StarFall: Silver Arrow #1: The Hornet's Nest
phantom_belcher at yahoo.com
Tue May 4 14:17:52 PDT 2010
A Division of Pullemouttayerhat Productions
A Wholly-Owned Subsidiary of StarFall Innovations
#1: The Hornet's Nest
Cover: A young man with closely-cropped brown hair in a silver-gray
bodysuit and half-mask with blue gloves, blue boots, a blue belt with
numerous pouches, and a set of blue straps across his chest, pointing
a bow fitted with a boxing glove arrow at the reader. In the bottom
right corner is a blurb stating "STRAIGHT-SHOOTING FIRST ISSUE!"
Nighttime had fallen on Los Angeles. Still, the freight train had
come in late, and the crews had been called in to work overtime
unloading it. It wasn't uncommon for trains to come and go at all
hours, and most crews worked in three shifts around the clock. In
this case, workers were busy unloading a container and placing its
cargo on pallets into the back of a waiting delivery truck.
What *was* unusual was for the workers to carry submachine guns,
which many of the workers for this particular shipment did. It wasn't
unusual for the guards who roamed the facility to conduct their duties
armed - carrying shotguns or pistols - but the presence of sub-guns
normally meant only one thing: organized crime.
A black late-model sedan pulled up to where the workers were busy.
A few of the workers looked up as the headlights shone on them, then
went back to work. An older, heavyset man, dressed in unflattering
blue jeans and a red flannel shirt, got out of the sedan, walked a
circuit around the work area, and returned to the sedan.
Inside the sedan, the man who'd gotten out turned to the other
occupant, a stately yet petite Asian woman.
"Everything looks fine out there, Sun Li."
"You were not gone long enough to be sure," she replied coldly.
"Everything's fine. I assure you."
"You had better be right."
"The main shipment goes to the dealers, right?"
"Yes," Sun Li agreed. "And the rest goes to the drop-off."
"What's the difference?"
"You do not need to know."
Up on the roof of a nearby warehouse, hidden in the shadows, a
young man surveyed the scene below through a set of night vision
binoculars, while holding a directional microphone in his other hand,
pointed at the car. He frowned slightly as both the binoculars and
microphone were lowered, saying only two words.
The man faded faded into the shadows.
The first hint that something was wrong was a slight rustling
through the air, followed shortly by a clanking in the crates back
behind the one being unloaded. The guards were instantly alert, but
looking around could see nothing.
Then the lights on the one side went out, the bulbs blowing one by
one and sending sparks up in the night. One of the guards got
jittery, and fired his sub-gun down the small space between the
crates, the bullets echoing off the metal siding.
And despite this, not one bullet did anything other then echo off
There was another hissing as something flew through the air, only
this time it was easily seen: a mere arrow with grey fletching, but
one that released a bright flash of light as it hit the concrete lot,
blinding the guards.
In that flash of light, a figure could be seen. In the light of
the flare, it was revealed as a young man dressed in a silver-gray
bodysuit, with blue boots, blue gloves, a blue belt, a silver-gray
half-mask over the eyes, and blue cross-straps holding a large quiver
of arrows on his back. In his hands he carried ... a bow?
"It's Silver Arrow!" someone called out.
Sun Li's car immediately started its engine and started moving
away. The young man in the outfit immediately fired off a pair of
arrows, barely taking time to aim; the arrows buried themselves into
the rear tires of the sedan. The car swerved, and the rear doors
opened. Sun Li leapt from the car and caught hold of the ladder on a
passing train's boxcar; the man who'd accompanied her found himself on
his ass on the pavement. Mere seconds later, he discovered that he
couldn't move, as he'd been glued in place!
The guards, recovering from their temporary blindness, pointed
their guns at the young man, but long before they could fire he'd
"Where are you?!" the one cried, firing wildly into the air.
"Here," whispered a voice behind him. A blue-gloved fist reached
out of the shadows and hammered into the guard's skull, dropping him
to the ground.
Gunfire erupted from the other guards, but once again they mostly
hit nothing. There was a slight grunt, indicating that someone had
scored a hit.
A cloud of smoke erupted off to one side, followed quickly by a
number of arrows. The arrows lodged themselves in the barrels of the
sub-guns; three of the four remaining guards dropped their guns and
turned to flee. The fourth foolishly pulled the trigger with the
arrow still in his gun; the gun exploded, causing the man to fall to
The young man who'd been referred to as Silver Arrow stepped out of
the cloud of smoke, still firing arrows at the ones who were fleeing.
Two of the arrows released metal balls connected to a cable upon
impact; the forward momentum of the arrows' flight made the balls
continue forward as they flew outwards, entangling their targets. The
third arrow was tipped with a large head of padded leather, shaped
almost like a fist; this arrow hit its target in the head, and he went
As the first police sirens started closing in, Arrow knelt down and
started applying bandages and pressure to the bleeding thug's wounds.
"I'll ... sue ... you ... for ... this," the thug gasped.
"Go ahead," Silver Arrow replied, never pausing in his work. "Tell
a jury how you were stupid enough to pull the trigger on your gun with
something up the barrel. You'd be laughed out of court."
Twenty minutes later, Silver Arrow stood beside a police cruiser as
the paramedics attended to the wounded thug while the other muscle
were herded into a large police detainment truck. A plainclothes
officer leaned against the cruiser.
"Good work, Arrow," the officer stated. "This has to be one of the
largest drug shipments we've uncovered."
"Thanks, Chief. Might want to have your narc teams take a closer
look at the drugs, though. They were splitting the shipment."
"Splitting?" Chief Mitchell asked, stroking his chin. "We'll take
another look, of course. How did you know this was going on?"
"Anonymous tip," Arrow replied, smiling.
"Oh, right. Your inside man whose name you won't tell me."
"It's safer for everyone that way."
"So whose thugs are these?"
"Sun Li's. She was here, but she escaped."
"Dammit. And her lawyers are probably already reporting that limo
"But her lieutenant is among the men you arrested," Arrow
explained. "I'm sure he can be convinced to turn state's evidence
against her as part of a plea bargain."
"You in pre-law in that college of yours, Arrow?"
"Nope," Arrow replied, smiling. "Pre-med. Same thing, actually."
He noted Chief Mitchell's blank stare, and muttered, "_Animal House_.
You should watch it sometime. A true classic."
"If you say so. I couldn't sit throuhg it the first time.
Arraignment will be in two days, the usual courtroom. ... Did you
*really* tell that thug to go ahead and sue you over that exploded
Morning came, and Hugh Knight stretched in his bed to silence the
alarm clock on the end table. He shifted slightly and winced as the
pain from where he'd gotten shot the previous night hit him. His
uniform contained advanced body armor, but while it had proved bullet-
proof against the thugs' sub-guns, the bruises still hurt the next
As he headed downstairs, fully dressed, he absent-mindedly fingered
the bruise. His mother and father were already up; Hugh said his good
mornings, then poured himself a cup of coffee.
"At least eat something if you're going to drink that," his mother
admonished him, setting a plate of eggs, bacon, and hash browns beside
him. Maria Knight was an attractive, petite hispanic woman in her
late 30s, with the first hints of gray coming into her full head of
brown hair. She smiled warmly at him.
"Your theatrics made the morning news," his father grunted,
lowering the newspaper; the headline read LOCAL SUPER FOILS DRUG
IMPORT RING. "When are you going to stop foolishly risking your life
like that, son?" Robert Knight was older than his wife by a good ten
years, standing about a foot taller than her with a build that
suggested that he played football back in his college days.
"Well, dad," Hugh stated, digging into his mom's cooking,
"someone's gotta do the job. Maybe one day I'll be too slow or injured
to continue as Silver Arrow, but even then I think I'd end up
mentoring the next generation." He laughed slightly at this, trying
to lighten the mood, but quickly clutched his side.
"Berto!" Maria exclaimed. "You're hurt!" Before Hugh could say
anything, Maria was already pulling up his shirt to take a look at her
"Just a small bruise, mom!" Hugh protested. "I'm fine!"
Despite his protests, Maria could see the bruise on her son's
side. "Huberto Knight, you were shot! Why didn't you tell us?"
"The uniform protected me," Hugh quietly protested, as his mother
brought out the first aid kit, complete with salves and bandages.
"Quit babying him, Maria," Robert remarked with a scowl. "He wants
to play hero, let him take his lumps like a man."
"Thanks, Dad," Hugh commented with a sigh.
Several hours later, Hugh met with two of his friends at UCLA.
Jeff Hawkin was a young man the same age as Hugh; Jade Wong was a
young woman of Chinese and European descent. The three were seated at
a table in the University's Student Union, their books open as if they
"Thanks for the tip last night, Jade," Hugh mentioned. "Any idea
what the second drug they were bringing in was?"
"Second drug?" Jade asked, a bit confused. "I'm still not privvy
to that stuff yet."
"I might have an idea," Jeff stated, idly turning the pages of an
Economics textbook without reading them. "Los Gatos has some new
members, and not the usual muscle. La Tigra's been *ahem*
'influencing' El Gato Negro into getting some more supers into the
"I'll bet," Jade snorted derisively. "She's sleeping with him."
"I don't doubt that," Jeff remarked. "I imagine that'd make the
Tong a little nervous."
"Sun Li doesn't like supers," Hugh commented, "and would probably
want some insurance against any rivals that do. She's managed to make
an off-shore source of Sizzle."
"Sizzle?" Jade asked. "Isn't that the...?"
"The drug the feds developed as a defense against the emerging
superhuman population right after the reality quake of 2000," Jeff
replied. "It's designed to completely short out a super's powers."
"And Sun Li controls the bulk of the city's narcotics trade," Hugh
commented. "It's a good guess. Jade, think you can get close enough
to confirm this?"
"I..." Jade set her book down and thought a moment. "I don't know."
"Don't worry about it," Hugh said, setting his own book down.
"Look, if you want out, tell me. I don't want you to get hurt helping
me." He looked over at Jeff. "Either of you."
"No," Jade replied after a moment's thought. "I think I can find
out." 'But please forgive me for what I need to do, Hugh,' she
Several hours later, Jade stood in the doorway of a corporate
office which was quite Spartan in decoration. Sun Li stood at the
window gazing outwards, over the city. Jade was dressed as a young
professional: black calf-length skirt, white blouse, black blazer, and
one-inch heels; Sun Li was dressed similarly. Both had their black
hair up in buns.
"You are sure of this?" Sun Li asked.
"I overheard it myself when I was in the courthouse after class,"
Jade replied. "He's going to testify against you as part of a plea
"Then he must die."
"Allow me to do it."
Sun Li turned to study Jade. "Are you certain you are up to the
task, little one?"
Jade didn't flinch under Sun Li's gaze. "Yes, sifu."
"How do you propose you do it?"
The next morning, a lone city police car pulled up in front of the
city courthouse. Inside, the older heavyset man from two nights
before sat staring out the car's window nervously, scanning the
rooftops. Without saying a word, the officers in the car got out and
pulled him from it.
On the rooftop across the street, hidden behind a stone fascade, a
young woman studied her target through the scope of a high-powered
rifle. As the man's head came into view, Jade took careful aim. . . .
To Be Continued
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