After another boring day of meetings, Donovan decided to go out and check with one of her snitches over on the east side. Ricky Lopez owned a salvage yard that was also a front for one of Don Vendetta’s chop shop operations. In exchange for not throwing his ass in prison, Ricky gave her what he could on Vendetta’s operations. It hadn’t amounted to enough for an arrest yet, but she was hopeful it might eventually lead to something.
That was until she found Ricky hanging from the ceiling by a length of chain. It didn’t take much imagination to figure Vendetta had found out about their arrangement and decided to put a stop to it. “Shit,” Donovan said.
Losing the snitch would have been bad enough. Making it worse, Ricky’s killers were still here. One of them took a shot at her, which missed by probably just an inch. She ducked behind a barrel of oil and then thought better of it. She took her pistol out of its holster, firing off three shots before darting across the garage to hide behind an old Pontiac Ricky had been working on. From there she looked around for any sign of Vendetta’s goons.
“Give it up, pig!” one of them called out. “We know you’re in there.”
“Why don’t you guys make it easy and come out so I can arrest you?”
The answer to this was another shot, this one breaking the Pontiac’s rear window. The flash of the barrel gave her an idea that at least one of them was behind a Cadillac outside the garage. There would have to be more, though; Vendetta’s people didn’t work alone for something like this.
As she waited behind the car, Donovan cursed herself for leaving her phone in the car with the radio. She wouldn’t have any way to call for backup. Not that backup would get here for ten minutes at least. She’d just have to do it on her own.
Even as she thought this, something red and yellow came flying down near where she’d seen the shooter. There was a muffled grunt and then a burly man went flying into the garage. A woman squatted on the Cadillac, for some reason wearing red armor and a gold cape. “What the fuck?” Donovan mumbled.
A shot hit the woman in the right breast, but it deflected off of the armor without seeming even to scratch it. The woman leapt out of sight, another goon winding up inside the garage a moment later. From outside Donovan heard a grunt and then the woman appeared with a third man in a headlock. She dumped this one with the others and then froze.
“Are you all right, ma’am?” the woman asked, her voice sounding as if she were holding back a belch.
“Yeah, I’m fine.” Donovan kept her pistol aimed at the woman as she came around the Pontiac. With her other hand she reached into her jacket for her badge. “And you’re under arrest.”
“Did I stutter? We have laws against vigilantes in this city.” Captain MacIntosh had stressed that during the committee meetings when the issue of a costumed vigilante breaking up convenience store robberies and an attempted rape came up. “Now, take that helmet off so I can see your face.”
“I can’t do that.”
“Then maybe I should put a couple of bullets in you.”
“You could try.”
Donovan remembered how the goon’s shot had pinged right off the woman’s chest. She jammed the gun back into its holster. “Yeah, I guess I could.” She reached into her jacket again, this time for a cigarette. “So what are you supposed to be?”
“I’m the Scarlet Knight.”
“Is that a fact? You read too many comic books or something?”
“No.” Beneath the visor the woman actually sighed. “It’s very complicated and hard to believe. What you should believe is that I’m on your side.”
“You ever think we don’t want your help?”
“You need my help,” she said. “There’s something terrible out there. He’s the one who killed those people in the park and he’s not going to stop until he’s destroyed this place.”
Donovan blew out a cloud of smoke. The vigilante took a step back at this; apparently her armor didn’t filter out cigarette smoke. “This guy got a name?”
“I don’t know his real name but he’s known as the Black Dragoon.”
“And he killed those people all by himself?”
“Yes. And that man in the alley, the one cut in half.”
“How do you know about that?”
“I know about a lot of things.” The woman took another step back. “I’m going to stop him.”
“Why don’t you let us take care of it and go back to your Batcave or whatever?”
“You can’t stop him. I can—or at least I can try.” The woman’s voice quivered slightly at this; she sure as hell didn’t sound like any comic book hero.
“And what are we supposed to do? Wait with our thumbs up our asses?”
“You just have to leave him to me.” She took another step back. “I’m sorry, but I have to go now. I’m sure you can handle these three.”
With that the woman spun around and disappeared. Donovan ran to where the woman had been, but there was no sign of her. She had vanished. “Jesus Christ,” Donovan growled. “No one’s going to believe this.”