What the fuck..... Truth?
I walked between airplane remains, looking about for him, but I couldn't see him. Had I really heard him?
"Hey, Truth," I called out,"Where you at?"
....man, this crazy motherfucker.... how the fuck he get up there anyway?
"Where is he?" whispered Truth.
"How the fuck would I know man?" I shrugged,"He's like the devil. Hey, man, you OK?"
Fuck, I almost had a heart attack watching him jump. I could have done it, hell maybe even Toreno could have done it, but Truth was like.... 95 years old or something.
"I'm passing through life, same as every man," he grinned, standing up straight and spreading his arms wide before me.
".......Okay," I said at last, and Truth sighed and shook his head.
"Do you have any idea what you're doing for Toreno?" he asked, tapping his head.
"Nah," I sighed,"I seem to be on a need to know basis."
"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAH, no, MAN!" he shouted, twisting about on his foot and lifting his shoulders like he flinching from a shot,"Two lies don't cancel each other out! You know that!"
"We pay THEM to lie to us," Truth complained, off on a rant now, so I just stood back to watch,"Is that what our founding fathers wanted?"
And then suddenly he was hugging me!
I stepped away, but Truth was right after me, like he had a fever in his eyes, grabbing my arm.
"EVERYTHING is going on!" he told me,"Don't you get it?"
We both started walking, him leading me in the direction he wanted us to go, away from the AC Tower, and there was no stopping his mouth as he talked, talking shit I recognized from when I heard him on the radio calling that conspiracy nut show.
"There's a place, not even on the map! A train is about to leave!" he shouted, throwing his arms up and pointing off into the distance. He saw the look on my face and shook his head,"It can explain better than I ever can."
And then a big sloppy, half-stoned grin crossed his face, reminding me of Ryder again, in better days.
"You better drive, I'll explain," he promised me, taking me by the arm and leading me further down the strip, but I couldn't see no car, and I wondered about what he'd told me about that Space Goat of his,"Elegance does not even touch it."
He turned me towards the shell of one of the old passenger planes that some undergrowth had grown up through, then pulled that aside and revealed The Mothership sitting inside the plane. Shit, dude had hidden that well; I couldn't even see any tracks.
I got into the drivers seat and he hopped up beside me, but when I turned out onto the strip and turned to head towards the nearest tracks, he shook his head.
"I thought a train was leaving?" I asked.
"Soon," he nodded,"But not yet, and to get to it, we need to get to something else... something somewhere where nothing is."
"Jesus Christ, Truth, make some fucking sense," I said, then headed in the direction he pointed.
We were pretty quickly off even the dirt roads and pushing the old wheezing Mothership across sand and dirt. Truth was half over his seat, giving me too much of an eyeful of old man asscrack as he shifted through all the shit he had in the back, then laughed and pulled up a big sheet of paper.
"See, Carl, see," he told me, pointing to a section of the map not far from where we were,"Do you see it?"
"Man, there ain't nothing there," I said.
"EXACTLY!" he laughed,"I knew you'd understand!"
I shook my head and went on driving while he slapped his hand over his forehead and looked out the window up to the sky.
"No satellites either, nothing allowed to see this part of the world, we're invisible," he said.
"Satellites?" I said, shaking my head, then remembered what Toreno had told me about his "paymasters" spying on him,"Say, you know Toreno? Met him before?" I asked.
"Hell no I don't know him and he doesn't know me," said Truth, shaking his head with a horrified look on his face,"I know about him, and I pray to Buddha that he never knows about me.... I'm trying to stay off the grid."
"Yeah?" I asked,"What you know about him, then?"
"He's one dangerous asshole, that's what," Truth warned me,"Makes Tenpenny look like a kitten... you know he has FIVE surveillance teams on him at all times? KGB, DEA, a Cubano, and based on the way I've seen him look at the sky, at least two satellites."
"Jesus, Truth," I grinned,"Maybe you ain't completely crazy after all."
"Oh I'm crazy," he laughed,"You gotta be, kid, to pull the shit we're going to pull tonight."
"Yeah, and what IS this crazy shit we're going to be pulling?" I asked.
"We're going nowhere, man," he whispered,"The place on the map where nothing is, underneath a sky where no satellite can go. Area 69, man, one of the Government's research facilities, home of the fucking Black Project, man."
"Area 69?" I asked, thinking it sounded like a bad joke,"What's the Black Project?"
"There have been reports coming from locals around here for months about strange lights in the sky," Truth said, which wasn't exactly an answer.
"And?" I asked.
"And that's the Black Project!" he told me, looking at me like I was slow.
"....hang on, man, you ain't telling me this shit is a fucking Flying Saucer, are you? Like the sign at the Lil Probe Inn up the road from the airstrip? Fucking aliens, man?"
"You'll see," he said,"You're going to break in and get hold of it. You can fly, you're a pilot, I've seen how you handled yourself in the air, you're the man for this job."
"Oh hell NO!" I laughed,"I ain't fucking breaking into no super secret military base and stealing some little grey dude's ride."
"Oh yes you are, Carl," he grinned,"Because you're a human being, and humans don't like secrets, they don't like not knowing. As much as the Government would like to pretend otherwise, people want to know the Truth, and that's what's in Area 69."
".....shit," I said, I had to admit... a spaceship, I had to fucking see that, and this motherfucker knew shit he had no business knowing. Maybe he was onto something.
"This is the place, Carl," he told me, and over the crest of the hill I could see the sky was lighter, kind of like when a sports stadium was all lit up at night for a game. Now we were here I had to at least take a look at the base, but one thing was still bothering me.
"Go, go, go!" he shouted, tossing me a strange looking pair of binoculars. I opened the door and stepped out, expecting him to be right behind me an....
So that was his plan, dump me in the fucking desert and expect me to just figure this shit out for myself. Crazy old bastard, well fuck him, I'd just walk back to the road and hitch a ride or jack a car, go back to my Airstrip and catch some Z's on the old bunk...... but shit, while I was here, I'd just sneak over the edge of the hill, it'd be a shame to come all this way and not see the place.
Damn, it looked like that prison camp in Hogan's Heroes. I grinned, then slid back down the side of the hill and got ready to go..... and then I stopped, and turned and looked back over the hill. The gate was open now, a soldier was patrolling back and forth between the open gates, but you could only see him when the spotlight from one of the towers was tracking along. I could see a big sunken entrance that probably lead down to some wacky underground lab or something, and a big lit up booth on the Western side that probably opened the doors. If I could just get through the doors under the cover of darkness, use these binoculars Truth gave me that had some kind of fancy ass nightvision shit on them, get to the booth, get it open and get inside I coul....
Man, what the FUCK was I thinking, it would be suicide, a fucking ARMY base... a SECRET Army base. I laughed and headed back down the hill again, then stopped and turned back again, remembering what Truth had said about people wanting to know.
"Shit, it's a fucking alien spaceship," I said at last,"I've GOT to see it."
Getting in was surprisingly easy, why the fuck they had the gate open to let a guy patrol in I'd never know, but the moment he'd turned to walk back in and the spotlight had followed him, I'd been able to just creep on after him and then cut off to the side. Now with these night vision goggles on, I could see every soldier moving on they paths. These guys were good, you could tell the way they carried themselves they wasn't like those Weekend Soldiers at the National Guard Armory me and Ryder had hit. But they was in the middle of nowhere, in a place no one knew existed and no one ever visited, walking back and forth all night long. Eventually, even the best soldier would get bored, a little less disciplined. Sloppy.
Again I was surprised at how easy it had been, I'd slapped on a bandanna on my head and face to keep from being identified, but I'd been able to get through the gate, take out a spotlight, choke out a guard and get into the control booth and open the blast doors into the underground lab. Then as the guards had finally clicked that something was going down, I'd taken advantage of the confusion to just rush on down through the open doors.
And just like that, I was in. I had to figure that they was so used to the idea of being invisible and so carefully guarded that when someone came along who could see them and snuck past them, they just couldn't believe what they was seeing.
Trouble was, now I had no idea where to go next.... and now they knew for sure that I was here.
"Installation personnel please be aware we are at condition red, this is not a drill," a voice said over a loudspeaker as a loud alarm started playing,"This facility has been breached, all security personal head to the research labs now!"
Well, that made my job a little easier, I just had to follow the "security personnel" without being seen.
"Personnel are reminded that the downloading of pornography is strictly prohibited," a bored sounding lady's voice said over the speakers, surprising me. Downloading? Zero had said something about downloading but I couldn't remember what the fuck it meant.... but why was she giving out messages like that during an alarm?
"The composites lab would like to remind diagnostics that their fridge is off-limits to diagnostics," she said, and I realized she was just reading off a list of announcements, and didn't seem to give a shit what was actually happening in the base itself,"Could whoever stole the Composites Lab's mugs please return them."
This place was fucking crazy.
Of course... I wasn't helping any.
Now that I was in and they was gunning for me, I didn't feel bad about killing them. It was like it was on the streets - kill or be killed, and these boys knew what they was signing up for when they joined the army. Beside, I wanted to see this spaceship, and these motherfuckers was hiding it from the world - assholes.
"Oh God, he's here!" shouted one the scientist dudes, seeing me and trying to run for it. I lifted the shotgun up and pointed it at his face and he froze, throwing his hands up while the other two slammed they backs against the wall, freaking out.
"Where is it?" I asked,"The fucking Spaceship?"
"Spa.... spaceship?" asked the scientist - Hal, according to his ID,"There's no spaceship here. We're a research facility, not NASA."
"The fucking Black Project," I yelled,"Don't lie to me, motherfucker, I'll know."
"For God's sake, Hal," moaned one of the other scientists,"Just show him to the silo an-"
"SHUT UP!" yelled Hal, and I slammed the butt of the shotgun into his face, knocking him down, out for the count. I lifted the shotgun and pointed it at the scientist who had spoken.
"The silo?" I asked.
"Follow the path directly through the research labs," he moaned,"Follow the stairwell down and around, Black Project is down there."
"What the fuck is this?" I asked, pointing at the big green radar screen.
"SAM site controls," he told me, practically crying,"Surface to Air Missi-"
I blasted the control panel with the shotgun, and the sound made the pussy just faint dead away.
"Oh God!" moaned the last one,"They told me this would never happen! They said it wo-"
"Shut up, for fuck's sake," I muttered, popping him one and knocking him out, then turning to leave before finally noticing what was on the table in the centre of the room.
A perfect scale map of the State.... what the fuck were these assholes up to down here?
Something that was starting to bother me, the deeper I got into the base, was the lack of soldiers. sure, I'd killed a few, knocked out some more.... but there was an alarm sounding and a warning that I had broken in, and this was a secret base in the middle of nowhere with a UFO hidden away inside of it... I'd have thought the whole fucking army would be gunning for me. Where were they?
"And just what do you hope to accomplish here, young man?" a snotty voice asked as I stared at a big sealed door with a strange white slot next to it and a blinking red light. I turned around and saw an old, distinguished looking white dude in a labcoat giving me the same kind of look my old history teacher had given me back in school.
"Who the fuck are you?" I asked, lifting my strap up on him, but he didn't seem scared.
"I'm someone authorized to be here," he sniffed,"Unlike you."
"I'm here to see the Space Ship," I told him, pointing to the door behind me,"I need some kind of key to get in there, huh?"
"Oh for God's sake, you're one of "them"," he snorted, rolling his eyes,"Young man, you've made a very big mistake, and if you don't die you're likely to spend a very long time in a military prison. There is NO spaceship here, no aliens, no otherworldly visitors. We are a research laboratory for the US Military, nothing more and nothing less, there are NO aliens here."
"Could the owner of the alien culture in the diagnostics lab fridge kindly remove it," the bored lady said over the speakers, and I saw his shoulders slump and his eyes close in the second it took me to cross the distance between us and press my gun under his chin.
"No aliens, huh?" I demanded.
"That word doesn't mean what you think it does," he moaned, his attitude dropping once he had a gun pressed to his jaw,"Please, there's no ali-"
"Has anybody seen my screwdriver?" the bored lady asked over the speakers, cutting him off,"I think I left it in the composites lab..."
"For God's sake, Maude," he grunted, then lifted a card up from his side and waved it to get my attention,"Please, just take this then, go through the door and see for yourself."
I pushed him back and grabbed the card, then turned to look at the door.
"Something you ain't telling me," I said,"Where are all the soldiers? I haven't seen as many as I was expecting."
"They're in there," he told me,"Guarding th.... guarding the silo."
"Silo my ass," I said,"That's a fucking Launch Bay for the UFO, ain't it? The fucking Black Project."
"How do you know about the Blac-" he started, but then I slammed my elbow into his face and he went down. I turned to the door, knowing that behind it was a bunch of pissed off army dudes armed to the teeth.... but also a fucking UFO, a ship from another world. Now I'd come this far, I HAD to see it.
"Code Red! Code Red!" the male voice from earlier shouted through the speakers,"Intruder has penetrated the project! All military personnel to the launch bay IMMEDIATELY!"
Well shit... I guess it was time to go to war.
Step by step, inch by inch, soldier by soldier I fought my way down those stairs. Bullets were blasting everywhere, ricochets going crazy, but I held the high ground, and one by one, soldier after soldier fell, doing they best to stop me from getting down to the bottom and seeing what they was guarding, trying to hide it from the world.
And then suddenly, I was there, at the bottom, and there it was, in front of me, and nothing in my wildest imagination had prepared me for what I was seeing.
I stood staring at it, my mouth hanging open, my eyes wide. Far above me I could hear yelling and the running of lots of soldiers in time, the rest of the base emptying into the launch bay to get at me.... but none of it mattered. Truth had been right, in a fucked up kind of way, this changed EVERYTHING! Looking at The Black Project, I knew my life was never going to be the same again, and nothing these soldiers could do would change that - they couldn't stop me, they couldn't even hurt me. Because, thanks to The Black Project, for at least the next couple of hours, I wasn't Carl Johnson anymore. I wasn't CJ, I wasn't from Grove Street and San Fierro, I didn't have a corrupt cop on my ass or a brother in jail or a best friend who'd turned on me and turned into a Drug Kingpin. I didn't have a fucking nightmare of a Government Agent fucking with my life, didn't have any concerns or cares in the world.
Because, for the next little while, I wasn't Carl Johnson....
I was James Bond.