"It's over. We abort, we are not going through with this!" Susan brother, Pete says.
The siblings are having a heated discussion about their upcoming 'business venture'. It's early morning, and Susan has just informed her younger brother about her - on the spot initiation test from the other night.
"...and who is this James guy anyway? We don't have to prove anything to him. Bringing Jackie into this was a risk, and now, her jailbird boyfriend is gonna screw us. Robbing some fuel station is going to draw unwanted attention." Pete says in a firm whisper.
They talk in the kitchen, while Alli is getting ready for school. If she overhears her mother, and uncle planning a robbery, that would be difficult to explain, to say the least.
Susan responds to her redheaded younger brother. "You know we are going to need help. Who's going to move the merchandise after we... 'lift' ...it? A federal soccer mom doesn't have street cred, and I doubt a tech geek like you does, either."
Pete isn't like Susan; he's more brains than brawn. He worked at TeknoGen as a Security Architect, making net-based firewalls, and algorithms. But he was laid off due to a 'expansion', which was code word for mech outsourcing. He now, spends most of his days consulting or gambling.
"... 'lift the merchandise'...? Well, look at you." Pete mocks with a smile.
Neither of them are qualified for this kind of work. They both have clean records, they are ordinary, tax-paying citizens. But, what they have planned can land them in jail for multiple life sentences. However, Susan feels that their clean backgrounds would make them perfect for this, no one will suspect them.
"We have to do this next week, the Xalbadora will be shutdown. It's our best shot. Stay focused on your stuff, I don't want some loan shark messing things up."
"It's already done, I had to sell everything I own, but I'm good." Pete says sipping on some orange juice.
They are doing this partly because of his gambling debts. However the main reason is to strike back at the mech making industry that have caused so much troubles for them, and getting paid in the process won't hurt.
"And... our exit strategy?" Susan asks staying on task, as Alli steps in the kitchen.
"What's ....exit strategy?" She asks, and both adults blush.
"Um... Alli, do you remember how we talked about, us moving away? Well, that time is getting close."
"Yeah kiddo, you and me will go surfing everyday." Pete says joking with his niece. He changes the subject and lightens the tense mood.
Minutes later, Susan notices the time and hurries into action, the single mom lifestyle kicks in. It's back to the routine of school and work.
Work is the same as always, unfulfilling. All night stakeouts and car chases have been replaced with long meetings about sending D-mechs to do the job of human agents. Susan merely wears a gun for show; the fuel station robbery was the first time that she has discharged her weapon in over a year. The once redheaded she - hulk, is now an office bunny.
A fire has been ignited in her, she takes every step with a purpose. It's exhilarating carrying this secret. Everyday she gathers more information; inside details that only a federal agent has access to. Susan scans the net, federal files, checking every possible outcome, compiling data, making sure that there is no way that she will get caught. She feels like a criminal mastermind.
"I can't believe you really filed your papers. You know there's no life after the FBI."
Susan laughs, waking from her deep thoughts. "Oh, yeah, well I told you I was going to retire early. Cyber security consulting has treated my little brother good, good enough for us to move." Susan continues the story she made up a couple of months ago, explaining her early retirement.
"I mean, since John died... this life just isn't for me anymore."
Playing the sympathy card has gotten easier for her, providing the perfect cover. But feeling sorry for herself isn't how she truly feels, she is angry. The mention of his name sends her in a silent rage.
The image of John being gunned down, replays like a commercial ad.
A fanatic religious camp drank some 'Jesus' juice, wanting to purify them of the rotting modern world. Out of the members who lived, they were held up in a small church, threatening to kill any who entered. Susan, John, and other human agents on site knew things could go really bad, but the director's office decided to let a robot call the shots.
The Xalbadora AI, compiled all the data of the situation and ordered a strike. The result was a disaster. Out of the ten mechs and five human agents who entered the camp, Susan was the only human survivor. This wasn't the first time TeknoGen's tech malfunctioned and lives were lost. All around the U.S. there have been hundreds of reports where the Police-mechs would glitch or go offline harming innocents. In turn the government turns a blind eye. Susan's world fell apart because of some machine that miscalculated.
But, Susan isn't the activist type, she won't join the protesters outside city hall, demanding change. She knows it wouldn't do any good. It's better to just leave it all behind. She's going to take her family far away from here, but not before she gets paid.
Cunningham palace is a small park, located in the old city area. It's a small hill that has a great view of how the old city meets the new. It's not the safest area of town, which is a perfect place for the final meeting.
The sun begins to set over the nearly empty park. Susan and her brother Pete stand as Jackie and James approach. The crew comes face-to-face, Jackie smiles while James isn't so pleased. He takes a long look at Pete as they are introduced.
"I must be crazy for doing this. A tech-geek and a Federal Agent want to pull a heist...." James mumbles.
"Are you in or out?" Sue responds, and Jackie instantly tries to calm the storm.
"We're in, we all are in. Let's just get this done, and then we can go our separate ways."
James is still uneasy, drawing attention to Pete.
"Susan proved her grit, but I don't know about you, lab boy. Are you going to chicken out?" James pokes, but doesn't get the response he was hoping.
"James, they say you specialize in cargo theft, but I think getting arrested is your true gift."
James gauges the insult, wondering if he should react. "Again... let's stay on track. We have a job to do, so let's do it. We still don't know the target." Jackie steps in, moving things along.
Susan begins. "A federal warehouse." Jackie and James pause in a frozen shock.
"Are you serious?" Jackie blurts.
"A federal storage facility to be exact."
"That's suicide, its... like holding a beehive, while jumping into a snake pit. Even if we do pull this off..." James says wiping his face in disbelief.
Susan hops into regain control. "I never said this would be easy, but if we all do our jobs, no one will ever know we were there."
"How exactly will you do that? Better yet, what are we stealing?"
Sue takes a moment before answering.
"This federal warehouse just got a shipment of seized Zeta-Multicore processors among other high-priced tech. The tech will sit in storage for a couple of years before its decommissioned. Instead of it collecting dust, we lift it and sell it. Jackie, you have some buyers lined up, right?"
Jackie nods her head when James buts in. "Processors sell for a pretty penny, but it's not worth the risk. Stolen chips are a hard sell."
"These... 'chips' are used for Ultra Computers XT4's icosa-core..."
"Whoa... whoa speak English geek squad."
"What he's saying is; the merchandise is very valuable to the right people, regardless of the risk."
Jackie feels a little better about the plan. Jackie has international connections. James can smuggle any merchandise since he has ties with Air cargo traffickers. Pete knows the tech, and Susan can get them in.
"Chinese smugglers will pay top dollar for tech. James can get the merchandise on a plane to wherever you want, as early as next week." Jackie adds, as the plan takes shape and they all breath a little easier, except for James.
"Am I the only rational person here? It's a Federal facility. We're talking... cameras, guard mechs, faze fields protected rooms..."
"But that's where me and my brother come in. We have a plan, and if we stick to it, we split Eight million. So... I'll ask one more time, are you in or out?" Susan says and a long moment of silence follows.
Jackie thinks long and hard. She still remembers the day Sue kicked in her back door. Jackie was known for smuggling tech and she was connected with selling goods to some homegrown terrorist. Sue was the first in, but once she spotted Jackie asleep with her child, she didn't have the heart to arrest her. Jackie was spared jail time, and in return she became an informant and Sue's friend. She steps forward.
"...and I'll tell you one more time Danger Sue, we are in." James agrees.
"So... we have to do this weekend. It's the only chance we will have." Sue instructs while finishing the meeting and Pete hands them a bag with everything they will need. They will do something that hasn't ever been done.
The meeting ends, but James feels he must ask something.
"Tell me red, why are you doing this? I saw your file, you're a decorated Agent, promising career, with a little girl. Why?" Jackie nudges James for asking, not wanting him to be rude.
Susan gives a smirk before answering. "I dedicated my life to law enforcement, and in less than a year I'll be kicked out with enough money to last me for a couple of months. I've lost everything, but not anymore. I'm finally going to win."