The Fall – Snippet 1

July 7, 1999

Mikhail stifled a yawn, careful not to drop the binoculars; although the manufacturers assured that the ten-thousand dollar piece of equipment could withstand war conditions without loss of function, he wasn’t about to test that claim by letting them fall from a twenty story building.

His watch beeped, indicating that it was now five o’clock and that sunrise was roughly half an hour away.  If the last few days were any indication, the two targets would be making an appearance soon.  And indeed, they there were, two gargoyles heading south towards the Eyrie Building; if they made it before the sun came up, they would be unapproachable all day and he and the rest of the Knights would have to scrap the mission and begin all over tomorrow.

“This is Solitaire”, Mikhail said into his wrist radio.”  I have a visual on Honey and Oddjob, coming your way.  If you’re going to put on a show, now’s the time.”

“Copy, Solitaire”, said Knight One from the street, where he and Knight Two had been waiting.  “Stand by for further instructions.”

Knight One and Two signed off; they would maintain radio silence until their little drama played out.  Until that happened, all Mikhail had to do was wait.

The plan they’d drawn out was simple, almost embarrassingly so.  Knight One would pretend to mug Knight Two, in the hopes that the altercation would draw the gargoyles’ attention.  Its purpose was twofold; delay the gargoyles enough to prevent them from reaching their home that night, and to plant a tracking device on either of them.

Had he been less professional, Mikhail would have admitted a fair amount of ambivalence about this mission.  While he hadn’t been following the chatter regarding gargoyles closely, he’d felt rather sympathetic towards them ever since they´d saved his older brother, a clerk for Bank of America, three months ago, and felt that they were being genuine in their stated desire to protect the city.

Still, priorities were priorities.  Regardless of their intentions, the gargoyles were proof that the universe was larger and weirder than most knew, and humanity´s survival in the face of unknowable threats depended on being prepared.  And knowing what and how gargoyles ticked was a vital part of that.

“Man, you’re missing a great show over here,” said Knight Four, who’d been in his own rooftop watching over One and Two´s drama, over the radio.  “Chew just shot Oddjob on the arm.  Hard to tell from here, but I think it´s stuck in there.    And—oh, ouch—Honey just tossed him like he was made of balsa wood—he´s going to need a lot of leave after this. “

“Well, that’s not going to make things unbearable.”

“Aw, sick!  Jaws just kissed Honey.    Aren’t gargoyles supposed to be all full of pigeon crap and everything?” Honey was their code name for one of the female gargoyles.  Jaws—Knight Two—was straight, as far as anybody knew.  While the four Knights were expected to do things like this without issue, the fact that Knight Two had chosen to do this particular thing said…interesting things about her.  He’d have to ask her about her some time, preferably when he couldn’t be beat up over it.

“Okay, the tracker’s been placed,” Knight Two chimed in, breaking her radio silence. “Solitaire, can you see them?”

Mikhail picked up the tracker receiver, which he had earlier placed next to his sniper rifle.  A quick look indicated that yes, there was a figure heading south with some speed, which a quick eyeball confirmed.  It was now five twenty—at this rate, the gargoyles would not make it to their home base before sunup.  He hoped they’d notice, since the last thing the team needed right now is to see all their work shatter against the New York pavement.  “Everything looks good,” he said to no one in particular.  Once the gargs settled down for the day, he and the rest of the Knights would go home, their role in this particular operation over.  Oddjob and Honey— Broadway and Angela, to use their real names–would officially become somebody else’s problem.


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