[Catwoman/Penguin] The Bird Catches The Cat (part 1)

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In roughly 42 hours, the Iceberg Lounge would be hosting the “Snowbird Charity Auction”, a gala event to raise funds for the critically endangered Arctic Curlew. If one were to examine the guest list, they’d likely take note of a surprising lack of well-known, wealthy philanthropists for what was purportedly a charity event. Names like Wayne, Kord, Quinn or Holt were oddly absent and replaced with names like Sabatino, Maroni, Thorne, Falcone and Mannheim.

One didn’t have to be the world’s greatest detective to deduce the true intent of the event. The location. The unusual guest list. No information sent to the press. No publicly declared list of items up for auction. It all pointed to an underground auction of illegally obtained art and antiquities.

A layman might think that the greatest danger to such an event would be law enforcement. In other cities, that might very well be the case...but not in Gotham (in fact, Mayor Hill and the head of the Gotham FBI were both on the list of VIPs invited to the event). The Mona Lisa itself could go up on the auction block and no one would blink an eye.

The true danger was not law enforcement but the very art thieves that stocked the auction’s inventory in the first place. Stolen goods couldn’t be reported to the police (even in a city as corrupt as Gotham) and certainly couldn’t be insured. Despite the common saying, there is truly no honor among thieves.

This was exactly why the items soon to go up for auction were being stored in Warehouse # 42 until they were ready to be sent to the Iceberg Lounge. From the outside, the warehouse was an unassuming gray brick of a building nestled among dozens of similar structures in Gotham’s harbor district. The exterior bore a simple sign with the number “42” inscribed upon it. That anonymous, unremarkable facade was entirely by design.

Despite the building’s bland exterior, the interior of Warehouse 42 was a cutting edge vault, filled with row after row of lockers. There were no human guards patrolling the building’s dark corridors. Too unreliable. Too prone to bribery or temptation. Instead, sensors set into the floor would detect anyone walking across the floor, even the humble footsteps of a mouse would send an alert to the offsite security office.

That same security office also monitored a live feed provided by nearly a dozen hovering camera-drones. The little robots hovered on four buzzing rotors and followed a precise, ceaseless patrol route. Even if their off-site handler fell asleep at the monitor, they were quite capable of identifying and neutralizing intruders with their miniature machine guns. They were an AmerTek product, meant to be produced exclusively for the military. The beams of their small spotlights were the only source of light in the warehouse.

Anyone attempting to break into Warehouse 42 via traditional means would be dead in short order and it was unlikely the Gotham police would either know or care.

In the darkness of the warehouse’s rafters, a slightly darker shape descended. If there had been anyone watching the rooftops of the warehouse and its neighboring buildings, then they would see that figure lithely bounding from rooftop to rooftop. Sometimes it used a long whip to snag a protruding duct or HVAC outlet. Sometimes it climbed directly up the walls, fingers and toes leaving claw marks in the cement and plaster.

It was inside the warehouse now, having entered silently through the rooftop. A chemical agent had cut a silent hole through the roof and into the HVAC ducts...Human guards might have noticed the burning scent...but drones didn't have noses.

The shape landed in almost total silence on top of one of the many rows of lockers. The dim, vestigial lights of the warehouse glinted off of the figure’s rich curves, covered (but hardly concealed) by her glossy, skin-tight suit. The outfit covered her nearly head-to-toe, except for a glimpse of pale, creamy skin and a hint of cleavage around the suit’s neckline. The bottom of her face was also uncovered, revealing lips painted with dark-cherry lipstick.

All this tech and it all goes to waste because they weren’t smart enough to hire someone to think in three dimensions. Selina Kyle, known among her peers and the police as Catwoman, smirked as she wound up the microwire cable she had used to rappel down from the ceiling before tucking it into a small pouch by her waist.

I should really be charging Cobblepot for pointing out all the flaws in his security. A wicked smile crossed her full lips. Maybe I’ll send him an invoice once this is all over.

She almost laughed out loud at the thought of the pompous little man fuming over the insult. The warehouse’s security might have a blindspot above ground level but the drones had sound sensors and would be on her in a second if she were to burst out laughing.

She trotted across the top of the row of lockers and leapt to the next one over. Her heels had cushions and shock absorbers and the faint sound of her footsteps was completely lost under the sound of the drone’s own rotors.

First mistake, Cobblepot. Don’t put these things so close together. Selina shook her head. Why even make them flat on top? Put an angle on it and no one would be able to balance on it at all.

Maybe I actually should do this for a living. Selina pondered as she hopped easily from one row of lockers to another. She knew a few thieves who had gone “white hat” and used their talents to design and stress test security systems. She could probably make good money from that. A lot safer too...those thieves probably didn’t run their tests with live rounds in the guns. But it just wouldn’t be any fun without the theft. No jewel glitters as brightly as a stolen one.

Catwoman crouched on top of one of the reinforced concrete locker units. The tight, glossy material of her suit stretched across her long, slender legs and over the taut curve of her hips a

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Written by rpickman
Hochgeladen August 15, 2020
Notes A commission story. The Penguin uses a magical jewel to transform Catwoman into his willing servant.
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