The Big O and all of its settings and characters are owned by Bandai Visual, Sunrise, and Cartoon Network.

THE BIG O:

ACT 35

ROGER THE DARK KNIGHT

Chapter Twelve: I've Got Your Number

The recent death of Ezekiel 'Zeke the Geek' Crater, the previous mob boss had left a void in the power structure of Paradigm City's underworld, but not for long. It wasn't long before 'Fat' Tony Calzone took over the rackets and most of his rivals found out what the bottom of the city's harbor looked like. 'Fat Tony' was now the big man in organized crime or at least anything too small for the Paradigm Group to concern itself with. Theft, prostitution, gambling, even murder was for sale if the customer was connected enough. When the dust settled, nobody was as connected as 'Fat Tony.'

'Fat Tony' Calzone wasn't a ladies man like the last boss was. His personal vice was food. He ran his empire out of a restaurant just outside the South Street Dome. Pasta and wine was the dish of the day, and for Fat Tony every day was pasta day.

No matter what the news, good or bad, nothing seemed to upset Fat Tony's appetite. That's why it was no surprise when one day, Fat Tony's face puffed up like a blowfish and died right in the middle of his third plate of spaghetti. Everybody knew he'd die of overheating, but nobody expected him to die of suffocation. Had someone slipped something into Fat Tony's food that had done him in? The military police had a lab run toxicology screens on everything from the food to every fluid in the mob boss' body, but they found nothing you couldn't feed a third grader. Fat Tony was dead, nobody knew why, and there was a huge space where Tony had sat that needed to be filled.

This was a problem. After Zeke Crater's death, only Fat Tony had been able to keep the peace. The next day, the remaining underbosses held an emergency meeting at the Sailor's Club, the headquarters of Fat Tony's predecessor, the late and lamented Zeke Crater.

All of the bosses were seated around a round table. Nearly everybody who had a name in crime was there. Albert 'Uncle Al' Cavalieri, who had started at the bottom and had risen to the exalted position of Fat Tony's best friend and advisor; James Michael 'Jimmy Mac' Finnegan, a young up and coming who had married Fat Tony's daughter; Maurice 'Megadeus' Maserati, Calzone's chief rival and at six foot five the most physically intimidating of the bunch; Danny 'Two-Time' DiNozzo, Maurice's lieutenant who said nearly everything twice. They were all there, and so were Jason Beck and his two cronies Bobo 'Dove' Jacobs and Lou 'T-Bone' Torelli.

"Beck, your boys have ta wait outside with the rest of 'em," Finnegan said.

"You heard him boys," Beck shrugged. "Go outside and wait in the Super Beck Deluxe."

"Right boss!" T-Bone smiled as Dove saluted. They seemed to be in a hurry to leave.

"Gentlemen, we are here today to determine the disposition of the late and dearly departed 'Fat Tony' Calzone's assets n' interests," Al Cavalieri said in his gravelly Brooklyn accent. "It is imperative that we find a peaceful way to divide our good friend Tony's business 'cause as we all know, we've all lost too many good friends the last time a boss of his caliber passed away."

"Passed away?" the muscular and oversized Maurice Maserati repeated in disbelief. "Crater was killed! The black megadeus flattened him and his boys like pancakes! Unless you believe that the blob monster ate 'im! 'Passed away?' That's like sayin' the white megadeus made a li'l mess!"

Cavalieri sighed patiently. "As my friend and associate Maurice hez pointed out, things can be rough out there. Let's face it; most of us don't go out quietly like Fat Tony did. I'm sure that most of us want to live to a ripe old age n' die of natural causes…"

"Natural causes!" Beck snickered. "That's a good one!"

"You got somethin' to add?" James 'Jimmy Mac' Finnegan asked the lanky criminal.

"It's just that Fat Tony didn't die of natural causes; that's all!" Beck grinned. "I got an inside source that says he was murdered!"

"Moidoid?" Maserati repeated in disbelief. He died a over eatin'! No poison wuz found in 'is system durin' th' autopsy!"

"That's because Fat Tony didn't die from any poison!" Beck crowed. "What killed him was the powered peanuts added to his spaghetti sauce!"

"So he had some peanut spaghetti, so what?" Finnegan asked.

"So he was allergic to peanuts Jimmy!" Beck grinned. "When he downed that spaghetti like it was goin' out of style he went into what the doctors call anaphylactic shock! He never had a chance!"

"Alloigic!" Maserati repeated. "I didn't know he wuz alloigic!"

DiNozzo shook his head in disbelief. "I can't believe that Fat Tony was killed by a peanut, by a peanut!"

"No way!" Finnegan shook his head. "Tony and I were like dis!" he pinched his thumb and forefinger together. "If Tony had an allergy, I would've known!"

"But you didn't know Jimmy," Beck smiled and shook his head. "Out of all of you here, only one you did know. Isn't that right Al?"

"Hey!" Cavalieri stood up from the table. "What is it you're tryin' t' say?"

"Just that Tony told you everything Al," Beck said coyly. "After all, he was your best friend wasn't he? He trusted you with everything."

"You son of a bitch!" Finnegan jumped up from the table and drew a pistol from his jacket. "Tony trusted you like a brother!"

Cavalieri drew a pistol of his own. "Put it away, Jimmy! Put it away!"

"Like Hell I will!" Finnegan barked before two shots rang out, one from his gun and one from Cavalieri's.

Maserati and Dinozzo slowly stood up from the table as Cavalieri and Finnegan fell to the floor.

"Well I guess that settles the question of succession, Maserati," Beck announced as he leaned back in his chair. "With Al and Jimmy gone, it looks like you get the entire pie!"

"Hey that's right!" Dinozzo cheered. "That's right! Congratulations Boss, congratulations!"

"I figure you're looking for a new number two," Beck added.

"Hey, I got Danny here," Maserati said. "Why would I need a new number two?"

"Well, once you find out what he's been doing with your wife I figured you'd cut him up for fish bait," Beck said cheerfully.

"WHUT?" Maserati roared. "Is dis true?"

The guilty look in Dinozzo's eyes was unmistakable. "No boss! I didn't touch her! I swear! I swear!"

"You dirty bastard!" Maserati moved quickly for such a big man. His large meaty hands were around Dinozzo's throat faster than he could blink and a sickening cracking sound was heard.

"Hey, Maurice?" Beck called.

"WHUT?" Maserati barked as he threw his dead lieutenant to the floor.

"Say hello to Danny for me," Beck smiled while pointing a Colt Python .357 Magnum revolver at Maserati's head. He pulled the trigger and emptied the gun before the big man fell down. "Damn, it takes a lot to kill him, don't it?" He pulled a radio out of his jacket and extended the antenna. "Okay, boys, bring the Super Beck Deluxe over here like we planned it. Time to blow the roof off this place!"

Beck got up from his seat and walked over to a pool table where he picked up a cue and started knocking balls around. In the meantime a set of double doors opened and a group of toughs wearing jackets, fedoras and three piece suits walked in with their guns drawn.

"What the hell?" one of them the squawked. "What happened to the bosses?"

"They killed each other," Beck said as he knocked a ball into the corner pocket. "I guess that leaves me in charge."

"Oh really?" another man scoffed. "Why should we follow you?"

"Because I know things," Beck said as he hit another ball into a hole. "I've drunk from the well. I've opened the vault of lost memories. Things I never knew just jumped into my head. It was uncanny."

"You expect us to believe that?" another one asked.

"Well, why don't I give a little demonstration?" Beck said as he stood up from the pool table and looked at the crowd of gangsters for the first time. "Why don't I make a prediction? I predict that in less than a minute some of the guys in here are going to die, and the rest are going to join my organization."

"Oh yeah?" a gangster called out. "Who's gonna kill us, huh? You and what army?"

At that moment the roof was torn off to reveal a golden yellow five story tall robot with a strangely shaped head with three sharp points.

"You really walk into these things don't you Angelo?" Beck sighed as a vent in the robot's face where the mouth should be opened to reveal two Browning .50 caliber 'Ma Deuce' machine guns.


That same afternoon Roger's long black Cadillac was parked on the beach. Roger Smith was leaning on the hood while gazing at Angel, who was wearing a pink jacket over a black cocktail dress. "Angel…"

"It's all there, the entire file and dossier of Jeremiah Lynch," Angel said referring to the bulging manila envelope resting the front passenger seat of Roger's Cadillac. "Everything you need to take him down. All the dirty little secrets you need to get Dastun to move on him before he takes Paradigm City into another dark age."

"Angel, what about Beck?" Roger asked the heavenly blonde. "Last time we met he was after you and you made it sound like he could do more damage than Lynch ever could."

"I don't know," she admitted. "He seems to know where all the cameras and microphones are hidden. I know that the Paradigm Company built something for him in a large hanger. A megadeus I guess. That's about it. Sorry."

"Okay, changing the subject then," Roger asked. "What about us?"

"Roger, there is no 'us'," she sighed. "There never was."

"I was thinking that maybe that should change," Roger smiled bashfully and walked over to her. "There is something between us and I think it would be good for Dorothy if there was another woman around the house. Someone she could look up to if you know what I mean…"

Angel interrupted him by laughing bitterly. "Roger that boat sailed a long time back. Probably before we ever met."

"Angel you can't keep running away," he said as he held her hand. His wristwatch chose that moment to beep. "Darn it," he muttered as he released her hand in order to hit a stud on his watch. "Yes Norman? What is it?"

"So sorry to intrude master Roger but there appears to be a megadeus operating in the dock district," said the tiny monochrome image of Norman Burg on the face of his watch. "I'm sending Big O to that location as we speak."

"Figures," Roger grunted. "Thanks Norman," he said before hit the stud on his watch again. "Angel, it looks like duty calls, but this conversation isn't over."

"Go," she said sadly. "I'll be right here."

Roger squeezed her hand and then he ran over to his car and drove off.

Angel sighed and strolled over to a wooden walkway that left the beach and went up to street level. When she reached the street, she saw someone she didn't expect. "Dorothy?" the enchanting blonde asked. "What are you doing here? How long have you been watching us?"

"Come with me if you want to live," the little android said.


At that moment Roger Smith was speeding down the street. "Okay Big O," he said as he spoke into his watch. "It's Showtime."

Transported underneath the ground by the four locomotive vehicle nicknamed, the 'prairie dog', the black megadeus could reach anywhere the ancient subway system could before the event that erased everyone's memories and left Paradigm City alone in the world of amnesia.

Like the dead rising out of their graves on judgment day, the Big O tore out of the ground sending concrete and asphalt flying in all directions. The massive robot thundered forward away from the crater its appearance had created and stood two blocks away from the yellow megadeus.

The long black car drove right between Big O's feet before it braked and then backed up to enter a garage that was at the bottom of the black megadeus' right foot. Soon Roger was in the control room.

Roger sat in the cockpit and put his feet into the pedals. He crossed his arms as two curved arms ending in joysticks closed to encircle his chair. At Roger's feet were three circular monitors. The larger center screen displayed a message: "CAST IN THE NAME OF GOD YE NOT GUILTY".

He stared at the fifty foot tall golden robot before him. "Beck," he muttered in disgust. "Huh?" he blinked at the right monitor flashed with the words "INCOMING MESSAGE" in large bold letters.

"Hey Roger," a wine colored monochromatic image of Jason Beck smiled from circular screen. "Catch you at a bad time?"

"Beck," Roger growled. "What have you got to say? I hope you're wearing a seatbelt because I'm about to tear that megadeus you're in apart."

"Hey, there's no need for violence!" Beck assured Roger through the little screen. "I just need some help with something. A little puzzle I'm working on. Tell me, what do these numbers mean to you? Nine seven zero one three three zero five seven zero four one five?"

"What?" Roger frowned. "I don't…"

"Here I'll put 'em on your screen for you," Beck offered. On the small circular screen to the left of the center one a series of numbers appeared: 9 701330 570415.


"Roger!" R Dorothy Wayneright gasped.


9 701330 570415. It was the number that was under the barcode in the eye in Roger's dreams! He couldn't even see the screens anymore, all he could see was the bar code! The eye. Bald children staring into the flames. Books burning on the shelves…

"Recognize that number Roger?" Beck's mocking voice asked. "Do you remember the Ellen Waite case where little Dorothy's identical twin was killing off people in their twenties who claimed they had Memories from forty years ago? You found a hit list? Do you remember? Next to every name was a barcode that had a number under it. Do you remember the last name? The next person to be targeted by the killer? Do you? Huh?"

"R-D," Roger muttered the image of the hit list flashed before his eyes.

"That's right," Beck cooed condescendingly. "And who did she go after next?"

"Me!" Roger gasped as the memory of that day came back to him.

"R-D," Beck's voice taunted. "It couldn't have been the name of Dorothy's twin sister now was it? It makes no sense to put herself on her own hit list does it?"

"No!" Roger shuddered as images from his nightmares assaulted him.


In the meantime Angel and the little android were walking briskly through an alley to avoid pursuit. "What's going on Dorothy?" the blonde asked the robot girl. "What did you mean when you said that just now?"

"Roger is in trouble," the android said. "Beck has set a trap for him, just as he has set a trap for you."

"A trap for me?" Angel repeated. "How does he even know where I am? Are you sure?"

"Yes," the dainty android said as she discharged a small handheld electroshock weapon against Angel's neck. "Quite sure."


"'R-D' doesn't refer to the assassin Roger!" Beck chortled from cockpit of the golden megadeus. "The killer's name wasn't R-D! It never was! R-D refers to the victim! Haven't you figured it out by now? I've got your number!"

To Be Continued

Dorothy and Roger sit on a large hourglass the size of a barstool. Behind them is an orange background. The sound of a piano and the duet of a man and woman singing can be heard.

Sometimes I feel so all alone

Finding myself callin' your name

When we're apart, so far away

Hopin' it's me that you're thinkin' of

Could it be true, could it be real?

My heart says that you're the one.

There's no one else, you're the only one for me.

Yes, this time my love's the real thing.

Never felt that love is so right.

The world seemed such an empty place.

We need someone we could give our all.

Baby, it's you, we'll be together now and forever.

Could it be true, could it be real?

My heart says that you're the one.

There's no one else, you're the only one for me.

Yes, this time my love's the real thing.

Never felt that love is so right.

The world seemed such an empty place.

We need someone we could give our all.

Baby, it's you, we'll be together now and forever.

Never felt that love is so right.

The world seemed such an empty place.

We need someone we could give our all.

Baby, it's you, we'll be together now and forever.


On a desk filled with hourglasses a phone rings. Roger's hand picks up the receiver and a sinister voice says:

Next: What We Really Wanted