It is the same universe and all, so people who have read the other stories and stuff all know about it. Same second great depression, same flash epidemic, etc. Same gang even. The difference is that the story is a hell of a lot more detailed, and a hell of a lot darker. It even has different characters, since I based the originals on me and my friends and, to be honest, I don't want to associate our names and personalities with the characters here. They are going to be doing some seriously bad stuff. I hope that this is a better read than the other version. Like I said, my writing evolved and the original didn't.
There isn't a map yet for this one (working on it), so just use your imagination (or GMaps... or if you live in the GTA, personal experience). Please do not try to use the subway map I posted in the first thread for this story. It will make no sense and you will be horribly lost, as per the map I'm working on. I'm gonna warn once more that this story might start getting into disturbing territory for some people. Just a heads up. Please remember that this is the same universe as my other Aces stories, so it will still fit into the canon.
Without further adieu, welcome to the world of 2045 Toronto...
It was the morning of June 12th, 2045, and Toronto's University Avenue was being watched. Nobody knew it, but it was the truth. Someone was watching, a single eyed optical-cyclops of sorts. As the early morning light began to filter through the clouds, the watchers became more alert. They were waiting for something. The first birds began to sound their beaks, and the occasional car engine started up in the distance. The screech of streetcars passing on nearby Queen Street became more pronounced as their frequency rose to the one per minute of the morning rush hour. The watchers were becoming impatient.
The sun began gleaming off the condo towers, the pinnacles of luxury rising above the streets below. A car or two passed by, though certainly not many. Most cars were powered by clean-burning fuels, but they were prohibitively expensive for most of Toronto's citizens. The clock turned to six, and the watchers finally saw what they were looking for. There was the low, insignificant sound of a knob being adjusted, followed by the loud crack of a rifle going off. The watchers were gone as fast as they had come, leaving nothing but gunshot residue floating through the air and a panicked street below, all staring at the corpse in their midst.
"We clear?" Alex asked, a low voice in the silence. "Looks like it," Sydney replied, his black hair matted to his head by sweat. "Get it out of sight. We'll wait a few minutes for things to calm down, then we'll head back to Clairlea." The two were crouched in a maintenance hall in the Toronto Hilton, both armed. Sydney, a black haired teenager of seventeen, was carrying a Karabiner 98k rifle with a scope attached to the top, which he was in the process of hiding in a guitar case. Alex, a young man of nineteen, had drawn his pistol, a Beretta M92F, and screwed a homemade suppressor onto it, "Get your piece out, but conceal it. Last thing I want is getting busted around here for showing a gun off." Sydney closed the guitar case up and pulled his CZ-85 out. After checking it, he slipped it back into his jacket.
They crept down the stairs to the third floor before realizing that it would look suspicious for them to come strolling out of a maintenance passage. As such, Alex slid the door open and stepped out into the hall. It was empty, and they proceeded to head for the elevators. Upon taking it down to the first floor, Alex took off the suppressor and jammed the gun into the back of his wasteband. The lobby was fairly lightly populated, and the two left without arousing any suspicion. The street outside was a madhouse, with police holding back the crowd as they covered up the body of the man that had been shot. Alex and Sydney ignored it and kept walking, eventually reaching Queen Street. They walked across the street and headed down into Osgoode Station.
They waited for the train, then got on it southbound. A few stations later, they got off and headed for the other platform at Union. As they walked, Alex pulled out his cell phone, dialing as he walked. They stopped before going down, as phones didn't work in the tunnels, and stood for around a minute. The other end was finally picked up, and a disgruntled "Hello?" filtered through. "Hey," Alex said, "Where's Roger?" The voice on the other end spoke to someone else, then replied "He's... indisposed." Alex slapped his forehead, "He's f*cking high again, isn't he Andy?" "Hey," the voice, now identified, yelled, "You do not question him! He's leader, he knows better. You'd be well of remembering that." "Yeah, whatever. All I know is that I'm starting to get tired of doing all the work while that flash-head sits around tweaking all day." "Look," Andy said, "We'll speak about this when you get back. Is the target dead?" "Yeah," Alex said, "Sydney got him in the first shot." "Good. Where are you now?" "Union. We're gonna take the Downtown and the Danforth back. Depending on how the bus is running, we should be back within a half hour." "See you then." With that, the conversation was over.
Sydney had been standing off to the side the whole time, watching and listening, choosing this time to speak, "Can you tell me why exactly we killed this guy now?" "Right," Alex said, walking down the stairs to the lower platform, "Roger is a paranoid f*ck, so he told me to keep it quiet till it was done. The guy was some businessman that had a side business in flash production. His business was encroaching on ours, so Roger wanted him dead." "Doesn't sound like a very good reason to me," Sydney replied after a moment's thought. "Yeah, that's what I said. But anything I say that can be even moderately construed as anti-drug gets me shot down by that asshole." Flash was a very powerful and very addictive derivative of crystal meth created in the late 2020s. It was distilled using cocaine, leading to it's very addictive properties and high potency. A train came hurtling into the station at that moment, and Alex stopped talking due to the futility of being heard over the screeching of the rails.
After wrestling past the crowds and getting on, they resumed their conversation. "What the hell do you mean anti-drug?" Sydney asked, "Last night you were snorting lines of coke off a hooker's ass!" Alex snorted with laughter, "There's a difference. Coke is one hell of a drug, but flash makes it look like bunk weed. You ever done flash?" Sydney shook his head. "Don't. I did it once. Worst experience of my life. It was like coke, but like it was infecting the very depths of my soul. It felt like fire was running through my blood and stabbing me all over. It evened out after a few minutes, but I was erratic, hallucinating, and it was generally a terrible high. The day after, all I could do was crave more of it. Sh*t's addictive as hell. I ended up having someone lock me in my room for a few days until it worked it's way out of my system. Seriously, it's not worth it."
They sat in silence until Pape, getting off and switching to the subway eastbound. On the way back, they were back to their regular selves, joking and making fun of the others in the train. Nobody dared talk back to them, as they had the tags. Dog tags that each wore around their neck, to be specific. There were two on each chain. One was designed to be a miniature metallic ace of spades. The other tag had the initials of the wearer on it. This was the sign of the Clairlea Park Aces, known in slang as "The Easy Aces". A gang of around 100 members, the Aces held the area from St. Clair Avenue to Hollydene Road in the north and south. Their western border was generally accepted to be Pharmacy Avenue, but their eastern one was more ill defined, usually considered to be behind the final row of houses before the Providence Centre Apartments.
The train came onto the elevated track just before Victoria Park Station, giving a view of a very different Toronto from the one that they entered the subway in. It was only a split second view, but it confirmed to Alex that they truly were home. While a few areas of Toronto had become havens for the rich, the rest had become anything but. The two left the train and headed for the bus platform, hanging out and scouting the area. Alex was naming details off, Sydney taking them down on a scrap of paper as he spoke: "Crescent Town Jammers dealer over by the 24 bus platform. Three Blantyre Park Broadsides waiting for the 13, look armed to me, not sure though..." At that moment, the Pharmacy bus pulled in, and they boarded.
The bus drove through the streets, passing scenes of hopelessness the whole way. It would have shocked anyone to have seen the area fifty years before, then see it again at the present. Dentonia Park Golf Course, formerly well used, had transformed into a hobo encampment. Tents and makeshift shacks filled every inch of ground, interrupted only by piles of used needles and vials of flash. Junkies hung out by them at all hours of the day, digging through in search of any remaining product, not caring about the syringes stabbing them. The drugs were provided by the Dentonia Park Rangers, a gang mostly headquartered in the apartments to the south of the park. Every year or two, the police would sweep through and evict the squatters, but the place would always be full again within a month.
The road the bus was on was barely holding together, as the last maintenance that had been done on Pharmacy Avenue occurred when Alex was in grade school. Makeshift patch jobs had been applied to some particularly bad areas by local residents, but it was far too little. They drove over an open manhole, the cover missing. Probably stolen and pawned for drugs a few years back, as it had been like that for a long time. They went past Regents Park Public School, a building that was beginning to feel the wrath that years of ill maintenance tends to have on things of it's nature. Most of the windows were broken and covered with plywood, as the board didn't have enough funding to replace them. Someone pulled the request stop cord, and the bus pulled to the side to let the man off. Before the doors could open, a gunshot went off nearby. The bus driver took off, not even stopping as a bullet smashed through the door window. Sydney jumped up and drew, firing a shot out the open window next to him. He had hoped to scare whoever was shooting off, but the bus were already moving away, the driver screaming for him to put the gun away.
Among all these specific instances was nothing more than abject poverty and social strife. The homeless littered the broken streets like just any other piece of trash. Most of the houses were squatted, with few properties actually being owned. Those that were tended to have entire extended families crammed into the same space. Drug dealers sold openly, not fearing the police, as they were stretched far too thin to have much of an impact on the drug industry. The scariest thing was the fact that most of Toronto was the same. Downtown, Yonge and Eglinton, Scarborough Town Centre, Etobicoke Centre, and North York Centre. These, with a few other areas, were the domain of the rich. The rest was left for the poor.
As they crossed St. Clair onto the dividing line of their turf, one of the aforementioned drug dealers caught Alex's eye. He wasn't wearing a pair of tags, but he was on their side of the street. "You see that?" Alex gestured towards the errant dealer. "Yep," Sydney replied, fingering the trigger of his pistol, "Take him?" "F*ck yeah." Sydney pulled the cord and the bus stopped at the nearby stop. The two walked up, concealing their tags in the collars of their shirts. "Hey man," Alex called, "You sellin'?" The dealer grinned, "Hell yeah man. Flash, crack, meth, whatever you need I either have it or know somebody who does. What you lookin' for?" Alex and Sydney grinned, "We're looking for one dumb f*ck who's dealin' on Aces turf." As he said this, the two pulled their tags out. The dealer went for his gun, but before his hand could get there he was getting whipped by the butt of Alex's gun. He hit the ground, moaning in pain. The two laid into him, kicking the dealer in the ribs and head. He was screaming for mercy after a minute, so they gave him mercy via the business end of Sydney's gun. With a sharp crack, it was over. They stripped his body of anything useful, including his gun (a badly made .22 pistol), his cash, and his drugs. As they were doing this, the street had cleared of people. The residents knew when to pretend they didn't exist. As they left, Alex tossed the flash into an open sewer, first making sure that there were no Aces around to see him do it.
They headed to the end of Rosita Crescent, walking through the footpath to Clairlea Park. It functioned as a sort of open air hangout, though their official hangout was in a block of eight houses at the north-western corner of the park. They had all been abandoned, so the Aces made them their own. Four faced west and four more faced north. A few Aces were sitting on the delapidated playground equipment of the park, passing a joint around between them. Marijuana had been legalized in 2017 after huge amounts of political bickering, so they had nothing to worry about. The guys nodded, beckoning for Alex and Sydney to come over. They obliged, offering the joint. Alex declined, given how it was barely seven in the morning, but Sydney took a drag. "So," said the one with the weed, a burly lieutenant named Rick, "I heard a shot. Story?" "Dealer on our turf. Looked to be an independent. We took care of him." Alex said, pulling out the drugs, "Anyone want some before Roger gets to it?" One of the others reached out and took a few bags of the crack, saying he could flip it for some cash. The rest shook their heads. Alex and Sydney walked away, heading for the hangout. They entered the house on the far right, which was reserved for lieutenants only. As they were both in that capacity, they strolled in and each grabbed a beer. "Roger!" Sydney yelled, dropping the guitar case with the rifle in it, "You here?"
There was the sound of someone stumbling around upstairs, the sound of a muted "f*ck" as he ran into something, and Roger finally half walked-half tumbled down the stairs. "Hey," he said, picking himself up. Roger was a white guy of about twenty-one. He was tall and muscular, but beneath that lay the obvious signs of drug addiction. There were pockmarks on his arms from heroin injections and dried blood under his nose due to snorting flash. There was a gash on his forehead, obviously from the night before's partying. Alex doubted that he even noticed the injury yet. "We did it. Took him out, then got the f*ck out of there." "Good, good..." Roger said, drifting off at the end to rummage around for some liquor, "You two seen where they put the forties?" Alex pointed to the case of malt liquor bottles right in front of Roger's face. "Right, right, thanks. Anything else?" "Yeah," Alex said, pulling out the drugs, "We caught a dealer on our turf, an independent I think. We offed him. Got a few hundred off him, plus this stuff and some piece of sh*t .22 he was carrying." Roger snatched the drugs, looking them over and pocketing them. As an afterthought, he pulled out some of the coke, "Want some? Since you got it and all, y'know?" "Nah man, thanks," Alex said. Sydney responded in kind when offered, so it all went back into Roger's pocket. He then folded through the cash, handing fifty each to the two and putting the rest in his pocket for the safe.
"Anything interesting happen while we were gone?" Sydney asked, sitting down and flipping on the TV. "Nah, not much," Roger said, "Early morning, y'know." "Yeah." Sydney turned to the seven o'clock news, which had begun shortly before. The news anchor was speaking, "...the White House can not confirm or deny whether or not they were involved in the bombing in question. In local news, a deadly sniper attack occured about an hour ago in the downtown core..." They watched intently, but the reporter gave no indication that they were suspected. After the story was done, Alex and Sydney drifted upstairs to find somewhere to sleep. Alex settled on a mattress that was sitting in the middle of the hall and Sydney grabbed a pillow and headed to the bathtub. They needed some damn sleep.