The last few weeks had been fortuitous for Victor. His successful expansion into Downtown was running smoothly despite the reluctance of the Biker Gang. His influence spread to security of the local pharmacies and clothing stores while pushing product just off City Hall. He loved the irony; once he fought for his country and now he was part of the problem. The American Dream indeed, he thought wistfully.
However, despite Lance insisting on helping him, he didn’t trust him with the larger part of the operation. True, he was clean now and more focused, but he was still waiting for the day he’d slip back into his old ways. Not on my watch, Victor thought. He walked out onto the streets of Downtown and found his Banshee parked; he fancied a drive to admire his progress.
As Victor pulled out and drove off, Lance had slowed and parked his Infernus just behind the Greasy Chopper. His brother’s almost brutal approach to the bikers would surely bite them someday. Lance knew from personal experience, a little common sense could avoid a big fuckup.
He entered the bar under heavy scrutiny from the dozens of bikers eyeing him with severe mistrust. Only leather and sweat would be accepted here, Lance thought straightening his collar. His white suit certainly juxtaposed with the casual attire around him.
“Ease off Cougar, he was invited” Came a rough voice as a large, vicious looking man returned to his liquor. ‘Big’ Mitch Baker stepped slowly towards Lance; one hand holding a beer and another grasping a cigarette. “If we’re gonna talk then you best get comfortable” He continued, pointing to the bar.
Lance laughed uneasily. “Sure man, sure. Uh... whatever everyone else is having?” The barman nodded though made no eye contact as he passed him a bottle of lager. Strong shit, indeed Lance mused while tasting the potent drink.
“Now” Mitch pressed as Lance almost gagged. “Your big brother has caused us some trouble as of late. Now you, of all people, wanna make a deal?”
Lance felt the attention upon him intensify. His brother’s men certainly put the boot to some of these goons but evidently not hard enough. He somehow managed to drain his beer and set the bottle down as he got up to face Mitch.
“I know my brother may seem a little... uncool but I think we can sort something out.”
Mitch mirrored Lance and put down his own beer. “What do you mean? We’re not giving up our territory.”
“Well, what if we can work out an agreement? Maybe we can share Downtown. There’s no reason for your boys to ruin their jackets just for the sake of being able to walk a few blocks.”
Mitch looked to his men and then back at Lance. “You do have a point, Vance. But we don’t make deals with just anyone. I’m gonna need your guarantee that you won’t twist the knife in our backs.”
“Of course, man. Of course!” Lance was surprised with how well this had gone considering their last big conflict with bikers.
As though he had read his mind, Mitch spoke. “You wiped out those White Stallionz assholes. Goddamn pricks kept trying to hang our name in mud. We’ll never forget a thing like that.”
Lance smiled. “Those assholes did have it coming. Now” He noticed the attention on him had dissipated. “I’ll need to head back to HQ and we’ll see if I can’t sort something out.”
“Ah, of course” Mitch began to laugh harshly. “You gotta confer with the husband. I understand.”
Lance held his tongue. One slight and he wouldn’t be getting out alive. He left, forlorn and thoughtful. But the worst part was knowing that Mitch was essentially right that Victor was the face of the operation. To him, Lance was nothing but a lackey. Lance screeched away in his Infernus which was mercifully untouched by the few bikers that stood outside; perhaps if he could make his brother listen to reason then he’d get a little more respect. God knows, after cleaning up, it’s all he ever wanted.
Lance returned to the headquarters not long after Victor had. Seemed he had been running errands again; at this rate Victor could run the empire solitary. However, since the money had been rolling in Victor seemed more content with sending out hired men to do his dirty work. It starved the Haitians into surrender; now the Cubans patrolled everywhere except for the sliver of land that belonged to ‘Auntie’ Poulet. Soon, the entire east of Vice City would be subject to Victor and his goons. Lance wondered if he was even considered useful anymore.
Reaching Victor’s lavish office, Lance knocked twice and entered. Victor was on the phone with a few kilos of cocaine just resting on the table. Lance took one look and swallowed; it had been nine months since his last slip up. He willed himself to wait for Victor to finish his phone call while trying to avoid looking at the drugs.
“Yes?” Victor said, his voice clipped. He had no patience for Lance these days.
“I spoke to Mitch Baker and his guys. They’re willing to negotiate” Replied Lance with a proud smile.
“Who cares what Baker says? I told you we are NOT negotiating with those bikers. We’ve killed too many of their men and they’ll just wait till our backs are turned before pulling the trigger. Jesus, Lance!”
Lance took a step back, offended. “Excuse me! I just wanted to stop the one thing that’ll attract attention in Downtown! We could even use those guys as a buffer between us and Diaz!”
“You’re getting out of line!” Victor snapped. The old army ethic was slipping back into his voice.
“No, YOU are! When was the last time you ever let me sort anything? It’s always ‘Lance the Fuck Up’ to you, huh?”
“I’ve no time for this!” Victor slammed his fists onto the table. The kilos barely registered the shock waves due to their sheer weight.”I have a contact in Vice Point who is looking to pay a handsome price for this batch” He motioned to the pile in front of him. “I’ll be sending a couple of guys his way. You, just get out of my sight and sort out Kaufman Cabs. The Haitians have been sniffing around again.”
Lance stormed off, trembling from the anger coursing through him. Then Victor stuck the knife in.
“And try not to fuck it up this time.”
It seems he was never going to let Lance forget his past mistakes. Lance turned and almost marched back to Victor. But one solitary movement; almost an unconscious twitch from Victor made Lance stop in his tracks.
It almost seemed like Victor was about to reach for his gun.
“You’ve changed, man.” Lance shook his head at his brother and walked out. Rather than rationalize what just happened, Victor picked up the phone and went about his business. Something had broken between them and they both knew it.
Author’s note: A difficult chapter to write but I thought I may as well shed some light on the supposed ‘powerful’ Vance Family. Lance is more level-headed thanks to a stint in rehab so his mind works clearly. He wishes for a deal to be made with Mitch Baker’s Bikers; mostly so their business endeavours can go uninterrupted and without police attention from inevitable shootouts.
Victor however is more ruthless in this timeline (the death of his brother being a HUGE factor). His lack of patience with Lance is due to Lance’s many fuck ups in the past (play GTA Vice City Stories and you’ll see). Despite his understandable misgivings, Lance is more mature now and more practical. The whole sibling rivalry edge doesn’t help!
Remember, Victor has been treating Lance terribly for a while.