(2014-07-09) Batwoman Investigating the NYC Mint
Batwoman Investigating the NYC Mint
Summary: Log Summary
Date: 2014-07-09
Related: Golden Swarm of Thieves
NPCs: Colonel Kane
Scene Runner: Power Woman
Social/Plot: Plot

The office building in the heart of Lower Manhattan is quiet, at this late hour. With police tape and barricades still up around the parking structure entrances, no one is really coming in and out of the building. Those in the tower above have long since headed home for the evening. The crime scene techs are done their work, so there are no heavy stands of remote light units glaring against the darkness, bringing daylight into the night. The site of the mysterious New York City Mint - as many are calling it - is mostly empty. Just a few cops on foot patrol, keeping an eye on the perimeter, just to keep the regular citizenry honest.

Over Batwoman's comm set, the encrypted channel from the Colonel beeps, as the built-in minicam registers her location together with the GPS. "Well, I think I've found just about all I'm going to find without threatening some very bad men with big hardware. Everything with the building looks on the up-and-up on the surface. The parking structure did get a rennovation, including an added level, back in 2002. Included is a line-item for 'upgrades to meet revised safety and security standards from the Nine-Eleven Commissions.' The building's leasing agency has no records that don't correspond with what's on the building's manifest. But the owners received a large payment, assembled from a dozen various overseas numbered accounts, around the time of that rennovation."

"Looks like the mint is a black site, Kate. From what I can find, I'm guessing it's Company sanctioned, but for the funding of black and off-book operations. Nobody was ever supposed to know that place existed. The armored cars in and out had an irregular schedule, and they were Company people." The Colonel pauses. "Crime scene techs took samples of the 'golden goo.' All were identical in makeup. Biomatter, pretty close to human standard in chemical and molecular composition, except for metabolytes consistent with a much higher presence of phosphorus than usual, and much higher bonded oxygen content. But that's consistent with the acidic breakdown. It doesn't match anything in the NYPD databases, and I haven't found anything outside of the DEO to match it to. And the DEO isn't exactly feeling like sharing."

The black and red Ducati cruises smoothly along the Manhattan streets during the conversation, as Kate absorbs the information. "Roger that, Colonel. Must be hard for the Company to admit something's been stolen when it's not supposed to exist in the first place. That complicates this more than a little." She pauses, idling the bike down and turning onto a side street. "I'm going in quiet."

Once the bike is stashed, Batwoman takes to the rooftops. Her home turf. Slipping past a couple of flatfoots is almost too easy, as is crossing the crime scene tape. Then she's at the building, wrapped in the darkness.

The underground parking structure is four levels deep, each one account for almost twenty feet. At the bottom-most level at the far end is more crime scene tape, around a huge - twelve-plus feet tall and almost twenty feet wide, not to mention almost six feet thick - vault door, with one side disguised to look just like the concrete block walls of the parking structure.

Beyond that point, a sloping passage goes down and loops to the right, coming back to a spot that would be right beneath the last level of the parking structure. Another massive vault door stands open to a loading bay area, with an armored car sitting, all its doors ajar, in the middle of it all. Crime scene markers depict a body at the rear door of the armored car. A loading bay with large rolling gates - currently up - leads into the rest of the facility.

Beyond the loading bay, a short hallway leads to a few offices - including security, given the number of monitors and the now-empty gun racks - and a vault, its door open, crime scene markers indicating a half dozen bodies inside and just outside. There are no visible contents within, but crime scene photos on Batwoman's HUD will come from the Colonel, showing two palette-sized blocks of cash broken open, over half their smaller chunks missing in an irregular pattern. Piles of small metal ingots - labelled in the photos as gold, silver and platinum - are barely represented but still there. Several black cases lie open. The Colonel will mention that the crime scene techs are pretty sure those held various gems of high-dollar values.

A hallway leads from this vault down about sixty feet to a set of double doors, and through them a hanging slit-plastic drape, before opening into a massive industrial space, with intaglio presses and other equipment key to the production of US currency, and even a small foundry suitable for making those metal ingots. More crime scene markers for bodies are here.

Batwoman makes her way inside, checking for cameras ahead as she descends deeper into the concrete prison. "I can dump the security footage of the robbery if you can't get it, Colonel." she offers, soft but crisp. She'll give him the ID number on the armored car as well. "Manifest of the armored car might prove to be interesting."

Looking over the pallets, she offers. "Looks like someone was selective, alright. Maybe they were just being picky, or they knew what they were looking for." Her headset camera records everything she sees for further evaluation, and she looks around everywhere. Then she goes in deeper, into the press area itself. "Looks like they make both paper and coin, here. Which doesn't sound right. Most sites are either one or the other. Any thoughts on the secrecy?"

"They have the video in the case files, including the conflict with those other speedsters. Do you want me to spool it out on your HUD, or wait until you get back?" The Colonel asks. He certainly wasn't going to throw it up while she was driving. He's pleased she's staying off camera herself, though; they don't need extra trouble. "Climb up on the step and look down at the engine. I want the VIN, and for some reason it's not in the crime scene report." he comments.

Turns out that's because there is no VIN plate. Further examination will reveal that the armored car has been assembled from multiple VINs, and has no legal identity. The plates on it come back as legit for an armored car company, but that's not the car it should be on. And no one has reported the plates stolen.

"The robbery was a whole bunch of super-fast normal people. My guess is they were grabbing everything they could carry easily while running, and they were interrupted before they were done." The Colonel comments for Batwoman's earpiece.

"Hmmm. No, not coin. No stamping presses. Looks like they were doing their ingots on-site, though. Even more untraceable than off-book printed cash. They made this secret mint into a black operations fund clearinghouse." A rather scary thought, to be honest. Kate can almose hear the Colonel's frown in the tone of his voice. "Kate. There's more. Check the presses for the plates, see if they're still there. Then head out through that plastic sheet. There's another hallway, according to the report. And a vault where all the workers were stashed to die. I think we need to see that."

Nodding, Batwoman replies. "Roger that." She climbs up and opens the hood on the armored car, leaning in to get a complete look. "Hmm. No VIN plate. At all. That doesn't check out." Looking around further, she muses. "So we've got a gang of speedsters? I thought that was a pretty small club. Somebody have a scientific breakthrough recently that we should know about?"

She wanders down closer to the press while he talks, perhaps having similar ideas about the plates. "Roger. Already on my way to the plates." she replies. And then, regardless, she heads out through the sheet. "So they stashed all the workers into a vault to die? Easy for them. Bad for the workers."

"Nothing I can see yet explains how this is. But yes. According to witness statements, including those filed by Power Woman and Miss Marvel, indicate a group of approximately two dozen golden-suited, seemingly identical speedsters, all of whom reduced to bubbling goo upon any serious injury." the Colonel offers, with serious distaste in his voice. This is most definitely creepy. "Also worth noting that these bastards had to know this was down here, what was here, and had a plan to get in. They knew the schedule for that armored car. Which means somewhere out there is the armored car that /should/ have been here. And a crew of dead Company operators." One thing about the Colonel: the man can talk about cold blooded murder with such a seemingly dispassionate tone. But it's all to contain the inner rage: this kind of thing shouldn't happen outside of a war zone. And he'd rather it didn't happen there, either. There's a reason he believes in his daughter's campaign. Why he backs her the way he does.

Checking the presses, however, will show that the plates for the presses are gone. "Records say that if those plates aren't in place, they should be in the back vault. The one those people were shoved in to die."

Bad for the workers? Yes. "They were rescued, thanks to Miss Marvel. But there's something else I want to see." And when Batwoman arrives down the hallway to another set of offices, and another vault, she'll find some of that. The door has been crumpled and ripped from its moorings, lying discarded against the wall. On its' outward-facing surface, and on the wall beside it, is an altered radiation hazmat symbol, this one with waving lines instead of the usual wedges. The inside of this vault has all kinds of evidence markers. But none of them are those for dead bodies. There are also quite a few bits of discarded paramedic paraphenalia: the covers to breathing tubes, masks and the like.

"Look up." the colonel asks. "Zooming in now." he murmurs, as he ramps up the camera to get the best resolution he can on the lights installed in the ceiling. "Those things make grow lamps look like children's toys. Completely adjustable, customizeable solar radiation projection. This is their drying and aging rack." And the cases for the currency plates? Shattered and empty.

Curiouser and curiouser. Kate pans her camera around as requested, her mind racing as she looks everything over. "Okay, so this is different." she offers, referring to the vault with the solar lamps. "And it looks like it was broken OUT of, not into." Crouching down, she examines the paramedic discards. "So you said the golden speedsters dissolved with any damage. The biomatter found was close to human, except for higher bonded oxygen content."

Looking at the drying and aging rack, she asks. "Do you think, Colonel, that perhaps our burgulars were somehow GROWN here? It all smacks of an inside job already. First the truck, but even more basic than that the knowledge that this place exists at all. Suppose somebody decided to turn a science project into their own little personal gang of thieves." She turns towards the door, striding briskly and avoiding cameras. "I think we've seen everything we need to see here." Batwoman states with a purpose. "Can you get a list of employees and contract personnel for the past six months? If not, I'll see what files are still here."

"Not quite. Look at the hand print indentations. Miss Marvel punched her fingers through that reinforced steel to seize the door and rip it out of the wall." The Colonel sounds a tad impressed, or concerned. The power of metahumans is something that bothers him a bit at times. But who with sense isn't a bit bothered by such things? "Yep. That's what the report said. That, and byproducts of phosphorus."

"I don't see anything here to indicate a biolab on site." he answers. "Doesn't mean they weren't. But if they were, I don't know how or where. But it does smack of an inside job, or at least inside intel." There's a pause as he checks on something. "I have the list of names for the witnesses who were rescued, and I have started background checks on them, but that will be a while. Personnel rosters, however, were not in the evidence file. And if I were a nasty black site like this, I wouldn't keep anything like that on site. Hell, I might not even keep it in a computer. But check; never know what you'll find if you don't look."

Batwoman nods briskly, altering course for one of the offices. "Roger that." she replies. Powering up the first computer, she bats around ideas while she waits. "So the little solar room was for drying greenbacks? That's pretty hard-core. If they weren't underground, you could see those lights from space." The computer comes up, now, and she starts opening drawers looking for a password sheet. "I think the key to this is still the golden speeders. We don't have to know -how- they were made, just who could've done it. And who might want to."

"Tops on the hit parade for making anything like that is usually AIM. Advanced Idea Mechanics. Real damned winners. They're a spin-off of Hydra from way way back." the Colonel explains. "Hydra would also be a possibility. Or, it could be some metahuman power, in which case DEO records could cynch it." Again, scary damned crap. "I don't see anything on the books, even in the black DARPA budgets, that talks about successful cloning of someone with metahuman abilities." That he cannot find it, of course, does not mean it is not there.

This being a secure facility, there is no password sheet to be found squirelled away in the desk. Apparently, these people were too paranoid to write down their passwords were they might be of use to nosy vigilantes.

Batwoman considers for a moment, then reaches into her utility belt. A light dusting of UV powder over the keyboard, to look for fingerprints and common keys used. "May be a longshot on the computer, sir, and I left my crypto gear in my other pants." she offers. "Looks like they run a pretty tight ship, here. Not even pens or post-it notes in the desk." Still, she might get lucky with the fingerprints all the same.

"I thought Hydra was extinct. Or gone deep, at the very least. Although AIM does sound like a real good possibility. Have to be somebody with deep connections and a lot of time to plan this one out." She considers for a moment, then asks. "What about the contractors? Maybe it goes back that far?"

The powder will show lots of keys; it's a keyboard on a computer used to type up all manner of documents, so unfortunately it's not like security keypads where the only thing they're used for is entering those codes. "I should build the crypto gear into the belt or something. Alright. Maybe we suffer for now." the Colonel mutters.

"The contractors who did the remodel? Well, let's see what I can find." the Colonel offers, and clearly he moves to another avenue of computer efforts. "Well, they definitely have security clearance. Probably why they were chosen. Their foremen on the job are all ex-mil operators, and it looks like none of them work for the contractors anymore. I'll keep looking, add them to the background checks I'm running, see if I can find anything that ties them to anything curious."

Red lips purse as she shakes her head slowly. "Negative on the computer, sir. And it's shielded, so there's probably a fail-safe destruct built in somewhere." She shrugs and moves to the next office, stepping slowly and looking around. "Sounds like you've definitely got more on your homework list. Are we done with the field work for now, or is there anything else you'd like to see? I'm sure the NYPD dusted the vault for prints, but I'll get our own set. Perhaps our golden speeders were careless? Or maybe we can learn something from the fingerprints."

She'll go back to the vault, then, and dust for fingerprints. Following general crime scene protocol, Kate will look for any other evidence left behind. In either vault. "And we have an armored car to find as well. Should be on a GPS, unless it's already gone to a chop-shop."

"Damned channel is encrypted. I'm working on cracking it, but it's going to be a while. No way to narrow it down until then." the Colonel growls. He hates it when tech gets in the way of the solution. "Get the prints, and get out. New crew coming on duty in half an hour, and their SOP is to do a walk-through. I don't want you there when they do. I'll keep banging the homework until we have new leads to chase."

The Colonel pauses, and then curses. That is rather unlike him. "Sonovabitch." A few more seconds, and then he speaks. "On a lark, I tried getting into the phones of the DEO schmucks who got handed the scene. One of 'em says, in notes, that she thinks Power Woman was /inside/ that rear vault, and trapped. The League statements don't say anything about that. And there's a note under this about 'red sun'. I'm not sure what all of that means, but I'll keep looking. If these bastards not only made a small army of expendable speedsters, but they managed to trap Power Woman … we have to find 'em. And deal with 'em."

Batwoman sighs, moving more quickly now. "Finishing up with the prints now, sir." she replies. "Red sun? Hold on, now. Haven't there been a couple of attempts to take down Power Woman recently? Put it in perspective a moment. Sure, there's a lot of valuable loot here. But is any of it more valuable than taking down *HER*, in the big picture?"

Dark cape sweeping aside, she jogs back to the entrance now. "Making my exit, Colonel. Should be back up to the entrance in less than two minutes. And I've got an idea for my next line of questioning." There's a pause, the mic filters damping out her breathing. But he'll pick that up on her bio monitors anyway. Reaching the entrance, she slips back into the darkness before people start turning floodlights on. And once back at the bike, she'll resume the conversation. "So, Pops, any ideas on how I can get a date with a pretty super-blonde?"

Lower Manhattan, Financial District and Seaport — New York
When most people think of Downtown Manhattan, this is what they're thinking of. Skyscrapers block the sun, turning the streets into the familiar glass- and steel-walled canyons. The Financial District serves as a magnet for daytime traders and office workers; the buildings of Battery Park City are a twenty-to-forty-story sea of orange brick. Battery Park itself, named after the artillery sited there during the Revolutionary War, provides an expanse of green right down to the shoreline from which the Statue of Liberty can be seen.

The Financial District and Lower Manhattan are dense with landmarks and significant buildings; among them are Federal Hall, the fort and national monument Castle Clinton, The New York Stock Exchange, the National Museum of the American Indian, and the ferries to the aforementioned Statue and Ellis Island.

To the southeast, one will find the South Street Seaport. The Seaport is one of the biggest tourist destinations in New York - in, at least, that it covers the most space. The area features some of the oldest architecture in Manhattan, much of it renovated and still in use; the preservation goes so far as to include a section of cobblestone street, lined with shops, bars, and restaurants. Most of the shops are admittedly high-end chain stores, hideously overpriced, or both. The top floor of Pier 17, a three-story mall, is crowded by cafes offering the best view of the East River, the museum ships, and the nearby Brooklyn Bridge.

This area also houses the Civic Center, the heart of New York's government. Tourists may be inclined to pass by City Hall, the Municipal Building, the Hall of Records, and most of the city's courthouses, but nonetheless, this is where the city is actually run.

  • Obvious Exits:
    • [00] - Subway South — New York
    • [01] - Abandoned Warehouse — Lower M
    • [02] - Coffee Bean — Lower Manhattan
    • [03] - Civic Center — Lower Manhatta
    • [04] - Club Notorious — Lower Manhat
    • [05] - Parking Level - Fisk Tower —
    • [06] - Fisk Tower — Lower Manhattan
    • [08] - Osborn Inc — Lower Manhattan
    • [09] - Nightwing Restorations — Lowe
    • [10] - Precinct 12 — Lower Manhattan
    • [11] - New York Stock Exchange — Low
    • [12] - Warehouse 313 — Lower Manhatt
    • [13] - Mary's Diner — Lower Manhatta
    • [14] - Warehouse 8 — Lower Manhattan
    • [15] - Battery Park — Lower Manhatta
    • [16] - Back Alley — Lower Manhattan
    • [NE] - Lower East Side — New York
    • [NW] - SoHo and Tribeca — New York
    • [S] - New York Harbor — New York
    • [SE] - Brooklyn Bridge — New York
    • [SW] - Battery Park — Lower Manhatta
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