DCM Vertigo


Moon Knight

Disassemble Me Please
by Mark Sarver

The change from Moon Knight back to Jake Lockley took no time at all. Soon enough the cab driving alter-ego of Moon Knight was back in his cab headed towards the mansion of yet another of Moon Knight's alter-egos - Stephen Grant.

As he drove he pondered all that had happened this night. His main concern now was making sure Marlene was safe. He needed to call her as soon as he got back to the mansion to make sure she was safe on her way to Florida on one of his private jets.

Thoughts of life without Marlene clouded his mind - thoughts he didn't like - thoughts that made him want to give up Moon Knight and the dangers associated with his life as a super-hero. As soon as Chloe was safe and he'd stopped Scarecrow - things would change. Marlene would become the center of his life - maybe he'd even marry her and make an honest ordinary civilian out of himself, but as whom - Stephen Grant, Jake Lockley, or Marc Spector.

As he neared his home - the Grant Mansion on Long Island he saw the lights before he heard the sounds of the sirens. A sense of doom shot through him as he rounded the corner and came upon a gathering of locals standing behind a police barrier watching firemen work on putting out various small fires. In the place where his mansion sat earlier that day was a large pile of rubble smoldering dimly against the night sky.

Lockley braked the car to a halt on the side of the road out of the way and bolted to the nearest police officer busy keeping the crowd at bay.

"What happened?"

"No idea, pal. Was like this when we got here."

"I was called to pick up a fare at this address."

"Not my problem. You got a name for this fare?"

Lockley thought for a moment and decided to try a name that might get him more information or at least an audience with someone higher up the food chain than a beat cop performing crowd control.

"Stephen Grant - headed to J.F.K."

"Grant, you say. Hold it right there then. Come with me."

He lifted the police tape and Lockley followed the young officer to a group of men in trenchcoats standing around a gurney near the back of an ambulance. The officer walked up to one of the trenchcoats and whispered something in their ear.

"Name, sir?"

"Jake Lockley," he answered staring the gurney and the still form of his one and only true friend and trusted compatriot - Jean-Paul "Frenchie" Duchamp. His head was not covered - which meant he was alive - but he was not moving and there was a caking of blood on one side of his head.

"The officer said you were here to pick up a fare?"

Lockley turned to look at the detective questioning him - a woman - a hispanic woman - a striking hispanic woman.

"Yes, I was to pick up a Stephen Grant and take him to J.F.K."

"Departures or Arrivals?"

Lockley tried to think of the most appropriate answer while his mind raced with anxious thoughts for Frenchie and what had happened here. He hadn't even contemplated the full force of the fact that this was his home and now it was no more.

"Departures. What happened here, ma'am?"

"It's Detective Perez and this is how it was when we got here. The only eye-witness is lying on the gurney. We don't even have an ID on him."

"Jean-Paul . . ." Lockley stopped. As a cabbie he shouldn't know Frenchie as Stephen Grant would.

"Sir, you were saying?"

"Nothing - just horrible destruction. Terrorists maybe." Whoever it was would pay, thought Lockley - Moon Knight would see to that.

"Could be - we won't rule anything out until the investigation is complete. What time did the request come in?"

"An hour ago. Is Mr. Grant in there?" He asked pointing to the rubble of his mansion.

"Probably not. We won't know until we clear it with search and rescue teams. Seeing as how the man is wanted for murder, called a cab headed for departures - he could be on the run. Maybe this mess was to cover his tracks - distract us for a while."


"Dr. Robert Flesko, earlier this evening. A real mess. Worse one I've seen in years."

Lockley didn't know what to say and felt himself paralyzed by his own anxiety. First his mansion was destroyed, then Frenchie injured and now he - as Stephen Grant - was wanted for murdering Dr. Flesko. What was happening? He knew Crane - the Scarecrow - had murdered Dr. Flesko. Was he also responsible for this destruction? One way or another he would find out and see that justice was done.

"How's that man?" Lockley wished Jean-Paul would move, even just a finger.

"He's got a broken leg for sure and a serious head wound. That's all, sir. Here's my card if you think of anything else. Please give the officer there a number you can be reached at." She turned and walked away back to the other trenchcoats still milling around the gurney.

Lockley walked slowly back his cab. Frist, he would go to the hospital to check on Frenchie and then he would resume the role of Moon Knight to seek those who sought to do him such harm.

Jonathan Crane entered the lobby of the Gotham Regent Hotel. He was impressed with the retro art deco feel of the place. A lot of dull colors and sharp corners highlighted the dimly lit interior of the high class Gotham Regent. He'd dressed in a crisp double breasted suit and tie to fit in with the staid upper crust clientele.

The clerk behind the desk smiled as he approached. She said, "How may I help you, sir?"

"I'm here to meet Ms. O'Toole. She said to have you call up when I got here."

"O'Toole, yes, right here in the Penthouse Suite. I'll make that call for you, sir." She went to pick up the phone and Crane stopped her.

"Wait a few minutes. I want to buy some flowers to take up."

"Of course, sir." And she was right back to filing behind the counter.

Crane walked towards the gift shop. After making sure the girl who had helped him was facing away he moved quickly towards the elevators and joined a crowd headed up. After pushing the button for the Penthouse Suite, he settled against the wall feeling a slight bit uncomfortable surrounded by what he considered inferior beings unable even to contemplate their own mortal and moral insignificance.

Five minutes later he stood inside the door of the Penthouse Suite facing Leila O'Toole, a.k.a. Plasma. She was wearing a bathrobe loosely held together with the belt around her slender waist. Crane couldn't help but notice her attractiveness and the tone of a well conditioned body. But he tempered his admiration with the knowledge that this beautiful woman was also known as Plasma who could kill with a single blast and would kill without a moment's hesitation. Like Crane, she enjoyed killing.

Crane looked beyond her for any sign of the reason he was here in the first place - to somehow retrieve the young girl, Chloe for the Star Chamber - a piece of the puzzle. Only more of the same decorative style of the hotel filled the room. There was no sign of another human being - at least in this room.

"And to what do I credit a visit from Dr. Jonathan Crane at this hour of the evening? You know I'm not that type of girl."

Crane thought of toying with O'Toole - maybe finding out what she was up to. Perhaps there was something he could barter with and not be forced to resort to any manner of violence to get his prize. Mind games and psychological manipulation were always victories to savor longer.

"Still chasing Moon Knight?" He wandered around the room inspecting the various pieces of art decorating the Penthouse Suite.

"I have Moon Knight right where I want him, Crane. What does it matter to you?"

"Right where you want him. What exactly does that mean, Plasma?"

"I mean I 've wounded him and next time he will be mine." There was a fierce determination in her voice that Crane couldn't help but admire - even thought he found it sadly lacking in imagination.

"I'm here to offer you the chance to join me in the destruction of Moon Knight . . ." He paused as she considered him with those two penetratingly beautiful eyes, and continued with great emphasis. ". . . FROM THE INSIDE OUT."

A smile slowly crept onto the face of Leila O'Toole, half Irish - half Egyptian. She sat down in a plush chair and motioned Crane to do the same.

She said, "Tell me more, Doctor."

Dr. Pieter Cross moved slowly around the hospital bed to stand near the head, his hands resting on the chest of the young black man laying before him. His head was bandaged with one eye completely covered. The young man had been unconscious ever since the shooting.

"He'll not regain his sight. Of that much I am sure, Camilla."

A young woman acting as nurse and assistant to Dr. Cross finished preparing the IV and started the slow drip into the unconscious boy's arm. She was Camilla Marlowe, confidant and personal assistant to Dr. Pieter Cross - also known to the world as Dr. Mid-Nite.

"Why did we take him from the hospital, Pieter? He was receiving proper medical attention from good doctors."

"This boy is special, Carmilla. I don't know for sure how yet, but I've sensed this boy was something special since I heard of the shooting. The energy flowing through him is intense indeed. When he comes to, then we'll know." Pieter Cross took his hands from the boy's chest and moved away from the bed to a rug in the corner of the room.

"Leave us, Carmilla. He needs rest and I wish to meditate."

She left the room quietly. Before the door closed behind her, the blind physician who fought evil in the streets as Dr. Mid-Nite, was deep into a meditative trance.

Marlene Alraune sat back in the deep executive seat near the rear of the LearJet - Stephen Grant's favorite aircraft. She had to admit it was extremely comfortable. The pilot had informed her the flight would take a couple of hours so she decided she could get some real rest before they landed in Florida. In this seat, she would be asleep in no time.

The plane took off smoothly from a small runway reserved specifically for executive aircraft at J.F.K. Once in the air, she fixed herself a drink and settled back into the chair with thoughts of Stephen, her mother, and her relief to be away from it all for a time. She loved Stephen, of that there was no doubt. It was a matter of dealing with his obsession with being Moon Knight and the accompanying strain of dealing with his other identities. Once Stephen entered the persona of Jake Lockley or Marc Spector or even Stephen Grant, he played the role out - even with Marlene.

More than once she had given him an ultimatum - an "or else." More than once she had failed to follow through. She wanted Stephen Grant - not Jake Lockley, Marc Spector or Moon Knight. If there was to be a relationship, then Moon Knight had to go and he needed to commit to her 100% - no less.

She finished the drink and turned toward the window watching the lights of New York and the coast of New Jersey fade away to darkness.

There was no other choice for her. This separation would be a positive break. She would tell him - no send him an e-mail and spell it out one last time. No more Marlene or no more Moon Knight. He could have one or the other, as far she was concerned, but not both.

"My dear Ms. Alraune, it has been such a long time," came a deep male voice from behind her.

Marlene whirled the chair around recognizing the voice. She was flooded with a dire sense of dread and fear. She could feel her stomach tighten and the sweat begin to dampen her palms.

It was a face she had seen before - a face of agony and death - the face of the devil. She started to scream but her mouth was dry and no sounds came forth.

He sat down opposite her and she felt the plane bank sharply to the left - out over the Atlantic Ocean.

He grinned and said, "Change of plans, Marlene. For now just sit back and enjoy the flight. Another drink, perhaps?"

Next Issue: How bad is Frenchie injured and Scarecrow's plan develops!