THE GUARDIAN PART 3

Foreword by Stan Lerner: “The Guardian” in its entirety is posted at the end of each installment. So, if you’re new to the series just scroll down to the beginning and enjoy some storytelling.

The police, led by plain clothed Detective Fry, storm the room just as the dark figure brings the metal baton down on the skull of the last of Dr. Vincent’s men—the shoulders of his white lab coat turn red from the bludgeoning.

“Freeze!” screams the detective, followed by a chorus of the same. The officers, twenty plus, encircle the murderer. “Drop the baton!” insists Detective Fry. “And put your hands up.”

The hands go up slowly, there’s a strange calm confidence in the motion, which is really more of a gesture. The baton is allowed to slip from his hands—with some light flash smoke pellets. And as all reaches the floor the room erupts into fire and smoke. A dart with a wire attached shoots from the raised prosthetic arm and races toward the ceiling.

Fry peers through the smoke, and although it is surreal, he is confident that he is seeing whatever it is fly upwards toward the glass dome. “He’s on the roof!”

The police burst onto the roof with a violence matched by the raging storm. There is no command to fire but they do, and a hail of tracer bullets advances before them as they run in pursuit into the rainy night.

Standing at the edge of the building, the dark figure lets them get close enough, so they can see him toss down a business card. To the amazement of the police, the thing that they have just witnessed commit a brutal murder jumps.

“No!!!!” screams Detective Fry, as he runs to the ledge and watches the dark figure plunge toward the cement below. Then the prosthetic bodysuit sprouts something that looks like wings, which glide him gently to the street below.

Detective Fry stares through the bright flashes of lightning, the dark figure pauses for a moment to look up and give him a parting glance, before disappearing into the shadows of the alley across the street. More curious than angry the Detective digs into his pocket and retrieves a pair of tweezers, which he uses to pick up the rain soaked business card. “The Guardian. I’m Watching,” reads the detective out loud.

 Detective Fry looks at the hole in the glass dome, than at the tall building across the street. His eyes go back to the alley where the Guardian had disappeared. “I’m watching,” he repeats out loud as he turns to the closest uniform officer. “He’s watching. That’s not an alley it’s a loading dock. Get on your radio and tell the SWAT team leader that the suspect is in the storage building across the street. Tell him to surround the building, but not to move until I’m there.

As Detective Fry runs toward the stairwell entrance he here’s the SWAT team leader over the radio. “I copy that…” 

 

BEGINNING

Like a dream, Empire city at night lays between the world of all that is possible and the danger of such. One can imagine hovering above such a place. Staring at each and every rooftop, loud claps of thunder deafening to the ear, bright flashes of lightning blinding you in an attempt to prevent your from seeing. But your vision will not be denied. You see the black figure running on the ledges of the rooftops through the driving rain. So intent is your focus that you can see his feet land on the ledge of a slightly lower roof. The water splashes from the puddle—an enormous flash of lightning, much greater than the others. And the black figure is gone.

Through the sheets of rain the sign fades in and out. It reads: “MUSEUM OF SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY” but this sign is not welcoming. Rather, it seems to stand guard at the base of the massive steps that lead to the museum’s entrance. And still more lightning flashes cause it to transcend into menace as the white van pulls to a stop.

The rear doors open violently and ten men in white lab coats disembark running up the steps. The hand in the black glove pushes the doorbuzzer repeatedly—impatient. And then there is a dim light through the wet glass and the distinct silhouette of a security guard making his way to the door.

The elderly security guard looks out the door. He strains to see out of the glass, but the water and its refraction of the lightning make it impossible. All that is visible are several figures in white coats.

The old-timer shakes his head, annoyed and somewhat in disbelief. “Lab guys at this hour? What the hell are they thinking?”

The buzz of the doorbell is insistent. And builds to a crescendo congruent to the old-timer’s annoyance. Perhaps it is this state that pauses his thought process. He inserts his pass card into the wall and punches in his code to unlock the heavy wood and glass door.

“Alright, alright, I’m coming. Hold your horses. Everybody’s in a rush these days.”

As the door opens a blast of wind and rain hit him in the face, rendering his spectacles useless. Instinct causes him to take a step back and in an almost continuous motion he removes his glasses, bends over and begins an effort to wipe them dry. While he does so he fails to notice that the dripping wet men in white lab coats have surrounded him.

“Gentlemen, what brings you here so late in the night?” he asks.

“Death,” snarls Dr. Vincent, a powerfully built man of average height. The knife plunges into the guard before the words have fully registered.

On the guard’s face there is a look of horror and disbelief. Now cognitive of what has transpired, but he is dying on the white and black tile floor. Unable to move the old-timer looks into the reflection of his own glasses now just a few feet away. He hears the words, “Take his pass card.” The reflection is of men in white lab coats spray-painting the security cameras and moving toward the elevators. A black boot comes down hard on his spectacles, but it is of no consequence as he has just closed his eyes forever.

THE GUARDIAN PART 2

Dr. Vincent steps over the security guard’s dead body just as the blood from the wound he’s inflicted begins to pool into a dramatic sea of dark red. It’s of no consequence to him as he is intent on joining his men at the bank of elevators.

In the security office a second security guard watches the wall of monitors as he has for the last twenty years. He is still a man in his mid-forties, not an old-timer, but a solid veteran. Of course being a veteran he should not be watching the television, brought into the office against regulations. The show goes on as he sips his fifth cup of coffee, then notices a monitor has gone out.

He shakes his head and picks up his radio intent on reaching his partner—not possibly imagining that he his dead.

“Harry, come in where the hell are you?” He turns back to the monitor and taps on its screen. “Twenty years and never had one of these go out.” He shrugs. “Well there’s a first time for everything I suppose.” He sips his coffee and adopts a more serious tone as he speaks into his radio this time. “Harry where are you? Harry, come in. Are you okay?”

The muscles of his face tense as he leans forward toward the monitor. On closer inspection it appears to be working, the blackness he’s seeing caused by some obstruction to the camera’s lens. And just as his mind processes the possibilities he is jerked out of his seat by a wire around his neck. Instinct to survive causes him to kick wildly as the man in the white coat quite calmly strangles him. With each kick his boots shatter the glass of one of the monitors he has watched diligently for the last twenty years—though, he gains no leverage to free himself. Only a fraction of a second before his right foot reaches the last monitor on the panel does his lifeless body go completely limp—dropping from midair to his attackers feet like a sack of potatoes. 

The storm outside has not abated; rather it has taken on a fury, appropriate to the presence of the dark figure that stands on the ledge looking through the stained glass dome of a part of the museum long closed to visitors. Its mechanical eyes peer through the night, the rain, and the glass at the murderous men in white lab coats as they gather round a Plexiglas box that contains a solitary microprocessor. Dr. Vincent’s face is close enough to the box to cause the slightest fog from his breath. Pulling back a few inches he reads the plaque: “Algorithmic Microprocessor, Invented By Dr. Alex F. Abraham, Born 1990 deceased 2020, Survived by no one, but remembered by all for his revolutionary contributions to science.”

With not simply a fall, but a leap from the ledge of the museum’s roof, the dark figure begins a freefall decent toward the stained glass dome.

Dr. Vincent is the first to sense the shadow. His men well in tune with him look up, as he does, at the ominous silhouette as it comes crashing through the glass—falling toward them with harmful intent. Without hesitation the doctor smashes the Plexiglas box with a mallet made of material especially for this purpose. With his free hand he grabs the microprocessor and tumbles out of the way just as the unexpected guest lands squarely on his feet—where a second before Dr. Vincent had stood.

Dr. Vincent’s men, without missing a beat, engage with P.R. batons the opponent standing in the center of their unholy circle. More than up to the challenge the dark figure greets his first two forward attackers with death spikes to their respective foreheads, then relieving them of their batons he quickly rotates them backwards fending off his attackers from the rear. The ensuing fight is to be vicious, one that Dr. Vincent would like to be a part of, but this is not the time—there is a delivery to be made. Reluctantly, the bad doctor slips out the exit door he knows will allow him to circumvent the swarm of police officers converging on the building in response to the multiplicity of alarms that have just been set off.

 THE GUARDIAN PART 3

The police, led by plain clothed Detective Fry, storm the room just as the dark figure brings the metal baton down on the skull of the last of Dr. Vincent’s men—the shoulders of his white lab coat turn red from the bludgeoning.

“Freeze!” screams the detective, followed by a chorus of the same. The officers, twenty plus, encircle the murderer. “Drop the baton!” insists Detective Fry. “And put your hands up.”

The hands go up slowly, there’s a strange calm confidence in the motion, which is really more of a gesture. The baton is allowed to slip from his hands—with some light flash smoke pellets. And as all reaches the floor the room erupts into fire and smoke. A dart with a wire attached shoots from the raised prosthetic arm and races toward the ceiling.

Fry peers through the smoke, and although it is surreal, he is confident that he is seeing whatever it is fly upwards toward the glass dome. “He’s on the roof!”

The police burst onto the roof with a violence matched by the raging storm. There is no command to fire but they do, and a hail of tracer bullets advances before them as they run in pursuit into the rainy night.

Standing at the edge of the building, the dark figure lets them get close enough, so they can see him toss down a business card. To the amazement of the police, the thing that they have just witnessed commit a brutal murder jumps.

“No!!!!” screams Detective Fry, as he runs to the ledge and watches the dark figure plunge toward the cement below. Then the prosthetic bodysuit sprouts something that looks like wings, which glide him gently to the street below.

Detective Fry stares through the bright flashes of lightning, the dark figure pauses for a moment to look up and give him a parting glance, before disappearing into the shadows of the alley across the street. More curious than angry the Detective digs into his pocket and retrieves a pair of tweezers, which he uses to pick up the rain soaked business card. “The Guardian. I’m Watching,” reads the detective out loud.

Detective Fry looks at the hole in the glass dome, than at the tall building across the street. His eyes go back to the alley where the Guardian had disappeared. “I’m watching,” he repeats out loud as he turns to the closest uniform officer. “He’s watching. That’s not an alley it’s a loading dock. Get on your radio and tell the SWAT team leader that the suspect is in the storage building across the street. Tell him to surround the building, but not to move until I’m there.

As Detective Fry runs toward the stairwell entrance he here’s the SWAT team leader over the radio. “I copy that…”

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