"The Wild Storm - Chapter Twelve": In a warehouse, Jackie King has found a specific box. In the box is a collection of ring binders, and in one of the ring binders is the index for Project Thunderbook, the I.O. group that trained Cole Cash before he faked his death and joined a team of wildcat o

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Cole Cash

The Wild Storm #12 is an issue of the series The Wild Storm (Volume 1) with a cover date of May, 2018. It was published on March 7, 2018.

Appearing in "The Wild Storm - Chapter Twelve"

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Synopsis for "The Wild Storm - Chapter Twelve"

In a warehouse, Jackie King has found a specific box. In the box is a collection of ring binders, and in one of the ring binders is the index for Project Thunderbook, the I.O. group that trained Cole Cash before he faked his death and joined a team of wildcat operators who Jackie is now trying to defeat. However, as she opens the file, a small device sparks and breaks. Jackie pockets the remains, sure that it is a failed incendiary left by John Lynch, who started Project Thunderbook and subsequently tried to bury it.

Later, in their Brooklyn safehouse, Cole Cash and his team are preparing for a mission. The first part of the plan is simple: Adri Tereshkova will teleport into an I.O. blacksite codenamed "Hightower", and release a robot drone the size of an insect using a smartphone app. When it activates the environmental alarms, she is to teleport back to get the rest of them. Adri, shocked by the functionality of the tiny drone, departs.

Meanwhile, across town, at the I.O. headquarters in Manhattan, Jackie King is heading a big Analysis op against Skywatch. Cognizant of the high-stakes nature of the job, she orders all workers present, including Mitch Saunders, to turn their phones off. Miles Craven, director of I.O., walks into the room, and though he is hesitant, he orders the mission to go ahead. A chorus of return-keys being pressed is rewarded, about a minute later, with some of the lights on the big board going green. Jackie explains to Miles that when all the lights on the board go green, that is the signal that they have all the data, and then they will shut it down. Miles' mood perks up, and he hopes aloud that after their recent run of bad luck, maybe they will have a profitable day.

At Hightower, the wild CAT steps out of a closet after the last stragglers flee the alarms. Using John Colt's knowledge of the layout, they go down a stairwell, into the area protected by event shielding. They are convinced that they will encounter no-one... but immediately they meet a group of guards in hazmat suits with guns, which frustrates Cole.

Kenesha, John Colt, and Cole Cash make short work of the guards while Adri hides behind a wall, her senses hampered by the event shielding. When the guards are dead, they move onto the lab doing the "machine telepathy" research. Here, they find 500 human brains, kept alive in jars. Cole is unnerved, but John Colt and Kenesha are unfazed. Kenesha, caressing the main console, deactivates the event shielding, much to the relief of Adri. Looking further, she realises that she has a direct line to the I.O. main servers, which she can use to delete everything tagged as originating in Hightower. Cole is hesitant, but agrees.

Her hacking complete, Kenesha whips out an incendiary she has labelled "explodey!" Cole and Adri disapprove of her enthusiasm for explosives, which leads her to denounce Cole as "the worst human in the history of humans", adding as the group teleports away, "and I am thousands of years old, so, you know, I've met most of them."

On Skywatch's satellite headquarters, Henry Bendix is frustrated by the swarm of North Korean bots that are attacking his network, when he is handed an emergency message from Skywatch Ground Division in New York, who says that her suborned phone microphone led to her hearing that I.O. was about to do something significant to Skywatch. Bendix, coming to the conclusion that I.O. is playing him, orders Blaze to give their crime a cost, by killing one of the I.O. Analysis people.

At I.O., deputy director Ivana Baiul tries to pull rank on Jackie King, but stops when she sees Miles Craven is present. She tells him that disaster has struck at Hightower. Craven orders the site be evacuated, and when he is informed that they have, orders her to start allocating bodies so they can speedily investigate what went wrong.

At this point, Mitch notices that the data link from Hightower is hitting them with a software package which is deleting all of their data they had previously received from that blacksite. Ordinarily, they could stop the software by shutting down their system, but they are currently hacking Skywatch and cannot do that. They are forced to watch as the Skywatch download completes, before they shut down the entire system.

Jackie King, Miles Craven and Ivana Baiul meet in a corner to assess the situation. Jackie underlines her position: Skywatch has no idea what they did, the Hightower hack must be a continuation of previous actions which happened to coincide with their efforts. Nevertheless, the Hightower data, even the parts of it stored securely offsite, are gone forever. Baiul interrupts in to add that the Hightower staff are reporting an on-site explosion. Craven orders that tomorrow, Jackie will personally sift the Skywatch haul, in search of whatever leverage he can use to get Henry Bendix, who he is sure is behind this, to back down. Craven says he has no desire to start a war.

Jackie says that, based on today, they may already be at war.

Later that day, Mitch and Jackie are leaving work. Mitch gets a lift using the Overshare app, but the driver is Lucy Blaze. She drives down an alley, abruptly shoots Mitch in the head, and leaves the dead body in the car, with the lights on.

In a snow-covered rural homestead, a man walks into the kitchen where there is an animal carcass on the countertop. Leaving his gun in a gun rack, he goes to a computer, where he is informed that the "index file" has been discovered. The audience is led to the realisation that this man is John Lynch, former head of I.O., just as he decides to go on a road trip!


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