Firearm: A New Twist #1
"Electric Devil - Part I"
Written by Mike Hintze
Created by James Robinson
Property of Malibu Comics
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Monday, June 14, 1999, 10:05 a.m.
"Please! Let me go!"
The young girl cried and pleaded with her captor to release her, but all it did was amuse him. She was losing her mind, being tied up in this dark place. How long had it been? She had lost all track or sense of time. And what her captor had been doing to her made her hope that either he or her were killed soon.
"Make no mistake about your present situation," the bearded man said, " You are going to die, and die violently. I have customers who will pay to see you die in a particularly graphic fashion. But until then I have other customers who will pay to see other things happen to you."
The young girls face turned an even paler shade than before. "What do you mean??"
The bearded man laughed. "Oh, my dear, Ive had cameras taping our playtime here for days now. It adds a degree of realism when my cattle don't know this. Of course, it always adds a degree of flavor when they do know. Like now." He pulled out a long leather whip, and uncoiled its length. He then reached out and brushed its length along her stomach. Her clothing was in shreds on her body, not that there was much left. She was tied down onto an angled platform with her wrists, ankles and neck firmly secured. Blood stained the platform from the previous acts of degradation that she had been subjected to. Some of the bloodstains, the young girl knew, were not from her, but from previous victims that this man had raped and killed for his clientele.
The bearded man wore a leather cowl over his head, with only an opening for his eyes and lower face to reveal his neatly trimmed beard. He wore a black turtleneck with leather pants on, which showed his muscular physique. The young girl had tried to escape when she had first been abducted, but the mans superior strength had shown her the futility of such an act. He had savagely beaten her then, but had done so in such a way that he could still expect her to serve his purposes over the course of the following days.
"Now, to get into the fun stuff," he said with a grin. He drew back his whip, and swung it forward, laughing while he did so. The young girl closed her eyes, steeling herself for the pain she knew was coming
Except, instead of the crack of the whip she expected to hear, all she heard was a loud hollow sound, and then a thud on the floor.
She opened her eyes, and saw someone else standing in front of her, undoing her shackles. "Its okay, luv," the man said, "Im here to help you."
Before the girl could say anything back, she saw the bearded man behind her savior, and her eyes widened.
Suddenly, her savior put his hands on her face, and a bright flash filled whatever vision his hands couldnt cover. Almost immediately, her vision cleared, with spots in places. And what she saw she would never forget.
Her savior whirled around with a spin kick that clocked her captor square on the temple. Already groaning from the flash grenade and blind as well, he fell over again. Then her savior drew the oddest handgun she had ever seen. It seemed like something out of Star Wars more than a real gun. Her savior aimed it squarely at her captor.
"Stay down, you bastard, or I will kill you. The only reason youre not dead now is because Ive been asked to bring you in alive. Remember that." With that, her savior came down on her captors head with the butt of his gun, and then turned towards her.
After her shackles were undone, she fell like a heap into her saviors arms, the long days of torture and rape finally over. Before she fell unconscious, she asked, "Whwho are you??"
"My name is Alec Swan, luv. Your parents asked me to find you."
And with that, she passed out.
"So tell me, Mr. Swan, how exactly you got to the point of finding her?"
The RCMP Corporal had been asking Swan questions for the last thirty minutes, and seemed to be repeating himself. Swan swallowed his pride, and calmly spoke again.
"I was hired by Mr. Jack Parsons and his wife Diane. Their daughter had been kidnapped at the state fair they had attended in their home state of Nebraska. They received a note for a ransom demand, which was turned over to the local PD. They botched the pickup of the cash by letting the cash be taken by the perpetrator and allowing him to keep the girl. Finally, they hired me. A mutual friend referred them to me. I followed a trail I picked up through my own various sources, and found that the man I was looking for was Benjamin Davis. Davis was a known pornography dealer, who had suddenly quit the business a year ago. Turns out Benjamin is an Ultrahuman, with the ability of superhuman speed. He uses this speed to kidnap little girls at a moments notice. Thats how Jessica Parsons was kidnapped even though her parents still had her in their arms. The unfortunate side effect of superspeed is that his sexual drive is 100 times faster than a normal mans, and so he tends to be something of a sexual deviant. Turns out he never left the porn trade, but simply anonymously used his speed to kidnap girls, and then tape their degradations for his clients amusement. I followed leads to a porn shop here in Vancouver, and after a discussion with one of the employees there, learned of the location of Davis home. From there, I learned of a warehouse he owned, and found him here, with Jessica Parsons. Youll find a computer database in his home with a list of his clientele. Now, if I may, I d like to give a call to Jessicas parents to tell them their daughters alive."
The corporal looked down at his notes for a second, then looked again at Swan. "All right, thatll be all for now. You can go, Mr. Swan. Say, isnt there another name youre known by? Its on TV a lot, isnt it?"
Swan groaned, and said, "Yes. Its Firearm."
" and its a tearful reunion for the Parsons family as they are reunited with their daughter Jessica after several weeks of abduction. Reports say the girl will be fine after a short stay in the hospital, but she will be faced with therapy from the experience for years to come. But all of this could have been far worse if not for private detective Alec Swan, also known as Firearm, formerly of Pasadena, now a resident of Miami, Florida. Despite the allegations regarding Swans last case in Pasadena, and further rumors of negligent homicide charges, Swan is currently being hailed a hero "
The volume on the television was turned down, and a man in a black suit sat back in his office chair. This turn of events was very positive, and one that he could spin towards his advantage. Swan would be too perfect for his needs.
The man hit a button on his desk, and spoke to his secretary. "Jennifer, call Max. Tell him I want Alec Swan on our payroll. Today."
Alec Swan walked into his apartment, threw his bags on the floor, and proceeded to collapse on his couch. It had been an exhausting case, with him having been up for 36 hours straight. Now, the case over, and having been paid, Alec was looking forward to some well-deserved rest. Then a knock was heard at his door.
"Mr. Swan? Its me, Mrs. Willstein. I just wanted to tell you that your plumbing has been fixed, and that the new computer you ordered came by delivery yesterday. I had the delivery boy put it in your office."
Alec got up, and opened the door. "Thank you, Mrs. Willstein. I appreciate it."
"My, you look very beat, Mr. Swan. You could use some rest."
Alec smiled to himself. "Thats right, and thats exactly what I plan to do now."
Mrs. Willstein blushed to herself. "Oh! Im sorry, Mr. Swan. Ill let you get right back to your rest then. Good day!" And with that, she was gone. Mrs. Willstein was Alecs landlady here in Miami, and was the kindest lady you could meet. She had been widowed for 15 years, and never remarried. Now, she minded a small apartment building that she had inherited from her late husband.
Alec went back to the couch, and fell down onto its soft cushions. Sleep overtook his mind, and he drifted into a deep slumber.
5 Minutes Later
Swan jumped up in surprise, firearm drawn out in search of an attacker.
Shaking himself awake, he realized that his phone was ringing. He reached over to answer it.
"Hello??", he asked wearily.
"Hey, Alec! Its me, Max! Max Morrison!"
Alec thought for a second, then when recognition hit him, he smiled. Max Morrison was a private investigator here in Miami, and a friend of Alecs from way back. In fact, it was from talking to Max before that Alec had settled on moving to Miami after the events in Pasadena. He had lived here a month, and this was the first time he had spoken to Max since arriving. His newfound celebrity status from the Pasadena incident had given him a deluge of assignments, from all over North America, like the last one he completed. He hated the name Firearm, but it seemed to be paying the bills more than ever, so at least there was that. Now he could finally get around to talking old times with Max.
"Max! How are you, you bastard! Whats happening with Miamis favorite PI?"
"I dont know, Alec, but when you see him maybe you should ask him."
Alec smiled. It was like the old days again. "What can I do for you, Max?"
Max paused for a moment. "I have a proposition for you, Alec. A group who retains my services once in a while has asked me to find someone they can keep on retainer for certain extenuating circumstances. The kind of circumstances that you are quite familiar with."
Alec immediately knew what Max was alluding to. "Ultras. You mean Ultras, right, then?"
"Yes," Max replied, "Thats exactly what I mean. These people have a need for such a person as you. Are you interested?"
"Max," Alec began, "Im quite happy with what Im doing here. Hell, I have to turn away work Im so deluged by it. And being around Ultras isnt my vocation of choice, it simply seems to happen more than Id like."
"I understand, Alec," Max replied, "But I think it would be worth your while to meet the Group."
Alec paused for a second. "The Group?"
Max replied, "Yes, Alec, The Matrix Group. Theyre a privately operated think tank that specializes in investigating and cataloguing various phenomena like Ultras."
Im surprised no ones thought of that before now, Alec thought to himself. "What are they offering?"
"Just for seeing them, theyre offering you $50,000."
Alec thought it over. If theyre that serious on a meeting, then this might be worth looking into. At the very least, its worth a good chunk of change.
"All right, Max. Set it up. But not for a couple of days. I need some damn sleep."
Max laughed. "You got it, Swanny. Ill call you in two days with the specifics."
Alec hung up the phone, then reached over and pulled the cord out of the wall. Bloody hell, he thought, I need some shuteye before I go buggy!
East Texas, June 15th, 1999
Maria Wagner struggled to keep walking down the highway. She had been walking for several days, and still had not come across anything resembling a town. She could see lights up ahead, and was walking on willpower now to reach the nearest hotel. Her boyfriend had thrown her out a few days ago, with nothing but the clothes she had on. The bastard had kicked her out of the car in the middle of nowhere to teach her a lesson, or so she thought. He had found out that she had been cheating on him with his best friend. Its not like he hadnt done it before! But he drove out on the back roads one day, and then let her know he knew, leaving her on her own. She was lost, and had walked for miles and days until she saw the lights over the horizon. Finally, she could get some rest and food. There wasnt much traffic on the road she was on, and those who passed by just drove on. Her feet were swelled from walking so long in high heels, and then barefoot. But she was close, and then her boyfriend would get what was his, she was damn sure of that.
Just then, a pair of headlights pulled up behind her. She moved to the side of the road, and the vehicle passed, an old red pickup. But this time, it stopped 50 feet ahead, and then the passenger door swung open. Finally! A ride! She forgot the pain, and ran up to the truck. As she approached the truck, she caught wind of a terrible smell. Getting her courage up, she went to the truck door.
"Hey, mister, could I get a ride to that town up ahead?", she asked, the pain in her feet and hunger in her stomach overriding all reason.
"Certainly," replied a gravelly voice. "Come in, but dont mind my ladyfriend here. Shes had a long day on the road, and needs her sleep." He motioned towards the girl leaning on his shoulder in the middle of the truck seat. It was difficult to make her out clearly in the darkness.
"Oh, thank you sir! Just to that next town would be perfect!" She was so happy to finally get off her feet!
She got in, and closed the door. As the truck pulled away, she caught wind of the source of the smell the drivers ladyfriend. Even through the poor lighting from the truck headlights, she could see that the womans skin seemed wrinkly and leatherlike with a layer of dust on it. "Is is she alright? She looks sick."
The driver gave a hearty laugh, and then pulled the truck over into an approach leading into the woods on the roadside. The doors locked instantly, with a purple crackle of energy. Maria stiffened. He put the truck in park, and then turned to look at Maria. The drivers eyes gave a purple glow, with what seemed like electricity arcing from eye to eye. He smiled at her, with drool creeping out of his mouth. The electricity arced from one eye down to the saliva, making it glow purplish like his eyes.
"Oh, shes a little beyond help right now. In fact, Ive seen about as much of her as Im liable to right now. But now that youre here, Maria, we can have some fun all our own."
Maria stared at the driver in shock. "Howhow do you know my name??"
The driver laughed. "I know everything about you, deary. And Im going to know even more than you thought possible."
Then, from outside, the truck rocked back and forth, the tinted truck windows glowing a purplish light, and purple electricity arcing from trees to truck at random.
And the only sound besides the crackle of energy was Marias screams of terror.
2 Days Later, The Miami Offices of the Matrix Group
"Hello, luv, my name is Alec Swan. I have an appointment to see a Mr. Morrison."
The receptionist smiled back at Alec. "Certainly, sir. If youll have a seat, Ill inform them that youre here."
Them? Alec thought to himself. Hmmm. Looks like Max arranged a group session for today.
A minute later, Alec was greeted by Max Morrison. He wore a pinstriped suit, with a stylized lapel pin that said Matrix with a pentagram in the background of the word. Nice, Alec thought wryly, hes part of the corporate monster now.
"Alec! Great to see you!", Max exclaimed, "I cant tell you how glad I am you agreed to check this out. Believe me, you wont be disappointed."
"I trust you, Max," Alec replied, "But remember, no guarantees."
"Absolutely, Alec," Max said with a somber tone, "There is absolutely no obligation here."
Max ushered Alec into a meeting room, and when they entered, Alec was impressed at the size and décor of the room. It was filled on the walls with fine art, and the central meeting table was of the finest oak. A wet bar was situated on the one side, with a magnificent view of Miami on the other. Rising from the table were two people, a man and a woman, both wearing black business suits with the same Matrix lapel pin.
The woman spoke first. "Mr. Swan, its a pleasure to meet you. My name is Andrea Drake, and this is my colleague Martin Willard. We represent the Matrix Group in regards to our investigative arm of the organization."
Alec reached out to shake their hands. "Pleased to meet you, Andrea, Martin."
Andrea motioned to the wet bar. "Would you like a drink?"
"No," replied Alec, "Ill pass, thanks. I understand you wish to retain my services?"
Andrea smiled. "Cuts right to the chase. I like that. Yes, Mr. Swan, we at the Matrix Group would like to have you on our payroll as our resident investigator. We do research into various phenomena, and feel that one with your experience would be an incredible asset to us in our work. You would have a full range of benefits, as well as a healthy salary. We would cover all costs, and any equipment you need would be supplied by us. You would, of course, have discretion as to what cases you would handle."
Alec stared at Andrea. "Youre serious about this. Basically, youre saying I could write my own ticket with you blokes. Am I right?"
Martin Willard stepped forward. "Mr. Swan, we are finding ourselves investigating such phenomena that we are ill-equipped to deal with it personnel wise. We have the equipment and technology, but not someone with the smarts and experience you do. Quite frankly, before Max mentioned your name, you were already at the top of our list of candidates. The Rafferty Affair and the last incident in Pasadena have proven to us that you have what were looking for. The reason we want you is not only from your experience with ultrahumans, but with the underside of humanity that your cases will entail should you work for us. Quite frankly, we need you more than you need us."
Alec frowned. "Ultrahumans are not a specialty I have by choice, but I have to agree with you that I do have a degree of expertise there. What kind of case would you have in mind for me?"
Andrea pulled out a file from her briefcase. "Weve been tracking a series of murders from New York to Texas where women have been brutally murdered. This may seem like a usual serial killer case, but here the women have been turned inside out literally. We suspect some kind of ultrahuman telekinetic, but this is only from information gleaned from crime scene research. We do know that on the date of the first murder a discharge of energy was reported in the vicinity of the victims home. Bystanders thought a transformer had blown; yet all of them were intact. The victims home however, had every electrical outlet blown out as if a huge discharge had occurred. This type of electrical discharge has been detected at all the crime scenes weve encountered."
"Any leads?," asked Alec.
"Actually, we have one. A man was hospitalized after having experienced an electrical accident at the plant where he worked. This man was released from hospital the day of the murder, and hasnt been seen since. This man in question is the common-law husband of the first victim. His name is Logan Dillinger."
Alec thought about it for a second. "Have any of your people encountered him yet?"
Andrea frowned. "We believe so, in that several of our agents have turned up dead with their bodies burnt to a crisp, or else degraded like the other victims. Whenever anyone gets too close, he seems to know it, and theyre dead in a heartbeat."
"How long ago was the last murder?", he asked.
"We received word that another victim was found in Trapingus County in Eastern Texas. But the state of the body tells us she had been dead for several days. A man has reported that his girlfriend was left out there after he found out she was cheating on him, but he expected her to have come back by now. She too has disappeared. However, we know she isnt the last body found, as we have IDed here from dental records. He may have taken her hostage, or maybe he keeps the bodies until he finds a new victim. We dont know. Wed like you to find out."
Alec looked over at Max. If he were willing to work for these guys, then maybe it wouldnt be so bad after all.
"Ill try this case on a trial basis. If I like what I see from you people, then well have a deal."
Andrea and Martin looked at each other with a relieved look on their faces. "Thank you, Mr. Swan. You wont regret this decision. We can set everything up for you immediately."
"In that case," Alec replied, "Youve just hired Alec Swan."
Next Issue: Firearm investigates the murders on behalf of the Matrix Group, and finds out some things should be better left alone! Its Part II of "Electric Devil", and Alec Swan may not survive this one!
Writers Notes: Welcome to the first issue of Firearm! I hope youll all enjoy what I have planned for everyones favorite P.I. in the coming months. Well see some twisted villains, new friends, and a few blasts from the past, so stay tuned! And what exactly happened in Pasadena? All will be revealed in due time
June 26, 1999
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