Where else but a heavily armored vault is the mad genius likely to find such delightful loot as the life savings of widows and old signed baseballs, worthless stock certificates and stacks of gold ingots, gemstones and trade secrets? Whereas in ancient times, vaults involved only a large rock rolled across the mouth of a cavern, only on rare occasions guarded by a djinn or other supernatural guardian, nowadays an intruder is likely to encounter sophisticated technology backed up with a sturdy structure built to withstand nuclear munitions. On the other hand, the kinds of treasure people are putting under lock and key is usually superior to the petty baubles that passed for opulence back then. In the end, analysis teaches that obtaining access to the contents of an overgrown lockbox is fundamentally little more than a straightforward extension of your other nefarious schemes.
- Casing the joint. It is important to learn all that one can about the treasure chamber ahead of time so that one can devise countermeasures for each defense, whether from blueprints, first-hand observation, bribery of insiders, or remotely operated probes. The chief hazard in this phase is the possibility of tipping your hand to the defenders of the keep, who would then have time to prepare additional surprises for you. Some very confident criminals have put forward the opinion that this risk justifies the opposite approach of preparing in a general way for the most likely sorts of barriers one is likely to encounter, trusting that the element of surprise will allow them to apply overwhelming resources to the problem. Some of these individuals have even gotten away with this.
- Secure the area. You will need to have sufficient time and space to work undisturbed on the problem at hand, and usually the longer you can work undetected the greater the chances for success. Diversionary tactics can range from staging mock attacks on other vaults controlled by your adversary to timing the strike to coincide with a popular mass sporting event. You may also wish to invest in ways to cloud the minds of any opposing staff or incapacitating them with one or more attacks at your disposal.
- Exploit your expertise. Generally the key to breaching a vault is technically so arcane that it takes a specialist to make it work, whether we are talking about picking a mechanical lock with a thousand tumblers, injecting nanotechnology into the geologic substrata, or directing an antimatter beam at the weakest point on the perimeter of the chamber. These individuals can be fussy and unstable to supervise, though if you can establish their precise cravings and terrors, this may be enough to keep them on a productive trajectory for you.
- The getaway. Once the difficulties have fallen away sufficiently for you to get your black-gloved hands on the items of value, the phase devoted to getting away with the goods begins in earnest. If your forces have made their presence known by tripping an alarm, as is likely, it may be time to send out decoys to divert the opposition, or else designating part of your force to stage a last stand which will be ultimately doomed to failure while the booty is spirited away. Here the fog of war is on your side as you seek to mislead and confuse the target's forces as to what exactly you are in the process of carrying off.
Strokes of genius
- Lock vulnerabilities. It is traditional to think about acoustic detection of the tumblers lining up within a lock by means of a stethoscope, but there are many other ways to see what is going on: x-rays, clairvoyance, dowsing rods.
- Check the obvious. It seems too good to be true, sometimes, but there are times where sheer luck can accomplish things which cannot happen any other way. It costs virtually nothing to check whether the door to the safe is improperly latched or slightly ajar, or to look around for sticky notes containing strings of numbers that just might the secret combination.
- Weak secrets. Speaking of psychological tricks to obtain a combination, remember to try birthdays and anniversaries, lucky numbers contained in horoscopes, and the PINs to any debit cards you happen to know. If you can kidnap the operator of the vault, of course, you can speed things along tremendously.
- Spin those dials. If finesse is not working, try to use hyper fast speed to try all combinations of numbers in a brute force manner. Robotic servants are particularly good at this.
- Time locks. Devices which keep the vault from opening outside of normal business hours can be defeated by accelerating time or occasionally by targeting the computer controlling this part of the mechanism. If you have access to alternate universes you may, of course, transport the entire vault to such an alternate base of operations where you will have more latitude in tinkering with the time flow.
Traps for mere fools
- Booby traps. Nothing is more discouraging than opening a safe only to have it disassemble with kilotons of force in one's face. The safecracking mission must be choreographed to the last detail so as to avoid any pitfalls the defender has prepared for your forces.
- Surveillance video.
- False allies. Beware of mercenaries you have brought in for a cut of the profits (particularly supernatural ones, for some reason) as these tend to be unlikely to honor a bargain.
- Curses. If you believe in them, they will come true.
- Supernatural adversaries disguised as statuary. Distrust gigantic ornamental snakes.
Precious and needful
- Skate key.
- Universal solvent.
- Sound dampening field.
- Source of extreme cold.
- Burlap sacks for loot.
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- Image credit Furto... con scasso? by aldoaldoz
- Image credit Old Bank Vault - 009 by JasonBechtel
- Image credit Cassaforte a combinazione meccanica by psicologiaclinica
Created by: . Last Modification: Monday 20 of August, 2012 22:25:32 EDT by .