It was only a matter of time...

((OOC: Reserved for Jade and Malicia))

I hate gravity.

It was true… in all her years as a thief, Jade's worst enemy was not bullets, security systems, or cops. It was gravity. It had been the source of twisted ankles, bruised body parts and the occasional collision with a wall. So no, they were not on the best of terms.

She hung upside down, mere inches away from a class covered pedestal, its former sole occupant-- a massive princess cut diamond-- clutched greedily to her chest. Her legs revealed the source of her distress. The lines had become entangled around one leg, preventing the retractor from working.

She looked perplexed. How could this happen? She'd been careful! Of course, she hadn't expected her first attempted retraction to fail and send her falling head first towards the ground. Luckily her back up system kicked in and spared her from a glorious swan dive into the concrete tile below.

As if to top the night off with a cherry, she had no room to squirm or sit up with all the laser motion detectors around her. So she dangled there, basking in the red hue, and spinning around slowly like a lazy spider.

The blood rushing to her head was going to become a problem. With a small grunt, she judged the distance to the floor. She'd have to drop the diamond… unthinkable. Either way, she'd still set off the alarm.

Maybe if she could get to her cell phone she could call Jab. She had a sneaking suspicion he would die from laughter though. And she was no murderer…. especially where her pride was concerned.

She shifted a bit, trying to reach into her pouch that housed her cell phone.

And that was when gravity reared its ugly head again.

Her cell phone fell from the pouch and shot past her, where it shattered on the floor below.

"… are you kidding me?" she asked, sighing heavily.

    • Queen Malicia of St. Canard
      Queen Malicia of St. Canard

      There was a momentary flicker caused by an electrical surge. For a short time Jade was left in darkness. But quickly, the melodious hum of various machines announced their return alongside the clicking lights.

      Now, however, a figure was leaning against the doorway, one leg propped up.

      "This is why I prefer taking the front door." She purred, stepping into the room. She didn't trigger the alarms... evidently, the motion sensors had not restarted with the power.

      Just as planned.

      Coming to a stop at the base of the pedestal, she was just inches away from the upside-down face of the masked duckette. She gave the thief a once-over, trying to recall if she had ever met this one before. A newcomer with good taste in jewels, evidently.

      She took another step forward, but paused when her foot made an audible crunch. She looked down to see the shattered cellphone pieces spread across the floor.

      "Not your day, is it?"

      • Piper/ Jade
        Piper/ Jade

        Jade 'eeped' when the power went out.

        Oh God, PLEASE do not be Megavolt…

        But, contrary to the rat's style… the electricity was returning. She blinked when the lights flickered on, squinting until her vision adjusted.

        It just so happened that she had slowly turned to face the doorway. Jade would have let another 'eep' escape… but she kind of knew better than to do that in front of Malicia. As Piper, she had been able to feel out the demoness' annoyances, and obvious meekness was one of them.

        Plus her head was pounding, and making noise was difficult.

        "M'not so good at the…" she wiggled her fingers a bit. "Electrical voo doo." And that was truth. She was much better at slinking around systems than trying to disable them. Jab had tried to teach her once, and she had ended up setting off all store alarms on the block.

        She watched Malicia approach, wondering if she would recognize her or not. She didn't want the demoness to lord over Trevor with the knowledge that his wife was a criminal. She knew it would enrage her husband, and that simply had to be avoided. Especially now that Malicia was well established as the new Number One.

        She winced at the crunching of her phone. She looked down… up… whatever, at the further shattered remains of her phone.

        "No… I suppose this isn't." Admitted defeat.

        • Queen Malicia of St. Canard
          Queen Malicia of St. Canard

          If Mal recognized her, she certainly didn't say so. Instead, the corners of her lips tugged upward ever-so-slightly to reveal the faint traces of a smile.

          "I applaud your choice in target. I have always been a real supporter of the 'Go big or go home' methodology." Her eyes lingered on the diamond, glimmering almost as brightly at the object in question.

          "You know." She started casually, circling the other duck. "I've been having some terrible luck lately. You see, for the past few months I've been trying to collect a few new trinkiets for myself. And yet, shockingly, by the time I arrive at my target, I discover it's already been swiped. Now, I wonder..." She tapped her bill.

          "...Are you the one beating me to the punch?"

          • Piper/ Jade
            Piper/ Jade

            Oh… crud…

            Play it cool, and for God's sake STOP FEELING PRIDE at what seems like a compliment!

            "I am not trying to beat anyone… I just go for the things I like. The shinier the better. No sense in playing the game if it isn't to walk away with a good prize." She tried to follow Malicia, but the harness would not allow her to swing at her own discretion. It wasn't long before Malicia was out of her sight. She went limp for a second, trying to loosen the tension building in her neck.

            "But of course… I'd never try to interfere with the Demon Queen of St. Canard." she added, closing her eyes to try and kill the pressure building up behind them. "If I knew your sights I'd gladly step aside."

            And there was a clear ring of truth. She knew when she was going up against someone who was more powerful. She wasn't Darkwing. She didn't fancy scrapping with impossible odds unless absolutely necessary. Jade picked and chose her fights.

            • Queen Malicia of St. Canard
              Queen Malicia of St. Canard

              From directly behind her there was sharp laughter.

              "You're smart! I like that. Too bad Darkwing won't take a page from your book."

              Jade would suddenly feel her body lurch as she was slowly lowered to the ground. Once at a safe dropping height, the line was sliced, and fell around her like a crumpled snake.

              Standing above her, tailing swishing, she gazed down at the figure curiously.

              "You clearly know who I am, but I can't say the same for you."

              • Piper/ Jade
                Piper/ Jade

                The whole time she descended, she kept a hold on that diamond. Priorities after all.

                For a dazzling moment, Jade laid there, stars dancing in front of her eyes as the blood returned to its rightful place in her body. She was never so thankful for a supine position as she was at that very moment.

                She should probably be terrified at the figure standing above her-- but Malicia's laughter had put Jade somewhat at ease. Besides, she was grateful to be down. Rubbing her eyes (which were itching from the sudden rush) the duckette sat up. "Everyone knows who you are." she assured. At least, everyone who skulked the underbelly of St. Canard.

                "My name is Jade." she supplied, blinking a bit to clear her vision. "And my style is to not be known, really. The less people who know about me, the less will be looking for me when something comes up missing."

                She got to her feet finally. "Thank you for cutting me down." And nicely at that.

                • Queen Malicia of St. Canard
                  Queen Malicia of St. Canard

                  "Well, Jade, you seem awfully polite and cooperative. But just what are we going to do about that lovely piece in your hands?" Ah, yes. That. Because you can't exactly split a diamond in two.

                  There were so many options in front of Mal right now. She could use brute force and take it. She could melt this girl into a puddle of burnt flesh and singed feathers. But that was so... Negaduck.

                  And she wasn't Negaduck. Even if their shared greed meant this big, fat, beautiful diamond, had no other travel course set other than outside in Malicia's claws.

                  She had been experimenting with a different approach lately when it came to building her kingdom. While fear tactics got her what she wanted, it only got her so far and those alliances fell apart fast. But build a kingdom with subjects who felt respected... who benefit from her being in power. Even if it meant making a few financial sacrifices thanks to the dreaded 's' word ("share"), it would pay more in the long-run.

                  "Perhaps we could cut a deal..."

                  • Piper/ Jade
                    Piper/ Jade

                    Her instinctive reaction was to hold the diamond closer because… well… MINE. Greed stomped its feet like a spoiled child in her head.

                    But her logic was quick to step in and slap Greed in the face. Give up the diamond, you feather head, and you might get to go see your babies tonight.

                    And she did kind of like her babies. Malicia was being incredibly tempered at the moment, and Jade was eager to do anything to keep things that way. It honestly amazed her that Malicia had not simply grabbed the diamond and left her dangling there for Darkwing to find.

                    …but it was a struggle… Piper looked down at the diamond… it was so pretty. So shiny… but Mal's claws were shiny too. She already knew she'd hand the diamond over without fuss, and she was preparing to so when Malicia spoke next.

                    "What… kind of deal?" she asked skeptically. Hey.. you can't blame her. She had seen galvanized Malicia before...

                    • Queen Malicia of St. Canard
                      Queen Malicia of St. Canard

                      "You say you want to remain unseen, and I could use an unseen person on my side." She explained. "I have all the firepower I could ask for, and plenty of  meatheads to put behind the aforementioned firepower. But what I really need right now is stealth. Someone who can assist me from afar..."

                      Circling Jade again, her eyes on the rope still scattered across the floor she continued. "If you steal for me, in exchange you can have a portion of the loot. Additionally, any other loot in the area I don't target is yours to take."

                      She came to a full-stop in front of her again. "I have higher priorities than just jewelry, however. I need more feet on the ground for recon missions, and nabbing a variety of other useful items. I don't need you for anything violent -- you will not be asked to target people, or injure them. Although you might be put in situations where you'll have to defend yourself from others. But I'm sure you're already well aware that this line of work comes with plenty of risks to begin with..."

                      • Piper/ Jade
                        Piper/ Jade

                        She followed Malicia with her eyes, listening as the woman spoke. She mulled what she was saying around in her head, coming to a few very good points…

                        If she said no, she would probably not walk out of the building under her own power.

                        If she was a part of Malicia's operations, she could use that information to keep Trevor and the babies out of harm's way.

                        And finally… it was infinitely better to stay in the demoness' good graces. Jade had something Malicia wanted… and Malicia was offering a decently fair trade. Basically… she'd be doing exactly what she WAS doing… only for someone else. Which she use to do anyway.

                        "… as long as I don't have to hurt anyone…" she said softly. That really was her main hold up. She was not a thug for hire, nor was violence ever her style. She looked up at Malicia, her mouth twisting slightly in contemplation.

                        "What kind of 'other' things?" she asked. Jewelry was one thing… organs (for example) were another. She wasn't saying no, just wanted a clear understanding of what would be expected of her.

                        • Queen Malicia of St. Canard
                          Queen Malicia of St. Canard

                          "I've got plenty of people willing to do the hurting part already." She reassured Jade. "And frankly, they're an annoying bunch. They look for any excuse to throw a punch. Zero ability to think critically and consider the long-term. You're clearly more cautious, more conscientious. I need more of that."

                          But also a riskier kind of person to have around. Mal was getting the distinct impression that Jade had some form of morality. Obviously she wasn't above stealing, but if she had any objections elsewhere, it could cost the demonness.

                          Still, it was a chance she was willing to take. Besides, she wasn't going to let this woman into her inner-circle immediately. For now, Jade would be left with vague details, and kept at a safe distance. Over time, however, if she proved trustworthy...

                          "Information." In response to her question of 'things'. "Mostly in the form of technology. In fact, there's already a mission I have lined up that I think would be perfect for you..."

                           

                          • Piper/ Jade
                            Piper/ Jade

                            She stared at Malicia for a moment…. then shrugged.

                            "Alright." If scratching Malicia's back would protect her family a bit, she would do it. But… taking on another job with the bookstore… she rubbed the back of her head a bit. Oh well… she'd do what she needed to do.

                            "I suppose you want this?" sign of good faith. She held the diamond out for Malicia to take, reminding herself that Malicia HAD lowered her down. 

                            "And what is this job you have for me?" she was genuinely curious now. She had considered switching over to technology theft.

                            • Queen Malicia of St. Canard
                              Queen Malicia of St. Canard

                              Grinning widely, Mal didn't hesitate with jumping into the details.

                              "The information you will be stealing belongs to a small-time mobster, Hammerhead Hannigan. He used to work for Taurus Bulba, and has tried to carve out his own little piece of the city. Supposedly, he has some rather top secret data that he stumbled on from his time with Bulba. He keeps it on a small usb flash device that he wears on his person at all times." She explained.

                              "I want that information. But the tricky part... I don't want him to know it's been taken. I was hoping you could get in, copy the files over, and then return the usb drive without him noticing." It would be a good test of Jade's skills, that was for certain.

                              "I will give you all of the information so you can plan accordingly. Hammerhead spends a lot of time at high-class clubs and casinos. You'll have many opportunities to nab the information, but I'll let you decide the time and place."

                              • Piper/ Jade
                                Piper/ Jade

                                That... sounded easy enough. She'd gotten good at pick-pocketing thanks to Jab. 

                                Jade shifted her weight, tilting her head a bit and thinking it over. She was good at getting into places, and if it really hit the fan, she could always walk out in her normal guise-- although that came with huge risks.

                                But if memory or rumor served her correctly... Hannigan wasn't exactly the brightest crayon in the box.

                                "Alright. I'll do it." she said with a nod. She'd have to stake him out for a little while first and learn his habits. Habits, as she had learned, tended to be points of weakness that she could exploit. "Give me what information you can and I will go from there."

                                • Queen Malicia of St. Canard
                                  Queen Malicia of St. Canard

                                  "I'm glad you're up to the challenge. I'm looking forward to seeing what you can do." Not to mention, it would be a good first-initiation.

                                  Digging into her cleavage she retrieved a full dossier, filled with all of the information she had collected on Hannigan and his crew. Originally, Mal was planning to pull off the theft herself, but she was far too busy with other affairs to formulate a good, solid plan.

                                  And as most already knew, the fiery-haired villainess was the very opposite of 'low-profile'. An unknown third-party was a better choice.


                                  "Here's my number... contact me as soon as you get what I need."

                                  • Piper/ Jade
                                    Piper/ Jade

                                    Jade took the dossier. "Alright." She then tossed the diamond to Malicia and headed out.

                                    It would be a nearly two weeks before Malicia heard anything. In that time, Jade had followed Hammerhead and learned his frequent stops. After a quick glance into the casino and hotel security systems she determined that the casino would be the best spot to hit.

                                    The casino had excellent security. The rooms not so much so. It was easy for the slender duckette like her to creep in through the vents. She waited until the mobster discarded his clothing for a shower and then slipped into his room.

                                    She pulled out the USB from his clothing and hooked it up to a small tablet. A quick transfer later and the deed was done. She put the USB back just as Hammerhead was going into his own rendition of 'Can't Stop Believing".

                                    She slipped back into the vent, replacing the grate, and crawled her way back to the roof.

                                    As she was walking away, she pulled out her disposable and called Malicia.

                                    • Queen Malicia of St. Canard
                                      Queen Malicia of St. Canard

                                      Mal was lounging in a leather chair while the spa attendant worked away at her feet with a full-on floor buffer. Another was painting her claws with nail polish when her phone rang.

                                      -Click- "Hello?"

                                      • Piper/ Jade
                                        Piper/ Jade

                                        Jade grunted a bit as she dropped down to the fire escape. 

                                        "Malicia?" she said, glancing down to the alley. Clear. She began her decent. "I have that thing you asked for. From your shark friend." She had no clue if Malicia was alone or what, so she decided to speak in code to be safe.

                                        Not that it was much code...

                                        • Queen Malicia of St. Canard
                                          Queen Malicia of St. Canard

                                          There was a pause on the other end. Then: "A little to the left please, oooh that's good. Keep doing that."

                                          Then, back to Jade. She knew who it was immediately, because there were no other women currently working under her. "Excellent! It went well, I hope? No limbs lost in the process? Let's rendezvous tonight. Meet me on the pier down by the closed down crab shack in the Audubon Bay. Say, 9'o clock sharp?"

                                          • Piper/ Jade
                                            Piper/ Jade

                                            At Mal's rather... suggestive 'ooh', Jade pulled the phone away and looked at it funny. She then pressed her ear back to it... hesitantly... hearing the rest of the goings on. Must be calling at a bad time... or a good time. Depends on how you look at it I suppose.

                                            "All my bits and pieces are intact, and he is none the wiser." She assured as she dropped down to the alley and started making her way for the street. "I can meet you there easy enough. Ah... and no hurry." No need to further interrupt the demoness' fun.

                                            Plus she had a bit of a ways to go. 

                                            • Queen Malicia of St. Canard
                                              Queen Malicia of St. Canard

                                              "Excellent! It's a date then!" The phone clicked, indicating she had hung up.

                                              Later that evening, Mal would be waiting at the selected spot. It would soon become obvious why she picked the pier. The evening humidity combined with the murky water kicked up a rather thick fog around the shoreline, enveloping them in a veil of secrecy. Perfect for all shady exchanges.

                                              • Piper/ Jade
                                                Piper/ Jade

                                                This was so cliche.

                                                Jade almost scoffed. Really? A foggy meeting? The only thing that was missing were some trench coats and fedoras.

                                                She wandered along the pier, looking around for Malicia, taking in the sheer corniness of it all. One thing was abundantly clear… there wasn't anyone nearby who would notice or eavesdrop. (Or hear her scream if the need arose) She could see it being rather dangerous considering the low visibility and steep drop into the water too.

                                                However, despite those factors, Jade knew whom she was looking for, and what she looked like. So when she spotted a certain voluptuous blot of darkness in the fog, she knew it could only be Malicia.

                                                Ever wanting to make a good impression, Jade shook out her hair and straightened her suit quickly. So long as she looked as though she hadn't struggled-- she'd have confidence enough. She was just delivering something the demoness wanted.

                                                So Malicia had no reason to fry her to a crisp. Or toss her in the water. Or throw her over the buildings…

                                                With a breath, she approached the woman, reaching into her pouch to withdraw the tablet. "As requested." She said, holding it out.

                                                • Queen Malicia of St. Canard
                                                  Queen Malicia of St. Canard

                                                  Hey, cliches were cliches for a reason.

                                                  Eyebrow raised, she took the tablet curiously. Mal was, admittedly, not very good with technology (and that had been part of the reason she needed someone else to do this espionage work for her).

                                                  There was a few moments of fumbling and annoyed muttering as she tried to navigate the settings. But, miraculously, she managed to locate the file in question.

                                                  "Excellent work!" Laying on the praise unsparingly. She retrieved a sack and tossed it to the thief -- a rather generous payment of diamonds and other assorted shiny things.

                                                  "And you're certain he has no idea you were there?"