Synopsis: --:With the most prominent members of the 3rd Street Saints causing havoc in the city of Steelport, things have grown quiet around the gang's hometown. Bereft of its local celebrities, Stillwater suffers from a temporary loss of action and publicity, and soon all major news networks depart for Steelport as well, leaving those few Saints holding down the fort without news-craving spectators and a national audience. That is not to say that everything is peaceful in Stillwater, however. As a matter of fact, the still waters of Stillwater are in for some serious upstir.:--
Disclaimer: --:So this is an introductory chapter for a fanfiction that I started. As always when I tried to write "just a short little piece" it got way longer than I expected. I have no idea how interested the crowd here is in such things, but I hope that at least a few people will give it a shot. Any sort of comment or reasonable criticism is appreciated, and since I am not a native speaker I am also open for any language remarks you might give me.
THE ROOM in the twelfth floor of one of Stillwater's more exclusive apartment buildings was dark, despite the bristling summer-sun frying the city outside. It was almost noon, but all shades were closed, all curtains drawn, and the sound-proved walls blocked off all sounds from the outside world, creating this little sanctuary outside time and space; a refuge of serenity and quiet bliss, unyielding, impenetrable and eternal...or so it seemed. But a silent countdown was slowly moving towards its end, destined to shatter the illustrious harmony like a frail piece of glass. A moment passed, followed by a second. Then it happened.
A long, agonized moan responded high-pitched noise of the alarm clock. Under a blanket of artificial fur a shadow reluctantly began to stir, pushing the blanket around while searching with a blind arm for the small button that promised an end to the pain-causing squeaking. Two times the palm missed and descended unto the wood of the nightstand, causing its possessor to erupt in a hoarse curse. Frustrated, the masculine silhouette surged up and finally silenced the device with an irritated slam. Satisfied for the moment, the figure slumped back unto the mattress. Beside him, two young woman began to move under the cover, one moving closer to him and cuddling herself against his muscular body. He could not help but sigh. He did not even know her name.
Despite the late hour, Duke felt tired and drained. Yesterday's party had been a tough one, which was not surprising given the occasion, and the soothing cosiness of his bed kept pulling at him with an undeniable allure that was in no way lessened by he presence of the two hotties cuddled against him. Yet, with his peace already disturbed and the meeting with the other street captains drawing closer, Duke loosened the girl's embrace and struggled out of bed. Clad only in his purple-black fleur-de-lys boxers, he yawned and stretched himself, before making his way to the bathroom.
Johnny's remembrance had been a been a depressing affair, despite all the beer, booze and drugs that had been handed around. It certainly would have helped if the Boss or Pierce had been there to say a few words, but all members of the top tier had been busy hosting the "real" remembrance in Steelport, and hunting down the bastards responsible for Gat's death. The remaining captains had done what they could, but it simply had not been the same. They had met at Johnny's house and then had drove to the cemetery, preparing his grave right next to that of his woman and holding a few speeches, before returning to the crib for the funeral party - Saints Style.
With a flip of the light switch, the white designer bathroom came to life, and Duke began to go through his morning routine. While brushing his teeth he looked at himself in the mirror. He was pleased with himself. His face was lean and yet encompassed sufficient striking features to be perceived as attractive by the other sex; his long brown ponytail, fitting the color of his eyes, in combination with his immaculately maintained stubble beard and slightly tanned skin provided him with what the considered a carefree, masculine look; and the revolver-themed tattoos covering his body gave him the final, daunting touch that he desired. He allowed himself to debauch in his vanity for a few more moments, then stepped into the shower.
* * *
ABOUT AN HOUR LATER, Duke was on his way towards Bavogian Plaza, whipping his orange Bootlegger down the highway. Today he had decided to display the Saints' colors as much as he could reconcile with his conscience, donning a white shirt with hitched up sleeves and wearing his wide brown jeans so low as to proudly reveal his saintly undergarments. His trademark item, the cowboy hat was lying beside him on the passenger seat. From time to time his hands, partly hidden under black fingerless gloves, came up to readjust the aviator sunglasses resting on his nose. From the corner of his eye he glanced at the time. He smiled as he realized he would be late. Tazz would be pissed.
He had just left the highway, when his cellphone started to ring inside his pocket. Speaking of the devil, he muttered, his hand darting into his pocket to produce the device. He let it ring one more time, then answered it.
"I am almost there."
"Where the...I told you to stop doing that!" raged Tazz's voice on the other end of the phone. He was already pretty worked up. Duke could tell by the prominence of his Hispanic accent. It always became more prominent when Tazz got angry. Had to be some brain thing, Duke figured.
"Doing what?" he asked innocently, pulling hard at the stirring wheel to rush past another car.
"Don't play dumb with me you sick ****! Answering my questions before I ask them. You were supposed to be here ten minutes ago."
"Sorry, chief. Traffic."
"Sure," Tazz replied, clearly not believing a word he heard. "Hurry up, will ya? **** got serious again."
"Johnny's remembrance in Steelport was blown to pieces."
"Holy ****. Is everyone okay?"
"The Boss, Pierce and Shaundi made it, but we lost some got people."
"Jesus. So what do we do?"
"That's what we are about to discuss, so get your lazy ass over here."
"You got it."
The phone went silent and Duke tossed it onto the passenger seat. Scanning the street in front of him and grabbing the wheel tightly, he hit the nitro-button.
As he arrived at Bavogian Plaza, Duke could not help but wonder how much the Purgatory had grown recently. Strictly speaking, it now encompassed the entire block. The old mission house was gone, and instead a new ten story building - the new entrance to the official part of the Purgatory, rose into the air. The establishment had quickly expanded after the Saints' fusion with Ultor, and had swallowed the surrounding enterprises. Club Kai had fused with the Purgatory, as had the peepshow. The apartment buildings and Dragon Inn went up in the Saints' Rest luxury hotel, and a completely new clothing store plus a parking block for the guests had taken over the rest of what the locals now only referred to as either Planet Saints, or the Fortress of Sainthood.
Duke drove up to the guarded gate, which opened for him without even forcing him so much as to slow down. He waved at the security guard and smiled into one of the many cameras - courtesy of Ultor - before parking his car and heading to the secluded "emergency elevator" set into the Purgatory's back. Carefully putting on his hat, the tipped in the code and the doors opened. Pleasant, yet flashy music welcomed him and Duke stepped in. A few seconds later, he was on his way down.
When the doors opened again, Duke found himself in the humming center of the 3rd Street Saints. At least the center of everything that was not handled by sleazy Ultor executives, he added in his mind. He strode down the long hallway, once again admiring how the Saints had turned this shithole into a cathedral of cutting edge style and taste. He did not even mind the purple any more. All signs of the squatters prior occupation were long gone. The floors were covered with soft carpets or tiles of white marble, the balustrade, walls and columns refurbished, now hosting stainlessly flat surfaces perfect edges, and delicate structures and carvings. The entire, mostly white interior, with all the sofas, the bar and stripper poles, were hued purple by the countless LEDs illuminating the place, providing the Purgatory with a soft, sensual and yet mysterious atmosphere. The loud hip hop music, featuring an upbeat rap and constant clapping and cheering of sweet female voices bounced off the walls of the Saints' crib.
Duke took the stairs down to the main level and then headed towards the conference room, nodding and smiling at familiar faces as they passed. The more seasoned members returned the smile, many shook hands with Duke, others hugged him, though this was something he allowed only certain ladies among the Saints. The freshly canonized crewmembers, on the other hand, just nodded at the passing Southerner, starring at him like he was some intimidating, unapproachable authority figure. The thought made him chuckle every single time he had it, but he could not blame the rookies for seeing and treating him this way. After all, he was one of the street captains.
Every one of the three lieutenants answering to the boss had in turn three captains organizing the crews and handling their affairs whenever it was required. It had been a sensible addition to the gang's hierarchy, since each of the lieutenants these days effectively was responsible for an area that had previously kept an entire gang busy. Secondly, Legal Lee had proposed this change to add another layer of buffering between the leading figures and the streets. Of course, this was of little use when the Boss, Gat and Shaundi always insisted on running operations and heists personally. Still, the concept had stuck.
Of those nine captains, only five were currently present in Stillwater. Tazz was currently in charge, since Pierce had been the last lieutenant to depart for Steelport, taking his other two captains with him and entrusting Tazz to hold the operations in Stillwater together in his absence. Naturally, every single one of Shaundi's and Johnny's captains had been eager to go as well, but Pierce had only taken one from each camp. He had not said why, but Duke could imagine easily enough. They all had heard about Shaundi being very emotional about Johnny's death, and clearly Pierce and the Boss did not want to provide her with the necessary manpower to go all solo in seeking her revenge. Similar reasons held true for Johnny's own captains, so only Vivica and Terrell had made the flight; the first probably to try calming Shaundi down, and the second because he was the only one among Gat's captains they trusted to control his temper.
Aside from Tazz, that left the Saints of Stillwater with Sisco, Felica, Random and Duke himself. Sisco and Felica were Johnny's disciples. Random was with Shaundi, and so was Duke, although it rarely felt like that these days. Once they had gotten along pretty well, but Shaundi had changed. At first she had just stopped her drug and drinking orgies, and while this had not made her more fun to be around, it had been something everybody could easily respect and get along with. But then she became colder, more tense, serious and aloof. She forgot how to relax and have fun, to a point where Duke was tempted to say that she had turned into a totally different person.
Maybe the wealth and fame got to her, Duke speculated. Maybe she being part of the Saints awakened an ambition in her that had turned her into a stone-cold bitch. Duke did not know, and frankly, he did not care what the ****ing reason was, but he sure as hell cared about the result, and the newly crowned "rage-queen's" behavior was seriously starting to piss him off. Having her gone for a while was actually kind of soothing.
The conference room was a large, rectangular room, dominated by an enormous oak desk, big enough fifteen executive chairs arranged around it. At the bottom end of the table, a flatscreen TV was essentially covering the entire wall. Tazz, Felicia and Sisco were already waiting for him. One person short of what Duke had expected. He strode to his chair, sitting down and swinging his feet unto the table in one fluent motion, his head cushioned on his folded hands as he leaned back. He nodded towards one of the empty chairs.
"What's with Random? Am I not the only straggler today? How refreshing."
Tazz, sitting at the head of the table, glared at Duke and tugged at his long, fiendish goatee. With his undercut skater-boy hairstyle and fashionable clothing, he would not have stood out in most crowds if it was not for his lilac colored hair and his prison tattoos. But one look into his strikingly blue eyes was enough to tell anybody worth his salt that this was not a person you should be messing with. Duke did it anyway. Sometimes he wondered whether that said anything about him.
"Don't worry," Tazz replied. "This won't become a habit. Random is not running late - but is looking into some stuff for me with a couple of men. Your position as the irresponsible clown is still unchallenged."
"So glad to hear that." Duke pulled down his sunglasses a couple of inches. His expression became more serious. "So, how could this stuff in Steelport happen? I thought big Boss had just cut off the Syndicate's bloody head?"
"He did, but this Syndicate apparently is a tough bunch. One of the Belgian's lieutenants, some goon called Killbane, simply took over. Took down a whole bridge when the took his shot at Johnny's remembrance, threw around RPG rockets like they were candy."
"Killbane? Eddie "Killbane" Pryor?"
"You know him?"
"Geeze, Tazz. Don't you ever watch TV? Killbane is arguably the biggest name in the wrestling industry ever! They call him "The Walking Apocalypse", and judging from what that guy does to other people inside that ring, I think it fits him very well."
"Sounds like he already has a fanboy within the Saints."
"Oh come on!" Duke complained. "He does some pretty great entertainment when he's on. A man is allowed to enjoy some reckless violence every once in a while, isn't he?"
Tazz folded his hands on the table and sighed. "I guess so."
"So what now? Are we finally going over there to get a part of the action?"
"No, we are not."
"What!?" blurted Duke. "Why the **** not?"
"I just got off the phone with Pierce. He said they can handle it. Our orders remain the same. We are to stay where we are and keep on doing business as usual."
Duke shook his head. "What a load of crap."
"You said it," agreed Sisco. raising his high voice for the first time, "We should be there. I can't stand sitting around like this for one more damn minute."
Duke's gaze shifted to the dark skinned captain, with his huge black Mohawk, the brick jaw , and his prominent, lean muscles. The tension and grief was written all over his usually so friendly face. Sisco was a straight-shooter, and pleasant company regardless whether one was at a diner-party or in the middle of some serious meat-grinding. Duke had always liked the guy, although the colorful Hawaiian shirts he continued to wear looked outright awful when combined with the gang colors. Nevertheless, seeing Sisco like this made Duke feel sorry for him.
"Maybe we should be there," Tazz answered calmly. "But it is not our call. When the Boss things he can take care of it, then he can take care of it."
"You don't need to tell me!" snapped Sisco, slamming his fist unto the table. "I know that, but it does not change the fact that this decision still sucks."
Everyone at the table could nod at that, and they fell silent for a while. Eventually Tazz got up and moved towards the bottom end of the table, activating the massive TV via remote. The screen jumped to life, showing a map of Stillwater.
"Okay, fellows. Let's get down to business." He took position adjacent to the map and pointed at Mission Beach, the location of the Saints Ultor Media Group's headquarters.
"The majority of our official accounts are still fried. The people at Ultor are working as fast as they can to unjam our money, but these Syndicate pricks have dug in deep. It will take some time before the corp will be up and running again. Therefore, all media projects aside from "Gangsters in Space" are put on hold."
Duke groaned. The others laughed. They all knew duke had hoped to start of with his own TV-series soon. The working title was "Tex Plosion", meant to feature some kind of dashing space cowboy, with lots of love interests, fights with the law and - well - explosions. The role was the perfect fit for Duke, most likely because it was specifically designed to fit him. He had worked hard over the past month to produce enough public interest in his person so that the series would be approved, which had not been easy regarding the fact that the media had never taken the same interest in the lower tiers of the Saints as it became obsessed with the gang's leadership. Duke would have been the first of the captains to get his own show. Now all those ambitions were laid to rest, at least for the time being. Life could be such a bitch.
In truth, Duke did not really care that much. The whole TV-series stunt was merely something he had tried to keep himself busy with. Still, he allowed his friends this small joke at his expense. He was not inhuman, after all.
The meeting continued for than an hour. Tazz provided news from the former Brotherhood territory, about the docks, the Saints' smuggling operations and gun running, before he finally sat down and passed over to Sisco. He, in turn, briefed the gathered captains on the recent developments in the gambling and prostitution business that the Saints had reconquered mostly from the Ronin. Last came the Sons of Samedi territory, which was Shaundi's, and therefor Duke's responsibility. He had very much preferred if Random had done this chore in his place, but seeing that Random was out on some special assignment, he had no choice but to comply. He knew the numbers as well as anybody, though, and reported with some pride that the drug business had never been better. "Incense", as the Saints had renamed the Sons' Loa Dust due to marketing reasons, was still bringing in major profits, alongside other, less popular substances that the Saints distributed as part of a deal with the Colombians.
With that the meeting should have been terminated, at least as far as Duke was concerned. For reasons that Duke could not yet fathom, though, Tazz pointed towards Felicia and the blonde got up and moved to the screen. Involuntarily, but also without much actual resistance, Duke found his eyes wandering down to Felicia's swinging hips.
She truly was a vision, he thought, although he never would have told her that. It was not necessary - she knew it only all too well. Her long blond hair was tamed by a ponytail, with two short strands hanging loosely unto her forehead, giving her a young and innocent look, especially when he played and wrapped them around her finger. Her face was delicate and almost angelic, with high cheekbones and full lips that shone with rose-colored lip gloss. She wore a purple belly top and white-purple striped sleeves that ran almost up to her shoulders over black leather gloves. Her legs were covered with a pair of sexy cowgirl pants that were so popular with strippers and erotic dancers. They were made from black leather, and featured a long belt with several buckles and a holster that always contained a golden 44. Shepherd. Her most private parts were hidden by behind tight purple jeans panties. High-heeled leather boots, two prominent fleur-de-lys earrings and a thick black choker around her neck completed her controversial appearance.
Sadly, as beautiful as this woman was, as numerous were her 'unusual' characteristics that could best be summarized by calling her bat **** crazy. There was a reason why Felicia had managed to become something like Johnny's disciple. The woman was a psychopath, and she and Johnny had always shared a passion for mayhem and violence. Her beauty was to her nothing more but another weapon she could use to satisfy this craving, among others.
It was her soothing, husky voice that pulled Duke out of his thoughts and back into reality.
"Tazz has asked me to be on the lookout for potential threads to our operations in the city. I found several. Most of them are nothing more than petty nuisances, like some of the labor unions or the recent news reports talking over the deterioration of some neighborhoods due to violent crimes and drug abuse. The police is still in our pocket, but we have a new district attorney who seems to think he can boost his career by taking us on."
"I already pity the poor fellow," Sisco remarked dryly.
Felicia grinned, her blue eyes ablaze with anticipation.
"I rather look forward to meeting him. As I said, those are only the small fishes, but if unattended they could get out of hand. Our true problem, however, lies elsewhere."
She pointed towards the northwest of the map, towards New Hennequet and Quinbecca. Both districts were former Ronin territory, and were mostly made up of suburb housing with a few shops thrown in here and there.
"You all know we do not appreciate anyone moving in on our turf, and therefore tolerate only the tiniest of gangs operating in Stillwater without interfering. We are still allied with the Triads in Chinatown and work with the Colombians to distribute their merchandize, but now it seems like we have a newcomer in our fair city. They are smart little bastards so far, keeping a low profile, without colors or identification marks. For a while we thought our problems in the area were caused by individual groups of local thugs, but the attacks on us are too well organized, executed and most of all frequent. Someone is hitting us from the shadows, without having the guts to meet us face to face yet."
"Are you sure about this?" asked Tazz once more tugging at his beard. "Maybe our men on the street have merely grown soft and sloppy?"
"Trust me, its more than that," Felicia stressed, crossing her arms and glaring at the men at the table. "If we wait too long, this will blow up right in our face. Who knows, maybe the same people are responsible for our two missing people down in Barrio."
Sisco rubbed his chin. "You think? If it had been a hit, we would have found their bodies by now, right? Otherwise killing them would have been meaningless."
"Who says they are dead?" Felicia snapped. "Maybe have been taken somewhere for interrogation. Maybe those little pricks are just getting started striking at us and want us to look the other way while they are having fun thinning our lines."
"Come on Fel, now you are just making stuff up."
Felicia was now looking daggers at Sisco, but if the Mohawk-wearer was in any way troubled by this, he gave no sign of it. On the contrary, a sly smile appeared on his lips and his eyes flashed a silent challenge at Felicia. The tension in the room grew together with the lasting silence, which was why Duke decided to step in.
"What our dear Felicia is probably saying is that we should be prepared for anything and keep an eye out for this."
Tazz, watching the scene with his mouth hanging slightly open and with a dumb expression on his face, abruptly turned to Duke, raising his hand and pistol-pointing to him in agreement.
"Right," he said, still a little dazed, before turning to Felicia. "You stay on this, you hear me? If anything solid comes up, or you need any help, you call anyone of us, and you get whatever support you need, I promise."
This reassurance seemed to appease the street amazon, and she moved again to sit down, this time however, she moved to the other side of the table, sitting demonstratively down next to Duke, giving him a superficial, dreamily glance. "Thanks, Duke, you are a doll."
Duke blinked at her sceptically, hands still folded behind his back, feet still on the table. One moment a bloody lioness, the next a tame little kitten. Duke could honesty say that he did not get that woman. But no matter whether lioness or kitten, when he saw Felicia smiling at him like this, he tended to feel like she regarded him more like a mouse than a doll. Not a terribly reassuring thought.
"Okay, guys. We're done for today," Tazz went on, causing Duke and Felicia to interrupt their little moment of intimacy. "But what I said to Felicia applies to all of us. Keep your eyes open. We have just been screwed, and I bet that somewhere out there some **** things that this is a perfect time to **** with us."
And so the meeting ended, and the captains saw each other off and then left the room to be about their business. Duke took his time and got up last, when the others were already gone. He stretched relishingly and strode out of the conference room, once more catching a nice look at Felicia's perfect ass. He smiled rascally.
Thanks Jikko! I appreciate you taking the time to get through it. When you have further comments about things you liked or didn't liked, just let me know. I suspect my habits when it comes to posting do not really fit well with forums. I am not good at writing short scenes, I always need bigger, closed sections before I feel comfortable posting it. The resulting text wall is then too long for many people's taste, I guess.
If anybody looks into this and has not read my story for other reasons, please feel free to tell me why. Maybe I learn something ;).
Eugene was bored. The inside of his car was dark, only illuminated by the soft glow of Wardill airport. They said that airports such as Wardill never truly slept, but at four in the morning Eugene was inclined to disagree. More than an hour had passed since he had seen any sign of movement. His head was pounding, and despite the growing pile of energy drinks on the passenger seat, he was close to dowsing off.
Languidly, he stared into the rearview mirror, his gaze roaming over the round faced Afro-american that he saw within the reflection. He was not pleased with what he saw. His big eyes looked weak and fearful, his full lips simple-minded and sad. The black hair that sprouted from his head in thick curls was cut in a short and unremarkable way, and the spotty beard added an immature and desperate element to his appearance.
Look at yourself, he thought grimly. You look ridiculous. Not like a gangster and certainly not like a Saint, no matter the color of the jacket you are wearing. At the same time, it was exactly that jacket that served as his greatest source of pride. He had been beaten and bruised that day, barely able to stand on his own to feet after somehow making it through the Saints' initiation ritual, when Miles had walked over to him and handed him the jacket. "Welcome to the 3rd Street Saints," he had said, passionless and empty, as if it was nothing special. To Miles it probably had not meant anything, but for Eugene this had been the best moment of his entire life. Never before had he felt such joy, such a feeling of purpose and achievement, and although he had tried not to, he had cried. The other Saints had pointed and laughed at him for that, but for the first time in his life, Eugene had not cared.
Big-E, they had grown to call him, but Eugene had no illusions about it referring to his toughness or importance rather than his chubbiness and body size. He knew that he was as small and insignificant as a Saint could be, but he was at least a part of the gang, of something big. To him, that meant the world.
He had volunteered for the job to keep an eye on the airport, taking pride in doing his part when everybody else thought it too degrading to bother. For three nights in a row now he sat huddled in his small rust-brown Ant and watched hour for hour how nothing of significance happened.
As the time passed, his headache was getting worse, and he decided to go for a walk, to clear his head and get some fresh air. Groaningly he opened the door and hauled his massive frame out of the unbefittingly small car. The night was quiet, save for the constant humming of the airport's ventilation systems and the buzzing of strained tube lights. Big-E strode over the parking lot, hands buried in his jacket pockets, a pair of binoculars hanging from his neck, his small gun tugged into the back of his wide jeans.
The fresh air did his bursting skull little good, but he still enjoyed being in the open for a change. His eyes roamed over the slumbering cityscape, gazing upon the desolate highway and the towering shadows of skyscrapers and apartment buildings in the distance. Somewhere among those, the real Saints were now either sleeping or still partying. The thought brought a weak smile to his lips.
"Don't worry, brothers," he slurred. "Big-E got this one."
On his way back, his bladder made itself noticeable. Silently cursing the energy drinks, the sad looking giant walked over to some trashcans nearby and pissed against the wall of some maintenance building. Even the drizzling sound of his own urine sounded soothing to him now, and in his exhausted daze he was so enthralled by it that he did neither saw nor heard the shadow that descended from the night sky unto the landing strip. Only when he zipped up, he heard the chirping sound of rubber tires hitting the ground.
Startled, Big-E rushed around the building, his weariness all but forgotten, his mind racing. Sweat ran into his thick brows. He had looked over the flight plans countless times. There was to flight scheduled to arrive now.
And yet, as the landing strip came into view, he saw the huge black hulk of the plane that had just landed. Chinese or Japanese letters were painted unto its side, and already ground personnel in overalls was swarming around it, watching as the cargo thatch slowly opened. Big-E cursed silently and waited.
From within the cargo hold came a long and echoing grumble as countless engines roared to life within a matter of seconds. A muffled voice bellowed something that Big-E could not understand, then the grumble swelled to a deafening and buzzing scream as pair upon pair of yellow-clad bikers darted out of the plane's belly and disappeared into the night.
Big-E watched the spectacle frozen with fear, eyes widened and mouth agape. This could not be happening, he told himself, his mind wandering on the brink of panic. Every fiber of his body wanted to run away, to instantly drop his colors and hide in the deepest hole he could find. Yet, despite himself, he somehow summoned the resolve to ignore his fear. The others must know, he thought grimly. Drawing strength from his devotion to his fellow Saints, Big-E's body began to tremble as he fought to overcome the fear that now struggled to hold him paralyzed. Finally, he turned.
The pressure of a blade being pressed against his throat stopped him dead in his tracks. Big-E gulped, waves of nausea washing over him, drowning his new-found courage instantly.
Before him stood a strikingly beautiful woman. Her slanted eyes and delicate features made her Asian decent undeniable. Silky black streaks of hair framed her face, with the rest being knotted and tied into two tight buns. She wore a kimono that hung invitingly loose around her shoulders, over a formfitting latex suit that stretched around every inch of her body below the neck, and whose shimmering blackness contrasted harshly with the bright yellow of her robe.
The geisha's ruby lips purred a few words in Japanese. Big-E did not understand a thing, but the soft, soothing tone in which the words were spoken nurtured the hope that he would somehow make it out of this alive. He wanted to believe this with all his heart, but then the geisha's eyes glinted with a cold and unforgiving spark, and in those eyes Big-E foresaw the fatal move. He tried to utter a "no", but the swift cut drowned his voice in his own blood, and all that came out was an ugly burble. He staggered back and collapsed, desperately trying to stem the tide with which his life was flowing from him, but his strength faded quickly, and his struggles ceased. As darkness engulfed him, Big-E sent a last delirious warning to his homies, a warning that would not be heard until it was too late. Even as his eyes went dead, the dreadful message remained written all over his distorted features...
Very well done. I noticed a few minor spelling errors in the first post, but they were easily overlooked due to the engrossing story. I like the use of original characters and think you developed them well. I hope you continue to post more of this and soon.
I love it. Time to toot my own horn, I'd like to give you critisicsm but I feel that my reading level is very high whereas my writing ability is incredibly low. So any mistakes that might have been there were overlooked as they did not stop the flow of my reading and I'm not seasoned enough writer to see where you could have added detail or it's not grammaticly correct or something along the lines of that.
The next morning, Duke sat at his favorite bar in Barrio, a joint going by the name of 'Cachonda'. It was close to 'On Track',right on the edge between Encanto and Ezpata. In the past he had often been criticized for favoring this place over others, but Duke had stuck with his decision. The 'Cachonda' maybe did not feature live music or karaoke like the 'El Hombre Bar' down the street, but the prizes were decent, the interior was cozy and bright, and most importantly its windowfront allowed to have a much better eye on the streets.
Technically speaking, neither Encanto nor Ezpata were of any business to Duke. They were both taken care of by Tazz's people, but due to an utter lack of watering holes and restaurants in the factory district, the crews that operated there often fell back on Barrio to hold their meetings.
Duke also came here in his free time as well. His aura healer happened to be just a couple of hundred meters away from the 'Cachonda'. All this spiritual stuff was not really his kind of thing, but this one girl he had dated somehow managed to get him hooked on this ****. Duke figured it was the way she had always moaned her pleas and advice into his ear after they had ****ed. He must had been in a very suggestible state of mind then. He had to handle it so the gal, as crazy and naive as she might have been in some aspects, she had known how to manipulate people. To this very day he could not stop worrying about his chakras and astral body and ****.
But today Duke was here on official Saints business. He was a couple of minutes early for a meeting with Zane, the factory's district handler, and passed the time with sipping at a glass of water, slowly emptying a bowl of cashew nuts and starring passively at the TV set into the bar-board.
Susan Wasp was on, the news reporter Felicia considered to be a potential threat. Duke was not sure he liked that thought. First of all, the woman was very attractive, in an upright, innocent kind of way. It proved a nice point about the different kind of beauties in existence, Duke thought. With her fawn brown hair and professional clothing, Wasp sure as hell was not some sex bomb or bed bunny, but she did emanate a sort of high-class beauty. She was a woman that a man could long for, rather than lust after, given that this distinction made any kind of sense at all. Secondly, her looks left aside, she also happened to be not that bad a reporter, which made listening to her actually kind of interesting and pleasant, despite the fact that every third or fourth sentence she uttered indirectly blamed the Saints for every existing problem the city had.
She was right on most accounts, as far as Duke could tell, but he felt no remorse. When it came to the ugly truth hiding behind the actions of men, he was something like a self-taught expert. Over the years, he had had ample opportunities to observe the world's true face, both in the dark corners of the streets and on distant battlefields. If there was one thing he had learned, then it was that civilization and morality were nothing but empty talk. People were like dogs, and morality was a self-imposed leash, worn proudly as long as it was convenient and kept alive by a network of lies, masks and pretense. The true rulers of the world though, were all wild dogs who had discarded their leashs to roam free. They still looked tame and docile when it suited them, soothing the masses of house dogs by looking like them, but in truth they were ravenous and merciless. These few strong preyed on the weak, and the house dogs were too damn stupid to even notice it. They only thing they feared were wolfs. They feared them because they did not fit in, because their ferocity was apparent for all to see, threatening to expose their view of the world as the conceited lie it was. Wolfs did not hide their true nature, and that was the only difference between them and the wild dogs.
Duke was such a wolf. He was not different from the investment banker, the politician or corporate media executive that paid for Susan Wasp's so called truth-seeking. They all took what they wanted, when they wanted it. Duke only undertook no effort to make the people believe differently. He was a predator, and all those little waggy-tail dogs better got out of his way.
Gritting his teeth, Duke lowered his gaze and took a deep breath, trying to quell the growing irritation in his guts. When that did not help, he switched to the next best thing. With a brief gesture he summoned the bartender and ordered a proper drink.
Zane arrived a couple of minutes later. He strode into the bar with his usual bouncy walk, his head swaying from side to side, his chin slightly raised. His face was angular, the narrow eyes set beneath thin brows. His short scruffy beard, while actually being well developed, still looked very patchy due to his bright blond hair. He wore a purple summer shirt over a white T-shirt, black cargo pants and worker boots. His head was covered by a black beanie with white stripes. Two leather wristbands accompanied the black flame tattoos on his forearms.
As Zane approached, Duke allowed himself a glance out of the windowfront. On the street, he could see two of Zane's crewman that had joined Duke's own entourage, watching out for their leader as well as his treasured Voxel convertible that was now parked next to Duke's Bootlegger. He smiled to himself. The two of them would never be ambushed completely unprotected in some club.
"Hey there, you old mongrel," Zane shouted boisterously as he walked towards the bar. Duke rose to meet him, and they exchanged a friendly greeting, slapping their hands and banging their shoulders together. Then they sat down, and Zane ordered a drink on his own.
"How is it going?"
Duke smiled. "I am thinking about getting a dog."
"A dog?" Zane asked, giving Duke a skeptical glance. "What on earth do you want a mother****ing dog for?"
"I don't know. The subject just happened to be on my mind a lot lately."
"Yeah...right. Whatever man, get a dog. I am not here to judge."
"No, you're not. You are here to talk about business," Duke stated with a hint of sharpness, starring at the TV and sipping at his rum. "So what's the problem?"
Zane did not answer right away. Without ostentation, he took a look around, scratching his left ear. Satisfied about the lack of curious eyes and ears, he moved in closer and lowered his voice. Duke found the gesture both commendable and ridiculous at the same time. The Saints practically ran this joint. Still, one could never be too careful.
"Remember when I told you that in order to increase our production rates, we would need to move, or at least expand our facilities to another location?"
Duke nodded. He did remember. Sort of, at least.
"Well, get this," Zane went on. "It just so happened that I found the perfect place for the new lab. It is a run down family house down at the old paper mill. Like I said, it's perfect! Secluded, inconspicuous and best of all adjacent to an abandoned flower shop with several battered but operable greenhouses."
"Sounds good. Where is the catch?"
Zane grinned wryly. "Well...about that. The place is not really unoccupied right now. Some stubborn old granny has barricaded herself in and simply refuses to move out."
"So what? You need me because you cannot take care of some senile woman by yourself?"
"That hurts, man. Of course I could clip the old hag, but I thought this would be a good opportunity to test a few of the altar boys. You know, see what they are made of, and since you told me you wanted to inspect the new troops..."
"You called me to come along, " said Duke, completing the sentence.
Zane nodded. Duke gave the idea some thought. It was about time he got to see the newcomers in action, but an old woman? He chose to voice his doubts.
"And you're sure this old woman will not make it too easy on the rookies?"
"Oh, definitely not! Seriously, you have not seen this dragon. She is like the mother of all granny nightmares. When it comes to her home, she is adamant. Probably has nothing else left in her life, you know what I'm saying? The rookies will not scare her that easily."
"All right, Z," Duke replied, slowly growing to like the idea. "This actually could be kind of fun. Let's watch the boyscouts help the elderly. But you drive."
Zane shrugged, and already reached for his keys. "Sure, but why?"
Duke drowned the rest of his drink, then reached for the bowl in front of him. He threw a hand full of nuts into his mouth and held the bowl tightly pressed against his body.
"I am too busy to," he simply said, still chewing.
Thank you Komatoze, I'll intend to. Johnny's funeral in Stillwater was no mistake. I simply thought that Johnny was such an important person for the Saints, that even those that were not in Steelport would feel the need to say goodbye. Therefore, there were too remembrances; one in Stillwater, and the one in Steelport and one in Stillwater. But by all means, stay sceptical and ask questions when they arise.
I understand where you were going with the two rememberances in each city. I was referring to the part where Tazz said "Johnny's remembrance in Steelport was blown to pieces." Killbane attacked the Saints in Stilwater on a newly built bridge dedicated to Richard Hughes. I could be reading it wrong though so if I am please let me know. Not trying to be critical of your story or anything bro.