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Arrowhawk's Vignette: Arming Up

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Arming Up

April 5th


John Fraser paced back and forth across his dingry room, still limping but not as badly as a week ago. He was no doctor, but he knew enough to tell he'd never walk quite right again. Serves me right, he though as he turned to the assortment of equipment scattered across his bed.


I need to clean the slate a little. Rein myself in, measure things up like I used to. And I need to cover my self-inflicted loss of mobility. He picked up a pair of trousers. They were closer-fitting than his previous loose costume, designed to support his legs, not provide complete freedom of movement. The shins, knees and thighs had thin armour plates of a strong carbon compound, light and tough, and he'd sewn strips of Kevlar into the chinks in the armour.


He pulled them on over the trousers he'd been wearing already, taking a few experimental steps. Definitely tighter, but... needs more. Around his injured right thigh, he pulled tight the straps he'd affixed to the armour. He winced as his wound shot waves of pain through his thigh.


John remembered the first night in costume. As a younger man he'd been able to bound across rooftops effortlessly. He'd been young, in peak condition. But he'd also been scarily inexperienced. Falling through a skylight into a meeting of gangsters, he'd thought his ankle had blown out upon the poor landing. A rookie mistake. Luckily, they'd all been too shocked to react quick enough to gun him down...


Next... torso armour. John tutted. Until now, he'd eschewed traditional armour in favour of a kevlar vest and his own mobility. But he'd robbed himself of the latter. Not as much as I robbed it from those two people. The armour was constructed like scale mail, the plates overlapping to allow some flexibility without sacrificing protection. It slid on, forming a jet black shield for his torso and upper arms. In stark contrast to the armour, a white hawk logo was painted across the front.


He'd chosen it as a symbol of fear. Hawks were swift, vicious, deadly. John had wanted to be that, to be the hawk the common criminal's rabbit. One man could do little, but a concept... A white hawk flying in the darkness of night.


Not the one causing darkness, he reflected, strapping on his belt, laden with miscellaneous small tools us used. Binoculars and the like. The gloves to the costume were shy of elbow length, covering the fingertips and inner arms to prevent bowstring-related injury but leaving the backs free to move.


Darkness was falling outside his window, so he locked the door and pushed open the window. He pulled on the cape. It was wide, and greyer than the rest of the outfit. Contrary to belief, grey faded into the night better than jet black. It was reinforced and billowed around, making him a more difficult target.


Logically, a cape was impractical. It got caught in bowstrings, restricted access to the quiver... but you adapted, because it was useful. A hawk-shaped silhouette dropping into an alleyway was a dramatic way to scare someone.


He turned to the window, placing his cowl on his head and his quiver over his shoulder. "Time for that clean slate," growled Arrowhawk, towering in his armour and wing-like cape. He dived from John Fraser's window and into the night.

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