Emerald Green 18

Dido laughed.  When the Collector wasn’t trying to be a jerk, he was actually pretty easy to talk to.  She never got to talk to anyone about her secret life as a thief.  Except her brother of course, but she’d been sharing things with Hannibal since she was born, so it didn’t even feel like confiding when she told him a secret.

Dido pulled up the other side of her skirt.  This time she turned her leg away to remove the temptation for the Collector.  She pulled out the strange contraption that Hannibal had made her to get past pressurized alarms.  Two air bladders, a couple valves, and a snarl of tubes, one of which was capped with a needle.

A thin, six inch crowbar she’d brought with her was barely strong enough to pry open the wooden paneling beneath the display.  A nest of tubes and gauges sat just underneath the emerald.  Dido carefully checked all the tubes for dummy lines and feints before she started doing anything.  The Collector watched over her shoulder, careful not to block her light.

The needle went into one of the tubes leading into the alarm sensor.  As Dido tied it off, she carefully added or released air to keep the pressure steady.  Even a small change could set off the alarm.  Then she repeated the process for the other two hoses.

“Now to see about getting the emerald,” she said.

“I’m certainly not going to be standing in your way anymore.”  Something about the way he said it made Dido look up.  The Collector’s eyes were on the door.  Standing in the frame, pulling his mask off to get a better look, was Officer Scipio.

“I thought I’d given you the slip,” the Collector said.  “Apparently not well enough.”

“I thought you looked familiar, Ghost,” Scipio said to Dido.

“Wait,” the Collector said.  “You know the Ghost’s a she?  I never would’ve tipped you off if I’d known that.”

“You mean you’re not working together?” Scipio asked.

“I don’t share.  I collect.”

Scipio and the Collector eyed each other.  The watchman had obviously picked up on the collecting comment.  The two men might’ve gone on staring, but Dido grabbed her crowbar and sent it crashing into the glass.  Except it wasn’t glass.  Whatever it was cracked, spider webs radiating out from her blow, but it didn’t break.  Her miniature crowbar was bent.

Scipio and the Collector immediately unfroze.  The Collector pulled his dart gun out and aimed it at the officer.  Grabbing a pedestal, shattering a vase on the ground in the process, Scipio knocked the weapon aside.  It hissed and send a dart into a tapestry.

“Guards.  Thieves,” Scipio shouted.

Dido brought the crowbar down on the display case again.  The cracks grew, but the metal gave way even more.  She cut her hand but she couldn’t spare the time to see how bad it was.  The Collector dodged back from a vicious swing of the pedestal.  Scipio was twirling the thick piece of metal like it was made of feathers.

The stand rang like a gong as Scipio missed again and hit the wall.  The vibrations almost made him drop the pedestal.  Beneath the hum, Dido heard the sound of boots.  The guards were coming.  Fast.

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