"Can you see me?" Tommy's voice sounded over the cheap walkie talkie that sat on the ledge next to Claude.
Claude hit the talk button on the walkie twice, signalling that he did indeed see the chubby shape of Tommy Vercetti through the scope of rifle, slowing the bright yellow cab to a halt just outside of the love media offices.
"Carl?" Tommy's voice sounded over the walkie again.
"Yeah." Carl's voice sounded strained. He was dying from bloodloss...why either Claude or Tommy trusted the most important part of this job to the dead man wasn't entirely clear. It might have had something to do with Claude being unable to fly a helicopter while Tommy's failing eyesight made him a bad choice for both flying and sniping. "Your guy gave me shit about it, but i got it."
"Phil doesn't trust just anyone..." Tommy muttered. "It got everything i asked for?"
"Yeah." Carl croaked over the walkie. "I'll...be there...when you signal."
Claude watched Tommy through the scope as the bright yellow cab took a sharp turn, cutting through the oncoming lane and smashing through the lobby doors of the love media building.
The cars and people on the street froze, watching and waiting like sharks in the water, hoping to see some blood and gore. Claude watched the wreckage that used to be the front entrance to the love media building. If Tommy had died then Claude and Carl would fall back to plan B which was a lot messier and more dangerous in the end.
The world seemed to shake as the cab exploded, destroying the first floor of the love media building and rocketing debris and shrapnel out into the street.
"Christ." Tommy's voice came weakly over the walkie. "There were guards waiting for me, i almost didn't make it to the elevators before that thing went off."
"That the signal?" Carl asked.
"Yeah, that's the signal." Tommy said dryly, and Claude had a feeling he'd rolled his eyes during the reply.
"I'll be there in ten." Carl said.
"Claude, you have eyes on Love?" Tommy asked.
Claude peered through the scope of his rifle and scanned the building across the street from the one he sat on. Most of the floors were dark, a few still had lights on...the one at the very top was lit up like a christmas tree...inside...inside sat a group of men, smoking drinking and doing various illegal substances...and were those...dead bodies lying on the table?
Jesus christ, Love was...Claude chewed back the bile that rose in his throat and clicked the walkie three times, signalling for the top floor.
"Alright, keep me covered when i'm up-" Tommy fell short as the building went dark.
"You get shot in the head old man?" Carl's voice sounded over the walkie once more.
A long pause, which Claude used to scan the building for Love-still upstairs, but he suddenly seemed very alarmed- when: "The power cut out." Tommy muttered. "Fire alarm-" this Claude could hear over the walkie. "I'm trapped in this gold plated coffin."
"Great." Carl chuckled. "Listen, look for a panel, or something...i'm almost there, i don't plan on sticking around too damn long," not like he had a choice one way or the other. "Cops are coming out in full force, headed your way."
"Shit." Tommy spat. "Alright...alright...I see a hatch in the ceiling, Claude, keep eyes on Love, make sure he doesn't get out."
Claude kept the scope on the top floor, watching as Love and his panicked associates started to pack up their toys. Two armed men entered the room, Love spun on his heel and the two started nodding as he gave them orders.
Time to let Love know they were there. Claude took aim and fired, the first bullet flew through the window, killing one man, then the other, both shots taken right over Love's shoulders.
Love's party guests started to scramble around the room, some dove under the table, others made for the door, one even hid under a corpse.
The ones headed for the door fell short, bullets in their backs. Love himself dove for the table.
Tommy grunted as he slid onto the top of the elevator. "Jesus christ. " he muttered, rolling onto his back and panting. He was getting too old for this shit, far too old.
Tommy eventually climbed to his feet and started looking around. "Now how in the hell...?" as his mind scrambled to find a way to get out of the elevator shaft the elevator doors opened.
Gunfire erupted below as the bullets ripped into the elevator.
"What the fuck?" a voice came from below. "Where is he?"
"Maybe he got off on another floor." another suggested.
Tommy grabbed the gun from his waistband and jumped back into the elevator, landing on his ass with a grunt.
"FUCK!" two men with assault rifles stood in the doorway.
Tommy brought the pistol up and fired, emptying the clip in seconds.
When the smoke cleared and his vision adjusted to the sudden darkness, two new bodies lay at his feet in rapidly expanding pools of blood. Tommy slowly got to his feet, rubbing his lower back and wondering if he'd broken something in the fall.
"Nevermind," he said into the walkie. "Made it out." he bent down and grabbed one of the dead men's assault rifle, checked the body for spare ammo then got moving. "Claude, Love still up there?" he got two clicks as a response. "This would be much easier if you spoke." he muttered, stashing the cheap walkie in his back pocket and moving away from the elevators. "Where are the damn stairs?" he hissed, walking around the garishly decorated office hall. Golden statues of Love standing next to various people, horrible paintings...talk about a self involved prick.
"I'm here." Carl said, looking down at the massive building. In the streets below he saw nothing but flashing red lights and smoke. "Cops everywhere down there." he muttered. "Where you at old man?"
"Forty...three." Tommy panted through the walkie. "Seven more floors to go...guys with guns everywhere, it's fucking crazy."
"Don't get your ass shot off before you get to the roof, wouldn't want to have to do this myself." Carl chuckled as he pushed the helicopter down in between the maze of buildings, circling the love media building. "Claude, anyone on the roof?" he asked weakly, his vision suddenly blurred.
Claude clicked twice, affirmative.
"Shit...do somethin about them, i gotta land...don't wanna...don't wanna..." Carl was so tired suddenly...so damn tired. "Run out of...fuel..." the helicopter veered sharply to the left, the rotors missing a building by inches.
"God damn, i saw that!" Tommy's voice sounded from the walkie. "You forget that buildings and helicopters don't go together...you there?"
Claude watched as the helicopter piloted by Carl narrowly missed the love media building.
"Carl, you alive?" Tommy asked, over the walkie, a trickle of panic audible in the question. "Carl god damn it, answer me!"
Claude watched the helicopter suddenly shot up into the sky. Claude couldn't help but feel a bit of Tommy's panic too as the chopper rose and then spun suddenly to the side, going down towards the roof of the love media building.
If Claude would have said anything as the helicopter went on a collision course for the roof of the building it probably would have been: "Oh shit."
The helicopter slammed into the roof of the building, skidding across the cement and stopping on the edge, teetering precariously.
"What the hell was that?" Tommy's voice snapped over the radio.
Claude shook his head and sighed. Their ride had landed, that's what.
"Carl...CARL!" Tommy spat before throwing the walkie to the ground. "FUCK!" he was stuck now. The lobby was rubble thanks to the car bomb, there was no way out down there...and without Carl and the helicopter there was no way out in the air.
There was nothing to do but sit...no...no there was still the job, still Donald Love to kill. He passed the shattered remains of the cheap walkie talkie on his way to the stairs, keeping low and his rifle up.
"I heard something-"
Tommy spun around and pulled the trigger, cutting down a janitor and a security guard. "Shit...tough luck." he muttered, turning around and running for the stairs. He'd caught his second wind...maybe it was just the realization he was dead no matter what he did now, or maybe it was the hate coursing through his veins, the hate for Donald Love, the hate that this was happening to him HIM of all people.
A blur of running, panting, and trying not to throw up later Tommy was on the top floor.
There was only a hallway, a door, an elevator, and a set of stairs leading up to the roof. Outside of the door stood three armed guards. Tommy didn't stop moving, he looked down the sight and pulled the trigger, spraying the three men with a hail of bullets. Their bodies fell to the floor in various positions that Tommy paid no mind to. This was it, the endgame. What did he care about anyone or anything else other than the end of Donald Love's life?
"LOVE!" Tommy yelled as he kicked the doors to the conference room open. "I've come for my antidote!"
Men and women clad in overpriced suits scrambled to hide under anything they could, under chair or tables, even a naked corpse covered in various bodily fluids.
"Please don't kill us!" one pasty chubby man moaned before he squirmed his way deeper under the fat corpse lying on top of him.
"Where's Love!" Tommy yelled, moving over to the corpse and kicking it off of the man. "WHERE!" he spat, shoving the gun into the man's face.
"Wh-When...oh jesus..." the chubby man started crying. "When the...he-helicopter crashed...h-he ran out...fo-for the roof!"
"The roof? Shit!" Tommy spun on his heel and ran out of the room, headed for the stairs once more.
Claude watched Tommy sprint out of the boardroom before he moved the scope back up to the roof where Love and his assortment of bodyguards were making their way to the crashed helicopter.
Tommy burst through the door behind Love and his men.
Claude clenched his teeth and lined up his shot, dropping one bodyguard and then another, noticing Love running for the helicopter while his men stayed behind to die.
Carl was vaguely aware of gunshots, of yelling and screaming and someone...fondling him?
"Whuh?" his eyes opened just enough to see a sweaty man in a suit trying to pull him out of the helicopter.
"Love!" Somone screamed in the background as the gunfire died down. "I've come for you you fat fuck!" the voice was familiar...Carl just couldn't think of a name for some reason. "You thought you could poison me? ME!" the sweaty man turned from Carl.
"Tommy, calm down, it was-" Love fell to one knee as Tommy shot him in the stomach. "Oh...jesus..."
"Fuck your excuses and fuck you!" Tommy shot Love in the shoulder. "The antidote, now, or i aim lower!"
"Tommy...oh god...please...listen..." Love seemed to choke back tears or blood, Carl couldn't tell from his position. "If you kill me you'll never get it."
"Tell me or i'll make you tell me," Tommy spat, running up and kicking Love to the ground, keeping Love pinned under his loafer. "and that would be very unpleasant for you."
"Fine...it's in-" Love grabbed Tommy's leg and threw him back. Tommy stumbled and fell to the ground. Love took his chance and scrambled to his feet before rushing to the helicopter to once more struggle with the straps holding Carl in place. "God damn it...come on!" he gripped the belt and started shaking. "unhook damn you-"
Carl grabbed the pistol from his waistband and put it to Love's chest. "See you in hell." he gasped before pulling the trigger.
"NO!" Tommy screamed as Love fell back, a bloody hole where his heart should have been. "God damn it, no!" dropping his rifle he ran over to Love's corpse and knelt down beside it. "Tell me! Hurry!" but it was too late, Love was gone. "FUCK!" he picked up the rifle and stormed over to the downed helicopter. "You bastard! Why?" he put the gun to Carl's head.
Carl snorted and smiled weakly. "I ain't gonna make it...if i'm gonna die we all are." he coughed and blood poured from his mouth down over his chin. "See you in he-" Carl's head snapped back as Tommy put a bullet in it.
Claude sat on the roof of the building across the street, staring in shock. He'd seen everything through the scope of his rifle.
Not like this...he couldn't die like this...Catalina couldn't kill him, Leone couldn't kill him, the entire fucking city had tried to kill him and he'd walked away without a scratch. To die from poison...it seemed a weak way to go out after everything he'd survived.
"Claude." Tommy's voice came over the walkie. "It's over...Love is dead..." Claude peered through the scope of the rifle and saw Tommy standing next to Carl's corpse, talking into Carl's cheap walkie talkie. "I tried..." Tommy squinted as he looked across the street to the figure sitting on the roof. "We still have...a day left, give or take, i don't even remember...maybe-" he paused as a police helicopter appeared over the building, pointing its spotlight straight at Tommy. "...maybe you can find it still."
"Get on your fucking stomach!" a voice snapped from the helicopter. "Now!"
"See you in hell Claude." Tommy said before he dropped the walkie and brought his rifle up. Claude watched as Tommy opened fire on the helicopter, his bullets making little dents in the metal when suddenly a man leaned out of the helicopter and took aim. For a moment Claude thought of shooting the man and letting Tommy finish, but he only sat there, watching as Tommy fell to the ground, cut down in a hail of bullets.
Claude dropped the rifle over the ledge, letting it fall to the road before he turned and walked back to the fire escape. What was he supposed to do now? Carl and Tommy were dead...and so was his last hope of surviving...fuck, he had nothing left. In less than two days he'd be dead, his heart would beat itself to pieces in his chest. What was left?
The pager? Claude slid his hand into his pocket and fished the pager out. Looking down at the little hunk of plastic in his hand his eyes widened.
You win round one.