* AUTHOR'S NOTE: This story stems from an idea I had for a Shadow crossover. I didn't want to do someone as obvious as Batman, but at the same time was aware enough to not pair him with someone that couldn't be of his specific time period either. I feel that some characters, and their respective worlds, are far too different to ever actually cross paths. So I guess I had been a fan of The Green Hornet for years, at least since I heard the old radio programs. Even though many folks seem to only appreciate the television show, I've always thought the radio version of the Hornet, if played the right way, can be and is just as dark and sinister as the Shadow himself. I wish to mention that the Hornet is not specific to any location, but the radio show supposedly took place in Detroit, Michigan. So here it is, a story that is really more of a Green Hornet tale, with a guest appearance from our beloved Master of Darkness. This shows what might happen if these two characters were to ever meet.
NEW YORK CITY- circa 1945
It was a usual night in the city that never sleeps. As countless automobiles crowded the narrow avenues and hordes of people walked the brightly lit streets, two men stood outside the front of The Hotel Metrolite, talking.
"Well Mr. Vincent, if you don't have time for a drink, at least let me pay your cab fare," offered a rather large man in a gray derby hat and cheap leather coat.
"No thanks Frank. I'm usually pretty particular about my cab rides anyway," Harry Vincent replied, shaking the man's hand. "I'll see you later," he finished as a bright yellow taxicab that appeared brand-new rolled up alongside the curb to collect him.
As he got in the cab, it pulled away hastily. Vincent greeted the driver. "Hello Moe."
"Hey Mr. Vincent. What do you suppose tonight's meeting is for? The boss must have somethin' important for us, because the whole gang's gonna be there," Moe Shrevnitz acknowledged.
"Maybe it's a new mission. I know agents aren't supposed to talk about their work, but if my next assignment is anything like my last one, boy I don't know what I'm gonna do, Vincent said."
"Yeah, go crazy probably," Shrevnitz agreed, as the impressive cab pulled up to a deserted, grimy, brick building somewhere in downtown.
After taking a moment to park the taxi on a nearby side street, Shrevnitz and Vincent approached the building's entrance through a dark side alley. A heavy, iron door was all that guarded the place from the outside. Shrevnitz pounded the door hard with a series of distinct knocks. The iron door slid into the brick siding, revealing a large entrance with steps descending into blackness.
Vincent trotted down the steps of the entrance, with Shrevnitz right behind him. The door closed abruptly, signaling that they were now inside the Shadow's lair, otherwise known as the secret Sanctum. The main purpose of this mysterious and utterly macabre place was to serve as a communication's headquarters for the Shadow and his agents. The site was well equipped with some of the latest technology, even a closed-circuit television screen.
As the two men who had just arrived entered the first room, they were greeted by the Shadow's primary group of agents; Margo Lane, Joe Cardona, Clyde Burke, Cliff Marsland and Roy Tam. Each of these agents, like Vincent and Shrevnitz, served a special purpose for the Shadow and was loyal enough to stand ready, whenever the Shadow needed them.
As all of the agents who were present entered the second and most important room of the Sanctum together, they were greeted by the menacing figure of the Shadow, seated at a desk in the center of the room, under a blue light. The black cloaked man was as still as a statue, barely paying any mind to his newly arrived agents.
The agents proceeded, as they always do, to a finely crafted round table in a far corner of the dark room. Once they were all seated, the Master of Darkness arose from the desk and loomed over to his agents and began briefing them.
"I have called this clandestine meeting to inform each of you of jewel theft. Many jewel thefts in fact, in Detroit Michigan. These robberies have garnered national attention, because they have been going on for so long. Nearly every jeweler in that city has been bankrupted. I would send one of you to figure out exactly who is behind this, but I am curious and most of you are already preoccupied with other cases. I have informed Burbank of my departure, and if you need him for any reason, send a message to the usual address. While I'm gone, I need you all to continue your usual duties as agents. I leave tomorrow. Keep the city safe. That is all."
Without any questions, the agents rose from the table, and exited the Sanctum, all except Margo Lane, who was curious as to why the Shadow had decided to exclude her from his trip to Detroit. Making sure the other agents had left, she began to harass him.
"Lamont, I mean Shadow. Why are you not taking me with you? I have accompanied you on most of your missions. Why should this one be any different?"
"The reason Margo, is because there is grave danger in Detroit. I would not send any agent somewhere that I wouldn't be prepared to go myself."
"So is that all I am, an agent?"
"Margo, please understand, I need my agents in New York City."
"I see," Margo Lane affirmed, wrapping her fur coat around her and heading for the door. "Well Mr. Cranston, we'll do what we always do as responsible agents of the Shadow. We'll look for trouble," she continued, smiling, then finally leaving the Sanctum.
The next evening, Lamont Cranston's chartered twin engine airplane descended through the cool Midwestern air, finally touching down with great force, then speeding across the runway of a small airport . The aircraft turned sharply to reduce speed and after a few moments was completely shut down. Immediately Cranston and the pilot exited the vessel to collect Cranston's baggage.
"Well Mr. Cranston, this is Detroit. You been here before?" the pilot asked, loading a large bag into a Rolls-Royce that had previously arrived at the airport.
"I'm sure I've come across this place in my travels, yes" Cranston acknowledged placing the last of the luggage into the limo seat.
"Well," the pilot declared. "The chauffeur will take you to your hotel. If there is nothing else that you require, I will return to New York."
"Right. That's fine, and thank you."
"The pleasure was all mine," the pilot uttered with a bow, before returning to the plane.
Cranston gave his new subject, the chauffeur, a few monetary notes and entered the car. Soon, the Rolls-Royce was off, en route to the nearest five-star hotel. The evening was cool and Cranston noticed that, after being here for only ten minutes, Detroit while still a big city, was almost completely different from New York City. Sure, there were many people and buildings, but it seemed that the busy, snobbish attitudes of New York did not exist here.
"Whatever possessed you to come to the Midwest Mr. Cranston?" the driver asked, keeping his eyes on the road ahead.
"I'm here on business," Cranston lied convincingly.
"Oh yeah what kind?"
"I'm here for a fundraiser for some local politician. You know that sort of boring nonsense."
"Oh I see. Well, it ain't New York, but I sure do hope you enjoy your trip."
"I'm sure I will, thanks."
"Well, it looks like we're here Sir," the driver exclaimed, as the car strolled into a massive parking lot that was positioned in front of a brilliantly lit and elegant yet monolithic hotel.
From out of the car Cranston came, pulling his bags from the seat with great force.
"Do you not want any help Sir?" the driver laughed, exiting the driver's seat in a hurry.
"It's alright, just have them sent to my room," Cranston ordered, handing the man some cash for his services.
Cranston wasted no time checking in. As he entered the hotel lobby, he took a moment to marvel at the beauty of it all. The place possessed a beautiful elegance, the kind Lamont Cranston was used to. It looked fancy, without trying too hard to do so, with its satin curtains, elegant diamond chandeliers and polished marble floors. The lobby gave way to a large hall, which housed three large elevators and led to a cafe. As he approached the front desk, Cranston noticed a young woman, ready to serve him.
"Welcome to the Antoine Tollin Hotel, may I have your name?" the woman's petite voice sounded.
"I am Lamont Cranston."
"Ah yes, the man who made reservations two days ago. We've got you in Room 315. It's on the sixth floor at the end of the hall. Enjoy your stay."
"Thank you Miss," Cranston pronounced, promptly heading toward the elevator, on the way to his room.