Michael was only five years old when his grandfather passed away. While he had a few foggy memories, it was hard for him to say he ever really knew him. His father told him plenty of stories, however, of the second Cavalier: Hank Hawkwood. Additionally, he was proud to know his grandfather was a Civil Rights activist in the 60s (one of the few superheroes to do so… alongside Rex Robinson, of course).
Hank Hawkwood often went up against the Triads who ran the crime rings in Chinatown. Their New York leader, Jade Cobra, fought Hank several times over the years. At one point, Jade Cobra began recruiting young Asian boys from the inner city to do his bidding and ultimately training them to be future enforcers so Hank did what he could to convince the teens to use their skills for a better cause. One of these young men was a young Chinese-American youth named Paul Kwon who was conflicted. This culminated in a fierce battle on a rooftop between Hank and Jade. Hank defeated his foe and turned to talk some sense into Paul but while his back was turned, Jade Dragon tried to attack with a poisoned dagger; Paul acted quickly and kicked the supervillain over the edge where he fell to his death.
After that, Paul and his fellow gang members formed their own group committed to helping inner city youth and cleaning up their neighborhoods. They called themselves the Metro Knights in honor of the Cavalier.
“Paul is still running the soup kitchen every Saturday morning,” Rex explained as he and Michael ventured down a cracked sidewalk, getting interested glances from the few people on the street.
“My dad teamed-up with him and the other Knights a few times but he told me all about how my grandfather started the whole thing.”
“That he did. There’s more to being a hero than fighting. Hank was well aware of that.”
They made their way to an inner-city church and moved to the backdoor which opened to a staircase leading to a basement. The basement held a kitchen with several tables where homeless people and lower income families ate soup. The servers were almost all young adults and teens who wore Chinese fighting gis that were black with red trim and a knight logo on the back. Michael only had a few seconds to take it all in before he heard someone shout, “It’s Rex Robinson and the Cavalier!” The people rose to their feet along with several of the young adult and teen Knights, then they rushed to greet the pair.
“Thank you for your service, sir,” an older man said as he vigorously shook Rex’s hand, “Semper fi.”
“Thank you for yours,” Rex responded.
Michael was happy letting Rex take most of the attention as it would have been awkward if people began treating him like a hero, although there were a few children that reached out and touched his cape, which he found endearing. An older Asian man in a Metro Knight gi pushed through the crowd, “Thanks for coming, Rex!”
“My pleasure, Paul,” Rex shook his hand and motioned toward Michael, “Here’s the new guy,” with the people crowding around and making a lot of noise, he quickly made a decision, “Sorry, maybe I can take these folks down the street so the two of you can get acquainted.”
“Do you have your ship here?,” a middle-aged woman asked.
“Hey, that’s a great idea,” Rex motioned toward the door, “I have the ship parked around the corner. Would everyone like to see it?”
They excitedly began talking and poured out the door before any final decision could be made. Rex happily waved at Michael and Paul as he followed them, “I’ll catch up with you gentlemen later.”
Soon, Michael was alone with Paul as well as a few adult Knights and one young Asian woman who also wore a Knight gi. Paul shook his hand, “I’m Paul Kwon… and you must be Number Four.”
“Number Four?,” Michael asked.
“That’s how I refer to all of you guys, I hope you don’t mind. Like, it started with the first Cavalier which I call Number One, not that we ever met or anything. I met Number Three a few times but Number Two will always be my Cavalier, y’know? The one I grew up with.”
“I understand,” Michael looked around, “So this is all your doing, huh?”
“Yeah, I’m the gang leader,” Paul said jokingly and pointed toward the young woman next to him, “This is Emily Koboshi, my mentee and the next in line to lead this motley crew.”
“Hey, nice meeting you,” she waved happily.
“I’ve heard a lot about you and your group,” Michael told them, “How long have you been doing this?”
“Almost 50 years,” Paul said proudly, “Started off with a bunch of young, former gang members trying to make amends and ended up being a movement. We’ve been teaching inner city youth martial arts and discipline but over the years, we started helping kids learn how to read, get GEDs and generally just help the public.”
“Well, I know you’ve done a lot of great work over the years.”
“All thanks to Number Two… Did you ever hear how I met him?”
“I have but I’d like to hear it from you. Get a new perspective, y’know?”
“So the Triads recruited me when I was about 13. I was the son of an immigrant family, I was dealing with racism and I didn’t know what to do which meant the Triads were able to lure me in to their organization pretty easily. I was tagging along with two goons and I think we were just going to different shops in Chinatown, collecting ‘insurance money’ if you take my meaning. Cav shows up, obviously, and mops the floor with the both of them. I was a real punk at the time and pulled a switchblade but Cav just took it away from me and put me on my ass without doing any real harm. The cops showed up and I just figured I was gonna get arrested, right? The two goons got put in the back of the squad car but when the officers asked about me, Cav just said ‘He’s a victim of the Triads’ and y’know, I think from his point of view, he wasn’t lying.”
“He had a way with people from what I’ve heard.”
A sad look crossed Paul’s face, “I guess you never met him, huh?”
“Not as much, no,” Michael told him reluctantly, “I guess us Cavaliers don’t always get the chance to get to know one another.”
“Sorry to hear that.”
“Don’t be. Sometimes, it’s good to hear these stories. I guess that’s part of why Rex brought me around today.”
“You know, Rex came here to serve soup a few times.”
“No surprise there.”
“Yeah. Being a superhero isn’t all about busting up gangsters,” Paul motioned toward the tables behind him, “Sometimes, it’s just serving a hot meal to people in need.”
Suddenly, they heard heavy footsteps from upstairs. “Are the Triads back?,” Emily asked as she shot to her feet. Paul stood up and took a fighting stance with the other men and women following suit as they waited for an attack. “Wouldn’t surprise me,” Paul whispered. Michael wasn’t expecting trouble but pulled his sword and readied himself all the same. As the footsteps grew louder, the double doors burst open and a group of Chinese Triad members rushed in with long swords.
“You still have to deal with these guys?,” Michael asked Paul.
“They know how to hold a grudge,” Paul responded.
“At least no civilians are here,” Emily added.
The Triads twirled their swords silently before attacking. The Metro Knights began fighting them hand-to-hand, trying their best to avoid the blades while disarming them. Paul, despite his age, did a flying kick to one Triad member, throwing him against a wall. Another Triad took a swing at Emily who ducked under the sword and swept the legs out from under him. Michael raised his sword as he faced a member who spun a blade around in his palms. Despite using a broadsword, Michael only knew a few basic moves. However, he knew that if he put the Triad member on the defense, he could get close enough that it wouldn’t matter; the armor would take care of the rest.
He dashed forward and swung his broadsword, which was brushed to the side by the Triad’s tai chi sword. Michael continued to push forward as the Triad deflected another shot and came in close enough to headbutt him. Getting hit in the bridge of the nose by the faceplate made the Triad stagger back. Michael finished it up with a kick to his chest, which made the Triad spill over a nearby table. He turned and saw Emily perform a roundhouse kick to finish off her foe. Behind her, Paul threw quick jabs into the chest of a Triad member before striking him across the face for the final blow. The other Knights were taking out the rest.
Michael’s opponent returned and leapt up on the table behind him, sword ready. Michael used his own sword to split the table in half, forcing him to fall to the floor where Michael quickly slammed a knee into his face to finally take him out. Suddenly, a thunderclap rang out across the basement and he felt something hit the side of his helmet.
Everyone stopped and turned in the direction of the front entrance. A Triad member stood in the doorway with a pistol; he took aim again but Michael rushed him, a bullet bouncing off his helmet once more as he closed in, tackling the man through the double doors. They hit the smooth floor and slide toward the inside set of stairs before Michael grabbed him by his black tie and slamming his fist into his face. He heard more footsteps and looked up in time to see more Triads descending the stairs, armed with automatic rifles. Michael quickly stood to his feet and stepped back into the serving area as the other Metro Knights gathered behind him. Once they were inside, the Triads stood at the other end of the room and gleefully raised their rifles.
“Guns?,” Paul sneered, “Where’s the honor in that?”
“Screw it,” the lead Triad said as they took aim, “We’ve waited too long for this.”
“I hope you don’t mind waiting a little bit longer.”
They all turned to the back door and saw Rex in the doorway, backlit by the sunlight. With everyone’s attention now on him, he folded his arms across his chest and silently stared the Triads down with a sure smile. The intro to the old movie serials echoed through Michael’s mind, “The hero of humanity!” Being honest with himself, Michael was excited to see Rex in action so there was a small amount of disappointment when the Triads turned and ran back up the stairs, disappearing through the front doors. Paul clapped Rex on the shoulder, “Not a minute too late.”
“Can’t believe these assholes attacked while you guys were in a soup kitchen,” Michael looked down at one of the unconscious Triads.
“We’re just happy you and Rex were here,” Emily told him, “You really kicked some ass for a newbie.”
“Oh,” Michael stammered, unsure of what to say as he suddenly realized she considered him an asset in their fight, “No problem.”
“Come back anytime,” Paul told him.
“Yeah,… I’ll uh,… have to volunteer sometime.”
Rex and Michael helped clean up and waited for the police to arrive to take the Triads. Rex and Michael left soon after and walked back to Hyperion’s Light which was hovering above a few apartment buildings. Rex took a device from his belt and pressed a button, activating the ship’s tractor beam which brought them back inside the ship. His robot pilots flew the ship out of the area while Michael took off his helmet and sat back in a chair next to Rex.
“Hank was a good friend,” Rex told him, “I don’t think a day went by that he didn’t think of others.”
“It’s always nice to meet his old allies and everything considering I never really got the chance to know him well.”
“And we’re not done yet. Tomorrow, we have one more meeting to make.”
“Yeah, I guess it’s my great grandfather’s turn. I’m a little curious about that one. I mean, other than you, there aren’t too many people left alive that knew him personally.”
“You’re right,” a knowing smirk appeared on Rex’s face, “After all, our old teammates are dead… and we’ll meet one of those teammates tomorrow.”
Michael gave him a curious look until he realized who Rex was talking about, “Oh,… her.”
2 thoughts on “AP Productions: Cavalier #12”
ROUNDHOUSE KICK. Always fun.
I liked the first half of the chapter with Michael finding out about Paul and the Knights the best. Good character and world building.
Thanks. He’s a throwback to the old kung-fu comics.
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