Airs and Heiresses
New York, 1938
St. Regis Hotel
"So there I was, staring down a barrel INCHES from death...and I told the man, 'darling REALLY, if you simply must shoot me do allow me to remove my earrings. They are Cartier, you know." Molly Maltese paused to take a sip of her Red Snapper, popping the olive neatly between her cherub lips before gnashing it to a pulp. "And the man was quite flummoxed, he said- I say, is that Riza Hawkeye?"
She rose, the group of rapt men in tuxedos and women in glittering dresses and furs murmuring their protests as she wended through their knees. But the apparition she was quite sure had been Riza Hawkeye had vanished in the crowd of New York socialites populating the exclusive terrace.
"Well, this place is a bit ritzy for Riza." she murmured, fairly certain her old acquaintance didn't make a habit of populating social-climbing fetes. And she reasoned, any time Riza had appeared before it was hardly ever for a pleasant cause. Well, maybe that was unfair. It just seemed she was more the swirl-of-furs-and-stiletto-daggers type than a frothy socializer like Molly herself.
Peering around, Molly saw nothing but the shadowed faces of revelers partially cloaked in the smoky haze. She had just been about to give up and go back to her companions when the most shocking hubbub began. Over on the north part of the terrace, she could distinctly hear the shouts of men and panicked screeching of females. Moving forward, she could just make out..
"Did you see... The Ambassador... who could have... murder! Someone has pushed the Ambassador off the building!" Molly picked up speed, expertly weaving through the crowd of panicked voices. Sirens already began to sound twenty stories below. Just as she grasped the ledge and looked over, an all too familiar voice sounded in her left ear.
"Oh hello there, old friend. Lovely breeze out today."
Before her stood Riza Hawkeye herself, looking utterly unruffled as several ladies fainted behind her.
"DELHI!" Marc and Zeo exclaimed together. Delhi was what Heimlich was trying to write. That's what he was seeing when he touched that amulet. Heimlich passed back out and Marc rushed over to him. He was breathing and his pulse was still strong. Good. He grabbed the strange, quirky doctor. "You're coming with us."
They piled back into Marc's car and headed back to the apartment. They would need to get everyone to the train station and get there fast.
"So, who is this guy?" Marc asked.
"Hoo." Zeo said.
"Well, what's his name?"
Marc was getting frustrated. "The doctor! His name!"
"I'm telling you," Zeo yelled back at Marc.
"Then tell me! Dr. Who!"
Dr. Hoo. H.O.O!" Zeo spelled out as they sped down the road though town.
"Makes sense now," Marc mumbled, feeling like an idiot now.
They made it to the safe house, but it was empty. Marc got out and went inside, discovering the rest of the group left for the train station.
"They've already left," Marc said as he slammed the car into drive.
When they made it to their destination, Dr. Hoo helped get the unconscious Heimlich out of the car. Zeo helped carry him. Marc looked at the doctor and spoke slowly.
"Get on the train and find a spot for him. We need you to help keep him alive."
They entered the train station and were met by Vulkie, who helped get them on the train. When the train left the station, and all had settled down, Marc sat down and closed his eyes for a well deserved nap. It would take a day or so to make it to Delhi.
The train was finally slowing down as they approach Delhi station. The light seeping in from the windows cast a yellow glow on Zeo's small suitcase. He was glad he always had his packed and readied in the trunk of his car. The frown between his brows has deepen ever since Heimlich fell unconscious, and the 'good' doctor didn't seem professional at all. Was Heimlich wrong in trusting him?
The old train moaned and shook. Although they had finally arrived, the team still had no idea where the entrance to Sphinx headquarter lie. It was probably in the head of the old man, and seemed to be just staying there. Zeo took out the amulet wrapped by a thick handkerchief. He remembered the streets he saw all meshed up together in his memory. If he tries it enough times, to access the secrets in the blue stone, would he be able to figure something out? Clasping his jaws tight, his index finger slowly drew near to the stone....
Yelling broke out from the compartment next to him just as figures jumped into his compartment from the windows. The small opening on the roof of the train flapped open and gunshot rang through it. Zeo dived down as bullet holes adorned the cushioned first class seats in one straight row. The amulet fell from his hand and landed on the floor. He saw someone with pinstripe trousers picked up the amulet, touching the blue stone. Zeo looked up, it was Jack.
"You really think you mere MEN would be able to read the secrets of the Deep? See what happened to your old friend!" Jack rasped in his/her squeaky voice as he walked away from the train. "Alavidā, mitra!"
Gunfire tore the two first class compartments apart.
Edward sat with Molly in her compartment conversing about anything and everything. But he wasn't really paying much attention to what she said. He was, more or less, staring at her beautiful eyes and wondering to himself if he really had a shot with her. Sure, he was happy to sleep with any woman, but this felt...different. Was he falling for her? He had only known her for a short time.
"Ed, are you listening to me?" She asked.
He blinked a couple times as he snapped back to reality. "Uh...yes. Yes sorry, just had a little distraction on my mind. Sorry. But yes, I agree completely."
"Right," Molly said. She opened her mouth to speak when the gunfire started. Ed jumped up, tackling Molly and shielding her as the windows shattered, showering the two with glass.
"Damnit!" Edward screamed. He stood up drawing his gun. Molly rolled over and got up, moving behind him with a gun in her hand too. "Stay here," he said as he stepped out into the hallway on the train. He could see Jack talking to someone on the ground. Zeo.
Jack. That son of a bitch! Edward watched as Jack started to leave. More gunfire shot through the first and second class compartments.
Edward raised his pistol and fired. He missed. But he didn't miss. He could see the bullet as it got close to Jack, slow down and move around him.
He fired two more shots, both bullets moving away and around Jack. He couldn't be touched. Marc and Riza appeared. Jack started to disappear from the site. Ed tried to fire once more but was stopped. Marc grabbed his arm, jerking the gun from his grip.
"Stop firing! You're going to hit someone else! What the hell is wrong with you?" Marc snapped.
Mothereffer. How was it possible that the first time in ages that Riza had been able to fall soundly asleep was also the time that her rest had to be interrupted by yelling, metallic clangs, and gunfire? With a look of pure menace on her face, she swung herself out of bed, pulled on her stilettos, and slammed the compartment door open. She could hear multiple footsteps pattering overhead, moving towards the left. There were people on the roof of the train car. This couldn't be good.
As Riza headed down the hallway in the direction of the ruckus, Marc rushed out of his room and almost crashed into her. Glass exploded from both sides as two men kicked their way in through the windows. Without hesitation, Marc swiftly shot the man on the left in the heart, while Riza flung a dagger straight into the throat of the man on the right. Blood gushed out and spilled over the floor.
Seeing no more assailants, Marc and Riza shared a look and made their way to the next car together. Screams and yells greeted their ears. Glass shards were littered all over the floor. Riza crunched over them like they were pieces of cereal. At the far end, Joseph was lying on the ground, covering his head. She watched Edward fire a couple of shots at a pinstriped figure and miss. It seemed he was hitting everything besides the mark. How was that possible?
Marc ripped the gun out of Edward's hand and began to reprimand him. Out of instinct, Riza sprinted forward and hurled one of her sharpest daggers at the pinstriped figure, who she now realized was Jack. It flew straight towards him, but then suddenly ricocheted off to the side right before impact. The dagger embedded itself into the wall with a thud. Bewildered, Riza froze in her tracks. "What the hell?"
Jack quickly hoisted himself out the window. A hand reached down and pulled him up.
After a well deserved nap, Vulkie was enjoying a cigarette. She hadn't had one in a long time and was craving for some nicotine. Exhaling the smoke out of her nostrils, she used her right hand to run through her hair. They were nearing Delhi, she could feel it. Also, because the conductor had said it would take less than 3 minutes to arrive there.
As the train slowed down, she put her cigarette out. And that's when all hell started to burst loose. Gunfire began to ensue, shouts and screams were heard. Instantly on alert, she grabbed her purse with her revolver in it and readied her Colt 1911 for action. As she opened the door, she was immediately greeted by a Sphinx henchman. Not hesitating a bit, she aimed her gun and shot him straight through the heart. The man clutched his heart, before slumping to the ground.
Vulkie then had to make a choice; was she going to assist her friends or making sure Heimlich was safe? Making a split second decision, she decided Heimlich was at far larger risk. So she rushed towards the compartment where Heimlich and Dr. Hoo were residing.
"Doc, get to the next carriage. Men are here to take us out of the equation. And I fear they might be after..." Vulkie ordered, before she was interrupted by the window shattering. A figure jumped through it. As Vulkie looked at the figure, she could see it was a woman. In a split second, the Sphinx woman glanced at Heimlich. She could see that he wasn't going to be any trouble at all...
"DON'T YOU DARE TOUCH HIM!" Vulkie angrily shouted and aimed her gun. The woman tiptoed her way over towards Vulkie and kicked the weapon out of her hands and then kicked Vulkie towards the ground.
The woman then clasped her hands around Vulkie's throat and started to choke her.
"Need to a find a weapon," Vulkie thought to herself, while using her hands to search around her for her gun...
Instead, she felt her hands reach the dried up curry that the doctor had dropped a day or so ago and she remembered the doctor had eaten some of it, by shoving his finger in his mouth. "Gross," Vulkie thought to herself, but instantly returned to the matter at hand.
She tried to get the attention of the doctor, but he only seemed to be dancing around and holding his screwdriver, twirling it in his hands.
"Screw... driver..." Vulkie managed to say, and the doctor froze on the spot. He then danced over towards her and dropped the screwdriver.
Vulkie grabbed the screwdriver with her right hand and jabbed it into the woman's left eye, who began to scream. Blood started to spray and covered Vulkie's face, who was temporarily blinded by it.
Using one hand to smear the blood away from her eyes, she used the other to sooth her throat; it was hurting like hell.
Opening her eyes again, she could see the Sphinx woman was standing near the window, trying to make her way out.
"OH HELL NO, YOU DON'T!" Vulkie roared and grabbed the woman's legs and pulled. She could hear a thump, as the woman's chin hit the window sill.
Vulkie then proceeded to twist the screwdriver a bit; the woman's screams filled the whole compartment and it satisfied Vulkie.
Deciding to end it all, she picked up her Colt 1911 and pumped her magazine through the woman's body, making sure she stayed dead.
As Vulkie looked at the body, it twitched for a bit, before it finally stopped to move. The doctor came over, pointing at his screwdriver and with a sickening suction sound, he pulled the screwdriver free.
Looking over at Heimlich, he seemed to be alright; the woman didn't have any time to hurt him at all.
"Doc, we need to move him, now! Preferably closer to our friends," Vulkie commanded. The doctor simply nodded and they both started to drag Heimlich...
“Arielle!” Joseph screamed at the back of in his mind as he cocked his revolver and started shooting the infiltrators as if he was at target practice.
The sound of gunfights boomed throughout the entire coach. The body of the dead shooter on the small roof opening was quickly snatched away, only to be replaced by another one with a fully loaded machine gun. More killers poured through the open window into the compartment. Zeo quickly knelt and took out the small pistol he hid in his socks. He was glad his right shoulder had healed quickly; he needed both his arms to be fully functional.
Backing out with the revolver firing at the windows, and the pistol first at the roof and then aiming it out at the door, Zeo retreated to the hallway. Riza, Marc, Ed all stood staring at a window as a pair of feet flew up and out of sight. Molly and Jasper subsequently joined them in the hall.
Zeo continued to fire both his guns through the door into his compartment. To his left Vulkie and the doctor were hauling the unconscious Heimlich out of their compartment. Zeo noticed Vulkie’s purse and remembered, “Vulkie, do you still carry IT with you?”
Vulkie was alarmed, “Oh, you mean THAT?” Zeo nodded solemnly. “I knew it would come in handy one day…” Vulkie replied as she quickly fished it out of her purse.
“Everybody out!” Zeo bellowed as everyone continued to shoot at the infiltrators left right and center, “Marc, find us a large vehicle, quick! Vulkie, do not use it until I find Arielle, DO YOU HEAR THAT?” Vulkie nodded as the detectives slowly retreated out of the train, firing as they leave. As soon as they were outside, bullets rang down from the roof.
“Joseph you have to hurry!” Vulkie said as everyone ran for cover.
Zeo ran down the hall to Arielle’s compartment and was almost hit by a shuriken flying out from it. He looked inside and saw his daughter with her cousin, and five dead bodies. Arielle was the one holding the metal stars. “Arielle!” Zeo was impressed and worried for his girl at the same time. Without missing a beat Arielle and Philippe followed Zeo out of the train.
As soon as Vulkie saw the trio she threw the little stone in her hand at the train where most of the infiltrators gathered. The coach exploded in waves of heat and light. Concerts of screams rung through the passenger platform as the group of detectives dashed away.
"We need to leave now!" Edward screamed, as he shot one of the gunmen. Marc fired forefinger, hitting a man right between his eyes. Joseph yelled for Marc to go find a big vehicle and meet them at the entrance. "Right!" Marc yelled. He left the fight, as Dr. Hoo could be heard saying he can take them to the front entrance. Marc took one more look as he left.
What were the odds that Marc would be told to go find a vehicle big enough to get everyone out? One in a million? He left all the excitement behind as he ran through the gates of the station, following the hundreds of people fleeing in fear, running into the Indian Imperial Police, who rushed into the fight.
Marc swore, hoping everyone else would be okay. Wait. Of course they would. He fought with them numerous times and they all had their own strengths, each one able to hold their own in an altercation. He entered the street looking for a big truck, his adrenaline pumping through his body.
Minutes seemed like hours that he searched for something big. Just when all hope was lost, it appeared, almost in a spotlight. The big, ugly, green delivery truck sat parallel parked in front of a store. The driver unloaded the last crate and walked into the store.
It's now or never, Marc thought. He ran for the truck as he got closer, he saw the driver appear and start to get in. Marc grabbed him and pulled him out, jerking the keys from his hand. "Sorry, Charlie." Marc said as he climbed into the truck.
"Hey!" The man shouted as he stood up. Marc slammed the door, put the keys in the ignition and turned them. The behemoth of a truck roared to life. He threw the truck into drive and slammed his foot on the gas pedal, pulling away from the store. He shifted the truck into second gear, then third, and fourth picking up a little more speed each shift. The engine roared and it seemed like he was flying down the street. What seemed to be really fast, was only 70kmh, the vehicle's top speed.
Marc reached the train station, plowing through parked cars near the entrance of the station. He opened the door. "Zeo!" He called out, waiving to him. Everyone e climbed aboard the truck. "Punch it!" Jasper yelled as he fired his pistol, hitting a gun man midsternal in the chest, dropping him like a rock.
Marc pulled the truck away from the entrance and back into the street, with a lone car chasing after them. The car pulled up next to them, and tried to ram the truck. Marc slammed on the brakes. "Hold on!" He yelled. The car shot forward as the truck screeched to a stop. The car came to a stop and Marc hit the gas, shifting back into second gear, slamming the truck into third. Before the cars driver had a chance to react, Marc literally ran over the car and continued forward.
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