[IP] Transit City #1, Midnight Dance

Byron D. Molix hikaruc at mchsi.com
Sat Apr 10 00:02:33 PDT 2004

Transit City #1

 Midnight Dance 
Byron D. Molix

Copyright (c) 2004, Byron D. Molix


     Without a moment's hesitation, he leapt clear of the 
custom-designed VTOL mini-jet and began to fall toward the 
rooftop where he had heard the deal was going down.  A quick 
telempathic scan told him that multiple people were inside; 
five distinct sets of emotions, to be exact.  His eyes 
narrowed behind his cowl as he fell through the air, and drew 
himself up into a ball.  In seconds, he crashed down through 
the glass skylight and he was inside.

     Glass splintered everywhere but was turned away by his 
costume's deep padding.  His legs exploded behind him as he 
stretched his arms as wide as they would go.  A simple mental 
signal, picked up by miniscule circuitry embedded in his cowl, 
caused the glider wing assembly collapsed against his back to 
extend outward.  This was the first important bust he'd been 
on as the Falcon.  It did nothing to prevent him thinking of 
these men as fools.

     He continued to fall, seemingly in slow motion, and the 
men below were cursing and fumbling inside their suits.  Two 
of them looked up and began yelling back and forth.  "You 
ratted me out Mahoney!" the one in the gray silk suit 
screamed.  A shot went off, and the Falcon noticed that one of 
the mafioso's boys was firing randomly upwards.  Almost by 
instinct, he determined where the bullets were going to be.  
Dodging around the danger zones in an aerial dance was fun, 
but even though he made it look easy, he knew that if the thug 
concentrated he would be able to score a hit.  He let this 
anger fuel him into a torrent of force as he let go of the 
glider-wings, causing them to retract, and plummeted directly 
into one of the bodyguards feet first.

     The crunch of a resounding thud was his reward as he sent 
a gunman rolling away from him along the floor.  He used the 
momentum of that push to flip backwards into the air, and 
toward the Mafioso and his friend, a corrupt policeman.  The 
two remaining gunmen were pointing their pieces down the 
length of the room, but they couldn't risk firing.  Their boss 
was in the way.  "I swear Don Rissetti.  I didn't have 
anything to do with this!", the corrupt cop said.

     The Falcon usually had high respect for police officers; 
anybody who had put in their dues to get to the rank of 
Inspector inside homicide should have been someone to 
respect.  Somewhere, James "Tenor" Mahoney had taken a wrong 
turn.  That put him in the same category as the rest of this 

     "That's right, Rissetti.  I found out about your little 
meeting on my own.  Why wouldn't I?  Your security isn't very 
tight," he said.  The Falcon couldn't help smirking.  He knew 
that from under his cowl in the small amount of light present 
in the storeroom, it would look the devil smiling at them.  He 
continued in a level confident voice, "In fact, I didn't know 
which corrupt piggy I'd find here.  Imagine my surprise when 
it turned out to be Jimmy Tenor."  Jim began shuffling his 
feet back and forth.  He was fingering his piece, and he would 
probably pull the trigger reflexively.

     With a spin and a flip, Falcon was moving again, in each 
arc of his motion he sent a pair of blunt throwing weapons he 
called his 'talons' across the room.  One, two, three, four.  
Tenor dropped his gun, and then followed it to the floor, 
unconscious.  The two gunmen lost their guns.  In the next two 
beats of Falcon's dance he pushed off the floor to land a 
punch full on the side of one of the gunmen's face, and a knee 
under the other one's chin.  They both dropped immediately.  
The entire situation had been resolved in nine seconds, if you 
didn't include the obligatory posturing and banter.

     Falcon walked calmly across the floor of the warehouse, 
entering and leaving the shadows to give his frightening 
visage full effect.  By the time he had reached the mob Don, 
Rissetti was quaking with fear, and a bit of desperation.  A 
flash of warning direct from Dominic Rissetti's brain, and The 
falcon slapped a knife out of his hands.  He heard the clatter 
as it hit the floor, but he already had the mafioso held by 
his lapels.

     With a little mental pressure Falcon began levitating the 
criminal slightly.  With muscle application, he then 
effortlessly lifted Rissetti off the ground like a squealing 
kid.  He held him at arm's length with his feet swinging in 
the air an inch off the ground.  "You know what, Rissetti?  
Let s take a meeting.  But first, let's get you and your boys 

     After tying the mafia gunmen up, and handcuffing their 
boss to the corrupt police officer over a high pipe, Falcon 
was finally ready to speak.  By this time, the mob don had 
become more composed.   You don t run things yet, Robin 
Redbreast.  You picked the wrong man to mess with.  One phone 
ca...  Dominic quickly shut up as the Falcon pulled a metal 
rod from somewhere, and with a click it extended to twice its 
length.  The vigilante turned towards his captive audience and 
began walking towards him.

      Dominic Rissetti.  Age 28.  Promoted to the most 
prestigious position within the Rissetti Family you can fill 
without having to kill a relative.  You are the youngest Don 
in your family s history with the exclusion of your 
great-great-grandfather Vincente.  Your father was proud of 
you until your 17th birthday when you had to start earning his 
respect.  Does any of this ring a bell?  he asked him.  Falcon 
had covered the distance between them, and he pushed the end 
of his metal baton underneath Rissetti s chin, tilting his 
head back.

      Yeah, so you did your homework.  So what!  the criminal 
retorted.  Falcon removed the baton and moved it away. Dominic 
thought he could barely see it if he were to look down.  
That s when the mask on the vigilante s face began to stare 
into his soul.  He couldn t take his eyes off of it, 
especially those dull white eye-holes.

      Over the years, there have been a few crime fighters in 
Transit City.  They never dealt with the likes of Capone, but 
none of them ever considered the Rissettis to be in Capone s 
league.  Maybe they were wrong.  Do you remember them?  he 
asked.  It was almost as if the answer to that question was 
the most important thing in the world to this masked maniac.

      You mean the Regulars?  Those bums were taken out by a 
simple trick.  Of course I remember  em, everybody remembers 
what stooges they were,  he said, he began to laugh out loud, 
but a flash of light reflecting off that baton caused him to 
shudder involuntarily.

      Your grandfather Carlo caused every crime-fighter in 
this city a lot of trouble.  I m a second generation seeker of 
justice, and I m getting sick of trying to cure the symptoms 
of the problems here in Transit City,  the Falcon said in a 
low, intense voice.  Dominic couldn t believe what he was 

      My granddad iced some costumed relative of yours and 
you re here to get revenge from me?  That s the stupidest idea 
I ever heard of, even cops don t take it personal! 

      Oh, it s personal, but I m not out for revenge.  
Consider this your one warning.  I m taking you and all the 
other crime families down.  Tell your rivals, tell your 
friends, tell your father.  I don t care what you do,  the 
vigilante responded.  He moved in very close to the mafia Don, 
and finished with,  And I m not interested in the police, or 
their procedures.  Never forget that.   The next thing Dominic 
saw was that baton swinging through the air towards his face.  
He closed his eyes tight, flinching involuntarily.

     When the blow never came, he opened his eyes.  
Frantically searching back and forth, he tried spying for the 
shadowy hero anywhere in the darkness.  He was suddenly aware 
that they were alone, and he began to calm down.  Just as he 
was beginning to think it was all over, he heard as clear as 
day,  Never Forget!  and it seemed to be coming from 
everywhere around him.


      Mr. Spencer, you look pleased with the evening edition,  
Gladys Pembroke said.  She had rarely seen the big boss be so 
happy with the paper.  When he pointed her to the front page 
story about the criminals and the corrupt cop making an 
illegal transaction of goods, she actually looked at it more 
closely.  The criminal boss was handcuffed with the cop's own 
set over a high drain, his thugs were tied up tightly off to 
the left of the picture, but now that she really looked, she 
couldn t help but giggle.   I see what you mean, sir.  I ve 
never seen a big-shot crime boss lose control of his bladder 
like that,  she said.

      Give the photographer a bonus, Ms. Pembroke.  Also, 
congratulate Dennis Kensington on good work.  When he asked 
the editor for that police beat, I didn t think we d get 
anything this amusing out of it,  Adam Spencer said.  He 
smiled easily and spun his chair back toward the window.  Ms. 
Pembroke exited the office to arrange the bonus for the 
photographer, never noticing that the smile that was present 
on Adam s lips had faded to a flat expression.  He had made a 
good stab at Rissetti s business.  The Falcon had intimidated 
him, and he was likely to see the Don s hasty reactions within 
days.  His humiliation was only a bonus.  Rissetti now had to 
regain face with the other crime bosses in the city, or he d 
lose his family s grip as top dog.

     Adam spun his chair back around to his desk and began 
rifling through the expense and payroll reports on the top of 
the pile.  The Falcon had work to do tonight, but Adam Spencer 
was still the publicist of the Transit City Times (among other 
publications).  He ran the figures together in his head, 
double-checking the accountants, and began looking for places 
that they could cut back or increase spending for the best 


     "What did you two noobs think you were doing?" Dominic 
Rissetti screamed as he grabbed the silver service tray with 
both hands and threw it in the direction of the wall.  James 
Klutch got a twisting feeling in his gut, and in that moment 
time spiraled to a slow progression.  The cause was the 
pulsing hatred intent in the gaze that Don Rissetti turned 
back towards him and Nicholas Leaper.

     James and Nicholas had known Don Rissetti for a decade.  
They had been working for the Family as number runners, spies, 
thugs, enforcers and finally bodyguards.  In all that time, 
James had never had reason to worry about his own usefulness 
to the Family.  The violent effort caused the Don's hair to 
slip out of his hair tie and settle around his face. Time 
resumed a more normal flow as the service crashed into the 
wall sending coffee and cream spraying.  Despite this 
distraction James kept his eyes locked on those of his boss.  
He kept his eyes facing front, even as his legs began to lose 
strength and his stomach began to churn.

     "Nicky, James? I'm looking for an explanation," the Don 
pressed both hands onto the tabletop.  The last time Nicholas 
had seen Dominic explode like this, the person he was 
"discussing with" did likewise days later.  Nicholas opened 
his mouth, but never got a chance to speak.  Dominic rolled 
over the opportunity, as he rounded the boardroom table to 
step directly into James' face.  He lifted his hand and 
curling all but his index finger and thumb inward, he formed 
the eternal symbol for a pistol and planted the "barrel" 
firmly against his bodyguard's forehead.

     "When a would-be hero crashes one of my meets... hell 
whenever anybody crashes my meetings you cap them 
immediately!" he yelled as he emphasized his words by poking 
James repeatedly before firing his "gun" on the word "cap".  
Continuing, the justifiably angry Don leaned forward, "Not 
only did he catch you napping, but he laid his hands upon me! 

     Dominic Rissetti turned his back on his two underlings as 
he moved back around the table to his chair.  "I'm through 
with you two incompetents.  Get me Anton. Before I become the 
laughing stock of Transit City, I'm going to rectify this 
problem," he said.  Dominic turned away to look out the window 
at the steel and glass trenches of his domain, his 
playground.  As the two men filed out of the room as quietly 
as they could muster, Rissetti stared intently out into the 


     The Falcon dropped out of the hatch of his hovering 
transport and fell twenty feet as a ball before extending his 
limbs and glider wings.  He began a silent descent of over six 
hundred feet at relatively high speed.  At nearly the last 
second, he concentrated, lowered his body-weight and used the 
lightweight material stretched between his arms and hips to 
pull up, slow his descent and make a soft landing.  A touch on 
his belt buckle, and a simple mental command, sent the Raptor 
into the clouds to wait for his signal.

     A sweep of the area told him that there was no sense of 
alarm in the buildings below.  With a look over the edge of 
the rooftop, he focused his enhanced eye pieces on the 
interior of the department store across the busy street 
below.  The distance closed as the binocular setting pulled 
details to him.  He settled in to wait; it should only be a 
few hours before the criminals felt confident enough to move 
their smuggled goods out to the street.  He ignored the 
twinges of pain and suffering that always reached toward him 
when he was out in the city.

     <That's it.  Hold still just a moment longer,> flashed to 
Falcon's brain from... above!  Without a moment to spare, he 
lunged forward right up to the edge of the rooftop.  A sound 
of high impact directly behind him proved that he wasn't 
paranoid.  He planted both feet firmly against the edge of the 
roof, and pushed off, leaping backwards into a tight flip that 
opened to a spread-eagle position at the top of the arc. He 
saw not only the first arrow that had embedded itself into the 
roofing, but the blurs of motion that hinted at more shafts 
arcing underneath him.  Like horizontal impressions of death, 
the arrows slammed home into concrete.

     Falcon reached to the pocket on his left leg as he 
continued to sail backwards.  He brought his legs together, 
and formed a tight ball as he landed.  One backwards 
somersault and the grapple launcher was in his hand and 
pointed across the street to the far corner of the department 
store building.  Moving forward, launcher still aimed 
precisely, a burst of compressed air signaled the firing of 
the grapple.  His assailant was on the rooftop ahead of him.  
In a few moments, his chance of being targeted would decrease 
as he took the fight to his attacker.

     The grapple's sharp head bit into the masonry of the 
building seconds before Falcon dove off the rooftop.  His 
beam-like form changed in mid-swing as he brought his legs 
forward to shape his momentum into a fast arc around the side 
of the building.  The arrows stopped flying across the gap 
between the rooftops, and Falcon smiled.  Arrows in this era 
meant skill, and that in turn meant his first real challenge.


     "So you see, Don Marscapelli, Oyabun Ito, I've taken care 
of the  Falcon problem, " Dominic Rissetti said as he leaned 
back into his chair.  His little stint on the front page of 
the Transit City Times had been like blood in the water, and 
had drawn his two most powerful rivals to the table.  The far 
wall had been cleaned, as had the carpet beneath it.  You 
could hardly see the blood stains let alone the coffee.

     "Don Rissetti, with all due respect.  I fail to see how 
common hitmen will succeed against the Spectre of Transit 
City," said the elderly asian gentleman seated across from 
Dominic.  His dark eyes were cold steel and betrayed nothing 
of his thoughts, nor his purpose here at the table.

     "Ito-san, when I say the problem is taken care of, I mean 
that I hired extremely uncommon assassins.  With the money I'm 
offering, only the most skilled killers in the world would 
bother," Rissetti responded.  He looked at Marscapelli before 
continuing, "Although I did have one person on staff who put 
his hat in the ring."

     "Mmnn, and what of this person's efforts?  Do you trust 
him?" Don Marscapelli asked.  Don Rissetti looked at his 
elderly counterpart and smiled.  Effort and trust meant a lot 
to the old guard, luckily for Dominic the only thing that 
meant anything to him was results.  Something he felt he had 
in common with Ito, but there were lines even the head of the 
local Yakuza wouldn't cross.

     "The overachiever is sleeping off a pierced lung in our 
medical facility.  Private mind you.  Removing an arrow at a 
public hospital would raise too many eyebrows, even in this 
city," Dominic said.  He looked behind him at James and said, 
"The talent is good.  My boy didn't even get to draw his gun 
before he was up against the wall.  I've only seen reflexes 
that good once before."  His open smile turned to a slight 
frown as he ruminated on the events of yesterday.


     "How much are they paying you for this attempt, 
Huntsman?" the Falcon asked through gritted teeth.  His 
opponent was disarmed, and tied securely.  He put his bolas 
away as he continued to stare evenly into his former 
combatant's eyes.

     The criminal spat blood at the concrete below him as he 
lowered his gaze. "I didn't want to risk the majority of the 
haul on tech-arrows, so it couldn't have been much," he 
answered coolly.  Falcon gave him this much, after three 
decades in this business it took a lot to shake him.

     "I don't even need to ask which Family footed the bill, 
so listen up.  If you ever step foot within the city limits 
again, I will find you.  It will not be pleasant when I do," 
the Falcon said as he leaned forward. With a bit of mental 
pressure the calm veneer of Huntsman's cool eroded slightly.

     A hint of wind, and a vague sense of a presence heralded 
danger, and Falcon leaped back as a form clad in black landed 
on the rooftop, and an arc of metal passed inches away from 
his chest.  His baton was instantly in his right hand and 
extended to parry another strike.  Falcon did not pick up 
stray thoughts or emotions from the dark assassin.  This was 
going to be a fight decided by skill, with little aid from his 
gifts.  With a dark smirk he resigned himself to the battle.  
So be it.


     "Dominic, you may have stepped over the line tonight," 
Anton Romano said.  His consiglieri always worried about lines 
and limits, things Dominic ignored whenever possible.  "It is 
a fact that the Huntsman is vain.  He may get angry that you 
hired other hitmen, and poor Nicholas is convalescing.  Cecil 
was demoted.  James won't be able to protect you by himself 
against someone like that," he finished.

     "All in good time, Anton.  If I thought that Huntsman was 
guaranteed to succeed, I'd have paid him more up front.  He is 
vain, but he's also over the hill and fallible.  Fast Jack 
beat him three times this year alone," Rissetti pointed out.  
Why was it hard to get good help? he asked himself.  Looking 
over his shoulder he continued, "Besides, the one who kills 
Falcon is going on retainer.  Let the Marscapelli Family or 
the Yakuza move on me if they like, it will be their blood."

     "You did a good job of showing them a strong front, 
Dominic.  Now if you can just do that with the other Families, 
you'll secure Capo de Capo in no time.  Your father will be 
proud," Anton said.

     Dominic's temperature began to rise at his father's 
mention, "My father doesn't do anything but sit in his villa 
in Marseilles and pine over my poor departed mother, Anton.  
Forget about him; he gave up his position, so I don't care 
what he thinks."

     "If you say so, Dominic," Anton said as he looked into 
the eyes of his ambitious, young leader.  He knew better than 
anyone else that everything Dominic did was for his father's 
approval.  Rather than get into a fight, he changed the 
direction of the conversation, "Still, be careful.  Ito has 
his own assassin corps, and I'm not sure how good our security 
is.  The last thing we need is a shadow war, or open war 
between the Families."

     "Oh, there will be war, Anton.  The whole of the 
underworld versus the vigilante who laid his hand on me," 
Dominic said as his gaze burned into that of his advisor.


     His opponent was good.  This was a form of taijutsu he 
faced, a martial art once practiced by the ninja assassins of 
Japan.  With only a year of training himself, he knew all the 
basics of the school of taijutsu he was proficient with.  It 
would take him further years to master it.  As he parried the 
sword, flipped into the air to dodge a reverse swing, and 
kicked out with his foot to stop an incoming sweep he knew 
this was a losing battle.  Flipping over the side of the 
building to descend to a rooftop nearby, he felt more than saw 
the man in black following him.

     The only reason he had avoided damage thus far was by 
making this a running battle.  Long years of meditative 
training made taijutsu masters dangerous.  Every situation was 
a natural lead to a response.  There was no thought, no 
premeditation on the action, and few tells to pick up 
visually, or mentally.  His emotion sense and limited 
telepathy failed him versus an opponent such as this.  Still, 
if he used them offensively....

     The Falcon gave the impression of an opening via false 
sensory information, and forwarded it directly to his foe's 
conscious mind.  The image would appear for only a moment, but 
it would be all he needed.  There was the sword strike, a 
thrust as he predicted.  He parried and then made eye contact 
with his night-suit clad opponent.  The look of shock spoke 
volumes, his opponent would adapt if given a chance.

     He did not give him the opportunity.  With a burst of 
motion, he traveled forward and turned the parry into a pin.  
The blade was trapped between his baton and its owner's sword 
arm.  With momentum and body weight, he pressed onward.  
Semi-rigid resistance gave way to the sickening crunch of 
broken bone.  Before his opponent could respond, Falcon 
reached up with his left hand, and drew the fighter across his 
leg.  Normally a simple throw, this maneuver was deadly 
because of the position his opponent's body was in.

     He had never attempted anything like this before; he was 
improvising.  With a raise of his knee, the swordsman flew 
over the Falcon's body, over the rooftop ledge and down two 
stories into the alley below.  He didn't waste any time in 
contemplation.  He had to be certain the man was down.  He 
concentrated to reduce his weight, so as to survive the fall 
with no damage; the glider wings would take too long.

     A thorough glance told him everything he needed.  Falcon 
unspooled wire from his belt and tied the erstwhile assassin 
up.  When he was finished he said, "I think we'll skip the 
interrogation.  I know just who to express my displeasure 
to."  He touched his belt buckle again and called the Raptor 
for a pickup.  With almost dead silence, the detritus in the 
alley picked up and swirled away on exhaust currents minutes 
later as the aerial craft lowered itself into the confined 
space.  The Falcon disappeared into the open topside hatch, 
and the vehicle zoomed away skyward.

     With only a glance at the GPS readout, he keyed in an 
anonymous tip to the police department about a sword wielding 
maniac.  Once clear of the confines of the building gap, the 
Raptor spread its wings and launched itself away into the 
night sky.  A golden glow flared to life and began to follow 
as it passed over downtown.


     "Gentlemen, that takes care of the narcotics issue.  How 
is the 'payroll', and did Jimmy Tenor expose our operations?" 
Don Rissetti asked.  Today had started as a good day.  There 
were some scuffles last night and as of yet, nobody had come 
forward to claim their reward.  Still, today simply felt good 
to Dominic.  He listened to the report of how Jimmy Tenor had 
kept his mouth shut once he was caught, and that internal 
affairs had him sequestered outside the city limits somewhere.

     "Well, all loyalty aside, I don't believe we can trust 
that Mr. Tenor will remember who his friends are.  Anton, I 
want someone to find out where he's being hid.  Then send a 
bomb squad over there.  Use a remote.  I only want one fried 
pig," he said.  As he was about to go on to the next topic of 
discussion, he saw a glint outside the window.  Too quickly 
for reaction the window shattered inward, and a dark mass fell 
onto the boardroom table.  It bounced once.

     "Don't get up boys, I won't be staying long," echoed 
through the room.  Hovering outside his window was a 
futuristic airplane of sorts, with a wide body, but daring 
lines.  The front plate lowered as if a hatch was closing, and 
as his lieutenants stood with weapons in hand, papers flew out 
of the hole as it drew out air like a giant vacuum cleaner. 
The loudspeaker continued, "How thoughtful of you all to send 
a powder keg after me.  I've returned him to you."

     Shots rang out to deflect off the shell of the hovering, 
metal monstrosity.  Through the tremendous uproar, Dominic 
looked down at the crumpled form on his table, it was 
Morninglord.  The criminal master of light was laying there 
unconscious, and during the semi-continuous roar of gunfire it 
seemed he grimaced.  A literal hail of bullets fell onto the 
armored metal shell of the vehicle before the enforcers and 
bodyguards realized the futility of their assault.  "Are you 
finished?" the voice continued.  

     "Rissetti, this isn't a game.  For every strike you make, 
I will revisit you tenfold.  I'm out of warnings, so this will 
just have to do," blared from the loudspeaker.  Then two 
circular hatches opened and rounded objects protruded from the 
shell of the craft.  Dominic couldn't believe it was going to 
be over, just like that.  Everything he had fought for, 
everything he had worked for, and his life were going to end 
in a ball of flame.  The rockets blasted forward into the 
boardroom, and men in business suits ran.  They didn't get too 
far before the rockets slammed into the far wall of the room.  
Dominic Rissetti hadn't moved from his spot, but he did bring 
his arms up to ward off an attack he had no hope of 
surviving.  After the initial impact, a pregnant pause fell 
over the room.

     "Hrm... I must have forgotten to arm those two.  Still... 
you flinched Rissetti... again," the voice called mockingly, 
as the vehicle pulled away from the building side and flew 
away.  Dominic Rissetti didn't know what to make of this 
Falcon.  He was a true psycho.  Dominic had heard of assaults 
like this going down in the distant past, but this was absurd 
for someone in his position.  Not only did the man call him 
out, but he could have been killed.  He didn't die, however, 
which made the loss of face all the more annoying.

     Dominic then thought about backing Ito's claim for Capo 
de Capo.  That asian bastard was cold enough to deal with 
anything, huh?  Let him deal with a six foot tall bird-man.  
Dominic could wait.  In this comedy of life, it's not who 
laughs the hardest or the loudest, but who laughs best that 
counts.  He exited the room to stares of unbelief from his 
henchmen.  The looks probably stemmed from the uncontrollable 
laughter that poured forth from his lips.  Dominic Rissetti 
walked away as the last of his documents rolled out the hole 
in the wall.

                         F   I   N

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