Michael once read that the Femme Phantom’s guns were called Purgatory Pistols and wondered if that wasn’t just an “old-timey” description for them from a bygone period. Once he saw her float into the air, releasing bolts of eldritch energy from both barrels, he quickly decided it was a silly name that she likely never gave them because they were far too awesome to have a goofy moniker attatched. Rasputin teleported away just as the concrete under him exploded. Rex Robinson stepped forward with a punch across the jaw that sent him spinning into the air. Rasputin teleported again and reappeared behind Rex with a Russian saber in hand. Michael thought to warn Rex but soon realized it wasn’t necessary; Rex instinctively ducked, spun around to meet Rasputin and dodged and dipped around the subsequent parries and slashes before spinning into a kick that sent Rasputin into the air again. It was the first time for Michael to see him in action and he was absolutely the untouchable fighting machine he had always heard about. Rasputin crossed his arms and formed devil horns with his fingers, releasing a pentagram-shaped forcefield to block the oncoming bolts from Femme Phantom. Michael decided to finally act by running around the forcefield, firing shield-discs that struck Rasputin’s ribs, forcing him to drop his arms slightly. With Rasputin’s distracted, Femme Phantom fired another shot that burst through his weakened shield and blasted off an arm in a flash. The flames and heat cauterized the stump immediately and Rasputin snarled in rage as he opened his palm, releasing demonic energy. Femme Phantom turned translucent as the bolts passed through her and sailed into the night sky.
With his attention drawn once more, Michael raced toward him, raising his broadsword. He found himself not wanting to kill Rasputin, much like Reginald Hawkwood, but at the same time, Rasputin was notoriously difficult to kill so Michael rationalized it as a non-lethal attack. With his remaining arm, Rasputin caught Michael’s wrist, so he responded by bringing his foot up and kicking the Russian mystic between the legs. “Now, I’m seeing the family resemblance,” with one arm, Rasputin hurled Michael several feet away.
“Keep him occupied,” Rex ordered as a holographic control panel hung in the air over his watch, “I have an idea.”
Femme Phantom landed in front of Rasputin, flipped the guns over in her hands, and began pistol-whipping him savagely. He teleported away from her, blood pouring from his bottom lip and the gash on his cheek, then he raised his hand and a pillar of light erupted under her, catching her in a mystic field. She tried to phase out of it to no avail as the field kept her in place while he recovered. Michael rushed in for the save by igniting the electric tasers in his gauntlets and shoving both fists into Rasputin’s back, forcing him to once again break concentration and allowing Femme Phantom to blast free. “You are starting to annoy me,” he flew into the air and waved his arm again, telekinetically throwing both of them to the front steps of the cathedral.
“That should do it,” Rex said to himself and looked up at his ship.
The bottom of the ship opened up, revealing a glowing orb which was where the tractor beam usually descended. A moment later, a bluish-white beam shot out of the orb, striking Rasputin, sending him back to the ground. Instead of drawing him into the ship, he was forced to his knees as the pavement under him cracked and buckled.
“Lizzie, now’s a good time to phase through him,” Rex ordered politely as Rasputin tried his best to rise.
The Phantom flew forward, turning intangible just before passing through him. Tears of light ran through him as he roared defiantly and then the cracks burst open and more energy poured out. Then there was a flash of white light contained entirely within the tractor beam. Then the beam was shut off with no trace of the Mad Monk.
“So… that was a good thing?,” Michael asked.
“The tractor beam works by attaching light particles to an object’s molecular structure and pulling it along,” Rex explained, “I rejiggered the the thing into a sort of stasis field. Instead of drawing objects in, I programmed it to hold objects down to the very molecule. When Lizzie phased through him, it disrupted his the field and well, you saw the rest.”
“So… He’s not coming back from that, huh? I mean, he was already dead twice over but-”
“It’s unlikely he’s coming back but who knows. Maybe he’ll return in another fifty years or so. If you feel raw about it, just remember it was a choice me and Lizzie made.”
“As always, it was a pleasure to see you again, Rex,” Femme Phantom told him, “But repairs need to be made to this cathedral.”
“I’ll send some people tomorrow to clean up,” he assured her.
“Thank you. And farewell, Michael Hawkwood,” with that, the Femme Phantom disappeared but he could hear her voice echoing in the ether, “You fought as honorably as Reginald Hawkwood.”
It was dawn by the time Rex and Michael made it back to New York. They sat on the top of Hyperion’s Light, looking out over the skyline.
“I should apologize again,” Rex told him, “I expected lively discussions but every place I took you to, turned into a brawl somehow.”
“No need to apologize,” Michael responded happily, “Shit happens in this job, right? Besides, it comes with the territory of hanging out with Hawkwood men. They say the family’s cursed to lead violent lives and those lives are supposed to end just as violently.”
“The Hawkwood Curse,” Rex turned to him, “I recall hearing about that over the years.”
“My old man might be coming around to believing in it. Not sure if the others did.”
“What do you believe?”
“I’m not entirely sure anymore. Dr. Ansari chalked it up to a cycle of trauma. Reginald Hawkwood might’ve gotten PTSD from the war. Both my dad and grandfather likely didn’t process the deaths of their loved ones properly. Then there’s… what I went through as a kid. I used to believe in the curse, yeah, but maybe we’re just kinda screwed up in the head.”
“Do you know what I believe in?”
“I believe in heroes. It might be idealistic or outdated but I don’t much care either. Tell me, Mike, what did you learn this week? Not in regards to family history but what lessons did you learn by looking into the actions of each of the Cavaliers?”
“In Agartha, I learned that sometimes people can benefit if a person stands up to the system a little. At the soup kitchen, I learned that a little charity and generosity is just as important as fighting bad guys. And in Paris, I learned that honor and the sanctity of life is important even if we’re talking about a dead Russian guy. It was inspiring so thank you.”
“Don’t thank me. I didn’t teach you those lessons. Your father did. And your grandfather. And your great grandfather. That’s being a hero: giving life lessons long after you’re gone. Maybe your family has a curse or maybe there is something that drives you. In the grand scheme of things, does it matter how you die if you had a purposeful life to begin with?”
Michael nodded in appreciation and stared at the skyline.
The next day, Arthur called his son, “So how was Rex?”
“Great. I learned so much about our history. I’ll have to fill you in later.”
“I’d love to hear it. Have you returned the suit back to my basement? I don’t really go down there anymore so- ”
“I’m gonna clean it up. Give it a polish. It got a little dinged up.”
“Yeah, well, shit happens in this job. I’m glad you finally met Rex but I’m also glad you’re back home.”
“Yeah. Hey, I’ll call you back later, okay?”
“Got a date?”
“Heh. I’m not that lucky. I’ll talk to you later. Love you, Dad.”
“Love you too, Mike.”
In an alley, men in smiley face masks ran after a young woman. One of the masked men held up a phone and live streamed the pursuit in a dark web site. “Laughing Boys gonna have their laughs,” he said to the camera, “Let us know in the comments what we should do to her.”
When the men caught up to her, they grabbed her and forced her against a wall. The masked leader leaned in, “No cops around. Looks like it’s just you and us.”
A dark figure dropped down, knocking over the Laughing Boy with the phone. A second later, a metal boot stomped the screen. The leader turned and raised a baseball bat but it was sliced in half by a broadsword. A boot ended up in his gut, a metal fist broke the nose of another gang member and another was slammed head first against the wall. The remaining men ran off into the night, leaving the woman and the cloaked figure.
“Thank you,” she said, “I was wondering if you were still alive.”
“Well, I certainly feel alive,” Michael Hawkwood told her happily.
2 thoughts on “AP Productions: Cavalier #14”
MORE RASPUTIN PLEASE.
He really doesn’t like staying dead.
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