Three years ago.
Sakharov Station, Uranus.
Gas Giant planets have an odd structure of life about them. Stations are built in the atmosphere, with spindling towers that stretch into the gasses below. Cityscapes are suspended like giant crystalline spiders, just out of gravitational range, orbiting the planet below.
Sakharov Station was the largest of these stations in all of the Sol Cluster. Easily the size of Los Angeles (but far less crowded) - it was a yawning stretch of metal and glass, a brightly lit metropolis that floated in relative silence above the white planet. Currently, Sakharov was on the dark side of the planet, enjoying a nightlife built around the acquisition and processing of Helium-3. The station bustled at all times of the day or night. Due to it's remoteness, the station had to have all of the bells and whistles of an entire city, replete with bars, clubs, restaurants... and museums.
The Sakharov Museum of Classical Art was an Art Thief's nightmare. As with any Museum located on a Space Station, the biggest of the issues was escape once the art was acquired. Like thieves of old, trying to steal from Las Vegas, and being stranded in the desert - getting off of a Station was a problem of bottleneck exits and lack of survivability just outside of the oasis of the city itself.
That in mind, the museum was not designed to keep intruders out, but rather - designed to lock them in once the crime had occurred. It employed what was called a Passive Defense System - an idea that had been in use since the time of the Louvre back on Earth. The idea was to create a jail for unwitting thieves within the museum itself. A baited trap...
The only problem with a Passive Defense System, is a clever thief also knows how to break out of a jail cell.
Heels clacked on the metal floor, heralding slow deliberate steps from Aashe DeWinter. She was in a black evening gown, slit up her thigh in the front, and ending in a short train. The neckline swept off her shoulders, accenting the pale skin of her neck, and dipped low in the back, drawing attention to the fine, athletic curves of her body.
Her hair was curled masterfully, falling around her shoulders, and alight with glittering clear crystals. She wore dramatic makeup, the smokey eyeshadow drawing attention to the brilliant green of her eyes, and her lips coated in a shiny light pink lip gloss. She held only an evening bag, but the contents were all she would need to get inside.
Aashe produced an invitation to the event from her evening bag. It was a perfectly legitimate invitation... in that it was made by the museum. She'd just stolen it out from under their noses when she stopped by a few weeks back to drop off the gear she would need in the basement below. The invitation read the name of her favorite pseudonym Carmen Van Orton.
Once she was admitted, she claimed a glass of Champagne, and surveyed the exhibit. She would need to wait until later in the evening to disappear. She wanted most of the crowds to have thinned, but for there to be enough people to give Security a headache to deal with. She had intentionally given herself two extra hours to wander the exhibit - being an art thief, she was also an art aficionado. And well, all work and no play made Aashe a dull girl.
Angels over Stars, the exclusive exhibit the museum was putting on, had attracted a rather bold following. The exhibit had been moved through several museums over the last few months - and it showed no signs of dwindling numbers. A fair amount of debutantes had been seen at the event multiple times, and were generating buzz in it's favor. It was a giant exhibit of modern art, depicting angels in space.
The flagship collection in the exhibit was the work of an Alliance soldier. He went by the pen name of Williams, and Aashe had absolutely no idea who he was. His image was never shown with his work, and his mystery only added to the collection's appeal. His painting techniques were charmingly basic; honestly, on the merit of his techniques alone, his work was nothing special. What people came to see was the subject matter. The officer could depict, in exacting detail, battles in which he had fought. Part of that exacting detail was to include painted angels over the battle, helping various members of his team - and the other team - through their deaths. The angels were flawlessly integrated, seeming to fit into holes in the fighting, or voids of space between combatants.
The images were absolutely haunting. They made her wonder if the man really had seen the Angels while he was out on the battlefield. There were no atheists in foxholes after all.
Aashe found herself standing before a large canvas painting from the Battle of Shanxi when the alarm she had set for herself buzzed in her evening bag. She gave a last lingering look to the painting, and made herself a promise to look into the acquisition of one of the Soldier's paintings somewhere down the road.
Tonight, she had other targets.
Moving slowly, still gazing at the artwork, Aashe made her way to a service door on the other side of the exhibit. Once she was most of the way there, she changed her gait to one of purpose and belonging. Half of getting away with anything, was doing it with gusto. Look sneaky, and people will believe you're sneaking...
The Storm on the Sea of Galilee (Part One)
Blog entry posted by CoyoteLovely, May 8, 2012.