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Issue Twelve, Bungle in the Concrete Jungle

While watching TV at Mike's, Ka-sador heard a strange thump at the door. He hopped over and opened it, and was almost knocked over when Mike fell through the door.

Mike was a mess. He had been horribly beaten, and was bleeding from numerous wounds, as well as from the mouth and nose. He grabbed Ka-Sador and whispered, "A gang war's brewing, man. It starts," he coughed, "tomorrow night at 2." Mike mentioned the address of a warehouse on the docks. "I got the information, but they got me. The Dark Lord is in for a fight." With that Mike collapsed.

Dark Lord? But Mike told him that Darth Vader was a fantasy! Besides, Ka-sador had seen him die many times on the TV. Nevertheless, the code of the arena demanded that he avenge Mike; Ka-sador had been getting a practical education on "gangs" and how they peddled harmful drugs and attempted to control the city like the Krai did on countless worlds -- through strength and intimidation. Ka-sador would be at the docks the next night to challenge whoever this Dark Lord was, and teach the gangs that they were not welcome in Ka-sador's city.

The Wanderer had been following up a lot of leads on street crime, trying to track down the mysterious "dagger killer." On one such occassion, he found himself foiling a drug-fueled mugging attempt. The mugger, desperately trying to avoid being turned over to the police blabbed everything he could think of that might interest the Wanderer.

One item did stick in the Wanderer's mind: the junkie mentioned something big going down at a warehouse near the docks, something that doubtless had to do with a shipment of drugs. The time was 2AM the following night.

The Wanderer made a mental note to be cruising the docks at 2am the next night, arriving early around 1:30 to scout out any maritime or warehouse activity.

The Wanderer arrived and made a sweep of the area, then settled in to watch.

The Defender knew the young woman had a drug problem, that was why he was following her as she walked down the street. He watched in horror, though not really surprise, as she traded the pills to a man in the street for a bag full of powder.

He followed the new man, and soon was hanging onto a wall outside the window of a burned out building. The men inside were talking about a big deal going down the next night at 2AM. He waited until he heard the address of the warehouse on the docks where the deal was happening and then slipped away.

Once well out of hearing distance, he recorded the address of the drug deal into his wrist comp. On the trip home, he stopped briefly on the roof of a small building. He contemplated his next move. Defender had to concern himself with this larger fish in the pond. As a city protector, he had done little more than break up some back alley crimes of violence. These individuals would have guns and not be afraid to use them. A moment of indesiciveness gave way to determination. The girl was probably just another victim. These dealers, however, were leeches on society: predators. Defender knew what he had to do.

Returning to the relative comfort of his spartan office, he began to do some research on the internet. He wanted some information dealing with that part of town. He did not have the ear on the streets he so desperately needed for situations like this. Then again, there were several news reporters with those contacts. So, he dug into news archives.

The dock area was the heart or Port Alexander, and it beat round the clock. At all hours, ships were coming and going, and without a doubt some of them were engaged in illegal practices. The area of the docks where the meeting was to take place was in the run-down working section of the waterfront, rather the upscale gentrified section. There were no expensive restaurants or trendy clubs, only warehouse, piers and all night liquor stores.

Those trendy clubs, though, were only a short distance away, and on the interface between the two worlds was, inevitably, friction. In the heart of the glitzy waterfront district, there was little crime on the well-patrolled streets. In the area where the warehouse was located, there was little reported crime, emphasis on the "reported." But the police reports drew a line between the two. Muggings were common on the fringe, where the revellers strayed two far from the area where they were safe. Rapes, too, were represented and even a few killings.

		*		*		*		*
Dressed for the evening, the man drove down to a large nightclub/restaurant. The crowd was mostly shuffling into the dance club portion. He thought for a moment he saw a familiar face or two, but chalked it up to his nerves. He took a table and proceeded to try and enjoy a good meal. He did remember the advice he had received in his one abortive attempt at school sports; he ate a light meal to prevent any potential cramps. He had no idea if the advice was sound. He reminded himself to check into it when he next got a chance. Unimportant now, since the Coq Au Vin was wonderful.

At exactly one minute past eleven, his pager began to vibrate against his hip. He looked at it out of habit. He already knew why he was being paged. He payed for his dinner, leaving a decent tip. Either to much or too little and the waiter would remember him. He then gathered his briefcase and walked out.

Once outside, he made his way down a back alley. Remembering the report, he was careful to look out for trouble before proceeding to the next step in his plan. He ducked behind a dumpster and became Defender. One thing he had not considered was how self conscience he was changing his clothes in public. That was probably why he heard the footsteps in the alley. He hap-hazardly pulled on his mask, the last touch. Closing the briefcase now containing his secret identity's clothes, he leapt for the top of the neighboring building. Once there, he hid his brief case and then leapt across to the roof of the club.

Making time going roof to roof was easy. His luck would not hold. He was forced to cover some of the distance in the seamier part of town on foot. He moved quickly, having a couple of miles to cover in a short period of time. He wanted to be there in time to get some scouting done before hand. He had to stop once just to record an idea for a camouflaging, adhesive container for his clothing. That done, he continued on the warehouse.

At ground zero for this evening's mission, he started a counter-clockwise search of the surrounding build's roof tops and perimeters. He wanted to get in his mind the lay of the land. Using a mapping tool in his wrist computer, he made quick note of the locations the warehouse and surrounding buildings. After that, he made short notes of what he saw.

Ka-sador flew above the warehouse where the meeting was to take place. His trained hunter's eyes caught a flash of motion, and he inclined his head to watch. There it was again, a human figure making a prodigious leap from one roof to the next one over. In the dimness, he could not make out all of the figure's clothes, but it fit what his limited knowledge thought of as a costume; blue and formfitting, fading to green at the edges, with goggles covering the eyes.

With a flap of his wings he pulled to a stop in midair and effortlessly seemed to bob up and down in an almost hover. 'Interesting,' he thought, 'he leaps like Mike but doesn't look like a Dark Lord.' Ka-sador remembered the first lessons of the arena, never get distracted by focusing on one thing, so he looked around more to see if there was any more movement. From a safe distance, he decided to follow this leaping man and see if he fit into this somehow.

The man seemed to be looking for something. He would hop to a roof, give it a thorough insepction, then leap to the next. He seemed to be systematically working out and around from the warehouse where the meeting was to take place.

Ka-sador speculated on a warehouse roof which would be visitied, and headed for it. 'Perhaps this is a scout for the Dark Lord,' Ka-sador reasoned, 'he is making sure that there is no opposition before he brings war onto Port Alexander.' With this, the winged alien set off to set a trap. He landed on a rooftop and found an overhand bathed in shadows whereupon he disappeared.

Soon enough, the man leapt to the roof. He landed in a crouch and quickly surveyed the roof. He tapped his left wrist a few times, and Ka-sador heard a soft clicking, the man was entering data somehow. The man moved to the edge of the roof and looked out, scanning the area.

Ka-sador fingered the Orionid bolo on his belt and plucked it from the restraining clip. It fell to its full length and began to whirl in the night air, released toward the legs of this "scout."

The Defender landed on the roof and scanned the rooftop. Nothing seemed to be lurking amid the exhaust pipes. He made a quick entry on the wrist comp, then turned to examine the surrounding area from the edge of the roof. A whistling sound made him turn, and he saw dark skinned creature with wings stepping out of the shadows by a cooling unit. He saw nothing more as a bolo of some kind wrapped around his legs, binding them firmly together. He grunted as the weighted ends slapped into his legs.

"Not exactly the behavior I would expect from a drug dealer, but ok." The masked man muttered as he bent down to the cables binding his legs together. He yanked and the cable snapped. Adopting a fighting stance, the man said, ""You seem to have had a bit of dry rot there."

[KA-SADOR NO SELL DRUGS, ME AVENGUH FRENDT MYKE. DRUG DEELERS HURT FRENDT MYKE!,] answered the winged alien as he stepped out of the shadows in a pose with an armoured wing held high.

"Okay..." The brightly attired defender said, slowly lowering his guard. "I don't think we are at crossed purposes here. I'm Defender. I'm here because of some major drug deal going down in that warehouse. Er... sorry about the bola." Defender scratched his head. "Have you had a chance to look around?"

Ka-sador cocked his head to the side, [DEEFENDTR?] He thumped his chest, [ME KA-SADOR, NO LOOK AROUN AFTER SEE YOO. YOO KNOW DARK LORD?]

"Afraid I don't. Is he someone I should be concerned about?" The note of concern was plain in Defender's voice. "I'm very new to all of this."

[KA-SADOR NOT SUUR, MYKE SAY DARK LORD KAWSE WAR IN PORTA LZANDER], the 2.74 metre tall alien said as he craned his head upward to the air. [YOO FRENDT, WEE STOP DRUG DEELERS TOGETHER, WHERE THE DEELERS?] he asked retrieving his snapped bolo for repair later.

"Friends then. Good, I didn't fancy my chances against you." Defender chuckled mostly to himself. He checked his wrist comp for the current time, then drew Ka-Sador's attention to it.

"The deal is set to go down at 2:00. The building in the center of this crude diagram is that warehouse there. These are the surrounding buildings and this is the one we are on. The deal is going down in the center warehouse. So, do we strike early or do we wait for all parties involved to show up?"

[WHOO ELSE YOO EXPECTING?] Ka-sador questioned.

"Figured there would be two sides, dealer and buyer." Defender thought for a moment. "Wonder how many more surprises await us tonight."

He studied the diagram and began to speculate on points of arrival and departure at the warehouse. A bird-like gaze toward the warehouse and sniff of the air caused the alien to stretch his wings and turn to Defender, [WEE TAYKE POSITIONS FOR BATTLE SOON, WAYT FOR RIGHT TIME, AND THEN DESTROY DEELERS AND DARK LORD!]

"Don't know about the 'destroy' part, but all for putting them out of business. I'm also curious what they are dealing." Defender deferred to the perceived experience of the avian next to him. "Let's take our places and wait."

Defender snapped the cover of his wrist comp closed and returned to his perch, overlooking the warehouse.

[HOW YOO LERN OF DEELERS?] asked Ka-sador as he squatted on the roof edge folding his wings to look like a giant gargoyle.

"A friend told me about his assistant stealing from him," Defender whispered. Shaking his head slightly, he wondered why he had suddenly felt the need to whisper. He spoke a little louder as he continued.

"I followed her to a deal. I was about to bust in on them, when they started talking about this major deal. I decided it would be better to cut the head off the hydra instead of just a leg. And here I am. How about you? Where did you hear about it?"


"'Earthlander?' Then you aren't from around here, are you? Could that have been more cliche?" Defender asked of himself. "But yeah, I'm new to the whole costumed avenger thing. Not knew to being a 'defender', though. I've always stood up for others against the bullies."

Defender took his short cape in his hand. "But only recently have I put on this costume and fought crime. Just so you know, this is the biggest thing I've faced yet. I'll be honest, this Dark Lord you keep mentioning has me a little nervous."

He paused for a breath and regarded the strange avian creature that stood beside him. "I am sorry about your friend Myke. I hope he makes a full recovery soon."

[KA-SADOR DOES TOO, MYKE ONLEE FRENDT HERE ON YOOR WORLD,] he answered. Ka-sador stood, [WAYT HERE, KA-SADOR SCOUT], as he took flight high above the warehouse and disappeared in the dark of the night.

Soon Ka-Sador returned and said that he had seen nothing much. A few vehicles had come to nearby warehouses, which was not unusual, but nothing to the meeting house. The pair settled in to wait.

About one thirty-five, the first car arrived at the warehouse. It was an SUV that looked out of place in the district. A man in a dark suit got out of the vehicle and opened the loading door. The vehicle drove in and the man closed the door behind it. A few mintes later, a sedan arrived. The man inside opened the door for it.

The Wanderer perked up at the sign of activity. 'Jolly good, I was beginning to think that one couldn't trust a strung-out junkie any more,' he quipped to himself. The Wanderer began his approach to the warehouse, he was in no hurry taking his time to canvass the remaining area; determining that it would be most embarassing to appear before all the players were present.

The warehouse was built along the same lines as most of the others in this neighborhood; about thirty feet high with windows spaced at about the 25 foot level to allow light in, at the moment a few of them were allowing a little light to spill out, thre rest were presumably blacked out somehow. A large cargo door faced the street, with a smaller door cut into it to provide access. It was on the corner and ran the width of the block. Between it and its only neighbor there was a small alley.

The Wanderer made his way to the small alleyway. It is always best to see the whole picture, he thought, before crashing a party. Slowly he made his way through the alley, looking for scaffolding, ladders, or anything else he could use to look inside the high windows.

He was not surprised to find that there were no such objects to be found.

Drat!, he silently cursed. He really must try to get on the building code board sometime, ladders and hot chocolate machines in the lobby were imperative! He continued his careful trip down the alley around the warehouse, pleased that there appeared to be only one way out -- the cargo bay where he saw the men arrive.

All was quiet until five minutes past two, when two more SUVs arrived. A man in a windbreaker got out of the lead car and knocked on the access door, which opened. After a quick discussion, the loading door was opened and the two cars entered.

[NOW TYME TO DESTROY?] Ka-sador inquired of Defender. The eagerness was evident on the alien's face as a grin broke out and he took an offensive pose.

"Just about," Defender replied. "Let's give them a couple minutes to get into the deal. Then, we go in."

Defender was a little relieved that so far the perps looked normal. Maybe this Dark Lord was just a red herring. He looked at the metal loading door to the warehouse and wonder if he was strong enough to tear it open. Instead, he settled on the access door.

"I think we should leave the big metal door closed. It will make it harder for them to run away," he said, watching his winged companion closely. I hope he's not too serious on this 'destroy' angle, he thought as looked for signs of intent on the alien's face.

Defender nodded and leapt off the side of the building. Landing fairly lightly by the access door, he paused to make sure Ka-Sador was following.

Ka-sador gracefully landed beside Defender, and looked around in case there were any others around. He sniffed the air, to catch the scent of the humans he had seen go inside.

Defender took deep breath to steady himself, then pulled back his leg for a kick at the door. "Avon Calling!" he joked to Ka-Sador.

Defender was a strange man, much different than Mike; and what good women's makeup would do at the moment was puzzling to Ka-sador. He had not seen any females enter the warehouse, but Defender felt that Avon would create some kind of battle advantage. Strange indeed.

Defender stopped his kick short as a man in trenchcoat, goggles and a hat stepped around the corner. The man looked as surprised to see them as they were to see him. Defender thought he recognized the newcomer as The Wanderer.

"A boy and his bird, how nice," quipped the newcomer. "I suggest you disarm your cocked leg, or is that dis-leg?...nevertheless, you gentlemen wouldn't be here to buy some candy to go with your Halloween costumes, now would you?" He turned slightly to the side in what appeared to be an offensive position.

"What is it with this town?" Defender asked as he started to take a defensive stance. "Set out to break a simple drug ring and what do you get? Confusion." The masked man took a moment to look at the new arrival. "The Wanderer, I presume?"

"That I am, my publicist deserves a raise," he remarked, "although she should have scheduled me for this bust weeks ago." The Wanderer circled to the outside, "And you are?"

"Call me Defender. This is Ka-Sador. Different leads brought us both here." Defender dropped his hands and watched The Wanderer carefully as he spoke. "Trust me or not, I'm here to try and break up some major drug deal. And I'd rather not be at crossed purposes here."

Ka-sador sniffed toward the Wanderer and then Defender, [YOO NOT LYKE HIM, YOO NOT EARTHLANDER.] The avian alien seemed almost disappointed, [DARK LORD IS EARTHLANDER, HE INSYDE!]

The Wanderer was amused and amazed at the alien's grasp of the language and answered them both, "Well gents it is a joy to meet you both, and you are correct Ka-sador. I am from a couple of exits closer on the galactic highway than you, my friend." The man in black dropped his hands and approached the duo with an extended hand, asking Defender, "We really shouldn't waste anymore time, is there something about a Dark Lord I should know about before we let ourselves in?"

Any reply that Defender might have made was cut off short by a crashing sound from around the alley, the sound a wall might make if a huge hole was suddenly smashed through it.

"I'm thinking he might like big entrances!" Defender shouted, rushing to the source of the disturbance. 'Got to be careful,' he thought. 'Want a happy wife, not a grieving widow.'

"Looks like a neighbor decided to complain about the party in his own way," stated The Wanderer surmising that the concussive force originated from the leftmost warehouse. Quickly he began to run down the alley, suggesting "Defender, how about you and Ka-sador check on our friends, I'll see if the neighbor's dog needs to be let out!"

Ka-sador took to the air shortly after the blast and was swooping down the alleyway roughly 10 metres off the ground.

Defender sighed, realizing this was bigger than he had expected it to be. He continued down the alleyway, this time leaping into the air and landing on the side of the warehouse on the right. He had aimed his leap to place him a few meters ahead of and above the hole. He then crawled along the wall until he could peer into the hole. The air left his lungs in a gasp as his eyes took in the scene within.

Inside the warehouse was chaos. The four vehicles were parked on one side of the large warehouse, and crouched behind them were a few men, some in suits, some in more casual wear -- it was easy to identify the two groups involved in the meeting. The men were fighting to get weapons out and the heroes were just in time to see the flash of the guns and hear the reports of the pistols. Another half a dozen men, from both sides were scattered about the floor.

The men were firing at four gaudily dressed figures.

The first, in a red suit with a horned iron helmet and demon head emblem was a blur as he ran across the floor and slammed a fist repeated into one of the gunmen, dropping him to the floor.

The second was in blue, with a raised fist emblem, and an exoskeleton of some kind. His face was obscured by a visored helmet. He grabbed a gunman and tossed him fifteen or twenty feet to crash into the floor next to another fallen man.

The third wore grey robes, richly adorned with golden trim, and he simply pointed at one of the gunmen, there was a faint coruscation of power around his head and the man clutched his head and collapsed.

The last wore a blue suit with a triangular red logo on the front and carried a barely visible club of some kind. He gestured toward the last man, and the bottom of one of the crates behind the target dissolved into powder, causing it to slide down and land on the man.

With that, the four men were the last standing, although some of the others were still conscious, albeit not moving any too quickly.

Defender flipped into the building through the large hole. Landing on his feet, hefted a small piece of rubble and flung it at the feet of the man in the exoskeleton. He then struck a heroic pose and started to ramble something about "in the name of", but never got the chance. As the man turned, Defender gulped and realized that this was it. Just like the school yards for so many years, he was potentially facing off against a bully that was much tougher than he was. Time to use the brain.

"Er... wanna give up now?"

Suddenly, the Wanderer appeared in front of the man with a pop. Regarding the raised fist logo, the Wanderer said, "Right on, brutha!" And punched the man. His victim flew back about ten feet and landed on his back.

Right behind those two came Ka-Sador, who swooped into the room dive bombing the man with the club, opening a wing at the last second to create a fulcrum to slam his legs into the man for a nasty kick. The attacks of the other two must have warned the man, though, and he was able to duck the kick.

Defender leapt lightly toward the man in gray and took a swing. The man, with his hands in his robe sleeves, swayed out of the way of the punches, then stared at Defender. A quick shimmer surrounded his head and Defender's head exploded with pain. "You dare to attack Mindslasher? Now pay the consequences!"

The Wanderer closed the gap on his foe and picked him up, lifting him above his head, "We don't appreciate people pounding the citizens of Port Alexander, even drug dealing scum like this!"

The man laughed, "And I was afraid this would be boring!" He grabbed for the Wanderer, but missed, and the Wanderer was able to move with the motion and toss the man toward Mindslasher. The pitch was right on target. Mindslasher staggered from the impact, but kept his feet. "PowerFist, you idiot!" he snapped.

"Sorry," said the man getting to his feet. "Payback time!" He charged back at the Wanderer and slammed into him, driving him back ten feet or so with the impact.

"I will deal with him later," said Mindslasher. "First you must pay." Around Defender the rubble and powder rose up and took a roughly humanoid shape. The creature stalked the hero as Mindslasher stood behind it and smiled.

Ka-sador recovered from his first attack and settled in for the fight, launching attack after attack at the man who evaded the blows or deflected them with his truncheon.

His foed countered with blows of his own wielding his truncheon with great skill.

The man by the cars called out in a thick Russian accent, "Moleculon, do you need a hand?"

"No, SpeeDemon," said the man. "Finish up the job."

SpeeDemon nodded and, in a blur of motion, raced among the fallen men. A briefcase was opened and shown to contain money, which he kept. Another had several bags of white powder, which he ripped open and scattered behind him as he ran.

Moleculon rained blows on Ka-sador, who deflected them with his armoured wings as best he could.

Ka-sador grabbed for a bolo and fired it at Moleculon to bind him, and used the distraction to follow behind with a series of thrusts and kicks.

The bolo missed, but the distraction gave him a great chance to land a kick. Moleculon narrowly blocked it with his truncheon.

The Wanderer staggered back and raised his hands in a sign of mock pleading, "No mas, no mas Ray." Hoping to buy some time, he began to concentrate on the approaching PowerFist.

PowerFist looked confused, then started to stumble toward the hero. "What are you doing?"

The rubble creature swung a cinderblock fist at Defender, who tried to block it, but parried only dust. The blow slammed home. From his crouch, Defender lined up his foes and lunged, hoping that if he missed the rubble creature, he might catch Mindslasher on the follow-through. He passed through the creature as if it were air, and was on line to hit Mindslasher, who darted quickly out of the way, "Damn you," he said.

Mindslasher launched a wicked kick at Defender, but went wide.

"Interesting. Now let's see what this does for your concentration," said Defender as he stepped in close and started swinging. Mindslasher parried the first punch, but Defender's blow was much stronger and drove through the block. Surprised, Mindslasher let the next blow land without attempting to block it.

"Damn you, fall!" he shouted and again a brief glow flared about his head. Defender's head exploded with pain.

"Stop it!" growled PowerFist and swung at The Wanderer, connecting with a massive blow. The Wanderer flew back and into the crates lining the south wall, crushing several which fell over on top of him. "That's better," said PowerFist, turning to survey the scene. Deciding that Defender looked like the most fun, he lumbered that way.

Ka-sador spun around with a 360, clipping Moleculon with an armoured wing bash, followed with a double thrust and snap kick to the midsection. Moleculon gave ground, deflecting shots with his truncheon. He tried to find an opportunity for a counter punch, but without much luck.

Moleculon called out, "SpeeDemon, if you're done there, you could lend a hand here."

"Da," said the quickly moving figure, and he blurred over toward the fray, he raced past Ka-Sador, delivering a couple of off-target punches as he passed.

"Sorry fellows, only one dance partner at a time," Defender quipped as he struck at MindSlasher with yet another punch, landing it solidly and seeming to stagger his target. Defender immediately followed with a backwards kick."But here's a sample for you." The kick missed, but Defender kept moving. He grabbed Mindslasher with his left hand.

"Let me go!" said the villian, and again Defender's head rocked with pain. Defender ignored the pain and whipped Mindslasher around toward PowerFist. The struggling villian was not the best weapon, though, and Defender's sweep missed.

"My turn," said PowerFist, swinging a steel covered fist.

As the breeze of SpeeDemon fell upon his leathery flesh, Ka-sador flapped his wings once to get airbourne and flipped in the air to land with a two-footed kick to Moleculon, following it with a flurry of punches in rapid succession. He was getting the rythym of Moleculon's defense and several of the blows landed solidly.

His erratic movement made it hard for SpeeDemon to track him, and although the superfast villian tried, he couldn't lay a hand on the Orionid, nor could Moleculon muster and offense.

"HA!" Defender exclaimed, happy his plan... had not really worked correctly. The smile left his face. "Oh smeg." PowerFist's blow sent him sailing back four meters to land on his back, and made him lose his grip on MindSlasher.

As Mindslasher stood, PowerFist closed back in on Defender, saying, "On-sides kick!" Just like Lucy and Charlie Brown, Defender pulled himself out of the way.

PowerFist started stomping at the prone Defender who rolled this way and that to stay clear of the exoskeletal boots.

Moleculon saw his chance and swung his truncheon, but he hadn't seen SpeeDemon moving up beside him. There was a crackle as the truncheon impacted on some kind of forcefield around SpeeDemon and knocked him back a few feet. SpeeDemon cursed softly in what sounded like Russian.

Moleculon's next blow was on target, though.

Ka-sador showed surprising agility recovering from the blow and spun around with a leg sweep which caused Moleculon to stagger. The alien took this moment to fire out with a backhand chop and overhand two-fisted axe blow.

Defender had never taken a beating quite as bad as this. Two on one like this was certain doom. Out of reflex, he kicked at Mindslasher's legs in an attempt to trip him. If the combined blow and fall knocked him out, all the better. Bad move, the strange position strained his leg.

Rolling to his feet, he knew retreat was the only chance he had now, but that was hindered by his game leg. He took a swing at Mindslasher to give him time to think.

Mindslasher shouted, "Feel my wrath!" and wound up for a sunday punch, which went wide over Defender's head.

PowerFist grinned, "Let's dance some more," and closed in and punched, also missing.

Moleculon kept swinging at Ka-Sador, and SpeeDemon closed in and punched as well.

Ka-sador winced from the blow but got just enough to maintain his posture. He snapped a couple of side kicks toward Moleculon's chest and threw a shoulder block with his armoured wing to finish the chain.

Moleculon backed up a step and blocked the shots with his truncheon. He was started to look a little winded.

In the broken crates there was movement as The Wanderer stirred and slowly moved grabbing his head. "Ow-ow-ow-ow, zigged when I should have zagged," he muttered as he did a full body check satisfied that all parts were intact. He got to his feet, then staggered over to where the cars were parked. A smile crossed his face, and he lifted the sedan with some effort.

"Yoo-hoo!" called The Wanderer. "Mr. SourPuss....Catch!!" said the man in black before throwing the sedan at PowerFist.

PowerFist turned, and said, "OK," and tried to catch the car. He failed, and said, "Ooof," before vanishing under the sedan.

Defender sighed heavily and gave the Wanderer a Thumbs Up. Time to finish this, he thought to himself. Pointing toward the ceiling, he tried to draw Mindslasher's attention. "Look! Haley's Comet!"

Defender aimed his next punch for the villian's jaw. Mindslasher jumped clear, and avoided most of the impact. Even so, his eyes glazed and he seemed stunned by the blow. Defender's followup punch dropped the villian in his tracks.

Maybe he was just paranoid, but the idea of PowerFist behind him with a car for a weapon worried Defender. So, he leapt for the ceiling 10 meters or so above him. Clinging like a bug, he turned to take in the whole scene below him.

He was surprised to see a costumed figure in the office box in the corner. The man was wearing a black bodysuit and lone ranger style mask, with daggers at hip and forearm. A red dagger emblem was emblazoned on his chest.

The car on top of PowerFist rose in the air, lifted above his head. PowerFist was not smiling anymore. "Now you catch!" He lobbed the car back at the Wanderer. Rather he started to, and the vehicle exploded as a loose wire jiggled inside the hood, touched the battery, sparked and ignited the gas tank. PowerFist looked pissed.

The airborne Ka-Sador was blown up and away from the explosion. He was now out of reach of Moleculon, who looked around him, then raised both hands, his truncheon vanishing. On the south wall, a breeze began to blow, fanning the small flames left by the burning rubble.

SpeeDemon touched his belt and rose into the air, punching at Ka-Sador as he did so. He clipped Ka-Sador who fell to the floor.

Moleculon kept his wind going for a bit, until some of the crates caught fire to his satisfaction. Then he turned and reviewed the situation. Looking up at Defender, he frowned, then he kneeled by Ka-Sador, his truncheon reappearing in his hand, and clipped the alien behind the ear. "SpeeDemon, take care of the guy on the cieling!"

SpeeDemon touched his belt again and rose to hover next to Defender where he threw a couple of punches before darting away like a hummingbird.

The Wanderer started to move toward PowerFist, who was more than happy to come to meet him. "Welcome back to the party," he said firing a punch in.

The Wanderer full before PowerFist's onslaught, and PowerFist slapped him once more to make certain he was out.

Defender tried to dance away from SpeeDemon, but couldn't quite avoid the punches.

He tried to shuck and jive his way clear of the fray as he crawled across the ceiling, toward a more defensible position by the office. And one which gave him a better view of the man in the office. The man however saw him coming and ducked out of sight.

Defender's evasions did him little good, SpeeDemon followed and rained punches in.

Moleculon bent over Mindslasher and tried to rouse him.

"Emergency. Four super powered criminals in midst of robbery at," Defender gave the address, "Request immediate assistance. Assailants extremely dangerous," Defender said quickly into his throat mike, then severed the comm channel. Addressing all present. "Cops are on their way, boys. Better scurry on back to your rat holes before your simple robbery goes totally south."

Defender then leapt off the roof toward SpeeDemon who quickly juked out of the way. Defender rolled over and landed on the far wall, clinging to it like he had clung to the cieling. He leapt off again and this time caught onto SpeeDemon, just barely. Rather he caught onto some kind of force shield around SpeeDemon and was suspended a few inches away.

Below, PowerFist looked around in frustration, then jogged to piece of flaming rubble -- a car door -- and picked it up. He hurled it at Defender, but it missed and embedded itself in the cieling.

"What makes you think this is a simple robbery," said Moleculon. "SpeeDemon, give him to me."

SpeeDemon obligingly dropped to the floor next to Moleculon, who punched at him halfheartedly.

"I don't know," Defender started as he threw a punch at Moleculon. "I see four rather simple guys in a warehouse..." This time he fired off a back hand toward SpeeDemon. "They're mugging street punks..." This time Defender snap kicked at Moleculon. "Seems pretty simple to me." One final attack, a spin punch was aimed at SpeeDemon. "I mean, what am I missing here, guys?" He smiled, preparing to duck out of the way of any reprisals.

Moleculon grinnned and a truncheon seemed to harden out of the air in his hand, "We're sending a message."

The distraction let SpeeDemon land a punch.

"We can give you the message, too," he said, tagging Defender. "We're the new bosses in town, you deal with us now."

"Damn right," added PowerFist who had run up to get in on the action, as he contributed to the beatdown.

Defender went down under a hail of blows.

Issue 13: Bungle in the Concrete Jungle, Part 2

Last Updated 27 February 2001