Oh God this was so much fun.
As I flew up, up, up into the air, I could hear army men screaming and yelling and freaking out, firing wildly at me but missing thanks to the fact holy shit I was fucking flying how the fuck you gonna hit Superman?
One guy in particular was screaming louder than the rest, and I caught a few words before I was out of range.
"....60 million..... General Mills...... shoot....."
My mouth was open wide in a grin behind my bandanna, which was keeping the wind and grit out of my mouth, but wasn't doing nothing to stop it getting in my eyes. I had to squint, but I could give two shits because I was fucking FLYING! Not flying in a plane, which was cool, but fucking flying through the air, a jetpack slapped to my back.
At first I thought it might be difficult to handle, that maybe I'd go flying zigzag all over the place, but this fucker handled like a dream - it was $60 million well spent. You gripped a control stick and pressed a trigger to fire the pack up, which lifted you. You adjusted the direction of the stick and it turned you in the direction you wanted to go, you tilted the stick and it adjusted the jets so you could slide left or right. Ease off on the trigger and you lowered, hit a button on top of the stick and it cut the fuel faster so you dropped faster. So simple, a fucking monkey could fly this thing... and probably had, I'd seen stuff on Sixty Minutes about these kinds of places.
I flew over Sherman Dam and past Tierra Robada towards Arco del Veste, where Truth had told me that WE would be going once I'd gotten hold of The Black Project. Motherfucker had better be waiting there, I'd disabled the Surface to Air Missiles so they hadn't been able to shoot me down, but eventually they'd have men and planes and helicopters out looking for they property.
"Man you fucking dumped me out there!" I shouted at him, pulling the jetpack off and lowering it careful to the ground,"That ain't cool, man."
"Woaaaah, you did it!" laughed Truth, not listening to a word I was saying,"Carl, my friend, you are truly one of God's prototypes! Too rare to live, too weird to die!"
I just stood staring at him, and he stared back like he was waiting for me to say something, and finally he frowned.
"Come on, man? Dr. Gonzo?"
"Gonzo?" I asked, confused as hell,"Like in the Muppets?"
"Oh man, this close to Venturas and you don't know Duke?" he moaned,"The coolest man alive!"
"The cooles...? Oh yeah, I know Duke, shit man," I said, not sure how Gonzo came into it,"Everyone knows Duke, he a legend in our hood, man."
"Mine too, brother, mine too," Truth grinned.
I shook my head clear.
"You better stash this somewhere fast," I told him, hauling up the jetpack and carrying it around to the back of the Mothership, popping it into the back and throwing a tarp over it.
"Far out," grinned Truth, shaking his head like he couldn't believe I'd done it. Now that I had, and flown the jetpack and landed it... I couldn't believe it either!,"Have a nice trip, dude!"
"Yeah," I said,"Hey, wait a...."
Well, shit. From flying to grounded.
I stood staring over the edge at the dam below, remembering how it felt to fly, then looked back at the little shack that had somehow survived me blasting the fuck out of those helicopters right on this spot not so long ago. I remembered something I'd seen there last time, and walked back and looked in... it was still there. An old Sanchez sat under the shade of the rock, and when I walked over and checked it out I saw why, it wouldn't start anymore, a loose wire would stop any spark from igniting in the engine and whoever owned it had dumped it rather than figure out how to fix it, probably some rich asshole's kid. I knelt down and made a couple of adjustments, then tried it again.... it worked. I grinned, so Truth had left me grounded, huh? Well I might not have the jetpack anymore.....
I could still fly.
I landed and let the parachute go, surprised it had actually worked. Whoever had left it in the shack had dropped it there a long time ago, and I'd been prepared to take a dive into the water of the dam if I had to, but it had worked like a dream. I grinned over the edge down to the water where I could see the Sanchez sinking, wondering if the owner would come back looking for it. Then I straightened and stretched my arms over my head, yawning. It had been a hectic week, which wasn't nothing new, and I hadn't had much sleep, which also wasn't nothing new, but now I just wanted to get to a bed and crash. The airstrip wasn't far, but without wheels it would take me an hour at least, maybe I shoul-
My phone rang.
"Carl, it's me. The Truth!" Truth said, as if I wouldn't recognize his voice straight away,"We got a date with destiny, man!"
"Oh? Like the date you were so eager to get to you dumped me back at Arco del Veste?" I asked,"When is this "date"?"
"In about.... five minutes!" he said, sounding high which wasn't a surprise... only I doubt he could have smoked or snorted anything in the time since he'd dumped me that would get him going this quick. Shit, he wasn't high, he was excited.
"......OK," I said at last, walking up the hill towards the road, looking out for a car to flag down then jack,"Where you at?"
"At the old airplane graveyard you've been hanging around," he said, which made no sense, he'd been going on and on about a train being the reason he needed The Black Project, so why he at my airstrip?
He'd hung up before I could ask though, and a car came over the edge of the hill as I pulled my bandanna off of my face, and he stopped before I even had a chance to flag him down.
"Say buddy," he asked,"What's with all the hubbub with the helicopters to the West? Army on maneuvers?"
"Something like that," I said with a grin, approaching the car,"Something like that."
Damn, where was this fool?
Oh shit... OK, that answered that question.
"Not all fantastic things are lies, Carl!" Truth shouted, dropping the jetpack to the ground, eyes wide and sparkling like he had a fever,"Today, we'll know EVERYTHING!"
"Oh, I can hardly wait!" I yelled, surprising him as I threw my arms wide,"I hear knowledge is truly sacred in this part of the world!"
"...woah, man," Truth said after a moment, blinking,"Take a chill pill."
I sighed and rubbed my forehead with my hand, feeling a headache coming on from working with him while he was worked up like this.
"Man, I've tried," Truth told me, pointing at the jetpack,"But I can't fly for shit.... you better do it."
"Do what?" I demanded,"You still haven't told me what the fuck is going on!"
"Land on the train, kill the guards, get in and steal the stuff," he told me, then opened his mouth wide and gave me a big ol' friendly grin.
"Oooooh, yeah!' I grinned, nodding my head, and he nodded back, smiling as well until I snapped my head forward and shouted,"WHAT STUFF!?!?"
"I don't know yet!" he responded, snapping his head back and throwing his arms wide just like I had, only his voice was softer and more laidback.
"OOOOOOH! You don't know yet!" I yelled, turning around and walking in a small circle back to facing him,"I was starting to think you was a lunatic.... what do you mean, you don't know yet!?!"
"You'll be steaaaaaling the answer!" he came straight back at me, like it the most obvious thing in the world,"Look, fly the jet pack. Land on the train. And steal whatever they least want us to get!"
Man it was too hot to deal with this shit, fucking Truth high as a motherfucker and talking complete bullshit, I.... shit, wait... I could hear a fucking train, way distant, but I could hear it.
"We better go," whispered Truth,"Peace on earth, dude!"
He rushed off behind the office and I heard the sound of one of the bikes I kept in the garage starting up... nice, now he was stealing one of my bikes? I sighed and looked down at the jetpack... OK he was a crazy old hippy, but he seemed to know shit he shouldn't and I could hear a train coming.....
Besides, any excuse to use the jetpack again.
Oh shit.... OK, Truth was onto something, this wasn't some regular train, that was fucking Army men down there... and a tank?
Oh man I wanted a tank.
Truth had told me to take whatever "they least wanted me to have", and it seemed like they didn't want me near the crates all the guards were standing by. Even when I landed on the tank they seemed more interested in keeping me away from the crates.
There was something..... powerful..... about standing on this tank, the big shaft sticking out from between my legs, the world's biggest cock just waiting to blast motherfuckers off they feet. Damn - the army fucking rocked.... just a shame the assholes they had in it seemed to be fucking scrubs.
Oh fuck me.... what the fuck was this.... what the FUCK was this......
Truth was right, this was.... something.
"Let me see!" shouted Truth, excited, crouched over like a little kid wanting a lollipop when he saw me approaching holding the.... the.... whatever it was.
"Ooooh..." he moaned, taking it from me and holding it above his head, so the light of the setting sun was shining through it,"Everything is different now."
"What is it?" I asked, leaning forward, wanting to see it, hold it some more.... I didn't know what it was, but it was.... something.
He staggered back, clutching it to his chest, heading towards the open door of The Mothership, and I started to get a sinking feeling in my stomach.
"Truth," I said, taking a slow step forward, lifting my arm,"What is i-"
"I'll be in touch!" he shouted, jumping into The Mothership and starting the engine up.
"WAIT!" I shouted,"WHAT IS... yeah, see you around."
I sighed as I watched him drive away. Fucking hell, this conspiracy shit was almost as addictive as flying... at least I still had the jetpack.
My phone rang.
"Hey man, what is it?" I asked, figuring it was Truth.
"I thought the expression was 'what it is'?" said Toreno, and I felt my balls lift up into my stomach. Lucky for me, he was - as usual - more interested in talking than listening to what I had to say,"Say Carl, you like money, huh?"
"Wha? Yeah.... who doesn't?" I asked.
"The Amish," he replied back, deadpan,"Assholes are impossible to wiretap, boring as hell too.... listen, part of my cover as a Vehicles Trainer involves cash payments, lets me replace equipment without leaving a paper trail. We're talking quality machinery here, 10K a month as a base, more if requested."
"....yeah? So why you calling me?" I asked,"Just to brag?"
"The 10K is coming to your airstrip, asshole," he said, chuckling,"I thought maybe you'd like to know about it."
"Oh... oh OK, so what you want me to do with it?" I asked.
"Fucking spend it, burn it, blow it on strippers, I don't care!" laughed Toreno,"Carl, listen to me carefully. I. am. giving. you. money."
"Oh...." I said,"....OH!"
"I'm dealing with a genius," Toreno said quietly, and I could see the asshole grinning on the other end of the line,"Listen, there might be a few deliveries out your way over the next few weeks - I've given instructions you're not to be bothered, so don't bother them either if you happen to be there. In fact, it'd be better if you weren't, why don't you make yourself scarce?"
"Maybe I could go pick up Sweet and take him to Fierro," I said.
"Haha, good one, Carl," he laughed,"Seriously darling, go to Venturas, play some craps, have a good time."
He hung up.
Man, one benefit of Government work, they fucking tossed money away like it wasn't nothing but a thing.
My phone rang AGAIN, but this time I didn't say anything when I answered, wanting to see who it was.
"Carl, it's Woozie!"
"Hey, Woozie, man!" I grinned, glad to hear his voice,"What you been up to?"
"Come along and see for yourself," he said, sounding happy,"I got a little business proposition for you. Come over and see the setup, my friend."
"OK, for sure, I like that," I said, and I meant it. Woozie was a great guy, a good fucking friend and whenever we did business together I came out of it real good.
"Like it?" laughed Woozie,"You're gonna love it! Come meet me at the Four Dragons Casino in Las Venturas, just tell them who you are at the desk. I'll see you soon, yeah?"
"Yeah, OK," I said, and we hung up.
Well, that settled that - Truth had brought the place up, Toreno had suggested I go and now Woozie had a business deal for me there. I was gonna go crash in the office and catch some Z's, but when I woke up I was gonna shower, change my clothes and head out on the road.
It was time for me to hit Las Venturas.