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For Your Toys Only (Episode 01)

Episode One
Gun barrel and Pre-credit Sequence
Directed by John Woo.

Las Vegas, Nevada

The assassin looked down the scope of his high powered rifle, sweeping slowly from left to right looking for his target. He considered that he would have liked to have been in a raised spot, but shooting from the car would have to do. The scope centered on a man in his mid thirties, wearing a light gray suit and a dark hat. As the cross hairs centered on the man he suddenly turned to his left, a pistol in his right hand firing a single shot. The assassin felt a sudden shock just above his right eye and then blood poured from his fresh wound and sprayed across his scope. It poured down across the scope covering the sight in red fluid. His vision became entirely fixed on the red dot in front of him as his life slipped away. The red dot then sank as the assassin slumped forward and the red dot was swallowed up by the blackness.

The driver of the white Cadillac threw down his doughnut and started the engine quickly. He put the car in drive and put his foot down on the gas so hard that he caused a squealing noise that was louder than the single gun shot had been. It didn't matter who saw him now, they'd failed and there would be trouble for it.

Jack Collier slipped the Walther PPK that he'd been issued back into the chamois leather holster watching as the car drove quickly down the main drag. The car drove quickly away as the intended target watched them go, his eye catching a police car that started to engage in chase. He put his hands in his pockets and watched as the two cars drove into the distance. He noticed the heat again and loosened his black tie unbuttoning several of the buttons on his tan oxford shirt.

It had been a risk, putting himself in the line of fire like that after they'd been told about the hit. He had felt though, that it was the best way to prove to them that it was pointless because he would always know exactly where they were. Having a reputation for being paranoid was helpful, making people think you could smell a doughnut from fifty yards away even when the wind was blowing in the wrong direction was even better. The legend would continue to grow after this event had been reported.

A silver convertible Mercedes Benz S Class pulled up next to him, a blonde woman about Jack's age behind the wheel. Her name was Alice Liddell, and she was an agent of a shadowy agency that the both of them now worked for. They had managed to consummate their long waited for relationship during Jack's training, but they had been separated by work far too regularly for them to be considered a couple. He could see that she was dressed in a light red silk pantsuit, which was a summer weight outfit as far as he was concerned.

He slipped off the gray suit coat and opened the door to the Mercedes sitting down in the hot leather of the passenger chair. He leaned back into the chair that had been heated by the sun and ran his fingers through his short hair. She looked at him as he stood next to the car, observing his light brown hair and hazel eyes that swept the Las Vegas strip. He was nearly six feet tall and built slender but with a firmness that spoke of his former career as a Private Detective. It's these sort of things that can happen when you suddenly change actors, the description of the character has to drastically change.

He took off the gray suit jacket tossing it into the back seat and opened the car's door. He sat down on the black leather of the passenger seat, which had grown incredibly hot under the desert sun. Jack winced as he sat down and leaned against the heated chair. He tried to get comfortable for a moment and then turned to the woman next to him.

"What the fuck Alice?" He asked.

"Pardon?" She turned towards him with a smile.

"It's fucking Thanksgiving." He complained to her. "I don't know what you're used to, but in Michigan they might be having snow already. It wouldn't be a hundred and ten in the shade."

"It's not a hundred and ten." She laughed and switched on the digital thermometer. "It's only a little bit over eighty."

"On Thanksgiving!" He said as she put the car in gear and started driving. "That just ain't right."

Collier pulled off his tie and tossed it behind him into the back seat of the car and unbuttoned a few more buttons of his shirt, exposing the white t-shirt he was wearing under it. The then slipped out off the shoulder holster and tucked it under the seat. Liddell drove them to a Casino, and instead of parking the car herself drove up to the front door and allowed a young man in a white coat with gold frogging take the vehicle away for her. Collier would have parked the car himself as you never know what they'll do with it and he might need it at any moment, but letting them take the car was certainly easier.

"How do you know he's not going to wire the car up with explosives?" Collier asked as they walked through the doors of the casino.

"Good lord Jack, you don't trust anyone do you?"

"I trust a few people." He said taking her hand for a moment. "Where is this supposed to go down?"

"The tea house."

The Xanadu Casino was one of the many theme hotels on the strip, this one given a fantasy Asian theme. It was a little odd then, though not entirely surprising, to find a deliberately dingy tea house among the many entertainments. That the tea house in question was modeled after something from the early 1990s instead of the ancient past had made Jack a little wary of entering, but their sources had told them that this was the place where the guns were going to be handed over. There were dozens of small plastic and metal bird cages, with song birds fluttering around inside. The place wasn't really as dingy as its inspiration, being a fantasy location for hundreds of people a month meant it had to be kept up to a standard.

Collier looked at the artificially worn leather, and noticed that they had done a lot of work to make real leather look like naugahyde. The room was mostly lit with buzzing fluorescent tubes, which failed to bring out the beauty of the muddy butter colored tiles on the wall of the tiny grey and white tiles used for the floors. The tables were glass covered to make cleaning up the spilled tea easier, or to enhance the recreation of the place. Collier had read about this little tea room after all, and how it was now something of a pilgrim point for some people.

"So what's the idea?" Collier asked as they sat down in one of the small booths. "They hand the guns over to the assassins who will gun down the desperately important person out on the street in front of God and everybody. Have I got that right?"

"Yeah." She nodded and watched the targets entering.

"That's so stupid." He muttered. "You don't think we're being set up do you?"

"Why would they try and set us up?"

"A big shoot out on Thanksgiving in an oddly busy casino?" He asked. "Humiliating by any standard."

"Hmm." She barely admitted.

"Besides, when did guns suddenly get hard to get a hold of? This is still America isn't it? I can get a dozen guns in any back alley, I could probably buy one with skeeball tickets downstairs."

"There is something to that." She said.

The song on the over head speaker system ended and was replaced almost immediately by something Jack could place and didn't like. It sounded like some old Muzak being played on a Casio keyboard. The tune was irritatingly repetitive and Collier knew he would be humming it for the rest of the day. A waitress brought them a kettle of tea and some food in steamer trays.

"I called in an order for us." Alice said smiling across at him. "Until the guys with the bird cages show up we've just got to wait."

"Those two behind us the shooters?" Jack asked without tilting his head in their direction.

"Yeah." She nodded, and he noticed that she did let her eyes flick towards them for a moment.

"They have any extra minders?" He asked.

"Stop being so damn paranoid." She took a drink of the tea and popped a steamed dumpling into her mouth.

"You know what this place is based on don't you?" He sipped at some of the tea.

"And you left that little Walther in the car." She sipped some tea as well.

"I see a pair of guys with bird cages walking in." He said as he failed to watch a pair of men walking past him while noting everything about them including the Smith and Wesson revolver one of them was holding in his right jacket pocket.

"I'll signal the cops to start moving in, but we've got to get them exchanging the guns in order to… where are you going?" She watched as Collier got up from his seat and looked towards the table where the four men were sitting.

"I'm taking the narrative by the horns." He told her. "Get the cavalry called."

When he had started with the agency a year ago, one of the first people Jack Collier had seen after the paperwork had been signed was the armorer. He had been presented with a long list of hand guns he could request for primary and back up weapons. He had chosen the Walther PPK out of spunk, but it had been pure perversity that caused him to also select the small pistol he now pulled out of his pocket. Most people didn't even remember that the Beretta 418 had a place in history, but then Jack Collier wasn't most people.

He didn't walk towards the group, but rather walked as if headed towards the marked rest rooms. A glance to his right caused him to notice another man who was incredibly disinterested in all that was going on around him. Jack decided that he was the one to watch. He didn't grip the hand gun in a position ready to fire, but kept it rested in the palm of his left hand as he slid it from his pocket. When he was behind the one with the revolver in his pocket he turned suddenly and pressed the barrel of the Beretta into the back of his head. The man's face changed and he put his hands flat on the table.

"I see you've played our game before." Collier said as his right hand snaked down to the man's pocket and thumbed back the hammer. "Hands on the tables there boys."

Jack's left hand moved from the back of the man's head and took the birdcage in the center of the table by the hook and lifted it from the group. It was then that his suspicion was confirmed by seeing the disinterested man not only interested but reaching into his jacket. Jack set the cage down behind him and aimed both guns at the man in the brown leather jacket.

"Hey!" he shouted. "Hands on the table. I am not in the mood for any flying gunman two fisted bullshit today."

Alice saw the man and walked towards him with her far more modern hand gun drawn and aimed. She put the gun against his head and opened his jacket to expose a large colt and a mac ten. She pulled him from the booth and pressed him down on the table to relieve him of these items while Jack watched the four men around the table. One of them started to creep his hand to the edge of the table and found the barrel of the revolver aimed at his head.

"Don't think that you could be in anyway fast enough." Jack said softly. "No matter how bad you think you are, I'm badder."

It was then that the local police entered and took over the arrest, which had been the arrangement. Jack and Alice slipped away, having prevented a large scale shoot out. As the police took the five of them away Alice considered her most of the time lover and then the men as they were taken away. She sighed heavily as the police van drove the possible would be assasins away.

"Something wrong?" Jack asked.

"I suppose not." She said.

"What's the problem then?"

"I guess I was just expecting some kind of action."

"Not on Thanksgiving, and not in such a crowded and public place." He told her. "But if you want some action, we could always go back to the hotel."

"That might be nice." She smiled at him.

The scene then seemed to fade away until just silohetes covered the screen…



( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Dec. 9th, 2007 06:43 pm (UTC)
I've only just started reading (I'm so far behind on everything!), but so far I'm loving it. Best line: "I'm taking the narrative by the horns."
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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