Hard Boiled – Episode Two: The Roof is on Fire 1.46

Corin took a deep breath, I can’t believe that actually worked, he thought to himself. He picked himself up off the deck of the yacht, “Boy I hope whoever this is that Wolf needed to rescue is worth it.” Corin started to look around at his present situation. Each passing moment, the yacht they were on was sinking further and further into the harbor.

His first instincts told him that he should look for people who could be trapped on board. His legs were still rubber, as the Mid-Night Man walked the deck of the yacht. Suddenly the boat jerked violently as more of the yacht sank beneath the surface of the harbor, the shake of the boat caused the Starlight Sleuth’s tenuous grip on his balance to completely falter, sending him back to one knee.

As he was attempting to gather himself, two Asian men came running around the corner, speaking in a language that Corin could not comprehend. One of them noticed Corin collecting himself and turned towards him, [“Hello hero,”] he smirked as he reared back and kicked Corin in the jaw sending him sprawling across the wood of the deck. [“What do you know Yoshiro, it looks like the man in white will not be the only person collecting a bounty one the caped ones tonight.”]

Yoshiro didn’t say a word he just looked down at Corin, who had picked himself up to one knee, and smiled. He pulled his chrome plated weapon from the holster hidden under his dark suit and pointed it at the Starlight Sleuth and finally spoke. [“Goodbye, hero,”] he paused to cock back the hammer of the gun.

Corin heard a click and, for a second, thought it was all over. Then he noticed a sliver of metal sticking to the side of the pistol, a thin, silver line leading from the metal and around the corner to an area he couldn’t see. Suddenly, the silver thread, the sliver of metal, the gun, and his would-be killer’s arm erupted in electricity. Yoshiro shook violently, then dropped to the deck.

The other man stood, momentarily dumbfounded. “That’s Mr. Hero to you,” said a deep, crackling voice as a green-clad man stepped into view.

[“You!”] the man shouted in Japanese, fumbling for his own gun as Kardiac revealed himself.

[“Me!”] Kardiac answered, snapping out a kick to the man’s neck. The thug stumbled backwards, clutching his throat and gasping for air. The vigilante was on him in an instant, slamming him against the wall with both hands and holding him in place. For a moment, their eyes locked.

Kardiac frowned. “We’re American superheroes,” he said flatly, no mirth in his voice. “At least have the courtesy to mock us in English.” The thug crackled with energy, shaking against the wall of a few seconds, then dropped to the ground unconscious as his assailant released him.

Shifting the smoke rising from the man, Kardiac turned towards the Mid-Night Man. “Yakuza… rude bunch,” he said. “Totally inconsiderate.” He offered the other costumed man a hand. After seeing what had happened to the two criminals, Corin hesitated to touch it.

Kardiac frowned, rolling his eyes behind his goggles. “I’m not wearing my ‘Danger: High Voltage’ sign at the moment,” he said with a smirk. Corin accepted his help and was quickly on his feet once more.

“They call me Kardiac. You’re either the Mid-Night Man or an innocent bystander with a weird sense of fashion,” he added. “But we’ve wasted enough time on pleasantries… where’re Blue and Capin?”

Mid-Night Man steadied himself and pointed toward the pilothouse “Wolf went that way.”

“Well come on, we need to get off this boat. These things will take on water without sinking completely, but I’d rather not test this one’s buoyancy.”

“Then let’s find them and get the hell outta here, I hate boats anyway,” the Mid-Night Man pulled his tranq gun from its holster and followed Kardiac toward the pilothouse. As the two heroes got to the ladder well leading to it, they saw the others, bloody and a little worse for wear but alive.

“What the hell happened to you guys,” Kardiac said as he offered his arm to Capin.

“Heh, you think we look bad,” Capin said grimacing in pain, but still with a smile, “you should see the other guy.”

Kardiac scoffed as he took up Capin’s weight on his own shoulder, while Mid-Night Man went to help Bluewolf. “You look like you went ten rounds with a wheat thresher.”

“We’ll explain later,” Bluewolf said shifting his weight against the Mid-Night Man. “Right now, we’d better just evac and regroup.”

“Probably a good idea boys,” Silhouette’s voice came through their earpieces. “The police have been called in. There are going to be cops all over the place in about two minutes, and where there are cops, there will be reporters.”

“Great that’s the last thing we need right now.”

Be careful leaving the boat,” Kardiac said as they neared the edge. The ship is far from sinking, but if it shifts while you’re on the gangplank, you might just beat it to the bottom.” No sooner did he finish his sentence than he noticed two men in wetsuits pulling themselves up onto a dock several piers down.

“You’ve got to be kidding me!” he said with a heavy sigh. “Run!”

“But you said–” Mid-Night Man started, but Kardiac just grabbed his arm and started moving faster towards the edge. Bluewolf and Capin had already started running. They knew him well enough to know that, paranoid, gruff, and irritating as he might sometimes be, Kardiac was not prone to unnecessary alarmist exclamations.

“Run!” he said again, and this time Mid-Night Man compiled without further question. The four heroes were halfway down the gangplank when the first explosion rocked the boat and plank alike. They dove forward in unison with a little help from the second explosion, hitting the wooden deck of the pier hard as the boat’s hull screamed and it listed hard to starboard.

Bluewolf did a quick survey to make sure that everyone was alive and functional, then looked at Kardiac. “Those weren’t natural explosions,” he said. It wasn’t a question.

“Saw two frog-men crawling out of the water a ways down,” Kardiac answered. “Couldn’t tell you if they were there for us or if it’s just part of the war,” he added.

“We’ll worry about that later, Wolf said, agreeing with Kardiac’s unspoken sentiment. “For now, let’s head back to Strategoi and debrief.”

Kardiac nodded. “I’ll meet you there… I’ve got to make one stop first.”

Wolf’s eyes narrowed beneath his mask, not in anger but concern. “This is important?”

“It is,” he answered. “I’ll be there… I promise.”

Wolf nodded and Kardiac took off around the warehouse. After he’d watched him leave, the erstwhile leader of the group turned to the other two who were standing there, watching.

“Want me to cover him?” Ryu asked.

“Do you think it would do any good?”

“Point.”

Bluewolf turned to Mid-Night Man. “Well… looks like you’re going to get to meet the voice behind the communicator. Are you sure you’re ready to get in this deep?”

“Honestly?” he said, “I’m not sure. But considering how deep I’m already in, I don’t see any reason to hesitate.”

“All right then,” Wolf said with a smile. “Let’s go.”

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