City of Vice – The Crisis

Chapter one, Morning

Morning. It's exactly 8:35 am. Lance Vance knew this because his radio alarm was filling his heavy head with more noise than it could cope with. Normally, he wouldn't have complained to be listening to Laura Braningan but Self Control was something Lance wasn't blessed with when hung over to hell. The radio didn't bounce off his wall too well. The pieces that hit the floor did.

"I need water." he said in his best baritone. To say he needed sobering up was to understate the situation. Last night had been a blast. The Vercetti gang had just pulled off the biggest heist in Vice City history and got away clean and easy. To celebrate would have been in poor taste, what with twenty men dead inside the arms depot and several million dollars worth of guns scattered all over Vercetti mansion in various boxes just waiting for the right buyer. To hit the Malibu, close the place early and indulge in the free bar, the free food and the free girls was however, not quite so much acceptable as much as it was expected. The whole gang had arrived at 1 am. The whole place was empty of punters at 1:03. Tommy had shoed them off the dance floor, herded them out the door, told the staff to take the night off and opened the bar as a free-for-all-and-drink-it-dry to anyone left. Closing in on 4 am and the bar running on empty, the gang had staggered back to their various residencies, Lance being driven back to Vercetti mansion where he had a room. Lance ran through the drinks he'd had in his head. He was remembering the 20th when something caused him to stop. He had opened the bathroom door, and idly walked in and turned on the tap. What caused him to stop was that at that very moment he had noticed his water was red. Blood red. He turned off the tap, put the glass in the sink and steadied his breathing. He knew that when he looked up and actually took note of the room something was going to shock him. He had no idea how shocked he was going to be. Lance began looking around the room slowly. He had turned his head to the bath when he gave up looking and walked hurriedly out of the bathroom and burst into Tommy's bedroom.

"Oh dear GOD Lance you scared the hell outta me!" Tommy Vercetti bolted upright in bed, like a bear trap springing into action. "What's the matter?"

"There's a situation that requires your immediate attention Tommy. I mean it, this shit's serious!"

"Calm down will ya? Mercedes, babe, stay here ok I'll be back in a few minutes." Tommy turned to his wife Mercedes and kissed her forehead. She looked at Tommy and lay back down in bed. "What is it Lance?" Tommy asked as he pulled on some trousers and followed his friend out of the bedroom.

"That, Tommy, is what it is." Lance said, pushing the door of the bathroom wide enough for Tommy to see. After a long pause, Tommy looked at Lance. That day was the first day Lance ever saw Tommy with fear and horror in his eyes. All that death, all that running from the law, the jobs, the shootings, the beatings, the crime, and yet Tommy had always looked cool calm and collected. But not that day. Tommy's eyes betrayed him that day. Lance saw it and he knew Tommy knew he saw it.

The bathroom was awash with blood. There were two corpses, one was lying in the bath, his face underneath a deep pool of blood that was blocked by something from draining away through the plug hole, the other chained by his hands to the rail above the bath where the curtain ran, hanging over the once white porcelain swaying, as gently as rigor mortis will allow, on account of the absence of his legs. They lay crossed over the back of the man face down in the tub, just above the chainsaw sticking out of his back.

"Oh fuck." Tommy broke the silence that hung over the two of them like a heavy fog, atmosphere thick with apprehension and fear. "No way we didn't hear any of this happening! No fucking WAY!"

"Sorry Tommy, we had to. Me and you are the only people with rooms on this level and I know I fell unconscious the moment I hit the mattress. Everyone else carried the party on downstairs for a while, but I don't know for how long."

"I didn't come into the house for an hour or so after the Malibu, Mercedes and I got intermit in the maze out back before we headed for bed."

"Bathroom look ok when you got back in?"

"Couldn't tell you, I didn't use it. Wasn't the right room to be headed for, action was elsewhere if you get me." Tommy sounded half way between bragging and panicking, like he was utterly at a loss with what to do next. Lucky for Tommy he had the whole day to figure out what to do. The smell of blood was starting to get to him so he closed the door and headed back to the landing. He was about to suggest a plan of action to Lance when he heard the phone ring, and then Mercedes call him from the bedroom. "I gotta get that. We'll talk about this in a minute." Making his way to the phone, Tommy picked the receiver from his wife's hand and placed the listening end to his ear. "Hello?"

"Tommy man, I'm so so sorry for this, calling you at this time in the morning and all but it's pretty damn urgent. You gotta situation you need to act on right now!"

"You can say that again H, I gotta real sticky sitch here that ain't gonna go away on its own. Can this not wait?"

"Not a chance Tommy. Someone, and I don't know who yet, tipped the police off about the raid last night. They're coming to your house, and they're gonna be looking for anything that could tie you to last night. ANYTHING Tommy, you even got one single unregistered gun in your whole damn house they'll haul you in like a stray dog and put you away for anything that'll stick. You can expect them in probably three hours."

"Shit shit shit!" Tommy had gotten redder and redder, as he remained silent, letting the man on the other end of the phone say his piece. "Find out who the FUCK tipped them off and let me know the second you do." He slammed the phone down. "Lance, you need to sort this bathroom out. And fast."

"WHAT! You cannot be serious. Tommy how the fuck am I supposed to deal with this?"

"Shut up for one Goddamn minute will you, I'm trying to give you a head start." Tommy picked up the phone again and punched in Ken's number.

"Rosenberg Office, h-how may I help you?"

"Ken, it's Tommy, look I've got a real sticky sitch here at the mansion and I need you to call someone who cleans things up in a hurry, if you know what I mean. Send him over as soon as you can, Lance'll be waiting for him. I gotta go work out a little bit of business." Tommy put the phone back again. "You need people tell 'em they're on my orders to help you out. Anyone found answering back" Tommy pulled out a gun and cocked it "let 'em know I'll fire 'em. Oh, and you're on a time limit. A tight one. Three hours, not a minute more you understand? We gotta get every single illegal firearm outta this house and clean that bathroom so it looks like nothing ever happened or the cops that are coming round might have a few things to say."

"WHAT! What they get tipped off or something?"

"Yup. You're in charge Lance, don't let me down." Under his breath Tommy added "For God's sake and mine Lance, don't let me down." Tommy left the house quickly, buttoning his shirt up on the way to the door. The engine on his Infernus hummed and purred like a big white cat, silky and sexy and powerful all at once. Her wheels squealed as his foot met the floor, pedal in between, and he pulled out onto the road in the direction of the docks.