Normally, it would be a detriment to starting an investigation so late in the evening. But after their questioning of Soup and their battle with vampires, the group found that the timing was fortuitous. It was late enough that the crowds were dying down, and early enough that the morning traffic hadn’t started.
The dead of the night, if you will.
The mall was made more, not less, creepy by the lights still flickering. It was like a dead city in a zombie movie… or something a little less unsettling.
Even so, it was going to require some deft work to get in the front door. There was still enough traffic that breaking in that way seemed a bad idea.
Then they remembered something Soup said- about ducking out the back. Perhaps that was an opportunity. And there was always the roof. With the way that the mall was constructed, there were plenty of opportunities to get to the roof through an adjoining over store apartment, or to cross to a roof from the parking garage in the mall.
Newly dressed in ninja-chic, Monk studies the building from the shadows, taking note of the various approaches open to them. She pays particular attention to the rooftop.
Chewing her lip, she grunts. “Think there’s a skylight or something?” she says quietly. “I’m probably small enough to get through one or the other.”
Her eyes drift to Nick, “‘Course, I’m not good with alarms. Think you can walk me through turning one off?”
“This sort of business is much more your area of, ah, expertise.” David said to Nick. He wasn’t entirely comfortable with rummaging around the shop at night. He was a Knight, not a Thief. But even a Knight could recognize the need for the skills of a Thief, on occasion. Just as they could recognize the need for the skills of him
Nick rolled his eyes. “You turn the alarm off by entering the code, of course.” He handed Monk a card with a code on it. “I found Trish’s password file on her laptop.”
He looked back and forth between the others. “Really, people, I’m a con man, not a burglar. Please try to keep your scoundrel taxonomy straight.”
“Besides. I don’t get along well with alarm systems. Even with the code I’m likely to set the stupid thing off. One of you had better do it.”
“I’m sure that Monk can show me what I’m doing wrong.” David said, looking at the code and the alarm system. “Things are simpler when you just had to go looking for the right key, even if you do have to riddle an Ogre or arm wrestle a Kelpie. Or more like, the reverse.”
“Well, that sort of steals the drama from it all,
Monk says, looking at the card. She jerks a nod to Da Boyz, “‘Kay, you two wait by the door. Try not to look like you’re casing the joint. I’m going to go play Catwoman.”
She hurries across the street to the parking garage. When the coast is clear, she crosses over to the rooftop and to the store’s skylight. She’s patched up enough Druggies to have picked up a few B&E pointers from them, so flipping the latch ain’t too much effort.
The true test of her skills is shimmying through the small opening. Fortunately, her Gobber blood has always helped her get into small spaces – her tiny frame squishy in all the right places. She squeezes through, dropping to the tiled floor with only a couple bruises and a sore ankle to show for it.
Before the alarm goes off, she scurries over to the panel and enters the code. That taken care of, it’s over to the door and letting Da Boyz in. All easy-peazy. “Anne Hathaway got nothing on me.”
The break-in seemed to go a lot better than it had any right to considering their lack of experience in doing such things. Monk is able to let her two ‘partners in crime’ in a bit easier than the display of agility than she had to summon up. Namely the door in the side alley.
As she went through the store, she saw what Soup meant- it was mass produced urban chic, no doubt, but high priced urban chic. And the trappings were all there. Waiting rooms with a coffee bar. Flat screens on the wall to occupy the significant other and a kids’ room. Art deco arrangements of manikins to demonstrate how cool the clothing was.
But in the end, all that means is it was a lot of ground to cover, and no obvious clues… other than the obvious office on the upper floor.
“Where to look? Where to look” David said. “I need some guidance.”
David pulled out his holy symbol. A eight sided arrow, the symbol of his adopted house, it gleamed of a metal not found in the mortal world.
He started praying softly, to find the road that he needed to take. Finding a clue wasn’t precisely the same as finding a path, but he hoped it would work.” He looked up, enlightened. “The office.” he said. “What we want is there.”
“Yes, well, it didn’t seem likely that Trish would hide clues out here in the pockets of some fashionably-ripped designer jeans. Ridiculously small pockets at that.”
Nick climbed the fashionably open staircase to the fashionable office and attempted the fashionable door. It was locked with a simple numeric key lock, but he consulted some more numbers scribbled on the back of another card, and soon the door was open.
While the other two head for the office, Monk remains stock still, staring at the price tags of what she assumes are clothes. At least they’re clothing-shaped. Not that any rational person would wear them, let alone buy them.
“I weep for the future of humanity,” she mutters, pulling herself away from the train-wreak o’ fashion.
Monk waits for Nick to open the door and then slips under him. “You do thiefy stuff and I’ll root through her drawers… Ugh, that came out wrong.” Shaking her head, she begins look for papers or notes that might be connected to the Big Bad.
David felt nervous as he stood there, letting the two of them do what he was much less capable of doing. He felt uneasy at the break-in, and decided to keep watch on the entrance as the two of them looked for clues.
“Someone is coming.” he said quietly. “Someone who is walking in the pitch blackness without a light.”
Indeed, once pointed out, Nick and Monk became aware of the presence, but only in a peripheral way. It felt like they were being watched- or stalked.
The files that they found were in relation to the questions that they had in regards to Trish’s money source. But they hadn’t had enough time to sort through everything to see if there might be other information.
It was time for a choice- either sort through the information to make sure they got exactly what they needed- or just grab the papers and take off…
“Well, we’ve found… something,” Nick said. “There may be more things hidden more carefully, but whoever is out there is giving me the creeps. I’m ready to leave now.” He slipped out of the office and headed for the back exit.
Monk jerks a nod to Nick, “Agreed. I’m not up for another go-round with vamps or whatever.” She moves to his side, waiting for David to follow. “Go out the back though the service corridor?”
“Let’s avoid conflict.” David agreed. “Having the police or security guards descend upon us would be less than ideal.” He covered the rear of the three of them, wary of anyone following them.
They gathered at the back door. “This may sound an alarm when opened,” Nick said. “So be ready to run.” He pressed an ear to the door and listened for a few heartbeats, then shook his head. “People always do this in adventure games, but I can’t hear a thing. Let’s go.”
Nick opened the door.
The foray into the criminal world netted the group some information- they decided that they would not be able to get any sleep until they looked it over. So leaving the way that they came in, they headed off to a local coffee house- the Mudhouse.
But as they made their way into the deep night, the feeling that they were being shadowed did not go away…