ACE · Short Stories

ACE – Belisle the Cutthroat

Just want to preface this a little bit. This is going to be a new category of short stories which take place in the same world that the game journals are written in / the games I run take place in. Since I’m making the game journals public, I figured why not add some depth to their worlds and make things a little bit more interesting. So here’s the introductory story, Belisle the Cutthroat.

It takes place a few days before Operation Hydra so if you haven’t read that, then you might want to.

James Belisle sat alone in a booth against the back wall of a crappy mexican food place in north Biscayne. This particular fast food place had walls made of mostly window and in the broad daylight filled the dining room with natural sunlight.

Marisa Correia walked in wearing an outfit something like Carmen San Diego would wear. Something that makes people look more conspicuous due to their obvious attempt at looking inconspicuous. She sat down at the booth behind Belisle.

“You’re here.” she said, obviously talking to Belisle. The old tourist couple across the restaurant could even tell if they were paying attention.

“Yeah. I’m here. If you’re going to be so obvious, why not just sit at the same booth Correia.” said James who was obviously already having second thoughts about this deal.

“You aren’t supposed to use my real name out here like this. I shouldn’t even be in this country!” she snapped back at him.

“Nobody knows who you are here. It’s the safest place for you to be. So you can lose the costume.”

“I feel safer like this.”

“You look dumber like that.”

Correia turned her head around, suddenly not caring about her safety. “Listen, ACE.” she said with some spite. “We do this my way, or we don’t do it at all. I’m going to have that dam wired with C4, I’m going to have that city well under my thumb, and nobody, not you, not ACE, not Ventanilla is going to stand in the way of my glory.” Correia had gotten progressively louder as she said this. She was aware that any cover she thought she had should be gone but when she scanned the room nobody even turned their head to see what her scene was about.

“Ok. Let’s all drop the act then. I’ll start.” Belisle stands up and moves to Correia’s booth. “I don’t like fast food. I don’t like being out here in the open. I don’t like being commanded. And I don’t appreciate you feeling like you’re the one in control.” Belisle turns to his troops and orders them to drop the act and stand at attention. Every single patron and employee in the restaurant responded to his order. Correia scanned the room, visibly stunned.

“This is what you wanted right? To force me somewhere out in the daylight, somewhere with lots of windows and a crowd to make you feel safe. How safe do you feel Correia?”

She responded by revealing the string of grenades under her coat and the master cord that would pull all their pins at once hooked around her thumb.

Belisle responded by screaming, grabbing her by the neck, and throwing her across the table.

“I said drop the act!” he yelled, almost coherently this time, before gripping the master cord and pulling it himself. Some of the troops flinched, but not Belisle.

“I know who you are Correia. You’re a fake. You’re a coward. You’d never detonate yourself.” Belisle’s condition catching up with him, his breath already short from the action. “Now tell me what is your real plan for the dam. Bluffs will not get you far when butting heads with ACE.”

Correia was shaken, but still managed an answer. “I recruited some pilots when I staged the coup. They’ll skyhook extract me, and then perform a bombing run on the dam.”

“Good answer.” Belisle said before releasing her and sitting back down at the booth like normal. A troop immediately running over to place a cup of water in front of him which he practically chugged. When he finished he looked back to her and quietly said “I’ll need those pilots when this is over Correia. They might be the only troops you have worth a damn.”

“I’d like to think all of my men have merit.” she replied tentatively.

“As cannon fodder maybe. I’ve seen your troops. They’re the definition of basic. They’re the very opposite of elite. They’re….”

“I get it.” She interrupted.

“…they suck is what I’m trying to say.” He said anyway.

“If my troops and my plan are so atrocious then why are you helping me? What do you get out of it?”

“Well, you won’t kill the ACE agents they send. Your men will probably all break rank and flee back to wherever they came from. Your army in the streets of Cordoba, if they haven’t already surrendered by the time the dam is raided, will have by the end of it.” Belisle said clearly wearing on Correias patience.

“What is your point, Belisle?” Clearly having her patience worn.

“You’ll work for me at the end of this.”

“Why would you want that? All you’ve done since we’ve started is attack me, insult my troops, and belittle my army. Why would you want me to work for you if the things you say are true, and why would want to work with someone who thinks so low of me?”

“Because I want those pilots Correia. It’s the one thing you have that I don’t. But I have several things that you don’t. Like an infantry core that’s actually worth a damn. An espionage network that can provide inside intel on our enemy. And lots of money untouchable by the government. I have everything you need and you only have one thing that I can get from any other number of sources.” He said with bits of spittle flying out of his face on the harder consonants.

“Then why get it from me?” She asked.

“You know why.” He said calmly, putting his elbows on the table and his hands together. “Because helping you comes with connections. You didn’t stage that coup on your own. You had help. I have a hunch who that might have been. But I want to hear you say their name first.”

She was shocked. She looked around the room first to gauge the volume she should use to make sure nobody but Belisle would hear the name. “Blackout.”

“Blackout.” He replied, nodding, now assured that his hunch was correct. “The coalition of arms dealers and cyber terrorists. Now what do they want with you Correia? How did you get within their ranks?”

“I have something they want.” She told him.

“And what is that?” He asked while leaning forward slightly.

She had his attention now. James Belisle, the cutthroat was in her grasp. Maybe if she had made something up on the spot, things would turn out differently. Unfortunately, she told him the truth.

“I have no idea.”

Want to see how it ends? Check back next week. Want to see the new RPG a Month before anyone else? Become a supporter at Patreon. You’ll be my hero, and you’ll help me to keep making more stories and more games.


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