Disclaimer: I don't own Saints Row. I only own the parts of Ljubica that are my own, and this story.
Quick Note: The Boss' name is pronounced 'LYOO-bee-stah.'
Ljubica used a delicate hand at the controls of her Saints-painted Vulture, purple with a white fleur-de-lis on the body and tail, swinging it around while firing a barrage of rockets down at the Deckers below. Cars exploded, and young men either dove for cover or were flung through the air to land in a crumpled, bloody heap.
"Winning never gets old!" she shouted, laughing, while Pierce opened up with the gunship's powerful cannon. "Get the fuck out of my city!"
Ljubica's voice was being broadcast over external speakers as well, her Slavic accent thickening as her enjoyment of the chaos below rose. Strands of hair, so black it seemed spun from the heart of darkness itself, hung in her face, having escaped the usual pony tail she wore to keep it out of her scarred, freckled face. She'd been pretty before the disfiguring, and some might even look past the damage to see the beauty she still had.
"Just like old times!" Pierce called back, then the Vulture's cannon fired again, it's thumping felt inside the cockpit, and a Decker Kayak exploded. They were so close that the large helicopter shuddered from the blast.
Ljubica grinned, and unleashed another round of rockets.
Then an alarm went off in the cockpit, shrill and earnest.
"Boss!" Pierce called, staring at his console. "Something has a lock on us!"
The Vulture heaved violently and spun out of control as an RPG slammed into it's tail boom. Ljubica struggled with the controls, but the once-mighty helicopter swung drunkenly through the air in ever-widening arcs. A distant part of her mind registered seeing a downed STAG transport, but her main thought process was to somehow land her crippled aircraft.
And save Pierce, she thought desperately, and as the Vulture swung sickeningly to one side, she felt a twinge of shame that she might not be able to. Come on you bag of shit, fly!
"Pierce!" she yelled over the shrieking alarms. "Hold on! We're going to be crashing!"
The Vulture slammed into the earth with all the grace of an ice skating tortoise, sliding sideways down a city street before slamming into a storefront. Wreckage was strewn all around them, but they weren't on fire at least.
Ljubica coughed, the acrid smell of burnt out electronics burning her nose. "Pierce?"
Her lieutenant, sounding shaken and slow, taking a few moments to respond. "Well, Boss, they say any landing you can walk away from..." He let the sentence trail off.
Ljubica smirked. "Let's get the fuck out of here. I'll call us a ride."
Pierce nodded, and climbed out of the cockpit, loafers faintly thumping as he landed on the sidewalk. He wore his usual pressed tan suit and slacks, purple dress shirt underneath and huge fleur-de-lis chain on top, but had lost the hat in the crash. Ljubica climbed down out of her seat, sturdy black boots thudding as she landed. She took a moment to retie the left one, it's purple laces having come undone. She wore her midriff-revealing leather Mamba motorcycle jacket and matching riding pants, mostly purple but with a triangular black panel across the chest and down each sleeve and leg, with thin white striping along where the purple met black. She had a crescent of stars tattooed around her left eye and cheek, and a matching tattoo, but opposite and larger, curled around to the right of her tummy and disappeared beneath her pants. Blood trickled from where an eyebrow ring used to be over her left eye, following the edge of one of her many, long-healed scars. A piece of white tape was pasted over the bridge of her small, but not-quite-dainty nose.
"Where are we?" Pierce asked, looking around.
Ljubica checked her phone's map. "Shit!" she swore, with feeling. "Fucking Arapice Island."
They finally noticed the shambling hordes of zombies all around them.
"Fuck!" Ljubica shouted, pulling her purple-plated 45 Shepherd and firing over Pierce's shoulder.
The male Saint pulled his own, chromed Shepherd and fired at a zombie that started to rush them. Three holes punched neatly through it's chest, gore splashing out the back, and it kept coming. He finally put one into it's head, upper half disappearing in a shower of dead blood and grey matter, and it tumbled to the street.
"This is bad, Boss," he said, shooting another zombie. "Really bad."
Ljubica nodded. "Cover me while I get some more weapons from the wreckage.
"On it," Pierce responded, firing at several more of the undead.
Ljubica jerked open the door to the Vulture's troop area and climbed in. She flung the weapon cache open and pulled out two K8 Krukovs. They were the more expensive models with extended barrels, box magazines, and grenade launchers. She sighed at seeing only two spare magazines and a handful of grenades for the launchers.
"Who the fuck raided my candy store," she growled, gunfire ringing outside as Pierce fought off zombie after zombie.
Ljubica put one magazine each into a small satchel, stuffed in some emergency rations, and loaded the launchers with the grenades. She then hopped out of the downed gunship.
"Pierce!" she called, tossing him a Krukov and handing over a satchel. "Only one reload, and three grenades for the launcher."
"Not as much firepower as I was hoping for, Boss!" he retorted, holstering his pistol and slinging the assault rifle.
"No shit, you and me both," she responded, flicking the K8's safety off and firing a short burst into the nearest zombie. She noticed there were more and more all the time. "We have to be getting out of here."
"No shit?" Pierce asked sarcastically, spraying several shambling corpses with lead.
Ljubica pulled out her phone to make a call, but it's display read 'No Service, sincerely, the Deckers."
Ljubica cursed harshly in Russian.
"Boss?" Pierce asked, sounding worried, now.
"No signal," she replied. "Fucking Deckers killed it. We really need to be finishing cleaning them out of my city."
"So we have to walk out of here," he said, and did not sound happy.
Ljubica nodded grimly.
The pair worked their way down the street, firing bursts of gunfire into groups of zombies that would rush them. Ljubica's grenade launcher thumped once when a small horde burst from a department store, and the storefront collapsed in on itself, stopping the tide of undead.
"Nice one, Boss!" Pierce called, and not to be outdone, fired a grenade into a cluster of cars surrounded by zombies. Decayed body parts, gore, and shrapnel flew in all directions.
Ljubica dropped the now-empty box magazine out of her Krukov and dug out the fresh one, slamming it home. "We can't keep this up!"
"I know," Pierce replied, spraying a group of zombies as they rushed the two Saints. His rifle went empty, and as he kneeled to fish around for the spare magazine, Ljubica fired over his shoulder and finished them off.
We will make it, Ljubica told herself.
Ljubica and Pierce we're backed up against the wall surrounding a factory, firing at what seemed like an endless horde of zombies. She knew they had to be running low on ammo, but what else could they do?
Her Krukov finally clicked empty, and she fired the last grenade they had to make a hole.
"Pierce! Get the fuck out of here!" she shouted, pulling her Shepherd and emptying it into the nearest cluster of zombies. "Head for the river!"
Ljubica screamed in frustration and hurled the empty pistol at another one, caving in it's face and sending it to the pavement.
"No way, Boss!" he shot back. "I'm not leaving you here like that."
Ljubica was touched by his loyalty, but at the same time cursed his stupidity. "I can't save us both!"
"You let Killbane escape when it meant losing our girls," he told her. "I'm not leaving you. You always try to be there for us when it counts!"
As the zombie horde began to rush them, Ljubica steeled herself to fight for her life.
"Fuck it," she said, with feeling, and pulled Pierce down into a kiss born of desperate passion. She felt herself shove him against the wall with a growl, pinning him in place, and the powerful scent of him had her feeling heady with desire. She poured all of her pent up feelings, things unsaid, and even anger at their situation into the embrace, and when Pierce finally broke it she was breathless, chest heaving. They both were.
"Boss?" he asked, unsure of what had just happened, and then the zombies were on them.
Ljubica screamed in fury, smashing one corpse's face into a light pole. It's head split open like an overripe melon, and she grabbed up her empty rifle by the barrel, swinging it like a club at another. It's head was knocked off in a spray of blood and other things.
"We die as Saints!" she cried, defiant of Death to the very end. It might take them, but it would be on her terms.
But Ljubica and Pierce, despite their best efforts, we're quickly overwhelmed. She found herself struggling with a zombie intent on tearing her throat out with it's crooked, yellowed teeth, and was barely able to keep it at bay. Pierce cried out in pain, and she chanced a look to her side.
Pierce had fallen beneath a pile of the undead, fighting for all he was worth to keep them from tearing him apart. Ljubica shoved the zombie away from her with an angry cry, and jerked two of the cursed beings off of her lieutenant, one in each hand. Rage fueled her strength, and after hurling them away, she caved in another's decaying chest to kick it off of him.
Ljubica helped Pierce to his feet, but the tide was on top of them again, and this time they both went down beneath the wave.
Ljubica felt bitterness and resentment at never telling Pierce how she'd felt. As she fought in vain to shove her way free, suddenly the weight on top of her disappeared, and she leapt to her feet. Pierce was picking himself up, too.
Ljubica felt her heart lurch when she saw their savior. It was Johnny, still wearing his now-tattered sports jacket, white sleeves and upper, purple on the bottom, but he looked very, very dead. His eyes were sunken, hair oddly perfect, but his gaze was empty.
Johnny let out a groan, reaching towards her. Ljubica started to reach for him, too.
"Boss, he's dead!" Pierce shouted, grabbing her hand and starting to tug her away. As she had stared at her dead best friend, a purple Oppressor had landed in the street completely unnoticed by her, and Shaundi, wearing her usual sparkling purple pants, crop top, and jacket, fired a Krukov on full auto from a side door, clearing a path to the chopper.
"Boss, time to go!" Shaundi cried, and then her eyes widened when she saw him, too.
"Johnny...?" the now-glamorous Saint said in a very small voice.
Ljubica shook herself out of her stupor, snatched up her pistol, and dashed towards the helicopter. She threw herself into it, and Pierce was right behind her. Viola was at the controls, and she lifted off into the sky.
"Kinzie traced your cell phone when the helicopter went down," Viola explained. "It was still connected to the network, but we couldn't call you."
"Boss, that was Johnny!" Shaundi screamed, and actually slapped Ljubica across the face, hard.
Ljubica grabbed Shaundi's wrist as she tried a second attack. "Never fucking hit me again, Shaundi, I know who the fuck that was."
I think he also saved my life, she added in her head. Or was he just hungry?
"Why did we leave him again?" she asked harshly, accusation heavy in her voice.
"Are you suggesting we put a zombie in this helicopter?" Ljubica asked incredulously. "I am having a plan, though, trust me."
It was morning, and Ljubica was making a phone call. Her jacket was folded over a nearby chair, and she wore a bright purple tank top, the word 'SAINTS' in large, block letters visible on her left upper arm. It had angel wings and a halo below it. Her right upper arm had an 8-bit video game rendition of Johnny Gat. The forearm had a flower with a faery hovering over it, and was the only overtly 'girly' tattoo she had. Like so much about her, no one knew what it'a significance was, and no one asked.
After several rings someone finally picked up.
"Tera, it's me," Ljubica said. "I need a favor."
"Fuck you," Tera's voice grated. "You joined with Ultor, you heartless bitch."
Ljubica sighed. She'd known this was going to be hard. "Tera, look, it was a business opportunity, that's all. The damned reporter is the one that fucked you-..."
"Go to hell."
The line went dead.
"Fuck!" Ljubica cried, hurling her phone against the far wall, where it fell to the ground in a pile of broken glass and plastic.
Ljubica collapsed at her desk, and a sob escaped her. Pierce had avoided her since they got back, and seeing Johnny had affected her deeply. She hadn't slept at all last night, mind unable to rest, and suddenly the burden she bore was just too much. But then there was a knock at the door, and she forced the roiling turmoil of emotions down like she always had to. Composing herself, she finally said, "Come in."
Shaundi peeked her head into the room. "Boss, I heard a bang."
Ljubica gestured to the remains of her phone. "Tera told me to fuck off."
"Wait, the biologist chick! We need her!" Shaundi whined, the Boss' plan becoming suddenly apparent. "Get back on the phone with her! Here, use mine..."
Ljubica waived her off. "I have another idea, she won't work with us because of the Ultor thing. Assemble a crew, we're going to go kidnap her."
"Do you really think she'll work for us if you do that?" Shaundi asked.
"She will when I tell her that she dies if she doesn't, Ljubica retorted. "I need to call Kinzie, find out where Tera disappeared to, give me your phone."
Shaundi nodded, tossing her cell phone over.
"Hey Shaundi-..." Kinzie said dryly when she answered.
"It's me, Kinzie," Ljubica interrupted. "I need you to find Tera Patrick for me."
"The porn star?" the Saints' hacker asked. "There are lots of pictures online..."
"The microbiologist that used to work for Ultor," Ljubica corrected. "She went into hiding and I need her skills."
"I'm on it, Boss," Kinzie replied, and hung up.
Ljubica tossed Shaundi her phone. "Get the crew ready on standby. We move as soon as Kinzie finds her."
"No, I'm serious," Kinzie told Ljubica over the phone. "She's really in Steelport. She has a large apartment in a high-rise in Henry Steel Mills, I'll text you the address."
"Kinzie, I think I love you," Ljubica gushed. "Bye bye, now." She pulled on her Mamba jacket while they rode the elevator up.
As they headed to the helipad, her phone vibrated, a text message having come in with the location. Ljubica, Shaundi, Pierce, and Viola boarded a Saints-painted Oppressor, Viola at the controls again, and took off towards Henry Steel Mills. The flight to the penthouse was short, and as they hovered high over the building, Ljubica went over the plan.
"This is just a smash and grab," she told them, sliding the action on her D4TH Blossom. "In and out."
Pierce cast an odd glance at her, and Shaundi nodded. At Ljubica's signal, Viola lowered the chopper down to hover above floor forty nine, and the Saints clipped their harnesses onto the airframe. Ljubica was the first one to leap out the opposite side of the helicopter, momentum carrying her out and then swinging her under the aircraft. Shaundi and Pierce followed, but the Saints' leader was the first to open fire on the windows and crash into the living room, rolling to a stop.
Pierce and Shaundi landed next to her, flanking their Boss, and the trio stood, looking around.
"What the fuck you crazy bitch!" Tera screamed from the kitchen, pulling a long knife from a wooden block on the counter. She looked exotic, southeast Asian but not completely, and wore only a bathrobe, her long, dark hair pulled up into a bun.
"I wouldn't do that," Ljubica advised, pointing her weapon. "Come quietly and I will let you live after we are done."
Tera glowered at the Saints, but dropped the knife and nodded. "You're going to pay for this," she warned.
"Blah blah, yack yack yack. Let's go for a ride," Ljubica said with a smirk.
"You want me to do what!" Tera asked heatedly. "That's impossible!"
The Saints were gathered in the main living area of the temporary headquarters above Safeword, all the lieutenants were present, and Ljubica did not look happy. Her jacket was open, revealing her Shepherd, and she was tapping on the grip with her fingers.
"Cure the zombie gas, that's it," Ljubica urged.
"Cure the zombie gas, that's it," Tera mocked, even trying to sound Slavic.
"It ain't nice to make fun of how people talk," Zimos sang in his autotune-effected voice. "I got a corner she can work for us, Boss, if she can't get it right."
Ljubica frowned, and Shaundi edged away from her. When the hot-headed Boss frowned, people started dying.
"Listen to me very carefully, stupid bitch," Ljubica hissed. "I'm going to bring you Johnny Gat, the zombie, and you are going to give me Johnny Gat, the man."
"And I'm telling you, it isn't possible," the microbiologist insisted. "I can't play fucking God!"
"You're going to try, and succeed, or die," Ljubica said darkly. "I'm going to go get Johnny, and you're going to tell Kinzie here what you need to be making him not a zombie."
Tera shook her head, but remained silent.
Ljubica looked over at the redhead. "Buy her whatever she wishes. If we can't buy it, I'll go steal it."
Kinzie nodded, and managed a faint smile. She'd never worked for someone that insisted on getting their hands dirty all the time. She rather liked it.
"Now," Ljubica began, pausing briefly until she had everyone's attention, and then turned her gaze toward Oleg. "Comrade, we need to modify a Bear to hold something very strong."
The towering Russian juggernaut nodded. "It will happen. How long do I have?"
"Two days," Ljubica stated.
"I will get some of the more mechanically-inclined Saints to aid me," he replied, and headed for the elevators.
Ljubica nodded, and turned to Pierce. "We need a cell in the utility area that can hold Johnny until Tera can cure him.
"Boss," Pierce said gently. "Look, I know you two went deep and all, but this is getting cra-..."
"Shut the fuck up right now," Ljubica growled, cutting him off. "Make me a god-damned cage or drop your fucking flag." It hurt her to say it, but she was done hearing people tell her this was a stupid idea. Johnny was her closest friend.
Pierce looked stunned the Boss would even suggest that, but nodded sharply and walked off. Shaundi stared at Ljubica like she had grown a second head, but kept silent. She thought this whole thing was crazy, too, but the Boss tended to accomplish what she set her mind to.
"When everything is ready, I will lead a team to assault Arapice Island," Ljubica said, looking around at the remaining lieutenants. "Strictly voluntary."
"You know I'm in, Boss," Shaundi said immediately.
Ljubica nodded, offering the other woman a slight smile.
"No offense," Viola began, her voice droll, "But I'm not playing with zombies. They scare the hell out of me. I'll fly you in, but that's all."
"He's dead because of you, you fucking cowa-..." Shaundi started screaming.
"That's enough, Shaundi!" Ljubica barked, and her Lieutenant's mouth snapped shut. Turning to Viola, she said, "Fair enough, but we are not going in by air. I guess that leaves Oleg by default. Zimos?"
"I ain't goin' nowhere with no hordes of undead killing machines," Zimos sang.
"What about Pierce?" Shaundi asked cautiously. "He already survived there with you."
Ljubica felt her cheeks flush, and hated it. She suddenly felt like everyone could see right through her.
"Yes, yes of course, Pierce," she added hastily. "I will ask him." She didn't want him in that sort of danger again, and was still pissed at him, but also couldn't afford to show any signs of playing favorites with her Saints.
Ljubica clasped her hands together behind her back, heading for the utility area. "There is work to be doing, let's be getting to it."
Ljubica found Pierce taking measurements. His jacket and dress shirt were hanging from an overhead pipe, and the muscles rippling across his back and arms were clearly visible through the tight, white undershirt he wore. She took a moment to admire the view, which was interrupted when he turned around.
"What's up, Boss?" Pierce asked tightly, anger radiating from him in nearly-palpable waves.
"I am asking for volunteers to find Johnny," she told him. "And I am wanting you to not volunteer."
"What the fuck?" he asked sharply. "Are you shitting me, woman?"
"No way I'm staying here," he told her matter-of-factly. "Not unless you tie me down."
"I can arrange that," Ljubica said with a sly smile, feeling herself blush at the mental image.
"Oh, hell no!" he shot back, recalling her interest in taking him to Safeword. "Not on your life."
"Pierce, I almost lost you once, quit being difficult. You would be a hard lieutenant to replace."
"You know it's more than that, Boss," he retorted carefully. He still wasn't sure how he felt about what happened back on Arapice Island.
Ljubica sighed. Neither of them had really had a chance to talk about what had happened between them.
"What are you wanting from me, an apology?" she asked harshly.
Pierce shook his head. "Pierce Washington never asks the ladies to apologize for a kiss." After a moment, he added, "Especially one like that."
Ljubica felt herself begin to smile, softly, and locked her face down. "I thought it would be my last chance."
They both watched each other in silence for several long moments. Ljubica finally broke the silence.
"Okay," she said, drawing the last syllable out. "As you were." The Saints' leader hurried to the stairs.
Damn you, Pierce Washington, she thought as she shut the door behind her.
Ljubica sat at her desk, brooding in the dark, while Anatoli Lyadov's The Enchanted Lake played over the room's impressive stereo system. She'd hardly left her rooms since talking to Pierce, almost never allowing herself this luxury of wasted time, and in less than 12 hours, now, she was going to storm Arapice Island with her Saints and bring one of their fallen back home.
What if Tera can't reverse it? She thought, elbows on the desk and head in her hands. She picked at a plate of very cold spaghetti, twirling her fork around.
Tera had fucking better, she told herself. She's going for a long dive to the pavement if she fails.
There was a quiet knock at the door.
"Go away," she called.
Shaundi opened the door instead, and spoke softly, worry clear in her voice. "Boss..."
"What part of 'go away' didn't you get, Shaundi?" Ljubica asked heatedly. "I'm thinking."
"You're moping," Shaundi corrected. "This isn't like you."
"I do not mope!" Ljubica insisted, but knew her Lieutenant was right.
"We'll make it work, okay?" Shaundi promised.
Ljubica nodded, but said nothing.
"You loved him, too, didn't you?" Shaundi asked tentatively.
"Of course," Ljubica shot back, sounding defensive. "We have always been there for each other. He was my closest friend, the crazy fucker."
Shaundi was quiet for a moment. That wasn't what she meant, but she nodded anyway and closed the door.
"Except when you needed me the most, Johnny," Ljubica murmured to the darkness, feeling bitter. "But you were still there for me to the very end, weren't you?"
Ljubica looked over the modified Bear with approval, but then something caught her eye.
"Where the fuck are the guns?" she asked, sounding annoyed.
"My apologies," Oleg said, "But we needed the space the magazine and weapon mounts took up for containment."
Ljubica sighed, but nodded. "It's fine."
"Manny Rodriguez is a wizard at fabrication," Oleg went on. "He works at a Rim Jobs that we own."
"He helped me out, too, Boss," Pierce informed her. "The cage here is done."
Ljubica nodded, making a mental note to talk with the boy. "Good." Turning to Oleg, she said, "Comrade, it is strictly voluntary, but I would ask that you join us this day. I will need your great strength to handle Johnny without riddling him with bullets."
Oleg nodded immediately. "We will go forth like Arthur and his Knights."
Ljubica grinned. "Good. We leave in an hour."
The Saints' convoy consisted of an ex-STAG N-Forcer at the vanguard, an ex-SNG Bulldog covering the rear, and the modified Bear in the middle. All three vehicles were purple, of course, and sporting black trim instead of the usual gold, though the wheels were still bold and gold. Everyone rode in somber silence, and Oleg clung to the roof of the Bulldog, standing in it's bed. He was so physically large that it was his main way of travel with other Saints.
As they neared the draw bridge leading to Arapice Island, Ljubica, driving the lead truck, gave the signal. She shoved the pedal to the floor and triggered the N-Forcer's nitrous system, surging ahead. Shaundi snapped the Bulldog around the slower Bear and caught up to the Boss. Despite it's size, Pierce was close behind in the heavily armored carrier, and all three vehicles sailed over the waterway.
The trucks landed hard, jostling their occupants roughly, and then each woman jerked the wheel almost in unison and slid sideways to a stop. The Bear crashed back into the earth, and Pierce barely managed to keep it under control as he was was slammed around inside. He parked behind the other two vehicles.
Saints clambered up into the turret weapon of each truck, scanning around for trouble. Manuel Rodriguez, youthful and strongly ethnic Hispanic, was in the N-Forcer's weapon, and a young black woman was in the Bulldog's.
Ljubica shoved the door open and got out, slinging a Krukov over her shoulder. Her lieutenants and a mix of male and female Saints joined her by the Bear, all heavily armed.
"We brought lots of guns this time," Ljubica said. "But the first mother fucker to shoot Johnny's zombie will join him, got it? He's in a Saints jacket, don't screw up."
There was a murmur of approval.
Ljubica nodded. "Manny!" she called. "You're in charge of the trucks. We may need to leave quickly."
"You can count on me, Boss!" the boy called back. He kissed a rosary hanging from his neck and tucked it back into his undershirt.
"Let's do this," Ljubica growled. "We're coming, Johnny."
Ljubica fired a burst from her Krukov into a large gathering of zombies, spraying blood and gore in every direction. Another group charged, and Shaundi cut them down before they were halfway there.
"Come out, come out, wherever you are," Ljubica sang quietly. Johnny Gat's zombie had yet to make an appearance after an hour of searching.
"Boss," Shaundi said urgently.
Ljubica looked up at her lieutenant, then followed the other woman's gaze.
It was Johnny, fighting with a bunch of zombies near the downed Vulture.
"Has he been staying by the helicopter this whole time?" Ljubica asked, looking at Pierce.
Pierce shrugged. "Who knows."
Ljubica thought of how Johnny had reached for her the last time, then shook her head.
"Let's go get him."
Ljubica took the lead, slinging her automatic rifle behind her back and pulling her Shepherd. She picked off two of the zombies near her friend in quick succession, and after taking a moment to aim, another.
Pierce and Shaundi kept their backs from being overrun while the Boss took care of things up front.
"I will do my best not to break him," Oleg said from Ljubica's side.
The Saints' leader looked over at him. "Give me a moment first. I want to try something."
Furrowing his brow, the Russian behemoth nodded.
"What the fuck, Boss?" Pierce asked.
Ljubica ignored him, and walked to stand in front of Johnny.
"Johnny, are you in there?" she asked carefully.
Johnny Gat groaned, and reached for her.
Ljubica tentatively reached for his hand. When hers was close, Johnny's suddenly closed on her wrist and jerked her against his body. She shoved back at him, barely keeping gnashing teeth from tearing her throat out.
"Oleg!" Ljubica shouted, and then her vision spun wildly as she was thrown into a nearby wall. It hurt terribly to move, vision swimming, but she got to her feet anyway. Oleg was grappling with Johnny, and had the upper hand.
"I have him!" Oleg called.
"We need to draw him back to the convoy," Ljubica said quickly. "Before more zombies show up."
Oleg shoved Johnny away, and turned to run. The rest of the Saints followed, gunning down zombies that charged the small group. Rushing through the streets, they rounded a building, and the trucks could be seen a hundred yards away. Laser blasts and machine gun fire could be heard in the distance.
Ljubica holstered her pistol and unslung the Krukov, firing a grenade into a group of zombies ten yards away.
"Almost there!" she called, looking back to make sure Johnny was still following them.
He was, shoving anything out of his way that got in his path.
Ljubica felt alive as she ran, adrenalin coursing through her veins. She fired short bursts into anything that moved towards her, and as they neared the vehicles, she saw the desperate situation Manny was in for the first time. Three Saints lay dead on the ground, bodies broken and partially eaten, among seemingly endless piles of zombies, and still more charged the trucks in waves. She fired a grenade into the horde.
"Manny, we're leaving!" Ljubica called, firing another grenade. "We need time to load Johnny!"
The laser weapon's firing increased in intensity.
Ljubica looked back to see Johnny was still coming, but there was a tsunami of the dead surging along behind him.
And Pierce was nowhere to be seen.
"Shit," she hissed, shoving down the growing dread gripping her insides. "Shaundi, Oleg, get Johnny inside! Where the fuck is Pierce?"
Shaundi looked around. "I thought he was right next to me."
"I'll find him," Ljubica assured her, and went to dash off. Oleg grabbed her wrist.
"It is suicide," the hulking Saint said.
Ljubica jerked her hand away. "I never leave a Saint behind, comrade. Remember that if you are ever in trouble."
Oleg nodded sharply, and turned to meet Johnny. Ljubica barely noticed the Saints and zombies clash as she dashed into an alley. She quietly made her way away from the convoy, and then finally heard the sound she was hoping for.
Ljubica heard automatic gunfire to the east, and it wasn't far.
"I'm coming Pierce," she whispered, and swapped magazines with her last spare.
Ljubica moved east, carefully avoiding the streets. So far she had remained out of sight, but she knew that when she got to Pierce they would probably be in a very bad spot, judging by the urgent sound of his gunfire.
Ljubica finally heard Pierce's Krukov close by, and stepping out from an alley she saw him.
Pierce was behind a stalled car, firing over the hood at anything that moved. Scores of bodies littered the area, and as he took time to reload, the remaining zombies in the area closed in. He had to shoot at one crawling over the hood when he was ready to fire again.
"Pierce!" Ljubica called, sending a withering barrage of lead down range.
"I knew you wouldn't leave me, Boss!" he said as she reached him.
"Fuck no," she agreed.
"I got separated," he explained, firing a grenade to make a hole. "I tried to move around that nastiness Johnny had behind him, but... yeah."
"Never scare me like that again," she said quietly, then headed back for the alley. "We'll stick to the back ways. Less walking corpses."
The pair took a moment to clear any zombies that saw them make their retreat, then headed for the vehicles.
Ljubica and Pierce arrived to find the Bear sealed shut, so Johnny was loaded up, but an impossible amount of zombies surrounded the convoy. The Saints mowed them down, but the horde seemed endless.
Pierce fired a grenade into their backs. "I'm out!"
"Fuck," Ljubica growled, firing her last grenade. They both rushed into the gap, their Krukov's spraying ahead of them to keep the path open.
Machine gun fire supported their approach, and as they got close to the trucks, Ljubica could see Shaundi in the Bulldog's now-bloody turret. The woman that had been in it lay on the ground nearby, everything below her waist raggedly torn away. Oleg was swinging a telephone pole like a bat, sweeping away zombies by the dozens.
"Saints!" Ljubica called, smashing a zombie's face in with the butt of her rifle. "We! Are! Leaving!"
Ljubica jerked open the driver's door of the N-Forcer and climbed up into it. Pierce threw himself into the Bear's driver seat, and Oleg hopped up into the Bulldog's bed, hurling the improvised weapon at the horde. Shaundi crawled out of the turret and into the truck's driver seat, and all three vehicles roared to life.
Ljubica was the first to pull out, driving over countless numbers of zombies as she wheeled the heavy truck around towards the drawbridge. Shaundi was close behind, and Pierce struggled to get the Bear turned around. The two trucks surged ahead, engines roaring as the women driving them hit the nitrous, and Pierce followed as fast as the heavier Bear could manage.
As the two trucks sailed over the expanse, the Bear's left rear wheel locked up, and the huge troop carrier spun into a slide before flipping over through the air.
Ljubica was bounced around as her truck landed, and to her horror, in the rearview mirror she saw the Bear come crashing down on it's side and roll down the bridge. It slammed into a storefront, knocking over a fire hydrant to spray a jet of water into the air.
"Pierce!" she screamed, and slammed on the brakes, coming to a stop in the middle of an intersection. Shaundi narrowly avoided rear-ending the Boss, and screeched to a halt. Ljubica shoved her door open, and called to Manny as she rushed to the stricken transport. "Stay put!"
Pierce was pulling himself free from the wreckage as Ljubica reached him. Blood ran down his face from a cut on his forehead.
"Sorry, Boss, I don't know what happened," he said, sounding apologetic. "It's a good thing we didn't drive around the island to search for Johnny."
Ljubica shook her head. "Just promise to quit scaring me," she said with a chuckle.
Shaundi and Oleg ran up. "What the fuck, Pierce! You should have let me drive the damned Bear!"
"Easy, Shaundi," Ljubica urged.
"The damned thing just jerked into a slide, girl, just before the jump," Pierce retorted. "It wasn't my fault."
"I already texted the boys, they're sending a Stork," Shaundi said with a huff, crossing her arms.
"That's my girl," Ljubica praised.
The Saints moved the trucks that were blocking traffic, and a heavy thumping could soon be heard in the distance. A dark grey Stork sky-crane appeared in the skies overhead, hooked cables trailing towards the ground.
"Boss!" Manny shouted over the noise of the rotors. "We've got company!"
Three black and green Compensators and a Bulldog slid to a stop, and several Luchadores piled out of them with shotguns and SMGs.
"Fuck me," Ljubica growled, drawing her Shepherd and thumbing the safety off. Her Krukov was still back in the truck. Manny trained his laser turret on the vehicles.
I'm killing every mother fucking gang leader that ever comes at me again, she promised herself.
"We saw you're airlifting somethin' here on our turf," the largest one said in a deep, rumbling voice. He was tall and powerfully built, skin so dark it was nearly black.
"This is Saints territory," Ljubica said heatedly. "Your boss fled the city like a bitch."
"There's new management in town," he informed her, walking right up and towering over her, trying for intimidation. He clearly had no idea who she was, or was too stupid to live. "There's a tax on moving merchandise through here."
Ljubica shot him under the chin, kicking his falling body away from her. "Fucking imbecile," she spat, and dove for cover behind a car as the remaining Luchadores opened up with their weapons.
Oleg waded into the fray, tossing the bodybuilding Luchadores around like dolls, and Ljubica couldn't help but grin at the sight. The hulking Russian made them look tiny in comparison. Two managed to flee from his wrath, and she shot them in the back. Shaundi took careful aim with her rifle and shot another one that got out of the big guy's way.
Two more Luchadores Compensators careened to a halt in the intersection, grenades being fired out a side window, and one of Steelport's finest started firing on their vehicles while radioing in to the station. "I need backup at-..."
"We need to get out of here, Boss," Pierce said, firing at another arriving Luchadores truck. "It's too hot."
Ljubica nodded, waiving at the helicopter hovering nearby. It lumbered back over to the area, and she and Pierce connected two hooks to the broken vehicle. The pilot of the Stork deftly pulled it away from the wall, and they attached the remaining chains. Ljubica waived it off, and the sky-crane lifted up into the sky with it's cargo.
"Pierce, you're with me," Ljubica ordered. "We have room in my N-Forcer."
Her Lieutenant nodded, and fired a barrage of bullets into a Luchadores Compensator. Police vehicles began arriving on the scene, and the Luchadores were quickly caught up in a firefight with the law.
"Shaundi! Oleg!" Ljubica called. "Let's get the fuck out of here, we have shit to do! Let the police deal with these pig-dogs!"
The Saints escaped to the protection of their heavy trucks, leaving the area with a squeal of tires and roaring of engines.