4745/A Chance Opportunity

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A Chance Opportunity
Date of Scene: 15 January 2021
Location: Rubin Museum of Art
Synopsis: Two art connoisseurs admire a lovely piece, finding they have more in common than expected.
Cast of Characters: Slips, Barbara-Ann Minerva

Slips has posed:
Perhaps boredom has brought Slips here in the guise of Arya, her foremost persona the shapeshifter has been living as.  Perhaps it might be Arya's obvious Indian heritage.  An investigation of south east asian roots?  Well she's here now and immediately dodges the tours or any offerings for such.  In fact, she decides to grab one of those audio tour things, not realizing that the units have a little LED that comes on when they are turned on.  Her's is not.

Barbara-Ann Minerva has posed:
Among the moving "sea" of tour groups washing around the museum are, here and there, little islands of solitary attendees. There aren't many of them at this time of day (it's prime time for official tours): the odd retiree, a mother pushing a baby in a pram, and lone woman standing in front of an overlooked exhibit dedicated to Shashthi -- the Hindu folk goddess known to ride a monstrous cat.

Slips has posed:
Yes.  Tourists are the easiest to prey upon and Slips is feeling nostalgic for older days.  Sure the settings have changed, but the practice remains the same as she moves through the motes of people milling about, perfectly distracted as her fingers deftly swerve into back pockets with touches to sides, mild fleeting flirtations after oops I didn't see you.  There's a whole Mary Poppins bag of endless tricks on display honed from years, decades, centuries of life.  The dance is like breathing, leading her to the lone woman who has taken to a neglected exhibit.  "Sick ride," she jests quietly as if the volume conveyed some sort of respect for the goddess rather than the austere museum atmosphere pervading every inch of air around them.

Barbara-Ann Minerva has posed:
"My wallet is in my front coat pocket. If you touch it I will sever your arm and eat it." The words are spoken quietly and with a certain dark confidence that suggests the woman isn't posturing. Whether she is actually capable of her carrying out her threat is another matter. She doesn't look that dangerous but one never knows these days.

Her green eyes, half hidden by painted eyelids, stare at the image of Shashthi astride her cat. "The workmanship really is rather stunning isn't it? I imagine it's worth a fortune."

Slips has posed:
Arya smirks with a hint of appreciation as she's called out immediately.  She must be rusty, or this woman has a very very good eye.  Both seem amusing to the bored shapeshifter.  She takes a vulnerable position for a thief, hands now held casually behind her back, exposing the various pockets discreetly sewn into the inside of her coat in a silent ceasefire.

Still, "I never gave it a thought."  There are no immediate tells in her tone of deceitfulness or anything genuine.  Perfectly off the cuff.  "It is."  Curiously, the woman rattles off a rather accurate price and then corrects it after taking into account appreciation accrued after the last change of hands.

"Do you collect? Study?" Slips inquires, not Arya.  Curiosity has pulled her past the facade of interests she's concocted.

Barbara-Ann Minerva has posed:
The woman smiles but doesn't bother to turn her gaze to acknowledge her new companion. "I have a private collection." This is a euphemism Slips will likely detect rather quickly: her new "friend" is a thief too. Likely on a larger scale than pick pocketing.

The woman taps her ruby-red lips with the tip of her finger. She has been mulling over the number Slips has suggested, "You think it's worth that much? Hmmm. I suppose for the right buyer anything is possible. It's a far better payday than what you're wasting your talents on." Was that a compliment?

Slips has posed:
There'd be no reason for Arya to know about the particular details of such an exquisite piece and be a pickpocket, but hard targets require recon, meticulousness, determination, and appreciation.  Something she can admire, along with the words 'private collection.'

Slips dips her head ever so slightly in acknowledgement.  She doesn't dare ask to see such a collection.  That would just be rude to imply opening up to such risk.  There is honor among...finders-keepers.  It's a subtle etiquette, but the thought does cross her mind immediately that she's talking with competition.  A rare treat.

"Direct private sale.  Guaranteed," Arya says, conceding at least to herself that there might be some desperate awful schmuck willing to shell out even more.  The woman rocks back onto her heels for just a moment, keeping that ever present, yet faint grin.  An indication of taking the other woman's words as a compliment.  "More humble skills come into play more often than one might think," she says cryptically, an allusion to the unique means of infiltration she's afforded to her by her powers, knowledge of which she keeps tightly locked away from the world.

"Aryah Joshi."  An alias to be sure, but one that can actually be found.  Naturally she doesn't expect anything real in return.

Barbara-Ann Minerva has posed:
"Deborah Domaine," the woman purrs in return. Her eyes are busy analysing the particulars of Shashthi's display. "Security cameras, obviously. Likely motion sensors as well." Deborah wrinkles her nose as she peers toward the bottom of the enclosure. "Do you suppose they've bothered with a more exotic apparatus? A triggered drop-down, perhaps?" She ponders her own question for a beat, "No. Surely, not. There's no such creativity." A shock of red hair is gracefully tucked behind an ear as she thinks.

Slips has posed:
Arya seems wholly unconcerned if her demeanor is anything to go by.  "What they have to for insurance purposes, routes favoring their most prized pieces."  Such targets are for thrills beyond pocket books.  It's notoriously difficult to unload pieces that won't be given up on so easily.

"A pleasure," to meet Deborah surely.  Arya's grin widens slightly.  "And yes.  No such creativity," something that could be deduced by a single meeting with those in charge.  "Daylight or darkness?"  Is that a challenge?  Terms?  Or a friendly inquiry?  It's not as if it is specific enough to give Arya an edge.

Barbara-Ann Minerva has posed:
Daylight or Darkness? Hmmm. Deborah shrugs, "I have an associate who would be responsible for the technical particulars. I don't believe she would have a preference." Finally, Deborah turns to eyeball Arya. "I'm utterly disinterested, of course." Yes. Of course. It's all hypothetical anyway, isn't it?

" Mind you, on the off chance such a piece was to appear on the open market, I'm sure my associate would be most interested." Green eyes rake Arya up and down, "I'm sure she would be equally pleased to meet your acquaintance should the stars align." Y'know, in that 'Hey, someone stole our priceless statue and is offering it for sale on the black market' sort of way. Stars do that sometimes.

Slips has posed:
"Oh?  I'm always looking for new clientele."  Truth is, Slips has plenty, but this presents a lot less work for her on this particular piece and she doesn't seem to balk at such an unusual offer from another connoisseur.  At Deborah's turn, Arya returns the favor with that cavalier attitude.  "Naturally."

Arya redirects her eyes back to the piece with mild discernment, well aware she is being inspected.  "But that would never happen...Surely.  It'd be such a shame..."  The woman turns from the piece, stealing a knowing glance Deborah's way as she peels away into the back of a tour group, her head bowed for a second as if consulting a brochure while her face shifts to that of someone more thinly drawn, stern, and critical.