Chapter 365 Raid Plans
"You guys, I know this whole killing everyone in a meeting things sounds great, totally godfather style, but it isn't going to slow down the prong as much as you think," said Feather. "The five capos there are going to be shield capos, and they're about as replaceable as a Neo-York outskirts hooker."
"Shield capos?" Aldrich asked.
"Shield capos deal with commerce. Business. Spying. Non-combat stuff," said Feather. "The three sword capos are who you want to get. They manage forces. And they're less replaceable, getting their positions because they're tough on top of being strategic.
Meanwhile to be a shield capo, you just gotta be a good snake, tell lies, want credits, and sure, yeah, that's a skill in its own right, but it's a hell of a lot easier to be a good liar than it is a good fighter. Take it from me, damn it, I can't fight for shit, but I can survive and get around.
But I'd never, ever dream of being a sword capo. Those guys are tough as nails, goddamn, they'd even punch a hole in whatever hammer that came down on em'. Me, I prefer not getting hammered at all. Not into that kind of stuff."
"Regardless, taking out every shield capo should cause plenty of chaos, no?" said Aldrich.
"Indeed. Five out of eight heads of a hydra severed is a tremendous problem for the beast, even if they grow their maws back," said Valera. "It still leaves them weak in the time it takes to heal."
"Right, but shield capos manage massive crews. Basically businesses. They have a lot of people that can take up their leadership when they take a hit. You'd slow them down, but you wouldn't put a dent in them.
And shield doesn't control sword and vice versa. It's the boss that wields both, and he's made it clear he isn't going to have the sword capos or their forces budge." Feather put a knuckle to his forehead in thought. "At best, you'll cut off credit flow and stall contracts, stop more mercs from getting enlisted, but the good ones, the top notch ones, they've already been hired.
Not to mention the Seven Swords, those guys are fucking beasts.
Point is, taking out the shield won't make the sword fall. They're two different mechanisms. There's a little overlap, but not enough to make it matter."
"I see," said Aldrich. "But you know, that's quite alright. Go to that meeting. You'll still damage the Trident's financials overall. You see, Feather, my short term goal might be to stage an attack on Blackwater, but my long term one is a little more ambitious, that is, when it comes to the Trident."
"Yeah?" Feather raised a brow.
"I'm thinking it's about time the Trident comes under new leadership. It's the least they owe me after what they've taken." Aldrich stood up, nodding, sensing he was done here.
Monday, November 21st, 2117, 6 days before the Blackwater Attack -
"And with this, my soul shall be secure?" Casimir cocked his head as he stared quite non-chalantly at the ethereal chain extending from his chest to Adan's hook.
Casimir, Aldrich, and the nomad chiefs Clint and Gerard were seated at the counter of a bar. The bar was emptied out and the bartender was Cubehead, Casimir's warp Alter and one of his high end personnel.
"It's a contingency," said Aldrich. "If you die, your soul comes back to Adan who guards it for safekeeping. I can then resurrect you again in a new body, potentially."
"Ah, the fabled cycle of reincarnation. Quite interesting." Casimir nodded with interest. "To think your powers have dominion over it. Marvelous, no? You two are not interested?"
Clint and Gerard both shook their heads.
"Nah. I don't want any second chances. If I die, I die," said Clint.
"I'd like my soul to be free when it leaves my body," said Gerard.
"Tch. The way you run around, old man, you'll never run into a fight to knock that wrinkled soul out of ya in the first place," said Clint.
"I am not a fighter, not anymore. And I'd like to live the rest of my years in peace, without criticism, mind you."
"Well, good thing is, I'm not asking you to fight," said Aldrich.
Gerard sighed in relief. "Alright then, why did you need me."
"Your tribe, the Hawks, they're the best Wasteland mappers on this side of the country, right?"
"Damn right." Gerard smiled proudly.
"I'll let Casimir explain, then." Aldrich nodded to Casimir.
Casimir swirled his wineglass, looking at the dark red liquid forming a circular, rhythmic current. "My dear secretary Blanca and I were poring over the information we salvaged from the Red Circle. Most of it blackmail that is now useless, targeted at Haven officials to keep us in business, but some of it was more important.
Related to the Trident with whom we had business relations with."
"Still can't get over that," said Clint, taking a swig of whiskey not from a shot glass, but a whole beer mug.
"I assure you, Clint, my enterprises have had no overlap with the untimely end of your wife and child. That was orchestrated solely by the Japanese prong after you took down three of the Seven Swords."
"Cowards, all of em'. Call themselves cool shit like the seven swords, but once they find somebody they can't kill, they gotta resort to killing others. Fuck em." Clint sighed, regaining his composure. "Sorry about that. Wife wouldn't me to be like that, bitter. I'll listen properly, promise."
Casimir continued. "I understand the weight of your loss, Mr. Spearhorn, and what I present to you today is a chance to strike back at it. Have you all heard of Meteor Labs?"
"Yeah," said Clint. "We used to do some runs for em'. Mostly contraband. Or sometimes heists."
Gerard nodded too. "They were one of the better paying clients that hired us nomads, though about fifteen years ago, give or take, they stopped hiring anyone."
"Meteor Labs has been in a covert collaboration with the Trident. To be precise, not simply the Trident, but the entirety of the Dark Six," said Casimir. "They, in the public sphere, are a lesser known biotechnology company that sits under the umbrella of Paladis, tier 1 company that stands near the top in the U.S. when it comes to medical technology and research.
With Paladis, being, coincidentally, quite a lucrative business partner with the Italian Prong. In fact, if you go back far enough, you will see that Paladis was founded by a splinter of one of three great families that formed the Italian Prong."
"All the companies are choking in criminal shit at worst, knee deep in it at best," said Gerard. He was getting a little antsy, worried that this conversation would lead to a huge demand from him and, considering his risk averse nature, that was probably the last thing he wanted. "Just how it is. But where's this leading? What's the point?"
"Simply giving context," said Casimir, mildly annoyed. He did not like being rushed while explaining things. He liked when people wanted to get to the point when it was done with confidence and poise, but when it was carried with anxiety, it bothered him.
"But I suppose I will waltz over the fine details to the core of it all like some bull stampeding about a china shop.
Meteor Labs synthesized Kryptic for the Italian prong, as well as a unique drug called Boost that causes temporary proliferation of Alter Cell count, among many other valuable experiments. We have reason to even believe they are capable of inducing additional powers into Alters, if Ace, one of the Blackwater students working for us, is to be believed.
There is good reason to believe that Meteor Labs, in their main offsite research facility, has additional reserves of Kryptic."
"I get where this is going. A good old raid. You want the Kryptic. But what for? Thinking of assassinating Solar or something?" said Clint. "Or I guess any Alter that relies on storing external energy for their powers. Just Solar's the biggest name out there with 'reactor' type powers that Kryptic absolutely rawdogs over."
"That is precisely what I am thinking of doing," said Aldrich.
"Shit. Here I thought I was joking." Clint nodded to himself. Neither of the chiefs knew Solomon Solar was compromised as it was a very well hidden secret.
Gerard scratched his lengthy white beard. "I don't know. Targeting a S-class hero? That's going to make waves. The risk associated with the move is going to be massive. What even for?"
"Solomon Solar is on the Italian Prong's payroll," said Aldrich. "We don't know exactly how it started, but it's been that way for ten years at the very least. Probably more. He's the Trident's biggest and best mole.
He's the reason why the Trident knows exactly when and where the AA is moving. And in exchange, the Trident sets up conflicts that let Solomon Solar farm AP with max efficiency."
"Always figured that sunshine blockhead had some dirt on him," said Clint with a snort. "Guys like him, perfect outward image, always smiling like some horror freakshow, they're the worst when you dig deep down."
"I get it," said Gerard. "If you want to make an attack on Blackwater, one of the Trident's big gems, you'll have to deal with their big guns too."
"The biggest being Solomon Solar," said Aldrich.