A warehouse on the South Side. Unmarked. Owned by a company that only exists on paper. Inside the rather horribly lit building, a single large round table with a large dangling light above it, the only real source of illumination inside the building aside from the spark of matches and cigars. A rather squat older man with dark leathery skin and a thick gray and black moustache already sat at the table flanked by two men in light tan suits. Across from him was a thin Japanese man in an entirely black suit; his shaved head glinting in the artificial light. The Asian man's two bodyguards, a woman and a man both dressed in matching black suits, assisted their boss with lighting his hand-rolled cigarillo before returning to their almost parade-rest posture.
Outside, a large white limousine rolled lazily through the partially swamped gravel lot; its lights blazed through the storm that had sprung up half an hour prior. The doors on both sides popped open as six men in black suits stepped out. One opened an umbrella as a heavy-set olive-skinned man with black, combed-back hair stepped out into the rain. A large red flower was neatly pinned on his black and white-pinstriped suit which matched his red silk necktie. He strode forth confidently before stopping just inside the large hangar doors.
"Looks like I'm not too late, eh?" Alejandro Castillo, head of the local Colombian cartel Los Leones or "The Lions", announced with a laugh. As per the agreement for the meeting, only two of his guards entered the building proper, but he had ordered the others previously to show themselves before getting back into his transport.
"Hmph...you would get here before our host, Castillo," Kaan Kartal, leader of the Turkish gang, responded with a huff. His gang's name wasn't one that he'd decided upon, but he didn't mind being called the Boss of the Turks.
Hiroshi Nakamura, leader of the local Yamaguchi-gumi offshoot, remained silent as he leaned back in his chair, puffing away at his cigarillo as he did. The others could not tell if the man was genuinely unconcerned about this meeting or if his poker face was the stuff of legend. Truth be told, this was the first time these particular disparate gang leaders had gotten together all at once. They'd met each other, sure, but never at once. Mostly a safety issue with each other, but also such things tended to be prime targets for law enforcement.
Another limousine, this one a large black Cadillac Escalade-style, slowly maneuvered in as Castillo's moved to go park. A tall black man dressed in a rather gaudy mint green suit stepped out after two other men wearing black suits. This man, Dajuan Robinson, was the leader of the Jamaican gang, the Blud Posse or just the Posse, and took great pride in his heritage. His dreads swayed slightly as he walked into the warehouse.
Somewhat casual small talk broke out at the table as a pair of blacked out BMWs pulled up to the warehouse. The rear vehicle opened up and a single man wearing a blue and gray tracksuit hopped out along with two men wearing blue nondescript basketball jerseys over black long sleeved shirts. The leader, Marcus Ferguson, approached the table with a lit joint in his mouth and a 9mm pistol sticking out from the front of his waistband. There was a moment of tension as he locked eyes with Dajuan before sitting down in a huff. Admittedly that came as no surprise to the others at the table as the Jamaicans were never on good terms with any of the Crip sets.
"A'ight, where this new bitch at?" Marcus asked with a heavy pronounced snort, "I 'eard she's some ky-nna spooky Russian bitch."
Sitting in an adjacent building, Carmen Victoria Carnifex watched via a host of monitors as each gang leader arrived. Next to her, a small thin brunette woman stood next to her whilst holding her employer's umbrella.
"Well ma'am, they've all arrived as per your wishes. Would you like to go over there and meet them?"
In a bit. Has Auggie texted?
"Yes, ma'am. He sent a sunglasses and smiley face emoji."
Fantastic. We'll give him another half hour. Also, Amelia, text Hiro and tell him to stall. Have him tell them we're stuck in traffic or something.
Carmen smirked, having never taken her eyes off of the monitors. Aside from Slate, their Jackals, and the Italians, this is what remained of the city's drug trade. This would be a memorable night.
The early evening sun was just starting to set behind the Pittsburgh skyline, cutting through clouds and buildings alike in its attempt to blind motorists and pedestrians alike. Were it not for his sunglasses, the driver might have been blinded by the sun as he drove westbound on Oakmont street. As it were, the visor and his sunglasses were more than enough to allow him to drive and it had been a non-issue when he was watching the house he was about to enter. His target was Purcell Robinson, cousin to Dajuan Robinson and his right hand man. Together, they'd fended off the Italian onslaught and were able to suffer through the peace that was forced upon them and they had just started making money again.
The 2019 Chevrolet Impala slowed to a stop a few houses away, Augustus Davenport's gloved hand shifting into park and looking around. The car was stolen, though he had stolen it from a mechanic shop that he had scoped out earlier in the week and his fake ID matched the registration perfectly. It helped that the owner of the car looked close enough to Auggie that, so long as he wasn't fingerprinted, he could almost assuredly blame any discrepancies on a DMV mix-up or racism. Plus, he knew that most cops wouldn't give him much hassle unless he gave them a reason to do so. They were overworked and underpaid and most just wanted to go home at the end of the day. Auggie never ran stop signs, sped, or even changed lanes without signaling 200ft in advance. He never slammed on brakes if he could avoid it and never played his music loudly. He did the best he could to be the most nondescript, average driver on the road. He didn't avoid looking at cops, though he never stared at them, either. Occasionally, he would raise a hand in a wave or look over and give them a nod of appreciation. If you wanted to get somewhere without raising suspicion, Augustus was the man you wanted driving you.
Most people had already come home from work and were inside with their families, though a few kids were playing soccer halfway down the street. Yardwork typically wasn't a concern this time of year as most of the leaves had already been raked into neat piles around the bases of the trees that produced them. Trashcans were sat out neatly by the road in preparation for the next trash day. There was little traffic on the road or, at least, little enough that Augustus didn't factor it into his list of variables.
Leaving his sunglasses in the center console, Auggie stepped out into the street and gently closed the door behind him. He didn't bother locking the car, both because he didn't care but also because there was no need. The Jamaicans kept crime out of their neighborhoods, especially so close to the houses of prominent members. They didn't want cops or rivals operating in the area so they did everything they could to avoid raising suspicion.
As he walked towards the house, the breeze flowed coolly over his recently shaved head, threatening to chill him were it not for his focus on the task at hand. He was almost bursting with energy, every muscle fiber aching for the chance to explode in untold violence. It was the first time he'd been let loose on Pittsburgh since Carmen came into town and he was ready. Nestled securely in their holsters were a pair of M&P9 pistols, complete with threaded barrels and suppressors. Completing the package was subsonic hollow point ammunition, obtained with the sole purpose of further limiting the noise produced by his weapons. It also didn't hurt that it was the second most bought ammunition in Pennsylvania and third most common in Pittsburgh. He had knives on him, of course, but those were for other purposes and were his last ditch weapons.
His knock on the door was answered by a young boy, no older than seven or eight. He looked questioningly at Augustus for a second before speaking "Gwaan den." "I'm a business associate of your father's. He's expecting me but it's a surprise. Can you let me in?" Auggie's voice was low and he held a finger over his mouth as he spoke, encouraging the young boy to be quiet as well. The boy nodded, though Augustus recognized the look of curiosity on the boy's face.
Augustus was well versed in the house's two-story layout, having obtained blueprints of all of the target houses through the network of contacts that he had worked to build during his time alone in Pittsburgh. The boy pointed up the staircase and Augustus nodded his thanks before ascending, careful to keep to the sides of the staircase in order to avoid unnecessary noise. Moaning could be heard coming from his right as he climbed the staircase and Auggie grinned. This would be easy.
Once at the top of the staircase, he turned and entered the master bedroom, left hand empty and right hand holding one of his pistols. He was able to close and lock the door behind him before the occupants noticed him, too caught up in their lust to pay attention to their surroundings. It was an issue that Augustus never had, having avoided being taken out by Russians back in LA simply because he was always attuned to his senses. A woman began to yell before a bullet entered under her jaw and she fell limp, sound cut short as the air escaped her lungs in a guttural groan rather than a controlled shriek. The man dived behind the bed, though was caught up in the blanket and fell to the floor with a thud. He reached out towards his bedside table, though was interrupted by the 9mm Parabellum bullet entering the back of his skull where the parietal bone met the occipital bone at the lambdoid suture.
Twenty minutes later and with a box under his left arm and pistol still clutched in his right hand, Augustus made his way back downstairs. He had been careful to keep himself clean during the process and had been careful to obscure as much evidence as possible to make the investigating officers' jobs even harder. As he descended the stairs, he heard the boy get up from the couch and approach the bottom of the stairs. He locked eyes with Augustus, same curious look in his eyes that widened as he saw the firearm in Auggie's hand. Without even breaking his stride, Augustus leveled the pistol at the boy and put two rounds into the boy's chest. Blood blossomed from the center of his chest before the boy had a chance to register what happened, evidence that Auggie's bullets had hit their mark. It took next to no time to remove the boy's hand and place it in the box along with Purcell's head and phone. Carmen hadn't asked him to do it but she'd unleashed Augustus on the world and their enemies would see exactly what they were dealing with.
The Impala had crossed Italian territory without incident and pulled into the alleyway that was Cunliffe Way. This time, he kept the car running but locked the door as he exited the car, key fob securely in his pocket. He approached the front door, knocked a few times, and quickly made his way towards the back of the residence. The back door opened without so much as a groan of protest as Auggie's knife slipped into the doorjamb, swinging open and giving him access to the house's laundry room. He could hear yelling in Spanish and knew that they were complaining about neighborhood kids causing trouble. One of the voices chided a few of what Augustus could only assume were kids, telling them that their friends would get them in trouble if they kept hanging around them. Auggie could only chuckle mentally as he moved forward. They were in trouble alright, though it wasn't due to neighborhood kids.
He allowed himself to use his enhanced reflexes and felt time slowing down around him. He moved almost as a blur, knowing exactly where to go and when to go there. He stepped into the open living room and squeezed the trigger of the pistol in his left hand, cutting down the woman who had been chiding the kids. Acting entirely on instinct, Augustus's arms moved independently of each other and each pull of the trigger was exactly where it needed to be. Most of his bullets went into his victim's heads, if only because it was quicker and easier than stopping himself from giving in to his brutal yet efficient bloodlust.
By the time he was done in the living room, the room was littered with corpses and the smell of gunpowder and the sickly sweet scent of exposed brain matter. Augustus backtracked, careful to avoid stepping in any piles of gore, as shouting from a back room got louder and two burly men ran down the hallway. Augustus popped out from behind the refrigerator and silenced both of them with two shots to the chest. He hopped the clean kitchen counter and put a round into each of the men's eyes. Locking eyes with the personalized necklace of the man on the left, the eldest son of Alejandro Castillo, he set to work.
By the time he was done, the box held two heads: one of Castillo's eldest son and one of his infant grandson. They were positioned in such a way that Castillo's son was kissing his own son and Augustus, happy with his work, made his way slowly through the house. He was careful to avoid the ever-growing puddle of blood and he locked the rear door behind him.
Only a scant ten minutes had passed before a game of poker had broken out amongst the criminals at the table.
"Any y'all met this bitch?," Marcus Ferguson asked the table. Most shook their heads or shrugged. Only the stoic Nakamura curtly let out an affirmative grunt.
"My master met Ms. Carnifex a long time ago," one of his assistants declared as the local Yakuza boss crossed his hands with a grimace; the only option for a hand as bad as his was to fold after all.
"Oh really?" Kartal responded as he pulled out a fresh cigar and his cigar cutter before knocking once on the table for check, "Well, you know the only reason most of us are even here is because you vouched for this newcomer, Nakamura. So what's she like?"
Nakamura's two assistants looked at each other before looking to their employer for any signals. None were given.
"This kung-fu shit be gettin' on my nerves, man," Marcus said with a snort, as he knocked the table as well for check.
"Dis be ma'o dat bullsheet I beeen tellin' you fools 'bout. Bo-eez nevahr learn," Dajuan Robinson declared with a rather haughty laugh while knocking his hands on the table once. Check.
"Who you callin' 'boy', you lankey bitch?!" Marcus shouted in retort as he stood up suddenly, "I ain't 'fraid to check yo' ass 'ere an' now."
"Calm down, Marcus, before you get checked yourself," Castillo declared gravely, his eyes not leaving his cards for a moment, "One of the rules of these formal gatherings is that we can't have any bloodshed. Ancient codes and all that."
Sitting down in a huff, Marcus grunted a short "Whatever, man" as he scooped his cards back up. Castillo finally knocked for check himself and one of Castillo's men who'd thus far been acting as dealer began dealing the community cards. A round of betting ensued. Raises, but small ones. No one was looking to really win or lose any real money yet. This was just to pass the time. Castillo won a hand or two. Then Robinson. Kartal won three in a row. Only after the tenth game or so did things turn a bit more interesting.
"How about we change things up, eh, boys?" Castillo declared as they entered the final round of betting of a game where everyone somehow had held on, "Nakamura wins, we keep playing and wait for this Ms. Carnifex to arrive. If any of the rest of us win, the winner gets to decide whether we stay or leave. Sound good?"
Grunts of affirmation were his only answer. Castillo, being the bettor, revealed his hand. Aces, three of a kind. Ferguson revealed a straight. Kartal tossed his pocket Kings with a grunt. Robinson laughed heartily as he revealed his Flush with the Jack and Queen of Hearts. All looked to Nakamura expectantly.
"We stay," the older man's assistant declared with a smirk as the Yakuza boss revealed a Seven and Eight of Hearts. Straight Flush of Hearts.
There were a few bellows of complaint, but none were about to whelch out on their bet. As the next hand was shuffled, the Yakuza boss did something rather unexpected. He actually answered the original question.
"<Carnifex-sama is a skilled ally,>" Hiroshi began in Japanese (with one of his assistants translating) with a smirk at their openly shocked faces, "<When Obama cracked down on the crime families across America, Carmen-san alone kept her own family's assets protected as well as ours. Because of this, the wakagashira considers her an ally, and therefore we do as well.>"
Silence reigned over the table as the cards were dealt.
"<But that's only half of the picture, I suppose,>" the old man continued as he took a new cigarillo from his assistant, "<The other half is that Carmen Victoria Carnifex is, compared to us all here, on another level when it comes to ruthlessness and strategy. 'Spooky' doesn't even begin to describe it.>"
No one moved to even look at their cards, partially because of the Yakuza's words but mostly because this was the most they'd ever heard him speak. Only Nakamura himself picked up his dealt-cards to take a look.
"Carnifex. Very dangerous," he added in accented-English with a smile.
Oh, Hiro-san, you do me too much credit,
" an ominous yet feminine voice declared from the darkness.
Carmen Victoria Carnifex appeared like a summoned spectre from the shadows in the dimly lit warehouse. Her black dress and matching high-heels helped with that.
Now gentlemen, thank you for coming. My name is Carmen Carnifex, but please...call me Carmen.
By the time Augustus had put the Impala in park in front of the next target's house, the sun had fully set and darkness had taken hold of the city. Augustus's sunglasses sat safely in the center console and he checked his watch. He had more time than he needed, particularly because he had budgeted more time than he knew he'd ever need. It wasn't professional to keep people waiting and he had been given a task. He was going to complete that task.
He strolled into the restaurant and headed towards the back, where he knew the gambling den to be held. A mid-fourties woman stepped towards him as if to stop him, offering him a gentle but firm challenge. "Kocan beni bekliyor," said Augustus with a slight smile, causing the woman to nod and head back towards the bar. He swung the door open and saw a small amount of 'customers,' though he didn't really care about them. Augustus made his way towards the back room and flashed a smile at the guard outside, opening a box full of money at him as he approached. "I'm here to make this week's payment," he said, keeping his eyes lowered in a form of nonverbal submission. The guard nodded his head at him and opened the door.
Inside was Mansur Kas, second in command to Kaan Kartal. This man was no King of the Turks, though that didn't stop him from acting like it. He approached Augustus with his arms outstretched, audibly gallivanting about how great they were and how Augustus was lucky to operate in Turkish territory. Augustus closed the distance and placed the box on the table, allowing Kas to continue to approach as he spoke. As soon as Augustus was close enough, he lashed out with a punch at the man's Adam's apple, surprising him and also rendering him unable to speak. Only a deep squeak emanated from his mouth as his hands instinctively moved to protect his throat from further assault. In a flash, Augustus produced his knife and brought it upwards from waist height in a brutal stab. The knife pierced just under the man's xiphoid process and shredded both the man's diaphragm and his left ventricle, causing blood to blossom onto his shirt with surprising speed.
Augustus placed his hand over the man's throat, assisted him into his chair, and simply waited. He was in no rush and the Turk's heart was doing all of the work for him. With each heartbeat, more of the man's lifeblood exited his body and the previously tanned Kas quickly paled and went unconscious. After another thirty seconds, the previous pulsating of blood from the man's chest had decreased to a slow ooze. Careful to stand behind his dying opponent, Augustus set to work.
The time from entering the back room to leaving was less than five minutes, though the box was much heavier than it was when Augustus entered. He uttered a word of thanks to the guard as he exited, careful to keep the door from swinging open as he left the scene of the slaughter. "Mr. Kas said he had to take a business call and doesn't want to be disturbed until he gets you." The guard grumbled but remained at his post, allowing Augustus to leave without interference.
The projects were normally loud and, were it not for the fact that Augustus had begun blaring Gucci Gang by Lil Pump, he might have been able to hear it. Instead, he only heard the background noise when he shut off the car and opened the door. He normally hated not having as much situational awareness as possible, though he had to act as if he belonged on this block. Driving around in a comparatively good car was more than enough to set him apart so he had to undo as much of that as possible.
As he made his way towards the door, the blue bandana in his back pocket let those on cop lookout duty know that he wasn't a cop. Well, that and the limp he allowed to creep back into his walk. You had a way of walking when you belonged in a place and the projects were no different. Combine that with the fact that he was walking around in a wife beater, the few bangers he passed didn't even give him a single look. His BK tattoos and the mix of prison ink and other set tats told them that, while he wasn't in their set, he was one of them and didn't belong to any of the Crip sets that they were rivaling.
He stepped up to the front step and he heard the TV, of course, through the door but he heard something that let him know that it was going to be as easy as his first hit: the grunting of a fully grown man who was, to use common slang, putting in work. He understood that nobody was expecting to be killed and he understood that, of all places, being killed in your own territory while things were seemingly calm was an astronomically low risk. He understood that, in order to be an effective team member, you had to destress. He understood all of this, though Augustus also understood that he would never be caught with his pants down like this man and his girl were going to be. It took no time for him to pick the lock, partially because he didn't have to. A subtle jiggle of the handle allowed him to open the door and, shutting it silently behind him, Augustus moved into the house as if he were a spirit.
Now that he was inside, he was able to hear even more past the ESPN playing on the TV. There was a lot of groaning and grunting, though it seemed off. Pulling his pistol from his beltline, Augustus moved stealthily down the hall. He kept the pistol in front of him as he swung open the door and the sight in front of his eyes was somehow more surprising than he expected. Bent over the bed was his target, D'Quan Marcus and, behind him, was another man that Augustus couldn't even begin to identify. The shock and realization that they were caught seemed to hit the men before the realization that they were about to die, though they were too slow to move or even grab a weapon. Two suppressed shots hit their marks and caused both men to collapse. I'm going to need a bigger box, thought Augustus with a frown of frustration as he began looking around for something that would work. In any case, two heads and one dick were going in that box, though some might simplify that to three heads.
The drive back to the warehouse was a quiet one, the five plastic-lined boxes secured safely in the trunk and hidden by a few different layers of luggage and trash in case he did something that warranted being pulled over. He did pull over shortly before arriving at the meeting point just to put on a new dress shirt and his suit jacket. Just because he had been busy didn't give him a reason to betray the standard that Vicki expected of him and he was not going to be the most underdressed man at the meeting. As he pulled up, Augustus waved over two of his employees and gave each of them two boxes, keeping the cash-filled box in his own hands. They gave him a questioning look, though Augustus simply shook his head to explain that, at least in this case, they were better off not knowing.
Augustus stepped first to Nakamura, setting a box down in front of him. "Gentlemen, this is a present from Mrs. Carnifex. Each of you get one as a token of respect and appreciation for your being here tonight. A word of warning, though, Mrs. Carnifex has been very specific with me that they should only be opened when she gives the OK. I wouldn't want to disappoint her, she has a track record that speaks for itself." In turn, Augustus made his way around the table and placed a sealed box in front of each of the men before taking his place at Carmen's right side. His shoulder holsters pressed gently into his side as a reminder that they were there and that the weapons housed inside were ready to go, though he would only draw them if the need presented itself.