Heart of Steel

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is a part of my Rising Star story arc but it's a side story that takes place at the same time as City of false hope and City of war. the character eventually joins the others.

Submitted: December 05, 2016

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Submitted: December 05, 2016

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The Rodrigez family are running their family owned book store, a lover of book’s Demetri started the store nearly a month after they came from Portugal, now their business was flourishing for the last few years, it would have been nice if they could have gotten an apartment above the store but it was only one story high, however they did live across the street at the other end of the block, his son Selano is putting some books on the shelf while his sister Ellana helps the last two customer’s, one was getting the newest James Patterson while the other was picking up two Batman graphic novels, Demetri was skeptical at first when his son suggested selling graphic novels, saying there not real books, but they did bring in a good amount of business. They closed up at eight and went home, watching the news as Demetri cooked dinner, the set alerts people that there is still a killer on the loose and to watch out and not stay out late if not necessary, the family was glad they lived way up in the north end of Willoway Bay, almost in the next city, Castlebrook, which seemed to be away from the target area. Selano goes to the basement after the meal and turns a light on revealing a workshop, he had many swords and shields, spears, a mace and bits of armor (chest plates mostly) he began work on his latest project, a Claymore, he was quite the mid-evil knights and dragons and swordplay fanatic and this hobby brought in some extra money, half of this stuff would be sold…the Claymore however would stay.

 

The next day some men came in, Shawn Hallowitz, who nicknamed himself “The Torch”, Justin Time and “Mean” Dean Jacobs, it’s mid-morning so there are a few other people there (most likely night shift workers and house wives) the three start to harass a woman and knock over a display, Demetri demands that they leave and takes out a bat, though they don’t really understand him the message becomes clear when he jabs Shawn (not that hard really) Dean grabs the bat, taking it off the much older man but before he can use it, is slugged by Selano, he follows up with the basic combo on Justin who tries to shove him (though it had been a month since his last go, those boxing lessons really paid off) Demetri takes the bat again, the three run off leaving a few cheering customers behind, Selano asks himself why they would try to extort protection money from a book store or where  these just a bunch of punks looking to cause trouble? At their little alleyway hangout Shawn plays with his lighter, extremely angry that the book store people had the nerve to fight back, make him look like a fool, he had been out of the game for far too long, being one of the prisoners released by Kosh Lyson’s ruling, let out of jail after fourteen months for a simple B & E and aggravated assault, the police had no idea what else he had been up too or else he would still be there. This was not a good restart to being the leader of his gang once again and Lazarus, who had been in charge while he was gone was very unimpressed and annoyed, he wanted to break the gang apart, but there wasn’t enough men to do that. They continue to talk, Lazarus wants to keep the gang name they had for over a year, the one he gave them, Raging Zombies while Shawn wanted to use his gang name, Cherrybomb, saying it was something small but could cause quite a bit of damage used properly, Jynx Bardo, another gang member, was all like “Why don’t you split the difference and call us The Raging Bombers.” The suggestion was turned down immediately, Dean saying “Sure where criminals, but we don’t want to be associated with terrorists.” they remain undecided for now. Franchesca DeLane is called out to take descriptions of the book store attack suspects, Selano’s not happy that a rookie was put on that task, but figured the police wouldn’t put too much interest in it, being nearly out of their jurisdiction and all and nothing really happened.

 

Demetri and Selano talk about the attack, and beefing up security, that Demetri should not be at the store alone, “Don’t be a hero.” his children tells him, he’s fine, he insists, young people today have no respect and all that, Lazarus and Hector (the fifth gang member) are at the gas station making threats and seceding where Shawn failed the day before, Lazarus asks Hector “Wouldn’t you like a man who can get the job done in charge?” Hector remained silent but was obviously thinking about it. They get in the car, Jynx drives them off, and the three of them talk, about the way things are and how they could be, Jynx gets distracted by the conversation and crashes, thankfully for them it’s not that bad, the front right side is smashed up slightly, Lazarus is about to say “way to go” when he notices they have crashed into an armor truck, it was stopped picking up from the liquor store, the door wide open, the driver comes to check on the car that crashed into him and Lazarus puts a shotgun in his face, “May as well take advantage of this wonderful situation boy’s.” Jynx and Hector jump out and aim their guns on the other approaching truck guard, they help themselves to the goods and take off, and at the next corner they head into an underground garage and exchange cars. Later in the ally, Shawn congratulates them on an excellent haul, Lazarus makes a comment about “Maybe now we can afford to put a roof over our heads, preferably with four walls holding it up.” Shawn tells him to watch it, he pulls out a map and takes out his lighter for light, and he shows them all the targets, the liquor store, a bowling alley, two drug stores, a convenience store, a bar and the grocery store, he also wants the book store to be made an example of, Justin asks if he should ruff someone up, Shawn enjoyed his enthusiasm but he had other plans, Lazarus and the others couldn’t understand why the book store mattered so much, they hear a voice from around the corner and are startled, Ty Die rounds the corner, he tells them his name and that he wants to join, explaining details of experience with the Snake gang and his escape for the police.

 

At the Rodrigez home, Selano and his friend Nelson talk about the resent attack while watching an old episode of Deadliest Warrior, Nelson jokingly suggests going “midevil” on the gang since he had the skill to make the armor and everything. At the alley clubhouse area, Shawn talks to his men, now welcoming their newest member, as long as he passes, about the area of the city they are in, they were already darn near out of jurisdiction for local police, it was a long trip from the station and he wanted to make loads of trouble, make the area look crime ridden, dirty and whatever else to make the police think that it was just not worth the trip to go up there, even Lazarus had to admit this was a pretty good idea, if they could pull it off, Later in the day Selano has the TV on while he is making a chest plate and see’s that Zane Riles was caught in regards to many of the murder’s in the city, at least there was some good news.

 

The next day Selano is going out because he had classes, he was learning general handyman skills to help out at home and at the book store, his sister reminds him to pick up groceries and also heads out to do laundry, Selano was annoyed that she felt she had to do it now of all times but again Demetri tells him he will be fine and not to worry so much, “Worrying drains you.” (Translated from Portuguese)

Later, a customer goes out of their book store with a copy of “Under the dome” by Steven King and a Justice League novel, Demetri is about to close when Lester Quinn comes in, an old friend of Selano, Demetri never liked him cause he was a drug addict and dragged his son into bad situations, Lester introduces himself and asks if Demetri remembers him (having learned a little Portuguese while he knew them), he also asks for money (for nothing worthwhile most likely Demetri thought), he asked him to go away, leave him and his son alone and heads into the back room to put things away, while gone Lester raid’s the cash register and sees a man (Shawn) throw a fire bomb through the doorway, the place quickly catches and Lester goes into the back and helps Demetri out the back door, the whole place is soon in flames.

Selano comes back and sees the fire and police departments there and his father being loaded into an ambulance, Franchesca tells him that his father is a lucky man, that it was just a precaution and that a customer got him out in time and that information is still being collected. Demetri is incredibly upset about losing the store and says “All that history, those dreams and imagination, gone. Who would do this?” (Translated from Portuguese) Selano comforts him saying “The store can be rebuilt, the books replaced, you cannot, as long as you’re ok, that’s all that matters.” Selano is told by his father that it was Lester who saved him and taken off afterwards, after many of the on lookers and fire, police had gone Lester came out and found Selano and tells him he saw who did it but he’s scared to come forward, Shawn who had watched from an alley the whole time saw and heard this and wanted to get rid of Lester before he gives anyone a description.

 

John Mitchel, veteran fire fighter and arson investigator investigates the fire, Selano is glad to see someone with some actual experience on the job, John recognizes the patter to several cases he had worked over two years ago, the arsonist had remained dormant for all this time, why come back now, what kept him away where thoughts in John’s mind. On his way to school Selano is stopped by Lester again who asks for money so he can leave the city, Selano was pretty pissed off by this, he was just going to take off when he could help catch the scumbag who burned down his family shop? Selano tries to get him to go away, calling him a coward among other things as they keep walking when Nelson sees them, he grabs Lester by the collar, drags him away, hands him fire bucks and say’s “Do everyone a favor and never come back.” Then shoves him aside while Selano continues on his way, (next scene) Lester is at the bus station when Ty Die comes up and asks for the time, he also offers him some drug’s, they head into the bathroom for privacy and Ty slashes his thought, He wouldn’t know why Shawn wanted him killed but it didn’t matter, he was now one of them….whatever the name of the group is.

 

(Next day) Jynx, Hector and Justin talk (well mostly J and J) so far things are going in the still nameless groups favor, territory was increasing, they had big funds and now people where really scared after the book store caught fire, what a stroke of random luck, Jynx is messing around with a gun and shoots the TV (which was showing the scene of Lester’s murder, plugged in through extension cord to a store), Hector snatches the gun from him and sets it aside, giving him a glare. (same news footage being seen by Nelson and Selano, they talk over the phone, feeling low that they treated Lester so crappy in his last moments, after the phone call, Selano goes down to work on some more armor, it would make him feel better, he thought perhaps he would buy some chain mail from the armory store in the east end, he was now seriously contemplating going along with Nelsons crazy suggestion.

 

Jynx and Ty talk while Shawn shows Hector what he wants to do next, Ty tells Jynx of the misfortune with the Snake gang, Jynx scoffs, bouncing a ball off the wall and catching it, he’s not even heard of them, they can’t be that big a deal so Ty was better off, says “Ya know, I’ve been thinking off this plan, if we start a riot for whatever reason that would help lower the standards or whatever, right? Maybe throw garbage in the street, start putting random graffiti all over the place. All the worst neighborhoods look like that.” Shawn looks up and back at Jynx, hating to admit it was a really good idea, Jynx tosses the ball again, it gets a bad bounce, knocks over a mirror leaning against the wall and the TV they get to replace the old one.

JohnMitchel investigates into the timeline gap between the most resent fire and the one before, he’s positive it’s the same guy, he might just catch him this time, if he can find a link, he Talks to Detective Andrew Delmar, as well as asking for any old criminal files they talk about old times, John asks him how he feels to be back, Andrew’s glad to get the brain working again, he lived for this stuff. Nelson, at work sees his boss being harassed by Lazarus, Nelson confronts Lazarus who tells him, “Don’t be a hero, no one has to get hurt here.” He leaves giving them something to think about.

 

Nelson talks to Selano about the gang going after the store, getting really pissed and wanting to put an end to this, he asks Selano about the armor, he still didn’t have a helmet and the whole thing still sounded like a bad idea, there may be that Samurai guy out there, the city hardly needed another vigilante, just then the power on the street goes out (cut to Jynx who has been zapped while tampering with the box) Dean, Hector and Ty start a riot, they start tossing trash can’s into windows, knocking over newspaper boxes, smashing cars and such, soon everyone seeing this wants to get in the act, they scream and just go nuts, eventually Shawn comes out too and lights a torch and starts burning random stuff, Selano and Nelson look on in horror, they were both shocked at how nuts things had gotten over something so simple, they thought they knew these people better than this, whether he liked it or not, Selano would indeed need to gear up, Nelson told him “Don’t worry about a helmet for now, we’ll improvise.” Selano went home and put the armor on, not entirely liking the whole “We’ll improvise” thing, while he was getting ready Nelson went to a store down the next block, one that luckily wasn’t on the same electrical grid, apparently and buy’s a ski mask, a bat, a bandana and a toque as well as some other stuff so it doesn’t look too suspicious (didn’t really help much) and met up with Selano, giving him the Ski mask while he used the other stuff, Selano looked at him like he was waiting for the punchline and put the mask on, things where deteariating and the cops weren’t there yet, or if they were, they didn’t have enough men, the two go out and attack the trouble makers, trying mostly to get the actual gang member’s but occasionally average citizens came at them, the clunk of bone meeting wood and steel lasted three minutes until the power came back on, Shawn set an oncoming cop car on fire and the gang fled, the rest of the people where finally somewhat calm and trying to douse the flames on the car.

 

Lazarus and the others start to question about the fires, finally starting to suspect that Shawn might be an arsonist, Lazarus didn’t really care but for some it was as if a line was crossed, Lazarus was fine with this realization, he wanted to be in charge any way’s and now so did everyone else, they start spreading graffiti and garbage around and causing property damage like Jynx suggested, every once in a while that guy actually does or says something good, if only he wasn’t the most unlucky guy they ever met, they wanted to find the two punks who stuck there noses in their business and use a can opener on the one, even if everything pretty much went according to plan, Shawn hadn’t come back yet, no one was all that upset.

Fran talks to John at the precinct about the fires and other random violence in the city when an earthquake strikes.

 

Shawn finally comes back to the ally, the only one there right now is Hector who gives him a small smile but then put’s his head down, Shawn tells him he wants to cause another disturbance and lure out the knight, the others come back then and he lays out a plan, again it sounds really good, they might not want him as leader but they will keep him around for now, Ty and Lazarus start trashing the neabourhood again, calling out the armored jackass, who was happy to oblige (after getting the equipment on which took a while) Lazarus hurls a brick at him which hits the chest plate and he and Ty run, Selano in pursuit, they lead him to a junk yard and Justin uses the magnet to pick him up, they lower him and Shawn removes the ski mask, Dean and himself have a laugh, informing the others he was the book store guy, Lazarus stepped forward and slapped him, saying “I’m gonna go after everyone you care about, I may even make you watch the fun I have with your sister.” Shawn was furious about this, Dean and Hector even looked at him as if to say, seriously, where not just gonna kill him now and end it? Just then Nelson, who saw the chase, came in, nailing Lazarus with his bat, he tackles Justin and deactivates the magnet, Selano falls with a clang, then Nelson and pulling out a Magnum, he shoots Hector in the side and makes the group back off, Lazarus points to him and say’s “Your dead too chump, I’m gonna grind you into sausage.” Selano and Nelson make their escape, Selano isn’t very happy about Nelson having a gun but realized there was really no other way.

Selano works to further the protection on his armor and finally makes a helmet, meanwhile Hector gets patched up by Lazarus who is planning a strike, “Get rid of the hero, the rest will fall” he said, now some of the group didn’t know who to back up, Shawn got in his face, “Who do you think you are, you’re not in charge anymore, why is everyone acting so odd around me? And what the fuck was that, why didn’t you just slit that geeks throat?” Lazarus finally called him out on the fires, Shaw looked at the group and said “So what, I set some fire’s, I did what needed to be done to scare the heck out of people, it worked. At least I’m not threatening rape.”

Selano talks to his family, wanting them to go away for a while but they won’t, they can finally start rebuilding as he said and Demetri wasn’t scared of those punks. Selano thinks about the gang’s “so called” hide-out, there was a wooden barricade up now (since after the riot) if he could bust that down he would have them trapped, but he wanted to make a big impact, he goes out to that same place he got the chain mail and gets a miniaturized cannon, takes it back home and mounts it on the armors back so it can be adjusted/aimed over his shoulder, he goes out that night, taking his favorite Claymore with him, a few people see him and keep their distance, he lowers the cannon and blasts the wall away, once past the remains, he sees that Jynx is the only one there, he tells him the rest have his friend at the bridge, Selano knocks him out with a right hook and call’s the police.

 

Selano heads to the bridge more determined to finish this, no one threatens his family, he finds Hector and Dean at the bridge with Nelson, apparently they were able to talk Lazarus out of grinding him up, but they were getting ready to dump him over, Selano steps forward and strikes Hector in the gut with the hilt of the sword, but again, mostly sticking with hand to hand combat with these two, his fight was with their leader…or leaders, having the armor, the other two only hurt themselves when they tried to attack, and they couldn’t keep a grip for long, Dean finally gave up for the both of them, Selano unties Nelson and ties them up, again calling the police, Nelson said what fools they were for splitting up the way they did and reminds Selano there were four more of them still out there and his family wasn’t safe, Selano rushes home, leaving Nelson who took a free kick at Dean just for the heck of it. At home, Selano does a quick half assed job of unsuiting, mostly the helmet, gloves, boots and chest plate and covers the chain mail and few other bits with a coat, he didn’t want his father asking about the gear, he went in and his father told him he couldn’t reach his sister and diner would be ready in ten minutes, Selano told his father not to wait up or to worry, while downstairs he gets a call, ID says it’s Ellana, he answers and it’s Lazarus on the other end, who tells Selano where to find her, he puts his helmet on and rushes out. At the precinct, under reconstruction, John talks to the drugs and gang’s task force (half of them stayed back) thinking the arsonist could be a gang member, or maybe just hoping one of them could connect the last few dots, showing them picks of  gang members, one of them recognizes Shawn, saying one of those Rising Star guy’s brought him in for a B& E months ago, by the name of Allen or Arron or something, John puts the pieces together and asks if they know where the gang is, they tell him about the calls (Talk about excellent timing).

 

Nelson meets up with Selano half a block from his house and hands him the magnum, Selano just stands there silently, contemplating, Nelson says “You’re not crossing a line, they crossed it first.” Selano sees he is still badly hurt and tells him to stay back, make sure the cops know what’s going on and where. Walking away he struggled to find a place to put the gun so he put it behind his back, in the belt line.

At a warehouse by the lake, Lazarus is pointing a spike at Ellana who is tied to a post and gagged, he spews threats of pain and violation, Ty and Justin stand guard at the doorway, standing by a trashcan fire, within seconds, it explodes, knocking them off their feet, Selano informs them it was a warning shot and raises his cannon, they had one chance to get out, they returned fire, Selano stood there, letting the bullets bounce off him, the ones that hit at least, finally disappearing behind some crates, they keep firing, suddenly the Claymore comes up from behind the door and cut’s Ty’s gun hand off, he screams seeing the knight emerge now and give another warning slash to Justin and points the blade at him “Don’t make me drive this into you.” He drops the gun and looks after Ty, Selano heads in, sees his sister there, the back opened up to a view of the lake letting in some light, Justin tackles him from behind and Lazarus starts to do some speech about all the sick twisted stuff he was gonna do when Shawn came in the front, with Ty beside him with a wrap around his stub, Shawn lift’s his Lighter and says “This is how you kill someone fucker.” And torches the place “You let them burn.” Selano backhands Justin into the water, and attacks Lazarus who picks up a pipe to combat the sword, Ty gets out of the place while he can, after a few slashes, clashes and dodges Lazarus who had a slightly better handle on weapons, disarms Selano, even after the pipe being cut in half, but is quickly disarmed himself, Lazarus kicks him in the head and the helmet falls off as Selano stumbles back, the fire raging and engulphing more of the warehouse, he takes off the mask, does a roll, which could have been performed better, grabs the Claymore and cut’s his sister free, she is obviously shocked to see her brother like this but doesn’t waste any time getting out of there, avoiding the flames as best she could, Shawn watches her go, he’s not too concerned about her, he Jumps Selano with a burning two by four “Why are you still alive? A hero’s got to have a good tragic death, don’t you think?” Selano shoulder thrust’s him in the gut, making him drop his weapon, he looks up and sees his two enemies and now knows they hated each other as well, fine with him, wooden pillars started to fall around them, the roof caved in a separate section but they all stood there glaring at each other, Shawn finally said “Get use to these flames Lazarus, you’ll be feeling them for a very long time.” He dives into the water, he doesn’t get far before a police boat picks him up, Justin already on it, Lazarus makes more threats that this carnage will never stop, that he will come after Selano and everyone close to him, Selano draws the Magnum and put’s two bullets into Lazarus as the now arriving fire department douse the flames before the whole place comes crashing down, Shawn screams from the boat “Why would you destroy something so beautiful?!”

 

John Mitchel talks to Selano afterwards, who is has now removed some of the armor, he thanks him for helping catch the pyromaniac, hoping he doesn’t get off on some technicality, Dt. Delmar also steps forward and cuffs Selano, reading him his right’s, when Selano asked why, Andrew reminded him he still killed a guy, even if it was in self-defense, considering the circumstances he might not face more than a three under house arrest or something….possibly more jail time to be honest, but the armor and sword would be put in lock-up, he’s allowed to go home and inform his father as to what’s going on before being taken away.

The fire and a guy dressed in full armor fighting a gang was secondary news behind a battle between super powered heroes and villains that night.


© Copyright 2018 Mathew Nicol. All rights reserved.

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