Hellooooo, season 2: “Leader of the Pack”

Hyena: Okay, masked man, you broke us out of stir and you’ve got some nice moves, I’ll give you that–you’re even kind of cute.

Jackal: But The Pack doesn’t follow just anybody. For the last time: who are you?

Written by: Steven Perry
Original Air Date: September 4, 1995
Introduces: Coyote (Robot)
Timeline placement: Sept. 4 – Sept. 6, 1995

Synopsis:

As the sun sets over Riker’s Island, a lone masked person in a costume resembling a stylized dog uses wrist-mounted claws to scale the prison’s inner walls.  After reaching the desired floor, Dog-Mask uses acid gas to melt the bars into the prison, and then immobilizes a prison guard with a beam that causes disorientation and minor hallucinations, and then takes the guard’s keys.

Wolf and Jackal are killing time in their cell when they’re approached by Dingo, who breaks them out with plastic explosives. Prison break!

In yet another cell, Hyena and Fox are also killing time—Hyena shoots homemade proyectiles at cockroaches, while Fox reads Sartre—until they’re approached by Dog-Mask, who breaks open the cell door.  He gives Hyena a weapon-glove, and urges the two dames to escape.  Before they can make a getaway, however, they’re found by a prison guard, who attempts to stop the crooks.  Just as Hyena is about to kill the guard, she is stopped by Fox, who attempts to appeal to her partner’s non-existent better senses.  Before they can get too philosophical about the matter, Dog-Mask urges them to just leave already, but Fox is having none of it: she’s staying in prison to finish out her sentence.  Guards approaching, Hyena and Dog-Mask decide to book it.  They don’t run very far when they reach a dead end; it’s not a problem, however, as Dog-Mask uses a laser in his gauntlet to destroy the prison wall, and then, with Hyena in arms, makes the leap to the ground level without going “splack”, “crack”, or “ouch”.  Hyena is suitably impressed.

The five escapees meet up at the prisons main gate, which Dog-Mask breaks open with his bare hands.  After some quick introductions—Dog-Mask’s name is Coyote—the group escapes in an airship remotely summoned by their newest member.

Nightfall.  Clocktower.  The gargoyles wake up, only to receive unpleasant tidings of The Pack’s escape from Elisa.  Lexington takes these news badly, and is set to go to Pack Media Studios with a quickness, but fortunately, Brooklyn convinces his rookery brother to let him and Bronx join him.  As they glide towards the studios, Elisa, Goliath, and Hudson comment on how it’s unlikely that the Pack will actually be there, and that their efforts would be better served tracking down the Pack’s creator: Xanatos.

Inside the (stealth-rigged) Pack ship, Coyote is ready to give the team their new orders, when Wolf asks a rather reasonable question: who died and made him leader.  Coyote admits that the position is a self-appointed one, and defends his claim to the mantle by easily defeating Wolf.  Wary but not exactly willing to take on a guy who can break steel doors with his bare hands, the remaining non-Dingo members of The Pack tell Coyote that he needs to tell them who he is before they’ll trust him.  Coyote obliges, removing his mask and ohmygodit’sXanatos.

The Pack, particularly Jackal and Hyena, are flabbergasted—wasn’t he the guy they’d been told to kill, and who was partly responsible for putting them in prison?  Before they can take care of that bit of unfinished business, Dingo (who’s getting all sorts of “level-headed guy” cred this episode) makes the point that it was the absent Fox who’d ordered them to kill Xanatos, and that it was Coyote/Xanatos who sprung them out of prison. That bit of business solved (at least for the moment), Coyote/Xanatos explains their next move—namely, revenge on the Gargoyles.

Goliath, Broadway, and Hudson arrive at Castle Wyvern, only to find that Xanatos isn’t home.  Smugly omniscient, Owen explains that what they actually want is the location of The Pack, and informs them that they will soon arrive at Pack Media Studios, and that they are expecting to see the gargoyles there.  Not terribly satisfied with this information or the way they’re been led around, Goliath and co. leave, with Goliath saying that he’ll speak to Xanatos later. “Sooner that you think, perhaps,” Owen retorts to no one in particular.

Outside Pack Media Studios, Lexington and Brooklyn notice that the place has already been surrounded by the Po-Po.  Before they head in, Brooklyn tries to give Lexington some advice about letting his hatred for The Pack prevent him from thinking straight about the important things in life.  Like breakfast family.  It all goes in one ear and out of the other: as soon as Lexington notices the cops leaving the building, he decides to go in.  Brooklyn and Bronx follow.

Inside  the studio, Lexington is disappointed to find that there’s no Pack to be found.  However, that’s not a problem for long, as the building’s floor opens up, revealing the hovering Pack ship.  Round 1…FIGHT!

Despite being outnumbered and not at their best—Lexington refuses to think tactically—the two gargoyles (and one gargoyle beast) put up a good fight; still, they’re eventually defeated by the Pack.  K.O.!

Goliath, Broadway, and Hudson arrive at the P.M. Studios.  Despite finding plenty of evidence of a struggle, there’s no sign of their clanmates.  A studio phone ring and Broadway answers.  It’s Owen, informing them that the Pack has the missing gargoyles, and that they will be awaiting Goliath and co. aboard the Japanese-sounding oil tanker Otoshiana Maru, anchored in the middle of the bay.

Otoshiana Maru.  Lexington regains consciousness, and is told by Brooklyn that they’re trapped.  Again.  While escape seems improbable at best—at least, until reinforcements arrive—Lexington is adamant in the belief that he can take on The Pack by himself.  He fruitlessly begins banging on the cargo bay’s steel walls.

Atop the Maru’s deck, a heavily-armed Pack waits for Goliath and co.’s arrival.   They are not disappointed.  Round 2: It all depends on your skill!  Triumph or die!

Struggle highlight reel:

  • With some accidental help from Hyena, Broadway manages to free Lex, Brook, and Bronx.
  • Several barrels of oil get spilled atop the ship.  A stray laser blast ignites said oil.
  • Goliath eventually unmasks Coyote, then fights mano-a-mano with Xanatos.
  • Surprisingly, Xanatos gets the better of Goliath, as he’s about to turn the gargoyle into fried crispies, Bronx arrives and begins savagely mauling the villain’s face, actually ripping through his skin and revealing Xanatos as the Terminator he actually is.  Hyena finds this extremely sexy (Robosexual!)
  • Before Coyote can do some terminatin’ he is shot through the chest by Lexington, who carries a rifle one size too big for him.  A final kick by Goliath beheads the robot.

Realizing that the fight is not going their way, The Pack escape to their airship.  Just as Lexington is about to shoot the ship down, an explosion causes him to throw off his aim; a second explosion knocks Brooklyn against a column causing him to lose consciousness.

Lexington takes aim again, then notices his fallen rookery brother.  As The Pack escapes, the gargoyle decides on family, as he picks up Brooklyn before he can fall into the burning water.

As the fire continues to burn and the ship sinks around them, Goliath, Hudson and Bronx try to retrieve Coyote’s head. Before they can do so, a rocket built into it activates and launches it into the air.   With nothing else to do, the gargoyles decide to make their exit.  As they glide away from the scene, Brooklyn thanks Lexington for rescuing him.  Lexington replies that it was nothing, and that the moment actually helped him get his priorities straight.

Almost a minute left.  Time for a tag.

Riker’s Island.  Fox stands before her parole board, who declares that, thanks to her decision to remain in jail and protect the guard, she has been granted an early release.

As she exits the prison, she enters a limo.  Oh my God!  It’s Xanatos!  The real one!  They’re making out!  She’s not wearing underwear!

After snogging, Xanatos explains everything.  The whole break-out was set up solely to facilitate Fox’s release.  Plus, as icing, Xanatos got to test his prototype robot.  Fox then asks if he’s disappointed at missing out on his revenge, and Xanatos replies that revenge means nothing to him—it’s a “sucker’s game” that in no way compares to truly valuable things such as…true love.

K.O.!

—-

Yay, season 2!  Season 1 was interesting, but it’s not until season 2 when the show hunkers down and becomes interesting.

Right of the bat, this episode reminds us why Gargoyles is awesome, and why Xanatos is one of the very best villains in animation.  His plan here perfectly encapsulates his appeal: he has uncommon, yet believable, motivations; he is amoral without coming off as a sociopath; his plan here is his most ingenious without coming off as implausible.  And he has good taste in women, too.

I’ve mentioned that I did not enjoy The Pack’s debut, but liked the more focused spotlight on Jackal and Hyena that “Her Brother’s Keeper” provided.  We’re back to the full team here—with new member Coyote bringing the membership to six (that is, if you still count Fox)—which combined with the Gargoyles makes for a pretty packed episode, but by now the characters have been established enough to make it work, and the group has established a good, solid chemistry.  While the group still works better as facilitators for other characters’ stories than as story drivers themselves, they’ve proven that they’re not just one-shot villains.  Unfortunately, this is The Pack’s last story before “Upgrade”, which takes most of the team in a direction I don’t really like, but that’s an issue for another time.

Lexington…god, he’s a douche here.  There are suggestions throughout the series that he has natural inclinations towards evil; if that is indeed the case, the world has no reason to worry, as it appears he’d be a rather crap villain—waaay too impulsive.  Fortunately, he gets better.

Random thoughts:

  • Lexington spends a lot of his time in this episode in his gargoyle eyes-white-shut mode.  It looks especially cool, given his rather large peepers.
  • This episode also confirms something that had merely been a vague suggestion until now: basically, that jail sentences are a big deal, and not something you just shrug off—a rather radical departure from the series’ comic book cousin’s tendency to make the places laughably ineffective at anything. While this isn’t always consistent—there is at least one unexplained prison break—it’s yet another reason why the show is more than just the standard super-hero story.
  • Xanatos’ ability to create human-like robots, while seemingly a rather significant development, turns out to be much less so: it only ever really comes back in to play in a single episode down the line.  While this is mostly a good thing—it’s the sort of thing that’s very easy to abuse—one wonders why Xanatos of the ever-imaginative mind didn’t use it more often.
  • Brooklyn displays some nice leadership qualities here. He’s also got the quipping thing down.  He is so The Lancer.
  • A subtle clue that things aren’t what they seem after Coyote reveals himself to be “Xanatos” is that, despite his stated desire for revenge, the dude still leaves the captured gargoyles alive.  Given that there’s no disadvantage to killing them, the only reason for doing that is that, well, he doesn’t really want them dead.  One does wonder, however, how he sold that to the rest of The Pack.
  • Just like the real-time gap between seasons, the gap between the events of “Reawakening” and this episode is almost exactly seven months.
  • In the scene where Coyote turns his back on The Pack in order to retrieve their equipment, they all look, for a moment, as if they’re going to attack him–even Dingo.  It’s always felt weird to me– a hiccup in the storyboarding.
  • In her one scene in this episode (a relative rarity in itself) Elisa describes Coyote as a man dressed in black.  While technically true, it’s a rather odd way to describe the guy, given that the yellow in his armor is much more prominent.
  • A couple of things help differentiate season 2 episodes from season 1’s.  First is the modified opening, with a brand spanking new expository narration by Keith David, and new season 2 scenes replacing the random fight clips at the end.  It’s just as good as the first opening, although I usually favor this one, since it’s the first one I saw, and has a couple of neat sound effects.  Second is the addition of “previously ons,” which were used before in the pilot and in “Enter Macbeth”, but are now used for every episode.  Third, writers are no longer credited alongside the title.

Bad Present, Worse Future

No update today, and possibly not on Friday; I’m working on a little something-something for the blog, and given that it’s my first time trying something like it, it’s turned out to be very time consuming (not that my regular posts aren’t, but this is more so).

So until next time, you all stay frosty, ‘kay?

Weird Science: “Notes from the Underground” Part One

“OOOooh-EEEE-Ooohh…!” — Michelangelo

Written by: Eric Luke
Original Air Date: May 10, 2003
Teaser Narrator: Michelangelo
Introduces: Quarry (unnamed); Razorfist (unnamed); Stonebiter (unnamed); Foot Genetics Team Leader

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So initially I was going finish up a post I’d started about a month ago comparing Gargoyles‘ Avalon world tour to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fast Forward. Unfortunately, it’s now almost 9:00, and I’ve realized that I have no idea what it is I want to say.  My second choice, an Earth Protection Force profile on Gargoyles to mirror my previous Illuminati profiles, has not been begun today.  So no substantive post today, which means: video plugging:

(Created by lilcoffeebandit)

Now, I’m not a terribly big fan of the original TMNT series–I only own season 1, and haven’t seen the rest of the series since it stopped airing regularly on television–but I really can’t help but love the foursome of Shredder, Krang, Bebop and Rocksteady–and this video, I think, helps explain why: they make me smile.  More than anything else, I feel their appearance–and their spot-on portrayal–is what makes Turtles Forever so great.

I mean, look at that pose on the Shredder.  It’s the same expression I get when I’m turned down for a date, realize I have not been accepted for Teach For America again, or realize I have to walk for an hour to get home.   And of course, Krang is right besides him, ready to berate, insult, and then comfort his husband.  It all feels very human, in a way that the 2k3 Shredder, for all his awesomeness, can’t.

Introducing the Most Delicious Gargoyle: “Reawakening”

“A gargoyle can no more stop protecting the castle than breathing the air.”–Hudson, repeatedly.

Original Air Date: February 3, 1995
Introduces: Coldstone; Othello; Mr. Jaffe
Timeline placement: Feb. 3 – Feb. 4, 1995

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Electric Boogaloo, Chapter 7: Lin Takahashi

Lin Takahashi loved her job.  For months at a time, she could forget herself and become an architect, an entertainment agent, and now a policewoman trying to take down the very organization which she secretly belonged to.  For a woman who as a kid loved to play pretend, her constant assignments were a trip and a half.  The considerable perks were nice too.

And she’d be damned if she was going to let some F.B.I. prick take it away from her.

“Hacker, I have no idea what you’re talking about,” she said.  Live the cover, she’d always been told.  She could do that—she’d been doing it for the past five years.

“Is that so.” Hacker said, smiling superciliously.  Pulling out a manila envelope, he removed from it a series of photographs and set them before her.

It was her.  At a glance, Lin recognized herself at various stages of her adult life.  Her college graduation.  Her vacation/assignment in France.  That night with the disgraced late Diet member Megumi Sakai.  She, Karai, and that Joshua kid.  Her past five years, captured on camera.  Also, Hacker’s first mistake.  A dedicated F.B.I. agent could have plausibly obtained, at best, a fraction of the pictures she’d been shown. For him to get all of them, he’d have to either be Foot, or something much worse.

Martin Hacker, it seemed, was Illuminati.

*          *          *

“The Illuminati?” asked an eighteen-year old Lin, as she scoured the Amphi lingerie store for the perfect bra for the night.  “As in ‘organization secretly taking over the world via secret conspiracies involving vaccines’?  Isn’t that supposed to be us?”

Her companion, Karai Saki, did not seem to find the comment amusing.  Then again, that wasn’t exactly rare for her.  “The Illuminati are not to be taken lightly, Lin.  They are the biggest threat to everything The Foot has worked for.”

Lin sighed. She generally thought of herself a patient girl, but Karai was making her seriously reconsider that stance. No matter what the comment, the ninja princess’ reaction would be the same detached humorlessness.  It took a special something to react to her story about that time she’d staged 200-person naked protest with utter disinterest.

Still, she wasn’t about to give up on her newest project.   Two months after Karai had first joined Lin’s martial arts training squadron, with a demeanor that suggested a biologist studying a particularly interesting colony of ants, the older girl was still determined to figure out what had made the smart, confident, beautiful—yet maddeningly reticent—sixteen-year-old tick.

Fortunately, her efforts were not without their progress.  It had taken three weeks of awkward “conversation”, but she had eventually begun obtaining  semi-friendly snippets out of the girl.  For her to freely volunteer information like this was a major breakthrough.

Amazingly, Karai wasn’t finished.  “My father has gone out to meet with their leaders, you know.  Apparently the Foot have killed one of their number, and they are quite cross about it.”

“Is that so?” Lin asked, from beyond the dressing room door, as she tried out garment after garment. Surprising news. If everything she’d heard of the Shredder was true, he was not the type to admit mistakes easily.  For him to actually go through the trouble of apologizing…

“You should know, by the way: this is classified information. If you tell anyone about it, I will be forced to eliminate you.”  Said with total conviction.

Figures, though Lin.  “Well, thanks for giving me a choice on the matter,” she replied, tartly.  “Why’d you tell me, then?”

Karai considered her answer.  “I am concerned for my father. I had hoped that sharing my worries would ease my discomfort.”

“Well, when you put it that way…” So frustrating. Still, she was glad the ninja princess had decided to confide in her.  She might be human after all.

They continued their trek through the store. Before long, Karai suggested Lin buy an expensive-looking turquoise number which, according to its manufactures, would guarantee “fantastic cleavage”, even if it had to perform magic in order to do so.  To Lin’s surprise, it fit perfectly.

*          *          *

A barista brought Hacker’s meal to their table.  As she set the items down, Hacker retrieved the various photos.  “Let’s not be coy, Miss Lin,” the F.B.I. said, as he began adding sugar to his latte.  “We both know you’re not quite what you pretend to be.”

Lin had stopped paying attention, though.  Her mind was in a frenzy, trying to come up with a battle plan.  First things first, Lin thought: if she wanted to beat Hacker, she needed to take stock of all she knew, all she didn’t know, and all she needed to know.  She knew that:

一) Hacker had possession of a series of suggestive pictures—genuine suggestive pictures, at that.  However, from what she’d seen, the photos did not go beyond suggestive.  They included no evidence of wrongdoing.

二) Hacker obviously planned to blackmail her, and was willing to risk his life in order to do it.

Unfortunately, the list of things she didn’t know or was unsure about was somewhat larger:

一) Did Hacker possess additional, more incriminating, pictures or evidence?  If he did, why didn’t he bring them here?

二) Did he know her true affiliation, or did he merely suspect it?  He could merely be bluffing, hoping she’d slip up and give him free information.

三) Was he an idiot, or had he actually thought this through?

四) Was he actually Illuminati?  She was almost certain he was but she couldn’t afford to be wrong.

五) If so, was he acting on their behalf?

六) If the answer to the previous two items was “yes”, what did it mean? The Illuminati and the Foot had a set of pretty strict rules when it came to inter-conspiracy interaction, set up precisely to prevent this sort of situation.  If he was breaking Society protocol on their behalf, then things were about to get dicey.

One thing was clear: until she got more information, slitting the self-satisfied G-Man’s throat and dumping the body was not an option.

“You’re not making any sense,” she finally said, a full five seconds after Hacker had last spoken.  “What are these photos supposed to be?  Have you been following me?”

“Ah, so it is you in these photos then.”  Not quite a question. He looked a bit like he’d achieved an early victory, which suited Lin just fine.

“Some, yeah,” she said, singling the more innocuous ones of the lot. “I don’t see what they have to do with anything.”

“Okay, lets start at the beginning.  You’ve kept up with the recent reports about the Foot Clan, yes?”

“Ancient Japanese cabal with secretly taking over the world via secret conspiracies—I have been paying attention, you know.”

“Good,” Hacker said.  “Well, it all brought to mind something a friend of mine over at Interpol had told me a while back, about a series of seemingly unrelated crimes over in Japan.  Unrelated, except for one thing: in every one of these incidents, a young woman—or rather, young women—had been found to have direct or indirect connections to people involved in each case.  Strangely enough, all these women shared several key physical characteristics, and all had the same name: Lin.”

Lin put on her best confused face—this was supposed to be new information, after all.  Not a bad story, she considered.  Probably bullshit all the way through, but the average person would probably find it plausible enough not to ask awkward questions until it was too late.   “And you think I’m related to these incidents.  Do you have any proof?”

“Not really, no.  Still, one can’t argue that Kessler’s case seems to fit the profile; the similarities would no doubt raise some eyebrows to anyone who became aware of them.  A curious and enterprising investigator—Maza, for example—would certainly find it worth looking into.”

“It’d be a waste of time; I didn’t do anything,” Lin said, allowing hint of despair to seep into her demeanor.  Koyobashi may have been created to be cool under pressure, but being impassive would merely confirm Hacker’s suspicions.

“That may well be the case—maybe they look into Kessler and find nothing. Then again, a particularly smart investigator—again, Maza—may decide to check in on Lin Koyobashi’s record, and what will they find then?  Either way, your job has just become a whole lot harder.”

Lin would have smiled, if her cover had allowed for it.  The plan was brilliant, covering his ass from every angle.  Unless she was extremely careful, any counter-attack would be as likely to cast suspicion on her.

“Like I said, I believe you’re part of the Foot Clan.  I can’t prove it and I won’t try to, but that is what I believe.  If my suspicions are true, then it means that you can do something for me—or more specifically, for a group of people I’m associated with.”  The dog whistle at the end was too deliberate—he did have proof of everything.  The comment made no sense otherwise.

Their little game was winding down.  “If your suspicions are true.  And if they’re not?”

“Then you are of no use to me and I’ve tragically and accidentally—but with the best of intentions—damaged an innocent cop’s career.  You’ll get over it—after all, who ever heard of a public official getting punished in this city?”

And there they were.  The game—at least this round—was over. Hacker held the lead, but that was hardly a permanent state of affairs.  She’d learned a bit, and she’d kept her options open—not bad for a largely improvised gig.

Hacker produced another manila envelope, which he gave to Lin.  It was completely unmarked.  “Open that when you’re back home, and read what’s inside immediately.  Give me an answer by noon tomorrow, and we’ll be set.  If you agree to do this favor for me, I’ll be out of your hair, and you’ll have nothing to worry about.  If I hear nothing from you, or you decide to disagree, then I’ll just have share my suspicions with Maza and the rest.

Hacker finished his meal, paid his bill, and then left Lin alone in the coffee shop.  As she watched him walk out of sight, she entertained herself by imagining him being killed in various humorous mishaps.  She particularly liked the scenario where he was attacked by a squadron of rabid squirrels.

She was hungry.  She’d eaten before arriving, and she knew that priority one should probably be to read Hacker’s papers and contact Karai, but the confrontation with the Illuminatus—and she was certain that was what he was, all things considered—had left her peckish. To that purpose, she headed to the counter to order a meal.  Everything else could wait.

*          *          *

Hacker had to admit it; he was impressed. While he hadn’t expected Miss Lin to break down in sobs during their encounter, he’d though he would get far more out of her than he actually did. Pity she worked for the other team, or he’d try to recruit her in a heartbeat. He almost felt sorry for framing her for the Kessler murder—almost.

————————

“Here’s your coffee, ‘lisa,” said Cedric Harris, as he handed over the large (Starbucks would call it “venti”) cup of Miss Carmen’s almost acid-like concoction.  “Hope it keeps you awake.”

“Yeah, you and all of Manhattan’s drivers,” Elisa said.  Coffee in hand, she stepped outside of the car—no way was she risking the stains—and gratefully began imbibing.

Neither Elisa nor Cedric were regular coffee drinkers.  The sudden dependency had come about thanks to the their shift in hours, which had let them with an annoying mix of sleepiness and insomnia.  So far, they still hadn’t found the combination of chemicals that would magically transform them into daytime creatures, but they hadn’t give up hope yet.

“I really hope this detail ends soon,” Elisa commented, as she stifled a yawn.  “Humans were not meant for daytime living.”

“I don’t know,” said Cedric, his own coffee in hand.  I’m kind of enjoying it.  It’s nice to be synced with the rest of the world for a change.”

“Yeah?” Elisa said incredulously.  “What about Diane?”  Cedric’s wife worked night shifts at a hospital, a decision she’d made after she’d first got serious four years ago.

“We’re fine—in fact, I think not being able to see each other is just the jolt our marriage needed.  Now it’s just hello, a quick roll in the hay, goodbye.  Plus, she really likes that the house is now clean by the time she wakes up,” he said, without a hint of irony. “How about you?  You thinking of getting back in the dating game? At least now you’re not limited to the graveyard shift crazies.”

Elisa smiled. “I don’t know—you sure you won’t get jealous?”

“Moi?  Never.  I’m a generous guy—I know you’re too much of a woman for me to keep for myself.  Plus, maybe it’ll stop all the locker room talk about you being a secret lesbian.”

“Well, maybe if you stopped spreading them around…” The conversation was a familiar one, and one that occasionally made her pine for Matt.  While Cedric’s ribbing was not malicious—it was more biological imperative than anything—it would occasionally touch some still-open wounds.  In addition, it reminded her of the foundation of lies of omission at the center of their relationship; she couldn’t tell him about Goliath without revealing his nature, and she couldn’t do that without raising some obvious—and unanswerable—questions.

A call went up on the police radio—another multiple murder at the docks.  Without a word, the two policemen finished their drinks and returned to the streets.

Electric Boogaloo: Recap

In preparation for tomorrow’s (I hope) update on “Electric Boogaloo”, here’s a synopsis of what’s gone on so far.

The Story So Far

Over the past several years, the crime lord known as The Shredder has consolidated almost all organized crime in New York City under the control of his Foot Clan.

Twenty-oh-four: With the Shredder reportedly killed under mysterious circumstances and his 2nd in command Hun missing, the various elements of The Foot’s crime empire have begun fighting amongst themselves.  Thus far, three main factions have emerged: the Foot remnant, led by the Shredder’s Elite Ninja; the Purple Dragons, a street gang usually in charge of most of the Foot’s lower-level criminal activity; and The Five Families, a consortium of old-school gangsters that had been bought out by the Shredder, and who consider the current confusion to be their best chance at a comeback.

After a few skirmishes, the battle for control of the city finally grabbed the public’s attention when fifteen men were found dead at a Canal Street warehouse.  In response, the New York Police Department organized a special task force to deal with the escalating violence–one which, whether by design or happenstance, includes many of the same people who in 1996 formed part of the Gargoyle Task Force.

One of the people not in the Task Force is disgraced cop Longer, who relishes the opportunity to regain his lost reputation and honor.  To that point, he has begun investigating the strange going ons on his own, aiming to…what, exactly?

Thanks to a series of lucky accidents, the Task Force has been able to make some headway into the investigation, and they now have a vague idea of what they’re dealing with.  Meanwhile, task force members Martin Hacker and Lin Koyobashi have been making inroads of their own, and not quite of the positive type…

Dramatis Personae

The Detail:

Gordon Miller: Lieutenant assigned to head the detail by Chief of Detectives Sterns.  A pragmatist and realist, he has little hope of closing the case, but plans to do his damnedest.

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