by PaladinLgt and Doc Quantum
Colonel Ricardo Martinez walked out of the meeting room carrying the package in his right arm. He saluted the armed officer guarding his Jeep and said, “At ease, soldier. Carry on with your duties. I will be driving myself today.”
Finding a small envelope attached to the package, Martinez set out to drive to the address printed within, and soon found himself in the countryside beyond the highly populated capital city of Mexico.
The address, located in the hills on the outskirts of Mexico City, proved to be a nondescript one-story building with a single entrance for a vehicle, totally shielded from view by a surrounding copse of trees. The colonel drove his Jeep inside, then stepped outside for a moment to ensure that no one was around to see him, before locking the access door.
Now alone, Colonel Martinez opened the package and pulled out a dark green costume. It had been designed with military uses in mind, and came with a hood and a half-mask. He frowned as he donned the uniform, wondering what Cortez was thinking by having him take on the role of a mystery-man.
The transformed colonel began inspecting the building. He knew that the original Flecha Verde had retired over two decades ago, but this was a modern arsenal equipped with everything he would ever need to track down the traitors who had sought to assassinate the president-elect as part of a planned coup d’etat. Moreover, everything within had already been painted green as if to brand these weapons for the Green Arrow of Mexico.
Martinez began to wonder whether Flecha Verde himself had outfitted this base of operations for a planned comeback of his own, or if Cortez had arranged for the work to be done. If the president-elect was indeed responsible, he was playing a dangerous game, since neither of the two men knew who they could fully trust in the government. Of course, Fernando Cortez could also have made these arrangements through private contractors paid for with the wealth he had inherited from his family. After his military service during World War II, Cortez gained a reputation as an indolent playboy until he had a change of heart and entered politics as a reformer in the early 1960s. It was Cortez who had personally selected Martinez as his chief of security after the two men had met and worked together over a decade ago, and Martinez regarded the older man as a father figure.
If the original Flecha Verda was responsible for all of this, then had he simply given up any plans for his own return after outfitting this base of operations? Perhaps he had merely chosen the next Flecha Verde and had built this arsenal in anticipation of his chosen successor. If that was the case, would Martinez have to give up being the new Flecha Verde after his current mission was over? He wasn’t sure how he would feel about it when the time came. Truthfully, he knew little about the legendary hero, and still wasn’t sure whether his status as a hero of Mexico was truly warranted. Surely true national heroes wouldn’t hide their identities behind masks like El Santo Enmascarado de Plata, one of Mexico’s famous luchadores.
Within the base of operations was not only an arsenal, but a well-equipped training room complete with training games allowing him to brush up on his archery skills. The colonel began examining the various bows and arrows assembled and hung on the walls. Selecting a plain compound bow and several normal broad-head arrows, he then began to practice shooting at both stationary and moving targets, varying his speed and accuracy.
For the next three weeks, Martinez’ schedule revolved around increasing his accuracy and speed with the various arrows. In the evenings, when he was done with his work for that day, he studied everything he could find on the career of the original Flecha Verde. Cortez supplied him with some information, and the rest could be found in newspaper accounts, but the heroic archer’s true identity remained a mystery to him. He had been one of many heroic archers around the world inspired by the original Green Arrow of the United States to don costumes of their own. Together these international archers had become known as the Green Arrows of the World, and that organization continued to hold occasional meetings to this day, though most of the original members had retired. Flecha Verde had been a founding member and sometimes worked with other masked mystery-men, such as the Whip, the Gaucho of Argentina, and the Green Arrow of Spain.
Knowing nothing about the figure’s personal life, Martinez was puzzled by the devil-may-care attitude of the hero and wondered how much of that was an act. Although young people today might consider him a ridiculous character with his sombrero and a traditional Mexican outfit, he was a dashing figure who was always to be found where he was needed most. Like the larger-than-life hero he was, the original Flecha Verde was cut from the mold of famous Latin lovers such as Rudolph Valentino, and ladies actually swooned in his presence. Yet his actions proved that he cared most for the poor and downtrodden, despite his public image as a mere thrill-seeker. His retirement in 1959 was abrupt and unexplained, and if he was still alive today, Martinez guessed that he might still be at work serving justice and protecting the innocent, but in a civilian role.
Colonel Ricardo Martinez wondered how he could step into such a man’s footsteps. He would have to become a very different person than his usual taciturn self. Thankfully, he already had some experience with acting thanks to his time working as an undercover agent against the drug cartels. If he could pose as a drug dealer, surely he could learn to pose as the beloved adventurous swashbuckling hero of Mexico.
Thus he began slowly crafting his new identity, altering his voice and using other figures of speech until it became nearly second nature to him. Inspired by old swashbuckler movies and folk heroes, Ricardo Martinez began playing up a more flamboyant personality while in costume that differed greatly from his usual disciplined military bearing, as per the president-elect’s suggestion.
Finally, the night came when he decided that he was ready to venture forth as the new Flecha Verde.
It was the dead of night under a dark, cloudy sky with no trace of moonlight to shine down and reveal the costumed figure of Flecha Verde as he stalked his first target on the list of traitors. It had taken some detective work to figure out where his target would be this night, and the intelligence he’d received had proven to be correct.
Flecha Verde trailed Lucian Sanchez to an old warehouse where several trucks were parked. There a few men scurried around in the shadows unloading mysterious cargo as the green-garbed archer observed from a hidden point of observation. Lines of attack rotated through the military man’s mind as he marked all the positions of his enemies.
Pulling several arrows from the quiver on his back as he prepared to attack, a wolfish smile appeared on Flecha Verde’s mustachioed face as he pulled back on the string and unleashed the first arrow. A fluid motion sent the other arrows flying down to their targets, hitting almost all of the men with pinpoint accuracy.
After striking their targets in quick succession, the arrows then ignited simultaneously with a flash, blinding almost all the figures scurrying around below. Flecha Verde used the diversion to fire an arrow with a line attached to it into the warehouse wall itself. Attaching a pulley to his reinforced bow, the hero slid down the line to a better vantage point on the warehouse. He then shot more arrows into the confused scene, releasing a thick smoke of gas that sent most of the figures into the land of slumber. Flecha Verde looked for further targets unaffected by the gas and spotted Sanchez himself trying to escape.
A quick, well-practiced tug released the line, allowing Flecha Verde to slide down to the ground below. As the out-of-shape Lucian Sanchez saw the laughing masked figure approach, he tried even harder to escape, but to no avail, as Flecha Verde easily caught the terrified man. A quick jab with his left hand knocked Sanchez unconscious.
The archer then went inside the warehouse to examine the hastily stacked crates. Pulling another arrow from his quiver, he used it to melt the locks on one of the crates. Within were several innocent-looking statues of the Virgin Mary, but upon breaking one of them, he found inside a plastic bag filled with a powdery substance. Flecha Verde’s eyes hardened at the sight of drugs as he considered just what to do, now that he had confirmed the cartel’s involvement in the attempted presidential coup. A decision was reached, and several long minutes later, he finished his task of binding the unconscious men in the warehouse except for Sanchez.
Sometime later, Lucian Sanchez awoke to find himself hanging from the side of the warehouse, the grinning masked figure of Flecha Verde looking down upon him.
“Ah, you have awakened at last, Señor Sanchez. I thought perhaps that I would have to take measures soon to pull you from your rest.” With a laugh, Flecha Verde shook the line slightly, sending Sanchez tumbling around.
“I’ll give you whatever you want!” Sanchez said fearfully as he looked down at the sharp metal below. “I have money, or perhaps you want the company of fine-looking women!”
“Flecha Verde does not need your help in finding women, Señor Sanchez!” laughed the archer. “As for your offer of money made from the suffering of the Mexican people, I spit upon it! All I require from you are the names of your conspirators.” Flecha Verde shook the line again.
“No! They will kill me if I talk!” Sanchez cried, looking even more fearful of what his associates would do to him than a fall into the pile of jagged metal.
“It is fortunate that I believe you are telling the truth, my fat little friend, so today I will let you live. Tell your friends that I am coming for them to end their corruption of my beloved Mexico.” With that statement, Flecha Verde fired an arrow straight up that erupted into a bright series of fireworks, before he slid down the line, leaving the cursing Sanchez dangling helplessly.
The police soon arrived and took all of the men into custody, while several reporters arrived to ask questions. All of the men, including Sanchez, spoke of the mysterious archer in green as they were taken away.
Similar scenes soon took place around the environs of Mexico City as Flecha Verde struck again and again, cleaning up crime in his own flamboyant fashion. Soon, letters and phone calls from the public praising the actions of the masked hero were sent to various officials, newspapers, and television programs.