Chapter 1: Episode 7, Part I - Old Habits Die Hard SATURDAY 10:00PM 動物園 "The Zoo" Ginza Millions of dollars worth of carbon fiber, titanium, aluminum, and steel - tens of thousands of horsepower - flood the busy street. Saturday nights have become the stuff of legends; Patrons roll in from all prefectures to see The Zoo. << That's what the Asahi Shinbun dubbed the establishment in their Sunday paper after one crazy night when their entire staff went to celebrate Japan winning their second consecutive World Baseball Classic. Insanity ensued. There were no actual wild animals involved, a point which any biologist would argue, but the scene would've made anyone think otherwise. Late into that night, 4 years ago, the club's A/C had a brief malfunction and hordes of people overtook the street as they came out of the 4-story establishment for fresh air. With the doors open you could hear the music blaring for blocks and the drunken masses decided to move their party outdoors. The police came to shut down the shindig within minutes. Thus, The Zoo became the go-to event Saturday nights in downtown Tokyo. That was in 2009. Two years later, Snake took over the business and changed the name officially to "The Zoo," but old habits die hard. >> Ever since, there is one car that the club-goers have become familiar with. A bright blue BMW M5 that parks right in front of the club. No one sees it arrive, and no one sees it leave. But there it is, Wednesday though Sunday nights, without faltering, and in the mornings it's gone. Nothing makes it stand out, except that on Saturday nights it's the cheapest hunk of metal on a street lined up with Ferrari's, Bugatti's, and other cars whose doors open skyward. However, it is common knowledge that the proprietor of that BMW also owns the club. What very few individuals are aware of is that, docile as it may appear, the Formula-1-derived 90-degree S85 V10 under the hood has been tuned to well over 700hp by the man himself ... Exotics beware. ----- 2:00AM The line to the club wasn't getting any shorter. Suddenly, the clamor is disrupted by the sounds of heavy drum & bass as the front doors opened. A squad of bouncers walk out carrying a battered drunk followed by a short, suited, bald man with a goatee holding a drink. The goons toss the vagrant onto the sidewalk, then the bald man walks up to him, kneels besides and proceeds to pour his drink on the man's head. "Get him outta here, put him in a cab." Ordered the bald man. "No problem, boss." Replied a bouncer, hailing one of the taxis standing by across the street. The people waiting in line were confused, "why was this guy just thrown out of the club?" Who is this bald guy giving orders?" Snake wipes the sweat off his head and walks toward his car. He opens the front door, reaches in, and pulls out a pack of cigarettes - Newport 100's. He lights one and exhales a deep sigh of relief, billowing smoke into the neon-lit night sky. Right about this moment, the crowd begins to murmur amongst themselves. Everyone knows the BMW belongs to the club's owner - but very few people have ever laid eyes on him. The silence broke again as the bouncers returned inside, only after putting the strange Drunk in a taxi and sending him on his way home - wherever that was. Snake finished his cigarette and proceeded to light another. The stress is palpable. Upon finishing his break, he heads inside then goes into his office on the top floor and isn't seen for the rest of the night. ----- 2:37AM He trusted his staff to handle business the rest of the night. Snake stayed in his office until the party was over and all patrons had left, looking for ways to get his mind off what had just happened: Playing Free Cell Solitaire, a little book-keeping, some solo beer pong, and even a chapter of a classic book, Live And Let Die. He was a James Bond fanatic and it showed in the way he carried himself. Snake had given the order to have everyone out by 3AM. For the first time in years, The Zoo was quiet before the police even showed up. ----- 3:50AM The cleaning crew was busy at work as Snake went out the side fire-exit. He had his cigarettes with him, so he helped himself to one this time. A pair of patrol cars remained outside. Saturdays were usually hectic, they were assigned the post. As Snake walked to his car, he received an odd look from some of the officers in one of the cars. Chances are, they'd never seen anyone get in to the blue BMW before. Once inside, The Boss lit another cigarette. He waited about 30 seconds before pushing the START button on his dash, startling the officers with a few loud bangs and throaty backfires. Two minutes later he slowly pulled out in search of an old friend. Back in New York they seldom met, for there's nary the space to play. But in Japan that friend is always within reach - especially with 700 thoroughbreds on his side. "It's been a long time, old girl. I haven't let you breathe much, these days. But tonight, we're seeing 300." ----- 4:00AM Concrete and glass edifices bathed in glowing neon. Countless faces abound - some idling, many speeding towards their destination. An old soul in an ancient land; Snake is in his own world inside his mind. N.Y. State of Mind - Nas Inside the cabin of the M5, Snake plays some hip hop. Nas is his favorite - he paints vibrant pictures with words, vivid reminders of home. Now his past is catching up with him. New York City has a way of following you everywhere you go. Its trends, its characters, its life-sucking claws reaching thousands of miles, never letting go. Snake's last street race since fleeing NYC was two years ago - he won the rights to the nightclub in said race. Ever since, he's been too busy and stressed with running that business to dedicate time to his real passion. Tuning cars. But tonight is not about racing ... Well, not exactly. Thinking back to what happened earlier that night, Snake lights another cigarette on the road. "How did he find me?!" Snake punched the steering wheel's airbag cover in frustration. "Well, it's not like I've been keeping the lowest of profiles. Just low enough. Yet, how? I thought I left no trace ... It was a only matter of time ... and these cops think they're slick, been tailing me since I left the club. Not doing very good job of it." [End OST] ----- 4:10AM There is a convenience store at the corner, before the on-ramp to the C1 Shuto Expressway. From there, he'll need to take the Bayshore Expressway home. "The local boys won't pursue too far. They won't keep up any way, not in that dated GT-R police cruiser." Snake pulls up slowly, creeping onto the curb, waiting to see if the SKYLINE pulls up. Once parked, Snake could see the cop car stationed a few meters behind him. He planned his getaway, opting to head East even though home was West. "I can't lead the fuzz straight into my territory, right? I'm low on fuel, but have enough to make it to Tatsumi PA on the Bayshore route for a fill-up. Provided I lose the tail on the C1." That meant dashing up the street, under the elevated highway, then taking the on-ramp around the ensuing bend. A dirty move, yes, but he felt lucky tonight so readied himself and the car, timing his launch with the changing of the traffic lights. "3... 2... 1... .. GO!" He jammed his foot into the gas pedal and took off, banging the rev limiter, shredding plenty of rubber along the way! The police cruiser turned on all the lights and sirens without delay, blaring over megaphone for the BMW to pull over. With the V10 screaming and barking like a vicious dog, Snake shift into second, then third, skidding across the asphalt. He made it halfway across the motorway above before the traffic lights changed. With the sole police car closing in, he turned the wheel, feigning to the left, and then swung right to take the tight entry towards the ramp with a slight drift. "Uggh!" The weight of the BMW was causing Snake almost to spin. The hard-braking GT-R came within inches on the BMW's rear bumper as it slid past the ramp, sirens blaring, nearly colliding with traffic. The cop, now a few car-lengths behind, regained its composure and scampered behind Snake onto the highway. "Crap! I still got this.. I just gotta blast past this bit of traffic with haste and take the Bayshore Junction before the boys catch up or realize where I've gone." He floored the accelerator and the numbers climbed rapidly - 100..150..190... 260! He made a few cuts, left and right, dodging traffic as the police car soon became a blip in his rearview. "That was too close." He said to himself, wiping the sole bead of sweat from his head, "this should be enough gas to make it to Tatsumi PA. I'll turn around there and fill up on the other side." ----- 4:50AM Tatsumi PA Snake filled up the car, then parked near the exit of the rest stop in case he needed to run on short notice. Looking over towards the highway he saw barely any traffic and breathed a heavy sigh as he thought to himself. He wanted to, but couldn't take time off from the club. It's not like he needed the money, business was great. He was wealthy before arriving in Japan and became even more so after getting into the nightlife business. But, he knew well enough that time spent idle would drive him mad. He was always like that. Deep down, he needed to keep himself occupied. Or risk drowning inside a pool of his own thoughts. Driving was always his escape. Tuning, his passion. And racing, that was his greatest vice. It was also the last thing on his mind prior to this night. His trance was broken abruptly by the sounds of roaring engines approaching the rest stop. The tires screaming for mercy as they proceeded caught Snake's attention. Something about the car in front intrigued him. The way it moved. The cars sped right past the Parking Area, getting back onto the motorway going in the opposite direction, westbound. Snake tried getting a better look at the black wedge as is took the on-ramp. It was moving fast! Time seemed to stop for Snake as he focused his attention on the black car in front, completely disregarding the trailing vehicle. Upon closer inspection he identified it as a late 70's Ferrari. The way it moved was eerie, as if it wanted to be seen. Suddenly, Snake's focus was broken when the driver of the Ferrari short-shifted into what he assumed was 3rd gear and let out a single flaming backfire. The rear end jiggled a bit, then caught traction. With the Flat-12 engine wailing, the black Ferrari spread the gap on the chasing car by a few meters. Snake's heart was racing now. He caught himself rubbing the hood of his car, as if to quell the anxiety. The hood was still warm from his getaway of not to long ago. "Chill out girl. We'll see 300 tonight, but that'll be it." Snake finished his cigarette with no due haste and looked inside the box thinking of lighting another. "Damn, running low. I really should quit." He got in his car, turned it on and got back on the highway. Westbound. ----- 5:05AM Bayshore Expressway West Crown - Run The Jewels Snake was focused driving and holding his lane, cruising at 120kph. He was listening to Run The Jewels 2. As the penultimate track came on he felt a chill down his spine. That song usually gets that reaction from him, but this time something was different. He knew he lost the police long ago, so what was this feeling? Was somebody following him? He kept taking glances at his mirrors looking for any headlights closing in. As he came up to the bridge, he gunned it. The force of over 700 horsepower sunk him into his seat as the car thrust upwards of 250kph. He didn't lift at 300, either! No, this M5 is capable of much more. 320... 340... Still rising! Snake directed his gaze down the road ahead and saw what appeared to be headlights speeding in his direction. "Oncoming traffic? No. Too fast. Wait ... Is that?" As the headlights grew nearer, he realized they were on the opposite side of the highway, eastbound. They sped by on the right, the high-pitched wail of the Ferrari hypnotizing Snake, and time froze again. The Boss couldn't take his eyes off that car, as if it called him out on this, of all nights. Whoever was driving that car wanted Snake to be there. They wanted him to see it. To hear it. To feel it. Indeed he felt it. [End OST] "Hmph." Snake lifted the throttle just shy of 350kph. "So they really were going at it. Who races in an old exotic like that? Guy must be insane." A genuine smile formed on his face. As he eyed the Ferrari's tail lights on the right side-mirror growing ever smaller in the distance, he felt it was eyeing him, as well. Having coasted down to extra-legal speeds again, Snake opened and reached in to the glove compartment. He produced a long, thin cigar which he had rolled up with medicinal herbs earlier that night. He lights the Blunt and cracks open his window, as well as the rear-right one. Then, he pulls back the sunroof cover and presses a button overhead which raises the glass. The effect creates tame swirl of wind inside the cabin which expels the thick, lingering smoke from the burning, makeshift cigarrillo. Snake again reached in to the glove box. This time procuring a laminated newspaper front-page. The Asahi Shinbun. An edition from two years ago with the image of a mangled wreckage on the Bayshore Expressway. He couldn't read Japanese, but a friend had translated the headline for him. "Owner of Tokyo nightclub, with ties to underground crime syndicate, allegedly loses business in high-stakes street race." Unable to wipe the newly-formed smirk off his face, Snake says to himself "Oh yeah, guess who's back?!" ===== Author's Notes: I'm sorry for being so late to the story, and also for the lengthy read. I hope y'all enjoy it! I have no pictures right now, but hope to get some great shots for this chapter soon. This was supposed to be my intro chapter, but I was slacking and never got it in on time.