A Jeep bounced through a barely negotiable path as a stream of bullets impacted all around those within. The driver was a tall, well-built man in his early thirties dressed in crisp military clothing, while the passenger was a tall older man in his mid-sixties dressed in a sweat-stained business suit.
“You were right about those men not being our proper escort, Colonel,” the passenger said in a deep, rich baritone. “It seems someone wishes to eliminate me before I can even take office and implement much-needed reform in our corrupt government.”
“Even I did not expect them to strike so soon after the elections, Mr. President, and I should have.” The driver’s voice was equally as calm, despite the ever-present danger signified by the bullets striking all around them.
“What do you think the cover story will be?” asked the passenger, wincing at not only the sound of the bullets, but also the Jeep‘s high rate of speed.
“The leader of that group is a fairly well-known bandit,” replied the colonel, “so I would suggest that you are going to become a hostage. But even if a ransom is paid, you will end up in some unmarked grave. It gives whoever is truly behind this the perfect opportunity to increase military control and then delay any further democratic elections.” The driver spun the wheel and narrowly avoided a tree without slowing down in the slightest.
“The bad thing is that, even if we manage to get out of this, I see no way to capture those responsible for this treachery,” replied the president-elect. “If I were willing to betray the principles that I ran on, then this wouldn’t be happening, anyway. Playing by the rules is absolutely no fun when everyone else is so willing to cheat to get what they want.” The passenger smiled somewhat ironically at his head of security before wincing again; it had been many years since he had experienced this kind of peril.
“I am going to get us to the retreat, and then we can figure out a way to get help.” The driver spun the wheel again, sending the Jeep hurtling down another path. Shortly the Jeep broke through the jungle into a cleared area where sat an imposing fortress. The two men jumped out of the vehicle and raced inside. Behind them, several well-armed men in military Jeeps appeared shooting, but were unable to prevent their targets from escaping.
“Ironic that a former Nazi secret base is now the only thing keeping a democratically elected official from being killed, President Cortez,” said the colonel, ensuring that the steel door was securely fastened. “It’s a good thing you could recall its location.”
“Indeed, Colonel Martinez, but what’s your plan for escape? I am quite certain our guests will not show much patience before deciding to do something drastic,” said Fernando Cortez, wiping the sweat from his forehead with a handkerchief.
“I have a plan, but it requires that you be as good as a voice imitator as I heard you were during your own military service.” Martinez gave Cortez a questioning glance as he moved toward the stairs.
“How is this?” Cortez said, sounding exactly like the colonel as he followed him up the stairs.
Martinez smiled widely before he began discussing his plan, which was modified by a few of Cortez’ own suggestions. By the end, both men were smiling at the completed plan.
“It will be risky, but if anyone can pull it off, it’s you,” Cortez replied.
The two resourceful men busied themselves setting up weapons near the barred windows, while below the bandits became increasingly impatient. Martinez began assembling various bits of materials, along with a bow and several arrows. Cortez fashioned some strings with which he could fire the guns’ trigger mechanisms without exposing his head to the bandits. Both men spoke loudly, ensuring that the bandits could hear their distinct voices.
Soon, Colonel Martinez finished his work. He had now fashioned several crude makeshift weapon arrows, which he then dyed green in a pot so that they could blend into the surrounding jungle. Cortez took up the pretense of being both men by carrying a conversation in two different voices as he fired several shots down at the bandits, who responded in kind, blasting back toward the guns.
Emerging from a secret passageway just outside the fortress, Colonel Martinez patiently waited for his opportunity. When it finally came, he fired the arrow with a wire strung behind it into the fuel tank of one of the Jeeps. Other precisely fired arrows followed in quick succession, flattening the tires of the other Jeeps. Martinez smiled wolfishly as he moved to the next position.
Pulling out a radio control device, Martinez punched the button, sending an electric charge to the wire attached to the Jeep. An explosion rocked the military vehicle, causing the bandits to turn in shock and surprise. Martinez then used the other makeshift arrows, firing and moving from point to point like a green ghost.
A net arrow captured two bandits. Another released a cloud of pepper that sent one bandit into a fit of sneezing. Two more bandits were pinned to the Jeeps by several arrows. A crude glue concoction was released from one arrow that flew into an assault rifle, rendering the weapon useless. Colonel Martinez used his last few arrows to release a thick cloud of smoke over the whole area. With such a cover obscuring his movements, he then waded into the last few bandits, knocking them out with professionally delivered punches.
Later on, after help had arrived, the bandits spoke of some mysterious archer who came out of the jungle and prevented them from capturing the president-elect. None of them even guessed who could have been their attacker, and before Ricardo Martinez could even begin to explain that he was the archer, the president-elect abruptly cut him off and changed the subject before the truth could be revealed.
Several days later, the newspapers were full of accounts about Flecha Verde, dubbed such partly because of the green arrows found on the scene. Colonel Martinez wondered why Cortez had wished to keep the truth that Martinez was this Flecha Verde quiet, but agreed to remain tight-lipped about it for now. Soon enough, the president-elect summoned him to a private meeting where he began his explanation.
“It is good to see you again, Ricardo,” said Fernando Cortez, motioning for the colonel to sit down. “You are curious why I decided not to reveal that you are the mysterious archer.”
“Yes I am, Francisco,” said Colonel Martinez, taking the proffered seat and remaining at attention.
“Both you and I are bound by laws and principles, while our enemies are not,” Cortez said, offering a fine cigar to the colonel, who waved it away.
“Yes, but what does that have to do with anything?” asked Ricardo Martinez.
“Everyone knows that you and I cannot be this mysterious archer due to the unanimous agreement of the bandits that we were together trapped in the retreat.”
“Yes, thanks to your incredible talent for imitating voices, Mr. President. But I still do not see your point. You and I know that the bandits are wrong,” Colonel Martinez said, waving away the offer of a drink as well.
“What if this Flecha Verde decided to investigate our problem?” suggested Francisco Cortez, his eyes seeming to light up with excitement as he spoke. “After all, no one can blame us for what some dashing vigilante does. People already believe that he is some sort of successor to the original Flecha Verde, who operated in the ’40s and ’50s.”
“You mean you want me to wear some sort of costume and hunt down the traitors while still trying to be chief of your security? I know I am good, but I am not that good.” Completely floored at this turn of events, Colonel Martinez relaxed his posture and leaned back in the chair.
“You are going to be reassigned to special duty, which most people will think is a reward for keeping me alive. This will allow you the time to properly become the new Flecha Verde.” Cortez smiled as he reached behind his desk to present a package to the sitting Colonel Martinez. “In here is your costume and an address where you can pick up your custom bow and arrows. For now you can consider it a base of operations until you finish finding all the traitors.” Before Martinez could make any objection, Cortez stopped him with one raised hand and added, “I know, I know, Ricardo — you feel it is not proper for a military man to display his emotions. But I advise you to allow free rein to that wild side you possess when you wear that costume. Remember that Flecha Verde is a larger-than-life figure, much like Robin Hood of legend, or our own Luchadores Enmascarados.”
“And what would the original Flecha Verda think about all of this?” asked Martinez, recalling the hero’s public retirement many years ago, after which time he retired to obscurity. He guessed that the legendary hero would have to be at least sixty years old by now, if not older than that.
“He would be very proud that someone truly worthy was following in his footsteps, since he is no longer able to,” replied the president-elect knowingly. “Now, I have already taken up enough of your time, so go. Just remember: only you and I shall know that you are Flecha Verde.”
Fernando Cortez waved for the colonel to let himself out of the room before turning his attention to the next item on the agenda. Although Ricardo Martinez still had many questions, he knew that the meeting was over.