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Tommy "Two-Times" Fertucci adjusted his tie, stretched his neck and cleared his throat as he waited in the front room of the warehouse. An attractive, young man sat behind the reception desk pretending to ignore The Family Capo standing between him and the door and trying very hard not to notice the bulge under the mobsters left arm.


The silence is palpable and awkward.


"I'm sure Mrs. Figgins will be out to see you shortly, Mr. Fertucci." Said the young man, unprompted.


Tommy grunted.


The sharp clicking sound of heels rose in the background, followed by an authoritative voice; "... reports by Monday. Also, make sure Quinn has everything she needs for her project and call my wife and make sure that she understands that I'll no longer be available tomorrow for dinner. Ah! Mr. Fertucci!" Abigail Figgins is short, dumpy and terrifying. The heels that made all the racket are Vera Wang, her pantsuit is Ralph Lauren, the glasses magnifying her eyeballs on her round face are Dolce and Gabanna and the purse held by her assistant is Balenciaga and is full to bursting.


"I'm so sorry to have kept you waiting, Mr. Fertucci, I meant no disrespect." Abigail said as she looked around the front room, speaking to everything and everyone other than Tommy. "If you'll follow me I'll show you through to where we keep the item."


"That's quite alright, alright, Mrs. Figgins." replied the mobster and he plucked a toothpick from his lapel pocket. "Although, my employer, my employer might be... dissatisfied with the level of soivice demonstraytated by this here, uh... wait period, should he ever choose to present himself in poyson, poyson." He chewed the toothpick, flicking it from one corner of his mouth to the other as Abigail registered the threat and directed her attention to Tommy for the first time.


"Yes, of course. Again, I apologize for the inconvenience, Mr. Fertucci. Please follow me."


Tommy wouldn't be disappointed with what he saw in the back room of the warehouse. At the far end of the room, to the left of the entrance and visible from the gallery was a production line slowly grinding out small, sharply edged devices. Further to the right along the back wall was an array of cages containing citizens of Paragon City in various states of distress, easily identified by order of abduction. The newest were distraught. Some were railing against the bars of their cages, others sobbing and crying out for aid. The more veteran captives, having witnessed their fates were resigned, sitting quietly in the corners of their prisons. A squad of heavily armed guards in flack armour armed with long poles, electricity arcing from twin prongs, emblazoned with the stylized C for Crey Industries approached one such cage. They jabbed the naked occupant, a middle-aged man who screamed and writhed in agony before wrenching the door open.


Tommy leaned against the railing of the gallery, looking down onto the floor and watched as the Crey guards hauled the semi-conscious man out of the cage and placed him face-down on a surgical table. Restraints snapped closed, holding the man in place as Crey scientists approached with various hand-held equipment. The man struggled against the restraints as best he could, but there was nothing for it at all. The people in lab coats went about their business of installing one of the sharply edged devices into the base of the man's skull and the man went still. The restraints snapped open and the man pushed himself up to a sitting position. Tommy watched as there seemed to be a brief conversation between the man on sitting on the table and what appeared to be the scientist's team lead and then stood and marched calmly, peacefully and obediently towards a line of naked people standing against the far right wall. The man took his place at the end of the line.


"So, you see, Mr. Fertucci." said Abigail to her guest "This facility, a subsidiary of Crey Industries, has perfected a harmless device that renders its subjects so completely susceptible to suggestion and so docile that you and your associates should never have to use force against them ever again."


Tommy "Two-Times" is impressed and it shows. Imagine not having to trash a liquor store to collect protection money. Imagine not having to slap a prostitute around just to get them to pay their cut. Imagine not having to break a person's legs just to get a gambling debt paid. This was a wonder.


He pulled a cigarette from the pack in his pocket, placing it in his mouth "Do you mind if I smoke, smoke, Mrs. Figgins?" he asked, already sparking the Zippo.


"No! Mr. Fertucci, no!" But it was too late...


The Zippo flew from the Mobster's hand as he lifted it to the end of the cigarette. It tumbled to the ground as a strong gust of hot, dry air swept across the gallery and a figure stepped seemingly from out of the flame of the open lighter as it lay on the corrugated metal floor. Tiny at first, but growing in size rapidly as it took the shape of a man. A man in a flat, black suit with burnt orange pinstripes with hair to match, tucked up under a black fedora. The Man in Black turned to face the Mobster and Mrs. Figgins, a cigar gripped between his teeth. He grinned, his eyes inscrutable from behind opaque, burnt orange shades.


"This... this isn't what it looks like!" Exclaimed Abigail Figgins as Tommy took a few steps back and away from the interloper, reaching slowly for his gun tucked away in the holster under his left arm.


"Isn't it?" Asked The Man in Black as he strolled casually to the railing of the gallery, looking down at the production line. "So, ye mean tae say that this isnae a slavery production line?" He took the cigar from his mouth and leaned against the rail. The blue smoke from the cigar coiled about him like a serpent as it hung from his relaxed fingers.


The tips of Tommy's fingers touched the gun under his arm.


"I wouldnae do that, mate." Said the man.


Tommy paused.


"Here's what's about tae happen, then." The Man in Black grinned again. "First of all, yer tae hit that wee red button o'er there an' shut this production line down." He motioned to the dead-man button on the wall just inside the entrance of the room. "Secondly, yer tae call the PCPD an' report yerselves an' turn yerselves in."


"Yeah? An' what if we don't do that, do that?" Asked Tommy, the tips of his fingers still caressing the 9mm under his coat.


The Man in Black pushed off the railing and took a step towards the two, the sharp clack of his hard-soled loafers echoing off the now still factory floor as all eyes focused on the trio above them. He jammed the cigar back between his teeth and pulled his shades down his nose to reveal eye sockets filled with malevolent, hungry flames that almost seemed to reach towards Tommy and Abigail.


"Do I bear a resemblance tae Batman tae ye, mate? What d'ye think'll happen if'n ye dinnae do as I say?"




A sharply dressed older man sits behind a desk, facing the camera.


"Thank you for joining us for tonight's broadcast of PCTV, Paragon City's most trusted news source, I'm Graham Richardson. Our top story tonight, several arrests have been made in a case involving cybernetic implants designed to make slaves out of their hosts. Implicated are both The Family and Crey Industries, with more is our very own Katy Griffin, live and on scene with this report."


Emil Marcone snapped off the tv and threw the remote across the room.

Edited by Living_Hellfire
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-The Legendary Living Hellfire

"The newest person in the room is always the most important person in the room"

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