(1939-07-01) Just the Beginning
Details for Just the Beginning
Summary: A bank robbery sets off the path to a mystery.
Date: 1939-07-01
Location: Bank Street

It's early nightfall a low drizzle falling down from on high, with several muggle police vehicles and ambulances scattered about to keep up appearances. The front doors, and most of the windows to the bank itself seem to have been blown clean out of their frames, shards of glass scattered about as far as the middle of the street itself.
The air hangs heavy with an unnatural sense of dread, a small number of wizards already having arrived for initial damage control. An odd green smoke raises out from the windows, and the 'police' that are on scene are currently wearing gas masks as a way of keeping the odd muggle from investigating too closely. On the steps to the bank itself can be seen what would presumably be a corpse, covered over by a large white cloth sheet, illuminated by the somewhat oddly dull streetlamps.
The police have already sectioned off a large portion of the street, funneling traffic into a single lane, which has lead to a rather decent backup of traffic. Cars can be seen lined up in either direction far as the eye can see, one officer flagging them about, while another trys to detour traffic from the road entirely.

On her way back from a rehearsing with friends, Signe is alone and on foot, wearing a light coat to keep out the evening chill, with a matching hat perched on her head. She clutches a small handbag - her steps slowing as she approaches the bank, and is directed by the police to cross the street to the other side. "Oh /dear/," the woman murmurs quietly, her expression concerned. Did someone rob the bank? What a terrifying notion!

A young redheaded woman is standing in the warm, summer rain, slowly becoming drenched to the skin as time wears on. She didn't bring her umbrella, and naturally, she can't do a thing magic-wise - not with all these Muggles around. Her name is Rena Lee, and she has the dubious honor of having been sent directly from the Auror office to investigate a disturbance of monumental scale. Bloody lot of good she can do at the moment, though.
Obliviators, The Muggle Worthy Excuse Committee, Aurors, Hit Wizards… Half the branches of the Ministry of Magic are going to wind up being involved in this mess. That is all that the woman is thinking about as she finds herself jostled by the crowd of redirected foot-traffic. Shoved into Signe, Rena absently murmurs an apology before fixing her gaze on the bank again.

People move about aimlessly trying to get a good look at the bank along with Rena, and Signe. Some try to jot down what they're seeing on pads of paper, and the occasional man or woman trying to set up a rather complex looking camera are regularly being shouted, and shoo'd away from the seen. Luckily the ruse of poisonous gas seems to be keeping the majority of the people walking swiftly away from the bank for fear of being exposed to whatever has these people wearing gas masks.

"Oh, dear. Pardon m- Miss Lee?" Signe begins, before abruptly switching as she recognizes the woman. She /was/ the one Graham had introduced to her - wasn't she? "I wouldn't expect to see- well then. I suppose all of this has to do with…?" she asks in an uncertain tone.
Why would a wizard rob a /Muggle/ bank, though?

"Yes, Lee - call me Rena," the redhead replies in a distracted tone. All she can do is breathe a small sigh of relief when the photographers are shooed away from the scene of the crime. That's one less thing for some poor M.A.C employee to reverse and erase. "I'm sorry, Miss Crabbe," she says with a faint hint of a smile. "Nice to see you again. Unfortunately, not under the best of circumstances."
Pausing momentarily, Rena's voice lowers as her dark eyes move cautiously over the facade of the bank in its entirety. "So it'd seem, luv. But you could knock me over with a feather if I know why." Halting again, a genuinely troubled expression begins to settle in her features, even in the dim light. "I don't even know where to begin. I can't do a thing unless or until them bobbies 'ave gone."

A distant cracking sound can be heard from a side street that was, presumably, empty. Out of said nearby side street appears a rather dapper looking fellow in a bowler hat, a three piece suit (with a chain leading from the vest into his left jacket pocket, attached most likely to a pocket watch), and walking along with a walking stick that makes a light tapping sound as it hits the ground. The man lets his eyes take in the scene as he walks toward it. Auror Bannon Benjamin Bryson Bates has finally arrived! But what shall he say of the situation at hand?

The rain steadily begins to increase in frequency, as if by magic, as the Auror arrives on the scene a large number of the various muggles who had just been watching now moving away at a quick pace trying to find shelter from the harsh elements. The sense of dread still lingering heavy in the nights air through the now heavy rain. The completely blocked up traffic moves ever still at a snails pace, as one of the muggle police officers offers Benjamin an oddly knowing nod.

"Well, in that case, it's Signe Mi- err. Rena." Signe smiles at the woman, then turns to study the green smoke across from them. "Is that… just for show, or more genuine?" she asks uncertainly, as she studies the scene. The sound of the a crack nearby, however, drags her eyes away from the bank, and over towards the alley to see the man arrive - not that she recognizes him in the least.

Rena follows Signe's glance closely and brings her own gaze around to see the newcomer. Rena hasn't felt relief like this in a long time. The moment Bannon makes an appearance on the scene, it seems as though a heavy burden lifts from her shoulders. "Coo lummy, there's a break and no mistake!" She says under her breath before starting over to meet the senior Auror.
"Thank 'eavens you're 'ere, Mister Bates," Rena says with a frazzled smile. "This thing… I don't even know where to begin. It's a disaster, it's a…" Her babbling is cut short as one of the officers gives Bannon a knowing nod. This causes the redhead to fall silent and look between the two men quizzically. Clearly, she needs to shut her mouth and let the senior Auror take charge.

Giving a knowing glance and nod to the officer, Bannon brings his attention back to Rena and Signe. "Miss." He says in form of greeting to Signe before facing Rena head on. "Miss Lee. Please inform me of the current state of affairs pertaining to the bank. What are we dealing with? Are they still presumed to be inside? What in the name of God's green earth is that green smoke?" Some of his words, such as 'God's green earth' regarding the green smoke question may be more for the benefit of any lingering muggle ears that may be attempting to still lurke about.

Signe offers Bannon a small, uncertain smile as Rena approaches him, and then glances towards the bank. Though curious - this situation makes her rather uncomfortable. She hangs back, letting Rena approach the man while pulling her coat more tightly around herself.

"It's alright - she knows," Rena says in a small undertone, nodding her head toward Signe. Meaning of course that they need not worry about discussing Magic around the woman. She doesn't remark on the fact that the other woman is a Squib. Such distinctions are meaningless to her.
"I wish I could say, sir," Rena begins respectfully, trying to get a grip: "It don't look good. Windows broken out, like as if someone went an' set of a ruddy bomb inside. I can't even begin to explain the smoke, sir." A furtive glance drifts toward the bank as she continues: "And I'm afraid people 'ave been… been killed."
Stopping for breath, Rena looks up at Bannon with genuine distress in her eyes: "Did some madman escape from … you know where - an' we weren't informed? What could possess someone to do this? I ain't been trained for this sort of eventuality. Nobody in their right mind would us _magic_ to do this 'orrid thing."

Glancing over Signe once again, Bannon takes a moment before looking back at Rena. Knowing one person isn't a muggle doesn't help him much in a muggle area, unfortunately. They've got ears … everywhere. Not as much as the magical world, mind, but still! "This is certainly a terrible event. Quite terrible. It takes a mind of dark forethought to harm others in any way, shape, or form." He says in a solem tone.
He takes a deep breath and shakes his head to answer the question. "Nobody escapes from there. Or at least it would be neigh on impossible." He responds. "and I do believe you've answered yourself, at least partially. Those who have done this are not in their right minds. Thee deplorable charlatans would certainly use magic." He tells her in a lowered tone. "I would not put it past them."

"I should… leave you to your work." Signe remarks, giving Bannon, and Rena uncertain smiles. "I wish you luck in it - I hope you can catch whoever would do such a deplorable act." Perhaps she should go to see Beryl - instead of heading home. She wouldn't mind seeing her sister just about now. She starts to edge past the pair of Aurors.

"I'm awfully sorry Signe," Rena says with a genuine feeling as the woman takes her leave. "Sorry things always seem to be bad whenever we run across each other, and certainly sorry you 'ad to see this. We'll do our best to get to the bottom of it," If they don't, The Daily Propher will make a dog's breakfast of their reputations before long. Rena already has too much notoriety in the press as it is.
"Either they're mad, or it was some act of desperation. Them's the only two reasons I can think of to do something so utterly mad," Rena continues, turning back to Bannon. "but the question remains - 'Ow the bloody 'ell do we get in there and find out what 'appened?"

The weather already bad as it is drones on getting steadily worse up to a point of minimum visability, before hovering at said point. A sudden "KARAK KARAK KARAK" fills the air for but a moment several officers acting quick to take positions behind walls expecting the source of the sound to be gunfire, yet no further sounds ring out, as a sudden flash of deathly green light from inside the building fills the sky. After a few minutes more another loud KARAK, then silence.

"It's hardly your fault, Rena," Signe answers, giving her a wry smile. She starts walking away - though the loud KARAK's and flashes of green do cause her to pause, and look towards the bank with an expression of trepidation, Had their been more people inside? …surely they didn't just kill them? Her stomach twists uneasily at the thought.

"I could use your assistance for just a moment." Bannon motions to Signe. Except he won't get the time to talk. Not just yet. The sounds! The light! He sighs heavily. "Bloody hell." He clears his throat, did he just say that? Oh well. No time to rethink! "We've got to get inside! We've got one man in the polkice who may be able to get us in, or at least be a distraction. Or We just apparate, but if we apparate, we've got nigh an idea of what we're getting ourselves into. What we need to do first is try to clear that smoke. Perhaps use a spell, something not obvious to muggles," Yes, he's partly talking to Rena and Signe, and partly talking to himself.

"No… no." Rena's heart seems to stop, and her dark eyes take on a glazed over look like someone who's just been shot in the back. Of course nothing is pysically wrong with her;but yet, her face goes ashen at the sickening green flash of light. "Not again," she says thinly. "Not AGAIN!"
The young woman staggers blindly over to the lamppost beside the little gathering, and leans heavily upon it for support. Talk circulates around close little work communities like the Auror office, and a lot of it seems to surround Rena for a lot of reasons. One of the worst being that… well, she seems to have a dark cloud fallowing her. This would be the third time someone has used the Killing Curse in her presence without her being able to do a thing to prevent it. Each time it's seemingly fractured her a little more.

"Sir?" Signe answers Bannon uncertainly, looking from the bank building towards Bannon. "I'm not sure what help I can be." Especially with all this chaos breaking loose. "I'd just get in the way…" she murmers softly. She stays several feet back from Rena, and Bannon - though she does give Rena a worried look as the woman stumbles to the lamp post.

"Miss Lee." Bannon says in his most posh, fatherly voice possible. "An auror's job is nary an painless profession." He glances around, hoping that nobody heard the word 'auror'. And if they did, that they figured it was just a nonsense word. "You will see much more of this before your career has ended. I do not say this to disparage your courage nor your constitution. Nay, it is is what makes being one of us such an honour, that we can bear such sorrows while others may live in peace. You would not be here had we thought you were not skilled nor capable of handling such distress." He steps toward her and tentatively places a hand on Rena's shoulder. "I am incappable of finishing capturing them without your assistance." This may or may not be true. "Please. If not for me, than for any who may still be in there requiring our aid."
He gives a glances to Signe and frowns. "If you feel it is in your best interest, I do not blame you for leaving. However, I may require to speak with you to get a statement."

Rena's stomach is in knots. She hates killing with every shred of her innermost being, and that curse most of all. Bannon can surely feel the faint trembling beneath his hand as he places it upon her shoulder. However, his words do bring her to her senses - if ever one can honestly say that Miss Lee has any to come to.
Visibly shaken, Rena begins to recover herself. Pushing away from the lamppost, she wastes no further time. Enough has been lost already, and the weight and guilt of that can be dealt with later. Now, her dark eyes furtively glance toward the bank, and a faint smile appears for a fleeting second. She has an idea.
"Signe." She says in low, addressing the other woman. "Do you think you can make a distraction? We'll back into the shadows 'ere, an' pop off into the building if you're game." It's remarkable (and somewhat maddening) to see how quickly she can fluctuate between nervous breakdown and taking charge of a situation.

"I am happy to make myself available to your office, sir, but I doubt I can share anything enlightening to this situation. Rena was here before I." And then Rena is talking to her, and she freezes, staring at her. "A- a distraction?" she fumbles. What sort of distraction could she- well. It could just be like one of the scenes from an opera. It's just… /acting/. "I could… swoon?" she suggests uncertainly. "Dramatically. Or… rail against the inconvenience of being denied access to the bank?" she suggests in a quiet voice, having moves closer to the pair of aurors.
The thought of all these people staring out here, out here on the street, with dangerous people afoot, though… It makes her stomach turn.

From outside the bank things don't stay quiet for long, muffled angry screaming fallowed by multicolored lights, sounds of a scuffle inside breaking the silence. Without magic it would be hard to discern what is being said over the sound of the rain. The police seem for the moment to be focused on the building itself, unable to really pay the three any mind or likely even able to see them through the now torrential downpour which has rolled in heavy soaking anyone who happens to be outside still.

"We should get in there sooner rather than later. I would have preferred to have done this without making a sudden appearance, but we may not have a better option for the time being." Bannon states. "A distraction is a good idea." Scoping out the area, he looks for the police officer who had caught his attention previously. Should he need to, he lets out a little whistle to get the man's attention. Once he has done so, he nods toward Signe and then toward the police. He then motions toward himself and Rena to indicate the plan for them to go into the building. Hopefully all is clear.
"Keep your eyes open, Miss." He says to Signe. "Miss Lee, we should make our move to apparate quickly, before anyone notices." He motions for a spot that is just out of sight before heading there and apparating inside the building.

"Swoon, that's the word for it alright. You 'ear that fuss inside? It's got everyone riled an' 'ead up! You go act the part of a damsel in distress an' we'll manage from there." Pausing for a tick, the young woman gives another anxious look at the bank before glancing at Signe one last time: "Thanks awfully!" She says, flashing a grateful smile. "If you ruin your dress, send me the bill - there's a luv."
Following Bannon into the shadows, Rena's demure little wand is withdrawn from her sopping wet handbag. Gripped lightly in her fingers, she concentrates on the task at hand and apparates immediately following the older Auror. Unfortunately… something was slightly amiss.
Whether due to stress or anxiety, or the mere fact that Rena has the attention span of a sparrow at times, she did not apparate gracefully. She lands in an unceremonious heap on the floor of the bank, missing her hat, her shoes, her prim little suit jacket - and frankly, all the buttons on her blouse appear to have been lost in transit.

Dizzy, nauseous and now only half dressed, the young ginger dazedly shakes her head to clear out some of the fog. Gripping her blouse together with one hand, she can only mutter angrily: Oh, bloody 'ell!

Signe nods - her heart thudding in her chest - and starts to move away from the two aurors, as they retreat to the alleyway. The continued disturbance and flashing lights inside the building provide a convenient back drop as she stumbles into an officer, one hand going to her chest. "Oh… oh I feel faint. That horrid green g-gas…" She starts to slump - hoping against hope that the police officer catches her - rather than merely allowing her to fall into a puddle.

The officer from prior rushes over towards Signe's side, screaming out "Get over 'ere we've got wounded!" The man calling out with his heavy accent, while running over to catch the squib gathering full attention from his colleagues. "It must be spreading into the streets" His second claim seems to drive off what few muggles had remained in the harsh weather running, a number of the officers playing along rather well. Before long Signe has garnered the full attention of the police presence in the area.
The interior of the bank is pure chaos bits of wall crumbled off onto the floor, ceiling lights danging uselessly little more then the occasional spark or flicker to light the room. A heavy smoke fills the air, though oddly it doesn't seem to irritate the lungs, more so it blocks view making for little more then outlines in the distance. Three of these outlines can be seen in the distance, one seemingly holding a tight grip onto a fourth, each of them holding wands held high, flashes of light going from one end of the bank floor to the other.
On one side flashes of reds, and blues, and oranges, on the other only a deathly green, the who's and what's of the combat are lost to the moment and neither side seems able to notice the two who have just arrived, however a voice calls out "He's not breathing. Dammit, he's not breathing" The voice itself sounds inhumanly deep, and gravely yet as if choking back tears. "Wake up Paul, now's not the time nor the place" Another voice calls out "We gotta get out of here, get ready to Apparat" the voice sounding perfectly normal save for a slight oddity in the quality as if he where speaking over a radio broadcast, as it slings fourth a spell into the darkness, a voice letting out a pained scream.

Checking to make sure his colleague has arrived next to him safely, Bannon squints through the smoke. "Are your…" he immadiately averts his gaze from the barely clothed auror. "We shall deal with that later." He whispers. "Now, it's near impossible to distinguish friend and foe." He sighs, glancing at the figures he can barely make out. "What say you, young Miss Lee?" He continues in a low voice. "Incarceration jinx to bind them in robe until we can distinguish between the lot?"

Rena has absolutely nothing to say about her discheveled appearance. Her cheeks are already flaming red - not that it could be seen in this chaos - and she is positively mortified. None the less, one must make the best of a bad situation… and this one surely can't get any worse.
Unsteadily, the young woman wobbles to her feet beside Bannon, stll holding her blouse closed with one hand. With the other, she uses her wand and whispers: "Homenum Revelio" to try and seek out their targets in the smoke. She may seem like a scatter-brain at times, but, on occasion, she does put one foot before the other in proper order.
Dark eyes gaze into the magical smoke filling the main room of the bank, and Rena nudges Bannon with her elbow, murmuring: "Blimy, they've got 'ostages. But there's only four of 'em together - about twenty feet on…" Like a pointer dog, she begins creeping in the direction of the quartet of criminals.

Signe's chest heaves in and out, one hand reaching to her throat. "Can't… catch my… breath," she complains, flush creeping into her cheeks as others gather around her - maybe they'll take it as a feverish tint? Is she /over/ acting? She hopes not.
Rena and her friend had better catch whoever is responsible for this!

… and then buy her a drink. This is embarrassing.

The crowd of officers backs away from the woman, as a medic carrying a small gasmask comes running over, moving with all due haste, he pushes his way through the group to get to her. The officer from before looks over towards the medic offering a nod his way, the medics expression changing for a moment to one of understanding before going back to his state of urgency, moving close to help apply the mask to her.

From the group the being with the very deep inhuman voice calls out "We can't just leave him here" To which one of the four humans responds in a rather seductive feminine voice "Fine you stay here for the hit-wizards, I'm taking my share and leaving", before vanishing with a loud pop, leaving the other three behind "Come on, let's get out of here together" The man with a relativly normal sounding voice says grabbing hold of the other persons arm, ready to Apparate.

Understood." Bannon murmurs in respons to Rena. Moving slowly alongside her, he whispers, "I'm going to try to…" Damn. One has already escaped! He sighs softly. "I'm going to aim to use the incaceration jinx on the one over there…" He motions toward where the voice came from. Lifting his wand he whispers, "Incarcerous!" And swishes the wand in the proper movements, aiming for the man who spoke.

"A bird in the 'and…" Rena replies in a low undertone to Bannon as he voices frustration at the departure of one. At least he manages to snag another of the three remaining would-be bank robbers. Almost instantly, the redhead locks her eyes onto the next in line, softly, but forcefully commanding: "Stupefy!"
Through the smoke, a beam of red light pierces the darkness, finding the target with ease. Now that only one remains and the others have dropped, she runs forward with her wand directed fiercely at the last: "Stop in the name of the law!" So much for caution.

"Oh bother…" Bannon whispers as Rena stands up and rushes toward where the criminals are. She really does have a lot to learn, doesn't she? He's going to have to have a serious talk with her once they're back at the Ministry. "Don't move or we'll be forced to continue our attack!" He shouts as he stands to begin to run after Rena through the smoke. After all, how is he supposed to know that one of them collapsed? For all he knows, Rena's about to run into a trap. And two are better than one in a trap.

"I can't 'ave 'it a two-for-one," Rena mutters to herself, somewhat nonplussed as she sees the third man crumple to the ground. She doesn't realize that he was the member of the party who already met an untimely demise. A glance is given her wand as a double-take, but she closes the distance between herself and the bound and/or stunned men. "All three are down, Mister Bannon," she calls out behind her as she kneels beside the man who seems to have gone down of his own accord. She's engaged to a healer, she at least knows to check for some vital signs by now. Of course, there is a cold pause as she takes his wrist in hand, feeling for a pulse… and finding nothing. It takes her a moment to recover and lay the man's hand down across his chest. Finding her voice again, she keeps her tone as quiet as possible: "One is done for, Mister Bannon… W-We've got to get them all out of 'ere, soon as possible."

"Don't you say that, don't you fucking say that" One of the men on the ground calls out sounds of oddly enough sniveling coming from what at first had looked to be a fully grown man. From this close up it now clearly visible that each of the men has on their face an ornately carved wooden mask, stuck fast into place. "He's gonna be fine, he's gotta be" He calls out rather quietly, "Y-you're just lieing" He turns his head slightly to look at the man as his hands are laid on his chest "Say she's lieing paul" "Dammit paul say she's lieing." He yells out towards the obviously dead man.

"Silencio!" Bannon performs, quite obviously, the silencing charm on the criminal who is calling out, effectively silencing him for at least a little while. "You have my sincerest sympathies, my dearest degenerate." Though his words drip with sarcasm. "Auror Lee." He says, turning his attentions to the younger auror. "I assume you are capable, under normal circumstances, of side-along apparition? Would you care to take one or two of them to the Ministry lock up, once you've adorned your figure with your missing habiliment? Or shall I take them all there myself while you take care of your associate out on the street?" He raises a single eyebrow in enquiry, should she be able to see it.

The young man's demand and plea that Rena be wrong causes her to start slightly. The misery in his voice cuts into her like a knife. For a heavy moment, she just stares at the masked men with her lips parted. Then, after a brief struggle, she replies with genuine sorrow in her tight voice: "I'm sorry… I.." Bannon's commanding spell silences not only the offenders, but also the young woman. Tears glisten in her eyes as she looks to her senior, and it's hard to say what she's thinking. However, she is obedient to her elders and betters, and she answers him with a simple: "I'll find a back way out, sir. If it's all the same with you."
Dejected, and holding her blouse together with one hand still, Rena begins to retreat to find an exit. She has to find some clothing and pull herself back together. Then she will rejoin Bannon at the office. The night
is late and has already been quite full… but it's not over yet.

Once the younger auror has left, Bannon shakes his head, sighing softly. Gathering up the criminals, he apparates them all to the Ministry. One by one, he returns to apparate each person to either the Ministry, or St. Mungos. Once he has only the muggles left, he contemplates what to do with their bodies. It only takes a moment, however, to make a final decision. He apparates to the side street, into the shadows, and makes his way to the undercover wizard in this police detail. He asks the man to take care of the dead muggles, to make their bodies appear as proper muggle evidence, as if they had died by muggle means. And with that, he aways into the night, and apparates off.

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