*Romani – Mercenary Academy of the Middle East*
Lynch and Frank are busy slowly making their way up a large stairwell encapsulating all fifteen floors of the academy, their footsteps echoing throughout the empty stairwell. On the sixth floor already, Frank stops, breathing heavily.
Lynch: What the fuck are you waiting for? Christmas?
Frank [Panting]: So..tired…forgot…how many….stairs..
Lynch: Shut up and keep fucking moving. You should keep in shape, tubby!
Frank [Panting]: I ain’t tubby! Just….drinking.
Lynch simply cricks his neck, easily jogging up the stairs with minimal fuss as Frank tiredly trudges up them, his feet falling heavily on the black linoleum-covered stairs as he forces himself up. Within five minutes, Lynch reaches the fifteenth floor, stretching his legs and taking a deep breath of chemical-scented air.
Lynch: Smell that? Smells like military!
Frank [Groaning]: Murrrr..
Lynch leans over the wooden railing, looking down the stairwells and down at Franks head as he barely reaches the twelfth floor, his breath gasping loudly as he forces his legs to keep climbing. Lynch gives a shrill whistle, clapping loudly.
Lynch: MOVE IT, FUCKFACE!!
Frank [Wincing in pain]: LEGS HURT! LEGS HURT!
Lynch continues clapping, trying to urge Frank on. After five gruelling minutes, Frank pulls himself onto the fifteenth floor using his hands on the stairs, finally reaching the fifteenth floor and collapsing in a heap on the stairwell, breathing heavily. The twin wooden doors behind them open and Lynch turns around.
Lynch: Wow. You’re still here?
Lynch scans the middle-aged man, wearing nothing but a white t-shirt, jeans and sneakers, who appears to be visibly tired: His hair is fully grey, while his stubble is a salt-and-pepper color hanging around his chiselled jaw. His skin, from his face to his forearms, is pale and lacking color, while his eyes are baggy and listless. Despite this, he gives a small, lopsided smile. Frank looks up tiredly, jumping to his feet when he notices the figure.
Frank [Brightening up]: Holy fuck, Father Mercenary!
Father: Sup guys?
Father extends a hand, which Frank shakes eagerly and rapidly. Father laughs nervously, quickly pulling his hand away as Frank stares at him in awe.
Lynch: Hows things going?
Father: Real quiet. Sent some of our boys over to the Academy in Russia, other than that? Nothing to report.
Frank [Excitedly]: IS IT TRUE YOU TEABAGGED COLONEL GADDAFI?!?!
Father Mercenary chuckles quietly.
Father: Yes, that’s correct.
Frank [In awe]: Woooooooowwwwwwwwwww!!
Father: It’s quite the long story. It involves Apache gunships, a destroyed hospital and my balls.
Lynch: Never mind him, it’s like it’s a new experience for him.
Father: I understand. So, off to see Mother?
Lynch [Shrugging]: Sadly.
Father: Ah, you gotta love the old girl. She sits there in her office just waiting to give the order to kill someone..Well, good luck.
Frank [Ecstatically]: IS IT TRUE YOU PUNCHED OUT BIN LADEN BEFORE THE SEAL TEAMS ARRIVED?!?!
Father: Yes, that is true. It was us who tipped them off.
Lynch: Frank, stop fussing over him.
Frank: Lynch, this guys a fucking legend! No other man would dare work beside Mother aside from this guy! He was there when the Gekkous first arrived! He was the guy who first encountered the Beauty and the Beast Unit and even punched out Laughing Octopus! HE PUNCHED OUT LAUGHING OCTOPUS!
Father: Her laugh irritated me and she enjoyed skewering my men, so? It was in the Amazon: We were hot, tired and hungry, and she pops along. She was asking for it.
Frank: The guy even stood up to Ocelot by banning mancannons in the Middle East! He was the guy who was sent in to stop the uprising in Turkey, and succeeded simply by speaking to the mob and punching out the President!
Father: I punched a lot of people in my twenty years. What can I say?
Lynch: Father, I apologise, but we need to see Mother. It’s urgent, apparently.
Father: Of course, don’t let me keep you. I’ve got a night course to run with Charlie Companies Night Hawk Platoon: They want to do night-time special ops, so I figured they may as well train like it.
Lynch [Grinning]: Give ‘em hell.
Father: Wouldn’t have it any other way. Keep whipping ‘em, Marcus.
Father winks, sidling past Frank and Lynch and descending down the stairs. Lynch grabs Franks arm, pulling him through the double doors and into a long, straight coridoor with a white linoleum floor and wooden slatted walls, decorated with pictures of the various hard-nose straight-backed leaders who have once sat in the chair and commanded the mercenaries. As both men walk forward, the pictures grow larger, indicating the importance of the more recent leaders. At the end of the line of pictures, erected to the left of a bronze doorframe, is a picture of a frumpy, angry-looking woman, her eyes narrow and her face resembling a bulldogs in basic shape and in demeanour. Her attempts at a smile only serve to make her more sadistic, her chestnut hair curled around her scalp and revealing the full extent of her piercing gaze. Frank gulps, examining the picture.
Frank [Panicking somewhat]: Ah jeez..I left my..uh….inhaler in the--
Lynch: You don’t have asthma, faggot.
Frank: I might--
Lynch [Angrily]: SHUT UP! [Frank turns deadly silent.] Now, we are going to walk through that door, and you are going to be on your best behaviour. If you show me up just once, I will reach my hand down your throat, pull out your lungs and play bagpipes with them! DO YOU UNDERSTAND?!?
Frank [Determined]: SIR!!
Frank stands stiff, saluting. Lynch nods.
Lynch: At ease, rummy.
Lynch grasps the bronze doorhandle of the room before him, giving a deep, determined sigh before opening it.
In the middle of the small room is a varnished oak desk, behind which is sat Mother Mercenary, who appears to be exactly the same as in her photo except her gaze has turned even more piercing, while her face has both drooped from age and tightened from the regular combat she’s seen. She looks up at Lynch, who strolls forward, sitting on a carved wooden chair padded with crimson velvet cushions on the right. Frank strolls in nervously, noticing a lamp on her desk in the shape of a human skull with a lightbulb sitting on the scalp. His eyes dart from the tape recorder beside it, over to the large window beside her, out of which he can barely make out pricks of light and shadows in the courtyard below, and finally to the ceiling, where a large cage hangs firmly from the ceiling, a shape writhing underneath a thin khaki blanket and moaning hungrily. Frank gulps loudly.
Lynch: Frank, sit.
Franks eyes quickly snap to a padded wooden chair beside Lynch, which he quickly walks over to, sitting down in. Mother Mercenary remains glaring at them for a few seconds, causing Franks heart to crawl into his throat and stay there, throttling him. Eventually, her plump lips part, allowing a sharp, harsh voice to escape.
Mother Mercenary: Hello, Marcus. Frank Daniels. Good to see you both. Tea.
Frank blinks, looking down at two china cups filled with milky tea sat upon saucers before them. Mother Mercenary, not taking her glare from them, grabs a china teapot and pours herself a steaming cup, only adding a small teaspoon of sugar and no milk.
Frank: I’m not--
Mother [Harshly]: You will drink the tea.
Frank nervously takes the cup by its handle, lifting it to his lips and taking a small sip.
Mother: Thank you. Now, the reason I have summoned both of you here is to talk about the state of the conflict we are staring down. You’re..ambitious move through time has already kick-started the chain reaction that was somewhat missing from this conflict. Ocelot seeing his hand vanish before his eyes, remembering Shadow Moses and the like has made him more ambitious. The moment you go through the next period of time is the moment that this conflict evolves.
Lynch: So, after the next mission, he’ll go nuts?
Mother: Nuttier than a squirrels breath. He’ll suddenly remember the Patriots, the original reason for his insurrextion. In fact, the only thing the next mission won’t teach him is his irritating use of Close Quarters Combat, as well as his weird homosexuality for Big Boss.
Frank [Confused, cocking an eyebrow]: Say wha’?
Mother: Classified information. We are all ready on my end: I have one hundred and fifty thousand men ready to go global the moment Ocelot so much as pisses in the wrong direction. We are all waiting for your move, Lynch. But this time, you won’t be going alone. We will be sending reinforcements.
Mother: They will be handed uniforms from the period, and will take over the posts. Hopefully, this means that the mission won’t take as long to complete as the mission in Shadow Moses. It will also allow us to keep tabs on your mission and allow us to confirm the course of action to take following the mission..That is, whether to hang you from a lamp-post or to have another medal embossed.
Franks hand slowly snakes over to a plate of chocolate muffins obscured somewhat behind the teapot. Mother Mercenary slaps the back of his hand sharply, causing him to yelp and place the hand firmly on his cup once more.
Mother: Monkeys take. Men ask.
Frank: May I please have a muffin?
Mother [Bluntly]: No.
Frank whimpers. Lynch wipes his brow slightly, letting out a small sigh. Mother tilts her head slightly.
Lynch [Breathing out]: ..Yes.
Mother [Raising an eyebrow]: Lynch, you should know that my fearsome reputation is only unleashed upon enemies, and not on my own.
Lynch: So why is he in that cage?
Lynch points above them.
Mother [Sneering slightly]: He spat at my feet. I do so hate that. Such a dirty, disgusting habit.
Lynch: Is there anything else, ma’am?
Mother: Get your troops moving. We’ll keep you posted on developments on our end. Those poncey mercenaries stationed in Russia and France are starting to piss me off since they are chosen from prestigious positions, so I’d rather have something to really rub in their face.
Mother: While we wait for the next time discrepancy to occur, I do assure you that you will be kept busy. We expect to see a few more companies making their rounds around your little corner of the desert, so be aware of it and start flying your flag more often.
Frank: We haven’t got a flag. Or a flagpole.
Mother [Bluntly]: Be quiet, monkey. Lynch, I assume you will be able to acquire both?
Lynch: Without hesitation, ma’am.
Mother: Good. The next item on the agenda is, of course, the bowling tournament.
Frank: Woah..we have a bowling tournament?
Mother: Yes, it is a good perk we have once a year as long as you are not on call. Eight companies choose their representatives, we meet up at a neutral, secret location and we bowl. It’s part of our compensation. That and the free health care and monthly supplies.
Frank [Excitedly]: Sweeeeeeeeeeet!
Mother: Quiet, monkey. I trust that you will show up?
Lynch: I will, ma’am.
Mother: Good, and I trust you are making Rex feel welcome, no?
Frank: We are, Mother.
Mother: I do hope they are in both of your absences.
Lynch and Frank share a quick, but incredibly unnerved, glance.
*Romani- Beale-Walker Square*
Rex [Angrily]: LOOK, WILL YOU SIT STILL?!?!?
Vince, sitting in the black office chair positioned in front of the northern wall, is busy squirming and fidgeting as Johnny the Cameraman attempts to fasten a red silk tie around his neck.
Vince [Childishly]: ME NO WANNA WEAR TIE!!!
Rex: Well, you forgot your fucking fatigues, so this will do, peasant! TIE IT!
Johnny pulls the tie, causing Vince to choke and wheeze violently.
Johnny: Oh, uh, shit. Too tight?
Rex: Try not to kill our interviewees!
Johnny loosens the tie as Vince raises his hand, quickly twisting it.
Vince [Overtly-enthusiastic]: KEEP MAH PIMPHAND STRONG!!!
Vince slaps Johnny so hard with the back of his hand that he jettisons backwards as if he was shot out of a cannon, flying backwards and slamming into the eastern wall with brute force. Johnny slowly slides down the wall, slumping down unconscious.
Rex [Angrily]: WHY THE FUCK DID YOU DO THAT?!?!
Vince blows on the back of his hand, placing his hand on his thigh.
Vince: To prove my pimphand is the best.
Rex: Yeah, whatever. You couldn’t even fucking shave, could you?
Rex [Bitterly, rubbing his eyes]: You scruffy fucking bastard..
Tim: Oi, Johnny, wake up!
Johnnys eyes half-open
Johnny [Slurring]: I can touch unicorn, mommy?
Tim: …….Yeah, maybe later.
Tim strolls over to his co-worker, extending a hand towards him. Johnny takes it uneasily, pulling himself to his feet. Vince sits there, smiling eagerly like a little schoolboy as Johnny uneasily stumbles over to the camera, latching onto it.
Johnny: …Don’t hit me!
Vince: I hit who I want! No-one messes with me! NO-ONE!
Tim [Bluntly]: Looks like the ugly tree messed with you. Big time.
Vince: Boy, I will hit you so hard your teeth will fly out your ass.
Rex: Will you two stop flirting?! I want to get this shit over with so I can spend the rest of today in the Dog and Handgun ogling the breasts of middle-aged women, capiche??
Tim: Yeah, you’d have to ogle them. I get them--
Rex [Spitting]: Oh please! The last time you sucked a tit was when your mommy said ‘My, you look hungry dear!’
Vince gives a loud, nasally laugh as Tim stands there, frozen in embarrassment. Johnny points at him, laughing. Tim curses quietly, grasping his boom-mic from the sands and hauling it up, placing it above Vinces head and seething quietly.
Johnny: Man, that burned you so bad I felt it!
Rex: Alright Johnny, boot that shit up. Time we got this ball rolling instead of mulling over Tims imaginary sexual encounters.
Johnny clicks a few buttons and flips a few switches, staring down the lens and carefully stabilising the camera upon its tripod.
Rex: Alright. Name, Place of Birth, Position.
Vince: Vincent LaMarr, Louisville, Kentucky, Private First Class.
Rex: What’s your speciality in the field?
Vince: Construction, mostly. I look at buildings and find out what their weakspots are.
Rex: What’s the usual weakspots?
Vince: ..Boiler rooms. Any rooms where they keep gas. If I have enough time and explosives, I usually put them on all four corners of the bottom room, detonate it and watch the building crumple like a can under a truck.
Rex: So you like explosives?
Vince: Yeah, I love it when stuff blows up. Explosions are so pretty! Well, unless you make a man explode. Then it’s messy and a bitch to clean up.
Rex: Can you make individual men explode?
Vince [Over-enthusiastically]: CAN I?!?!?
A small silence follows.
Rex [Sighing]: I don’t know, That’s why I asked you.
Vince: I can. Those gals at ReLoaded help make sticky bombs that the Brits used to use back in World War Two. It’s a glass sphere filled with explosives, covered in glue and attached to a stick..I mean, sure, sometimes the ball falls of the stick and it won’t stick to anything remotely sand-covered or dusty, but it works sometimes!
Rex: Sticky bombs?
Vince [Grinning brightly]: Here, let me show you!
Vince opens up his suit jacket, rifling around inside one of the inner pockets and pulls out what appears to be a rusted metal sphere attached to a wooden stick. He holds it up, grinning.
Rex [Bluntly]: …That looks like shit.
Vince shrugs, grasping one pin on the handle and pulling it, causing the casing to fall away and clatter to the sands beneath him. He pulled a second pin, grasping the handle tightly before twisting slightly, pulling the stick back. Sadly, the powerful adhesive snags his jacket, causing the bomb to stick to Vince.
Vince [Grinning nervously]: ….This is a common problem we have.
Rex [Panicking]: FUCKING HELL! LET GO OF IT OR WE’LL ALL DIE!!
Vince: NO WE WON’T!!! I haven’t released the lever yet…Oh boy, my arms getting kinda tired..
Rex runs onto screen in desperation, grabbing Vinces jacket and pulling it wildly. Vince lets go of the handle, effectively priming the grenade before raising his arms. Rex pulls the jacket up and off of Vince before scrunching it into a ball and throwing it to the left, right into the north-west corner of the square. Johnny shifts the camera, panning is the bomb explodes violently, causing Vinces jacket to explode in a puff of fabric and blasting a blackened, scorched hole into the corner of the sandblasted L-shaped building behind Vince, who simply sits there, grinning inanely. The building creeks somewhat, but remains stable, if leaning slightly on the corner where the explosion occurred.
Rex [Angrily]: YOU PSYCHOTIC FUCK!!
Vince: Hey! It’s effective!
Johnny: Is it really?
Vince: Well..sure, you have to go behind the tank or under the Gekkou and slap it on yourself, since throwing it could cause it to stick to you, but it works!
Rex: Is that why no other mercenary companies use them?!?
Vince: Hey, we find it great for a really daring game of Pass The Parcel!
Rex: Good God..Have you pioneered an actual useful weapon?
Vince: The Sticky Grenade Mace!
Rex [Underwhelmed]: ….What?
Vince: A sticky grenade attached to a chain! It was useful for caving in enemies skulls initially, but we found that sometimes, the grenade exploded randomly. Mainly because it only had one pin on the handle and some guys got so enthusiastic about grabbing a Praying Mantis PMC and caving his skull into a fine meaty paste with a metal ball that they sometimes dislodged the pin. Also, you couldn’t throw it effectively. BUT! I did pioneer the Grenail!
Rex [Even more underwhelmed]: ….Eh?
Vince: Otherwise known as the Nailade. It’s a grenade..covered in nails!
Rex: …That doesn’t sound too bad.
Vince: It’s not! Our trial run was largely successful: We deployed it during a raid on Raven Sword PMCs in Warsaw. Good urban combat, and we needed to clear out buildings. Pop the pins, throw the ‘nades, and suddenly…POW! Obliteration!...Mostly.
Vince: Unlike a nail bomb, it doesn’t have thousands of nails, so the explosives might kill one guy but the nails might only wound another. Several buildings had screaming. Horrible, bloodcurdling screaming. Guys had their shins torn out, their eye-sockets pierced, their hands bludgeoned, some suffered castration via rusty nail..Pretty horrible.
Rex: So it got banned?
Vince gives a small laugh.
Vince: You kidding? It’s our primary explosive!
Rex [In disbelief]: …That’s….uhh..
Vince: What? It’s dog eat dog out there. You should see what those PMCs are capable of under nanomachine suppression..I swear, the shit we saw in Bosnia was horrible….REAL horrible. A Grenail to the genitals is light punishment for the stuff they do.
Rex: Is it bone-chilling? Can you share a story?
Vince: It’s the usual: Villages burnt to ash, raped women left weeping in the street, children with their throats slit from ear to ear just laying on the side of paths, and a sick smell in the air. The smell of sweet death.
Rex: So, your company has seen some edgy stuff?
Vince: We may be made up of misfits, but we’ve seen action. Seen blood.
Rex: Speaking of misfits..how did you end up here? Where were you before?
Vince: Me? Part of Third Armored Cavalry Regiment in Fort Hood. Support Squadron Maintenance Troop. Made sure the Regiment run clean as a whistle. Checking out buildings, electrics, cleaning weaponry and the like.
Rex: So…what happened to get you shipped out here?
Vince: I half-arsed the job occasionally. Whenever some outhouses or toilets needed building, I just skimped the job. All I wanted to do was go out and have fun, not get stuck constructing rooms for people to shit in! Turns out having a toilet collapse on ten men isn’t a good way to get recognised.
Rex: Sounds pretty tame—
Vince: Turns out half-arsing lighting jobs, though, is something serious, especially when it sets those brand new multi-million dollar buildings they spent so long constructing on fire.
Vince: Yup. Most of the new Gym was fixed, but not before half of it burnt down and we lost several thousand pounds worth of equipment. So they sent me out here, where my half-arsing couldn’t hurt a fly.
Rex: You half-arse jobs here?
Vince [Laughing]: HELL NO! I love it here! I put all my effort into work they give me here. At least here I can get a beer without being looked down upon by some snooty Commanding Officer. It’s relaxed here, it’s fun here, and it’s something I wouldn’t ruin. In fact, I sometimes believe I subconsciously made myself ruin those building projects--
Rex: You do realise the camera is rolling?
Rex [Sighing]: ..Any final words?
Vince: Love you Ma, Love you Pa. Remember, if Al Pacino hops on the couch, just bat his nose with a book!
Rex: Al Pacino?
Vince [Misty-eyed]: ..I miss that little dog o’ mine..
Rex: And..cut the camera!
Vince slowly gets to his feet, cracking his knees.
Vince: So, what now?
Rex: We edit the footage.
Vince: Can I see it?
Rex: When it’s released, yes.
Vince: Swear it?
Vince: Double dog swear it?
Rex [Impatiently]: YES!
Vince walks over to the alleyway towards Beale Street, rubbing his eyes tiredly. He yawns, stretching and looks into the alleyway between ReLoaded and an abandoned, yet intact, building. Phil is busy climbing a steel ladder, wearing a ski mask while Steve, wearing a pair of black lace stockings over his head, is busy holding the ladder steady. Vince slowly strolls over, whistling innocently.
Vince [Giddily]: Hey guys, what’cha doing?
Steve [Smiling]: Sneaking!
Steve: Phil kicked our soccer ball into ReLoadeds backyard, and now they’re keeping it. He’s getting it back!
Vince: Right, because he totally looks like a stalker there.
Phil [Angrily]: Sssssssssssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!
Vince: Well, you guys can’t be doing any worse than the Lamb and Flag..
*Lamb and Flag*
Maurice and Moe are sitting at a rectangular table, heads in their hands as Dick stands before the table, a cylindrical yet bright yellow fire extinguisher with two blue blinking lights embedded into the nozzle stood to his right on the hardwood floor.
Dick [Grinning brightly]: And that is my next innovation!
For a few moments, Maurice and Moe remain in a despaired silence, until Moe slowly lifts his head.
Moe [Sighing deeply]: ….No. Just no.
Dick: It’s a brilliant, and ingenious, idea!
Maurice: An automated fire extinguisher is not a brilliant idea.
Moe: Seriously, me and Maurice are literally inches away from running away…It’s not the pay, it’s our lives! Face it, Dick..You’re fucking stupid and shouldn’t be trusted with running a pub.
Dick: Guys. This is foolproof. The karaoke and foam machines? Bush leagues! [Ecstatically] THIS IS A MASTERPIECE!
Moe [Bitterly sarcastic]: Yeah, sure.
Dick: Alright, watch!
Dick leans down, tapping a few of the glowing buttons on the nozzle. He steps back a few steps, pulling a matchbook out from his shirt pocket and taking out one of the matches, lighting it before tracing it over the book, setting it on fire. He quickly blows it out, throwing the matchbook onto the floor. Maurice slowly lifts his head, watching as the matchbook crackles in flames.
Moe: It’s not doing anything.
Maurice: Great. Brilliant. Well do--
The fire extinguisher wheels around , its nozzle facing the flame and erupting a small amount of foam, enough to cover and extinguish the matchbook. Maurice and Moe look on, awestruck.
Moe [Sheer amazement]: …IT WORKED!
Dick [Clapping his hands and tapping his toes]: SEE?! It’s beautiful! It’s brilliant! It’s safe!
Maurice: Now now, you know what Dicks like…this ideas about ta go tits-up, laddie.
Dick: No, it won’t--
The fire extinguisher flops forward to the floor, spinning eratically before spitting out a huge gust of foam, jettisoning through the northern wall, smashing just above the shelves of alcohol behind the bar and out into through the other end.
Maurice [Holding back a laugh]: ……Shit.
Phil gently eases his right leg through the window, slowly setting the sole of his foot down and leaning in, looking around the room.
Phil [Quietly]: Ball…where’s the ball…
The door to the left of the beds opens and Tavi, wearing nothing but a knee-length powder-blue towel, strolls out, whistling innocently. Phil stands there, frozen as Tavi strolls past him, drying her twitching ears before dropping the towel to the floor. Phil slowly lifts his leg, shuffling backwards, but Tavi snaps around, noticing Phil and standing frozen, wide-eyed, a vein pulsing in her temple.
Phils brain: Quick, think of an infallible excuse!
Phil [Strained]: …..Hello…I’m here…..for……..my…ball?
Phils brain: ….I said infallible, pussy. INFALLIBLE.
Tavi: ….Why didn’t you just knock on my door?
Phil: You’d slam it in my face or pull a gun on me?
Tavi stops, thinking slightly and shrugging.
Tavi: Alright, hold on.
Phil: Woah, is that it? No hitting me? No slapping me? No threatening to tear my balls off and shove them into my eyesockets?
Tavi [Somewhat happily]: Why, when I can taunt you with something you can never touch?
Tavi grins, bending over and leaning under her bed, pulling out a soccer ball. At that moment, the yellow fire extinguisher jettisons through the wall, hurtling towards Phil and smashing him violently into the chest. Phil screams violently, stumbling backwards and falling out of the window, hitting the floor outside with a thunderous crash. Tavi leans her head out the window, staring down at him wide-eyed. Steve and Vince stand over him.
Vince: Wow. We..may need to call a doctor.
Phil coughs violently, his legs twitching.
Steve: Nah, he always makes sand angels!
Vince: Are you sure?
Phil:…I can taste..my lungs..
Steve: Yeah, I’ll just get some beer down his throat and he’ll be as good as new!
Phil: …I think I need a doctor…
Tavi: Alright, keep him there, I’m coming..
Vince whistles, spinning around on his heels and walking out of the alley, strolling past ReLoaded as Tavi dashes out, wearing a black silk night gown. Vince shakes his head, smirking.
Vince: Well, back home--
As Vince strolls past the doors of the Dog and Handgun, they quickly fly open and Jon rushes out, kidney-punching Vince and dragging him deep into the stripclub as he screams violently.
*Dog and Handgun*
Vinces eyes snap open and he looks around at the familiar walls covered in gaudy paintings of naked women, then down at the violet carpet. A pair of fingers snap in front of his face and Vince looks up at Jon and Brick, who are stood in front of him in the middle of the room.
Jon: Wakey wakey.
Vince [Angrily]: WHAT?!
Jon: We need your help.
Vince looks down at his arms which are tied to the arms of a wooden chair and spits out a globule of blood onto the carpet, glaring up at him.
Vince [Seething]: WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU BEAT ME UP FOR, THEN?!?!?
Brick: ….Fun. Kinda.
Vince [Seething]: YOU COULD HAVE ASKED!!
Brick: But the beatin’ was more fun!
Jon: I agree.
Jon leans down, grabbing the bindings and pulling them free from Vinces wrists. Vince sighs, rubbing his wrists soothingly.
Vince: Alright…what is it? Drug-running? Deliveries? Courier work? C’mon. Give it to me.
Jon: We are going to get ourselves an Egyptian stripper!
Vince: ….And you need me…why?
Brick: Cause those Egyptian women are tough!
Vince: ..Oh, so you need me to seduce them?
Jon [Bluntly]: You couldn’t seduce the Elephant Man. We just need you to tie her up with a length of rope.
Vince [Chuckling]: Sounds kinky!
Brick: It is.
Jon: You said that out loud, dumbass.
Brick: I know you are, but what am I?
Jon [Bitterly]: Brick. Shut up.
Vince: So I’ll get paid for this?
Jon: I guess, depends on who we bring back..If it looks like Halle Berry, you’ll get a huge paycheck. If it looks like Madonna, you get a dollar, and you will be lucky to get that dollar.
Vince: So we get a real cutie?
Brick: Well, duh! No dogs allowed in this stripclub, son! We deal in only the finest women who are willing to degrade themselves for money by dancing in front of men whose hands can’t stay outta their pockets!
Vince: Sounds easy enough! After all, who wouldn’t want to miss out on the delights we have around here?
Jon: Exactly, so let’s all shut up and go!
High-Pitched Female Voice: BRIIIIIIIIICK! HONEY!! THE SNAKES OUT AGAIN!!
Brick: Dammit, Moneypennies, that’s the second time!
Mister Moneypennies [Deep, rumbling voice]: Yo, sorry dog.
Vince, Jon and Brick slowly look up. Hanging from the cubic zirconium encrusted gold-painted chandelier is a huge, thick emerald anaconda. In his absence, Mister Moneypennies has clearly grown twice the length and twice the thickness as he was since Shadow Moses.
Brick: Dammit, you know you can’t leave the room til we find a tank big enough for ya!
Mister Moneypennies: My bad, dog.
Brick [Somewhat angrily]: I still haven’t let you off for killing Jezebel!
Mister Moneypennies: Look, man, she was giving me the evil eyes, yo! I could see that she wanted to take the Mizzle Pizzle and turn him into a belt!
Jon [Spitting, pointing at him]: It took us three days to clean up that mess! THREE DAYS! If you’re going to crush them til their bones snap out of their skin, you could at least it, for fucks sake!
Mister Moneypennies: Yo, Jizzle, I already said sorry for that shit, yo! You know I’m good for guard-doggin’ and shit still!
Brick turns his head to Jon.
Brick: He’s got a point.
Jon [Angrily]: I don’t give a fuck. You’re grounded, mister!
Mister Moneypennies: Man, I don’t need this shit! Can I at least turn on the television, yo?
Jon [After a small pause]: …Alright.
Mister Moneypennies slithers down from the chandelier, resting the chin of his bulbous head on the floor before letting his huge body crash violently onto the violet carpet, causing the room to shake slightly. Mister Moneypennies flicks his tongue out, raising his head and looking at Vince.
Mister Moneypennies: Hey, Vinnie! Sup?
Vince: Hey, nice to see you, Moneypennies!
Mister Moneypennies twists around, slithering towards the bar as Jon looks at Vince, eyes narrowing.
Jon: See why we need a new stripper?
Vince: Maybe you shouldn’t make them look so tasty!
Brick [Giddily]: ..Oh yeah, he has a point!
Jon looks at Vince, then at Brick before sighing loudly.
Jon: I swear to God, I’m going to strangle you both with that fucking snake one day.
Vince: Charming man.
All three of them stroll towards the door. Mister Moneypennies, as he’s crawling under the bar, whips his tail to the right, causing Jon to stumble and fall flat on his face. Jon scuttles up, looking down at his tail and stomping, missing by mere inches.
Mister Moneypennies: You missed, you fucking cracker!
Vince and Brick point at Jon, laughing loudly. Jon storms past them, booting the left door open roughly with a crackle of wood and storms out into Beale Street. Brick and Vince slap eachother on the back, strolling out and following him.
*The Half Moon*
Al: With my loyal Vince gone, I hath turned to you, my friend..
Bill: Why me?
Sat in front of the bar at the Half Moon is Bill Sykes, wearing nothing but a white t-shirt and grey boxer shorts as he digs his index finger roughly into his left ear, scratching away. Al simply stands behind the bar, his arms folded and several bottles of his home-made alcohol standing behind him. The bar, as always in the morning, is shrouded in darkness aside from a lone light-tube hanging above the wooden bar, the light glistening off of the scratched varnish of the oak and off of the bronze handles of the beer taps, their brands faded.
Al: Beer and lagers are small time. Sure, you can jam in as much alcohol content as possible, but the real party starts when you start making…moonshine!
Bill: So that’s why I’m here!
Al: No doubt about it. I’ve heard you used to make moonshine so legendary it caused the great brawl of 2013.
Bill: Wow, two years ago..I remember it well: Five nights of non-stop violence. I remember because you had to build this place from scratch, didn’t you? While Dick woke up to find his castle was nothing more than a moat. Did they ever find out who took the Sheep and Banner?
Al: Not to this day. But I’m not here to talk about him! I’m here to ask you to brew your moonshine!
Bill looks on, still scratching inside his ear.
Bill [Calmly]: I can do that.
Al claps his hands ecstatically, tapping his toes wildly.
Al [Ecstatically]: THANK YOU QUEEN LIZZIE!! So, what do you need?
Bill: I need yeast, sugar, raspberries, strawberries, corn, barley, a large copper still, and a secret ingredient.
Al: Which is?
Bills eyes narrow darkly.
Bill [Ominously]: The dried poison of bufo alvarius.
Al [Confused]: ….Say what?
Bill: I need a Colorado River Toad.
Bill [Bluntly]: Secret ingredient.
Al: ……Right, well, I best get on the phone! How much of each ingredient do you need?
Bill: Is a ‘fuckton’ an official unit of measurement?
Al [Clapping his hands together and grinning brightly]: No, but I’ll go with it!
Bill: Okay, but don’t forget that I need two fucktons of yeast, sugar, corn and barley.
Al: This is gonna be great!
Bill: Oh yeah, get some decent insurance too.
Al grins, rubbing his hands together vigorously as he grabs the phone sitting behind the counter of the bar, dialling a random selection of buttons as Bill simply goes back to scratching his ear.
Back in Mother Mercenaries office, Mother takes a small sip of tea, gently lowering her cup on the saucer before cracking her knuckles noisily, causing Frank to gulp quietly.
Mother: Remember, we need to look favourable in this documentary. We are not a draconic military presence to these people. We are to remain professional at all times.
Lynch: Mother, we are a united force to be reckoned with. Each man understands their place and respects it greatly.
Mother extends her index finger, lightly clicking the play button on the tape recorder under the lamb. A large crackle of noise occurs, followed by several hollow voices.
Jerichos Voice: Alright lads, the meeting of Americans Should be Shot, Hung, Oiled up and Lit on fire until they Excruciatingly Scream is in order. Everyone, please affirm your allegiance.
Voices [Ecstatically]: WE’RE PROUD TO BE WITH ASSHOLES!!!
Jerichos Voice: Perfect. Brother Phil, please read out the notes made from last weeks meeting.
Sound of a throat being cleared.
Phils Voice: Firstly, Brother Ivan discussed renaming the club to Classy, Unparalleled Nutty Teammates, but we shot it down since the acronym read ‘Cunt’ and Father Jericho reminded us that we can wear ‘Assholes’ t-shirts with some sort of pride. Secondly, Brother Dave suggested that we, in true Smoggy style, burn the American infidels. Brother Ivan supported this statement, as did Brother Phil, but Father Jericho reminded us of not giving away the plan. We introduced Brother Karab Tevani into the group, whom reminded us that his Pakistani mother and Nepalese father granted him a bye into the club due to his un-American birthplace. Brother Head and Brother Murray granted Brother Tevani his free nightly pint. In business news, we discussed the success of our prank involving flying the American flag at half mast as Lynch and Frank left for the Academy, before taking it down and setting it on fire. Brother Phil gained a promotion to Second Leader thanks to his cunning in flagging down a Abrams Tank and getting the driver to step out before knocking him out with a British flag attached to a metal bat and then spraypainting the flag of the European Union on his back. We then followed up with pork scratchings, a pint of Bombardier and some roti topped with yak meat, as well as some vegetarian samosas, as per Brother Tevanis blessings. We all agreed that yak meat was flavoursome, and that Nepals flag is to be added to our Wall of Allied Nations. Meeting then adjourned.
Jerichos Voice: Beautiful, Brother Phil. Todays topic of agenda: The two fascist American jackboots have left, what can we do to fight the iron-fisted, jelly-brained nation now?
Karabs Voice: I suggest we all shit on the flag!
Sounds of murmured agreement.
Als Voice: I suggest that we, as British people….I mean, British, Russian and Pakistani-Nepalese people, burn the flag, and then coat it in manure to put it out!
Ivans Voice: Vell, I like that!
Sound of excited murmuring, followed by a gavel banging roughly on wood.
Jerichos Voice [Giddily]: Als plan is accepted! Karab and Al get commendations! Write it, Scribe!
Phils Voice: Can’t believe Second Leader is scribe…alright….Got it.
Jerichos Voice: Next, I want to know how the charitable donations to our Egyptian neighbours are going. Brother Dave?
Sound of a throat being cleared.
Daves Voice: Donations are going well. On the money we scavenged as well as saved, a new orphanage recently opened up in Port Said. The children fly the flag of their country beside that of the European Union and of Nepal, and they are proud of us. Needless to say, resistance against incoming American forces has increased by an acceptable two hundred percent. Violence against passing European forces has fallen by an amazing two percent to zero percent. They like us, that’s for sure!
Jerichos Voice [Clapping]: Brilliant! Brilliant!
Daves Voice: Relations are so good that we recently received a package from the happy orphans. These photos are quite boosting for the morale of us Assholes.
The sound of a box being opened, followed by the sound of paper being unfurled.
Billys Voice [Cooing]: Awwww..Look at the little bairns—What’s that one doing?
Daves Voice: He’s pissing on the American flag, see?
The sound of cooing fills the room.
Karabs Voice: Ain’t he cute? Look at the way that one cuddles the Nepalese flag!
Jerichos Voice: The fat one?
Phils Voice: Look at those two saluting the Union Jack! Bless ‘em, they’ll never realise the Queen ain’t the ruler!
Jerichos Voice: Aye, they’ll never realise David Cameron organised for Ed Milibands assassination to get another term!
Phils Voice: I thought it was Sarah Palin who organised Barack Obamas assassination? I thought David Cameron simply revealed Ed Milibands automobile fetish?
Jerichos Voice: Oh..yeah. But remember: Palin was the assassin, it was Mitt Romney who organised it.
Phils Voice: Oh yeah, that’s right! I suppose that’s why that kid is pointing his fingers at the flag like a gun?
Billys Voice [Chuckling]: Those aren’t fingers, that’s an actual gun!
Als Voice [Happily]: Aww, bless the ickle fighter!
Robbies Voice: Look at the eyes of that one! Man, he must hate the American flag!
The cooing is suddenly interrupted by the sound of light footsteps. The feed is momentarily overcome and shook by the sounds of chairs scraping, as well as something scraping against the table. The sound of a door clicking open is heard amongst dead silence.
Tavis Voice [Hiding her anger]: Guys…it’s three in the morning…
Jerichos Voice: Tavi, can’t you see we’re playing poker?
Tavis Voice: …Nine of you. Playing Poker.
Robbies Voice: Yes, and?
Tavis Voice: For one, you and Dave are supposed to have radioed in your return, and two, nine of you playing poker while you all wear t-shirts reading “Proud to be one of the Assholes”?
Jerichos Voice [Somewhat strained]: Well…..we are!
Daves Voice: Yeah! We’re assholes! And we don’t need to radio in, we’re only here for our mee---Poker game. Yeah.
Phils Voice: See? It’s a friendly game!
Tavis Voice: I see….So why do you have two Uno cards?
A small period of silence follows.
Dicks Voice [Calmly]: Oh. Damn. Phil has got two special cards. He wins half the pot.
Jerichos Voice [Playing along]: Yeah! Well done, Phil!
Tavis Voice: Whatever guys.
Mother Mercenary gently taps the stop button, filling the room with a period of silence before Lynch slowly opens his mouth.
Lynch [Seething]: I think I’ll kill them.
Mother Mercenary: Except you won’t, because like it or not, it keeps up morale. Like so:
Mother gently holds the fast-forward button before hitting play.
Deans Voice: Alright, the society of Brilliant American Dudes who love America, Sex and Shooting is in order. Can I get a shout-out, people?
Voices [Ecstatically]: PROUD TO BE A BADASS!!
Deans Voice: Brother Bill, read out the notes?
Bills Voice [Laughing]: Fuck that, readings for faggots!!
Sounds of whooping and laughter.
Deans Voice: From memory, then..Our last meeting started with Brother Brick doing his impression of what fucking the Queen would be like. This was followed by Brother Jon and Brother Will reciting a new version of the British national anthem. All rise!
Sound of chairs shuffling violently.
Jon and Wills Voices [Out-of-tune]: Rule, Britannia,
Britannia is so gay!
Let’s bomb them and take their gas,
Cause that’s the American way!
Sound of whooping and laughter as the chairs shuffle once more.
Deans Voice: We capped it off with Budweiser and hamburgers, then the meeting ended when a large punch-up started as we argued who would kill who in a fight: George Washington or Abraham Lincoln?
Sals Voice: Washington, obviously!
Franks Voice: Lincoln, I tell thee!
Lynchs head darts to face Frank, his eyes narrowing venomously as Frank gives a nervous chuckle, bowing his head in embarrassment.
Deans Voice: Alright, onto business: Firstly, onto the vote of Sals membership: Shall he be allowed to stay since he is Hawaiian? It is an American territory. All in favour say Uncle Sam.
Voices: Uncle Sam!
Deans Voice: Those opposed say Churchills fat.
Wills Voice: Churchills fat!
Deans Voice: Welcome to your permanent place, Brother Sal!
Deans Voice: Onto the subject of the night: The British flag and creative ways of defacing it. Needless to say, we noticed a few of the Limeys burning our flag, so we’ve decided to cover their flag in menstrual blood. It goes up tonight, any questions?
Bills Voice: Who the fuck found the menstrual blood?
Bricks Voice: Well, y’see--
Wills Voice: Don’t even finish that sentence.
Deans Voice: So it’s settled: Put up the pussy flag tonight. Next, bribing locals. The limeys have gotten to the Egyptians, so we hit up Dubai. Brother Will?
Wills Voice: Some money exchanged hands, and I took these polaroids!
Sound of paper being flicked.
Jons Voice [Shocked]: WOAH!!
Vinces Voice: Look at those!
Wills Voice [Happily]: Yup, nothing says American like getting a foreigner to flash their tits which you’ve painted with Old Glory!
Deans Voice: Simply beautiful. I suppose the plans to bomb Dubai and drain them of their oil are off?
Sals Voice: Should I call my father and have him scrap the mole tanks?
Wills Voice [Whooping]: Fuck that!
Sounds of laughing.
Deans Voice: Don’t. Drain them!
The light sound of footsteps is heard once again. More shuffling of chairs and violent scraping. A moment of silence is followed by the sound of a door click open.
Wolfs Voice: …Why do we keep having these things going on in our basement?
Deans Voice: It’s just poker!
Vinces Voice: Yes, good old…Uno?
Wolfs Voice: Interesting. So you’re playing with a full deck and Uno cards?
Bills Voice: And Top Trumps too, apparently..
Wolfs Voice: And you’re all wearing t-shirts reading ‘Badass’?
Deans Voice [Ecstatically]: BECAUSE WE ARE!! ALL HAIL TO THE EAGLE!! AMERICA, FUCK YEAH!!
A violent holler of whooping and laughter goes up.
Wolf: First it’s Assholes, and then it’s Badass, what next?
Deans Voice: Assholes? What?
Wolf: Oh yeah, the rest of them come down here every Tuesday. I bring them milk and cookies. Except Phil. I bring him a cup of spit.
Deans Voice [Enraged]: THOSE FUCKING TEA-DRINKERS!!
Bills Voice [Angrily]: I say we cut their throats!
Bricks Voice [Angrily]: I say we drown them in tea!
Franks Voice [Playing along]: I say we cut their throats and then drown them in tea!
Mother Mercenary gently clicks the stop button as Frank raises his head.
Mother Mercenary: Your company has been noted for their outstanding teamwork. It’s also one of the more peaceful companies. Why do you think that is?
Lynch: Please enlighten me.
Mother Mercenary: Everyone is relieving stress, and that means less friendly fire and a calmer environment. It’s a friendly hatred going around, as odd as it is to say.
Lynch: Doesn’t sound very friendly to me.
Mother Mercenary: No, it is friendly. It’s teasing. Poking. Nothing more. You want unfriendly? Every night in the barracks, we get two people dying. Why? They act friendly, but secretly hate eachother simply based on where they are born. Maybe if they teased eachother and poked fun at eachother, they could relieve that stress. Why, even after these threats, security feeds tell us that one night later you were all drinking together, laughing happily and discussing the ins and outs of what would happen if Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill teamed up against Chairman Mao and Pol Pot.
Frank [Grinning]: ..Yeah, we all agreed Lincoln and Churchill would kick ass!
Mother Mercenary: See?
Lynch: Why are you telling us this, ma’am?
Mother Mercenary: To reassure you. People may think that your company is a joke since it is filled with outcasts and the occasional feeble minded, but rest assured that the right people are noticing the growth of the company. Why do you think we’re sending you on these missions?
Lynch: Because we’re expendable?
Mother Mercenary: There is that, but also because we know you won’t go out and throttle eachother! I still see the reluctance you have to go back out there and bark orders at them, but I want you to know just how valuable your position is! Look at your men and understand just how much they are growing!
Lynch: I’ll try, but seriously, why are you telling me this?
Mother Mercenary: To assure you that they aren’t useless. They make lack intelligence, social charm and basic hygiene, but goddammit they might just be the mercenaries who put me back in a position in the United States Mili….tary.
Lynch grins, nodding and sitting back.
Lynch [Chuckling]: So I see. So I see.
Mother Mercenary: Shut up and just realise I’m going to be throwing your mercenaries into the fire a lot more, alright?
Lynch: I ain’t complaining.
Frank: Can I?
Mother and Lynch: NO!
Frank whines, slumping forward.
Frank [Sadly]: ..Me no wanna get shot at..
Mother slowly raises to her feet, turning to the window and clasping her hands behind her back.
Mother: I have nothing more to say tonight. Tomorrow morning, we shall meet again. Down the hall is a bedroom reserved for guests. You shall allowed be to stay this one night.
Lynch: Thank you, Mother.
Mother Mercenary gives a small, almost cruel, smile.
Mother: No problem, my child.
Rex: Mister Wallace, can you please sit still?
In the chair in the square is sat Billy Wallace, clad in a Prince Charlie Jacket, white dress shirt, thick woollen socks underneath a pair of polished black leather brogues and a kilt patterned with the Wallace tartan with a rabbit fur dress sporran attached to it. Johnny the Cameraman is busy sitting behind his camera, a veritable waterfall of sweat glistening on his brow as he drains an entire bottle of water, belching loudly and tossing it to the side.
Billy: Wearing kilt in public.
Rex: It’s nothing to be ashamed of--
Billy [Venomously]: I ain’t ashamed of it, but if someone calls it a skirt, I’m afraid I might lose control and murder them in a violently horrific fashion.
Rex: But it technically is a skirt--
Billy: No, it isn’t, because I’m not wearing underwear.
Johnny looks up in horror.
Johnny: Please keep your legs tight together. [Panicked] Please, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD AND ALL THAT IS HOLY!!!
Billy: Shut up, yeh pussy.
Rex: Don’t worry Johnny, I’m sure you won’t catch a glimpse of Billys twig and berries.
Billy: Fuck you, it’s an oak tree and boulders.
Tim: Yeah yeah, can we start the interview?
Johnny: This cameras been ready for a long time.
Billy: You better not look up my kilt.
Johnny [Angrily]: NO-ONE WILL LOOK AT YOUR PENIS, ALRIGHT?!?!
Stoofer strolls through the alleyway from Walkers Street into the square, stopping suddenly and glancing over at them.
Stoofer: You guys are so gay you shit rainbows.
Johnny opens his mouth to retort, but one look at Stoofers intimidating stature and sheer size causes him to simply gulp, and Stoofer to give a toothy grin.
Rex: Hey! Stop making my cameraman shit his pants!
Stoofer [Venomously]: I met a cameraman once. I plunged my hand into his throat, pulled out his voicebox and played soccer with it.
Johnny gulps louder, his knees trembling.
Rex: Don’t you have somewhere to be?!
Stoofer: Yes, I’m just waiting for El Loco to arrive.
Rex: El whatso?
Courtney suddenly bursts in from the Beale Street alleyway, screaming loudly and carrying a large, polished car engine over her head, quickly leaping at Stoofer who simply stands there, arms folded. She lands on her feet, lowering the engine and hugging it tightly.
Courtney [Hyper]: Why you no get scared, Stoofy?
Stoofer: Stop calling me that.
Courtney [Happily]: Aww..come on, parrrrrrrrrrrrtner!
Stoofer: Stop calling me that, too.
Billy [Angrily]: OI! I’M TRYIN’ TA GET INTERVIEWED OVER HERE!!!
Stoofer: C’mon. You got the exact model, right?
Courtney [Excitedly]: You mean the engine from a 1967 Ford Mustang? Odd request, but it’s heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere!!
Stoofer: Let’s just go and fit this shit up.
Courtney: Right behind you, my tall, brooding hombre!!
Stoofer sighs, turning around and trudging back through the alleyway into Walkers Street, followed by an ecstatic Courtney who skips after him, carrying the engine with ease.
Rex: Just….let’s start this.
Johnny: I’m ready. And now we’re filming.
Johnny pushes a button on the side of the camera.
Rex: Name, Place of Birth, Position.
Billy: Billy Wallace. Aberdeen, Scotland. Specialist.
Rex: Area of expertise?
Rex: So you can kill a guy from a mile away?
Billy: Two. They taught me well up in Fort George.
Rex: Fort George?
Billy; Yeah, ye silly Sassenach swine! Fort George where all us Black Watch guys are stationed, ready and waiting for someone to put a toe out of line before we set upon them!
Rex: Fort George, Inverness? So that means you were those who first fought against Ocelot when he tried to ship Ravens Sword up the Moray Firth and into Scotland?
Billy: Bastard came from the North Sea. Bastard left to the North Sea. He sent his boats past Fort George, so all we needed to do was open fire, suppress the cunts and then let some imported artillery blow those bastards out the water! I personally found myself sniping the boats captains. It was glorious, lining a head up in my scope, watching his eyes dart around, and finally pulling the trigger and splattering his brains on the wall behind him in a pink mist.
Rex: So, you were a pivotal part of the defence?
Billy: Aye. Everytime a boat or helicopter came down by Fort George, I sniped the pilots or captains. Regular practice kept the eyes sharp, kept my index finger calloused, and kept my wits about me. Many a time I used to just lay on my stomach on the grassy rampart, looking over the crystal waters, waiting for a boat to sail past and then just pulling the trigger and watching some of the Black Watch tow it to our side. By the time they shipped me here, we had seventy-one patrol boats!
Rex: So, how did you get sent here?
Billy: My regular practice was frowned upon. Rather than shoot targets, I shot the seals and dolphins.
Rex [Bluntly]: ….Oh.
Billy: Aye, and it turns out single-handedly attempting to demolish one of the primary spots of the Black Isles tourism trade is frowned upon, so they shipped me here.
Rex: Well, at least it’s not something like sniping a civilian or anything!
Billy: I sniped one once. Shouldn’t have sailed his yacht so close to the fucking Fort.
Rex [Bluntly]: ….Oh.
Billy [Smiling slightly]: Yep.
Rex: Do you like it here?
Billy: Love it. In what other military could you spend most of the year sitting on your ass, drinking beer and shagging women instead of getting your brains blown out?! It’s genius! So I have marks on my record, So I have people who look down at me. Me? I don’t give a fucking fuckety fuck.
Rex: That’s an interesting way to put it.
Billy [Chuckling somewhat]: Hey, it ain’t like I’m some vegan pacifist pussy! We may all have marks on our record and be seen as inept, but some of us are natural born killers. Like me.
Rex: Of course. So, you’ve killed a lot of people, I take it?
Billy [Looking to the sky, recalling]: Yep. Three hundred and one over ten years of active duty. It’s bound to go up since Steves being trained to be my spotter.
Rex: Does it bother you, killing people at a distance and not getting up close and personal?
Billy: Are you shittin’ me? I kill up close as well! Nothin’ like getting into an enemies face, jamming a knife into his throat and then cutting out his windpipe!
Rex: Pretty violent, aren’t you?
Billy: Boy, if hugging and kissing got the job done, I’d do it, but it doesn’t. What gets the job done around these parts is swift and blinding violence. Nothing else. You don’t kill your opponent, he kills you. It’s just a blessing that most of the time I’m either laying on a table looking out of a window, or squatting on a rooftop. Unless they glance up and see the glint of the Dragunov, there’s no fuckin’ chance in hell they’ll see me. I like it that way.
Rex: So, being a sniper makes you important for the team, doesn’t it?
Billy: Every mission we’ve been on, I’m there. From the first day of training to this day today.
Rex: Guess that makes you popular?
Billy: People like me, what can I say? I don’t bitch, I don’t moan, I just hurt people. I like everyone here too, mainly Vince. Vince is quite a cool guy. Bills good for a laugh too. Sals a decent laugh if you can look past him being a snobby cunt. The only one I don’t like is Will.
Rex: Seems to be a recurring theme amongst those we’ve interviewed.
Billy: He’s a bad seed. A little shit. I don’t like him one bit..He’s a spy, so what’s to say he’s not double-crossing? I don’t know..Something about him I can’t put my finger.
Rex: The fact that he’s a bastard with all the charm of a potato?
Billy [Laughing]: Yes, that’ll do!
Rex: May as well wrap this up, unless you have any war stories to share?
Billy: The others will tell you, I’m not one to tell brave stories of me stabbing a bear or managing to snipe a guy from four miles out while at sea wearing only a pair of boxer shorts and a toothpick.
Rex [Rolling his eyes]: ….Riiiiiiight. Anything to say to friends or family?
Billy: Yeah. Ma? Pa? Make sure MacCreevey isn’t touching my shit…Oh yeah, take care of yourselves. I’ll be back home in a few years. Maybe.
Johnny flicks the button off, nodding at Rex.
Billy: So that’s me done?
Rex: Yeah, sure.
Billy woops loudly, standing up and raising his arms as a sudden gust of wind blows his kilt up. Tim, Rex and Johnny scream violently, covering their eyes to save themselves from the horrible sight. Billy simply grins, shaking his head.
Billy confidently strolls off towards the alleyway towards Beale Street. Bob walks past him, cocking an eyebrow.
Bob: You look happy..
Billy [Giddily]: Yup, just scared three people today!
Billy whistles happily, strolling past Bob who simply walks into the square, shaking his head.
Bob: Maybe one day they’ll let me back into the actual military. One day..
In the unforgiving midday heat being poured upon them by the golden sun, Vince, Brick and Jon are busy driving a beige Humvee across the sands of Romani, scattering up a small cloud as they began their drive towards the Egyptian jewel that is Cairo. In the backseat behind the driver, Vince is laid back, wearing a pair of aviator sunglasses with his arms wrapped lazily around his head while a streak of lotion on his nose glistens in the sun.
Vince: Ahh..this is nice..
Jon: This ain’t some day trip, son, we’re here to kidnap a woman!
Vince: Why do you have to put it like that?
Jon [Angrily]: BECAUSE THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT WE’RE DOING!
Brick: Yup, just us..pickin’ up some fine women!
The Humvee shakes and clunks violently as it veers onto a sand-covered tarmac road.
Vince: So, we just follow this road?
Jon: …Well, this is Al Ismaileya Desert Road, isn’t it?
Brick [Bluntly]: Can’t imagine there being too many desert roads, buddy.
Vince: Let’s keep rollin’, boys!
Jon: I’m trying, dipshit.
Brick: Try faster. I wanna get there before the sun goes down!
Jon: Fuck off. I can’t magically teleport us through space and time!
A small silence overcomes the humvee.
Vince: ….But we have before!
Jon: I knew he would say that. Brick, take the wheel.
Jon shifts around his seat, leaning over it and grabbing Vinces beard roughly, shaking him violently.
Jon [Angrily]: CAUSE I’M GOING TO FUCKING KILL HIM!!!
Vince [Half in pain, Half irritated]: LET GO OF ME! LET GO OF ME!
Brick: Guys, calm down! We’re supposed to be having fun here!
Jon lets go of Vinces beard.
Jon [Cocking an eyebrow]: …Fun?
Brick: Yeah. FUN.
Jon grasps Vinces beard, proceeding to shake him violently once more.
Jon [Enraged]: I’LL FUCKING KILL HIM!!
Brick: Cairos in the distance, fellas. Not long now!
Jon shifts around in his seat, grasping the wheel as several tall, grey buildings loom into view.
Jon: Alright, fine.
The journey remains silent for a few minutes, until Vince begins clicking his tongue against the roof of his mouth. Jons left eye twitches. Vince opens his mouth, clicking his tongue repeatedly in boredom.
Jon: Brick, tell Vince to stop.
Brick doesn’t pay attention, instead half-laying down in his seat and laying a can of Budweiser on his gut as he reads an issue of “Airsoft Monthly”, flicking the pages nonchalantly. Jons eyes twitch, but he keeps looking ahead as Cairo continues to loom into view.
Jon [Talking to himself]: Alright then..I can focus….Just gotta get us a stripper…cause that fucking snake ate one…Yup….gotta get a stripper…
Vince keeps clicking his tongue against the roof of his mouth. Jon quickly twists around, lunging over the seat and grasping his throat tightly.
Jon [Enraged]: I WILL FUCKING KILL YOU!! YOU’RE DEAD!! DEAD!!
Vince grabs Jons arms, lunging forward and headbutting him violently on the nose. Jon stumbles around in his seat, grasping the wheel and screaming as a monotonous, droning horn explodes in front of them. Jon veers to the right, quickly avoiding the oncoming behemoth of an eighteen wheeler truck.
Brick [Nonchalantly]: See? This is why you should keep both eyes on the road..
Jon: You didn’t even spill your beer? What the fuck, man?
Brick: Boy, you should be worried about what’d happen if I DID spill my beer!
Vince: Are we there yet?
Jon [Angrily]: Boy, I will fucking kill you if you don’t shut up!
Vince: Are we there yet?
Jon [Bluntly]: No.
Vince [Smirking]: How about now?
Jon [Angrily]: NO!
A few moments silence.
Vince [Smirking]: Are we there yet?
Jon [Sighing heavily]: No.
Vince [Sniggering]: Are we there yet?
Jon lunges around, diving straight over the drivers seat and collapsing into the back seats, grabbing Vince by his neck and slamming his head backwards against the cushioned seats, screaming loudly. Brick quickly leans over, grabbing the wheel and shaking it wildly, trying to keep the Humvee on a straight road as they speed ahead.
Brick [Panicking]: DADGUM! WE’RE SHAKING LIKE A HOG AT A BARBECUE FESTIVAL!!
Jon grabs Vinces neck, pulling him up, but only for Vince to grab his neck, lunging forward and knocking him onto his back, roughly slamming his head against the seats.
Vince [Angry determination]: NO-ONE MESSES UP THE BEARD! NO-ONE! NO-ONE!!
Jon [Half scared, half enraged]: LET GO OF ME, YOU HAIRY FUCK!!
Jon lunges forward, headbutting Vince roughly in the nose and causing it to burst open like a ripe tomato, spraying blood over Jons forehead. Brick slowly stands up, carefully stepping over the gearbox.
Brick: Dang, don’t want that going up me butt. [Angrily] ARE YOU GUYS DONE BACK THERE?!?
Vince grabs Jon by his ears, twisting them roughly and causing him to scream before returning with a violent headbutt of his own, causing both of Jons lips to split right open and a small stream of crimson blood to flow down his chin.
Vince: NOT YET!
Brick [Muttering bitterly to himself]: Dadgummit..’Join the army’, said my Daddy..’You won’t be surrounded by violent weirdos’, said my Daddy..
Bricks Dads Voice [Inside his head]: That’s a lie. I said you won’t be surrounded by violet speedos. The Army was a better job for you than being a poolboy.
Brick: I wasn’t a poolboy!
Bricks Dads Voice [Inside his head]: You got fired after one day for drinking on the job and peeing in the pool.
Brick: See? That makes sense!
Vince headbutts Jon twice in the lips, causing them to split further and reveal the raw, pulsing mass of flesh underneath. Jon gargles violently on some blood, but his eyes flash dangerously and he digs his fingers down into Vinces eye sockets, causing Vince to scream and let go of Jon, clutching his eyes. Jon half-stands up, grabbing the back of Vinces wild shock of hair and slamming his forehead into his knee.
Jon [Cackling insanely]: DIE! DIE! DIE!
Brick: Dammit, are you two finished yet?! We’re almost in Cairo!
The Humvee jolts to a halt in front of a checkpoint, standing in the shadow of several tall buildings which indicates their arrival at Cairo. An Egyptian soldier, dressed in desert camouflage fatigues and wearing a ruby-red turban wrapped in a knot around his scalp, strolls forward, holding out a hand.
Soldier: Identification, please.
Brick: No problemo, we’re soldiers too!
The soldiers eyes slowly turn to look at Vince and Jon. Vince has managed to tackle Jon over and kneel on his chest, pressing his knees into his ribs and slamming balled fists weakly down into his forehead.
Soldier [Rolling his eyes]: I’m sure.
Brick rifles in the pocket of his flannel shirt, pulling out a large photo identification card and hands it to the soldier who takes it and looks at it, an unimpressed look crossing his face.
Soldier: Oh. From the Mercenary Academy. Which bar?
Brick: I deny the implication that we are only here to see tits and drink booze!
Soldier [Bitterly]: Right. Because that’s why you bastards ignored Muslim culture in this country and built the bars in the first place…Not to drink.
Brick: I don’t like yer attitude, mister.
Soldier: Look, I could get into an argument regarding our culture differences and the culture shock you bastards have left, but that would be in violation of the Multicultural Act of 2011. Speaking of that Act, where’s your turbans?
Brick [Slapping the wheel]: Dammit! I left it in the stripclub!
Jon grabs Vinces beard, shoving him backwards roughly and reaching into his pocket, pulling out a lighter and flicking it menacingly.
Soldier: Alright, sir. Hold on for a moment.
The soldier turns around, walking into the hut at the side of the checkpoint and talking to his friend, both of whom are looking critically at the Humvee. The friend nods, handing the soldier three pieces of sky blue fabric. The soldier takes them, walking out of the hut and towards Brick who simply shuffles around in his seat, bowing his head and allowing the soldier to wrap the fabric around his head and letting him craft it into a turban.
Brick [Angrily]: WILL YOU TWO STOP IT?!?!
Vince and Jon quickly sit down calmly in their seats, placing their hands on their knees like obedient children and allowing the soldier to walk over to their doors, leaning in and wrapping the turbans tightly around their heads.
Brick [Smirking]: Kids, eh?
Soldier [Uncaringly]: Indeed.
The soldier finishes wrapping the turban around Vinces head, stepping back from the humvee and knocking on the door.
Brick: We done?
Soldier: Remember to observe the rules: Drink only in the designated zones, no public sex, observe local culture et-cetera.
Brick: Yeah, we’ve heard it all before. HI-HO SILVER, AWAY!!
The humvee roars forward across the road as it darts to the right, heading north and around the perimeter of Cairo.
Vince: I won.
Jon: No, I did.
Vince: I did.
Jon: I did.
Vince [Angrily]: I DID!
Jon [Sticking his tongue out]: No, I did.
Vinces right eye twitches and he screams wildly, lunging forward and knocking Jon over onto his seat, latching both hands around his neck and squeezing tightly. Brick sighs, shaking his head and looking in the rearview mirror.
Brick: Kids these days..
Brick continues driving as Jon grabs Vince neck, strangling him violently.
Jon [Venomously]: I’LL KILL YOU! I’LL KILL YOU!
Vince [Angrily]: SUCK MY KNEE, FUCKFACE!
Vince stands up, pressing his knee into Jons mouth and pressing down into his split lips. Jon screams, slapping Vinces knee roughly in a futile attempt to give up. Vince laughs, pressing down harder, but only for Jon to knock him off balance when the humvee gives a sharp turn left. Jon stands up, leaning down and lifting Vince onto his shoulders.
Jon: If watching wrestling while getting drunk in the Dog and Handgun has taught me anything, it’s that this shit hurts in real life!
Vince; It’s fake! Fake as hell!
Jon [Enraged]: FAKE THIS, FUCKER!!
Jon lifts Vince off his shoulder, lifting his knee and looking to drop Vinces head right into his outstretched knee. Vince simply lands on his feet, looking at Jon who has his knee raised.
Jon: But CM Punk does this all the time!
Vince: Maybe when they’re unconscious, but not one who is still ticking!
Jon grabs Vinces hair, pulling his head downwards and repeatedly lifting his knee, slamming the point of it into Vinces busted nose and essentially crumpling it further into his face. The humvee grinds to a halt and Brick opens his door, climbing out. A small crowd of both Cairo locals and shocked tourists flock around the Humvee as it parks on the side of a wide road in a street on the outskirts, watching as Jon repeatedly knees Vince in the face. Jon stops, looking outside at the crowd and giving a large grin, revealing teeth smeared in crimson blood.
Jon [Laughing nervously]: Hello! We’re….saying…..hello! ….In…….Inuit!
Vince [Laughing in triumph]: Inuit this, fuckface!
Vince grasps Jons crotch, squeezing tightly as he can. Jon squeals loudly as Vince tightens the testicular claw, laughing wildly before letting go, causing Jons legs to buckle and letting him collapse on the seat. Vince slips the door open, climbing out and wiping his nose which is dripping drops of blood and staining his rust-colored beard a violent shade of crimson. He looks at the shocked locals who step away from him quickly.
Vince [Cheerfully]: Hello! Lovely city you have here! Hello..Hello!
Vince turns to Brick, walking over to him and dusting off his shirt which is now stained with blood.
Brick: Where’s Jon-boy?
Jon slowly strolls out, his legs spread wide apart and his walking resembling that of John Waynes after climbing off of his horse. He stands there, sighing loudly.
Jon: I can’t even sneeze without feeling pain.
All three men walk across from where they parked, squeezing into a small, dark alley and walking through it in single-file, squeezing past various metal trashcans and small cats mewling loudly, a sharp stench of urine filling their nostrils.
Brick [Retching]: Woowee! Smell that!
Jon: Smells like the Half Moon!
Vince: Is this the right place, guys?
Brick: Well, you can’t have a place of leisure out in the open here, the locals don’t like it!
Jon: Well, there is the issue of naked women dancing for pennies, as well as constant alcohol consumption, which I do believe, if I recall correctly, is fucking outlawed by Muslim culture?
Brick: There is that.
Jon [Muttering darkly]: You insensitive asshole..
They eventually squeeze out of the alley and into a small courtyard. Directly in front of them, a pair of purple neon letters flash the word “DIONS PLACE” brightly thanks to the surrounding, colossus buildings surrounding the bar, casting it in a state of permanent semi-darkness. The outside of the building is empty, the circular metal tables left abandoned aside from one Egyptian figure wearing a striking mauve suit and trousers, accompanied with a black ruffled shirt opened at the chest to reveal a semi-cut figure. The figure looks up, a cigarette smouldering between his lips which he quickly flicks to the side, walking over to Brick with a bright grin on his face, revealing artificially-whitened teeth. Brick spreads his arms, laughing before simply shaking the mans hand.
Dion [Excitedly]: Hey, it’s Brick! Jon! And some other white guy I don’t know anything about!
Brick: Dion, Hairy Bitch. Vince, Dion.
Vince [Waving slightly]: Hey.
Dion [Clapping his hands together]: So, what can I do for you guys? A screw? A drink? A screw and then a drink?
Brick: Nope, we’re here with some cash.
Dion: Ahh…good show! Good show! I’ve got a few new talents in that will hurt that wallet but that will get the patrons running in with their pants around their ankles!
Jon: I totally did not want that mental image, Dion.
Dion: Come in, guys! Come in!
Dion spins around on his Cuban heels, strolling forward and grasping the bronze handles of the glass doors, thrusting them open and strolling into the darkness occasionally blitzed with purple strobe lights.
Vince: We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto…
Jon: Dammit, shut up, Dorothy!
Brick: Oh man, does that mean I get to be Scarecrow?
Jon: Yes..if only you had a brain!
Brick: Comin’ from the guy with all the charm of a stuck hog!
Jon: Shut up, and let’s get talking. Ready: Manly men!
Vince sprays half a can of breathspray into his mouth as he uses his free hand to slick back his hair. Brick reaches into the breast pocket of his flannel vest, spraying under his arms before shoving the can into his pants and spraying a quarter of the can down there. Jon slicks back his hair and dusts off his shirt. All three men look at eachother, smirking and nodding before walking into the club.
In the square, Rex, Johnny and Tim are busy setting up for another interview. Tim is sat on a wooden chair under the shadow of Franks apartment, eating a tuna and sweetcorn sandwich as he watches Johnny polishing the lens of the camera, blowing it lightly.
Johnny: Fucking sand.
Rex: Last interview, guys, and then it’s to the Half Moon for a drink!
Johnny slips his navy blue cloth into the pocket of his three-quarter desert camouflage shorts, flicking on a few switches.
Johnny: Ready when he arrives.
Right on cue, the strutting form of Sal Memeh-Porpington struts into view, clad in a gold silken Nehru jacket over a white dress shirt and accompanied with black corduroy trousers and snakeskin Cuban-heeled shoes.
Rex: Greetings, Sal.
Sal: Hello, common man.
Sal strolls over to the wooden chair, taking a white silk handkerchief out of his back pocket and laying it on the chair, sitting down daintily and crossing his left leg over his right knee, sitting and looking at the camera.
Rex [Bluntly]: Wow, you really are a bastard, aren’t you?
Sal: Silence, lest you want me to buy your job and then fire you!
Rex: See, we knew this would happen. Alright, fuck it. Johnny, are we ready?
Johnny flicks his thumbs up, pressing a button with his left finger. Tim belches loudly, throwing his crusts to the sand and licking his fingers before grabbing the microphone, walking over to Sal.
Sal: Hmph. Commoner.
Tim curses under his breath, standing beside Johnny and hanging the microphone over his head.
Rex: Tim, lower the boom-mic.
Tim slams the microphone down into Sals head, causing him to yelp loudly. Tim and Johnny snigger quietly, but Rex snaps his fingers patronisingly.
Rex [Angrily]: FOCUS, DAMN YOU! Alright, Sal, where were you born?
Sal [Checking his gold Rolex]: Fuck off, peasant.
Rex: Alright then, time to play the Ace.
Rex turns his head to the left, pursing his parched lips and giving a loud, shrill whistle. Waddling in from Walkers Street is the undeniable hulking form of a male Emperor Penguin, no longer wearing a flying helmet nor goggles but instead now wearing a bullet belt around its thick, bulbous torso, the belt strapping a slender Dragunov Rifle into place on the penguins back.
Mr. Dibbley [Venomously]: Hello……Sal.
Mr. Dibbleys eyes flash red demonically as Sal gulps loudly, turning to the camera. Johnny quickly flicks a few switches as Mr. Dibbley ominously grasps the rifle, somehow managing to hold it with its flippers before cocking the slide back noisily.
Sal: My name is Sal Memeh-Porpington. I was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. My rank is Warrant Officer One.
Rex: Wow, Warrant Officer?
Sal: Yes, sir. Warrant Officer. Officially the third in command of this company.
Rex: So, you got your bar at Fort Rucker? A Hawaiian in Alabama? Must have been tough.
Sal: Yes. But being a Warrant Officer in the Military Police Corps was more than worth it.
Rex: Wow! That is actually nothing to sniff at!
Sal: Thanks. Yes, it was tough..Helping to guide lost soldiers back to their units, occasionally punishing some for desertion and insubordination, guiding vehicles..In fact, my first tour of duty as an MP was right here in the Middle East, mostly down in Libya.
Rex: Libya? There for the uprisings?
Sal: Oh yes. Tough times! It was extremely hectic for us to organise the troops and ensure the cavalry support was on a protected route.
Rex: So…dare I ask how you ended up here?
Sal: I guided three humvees containing medical supplies..into a government minefield they set up. Fucking Gaddafi..
Rex: But that wasn’t your fault? You surely couldn’t have known that!
Sal: No, but it turns out that when a soldiers screaming for help, you’re not supposed to run over, steal all the morphine you can and then run back into the safety.
Rex [In disbelief]: …Morphine? Seriously?
Sal: Hey, those rebels paid out of the asses for that stuff! Just because my fathers own several textile factories and single-handedly funded me as a Warrant Officer doesn’t mean I can just take what I want! I needed extra money!
Rex [Bluntly]: Wow, you really are an asshole.
Sal: Bullshit! They court-martialled me and sent me here, while Private First Class Davies got the Purple Heart, and ended up getting trained for Logistics! He earns more than I do in a month ! I’m not an angel of death, I’m an angel of fortune!
Rex: Enough of that.
Sal [Smirking]: You’re just jealous ‘cause I have the Midas touch!
Rex: Whatever. So, you’re a Warrant Officer One here?
Sal: Yes. And let me tell you, completing the courses under the Academy is fucking worse than it was in Alabama. The others have been telling you about our training missions around then world?
Rex: Chechnya, the Balkans, Boli--
Sal: Yeah, well I got my training during that time. Know how difficult it is to even attempt to police these bastards? These guys do what they want, when they want! Sure, I managed to get a few of them punished, but they often just tied me in my tent and beat the shit out of me! I ended up only having the power to make sure the routes were safe, cause if I so much as threatened to punish one of them, they smacked me with a sock full of billiard balls!
Mr. Dibbley stifles a snigger, turning it into a cough at the last second. Rex simply nods.
Rex: So, you police these men? That’s your job?
Sal [Calmly]: On the battlefield. Here? I don’t give a fuck. Let them do what they want.
Rex: Interesting. So, your men look up to you?
Sal: No, I look down on them. Big difference.
Rex: So, your job in the company at this moment in time is..?
Sal: Well, I check the roads to make sure there’s no PMCs patrolling or the like. Aside from that? Arranging shipments, mostly. My job is making sure food and weaponry doesn’t run out. Me and Bob, our Communications guy, also pinpoint where shipments are coming in so we can go and steal them. It’s a dirty job, but someones gotta do it. Also, my fathers vast wealth ensures that I am kept dressed finely, and that once a month, an allied supply helicopter accidentally drops its load onto us. I suppose they do look up at me in a way, since I keep them fed. They do hate me, though.
Sal: Well, for one I hate them because they’re all poor. It really is their fault, bunch of sponges..and two, I’m not the most combat-minded--
Rex: You’re not a combat expert?
Sal: I can use a rifle, if that’s what your alluding to. I’m not some rampant incompetent, I can use an AK easy.
Rex: But you’re not trained in a combat field?
Sal: I improvise. I don’t lay traps, don’t torture people, can’t snipe for shit, but what I do has its place. Does it fucking matter that much?
Rex: No, just saying. So, the men hate you?
Sal [Bluntly]: Yep.
Rex [Cocking an eyebrow]: ….You took that well.
Sal: Hey, I’m here to survive, dipshit, not make friends! If that means hiding behind my comrades, so be it!
Rex: You cower in battle?
Sal: I prefer the term ‘Dynamic cover’.
Sal [Bitterly]: Do you honestly think that war is something we should be honourable about? Fuck that! Have you seen actual war, sunshine? It isn’t lollipops and rainbows. Children get beheaded, women get raped and shot, men get beaten to death, prisoners are taken. Fuck me, guys like Britain and America torture prisoners and kill civilians, so I think that me hiding behind my comrades isn’t exactly cowardly, especially when I do pop up occasionally and shoot at someone who is yelling “FOR OCELOT!” and charging at us while screaming wildly!
Rex: So..you’ve been in wars before?
Sal: A few with the company. Mostly during training. When we got stationed here, I had my father fly a few builders and architects over, we built a mansion in the desert and we remain there.
Rex: Shut up, I want to hear about wars! This is the first I’ve heard of the company actually doing..well, something.
Sal: During training we went to a lot of places..Holland, Chechnya, The Balkans, Libya, France, Bolivia, we even got stationed in Australia once.
Rex: Australia? Can’t be dangerous--
Sal [Matter-of-fact]: Australians are the bravest people in the world. Want to know why? Because they live in a country where everything can fucking kill you. EVERYTHING. We lost thirty-one men in Australia, compared to twelve in Chechnya. Spiders, snakes, frogs..you name it. In Australia, bugs squash you.
Rex: But what about fighting? Actual fighting? As an NCO, surely you have a tale to tell?
Sal: Well, there was that time in Bolivia when we came across the Beauty and the Beast Unit. Man, that was scary. Two nights in a jungle with nothing but insects, spiders, scorpions and four incredibly deadly women on our asses.
Rex: What was it like?
Sal: Horrible. Tents, really? Fuck that. The food was horrible too—
Rex [Impatiently]: I MEANT IN TERMS OF FIGHTING!
Sal: Oh, it was bad. One night they attacked our camp and forced us to flee.
Rex: Doesn’t sound too harsh.
Sal [Over-dramatically]: THEY FORCED US TO FLEE INTO A HIVE OF ANGRY BEES!!!
Sal bares his teeth. The square succumbs to an awkward silence.
Rex: Yeah, sure.
Sal: Hey, they chased us through the jungle for two days and two nights. We couldn’t even stop for a piss without some weird robotic dog-like piece of shit bursting through the trees and leaping at us.
Crying Wolfs Voice [Angrily]: FUCK YOU! IT’S A WOLF!
Sal: YEAH YEAH!
Rex: Interesting. Ever killed anyone?
Sal: Plenty of times. One time in the streets of Beijing, we took cover and some PMC rushed past my alleyway, knocking over a Ming Vase I had my eyes on. I gutted him like a fish!
Rex: That’s…pretty gruesome.
Sal: It was a Ming Vase! I had my eyes on it for the two days we were doing recon work!
Rex: So, you guys are shipped to foreign countries often?
Sal: When we’re actually doing something? Yup. Until then, we sit here, minding our business, twiddling our thumbs and waiting for the bombs to cascade down and blow us to kingdom come.
Rex: Sounds like a tragic excuse for existence.
Sal: We make the most of it. Drinking, fighting, more drinking, eating, more fighting, and occasionally we get some whores in and have a party.
Rex: Mm. Really professional. And cut!
Sal leaps to his feet, roaring wildly and pumping his arms excitedly. Mr. Dibbley simply stands there, his face blank as his eyes blink rapidly. Sal dusts off his hands, calmly strolling over to Dibbley whose eyes glint suddenly. Sal gulps.
Mr. Dibbley [Bitterly]: What do you want, plebeian?!
Sal [Calmly]: …Look, Dibbley, I have to say that this war is silly! I want to apologise from the bottom of my heart, and hope that we can find it in ourselves to be friends.
Mr. Dibbley eyes Sal cautiously as he eases over, hesitantly wrapping his arms around Mr. Dibbley in a somewhat-friendly hug. Mr. Dibbley gives a small sigh and slaps his flippers on his back, placing a scrap of paper that reads “Break My Legs” on his back.
Mr. Dibbley [Smirking]: Alright, old chap.
Sal pulls away, smiling and giving a thankful nod before wordlessly turning around and strolling calmly across the sand, easing through the alleyway and out into Beale Street. Mr. Dibbley watches, sniggering as Sal turns around before a soccer ball smashes violently into his face. Sal curses, stumbling around before Phil and Jericho run into view, diving forward and lunging both of their studded boot-clad feet simultaneously into both his legs. Two vicious snaps are heard as Sal screams loudly, bawling in agony. Phil and Jericho stand up, looking down at Sal.
Phil: Awww man, sorry, it’s just you had a sign on your back saying “Break My Legs”.
Jericho: Yeah, and you know what signs are like. It’s like they hypnotise you!
Sal [Enraged, in agony]: MY FUCKING LEGS!! DIBBLEY! YOU CUNT! YOU FUCKING CUNT! I FUCKING HATE YOU!
Mr. Dibbley turns around, slapping his flippers happily.
Mr. Dibbley: All debts have been paid in full, Sal. Consider yourself…free.
Sal [In agony]: MY LEGS! MY FUCKING LEGS!
*The Lamb and Flag*
As evening starts to draw its dark curtain across Beale Street, several mercenaries are heading down Beale Street for their ritualistic need to consume liquor and continue their road to forgetting everything they know.
Mantis: Well, this is a conundrum.
Jericho slowly strolls beside her, straightening out his camelskin trenchcoat.
Jericho: What is?
Mantis: Well, the Lamb and Flag lately…has been shit, to be blunt.
Jericho: Oh aye, it has been lately.
Bob and Octopus stroll past them.
Bob: Which is why we don’t go and never will go.
That Random Guy: Bob, man, you used to be cool!
Bob: Go fuck yourself, *Beep*.
That Random Guy: Make me.
Octopus: I will. For pleasure.
That Random Guy gulps loudly, causing That Hispanic Guy to point and laugh at him. The few stragglers stop near the Lamb and Flag, where a small crowd has gathered. Dick is standing outside the door, sweating nervously and clearly looking distraught.
Dick: Look, I understand your hostility..but we’re still about the booze, guys!
Will: Are you kidding? I’d prefer the bald Limeys pub to your shit bar! At least he can afford Glenfiddich!
Dick: We can! ….Just not now!
Steve [Enthusiastically]: BLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOODDDDDDDDD!!!
Tavi [Angrily]: You know, I come here for one stinking drink, and you’re telling me you’ve only got five kegs on tap?! All of them Carling?!
Dick: It was cheap!
Phil: ‘Cause no-one would drink that lukewarm piss!
Dick: Guys. Give me a chance. I will be back to business as normal tomorrow!
Right on cue, the door to the Half Moon slams open and Bill slowly strolls out, giving a shrill whistle. The mob of people slowly turn their heads to him.
Bill: My friends, tonight is Moonshine night. Twenty dollars and you get all the Moonshine you can drink.
The mob falls silent.
Ivan [Hopefully]: Does zat include free peanuts?
Bill: Yes. Yes it doe--
Bill screams, diving into the bar as the mob kicks up a cloud of a sand, hastily jolting towards the Half Moon and filing through the door. Dick simply stands there, his face crestfallen.
Dick: But..my bar…
Maurice slowly sidles past him.
Maurice: Sorry lad, free peanuts? I’m in.
Dick watches as Maurice slowly walks towards the Half Moon. A lone tear trickles down his left cheek.
Dick: ……I’m all alone..
Moe eases around his right leg.
Moe [Bluntly]: No, now you are.
Moe jogs over to the Half Moon as Dick watches, hanging his head in shameful defeat before turning around and slamming the door shut.
The mood within the Half Moon is a jovial ecstacy as three large bronze stills stand erected in front of the bar. While it has replaced the stools, the mood is still stellar as Bill runs between them, switching on taps and pouring the oddly scarlet liquid into metal cups. Jericho takes his cup, looking down at it.
Jericho: What’s with the metal cups?
Bill: This stuff is so potent it needs it.
Jericho sniffs the liquid, inhaling a bitter, almost metallic whiff. He winces, pulling his face back.
Jericho: ….I see.
Jericho turns around, walking over to a circular table where Phil, Steve, Ivan, Will, Raging Raven and Johan are sat, a bowl of peanuts sat in the middle of the table. Jericho sits between Phil and Steve, setting his cup down and noticing the others cups simply resting on the table.
Jericho: No-ones drunk theirs yet?
Phil: It smells like drain cleaner.
Raven: Probably tastes like it, too.
Johan: I am waiting for someone else to taste it.
Raven: What he said.
Wolf: We haven’t drank ours yet. We’re waiting for Phil to drink.
Phil: Why me?
Wolf: A willing sacrifice to save us all.
Tavi and Wolf turn their heads, staring at Phil who looks at them uneasily.
Phil: I’d rather jam my dick in a blender than be a sacrifice for you bastards!
That Hispanic Guy: I would be, but my tables found a way to solve that problem!
Around That Hispanic Guys table are Stoofer, Bobby, That Random Guy, That Other Random Guy and Mustafa. Mustafa is simply sitting there, looking bored as That Random Guy and him arm-wrestle. Mustafas tree trunk-like arm is barely moving, while That Random Guys is shaking wildly.
That Random Guy [Laughing inanely]: I ALMOST HAVE HIM! I ALMOST HAVE HIM!
Mustafa yawns loudly.
That Random Guy almost stands up, pushing against Mustafas arm with all his might.
That Random Guy [Laughing inanely]: ON YOUR KNEES! ON YOUR KNEES!
Mustafa burps, casually slamming That Random Guys arm onto the table with such velocity that he stumbles and falls to the floor.
That Hispanic Guy: And that means he’s gotta taste the—Well, now he’s unconscious..[Angrily] Merde! Merde merde merde merde MERDE!
Mustafa [Half-heartedly]: Oops.
Stoofer: So, what now?
Ivan: I ain’t tasting it.
Steve: Me neither. I think mines bubbling!
Phil: I think that’s normal for this..stuff.
Al suddenly gives a shrill whistle, climbing onto his bar and standing tall as all heads turn to him. He raises his metal cup up high, grinning inanely.
Al: Here’s to the Half Moon being the best fucking pub here! Now, all of you..drink up!
Al thrusts the cup up, stopping as it touches his lips. No-one else follows suit.
Al: C’mon guys, what’s wrong?
Mustafa: It looks like poison!
Wolf: And it damn well smells like poison too!
Al: Well, I ain’t testing it!
Phil: Me neither!
The whole bar falls silent, with all eyes turning to Bill who simply stands there, holding his own metal cup.
Bill: Challenge accepted.
Bill drains the entire contents of his cup, blinking rapidly before burping. He stands there, grinning inanely.
Al: See? Nothing wrong!
Bills eyes suddenly twitch and he lets out a primal scream, running over to a nearby chair and picking it up, slamming it wildly on the floor.
Jericho: Looks good to me!
Courtney: Bottoms up, everyone!
In unison, the entire bar drains their metal cups of the homemade moonshine. A silence falls over them.
Jericho [Clenching his teeth]: Let’s fuckin’ rumble!
Jericho gets to his feet, grabbing a chair and flinging it against a wall. In a fit of drunken frenzy, every single mercenary hauls themselves to their feet, turning to one another and letting out various degrees of war cries. Steve runs forward, tackling Will to the floor. Raven grabs Steve, pulling him off of Will, but simply allowing Jericho and Phil to grasp their table, throwing it onto Jericho. Johan leaps to his feet, grabbing That Random Guy and hurling him halfway across the room.
Bill: Now this is what moonshine brings!!
Bill throws his cup down, climbing onto the bar and leaping forward, tackling Jericho to the floor by his waist and starting to rain down forearms on his temple. Mustafa gets to his feet, grabbing That Hispanic Guy by his lapels and lifting him up high.
That Hispanic Guy: LET ME DOWN, DAMMIT!!
Mustafa lays That Hispanic Guy over his shoulder before running forward, throwing That Hispanic Guy straight out of the window like a javelin, showering the street outside with glass. Tavi and Wolf run forward, holding onto both of Phils arms and hurling him through the windowframe, sending him landing on That Hispanic Guy with a sickening crunch. Both of them dust off their hands, nodding at eachother until Mustafa grabs Wolf by clamping both of his hands around her head, lifting her straight off of the floor.
Wolf: LET GO OF ME! LET GO OF ME!
Tavi darts to the right, but watches as Courtney runs forward with a three-point stance, tackling Mustafa by his legs and sending him and Wolf clean through the door, causing to crumple inwards and shatter into splinters. Suddenly, Jeff Jarrett walks through the door.
Courtney: What the..bloody hell?
Jarrett: It’s been a while since the former TNA Heavyweight Champion has been around these parts, and what do you know? It’s a bar brawl!
Jarrett reaches into a blue, wispy portal beside him, pulling out an acoustic guitar and smashing it over Tavis head in a burst of wood, sending her collapsing backwards. Kurt Angle randomly runs in next, smashing an iron pipe over Jarretts head and sending him collapsing to the floor.
Angle: SUCK ON THAT, DOUBLE J!! SUCK ON THAT!!
That Other Random Guy pounds his chest and screams loudly, hurtling forward and diving at Angle who simply sidesteps, allowing him to smash his face off of the concrete and slowly slide forward in the sands. Angle slowly walks in, looking around and clapping his hands together.
Angle: Time to fuck some shit up.
Ivan runs forward, grabbing Angle by his waist, lifting him up and slamming through a nearby table, only for Screaming Mantis to leap forward and onto his back, latching her arms around his neck and locking in a Sleeper hold. Both of them stumble past Steve who pours some of the moonshine on the back of That Other Random Guy before lighting a few matches and throwing them on him, causing to light up furiously. He screams, getting to his feet and flailing about.
Will: HA! You’re on fire!
That Other Random Guy lets out an enraged scream, running over to Will and laughing maniacally, wrapping his arms around him and pulling him close, effectively smothering him in flames. In the back, Rex, Johnny and Tim are sat there, calmly watching the ensuing violence.
Rex: Wow. Wish we had the camera with us..DUCK!
The three of them duck down as Jericho is thrown over their heads, slamming into the wall behind them and smashing his back into the glass frame of a painting. Tavi runs past them with Jeff Jarrett in a headlock, dragging him into the female toilets. She’s quickly joined by a semi-conscious Phil, now swinging a bicycle chain around his head.
Johnny: Yup. Good brawl this…Wow, isn’t that Manny Pacquiao?
Johnny points at Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao who has randomly appeared in the bar. That Random Guy rushes over to him, a stool in his hands, but Pacquaio simply flings a lightning-fast right hook out, knocking him straight onto the floor.
Tim: Where did he come from?
Rex: I’ve learnt never to ask questions…DUCK AGAIN!
All three of them duck as Stoofer and Bobby, holding onto Bills arms and legs and clutching him like a battering ram, throw him like a javelin, causing his body to smash into the wooden door of the male bathroom, leaving a large crater in the door. Bill grasps the splintered wood, coughing up a small amount of blood before Stoofer runs forward, yelling out and tackling Bill straight the door.
Tim: Fuck it. Bottoms up, lads!
Tim, Johnny and Rex quickly drink up their own moonshine from the metal cups, slamming on the table. Tim and Johnny get to their feet, nodding at eachother.
Rex [Smacking his lips]: Woooooooowwww..it’s like drinking diesel!
Tim and Johnny grab Rex’s arms, flinging him violently into the air and causing his back to smash off the ceiling before he plummets downwards, smashing violently into the table below and causing it to crack and splinter beneath him. Johnny turns around, flinging open the door to the womens bathroom and looking inside where Phil is busy slamming Jeff Jarretts head against a mirror.
Jeff Jarrett pulls back, moving behind Phil and leaping up, dropkicking him and causing his face to smash violently off of the mirror. Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin dart into the bar through the empty doorframe, nodding excitedly.
Sabin: Fuck yeah! Time for the Motor City Machineguns to get to work!
Shelley: Damn right!
That Other Random Guy, still on fire, angrily turns around, letting out an inhuman yell and storms over to them. Both of them nod at eachother before leaping up, dropkicking him and causing him to stumble backwards, falling through a table and splintering it in half.
Sabin [Ecstatically]: FUCK YEAH!
Maurice runs over, pounding his chest and grabbing both of them, slamming their heads together roughly before Moe runs over, kicking Shelley in the shin and causing him to collapse on his face.
Moe [Over-enthusiastically]: YEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!
A few feet to the left of Dean and Karabs Kebaborama, a shoddy wooden stall has been erected in the sands. Sat behind it are Billy, busy stirring a large metal pot placed upon it, and Sal, whose leaning on crutches since his legs are firmly set in plaster.
Billy: Look at that commotion.
Billy and Sal turn their heads, watching as Alex Shelley, Chris Sabin and Phil are thrown through the window, tied together by a length of wire.
Phil: This happened before, didn’t it?
Sabin: Indeed it did. Where did Courtney get the wire from?
Shelley: I don’t know. [Enthusiastically] MOTOR CITY MACHINEGUNS! RANDOM DUDE! BACK AGAIN!!
All three of them hop through the empty doorway and back into the bar.
Sal: Well, they’re drunk, so they might try this new business of ours. After all: Chilli and beer? They mix well!
Billy: Yeah, but I heard Al and Bill had brewed moonshine.
Sal and Billy watch as a naked Bobby is hurled through the window with his back covered in pitch and set alight. He rolls in the sands, a huge cloud of steam sending up the smell of roasting human flesh and causing Bobby to sigh.
Bobby [Slurring]: Mmmm..barbecue.
Sal [Angrily]: GODDAMMIT!!
Billy: Hey, it could make some money. We’ll have to see.
Sal: It better…we’re right near the Kebab Shop. RIGHT NEAR!
Billy: Yeah. I’m sure they won’t mind us possibly stealing their business.
Sals eyes widen slowly.
Sal [Unnerved]: Fuck..what if they they beat us?
Billy: I’d like to see those castrated pussies try!
On cue, the plastic door to Dean and Karabs Kebaborama opens and Samuel, Dean and Karab file out. Karab simply follows nonchalantly, while Dean and Samuel are seething. Dean strokes his rolling pin menacingly as he struts in front of the stand, turning to face it.
Dean [Menacingly]: Lookie this, boys. We got chilli-heads.
Sal: Look, friends, we just want to spread the painful, blinding heat of cheap chilli with our friends!
Samuel: This is our corner. We don’t like intruders.
Sal: How about a nice, big spoonful?
Sal pulls out the wooden spoon, holding it out. Dean hesitantly steps forward.
Dean [Nervously]: …Uhh…Alright..
Dean places his mouth around the spoon, quickly pulling back and guliping the chilli. He screams violently, clutching his throat and stumbling back. Sal grins, nodding slightly.
Sal: Get ‘em Billy.
Samuel [Panicking]: HOLY SHIT! NOT THE SCOT!!
Billy slowly stands up, cracking his knuckles and walking around the table.
Billy: Intruders? Chilli-heads? I think it’s clobbering time.
Dean [Choking for air]: F-f-f-f-fuck it and r-r-r-run!!
Dean and Samuel turn around, hurtling down the street. Karab simply stands there.
Karab: Can I try some?
Sal: Sure. Here you go. [Sal dips the spoon back into the pot, only for the spoon to sucked in.] Oh..uhh…shit. Billy, we’re going to need to lead ladel.
Sal [Surprised]: Ordinary spoons are too weak.
Billy reaches under the stall, handing Sal a lead ladel. Sal scoops some up, handing it to Karab who downs the entire ladel, licking his lips.
Billy; Uh, dude, that shit is five alarm--
Karab [Shrugging]: Not really. Some nice spices in there, but you need some turmeric and perhaps some ghost chilli to really give it a fire.
Karab turns around, strolling back into the Kebaborama nonchalantly as Sal and Billy simply sit there.
Billy: Cheeky bitch!
Sal: Eh, I’m sure we’ll get customers and prove them wrong!
Sal and Billy sit in silence for three minutes, their heads turned down the street and listening to the chaos pouring from the Half Moon, watching as Will is thrown out of the window tied to a piece of rope before being dragged violently back in again, his torso scraping off the broken glass.
Billy [Slamming his fists down]: Ach! Fuck this! Let’s go see what all tha’ commotion is aboot in the Half Moon!
Sal: Sure thing, buddy.
Both Sal and Billy stand up, strolling nonchalantly to the Half Moon and leaving their stall in the sands. Sal places an arm around Billys shoulders.
Sal: Y’know Billy..this could be the start of a beautiful friendship!
Billy [Bluntly]: Touch me again and I’ll snap your arm off.
Sal quickly lets go.
Sal [Happily]: I love happy endings!
The scene fades.
*The English Channel*
The scene re-opens within the dark, metal control room of a U-boat. Several men, dressed in dark blue fatigues, are busy running around the room, examining various control panels and switchboards. In the middle of the room, gazing through a periscope, is Robbie, clad in the ironed and pressed uniform of a Kreigsmarine commander, complete with a white peaked cap. He raises the periscopes scope up, turning to his crew with his arms clasped behind his back, watching them run across the metal floor and listening to their footsteps echo in the cramped, dark, dank metal surroundings, the only lighting coming from switchboards and the neon-green screen of a sonar. He gives a small, content sigh.
Dave: Großadmiral Robbie! We have problems!
Robbie: What is it, Generaladmiral?
Dave [Bluntly]: We have no fucking idea where we are.
Robbie remains silent, his hands clasped behind his back.
Robbie: I shall pretend I didn’t hear that. Now, where are we, Quartermaster?
Dave [Raising his voice]: Fucking lost!!
Robbie [Angrily]: CUT THE SEMANTICS AND GIVE ME CO-ORDINATES, GODDAMMIT!!!
Robbies head slowly turns towards the screen of the sonar, which is now emitting constant, ringing beeps. A uniformed member of the crew rushes over, examining the screen with a certain panic in his eye
Robbie: Fregattenkapitan Benito? What is it?
Benito [Panicked]: We’re surrounded!
Robbie [Narrowing his eyes]: Nein! NEIN!
Dave grasps the periscope, pulling it down and glancing through it before pushing it and tapping Robbie on the shoulder. Robbie spins around on the balls of heels.
Dave: Alright, I know where we are.
Robbie: Good! Where are we?
Dave: How does the English Channel, surrounded by English and French Destroyers sound?
Robbie [Angrily]: Surrounded? HA! We aren’t surrounded. WE ARE STEEL DEATH!!
Robbie grasps the periscope, looking into it: Sure enough several Destroyer-class warships have surrounded them on the surface of the icy brine. Any attempt at an escape would surely be met with depth charges and a violent, watery grave. Robbie slowly pulls away.
Robbie: Oh. That is a problem. We are surrounded.
Dave: Yeah. No shit.
Crewman: Robbie, what do we do?! I SAY WE TORPEDO THEM!!
Robbie [Calmly]: Kommodore Heinrich, shut up. We’ve got to be…diplomatic.
Heinrich [Angrily]: DIPLOMACY?!?!?!
Robbie: Yes…Such a horrible, bitter-tasting word, but we had better do so.
Benito: Can’t we just torpedo them?!
Dave [Bluntly]: Well if he is, he better do it quickly, dumbass.
Robbie: Don’t worry…Dave. I have a plan. [Enthusiastically] TO THE SURFACE, BRAGGARTS!
The hull of the U-boat screams violently as pressure is relieved from it, and the U-boat begins to slowly ascend the surface of the Channel. Dave sighs, rubbing his eyes.
Dave [Exasperatedly]: Why do I have feeling this is going to end badly?...
The scene fades to black.
-COMING SOON: Part VI
With Robbie and Dave cornered, can they overcome English and French forces to get back to the Suez? What state will the Half Moon be left in? Will Billy and Sals chilli business actually take off? And what will Mother Mercenary order Frank and Lynch to do next? Tune in next time to witness violence, ice, and tentacles!