Friday, December 30, 2016

Aftermath and Begining

"Mr. Xibalboa ... we have a problem," Ranna Morrigen said. She had just administered the antidote to the medical Slow the doctors had used on the Inerzan. She repeated it as the tall man came to his senses and realized she was no longer a statue from his point of view.

"I .. don't understand ... I was shot," Xibalboa murmured from under an oxygen tent. He ribbed his face and and realized the surgical scarf he wore like most of his hygiene obsessed culture was gone. He also needed a shave and a toothbrush.

"That was a month ago your time. You're fine ... for now. We know what you did ... staging that swell dinner so that those mercs could kill us all," Ranna explained. She doffer her trenchcoat and was wearing a pistol in a shoulder holster under it. She drew a revolver from her coat pocket, checked the cylinder and laid it on a table. Then she pushed the table near where he could grab it and tore down the oxygen tent with a quick angry motion.

"We have a wire tap on the phone lines to the Subsector Savings and Loan President's house and office. I guess you didn't know we could do that. We traced the calls back to the drugstore you phoned from. A private investigator photographed you making them. I could show them to you. You're accessory to murder and attempted murder. People died last night. This bank is responsible for the attack on Jorge Gutman and myself. This bank is doubtless responsible for the invasion of Nuzon now. You bastard."

"Mr. Prigo had no part in this," Xibalboa said finally.

"Good for him. Now you've got a pistol right there. You can take it and we can shoot it out. I give you that courtesy."

"No," Xibalboa said edging a little away from the gun. He looked into Ranna's dark eyes and saw only death there.

"Okay. Then you can put the gun to your head and cure all your ills."

"No."

"Ah don't want to save us the price of a hangman? We can do 'shot trying to escape. ' she reached for her automatic.

In the end Xibalboa went for the gun. She was glad for that. She felt less of a barbarian.

***

"Give me back that cigar gadammit! What? What light? Oh we're live!

"People of Zaonia, this is Mayor Louie Burns. We are under attack. A cowardly assault has begun on our leaders and representatives ... and has failed. These are people who will stoop to anything to win but they will find out the more they stoop the harder they'll get kicked in the teeth.

"Our thanks go out to the brave men and women who defended against this attack, police, Squires ... the Elevator Gang.

"All armed forces and police are to report to duty immediately. All civilians are to gather supplies for three days and report to their assigned defense shelters or otherwise comply with the evacuation plans Martial law is in effect. We don't know if there's anymore of these goons out there so keep your peepers open for any suspicious activity. Stay tuned for more newscasts and be prepared to give them the works!"

***

"Basement! Put down that girl! Do we need to have THE talk?!" Elevator yelled.

"This ain't no girl. It's Mezzanine!" Basement said juggling the blonde in his arms a little awkwardly.

"Hi Boss," Mezzanine was wrapped like a burrito in a tablecloth and poked a hand out to wave embarrassedly.

Professor Elevator goggled a little and regained his composure. "What happened? Are you hurt?"

"Hurt nothin'! I took out three of them goons ... I lost my pumps in the fracas and there's brass and broken glass all over the street," she said.

"But ... the tablecloth?"

"Oh ... twinkletoes here had his foot on the hem  'a my gown when one of Mort's hot brass shells ejects and goes down the small 'a my back. I jump up ..."

Mezzanine glared at Lobby and Professor Elevator as they closed their eyes a moment and stifled small laughs. 

"... get to the safe house with her, Basement and get her out of that .... swaddling and suited up! This may be Zaonia's darkest hour. We will do our best!" Professor Elevator snapped.

"Looks like it's your night, noodlehead," Lobby said.

"I'm telling ya!" Basement nodded. "Must be the clean living." He broke into a trot away from the restaurant, police, gang, and captives.

"I'm really sorry about that gown. I'll get you a new one," he told Mezzanine.

"Yeah? What are you going to buy it with?" she asked snuggling a little further into the tablecloth and a little closer to him.

"I lifted about six wallets from them swells we were eating with. I figured the Boss was going to take 'em all anyway."

"... And we call you the stupid one."

***



It seems hokey, right? The bad guys suddenly find a noble streak, doing good, waving the flag, and stepping up. I don't know the whole finding a noble streak theme but historically as late ad the Second World War organized crime worked with the American military. Their reasons were not so noble. Benito Mussolini was the only man in history to put the brakes on the mob. It was pretty easy when you just jailed people without trials, employed torture and denied basic human rights. Of course if you were innocent and fingered for revenge or similar motives it wasn't such a good solution.

Naturally the organized crime families in America still had ties to their relatives in Italy, some personal some business. So the mob went to war. crime is way easier in a democracy than a fascist nation. Deals were cut. Lucky Luciano was merely deported, not put away for life for his efforts in developing underground information networks and spreading instructions to Allied operatives. Legend has it when the Allies invaded Sicily the word went out to the Italian soldiers that they should take a dive and deistance themselves from the Third Reich.

Some convicted gangsters did a form of community service instructing special forces in the art of drive bys and whacking people in a dramatic manner to send a clear message.

In New York City the mob went after saboteurs setting fires in construction facilities. You get the idea. Whatever the reason crooks, revolutionaries and similar disenfranchised or outlawed individuals may put their legal problems aside and use their talents and support for their government.

Any resemblance to your typical adventurers is purely intentional. Pirates, smugglers and such are pure lanthanum in war based adventures and campaigns. If this isn't a Polity vs. Polity conflict 'merely' planet vs. planet they have even more importance. They can be a game changer.

Story wise they are also an opportunity for bad guys to do good things be it for atonement, patriotism, or just making a buck. Amnesties might be cheerfully given out or at least haven granted. Some people are just suckers for the badguys saving the day (I confess I'm a fan of Suicide Squad and Secret Six.) In the real world it is seldom as romantic. Remember Churchill and Roosevelt threw in with Stalin, a man who killed more of his own people than the Third Reich did.

It can go the other way too. A government may not want to accept help from some people; at least not publicly. A criminal might not want any witnesses to altruistic actions.