Chapter 1: All According to Plan

Somewhere in the Future

Paris, France

Fives hoped he didn't have to kill anyone tonight.

He slid a fresh magazine into his 5.56 millimeter AK-12 assault rifle and tugged back the charging handle to chamber a round. The AK-12 could pump out 650 rounds per minute and had a standard magazine capacity of 30 rounds—though Fives had opted for an extended magazine holding 45. A holographic weapon sight was also mounted on a Picatinny Rail to the rear, allowing for faster target acquisition. It was undoubtedly a perfect killing weapon…

But the man who wielded it was no killer.

Fives was a thief. A career criminal. Oh sure, he had used a gun before. Waved it in front of bank tellers, shot out the tires from armored vans, maybe let loose a burst into the air to scare off any nosy civilians. But killed in cold blood? No, that wasn't him.

But tonight Fives might not have a choice. There were just too many ways this job could go wrong…

The Juliet-Argent store of Paris was arguably the most secure diamond store in Europe. The store spent tens of millions on defenses against nearly every possible scenario that could be conceived by criminal elements, and they liked to let the world know it. Investors flocked to the company, eager to obtain stock shares in a company that did not lose its products to "unforeseen circumstances". The extra security was the pride of the company, allowing it to become the fastest growing jewelry companies. After all, when the walls of your fortress are unscalable, why not let the world know?

Tonight, a commercial van from General Électricité electric company was parked across the street from the store. The van was stolen, of course—it is never wise to use one's own property when committing a crime—and contained considerably more than just electrical equipment.

"Fives, you alright?"

Fives looked to his right to where "Ace" was attaching a belt of bullets to his 5.56 millimeter Heckler & Koche MG4. His cold steel-grey eyes searched Fives's in the dim-light of the van, searching for any sign of faltering.

Ace was an old timer, a veteran in their chosen form of capitalism. Fives didn't even know his real name but his reputation preceded him when he had introduced himself to Fives in a seedy bar in Morocco.

Across from them sat "Sevens", a man with a gaunt face and grim expression as he cocked his MP7, and "King", a giant of a man with an oddly jovial grin as he loaded his 12 gauge automatic combat shotgun. They were all armed to the teeth, with each man holding enough ammunition for an army in the pouches of his load bearing vest. Hopefully they wouldn't need the extra bullets if all went according to plan.

Fives nodded breathlessly, his every nerve tingling. He was new to the group, and compared to the rest of them, Fives was an amateur. Sure, he had robbed his share of banks, armored trucks, and jewelry stores in Mexico and North America. He was good at it too, made a few million and retired to Morocco. But never in his wildest imaginations did he see himself here, next to a legend, robbing the most secure diamond store in Europe. "Yes sir, just the adrenaline kicking in."

Ace nodded in approval and turned to the rest of the men as he ran his gloved hand through his short white hair. "Remember," his voice was like cold iron as he addressed the group and the barest hints of a cockney accent could be heard, "We'll be in and out in ten minutes if all goes according to plan. Sixes will be waiting in the van for the getaway. Donot fire unless forced to, we can't afford to waste time collecting shell casings." He glared pointedly at King. "That means you, my friend."

King's massive shoulders seemed to do the wave as he shrugged. "Die mollige Mann wurde danach gefragt! "

Ace turned back to the rest of them, his eyes cold and forbidding. "Everyone ready?"

They nodded.

"Then don your hard hats, let's make some money!"

The four men slid on white hard hats—the kind that electricians or construction workers would wear. But these were no ordinary helmets. They served a dual purpose. Not only were they reinforced with kevlar, but the tinted visors that covered their faces would conceal their identities.

Fives could feel the other men grow tense, and even King seemed to take on a more serious persona. They were all professionals. Career criminals. If anyone could execute this operation, it was them...

With a little bit of help from their friends from across the Atlantic.

Across the Street

"...And this, mademoiselle, is a four carat diamond ring from our Artisan collection. Note the 18 karat rose gold vine filigree and saphires surrounding the diamond as well as the platinum prongs holding the gems. Looks marvelous , oui?"

"Oh, but Jacques, how can I ever decide?"

Jacques Bonheur smiled, more at the woman's strapless dress than at her response. "You may take your time of course, Amelia. We shall be closing in twenty minutes, but for such a ah... loyal customer as yourself, I'm sure I can arrange for you to stay a little while longer."

Amelia smiled up at the aging store manager, her long lashes fanning the air in front of them. "Oh thank you Jacques! I'll be sure to pick out the best!" She gushed.

Jacques smiled and left the young lady examining the display cases. It was a quiet night today, and only four customers wandered about the store's showroom. The showroom was richly decorated: black and white marble tiles cover the floor, a red velvet carpet that looked like it came straight out of Hollywood covered the ground around the door, and walnut tables and counters held up the bulletproof glass display cases.

Soft white light shined down from the ceiling... except for a portion of the store in the back. Jacques frowned at the flickering lights. They had been that way for an hour, and it was making Jacques tear what hair he had left on his head out in frustration. His staff liked to tease him, claiming that he was obssesive compulsive, but to Jacques, the lighting was as important to the store as the diamonds...

Especially with the special guests they were expecting tomorrow.

He smoothed the front of his black silk suit and took a deep breath to compose himself as he walked towards the center of the showroom where two of his staff sat behind a curving counter. "When will we be getting the lights fixed?" He inquired in French, "It looks very unprofessional to have broken lights, no?"

"I already called the electric company, Monsieur Bonheur, they should be on their way now to fix them."

Jacques nodded in approval. "Very good, it is essential to have this store looking at it's best when the investors arrive tommorow." Jacques paused for a moment, then continued, "I also think it prudent to move the new inventory from the vault into the display cases tomorrow morning. We must have our finest jewelry out on display!"

"Of course, Monsieur Bonheur."

Jacques was about to leave when he noticed movement out of the corner of his eye, and he turned to look out of the store's windows. A van was parked outside with the General Électricité electric company logo plastered on the side. Four men wearing hard hats were approaching the store carrying large duffel bags. His face lit up and he turned to his employees excitedly. "The electric company is here! Buzz them in please."

The doors to the store were locked throughout the day. Guests had to be "buzzed in" by an employee at the front desk, and the guests could walk in through the temporarily unlocked doors. Unfortunately for Jacques, in his haste to repair the lights in the store, he failed to notice the fact that their helmets had tinted visors covering their faces… or the unusual bulges underneath the men's jackets…

The four men burst through the door like a vengeful torrent of water through a dam. The man at the front of the group abruptly pulled a short barreled machine gun out of his jacket with sudden violence.

"Everyone get on the bloody ground! This is a robbery!" The man shouted, breaking the peaceful stillness of the store that had existed only moments before.

Panic and fear spread like buckshot. Amelia's shrill screams pierced the air like a knife, and Jacques's employees immediately dropped behind the counter, as if the air in front of them had already filled with bullets. The store's security guard standing by the door took one look at the assault rifle pointed at his face and took his hand off of the Beretta strapped to his hip as he got down to the floor.

Jacques was left standing in the middle of the store. His eyes staring in disbelief.

The man holding the machine gun took a few threatening steps toward Jacques. "Hey, old man, are you deaf? Get on the ground! Now!"

Jacques was finally yanked back into reality, and he scowled as he got down to his knees. "Fools!" He growled, causing the four men to give pause. "Do you not know that this is the most secure diamond store in all of Europe?"

As he spoke, five turrets, detecting the shapes of weapons unregistered with the store's database, popped out of the ceiling and locked onto the robbers. The four men froze, and Jacques scoffed at their lack of foresight. Each turret was equipped with a metal nozzle that would spray a high-powered stream of highly conductive liquid solution: consisting of water, Sodium Chloride, and Acetic acid. At the same time, an electrical current would travel from the turret, through the liquid, and onto the thoroughly doused victims, delivering a shock comparable to that of a Taser. In a few seconds, the four men would be reduced to wet, quivering messes.

However, just as Jacques thought the turrets would fire, all five suddenly fizzled out and slumped downwards dejectedly, like hunting dogs that have failed their masters.

Jacques could feel his jaw unhinge and hit the floor. "Impossible!" He sputtered, "The systems are fail proof! I checked them myself!"

The robbers relaxed and then sprang into action. The man holding the machine gun began issuing orders to the others, "All according to plan! King! Crowd control! Sevens! Fives! Deal with the windows and get the merchandise in the bags!"

The four men proceeded to fan out with military-like precision. The man Jacques assumed to be "King", gesticulated wildly with his shotgun, and stalked around the room shouting obscenities in German as he gathered all of the cell phones as well as personal jewelry from the customers and staff. King then forced everyone lay down in the center of the room. He pointed his shotgun at them. His meaning was clear. Move and you die.

The other two men, "Sevens" and "Fives", set their duffel bags down by the large glass display windows. They unzipped the bags and a large canvas screen unfurled from each bag to cover the windows. The screens would project holographic 3-D images of the interior of the store so that to the outside observer, it would look like business as usual inside. The two men then took out glass cutters from their belts and set to work cutting out circular holes in the glass display cases. There was supposed to be an active denial system in place beneath the glass to keep intruders out, working by using tiny transmitters to fire electromagnetic beams in a sort of protective shell around the jewels. They would generate an intense burning sensation underneath the surface of the skin but would not cause permanent damage. However, in addition to the turrets, the active denial system seemed to be out of commission as well.

Jacques couldn't believe it. One of the most expensive security systems in the industry rendered useless by what? A power outage? EMP? But that was impossible; the circuits were protected from electromagnetic surges. What was even more curious was the fact that no alarms were going off, silent or otherwise. What was going on?!

Jacques could feel the life leave his limbs. Everything that was once certain was suddenly not. If the millions of dollars' worth of security had failed to protect them, what could?

The man with the machine gun moved closer to Jacques and grabbed him roughly by the arm and dragged him to his feet. "You, old chap, are coming with me!" he snarled into his ear. Jacques cringed. The man was so close that he could actually feel the heat from his breath.

The man half led, half dragged Jacques out of the showroom and into a hallway. Doors on either side of the hall led to the jewelry store's offices, while at the end of the hall was a steel elevator door. The man jabbed the "down" button with his thumb, and the elevator opened with an ironically cheerful "ding!"

"Get in," The robber said as he shoved Jacques inside.

Jacques smoothed out his suit and tried to maintain his dignity, despite the cold sweat pouring down his face. The interior of the elevator was spotless, with black tiled walls and a shining control panel. The control panel had only two buttons, one that would lead down into the vault, and one for the ground floor. Below the buttons was a keyhole and handprint scanner.

Jacques felt the barrel of the machine gun prodding him in the back. "Take me to the vault."

Jacques took a deep breath. "No."


Jacques's heart rate jumped up considerably. He swallowed and thought about all the wonderful patterns his insides would make on the interior of the elevator. But he had to be brave. He couldn't let these bandits just waltz right out with all of the jewelry from the vault. "The handprint scanner has a heartbeat sensor. You can't kill me and you can't force me to do it."

The man turned Jacques to face him, roughly slamming him into the wall as he did so. The barrel of the machine gun jabbed painfully into Jacques's left kidney. The man's face was only inches away from his, and Jacques could feel the man's rage spilling out from behind the pitch black visor. "Listen, you self-righteous prig, I will spread your bloody guts all over this elevator, and in the last moments before your heart stops, I will smear your bloody handprint all over the scanner…"

He leaned closer. "Ask yourself, are you really willing to die for your employers?"

The man was right, he wasn't. Jacques shakingly withdrew a set of keys from his suit jacket pocket and inserted it into the keyhole. He then placed his hand onto the scanner above. A green line moved up and down under Jacques's hand. It seemed like an eternity before the whole thing lit up green, accepting Jacques's handprint. Jacques looked back at the man for confirmation, and the man nodded.

Jacques sighed and thumbed the button for the vault.

The elevator doors opened a moment later, and Jacques was unceremoniously shoved out.

The vault was a relatively small room, comparable to a small apartment. A heat and motion sensor lay useless on the wall to the left. Steel cabinets covered the walls across from the elevator and to the right, with keypads next to the handle on each one.

Unfazed by the keypads, the man strode right up to the cabinets and started to pull them out one by one, the magnetic locks helpless to stop him.

So much security… useless, just useless,Jacques thought as he leaned back on the wall across from the man and slowly slid to the floor, a broken man.

"Fives, what's your status?"

Jacques looked up as the man emptied the last of the drawers into his duffel bags. The man listened for a moment to an unseen speaker in his ear, and nodded. "Good, I'm coming up now."

The man shouldered the duffel bags, and moved towards the elevator. Dazed, Jacques said incoherently to him, "You're not going to kill me?"

The man thumbed the button for the ground floor and looked back at him, "Do I need to?"

Jacques looked around the empty vault. "No. I suppose not." His employers were going to do much worse to him.

The man nodded, and stepped into the elevator. He turned to face Jacques, and the last thing Jacques saw of him was the reflection of his own face in the man's visor staring back at him.

Author's Note

I'm back bitches!

Sorry for my long and unannounced hiatus. If you arrived here because you were a fan of my previous story, Vanguard, I thank you for your loyalty but I will not be continuing that project :(

With that said, I have spent the last four months slaving over school work and developing a new plot, Source Kill! This story I feel is infinitely better than Vanguard and I hope you all have enjoyed the first chapter.

With that said. How did you feel about it? Was the action nicely paced? Did you feel your heart beating in your chest with every sentence? Was the dialogue believable? Was the logic sound? And how was my god awful grammar?

If you could leave a review I would gladly appreciate it and return it in kind. If you do manage to find a grammatical error, I apologize in advance. Grammar has never been my forte, just politely correct me and I will fix it as soon as possible!