The Scorpion in
by Howard G. Martin
About the author
Chapter Seven - Back to 1940
"Shit. I can't believe I passed out. What are you, Kincaid, a pansy? Passing out at the sight of--what was it? That light, it came--and then the girl with the gun was there. Then the light hit the Scorpion and he just--disappeared, the girl too. Jeez, that was like somethin' out of the Pulps." (see Chapter 1 ~ The Supreme Plasmate)
Kincaid's hand found the stock of his rifle. He immediately grabbed it up and held it close to him, as if he was naked and it was the only pair of pants in town. The light from the alley began to grow slowly brighter. Kincaid noticed this and got up. He hesitated before raising his head above the window ledge. When he finally did, he saw that the pinpoint of light, floating in the middle of the alley, was back.
"Jesus and Mary, it's happening again!" he said as he clutched tightly to his rifle. "I've gotta get a hold of myself. Maybe he's coming back. Gotta be ready."
Kincaid raised his rifle and trained it on the slowly growing spot of light. He rested his elbows on the window ledge for support.
The light gradually expanded to take on the form of two people. Then, abruptly, the light was gone and a man and a woman stood together in the dark alley. Kincaid could see that the woman was the same one who had appeared before. She still held the big light-spitting gun. Kincaid had to look hard to convince himself that the masked man with her was the Scorpion. His clothes, although still mostly black, were now form-fitting and futuristic looking.
"It's like something out of those Flash Gordon serials at the movies," he muttered. "Normal people can't do that. Normal people don't look like that. Demons from Hell--they're both demons from Hell!"
Kincaid watched; rifle trained on the Scorpion's chest, as the two began walking through the alley arm in arm. In a few seconds they would be right outside his window. They would try to take his soul, Kincaid was sure of that. He had to kill them both now, before they got any closer.
A deafening blast erupted within the confined space of the brick-walled alley. The Scorpion, taking the brunt of the blast full in the chest, was knocked off his feet and into Eve Kingston. They both fell and impacted with the alley wall. For a few seconds they were both stunned, Eve from hitting her head on the brick wall as she fell, and the Scorpion, whose body armor had saved him from being blown in half, from the shock of the bullet's impact.
Kincaid was pretty sure he had hit the Scorpion-demon squarely. Now he had to kill the other one. He carefully aimed at the female demon's chest. His finger slowly squeezed the trigger.
Although still disoriented, the Scorpion instinctively drew one of his Stingers as he looked wildly around for the shooter. Just as Kincaid's finger was tightening on the trigger, the Scorpion saw a glint of light, possibly from a gun barrel, coming from a smashed out window on the opposite alley wall. The Scorpion fired twice in quick succession at the glint of light.
The shots made no more noise than a pistol with a silencer would have. The first shell struck the rifle, moving it several inches to the left. Kincaid's finger spasmed and another deafening rifle shot filled the alley. The rifle shell blasted a chunk out of the alley wall. The Scorpion's second shell struck Kincaid in the forehead. He and the rifle abruptly disappeared from the window. Through the window, Kincaid's yelling and thrashing could be heard for several seconds, then silence.
"Are you all right?" asked the Scorpion as he helped Eve to her feet.
"Just a little woozy," she replied, taking his arm in both of hers. "At least now we know."
"What happened to you, the reason we pulled you forward when we did. Without your new body armor, you would have been killed just then."
"I suspected as much," he said as together they walked to the warehouse window. The Scorpion used a compact flashlight from his utility belt to illuminate the face of the once-again-unconscious Kincaid through the window. "I know him," he said. "His name's Kincaid. He's a cop. Works for Valentine."
"Valentine? Oh, your era's Valentine," said Doctor Kingston. "Guess the cops are after you in this century, too."
"Fortunately, Kincaid is the exception, rather than the rule. Most of the City's cops are good men," he said as he climbed through the smashed out window.
"Well, I guess I'll have to get a job in this era. Do they have any openings for Neurologists with a Ph.D. in Quantum Physics?"
"If any of that means that you're an MD, plenty," said the Scorpion as he hefted Kincaid's body like it was a sack of grain and pushed it through the window. "But that's only if you want to work."
"Don't I have to work?" asked Eve quizzically.
"I think we can both do all right on what I make," he said as he climbed back through the window and proceeded to throw Kincaid over his shoulder.
"Who are you?"
"Just who I told you I was, Alexander Campbell."
"Why does that name ring a bell?"
"Oh, I might have a footnote in some history book or other. Now, let's go deliver this package to Commissioner Valentine, my Commissioner Valentine, and then I'll change into street clothes and take you to breakfast at The Waldorf. We have a lot to talk about," he said as he began walking back through the alley toward Police Headquarters.
Eve stood still in the middle of the alley for several moments staring after the Scorpion.
"Oh, shit," she said finally and ran after him. "You're the playboy shipping magnate from the Twenties and Thirties. You're stinking rich."
"I've got no complaints. I do have a plan, though. A plan for the future, mine, yours, and this city's, but I'm going to need a lot of cooperation from you, Eve."
"So what's your plan, Mr. Mysterious?" said Eve, her face aglow with equal parts incredulity and excitement.
"We can discuss it at length over breakfast," he said as they walked out of the alley and onto the main thoroughfare.
Dawn had finally arrived. The first fingers of light peaked over the towering spires of the Big Apple.
"How do you feel about children?" he asked.
It was a cool sunny April afternoon in New York City. Thousands of people milled about in front of City Hall. Wireless hover-speakers were placed at various points among the crowd. They hung in mid-air at a height of eight feet, allowing every spectator to hear every word that was said. Likewise, wireless robot hover-cameras whizzed about the scene, changing heights, angles, and positions, as necessary, to capture every important moment of the event. Hover technology had been perfected near the end of the last century, owing much for its development to the discovery of the low gravity field in the mid-1900s.
Behind a podium at the top of the steps stood Police Commissioner Charles Valentine, flanked by several prominent public figures including the Governor, the Mayor--a two-term man who was known for his integrity--and several of the city's celebrities. Standing next to the Commissioner was a tall, muscular, blond-haired man wearing the well-known garb of the Scorpion.
It was clear by his relaxed stance and easy manner that the young man was used to this sort of attention. Commissioner Valentine cleared his throat and began to speak. His words were instantly caught and amplified by the hover-speakers, which each contained multi-directional robotic shotgun microphones. Each of these microphones was currently trained on the podium.
"My friends and fellow citizens of New York City," began the Commissioner to wild applause. "We gather here today to honor a man who is more than just a hero to every man, woman, and child in this city, more than just New York's first citizen, more than just our protector and friend. We gather here today to honor a man who is part of a heroic legacy that began in the early part of the last century.
"For one hundred and forty years there has been a Scorpion to watch over New York and its citizens. In that time we have seen our city become a bastion of safety and justice for the entire world to marvel at. This is not just because the Scorpions, through the years, have saved our collective butt more times than we can remember, but also because of the shining example that they have always set for us. The Scorpion's Creed, known by every public school child, tells us how the Scorpion feels about justice and about us. So, without further long-winded ado, I would like to present this, the Key to the City, to our hero, our friend, The Scorpion."
For several minutes, as the Scorpion accepted the two-foot long golden object from the Commissioner, the crowd cheered wildly. Finally, when the applause, whistles, and shouts died down sufficiently, the Scorpion spoke.
"I can't give you the magnificent speech that you all deserve," said the young masked man, clutching the key. We Scorpions have always been doers, not talkers. All that I can say is a heartfelt thank you. You fine people are the reason I keep fighting. Thank you all."
At the foot of the steps, surrounded by thousands of cheering people, a young woman stood staring up at the podium, mesmerized. A gray-haired black woman, who had been standing next to her, gently tapped her on the shoulder.
"Excuse me, dear, but would you have the time?" she asked in a strong Jamaican accent.
"What? Oh, yes, the time--it's twelve-forty. Isn't he magnificent?" replied the thin, pretty blond.
"Well, he's no mud fence, that's a fact," said the Jamaican lady. "At least, what you can see of him underneath that costume and mask."
"I've always been fascinated by the Scorpions of New York City. Did you know that one of them, in the mid-1940s, was a woman?"
"I didn't. I knew that he wasn't the first, and that there's been a Scorpion around for a long time. You're not from the City, then, dear?" asked the older lady.
"No, just moved here last week. I start a new job as resident Neurologist at St. Luke's tomorrow."
"Well, a brain doctor, impressive. Good luck to you, dear. The Big Apple's got everything, including the lowest crime rate in the country. My name is Cora Stroman. I run a little restaurant in the Village, best Jamaican food in the city. Come and see me when you get a chance."
"Nice to meet you, Cora," said the young woman as she shook the older woman's hand. "I'll do that. I'm Eve. Eve Kingston."
Previous episode: The Decision
The Legacy of the Scorpion is copyright Howard Martin.