The scene opens in Beale Street, which is now completely obscured by a rough curtain of sand. A violent sandstorm has completely erased Beale and Walker Street temporarily from the mat as it rolls over the streets, forming an impassable barrier for all those who wished to walk the streets and forcing the mercenaries headquarters to a standstill. No life exists within this blanket of harsh sand as it wears away at the buildings, cutting a swath through any living thing.
*Frank, Mantis, Bob, Octopus, Will, Robbie and Daves Flat*
In the house that contains no fewer than six mercenaries at the head of the left side of Beale Street, the usual high-octane dealings have ground to a halt as they take refuge from the sandstorm cutting through the streets with a nigh-on impassable wall. Dave is sat on the leather couch, smoking a cigarette as he stares at a screen of static, coughing quietly. Coach Lynch, having taken refuge in the house of his second-in-command, parts the netting on the window to the left of the wooden door, looking aside at the sandstorm so thick he can barely make out the flat of Phil, Jericho, Ivan and Steve directly opposite. Frank strolls out of his and Mantis’s room, wearing nothing but a pair of white-and-blue striped boxer shorts. Lynch hears the muffled footsteps on the carpet and turns around, wincing as he sees Frank.
Lynch [In disgust]: …Sweet Jesus.
Lynch [Wincing]: …You.
Dave: I ain’t even going to look.
Lynch: Save your eyes and don’t.
Dave nods as Frank stretches, yawning slightly and scratching his hair-covered chest.
Dave [Calmly]: Sweet Jesus, I can hear him scratch.
Frank: ….So, what are we going to do today? Drink?...Chess?.....Drink?
Lynch [Bluntly]: Work.
Frank [Sighing]: What?
Lynch: After the attack on Robbie’s U-Boat, I want my men to remain armed just in case the Patriots take offence to us ball-kicking their top PMCs. So, we may as well take this opportunity to contact Mother Mercenary for a weapons shipment.
Frank [Raising an eyebrow]: How? It’s fucking flooded by sand out there.
Lynch: Satellite phone, smartass.
Frank [Smirking]: Oh. New technology, huh?
Lynch [Coldly]: Make a “You’re so old” joke and I will snap your neck like a twig.
Frank: I…wasn’t planning to. I was wondering if she would have the same.
Lynch [Coldly]: She doesn’t live in a cave, asswipe.
Frank: Look, Lynch, can she give us a weapons shipment? The UNs been comatose lately. What with us completing Shadow Moses and the Patriots beginning to turn their heads around in three hundred and sixty degree motions to find out the source of the people who are trying to align things to unleash the chain of events that will fuck them up.
Lynch: You saw what happened to Robbie, didn’t you? Besides, she’s supposed to arrive to view that interview video soon. If she does it and brings a few weapons, that kills two birds with one stone for her, and if I know her, she loves shortcuts.
Frank: What if she says no?
Lynch: Have you ever tried negotiating?
Frank [Shrugging]: No—
Lynch [Bluntly]: Then shut up, grow a pair and watch.
Lynch hits the call button, holding the receiver to his ear.
Lynch: Mother Mercenary. It’s Coach Lynch. Hello. Yes. We need a weapons shipment. Yes, this is in concerns to the attack on our naval unit. Anything to help equip my infantry better….Yes, that means giving us guns that aren’t M4s and AKs. Yes, that means giving us the good stuff.
Frank: How about a PKM or two?
Lynch: How about I fucking slap you? [Hastily] Sorry, that was Frank. No, he hasn’t shaven. Yes, he still looks like a homeless person. Look, the M4s and AKs are good, sturdy equipment, but that’s all we have. That and a fuckload of Claymores and two RPG-7s ReLoaded has. My men aren’t even equipped for their roles…..Yes. Well, I’d like some heavy machineguns. Some more explosive ordinance. I’d also like primary weapons that will cut through an enemy. How about an MP5 shipment? No?......
Frank: How about a few XM8s?
Lynch [Strolling around the room]: A few XM8s?.....You only have SIX? Wow, the United States really are dodgy about that. Thought they’d ship more out since I thought they wanted this global war thing to get a move on---Yeah, alright, I understand. Yes, I know the Patriots ID lock the guns. We can sort that out—Yes, Drebins. Yes--
Frank [Speaking up]: How about an M60 or two? Fuck, we could use them!
Lynch: SHUT UP!! [Hastily] Just Frank again. How about a few M60s? Look, we just want something different. A few M60s, surely. I mean, it’s from before the Patriots---You CAN?! Great! We need six! Yes, six…..Yes, Mother, we are arming an army. I would love some F2000 assault rifles….F2000. Yes, F2000. No, I’m not kidding……Three will do, yes. To fill out the rest of the ranks? Well, Billy and Mr. Dibbley are well armed, and the troops have their own side-arms and shit. Just throw in whatever you don’t need…….[Whispering] Think you could slip in an XM8 for me? Cheers. Next week. Yes, next week. Well, didn’t you say you wanted to view Rex’s movie? I think it’s almost done. Yes, that would be a good idea. Yes. See you next week Mother.
Lynch hangs up, giving a triumphant grin.
Lynch: She’s sending us some weaponry.
Frank: Brilliant! What am I being armed with?
Lynch [Bluntly]: Something which suits your appearance: A stone club.
Frank: Wow, a Neanderthal joke! That’s a new one!
Lynch [Smirking]: Shut up. We’re armed, alright? That means we can throw our guns to ReLoaded, get Courtney to hawk them to the Mujahideen and Taliban, and get some extra money saved for food drops and building materials. This gets us back on track.
Raven yawns loudly, the door to her room being shoved open roughly as she strolls out calmly, rubbing her eyes. She glances at Lynch, then at Frank, then at Lynch again, before listening closely to the roaring sandstorm outside.
Raven [Coldly]: Excuse me. Why are you here?
Lynch [Narrowing his eyes]: Because there’s a sandstorm out there and I’d rather not be choked to death on it.
Dave takes a small drag of his cigarette.
Dave: A shame that would be.
Raven [Darkly]: Mm. That’d be a shame.
Lynch: Fuck you both.
Raven [Shrugging]: Whatever.
Lynch: Wow, you seem fucking despondent today little missy.
Lynch [Nonchalantly]: Speaking of despondent…Where’s Bob, anyway?
Raven: Uh, you might not want to—
Lynch opens the door to Bob and Octopus’s room. Bob is sat on a wooden chair with a gag in his mouth and his hands tied behind his back, his face bloody and his eyes and lower lip swollen. Bob lets out a small, muffled scream, struggling violently on the chair as Octopus hastily sidesteps into view in front of Lynch, clutching a crowbar in her hands and grinning sweetly.
Octopus [Sweetly]: Can I help?
Lynch [Bewildered]: ……..No.
Bob screams once more as Lynch steps backwards, shutting the door and turning around.
Raven: Told you not to look.
Lynch: Alright, where’s Will?
Raven narrows her eyes.
Raven [Deathly calm]: That’s none of your business.
Lynch: It’s all of my business. He’s one of my mercenaries.
Raven [Coldly]: He’s in my room. In my trunk. Bound and gagged.
Lynch [Shrugging]: Alright.
Lynch strolls over to the couch, sitting next to Dave.
Frank: So, what are we going to do today?
Lynch: Absolutely nothing.
Dave [Quietly]: That’s what I love to hear.
Dave takes another drag from the cigarette, letting out a small breath of smoke. Lynch snaps his fingers, pulling out his mobile phone again.
Lynch: Need to contact those mechanics and make sure they’re getting on with their project. After Ravens Sword attack on Robbie, I don’t want to leave anything to chance. It’s time we started mobilizing every resource we have.
Frank: We’re fine for now. Once we manage to complete the events on the Hudson River and Big Shell, that’s when we’ll need to really start buckling down. Those events are when Ocelot is given control of the PMCs. That’s also when the supposed timelines intersect beauties will vanish and go through their stories. Until that moment, we’re fine Lynch. We’re fine.
Lynch: I said I don’t want to leave anything to chance. I know we’ll be staring down the barrels of guns when we return, and that’s why I’d rather get shit done right now when we can at least still have Western units pass by freely without killing us, as well as having the ability to get a fucking drop every so often.
Dave [Bluntly]: You assholes are making my head hurt.
Frank: Dave. The PMCs right now are subdued. They fire on us if we pose a threat. Understand?
Frank: The events of the Hudson River and Big Shell that occurred in the parallel timeline are supposed to prove the Patriots ability to manipulate history and individuals personalities. Right?
Dave [Tiredly]: Right.
Frank: After these events, the Patriots AI will go rogue and use the creation of the War Economy in order to create a global state of war in order to help them better control the world. They do this by controlling the outcome of the wars through the Sons of the Patriots system that allows them to control every soldier in their PMCs. Right?
Frank: These PMCs, controlled by Sons of the Patriots, take part in global conflicts against state armies, paramilitaries, terrorist groups and rebels. Each one is under the control of a Liquid Ocelot. Right?
Frank: Liquid Ocelot gains control of them after the events of Big Shell. Where we are right now is supposed to be the timeline where Ocelot uses them to launch an insurrextion against the Patriots and break free of their control, creating Outer Heaven, a world fuelled by war and perfect for a soldier. Right?
Dave [Sighing]: I need a drink.
Frank [Getting sterner]: We’re one of the fucking paramilitaries that the PMCs will want to destroy when Sons of the Patriots is devised. Right?
Dave: I see.
Frank: But in this timeline, the Patriots have yet to be fully established and unleash the S3 plan. Once they unleash the S3 plan and realise it’s effectiveness, that’s when they’ll create the Sons of the Patriots, thus controlling these PMCs and the war economy, and turn to shooting at us and ultimately murdering all of us just in order to control the world. Right?
Dave [Impatiently]: I so need a drink right now.
Frank: As of this moment, right now, we are seeing some signs of aggression due to the events of Shadow Moses being fulfilled in this timeline. Once we complete the events on Big Shell, that’s when the PMCs will hunt us down, that’s when we’re going to war, that’s when Liquid Ocelot will launch an insurrextion, that’s when shit hits the fan. Right?
Dave: …………………………….I think. Hang on, aren’t we a PMC? Considering we’re under the United Nations sanction and under the control of Mother Mercenary?
Frank: Yes, we are.
Dave: And when we complete the events of Big Shell, that’s when other PMCs will come to kill us just to fuel the economy?
Frank [Snapping his fingers]: YES!
Dave: Then why the fuck did they try and kill me and Robbie a few days ago?
Frank: It is occurring right now, just on a smaller scale and confined to here, as well as smaller areas like the Balkans, Chechnya etc; After Big Shell is when we’ll see it get worse and consume the world, thus ensuring we have a much larger price on our heads as corporations and state economies look for an easy gain…and what easier gain than to go after a PMC that’s both under the United Nations itself and filled with rejected soldiers?
Dave [Panicked]: It’s going to get worse?!
Dave jumps to his feet, screaming violently and running forward, diving headfirst out of the window and outside.
Lynch: ………He does realise it won’t happen for a while yet, right?
Frank [Shrugging]: Well, at least he now knows. Personally, I don’t see why we just don’t go through this.
Lynch: To wipe out the Patriots and put power back in the hands of the people. Once the Patriots AI is destroyed, that’s when the world can finally pull down its pants to piss without a Patriot controlling the flow of the urine.
Frank: That’s an interesting metaphor.
Dave’s muffled screams fill the air as Robbie strolls out his room, still clad in his navy blue Kriegsmarine officers coat, polishing the brass buttons.
Robbie [Sighing]: I heard a scream. Did the coward run away when you explained why he’s here?
Robbie [Calmly]: Typical.
Frank: You mean you’re not worried about Ravens Sword or Praying Mantis hunting us down to make a quick dollar for a bloodthirsty corporation or in order to continue fuelling a global state of war?
Robbie [Coldly]: What can I say? The prospect of killing men whose only training is from that of a computer system hooked to their brain is a source of tremendous satisfaction for me.
Lynch: Boy, you have some issues.
Bob’s muffled screams fill the air.
Robbie [Sneering]: Yeah, right.
*Phil, Ivan, Jericho and Steves Flat*
In the middle of the darkened main room of Phil, Jericho, Ivan and Steve’s Flat, all four men are sat around the folding grey plastic card table that acts as a table, a checkers board placed upon it and between where Phil and Jericho are sitting opposite eachother. Steve and Ivan look tantamount to comatose as they watch Phil flick a red checker diagonally over Jericho’s final black checker. Jericho lets out a loud, despaired sigh, taking away his checker.
Jericho [Dully]: …You win..
Phil: Round twenty?
Jericho: I get to be red this time..
All four men sigh loudly, turning their heads and looking outside at the raging sandstorm.
Ivan: Checkers..Is this all we have?
Phil [Blankly]: We’ve got television..
Ivan [Sighing]: It’s shit..It’s just repeats or news..
Phil: Could pop in a DVD..
Phil: Well, what the fuck can we do?!?! We can’t play footie, we can’t play rugby, we can’t play Will Pinata! All we’ve got left is a PS3—
Ivan shudders violently.
Steve: Do. Not. Want.
Phil: Yeah, it outlasted purpose after 2006, but it’s still good for something!
Ivan and Steve snigger as Jericho sits there, stroking his chin.
Jericho [Sighing]: We could find more out about Emilie.
Phil: Why would we wanna do that?
Jericho: Maybe she’s a tortured spirit looking for rest.
Phil: She told you that, didn’t she?
Phil [Impatiently]: Look, that night hunting thing? One fucking night. Not a regular thing. Besides, we searched that house from top to bottom. NOTHING! But that diary, that is….that…probably expensive diary…
Jericho: C’mon. We have a spirit following us. It could be useful.
Phil [Angrily]: If it’s useful, why isn’t there a fucking sandwich on this table?!
A plate suddenly rattles. Phil turns around, a sandwich placed on the table and cut neatly into two triangles.
Phil: …Oh ha fucking ha….Hold on…
Phil sniffs the air.
Phil: Corned Beef and Pickle!
Phil runs over to the table, sitting down and pulling the fine china plate towards him, licking his lips.
Phil [Bluntly]: No dice, Jerry.
Jericho: Why? We could be famous!
Phil: Jericho, listen to me: The only people who get famous off of ghost hunting and shit like that end up being ridiculed. We got sent out here because we are basically the human equivalent of dog shit. Now, combine that with us being, y’know, confident in the existence of ghosts.
Jericho: She does! You’ve seen her!
Ivan [Inanely]: Plead ze fifth!
Steve: Yeah, let’s keep her to ourselves!
Jericho looks over at Steve.
Steve: Well…she’s helpful.
Jericho [Angrily]: She’s a human being, dammit!
Phil [Quickly]: WAS a human being.
Jericho: Look, we find the diary, we found the skull, and now we have to find who killed her so she can be put to rest!
Ivan [Slamming his fists down]: Vat makes you think zats vat she vants?! Maybe she is just haunting ze place that has caused much pain vor her!!
Jericho: …That’s it!
Ivan [Sighing angrily]: Oh, Mother of God—
Jericho: But….then why haven’t we seen her before?
Phil: Because you disturbed her grave, dumbass.
Jericho: Maybe we should…contact her.
Jericho: Ouija Board.
Phil shoves the plate of sandwiches away, slamming his forehead on the table.
Ivan: Vell, you’re insane.
Jericho [Clapping his hands together]: It’s worth a shot, guys! It’s not like we have anything to do!
Steve: ..Jerry has a point!!
Phil [Bluntly]: Fuck.
Jericho: So, anyone have a Ouija Board?
Phil shifts his head, looking at Ivan who shrugs.
Ivan [Shrugging]: Used to be into zat shit. Zen my balls dropped.
Ivan and Phil snigger, but Jericho stomps forward past Ivan, shoving the door to his and Steve’s room open.
Phil: We’re fucked.
Ivan [Coldly]: Ve’ve been fucked for a long time.
*Dog and Handgun*
Inside the Dog and Handgun, Brick is busy standing on the cushion of his stool, leaning up and fixing one of the light-tubes that hang above the air. The interior of the club is desolate, empty, and only the sounds of the howling wind pierce its mauve interior. A heavy gust blows the double doors open, scattering a thin shower of grains of sand across the mauve carpet before slamming shut again. Jon sighs from the strippers podium, hopping down from polishing the wood free from sand and walks over to the door, grabbing a nearby monkey wrench that Bobby used just a few days prior to lock out the women and slides it between the metal handles, jamming the door shut. Brick looks over his shoulder at Jon who strolls over to the bar and walks behind it, slamming a glass down and half-filling it with a ready-mixed Strawberry Daiquri.
Jon [Muttering]: No-ones going to be here for Halloween.
Brick hops down from his stool, slamming the top of the bar roughly as he does.
Brick [Slapping the bar]: Doggonnit!! Why?
Jon: The sandstorm, you fucking idiot!
Brick: …Oh. Yeah.
Jon: Well, may as well cancel the plans.
Brick: Why?! We can still get ‘em here! It’ll be over when the sun goes down!
Jon [Scathingly]: It’s not the sandstorm, it’s their fucking laziness, the damned peasants! They see harsh weather and they shit bricks and hide! No way we’ll coax them out for a Halloween party!
Brick: Bet’cha we can.
Jon slowly raises his head, looking at Brick.
Jon: How much?
Brick shrugs nonchalantly.
Brick [Mumbling]: ….was just a figure of spee—
Jon: No! I heard a bet!
Brick: Alrighty! I put down ten dollars!
Jon: ..On what?
Brick: That I can get folks here!
Jon: …Alright! If you can get so much as five people here, I’ll quadruple your money!!
Brick blinks rapidly, shrugging half-heartedly.
Jon: …That means I’ll give you forty dollars.
Brick [Whooping]: WOOHOOO!!!!!!!!
Jon: So, what’s your strategy?
Brick sits down on the stool, stroking his bristly chin before snapping his fingers.
Brick: Halloween Strippers and Moonshine!
Jon sighs, slamming his head against the counter.
Jon [Growling]: But we’ve had them every Halloween! AND IT’S NEVER WORKED!!! Remember two years ago, the brawl? The Beauty and the Beast Unit?!
Brick: And then last year—
Jon [Angrily]: WE WEREN’T HERE LAST YEAR!!
Brick [Calmly]: ….Man in the Banana Suit.
Jon: I literally want to punch you in the face right now. Like, really hard. Like, so hard your teeth fall out.
Brick [Chuckling]: Well, I can make this work! All I need is a bit o’ spit-polish, some moonshine, and we should encourage the boys to come on down!
Jon [Coldly]: Bullshit.
Booming, Stereotypically Hillbilly Voice: HEY! YOU DONE THERE PICKIN’ ON MY BOY!!
Jon [Bluntly]: wat.
A flash of blue light fills the room as a man clad in a suit of vibrant yellow metal-plated armour, accompanied by a neon green helmet, both of which seem to be now pieced together by a metal mesh, as well as several out-of-place bronze nails, walks towards the bar.
Brick: It’s the Man in the Banana Suit, come to save Halloween!
Jon [Gulping]: ….Oh.
The Man in the Banana Suit grabs Jon by the collar of his shirt, lifting him up and throwing him violently through the brick wall to the right of the shelves holding various bottles of alcohol, spraying himself and Brick with foul-smelling plaster and chunks of mortar and brick. The Man in the Banana Suit dusts his hands off with loud, ringing clangs and nods at Brick.
Man in the Banana Suit: I done gots killing to do.
Brick: Try and keep it away from the club!
The Man in the Banana Suit gives a creaking nod, stomping off violently and throwing the doors open, storming outside as Jon gives a weak, semi-unconscious groan.
Inside Sals Mansion towering on a sand dune a few miles away from Beale and Walker Street, the large, cavernous living room is the only thing inhabited in the entire mansion. A plasma-screen television is on, showing nothing but a vivid blue screen, while Sal sits in a crimson leather chair to the right of it, reading a copy of Tolstoy’s “War and Peace”, muttering under his breath. Billy is sat opposite him in a white leather chair, reading what appears to be a old copy of the Daily Record, a Scottish newspaper presumably brought by Billy to the Middle East. Billy clears his throat loudly, looking up at the television.
Billy: …Satellite’s still out.
Vince’s Voice [Heard from the fireplace below where the television is erected to the wall]: I’M WORKIN’ ON IT!!
Sal [Muttering]: Not fast enough, obviously..
The solid steel knocker slams against the door twice before stopping.
Billy: Someone’s there.
Sal: Nope, just the wind.
The knocker slams against the door twice again.
Sal [Impatiently]: Better be the fucking wind again.
The knocker slams three times and Sal slams the book down on the arm of the chair, walking over to the doors and pulling them up as they screech violently, the wood scraping off of the concrete step leading into the main room.
Sal: Yessssss—OH FUCKING HELL!!
Standing in the tall doorway, in front of a curtain of dark yellow sand which is currently slicing through the wind, is Mr. Dibbley, the resident Emperor Penguin and a victim of genetic tinkering.
Mr. Dibbley [Coldly]: Hello. SAL.
Sal falls to his knees, holding up his hands.
Sal [Pleading]: DON’T KILL ME! KILL BILLY! HE LIKES IT!
Billy: Fuck you, Yankee scum!
Mr. Dibbley: Look, can you let me in, you little trollop?!
Sal opens his eyes, looking up at Dibbley hesitantly.
Sal [Hesitantly]: ……Alright?
Sal shuffles backwards on his knees as Mr. Dibbley waddles into the house, looking over at Billy who is busy reading the newspaper.
Mr. Dibbley: Billy.
Billy [Nodding]: Penguin.
Mr. Dibbley sighs, slapping his flippers against the side of his bulbous body and letting out a squeak from his beak. He raises his head, looking up at a crystal chandelier that hangs above them and noticing the thick strands of silvery cobwebs.
Mr. Dibbley: Nice to see some Halloween decorations.
Sal: That’s not decoration.
Mr. Dibbley [Wincing]: Damn!
Billy: That’s what I said. I swear I saw a PMC in it the other day. Think he’s dead now.
Mr. Dibbley looks over above the television, noticing the string of what appears to be actual pumpkins hanging on barbed wire.
Mr. Dibbley: …..Alright, they have to be Halloween decorations.
Billy: They are, and that’s how we’re celebrating this bastardized Pagan holiday..cause we’re not going out in that.
Mr. Dibbley [Chipper]: But it’s just a brisk wind! Nothing us British cannot conquer, eh?
Billy: I know, Dibbley. I’m Scottish. I’ve dealt with far worse than this.
Mr. Dibbley [Encouragingly]: Then why don’t you accompany me on a brisk walk?!
Billy: I think the sand hurts.
Billy and Dibbley fall silent, listening to a bloodcurdling scream fill the air. Billy raises his head, looking at the television which remains on a blue screen.
Sal [Calling out]: JIGGLE IT MORE!!!
Vince’s Voice: I’M TRYING! I’M TRYING!
Billy: So, what are yeh doing here?
Mr. Dibbley: It’s rough out there, old chap. Really rough. Needed a spot to lay low, and yours was nearest.
Vince’s Voice [In pain]: THE SAND IS SCRATCHING MY CORNOEA!!
Mr. Dibbley: Is there anything to do here?
Billy: Not while the television is out.
Mr. Dibbley [Shrugging]: How about we pop on down into the town? Grab a few alcoholic beverages?
Billy: Maybe later.
Billy folds his newspaper, shoving it under his right arm and getting to his feet, walking over to the doors.
Billy [Impatiently]: OI! VINCE! FIDDLE THA FUCKIN’ THING!!!!!!! TO THE LEFT! TO THE LEFT!
Vince’s Voice [Gasping]: I’M….HAVING….TROUBLE BREATHING!!!
A small scream fills the air, followed by the sound of rolling and a heavy thud. Billy sighs and turns around, shrugging.
Billy [Bluntly]: No television tonight.
Sal sits down in the crimson leather chair, grabbing the thick copy of War and Peace and slamming it onto his knee, sighing.
Sal: Y’know, they’d think it was all fighting Praying Mantis, helping Solid Snake and firing heavy weaponry..
Mr. Dibbley [Sighing]: I wish!
Billy: Same here. Same here.
Billy wanders over to his white leather chair, sitting down and unfolding the newspaper, shuffling it and reading it.
Mr. Dibbley: ….What about Vince?
Sal: He’ll live.
Vince’s Voice [Weakly, near the door]: …Help…me…
A small thud is heard outside the door.
Mr. Dibbley; I think he’s dyi--
Sal [Impatiently]: HE’LL LIVE!!
*Frank, Mantis, Bob, Octopus, Will, Raven and Daves Flat*
Back in the flat of Frank, Screaming Mantis, Bob, Laughing Octopus, Will, Raging Raven and Dave, Frank is busy pacing around the room, his hand stroking his moustache lightly. Dave, who is now sat on the couch with his bare arms bandaged from his dive through the window, is busy watching television. Beside him is sat Robbie, who cannot sail due to the sandstorm disrupting the ongoing repairs to his U-Boat, as well as Coach Lynch, who has degenerated to wearing nothing more than a white tanktop and khaki shorts. Frank lets out a tired sigh, rubbing his eyes. Mantis simply leans against the wall, watching him with a look of tedium and impatience in her eyes.
Frank [Sighing]: The War Economy. So simple, yet so deadly.
Mantis: And so boring. Frank, loosen up or I will loosen you up.
Dave [Sniggering]: She means that in a violent way.
Frank: I know.
Mantis [Coldly]: Look, you blithering drunkard, can’t we just have a good Halloween instead of worrying about the War Economy? Preferably with blood.
Frank looks at Mantis, stepping slightly away from her.
Dave: Your girls gone psycho, Frankie!
Will strolls out from his room, seemingly encapsulating the Halloween spirit by wearing a flowing black cape with a red velvet lining, as well as sporting a newly-shaven chest and a pair of fangs, as well as his hair cut back to reveal more of his forehead. He is busy slapping putty around his jaw to make it more angular as well.
Will [Sneering]: Sup, ugly fuckers?
Dave shifts around his seat, looking at Will.
Dave [Screaming]: GAHHHHHHHHH!!! WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT THING?!?!
Will: Edward Cullen! From Twilight? You know, the critically-praised novella that even Stephen King enjoyed?
Dave [Wincing]: But you look fucking ugly!!!
Will: You haven’t seen the first film instalment, starring Robert Pattinson? It just came out this year!
Dave [Scathingly]: …Dude, Robert Pattinson has a fucking deformed jaw, then. Look at you!
Will: Oh, hush.
Frank: Why are you sparkling?
Will: The vampires sparkle in Twilight!
Lynch laughs loudly.
Lynch [Laughing]: Seriously? Fucking hell. No matter which timeline or universe you’re in, that’s got to seem fucking retarded.
Will [Snarling]: Be quiet, peasant.
Lynch [Snidely]: Ah ah ah! That’s SIR peasant to you, you little scrawny fuck.
Frank: I heard that in the other timeline, Twilight is revered by women, but Stephen King hated it.
Will [Angrily]: I SAID BE QUIET! Next you’ll tell me they killed Gaddafi in the other timeline too!!
Dave shrugs it off, turning back to the television. Lynch sighs, forcing himself up from the couch and turning around to look at the gathering mercenaries.
Mantis: Will, where are you going?
Will [Calmly]: To the Dog and Handgun to check out some spooky poon.
Mantis: Do me a favour and take Frank with you..
Will: That’s one big favour to be asking. I mean, a huge one!
Robbie [Sighing]: Is it ever possible to watch television in peace in this abode?
Dave [Calmly]: No. No it’s not.
Robbie flicks the remote, switching over to the History Channel which appears to be afflicted by minor static.
Robbie: Dammit. I’m not hacking the Sky Box again. Not in this weather.
Frank [Ignoring them]: Mantis, I’m just…concerned—
Mantis [Venomously]: You’re being a fucking emotional baby!!
The room suddenly falls silent. Robbie and Dave lean back in the moth-bitten sofa, sighing peacefully.
Frank [After a long pause]: …That hurt.
Lynch: Well, it’s true.
Raven [Coldly]: Very true. Pathetic meatsack.
Raging Raven strolls quietly out from behind Bob, her hair scrawled over her face in an attempt to imitiate Samara from The Ring.
Frank [Whining]: Leave me alone! I’ve been sober for a whole three days!
Dave: That’s the new record, isn’t it?
Lynch: He once went sober for four. Then he broke it by drinking rocket fuel.
Dave [Laughing]: Really?!
Lynch: Yeah. I thought it would have killed him, yet he seems immune to most poisons. I could pour drain-cleaning fluid down his throat and he’d drink it like a milkshake.
Robbie [Coldly]: So there goes my primary method of disposing of the wastrel.
The door to Bob and Octopus’s room opens up and Bob, with a confused look on his face, enters the room, looking around.
Bob [Confused]: Hey, guys, where’s Octopus?
Will [Mockingly]: What? You lost her? Awwwww! Ickly Bobby has misplace his girly!
Bob: No, seriously, she’s gone. Like..gone gone.
Frank: Gone? You don’t just misplace a woman.
Dave [Snarling]: GODDAMMIT, CAN I NOT WATCH TELEVISION IN PEACE HERE?!?!?!
Bob: Look, she’s gone, alright?
Lynch: Gone? What the fuck?
Raven: She can’t have gone far, can she?
Mantis looks at Raven gravely.
Raven [Gulping]: ..Oh dear.
Bob [Panicking somewhat]: What? What oh dear? What’s going on?!
Mantis: Nothing to concern yourself with.
Robbie: I can hunt her down for two hundred.
Bob turns to Robbie.
Bob [Happily]: Really?
Robbie [Calmly]: Yep. Bring her back alive for a thou.
Bob’s face falls.
Bob: Fine! I’ll find her myself!
Robbie [Coldly]: You sure? I don’t trust women, partner. Snivelling little wretches.
Mantis: Fuck you, you crazy little bastard!
Frank [Sighing]: Whatever. I’m off to the Dog and Handgun.
Frank walks over to the door, quickly accompanied by Bob and Lynch.
Bob [Hastily]: I’m coming with. Gonna make sure my little snookums is alright.
Robbie and Dave retch violently in unison.
Bob: SHUT UP, YOU HEARTLESS BASTARDS!!!
Robbie: Bite me, profligate scum.
Dave [Sniggering]: Profligate scum. I like it.
Mantis: Don’t worry..She can’t have gone too far.
Bob [Sighing]: Why do I have this horrible feeling, then?
Lynch: Don’t you always?
Several miles to the east of Beale Street stands the road into Cairo, which winds through the Romani Desert and several villages within it, passing through security checkpoints before leading into the heart of Egypt. One of the security checkpoints leading into the city is manned by two guards inside a guard hut, sheltering from the sandstorm and wearing shemaghs tied tightly around their face, accompanied by transparent goggles. The guards watch through the window carefully as a shadowy figure approaches the barrier before stopping suddenly.
Guard One: Who on Earth?
Guard Two: I’ll check it out.
The second guard opens the door and slides out into the rough winds, walking over to the barrier and looking at the figure.
Guard Two: Can I help you?
The figure slowly raises its head, giving a soft chuckle beneath its breath as it reaches behind its back, pulling at a khaki lanyard winding around its petite form.
Laughing Octopus [Laughing coldly]: Yes. You can laugh for me.
*Lamb and Flag*
Back in Beale Street, the Lamb and Flag is busy preparing for a Halloween night. The sandstorm roars on outside as a line of four tables, lined with various silver platters and topped with a silver blanket, is set up in the middle of the room, the rest of the tables and chairs shoved to the left and the right of the room. Moe is busy moving around heavy-footed, reluctantly throwing cut-outs of pumpkins onto the window, as if they would stick there automatically. Maurice walks out from the kitchen, carrying a platter of miniature sausage rolls and setting it down next to a large platter of cold, chopped meat, dusting off his hands as Dick, the landlord, walks over, clapping his hands together.
Dick [Happily]: Right, Maur, do you have the vol-au-vents?
Maurice: The little pastry cases with the shitty prawns in them? Aye!
Dick: The sticks with cheese, pineapple and pickled onion on them?
Dick: The party rings?
Dick [Sneering]: …Party Rings. Sweet Jesus. I remember these things from back home. Hard as a rock, covered in multi-coloured icing and taste basically of sugar.
Maurice: You do no’ like ‘em?
Dick [Coldly]: Hell no! Vile things. Anyway, for the Americans, we have the bacon sandwiches?
Dick: Chocolate-covered Bacon?
Dick: ….Really? You made some?
Maurice: Aye, but one thing ya should know: Even I would’na touch that stuff.
Dick [Taken aback]: …Is it that bad?
Maurice [Bluntly]: Very. It’ll kill ya in twelve seconds.
Dick: That’ll do. Do we have other food?
Dick slaps the tabletop.
Dick: Then that’ll do. Fuck the checklist. So, how do we go about this? Send out envoys or something?
Maurice: Well, we have ta do summat, lad. Can’t let tha Dog and Handgun steal our business!
Moe walks over to them, throwing the pumpkins onto the table.
Moe [Angrily]: Well, look at this shit! Biscuits, vol-au-vents, sausage rolls..All that’s missing is the fucking bouncy castle!
Dick: So, we need a bouncy castle?
Moe [Impatiently]: NO, GODDAMMIT! We need actual stuff! See all this? Kiddy shit! KIDDY SHIT! We need women or guns or something!
Maurice: Aye, he has a point…Pretty kiddy, like.
Dick: Well, we can’t get women: Dog and Handgun has that covered. We’d be lucky to get our mothers to strip.
Moe: Then what mercenaries like to do?
Dick looks at the spread of food, grasping one of the plastic forks set beside the platter of cold meats and holds it to the sky.
Dick [Reaching an epiphany]: VIOLENCE!
Moe gives a small nod of approval.
Maurice [Calmly]: I’ll go get the batons and shit, then.
Dick: Maurice, we need someone to brave the winds. Someone huge. Someone whom the wind cannot topple.
Maurice [Angrily]: …Seriously, kidda?! Fuck that! Just blare out some fuckin’ music as a beacon!
Dick: Do you think they’d be smart enough to understand it as a calling to our humble pub?
Maurice blinks rapidly, spinning around on his heels and pressing the remote, turning on the hi-fi system to blare out the “Macarena”. Dick quickly clasps his hands over his ears.
Dick [Wincing]: SERIOUSLY?!
Maurice [Laughing and clapping his hands]: WHO DOESN’T LIKE THE MACARENA?!?!?
Moe: PEOPLE WITH FUNCTIONING EARS!!
Dick [Angrily]: DAMMIT MAURICE!!!
Maurice: IT’LL WORK! NO-ONE CAN RESIST! THEY’LL KNOW WE’RE OPEN!!
Tavi [Snarling]: WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT RACKET?!?!?!
In the top floor of ReLoaded, the three females are laying on their respective beds, simply staring up at the whitewashed ceiling. Tavi lets out a yawn, cuddling her thick tail while Courtney clicks her tongue against the roof of her mouth, twisting her head and looking out of the window at the dirty beige blanket of sand still slicing through the streets. Wolf lets out a deep sigh, turning her head to Courtney who looks at her tiredly.
Wolf: This is what lazy people do all day?
Wolf [Screaming sharply]: FUCK!
Wolf: Is there anything to do?!
Wolf [Angrily]: GODDAMMIT!!!!
Tavi [Sighing]: You can help me polish the counter…again.
Wolf lets out a despaired scoff, slapping her arms against her sides before slamming her head down on the pillow.
Wolf: …I’d do anything for some fucking excitement here!!
On the table between Wolf and Courtney’s beds, a white phone rings. Wolf sighs, reaching over and answering it, rubbing her eyes.
Wolf [Yawning]: Yes? …..Rex? Rex who? …..Oh. You.
Wolf sets the phone down, sighing and setting it on loudspeaker.
Rex: Yes, it’s me! The tragic interviewer confined to a small room!
Wolf: What about those other two? …Johnny? Tim?
Rex laughs loudly.
Rex [Coldly]: Those nerds? Fuck ‘em!
Rex: So, mind me asking you a few questions? I’m almost done with the interviews, we’re busy with editing, but we need a final few mercenaries!
Wolf sighs, rubbing her eyes again.
Wolf: Fine. Nothing to kill around here, anyway.
Rex: So..Name, Place of Birth, Rank.
Rex: …Alright, I understand. You’re one of those psychotic women, right?
Wolf [Bluntly]: Yes.
Rex: …Doesn’t explain why I can hear the Macarena.
Wolf: Trust me, it’s making me fucking psychotic.
Rex [Hastily]: Alright, s o, what are you doing there? Sightseeing?
Wolf: You’re a snide little shit when I can’t lean over and wring your neck, aren’t you?
Rex: Why yes I am!
Wolf [Coldly]: I’m here for reasons of my own. Scouting, if you will.
Rex: Why scouting?
Wolf [Coldly]: Reasons of my own.
Rex: Ooookay. So, you’re part of this all-female Unit, huh? Seen plenty of action?
Wolf: Yes, plenty of action. Plenty of violence. Pools of blood, oh…how I remember them. Me and my battle suit, out in the forests, crushing men between our feet…the sounds of bones breaking like you were stepping on eggshells, the sounds of screams, the feel of blood over your cold skin as the Norwegian frost bathes it..
Wolf lets out a happy sigh.
Rex: So, you guys really are psychotic?
Wolf: No. Just misunderstood.
Rex: So, anything you remember about your past?
Wolf [Twiddling her thumbs]: …That’s the strangest thing, actually. Ever since the other mercenaries came back, I get glimpses of it in my mind. The deepest recesses, flashing up images I simply cannot focus into sharper quality. I remember crying, though. Lots and lots of crying. A lot of it.
Rex [Underwhelmed]: And that’s all you can remember?
Wolf: Pretty much.
Rex: And that’s why they call you Crying Wolf?
Wolf [Calmly]: Yep.
Rex: ….Uhhh….sooooo. Anything else?
Wolf: Not really.
Rex [Pleading]: ANYTHING! Just to make the money spent calling you worth it!
Wolf: No, I’m not going to degrade myself for your entertainment.
Wolf [Coldly]: I’m living here in ReLoaded. Every single day, I look out of the window and wait for the moment I can hoist my railgun up and fry the flesh off of the nearest person. Food is nought but ash in my mouth. Water is nought but air. The only thing that could ever quench my thirst is battle. And yet, I am here, with men glaring at me as if I’m a fucking piece of meat. Not for much longer, I can tell you…Not for much longer.
Rex: That’s pretty fucking ominous.
Wolf: No, it’s not a warning: It’s a promise.
Tavi: Lighten up, Wolf! It isn’t THAT bad around here, is it?
Wolf: I’d rather be stuck in hell with the fires of eternal pain roasting my flesh. Although I do find the occasional enjoyment in taunting them, and I do occasionally enjoy the feeling of a female tongue in my mouth.
Rex chokes violently on the other end of the phone in surprise.
Rex [Choking]: JESUS! What did your Unit get up to?
Wolf [Smirking somewhat]: Can’t remember clearly.
Rex: …Tavi, you’re there, right? Tavi Inuko?
Tavi: Yeah, why? Am I next?
Rex: Yeah, now you’re interesting. Genetic tinkering, I’ve heard. Name, Place of Birth, Rank?
Tavi: Tavi Inuko…and don’t know on both. I guess for the last one, my rank is….Well, I’m a Medic…occasionally. Whenever they get a bullet wound, stab wound, or broken fingernail, they come crying to me.
Tavi: Yeah, a medic.
Rex: Who happens to be the result of genetic tinkering.
Tavi [Calmly]: That’s what we believe.
Rex: Now, if that’s true…..One, where are the rest of the supersoldiers, and two…why aren’t you out hunting down people??
Tavi: One, I don’t know. Two, Never cared about such childish nonsense. Do you think I know where I’m from? Think I know what I am? People either want to spit on me or study me, it doesn’t matter. I can’t even remember if I had a childhood. All I remember is being at the academy with Mother Mercenary.
Rex: She took you in, didn’t she? What was it like?
Tavi [Sighing somewhat]: …..It was good. For as long as I can remember, I’ve trained in that Academy. Probably have around ten years training in that Academy. Went on a few missions with these mercenaries, went on a few missions with others as well. Seen the entire world, met interesting people…Can’t say it was bad….can’t say it was what I wanted, either..
Tavi [Sadly]:…..I just want a family. An actual family. A family I can call my own.
Rex: You don’t think of these guy—
Tavi [Quickly]: Absolutely not. Friends, good friends, great friends! But not family.
Wolf: Hear hear!
Rex: So, you’re well-trained, huh? Enjoy killing?
Tavi: Are you kidding me? I loathe killing. I only do it because I have to, and because it’s one of the few things I’m trained to do. I’m perfectly content with just sitting back, healing wounds, selling guns and letting them kill eachother.
Rex: I see.
Tavi: Still, I like it here, unlike Wolf. It’s a decent place. Good enough tourist spots, academies not too far away, and they do serve a decent drink around here. Nothing like getting fucking pissed after a long day.
Rex: …Great, just like my two slaves.
Tavi [Coldly]: Yep, now..fuck off.
Tavi nods and Wolf slams the receiver down, slapping her hands together weakly.
Wolf: What do we do now? Lay here until tomorrow?
Tavi: No..we should dress up and go trick or treating!
Tavi: Yeah! The wind should have weakened by night-time, and who knows? We might get a good haul off of the drunken ones!
Courtney [Cheerfully]: CANDY?!
Tavi: Yeah! I mean, it can’t be any worse than sitting here doing nothing, can it?
Wolf [Coldly]: I guess not. Should we go to the Lamb and Flag, then? Sounds like they’ll be gathering like tiny writhing maggots in rotten flesh.
Courtney: Wow, you really are…dark, you know that?
Wolf [Corners of her lips twitching]: Of course. I enjoy it.
Courtney: …Well, let’s get ready, then. Who knows? Maybe Sal will move and we can—
Wolf: Tear his teeth out and make him give us his gold!
Wolf bounces slightly, grinning and clapping her hands together.
Tavi [Rubbing her brow]: ….Yeah, let’s get you some Ritalin first.
Back in Sals Mansion, Mr. Dibbley is sat in the leather chair beside Billy, staring ahead blankly as Sal licks his thumb, flicking through his copy of War and Peace while Billy reads a copy of the Daily Scotsman that appears to be several years old, as judged by the tanned, rough pages. Sal looks up from his book, looking at Dibbley.
Sal: Now that Vince is gone, perhaps I can interest you in a cup of tea?
Mr. Dibbley [Bluntly]: No.
Sal: Cucumber sandwich?
Mr. Dibbley [Bluntly]: No.
Mr. Dibbley [Bluntly]: No.
Sal [Sighing]: …Pink wafer?
Mr. Dibbley [Bluntly]: No.
Billy: Ach, don’t worry li’l penguin, he asks everyone the same boring questions.
Sal [Chuckling]: Pink wafers aren’t boring!!
Billy [Coldly]: No, but you are.
Sal: I’m not boring, I am a very exciting man with stories to tell.
Mr. Dibbley: Oh? This should be interesting!
Sal: Did I tell you about that time me and Kaden Daniels went trainspotting?
Mr. Dibbley: Kaden Daniels?
Sal [Grinning brightly]: He was the hippest kid in the academy! His pocket protector was gilded, man! Gilded! Anyway, we went down to Cairo one day--
Mr. Dibbley pushes himself to his feet, sighing loudly.
Mr. Dibbley [Bluntly]: Enough of this.
Mr. Dibbley waddles over to the double doors, slapping his flippers on the bronze handles.
Sal: What are you doing? It’s getting worse out there!
Mr. Dibbley: I was scared of death once. Then I laid eyes on you and heard you speak. Now, death seems like a blessed release.
Billy folds his newspaper, stuffing it down beside the seat of his leather recliner before walking over to Mr. Dibbley.
Mr. Dibbley [Sadly]: …Please…don’t stop me.
Billy [Shrugging]: I was going to join you, actually.
Sal [Angrily]: What? What the hell is wrong with me?!
Billy: Fuck, where do I start?
Sal: I am pleasant, I’m fun to be around, I’m good with kids, I have a pleasing disposition..
Billy [Bitterly]: You’re arrogant, you shower in champagne which makes you stink like rotten grapes on a sunny day, you’re ugly, you’re shaved head quite frankly blinds me when the sun hits the right spot, you look like a complete and utter prick, from that shitty goatee to those fucking dressing gowns you wear—
Sal: Smoking jacket.
Mr. Dibbley [Coldly]: You’re a pompous waste of air, You flaunt wealth as if it is important around these parts, You barely know how to handle a gun, yet you still lead men into battle—
Sal: I can handle a gun!
Billy: You are a personality void, you have all the social charm and people skills of a walnut, and no-one actually likes you!
Sal remains looking at them, his usually cheerful demeanour shrinking a little. Billy’s eyes almost well with tears as he glares at Sal.
Billy [Bitterly]: And if yeh had a fucking heart, you’d be crying right now!
Sal slowly shakes his head, shuffling back around in his seat and opening his book again, his lips moving as he reads silently. Billy strolls over calmly, walking just in front of Sal and meeting him with a devastating right cross jab that sends Sal flying over the left arm of his chair and to the floor in a crumpled heap. Billy wipes off his knuckles, shrugging nonchalantly and turning to Mr. Dibbley.
Mr. Dibbley [Slapping his flippers together]: With pleasure!
Mr. Dibbley opens the doors, the roaring sandstorm refusing to die down. Billy walks out with him, creaking the large arched doors shut behind him, both beings walking into the sandstorm..
*Phil, Jericho, Ivan and Steves Flat*
Back in Phil, Jericho, Ivan and Steve’s flat, they are sat around the circular plastic table that substitutes for an actual dining table in their main room. On the table, laid flat, is a Ouija board, the wood scratched and the black letters and generic words faded to near-nothingness, laid upon which is a circular silver pendant. All four men have the index fingers of their right hands on the pendant as Jericho looks at the board, swallowing deeply.
Jericho [Shakily]: Ready, lads?
Phil, Ivan and Steve [In unison]: No.
Jericho: Alright…here we go. If there are any spirits out there, please make a sign of your presence. A knock. A bang.
The room remains silent. Ivan yawns. Suddenly, a huge bang slams out from the ceiling, and the room turns an obscenely cold temperature. Jericho shivers slightly, gulping.
Jericho [Shakily]: Right, be calm men..be ca--
Phil: Is your name Emilie?
The pendant shifts to “Yes” instantly.
Jericho [Laughing quietly]: We’ve got her. We’ve got her.
Phil: Don’t cream yourself. Someone ask her a question. Make it good.
Jericho: Why are you haunting us?
All four of them watch as the pendant shakes slightly before moving over to the letters “P”, “A”, “I” and “N”.
Phil: She knows us well. We suffer it constantly.
Jericho: Were you murdered?
The pendant jolts across the table, shaking it as it lands on yes.
Steve [Inanely]: Ouch!
Jericho: She’s here because of pain and she was murdered.
Phil: Be more specific: Oi, Emilie, why are you haunting US?
The pendant remains frozen, before slowly shifting to the letters “D”, “I”, “S”, “T”, “U”, “R”, B”, “E” and “D”.
Phil [Smirking]: She’s mentioning heavy metal bands now?
Jericho: No, it’s because we disturbed her grave.
Phil [Mumbling]: That was one shitty grave..
Jericho: Do we have an…ulterior purpose for being haunted?
Ivan [Mockingly]: Ooo, ulterior. Big vord!
Jericho [Coldly]: Fuck off.
The pendant zips towards yes.
Phil: Uh oh. This one oughta be good.
Jericho: …What is it?
The pendant remains still.
Steve [Hesitantly]: …I don’t know about this.
Ivan [Yawning]: Boring.
The pendant suddenly begins to spiral around the board at an alarming rate, jerking the men roughly around the table as it pulls violently towards the letters “A”, “V”, “E”, “N”, “G” and finally “E”.
Jericho: Avenge? You want us to avenge your untimely and presumably violent death?
The pendant freezes suddenly.
Phil: ‘Avenge your untimely and presumably violent death’? What a fucking charmer you are, Jerry!
Jericho: It was an honest question!
Steve: Me no want to avenge anything!
Ivan [Grumbling]: Have ve mercenaries vell so var ve are doing contracts vor ghosts?!
Jericho: Yes we have, but no-one asked for your opinion.
Steve: But we’re not getting paid.
The pendant suddenly shoots over to “Yes”.
Jericho: No, she was answering my question! But how the hell do we avenge her death?
The pendant quickly zips over to “K”, “I”, “L” and “L”.
Phil [Nodding]: Obviously. But who do we kill?
The pendant remains still.
Ivan: For a ghost? Jesus.
The pendant shoots towards the letters “S”, “A” and “L”
Jericho, Ivan and Phil: SAL!?
Jericho [Scratching his chin roughly]: Oh man, now this is a problem.
Phil [Shrugging]: Not really. I can just shoot him in the head.
Jericho: PHIL. You’d be court-martialled for it and killed yourself.
Phil: Jericho, there’s a war economy out there, governments are killing eachother and money is exchanging hands for dirty deeds, I don’t think they’d blink if I put a gun to a team-mates head and sprayed his brains onto the wall.
Jericho: Is there another way?!
Phil [Inanely]: Another way?? Fuck that! I say we kill the bastard!
Ivan [Sighing]: I need a drink..
The pendant quickly zips towards “Yes”.
The pendant slowly moves towards the letters “K”, “I”, “L”, “L”, “F”, “A” “T”, “H”, “E”, “R”, “S”, “T”, “E”, “A”, “L”, “P”, “E”, “N”, “D”, “A”, “N” and“T”.
Jericho: Kill Sals father?
The pendant zips towards “Yes”.
Jericho: What pendant?
The pendant moves towards the letters “R”, “U”, “B”, “Y”, “C”, “L”, “A” and “W”
Steve [Rubbing his hands together]: Sounds valuable!
The pendant suddenly goes still and lifeless as the cold air disappears from the room, replacing it with the usual stale haze that accompanies the dirt-ridden room. All four of them let out a unified sigh.
Phil [Cheerily]: So, Kill Sal’s daddy and steal a pendant? Alright then!
Jericho: We can’t just kill his Dad!
Phil: Yes I can. Jerry, We’re mercenaries in a UN-sanctioned PMC, baby! We don’t need no stinkin’ morals!
Ivan: And vat is ze veward?!
Phil: Well, her not haunting us for one.
Jericho [Bluntly]: Good enough for me.
Phil: Although this pendant shiz has me shaky. How do we know its not nanomachines or something that will bring her to life?
Jericho: What? That’s ridiculous!
Phil: Naomi Hunter.
Phil: Nanomachines kept her alive when she was practically dead! Nanomachines did everything! Vamp, Naomi, Sons of the Patriots..I’d be surprised if this table wasn’t nanomachines, considering we’re in this Metal Gear timeline!
Ivan [Shrugging]: He has a point.
Phil: ….Y’know what? Fuck it, I’m going to the Dog and Handgun. Get a few drinks down me, and then go and find out more about Sal’s father--
Steve: We need costumes first!
Phil: What? Why?
Steve [Whooping]: IT’S HALLOWEEN!!!!
Jericho: Aw piss.
A heavy fist crashes through the door, shoving the door open to reveal the Man in the Banana Suit, clutching his green-painted flamethrower.
The Man in the Banana Suit [Yelling]: HAVE YOU DONE SEEN ANY VARMINTS?!
Phil [Quickly]: North. Cairo.
The Man in the Banana Suit slowly turns around, stomping heavily down the steps. Jericho turns to Phil, raising an eyebrow.
Phil: What? This is the 21st Century, baby! I don’t need no fuckin’ morals anymore!
Phil lets out a shrill laugh, jumping to his feet and rushing into his room.
*The Chop Shop*
With the sandstorm slowly dying down, the Chop Shop is still busy wearing the brunt of the vicious sands still scratching at the steel folding doors. Within the Chop Shop, most of the mechanics, still clad in their boiler suits which are slick with sweat and oil, are sat in a circle in the shadow of what appears to be the front half of an F-16 fighter jet, the glass domed cockpit staring ominously ahead while Stoofer is busy on the right wing, busy tinkering with several of the nuts and bolts that hold a sheet of metal into place. That Random Guy is busy tightening the metal bars that secure the cockpits glass, while the other mechanics simply watch, sat near a pile of heavy steel ingots used for melting down and forming into shapes and black metal, presumably empty, oil barrels, resting from a hard day of work made possible by being confined indoors.
Johan: There she is, men. “Golgotha”.
That Other Random Guy: Slightly better name than the Seventh Polish Squadron gave their signature fighter jet…”Smiérc odgórny”
Bobby: You do know that means “Death From Above”, right?
That Other Random Guy: Well, they should write it in English—
Bobby: Their second signature F16 literally has the name “The Big Fuck You Punch”.
That Other Random Guy [In disbelief]: See? What kind of name is that?!
Bobby [Calmly]: Well, it does deliver the big ‘Fuck You’ punch. I certainly haven’t seen it leave any PMC soldiers alive after it flies overhead.
That Other Random Guy [Spluttering]: …Yeah, well, they’re Polish.
Johan: And yet they fight infinitely better than you. I’d rather have Wyzjek on my side than you, *Beep*.
That Other Random Guy: What does he have that I don’t?!
Stoofer [Chuckling]: A personality?
That Random Guy [Piping up]: Charm! Actual talent!
That Other Random Guy [Angrily]: Ah, fuck you all!
A small ripple of laughter cuts across the room, but it quickly fades out as Bobby’s face fades.
Bobby [Darkly]: Man, I am not looking forward to continuing work on that goddamn U-Boat when this sandstorm fades.
Johan: Same here, but the pay is good.
That Random Guy: Nah, what we have is better. Look at it..isn’t it beautiful?
That Random Guy breathes out onto the cockpit, crumpling the sleeve of his full-body crimson boiler suit and rubbing the glass, polishing it into a small sheen.
Johan: I’m not looking forward to putting it together, though.
Mustafa: Yeah, that’s a shitload of work just to do that….and I am NOT test-flying it!
That Random Guy [Piping up]: Well…I’m not!
That Other Random Guy: I might.
Mustafa: Only because you want to re-enact the bomb riding scene from Doctor Strangelove.
That Other Random Guy: Look, I’m telling you: Ocelot will not see a guy riding a bomb while waving a cowboy hat coming! It will totally catch him off guard!
Johan: He will see it coming, He’ll just laugh at it.
That Other Random Guy [Cackling]: Yeah, before he’s incinerated by American napalm, baby!!!!
That Hispanic Guy slowly strolls in, completely naked aside from a royal blue towel wrapped around his lower waist.
That Hispanic Guy: …Are you guys still here?
That Random Guy: Try stepping outside.
Bobby [Bluntly]: Si, try it. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the painful amount of sand.
That Hispanic Guy [Cheerily]: …Nah, I’ll just admire this beautiful jet! This beautiful fighter jet! Mine! All mine!
That Hispanic Guy blows a kiss to the fighter jet, pumping his arms ecstatically.
Johan: Well, we know who’ll be test-flying it.
That Hispanic Guy: Me? No! No no no no! Mustafa will—
Mustafa cricks his neck from side to side.
Mustafa: Pardon me?
That Hispanic Guy: --will be flying it.
Mustafa [Venomously]: Pardon…ME?
That Hispanic Guy [Angrily]: Insurrextion is punishable by death!!
Mustafa: You know what else is punishable by death? Fucking with me.
Stoofer hops down from the wing with a heavy thud, wiping his hands on his boiler suit.
Stoofer: Still wiring and welding to do, but it’s almost finished. The most difficult thing will be ensuring it can fire the sidewinders smoothly while being able to fire its Vulcan cannons simultaneously.
Johan [Smirking and nodding]: Overkill..I like it.
That Hispanic Guy [Excitedly]: Are none of you going to come with me to the Dog and Handgun?! Put on our suits and get a drink?!?! COME ON!!
That Other Random Guy: Why dress up?
That Hispanic Guy’s face falls.
That Hispanic Guy: Bobby.
Bobby sighs, getting to his feet and grabbing That Other Random Guy by the collar of his boiler suit, lifting him up and slinging him over his right shoulder before slinging him into one of the empty barrels and slamming the lid down, setting one of the steel ingots on top of it. A heavy banging raps against the sides of the drum.
That Other Random Guy [Panicking]: COME ON, MAN! LET ME OUT!
That Hispanic Guy [Spitting]: No-one questions dressing up!! NOBODY!!
Mustafa: But do we have to?
That Hispanic Guy stops and gives a nonchalant shrug.
That Hispanic Guy: See what I care.
That Hispanic Guy turns around, strolling off into the garage as the other mechanics sit in a circle, sighing amongst themselves. Stoofer reaches into the pocket of his boiler suit, throwing down a crumpled pack of cards.
Stoofer: Texas Hold ‘Em?
Bobby: What shall we use to bet?
Stoofer shuffles on his rear over to the pile of steel ingots, dragging them over and forcibly pushing them into the middle of the circle, grasping one and setting it near him.
Stoofer: We shall use steel.
That Random Guy: What the hell would we use steel for?!
Stoofer: What? Do you have money?
That Random Guy slowly falls silent.
That Random Guy [Shrugging]: Ingots it is!
Bobby: This damn sandstorm better end soon. Just want a fucking drink, right?
Mechanics [In unified agreement]: Right.
Mustafa: And maybe snap someone in half?
Stoofer [Grinning]: Hell yeah!
*Dog and Handgun – 2 Hours Later*
As time marches on, the sandstorm begins to fade substantially. The winds have weakened down to a dull roar, while the sands are beginning to settle on the streets, now allowing relatively safe and easy passage between Beale Street and Walker Street once again. At the Dog and Handgun, Brick is busy stirring a jug of moonshine with a metal rod, while a stripper wearing nothing more than a black spangly thong and vampire-bat pasties over her nipples looks on boredly at the lack of an audience. Jon walks out from the kitchen, dusting off his hands and looking behind the bar at the jug which has a sizeable amount of fumes coming from it.
Jon [Retching slightly]: Fuck ME! What’s in that?!
Brick: ..Uhh…Ant spray, crushed strawberries, crushed bananas, some yeast, flour, barley, fermented soy beans, toilet cleaner, a few cherries, and my special ingredient: A touch of battery acid!
Jon looks at Brick uneasily.
Jon: We don’t want to kill them, idiot.
Brick [Chuckling]: I know..It’ll just give ‘em a kick up the ol’ rear, though!
Jon: You know, I’ll be pleased to open in an hour. Maybe we can vomit out shit music like the Lamb and Flag is doing to attract them.
Brick: Nah, fumes of this’ll do that.
The door to the Dog and Handgun creeps open as Billy and Mr. Dibbley stroll in from the dying sandstorm, dusting their bodies and clothes free from grains of sand. Jon’s right eye twitches as Billy wipes his boots off on the purple carpet, clapping his hands together.
Billy: Hey guys.
Jon [Angrily]: What the FUCK are you doing here?! SHUT THE DAMN DOOR!!
Mr. Dibbley waddles in, quickly slamming the door shut behind him.
Brick [Cheerily]: Hey! Customers!
Jon: Fuck ‘em! We’re closed!
Billy: Ach, c’mon guys! We need a place ta escape from Sal!
Jon: …Why didn’t you say?! Brick, get them two frosty beers!
Brick looks at Jon, confused. Jon sighs, slowly turning his head and noticing the look Brick is giving him.
Jon [Desperately]: The beers in the fucking chest freezer!!
Brick slowly shakes his head, looking confused.
Jon [Impatiently]: THE GIANT THINGAMABOB IN THE KITCHEN THAT LOOKS LIKE A GIANT BRICK WITH A BROWN LID!!!!!!!!!!!
Brick snaps his fingers.
Brick [Grinning]: Got’cha!
Jon slams his head off of the bar as Brick opens the door to the stairwell, turning left and opening the metal door down into the basement.
Billy: Sounds like yeh have ta deal with stupidity too.
Jon [Sighing darkly]: It’s so rampant around these parts. I wonder why.
Mr. Dibbley: Mercenaries don’t get paid to learn, sport, we get paid to kill.
Jon: Dibbley, you put five mercenaries in one room and the chances are there will be two braincells between them. There’s a line between ‘uneducated’ and ‘one IQ point away from being legally classified as a vegetable’.
Mr. Dibbley [Calmly]: ..Indeed. Indeed.
Jon [Suddenly cheerful]: SO! What can I do for you guys? Seen any of the others? Suppose I could open the place early.
Billy: Nah, it’s desolate out there. Seen nary a blink from anyone.
Jon: Desolate..Just like their tiny minds.
Mr. Dibbley [Snidely]: You’re quite the charmer, aren’t you?
Jon [Bluntly]: Fuck you, Pingu.
Brick re-appears, clutching two bottles of beer with the glass frosted before slamming them down on the bar, grasping the metal rod sticking out from the porcelain jug and stirring it once more, causing Billy’s nostrils to flare.
Billy: Dude, what is that?
Brick [Laughing]: Moonshine!!
Billy: Shit, it really is Halloween, isn’t it?
Brick: Nothing wrong with it! It’ll put hairs on your chest!
Mr. Dibbley: So, your basically admitting it messes with your DNA.
Brick [Calmly]: Yep.
Billy: I’ll take some.
Brick removes the metal pole from the moonshine, setting it down and pouring some into a lead cup, handing it to Billy. A small hissing sound fills the air as the metal pole begins to melt the carpet.
Jon [Disgusted]: Fucking hell, Brick! Don’t ruin the carpet!
Brick: Billy, you not drinking it?
Billy is busy examining the drink, which is now spitting a sizeable amount of fumes.
Billy: ..Quite a head on it. I can’t seem to see the drink.
Brick: It’s in there. You want some, penguin dude?
Mr. Dibbley [Hastily]: No! I’ll pass! I’ll pass!
Brick shrugs as Billy turns around, strolling over to the podium and pulling a five dollar bill from his pocket.
Billy: Alright babe, may as well get Halloween started the right way.
The double doors are suddenly forced open as Johan, still wearing his oil-covered boiler suit, strolls in, looking around the bar with sweat glistening on his brow. Behind him stands That Hispanic Guy, wearing a suit of pure white, with everything from the tie to the shoes a violent shade of white. He looks over Johan’s shoulder, standing on the tips of his toes.
That Hispanic Guy: Hola? Hola??
Johan [Bluntly]: Hello.
Jon: …So, you guys are here for Halloween, then?
Johan: Yes, for a drink.
That Hispanic Guy [Cheerily]: AND THE WOMEN!!!
That Hispanic Guy grins brightly, forcing himself past Johan and strolling into the bar. Brick quickly slams the jug of moonshine onto the bar top, slapping the side of it with a resounding, thick sound.
Brick: Got some homebrew here! Made it meself! Will knock you out!
That Hispanic Guy: Fuck that, let’s see some women!
That Hispanic Guy rushes over to the podium where the stripper begins to dance around the pole as Billy stands there, waving the dollar bill in the air. That Hispanic Guy reaches into his right breast pocket, pulling out a thick wad of crisp dollar bills and kissing them.
Billy [Surprised]: Fucking hell! Where did you get that?!
That Hispanic Guy [Cheerily]: My madre! She is a wonderful, wonderful woman! Owns several factories and pays her workers as little as legally possible!
Billy [Raising his glass]: I’ll drink to that..
The contents of the glass hiss and bubble violently.
Billy [Lowering his glass]: …But not now.
Johan: Where are the others?
Jon: Too stupid and lazy to come out tonight?
Jericho strolls into the bar, clapping his leather-gloved hands together.
Jericho: I resent that remark!
Jon: Seriously? No-ones dressing up? IT’S HALLOWEEN!!!
Jericho looks down at his camelskin trenchcoat.
Jericho: I’m dressed up!...as me.
Jericho shrugs, strolling into the bar and slapping the top of it.
Brick: What’ll it be?
Jericho [Shrugging]: Anything, really.
Mustafa, still wearing his boiler seat, but with the top pulled down and tied around his waist to reveal his towering, chiselled torso, calmly walks in, dusting his biceps free from sand.
Brick hands over two lead cups to Jericho and Johan, who look down at the liquid whose fumes have now turned an odd shade of yellow.
Jericho [Sneering]: ……Fucking hell, what’s this?
Jericho [Muttering]: ..Oh..fuck….me..
Johan takes the cup, going to sip some, but quickly stops, his lips hovering over the fumes.
Johan: …Why are the fumes cold?!
Brick [Inanely]: SCIENCE!!
Mustafa: Looks more like an abomination of science.
Jon: So, no-ones dressing up on Halloween. Great. So I need to make the place more spooky.
Jon reaches beneath the bar, pulling up a double-barrelled hunting shotgun and aims at the light-tubes, firing twice at the two in the middle of the room, plunging most of the bar into darkness, save a purple spotlight over the bar. Jon drops the shotgun with a clatter, clapping his hands together.
Mustafa [Bluntly]: Great. Now we can’t see.
Jon: Well, we need SOMEONE to embody the Halloween spirit!
Jericho: The women are dressed up out there.
Jon [Excitedly]: Women?!
Sal’s Voice [Disturbed]: BACK! BACK YOU JACKALS!! GO AWAY!! BACK!!
Sal rushes between the double doors, slamming them shut behind him, breathing heavily and dusting off his red dress shirt. He looks up at Billy and Mr. Dibbley, narrowing his eyes.
Sal [Darkly]: …Hello cunts.
Mr. Dibbley: Look, it’s the black hole.
Mr. Dibbley [Snidely]: He sucks the fun out of the room.
Brick: True that.
Sal: Fuck off, it’s horrible out there! Some tiny woman dressed as a zombie just stole my fucking wallet!
Billy: Too bad she didn’t give you her charm.
Sal: I’ll cut you, Billy.
Sal reaches into his pocket, reaching around before stopping.
Mustafa: Excited, Sal?
Sal [Angrily]: She stole my fucking switchblade!!
The double doors are forced open once again as Phil stumbles in backwards, dusting off his jeans and hissing violently, twisting around and stumbling into the club, looking around.
Jericho: What the fuck held you up?
Phil: Crying Wolf dressed as Catwoman.
Sal [Cocking an eyebrow]: You got some?
Phil: No, she tripped me up with her whip, kicked the shit out of me and took my wallet. And then a zombie stole my belt!
Jon: So, this is a safe zone?
Mustafa: No… [Flexes] These are the safe zones.
Phil [Shuddering]: Yeah, good luck, those women are relentless. They’re holding Vince for ransom.
Billy: Vince? They got Vince?
Phil [Jabbing a thumb over his shoulder]: Yeah, handcuffed him to a lamp-post. Tavi’s holding a knife to his throat.
Jericho [Scoffing]: And you’re not going to help him?
Phil [In disbelief]: Help him?! I got the shit kicked out of me! I think my ribs are broken! He’s on his own, mate.
Billy: True. True.
That Random Guy stumbles in, followed by Dave who is busy wielding a small lead pipe. Dave turns to the doors, waving the pipe.
Dave [Laughing]: LET’S SEE CATWOMAN STEAL WALLETS WITH A BROKEN HAND!!!!
Dave laughs, tucking the pipe into his leather vest and turning around, only for a rock to fly through the air and hit him in the back of the head with a sickening crack, causing him to fall face-first onto the floor.
That Random Guy [Underwhelmed]: …And that’s why I just handed mine over.
Brick [Quietly, to Jon]: Any time you want to give me my forty dollars..
That Hispanic Guy: Anyone else getting dizzy?
Jericho: …Think it might be the fumes from the moonshine.
Billy hands the stripper his ten dollars before sitting on the edge of the podium, his stomach growling audible.
Billy: Fuckin’ hell, I’m starved..
Billy sets down his cup of moonshine as Phil walks over to the bar, snatching up Billy’s forgotten beer and setting down a few dollar bills, taking a quick swig before walking over to Sal who is watching the podium.
Phil: So, Sal. How’s your father?
Sal looks at Phil with his right eyebrow raised.
Sal [Cautiously]: …Why?
Phil: Do you like him?
Sal: ..Not really.
Phil grins, rubbing his hands together.
Phil: Did he ever wear a ruby necklace?
Sal looks at Phil edgily.
Sal [Muttering]: He does, why?
Phil: Just wondering. So, did you and him get along?
Sal: Not really. He loved that necklace more than he loved me. Even got buried with it.
Phil stands frozen for a moment.
Phil [Cautiously]: ……Buried?
Sal: Yeah, he died two months ago.
Phil [Taken aback]: ..You never seemed depressed!!
Sal: I wasn’t. He was an asshole. Good riddance, I say.
Phil looks over at Jericho, who appears absolutely crestfallen from the news.
Phil: And you say I have no morals!
Sal: Why? Did you want it? Go and dig him up. Hopefully it’ll piss him the fuck off.
Phil: …How much is it worth—
Jericho: …We have a problem, then.
Ivan stumbles into the bar, adjusting his grey fur ushanka hat on the top of his head.
Ivan [Angrily]: MUDAK!!!
Ivan spits on the floor, turning around and looking around the bar, giving a small nod.
Mustafa: Another victim?
Ivan: Zey took my vallet.
That Random Guy: Join the club.
Ivan looks down, carefully stepping over Dave.
Ivan: Vucking hungry, though.
Johan [Bluntly]: Join the club.
Brick [Under his breath]: Just a few more..
The doors open once more as Bobby, Stoofer and That Other Random Guy stroll into the club, adjusting their boiler suits and letting out a deep sigh in unison.
Bobby: Some weird woman dressed as a zombie stole my wallet.
Billy: Join the club.
Bobby: Vince is out there, too. He doesn’t seem to be faring too well.
Stoofer [Bluntly]: Eh, fuck him.
That Other Random Guy: Well, the F-sixteen is almost finished. A few more adjustments to the engines and we’ll be ready for a test flight soon.
That Hispanic Guy [Cheerily]: PROGRESS! Soon, we will rain fire down on the heathen scum!
Sal: If being a mercenary has taught me anything on this world, then it’s that bombs won’t work. We’d be better jabbing their necks with syringes.
Ivan: He has a point.
Mr. Dibbley [Blankly]: Well, it’s Halloween. Yippee.
The mercenaries fall silent, listening to the sound of scuffling and yelling outside.
That Other Random Guy: How can you tell?
Ivan: He sounds like he’s losing.
Sure enough, Frank is violently thrown the doorway, his shirt torn and his boots scuffed. He coughs violently, spitting out a tooth as Will, Bob and Lynch follow, calmly stepping over him.
Will [Confidently]: Good looks get you places, Frankie!
Lynch: As does strength…and depression, apparently.
Frank [Weakly]: ….Ow…
Mustafa [Laughing]: Looks like they did a number on you!
Jon: Just pour him some moonshine and get done with it.
Frank, somehow rejuvenated instantly, hops to his feet and jogs over to the bar, slapping his hand down as Brick pours him a lead cup of moonshine, the smoke now taking on a dirty pea-soup green color. Frank looks down at the moonshine, his alcohol-hardened stomach seeming to twist and turn.
Frank [Disgusted]: …Dude.
Will: Man, you usually shit that, Frank.
Sal [Bluntly]: I thought he breathed it.
Dean and Samuel now file through the double-doors, wearing their work clothes and taking off their white aprons, throwing them down onto the floor.
Will: Look what the cat dragged in and vomited onto the floor.
Dean [Coldly]: Fuck off. We just finished cleaning the fucking kebab shop. Damn rats get everywhere.
Samuel: And then we get brass-knuckled by some woman dressed as a zombie.
That Other Random Guy: Welcome to the club!
Stoofer: Brilliant, eh?
Dean: Well, seems like we’re the last ones. Karab’s staying in, Steve seems to think of the women as friends, and Robbie is—
Robbie [Darkly]: Here, comrade.
Robbie strolls into the bar, hands clasped firmly behind the back of his kriegsmarine overcoat. He looks down at Dave, sneering before stepping over him.
That Hispanic Guy: ….Wow. Not a scratch on him.
Robbie: I am resistant to torture techniques, which is more than can be said for Vince.
Mr. Dibbley: And what can be said of Vince?
Robbie [Calmly]: I’ve seen more appetising woodchipper victims.
Robbie shuts the doors behind him as Brick turns to Jon, grinning brightly.
Brick: That’ll be forty dollars, Jonny-boy!
Jon sighs, counting out the dollar bills, shaking his head in despair.
Jon [Sighing]: You did it. You fucking did it. Don’t know how, but hey, you did it. Makes me fucking sick, though.
Brick: You could say the secret is in the booze!
Jon: You mean the moonshine?
Brick [Laughing]: Yep! Moonshine is all you need!
Bobby sniffs the air, looking around.
Bobby: Hey, does anyone else smell steak?
Lynch [Sniffing]: ….I smell it too.
Will sniffs the air.
Will: I smell it too. I smell….pork chops!
Johan [Happily]: I smell burritos!
Phil: I smell sausage rolls.
Jericho: Lads, what the fuck are we doing here? All we have to drink is this toxic and somewhat corrosive liquid!!
Jericho throws his cup down, waving his arm towards the men.
That Hispanic Guy [Pumping his fist in the air]: Compadre has a point! I’m fuckin’ starved!
Dean: Yeah, I am too! Man cannot live on last-nights greasy meat alone!
Karab: And we did try.
Dean: We tried, yeah. But it was fucking sickening.
Dave coughs out a tooth, slowly lifting his head and pushing himself onto his hands and knees.
Dave: …..Maybe that’ll teach you to stop killing rats and adding their corpses to it!
Dean: It’s not rats, it’s just bits we forgot to shave off of the lamb!
Stoofer: Man, that’s disgusting..
Dave [Grimacing]: Bullshit! I was there at Shadow Moses, and those mice had the same color of fur as you have dotting your kebab! So much for Snake being guided through the vent, eh, you filthy fucking bastard!!
Samuel: What do you care? You don’t even eat lamb!
Dave: Oi vey to you too, motherfucker!
Frank: Dave, calm down..
Dave: Fuck you, you wimp!
Frank: Call me a wimp?!
Frank grasps and smashes a nearby glass on the bar.
Frank [Angrily]: I’LL FUCKING CUT YOU!!!!
Robbie: You touch him, I’ll cut your teeth out of your mouth!
That Other Random Guy: And if either of you touch eachother, I’ll cut Sal!
Sal [Confused]: Wait, what?!?!?!?!
Jericho lets out a shrill whistle, causing silence to fall over the bar.
Jericho: Lads…let’s check out the Lamb and Fla—
Jon: Don’t you fucking dare! Me and Brick can cook stuff up! Yeah! We can!....Say, who likes……potato chips?!
Stoofer [Bluntly]: Truly, the pinnacle of a dining experience.
Billy: C’mon guys, I want some steak, dammit!
The mercenaries mutter in agreement, filing out of the double doors. Brick simply stands there, straightfaced and neutral while Jon rips at his hair, the bar growing quieter and quieter until Ivan slams the doors shut behind him. Jon slowly turns his head to Brick, snatching his money back.
Brick: You’re the one who never ordered the food last week!
Jon mumbles violently under his breath, grasping the top of the bar and slamming his head down violently, knocking himself out before collapsing backwards onto the floor.
*Lamb and Flag*
The mercenaries file into the Lamb and Flag, unscathed due to already handing over their wallets to the women who seem to be prowling the streets. Billy and Sal are dragging in Vince behind the pack filing into the Lamb and Flag. Vince’s eyes are blackened, his lips bleeding, and small scratches cover his body and torn clothes. He lets out a weak cough, looking ahead at the tables in front of him.
Vince [Weakly]: …All I remember is pain…
Sal: Yeah, well, they tore off your beard.
Vince [Angrily]: WHAT?!?!? DAMMIT!!!!
Bobby [Laughing]: Yeah, they got you good!
Vince: Why did no-one help???!
Ivan: It vas somevat funny.
Stoofer: Somewhat? It was very funny! Why didn’t you fight back, man?
Vince [Weakly]: You try fighting…back against…..Crying Wolf….She’ll fuck your shit up….
Phil [Nodding]: That’s true.
The mercenaries stop in front of the table as Dick looks over at them from behind the bar, busy polishing a crystal tankard with an old rag. He adjusts his bowtie, clearing his throat and standing up tall.
Dick: Gentlemen: Tonight, the food is free, the music is free, and the drinks are cheap.
Lynch: What’s the catch?
Dick: You have to pay for drinks?
The mercenaries remain silent, looking at Dick uneasily.
Dave [Hesitantly]: I bet it’s poisoned.
Frank: As punishment for being traitors to the Dog and Handgun.
Billy: Either that or Maurice is going to pop out and shoot us.
Bill strolls out from the kitchen, wearing a greased apron, a chefs hat and carrying a black plastic spatula, looking over at the mercenaries.
Sal [Snidely]: Ah, shit, he’s got a job. Hell must’ve frozen over.
Bill [Angrily]: Hey, asshole, try that fuckin’ steak! Us Texans can fry those bastards like the best! SO EAT IT! RIGHT NOW!
Bill [Quietly]: I won’t get my paycheck. And when I don’t get my paycheck, [Spitting] I WILL KILL YOU ALL!!
Moe’s Voice [Piping up from the kitchen]: He means it!
Dick: Now this, gentlemen, is a mans party. Forget the strippers and the moonshine: That’s immature. We have steaks, we have beers, we have meat, and we also have safety from the growing breed of violent women prowling the streets!
Stoofer [Quickly]: I don’t think hiding from women is manly.
Dick: …You want to die? Go outside and be my guest.
Samuel turns around, opening the door a crack. A white-painted hand thrusts itself through the crack, violently clawing at the air as Samuel yelps, trying to force the door shut.
Courtney’s Voice [Hysterical]: JUST LET ME SEE WHAT YOUR INSIDES LOOK LIKE ON THE OUTSIDE?!?!?
Samuel [Panicking]: Dean! Fuck! Dean! Fuck! Dean! HELP! HELP!
Dean [Laughing]: Nah!
Johan grasps the hand, forcing it out of the crack and allowing Samuel to slam the door shut, only for several fists to hammer against it. Johan reaches inside his boiler suit, pulling out a pair of bolt-cutters and wedging them inside the metal handles, effectively locking the door.
Lynch: Well, that’s a relief..I guess.
Dick: Guys, Nothing is wrong with the food..unlike the Kebaborama’s, which is recycled cat, rat and dog meat.
Dean [Angrily]: That has never been proven!!
Lynch: Yet always suspected!
Johan sighs, stepping over to the table and grasps a burrito the length of his forearm, wolfing it down in seemingly seconds before burping quietly. The mercenaries remain in a still, tense silence before Johan smiles slightly.
Johan [Happily]: It’s edible!
The mercenaries let out a loud roar of approval, rushing towards the tables. Billy grasps a pork chop, pulling it up and chomping on it greedily.
Billy [Ecstatically]: REAL MEAT! REAL MEAT!
Dave: Outta my way!
Dave shoves in between Dean and Samuel, pulling a plate of cheese-covered nachos towards him and wolfing them down by the handful.
Robbie [Disgusted]: Wow, that’s vile.
Mr. Dibbley: I agree.
Dean grasps a sausage roll, taking a quick bite from it.
Dean: ..So this is what real pig tastes like?
Dean [Laughing]: It’s brilliant!
Phil shoves in between Will and Bob, grabbing a T-Bone steak and wrenching it free, stumbling over to Jericho who is clutching two sausage rolls in each hand.
Phil [Bleary-eyed]: Look at this…actual meat.
Jericho: Phil, are you crying?
Phil [Wiping his eyes]: …..Slightly.
Phil chomps down roughly on the steak as Frank strolls over to the bar with a hot dog in one hand, slamming down a few dollar bills.
Frank: Sure, gonna need to pawn some stuff off before our next payment, but..it’s worth it!
Dick: So, what’ll it be? Coors? Bud? Domestos? Draino?
Frank: Just the Coors tonight.
Lynch [Snidely]: Pussy. Dick, give me the strongest alcohol you have!
Dick: One glass of Absinthe coming up.
Lynch: Absinthe? Absinthe is a pussy’s drink!
Dick: Then how about some scotch? Glenfiddich?
Lynch: Sure! Scotch is a mans drink!
Jericho [Piping up]: It’s Single Malt Whiskey, you stupid plank!
Lynch: Fuck you, limey! It’s Scotch to me!
Lynch slams down a half-full tumbler of Glenfiddich, and hands Frank a frosted bottle of Coors. Frank takes a quick drink, nodding at Lynch.
Frank: Almost time, y’know.
Lynch [Calmly]: Yeah.
Frank: Any thoughts on it?
Lynch: Yeah, shut the fuck up and enjoy the calm before the storm.
Billy [Hiccupping]: That’s how I live my life!!
Billy stumbles past them, gnawing greedily on his pork chop as Ivan sits on the edge of a table at the side, drinking from a tumbler half-filled with vodka. Mr. Dibbley waddles over, turning around and standing beside him.
Mr. Dibbley: So, are you happy?
Ivan [Coldly]: Always.
Mr. Dibbley: You sure?
Ivan [Coldly]: Da. I just have issues.
Mr. Dibbley [Chuckling]: Don’t we all?
Ivan: Just vaiting vor Big Shell.
Ivan takes a quick drink of vodka.
Mr. Dibbley: It’s going to be a toughy, that’s for sure.
Ivan: Toughy? How’s it tough? I spent several years in the Spetsnaz. That vas tough. Killing virtual reality-trained soldiers? Easy.
Vince: Just relax, Ivan!
Ivan lets out a small sigh, taking another drink and hopping down from the table.
Ivan [Yelling out]: VASHEE ZDARÓVYE!!!
Ivan: It’s a Russian drinking toast. It means “To your health”. Not yours, obviously—
Vince: Fuck you!
Ivan cackles loudly, slapping Jericho on the back and strolling over to the table.
Stoofer: About time we had some decent food. Not sure about the greasy redneck cooking it, though.
That Other Random Guy: Who cares? It’s food, and it’s more than we get from *Beep*
That Hispanic Guy: At least you get health insurance, hijo de puta!!
Stoofer takes a quick bite of the burrito, nodding to himself.
Stoofer: Well, it is edible.
Dick [Laughing loudly]: HAPPY HALLOWEEN, LADS!!!
Johan: Now this? This is a party.
Bobby: No it isn’t.
Bobby leans over and grabs Johan, hauling him up off the ground and slamming him through the left-hand table, smashing it into pieces and sending scraps of meat across the porcelain floor.
Bobby [Ecstatically]: NOW it’s a party!!!!
In what seems to be an instant, the pub descends into anarchy. Frank and Lynch turn to eachother, then to the action as Robbie leaps on Will, sending him down to the ground before getting up and stomping him roughly. Dave grabs a hot dog, biting it for each kick he sends thundering into Will’s side.
Will [In pain]: Fuuuuuuuck! Get off of me!!!
Will struggles violently, grabbing both of their legs and tripping them up, sending them facefirst onto the floor before getting to his feet, spinning around and swinging a punch at Jericho who ducks. Phil and Jericho stand side-by-side as Will spins back to Jericho before roughly punching him, the unified force of their punches sending Will tumbling over the middle table and to the floor.
Phil [Grinning]: Fuck yeah!
Bob sighs, wading out of the carnage as Billy grabs Vince in a headlock, hitting him roughly with an empty porcelain bowl before smashing it directly over his head, shattering it into several shards. Billy drops Vince, only for Sal to run and jump up, slamming his right foot into Billy’s head with a flying kick that sends him rolling across the floor.
Sal [Excitedly]: YEAH! SUCK ON THAT, YOU SCOTTISH BASTARD!!
Sal turns around, but is hit with a rough uppercut from Mustafa which sends him a few feet into the air before crumpling down on the floor. Mustafa cracks his knuckles, grinning and nodding before grabbing Phil by the scruff of his neck, hoisting him up and slamming him against the ceiling before throwing him down onto the floor. Ivan deals a quick punch to Mustafa’s right kidney, but Mustafa simply turns around, grabbing the second attempted punch. Ivan grins and nods, swiftly slamming his head into Mustafa’s noise. A rough cracking sounds fills the air as Mustafa stumbles back, clutching his now-broken nose. Dave gets to his feet, leaping up and wrapping his arms around Mustafa’s neck before Robbie and Ivan rush forward, punching the behemoth roughly in the chest and sending him collapsing backwards, sandwiching Dave between toned muscle and polished porcelain floor.
Dave [In pain]: FUCKING HELL!!
Frank and Lynch continue watching as Ivan turns around, walking right into a bottle smash over his head from That Random Guy, who uses the broken bottle to swipe at Mr. Dibbley who simply lunges forward, slapping a flipper roughly upside his head with enough force to send him sprawling to the floor. Johan and Bobby rush forward, tackling Mr. Dibbley to the floor, but Vince quickly leaps up, slamming his entire weight down on all three of them.
Frank: ..So, you condone this?
Lynch [Bluntly]: Yep.
Lynch: Do you think those namby-pamby Genome soldiers we faced trained like men? Do you think the PMCs we faced had actual training as opposed to being pumped full of nanomachines? Bullshit. What you see is training. Violent, brutal, but it’s going to be effective. Just you watch.
Frank: How effective could bar-brawling be?
Frank turns his head, watching as Vince grabs That Other Random Guy and throws him through one of the windows. That Other Random Guy grasps the window, trying to pull himself back in, but lets out a panicked, bloodcurdling scream as he’s dragged backwards by an unseen force. Vince looks out of the window, smirking and nodding.
Vince: CONSIDER THAT MY PAYMENT, GIRLS!!!
Lynch: Very effective.
Lynch finishes off his Glenfiddich before smashing the tumbler over Vince’s head and grabbing Frank by his collar, throwing him over the bar. Dick quickly sidesteps, watching with his hands on his hips as Lynch grabs Jericho and Phil with each hand, throwing them through the already-broken window. They hit the cement with a rough thud, both of them spitting out the sand which has coated the streets.
Jericho [In pain]: …Fuck..
Both men collapse as Vince throws Dean and Samuel on top of them.
Dean: Shit! What the hell?!
Samuel slowly pulls himself to his feet, turning around and dusting himself off.
Samuel: And all I wanted was a drink.
Dean: Uh..guys? We might want to run.
The other three turn around, looking over at the darkened alleyway where a hooded woman, wearing a surgical mask, glares at them evilly with a golden eye.
Jericho: Seriously, what are they putting in the water?
The four mercenaries part as Billy is thrown out between them. He pushes himself to his feet, spitting out a mouthful of sand before looking forward and squinting.
Billy: …the fuck? Is that Tavi?
Samuel: Wow, that’s one large knife she’s got.
The knife in her hand glints in the moonlight as the mercenaries give a unified gulp.
The mercenaries quickly sprint up the street and into the dark night.
COMING SOON: Part XI
- As the events on the Hudson River and Big Shell draw closer, the mercenaries find themselves wasting time up until the inevitable. With the interviews finally coming to a close, and with Mother Mercenaries visit closing in, can the mercenaries survive long enough to go on another life-or-death mission? Tune in later this month to see the final interviews, a tailing mission, more disappearing women and a rather puzzling conundrum.