Hawkman and Hawkgirl
Thunder in Flight
Part 3 of JSA: A Thunder God Among Us
During an emergency, two rival gangs learn how to work together to save their lives, while Thor learns what makes Hawkman the respected leader of the Justice Society!
“No, Shiera, it’s no problem at all. I’m sure I can handle our guest. You worry about the charity ball. After all, they only called because they know you’re the best organizer in the city.” The aristocratic-looking blonde man looked over at his guest and winked. “Yes, dear. I’ll see you tonight. Love you. Now go, before they tear the phone out of your hands.”
Carter Hall hung up the phone and leaned his head back over the top of his chair. “That woman never ceases to amaze me. How anybody can keep track of every high society event in this city is beyond me.”
“Begging your pardon, my lord Hall, but I have no idea of which you speak.”
Straightening up again, Carter recalled the unique nature of his guest. “Of course. My apologies, Thor. Norse culture doesn’t put much stock in things like debutante balls and charity auctions.” He took a pipe from the ashtray on the end table and knocked out the ashes. “My wife Shiera sends her apologies. She won’t be able to join us this evening.”
“Apologies from thy wife are not needed. Surely she is most comely, but doth she truly have the sort of knowledge of heroic deeds which my Father hath sent me here to learn?” The great redheaded thunder god leaned forward, his hands wrapped around the haft of his war hammer as its head rested on the floor.
“Ha! You’d best not let her ever hear you saying that, my friend! She may look like a frail flower, but rest assured that she would give you a fight that you would long remember.”
Before Thor could reply, a small radio on the mantle came to life.
“All cars, report to the Twelfth Street docks. All cars, report to the Twelfth Street docks. Officer on the scene reports a gang fight in progress, thirty or more involved. Gunfire has been heard. Repeat, gunfire has been heard.”
“Sounds like they could use some help,” said Carter as he quickly stripped off his shirt. With a thought, wings grew from his back as he strode purposefully toward his study.
Ten minutes later, Hawkman and Thor dropped from the skies into the midst of a full-scale battle. “Two gangs, Thor. You can tell them apart by the colors on their jackets or vests. I recognize both of them; the ones with red bands on the shoulders are the Blood Knights; the ones in the brown leather are the Mustangs. Try to drive them apart, or knock them out. No lethal force!”
“Aye, winged one. However, I think the speaking box spoke wrong. It looks like three score or more warriors on this battlefield now.” Laying about him with his war hammer, Mjolnir, the Norse god cleared a path through the mob. Hampered by the need to incapacitate his foes without causing permanent injury, he soon let the hammer fall to his side, where it hung by a leather strap. Using his bare hands, he quickly fell into a rhythm, grabbing gang members two at a time and bringing their heads together with enough force to drive them into the land of dreams.
Meanwhile, above him, Hawkman unlimbered the first of several Roman gladiator’s nets that hung from his belt. “The trick is netting people from only one gang. If I get a mixture in here, they’re liable to keep on beating each other before the police can round them up.” Spying a large concentration of Mustangs, he threw the net over them with a flip of the wrist. The weighted edges forced the net to drape over them. The cord tied to the JSA chairman’s wrist allowed him to drop to the ground and draw the edge closed once he had a number of opponents tangled up. “Good thing the police chose to hang back when they saw more gang members arriving. We don’t have to worry about attacking an officer by mistake.” Releasing the first wrist cord and knotting it, Hawkman took flight once more, preparing his next net.
“You whelps are no match for one accustomed to wrestling with Odin’s hounds!” cried Thor as one of the hoodlums brought a crowbar crashing down upon his head. The great horned helm took the blow, and Thor was aware only of a ringing sound from the meeting of iron and steel. He spied the length of iron as its wielder fell before him, and he grasped it in midair. “To think these fools believe this a weapon?”
“No, red, this is a weapon.” Directly in Thor’s path, a young man stood with a pistol aimed at his massive chest. “Bunch of the others, they blew away their ammo before the action really started. But I’m smarter than that!”
“Not smart enough!” The voice from above made the youth look up just in time to see the huge knobbed mace hurtling at him. It struck just above the wrists, knocking the gun from his grasp and shattering both forearms.
“Well met, scion of the hawk gods! But t’would be best to watch your own back, as well!” With blinding speed, Thor grasped Mjolnir and hurled it with an underhanded toss. It streaked toward Hawkman in an arc, dropping below him to strike another armed gang member with a loud thunderclap. The dock shuddered under the impact, and Thor felt it tilt toward one side. “By my father’s beard! This wharf is breaking apart beneath us.”
Even as he spoke it, it became true. The old floating dock broke away from its braces at the shore and drifted out into the Hudson River.
Panic broke out on the dock as the end, formerly attached to the shore, started to sink. That thing was built to rise and lower with the level of the river, thought Hawkman. No flotation blocks were needed at the shore end of it. The end will drag the rest of the dock down, and everyone with it. Below him, the fight was forgotten as the gang members all sought ways to save themselves. A few dived into the river, taking their chances with the currents. Already, police launches were in the water, and spotlights quickly picked out individuals swimming or treading water in the night-shrouded river.
“I thinkest not that many of them can swim, Hawkman!” called Thor, noting that most of those still conscious were moving back from the edges.
The reincarnated Egyptian prince reached into his belt and pulled out an emergency flare. Striking it, he held it up. Attention was immediately drawn to him.
“Listen to me, all of you! The only way to save yourselves is to work together. Move to the center of the dock and grasp hands — all of you!” Seeing the many bodies strewn around the edges, he issued another order. “Grab the others who can move themselves. Bring them to the middle, then toward the end over here that’s floating higher!” Grabbing one of the nets still hanging from his belt, he gestured for Thor to grab the end of the attached cord. “I don’t know if I can pull you back against the current, but I can try. Loop that around the piling there.”
“Aye, but why pull against the current? Pull downstream, toward that next dock!” Thor grabbed the net and hooked it on a protruding support. Behind him, Mustangs and Blood Knights were clasping hands, keeping one another from falling over the edge.
Ninth metal wings beat at the air, and mighty sinews bulged under the burden of the dock and its fifty-plus passengers. The dock swiftly moved downstream and slowly back toward the shore. Thor teetered on the edge of the dock, reaching to grasp the gunwale of a boat moored at the next dock he passed. He let out a groan as, by sheer force of muscle and will, he drew the floating dock up next to its stationary counterpart. The unfortunate boat was crushed under the impact, but momentum brought the runaway dock in close enough for Thor to grab a piling.
“Quickly, get them off! I canst but hold it a few moments!”
“How about a little help, big guy?”
Thor turned to see the young man who had previously held a gun on him, reaching over to grab hold of a second piling. Others grabbed hold as well, some serving to anchor the dock in place, others acting as a human bridge. Quickly, everyone was evacuated, until only Thor remained. Above him, Hawkman maintained his grasp on the net with which he dragged the dock.
“On my signal, leap up to the other dock!” called Hawkman. “I’ll pull it away and let it go in the middle of the river.”
“Aye!” grunted the Norse thunder god, bracing his arms on the dock and kicking up and away from the floating dock that threatened to carry him down the river. His superhuman strength kicked the crumbling mass of wood out and away toward the middle of the river, and Hawkman let go once he was sure it would not hit any of the other craft moored along the shore.
“Amazing! We managed to get everyone off there!” said Hawkman, looking around at the huddled masses of the Blood Knights and the Mustangs on the wharf and on the shore beyond.
“That we did, ancient prince, and more.” Thor looked at a pair of Mustangs helping a girl in the black and red of the Blood Knights limp toward an arriving ambulance. Elsewhere, he saw Knights slapping their former opponents on the back, congratulating them on their efforts. He reflected on the circumstances of the rescue, with people one moment engaged in battle with each other, and the next united in purpose under the winged wonder’s leadership. Surely, he thought, this man has a presence about him that makes all lesser men look to him for inspiration and guidance.
Several hundred feet upstream, near the broken supports of the old dock, a scrawny figure sat in the weeds, wrapped in furs.
“I should have known the great lout would escape unharmed,” muttered Loki. “These pathetic children didn’t even manage to harm his human mentor. Still, any bit of suffering I can inflict upon him is that much more fun for me.”