"Imugi?" Diamondback stiffened up, his whole body language tensing and radiating perceived threat. Clint, in response, lost the languid casualness that marked all his movements, straightening his own posture,
And if Clint, the most loose out of everyone there, was reacting like this, then something was off.
"That's not just high end. It's high-high end," said Alan under his breath.
"Rich bastards," said Tox.
"Imugi? We-we really are in the big leagues, huh?" said Falco nervously.
"How many HVs?" said Diamondback.
"My ears only picked up one," said Clint.
"Just one," confirmed Kris. "I actually have some of Imugi's ID database data, but this isn't registering on it."
"That data's from the big heist y'all Phantoms pulled ten years ago, though, ain't it?" said Clint. "The one that got yer boss in her shiny big wheel fortress."
"Imugi prides itself in its craftsmanship, no matter how long it takes," said Kris. "It's quite admirable, honestly, in this era of mass produced goods and a race to the bottom for the cheapest.
Built with precision. Made to last.
Any HV is going to be atleast Century-class, and Imugi produces maybe one or two of that caliber of good a year."
Imugi categorized its products under a time based ranking system. Annual to Decade to Century to Millennium based on the old Korean myth that an imugi, an infant dragon, grew to full maturation after a thousand years.
The megacorp made its broad profits from Annual to Decade class ware, but Century and Millennium was where they poured in the most time and effort, so much so that, as Kris pointed out, only a few of that caliber were ever made in a year.
For Millennium class vehicles or weapons, only one was made every decade or so, and these were veritable national treasures.
"Shit, if only we had Net connection," said Diamondback. "It'd be possible to find out the handful of Century and Millennium class vehicles produced since 2110 and potentially trace them to an owner."
"I have that info backed up," said Kris. "Accessing now…"
"Even recent Imugi stuff?" said Clint.
"Yeah. After our heist, Imugi's amped up its security to high heavens and back, but they're not off our hit list just yet. Z tells us to keep track of Imugi news in case there's something worth klepping," said Kris. He looked at Clint hopefully. "And, provided we get a powerful backer looking for a new shiny to have. Even better if that backer is tough themselves."
"Heh, gotta pass on that. Imgui ain't my style. My trusty ol' ride's got a soft spot in my heart that no fancy corpotech's gonna take over," said Clint.
"Suit yourself." Kris nodded. "Hm. Only HVs that have been produced in the past ten years are the Sanzuwu and the Seiryu. The Seiryu was a commission piece for the Japanese PM, so we can rule that out.
Sanzuwu, though, ten of those were made."
"I remember that," said Alan. "It was all over the mechanic boards. Anytime Imugi so much as farts, the boards get in an uproar about what new thing they're making and who they're selling to.
Most of the Sanzuwu were snapped up by government peeps and AA higher ups across the world, no?"
"Seven of the ten, yes," said Kris. "But three were 'kept in storage' or 'decommissioned'. All code word for sold to underworld buyers. Here, I'll project a diagram for reference."
From Kris's goggles, a holographic image of the Sanzuwu appeared. It looked like a three pointed star with a golden, orb-shaped body with three long, protruding wings.
Details about the Sanzuwu showed up in various screens, detailing the specs of the engine, weapons in its three wings, shielding capacity, and so on and so forth.
"Underworld? You sure?" Stella frowned. "Don't figure the ordinary villain or street merc's got the creds for this kinda gear."
"Don't expect it to be with high end mercs either," said Tox. "Aside from maybe the top 10 of the Killgrid. You have to look way, way high up in the Underworld for that type of money."
"Maybe Fafnir is here" Ace pointed out.
"Impossible" said Alexis. "I made sure to go through all our intel with Casimir before this. Fafnir's still stationed at Blackwater."
"Then it's likely a Trident executive," said Diamondback. He grimaced. "Shit, of all the times for an exec to be here, it has to be now. And why? Our intel suggested that Meteor Labs ran near completely independently to keep their image disassociated from criminal funding.
If this is an exec, it'd be the first time since the labs were established twenty years ago that anyone of that level showed up."
"Nah. I got a real good idea who it is," said Clint. His tone was somber, so unlike his usual pep that everyone turned to stare at him. He was looking down, remembering. "Y'all got a good idea of why I'm called the Unbreakable?"
"Nobody with a proper head on their shoulders in the underworld doesn't," said Tox. "Though there's probably a good number of folks down here with screws loose."
"That's right, everyone knows!" said Falco. "Your pa took you on a heist to steal a bot from Bushido, things went wrong, your pa died, and you took it on yourself to get vengeance." He spoke with reverence, like he was recounting a myth. "Then the Bushido Break happened. January 4th, 2100. You went all the way to Japan, knocked on Bushido tower's doors, and tore the whole damn thing down by yourself!"
"Yeah. That, I did," said Clint. "Ain't somethin' to be too proud of. Most of the people in that tower were ordinary folk. Janitors, receptionists, researchers, normal Suits trynna feed their family, fathers, mothers, young sons and daughters that studied their asses off to get there - they all died when I blew that place up."
Falco's smile faded, and his eager energy simmered down.
"I don't know how I did it to this day. Fightin' all those people. Mercs, villains, and heroes. Worst thing is, it don't even feel like I did it. All that rampagin', it feels so distant when I try to remember, like I was in a dream and someone else was pilotin' me.
My powers just exploded and sorta encased me, I can't explain the feeling well, but I wasn't all there.
Went there to satisfy my vengeance and left with nothing but a bad dream. Funny how things work, huh?" Clint smiled wistfully and shrugged.
"Anyway, those of you familiar with the underworld know that Bushido was the Japanese prong of the Trident at that time. Cobbled together from Yakuzas banding together to make a corp.
After I tore down the corp building and killed most of the board, including the CEO, the whole company went to shit. It dissolved. Got snapped up by Park Jin Woo's rise when he got a hold of Yeolju and rebranded both into Imugi.
Their mercenaries, or warriors as they call themselves, didn't want to work with Jin Woo, so their leaders, the Seven Swords of the time, broke off and turned into the new Japanese prong, though instead of being a big corp, they're now more in the shadows.
No corporate dealings. Just an in-house merc force.
Ever since then, the Swords have had a grudge on me, though after the last attack, they've backed up a bit. Guess they figured killin' my wife and losin' three of theirs was enough to settle the score.
That last fight was five years ago, but I still remember every detail as clear as day. One of the Swords, the fifth Sword, he piloted this on the day of the attack."
Clint pointed at the Sanzuwu projection.