Why Take the Chance?
- February 27, 1968, Mardi Gras.
Lincoln Clay and his friend Giorgi Marcano are in Bayou Fantom making their final preparations for a job they're about to do, robbing the Federal Reserve. Once they're finished they get into the armored truck and make their way to the job. Along the way they discuss the poor sap they left behind. Giorgi asks Lincoln about his time in Vietnam, and he tells a shocking story about a woman who tossed her baby into the water after being told she was only allowed to bring one thing on board the evacuation boat, her baby or the pig she had with her. Her reasoning for this was that she could always have another baby.
As they approach the Federal Reserve, Giorgi tells Lincoln that the guards may not be keen on him carrying a gun, so Lincoln decides to leave it under the seat. He also apologizes in advance for any racial insults the guards may give toward Lincoln and says that if he goes along with it, it's nothing personal.
This Changes Everything
The two pass off their forged IDs and get into the building posing as part of the burn crew bringing in old currency for disposal. They have $238,546, mostly in small bills. The money was supplied by Vito Scaletta, an associate of Giorgi's father who runs the Italian Gang, which represents part of his end of the job.
Giorgi leads the way while Lincoln carries the money to the burn room in the basement. When they arrive Giorgi distracts the guard with idle conversation while Lincoln takes him out, after which they break into the vault room and Lincoln again takes out the guards in there. Once everything is clear, they break into the vault with a combination Vito managed to get his hands on and begin bagging up the cash. Unfortunately Giorgi triggers an alarm when he enters a second secure cage and all hell breaks loose. The two now have to hold off the guards until their friends Danny and Ellis finish drilling their way up from the cistern below.
A Taste of the Action
- February 20, 1968, one week earlier.
Lincoln has just returned home from the war in Vietnam and is greeted by his foster brother and best friend Ellis Robinson. The two share a hug and a cold beer as they catch up with one another then get into Lincoln's Samson Drifter to drive them home.
Along the way Ellis tells of his father's anticipation of Lincoln's return and brings up how he's been dealing marijuana through a friend in Empire Bay behind their father's back. When his friend suggested branching into heroin he decided to suggest it to Sammy and he flipped out, saying they don't need the feds up their ass and he will have no part in dealing dope to children of the neighborhood.
Ellis continues to say he and Giorgi decided to go in on it together and as long as they stay out of Delray Hollow and Frisco Fields their fathers will never know. They'll sell mostly in the French Ward and Giorgi's Uncle Lou won't say a word as long as he gets a taste of the action. When Ellis suggests Lincoln come in with them, he tells him that he's unsure and he just wants to lay low for a while.
As they enter the bar, Sammy is overjoyed to see Lincoln home, and they share a drink and toast as Sammy expresses his pride in his adopted son. Lincoln is also reunited with another one of his mentors, Father James, whom he's known since his days in Saint Michelle's Orphanage.
Father James, also a war veteran, knows what it's like coming home from war. The elation, fear, guilt. Feelings he describes as being trapped in a dark room with no way out, while every fear and nightmare you ever had is in that room with you. One day the door opens and you're free to go. Problem is, you made your peace with your fear and now part of you is afraid to leave it behind. Every soldier has to walk through that door one way or another.
After the homecoming, a tired and drunk Lincoln decides to spend his night in the basement rather than his bedroom, amusing his brother Ellis as he does. The next morning he discovers Sammy and Ellis arguing about money and asks what's going on. Sammy claims he has things under control but Ellis disagrees, storming out of the room.
When Lincoln asks what has Ellis so riled up, Sammy says they're having problems with the Haitian Mob but avoids discussing it further. Instead he sends Lincoln off to help Father James at the soup kitchen. Lincoln had told the Father that he was only home to say his goodbyes and then he was off to California to start a new life working in a shipyard as an apprentice welder; however, this plan changed once Lincoln found out about Sammy's trouble with the Haitians.
Go Down on Their Own
- February 21, 1968, six days before Mardi Gras.
While serving gumbo at the Warm Hearts Neighborhood Kitchen, Lincoln makes small talk with some of Delray Hollow's locals. Suddenly the Haitian Mob shows up and begins shooting the place up. After Lincoln has taken care of them he returns home to get the truth from Sammy about what's really going on.
Sammy explains that six or seven months ago folks in the Hollow started getting robbed, and it didn't take long for them to figure out it was the Haitians. Soon after they went after the lottery, a numbers racket that's the major source of revenue for the Black Mob. Their income from the lottery was impacted to the point that they were three months behind in their kickbacks to Sal Marcano.
While Sammy says he can deal with Marcano, he agrees it's time to put an end to the Haitian problem and sends Ellis and Lincoln to handle it. He explains the Haitians must be holed up in an old shanty town in the Bayou and gives Lincoln a number to call for the weapons. He insists this be done away from there, as the last thing people in their neighborhood need to see is colored people killing each other. He wants it done quiet. He warns them both to be careful because the Haitians are a hard people, not to be underestimated.
Never Going to Be Over
Relying on the skills he learned in the special forces, Lincoln makes his way through the Haitian camp until he reaches their leader, Baka. He tells him he made a big mistake by going after folks in the Hollow, and after a brief tussle he breaks his neck. To his surprise, an angered and emotional woman suddenly appears from a cupboard and begins cursing and beating on his dead corpse. She claims he had kept her prisoner, beat and used her repeatedly; when Lincoln tries to reassure her that it's over, she claims it will never be over, and runs out.
After making his way back out of the camp Lincoln meets with Ellis and the two make their escape. On the way back Ellis explains that this thing with the Haitians has been weighing heavily on their father and that he's begun to think his father no longer has it in him to deal with things anymore. He's afraid that if the day comes that Sammy's no longer around, everyone will be relying on them and they need to be ready. Lincoln insists that's a long way off.
Back at the bar Sammy tells Lincoln how the local news shows the names of the boys killed in the war and how he used to watch and wonder if that was the day he finally sees Lincoln's name on the list. Lincoln shrugs it off, saying that never happened, but Sammy says a man has only so much luck in life.
He lets Lincoln in on a plan to set things right with Sal Marcano and tells Lincoln to meet Marcano at the country club the next day. Sammy explains that he needs to do whatever Sal asks, for all their sake. Lincoln agrees.
As Father James recounts, the thing Lincoln didn't understand was that there was always going to be more Haitians. If it wasn't someone coming after them, it was someone forcing them into a bad situation. Within that lifestyle, it never ends. That's how Lincoln ended up working for Marcano.
...Time to Make a Change
The next day Lincoln meets Giorgi at the country club, and the two spend a moment reminiscing before they join Sal and Lincoln is introduced to Vito Scaletta. Having served in the military himself, Vito inquires about Lincoln service record before excusing himself as Sal and Lincoln get down to business.
Once he's gone, Sal complains about how Vito has been a pain ever since the Commission sent him down from Empire Bay fifteen years earlier. He then explains why he asked to meet Lincoln and goes over the plan for the Federal Reserve job with him. He then brings up the problem Sammy has been having with taking care of business. Impressed with Lincoln's quick action in resolving Sammy's problem, he suggests that it's time to make a change in leadership.
Thinking Sal is referring to Ellis, Lincoln says he doesn't think he's ready to take over just yet. Sal interrupts and lets Lincoln know that he wants him running Delray Hollow and the Black Mob, an offer he quickly refuses out of loyalty to Sammy and everything he's done for him. Sal claims to be a little disappointed but says that he gets where Lincoln is coming from and expresses approval over his loyalty. When Lincoln asks if Sal still wants him to do this deal, Sal says he definitely does and gives his word that when the job is done Lincoln should be more than square with him.
Still Pull This Off
- February 27, 1968, US Federal Reserve.
Back in the vault Lincoln and Giorgi are still holding off the guards as they await Danny and Ellis breaking through from below. After several minutes Lincoln says the guards will cut them down the second they try to leave so Danny needs to get them out now.
Danny gets the idea of using dynamite to blow the hole bigger so the two can drop down to them. Things don't go as simple as planned, as they bring the entire vault down to the canals below, pinning Danny's leg below the rubble.
- February 26, 1968, the day before Mardi Gras.
Thomas Burke, Danny's father and owner of Burke's Iron & Metal, wanted his son to take part in the Federal Reserve heist in the hope that Sal Marcano would forgive him and return his home district of Pointe Verdun to him to run again. He developed the special drill the group was to use to drill through the vault floor and is busy testing it out when Lincoln arrives at the scrapyard. Lincoln and the boys have a beer and catch up, while Thomas goes over the plan with them, explaining how they will need a boat to move the drill into position through the canals. Afterwards Lincoln and Giorgi leave to finalize their plans.
Years later Nicki Burke expresses her disdain for her father and tells how she believes it's his fault her brother Danny died that night.
Damn If This Ain't a Gas
- February 27, 1968, Mardi Gras.
The group are now in the boat and need to escape the police chasing them through the canals beneath the city. When they finally do they head to the streets above and attempt to blend in with the crowd of Mardi Gras revelers as they look for a payphone to call for a ride. Because Danny's leg is badly injured, Lincoln decides to carry him, hoping to pass him off as drunk if anyone notices.
...A Friend in Jesus
As they work their way through the crowded streets they get to a phone and call Sammy, who tells them to meet at a nearby grocery store where he'll have a car waiting. However, it's not long until they realize the police have their description and are currently looking for them. Lincoln decides to split up and let his friends get away while he causes a distraction for the cops.
While his friends head off, Lincoln fires a shot in the air, then leads the police on a chase through the French Ward, eventually making it to his friends in the waiting car; however, Giorgi somehow got separated from them.
After evading the police the three head back to the bar, where Sammy counts it up as a little over 2 million dollars per split and sets aside what he owes Sal, throwing in a little extra for his trouble. As they rejoice and celebrate their windfall, Sammy declares that this isn't just money, it's freedom, and no one will be standing over any of them again.
As they toast their success, Sal and Giorgi Marcano arrive and join in the celebration. Sal recounts how he heard things went sideways and Lincoln had to save their asses, telling Sammy he should be proud of him. While he brings his men to collect his cut, he kisses Sammy once on each cheek as he nods to his son Giorgi.
As Sal distracts the group with calls for celebration, Giorgi tells Lincoln he's possibly the baddest mother fucker he's ever laid his eyes on as he pulls out his gun and tells him he shouldn't have said no as he shoots him in the head. Ellis is then stabbed numerous times by Ritchie Doucet, and Danny is shot in the head by Giorgi while Sal shoots Sammy several times in the back, firing one last round in his head. As they leave Giorgi sets fire to the bar.
Father James doesn't know what brought him there that night. Luck, divine providence, or something else. As he arrives he finds Lincoln barely alive and unconscious on the floor and drags him to safety. As he did so, Lincoln woke up long enough to tell him to call John Donovan, so he did. Making that call is something he's regretted ever since.
Lincoln spends the next few months in a coma recovering, while Father James tends to his injuries the best he can. At the same time, the nation is in upheaval. Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, causing race riots to break out all over the country. Not long after, Robert F. Kennedy is gunned down in Los Angeles, California. While all this unfolds around them, John Donovan uses the time to look into Sal Marcano and the Marcano Crime Family.
When Lincoln finally recovers, Donovan fills him in on what he's learned. The Father tries to dissuade Lincoln from the path he's planning to go down, telling him that none of this is going to bring any of them back. Lincoln explains that it's not about bringing them back, or even exacting some street justice. It's about making Sal Marcano feel what it's like to lose everything, and Lincoln says to watch as he takes it all away from him. Father James gives him one final warning, "This is a one-way road, Lincoln, and once you start down it, there ain't no turning back." As he walks out, Lincoln replies, "You taught us kids to turn the other cheek, not fight back. Problem is, that don't work. Not in the real world."
Completing these missions will end this chapter and open up Thicker Than Blood.