9th April 2008
10:40am Broker, Liberty City
(163 hours quarantine remaining)
"Ah shit." Niko said softly as he watched the zombies approach from all sides, quickly dropping to his knees and scrambling around through the wrecked car to salvage their weapons as Roman and Jacob faced down the zombies unarmed.
"Come at me mon!" He heard Jacob roar, and heard the sound of an undead head slamming into concrete with a wet smack.
"Fuck!" he cursed as he found the remains of his and Jacob's shotguns, both crushed in the wreckage, whilist Roman's pistol was bent and twisted underneath the bonnet.
Checking his own pockets he found his Desert Eagle, which had left a noticeable bruise on his chest where it had hit him during the crash. Pulling out the magazine he found three bullets left and he quickly chambered the first round.
"Save them for us…" he said solemnly as the undead closed in.
The three men stood, back to back, as the first zombie, dressed in a ragged paramedic uniform, stumbled towards them, teeth bared and leapt at Roman.
But then, with a loud crack, the zombie's head exploded and the sharp bang of a high powered rifle echoed across the street. Niko looked around wildly for the shooter and it wasn't until he looked up to the rooftop behind them, as the zombie horde was quickly torn apart by bursts of accurate assault rifle fire, that he saw their saviours, and felt a smile come to his face for what felt like the first time in weeks.
Above them, firing a motley collection of AK-47's and hunting rifles, a group of brightly dressed members of the Jamaican Hillside Posse, otherwise known as Yardies, were stood, a cloud of smoke above their heads from both their weapons and the joints in their mouths.
"My boys!" Jacob declared with a laugh as the last of the zombies on the street crumpled to the blood smeared tarmac.
"Climb up!" Shouted the leader of their rescuers, a fat but burly man in a bright orange suit, taking a drag on a joint as he reloaded his AK.
The three men in the street needed no more encouragement as they clambered up the rusted iron fire escape and joined their rescuers on the rooftop of the burnt out apartment building above them.
"Samuel!" Jacob said with a grin and embraced the fat man in orange, the two laughing as they embraced warmly. "You've met Niko and Roman before?"
Samuel nodded and grinned at the two cousins, but his smile disappeared when the distant howls of approaching zombies echoed out from a few streets away.
"We need to move." Jacob said simply. "That fight will have drawn more of dem."
Pointing to the north Samuel quickly ran off across the rooftop, suprisingly nimble for someone of his size, and the others quickly fell into step behind.
"Are you all that's left of the old crew then?" Jacob asked, glancing with unease down at the silent streets below packed with the empty husks of unmoving cars.
"Nah mon." Samuel said with a slight laugh. "We've got a base up near de old café. Managed to get most of our boys and people from de local area in before the hordes started filling de streets. It's safe. At least for now." He added grimly.
"I'm guessing that the rest of Broker is just as bad?" Roman said nervously, eyes watching the distant skyscrapers of Algonquin beyond.
"Last night was de worst. People trying to evacuate through Dukes to reach the airport got pounced by a whole pack of zombie dogs. De whole animal control centre must have been infected or something. I was on lookout that night and I just remember watching people getting torn to shreds. De cops tried their best but the gunshots just brought more zombies down on them. This morning there must have been two hundred new zombies shambling down that way…"
"What are the police doing about this?"
The fat Rasta shrugged.
"They're still out there. A few scattered units mainly. Most of them got slaughtered fighting the first hordes or got evacuated to Algonquin. I hear a group of them are holed up in the South Slopes station…"
Niko sighed. It was obvious help wasn't coming.
It was as they leapt a small gap between two buildings that Niko heard a strange sound in the air. It wasn't the sounds of zombies. The ones they had seen from their lofty position were just shambling around aimlessly for the most part, whilist the barks of undead dogs were just audible from a few streets down, along with the crackle of distant gunfire. It was a whooshing sound, as if of engines but lower than the high pitched whir of the USAF jets he had seen above the Charge Island Bridge yesterday.
He was about to look up and check the sky when he heard the sound even closer, by now a dull roar coming ever closer.
"Down!" Niko bellowed to the others, all pale faced and looking in all directions, but instantly hitting the concrete floor at the gangster's command.
A second after the last of the group was face down Niko looked up for a second and felt a wave of heat scorch his face as a huge passenger plane, its right engine smoking and the other in flames, roared overhead with a deafening howl of engines.
Staggering to his feet Niko watched in horror as its underside smashed into the top of a nearby building, slicing off the top floor in a cloud of dust and debris as it continued its descent.
For a second the plane appeared to right it as it flew towards the airport beyond, managing to gain some altitude.
Then Niko felt his ears ringing from as the piercing screech of jet engines filled the air and three silver USAF fighter jets screamed past at rooftop level, pursuing the fleeing passenger plane and easily catching up to it before raking the stricken aircraft with missiles and heavy machine cannon. The plane, smoking from missile strikes and wreathed in flame, turned on its side and went straight down, crashing headlong into a high rise office building with a huge explosion, the building crumpling and collapsing in a cloud of ash and smoke.
"Fuck…" one of the Hillside Posse said softly, breathing heavily as he stood up on shaking legs.
"They're bombing the airport." Roman said simply, eyes wide. Above them in the smoke filled skies more warplanes could be seen, two squadrons of five just visible as dark shadows heading towards the airport. "Where was it going?" he added and Niko only shook his head slowly, running a hand through his cropped hair in frustration as he replied.
"Probably full of people trying to escape. I don't think the LCPD are the only people putting quarantines on the city. Seems if anyone looks like they're trying to get away they shoot them down. Hard arsed bastards…"
Jacob nodded solemnly and turned to Samuel.
"How far to your base?"
The fat Rasta pointed forwards.
"About half an hour away at this pace and if we don't want to attract dem zombies."
As one of the gang members threw him a pistol Niko took the lead, slamming a magazine into the small Glock in a heartbeat.
"Let's do this…" he said firmly and ran on.
It took them two hours to reach their final destination, mainly as, once they were off the rooftops, they had to spend minutes at a time sneaking around packs of zombies. The moist tense moment had come when they had had to cross the huge open expanse of the highway linking the Algonquin Bridge and Francis International Airport. Niko was still sweating now from the terrifying journey across, crawling between the crush of vehicles across the entire roadway. At one point he and the others had lain still for over half an hour amongst rotting corpses and bloodstains as a horde of literally hundreds of zombies had stumbled up the road, heading up towards the explosions audible from the direction of the airport as the military continued their bombing runs on the runways.
"Here we are." Samuel declared as they turned a corner and Niko looked up the street and felt a slight sense of relief that somehow, in the midst of all this death and destruction, the living still survived.
Halfway down the street, a relatively normal residential one filled with squat apartment buildings and small businesses, rose a towering barricade at least ten metres high, constructed from shipping crates and cars stacked on top of one another, with two thick gates of riveted iron, the words 'Police Line Do Not Cross' just visible in faded white paint on their sides.
"Welcome to Zion." Samuel declared proudly as they came to the gates, passing countless dead zombies and undead animals, guards standing atop the wall behind a parapet of iron railings and barbed wire cheering and waving as the gates were opened and the small group entered the settlement.
"So this is a safe zone?" Niko asked as the gates were shut behind them to be greeted by a crowd of eager citizens in the street beyond, a row of tents and vehicles draped in tarpaulins and sheets to form crude shelters filling the entire avenue, the dark form of another scrap metal wall rising up at the other end of the street far beyond.
"As safe as you can get in this city." Samuel replied with a grim smile.
Pulling the fat Rasta to one side as the other men disappeared into the street beyond, Jacob spoke softly in Samuel's ear, only audible to Niko and roman next to him.
"We need to talk."
Samuel led them to an old five storey block of flats in the middle of the Zion settlement, the entrance guarded by two Yardies with shotguns, who grinned and opened the double doors as Samuel led the small group onwards.
"You have to understand mon." the fat Rasta said grimly as he led them up the stairs of the dilapidated building, graffiti covering all parts of the chipped paint that hadn't fallen away to reveal bare concrete. "Things have been hard. More of us died than survived out dere. When those zombies came it didn't matter who you was or how tough you were."
He paused for a second as they passed another guard, this one gesturing with his Uzi up the stairs as they climbed up higher.
"When those things attacked the Homebrew I thought we was done for. We shot them up. All of dem. The boys were shooting these ragged little shits up with AKs and they just kept coming! By the time Badman came with reinforcements ten of ma boys were either dead or trying to eat us themselves…"
He turned to Jacob, who was shaking his head in disbelief.
"It were a good thing you went to Niko mon. The guy guarding the door instead of you got his face ripped off."
By then they were on the third floor and Niko grabbed Samuel by the arm as he went to the stairs.
"Look man. We need answers about how dangerous it is out there for us. Where's Badman?"
Samuel sighed and nodded towards the stairs.
"I'll explain at the top."
After another minute of walking they reached the top floor, a large single room the length and width of the building, the walls covered in stacks of weaponry and crates of cannabis covering almost all available floor space.
"Now for some answers." Niko said firmly, but not threateningly.
Samuel nodded and turned to Jacob with a frown.
"Jacob. Badman is dead."
Niko expected Jacob to frown, or maybe shed a tear but the Rasta only looked at the floor, seeming to inspect the scuffed wood before saying.
Samuel shook his head.
"He went out on a scavenging run down to the local Burger Shot. He said he had seen some punks with guns holed up there and thought we could take them out and get their supplies. Winston and Bone went with him for backup but only Bone returned a few hours later about midnight, big bite wound on his arm and babbling about zombie dogs before dying on the spot. We put him down and burnt his body." He added with a frown.
"So what now?" Roman asked. "Algonquin?"
"Algonquin?" Samuel said, his eyes widening slightly at the name. "Why do you want to…"
"Long story." Niko explained quickly. "But it isn't going anywhere anytime soon cousin. I think the LCPD can hold the zombies back another few hours while we rest up. Lord knows we need it after what we've been through."
Samuel nodded and, as the others talked about sleeping arrangements and supplies to take out into the city beyond, Niko glanced out the window, watching the explosions blossoming out over the airport beyond, and the military jets bombing their own country into oblivion.