"Crime does not pay… as well as politics." -Alfred E. Newman
The alarms wrong all over the museum, and the security system was already sending a message to the local police department and the museum's owner.
Soon the owner arrived to find police surrounding his museum. But a search found nothing. Nothing wrong. Nothing missing. No signs of forced entry.
The owner informed the police that this was the third false alarm this month, and that he'd have to call someone about that in the morning. The police left, the lights inside were turned back off, the doors locked, and all was believed well.
All the paintings rested against the wall without a spec of dust. Every priceless vase stood as stoic as they ever did. Every item in the gift shop remained to be purchased.
An air vent on the ceiling above a hallway was slowly lowered to the ground by a thin cable. Then Red X, the thieving prodigy, slowly climbed down the cable. Security had been too tight to enter the building without tripping an alarm. But, the interior was a different story. After all, why put a lot of security inside if no one could enter it anyway? So X had set off the alarms on purpose, and now he'd really entered the building and blacked out all the cameras and motion sensors.
And they thought it was a glitch in their "perfect" security system.
X stepped on to the museum floor with caution. Then he let go of the cable he climbed down, and did another quick inventory of his gear.
Grapnels and cables. Check.
Plastic explosives. Check.
Lock pick set. Check.
X shaped shuriken. Check.
Gas canisters. Check.
Various other X-themed weapons. Double check.
With guts steeled and piece of mind obtained, he quietly made his way down the halls to where he needed to be. He walked over to the hall of Japanese art. Before he made another step, he opened a gas canister and let it fog the room, revealing the various laser trip-wires.
A single laser at the entrance was easy to step over. He easily and gracefully walked around the other lasers and made to his target. A priceless Japanese ink painting of Tokugawa himself. It hung delicately from the wall, as if it was just another piece and not priceless. It was guarded by a wall of vertical lasers, forming a large semi-circle around it too the wall.
Call X slim, but his small build had great advantages in this business. In martial arts alone, it made him lighter and thusly much faster, more agile, and more nimble then his opponents. It also meant he could squeeze into air ducts and he was quiet.
The thief removed one of those tubes for holding paintings from his back and under his cape, and carefully placed it inside the semi circle of lasers. Then he picked up his tattered cape and wrapped it around him waste so that it would not wave and trip a laser.
He sucked in his gut, and very carefully stepped between the lasers. If he touched them, then the alarm would trip again, and he'd have to just take the painting the blunt way and run for his life. Or maybe he'd hide again and make it look like another false alarm.
Either way, he'd rather get it this way then waste anymore time.
Being the larcenist that he was, X signed in great relief when he managed to get through the lasers untouched. He gingerly removed the painting from the wall and rolled it up, placing into the protective tube.
X's pulse was surging.
He set the tube back down the ground, and prepared to squeeze between the lasers again. Now that he'd done it once already, he felt more competent about squeezing through, and was satisfied when he made it back out safely.
He unwrapped his tattered cape, letting it drop behind him like a liquid shadow and a security blanket. He reached past the lasers again and retrieved the painting in its protective tube.
With the tube back on his back, under his cape, he eagerly made his way back. The fog from the canister was starting to wear off, so X opened another canister and fogged the room again. With lasers clearly visible, he dodged them all.
There's nothing like the thrill of a successful heist. His employer would pay handsomely for this piece.
On his way out of the Japanese hall, X spotted a beautiful katana sword. According to the sign X tried to read, Kawakami Gensai apparently once used it. Red X stood still for a moment, admiring its beauty from behind a glass case. He couldn't still it now, but X did make a mental note of it.
Wouldn't it be so funny if he robbed the same place twice?
Forgetting it, the thief traveled back to the hallway he entered from. He climbed back up the cable, into the air duct, and pulled the air vent back into place.
Then he crawled back through the air ducts, onto the roof, down the side of the wall, and ran for it. But it was okay this time: When he tripped the alarms on purpose earlier, he blacked out all the cameras and motion sensors.
And this time, he had a painting worth over five million dollars.
Running on the perpetual high of a successful heist, Red X ran down the rooftops and jumped over the alleys of Jump City. With his job mostly done, he could take a more conspicuous route to his fence, but he'd rather burn off all this spare energy.
Red X turned around on his heel and saw exactly who he expected it to be.
Robin. Starfire. Cyborg. Beast Boy. Raven.
The Teen Titans. Guardians of Jump City. His favorite sparring partners.
"Well, well. Nice to see you again.", X said. "Tell me, what are kids like you doing on a rooftop like this?"
"We were on patrol since the museum's alarm. Beast boy spotted you when we fanned out.", Raven informed him.
"Please, surrender now and you will come to no harm.", gentle Starfire urged.
"Sorry, I don't do surrenders." X waved a hand and launched a volley of shuriken that made the Titans scatter.
"Titans! Go!", Robin yelled, then instantly ducked to avoid one of X's shuriken.
"You need a new line!", Red X yelled back. Then he ran to avoid blasts from Cyborg's sonic cannon.
"Yeah you better run!", the half-robotic teen yelled.
Red X ran towards Cyborg and ducked or rolled to dodge each blast. Then when he was close, he rolled on the ground and produced a taser device from his belt. He pressed the trigger, and the prongs attached themselves to Cyborg's metal chest and sent a surge of electricity into his half-metal and half-organic body.
"Agh!!!", he screamed.
Red X heard Beast Boy transform into a gorilla behind him, so he shoved his hand in his mouth along with the taser. Before Beast Boy knew it, he and Cyborg were simultaneously electrocuted; Red X's suit was insulated from such shocks. X removed his hand, and Cyborg and Beast Boy fell to ground when the charge died.
"Shocking.", Red X commented.
Then a blast from Starfire's eyes caught him off-guard and sent him flying across the roof. He hit and skid across the ground, thankful that his stolen painting was well protected inside the case on his back.
Starfire launched a volley of starbolts and X quickly skirted across the ground.
"I'll ask you again, please surrender!", she said.
Red X held out his fist and launched a giant expanding X from his forearm that flew towards Starfire like a runaway bola. It wrapped around her and incapacitated her with a short electrical shock. The Tamaranian fell from the sky and landed safely on the ground a few feet below.
"Starfire!", Robin yelled as he ran towards them.
"Sorry, kid. She's a little tied up right now.", Red X commented.
Robin lunged at X, but the thief dived away at the last moment.
Red X looked behind him at Robin and said, "Left ya a present."
Robin looked down, and saw an X-shaped shuriken on the ground with a blinking blue light in the middle. It exploded and a layer of ice froze over the ground, causing Robin to loose his footing and slip on to the icy ground.
"Azarath, Metrion, Zinthos."
X looked to the source of the chant and saw the teenage sorceress, Raven, floating above with her cloak blowing in the wind.
Before X could comment, a satellite TV dish was engulfed in black energy, torn from it's spot onto roof, and hurled towards X.
X dodged it, and sent an x-grenade her way. She replied by forming a black spear around herself to protect her from the blast. Red X decided to take the second to plan his next move and retrieve his special secret weapon against her.
Raven's powers were the most powerful, most versatile, and least understood. She also had an extensive knowledge of other magics and spells but preferred to fight with her typical powers. Either way, she needed concentration.
And Red X knew just how to distract her like a good TV show the night before a big test.
"Azarath, Metrion, Zinthos!" An air conditioner unit from an adjacent rooftop glowed with black energy and was ripped from the rooftop and hurled towards Red X.
Red X jumped onto it, and jumped off before it hit the ground with a loud crash. Momentarily airborne, he threw a small silvery disk towards Raven.
Too distracted by her current spell to react in time, Raven watched as the disk landed and attached to her left shoulder. Suddenly she grit her teeth, closed her eyes, and covered her ears in pain as the device emitted the most terrible noise ever.
"Try concentrating with every song ever written by the Beastie Boys all played at once at 500 decibels!", X taunted as Raven tried to escape the noise.
Then he jumped out of the way as Robin attempted to drop kick X from the side. As soon as X had dodged the kick, Robin threw a birdarang at him.
X barely dodged in time to return a few shuriken. Robin dodged, and ran forward to attack with a volley of punches.
X slapped the punches out of the way and kneed Robin in the gut when he was close enough. Robin stepped back, and took a fighting stance.
"What did you steal this time?", he said with spit, either that or his stomach hurt more then X thought.
"Think I'd tell you?"
"Then will you tell me who you're working for?"
Red X laughed. "Did you actually expect me to tell you that?"
Robin grinned. "It was worth a try." He sent a kick towards X but he blocked it and tripped Robin's standing foot. Robin fell to the ground.
"Sorry to cut this short, kid. I'd love to continue this, but I really got a package to deliver. Through rain and sleet and all that stuff." Red X bolted for the end of the rooftop.
"No! Stop!", Robin yelled. He looked behind him and saw that Cyborg and Beast Boy had recovered and where helping the other fallen Titans. Good, he could chase Red X.
Red X had reached the edge of the rooftop, and took out his own grapnel gun and fired it. The x-shaped grappling (partially painted red) unfolded and anchored itself on the rooftop ledge across the alley. The thief jumped over the edge and repelled down the side a graffiti stained brick wall quickly.
When he landed in the alley, he quickly retracted the line and grappling hook and put away the grapnel gun, then sprinted for freedom.
"Agh!!!", Robin screamed as he descend from above, having let go of his line earlier, and lunged down at X. The hero tackled the thief and they tumbled and rolled along the dirty alley floor.
They hit a trash can, let go of each other and rolled apart before getting back to their feet.
Robin reached for his belt to withdraw a freeze disk, then whipped his hand forward to launch it but realized he had a hand full of… Nothing. Robin looked down and his eyes widened with shock and a little horror.
His utility belt was missing!
Red X pulled back his black tattered cape, and held up Robin's belt. "Guess this makes us even.", he said.
Robin was too dumbfounded and shocked to even protest.
Red X tucked the prized belt away behind him, and reached to press the button on his belt buckle. "Better luck next time.". He pressed the button before Robin could react or protest, and instantly the thief's image scrambled and he disappeared.
Robin stood alone in the alley, missing the familiar weight and presence of his belt. Still too dumbfounded to be angry yet, he wondered why he ever equipped that suit with a cloaking device.
Knock! Knock! Knock!
"Yeah, yeah. I'm coming!", Jinx yelled as she walked towards the door of temporary base she, Gizmo, and Mammoth were staying at. She figured it was either Gizmo at the door, having forgotten his keys, or those two other Hive Students who wanted to join the team.
She opened the door and was greeted instead by Red X. "Red X!" She slapped on a charming smile. "Didn't expect you. What are you doing here?"
"I was just in the neighborhood, thought I'd drop by and see Gizmo. He here?", Red X asked.
"No. Said something about a bootleg copy of that game Mega-Monkey's or something."
"Oh… Well do you think he'll mind if I use his tech for a moment? I'll put everything back."
She smiled. "No problem! Come on in!"
X took a ginger step into their temporary base. "Sure he won't mind?"
"Not if he doesn't know.", she suggested with a tease.
Red X closed the door behind him, and Jinx led him across the base. They passed Mammoth, who was too busy watching TV to even notice their presence.
Jinx led him to the door of Gizmo's workshop, but it was locked via an electronic keypad.
"Ya know, I think I can pick that.", X offered.
Jinx just smiled and demonstrated her skills by sending a carefully placed hex that unlocked the door and opened it.
Jinx held up her hands and twiddled her fingers. "Magic hands.", she smirked.
"I bet.", Red X said, walking right past her and into Gizmo's shop.
Jinx sighed and rolled her eyes, frustrated by X's lack of catching signals, then followed him into the workshop.
They stood in the workshop, amongst the tables full of gadgets and parts. Red X took a quick look around, and walked strait to the device he wished to use. He was already familiar with Gizmo's workshop, he often hired Gizmo to build him various gadgets.
Now, Red X was till pretty technologically minded. He even rebuilt another zynothium belt to replace the one Robin stole (although Gizmo provided various parts). However, he still employed Gizmo's expertise fairly often. He'd even gain Gizmo's good side but sitting and listening to the short genius speak his mind, wondering why he talked so strangely.
Red X reached behind him, and produced Robin's belt. He placed it on the table. The sight of it made Jinx's eyes widen with ah.
"Is that what I think it is?", she asked, admiringly.
"Yep. Palmed it off him earlier tonight in a fight." X picked up a prong shaped device and began waving it over the belt, paying attention to the various beeps and lights from the device. "I already deactivated his communicator, but I don't want to take the chance that Robin carries a few tracers or a homing beacon in his belt. Don't want him to follow me."
Something finally clicked in Jinx's head. "So you brought it here? What's stopping them from tracking it to here?!"
"Can't. This place is shielded against transmissions."
"How would you know?"
"Gizmo told me."
The prong shaped device, a communication scanner, alerted Red X to a located signal in one of the utility belt's compartment. Red X opened the compartment and removed a tiny tracer from it.
He held it between his fingers and up for examination. "Bingo." He squeezed his fingers and shattered the device, extinguishing any chance of Robin finding his belt.
"Ya know, I once wore Robin's belt. When we took over their tower.", Jinx said, obviously trying to impress him.
He put away Gizmo's device. "I remember that, you tried to turn it into a giant 'H.'"
"Would've worked. So… You wouldn't be wiling to fence that, would you?"
He clutched the belt in his hands protectively, and then put it away behind his back and under his cape. "Sorry, babe. This one's going on my wall."
"Well, love to stay and chat, but I gotta be on my way.", he charmed then started to walk off. He looked back and waved a hand over his shoulder. "Thanks again."
"Wait. Got to go so soon?", she followed after him.
"I got business to take care of. Can't keep my fence waiting.", he said as he began to walk back across the base towards the door. Mammoth was still watching TV and oblivious to them.
Jinx stepped up her pace a bit, and tried her best to sound inviting.
"Hey, we might go hit up a bank or something sometime. Wanna tag along?"
Red X opened the front door and looked back. Jinx could imagine a handsome smirk under his mask just from his smooth voice. "Sounds like fun. Catch ya later."
Jinx watch as the mysterious super thief, the young gentlemen thief, took a step out the door. His cape danced in the wind out side before he shut the door behind him, shutting off Jinx from gazing at him longer and returning her to reality.
As soon as the door shut she instantly sighed and frowned, shoulders hunched. She stood there and stewed for a moment.
Mammoth appeared behind her with an old chicken leg in his hand and a massive bite in his mouth. He chewed, swallowed, and then spoke. "Do you like him or something?"
"...maybe…", she moaned.
"Are you just trying to get over that Stone guy?"
Jinx didn't speak, but did point her finger up and sent a hex upwards, which caused a piece of the ceiling to fall on Mammoth's head.
Jump City's little private Chinatown was alive with activity. Few American people mingled well with the other people of Asian decent (Japanese, Chinese, Korean, ect…) that gathered here, but two people in particular got along quite well here. In fact, they thrived.
One of those two people was Red X, who enjoyed fresh sushi and often visited the Japanese district. The other was a man by the name of Kartarou, who lived in the Chinese district and collected various Asian art and weapons.
Red X stealthily crept through an open window to some building in that Chinese district. Once he stepped foot inside and stood up, he looked around room, gazing at the rice paper walls and various oriental arts on the wall.
"Katarou! You here?", Red X called.
Katarou and Red X got along well. Both shared a love for oriental culture and art. Both shared a passion for the martial arts and sometimes spared or trained together. And they were both thieves, but Kartarou only stole for his own collection.
A rice paper wall slid back and Kartaour entered, a towel around his neck and sweat on his forehead indicated that X had interrupted his training.
"I interrupt something?", X asked.
"Nonsense, I'm pleased to see you, my friend. I assume you have what I have asked of you?", he asked with a surprisingly warm and friendly tone.
"Wouldn't be here if I didn't." Red X removed the protective tube from behind him. "And it even comes with it's own collector's case." He removed the ink painting from the tube, replaced the tube behind his back, and held the painting up to unroll and display its beauty.
Katarou smiled widely. "Exquisite." He walked over to a table beside the wall and opened a brief case that sat on the table. When he opened it, Red X eyed the money inside. "I have your reward as well.", Katarou said.
Red X held the painting by its edge in one hand, and extended his free hand to except the brief case.
Katarou closed the brief case, and handed it to Red X as he simultaneously took the painting. While Katarou began hanging the painting on his wall, Red X turned and opened the brief case.
"All my favorite dead presidents.", X commented with glee. "Pleasure doing business, big guy."
Kartarou finished hanging the painting and turned to X. "Yes, we should do business again soon."
"You've got my number." X closed the brief case, and him and Katarou did a short bow to each other.
"Would you like to stay for some tea, X-san?", Katarou offered.
"Sorry, big guy. I gotta get ready for my next job, but I'll definitely take you up on that offer sometime."
"You're a busy young man, X-san. Take care and good luck on your next job."
"Same to you, Katarou-san." Red X turned around, and exited out the window, returning to the night from which he came.
Red X lived in a lofty two-story apartment, with bedrooms on the loft above the living room and open to the kitchen. The large living room X had divided into two spaces. One half, by a bathroom, was his living room with a TV to the wall and a couch sitting away from it. Behind the couch, X had turned the other half into a mini dojo so he could practice. The dojo was complete with thick floor mats, and racks of various weapons, both real and padded. He turned the guest room into a workshop where he could plan his next heist and repair or modify his suit. Hidden cameras, activated by motion sensors, placed on the rooftop and down the hall leading to his front door could be monitored from a flat screen monitor near the kitchen. He kept a pet rock in a small cage in his room.
Home sweet home.
Red X opened a window and stepped into his apartment. He wiped his feet on a welcome matt he placed there, and walked over to the coffee table between the couch and TV. He set Robin's utility belt down there next to a fancy vase he stole once. One time he ate popcorn out of that vase. He set down the brief case full of money down on the floor beside the coffee table.
He walked over to the bathroom and shut the door. Staring at himself in the mirror, he took off his mask and set it gently on the counter by the sink. Then he took off his belt and hung it by his towel. He stripped off the rest of the suit and let it fall to the floor.
The hot water in the shower washed over his tired body, rinsing away the fatigue and recharging him. It's amazing what a hot shower could do. Bruce Lee said to be like water.
After the hot shower, Red X dried off and dressed in pajama pants. He collected his suit, and then stepped out of the steamy bathroom. He ascended a winding staircase up to the bedrooms and entered his workshop.
He set the suit on a table. He would reload and maintain it tomorrow, now it was time for bed. He couldn't wait to enter his bedroom, say hello to his pet rock, then crawl into his bed and fall asleep.
But before Red X left the room his eyes gazed over to the maps and blueprints on the other side of the room. He found himself thinking for a moment about his next job.
A fresh load of zynothium in Star City.
Author's Note: Finally the first chapter is done and this thing is starting. Also, if anyone didn't understand my description of Red X's apartment then I do have a floor plan I can e-mail you.