[IP] Transit City #1, Midnight Dance
Byron D. Molix
hikaruc at mchsi.com
Sat Apr 10 00:02:33 PDT 2004
Transit City #1
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
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
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
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
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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