“So these are the supplies from Mikhailov, you think?” A figure leaned against the damp grey wall of a parking garage and inspected the scene from a short distance. Several car’s headlights were on, dimly illuminating the dark and gloomy area. The bright lights of the city didn’t reach the inner alleyways and decrepit streets in the slums. A chill breeze brought along with it a faint odor of gasoline and smog, the signature scent of Chicago. The shadowy apparition stood close by, shrouded by the night. A voice crackled to life on an earpiece and whispered,
“Come on and hurry up, Ryan. Just shoot ‘em all and get the hell outta there. We got like… an hour before Gator Gerries closes. Ya’know, I don’t give a shit about these guns when there’s a 40% discount on their burgers. Their fuckin’ burgers!” Ryan Arafa stepped out from the cover of darkness and into the dim light before him, revealing an aged but built man in his late fifties. He flicked his shaggy brown hair aside with a short jerk and replied.
“If we go around killing the rest of our imports then there’s going to be no one around actually dealing. No supplies, no money. How the hell are you going to get your burgers then?” As he talked, Ryan produced a slim, two-foot-long cylinder from his sleeve and advanced towards a group of crates within the encirclement of cars. A hundred meters away, Jason laid prone on the roof of a nearby office building and peered through the sights of his modified M40A5 sniper rifle. He placed its crosshairs on the older man and mimicked pulling its trigger while murmuring, “I’d find a way to get the damn burgers.”
“What was that?”
“Just keep your eyes on the targets and I’ll buy you one myself after this.”
“Deal.” and with that Jason settled down comfortably and trained his vision elsewhere in the garage. After several minutes of careful observation, the sniper spoke up, “Okay Boss, you got two guys behind the black SUV to the left and six more on the right surrounding that pillar. They’re all armed with standard Hi-Hex assault rifles, and… oh, and your good ol’ buddy Mickey is in that fancy-ass limo with eight more guys with him. Are you sure you don’t want me to blast them? ’Cause I could. They’ve been giving me sketchy vibes for a while now.”
“We’re running low on reliable ports. Wouldn’t deal if we didn’t have to, but there are only so many somewhat trustworthy people left in our zone and I’m not messing with that.”
“Shoot. Well, he does have a bounty of ’bout 25,000 credits if you’re looking for that. And haven’t you said that you can’t trust shit in this world?”
“I trust that they want our services more than our heads. I have no doubt he’d put a round in me the minute we couldn’t turn out a profit.” Ryan stopped as he reached the center of the circle and sat on top of the metallic crates. He checked his watch to see that it was 8:56, a few minutes before the deal would be made. He banged on one of the crates with the cylinder and shouted, “Mikhailov, I know you’re here you big bastard! Just come out and we can get this thing over with!” With no response, Ryan sighed and stared at his watch as the seconds ticked by slowly. Almost immediately as the hour hand struck 9:00 the Limousine doors clicked open and a tall, pale man wearing an immaculate suit emerged. Light glimmered off of his gold rings and slicked-back hair, an aesthetic the Russian man was quite fond of. All around, men stepped from behind cover and pointed their weapons at Ryan’s chest.
“He sure knows how to make an entrance.” Jason remarked, “Better than last week’s.” As Mikhailov stepped away from the vehicle he retrieved a case from the backseat and began to walk towards Ryan. By no means was Mikhailov a physically imposing man. He was lanky and his pale skin had a sickly tone to it, however, it was his extensive network of connections and resources that made him a useful asset. Or a dangerous enemy.
“Good evening my friend. I apologize for the inconvenience, we always have to keep it… professional if you understand.” The Russian’s voice was ironically a deep baritone and laid heavily with an accent, making it difficult to make sense of the words. The old man grunted in response and stared nonchalantly at the dealer, seemingly unimpressed by the theatrics. After a short pause, Ryan said,
“Well, what are we waiting for? Let’s get this deal started.” Mikhailov chuckled lightly and replied,
“Well, I’m sorry to tell you this, my friend, but it appears that it cannot happen today.” Ryan groaned inwardly and tightened his grip on the cylinder as he braced himself for the inevitable. Jason let out a quiet chuckle and readied his weapon,
“Told ya so. 30 credits he’s gonna do a bad guy speech.”
“And why would that be?” Ryan asked knowing the answer.
The Russian placed his briefcase on a crate and popped the locks off, he then pulled out a small handgun and tossed it to Ryan.
“It appears that a greater offer has been made for us today so your deal, unfortunately, has been denied. I would normally have just left it there and we would part ways, but there was an added-how do I put this… ah, request made to the offer. They asked me to kill Ryan Arafa. Now, I don’t know who you have angered so much, but they were very adamant about your termination.” Mikhailov chuckled and leaned in towards Ryan.
“Don’t worry. I made sure to drive a hard bargain for you. I want you to know that this is nothing personal, in fact, I am most grateful for our short yet prosperous relationship. So instead of throwing you to the dogs, I’ll just let you shoot yourself in the head. Quick and simple.” Ryan was fuming with rage and annoyance but carefully hid it under a mask of calm. He took a deep breath and said, “Don’t cross me. Whatever they paid you, I’ll give you more. Just think about what you’re doing here.” the dealer shrugged,
“I already have, and I’ve come to the conclusion that you have outlived your usefulness.”
“Then at least say who managed to do me in.” Ryan knew it was a flimsy bait, but it was the best he could offer on the spot. As expected the man shook his head and said,
“You know I can’t give out any classified information, I respect my client’s wishes.” He winked and turned away. “Now, hurry on up before I change my mind. I have a show to attend. It’s an Archilble, a real masterpiece truth be told.” Ryan growled in frustration at the response. There was no point in trying to gain any more information from the man, and every second he stood waiting put him in greater danger.
“Mikhailov you idiot. ” He took one breath and whispered, “Lazarus.” and with that, a single shot rang out and the suit collapsed, stone dead.