It was NEVER just a heist!14 Jul 2018
We were driving carefully through the back streets, trying to figure out how to ditch the truck. I was still a bit dazed that my insane spur of the moment plan had gotten us this far, and was fresh out of suggestions. Hana and Morgan were working on a way to disguise or swap it, and Lily was being insanely unhelpful. Suddenly it didn’t matter anymore, as a large hole opened up in the bonnet and the engine started spewing flames and smoke. I somehow managed to keep the truck under control enough that when the next enormous bullet cut our front axle in half we didn’t just crash spectacularly. Instead we just came to a slow halt and gracefully tipped over, landing with its side resting at a comfortable angle on a pile of kerbside trash.
Through the engine smoke which was now clearing, Hana and I saw three men striding purposefully towards us. One carried a mean look and a mean looking pistol. The second just looked thoughtful, but the enormous axe he carried suggested that these were thoughts of murder. The third carried a sceptre, and could best be described as “the King of the Dudes”. They stopped at a safe distance and sceptre-dude started giving orders. He stayed put with shooty-guy, and axe-man headed calmly toward us.
Hana climbed up through her door to meet axe-man. Morgan snuck out the back door, and Lily dropped through a hatch in the floor of the truck. I was pretty well stuck in the cab - my door was wedged closed by our landing, and the bulletproof windscreen was kind of my only protection against shooty-guy. Hana and axe-man traded blows, but axe-man came out better off. I took a shot at shooty-guy, but the one-way bulletproof glass bled off so much momentum that my bullet basically just booped him gently on the nose. He returned fire, aiming at the area of the window I’d just shattered… but I’d moved. Just barely fast enough.
The King of the Dudes called off his fighters, and basically asked us to throw down our weapons and give up. I was just about ready to do this. I was also just about ready to pretend to do this, and get within arm’s length of him and maybe… I dunno, stab him or something?… but that was never going to work. Hana was trading insults with axe-man, but it looked like all the fight had left her. I called out to the dude, stalling for time while I tried to figure a way out of this. I was seriously ready to just give up on this whole piano mess and walk away. At this point I didn’t even care if this was the first contact I’d ever failed to deliver.
Lily and Morgan weren’t ready to go down without a fight though. There was a blur in front of the King and shooty-guy then their weapons were gone - Lily had done her weird tricks again. Morgan growled something and then axe-man found a couple of throwing knives pinning him to the spot. At this point I figured we could have a chance to get out of this nicely, and started looking around for the sniper - but the alignment of the bullet holes suggested that they were shooting from the open sky directly overhead. More likely was that our sniper had a way to see us from somewhere else and was firing straight up in massive arcs instead.
None of this seemed to matter once Hana decided to give up. Muttering something about how she didn’t know why she was picked anyway, she just turned her back on axe-man and walked off. Lily joined her pretty quickly. I figured there wasn’t much point staying while the team disintegrated around me, so I threw some words at the King of the Dudes: “We’re obviously not the helpless first timers you think we are. We’re going, you can have the piano. We’re done with it. I know you’ve got your tame sniper watching, he can see right up my nose right now for all I care, but if he tries anything you’re all paste.” I then followed the girls, and Morgan joined me, looking exceptionally disappointed that they’d missed a good fight.
We caught up with the girls just out of sight of the intersection where we’d been ambushed. Hana was a mess. She felt like she had nothing to contribute, and none of us could convince her otherwise. Morgan and I hashed out a simple plan to turn the tables again, but she was done. She walked off, and the best we could do was let her go and hope we’d see her again on better terms.
We returned to our planning once she was gone. Morgan and I had both noticed that King Dude had looked to his right when I mentioned the sniper, and when Morgan had looked closer they saw a bunch of runes inscribed about knee-height on a telegraph pole that had to be the focus for the sniper. No wonder my “see up my nose” comment had made him look that way. Morgan also noted that the runes gave a location in one of two buildings diagonally opposite across the intersection, and with Lily’s help they located the sniper pretty quickly. Now all we had to do was wait for them to switch the piano to another truck, steal that, then we were ahead of the game again.
We didn’t have long to wait. Three museum vans showed up and disgorged a bunch of museum security and a bunch of labourers. I recognised most of them as people I’d convinced to help me steal the piano in the first place. We waited patiently for them to finish loading the piano into one of the vans, then Morgan signalled Lily to engage the sniper while we snuck over to the van. I didn’t make it.
Axe-man spotted me when I tripped over a deceptively flat piece of ground. He was upon me in a flash, and gave me an almighty whack with the shaft of his axe. It struck me right in the belly despite my best efforts to dodge. The blow knocked the wind out of me and his blade clipped my gun, ruining it. Morgan had thrown some knives at the shooty-guy, who then tried to strike a threatening pose and point his fancy pistol at them. Morgan had no fucks to give, and instead charged at him in a sliding dive… which caused him to run off like a scared animal. Morgan then turned their attention back to axe-man, who was standing over me, making insults and sneering. I shakily got to my feet, put my fists up like I wanted to fight, and instead bolted for the van, shoved the driver out, and climbed in. Morgan took this distraction to prepare an epic takedown for axe-man but was thwarted when he noticed and stomped their foot into the ground instead. The look on Morgan’s face was an incredible mixture of pain and happiness - sure, they’d just failed pretty hard but finally there was a fight worth their time.
Fortunately this van didn’t have any outrageous security measures. Just a regular keyed ignition. I jammed my special key into the switch and the van started up immediately, and the feel of the engine vibrations through the steering wheel told me that this machine was ready for anything. I tested this by reversing over the truck behind me and parking on top of the King of the Dudes. He made an unpleasant squishing noise, but he’ll live. Now I had to figure out what my next move would be.
We hadn’t heard from Lily, but the sniper hadn’t reacted either. I figured Morgan would be fine having fun with their new axe-wielding friend for a while, so I went to see what was going on in the building. In the van. By driving up the wall and through the window. I love these keys. Anyway, I ended up parked on top of the sniper as well, but I may have clipped Lily on the way through. She swore at me for a few moments, then pulled the moderately crunched sniper clear of the van, then leapt in. I’m pretty sure she’s not going to let me forget that I almost killed both her and her new snipey boyfriend… We headed back down the building to check on Morgan. I only showed off a little bit.
As we were reversing down the outside of the building, we kept an eye on the fight. Both Morgan and the axe-man looked like they were having an enormous amount of fun. The axe-man caught Morgan across the belly with his blade, and they responded by nailing his feet to the ground with their knives again. They turned and walked away from the fight with a wave and a satisfied look. We pulled up beside them in the van, made a dumb comment (“hey babe, you going my way?” or something, can’t remember exactly) and they climbed in with us. Now we had the piano back, and yet another van to disguise. At least this time there wasn’t a traffic helicopter tailing us.
Morgan suggested we could head to a place they knew. Their parental-type, Saga, has a clinic nearby which specialises in the no-questions-asked kind of medicine. We could probably get the van painted and our wounds fixed, all at once. We decided this was a pretty good option, so Morgan gave me the address and called ahead to make sure this was all ok. The side of the call that I could hear was rather disturbing and I may have memory-holed the actual conversation, but it took more than a bit of fast talking for Morgan to convince us (and themself) that this was as good a plan as it sounded initially.
We arrived at Saga’s clinic and Morgan took us in the back way. Apparently Saga had guests - she “borrowed” Morgan so she could use them to make some kind of good impression. This left Lily and I to tend to the van… but carefully because we’re both still feeling a little beat up. We’d just finished when Lily’s phone lit up with messages from Hana, apologising for bailing on us and wanting to meet up.
I may have been excessively paranoid and just barely managed to stop Lily from blurting out where we were. We arranged to meet up nearby so we could check if we had followers, then headed back to Saga’s. We filled Hana in about our afternoon along the way. Still not sure she believed the bit about my wall-driving. We got back just in time for Saga to throw us out again so she could “get done actual work done”. It was clear from the red stain on Morgan’s shirt that we weren’t getting the patch job we came for.
The only logical thing left to do now was to deliver the piano. Everyone was trying to plan an inconspicuous route for us so we could get to the loading dock of Freddy’s office without encounters until I pointed out that this thing can do walls, and I was just going to head for the helipad on the roof instead. Hana would contact them when we arrived to arrange the handover, so nobody got a tipoff that we were coming. We arrived without incident.
So we’re sitting on the roof in a van and Hana’s looking rather stunned by our vertical manoeuvres. She rings the office, and while she’s organising the pickup we’re approached by two suited people with a couple of equipment boxes. They called out to us to let them scan the piano for damage. I was a little suspicious, but Morgan opened the van and started untying the piano’s case. I convinced Morgan to wait until Hana has confirmed the delivery and the identity of the man and woman standing in front of us. Hana finishes the call, grabs her sword, and hops out of the van to confront these people. “I’ve been told you’re not staff,” she says. “I’m afraid we’re going to have to wait for the right people to arrive.”
The woman launched into a ninja-style run with arms outstretched behind her, still holding an equipment box in one hand. Hana tried to bash her on the head to stop her, but appeared to be struggling with a sword which clearly wanted to taste blood, leading to the bash being more of a polite tap. I pointed my gun out the window and shot the running woman in the kneecap, and she collapsed screaming into a heap. Morgan dealt with the man… by trying to rip out his throat with their teeth. Even though they didn’t manage to do much of an injury, the guy was shaken enough to just give up.
While we were all fighting, Lily’s wildly variable helpfulness meter swung back into the dangerously stupid end of the scale. I had been surreptitiously holding her seatbelt closed so she didn’t go off half-cocked but she slipped out while I was distracted with the kneecapping. She told me later that she wanted to make sure I didn’t go all van-ninja again while the piano was loose, which is great, but… tying it back down again would have been much more logical than trying to get it out of the van with those noodly arms of hers. Fortunately it’s heavy enough that she couldn’t budge it. Not that I was planning to go anywhere anyway, there’s a loose piano worth more than my life in the back!
Citrine appeared from the service lift about then. She looked disdainfully at the two people we’d just disabled, and motioned for some of her associates to remove them. I’m hoping that the removal involved medical attention. Citrine informed us that we’d won, and made a comment about appreciating our alacrity. I played the suspicious card again though - our contact had specifically stated that the piano was to be placed in Freddy’s office. She looked irritated about this, and said, “technically you’re correct, however my judgement in this matter may be considered final. You have successfully delivered the piano into our custody, undamaged, well within the required time period. You may supervise the installation of the piano if you desire.” I feel like she had a remarkably low opinion of Freddy and his flowcharts and tests.
Citrine gave us a final info dump about the test, and some of the things we had missed when we accepted the job. There were in fact three teams. We’d just met the third, who had been tasked with destroying the piano instead. Their boxes of “scanning equipment” had in fact been breaching charges; Hana’s phone call had literally saved us from defeat. Citrine seemed relieved that they had not succeeded, and I was left with the impression that we weren’t stealing the piano. Just… relocating it for its current owners. We were informed that we would be contacted at some point in the near future regarding the actual job.
Now I need to decide if I want to go and have that party with the exhibition transport staff… or I could hang out with the gang instead. I feel like this is a better option. We’ve just done something ridiculous together and I think we need to follow that with some less dramatic shenanigans…