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Ghosts of San Fierro


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It’s hot, but it was always bound to be. Los Santos in the summer always was. The sun beat down on the black hide of a low slung Tornado. Benny had done amazing work with the old girl, bringing her back from the dead as it were. She had sat in a barn outside of Venturas for forty years, collecting rot and dust. Dragging her out to LS was no easy feat, but after a few years of work on my own and with him, she would roll out onto the saintly streets under a new name, Black Betty. It was cliche, I know, but damned if it didn’t suit her. I stood out from my neighbors in the hills with her as well. One was outside his house, taking pictures with his brand new 900r that he almost certainly couldn’t afford. He paid me no mind as I pulled into my driveway. I hadn’t bothered to learn his name, probably never would either. He’d probably be evicted shortly, anyways. The garage door slowly opened and I pulled in next to the old Elegy I had imported. Another Benny’s miracle, finding her. He admitted the work was shady, and he warned me of the legality. He didn’t know my history in that world. He didn’t know of my time with the Forces, or the things I’d done when I got back.

“So, you’re like Merryweather?”

Her scoff was audible in the dimly lit room. The smoke from my cigarette drifted into the still air, and somewhere in the distance a car roared through the San Fierro streets. The woman seated across from me looked through thick lenses. Her suit fit well, and was obviously expensive. It occurred to me I should have worn a tie.

“No, god no. Merryweather thinks subtle means shooting off fifty caliber rounds into the air out of your armored truck. If a client says they want quiet they just do the same thing at night.” She leaned forward and placed an arm on the desk between us as I took another drag. A clock ticked on the wall behind me. There was a large window behind her, looking out onto the fog covered, moonlit bay. I hadn’t been home long, when these people called me. “If a client really wants discretion, they come to us.” She had stressed the word ‘really’, holding it through tight lips. I started to wonder about the legality of the situation. If it was illegal though, I’m not sure I cared. Money was tight, and despite what I’d done for my country, Uncle Sam wasn’t paying well. “That, Reilly, is why we called you.”


I unlocked the door and walked inside my house. The curtains were drawn, covering the open floorplan in relative darkness to the bright day outside. They were open when I had left. I became worried at what that could mean, but I had more important things to worry about. Namely, whether or not I still had Scotch. I pulled the bottle down from the cabinet and went about the task of finding a glass to house the nectar. It was when I poured that she finally spoke.


“It’s been too long, Reilly.” The voice still carried all the subtext of danger as clearly as it had years before. I lifted the now empty bottle to a thin blade of sunlight that had snuck past the curtains cruel shield.


“Don’t expect me to pour you one, no matter how long it’s been.” I heard her chuckle at my comment, just as I had heard time and again back in Fierro. I never was sure if I actually made her laugh, or if she was just polite. I took a drink of the Celtic courage and turned to face her. She had kept herself well, still wearing an expensive suit and with a fashionable haircut to match. The glasses had remained on her face, and I wasn’t sure if she had updated the frames or had just had them so long they came back into fashion. I wasn’t sure she knew either. “But it has been a long minute, I was starting to think I had truly lost your tail, somehow.”


“You haven’t exactly been keeping quiet, Reilly. Street racing across state lines, raids on Merryweather, a broad daylight Vinewood style Heist? Were you trying to be found?”

“I was trying to make money, Veronica. And I guess you guys train a good Merc.” She was sitting in my armchair, facing me. Her legs, sliding out of a grey skirt, crossed in front of her before leading to dark black heels. She rested her head on her hand, leaning on one of the chair’s arms. She was all too comfortable in my house, but I couldn’t find it in myself to be mad. Perhaps because of her smile, which despite the evil I knew followed this meeting, was wonderfully sweet. “So what’s the job, or did you track me down and break into my house just to say hi?” She leaned back and looked me in the eyes.


“It’s a job, yes. And you’ll be happy to know that you’re not going to have to leave your little vacation spot. In fact the client is in the hills as well.”


“I hadn’t realized you were expanding this far south.”


“We typically wouldn’t, but the money he’s putting forward is good, and the job is something I think you’d be quite suited for.”


“Targets?” The question almost stung me as it left my mouth. I hadn’t had a conversation like this in at least 4 years, but I still knew all the words. I suppose it’s like riding a bike, you don’t forget how to kill. Her smile seemed to spread as she noticed my acceptance of the situation.


“The Lost, an outlaw motorcycle gang. Specifically a group of them in a town to the north of here situated on the Alamo Sea.” I had heard of them, group of bikers out of Liberty who had members migrate to warmer climates while waging war with themselves back home. Meth heads and drunks on two wheels, just waiting to become red marks and John Doe’s when they inevitably crash.


“A group of drugged up bikers in some dying desert town? Sounds more like a DEA case then something for you to bother with. Why me, anyways? Just load up some rookie onto a flight and give him the standard test.”


“We choose you because of the circumstances surrounding the job. They’ve been taking turns with a kidnapped, drugged up call girl, selling her around the club. The client wishes for her safe rescue. If I remember your record, you’ve always had a thing about damsel in distress.” A phantom scream pierced out of my consciousness, out from behind the wood door of the middle eastern hotel I had been tasked to clear. I couldn’t save her. I tried, but I couldn’t save her. It was too late when I kicked open the door. I couldn’t save her. I just couldn’t.


“I’m going to need hardware.”

She smiled as she picked up a glass of scotch and raised it to her lips.


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