The Crimson Scorpion Strikes! Part 25
by Shane Migliavacca
The Crimson Scorpion Strikes! Chapter 25 Jupiter Falling
Kitty studied the face of the dead man. He wasn’t anyone she recognized. She’d expected to see radio personalty Wilbur White’s face under the mask. His mug had been plastered on every newspaper since he’d offered a bounty on the Crimson Scorpion. Nor was it any of the members of the Jaguar Club. Men she’d studied since finding out Jupiter was using the club building as his headquarters.
Going through the man’s pockets, Kitty looked for something to identify the dead man. She cursed under her breath. There was nothing. He’d have to remain a mystery. One that went down with the Acadia.
Misa took her to one of the cargo holds. Inside were crates. Like the ones from the factory. Cracking one open, they found the same cheap statues with opium inside them.
“I found them while tracking my quarry.” Misa said. “Are we ready to sink the ship now?”
Kitty looked around her. Satisfied that her suspicion about the Acadia was correct. But disappointed about Jupiter himself. Who was he? And why would his loyal 2nd in command gun him down? She might never know who the man was, but at least his syndicate would be dealt a crippling death blow.
“Yes. I know the perfect spot.” Kitty answered.
They went to the storage room with the oil drums. Kitty told Misa of her battle with Jupiter. More of the drums were leaking their contents now. The bombs going off down here would destroy the Acadia.
“We have a problem.” Misa said, studying her bomb.
Kitty sighed. “What?” Frustration in her voice. Wanting to get off the ship as soon as possible.
There was indeed a problem with both bombs as Misa showed her. Their unscheduled dip in the water had effected them both. The timing mechanisms refused to work.
“Can you fix it?” Kitty asked. Sooner or later the battle on the deck would end. Who ever was left stood a good chance of coming below deck and finding the two stowaways.
“I believe so.” The young ninja answered. “I might be able to rig something. Look for some wiring while I take these apart.”
Wire. Kitty looked around. Where the hell would she find some wires? Scanning the storage area, Kitty racked her brain. Her eyes drawn to the light from one of the passageways connected to the storage room. Of course!
Smashing the light, with her gloved hand. Kitty ripped some wires from the busted light. Trying not to give herself a shock in the process. She only manged to retrieve a few that looked usable. So she went further down the passage and did the same. Scoring a few more wires. The light sparking where she’d smashed it.
She turned, ready to head back to Misa. A familiar click stopped Kitty in her tracks.
“Well hello there.” The same gravely voice from the tugboat said. “You ain’t one of our mob. Turn around, hands up. Let me get a look at ya.”
You have to be kidding me. Kitty thought. Still holding the wires, Kitty did as she was told. He was a burly thug holding a .45. His suit rumpled. Stained with blood.
“Yous him ain’t ya? The Crimson Scorpion.” He smirked. “Whatta catch.” His eyes wandered to the wires Kitty was holding. “Whatcha up to pal?”
“Nothing.” Kitty shrugged.
The goon looked past her towards the storage room. “What’s in there?”
Kitty shrugged again. “Nothing much.”
“I’ll bet pal.” He pointed the pistol. “Let’s find out. Get movin’.”
Heading back towards the storage room, Kitty needed to stop the thug from finding Misa. Stop him from finding out they were about to sink the ship.
Kitty slowed her pace. Letting the goon get closer to her.
“C’mon. Quit stalling.” He ordered. His breath stunk of pastrami.
“Close enough.” Kitty spun around. Jamming the exposed tips of the wires into the goon’s eyes. Bringing her knee up at the same time, she connected with the wrist of his gun hand. Knocking the weapon from his grasp.
The guy let out a pained groan. With his other hand, he swung blindly at her. His blow striking Kitty in her already hurting arm. Forcing her to drop the wires as pain shot through her body.
Anger contorted the stocky thug’s face as he charged into her like a big bull. Ramming Kitty’s back into the bulkhead. Forcing her to cry out, losing her Crimson Scorpion voice.
“You sound weird buddy.” The goon said, noticing Kitty’s different tone. He backed up, letting her slump against the wall. Picking up his pistol from the deck. “I’m gonna be the one to blast the Crimson Scorpion.” He smirked.
He backed up taking aim. Kitty rubbed her stomach, coughing. As the goon smiled, Kitty’s hand shot into her coat, pulling out the rope dart. Feeling the soaked rope in her hand. She lassoed his arms together with the rope end. Throwing the metal dart into the broken, sparking light fixture behind him.
The thug jerked about a few moments as electrical current flowed through his body, before his body fell to the deck. His clothes and flesh smoldering.
Retrieving the wires, Kitty returned to where Misa was waiting with the bombs.
“Here.” Kitty offered the wires up, out of breath.
“What took so long.” Misa answered.
“Just fix the bombs before somebody else attacks me.”
They planted the now fixed bombs. Setting the timers to thirty minutes. Long enough to escape the ship. They rushed to the deck where scattered gun battles were still taking place. When the bombs went off they’d all be bound for a watery grave.
Making their way across the deck, the two women found the lifeboat station. There was capacity for two. But only one hung there. The other was empty. No matter, nobody else would be needing one. Kitty had seen no crew anywhere on the freighter. If there were any, they were more then likely well aware of what they carried in their cargo hold.
The lifeboat lowered into the water. The two of them rowing as fast as they could to get a good distance from the ship before it went down to the cold depths.
Dawn was coming soon as they rowed through the mist. The waters quiet, still when the bombs went off. Lighting up the sky in an orange glow. The Acadia erupted in fire, all those drums of oil helping to hasten it’s demise. They stayed there watching the ship die for a few moments before continuing on towards the shore.
So many deaths in this war, Kitty thought. She felt remorse in her stomach. Something she’d thought wouldn’t pain her. They were criminals. Murders. Deserving their fate. Yet there were so many dead this night. Kitty felt that weight on her shoulders.
The sun had risen by the time they reached land. Peace would come to Starlight for a time. With so many members of the underworld dead. It would be some time before the power vacuum in Starlight’s underworld was filled.
“We’ve won a major victory tonight mistress.” Misa stated, as they dragged the lifeboat ashore.
They had. Jupiter’s face plagued Kitty’s thoughts though. More so his lack of identity. Who had he been?
They returned to the penthouse later. Back in their normal identities. Both women exhausted. Kitty slept till the afternoon. Waking from a nightmare. She’d gone down with the Acadia. Sinking to the murky depths.
Showering, her body ached with pain from last night’s battle. She was paying the price today.
“Good afternoon.” Her mother said as Kitty walked into the main room of the penthouse. “Are you feeling okay dear?”
“Think I had a little bug.” Kitty answered.
“Oh my. A cold this time of the year. Too many late nights.” Her mother scolded. “You need more sleep.”
“Can’t be helped. Have to hobnob with the night club crowd if I want to help the clinic out.” Kitty sat down. Slumping in the plush chair.
“I admire your new conviction.” Her mother said. “Just don’t exhaust yourself.”
“I promise I won’t mom.” she kissed her mother on the cheek. “After tonight I’ll take a break.”
She hated fibbing to her mother. Perhaps after last night she could take a break for awhile. A rest wasn’t too much to ask was it? Actually tonight wasn’t business at all. She planned on relaxing at the Opal tonight. Watching Fiona’s number and forgetting everything she’d been through.
“Where’s dad?” Kitty asked, looking around.
“Working on a big story.” Her mother said. “There was a large explosion last night on a freighter outside the bay. It sank. No survivors.”
Kitty spent the rest of the afternoon at the penthouse. Talking with her mother and Misa. After supper she headed to the Opal with Misa. It was another packed night. Fiona’s show was really drawing the crowds in. Kitty wore a form fitting red dress with long gloves to cover the bruises on her arms from the night before. One of her goals now was to reconnect with her family and her friends.
As the fire-haired singer took the stage, Kitty waved to her. Her friend’s face lighting up. Her thoughts drifted during the number. Turning back to Jupiter. It seemed too easy, him being dead. Her mind couldn’t accept that.
After her number, Fiona made her way to their table. Her smile appeared troubled. She gave Kitty a warm hug.
“Good to see you Kitty. I’m glad your here.” Fiona looked tired.
“Something wrong Piggy?”
“It’s Poppa. He’s been acting strange the last few weeks. Locks himself in his room for long stretches. When I see him he barely talks.” Fiona confided. “He’s never got over mom’s death. But he’s gotten worse in the last few months.”
“How can I help you?” Kitty asked, unsure. Fighting the mob she knew. How to help her friend, that was another story.
“Could you stick around? I’d just like to talk.” Fiona said. “If that’s okay?”
“Of course.” Kitty answered.
Kitty headed upstairs,while Fiona saw to some things in the club. Kitty had Misa wait downstairs. Not sure if Fiona would feel comfortable with Kitty’s bodyguard around.
Wandering down the hallway, Kitty found the door to Angelo Rembaldi’s bedroom was open. The room empty. The light from the hallway caught something on the nightstand. Curious, she entered.
The young woman’s chest tightened. A coin sat there. She picked it up, turning it over in her hand. There was a large nick in one side. She’d seen the same coin that night in the warehouse with Diamond Bill. The coin she’d seen Jupiter take.
What was it doing here?
She knew what it was doing here. It came crashing down. Who else would have recognized Misa after they’d caught her? Who would have know to frame her father? He’d met Misa that day they’d visited the Opal. He’d switched places, escaped the ship.
Setting the coin down, she backed out of the room. No. He couldn’t be.
A soft voice from down the hall, drew her on. There in one of the rooms, Angelo Rembaldi knelt in front of a glass coffin. Inside it, the body of his late wife. Perfectly preserved.
“I knew you’d come.” Angelo said. “Sooner or later you’d come. He knew it.”
Kitty stepped into the room. “Who knew?”
He wiped a tear from his eye. “Jupiter.”
“Your Jupiter?” Kitty asked.
The man stood, forcing Kitty to step back, expecting an attack. He touched the glass coffin.
“After she died, he came to me. Whispering in my ear. Telling me what a wicked place the world was and how we could make it better. In my despair I let him in.”
He reached into his jacket, pulling out a revolver.
“I’m sorry about the things I’ve done. He… He’s growing stronger. All the time. He made me frame you, your father. I’m sorry for that.”
Angelo aimed the gun at Kitty. She’d foolishly went out with no weapons on her. She could try to leap at him, knock the gun from his hand before he had a chance to pull the trigger. In her Crimson Scorpion clothes she’d stand a good chance of succeeding. But wearing a tight red dress, her chances were slim.
“I fear what he may have me do. To your family, to my daughter. He’s mad with rage now.”
A sudden movement and he put the gun to his temple.
“Don’t do it.” Kitty pleaded.
“Tell Fiona ‘Her father loved her.’ Yes?”
With that he squeezed the trigger. His body jerked before falling to the ground. Kitty turned away. Stumbling out of the room, horrified. She’d seen plenty of death, but never somebody she’d known.
Justice had been served. At a cost.
Fiona hurried down the hall. “Kitty what was that? I heard a gunshot.”
Kitty cut her friend off. “Don’t go in there.”
She held her friend. Soon there would be tears. Kitty would be there for her. Trying her best to help her friend through it all.
Another victim of Starlight’s sickness.
The Crimson Scorpion’s war would continue.
back to Thriller