June XX, Gotham, 1931
The focus falls on an abandoned copy of The Gotham Times. Seymour Smiles, ace crime reporter, has made the front page again, with the following headline in bold print: “ What in the world did they think they were doing? ”
Clair Burnham was sleeping restfully in her bed, when she had the strangest dream. She was a tiny mouse in a field, and saw a great owl flying in the sky. It lands next to her, and stares at her with big eyes, saying “Hoo!!” in a large, booming voice. She then wakes up in a sweat, screaming.
She thought nothing of it though, and began her day with the usual – selling fireworks and cigarettes to small children. Three people then come walking up to her usual stand: one tall, one short and one very heavily armed.
Defensive, Clair asks them if they are working for Falcone or the City. The tall one, known as Mr. Stix, tells her that he has heard about her reputation in Metropolis and thinks she would be good for the job he plans to pull – he plans to heist the Gotham Museum of Natural History, and needs help in acquiring his items and moving them.
Clair wants to know what she will get out of it, and Mr. Stix promises a portion of the profit, which should be an immense sum of money. If she is interested in finding out more, she can join the rest of them for a “cup of tea”. Clair, preferring her liquor, suggests that they go to Lizzy’s establishment instead, and immediately closes up shop.
Once there, the four sit down in a booth and discuss the finer details of the heist. The target is the jewelry exhibit, specifically the “House of Morgan”. The three gems that JP Morgan had donated to the museum – the Star of India, the DeLong Star Ruby, and the Eagle Diamond – are extremely valuable, and thus are under heavy security. While Clair thinks that the little ones would be better targets because they are easier to move, Stix is much more interested in the Eagle Diamond due to inherent properties that he does not want to discuss. The smaller gems are definitely also included in the deal, though the true prize will not be fenced at all.
Since he has heard all of this before, Clarence Fitzclarence wanders off outside to look for something more interesting. His eyes land on a large metal clip on a police officer, and instantly tries to pickpocket. The police officer took notice and begins to yell at him, eventually pinning him down. Clarence at this time uses his telekenetic powers to send the money clip into the alleyway, distracting the police officer with his whining. Stix hears the commotion and steps out, asking the officer if he has a problem with his friend. The officer, none too thrilled, left only after Stix uses his powers of persuasion to suggest that the money clip was left at home. Clarence was chastised by Stix for going after small game, though it did end up being a sizable $50 sum.
In the meantime, Clair begins to accost Clyde Parker, their gunman, who was very uncomfortable with the attention he was getting. When she got way too close for comfort, he pulled out his snub revolver in hopes that she would be shocked enough for him to get away. Unfortunately for him, she had the opposite affect of finding it erotic, which forced him to try to escape. She follows him under his chosen route under the table and grapples him with unnatural strength and will for such an old person – Clyde only managed to break free just as Stix and Clarence return to the table.
After wagging his finger at the two, the group eventually decides to go and explore the museum to figure out how they were going to do this. Once inside, they discover that the target is on the third floor, guarded by state of the art security cameras and little alarms on the glass. Clarence tries to get a feel for the cameras and alarms to figure out where the controls are located, though struggles to do so. Clair notices the ivy on the outside wall leading up to the window, and makes a note that it would be a good point of access later. She also tries to get a sense of security in the area, though ends up getting into a fight with a guard. Stix also makes an attempt at this by asking the front desk, though gets a nasty flash with the words “These are mine, stay away from them.” Disturbed, he takes a quick break to mull that over and to treat his newly acquired headache.
After some further searching, the four of them come back together and decide that they are going to come back at night. As they leave, Clarence uses his powers to break the locks on the windows, giving them easier access on their way back.
The group returns at 11 pm to explore the building. Once they arrived, Stix begins to feel a general presence in the area, which feels familiar in a bad way. Clarence begins to use his manhole cover to fly up to the third story window. The manhole cover had different ideas, however, and took off like a rocket into the air with Clarence holding on for dear life below. They pass by several bewildered observers, including Batman, before a voice in his head spoke.
“Well, a friend of Mr. Stix, I see. I’m not fond of Mr. Stix”, said the voice as the manhole cover is flung to make impact with a building. Before it hits, it shoots straight up again, and the voice begins to make a deal, “… If you go away, or if you hurt Mr. Stix, I will reward you.” Clarence agrees to the voice’s terms and is released from mental control. Clarence drops down to the ground in front of a group of thugs who were mugging an innocent bystander, and to intimidate them, he chucks the manhole cover straight through the brick wall next to them. Suddenly he feels a presence behind him, whispering “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men”, before turning around and discovering that he cannot see the Shadow. “Next time, I’ll stop you”, he tells Clarence before he goes to deal with the thugs. Disturbed by the recent turn of events, Clarence immediately leaves and just goes straight back to their hotel instead of trying to deal with anything more that night.
Thinking that Clarence was not going to come back, Stix and Clair try to climb up the building themselves. Once they were up there, they saw that the gem cases had already been looted and gems and scattered about – the worst part being that the large gems, including the diamond, were already missing. A guard came in at this moment and saw Stix at the window, then runs to pull a fire alarm for help. Clair throws a flash grenade, blinding the man in hopes that he did not get a good look at them, before the trio drive off to the hideout.
Clarence was already there, and the two pyschics discuss the recent disturbances in their head, to the disbelief of the two more mundane people in the room. The group decide that the best course of action is to find out who stole the gems and steal it from them, though a good night of rest is in order first.
The morning newspaper, with another front page article by Seymour Smiles, describes in great detail what had happened at the museum. The initial investigation discovered that the museum’s security for the jewels was actually a farce, with the explanation being that they didn’t have the money to properly protect them. While the gems are insured, the director needs to check the policy if that is still the case since the security system was not working properly. The missing jewels have an estimated valued at $600,000, and whoever loses the battle, either the museum or the insurance company, would surely go under.
Due to her previous association with him, Clair contacts Smiles to see if he has any more information. He tells her that there is a rumor circulating around the Museum director, Charles Romm – he may have actually been involved for an insurance scam. Smiles also notifies her that the museum guard is down at the police department giving a description of the suspect to be sketched. After the call, the party decides to split up into two – Clair and Clarence go to the jeweler shops to see if anybody has started selling yet, while Stix and Clyde go to speak with Romm.
Clair gets into contact with some of the jewelers that she knows, though unfortunately for Clarence, they do any illegal business outside of the shops, leaving him with no opportunity to steal. They do find out though that the jewelers are actually hungry for the gems to turn up after hearing the news, but nothing has come up yet. The other party manages to make their way to Romm’s apartment, but could not get him to open the door. The pair decide to leave for later that night, with a more skilled person to help them break in. After getting back together, the group share what information they have. On their way out, they manage to find the evening paper, which to Stix’s luck, depicts a man with very owl-like features.
The drive back over to the apartment building was uneventful. Clarence uses his abilities to lower the ladder to let the other three up. Clair opens the window stealthfully and the three of them climb in to find empty wine bottle strewn around the place and an unconscious Charles Romm passed out on the floor. Stix questions Romm about what he knows about the missing jewels. Frightened, the director rattles off general history, until he was threatened enough to focus on the real question. He claims he doesn’t know why they are missing – he had the perfect plan to fund the museum by stealing the jewels using a cat burglar that they got in contact with, but then they were stolen before he was supposed to implement it. Deeming it to be the truth, Stix uses his power of suggestion that this conversation never happened, and that he needed to go to bed.
The next day, the paper reports that suspects to the robbery had already been caught. Jack Roland Murphy, known as “Murph the Surf” in the surfing community, is labeled as prime suspect, though still at large. The accomplice to the crime is currently being held in custody and is being interrogated.
Under the guise of his being his lawyer, Stix was able to get into the police station in order to interview the accomplice. He immediately confesses to the crime – it was Murph’s idea to do it, on a whim. After all, they were only in Gotham for a few days. The accomplice mentions that they had done it while on drugs, and that the glowing eyes will be so happy about their success. The mention of glowing eyes hit Stix with a memory so powerful that it gave him a headache. The accomplice then recognizes Stix as “the Owl”, and that he really admires him.
Stix remembers red glowing eyes to be the psychic mark of Eddie Manadora, a fellow psychic and a sort of rival from their time in training with the Silver Legion. Both of them were in class when they learned that diamonds found in places where they shouldn’t be have special properties that can enhance abilities, and the recent events that happened begun to make sense. While Eddie was not as powerful as Stix before, the possession of the Eagle Diamond appears to have turned the tables.
The entire police station then erupted into cheers as it was announced that Murphy was caught after a murder – he broke into an apartment complex, and knifed the occupant. After Murphy had been processed and thrown into his own cell, Stix confronts him. Murphy admits that he has no memory whatsoever of what he had done with the jewels. He also doesn’t really recall why he is in Gotham – the last thing he fully remembers was being in Star City.
The police then report that two of the gems, the Star of India and the DeLong Star Ruby have been found. The Eagle Diamond continues to be missing, however, and only Stix knows why…