Chapter 1: The Bandits

The Luxurious City of Niagra, a town placed in the present yet living in the future. Looking at the skyline of the town is said to mystify and mesmerize all those who gaze at it. The people of Niagra, truly the most pristine and perfect people the eyes could see. Bright smiles donning their faces as they make their daily commutes. The businesses some of the cleanest and shiny establishments you could shop, eat, or just lounge and relax in. During the day the town could be seen as the example of true world peace and at night it was a ray of shining hope for the world. The aforementioned skyline would twinkle like stars in the sky when the moon finally took over the once sunny sky.

However, not all was perfect in this town. The police department for Niagra worked tirelessly day and night to keep the peace in the town. To the people during the day, the smiling faces of the officers walking the street and upholding small violations were a sense of peace and comfort. Dealing with the small meaningless violations they dealt with during the day brought smiles and content fulfillment to the hearts of the NPD. But when darkness fell over the city, the disgusting and cruel underbelly reared its ugly head. The cops patrolled the city tirelessly through the night detaining any suspicious figures that tried to hide in the shadows. One such figure was a youth currently pinned under the iron-clad grip of a veteran officer.

"So ya thought you could just vandalize public property and get away with it? Huh, punk?" One officer said to the teen. He had the kid prone on their stomach in a makeshift armbar.

"Come on Theo, the kid was just painting the alleyway. Why don't we let him off with a warning?" His partner looked down at him confused yet amused at the veteran officer's overreaction to the graffiti.

"And let this little troglodyte think he can ruin the beauty of my town with his hateful and insensitive art? No way in hell! Call it in Sam."

Sam nonchalantly walked over to the wall in question and took a peek at the teen's creation. He saw a purple skull with long purple hair in what seemed to be cornrows or maybe even dreadlocks that shot straight out behind it. Behind it, green gems were scattered around the purple skull. "It looks kinda cool." He pulled on his radio as he walked back to his partner, "Dispatch this is 244-V do you copy?"

"10-4 go ahead V." a static voice called back.

"Yeah, we got a 10-29-G at alleyway on 2nd and main."

"We caught him in the act Sam! It's a 10-39-G since it was in progress." Theo corrected him quickly.

"Right sorry make that a 10-39-G, caught the kid in the act, what's the play?"

"Okay V listen it's pretty late at night and since it sounds like he was just spray painting the alley can you inspect the art?" the voice called back clearly not interested in the petty crime.

"Already did what did ya need to know?"

"Is there anything vulgar or hostile in the art?"

Sam looked back one last time and felt a sense of uncertainty at the artwork. It seemed familiar but he couldn't place his tongue on what it was. He dismissed it and just told the dispatch that it seemed like a pretty standard drawing.

"Well if there is nothing vulgar or hostile about the art then ya can let the perp off with a warning."

"10-4 I'll break the news to him now." he hung up the phone and looked to the kid with a smile on his face, "Hear that, ya getting off the hook."

"Ya gotta be kidding me, Sam, I ain't letting this punk go-*CRASH*!"

All motion stopped as the two officers looked to a nearby fashion store on the block. The sound of what seemed to be a rack falling catching them all by surprise. "Theo, you hear that too?"

"Well I sure couldn't miss it now could I?" Theo responded sarcastically. He looked to the store and watched for any movement in the window. "Well don't just stand there go check it out," he shouted to his partner.

Sam slowly approached the window reaching for the pistol in his holster and grabbing a flashlight clipped to his pants.

*BANG*

Sam and Theo's gaze both shot to the other side of the street at this new sound inside of a jewelry store. "What the -"

*POW* *CRASH* *BANG*

One by one all the shops started to sound off as if there was someone inside of them knocking items over.

"Ha ha ha..." a soft chuckle came from underneath Theo as the teen made the first sound since getting caught.

"What are you laughing at brat? You got something to do with this?!" Theo reached down and picked the teen off the ground. He ripped the scarf around the teen's face away and stood back in surprise. The boy they thought they had captured was a young woman. However, it was neither the fact she was a woman nor the smile across her face that startled him, it was the person he saw in front of him. Her face, a smooth milk-chocolate brown and her hair a calm shade of purple. That strange purple hair, long and tied into a dreaded pony-tail that seemed to be stuck hanging in the air. A small bandage adorned her left cheek which she drew attention to with the confident and mischievous smirk she wore on her face.

"Oh no..." Sam said behind Theo. Now he suddenly realized what about that artwork seemed so familiar, the face it represented.

"Tell me, officers," she said in a slightly Hispanic accent, "do you like magic tricks?"

They both stood there stunned by the calm in her voice and the intimidation in her stare. She took their silence as a sign to continue. "You see a magic trick is exactly that, just a trick. Magic isn't real so tell me, officers, how does a magician trick you into believing that they made a coin appear from thin air, pick the card you never showed them, or pull a rabbit out of their hat?" She stood before them and let the question sink in and feasted on the look of confusion on Theo's face while appreciating the clear fear in Sam's.

"Simple... misdirection."

The sounds and explosions of every single glass window on the block shook the city to its core. Siren's sounded off around the streets as people looked out their apartment windows at the scene before them. Young men and women of varying size, shape, race, and religion came flooding out of the stores' windows holding various items from jewelry, clothes, antiques, and anything else they could fit in their arms. They were all dressed in shades of black, darker browns, and any other colors that would blend in with the shadow's around them. They all seemed to congregate around a purple-haired person in the center of the street.

The woman who seemed to lead the miniature army smiled as the cops watched in fear as the figures surrounded them. Some held blunt force weapons such as bats, tire irons, and crowbars. Other more eccentric with chains, a staff, and what Sam swore was a Japanese style sword. However, the ones that scared them the most were the ones with guns of all sorts and varieties aimed at them. One seemed to be holding a shotgun in each hand, that was until the person stepped forward and handed one of the guns to the purple-haired young lady.

She took the gun and inspected it before giving the goon that handed it to her a pat on the back. She slowly walked up to the cops and chuckled lightly to herself as she gazed down on the two men, curled into a feeble ball on the sidewalk.

"Now I know what you too must be thinking, 'Oh no, she must be so angry at us. Please don't hurt us, ma'am, I beg you we will never do something so rude again we swear.' And ya know what, you're right. I'm livid, but not with you, cutie," she said as she stroked Sam's chin. He lightly whimpered in fear but calmed down as he heard her statement.

"R-Really?" he asked with a slight stutter as he choked on his fear.

"No of course not, you didn't even tell dispatch what the art was on the wall. You're back up would have been here by now if ya did." she laughed as she patted him on the head. She looked to Theo and her face instantly soured. She took hold of his necktie and yanked him up so they were at eye level again. She looked him up and down, mulling over what she would do with him. "What's wrong, been so long since ya touched a woman you forgot what one felt like?"

She threw the man down by his collar and let him hit the ground with a thud. She looked into her crowd of minions and made her final declaration. "Tie the cute one up and put him in the alleyway safely, the cops can get him in the morning." She looked at the older officer. "Him," she pointed at Theo, "do whatever you want."

Sam was suddenly pulled away by a group of shadows, childish giggles followed by screams of confusion disappearing with him. Theo however, was left in the middle of the shadows as they closed in around him.

The woman walked away humming with the sound of thumps and thuds accompanied by gurgled screams of pain. A large man approached her with what looked like a signpost off the road in his grasp. Behind him were two shadowed figures; one a woman with what looked like a belt of kunai's, shurikens, and glaives alike at her waist, the other a male with a semi-auto rifle in his grasp.

"Boss we made off with as much as we could grab, want to signal a retreat." He asked his voice deep and gravely as he stood at attention for his boss.

"Aww," she said as she jumped up and pinched his cheeks, "what would I do without you Nixxy, ya big adorable puppy." Nixxy kept his face stalwart though a faint blush could be seen forming on his cheeks. "Yeah go ahead and call it, I give it 5 minutes before the calvary show's up." She walked off as her Nixxy pulled out a small cell device. He was going to attempt pushing the button but he found his fingers to big for the tiny device.

"Darn thing always never works." He grumbled as the man walked up to Nix.

"I got ya Nix," he said as he took the device and pushed in a command, "or should I say, 'Nixxy'?" in a poorly done impression of the boss, Nix just grumbled in response.

All around the shadows seemed to begin moving in waves in different directions as they dispersed into the shadows. The boss and her small team raced through the alleys as they made their way to the outskirts of the city. She looked to her left and right and was pleased to see several other teams making their way to the plateaus in the distance. All was going according to plan, "I tell ya am I the best or what?" she shouted back to her colleagues.

*WHOOP* *WHOOP*

The sound of sirens flooded their ears drums as blue and red lights clouded their vision.

"What," the boy with the gun stated behind her.

"Oh, don't get smart with me Sammy." she shot back.

They picked up their pace as the sound of gunshots and shouts could be heard behind them.

"Get to the tunnels, NOW!" Nix roared over the sound of the mass panic.

The shadows ran quicker than the cops expected into the vast open fields that lead to the trees ahead. Bodies fell but no man or woman was left behind as they disappeared into the shadows made by the plateaus ahead. The officers abandoned their cars and continued on foot as they gave chase to the band of robbers. Flashes were seen and screams were heard but nothing could be seen around them. The boss and her squad were rushing through the darkness made by two plateaus. Officers came from branching paths to try and stop them but were quickly and cleanly dispatched by the end of Nix's new signpost. They continued to run until they came to an opening in one of the plateaus. Along the edge of the opening were explosives of varying shapes and sizes primed for detonation.

"Everyone in!" she shouted as the shadows slid into the darkness, disappearing without a trace. She gazed into the darkness, feeling the approaching officers. Looking to her team she began barking orders, "Nix take the front, anyone gets close bust their skulls. Sammy provides cover fire, shoot to injure not to kill unless absolutely necessary. And Veronica..." she looked at the group and didn't see her anywhere. "Where the hell is Veronic-"

"DON'T MOVE!"

One officer seemed to have made it past the pack and gotten in range of the group. They all turned slowly and raised their hands above their heads, the boss, stood still and simply sighed. "Dang it."

She looked to the man with concern in her eyes noticing the position he was in. She crossed her arms and looked at him annoyed, yet concerned, "Chose ya words carefully officer."

"I SAID DON'T MOVE OR I WILL SHO-GAH!" his statement was cut short as his throat seemed to begin to leak with a dark, red liquid. He collapsed to the ground involuntarily landing on his face and driving the object that had punctured his throat threw his entire neck.

The boss just looked and shook her head. "I tried to warn him." She looked into the shadows and searched rocky sides of the plateaus for the assassin but only found the night. "Look Ronnie I don't know where you are but look, just keep the body count low."

A single rock rolling down a hill beside her was the only response. She looked back at the boys confused, "What are you two standing there for? Get to work."

They ran off in their separate directions as the shadows around her continued to pile into the entrance. 'Just a little more time we're almost there.' She couldn't help but look into the sky and see the moon above her. The light that it gave shining against her smooth brown skin and making her seem to glow in the darkness. As the shadows continued to shift around her she couldn't help but dream of the beginning, the good old days with petty thefts and pickpocketing. Being with her mentor, the jokes they shared, the fun they had, the trouble they got into. She chuckled to herself as she looked back at the disappearing shadows in the cave.

"I know you ain't here to see this but, I hope you can at least feel what I'm doing here. Ya know on like a spiritual level." She smiled as she wondered what it would have been like had he stayed with the team. She heard his voice, that fun, light voice that could brighten a room with a single sound. The way he seemed to sing and dance everywhere they went and on every job. 'You're the boss pipsqueak.' she remembered him saying. 'You're the boss...' that phrase repeating in her head. 'You're the boss... the boss... boss.'

"BOSS!"

She was snapped out of her dreams when she heard the sound of Samuel yelling for her attention.

"We gotta go they're getting close!"

"Nah I'm sure we got time," she said as a bullet nicked a shadow as it slowly disappeared into the cave. "Or maybe not. Run!" she yelled as she bolted for the entrance. "Start the fuse!" she yelled ahead to Nix who was looking for a match. Veronica seemed to appear from thin air passing him a lighter then vanishing like everyone else. The fuse was lit but she saw the slow burn and understood the current situation. The cops were closing in, even though they would all make it unharmed there was no guarantee that the cops wouldn't get some men inside with them. She looked back into the trees and knew what she had to do. She planted her feet into the ground and loaded her shotgun with glowing shells.

"Boss come on everyone's here let's go!"

"NOT YET!" she looked to Samuel with a fire in her eyes and a wicked, evil grin on her face. "I haven't had my fun yet."

She looked into the dark valleys ahead in anticipation. Her eyes were flipping back and forth between the darkness in front of her and the explosives behind. She would only get one chance at this, if her timing was off she would be captured or worse, her team would be arrested. The sounds grew closer with each second while the fuze grew smaller and smaller.

"Not yet" she whispered as she gained a wider base.

"Not yet" the voices and yells grew louder and the footsteps heavier.

"Almost" she squinted her eyes, it seemed as though her eyes looked at nothing but perceived everything. Her finger itching against the trigger. The moon shining directly on her as she stood directly in the middle of the valley opening. No fear in her eyes nor her stance, but her heart beating a thousand times a minute.

Then the first officer stepped through the shadows and halted when they saw her. "DON'T MOVE!" they shouted at her. The officer was young, she could tell from his voice for she couldn't bring herself to look at him. She could hear the tremble in his words. He was feigning his confidence, he must have seen a comrade taken down by one of her shadows. "I GOT ONE!" he yelled behind him. "SHE'S ARMED."

The boss raised her head slightly to observe the scene in front of her, the officers began to flow out of the valleys like water. The sea of white uniforms taking over the brown and beige clay of the plateaus around them. "You're outnumbered," one officer slowly began to approach as the rest all moved forward slowly. Their guns were drawn and pointed directly at her, "Even if you shoot you can only stop one of us before we gun you down."

"You're right," her voice was so soft like she didn't want to wake a baby. The silence around them grew louder as she looked up at them. The smile on her face revealing her true intentions. "If I only stop one then you'll put me down like Ol' Yeller. So I gotta thank you for grouping up like this." She pulled the trigger of her gun and let an explosion rock the world around her. What should have been a simple spread of shotgun shells, turned into a giant hailstorm of bullets the size of stepping stones. Everyone in front of her seemed to fly backward getting pinned against the walls around her. And those unfortunate enough to be at the epicenter of the blast were disintegrated with the rocks in front of her. She was pushed slightly back from the blast recoil but the smile on her face had grown even bigger as she looked at the carnage she had caused. She jumped up punching the sky and slowly made her way back to the entrance. "See what did I tell ya, Sammy? All. Under. Control," she slowly said with a cocky grin on her face.

"w-w-wait" a voice coughed from what was once the valley, laying barely mobile on the ground. The boss looked back surprised to see anyone still conscious after her Super Shell Shot but amused at the officer's grit. "who...who are you?"

She laughed at the question, stepping back into the light of the moon so the officer could see her face. The light shined freely with the space made from her ungodly explosion. When she saw the officer was a woman she decided to humor her inquiry.

"Commit my face and my name to memory cause this won't be the last time you see it. My name... is Shelly, Shelly the Gem Bandit." Shelly ran back to her escape route and looked back with a smile. "You might wanna cover ya ears, lady." She ran into the darkness meeting up with her team.

"Boss, what was that explosion are you okay?" Nix looked down at her with bright eyes that made her smile. Seeing his worry for her always made her forget that he could pop their skulls with his bare hands.

"Don't worry Nixxy, ya big baby I'm your boss for a reason right?" they followed behind the shadows that shifted ahead in the tunnel slowly walking to their destination. The tunnel shook with the sounds of exploding rock and the rubble of the cave entrance closing behind them.