The Crimson Scorpion Strikes! Part 23
by Shane Migliavacca
The Crimson Scorpion Strikes! Chapter 23 Trojan Horse
After some snooping down at the docks and a little breaking and entering, Kitty found when the Acadia was due to return. The 30th. Two weeks she waited. Planning. Gathering resources so she could scuttle the ship if indeed it was carrying Opium into Starlight.
Now it was due tonight and she had things that needed to be taken care of.
Crouched on Phil Jenkins desk. Dressed as the Crimson Scorpion, Kitty laid out everything she’d found out and suspected about the Acadia, Jupiter and the Jaguar Club. If she failed in her attack, Kitty wanted Jenkins to bring the evidence to someone he trusted on the force.
“If you keep coming to me like this,” Jenkins said, putting his feet up on the desk. “I’m going to have to start charging you buddy.”
“And here I thought we shared a common goal.” Kitty answered. Surprised by Jenkins’ mercenary tone.
“Fighting crime is all well and good, it just don’t pay my rent is all.”
Kitty reached into her coat. “If it’s money you want.” She threw a small bundle of cash on the desk. “Take it.” She said. Unable to hide her disgust.
The detective eyed the cash intently before pushing it away.
“Okay. Maybe I came off a little much. I just think your taking old Jenkins here for granted.” He pulled his feet of the desk. His eyes staying on the cash .
“I’ll take a little… For expenses.” He looked up at her. “Fair?”
“Fair. Should I return from this, I’ll try not to take you granted Mr. Jenkins.”
She jumped down from the desk. “Take the rest of the cash, as down payment on any future work I might have for you.”
With that she left him. Exiting via the fire escape. Phil Jenkins was a strange one. Kitty thought. A man torn by the idea of what’s right and the need for money. It had been easy for her back when she was living off her parents wealth. Not till she was stranded on the island did she ever have to really struggle. Then after her rescue Kitty was attuned to living without the need of wealth. Money was only another means to an end.
After changing back into her normal clothes, Kitty headed to her parents’ penthouse. Emerson the butler greeted her at the door.
“Greetings Kitty.” He smiled.
She hugged the old man warmly. “You always make my day brighter.”
The old butler appeared a bit surprised by this. His face reddening a little.
“Why thank you Miss Kitty.”
“Are my parents in?”
“Indeed. Their taking in the noon sun on the balcony with their lunch.”
Kitty wanted to say more to Emerson. To tell him he was a loyal butler, no he was more then that. He was family. Yet saying the words meant she might not return. She wasn’t yet ready to resign herself to not coming back from tonight’s undertaking.
“This Abyssinia situation.” He father was saying. “I fear there will be war there. And it won’t be the last we’ll see in the next few years.”
“Dear, your always worrying.” Her mother replied. “How can such a thing effect us here. Something like the Great War could never happen again… Could it?” She asked. Her tone betraying her true feelings.
“You guys are a little serious for lunch time.” Kitty said. “It’ll give you indigestion.”
“Well, there she is.” Her father said. “You were out early this morning.”
“Had some errands to run.” Kitty had to think fast. “Thinking of organizing some sort of charity. To help a clinic in Mid-City helping the poor.”
Not bad, Kitty thought to herself. It wasn’t far from the truth. She’d been thinking of helping Doc Roberts out.
“That’s wonderful honey!” Her mother exclaimed. Taking Kitty’s hand. “If there’s anything your father or I can do to help.”
Her father added. “Don’t hesitate to ask.”
“Join us for lunch?” Her mother asked.
“I’d love to, but I have a few more things to do.” She said. “I just want to thank you both for putting up with me through the years.”
There was a chill in the August air tonight. A light mist danced over the black water. Kitty listened to it lap at the rowboat. Misa sat across from her. They’d meet the ship out there before it entered the harbor. Sink it and it’s shipment of Opium if necessary. In her coat, Kitty had a bomb concealed.
Taking Misa with her was something she couldn’t avoid. There was no way Kitty could do this without her. The young warrior for her part was eager for the battle to be joined tonight. Kitty had caught Misa lovingly sharping her sword earlier today.
Somewhere in the distance a ship’s horn sounded. The flashing light of a buoy flashed in the darkness. They were leaving the harbor. Being out on the water again, brought back memories of the party and the night she’d fallen overboard. For Kitty, in that water was the true birthplace of the Crimson Scorpion. It would be fitting if the water became her grave as well.
“Do not fear Mistress.” Misa remarked. Perhaps sensing her doubts. “Ours is a noble task this day. To strike a crippling blow to the devils who would corrupt Starlight. To die in pursuit of that end is a glorious end. One that would earn us a place with our ancestors in what comes after.”
Kitty smiled. Her mouth formed a weary grin. “I’m proud to have you at my side. And to call you friend.”
“And I am honored to serve you. Now and always.”
Kitty lost herself in the rowing. The repetition of the strokes. Her arms grew tired and she kept on. Using the toil, the pain, to forget any doubts she had. Her faithful friend watching for their destination.
A bright, white hot light filled the dark night behind them. Blinding Kitty with it’s absoluteness. A loud horn barked as the light bore down on them.
Kitty and Misa barely had time to jump off the rowboat before a tugboat rammed into it. Splintering the small to pieces. Kitty felt the weight of her coat pulling her downward as she tired to swim. Struggling to keep her head above the lapping water. A sinking stone. She might as well be wearing a coat full of weights.
She’s nearly drowned before. Going down with Diamond Bill’s car. And like that time it was Misa who came to her rescue. Taking Kitty in her arms. Keeping her head above the water. Helping her swim.
“Ya dumb mook. I tolds you to keep the light off.” A gravely voiced man barked. “And what’s with the horn? Ya blamed idiot.”
“There was somebody out there.” A second man retorted. “I swear I saw ‘em.”
Kitty and Misa were sitting ducks in the water. These men weren’t fishermen. Kitty could see that they were armed. The two warriors swam towards the boat. As the spotlight skimmed over the water and wreckage of the rowboat. Kitty and Misa hugged the side of the stopped tugboat.
“I don’t see nobody.” The gravel voiced man said. “Probably just a empty boat… got loose of something.”
“I saw somebody. I know I did.” The second man said. “Who you think they were?”
“I don’t freaking know! Maybe some poor slobs trying to catch some fish. Don’t matter. They’re goners now. So turn off the blasted light. You want them to know we’re coming?”
The light clicked off as the boat continued on. This time with two new passengers. Hiding in the rear behind a large crate. Kitty listened to the hushed chatter of the men aboard. They were made up of South Side Johnny and Vic Hally’s gangs. From what she could make out there was another boat headed towards the Acadia besides theirs.
“Rumor has it.” One of the men said. “There’s gold on that ship.”
“Naw.” Another man answered. “I heard it’s some kind of drug. Makes all your troubles go away.”
Kitty shivered in her hiding place. Their clothes soaked from their impromptu swim. So, she wasn’t the only who figured there was opium on-board the Acadia. Now with South Side and Hally’s men in the mix her job had become both a little easier and harder. Kitty had no doubt that the men manning the freighter would be armed and willing to protect their precious cargo with force. It would be chaos and bloodshed tonight.
Conversation died as the got closer to their target, a shadow grew larger in the fog. The Acadia. They’d be there in a matter in minutes. Whatever happened tonight would decide the war to control Starlight.
The tugboat came alongside the freighter. The gangsters threw grappling hooks, climbing up the side of the ship. As Kitty and Misa stayed hidden. Kitty imagined a similar scene must have been taking place on the other side of the Acadia with the rest of the mobsters boarding in the same fashion.
With the men gone. The two women left their hiding place, climbing the rope the gangsters had left behind. Once on the main deck the two warriors took to the shadows. Watching the mobsters as they gathered forces together. Preparing to fan out and secure the ship.
The odd thing is there appeared to be no sign of the crew on the main deck. Were they all below decks? Kitty felt uneasy. There was something wrong here. There was a stillness she hadn’t expected to find. There should have been some standing guard. Or at least getting a smoke.
Some of the men mumbled about the lack of a crew. Until a sharp clapping cut them off. All heads looked up to a catwalk by the ship’s bridge. A man in all white stood there. A large spotlight came to life at his side.
“Welcome. Welcome one and all.” Jupiter’s voice echoed from his perch. “It appears I have quite a few guests tonight. More then I’d anticipated.”
Kitty feeling of unease became something more as she listened to Jupiter. He’d set these men up to be slaughtered.
“No matter.” Jupiter went on. “My party favors should be more then enough.”
He snapped his fingers and his white suited Knights emerged from all around the dumbfounded gangsters.
Jupiter was about to wipe out his competition. But there was one thing he hadn’t factored in. The Crimson Scorpion!
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