Disclaimer: Joss = The Overlord. Me = Unpaid hanger-on.
Two dark, bulky shapes were barely visible in the secured compound. Secured, only usable in the strictest sense - there was, indeed, a security system as well as guards and all the weaponry that modest wealth could buy. But this day was one where not a man among them expected any manner of trouble. In point of fact, one might say they were down to a skeleton crew.
This was just how the two lurking gents wanted it. It's what they were counting on.
The men lurking in the shadows made their way through the open space of the courtyard with an eerie, deceptive silence, for few people not in the trade could attribute such stealth and grace from people with the builds that these two wraiths-made-flesh seemed to posses. The man on point glanced around a corner and paused cautiously, before he gave the come ahead
gesture to his partner.
Immediately, the other man scuttled forward with the barest whisper of sound, crouching to aim his most formidable looking firearm down the corridor down the path they needed to take, cuing the point man to proceed on the next leg of their journey. Cover and move. Cover and move. The unspoken coordination between the partners spoke of long association, of comfort in the others' ability.
Other than a brief pause while they waited for one of the guardsmen to pass, stumbling drunkenly to his barracks and whistling a perky tune, they encountered hardly no one. Having done their homework, they knew that the assigned guards in front of their goal, were undergoing a shift change. It was during this transition period that they chose to strike.
Finding the doorway pleasantly unguarded, they shuffled into positions, the point man rustling about in a rucksack, while the partner took position to watch the hallway for any security guards that were feeling industrious to an unhealthy degree. Of course, it'd only be unhealthy if any of them happened to poke their respective noses into the room that our two intrepid thieves were working.
Skillfully, the point man-turned-locksmith affixed an electronic tumbler tool onto the lock of the immense double doors. Quietly whirring, the lock-descrambler began to do its work. While this was in progress, he pulled out a quiet drill, and made a small hole at a carefully selected point in the wall, close to the ceiling. The resistance was subtle but detectable. Drywall.. wood... plastic.. wire. A slight crackle and the sharp scent of ozone indicated that the desired lines were now severed. There was but one more obstacle to be overcome, in the form of a scanner that demanded any potential visitors provide a valid hand-print.
As it happened, a patrolling guard sporting rank insignia more impressive than his contemporaries came strolling down the corridor, towards the room occupied by these two menacing un-friendlies. Just before he reached doorway, two things happened:
-The burglar on rear guard sidled up next to the door, left slightly open apurpose.
-The lock-cracker beeped softly, just audible at the other end of the room.
The footsteps of the guard paused. He furrowed his brow, uncertain if anyone was to be guarding the room at this very moment. Curiously, he nudged the door open, one hand on the doorknob, "Hello..?" He called, expecting to see two men manning the posts they were paid to guard.
He saw two men, sure enough. Just not the ones he wanted to be seeing.
Abruptly finding himself caught in an iron-strong choke-hold, the guards hand convulsed on the doorknob, as stars began to flit across his vision. His assailant grinned unkindly, and his free arm looped his rifle over his shoulder, in favor of a large, wickedly sharp knife.
Suffice to say, they found their hand-print access.
Thoughtfully leaving the severed hand in a desk drawer, and the now deceased guardsman in a closet, the two men reverently opened the doors to reveal a tidy sum of cash. Cash garnered from less-than-honest dealings, estimated to number upwards of sixty thousand. With equally greedy, beaming smiles, they got to work loading the cash from shelves and into a large chest that was laying unused off to one side in the room. With the haste of men that had a fervent desire not to be caught, they loaded up the chest in short order and began to hustle back along the path they came. Haste was now a greater priority than stealth.
This was a strategy that seemed to be serving them well, until they were almost to the service entrance that they'd snuck in, when a voice called out behind them, "Hey! Where do you think you're going? Show me yer hands!"
The two thieves slowly eased down the chest and began to rise. Whereas the rear guardsman was thinking of likely tales that this guard would believe, the second man gave an evil grin. After the order to show his hands, what was left but the obligatory resisting arrest?
Hand ducking under his coat, he glanced over his shoulder and aimed his pistol, firing from the hip. The guardsman made a choked sound as a bullet impacted into his chest, and all attempts at stealth were abandoned as the two men began to run flat-out towards their waiting transport.
A few moments preparation and they were lifting off, chortling smugly to one another as they figured they were getting away relatively scot-free. However, someone must've upgraded the defenses of the compound, because as they were making preparations to arc upward into the atmosphere, anti-aircraft fire began to swarm around them, tracers lighting the night in an obscene parody of a fireworks display. The first of the warning alarms in the cockpit began to sound, as the fuel reserve took a hit and began to deplete, along with the hydraulics gauge falling at an alarming rate.
Swearing, the two men knew that they needed to unload some of the weight of their aircraft. While the point-man-turned-locksmith-turned-pilot fought to keep them in the air, his partner began to rip out anything and everything that was non-essential to getting away from this place. The regulator for the life support went out the back hatch, as did the seats, the safety gear, the doors on the lockers.
It wasn't enough. The two men exchanged pained looks. There were few things left that could be tossed out, and unfortunately it was the box they came in with. As they limped over one of the clusters of civilization, a box fell gracefully out of the back hatch, tumbling end over end until it shattered in the town square. Frightened people began to assemble, their fright converting quickly to avarice when they realized what had just scattered as far as the eye could see.
The aircraft began to handle better, but there was still a struggle to be had, just a hair more weight to be dropped. The copilot sighed at his partner, and stood up to look around the rear of their plane to see if there was anything else that could be jettisoned.
At that moment, the pilot jerked sharply on the yoke of the controls. His partner was caught totally unawares, and tumbled from the back of the plane with a scream of pure, unbridled rage, fueling his howl of indignant fury to the point where he still had the breath to roar, even as he fell through a thicket of trees, a branch catching his eye and costing him half of his eyesight for the rest of his days, until he hit the ground. Broken and bleeding, knowing that he would be found and punished, his only thought was for revenge on the partner that had betrayed him so thoroughly.
Jayne Cobb gave a cruel half grin as he limped the plane up and out of the atmosphere, taking himself away from the Canton Factory Settlement on Higgins' Moon. It pained him some to have to leave behind that much scratch, but he was quite willing to get away with his hide intact. In fact, he took it in the spirit of the season.
"Merry Christmas, Stitch Hessian," He growled.