The first gunshot startles me out of my pleasant reverie. A flurry of others follow.
Small caliber semiautomatics, by the sound of them. Pistols, then, and none bigger than 10mm. Maybe a submachine gun, too.
Wait. That last burst was an assault rifle. Woah. Someone decided to break out the big guns early.
No movie SFX. Those are the real things. My experience never proved wrong. After all, I'm still alive and mostly whole.
A war is raging right over my head.
I turn on the TV. Briefly surf channels. The Daily Show With John Stewart is on. Excellent. Maybe the refrigerator has some nice complementary drinks, too.
It does. I pop one promising-looking bottle.
Bang, goes a gun upstairs. I tip the open bottle to the ceiling and salute myself.
Inspired by The Oddity's fan fiction "Showdown". Happens at around the same time.
Not linked to my usual GSG fanon.
To: The Oddity. Here's the "sequel" I promised. Enjoy.
Here I am, sipping good booze and laughing at the Americans' latest political folly on cable TV in a comfy apartment while mortal combat rages right above my head.
Life is pretty good, ne?
Full automatic overhead. Rock and roll. Fourth of July or New Year. Someone has a lot of money to burn. Same here, save I was looking for a different, temporary kind of peace.
Taking care of a pair of cyborgs for two years running has burned me out some. With Giuseppe currently training as an AS pilot in Helmajistan and Elena undergoing an intensive checkup, I saw my chance and asked for three days worth of vacation. I received five. Mr. Silver, you have my gratitude and eternal loyalty.
I camped at an expensive apartment in one of the classier districts of Rome. I slept late, woke up even later, ate lots of rich Italian food and basically lazed about for two days. I feel glorious.
The next barrage of shots brings me back to Earth in a jiffy.
They sound like they're having a war up there. If I wanted a war, I would have accompanied Giuseppe to Helmajistan. Or picked a fight with Section Two. Or dropped by the local CRG recruiting center.
But no. The mountain wouldn't come to Muhammad. So Muhammad came to the mountain.
I'm Roman Catholic. Lukewarm, but still Catholic. Dust to dust, Amen.
I'm also no stranger to guns. I was born in the Philippines, a country corrupted by the gun-loving Americans. My father and paternal uncles carry guns. A maternal uncle fights as a machine gunner for the local Maoist rebels. I myself liked to play with toy guns when I was little. Rambo, Terminator, Robocop and G.I. Joe were viewing and toy staples. I wanted to be a gunslinger when I grew up.
Then Japan and swordsmanship lessons under Takane-sensei happened on me.
How the mighty have fallen.
The gunfire has become sporadic, like a stuttering cough that can't quite decided if it's going away or gathering strength.
Apparently, no one has died yet. Or gotten hit, considering absence of yelps and screams.
"If you can't do it in one shot," Valentin Vegamora, my Uncle, lectured while showing an eight-year-old me and his daughter Vien how to hold a pistol, "By all means do it with two or three, as many as needed. Just make sure you hit."
Emphasis on that last line. Heavy emphasis.
My Uncle Val is a crack shot. With a revolver. An antique Colt .38 long-barrel. So much that he can stare down about anyone without needing to touch the butt of his gun. Form Zero.
My cousin Vien is about the same age as I am. She's also a crack shot. Almost as good as her Papa. Unlike Uncle Val, Vien picked a relatively modern gun. A Taurus Raging Bull. Forty-five. Bigger bullets. Better range. Same philosophy. Same accuracy. Very deadly.
Compared to them, the guys upstairs are amateurs. If it weren't for gravity, their bullets wouldn't even hit the ground.
Here I am, a swordsman, deconstructing tactics in a gun battle. Ironies abound in life.
The parties upstairs continue shooting at each other.
Hasn't anyone called the cops yet? By the way, don't expect me to place the call. I'm an illegal unregistered alien affiliated with a shadowy organization that brokers arms with rogue nation-states and terrorist organizations all across the world. That and I don't pay taxes. Not exactly your model citizen.
Still. A war has begun next door. Why hasn't anyone hit the panic button yet? Dial the local 911. Get some pros here ASAP. Security guards, the Carabinieri, the Army, NATO, contacts with The Family, anyone who could shoot back for a frightened little old lady.
This isn't the Bronx or Mogadishu or Baghdad. This is Rome, Italy. A cultured place populated by civilized people. Or am I wrong? Have I gotten lost or transported to another world.
Or maybe I'm the only person in this apartment awake, alive, sane or all of the above.
Sorry. No plan to be a solicitous hero. I'm staying right here in my room.
The latest thud is the loudest yet. Maybe someone got shot at last. Finally.
More gunshots of differing caliber follow.
Nope. Still alive. Probably slipped on a slick spot or knocked down some big piece of furniture. Not enough to slow them down.
Or maybe they're really good. Matrix Dodge a la Neo.
Who would be good enough to last this long?
Noir. Crazy Horse. Some of those Mithril bastards. Like that Sagara kid. Pinocchio from Padania, save he's been dead for a while. Killed by cyborgs, I hear.
I sit up. There's a thought. A very bad thought.
The only groups with cyborgs in this country are Section Two and Amalgam, my organization. We (meaning Amalgam) have two units. Zero units are with me right now.
A cyborg is shooting at something right above my head.
Correction. Cyborgs are shooting at something right above my head.
Exhange of gunshots.
Not quite. Almost there. Just a little more.
Cyborgs are shooting at each other right above my head.
You forgot the question mark. Your hunch isn't confirmed yet.
Cyborgs are shooting at each other right above my head
There. Grammar and punctuation are important.
Now: oh, shit.
This is the Mirasol all over again. Only I don't have even a single cyborg on my side. Giuseppe's kicking ass in Helmajistan. Elena is having a check up with Ami. My Venom is under repair.
It's just me and my sword against cyborgs and their guns.
I detect a Battle of Little Big Horn in the making. Guess who stars as General Custer?
But since they're not shooting at me…
Live and let live. I switch to HBO, kick back, relax and try to enjoy myself.
Ooh! A movie by Bruckenheimer and Bay! With Johnny Depp, too! Excellent! Let's see the people upstairs drown this one out.
The sound of a bottle crisply breaking on the drunken Johnny Depp's noggin makes me wince. Wow. Surround sound is really awesome.
No. Wait. That sounded too real.
The people upstairs are pretty quiet now.
Oi. Someone just went out the window.
Moron. Only amateurs jump out of windows.
Tell that to the psycho redhead loli with horns and invisible killer hands that you ran across one dark night in Kamakura Prefecture, Tokyo, Japan.
That girl had said invisible killer hands to cushion her fall. What do you have?
High Dexterity combined with Luck and Break Fall skills.
Ha. Ha. Ha. Funny.
You're a terrible Tsukkomi.
You're a worse Bokke.
I could have imagined grumbling drifting down to my window.
Your mark got away, huh? Had that happen to me once. Her name was Jessica. It was intentional. She made a great little sister.
Ah, Jess, I miss you so much…
Silent peace descends upon the hotel. Great. I can sleep now.
I think I'm going to go visit my restaurant tomorrow…
To Be Continued/Tsuzuku/Itutuloy
Author Notes: This is the first installment of a medium-length series featuring the POV of my GSG original character Rolito Miranda. The premise is that Rolito is present within certain fan fiction of my fellow GSG Authors. Hence my title of Crossover.
I've done this with permission of the Authors whose works inspired me. I'm not claiming to own any of their work, advertising for myself or denigrating anyone. Indeed, I am very grateful to all the Authors involved for approving this pet project of mine.
For this chapter, I've featured Showdown by The Oddity, where Liesel has a firefight with Clarice and Alessa in her apartment. My premise? Rolito was renting the apartment room right below them. And gets rather grumpy.
Next chapter will feature the infamous Colonel Marksman (or G.D. Wallez, however which way he wants to be referred to) and his equally "heinous" story Innocence
I hope that the readers of the fan fiction I've mentioned will like Crossover. For those who read this yarn first, I humbly press that you read the stories that supplied me the material to work with. The Authors who supplied me with their interesting and inspiring stories deserve at least that much.