Safe House

12:32 PM, 8/23/06: Magdalena Cartel Hideout

The room is dingy, trash litters the floor, and the only light in the room emanates from a large television screen. Four Hispanic gentlemen curse the TV, streams of fluent Spanish mixing together into incomprehensible nonsense. Sitting on the couch, kingpin Rey, wearing tan pants, Hawaiian shirt and sporting five different gold chains was the most infuriated.

Five subsequent pounds summoned Jose to the door.

"What joo want?"

The group continued watching the game, still annoyed with their favorite players. Rey called to his buddy at the door.

"Oye chico! We 'ave something'?"

The chunky gangster turned around, holding a thin box in his hands.

"It's the pizza?" he replied simply.

The group turned to the food, and Jose popped the top. However, inside was a distinct lack of pizza, replaced with a small… something. Rey peered closer.

"Chico…" he said, then realization began to set in. "…that ain't no fucking PIZ-"

Boom went the pizza, slam went the door, and in rolled Marcus Reed, pointing a gun every which way. His hair was designed in Zulu knots, his leather jacket replaced with the more traditional cotton variety.

"Police! Get your ass on the floor, now! The Magdalenas are over!"

The blast temporarily blinded and deafened the group, leaving everyone to stagger around helplessly. Rey headed for the kitchen, lucky to have enough foresight to close his eyes before the blast. "Magdalena!? Go get that pendejo!" he cried, pushing one of his oblivious buddies into the room as he went.

Marcus was after him, blowing a hole in every pair of legs he passed in his pursuit. He maneuvered his way through the first floor, keeping his movements nice and fluid, staying ever alert. The entire place was dark, convoluted, smelled fragrantly of shit and was no doubt crawling with goons; Marcus couldn't afford carelessness here.

Rey sprinted away, alerting every thug he could find to the detective's approach. They certainly tried, but Marcus proved to be a gunslinger that was quite difficult to stop. The cries of his fallen men coaxed Rey faster, perspiring as he wondered just who the hell this guy was.

Marcus was making good progress, blowing stuff up, blasting everyone in his way, etc. He turned a corner into a stairwell.

*BANG* went Rey's pistol, and something particularly sharp cut it's way across Marcus's face. He staggered in shock, and let loose with a wild storm of shots at the stairs, just as Rey disappeared up them.


Marcus felt along his cheek, tracing the fresh cut with his fingers. That shit was far too close for comfort. Marcus changed magazines, and continued his chase with renewed vigor.

He was up the stairs, turning left into another passage and slammed into another thug. Both of their weapons clattered to the ground, one going off and blasting apart the wooden supports of a ruined wall. Marcus was the first to his feet, and watched the thug scamper over to his fallen weapon. He was about to grasp the gun when Marcus brought his sneaker down on it, planting it firmly to the ground.

Going for the next best alternative, the thug produced a knife from his pocket and rose to his feet slashing at the detective. Marcus doubled back, ducking under his swings. He tried to stab him, only for the officer to dodge aside, grab his wrist, twist his arm around and floor him with incredible force. The thug heaved and attempted to stand, but Marcus delivered a foot unto his face. He tasted the floor once again, and remained there.

Marcus dusted himself off and retrieved his pistol. He continued down the passage, stealing a glance through the hole inadvertently made during the confrontation. From within, a man stared back at him, sitting on a toilet and utterly bewildered. Marcus scrunched his face, and made his way past. Another corner, another set of stairs, and Marcus found himself in another room, much larger than anything else he found in the building. A giant vault door was situated at the end, and in the doorway stood Rey.

"I'm surrounded by USELESS FUCKING PEOPLE!"

He ducked into the passage, and the steel door shut and sealed itself behind him.

"Damn, I'm gonna need something ill to knock this door down…"

Marcus scoured the area, discovering nothing but a cheap wooden table, four chairs, a deck of cards and a discarded condom. He stepped into another hallway, entering another kitchen.

Military grade weapon crates sat stacked to the ceiling. One was open, its contents revealed for all to see.

Looking down at it, Marcus rested his eyes on something that simultaneously grabbed his interest and sent a cold shiver down his spine. Shined wood, black metal, a weapon of screaming explosive death.


He cradled it in his arms, tentatively, as if it were as fragile as a newborn baby. He ran a hand down its sleek surface, appreciating its beauty… and fearing its power.

"Oh ho… I can definitely work with this!"

Marcus returned to the large room, rocket launcher resting on his shoulder. He aimed for the vault, getting a feel for the weight of the weapon. The smallest bead of sweat trickled down his forehead, and he gave the trigger a squeeze.

The weapon shuddered, the projectile screamed, and all at once a plume of smoke engulfed him as the grenade tore through the air, spinning as it went, decimating the door with a tremulous force that shook Marcus down to his core.

It was pretty fucking loud too.

Waving away the haze and picking at his ear, Marcus proceeded through the heat and into the vault stepping over the bent, blasted steel door that rested on the floor. The passage was filled with weapon crates; assault rifles, submachine guns, grenades. A very conspicuous red laser beam hovered across the floor, barring his way to the ladder and trapdoor at the end of the hall.

"Looks like someone wants to trip me up…"

Marcus stepped back, readying himself at the opposite end of the passage. Cricking his neck, gathering his momentum, he sprinted down the hall and leapt over the inch high laser. Adrenaline surged through him, time slowing to crawl as he watched the laser pass below him in his flight. He hit the ground, rolling smoothly into a low crouch. He breathed deeply, keeping his posture for a moment before slowly rising to his feet. Continuing on, he ascended the stairs to the roof.

"So, I gotta deal with joo myself!?"

Rey was waiting for him, on the opposite end of the roof top standing on a display of large backwards metal characters spelling "REEB DLOC". Marcus watched him step into view, holding something he couldn't quite make out.


The familiar scream of an RPG reached his ears. The ground beneath his feet erupted, propelling him into the air on loose chunks of flying debris. He came down hard, clusters of small smoking pieces of concrete raining down with him. Marcus's feet slipped several times as he frantically tried to regain footing, as Rey loaded another projectile into his weapon.

The detective was up and sprinting away just as another scream tore its way down to his previous spot and obliterated it with as much explosive power as before. Marcus's ears were ringing, painful rocks blown skyward raining down upon him. He ducked behind the first solid looking object he could find, planting his back into it as he weighed his opt-

"What's wrong? You no want to catch me no more!?"

Boom went his cover, and Marcus was sent sailing once more. He collided with the ground, utterly delirious from the constant shaking blasts, trembling as he tried to lift himself up, his arms and legs feeling like jelly.

Then something he felt sobered him up. Ice shot through his body.

The roof gave a deep, receding lurch.

Marcus forced himself onto unsteady feet as fast as he could, and the world began to tilt sideways as the floor dipped further into the building, throwing him further off balance. Concrete split loudly, and he staggered his way off the soon-to-be-falling platform.

Rey watched the spectacle from the display, enjoying the show from his safe position above the building on the opposite side of the roof. Even if Reed managed to escape the cave in, Rey was certain that he wouldn't survive another rocket, and if not… well, he'd be just as dead. Win win!

In a single, crumbling break the roof finally gave way and Marcus jumped for dear life. His feet fell short, and he nearly disappeared with the rest of the crashing wreckage below when he shot out a single desperate hand for the edge. He grabbed hold, but only just.

From across the way, Rey's laughter came loud and clear. "Your luck's run out, amigo!" He rounded one final rocket in his direction.

Marcus's hand began to slip, fear poured through him. That same vulnerable sensation came over him; time slowed, senses sharpened, and Marcus was once again in tune with the universe.

He reached for his pistol with his left hand, awkwardly leveling it on Rey from below. Hopeless, but worth a try.

What the fuck is he do-

*Bang*, and a bullet slammed straight into Rey's left arm.


Rey spun wildly with the bullet, and in his surprise he pulled the trigger. The rocket fired, slammed and was lodged in the letter O of the display, twitching and shrieking in its place. Rey checked his arm momentarily, then the sounds of the rocket's spitting thrusters registered in his head.

For three whole seconds he stared at the projectile, as it struggled within the tight space of the letter. In a moment of clarity, he decided that now would have been a good idea to be off the platform.

"SSSsshhhiiiiiittt!" He leapt to the roof, the display blasting apart in a deafening cacophony of destroyed metal. Rey hit the ground, very awkwardly, and badly scraped his knee.

Bullet in the arm, leg bleeding slightly; Rey was defeated.

Right hand on his wound, left on his knee, he rocked himself back in forth in pain. A shadow fell over him, and he looked up to the detective. The next instant, a powerful grip latched onto his collar and hoisted him to his feet.

"You're the head of the Magdalena Cartel, and you know where the processing facility is. So you better start talking, or they're going to be pouring out liquor for you by morning!"

Rey scoffed at the detective. "Joo got jour head way up joor ass, negro!"

Marcus stared at him for a second, his expression immediately going blank. The next thing Rey knew, he was jerked to the right and thrown, straight towards the ruined crater of the roof. He was nearly sent plummeting down when Reed caught hold of the bottom of his shirt, leaving him dangling at a ninety degree angle over certain death.

"Care to repeat what the fuck you just said?"

"You're way off base, pendejo!" he cried, staring down through the concrete chasm. "I'm not in charge of any fucking Magdalena Cartel!"

"What?… What the hell are you talking about?"

"What are joo talking about!? Christ man, you must be smoking rock! I am King of the Latin Lords!"

Marcus dipped an eyebrow.

"Hehe, you got played my friend; Magdalenas be using you to take out their competition! They are real sneaky like that. Last I heard, they import their shit in South American artifacts through the Zuma Museum uptown! What do you think of that, bro?"

Truthfully, Marcus wasn't quite sure what to think of it. Someone had purposely led him astray?

Slapping the cuffs on Ray, he momentarily pondered who could have misdirected him.

It must have been the courier, he was the only lead I had in this case.

Still, a lowly runner distinctly knew the address of his enemy's headquarters off the top of his head? Something about the whole thing didn't quite add up.

Rubbing his chin, Marcus glanced around the smoking, ruined remains of what had once been this building's roof, the explosive battlefield he narrowly survived.

Well, in any case, Marcus had a drug lord in handcuffs and a cartel in ruins. It was certainly a productive day.

But as Marcus dropped down onto the nearest fire escape off the side of the building, he knew the day wasn't over yet.