Hey, it's a new story! Peter deals with Chess, who's perverted; Vince has to deal with a violent gang war. What could possibly go wrong?
Un-beta'ed, go quibble away.
- o – o -
Chapter one: Waves Crash Down Inside
Peter Fleming, richest man in Palm City and de facto ruler of the city itself, sat in his office, staring out one of the massive floor-to-ceiling glass windows. The sun had long since set, turning the sky a dusky purplish-blue. Any darkness that might have settled over the city, however, was ruined by the neon lights of the city below. It was almost midnight, Peter was sure, but that didn't mean the city was going to stop. New York City might have been called the City that Never Sleeps, but Palm City was the best contender for that title.
You're rather maudlin this evening.
The billionaire sighed and rubbed his temple. Of course his contemplation of the city he practically owned would be interrupted. Only Chess would have dared interrupt him while he was thinking. (That was part of Peter's problem with his alter-ego's presence, along with the constant insults to his intelligence.)
If you didn't make it so easy, Peter… Chess said, trailing off with a suggestive note in his voice.
"Hush you," Peter replied, standing up. He shoved his hands into his pockets and began pacing around his office. The billionaire was quite sure anyone in the security office who monitored his home and office thought he was insane. That wasn't such a bad thing, though—most brilliant men were insane, or at least regarded as such.
I think you need the Cape to come 'round to deflate your ego.
"Quiet," Peter murmured, wishing—not for the first time—that Chess were a separate entity he could strangle. It would be so therapeutic… Of course, if he ever informed his psychiatrist of that, Samuels would force half a dozen different drugs down his throat. (That also implied that the psychiatrist knew Chess hadn't taken kindly to Samuels' promise not being fulfilled in a timely manner. A month and a half was a long time to wait for an entity like Chess.)
Damn straight, Peter!
If Chess got any more coarse, he'd end up sounding like Scales, Peter thought. He'd already dealt with the idiotic reptile, and it wasn't looking like the man was getting out of prison any time soon. All he needed to do was make sure the smuggler's lawyers couldn't reach him—even suspending Scales' funds would do that—and the man would hang himself in court. Or do it literally…
There's no need to be insulting, Chess huffed indignantly. I am nothing like that moronic lizard. Idiot couldn't even think up a decent plot if you gave him the Evil Overlord List.
There were some days when Peter really didn't want to know what Chess got up to when he was in the driver's seat. This was one of those times.
Peter rubbed his eyes wearily as the menace disappeared back to whatever hole he spent his time in when he wasn't bothering Peter or wreaking havoc in the world. Some days…
The billionaire padded out of his office, still mulling over the problems he faced. Chess was back, of course. What else could go wrong?
- o – o -
Peter discovered just what could go wrong the next morning. A new set of gangsters had moved into Palm City sometime in the past two weeks. There was now out and out warfare on the docks. Michael "Kazzie" Kaczanowiczk was refusing to let them take over his boss' turf. Poker Face had allied himself with Kazzie, as had Johnny the Bull and his crew of leg breakers and enforcers-for-hire. Li'l Z had, in a startling show of actual intelligence, announced that he was remaining neutral in the conflict. There was even a quote in the paper.
The body count was now around fifty. Six of them were civilians. Four of the civilians had been children. Kazzie had supplied every single one of Johnny the Bull's men with heavy artillery in response. The body count was expected to rise significantly in the next few weeks, and there wasn't any sign of a denouement at any point. The article closed with the fervent wish for Scales to make it out of prison, quickly. While the smuggler had been a psychopath, there had been no denying that he was the most stabilizing influence in the Palm City underworld.
Well, that's just fucked up, Chess commented as Peter finished the article.
Fleming nodded, sipping his coffee with a look of utter loathing on his face. He'd planned the reptile's removal so carefully, just so he could get his hands on the docks, a good chunk of the underworld, and just to get rid of the smuggler. And now…
Where the hell is the Cape when we need him? Chess grumbled.
"This is intolerable," Peter murmured under his breath. Really, he'd wanted Voyt out of the way and a scapegoat to pin the crime on. Was it too much to ask for a little peace and quiet?
"Shut up," Peter grumbled sullenly into his mug. One of these days, he was going to invest in a Bluetooth headset, and then figure out how to make sure it looked like it was always operational. Except then he would look like one of the Cybermen, and he'd much rather look like the Doctor.
Fanboy, Chess said teasingly. Both of them liked Doctor Who. Aside from their mutual infatuation with the Cape, it was the only thing they could really agree on. Jamie, his—their, Peter amended morosely—daughter was one of the things they had never agreed on. Chess had wanted to train her to be a world-class assassin or mass-murderer, like himself. Peter would much rather have preferred a prima ballerina or a dancer.
Stop reminiscing, idiot, and figure out how you're going to deal with the morons currently destroying our city. Chess was being unusually blunt. At least he hadn't… Or I'll just hunt them down and shoot every single one of them. A nice execution is just what we need to cement our power. Ah. There was the kill 'em all attitude Peter had gotten so used to over the past decade or so.
Shut up and start planning.
Peter sighed into his mug of coffee and began making notes on his Blackberry. He obviously wanted Kaczanowiczk to stop selling armament to everyone and their dog. (Peter would need to make sure the man only sold to ARK, then.) Chess wanted the heads of the men who'd started the mess on silver platters. (Fleming would settle for a nice execution, quietly arranged through proxies, of course.) And Chess wanted the Cape naked and tied to their bed. (So did Peter, but he had to stick to reality, sadly.)
The billionaire continued working even as one of the servants cleared away the breakfast dishes and put a new carafe of coffee within easy reach. By the time business hours rolled around, Fleming had gone through three carafes and had filled nearly fifteen pages in the notebook. His number one priority was acquiring Scales' empire. That included any homes and holdings the man might have been hiding away.
Peter Fleming was a man who got what he wanted. And when he had enemies or people standing in the way of something he wanted, he made sure they had nothing and no one to fall back to.
He was going to destroy Scales and the new criminal menace utterly and completely.
And even the Cape wasn't going to stop him.
- o – o -
Oddly enough, two people on the other side of Palm City were having roughly the same thoughts. One was a vigilante who should have been dead; the other was a hacker with serious daddy issues (among others). Vince Faraday, better known as the Cape, was preparing for doomsday. He had one serious problem.
He was out of coffee, and his partner was going to wake up in about five seconds, demanding a cup of the black gold. Vince was rather afraid of what would happen to him if he didn't have any. (Hell, he was even out of instant.)
In the scheme of things, being out of coffee wasn't as important as trying to keep a city from tearing itself apart, but this wasn't the rest of the world with the usual scheme. This was the Cape's headquarters. And they were out of coffee. Again.
Vince sighed and flopped back on his bed, rubbing his eyes wearily. He'd been up for nearly three days straight now, trying to keep the gangs from killing everyone they came across. Oddly enough, he'd been receiving aid from the Longshoremen's Union, and help from the drug smugglers. (The vigilante was sure he should be more worried by the Longshoremen helping him. It proved that Scales was still running his operation from prison; Orwell had even verified it—Mrs. Kaczanowiczk, Kazzie's wife, visited Scales every week, for an hour. It was obvious what she was doing, because no one was that dedicated to bringing food to someone like Scales just for the pleasure of the man's company.)
"Vince," Orwell muttered into her pillow, blinking sleep out of her eyes.
Vince looked up, eyes widening a little. Damn.
"There had better be coffee…"
The vigilante sighed and jumped down from his bed. He'd been hoping for just a little more time to contemplate all the ways Orwell could kill him with her brain, or at least to formulate an escape plan. Wasn't going to happen, though; she'd woken up. She wanted coffee.
"I'll…go get some," Vince muttered, grabbing his duffel bag and coat. The duffel was a necessity, seeing as it had his costume and—more importantly—his amazing bulletproof magic cape. The coat was a necessity because it was too fucking cold, even for March.
"Good," Orwell muttered.
Vince couldn't help but feel an uncomfortable shiver pass down his spine. He had the horrible feeling that something was about to go very wrong, and it wasn't connected to the dead people from the past few weeks.
- o – o -
So, it's a new story! What did you think? Good? Bad? Is Vince going to be in trouble? Drop a line and let me know!
A side note for those who don't like slash, even if it's one-sided: Wait until either chapter three or four for the rest of the cast to come in. Chess is a pervert. What can I say?
A second note: I have just started college. Do not ask me for an update schedule at this time, and please don't expect regular updates. I'm sorry for the inconvenience.