Closed Ultramarine

Flag

V.I.L.E.
Color #
808080
#25
Flag had taken note of Joe's departure, but found himself turning to look over his shoulder toward the sorrowful tone. Having missed it - and it's context - as the jester returned to the mess hall, he entered the men's green room.

Most theaters had rooms like this; a place where performers would decompress between scenes, change costumes, and practice monologues if needed. A shut door and a cue-caller (sometimes a closed-circuit television) would ensure that the noise never reached the stage. Each of these rooms had it's particular quirks and this one had two; an unexpectedly comfortable couch that seemed to always contains a person's worth of ugly clothing in it's cushions, and a private shower. Flag took advantage of both whenever he found himself staying on the island.

He tried to reflect on Joe's words as he went through his brief morning routines, but found his thoughts drifting instead to Abu Dhabi and all that it meant. Carmen's greeting a short while earlier had payed on that and he wanted to delve into it more but his introspection was interrupted by the realization that most of anything he could change into was currently in a London locker or an arab tailor's shop.

A quick glance at the couch immediately negated the idea of borrowing from it. Instead he crossed the room and opened a lockable cabinet that contained his journal and a folded set of deep black robes. That was all. He once again acknowledged the couch and reaffirmed that the long garment featuring a row of elaborate golden casps was his only option for the day. He swore under his breath.

It had been soaked in his blood and torn the day that he first met Carmen and he had been hesitant to wear it around her since, despite that it had been cleaned and mended to near perfection. He sighed and put it on, caving into the weird day's demands, and left to rejoin the others at the clocktower.
 

Neb

Elf on the Shelf
Known Aliases
Nebuchadnezzar (Neb) Ullyss (formerly Kid Kidman), Kitty, Seryy Pripyat
Color #
323E4F
#26
Meanwhile, Neb waited at the clock tower, dryly amused by how many times she ended up waiting on towers for her life to change.

She’d been up here for hours at this point, after sleep failed to find her. After her meeting with Carmen it soon became clear that the cacophony in her head wouldn’t allow for rest, so she’d proceeded to do what she usually did in such situations, and fired up the teleporter pad that led from the misty grey Stone to the hopefully less misty grey San Francisco.

The link to her apartment held many benefits, but the one most dear to her was easy access to a shower and bathroom, for in Stone Harbour such amenities were a decent slog from her nest in the attic. Once home she’d taken a moment to praise the gods of hot water, then leaned against the shower wall as she parsed through the implications of what she’d just agreed to.

The woman had almost allowed herself to believe that she’d exchanged one safety net for another, far more secure one, but it didn’t take long for her to dismiss the idea. Placing her survival purely in Carmen’s hands was naive at best and selfish at worst.

The real reason she’d agreed was seemingly more simple. Carmen had offered help, she’d asked her to stay and Neb wasn’t about to turn that down, even if accepting didn’t guarantee a better outcome.

After all, if she’d really been ready to live at all costs, she would have left VILE for ACME and hid in their shadow instead, close to medical care and far from Flag. But that would be a betrayal of her fierce sense of loyalty and possibly put her teammates in danger.

If she had to fail in her quest, she’d rather fall amongst friends, even if it meant falling to one.

Coming to the realization that she’d become dangerously attached to Flag had not been an easy one. It wasn’t that she hadn’t been aware of it forming, there was no way to ignore that. But accepting how far it extended, how deep it had become was incredibly unnerving, and she’d only faced it enough to know something had to be done.

In fact, she’d only really allowed herself to acknowledge it once she was sure she would be cutting ties. Now she was staying here, and the knowledge remained.

Of course, that would not be as much an issue as it seemed, she'd reasoned as she’d taken far too much time selecting her wig for the day. Flag was a wanderer. She doubted she’d see much of him now that he had no reason to stay put, as evidenced by the past six weeks.

That left her to ponder what future Carmen had planned for her as she waited high upon this observation deck, and she tugged at her long, wavy black wig as two figures take shape in the fog beyond.
 

Carmen

Queen of Crime
Color #
850000
#27
Once the double doors parted, Carmen's eyes found Neb waiting. The ringleader nodded approvingly, and turned first to the man beside her, "Acton, would you open the blinds for me?"

Then she walked towards the woman. "I'm glad you're here," after the whisper, she planted a cheek-kiss and paused to study the long wig, "This is nice, you look good."

Stepping back, Carmen removed her coat and draped it over the nearest chair.

The observation deck was located in a clock tower at the centre of Stone Harbour. While it was newly renovated, attention was given to the turn-of-the-century nautical theme prevalent in other parts of the grounds. Copper handles and slate blue woodwork played contrast against aged ash flooring. Considered a 'war room' while Carmen was in residence, a large round desk with overhead projectors displayed data while borderless windows showed panoramic views of the entire compound and the sea beyond.

"Did you get much sleep last night?" her question was simple but directed.
 

Neb

Elf on the Shelf
Known Aliases
Nebuchadnezzar (Neb) Ullyss (formerly Kid Kidman), Kitty, Seryy Pripyat
Color #
323E4F
#28
[Co-post: Neb/Carmen]

Neb was once again startled by such attention and she blushed slightly at the complement of her wig. Each one held special significance, a shade of a personality she wished to own, but these expensive dark-haired ones were of considerable significance to her. Her hair had once been this colour, she’d once been told.

“Thank you,” she murmured, then added with a weak smile, “I’ll get some sleep eventually.”


Reaching towards Neb, she offered a hand.

“I thought about you quite a bit,” she led the young woman to the round table at the centre.

An AMOLED screen displayed menu items while projectors above flashed on.

“I want you to shadow me while I’m here,” she explained and then spoke in a quieter voice, “and I want you to keep tabs for me while I’m not.” She glanced briefly to the unassuming Acton Roux, “Do you know what that might entail?”


I’m still asleep, aren’t I? Neb thought as she blinked from lack of comprehension. “I, uh….what? Me? Keep tabs on you?”

Memories of a disaster that technically never happened burst forth to mock her, and she bit her lip to push it back. “I mean...isn’t that sort of impossible?”
 
Known Aliases
Joe Kerr
Color #
8a2be2
#29
Polishing off the last of his hastily improvised sandwich, Joseph Kerr began to make his way to the clocktower by means of a brisk walk. Stopping momentarily to wipe off any crumbs and ensure presentability, he paused to consider the purpose of the meeting.

The ‘war room’ was reserved for only the most private and important of meetings, ones for which even the hidden rooms of the theatre were deemed insufficiently covert. The last time Joseph had been in there, plans for the MAMBA had been the topic of the day; the jester was under no illusion that today’s discussion would be as pleasant.

Rumours of Patty’s disappearance had been circulating; theories, ranging from a kidnapping or an untimely death to her eloping with a secret ACME paramour, had been proffered, but no credible information on her whereabouts had been obtained.

Despite not showing it, the jester was actually one of the most affected by her disappearance; All of VILE was a family to him, but Patricia had been one of those he’d been especially fond of. Having worked closely with her during a couple of Carmen’s previous absences, Joseph had gained an appreciation of how skillfully she employed her sharp wit and the surprising intelligence lying behind those baby blue eyes. Plus, with the natural charisma that she just seemed to radiate, it was impossible for anyone not to like her; little wonder that Joseph himself had pegged her as the most likely to succeed Carmen.

As he reached the door of the clocktower, Joseph silently prayed that Carmen had some good news.

 

Neb

Elf on the Shelf
Known Aliases
Nebuchadnezzar (Neb) Ullyss (formerly Kid Kidman), Kitty, Seryy Pripyat
Color #
323E4F
#30
When Joe entered, Carmen briskly tipped her head to welcome him.

Returning to her conversation, a genuine smile formed on the thief’s face and she nodded to Neb’s question, “Alright, you do know then.”

Opening a map of the world on the tabletop, she showed Neb the commands. Then whispered, “I’ll have full instructions for you later, but when I’m not here, I’m going to give you a way to keep in touch with me. Are you left or right handed?”



The lot of the situation didn’t make sense to her subordinate, but Carmen usually knew what she was doing. There was bound to be some spectacular logic behind her actions, a plan too amazing comprehend at this moment, so Neb let go of her attempts at logic and rolled with it.

“Right handed. I can have only so many abnormalities in one body,” she replied with a hint of jest.



Sharing the woman’s jest with a soft laugh, VILE’s leader knelt down. She removed a thin rose gold bracelet from her right wrist and placed it on Neb’s.

“Right, it is,” she smiled. The jewelry was a chain only half a millimetre in width, with a single blue moonstone cabochon glinting like a frozen tear.

As Carmen stood, the door opened and she acknowledged Flag’s entrance with a hesitation, smile and nod before turning back to Neb.

“I’ll show you how that works as well,” she paused briefly, “Are you all right?”



Carmen’s voice became distant in her ears as Flag entered the room. Not only was he still here, but he now donned a robe she’d seen him wear only once before. The blood drained from her face and she looked to the floor as her heart sped up in her chest.

“Yeah, just overwhelmed. Just a lot going on,” she forced out as her cheeks flushed with her heart’s redoubled effort.



Empathetic, Carmen placed a palm on Neb's colorless cheek, wordlessly conveying positivity.
 
Color #
351c75
#31
Once the double doors parted, Carmen's eyes found Neb waiting. The ringleader nodded approvingly, and turned first to the man beside her, "Acton, would you open the blinds for me?"
Acton immediately did as he was instructed, walking up a set of steps to a systems box and flipping open the switch to turn on motorised curtains.

When the blinds retreated, morning sunlight cast its golden beams onto Carmen. Dr Roux clasped the brass railing of the raised walkway to observe her from above. Beauty was often arguable, but at times a woman takes one's heart long before the effects are felt. From his vantage point, Acton wondered what drove this woman, he asked himself why she would take the blame for young Patricia's leaving. Then he watched her interactions with Neb and also wondered what she saw in the pale girl. How does one read the Esoteric Carmen Sandiego?
 
Known Aliases
Joe Kerr
Color #
8a2be2
#32
Upon returning Carmen’s greeting with a nod of his own, the Jester took a brief moment to take in the observation deck in all its nautical/steampunk-esque glory. Purposefully walking away from what he deemed to be a private conversation between the two ladies, Joseph ascended to the raised walkway the encircled the chamber.

His eyes immediately fell onto the plague mask wearing doctor who had been stoically observing the ladies; Joseph observed with some mirth that given Acton’s current position and mask, he resembled one of Poe’s eponymous black birds, watching morosely from a tree.

Ever the outsider looking in, eh Roux?

Approaching cautiously, the jester paused in mid stride to note Flag’s arrival before carrying on toward the silent doctor.

“Penny for your thoughts, Roux?”

 
Color #
351c75
#33
Acton Roux stood up straight to greet Joseph Kerr, but he did not understand why the man wished for pennies.

"I do not have coppers with me," he said while feeling his coat pockets. He thought it may be a joke, as often the jester had words to make people feel good no matter the situation. Perhaps, he deducted, the question was meant to ask his thoughts.

To this, the doctor paused and pointed with his beaked mask towards the woman in Converse, "She is blaming herself for our young colleague's disappearance. Have you any word from your contacts?"
 
Known Aliases
Joe Kerr
Color #
8a2be2
#34
At the mention of Patty’s whereabouts, or lack thereof, the jester’s smile disappeared.
”Unfortunately, no. You’d think a big ball of glittering sunshine would be easy to spot…”

Whatever Joseph had meant to say next died on his lips as he stared blankly for a moment; memories of a happier time momentarily overwhelming him.

Shaking his head to refocus, he quickly added to his previous statement.
“Then again, she was trained by the best. If, for some reason, she doesn’t want to be found, she won’t be; not by you or me, at least.”

Having said his peace, Joseph moved to join Acton in quiet observation of the conversation below; silently they stood together, Comedy and Tragedy, keeping vigil over their charges, over the theatre of dreams.
 

Vic

Confidence Man
Color #
008000
#35
Vincent "Vic-the-Slick" Fumigalli was back in Stone Harbour after one of the longest business trips of his life. Carmen wanted a little celebration and it was up to Vic to get the team in Italy ready for some freezing fun at the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival.
Italian team, Chinese fest, nothing could be more international.

"I have the plans!" he opened the door to the Observation Deck thinking he would be seeing only Carmen. When he saw the others he laughed, "Crack-a-Mole! Did the party already start?"
 

Carmen

Queen of Crime
Color #
850000
#36
When Vincent arrived, she arched toward the door and spoke his name, "Vincent Fumigalli, come, please."

She let him gather his papers and his thoughts, and then she took Neb's hand, "You remember Neb, Vincent," she re-introduced, "she'll be my shadow for the while, can you set this up?"
 

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is enjoying what's left of the brownies she made late last night to celebrate the Cleveland Browns beating the Denver Broncos. :)
Finish her Christmas shopping just in a nick of time.
I am excited for the secret Santa.

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