9th April 2008

11:25pm Happiness Island, Liberty City

(150 hours quarantine remaining)

LCPD Sergeant Jill Paster hefted her M4 as she walked through the interior hall of the Statue of Happiness. Around her the huddled forms of the dozen or so civilians she and her officers had been in charge of for the past two days sat in the gloom of dim electric lanterns. Since the day before, when she had watched helicopters hover low above the islands of Alderney and Broker as the crackle of gunfire and dull roar of explosions echoed across the bay, the sergeant had been de facto leader of the small group of civilians and LCPD officers left on the island. When her radio transmissions had been met with nothing but a repeated LCPD emergency broadcast and garbled chatter from embattled civilians and police alike across the city, Jill had come to the conclusion no help was coming. Whatever was happening in the city beyond hadn't spread here, and she was determined to keep it that way after most of the people on the island the day before, when they had lost contact with the mainland, had attempted to get to Alderney by boat. She had watched them go, taking all but two of the boats docked at the marina, and, as they landed at the small port next to the Alderney State Correctional Facility, seen the entire group attacked by a horde of crazed looking people, who literally tore them limb from limb.

Jill had seen enough horror films to know that, whatever was going on in the city, she wasn't going back there until it was sorted. Although the gunfire and sirens from the city had faded recently, Algonquin seemed relatively unaffected, and the sergeant would have considered taking her small survivor group there, if she hadn't watched a boatload of people from Alderney trying that and getting shot by LCPD officers on the riverbank. As she stepped out of the pedestal of the mammoth statue above, the sergeant looked out towards the city beyond.

Alderney was still wreathed in smoke, with a few fires raging across its dark skyline, the only lights visible in a few isolated buildings and the squat form of the prison, where searchlights pierced the gloom beyond its dark walls. The bridges were also bathed in harsh white light, and if she looked carefully she could just see the flashes of blue and red from police vehicles stationed on them. As always Algonquin was an oasis of brightness, although she could also see black NOOSE Annihilators patrolling the air above it, whilst the concrete and steel wall that she had watched an army of workers constructing for the entire day along the islands edge was now complete, topped with barbed wire and dotted with guard towers of wood and stone. Whatever madness the rest of the city had descend into, that island was unaffected for now, the sergeant thought as she walked across the empty plaza in front of the statue. Only a few days ago she had been in this same spot, the sun blazing down as tourists and families milled around the square and filled the island with noise and laughter. Now that was all gone, the only evidence of people ever being here the odd newspaper or piece of litter along with the toppled form of a hotdog cart, spilling it's now mouldy produce across the clean stone.

They would survive though, Jill thought to herself with a smile. Already one of the civilians, a farmer named Tyrone from Los Santos, had drawn up plans and scavenged the materials needed to make a garden in the ornamental parks around the island for food, whilst they had enough fuel to keep the generators, and electricity, on the island for at least a month. By the time the National Guard or whoever was coming to save them turned up, they would still be alive and doing quite well for themselves.

Her grin died however, as she looked over at the docks to his left, plunged into darkness. She had sent Officers Sykes and Braun over there to guard the boats a few hours ago, and Jill knew those two would never have left their posts. Gripping her rifle the sergeant moved slowly towards the pitch black form of the small pier, hearing the gentle flow of the waves underneath her as she set a foot on the wooden planks.

"Sykes!" She hissed, her voice low and her weapon now set to his shoulder. "Braun! Quit fucking about and…"

Jill paused as she saw an unfamiliar shape in the water next to her. Bending down,hands still clamped to her rifle, she examined the object, which she now saw to be a sleek and powerful looking black speedboat, low slung and obviously very high end. And yet Jill felt a chill through her. She had never seen that boat before. All the watercraft they had left was a small white cabin cruiser and a fast police patrol boat, both at the end of the pier, where her colleagues should also have been. As she peered closer the sergeant was too engrossed to feel the firm grip of a hand on her shoulder, but she definitely felt the touch of the cold steel blade on her neck, and the quick flick of the knife that slit her throat. Jill only had a second to feel the excruciating pain as her blood spurted out, before she tumbled headfirst and was swallowed up in the cool embrace of the dark waters below.

Her killer stood up slowly, the combat knife wiped of the dead officer's blood and holstered in a second. Face hidden behind a thick black balaclava, gas mask and combat helmet, the figure blended perfectly into the darkness, its ebony coloured armour and uniform bearing no crests or insignia, whilist the weapons at their side, a HK16 assault rifle and a suppressed Glock pistol, were matt black, painted to not reflect light. Taking up a position to cover the silent pier by a pile of crates, the operative held up a fist.

Instantly, from underneath the pier, three other identical soldiers appeared, all silently moving onto the shore and, at a signal from the first operative, moving in on the bright lights of the statue beyond.

Officer Hanks stumbled down the steps of the statue interior, breathing heavily and cursing his large frame. He would never get used to the bulky M4 the sergeant had entrusted him with. If he could have gone back in time to before the city descended into anarchy, he was sure he would have actually bought that gym membership. He nodded to Officer Rowling standing by the open door ,facing inwards. There seemed no real point to closing the heavy iron doors. The past day had been scorching hot, and a little breeze was exactly what the men and women inside, exhausted from shifting heavy crates from the warehouse by the water, and digging the irrigation trenches needed for planting crops in the future.

"The sergeant called in yet?" he asked, and the skinny officer only shrugged, rubbing his unshaven chin.

"Seems he…" he began, but never spoke again as there was a slight thunk sound and he fell to the floor, a bullet in the back of his head.

"We're under…" the officer managed to bellow before he felt a bullet strike him in the neck, and the last he saw was a group of shadowy soldiers in gas masks run past, firing into the building beyond, before darkness took him forever.

The first black uniformed operative rushed forward, firing a quick burst of assault rifle fire into a police officer fumbling with his pistol at the top of the marble stairs, before taking down another officer brandishing an M4 with a second burst.

"Stairs clear." The operative declared as they moved up, checking both sides before moving onto the landing, noticing a group of unarmed civilians huddled low in the corner, all trembling with fear.

Then the operative felt a sharp pain in his leg, and turned to see the officer he thought dead, aiming his smoking pistol from a prone position, as he coughed up wads of blood. Emptying the rest of the rifles magazine into the officer in a heartbeat, the operative, after making sure the room was clear, dropped to his knees and checked his leg, finding a tear in his uniform exposing bloody flesh.

As he rose to his feet again the operative felt the cold steel of a rifle barrel on the back of his neck.

"Sorry sir. Just following orders." The soldier above him said, before calmly putting a bullet through the operative's head.

Taking a deep breath and turning away from his dead comrade, the second operative checked the rest of the room, noticing another operative moving up the stairs, who simply nodded to say 'Area secure' before moving towards the huddle of civilians alongside him, assault rifle raised.

"Command we have ten survivors here, all unarmed." The operative said into his radio as the two of them stood over the weeping men, women and children at their feet.

As the simple command came into his earpiece, the operative shook his head.

"Sir they have kids here!"

But as the command was repeated again, more forcefully, he nodded slowly at his comrade and ,taking another deep breath as he aimed at the survivors, opened fire.

An hour later and the island was a hive of activity. With the survivors all rounded up and executed, groups of soldiers threw the bloodstained corpses into a large ditch before another gas masked soldier with a flamethrower set them alight. A heavy Chinook helicopter, painted black and almost silent due to the top secret modifications upon it, landed in the main plaza, which had now been cleared for a landing area and filled with airtight white quarantine tents and supply dumps, ,landing crew in hazmat suits and gas masks rushing out as it came to a stop. The unit commander, a towering figure with his face hidden behind a thick gas mask,HK16 at his side, stood by as the back hatch opened and a group of operatives spilled out to cover the area. At a hand signal from one of the soldiers, the last figure strolled out, his grey suit immaculate as he checked his mask with gloved hands momentarily.

"Director Ross." The commander said, snapping off a salute,which the director only rolled his eyes at.

"Spare me the crap commander. Just give me the facts." He demanded,his voice slightly muffled by the heavy gas mask.

The commander nodded and replied simply.

"Forward base has been established sir. Ready to move into the city at your command."