1965-02-19 - Treasure Hunt: The Heist
Summary: A transvestite, a protest, a creepy art teacher. The perfect storm for a museum robbery.
Related: http://www.marvel-1963.com/cutscene:1965-02-21-treasure-hunt:research-is-a-pain
Theme Song: None
mike-matthews tchalla kitty maximus kaleb stephanie-brown 

The new exhibit is called 'Statues of Ancient India', and the art is all taken from a private collection, first time it's been exhibited since the pieces left the subcontinent in question. Of course, to get to the art one must brave the protestors outside. They are mostly women, twenty-five and up, bearing signs that read 'Sex Is Not Art!' and 'Say No to Pornography!' and 'Americans Don't Want Asian Smut!'

Yes, the exhibit has a lot of rather sexually explicit pieces. Naked women are one thing, and the exhibit likely wouldn't draw such anger if it were only that — though many of the naked women of Indian art are rather more cartoonish in their proportions than, say, the Venus de Milo. But there is far more explicit material, and… for the love of god, what is that man doing to that horse?!

That said, there are plenty of perfectly innocent statues as well. Here is Ganesh sitting in a lotus position, carved from white stone that may be marble. Here is Shiva, and Krishna, each with six arms, bearing their respective symbols of power. A nude woman with a child, not so different from anything that might be seen in a renaissance painting. A warrior. A man in a Hindu priest's robs. A… jeez, they wouldn't show that one in any men's magazine Stephanie Brown is aware of.

Yes, Stephanie Brown, the young woman who nightly haunts the rooftops of Queens, is attending the exhibit — extra credit for her art history class. Wearing a volet sweater and skirt that hangs not quite to her ankles, she is far less concerned with the subject matter of the sculpture than the fact that she and her art professor are the only ones who are here from said class, and said professor currently has his arm around her in a manner with which she is not at all comfortable. She has the feeling that breaking his nose or kneeing him in the groin are unlikely to improve her grade.

«Dear Diary, Next time I'm told about an extra credit opportunity, remind me to make sure that everybody else was informed of the extra credit as well. As a side note, Prof. Hawthorn is a creep.»

|ROLL| Maximus +rolls 1d20 for: 7

|ROLL| Maximus +rolls 1d20 for: 2

Know who loves Asian sluts? Maximus Boltagon. In fact, he's pretty well dressed as one. Nothing like a protest to really make a man smile, and this man, is smiling in red, and wearing a red, clinging formal wear gown, and not even trying to pass. Give em something else to protest about. He has heels as well, making him very tall indeed.

A display of ancient statuary, especially not hailing from the Mediterranean world, draws out T'Challa for a night escaping diplomatic concerns. Accompanying him are two statuesque women at a distance, and either could be a dead ringer for the Indian statues in build. He comes out dressed to the nines in a perfectly good suit, although in place of a white button-down shirt, he wears a high-collared, gorgeously woven violet tunic. His scarf wraps around his throat, an umbrella smartly clasped in one hand.

Protestors receive pointed looks from the two ladies in his entourage; why bring one? He himself seems non-plussed by the swaying signs and protesting shouts. Sailing by on a mantle of monarchical dignity is just the thing, particularly when in the glare of the spotlights and possible journalists. The exhibit has nothing entirely shocking for an African; some of those statues are equally jaunty and breathtaking. These ones warrant careful scrutiny from someone who probably wouldn't wear a red dress if it leapt out from a corner and bit him.

Mike Matthews has always been fascinated by the cultures of other worlds, and his new home is no exception, and so he often finds himself visiting various exhibits and wandering through museums, taking in the history and culture of Earth. He doesn't seem particularly shocked or dismayed by the art on display, however. Instead, he regards each piece thoughtfully as he slowly strolls from one to the other. He seems particularly captivated by the six-armed Shiva and Krishna, as though trying to puzzle out whether the six arms are a symbolic representation or if Earth does in fact have six-armed folk in India. The protesters seem to perplex him, at best, but he doesn't pay a lot of attention to them other than to mostly avoid them on his way in.

Kaleb never stepped out for a gala event in anything but high style. Kaleb wasn't even 19 yet and his suit likely cost more than any one of those protesters' annual salary. As far as Maximus' attire? Well, he was not one to lecture an Asian royal on what to wear about an exhibit to Asian art. There was a pointed look from him when one of the protesters was swatting a hand his way and suggested with that tone of Touch me and you will lose your mortgage and all else you hold dear, woman. Kaleb Miller had zero love for whiny humans that wanted to be loud and stupid. Walking in at least one other protester grabbed at her ears as too loud a noise boxed them. But what would he have to do with it, he was watching Maximus infuriate the masses which put him at some ease and saw, Ah! better people. A hand lifted to Kitty as he rolled up next to the very tall Royal in red, as opposed to the one in the suit. "King T'Challa." There was a nod and the words were kept compartmentalized for just those in their most immediate area. Mike's interest without judgement was taken into note.

Kitty is wandering among the various exhibits, raising an amused eyebrow at some of the various poses on display. "That can't be comfortable…" she mumbles to herself. She takes a moment to look around the room, and to her surprise spots a familiar figure. The man in the red dress is only vaugely familiar, but his companion she recognizes. She turns to put herself on an intercept course, waving and smiling in greeting as she approaches.

Maximus will find himself eyed by security personnel — many of them off-duty police officers hired by the museum to stop protestors from doing anything untoward. Two of them approach the man. "Sir," says the older of the pair, the younger looking distinctly uncomfortable. "I think it's best that you leave. This is -very- inappropriate."

On the other hand, the director of the gallery himself (while casting a few glances at Maximus), rushes toward TChalla. "Your Highness," he says, and then pauses infinitesimally, uncertain if that's an appropriate form of address for Wakandan royalty. Never mind. "Thank you so much for attending our exhibit. Welcome to the Met! We are extremely happy to have you." He's a fastidious little man with curly grey hair that rings a balding patch atop his head that looks like a tonsure. He wears a black suit and pince nez glasses perched at the juncture of nose and brow. "If there is anything at all that I or any of my staff can do to make your visit more comfortable, please do not hesitate to ask."

The chanting from outside grows louder, angrier. The protestors are working themselves into a frenzy now. Even those few who, before, were holding signs and marching only because wives and girlfriends dragged them to the event, are now shouting with the loudest of their companions.

A slim woman is inspecting one of the sculptures with great interest — the marble Ganesh, one hand empty and facing outward to bless the viewer, one with an axe, one with a rope, and one holdng a metal ball. She has a small smile on her lips a hand stretching toward the sculpture as if to touch it — but resisting making contact. "I think this is the one," she murmurs, seemingly to herself.

Stephanie is trying to escape the clutches of her professor. Thankfully the man is distracted. Possibly by the King's presence, possibly by Maximus' choice of clothing, and possibly because the woman in blue by the Ganesha sculpture is particularly lovely. She manages to duck under his arm and spin away from him, walking around behind the horse sculpture (dear god, that is just…) to hide from him.

Maximus bows his head to T'Challa with all the slight deference of another foreign ruler, then smiles at Kitty approaches. "Why hello, yes…we're met before. Its Maximus…Maximus Bol-" And when he's stopped by the security guards, he gives them a fond, cool look. His eyes glow faintly blue for a moment, and he tries to wrap his mind around theirs, subtle, and simply turn them away. He's being good, see?

One's title and rank often run ahead of the individual. The two flanking women step in a little closer to T'Challa when Kaleb goes and identifies him by name, and they almost pivot as a single entity to face the inrushing director. No smiles greet the stranger but the Wakandan monarch inclines his head. "It is my pleasure to see the Metropolitan Museum showcase artistic achievements from the subcontinent and beyond." He spreads his hands slightly to the side, his unassuming umbrella contained within. "I am glad for the hospitality." A six-armed god does catch his eye, and any of the Shakti, those divine goddesses acting as counterparts to the varied bold gods. Watch him turn away then, freeing the gallery director to find other ways to have him bankroll the Met for the next two centuies. "Good evening," he says to Kaleb and — ah, the commotion about the red dressed fellow brings a brief flicker of his dark eyes.

One wouldn't know that Mike was a Prince to look at him. It's not that he doesn't look good in his dark slacks, white shirt, and navy tie and jacket. In fact, he looks quite stylish. But nothing about him screams alien royalty. Just another museum-goer strolling along through the various art pieces. He does glance over at the slight commotion of security moving in Maximus' direction with a kind of casual curiosity. The greeting that T'Challa receives draws a bit of a smile, but he seems content to just take it all in — from the exhibit itself to the societal dance of those present. His hands slip into the pockets of his jacket and he makes his way over toward the statue of Ganesh, though leaving plenty of personal space between he and the woman taking in the statue.

Kaleb was a royal pain in the ass. It as a different kind of regal and it worked. While he didn't smile he was optimistic seeing Kitty. The words that would have been pleasant were stalled letting his demeanor go cold eyeing the guards speaking, as he thought, well above their station. Then again he always had opinions and Maximus could handle himself just fine. Deep breaths. Whatever was murmured to him caused him to actually half smile. "Kitty, join us?" The women with King T'Challa found nothing from Kaleb but a respectful distance from the man, their King, and otherwise seemed to broken no reason to bring them concern. Max won a faint wink in return, "Oh, I'm on it. You're a guard?" Yes he's addressing the one mentally arrested, "I think that woman there may be fingerprinting the oils. Can we have someone talk to the wo- now she's by Ganesha. That poor elephant man."

Kitty smiles, preparing herself to respond to Maximus and greet both he and Kaleb properly. She stops short when the guards approach, unaware that she is holding her breath in anticipation. She is starting to feel very underdressed, and very outclassed as she realizes who else is in attendance. Her clothes are clean and pressed, but decidedly middle class. She blows out the breath she had been holding and nods "I would love to join you." She says as she falls into step with the pair. She turns to look for the woman that Kaleb is attemting to point out.

The older officer stops, blinking a few time as he tries to regain his train of thought, perhaps even resume his insistence that Maximus leave. But the mind control does its trick, and the pair, confused and wary, turn away, returning to their posts. Other security guards take note, however, and one crosses the room to speak to the pair and find out why they're not intervening any longer. The younger officer comes up with the best excuse he can. "That's the King he's talking to." A rookie doesn't want to cause an international incident. Leave that to the vets.

The director would love to discuss with TChalla the possibility of a Wakandan exhibit — but perhaps that's best left for another time. He can call the embassy tomorrow, perhaps. For now, he would very much like to know why those officers allowed the man in drag to stay. As he passes by the woman at the statue of Ganesha, he inhales sharply, then looks around, confused.

The chanting from outside grows louder still, angrier, and then there are people pounding at the doors outside. Security personnel turn their attention away from Maximus (most of them) and start toward the doors to prevent intrusion. While the exhibit is not closed to the public, protests inside the museum are decidedly unacceptable.

The woman standing by the Ganesha statue turns to regard the director when he breathes in so sharply, and suddenly he falls to the ground, hands rising to his throat. She rushes to his side. "Sir? Sir!" Raising her head she yells, "This man can't breathe! Is there a doctor in the house?!"

«Dear Diary: I am so dropping Art History…»

Stephanie's train of thought is interrupted when the woman calls out for a doctor. She's not one, but she has had a CPR class. It's pretty new, but it seemed really useful, given her nighttime activities. So she moves away from the horse sculpture, gratefully, and crouches to start checking on the man — at least until an actual doctor makes himself known.

If the guards continue to approach him, he simply continues to turn them away, all while having a chat with Kaleb, Kitty, and T'Challa. The same goes for guests, staff, patrons, anyone else that wants to give him a difficult time for being in a mood. The greater the escalation of others, the more their minds are likely to get wiped for a week, or suddenly controlled to strip themselves, or sudden barrel their heads into granite displays until /everyone/ is wearing red. The Mad King sometimes, simply, does what he wants, and carries with him the balls, lack of moral compass, and skillset to get his way against a persistant mass. The more like rabble they are, the more singular of mind and anger, the easier it is.

When the woman starts yelling by Ganesha, Maximus is busy making it SEEM like no one gives a shit about his red dress, but he does look towards Kaleb, "Can you…destroy whatever he's choking on?"

Chanting and banging on the doors gives T'Challa pause. Law enforcement on a quiet, off-duty night surge to secure the exits, and he is the odd one out. Have no doubt, someone is blaming the yelling woman on him. They're also going to blame Maximus' choice of gown on him, too. Protest marchers tend not to care much about diplomatic immunity afforded by a year-old United Nations resolution. A grave frown carved across his features speaks to restraint, though that reaction is natural facing trouble. "Excuse me." An idle nod to the elite around him when he is already turning, how terribly rude. He hones in on the woman shouting about breathing, expedient as he moves efficiently through the gallery towards the Ganesha statue.

The Dora Milaje go right along with him, their sinuous saffron-yellow and deep cinnabar gowns easy to spot. Surely one of them knows what to do? Well, it's up to T'Challa kneeling down to do… something. Educated prodding, the sort to check for a constricted windpipe, lodged bone? Look, the king is harrassing that nice man!

Mike Matthews is not a doctor of any stripe, but he does know how to find a phone to call an ambulance, and so he makes his way toward whatever information kiosk, office, or person who might know where a phone in an office might be in order to ask them to call for some actual medical assistance in the event that someone nearby can't help him. Mike keeps an eye on the situation behind him, to make note of the man's state to update the operator if need be.

Kaleb Looked to the man in a passing glance and noted to his companions, "Not without bringing all the art down and killing him first." That would be a strong no. Then like the cold-hearted lil prick he was he let others mind the man while he went about minding the art…and also some man doing something entirely quesitonable to a horse. He… wasn't certain if he would place that in teh art category and worried about one of the paintings of Krishna and the many that adored him instead. "Best I can offer is staying out of the way. Kitty may, but… I'm trying to figure out why some of these persons are blue. I think I remember relevence in the representation. It's eluding me."

Kitty frowns, "I'll go see if I can be of any help," she moves toward the downed man, "If I can see something I can propably remove it without a problem…" she mutters to herself as she moves closer. She moves quickly and with purpose, doing her best to get in close and not paying much attention to the others people who have started to gather around the stricken man. Her only focus is getting in close, if she can find space.

The first of the doors slams open, and while police and security try to stop the protestors, the mass of people is far greater than the weight of authority. They rush into the room, not seeming to give a fig for Maximus' dress or the color of the King of Wakanda's skin. Rather, the first woman through the doors makes a beeline for that infamous sculture of a horse and man engaged in… less than tasteful activities, and brings her sign down on it as hard as she can. The wooden stake attached to the sign splinters, leaving little impression on the sculpture, but the woman keeps beating the sculpture with the remains until it's nothing but broken twigs, and then she's using her hands, beating them bloody on rough stone.

The other protestors follow suit, surrounding the explicit artwork and trying to destroy it over protests from guards and patrons of the museum alike.

No serious damage is done until one of the male protestors takes hold of a bronze pole — it's attached to one of the velvet ropes that keeps the lines from one exhibit to the next orderly. The rope is unclipped, and he swings the pole, broad end first into the face of a busty stone Indian woman.

There's nothing to be found in the throat of the museum director anyway — he's simply unable to breathe. Stephanie cedes her position to TChalla with a murmur of 'Your Majesty' about the time that the protestors break in, and then she's rushing off to stand in defense of priceless art. Horse sculpture not withstanding, this material shouldn't be destroyed. Maybe not displayed in the Met, but not destroyed.

The woman who announced that the director was sick returns to the statue of Ganesha. The way she's positioned, maybe she wants to defend it from the protestors — or maybe it just seems the least likely to be attacked. Ganesha's belly is exposed, but he's wearing a loincloth, at the very least. As she stands there, one of the protestors, this one not attacking any sculptures, breaks away from the crowd and wanders over to stand with her. "Breathless."

"Mob Man."

"The boss on his way?"

"Of course."

That's all. They stand there between the crowd and Ganesha, looking ready to confront anybody who might come toward the statue with ill intent.

|ROLL| Maximus +rolls 1d20 for: 7

Maximus may be taxing himself a bit tonight. When the mob breaks in, he concentrates on keeping them away from Kaleb and himself. He holds out a protective hand and draws backwards, towards Ganesha incidentally and away from the horseman. "You take me to all the nice parties, Kaleb." Anyone who does get too close in this direction, turns back.

Down on one knee, T'Challa can rapidly dispense with the niceties. Gentleman can't breathe, no obstructions in the throat. A short, quick snap frees the collar around the man's neck and he gestures quickly to one of the nearest people, some hapless fleeing bystanders, or possibly Kitty and Stephanie. "Please pick him up and take him outside." Presumptive of him to say rather than ask, but he is already swiveling around on his heel, rising from a crouch to stand. "Away from this, fast as you can. There may be a doctor but they cannot get through this mess." His eyes narrow in tought, enough to see the statues being destroyed. No, definitely not okay. His two lady-friends wear near identical flat, disapproving expressions at the destructive behaviour. A brief look around to see whether anyone plans on interceding in that direction, he is steeling himself to about shout at the mob. Bast preserve them all.

|ROLL| Kaleb +rolls 1d20 for: 3

Mike Matthews placed the call at whatever nearby phone he could find, just in time to see people come pouring in and begin beating on the artwork. There's a frown that furrows his brow at this strange bout of violence, but moreso at those that seem entirely unaffected by the goings on, like those just standing casually by Ganesh as though the statue might offer them some sort of protection. Instead of heading toward safety though, he makes for the man who has picked up the heavy bronze pole and reaches to take it from him, prepared to lift both it and him if necessary, "Stop before someone gets hurt," is all he says, regardless of whether he is successful.

Kaleb watched, eyes going wide and taking a deep breath. Now he was the reason the MET couldn't have nice things!? It was official: he was cursed and more than likely would be confined to the house by either his brother or roommate and made to sleep in a safe deposit box after this. It was taking all he could muster not to scream at the lot of them, destroy everything in the room and injure the unruly mob to its knees. The urge to turn his fury back on them for their narrow minded prejudice about hit a head when- there was a hand on his arm pushing him back behind the Inhuman. Somewhere between that gesture of care and deeper in his brain Jean's voice once telling him not to let them win by becoming their expectation of him… he held his words. The truth was this was terrifying. And he hated them for it. His hand slid up to rest at the red fabric on Maximus's back to let him know exactly where he was, and thank you as the people turned away. And then: the room fell to silence sloooooooowly. DId it stop rioting No but it was a very jarring thing to lose one of one's senses and then… he didn't have to hear the utter cacophony of stupidity as he watched decency die.

Kitty is all business, nodding and struggling to lift the director, intent on gettin him away from this mess and to medical assistance. She manages to get up with the director's arm slung over one shoulder. She looks up to take in the surrounding chaos. "Oh great," the crowds have poured in and she can't see an easy path through the mob. Shaking her head she begins to move off toward help.

While the people are trying to flee, they are not in a complete panic — a man and woman help the unbreathing director to his feet and guide him to stagger toward an exit. As soon as he makes it through the door, he starts to breathe again. Odd, that, but nobody outside really notices or draws any connections.

The man with the pole is not super strong. He's just really mad that the Met would allow what amounts to ancient pornography to be displayed. To children! That blonde girl over there can't be more than sixteen! But Mike has no problem pulling the pole away from him, and he goes on to beat the sculpture with his hands, rather than any tool. Of course, others have taken up their own weapons of Met destruction and are attacking other statues. But not Ganesha.

Stephanie Brown is 19, thank you very much guy with no more pole and broken fingers. She is also perfectly capable of kicking butt on her own. She has rapidly, and without hurting anybody in ways that will last, taken down three protestors who were in the process of injuring themselves by trying to break stone with punches and without proper training.

One more man enters the museum, though this one makes a somewhat grander entrance. Of course, most people in the room are otherwise busy, so most won't notice how this figure, a tall gentleman in a brown leather coat and matching fedora, swings down from the rafters holding the handle of a bullwhip, which reels back into his hand as he lands beside Breathless and Mob Man, which is really a terrible name for a supervillain, but hey, the kid does what he does and he does it well. "You two seem to have things well in hand," he says mildly, his voice middle American and perhaps slightly professorial. "I think it's time for the endgame."

"Yes, sir," Breathless replies, and she closes her eyes, because this takes concentration.

Stephanie finds herself unable to breathe. Her punch lands feebly on the temple of a man with a pole repurposed to destroy art, and this is okay, because even as her hand lands, he's grabbing for his throat. Cops and protestors and patrons, all through the room, will feel their lungs close up and refuse to take in that necessary oxygen.

Except for the trio by Ganesha, where Mob Man is catching a falling Breathless in his arms and their employer turns to strikes Ganesha's chubby marble gut with the hilt of his bullwhip. The stone shatters, and he reaches out to grab hold of something inside — something severely tarnished, but with a glint that suggests bronze.

Maximus notices that everyone starts choking and immediately he tries to determine the source. Couldn't be the guy ripping stuff out of statues, could it? "HEY PEASANT!!" Kaleb told him not to use that word. "HEY PEASANT, WE WERE TRYING TO HAVE A NICE NIGHT OUT!!" He yells at him, possibly just to draw attention to his nice, red dress, in a distracting way that might get the King of Wakanda and…his date, a free shot.

Two guardians struggling for breath behind their triple-banded golden necklaces throw mutual looks upon T'Challa, who is very clearly suffering the same inability to pull oxygen into his lungs. Sparkles gathered around his eyes bring the Wakandan to pause, forcing himself to calm to lower the physical exertion burning his reserves. Nearest broken stone or pole at hand, he leans down to pick it up. Surely something to support himself, no? That's where the semblance ends, for like the ancient Javelin Thrower in the Louvre, he draws his arm back and sends up a silent prayer to Bast. He hurls his projectile with all the force and accuracy he can straight at The Employer (TM). As it turns out, that's a lot. With any luck it will knock his hat off and leave Kaleb free to do something more effective. Super effective.

Being suddenly unable to breathe, Mike is taken aback for a moment. That's a distinctly panic-inducing feeling, even for him. And it takes him a moment, bronze pole still in hand, to realize that while he's effectively involuntarily holding his breath, he can still move, and so he begins to move toward the guy with the bullwhip, because he's clearly the most suspicious of the lot, taking the big bronze pole with him.

Kaleb was doing something spectacular. He was trying not to panic. That was its very own fantastic feat. Max seemed to be less effected though the sound came back to the room in a rush as Echo's focus went entirely elsewhere. His palm pressed to the back of Max's dress slowly grabbed at fabric. He didn't carry any of the Inhumans' resistances even if he went so far as wearing the coat from time to time. The benefit to this was he was still able to speak because he wasn't reliant on air for that. "Max… problem…" And those steel blue eyes flew looking for a source to- Them. The jackhole with the woman in arm and the whip. Fingers tightened into a fist around fabric and the other hand reached out, Past Maximus that was presently his bulwark, and directed all the sound he could funneled down onto the guy with the woman in a localized bombardment. Hopeful it may stun them or… something for the brawny bartender to rock his world with that big brass pole.

Kitty greatfully hands the director off to the concerned citizens that approach her with the burden. She then turns back to see what she can do about the mob of people attacking the artwork. She moves to rush back into the fray when she realizes she can't breath. Her first instinct is to go intangible, and it seems to help a little. But it's like trying to get a deep breath at high altitude. She focuses on the three left standing near the broken statue. They don't seem to be gasping, and that makes Kitty suspicious.

Maximus' shouting does not distract The Independent, so named because the person running this scene has fun with such things. On the other hand, when the King of Wakanda throws an object at him, very hard, it does, indeed, knock off his hat, and while he's still conscious as he bends over to pick up the hat, he's hurting. And then a burst of sound hits Mob Man, and he falls over, taking Breathless with him.

She exhales. And suddenly everybody in the room can breath again.

But she says a single word. "Now."

A tall male figure built like a gymnast, dressed in a white suit that clings to his body with a black circle on his chest, appears beside the three of them, lays one hand on Indy and the other on Breathless, and then the four of them vanish with a faint 'blip'.

Stephanie takes in deep breaths while eyeing the guy she just hit warily. "You gonna break any priceless artifacts?"



Maximus grabs hold of his throat, then Kaleb, struggling for a moment while his partner took care of things his own way. When the breath is finally released, he drops to all fours just to breathe in deeply. His ears rang a bit from teh funnel of sound that passed by him, but since it wasn't directed at him, there's nothing lasting. "What did they steal?" He asks of Stephanie, curiously, when he can gasp out a word.

Stephanie blinks as the question is addressed to her. "What?" she says, still a touch dazed from being unable to breathe for a minute there. When she figures it out, she purses her lips, glancing toward the busted statue. "Ganesha's lunch, I think. Has anybody seen my art professor? I think I'm gonna punch him in the face before I go home."

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