I had their attention now, the crew was actually taking this seriously, it had finally hit home to them that I did mean to pull off this heist, and they were starting to figure out just how much money was in it for all of them.
We'd gathered in the Maintenance Room the day after I'd set the timed charges at the Hydro-Dam. Zero had set them up so they could be remote activated to start counting down at any point, giving us a set amount of time after kicking things off. The fact that I'd gone and set the charges had kind of been the last hurdle in everyone else's mind that this was more than just pissing into the wind. Anyone could steal plans and sleep with a croupier (OK, maybe not Zero), but actually setting charges to wipe out power to the entire city of Venturas? This wasn't a game, we stood to make a lot of money, and they weren't fucking around no more.
"While I get as much heat on me as possible," I explained,"Y'all get away with the Green."
"Question," declared Zero, nose up in the air in a way I'd become familiar with. He had an idea and wanted to show off how smart he was,"How does the Mafia normally move cash out of Caligula's?"
"Bingo!" I grinned, because it WAS a smart question, and he'd seen where I was going,"Stripes for Mr. Zero here."
Zero tried to hide how proud he was, Woozie just nodded very slightly while Suzie and Woozie's other man kept they game faces on. The Janitor, though, he was pretty fucking impressed too and didn't mind letting Zero know.
Zero rubbed his shoulder, trying to figure out if he'd been insulted or complimented, while I went on explaining what we was going to be pulling.
"So, we're going to steal ourselves an armored car," I explained,"And respray it so it looks like one of their regular trucks."
"What about the police escorts?" the other Mountain Cloud Boy - Shen Ju Hui, everyone called him Shèjing, which for some reason they found hilarious - asked,"Whenever they move cash around they use police motorcycles as outriders."
"Exactly what I was thinking," I grinned, these boys were sharp today,"C'mon, come with me, and we're gonna do get some cop wheels..."
As me and Shèjing moved down the corridor and Suzie and Zero headed off for the control room where Zero was going to show him any holes he could find in the security system, I heard the Janitor asking Woozie if he was going to stick around.
"Oh, the meetings done?" asked Woozie.
I stopped outside with Shèjing, going over my plan with him. We needed at least four cop bikes for our disguise when we got out of Caligula's with the money, but I couldn't grab one, stash it, grab another, stash it, four different times. That risked leading 5-0 back to the hideout, so the only thing to do was get all four, then stash them at once.
"You get the Packer," I told him, talking about one of the unlicensed trucks that the Mountain Cloud Boys used to transport goods to and from the Casino without the Mafia or Unions getting word,"Hit the Julius Thruway and keep moving. I'll steal the bikes and get them to you."
He headed off, and that just left me with a simple enough job. Find four different police bikes and get them away from they officers.
"I'm a...... Imma.... I'm a rhineschtone..... cowboy!" the drunk asshole staggering/dancing around was singing as the cop stood staring at him, letting out a little sigh. He heard me close the door of the ZR-350, which I'd grabbed out of a parking lot, and he rolled his eyes and shrugged at me and turned back to the drunken cowboy.
"Police business sir, keep back," he said.
"Yes sir," I agreed, walking over to his bike,"I'll stay right away."
"HEY! HEY!" screamed the cop as I drove away,"YOU...... YOU ASSHOLE! COME BACK!"
I grinned, pulling out onto the Thruway, flipping open my phone to put a call through to Shèjing and find out whereabouts on it he was. I didn't need to bother though, as I spotted a Packer Truck up ahead of me, a guy in overalls poking his head out and signaling to me as they lowered the ramp for me to drive up.
"OK!" I yelled down to the window at the guy Shèjing had riding shotgun,"PULL OVER FOR A SECOND! LET ME OFF!"
"CAN'T!" he shouted back,"IT'LL DRAW ATTENTION! JUMP!"
Jump!?! Motherfucker can't be serious!
"JUMP!" I shouted,"YOU CAN'T BE SERIOUS, MOTHERFUCKER!"
"POLICE GONNA BE LOOKING FOR A BLACK DUDE ON A POLICE BIKE!" he shouted,"IF WE'RE DRIVING THEY WON'T NOTICE! IF WE PULL OVER, WE STAND OUT!"
"FUCK YOU!" I shouted.
"YEAH!" he agreed, throwing me a thumbs up,"GOOD LUCK TO YOU, TOO!"
I moved down the ramp, trying to figure out a way to get off of the Packer without tearing my legs clear of my body. A car was coming up on the passing lane, and I figured it was my best chance, taking a step back and then taking a running jump, landing on the hood and stumbling forward, throwing my hands against the roof as the driver inside hit the brakes in a panic and I tried to keep from being thrown clear.
I slid off of the top as a Black Cheetah skidded to a stop behind us, and I moved fast, not giving the driver of the car I'd landed on a chance to pull his heart out of his balls and figure out what the fuck had happened to him.
I pulled up off of the Thruway and back onto the city streets, seeing the driver in my rear view standing on the side of the road, arms at his side, just staring after me, not sure what the fuck had just happened to him.
Only 15 minutes later, I was sitting outside a Medical Centre staring at a cop sitting on his bike, drinking a coffee. I'd tuned myself into the Police Band, and could hear them talking, sending officers out on calls, directing them to emergencies, warning that a bike gang had been seen driving into Venturas with a history of troublemaking.... and telling people to keep they eye out for a black male on a stolen police motorcycle.
The Cop shook his head and tossed his empty coffee cup aside, starting up his bike and pulling out of the Medical Centre. On the Police Band, they were reporting a man found on the side of Julius Thruway suspected of intoxication after telling a crazy story about a man leaping through the air and landing on the car in front of him, then stealing his own vehicle. I grinned, thinking that Venturas Cops should know as well as me that ANYTHING could happen in this town, then set about trying to figure out how to get the bike away from the cop.
What I finally came up with... wasn't too subtle.
The Cop staggered to his feet as I walked from the wreckage of the Cheetah towards him, shaking his head as he tried to clear it, trying to figure out what the hell just happened to him.
"What the he-" he started, turning towards me, and I decked him, sending him crashing into the ground and just moving right on past him, hauling his bike off of the ground, hopping on and driving away. with any luck, by the time he recovered and reported in, I'd have dropped the bike off on the Packer and be on my way to getting the next one.
This time I'd had Shèjing move lanes, which meant slowing down, which meant I'd been able to jump clear without bouncing down the Thruway. I rushed up the side of the bank by the Thruway and vaulted the fence, moving through a parking lot on the lookout for a car to steal or jack. A Red Fortune caught my attention and I broke in, wiring the ignition and heading out on the lookout for more Police bikes, wondering if the cop I'd jacked had reported in yet. As I shifted the radio tuner hoping to find the Police Band, a honking horn got my attention and I looked up to see a police bike, the cop on it motioning at me to move along. For just a second I considered getting out and knocking him clear, then I happened to turn and saw the building I was sitting outside of, and realized that would be suicide.
Las Venturas Police Headquarters.
I drove on and the Cop turned his bike onto the square outside the station, parking it and getting off, waving to another 5-0 walking across the square. I turned the Fortune into a parking spot outside one of the little shops stretching up the road, got out and made my way carefully back to Police Headquarters, wondering just how crazy I was to be trying what I was about to try.
After another fun adventure getting off of the Packer, I climbed over a hedge running alongside the top of one of the Thruway Banks, and found myself face to face with fate. The hedge separated the exterior of one of Venturas' fine hotels from the noise of the Thruway, and sitting outside of the hotel? A cop on a motorbike.
I vaulted the hedge and started moving towards the cop who was staring off in the distance frowning at something. I was thinking I'd just elbow his face and fling him to the ground, then take his bike, when I heard a low rumbling noise and realized it was what had the cop frowning. The rumbling was getting louder, what the fuck....
I hauled a brother out of his Previon and jumped in, peeling away as he shouted at me, chasing the cop who was chasing the bikers, they ones I'd heard about on the Police Band earlier. He was shouting and waving at them to pull over but they was paying him no mind, and when I pulled up alongside him he looked confused, what the fuck did I wan-
I moved around the Previon and booted the cop in the chest as he tried to pull himself out of the smashed up bus stop, then hopped onto the bike and pulled away, heading straight for the Thruway. As I drove, I heard the report coming over the bike's radio, and what I heard made me laugh. They was blaming the bikers, and putting out an APB for them.... we was in the clear!
Shèjing drove away and I headed down the street, happy with another day pushing forward towards the heist. Everything was going perfectly, all we needed now was the Armored Car. There was just one small problem, armored cars were like gold in Venturas, and guarded carefully.
I knew exactly where to find an armored car.... I just had no idea how to get it.