His name was David King.
He was tall, broad shouldered, and dressed in a wine-red blazer. Needless to say, he stood out in a crowd.
… OH! I should also mention that he had the head of a ram. A bighorn sheep ram to be specific.
His above human strength and intimidating appearance served him well in his profession as bodyguard for the most powerful woman in Twilight;
Sometimes, David asked himself if a woman like that really needed a bodyguard. The woman had an aura of power, not just because of the fact that she was richer than god and muscular in that feminine way that didn’t prevent her from being attractive. No, it was also the way she behaved in a room full of people. Like tonight, where she was hosting a Christmas party for all the people who had donated money to Faria Hospital, she was being evaded by most of her own guests. Not because they had no interest in socializing with her. But simply because no one in the room felt important enough to small-talk with the uncrowned Empress of Twilight City.
And Hecox knew it. In fact, she enjoyed it. Partly the reason to why she hosted such gatherings, simply to see that people respected her.
… Apparently, someone had dared to approach her. When someone did that, it was because they had to ask for a favor. Question was if the Empress found you important enough to grace you with her attention.
In this case, Dr Eddward Drow was worthy.
“Edd!” Hecox’s cold I-owe-you-and-you-know-it stare was replaced with a somewhat friendly look. “Glad to see you could join us. You’re late.”
“Yes, I ah…” The short man with light-yellow hair looked a bit nervous as he fixed the knot on his tie. “I had a… few things keeping me occupied back at the hospital.”
“I understand. Work first.” Hecox snapped her fingers and one of the waiters came with a silver plate with champagne glasses.
“Oh, no thank you. But… Well, I hoped I could burrow you for a few minutes? There is something I need to… discuss.”
“Please, I have all the time in the world for you, Edd.” Hecox led him to her office that was in the next room. David followed and closed the door and stood by it with his arms crossed.
“Um…” Dr. Drow looked at bodyguard. “Maybe under four eyes?”
“Whatever you have to say, you can say it in front of him.” Hecox assured him, as she took a seat behind her desk. “David there not only keep my secrets no matter how dark they are, he is also the toughest bugger I ever had the pleasure to meet.”
David made a small smile. “Ma’am, please.”
“Oh shush, you know I don’t mean a word of it.” Hecox made a small chuckle, then turned her attention toward the doctor. “Now… How can I be of service to the Faria Hospital's Chief of Medicine?”
“Well…” Drow tapped his fingers against each other. “Something… unfortunate happened. Yesterday.”
“One of the ambulances… It was… Well, destroyed. I suppose that’s the best way to put it. And the ambulance driver… he was hurt. Badly.”
Hecox looked at the doctor thoughtfully. “That is unfortunate. But what does that have to do with me?”
“… I need…” Drow paused, not sure how to put it. “…help. Help with… Well… This happened because a young man and his gang attacked it, and-”
“And now you come to me, hoping that you can hire me like a tug to teach the brat a lesson?” Hecox gave the poor man a penetrating stare. “You think you can make me do errands for you, Drow? That I run a gang that you can hire? That I’m a simple criminal who can be bought?”
“What, no, NO! Of course not, ma'am, of course not…” Drow began to bit his lower lip. “No, it’s just…” Drow sighed. “He’s the son of Danny Dellrusk.”
Hecox replaced her burning stare with an understanding look. “Ah. I see.”
“The ambulance driver managed to call for help. The police came before anyone was harmed too much, but… Well, Dellrusk’s boy is free again. I even heard the police officers who arrested him got fired. And the young men he is after is at the moment my patients. No one else can help me. Everyone else is too scared of Dellrusk.”
“And now you are worried that Dellrusk’s brat is going to come and make a ruckus at Faria, and you can’t do anything without having his old man suing you for everything you owe plus a boat. Hmm…” Hecox nodded, then said; “It was wise of you to come for my help. I will fix this little problem of yours, Edd.”
“Oh, thank you, ma’am!” Drow looked relieved. “Thank you so-”
“But I will need a favor in return.” She interrupted him. “I need you to get me three patients from intensive care whom you can’t save. Patients who are lost causes.”
David escorted Hecox to the cold storage room of her favorite restaurant. As they both stepped inside, they saw Olga and Frank Dierker, also known as the Thrashing Twins, busy at work. Work meaning beating up a young man whom they had tied up to a chair and covered his head with an old sack. Once the twins saw that they had visitors, they paused to get their boss an expensive-looking chair that they placed in front of their prisoner. Hecox sat and was then offered an already prepared nargileh.
“Thank you.” Hecox placed the pipe’s mouthpiece to her lips, taking a few quick puffs before ordering them to take the bag of the young man’s head. Olga did as was ordered and removed the duct tape that covered the boy’s mouth as well.
“You are dead, you &%¤#, DEAD!” The 17-year-old man yelled as soon as his mouth was free. “You have ANY idea who I am? I’m Jerry Dellrusk, and once my dad finds out .. he…” Jerry’s badly beaten face lost all furry and was instead filled with fear as he saw the woman in the chair in front of him. “”… Oh.
“Young man…” Hecox asked while looking at Jerry as if he was a cat who had make clawmarks on the sofa. “Do you know who I am?”
“… Um, I mean, yes MA’AM.”
“Then you know that I could sell your father as dogfood if I was in the mood for that.” Hecox inhaled on her mouthpiece, then blew smoke in Jerry’s face. The frightened brat began to cough. “Your money means nothing to me. What does mean something is the fact that you attacked an ambulance.”
“Look, those /&%¤# who was in it had it coming. They messed with my-”
“I don’t care why you did it. Twilight is my city, and in my city, there are rules. One of them is that no one, NO ONE… is allowed to cause any harm to the city’s medical care. And you can’t pay your way out of this. Am I clear?”
“… Yes, ma’am.”
“Good.” Hecox stood up, but before she left the room, she said; “Give young Mr. Dellrusk here half an hour more of schooling. No need of being gentle this time. Let him have it rough.”
“What?! But I though-”
“I need to be sure you won’t forget this lesson, brat. And this experience will hopefully teach you that you aren’t untouchable.”
As Hecox and the door to the cold room was shut closed once more, Jerry wimped as the old sack covered his head once more and he felt a fist connect to his nose.
David guarded the door to his boss’ office making sure that no one would walk in on her meeting with one of her less than legal business associates.
Lulu Danglars, also known as Reine Arsenic. A French “super-villain” crimeboss with a silly grudge toward the United States.
She wasn’t in the office in person. There was a wide screen placed on one of the walls where Danglars could be seen, petting a komodo dragon that lied it’s head on her lap.
Hecox was smoking her nargileh while patiently listening to Danglars who had for about 15 minutes described her latest scheme to “make America crumble”, as well as explaining the “poetry” in it. She wasn’t really interested, but didn’t wish to seem disrespectful to her business associate.
“Why won’t you join me, Empress?” Danglars asked. “You will gain so much and do so little for it. We have done business before, non?”
“I sell you weapons, Lulu. What you do with them is your business. But I have no interest in getting involved in your so-called war with America. After all, I see myself as a patriot.”
“Since when does America mean so much to you? You lead all organized crime in Twilight, non? Including drug marketing that corrupts your population and could potentially wreck your damn country apart if you take up my offer of alliance.”
“That's where you are wrong, Lulu. I love my country. In fact, I do my part in making America stronger. Drug use is for cowards and weaklings. America grows stronger through the self-destruction of the weak of will. And I help hasting up that process. I corrupt nothing but what is already corruptible.”
“Whatever makes you sleep at night, chéri.”
“Bottom-line is, I won’t allow your troops to hide in my city. I won’t take part in your ridicules crusade. But you yourself is of course always welcome to come as long as you have money to spend.”
“You are missing out on a great opportunity, Empress.”
“I don’t care. Have a good day.” Hecox pressed a button on her desk, ending the transmission. After a short sigh, she called for David. “Is the car ready?”
“Of course, ma’am.”
“Good…” She stretched out. “I could use the exercise.”
Izuku Ashido used to be a heavyweight boxer.
Then, he became a con man.
Then he became a boxing manager.
And then he became a corrupt boxing manager.
Tonight, he was prey.
Ashido came to his senses, slightly dizzy. All he remembered was being in his hotel room, waiting for room service, but when he opened the door, all he got was a massive load of gas, putting him to sleep. And now he woke up, finding himself being dragged by a man and a woman, both blond and very tall. The dragged him to… Was that a boxing ring?
It took a second for Ashido to realize that he was inside Hercules Square Garden. Twilight City’s grand indoor sport arena.
“Hey, what’s going on here?” Ashido’s head was clear now, and he tried to pull himself free from the twin’s firm grip, but to no use.
“Get in.” The woman said as they were in front of the ring.
Ashido was about to protest, until he saw that both of the twins had guns. So he did as he was told and stepped inside the ring. In the opposite corner was a redhaired woman in a black tank top sitting on a stool, her arms resting on the ropes and her fingers impatiently tapping. Ashido recognized her. She was some rich dame who owed Twilight’s powerplant.
Ashido wasn’t from Twilight, so he didn’t realize how powerful and dangerous Rebecca Hecox was.
“Ah, Mr Ashido.” Hecox looked anything but friendly. “Glad to see that you could make it.”
“What the hell is going on here?” Ashido tried to sound braver than he was. “Is this some sort of joke?”
“Not at all.” Hecox assured him. “Nothing funny about your little stunt yesterday.”
“Mr Ashido, my father was a boxer and I practically grew up with the sport. I love boxing. It brings out the best in men, but also, in your case; the worst.”
“… Are there a point to all this?”
“Yes. The point is that I do not tolerate fixed matches in my city. I know that you set up your boy Ricky Kessler. I know that you had him drugged in fourth round, making him fall like a domino piece. Trust me, I know a fixed fight when I see one. It wasn’t that jab that knocked him out.”
“…” Ashido coughed. “You can’t prove anything.”
Hecox chuckled as she stood up and kicked the stool out of the ring. “Mr. Ashido, who said I needed to prove it?”
“What is this all about? You gonna get me whacked?”
“Of course not. Isn’t it obvious?” Hecox cracked her knuckles. “I’m giving you what you didn’t give Kessler; a fair chance!”
She threw a punch. He blocked it.
Ashido hadn’t fought professionally for years, but he still had his fighter instinct that had once made him a top ten heavyweight contender. He stopped being confused and instead focused on how to beat the crap out of his kidnapper.
She planted a strong right in his chest, then two quick jabs in his stomach. It made him take a step backward, but he stroke her right in the face, then her left arm. After that, he couldn’t hit her a she dodged with incredible speed, giving him a series of light hits. She was much lighter than him, but she knew how to use it to her advantage. Remembering that this was not a fight by the rules, Ashido stepped on her right foot, making it possible for him to place an elbow in her nose and then kicked her leg to make her trip.
Having spent time in the joint had it’s advantages. Like learning the “jailhouse rock.”
But despite the bleeding, broken nose, Hecox grinned. Ashido expected her to get up again. That was a mistake.
Before he could read her, she kicked him in the knee. It wasn’t broken, but hurt like hell, distracting him as she got back on her feet and began to punish him. A series of quick punches both in the face and the stomach forced him toward a corner. Because of the damaged knee, he couldn’t keep his balance and couldn’t get up as he fell toward the corner. He was trapped.
And Hecox kept hitting him.
And she kept on hitting him until his head seized to function.
As she seized her attack, Ashido fell to the mat like a chopped tree. And he didn’t get up again.
Hecox took in a deep breath. She was exhausted. But god, it felt good.
As she stepped out of the ring and told the twins to clean up the mess, David stood ready with a towel and a bottle of water.
“How bad do I look?” Hecox asked as she dried her head for sweat.
“Could be worse, ma’am.” David said as he followed her to the car. “A few herbs should fix your face over the night. But you better keep the magic nullifying belt on. A non-powered body is easier to heal.”
“Good. I can’t look like this on Christmas Eve. That would be unfair to him.”
Rebecca Hecox had an unusually warm smile on her face as she received a big hug from the most important person in her life.
“Aw…” The crimeboss of Twilight returned the hug. “I love you too, little man.”