Chapter 373 Heist Planning 2
"Alright," conceded Diamondback. "But we still have to have SOME semblance of a plan."
"Then plan away. It's why I brought you, heh. You got all that cerebal shit down to a T. It's no wonder my pa trusted you as his right hand man. And why I trust you with my life." Clint lied down, arms forming a pillow behind his horned head.
"Now, to continue from where I left off before these...interruptions," said Diamondback.
"You're the one that started it," said Stella, defiant.
"Sure. Now let's get back to the plan." Diamondback conceded easily, wanting to get on to the plan, and Stella, though her brows were still knitted together in defiance, was mature enough to back down when there was no fight to be had. "Our objective is to break into Meteor Labs and secure their Kryptic supply. Kris-,"
"Yeah." Kris's eye clicked, and the map shifted, showing a detailed map of Meteor Labs's infrastructure. Though there were some patches that were blurry due to a lack of information. Overall, the lab was essentially a reverse tower that sprawled deep underground in a roughly rectangular shape.
Its entrance was a dome that jutted out from the bottom of a ravine, surrounded by towering rock formations that protected it from geostorms.
"The Gilded Swallow's intel on his outpost was extensive," said Diamondback. "The lab itself is almost strictly underground, planted in the depths of the ravine up ahead. Those giant blocks not only shield it from the worst of the storms, but it also isolates it from outsiders.
The location makes the lab impossible to find on a map or track on a satellite, making it the perfect site for illegal operations.
Nothing comes for free, though, and this site, like most sites that set up in the Wastelands hoping for quiet, deal with its own fair share of shit."
Diamondback rapped at the transport's walls shaky walls as they shook from raging geostorm winds outside. "Constant geostorms is the most obvious demerit. And, as you know, geostorms annihilate most tech infrastructure on the surface, even at the bottom of that ravine.
The labs don't have any sensor towers. Their Net towers are retractable and only show up after storms have passed.
Simply put: they're cut off from outside communication every time a storm runs its course."
"So strike while the storm's putting them on blackout?" commented Alan.
"That's right, but we can't just charge out into a storm full throttle," said Diamondback. "It'll overload our cells and organs, blow us up from within no matter how tough we are. I don't know what Thanatos's revival does to your bodies, but if you use an Alter Organ, you're still gonna be in for a bad time.
We have to wait until the tail end of this storm, right at the goldilocks time zone where the storms have still cut the lab off while letting us use our powers without blowing up."
"How much time do we get, then?" asked Tox, planting her cheek on her hand as she observed the labs.
"An hour, give or take," said Diamondback. "More than enough time to do what we have to do.'
"I take it this isn't going to be a stealthy operation?" said Tox.
"Why do you say that?" said Diamondback.
"C'mon. Just look at us. You, Clint, and Ace are muscled out meatheads. Stella blows shit up. And you-," She pointed at Alan. "Don't think I can't tell. The Bio-Mechanic that worked on you was super subtle, but I can tell pretty easy.
You've got fuckin' rocket launchers in your arms. You're borged up to the gills with firepower. No way you're here to do anything quietly."
"I did this myself," said Alan.
"Shit, really? Impressive stuff, man." Tox nodded approvingly. "But as I was saying, as far as quiet work goes, it's just me and the techno here. Maybe you, but I have no idea what you can do." She shrugged at Falco.
"I know martial arts!" protested Falco. "And my Alter power lets me grow wings!"
"Wings? In an underground lab?" Tox raised a brow, thoroughly confused.
"He's here because he wants to prove himself, that's all," said Clint. "Sure, his pa is probably going to murder him if he finds out. Murder me too, if he could, but he can't, so I get to be the good ol' unkillable uncle that lets the kids run wild.
Falco's gonna be under my protection, too, so don't worry much about him."
"I've practiced hundreds of hours with training chips," said Falco, brandishing his fists to prove his point. "I can handle myself."
"Psh. Training chip VR and actual combat are miles apart," said Clint. "But don't worry, I'll let ya play around. Just gotta make sure ya don't kick the can, cause even if your pa can't kill me, I sure as hell don't want him to stop being my pal."
"Right. So, we've got meatheads, explosions, and a guy with wings. See what I'm getting at?" said Tox.
"You're right. Aside from a few add-ons that aren't much more than glorified interns, we're all bruisers and muscle. I do have to commend your perceptiveness. What merc group were you raised in?" said Diamondback.
"Ember," said Tox quietly.
"Explains a lot. All of you Ember mercs are professionals, whether you want to be or not." Diamondback pointed at the top of the labs, at the dome that jutted out of the rocky surface. "There's no easy way into the labs.
It's warp-locked and the Kryptic is securely guarded near the bottom, at the twentieth floor, snugly swaddled by solid rock and Null deposits that make underground infiltration risky, if not impossible.
Only way to get to it is a frontal assault."
"Dome looks pretty damn solid," said Ace. "Sure we can't wait until it opens up? I'm strong, but even I don't think I can punch through that by myself."
Diamondback shook his head. "The dome is closed at all times, opening only for the occasional air transport or drop shipment. We aren't exactly a welcome shipment. It isn't opening for us.
Hence, the firepower."
Diamondback tapped at the dome on the holograph and zoomed in, showing details about its composition that popped up in a text menu at the side.
"We can see that the dome is solid neo-steel. Three and a half meters thick. Extremely resistant to regular kinetic force, making punching our way in difficult. Would need a damn near S ranker to really crack through it with punches alone."
"Just pure neo-steel?" said Alan, his red mechanical eyes clicking and whirring in analytic recognition. "That makes it tough as hell, but rigid. Unmalleable. Neo-steel's shock absorbent qualities make it top notch against brute force, but the same can't be said for its heat resistance.
Or for concentrated, armor-piercing force.
And since it's pure neo-steel, it isn't composited with ceramics, plastics, and other materials that'll smooth over its weaknesses. Nor is it smart-boosted, so it can't shift its atomic structure to adapt against different types of applied force or thermal damage."
"You've got quite the mechanical chops," said Diamondback. "Heard you came from a small shop in a free city. With your knowledge, you could've made it big in a tiered city. Maybe even tier 1. What brings you here?"
"A debt," said Alan, looking down for a moment. He took back his composure and spoke again. "If it's just solid neosteel we're dealing with, the easiest way to crack it open is something armor piercing. High amounts of penetrative force applied in a small contact zone, preferably with high levels of heat, too."
"Doesn't that remind you of someone?" Tox nudged Ace's shoulder.
"Yeah, it sure does." Ace stared at Stella.
She blushed. "W-well, I CAN make explosions..."
"And so can I," said Clint. "My evolution isn't consciously controlled, but it is pushed and pulled by my environment. If you put me in a situation where I gotta blow some shit up, I'll adapt to it.
You and I can crack the dome."
"Looks like Thanatos wasn't entirely going off of personal grudges and debts when he sent you all," said Diamondback. He nodded. "Under the dome, all of the bio there are going to be researchers. Non threats, mostly.
Most of the security detail against us will be automated.
Turrets, drones, and bots.
I've stocked up on high end EMP charges that you'll find in the crates in this truck. They're top shelf stuff, military grade, though slightly outdated. Remnants from transports we heisted during the 2077 Corpowar.
Don't have too many of them, just three per person, so use them sparingly."
"I can handle it," said Alexis. Her fingers crackled. "I've been studying the storm that took out Haven's tech, and I think I can sort of replicate it. I can shut down most bots, though ones with higher end electro-magnetic shielding are gonna be a tough sell."
"Good. We can get rid of the lower end defenses without wasting charges. That lets us save them for the tougher ones," said Diamondback. "The strongest bots you'll find will be ARMA Cyclops.
Sturdy, heavily armored bastards with mono-ocular beams that can crack even my skin.
From the intel, it looks like there's between ten to fifteen Cyclops. We have enough charges to deal with all of them.
Once we get through them, we can access the vault on the twentieth floor that holds the Kryptic without issue. Kris has the know-how to breach the locks there."
"Still wonder whether there wasn't a quieter way to do this," said Tox. "Someone like Kat could've snuck in there, maybe, by impersonating lab staff."
"Lab staff are on site twenty four hours. Extremely difficult," said Diamondback. "And Thanatos himself specifically requested that this heist make as much noise as possible."