TATTERS – Reboot Issue 1
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Ash Wednesday in the slums known as The Warrens. Three members of the Demon Posse gang watch as Branch 4 field agent Lynn Delaware parks her car on Hamilton Street in front of St. Ludmilla’s Cathedral. (Branch 4 is the federal government’s intelligence clearing house, a repository for unsolved federal investigations, cases trapped in jurisdictional limbo, and the odd black world business no other agency cares to accept.) Two of the gang-bangers, Capper and Daryl, leave to inform their leader, Diablo, of Delaware’s arrival. The third, Slow Dog, is ambushed by a mysterious masked man (Tatters). Delaware, posing as a Secret Service agent working in advance of an upcoming Presidential racial conference, has an appointment to interview Father Angerer about a stranger who broke up a mob of indigents in front of St. Lude’s the previous Sunday when its new priest refused to continue the tradition of free room and board.
Angerer recounts how this stranger appeared to use his eyes to command the mob to disperse, with the exception of one sizable vagrant known as Raptor who had to be forcefully discouraged. Diablo, Capper, and Daryl interrupt. As Daryl attempts to disarm Delaware, Diablo announces he wants $10 million to assure the President’s safe passage through his streets in The Warren. Delaware rebuffs Diablo’s demand as she and Angerer swat away the pee-wees, but Diablo proves a tougher problem. Slow Dog, under Tatters’ control, intervenes, insisting Diablo leave “this House of God.”
Diablo doesn’t believe that someone is speaking through Slow Dog and prepares to teach his subordinate a lesson. Tatters cuts his puppet’s strings and Slow Dog drops unconscious. Diablo bolts and Angerer stops Delaware from pursuing: “These are his streets. He’ll ambush you.” Delaware shows Angerer a photograph of herself with a man (fellow Branch 4 agent Aslanbek Saltev) and asks if the man could be Angerer’s stranger. Angerer claims it was too dark to see the stranger’s face, but Delaware thinks about Saltev’s habit of referring to churches as a House of God. Soon after the police arrive Delaware’s superior, Tom Edmund, calls, upset she is in The Warrens rather than an assignment in Albania. Edmund agrees to pass along Diablo’s threat to the Treasury Department but demands Delaware return to Washington DC. As Delaware readies to drive away, Diablo returns with two more Demon Posse, Clarence and K-Cat, and opens fire, cutting down a police detective and several bystanders.
Tatters jumps the gang-bangers, but can’t quite handle three against one. Delaware and the police stop Diablo from killing Tatters, but can’t stop Tatters from dragging Diablo under a pool of standing water and vanishing. Tending to the wounded supersedes figuring out this magic trick, but it’s not long before Diablo reappears in a cell at the nearby 19th Precinct, reduced to a shivering idiot and clutching Tatters’ mask. Meanwhile, a few hours later at the White House …
… Delaware and Edmund report to President Jeff DeWitt, Vice-President David Manners, Chief-of-Staff Jack Pierce, Special Agent (Secret Service) Chris Smaby, and Secret Service Chief O.J. Cariello. DeWitt is considering canceling the next day’s racial conference and asks for a private pow-wow with Delaware in an adjoining chamber of the Oval Office. Delaware doesn’t appreciate being alone with a well-known womanizer like DeWitt (although they are never out of Agent Smaby’s sight) and has no delusions POTUS will go to The Warrens. “Massacres are too good a public relations photo-op to pass up.” As Manners and Pierce watch Delaware leave, they confess that they believe DeWitt intends to go, something Manners cryptically suggests could end up being the best thing for the government. Outside the White House, Edmund informs Delaware he is recommending to Branch 4’s Director she get off with only a reprimand since she disobeyed orders to follow a possible lead on Saltev, who is currently missing and kept a room at the Hotel Elsinore across the street from St. Lude’s as one of his undercover mole holes. Meanwhile, in Suite 1715 at the Elsinore …
… Angerer visits Peter Collinson, a.k.a Tatters. Collinson is exhausted as he watches the news while downing a pitcher of pink lemonade to recharge his batteries. “I knew lugging Diablo through time and space would take it out of me, but what else could I do?” As Collinson changes into into street clothes to visit a doctor for his wounds, Angerer tells Collinson about the photograph Delaware showed him. Collinson confesses that Delaware and Saltev used to be lovers, but now Saltev is dead. Angerer mumbles, “So you keep sayin’, Ace,” as Collinson passes a mirror and sees Saltev looking back. Outside the Elsinore, Hamilton Street, which used to be a safe neighborhood where families rallied around their community, deals with the massacre. Back in DC, Manners gets a late-night phone call from a shadowy person (Branch 4 Director Jurat) asking if he is ready to step in ahead of schedule if DeWitt goes to The Warrens. Manners says he is, and, when his wife Jennifer asks if anything is wrong, Manners assures her all is right with the world.