Hard Boiled – Episode Two: The Roof is on Fire 1.2

kavatarThe air was always a little colder these days, but right now Kardiac’s skin was crawling beneath his uniform. It had nothing to do with the chill on the night air, though. It had everything to do with the three Brazilian drug-runners who just slipped their boat silently beneath the north pier of Warehouse 170. Had he not been here, watching and waiting for them, they might have gone unnoticed.

This had always been work, but in the Begnini days, it was at least fun. The Vega Syndicate didn’t play by the same rules, and there was no “dealing” with them… not the way he’d handled Alphonse back in the day… back before that final night. Blue and Capin kept telling him to look at the big picture. The gang war was the biggest threat, but they didn’t know the Vegas… they didn’t know her.

At least he didn’t have to worry about watching anybody’s back… not anymore. He told himself that she would have been a liability, and he almost believed it, but that didn’t help soothe the aching he felt in his gut every time he thought about that night. It was his fault… there was a side of him she hadn’t known. He should have warned her… but now it was too late for that. But the other woman… she knew that side of him. It was that side of him that created her. And that made this fight his responsibility.

He fired off his line, sticking it cleanly into the next warehouse over. He’d been doing this awhile, so he didn’t even test the strength of the cable. He knew it would hold. He took a deep breath, preparing his body for the effort he was about to put it through, and dove from the roof, letting the next warehouse guide his arc towards the north pier. He heard the wind whistling past him, and it took him back to that night… the sound of a body falling through the air.

“How did you know I would be able to catch him?”

“I didn’t.”

Those two words had been the end of it. There were more words after those, of course, but nothing worth remembering… because they had ended with the conversation. The scary thing was, he hadn’t known she would catch Begnini when he was hurled from that rooftop. He hadn’t wanted her to catch him. After what had happened to Andy… well, Begnini deserved to die. It had been the same way in the Amazon… the night that the Vega Syndicate changed hands… the night she was born.

Of course, she hadn’t been able to save him. There wasn’t much to save. Kardiac had once told Begnini that electric chairs envied the amperage he could put out… and Jorge Vega had been his proof of that. He hadn’t known she was watching… not that it would have stopped him. Jorge Vega had killed his father and was living outside of any hope of extradition… there was only one solution to that… and he thought it had been a one-time deal.

He should have electrocuted Alphonse… re-enacted Brazil in its truest form, then Begnini would be where he belonged… in the ground instead of living the cozy life in Irongate. She still would have left him, but it would have been a hell of a lot more satisfying. Andy might not have ever spoken to him again, though… they were just now starting to speak again after that night. Andy didn’t seem to understand… he’d done it for him.

The sound of the cold water splashing off of the toes of his boots brought him back to reality. The Brazilians heard it… but one of them never got to see the source of the sound. Wet boots made great conductors, and if the taser charge was a little above-and-beyond what was necessary… well, better safe than sorry.

The third one actually managed to get his gun drawn as the second fell into the harbor, still crackling with the pale blue glow of the electricity that had shut him down. One shot was all he got, though, and the gun was dropped, electrical pulses racing across its surface as it hit the deck of the rowboat. In a flash, the vigilante’s hand was clasped around the drug-runner’s throat. Their eyes locked, and Kardiac’s narrowed even as the Brazilian’s widened.

“Tell Alexandra to stay out of my town.” He didn’t wait for a reply. Instead, he just let the sparks fly and the unconscious body drop to the deck. Moving over to the crates, he focused his bioenergy on strength, and tore the lid free from the first one he reached. Inside, he did not find the drug that he’d expected.

Guns… big ones. “Damn,” he said under his breath. “Better call this one in. Blue’s gonna go through the roof.” He pulled out his communicator, and prepared to let the others know that things were about to escalate… again. Somehow, he thought, this is all gonna be my fault.

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