“No,” Peter says, sitting in the pilot’s chair and looking grumpy. “You’re gonna get us all dead. Again.”
Rocket, perched on a pile of metal lockboxes that might or might not contain enough explosives to paint half the galaxy red, snorts and bares his teeth. “When have I ever gotten any of you dead?”
“Are we counting almost deaths?” Gamora asks, not looking up from where she’s fiddling with her lock picks, reprogramming them yet again to shave another half second off. You never know when you might need the time to kill an additional guard or two in creative ways.
(Never, ever ask why all her tools have unnecessary, pointed ends. Never.)
Drax, leafing through a Galactic Cooking issue and scribbling the occasional note into a little book pinned to the wall b his head with a knife, frowns. “He said dead, not near dead. Obviously, it does not count.”
Peter snatches up one of Gamora’s screwdrivers and throws it at him.
“Dude, Xandar totally counts. I was shot in the ass. Xandar counts.”
Drax catches it and throws it back hard enough to break bone. Fortunately, Groot gets there in time, branch shooting out to snatch the tool out of mid-air and gently lower it back into their thief’s lap.
“You did not die.”
“In. The. Ass.” He contorts himself in his seat to point at where the scar lies hidden beneath leather.
Gamora stomps on his foot and then pats Groot’s bark in silent thanks for returning her baby while he glares reproachfully at Peter and Drax from behind his computers.
“I am Groot.”
Peter ducks his head and manfully pretends his foot doesn’t feel numb. “Sorry, man.”
“I am Groot.” Rocket nods agreeably, arms crossed over his chest.
Peter shrugs, waves his hand, whatever. “Cool. But you gotta admit, this plan is insane.”
Their resident tree flutters his leaves. “I am Groot.”
“Oh, come on, you can’t always take his side. He’s nuts!”
The leaves shake harder. “I am Groot!”
“Shut up, Starlord,” Rocket barks. “We’ve done this kind of job a dozen times.”
“Not against Nova,” Gamora points out. She’s finished with her fiddling and is now manically stroking her lock picks with a single, slim, green digit. Kind of like one would stroke a favourite pet. Peter carefully edges away a bit. Just a little. Just what is necessary for survival, in case she tries to kill him with the picks.
(Don’t judge, it wouldn’t be the first time. For a green lady, who happens to have been raised by Thanos, she’s surprisingly thin-skinned at times.)
“That is true,” Drax agrees, flipping a page.
“I have a fool proof plan!” Rocket protests, jumping so he’s standing on top of his stack of boxes, his most menacing snarl on his small face. He’s almost half as tall as a sitting Drax, like this. Only a man who’s never been shot by him would ever point that out.
(His guns are a lot bigger than he is.)
“I am Groot,” comes from behind the bank of computers, where Groot is happily typing away with about seven more limbs than he should, by rights, have.
Peter deflates visibly. “Well then, let’s hear it, Racoon.”
That earns him a snap of teeth as their fearless leader plops back down on his furry ass and crosses one hind leg over the other. “Alright then, listen up, squishies! We’re talking four tiers of security between us and that damn Orb. Level one: physical locks. Gamora, your job. Guards. Drax?”
A grunt and a flick of pages is the only answer he gets.
“Groot, can you get the cams and the lasers?”
“I am Groot.”
“I’ll take it. Which leaves us with the safe. Model SecTem 4000, never been cracked. To get it open, we need the password, which only the head of security has. Starlord, your job. Get that password.”
Peter groans. “Why is it always me that has to meet our marks face to face? You can con as well as I do, Rocket.”
With an impressive eye roll, Rocket points at his own face, pointy teeth bared and fur bristling. Peter slumps.
The racoon nods wisely, straightens his whiskers and snaps his fingers at Groot. “Alright, misfits. Let’s go steal an Orb. Nova Corps is never gonna know what hit ‘em.”
Groot fluffs his leaves. Gamora coos at her favourite tool. Drax keeps reading.