Chapter 374 Journal Entries 1
"Seriously? Our boss told you to make as much noise as possible?" Tox raised a brow. "HE of all people did?"
"I mean, he isn't opposed to showing off. Just look at Haven," Ace pointed out. "When I saw the footage, I knew he meant big business."
"Yeah, true that. He's cool and quiet but knows how to flex most of the time. Mhm," said Tox, her voice dreamy with thoughts of chiseled muscles.
"Psh. Give up while you're ahead, girl," said Stella. "You're gonna have a bad time trynna' push through Val."
"Oh, right, her." Tox sighed. "It's 2117 - monogamy is so old fashioned."
"Nothin' wrong with old fashioned," commented Clint.
"Get back on track." Diamondback placed his finger at the dome of the holographic lab and then began to slowly trace downwards, through the floors. "A frontal assault is dangerous, but there is an upside to it: it's simple.
We go in, and we keep pressing forward as one group. I'll lead coordination. With all of us together, we shouldn't face any substantial risk.
Now, over here is where things can get a little dicey."
Diamondback stopped his finger down at the 15th floor. Each of the lab's floors were the same in terms of dimension, being rectangular prisms stacked atop each other neatly.
Each of these floors seemed to be labs or small scale manufacturing centers, filled in with holographic details of tables, vats, vials, and mechanical arms for construction.
However, past the 15th floor, things changed. The path down branched into two with both leading into several larger compartments that were blacked out of detail. Large, bold, purple lettering marking out STORAGE - CLASSIFIED glowed across the empty dark voids of the empty spaces.
"The vaults are where they store the Kryptic, among other things. But as you can see, there are two vaults. We'll need to split up and examine both separately."
"Ah, a good old team split. Nothing bad ever comes from that," quipped Tox.
"Nothing should. The Vaults are controlled environments with sensitive material," said Diamondback. "Once Kris breaks the locks, exploring them should be risk free. But just in case, this is how we're going to divide the groups.
Clint, me, Falco, and Alan will search vault 1.
The rest of you, the Blackwater group along with Stella, will search vault 2."
"Got tired of us already, eh?" teased Stella.
"No. But Clint and I have a responsibility to take care of the young ones that we're taking with us to this mission," said Diamondback.
"Damn straight," said Clint. "With us two around, you boys ought to be safer than an Imugi transport."
"Safe isn't what I'm looking for," said Alan.
"Yeah," agreed Falco. "I'm here for a good scrap, not to hide behind your backs."
"This is non-negotiable," said Diamondback. "You, Falco, especially. You're the son of a tribe chief. The only remaining family that Gerard has, too. It is absolutely imperative that you are not harmed.
I would have never let you near this heist no matter how hard you begged, but unfortunately, Clint's the chief, not me."
"I'm cool with you tagging along, but I can't ignore what DB's saying as well. I can snag you along for the ride, but you gotta keep a cool head on your shoulders and stay safe. If ya don't, I'll knock ya out myself and drag you out." Clint nodded towards Alan. "As for you, well, you ain't got nothin' much to do with us, but I don't want one of Thanatos's men gettin' rocked cause of us."
"I'm not one of his men. I'm fighting for myself," said Alan.
Clint sat up. "Sure, you can fight. But you ain't dyin', that's for sure. No ifs and buts bout' it. Now, plan's simple enough, right, we all good for it?" Before anyone could answer, Clint nodded heartily for them. "Awesome. Then when the storm lets up and it's showtime, go ahead and wake me up."
Clint took the variant tooth he was using to pick his teeth and flicked it into the ceiling, where it lodged into the solid metal frame of the armored transport. He then stretched back out, laid his head down on his hands, and snored away.
At the Halo Carrier-
Aldrich scanned through Vanguard's journal. It was a fairly hefty thing, about three hundred pages in total. The first page seemed to be a brief introduction to the nature of the journal's content with neat, intelligible handwriting.
It's now 2100.
To think, it's been almost a hundred years since I've had this power. Going from zero to hero. And now, back to zero. It was a wild, wild journey. I tried my best in it, I really did, but now, with the power smoldering away from me, I'm wondering if I really was the best one to hold this key.
A skinny, deadbeat junkie that didn't know anything better than the end of a needle. I was never meant to be a hero. I tried, I guess, but trying isn't enough when there's so much at stake.
And there was always so much at stake. I remember this quote from a comic, a real antique one now, that said something along the lines of 'with great power comes great responsibility.'
Yeah, that's true. But it's missing a few things. Responsibility is only what you make of it. It's a burden you choose to take with the power you have. And it's not the type of burden just anybody can take, I've realized.
It was easy, at first, during the Altering and the Monstering. There was always a big bad to fight. Zahak, then the Titans.
It was all so black and white. Just had to beat the monsters and things would be great. But afterwards, things got so much harder.
But afterwards, the corporate wars, the Panopticon deciding to work with corps instead of abolishing them, so many decisions made for so many different ideas of a 'greater good' - I just got lost.
And my power stopped responding, too. It was burning out. I could feel it in my bones.
I stopped flying around and saving people. I didn't know who or what was right. Ending the 2090 Corpowar, when they were about to nuke all of Paris into a crater, that's about the last time I stepped in, thinking it was an easy black versus white, good versus evil fight I could use my power on.
Even that wasn't like that.
I realized that maybe, people are the greatest monsters out there. I still think about what happened to Valk, her husband, their kid, and I regret it to the deepest pits of my heart.
But you know, this journal isn't for that. It's for the future. A better one, hopefully, one that doesn't involve so much power going to a useless piece of shit like me.
It's to detail my quest to give someone else this power. Someone better.
How, you ask?
I don't really know. For now.
I don't even really know how I got this power in the first place. Supermind tells me it's from outer space, but where exactly is anybody's guess.
I've always believed in the idea that it's better to try than to do nothing. These past few years, I stopped believing in that. I was holding onto this power, this power that's burning me from the inside out, one that's doing me more harm than good at this point, just for the selfish sake of having it and feeling special.
Because I know without it, I'm nothing. The needle pinning addict that should have died in the gutter.
But something changed this year. I could feel it in the air. I could feel it when I stared down at earth from space. It's an indescribable feeling, like the earth just felt a little more...exposed.
Vulnerable to the infinite dark of the cosmos around it.
A terrible, terrible feeling.
I knew then that I had to find a way to give this power of mine to someone else, my selfish insecurities be damned.
I knew I had to, for thee last time, try.