“Mike, did you steal my suit?,” Arthur Hawkwood growled over the phone. He sat inside the Dragon hovercraft, looking at the two armors against the wall (his father’s and grandfather’s) and the spot where a third was meant to be.
“Yup,” Michael turned away from his desk to look at the suit of black armor standing against the wall in his apartment.
“You’re looking at the suit right now, huh?”
“I thought we were gonna talk about this, Mike.”
“We’re doing that right now, Dad.”
“Me having to call you up because you stole something is not what I had in mind.”
“You asked me to clean the helmet and that’s what I did. Then I decided to just take the whole thing to my apartment to clean.”
“Mike, why do we -?”
Arthur was interrupted by a screen on the Dragon’s console lighting up along with the voice of police commissioner Charles Reins, “Are you there, Cav? Come in!” All three Cavaliers had a history of working alongside the New York police department. He was an African American police officer that had been working closely with Arthur for years, eventually becoming a commissioner. Although Arthur’s relationship with the police started off on shaky ground, Reins put a lot of trust in him, which established their friendship. Arthur could see Reins’ name on his screen and answered with his camera off to conceal his identity.
“What’s wrong, Commissioner?”
“Where the hell have you been? You know, some of the boys thought you were dead?”
“Not yet… What can I do for you?”
“One of your old friends just showed up: Ohm. Tore a path from Brooklyn to Queens and caused I don’t know how much money in property damage. Even flipped one of our cruisers.”
“Not seriously. Could’ve been a lot worse.”
“Okay, tell me everything.”
“We’re pretty sure he was on something and as you know, he’s got a history. My guess is he had a relapse. He’s probably down on skid row and we need someone to go talk to him. Otherwise, we’re gonna have to call the IMD or something.”
“I’ll see what I can do. Thanks.”
Michael had been listening to the conversation on his end and once they finished, he spoke up, “That was Charles Reins, wasn’t it?”
“Yeah. Do you remember Ohm?”
“Electric guy. Runs fast. Sure.”
“He was a cocaine addict. We thought he sobered up but, well, you heard the conversation. Now,… I know you’re gonna hate what I have to say next.”
“He’ll listen to me. I can trace his energy signal in a minute and be there before he hurts anyone else.”
“What if he hurts you?”
“I told you, he’ll listen to me.”
“Why don’t you trace his signal and let the cops know the location? Or just let some other hero find him? Call Rex Robinson for God’s sake.”
“There would be a fight. People would definitely get hurt. I told you, he’ll listen to me. You remember our history.”
“Damn,” Michael sat back in his chair and thought for a moment then, gazing at the ebony armor across the room, continued, “… Or we can go another route.”
“Tell me where he is.”
“What?,” Arthur nearly dropped his phone in shock. He couldn’t believe what his son was suggesting.
“He’ll listen to the Cavalier, right? I have the suit. Tell me his location and I’ll talk to him myself.”
“I don’t want to put the suit on any more than I want you to put it on, but if what you say is true, he needs to be talked into surrendering. I’ll convince him to go back to rehab. Just give me the location.”
Arthur sighed, “… If I do this, will you give the suit back?”
“I’ll go out looking for him myself if-“
“Fine! Fine! Just give me a second.”
Later that night, Michael drove to a desolate part of the city. The armor felt strange. It was lighter than it looked which was by design but the measurements weren’t quite right since it was tailored for his father. Despite that, it wasn’t constricting and possibly even empowering. He parked in a shadowy lot, making sure no one was around, then put the helmet in place before getting out of his car. There was a HUD display showing radar, various readings, and a night-vision function if needed. “I’ll admit it, Dad,” he thought to himself, “The suit is pretty badass.”
Ohm sat under an overpass, shaking. His clothes had been burnt off but that was not why he had the shivers. He was coming down, a feeling of shame creeping its way into his psyche as his body adjusted. His stomach began to turn and he leaned over to vomit on the pavement. He coughed and wiped the string of phlegm from his bottom lip. When he sat back up, he noticed a familiar silhouette against the street light across the way. “I figured you’d show up,” Ohm staggered to his feet and came forward, “How much damage did I do this time?”
Michael remained silent, not entirely sure of how to respond.
“You mad? Damn, what’d I do? How bad was it?”
“Bad enough,” Michael said finally, “But don’t worry. We can get you some help.”
Ohm furrowed his brow and stopped walking, “What’s wrong with your voice?”
“What?,” Michael suddenly felt very nervous. Why hadn’t he accounted for that? This was a terrible idea and he wondered why he pushed his father to go through with it.
“You sound different.”
“Uh…,” Michael was silent once again and his mind spun, trying to think of an excuse.
“Who are you?,” Ohm’s eyes lit up, “Why are you wearing that suit?” he opened his palms and peals of blue lightning emerged between his fingertips. Michael froze, unable to formulate a coherent thought.
A spotlight dropped down on both of them and the turbine engines of the Dragon hummed loudly as it descended. “Don’t worry, it’s me,” Michael could hear his father’s voice coming from the loud speaker of the craft. Ohm seemingly calmed down as the electric pulses dissipated and he stepped back to watch the Dragon descend. Once it landed, the top hatch opened, revealing Arthur who wa snow wearing the silver armor and red cape of Hank Hawkwood. “Sorry about the confusion,” Arthur explained and motioned to Michael, “This… is my new partner.”
“You just need to trust me… us,” Michael told him, trying his best to hide the conflicting feelings of annoyance and relief.
“I’ll escort you to a shelter,” Arthur continued, “I’ve already called ahead and they’re waiting for you. They’ll get you some clothes and some food. How `bout it? Beats sleeping under a bridge.”
Ohm closed his eyes and nodded, “Yeah,… Yeah, I’ll go. You’re right.”
“Good,” the hatch closed again and the Dragon lifted into the sky and the turbines kicked litter through the air. “I’ll lead the way. I know you can keep up,” Arthur piloted the Dragon away from the overpass, turned off the spotlight and flew down the street. Ohm disappeared in a blue streak that slowly faded, mild electric currents running along the ground in his wake.
“Dammit, Dad,” Michael muttered to himself once everyone had left.
The next afternoon, Big Fun sat in a hot tub on his deck with a woman wearing a bikini while two of his men stood guard, standing on either side of the door leading into his mansion. He took a swig of beer from the bottle in his hand as the woman embraced him. “We’re gonna have to move this party inside soon,” he told her as he leaned in for a kiss which was soon interrupted by a familiar voice.
“You threatened our men,” Mano suddenly appeared in the doorway. Big Fun snapped to attention as Mano casually walked onto the deck with an apple in hand; the two men on either side of the door quickly pulled their guns and took aim but he didn’t acknowledge it. Instead, he produced a knife and began peeling the apple as he continued, “That’s no way to treat business partners.”
“What the hell?,” Big Fun sat up and took off his sunglasses as his woman shrank behind him, “How did you get here?”
Mano began peeling the apple and kept speaking as if he didn’t hear his question, “You also stole the product after my employer specifically told you he would be in charge of storing it.”
“Look man, I got the shit in a safe place. I got a system and I don’t really like taking orders on how to conduct my own business. What’s so important about this place your boss wanted it hidden? Where was it?”
“The Costa Triste Embassy,” Mano contiued to peel the apple, focusing on it far more than the man in the hot tub or the two men pointing guns at him.
“What?,” Big Fun laughed aloud at the absurdity of the answer, “An embassy?”
“We would have hidden it in there. The authorities would have no jurisdiction to search that building, assuming they had reason to believe anything illegal was hidden there to begin with.”
Big Fun laughed again, “What, your boss is friends with the ambassador or something?”
“No,… the ambassador works for him,” Mano finished the apple and let the peel drop on the deck.
“Sure,” Big Fun scoffed, “Look, we already sold some of the shit. I wired money to the old man this morning.”
“He is aware. This is why you are still alive,” Mano put the knife away and took a bite of the apple, letting some of its juices fall from his lips, onto the deck as well.
Big Fun’s smile faded once again, “Pretty cocky for one guy. Did you forget where you are?” His men approached, their guns still drawn. Mano never took his eyes off him but instead, took another bite. Big Fun met his gaze, “I can make us all rich but your boss needs to step back. He thinks he knows this territory. He don’t. Like I said, I got this. I’m sorry we had to take matters into our own hands but I’ll send you home today with some cash and a nice bottle of Patron for the trouble.”
“Save the bribes. You wish to keep the product in a location of your choosing. My employer will allow that on one condition.”
“Yeah, what’s that?”
“He originally agreed on a 20% cut. It has now been raised to 50%.”
Big Fun’s smile returned and even his men laughed this time, “The hell outta here! That’s wild! We agreed on 20% and he’s lucky to get that much with the way I’m getting disrespected in my own house right now.”
“He will wait one week for you to comply,” Mano tossed the apple aside and turned to leave with one of the men following him, “I can see myself out,” he told the man politely as he left through the door.
At the same time, Michael sat in Arthur’s kitchen and finished his sandwich. Arthur’s sandwich was still on the table but he was in no mood to eat.
“I really don’t like that we keep fighting,” Arthur told him.
“Same here,” Michael said, “I thought I was supposed to take care of things last night.”
“I knew you were going to go out there regardless of what I said. I let you go but I was always planning to handle things.”
“You were wearing grandpa’s old armor. That thing is heavy and doesn’t stand up to any automatic weapons. Besides that, the helmet exposes your chin and there are no lenses covering the eyes.”
“Not the best protection, I’ll give you that. I just needed a disguise, unless you wanted me to blow my cover.”
“I’m worried about you, Dad. Okay? This is getting compulsive.”
“Can I tell you one thing I learned since last night before we get into it again?”
“Once we got to the shelter, Ohm told me that he bought some cocaine from a dealer named Big Fun. He’s an up-and-comer. What’s worse is that this cocaine came from a shipment tha was brought all the way from Costa Triste. From what I know, the only way Costa Triste drugs enter into the US is through a man named Nadie.”
“Nadie… that’s Spanish for Nobody.”
“Pretty dangerous guy from what I know. He runs everything over there. Aside from that, I know where Ohm bought his drugs. There are two goons who work for Big Fun stationed in Brooklynn. I can confront those guys tonight, find where they’re keeping the shipment, and take out the operation. No super villains. Small amount of danger.”
Michael thought for a moment, “Let me know the location… I’ll gear up and see what I can do.” He was surprised to hear himself say those words but a the same time, didn’t regret them.
“No way! You’re not -“
“The situation isn’t very dangerous, right? I did this once and -“
“You almost got killed last night, Mike.”
“No super villains, you said. These guys are scared of the Cavalier, right? They’ll probably give up on the spot and if they don’t, it’s not like the suit isn’t bulletproof.”
“No way in hell.”
“Isn’t this what you wanted, Dad?,” Michael’s voice rose.
“Why would I want this?,” Arthur was legitmately confused and Michael realized it, which made him even more frustrated.
“Are you serious? All those years ago? You trained me for this. I know we kinda just stopped after a while and I went on to do other things but there was a time when you were training me to take up the mantle.”
Arthur’s face fell, “Oh,… right.”
“I’m gob-smacked that you forgot.”
“It’s not that I forgot. I just… changed my mind. I thought you did too.”
“I mean,… I did change my mind but I didn’t know you had too,” Michael began to calm down, “I guess… we never really talked about it.”
“No,… we didn’t. Maybe we should have. Maybe we didn’t have to? I don’t know.”
Michael considered the next question before asking it, “The reason you changed your mind…. Was it Mom?”
Arthur nodded sadly and then asked, his voice shaky, “Is that the reason why you changed your mind, too?”
“Of course it was,” Michael’s voice was more sad than angry at that point.
“I should have figured that out myself,” Arthur hung his head, “I’m sorry.”
Michael reached out and held his father’s hand, “It was my fault for not talking to you about it. Not like I should have.”
In spite of agreeing to talk, they sat in silence. Painful memories began flooding their minds. Michael’s trauma began bubbling up to the forefront. There was a moment when he wanted to excuse himself and leave. To find any reason to walk out of the room. Somehow, taking on armed drug dealers was preferable to confronting the past but enough was enough. The conversation was long overdue and they both realized it at that moment. They had to talk about his mother’s death.
2 thoughts on “AP Productions: Cavalier #4”
Poor Big Fun. I was hoping someone with that name would be the bigger bad, haha
It’s his heart that’s big.
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