Michael Simeone - All Points Bulletin

Michael Simeone

Michael Simeone used to be someone else. Michael Simeone used to be Sal Murino, an up-and-comer working with one of the old-school crime families. Sal Murino was tipped for big things. Then Sal Murino got pinched by the Feds in a counterfeiting operation that he was running on the side for himself, holding back the share on the considerable profits on it that should have gone to his patrons.

Sal knew he was a dead man - the family could reach out and find him any time he was in prison - so he did what the Feds wanted him to, and rolled over and turned star witness for them in a case they were building against his former employers. He went to court and performed the script the Feds had written for him, a couple of the family won't be seeing the world outside of prison this half of the 21st century, and Sal disappeared into a Fed witness relocation program.

Except he still wasn't safe - not while he knew the families had contacts inside the Feds - so he skipped out and set up his own relocation program. New name to replace the one the Feds had given him. New face to replace the new one they'd given him too. One face job on top of another, until even his own mother wouldn't recognise him. Moves around - a couple more names and identities picked up and discarded - until he's confident no-one would ever be able to follow his trail.

And then goes back to San Paro and recovers the cash stashes he left there. The name he arrived in town with gets ditched, and, a few days later, Michael Simeone hits on the San Paro scene. The city's changed in just the few short years he's been away. The power of the old crime families has waned, and there's plenty of new young pretenders out on the streets, looking to get themselves a piece of whatever's going. He's confident his new face and I.D. will hold up - he's walked right past guys on the street who would pay a million bucks to know where Sal Murino is hiding right now - but he's way too smart to spend any time hanging round his old haunts.

Simeone picks up on the underground club scene happening down at the Waterfront, in the old 19th century warehouses that have lain mostly crumbling and abandoned down there ever since the tides of economic prosperity flowed off to other, more distant, shores. He senses opportunities here. He hires muscle and starts running security for the scene the kids are building down here. Clubs mean pills and powder, so he starts providing that too, using his security muscle to discourage any potential competition. He starts buying up some of those warehouse lots, getting in early before the price of Waterfront property rockets, and takes the warehouse scene semi-legit. Less risk, more profit. Old habits die hard, though. The pills and powder trade links him into the thriving Waterfront smuggling scene. Pretty soon, he's an operator there, plugged into what's happening, but still managing to maintain a careful distance from it all.

Things are good. He's making good money, and no-one remembers Sal Murino, while lots of people want to do business with Michael Simeone. No-one ever even thinks about connecting the two.

One person does. Luke Waskawi. He comes to Simeone with everything he knows, documented evidence of every link in the chain that takes you from Sal Murino to Michael Simeone, evidence that will be delivered to certain parties if Waskawi ever gives the word or Simeone ever tries anything stupid. Waskawi's got Simeone's life in his hands, but he's a reasonable man, so he tells Simeone what he wants him to do for him.

There's a new crew operating on the Waterfront, right there in Simeone's back yard. Simeone knows the kids Waskawi's talking about. The Blood Roses. Brat pack rich kids from The Concession and Virginia Gardens, who have somehow managed to get themselves into shape as a pretty solid-looking professional heister operation. They act like they know what they're doing, but pretty soon they're going to run out of luck and into another crew who aren't going to be impressed by their shiny guns and shinier outfits, and then that mile-wide arrogant streak that runs through them a mile wide is going to get them all killed.

Waskawi pretty much agrees with Simeone's assessment, but - even though they'll never know it - the Blood Roses have crossed his path already, and he sees some real potential in them. So that's why Michael Simeone would be doing him a great favour if he agreed to take the Blood Roses under his wing, so to speak, and ensured that they continued to prosper under his tutelage.

Simeone agreed, of course. As if he had any other choice...

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