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Night of the Hornet

Chapter 11: Folded Wings

Disclaimer: Like you haven't heard by now? No copyright. No money. No shit. (So no lawsuits.)

Slash: In public? On national news? Kewl! But more VERY BAD LANGUAGE.

Earl has built this really incredible toy. Three inch robot wasp. Flys and everything. Bright green with a buzz that would wake the dead. Looks like something Kyle would think up.

Works great at distracting guards. Two inches from the chumps nose and all he can think is to swat at it. I step up. One solid hit and he's out. And we're in.

Two hours past sunset, and my job is to get the press into place. Even at the back door, Bromley has the place crawling with muscle. No sweat. She hires losers. Lois and Jimmy know how to move, and Linda is learning fast. This is curtains down so there's no need to be discreet. If I see mooks, I take them out. Five bagged and tagged by the time we reach the tunnel entrance. Not half of what's out there, but Batman will do the rest.

Batman dropped by Thursday and carefully pre-picked the lock, so tonight it's easy. Well oiled and silent. I grab the bug and stash it. My three charges slide past me and I reclose the door. Don't lock it. Might want the retreat. Drop a few 'Hornet' sensors for early warning in case anyone comes after us. Not likely. Fifteen minutes from now there won't be one unbagged mook on this estate. Except for Claudia Bromley. She's been bagged too. She just doesn't know it yet.

Lois pulls her dark-light. She knows where we're going and she's good enough in a fight, so I let her lead. Our bugs show the tunnel empty. More chance of trouble from the rear.

The four of us reach the site with no real trouble. One semi-close call. One guard kicking back in the public garage just above this one. Taking a dinner break. Probably dodging work. Almost found some instead. Lucky for me he's a noisy eater. Have a bad moment when the trap door squeals. My bad. Lucky for me he is dumb as well as lazy. I dump him in the back of her Caddy. Seems only decent. If he's going to miss out on his pizza he should at least be comfortable.

I help the press settle in their little hide-a-way. Cramped, maybe, but should have one hell of a view. Then I find my own seat and wait for the show to begin. Lights, camera, ...action.

First warning is when I hear that haunting buzz.

Down here the echoes give it a major edge. Spooky as hell. Now I understood why he used it. Sort of an audio-batman. Like something bad is coming and I should be damn glad if it isn't coming for me. Cool.

Following close behind; the woman of the hour, Claudia Bromley. Earl says she's been hitting the hard stuff. She looked it. Wired but warped. She keeps grabbing for the bug, but whatever she's on makes her clumsy and it is programed to evade capture. She lunges again and runs headfirst into the wall. Definite snow-burn.

Kato lets her exhaust herself before he appears. No prob. She still has plenty of energy left to scream.

Loud voice. I can see why she's good at public speaking. Lucky I hit the mute button before she can deafen me.

He stalks forward, menace in every step. Someone has been taking Bat lessons.

"Tonight I have some for what is mine."

I hear what he means. She hears what he says.

"You sodding bastard." She staggers against the wall. Nasty feedback. "Don't think you can blackmail me. I can have your ass now as easy as I ever could." She pulls herself back upright." Easier."

"Then why did you not do so....... last time?"

"I donn....didn't want the hassle. That was pin money. But a whore like you should stick to what their worth." "

"Do you think those few dollars is justice for a life?"

That freaks her. "Pervert! I always knew you were after Britt's money."

Like she didn't kill him for it? All in all I'd rather be fucked.

"Britt's money?" Uh ohh. Leaving the script. "Do you not consider it yours?"

"It is mine. It was always mine. Like Britt was before you came and you made him sick like you."

She's shaking, and her face is almost purple. I wonder if she's entirely rational. For a murderess, I mean.

"So you killed him."

She's borderline for stroke.

"I saved him." So slurred now it's hard to make out he words. " Everyone was talking and he wouldn't marry me and Ed said they'd find out my boyfriend was a faggot and I'd lose the election and everyone would laugh and it wasn't fair. It wasn't FAIR, damn you. That you should have him and he'd give you everything and I'd have nothing when he was supposed to marry me."

She took deep breath, reclaiming some composure.

"So you killed him."

"I made it right. I made it the way it should be. That's my job."

Forget jail. This ones headed for Arkham. Or whatever the local place is called.

"And Scanlon?."

"He said he was Britt's friend, but he wouldn't help him. I wanted to get Britt to a doctor, but Scanlon wouldn't let the judge sign the papers."

"And Casey"

"She shouldn't have said those bad things about my Britt. About him and you"

"And the FBI men. Why did you kill them?"

"They deserved it. Tolerating your perversion." Voice even. She's on comfortable ground now." They were the law. They should have arrested you and saved my Britt. But they didn't care. They only cared about their headlines and their stupid smugglers. So they deserved to die with you."

Holy.... Another gun. Big barreled 44. This time one I hadn't messed with. Pointed at his chest. Her voice was calm and her hand was steady. I knew she was totally gone from us.

"You were the one who really needed to die. Not Britt. Just you. I would have forgiven him. But he died and you lived."

He had the gas-gun. Effective in these close quarters. But at the first twitch she'd fire.

"Now you'll die and I'll live. I'll live with my Britt the way I always planned."

And she started to raise her aim.......

Kato is fast, but not quite fast enough. He fires first, but she gets off one round before she collapses. The impact flings him back against the tunnel wall. Blood spatters the camera, obscuring our view.

Clark tumbles from the closet where they were hidden. Probably somewhat faster than he should have, but who was checking. Clips Bromley upside the head, but she is already out of it. Permanently is my guess. Clark didn't stop to check on his way to Kato.

Jimmy and Lois follow. Lois has the brains to cuff Bromley ...just in case. Jimmy just hangs back and catches it all on film. Not that he doesn't have it all on the room cameras. But they aren't art. I never will understand Jimmy or Kyle.

I switch to the other cameras and wait for Batman. Do we move?

Clark is kneeling by Kato. Checking his pulse and wiping the blood from his nose. Not broken,he signs. Guess the wall hit him at an angle. Just some veins burst from the shock. I relax. Clark's probably giving him an X-ray once-over. Damn hard hit for an old man. He'll have bruises for a month. But the Kevlar held.

Lois calls in the ambulance. Smart lady. Already on her speed dial.

Kato is standing by the time it arrives. Talking with Lois. The paramedics insist on carrying him out anyway. I think he would have refused but Lois joins them. Nobody resists Lois. She's one of the forces of nature. So Jimmy gets some great shots of the fallen hero. Very moving.

The police come for Bromley. With Clark and Jimmy riding along to see that they do their jobs. Not that it matters. Bromley comes out of the gas, but she never really comes back. She doesn't resist her arrest. Just keeps asking for Britt. Her fiance.

Batman and I have to stay in place until the house is empty. That comes just before sunrise. There are still a few cops on posted on the lawn. Mostly to keep folks from getting in. Souvenir hunters and the press. No problem. We are headed out. They don't even look up.

We make it back to the hanger unnoticed. Back in Gotham by noon. I even make roll call for my shift.

I followed the rest of the story on the news. Lots of speculation. As a Senator, Claudia Bromley had been pretty popular. Highways, local parks, that sort of shit. Lots of people wanted to make excuses for her. And the Hornet crew didn't have the best rep. But with a murder confession on tape your sympathy factors pretty much screwed.

Bromleys house sharks made a few noises about extortion and breaking and entering, but since Bromley never made trial it just never came up.

Kato spent most of the week in the hospital. Shock damage and swelling to the peritoneum. It was a damn hard hit. His family flew in and looked worried. Hay and his wife and her family and all their kids. Looked photogenic. Gave press interviews saying how much they loved their dad. Bored everybody with good works.

Turns out the police 'discovered' the hidden closet. After all but being told where it was, of course. Found the original will tucked in with a mushy note. That 'proved' Bromley's guilt as far as the press was concerned.

Linda Park West, of course, broke the real story. She's got this chick show on KOST. Hug and sob stuff. Did it from beside his hospital bed. Ratings went through the roof. Lois followed her headline with a three-parter, and probably a book deal. She writes like the voiceless choir sings, only maybe more. A snip here, a twist there,and a legend was reborn.

Bromley was gone, so this time Kato got to write the story. I think he was even willing to tell the truth. Clark talked him out of it. Seems in all our righteousness there was one point we overlooked. Gay may not be a crime, but kidnapping is. I know. Hay was an abandoned orphan. But how do you prove that after fifty years. I mean, the kid didn't even know he was adopted. Or rather that he wasn't. Kent would think of that. He has the same problem. From the other side. In the end, Bromley's crimes were just put down to greed. Kato remained the loyal side-kick, Britt Reeds 'lifelong friend', struggling alone to bring a killer to justice. Hero types do that.

Even the note passes without comment. Kato was "my partner and my better soul". As Mitzy says 'so that's what they call it'.

Alan Scott flew in and simply took over. Kept management on course. All that willpower. Besides the reassurance of having a known super-hero at the helm. Makes it clear which side was the angels.

Cassandra came back from Moloki with a tan. She's mentioned going back there to college. Seems she and one of the cousins really hit it off. They keep in touch.

Lucas lined up some real legal eagles. The Bromley will crumpled like toilet paper. It took about two years, but in the end Kato got it all. He's back in the house and everything. Had it restored to it's 1930's glory. Gives great parties. I had tickets for the Free Clinic Ball, but I ended up working that weekend. Bruce went. Said Ikano looked happy. He's doing good work. There's some talk of asking him to run for Congress. Seems there's a seat open. Don't think he will.

Neither his kid or grandkids were too eager for the cash. Hay took a bit to build a hospital for orphans in Lassa, so I guess someone had a family talk. Eventually most of it went to the Britt Reed Foundation. Scholarships in automotive engineering and poetry. Kent hinted at journalism, but he's not too disappointed. Ed Lowery is back running the Sentinel. That means lots of jobs for KSU graduates. Good enough.

Scott picked up the radio stations. No one else got to bid. Guess the old guys stick together.

Bruce reopened the mine and made a mint. Pun intended. Seems that little shaker opened up a new vein of silver. It's running three shifts. Which means the dastardly duo gets to keep their jobs. Like I said, with Bruce it's results. I can live with that. As long as she's there and he's here.

The Black Beauty was given to the Smithsonian. It's on display with their uniforms and guns. I wanted to see it there, but tickets are still hard to get.


KKR - 2003

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