blade of her own. It snaps into place and with a great amount of speed (and more so need) the girl starts stabbing repeatedly into the Ninja's side. If not for the fancy costumes and location, this would be nothing more than a shanking.

*

Despite all the madness of a demon invasion, criminals and champions who were so different from the last time she'd walked the Earth and this strange country she'd come to? There was something refreshing about the pair of men in red armed with traditional swords in front of her. This was familier, comforting even. Perhaps the Hand might even know enough of the culture that spawned them to know the name Amaterasu, even if they didn't recognize the woman before them who draws her own blade. The first leaping man is simply caught off-guard, landing heavily on the basement floor with a broken sword a moment before his head bounces to the ground seperately, his throwing caution to the wind costing him dearly.

Amaterasu's own sword? It's metal surface seemed to carry a mirror shine brighter than the lights of the basement should allow. As well made as the Hand's gear was? It couldn't stand up to the sword from the serpent. The second man? He was far more careful as he circled his foe, slashing and weaving rather than commiting to the same risk.

Grifter's foes themselves had counted on a foe with guns not being able to match them in close quarters like so many gunmen before. Sadly it was not to be.

Lena's foe? Well, he'd had the upper hand in everything…everything except an understanding of how savagely criminals could fight dirty when cornered.

*

Can Grifter reload a gun -faster- than a ninja jumps back to his feet? It is impossible, but he does it, the ammo clips almost flying out and into the handgun handle. The ninja jumps forward and Cole blows up his head grabbing the corpse mid-flight to toss it against the surviving ninja confronting Amaterasu. He is a real gentleman, see?

*

Lena digs her knife in a few more times, deeper, twisting. She wanted them to feel it, even as it coats them both in crimson. Pushing the aggressor off, she looks down at her arm that was now limp, slick with scarlet, droplets rolling off her finger tips. Whatever was in that box was no longer worth it. Did they want the box? She didn't know, but they could have been some extreme sense of security. Panting, she looks back at the duo, her good hand digging into her side bag and pulling out the wooden box. They can stay, they can play with the guys in PJs. Tossing the box out and away from herself, she turns and attempts to get away.

*

In the 'traditional' little duel that Amaterasu and the remaining Hand ninja were having, the latter was clearly suprised to have found himself outmatched in speed and strength by someone smaller than him. If only he knew! Of course, he was far more surprised by the corpse hucked at his back that sends him stumbling right into a slash from the Asian woman whom herself looks a little surprised when her foe simply falls upon her sword. She might actually look a little irritated by the interference…but now the house was silent and Lena was trying to make a swift getaway without her prize so…

A clearing of her throat and a glance to Grifter, Amaterasu is far-too-quickly standing over the box as she begins to bend. "This belongs to me," she speaks calmly in accented English. "You cannot have the Yasakani no Magatama."

*

Grifter turns quickly, scanning the area with his night vision mask. All the ninjas are dead or dying. Good. Now about the ice girl and the box…

Lena, totally not Ms. Freeze, seems to be running away. Okay.

Amaterasu is… claiming the box is her. "That does what? Look lady. It is worth a fortune. And I don't want Sionis to have it, but I also want it to pay the rent for a year or two, y'know?"

*

Eventually, Amaterasu's curiousity was going to cause her to seek Lena out. This was the second time she'd run across the girl in the middle of a heist after all. For now however, the 'Ice girl' was running away and she wouldn't stop her. Besides, Grifter was a more immediate issue to deal with…

Cradling the box to her midriff, Amaterasu shakes her head. "This belongs with my family, not in the vault of some swine or the pockets of some peddler for petty gain." Frowning, her gaze fixes on Grifter's own, or at least his mask. "Find another prize, this place is surely now without valuables…but tonight this will be returned home." 'Gods' never really were great at conversation, it seems Amatsu-Kami weren't all that better than Asgardians! "You are not my enemy, but do not try and stop me."

*

It is probably true there are some other valuables in the vault, and Grifter doesn't have a buyer for the Yasakani no Magatama jewel. Not that he couldn't get one in a week or two. Damn.

"Alright, fine," he grumbles. "Always in Gotham…" he adds as if it was a curse, heading back in to see what else Black Mask was hiding in his safe. Also, reloading. There might be a couple ninjas still alive out there.

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