[IP] Transit City #2, Role-play

Hikaru Chiba hikaruc at mchsi.com
Tue May 25 22:34:43 PDT 2004

Transit City #2

Byron D. Molix
Copyright (c) 2004, Byron D. Molix


      Simon was sick of the rules.  The rules got you killed, especially
now that Ito was in control of the city's undercurrents of crime.  You
couldn't carry a piece unless you were declaring war.  Protection money
was extracted by men with sticks, and car bombs were outlawed.  It
hadn't taken more than two months for the Akitaka Family's Oyabun to
defang the organized criminal element, and begin culling the more
dangerous of the disorganized scum from the streets.

      Oyabun Ito had said it was all about engendering trust in those
who were extorted from, and giving the police a false sense of
security.  In a city the size of this one, the largest in the mid-west
and planted firmly on the Great Lakes with more transportation hubs
than goods to transport on any given day, there were fewer than six
armed robberies that resulted in deaths each week.  The ones involving
guns always had a disappearing suspect problem, followed up with a
floating corpse problem, or a headless corpse in a shipping box

      Well, Simon Langdon was sick of it. Mainly because as an orderly
member of Transit City's organized crime, his life was now being
threatened by a lowlife with a gun.  It didn't make sense, nor did he
think of the irony involved with mirth.  "Hey, you can have my wallet,
but I'd think twice before pulling that trigger," he said, extended his
wallet slowly.

      "Why's that?" the thug asked.  His eyes were hungry, and darted
from Simon's face, to the wallet and back to his face again.

      "Well, because I'm not going to go to the cops, and the Families
have a fairly strict policy of street etiquette right now," he tried.
Simon hoped this punk would just take the money and scram; he'd get it
back later.  He just didn't want him to weigh his choices and choose
"no witnesses."  You can't spend money if you're dead.

      "I don't give a--" the guy paused in mid-sentence, spinning round
to look behind him at the sound of a bit of trash crumpling.

      From the shadows of the alleyway, a man shape stood leaning
against the wall.  From the depth of that darkness the inhuman voice
came, "Go on.  I'm interested in the rest of the sentence."  Simon was
suddenly shivering, what little he saw of the streetlights glinting off
metal and cloth told him all he wanted to know.  What was he doing

      The hood pointed the gun at the shadowman and screamed, "Don't
come closer, man.  This ain't got nothing to do with you."

      "Quite right.  Go back to what you were doing.  I believe you were
going to say, `I don't give a &%$# what the Families' policy is'
and then you were going to pull the trigger," he said.  Did I just hear
that right?  Was this bad ass phantom of the night, a vigilante by all
accounts going to watch me get murdered in front of his eyes.

      "Hold on, you're gonna let him kill me?" I asked, my calm veneer
was gone.  I didn't even care about the thug in the mix.  Here was the
crazed Falcon, and he was gonna watch this bozo ice me.  Me, the once
indicted, never convicted man with the most agile hands in the Midwest!

      The shadows fired back as if the guy with the gun didn't exist,
"You said you weren't going to go to the police.  You meant it too.
You might deserve it."  The voice sounded certain, like he knew I was
gonna go visit my handler and report the theft to him.  You didn't get
that kind of insight with a single glance on the street.  That meant he
was following me, which mean he had been watching me, possibly for
days.  Man, now I had to get out of this on my own.  He knew how deep
in I was, and he was gonna let this cheap thug do his work for him.

      "I'll talk to you.  I know, that you know, that I know things," I
said.  It wasn't a plea; more of a transaction opener.

      By now, the hood had seen more than enough of the situation
deteriorating around him.  Maybe his ego wasn't stroked enough since we
had stopped treating him like he existed.  He screamed, "Shut up!" as
he spun around, fully intending to put a round in my forehead.  Time
slowed down for me, I saw him put the gun nearly into position, and saw
the flex of his index finger twitch.  That's when I saw the most
amazing thing I've ever seen in my sixteen years on the street.  From
the moment the guy's back had begun to turn, the Falcon moved forward
with measured footsteps.  I could hear my heart beat, and it was like
he simply ceased to be and reappeared behind the gunman, ever closer
with each beat.

      He kicked downward at the back of the man's knee and pulled the
gun upwards with his hand in the same motion.  The barrel zoomed away
from me, and lit the alley with muzzle fire as the man's other arm was
bent backwards into a pin, and his head was pushed forward with a firm
knee press.  The entire time, the Falcon kept his eyes trained fully on
me.  He stepped backwards, almost as if seeking a firmer base and
yanked the thug into the air and to the side, his body twirled right
before the hero spun and slammed a sidekick home into his midsection,
slamming him right into the wall of the alley.

      Gun-boy hung there like a squashed bug for what seemed an
eternity, before the hero completed his turn, and time returned to
normal speed.  The body hit the ground, the gun clattered away from the
body, and the vigilante locked his gaze upon mine once again.  I
suddenly felt like running for my life.  His mouth opened, and I
thought he was about to pronounce sentence, "Okay, let's talk."


      A soft, repetitive buzz rang through the house and extended out
onto the pool deck.  It seemed to be a faraway reminder of another life
to Dominic, but it shook him out of his reverie after the second ring.

      "Michelle, would you get that?  It's the doorbell," he asked as he
sat up in his beach chair and listened for the ringing to stop. It
stopped and the young Family man laid back down onto his chair thinking
the situation handled.


      Dominic was famous for losing his temper and he sat straight up
seeing enough red to paint the inner pool wall. He took a deep breath
and let it out as he stood to begin the walk through the house. He put
one foot in front of the other with measured regularity and forced
himself into a neutral state of mind.

      He rounded the corner leading to the foyer, and stopped. "Carlo"
he said, as he addressed the confident young man firmly, if
nonchalantly, holding a revolver to Michelle's face.

      Giancarlo Marscapelli replied only with, "Dom."


      "I make the entire underworld retreat into the shadows, and what
does this vigilante do, Tsubasa?" the speaker, an asian gentleman of
advanced years, said as he looked over at a middle-aged man standing
against the wall.  With a flick of his wrist he threw a newspaper
report on the Falcon across the room to the waiting hand of his
enforcer. After Tsubasa had caught the paper he continued, "He presses
even further.  I am beginning to think the days when he was blowing
holes in Rissetti's tower were more welcome," the elderly man paused in
his speech.

      Tsubasa took a long steady look at the article and then cleared
his throat, respectfully declaring his desire to speak. Oyabun Ito
looked at him and nodded with a slight grunt to punctuate his
acquiescence. The tall asian began to speak, "If it is all bad for
business, perhaps the direct path will indeed be the most expedient?"

      Ito's brow furrowed as he took in the whole meaning of what
Tsubasa had said. He got up and walked over to a phone. Picking it up
and pressing the fourth speed dial button, he waited to be connected.
When he heard "Hello?" on the other end, he said, "Send for
Shadowspawn. Today if possible."  He hung up the handset and his arm
was trembling.  The force he planned to unleash was every bit as
disruptive as the measures that Don Risetti had taken.  Ito could feel
the sneer of derision leveled behind his back all the way from
Dominic's Florida retreat.

      He thought about how easily Rissetti had given up his hard
bargained-for position of Don of Dons.  Only now, months later did he
understand why.  It was something he intended to make Dominic pay for
before he succumbed to old age and left his empire to his son.  Time
was not on his side, but he had just enough time to see things done


      "Adam? Adam Spencer?" a questioning female voice called.  Adam
turned to look behind him.  He almost hadn't heard the call because of
all the background noise in his head.  Going to a mall or other
shopping center was exceedingly trying on his patience, but even with
his resources he had an image as an everyday joe to uphold.  So here he
was in the most posh mall in Transit City listening to people mull
decisions over in their heads, a cacophony to his mental senses.  It
took him several seconds to recognize Tiffany Serritt, his graphics
editor because of the sheer effort it took to separate the thoughts
others practically threw in his direction from his own.

      "Yes, Tiffany. How are you enjoying this Saturday afternoon?" he
politely inquired, although deep inside he was not interested.

      "Fine. I decided to get my nieces' birthday presents today since I
had the free time.  Twins," she concluded, as if that one word
explained everything.  With one person to focus on, Adam was able to
concentrate his attention, and drown out the surface thoughts and
emotions from the others around him.  She felt obvious joy, and perhaps
something akin to jealousy about her nieces.

      "I am sure they are fine young ladies, unless you're here to
patronize Baby's First," Adam responded, meaning the upscale shop next
to Sax Fifth Avenue where you could buy alligator boots for toddlers.
Tiffany blushed at that thought, but she composed herself quickly if
still allowing a grin to fix her features.

      "Now, even I don't have that kind of money to lavish on a child.
Was that a Freudian slip?  You haven't said what you've come to the
mall to find," she poked back.  Adam got the distinct reading from her
that she was being funny, and somehow it wasn't directly related to
him, although he was definitely central to the joke.

      "Well, I didn't find what I was looking for," he said.  Looking
sheepish and tired at the same time, he scratched his head and said,
"If you promise to keep the favoritism rumors to a minimum, I could use
a cup of coffee or something and maybe some company."

      Tiffany wrapped her left arm around his right at the elbow and
said, "Favoritism?  Can't a rich publicist have coffee with his
exceptionally attractive editors without being accused of favoritism?"
She led him away to a café on the horizon of his vision.  Her feelings
had not dampened any at his jibe, but he still wasn't getting the joke.
"No, don't answer that.  I don't want to have my delicate feelings
crushed when you respond that you don't see an attractive editor

      Adam laughed and Tiffany followed suit.


      "So, what can I do for you Carlo?  It's unlike you to travel all
the way from parts unknown to Florida for a visit at gunpoint," Dominic
said as he settled himself into his favorite chair.  Carlo jovially
looked around, pretending not to have heard the edge in Dominic's

      "You know, if it wasn't for all the time we spent together as
children, I could almost believe you were being funny," Carlo

      "Get to the point. Your father obviously doesn't know you're here
or you would have been firing the gun as you rang the doorbell," he

      Carlo didn't miss a beat before asking, "How is my old man? I
couldn't bring myself to call after he sent his last gift on my
birthday.  NYPD is still trying to figure out the motive for that
building's collapse." Carlo paused before continuing, "Nano-machines.
The fossil has finally stepped into the twenty-first century, huh?"

      "He's still alive and kicking.  I hear the bounty on your head
went up to half a million alive, one and a half dead.  You really
pissed him off when you stole that priceless heirloom and gave it to
that European witch," Dominic replied.

      Suddenly, the light of joviality left Giancarlo's eyes and his
hardened stare fixed Dominic's gaze.  "Don't ever call her that again,"
he said.  After a brief pause, Carlo looked away and continued to
speak, "She was my fiancee, and that heirloom was always given to the
firstborn's fiancee.  It was tradition.  That brooch was special.  So
was Gina.  My father just couldn't see it."

      "So, you stole it.  Your father declared she'd never wear the
thing and live.  You were going to get married in Rome and she never
made it to the altar.  You were supposed to believe she had taken the
brooch and ran, but you hired a private detective after returning to
the States.  Then you tried usurping power in your Family, for revenge.
  It's an interesting story.  Why don't you call Hollywood?  The
Families don't have much influence out west, and I can't think of a
better revenge than to turn your father into a movie villain and let
the whole country see what he did," Dominic said.

      "I would have, but Robert De Niro passed away two years ago at the
age of 79," Carlo said.

      "Vincent Marscapelli is only 52 this year, Giancarlo," Dominic
pointed out.

      Carlo just smiled and said, "Who said I wanted De Niro to play my
father?"  Then he began to laugh and Dominic could not help but laugh
with him.


      "Just so we're on the same page here, why am I snitching again?"
Simon Langdon asked the shadows behind him as he stood looking out over
the rooftop at the western skyline of the city.

      "Let's skip past the obvious and just say that it's the right
thing to do," a gritty voice replied.  Simon shrugged and looked at the
sunset trying to enjoy it.

      "I gave up the right thing about twelve years ago, or haven't you
read my sheet?" he said between deep breaths.

      "I read your rap sheet, your police file, your FBI file, and your
autobiography on the internet, `Fingers.'  That's got very little
to do with it.  What you do is find a way past the best security known to
man, half the time via remote systems.  You don't give poison to
children or snuff out lives by violence.  I am sorry to say I came to
you for what you yourself can offer," the voice responded.  It paused
before continuing, "If you were hoping for some elaborate rationale
about how I can use you as the first stone in an avalanche that takes
out all the organized crime in the city, you are mistaken."

      "I'm flattered, or would be if it wasn't for the fact that me
being caught associating with you just once means a very long and drawn
out meeting with our favorite Oyabun," Simon replied.

      The voice again spoke from the shadows, echoing in his mind as it
faded to a dull memory, "In that case, don't get caught."

      Simon rubbed the back of his hand across his eyes and then pinched
the bridge of his nose as he concentrated.  He thought about what his
parents always taught him, even though his mother had tended to teach
with the back of her hand.  That upbringing had kept him out of the
street gangs, but the same diligence in school he displayed to appease
his parents was easily corrupted to puzzle solving in the most illegal

      He liked to blame that on Charlotte's influence.  She had been a
handful: girl next door by day, wildcat cat burglar by night.  At the
end of the day however, she had just been a catalyst.  For him it had
always been about entertainment and a desire to secretly rebel against
his family's expectations.  Later he added greed and prestige to the
list, but if it wasn't for his reputation and contacts he could see
himself retiring.  Contacts the Falcon wanted him to investigate and
then report on.


      Kenneth Martin was working late in the office and didn't even
notice that he was no longer alone until Adam spoke.  "What story has
you so tied up that you can't put it to bed for the night?  Unlike the
magazine staff, you can't afford to be sick," he said.  Kenneth thought
about that and smiled, it was a sort of back-handed comment, but this
was his boss, not his buddy.  Kenneth turned to see Adam's grin on his
face, maybe that sarcastic comment was meant as pure humor.

      He let his appreciation show on his face as he turned his
flat-screen so that Adam could see, "Well, Mr. Spencer.  It seems we
have a corroborated Falcon sighting.  I was planning on shining the
light of truth on his activities down at the docks these last few
weeks."  Adam leaned in and read his copy quickly and efficiently,
letting no traces of a reaction to the story play across his face
before he was done reading it.

      "'Possible menace', `Uncertain of any altruistic motive on the
part of the vigilante....', `Supposed criminal suspects were too badly
injured to give a statement at the time of their arrest', `Over two
hundred pounds of hyper-meth were recovered by police personnel from
crates cracked open during the altercation that took place.'  Seems
pretty biased to me, Kenneth.  You're skirting very close to having an
actual opinion on the subject," Adam said as regained his upright

      "I know that you never want us to give in to the headlines that
sell papers, (even though an anonymous vigilante can't possibly sue for
libel) but it is my opinion that the Falcon is a menace.  He appears
out of nowhere, nobody knows who he is, or where he hails from.  He's
got actual heroes like Valkyrie of the Freedom League vouching for him,
but what has he done for the citizens of this city?  What has he really
done?  I think he's pulling one over on us, and until I find solid
evidence to the contrary I'll keep on doubting him.  This city has seen
`heroes' before, and none of them ever stood up to the belief the
population placed in them," Kenneth said.

      Adam thought about the obvious allusion Kenneth had made to the
Regulars and said, "I believe public opinion is still out on whether or
not you fail if the city puts up a statue of you outside City Hall.  In
any case, they say that `a righteous man can withstand the light of
scrutiny', so please continue to look for evidence."  Adam paused and
looked back and forth in the dim room before continuing, "However,
seeing as the Falcon isn't here giving you an interview right now, why
don't you head on home and pick up Monday morning." He walked away from
Kenneth's desk, the dimmed light casting shadows across his body as he
headed toward the elevators.

      Adam had reached the elevator and pressed the call button when
Kenneth asked him, "Mr. Spencer, I want to know why you don't use the
power of your position to shift public opinion on the Falcon.  Half the
people in this city cheer if he even flies by, and the other half tell
their children to behave or else he'll come carry them off.  You've
pushed for specific slants before."  Kenneth saved his files and sent
his workstation to sleep.

      Adam Spencer stopped walking and stared straight ahead.  His right
eye illuminated by a random shaft of light, he answered his star
reporter who stood framed over his right shoulder, "I would have to
take responsibility for everything the man would do after that point.
By building a mythos around him, I would eventually constrain him to a
solitary path."  Adam was bathed in the light of the elevator
compartment and he continued as he stepped into the light, "The
mundanity and myth of super-beings are far greater than general issues
of politics or policy. I am not willing to mold such a being and bear
the consequences for that."

      Kenneth stood dumb-founded as the elevator doors closed, wisking
the ever cryptic Mr. Spencer away.  "I thought the whole purpose to
journalism was to sort the abstract chaos of events into nice ordered
bins," he said to himself as he himself walked toward the elevator.


      Susan Parker walked out of her bathroom and flopped down into her
easy chair as she toweled the last drops of water out of her hair.  She
hit the space bar on her computer and when it asked her for her
password she typed that in.  Then she held down a key combination with
her right hand and said aloud, "Key Code Authorization:
16-Beta-Niner-Alpha-Que-Que-8-5-3-7."  The computer whirred away for a
moment before presenting her with a host of options, she selected her
correspondence program and when the screen updated she read for a
moment and then smiled.  Video began to play and she raised the volume
so she could hear it better.

      "', this isn't a game.  For every strike you make, I will revisit
you tenfold.  I'm out of warnings...,'" blared from her speakers.
Susan watched enraptured, and as she observed the rockets embed
themselves in the wall behind young Don Rissetti she smiled to herself.
Data on the Falcon continued to scroll on her screen and when the
torrent of information did not immediately stop her smile became a grin
of pure mirth.

      "Now, this hit will be a challenge," she said.


                                  F   I   N

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