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"--Ohh my god, thanks for pulling over. Christ, it's awful out there."
Into a random taxi cab, on a terribly rainy day, Claire the bartender spilled.
Things hadn't been going so well for her that morning. She'd taken the day off, which meant she was stepping outside her usual routine, the first mistake of the day. Following that, she'd made the decision to meet her friend @MELISSA GOLD at a hole-in-the-wall Mexican place for lunch, had consequently had to wait over an hour for the bluenette to show up, and as a result, didn't make it home before the rain in the forecast came pouring down over New York City.
As one could predict, the crowds on the streets surged into all available cabs once the waterworks really started ramping up, and Claire had contemplated actually murdering someone on purpose in the interest of getting a ride of her own. Fortunately, she hadn't had to result to that; a cab at the very last moment instead pulled around the corner, and she'd hailed it with every ounce of damsel she could muster.
At least she wasn't wearing white. The woman in the back seat of the cab sighed, pulled her gray sweater closer around herself, and peered into the rear-view mirror to meet the driver's eyes.
"Um, I need to get to Brooklyn. You know where the CVS is on 112th? Start heading toward there, please. Thanks."
She sighed and flopped back against the seat, short-cropped locks clinging to her temples and forehead. The leftovers in her bag would hopefully be OK at the end of the trip, and as she buckled her seat belt, she was very grateful indeed that she'd settled on a salad and not the grilled cheese.
Jake cat in his car down the street. He had a book beside him, a note book with various mental notes and findings. The pen sat on top of it, the cap off. The tip was still fresh with ink. He was lying if he didn't say he was working. Not just as a cab driver, but with some other things as well. He was following a lead, well one Crawley's. Find the person causing all the fuss. He would find them, and then Moon Knight would take care of them. That's how it worked. But first he needed some answers.
You'd be surprised how easy it was to blend in, especially in a cab. He looked up in the rear view mirror, turning it to himself. He checked himself, giving a smirk to his reflection as he aimed it back. He blended it really well. It was even easier to follow something. Right now it led him to following a woman from a bar, a club. The guy he was after had been there, he had almost had him, but he slipped in the door. Now he needed answers on what the guy was doing there, what they looked like. A name at best. This woman looked like the only normal person to step out of there, the easiest to talk to.
As she left the restaurant Jake pulled the cab to the side. The sudden rain fall seemed to be a blessing. He cutthe car off in front of him, hearing it honk its horn in frustration. When the woman spilled in he looked up to meet her eyes in the mirror.
"Yeah I can get you there. Bridge may be closed. Dam wreck on there today. Hope you don't mind a detour, probably have it still closed." He pulled into traffic and set off on the way. "I can cut the time in half with a short cut once were across though."
He continued straight down the road. "Hell of a rain storm, last thing we need right now. The snow was bad enough without the rain on it. Make my job hell of a lot harder." He looked in the mirror again. Some people didn't want to talk, some didn't mind a little chit chat. He always had to judge a person as the entered. The woman he couldn't read.
Claire was not a talking person.
"Oh, really? Ugh, that sucks. I mean, with the city the way it is, though, any day there's not a detour..."
However, she wasn't rude, at least not unnecessarily so. While she secretly wished she could get away with spending the entire cab ride alone in the back, staring at her cellphone as though it had something important to show her for once, she realized pretty immediately that this was going to be one of those rides where conversation flowed in and out like water - theme of the day, she supposed.
"Feels like Texas," she replied, as if she'd ever been there. "My dad always tells me if you don't like the weather down there, you can just wait ten minutes and it'll change."
Time for an awkward lull in the conversation. Claire sucked her bottom lip in for a few seconds and peered out the window at all the blurry people shuffling along the pavement, umbrellas poking up over their heads. They looked like ants. Did she look like that, too? Maybe she'd been just another ant to this driver until she'd got in his cab.
She wasn't - maybe he knew that already from the way she talked, although she'd certainly given it her all over the years to make herself sound like a natural New Yorker. Then again, not many of them were - almost everyone she knew was a transplant, herself included. She smiled a little into the rear-view mirror, then turned her head and looked out the window as their journey together began; at least now she could relax some, being out of the rain.
"It's more that I need to say it, some argue that I go anyway, just trying to cheat them money. Get there have to turn around and then they refuse to pay because the detour wasn't their fault, how were they supposed to know. Despite the meter running they can be stubborn. Have to cover my ass you know." He didn't know, Jake wasn't a real cabby. He had a cab yes, it looked like a real one. Had documents and signs like actual ones. They were easy to get. It was easy to reproduce when Steven had money. It was dirty, the cab, like it had seen lots of use. But it was kept in a clean garage and tuned by a mechanic quite often.
What he was doing was illegal, but it was a good way to get information. He could sit at the diner or the bar with other drivers, learn all about the gossip on the streets. He had connections from them. The world thought Jake was a real cab driver, but he was far from it. He drove who he wanted, when he wanted. Now Uber was killing his stake out.
He kept a steady pace. As she asked if he was native he looked in the rear view mirror to look at her. Was Jake native, this was where he started, where he first came tomthrive. He wasn't needed until now, was he as native as Steven or Marc? No he wasn't, none of them were. At one point or another Chicago had been their home. Even it had been a short while for him. They had all been kids there, funny they found their way to New York, none stayed behind. Guess Marc needed his friends.
"Nope, from Chicago. Been here a few years though. Like it, not to different, but enough. More interesting people. More wackos, but more interesting people too." He reached for the centre console. In the cup holder was a case of toothpicks. Jake shook one out as he drove. Popping it in his mouth he continued on the way.
"What about you, you mentioned Texas, that where you're from? How long you been in the city?" Long enough to work at a bar. Not just a tourist. But that didn't mean much. People, came and went to this city often enough. He wouldn't be surprised if she wasn't local. Hardly anyone truly was.
"Oh, right on. Yeah, I can imagine people get pretty bitchy about that kind of thing..."
The problem with small talk: it was small talk, and therefore not especially interesting or engaging beyond a superficial level. Claire wasn't a neanderthal, however, and so despite her antisocial tendencies, she was able to make the conversation seem natural enough - and the cabby played along well, too. Eh, they'd probably just get through the basics, find a nice point in the discussion to start politely ignoring each other, and then she'd be on her way.
"Chicago, cool!" Was Chicago cool? She didn't know. It had an aquarium and a gun problem. Never been. Uh, no, I've never been to Texas, either, actually..." Big surprise. "My dad has family there, though, I guess. I'm from Alaska."
Perfect. No one ever asked too much about Alaska; the rest of the United States seemed to forget it existed half the time, except for when wealthy couples decided they wanted a romantic cruise without having to deal with international waters. Now seemed like a natural point in the conversation to drop out of it, and so Claire leaned back in her seat and propped her elbow up on the window's edge, forehead resting in her palm. The rain outside was just heavy enough to provide a dull drum in the background, like a lullaby for gloomy people such as herself.
... although something did feel off.
She shifted a little in her seat, not entirely able to focus on her phone the way she'd like to. Her eyes darted up toward the rear-view mirror out of curiosity, then to the side of the driver's head, since she couldn't really see his face. Oh, shit. Maybe he was going to ask her something about Alaska.
Jake continued on down the road. He changed lanes and swerved in and around a car. It wasn't uncommon for a cab driver to be a little mor agressive. If you weren't you lost your fare. Luckily Jake didn't have to be. He was a cab driver for information only. He was looking for answers and the people who had them. This woman, her bar. The guy he was following who entered there, that was all he wanted. A fare and tips. He didn't care about. Money wasn't important to him right now. Never really had been. Afterall Steven had it covered.
The other drivers had complained enough about people not wanting to pay. Being to drunk to pay. Phones, wallets, bracelets, even purses went missing. Some taken right from them. If it covered the fair, good enough. That was there problem. Doors locked for a reason. Jake didn't have that problem though. He let the meter run, but it didn't click up as fast as the others. He wasn't about the money.
"Alaska huh? I always seem to forget about that place. Never been." Not much use for Moon Knight in Alaska. He was needed here, or Chicago, or LA. He was needed where trouble was. Not in the snow. Like right now, tracking a serial killer. All the deaths so far, strung up the same way. All different victims. Different age, gender, race. Different working class and different areas. But all the kills were the same. Around the same time, done the same way. And no one had any leads. They assumed to be all random. It was, crazy and random. But Jake was good with crazy and random.
"So what do you do for work that you can take the day off? Or you work the night shift?" Not many people had lunch meetings in the middle of the day, not dressed like that. They wore suits and conducted official meetings. This early in the day they tended to need to work. Jake knew what she did for work though. She worked at the bar. Either that or a regular. He hadn't actually gone inside, but he could still get answers. If not, it would be time to pay the bar a visit.
"Or do you work at the CVS?" He continued down the roads, moving off from the main stretch to cut through some other streets. It was faster this way. Plus the less traffic on the roads meant he could focus on her conversation. Before he got serious with his questions.
God, he was asking about Alaska. Well, sort of. Mostly, he was just conversing about it in general - things could have been worse. Claire had had people actually bring up the state's rampant alcohol problem before, and with as casually as if they were discussing the weather, too.
"Yeah, you and the rest of the world, trust me. Think we forget about ourselves, too."
That was a familiar sentiment to her lately. She'd pulled in every which direction in the past few months; Inanimatum was a constant problem, of course, but she'd also had to deal with cops more than she preferred after the subway platform incident, and even her friends had been strangely distant as of late - Melissa in particular. She worried about the bluenette frequently.
"Uhhh, everything I can't get done when I'm working, basically," she replied politely. "I inherited a club in Brooklyn, so most of the time I'm just figuring out how to keep that going. It's a lot less glamorous than it sounds, trust me."
Especially when its entire clientele is comprised of criminals. The 'underworld,' as everyone outside of it referred to it, was not particularly clean or pretty, unlike how it was presented on the silver screen. Claire spent most of her time helping grown men work their way through honest-to-god quarrels with each other, and cleaning up after them when things got physical (rare, and often resulted in expulsion, but it happened). It was like herding cats, and with about as much of the glory, too.
"When I was a kid, I wanted to be a ballerina," she snickered a bit. Her phone was dropped in her lap for the time-being; she didn't figure she'd get much done with it while they were still talking. "Some career path. You? This your only gig?"
Though she'd only seen him through the window and rear-view mirror, Claire couldn't imagine the driver working as a cabbie full-time. A glance at his jacket revealed he had a pretty solid frame under there; hell, he might even be a good candidate for smokehouse fights. Staring was rude, though, and she definitely didn't want to get caught examining her cab driver like he was a prize pig, so she instead looked out the window again.
Jake looked in the rear view mirror as she spoke about her club. Inherited, that was interesting. She looked young, he assumed a bartender or something like that. Owner was something he wasn't expected. It made it easier though. Or harder. She may be protecting the man who went in, or she may want to sell him out. It was hard to judge. But he had a few ways he could find the information out.
"Club in Brooklyn huh, anyone in particular? Did a few stops there the other days. Lots of clubs." All he needed was a name. Though he knew it. He knew it wasn't exactly the best club. The other cabbies didn't like the clientele that went there and left from there. Still a fare was a fare. He would have to ask Crawley if he knew anything about it. Someone had to be begging outside, or digging in the back dumpsters. They always found interesting stuff. For a price he could get them to find anything.
Jake focused on the rode. He turned down another street and then another, but it avoided stop signs and lights. Worked better. He looked in the mirror again. "Ballerina, hard work. Don't think it's as glamorous as peoole think." He smiled. Steven probably knew more about ballet than he ever would. That fancy people stuff right?
"Uh not really anything else. Make enough with enough stops. Pulls in more cash than you think. Plus don't always have to claim it all either." He had other work. His resume was probably double most people's. Marc had military, CIA, mercenary, vigilante. Steven had his fincnaces. He was a cabbie, and detective in his off time. That was quite a bit. He kept busy enough.
"I help in a diner every now and then. But that doesn't pay. More just being friendly and covering some dinner costs." Not that he was charged there. She owed him for keeping her kids off the street. Scaring them out of gangs and crime. Or so she said. He was happy to pay and tip well. Help out. Best pancakes in the city, and best company. Plus the infor was good, lots of gossip among the cabbies there.
"You do anything else? Or the club your only work?" Guess he needed to be friendly. He really didn't care. He guessed writer or artist or something hipstery like that. Seemed like it would fit her.
Claire couldn't help it: the longer they talked, the more tolerable she found the cabbie's presence. That wasn't a statement implying superiority; she didn't think herself better than anyone else. The dark-haired waif in the back of the taxi just generally felt she had a hard time connecting with people. The driver was neutral so far though; easy. She wondered if he found the topics at hand as small and meaningless as she did, but she'd never work up the nerve to ask anyone something like that.
"Not really," she lied with a convincing sigh when he asked after her club. She'd practiced these lines in her apartment thousands of times; made sure she had the inflection just right, so people would find her sincere. Prior to Darrick's three-part terrorism act and the ownership of the club being handed over to her, she hadn't been much of a criminal; she'd sold weed before, yes, and there had been that incident in New York all those years ago, but no one knew about that, not even her closest friend. "You'd miss it if you weren't looking. It's not much of an inheritance -- I'll probably be selling the place if business keeps up like this."
Nothing about the second half of that sentence was true, but she'd been honest about missing it, at least: Inanimatum didn't have a sign, which resulted in the place having a convenient cover as one of those hipster bars no one wanted to go to (the kind that served whiskey in a mason jar). This perception was not aided by its old, brick walls, or the smell of urine in the alley. It was only when people stepped inside that they realized the club was actually a fairly nice establishment, comfortable and, uh, intimate on the inside - it had to be, given its real business angle.
The conversation was moving on, though, and so did Claire.
Vivid imagery of exactly what happens to one's feet after years spent performing ballet on-stage flashed in her mind, and she cringed. "No, it really isn't. Probably for the best I wound up doing something else." At least she didn't look like a medical case every time she kicked off her flats.
"I knit and give to charity," Har har, yeah right. She grinned at him through the rear-view mirror. He wasn't very expressive. "No, not enough time. Probably should do like you and pick up a diner job as a side, though."
Her gaze wandered into the passenger-side mirror and landed on a black car with dark-tinted windows behind them. Heh. Looked like CIA.
"Ohh, we got a tail," she mused, not at all serious, although perhaps she should have been. Marc was spared of her gaze for a few moments while she twisted in her seat and tried to look behind her to get a better look at the car. "Wonder if there's any political big-wigs in town..."
Jake wasn't one for small talk. Actions spoke more than anything. A fist in the face said even more. Unless you had something to offer him he didn't care what you had to say. That wasn't to say he wasn't nice to people though, he just didn't care. Gina and her kids loved him. Crawley called him his best friend. It was simple things, but he didn't think they meant much at all. If people liked him though they gave him information. That's what he needed. Not a friend.
"You know I was driving this guy the other week. He had a club in mind he wanted to go to. Typically they choose one that's a little more lively. Flashing lights, long lines and expensive drinks. This place, Inanimatum. Never heard of it before, but it seemed like it wasn't even open." If she wasn't going to mention it he could provoke something out of her.
He looked in the mirror to meet her eyes. See how she was going to react. "This guy he was bleeding all over my cab or something. Took forever to get it clean. Been looking for him. He left some stuff in my car. Haven't turned it in yet, figured maybe I'd catch him again." He didn't know how common bleeding peoooe were in her bar, but in most someone running in with a curved crescent dart in his leg wasn't common.
If she pretended not to know the incident or wrote it off as nothing he had another way to get her to talk. It wasn't as nice as it could be, but a few dark alleys he knew of were perfect to get someone to talk. Though he wasn't looking to take it that far. More get angry, see if some well worded questions could get her to talk. Some times intimidation was all it took. He could do that.
Jake spotted the dark SUV following them. It was odd, he wasn't expecting it. Who would be following them. Who bothered to follow a cab. Were they following her? He turned down a street and the car followed. It was clear it was following them now, even the woman noticed. Jake could handle this. Though some answers were better. Though as he mad eanother turn the SUV continued to move, false alarm. At least for now.
Well it was time for questions. Jake turned down a side stree and then into an alleyway. He stopped the car and turned back to look at the woman. His Cap hung low, covering his eyes. "Okay I'm going to ask you a few questions and you're going to answer me. Don't bother with the doors, they only open from the outside. Like a squad car." Though she wasn't in any danger. A plexiglass window sat between him and her. He had no intention for any of that any way.
Reaching on to the dash he grabbed a photo. It was taken from a street camera. The man's face was clear on it. A heavy beard on his face. He was European from the looks of it, wearing a dark hoodie and baggy cargo pants. It wasn't really anything identifying about hi, besides the beard, that and the crescent shape burned into the centre of his forehead. It was fresh, still scanning and healing.
"This man entered your bar a week ago. His leg contained a wound from a throwing dart." Reaching to the dash again he held up the dart and pressed it agaisnt the plexiglass. It was the same one that was sticking out of his leg. "This man could barely walk, was leaving a trail of blood. He entered your establishment and I never came back out the main entrance." His voice was determined, no longer just light casual chatting. It was determined to get answers.
"I waited until close and he never appeared out the doors again. I need to know who he is. He runs a crew, a small gang of jewelry theives in the Brooklyn area. They have recently taken more and more risks. He was up on parole. After being caught once. I need to pay him a visit." Moon Knight didn't take kindly to repeat offenders. They suffered a little more than the first time.
"Who is he, and who helped him leave."
"This place, Inanimatum. Never heard of it before..."
Oh dear. This had just gotten weird, hadn't it?
Ghost hunters on TV often said a chill could be felt in the air when otherworldly spirits were present, but Claire was pretty sure there weren't any ghosts riding coach with her. She felt the chill all the same, right down her spine, and broke her gaze with the driver through the mirror so she could peer into her purse. A small, black handle poked out of one of the interior pockets, but her cellphone was in her hand. She pulled it back, behind her bag, and looked back up to him.
"Pardon my French, but that's a pretty fucked up story," she replied. "Um, do you think you could pull over around the corner -- you're not pulling over. Okay. Alright, uh. This is happening."
They'd veered off-course.
"Shhhhhhhhhit, no way..."
The tail she'd been so curious about moments before was flung to the back of her mind, where it stayed, subsumed by much bigger concerns. Concerns like, say, whether or not she was about to get hardcore murdered, which probably was just karmic justice being served, but that didn't mean she wasn't freaking out about it -- or that she wouldn't do anything to stop it. Her hand was already on the arm of the car door when he interrupted her: That wouldn't work.
"Like a squad car," she repeated word-for-word, staring down the man in the driver's seat. "Got it."
She'd been in a squad car before; just one, but it had been used by half the town's force (a crew of five). Her uncle used to take her for rides back in Alaska. They'd never ended like this.
With as little movement as possible, she hit send on a text, then nodded along with what the driver was saying. If she complied, he might let her go, and if he let her go, she could figure out whose business it was that had spilled over like this onto her turf; the clients at the club were supposed to keep their own lawns clean and cleared, so to speak, and a fuck-up to a magnitude like this meant something had really gotten out of hand. Gradually, as the shock of the situation wore off, Claire's drive to survive kicked in.
"O-Okay. I'll answer your questions," she said after a hard swallow. Her attention switched to the photo, then the dart, while she tried to listen to him at the same time. It was surprisingly hard when a big, scary man was staring you down like that and you had no backup; usually, she could just blink the right way and someone would be there to help. Now, she had to stall. "The club has three exits: if you were only watching the back, he could have gotten out the front or the roof. I don't - can I, ah, see the picture closer? There's a lot of people that come through, it's hard to know them all just on a glance."
A third exit, of course. He had expected a back one, watched it. The from lead to the street and he would have seen them slip away. Yet roof, he hadn't thought of that. A roof access. It would have made an interesting escape that was for sure. He had been to focused on the main ones that he didn't think to check the alternate route, he had gotten clueless. Still this woman may know who he is, or where the man went. That seemed his biggest lead right now.
Jake kept the picture pressed agaisnt the plexiglass glass. He wasn't stupid, he wasn't going to get close enough that it made a difference. "Press your back to the seat, hands in the air." He waited until she did and opened the partition. Tossing the picture in the quickly closed it and sighed. "I need to find him. He's scum and needs to be ridden off the streets." Jake slammed his hand into the dash. "I need answers."
The lights of a car made him turn his head. At the entrance of the alleyway was an SUV, the same SUV that had been following them. The brights came on and the SUV started to move faster and faster, aimed right at the side of his cab. "Brace yourself, get down." Jake yelled out as the cab was slammed by the SUV, sending it agaisnt the wall. The glass shattered and the door crumpled. It threatened to wrap around the hood of the SUV, both cars totalled. Jake tried to open the door, though the metal stuck agaisnt it.
Throwing the crescent dart to the window he watched it shatter so he could begin to climb it, breaking the rest as he did. From the SUV the man in the photo climbed out. He held a gun in his hand, two men behind him with matching crescent burns on their forehead. One could note it was the exact same shape as the one Jake has used to break the window just seconds before. Either way the man was pissed, as he checked his clip and readied the gun.
"Get low, between the seats if you can," Jake said calmly as he slipped out of the cab. He moved along side it, heading towards the trunk. He needed his gear. He needed his mask. As he moved the scar bros opened fire, bullets tore into the cab as the kept firing, aiming to kill whatever or whoever was inside. They clearly didn't care. Jake was their target, as far as he knew. They had followed him as he had folowed her. Maybe their was a connection to it? Who could know?
As Jake reached the trunk he stopped. A quick push of the button on his keys and it popped open, shifting the fire to where he was. This forced him to roll out of the way, getting low beneath the cab. He still needed what was in the trunk. He had to try again. Quickly rolling back he ran towards the trunk. Grabbing three crescent darts he launched them towards the shooters, though missed all three shots. It was enough to distract them. That's what mattered.
Grabbing what he needed in the trunk he slipped it on. It was a plain white mask, his mask. He rolled it down as he stood up, climbing on to the roof of the cab. It wasn't his full gear, but it would do. The white mask and cloak identifying him to the thugs instantly. Moon Knight. He showed now fear, even with guns aimed at him. He didn't even flinch, just left to attack.
The tone of her afternoon had changed so quickly that for a split second, Claire actually thought she had fallen asleep in the cab and was having a nightmare. She stared at the driver for a few seconds, confused, then shrunk back when he made his demand and slammed the picture onto the glass.
"Okay - I said OKAY, Jesus! Do you see a gun in my hands?!" With both hands held in the air, fingers splayed, she waited until he'd tossed the photo at her - why, she wasn't sure. She glanced down at the familiar face on the Polaroid, then licked her lips, which had suddenly gone dry, and leaned forward very slowly to get her purse. "Let me show you what I have on me. I'm going to go slow, okay? Then you can see for yourself, and you can relax. No funny stuff, promise."
She held open her purse and pressed it up against the plexiglass, letting him look inside. There wasn't a whole lot in there, which defied the expectation of purses being endless voids of "stuff" that women carried around; he could see some receipts, an apple, a spoon, her wallet, a thing of mascara.
Her cellphone was held between her thighs, out of sight. She wondered if Melissa would get her t--
BLAM BLAM BLAM POPOPOPOPOP!
Gunfire peppered the vehicle, and Claire didn't need to be told again once bullets started flying that she should get down and stay down. Her fingers clasped atop her head, bits of black hair sticking through the gaps, as she curled up in her seat and tried to make herself as small as possible (not a difficult task, considering how slight her frame was). She squeezed her eyes shut for a few seconds, more out of fear than anything, and at the exact same time, the van rammed into the cab and sent everything flying.
The way she'd describe it later was "quick." One minute, the world was hurled around her, bits of glass flying everywhere (what happened to crumpled glass?!), and the next, the cab had settled back down and the driver was outside, getting something from the trunk. The ringing in her ears was so loud that she didn't even hear the gunshots, now; just a distant, muffled thrum of sound, like snow falling on a city night.
And then, just like that, it all came back in an explosion of noise. Bullets, metal crumpling on metal, men yelling - Jake yelling. Claire's eyes widened, and for the first time, she popped her head up: First, to see Jake leaning out from around the van, gun in hand and eyes bulging with rage, and then the cabbie behind her through the rear window. He was calm, collected; a killer.
Before either of the men could stop her, Claire shoved the door to the cab open between them and held up a hand, then shouted breathlessly to the man firing on them both,
"STOP! LOOK, IT'S ME, CLAIRE -- STOP, PLEASE!"
Whether either of the men heard her in time - or cared not to shoot her - was up to the next precious moments that followed, while sirens started to sing in the streets nearby. Outside the alley, a woman was screaming for people to run.
The man with the gun hesitated.
"Claire, what're you doin'--"
The bullets tore around Moon Knight as he leaped from the car. Crescent darts out he looked to take out the closest thug. He didn't flinch at the bullets aimed towards, didn't dodge them. Their aim was going to shit as he kept through the air anyway, hard to fire at someone who didn't even react to staring down the barrel of a gun. Still a few bullets managed to clip him in the thigh and shoulder as he flew through the air.
He wasn't about to release the crescent darts when the door to the cab opened up. He saw the woman rush out, the thugs responding as well. She yelled to stop and Moon Knight only landed on the ground, gripping the throwing darts in his hand. He didn't move, didn't rush forward. The thugs didn't shoot. Instead they hesitated lowering their guns to heard the woman out.
Claire seemed to know the man, confirming what Marc had thought. It was what he was expecting, but it still made him stop upon hearing it. She seemed rather collected for someone she knew shooting at her. The man's response was even more surprising. He knew Claire, enough to call her by name. He also didn't know she was in the cab when they smashed it. That didn't sit well with Moon Knight. He thought she was maybe s target as well, for being a loose end. Instead this man was willing to crush who ever the passenger had been, so long as he got to him.
Moon Knight balled his fists and moved forward. Only one way out this it seemed. This guy knew enough to followmhis taxi, knew enough to know who he was. He knew he was tailing Claire, maybe he knew a lot more. That left one thing, this guy wasn't leaving. Not able to talk or move again. Hard to tell who he was if he let him bleed a little.
Releasing the crescent darts he watched them sink in to the thug's shoulders as he rolled forward. One shot, spraying toward him again. Moon Knight rolled along the ground, pushing up on the gun and watching it spray into the air and building beside them. He then brought his fist towards the thug's face, smacking him dead centre on the nose. Grabbing the arm he twisted it until he heard a snap, pushing the thug to the ground with a howl of pain. He moved to the next one.
Coming in with a low kick he took out the thug's legs. They bent the wrong angle from his kick, again another cry of pain as the thug tried to crawl away. Moon Knight was quick to drive the man's head to the ground, smashing it hard agaisnt the dirt. Eventually the screaming stopped, unconscious, pain to much. Moon Knight looked past the two downed thugs to the last one. The one who knew Claire was taking off, trying to run.
Grabbing the gun beside him Moon Knight shot, tearing into the thug's legs. He continued to fire until the clip emptied and he tossed the gun around. Moving forward he grinned, flipping up a final crescent dart. He brought it towards the thugs face again and again until blood soaked his clothes. He continued to smash until the man's face looked like he just went five rounds with Mike Tyson. He made sure the man wasn't going to talk again, reaching in and cutting the tongue off. Tossing it to the side he stood and reached for the lighter in his pocket.
Putting the crescent dart to the flame he let it heat up, turning the white metal a nice hot red. He touched the dart against the man's forehead, along with the other scar of the same shape that was their. He repeated the burning process on the next three thugs and slowly moved back towards Claire. He tossed the brunt crescent dart to the ground and looked to her.
"Find some new friends to hand out with. Let this be a warning." He saw the flash of red and blue lights behind him. Moon Knight just gave a nod, making sure the mask was pulled down nice and tight. "Don't let me see you again." He then tore off down the alleyway, a shot tearing out from the approaching police officer behind him.
Moon Knight was quickly up and over the fence as he took off running. Despite being shot it didn't see, to phase him. He just kept running, disappearing down the streets as he did. He knew the city well enough, knew how to get away. Hopefully Claire would let the lesson stick. She needed a new crowd to associate herself with.
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