JUSTICE IN FLAMES City of Lies "2"
Joined: May 1, 2009
| Chapter Ten – The Culling in North Holland
It was more stealth work for Niko and Rami. They moved at night again but tonight was different. They had several targets, but only one night.
Their first lived in an apartment on Denver Avenue. They’d entered the building wearing street clothes – Rami had a high-collared coat, and Niko had a black combat jacket with equally dark cargo pants. Both wore gloves – it was cold enough to justify them too – but facial masks were not a plausible option.
They walked up the flight of stairs with the target’s face in their mind. They didn’t think in terms of names, but of appearances. Facial features, dress style, body size, ethnicity.
Rami took care of the lock – which didn’t take long. They opened the door quickly, almost barging it open, and darted in to the apartment. Rami moved directly into the first room on his left, whereas Niko went right. He’d cover the living room, and the two exit routes – the door and the window.
Rami, in the first room, found the target, a pop tart in his hand.
“Motherf-“ Rami’s shot was surgical, as always. The man fell backward, the food hitting the ground.
“He’s alone.” Niko said, having checked the bedroom and bathroom.
Rami nodded. That wasn’t bad. Nice and quick.
Niko drove on to the next.
“What do we do if they’re not in?” Niko asked.
Rami shrugged. “Come back later. It’s highly likely that some of our targets won’t be at home. They could be ‘chillin’’ in the park, ‘shootin’ hoops’ up the road, or round a friends. Could be at a bar. We could
check all of those places…”
“Time consuming.” Niko thought out loud.
“Indeed. We really should have tracking parties on each man. With hard target locations we’d be so much better.”
“How long you think to track them down?”
Again the Israeli shrugged. “Minutes, hours, days, weeks. People like this though? Even if we spread this operation out over a few days, I doubt they’d know exactly what’s going on. One or two of the guys disappear, that’s explainable.”
“But if all but one or two do? Say if two got away…”
“Then they’d probably figure out they’re targets. They’d think it’s the Lords though. I would have let this little multicultural gang war run a bit longer personally. I wouldn’t want to be living up here or in Bohan at the moment I tell you.”
“You think these guys would take each other out for us?”
Rami nodded. “Eventually. But on a long enough timeline… The downside would be that a new leader will always take over.”
“Won’t that happen tonight anyway?”
“To some extent,” Rami said. “Taking out all these men will do severe damage though. Not only will it weaken them enough that the Lords will start racking up the kills, but the fact that so many senior members were taken out in one fell swoop?” He shook his head. “That’d shake the foundations of any
faction, even state sponsored ones. Either way, with them this weakened, the LCPD might clean up.”
“And the Lords? What about them? If they gain power by killing these guys…”
“It’s not like they’re consuming their bodies and gaining their strength…”
“You know what I meant.”
“I know. You’ve got Lyle and Marcus on that. They’re not completely useless you know.”
Niko offered a chuckle as he turned the car. “I supposed they’re due a break.”
“Besides, if they mess up, we’ll have another chance. These gang members aren’t going to drop their colors and run away.”
Niko waved his finger dismissively as he guided the car to a stop.
“Round two.” Rami said, reaching for the door handle.
“The next phase of their operation has begun.” Karen said. “But I don’t know the details. He suspects there’s a leak.” Karen paused and looked down at herself. She shrugged. “He’s right of course, but he doesn’t know who. Our plant the other day has shifted his eyes away from us, but we need to know what’s next.”
“And how we going to do that?” Luis asked.
I’m not sure of. We can’t risk tailing them; they’re too well trained for that.”
“Can’t you eavesdrop on them getting their orders?”
Karen shook her head. “Far too risky. I’d have to be right up against the door, and that’d draw attention.”
Suddenly Johnny’s phone rang.
They approached the next target with caution, but as casually as they could. There were two in this building actually. One lived on a high floor. The other only a few floors up.
“Lowest first?” Niko suggested. Rami nodded.
They checked the hallways out first. Niko had a sense of déjà vu, but that couldn’t really be avoided when you worked in the same city for so long. He had worked in this building though. Although he’d long since forgotten his victim’s name or what he looked like, he remembered how he’d died: a fall from the roof.
The hallway was empty. They could hear the muffled bass of a rap song through the door, punctuated by the sound of laughter.
Niko turned to Rami. More than one man
. Rami grimaced and nodded. He switched weapons.
Their secondary weapons consisted of a submachinegun and a stubby shotgun. Niko, holding the shotgun motioned to the door. He gestured with this shoulder, his foot then his hand.
Rami shrugged and pointed at his foot.
Niko took a step back and kicked out. The door came open easily, the lock splitting the old wood of the frame. Inside, down a short hallway, two men turned in their chairs.
Rami was already moving. He fired at the two men, taking them both down at once. He allowed his eyes to dart left and right, immediately identifying the two spots. He pointed Niko left, drawing a rapid box in the air and expanding his hand, telling Niko there was an open door that way. It was actually just an opening, but the message would suffice. Rami moved himself to the right, for cover.
Niko was moving as soon as Rami pointed. He moved left and, shotgun up, fired a single shot at a man trying to get his gun out and get out of the chair at the same time. Pick one!
Niko’s mind tried to advise. One thing at a time
The man took the shot to his arm though. He recoiled, injured but still alive.
The other men – Rami guessed there was five of them – had managed to either get up or get their weapons out, and were in the process of completing whichever task they’d not done yet. Rami fired again, not aiming, but letting them know he was armed. This was how Americans shot, at least how most street criminals did. Spray and Pray, a technique that the Israeli speculated was the inspiration behind the auto shops across the country.
Niko had taken cover, and he fired at the fool who tried to rush through the opening. His face disappeared in a cloud of red and there was no scream. The man was probably dead before he even began to fall.
Rami had withdrawn and allowed the men to fire for a bit. “How many you got?” He called out to Niko.
“I see three. Possibly a few more your side.”
Rami risked a peek, reaching through the doorway and spraying his bullets all over the room. He had to reload as he withdrew again though, but had managed a very quick scan.
Rami now saw Niko across the hall. He reloaded then waved for the Serbian’s attention and held up a hand, three fingers extended, pointing slightly toward Niko. He immediately followed it up with pulling his hand back and thrusting it forward again with two fingers extended, pointing to his right this time.
Niko nodded and fired of another shot to let the Hustlers know he was still here.
Rami then held up his hand, firing blinding with the other. He held the palm up and pushed out. The message was clear. Push
Niko nodded then offered an extra nod toward Rami. You do the countdown
. It was harder to shoot one handed with a shotgun than an Uzi.
Rami actually didn’t much like his country’s renowned weapon, but it was common on the streets, and that’s why they used it. No overly advanced weapons today – every gun they were using had been picked up on the street. They used suppressers for the pistols, but their bigger, badder guns had no attachments on. The inevitable police investigation would result in the conclusion that this was nothing other than street gang violence.
Rami’s finger countdown was the same as any other. On the unsigned ‘zero’, both men moved forward.
Niko shot the target nearest him as he came through the opening. The man buckled and fell. Rami opened up a burst on another man, rapidly adjusting his aim as he released the trigger. By the time Niko had set his sights on his next target, Rami had already dispatched his second.
The third target was moving for cover – the only option to him was behind the old CRT TV. Niko was moving for any cover at all and his shot tore the TV apart. The final man was showered in shards of plastic and glass, cutting him quite badly. He cried out, and Rami ended his suffering.
The apartment was surreally quiet then. The radio had taken a bullet at some point and had stopped producing sound. Gun smoke filled the room, swirling in a darkly beautiful manner. The two men did a tactical reload. They weren’t worried about the spent cartridges. The weapons were second hand and, though they’d cleaned and serviced them, neither man had touched them with their bare skin.
The two men checked each body – Rami doing so after checking the only other room in the apartment.
“Target down.” Niko said. Rami looked round and saw the face of the dead man. His eyes were wide and his face, devoid of life and emotion, reminded him of a child’s. Killing was a sad business, but both men had cut their teeth on that a long time ago. Like doctors, they got used to death, or at least dealing it.
“Two for one.” Rami said with a soft nasal puff
. He was standing over the body of the man that hid behind the TV. “I guess you were right. One of them won’t be at home.”
“Was he the one down stairs?” Rami nodded. “Get the elevator down then.”
“Ok, calm down.” Johnny said into his phone. Karen and Luis watched patiently but slightly worried by his tone. “Who?” There was a pause as Johnny frowned. “In the building?.... Outside?.... What do you mean he went past?..... Yeah, alright Mikey, no need for that, I – …. Are they coming in?.... You… Ok ten minutes. You know what to do. Are the boys with you?..... Good keep them there. We’ll be there soon.” Johnny pocketed the phone, looking up at the concerned faces. “Something’s going on in Bohan. Michael says there’s shooting in the streets.”
“He says some of them could be, but some of them definitely aren’t. He thinks they’re… He thinks they’re your boss’s gunmen.”
Karen shook her head. “Not possible, they cannot know he’s there.”
“Well apparently they are
there.” Johnny stood up. “They ran past the building, but that could be a trick.”
“I don’t think it’s him. Michael called one of them a brute.”
“Greenhorn. Ok get yourselves up there, make sure Michael’s safe. But try not be seen. If they went past the building like you said, maybe they don’t know which one he’s in.”
“But why shoot the Lords?” Luis asked.
Karen was about to shrug when her face dropped. Luis caught it. “It…”
“What?” Luis stared.
“I don’t think they’re there for Michael. Even these guys aren’t stupid enough to take on the Lords. Johnny what exactly did Michael say?”
“That there was shooting on the street. He looked out to see ‘the brute’ run down the street, straight past his apartment. He was shooting a load of black guys. His pal was with him, shooting also.”
“He ran from one side to the other, right past the building?”
Johnny shrugged, barely able to hold off his run any more. “I guess so.”
“Wait!” Karen called as Johnny turned. “Keep Michael inside. Use the back entrance. Don’t be seen
.” She ran to the window and looked out. “Go!”
It was a short drive to the next target. The apartment was actually above Luis Fernando Lopez’s, though neither man knew where Luis lived. Neither man really knew who he was.
They’d parked on Frankfort, in between the sides of the road and walked through the alley into the back door of the apartment.
Rami checked under the door with a fiber-optic camera. It was similar to what doctors used for looking inside people, but instead of connecting to a large TV, it connected to a portable one, no bigger than a sat-nav. It was commonly used with SWAT and N.O.O.S.E teams, as well as being able to be bought in pretty much any hardware store. Technology had advanced in the last few decades and what was cutting edge military issue then was a mere stocking filler from the local supermarket.
He withdrew the camera and looked up at Niko. He held up two fingers. Niko could hear the chatter of the TV through the door, though it wasn’t loud. Rami then gestured to his mouth with two fingers, mimicking the action of smoking. He then rolled his eyes and tilted his head slightly. Weed
“I’ve got an idea.” Rami whispered, leaning in to Niko. He turned and knocked on the door. It wasn’t too late…
The door opened and a man appeared, wearing a tank top and a lot of jewelry. He sucked air in through his teeth. “What you whiteboys wan’?”
“We just broke down outside.” Rami said timidly. He did well taking all the bass out of his voice. “But we haven’t got any money to call for assistance. Could we use your phone?”
“F*ck off.” The man growled. “Ain’ usin’ ma phone.”
“Alright, what if you call them for us?”
“Nah. Try someone else.”
“But no one else is in, I… How about we pay you?”
The man turned his head slightly. Gotcha
Rami thought. He turned to Niko. “What you got on you?” With his body hiding his hand from the resident, Rami pulled his gun out and winked at Niko.
Rami turned, bringing his gun up. He fired into the base of the man’s throat, just above the collarbone. The man stumbled backwards, choking as he fell.
Niko moved then, walking casually in through the door. He stepped past the man as Rami brought his gun up to finish him off.
Niko also took aim and sent his bullet into the head of the apartment’s other occupant. He then pointed Rami to a door to the left as he went right. Both men checked the apartment to find it empty.
“Two more stops then.” Rami said. “Though one’s brothers. They’ll have company.”
“They the big brass?”
“Mm-hm. Leave them to last?”
Johnny was grateful for Luis’s driving. Not only did he feel too anxious to drive, but Luis was better in a cage. They parked up and hurried through the alleyway. Gunshots could be heard, but they were distant. Sirens also filled the night sky.
“Ten to one they’ll stop in a minute.” Luis said. Johnny didn’t respond. He bounded through the door, resisting the urge to break it down, and led Luis up the stairs.
Michael had pulled all but two of Johnny’s pals back, and they all crowded in the apartment. The two that stood outside, one of them kept watch out of the window and another leant over the railing. The latter watched them come up.
“We’re cool, brother.” He said, both hands up to Johnny. Johnny took a breath then entered the apartment.
It was like a house party, only with no music and no drink. There were only seven men in the room – nine now – but the apartment was small.
“What the f*ck’s going on?”
Michael stood by the window, one of the bikers right up close next to him. The man looked at Johnny, his eyes letting him know he was ready to pull Michael away from the window if anything happened.
But evidently, nothing had happened.
Johnny looked out of the window, grateful that it was slightly dirty, and had a cheap looking net curtain over it. Michael had also cleverly kept the lights in the apartment off. Ambient light from outside was enough for everyone to see each other, and a slither of light from the bathroom, through the ajar door helped also.
“Sh*t.” Johnny looked down at the bodies on the street. There were only a few – he counted four – but they marked the brute’s passage.
“I think it was a coincidence.” Michael was calmer now, and moved away from the window. He’d opened it slightly, and the bikers had mostly kept quiet. The shooting had now stopped, and the sirens were louder. After a few seconds, the wailing stopped too. Cops are here
“You were right.” Johnny said, turning to Luis. “But what the hell…?”
Luis moved forward and pulled his phone out. He opened the camera app and began filming and taking photos.
“They didn’t look in this direction or pay any attention to any of the buildings here.” Michael said. “They were running away.” He was surprised he hadn’t figured that out sooner.
“They were being chased?!
Luis was done with the photos and he pulled the curtains shut, turning the light back on. “So false alarm?”
Michael nodded. “Yeah.” He blinked to get used to the light, as did many of the other men. “These boys aren’t bad. With some decent training they would have made good soldiers.”
In fact, Johnny knew, two of them had
been soldiers, as is common in motorcycle clubs. Many had in fact been formed by former soldiers. One was kicked out of the army due to possession of drugs. He’d been taken down too and served several months in jail for it. On release he’d had little options that to work with his cousin, which led to him joining his cousin’s biker gang.
“If this has nothing to do with you,” Johnny said, looking at his brother, “Then what the f*ck was it about?”
They’d decided to do the same trick again. Rami knocked on the door and a man opened. He wore jeans and a fitted top, designed to show off his muscles. The man was clearly a juicer. He had a tight afro too, or jheri curls or whatever.
“’sup?” The man said, casually leaning on the door frame.
“Yeah, hi. Listen, me and my cousin’s having some car trouble. We don’t got no money for the payphone, so could we call assistance from yours?”
“The line don’ work.” The man said. Rami’s gut feeling was that he was genuine. “Ain’ yo’ got no cells?”
“Nah, my cousin, the paranoid fool, refuses to own one. He think the microwaves are going to cook his brain. My one, would you believe is out of battery.”
“Hey man, my aunt thought she’d get her head fried by dem. She died in a fire. If she’d had a cell…. Sorry though, can’t help yo’.” The man began to close the door. Rami managed to get a ‘thanks’ in before it shut.
“Now what?” Niko asked. Rami shrugged and knocked again.
“What now?” The man seemed slightly annoyed now. “I aint got no workin’ phone.”
“What about cells? Haven’t you got one?”
“You think I’m gonna call dem numbers on ma plan?” The man shook his head. “Try nex’ door.” The door shut again.
Rami turned, pulling his gun out. Niko did the same. He knocked again.
“…f*ckin’ told yo’ already–” The door swung open to reveal the man again, but Rami fired immediately. The man fell and both men entered the apartment.
It was another gathering. Five men were inside, and Rami fired at one, taking him down. He moved left, grabbing another in a one armed sleeper hold while he dispatched the next. Niko took down the remaining two.
The man squirmed his way free. He was also a bodybuilder and he merely outmuscled Rami. He turned and threw a punch which Rami dodged. The Israeli swore he heard the air whooshing. Another punch came and again Rami dodged.
“Oh, y’ box cracker?” The man laughed and put his fists up. “Come on then. Le’s dance motherf*cker.”
Rami didn’t ‘dance’, He stood there, opening his stance up to a ready position. The man began his punch but Rami punched out first, reaching around the man’s arms and getting two extremely rapid hits on the man’s head. He followed it up with an equally quick scooping kick to the groin. All of which flowed with a smooth rhythm. One-two, three.” The man went down.
“May I?” Niko asked, his gun aimed at the man.
Rami shook his head. “No, let’s see what this guy’s got.”
The man got up and went for Rami, grabbing him in a hug-like hold, with the probable intent to push him back onto something. Rami swung his leg back and then forward, sweeping the man off of his feet. Before he fell though, Rami grabbed him, and with the man pretty much in mid air, spun, propelling him onto small dinner table.
The table collapsed, being a cheap one from Krapea.
The man rose again, weary, but grabbed a baseball bat.
“Now we’re talking!” Rami breathed. The man came at him, but Rami parried the swing, timing it with a graceful sideways step. He threw a punch, grabbed the bat, then jerked it backward, punching at the man’s elbow as he did so.
With the bat now in Rami’s grasp, but held much like a ski-pole, the tables had turned. Rami used the momentum of snatching it to swing his arm backward, before he jabbed the base of the bat into the man’s face.
Niko heard the nose crack and the man stumbled back. He didn’t attack, But Rami did. He swung the bat, hitting cleanly in the man’s face. The man went down, and Rami followed it up with several hits to the man’s body. He then rested the top, wider end of the bat on the man’s neck and used his foot to push it down with as much force as he could.
The sound of the neck snapping – or shattering – filled the apartment.
Rami threw the bat aside and turned to Niko. “Amateurs.”
“So it wasn’t an attack on Michael?” Karen asked.
“No.” Luis had taken the responsibility to make the call, allowing Johnny to talk to Michael. “Seems like he was being chased and just happened to run past.”
“How many bodies did you say?”
“Five so far – in a row down the road. Those guys don’t look like pros, but they’re still dangerous. If these guys weren’t coming for us, who were they coming for?”
“I don’t know. Are the dead men Lords?”
“Looks like it. Right colors. You wouldn’t wear those colors up here if you weren’t though would you?”
“Ok. Well I want you two to stay with Michael tonight. Put Johnny on will you?”
Luis nodded and called the biker’s name. He threw the phone to him.
“Yo.” Johnny rapped.
“How disciplined are your men?”
“A couple have army training. One tried to be a cop when he was a kid but didn’t make the final exam. They’re not Buddhist monks, but they’re not ADD kids either. Why?”
“I want you to set them up in teams of two. Get one team watching the front door, one the back door and have a couple watch out the window while you sleep. Have them rotate every two hours. Actually make that one hour. Make sure they don’t draw attention to themselves. I just want them watching the road and the alley. I might be paranoid here but…”
“It’s my brother, Karen. It’s not paranoia.”
“Alright. I’m gonna try to do some digging. I’ll contact you tomorrow morning. Send Luis to get whatever anyone needs, he’ll stand out less in that neighborhood.”
Johnny nodded and relayed the message to Luis who also nodded.
They reached their final objective, and it was still before midnight.
“Hold up.” Niko placed an arm on Rami’s shoulder as they walked down the street. “These guys are some of the leaders right?”
“You think they’d fit the stereotype?”
“Partiers. Drugs, alcohol, sex…”
Rami bit his lip. “They might do actually. Why, what you thinking?”
“We leave it an hour or two. Let them get a bit drunk, a bit tired. Then
we hit them.”
Rami smiled. “I like it. But what if anyone leaves?”
Niko shrugs, “We take them down quietly.”
Rami looked at the apartment block. “Alright, let’s find a good place to watch from.”
An hour and a half later, Niko was regretting his decision. Finally two men appeared, walking down the street.
“They’re definitely Hustlers.” Rami noted. “What say we go and see what they can tell us?”
They’d found a vantage point atop a small apartment building, hidden in the shadows, so they had to climb down to street level. The approached the two men, quietly but quickly. Rami used a rapid Krav Maga move to floor one of them. He knelt on the man’s stomach – something that would be immensely uncomfortable for the Hustler, while Niko executed one of the moves that Rami had taught him; sticking a leg out and pulling the man back so he trips over it. Niko put a foot on the man’s chest, liberal with his weight, and trained his gun on the face.
“We’ll be quick.” Rami said. “We don’t want money or drugs or anything like that. We want one thing. The Brothers, you know, your leaders. Are they in? We have a delivery for them.”
“Yes.” The man wheezed. “They’re in.”
“Not going out anywhere?”
“Any interesting company?” Niko added.
But Niko caught something in his guy’s face. He fired a shot into the man’s foot. He then used his own foot to shut the man’s mouth and turn his face toward the ground.
“Shh.” Niko whispered. “You’ll wake the neighbors.”
“Want to change your answer?” Rami asked.
“Alright. They got T-Dog.” What a wonderfully clichéd name
. “Him and his boys.”
“Two of T-Dog’s boys. T-Dog’s like the bodyguard man.”
“And how many people are there, including the brothers and T-Dog and his men.”
“I dunno. About twelve or so.”
“Got enough you reckon?” Rami asked Niko.
“One last question: How drunk is everyone.”
“It’s a party. Someone’s birthday. What you think.”
“Ok, I’m done.” Niko fired a single bullet into his man’s head. The other man’s eyes went wide but before he could beg for his life, Rami executed him. “There’s a dumpster there.” Niko observed.
Twelve men, but mostly drunk. They noticed a fire escape running up the side of the building. They could see some people on it, smoking and drinking.
“You thinking what I’m thinking?” Niko asked. Rami nodded.
Rami knocked on the door. He’d found one of the party guests outside, high and drunk. She had no idea what was going on, and said hello to Rami, caressing her own breasts and calling him by a name he didn’t recognise. He didn’t know it if was an insult or whether she thought he was someone else. He’d played along with it though and took her back to the party. It was a shame she had to die, but there wasn’t much he could do about that. Drunk and high or not, she would have seen too much.
Niko had climbed to the roof before making his way to the fire escape. He moved down, slowly.
The door opened and a man appeared. “What you wan – Oh sh*t, Lisa.”
“She was out of it outside. She said about this, what did she say, ‘dope’, that was it, party here. She almost fell down the stairs.”
“F*ck man. Thanks for bringing her back. I tell you what, how bout I get yo’ a beer?” Rami did well not to smile. He’d gotten past the ‘bouncers’ that stood inside the door. He’d have to be careful of the few he’d seen in the stairwell. He nodded and guided the girl to the party guest.
As soon as his hands were free, Rami pulled out both pistols he’d taken off of the gang members. He didn’t hesitate and began firing.
On hearing the first gunshot, Niko rushed down the last flight of steps. His shotgun was out and he shot the guests on the balcony. He then took cover and switched guns. He began firing at the people inside. Rami would stand out well; he was the only person dressed in dull colors, apart from himself, and most of the people were black. I wonder if this would be labeled as a hate crime
, Niko thought. A racist attack? Hmm…
Rami shot at all the men who looked like they would be armed first. He ignored the girls, most of whom would likely be prostitutes – no, he corrected himself, the targets were well respected so the girls probably gave it up for free. Like sleeping with celebrities.
He allowed his arms to open up, one gun going left, one right. He fired at one target, then switched sides and fired at another. He continued, taking down no less than seven targets before needing to take cover.
Niko had caused mass confusion. He too focused on the men that would likely be armed.
Vinewood was the master of misleading people. They made films with twenty-minute gunfights. Tonight’s one spanned several minutes but it was over in less than ten. Once enough of the people were down, Rami had turned his focus on the women. He didn’t like
shooting women, but it was necessary. No living witnesses could be tolerated.
Niko didn’t know the girls were down until it was all over. It was disturbing, seeing so many dead bodies, and it was a grim echo of his past. He had both witnessed this and caused it.
They had to check now. Rami took care of the bodies, confirming the targets were down. The brothers and T-Dog, who was also on the list and expected to be here, were dead. The list was done.
Niko made sure the apartment was empty. Even the men in the stairwell had been taken out. They’d charged in like bulls but Rami was ready for them and dedicated a gun for their arrival.
“I need a drink.” Niko said as they returned to their car.
“I won’t say no.”
They’d gone to a safe house, showered and changed clothes, then made their way to a bar in Purgatory.
“I don’t want to have to do that again.” Niko said. He was already mentally scarred, enough so that this wouldn’t rest on his conscience too much. He’d purposefully not looked at the bodies any more than he had to; he’d not focused on the faces as he shot. Rami had done the uncouth duty of eliminating the women – some of them were armed and a few had picked up weapons to defend themselves. It was open season on them, but the unarmed ones?
“I agree, Niko. You know I’ve done a lot in my life. Some operation with Shin Bet
that never made the news. Even with Mossad. Things went bad once, on an operation over here. I got picked up by the cops. Spent some time inside.”
Niko had actually read Rami’s file on the LCPD database. He’d done so mere hours after they’d met. He suspected – ex
pected – Rami had done the same.
“Do you always get sentimental after you kill people?” Niko chuckled.
“What?” Rami said with an open-mouthed half smile.
“Sorry. Something my cousin said to me once. Dark joke?” Rami shrugged. “Carry on.”
“I came out of prison disillusioned. Mossad wasn’t for me. They made no effort to get me out. I suppose they couldn’t without admitting they were involved. I’d killed an American citizen. Something like that could start a war.”
Niko nodded. “As if the world needs another one.”
“Well another one’s coming, if you ask me.” Rami downed his drink and signaled for another shot. “Something big’s coming and between you and me, I’m not sure which side we’re on.”
Niko shrugged. “Does it matter?” He shook his head. “I don’t think it does. We’re not exactly saints.”
“Exactly. Hell, we’ve both done some bad sh*t, like tonight.”
“It usually leads to worse things.” Niko sighed. “People around me seem to get hurt.”
“Same. I lost my wife, my son got killed by a hitman after me.” Rami shook his head. “Not much was left after that, so I went for this job. Hell I did some bad things, I’m part of the reason behind the recession, locally at least.”
“That was you?” Niko raised an eyebrow.
“Not my finest hour.”
“Oh, I know, the leg.”
“Yeah.” Rami chuckled. “I like that story. Employers respect me more for it, and I think it intimidates them into not f*cking with me.”
“That’d help. Beating a man to death with his own leg…” Niko whistled.
“Truth is it’s not nearly as impressive as it sounds.”
“Sounds impressive to me. I’m surprised he didn’t bleed out first.”
Rami laughed. “Wanna hear the secret?”
“It was a prosthetic one.” Rami smiled. “No one knows that. People witnessed it, but no one realized, I don’t think. I omit that detail though, sounds much better without it.”
Niko laughed. “How honorable.”Click Here to read the next chapter - Dearest Petrovic... This post has been edited by Mokrie Dela on Sunday, Jul 29 2012, 15:39
Joined: May 1, 2009
So i think it's time to upload the next chapter.Chapter Eleven – Dearest Petrovic...
Niko was given a down day; A day of rest. He’d decided to journey to Roman’s for it, only to arrive for his cousin to be at work. Niko had sighed and entered the house anyway. Some time with his niece would be nice, whether Roman was there or not. Mallorie offered to call him, saying that he’d happily cut his day short and come back – one of the perks of being the boss. He did have managers anyway…
Conversation started with small talk. The weather, Liberty City traffic. Niko liked it up here. It was peaceful. He toyed with the idea of moving up here, perhaps working with Roman, living down the street, taking Katie to the park. He had money aside; he could afford a decent house and the onward payments to go with it. It didn’t occur to him that he was in a position that so many other people wished to be in. He didn’t mind a little commute – Liberty City wasn’t that far away. He also pondered moving away from Liberty completely. Vice City, perhaps. The weather there was nice, and he liked the beach. He’d seen on his recent visit to Vice the small villas of people who could afford to live there. Clean gravel drives, with bright grass, well tended, shrubs lining the drive, and the palm trees that were found all over the city, small ponds, or pools...
“Vice City?” Mallorie said with a thoughtful stare. “Isn’t that full of retirees and porn stars?”
Niko laughed, “And Liberty isn’t?”
She shrugged, “It’s a big thing moving that far. Roman’s business is here, he can’t just move that to Vice, all the success he’s had here, the client base, it’d be lost.”
“He could expand…” Niko suggested.
“Go nationwide?” Mallorie shook her head. “That’s a massive step.”
Niko shrugged. “Perhaps he could find a smaller cab company down in Vice and merge with them…”
“You’re pushing this really hard aren’t you?”
Niko laughed, “I’m just thinking. We grew up in a country of gray, we moved to Liberty, which isn’t sun, sea and sand… I did some work across Europe, in warm places, cold places. I think it’s time for me to change my line of work.”
“Are you able to do that?” Mallorie knew the type of work Niko did. She knew he used guns, though she didn’t know much more than that. “Just walk away from it?”
Niko nodded. “I think so. Perhaps I could find similar work… Security or something.”
“Niko Bellic, a security guard?” Mallorie laughed. Kate looked up from her toys, identifying the sound and giggled back at her mother, although unsure of the joke. The great thing about children, Niko was relearning, was their world was one of fun. When did that all change? The fate that even Katie was condemned to was unavoidable.
Niko smiled, shrugged. “Why not? Maybe more personal security – protecting VIPs…”
“That’s still risky, isn’t it?”
“Maybe. But what I do now isn’t without risk.”
“Something like that, you’d do better in Los Santos. Protecting Vinewood’s elite. A man of your skills would be tapped up quick.”
“And what about Roman.”
Mallorie laughed. “Have we just…” She moved her opposing index fingers in a circle, denoting a change.
Niko chuckled. “I can’t do this forever. I’m not sure I want to. I do this only because it was the only option open to me. If my life had gone differently, I don’t know what I’d be doing, but it probably would not be this. I think it’s time to live a normal life, something I hoped I could do once I’d found Darko.”
“Yeah, well Niko you’d have to decide that. I don’t think Roman will be able to move out to Los Santos of Vice or anywhere that far. I’d support him either way, but you may have to move on your own.”
That felt like a dagger to his chest. Although he could survive, prosper even, in Vice or Santos, he felt attached to Roman and Mallorie and Katie too. In some ways the latter was his only link to Kate McReary, and he felt like it was a vow he had to honor. He had to be there to help her grow up, to protect her from things her parents could not.
Rami Yalon knew the place well. He drove there, making no effort to hide. He drove right up to the house, past security, and was escorted inside.
“Rami.” Petrovic stood. His voice was a mixture of pleasure and concern.
“Kenny.” They two had been business associates, boss and employee, with Rami becoming more than just a hitman/personal ‘troubleshooter’. They had become friends, but that had been tested during turbulent times. Their relationship had been strained, and the two had ultimately parted company.
“I wish I could say that this is nice surprise.” Petrovic waved his men out of his office. “But something tells me it is not.”
“Yeah, well. I’m not going to waste much time beating about the bush. Have you heard anything about local gangs or criminal organizations lately?”
“A little. We’ve had some trouble with the Italians. The Chinese and Koreans are fighting again. Looks to be a bad one. Black American gangsters are shooting each other, but that is not unusual, no?”
“Kind of. Crime’s risen. And then there’s the Italians.”
Petrovic frowned. “Are you saying this is all connected?”
Rami nodded. “I’m here for one reason and one reason only: Our history. There is a large operation being undertaken. The goal is to eradicate the city of organized crime elements.”
Petrovic laughed. “That can never happen. There will always be some. You could wipe the Italians off the face of the earth, but a few will survive, and they will rebuild. The black gangsters will also be like cockroaches. They say cockroaches can survive a nuclear holocaust. Whatever tirade you speak of is too optimistic.”
“Perhaps. But so far, it is working.” Rami took a breath. “Might I ask for a drink?”
Petrovic noted the Israeli’s tone. “Am I going to need one too?”
Rami cocked his head. “I know I will…”
Petrovic noted the sincere look on Rami’s face, remembering it from before. Aware of what it meant, he stood and walked to his liquor cabinet. He placed two expensive mottled glasses on the mahogany surface, careful to ensure coasters were underneath them. Then he opened up a similarly styled bottle. Rami knew Petrovic and he’d just opened to good stuff – the twenty year old oak something or other. Two glasses were poured with care, and Petrovic handed one to his former employee.
Rami took a sip – the best way to drink expensive whiskeys. You didn’t down them – that was rude and a waste. You politely sipped at it, enough to taste and appreciate but not too much. Dealing with people of Petrovic’s level was an art, one that Rami had learnt many years ago.
“So what is it then?” Petrovic asked. “We have not spoken for a while. Why suddenly turn up like this?”
“That operation I mentioned?” Rami received a nod. “You’re the next target.”
Petrovic blinked at that, but his drink did not move. “I’ve dealt with being the subject of investigations and the target of a rival faction before. Oftentimes I’ve had you on board, and some of the men you helped teach are almost as good.”
“Perhaps so,” Rami said, carefully timing his next sip. It was a longer one, a sip that showed Petrovic he was serious. “But this one is genuinely different.”
“How so?” Petrovic asked, sipping as his drink, slightly smugly.
Rami set his glass down. “I’m part of it.”
Petrovic’s face changed then. It was a subtle change, one that most people would miss. He’d learnt many years ago to develop a good poker face, but Rami saw the revelation hit.
Petrovic regained his composure and took a sip of his drink. A heavy sip, Rami saw.
“So, you are here to kill me.” He said with bravado.
“No.” Rami said. “You know me. Would I be that stupid, or arrogant? It would be foolish to attempt that here, in the middle of the day. You do not warn your target that you are going to kill him.
“So why are you here? Blackmail?”
“No. I am here to warn you old friend.”
“Let’s just say for old time’s sake. We haven’t always seen eye to eye, but… I hope you understand, Kenny. I am breaking my own field craft doing this. This goes against all my training and experience. This is not… professional.” Petrovic knew Rami disliked that word. For him to use it…
“Let’s assume you are still my advisor.” Petrovic emptied his glass, unable to fully hide his discomfort from one who knew him so well. “What would you have me do?”
Rami didn’t hesitate. He spoke firmly, but respectfully. just like old times…
“Leave town. Send some of your best men away also. Do not allow anyone – anyone
– to know that. Then leave town yourself. My boss will believe me when I tell him you are dead. I would advise you not to be foolish, stubborn or proud. There is no shame in retreat. If you stay here, you will die.”
“I do not fear such threats, Yalon.”
“I know. But you know
me. I do not make threats.”
“Why do this, Rami?”
“I have my reasons. I hope you’ll live long enough to see them. I do not wish you harm, moĭ drug
“I still respect you, Rami…”
“As I you, pochetnym liderom
“But I will not allow myself to be intimidated by anyone, even if he was one of my best men.”
Rami nodded. “I will not beg, Kenny.”
“I ya ne budu sdavatʹsya, tsennye kapitan.
“ Так и быть, старый друг.
” Rami stood, extending his hand. Petrovic also stood.
As shameful as Rami felt, he had tried. The old fool is too proud!
“I thought you said you were not so foolish as to try that here, now.”
“A despicable ruse, I am afraid. I apologise for lying to you, and I am deeply saddened that it has come to this.”
Petrovic recognised the look in the Israeli’s eyes. The respect was there, but his assignment stood in top priority.
Petrovic sighed. “You know you cannot walk away from this. You’ve seen how many men I have outside. Even you can not outshoot them. Most of them learnt from you. Oni uchilisʹ u luchshikh
Rami steeled himself against the compliment. “You’re forgetting, Petrovic, that I oversaw the renovation of this fine house.” Rami back pedalled to a bookcase. He reached in and, in the corner, behind a book, felt the odd shape. He pushed it, and a lock disengaged. “You always had one ace up your sleeve. By the time the police would get in here, you’d be gone.” Rami nodded toward the bookcase, returning to face Petrovic, mere inches from him. He knew the man would not try to fight. “By the time your men wonder why we have been in here for so long, I’ll
“ Vy pozornyĭ izmennik!
” Petrovic snarled.
Rami shook his head. “I forgave you for what you did. Today I have broken craft for you. I have come here to warn you, to offer you a way out. To give you the opportunity to live... Vy upryamyĭ durak!
“If you have come to see me beg...”
“No, old friend. You have refused an offer for salvation.”
“So it comes to this then?”
“I am afraid so.” Rami then politely and respectfully requested his former boss to sit. Rami then stood behind him, the gun coming up. “Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha'olam, dayan ha-emet.
Good bye, old friend...”
Niko’s visit to Mallorie ended around lunch time. She’d offered him lunch, but he declined. The thought of finally changing his line of work was playing heavily on him. The question was what to do? He drove in to the city and to Roman’s cab depot.
“Niko!” Roman came out of his office. The cabs were run by a staff, and they did the job well. Roman oversaw it, but spent most of his day doing paperwork. The two embraced. “How are you?”
“Not bad, Roman. Just come from yours.”
A tiny wave of worry washed over Roman’s face. “Everything ok?”
“Yes, everything is fine, cousin.” Niko pointed at the clock. “Have you had lunch?”
Roman shook his head. “I was going to order out to that deli I like…”
Niko grabbed Roman’s coat. “Let us go then, cousin.”
The deli was popular but not overly busy. It catered to eating in and take-out, as well as offering a delivery service. The counter at the front was busy; a large queue of businessmen, office workers as well as police officers, firemen and EMTs, perhaps the odd doctor, nurse or surgeon., stretched to the sidewalk.
They sat at a table after collecting their lunch from the second counter. The place was planned out well.
Roman took an enthusiastic bite of his lunch – a meat and cheese sandwich. Niko had ordered the same, after Roman announced that it was ‘The greatest sandwich in Algonquin.’
“So what is it, cousin?” Roman asked, his mouth seeking out the straw in the Sprunk cup.
“I need some advice, Roman.” Niko had only taken a small bite of his lunch. Not bad.
“I am thinking of a change of career.”
Roman nodded with a smile. “This is good, Niko. You will finally join the rest of us living a normal life?”
Niko laughed. “Something like that. The thing is, this is what I’m good at. It is too late for me to put those skills into too many good places. I cannot become a police officer – I’m not sure I’d want that – and the army is not an option again.”
“You can drive, Niko. Come work for me, be a driver. You can drive the rich Japanese clients from the airport to the hotel in Middle Park, or Castle Garden City. They are good fares. And they tip well.”
“Maybe, cousin. But I am thinking it may be time for me to leave.”
Roman blinked. He set his sandwich down. After a moment he spoke. “I do not want that, Niko. I have a family here – Mallorie, Katie and – you are part of that.”
“I know. But I think it’s time.”
“Where will you go? Home?”
Niko shook his head. “There isn’t much there for me anymore.”
“I’m thinking Vice City.”
“Yes. Sun sea, sand. Somewhere warm, somewhere different.”
Roman smiled, but it was a sad one. “I do not want you to go, cousin.”
“I know, Roman. And I do not wish to leave you… Why don’t you come too?”
“To Vice City?” Roman laughed. “Vice City is for retired people or rich beautiful youngsters! Besides, what about my business?”
“I mentioned that to Mallorie. Why not expand it? Go national.”
“That is a big step, Niko. Sure I have success in Liberty, but if I moved it to Vice, I’d have to start again. I have a family now, I can’t afford that.”
“I will give you the money, Roman. I have some put aside. If it means we are all together…”
“You really want to go?”
“I think I do. I spoke to Jacob about it once. He said he wanted to go back to Jamaica, but he liked the idea of living in Vice city, or Los Santos.”
“Los Santos?” Roman breathed. Part of the old Roman woke up. “Celebrities, and rock stars, girls with Vinewood titties…”
He shook his head. “It would be too much, too surreal for Kate.”
Niko shrugged. “Maybe she’d grow up to be a famous actress.” He added lightly.
“Or a waitress.” Roman sighed. “This is a big decision Niko. I am not sure if I can go with you. This may be something you have to do on your own.”
Niko nodded. “Would you at least look in to it? Perhaps you could find a small cab firm and merge with them?”
“Perhaps, Niko, but it’s a risk. It would also mean traveling a lot, to Liberty, to Vice, or Los Santos… More time away from the family…”
“Then perhaps some of those duties I could handle. I could fly back to Liberty, make sure everything’s ok here.”
“That is the American dream, isn’t it? The sun, the beach, beautiful women… I wonder if that would be a good or a bad influence on my daughter. Owning my own – our
own – empire… I like that, empire.”
“Then you’ll think about it?”
“Yes, I will consider it. Bellic and Bellic, we would call it.”
Niko smiled. “Thank you cousin.”
“May I ask, Niko, why? All of a sudden, why?”
“I’ve been thinking about it for a while. I went to Vice on a job recently, and I liked it. I think it will serve me well, moving to such a climate, to close the door completely on my past.”
Roman nodded. “I shall think about it, Niko.”
Rami did not like himself much at the moment. He didn’t like what he just did. It wasn’t meant to happen that way, but it had, hadn’t it? Ultimately, what happened, happened. For the most part, Petrovic was a good boss to him. And Rami served him well. He had abandoned his car at Petrovic’s – it as stolen anyway and had nothing of his inside. He’d even worn gloves whilst driving it.
So now he sat on the train, heading into Algonquin. Perhaps it was time to get out…
No. This was what he was, and he’d do that until someone better came along. Unless he met someone again, but there was no one like her, was there? The death of his son still beat at him. It was his fault. He was human, he had emotions and even while working, where he locked them away, they were still there.You’re getting old.
He told himself, looking down at his hands. The truth is that he had no other option left - for life and for Petrovic. He’d seen in the reflection of Kenny’s face in the glass on the desk. As he said the Hebrew prayer, the man’s face dropped. He knew he was to die.
But Petrovic was not a weak man. Once he decided something he did not change his mind. He’d stood death in the face, mentally weighing up between his pride and stubbornness, and common sense. Perhaps if Rami still worked for him he would have made his see sense sooner.
But in the end had it mattered?
Rami stood in the office, looking at the old man.
“It is done.” He said solemnly. “Petrovic is dead.”Click Here to read the next chapter - Doublestrike This post has been edited by Mokrie Dela on Wednesday, Aug 1 2012, 19:51
Joined: May 1, 2009
|QUOTE (billy james @ Monday, Jul 30 2012, 07:54)|
| The old man wanted Petrovic dead, all that time I was thinking that Petrovic was going to ask Rami to kill Niko, which would lead to him chasing Niko in the prologue |
A bit confusing, but good, have another
The prologue chase was the opener, and was a training excersise. Ranks gun was empty. It was there to set the pace and introduce Rami as a skilled operator. It's alread happened, the story isn't gonna come round to it again. Sorry for the confusion.
Thanks for reading though, I'll have a new chapter up soon
Joined: Jan 7, 2011
|QUOTE (Mokrie Dela @ Monday, Jul 30 2012, 09:27)|
|QUOTE (billy james @ Monday, Jul 30 2012, 07:54)|
| The old man wanted Petrovic dead, all that time I was thinking that Petrovic was going to ask Rami to kill Niko, which would lead to him chasing Niko in the prologue |
A bit confusing, but good, have another
The prologue chase was the opener, and was a training excersise. Ranks gun was empty. It was there to set the pace and introduce Rami as a skilled operator. It's alread happened, the story isn't gonna come round to it again. Sorry for the confusion.
Thanks for reading though, I'll have a new chapter up soon
Well that changes my whole conclusion of the story
Posted: Wednesday, Aug 1 2012, 19:49
Joined: May 1, 2009
| Chapter Twelve – Doublestrike
The entire process was very methodical. Niko had put his life-changing ponders aside for the moment, and sat there looking at the file. Greenhorn and D’Amico sat there too, looking at their own files. They spoke with the boss, but Niko wasn’t paying attention.
“They go here quite regularly?” Niko asked.
Rami nodded. “They own a slice of it I think. Shareholders, or something. Now it’s this that interests me.” Rami tapped a sheet of paper. “The staff are mostly Puerto Ricans and Americans.”
“Well I’m thinking running in all guns blazing would be a bit overwhelming. The Koreans are in the middle of a gang war; they’re all on alert. The important bosses will be protected, probably by their best men. In fact, part of me speculates that the Chinese might try a hit anyway.”
“What would happen if they did?”
Rami shrugged. “Depends on their tactics. I’ve no idea how good they are at planning. They might rock up, pile in with machineguns and grenades. It could be a slaughter. Or, they might send a single agent in, perhaps a non oriental… Hmm perhaps not; they have the entire ‘outsider’ thing don’t they?”
“Isn’t that the Japanese?”
“Both I think.”
“Aren’t the Triads sneaky?”
“They can be. I’m wondering if they might try a bomb. Car bomb, maybe try to take them out as they leave. Snipers?”
“We can’t plan for that though, can we?”
“Only as an outside contingency.”
Niko nodded. Rami looked up as the light bulb came on in the Serbian’s head. “You’ve got something haven’t you?”
“Walking in the front and shooting would be next to suicide.” Rami nodded. “But what about the back?”
Rami shook his head. “Same thing, just a different…. Oh.” Rami suddenly got it, looking at the photo that Niko was holding. “Oh, that’s good.”
“Think it’ll work?”
“Yeah. Some Americans, it said. Quite a big place, busy… Yeah it could. But there’s more than one target. How you thinking of dispatching them?”
Niko told him. Rami smiled. “Simple, but brilliant. Do we both….?”
Niko wavered. “Maybe. If you go in as a business man, you couldn’t really do much could you?”
“What about collateral damage, Niko?”
“There might be some. With both ideas.”
“What about the wine?”
Niko shook his head. “I think going face to face is pushing it. They’re regulars; a new waiter might ring alarm bells. And we definitely want to avoid being detected, don’t we?”
With ironic timing, an alarm sounded throughout the office. Each man knew what it was, though it had only once sounded before.
“You know the drill.” Their boss said, standing immediately. He hurriedly turned and grabbed a briefcase. Niko and Rami picked up the file and passed it around to Greenhorn. He placed it on top of his, but no one noticed the one file that fell to the floor.
The boss put the files in the case then walked to the exit, the four men behind him.
Luis was standing on the upper level of the Grand Easton Terminal exterior. He’d positioned himself expertly well, he thought. In truth, his position was a good one, but he was not an expert.
The building began expelling its occupants. Men and women, mostly in suits. There was no panic, though Luis suspected the last of them might be close to freaking out.
It didn’t take that long, to Luis’s surprise. The crowds were crossing the road, gathering by the train station. He kept watching.
Johnny was doing the same. He sat at the Bean Machine due west of Luis’s position, watching the south side of the building.
As it happened, they exited the east side. Luis caught them immediately.
“I’ve got them.” He said into his phone, feeling even more like Judd Parker. “East side. Crossing Columbus.”
“All of them?” Came the reply.
“Niko, the other guy, that brute and the skinny guy, and a man in a suit, carrying a briefcase.”
“You count five?”
“Yes. Five. One, two, three, four, five.”
Karen put the phone down, glad to still be using the electronic voice box device. She knew better than to have Luis try to grab the briefcase – as Johnny suggested. Inside were tiny vials of flammable liquid and gas. If the case was opened without the proper method, the vials would rupture, and a small explosion would take place. The files would be vaporized instantly, and whatever poor soul was opening it would, at the very least, be scarred for life. They’d suffer severe burns which alone would hospitalize them, but if the vials contained any corrosive or toxic substances, it might be fatal.
The way to open it safely she did not know. A special code, a radio key fob, she could spend hours guessing.
But now the building was empty. She hoped the man had overlooked something. He was cocky, cockier than his predecessor. He had the arrogance of elitism. Thought he was a genius for coming up with the plan.
She entered the office, knowing where the cameras were. She avoided them, but with every step her heart rate increased. By the time she had slid past the cameras, and entered the office, she felt as though somebody was playing the drums on her chest.
She approached the desk and, very rapidly, began flicking through what was there.
Nothing. There were a few files about paper shipments – that was their cover after all – but nothing….Hello…
On the floor by the far wall was a manila file. Things didn’t get left on the floor here.
She crouched down and opened it, careful not to pick it up. It was positioned upside down, but she got out her phone and began taking photos of each page.
Three minutes later she was done. She’d seen some interesting things in there, but – no!
she commanded herself. Later!
People were still piling out of the building. Karen was not supposed to be in the building today but the nature of their work was in her favor. Gunmen, soldiers, army personnel – those who engaged in combat – saw security as armed men, sealed gates, ID passes, fingerprint scanners and heavily armed guards. Those who operated in the intelligence business – spooks, as they were informally know – or people generally doing things they shouldn’t, saw security as anonymity. Invisibility.
The United Liberty Paper Company was the latter. It was a black agency. It was a non-officially supported hit squad, designed to eliminate terrorists or immediate threats to national – or local – security. Karen was part of the team that collated information. She knew about most of Niko’s missions while he worked for his former boss. She had given support – informational – for those, though Niko didn’t know it. They had seen each other once or twice, but she deliberately kept out of his way.
Niko and Rami clashed when they first met. Their first job had had each man trying to out-do the other. Their second or third had them showcase phenomenal team work. Both men had realized that they were the same, though Rami was better at the sneaky stuff. He’d had training for it after all. The Israelis were a tough bunch, especially Shin Bet. They had given the world Krav Maga – a deadly martial art that had no rules to speak of – and the Uzi, behind perhaps only the Russian Kalashnikov assault rival in fame.
But the two had become great partners. They trained and practiced together: They always had ops in the city when they weren’t on an assignment. The one thing about Rami, Karen had noticed from their few brief (and no doubt unmemorable to the Israeli) meetings, was that he had a strange fetish about words. He hated the word ‘professional’ or ‘expert’. His claim was that they were a paradox. If one had to refer to themselves as a professional, they were not. A professional was something that didn’t exist. One could be highly trained, even the best, but saying ‘I am a professional’ was not being one.
A strange one, that Rami. He had the ability to just turn off his emotions. She pondered on that as she descended the stairs, catching up with some of the workers from higher floors. She knew about Niko – thought she knew. She was confident of his morality, but Rami? That was a wild card she’d have to be careful with.
A few more people exited the building. Karen was among them. She’d used wash-in-wash-out hair dye to turn herself blonde, and had a padded pushup bra on, making her breasts look two sixes larger. She also wore clothes to change her appearance and weight, as well as doing her makeup differently; she’d put it on heavy. She also had applied a spray tan to herself – not a lasting one but more a bronzing body paint amateur actors used. She looked like a different person and she crossed the road with the penultimate group of people. Once on the other side she meandered through the crowd and into the subway. No one noticed - the subway was still being used by other travelers despite the gathering workers.
The fire engines were on scene now, as was an ambulance. One person had actually tripped and injured their ankle, and they were being examined. Another was too excited and was being assessed for shock.
But the firemen who entered the building learnt there was no fire. They found the alarm that someone had smashed. Probably a bored worker wanting to get out of the office for a few minutes, or perhaps a teenage office junior thinking it was funny. The workers on that floor – two above the ULPC office – would have hell to pay, but it was too bad.
Karen heard the sirens as she descended from street level.
Johnny got the call first. Then Luis. Time to go.
Their operation was delayed. But they made their way out to Alderney, where they set up surveillance on the restaurant.
The targets arrived at dinner time, just in time for the evening rush.
“What perfect timing.” Rami said with a smile. The busier the better.
The two men moved toward the restaurant, careful to move round the back. The sun was starting to set – it’d be a couple of hours before dark – and there was just enough shadow in the alley to stay out of sight.
Rami moved forward, seeing the chef smoking. He had his back to him, and was playing with his phone. Texting, or social networking, Rami didn’t know or care.
The Israeli moved quickly. As soon as he was behind the man, his arms came out and gave him a fatal hug. The man tried to cry out as he felt the arms on him, but Rami had already gagged him with the inside of his elbow.
Rami then moved the body down the alley way, as far as he could, and into a dumpster, careful to strip the clothes from him.
Niko was in the restaurant. He’d walked in and with the greeter showing someone to a table, Niko entered the bar unseen, or at least unnoticed.
The restrooms were recessed in a short hallway, next to a staff only door. The hallway was hidden from the rest of the restaurant by a stylish dividing wall – o one wanted to look at toilet doors while eating.
Niko checked the disabled restroom and found it empty. Then he waited.
The thing that people didn’t realize about disguises was that it was all in your attitude. If you looked around, checking for people watching, you’d get caught. Look like you belong,
the saying went across the world. The second was that it was difficult to dress up in a uniform and just wonder about. People would notice that too.
So Rami actually had to look like he was working there. A chef handed him a plate without paying attention to him. Rami knew it was to be put on the side under the warm light, ready for the waiters to serve it.
Niko had to wait a mere two minutes. He pretended to be on his phone as a customer visited the restroom, the perfect excuse to be standing here. Many people considered it rude to be on the phone at the table.
The waiter had walked past and caught the man’s stare.
“Can I help you?” The waiter asked, just about to enter the door marked Staff Only
. Niko nodded and the man stepped forward an inch.
Niko reached out, careful to put his arm over the man’s mouth, and dragged him in to the men’s restroom. He’d decided against the disabled one and had already checked to see if the men’s was empty or not. He’d carefully counted the people going in and out.
Niko guided the man into one of the stalls and shut the door. It was there that he broke the man’s neck. He then stripped the man of his clothes and put them on himself. His old clothes were put in a small bag which he would store in the alley with Rami’s. Niko checked the restroom and set the dead body on the toilet. He allowed the deceased to keep his trousers on; they both wore black slacks that were pretty much identical. One done, Niko locked the cubical and slid underneath. He then washed his hands and exited the restroom.
Niko’s job was to find out what table number the targets were sitting at. They were a very close group, they all sat together and shared laughs at communal stories. Niko had to deliver the food to one table, just to look like he was doing his ‘job’ and took a drinks order. It wasn’t hard, so he delivered the drinks too.
Niko had made his way to the kitchen hatch where Rami was placing a meal. The chefs here actually wore gloves – they handled a lot of spice, and the use of gloves in kitchens was actually quite common. Niko merely used a hand towel to hold the plates that he carried.
“Thirty Two.” Niko said in Rami’s ear.
“Three two.” Rami replied in confirmation.
“Yes.” Niko had written it on the back of his hand. Rami nodded as he saw it. They had to get this right – Niko had insisted. Not only for operational success, but he did not want to kill an innocent family.
Rami checked the screen for table Thirty-Two’s order. Fondue. He resisted the urge to smile, and merely turned to see the communal meal being prepared.
Niko had done his job, but wasn’t done yet. Rami had the crucial role and went about it as the Fondue begun cooking. He moved past as the chef turned to fetch something, and emptied the vial in the food. He put the vial back in his pocket and carried on walking just as the chef turned back.
The fondue was finished and served to table thirty-three. Niko confirmed that and, as we walked past the kitchen, flashed Rami the subtlest of nods.
Niko allowed himself to look at the target’s table, and saw the men all reaching for the fondue.
“There’s one thing we didn’t think about.” Niko said to Rami in the alley. Niko had lifted a bowl of assorted nuts and olives from the serving hatch and walked out with them. The two men picked at them as they walked down the alleyway, having collected their clothes.
“What was that?”
“Confirming that the men are dead.”
Rami’s chewing slowed as he thought about that. “That’s a good point. We could watch them.” They’d stopped walking now. “You’re right, Niko. I’d overlooked that.” He nodded. “Eyes on them would be a good idea.”
Niko nodded also. Rami seemed distracted today. His operational ability had not faltered, but his mind was elsewhere. Niko knew he was taking care of the Russians on his own, using his previous experience with them as an advantage. Niko on the other hand had a bad history with them, stretching back to his killing of Vlad Glebov, and included the murder of Lenny Petrovic, Kenny’s son. Niko knew that Petrovic and Rami had worked together for a long time. If Rami had killed Petrovic…
That would certainly explain his distraction.
“How would we know if we don’t have eyes on?”
Rami shrugged. “It would reach the news sooner or later. But two, three days for it to hit, that’s enough time for one of them – if they survived – to escape.”
“How long will it take?” Niko pointed at Rami’s pocket.
Rami looked at his watch. “Within the hour. They’ll still be in the restaurant.”
“Will alcohol affect it?”
“I don’t know. Alcohol thins the blood, that would help distribution so maybe speed the process up…”
“So we don’t need eyes on at their homes then?”
“No.” Rami said, shaking his head. He was clearly troubled by something.
“Go back in?”
Rami shook his head. “That would be foolish.” Rami set about putting his coat back on. “We can stand across the road though, watch from there.” Rami looked up to the skies. Night was descending, and there was a touch of fog in the air. Niko shrugged and followed Rami across the street.
Karen sat in the apartment in Bohan, looking through the photos. After a lengthy and thorough dry cleaning, the three reached the safe house with care.
“This wasn’t what I wanted, but this confirms my suspicions.” Karen said, looking up. “They’re eliminating criminals and gangs. On the list are the Italians, Russians… We were right, there was an attack on the North Holland Hustlers and the Lords – just round the corner from here, one of those… Also on the list are Koreans and the Chinese. I think I need to find out how far they are on this list. Maybe we can use it to figure out their next more, and stop them.”
Eighty-two minutes, Rami noted as the ambulance arrived. Police were there too. The two men kept watch as trolleys were wheeled out. Another ambulance arrived in minutes and bodies were loaded up.
“I’d say that pretty much confirms it.” Rami said. Niko nodded.
“What are the odds that they’d survive?”
Rami shook his head. “Next to zero. It’s a potent substance, once it’s in your system, you’re in trouble. A stomach pump would be too late; it’d be in their blood by now.”
“What if they had a slow metabolism?”
Again, Rami shook his head. “Unlikely they’d survive. Tell you what, you think you need to confirm their deaths? We can infiltrate the hospital. Scrubs won’t be too hard to get.”
“I’ve got some,” Niko said with a smile.Click Here to read the next chapter - Fortune Cookie This post has been edited by Mokrie Dela on Tuesday, Aug 7 2012, 16:54
Joined: May 1, 2009
| Chapter Thirteen – Fortune Cookie
“What do you expect us to do if you’re right?” Luis had asked.
“Stop them.” Karen had replied coldly.
Luis drove, with Johnny glad to not be the one having to deal with the traffic. He sat back, but was no less tense. He wasn’t looking forward to the prospect of facing Niko again, or that other guy.
“You know what I keep thinking about?”
“No,” Luis said. I don’t care.
“There was a diamond deal I did, that went to hell. I remember shooting my way out, to see that this Niko had gotten there first. He’d single-handedly wiped out about twenty mafia men. He’s a dangerous guy. I…” Johnny stopped and stared. “Motherf*cker…”
“That was you… At the museum… sh*t.”
“Museum?” Luis made the connection. “Oh.” He shrugged. He wasn’t the bad guy in that story. The diamonds were Tony’s to begin with.
“This is weird.” Johnny cringed.
“Well, those diamonds…”
“Wait a minute. You were one of the bikers that stole them?”
Johnny held his hands up. “Nothing personal. I was working for some greaseball f*ck. Not much choice there.”
Luis shrugged. “Hey bro, I don’t care. That was years ago. I worked for people I didn’t like. And don’t worry about the guy you killed, he was a prick.”
Johnny laughed at that, but he was still on edge. “Just like that? No hard feelings? If things were the other way around, I’d have shot you by now.”
Luis shrugged. “Those diamonds came with all kinds of sh*t. We bought them on behalf of the mafia. Then you stole them. Ok that was not cool, bro, but then that deal at the museum. I had to get them back. I did.” Luis scoffed. “Then there was that business with Gracie,”
Luis shook his head. “Someone I know got kidnapped. They wanted the diamonds for them. That’s how they got lost.”
“Didn’t they turn up in the trash? Some bum got them or something?”
Luis shrugged. “Don’t really care what happened to them bro. Best left forgotten. It all worked out in the end, kind of.”
Niko and Rami pulled up and stepped out. They retrieved their weapons from the trunk and crossed the street.
“Not too many targets left now.” Rami thought out loud. “I wonder what the next step is…”
Niko shrugged. “Probably more targets. This isn’t the same as the other guy.”
“I think I prefer it then too.” Rami shrugged. “Natural progression though, Niko. Things change.”
Niko nodded as they reached the building. Rami took a breath. “Let’s do this.”
Johnny pointed them out. Luis nodded and pulled over, coming to a screechy stop. They retrieved their guns and ran across the road.
“Up!” Luis called out, seeing the elevator lights change. They ran for the stair well.
The elevator doors opened, revealing an expensive looking hallway. There was a massage parlor up here, run by the Triads. That’s where, they were told, the targets would be.
A pretty oriental woman stood at a podium, greeting the men with a smile and a nod. Rami brought his gun up and insisted the girl remained quiet. She nodded, her face petrified.
“sh*t!” Luis breathed, seeing Niko and the other guy walking into the spa.
“f*ck it.” Johnny brought up his gun and fired.
Niko had no idea what it was, but perhaps he was allergic to something. He sneezed, but, over the noise of the sneeze, came an unmistakable sound. Rami turned, a moment ahead of Niko. The bullet had missed Niko’s ducking head by no more than an inch or two.
Without a word, Rami returned fire.
Luis hid his annoyance at Johnny as they dashed for cover. He felt they could have snuck up on them, but…
The spa’s patrons were running around screaming. Some made a break for the exit, but that led them into the danger zone. Most simply dropped to the ground.
For the first minute there was a stand-off. Luis was taking cover in the stairwell, shooting through the doorway. Johnny had pressed himself up against a part of wall that protruded out from the elevators. Niko and Rami had more of an advantage, taking cover in the spa entranceway. But they also had a disadvantage: this place was run by Triads, and security would be tight. Rami realized this and turned his attention to the spa, where two men in expensive looking suits with pistols out appeared. Rami took aim at them, as their guns came up, and dropped them with to expertly guided shots. More screams followed as the bodies dropped.
Johnny kept looking for a chance to move forward. That’s what people tried in these situations, push forward. Niko and his partner were pinned down and vulnerable from the back. Luis noticed this also and wished he knew a way round.
Luis fired a few shots then withdrew into cover. He reloaded, facing the stairs, but then he heard something that stopped him cold. He strafed past the door and leant over the railing. A few floors below he saw shadows moving.
“Johnny?” Luis called out. “Could do with some help here.”
“Busy!” Johnny shouted back.
Niko heard the exchange, as did Rami. They nodded at each other and moved out from their position.
“sh*t!” Johnny coughed. He blind-fired from his cover and darted toward Luis’s position.
Niko and Rami recoiled and sidestepped for some cover. Niko took cover behind the other side of the same wall that Johnny had taken cover behind. Rami took cover behind a plant pot of all things.
Johnny reached the doorway as the mercenary duo returned fire.
Johnny exhaled heavily as he slammed his back into the wall next to Luis. He turned his head to see the men coming up the stairs. “Oh fff*ck
Luis didn’t say anything. He brought his gun up and fired.
Niko’s idea was good and Rami nodded approval to it. Rami then moved to better cover and took aim at the door. He saw through the door a Chinese man reach the top of the stairs. The Hispanic man – Rami made a mental note to find out who the hell he was – moved in like a boxer and punched the Chinese man in the face. He then pushed him aside with an elbow and the two men ran down the stairs. The Chinese man followed, as did Rami.
Niko had turned round and ran into the spa. He scanned the room through his sights and saw two more men. He went for cover – behind a raised platform on which massage beds stood, surrounded by bamboo partitions. Bullets tore through the screens, but Niko’s lower position had masses of wood protecting him from the bullets.
Niko heard the men’s footsteps on the wooden platform. He looked up, then brought his gun up and fired. One man went down, then another. The remaining two – who’d just appeared, seemingly out of nowhere – took cover also.
Luis and Johnny were running down stairs with the bullets coming from behind them. Rami was following them unrelentingly. He reloaded in thought-out intervals. The Chinese man was still hot on the men’s tails, and Rami was careful to be a little behind him. He kept an eye on him though. If he turned, Rami would drop him.
They reached the first floor and ran out into the lobby. Immediately they realized this was a mistake. Luis lagged slightly and with a hand on Johnny’s shoulder directed the biker past him, pushing him to the side, his gun hand pointing to cover and the men that had packed the lobby out. Luis moved for cover too, but timed it so their pursuing man appeared in time for Luis to fire. Three shots took him down.
Rami saw the man fall and instinctively leapt for cover by the doorway. He used his foot to drag the floored man’s gun closer to him, and picked it up. He held off on firing for the moment. The Chinese hadn’t noticed him hiding in the doorway, so he waited, not wanting to draw attention to himself.
Niko had now moved up to the top floor. This was where the offices were and also the heaviest concentration of gunmen – not just goons, but better skilled bodyguards.
Niko was no stranger to this kind of thing. He’d gone up against hoards of goons before, and had fought skilled men and won. The trick was to be patient. The dozens of men that Niko killed within seconds were the ones rushing, trying to get it done quickly. But a distant noise told Niko he didn’t have much time. The bodyguards had taken good positions but were protecting one area of the room more than any other – a private spa and lounge. It took a second for Niko to realize that the bodyguards were being cool, playing for time. Niko was going to make sure that they weren’t going to have
He fired, finding a large fish tank at the far side of the room. The glass cracked and a sprout of water shot out. The glass then split more, releasing torrent of water as the glass wall collapsed. A few of the bodyguards were swept off their feet by the force of the water, and a couple more was distracted. Niko took the latter down and moved to better cover – behind a glossy bar. Bullets assaulted his position, shattering bottles of alcohol as they missed their target.
Down in the lobby, the chaos was still going on. Luis and Johnny were shooting back at the Chinese, who had now begun to surround them. Rami watched on, waiting for his moment. His personal goal was to eliminate the two men. He actually had a small amount of professional respect for the two men, more so for the Hispanic guy. He was almost – almost
– sad to have to kill them, but that was this business. Nothing personal, amigo
He checked his gun.
Niko had noticed a large chandelier in the middle of the room. Strange, he thought, with all the Chinese decor, the chandelier looked out of place. He took aim and fired at the wire and cable that suspended it from the ceiling. It took five shots, with two missing, and three to sever the cables. The chandelier dropped and crashed into the wet floor. Contrary to Vinewood movies, the lights didn’t send a shockwave across the water and electrocute the bodyguards; the power supply had been severed. But the crash had distracted the bodyguards, and given Niko the chance to move. He got up and darted across the room, picking up a dropped MAC as he went. He fired with both guns, taking out four men as he ran across the room. They recovered quickly though, and Niko had to take cover again. But where the bodyguards were expecting him to keep his head down and wait for a break to return fire, he instead reached up with the Mac, firing blindly until the gun clicked empty. The barrage of bullets, while brief, was sufficient to force a break of gunfire from the bodyguards. Niko then popped up, having taken a deep breath and – using a technique Rami had taught him – let half of it out. He fired a single shot at the first bodyguard he saw, taking that half second to become aware of where the other targets where. He fired a second shot at a second target, then a third at the third. He leapt up and slid over the bar, feeling a slight jolt in his lower back, but carried on firing. He fired nine shots and took down seven targets. He bent down and picked up another dropped gun, shaking the water off of it, and fired at the remaining two bodyguards. He then ran upstairs, reloading his own pistol.
Rami reached out, having seen Luis and Johnny take down most of the Triads. He was about to fire when a bullet struck his arm. He flinched, dropping his gun, having gotten off an unintentional shot. He fell back against the wall, but managed to scramble away from the doorway as more gunfire tried to track him down.
“F*ck this.” Luis breathed. “I’m outta here.”
Johnny didn’t want to flee, but he knew he’d be no help to anyone dead. He nodded and followed as Luis sprinted across the lobby.
Luis fired a few shots ahead of him with one gun, shattering a window as he ran. His second gun – one taken from a Triad he’d shot as they ran down the stairs – fired wildly at the gunmen.
Johnny, however, was slower than Luis. He fired but the Triads were shifting their focus to him as he bounded across the lobby.
Luis noticed this as he leapt through the window. He turned and fired back – suppressing fire they called it wasn’t it? Johnny reached the window and dove through, head first. He landed hard on the pavement, crying out as he did so. Luis helped him up and they ran into the road. They were halfway through stealing a car when the Triads followed onto the street.
Luis stomped on the gas as the bullets inevitably attacked the car. The windows spider-webbed and shattered, and the metal body protested with unnatural pangs
. In a screech of rubber, Luis guided the car round a corner. Suddenly the racket stopped and the car – apart from the engine noise – fell quiet. Johnny was breathing fast, holding his shoulder, which he’d jarred as he landed on the sidewalk.
” Luis breathed.
Johnny shook his head. “Karen aint gonna be happy.”
“F*ck her, bro. Anyway didn’t Niko and his friend follow us down the stairs?”
Johnny nodded. “You think the Triads took them down?”
“They shot someone
in the stairwell. Not gonna be their own guy is it?”
Johnny shrugged, which drew a wince from him. “F*ck.” He breathed.
Niko had reached the roof, and a helicopter was landing. The Triad leaders were staying low, by the last of the bodyguards as the helicopter touched down. The bodyguards guided them in.
Niko wasted no time. He fired, running across the roof. He took down two bodyguards who had their backs to him, and then two more who tried to return fire. Then the helicopter began to take off, unsteadily. Niko fired at the cockpit, trying to hit the pilot. He emptied and entire clip then saw one of the bodyguards had dropped an MP5. He grabbed it and fired, careful to use the sights.
The bullets cracked the glass as they hit, but the reinforced glass stood up to them well. A few got through but none hit the pilot.
Niko changed tactics as the helicopter turned, the pilot no longer visible. He instead attacked the rear.
The pilot couldn’t do anything once the tail rotor went offline. There wasn’t even time to give a warning to his passengers. He tried to ease off the power and set the helicopter down.
Niko stopped shooting, seeing the helicopter spin ferociously out of control. He saw, from the rear, a body being flung out like a catapult, the centrifugal force launching the doomed man into the air, and across the street toward a two thousand foot drop. Another man was thrown out, but he caught something and hung on. Seconds later though, he fell, landing on his back on the roof. He bounced and Niko knew he was dead too.
The helicopter pilots attempt to land was fatal. The aircraft, spinning like a Dreidel, arched up slightly, then round and careered toward the roof. Niko swore, dropped his gun and ran in the only direction he could.
The helicopter crashed into the rooftop with an ear piercing screech of twisted metal and the thumping of the rotors. Everything shook and Niko could feel the downwash on his back. He reached the side of the helipad and jumped, grabbing onto the mesh that surrounded the platform.
The helicopter didn’t explode – another Vinewood special effect. Instead it just dug into the helipad, the rear end spinning up and round. Niko looked up, his legs dangling over the fatal abyss, and saw the aircraft move like a drill bit, trying to bury itself into the building.
The rotors snapped, flying off in all directions. Niko had to duck, lowering himself and almost fell to his death as a section of rotor flew toward him. He turned his head to see it collide with a building, shattering glass like a pebble dropped into water. The helicopter then stopped spinning and smashed onto the helipad.
Then everything was quiet.
Rami felt the building shake as he moved into the lobby. The Triads had moved onto the street, and he retreated back upstairs. “What the hell did you just do, Niko?”
Niko managed to pull himself up and move across the rooftop. The helicopter was almost unrecognizable, and the wreckage smelt unmistakably of aviation fuel. He ran toward the door and quickly searched the bodyguards. It took three bodies for him to find what he was looking for. He tore of one of the deceased’s neckties, and laid it out beside the wreckage, one end in the puddle of fuel. He then lit the other. After five seconds the tie began to burn. He then ran.
Rami was halfway up the stairs when, again, the building shook, more violently this time. He fell backwards, down the bottom two steps. He was glad he wasn’t half way up the flight.
“What the hell’s going on up there?” He shouted out of exasperation.
The two rendezvoused back by the spa.
“Lobby’s a no go.” Rami said. “Crawling with Triads.”
“There has to be a back door.”
Rami nodded. “Elevator, they know I was in the stairwell.” Rami slapped the call
“What the f*ck did you do anyway?” He asked. The doors opened.
Niko shrugged. “Crashed a helicopter.”
“No. I blew it up to make sure.”
Rami’s eyes went wide then he laughed. “Let’s just get out of here.”Click Here to read the next chapter - Babylon! This post has been edited by Mokrie Dela on Thursday, Aug 9 2012, 23:10
Posted: Thursday, Aug 9 2012, 23:08
Joined: May 1, 2009
|QUOTE (billy james @ Wednesday, Aug 8 2012, 06:02)|
| By the sound of the next chapter it might have Little Jacob and Badman |
Let's find out!Chapter Fourteen – Babylon!
“You weren’t supposed to shoot them.” Karen tried in vain to hide her frustration.
Luis held his hands out, “They got the jump on us. When the Chinese started shooting at us what were we supposed to do? Roll over and die?”
Karen sighed and shook her head. “Alright fine. I was hoping we could stop something
, delay their plans or… I don’t know, something. Now?” She shrugged. After a brief pause she spoke again. “To hell with it. There’s a warehouse out in Alderney that we used to use to store things – confiscated cars, retrieved weapons, that kind of thing. It’s a long shot but go and check it out.”
“What for?” Johnny asked then, seeing Karen’s frown: “What are we looking for?”
“Anything out of the ordinary. Something that points to something, a lead… get me something.”
Niko’s day started like any other. He’d switched on the TV and caught the news. Unsurprisingly, their recent assignments were the hot topic. Niko sat, sipping his coffee, his eyes fixed on the screen, his mind wondering. Russians, Italians, Triads – these were major crime syndicates. The North Holland Hustlers, the Spanish Lords, while hardly benign, were not that
big. What was next?
Niko set his cup down and stared beyond the TV. Was it an oversight, or were they saving that one till last? Had Niko been left out of it due to his affiliation? Was Rami there right now?
Niko stood, shaking his head. He reached out for his phone and dialed.
“We need to talk.” He said matter-of-factly before offering the location. “Yes. Now. Ok, I’ll be there soon.”
Half an hour later Niko pulled over and began walking across the Broker Bridge.
“Wha’ gwan, Bredda.” Jacob was standing in the agreed place, dressed in a coat and hat.
“Hey Jacob.” The two men shook hands.
“So what’s going on Rasta? What’s all this spook sh*t?”
“Traffic noise, interferes with any microphones.”
“Just being careful.” Niko allowed himself to look around for any tails. He saw none. The bridge was a surveillance nightmare.
“So what is it, Niko?”
Niko took a breath. Then he began.
The warehouse was like any other. A rolling garage door faced a small forecourt/driveway, and a normal door stood on the side of the building. There were few windows.
“You think we’ll have company?” Johnny asked.
Luis shrugged. “I dunno bro. What are we even looking for?”
It was Johnny’s turn to shrug. “Your guess is as good as mine. Guns? I don’t know.”
“Everything here is confiscated, right?” Johnny nodded. “Confiscated from who, bro? Street gangs?”
“Terrorist I think. If these guys were who Karen said…”
“Well this new guy’s changed sh*t around hasn’t he? They used to be a secret anti terrorist agency or something. Now what are they?”
“What you talking about bro?”
“Anything confiscated recently. New items. I don’t know. Let’s just get in there, yeah?”
Both men stepped out of the car, clicking the safeties off of their submachine guns. They moved to the door to the side of the building. Luis tried the door, but it was locked. He shrugged and kicked it open.
“Some security.” Johnny observed. No obvious alarms went off. He even checked the door frame, seeing no evidence of an alarm.
“Keep your head up bro.” Luis said. “If they got anything here, no way will there not be an alarm, or some guards.”
The two men moved through a hallway to some steps. These led them to an office – a dark and abandoned room. Two desks sat covered in a light film of dust, beside a trio of filing cabinets.
“What’s the betting they’re empty?” Johnny said, pointing.
Luis shrugged. “No one’s been here for a while, bro.”
“This place abandoned?”
“No.” Luis was staring through a dirty window that looked out over the warehouse floor. “There’s some boxes, shelves… sh*t’s down there.”
“See any people?”
Luis shook his head. “Going down?”
“Ras…” Jacob breathed. They spoke only loud enough for the other man to hear, and they stood close.
“If you think about it, Jacob, who do you think could be next?”
“Bumbaclot! The Rastas!” Niko nodded. “I an’ I gonna have to warn Badman and the others.”
“Might be an idea. Has anything strange happened with your guys recently?”
Jacob shook his head. “No, Niko, nuttin’. The usual – getting some trouble from some bush-weed selling dealers and these wannabe rasta kids, but nuttin’ new.”
“No violence with any other gangs?”
“Ok. Get your men to keep their heads down. Perhaps they’ve overlooked you.”
“Why yo’ workin’ for dese bloodclots, Niko?”
“It’s a job, Jacob. You’re not going to argue morality here are you? Neither of us are upstanding pillars of the community.”
“Aye, Niko, that’s true, but I an’ I gotta watch the out fo’ the Rastas, guard against Babylon, seen?”
Niko nodded. “I get it, Jacob. For what it’s worth, if we get any job against your lot, I’ll warn you.”
“Irie, Star. But would you still do it?”
Niko shook his head. “I’d find a way out… But they’d send someone else.”
Jacob merely nodded. “’Ere Niko, we got yo’ back, sight? We bredrens?”
Niko nodded, taking Jacob’s offered hand. “I’ve got yours too, ok?”
“What’s this all about, Niko?” Jacob asked once they’d resumed their walk. “What’s the deal with the Babylon?”
“I don’t know,” Niko sighed. “He says he’s cleaning up the streets…”
“Bumbaclot Babylon! Yo’ don’ believe that rasclot do you?”
Niko shrugged again. “I don’t see the relevance. It’s what I do, and who’s going to complain about tearing the criminal organizations apart?”
“Now who’s arguing morals, Niko?”
“That’s the point, isn’t it?” Niko said. “There is no right or wrong.”
“No Niko, but there is Rastas and Babylon. You can’t sit in both camps. You can’t divide the soul from the heart.”
Niko nodded. “What you going to do?”
“Warn me breddas. We don’ go waking snakes anyway but keeping sh*t hushed might be an idea.”
“Yes, Jacob, I agree with that. Don’t rock the boat, no?”
“I got you, Star.”
Luis and Johnny’s little hunt wasn’t getting them anywhere. The warehouse had a few old cars – a couple of newer ones too – and some cheap black market weapons – old AK-47s, Tek-9s, pistols and shotguns. Johnny kept thinking about the lack of an alarm.
“It don’t seem right to me. A warehouse full of weapons and cars and no security?”
“Sometime sh*t goes your way, bro!” Luis called back. “Don’t complain. It’s about time we caught a break.”
“Why are you
Luis turned, about to call out when he saw Johnny nearing him. He lowered his voice. “Your brother crashed into my club. This fight was literally brought to my door, bro. I'm part of it, whether I like it or not.”
“But you’d rather not be?” Johnny carried on searching.
“I’d rather be working the club, getting the girls and waking up at noon.”
Johnny shrugged, turning to a box. “What’s this?”
Johnny turned and looked at the box on the floor. “That don’t look like street weapons.”
“Not with a shipping manifest.” Luis picked up the paper. “This sh*t was delivered here. Right here.”
Luis showed the paper to Johnny. There was something attached to it. “I think we’ve got what we came for…”
They had walked to the far end of the bridge and Jacob followed Niko down the steps. Jacob had called Badman, and two other men, and the Hillside Posse would now be on alert, and keeping their heads down. They couldn’t afford to run and hide though – Jacob had explained that; the newer Yardie gang would snap up their territory like a pack of hungry wolves, but they were making efforts to be less conspicuous.
“How’s Roman?” Jacob asked, their feet touching Algonquin ground.
“He’s good. Mister Family Man.”
“I an’ I aint seen him fo’ too long, Niko.”
“You miss him?” Jacob shrugged then nodded. “It’s not that long a drive. Could be a good day out for you – listen to some music on the way up there. Maybe even take the train.”
“Some Uncle Bradshaw and da ‘erb.” Jacob chuckled. “Would be nice to see the little one.”
“That’s the amazing thing. How much he’s changed. He’s a father. Even now, can you believe that?”
“Roman the ladies man?” Jacob laughed. “Roman, not chubby, not gambling, no girls?”
“Crazy isn’t it?”
“What about you, Niko? Where’s your storybook ending?”
Niko sighed. “I don’t think I have one. I thought after Darko things would be different. I thought it would change. That I can turn away from the past.”
“You can’t forget the past, Niko. Your past is tied with your soul. It’s what makes you who you are, you get me?”
“So it appears. Even now I think about it. Am I a broken man because of it?”
“Bones repair themselves, Rasta. The mind can do the same, if you allow it.”
“You saying I have to allow
myself to get over it?”
“No, Niko. You have to believe
you can – believe that you deserve it, sight?”
Niko nodded. “I wonder how things with Kate would have gone.”
“That be exactly what I mean, Niko.”
The man sat in the car, binoculars in hand and pointed out of the window – which had a slight tint applied to it. The binoculars were military spec too, with a matted finish to the metal/plastic. He didn’t leave anything to chance. Ever.
“Niko, Niko, Niko.” He said, shaking his head before catching himself. Well he was one to talk wasn’t he? The Jamaican posse was on the list, but those duties had been given to D’Amico and Greenhorn. The man that Niko was talking to had worked for their previous employer. It was the right decision, but soon Niko would find himself in a whole world of sh*t.
“Trade craft be damned.” He said, picking up his phone.
Niko ended the call – one that sounded casual enough, but had given him a critical piece of information. From down the road, Niko was watched and, as the Balkan turned and relayed the warning to ‘Little’ Jacob Hughes, the man nodded his approval. Both men continued their walk for a moment, acting as though nothing had happened, though one reached for his phone.
Jacob made the call, getting his men off the street quickly. In the last couple of years a small rival Jamaican gang had appeared and they constantly fought for territory. The Hillside Posse was just too strong for the new young Yardies – they hadn’t managed to make a name for themselves, so they were just referred to as Young Yardies, a term meant as an insult; they were kids.
In withdrawing from the streets – something that a few additional texts aided – the Young Yardies, hungry and over eager for dominance, would pounce on the turf. Despite their superior strength, the Hillside Posse would lose considerable territory, and getting it back would be unlikely. But Niko was Jacob’s friend – they’d been through a lot together – and Jacob trusted him. If Niko appeared on his doorstep with words of warning, he would not ignore them.
“I need to get back.” Jacob said. He’d gotten the train to Hove Beach and walked to the meet.
“My car’s not far from the bridge.” Niko turned, gesturing for his friend to follow. Niko instructed Jacob to keep his pace down – “Act like nothing’s happened.”
“But it has Niko. Bumbaclots coming for us.”
Was it a coincidence? Niko asked himself. Just plain luck that might well have saved his best friend’s gang? Or was the warning placed deliberately. No, he decided, that wouldn’t happen would it?
The men reached the stone steps and ascended to the bridge’s walkway. Once hidden from view they began to rush.
“These your men, Niko?” Jacob asked as they reached the walkway. The design of the bridge was such that the pedestrians crossing would be mostly hidden from anyone viewing a bridge, unless they were in a helicopter. Comforted by that fact, Niko began to jog.
“Yes,” Niko was slightly ahead of Jacob and had to turn his head to make his voice heard clearly.
“This not going to be a risk for you, taking me back there?”
“We’ll have to be clever, Jacob. We’ll drive most of the way but may have to make the rest on foot.”
“The thing I'm vexed about, Niko, is the Young Yardies.”
“What about them?” Niko couldn’t see how they could be a worry. “You’re the target of a campaign against street gangs, with the sole purpose of wiping you all off the face of the earth, and even with this threat of annihilation, you’re concerned about a little street gang?”
“It’s a knock on threat, Niko. We pull off the bredas from the street, and what’s that leave? Unguarded territory. The Young Yardies will jump on the chance to take it.”
“So?” Niko simply couldn’t see it. “I thought they were some small-time weak gang.”
“They are Niko, but if they take certain territories… even the Posse would struggle to get it back. By getting off the streets, we’ll be leaving it open for the Yardies to take.”
“Well maybe that’s a good thing.”
“How you figure that, Niko?”
Niko told him.
By the time they’d driven away from the warehouse, the two men had forgotten about the lack of security. The manifest was nothing more than a receipt of delivery – from somewhere to the warehouse, though the source address would likely be another warehouse or a false one. What was interesting was the letter paper clipped to it, printed out from an email client. It spoke of a meet, using spy-like language and avoided specifics – all except for the location of the meet. Coordinates were written on the page, and although it fit the style of the letter, in its covert nature, Johnny pointed out that they couldn’t ask for a more accurate location. Someone was trying to be clever and it had failed.
Their drive back was uneventful, and it gave them a chance to talk.
“I never said thank you.” Johnny said, turning the letter in his hand.
“For what, J?”
“For helping Michael.”
“I don’t think so… Anyway, thank you. You’ve jumped aboard this runaway train to help when you could have just stood back.”
“I couldn’t leave him to die, bro.”
“No, but you could have done the normal thing and call an ambulance.”
“They would have found him and killed him.”
“God knows they’re trying.”
“You worked with them?”
“One of them – he wasn’t working for them then though. We did a couple of deals together. Drugs, diam– well you know about that one don’t you?”
“Those things brought all kinds of trouble.” Luis shook his head. “It’s strange though, in this city, you have a lot of enemies. But there’s times where the enemies are just phantoms, men to be shot while you do your mission. But they’re not really your enemies are they bro?”
“You talking about me?”
“The diamonds were bought by my boss then – Gay Tony.”
“I’ve heard of him.” Johnny laughed. “Maybe Brian knew him.”
“Don’t matter. Business is business?”
“Exactly. You stole them – I can’t say I’ve never done the same and at the end of the day does it matter who it is? You’re still stealing something. How can one man complain about being done over if he does the same?”
“I think it’s different when you know the person.”
“But does not knowing them make it all ok?” Luis shook his head. “We didn’t know each other, and you stole from me. I should have – and would have – killed you, given the chance. Not being funny, bro, but I think I could take you.”
“Bring it on then.”
Luis laughed. “Seriously though, just because we didn’t know each other, and it being a long time ago, we let it go. But if we knew each other and that happened, we’d end up shooting each other.”
“That was who told me to get them.” Johnny shook his head. “Ashley, she… she gets in sh*t.”
“How did you know?”
“She gave me the abridged version of her life story when we were looking for you. She seems like a decent girl.”
“She was… she is, she… She just lost her way.”
“She seems clean now though.”
“So she says.”
Luis shrugged. “I’ve been around a lot of drugs, bro. I think she’s clean.”
Johnny shrugged then waved the sheets of paper. “What do we do with this?”
“Karen will know. I'm guessing though, if something’s happening at those coordinates, we’ll have to stop it, or something.”
“Where you think it is?”
“I hope it’s Vice City. Nice beaches, warm weather, hot girls.” Luis smiled.
“Bet it turns out to be some mountainous forest, in the snow.”
“f*ck that, bro.”
Jacob made a couple of calls in the car. Niko’s idea was inspired, but it was a bit of a stretch. Still….
“All sorted Niko… I hope it works.”
“I know these guys. I think it will.” Niko was driving fast. They’d reach their destination in minutes. For some reason police in this town didn’t do much about speeding. Perhaps they couldn’t be bothered. Perhaps, as Brucie and said once, it wasn’t worth their time. Niko didn’t know but he was grateful of the police department’s laziness.
They left the car in Schottler, parked by the train station and began to move north.
“Do what I say, when I say it.” Niko ordered, taking an immediate right down an alley toward Conoy Avenue. They paused at the eastern opening of the alley while Niko checked. Gunshots could be heard in the distance as a mini battle was fought.
“Who you think that is?” Jacob asked.
“Take a guess.” Nikos response was followed up with a wave and a command: “Come on.”
“I meant you think that’s my men?”
They reached the far side of the road and Niko replied. “No. Are they not all off the street?” Niko moved to the wall ahead of them and crouched, offering Jacob a leg-up.
“They should be.”
“Then no.” Niko pushed his hands up, helping his friend reach the top of the wall. Jacob laid flat on top and reached down, helping to pull Niko up as the Balkan’s feet scratched at the dirty wall.
They landed in the grounds of a warehouse. Despite living down the road from here, Jacob had no idea what the place was.
“But this is our turf, me breda. If it was you, wouldn’t you check the apartments?”
“If it was me,” Niko was looking around for threats. “I’d do it all covertly. Locate the leaders and take them out quietly.”
“Me and Badman.” Jacob breathed.
“Forget that. They won’t do that, they’re too direct.”
“So what now?”
“You need to be off the street. Keep your head down low, keep Badman cool.”
“Yeah, I got that Niko. Let’s go star.”
Niko nodded and led Jacob in a run toward the open lot to the north. They darted from cover to cover, trying their best to keep themselves hidden, not just from the street to the north, but also to the expressway to the south.
“Almost there.” Niko said, ushering Jacob behind the corner of The Bay Bar. He checked the road and, once the visible man disappeared from sight, waved for Jacob to follow him.
Niko’s gun was out now, and the firearm led the pair to the alleyway ahead of them. Niko pushed Jacob down the narrow gap and followed, guiding Jacob out the far end right next door to the Homebrew Café.
“Ya solid breda.” Jacob said inside, bumping fists with Niko. Two men, armed with submachine guns, were waiting for them and they too held their fists out for their fellow Rasta. “Ya do right by me, seen? If your idea’s worked, we got yo’ back yo’ ever get sh*t wit’ any bloodclots.”
“No worries, Jacob. You need me to stick around?”
“Nah, we got dis, Niko. Get yo’self away from those men’s eyes.”
Niko then back tracked his route, picking his way to the train station, once again avoiding confrontation. By the time he boarded the train he could see police Patriots on the streets. It was over, and he hoped the men that were being culled were not those of Jacob’s.Click Here to read the next chapter - Finding the Mole This post has been edited by Mokrie Dela on Tuesday, Aug 14 2012, 10:05
Posted: Tuesday, Aug 14 2012, 10:03
Joined: May 1, 2009
| Chapter Fifteen – Finding The Mole
“He’s holding a meeting – one he referred to as ‘critical’.” Karen was all business. She’d looked through the papers they’d picked up in the warehouse and had evidently found something, something that she’d evidently been able to confirm at the office. “Apparently this meeting is integral to his plans. He’s buying some information from an LTA official. Something about airport security at Francis.”
“He’s planning to take out a plane or something?” Luis asked. “Seems a bit of a long way round.”
“What would you do then?” Karen asked.
“Drive in, use satchel charges, and get the hell out quickly.”
“And have LTA security, LCPD, N.O.O.S.E and FIB on your case? You’d be dead or arrested before you reach the expressway.”
“You think?” Luis flashed a wink. “Yet they didn’t get me.”
“What the hell is going on?” Karen asked.
Johnny held up his hand. “I'm guessing Luis blew up a plane… I think I read about something like that.”
“What’s funny about that?”
“Nothing – except I did a job at the airport for… someone. I got out ok. Security there leaves a lot to be desired.”
“So he’s not planning to take down some planes then?” Karen asked. “Seeing as you two are experts on this…”
“There’s easier ways.” Johnny said. “Surface to Air missiles, from the middle of the sea… or a tall building….”
“So what do you think he’s doing then?”
Johnny shrugged. “I guess we’d better find out.”
Karen nodded. “Go to this meeting and watch it. I wish we had the tools to eavesdrop on it, but watch out for the exchange of information. Then follow it, and retrieve it. Lethal force if needs be – if this meeting is as important as my boss says, then it’s worth it. Get that information, through whatever means necessary.”
Niko and Rami were the better operators. In truth, Greenhorn and D’Amico’s failures had begun to piss their boss off. As a result of which, Niko and Rami took the recovery roles. The ogre and the mad scientist – a nickname Greenhorn used for D’Amico – were the bait. Niko knew the danger involved for them, as did Rami, and both wondered If the ‘failures’ were being offered as a sacrifice, so to speak.
Positioning was everything. The meeting was held in a small park – Niko found the location darkly amusing; it was the spot where he assassinated Patrick McReary’s brother. Some friend you are,
he reminded himself.
Niko and Rami were there early. Their role was to watch the area for the inevitable guests. They’d also agreed upon a few likely spots, and they kept an eye on them.
“I’ve got someone.” Niko said, utilizing the Bluetooth headset he’d hidden under his beanie hat. It was a cold day, and they both wore coats and gloves and hats. “Looks like our Hispanic man… I know him from somewhere…”
“I don’t want to know about the men you pick up in bars on Saturday nights, Niko.” Rami had his eye on another potential. “I’ve got someone too. Looks like Klebitz.”
“We probably should find out who this man is.” Niko said, watching the Hispanic man move into position. “But he’s moving right where we want him. Looks like the roof.” Funny, Niko thought, that the man was heading to a similar position that Niko had used for his assassination. “Where’s your man?”
“Staying in the street. A decent move on his part, though executed poorly.”
“You stay on him, I’ll take señor
Greenhorn and D’Amico knew of the risks, though they were confident – perhaps even arrogant – that two amateurs wouldn’t be able to trump them. Their boss had arranged a mercenary to play the role of the LTA official, and the information – a manila envelope – was passed over. D’Amico handed the man his payment – the only real part of this. The information was, of course, fake. Most of it made up. D’Amico handed the information – in a slightly flamboyant manner – to Greenhorn, who then began to walk off.
Luis moved first, following the envelope. Niko then followed Luis, with much more skill. Rami kept an eye on Johnny, who’d follow D’Amico – who in turn was following Greenhorn as backup.
“We have to be careful here.” Rami muttered into his mic.
“Yes.” Niko agreed. “It’s like some kind of convoy. Let’s keep spread out.”
Niko was impressed. He’d expected the Hispanic to grab the envelope – maybe by shooting Greenhorn, not that he cared much about that – and runn away. Instead. He’d simply brushed up against Greenhorn, and snatched the folder from his hand, timing it well enough that a group of teenage footballers, laughing in celebration of some victory, confused things.
Greenhorn didn’t react. His face was twisted as his pride was bruised, but he didn’t do anything. D’Amico had a hand on his gun, his only goal to protect his partner. Even more impressive was the fact that the man merely walked off, slipping past the footballers and down into the subway. Niko followed.
Luis didn’t like the subway. Too dirty. But he’d had no choice here. He got lucky with the footballers, but was ready to run. He’d go to the next stop then jack a car…
Niko watched from the traveling crowd as his target stepped on to the train. He then got on too, on the next carriage.
Once the train stopped, Niko stepped off, watching the next carriage. He wasn’t confident that the target would alight here, but he did, and again, Niko followed.
Luis was no expert. He looked over his shoulder a few times, trying to look natural, but assumed the train had been enough to remove him from the sight of anyone. He didn’t see Niko behind him, in the crowd, just another commuter.
Johnny had moved away from the men. No need to watch them now. As a result of which, Rami too broke pursuit. He stole a car and drove toward Niko’s position.
Niko too had to steal a car. He couldn’t wait for Rami. His target was now in traffic, sitting at a red light, right next to a police cruiser. Niko hoped he wasn’t waiting for the cops to move so he could speed off, not that the cops cared much about speeding in this city. Niko had experience stealing cars of course. Within seconds he was pulling onto the road as the lights turned green. He followed Luis.
“Two car lengths.” He reminded himself.
Luis didn’t think that he could have a tail. He drove in the false sense of security he’d fallen into at the subway station. He was cool, or so he thought.
Niko couldn’t believe how easy this was – but then not every job would be as chaotic and exciting as the last. Sometimes it was just as simple as this, and that’s exactly what it turned out to be. The car stopped at an apartment, and the man went inside. Niko parked on the opposite side of the street and hurried into the nearest apartment building. He reached the roof and, taking cover under an advertisement sign, looked across the road.
He blinked to clear his eyes. It wasn’t, was it? He then fished his phone out of his pocket, zooming in with the camera and taking a photo. He also took one with no zoom.
For a minute he just stood there, staring. If either one looked out of the window they’d see him, his face like that of a trout. It took his phone ringing to pull him out of it. He answered the call but still didn’t speak.
“Niko?” It was Rami. “What’s going on? Where are you? Why didn’t you answer?”
“Yeah, I just called you, it rang out.”
“I… Sorry. I’ve found our mole.”
“Yeah… You’re not going to believe who it is.” Niko had forgotten that Rami didn’t know who Michelle was. Neither man met with her during their employment at the United Liberty Paper Company. Niko was too shocked to realize that not only had he completed the mission, but he’d located her safe house.Click Here to read the next chapter - And The Winner Is... This post has been edited by Mokrie Dela on Thursday, Aug 16 2012, 20:56