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Friday, March 9, 2018

Arrowverse 'Other World' Chapter 4 - Green Arrow

Disclaimer: This is the fourthchapter in a story about an "other world" based on the Arrowverse, the CW shows that focus on DC superheroes. I am writing this as my way of paying homage to my fandom for the Arrowverse. The character names Supergirl, Green Arrow, The Flash, Canary and Brainiac are trademarks of DC Comics. These chapters are free to read, they will not be published in book format, nor will any revenue be generated from the chapters. If there are legal issues involved with the usage of these characters, please email me at bwmorris at mail dot com and I will cease with the writing. Critiquing of my writing is welcomed and may be left in the comments.

Viewing Star City from up on the rooftops can be quite a sight. Especially on a sunny day like this. Atop a 10-story building like this one, you can see for miles.

But I'm not up here to admire what's in the air or out in the distance. I'm more concerned with what's down below.

My gaze goes down toward the ground below. From this high up, it could take me a while to located the vehicle I'm tracking. But that's why I'm glad I have another set of eyes. I press my hand against the communicator in my ear. "You know where he's at?"

My sister's voice rings clear through the comm. "Black van with white trim should be coming down the block any minute."

I never take my eyes off the street below. "You sure they didn't remove the tracker, Cissie?"

She sounds a bit annoyed. "Yes, I'm sure they didn't remove it. The tracker shows that van is coming right down where you're at. Have a little faith in my advice, will you?"

I chuckle. "I always have faith in you. Just keeping you on your toes." Truth be told, I can't imagine what I'd do without Cissie looking out for me. Though my family business, Mortensen Technologies, has a long history with medical advancements, it's Cissie who studied up on the technology side more and has the expertise in all matters tech. All I wanted to do was social justice work -- help the little guy, you know.

That all changed after my father died six years ago. My mother begged me to take up the reigns as CEO. I suppose I could have asked her to wait until Cissie finished with graduate school, but that would mean waiting for three years. Mon could have taken on CEO duties but she didn't want to -- didn't like the politics involved, she told me several times. So I knew I had to step into that role. Even if I didn't see eye to eye with Mom and Dad on many things, I could never turn my back on my family. And when Cissie completed her studies, I learned that my role as CEO allowed me a little more insight as to what was really going on in Star City. Getting that insight proves useful in finding ways to help the little guy.

Cissie's voice rings over the comm again. "All right, your appointment is on its way."

I stare at the streets below and notice a black van mixed in among the other vehicles. Doesn't appear to be out of the ordinary. "You sure that's him?"

She sounds annoyed again, though with a hint of playfulness to her tone. "Trust me, George, that's him. Nathaniel Richards, the banker who defrauded 10 loan customers and is diverting their payments to a slush fund overseas, backed by The Triad."

"There's not going to be any more payments diverted." I reach behind my hooded green jacket for the quiver that's strapped to my back. From the quiver, I pull out an arrow, then raise the compound bow in my left hand. My eyes stayed focused on the van, which changes its course, turning into an alley across from my position.

"Just made a right turn," Cissie says.

"I see it." I slide the arrow into place and take aim. "And I'm in pursuit."

Pulling the drawstring back, it feels tense but smooth. I release the string and the arrow flies toward the opposite building, this one about five stories high. Extending from the arrow is a long cord -- long enough to go across the street to where the point of the arrow embeds into the roof. Taking the other end of the cord, I take a hook from my pocket, snap it onto the cord, then attach the hook to the ledge. 

Now comes the fun part.

First, I push a button to collapse my bow and strap it to my jacket. Next, I pull a curved, unstrung bow from my quiver. I step off the ledge and raise the bow above my head. It lands across the cord and I slide across, like I'm on a zipline. Took a lot of practice, but I learned that if I could do this from a low height, I could do it from any height. Nor am I worried if anybody looks up and notices me. They know the Green Arrow, after all -- the hero who looks out for the little guy.

Reaching the opposite building, I grasp the ledge and hoist myself up onto the roof. Shoving the unstrung bow back into my quiver, I unstrap my compound bow and unfurl it in my left hand. Walking along the roof, I notice the van has turned again. Looks like the driver tried to hide between buildings, where he thinks nobody will find it.

I know what you're thinking -- why wouldn't these guys do their business at night when it's harder to spot them? Well, I learned through my CEO dealings that much of this stuff goes on right under people's noses in broad daylight. These underhanded guys and their shady dealings, they're well versed in how to conceal them from the average person. But I learned how and where to find them. Not just through my work as CEO, but what I learned from my father. He had plenty of dealings with those in Star City, those who have no interest in doing what's right -- and few of those dealings happened during a dark and stormy night.

Approaching the opposite side of the building, I gaze over the side and see the van. There's another car parked a few feet from it -- looks like a Cadillac. Two tall men dressed in business suits and dark glasses stand beside it. Have to be the henchmen. A third man, who appears to be Asian, dressed in a suit steps forward and extends his hand toward the guy I'm after, Nathaniel Richards. Another man, who wears attire similar to the tall men, stands behind Nathaniel.

I study them for a moment and speak over the comm. "Got Richards and four others. Odds don't look good."

It's not hard for me to visualize Cissie's smirk when she says, "Yeah, they don't stand a chance, do they?"

I grab another arrow from my quiver, raise my bow and load it. The arrow sails through the air, a cord extended beyond it, down at a forty-five degree angle toward the ground. The arrowhead embeds itself into a crack in another building. Took a lot of practice to be this good of a shot.

It's enough to draw the attention from the others below. Have to be quicker than they are -- and I always am.

With a quick motion, I collapse the compound bow, strap it to my jacket, then reach toward my quiver and leap off the edge. I pull out the unstrung bow, which connects with the cord, allowing me to slide toward the ground. The two men with the dark glasses withdraw their guns, but each shot they fire misses. Before I reach the ground, I yank the bow off the cord and soar toward them, catching each of the henchmen with a foot to the face. They slam against the Cadillac and drop their guns.

The man with Nathaniel rushes me next. He swings a fist, which I block, then a couple of swift kicks to the knees staggers him. My left hand moves to my compound bow, and in seconds, it's unstraped and unfurled. I withdraw an arrow, load my bow and pull the drawstring back. The arrow flies toward Nathaniel's goon and, upon contact, unleashes a line that wraps around his body and tightens, restricting his movement. He falls to the ground and grunts.

The other henchmen are up again. They charge, but I grab another arrow and launch it toward their feet. This one explodes upon touching the ground -- not enough to cause serious damage, but it forces them to leap backwards. It's the perfect distraction, because I can rush forward and sweep out one henchman's legs, then draw another arrow and fire it at the other.

And this one is my favorite -- upon releasing the arrow, the head pops open and it inflates a bag into the shape of a boxing glove. It catches the henchman across the jaw and he falls headfirst into the Cadillac's hood.

The first henchman comes at me again -- he catches me around the waist so we are face to face. But I'm able to spin around before he can tighten his grasp. I find the leverage to flip him over my back and right into the Asian guy, knocking him down.

Nathaniel, a balding man with a beard, takes a swing at me and catches me upside the cheek, but the blow isn't hard enough to faze me. Not surprising -- men like him act like they know how to fight, but never bother to train for it. All it takes is one fist from me to knock him against the van.

But it does divert my attention from the henchmen I got off my back. He comes up from behind, grabs my right arm, and knocks the bow from my left hand. Before he can pull me closer, I reach into my quiver and find an arrow. I jam it toward his shoulder and can hear the crackling of the electrical charge -- it's enough to stun the henchman. His grasp loosens and he collapses to the ground.

That's when I hear movement behind me. Spinning around, Nathaniel is trying to free the man who accompanied him. My bow lies near the van, so I grab it and swing it toward the back of Nathaniel's head. The blow is strong enough to force him to the ground. I noticed his goon is trying to free himself, but my hard kick to his face stops that.

Nathaniel looks up at me, a slight smile on his face. "The Green Arrow, come to save the day." His words drip with arrogance.

I stare at him through the black mask that covers my eyes. "Why is it guys like you think they can still get away with short changing the people who just want to make a decent living when you know I've been exposing your types for five years now?"

Nathaniel smirks. "You really shouldn't be talking to me right now."

I cock my head. "Humor me."

"I told my client to be prepared for the likes of you."

That's when it hits me. The Asian guy. I forgot about him. And I've dealt with these types enough to know the sound of a gun being cocked. I hear him speak. "Don't move."

My head turns in the direction of his voice and my body shifts. The sound of the chamber being loaded is what I hear next.

Out of the corner of my eye, it looks like somebody jumps between me and the Asian man. I hear gunfire, but never feel a bullet even graze my skin. In fact, it almost sounds like it ricocheted off something.

That's when I notice the woman in the long cape standing in front of the Asian man and...

Wait a minute. A woman with a long cape? What in the world is this?

The sound of multiple gunshots snaps me to attention. Well, that and the fact this woman in this odd costume stands there, the bullets bouncing off her. I know some of the policemen have bulletproof armor, but bullets don't repel off it like they are now.

And I'm not prepared for what happens next. The Asian man clicks the gun, finds it empty, and the woman steps forward and grabs him by the wrist. He howls in pain and falls to his knees. Then she grabs him by the shirt, lifts him off his feet and throws him what must be 50 feet away, into the nearby trash cans. He doesn't move after that.

I hear movement behind me again. Pivoting my head, I spot Nathaniel trying to get to his feet. That's the last time I'll let him do that. One quick blow to the jaw is enough to keep him down for good.

My eyes dart to the other henchmen. None are moving. That's when I feel a touch on my shoulder. After that Asian man got the drop on me, you can imagine I'm a bit jumpy.

But that's when I notice the mysterious woman who came to my aid. She has a hand extended. "You are the Green Arrow?"

I blink several times. Never have I seen a person dressed like this. People might find the hooded green jacket with the black pants I wear to be a strange outfit, but it's nothing compared to what this blonde-haired woman wears -- a long red cape, a red skirt and a blue top with a big red S on the chest. What also catches my attention are those blue eyes -- they remind me a lot of my late wife.

Her stoic expression shows a hint of puzzlement. "Am I speaking the right language?"

Then I hear Cissie's voice. "George, what happened?"

I'm not sure who to respond to first. But after a moment, my hand goes up to the comm. "One moment, Cissie." Then my hand reaches out to take the woman's. Her grasp is gentle, nothing like what I expected after I saw her toss the Asian man like a wad of paper.

I manage to find the words. "I'm fine, thank you. Where did you come from?"


Such a strange city name -- don't think I've ever heard of it. "So you're from out of town?"

"I'm not even from Earth." She says that as if that's not unusual. "Name's Tara Nim-El." She pronounces "Tara" so the first syllable sounds like "tar."

Still not sure how to process all of this. Says she's not from Earth, bullets bounce off her chest, she can toss a man like a rag doll and that costume is like no other I've seen before. I don't even know how the next words come out. "Not often we get a strange visitor from another planet."

Her stoic expression softens a bit. "Are you okay? Even with that mask, I can see your eyes -- like they're getting bigger by the minute."

I'm about to say something, but Cissie interrupts me over the comm. "George, the police are on their way. I take it you're going to have the usual spiel about how you're just happy to help Star City?"

The police. Not sure how I'll explain the presence of this woman to them. Especially if she's from another planet. Though I have a good relationship with the cops, something like this woman might get the FBI involved. Or immigration and customs, perhaps. I may believe the government must do what the people can't do for themselves, but there are enough government types out there who think any foreigner on Earth, much less one not of Eath, is a threat. Even if she looks like a regular American, that costume aside.

My hands goes up to the comm. "No, I better get on my way. Just find me a route through the sewers."

Tara Nim-El's eyes narrow. "What are you talking about? I don't understand--"

I hold up my hand. "I promise I'll explain. Right now, I need you to come with me. Best we get out of sight."

"But I've watched you," the caped woman says. "You do your work in the light. I thought I could trust you."

"Yes, but I want to know more about you before I try to explain things to a whole city." I extend my hand again. "You can trust me, though. I promise I'll tell you more back at my HQ."

Tara Nim-El frowns. Almost like she's having second thoughts. My hand draws closer, grasping her fingers again. I'm as gentle as can be, trying to convince her of my good intentions.

After a moment, she nods. "All right. I will hold you to that."

"Understood." I motion for her to follow me down the alley, toward a manhole cover. Reaching into my quiver, I pull out another arrow and stick the head into the cover, dislodging it. Motioning to the caped woman, I point to the ladder. She shrugs and leaps into the hole.

I slide in behind her, scaling down the ladder and reach up to pull the cover back into place. From my pocket, I pull out a small flashlight, flick the switch and head down the ladder. When I reach the bottom, I feel my boots splash in a small stream of water. Ignoring the slight stench in the air, I notice Tara staring back at me, hands on her hips, a suspicious look in her eyes.

Normally, I wouldn't do this, but something tells me that if this woman is to trust me, I need to let her know who I am. Raising the mask from my eyes, I hold the light close to my face. "My name is George Mortensen."

Her gaze softens. For the first time, she smiles. "You look a little like my husband."

I give a quick nod, wondering if I should tell her that she and my late wife share the same eyes. "What brought you to Star City?"

She doesn't hesitate. "I need your help. I think someone on Earth has Kryptonian technology."

The mask falls back over my eyes and my hands drop to the side. Someone has tech from another world? I wonder what other surprises Tara has for me. For now, I need to get her back to my headquarters.

Cissie's voice comes in over the comm. "George, you still there? Everything all right?"

I raise my hand to my ear. "Yeah, I'm all right. Just direct me back to HQ. And just to let you know -- we're gonna have some company."

To be continued in Chapter 5.

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