An old building molders under the moonlight. On its brick façade, the remnants of a hotel marquee long since removed. It sits on a hill overlooking a marina. Its only tenants are rats, roaches and members of the Spider gang. Dawn is still hours away and those inside are unaware of what’s about to happen.
17 men walk the rounds, keeping an eye out for trouble. There’s one waiting by the loading dock in the back. There’s another on the roof, keeping watch. He spends most of his time looking up. It’s the nature of the world. One never knew who could be flying overhead. Because of this, he doesn’t see Nobody setting up his sniper dart gun.
16 men left.
It’s a short run from the tree line across the road to the fence. Nobody easily hops the fence and darts the thug by the loading dock.
15 men left.
All the entrances on the ground level are shuttered. Nobody scales the wall to a broken window on the third floor. The room is empty but there is broken glass everywhere. Without disturbing a thing, Nobody crosses the room to the hallway. A Spider down the hall just misses him poke his head out. Nobody closes the distance and jams a drug laced pin in the Spider’s neck. He catches him and lowers him to the ground slowly.
14 men left.
A Spider climbs the stairs to the roof, wondering why the lookout isn’t answering his texts. Nobody sprints, jumps, and drop kicks him in the face just as he looks up from his phone. The Spider tumbles over the rail. Nobody flips after him, grabbing his foot and shooting his grapple gun at the ceiling. It catches just in time and Nobody quietly lays the unconscious Spider on the floor.
13 men left.
Nobody explores the ground floor. What used to be the reception desk is now a charging station for phones, laptops, and a radio. It seems high speed for a small gang operation. Nobody grabs a hard drive and a SIM card for later analysis. A large ballroom/conference center is now a staging area filled with crates. Nobody sees weapons strewn on a cheap plastic table. Rifles, machine pistols and handguns of all varieties are visible. He sneaks around the three men who are at the table loading ammo, inspecting the hardware, keeping busy until a specified time. They are dressed like thugs; oversized jerseys, hats worn off center, gold chains, but they work with quiet precision like a military unit. A man in a cheap suit is yelling into a phone. Where are the others? Why isn’t roof responding? Nobody sees a half open box of flash bangs. Opportunity presents itself.
The man in the suit is texting his unit to be on high alert when a grenade goes off behind him. He is stunned, but can see enough to realize they are not alone. A shadow strikes, taking down his men in seconds.
10 men left.
He reaches for his handgun but a piece of metal shrapnel hits him in the face. Panicking, he runs. The world refuses to take shape around him but he knows where he’s going. More of his men come running. They see their boss and they cover him as he flees to the safe room. He hears gun fire behind him. And screams. Somehow the screams echo down the hall, chasing him like a phantom.
8 men left.
He rounds a corner and sees more men. He orders them not to let anyone through and locks the door of the safe room behind him.
6 men left.
More gun fire. More screams. The man goes to text for back up and realizes his phone is gone. He scrambles to find some kind of communication device in the safe room.
5 men left.
The last of the Spiders rally before the door of the safe room. In last stand fashion, they wait for death. One of them calls for the others to hold the line. It is a meaningless gesture, something he saw in a movie, but it’s better than waiting in silence. The walls creak. Floorboards shift. They wait. The light flickers.
The Spiders shoot everything they have at him. Steel flashes, cordite burns, and casings bounce off the floor but the bullets don’t touch him. It’s not that he is faster than the bullets, just that he stands where the bullets will not be. They are out of ammo. Nobody laughs. Some reload, others are too shaken to move.
4 men left.
One of the Spiders fumbles his magazine. Another clicks his in but is kicked in the chest before he can work the slide. A third goes for a wild swing, but his arm is caught and his head is shoved through the brittle wall.
3 men left.
One Spider reloads and aims in. Nobody whirls his cape. The shot goes through where the Spider thought he’d still be, but Nobody is already on the ground throwing a knife at the guy’s junk.
2 men left.
The last two throw themselves at the Mask. They grapple with him for a moment before Nobody maneuvers around them and throws them to the floor in a tangle of limbs. He grabs their hair and smashes their heads together.
No men left.
There is nothing useful in the safe room. Nothing except for a grenade. The man in the suit picks it up, unsure of what he’s going to do with it. He hears a click coming from the door. He pulls his gun out and waits. The door clicks again and slowly opens. The man fires his gun until it’s empty. He hits nothing but air. The hallway is empty except for the bodies of his men, writhing and still in equal measure. The light flickers and Nobody is there. The man holds the grenade in the air.
“Don’t do it you bastard,” he says. “You wanna die? You wanna die?”
“The answer would surprise you,” Nobody says, holding a grenade pin in the air. The man panics and looks at the grenade in his hand. The pin is still in place. Nobody disarms him and puts him in an arm lock, face planted on the desk. “I have some questions for you. But first. Let’s get to know each other.”
“Fuck you! I’ll die before I tell you anything,” says the man in the suit.
“See? I’ve already learned something about you,” Nobody says as he leans into the arm lock. “You like to exaggerate.”
“Goddamn it okay! What do you want?”
“The Order. What are they telling you?” Nobody asks.
“Fucking don’t know anything about no fucking…” Nobody twists the arm. “Fuck! I’m telling the truth!”
“Who’s your in?”
“The Spiders didn’t do this alone. Someone’s been giving you a boost,” says Nobody. The man sighs.
“Calls himself Slim. He’s been our guy in this city. He knows where to get guns. He knows where to get drugs. He has suppliers, contacts, everything. He looped us in and we’ve been ruling the streets ever since.”
“How generous of him. What’s he getting out of this?” Nobody asks.
“He gets a small cut. Finder’s fee.”
“He reached out to you first, didn’t he? Your own personal kingmaker. So tell me. Who’s financing this little shindig?” The man was silent. “Come on, you didn’t go from small time street gang to getting a ballroom full of guns. Did someone’s rich uncle die? Did one of you guys win the lottery? Spill,” Nobody says. More silence. “I just learned something else about you. This topic is really important to you.”
“Don’t fuck with the money.”
“Don’t fuck with the money. Kill my guys, throw us off the roof, run us over with your car, but do Not Fuck With The Money.” Nobody hears anger, pain, exhaustion. He also hears fear.
“Where’s the money coming from?” Nobody asks.
“No. No no. No one fucks with the money. I talk, I’m dead,” the man says. Nobody shoves him into the wall, punches him in the gut and throws him to the floor.
“How much are your secrets worth?” Nobody asks as he unsheathes a curved blade from his back.
“Oh fuck!” the man screams.
“And don’t say an arm and a leg, because that’s about to become a lot less funny in a second or two.”
“Them! We get it from them!” the man yells. Nobody leans close.
“Tell me more.”
Ten minutes later, Nobody closes the door to the safe room. His head is buzzing with the new information he’s just gleaned. He realizes a phone is also buzzing outside the ballroom’s main doors. The man in the suit dropped it before. Nobody picks it up. The message is from a Freddy, but Nobody recognizes the number and the alias. Police Chief Cook has resurfaced. He’s looking for muscle to take down a crazed vigilante. Nobody smiles. His luck is finally turning around.