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Chapter 0: End at Six
Date Published: December 31st, 2014
4:00pm afternoon, Channel 44: A.D.N. News
"Earlier Today, numerous gunshot fired by a group of armed gunmen and forceful took over the commercial district of Area 17. Local authorities have dispatch Enforcers to the scene to suppress the situation and then later found that the armed gunmen was the known terrorist group Misericorde. Throughout the chaos many innocent bystanders were severely wounded, some taken as hostages, others were shot..."
The News anchor named Emily Barnes furrowed her eyebrows and shown a painful expression in her face as she looks a through report paper listing the names of confirm dead.
She then quietly muttered "...m..mom.."
Her co-anchor Brendan soon noticed and took over to host the report while clenching his fist slowly covering his mouth.
*ahem* "As of now, in our report the Captain of the Enforcers insure us that they will put a end to this viole--"
He was cutoff because suddenly a live broadcast of the scene showed behind the News Anchors. Both News anchors receive an update report through their ear piece.
"This just in, one of our News crew has managed to get us a live broadcast of the ongoing shootout between the Enforcers and the Misericorde. Our field reporter Sherry Mitchell is on the scene, Sherry tells us what is currently happening right now? Did the Enforcers finally subdue those inhuman groups of Criminals?"
The Broadcast shows of a small petite young field reporter with blonde medium length hair wearing a safety helmet and a blue bullet proof vest over her floral patterned dress.
"Yes and No Brendan, right now were standing behind a roughly made steel barricade by the Enforcers in the parking lot outside the Mall where the armed group Misericorde have garrison themselves in."
Gunshots can be heard in the background as Sherry hide herself in the cover of the barricade, putting her left hand covering her left ear and her right hand holding the Microphone, she continue.
"as the Misericorde fortified the 1st floor of Mall and got several shooters occupying the 2nd to 3rd floor, the Enforcers were force to back and now stuck in a stale mate battle."
"The Enforcers... do they have any plans on how to liberate the mall?"
"The last attempt was 30mins ago, Where the Enforcers use Helicopters to send Officers through the roof but utterly failed..."
"hmm? how so?"
"The Misericorde isn't your average group, they are heavily armed."
The Camera move and showed the wreckage of 3 Helicopters, where two was blown in half and the last one was shredded into swish cheese, many dead bodies of Enforcers can be seen clearly around the burning heaps of metals. Slowly the Camera angle focus on the roof showing large protruding metal with a rotating cluster of barrels that are fired in succession using brass cartridges, it was a mounted Gatling gun but not just one, several of these are mounted in each corner at the roof of the Mall.
Brendan mouth gapes as he saw.
"ju.. just who are this people.. if t-they have this. w-Why haven't the Enforcers send in the Wanzers to put an end to this battle and why our Military haven’t arrive yet?"
Brendan stutters his words and could see in face that he was panicking like he was going to be killed. Since this noon today and till now, Brendan was bashing the Misericorde in live television. Brendan now knows that Misericorde could not be taken lightly and if they wanted too, they could easily send someone to their station and kill him.
The Camera focuses back to Sherry.
"wha?.. uhh anyway Brendan, the Enforcers can't sent in their Wanzers because such drastic actions could cost the lives of the hostages inside the Mall and as for the Military… I have not heard the Captain said anything about reinforcement from them but instead he said they were about to do another attempt to get inside, he didn't announce the detail of the plan but hopefully that it will succeed-- KYAAAAA!"
Sherry Scream as a ricochet bullet hit the Camera man, he falls immediately to the ground as the Camera angle followed his fall and landed in the near him. The camera view showed in the lower left edge of the screen, the Camera Man's left forearm throughout his left hand, few blood splatter can be seen and just few steps away from him, an awkwardly low angle view of Sherry as she also plop down on the ground, both hands covering her head, she was in a seated position with a full view of her flawless thighs, legs and it's also visible to see her underskirt and what color her undergarment was.
With such an eye candy scene, Brendan was stunned and mouth gaped as he keep looking at the screen, totally forgetting his fears earlier. But Emily Barnes finally regains her composure and pointed out that the camera man's hand is moving.
Sherry saw the hand move and began to crawl closer with teary eyes to wounded Camera man. As she sat near him, she yells out for help as she cries.
"HELLP!! *hic* PLEASE! *sniff* MY BOYFRIEND IS SHOT! …in the n-neck... h-HIS DYING! *hic* p-p-Please someone..."
Suddenly the Camera Man's left hand slowly reaching Sherry's face, it stopped halfway and shaking. Sherry noticed it and grab to the arm with both of her hands but to her surprise The Camera Man's Hand showed a gesture of a Thumbs-up and he was trying to say something while coughing out blood.
*cough, cough* "...pu.. *cough* ..n-Nice Panties..."
*pff-aha..* Sherry laughs sadly, a gush of tears flow down her cheeks and then she embraced tightly on the Man's arm.
*Beep* the T.V. was turned off
* * * * *4:22pm room 416 Hotel Vines, Central Residential District of Area 17
"Darn, I was about to know if that guy died or not. Why did you turn it off Sir?"
A well black suited Man complains to the Large Man wearing a white Fur coat sitting in a very comfy and awfully expensive Chair while rubbing his chin. The Large man moves his index finger gesturing to the suited man asking him to move closer.
He silently nodded and moves closer to the right side of the Large Man then he waits for him to speak.
"Call Brendan, tell him to keep mentioning about the Military in the news and also Call that arrogant Enforcer Captain, say that I'll have one of his son's limbs if he fails his next attempt."
"Yes, sir.. and also umm.. if I may"
The Large Man Smirk "I know, you have a thing for that news girl and since you saw her lover dying, you want her for yourself but not until we remove Misericorde from this Area and hunt them down to the last man. Once we done that, then you’re free to do what you want, White Mane will have full reign over Area 17. Supposedly we completely plundered every Misericorde assets by the end of this, using that then maybe soon after, we can expand to Area 16 or 18"
Then The Large Man let out a hearty laugh, because his entire plan was moving smoothly. The Media was under his payroll and so as the Enforcers, also the White Mane Group has thousands of men already on the move securing the whole commercial district.
"Misericorde are fools trying to challenge me by claiming my Area, I left them alone for a while because they're making the Commercial district Rich thus making my Area Rich, and I was even planning taking them under my wing but they have the nerve to overthrow White Mane! HAH!"
The true perpetrator of the Commercial district Shootout Massacre was White Mane Group; they knew Misericorde Headquarters resides in the heart of the Commercial district (a.k.a. The Mall with Gatling guns). White Mane sent out small groups of armed men to the populated markets of the Commercial district and started shooting people claiming that they are from Misericorde, since the Enforcers was under White Mane payroll, the so called claims became truth and with further support from the Media, Misericorde was easily branded as a dangerous Terrorist group. White Mane leader could already see his victory as soon that Mall falls.
"As expected of Sir" as the suited man bowed towards the Large Man expressing his gratitude.
The Suited man then move away took out his phone and makes the Call.
*Knock, Knock* someone knocked at the door and one of the White Mane Guards came in with a letter at hand.
"Whose that letter from?" the suited man ask
"umm.. One of the Bellhop gave this, but we immediately grab the Bellhop before he could leave and roughen him up a bit, and then interrogated him to know where the letter came from. He confess that it came from a man claiming to be part of Misericorde handed it to him and some money as payment to deliver this letter to room 416"
"Idiot! why bring that letter here. Who knows what’s inside that letter. It may contain some poisonous powder in it, one whiff of it and we're dead"
The Suited Man was Furious and was already reaching for his gun. The guard panic, cold sweats can be seen dripping from his face and as his hand trembles holding the opened letter then try to continue his explanations stuttering
The Suited Man notice the letter was already open. The Suited Man didn't mutter one word anymore, only ice cold stares at the guard and point the pistol in hand at the Guard's head but before he could pull the trigger.
"Stop" the Large Man spoke without looking at them and continued. "It's seems that he already check the contents of the letter and seeing him still standing there alive, means that is just an ordinary letter. Hand it to me"
The Suited Man nodded, withdraw his pistol, moves away and continue his call and act like nothing happened, the shaken Guard move to hand over the letter. The Large man receives the opened letter and took out a piece of paper inside of it, and then he stares at a picture of a long narrow Dagger stabbing a wounded Male White Lion in the heart.
"uumm sir, the letter only contains one picture."
The guard explain but then he notice the expression of the face of the Large Man, it wasn't anger he saw. The Large Man face went pale, a worried expression he showed. Then the Large Man Stood up and shouts.
"WE'VE BEEN PLAYED LIKE A DAMN FIDDLE! GET THAT BELLHOP!"
The suited Man and The Guard was surprise and confuse by the sudden uproar of their leader, leaving them dumbfounded the Large man keep on shouting at them.
"THE COMMERCIAL AREA IS A DECOY! A DECOY FOR THE LION TO GET STAB FROM BEHIND!"
"Where is the bellhop?" The Suited man ask the Guard.
"I left him with the other Guards before coming here; I'll go and get him now"
The guard hurried and ran out of the room. The Suited man drops down the phone and asks the Large Man.
"Sir calm down, may I see the picture"
The Large Man calms down a bit and showed him the picture. The Large Man begins to explain what the picture meant.
"That long dagger in the picture is a Misericorde, a weapon used to deliver the death stroke to a wounded knight and that weapon is now stabbing a wounded white lion, it means us. Misericorde lacks the manpower but they made the first move and purposely provoked us. Seeing their disadvantage 3 to 1, we immediately pounced at the opportunity."
"But Sir how can Misericorde pose a threat to us now? When you, yourself said we have the upperhand"
The Large man grabs his gun and his suitcase, he was getting ready to move out of the hotel then the Large man looked over at the Suited Man who also grab his things and he waits for his question to be answered. Before the Large man could answer him, they heard someone running outside of the room. The Guard came back but only to report that the Bellhop was missing. The Large man rushes out of the room, shoving the Guard at the side and yells.
"WE NEED TO GET OUT OF THIS HOTEL! THE MISERICORDE KNOWS WE'RE HERE! I'LL EXPLAIN EVERYTHING LATER OUR PRIORITY IS TO LEAV---"
Then in a instant everything was covered in a warm yellowish light. All 3 men, the hotel room and the whole hotel floor was engulf in flames.
* * * * *5:24pm Sunset Park, West Residential District of Area 17
A Catering Van was parking in an empty lot nearby the water fountain, a man got out of the vehicle. He was wearing a blood stain uniform of a Bellhop. He gaze upon the fountain and started to look around, he was searching for a person but there are no people around because of the ongoing shootout at the commercial district, the people were too afraid to come out and lock themselves in their houses. For some reason he didn't gave up and continued his search.
After a while he found a person, he set his eye on an Old man sitting on a bench wearing an overcoat and feeding a couple of pigeon with breadcrumbs. He confirm it's the person his looking for then he started walking towards the Old man or more like he was limping towards the old man. As he got nearer, the pigeon flew away and leaving a seemingly sad expression from the old man face.
The Bellhop was standing in front of the Old man, he displayed firm stand and gave a diligent 90 degree bow. The Old man looked at him with a disappointed face then the Old man smile wryly and spoke.
"You’re late; looks like it you’ve failed to keep our promise... such a shame…"
"I deeply apologize for not keeping my vow"
"Come now, raise your head and sit down"
The Old man tapping the bench with his hand, gesturing that the Bellhop to sit right next to him. Not rejecting the Old man's invitation the Bellhop timidly sat at the bench next to the Old man, then the Old man slap the back of the head of the Bellhop.
"Stop that respectful attitude, right now we’re just two people sharing a bench"
The Old man pulled out 2 cigars and offered one to the Bellhop, they both light it and started smoking. The seated Bellhop soon spoke and began his report.
"Everything has been already taken care of... errm Boss, The Men inside the mall can still hold on for at least a week and 2 to 3 days at best before running out of supply."
"I see but those are your hard trained boys, don't underestimate them. I think they could still last for half a month at best"
The Bellhop shrugged his shoulders but shows a proud face because the Boss praise his men, as the Old man noticed it, he smirks and laugh a bit. The Bellhop continued the report.
"And the White Mane is also now leaderless, because they were aggressively using their resources that we were able to track their movements easily... though it cost us a fortune bribing people along the way, but we manage to know in advance to where they'll be staying at Hotel Vines and planted the bombs.”
"Yes, it's easier to build a good amicable relationship through bribery than threats. oh did you manage to hand the letter?"
"ah.. about that, I didn't manage to hand the letter personally but I think one of his guard was able to deliver it. I acted as harmless I could be until those guards believe my lies that I was just a gofer and stopped beating me, after that I made my escape"
"I see so that explains the bruises but what about that Catering Van over there"
The Old man pointed at the Catering Van, park at the empty lot. He was not asking why the Van was there but why was the Van full of bullet holes and some splattered bloodstained at the front bumper also smeared across the hood.
"oh that, I made my escape driving that safely out of the Hotel"
"So you were not discovered at the Hotel being a member of Misericorde, then where did you get those really nice paint jobs?"
"I made a small detour, that's why I'm a little late"
"hmmm.. a detour you say, I don't like where this is going but do tell" The Old man is a little worried because this detour wasn't in the plan but he was intrigue by this detour.
The Bellhop gave a summarize story of his escapade, the story goes like this apparently when the Bellhop said that White Mane is now Leaderless he meant it. He visited every House, Villa, Mansion of the 3 other top members of White Mane and then run them over with a Catering Van, Yes he literally ran them over with a Catering Van.
*cough* The Old man almost choke on his cigar.
"I remember telling you I'll be the one taking care of the other White Manes, you disobey me for the 1st time hrmm... but I let this one pass"
The Old man was a bit angry at that moment because he heard that the Bellhop had killed all 3 top brass of White Mane. The Old man was going to take care of it personally; he was planning to spare one of the 3 Top White Mane and absorb that person into Misericorde.
Then again the Old Man couldn't tell the reason why he was a bit angry at that moment because he was gazing over the bloodstain uniform of the Bellhop. He can clearly see 4 or 5 bullet holes in the uniform the Bellhop wore and he knew the person sitting next to him was a dying man.
"Never mind what I said, it's water under the bridge. Anyway how you pulled it off?"
"Sorry Boss and thank you" The Bellhop gives a slight Bow while seated and continue on the story.
"It was somewhat easy. I only got 3 Targets left to find, plus No one would think a seemingly Catering Van would run them over, and I was convince that they were all about the same time receive a report of the explosion that had happen at Hotel Vines so some of them would hurried off to go to the hotel and it so happens, that I was there with the Catering Van to run them over while they were coming out of their home."
The Old man nodded as the Bellhop gave his explanations. The Bellhop made an odd, yet good plan but was extremely hard to execute, because you must have a good time management for the timely visit at every location and excellent driving experience also very familiar with the area to perfectly be there on time. Finally you have to be sure that once you run over your victim, that person must be completely dead, then make your escape and rush over to the next target, for that sure kill move to happen the Bellhop said.
"If you’re running them over with a Van, make sure the wheel of the Van is driving over the victim's head, let the weight of Van do its work and after you hear a sound of coconut cracking or popping open. Then you’re sure your targets dead."
The Old man wasn't much disturb by the morbid story and asked. "But what if you didn't manage to hear the coconut?"
"ah... that happen in the last location, I just switch gear to reversed and went back full throttle after running over the victim the 2nd time…. I still didn't hear it... so the shocked Bodyguards gain their composure then went full auto and start shooting at the Van. It was rough."
"hoo, so why did you have such a hard time on the last one"
"Because the target was small that I was having a hard time maneuvering the Van, I didn't know that 6yr old boy was so small these days but don't worry Boss I still manage to get him the 3rd try."
The Old man closed his eyes, furrowed his eyebrow. An agonize look can be seen at the Old man's face as soon he heard the Bellhop said that the last one was a kid. The Child was the son of the White Mane leader and next in line to take over the White Mane Group. That child was the very person that the Old man wanting to spare in this violent gang war. The reason why he wanted to spare the Child's life was because of a the report that the White Mane was planning to merge Misericorde under them, by having Misericorde next leader The Old man's 10yr old Grandson to be betrothed with The White Mane Leader's 6yr old daughter and wed.
The report about White Mane Leader having a son receive by the Bellhop was false; the Bellhop didn't know that the boy he knew and run over was a girl and explain why the target was much smaller than he anticipated. The Old man didn't want to blame the Bellhop for what he did because the Old man knows Bellhop did it for his sake, thinking that the White Mane heir would grow up and plans to kill him.
The Old man's Plan was after the fall of White Mane, he will be adopting this girl, reeducate her and soon marry her off to his grandson, same with the plan of White Mane but with minor alteration that The Misericorde would come out on top and White Mane will be under them. With her married within Misericorde, she will attract any stragglers or surviving member of White Mane and will either follow her obediently or aggressively scorn her, either of those chooses was fine for the Old man but since she died the Old man Anguish at the thought of his plan shattered.
"Boss? are you alright? Maybe you should stop smoking since your health is kind of bad right now"
"ah.. no it's nothing also stop reprimanding me about my smoking habit you remind me of my doctor"
"Ah right, I haven't reported about what I did with the Military. It was 6 days ago--" *COugh*
The Bellhop spat out a lot of blood from his mouth then start to breath heavily and the color of his face slowly turning pale white from blood loss but he still want to finish the report, The Old man stop him from saying anything further, because the Old man was already somewhat satisfied with the report and just wanted to spend time with the Bellhop in his final moments. Then the Old man was reaching to the unfinished cigar from the Bellhop but the Bellhop wave his hand a bit, stating that it was the Boss gift to him and wanted to finish it.
After a while, the Old man finish first threw his Cigar bud to the ground and stomp it with his shoe then he gaze upon the setting sun, he took a deep breath and spoke.
"Remember the 1st time we met, we both sitting right next to each other just like as we are now."
"haha I remember that suspecting look in your face when I sat beside you and offer you a job that time but I'll be honest with you, before we actually met I had my eye on you, I already read your background and I know you've been through a lot, more than most people I've met in my lifetime."
"I was also surprise that you were a member of the rebel group Stiletto. I heard they disbanded due to the relentless assault of the State Military but I saw you manage to survive that and made your way here in Area 17, and then there I knew you’re a very competent man and wanted you in my Group."
".....uh. yeah.. then after the 1st job, I also knew if I sworn loyalty to you.. Boss... I won't ever regret"
The Old Man was a surprise that the Bellhop was still able to reply. The Old man gently put his hand on the shoulder of the Bellhop and said.
"You’re really tenacious.. and that's what I really like about you, your strong will to survive.. but I guess having sworn your loyalty to me cause your down fall huh."
"..ha..ha... no Boss.." The Bellhop sluggishly leans on the beach and tried to straighten himself.
"It's not your fault Boss; don't you remember what you said earlier?"
"hmm..?" The Old man was a bit confused.
"You said, I've disobey you for the 1st time by taking that detour and that detour lead me into the state I'm in right now *cough* ...meaning my loyalty to you wasn't the cause of my downfall.. the moment I broke your trust to me was my downfall.. so it wasn't the Boss fault but mine..."
"You... you really are one of a kind.. ..and wipe that smug look off your face or I'll slap you with my shoe"
"ha..ha.." The Bellhop smiled wryly.
The Old man stood up, walks a few steps in front of the Bellhop and gave a bow, a strong and a very sentimental bow towards the Bellhop. Sadly the Bellhop's vision was already gone, a sign that death is near. He couldn't see what was the person his sworn loyalty to was doing but can only hear the next words to him.
"You have served me well; your loyalty to me knows no bound even till death. I'm proud to have you work under me... now your services to me end..."
"...wa-it.. Bos-" The Bellhop tried to protest, he thought that he was being cut off from the group but was ignored by the Old man.
"You don't serve me no more, I appreciate all the work you have done, now you can rest easy and I'll see to it that your efforts are not wasted."
The Bellhop didn't like about being dismissed from the Group but discern that this was his Boss farewell to him and attentively listen.
"You seem to disagree on something; it shows in your face." The Old man noticed.
"ah I see, well how about this. If we ever meet again in the afterlife and at the same time some part of you still wants to follow me, then I'll be happy to have you."
"..that sounds nice... thanks Boss."
Having both pledged to meet once again in the Afterlife, The Bellhop was happy that the Boss still want him. After saying their good bye to each other the Old man turned around and walks away. The sound of his footstep echoed in the quiet park but stopped halfway. The Old man looked back to the still Seated Bellhop holding a cigar on his hand; the Old man showed a sorrowful look as he gaze back then said.
"Till we meet again, ______"
Those were the last thing the Bellhop heard as his consciousness slips away...
* * * * *6:00pm near the water fountain, Sunset Park; West Residential District of Area 17
A Dead body of a young man was found, sitting at the Park Bench.