Chapter 372 Heist Planning 1
Meanwhile, in the Wastelands -
"Sure this storm won't fry us from the inside out? I'm gettin' all tingly already," said Clint, sitting in the back of an armored transport parked in a stone forest for cover.
The Wastelands on the East Coast were mostly barren, arid stretches of shattered land, but surprisingly frequently huge pillar of spiky rock formations congregated together to form giant forests of rock.
Here, it was possible to weather the worst of the many geostorms that liked to wreak havoc on the Wastes. That is, if one stomached the risk of variants prowling about.
Clint, though, picked his teeth with the claw of a lizard type variant he had just recently slaughtered, unbothered.
"My pa doesn't mess around with stuff like this." A younger man in his late teens retorted, the symbol of a red eagle with its wings outstretched stitched proudly on the back of his jacket. He had a seaweed mess of curly black hair on his head, thick and healthy. "We've scouted the area and followed the storm. This place is safe and as close as we're gonna get to Meteor Labs without em' noticing."
"Heh, you got a little shaking in your voice," said Clint, smirking. He pointed the claw at the boy. "You as shaky in the boots as your old pa, Falco?"
"Hell no," said Falco, crossing his arms. "My old man's an amazing scout, best there is on this side of the country, but the age has gotten to him. He's scared of sticking his neck out, making a name for himself."
The boy pointed a gloved thumb at himself. "That ain't me."
"Hah! Two greenhorns on a mission as sensitive as this. Dunno if I should be worried or excited for you two to pop yer heist cherries." Clint smiled broadly.
"I'm ready," said Alan. "These fuckers work for the org that took out my dad. Not about to skip out on a fight to take them down."
"Cool down, both of you," said Diamondback. He was standing, arms crossed, eyes serious as they stared at a holographic map of the surrounding area projected from the mechanical eye of a techno hired from Z's Phantoms. "Neither of you are going to be going into anything alone.
This is strictly for experience. You follow our orders. You wait when you're told to wait.
Sit when you're told to sit.
Fight when you're told to fight.
Clint may go easy on you two, but not me. You understand?"
Falco and Alan both nodded.
"Now let's go over how we're going to do this," said Diamondback. "Kris, pan out. Highlight where the labs are."
Kris, the techno of the heist team, grunted and tapped the side of his head. His mechanical eye clicked and whirred, changing the holographic projection. The map distorted for a second before it panned out, showing a rocky, canyon and stone pillar filled landscape.
At the bottom of a deep ravine was highlighted a red light.
"The Gilded Swallow's provided us a good amount of intel to work with," said Diamondback. "Location of the labs, security detail, the likes. As far as heists go, if I gotta pin the difficulty of this on a five star scale, it ought to be around 3 stars."
"Really now? Thought it'd be lower, what with the likes of us being around," said Tox, confident.
She leaned back against a crate of ammunition, purple tinted skin glistening under the dim, flickering white light of the transport's ceiling.
"All of you Blackwater kids are top notch talent, but you're all still kids," said Diamondback. "Unshaped talent is chaotic. Hard to work with. Honestly, I'm a little surprised Thanatos sent you all.
I'm not questioning his judgment, but I would have expected a more seasoned force."
"It's for me," said Ace. He was sitting cross-legged, leaning intently towards the holographic map, pale blue eyes glowing with interest. "Meteor Labs was where I was raised. This very outpost too.
Seeing it...makes me want to crush it even more."
Ace clenched his fists, and they glowed with pale blue energy.
"You good, Ace?" Tox worriedly put a hand on Ace's shoulder.
"Yeah. Just bad memories. But not bad enough to mess with me," said Ace.
"We're trained enough," said Alexis, white and blue streaked hair crackling with electricity. "And all of us have worked together before."
"Plus, I'm here to make sure they'll all behave," said Stella, nodding at the Blackwater students.
"Kids being led by a former D lister. Doesn't change too much," said Diamondback sternly. "None of you know how heists work. You're trained for merc work, assassination, or the standard AP farming hero job. Those are all structured. Ordered.
Heists are pure chaos.
Us nomads, when we pull of heists, we know we're always punching up. Taking heavily armored cargo. Going in with all the info we can get, but all too often, it isn't enough. Taking on corps with heavy firepower, strong guards, police, heroes, everyone against us."
"Spare me with the woe is us nomads shit," said Stella. "I was a nomad too, you know, and one thing I'm really tired of is the whole victim mentality you all seem to have.
Yeah, sure, you try to pull some shit, and everyone's on your ass. But that's your choice, isn't it? You leave the cities knowing you got villains, heroes, and police against you.
It's the price of freedom, but you made that choice, you live with it. Don't lord it over us as if it makes you any better."
"Ease up, Diamondback," said Clint. "You're reminding me too much of my own pa, all serious and uptight and wary of outsiders and shit. Lost sight of what it meant to be a nomad, and at the end of the day, it's all about bein' able to cut loose, no matter where you're from, ain't it?"
Clint patted his chest triumphantly. "Plus, no worries, I'm here, and with me around, shit ain't gonna go wrong."
"I've lost count of the amount of times I've had to save you after you said 'shit ain't gonna go wrong,' sighed Diamondback.
"That was when I was a wee little kiddo," said Clint, grinning. "Now I'm bigger than you! Let the kids breathe a little. Heists aren't supposed to be glum, funeral talk occasions.
They can be, but suck the fun out of it all and yer just left with a cold, squeaky clean operation that looks like it got shat out by the likes of ARMA. Real corporation crap.
Better to go into it with a fire lit in yer ass. Like a fire to settle scores." Clint nodded at Ace and Alan. "A fire to prove yerself." He nodded at Falco. "And a fire to grow the next generation." He nodded at Stella.