5842/It's A Steal

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It's A Steal
Date of Scene: 03 April 2021
Location: New York
Synopsis: Johnny Storm tries to buy some furnature, and runs into a shadow manipulating thief. He handles things with his usual diplomatic grace and style.
Cast of Characters: Johnny Storm, Knox Kennedy

Johnny Storm has posed:
The place: New York, perilously close to that den of crime and treachery, Yancy Street!

The Time: Three AM, when all the cool people are stumbling home, and all the really cool people are just getting started.

The schmuck: Johnny Storm, world renowned science adventurer and every loving blue eyed Human Torch, is currently slipping out of a shop so secretive and shady it doesn't have a name, a sign, or even a window. There's just a door, the faint scent of exotic incence (pine sol, Johnny has no idea), and the tinkling of some windchimes.

Torch looks left and right, as if this helps, but you lose a bit of the street when you spend as much time in the clouds as Johnny does. He's holding a large vase-shaped parcel wrapped in tissue paper, and brown paper for insulation. There's a bright red DANGER sticker on the parcel, and Johnny's holding it close to his chest as he makes his way out of the alley and into the street proper.

No one suspects a thing, Johnny thinks.

Knox Kennedy has posed:
It's easy to be opportunistic when face masks have become more mainstream worldwide. The late twenty-something guy roams the streets wearing a black mask over his nose and mouth with a matching hoodie. No precisely obvious to the average on-looker, the clothes are formed by physical darkness. Jet black and combined with the purple hue to his irises, it gives him a touch of gothic flare by nature more than design.

Even an out-of-the-loop Luddite like Knox recognizes Johnny Storm. Rich, famous, puts on a sympathetic face for the needy and pretends to be a world-saver. Knox doesn't buy it. There's always something sick about the powerful and influential, at least in Knox's opinion. He squints at the vase-shaped parcel as he peeks around a corner.

Spookily, a silhouette of shadow seems to peel from the darkness of the night around Knox. It stands roughly humanoid in shape. Knox head nods towards Johnny and then turns to climb up the side of the shop using small claws of shadow to gain a height advantage. Meanwhile, the humanoid of shadow starts sprinting toward the schmuck.

Johnny Storm has posed:
If you wanted to call Johnny Storm a member of the idle rich, profiting off of a world famous brother in law's achievements and blowing his family's money on all of the luxuries in life, you wouldn't be entierly wrong. He certainly puts on the air of a playboy without a care in the world, or at least nothing he can't buy off eventually. There's more to Johnny, but the depths can be hard to appreciate on first glance.

One layer of those depths is that Johnny Storm has had people trying to kill him since he was fifteen. Serious people, serious killing. Johnny has no spider sense, no real super senses that matter much in this situation (if you need delicate high temperature manipulation done, he's your man, and he never needs a meat thermomitor.) but he does have the experience to know, in his greasy heart, when people mean him ill will. Someone just running down Yancy Street is also a cue. "Hey!" Johnny shouts, because that's what a tourist'd do.

Then he jumps down the alley across from the shop, waiting for whoever's charging at him to overshoot. His arms wrap around the package a little tighter. Who could this be...?

Knox Kennedy has posed:
Knox manages an impressive wall run along the build's side, small tendrils of shadow adhering to the building surface to brace against his sneakers and calves. He observes Johnny split into the alley and eye smiles. A dark alley was his perfect environment.

The shady humanoid doesn't respond to the shout, just continues to chase Johnny. He skids to a stop along the concrete sidewalk and turns to face the playboy at the front of the alley. A street lamp illuminates the figure from behind. There's something distinctively wrong about its appearance. It's a shape of absent light versus something just black in color. It raises a hand and makes a 'Give me gesture'.

Meanwhile Knox knocks leaps off the side of the building and uses a shadowy tendril to assist his egress across the street. He stays high using the shadow construct as a decoy. Once in the darker shadows of the alley, his body begins to blend with the darkness. Soon, he's a mass of shadow oozing along a fire escape, easily missed.

Johnny Storm has posed:
Johnny narrows his eyes at the clear supernatural creature. It's less of a joke, now, as he combs through his knowledge of weird things that can move shadows. Maybs some kind of gun? Johnny scans the area for something resembling a heat signature; even hidden mad scientists have body heat, and Johnny can use that to track whatever's projecting this to its source.

Assuming its a projection.

"Hah!" Johnny says, because seriously a shadow monster is trying to mug him. "You wouldn't want this if you knew what it was, loser. And it's going to take way more than some gesture to rob the Human Torch."

Johnny's right arm catches fire as he makes a gestute that his instagram followers wouldn't approve of. "Back off, Kolchak."

Knox Kennedy has posed:
The shadow's heat signature is an absence of infrared it refuses to emit. Contrasted to the night air, it feels similar to the way it looks. The amorphous blob of darkness that has become Knox, however, does emit some degree of heat. It's living where the construct is not, and if Johnny's head is on a swivel looking for the culprit. He might just spot Knox.

When the arm catches fire, it illuminates the alley way. Knox flinches and flitters across the alley wall before becoming corporal once more behind a dumpster. The shadow construct similarly seems to shield eyes that are not there. It doesn't seem to like light sources. It eventually recovers and without a lack of self-preservation, it leaps forward to grab the vase.

Johnny Storm has posed:
A heat source behind him? Johnny was sort of expecting the walking shadow to be a construct, and that confirms his fear. Because a construct might be just a shadow that walks, or it might be a robot, or a demon from the Dark Dimension, or it could just be in his head...at least you generally know where a person is and how to avoid flamethrowing them. One of the drawbacks of Johnny's awesome superpowers is that they're incredibly, incredibly deadly if not used just right, which is why he sometimes gets outmanuvered despite his speed, reflexes, and experience.

Like now, when he half turns around, goes "Hah!" again because a night light can beat this guy, and the frigging living shadow tackles him and steals the vase.

"Hey!" Johnny shouts, like a tourist, "Give that back! Seriously, that thing is dangerous!"

Knox Kennedy has posed:
There is a pause and a brief moment of confusion. The construct looks down at the vase in its shadowy clutches, looks at Johnny, then back to the vase. In reality, it's Knox's own surprise, the construct was meant to be the decoy. Throof whatever mystical link Knox has with the shadow, it decides to elongate its legs and start running out of the alley, vase held over its head in triumph.

Knox stands up. "Well, that was easier then expected. Run buddy! Run!"

He reaches down behind the dumpster, and as if peeling a black sheet off the ground, he tugs the dumpster's shadow-free and cast it toward Johnny like a net. Afterwards, Knox leaps up the fire escape and starts heading for the roof. "Thanks for the souvenir!" as his boots clang on the metal bars.

Johnny Storm has posed:
"not one of your better days, john." Johnny says, groaning as he gets up and sees some fucking eleven year old grab his incredibly cursed living room piece and run off. "Oh come on."

Johnny groans as he realizes he's going to have to keep doing this crap. "Okay, kid, I guess you're getting your vine. Whatever the new vines is. Youtube red. Whatever, FLAME ON!" And then Johnny Storm catches fire, becoming a living fire elemental complete with flaming hair, flaming face, and an aura of fire that lets him fly through the air like a human rocket. The light is especially visible in the dark of three am New York; the city never sleeps, but it does dim sometimes. Stairs are not a problem for the Human Torch, and if anything he has to work to keep from getting ahead of his target. "Kid drop that thing! ...not off the roof! Just, like, set it down alright?"

Knox Kennedy has posed:
Knox is nearly on the roof when Johnny transforms into the living inferno. He winces as heat and light wash over him then manages to clear the edge of the roof. The sheet of darkness evaporates before it even gets close to Johnny.

Peak human in condition, Knox makes good time. Though once the Torch is in flight, it's clear that escape will require some degree of trickery. He turns and raises his hands into the air, clearly not carrying the vase. Waggling his eyebrows, he chuckles behind his mask. "Nothing to put down, pal."

Meanwhile, the shadow construct continues to leg it along the street carrying the vase. It ducks down another alley and begins the task of hiding the stolen good in another dumpster.

Back to the roof top, Knox shrugs at Johnny, then expresses some confusion. "What did you mean by vine?" There's another shrug and then with a tug upwards with his hand, his own shadow cast by the Torch's illuminate animates and rises from the rooftop. It charges Johnny only to be obliterated as it draws closer. Knox resumes his rooftop sprint to try and escape.

Johnny Storm has posed:
"I figured this was absolutely about getting some funny video for the internet." Johnny explains, floating through the air like a cartoon character. He then...

...crap, loses track of the shadow monster. Crap crap crap.

"Okay so your shadow powers aren't darkforce or anything really messed up. You know, if you're some young confused mutant type, I know a decent place to get your head on straight." Johnny keeps flying, more interested in the person for the moment. "I really do need that package back, though. It's dangerous. Gonna be hard fencing a cursed vase, kid."

Knox Kennedy has posed:
Running clearly isn't getting him anywhere, so he stops again to hold a conversation.... with the playboy schmuck who is now hinting at advice. His body posture portrays some offense at being deemed a mutant. He seems to perk up at the prospect of the vase being cursed. "Cursed, huh? Eldritch? Divine? What do you think the origin is?"

"And you assume the appraiser will know it's cursed..." He frowns behind his mask, evident in his eyes. "Though, poor average Joe in the local pawn shop doesn't deserve a curse." He pauses, "But... I do know one guy."

Skipping a beat, he crosses his arms over his chest. "Alright, what does a rich ball of fire need with a cursed vase, huh? Seems more like the territory of a priest or sorcerer."

In the alley, the construct finishes hiding the vase, deciding to hide with it. Unfortunately, the dumpster lid closes with a semi-loud clang. Knox winces.

Johnny Storm has posed:
The rich ball of fire smirks, winking, as he hears the clang.

Still, why not explain himself. "Well, first of all, I bought it. With my oddles of money, yeah, so like Sebastian Shaw or Baron Mordo didn't grab it. You know any sorcerers?" Johnny is entierly too willing to believe this even though it is probably just a joke. "They say the concept of personal property's the bedrock of personal liberty, after all."

"But also my family, we like to study this kind of stuff, so when it inevitably, inevitably gets unleashed on the world, we're ready for it to happen. I don't even know what it does! I just drew the short straw for picking it up, because Ben cheats."

Knox Kennedy has posed:
Knox raises an eyebrow and tilts his head at the question. He then points at himself with his thumb. "I happen to be a sorcerer." Apprentice level, but that's beside the point. "So... maybe you should leave it to the professionals."

"And personal property is the bedrock of liberty if everyone has an equitable amount of property. Otherwise, it is merely the foundation of tyranny." He frowns once more behind his mask. "Unfortunately... there's nothing equitable about some innocent person ending up with a cursed vase. So as you pointed out, I'm not really going to profit from this."

He slumps a little, and the shadow construct crawls out of the dumpster. It engulfs the vase and then shambles up the side of the building. Soon arriving into view, the construct leans over and expels the vase carefully onto the roof through an expanding maw. Knox then snaps his fingers, and the figure dissolves.

Johnny Storm has posed:
"That sounds like the sort of thing the Red Ghost used to scream at me before forcing an ape he roided up on cosmic rays to try and squeeze my head off." Johnny says, innocently. A sorcerer, eh? Fat chance. Kid's just a thief with powers in over his head. Still, at least he's smart enough to know when he's in over his head.

Johnny douses his arms to safely grab the 'vase'. "Tell you what, if you ever get Dr. Strange's wizard card or whatever you people use for recognition, you can have a look at the thing. I think it's a genie or something. God knows Ben's gonna knock it over and I'm gonna have to fight it..."

"Wonderful life, really." Johnny winks, again, infuriatingly. He rockets into the air, not wanting to risk the thief changing his mind. "Caio, David Blaine!"

Knox Kennedy has posed:
Knox salutes Johnny with the middle finger and shouts, "Asshole! as he streaks across the sky. He tugs down his mask and starts to mutter an incantation, "By the shades of the Seraphim, the darkness that dwells beneath the night, I usher forth your grasp to conjure the chains that...."

His shadow elongates and unravels, writhing in the moon's light and the light cast off the nearby buildings. His eyes glow purple as he channels his divine energies, and then they abruptly dull once more. He dismisses the incantation and ambient energies of his harmony with darkness with a swipe of the hand.

Glaring at the flame trail, he mutters under his breath, "I'm not my mother. Leave it alone." His pride stung, he leaps off the edge of the building and glides to street level on wings of shadow. "Totally keying that guy's car if I ever find it."