|Stan Gets Unmanned|
|What: A mall theft is stopped.|
It's getting late on the East Coast. The skies over Brooklyn were dark a couple hours ago, but Hazelton Mall continues to do a brisk business. It's still an hour or so before closing time, but for some, business hours are just getting started. Two hours ago, the loading docks at the back of the mall shut down for the evening after the last delivery. But that box truck near the dock is only just arriving, and it's a little old to be bearing the markings of McMurray's Speedy-Haul, considering they refurbished their fleet a year ago with brand-new Sprinter vans. All the same, here it is, pulling up to the dock... ...Or maybe not quite. It's stopping short, right where there's a gap in the security camera coverage, and flashing its lights on and off twice. Moments later, a man in the uniform of a mall freight manager steps out from a side door nearby, carrying a couple boxes. He's heading right for the van.
Not too far away, Jubilation Lee has finished another hard day of hanging out. It's been fun, but even her eyelids begin to get heavy eventually. She heads for an exit, a bag of new stuff clutched in one hand, the other stifling a yawn. It'll be good to get home tonight. The regular entrances are crowded, even at this hour. Maybe this'd be a good time to take the scenic route, like towards the back of the place? Yeah, good idea!
Drifting high overhead is a remote control airplane. The eletric motor makes next to no noise, it is a grey that blends in the the color of the sky. On the belly of the plane a camera monitors the parking lots far below. Inside the parking garage a big panel van belonging to "Crazy Ivan's Submarine Shop" is parked in a remote corner, definitely not a prized parking spot. A transceiver broadcasts the feeds from the mall security cams to the van.
The mall's cameras show nothing. But the driver and his accomplice couldn't have anticipated the overhead interloper. The aerial camera feed is sharp enough to catch the mall labels on the sides of the two boxes the man is carrying, along with the Apple and iPod Nano markings printed on the cardboard. Looks like a delivery is just now being 'lost in transit'. The driver's door of the box truck opens, and a man climbs out, clad in baggy jeans, wifebeater, and a denim vest. The goatee is new, and a green watch cap hides his hair, but the face the drone picks up isn't too hard to identify, otherwise. Stan The Back-Of-The-Van Man looks to be picking up some new merchandise, and keeping his overhead low.
Not too far away, Jubilation eases out the door of the mall, blinking in the dimmer light of the exterior and parking lot. She looks around carefully, blinking as she hears the sound of a heavy truck engine not far off, around near the loading area. Isn't it a little late for deliveries?
Inside the van, Gearbox was doing homework while she waited for Stan The Back of the Van Man to arrive. She didn't really give a shit about stolen goods, especially small time criminals, but Stan the Man had had an encounter with a friend of a friend and put that friend of a friend in the hospital. Watching Stan get out, she puts away her applied design text and the engine of her van cranks over. She eases out and gets up from her work bench, moving to the side door. The van rolls through the parking garage towards the scene of the crime and as it gets close the door rolls back silently and Gearbox hops out, with a machine pistol in each hand. "Stan. Back of the van Stan!" she calls out, lifting both pistols and laying down a torrent of gel rounds at the small time hood. "How ya doin' Stan?"
Small talk flows for a moment as Stan lifts the back gate of the van, and the accomplice sets the merchandise inside. Stan reaches into a pocket, just as the sub shop van rolls to a stop and the door opens... The next moment, Stan's impressive reflexes save him from a very thorough bruising as GearBox opens fire with a pair of machine pistols! They're only gel rounds, but that many at once could put a man in the hospital. He doesn't escape them all, though, and he drops to the ground as one of them hits him wickely on the kneecap, his own half-drawn pistol clattering to the ground. A howl of pain escapes him, and he quickly squirms his way under the truck to get out of the line of fire. On the other hand, the gun lands close to his accomplice, who still hasn't been paid. Along with that, who knows who the wacko with the machine pistols will start hosing down next? He grabs for the handcannon and takes aim. Sure bet /this/ gun isn't loaded with gel rounds!
The sound of gunfire hits Jubilee's ears like an alarm siren, and adrenaline instantly banishes her tiredness. It's about as far away as the engines she heard earlier. "Oh, fudgesicles... someone's in trouble and Logan's nowhere in sight. Guess it's up to you, Jubester!" And the pint-sized mutant dashes for the sound. She's not stupid, though. She takes the distance in a series of short dashes, staying close to cover in case whoever's throwing bullets around has bad aim.
Gearbox calls out, "Where you going Stan?" She rattles a few rounds under the truck. Ricochets hurt too. Seeing the other guy get the gun, she wheels behind a concrete support column. She leaves that between herself and the guy with the gun while she brings the van around. Not only is it armored, it is generally rather distracting to have a huge panel van trying to run you down. So, as the Crazy Ivan's Van rushes forward towards the guy with the gun, she waits.
Ricochets do indeed hurt, as Stan's moaning bears out. He squirms deeper underneath the truck. "Bitch, you are gonna /hurt/ when I get my hands on you!" he howls, furious and humiliated. He rolls out from under the van on the other side, flexing his injured knee to loosen it up. Going to leave a nasty bruise, but he can still move. And maybe make good on his threat. The stockman fires once, managing to miss GearBox as she whirls behind that support column for the loading dock roof. "Shit!" He's just starting to move to get a clear shot when the sub shop van turns and heads right for him! "SHIT!!!" He wastes another shot on the van, then drops the apparently-useless weapon and flees towards the safety of the loading dock doors. He does have the presence of mind to drop into the loading pit, where the van will have to take the long way around if it wants to follow him.
Jubilee sees the uniformed man fleeing the van right off, giving a yelp of horror as he's nearly run down. "Yowzers! First guns, now vehicular manslaughter?" She abandons the latest point of cover and dashes for the scene of the combat. Looks like some guy's just coming out from under the van now. "Hey! Hey, are you okay?" she calls, hurrying that way.
GB hops on the back of the van as she watches the gun guy dive for cover. She swings the van around the parked truck, hopping off as the fallen gun comes into view. She grabs it and puts it into her backpack, "Yeah? Well come on out hero. You like beating on women?" She starts walking towards the other side of the parked truck. Seeing Jubilee rushing that way from the vantage of her drone, she calls out, "Stay back!" She shoves one of the pistols into the holster on her back.
Jubilee's just reaching Stan when he turns and sees her. A plan of action is already in mind. "It's... it's my knee!" he says, putting such a tone of pain (real) and anguish (false) into his voice that the teen instantly moves closer to look. And just like that, he's grabbing two things: Jubilee and his backup piece from an ankle holster. The little .25 auto wouldn't do much to GearBox, but it'll kill an innocent girl just fine, and the threat is certainly there when he yanks Jubilee up against himself. "Do I? I like killin' 'em better, bitch!" he yells at GearBox. "And this one's dead if I hear you take another step! She'll still be dead if I don't hear those heaters hit the ground in five seconds!" He edges to the front of the van, hauling the struggling girl with him.
And Jubilee can tell he's serious. Her blue eyes go wide at the feel of the gun barrel on her temple, though it doesn't stay there, as he's hauling her around to the front of the van. "Ohcrapohcrapohcrap..."
"Stan. Stan. Stan." Gearbox drops the pistol she was still holding, then holds up her hands and starts walking forward towards Stan and his hostage. She prefers shooting badguys, but she can punch them too. "Got a little dick? Is that it? I can solve that for you if you hurt one hair on that girl's head. I'll wedge that little pistol up your ass and use it to erase your little pecker for you. Sound like a deal?" She keeps her hands up as she continues to step forward. The gun wasn't complicated thankfully, so she gave a little mental push to slide the safety on, then another to release the clip.
"Smart move, bitch," Stan gloats, smirking, as GearBox steps forward with her hands up. "Now stop right there. And you," he says, jabbing the Asian teener's temple with the pistol, "Stay still. I'm gonna enjoy..." And just then, the magazine falls out of the pistol, bouncing off of Jubilee's shoulder and hitting the ground with a clatter. "HUH?!" Stan's attention falters as he stares at the gun in disbelief.
And this, as some might say, is the opportune moment. Jubilee seizes it! She shuts her eyes and fires a burst of plasmoids straight up from her left hand, letting them burst in a series of blinding stroboscopic flashes. Judging by the howl Stan lets out, they worked just fine, too! Her other hand comes up and blasts him backward with a surge of firework power. "You /jerk/!!! You... butthole!!!" she says. 'Cuz Jean would /so/ let her have it for being a potty-mouth. And she'd probably know it from forty miles away, too.
Momentarily blinded herself, Gear is forced into relying purely on her cameras for vision as she staggers back from the unexpected explosion. "Fudge!" While she blinked her overloaded eyes she snatched up the gun she dropped, then staggered after the blasted Stan. But it is quickly apparent her pursuit was really the pistol. She snatches it out of his hand then crunches it into a mangled ball of metal, which she drops to the ground. "Butthole is right. I knew he was a butt, but it is clear I under estimated just how much of a butt."
Stan, woozy, slowly starts to get up, but the sight of his pistol being crushed has him back on the ground pronto, moaning in misery. "Aw, shit... first gunslingers and now muties. My day's complete."
"Sorry," Jubilee says quickly, seeing that she didn't just flashblind Stan. Speaking of whom, she points both hands at him. "Stay right there and don't say the 'M' word again, or you'll have an extreme close-up of the Fourth of July." That done, she glances aside at GearBox with a quick smile. "Hi! Um, should I keep an eye on him while you call the cops?"
"Call the cops?" Gearbox shrugs, "Call them if you want I suppose." She levels her gun at Stan and puts a few rounds into choice bits of property, starting with his testicles. "You need to reconsider your line of work Stan. You need to reconsider your life. I know where you live. I know who you know. Get it you bastard?" She rolls the guy onto his stomach and zipties his hands and feet, then both of those together. She digs out his wallet and it goes into her backpack, as does his watch and his phone. His car keys she keeps hold of as she steps up to claim his van. She looks to Jubilee, "Nice power." she comments while opening up the door.
Stan... is not a happy camper. Probably not ever again. With the kind of pain he's in right now, he's probably going to still be lying there when the mall opens. Or when the cops show up to investigate those gunshots, whichever comes first. Whimpering, he doesn't move again.
Jubilee watches in startled silence... for all of half a second. "Hey, wait! You didn't have to do /that/!" she protests, running after GearBox. "It's not like he was gonna do anything with both of us watching him!"
"Well, you can adopt him and follow him around to babysit him if you want." She slips into the van and starts it up. "If he wants to put people in the hospital he can reap the benefits of being a thug." She the window on the Stan's van rolls down, then she shuts the door. "If I were you I'd go get in my car and get out of here before the cops show up. I'm sure you're a good girl and all that, but you /are/ a mutant. So, you can't count on your innocence being a shield against being arrested."
Jubilee fumes... but what's done is done, and she can't fix it. She sighs and shakes her head. "All right. But that was still too much!" She runs to catch up her shopping bag from earlier. "Is that the van that was running people over?"
The Crazy Ivan's van is moving away on its own while Gearbox is stealing Stan's Van. Her van drives off while Gear cruises Stan's Van along beside Jubilee. "Too much? He put a girl about your age into the hospital three days ago. Would you like to see a picture of her?" She fishes out a phone and tosses it towards Jubilee, "Have a look at her, then tell me it was too much." The smartphone has a girl's face on it, although it would be hard to tell she was a girl from all the bruising and swelling. "But hey, it is okay right? He was drunk. He didn't mean it."
Jubilee blinks as the phone flies out of the window, catching it on reflex. She looks at the face in silence, then huffs out a sigh and runs around to the other side of the van, pulling open the door and climbing in. "I get it. This was personal, and he /did/ deserve it. I don't know if he deserved /that/ much, but it's not like I can undo it, right?" She shuts the door. "And I just missed my bus because of this mess. Any way you can get me to Park Street Station?"
"Personal? I suppose. But if I ran into him at random and knew he did that to a girl, I'd gladly do the same. I've never met that girl before." Gearbox watches the bold young woman climb into the van without asking about the ride until she's inside. She shrugs, "Sure. I can give you a ride." She eases the van forward and is soon rolling out of the mall parking lot. "If I knew the girl, I would destroy his life."
"Super. Thanks." Jubilee leans back in her seat, sighing tiredly. "I think you already did," she adds, glancing in the rearview, where the bloody form of Stan The (now vanless) Back-Of-The-Van Man is still lying, awaiting police custody and no doubt a new nickname. She shuts her eyes. "So, what should I call you? I mean, I could think of something, but I doubt you'd answer to it," she says, a faint smile creeping onto her face. It's a weak joke, but that she can joke at all about this says something.
"What, some bruised balls and the loss of his van and current cargo is hardly going to destroy his life. He will likely be out on bail in a day. He will then likely skip bail, or hire a lawyer that will get him off with a slap on the wrist." Gearbox looks at Jubilee, "I'm Gearbox. And feel free to call me whatever you want. I'm not into this for winning poularity contests."