Limited Amateur Larceny Hour

This RP is open, but with limitations.


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Red had decided to rob a store.

This seemed like a supervillain thing to do, right? Of course, she needed to rob a store where she actually knew where things were, because standing around staring at things looking for something to rob was so not a great idea. And that meant... well, she couldn't really rob the gym where she worked, so it had to be the record store. It was a nice record store, and the guy in charge was a nice guy. It wasn't personal. But she had to start being a supervillain somewhere, and this was it.

So. She was going to rob a record store. The problem with that was that she had no idea how to pick a lock and was definitely not strong enough to bash down a door, so that meant she had to do it during open hours.

Which was going to be, like, super awkward. No one had ever warned her about how awkward it was to be a supervillain. Red had just assumed that it would work out, but maybe she needed to be more impressive for that. She was not impressive. She had a cool cloak and she had a cool mask and she had dressed all in black except for the red cloak and she thought she looked pretty good, but good was not imposing, especially when you were, like, seventeen and not really big.

Also, she didn't really want to hurt anyone. It would have been really easy to hurt someone, that was part of the problem. Maybe she was just bad at being a supervillain - but she wasn't going to get any better if she didn't practice, right?

So, she walked into the store through the front door, hoping it wouldn't be too busy.

"Hi!" Wait, supervillains did not say "hi." Move past it, Red! Just keep going. "Oh - um, this is a robbery? It is a robbery. That is a statement and not a question. I want a pair of earbuds and a pack of bubblegum, and do not tell me you are all out of bubblegum, because I have heard that one already and it is not funny. And you don't want to know what will happen if you refuse."

Yeah! That last line was solid, and totally skipped over the point that Red had no idea what would happen, either, and also didn't want to know.
It had been a lazy day, despite the uptick in customers. Holiday shoppers had started trickling in; and it was a trickle, he ensured, since VULTURE typically remained closed around Black Friday. The official reason was staffing issues, always staffing issues. The regular's reason was that he didn't trust the general public not to wreck his store. The internal reason was that he couldn't be bothered to make any signage. The real reason was VULTURE made plenty of money all year- Kosuke had developed a customer base so loyal, he could spit coffee at them from behind the counter and they still wouldn't go anywhere else. One day's lost revenue wasn't going to change anything. Kosuke had plenty of money, anyway.

Still, though he could prevent a flash-flood, he couldn't stop the tides, and he was enjoying what was likely one of the last few days of relative peace before last-minute panic-buying set in. For some reason, most of his customer base seemed to be the type to leave things until the last second, or just forget about them altogether. A bit like Kosuke, really. He was lazy by design.

For now, he was sweeping; or, rather, leaning idly against the broom whilst tapping its handle along to the music. Carrie was asleep in his chair, which at least forced him to get off it. Loyal as she was, it came with an exception; when she had chosen a place to sleep, she was not to be moved.

He was, fortunately, next to the counter when the customer came in.

And then... threatened him? Did this count as a threat? It seemed more like a joke- the sort of awkward bit you did when you weren't too confident with improv, usually punctuated by a round of stifled giggles from the group of friends no doubt hiding behind the shelves. Except... she was alone, and she certainly didn't sound amused. Awkward, yes, but the only person laughing here would've been Kosuke.

He recognised her voice almost immediately. She had done next to nothing to hide it, except maybe trying to sound a little tougher than she had before, which meant- well, you didn't even need an ear as trained as his to recognise it, this was deifinitely the same person. She was a customer, one he didn't know the name of, who had come in a month or so prior to discuss music. The one who called him her from the future- ironic, perhaps, given what she was doing, and who she was unknowingly doing it to.

Kosuke rested the broom against the back wall and squeezed himself between the counter and Carrie's chair, greeting her as he would any other customer. For what seemed to be the first time in his life, he was absolutely lost for words.

"Well, ah..."

He took a sip of his coffee.

"Our cheapest earbuds will run you about fifteen dollars. We... don't have bubblegum."

He tapped on the till to wake it up, and typed in the product number for the earbuds.

"Will that be cash or card?"
Hazel had been hoping she’d experience a robbery – just not as Hazel. If this could be called a robbery. A threat of robbery, absolutely. But the masked girl didn’t even look like she was armed when she came in. Then again: metahumans. She could be a walking loaded gun, and the small frame and awkward, I’ve-clearly-never-threatened-anyone-before-in-my-life manner could just be conveniently covering that up. An up-and-coming metahuman robber would make for a great story on Panopticon, of course. She just wished Arcane Eye had been the one involved, and not Hazel Beauvais, sophomore college student sitting across the room at a cafe table while a teen tried to browbeat her way into convincing Kosuke to give her free earbuds.

Kosuke, obviously, was having none of that. He took the potential thief with about as much seriousness as he’d take a practical joke, and took her attention away from the other customers. Hazel’s eyes only glanced their way for a second, then swept the rest of the store. She never thought she’d say this about a robbery, but good thing the store was busy. As soon as the – polite request – was made, Hazel returned her eyes to the computer screen, and lifted one hand to her headphones. She adjusted the sensitivity of the mic, and paused her music. There wasn’t anything she could do about Tricat playing on the store speakers except ignore it. She could, however, divide her attention away from the song as she clicked through perspectives until she reached the camera behind the register, eye on Kosuke and the new masked robber.

Thus blinded, she could still look like a distracted and completely unaware college student, helping herself to the “review samples” of “focus juice” she and Kosuke had agreed on while she typed her way through her final projects. And, in her defense, she had been been working on that, until a story decided to waltz in and drop itself on her lap the way Carrie sometimes did – and by the sudden weight on her legs, was doing. She ruffled her hand through the big cat’s fur blindly, then used the purring mass as an armrest as she returned her hands to her mouse and keyboard.

She clicked open a new tab without looking away from the scene, and typed a title into the bar: Is This A Robbery?

Arcane Eye would watch and find out.
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Red reached towards her back pocket for her wallet, then remembered that she didn't have it with her. "Oh, sorry, I forgot-"

Wait a minute.

Wait a minute.

She didn't have her wallet with her on purpose, because she didn't want to have an ID card so that she wouldn't get identified as a supervillain, and also because she was committing a crime.

"Hey! That's not what I said. And I want good earbuds, not cheap ones." Not, like, really really good ones, because there was some point where it shifted from a robbery to A Robbery and there were fancier words and you got in a lot more trouble if you got caught. She thought it was $500, but she was trying to keep it under $100 just to be safe. Did they even make $500 earbuds? Like, probably, they made ridiculously expensive everything, right? They'd probably be titanium plated and studded with gemstones or something. Bling. There would be bling.

Actually, man, now she kinda wanted some like that? Not rubies, because Ruby Red was so overdone, but maybe - there had to be another red rock, right? Garnet, garnet was red, maybe that. Yeah. Maybe she'd steal some garnets. Where did you even steal those from, was there just like... a warehouse full of gemstones somewhere and you just went in and picked them up in a ziploc baggie or something?

That was a great question and she had no idea who she was supposed to ask and also she was robbing a store right now so maybe this wasn't the best time for it anyway.

"I don't want to hurt anyone." Really, really she did not. "But I have before. So since I think we'd rather both not have the next one be you-" Because then where would she get advice on which new albums to buy? She did not say that part aloud. "I think you should just hand them over."
Oh, this was embarrassing. Kosuke would almost prefer a real robbery attempt- for some reason, VULTURE kept attracting the, ah... less than competent, at least when it came to would-be criminals. Were his wares not good enough for the real deal? Or did he just have too much respect?

For now, Kosuke would do what he did best- talk.

"How good are we talking?" He said, "And- oh, good in what way? I've got a few with active noise cancelling; they block out pretty much everything but your music, but you do sacrifice a bit of sound quality there. Got some for a couple hundred; they do run cheaper elsewhere, but the ones I stock- y'know, I'm a bit strict with sound quality, they had to be good."

He slowly raised his hands, pointing towards a shelf of empty display boxes.

"I'm not really a wireless kind of guy myself, though. Well, I am sometimes- but I'm picky. Most bluetooth earbuds are a bit- ah, how did Cass put it again? Crunchy? They are a bit crunchy, compared to wired ones. I have some good wired ones- IEMs, that's in-ear monitors. You can get an adapter for them, if you must have them wireless, but-"

She threatened him.

She admitted, to him, that she had hurt people before.

His voice dropped a little, becoming quieter, more cautious- not out of fear for his safety, but out of... well, friendly worry. Concern for her wellbeing. Slight irritation. The voice of a music teacher towards a kid sitting in detention, knowing there's probably more to this story than is being told.

"You're not going to hurt me, okay?" He said, "And I'm not going to hand them over, either- not without payment."

He frowned.

"You're not armed, are you? How- how did you think you were going to do this?"
Hazel was doing her best to keep a straight face. Or at least, a straight enough face. The image of somebody who was relaxed in her circumstances by ignorance required a degree of balance – couldn’t play up the stress factors, but couldn’t seem perfectly at ease. She was apparently working, after all.

But it wasn’t the robber who’d tripped the stress response in her brain. There was a moment, a heavy moment, when there was something off with Kosuke. Something much more Vain in his voice, just a touch condescending, something– well, just off. She didn’t feel weird about it, didn’t feel either anger or fear. She just sensed something wasn’t quite on-script, for him. After all, she’d learned how to wear her own masks from somewhere.

But she knew that with Kosuke starting to get serious, he had things under control. Her fingers flitted a few notes across the keyboard, and then she closed the laptop and reached for where she knew her notebook was, as well as her yellow gel pen. Shorthand notes would probably be better, in case the robber decided to get nosy or redirect her attention to innocent bystanders. Nobody needed to know Hazel could write blind. With the headphones on, the oblivious look was still more than passable.

  • Metahuman. Very inexperienced. Younger. Why crime? Future interview.

She lifted her pen and wiggled it between her fingers while she thought. In her mind’s eyes, she studied what she could of the robber’s face, her mask [goodness gracious, were those sequins?], the stray locks of hair that peeked out from under the bright red cape. If she really leaned into the Little Red Riding Hood look, there was probably a way to compare Kosuke to the Big Bad Wolf. A threat, a real threat, that could use pretty words to make wayward little girls trust him.

She couldn’t help but smile at that, and went to bring her pen back down to the paper. Blind as she was, she didn’t notice until the raspberry white mocha burned her that she’d knocked it over – all over her laptop, her notebook, her desk, and Carrie. She jumped to her feet with a soft curse, yoinking her awareness back into her own head and leaving herself a little dizzy while she reached out for a wad of napkins to try to salvage the laptop. Carrie was dumped unceremoniously on the floor, although Hazel tried to push her away from the growing puddle with one foot with mixed results. She picked the laptop up and gave her (apparent) full attention to the task of keeping the syrupy mix from getting into any of the machine’s hardware.

So much for not being noticed. Good job, Hazel, this definitely won’t detract from the story at all, or get you blasted with weird random metahuman powers. Not at all. And her notes were probably ruined, but salvaging the laptop with all her work on it was much more important than checking that right now.
He was... talking to her.

She hadn't really expected that. Well, she had a little, but it had been more oh wow, I will hand them right over in her mind and less... well... less like listening to a sales pitch.

This was definitely a sales pitch. Red blinked, not quite sure what to make of it. Apparently some of these earbuds were actually hundreds of dollars. Why were earbuds hundreds of dollars? Why would you pay that much for something that you were going to crush in the bottom of your backpack underneath Fundamental Principles of Trigonometry, 3rd Revised Edition?

Also, he expected her to pay for them, and she still didn't have that sort of money, which was why she was robbing the store. Well, not really - mostly she was robbing the store to see if she could do it. Anything she actually stole was just a perk. She kind of wished that he had bubble gum.

Did they make bubblegum that cost hundreds of dollars?

Well, now she wanted to know. Could she just like... walk away and be like "hang on I gotta google a thing" and come back? Did supervillains actually do that?

Maybe if you were a supervillain, you made your own rules. Wasn't that why she wanted to be one? And now he was asking her if she was armed, and of course she wasn't armed, she didn't want to hurt anyone, and she'd probably just hurt herself and then people would die horribly and that was... not ideal. Or maybe it was, if you were a supervillain. It was sort of complicated.

A noise made her jump - not the usual noises, it was a record store, after all, but this wasn't record noise - unless it was some sort of John Cage thing? Someone had tried to get her into John Cage once, and as far as Red could tell, he was an artist for people who actually secretly hated music. Maybe he was a supervillain.

No, it wasn't the soundtrack, it was just some lady knocking a coffee cup over. The part of Red that was Mina wanted to ask if she was okay, if she needed any help, and offer to get a mop, but... well, that wasn't very supervillain-y, was it? She didn't really know any supervillains. She needed some bad influences. What would a supervillain do?

What would Spork do?

Spork wasn't exactly a supervillain - unless they were, and Mina/Red just didn't know it - but they were sort of an expert in doing your own thing. So what would they do?

They'd capitalize on the situation. Take advantage of it. Right? Of course right!

She was going to have that song stuck in her head all day. Darn it. Move on, Red. She straightened, facing down the shopkeeper - was it still facing down when you were shorter? Was there another phrase that might work better, or-?

Hey. Stuporvillain. Pay attention.

Great, now her inner voice was mocking her. And it was witty. Good thing no one else had thought of that one first, that would be embarrassing. She tilted her head slightly towards the mess off coffee and the Innocent Bystander (TM) trying to keep the cat out of it.

"As you can probably tell, I don't need a weapon."

This statement had the advantage of actually being true. Sure, it had nothing to do with the spilled coffee, but if people assumed that Red had some sort of telepathy that she could use to knock over things - no, wait, it wasn't telepathy, that was the Vulcan thing. It was the other one, telekinesis. Yeah. Anyway. They could assume she had cool powers. And... go from there, right?

She was definitely just making this up as she went along, at this point. Nothing had gone according to plan.

Metahuman, he assumed, though he wasn't going to say it out loud. Something told him a person like this wasn't the best at hiding dangerous weaponry- and, even if she did have a gun somewhere in that enviable cape of hers, what point was there in hiding it whilst making threats? Kosuke leaned against the counter, keeping a careful eye on the robber, when something caught his attention off to the side.

Hazel must've knocked over her coffee. All over her laptop, as well- and it wasn't even black coffee, it was one of those syrupy milkshake things, the kind that clogged things up, left a ton of residue, and never really evaporated all the way. He knew a guy who could fix it for her. He knew a lot of guys who could fix a lot of things for people, and he knew how to get them to fix it for cheap. Hazel probably wouldn't accept his help, though- which was a shame. At least she didn't blame Carrie.

Someone else took the blame for her.

Kosuke raised an eyebrow, still somewhat unconvinced. If the girl was telling the truth, if this was some sort of--was it telepathy, or telekinesis? He was never quite sure--then spilling someone else's coffee was quite a weak display. If she blew a light fixture or something, made the speakers start screaming, maybe took a pair of those earbuds- he'd accept that, sure. But this seemed almost too irrelevant to take seriously. Still, regrettably, it was the only lead he had.

"How... can I tell?"

He seemed confused; oblivious, even. Kosuke pretended not to have noticed the spilled cup at all. He was scatterbrained on a good day- hopefully this didn't seem too out of character for him, too obvious.

"Sorry, did I miss something?"

Kosuke had found Sam a copy of the 1972 Japanese nine-track LP of Space Oddity by David Bowie. It was an incredibly rare vinyl, and Sam had requested it mostly as a joke, an impossible find that she wasn’t expecting Kosuke to get his hands on. But somehow, he had found it and wasn’t charging her nearly as much as the album must have cost to acquire. She had waited for Kyle to come in and take up his shift before leaving Infinity and heading to his store.

All of that was forgotten when she walked in and saw a young woman in a long red cape and a sequinned mask. She tilted her head as she heard the girl speak, and almost immediately, she recognized the girl’s voice. Mina was off today, but this was the very last thing she had ever expected. Sam was good with voices, and she was almost positive this young girl in the mask and cape was Mina.

Sam was very unclear on what was happening, but the bell on the door had already rung as she had opened it, and she was too curious about this to turn around and leave. So instead she tilted her head in the other direction, the movement reminiscent of a bird’s, and stepped inside. She looked on, her eyes filling with mirth as their words finally caught up to her.

"As you can probably tell, I don't need a weapon."

Oh god. Mina was robbing Kosuke. Sam’s face split open in a gleeful smile. Was this what her youngest employee did when she was off work? Did she rob record stores? Stop and robs, that would make sense, but not the VULTURE. She made her way casually through the entrance and over to where a girl with purple hair seemed to be trying to clean up a mess. She waved a hand in Kosuke’s direction.

“Hi, don’t mind me. I’ll browse until you’re done with your… customer.” Kosuke would flag her down if he needed assistance. He knew what she was and what she could do, after all, and he knew she was more than happy to help him if he needed it.

Sam didn’t think he needed it, to be honest.

So it was with that in mind that she moved over to the purple haired girl’s table and smiled, grabbing the napkin bin from the next table over. There was far too much glee in her eyes as she started to pull the napkins out and lay them out in the puddle of coffee. “Here, let me help you. Looks like you could use a hand.”

As she spoke, she looked back over her shoulder, just in case Kosuke waved for her or called for her. She was more than ready to drag Mina out by her hood, then sit her down on the sidewalk and give her a talking-to. Maybe help her realize that what she was doing wasn’t going to help her with whatever problem she had going on.​
This was definitely not a robbery. Not anymore – not to Hazel, anyway. Now it was more of a… situation.

She caught the drift of what the girl was trying to say, but she could tell the coffee incident was just a case of being a clutz. [Alternatively cosmically unlucky, but that wasn’t really a threat.] Like Hazel’s own power, it was more of a nuisance than an actual threat.

Someone came in in the middle of everything. Hazel didn’t turn her head, but she looked to see through the cameras. [Small woman, red hair, clearly used to situations.] Rather than address Kosuke or his “customer”, she instead came over to help save Hazel’s study notes.

“Hey, thanks.” She shifted her weight a little, but kept holding the laptop up and out of the way. “I can clean the mess, but I don’t think I can hold Carrie off much longer without losing a foot.”

For effect, she shoved the big cat aside again, keeping her nose and paws out of the coffee as best she could while holding a dripping laptop. Most of the coffee seemed to be out of it, but she knew she’d still need someone to go in and really clean the syrups out of it. Her poor notebooks would take a while to dry, but they’d probably still be legible, or mostly legible to her, since everything was in the same shorthand.

As she accounted for the damages, she looked over at Kosuke again, returning her sight to her own eyes that hid a glitter behind them. It didn’t leave before she looked back at the kind stranger as she put on her best helpless and frustrated girl impression.

“I don’t even know what happened! One second I’m doing my class project, the next there’s coffee everywhere!”

What? The kid probably needed the ego boost after this. It wasn’t like it was going to hurt anyone.

This was actually getting ridiculous. Sure, Red wasn't exactly terrifying, but she thought she'd at least been clear. Or, as clear as she could be, when she was absolutely making this all up as she went along and kind of lying. Not really lying, because she hadn't really said anything that wasn't true, she'd just kind of implied some things, and if people chose to take them a certain way, that was their choice and not her own, right?

It still felt kind of bad and dishonest, and she felt bad about that, first because if the dishonesty and second because she wasn't supposed to feel bad about things - she was a supervillain, wasn't she?

Not really.

There was another person coming in through the door now, probably someone else who wasn't going to believe her. Red half-turned, which supervillains probably shouldn't do, because they needed to pay attention to what was in front of them, but also they needed to pay attention to what was behind them, and also oh God that's Sam.

This last thought had nothing to do with being a supervillain. It had to do with the fact that Sam was her boss. Well, Sam was Mina's boss, anyway, because no one was the boss of Red and that was kind of the whole point of being a supervillain, but also oh God that's Sam.

It was probably a really good thing she had a costume and mask on. No wonder supervillains wore them. Like, it was one thing if a random citizen saw you being evil, but if it was your boss and then you had to go to work the next day at, uh, shoot, was she on at 3 or 4? No, it was 4, because she was starting a little later because she had that paper on Sense and Sensibility, two things that were very lacking in today's context. This was not the sort of thing that she could include in an English paper, which was a shame, because it was supposed to be three whole pages and usually she got to about two and three-quarters and then it was like ughhh trying to pad it out the rest of the way.

Sam didn't say anything about Mina. Which was good because Mina wasn't here. Sam didn't say anything about Red, either, which was... fine, she guessed it was fine? The coffee was getting cleaned up, anyway. And the person who'd knocked it over-

-Was lying.

Was... that because she was trying to support Red's story? Or just because she didn't want to get labeled as a terminal klutz who spilled coffee in a record store? It was almost certainly that second one, because that was the sort of thing that got you not invited back to record stores, and that would be such a bummer, because then where would you get your music recommendations?

It occurred to Red that robbing the place probably had the same effect. Well. She had to... do what?

She had to distract the shopkeeper.

Okay. So how did you do that?

Her eyes narrowed, behind the mask. "Hey..." Hesitating, but... no, she knew this. This was easy. She'd told him once he was just older her, right? And Red was hella distractible. "Can you tell me.... which of the mathcore bands you'd recommend to someone who's already a fan of harpsichord music and what arguments you'd use to convince them?"