"So it takes a thief to catch a thief?"

"Something like that."

Carmelita wanted to tear her eyes away from the mannequin like nothing else and tear Sly apart with her bare hands. Maybe that turtle too if he had any hand in this.

Never mind that it was made of what looked like extremely durable leather, or the fact that it would look fine if she wanted to go out to a club. Forget the fact that it made her eventual journey into air ducts and other close spaces easier due to its reduced profile. It was still a catsuit.

"If this is your idea of a joke, Cooper…"

Sly chuckled. "Believe you me, if I had a hand in this, you wouldn't be—"

"—let's skip to the good parts, before she decides to strangle you." Bentley cleared his throat. "Yes, this was my idea, just in case you decided that your job wasn't exactly paying you proper respects. Add in the fact that we work together often enough, and it was clear we needed to get you some proper kit."

The inspector bore down on the turtle, naked fury burning in her brown eyes. "You're going to explain this to me right now, before I throw you all in lockup. Hell, I might do it anyway!"

Bentley smirked and turned toward a console with a myriad of buttons and levers on it. He reached for a number pad and typed in a four-digit sequence. "Sly, could you remove the gun from that locker please?"

Carmelita heard a click behind her and turned only to find a reinforced gun locker, the door swinging open on its own. Sly reached in and pulled out something that made her pupils shrink. Not necessarily the handgun, but the rounds in the magazine. "Hang on, those are .357 magnum rounds. I thought you didn't use guns at all, and now I see one of these?"

Sly shrugged. "Don't ask me, I'm just the guy holding it." He pulled out two sets of ear plugs, gave one to Carmelita, and then put on a pair of yellow-tinted shooting glasses. "Whenever you're ready Bentley, open the case."

Without looking, the brains of the Cooper Gang pressed in a button next to the keypad, and the glass door just in front of the dummy slid to one side. "All right, Sly!" He put on a pair of earmuffs. "Give it all you got!"

Carmelita turned toward the raccoon. "You're not seriously thinking of shooting—"


Even through the ear plugs, Carmelita winced as the pistol barked a second time, a third, a fourth. She turned toward the suit, eyes narrowed at the damage done. Another four in the stomach joined four smoking holes in the chest area, and Sly unloaded the pistol before putting it on safe. "Clear."

Bentley pressed in yet another button, one below the one that opened the case. A few robotic arms unzipped the back of the suit, took it off the shoulders of the dummy. Carmelita blinked for a moment as a very pristine mannequin revealed itself. "Wait, none of those shots hit?"

"Impressive, huh?" The turtle wheeled toward the dummy. "You're not just looking at some tough leather, to be sure. I took the liberty of putting soft armor inserts in the suit, picking the most likely places a thug would aim at. I've put it under extensive testing, so you can be sure this's gonna work when things get dicey."

Carmelita approached the dummy and ran a hand along the surface. "Okay… That was pretty cool." She looked at the back of the suit and could barely see the stitching amidst all that black, but there were two more armored areas on either side of the zipper. "I trust this isn't going to hamper my ability to be sneaky?"

Bentley scoffed. "Come on Carmelita, who are you talking to here?" He cleared his throat. "The armor isn't going to bother that one bit. For all the rounds it can take, it's light enough to float, which means not only can you fit into the eventual air ducts and crawl spaces you'll need to go through, but you can still move with speed and agility."

The blue-haired vixen stepped away with a satisfied nod. "Alright, since you apparently prepared for this, I'll let you off this once." She turned to him with a smile. "You got anything else for me?"

"But of course! Right this way."

Carmelita followed him as he wheeled toward a console just in front of three panes of tempered glass. Bentley tapped a button near a hatch, and when it opened, a glass case rose into view. "These bracers," he began, "Are nano-forged titanium. They'll stop a knife cold, and make for good mounting supports for your tools.

"Speaking of those, I gave you some goodies to go with 'em." He pointed toward the two launchers on the bracers, spray painted black. "The grapnel line on the left bracer is especially handy for getting to high places quickly, but it can also disarm someone if you're in a pinch, all without hurting them too badly. There are a few other... creative uses I can think of, but I'll leave that to you!"

Carmelita peered at it, her eyes wide. "Well now this is something. How'd you fit that whole package in here?" She glanced over at Bentley. "Lemme guess, trade secret?"

Bentley smirked. "A magician never tells, inspector Fox." He pointed toward the other launcher. "I took the liberty of analyzing your Shock Pistol rounds, and repurposed them for this rapid-fire launcher on your right arm. All the features are there, including the ability to charge a shot for maximum effect." A grin spread across his face. "But I added something interesting... a targeting computer!"

"And... what does that do, exactly?" Carmelita placed a hand on her right hip. "I certainly hope it's easy to work with."

"Oh it is, but now that you mention it... I feel like you should try it out." He shrugged. "Seeing is believing, after all."

Carmelita folded her arms in front of her. "So you want me to try an untested, prototype weapon on some random targets, just for me to get a feel of it." She scoffed. "Fat chance, have Cooper try it."

Bentley raised his hands, as if her words actually hit him. "You wound me! I'd never harm a lady unless she deserved it." He chuckled and scratched the back of his head. "Not that you do, of course. We make it a rule around here never to injure any law enforcement personnel."

"Besides," Sly chortled, "I can't work computers. That's you and Bentley's thing."

Carmelita groaned. "All right, fine. But if this thing backfires or something, I'm coming back up here and tossing you in the brig."

Bentley pressed in another button, and the sides of the case opened up. The inspector slid her hands into the bracers, and pulled them off their carriers. She flexed her wrists for a few moments. "Well at least they fit." Carmelita turned toward the exit to the control room.

Sly turned toward Bentley as she left, the door sliding closed behind her. "You think she'll like them?"

Bentley made his way toward the controls for the Hazard Room. "Oh I know she will. And we haven't even shown her the last thing yet!"

Carmelita took the elevator down to the ground floor, eyes closed and breathing steady.

One bad move, one wrong shift of a gear, one rogue spark from the computer, and it'd be her last day. She sighed, weighing her options. She could always get out of here while she had the chance, call the whole thing off.

The vixen cringed at the thought. No, honor dictated that she see this through.

Besides, Bentley was the rational one, the brainiac. She'd gone over their files time and again. His relaxed, confident posture, the certainty in his voice...

She sighed again. It'd work. It had to.

The doors opened, and a shooting gallery waited for her, set up and ready to go by the turtle upstairs. "All right, inspector Fox. Whenever you're ready, let 'er rip!"

Her eyes narrowed. Now or never.

She pulled the charging handle back on the launcher and sprinted out from the elevator. Her left hand tapped a red button on the gun just as her right forearm aimed toward the targets. One beep after another made her ears flick as a targeting laser passed over each mark, and at the last second, she leapt forward, turning toward the gallery as she flew through the air.

Carmelita squeezed the lever in her right hand... and her eyes widened as the shock rounds curved through the air. Arcs of pale blue lanced toward each designated target before she finished her dive, and splinters flew as she landed on her left side.

All five targets, decimated in less than two seconds.

Carmelita lay there, silent for several moments as she took in what just happened. Then she stood up, dusting some wood chips from her jeans. "Bentley?"

"Yes, Carmelita?"

Her eyes narrowed, a grin spreading across her lips. "Gimme something else to shoot."

In the observation room, Sly chuckled. "Yeah, she likes it."

End of Part 2

Seriously, I couldn't decide how to end this for the longest time, but now I think I have it all marked up. Tell you what, leave a review if you would, and I think I'll be happy enough with a few comments. Hell, constructive criticism is more than welcome, so let's have it.

Bai nao. Sleepy.