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9. Big Decisions

Posted on Sat Sep 2nd, 2023 @ 1:21am by Duke Drake & Rebecca McMillen & Sakura Tanikawa & Caitlin Thompson PhD & Eli King & McKenna Lockhart

1,367 words; about a 7 minute read

Mission: Catching the Crooks
Location: Conference Room
Timeline: October 3, 1992 7:00 PM

Doc had called a meeting with his staff after reviewing the contents of the Manila Envelope provided by the mayor the previous evening. He had Rebecca make copies for each of the staff to review at tonight's meeting. He placed a copy of the documents at each chair before the staff entered. The folder contained vague eyewitness statements, blurry camera footage still shots, and lists of high end jewelry items stolen by what the police believed to be mutants with speed ability.

"As I'm sure most of you have heard or seen the news articles related to the jewelry robberies across New Orleans over the last month. The mayor has secretly provided me a copy of all the case data so far and asked for our assistance. If you take a few minutes to review the packets in front of you, there isn't a whole lot of data to go on. The mayor said the police are at their wits end and believe this to be a mutant matter. He is afraid that if these robberies continue it will continue to stoke the hatred towards mutants. So it boils down to this, do we help the mayor try to catch these criminals and attempt to improve mutant relations? Or do we try to remain a secret as much as possible and remain in the shadows," Doc asked.

“We could try both,” Sakura suggested as she read through the material provided. “We have masks and costumes for when we fight in public. Maybe we can keep the truth of the school secret while helping the mayor in costume?”

"We can try to do both Sakura, but my concern is, once we cross this line, others will know there is a mutant group operating in the area," Doc explained. "Once that is known it could attract the wrong kind of attention."

"I'm certain they have their suspicions anyways, after the incident at City Hall." Eli said, from behind his paper as he read. "Things weren't exactly covert that day." He added.

"No, but we had costumes on and it was the only time any of us, as far as I know, has operated in the city. I just want to make sure everyone is on board if we step out of the shadows like this," Doc said looking around the table.

“There’s a difference between having a mutant group in the city working to protect humans and humans alike and that mutant group working out the school,” Sakura observed. “We stay in costumes. We prioritize distancing ourselves from the school. Is there a tunnel, or some other way for us to leave the school quickly that isn’t the front or back gates?”

"There is a back gate used primarily by the grounds keepers. If we begin working as heroes in the city, just make sure whatever we do, we don't draw attention to the school," Doc said. "If everyone is on board with us assisting the Mayor, how or where do we begin this investigation?:

Caitlin had spread the papers out from her folder. With her cat like paw hands, it was hard to finely grip stuff. She had looked over all of the information and was busy thinking of excuses to stay on the property. Part of her was still shocked she got the job. And after the last fight, the one at city hall, it took nearly a week till she didn't feel like she was over worked and under-slept. She had made some more of her force balls, but it was only a small handful, ten of them at the most. And she wasn't going to do the big ones again. Not till she got better. Her job teaching had started rough. All the classes she took only helped so much. She was slowly finding her groove. It was hard to split her time with teaching, grading and training her physical skills and her magical ones.

Caitlin looked up. Sir, what if we take those of us with good senses, like vision and smell, and we canvas the recently hit places. If Mr. Shtorm's senses are truly ursine in nature, the scent should stay for him up to about fifteen days."

"We could give it a shot, I don't have those sort of senses, but if we have a couple volunteers who can track we can give it a try," Doc said.

For weeks, McKenna had done her job here at Ridgehaven and had been steadily getting to know people, be they students or other staff. It wasn't difficult to tell, she feared, that she didn't fit in here. For one, she had lived amongst the non-mutant population almost her whole life with the exception of the past few years. She knew how they thought; she'd pretended to be them. In some ways, this place was surreal, and she felt like she was pretending to be caged when, quite frankly, she could just walk right out of her, get a normal job, and live her life. But there was him; the one she was running from. And only a group of powered individuals could protect her from him.

"I think its important we help while keeping a low profile." McKenna said, volunteering her two cents from her position in a chair. "I'd be willing to help train people in the use of their powers and in physical fitness. I can help people learn how to blend in with nor-" she paused, kicking herself internally "with non-mutants. And, if you'd like, I could even help Shtorm with hand to hand to a small degree."

"Okay so, sorry kinda spaced out there for a moment, so sorry. Now, as for tunnels. Well, yes and no. Yes, there are tunnels. No, not everyone can use them." Rebecca paused, "Rats and mice can use them, so that's... pretty much just me." she offered quietly.

"As for helping people, I can scout, I can overwatch, I can be the eyes in the sky. I, well, I just can't actually.... you know.... fight."

"How many of these places have security cameras?" Sakura asked. "I might be able to find things in the footage that the police missed."

"Several of them have security cameras, but they just record blurs, multiple blurs moving. It seems that so far most of the robberies have occurred in a 5 mile radius. There are 3 stores in that area that haven't been hit, that the police will be monitoring more closely," Doc paused before continuing. "I believe the lost in the back of the folder highlights the stores that have been robbed and those that have not been."

"We can't watch all three. Well okay I mean we can but we'd have to split up. If we want to keep an eye on one overnight, I can camp out in one. Though knowing my luck I'll get mixed up with the jewelry and stolen too." a pause, "Hey, okay now, work with me here.... what we, we do that. I try to sneak in with the stolen goods and then radio once I'm at their hideout?" bold, risky, impulsive, crazy. But was it crazy enough to work...

"I like the stakeout idea," Doc began, "But I'm not so sure about sneaking you in with the stolen goods. My biggest question is this, *IF* we are going to go through with this, what abilities do we have at our disposal that can stop or slow down at least one speedster or even multiple?"

Rebecca thought the matter over. "Okay, so, hmmmm..." she paused and looked at the group. "Any suggestions? I mean, please?I'm not in a rush to become a necklace to get swiped." Well, maybe someone's necklace, but... she was REALLY happy this branch didn't have a telepath.

"Let's divide into three teams and all watch our designated stores, we can coordinate over the radios as soon as we spot something. I'll lead one team, Rebecca will lead another, and I think Tekku can lead the third. Let's get ready we roll out in an hour. " Doc explained.

Sakura nodded. She hadn’t expected to lead a team, but she was happy — excited, even — to try.


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