Hi all! As you’re no doubt aware, The Internet’s Cappadocius has assembled a group of us to write some Marvel. I’m pleased to be the latest to debut with a story of one of my favorites. If you’re familiar with the character, I hope you enjoy this spotlight illustrating what I see as his unique attributes and potential. If you’re not familiar with the character, don’t worry, you don’t need to know anything about him ahead of time. I’ll be posting new installments on the fourth Wednesday of every month for the next year. Good or bad, let me know what you think in the comments. Thanks for reading! – Adam
Midday. A bar in in a small city on the Mexico/Arizona border.
Inside, a lone customer Javiersits at the counter lazily watching a soccer game on the tv. He holds up his empty glass.
JAVIER: Uno mas.
Ivonne, the woman in her sixties behind the bar goes to the tap but it’s empty.
IVONNE (in Spanish): [Damn keg. I just changed it. Just a minute.]
Ivonne walks to the back and finds the keg disconnected. She looks at the limp tubes and tenses. She tenses and looks into the shadows. She reaches into an overhead shelf but doesn’t find anything.
A man dressed in black steps out from the shadows. He’s a tall, well-built, white of hard to determine national origin with unkempt brown hair, sunken eyes. He’s holding the gun she reached for but upside down. A man of many aliases, this is Christoph Nord.
NORD (in Russian): [[Inna, I need a safe house.]]
She begins to reconnect the tap.
INNA: [[I heard you were working something in the Ukraine. How did that go?]]
NORD: [[So well that I’m here now.]]
INNA: [[Fell apart on you, huh? Are you expecting fallout?]]
NORD: [[Not here. I covered my tracks.]]
Finished at the tap, she turns to him and offers him her palm.
INNA: [[Hopefully better than I did.]]
He places the gun in her palm.
NORD: [[You look good for a dead woman.]]
She returns the gun to the overhead shelf.
INNA: [[I’m alive but out of that work. That’s no coincidence. I’ve got different customers now.]]
She points to the bar. Javier glances back towards them. Nord steps back into the shadows.
NORD: [I’m not asking you to restock me. I just need to close my eyes for a few nights.]
She goes to the door.
INNA: *sigh* [I’ll set you up after closing. Until then, stay hidden.]
Inna returns to the bar, pours Javier’s beer and hands it to him. They both turn and see Nord step out from the backroom. He sits at a table in the corner. She glares at him. He holds up an index finger. Inna pours another beer and walks to him, dismissively setting it on the table. Javier leans over and tries to get a better look at Nord. He gives up and returns to his beer and tv.
Exterior shot of the bar in the evening.
Inside, three men, Alberto, Edson and Oribe, walk in and stand at the bar. Javier puts an elbow on the bar and his hand on the side of his face. Inna keeps her distance and asks what they want. Alberto calls her Ivonne and orders drinks for the three. Inna mixes the drinks far from the men. Edson notices Javier and gets his companions’ attention, they nod amongst themselves and start walking towards Javier. Javier jumps off his barstool which clatters to the ground. He runs out the door. Edson follows him out yelling “[This is ours!]” Alberto laughs and calls Edson back. Oribe goes to the door and whistles Edson back in.
Oribe and Edson look at Nord at his table who they hadn’t noticed before. They approach his table and stand over Nord. Alberto watches.
EDSON: Maybe you want to follow him?
Inna serves Alberto the drinks. Alberto studies Nord and calls the others off.
Exterior shot of the bar at night.
Inna and Nord have left. She’s locking the door behind her and he’s holding a large square-ish duffle bag. They get into her car.
Exterior shot of a short, nondescript apartment building.
They take the stairs to the third floor where she unlocks apartment 305. She quickly steps in but he looks up and down the hallway first. He steps in and moves to the side, quickly but softly shutting the door behind him. She presses the key into his hand. Nord inspects each room of the sparsely decorated apartment. The living room has just enough furniture to sit, sleep and eat.
NORD: [[What was the argument back at the bar?]]
INNA: [[A local dispute. Nothing to worry about.]]
NORD: [[Someone’s fighting over your bar?]]
INNA: [[Fighting over everything.]]
The bedroom has a pair of unmade twin beds.
INNA: [[The single guy’s from the Hielo cartel. They’ve long run this city and the one across the border and everything going between them. Those other three are from the Guecufu cartel. They’re new in both towns.]]
A closet has empty hangers and folded sheets and towels.
NORD: [[How far has it gotten?]]
INNA: [[Regular skirmishes. They keep the fighting to the south. Lucky us.]]
In the kitchen, Inna opens several cabinets stocked with cans.
NORD: [[How long?]]
INNA: [[A few months now. We all try to avoid both sides.]]
Another cabinet contains a screen which she powers on which produces live video of the hallway.
INNA: [[You never know when it’s going to explode.]]
INNA: [[Maybe you’ll stay hidden for a few days and then move on. Like you said. Otherwise, you can leave now.]]
NORD: [[You won’t even know I’m here.]]
Inna leaves. Alone, Nord sweeps through the rooms. He opens each drawer and cabinet and device. He finds miniature cameras and other recording devices and collects them. He stares into the first one and says “[[Good night Inna.]]”
Nord sets his bag on one of the two beds and opens it. He removes the top layer of clothes. Below that are ziplock bags of different currencies and cell phones. Then guns, grenades and knives. Below all that are two masks.
To the left is his mask and gear he wore as Maverick, the identity he started using in the Cold War as a member of Team X, a Canadian government task force with the men who would become Wolverine and Sabretooth.
On the right was the mask and gear he wore as Agent Zero, a newer identity during a brief stint as an assassin and recruiter for the Canadian government’s revived Weapon X Project.
The next day, early afternoon, Nord sits in a car parked across and down the street from Ivonne’s bar. He’s dressed in all black.
In the evening, he watches Alberto, Edson and Oribe go into the bar.
Javier emerges from around the building. He walks up and peeks in the bar before running down the block and stopping to pull out his phone and make a call.
Nord puts on his Maverick mask.
A car pulls up in front of the bar. Four armed men get out and kick open the bar. Maverick gets out of the car removes his jacket revealing a yellow chestplate. He grabs a pair of guns. There’s gunfire in the bar. Two of the gunmen come out dragging a bloody Alberto. Maverick walks towards the bar and shoots at them, hitting one. The second drops down behind their car. A third of the gunmen comes out of the bar and fires at Maverick. He rolls forward to the other side of their car. The second gunman reaches over the car and shoots at Maverick. Maverick shoots him. The third gunman fires at him. Maverick shoots him. Maverick looks at Javier, puts the tip of the gun to his mask and then pulls it away in a salute.
Maverick gets to Alberto and picks him. Alberto tries to stab Maverick. Maverick grabs his wrist and twists the knife out of his hand. He pushes Alberto across the street and shoves him into his car. Maverick gets in the driver’s seat and restarts the car. Alberto grabs at Maverick but he pushes him away. Maverick starts driving.
Maverick stops the car on the edge of town and reaches across Alberto to open the door. Maverick opens the glove compartment which contains just a cell phone and a business card that resembles his mask.
MAVERICK: [These are yours. Let your boss know you’re alive. Let your boss know who kept you alive. Now get out.]
Alberto gets out of the car, shaking. Maverick tips his finger to his mask and then pulls it away in a salute. He pulls the car door shut and drives off.
Alberto makes a call.
ALBERTO: [Hey. It’s me. … It’s not my phone. Call the boss. Some Heilo’s just tried to kill me. Someone killed them. .. I don’t know who. Just… come get me.]
Alberto gives his location and then looks at the phone in his hand. He throws it in the trash. He looks at the business card and pockets it.
A car pulls up and Alberto, looks around, gets into it and drives off.
In his safe house, Nord looks at a geiger counter tracking device which pings the location of the business card.
Alberto stands in a rooftop garden. A woman known only as La Loba sits on a small stool. Dirty gardening gloves rest on her knees with a spade and a plant in a plastic store pot at her feet.. She examines Maverick’s card. A few other soldiers stand behind Alberto.
LA LOBA: [And this man just happened to be there? You can’ be sure he wasn’t in on the hit with the Hielos.]
ALBERTO: [He killed a lot of them, La Loba.]
LA LOBA: [Maybe he thought they were worth it to be your friend?]
ALBERTO: [Uh. He might have been the gringo in Ivonne’s last night.]
LA LOBA: [Does everyone knows where to find you, Alberto?]
Alberto opens his mouth but decided not to answer.
LA LOBA: [Thank you for bringing me this. I’ll consider what to do about this man.]
She hands the card to one of the soldiers and picks up her gloves.
ALBERTO: [Of course.]
She points her spade at him.
LA LOBA: [You though, I know what to do with.]
LA LOBA: [Temporarily. You’ll stay here. Stay quiet.]
LA LOBA: [You’re welcome]
ALBERTO: [Thank you, La Loba.]
She turns from him and picks up her plant. The other soldiers escort him from the garden.
At night, La Loba eats dinner in her garden at a small iron and tile table.
LA LOBA: [I’ve been waiting for you.]
Maverick steps out of the shadows in front of her.
LA LOBA: [I don’t like waiting for men.]
MAVERICK: [I hope to make it up to you.]
LA LOBA: [You should. Tell me how.]
MAVERICK: [I’m new in town. Just passing through. But I hear you’re new here too. But you plan to stay. You’ll need to clear the streets. But you haven’t yet. So maybe I can do it for you, get paid and get gone.]
LA LOBA: [I don’t need you.]
MAVERICK: [You don’t. You could keep up this long slow bleed. I saved one today, you lost two, Hielo lost four. That was free.]
LA LOBA: [That got you in the door.]
MAVERICK: [That and your lax security.]
LA LOBA: [No.]
A dozen soldiers emerge with guns pointed at Maverick. He doesn’t move.
LA LOBA: [That got you in the door. If you do it again? That will get you a deal.]
MAVERICK: [It’s not “if,” it’s “when.”]
It’s late afternoon and Javier is let out of a car by a Hielo soldier. They’re in front of a small house with it’s door open and broken windows. Javier hurries inside where bodies litter the floor. A heavy, older man Alberto kneels among the bodies, blocking one from Javier’s view.
JAVIER: [What happened here?]
Alberto stands up and turns to face Javier.
ALBERTO: [I don’t know. They won’t say.]
JAVIER: [When did this happen.]
JAVIER: [The product.]
JAVIER: [No! What… what do want me to do? Sir?]
ALBERTO: [I need you to look at this.]
Alberto stands up and points to one of Maverick’s cards resting in the blood on a dead man’s chest. Javier stands next to him.
JAVIER: [That’s it! That’s the man from yesterday. He wore a mask like that!]
ALBERTO: [Then you’ll help me find him.]
UNSEEN VOICE: [I can do that.]
Javier and Alberto turn and see Agent Zero in the doorway. Behind him the Hielo soldier is knocked out and leaning against the car. They draw their guns.
AGENT ZERO: [I’m already chasing that man. He needs to die and I need to do it.]