The call – well, sort of – comes in late one evening when he's at the Tower.

"Shiho-kun asks you to come down to the usual conference room, Shinichi-kun," says Agasa-hakase from the ceiling. "Now, if you are free."

Shinichi's already on his feet and pinning a note for Ran to the door, though the wording doesn't sound like an emergency. "Just me? What's this about?"

"She's also getting in touch with Heiji-kun as we speak. The matter at hand – " he pauses. Shinichi hadn't even known that AIs could hesitate. "It's one of those things better explained in person."

"Very reassuring," Shinichi deadpans, elevator doors opening with a ding as he walks over to them. "Tell her I'm on my way."

Sarcasm received and duly noted, says the incoming text on his phone as he presses the button for the forty-second floor. Now hurry up, Hattori-kun's already on the line.

Reassuring, indeed.


When he gets to the conference room, Miyano is indeed already teleconferencing Hattori, who's sitting at the dining table of his Osaka apartment. Although there really isn't much of a conversation going on, mostly Hattori skimming through something on his open laptop while she watches him, arms crossed.

Shinichi treads very lightly into the room. "What – "

Three holographic screens pop into existence around him without so much as a tilt of Miyano's head. "See for yourself."

Shinichi recognises the topic of the news article right away. He'd heard about it earlier this afternoon on the radio (insert old man joke here, ha ha ha), though the report had been brief – a highly unusual robbery with an advance notice during a rare gem exhibition at the Tokyo Met art museum.

This article goes into more detail, and a quick look at the other screens shows information that Shinichi's pretty sure isn't available to most of the media or general public: surveillance footage, police reports, floorplans and blueprints.

None of it explains Miyano's interest in the matter, though, or why they've been called here. It's not Avengers business by any stretch of the word.

He can see the same confusion reflected on Hattori's face when he looks back up.

Miyano notices, because she rolls her eyes but at least begins to explain. "I've been getting AGASA to filter through both local and international news coverage to find anything of relevance to us – keywords, facial recognition, all the works. Which is why he brought this to my attention earlier today."

Shinichi glances back to the screens. They certainly hadn't been mentioned in any of the reports, but surely the videos – ?

"No, they're too badly-positioned to have recorded anything useful," Miyano continues, confirming his thought process. "By themselves, at least. But I, quite unlike the Tokyo MPD, have nearly infinite technological resources at my disposal, for all practical purposes. Leading me to this."

Then she pulls up another screen.

Both Shinichi and Hattori stop and stare at the blurry outline of a face. A very familiar face.

Hattori finds his voice first. "Ya sure about this, neechan?"

"This is a composite image, of course," interjects the AI almost apologetically. "But accounting for the shadows caused by the hat, monocle, and any variation in lighting – I'd estimate it to be about eighty-seven percent accurate."

"Given that you were otherwise occupied at the time, I've been checking the alibis of every other person in Japan at the time who answers to that description. Did you know, you have a ridiculous number of doppelgangers, Kudo-kun?" Miyano adds irritably, as if it's his fault that Kuroba and however-many-others exist.

Which – Shinichi was definitely born first, okay. Everyone else is just lacking originality.

"No luck on almost all of those, I'm guessin'?" Hattori asks, obviously having reached the same conclusion as Shinichi.

"No," Miyano confirms with a nod. "Between SNS posts, handphone GPS, and CCTV, we've been able to rule out all but one person. And then there's this."

The image disappears, to be replaced by a short, shakily-recorded clip from – probably Twitter, Shinichi thinks, which still definitively shows a white-clad figure shooting a grappling hook to the next building with an effortless accuracy that he's only ever seen in two particular snipers.

And Ran had been with Shinichi and the rest of them, dealing with the latest alien incident that'd left everyone in dire need of a hot shower. Or several.

"I'm going to murder Kuroba myself," declares Shinichi blithely.

"Get in line," Hattori retorts, though he sounds more gleeful than anything.

"You see why I called for a third opinion," says Miyano, then pauses. "Well, third opinions. Third and fourth opinions. Whichever."

"I call third!" crows Hattori immediately just as Shinichi wonders, "Does it count as two opinions if you wrote the AI yourself?"

"I am my own intelligence," Agasa-hakase answers instead. "And my opinion came first in this case, I'd say."


The call to Hawkeye's secure non-emergency line rings for almost a full minute before he picks up – in a spot where there definitely isn't what resembles the light through a ventilation grating throwing bars of shadow over Kuroba's face, and Shinichi definitely does not hear what sounds like a museum docent giving a guided tour in the background.

(It wouldn't even be difficult to narrow down a list of museums which gives tours this late in the evening.

Seriously. Shinichi already can remember Sonoko having mentioned something about extended opening hours to celebrate the Suzuki museum's fiftieth anniversary, and that's just off the top of his head.)

"Wha––t?" Kuroba asks, in a voice that trails distinctly upwards when he catches sight of the expressions on their faces.

"Kuroba-kun," Miyano says in that politely scathing tone she reserves for longwinded supervillain rants, parties, and particularly stupid software bugs. "Do tell me that you didn't retire from superheroing just to become a phantom thief."

"I did not retire from superheroing just to become a phantom thief," Kuroba parrots obediently.

Too obediently.

Then he adds "Also, the diamond was acquired illegally from its previous owner, the police should be finding that out shortly" as if that helps matters at all.

Shinichi and Miyano stare flatly at Kuroba, then reach for the the End Call button at the same time.

"Hey–!" they hear Kuroba protest just as the screen cuts to black.

Miyano pinches the bridge of her nose and sighs. "Advise Kuroba-kun that he should wear some kind of mask, at least. But not one of the photostatic veils. Or any of the other tech traceable to me or SHIELD, for that matter. Crosscheck with the list we provided to the Accords committee, just to be safe."

Shinichi winces at the possible chaos of that particular minefield going off. The only saving grace here (or more accurately a technicality) is the fact that the heist had occurred firmly within Japan's boundaries, and that Kuroba without any of the equipment associated with Hawkeye or SHIELD is just plain old Kuroba.

Which is to say, more trouble than he's worth.

"And also inform him that I won't be paying his bail this time," Miyano continues after a moment.

"Sent," comes the professor's voice after a second. "He seems rather upset at your assumption that he'd let himself get caught by anyone, much less the police."

"Remind him of all the other times I've paid his bail," Miyano replies archly. "Including the clown incident."

What clown incident, Shinichi would ask, except that he really, really doesn't want to know.

(On the other screen, Hattori's still laughing so hard that he's fallen off his chair.)