JUSTICE IN FLAMES
Posted 23 August 2012 - 02:22 PM
|QUOTE (cammi @ Thursday, Aug 23 2012, 13:37)|
|do you mind if I read this as pdf on kindle.|
I don't have a problem with that. The only thing i ask is you leave feedback here, and if you share it with anyone, you share the link to this topic, so i can get some feedback and get credit for my work.
Making a pdf of this or City of Lies (I'd Recomend reacding City of Lies first) is fine.
I might make a PDF version of City of Lies someday, and this when its done. If you want you can also send me a PM with the pdf linked (if you host it) or use dropbox (or whatever its called) and i can link to it in the first post for others to use.
Posted 23 August 2012 - 08:36 PM
I was hoping someone would be killed off in that and when will you reveal who the contact is in L.S
Posted 23 August 2012 - 09:09 PM
And regarding deaths; don't assume that anyone won't be killed off. you might be surprised.
As a step further toward finding out about that contact, have a new chapter:
Niko’s boss was not too happy about their ‘failure’. Rami had explained it all, successfully disarming their boss’s argument that Niko had wanted Karen (Niko would always know her as Michelle) to escape. Yes, they had a history, but she did betray him. Rami was aware of two other people who’d betrayed Niko, and he knew of their fate also. It was unfair to suggest that Niko had a soft-spot for her, and Rami had explained that – firmly but respectfully – to their boss. Eventually he accepted the explanation and the conversation changed to their next assignment.
“I thought it was finished.” Niko said, knowing it was a mistake as he said it. “The mayoral elections are done, what else is there?”
“Back to normal work.” Their boss had said, almost dismissively. Both men had accepted that.
On the other side of the country, Karen was looking around the apartment. They were on the third floor and twelve of the sixteen apartments in the building belonged to members of the street gang. Karen felt genuine security in that, but also knew she wasn’t completely out of danger. Karen, now with blonde hair, cut shorter and styled differently, had found an internet café and made a comment on a video on Electrictit.com. The video was a clip from a Penetrators’ game. Karen’s post innocently praised a certain shot, stating that it ‘flew in like an airplane’. Johnny would check the website and, upon seeing the comment, know that they were safe.
The thing that unsettled Karen was not having access to the office. She was now cut off; she couldn’t gather any more information on her boss’s exploits. She still had access to the office’s secure network though.
The two of them had set out to the internet café. They’d both bought new clothes. Michael was wearing a hooded top and jeans – both of brands popular with the street gangs. He looked like a hip-hop star. Karen had picked up a few dresses and leggings. She actually looked younger now and exposed more of her body – both to commit to the change of style, and due to the warmer climate of the west coast.
“You think this will work?” Michael asked. He had become aware that they looked like a couple, thanks to a comment by the attendant as they entered.
“I don’t know. I'm hoping something’s on there. One of the things I did was book plane bus or train tickets, and that was all done online. Anything electronic payment made will show up on here… I hope.”
“Unless they use a private account.”
“Don’t even mention that.”
It took only a couple of minutes to access the system. Karen began searching through the recent accounting records then exhaled in surprise.
“What?” Michael asked, staring at the screen.
“What do you know, there is something on here. Either he’s become complacent or ….”
“Yeah, what is it?”
“A manifest for a shipment…. ‘…to Francis International Airport, Liberty City.’”
“A shipment of what?”
“I have no idea. Quite a big one – look.” Karen tapped the screen, showing Michael the size and weight.
“He’s actually shipping it through airmail?!”
“Yeah, you’d be surprised how often that’s done. It’s remarkably secure, and they can’t just open the packages when they feel like it, you know.”
“Well we have a paper trail. I'm amazed he’s left that.”
“Oversight probably. He makes the order while Niko and his friend are coming for us, assuming that there won’t be anyone who knows about this.” Karen shrugged. “Apart from us not being dead, there’re not any flaws in the plan.”
“Something that big can’t be moved by a car.” The shipping document listed the dimensions of the packages.
“You’re right – we’re looking at a truck. I need to make a call.” Karen cleared the computer’s history and cookies before logging off. They’d head to the train station and use one of the many payphones to contact Johnny and Luis.
It was Johnny that got the call. He had a ‘clean’ cell phone, one that he used only to receive calls from Karen. He answered it.
“There’s a shipment leaving Francis International.” Karen said, getting straight down to business. “Moving by truck. We’re not sure what it is, but our friend ordered it and is expecting delivery. I think it’d be a good move to stop it and find out what’s in it.”
Johnny nodded for a second before realizing Karen couldn’t see him. “Right.” He said. “Where’s the truck?”
“That’s the thing. We don’t know. The shipment will be coming in to the airport in….” Karen paused for a second, doing some quick math. “About ten minutes.”
“Wait, you’re saying we’ve got to go to the airport and find a truck with cargo in it?”
“That’s about right…”
“That’s crazy – do you know how many trucks will be – ”
“Yes I do. Get a bike or something. Find a truck and look at the driver. If the driver’s Niko, his Israeli friend, or one of the other two, then that’s your target.”
“We looking for one truck out of, what, fifty?”
“They might split it over two or four trucks. I don’t know how important it is, but please try to stop it.”
“Alright. How do I contact you when it’s done?”
Karen had thought of that. She gave Johnny the name of a hotel, one she’d already checked in to. “Call and ask for Laura Stone.” The alias was completely random, contrary to many Vinewood mystery blockbusters.
“Alright.” Johnny said. He heard his brother in the background, saying hi. Relieved his brother was still in one piece, he ended the call. He then turned his clean cell off and headed outside, finding a pay phone to call Luis’s ‘clean’ cell.
Luis’s first reaction was to laugh. Then, realizing this was no joke, allowed his face to turn serious.
“Where’s it going?”
Johnny shrugged. “We just gotta find it and stop it.”
Luis sighed. “This is insane.” He’d already placed the call for two fast bikes. “We’ve got to get to the airport, then check every truck on the road?”
“Yeah but if we’re on fast bikes…”
“Who says they’re sticking to the expressway? If they’re smart wouldn’t they take surface streets?”
Johnny blinked at that. “sh*t, yeah.”
“We don’t even know where they’re going. From the airport they could go north, say toward Bohan; west, either on the expressway or to Dukes…”
“Or south to Broker.”
“Yeah; three options to split up there.”
“Expressway, surface or…?”
“The bridge, bro.”
“So what do we do?”
“I can give Armando and Henrique a call. They can take the Bohan route.”
“It’s a rough area, bro. You think men as good as these will risk that?”
“So that leaves the two expressways and the two surface street options.”
“Yeah, scratch that third option to the south though.”
“It goes nowhere. If they went south, and ignored the surface streets and the bridge, they’d be stuck in Hove Beach.”
“Unless that’s the destination.”
Luis shook his head. “I doubt it bro.”
“There’s nothing there. Something big enough to take a truck to move it?” He shook his head.
“Could be going to the docks.”
“If that was true, why fly it in? Wouldn’t you ship it in?”
“sh*t, yeah. Look, Johnny, we’re going to have to make a guess here.”
“Ok, let’s ignore Bohan – they’d avoid the rough neighborhoods.”
“Forget the Hove Beach one too. The Russians might try to lift it. If I was headed to the docks, I’d take the expressway then go in from the north.”
“Ok, that leaves the two expressways and Dukes and Broker.”
“Two of us, Armando and Henrique.”
“Not quite. Henrique won’t have enough to recognise them. Armando might if he’s looking at photos.”
“We don’t have photos.”
Luis smiled. “Don’t we?”
“I’ve got an idea bro. First we need to find a cop car.” And that’s exactly what they did, finding one parked by the hospital. Luis smashed the window and stepped inside. He began to tap at the police computer. Half a minute later the small screen showed a picture of Niko Bellic. Luis transferred the photo to his phone.
“What’s the name of the other guy?”
“I’ll try R, A, M.” Five seconds passed and a few results appeared.
“Top one.” Johnny said, leaning in through the smashed window. He looked around, suddenly concerned that the cars’ owners would return. “Rami Yalon.”
Another photo appeared, and Luis copied that. The two then hurried away from the car. A minute later their bikes arrived, Luis having told Henrique of their change of location. He also texted the photos to Armando, who he’d told Henrique to bring along.
“What’s happening L?” Armando said, cleverly knowing this was not the time to mock him. “Who are these guys?”
“People we want found.” Johnny offered.
Luis nodded. “Henrique can drive – you’re looking for a truck. Any truck you see, check the driver out. If either of these guys are behind the wheel, call me straight away, and stay on them.
“sh*t, what about the other two?”
“Forget them. One of them looks like a trucker anyway, we’d be pulling over every truck.”
“Right well I got it, L. Where are we going?”
“Airport first. Then I want you to take the expressway toward Algonquin. I hope we find them before then.”
“And if we don’t? Just drive around Algonquin?”
“Yeah.” Luis’s voice lacked any conviction.
“Stick to main roads.” Johnny suggested. “You know, the wider streets.”
Armando nodded. “Ok we’d better go, we gotta find a car first.” Without further conversation, the two men ran off.
“So we take the surface streets.” Johnny said. Luis nodded.
“I’ll take Dukes. You good for Broker?”
The airport had recovered from the incident the previous day – which had unsurprisingly made the morning’s papers – and now sported business as usual, with the exception of a few more police officers. It was typical of most security/law enforcement agencies; closing the barn door after the horse had escaped. Niko felt very insecure returning here, but they avoided the main building, turning to the cargo terminal. They collected the cargo, not knowing what it was, and rejoined the loop’s traffic. Niko had added a cap to his outfit in an attempt to hide his face.
Niko was thankful once they’d left the airport with no incident.
They reached the airport well aware that the truck had probably already left. The bikes sped through the airport loop, splitting up on the west side. Johnny followed the expressway until he could turn off for Broker, leaving the expressway ahead to Luis’s friends. It didn’t take long for him to spot the first truck. He rode up to it, glad he’d put on a crash helmet, as if it was Niko in the truck, keeping his face hidden would be smart. He allowed his head to turn, looking at the truck’s driver.
It wasn’t Niko.
It was the same story for Luis. The truck driver stared at the bike-rider, who suddenly realized how much of a long shot this hunt was.
The search rapidly became tedious. Truck after truck proved to not be their man. Ultimately though, it was Luis who got some luck. He over took one truck and looked back.
He had a hat on, but Luis was sure it was him. The passenger took a look at the bike and Luis became certain they were his men. He turned back to the road and accelerated. He reached a junction and skidded to a well-orchestrated stop. The truck passed and Luis moved to follow, one hand coming up to his head with his phone.
Johnny got the call and immediately turned, opening the throttle on the bike. He didn’t like these Japanese pieces of crap – okay, they might be faster, but he’d take a good old American chopper any day of the goddamned week.
“I think we have company.” Rami said, looking in the wing-mirror. “That biker just eyeballed us, and is now on the phone.”
“I don’t think so. He’s following us, with his phone shoved up his crash helmet.”
“Hmm. What you want to do?”
“Keep driving for now, let’s do some dry-cleaning and make sure.”
Niko didn’t change his speed, nor his direction straight away. He turned onto a side-street beginning the first of several twists and turns, loops and turn-backs. The bike, though dropping back slightly, stayed with them throughout.
“No doubt for me.” Rami said, watching the bike. “Definitely a tail.”
“Hmm. How shall we play it? Lead him to a quiet spot?”
“No, let’s try to end this quickly.” Rami reached for his gun and thumbed the safety off.
Johnny saw Luis first, but was immediately welcomed by the flash and sound of a gun firing. Luis was the first to return fire, his shots missing their target; it was difficult to shoot and ride a bike at the same time. Johnny took longer to react but he too got his gun out.
In the truck, Rami had reloaded and waited for the right moment to fire again. He leant out of the window and took careful aim at the first biker.
Luis felt the front wheel go. He tried to keep the bike steady but it was like holding on to a rodeo bull. The handlebars bounced left and right and he lost control.
Johnny saw Luis struggle for a second before wiping out. The bike fishtailed, the front wheel – now with a shredded tire – clawing at the road in a shower of sparks. Like an angry horse resisting being broken in, the back jumped up, catapulting Luis off of it.
Johnny fired a few shots back at the truck as Luis flew through the air, ultimately crashing through a bus stop. Johnny followed the truck, having slowed down to see if Luis was alright.
“Idiot.” Rami whispered, taking aim again. The second biker had slowed down, but was no longer a moving target. The distance gave him some difficulty shooting, but after this third shot, the biker went down.
Johnny felt like someone had smashed a metal pole over his head. He saw the world tilt and felt his shoulder hit the floor. He’d been in enough crashes to identify the feeling, and immediately knew he was alright. He sat up to see the truck disappear round a corner. He got back on his bike and accelerated to the intersection, following the truck’s turn. He reached the next intersection with no sign of it.
“sh*t!” He said. With no other option, he returned to Luis, who was lying in amongst shattered glass. He was not moving.
Johnny approached the Dominican, removing his helmet as he did so. He was about to set it down when he noticed the dent on the side.
“Must have been where the bullet hit.” He said to himself, counting himself lucky he was still alive. He discarded the helmet, tossing it aside like a child bored of a basketball. He checked Luis’s pulse then decided he needed proper medical help. He reached for his phone and dialed 911.
“Well they’re still after us.” Niko said.
“You think it was Klebitz?”
“Had to be.”
Rami cocked his head with a one-shouldered shrug. “Right build. I think I got the other guy too.”
“That’s what I was aiming for.” Rami turned in his seat to look back at the cargo, forgetting there was no hatch to see through. “I find it frustrating we cannot confirm.”
Niko shrugged, turning the truck onto the bridge.
“Still wanting out?” Rami asked.
Niko shook his head. “I don’t know. I… I would miss it. Despite all the danger, I…”
“Enjoy it.” Rami finished. Niko didn’t respond. “I can admit that I do. All my life I’ve done this work, on both sides of the line. I’ve always been good at it. I’ve snuck into secure military facilities. I’ve assassinated men that were behind more protection than The President.” Rami scoffed. “It’s remarkable how easy it would be to kill The President.” A wry smile crept across this face.
“The trick would be,” Niko said, finishing Rami’s thought, “getting away with it.”
“I have some regrets though.”
“Don’t we all, Niko?”
“I am not foolish enough to pretend to be a good man.”
“A man who truly knows himself lives no lie.”
“Life has not been simple, but I don’t think there’s much I would change.”
“The war perhaps?”
Niko shrugged. “Perhaps. Perhaps something better would have come along. Perhaps we would have prospered on a farm.”
“Talk about undoing wars – I wouldn’t.”
“Well the wars I’ve fought were in secret. They were fought in the dark. There were not battles, only casualties; most of those were to preserve the peace. The ultimate irony – I committed acts of war in order to prevent one. And then they turned their back on me. ‘Thanks for your service, now f*ck off.’” Rami chuckled at the joke only he understood. “We’re old dogs, Niko. We have the experience required to do what we do – and do it well – but it’s a young man’s game. When do we decide that it’s time to move on?”
“People have to make life changing decisions every day. Often the correct decision appears to be the bad one. The right option is the one that’s less appealing. The easy way out, is often a dead end, or a shortcut to something worse.”
“I don’t think I could do the whole nine-to-five thing. If I… retire, then it would be for a life of leisure… But what an empty life that would be.”
Niko shrugged. “I’ve never thought about it. I’ve put all the nightmares behind me, and I had that choice – live the quiet life… We both chose this.”
“That we did, Niko. And do you know why?” Niko shook his head. “It is because we are old war dogs. This is all we know. This is what we do. This is what we are.”
“Would you give it up for the right person? The right girl?”
Rami sighed. “I doubt it; I didn’t before. It tore my marriage apart and killed my son. Yet I still march on, gun in hand. An angel of death, with no master.”
“What do you make of our work then?”
Rami shrugged. “It is just another assignment. Another target. It is not a good idea to allow yourself to have compassion for your targets. I’ve always been able to switch it off when working. Not everyone can.” Niko identified the dig at himself, but elected not to rise to it. “I’ve killed more questionable people.” Rami said with some loose finality. Further conversation was ended by Rami’s cell phone ringing. He answered and, after the short, matter-of-fact conversation, turned to Niko.
“We have another assignment. An urgent one. You’ll never guess where we’re going…”
Click Here to read the next chapter - For Evil and Good.
Edited by Mokrie Dela, 27 August 2012 - 11:03 AM.
Posted 24 August 2012 - 02:43 AM
Posted 24 August 2012 - 08:03 AM
|QUOTE (billy james @ Friday, Aug 24 2012, 02:43)|
|Their going to L.S, I,d laugh if the contact is The Main Character of GTA V|
Haha well I think we know too little about him for that.
The thought had crossed my mind though...
Posted 27 August 2012 - 11:01 AM
That was the word Karen was using in their conversations. Sitting in the safehouse in Los Santos gave her some time to think. Perhaps the distance offered some objectivity, but she’d figured something out. The stolen weapons, the warehouse full of, more notably, explosives, the affiliation with an arms dealer. Her boss – former boss now, she admitted to herself – was gearing up for a war.
A war against who?
It was then, after Michael had phrased the same question but in a different way, that something fell into place. The last job her old boss was looking into before his ‘car crash’ was involving the mayor. And guns.
And it was Michael, fulfilling his purpose at last. She’d gone through his tour of the Middle East, asking about every week he could remember. It had taken hours but finally something had matched up.
“Ramirez’s evidence.” She explained to Luis. “We have been looking at the wrong man. The intelligence guy, my boss, yes he’s the one ordering all this, but who’s he working for? It’s not the mayor, but the now deputy mayor. Ramirez had proof of affiliations of those two. The new mayor has nothing to do with this. The thing that Michael knew, that was so important, was that he could put my boss and the deputy mayor together in the Middle East. A politician and an intelligence agent, at an army base in the middle of such a war-torn country. They were planning something, and Ramirez had something that pointed toward what it was.”
“And what’s that?”
“They’re going to assassinate the mayor. The rising crime rates ensure the right party comes into office. Then the cleanup operation is credited to the new mayor. He gets assassinated, and the deputy mayor steps up…”
“So what you gonna do, take him to trial?”
“It’s too late for that. Had we realized all this before the elections, we could have, but by the time any legal action is taken, it’ll be too late.”
“That must mean you have a job for me.”
“Yes. I want you to go into city hall, and get the mayor out. Don’t ask me how the hell you’re going to do it. Put a gun to his head and walk him out if you have to; we’re out of time.”
“How is he going to do it?”
“If I knew that, Luis, I would send you to stop it. Get him out of danger.”
Luis nodded and relayed the orders to Johnny. After a minute, the biker said he had an idea.
Neither man felt too bad about the murder – that’s what it was, there was no denying it. Some acts could be justified by the end result, but although this served a purpose, it was nothing other than cold-blooded murder.
The man in question was a journalist. Not too big of a loss to the world, both men surmised. They certainly weren’t about to end the life of a world renowned scientist on the verge of a medical breakthrough, or a local hero firefighter.
The journalist was in a café. A cup of coffee sat in front of him, and Johnny sat behind him. Luis, having pointed out that Johnny’s jaw-side tattoo was too conspicuous, had taken it upon himself to do the difficult. The café was busy, and the waiters had to slalom through the crowd to get the orders to the customers. Mistakes were made, though the waiters were, for the most part, experienced and blessed with good memories. Luis wondered if that’s why struggling actors waited on tables; both demanded good memories, though both also have their little reminders, in the form of notepads and Teleprompters. Luis, dressed in a shirt and trousers like many of the other patrons, stood by the staff door. Johnny did well enough to overhear the target’s order: a mochachino and a raspberry muffin. He texted Luis the details and the Dominican kept his eye out for the appropriate order.
Johnny had a simple task – distraction. Like many magic tricks, the secret lay in diverting one’s eyes in one direction, while an act was surreptitiously done in another. The waiter approached the target who was reading something – Johnny hadn’t been able to make it out. With perfect timing – something that had more to do with luck than skill – Johnny raised his hand.
“Excuse me!” He said, a little too forcefully. The waiter turned to look and reacted in the only way a waiter would.
“Bear with me one moment.”
The waiter had turned his head for less than two seconds, but it was enough for Luis to act. He’d been following the waiter and reached out, pouring something in the drink. The pair had done some research on the target – a quick check of his online blog. He was lactose intolerant, and thus had certain culinary needs. In this instance, his coffee was ordered with soy milk. Luis’s act was a simple one, pouring a single-serving portion of milk into the coffee. He managed to conceal the package but not withdraw his hand as the waiter looked round.
“What is that?” He asked, having already planned his excuse. “It smells… interesting.”
“Coffee with soy milk.” The waiter replied with narrowed eyes.
“Hmm. I might get one, it sounds nice. Tell you what, bring me one over and I’ll give you a nice tip.” Money usually negated minor suspicion.
“Hey you said one moment.” Johnny said, playing the enjoyable role of angry customer. “You chatting?”
“Sorry sir, I’ll be right with you.” The status quo was restored and the drink was delivered.
It took several minutes. The man began squirming and went slowly pale. Johnny, while pretending not to look, noticed and leaned in.
“You ok dude?”
“Yeah– no, I…”
“You don’t look too good. You want a glass of water?”
“No, I know what’s wrong… I'm…” The man leant in and sniffed the coffee. “I think they got my order wrong.”
“Don’t like coffee?”
“No I'm lactose intolerant. I…”
“That got milk in it?”
“Yeah.” The man looked like he was either about to pass out or hurl.
“Can I help?”
“I really don’t feel too good. I…”
“Perhaps you should go home.”
“I… perhaps I should.” The man was really pale now.
“You don’t look too hot, man. Is it a good idea to drive? Hell, I’ll take you out and get a cab if you want.”
“Yeah, that’s…” The man gagged and Johnny helped him up.
Outside, however, after explaining to the waiters and any onlookers of the man’s condition, no cab was hailed. Instead, Johnny ushered the man away from the café and down the side alley, where Luis had circled round to meet them.
“For what it’s worth, we’re sorry. The irony is this would be one hell of a story.”
The body was more of an issue. Luis had parked the car – stolen of course – in the alley and they quickly loaded the body into the trunk.
“What was that you put in his drink?” Johnny asked.
“Milk.” Luis said from behind the wheel. “You knew that.”
“Yeah but lactose intolerance doesn’t work that quickly, or that drastically.”
Luis shrugged, shifting. “So I put in an extra little something.”
“A drug Armando gave me. Mix it with milk and it causes it to curdle. Ever had milk curdle in your stomach?”
“Doesn’t that happen with Irish Car Bombs?”
“Yeah it does, bro.”
They drove to a quiet area – a spot on Colony Island – and parked out of sight. Luis grabbed the gun and checked it was loaded. He pulled the slide back theatrically before stepping out of the car.
“You have to give him credit.” Johnny said after he’d opened the trunk. The journalist knew the sight for what it was. His reaction was that of resignation more than fear. Perhaps he was no stranger to firearms. He did nothing other than sigh.
“Out.” Luis said. The man obeyed, perhaps hoping compliance would buy him his life. Luis pointed him in toward the river.
A single bullet was all it took. There was little more sound than the mechanical action of the weapon and a slight pop as the bullet exited the silencer, coupled with the wet crack of the bullet piercing the journalist’s skull. There was no flash either, though one might have been visible in the dark. Immediately the man went limp. The force of the shot, albeit weak in terms of firearms, was enough to send the instantly-dead body to the ground like a felled tree.
Johnny allowed nothing more than a sigh and collected the man’s things. They had to hide the body first, of course.
“That’s the easy bit.” Luis said, once the deceased had sunk to the bottom of the river, a couple of conveniently close concrete blocks anchoring him down.
Rami wasn’t one for taking things on face value. His employment with the current agency – even after several years he was unsure as to its designation – was just that; employment. He had the good fortune to not need the money; what he had tucked away in several off seas accounts, as well as multiple safe houses and stashes, would be enough to support him for the rest of his life – if he lived wisely. But, like many people, he was used to the superfluous luxuries. That wasn’t even it, was it? he’d asked himself on occasion. It had little to do with the money. It had little to do with the finer things in life. He wasn’t high society. He didn’t frequent fancy restaurants, or high-end retail stores. He didn’t care for the fancy bars, though he liked a drink as much as the next man.
The truth of the matter was that it was about the work itself. Rami was a man who was addicted to the rush. His was a tradesman of death. He was a killer of men. Much like Niko.
Friends also came hard to Rami. His work depended so much on anonymity that it practically denied him much of a social life – another reason, perhaps, that he was seemed unable to leave this life. That was perhaps Niko’s downfall; he was too conscientious, too concerned about others, weighed down by the humanity that a social life offers. But it was in Niko that Rami saw something. Not a professional admiration, but a human one. In Niko he saw the man he used to be. He saw the hope, the promise that his career held. With Shin Bet and the Mossad, he was a crusader for the righteous, a crusader for good. But Israel was no perfect country – even the fiercest of patriots had to admit that. Did the Cold War have good guys and bad guys? It was a war out of paranoia. The United States, as much as the Soviet Union, feared annihilation. Such concerns facilitated the creation of more advanced weapons and the advent of nuclear arms, ironically strengthening the paranoia and fear on both sides, as well as the likelihood of the unmentionable, a malignant catch-twenty-two. The Yom Kippur War was no different. His nation was tied with the Soviet-American stalemate, as was Syria, Egypt and their allies. The land that Israel was built upon had seen its share of conflict – perhaps more than any other land. The wars that had been fought there were biblical.
And now another war had begun, and Rami was well aware of that fact. This time though there was no enemy. Their employer was lying to them. Niko had sensed it from the start, and Rami remarked on that irony. He’d preached professionalism, to use the word he disdained, his cold-blooded point of view, detached and objective, had hidden that to him. And now he was aware of it, he had to ask himself if that changed things.
In his mind, to his self, the answer was no. That had been his first reaction. But the truth and the world weren’t as simple as that were they? Niko’s concerns and the ultimate deception of their employer had enlightened Rami to that. Now he found himself questioning things. He would still do his job though, for he was a man of professional pride. He didn’t much care for anything other than that. In his life he’d gained so much, but lost more. Too much, some might say. For a quarter of a century he’d been practicing the art of killing men. At the end of the day, did it matter if his target was appointed by a state government, or a paying customer? Objectivity and detachment were his most useful tools. Rami had never thought to ask himself if he relied on them too much.
But ultimately, beyond the names of his targets, behind all the killing, stood a man. And men had needs. Sometimes, they just needed to talk.
Luis was nervous. sh*tting bricks, as he’d said to Johnny. He saw the security, the hoards of police, swarming around like locusts – or zombies. He saw the more worrisome private security and found himself asking if they were FIB or US Marshalls or Secret Service.
The pass card got him inside. They’d manipulated it to have his image on it, and no one questioned it. Interviews were common place at the moment.
Underneath the deceased’s clothes – Luis had put them on as he had no idea what a journalist would really wear, and doubted a hood would be good enough – he was sweating. Thankfully the man was fatter than Luis was muscular; there was enough room under the clothes to prevent sweat-stains, but not enough for them to appear a poor fit.
Luis was a charmer. He could sweet talk almost any woman and had the confidence to back it up. He wasn’t an unattractive man, his body not overtly bulky, but muscular, an attribute the women seemed to respond well to. His life was perfect really. He had it on tap, without the shackles of a relationship. He had a job with good pay, and had money, but also the time to live life. Working in a club helped him enjoy it and he had most of the day time to do whatever the hell he wanted. Also as the boss, he could leave early whenever he wanted. He even managed to avoid the paperwork side of things; he’d employed someone to do that for him. He was strong and fit too, a good driver and had accomplished a lot in his life.
But this was all uncharted territory. He could woo any girl, fabricate small lies to impress her but this was different. He had to act like a journalist, not just talk the talk, but walk the walk – literally.
It began well. The I.D. fooled the first set of guards and he found himself inside the building, walking down a hallway of polished marble flooring. His footsteps didn’t echo like those of women in high-heels and men in dress shoes. He wore soft-soled sneakers, dark enough to not look conspicuous but more comfortable than shoes.
People looked at him, but in the same way that people looked at others in the street. They saw him there but continued with their day, their tasks holding more importance than some guy in the hallway. He caught the eye of a woman he assumed was a secretary; a slender woman, mid to late twenties, he guessed, her executive skirt almost hiding a good set of legs and, behind a pair of glasses, eyes that held more passion than her job was worth. Her blouse and jacket hugged her body well and Luis felt the pang of lust. He had to ignore it though, as much as he wanted to explore underneath the feminine suit. It was one of his favorite games; stripping back the layers to reveal the body beneath, seeing if his imagination was correct, seeing how well she was toned, wondering what she did to work out, and what styling and grooming choices she made. The quiet ones often turned out to be the best ones too – although he rarely went for the intellectual type, he found that they offered a unique experience.
Luis ignored his primal desires, as difficult as that could be at times, and carried on. It helped that he was nervous about his current role and his ability to do it. Though that often made a man crave some relief, be it through cigarettes, drink or sex, in this instance he was too anxious to want to do it – no that wasn’t right, he wanted to do it but not only could he not afford to, but the current situation might make it a struggle, and he didn’t want to be in the situation where such physical requirements were not risen up to.
The corner of the hallway helped him put such thoughts behind him, and focus on his current job.
“Wait.” The voice was curt and as Luis turned, saw the face that matched it. “Who are you?” Luis said nothing, but held up the pass card. “A journo’.” The man snarled at that word. Well, Luis told himself, who didn’t hate them? “What you doing here?”
Luis shrugged. “Was supposed to be doing an interview with the mayor.” He sighed and looked around. “Security’s tight.”
The man ignored the bait and followed up his line of questioning. “An interview? Just you?”
“Look, the paper I work for is sh*t, alright? I don’t even like it, but if I want to work for the ‘Shopper, I gotta start somewhere. Can you take me to the him?”
The man chewed on that for a moment. “Yeah, I guess.”
A few minutes later Luis was standing face to face with the mayor.
“Who’s this?” The mayor asked the security man.
“Journalist. Here for an interview.”
The mayor frowned. “But I haven’t got an interview planned.” Immediately the security man tensed up and Luis knew he had to do something. He tore off his ID and threw it to the floor.
“F*cking incompetent pricks!” He sighed then picked up his ID. Good acting, bro. “Sorry. The paper I work for… I just want to write for the Shopper. Sports. Instead they got me doing this, and they haven’t even set it up!”
“We’ll escort you out.” The security man said.
“Wait, bro! I'm here now and this will only take a minute.”
The security man looked at the mayor.
“Yeah alright.” He nodded to a sofa where they sat.
“I haven’t got long, so be quick.”
Luis pulled out a folded document from his pocket. It was a printout but it had what was needed. He handed it to the mayor.
“What is this?” The mayor asked, wisely keeping his voice down.
“You are about to be assassinated.” Luis whispered. The mayor blinked. “But not by me. I'm here to prevent that.”
The mayor looked at the papers then to Luis. “Why should I believe you?”
This was the hardest bit. “Because bro, I’ve been through hell over this.”
They mayor’s eyes jumped to the security guard, but he made no other act. “Go on.”
Luis spent the next few minutes explaining everything – from the car crashing into his club to the shootouts.
“How do I know you’re not just trying to get me into the open?”
“Luis Fernando Lopez, bro. I run Maisonette. Look me up if you have to – get a check done on me, I don’t care. I'm here to get you to safety.”
The man almost laughed. “What do you think these men are for?”
Luis kept his face deadpan. “To keep you here.”
The penny dropped and the mayor’s face showed it.
“Everything alright sir?” The mayor’s personal security guard inquired.
“Yes. Everything’s fine. Wait here, we have to discuss something sensitive.”
“Can’t do that sir, our orders are to keep you safe, allowing you out of our sights is a security risk.” The Mayor and Luis shared a look. “It’s ok, we’ll be a minute.”
The man shook his head. “Again, not going to happen. It’s time this man left.”
“But we’re not finished.”
“Yes, you are.”
“What do I do?” The mayor whispered.
“Don’t move.” Luis replied before standing. “Alright man, I'm gone.”
The security guard moved toward Luis, his arm out to usher him from the room.
Luis remembered his cage-fighting days well. Some things never left you, and that sport forced toughness. His hands came up and grabbed the arm on either side, forcing it to bend backwards. The elbow snapped and the man cried out. Luis immediately punched him in the face and he went down, unconscious.
Luis too went down, but came up with the man’s gun, complete with silencer. He fired it at the other two men in the room.
“This is the ultimate test, bro.” Luis said, turning to the mayor. “If I was here to kill you, you’d be dead. We’ve got to go.” Luis even threw the gun at the mayor as he retrieved another. “See?”
The mayor directed Luis to the ‘emergency exit’ – the door that, in the event of a situation, would take him to safety. Two men stood in front of it.
“Where are you going sir?” One asked.
“There’s a security situation here…”
“No sir, there’s not. We have this place secure. Please return to – ” Luis fired the shot that silenced the man, then aimed at the other man.
“Don’t shoot.” The man breathed.
“A bit spineless for a security guard.”
“So would you be with a gun in your face. You’re not going to get away with it you know.”
“Why’s that then?”
“There’s two more men behind this door. Soon as you step out…”
“Thanks.” Luis fired, hitting the man in the middle of the forehead. Perfect. He hoped his sizing up of these men was accuracte.
“Now what?!” The mayor was worried.
“Can you shoot?”
“Yeah, I'm a member of a gun club – ”
“Famous last words.”
“The last guy that said that to me got himself shot ten seconds later.” Luis shook his head. “We go out, you look left. Shoot any of these so called guards you see, ok?”
“Yeah I got it.”
Luis kicked the door open and moved out, the mayor just behind him. He turned right and fired at the man, then looked around for any more.
The mayor had dispatched his man, with three sloppy shots to the chest. No other ‘guards’ were visible.
“How are we going to get away now?” The mayor asked, seeing a man with a gun in the distance point at them.
“Put this on.” The voice was a different one. The mayor turned with his gun, about to shoot when Luis stopped him. The new man, with a tattoo on his neck…
“He’s with us, bro.” Luis said. “Put them on.”
Greenhorn and D’Amico remarked on the audacity of this man.
“Who the f*ck is he?” Greenhorn demanded.
“I don’t know. We should have found that out. Who cares though? We have our orders.”
Johnny snickered at the man, who looked out of place in the biker leathers. The helmet helped conceal his identity, but he still looked out of place.
“They’re leaving.” Greenhorn growled, his gun now out, the carry case to their larger weapon slung over his shoulder.
“Alright, let’s take them down.”
Their weapons were not silenced. The gunshots were loud, their echoes bounced back at them by the wall of buildings. Luis turned and immediately saw the gunmen – the brute and his skinny amante. He returned fire.
The boys were a block away. Too much police and security prevented them from getting any closer.
“Keep your head down, and keep moving.” Luis ordered as Johnny moved ahead. They ran across the road as the gunfire began to turn away from them. Luis allowed himself a look to see the contrasting duo shooting at the police that had tried to stop the gunfire.
Johnny was expecting a huge gunfight, something like in the shooter games he’d seen. But all they did was run to the bikes, stashed out of sight. The bad news was that the brute and his partner had picked up their trail; the latter had stolen a car after he’d seen the bikes.
“Quick!” Johnny shouted, manhandling the mayor onto the back of his bike. Luis returned fire again before getting on his. Seconds later their bikes roared to life and bolted onto the road, Luis covering the rear.
Police had joined what had become a chase in seconds. Greenhorn was shooting his submachinegun out of the window and Luis was awkwardly returning fire. He wasn’t a fan of big choppers, and the Lycan beneath him felt clumsy and slow.
The sight was something to behold. Pedestrians were screaming and fleeing from the sound of gunshots as the two bikes approached the intersection, behind them four police cars, five police bikes and the plain car leading the chase. But the sight that took their breath away was what had been waiting in the two side streets. On seeing the bikes approach, a man had set off a flare and from the two side streets, a torrent of bikers poured onto the road. Members of The Lost Motorcycle Club’s Broker chapter and the Remnants MC joined the two bikers, each bike holding two men. The passengers had one communal role – to shoot. More bikes came out of the alley ways, and within seconds the bikes had surrounded the mayor and Luis, as well as coming up from behind the police.
The sound of gunfire was like nothing Luis had ever heard. He’d worked in loud nightclubs for years, but this was louder – much louder. It sounded like twenty death-metal songs playing at once, all out of sync. The police and N.O.O.S.E vehicles were instantly overwhelmed as the bikers began shooting. But despite their numbers, the men were exposed. The police shot back, slowly beginning to eliminate the bikers close to them.
Greenhorn kept his gunfire forward. The bikers behind him were focusing on the police who had stepped up and given them a fight. Those in front of him were shooting too – mostly with pistols or submachineguns – but the nature of being on a bike impeded their accuracy.
Every biker knew their destination, and what lay in wait for them. Like a flock of birds, they turned north, as did D’Amico, who was also firing his gun. No one here had infinite ammo, and the biggest question was who’d run out first. It didn’t take a clairvoyant to work that one out.
Johnny wondered if this was what Michael had witnessed in the Middle East. It was chaos, no other word would do. The noise had deafened him and the shouts of bikers, the mayor and pedestrians were silenced. He hated the risk that these bikers had been exposed to, but biker gangs were brotherhoods – something that Billy had lost sight of. Mess with one of them; you mess with all of them.
The car’s windows were gone, shattered by multiple shots. Both men were shooting wildly, their aim as dynamic as possible. Greenhorn’s shots were slowly taking the men out – through luck mainly. One by one the bikers began to fall, but as the men began to develop an advantage, the car cut out, thick black smoke rising from the hood. The bikers passed, followed by more police cars.
D’Amico was out first, shouting for Greenhorn to follow with the heavy carry case. It took mere seconds, but they’d stolen another car and began to play catch up.
“Ignore the police.” D’Amico shouted. “Take those bastards down!”
The swarm of bikers was now half its size. Those that had wiped out and survived would flee – very, very quickly.
Johnny turned on to the bridge with the dozen bikers around him. He was following the two lead bikes, flanked by two more. Those at the front had one task – to take out any road blocks. A grenade launcher did that job well, and they rode far enough ahead to avoid endangering their fellow bikers.
Armando and Enrique had their part to play. They’d been well ahead, and had commandeered the toll booths. All were empty now, and the traffic was quick to drive off on seeing the approaching hoard of bikers, and the flashes of their guns. Armando and Henrique sat in a Bullet, waiting. Henrique was to drive, and Armando just stared out of the window, his hand on the remote.
Johnny tore through the open toll booth, along with the other bikers. Those that were near the police had pulled off though, and the gap that separated the leading throng of bikes and the police began to close, though the police were slowed as they approached the limited access of the toll.
Armando saw the last biker tear through the toll, and the ones behind turn. Now!
Johnny was already making the turn on the bridge as the explosion rocked it. The toll booths exploded in a shower of glass and metal. The supports that held the roof up ruptured and the roof collapsed, like a house of cards. The police cars didn’t have a chance. Two were crushed under the rubble, and those behind had no time to brake. They simply ploughed into the solid concrete and flames. Those that were far enough back to brake crashed into each other.
D’Amico and Greenhorn were lagging far enough behind to avoid the pile-up. The stopped and stepped out, seeing the bikers beyond the rubble and flames of the crashes ahead. D’Amico reached into the back seat – to the bag he’d thrown in there as they stole the car, and pulled out the sniper rifle.
“I had a feeling I’d need this.”
Luis looked back at the now empty road. He flashed his light and sounded the bike’s horn, the signal that they were clear. But what followed was a strange noise. It sounded like someone biting into an apple, only not as sharp. It wasn’t until he saw the splash of red in front of him that he realized what it was. The biker was thrown to the side of his bike, his body buckling in the same instance that he died. The sound came then, mere milliseconds later, but was unmistakable.
“Kill!” D’Amico said, already adjusting his aim. “Oh hello,” He slowed his breathing once more. “and… goodbye.”
Luis had to swerve to avoid the bike, its momentum carrying it on for almost twenty meters. He jolted right, unaware that this small maneuver would save his life.
The clang of the engine being struck was deafening, and Luis felt the impact resonate throughout his entire being. The bike wobbled as the engine died and Luis lost control. The world spun around him and he felt another Jolt. He saw the railings pass his face, shortly followed by a contrastingly relaxing feeling, almost like he was having an outer body experience. His vision was blurring but he saw the bridge, now behind him, and a flash of the sun. Then the tree as a branch hit his arm. From then he saw nothing. He felt the water hit him, and heard the splash, but it was already feeling like a dream.
As soon as the bikers reached the ground of Dukes, they scattered. Police from the nearby police station were there within a minute, but were presented with about twenty bikers, going in every possible direction. Some gave chase but most were caught wrong footed.
Johnny made the turn, not the one planned, but the one that circumstance had dictated. The mayor was safe, that was what counted. For Johnny though, he hoped it was worth it.
Click Here to read the next chapter - Why Did We Come Here?
Edited by Mokrie Dela, 03 September 2012 - 10:25 AM.
Posted 28 August 2012 - 06:52 AM
I hope you will reveal who the contact is in the next chapter! "Why Did We Come Here...?
Posted 03 September 2012 - 10:20 AM
The interiors of planes were all the same. They were traveling first class though, which was nice. They’d become accustomed to it, something that worried Niko, should he follow through with his plan with Roman, though his cousin was still unsure. He’d gotten one lucky break in Liberty, and now enjoyed local success, but transferring that to the national stage was probably pushing it.
“You think she’s that foolish?” Rami asked, jolting Niko from his thoughts. Niko frowned. “To use company assets.”
“No, she’s managed to run things in secret until now. Los Santos is a big place, how are we even going to find her?”
“She did slip up with the computers.” Rami referred to the intrusion attempt in the company network, an action that was traced to Los Santos – somehow – and to a cybercafé there. “Credit to her though, using an internet café. It’s not going to be easy, but I think we’ll find her.”
“She won’t be at any of the safehouses.”
“Probably not, though we still have to look. Niko, can I ask you a personal question?” The Serbian shrugged. “With what happened between you two, and the fact that she’s working against us, with Klebitz, plus the fact that we’re hired guns… Is there a part of you that’s on her side?”
“We have history but little of it is good. We dated for a short time. Then she betrayed me. I’ve had that problem with people in my life.”
“Yeah. I can’t forgive that. Betrayal.”
“Yet you have betrayed people.” Niko didn’t speak to that. He knew. McReary, Boccino, the falling out between Playboy X and Dwayne. He was no better than Darko in that sense, and killing Darko, through hindsight, did nothing other than offer empty closure. The choice that day was not an easy one. Even now, Niko wondered if he’d chosen the right one.
Rami continued. “Neither of us are sociopaths. We don’t kill en masse and feel nothing about it. Are you telling me you didn’t feel for her?”
“Of course I did, but it didn’t develop into anything serious. Come to think of it, every girl since the war has gone nowhere.”
“Kate was different?”
“I thought she might have been.” Niko shook his head. “But more importantly, I have no feelings for Karen now.”
“Not even disdain?”
Niko shrugged. “Perhaps. More to the point though, how are we going to find her?”
“We’ll check the safehouses first then the cybercafé and take it from there.”
Luis woke with the biggest headache of his life. He felt dizzy still, and even a little high. Was this Heaven? Had Death come for him, and taken him to this room? Why the feeling of Déjà vu?
He looked around, seeing nothing but whiteness. A figure approached, and to Luis looked like Saint Peter Himself. Luis reached out with his hand, reaching out for the blissful afterlife.
The grip was a strong one, though not as welcoming as Luis imagined. The man wasn’t a white haired greeter either, but then how did anyone know what Saint Peter looked like? Who’s to say he’s not black?
Something was wrong though. If this was heaven… The hand had blood on it. Dried blood, from a cut. Then Luis saw the tattoo, and heard the growling.
sh*t! This isn’t heaven! It’s Hell!
Their first task was to rent a car. Niko had chosen a Declasse Premier, in black, and they were soon driving down the Los Puerta Freeway, en route to the first safehouse, just another anonymous road user.
“Ever been here before?” Niko had learnt the route on the plane and drove it almost automatically. If their mission wasn’t hanging over their head like a cartoon anvil, the drive would be an enjoyable one.
“Aside from the airport Niko? I had a target living here several years ago. Tricky one, that. Good security. Had to plan it out really well. One of my best actually, went perfectly.”
“That’s a stroke of luck. So few do.”
“Isn’t that the truth.”
“What are the odds, you think, that she’ll be in any of these?”
“Next to none. She’s no fool. She’s already demonstrated as such. But where else would she go?” Their boss had done the usual electronic check. He’d checked property purchases and those that couldn’t have been her were eliminated. A few remained, but private rentals? Rami doubted she’d be stupid enough to buy a flat and leave a paper trail.
Niko snorted by way of laughter. “Would be interesting if she is, and is at this one.”
Rami returned the half-assed laugh. “We need to talk assignment. I think it’d be better if you take Klebitz. I’ll deal with her.”
“You don’t think I’ll do it?”
Rami stared Niko in the eyes for as long as the Serbian dared to take them off the road. “No. I think you’d hesitate. By the time you’ll have summoned up the kill, she would have stuck another knife in your back – literally this time. I think it’s wiser if we assign the targets appropriately.”
“We are professionals after all.” Niko couldn’t resist the jab at his partner. It suddenly dawned on him that he would miss him. Would Rami be interested in the move to private security?
Despite his efforts not to, a small chuckle escaped his lips.
“What’s so funny?” Rami asked, reaching for the map that they’d marked with the safehouses.
“You driving a cab for a living.”
“Yes – a taxi.”
“Why would I be driving a cab for a living?”
“Johnny.” His voice was hoarse, and he desperately needed a drink. He felt hung-over, drunk and high at the same time. “What the hell?”
“You wiped out man. I looked back ‘cause of the shot, and saw your superhero impression – which you sucked at by the way.”
Luis blinked and remembered the tree. “sh*t, bro.” he said laboriously.
“Yeah. How you didn’t die I don’t know.”
Another memory: “I hit the water.”
“Yeah, and guess where you landed.” Luis shook his head, feeling as though a giant boulder was rattling around in there. “You landed fifty meters from a couple in a sailing boat. By the time I’d waved a few of my men down to the riverside, they’d pulled you out of the water.
“How come I didn’t drown?”
“Natural buoyancy I guess. Doesn’t the human body float?”
“They mayor!” With that of the mayor, the memory of the shot came, jolting Luis in his bed.
“He’s in a secure location. If our friends’ plan was to assassinate him, then they’ve failed.”
“Is that it then? Is it over?”
The first safe house visit was to collect weapons. Time constraints prevented the shipping of them ahead of them, so they had to rely on caches.
“Not bad.” Niko said, holding the 9mm pistol up.
“A bit lacking. Just pistols?”
“Will we need more?”
“If we do our jobs properly, no. I doubt she’ll shoot us.”
“But Klebitz? Army background?”
“Strangely, former servicemen usually shy away from violence. You get a few who go into mercenary work – ”
“Yes. Mostly though, I guess seeing the spoils of war makes any more combat unappealing.”
“But he’s trained. If a threat is presented to him, he won’t just lie and take it.”
Rami thought about that for a moment. “Yes, I suppose you’re right.” He turned back to the cache. “No suppressers though, that’s disappointing.”
“What about bottles?”
“Putting a bottle over the gun to silence it.”
Rami chuckled, almost snorted. “Another idea from Vinewood blockbusters, Nikola?” Niko ignored the jest, allowing Rami to continue. “It’s hit and miss. It depends on the weapon, the ammunition, how well it’s attached, the state of the bottle… It can do, but is not a reliable technique. You won’t get more than one or two – three if you’re lucky – shots from it. With these guns?” Rami weighed the pistol in his hand. “It probably will work – it won’t silence them, and a proper suppresser would be more effective, but for one shot, it would help.”
Niko shrugged. “A comfort I worry I have become accustomed to.”
“Yes Niko. If we have to use these, two shots, then leave the area.”
“The bodies?” Niko felt a pang of… something as he thought of Michelle as a body. He wasn’t sure if he liked that image or not.
Rami shrugged. “Couple of minutes, max. We could load them into the car and dispose of them that way but…”
“Risk of being seen?”
“Yes. It would be easier to get away and leave town et cetera without the police looking for the car. Perhaps we should look at vehicular contingencies.”
“Yes. Then if we get pursued by the police, lose them then get public transportation to our rented car. Cameras at the rental agency will reveal our faces, making leaving town difficult. We’d have to high-tail it out of state.”
“No Niko, I think we leave the bodies. Get out of there quick, ditch the car, catch a train or cab-trio to our clean vehicle, return to the airport and come back to Liberty.”
And with that, a plan began to form.
Against all medical advice – to which even Johnny agreed with – Luis discharged himself. He was concerned that the brute and his lanky accomplice would be able to track him to hospital. Besides, he didn’t feel that bad. The high he had was down to the morphine, the headache the impact with the water, or perhaps the near-drowning, and a glass of water had eased his dry throat.
The phone call, it turned out, was not one wishing him well, but one of more serious tones.
“What do you mean there’s more?”
Johnny had agreed to drive him home, saying that he trusted his driving more than public transport. Luis didn’t have the energy to argue.
“The shipment.” Karen’s voice was electronically disguised, though Luis had thought that was a futile exercise. “Something about that shipment that got away.”
“What about it?”
“I think I’ve worked out what it is.”
Luis froze. The penny dropped. “The replacement for the ones we destroyed.”
“They’re going to blow something up.”
“Yeah.”Karen’s voice was uneven with worry. “But what?”
There was another phone call connecting Liberty City and Los Santos. Rami Yalon had silenced the trill of his ringtone and completed the connection with his boss.
“It seems that your girlfriend wasn’t the only person against us.”
Niko frowned, more annoyed at the jovial prod than confused at the statement. His curiosity woke though and won the battle. “Who?”
“A man called Callahan.” Niko frowned again. He didn’t know who that was. “A contact of our former boss.”
Nikos frown only grew. Another huge part of the puzzle just fell into place, though Niko had not yet fully realized it.
Rami carried on talking. “Our objective just changed, and I think our job is going to be easier.”
“What’s the new goal then?”
“To find Callahan.”
“Back to square one, how do we find him?”
Rami’s smile grew. “Magic.”
It turned out that ‘magic’ was nothing other than an intercepted email. Karen had slipped up and written the location of their rendezvous in an email. Their boss had arranged – likely through his government contacts – for some form of tap to be set up on Callahan and Karen had sent him a message, requesting a meet in the usual place.
Their drive was rushed and Rami allowed Niko to take care of that. The Serbian – Rami actually wondered if he was Serbian, or whether he was a Croat, or that he hailed from another country – was simply better at ‘balls-to-the-wall’ stuff – an expression that Rami had learnt from a pilot over here and loved.
The lake was actually a lovely setting. The day was a good one, and the sun had climbed to a high spot in the sky from which to survey all that lay below. People wondered around, enjoying a light stroll, or a picnic in the park. Niko looked at a nice patch of grass, under the low shadow of a tall tree, and saw Roman sitting there, with Kate playing with a doll, Mallorie chewing on a homemade cupcake, a smile stretching across her face. Niko himself was there too, his arms draped around a question mark of a woman.
They had to remain low-key. Niko had bought a baseball cap and matching baseball jacket, which were combined with a pair of jeans and low-key sneakers. He’d had a quick shave too, hoping this would help hide his identity. Rami had taken similar lengths, choosing a jacket that, though made him a little too warm, helped his disguise as an old, slow man.
Their mark – ironically called Marc – appeared wearing a well fitted suit – every part black. He moved with expertise and immediately both men know he was alert.
“I remember him now.” Niko said into his Bluetooth headset. “We did security for a meeting.”
“Indeed, Niko. All I know is that this guy’s good.”
“Better than me.” Rami’s words chilled Niko to the core.
“Positive ID on primary target.” Rami’s voice woke Niko out of another happy-families daydream. He looked around and saw Karen. It took him a moment.
“Clever.” Niko said. “Confirm target is primary.”
“You’re telling me – she’s been here five minutes and I was only sure just now when she turned. Hair dye, different clothes….”
“Either that or airline food was really unhealthy.” Neither man laughed. “What’s getting me is this guy. He’s too good for this. This meeting’s rushed.”
“Unless it’s a trap.”
Rami resisted the urge to look around. This man would have people with him, he was sure. Someone at least to watch his back. Rami would.
In truth the man did have a friend – a thousand meters away, perched atop a high rise apartment, his eyes behind the scope of a fully-suppressed sniper rifle. That story, Karen knew, would entertain Rami and Niko. It was quite a story; her contact had seen more than she could fathom.
Their conversation was short. Callahan nodded and within a minute or two they went their separate ways.
“What you suppose that was about?” Rami asked.
“No idea.” Niko said. “But if this guy’s as good as you say…”
“Then it can’t be good for us. Are we compromised?”
“I think not. If we were we’d be dead.”
“I think we should look out for any tails though.”
“Perhaps but right now, we have to tail her. I'm grateful we don’t have to tail him. I doubt we’d stay on him very long.”
“He’s that good?”
“Remember Niko, there’s always someone better than you.”
“Perhaps we better retire.” Niko’s comment wasn’t completely unserious.
Rami shrugged it off. “We’ve got work to do.”
Tailing Michelle was, Niko was unsurprised to discover, of little challenge. Her choice of public transport was a potential problem, but the rush-hour traffic, along with some road works, aided them as they followed in their taxis. Niko couldn’t help but smile as he ordered the driver to “follow that car.” Eventually though, they found themselves entering the suburbs, and ultimately to the less desirable ones.
Click Here to read the Part Two Finale!
Edited by Mokrie Dela, 05 September 2012 - 04:31 PM.
Posted 03 September 2012 - 11:24 AM
Posted 03 September 2012 - 12:15 PM
|QUOTE (AndyGanteks @ Monday, Sep 3 2012, 11:24)|
|Good job Mokrie, shame that only 5-6 people are following your work on the Justice in Flames, and the writers area in general.|
yeah. this section is quiet anyway, and many people seem to not like Fanfics. Most people don't even know this area exists!
Posted 04 September 2012 - 11:40 AM
That chapter was very good and I like how you make reference to other characters
Posted 05 September 2012 - 04:29 PM
“Clever.” Rami said as they watched the house from a safe distance. Then: “We can’t stay here long.” He looked around nervously. They were slap-bang in the middle of gangland. The ghetto.
“Let’s move then.” Niko’s voice sounded too eager to the Israeli. The Balkan was sure to be wrestling with the prospect of killing his former girlfriend. Rami would imagine he’d have mixed feelings on that. He must have liked her but she had betrayed him, and in quite grand a fashion too.
But Niko was right; they couldn’t sit around in the car all day. They would be seen eventually, and wouldn’t get much of a chance once they are.
“Well we need to move anyway. We’ll park round the corner and – you think we can steal a look inside?”
Niko shook his head. “So far she’s shown surprising resilience. She’s got help from this Callahan guy and staying in the middle of this neighborhood? She’s got to have more help. No, too risky I think.”
Rami nodded. “I figured that was the case.”
“So we just go blindly?”
Rami nodded. “Seems a small place. Move and sweep.”
Niko head bobbed in agreement, his gun already on his lap. “Got to get out of here quickly afterwards.”
Rami didn’t oppose that. “You drive then.”
Both men stepped out of the car – stolen by Niko as Rami had watched Karen enter the building. Neither man was comfortable in these potentially hostile surroundings, but speed was their ally here.
They avoided the front of the house and crossed the street a good hundred meters away. An alleyway took them to the back street that served the garages behind the houses. This offered some anonymity, but only if they had avoided already being seen. Rami had the presence of mind to count the houses as they crossed the street and within a minute they were standing with nothing more than a wooden fence separating them from the objective.
There was no sense in putting it off any longer. Stealth wasn’t much of an option now.
Niko kicked the door open and allowed Rami to slip inside. The Israeli looked left and moved with speed and confidence. Niko had to feign the latter but he followed, relying on his experience, and looked right.
Karen heard the noise and knew what it was. She exchanged a look with Michael.
It took no more than a few seconds. Niko remarked on the symmetry between this and his reunion with Florian. He didn’t, however, have long to think about it.
“Wait!” Karen’s voice was fearful, and Rami relished that. Fear me!
Their guns were up and the shot was inevitable. Niko’s sights were set on Michael.
“This ends here.” Niko said needlessly.
Karen nodded, almost as though accepting her fate. You’ve failed, Rami had to resist the urge to brag.
“Just wait!” Karen’s voice was wavering and fairly high pitched. Niko hadn’t known it at the time but when she’d betrayed him in Bohan, her voice was full of honest emotion. Today was the same story.
“You’re still alive aren’t you?” Rami took the lead. “You’ve got ten seconds. Move – so much as sneeze – and you die.”
“Ok.” It took everything she had to not break down. “Things… It’s back to front. You’re being manipulated.”
“Standard stock.” Rami said coldly.
“No, please, listen. Niko – ” The Balkan screwed his face up as she said his name. “This is Johnny’s brother. You – ”
“We know who he is.” Niko said, deliberately keeping his eyes on Michael. “You’re both targets.”
“You’ve got it all wrong! You’re giving your backing to the wrong man.”
“There is no right man.” Niko said, eyes still fixed on Klebitz. “Don’t you remember? You were assigned to watch a criminal. I remember your questions about my work, your concern over the criminal aspect…”
“That’s not fair Niko…”
“I’ll tell you what’s not fair; having a lying, manipulative bitch get close to you, pretend to like you then stab you in the back. Good decision giving me this guy to watch, I’d have shot her by now.”
“That’s what we’re here for.” Rami turned to Karen, whose constant stare at Niko was still not returned. “That little lovers’ spat was quite entertaining, so as a sort of reward, I’ll allow you the chance for some last words. Make them inspirational.”
“I deserved that.” Karen ignored Rami’s typically macho statement. “I'm not proud of what I did, but newsflash Niko, you’re exactly the same! You killed Glebov. You killed Mikhail Faustin. You killed your pal Patrick’s brother. Yes, we know all about that. You’re angry at me because I betrayed you – yes I did and it was low and I hate myself for it – but it’s pot calling the kettle black. I did care for you Niko, I really did.”
Niko shook his head. “Boo-hoo.”
Rami had enough. “Niko – ”
“Wait, Rami. Just wait. Michelle – Karen, Medusa, whatever your name is – you claim to know all about Vlad? Do you know why I killed him? Faustin? You think I had much choice in that? It was kill or be killed. When someone points a gun at my cousin, or threatens my family, he has to die. I would have thought Dmitri was a good example of that; you do know about that don’t you?”
“Exactly Niko. I didn’t betray you because I thought it’d be fun!” Karen lowered her voice, almost to a whisper. “I wasn’t given any other choice. Do you two think about who you kill? No, they’re targets. That’s all you were to begin with – I’ll admit that – but that changed and – what would you do, if you’d had to kill that Irish girl to save your cousin or your niece?”
That touched a nerve, Michael noted as Niko fell silent.
“Enough is enough!” Rami’s voice broke the silence, devoid of emotion as ever. “As far as last words go, that was pretty poor.”
“Yeah, you’re right. But please think about this. I'm trying to warn you; something big’s going on, and you’ve got yourselves caught on the wrong side.”
“We’re operators.” Rami countered. “We know our trade – if you think we’re concerned over what side we’re on – “
“What about your cousin, Niko? His wife and child are in danger – you’re in danger – and you Rami? Did it never occur to you, considering what we were doing? A soldier, surviving an assassination attempt; his brother, a man you worked with; think about some of the things we did. Do you know what they’re doing now? Extracting the mayor from danger. Danger Niko, think about it.”
A few seconds passed. Karen had played the family card with delicate precision. It had hit home, for both men. Rami remembered well the time he’d put his family in danger. Niko, however, had managed to save his at least and in some ways that made the impact even more intense.
With the seed of doubt planted, Karen continued: “They’re planning something big – and I mean big – I think we’ve identified the target but… Please Niko. We have to stop it.” If it wasn’t for fear of being shot, Karen thought, she’d be on her knees.
Rami allowed his eyes to find Niko’s. He was ready to finish this. But for Niko, the family blow had struck deeper. Roman, his cousin who, in truth, was more like a brother, his only family – was he really in danger, or was it a clever ruse?
“Prove it.” Niko said finally.
“Will this do?” The voice was that of a man, but not Klebitz, for it came from behind them. Both gunmen turned to the source.
Niko’s face went pale
“What’s the matter gentlemen?” The man said. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
Click Here to read Part Three!
Edited by Mokrie Dela, 18 September 2012 - 09:53 AM.
Posted 06 September 2012 - 06:40 AM
Excellent read might I add
Posted 06 September 2012 - 10:43 AM
Yes, the original ULPC guy is alive.
Part three will begin soon, and it will start with a bang.
Posted 16 September 2012 - 12:17 PM
Posted 16 September 2012 - 08:44 PM
|QUOTE (billy james @ Sunday, Sep 16 2012, 12:17)|
|Can you please begin Part 3, I'm want to know who the Contact (Although it's obvious) is.|
Michelle's contact? I hope it's obvious! Haha, he's been revealed though I shall endevour to include more blatant references
Part 3 is coming. The next upload is the big one. It's the big event.
Liberty city will burn. I have to make sure it's as good as can be first.
Next few days man
Posted 17 September 2012 - 06:04 AM
|QUOTE (Mokrie Dela @ Sunday, Sep 16 2012, 20:44)|
Michelle's contact? I hope it's obvious! Haha, he's been revealed though I shall endevour to include more blatant references
Part 3 is coming. The next upload is the big one. It's the big event.
Liberty city will burn. I have to make sure it's as good as can be first.
Next few days man
Posted 18 September 2012 - 09:51 AM
The two men hardly spoke on the plane. Niko kept going over the event in Los Santos in his mind.
He’d turned and seen the face. Recognition was instant. The nameless man, back from the dead, stood there, his hands out in a here-I-am pose. The return of the Messiah. He always had an air of arrogance, and it was still there.
“You look like you’ve seen a ghost.” Even his words were cocky, almost untimely so.
Niko was shocked to say the least. Rami, on the other hand, quickly gathered his composure and a large part of the puzzle clicked into place.
The guns were lowered. The strange part of it was that they were allowed to keep hold of them; that concession went a long way to ensuring the peace, albeit it temporary and fragile.
Things finally started to make sense to Niko. The information Karen was getting, the resources she apparently had, all from him. Callahan was a good contact for the last couple of years so it wasn’t surprising really was it?
Callahan, Karen, their (still alive) former boss – there was some conspiracy there, but could they be believed?
Was she right? Niko asked himself on the plane. Below him he could see parts of Liberty already – that had gone quick! Rami was clearly thinking too, but neither man could bring themselves to ask the question. Michelle had gone all in, with nothing other than a high card. It was a last, desperate gamble but the ace up her sleeve? Niko shook his head, unable to get to grips with it.
The target – neither Niko nor Rami knew anything about that – was only a guess, but it made sense. Luis Lopez, a name that meant nothing to Rami, and rang only faint bells to Niko, was Johnny’s notional partner in crime. Both men still had doubts though, despite Karen’s eagerness to share the information. Their new boss was, if she was to be believed, a terrorist. But then what was their old boss? He wasn’t a good man, was he? Or was he? What if the scales were tipped in the other direction? What if Karen was on the away team? What if this was just another level of manipulation?
Their instructions were curious; carry on as normal. When the time came, the pair would undoubtedly have the task of killing their boss. Perhaps it would be as simple as that. Take him in a briefing… Would they return to the status quo then? Would everything just revert to the original stasis? Could it be that clear-cut?
“We have to know for sure.” Rami said at long last as the plane began its decent. “We have to decide which camp we want to be in, and I think that decision is best done in private.” Rami’s meaning was clear; they had to pledge their allegiances to their own causes now. Their partnership might be coming to an end.
They were to check in once down. They found a payphone and Niko dialed the appropriate number. He let it ring once then hung up. A minute later the phone rang. He answered.
Rami alternately watched Niko and the surroundings, looking out as he was trained to for threats or overly-interested eyes.
Niko hung the phone up then turned to Rami. “We’re straight back on another job.” Niko ignored Rami’s frown and repeated the address and their objectives.
“Hmm.” Rami’s face failed to hide his interest. “Simple as that?”
Niko shrugged. “Seems to be. What is it they say? No rest for the wicked?”
“Indeed, Niko.” Rami said as the two men walked toward the train station. “Let’s take some time to get changed and prepped. Let’s rendezvous at Grand Easton.” Rami was careful to lean in to Niko, whispering the location in his ear in case anyone was listening. The noise from the train would serve to interfere with any electronic listening too. At this point they didn’t know who their enemy was, and Rami resisted the urge to look at Niko through narrow eyes.
Both men took different trains. Niko traveled to Easton, where he caught the first of his cabs. Eventually he alighted from the third cab on Ivy Drive North and moved through the apartment blocks, crossing Galvston Avenue before cutting through the alleyways between Galveston and Frankfort. Finally he entered the alleyway behind his home, using the fire escape to reach the roof – an over-the-top habit he’d formed after the fallout following the breakdown of the Pegorino family had led to some paranoia on Niko’s part (although some of the remaining mobsters really were gunning for him). Only then did he finally relax, confident that he was not followed.
He took a long shower and had a bite to eat, redressing in a zip-up turtle neck top and grey cargo pants. After doing the things he needed, he grabbed a leather jacket and a dark grey baseball cap. He collected his gun too – giving it a clean and a check before leaving. On the way out he paused by the mirror and stared at the man looking back at him. His mind went back two years, to the moment he’d stepped off the Platypus. He replayed the events of that year, right up to his cousin’s wedding and the ensuing rage. Kate, the most innocent person he’d ever met, died because of him. Roman had been endangered several times, despite Niko's intentions to protect him. He stared at his reflection, trying to read his own eyes. They had a steely look in them. Cold.
Niko's hands were still dirty. The blood would never come off.
Michelle! Was she right? Had he pledged his allegiance to the wrong cause as she’d said? Or was it all subjective?
Rami’s routine was similar, though with less internal reflection. He took some time to examine the situation as the tactician that he had been for so long. His choices, as always, were born not from impulse or emotion, but through carefully considered strategy and evaluation.
Both men traveled through their own means to the rendezvous. Niko picked up a car by an apartment block on the north tip of Frankfort, and headed to Castle Gardens. He parked his car and navigated through a couple of alleyways before reaching the subway. There he caught a trio of cabs to Easton, where he entered the terminal. It was a routine that, while apparently over the top to the unaware, and complicated to newcomers of such craft, had become second nature to Niko.
The interior of the terminal was spectacular; marble floors and clean walls. Footsteps echoed across the concourse as dozens – perhaps hundreds – of commuters and tourists made their way toward their selected trains. Niko walked through the crowds, allowing himself to become swallowed up by them. At the far end of the concourse, having come from the subway, Rami was doing the same. Niko and Rami met in a small store, where they purchased a newspaper and magazine respectively. Had Rami or Niko purchased a Novel, it would mean that they were being followed. For a second Niko dreaded seeing Rami with a map – that would mean he was being actively hunted – just another set of covert signals long since established, but important nonetheless.
The two men headed to another train – the process got tedious at times, but neither man was foolish enough to forget the importance of it. Much like the backing up one’s computer files, the process was designed for that single, mostly hypothetical instance where it would be necessary (and in such circumstance, it became completely vital). They found their way to a car rental agency, where Rami picked up a nondescript Schafter. Both men put their bags – they both had some gear in rucksacks – on the back seats, and Niko, who’d voluntarily taken the driving duty, began the short drive to the objective. They decided that, after this job, they would be turning their backs on somebody. Despite his ‘professionalism’, Rami hoped that they agreed on their allegiances, though if push came to shove he thought he knew what way Niko would sway.
They didn’t rush in. Instead they watched the building for a short while – waiting for nightfall. Los Santos had made them paranoid, and their operational habits had been stepped up as a result of which. No one approached the building, but no one avoided it – the latter being a sure sign that something was up.
Neither man noticed the lone figure in the window of the building, looking out over them. The lights were not on, so he observed with total invisibility. The man in the building turned to his partner.
The second man nodded and turned to face the men passed out on the beds. “We should probably leave then.”
“Indeed. It wouldn’t work well if they see us here.”
After enough time had passed that the men were sure there was no surveillance in place, a nod was shared and the two men grabbed their bags of gear. Inside each man had a suppressed pistol, an Uzi (in case things went south) as well as a set of thermal goggles each. They stepped into the dusk but began by walking in the other direction. They reached an alleyway and turned down it, looping behind the building. They slowed down as they approached the back door, moving with greater care. They reached into their bags and pulled out the goggles. Niko slid his onto his head, immediately feeling their unwelcome and bulky weight. Rami seemed more comfortable with them though. Niko checked his weapons and strapped the Uzi over his back. He gave Rami the nod, and the Israeli set about picking the lock.
They had entered within ten seconds. Niko led the way, moving slowly and keeping his gun up ready. His first footfall caused a rude creak from the floorboards. He froze, then began to move more carefully, putting each foot down with exaggerated care. Neither man thought to head upstairs; it was not their mission. They had one objective and Niko led the way through the building to the basement.
It wasn’t hard to locate it. It was perhaps the most technological object in the lower level. Niko waved Rami in, and the Israeli walked up to the circuit breakers and began tampering with the fusebox. Niko was carefully watching the steps up to the first floor, so he didn’t see what Rami was doing – switching the fuses maybe? He didn’t really care for the intricate details, so long as the desired result was achieved.
Once Rami was done with the electrics he sighed with contentment. There we go. Niko turned and asked “All done?”
“Almost.” Rami said. The building was fairly old and judging from the systems in place down in the basement, not up to date with modern safety regulations, a statement that could easily apply to almost half of the buildings in Liberty City. Rami moved to another device, set a fair distance from the electric system. He carefully loosened and dislodged a pipe, creating a gas leak. Immediately the two men could smell the manufactured smell – added to the natural gas to allow leaks to be detected, as the gas that entered so many people’s homes was odorless. Ventilation was poor in the basement, which would aid their goals. The second Rami was sure that the seeds had been placed, he gave Niko the thumbs up and the two left the room. They snuck back out of the rear door and looped round to the car.
Once again the man went unnoticed. This time he was standing in a darkened doorway with his partner.
“Looks like they’ve served their purpose.” The skinnier man said. “A shame. They were good.” The other man merely grunted, a typical response for him. “Well, they’re compromised now. Can’t even tell what side they’re on.”
“Too many loose ends.”
“Well loose ends are there to be tied up.”
“Well that was easy.” Rami said lightly. Niko nodded.
“How sure are we?” Johnny asked, staring out of the window, his hands tapping nervously on his knee. Was this what it was all about? Did it all come down to this?
“Think about it bro.” Luis was surprised when Karen had told him of the target, but it made sense. It all had to be leading up to something, and this was it. “Put all the pieces together, and tell me: do you have doubts?”
Johnny didn’t answer.
The Broker Bridge was a grand sight. It was iconic. No gridlock today; the traffic moved steadily. Ahead stood the city, Algonquin, in all its glory, the myriad lights, mere pinpricks in a sheet of darkness accompanied by the barely visible outlines of the skyscrapers against an almost-dark sky. The traffic stretched across the bridge, the moon light joining that of street lamps and headlights on the glossy bodywork of the vehicles. Below the river sparkled, a visible echo of the cityscape like a reflection in broken glass. The city was a sight to behold at nighttime, but as was the case, people were used to it. Its glory lost in its daily exhibition.
At first there was no sound, save that from the traffic. Behind some of the buildings on the western side of the water, the sky turned orange. Niko turned, frowning and, along with Rami, saw the fireball. The yellow-orange mottling of flame was joined with darker splotches as it rose against the contrasting sky. The nearby lights that perforated the night-time scene were instantly extinguished and with the rising of the flames came the noise. The rumble, like the belch of a giant. Neither man in the car blinked, their gaze firmly fixed on the horror across the river. They were watching the rising of a monster.
The ball of flame slowly mushroomed, but neither man mistook it for anything nuclear. The rumble, the bang, the bass-laden boom had, at first, silenced the traffic. Sound came back though, like someone turning up the speakers. Rami returned his gaze to the road, seeing the back of a truck coming at him. He stood on the brakes and was immediately overtaken by another car. The latter failed to brake, the driver’s eyes still transfixed on the explosion. His vehicle went right into the back of a minivan, and with it came the chaotic noise of panicked traffic.
Horns blared and people shouted. Sirens came next, sounding from across the river.
Luis and Johnny were a lot closer to what would inevitably be called ground zero. They could see the building in the distance, and saw it torn apart from the inside. The explosion was of unprecedented scale – the biggest Liberty City had ever seen. Officials would remark on its size, saying – off cameras, of course – that no bigger explosion could be caused without the use of an atomic device.
Despite the lack of a nuclear bomb, there was still a shockwave, and it was that which would cause the most damage – aside from the building itself. Their car was tossed aside, like a toy discarded by a bored child. The noise came milliseconds later – they were too close to witness the delay between the speed of sound and the speed of light. The roar, like that of a panther, finally broken from captivity, muted everything else. Luis and Johnny watched the world spin and go black.
The traffic was slow, and would very soon be brought to a standstill. A police helicopter had lifted off from whatever part of the city served as its base, and now buzzed through the air above them, heading toward the ominous orange glow in the distance. The smoke was thick and black – visible in the night sky thanks to light pollution from the city – and hung over most of Lower Algonquin like a proverbial raincloud. Liberty City found itself in the middle of a storm. Niko dreaded what the scene would be like on the island.
Finally, and inevitably, traffic came to a halt. Police would be setting up roadblocks and would soon begin the difficult task of sealing off the area. Niko disengaged his seat belt and stepped out of the car, instantly hit by the smell of burning…. something. It was an unpleasant smell, acrid and almost nauseating. Rami joined him a second later and the men merged with the other road users as they, too, stood and watched. The bridge grew quiet, save for the odd shout, but in the distance was the sound of the city weeping.
Johnny groaned, moving in his seat.
“You alive?” He asked, trying to work out where the door was. “f*ck it.” He breathed. He could see blurred light, so he kicked at what turned out to be the shattered windshield. He crawled out, his shoulder catching a chunk of the broken glass – held in place by the coating – sending it clattering down. He scrambled over the hood and reached back, seeing the hand of a conscious Luis reaching out.
Luis, with Johnny’s aid, got his feet on the ground and both men looked south.
Luis whispered what sounded to Johnny like a prayer. The biker could no longer speak. He looked around. The street was engulfed in a cloud of smoke, or dust, or both, and every ten foot or so was the wreckage of a car or truck. People groaned and called out, climbing out of destroyed vehicles, or pleading for their loved ones to remain alive. Ahead another explosion – small compared to what had just happened – flashed up from a car. Screams came and joined those in the distance. Alarms blared – again from the distance – and were joined by sirens and helicopter rotors.
The immediate area was destroyed. The roads had been practically torn up, any street lamps or roadside objects had been thrown a hundred or so feet, and most of the windows in the surrounding buildings were shattered. The buildings themselves were charred and both men exchanged a look as they shared the nightmare.
“This is what the end of the world would look like.” Johnny said.
The police had blocked the road off, but the sheer volume of people trying to see had them overwhelmed. Niko and Rami managed to slip by and began making their way toward the explosion’s epicenter.
“This is like a war zone.” Niko said, his mouth barely moving.
“You’d know.” Rami said, his neck turning as they saw more and more damage with every meter they walked.
“It’s the noise.” Niko observed, hearing the screams of injured or dying, the faint crackle of flames and the usual chaotic whining of police cars, fire engines and ambulances. “I can’t…. Roman!”
Rami’s hand came down on Niko’s shoulder. “He doesn’t live in the city, remember.”
Niko nodded, but he’d already dialed.
“Cousin! How’s it going!”
“How’s it going, Roman? Turn on the TV.”
“Okay, but I don’t know what – Holy mother of God!” Even Rami heard that. “No, Mallorie, keep Kate out there. JUST DO IT! Please. Niko are you – are you there?! I can hear – Oh Jesus!”
“I am okay cousin! We were on the bridge when it happened… We… we saw it, Roman. Are you okay?”
“Of course I'm…. I am just shocked Niko. This is…. Was it terrorists?”
“I….” Niko turned to Rami and read the Israeli’s face. “I don’t know, Roman. Please keep yourself safe. Stay inside. I.. I’ll call you back.”
Niko ignored Rami and dialed again.
“Dwayne.” Niko held up a hand to Rami. “Have you heard?”
“Yeah. sh*t’s f*cked up. I thought my refrigerator had gone at first. I can see it. ‘the f*ck is going on?”
“I need a favour, Dwayne. Can you get some of your boys together.”
“You in trouble? Sure I can do that.”
“No, not me. I am just paranoid. I want to make sure my cousin is safe.”
“Ok, where’s he live?” Niko gave Dwayne the address. “Alright I’ll take some of my boys up there now.”
“’Course, Niko. I aint got no one here to worry about.”
“Thank you Dwayne, I shall not forget this. Please keep them safe. Maybe pick up some supplies – basic food and drink or something – on the way up there.”
“Yeah, I got it Niko.”
“You’re overreacting.” Rami attempted as Niko redialed.
“Roman, do you remember Dwayne?”
“Yes, cousin.” Roman had given Dwayne a job, and although the burden of Playboy X rested on his mind, the man had managed to begin to get his life back on track.
“He’s on his way to you – just to make sure you’re safe. I’ve given him your number and he’ll call you when he’s there. He’ll say the word: ‘Sanctuary’.”
“Yes, Roman, it’s a password. If he doesn’t say that when you answer, hang up.”
“Wise move.” Rami said as Niko hung up. “’Sanctuary’. Nice.” Niko was not going to listen to him about overreacting.
“You not doing the same?”
Rami shook his head. “I have no one in the city.” Niko nodded then pointed south.
Luis and Johnny were staring into Hell. They could see the flames ahead.
“We’ve got to phone Karen.” Luis said, having taken that long to think of anything. “sh*t, Mami!” He dialed and Johnny stood there watching. A woman’s voice answered and, even over the chaos, it didn’t sound like Karen.
“Yeah, mami. It’s Luis.”
“You’re calling your mother?!” Johnny shook his head and reached for his own phone. “I’ll phone Karen then shall I?”
Karen could tell something was wrong immediately. It sounded bad. Johnny was shouting and there was a lot of background noise. She could just about hear Luis in the background, his own voice raised.
“We’re too late!” Johnny said, already walking forward. “It’s… it’s all gone.”
“City Hall. Everything. The entire district. The… The entire block’s a crater.”
Karen blinked and turned to her boss. Her face was pale. He didn’t have to ask. He’d heard.
“It’s all over.” She whispered, on the brink of tears. She fought back the sob. “We’ve lost.”
Click Here to read the next chapter: The Depths of Error!
Edited by Mokrie Dela, 07 January 2013 - 05:31 PM.
Posted 24 September 2012 - 02:23 PM
Posted 26 September 2012 - 12:37 PM
Niko and Rami had gone as far as they dared to go. They could feel the heat, and the stench of burning was too strong to bear. They craned their necks to see the ruins of the buildings around them.
It was almost beyond belief. The scale of the damage was just…. breathtaking, and certainly not in a good way.
“You know, Niko,” Rami said as he watched – and felt – the fires rage, surrounded by death and destruction. “I’ve eliminated hundreds of targets. I’ve watched my own son die, seen my marriage fall apart…. But this… My God, Niko, what have we done?”
Johnny was drawn to the scene. “We were meant to stop this.” He said to Luis, who’d phoned Armando and ordered him to get his ass to his mother’s house. Armando protested, saying that he had his own family he had to watch out for. In the end he’d agreed to take Mrs. Lopez with him. Safety in numbers.
“We failed, bro.” He said.
Johnny nodded but a distant scream stopped him in his tracks. “That was a kid.”
“What?” Luis looked up to see Johnny running off.
“HELLO!?” Johnny repeated his shout and again heard the scream. It was louder this time.
Luis had caught up and was pointing. “The bus bro!”
Johnny ran with all his might once he saw the child’s face in the window. The bus was on its side and the girl – it looked like a girl – was looking out of the front window.
“sh*t bro.” Luis could see another kid inside. “Was this a school bus?”
“They might have gone on a trip, I don’t know.”
Johnny was already moving toward the bus. He had to climb on top, and needed Luis to help force the door open. Inside the child looked up, her face red from tears. Johnny jumped down into the bus, aware of the heat coming from toward the rear. He stole a quick glance to see an orange glow through the windows. He saw a few adults, but almost twice the amount of children. He had no idea how many were still alive.
Johnny passed the child up to Luis. “We need to get these kids out!” Johnny climbed out to help Luis take the kid to safety.
“How many?” Luis called out, feeling as though he was living a nightmare – clichéd but real nonetheless.
“I don’t know. We’ve got to – ” The sound of flames suddenly stepped up as the rear of the bus was engulfed by the fire. “And do it quick!”
Johnny turned and ran toward the bus when the explosion stopped him. He felt the heat at the same time as the shockwave hit him, throwing him backwards. Luis was there, with the crying girl cowering behind him. The Dominican’s hand was out and Johnny took it.
“Don’t.” Luis breathed. Johnny heard the word but ignored it. “No, don’t – ”
He had the wind taken from him instantly. The bus was consumed by the flames and those inside were surely dead.
It was suddenly hard to stand, and the biker shrunk like a wilting flower. His head hung as words also escaped him. Luis just stood there, his view alternating between the girl and the biker.
“Jesus.” Johnny said after half a minute. He looked at the bus again and was finally able to voice his thoughts. “At least eight kids, man.”
“Mommy?” The kid was looking at the fire now, her face confused more than anything. She was too young to understand the tragedy she was witness to, both personal and public.
“Oh Jesus.” Johnny turned away, unable to look any more. Luis felt it too. Right in front of their eyes eight children had lost their lives. The unasked question weighed on Luis’s mind: How many more?
It took almost ten minutes for Johnny to regain his composure. The shock and sadness gave way to anger, and the biker kicked out at the twisted metal of an uprooted mail box. He turned and picked up part of a brick, hurling it as hard as he could in some random direction.
“Calm down, bro.” Luis tried with a hand on his shoulder, but Johnny shrugged it off and pushed out.
“You don’t get it do you?! We’ve failed!” Johnny was venting his anger in any way he could. Luis, showing what he thought as remarkable self-control and maturity, allowed him to do so. “Look around you!” Johnny continued. “Half the f*cking city is gone. We were meant to stop this!” Johnny’s arms were moving like a child’s in the midst of a tantrum. “This was their plan, wasn’t it?! Blow up half the city then… what?!”
Luis identified that the biker was angry with himself, not anyone else. He’d failed, and that tore him up. Luis looked around, the gravity of the situation not yet hitting him. Like most of the city he simply could not believe it. In his mind though, he knew. He’d lost a war he wanted no part of, one he’d been drawn into my chance but had been unable to walk away from. He suddenly gained a mass of respect for the biker’s brother.
“What the f*ck do we do now, Luis? How can we…?” Again Johnny went to the floor, this time sitting on what, just mere minutes ago, was a sidewalk, his voice breaking and his masculinity fighting off the tears.
Luis approached, once again resting his hand on Johnny’s shoulder. He knew it’d sound cheesy, and would likely be a cliché but he had to do something didn’t he?
“Listen up bro. The city’s just been dealt a blow. I saw that bus go up too. I feel it bro, I really do. You say this was part of their plan? They planned to blow up half the city? Sure, I can buy that – hell someone did, obviously. But right now man, there are people that need you. I know it sounds cheesy, but this city needs a hero. Superheros don’t exist. The comic books are made up. There’s no flying messiah with special powers. But this city does need someone to stand up and fight for it. This is part of their plan?” Luis waved his arms to encompass the destruction around them, “Then what’s their next step? What you think the police will do here? This is obviously a terrorist attack bro. You think much is going to be dug up through investigation? There’s only nine people that I can think of who know what’s really going on. This is past the law, man. We need to stand up and fight for justice.”
“Justice?!” Johnny stood, still angry through frustration and horror. “Look around you, Luis. City hall is burning. The entire area is gone. What’s left? Justice? No, that’s gone too. Justice is there, Luis, right there in flames. We were supposed to protect it, to prevent this. Liberty City is burning because of us.”
“No!” Luis had to raise his voice now. In truth, Johnny was starting to piss him off, though how much of that was misplaced emotion due to what they’d just witnessed, he didn’t know. “Not because of us. Because of them. Because of the guys we’ve been up against. Choose your side, Johnny.” Luis turned to the child, picking her up as he did so. “Stay down there and give up. Or fight.”
Johnny looked up, his composure slowly returning.
“Yeah, bro, that’s right.” Luis said, his voice one of authority, or tough love. He gave an order, one that made disobedience impossible. “Stand the f*ck up.”
Johnny did, staring at the girl as he did so.
“You’re right, Luis.” He said a few seconds later, having got a handle on his anger. “That was cheesy.”
“There’s a downside to being professional, and just doing the job, detached from everything.” Niko said, still staring at the ruins in front of them. He turned and grabbed Rami.
“We did this!” The Serbian said, right up in Rami’s face. “We’re responsible for this!”
Rami freed himself and turned away. “We did not do this Niko. We did not plant a bomb, or launch a missile – whatever it was that made this explosion, was not us.”
“How do you figure that? Remember Los Santos? He’s still alive. Our boss – our new boss – did this.”
“Exactly.” Rami turned back now. “We were used, if you want. We did our jobs – nothing more, nothing less. And now we’ve got to – ”
“Got to what, Rami? Carry on as usual? Pretend that we support this? How many lives do you think have ended because of us?”
“Hundreds.” Rami snapped back. “Don’t fool yourself, Niko. What are we? We kill people, and have done for years. You came to this city and did you cry about killing the Russians? You killed my boss’s son, did you cry about that. Grow a spine, dammit. We haven’t killed anyone today, apart from the targets. This…” Rami couldn’t find a word to describe the scenes that surrounded them, and instead waved at it. “Was not us.” He shook his head but farther conversation was halted by a distant shout.
Both men turned to see a group of men, two of them city cops, and the others in suits. Feds
“This can’t be good.” Rami breathed.
“And I'm not sticking around to find out.” Niko was already moving when Rami turned. The Israeli offered a quick look toward the federal agents to see them leaning into a run. He ran too.
When sh*t hit the fan, Niko usually sought out a car for a quick escape. The area around them looked exactly like it was; a bomb site. There were no cars – at least none that were intact. Today the two men were forced to literally run for their lives, the most basic and important human instinct. The feds behind them were quick to draw their weapons and almost as quick to fire them, though their aim was off. The district was still under a cloud of smoke, and the men had to run through the dust that had now enveloped the entire area.
Niko led the way toward the subway station, but found the entrance blocked by debris. He ran for the other side of the road and managed to find a gap to get through. Rami followed him and soon they were descending into the eerie caverns of the subway station.
The lights were off – which was to be expected, the explosion having destroyed the power lines that ran beneath the roads. People were sitting on the floor, their phones or lighters out to offer some light. The station was filled with smoke and dust too, and people were coughing and breathing laboriously. It truly felt like a bomb had gone off. Beneath the post-apocalyptic world above, people were huddling here, like some kind of bomb shelter – which the subways inevitably became.
It took a moment for their eyes to adjust, but both men knew the layout of the stations well enough. They used the speckles of light as markers and ran through the darkness. Niko reached out, allowing his fingertips to touch the wall. Like a blind man – which, in effect, he was – he guided himself down the stairs, seeing nothing other than spots of light. Rami was right behind him, though he could only just see the outline of his partner, and found the handrail. In seconds they were on the platform, where the clusters of individual light were more concentrated.
Niko paused and saw Rami in the weak glow. The Israeli was still with him. Niko wondered if that was a show of solidarity or a mere quest for survival.
Niko jumped from the platform and led his partner down the track. He didn’t run toward the closer tunnel, but backtracked toward the farther one. Rami knew his thinking; the feds would be right behind them and, in this dark, they would probably not see them running in the other direction, and likely seek out the closer tunnel.
Niko began to wonder if his choice was a poor one. The lights from the station faded in seconds and they were left in total darkness. Contrary to films, there was no sparking from wires or lights – the electrical supply was cut off. Down here there was nothing. Nothing other than three simple sounds; the ghostly whispers of the tunnels, draughts stirred up from miles of track built under the city; the sound of their footsteps, clumping heavily on the track; and the breathing of the two lone men.
“What I wouldn’t do for those goggles now.” Rami said, his voice almost to a whisper. They’d had to slow down after Niko had almost tripped on some rubble. The tunnel was damaged, and obstacles were littering the track. They moved to one side, using their hands to feel their way through complete darkness.
“Will the trains be running still?”
“No.” Rami replied, having realized that the shake of his head would be unseen. “No power, no trains.”
Another reason for their slowed pace was to move more quietly. The reason for that was to listen out for the pursuing feds.
“What you think they wanted?” Rami’s voice was still close to a whisper.
“Directions to a baseball game?”
“Us? I don’t know, a big explosion, we were there, looking… not at all like survivors. F*ck, maybe they thought we’d done it.”
“Don’t start that again, Niko.” Before Niko could reply, Rami’s voice sounded again. “What’s that?”
Ahead of them was more light. Niko shrugged but realized that was a useless act. “Another station?”
“This close? No.” Rami squinted into the darkness but it was Niko who worked it out first.
They approached and saw a train derailed. The front end, on its side, was embedded into the wall, crumpled like a discarded soda can. The rear sections, also off of the track, were standing mostly upright, and from inside came the same dots of light that were in the station.
They reached the train and stared at the crumbled mess of the front, barely visible in the ambient light. A sharp pillar of light moved unevenly through the train and it was Niko who climbed aboard first.
“Is everyone okay?” The voice was mostly likely that of a subway cop – the driver would surely have been killed in the collision. A few people called back, and the man with the torch continued his path through the train.
Niko caught the man with a hand on the shoulder.
“Everyone okay?” Niko’s concern was feigned, but the man took it as real.
“Yeah, we’ve got several injured men to the front. I’ve no idea what happened. No one’s answering the radio.”
“Explosion up top. You saying we’re stuck down here?”
“For now, yeah – what you mean explosion?”
“Forget that for now – why doesn’t anyone go and get help?”
The man shrugged. “I’ve got to help the guys here. Too many injured or in shock.”
“We’ll go.” Niko said, with authority. “We’ll get help.”
The man nodded, not seeing the hidden agenda. “I'm not sure if it’s safe out there.”
“Someone’s got to go, but we can’t see. We’ll need the torch.”
The man made his decision and handed the torch over. “God speed.”
Niko nodded, now with the torch to see in the darkness. He exited the train, with Rami following, and continued to move down the tracks, with more speed now.
Rami whispered a Hebrew profanity. “Look at this.” The walls were crumpled and some of the pipes were dislodged like the train now behind them. They looked backward and saw the walls in worse state of repair. Chunks of concrete hung from the tunnel roof, but ahead of them the tunnel looked much better. They moved and, minutes later, passed through another station.
“Easton.” Niko said, seeing the lights ahead. Evidently this section of the city had power.
The hospital was expectedly busy. Priority was made for the child, but after being quickly determined that she was unharmed, was ushered off to a quiet room – one reserved for that of concerned or grieving families, an appropriate choice, Luis and Johnny had reflected. The responsibility of the child would soon be held by the police as surviving family would be sought, and Luis offered Johnny some kind words as they left the hospital, having declined the nurse’s suggestion of a check-up – something that they’d be waiting for hours for, and they did not have time for that.
“What now?” Johnny asked, feeling better having vented his anger. Both men were haunted by the sights they saw, and disturbed by the event itself.
“We need to talk to Karen.” Luis was looking around for a car, but the police had stepped up their presence in the city bringing in units from Broker, Dukes, Bohan and Alderney. There was a risk of rioting in the other districts, and petty crime would rise with the lessened police presence, but the chaos in the lower half of Algonquin offered the authorities little choice. Almost every N.O.O.S.E and FIB agents in the city were flocking to Liberty City’s business hub, and more were likely being brought in from other cities. Soon command would be taken and the wild placing of law enforcement officers would become organized, the police likely focusing on keeping the public safe and calm while the feds dealt with the disaster itself. Right now there wouldn’t be a doctor or fireman in the city who wasn’t working.
The phone call was one neither man wanted to make. On the far side of the country, Karen sat with her eyes on the TV. The explosion was breaking news and had just hit national TV.
“I already know.” She said, hearing Johnny struggle to say it. “The whole country knows.”
“What the hell do we do now?”
“We have an enemy. That’s enough. There’s also something you need to know. Niko and his friend – Rami – were here. They… they came to kill us.”
“But they didn’t…” That much was obvious, though that very fact confused Johnny.
“No. They… I think they’ve realized that they’ve pledged their allegiance to the wrong cause.”
“They left. Hopefully their boss will think that we’re dead.”
“How did you manage to convince them? Why didn’t you do this earlier? If we had them onside…”
“Don’t do that, Johnny. That will drive us crazy. No, I couldn’t. There’s… we…. Look they mayor’s safe. We need to stop this – “
“Stop this? It’s already happened.”
“There’s more. It doesn’t make sense. Why blow up half the city? For gun control policies? To earn a few extra dollars? None of that makes sense.”
“Something occurred to us. Well, Luis actually. Where was the mayor supposed to be today?”
“City Ha – sh*t.”
“Where’s the deputy mayor?”
“Out of town – what’s your thinking, Johnny?”
“Terrorist attack, levels part of the city, kills the mayor and a chunk of the mayor’s office. Who’ll be in charge of the city?”
“That much is obvious – our friend’s conspirators will be in control of the city, but for what? To ship in guns, and profit?”
“We need answers.”
“Damn straight we do. So what do we do?”
“We need to work this out. In the mean time I want you to find Niko. I don’t think he’s our enemy. He probably hates me because of something that happened a couple of years ago, but he didn’t shoot me. We’re alive, and that has to mean something.”
“Why won’t he shoot us?”
“Right now, I imagine they’re asking questions of themselves. I doubt either of them are proud of what they’ve been a part of. I know Niko – at least I did. He’s not a monster, he has a heart. There… there was genuine affection between us. It’s a risk, I’ll admit that. Don’t be foolish enough to thing this is a parlor game. No, it’s dangerous, but we need him if we can. Please, find him.”
“Is Michael okay?”
“Yes. We’re all fine here. My former boss has a contact out here who’s friendly with one of these street gangs. Nothing short of the army would get in here. We’re as safe as we could be.”
“Alright. We’ll let you know if we find him.”
The city was wearing a brave face, but the people were scared, confused and/or in shock. People in the southern half of the city knew what had happened. People around Middle Park would have heard – perhaps seen – it, but would be unsure as to what was going on. Those to the north of the city would likely have only seen the distant flash of the explosion if they happened to be looking south, and high enough to see the southern skyline. Rumors would be spreading quicker than the news up in North Holland and Bohan. It was a strange moment for the residents up there; they would hurry home, to bars or stores, and huddle round TVs and radios. Slowly they’d learn what was going on – perversely quicker than those to their south, who’d likely try to see with their own eyes. The curious and inquisitive side of human nature would be overriding common sense too, and the police would have more to deal with, as if the explosion – which had yet to earn an official name – wasn’t enough.
Easton station itself was caught in the middle. Rumors were spreading about an accident, terrorist attack, or act of war from another country. People who were simply waiting for the train that would not come turned to each other, their faces confused or curious more than worried. Niko and Rami ventured up to street level and the strangest thing was that the traffic was largely normal. They allowed a quick look to the office that was their place of employment but instead of entering, Niko grabbed Rami’s arm.
“I want to check something out first.” He waved Rami away from the office and found a car parked outside the alfresco Squid Row on Bismarck and headed for Union Drive.
Niko saw the charred remains of his penthouse as they passed, and was glad Rami was looking out of his window at the Humboldt. This city had claimed two of his homes in the few years he’d been here. Niko wondered how much the city had to destroy. Was his the only life that had suffered because of it – no, he told himself, most of his misfortune had been his own doing.
Niko had kept the loft he’d ‘inherited’ in North Holland a secret from Rami and his employers. Rami expressed his genuine surprise at that, as well as being impressed by Niko’s routine of entering through the alleyway rear alleyway, having left the stolen car by the internet café.
“Nice place.” Rami said, surveying the interior. Niko had long since installed blinds on the windows, and had them all closed; offering complete privacy. “You sure kept this place quiet.”
Niko shrugged. “The things that happened two years ago made me want a place I could disappear to. How useful it’s turned out to be.”
“So this is where you hide then?” Rami was walking around and smiled at the pool table and bar. Niko had made some changes to the loft, ditching Playboy X’s choices of style for his own.
“So what are we doing here, Niko?”
“One second.” Niko said, walking across the loft.
Click Here to read the next chapter: State of War!
Edited by Mokrie Dela, 15 October 2012 - 09:54 AM.
Posted 06 October 2012 - 04:48 AM
Posted 06 October 2012 - 01:09 PM
|QUOTE (billy james @ Saturday, Oct 6 2012, 04:48)|
|Nice chapter man, can put up a map of LC and Highlite places that went boom and are no more|
The city hall area
Red - destroyed. (cratered)
Orange - severe damage (damage to buildings, destroyed roads etc)
yellow - Damaged (broken doors windows, destroyed vehicles etc)
pale yellow - moderate/slight damage (shattered windows)
take it with a punch of salt though
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