His legs were starting to ache, the rifle was heavy on his shoulders. As he took the final 180 and climbed the last run of stairs he noticed the sky was darkening with storm clouds. He reached the top and stepped over the ledge onto the rooftop. Niko raised the rifle up and off his shoulders now cradling it between his hands. He opened the stock and lowered in a single round. With a click it engaged. Niko moved to the far side of the rooftop, identifying the Neon sign he would take cover behind. He was thristy after the climb and the glowing green letters that spelled SPRUNK did nothing to diffuse his desire for liquids. Now was not the time, he had work to do. The giant S provided the best cover and he kneeled behind its elongated curves. He centred his weight and propped the barrel of the rifle upon the signs rear supports. The Empire State Building loomed abover him, towering up into those darkening skies. Lights were beginning to come on in the city that never sleeps, and crowds and countless taxis jostled below in their mad fight to escape the steel and concrete fortress. Stretching his neck he then lowered his eye to the sight. Shifting his weight he centred the weapon and sight upon the front entrance of the Empire State Building. Within his range stood half a dozen black suit, sub machine gun wielding protective agents, on look out at street level for any potentiall risks. Niko assured himself he was well out of sight and focused his attention to the road where now a convoy of black vehicles were slowing to a halt. A body guard stepped from each of the vehicles passenger doors and proceeded to open the rear doors. Niko saw the signal and the front doors of the ESB were flung open. The six guards on standby moved in and shrouded the exiting VIP's , their eyes scanning in every direction. Niko steadied the rifle, he couldnt miss, he had practiced for this, it was this shot, this shot would free his brother. The first VIP's were hustled into the big black SUV's and the first two left immediately. Two more vehicles moved up and the bodyguards moved to protect the remaining delegates. In there, out of that door would step the Mayor, he must be killed, at all cost, this is what they had demanded, this is what he must do to save his brother. Why did Roman ever trust them, how could he trust the Italians. A sweat bead ran down the side of Nikos forhead and then there through the scope he saw him. The Mayor, in a Denim Blue Suit and tie, the balding head, the rimmed glasses, Niko steadied, all he could see was very top of the man, he was almost to the car.
The shot rang out, the rifle shuddered in Niko's grasp. Had he made the shot, had he saved his brother, he looked to the pavement. Bodies were scrambling in every direction, fingers were pointing, he saw nozzles of machine guns pointing in his direction, even 30 stories up, he felt vulnerable. He looked back at the convoy, they hadn't moved, surely they would have sped off with the mayor if he was still alive. He couldnt see through the crowd, he couldnt stay any longer, he had to move now.
He dropped the rifle, quickly wrapped a small packet of C4 around it and started the detonator. He ran for the fire escape and skipped stairs at a time. As fast as he could, 3, 4 steps at a time now, he kept going, just kept going, getting closer and closer to the ground. He had a car waiting two alleys away, would he get there before he was spotted. Clambering he reached the bottom flight, he jumped to the pavement, bending his knees on impact to absorb his weight. He looked quickly in every direction, he could hear sirens, sirens everywhere. He hit the remote detonator and heard a small pop. That destroyed whatever evidence there was. He sprinted now, through the back alley, jumping wooden crates like an olympic hurdler. He just sprinted as fast as he knew he could run, he saw headlights beam at him, the engine start. It pulled up beside him, opening the door he got in and they sped off. The driver came to the end of the alley, a police car sped past, the driver turned to go the opposite direction. From here they played it normal, following the traffic, blending in, they couldnt be identified. Niko played with the radio dials, hopening to hear news, he needed to be sure. Fading away the static he could hear it coming through, a man at the other end was speaking "Yes that is correct, the Mayor of New York City, has been shot. As he was exiting the Empire State Building from the National War on Drugs conference, he was critically shot. It is unclear at this time whether he is still alive, details are still sketchy, we do know however he has been rushed to the hospital, dead or alive we are unsure at this time." The reporter started then to speak of the widespread manhunt but Niko was already out of the zone. A phone rang from somewhere in the car, the driver proceeded to pull one out from his side pocket and answered. "Yes, yes, hes right here" he turned to face Niko. "The Don wants to speak with you". Niko took the phone cautiouslly and answered, "Yes". The voice from the other end spoke "You have failed us Mr Bellic, your brother will die by tomorrow if you dont finish this. Get it done. And to make ourselves clear about this, listen closely." The phone went slightly static and then he heard the screams of his brother "No, NO, NO, PLEASE, NOOOO!". The voice came back. "You fail us again Mr Bellic, you'll be eating your brothers fingers this time tomorrow." The phone went dead, Niko turned to the driver, "take me to the hospital, I have work to finish."......... (To Be Contiued)
Niko's Revenge - Part I
The ride to the house was quiet. Too quiet. Aiming to settle his nerves a bit, Niko fiddled with the radio in his "newly acquired" grey vehicle. "Certified pre-owned" he corrected himself. He couldn't even tell what the car had been when he worked his way in carefully to hotwire it; "perfect he thought, a car that looks just like every other." It was perfectly non-descript, and blended in perfectly with the drab twilight of Liberty City. It was just plain perfect. A burst of wailing gave Niko a start; he had stumbled upon Double Cleff FM which was currently braying I Pagliacci: Vesti La Giubba, as done by Pavarotti, and wait a minute, Michael Bolton?! He chuckled to himself a bit and left the station on to lighten the mood. Yes, he would need every fiber of his nerves for this.
As his shapeless grey vehicle slowly made it's way down the street, large forboding houses lined his left side, daring him to stop, daring him to venture just a little further, like so many before him had. Of course, Niko had no idea the fates that were tied to this street, but would soon enough. He wished he could have done this earlier, but to do this in broad daylight would have been downright stupid. But still, it was beginning to get dark, and this area was giving him the willies. Niko had never liked Shoreside Vale, he had started off in the bustling heart of Liberty City and had grown accustomed to it's busy nature. This place just seemed dead by comparison; dead and full of secrets. There were no glass buildings, no large open intersections and wide streets, no people to notice if he just so happened to disappear and never return. He longed to be amid the tall buildings and skyscrapers that while only several minutes away (with the way he drove), seemed so depserately far off. "Too late to turn back now, you've GOT to get this over with." The sound of these words out loud gave him yet another start, he was not used to feeling so uneasy. His car floated to a stop, and he patted his two Berettas, modified for use with a suppressor. "92FS Brigadier, the standard handgun of the military" he thought which made him smile. He felt for his MP5N's, his also suppressed, also military issue rapid-fire counterparts to his Berettas. Now feeling almost empowered, he finally willed himself to get out of the vehicle and start up the walk to begin his business. The sun had finally disappeared, and it had begun to snow.
Niko's Revenge - Part II
The house, like the others surrounding it, loomed tall in the darkness, looking almost as tall as the buildings downtown, but somehow more there. It was fenced in by a tall wrought iron fence that looked like it could have stopped a Patriot at full speed. And of course to top it off, each and every iron post sported an evil looking barbed spike. "Real nice Ray, can't imagine anything more inviting" Niko thought, creasing his brow. Not at the spiked fence, but at the gate, which looked to be unlocked. Knowing better, Niko gave it a push and almost jumped when it swung open, silently and easily. Now he began to feel really nervous. If there was any person less likely to leave anything unlocked, it was Ray. Niko patted his guns again for comfort, and resumed his way to the front door. He raised his fist to knock, dismissed it quickly shaking his head ("You're not here to chat" he reminded himself) and tried the doorknob. Once again, the door fell open silently and easily, like it was oiled daily. The pressure was now too much for Niko to take; he flung out his Berettas, wildly aiming for something, anything in the dark house. "Where is he GODDAMMIT?!" Niko thought desperately, his head darting from left to right, trying with all his might to see, to hear. A bead of sweat began to run down his forehead, in spite of the chills that so overpowered his spine. He would later think to him self "If a fly had so much as taken a crap at that moment, those guns would have been blazing, me screaming the whole while." Ray was not somebody to be taken lightly, and Niko was here to "dispatch of him." As if assassinating somebody was enough, Machowski here had fallen off his rocker years ago, and became lost in a spiral of ever deepening paranoia since. It was from him Niko had learned to grow eyes and ears everywhere, it was from him he had learned to look out for bugs, booby traps, explosives, poisons, you name it. And from him he had learned to set them.
Thump. The average naked ear wouldn't have detected it, but Niko was hopped up on adrenaline and nearly broke his neck whirling around. A couch. A bookshelf. Item after item flicked into his gunsights. A counter. A lightswitch. Yesss. NO. Keeping his distance from the lightswitch, he recounted what happened to the last soul who tried one of Ray Machowski's handy dandy "high-voltage light switches." They ended up looking like a cat left in an oven overnight. The screams. The smell. He decided he would remain in darkness. Niko noticed a faint light coming from the next room, which looked like a kitchen. "Light, yes" he thought. Guns ready, he stealthily crept to the room. Ray was good, but he was getting old, and Niko thought he just might be able to get the jump on him if he was down for a midnight snack. A mental sigh went through Niko; it was the damn fridge, partly open that cast that sickly yellow glow. It was one of those hulking bubble-shaped fridges from the 50's- Ray said the new ones ran on radium crystals; gave you cancer. To Ray, everything ran on radium crystals, phones (he had no phones), Televisions (ditto), and especially microwaves. To keep the electricity (excuse me, the "electro-magnetic radiation") running in the house from giving him cancer, Ray told him he had the wires lined with lead, and aluminum foil covering all the outlets and switches. The real switches. Ray was real colorful when it came to technology. Creeping up to the fridge, he nudged it open further with his gun, and had to bite on his wrist to keep from screaming; a hand, a human hand, poked out of aluminum foil, apparently wrapped around its arm. Next to it, a jar of eyes, all blankly staring back at him, lifelessly, randomly. And at the bottom of the fridge, inside a large jar filled with clear but brownish liquid, was a head, a human head, forever frozen in a silent scream. Niko began to unknowingly back away, muttering a babble of his native tongue, hearing, feeling his heartbeat pounding at his temples. He began to feel very light headed, and just as he thought he would faint, he backed into a counter, his hand reached out and knocked off a coffee mug. It shattered on the linoleum, creating what felt like the loudest sound Niko had ever heard.
Niko's Revenge - Part III
"Dear God" Niko thought to himself, "I recognize that face." THUMP. Louder this time, now he was certain it was real. A low moan escaped his thoat. Now he was almost half-crazed with excitement and fear, once again darting his head for what made that sound. His head felt light and slow, as if he were turning it through molasses. Thump. Now there was a new sound, like something dragging across wood. There was a smell too, a mix of rot and decay and something more animalistic. Like a butcher's dumpster inside a zoo. It was faint, but he had caught it, and now couldn't lose it. From the fridge came a sweet odor, gagging and acrid in his heightened state of perception. Niko tried to will it away; it was too much like a seasoning, a sauce or marinade to begin to think of. A door. He now saw a door to his right, the image of the screaming face burned into it but fading. His eyes were beginning to readjust to the dark, and it seemed that the door went to a cellar. This was in the direction of the last sound. Walking over to the door, Niko felt as light as a feather, and ready to blow anything away without hesitation. He reached for the door, and slowly turned the knob. As was apparently usual here, the door made nary a sound and swung effortlessly open partly into the darkness that led to the depths of this hell-hole. Now the smell became an almost overpowering stench, and Niko had to keep himself from gagging. Using one foot so as to keep both guns ready for action, he nudged the door open further. There was a click from behind the door jam and downstairs a light came on.
A small jump came from Niko and he instantly froze, but nothing else happened. No electricity coursing through him (the screams, the SMELL), no bang as a barrage of flechettes and shrapnel tore through Niko's body or face (another of Ray's favorites, especially the face), and no explosion. Perhaps Ray wasn't as good as he thought. "Perhaps that was rigged just so Ray wouldn't have to fumble for a light everytime he came down here you idiot." He climbed down a few more stairs, and the smell became worse than ever. Rotting meat. Urine. S#^t. He now heard one last sound, coming from around the railing of the stairs which blocked his view. A low, gruff barking sound almost, much like a growl. Niko peered around the railing, and immediately got into a defensive position. A man at the other side of the basement, tattered, crazed and half-dead with starvation dropped something and began to scream a high pitched howl. The man began to run at Niko over the strange lumpy floor, uttering that terrible unintelligible sound. PSHHT. The silenced round caught the just over his left eyebrow, and he dropped to his knees, the screech now a burbling moan. He tried to come at Niko again, flailing hands curled into crooked claws, staring at Niko with a look of murderous insanity. PSHHT, PSHHT, PSHHT PSHHT PSHHT.
Niko's heart was now racing, pounding so hard he thought it would shatter his ribs. "Jesus Christ" he uttered, surveying the ghastly scene. The man's face had been covered in blood, even before Niko had destroyed it, and now he saw what the man had dropped; an arm, covere in bite-sized craters. The floor had not been lumpy; it was littered with bodies, tens of bodies, almost covering the floor completely. Images of mass graves popped into Niko's head, gritty and black and white, not helping with the situation. A weak moan originated from the pile. "My God, they're still alive!" Niko thought. He was unable to move for a moment, but regained himself once he heard yet another sound, one he was all too familiar with having worked with Ray. Beep. Beep. BEEP. Then began the mechanical cackling, like from any cute Halloween decoration. Except it wasn't cute now. No, now it was the call of death. His paralysis was shattered, and running through his mind was only his thoughts of "get out, get OUT, GET OUT!!!" Soon Niko was also running, scrambling to get up the stairs. He blew past the cellar door, and skidded through the kitchen (the dreadful refridgerator still open, displaying it's macabre cargo). His eyes had not adjusted to the darkness but it didn't matter, he had to MOVE. Bumbling his way through the living room where he had almost shot up the furniture, he caught sight of the door, the sweet, sweet DOOR. He flung it open (just as quietly and easily as you please) and leaped out the door into the lawn. Sprinting like he had never done before, he covered the sizeable lawn in four leaping strides. Just as he was about to get through the still open gate and get into the street to his rolling grey sanctuary, the world exploded.
KA-THOOM! Instead of running past the gate like he would rather have preferred, he flew, seemingly in slow motion as a blistering wave of heat rolled over him. The street became lit in an orange light, as if the sun had come out and changed color. Still flying, still in slow motion, Niko could feel the hair on his head begin to sizzle, could see the reflection of the fireball that until just now was a house in the rapidly approaching car. Niko's hands were thrown infront of him just in time. WHACK. He bounced off the side of the car elbows first, arms screaming in pain, head now reeling and throbbing with the combined punch of the explosion and impact of the car. In the backround car alarms were wailing their familiar tune, and flaming debris was just now beginning to crash to the ground. Faint trails of smoke were lazily coming off of Niko as he stuggled to remain upright on his knees, mind reeling, ears ringing and body in agony. "I'm alive" he thought, and just before he could reply to himself "Unfortunately," he doubled over and threw up. (The End For Now)