Something that most people, even a few of the younger Heroes, didn’t appreciate about the art of subtlety was the amount of a patience required to get the real juicy stuff. An attitude Pulp could understand well since her Subtlety professor in the HCP had gone to great pains to teach that very concept to her; even though her power wasn’t especially suited to the kind of work Subtlety Heroes did; though her mind was an entirely different story.
Which was why, after finding and infiltrating a little fringe and fairly non-social group of the White Boars, she’d had the patience to sit through an amateur hour meeting about a bank heist they were planning to do tomorrow afternoon, instead of just charging in as soon as they showed her their base. The infiltration was simpler than most people would think with how popular dark bandanas, ski masks, hoodies, and coats were among their ranks. And the fact that she had purposely scouted out a group that had members that didn’t socialize much and had people dropping in and out frequently certainly helped.
It wasn’t that it had been a bad plan either; they were aiming for one of the less popular banks but still busy enough to make the job worth it and far away from most Hero bases. They had some strong man muscle, an advanced mind, and even a plasma manipulator to “handle things” if any Heroes came by.
No, the real grating thing about this meeting was that their ring-leader, “Todd”, had been a pathetic speaker. A scrawny stick of a man with stringy brown hair that tried way to hard to act like a boss and command authority. Pulp was pretty sure the only reason any of the thugs listened to what he said was because they got paid and he gave them Super protection from the other gangs. Though he’d been particularly zealous this time about how his goons could handle any Heroes that came to stop them and how they would soon “start cleaning up the streets”.
Pulp shook her head as she fished out a small rectangular black-box from her costume’s pocket and pressed it to the metal door’s frame, there was no reason to keep on the disguise she’d worn during the little gathering to blend in, and disabled the magnetic lock and alarm system with something she knew was similar to an EMP. Then she simply touched and tore apart the ultra-dense metal bars barring her way. The doodad had been the results of a cashed in favor from Intuition, the guy was kind of a smarmy dick but all the connections he’d made over the years made it more than worth it to work with the guy.
She’d been at this job for seven years now, including her internship, and that sentiment had become a bit of a pattern; Some local gang lucked out with a moderately strong combination of Supers with a modicum of teamwork and decided that the rules didn’t apply to them anymore, at least until they ran into Heroes which swiftly introduced them to an entirely new definition of “strong”. Which would be happening to those three Supers soon as she’d notified Dispatch who had swiftly assigned a Hero team to be stationed in the area, hidden and waiting.
“Dispatch, are you sure Landscape Unit can deal with a plasma manipulator? Even a Standard Class sounds like more than a little trouble.”
<Affirmative. I would also appreciate it if you did not mine for power secrets through the comms system.>
“Hey, you never complained when I did it as an intern.” Pulp said with muted and mock outrage.
<Back then you were upfront and not out to trick me.>
Pulp snickered a bit before her thoughts drifted back to the meeting and Todd.
The only really unusual thing about Todd had been that he was a Tech Super, as evidence by the high-tech exoskeleton he’d been wearing and the laser gun holstered at his hip. The same kind that Gadreel had encountered a few days ago; something else she’d have to look into and possibly report on. She didn’t want the Pristine Strikers, well, striking before the opportunity was just right.
Pulp picked the locks of three more doors before she made it to something unexpected; Todd’s workshop. She hadn’t expected to find much here, this was actually the third quasi-base she’d broken into to only to find nothing in the way of leads, but if nothing else her experience as a Subtlety Hero had taught her that persistent was key.
The place was what you’d expect from a young Tech Super with a lot of time and some material on their hands; half-finished machines all around, at least eight partially finished and modified versions of the laser weapons were lying on the two work benches she could see and one spare exoskeleton in the corner.
‘At least the floors not covered in scrap and parts.’ Pulp thought as she immediately went to work, careful of any traps, even looking at the ceiling. A habit she’d learnt to adopt the hard way after eating a blast from a pulse cannon the first time she’d infiltrated a criminal tech Super’s base.
After a half-hour of searching, contemplating just calling in the weapons and all the Supers she had identified, she finally found something. Nothing of any real note had been found in the drawers, on or under the tables, or in the storage closet aside from just more weapons. What had helped her find the treasure was an old trick she’d learned in the HCP and refined with the help of her mentor, Gilda, for quickly searching for hidden compartments. She went along every wall and knocked to try and find any difference in sound, and with a subtle use of her power, she was able to tell how thick a wall really was. And on her first pass around the room after moving the tables out of the way she hadn’t just found a compartment, but an entire room judging from the sound and size of the thinner wall.
Pushing down her excitement, instead of just tearing straight through, Pulp carefully felt along the wall until she found the well-hidden latch and flipped it, causing that particular section of wall to slide away; revealing a small room with a swivel chair and a micro-computer with a monitor.
Taking a deep breath Pulp checked the ceiling, floor, and walls before carefully stepping inside and approaching the computer. “Dispatch, I might have just hit the jackpot. Either I’m staring at a very well disguised bomb or this guy was dumb enough to keep a stationed computer.”
With a nod she slipped out her small black box again and pressed a button at it’s side, causing a usb to slide out from the top, which she quickly inserted into the small terminal. After a few tense moments the computer booted up and she was looking at the file system. After taking a moment to do a little fist pump she immediately set to looking through a file named “Archive” and was nearly blown away.
“Powers, names, contact information, it’s all here…” Pulp breathed, half speaking to Dispatch and herself as wide grin spread across her face.
She’d gotten lucky, this kind of high-profile info usually took weeks to fully uncover, so naturally she began to doubt the what the file showed. This completed what she thought of as the “three P’s of Subtlety”; patience, persistence, and paranoia. People, even other Heroes, had a hard time with following along with the last one. Regardless, she’d probably need to verify that this was accurate; better to be looked down upon than to give inaccurate information and get people killed.
Then Pulp scrolled down and was momentarily confused, then she hit the bottom of the page and her blood ran cold. The connections, names, and objectives; they were all here. And all of it spoke to something much larger going on, possibly on the level of the Sons of Progress; the first ever organization to attack an HCP.
“Dispatch, connect me to Spectrum. He needs to here about this.” Pulp said before quickly downloading all of the data on the computer. Only a subset of folders had seemed to hold prevalent information but she couldn’t afford to not comb over every scrap of data for something this important.