Crime Inc #2 - Stand and Deliver
Jerome paid the fare of the taxi he had caught to reach the old Cyclo-Tech Warehouse, yellow and black tape arranged around the perimeter and a big warning sign stating that the building was scheduled to be demolished at the end of the week. The actual building had a bad reputation, with the supposed green energy development team committing suicide in the wind research lab when there funding was cut, only for them to be returned as five destructive creatures with control over the wind. Shivering Jerome looked around for the others but saw nothing, if nobody else was coming he was going to book, he didn't have the confidence to do this alone.
“You leaving?” A female voice asked causing Jerome to spin round and lock eyes on a woman dressed in motorcycle leathers and boots the same colour as her raven hair standing behind him. “I wouldn't judge you if you did since I was thinking the same thing.” She added before throwing a tarpaulin over the motorcycle behind her.
“Yeah although that was when I thought that I was the only person stupid enough to turn up.” Jerome answered before walking over to the woman. “You’re the Highwayman right? I saw you at the last meeting I think.”
“You did, although ‘Highwayman’ is a label the media gave me due to my father and grandfather calling themselves that.” The woman told him before removing her helmet to reveal a pale skinned face, black lips and hazel eyes. “Until I believe that I'm worthy to use my grandfather’s alias I prefer for people to call me Catherine “
“I met your father once when I was starting out.” Jerome announced as the pair walked towards the entrance to the warehouse. “No offence but he was a jerk.” He added as he held the door open for Catherine to walk through.
“No offence taken, I hated him while I was growing up. But ultimately his actions were the ones that forced me to try and restore the honour attached to my family name.” Catherine stated. “What isn’t well known is that my great grandfather was the original Highwayman back in England during the Second World War. He used to race up and down the country catching spies for the Home Office, he was a hero until Germany surrendered, then he became an embarrassment and then a threat. The government decided that he wasn't necessary in the age of modern British Intelligence and paid a gang affiliated with the fledgling IRA to fire bomb his house. My great grandfather had the sense to send my great grandmother and grandfather, a child at the time, to safety here in the States.”
“I had no idea.” Jerome gasped as the pair of them reached the factory floor of the warehouse, a few pieces of machinery left to fill a vast empty space. “Okay so where is everyone? We got the right address right.”
“You did.” A voice echoed around the room as a massive man with bulging muscles carried in a pallet full of paint cans followed by Dr Matthews. “I got here first before the Doc was finished setting up and got shanghaied into helping her.”
“Mr Collins do I have to remind you that these sessions are mandatory.” Dr Matthews stated in a cold almost callous voice. “Mr Rivers, Miss Davidson since you are early why don’t you take a can each and a bare section of wall and pain everything about yourself that you don't want to carry forward from this place.” She ordered as Jerome and Catherine took a can of paint each and wandered off to a bare section of wall.
The other criminals scheduled to arrive came in dribs and drabs over the next ten minutes all taking brushes, paint cans and blank sections of wall and started to get to work. After about half an hour Dr Matthews wandered past Catherine’s drawing of a man dressed in leather.
“Who’s that?” Dr Matthews asked as Catherine put the paint can down on the floor.
“My father, or rather his influence on me since he’s dead.” Catherine stated quietly. “I’m just annoyed that his death sent my mother to prison where she was murdered.”
“You mentioned something about your grandfather, about restoring his honour yet you were decided to do that by working as an industrial saboteur?” Dr Matthews asked, “I just don’t understand why?”
“I can’t tell you why, only how.” Catherine answered.
Apis Biotechnology Compound, Outskirts of New York City – A month earlier
The motorcycle roared through the chain link fence, the bladed spikes on the wheel cutting divots into the road, its rider dressed in a blue great coat, cream britches, and a tricorn hat hanging on for dear life. Double tapping a button on her bike a rear mounted mortar popped up, the electronic targeting system locking onto the checkpoint ahead and firing two rounds.
“Stand and Deliver!!” The Highwayman yelled as the shells burst open and showered the guards inside with flechettes laced with quick acting tranquilizer. Gunning the engine the Highwayman un-holstered her pistol and fired at the reinforced barrier, the blast cracking the steel open and crumbling as the bike smashed its way into the main compound. Bringing her mount to a stop the Highwayman slid off the bike and pulled out a hidden tray under the seat, a tablet bolted to the surface, the screen displaying a big red ‘execute’ button.
“You poison people and steal their money. Let’s see how much you'll pay when everyone knows you’re…” Before she could finish a high speed blur slammed into her, the force propelling her away from her bike sending her tumbling across the tarmac. “Who?!”
Coming to a stop the blur revealed itself to be a man dressed in leather armour, reinforced boots and a helmet with a pull down visor styled to resemble one from ancient Macedonia. “Wow so you’re a noob!” The man cackled as the Highwayman opened fire, the explosive round sailing wide as the target ran towards her and ripped the pistol from her hair. “Name’s Marathon by the way, I move twenty six times faster than a normal human so you don’t stand a chance at catching me.” He added as he ran over to the motorcycle before ripping away the tablet and dashing off only to return seconds later. “That’s the evidence submitted, now all I have to do is run the perp over to central holding.”
“You don’t understand.” The Highwayman gasped as Marathon grabbed her by the scruff of the neck.
“You mentioned poisons, should I be worried?” Doctor Matthews asked as Catherine rubbed her hands nervously.
“Of course. My grandfather was always looking after the common man, true he stole from those who could afford it but he never killed anyone. Not like my father who was a murderer, wife beater, rapist and to put it bluntly a rake! He ruined a good man’s name and all I wanted to do was to remove his filth!!” Catherine hissed as she kicked the bucket of paint so the contents leaked over the floor.
“And you will.” Doctor Matthews announced as she beckoned for the others to gather around her. “Tomorrow this building is scheduled for demolition at eleven AM, and we are going to watch everything you printed go up in flames. I'll see you tomorrow at half ten in my office, it’s time for all of us to be free.”
“Okay Mac so you know what I wants you to do?” The man in the black pinstripe suit and fedora hat told the cloaked figure. With a hiss the figure responded thick spittle flying from its mouth.
“No killing, I don’t need the missy dead I just need her scared.” The suited man told him before getting a snarl in response. “Listen Mac I know you’re a scary guy but I’m the boss here.” He grunted before removing the figures hood to reveal a blank face and a maw filled with sharpened teeth and a forked tongue. “Find da Doc, scare da Doc and make sure they know it was the Faceless Wiseguy who sents ya.”