Chapter Nine; How Princes Should Honour Their Word

Gaear looked at Niccolo with a cold gaze as he held the gun expertly.

Butch suddenly grabbed Niccolo's gun from Niccolo's waist and jumped away from Niccolo to point the gun at Gaear.

Gaear did not even look at Butch, but he did not shoot the gun.

Niccolo stared at Gaear with a sudden surge of loathing. This was the man who had killed Captain Koons' youngest son Carl. This fucking albino was one of the big reasons that Niccolo was so hated by his family.

Niccolo had known Gaear almost as long as he'd known Joe or Charley...

Gaear had been working for Joe for about two years when Mitchell met Joe again since he was a kid. Mitchell hadn't seen Joe for ten years, and he was glad to see him and Eddie again.

Mitchell met with Joe's son Eddie in elementaary school. The two of them had been good friends, and Mitchell had met Eddie's father on many occasions. Joe treated Mitchell with kindness, and encouraged the friendship by offering to say hello to Mitchell's parents.

Of course, once Mr. and Mrs. Koons found out about their son's new best friend, they immediately forbade him from ever speaking to him again. Like all nine-year-olds, Mitchell didn't listen, not even after his father had tried to beat the message into him. He continued to meet with Eddie and play tricks and get in trouble at school.

Eventually Mitchell was moved out of California to live with his uncle and cousins, after the principal suggested to Mitchell's parents that he should change location.

Captain Koons had gladly taken Mitchell in to show him some discipline under a stern parental figure. Mitchell grew to loathe his uncle, who he deemed to be slightly touched in the head from all that time in Vietnam. He also despised the Captain's older son, a perfect model of what his father wanted in a son.

It was Carl that befriended Mitchell. Carl was around five years older than Mitchell, but the two of them connected easily when faced with such a harsh man as Carl's father. For ten years, Mitchell endured the Captain as he passed secondary school and was gotten into college.

He didn't want anything from Captain Koons. He had what he needed once he met Charley in high school and heard about the money that was to be made in drugs.

Captain Koons had worked hard all his life and had earned a very comfortable living for his family, and had earned many rights with that wealth. One of those rights was the right to be stolen from by his nephew. Charley had needed funding, and with the promise of being made a full-time partner, Mitchell had given him four thousand of his college money and later on, another five thousand for extra expenses. He was terrified of the chances that he would fail to earn the money back. Even then, he did not like to face Captain Koons' awesome wrath.

He needn't have worried. He and Charley made several ventures and eventually won. The money began to flow in as Charley took control of expanding outwards. Mitchell helped too, contacting his old friend Eddie, and providing a third member of the gang that could be useful.

Carl.

Carl was eager to get involved with Mitchell when he made it big. There were lots of advantages to this: Carl and Mitchell looked so much alike they could have been brothers. Plus he was far more accessible to cash and guns that his father kept in a small cupboard. They never knew if a meeting would go badly.

So then, when Mitchell was twenty and Charley was twenty-one, they and Carl met up with Joe and Eddie down in California. Captain Koons wrote Mitchell out of his will and demanded the police to get his son back from his nephew. It was a messy situation, but the three youths were able to see Eddie and Joe and work out an arrangement. Joe provided them with an agent to talk to if he was unable to be reached. That man was Gaear.

Mitchell and Charley disliked Gaear immediately. Carl became the man to contact Gaear, and the two tolerated each other as much as they could. Luckily Carl had to see little of Gaear due to the fact that Mitchell usually was able to contact Eddie or Joe. At that point, Carl changed his name due to the fact that his father had disowned him as well.

The business went on, but of the two men who had started it, Charley rose in great prominence, being the driving force behind it all. He hired more men to carry out deeds he would normally have to do, and he organized the business into a little empire for himself. Mitchell had tried to be as influential as he could, but he just wasn't cut out for it as well as Charley. However, Charley respected and honoured him as a close friend, and Mitchell was never want of anything.

But Mitchell also worked independently with Carl, and the two of them made several small-time robberies and did jobs for hire with other guys. Mitchell acquired names for himself over the years, as did Carl, finally changing his last name to Showalter before going to work with Joe.

Then in 1987, Gaear and Carl were sent to a meeting on Joe's behalf to settle something with one of the other local crime lords in L.A. The meeting was meant to reason with other gangsters and negotiate new borders. Charley sent a man in his place, being a friend of Joe.

The meeting never took place. All the people who went to the meeting were gunned down, and Carl and Gaear, who had never arrived to the meeting place, disappeared overnight. Joe eventually told Mitchell several years later that he had sent them over to Minnesota to rest their feet for a while, commenting that Carl was just not cut out for outright crime anyway.

Mitchell had had a falling out with Joe in between that time though, disbelieving in how Joe had used the flag of truce to his advantage in such a manner. Charley hadn't minded, much to Mitchell's shock, and had indeed known that his ambassador would die, in order to throw everyone off their trail and falsely assume that Joe and Charley were now at odds.

Mitchell did not work for Joe again until he offered a handsome reward in exchange for doing another robbery for old times sake. That was when everything in Mitchell's life came crashing down.

He had also found out that Carl's foot had been found in a wood chipper, with Gaear, the killer, behind bars.

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Gaear stared at Niccolo, regardless of the gun next to his ear. Neither he nor Butch dared to move lest they ended up shot. Beneath the paranoia that he had no gun and was vulnerable, Niccolo was reminded of the three-way standoff that had ended with all four men dead.

Gaear spoke in that dark voice Niccolo still remembered, "I don't know who you are, but I want you to put that gun down and forget about this little shit-face here."

Butch did not move, "Kiss my ass, you touch that man you die."

Gaear spoke again, "I'm here to kill this fucking shit, and if you impede me now, I will kill you first."

Butch laughed, "Try it, Daddy-O. I'm gonna fuckin' cook you, and I'm gonna fucking eat you!"

Niccolo raised up his hands slightly, "Look, what the fuck's going on, Gaear? What are you doing here and what reason would you have to kill me? Shit you killed my cousin for Christ's sake! I should have asked Charley to send some goobas down to circumcise you!"

Gaear shook his head but still looked right at Niccolo, "You have no real power, you shit. I killed your stupid cousin, because he was a fucking idiot that didn't know when to back down or follow up."

Butch spoke again, "Hey, this has gone far enough. Put your gun down and give it to Nick here handle first."

Gaear, for the first time, changed the expression on his face; he smiled. He spoke again, "I'll give him my gun, sure. Bullets first."

Suddenly a shot rang out. Niccolo swore foully and covered his face with his hands. He flinched in readiness of a bullet hitting him, still swearing.

After a second he looked up again. He saw that Butch had jumped back and was staring in shock at Gaear.

Gaear himself was looking at a bloody stain over his heart. The red stain darkened and expanded, even as Gaear choked up blood in shock. He lifted his gun again, staring wildly at Butch.

The man standing behind Gaear fired three more bullets into Gaear's body before the man collapsed on the floor.

"Oh daddy,' Niccolo sobbed with relief. He got up and wiped at the sweat pouring down his face. He looked at Butch, who was also standing paralyzed with surprise.

All of a sudden there was a scream, "Butch!"

Butch ran into the compartment to head Fabienne off, "Don't look baby! Don't look! It's okay!"

Niccolo nodded at the man who had saved his life, "Thanks."

The man nodded in return, "Any time."

Niccolo paused and asked, "Who are you?"

The man put his gun away, "I'm Mickey. Mickey Knox."

Niccolo shook his hand, "I'm Niccolo."

Mickey grinned, "Funny name that. But I can tell you're a man like me so I figured ought to help."

Niccolo frowned. He doubted there was a lot he shared in common with this man who spoke with a thick Southern accent. He looked a bit like a redneck in all honesty, but he did save Niccolo's life, so he said nothing.

Mickey spoke again, noticing the doubt, "I mean you're a man on the run."

Niccolo grinned in acknowledgment, "Yeah, won't deny that. Prison break."

Mickey laughed, "Me too! I'm heading over to the love of my life. What about you?"

Niccolo shrugged, "Heading across the country to find some friends."

Mickey grimaced, "Well, hopefully you find what you're looking for."

Niccolo nodded, "You too."

Mickey turned to leave, chuckling darkly, "Oh luck ain't got nothing to do with it. It's fate." He headed into the next compartment.

Niccolo sighed heavily.

He looked at Gaear's corpse and thought again about that meeting Joe had arranged. He had been so surprised, but now, he could understand that it was smart. Joe had made a light promise in the hope to fool his enemies to walk into the trap.

To confirm his thoughts, Niccolo took out "The Prince" and read what Machiavelli had to say about it.

A prudent ruler cannot, and must not, honour his word when it places him at a disadvantage and when the reasons for which he made his promise no longer exist. If all men were good, this precept would not be good; but because men are wretched creatures who would not keep their word to you, you need not keep your word to them.

Niccolo grinned at that statement. This guy must have been paranoid if he couldn't trust anyone. But he had the right idea.

Author's Note: The flashback is an homage to Mr. Pink's suspicion that Joe set up the heist with the intention of it to fail. Just seems like something Joe would do, Pink says in the film. So here you go; the reason what made him think that.

Oh, and see if you can spot a reference to Bruce Willis' previous filmography, as well as a reference to Gaear's original film.