So, where would a company of mercenaries hide a black project dump site? Where does someone stuff an Avrocar or flechette machine guns? I’m curious. I need to know, in case I grab something while I’m there. It’s not that I need a flechette machine gun, and I don’t really care to use guns in general, but come on, people. Flechette. Machine gun.
At one point, the U.S. Military realized that emphasizing spray and pray had reduced the accuracy of their soldiers just a bit, so they asked some companies to put together guns that fired ammo which would split apart into multiple sharp flechettes. They didn’t just go with shotguns, presumably due to limited range. Then again, if you’re having trouble shooting junk with a rifle, moving closer and using a shotgun isn’t a bad idea.
That part’s all well and good, with the project getting abandoned and some companies that participated even showing off their prototypes nowadays. What I found out at one point during my tenure as Leader of the Not-Free World was that another part of the project was for heavier guns with flechette capability.They wanted something that could be fired from a .50 caliber rifle and take out an entire squad in one shot.
I didn’t have time to delve into that kind of stuff as much as I wanted, or save it all to memory. Sadly, I don’t know if they ever considered combining flechette rounds with miniguns. I just know that if that gun is in there, I would do some really naughty things to the barrel that would mess with its ability to fire.
Maybe I’m getting my hopes up. Maybe the place is stacked with MREs laced with aggression enhancing drugs that also lower inhibitions. Maybe they cloned a giant war dodo for urban cavalry engagements. Maybe THAT is where they are keeping Gary Coleman cryogenically frozen after faking his death. It’s not for an experiment or anything. The dude’s just really got a lot of anger management problems. Some say his fury grows inversely proportional to how much he shrinks.
Whether or not we unearth the resting place of Gary Coleman and suffer the midget’s curse, we still have to get in. Luckily for us, that was one of the handy pieces of info our friend Johnny Butterfly could provide. So where did they decide to hide this potentially-amazing repository of government secrets?
“Ok, it’s under a RadioShack,” said the old fellow.
“You sure, old man?” asked the young Latino.
The older crook turned to glare at him. “Call me Sgt. Pepper and his friggin’ Lonely Hearts Club band before you call me old man again, punk.”
“You got it, Sgt. Pepper,” I said, throwing out a mock salute. He didn’t glare so much at me.
Behind me, a snort revealed that our team sot had finished taking a sip and was now joining in the conversation. “Who am I supposed to be, Mr. Blue Sky?”
“Hail Mary!” said the black woman. When Sky and the Latino looked to her, she said, “It’s by ‘Pac. That or you call me California Love.”
“Probably best to stick with first impressions so we aren’t changing everything all the time, Mary,” I said.
“Who are you supposed to be then?” asked the only other unnamed person besides me.
I shrugged. “I’m the one they call Dr. Feelgood. I’m the one who makes you feel alright.”
That one did not get a lot of approval. Blue Sky immediately blew out beer. “I call bull. I am not going to call you Feelgood for this whole thing.”
It was Sgt. Pepper who came to my defense. “Then call him Doctor, Christ.”
“Hey, I only answer to Christ on Sundays. Otherwise, it’s Feelgood,” I turned to the remaining unnamed member of our group. “The world wants to know: what poorly-thought out name do we get to call you for the extent of this relationship?”
He looked between all of us and took a moment to roll his shoulders and try to put on a tough front for a second before muttering. “Billy. Billie Jean.”
I shrugged. “Well, you’re not my lover, just a boy who says that I am the one.”
“Knock it off already,” said Sgt. Pepper. “We officially called this meeting t’order, or don’t you remember?” He stabbed a finger down at the printout of the photos showing the RadioShack in question. “This is where they hid it.”
Mr. Blue Sky wandered over. “Makes sense. People expect to see a bunch of useless old junk there, but nobody ever goes in. Perfect.”
It certainly fit. I don’t know anyone who has ever gone into a RadioShack, and the stories they tell of the company’s employees suggest you could put an entire stockpile of military experiments right underneath them with no one the wiser. Or they’re just mercenaries literally being paid to act like that. Come to think of it, I don’t think this was the first time RadioShack’s name came up in relation to United States black projects. No wonder that company somehow manages to keep surviving.
“It wouldn’t matter if they go in,” Sgt. Pepper explained. “It’s all unnerground. Look at the annotations here; this guy says you pull that lever inside the toilet to get in.”
“Isn’t that the fill valve?” asked Mary. “That thing’s gotta go off anytime someones uses the bathroom. They have to all be guards.”
Billie shook his head. “Naw. My cousin, he once worked in one of these. The bathroom was out of order constantly. They never called a plumber. He said some other guy he knew moved to Tucson, got a job at a store down there. They had the same problem there. I bet those are all like this one.”
“That’s not going to be a good way in,” I said. “We can’t just waltz in, unless they’re expecting military-grade waltzers. Maybe a Waltzer PPK. Nah. We need blueprints for this place. Some better scouting around for anything. Pipes, vents, another entrance. It’s a really bad idea to only have one entrance to a hidden underground anything. Makes it too easy to lock ’em in and flood the place until they aren’t a problem.”
“Flood the place,” asked Mary. “You’re a little sick, aren’t you?”
“It doesn’t have to be water,” I said, trying to ease the dirty looks the group was giving me. “Could be urine or blood, or even a gas. Like mustard gas. Tends to accumulate lower down, so it’s perfect.”
Muttering to himself, Pepper took out a pack of cigarettes. He smacked it a couple times to wake up the cancer, then pulled out one to light. “If, by the humor of God, we take a prisoner during all this, you,” he pointed to me and took a deep drag of his cigarette, “Are not allowed to dance around and take a razor to his ear, y’hear?”
I rolled my eyes, which looked perfectly human thanks to all the hard work spent making sure they had limited ability to blend in. “If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: I was young. I needed the money. Besides, I warned the guy to keep his hands off me. ‘Dad,’ I said, ‘I’m pretty sure nobody else’s explanation of the birds and the bees involved their dad taking them to the champagne room of a strip club looking for the student discount.’”
Apparently they didn’t appreciate my sense of humor, but I like to think I laid the groundwork to let all kinds of stuff slip and not be paid any particular attention unless it’s about the job in question. I took a closer look over some of the invoices for maintenance that Butterfly had dropped off. “Recent installation of an elevator with cameras and wireless ID access. Special maintenance of pressure sensor floors that log where someone goes. Replacement retinal scanners. This place is going to be one tough nut to crack. I wish we had more to go on than just these. If we knew how frequently they have to do all this, maybe we could get in. Or exploit a potential weakness if something really needs that maintenance.”
Mary shoved me out of the way and read something, then poked at a line item. “No. The software needs patching, but there’s no other reason this needs personal maintenance unless something is damaging it.”
Curmudgeonly old Sgt. Pepper stated the obvious conclusion. “They’re runnin’ up the costs for the govment. The system’s fine. We gotta getta ’round it.”
If not for that darn block. Retinal scans are not very secure. Neither are DNA scans, fingerprints, or hand prints. It’s not like body parts are that hard to rip off. But still pretty funny that they’re ripping people off. I wonder who, if anyone, paid the bills when I was in charge.
Geez, I’m starting to feel like an idiot.
“I don’t know why we were all picked, if there are certain skills the big Butter saw in us, but I happen to have some knowledge that’ll help us on this one. So I got some ideas. We could show up to audit the place. Suits, ties, a bunch of proper identification.”
“We’d never get in.” That came from Mr. Blue Sky. “They’ll do everything they can to hold us out and keep us from seeing things aren’t up to snuff for an audit. I’ve worked for a company before. Not this company.”
That got some interested looks from the rest of our bunch. He ignored them by pulling out another beer from the interior of his jacket and popping it open. “Before you ask, I wasn’t field operations.”
“Then forget an audit, we play agents bringing them a new thing to store,” I said.
“You got some experimental military hardware hidden somewhere we can drag in?” asked Pepper.
I shrugged. “Actually, yeah. I just might. This can work.”
And so we set about getting what we need. We all need to pick up a suit. Blue Sky and Billie Jean are seeing to transport. We need a semi truck and trailer, and some good wheels to pass as a government car. Pepper knows someone who can print up the fake ID cards. I had to take a moment with him and Hail Mary to check through information I had stored from my time in control. Information on cover agents. Hail Mary says she should be able to spoof the wireless identification if it comes down to that. Between the two of them, we’ll have conventional and digital methods of impersonation covered. She even claimed she thought she knew how to get past the retinal scanners even without anyone’s eyeballs. She’s sure, somehow, it’ll be necessary.
Who knows? Maybe it will be. Not like I can just tear out a merc’s eyes for it. I have to figure out our advanced technology. Well, not figure out. More like, steal Venus’s exoskeleton and paint it so it looks like something a soldier would possibly wear.
The best way to get something I technically should own is to just walk in like we pay for the place.