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GTA: Bohemians & Blackjack

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I figured that I would get a more in-depth criticism on the narrative part of my concept if I posted it here since the GTA Series subforum focuses more on the concept as a whole. From now on I'll be posting it in both places simultaneously. A story's a story, right? :p




Mission One

Three Guys and a Bar

A blinding white light slowly fades into a hazy yellow. As the screen becomes clearer the theme music and credits begins to play and we focus on the scene; the soon-setting sun beads a dark orange cast onto blocks upon blocks of rundown concrete buildings. In the shadow of the nearest lies a rectangular wooden structure, its chimney billowing smoke into the atmosphere. A man walks his dog down a gravel path nearby, but aside from them the place is desolate from the outside.

The camera shifts and we see two vehicles, an Albany Emperor followed by a Déclassé Rancher, speed up the same path. As the first car turns into the wooden place's parking lot, a passenger signals with a hand for the pickup to continue down the road. It speeds forward kicking dirt as the Emperor comes to a stop in front of the building, a sign reading Fierro Inn now clearly falling off its hinges at the entrance. Bennie Bartok steps out of the passenger seat, removes his sunglasses and stuffs them into his red leather jacket. The music fades down but the credits continue as he leans into the window.

"You stay here. Make sure Elliot keeps circling the block and if I ain't back in ten minutes you come in guns-a-blazin'. Got it?"

The driver - a skinny Mexican - nods and hands Bennie a suitcase from under the seat. He grabs it and walks inside.

The perspective shifts inside the bar. All beaten-down wood, it's vacant except for our first protagonist, Julius Kren, sitting at the bar, and a chef in the back kitchen.

drones quietly from the jukebox. We get an eye on Julius: even sitting, it's clear he towers over 6 feet and wears a denim jacket over a green T-shirt and jeans. As he sips his whiskey he spins in his seat toward Bennie and lets him speak first as the theme quiets;

"Well I guess you're the guy. I thought it was set up as a public deal, what gives? This place's dead."

Julius eyes him carefully. "I don't make the deals, cat, just carry 'em out. That the stuff?"

Bennie nods, smirks: "You hope it is. Where's the dough?"

"I got it, don't worry. Only, I hear that you ain't the most trustworthy cat on the block. You mind lettin' me see the sh*t first?"

A hand to his heart. "Sh*t, that hurts. Not thirty seconds and you're already judging me." He pauses, breaks out into a laugh. "Yeah you can see it, baby. All here."

He places the metal suitcase onto the bar top with a thud and opens the latches. Inside, at least a dozen sealed packages of who-knows-what.

"Alright, you cool." Julius gets up, goes around the bar and grabs his own suitcase: $5,000 cash courtesy of David Arnold. He puts it on the bar alongside the other one and watches Bennie swallow a few Bennies from a foil wrapper.

"You know, I'll take your word for the money," Bennie says. His shaky hands show that he couldn't count it even if he wanted to. "The way things is in the city right now, I'd say there's a good chance of us running into each other again. You can call me Bennie next time."

Julius half-smiles. "Sure. The name's Julius."

They shake hands. Bennie says "Yeah, I know," smiles and walks back out the door he came in.

Julius grabs the remaining suitcase and sees a paper stapled to itBennie B. 555-7330. I always got work! and stuffs it in his pocket. He puts a few bucks down on the bartop and uses the back door out of the place. His Willard Gaia is parked adjacent to a fence he tosses the suitcase into the back and hops in the front just as Bennie and his crew speed down the path nearby. The camera pulls away and perspective switches to Doug Prydon.

The door chimes as he makes his way into a busy scene. This place is much less desolate than the inn—every seat wrapped around the L-shaped bar is full of chattering men and women. The bartender—Monica—running between half-made cocktails, raises a hand in the air to acknowledge her regular. Doug offers her his best smile as a couple of septuagenarians leave a window booth. Doug takes the vacant spot, removes his old Corps jacket and sighs. We get a view of the street outside—happy couples, men in suits, lone people walking their dogs go up and down the sidewalks as cars ramble down beside themoblivious. The credits continue out of the way. The perspective switches to behind Monica as she brings Doug his perennial tonic, an Old Fashioned. She puts it down on top of a napkin, smiles and turns away before he can speak a word. As if he would have. As he takes his first sip, the door chimes again as a man in a brown flight jacket and fedora enters and makes his way to Doug's booth. Marcus Vogel removes his hat, sits down and folds his arms.

"So what's so important I had to shlep out here for?"

"I needed to get out of the house, you know." Doug leans forward. "Did you know Sergeant Emlyn lives in Calton Heights?"

Marcus nods. "Yeah."

Dougnot really incredulous, though he would be if he didn't know Marcus better: "And you didn't think that'd be something I'd like to know?"

He speaks carefully. "I knew you'd wanna know, I just didn't think you needed to know. Dig it?"

"No, I don't dig it. Never keep sh*t like that from me again." Doug downs his drink and stands up.

Marcus raises his hands. "Where you going?"

"'Round the block. You coming?"

"I don't think th—"

"You coming?"

Marcus nods and slides out of the booth. Doug places a fiver on the table and exits the bar, Marcus shadowing him.

You gain control of Doug. The camera focuses on his blue Vapid Messier parallel parked across the street as the objective appears: Get in the car. As you attempt to cross the street, a familiar convoy of an Emperor followed by a dark Rancher speed down first, nearly mowing you down. Doug flips the bird before getting in his car, Marcus beside him. The driving controls appear in the upper left. Squeeze your way out of the line of parked cars and follow the mini-map route.

Marcus: "You know this car is a piece of sh*t, right?"

"I do."

"Maybe if you found us some work, you could afford a better one."


"No, really. Time to stop sitting on your ass. Find us some work, I don't care what it is, I'm getting real tired of jacking food stamps."

Doug snickers. "You jack food stamps?"

"Gotta get food somewhere, don't I?"

"I guess you do. But since you're clearly not above stealing, why not just steal the food itself? Cut out the extra work."

"Because, genius, then I can sell any extra stamps for a discount. I make a steady little profit doing that, and we ain't running out of them any time soon. See, if I can make this work for myself then why can't you find us a simple job?"

"Hell, if that's what you consider steady work..."

"I still want a regular job, private. The stamps are good for now but it sure ain't the big time."

"Sorry Marc, but I don't think I'm your ticket to the big time."

Continue up San Fierro's winding roads at whatever pace you desire, being sure to eye the hard-bodied vehicles of the era. When you reach the destination, you'll see Edward Emlyn's place of residence—a white three story townhouse nestled between a dozen identical ones. Anonymous. Expensive. A shiny yellow Coquette sits in the slanted driveway.

The perspective switches to inside the car. The pair stare at the house.

Doug: "F*cking asshole."

Marcus grabs a pack of Redwoods from his breast pocket, puts one in his mouth and hands Doug another. They light up.

"Doug, Joanna keeps telling you—"

"Don't bring her into this."

"I don't wanna, but she's right. You've heard it a thousand times, but the past is the past. We need to get some good jobs, put this bullsh*t behind us. Come on."

"I pass by this place so often. If I f*cking knew..."

"Let's go."

Doug shifts into first gear and hits the gas. The camera shoots into a bird's eye view and launches across San Fierro and the desert smack into the middle of Las Venturas. We focus on a big building's tin facade glistening in the sunlight—big blue letters reading La Penisola blinking over a row of a dozen glass doors. We go inside, to the bar. Rows upon rows of slot machines sit empty, only broken apart by green tables for all kinds of card games. At the bar, standing over a floral red carpet, a trio of men—Jon Gravelli, Carlo D'Aversa and Sonny Cangelosi himself—converse with drinks in their hands. Arms wide open, the camera follows behind our final intro: Dante, as he approaches the conversation with his uncleJacky. The uncle offers his hand to Sonny who shakes it firmly.

"Congrats, my friend."

Sonny smiles slightly. "Grazie, Giacomo. It's been a long time coming."

Dante speaks up: "It sure has, Mr. Cangelosi." He spins to Carlo, his rolled-up blazer swaying with him. "Must be a shock, all this responsibility."

Jacky cackles. "Yeah, you're one to talk about handling responsibility."

Dante rolls his eyes and walks toward the drinks. As he goes to pour himself a rye, Sonny hands him his own glass. The clink of ice cubes comes before the sloshing of liquid in both tumblers as Dante finishes pouring. We see this from Jon Gravelli's perspective as he moves forward.

He speaks. "Jacky, the kid up for driving?"

Dante hands Sonny a drink and sips his own. "I am."

Jacky: "He is."

"Good. Me and Mr. Cangelosi need to get to a meet on the West Side soon, you mind chauffeuring us?"

"West Side, huh? We teamin' up with the moolies or something?"

Everyone fidgets slightly. Jacky rolls his eyes and walks away with Carlo.

"No. We're gonna be meeting with a LVPD contact who wants to sit down somewhere neutral."

"How's the West neutral?"

"We don't run it, the cops don't patrol it. It don't matter anyway, you'll be staying in the car."

Downing the drink, Dante shrugs as Gravelli tosses him a pair of keys. You gain control of him, directed to leave the casino and find the car in the parking lot but you are free to explore the building. You'll see the rows of slot machines glisten, never used, and the carpet floor spotless. All is lit by hundreds of yellow-hued lights spread across the ceiling. Further down, near the roulette tables, a group of Gambetti goons carry cardboard boxes inside from a side doorheaving creative insults back and forth alongside the boxes. La Penisola is very new, very expensive, and obviously a do-or-die for the Venturas mafia.

When you make your way outside followed by Sonny and Gravelli, you'll find the black Glendale Royale parked in the lot. Take your time, admire the atmosphere: the strip homes twice the amount of cars than it does pedestrians, who all gather in groups at casino doors. At every angle of your vision is a flashing sign advertising a casino, product or hotel waiting for darkness to fall to fully shine. Alternately, jump straight into the car. Allow the mafiosos to get in the back seat and take off. The radio is set to

let the music sink in and enjoy or change the station to something a bit more modernRule 102.6 plays
. Don't like either? Turn the dial to a random frequencytake your chances.

"That station was on for a reason," grumbles Sonny if you change it.

Follow the minimap route down the roads, taking into account their contrast with those of San Fierrofresh pavement, operating in grids instead of winding disarray. Make your way down the strip, passing by older casinos brimming with eager moneywasters and through a few quiet residential areas as your surroundings become increasingly sh*tty. The men of "honor" in the back seat converse in Italian to Dante's annoyancehe was brought up pure Sicilian, them northern Italian. He picks up a few words here and there but the language difference isn't the biggest nuisancehis forgetfulness of any form of Italian is. He dropped it like a bad habit upon his arrival in America.

"Stop here," orders Gravelli when you reach the destination: a three-story apartment complex breaking apart at the seams. A neon sign reading Su ar Ray's M ni-a rt flickers above the street level entrance. Park up behind the baby blue BF Synergy curbside and let the two men exit.

"Don't movewe ain't gonna be long", mutters Gravelli as he slogs out.

Dante lights a cigarette and opens his window. The West Side is misleadingly quiet during the day—other than a group of three perched on a nearby stoop the street is empty. Cars, still working but badly beat up, line the sidewalks.

Just as he finishes his cigarette and you predict they might become a problem, the three men hanging out close by decide to approach the car. Dante reaches for his gun in the glove compartment before remembering that it's not his car.

He mutters "Sh*t" as Gangster #1 slides his hand up the hood. He hunches in front of the driver's window.

"Nice whip, man."

Dante nods. "Thanks. Mind keepin' your hands off it?" It's not posed as a question.

"Yeah, yeah, of course." The other two hover in front of the vehicle cracking knuckles. Intimidation 101.

"Let me be frank." Dante mirrors their actions. "This ain't my car, it's my boss's. He'll be coming out any minute and I don't think he'll be thrilled to see a bunch of spooks admiring his car so closely."

Good timing: Gravelli, Sonny and a squat man in a cheap suit exit the building together. Gravelli's experienced eye knows what to do; he leaves the building with his suit jacket pulled back, allowing them to revere his holstered pistol. Wordless, the men walk back to their stoop together.

"Assholes," Dante mutters.

Sonny turns to the short guy. "I'm very pleased we could come to an agreement, Mr. Decker."

Mr. Decker chuckles. "So am I. I'll have the right files mailed to your guy."

The mafiosos take turns shaking his hand, patting him on the back and Dante's face contorts. The man hops into his Synergy and speeds off as Gravelli and Sonny return to the back seat. Hit the gas.

Dante: "You ain't gonna ask what was going on back there?"

"Nice car in a sh*t neighborhood, kid. No big surprise," says Gravelli.

"So where are we going?"

"I've got a room at Caligula's."

Drive to Caligula's Palace.

Make your way. Just as you leave the West Side's pothole ridden streets you'll notice an old Veranda shadowing you, as will Gravelli.

"F*ckers don't give up," he says.

Hit the gas, hard this time. The hecklers will follow. Lose them how you please—use the advanced driving directions that pop up in the left corner to use drifting and the handbrake to your advantage. Do as much as you can in a heavy car built for luxury and try not to f*ck it up on the way back.

Dante asks "You think they're gone?" when you kick them off your trail.

Gravelli will respond depending on how quickly you lost them and how much damage you did to the car in the process.

Calm your driving regardless and get out to Caligula's. When you reach its golden doors a valet will come out and fetch the car, eyeing you strangely if it's missing a door. The trio stand under the casino's awning, watching as the sun sets behind The Pink Swan across the street.

"You take after your uncle," praises Sonny as he lights a cigar.

"That a good thing?" Dante asks.

"Look where he is today." Gravelli hands you $25 and a pat on the back. He and Sonny walk into Caligula's lobby together.

Dante looks around, not sure what direction to leave in, before stuffing the money in his pocket and walking aimlessly down the strip. The camera pans up to show the rows of casinos in their entirety.

Mission passed.

Edited by PhilosophicalZebra

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I like the departure from traditional screenplay writing to this, this style actually feels better, IMO.

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I just finished mission 2 and thought I'd look for some feedback before I post it to the concepts topic. Would this be a poignant enough intro to three different characters if this was a real GTA game? I'm stumped for a title, too. I was looking for something culturally relevant to 1968 but also an in-joke to the mission content but I can't find anything. Any suggestions?

Mission Two

No Longer In Wonderland


The fade to black of the previous mission drops abruptly and you're thrown right back into the action as Julius, barreling down a straight road in his Gaia surrounded by brickwork factories and f*ck-all else. Maintain your steering if you don't feel like heaving yourself out of a ditch.


Objective: Reach the chop shop.


You'll see it soon: an orange-bricked little building with cracked windows and a dozen choppers parked out front. Pull into the lot and learn how to give your vehicle the switch from convertible to not; it's nightfall. Cue cutscene: Julius grabs the product-packed suitcase from between the seats and hops out. Foreign land to him, he circles half the shop before finding yellow light pouring out a back door—inside, more or less what you would expect: machismo galore. A good half dozen guys working on their bikes babbling, cigarette smoke and blowtorch burn filling the air. He tries to find a face behind the beards and taps one on the shoulder, who spins around and gives him a suspicious look-over.


"You meant to be here?" He pulls a cigar from his mouth.

"Depends. One of you fellas David Arnold?"

"Dave's in the cave." He points to an office behind a steel door. "And keep your hands seen—don't want no problems now."


Julius nods and walks to the door. Before opening it, he looks through a nearby mesh wire window into the cave: a big man even sitting down, bearded like all others and wearing a biker jacket patched Redwood, talks to an equally tall but much less rugged guy. The second guy looks official: black suit, black tie, black oxfords. Not a wrinkle at hand, though one would guess he's fallen into his 50s.

After a quick decision to walk instead of knock, Julius enters. The men turn to him, #2 with an inquisitive look.


Tall, seated beard — David Arnold. We see Julius' eyes rifle through #2's wrinkles in an effort to knock a sense of familiarity into his mind: nada.


"Mr. Kren!" Arnold flicks a cigarette onto the concrete floor. "I see you got a nice little something-something for me there."


Julius drops the suitcase onto a cement desk strewn with sh*t: a six-shooter, bloody cop badge, two dozen dusty papers and a broken bottle of Pisswasser. A flip of the latches and he stands back, allowing his new employer to admire the product.


Arnold claps his hands together and walks to the desk. Over his shoulder, you can see his buddy give Julius a half-assed smirk.


"Gimme the knife," Arnold barks at smirky, who pulls a Swiss-army from the inside of his lapel. Arnold takes it and cuts a fine slit along the top of a white package. It bleeds more white: powder. He scoops a bit up the length of the knife and doesn't hesitate to snort it up.


#2 finally speaks: "Don't judge the product from what you're sniffing. I told you, you've got to mainline it for a full rush."

Arnold spins around. "You sure about that? 'Cause I gotta say, I'd be pretty damn chipper with this rush."

"I'm sure." He stands up and takes his knife back. Arnold shuts the suitcase and hands it to him, they shake hands.

"Nice to see you, Dave."



Julius watches the jiver as he walks out of the room and holds back a flinch when he receives a pat on the shoulder. The man closes the door behind him, leaving employer and employee alone.

Arnold lights another cigarette and offers one to Julius who raises a palm in answer.


"Don't mind him," Arnold lips around his cigarette as he zippos it. "Narc probes seem to make a fella real touchy-feely."


Julius leans against the wall and looks out the little window into the garage. As Out Of Focus makes way to Helter Skelter, he watches two bikers scuffle over the record player until a third threatens them with a blowtorch. "Narc probes don't sound too fun."

"Oh they certainly ain't, but they're the cost of business and I consider it a cheap price to pay."

"How's that?"

"It's a great system. The pigs are already spread paper thin, they have better things to do than chase this pussycat powder across the nation. But f*ck help us if they ever assemble a proper task force."

Julius crosses his arms. "Still don't seem like something to tell a prospective runner."

"I like your style," Arnold says between puffs. "You know when to get down to brass tacks. Now don't take this wrong, but you don't talk like I expected. Where you from?

"I picked up the lingo cross-country 'cause it seems to help old white folk get past their own preconceptions." Deadpan snark: "And my brother went to college."

Arnold chuckles, ignores the redirect. "Articulate and adaptive, you're shapin' up to be a real safe bet on my part.”

He throws the butt onto the floor and it lands next to the first. "I guess I should pay you now, huh?"

"I'd say so."


Arnold rises from his chair and walks over to another desk poised against the office's back wall. He opens a drawer and pulls out $100 in sawbucks.


"Not bad for ten minutes work, is it?" He hands Julius the cash and they shake. A first: Julius smiles.

"I'd be happy capping a C-note if that were so, but ain't the reward for the risk?"

"Depends how you took at it. I'd say the reward's in the risk."

A quick nod; Julius smirks again. “Yeah, you seem like that sorta guy.”


Arnold wraps his leather-clad arm around Julius's shoulders—apparently Mr. Suit isn't the only touchy-feely guy around.


“So I called and you took the bait. That's a start, now tell me straight-up—how far are you willing to go for a payday?”


Julius squirms from both the touchy-feeliness and poor choice of words.


“I ain't naïve. A brother’s gotta get some blood on his hands to make a buck in this city. Never been afraid’a that.”


Arnold removes his arm. “Good to hear, 'cause I got some bloody work ahead. You're in a good place—you done a couple jobs for me and kept your mouth shut doing it. Come with me.”


A snap back in control—follow Arnold out of the office and back into the garage as Helter Skelter amplifies. Notice the heads turn as you shadow him through another doorway and into a dimly lit, smoky hallway.


“Keep your head,” he whispers as he turns a key into a wooden door.


Keep your head indeed—a bloody man with a cloth over his face sitting in a chair under a single light bulb, a serrated blade poking out of his shoulder. Beside him stands Impotent Rage in a leather jacket, a foot wider and taller than David Arnold. Where the leader's jacket is blank his reads Vice President. His white hair is matted bloody over one hell of a manic expression.


As good a greeting as any: “Who the f*ck is this?”


We don't get an eye on Julius’ read of the situation.


Arnold speaks up. “Dirk, I told you about him. He's been running for us, he's our connect.”


Manic expression turned blank.


“He’s good and he's not the f*cking man.”


Arnold hobbles over and whispers something to Dirk we're not privy to, but it makes him grin.


“Ah.” No hesitation, Dirk yanks the knife out of the hostage’s shoulder and tosses it to Julius who fumbles to catch it. We see him for the first time—he's biting his lip.


As chairman screams, Dirk directs: “You wanna move on up, bobo? Finish the job.”

He moves to take the cloth off—Julius stops him. “Don’t need to see his face.”


No hesitation, no chance to reconsider. As Julius restrains himself from knifing the torturer instead, you are put in control to do the deed yourself. Push the indicated button and Julius thrusts the knife forward and into the man's neck. A sideways slice and a grunt; we see from behind the chair Arnold’s stoic expression. Julius stumbles backward and drops the knife with a clang as the man’s head lobs to the side and the cloth falls. Full view of the man’s pulpy face. Silence.


Broken: “I gotta say, that’s the quickest someone’s done it.”


Julius eyes Dirk. This happens often?


Arnold next, a touch over-excited: “I knew you were the right fella for this! Guy was a f*ckin’ heel, ‘case you’re wondering. I’m gonna find some good work for you, Kren, you’ll be damn pleased you came to see me.”


Wiping the blood off his hand, Julius begins back where he came in shaking his head.



Bloody Dirk takes a step forward. “Can’t just leave a body at the scene, pal. Get rid of it.”

Julius speaks to Arnold instead. “I wasn’t fixin’ to kill anybody tonight. Figured you would’ve had a plan for the cat.”

Arnold shrugs. “The last guy who went through with this hightailed it before we could get this far. You shank a guy because I point and say so and you want me to believe you ain’t got a hiding spot?”

“I got a hiding spot, just not for dead folk.”

Dirk: “Time to find one, part of the induction process.”

“He ain’t goin’ in my ride.”

“This is a chop shop. Plenty of cages to go ‘round. I thought you were a no objections guy, Kren.”


With a shrug, Julius moves back up to the body and heaves him up with the help of Dirk. We cut to black, a fade back in as the corpse is heaved into the trunk of a rusty Bravado Bolt. Julius moves to the front seat and Dirk the side.


Julius: “You coming with?”

Dirk puts his arms on the roof. “Look, brother. You shanked that guy right quick, but all that proves is that you’re a sheep and Dave’s already your shepherd. Killing is our line of business. What’s important is if you can handle the follow-up, and that remains to be seen.”


He gets in the car. Julius next.


“Cut the f*ckin’ names. I’ve worked for plenty of dudes since I got to this city and your boss ain’t the first to put me to the test like that. Difference is, most’a them other cats knew what they was doing. I don’t think you thought this through. Who’s the guy in the trunk?”

“I was thinking one of your strong points was not askin’ questions.”

“I killed the cat, didn’t I?”

“You did. Get used to it if you’re gonna work for David Arnold.”

“I’m freelance.”

“Not anymore.”


Make a choice before you hit the gas. Your options are presented to you on the minimap: you’re free to use any means possible to get rid of the body. Perhaps you want to get to the nearby waterfront and dump the car oldschool style. Shoot the gas tank, sure, just make sure Dirk gets the f*ck out of dodge first. Two scripted options are offered too; drive to the junkyard a few blocks east and use the car crusher. It will cue a cutscene where Julius and Dirk watch as the metal compresses and the latter cracks a joke about how the car’s steel might be turned into a knife. A final choice: venture out to Quest Sound avoiding any patrol cars to Julius’ former employer: the Cavallo-Carne Slaughterhouse. There you’ll meet his old pal Mr. Night Shift—Sammy—who filches the corpse with glee. Perhaps it’s your best choice anyway; it leaves Dirk a touch appalled.


When the dead guy’s dust you’ll be prompted to accompany Dirk back to the chop-shop, an easier feat if you haven’t destroyed the car—traffic is scarce on the waterfront late at night.


“I dunno,” he’ll say to Julius. “I still ain’t convinced about you.”

“Good thing you ain’t the boss, then.”

Quieter: “Not yet.”

Julius scoffs. “Don’t involve me in your sh*t, man. I’ll kill cats and run swag for your little club, but I won’t think twice about bailing if y’all start off with some intermediary bull.”

“Good to know.”


Pull up next to Julius’ Gaia and let Dirk bail himself.


Before he walks into the orange light, he leans in through the open passenger window. “I suggest you ditch this cage.”

Julius ignores him. “So now what?”

Dirk runs his fingers through his bloody hair then picks his teeth. “So now you go home and sleep tight, maybe come back tomorrow.”


“Your risk to take.” He winks and walks off around the chop-shop corner.


A fade to black if you’re in a jacked ride. If you went the slaughterhouse route it’s not done yet: Julius rifles through the car’s glove compartment and under the seats for any loot before ditching it. A final look inside the sun visor; as he flips it a small Polaroid falls onto his lap. He rotates it face-up: a smiling man holding hands with his wife and a young girl on his shoulders. A look of recognition: no cloth over his face, no blood. Julius throws it out the window and exits the car.

Edited by PhilosophicalZebra

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Mokrie Dela

I find the style interesting. I can't give much feedback on screenplays to be honest, but it honesty feels more like standard prose in some ways. The problem is it feels slightly like its havjng an identity crisis - parts seem like 'normal' stories but then the screenplay style pops up and takes away the immersion. It does make me think how cool a second person story would be, and when I come to play mammoth catch up with the stories in this section, I'll add this to the list and offer more in depth feedback. For now though, this is just a brief note. Keep up the work

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I find the style interesting. I can't give much feedback on screenplays to be honest, but it honesty feels more like standard prose in some ways. The problem is it feels slightly like its havjng an identity crisis - parts seem like 'normal' stories but then the screenplay style pops up and takes away the immersion. It does make me think how cool a second person story would be, and when I come to play mammoth catch up with the stories in this section, I'll add this to the list and offer more in depth feedback. For now though, this is just a brief note. Keep up the work

Appreciate it. I see where you're coming from with the identity crisis thing, and it's fully intentional. I would've stuck to writing these in a purely script-like form but I kind of like the mix-and-match because it lets my practice both aspects of the writing (the script form & the standard prose). Thanks for the feedback.


Here's the third, finally done.


Mission Three

The Common Deal


After the end of the previous mission you'll be prompted to switch to Dante—do so at your leisure. The camera will once again speed across the map as the Monótono River turns to desert. We're treated to a timelapse of Las Venturas from the perspective of a flat-roofed bungalow a few miles out as nighttime neon vibrance turns to a full blown heat-hazed day.


A red Albany Ace pulls into the driveway and parks behind a shiny Barbican Piranha. A familiar face steps out, a brown bag in his hand even more wrinkled than him. Jacky hooks around the car and makes his way into the home’s sandy backyard, past a picnic table covered in sawed-off shotguns to a small shack poised against the fence. A look in a tiny window, then a knock on the steel door. It opens immediately to Dante in his skivvies yawning.



Dio mio. It's eight o’clock, you f*cking bum.”

“I know, that's why I'm still sleeping.”


Jacky pushes in; first person from his view—mattress on the floor, a few shelves filled with useless sh*t and a small table with newspapers piled in a 5x5 space. Smoke rises from beside the bed, Jacky sniffs.


“It don't smell like sleep to me.”

“Yeah, yeah, la canapa. Let's get it out of the way.”

“I don't got time.”


Jacky pushes the bag into Dante’s chest. He grabs it and peeks in, Jacky slaps his hand away.


“Remember my pal Fabrizio out in the valley?”

Dante leans on the door frame. “No.”

A rare chuckle: “The bookie who screwed Angio Scavarelli’s broad. I had to put him in hiding for half the goddamn year.”

“Don't ring any bells. I remember Mrs. Scavarelli, though.”

“Uh huh.” — Jacky begins to direct Dante to Fabrizio’s place through physical landmarks rather than street names as Dante yawns and scratches away.


“...just put the bag in the vase on his porch. You listening? This is a favor from Jon so I'd appreciate it if you don't f*ck it up.”


Serious now: “I won't.”


“If you got nothing better to do, which I know you don't, go see Jon when you're done. He asked for you.”


Mutual nods; Dante closes the door. He checks his little spinello by the bed and finds water dripping onto it from a crack in the roof, followed by a trail of Sicilian cursing. Only part of the language he knows.


Objective: Get dressed and drive toward New Martis.


Approach a little pile of clothes on one of the shelves and pick a default outfit: rolled up blazers, wifebeaters under unbuttoned dress shirts and chinos. A quick tutorial on that pile of papers: it's your only alternative to radio, fresh off the presses every morning are details on the latest, from your criminal exploits to just typical everyworld bullsh*t 50¢ apiece. When you're pleased with yourself leave the brick hut and make your way to Dante’s Piranha. If you want, take the opportunity to explore Jacky’s home—a typical Venturas bungalow, flat-roofed, every wall’s a window. Mid-century as it gets until you see inside; stickler Jacky enjoys WWII-era furniture. The living room’s fifty shades of beige hosts a card game every night in which you can partake.


Done? Get to the car and pull out of the cul-de-sac of identical homes. Even though the valley isn't far away, the lack of traffic allows you an even quicker commute. Floor the muscle car and hear the engine roar as The Strip ’ buildings fade further away in the haze. No waypoint, but follow the natural route and you'll find yourself back on the West Side—sh*thole tenements and eerie desertion. The camera will focus on Sugar Ray’s Mini-Mart as you pass, a keen eye will notice the rusty old Barbican Veranda from the previous mission curbside. Keep driving as the amount of domiciles dwindles and sand dunes swells. Cloudless scorching day—A Day In The Life playing on the radio as you travel down the highway. Around you? A little metal guardrail and miles upon miles of flat desert and tumbleweeds. Urban expansion my ass, Dante mumbles to himself. Promises straight from Cazzini—Venturas is the future, right?


Fabrizio’s bungalow is one of three built so far—the skeletons of a few dozen more are scattered along dirt roads nearby; the beginnings of a little township halfway to New Martis. Over a nearby foothill you would usually see the concentrated skyscrapers of San Fierro, but for now the haze limits the sight—park on Fabrizio’s dirt lawn, find the vase, cue cutscene: Dante peeks in the bag again and you get to make a quick decision: press the indicated button to snag a Grade-A suppressor. No immediate consequences, though; as he begins to walk back to the car a man pops out the front door holding a lupara by the barrel. Dante feels for his pistol and comes up empty again—holster’s in the backseat, you'll get it when you return.


Pure Alderney: “Who the f*ck comes all the way out here and don't say hi?”


No gun pointing; no hands in the air.


“I'm Gravelli’s guy. Heard you needed a few silencers.”


Fabrizio grabs the vase and flips it into his hand. He opens the bag, pulls a few out then back in.


Suppressors, you f*ckin’ amateur. When someone comes up with a real silencer we’ll all be up sh*t’s creek.” Fabrizio scratches what seems to be a perpetual itch with his lupara.


Dante: “It's like tumbleweed f*ckin’ hollow out here—what's your deal?”

“You know my deal.”

“Can't say I do.”

“You work for Gravelli, paisan—we all got the same deal.”


He smirks, twirls his shotgun like a balancing act and slams the door, Dante's questions hanging tabled.


One main objective: Go back home, passing through the West Side en route.


Do so. Take the scenic drive again—what, how often do you get to put the pedal to the metal in a muscle car through a desolate desert? Try first person; admire the old-school dials and blood leather interior if that's your thing. The sand will soon morph to a few warehouses, then one-stories and ultimately your target tenements. Passing the mini mart will this time trigger a short scene: Dante will attach his holster, park around the corner and get out. The information box in the upper left will display your objective straight up—Go to the payphone across the street—along with a tidbit of info: the directive is purely a suggestion; you're free to use your initiative without punishment. If you wanna do things the old way, feel free.


First option—those guys fixing to jack Sonny’s Glendale in the intro are already hanging out on their stoop. If you’re up to it, take a hands-on approach and beat the living sh*t out of them. Honestly, the odds ain’t in your favor—three versus one, the three already well-versed in street fighting. Different gangs, different fighting styles—this isn’t one you want to go up against your first time. If you’re brave enough to down them, however, you’ll be introduced to the game’s fighting mechanics step-by-step until you kick their asses. “Not so tough now”, Dante will mutter to the moaning gangsters once they’re rolling around on the ground. “Stick to pinchin’ bicycles from now on.”


Two—Dante’s got a gun. Though a barely-attempted carjacking may not merit a bullet (or ten), it’s ultimately up to you. Draw the pistol and Dante will say “Never f*ck with the Gambettis” plain and simple—shoot and book it before the street starts getting crowded.


Three—follow the suggestion. Walk over to the payphone and Dante will automatically place the call, 50¢.


“Yo, it’s Dante. I got a little show needs playing out over on the West Side. You in?”

Laughs: “Of course. Be there in five.”


Five it is—fade to black, fade back in to a Vapid Banner double parking Dante’s ride. A pudgy guy inside calls him over.


“What’s the deal?”

Dante spits, points to the gangsters on the stoop. “These pricks were sizing up Cangelosi’s car yesterday when I was on a run. Jon scared 'em off, but I say we take it a bit further and teach ‘em not to do that again.”

“Oh yeah, you were on a run with Sonny and Jon. Who else was there, Vic Noto?”

“Ha, I don’t gotta prove sh*t to you, E. But don't say I didn't tell you I was movin’ on up.”

“Whatever, you delusive prick. Got a plan?”

Ooh, ‘delusive prick’. That’s a good one. And sure—go piss the shines off with your charm while I pull their brakes.”


Ettore gets out—at full height he stands half a foot taller than Dante—and hobbles over to the stoop as Dante kneels by his car. Before long an argument starts; your cue to act. Crouch over to the rusty Veranda around the corner and get over to the front: press the indicated button to cut the car’s brake lines. You're free to do this as you wish in normal gameplay—a good preventative measure to take when you don't feel like a high-speed pursuit.


Back to the Piranha—shove it into first gear and cruise up to the mini-mart curb. One of the gangsters will notice you immediately.


“Ah, makes sense. You dagos hang in packs ‘round here, huh?”

“Glad you remember me. You really seemed to dig what I was drivin’ yesterday, you feelin’ as hot on this one?”

The trio size it up. The short guy: “Nothin’ special, motherf*cker.”

“I bet this ‘nothing special’ would kick up some good dough for parts, though. I'll be honest; I'm joyriding and lookin’ for a race—if you beat me in that rusty piece of sh*t this girl’s all yours.”

They laugh like they just heard the world's greatest joke. “Got nothin’ better to do. S’worth a shot, it is.”


The three run over to their car around the corner—Ettore gets in with Dante.


“Something tells me this ain’t gonna be fair game.”


Go to the makeshift start a bit down the road; not like there’s any traffic to interfere. It’s a long, straight path with a sudden 90° into a building further down—good for quick acceleration, bad for someone without brakes. Wait for the Veranda to position alongside you—3,2,1, hit it. Power down the road and prepare to drift the corner alongside your adversaries—watch as they lose momentum and slam into a brick wall at mid-speed. Shift gears again, hit it far this time. Leave the West Side in your dust as Dante and Ettore laugh away.


A final trek: Return home.


“Sh*t, your car.”

Ettore continues laughing. “I pulled that hunk a’ junk from Ricky’s yard. Gimme some credit, big shot.”

“Ain’t no big shot yet. Stepping stones, Tor—a favor here and an unpaid gig there’ll and before you know it they’re dependin’ on you.”

“Uh huh. And that back there—that your idea of sanctioned payback?”

“Not exactly. But the hoi polloi gotta know to respect the family, capiche? I got a feeling it’ll pay off.”

“So when you gonna introduce me?”

“What, to Sonny? That old prick won’t remember you from any other Strip drone stunad unless you make a splash. That’s on you.”

“So I heard. Come by my pa’s in a few shakes and I’ll bring the waves.”


Dante chuckles, a bit confused, a bit impressed. Park up the driveway into the indicated spot—don’t take Uncle Jacky’s vacant one unless you’re yearning for a verbal lashing later on. Not his house, but Ettore’ll walk in first—Dante steps out of the car and, for the first time, you’re free. You’ll receive the traditional breakdown of what you can do while in free roam, ending with a prompt to begin the first mission of Doug’s if you so please.



Mission passed.
No reward.
Edited by PhilosophicalZebra

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Mission Four

The Gordian Knot

We fade in to Doug sitting on his apartment steps, puffing away at a smoke stub and watching his neighbors come and go along the cobblestone sidewalk. As an argument breaks out in one of the sh*tty digs across the street, a window cracks open a few stories up.

Joanna's head pops out: "You said you were taking out the trash!"
Doug pats a garbage bag sitting next to him. "I am!"

The window slams closed with a dejected grunt. Splinters of wood fall to the sidewalk.

Doug grabs the bag and huffs over to the common trash cans; dented and overflowing with sh*t, he tosses it and his cig into a pile of undoubtedly rank waste and begins to walk back up the stairs just as a blue Corridascreeches up to the curb. A gaunt guy of questionable ethnicity steps out the door and almost gets swept away by a speeding dump truck.

"D-Dog!" he howls, pretending it didn't happen and patting the hood. "Long time no see."
"Ah, whatever. How you doin'? Admiring our impeccably kept trash area?"
"That's it. Whats new, Wink?"
"Great things are afoot, that's what." He points to the Corrida. "That things about to get swapped in for a Benefactor. You know Harry?"
Doug leans on the railing. "He finally take his destiny head-on and become a used car salesman?"
"Not exactly. His 24-karat carcass washed up in Holt Bay this morning. No fingers."
"Harry, huh? Sounds like a gas."
"I had to go I.D. the poor f*ck's body and book it before they booked me. Real gas."
Doug doesn't ask the $64,000 question. "So what now?"

"We can talk in the car. You free?"

Doug about-faces to the window and back. "As the mary up on Elwood."

Segue to gameplay - enter the passenger side and let Winky drive. Notice the stacked, banged-up crates in the truck bed.

"Again - so what now?"
"All hands on deck is what now, D-Dog. Harry was a prick, but he held a decent rank with the Tongs. He promised he'd talk me up to the head honchos way back when, and I'd like to think he made good on that."
"Level with me - you think you're gonna replace him?"Doug stifles a chuckle.

"I didn't say that, you fickle old f*ck."

A lull - although its not yet time to make use of them, familiarize yourself with the passenger controls.

Winky: "You carrying?"

"You know the answer to that."
"Don't be naive."
"Fine, don't answer. I got you a little gift anyway."

Little gift - a rusty old revolver.

"Oh, that's swell. I think my great grandad fought the gold rush with this thing."
"Anytime. Listen up."

Winky explains the situation - Harry was a well-established Tong with his fingers in one too many local drug rings, so someone cut them off, slit his throat and tossed him into the bay. Before he even hit the riverbed Winks received a ring requesting a meet - the Triads needing a new heroin supplier, preferably local. Pink Dilian parking lot, Chinatown. Pronto.

As Winky drives under the Chinatown arch, notice the packed liveliness of the district - food vendors, antique stores, arguing Asians and cheap pawn shops crowding the sidewalks. The Pink Dillian's imperial not-so-pink facade beckons forth and he explains:

"Come to think of it, I don't think they'll be too hot on me bringing a number two."
"It's a bit too late for that, amigo."
"Nix that. Climb the fire escape over there and watch the meet from the roof."

The camera focuses on a nearby rusty fire escape - it leads to a stubby building just tall enough to oversee the parking lot.

"What the hell use am I up there?"
"Oh, I got a rifle in the back."
"And your olive branch was an age-old revolver. Your foresight is f*cking admirable."

Right before he turns the alleyway, Doug exits the car and heads to the back. The weapon selection works just like Little Jacob's in IV - for now, grab the rifle and a pair of binoculars from one of those boxes and hit the fire escape as Winky crawls the Corrida into the parking lot. Through the windows on the fire escape you can peek through some apartment curtains, creep some Oriental interiors. Get to the creaky roof and switch to the binoculars as Wink comes to a stop near a grey Classique Tango. You'll receive directives on how to switch between the lenses and the rifle and how to zoom - notice a dirty white Granger parked in the shadows up ahead. Make a preemptive choice; focus on them or the meet itself.

Winky hops out his pickup as a group of four exit the Tango. A short Chinaman with a shirt more abstract than an Adam Biggs canvas steps out with a red envelope of cash in one hand and a mystic knot in the other.

Ready your sights; hold your breath. Just in case.

Winky and cashman get to talking, the others holding the line Secret Service-like. The pair turn round the back of Winky's ride and he cracks one of the boxes open with a crowbar. Laugh laugh, handshake and a handover of the cash; the other goons grab two crates and heave them into the back of the Tong sedan. All's well, but does it ever last? As the meeting wraps up, a distant rumbling grows louder until everyone notices - cashman yells "F*ck!"as a half dozen motorcycles pull into the alleyway, operators armed to the teeth.

Muzzles light up as Doug echoes the Triads sentiments - open fire on the bikers and keep Winky safe as he hides behind his truck. Pop them with sniper fire or go down personal - you've got your gifted revolver and perennially-held pistol, after all. Rush back down the fire escape or take a leap of faith off the roof onto a protruding garage below. Every time you jump off a high surface wielding weapons youll activate a bullet-time freefall regardless of who you're playing as - use it to take some potshots at the bikers. Scramble for cover once you're down there and finish them off with the help of the Triads, including the sneaks in the Granger; take notice of the mixture of ragdoll and more inventive scripted death animations as you do.

Wrap up, cutscene - the cashman puts his gun to Winky's head and the bodyguards fidget uncertainly as Wink rambles on. Doug approaches calm, hands up: "Nothing hasty, fellas."

Winky blubbers: "F*ck, Damon, what the f*ck, do I look like I'd get along with those pricks, f*ck, man, this was my deal!"

Doug comes closer, shows his bare hands. "The gatecrashers are dead, amigo. Let's try to keep our fingers off the triggers for a jiffy."

Cashman - Damon, lets the pistol go limp and wipes his forehead.

"Apologies."Prying eyes converge at the head of the alleyway as Damon eyes Winky.

"These deadbeats are becoming an issue."
"No f*cking sh*t."
"And you,"Damon gestures crookedly at Doug, "Consider us grateful, but who the f*ck are you?"

He feigns surprise. "I'm Doug."

To Winky this time: "Who is he?"

Wink starts to pace and stops short of the Tong goons."I mean, Christ, Damon, we live in the same building and his wife ain't that hot on me because we used to work together like a long ti-"

The monologue gets cut short as two not-so-dead bikers make an eleventh-hour decision - a prone one readies his sights at Winky, another steadies himself to a knife charge at Damon. And it's ultimately up to you - Doug's sharp instincts can blow one of them away. Shoot the gunman and Winky'll drop prostrate as Damon's men annihilate the other. Vice versa, save Damon's ass and his men will prevent Winky's demise. No deaths, sure, but your choice will be remembered.

Everyone on edge, Damon orders his men around in Cantonese. They flip vests, check pockets of the bikers as Winky stands shaky. Doug and Damon make eye contact, neither backing down as Doug lights a cigarette.

One of the men hands Damon a card, close up: Stanislaw Choppers, Dutch Flatlands SF - The Road Starts Here.

He speaks to no one: "What kind of tar snake crew orders business cards?"

Ripping it in two, he faces Winky. "Let's table your story, Ying. I'll be in touch."

Doug makes a face. Ying?
"You can cash in later." He shrugs, hops in the Corrida and takes off through the crowd of squarejohns still gathered.

With a final stern order, the Triad men hop into the Tango as sirens converge in the distance. Damon opens the back door to enter but pauses to face Doug, leaning casually against the frame.

"You're a skilled shot, Doug."
"So I've heard."
"The question is, since you've clearly no stake in the inner workings of this deal, where do your loyalties lie?"
Straight: "They lie where the money flows."

"I tend to shoot men with that mindset."
Doug takes a prolonged puff of his cigarette. "I'd appreciate you putting that idea on ice, considering what just happened."

Damon pretends to consider, Doug cuts his response off: "I enjoy this song and dance if its done timely, but those sirens are getting mighty loud. Maybe it'd suit you better to do this over dinner or something, I hear you fellas enjoy that."

"You'll quickly find that I have no tolerance for insolence, Mr-"
"It's Prydon, and don't you get sanctimonious on me, Damon."
"Mr. Leung. You're lucky you're such a good shot, Mr. Prydon. May I reach you through Ying when were in need?"

A slow nod in victory pose; Damon slugs into the backseat and the sedan flies by, target on him fingering the gaps of his mystic knot. Doug smokes, casually glancing over the half dozen corpses abound, before tossing the cigarette and making headway down the alley exit absent of onlookers. He gives a cursory wave to the Triads slinking in the Rancher watching him as he mutters:

"F*cking Chinamen."

Mission passed.

+ $50

Post-mission phone call(s)

Any time you approach a payphone in the city after a mission, you'll receive a prompt once you're 50¢ short: in this case, a call to Doug's wife Joanna. Make 'em or you'll miss 'em. If you don't make a call necessary to advance the story, you'll receive it at the protagonist's safehouse instead.


1st - Joanna Prydon (optional)
Joanna: Hello?

Doug: It's me.
Joanna: Oh, he lives! You bring the trash to the landfill yourself?
Doug: Trash's in the trash. I was with Marcus.
Joanna: Funny thing, 'cause Marcus just came over and borrowed some eggs. I saw you leave with Winky.
Doug: What do you want from me, Jo? He's got work and he pays, that alone puts him above half the jackasses in this city.
Joanna: I don't need to hear the spiel again - just be home for supper.
Doug: We'll see.

2nd - Winky Marquez (mandatory)
Winky: I get the right number this time?
Doug: If you were trying to reach me instead of coming upstairs.
Winky: Oh, and run into your wife? No thanks.
Doug: What is it?
Winky: Well, it turns out I underestimated the workload involved in Oriental dealings. I can't handle it myself; I tried, but I can't.
Doug: Too bad Harry's not around, he would've been keen for it.
Winky: As-f*ckin'-if. Try this olive branch - I'm gonna need help running the day-to-day and I know you need work.
Doug: Well, it's more valuable than the revolver, I can tell you that.
Winky: Primo. Ring me up when you need something to get done or I'll come see you when I need something done.
Doug: Appreciated.

Side-mission unlocked: Winky's Wetwork

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We drop in on Julius on his way home sweet home. It's the middle of the night, nary a soul in Chinatown - you're dropped in mid-drive again, on the radio an impassioned soul justifying the recent strikes at universities cross-country. A block down from a police roadblock near the Pink Dilian, a red neon sign practically screaming AUTHENTIC KOREAN MASSAGES above dark storefront windows pulls you forward - go to it and park in the adjacent alleyway, over a sign nailed into the brick: Park here and say sayonara to your tires. Your choice: side door, front door - either way, you'll fall victim to an ambush by landlady Matilda in the reception.

"It's eleven o'clock, Julius. We had an agreement," you hear unaccented out of the darkness. She steps out, arms crossed: black hair in curlers galore lit by the blinking neon.

Rolled eyes, charm on: "C'mon, Melinda, baby, if you hadn't been prowlin' around down here you wouldn't a' heard a thing. Today was a long day."
"It's not prowling, Julius, this is my building. Don't cry to me about a long day until you've had to deny eight happy endings to a gang of Soviet ruffians."

You've been worming to the head of the stairs, an arm on the bannister: "Luckily I chose a different line of work. See you tomorrow, girl."

Up white wooden stairs past three landings: 401 is the destination, top floor - a protrusion on the flat roof. Climb up past an obscene argument on floor two and blaring

radio jingle on three. Open the door and get an eye on Julius' flat: a big open space that used to be a storage room, now thrown-together furniture over beaten planks separated by room dividers. Quick scene: Julius tosses his jacket onto a cluttered table and grabs aPißwasser from the fridge, makes his way behind one of the room dividers to see his brother Winston. The kid's a candlewaster, hunched reading a book lit by a waning taper like it's still 1850.

"Nice to see you home," he mumbles without taking his eyes off the book.
"Don't look up, brainiac."

Julius sips his beer as additional safehouse activities are introduced in small print: surf radio stations, raid the fridge, read the dailies, crash on the couch. Screw around a bit before the last - maybe put on a good song while perusing the paper, current headline Latino Walkouts Strike Southern SA. It makes Winston speak up: "Those Chicano pricks think they've got it hard," and a chuckle. In the missing persons, a Lonny Crowe; wed father of two, last seen after his Bravado Bolt broke down in the Dutch Flatlands.

When you're ready, hit the flowery loveseat to a fade black: a panorama of Chinatown overnight 'til the sunrise, traffic from nil to a steady morning flow. You'll wake to an agitated Winston: "Crack of dawn, lazy-ass. Freddy's callin' all cars."

"Call all he wants, don't mean we gotta show." You sit up to new info: shower at your leisure, but it's only prime to getting blood off your clothes and a shot at the current protagonist's acapella crooning. Try it - head into the remnant-from-Prohibition bathroom, then swap into fresh threads and meet your brother in the hallway. Note the clothes - lots of denim and leather jackets, not a single tee or tank in the running.

Julius: "Why you waiting on me? You said you were takin' the cable cars from now on."
"You mind if we carpool? Not for nothin', Jules, I just wanna sit comfy this morning."
"Hell, you know I don't mind. Just never been a fan of people waitin' on me."

Head down the stairs in a pair straight into a new environment: an incense-clouded hallway full of fat middle-aged men, arms wrapped around Asian girls barely a Jackson. Through the smoke wafts drunkenness; stragglers still getting their money's worth at the sunrise's rooster crow. In the waiting room, a kimono-clad Matilda argues with a man who looks accustomed to it - of note is that her American accent is suddenly gonzo; she can't enunciate her Rs. As Jules and his brother head toward the side door, the man lays one hand too many on Tilda - Julius is nothing if not a bastion of chivalry and you're on him before the hand's back down. The dude's not in the mood for confrontation - nor is Matilda, who rewards Jules by yelling something Asiatically hostile and a hand wave - f*ck off. The man glares, mutters "Bluegum bastard" in a southern accent as Julius puts his hands up and he and Winston head out the side door.

"Coffee's a good stimulant as well," Winston quips outside.

Hop into the Gaia - drive toward the motorcycle icon as it pops up on your radar: Intrepid Courier Service. As you drive by the nearby cable lines they'll be explained - three lines, three routes. Hop on, pay the toll and get some picturesque views from the rooftops as you're carried around the city. Also imperative: they can be used to flee the cops if you're feeling stealthy. Shh.

Julius: "Tell me something, genius - what'd Tilda just yell at me?"
"How the hell should I know?"
"'Cause your book smarts gotta pay off somehow, somewhere."
Win grunts. "I don't know - Cantonese, probably. What you on to?"
Julius chuckles like he's had a private joke going. "The sign outside says Korean massages. Our girl wears Jap kimonos - now you say she speaks Cantonese?" Julius laughs. "I guess our girl's representin' the entire Orient."
Brotherly melodrama: "Jesus, you're right. Is anything in this city sacrosanct?"
"I don't know what that means - but no, I don't think any massage parlors are. Cut out the egghead language, you sound like you're tryin too hard."
"So be it. Can't plow through life with your fists, Jules." He pauses. "You got blood on your sleeve."

You can hear it in their voices - Julius, hard as he may try to distance himself from his upbringing, still has that persistent Carcer City inflection. Winston on the other hand flushed it when he got into college; he's got some Transatlantic imbroglio down pat.

Get the hell out of Chinatown, past Suppleham and under the highway overpasses that zigzag through the city. It's near familiar ground: blue collar district, masonry and smokestacks aplenty - the destination stands out around highway columns and factories with its brickery painted yellow. Park in the side lot beside a blue Malpais pooling oil, get out and head through the garage entrance. As you turn the corner Julius calls back to Winston, who's heading toward the empty lot behind: "Where you goin'?"
"Zeke wanted me to meet him out back; something about his bike acting up."
"Alright. Holler if you need a hand."

Head through to a callback to Kaufman Cabs; a vast grey depot lined on one wall with Dinka bikes and another with concrete office walls that don't quite touch the ceiling. A few workers scattered over leakage stains have their attention on the office door labeled Mr. Peters - or rather, on the yelling behind it. Walk up behind one of the dudes packing his bike as the scene cuts.

Julius pats his shoulder: "Yo Zeke, Win's waiting on you out back."
"I'm headin' out to Lake Callahan, man. What's his business?"
"Dunno, he said your bike was on the fritz."
"She's golden, Jules," he gestures. "What you on about?"
Julius smirks and encourages a change of subject. "Forget it, forget it. 'Sup with Freddy?"
"Oh, the brother's fit to be tied - he got notice on our rent this A.M."
"Sh*t, it's that bad already?"
"Also said there ain't nothing to worry about - I'll take his word for it 'til the walls cave in."

He revs his engine - Julius cuts across and into the dragon's den.

Freddy Peters, back to the doorway, bitching into the yellow phone. Julius takes a seat on the tattered couch opposite Freddy's desk and crosses his arms and legs; free and easy.

"- well you better check again, my friend, because that money got sent out days ago - no, no, I suggest you get off your ass and personally check with your boss because I know that cash's sittin' in his rainy day. Oh, tough guy - yeah, you do that."

Freddy slams the handset down - it bounces off the receiver and they both fall off the desk. He picks it up and turns around massaging his temples.

"Did you pay the rent, Freddy?"
They lock eyes, Jules doesn't back down. A shameless "No."
"Crossed arms turned palms up: The f*ck?"
"I ain't in the mood for condescension, son, not now not ever. Don't think I won't axe you at a moment's notice just 'cause we're goin' down."
"That right, though? We goin' down?"
"No we are not," Freddy pauses. "Not yet."

He picks his pipe off his desk and Julius tosses him a match. Freddy strikes it on the table, finds the pipe dry of tobacco and falls back into his chair.

Julius sighs. "You didn't tell me you were so hard-up, Freddy."
"Didn't see daylight til the statements came in. Cash here, cash there, rent, Carols treatment - ain't no shame in admitting I got in over my head."
"How's Carol doin'?"
"She's copacetic for the time being, and I'd like to keep it that way."
Julius leans forward - business. "What can I do?"
"That's what I wanted to talk about, Jules." Freddy takes a breath, prepares a speech. "The tenets of any good business are that the owner's employees carry the owner's weight. With the owner's weight carried by them, the owner gets to carry the weight of his own obligations, and in return the owner offers a slice of the profits so his employees can do the same. When you and you brother disappear like you did the other day, that entire process falls to sh*t. Where were you?"
Dodge: "I was speaking more future-tense, Freddy."
Freddy stands up, the patriarchal intimidator coming right out. "And I'm speaking auld lang syne, boy - answer the question."
Julius doesn't skip a beat: "Hustlin' with them bikers down the Flatlands."

A nod, a thoughtful look out a barred window and a laugh: "Hustlin'. Listen to yourself, Jules. I thought you were past this."
"Past what? Money? I'm sorry if I don't wanna get into the same fix you're in now Freddy, but cash's cash."
"Ain't my business the company you keep in your respite, Jules, but it is when it's on my dime." He turns to face his employee. "Winston's in the swim with them bikers? Ain't heard the best things about those boys and us brothers; seems against his principles."
Julius ignores the question. "Cash and principles ain't square."
Darting eyes: "I never seen that to be true and I ain't gonna start believing it now. Whatever the case you better take this to heart; I say this with love, but I can't afford to f*ck around anymore. You and Win'll always be like sons to me, but I say it's time to hang tough. Ain't gonna be a second warning."
"I hope so - you got a thick skull, the both of you, but I know your heart's in the right place."
"What about the rent, Freddy? Bull sessions ain't gonna keep the depot in play."
"Creditor's a little fish with stars in his eyes who thinks he's some fat cat - you let me worry about him. He gives Julius a stern look. Not you - me. Now go get your brother, I got a contract that'll park us in the black that I want you two on personally."
"Yeah, now. I need you two out in Birchwood noontide."

Freddy picks up the phone to make some more calls - ditch the office back into the warehouse as a trio of courier bikes begin a run out on that new contract, exhaust smoke and engine snarls in their wake.


Objective: Find Winston.

Open-ended objective; follow the cutscene clues to find your brother, a time lock in the corner: you got 'til 10:00. You grasp the subtext from Julius' reaction to Zeke - no bike needed fixing, Winston's got business on the QT and Jules is always willing to cover for him. Unfortunately it's a real workday, all hands on deck - Winston went toward the alley out back. Make a run for the alleyway - tar snakes and fresh oil poolage make a trail out of it and back onto the main road. Time to get behind the wheel again - hop in your Gaia to the tune of

and follow the fading tire tracks. Head north on the main road running through and into the Dutch Flatlands. It's early yet; you'll see the few still functional factories have their workers arrive in beaten-down old vehicles, buff union supervisors keeping watch in the parking lots. Construction on the overpasses directs you further into the district - "Hell is he?"

It won't take long before you see a row of cars parked curbside in front of an abandoned foundry, an anomaly in a district still nearly bare of vehicles - slow down, press the interaction button to focus on a sign plastered beside the door: House Of Racial Equality: Join us Monday morning! Julius mutters Dumbass; parallel park next to a red Karin Dilettante and get out. A door with one broken glass pane has a note taped to the other on lined paper:NI**ERS DONT YOU WISH YOU WERE WHITE. Julius, stone-faced, rips it down into pieces and heads inside; an abandoned auditorium lit by a single lantern, a circle of folding chairs. He pauses in the entryway: a woman's voice says Welcome.

Julius can barely see, same goes for you: "I'm lookin' for my brother playin' hooky - Winston."
Win plays no fool, mutters some sacrilege and comes forth: "Christ, how'd you find me? He steps up from a chair and approaches his brother."
Julius holds him by the scruff as a mother dog would a pup: "We ain't playin this game again. We got a job to get going."

Everyone's quiet. Julius looks over the circle and we see it from his eyes; four men, two women, all blue-collar black, all eyes on him. One of the girls gets up, speaks up: "Julius. Nice to finally meet you."
She extends a hand, the other clutching a couple dozen paper prints, more advertising for the fabled House of Racial Equality meetings more akin to that of the Epsilon Program.

"Charmed, I'm sure." Julius gives her a quick shake and turns to the door.
"Win, let's split." The girl gives Winston a tug on the shoulder - Julius turns, interest piqued. "What about the posters, baby?"

The situation - the girl's Wins girl, and its her and Jules' first face-to-face.

Julius smirks: "Baby, huh?"
Winston looks back and forth. "Roxy, I was gonna tell him about you."

They play out a scene - Roxanne irked she hasn't been introduced, Julius bemused and uncaring. As they quibble and the rest of the group sits awkwardly a pair of burly men approach the twin entrance doors; one's got a pen. You might infer they showed up to add some extra oomph to their racist tidings they taped and Julius trashed.

They catch Roxy's eye; she sighs and says "Not again" and panic sets in - "Win, they can't be here when Leon shows up. That's the last thing we need."
A voice from the circle: "Goddamn honkies."

Winston sees it coming but can't stop it: "Julius!". Eyes front to the laughing bozos; Julius grabs a fire extinguisher from its broken socket and stampedes. The cutscene ends to action - press the button and Jules sends the vessel into the side of one of their heads, clearing the doors broken glass in the process. Make a split second choice: before anyone can react, either swipe the extinguisher up from the ground or go the route of glass shards. Take out the guy who didn't get grounded - he's got a construction helmet so aim low, don't waste time on protection. Quick glass cuffs or heavy blows from the fire vessel's boot; let him join his buddy on the ground as the HoEs members watch in awe. When the second guy hits the asphalt, you'll be introduced to the grapple: Julius holds him up by his shirt, adrenaline'd by taking the other guy out. You're to perform a finishing move, contextual execution, whatever you wanna call it - the red Dilettante falling victim. Use the triggers to keep your hands around the guy while you walk toward the car - fingers slip and the guy gets away. You've got options; close his head in the door a few times, chokeslam through the windshield, mush him into the wheel well. Done - he's on the floor crying for mommy.

When it's over, nobody speaks and Julius snaps back to reality. Roxanne first "My car!", then Winston, calm as ever: "Lasting impressions."

"Sorry," Julius mutters, and its clear as ever there's a temper bubbling under an aloof surface; now he's a bit red in the face. "Winston."

The brother turns to console his girl; the honkey-caller eggs Jules on and kicks the downed bigot. "Now, Winston." He gets to stepping, Julius hesitates before a trite "Nice to meet you" to Roxanne, who's busy probing the damage done to her hatchback.

Go - it's not too long a drive out to Birchwood, pull a left and get on the Great Ocean Highway southbound. It's quiet for a bit, no music, and the tension builds into its inevitable conclusion on both parts: "The f*ck is wrong with you?"
"Me? What's wrong with you, Mr.-f*ckin-Albatross - all in for individual responsibility 'til some fox comes knocking with tidings of an equal nation?"
"Oh, give it a rest."
"Hard pass. We been coastin sh*t-job to sh*t-job for the better part of a Goddamn motherf*cking decade, and now that we settled in homey with Freddy on the cusp of him giving us the business, you choose now to go pachyderm?"
Scoff, avoid: "Go pachyderm? Charles Darwin, now?"
"Those age-old scrolls ain't all paperweights to me. Really-truly."
"We are fighting for a better future-"
"Why can't you do that when it ain't on Freddy's dime? Why weren't you out cavortin' with Roxy Parks when I got home last night, you gotta wait 'til daylight?"
"Don't belittle our cause, Jules. Speaking of last night - burning the midnight oil?"

No answer; easy clam. "Thought so. Let's leave it at that then."

Traffic lets up - drive past SF International as a Luxor makes its final leg overhead and head onto the minibridge out of town. Pull the softtop down with the press of a button - bright shiny day itd be a shame to waste, travelling alongside the deep blue San Fierro bay chock full of sailboats and mini-yachts, floating penthouse suites for the dignified millionaire with a hankering for seasickness, hookers, and blow. Washed up on the shore below the bridge lays Guillermo's Gullet, the craw of Holt Bay full of washed up detritus of all varieties; a famous dumping ground for the city's abused, unwanted, inconvenient women by their men who forgot about high tide.

"That discussion barred, you got anything else on where we're headed?"

Winston's had the scoop from Freddy - a simple delivery op, year-long fixed-fee contract for a legion of talented drivers to transport seafood both statewide and cross-border. Wholesale. Tasty. Report to Thomas Sclafani, Birchwood docks. Tick tick tick - depending on how fast you caught up with Winston you might be pressed for time: the meeting's set for 10.

It's on the bayside of the town, a bunch of wooden warehouses separated from Birchwood at large by a big field of cattails. Drive up to the gate; a hulk asks plain "You from Intrepid?" Julius nods and you get inside, directed to the two-story main building right along the water. When you park up another man asks which one of you is Julian - neither, of course, but Winston is escorted elsewhere to the truck-packing depot while you're to play messenger. Head up the wooden-planked outdoor stairs into an office overlooking the dock. Notice the fish factory's fond of goons sidestepping slimy planks, one-handing luparas and smoking like chimneys.

Knock on the metal door to the top office and an eyeball appears in the peephole slat - it opens to another big guy with a cigar who points you to an off-dressed fellow attempting to peel an orange with a pen, legs propped up on a desk in front of a window overlooking the dock. He ignores you until you take a seat across.

Julius makes himself comfortable. "Nah, I'm an apple man."
"Gimme a good Empire any day."

He manages the peel and starts popping slices like candy without a word; you don't feel like playing.

"I'm here for Intrepid CS. Was told you had some work for us, Mr. Sclafani."
Smirk. "May be the case, but Tommy's probably three sheets to the wind by now. I'm Moe Rothenberg, well met." He extends a sticky hand; Julius opts him to switch and they shake.
"Julius Cole. I'd introduce my brother but one of your jockeys took him for a seaside tour."
"When we seal the deal with a new service we like to have both eyes and ears on the ground to get things up and running. Way your boss tells it, you bend the ear while your brother bends the knee."
"Freddy said that?"

Moe nods, Julius sits back in his chair and looks past him at the dockworkers outside, shuffling from boat to truck bed.

"Maybe I passed judgement a touch early on you rattin' your boss out as blotto when you don't know me from Adam. I learn my boss likes to tell tall tales and we might both have some authority problems."
"Don't take it like that," Moe says between orange chunks and a half-smile. "Some men are built to lead and some are built to follow. Freddy says you like to ask questions - ask away."
Julius drops the Freddy issue. "I think the million dollar question is why you're farmin' out leadfoot work. We usually get hired when people want their goods moved on the QT. Must be some prize seafood."
"It is, but the truth is having you on contract cuts a lesser blow to our bottom line. Bunch of professional redneck schmucks on retainer from Lenapia - that crops the quota bad."

Moe waits, Julius not buying it - point in question being what's contained in those transport trucks. You've done it before - illicit goods, a quick run, even out of state - but not in full employment for 365. That never ends well.

"Contract's signed and sealed anyway. Figure the least I could do is give you the rundown when your boss assures me you're his top guy. It's all kosher, my friend."
"About the last thing I'd call seafood."

Moe laughs; he's taking a shine to the kid. The rundown he gives: ¾ of Intrepid on retainer until mid-'69 - transport comprising trucks, boats, helicopters for out of state. Sclafani's goods run supply lines all the way to Couira City and east - good money and a good word for future endeavors. Drivers paid by shipment, the company at large paid off at end of contract. "The goods are factory-sealed and to stay that way."

"How could I say no?" says Julius to gainful employment.
"Glad you're on board, kid. One more thing," Moe says, and reaches into a desk drawer.

He pulls out a .38, slides it across. Julius eyes it, we get a close up: serial number etched off, funny tape on the grip.

"Stick-ups are a menace as ever. Extra precaution, pay no mind."

Julius takes it and fits it in his holster, they shake on the deal sans sticky hand. Leave through the metal door, find Winston down below with his eyes following the lupara-holders on their patrols.

Eager to split, smelling of fish, he asks Julius if he's ready. Head to your car - as you reach it, a bulky black Stretch pulls through the gates and heads to the main building. A goon puts his lupara on the roof to open a door; out comes some fella clearly feeling no pain beside a mouse of a man. The first gives the guard a firm slap across the face for daring to risk nicking the paint - he tosses the shotgun into the grass nearby and heads inside as Mr. Mouse guides the walk and the sentinel scrambles for his gun.

"Seafood my ass."


+ .38 Revolver

Post-mission phone call(s)

1st - Freddy Peters (optional)

Freddy: Gordon, if it's you again I'm gonna sh*t.

Julius: Don't do that, Freddy. It's your star employee.

Freddy: Hear no evil, son. Shoot the breeze with Sclafani?

Julius: Fine. I still ain't met the cat, just some Jew callin' seafood kosher. Odd fish you chose.

Freddy: Rothenberg? He's fine fettle, a real smooth talker.

Julius: Real smooth. Slid a gun right across the table at me - fabric taped barrel.

Freddy: They're finicky types these cats, wait 'til you meet Sclafani. It's all for protection, Jules, ain't gotta worry.

Julius: I ain't worried, just wonderin' what you pulled me into.

Freddy: I pulled you into your own game, son. Everything's set up above board, just play your part and we all come away flush.

Julius: If you say so. Give Carol my love.

Freddy: Will do. See you at the top.

Edited by Cebra

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Pull the Piranha curbside up to the Boccinos' bungalow, architecturally a carbon copy of your uncle's - just a bit more orange and a bit less fastidiously landscaped. Up the driveway you'll run into Sebby himself, frazzled and dazzled in a beige two-piece, wiping his nose with one hand and playing some fingertip rhythm with the other. "Ettore home?" Dante asks, and before the question can register you get your answer: "Yup yup, bedroom, gotta go, move by night" as he hops into and guns his guinea gunboat.

Head inside, past the sunflower wallpaper and shrill canary kitchen - as you're about to turn the corner to E's bedroom Dante sees him outside, perked up in a lawnchair with his eyes up as twilight beckons the stars. The night sky mirrors the strip's neon a few blocks down - cotton candy clouds misting under a purple canvas, minus all the noise, risk-takers, and drunkards. Dante pulls two fingers to the back of E's head - "Bang bang, sei morto." Ettore looks up and lets you know you scared the sh*t out of him, he could've easily lunged at you with that bottle of Stronzo he was holding under the chair and you better work on your reflexes 'cause next time you won't get him so easy. Dante squats to meet his height and chuckles: "You said you'd bring the waves but I'm only seeing the ones crashing behind your eyes."

"Stronz' brings out my best and brightest," Ettore says, taking a swig and offering it to Dante who takes one himself.
"Such as?"

Ettore acts philosophical, poses The Thinker, comes up blank. "I didn't say I was quite there yet."
"Well, take a shot. Perfect night to get into some trouble, E. Stars falling in lines over a bottle of fine Italian liquor."
"It ain't liquor."
"You buy it at a liquor store. Tastes like sh*t, though."
Ettore leans forward and grabs the bottle back from you: "We should get the old gang together."
You pause, the thoughts start running with a caveat. "We ain't sticking up that juggling gigalo that hangs around Tequila Sunrise again."
"No, we're not." E falls empowered, huffs up over his lawn chair towering over you. "I got eyes on that pork store on Sequoia, you know the one with the skinny guineas playing house out front?"
"Yeah, those skinny guineas are holding heaters because it's a Couira City drop. Try again."
"No, D - you seek the big time then this is our ticket. We cleared what, a C-note last time we stuck up some cidrul' playing tourist? We pull a heist on this joint and I guarantee we'd clear a couple grand at min. F*ck the big names, we pay tribute to your uncle and the old man - we buy our way into La Penisola's grand opening."
"My uncle's in tight with Couira. You know that."
"Money talks. It's a marriage of convenience, don't make me talk down to you."
"You know what? If your heart's set I'm in. It's been too long."

You stand tall to Ettore, who downs the remnants of the booze and throws it at his cement fence and makes the neighborhood dogs bark in unison. "Goddamn suburbia. Let's roll."

Head out through the gate and make a call - if you're fed up with the Piranha then jump into Ettore's red Hellenbach GT; he's in no state to drive. When you first sit in, there's a pause - longer one, and Dante finally speaks up: "You gonna tell me where we're headed? You think I've kept in touch with the 'old gang', you got another thing coming."
"Okay, okay," E says, and if you're in first person you'll see him pull a fifth of something fiery brown from the glovebox. "Let's lay it all out."

Let him gather his thoughts and press the gas - slow rolling through suburbia aimed toward the glitzy strip. You'd imagine that neon glow makes a decent night's sleep difficult as Ettore begins checking them off. "Danny Z's serving one-to-three midwest on a solicitation beef."
Dante butts in: "No kidding, I thought cooze cruising was legal 'round here."
"Pump the brakes Casanova, don't worry - guy was thirty seconds past the county line into Mendelson. Let's see - head up to the Red Light district. Last I heard Ricky Rouge was working a corner."
Go ahead - "Ricky f*ckin' Rouge? Don't tell me you're talkin' about Rick Vitro."
"Yes indeedio. Rouge means red like the ol' neighborhood itself but he's green as ever. You think that's the kicker, wait 'til you hear about Hal."
"All ears."
"Oh, it's a good one. After we all pulled that gas scam a few years back he scrammed off to Los Santos. Got hitched, real nice all-American honeypie, last I hear he's ready to settle down like a fine law-abiding citizen. One day he calls me up to say honeypie's screwing spics by the handful - what to do? He puts the moves on his brother-in-law's secretary to settle the score and the tramp has him nabbed for adultery. Before long he's swapping cigs up in Bolingbroke and his honey's free at home to be the town bicicleta."
"Oof," Dante mutters with a drip of sarcasm. "Greek tragedy. We all got the same thing coming."

You're gonna want to swing around the long arm of Yeardley Boulevard instead of heading through to the madness of Venturas' heart. The Red Light district belies its name - it's semi-paved streets glow in more of a nebulous pink mist. The clock's nearing midnight and you're in dreamland - corner girls and triple-X theatres drowning in rowdy sidewalk-queuers, neon outdoor signage conforming to code, daring to show a pair of ankles. "Man, I haven't been here in years."

Windows down, cross near one of those corner shops and one of those girls comes calling from out a crowd: "Buying or window shopping?" in a suspiciously deep vocal fry.
Ettore can't contain his giddiness between fits: "This place has changed, eh?"
Dante squirms. "What do I say?"
"I am still human, honey," with a twirl showing off layers of fishnet. "Test drive?"
"Err, I'll pass. We're looking for Rick Vitro. Ever sing his song?"

The walker shakes, leans on the car, still trying to show off the goods as some theatre-goers hoot and holler at the gunshow.

"Ricky Rouge."
"You got business with Ricky?"
"Not the kind of business you knuckle down, but that's a yeah."

She nods like you've spoken in secret code and fuses back into the queue.

"This place always been so Goddamn degenerate?"
E cops a chuckle: "Go smoke your sausage, you stifled sister. Get with the times."

Out from the horde emerges Ricky, not so much rouge as tan in olive threads that couldn't pull him apart from a hobo smugshot lineup; open bowling shirt leaving scars on display - behind each a story better left untold.

"Oh, the two ays! Must be near a nickle since we last stacked a deck."
"Must be," Dante says under a smirk. "Gotta say, Rick - words fail me."
"What, these finooks? Needs must when the devil drives. Took some business classes, can't say they went untried."

Someone opens the floodgates and the crowd flows into the theatre; your eye is caught to the outdoor signage as its neon triple-Xs start blinking in unison - come one, come all, and as they head in a couple more streetwalkers gather under the neon and chew some chew and give the Hellenbach an eyeful. Pink glow, exotic environs - hitherto the intro to your ladies of easy virtue.

"So what's the play here? Pay me some mind after all this time, I hope you're onto something worthwhile."
The two ays take turns waiting for the other to pipe up - the plan isn't much of a plan, but ol' Ricky doesn't need to know that. E - "Those magic fingers are gonna take a safe is all. There's a couple grand in it on ice - butcher shop, nobody's gonna know nothing."
"Couple Gs being held in a meatmarket safe? I'm real tickled you thought of me, but sounds like that wishful thinking I've gone fine without for half a decade."
Dante pipes in, creeping peeved as he's been checking his watch. "It's a drop shop, I hear some small-time crew. And you can rest easy about any browbeating, tribute to the powers-that-be is gonna be cut equally. Whaddya say?"

White lies - no discussion. "I say you'd best be true blue, Dante. I'll bite."

After Ricky hops in you get the idea that the three musketeers are now winging it; no planning and no forethought springing to faking it until you're making it.

"Who's next?"
"You know I think we're about sewn up - the picklock, the brawn and yours truly the brains. Anything more and we're taking a loss," Ettore leads into the new.

Ricky demands an approach, gives heed to an old idea: delivery truck parked metal to brick - opened side panel and the group cuts in and gets out without a head knocked. The old pals say they'll head down to Post OP HQ just up the road and swipe a van, you're on duty of getting the necessary brickbreaking tools. From a weeklong tenure at a warehouse on the east side Ettore knows they're packing the necessities and more.

They get the car. Pushed out the driver's, you'll find yourself laid bare in the Red Light District - trudge down they alley behind Rick's joint and through the bubblegum gloom you see a clean ol' Miter hugging a wall with its owner necking a tramp beside it. Your best bet is to steal the thing quiet, he's too tied up to take note. Pick the lock and you're in - the man screams bloody murder as you hightail it down the road. Crawl the streets past midnight,

humming from the AM. Street traffic's light and so are the neon clubs, jazz and pizzazz lines lining up the sidewalks alongside hoods with no innocent destination in mind.

Your destination's a masonry plant - E said no guards, "What kinda prick's gonna steal some bricks?", but a cruiser's playing nightwatch by the gates as two flatfeet gorge on donuts inside. Eye's drawn to blips, both explained - the masons' breaktime is taken outside working walls and they're fond of tossing their eCola bottles into a sewer grate. Option one's the oldschool approach, tossing one into the cop car's quarter panel and making a run for it down the streets, through empty train cars and over knocked fences until they're air behind you. Play it long enough and the opportunity presents to lock the fellas into a boxcar themselves; you'll have all the time in the world as they yell and tell until sunrise. If you're not feeling any grief then hobble over to a nearby payphone for option two as Dante mimics a street hood to the local county PD; wringing the department's desire to pillage the Lojack Lounge a couple streets down. Dispatch works fast, the cruiser lights up and takes off, and you're wide open. Keep either method in mind for future reference; you're nearly always better off playing the distraction game than an outright fight.

Once the peacekeepers are taken care of you'll make quick work of jumping the wrought iron gate. Hug the brick wall down to the southeast corner and you'll see why the cops are playing safeguard - Dick's Brickwork doubles as an overnight truck stop; keep your feet close to the ground or you'll come face-to-face with some drowsy gun-toting midwesterners all but willing to extend stand-your-ground laws to the golden state. Dante's on his own for this one, no directions in your face - use common sense to trek to the storage shed holding your fabled tools and pick the lock, a touch more difficult than that of the Miter. You need a trunk at hand, so pull the car into the lot and take your pick; if you're so inclined you can grab a sledgehammer and keep it for good measure at the same time. Once you're loaded creep back out just in time to find a Post OP boxvan barreling down the road toward Centanni's - "Oh for God's sake" - you better keep to the bumper to satisfy that competitive edge.

Follow close and the van will pull up adjacent to Centanni's - Ettore cuts it a little close and claws the starboard side against the brick grain. Pull the Miter up beside and the scene will cut to Dante tossing the drill inside; he and E get to work on boring as Rick starts sorting through the mail scattered all over the box floor: "Damn, Fran's two-timing old Tommy with Joe!"

"Quit the quidnunc and come lend a hand."
"Sorry, Dante. These hands need to be fresh in the flesh if you want any safes cracked tonight."

The minigame's similar to breaking into the Humane Labs in V - align the jackhammer with the indicated outline onscreen and weaken the structure. Grabbed the sledgehammer beforehand and Dante also gets the opportunity to deal the death blow - you're inside. The trio head in through their makeshift entry and wait for Ettore's lead. "Nice. This is your gig, Streak. Where we headed?"
Ettore plays it like a dog sniffing out his owner on a bender. "What I heard, the end of the rainbow's in the office."
"Jesus Christ, 'Tor", Rick says after you clamber out of the bathroom you've bored into. "Another foot eastward and we'd'a drilled right into the freezer. Can't hurt to case the joint beforehand."
"I do my best work off the cuff."

The office is past the freezer room of pig heads and meat hooks, wood-paneled and parquet-floored - the safe's in the corner under a brilliant gold crucifix.

"Tasteful. Very Christian; I like this guy already." Rick pulls his tools and a glove and gets to work.
"I think we're in the clear on this one, D, but I fear you'll feel untapped if I don't give you something to do. Wanna play watchman?"
"I'd love to."

Outside, out back - the front leads to dead-end foundries and a single gentleman's club frequented by ungentlemanly men. Play it by ear, no going-ons out back but a few meat trucks sleeping tight under an awning; Dante comments on the thrilling task just as some headlights signal a roadster speeding down a nearby alley straight towards you. No cutscene; make a judgement call.

Pull your gun but give ol' speed racer the time to make a move, the driver pulls the car broadside in front of you, exits aiming a lupara over the roof.

"The f*ck you doing, motherf*cker? Step away from my store or I'll blow your Goddamn head off!"
Dante's looking down the sights: "Ditto mac, put the gun down and we'll talk."

Fatty goes on a terrific rant of threats and challenges, at a few points flailing his gun into the night sky before settling - if you're confident in your decision, a headshot's all it takes to merge this approach into the second, otherwise you're prodded to listen to the man. Holster your pistol and he'll come around the car; D gets a sawn-off barrel in the small of his back. "How many inside?"

D ignores, asks how he got word of the intrusion. "Silent alarm, bub. Courtesy of The Ear of Couira."

Inside, Rick's still working the safe and E's nowhere to be found. Fatty orders Rick up and begins negotiation; he'll only call his friendlier paisan if you give up who sent you.

"You tyros are done, you hear me? I'm gonna get the brass, f*ckin' everyone down here and you're gonna tell 'em everything. Just a pair of flappin' gums when it's over."

Your cue as Ettore emerges from the shadows holding that trusty sledgehammer; press the indicated button and you'll learn how to disarm. A rhythmic button mash and D pulls his fingers back for the shotgun, bashes him over the head and E moves in, misses his shot and tumbles forward. You've got the lupara and an angry lardass so you can hit where the drunkard can't - pull the trigger and Fatty flies out of the service door you just came in, settles dead in a red mist on the concrete outside.

Alternatively, had you shot the tub earlier the rest would play out the same - only outside instead of in.

"Why can't this f*cking sh*t ever go smooth?" Ettore rises.

Camera at the lupara barrel; E and D lean out the doorway to get an eye on the corpse.

"That's him, that's Fatty Gemelli," mumbles E running his hands through his hair.
"The f*cking owner of the f*cking store, you Goddamn gagguz'! He was supposed to be down south. This was supposed to be a simple job!"
"Oh he's down south alright. Don't get maudlin on me, you prick, this whole thing was your gig."
"F*ck it, nobody knows we was here. Go pull the car 'round, I'll get Rick to scratch before the red and blues show."
D grabs his arm - "We are not coming off a job playing catch-up with a body on me. He's gonna crack that safe."
"No, Dante, he is not. I love the thrill of the chase but I am not risking an accessory bid on account of your conscience."

Dante ignores his glazed friend, turns to Rick.

"How much longer on that thing?"
"It's a dura, this one. Ten minutes give or take, but something tells me we're about to split."
"What about the sledgehammer?"
"Useless without a crowbar."
E runs up tipsy. "Rick, we're getting out of here. Chalk it a loss."
Rick takes offense, slams his tools down. "Same old sh*t. Off the cuff my ass, it's always amateur hour with you. Small-time crew - Goddamn Couira City?"
"Amateur hour? Compared to what, the trials and tribulations of peddling queer ass in the Red Light like a mezzofinocch'?"

Their quibble fades into the back as we see Dante give the office a 360. His eyes return to the safe and drift upwards, slow, and the camera pans to life-sized golden Jesus on a gilded cross. Salvation.

"E, you still know that guy that works at the foundry?"

You're saved the tedium of pulling it off the wall; cut to black and back and you're in the Miter, back where Ettore and Rick ditched the car in exchange for the van. They take off in silence, a zoom out from first person shows the crucifix pinned to the roof rack. Head two streets west to that foundry to complete the mission - Dante mumbles four-letter words at himself as he covers the car with a tarp, ditches it to wait for sunrise so they can swipe up some excuse for profit from the meltdown.


+ Random Encounter - The Chicks of Sir Rick


+ $150.00


+ Lupara


Post-mission phone call(s)

1st - Jacky Gallo (mandatory)
Dante: Rory's Rugs, how may I help you?
Jacky: I thought I told you to knock that off, you sound stunad. What you going to do when a would-be employer calls?
Dante: I'll answer like that and he'll think I'm a go-getter with a mind for business. Win win.
Jacky: Mmhmm. Have you heard?
Dante: Heard what?
Jacky: A friend of mine's store got hit last night. Stole a crocifisso, the animals, and shot the owner dead.
Dante: Yeah, Centanni's. I saw in the daily. Too bad, they had good capicola.
Jacky: Thieves broke in through the brick so they wouldn't set off the door alarm, Dante. I thought it sounded old hat.
Dante: Nothing particular to using power tools to get a job done. What, you think it was me? We gave that up years ago, you know that.
Jacky: Of course not. Whoever would hit a drop of our friends from the east would be throwing down the gimlet. Especially with a body on them.
Dante: Damn sure.
Jacky: At any rate, our friends are flying someone in. Jon thinks I should give you a call when the welcome wagon arrives.
Dante: Sure thing, Uncle Jacky.
Jacky: You keep an eye out for the animals that put Sal Gemelli in the ground. Stunads will've skipped town if they know what's good for them.
Dante: If they knew what was good for them they wouldn't be stunad, would they? I'll see you at home.

2nd - Rick Vitro (optional)
Rick: Bella's Bagnio, Ricky Rouge on the horn.
Dante: Rick.
Rick: Dante? Hey. Didn't think I'd hear from you again.
Dante: If a job going to sh*t stopped me then I'd have never seen you after '63. Ettore serve you your slice?
Rick: A box and a half of ziti at the cost of a life. No wonder we stopped rolling. When are you gonna cut him loose?
Dante: Rick, we all grew up in the gulch. Can't just cut someone loose like that.
Rick: F*ck, I did, and I've been doing just swell on that count.
Dante: Yeah, you did. I'll let you know when I wanna take up soliciting closet queens and we can all tell the same tale.
Rick: You do that. Come around and I'll give you a two-for-one special, my treat.
Dante: Don't hold your breath.


Las Venturas Retractor
By Titus Zell
Staff Writer

---- A nighttime burglary at Centanni's Meat Market in the North Side has left a man dead and the store light of a religious memento. Salvatore Gemelli was found dead on the premises of his famed pork store on Sequoia Street early this morning. When police arrived and combed the area, they found that a hole had been bored into the women's lavatory under the outside cover of a Post OP boxvan and Gemelli's prized golden crucifix had been filched. "We're relivin' the early years all over again," says Michael Caputo, sergeant with the Las Venturas Police Department. He is referring to the so-called Glory Hole Gang of yesteryear, known for their covert robberies under the cover of night, committed by penetrating the target's vulnerable spots using power tools. The exploits of the gang were previously believed to have come to an end in 1963, when a botched robbery in Mendelson resulted in three dead. With this new development considered, city councilman Robert Decker has vowed to outlaw the nighttime practice of parking vehicles adjacent to dwellings, much to the chagrin of both businessmen and sensible citizens alike.

Rumors had been swirling around town of late relating to Mr. Gemelli's organized crime connections to Couira City; within his office safe was over $4,500 in small bills cash and numerous unserialized firearms. District Attorney Duane Banyal declined to comment on any further developments. Mr. Gemelli left behind a fiancée, Miriam Ordóñez, who when approached by The Retractor broke down in tears: "I only wanted green card!"

Mr. Gemelli was 46.

Edited by Cebra

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The mission begins through a phonecall placed at home between wetwork jobs—a cutscene at the Pryor apartment, Doug picking at his empty fridge in the kitchen as Joanna enters and almost exits with Bonnie in tow, stopped by Doug's pique with the phone to his chest: "Why have a goddamn fridge when it’s always empty?"

"I'm going to the market on Cristo to try and fill it, thanks for your concern."
"With what money? We got eggs; yesterday you said you wanted to make a quiche."
"An egg quiche? Eggs are the base of a quiche, not the whole shebang."
"Forget it then. Even I know fifteen different ways to cook ‘em on their own."
“Bonnie needs formula.”
“No, she needs sustenance. And I know a much better way for her to get it.”
"I'll get you some fruit, too. Maybe some vitamins'll knock that chip off your shoulder."

Out she goes with the baby—"I don't wanna see the bill, Jo!"

Phone up. "Hello."
"Don’t let me interrupt your marital squabble, Mr. Pryor."
"Water under the bridge. Who's this?"
"Calvin Leung. We discussed that I'd reach you through Mr. Ying when we needed you."
"Mister, mister, toss the Ps and Qs, Damon. We're all equals here."
"So you say. Are you available, Mr. Pryor? I'd like you to come down to the Pink Dilian."
"Can I bring a friend?"
"Excuse me?"
"Friend, pal, buddy. Sidekick if you will. Assuming you need some work done; I can vouch."

Click. "F*cker."

Get going, it's only a couple blocks over. Down the steps he takes a long glance at 102 - Marcus. Joanna's taken the car so you might have to hoof it—two west and one north and you're in the heart of Chinatown again, arches and all. Early morning has nothing on Johnny-on-the-spot Oriental foot traffic, carts and pedestrians alike, vendors offering succulent smoky pork buns and fried rodent along the sidewalks. Buy something on account of Dougie's empty fridge and make it to the Dilian, still not pink but this time surrounded by Asians in red leather.

You might expect suspicion but don't get it—walk into more red, carpets and ceilings and serpents and pagoda lights. To your left behind a fish tank and wall dividers sits Calvin with a group of like-minded Chinese who don't give two looks your way. Calvin rises and meets you in the hallway, continuing the trend of abstract dress shirts with his Gordian knot now hanging around his neck.

"You made it fast."
"Yeah, and I walked. I ran track in high school.”
“Of course.”

His hand guides you toward a separate table near the kitchen, past old ladies sipping tea to a band of fellows significantly less sophisticated-looking than the oldies at the first—the man's in a rush, typical courtesy be damned. He lets you go: one plays with a yo-yo, another picks cuticles, another's cheek-down asleep. Calvin starts off on the first in Cantonese, words here and there, a few "gwai-lo"s of which Doug's lived in San Fierro long enough to get the gist. Yo-yo makes eye contact—cheeky, ballsy prick under long hair and a wide grin.

"Mr. Pryor," Calvin gestures, looks at you and speaks snappy. "Wei, Arnie, and Oscar. You're going for a ride."
"The royal you, or you mean with them?"
"With them. Make fast friends; Wei's new in town and I'd like you to show him a good time, even as an outsider."
"Hope we’re not reading the same dictionary." To yo-yo Wei: "English?"

Wei nods and continues the smile of a man with no intentions to become a fast friend.

"Tell him to head on over to Niptown for a mojo massage—they'll knead that gall right outta you. It's a good time, trust me."

You get a laugh from Oscar and dead eyes from Arnie; you might get the idea the former's been feigning sleep and perhaps he's a touch of a flake. Calvin takes off in his newfound speed—"important business"—and heads back to his table of negotiation; you notice he’s walking with a limp. Oscar wipes eyes, heads up and off towards the back door. You use your intuition to follow his impressive height, passing through the kitchen of nebulous steam and curt Chinese ordering around, knife slams and tenderizers—out the back to a familiar car that you're left to steer.

"What's the gig, Greg?"
"My name is Oscar. Regular collection to show Wei here the way of the world. I don't know why you're here."
"Maybe Calvin thinks you guys are going soft—have me swoop in and save the day like last time."
"Swoop all you want, but today won't need saving. To the massage parlor on Cerent Street."

Quiet down a few avenues, run parallel with a streetcar before the emigrant pipes up.

“Such hot sh*t you think you are. I been here two weeks and all you Americans the same - I have big gun and I must shoot. I don't need you to show me how things are, yang guizi."
"My friend Calvin says I do. Get into the American spirit, Wei, polite small-talk included. Spill about how your English's so good before we go beat on some folks, it'll help you grow on the inner disconnect."
"Small talk.” Laugh. “In Yangshan I lived in complex with a landlord; Englishman come to study Mao Zedong Thought. Only white devil I know until America. Being a landlord not so good in Yangshan—public execution for them to disseminate land to farmers. I say I was farmer, get the house, which I then offered to the Dragon Head's cousin in exchange for higher position. Not America."
"That's what I'm talking about, amigo. Way to break the ice. Welcome to the land of the free, home of the indebted—you'll fit right in."

You'll find the parlor blends, dime a dozen; its facade somehow comes across as both prime residential property and typical sh*thole storefront alike in its position atop Calton Heights. "Anything I should know?"—Doug to Oscar, an attempt to force words, but Arnie’s up to bat.

"Deadbeat's rubber stamp as they come. Name's Bertrand. Thinks his big win's on the upswing any day now—he’s been from the wops to the Chicanos to us, thirty Gs in the hole. Calvin thinks we make his last wits fly out his ass and maybe he'll at least cough up the juice."
"He was talking to me."

You look inside past cheap display gimcracks to a fat stressball sitting behind the counter, white as they come in an Asian-themed establishment, hand on the thigh of a masseuse.

"What's the play?"
Oscar's already out of the car, Wei's on his way inside—"We lay into him. Simple as."

Inside you might think the very appearance of three Tongs and a pissed off vet did the job—Bertie's shaking at the sight, sweating bullets trying to look cooler than a subzero cucumber. He sends off a tattooed succubus in back and steadies: "Oscar, boy! Who're these fellas?"

A thumb at Wei—reverted to intimidation through his yo-yo—and index at Arnie, Doug takes charge: "Clarence and Maxwell. Men of the cloth come to damn this unholy place." He laughs at himself, Oscar does harder, deep and roaring, at a joke lame even by Doug’s own standards.

Game time—glass displays of knock-off memorabilia, wicker chairs, tall bonsai and thin walls sitting in wait to inspire a payment. Make fists fly; kicks, breaking glass, smoke from drywall holes to the tune of

; "Come on guys,” Bertie pleads from behind the counter between the sound of crunching glass. “The executive game's tonight! I'll get it all back!"

A meter with a minimum and a breaking point—the damage incurred is to get it to the sweet spot in between the two extremes, but don't destroy too much; a totaled store gives Bertie nothing to lose and he'll make a run for it. The scene cuts at the right spot; Wei's had enough of the crying yang guizi, hops the counter and uses his yo-yo for a chokehold—Bertie's gone uncle in under ten and the gang can't help laugh. "I have no money!" rings too true, you realize something else is needed to cover the interest alone. The yo-yo goes limp and Wei sends Bert reeling over the counter and crashing head first onto one of those glass displays.

Back to gameplay as he howls over some glass in his eye, step over him and into the back through some beaded curtains. Arnie's hand stops you: "You go in heavy. I know the clientry." Doug pulls his piece from his holster with a smile and Oscar leads the charge—in another clouded hallway, topless masseuses and a couple knights in flannel armor. One tries to pull rank on Oscar, who promptly backhands him into the wall, and Doug feels free to do the same further down. Clear rooms, illicit actions behind closed doors, a weapon or two laid bare on cheap wood as its owners cower at your own.

The gang won’t find much; all roads lead to the door at the end of the hallway—a garbage-filled parking lot out back, a slick new Sentinel gleaming in the sun between beaters. Doug gives Oscar a look, ESP permission to check the door: unlocked, f*cking idiot. He raids the glovebox, pulls the pink slip. Bertrand Young. F*cking idiot.

Oscar’s thrilled and doesn’t hesitate to show it, but the moment’s cut short by a yell and breaking glass way back in the reception. You’re to stay alert, but don’t hesitate to think fast and hotwire the thing in anticipation of what’s to come. More yelling—something Slavic, rough, and a bloody Artie is the one to come back: “Go! Get back to the Dilian and don’t f*ck around!”

No answers—get in and gun it, out the alleyway and a powerslide in either direction leaves you in the lap of gun-toting Sovietsky on your trail in a tawny Rancher. You’re too close to the resto to make a beeline without the Russians riding your ass; take a detour up Elwood Avenue and use the element of surprise to toss them—a sudden sharp turn between Victorians and the ute spins on its wheels and flips; you’re free. Drag it long enough and they’ll start to take potshots—detracting from your payout—and the best course might be to pull down a familiar alley and return fire until they’ve fled or are dead.

When you pull around the back of the Dilian you’re met with Calvin; a shawl draped around his neck, frantically signalling you into a nearby garage. You can sense the bemusement radiating off Doug.

“I miss a red carpet expo?”
“Can it, chatterbox.”

Doug stands back and Calvin comes forward, examining the Sentinel for damage—doors, mirrors, trim, prone for the undercarriage.

“Could be worse but this covers a tenth of the float, max. Not even what the juice has amounted to. It compounds, you know.”
“I don’t. You asked me to tag along on this gig to show Wei the good American work ethic, and that I did. The rest is not my territory, Calvin.”
A retort interrupted by a lightbulb: “Mr. Leung—where are the others?”
“Hopefully on the way with a couple heavy Reds in tow. Your friend Bertrand has a real network around him—you weren’t the only one hoping to collect today.”
“Yes, that was a calculated risk. I had faith in your abilities, I didn’t expect you to flee.”
Doug laughs, lights up and blows smoke in his employer's face: “Following orders. I’m not a fan of playing insubordinate, especially when the upshot comes so cheap.”
“That’s not what I’ve heard.”
“Oh yeah? What have you heard?”

Calvin straightens himself, still a half foot short of the man he’s playing superior to, and looks up at the sun before starting.

“We don’t have to like each other, Doug, but you’ll find I know things only a select people do. I have no doubt you’ll come in use, and if you play your cards right we can do great things together. But that demands respect. Separate from our mutual friend.”
Doug’s thoughts run wild, Calvin answers unasked questions: “Eddie Segal. Steven Ho.

Doug swallows, more pissed than confused, but the car interrupts their own tango. Calvin snaps out of it, pulls the garage door closed and heads to greet his entourage, and Doug watches as a newly invigorated Wei jumps from the backseat in kung fu pose.

“That don’t happen back home!” He comes for Doug, grabs his shoulder with a bloody hand.

“Maybe I grow to like this place.”


No reward.

Post-mission phone call(s)

1st - Winky Marquez (optional)
Winky: Caller, you’re on the air.
Doug: Ha, you as a disk jockey—that could’ve worked out, you know.
Winky: Gave it a try freshman year, didn’t pan out. Dougie, I hear you’ve been putting in work for our Tongy friends.
Doug: I’m a summer student. Believe it or not I’ve got more pull working for you.
Winky: Gotta start somewhere. Under whose belt?
Doug: Calvin the crepehanger. That’s why I called—what’s the guy’s deal? I’ve worked with my fair share of screwballs but I can’t get a read on him.
Winky: He’s just playing his part. All roads lead to the Dragon Head.
Doug: What?
Winky: Yeah, Kong, Quang, something chinky like that. The man upstairs—eventually the screwballs get tired of dealing with the John Q. Publics themselves and send you up. Just gotta fight through the fog of bullsh*t in the meantime.
Doug: Chinky, eh? What happened to extolling the virtues of your ancient ancestors?
Winky: I’m set, who gives a sh*t? That whole Ying thing might’ve been pushing the envelope anyway. These f*cks’ll give you nothing if not a fair shake.
Doug: That’s what worries me.
Winky: Worry not, amigo. I just told you we’re set.
Doug: No, you said you’re set.
Winky: E plutonis unum, right? Sh*t, I gotta split Dougie. I’ll see you later.
Doug: Hope so.


San Fierro Day Journal
By Roy McCarthy

---- A recent spate in ethnic crime of late has led the citizens of San Fierro to ask a singularly obvious question: is our great city falling to sabotage by the apparatchik agenda? Crime is surging in certain areas of note: Vista Park and Suppleham, both neighborhoods with one distinct trait in common - a demographic push for transparently pinko legislation. After falling victim to last year's public parade of anti-American exhibits of affection that has unreasonably been given the moniker the Summer of Love, both boroughs have developed a significant swell in criminal activity perpetrated by brutes of the Maoist and Soviet variety. Have we fallen victim to a systemic infiltration of our society by those who intend to provoke the downfall of America? Experts say no - that such activities can be attributed to a socioeconomic disparity that results in a last resort to achieve success through crime - but we know better. We are being perverted from the inside out. Only we can resist this permeation of our society's fabric by the red menace before it's far too late.

Edited by Cebra

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