Friday, 19 August 2016

Saga III Chapter XII - Long Live The Kings



**LAS VEGAS, NEVADA**

Our scene opens up with Frank, sitting at a bar in Las Vegas. The bar is situated within an incredibly small room, just large enough for the bar and four stools, and somewhat dimly lit. The bar itself is constructed out of unpolished wood, with a sign reading “OCELOT’S RETREAT” hanging overhead. Frank is sat on the middle of four stools, pint glass in hand as he listens to dim music in the background, muffled through the walls and the door just a few feet behind him, which slowly creaks open. In walks Bob, wearing a white polo-shirt, jeans and black sneakers. Upon seeing Frank, he shakes his head before walking to his right and sitting on the bar stool next to him.

Bob: Enjoying the Ocelot’s Retreat, Frank?

Frank [Quietly]: Viva las Vegas.

Bob: Why am I not surprised that this is what your vacation entails?

Frank: What can I say? I like drinking.

Bob: Guess you drink to forget, eh?

Frank: Well, to be honest, I forgot what I was supposed to forget. If I was supposed to forget anything.

Frank slowly raises his glass to his lips as the sound of heavy footsteps fills the air. Bob spins around, watching as none other than Coach Lynch storms forward through the open door, wearing a garish red Hawaiian shirt, blue Bermuda shorts and white high-top sneakers.

Lynch: HELLO, FRANK!!!

Frank’s eyes roll into the back of his head as he collapses backwards, off of the barstool and onto the floor.

Bob: ….Lynch?!

Lynch [Looking down at Frank]: Ah fuck, I think I killed him.

Bob: What are you doing here?

Lynch: Having a fuckin’ vacation! Gambling, poon, what else would I be here for?!

Bob: Maybe you missed us--

Lynch [Cackling]: MISSED YOU?!?! SON, I DIDN’T MISS ANY OF YOU!!!!....Well, maybe a little bit. Anyway, what are you idiots doing here in Ocelot’s casino? Pretty dangerous to be fraternising with the enemy!

Bob: He doesn’t really own this place..

Lynch: It’s got his name on it, that’s good enough for me. Why aren’t you gambling at Caesar’s? The MGM Grand? Anywhere but HERE?

Frank [Slowly coming to]: Too…expensive..

Lynch: I earn sixty G’s a year. What the fuck do you lot earn?

Bob: About twelve thousand.

Lynch: ….Huh.

Bob: You seriously didn’t know?! Why do you think we’re always ambushing supply lines in the Sinai!

Lynch: I thought you were just contributing to the war effort!

Bob: Bull. SHIT.

Lynch: Well, as long as you don’t unionise, we’ll have no problem.

Bob: We can’t unionise: You’d shoot us all.

Lynch: Yep, that’s what I was getting at—

The door behind Lynch slowly creaks open. Bob turns his head, looking at the door.

Bob: Well, shit.

The bald, scarred head of Fabien, grinning brightly, peers around the door before he shoves it open, standing in the doorway with his arms spread.

Lynch: Aww shi--

Fabien locks his hulking arms around Lynch, lifting him off the ground and hugging him tightly.

Fabien [Ecstatically]: LEENCH!!!

Lynch [Mumbling]: Oh fucking hell, the Frenchman is here.

Frank: What are you doing here?!

Fabien: I need a vacation too, oui? And I thought I’d follow Lynch!

Lynch: I’m…flattered. I guess.

Fabien: Oui! Now, let us have FUN!

Lynch: When you say that, I get slightly terrified.

Fabien slowly sets Lynch down, looking at his outfit and then his own, which consists of a blue Hawaiian shirt, jean shorts and black combat boots.

Fabien: Ve have similar tastes, non? I like it!

Lynch: Yeah, it’s………something.

Fabien: So, shall ve go and do something better than drinking our lives away? How about a gamble on ze machines?

Frank: Gamble?

Lynch: Well, yeah, we ARE in a casino.

Frank: This is a casino?

Bob: …You didn’t know?

Frank: I didn’t care. Gambling’s for assholes.

Lynch: Woah, seriously?

Frank: Yeah. Complete waste of money and time. Why?

Bob: Just never expected there to be a vice that you didn’t like.

Frank: Drinking’s my thing. Gambling ain’t.

Fabien: Vell, it is my thing so I shall go and gamble!

Fabien spins around on his heels, walking out of the door. He is followed by Lynch, leaving Bob and Frank at the bar. Frank sighs, draining the last of his beer and slamming his glass on the table.

Frank: May as well tag along.

Bob: We don’t have to..

Frank: Nah, come on, I know Lynch will just pester us if we don’t.

Frank and Bob follow Lynch and Fabien outside, emerging in a huge circular room which is bustling with foot-traffic from various gamblers, making their way to the various games that line the outside of this circular room. To the left of the room, one can make out a misshapen doorway leading to glittering fruit-machines in darkened confines, but Fabien appears interested in a Wheel of Fortune ahead of them.

Fabien [Happily]: Ah, oui, ze wheel…OF FORTUNE!

Frank: It’s pointless!

Voice: So is your face.

Lynch: Aw fuck.

The four men turn around: Walking over to them, squeezing between the crowd, is Will Studlin, complete with a glittering mauve suit, black shirt and white tie. Fabien winces slightly at the gaudiness as Will stops, dusting off his collar.

Will: Sup fuckers?

Lynch: You too, Will?!

Will: What do you mean “you too”?! I’ve been here with these two ugly motherfuckers all along!

Fabien: I vould have thought you would be at a better casino!

Will: Well..think again.

Fabien: Indeed, zis is a sad little casino..

Will: It’s all we can afford on our wage--

Lynch [Scoffing]: Stop complaining, will you?!

Frank: Well, all I’ve been doing is drinking. Gambling is one vice I don’t want any part of!

Will: Come on, Frank: As long as you don’t go overboard, it’s perfectly good fun. Just make a low bet, play a few times and walk away.

Frank looks gingerly over at the Wheel of Fortune, sighing and throwing his arms up in defeat.

Lynch: He’s been like this for the entire visit?

Will: It’s almost like he wants to brag that this specific thing hasn’t brainwashed him!

Frank [Snapping]: Fine! I’ll make a few bets, alright?!

Frank stomps towards the Wheel of Fortune, reaching into the pocket of his jeans and pulling out his wallet.

Lynch: Well, hopefully, he won’t go too crazy…

**BEALE STREET, THE SINAI**

Over in Beale Street in Egypt, the sun is blaring down, creating a vicious midday heat that is visible to the eye. Walking down the street through the haze is Stephen, the sugar glider-anthropomorph, his t-shirt tied around his waist as he walks forward, rubbing his arms in a feeble attempt to remove the sand from his fur. He walks past Dave who is clutching his head, a cigarette dangling from his lower lip as he stumbles forward in a presumably hungover state.

Stephen: Hey Dave.

Dave: Go away.

Dave walks past Stephen who simply shrugs, continuing to walk down the street. He stops outside ReLoaded, spinning on his heels and strolling calmly into the shop, pushing the door open.

Stephen: Hey Tavi! I’m here!

From the rear door behind the counter emerges Tavi, bouncing forward and slapping her hands on the counter, smiling slightly.

Tavi: Is everything alright? How’re you finding it here?

Stephen: Hotter than Ireland.

Tavi: Yeah..i’m feeling hot too..

Stephen [Chuckling]: You’re looking hot, too.

Tavi scowls slightly before smirking.

Tavi: Don’t start me..

Stephen: ..But, y’know, it’s fairly nice here. I mean, even the inhabitants: They’re nice in a weird and hostile kind of way. Like you can tell they care a bit about you by how much they dedicate to despising you.

Tavi [Laughing]: I’ve never even thought of it that way before!

Stephen: Whereas in Ireland it’s all “Republic” this and “Republic” that. It’s boring.

Tavi: So…will you be joining in with the fighting when the time comes?

Stephen: Hell yeah. That’s one of the reasons I stayed here when the other Irish guys buggered off!

Tavi [Stroking her chin, smiling slyly]: And what were the other reasons?

Stephen [Smirking]: Oh, there are a few..

Stephen gives a small chuckle and Tavi’s face drops slightly, her arms dropping by her side.

Stephen: Are you alright?

Tavi [Quietly]: I feel..so fucking weird…

Stephen: Why?

Tavi [Squirming slightly]: I just feel..warm….

The bell rings in the shop as Phil walks in, clutching his Colt M1911.

Phil: Need ammo!

Phil looks around the shop.

Stephen: Got’cha.

Phil: Hey, Sweet Stevie, does it smell weird in here?

Stephen: What do you mean?

Phil: Like……..I dunno, it’s weird to say.

Tavi slowly walks backwards through the door behind her, slamming it shut.

Stephen: Yeah, I smell it too. Real strong.

Phil: And boy is it warm in here! Fucking hell man, put on some air conditioning!

Stephen: It IS on!

Phil: Fucking hell, man! TURN IT UP!

Stephen: I HAVE!!

Phil: ..Just fetch me my magazines, mate!

Stephen reaches under the counter, grasping five pre-loaded M1911 magazines and placing them on the counter.

Stephen: I hope you know how many blisters I get just loading these things.

Phil: Duly noted.

Phil shoves the magazines into the plastic bag.

Phil: I’ll be taking my weekly order on Monday. Just a heads up, mate.

Stephen: What the hell do you do with those five magazines in seven days? There’s nothing to shoot around here!

Phil: Sal.

Stephen: ………Good point.

Phil: Oh, and seagulls. So many seagulls.

Tavi slowly sidles out of the door, letting out a deep breath and fanning herself.

Stephen [Looking at her]: Are you alright?

Tavi [Quietly]: I just feeeeellll…..hm.

Stephen: Hm?

Tavi: Hm.

Phil: Hm.

Tavi: Why are you still here?

Phil: Good point.

Phil spins around on his heels, strolling out of the shop and slamming it shut behind him, turning right and walking up Beale Street. He walks past the front of The Oasis where Dion, wearing a bright mauve suit with a black dress shirt, is busy throwing black trash bags onto the street.

Phil: Morning Dion.

Dion [Waving]: Good morning, Yeti!

Dion whistles to himself, throwing out the last trash bag before turning around and walking back towards the doors of The Oasis. He stops, slowly stepping backwards and walking between the alleyway that separates Kebaborama and The Oasis, watching through a chainlink fence that fences off Kebaborama’s back yard. Dean, with the sleeves of his red and blue plaid shirt rolled up, is busy digging a large hole, a bodybag behind him. Karab walks out of Kebaborama, staring at the bodybag.

Karab [Narrowing his eyes]: DEAN.

Dean: What?

Karab: What are you burying?

Dean: Health Inspector.

Karab [Sighing]: Did you kill him?!

Dean: No, he ate here. So he committed suicide.

Karab: For crying out loud, can’t we have SOME pride in the food we serve?!

Dean: PRIDE?! What’s that?!

Karab [Nodding]: Yep, that’s the answer I was expecting.

Dean steps backwards, over the bodybag and uses his right foot to slowly push it into the hole before grasping the shovel and starting to bury the bodybag.

Dion: So, neighbours, committing crimes?!

Dean: No, he committed suicide.

Karab: From our mystery special!

Dean: There’s nothing wrong wi--

Karab [Angrily]: IT FUCKING GREW TENTACLES, DEAN!! I SAW IT!! AND I’M PRETTY SURE IT CHANGED ITS LABEL TO YOG-SOTHOTH OR SOMETHING!!

Dean [Not looking at Karab]: Nothing wrong with Elder God meat. Rich in protein.

Karab lets out a guttural, angered cry of despair, twisting around and walking back into Kebaborama. Dean slowly looks up before glancing over his shoulder.

Dean: What are you doi—

The sound of flames, followed by hacking, is heard.

Karab’s Voice [Enraged]: AAYO GURKHALI YOU ELDRITCH MOTHERFUCKER!!          

Dean [Angrily]: THAT’S OUR SPECIAL, YOU DUMB FUCK!!

Dion watches, somewhat amused, as Dean rushes into Kebaborama..

***LAS VEGAS, NEVADA***

Back in Ocelot’s Retreat, Lynch, Fabien, Bob and Will are now sat creaky, dilapidated bar that is separated from the actual casino. Notably conspicuous in his absence is Frank as all four men take it in turns to pass a bottle of champagne across to eachother, pouring it into shot glasses and taking quick gulps of it.

Bob: This isn’t how you’re supposed to drink champagne..

Lynch: I don’t give a fuck//

Fabien sighs, looking at the bottle of champagne.

Fabien: Zis is shit.

Lynch: Just think: This is most people’s idea of the best time of their lives.

Fabien: Non, I mean zis champagne is shit. But so is this casino, admittedly.

Will: Those people haven’t spent most of their life in the military, being burdened by the overwhelming guilt of killing many people.

Lynch: Y’know, that’s some of the deepest shit I’ve heard you say. Ever.

Will: Well, I have just drank an entire bottle of whiskey.

Lynch: Yep, that’ll do it.

Fabien: Maybe we can get drunk, and then get into all sorts of funny hijinks like that movie “The Hangover”?

Lynch: I would, but then we’d have to add two more horrendously unfunny sequels and this script is already pushing it.

Fabien: Script?

Will: He’s breaking the fourth wall.

Lynch [Waving at the camera]: How you doin’, Colt Cabana?

Will: Stop that.

Lynch: No.

Bob: You’re scaring the pit boss.

Lynch waves up at the security camera again.

Lynch: Maybe I’ll go to Ri--

Will: Don’t.

Lynch: Why? It annoys you. As far as I’m concerned, that’s a good enough reason to do it.

Will: Look, we need a plan. We’ve already spent three days in Vegas and money’s running low. Not to mention it’s getting awfully boring in here.

Fabien: Ve could go to Atlanteec City?

Lynch: Atlantic City is just a shit Vegas!

Will [Interjecting]: ShitTER.

Lynch: We could go home..

Will: That’s just a fucking awful idea.

Lynch: We need to head back anyway. There’s a mission with our name on it.

Will: Snake’s name on it. Well, Big Boss’s.

Lynch: No, we need to find a piece of microfilm containing the location to a fuckton of money for Mother.

Fabien: Sounds fun.

Lynch: It will be. It really will be.

Will: ….Where’s Frank?

Lynch: Aw goddammit….First alcohol, now gambling: Does this boy just hoard addictions?

Will: Do you really think he’s gambling again?

Lynch: Want to put a bet on it?

Will: …No.

Lynch [Sighing and rising to his feet]: Well, we better stop him.

Bob: Why?

Lynch: Well…..I don’t know, I just feel like we have to for moral reasons.

Will: Who needs morality? We kill shit for a living.

Fabien: Oui.

Lynch: Fuck you and get up.

Will sighs, hesitantly sliding off of the bar stool and getting to his feet. Bob and Fabien, somewhat reluctantly, do the same. Lynch wordlessly walks out of the bar, only to notice that a fairly large contingent of gamblers is now surrounding the roulette wheel. With an all-knowing sigh, Lynch steps forward towards the contingent who are laughing loudly.

Will: Oh boy, what’s the bet it’s one of ours?

Bob: I’d place a bet on it but we all know the returns are minimal..

Lynch shoves aside several gamblers, revealing Frank standing in front of the table, arms spread. Still wearing his pale pink Hawaiian shirt, it appears to be covering his underwear as his jeans have simply vanished, revealing pale white hairy legs clad only in white socks and black sneakers.

Frank [Angrily]: IF I DON’T WIN, I’M GOING TO GO FUCKING APESHIT!!

Lynch: Frank, put your pants back on!

Frank [Hysterically]: NEVER! I NEED TO WIN, DAMMIT!!

Lynch: You don’t need to win! It’s Vegas, nobody wins unless you’re rich or corrupt!!!

Frank [Hysterically]: LET ME FEEL SOMETHING!!

Will [Impatiently]: You’ll feel my boot in your throat if you don’t move!!

The croupier sighs, spinning the wheel and shaking his head.

Croupier: Very well, sir. Ten dollars on red twelve.

Lynch: Where the fuck are your pants, Frank?

Croupier: Those were Levi’s! So I let him gamble ‘em. He lost.

Will: Unsurprising.

Frank [Angrily]: I’LL BUY THOSE FUCKERS BACK WHEN I WIN!!

The roulette wheel grinds to a halt, the ball rattling over..

Croupier: Green Zero.

Frank [In disbelief]: GREEN ZERO?! GREEN FUCKING ZERO?!?!? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!?!?!?

Lynch: Uh, Frank--

Frank [Bawling]: WHHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?!?!?!?!

Dealer [Sighing darkly]: Wow, he’s a fucking crybaby.

Lynch: He certainly is.

Frank falls to his knees but Fabien walks over, grasping his left arm and hauling him to his feet.

Fabien: Up. We leave now.

Frank stumbles forward dramatically, falling onto the roulette table with his arms splayed across the felt.

Frank: NOT YET!!

Lynch: Frank, be sensible.

Frank: I SHALL GAMBLE MY SHIRT!!!

Croupier [Sighing]: Sir, is it expensive?

Lynch: It’s a one dollar special!

Croupier: We can’t accept that, sir. We take cash only. Or, failing that, one of your organs.

Frank: Wait, organs?!

Croupier: Well, it IS Las Vegas.

Will: And before you think of it, don’t even try and gamble your liver. That thing’s only worth a cent these days.

Lynch: His blood’s worth at least five dollars a pint, at least.

Frank: Wow, outdated alcohol jokes? Call me when you get some new material..

Frank sighs, reaching into his pocket and pulling out a handful of crumpled dollar bills.

Frank [Mumbling]: Ten on three red.

Fabien reaches into his pocket, pulling out several folded notes and placing them on the table.

Fabien: Thirty on ze two black.

Frank: Pff, good luck! This entire shit is rigged!

Fabien: Vell, I feel lucky.

The croupier spins the wheel, the ball rattling rhythmically as the wheel slows down before grinding to a halt, the ball landing on..

Croupier: Two black!

Frank: WHAT?!

Fabien [Grinning]: Oui!

Frank [In angered disbelief]: OH COME ON!!        

Fabien: Ze luck of ze…French!

Fabien rakes his chips into his arms, dragging them towards him as Frank tears off his shirt, throwing it onto the table.

Frank [Enraged]: BULLSHIT! THIS GAME IS RIGGED!

Lynch: Well, it IS Las Vegas.

Croupier: I did warn you.

Frank: OH, COME ON! YOU’RE NOT EVEN PRETENDING THAT THIS IS FAIR!

Will: Well, it IS--

Frank [Pointing at Will]: Don’t say it.

Will: …Las Vegas.

Frank screams, grasping the collar of his shirt and ripping it open, three buttons hitting the table as he spins around, clawing at his beard.

Frank: I’M CRAZY! I’M GOING CRAZY!!

Fabien: You certainly are.

Lynch: And he’s lost it.

Frank screams, running through the lobby of the casino and barging out of the doors.

Will: You want him to be a soldier? Really?

Fabien: And he’s ze second in command!

Lynch: Well, he has his good days and his bad days. It’s just this is a bad day.

Frank’s screaming fills the air again as he barges through the doors. This time, it stops immediately as his arms fall by his sides and he walks over to Lynch.

Frank: …Alright, I’m done.

Lynch: Good because it’s time to leave.

Frank: I’ve lost all my money..

Will: And your pants.

Lynch: Vegas’ll do that to you. Lucky for you, Mother’s giving us holiday pay.

Frank [Suddenly brightening up]: SWEET!! I’LL BE RIGHT BACK!!

Frank spins around to the roulette table, but Lynch swiftly locks his right arm around his neck, dragging him into a headlock and dragging him towards the doors..

***BEALE STREET, THE SINAI***

Back in Beale Street, the mood is significantly less neurotic and much more lazy. In Steve, Ivan, Phil and Jericho’s house, Jericho and Phil are slumped back on their tattered, moth-eaten couch. Jericho’s feet are on the cardboard box acting as a coffee table as he taps away at keys, while Phil is busy stroking the head of his bulldog Winston, Born of Winston’s lazily. Steve stands in front of the dirty oven, shaking a pan of Jiffy Pop popcorn whilst Ivan sits at the table, fiddling with a switchblade.

Phil: So. Jerry. What’s up in the world?

Jericho: I’m just on Twatter..

Phil: And?

Jericho: Imagine being so upset by something on the internet that you take fifteen minutes out of your life to type up something on how much you hate it.

Phil: It’s the equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and yelling to block out the other persons noise. Which is what Twitter is best at.

Jericho: That and the mob mentality.

Ivan: Zat too.

Jericho slowly shuts the lid on his laptop, looking around the room.

Jericho: Just another boring day otherwise, eh?

Emilie: Are we truly settling here?

Phil: Any money we make goes towards television, booze and poon, not other accommodation.

Jericho: We could try and find a better house--

Phil: Look, if you want to fuck off to Cairo: Fuck off to Cairo. I’m staying here and will stay here until Mother tells me herself that the war is over.

Jericho: I never took you as a dedicated soldier, Phil.

Phil: I’m not, I’m just incredibly fucking lazy and don’t want to move.

Jericho: That’s better.

Emilie: And when will this war be over?

Phil: Soon!..........ish.

Jericho: We actually have to fight it first.

Phil: That would certainly help.

Steve: But why try and force it?

Phil slumps back into the couch, yawning loudly.

Phil: Think I might pop into Kebaborama for something to eat.

Jericho: Get me some cheesy chips, will you?

Phil: Yeah, sure. Steve? Ivan? Ghost lass?

Emilie: I’m not a ghost anymore..

Phil: You’ll always be a ghost to me, sweetie.

Emilie: I want nothing.

Phil: Steve? Ivan?

Steve: Nothing for me.

Ivan: I’m fine.

Phil: Alrighty then, just me and Jerry.

Phil pulls himself up from the couch, turning around and walking out of the house, kicking the door shut behind him and jogging down the stairs, watching as Dave stumbles down the street past him.

Dave: Head hurts..

Phil: Dave, man, I’ve been watching you walk up and down this street since this morning. What’s up with you?

Dave: Ever stared at a flashbang?

Phil: No--

Dave [Hysterically]: WELL I HAVE AND IT FUCKING STILL HURTS!!!

Phil: I imagine there’s a story behind it. But I’m fucking hungry.

Phil walks past Dave, who continues to stumble down the street aimlessly with his hands over his eyes, and turns right into Kebaborama. He walks over to the white counter that separates the kitchen from the rest of the shop, slapping his hands on the counter. Dean, who is stood behind the counter with his arms folded, grunts in greeting.

Phil: Sup Dean. Get me two servings of cheesy chips.

Dean: Cheese-covered fries it is.

Phil: Chips.

Dean: Fuck off, English.

Phil: That’s the customer service I was waiting for!

Dean turns around, relaying the order to Karab as Phil stands at the counter, hands clasped on it as Karab begins frying two orders of fries. The door behind Phil opens and Stephen walks forward into Kebaborama, standing a few feet behind Phil.

Phil: And suddenly, an ominous feeling fills the air.

Stephen: Nah, it’s just me behind you.

Phil: Really? You can’t feel that? That deep chill that is hitting your bones right now?

Stephen: What are you talking about?

Phil: Ah, yeah, you’re a newbie, you don’t have…THE SENSE.

Dean turns around, having shoved the chips and cheap cheese grated on top into two polystyrene containers into a plastic bag before slamming it on the counter.

Dean: Shut the fuck up and take your food.

Phil: You mean you can’t feel it either, Dean?

Dean: No, I can: This fucking place is haunted. That’s what it is. I’m used to it. Now….fuck. Off.

Phil snatches up the carrier bag, turning around and walking past Stephen, who turns around and follows Phil out of the door.

Stephen: What do you mean ‘the sense’?!

Phil: You’ll feel it shortly.

Phil turns to the right, walking down Beale Street, but stops suddenly. Stephen walks into his back, bumping into him and stopping suddenly.

Stephen: Sorry ma—What’s up?

Phil [Narrowing his eyes]: The sense….was right.

Tavi is stood in the middle of the street, arms folded across her chest as she glares ahead at both Phil and Stephen. Stephen peers over Phil’s shoulder before sidestepping from behind him, raising his right hand slightly.

Stephen [Calling over]: Hey Tavi!.....What’s wrong with her?

Phil: Something. I can’t quite tell what.

Stephen: She seems…….angry?

Phil: That’s not anger, man. That’s the desire for something else. Here, hold this:

Phil hands Stephen his carrier bag, turning around and walking up the street. Stephen stands there for a few seconds as Tavi begins to walk forward before looking at the bag.

Stephen: Hang on..

Stephen looks over his shoulder, watching as Phil jogs around the corner of a building and into an alleyway towards Beale-Walker Square.

Stephen: DICK!

Stephen twists around, sprinting after Phil who has since swiftly disappeared. Quickly moving through the alleyway and into the open Beale-Walker Square, Stephen looks around, then to his right at a large stone building where the top half has been completely demolished, leaving only the skeletal remnants of window-frames. Stephen notices Phil quickly move onto the top floor and jog past a window into hiding, so quickly follows him into the building.

Stephen quickly bolts up a set of dust-covered stairs and onto the top floor, which is completely exposed to the elements. He rushes forward and turns to his right, running through a doorway to find Phil huddled in the corner, hugging his knees to his chest as he watches the doorway.

Phil: Fuck off! Find your own damn hiding spot!

Stephen: Phil, I’m scared!

Phil: What the fuck are you telling me for?! DON’T YOU THINK I’M TERRIFIED?!?!?

Stephen: Hang on, why is she after you?! YOU’RE NOT EVEN BIOLOGICALLY COMPATIBLE!!

Phil: We’ve done things before. Things that have involved candles, chains, pepper spray and hours of tears.

Stephen [Smirking slightly]: Hotdamn….[Shaking his head]…NO, NO THAT’S WRONG!!

Phil: It sure is. Now, shut the fuck up.

Stephen: What do we do?!

Phil: We hide here. Right here. For however long it takes.

Stephen: But she’s relentless!

Phil: We can’t run, though.

Stephen: Why?!

Phil: She’s fast, she’ll fucking catch us!

Stephen: And she won’t find us?!

Phil: How could she possibly find us?!

Stephen: She has a very good sense of smell.

Phil [Looking down at his shirt]: I haven’t washed this thing for at least two days.

Stephen: Well, that’s not good!

The door is suddenly booted open. Tavi calmly strolls in, hands on her hips as she gazes at Stephen.

Tavi [Quietly]: Hello, Stephen…

Stephen: Uh…hi…Tavi…

Tavi: Here…all alone…are we?...

Tavi bites her lower lip as Stephen gets to his feet.

Stephen: No, I’m wi—WHERE THE FUCK DID HE GO?!?!

Phil’s Voice [Laughing]: Gotta be quick, mah boy!

A loud thud, followed by a crack, is heard below the window.

Tavi [Grinning]: So…live prey…or wounded prey?...

Stephen: …Wounded prey’s easier to catch?

Tavi: Good point.

Tavi turns around, walking through the doorway as Stephen simply sits there, wide-eyed.

Stephen: Y’know, that was much easier than I expected.

Outside, Phil is busy crawling across the road dividing Beale Street, painfully inching his way, one fingertip at a time, towards the three concrete steps leading up to his house.

Phil [Slowly crawling towards the steps of his house]: I NEED HELP!!! JERRY!!! FUCKING HELP!!!

Jericho opens the door. He takes one look at Phil, then at Tavi who is quickly approaching him, before turning around and shutting the door.

Tavi [Quietly]: It’ll be over quickly..

Phil: This is such an overused plot point!!! Why can’t something positive happen?!?!

The door to the house opens as Crazy Ivan calmly strolls down the steps, squatting beside Phil and hoisting him onto his shoulders.

Crazy Ivan [Quietly]: Ve go inside.

Phil: Da.

Crazy Ivan slowly walks up the steps, kicking the door shut behind him and locking the door with a resounding ‘click’. Tavi simply stands there, placing her hands on her hips.

Tavi: Well…shit. THAT WASN’T SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN!!!!

Stephen slowly sneaks down the street behind Tavi as she throws her arms into the air before turning around, quickly spotting Stephen who stops suddenly.

Stephen: Iiiiiiiiii’m a figment of your imagination.

Tavi: Your screams won’t be.

Stephen quickly sprints down the street, followed closely by Tavi. Unbeknownst to them, watching from a wooden watchtower placed atop a nearby sand-dune is the South African sniper Krige and his spotter Cloete, now wearing a beige and yellow ghillie suit despite the searing heat. Krige is aiming down his rifle, watching as Tavi manages to hurl herself at Stephen and knock him to the ground.

Krige: Well, Cloete, I’ve seen some weird shit but this is the weirdest fuckin’ shit I’ve ever seen.

Cloete: What is it?

Krige: The bloody furry tryin’ to fuck the hairy cunt. And the other furry.

Cloete: Want me to spot?

Krige [Slowly lowering his rifle]: Nah, fuck it, let’s head to Cairo. The penguin can snipe on his own.

Cloete: Does saying that get any easier for you?

Krige: No.

Krige swings his rifle around and onto his back, climbing down the ladder of his watchtower..

**THE MERCENARY ACADEMY OF THE MIDDLE EAST**

A Chinook Helicopter’s blades slice through the sky as it begins its descent towards the lone helipad of the Mercenary Academy of the Middle East, at the Northern edge of the compound, just past the expansive training grounds which are currently filled with new recruits. Watching its descent is Mother Mercenary with Captain Callahay of Ghost Company, who remains dressed in solid black, including his balaclava despite the heat of the afternoon sun bearing down on Egypt. Mother clasps her hands behind her back, watching as the Chinook touches down.

Captain Callahay: I can’t believe you hired that bloody Zeke fellow.

Mother: He’s a fine pilot. Headstrong, but skilled.

Captain Callahay: I’m sure I saw him drinking aviation fuel before he set off for Japan.

Mother: He has his quirks. They all do.

Captain Callahay: Drinking aviation fuel is a QUIRK?!

Mother [Calmly]: If you worked as closely with Reject Company as I have, you’d realise that it’s a fairly harmless quirk.

Captain Callahay: Harmless. Alright, harmless.

Joel Sykes jogs forward, head bowed as the Chinook displaces the air roughly around the helipad. Clutching his baseball cap to his side, he rushes to Mother’s left.

Joel: Mother! Just got word from Spartan Company: They’re ready to fight!

Mother: Tell them to launch the operation now. The Ghosts should arrive in a few hours.

Joel quickly rushes away to the right as the Chinooks engine stops, the blades slowly grinding to a halt as the rear ramp opens and hits the ground, allowing a group of Japanese soldiers to quickly jog down the ramp. Bringing up the rear, however, are none other than Johnny and Tim, still wearing their holiday clothes with their cameras around their necks.

Mother: Johnny? Tim? Why did you catch a flight with the Divine Winds?

Johnny: We were in Japan, just seeing the sights. And we figured we’d come home now that everybody else is as well!

Lynch: Are they allowed to tag along with a foreign academy?

Mother: Of course: They are under my command, after all.

Tim: We’re not going to get in trouble for this, are we?

Mother: Of course not.

Tim and Johnny breathe a sigh of relief in unison, walking past Mother who looks at Callahay.

Mother [Calmly]: Go.

Captain Callahay: Yes, Mother [Turning to Ghost Company] YOU HEARD MOTHER! MOVE YOUR FUCKING ARSES! NOW! WE HAVE SOME MUTANTS TO SLAY!          

Ghost Company [Yelling in unison]: FOR MOTHER!!

Mother gives a quick roll of her eyes, twisting around and walking past Ghost Company as they march towards the Chinook helicopter, carrying their suppressed G36 assault rifles over their shoulders. Mother turns left, walking towards a small concrete building that is situated in the shadow of the Academy itself, marked by a red pneumatic door: The door slides open and the moustachioed, grandiose form of Winston Tenpenny strolls forward, notably without his faithful servant Jeeves at his side.

Winston: Mother!

Mother [Sighing]: Didn’t I give you a job to do?

Tenpenny: Well, I found the cyber warfare division! And it is…………uh..…working, ma’am.

Mother: Winston, what are you even doing here? You don’t even know what a PSU is!!

Winston: I do! It’s….Pretty Stupid…User?

Mother [Coldly]: How cute, you’ve learned self-recognition. NOW GET OUT!

Tenpenny: How can you expect me to know this ruddy tosh when you haven’t even shown me what it does! All I see are a bunch of spotted teenagers desperately tapping at keyboards!

Mother sighs, walking past Winston and towards the pneumatic door.

Mother: Follow me then, you bloody child! I’ll show you!

Tenpenny: THANK YOU, MA’AM!!

Mother [Sighing]: Do be quiet, Winston.

The door slides open, revealing a simple square room with minimal decoration. The only sound, aside from the humming of fluorescent lighttubes overhead, is the rapid tapping of keyboards and the sound of fan-blades slicing through the air which, though hidden, blow a pleasant breeze up through the interspersed grids placed across the metal floor. A large, square desk, with monitors hooked up to the variety of computers in the middle of it, sits in the middle of the room, with four teams on each side of the large desk.

Winston: So, is it anything like that movie--

Mother: If you say Swordfish, Winston, I’m going to hit you quite hard.

Tenpenny: Sorry Ma’am. I thought hacking involved a lot more green text scrolling down screens.

Mother: Actual hacking, Winston, is a lot more slow and tedious than that. For example, let me introduce you to our premier team: The flaw team.

Tenpenny: Flaw team?

Mother: Dedicated to finding faults in programs and websites in order to exploit them and gain access through a variety of means.

Mother walks to the desks in front of them, consisting of six wooden tables manned by six individuals. Mother stands behind one individual, a young woman with a blonde Mohawk, who is busy tapping away at her keyboard whilst slumped back in a leather office chair.

Hacker: No…Nope..Nope………………….Nnn….Nope.

Tenpenny [Rolling his eyes]: How exciting.

Hacker: I think I’ve found o—Nope. Sorry. My mistake.

The hacker sighs, rubbing her eyes and continuing to search through pages of code.

Hacker [Muttering]: Nope…Nope….Nope….Nope….Nope…

Mother: Trying to find security faults to exploit is a very lengthy process.

Winston: I see.

Mother spins on her heels, walking to the left towards a row of five metal desks, each manned by two different individuals to make a team of ten. Whilst five tap away rapidly on the keyboards, five more are stood behind the desks in the middle of the tables, rapidly fanning at the titanic computer and server towers stood opposite them.

Mother: This is our brute force team. They are running programs that…..well, basically, input a new password several hundred times a minute in an attempt to guess it.

Hacker [Angrily, at fan waver]: FAN THAT FUCKING THING FASTER, JOE, THIS THING’S SO HOT THAT IT’S ABOUT TO SELL IT’S BODY FOR CRACK ON THE SIDEWALK!!!

Joe [Angrily]: I’M FUCKING TRYING, HERNANDEZ, YOU PIECE OF SHIT!! IT’S GODDAMN USELESS!!           

Mother: Sadly, brute force hacking tends to put an enormous strain on even advanced equipment. So it needs to be kept..cool.

Hernandez: I’M SEEING SMOKE, JOE!!!

Joe [Angrily]: WILL YOU SHUT THE FUCK UP?!?!

Mother: Moving on…

Mother walks past the line of desks, turning right to the top of the square, constructed of six desks. Each desk has an individual sat on it, with a key difference being wooden dividers blocking each individual to their desk and to keep them concentrating on their own monitor. Mother stands behind a Middle Eastern male with spiky black hair and a thin, wispy goatee, watching as he stares blankly at his own reflection on the screen as he watches Facebook and, specifically, a message box to the lower right.

Mother: This is arguably our most successful team: The social engineering team.

Winston: Sounds interesting!

Mother: We have special users whose job it is to befriend or seduce high profile targets with a goal to get them to fork over their passwords or other personal info. The record time for such info has been three months. We’re hoping to get it down to one.

Winston: Espionage! Good lads!

Mother: How is the social engineering proceeding, Abdullah?

Abdullah [Quietly]: I’m..moving up to second base, Mother.

Mother: May good fortune be with you, child.

Abdullah [Sighing]: Thank you, Mother. Please leave so you don’t have to see me lose my dignity for the sake of this company.

Mother: Duly noted. As you can see, people are stupid and you wouldn’t believe how little it takes to make them give us their credentials. Abdullah here is a very successful young man: Being quite handsome, he is admired by females and males alike, and has almost mastered the art of social engineering.

Abdullah: It’s a curse. I don’t even know what love is anymore.

Mother: Onto our final team: This team deals with general information technology rather than hacking or anything similar. Encrypted communications are their key speciality.

Mother walks over to the desks on the right, with Joel Sykes sat on the middle desk, wearing a radio headset and talking into it. The desks only hold two others, who are busy tapping away on their keyboards as they, presumably, communicate with the other Academies.

Tenpenny: A-ha! Finally, something that’s useful!

Mother [Sternly]: It’s all useful to us, Winston.

Tenpenny: And what about those ruddy buggers in the masks?...What about hacktivism?

Mother: We leave the outside world to that task. They do a very good job of it as it is.

The smell of acrid smoke fills the air as Mother and Tenpenny look over at the brute force desks, where Joe is busy trying to put out a small fire now visible in the tower of Hernandez’s computer.

Hernandez: AW SHIT IT’S ON FIRE! THAT’S THE THIRD ONE THIS WEEK, JOE!!

Joe: MAYBE IF WE INVESTED IN WATER-COOLED PC’S, YOU IGNORANT FUCK!!!

Hernandez leaps up from his seat and grabs Joe in a headlock before slamming his head against the desk. The social engineering team watch on, cheering wildly as Joe tries to strangle the gigantic Hernandez.

Tenpenny: Well, I think I’ve seen enough.

Mother: Same here.

Mother and Tenpenny walk through the automatic door as Joe slams Hernandez onto the desk, strangling him violently..

**THE BELLEDONNE**

In the Belledonne Mountain Range, Antiope and the Spartan Company are now dealing with one last mission in France. They are located midway up the Croix de Belledonne, one of the largest peaks of the Belledonne, where the snow is thick beneath their feet and the oxygen thin, burning the soldiers lungs as they breathe. Despite this, they remain focused, watching as Lieutenant Adler is busy setting up a series of small satchels around a white painted steel blast door that is hidden within a crag within the mountain itself. Antiope watches, arms folded.

Antiope: One last mission…for now.

Private Robertson [Nearby]: I hope so. Too goddamn cold up here.

Lieutenant Adler: Well…this is the last of the thermite I’ve got. Hopefully it’s one last door to melt through.

Antiope: The last one, huh?

Lieutenant Adler: So it seems, ma’am.

Antiope: Well, this shall be fun. And by fun, I mean a fucking nightmare.

Lieutenant Adler: Will we die, ma’am?

Antiope: There’s a distinct possibility for it, yes.

Private Robertson: Is anybody else concerned?

Private Robertson looks around at the surrounding soldiers, who merely stand resolute in front of the door.

Private Jameson: Who gives a shit?

Antiope: Adler, breach the doors. We’re going in. One last time.

Lieutenant Adler steps away from the doors and calmly walks over to the detonator, kneeling in front of it and flicking several switches.

Lieutenant Adler: BREACHING!!

A muffled explosion sounds, followed by the hissing of white hot thermite as it melts through the door and its locks. Within mere seconds, the door collapses backwards, revealing the darkened interior of a metal coridoor leading into the mountain.

Private Jameson: Ah, here we go again.

Private Robertson: Exciting, huh?

Antiope: On me. Let’s go.

Antiope leads the elite soldiers of Spartan Company through the doorway and into the corridor. The lights have been completely cut out, with only a dull orange glow from the emergency light guiding them ahead through the winding corridor.

Private Robertson: I don’t like this.

Antiope: Does anybody?

Lieutenant Adler: It’s better than being sat at home.

Private Robertson: ….Yeah, but Adler’s fucking insane.

Antiope leads them to a pneumatic set of double doors, the right door already opened to reveal the interior of the room ahead bathed in a deep orange glow. Antiope shoves the left door open, walking inside: The room appears barren and empty, with three rows of metal desks ahead of them, completely stripped clean. On the middle desk of the second row sits a lone PC which appears to have been accessed recently but, alas, the screen and keyboard are spattered with blood. As Antiope steps into the room, she looks around: Opposite her, to the left of another set of double doors, are three empty sets of containment tubes to the right of the door itself. Her boots slide slightly on the metal floor which is slick with blood and matted fur: Aside from the blood, nothing else appears to be here, save for a few scraps of flesh stuck to the walls and ceiling.

Lieutenant Adler [Gazing upwards]: Wow, these furry freaks don’t leave leftovers, do they?

Antiope looks to her right at another set of double doors, which appear to be locked tight with a control panel to the left blinking red. She vaults over the row of desks in front of her, looking down at the PC and reaching under the keyboard, pulling out a small plastic keycard and twisting around, throwing it over to a female soldier with a blonde pixie cut who swiftly catches it. A male soldier with a black ponytail leaps over the rear row of desks and stands beside Antiope, leaning over the computer.

Antiope: Private Russo, can you get anything from this PC?

Private Russo: Assuming they haven’t wiped anything and blood hasn’t fucked with the circuitry? Sure.

Russo begins tapping away at the keyboards, looking through the computer’s files as the female soldier with short blonde hair walks over to desk, snatching up a small notebook that was resting against the monitor, flicking through it.

Antiope: Hopefully we’ll find something.

A young female soldier, Egyptian in origin and wearing a black beret alongside the black fatigues and red combat vests of the Spartan Company, steps beside Antiope, clutching an unscoped Mosin Nagant sniper rifle in her hands as she looks ahead at the door.

Young Soldier: Is everything alright?

Antiope: Mm. Seems too quiet, though.

Female Soldier: Hm. Apparently there’s some files located in the desk of a Joseph Robinson. Just through the doors to the right and down a series of corridors.

Lieutenant Adler: Why didn’t Robinson take them with him? They’ve gotta be useless.

Female Soldier: Apparently, they were preparing to completely empty the entire complex before our assault, but somebody decided to release the test subjects early..

An ominous silence fills the room as Antiope stops before the containment tube.

Antiope: Well….That is certainly not a good sign.

Antiope places her hand against the empty containment tube before pulling it away, shaking her head.

Lieutenant Adler: What do you reckon, ma’am?

Antiope: This is going to hurt.

Private Robertson: You don’t say?!

Antiope: Hush, Private. Corporal Darcy! Can you get those files?!

Corporal Darcy: ….Can I have an escort, ma’am?

Antiope: Certainly.

Corporal Darcy: Then I shall certainly try. If I don’t come back…blow up this entire goddamn mountain range with my body inside of it.

Antiope: I’m sure Zeke will take up the challenge. Fallon, Hegg! Take your squads along with Darcy and get those files!

Fallon and Hegg [Saluting in unison]: MA’AM!!

Fallon and Hegg lead their squads, comprising of ten soldiers, ahead of Darcy through the double doors to the right of the room which slide open with a swipe of the keycard. The doors quickly slide shut, locking automatically as Antiope looks around the room.

Young Soldier: So, ma’am, it appears that the creatures were released early. Intentional sabotage?

Antiope: No idea, Corporal.

Private Greenwald: Oh come on, Amari: This was clearly sabotage. Wouldn’t surprise me if it was on Ocelot’s orders.

Corporal Amari: You believe Ocelot had a spy amongst scientists loyal to the Patriots?

Private Greenwald: It’s not out of the question, is it? This whole Perfect Soldier Project is just completely fucked up and it wouldn’t surprise me if even Ocelot looked at it and thought it was too much.

Lieutenant Adler: And now Mother wants the paperwork related to it. She better be burning it..

Antiope: That’s classified, Lieutenant.

Corporal Amari: It would be a bad idea NOT to burn it.

Antiope: It’s Mother’s decision, at the end of the day. I have no idea what she is going to do.

Private Robertson: Is no-one else concerned that we’re probably stuck in a laboratory with a bunch of blood-hungry mutants?

Lieutenant Adler: Well…hopefully, they’ve had their fill with the scientists.

The soldiers fall silent, hearing a distant rumbling and banging of metal pipes.

Private Robertson: That was a fucking lie, wasn’t it?

Antiope: Steel yourselves, men and women. It’s not over yet. RUSSO! GET THOSE FILES DOWNLOADED!

Private Russo [Tapping away at the keyboard]: Working on it, ma’am. There’s not exactly much here.

Antiope: I don’t care. What Mother wants, Mother gets.

Corporal Amari slowly raises her rifle towards the northern doors of the room.

Lieutenant Adler: Ma’am, we should hold and fortify this position.

The banging grows in fervour as Antiope looks at Greenwald and Robertson.

Antiope: Overturn the tables and mount your SAWs. I want them all on that door.

Corporal Amari: And the other door?

Antiope: I trust Darcy. She’ll keep them at bay.

Private Robertson: I fucking hope so.

Robertson and Greenwald overturn the metal desks of the front row, sliding them together and mounting their machineguns on the side. Two soldiers join them at their sides, clutching boxes of what appear to be spare ammunition for the weapons. Antiope reaches into her pocket, quickly pulling out a pair of earplugs and stuffing them into her ears, a move which is followed by every soldier.

Antiope [Loudly]: CAN YOU HEAR ME?!

Private Greenwald: Can’t we just use sign language?!

Antiope: NO!

A loud banging, audible through the earplugs, rattles against the door, followed by a violent punch which dents the door inwards towards the soldiers. Lieutenant Adler walks to the side of the doors, clutching the keycard tightly and looking over at Antiope who narrows her eyes.

Corporal Amari: Are you ready?

Antiope: Ready. OPEN THE DOORS!

Antiope and Amari step backwards as Robertson and Greenwald keep their machineguns steady. Adler wrenches the doors open as five mutants pour forward, gnashing their teeth. In a murderous hail of gunfire, the initial mutants are cut down in a deluge of blood and lead. Unfortunately, Robertson and Greenwald have to keep tapping the triggers of their machine guns: The walls of the corridor seem to throb before them as more and more mutants pour forth. Five more of Spartan Company stand close to the sides of the makeshift machinegun nest, opening fire with their assault rifles in an effort to stem the tide of mutants heading their way.

Lieutenant Adler: Fuck me, that’s a lot of furballs.

Private Robertson: HOW MANY OF THESE FUCKING THINGS ARE THERE?!?!

Antiope [Angrily]: YOU KEEP THAT DOOR LOCKED DOWN RIGHT NOW!!

Private Robertson: We’ve only got so much ammunition!

Private Greenwald: WE’RE GONNA NEED SOME HELP!!

Antiope [Angrily, glaring at Russo]: PRIVATE! ARE THOSE FILES DOWNLOADED YET?!

Private Russo: IT’S STILL TAKING ITS TIME! THERE’S A LOT TO DOWNLOAD!!

Antiope [Pacing around]: AND WHERE IS DARCY WITH THOSE FILES?!?!?

Corporal Amari: Give her time.

Antiope: We don’t have time!

Private Robertson [Somewhat desperately]: YOU’RE RIGHT!!!

Corporal Amari: Keep calm, Private, and keep firing.

Private Robertson [In pain]: I CAN FEEL THE CALLOUSES FORMING!!

Antiope: That’s what happens!

Private Greenwald: How many of these furry freaks are there?!

Antiope: Looking at this room? Enough to kill. Keep firing.

Private Greenwald: These guns’ll fucking overheat if we keep firing for too long!

Corporal Amari: That will be a problem, Antiope.

Antiope: Understood…….Keep firing.

Private Robertson lets out a guttural cry of despair, continuing to fire into the throng of bodies trying to burst through the doorway. The doors to their right open and Corporal Darcy quickly rushes into the room, holding the folders.

Darcy: Found ‘em!

Antiope: Go! And I want a fifteen person escort with her!

Fifteen soldiers, somewhat too eagerly, quickly follow Darcy out of the room as she begins to escape the complex, leaving twenty-one of the Spartan Company’s handpicked soldiers to hold back the onslaught of the abominations. Private Robertson’s gunfire stops suddenly, allowing six soldiers to rush forward, ready their assault rifles and fire into the throng of corpses before them.

Private Robertson [Desperately, hitting the machinegun]: IT’S FUCKING JAMMED!!!

Corporal Amari: This is what happens when you just hold the trigger.

Antiope: Get it UNjammed as quickly as possible.

Corporal Amari: I fear we may be becoming overrun.

Private Robertson [Drawing his bowie knife]: ……Nah, fuck that.

Antiope: Robertson..

Private Robertson [Grinning and twirling his knife]: If I’m gonna go to the grave, I’m gonna ride it on a tidal wave of blood.

Private Robertson charges forward, slicing through the throat of the first mutant with considerable ease, pushing it backwards and through the door. Several mutants mob Robertson as Greenwald continues reloading, but the arcs of blackened blood are evident that Robertson is not dying quite easily. Amari aims down the scope of her rifle, firing off several shots at a mutant with its back to her, causing it to collapse forward and revealing Robertson mounted on a second mutant, stabbing downwards into its muzzle and throat with great furore.

Antiope: Do not go gentle into that good night.

Private Russo: He’s going like a motherfucking madman into that night.

Antiope [Glaring at Russo]: ARE YOU DONE YET?!

Russo holds up the memory stick.

Antiope: Then. Fucking. MOVE!

Russo quickly turns around, sprinting out of the room and quickly followed by twelve soldiers as his escort. Antiope slowly steps backwards, letting loose a shrill whistle.

Antiope: FINISH THEM OFF AND GET MOVING!

Private Robertson [Strained]: BUT I’M NOT DEAD YET!!

Antiope hangs her head, chuckling slightly as Robertson jogs backwards out of the carnage. Greenwald quickly begins to open fire, cutting down several more mutants in the hallway which is now awash with slickened black blood. Robertson calmly walks over to Antiope, sheathing his knife at his waist and wiping his eyes free from blood.

Private Robertson: Can I have a promotion?

Antiope: You can have two.

Private Robertson: Yay!

Corporal Amari: We should leave. We have everything that is needed.

Antiope: Hopefully Mother can make use of it..

A low growling slowly rumbles from deep within the corridor, stirring beneath the bodies. Corporal Amari quickly raises her rifle, aiming down the scope.

Corporal Amari: Get back!

Private Robertson [Unsheathing his knife]: How the fuck are they not dead yet?!

Private Greenwald: Not enough bullets?!

Private Robertson [In disbelief]: HOW MANY FUCKING BULLETS DO WE NEED?!

Antiope steps forward, throwing her arm up to stop her soldiers advancing.

Antiope [Coldly]: Fall back. Now.

Corporal Amari: Ma’am--

Without warning, a mutated German Shepherd morph lunges forward, twisted muzzle gnawing violently at Antiope as it tackles her to the ground. Antiope yelps loudly as Private Robertson leaps onto the creatures muscled and twisted back, but is thrown off with relative ease. The creature stumbles up onto a pair of stumpy, gnarled legs, looking around as Antiope gets to her feet. Amari aims down her scope, but the creature lunges forward, locking both hands around her neck and hoisting her off of her feet. Amari punches the creature repeatedly between the eyes as Antiope leaps onto the creatures back, locking her arms violently around its neck. The soldiers step back, watching cautiously as the creature slowly falls backwards with Antiope’s arms still around its neck, Amari falling to the floor.

Corporal Amari [Choking, stumbling to her feet]: MA’AM!!

The creature quickly reaches up, sharp claws slicing through Antiope’s left forearm in an attempt to get her to relinquish the hold.

Antiope [Screaming, angrily and in pain]: FUCKING PIECE OF SHIT!!!

Antiope braces herself, locking her legs around the creatures waist before twisting her arms with all the strength she can muster. Antiope snaps the creatures neck, holding it close as its legs scuttle violently against the floor, its life ebbing from its body before Antiope lets it go, letting out a deep breath.

Antiope [Quietly, rolling out from under the corpse]: I don’t get paid enough for this shit…

Lieutenant Adler: Ma’am? Are you alright?

Antiope [Giving a thumbs up]: Never fuckin’ better..

Adler holds her hand towards Antiope, who grasps it. Adler hauls Antiope up to her feet and Antiope clutches her left arm, holding the sizable wound.

Corporal Amari [Wincing and rubbing her throat]: That looks painful..

Antiope: It is. It fucking is.

Antiope turns around, accompanied by Amari, Adler and Robertson, strolling through the doors which slide open. Standing in the corridor, as predicted, are Ghost Company, with Callahay standing in front of the group.

Antiope [Sighing]: Oh for the love of God..

Corporal Amari: I see the wraiths have awakened and have come to clean up the scraps.

Callahay [Enthusiastically]: GHOST COMPANY, COMING IN FOR THE CLEANUP!!

Antiope rolls her eyes as Callahay steps forward, the Ghosts stepping aside to line the walls of the corridor as she walks forward, clutching her left arm.

Antiope [Mumbling]: Fucking Callahay, coming in to reap the rewards..

Lieutenant Adler: Keep calm, ma’am. We’ll bring you home.

Lieutenant Adler continues past Ghost Company, who immediately take up the position that Robertson and Greenwald held before opening fire rapidly. Antiope looks over her shoulder, snorting derisively as Adler carries her out..

**BEALE STREET**

Back on Beale Street, the mercenaries are back together. Or are, at least, getting back together. The usual hangout of the Lamb and Flag is, once again, thronging with people, the circular tables filled and chatter flooding to the wooden rafters. Dick stands behind his dusty oak bar, looking around before turning his head to the door as Phil walks through the white-painted double doors.

Phil: Fucking hell, this place is full.

Dick: Yep.

Phil walks over to the bar, slapping his hands on the counter.

Phil: I’ll have……

Dick: Don’t say “the usual”.

Phil: Not today, Dicky. Just gimme a double whiskey. The good stuff, not the paint stripper that Jon sells.

Dick: Two glugs of Glenfiddich coming right up.

Jericho walks over, standing beside Phil.

Jericho: Y’know, Jon shouldn’t be allowed to get away with that shit.

Phil: Well, if people drink it, he’ll serve it.

Jericho: Remember that time Frank drank drain cleaner on a bet?

Phil: How didn’t he die?!

Jericho: Some believe it’s nanomachines.

Dick [Setting the whiskey down on the bar]: He’s just a walking nanomachine hive is what he is.

Jericho: You’ve got that right.

Dick: Although some say that he’s just too stupid to die. His brain doesn’t understand the concept of death and, as such, will continue existing for millennia.

Phil: That’s…unsettling.

Jericho: Yet probably true.

Phil takes his drink, turning around and coming face-to-face with Ivan whose eyes appear somewhat glazed over.

Phil: Thanks for earlier, Ivan.

Ivan [Suddenly cackling]: KABOOOOOOOOOMMMMMM!!!

Dick [Taken aback]: Uh, guys, Ivan forgot to take his medicine!

Phil: Hold him down, boys.

Dean, Karab, Bob, Johnny and Tim quickly pile onto Ivan, holding him to the floor as Phil reaches into Ivan’s pocket, pulling out a syringe and jabbing it into his left hip before rubbing the area into which he stuck the syringe.

Dean: Y’know, it’s been a while since Ivan had an outburst. Is he…healing?

Ivan [Cackling]: KAAAAAAAABOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!

Karab [Desperately]: DOES THIS SOUND LIKE A MAN WHO IS HEALING?!

Bob: IT SOUNDS LIKE A MAN WHO IS MAD!!!

Ivan’s cackling slowly and gently subsides as his eyes flicker back into life. He quickly sits up, looking around.

Ivan: Vell, zat happened.

Johnny: It certainly did, you bloody loon!

Ivan rises to his feet, dusting himself off as Johnny and Tim walk over to their table closest to the bar, at which Billy, Sal and Vince are already sat.

Sal [Taking a drink of vodka]: And the Russian remains insane.

Billy: So does…whatever the fuck you are.

Sal: You’ve seen my grandfather. Can you blame me?

Billy: There’s nothing wrong with Keenan.

Sal [Angrily]: HE’S TAKEN YOUR FATHER TO DION’S OASIS!!

Billy: Exactly.

Vince: At least we have two people to take care of the mansion while we’re gone--

Billy laughs sharply.

Sal: What he said.

Billy: Mate, me pa can barely take care of ‘imself. There’s no way your mansion’ll survive.

Sal’s face drops as Ivan, Phil and Jericho squeeze past their table, sitting at their own table with Steve and Emilie. Dean and Karab also squeeze past, sitting at a table with Samuel.

Samuel: So, is everybody coming back?

Dean: Looks like it.

The doors to the pub fly open, revealing the bulbous form of the Emperor Penguin sniper himself: Mr. Dibbley. SVD on back and goggles over eyes, he slowly waddles in.

Mr. Dibbley: Chaps!

The mercenaries scream in unison.

Mercenaries [In unison]: DIBBLEY!!!!

Mr. Dibbley: It's good to see you all!

Billy: How the hell have you been?

Mr. Dibbley [Sighing, waddling over to Billy’s table]: Dealing with some bastard rapscallions..

As Dibbley sits down, the doors fly open and Bill Sykes stumbles in, looking around, his hair unkempt and wearing nothing but a pair of jeans.

Bill [Mumbling]: I heard this was the place to get a drink..

Phil [Calling over]: Mate, I think you’ve had a few too many.

Bill: This? Nah, I was…..at the Academy.

Dean [Looking over]: Cleaning the helicopter?

Bill: Cleaning the helicopter—[Angrily] I FUCKING HATE MY BROTHER!! HOW COME JOEL CAN WALK IN AND BECOME MOTHER’S OWN ASSISTANT FOR CYBER WARFARE AND I’M STUCK CLEANING A DEAD RACCOON OUT OF A CHINOOK’S WHEEL-WELL?!?!

Jericho: Isn’t that called “meals on wheels” where you’re from?

Bill: VERY FUCKING FUNNY!

Jericho [Smirking]: I thought it was.

Dick: Mate, the answer to your question is that it’s what you’re qualified for.

Bill [Walking over to the bar]: How did Zeke even managed to land on a fucking raccoon anyway?! There are none out here!!

Dick: He’s a mysterious lad, that one.

Bill walks over to the bar as the doors open once again: Filing in, somewhat solemnly, are the Hispanic mechanics, led by Eligio who appears to be displaying a somewhat forced grin, looking around with his arms spread.

Eligio: Familia! Familia!

Bill [Looking over his shoulder]: Fuck, he’s already been at the tequila.

Eligio: Fuck you, cabron.

Bill shrugs it off as Eligio leads Bobby, Mustafa, Joseph and Marcos towards an empty table.

Joseph: Do you think they know?

Mustafa [Hissing]: Shut the fuck up, Joey!

Joseph [Somewhat happily]: I used to be another random guy. Now I have a name. Isn’t it--

Eligio [Sharply]: Shut. The fuck. Up.

Marcos [Getting up from the table]: Whatever. I’m going to need a drink.

Marcos squeezes past Dean’s table as he looks over at Eligio, his eyes darting around the table.

Dean: Where’s Melvin, anyway?

Eligio: Out somewhere.

Dean [Shrugging]: Cool.

Samuel: That sounded ominous.

Eligio: He’s in a better place.

Samuel: That’s even worse!

Bobby: He’s in Cairo!

Samuel: For fucks sake!

Eligio rolls his eyes as the doors open once more and, finally, Frank quickly bounds into the pub and over to the bar, slamming his hands against it and causing Dick to jump slightly.

Dick: Fucking hell!

Frank [Excitedly]: JIM BEAM! NOW!

Dick: Alright, alright! Calm down!

Bob, Fabien and Will walk into the bar, sitting at a table where Robbie with Lupa and Dave are sat. Robbie looks up, looking at them.

Robbie: What?

Bob: ….Hello?

Robbie: Oh. Hello.

Will: What’s with him?

Robbie: I’m busy trying to figure out what to do with my U-boat crew while we’re out on the mission.

Will: Sell ‘em.

Robbie: I wish we could fucking sell you.

Fabien [Clapping his hands]: WELL! It’s nice to see such happy faces!

Lupa growls slightly.

Dave: Please tell me you’ve fed her. I don’t want to be picking scraps of Will out of her shit.

The doors fly open yet again, revealing none other than the South African sniper Krige and his spotter Cloete, having returned from Cairo.

Krige: Well fuck. The pub’s full.

Marcos [Walking over to the bar]: So it goes.

Krige slowly walks over to the bar, looking at Bill critically who simply stands there, drinking from a bottle of Budweiser.

Krige: Dick, give me some vodka. Now.

Dick: Say ‘please’.

Krige [Through gritted teeth]: Please.

Dick: Atta boy.

Dick begins pouring the whiskey as Bill turns his head slightly, looking at Krige.

Bill: The fuck do you want?

Krige: Hello, schlub.

Bill [Badly imitating a South African accent]: Wehll, ello there boykie. Yeh got ehny krugerrands so ah can hunt a gahzahlle?

Krige [Narrowing his eyes]: Fuck you.

Bill [Laughing]: Somebody’s gotta take you down a peg.

Cloete: He’s right, y’kn--

Krige: Shut up, Cloete!

Krige takes his drink, turning around and squeezing through the tables towards an empty one close to the side of the room, next to the wooden panelling and sitting at it with Cloete. Dean looks over from his table.

Dean: Krige, why don’t you try acting friendly?

Krige: Fuck you.

Dean [Turning back to his table]: I thought South Africans were supposed to be nice?

Samuel [Raising an eyebrow]: What…gave you that idea?

Dean: Don’t they all surf and shit?

Karab: It’s a country that is also filled with crime, extreme poverty--

Dean: Alright, alright!

Robbie squeezes through the tables towards the table where Dave, Bob, Frank, Will and Fabein are sat. Squeezing past Phil’s, Lupa growls angrily at Winston, Born of Winston’s who simply lays there, completely and totally unfazed by the wolfdog.

Robbie: Calm, Lupa. Calm.

Phil: Your wolf better leave my bulldog alone.

Dave: Mate, your bulldog is so fucking inbred that I’m surprised it can even walk on four legs and isn’t scraping its stomach across the floor while drooling.

Phil: Don’t you think I know how horrendously inbred English Bulldogs are?!?!

Dave: So why do you have it?

Phil: It reminds me of home! The Royal Family, to be precise. Yes sir, this horrendously inbred dog that can barely function and cannot have a natural birth reminds me of England. Well, the Royal Family.

Dave: No, you were spot on with England.

Phil: Reminds me of Tennessee, too.

Dave: And Arkansas.

Robbie [Interjecting]: What about Texas?

Phil: Nah, Texas is the good Southern state. Like..nobody gives a shit about North or South Carolina, or Tennessee, or Arkansas, or Alabama, or Kentucky……..Or the rest of them.

Dave: And Maryland.

Phil [Laughing]: Maryland’s such a shit state that neither North nor South wants it. Same with Florida.

Dave: What about Delaware?

Phil: What’s Delaware?

Dave: Hang on, what were we talking about again?

Phil: My horrendously inbred dog?

Dave: Ah, yeah…..Mate, you’ve got to leave it behind.

Phil: I’ll find somebody to adopt it when we leave.

The doors of the Lamb and Flag fly open as, finally, Coach Lynch walks into the pub. The pub suddenly falls silent, their heads turning towards the doors as Lynch sighs.

Lynch: Well, tomorrow: We leave for the Sixties.

Will [Shuddering]: That most dreadful of time periods.

Dave: Hey, there’s nothing wrong with afros.

Lynch: Until then, let’s do what we’ve always done: GET SHITFACED!!

A huge cheer goes up from the entire street as Lynch storms over to the table where Dave, Robbie, Frank, Bob, Will and Fabien are sat.

Lynch: Wassup, fuckers?

Robbie: Lynch, you’re a Coach, right?

Lynch: That’s my title. Apparently.

Robbie: I need to know what the fuck to do with my U-boat crew while we’re out on the mission.

Lynch: Do what I do: Send ‘em to the Academy and let Father deal with them.

Robbie: …Good point.

Tavi walks through the doors of the Lamb and Flag, looking around.

Dick: Hey, Tavi. Can I get you a drink?

Tavi: Nope, just checking this place out cause I thought I heard cheering.

Dick: And you thought you’d pay a visit?

Tavi: No, I was worried there’s be mud-wrestling again. Took me days to clean ReLoaded’s walls after that.

Dick: Nothing like that here: Just mirth, merriment and alcohol.

Tavi: Mm. I see.

Dick: Lighten up and get a drink, will ya?!

Tavi: Sorry, I’ve got things to do.

Dick: Like breed your race back into existence?

Tavi [Taken aback]: What?

Dick: I’m onto you, Tavi.

Tavi gives a flustered snort, turning around and walking straight out of the Lamb and Flag, slamming the door shut behind her. Lynch walks over to the bar, watching as she does.

Lynch: What’s her problem?

Dick: Denial.

Lynch: Fuck, has the river burst its banks again?

Dick sighs loudly as Lynch laughs at his own pathetic joke. His laughter is cut short as the phone in the back pocket of his jeans vibrates and he quickly pulls it out, answering it.

Lynch: Yeah?

Mother: Hello, Marcus.

Lynch: Is everything alright, Mother?

Mother: As you know, you are heading out on a mission fairly shortly.

Lynch: It’s been too long since we were last on one--

Mother [Impatiently]: Indeed. Anyway, I am calling to let you know that, given the high risk that Ocelot now poses to our operations, Beale Street will soon be home to several temporary inhabitants to keep it protected whilst you’re away.

Lynch: What kind of inhabitants?

Mother: Oh, you’ll see.

Mother hangs up. Lynch slowly slips his mobile phone back into his pocket, looking at Frank who slams his now-empty pint glass down, belching loudly.

Frank: DICK! GIVE ME MORE!

Dick [Pointing at Frank]: Either you pay or I’ll fucking gut you.

Frank reaches into his pocket, pulling out a wad of cash.

Frank: Will this suffice?

Dick: Quite.

Johnny: How did he get that?

Lynch: He made an actual successful gamble. About five years ago.

Frank: Saved the money in a secret bank account I never even knew about! Or forgot. I forget which one.

Johnny: …Yep, that sounds about right.

Frank grins, taking his pint and looking over at Lynch who remains somewhat stoic after Mother’s phonecall.

Frank: Is everything alright, Marky?

Lynch: I think so.

Lynch smashes his pint glass onto Frank’s head as the scene fades to black.

Friday, 8 April 2016

Saga III Chapter XI - Familia



**GRENOBLE, FRANCE**

The scene opens in Grenoble, France. Specifically, a grotty, small hotel room. The room is dark, the window covered by what appears to be little more than tarpaulin. Lying in a bed with moth-eaten covers, Lynch is snoring loudly. The wooden door creaks open and Antiope, clad in her fatigues, steps into the room, gently closing the door behind her.

Antiope [Quietly]: Lynch?

Lynch [Quietly, in his sleep]: …Mmm..Frank, fuck off….No…avoid the landmine….you dumbass….Ah man, I’m gonna need new fatigues…Fraaaankk…

Antiope [Quietly]: He even dreams about his men?..

Lynch [Snorting]: NO!!! NO!! STOP!!

Antiope steps forward, but Lynch flails his arms, quickly sitting up in bed and staring at Antiope who, appearing somewhat nervous, quickly steps backwards.

Antiope: Good morning, Lynch.

Lynch [Confused]: Antiope. Why are you here?

Antiope: I’ve been here a while, Marcus..

Lynch: Did we sleep together?

Antiope simply laughs.

Antiope: Not a chance in hell, Marcus!!

Lynch: Thank fuck.

Antiope: What? Got drunk, did we?

Lynch: VERY.

Antiope: I trust that it was an entertaining night?

Lynch: It certainly was!

Antiope: I see not one, not two, but three Romani hookers sleeping with you!

Lynch looks to his left and to his right: Three women, each one completely naked with their shirts and skirts discarded on the floor, are laying in bed with him.

Lynch: Yep.

Antiope: Get lonely, do we?

Lynch: You bet…..Alright, how do I get rid of these hookers? What language do they speak?

Antiope sighs, grasping the covers and wrenching them from the bed. The hookers scream, stumbling to their feet naked as Antiope glares at them, pointing towards the door. The hookers stumble forward, quickly dashing out of the door. Antiope spins around on her heels, giving the door a swift kick shut. Lynch sits up in bed, naked and looking at the door.

Lynch: Did..they just run outside naked? Is that even legal here? Man, the French really are barbar--

Antiope: Lynch..please take the mission seriously.

Lynch: We’ve been waiting over two months for further intel in regards to the bases in the Alps. I’m taking this about as seriously as those motherfuckers in Cairo are--

Antiope [Laughing in disbelief]: Intel doesn’t just fall from the sky, Lynch!—Oh, wait, I forgot, you’d just walk across the entire mountain range without rest, blowing random holes into rock and shooting everything you saw!

Lynch: Yeah, I would! But with the occasional rest!

Antiope: Lynch: Learn to do things efficiently. Maybe if you did, you wouldn’t have been sentenced to hold Reject Company’s hand.

Lynch: Does it not strike any of you..ANY OF YOU…that I actually LIKE leading Reject Company?

Antiope: Wh--

Lynch: Let me tell you: I have a fuckload more fun with those assholes than I could ever have you with stuck-up cunts!

Antiope [Laughing]: Well, it’s your funeral.

Lynch: At leas I’ll die laughing.

Antiope’s laugh cuts short as she sighs loudly, folding her arms and looking at Lynch.

Antiope: I hope that you’re focused on the mission.

Lynch: You know me--

Antiope: I do, which is why I’m asking.

Lynch: I’m fine and I am. Let’s go, shoot some scientists and stop some furry scum from wreaking havoc in France.

Antiope: Yes, don’t forget that.

Lynch: I mean, some hairy, furry bastards run amok in France over a millennia ago and you know what they became? Normans. And you just ask the English how that one worked out.

Antiope: My my, you know your history.

Lynch: Yeah, I do, which is why we can’t afford more brutal hairy bastards to run amok in France AGAIN. Otherwise they’ll be given some territory, name it…I dunno…Furryandy and then proceed to launch an invasion of England.

Antiope: But they’d have to cross…THE WALL.

Ominous music. Lynch reaches under the covers, grabbing his mobile phone and throwing it against the wall, watching as it smashed into tiny pieces.

Lynch: Well, as long as the Night’s Watch keeps……The Night’s Watch? That’s what they called them? Really?!

Antiope: That’s what they call themselves, Lynch. Their official name is The Keepers Of The Channel Wall, but they said it was too much of a mouthful so the mouth-breathers decided to take on a new name.

Lynch [Sighing and shaking his head]: Man, this world is fucked up..

Antiope: Get dressed and let’s go. We’re meeting up with Randolph.

Lynch: Sweet, another nutjob who gets paid too much. Let me just contain my excitement.

Antiope scowls as Lynch clambers out of bed, sighing loudly as he does..

**BEALE STREET, THE SINAI**

The Lamb and Flag in Beale Street is, once again, bustling with activity. However, the activity appears to be relative as Dick stands behind his wooden bar, polishing the top as Keenan and James Wallace, sitting at a square table next to the window to the left of the double doors, play a game of checkers.

Keenan [Sighing quietly]: Seems too quiet here..

James [Looking over his shoulder at Dick]: Oi, Dick, when does this place pick up? Any girls with titties around?

Dick: Well…………the Dog and Handgun has them.

James: Oh. Is it open yet?

Dick: No, I tried knocking last night: Jon just shot at the door.

James: Like ran towards it?

Dick: No, he literally shot at it. Was lucky not to be standing too close or I’d be picking buckshot out of my guts.

Keenan: Why is that young man so violent?

Dick: He’s short. That means he has to compensate for it. And he does so by being incredibly angry and violent.

Jon’s Voice [Livid]: I CAN HEAR YOU TALKING ABOUT ME!!!

Dick [Calling out]: It’s just your imagination, Jon! Go home!

Jon’s Voice: I AM HOME!!!

Dick: No, go back to where you came from!!

Jon’s Voice [Angrily]: LEAVE MY MOTHER OUT OF THIS!!!

Dick: I’ll be right back.

Dick reaches under his bar, grabbing a sawn-off shotgun and twisting around, heading through a wooden door directly behind him, next to the shelves of liquor, slamming it shut behind him as his footsteps are heard descending down wooden steps. Suddenly, the doors fly open as Dean strolls in, grinning brightly as he opens his arms.

Dean: THE LAMB AND FLAG!

Samuel: Yes, it’s still here. Still covered in sand, too.

Karab: Hey, new people!

Karab looks at Keenan and James who simply look at the trio, remaining silent. Dean simply walks forward towards the bar.

Dean: Yeah, great—DICK! WHERE ARE YOU, YOU LOVABLE BASTARD!!

Dick: Hey, Dean, have you seen the Hateful Eight?

Dean: I certainly have!

Dick: Then you should know that I’m here, below the floorboards, with a shotgun. Do you like those huevos of yours?

Dean: ….Dick, don’t shoot my balls. I’m just here for a drink.

Dick: Then give me a second. I think Jon’s hiding down here.

Jon’s Voice: I’m not!

Dick: You just gave yourself away, dumbass!!

Jon screams as two shots are fired. Dean looks down at the floor, listening to footsteps as Dick makes his way back up the stairs, re-appearing behind the bar and slamming the door shut behind him.
Dean: So, Dick, what’s it like knowing that the gang’s back?

Dick: Painful.

Dean: Surely you missed us?!

Dick: I missed you like a cancer survivor misses fucking chemotherapy.

Dean [Taken aback]: ….Well, touchĂ©.

Dick: Just order a drink, will you?

Dean [Quietly]: Dick, man to man: Why are you hostile?

Dick: ….Well, you see, I’m on my period--

Dean: Okay, now you’re just not being helpful.

Dick [Scowling]: Shut up.

Dean: You’re being soooooooo tsundere--

Dick sighs, reaching under the bar once more and grasping his sawn-off shotgun, pointing it directly at Dean’s head.

Dick: Alright, I admit: I could be friendlier, but now you’re using weeaboo terminology and that’s just fucking intolerable.

Dean [Raising his arms]: Alright, point taken! Can’t we just have our usual drinks?!

Dick: …..Alright. One orange juice for Karab, a gin and tonic for Samuel and a bottle of Bud for you.

Dean [Nodding]: Yes!

Dick sighs, placing his gun under the bar and walking over to a fridge with a clear door to the right of the wooden door, opening it and pulling out a bottle of Budweiser.

Karab: New fridge, eh?

Dick: Yeah. Try not to throw anyone through it.

Dick opens the bottle, handing it to Dean before turning back to the fridge, pulling out a small glass bottle of orange juice, opening it and handing it to Karab. Dean and Karab take their bottles to the nearest table behind them, sitting at it as Samuel stands at the bar, waiting.

Karab: Nothing ever changes, eh?

Dean: Well, that is how I like it.

Karab: But Dick could surely clean the tables free from sand, right?

Dean: Hey, I like it this way!

Dick: Stop whining. I’ve had better things to do than tend the bar.

James: Like?

Dick [Pointing at James]: Don’t you fucking start, old man.

Dean: Who are the old timers, anyway?

James: James Wallace. Father of Billy.

Karab: Oh shit!

Keenan: And I’m Sal’s grandfather. You can call me Mr. Memeh-Porpington.

Dick: Or Keenan.

Keenan: I’d rather you didn’t--

Dick: Well, I’d rather you didn’t spend all of your time here since you arrived, but yet you’re here.

Keenan: I would rather castrate myself than stay at my grandson’s mansion.

Dick: I’m sure I could do it for you!

Dick slides Samuel’s gin and tonic towards him. As Samuel walks towards the table, the doors fly open as Phil walks into the store, a leather leash tied around his waist which is attached to the collar of his dour-looking bulldog. Phil opens his arms, looking around.

Phil: IT’S CLOBBERIN’ TIIIIIME!!!

Dean: STRANGER DANGER!

Phil: It’s just me, you bloody walnut!

Dick: What is that thing?

Phil: It’s my pet, Winston, Born of Winstons! Who won’t be abandoned like Brick’s snake.

Samuel: I miss that snake.

Dean: It spoke in ebonics. Fucking ebonics. Frankly, being left in the Amazon was the best fate for it, otherwise I’d have stomped on it.

Dick: Does this thing talk?

Phil: Nah, it just farts, snores, shits and eats. And please, don’t make the obvious joke.

Dean: Joke? Hell, I’d like to live like that.

Phil: That’s the joke I was talking about.

Dean blows a raspberry. Phil walks over to the bar, slapping his hands on it.

Dick: So, more of you are back.

Phil: Sure are, Dick! Now, I’ll have the usual!

Dick: One pint of spit coming up.

Phil: C’mon Dick, why you gotta be like that?!

Dick: Because you order a different drink every fucking time you’re here!!!!

Phil: Alright, alright!...I’ll have a gin and tonic.

Dick: That’s better.

Phil turns around, leaning back against the bar and looking at Dean’s table.

Phil: Sup, fellas?

Dean: Sup.

Samuel: Hey.

The bulldog sits between Phil’s feet, snorting loudly and shaking its jowls.

Phil [Looking down]: I think he likes you.

Samuel: So, now that you’re back, are you going to stop this Brew On The Mo’e crap?

Phil: Of course………………when we’re on missions. Personally, I enjoy making a small amount of money whilst pissing you lot off. It’s cathartic.

The doors quickly fly open as several men stroll in, wearing their distinctive U-boat uniforms. Led by Dave; Benito, Lindemaan, Heinrich and Rudolf, the most senior members of the outdated vessels, follow him into the pub.

Dave [Waving]: Dicky, we’ll have bottles of your finest German beer. God help you if it’s Heineken.

Dick: Why are you all coming into the Lamb and Flag?! What about The Oasis?! What about the Dog and Handgun?!

Phil: Jon insists that it’s closed and I don’t want to get on the wrong side of that psychotic midget.

Dave: We like it here, Dick! Just be happy that we pay you a lot of money for watered-down piss!

Dick [Angrily]: IT’S FULL STRENGTH ALCOHOL!!

Phil [Taking a swig from his glass]: Could’ve fooled me.

Dick: Right, that’s it: CLEAR OUT! ALL OF YOU!

A loud groan goes up from the bargoers.

Samuel: You can’t be serious?!

Benito: We only just settled in!!

Dick: I don’t care! When Lynch returns, THEN you can come back!

Phil: Where is he anyway?

Dean: France.

Phil: Poor bastard. Having to deal with the French.

Dick: Actually, he’s fighting off anthropomorphic super soldiers.

Phil: Ah, well, that’s good!

Heinrich: Can we get a drink?

Dick: …….Fine.

Phil walks away from the bar, carrying a glass of gin and tonic as he sits at Dean’s table, the men of the U-boat walking towards the bar. As they do, the doors fly open once more as the titanic form of Maurice waddles into view, with Moe quickly following behind him, both men wheeling luggage behind them.

Maurice: WE’RE HOME!!

Dick [Breathing a sigh of relief]: Finally, two people I don’t want to shoot!

Moe: The guys giving you stress, eh?

Dick: Yes…

Phil: Just by existing, I guess.

The bulldog snorts loudly, sitting at Phil’s feet.

Moe: So, does that talk?

Phil: No. No special pet here: Just a lazy, useless mascot for the Company.

Maurice: Didn’t Frank fill that role?

Karab: He isn’t exactly a good mascot.

Samuel: I’ll agree to that--

Dick: GET OUT!!!

Benito: But we just got here!

Dick sighs, kneeling behind the bar.

Phil [Raising his glass]: Well, lads, here’s to us. We’re all coming back.

Dean: Is that something that is worthy of raising your glass for? Sounds like something to regret.

Dick slowly rises to his feet, now clutching a hose that leads under the bars, the bronze nozzle pointed directly at Dean’s table.

Samuel [Rolling his eyes]: Oh, boy, it’s a hose. Big deal.

Dick: Yes, it’s the hose, but I’ve filled it with rancid piss from the urinals.

Phil quickly finishes his gin and tonic, pushing his chair away from the table and standing up.

Dean: Aw, come on, he’s bluffing.

Phil: I know Dick: He’s not bluffing. He’s a fucking miserable and insane bastard.

Dick: Good point.

Dick, Samuel and Karab finish their drinks, getting to their feet and following Phil as he leaves the pub. Keenan and James follow, leaving only Dave and his fellow U-boat crew members.

Dave: You’re bluffing.

Dick: Try me.

Dick turns the valve on the nozzle as a torrent of golden liquid bursts forth, smelling like a mixture of a burst sewer and a male public toilet….

**CAIRO, EGYPT**

In Cairo, amidst the bustle of the market stalls, That Other Random Guy is walking down the middle of a crowded street, hand clasped firmly around the hand of his wife, Melissa, who is wearing a full niqab. That Other Random Guy, less inconspicuous, instead dons an England football shirt and a pair of cargo shorts. He stops, sniffing the air.

That Other Random Guy: Goddamn, do you smell that?

Melissa: Hm?

That Other Random Guy: Smells like a bloody burst sewer.

Melissa: Is it Cairo itself?

That Other Random Guy [Sniffing the air]: Nah, that’s coming downwind.

Melissa: And you can smell that?!

That Other Random Guy: I’m a man of many talents! Many useless talents, but many talents.

Melissa [Looking around]: So busy around here..

That Other Random Guy: Well, Melissa, what do you think of Cairo? Aside from busy.

Melissa: It’s fine. I wish people would stop trying to sell me stuff, though.

That Other Random Guy: That’s the entire charm of Cairo, though! Could be worse: They could be trying to shoot you.

Melissa: Mmhm.

That Other Random Guy: I mean, I get that all the time.

Melissa: Not particularly shocking.

That Other Random Guy and Melissa continue walking up the busy street. As they do, a familiar figure with a slick, shaven head and a gaudy turquoise suit appears, squeezing through the crowd with his right hand visibly clasping a wad of notes: Dion. The owner of The Oasis, the newest club on Beale Street.

Dion: *BEEP*!!

That Other Random Guy: Oh..God.

Dion: Why are you here?!?!

That Other Random Guy: Vacation with wife. Why are you here?

Dion: Finding strippers for my new club!

Melissa [Sighing, sarcastically]: Lovely.

Dion: Hey, you--

Melissa [Calmly]: If you suggest what I think you want to suggest, I will castrate you with my bare fucking hands.

That Other Random Guy: She’s tough, mate. You don’t want to get on her bad side.

Dion: Hey, alright! Alright!

Dion walks backwards, disappearing into the crowd.

Melissa: What a crude, crude man.

That Other Random Guy: And he’s just a newbie to Beale Street!

Melissa [Sighing]: Indeed.

That Other Random Guy: The guys’ll corrupt him even further.

Melissa: Well, they haven’t corrupted you..

That Other Random Guy: I don’t hang around them enough to be corrupted. I just smile and nod.

That Other Random Guy walk out of the other end of the packed street, emerging in a small square, in the middle of which is a fountain flanked by several benches. That Other Random Guy sits on a bench and he is joined by Melissa who lays her head on his shoulder as they simply choose to watch the chaos of Cairo unfold before them.

Melissa: I guess it’s kinda nice..

That Other Random Guy: It is, isn’t it?

Melissa: I like how multi-cultural it’s all become.

That Other Random Guy: Yep, just tolerate local religious laws and it’s all fine. Kinda helps that they’re neutral to the whole global conflict thing.

Melissa: A shame that the UK isn’t..

That Other Random Guy: It’s not a global conflict unless the UK stirs shit somehow. It’s an Empire thing.

Melissa: Well, at least Cairo’s…slightly more peaceful.

That Other Random Guy: Yeah..

Though they enjoy watching the hustle and bustle of the Cairo crowds, their peace is cut short as, walking past them, are Eligio, Marcos, Mustafa, Bobby and Johan, with a hog-tied Melvin over the shoulder of Marcos. Nobody notices this, and nobody cares. Johan glances over at That Other Random Guy.

Johan: Hey, *Beep*.

The group stops. That Other Random Guy sighs loudly, looking over at them.

That Other Random Guy: Oh. Hi, guys.

Eligio: Hey, *Beep*, nice to see you here!

That Other Random Guy: How come you guys are here?

Mustafa: Flying back from Mexico. Don’t ask.

That Other Random Guy: I just did.

Eligio: Shut up.

That Other Random Guy: What’s with Melvin?

Eligio [Calmly]: He was being his usual self: Annoying.

That Other Random Guy: Oh.

Eligio: So we’re taking him home.

That Other Random Guy: I see.

Eligio: Well, we’ll see you at the garage.

That Other Random Guy: Bye.

Eligio, Mustafa, Johan, Bobby, Marcos and Melvin disappear into the crowd. Melissa steps forward, standing beside That Other Random Guy.

Melissa: That was somewhat cold.

That Other Random Guy: Well, I prefer being with you.

Melissa [Sighing]: But you know I have to go home after this..

That Other Random Guy: Why?!

Melissa: You’re fighting a war: I’m not.

That Other Random Guy: But can’t we just stay together?!

Melissa: I’m sorry, *Beep*..

That Other Random Guy: ….Let’s leave together.

Melissa: What?!

That Other Random Guy: Seriously! Let’s elope somewhere where Mother and the Patriots cannot find us!

Melissa [Laughing]: Deep underground? *Beep*, we both know that you belong here.

That Other Random Guy [Sighing]: Please don’t do this to me.

Melissa [Sighing]: *Beep*….We need the money..

That Other Random Guy: Still wanting to retire to Dubai, eh?

Melissa: Yeah…

That Other Random Guy: How much do you think we get paid?!

Melissa: Enough. It’s not like you have major living expenses.

That Other Random Guy [Shrugging]: Good point.

Melissa [Quietly, tracing her index finger down his chest]: But let’s enjoy what little fun we have left….

That Other Random Guy: We’ll have a great time, or my name isn’t Joseph Stone!!

That Other Random Guy or, rather, Joseph, suddenly goes silent, slowly raising his head to the sky.

Joseph: What the FUCK?!!? WHAT HAPPENED TO THE CENSORSHIP?!

The scene fades to black.

Joseph’s Voice [Angrily]: OH, HA HA! FUCK YOU!!

Melissa’s Voice: Shut the fuck up and kiss me, Joe.

Joseph’s Voice: With pleasure, ma’am.

**TOKYO, JAPAN**

Over on the other side of the world in Tokyo, Japan, Sal awakens in a hotel room, laid on a small wooden table, sitting just inches above the floor. The traditional tatami mats are strewn across the room, with one other his face, fluttering as he snores loudly. The walls of the room are surprisingly intact, with a sliding door gently being pushed open to reveal a haggard looking Vince, whose rust-coloured beard appears even more unkempt with grains of rice stuck to the various hairs. Wearing nothing but a pair of blue boxer shorts, his gut hanging loosely over the band, he stumbles forward past an overturned couch which Billy is laid on top of, two bento boxes stacked atop his face.

Vince [Quietly]: Sal, wake the fuck up.

Sal grunts loudly, slowly sitting up and tossing the tatami mat aside. He smacks his lips, narrowing his eyes through blurred vision to see Vince. His eyes open as he stumbles off of the table, hugging Vince tightly.

Sal: Vinnie!.....You’re alive!...

Vince: Yes. Yes I am.

Billy stirs slightly, sitting up and causing the bento boxes to spill onto the floor.

Billy [Groaning]: …Did we find ’im?...

Vince: Uh, yes, I’m right here.

Billy [Smiling]: Eyyyy…Vinnie…how did we meet up?

Vince: Normally, I’d subject you to a lengthy explanation regarding how we met up. Instead, I will show you this clip on my iPhone.

Vince squats beside Billy, holding out his iPhone and showing him a video recording.

**

The camera shakes slightly, showing a back-alley in Tokyo which Vince stumbles down.

Vince’s Voice [Quiet]: So, I’m getting this weird feeling I’m being followed or something. Just gonna record for a few minutes, see if I’m right. Then the police can use this as evidence….

Vince sighs audibly, the phone shaking as Vince walks out into a large street. He turns left, the camera briefly focusing on the skirts of two Japanese schoolgirls. Vince quickly swipes the camera to the right, focusing on a third plaid skirt.

Vince [Chuckling]: Man, the schoolgirls here are so kawaii—Look, this one has such smooth legs.

Rough Scottish Voice: THANKS MATE!!

Vince’s Voice: OH FUCK!!

The phone quickly moves up, revealing Billy’s face. Wearing a kilt and a white dress shirt, Billy begins to sprint towards Vince.

Billy [With determination in his eyes]: FOUND YEH, YEH WEE HAIRY BASTARD!!!

Vince screams and the phone hits the floor. The feed occasionally catches glimpses of hair, skin and plaid, indicating that Vince was tackled to the floor quite quickly. The final shot of the video is the phone pointing in the air as Sal walks forward, his crushed velvet pants all that are visible as he stands over Vince.

Sal: See? I told you he’d be spying on Japanese schoolgirls!

***

Billy [Laughing]: You dirty fucker!

Vince: I wasn’t!!

Sal: You were!

Vince: I wasn’t!!!!

The room falls silent.

Sal: You we--

Vince grabs a blow-up doll dressed like Sailor Moon, throwing it into his face. Sal laughs, grabbing it and looking at it.

Vince: Well, guys, we better get going to Cairo. It was great while it lasted, though.

Sal [Looking at the Sailor Moon doll]: What the fuck did we do?

Vince: What every weeaboo in Japan does: Go completely insane.

Sal: Looks like we got drunk with salarymen…

Vince: We did.

Vince grasps the overturned couch, pulling it back onto its feet and revealing two Japanese salarymen, still wearing their suits with red ties tied around their forehead, sleeping on top of eachother.

Sal: Cool.

Billy: One hell of a night, lads, but now it’s time to go home in a peaceful manner, thus indicating we got up to no shenanigans last night.

Vince [Sighing]: Billy…

Billy stumbles into the bathroom through the door which Vince entered from, looking into a large tub which appears to be filled half-full with champagne.

Billy [Grinning]: Sweeeet!

Billy climbs into tub, sitting down and cupping his hands, drinking repeated mouthfuls of the mixture as Sal walks into the bathroom, standing beside a porcelain sink and brushing his teeth.

Sal: Billy, you don’t ever change.

Billy: How did this happen?!

Vince sighs, entering the room with his iPhone held out once more..

***

The shaky video feed shows Billy dashing away from a store with several bottles of champagne in his arms, a pair of white panties strewn across his face in a haphazard attempt to disguise his identity.

Billy: VINNIE! RUN! WE ANGER DA PO-PO!!

Vince’s Voice [Shakily]: YOU’LL ANGER THE FUCKING YAKUZA!!

Billy [Gasping]: Awwwww sheeit, the Jappy Po-Po!!! RUN!!

Sal dives out of a window the left of the store’s door with armfuls of champagne bottles, a pair of black fishnet stockings over his head as he sprints past Billy.

Sal [Quickly]: HEHASASWORDFUCKINGRUN!!!

***

Billy, now flossing his teeth in front of the sink, just laughs.

Billy: Sweet.

Vince: NOT SWEET!! YOU PISSED OFF THE YAKUZA!!!

Billy shrugs, walking out of the bathroom and wrapping a white cotton towel around his waist.

Sal [Buttoning up his black shirt]: Yakuza shmakuza! They haven’t faced the Scots!

Vince [Angrily]: They’re fucking dangerous!

Billy walks over to the door, opening it and revealing a samurai sword jammed directly into the wood. A Yakuza member, wearing a brilliant white suit with his hair spiked up, hangs from the sword, screaming unintelligibly. Billy looks at the Yakuza member, nods, and shuts the door.

Billy: Yep, that’s how you can tell it was a good night.

Sal: How typical of us to be accosted by Yakuza!

Vince: Maybe if you didn’t piss on them!!

Sal: Wait, what?

Vince points at Billy, glowering angrily.

Billy: What?

Vince: Think back.

Billy’s left eye twitches as he remembers back to last night..

**

Darkness.

More darkness.

A street in Tokyo. Flashing, blinding neon lights.

More darkness.

The sight of vomit streaming down Billy’s shirt and onto the floor.

Billy [Laughing]: SHIT, SUSHI TASTES BETTER ON THE WAY BACK UP!!!

More darkness.

The embrace of darkness.

Billy groans loudly, looking ahead at a young Japanese gentleman in a sharp black suit and sunglasses, despite it being night-time.

Billy: EYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY SUUUUP?!?!?

The Japanese gentleman sneers, saying something unintelligible. The sound of a zip is heard as the Japanese gentleman looks disgusting, reeling backwards.

Yakuza: HE’S PISSING ON MY SHOES!!

Billy [Laughing]: YEEEAAAHHHHHHHHH SCOOOOTLAAAAANDDDDD!!!

Billy cackles, looking down as he grabs his groin and sprays urine all over the shoes of the Yakuza…

***

Billy: Oh.

Vince: Right, we’ll just head straight to the airport.

Billy: What? We’re not going to go out there and fight--

Vince: NO!!! Let’s do something sensible for a change!!

Billy; Fuck being sensible!! LET’S GO WILD!!

Vince: Can we not?!

Sal: YES WE CAN!!!

Vince walks into his bedroom, exiting almost immediately and wheeling out his suitcase behind him.

Vince: No. We’re leaving.

Billy: What about the salarymen?

Vince: LEAVE THEM!!

Sal: Vince, you a bitch!

Billy [Pulling on his underwear]: He’s right, yeh know.

Vince: If you guys wanna die: Die! I am not dying myself!

Sal wanders into the bedroom before walking out, carrying a black leather suitcase.

Sal: Well, I’m ready.

Billy: Heard the word ‘death’ and shat yersel’, eh?

Sal: No!

Vince: Guys, can we please leave?!

Billy [Sighing]: Do we have to?!

Vince: It’s not like we have any choice!

Billy walks into the bedroom before walking back out, somehow instantaneously clothed and wheeling a suitcase behind him.

Sal: What the fuck? Did you freeze time or something?

Billy: Nah, I’m used to dressing quickly when somebody wants to kill us. We get tons of practice in the Academy.

Sal: Like that time we came under fire from the Coaches while we were sleeping in the buff? Because they wanted us to put on our ballistic vests in two seconds just in case the enemy ambushed us while we slept?

Vince: No, that happened because Billy was caught with Coach Cussion’s whiskey stash.

Billy: Exactly.

Billy’s left eye twitches as he begins to think back again.

Sal: Uh, I think he’s having a flashback.

Vince: Looks like he’s constipated--

Sal: For fucks sake, let’s just hurry!

Sal and Vince take one of Billy’s hands each, dragging him away as Billy succumbs to the horrors of his thoughts..

***

Billy is imagining back to his time at the Academy. Billy is sat in a toilet stall, looking at the closed door ahead of him. In his hands, he holds a battle of Johnnie Walker Blue Label, glancing at the amber liquid inside with intense longing.

Billy: Shit, if Coach Cussion says he catches me again, he’s gonna kill me while I’m sleeping……One sip won’t hurt..

Billy touches the cap. At that very moment, he listens as he hears the bathroom door open, followed by the stomping of a pair of heavy combat boots.

Billy: FUCK.

Coach Cussion’s Voice [Enraged]: I THOUGHT I HEARD A SCOTTISH BASTARD IN HERE!!!

The door of the stall is booted open as the bald, blue-eyed form of Coach Cussion stands there, brows furrowed furiously and cold eyes glaring at Billy, arms folded.

Billy: Uhh…I was………holding this for you.

Coach Cussion doesn’t respond, instead throwing a straight jab at Billy, causing his thoughts to swiftly cut to black.

***

Billy comes to, being dragged through the crowded streets of Tokyo. He digs his heels into the concrete, stopping himself as Sal and Vince let his hands go.

Sal: Are you finally awake?!

Billy: Yeah, I got lost for a second.

Sal: Fuck, man, that’s one scary place to get lost in: Your damn mind.

Billy: I’ll second that!....Uh…where are we going?

Vince: We need a taxi! There should be a taxi rank at the end of the street! Hopefully!

Billy: If not, LET’S JUST FIGHT!

Vince: Let’s not!

Vince and Sal continue to hurry down the street, with Billy bringing up the rear somewhat reluctantly. Billy stops, turning his head and looking at two maids handing out packages of tissues as a means of advertising their café.

Billy: Hey, maids--

Vince: Don’t!

Billy sighs, walking past the maids and through the bustling Tokyo street, following Vince and Sal.

Billy: Can’t we just stop fer a drink?!

Sal: If you want to die, sure!

Billy: Anything for a drink--

Billy goes to walk into a side-alley but Sal backtracks, grasping him by his collar and pulling him forward.

Sal: You really do have a goddamn one track mind!

Billy: Why are we even running?!

Sal: DON’T YOU FUCKING REMEMBER HOW BADLY YOU PISSED THEM OFF?!?!?

Billy’s left eye twitches again.

Sal: oh, for fucks sake, he’s having a thought process again..

**

Billy flashes back to last night. The scene is little more than blurred lights passing in front of his eyes. However, he focuses on one scene: Standing in front of a small bar, Billy jabs his index finger into the chest of a young man wearing a vivid white suit.

Billy [Angrily]: AN’ I TOLD YEH, THE QUEEN HAS AN IPOD!!!

The young man speaks in Japanese, a language complete foreign to the garbled mind and tongue of Billy, but he appears confused. He pushes Billy away with his right hand: Billy growls angrily, lunging forward and grasping the black tie of the young man, pulling it out of his jacket and towards him.

Sal: Goddammit Billy, he’s Yakuza! Stop!

Billy tightens the tie, effectively choking the Yakuza.

Billy: SPEAK ENGLISH, YEH CUNT!!!

Sal: Oh, great, he’s being Scottish again.

Billy [Angrily]: DIE, YOU WEE FUCK!!

Billy pushes the Yakuza member to the floor, turning around and opening his arms, goading two more Yakuza members who are walking down the street towards them.

Billy: KONNICHIWA, MOTHERFUCKERS!!

Vince [Sighing]: Please don’t do this.

Billy: FUCKIN’ YAKUZA!!! THIS IS GLASGOW, WE’LL SET ABOOT YEH!!

Sal: It’s Tokyo, you dense, dense fuck.

Billy spins around, grasping Sal and locking his hands around his throat, throttling him violently. Sal screams, choking wildly as Billy drags him to the ground. Vince simply continues to record it.

Vince: And this, Youtube, is a Glaswegian in Japan.

***

Billy: Yeah, it’s coming back tae me.

Sal: So, we fought the Yakuza and won?

Vince: Billy did. And now they’re pissed.

Sal: Why can’t this shit be like anime?! Why can’t he beat up random people in the street and win the affections of a harem of dense girls?! Preferably monster girls!

Vince: Monster Musume?!

Sal: What?

Vince: Monster Girls! You watch Monster Musume?!

Sal: Is that what that weird shit was with the snake girl, the centaur with massive ta-tas and the little birdie?

Vince: Yeah!

Billy [Laughing]: HA! YEH FOOKIN’ WEEABOO!!!

Sal [Sighing]: My flaws have been exposed. How awful.

Billy: That’s one hell of a flaw, mate.

Vince [Angrily]: Can we just keep walking?! We need to get a taxi!

Billy: Can’t they just drive up this street?!

Vince [Angrily]: THERE ARE PEOPLE USING IT!!!

Billy: So? Ram ‘em, they’ll heal!

Sal: Billy, stop being a psychopathic cunt!

Billy: Never!

Vince: We’re almost there!

Billy: Yeah yeah, yeh wee Jessie!

Vince: Back to Cairo!

Sal: Yeah, we have to go home.

Vince sighs loudly.

Vince: I wish we could stay longer. If you hadn’t pissed off the Yakuza!

Billy: We may have to..

Vince: REALLY?!?!

Billy [Pointing ahead]: Aye, the Yakuza look pissed.

Ahead of them, blocking off the street, are ten Yakuza members in white suits, carrying a myriad of weaponry including bike chains, kendo sticks and even tanto knives.

Sal: Oh.

**GRENOBLE, FRANCE**

Lynch, Antiope and Spartan Company, having recovered from their alcoholic start to the New Year, are busy making their way through the Belledonne once more. They are making their way up a rocky path which appears to have been disturbed by relatively fresh footprints which have scattered and flattened the snow, making it somewhat easier to navigate the mountain. Antiope and Lynch, however, are using hiking poles to make their way up the Rocher Blanc mountain within the range. Lynch is breathing heavily, the shortage of air as they breach the subalpine zone clearly affecting him.

Lynch: I…fucking hate…France.

Antiope: Lynch, you produce so much whine that we’re in danger of being attacked by the French for having a monopoly in the market.

Lynch [Snorting]: Smartass motherfucker…..aren’t you?

Antiope: Yep.

Lynch: Where…is this damn…..laboratory anyway?

Antiope: Fairly close by. Mother said to follow the disturbed path.

Lynch [Quietly]: And the disturbed wom--

Antiope [Sighing]: Lynch, are you so..so…so unintelligent that you just HAVE to choose the obvious insult?! I mean, at least TRY and be original!

Lynch: Like?..

Antiope: Shut the fuck up and follow me, you dumb bastard.

Lynch: That’s not original!!

Antiope: And try not to die, will you?

Lynch: Fuck you!!

Antiope: You sound like you’re about to collapse and I don’t want my Company having to snowboard your ass back down into Grenoble.

Private Jameson [Laughing]: It won’t be me!

Lynch [Sighing]: HOW MUCH FURTHER?!

Antiope: Not much: The footprints terminate ahead.

Lynch looks ahead: Sure enough, at the crest of the hill, the footprints seem to vanish, leaving untouched, fluffy snow before them. Lynch leans on his hiking stick, gasping for air as he looks around.

Lynch: So where the fuck is it?!

Private Robertson: To our left.

Lynch and Antiope turn left: Embedded into the rock, as with the other laboratories, is a fairly obvious white metal door with a circular handle. A label with the word “TOP SECRET” in red letters is pasted above the handle.

Antiope: How did nobody notice this sooner?

Lynch: The French don’t give a fuck.

Private Robertson: He has a point.

Antiope: Quiet, Private.

Lynch [Mumbling]: Can’t believe this is my holiday. Frank called me yesterday and that son of a bitch is in Las Vegas with Will and Bob.

Antiope: I wish you were there too, Lynch, for what it’s worth.

Lynch [Angrily]: IT’S WORTH NOTHING!!

Antiope: Much like yourself, then.

Lynch: ….Well, I walked into that one.

Antiope: Alright, Adler: Work your magic on the door.

Lieutenant Adler walks over to the door, carrying a satchel charge in her hands.

Antiope: PREPARE TO BREACH!!!

Adler pushes the satchel charge across the door, which slowly opens up into a hallway carved straight into the jagged rock of the mountain.

Lieutenant Adler: …I seem to be way ahead of you, Ma’am.

Antiope: You’re good, Adler!

Lieutenant Adler: No, ma’am, it’s just that there’s somebody here.

Antiope: Oh.

Lynch: Lemme guess: Randolph?

A silence punctuates his sentence.

Antiope: Maybe we should check.

Lynch: Yeah, cause that lazy asshole ain’t gonna move anytime soon.

Antiope and Lynch walk through the door, leading the Spartan Company inside the compound. A short corridor awaits them, with light tubes directly down the middle of the ceiling above them, forming a line towards their destination: A pneumatic door which is opened, revealing a room which is already packed by soldiers who are busy peering and rifling through desks. Antiope and Lynch enter the room, noticing that it appears more like an office than a laboratory, with no vats or scientific equipment anywhere to be seen: Simply a random assortment of desks with monitors on them, each of which have had their wires cut. Standing near the door, Captain Randolph spins around, arms clasped behind his back.

Antiope: Hello Randolph.

Captain Randolph: Ah, Antiope…and Marcus!...Yet only Spartan Company?—Don’t tell me the Rejects finally killed themselves?!

Lynch: No. Mother has me assisting Antiope and Spartan Company for this mission. Why are YOU here?

Captain Randolph: After receiving your communications, she sent several teams into the Alps to scour for secret bases. So far we’ve discovered……..one. This one, to be precise.

Lynch: Plus ours! That makes…..two.

Antiope: That’s it? No sprawling complex of laboratories?

Captain Randolph: Makes sense, though. I imagine it would be pretty fucking obvious if you saw that the Alps was using enough power to heat an entire country.

Lynch: But have you find anything? Like…psychotic furry super-soldiers?

Captain Randolph: Y’see, the weird thing is that all we’ve found are abominations. Horrendously mutated, barely living abominations--

Lynch: --And that’s just the French!

Captain Randolph: Yes yes, get the French jokes in while you can, Lynch!

Lynch: I think I will!

Antiope: What is happening, Randolph?

Captain Randolph: Well, what you are seeing are the experiments that weren’t quite right. We haven’t found a perfect specimen, like our sugar glider female friend down in the Sinai. All we have are these horrible, gnarled, twisted…things driven by bloodlust and hatred. But there’s none here, as you can see, which is odd.

Lynch: Can I make a joke?

Antiope: Don’t pick low-hanging fruit, Lynch. Did you find any information at all?

Captain Randolph: Those folders and a single memory stick. That’s all. They knew we were coming. And there’s nothing here at all. It all seems out of place.

Private Theys [Walking over, carrying a laptop under his arm]: It’s all shit, sir.

Theys throws the laptop onto the floor dramatically, smashing the screen and sending several keys across the floor.

Lieutenant Adler: Seems odd that we find nothing, and that it’s all been evacuated..

Lynch: Hm. A mole in the Academy?

Antiope: Not a pleasant conclusion to jump to, but…..

Captain Randolph [Sighing]: Great. A mole.

Lynch: So, what now?

Captain Randolph: We’re heading home. We need to debrief Mother about what we’ve seen.

Lynch: The violence and the furries?

Captain Randolph: All of it. She’ll want to know about this.

Private Johansson, the soldier who was mutilated in Karelia, stumbles forward, walking on a cybernetic leg which creaks slightly as he walks forward. He salutes Randolph, who returns the salute.

Captain Randolph: Is everything alright, Johansson?

Johansson: We’ve found nothing, sir.

Captain Randolph: So, that’s it? We scoured every inch of this place?

Johansson: Well, sir, you’re looking at every inch of this place. This fucking room IS the place.

Lieutenant Thompson [Nearby, angrily]:  A FUCKING WASTE OF TIME!!! I WANT TO KILL SOME FURBALLS!!!

Lynch [Cautiously]: Randolph, do you have any information about the experiments?

Captain Randolph: Some.

Lynch: Are we really going to bring it home? We should destroy that shit.

Captain Randolph: I’d think the same, old friend, but it’s clear that our enemies are already several steps ahead of us with the Perfect Soldier Project. This information could help us level the playing field. Could let us know what we’re dealing with. Maybe even let us know WHO we’re dealing with.

Antiope: The Patriots.

Captain Randolph [Chuckling]: Those psychotic AI’s? I doubt it. No, this is something new. Something……interesting.

Lynch: Aw, come on, it’s clearly Ocelot or The Patriots. It’s always them.

Captain Randolph: What about Big Boss?

Lynch: Big Boss ain’t shit. Motherfucker had two—No, THREE bases and they were all destroyed.

Antiope: Really? You’re going to criticise THE mercenary of mercenaries?

Lynch: Damn straight! Unlike him, I ain’t a bitch!

Antiope [Sighing]: Really, Lynch? Really?!

Lynch: I oughta be Big Boss!

Captain Randolph [Laughing]: Keep dreaming, Marcus!

Lynch: Fuck you, Randolph! What? Do you think YOU could be Big Boss?

Captain Randolph: Well, I do have actual evidence of experiments from this mission, while you have blisters from walking through the Belledonne.

Lynch [Scowling]: You have three folders and a memory stick!!

Captain Randolph: So it seems, Marcus, but I have no doubt that there’s more to be found.

Lynch: So why don’t we try and find it?

Antiope: It’s not here. Mother’s going to send in the Reapers and Ghost Company to clear everything out, and that’s it: They’ve probably relocated. Maybe they wouldn’t have been spooked if Karelia hadn’t been carpet-bombed..

Captain Randolph; But it was so fuckin’ beautiful.

Antiope: We need to evac, then.

Captain Randolph: Follow me and my men. We’ll have you home soon.

Captain Randolph walks past Antiope and Lynch, following his soldiers outside.

Lynch [Sighing]: What a waste of fucking time..

Antiope: Indeed. But, at least you can have your vacation now.

Lynch: ………..Good idea.

Lynch quickly rushes out of the room as Antiope dusts off her hands.

Lieutenant Adler: Is everything alright, ma’am?

Antiope: Adler, I don’t think we’re done in the Belledonne..

Lieutenant Adler: ………I agree, ma’am.

**THE CHOP SHOP**

Back on Walker Street, the adjoining street to Beale Street, the Mechanics have arrived at their Chop Shop. Mustafa slips a key into a control box to the left of the roller shutter, twisting it and activating the shutter which swiftly rolls upwards. Eligio walks in and against the back wall is a galvanising bath, in which is sat Dave. Completely naked, Dave is busy scrubbing under his arm with a sponge. The smell of harsh chemicals hits Eligio’s nostrils immediately as he retches slightly, waving his hand in front of his nose.

Eligio: Dave, what are you doing?!

Dave: Bathing.

Eligio: Those are harsh chemicals, hombre!

Dave: Dick soaked me in rancid piss. It’s the only thing that’ll work!

Eligio: You’ll strip your skin--

Dave: IT’S A RISK I’M TAKING, DAMMIT!!!

Bobby: Leave him. We have business to attend to.

Eligio: Si, si…Dave, leave when you’re done.

Dave: Yeah yeah.

To the right of the galvanising bath is a metal door. Eligio leads Mustafa, Marcos, Bobby and Johan, who is carrying Melvin, through the door and up a set of stairs, towards another door which opens up into Eligio’s office. Despite the stylishness of the man himself, the office is surprisingly threadbare, with little more than a wooden folding table set up in the middle of the room with a metal folding chair behind it and a random menagerie of papers scattered across the top of the table, held down by a single glass. Eligio walks behind the table, sitting in his chair as Johan sets Melvin down onto his stomach, cutting off the ropes that bind him and letting him up onto his feet.

Melvin [Dusting himself off]: Thanks guys. We..can let this all go now, right?

Eligio: We’ll have to see.

Mustafa walks into the room, followed by Bobby and Marcos, who shuts the door behind him. Bobby walks over to a pair of filing cabinets to the left of the door, opening the middle drawer of the right filing cabinet and pulling out a bottle of Arette Gran Clase Extra Anejo tequila, walking over to the table and handing it to Eligio.

Melvin: Oh come on, guys! I’m not that bad, am I?

Mustafa: We risked our balls for you again!

Bobby: I mean, seriously, mate: Between your addiction and you damn near getting yourself and Eligio killed, you’re not the flavour of the month.

Eligio grasps the glass he’s using as a paperweight, pouring some of the tequila into the glass and taking a sip before sighing quietly. The usually talkative and energetic Eligio remains somewhat downbeat as Mustafa walks to the right, grabbing a black leather briefcase beside the door and lifting it up, placing it on the table in front of Eligio.

Johan: I must admit that it’s proving tiresome.

Melvin: I’m not doing it on purpose--

Mustafa: So the drugs accidentally injected themselves into you?!

Melvin: Come on, guys!!

Bobby: Don’t bloody whine to us! Did you know that even Mother finds you to be a liability?!

Melvin [Chuckling]: Mother finds everyone a liability!!

Melvin chuckles, but a tense silence follows. Mustafa shoots Bobby an uneasy look. Melvin walks over to the desk, looking at Eligio.

Mustafa: Melvin..

Melvin: Look, guys, I’m ready to come back to work. I promise, I won’t get into any more trouble! What do you say, Eligio? Let me back?

Eligio takes another sip of tequila before finally raising his head and looking Melvin directly in the eye.

Eligio [Quietly]: I have done many, many things in my life that could be considered questionable….Y’know, one day I actually stole some change off of a blind beggar down in Tijuana. Just…some old blind guy with change in his hat…Thirty centavos, that’s all. Thirty.

Bobby: What the fuck are you on about, mate?

Eligio: There came a day when I looked in the mirror at myself and didn’t like what I saw looking back. It was because of this that I started my own business: I used my own money that I earned from washing cars and used it to buy property, which I turned into a car wash. It took many, many years, but I could finally turn that car wash into a garage. And I turned my love of vehicles into my business. And so I opened up another garage in Mexico City, then another in Guadalajara--

Mustafa: Can you get to the point?

Eligio [Angrily]: WHEN I CAME HERE, I DID IT OF MY OWN FUCKING FREE WILL!! I DID IT BECAUSE I WAS SICK OF BEING A COWARD!!! I WANTED TO HELP IN ANY WAY THAT I COULD TO BE A THORN IN OCELOT’S SIDE!! I WAS NEVER A PART OF ANY MILITARY, I JUST WANTED TO BUILD THE TANKS THAT WE COULD DRIVE UP THE ASS OF OCELOT AND THE PATRIOTS!!!!!!!....I promised to never do anything that could be considered evil again…I mean, sure, I whip people, I’m a harsh owner in your eyes, but I pay you well, don’t I?

Marcos: Well…yeah.

Eligio: And I protect you as well! I do my fucking damnedest to make sure that none of you come to harm, right?!

Johan: You sure do, boss. Remember when Praying Mantis attacked and you fought them off? That was awesome!

Eligio [Nodding]: I am going to break my promise now, and I hope and pray that none of you hold it against me.

Bobby: Eligio…

Eligio slowly rises to his feet, unclasping the briefcase and pulling out an FN Five-Seven pistol from it.

Eligio [Struggling slightly]: …I….I’m sorry…but we can’t keep protecting you…I cannot risk the lives of me and my friends…for one man…

Melvin [Eyes widening]: You can’t be fucking serious?!

Eligio [Sighing]: We..can’t keep someone who doesn’t have faith in Mother…We can’t keep someone who is a liability….We’ve spent far too many resources rescuing you…

Melvin: AND YOU!!!

Mustafa: He didn’t turn his back! He tried to fight off those Praying Mantis bastards who kidnapped him and you!!!

Bobby: And now we have Los fucking Zetas after us!! I don’t know if you’ve noticed, mate, but ever since the Patriots and Ocelot began fucking around with PMC’s, all they’ve done is grow. You’ve seen it for yourself.

Eligio: And we can’t afford that. Not now.

Melvin: What?! You want me to stand here and say “Remember the Alamo!”?! Do you think that I’m going to sacrifice myself just so you crazy fucks can sit here, bone idle, and not do anything?! Just so you can throw my corpse to the feet of Los Zetas in an attempt to appease them?!

Eligio [Growing angry]: We’re building and preparing for the war effort--

Melvin [Laughing]: The war effort?! We’re a bunch of lost fuckers in the middle of a wasteland waiting for a single PMC to smarten up, launch a full-scale attack and wipe us all out!! THERE IS NO WAR EFFORT!!

Eligio turns the safety off on the gun.

Mustafa: There IS!

Melvin [Shrugging]: Fine, y’know what? Do it. Fucking do it. What? You want me to run? Hide? Beg?

Eligio: Melvin--

Melvin: --Because we all know that you, Eligio, don’t have the fucking balls to do what you’re thinking of doing!! I mean, what are you going to do, really? Shoot m--

Without hesitation, Eligio sweeps the gun upwards and pulls the trigger. A single shot rings out and Melvin collapses backwards onto the floor. Blood sprays back against the door behind him as he hits the floor, a bullet planted directly in his forehead. Melvin’s eyes glaze over as he has no time to let out fitting final words before he dies.

Eligio lets out a deep breath, placing the pistol back into the suitcase.

Marcos: Those are some poor last words.

Bobby [Quietly]: …What do we do now?....

Mustafa [Quietly]: …I’ll take the body out to the desert…Bury it deep…Take a picture before I do and upload it……Make sure Los Zetas know that he’s dead…

Bobby: Alright, mate…Alright…

Mustafa squats down, cradling Melvin’s body in his arms. Bobby reaches over, placing his hand on Melvin’s face and closing his eyes.

Eligio: Go.

Mustafa: Yes, boss.

Mustafa turns around, walking out of the door. He’s followed by Bobby, as well as Johan, leaving only Eligio and Marcos in the office as the door shuts.

Marcos: What do we do about Dave?

Eligio: Dave’s a good guy: We’ll make up a stupid lie for him.

Marcos: ….Y’know, I always thought the gang would remain intact for this entire journey. Now one of us is dead.

Eligio: Maybe there’s some small comfort we can take from the fact that it was one of us who pulled the trigger.

Marcos: ….Not really.

Eligio sighs, sitting down in his chair. The sound of a distant aircraft can be heard as Marcos falls silent.

Eligio: The others will be here soon anyway.

Marcos: Looks like the streets are about to get noisy again.

Eligio: Yeah..

Eligio sits back in his chair, eyes glazing over as he listens to the sound fade into the distance before the scene fades to black.