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Twin Tigers III: An Empire Falls

Thunder King

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“The name of our target is Chakprii Anantasu.†Black Tiger said as he swung a leg over his motorcycle. It was their second day in Bangkok, Mali knew they were leaving first thing on the third morning. The day had been a fun one as Mali hung out with her family. A traditional Thai dinner with a bunch of family she had never met before. Sometime around mid-afternoon, the two of them had settled in his bedroom while he searched the internet for information. Databases on criminals, government records, even medical records. She was amazed at the ease at which he found the information. Unfortunately, all they got was an address. That was enough.


"We need to be extra careful. Tonight, we're taking down an opium empire.†She nodded, he grinned.


It was amazing how confident he was. They had a name, but would it be enough? Would they provoke the entire organization to come crashing down on them? Still, Black Tiger was nothing if not confident, and skilled. Compared to Bangkok, Freedom City was practically Disneyland.

Last night had been easygoing, almost fun. None of the guards were all that competent. The gunmen, for example, could have moved as a group and taken them out. Instead, they mindlessly fired until they ran out of bullets and got taken down.


Tonight was different. She could feel it in the air. A flash of lightning streaked across the sky. It was an ominous warning. She knew she would have to be on top of her game tonight.

The address was a rather impressive apartment building. The target had the penthouse. On a hunch, Tarrin checked out the owners and some of the residents. The whole building belonged to Chakprii Anantasu. The whole building was full of criminals.

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Rather than try to fight their way through a dozen floors of thugs and criminals, they decided that they would go to the target directly in his penthouse apartment. They scaled the building easily, avoiding any rooms with lights on. Black Tiger popped the window open with ease and the two of them slid inside.


It was empty. The bed was neat and had not been slept in. Everything looked as though Chakprii Anantasu was simply not home. That did little to discourage them, instead they searched through his possessions, discreetly, for any sign as to his whereabouts. They found no evidence leading to his location, but they did find the address of a warehouse. It was referenced in several of his documents, and seemed the most likely place to find answers, if not opium to destroy.


So, they scaled back down the building and rode towards the warehouse. On their way, they discussed their attack pattern. They would search for a way in that was less obvious, take anyone out they stumbled across, and search for clues.

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The door was locked, but Black Tiger got rid of that easily enough. They slid the door open as quietly as they could, and found the rooms empty. No guards, no people. There were shelves upon shelves of various products, though. They walked cautiously through the warehouse, staying hidden as best they could.


Then, the lights turned on. They instinctively backed into each other, back to back. They looked around the room, desperate to find the source.


“Oh, look.†Someone said, stepping out from behind a line of shelves. “The legendary Black Tiger...and what's that, the Red Kitty?†He chuckled. Laughter filled the room as dozens of thugs stepped in. It was a trap.

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The speaker clearly meant to say something, but Black Tiger did not give him the chance. He stepped towards the nearest thug, who had clearly gotten closer than he meant to. Mali heard an audible snap as the guard's arm shattered. Black Tiger disarmed him quickly and aimed the rifle at the lights.


The sound of gunfire hit the air as she watched all the lights go out. She head a bunch of swearing in Thai, and then the sounds of fighting. That was all she needed to know.


She activated the night vision goggles he had given her before they set out. Seven men stood, back to back, rifles pointing outward in all directions. It was a clever tactic, she had to admit.


It was not clever enough. She moved forward quickly, as quietly as she could manage. Luckily, they were too busy shouting at each other to hear her. She grabbed the first man by the back of the head and elbowed him in the nose, before grabbing his rifle and swinging it in a wide arc. She watched as one of the men collapsed to the floor as the rifle hit him in the back. The others turned to shoot at where they knew she was, but she wasn't there anymore.

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She dropped to a crouch, skittered away, and came from below with a fierce uppercut to the jaw of one of the thugs. A man to her left must have heard her, because he took a swing at her head. It was a good punch, but she delivered a snap kick to his midsection before he could land it.


Black Tiger, meanwhile, had appropriated the wooden stick of one of the thugs and was putting it to good use. One of the thugs pulled a gun, but Black Tiger simply delivered a fierce smack to his hand as if to correct a mischievous child. The fingers swelled up immediately as the gun hit the floor and Black Tiger knocked him out with a right hook.

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Four men closed in on him, eyes getting used to the darkness. Two had pistols, and the third had a rifle. He turned to one of the pistol wielders and broke the stick in half against the side of his face. He grabbed the rifle by the barrel and turned it upward as the man fired. He turned and delivered a vicious kick to the abdomen of the second man, before slamming his hand on the butt of the rifle and pulling it out of his foe's hand altogether.


He released the clip and turned it to the third man, slamming it into his abdomen. As the man bent over, he delivered an elbow to the back of his head. Black Tiger stalked to the nearest thug, he reached forward and grabbed the barrel of his rifle towards him and aimed it upward. The man stumbled in and Black Tiger kneed him directly in the forehead, sending him sprawling back.

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Two men remained. They gasped and backed up. Black Tiger hid his ragged breath and stalked forward. He let the rifle hit the ground with an ominous thud.


Crimson Tiger watched them watch Black Tiger. They had apparently forgotten about her. One went to aim his rifle, but she bolted forward and slammed her fist into the side of his head, sending him sprawling before he even got the weapon above his hip. The second man looked to react, but she slammed her elbow into his face, sending him to the ground.


Chakprii stood in a corner for only a moment before taking off in a run. He pulled objects off of shelves on his way out. The two Tigers simply faded into the shadows.

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Chakprii ran outside, searching the dimly lit parking lot for his car. He spotted it and ran towards it, desperate to escape the nightmare that had followed him to the warehouse. He opened the door and hurried inside. He almost turned the key when the window shattered.


A black gloved hand wrenched his hand up and plucked the key out of it easily. He flung the key into the air, and far out of reach. He scooted as far away from the hand as he could and stared at Black Tiger, who silently opened the door to the car. Chakprii watched as Black Tiger slammed his foot into the open door as hard as he could, almost breaking it clean off.

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He remembered a pistol in his glove compartment and moved to open it when he heard a loud CRAK. His hand jerked free of the compartment and dropped the pistol below the seat. He gasped as he spied the cracks in his windshield. Why was Black Tiger torturing him instead of taking him down? Then the door behind him popped open and he fell through it, landing on the concrete.

He felt someone drag him away from the car by his arm, he moved to hit the hand, but he was dropped roughly before he could. Then he felt his hands pulled roughly behind his back and tied. He was sitting up.


Thunder rolled across the sky again, threatening rain.

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The girl, the Crimson Tiger, stood by the car with a sledgehammer. She was silent as the grave, and Chakprii realized at that moment that this girl was as dangerous as the Black Tiger was. She too had ferociously torn through his hired thugs like paper. Like a tiger with it's prey.


Black Tiger grabbed him by the back of his head and jerked it up.

“You build an empire on the backs of the dying!†He roared. She slammed the hammer into the front passenger window. “You corrupt the innocent and take advantage of the weak!†She shattered the back passenger window. “You infect the streets with your opium!†She shattered the back windshield. “Do you know how much blood is on your hands, prey? Do you?!†She shattered the back passenger window. He felt Black Tiger jerk his head to the side. He gazed into the eyes of Black Tiger, and fear took his breath.

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The police found him the next morning, half asleep and soaked in rainwater. A pile of wet ashes lay in front of him. The police could see that the ashes had once been money. Just inside the warehouse, they found over a dozen men in various states of injury, all bound by zip ties.


In the center of the floor of the warehouse, they saw over a hundred pounds of pure opium, stacked in neat bricks. They knew who had done this at once. The legendary Black Tiger, enemy of the opium trade. Some of the officers cheered inwardly, while others grumbled. It had been a very long time since the first Black Tiger stalked the streets of Bangkok. Rumors of the new Black Tiger had whispered their way through the city, but no one honestly suspected that his presence was real. This was all the evidence they knew.


The officer in charge saw the opium and grinned. He knew just where to put it, too. There was an incinerator just waiting to destroy the foul substance.

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Mali lay in bed until late the next morning, and when she came downstairs she found Tarrin, already awake and chatting away. Neither of them spoke to one another, but both knew last night had been a triumph. There was probably a lot more opium on the streets, but Tarrin had been careful to contact what he knew to be honest cops. The opium would be incinerated. Perhaps more importantly, one of the largest traders of opium in Thailand had been taken down and out of the business. More would fill that empty spot, but it was a solid blow nonetheless.


Leaving Thailand was as bittersweet as arriving had been. She had met a new friend, and done some great things. Still, she had to leave her family again, and regretted the reason she had to come. She hugged Tarrin and shook the hands of her other relatives as they left for the airport. As they flew into the air, she let herself relax. She had her own battles in Freedom City, and knew that it wouldn't be long before she had to put her costume on and get to work. She remembered her costume, hidden away amidst her bags and smiled as she went to sleep.

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