Spending the night with ACME's now most-wanted criminal was not part of Julia Argent's planned night. She was to stop the thief and take her down by ACME's orders, but let her escape as long as she was doing good by her own judgement. The agents were supposed to intercept the super-thief when she got to the Nation Gallery in London, England. A simple mission, however, Julia's missions always had a way of getting out of hand whenever the Crimson Ghost was in question.
In lieu of focusing on the facts that the master thief had done more to help ACME than harm it, the Chief issued the order that ACME would now dedicate all their resources to taking down Carmen Sandiego. Julia Argent looked in the mirror of the airplane bathroom, seeing her face reflecting the guilt and anger and all her other mixed feelings of La Femme Rouge. She hadn't been sleeping well after the Stockholm caper, and even more so after the data breach. This could only mean one thing to Julia now- ACME was Carmen Sandiego's enemy and vice versa. "How could I have been so stupid?" Julia huffed, running a hand through her hair. She took off her ACME issued glasses, blinking as her eyes adjusted to the small blurriness of everything. "Why?" She sighed, putting her glasses back on. "Why did you do it, Carmen?"
- - -
"So, Ms. Argent..." Inspector Chase Devineaux held a smug look on his face. "You were wrong about your Carmen Sandiego being a good guy." His heavy accent droned on in her ears as the two walked, reunited as partners in crime-solving when Chase had been reactivated. "How does it feel to be-"
"Please do not say it, sir," Julia whispered. The inspector eyed the woman, seeing the shame in her face and decided it was better to not bring up the topic any further. "I just thought... It seemed like she was good. She always showed it to me that she did this for everyone, to stop crime. The only reason I could see her having to hack our servers would be to get back at us for nearly killing her in Stockholm, Sweden."
"Nearly killing her?" Chase stopped, turning toward Julia. "What do you mean you nearly killed her-"
"Not me, I swear! I had only wanted to talk to her before Chief decided to use me as bait for an ambush. I... she probably hates me now. And she has every right to..." Julia sighed and looked toward the ground, pulling her blazer a little closer in the chilly London night. "From what I heard about what happened, she had barely escaped the clock tower on her glider, but not before Agent Zari hit her with the stun gun, which leads me to our next point. Chief decided to exchange our stun guns for... real ones..."
"Hmm..." Chase hummed as he thought, staring up at the museum. " Perhaps we really have thought about this wrong. Ms. Argent, if you can give me a few reasons as to why you think she is good, then I suppose I shall consider my thoughts on the thief. Nevertheless, she will still be a thief to me. Good or bad."
"Thank you, sir! I will do what I can to change your mind." Julia said as they began walking again. Up the stairs and toward the door, being halted by a night guard.
"ID? We don't allow tourists here this late." His voice was gruff and scratchy, his eyes showing the exhaustion from patrolling long hours.
"We are Interpol. Here for the, uh..." Chase pulled out his badge, words trailing off as he realized he couldn't explain what they were there for.
"What my partner is trying to say is that we work for Interpol and were called in to check on some of your exhibits. There was a possibility that they would be stolen." Julia piped up, taking out her badge as well.
"Interpol, huh? Well, go on in. But nothing can get past our security." He unlocked the door for them and stepped aside. "Have a nice evening."
"Thank you. And to you as well," Julia and Chase walked past the man, entering into the building. "So how shall we do this?"
- - -
"La Femme Rouge!" Chase shouted upon spotting the criminal, pointing a finger at her. She was holding a briefcase with the painting Sunflowers by Van Gogh inside. "You will not get away this time!"
"Chase Devineaux, good to see you back on the field," Carmen had one of her signature smirks painted on her face, the end of her trench coat flowing from the wind on the roof. "I was wondering if I would even see you again after what VILE..." She shook her head. "How have things been, Inspector?"
"That is none of your business, you Scarlet Demon. Now hand over the painting and I will consider not arresting you."
"Thanks, but I think I'll stick to stopping VILE rather than getting arrested." She ran off to the other side of the roof, having done this so many times that it came natural to her.
"Carmen Sandiego, I order you to stop!" Julia came up behind her from a door that led to the roof. Her hand was clenched on the handle of the door, knuckles white in anticipation.
"Julia Argent," Julia shivered at the name, not used to the cold tone from her. "I was wondering when we would meet again."
"What happened in Stockholm wasn't supposed to happen-"
"Save it, Jules. I know what happened with your forces and we both know what happened with mine. Your superior made the call so my team did what we did." Carmen huffed and took her time in her next decisions. "So what now, Jules? What happens in this game now? VILE wins again, huh? ACME did what they did. And you work for them."
"Ms.Argent had nothing to do with your capture in Stockholm. She was merely a chess pawn without her own knowledge or consent," Chase had moved closer by now. "If you run, we will chase you and I suggest you do not try running as we have weapons."
"What, your little sleeping toys?" Carmen scoffed, slowly leading herself toward the edge of the building as more agents appeared on the roof. "I've dealt with them before and they haven't killed me yet."
"Put the painting down, hands in the air!" Agent Zari spoke, taking out her gun. Carmen looked toward her, noticing the flash of silver.
"Is that one real...?" Carmen muttered, adrenaline rising.
"Carmen, please just let us have the painting." Julia said, taking a step closer to the thief. "We don't want anyone hurt-"
"Like the last time?" Carmen's voice was full of ice, cold like the snowy caper that ended up with her bedridden for weeks. "I'm not new to people hating me, Jules. Or wanting to harm me, either." With that, Carmen ran the last few feet to the edge of the roof, holding the painting to her chest as she jumped off. Her glider was the only sound to come away from the sound of the agents' footsteps.
"Carmen..." Julia watched the red glider move away, lost in thought until she heard a sudden crack. A pop. A sudden noise and then a cry in the night. Someone had fired their gun and it made a hit.