This fiction is not intended for profit.
This is an update from the original posting to rectify a discrepancy on the Plissken Timeline. Anyone wishing to see my take on Snakes life and the alternate earth timeline of the movies just add a request at the end of your review and I'll e-mail it to you.
March 18th 2000/Nevada Desert
"You're Plissken, right?"
Snake Plissken took a second or two to glare at the stupid man before him and pointed to the ragged wanted poster behind him.
"Call me Snake," Plissken hissed as be returned to his newspaper. He ignored the man at the edge of his vision, continued to read the story in the paper and felt his mouth lift in a thin smile as he read the latest gossip from DC.
Snake always felt somewhat unique with his associations with American Presidents in so far as one had decorated him as a war hero and his successor had distinguished him with a death warrant. Opposing ends of a spectrum no other man could attest to.
Snake read on as the newest ex-presidents fall from grace was written as a cheap thrill for the masses and a testimony to Snake's own appraisal of the man.
A grainy picture of Harker, on his knees on the White House lawn, had caught his eye and the details had only cheered him up further. Of all the things that Harker had his fat thumbs and seven podgy fingers into, the poor schlep had been caught fixing an election. Of all the countless evils that man had perpetrated forgery had been his downfall. Oh well, Snake thought, God was in the details, apparently.
Whoever the Hell he had been!
"Snake Plissken: New York, Colombia, Leningrad. ?"
Snake moved his head the slightest degree to scowl at the inquisitor.
"I sure enjoyed this little conversation of ours,' he hissed, "but I'm sure you're a very busy man. Am I right?"
"Er.. well no."
"Then leave me alone." Snake returned to his paper and adjusted his legs as he rested them on the table. The news was two days old so Snake predicted that Harker was probably now listing his new address as a dumpster.
"You're the one I got to fight, right? The one worth fifty mill?"
Snake took a long moment to consider the stranger's life or death, and finally folded the news-sheet with ultimate care.
"That would be me."
The younger man seemed overjoyed and dragged a beaten chair over to Snake's table. The small bar had a variety of half decayed and decaying furniture and thin trails of dust and sand ran like veins across the bare wooden floor thanks to the ill fitting front doors.
"You know, I heard you were dead."
"Join the club," Snake exhaled loudly and fixed the young man with his cold glare. "You planning on leaving soon or have I got to kill you now to get rid of you?'
"What? And loose all that money!" the young man protested. "No way! I'm hear to make you a lucrative offer to get you out of that pit, Snake."
"Really?" Snakes voice oozed apathy.
"How's that work then?" Snake hissed, vaguely intrigued.
"You want out, yeah? You want out of Volga's Circus?"
Snake nodded as he contemplated his current vocation. He studied the grey bracelets around his forearms and sneered as he contemplated their function. Thin fibre optic circuits in the plastic kept deadly monofilament wires retracted and his hands connected to his wrists. Two more, less obvious straps circled his ankles containing equally lethal wires ready to constrict and relieve him of a second set of appendages if he strayed too far from the area covered by the electronic ranges set by Volga.
Escape? Sure, you could run as far as you liked, but just try getting anywhere without hands and feet.
Snake called the monofilament deadly dental floss as it looked like the stuff but if anyone had tried to use it on their teeth they would saw off half of their face in no time. Snake was in the process of trying to get some sent to his old nemesis Bob Hauk.
"I can get you out of here and Volga won't have a clue. You'll be free again."
'Uh-huh. This is the moment when I say that this is too good to be true if I remember rightly." Snake lit a cigarette and his beaten-up brown leather jacket creaked as he moved.
"You get a share of the prize money too."
Snake pulled on the cigarette and stared at the young man through a film of smoke. A million things were going through his mind, but the most obvious one was the small problem of having to be dead to leave Volga's Circus of Death. It was the only way out for the gladiators and the bracelets were only removed from corpses.
"You have a plan?"
"Yeah, all you have to do is let me win my match against you. I'll be against you and fighting for the prize money, then all you have to do is loose and I get the money. We then meet up later and I'll split it with you."
"Groovy," Snake hissed and shook his head slowly. "Have you seen one of my fights?"
The eager man nodded.
"Two men in the arena against the champion - yours truly - and if one of them manages to survive they get the purse. If they die, the purse goes up by another million a piece and I have to fight the next idiots. And as long as I survive I get to stay alive and be Volga's star attraction / prisoner. That sound familiar to you?"
"I've seen you fight. You're amazing. I saw your match against Deadbolt Morran on a pirate broadband..." he was temporarily lost for words. "Wow! That's all I can say about that fight, Snake."
"This small part about fighting to the death go right over your head or something?"
"What? Oh no, that's the beauty of it. I get to stitch that weasel Volga for fifty million and you get your freedom: that's a win-win situation to me."
"But I've got to be dead for you to get the money," Snake hissed and leaned forwards fixing the man with his steel and ice glare. "And believe you me, that ain't going to happen."
"But Snake, that's the beauty of all this. That's all you've got to do!"
His name was Max Burton, son of a truck driver who believed that a life on the road in a truck cab was the best education anyone could ever have. Max had grown up traveling America's highways with his father and had seen the radical change in the county from his passenger seat -open freewheeling highways changing into blockaded and check pointed strips of interstate. Guard towers and APCs replacing truck stops and billboards.
Needless to say his father was demoralized by the liberties taken and was soon out of a job when the license fee to drive a truck became prohibitive. Less than a year after loosing his truck 'The Pork Chop Express', Max's father had sold his soul and taken on Volga's champion, hoping for the two million purse and his old lifestyle back.
Volga's champion gladiator of that moment bad been a former Mexican wrestling champion bought from a Californian detention center before he was transported to New York Maximum Security Prison. He stood six five and was deeply bulked with muscle and killer instinct. He hated his situation but was damned if he was going to be killed for someone else's financial benefit. He approached his new career with a fervor.
Jack Burton was fifty, heavy with whiskey's weight and dulled from stress beating drugs.
But he soon had the dubious acclaim to have been the shortest-lived opponent in Volga's Circus history.
Max had a plan to get his revenge on Volga and knew that Snake was just the man to plot with. All he had to do was persuade Snake to die and everything would be set.
All he had to do...
TWENTY FOUR HOURS LATER...
Snake rubbed his sore eye socket and cursed under his breath. Ever since Leningrad and the loss of his eye be hadn't had one decent nights sleep. Sparks and red fireworks from misfiring optic nerves always seemed to disturb him, no matter how deeply be slept. And the ache from the muscles in his empty socket seemed to only have bad days and even worse ones.
He picked up a device that looked like a stopwatch from the small shelf above his cot and pressed the middle one of three small studs set into the top of the device.
For a stopwatch it kept screwed up time, but for a bank account balance it was a damned fine result.
Snake had managed to find a bookie somewhere in cyberspace and had him set up an account in his name with some of the money that Snake had 'earned' and stashed away somewhere in Cuba. Every time Snake fought the whole lot would be bet on Snake to win - hell, if he lost what would he care! So far Snake had accumulated nearly seventeen million for his trouble and saw this as the only good thing to come out of this whole situation.
Volga had approached Snake with a wanted poster issued by Harker soon after N.Y. He said he had wanted an autograph and to shake to hand of The Man Who Escaped from New York.
Snake was not a big people person and his notoriety was nothing but a pain in the ass. If it was any good for anything it was making the right people nervous and the wrong ones even warier.
Snake had been too busy trying to avoid Volga to see the stun gun behind him. But 50,000 volts soon attracted his attention.
He had woken up in a cell under the arena and found four unwanted extras added to his wardrobe. Volga had demonstrated his wrist loppers potential by allowing a fitted coyote wander out of range of the broadcast unit. Snake got the point pretty quickly. He was stuck here and there was nothing he could do no matter how clever he thought he was. The bracelets were tamper proof and set for a range of less than half of a mile from the arena.
Paddles were optional, but Snake knew which creek he'd been shanghaied up.
"Plissken," the guard hissed and banged his nightstick on the cells bars loudly. "You awake?"
"Not finished with my beauty sleep."
"You're on in five. Get ready, Volga wants a good show this one's going out world wide tonight."
"Volga can go hump himself and your sister. This ain't no talent show."
"That's for sure. You fight like a friggin' pansy. What'd you expect from some Army grunt."
"We couldn't all get into Asshole Academy. You graduated with the highest honors I hear."
The guard spat at Snake and left a trail of body odor as a reminder. Minute's later Volga appeared, his flat-faced lackey - Lyle - close behind him with his ever-present box of tricks.
"You put on good fight tonight Plissken or I might let Lyle push a button or two," he chuckled and rubbed a greasy band over his jowls. Lyle sneered at Snake and pantomimed pushing buttons on the large remote be carried. The remote could over-ride the bracelets systems and cinch them tight in less time than it took to realize. "I got guests conferenced on the 'net and broadband broadcasters selling this for high bucks. You're big pay-for-view, Snake. A regular movie star."
"One day. Not today though, I've more important things to do." Volga waved three guards over -all height, nightsticks and stun guns, brains being an option rather than a standard fitting.
Budget models, Snake thought, as he looked them over.
"It's show time cobra-boy." Thick-head #1 said slapping a night stick against his palm.
"The name's Plissken."
The crowd surged to its feet as Snake appeared. A tall cage rose from the center of the arena and Snake felt the sheer force of the crowd as the applause and cheers rose to greet him. It rang around his ears like white noise... like radio static in a gulf-fire.. like acid burning through his gas mask...
"Laydees and gennntell-men! Volga's Circus is proud to present the slipperiest man alive, the most lethal person on the planet. Wanted by the US government and every woman alive, the one-eyed, the only Snake Plissken!" The crowd roared again and Snake had to fight the urge to curse every person his only eye could see.
The cage door sprang open and Snake left the cage - a captured panther slowly experimenting with freedom. Tense and ready for anything.
The arena layout was always changing, part of Volga's showmanship; keep the playing field fresh and new and they'd all come back again and again. Despite the change in arrangement the blood still stained the concrete. The whole complex had once been called Circus Circus: part of a long line of gambling hotels, Snake seemed to recall. But Harker's ban on everything from free speech to shitting in the woods had shut Las Vegas down over night. An official air strike had nailed the coffin lid firmly down four days later. The ragged hole in the roof let sunlight in and acted as a center spotlight on the arena floor. Jagged hulks of cars littered the large area and something that looked like the tail end of a plane made a central focal point in the post-Armageddon stage set.
"Tonight's bout will be a special attraction, as we have not one, not two but three opponents for the one man apocalypse to maim..." the crowd began a low rumble, "...murder..." the low noise grew "and massacre!"
The last word compelled the crowd to burst into another cheering frenzy. Snake studied the faces and saw nothing left of a human being up there. Animals filled the seats: sick, bloodthirsty dumb animals.
As silence threatened to make an appearance three doors sprang open around the arena and three men made their way into the ring. Snake studied them. Here were the dumbest ones of the lot. Hungry for money and willing to waste their life to try and get it.
Dumb dumb dumb. No other word for it.
Max was dressed like an advert for a body armour store. Ex-police SWAT vest and leg protectors covered most of him, whilst the black jump suit he wore was probably Kevlar threaded.
The two other men had shopped at the same store, it seemed, and Snake wondered if this had been Volga's doing as well. Set dressing and costumes for this televised event.
Snake studied his own clothes and nodded grimly. Tough, beaten boots that hadn't seen polish in his lifetime, combat pants and a black diving top with zips across the shoulders. No surprise costume changes for his part.
"For those about to die," Volga's amplified voice sounded even fatter than normal, "I thank you!" The fat merchant didn't switch off the mike until everyone heard his self-satisfied chuckle - accident or ploy no one knew. Snake, especially, didn't care.
Snake moved like an arrow and dashed for the closest car he could find. He knew this game too damn well and knew Volga's tricks.
He wrenched open the trunk and found a tyre iron wedged into the spare tyre well. He grabbed it and felt safe now that he had a weapon.
He slammed the trunk shut and scanned the arena for his opponents. Two had seemed to club together and were working as a team, one searched the cars whilst the other played look-out. Max was nowhere to be seen but Snake studied the crowd and guessed Max was behind the airplanes tail. Snake felt adrenaline lift his body and as he ran to the next car he felt his muscles grow tight and strong.
Snake wondered if fate or plot had brought the hulk of a yellow taxicab into the ring, be pulled open the back door and pulled the rear-seat out of the car. A long sword lay beneath and Snake dumped his tyre iron and reached for the gleaming samurai sword.
As he stood up a crossbow bolt sank into the metal above his shoulder. A quick glance confirmed it was the two-man team and Snake hit the deck and rolled under the car as be saw the second man raising a pneumatic bolt thrower. A small canister fed the weapon and Snake guessed it would last six shots at most, but then again one well placed one would be all it took to win the game.
A bolt punched past him as he crouched behind the taxi and Snake stared in disbelief at the hole. It was as wide as his fist and the bolt had seemed to be far from spent as it embedded itself in the arena wall meters beyond. Snake looked at the sword in his hand and growled.
He made a quick look-see and saw the team had split up, coming at him from both sides.
Pansy-assed pincer movement! How the hell did they think he had survived this long?
Snake chose one man and moved. He ran in a crouch from behind the car, rolled across the dusty concrete and came up on his feet running. A super powered bolt dug a trench inches deep where his feet had been seconds ago. He continued his sprint and made a dive over the bonnet of a pick-up sunk on its wheel rims. A second later a bolt took the old trucks doors off as it traveled through the wreck.
Snake had his back to the axle, the longest and thickest part of the vehicle. Two wheel rims and a drive shaft would take the guts out of any projectile.
"Banner! We got him! He's trapped behind the pick-up!" the man's voice was hoarse and raw with tension.
"I'm with ya, buddy," a second voice called and Snake darted under the truck to see where the men were.
He saw their feet and guessed they were less than ten feet apart and fifty or so from his position. He was about to back out when be saw a thin sliver of metal buried in the dirt, he brushed thin gravel aside and found a throwing star.
"Hello old pal!" he snagged it and felt its weight, judging it carefully.
"Time to make our money!" the man called Banner said.
"Time for ME to make MY money," the bolt throwing opponent said. Snake heard a huge cheer from the audience and frowned. His empty eye socket ached painfully for a second, almost an expression of the confusion he was feeling.
Snake sprang up from his safe spot and raised both his arms. The sword left his hand and sang through the hot, charged air spinning in a perfectly balanced, gleaming arc until it hit the man carrying the pneumatic bolt thrower in the face.
Snake didn't need to use his throwing star as the bolt man had already wasted his short-term partner when the money seemed inevitable. Greedy bastard, Plissken hissed and felt the dry air across his tongue. God what he wouldn't give for a cool beer right now!
And then he remembered Max. And then he saw him.
The young man was sweating, his clear features creased with determination beneath the sheen of perspiration and in his hands he cradled an Uzi. There was always one firearm somewhere in the weapon littered arena and Max had obviously found it. They were not always found, sometimes being hid too well and once they were discovered their use was limited to six shots or less. Volga obviously begrudged paying for more ammo than was necessary. Max met Snakes eye and his mouth made a strange twisting movement. It was a face off with little in the way of suspense.
What chance did one man stand against another with a loaded machine gun? Not much - unless his name was Plissken.
Max held the gun as if it weighed as much as he did and stumbled towards Snake. Snake held the younger mans eyes, trying to fathom if this was part of the so-called plan, or some new twist. Snake held Max's gaze until he was sure.
Crap! Why is everyone always trying to screw me over!
Snakes movement was a blur, the star out of his hand and on its way towards Max as the Uzi began to chatter.
Snake saw the gleaming star hit Max in the leg as the first bullets struck him. They seemed to carry on hitting him for a longtime, each dull thump sending shocks through his body.
As Snake fell to the ground he thought that there had been a damn sight more than six bullets in that gun.
It had been billed as The Death Of Snake Plissken and Volga had delivered. Volga had hired a patsy for the whole charade and had made sure that he knew where the lethal weapons were hidden.
The problems were that Snake had killed Volga's plant and Max had somehow got an Uzi into the arena.
Volga had been caught in the dichotomy of the result and had bravely faced the world like the true promoter and said he had given the people a spectacle to end them all. The Max / Uzi problem he would see to later.
The crowds had roared for a full five minutes as Snake hit the ground and Volga had thought that they would never stop. The noise was terrific, pure joy to his ears, but a pain all the same. Finally they stopped cheering and began a new chant in honor of Max Burton.
The chant had been at its zenith when the arena surgeon came into the ring and certified Snake Plissken clinically dead.
With a remote similar to Lyle's and Volga's permission, he had de-activated the lethal bracelets and removed them, storing them in a secure box awaiting the next prisoner.
Three guards pulled Plissken's body unceremoniously from the arena and dumped it in the surgery, leaving the doc to do whatever he was interested in doing to Snake Plissken's body.
Volga wanted it stuffed. The guards wanted to use it for target practice. The doc just wanted his money.
Snake opened his eye as he lay on the surgical table.
"They're gone," the doctor said with a small smile across his thin lips.
"You get your money?"
The doc pulled a similar device to Snakes from his lab coat and pressed the update button. After a few seconds he nodded at the readout.
"How about you?"
"I get half of Max's millions when its put in his e-bank, automatic transfer. But I should have another deposit sooner." He undid the flap on the leg of his combats and pulled out his own reader. Sure enough, his millions had doubled, the bookie was as good as his word, although he was still confused on why Snake had bet against himself... and where the money would go if he lost...won.
"Where's that waste of space Max? There were more than six bullets in that gun, even if they were stunt dummies. He nearly killed me!"
Snake ripped off his shirt and began cutting away the Kevlar tape wrapped around his torso with a scalpel. It wasn't easy the stuff was bullet 'resistant' to begin with.
"He must have bribed more than you and me. Volga's gonna have a fit when he puts it all together. His own guy got wasted and his own arena dressers sneak a machine gun into the place. There's gonna be a few job opportunities around here very soon!"
"I don't want my job back! Just get my corpse off to California on the next body-bus." Snake climbed into the waiting body bag almost eagerly.
"You don't want to go there, Snake. It's a real freak zone."
"I should fit right in then."
"Whatever. Don't say I didn't warn you." Doc turned as be heard a door open. "Down!" he hissed.
He drew the zip along the body bag as the guard returned for another look at the fallen icon.
"Jeez, Plissken finally dead, huh? I'd heard it plenty of times, but never thought I'd see it."
The doc shrugged and sealed the bag with a heat gun. The guard sniffed as the smell of hot plastic filled the lab. He studied the tag as the doc clipped it to the bag.
"Why's Volga send the bodies away do you think?"
"Because he's already filled the desert with them!" the doc observed.
"I heard he even sells the stiffs. Sells them to some freaks in LA. Spare part surgery and shit. Some poor shits gonna be walking around with Snake Plisskens gonads this time next week, I bet."
"Rather her than me."
April 9th 2000 / Sacremento
Lennox Weapons and Hardware was a strange shop: guns and ammo on one side, Doctor Pepper and noodles the other. There was nowhere else on the planet that you could pay for a .44 Magnum and a Three Musketeers at the same check-out.
Cy Lennox put his newspaper down as the tall man with dark, tousled hair and a four-day beard sauntered up to his weapons counter and looked over the selection under bulletproof Nomex.
"Help you son?"
The man seemed to growl. Neither a reply nor refusal: just some animal like acknowledgement.
"Can I see the .45 Auto and the Bren?" he seemed to hiss.
Mr. Lennox leant down and slid the partition back. He glanced up at his customer as he brought the guns out and placed them on a red velvet pad. The man only had one eye, a black eye patch covering his left eye socket. Lennox felt as if this should mean something but continued to serve the stranger as his mind went in search of information.
Snake lifted the large .45 and slid back the action. It was firm and well oiled, expertly maintained and thankfully missing a serial number.
Snake was examining the Bren automatic when he spoiled the old mans paper.
There in black and white was Bob Hauk. The bastard was staring right out of the print at him, his hawks nose and beady eyes just inviting Snake to put a boot or a bullet somewhere between them.
Hauk was cradling a baby in his arms, it appeared this kid had been rescued from a life in Purgatory, or New York as it was now called. Somehow it had managed to be born inside the walls. This was supposed to have been impossible, all prisoners entering the prison were sterilized. Someone somewhere had slipped through though... no scratch that; TWO someones somewhere had made it through intact.
Oh well, there was that God fella again, he mused.
Snake shook his head and tossed the paper back on the counter. As he did he saw the flyer for Volga's Circus on the counter.
He picked it up and smiled wickedly.
'Come one, come all, challenge the most dangerous man on Earth!.
Max 'Snake-eater' Burton: Volga's Champion Gladiator.
The Man Who Killed Snake Plissken!
Plissken didn't know if be should be feeling guilty or sorry as Max's newfound fame began to spread across the country. No one had bothered to tell the stupid kid that whoever killed the champion had to take his place! Snake would be the first to admit that be had been the most negligent in that respect.
"That's some claim to make," Lennox said nodding at the flyer. "I heard Plissken was already dead."
"Not yet." He smiled at Lennox as the old mans mind came back with a frantic answer. Snake tossed a roll of grubby bills on the counter, slipped the guns into his jacket and turned to leave. "And call me Snake."