Ozzie Bunso was ecstatic when the FBI agents who arrested him told him they were cutting him loose. He never questioned the fact that no one actually said they were cutting a deal with him in return for his information. He never took note of the fact that he had never asked for an attorney and no one had talked to a prosecutor about his committing multiple armed bank robberies or having his charges reduced. Ozzie Bunso was not thought of by anyone as an overly intelligent man and the way in which he shot out of the Federal Building as though there was a sale on weed and he had to get over to it regardless of the consequences proved that fact.
"Rabbit acquired," one of the FBI agents assigned to tail this moronic perp spoke into the radio as Bunso ran pell-mell down the front steps and across the street, almost getting hit by a taxi cab that was speeding around the corner making a left turn through a light that had already turned red. The cab was barely missed by a truck that made a jack-rabbit start from the light and Bunso, dashing across ten feet before the crosswalk, cutting between cars that were beginning to move, made a stop that pushed him forward onto his toes as his arms pinwheeled backward and the cab rushed by, scraping along the zipper on his jeans.
"Stupid son of a motherfu..." the blare of several car horns forced Bunso to realize he was still in the midst of traffic and no one wanted to wait for this idiot who didn't know enough to use the crosswalk with the light. He danced around another car and in front of a third and hopped over to the sidewalk on the opposite side of the street.
"Rabbit still in sight, Hound One?" Meredith asked, being the lead agent on this rabbit chase and using the term for their target they had agreed upon before turning him loose.
"Yeah, but I think we should rename him 'roadkill', the way he seems to be throwing his life away crossing the street," the agent in the passenger seat of the first of the tailing vehicles replied, doing his best not to laugh and add some choice words over the radio.
"Rabbit's good for now," Meredith responded, trying not to laugh over the comment. "Hound Two, you have a sight on Rabbit?"
A spate of stifled laughter was cut-off as the agent observing from the second vehicle responded in the affirmative.
"Everyone be ready for a move at anytime," Meredith warned. She lowered her microphone and looked over at her partner, who sat behind the wheel of their vehicle. They had yet to pull out of the parking garage beneath the Federal Building, giving the other agents time to be spotted and their "rabbit" time to find his way to whatever warren he was heading for.
"Looking good so far," she sounded confident, a slight smile on her lips.
"What about our pigeon in the sky?" Robertson didn't have a smile and sounded less than enthusiastic about the proceedings.
"You mean our 'Condor'?" she asked, shaking her head slightly. They had given Solar Eclipse the handle of "Condor" in this instance, due both to his dark coloration and the fact that "Condors" were simply another form of vulture that flew around looking for something getting ready to die so they could swoop down upon it. Somehow the simile was a perfect fit for what the Super was doing for them. He didn't seem to mind.
"Eyes sharp, Condor?" Meredith said into her radio mike, even though she knew she didn't have to. When he had something he would call it down to them but since she had to play a role for the rest of her team, especially her partner, she stuck to it.
"Rabbit still running healthy," he responded, his voice sounding even hollower over the radio transmission. She knew it was the FBI frequency, not his cell signal. She knew anything her husband built would obviously be the best possible. "No sign of predators."
Truth-be-told, Eclipse wasn't flying overhead just yet. He had stationed himself on the very top of the highest building nearby and was utilizing his newly christened "magni-vision", wanting to always keep what he called his powers as far from those of his former persona as possible so no one made the comparison. Even when "Rabbit" ducked inside the front entrance of a restaurant he never lost sight of him, since he simply peered through the building construction and watched as their prey pushed his way passed various customers and employees, knocking one busboy over so that he dropped his tub and dirty dishes shattered and scattered all about.
"Rabbit just entered Malnati's Italian Restaurant. Heading for back door through kitchen. Rabbit just snatched a handful of mints from the jar at the waitress station as he passed by. Now out back door in alley, turning east toward Wells Street."
The other agents following Bunso were cussing up a storm, since they had all lost him and were frantically racing down side streets and making illegal turns trying to locate their "Rabbit". For a moron he was making fools of them pretty easily and they knew it. Maybe he wasn't as dumb as they all thought.
"Rabbit sprinted across Wells into alley between Curry House and Palo's Sporting Goods, heading for - scratch that. Rabbit entered back door of Palo's Sporting Goods."
The FBI agents once more changed course and spun their wheels - literally, heading for the location not two blocks away.
"Rabbit stopped. Repeat, Rabbit stopped inside Palo's," Eclipse reported. "Standing about in clothing area, pretending to look at merchandise. Now entering dressing room with a blue and white baseball jersey and matching cap."
"He's going to change and try to lose us," Meredith said to Robertson. Into the radio she snapped, "Hounds One and Two, break off rabbit trail. Repeat, break off. Drive a block away and park somewhere. Double back toward Palo's on foot. Copy?"
Both "hounds" copied her instructions and "Condor" took his cue to leave his perch and fly up and over the sporting goods store. He hovered directly above, knowing no one would see him up there, even though it was still daylight, though it was already heading toward dusk. The sky was overcast enough that no one wanted to be standing around or looking at the sky.
Eclipse observed the movements of their "rabbit" as he entered a stall in the dressing room and changed out of his old shirt and into the new one, placing the hat on his head and pulling it down low on his forehead. He ripped the security tag off the shirt, not caring that he also ripped the shirt in the process. He hadn't purchased it, so he didn't care if he had to throw it away soon, as long as it served his purpose. As he opened the door of his stall and started to exit, another man, this one larger and more muscular by far than Bunso, rushed toward him, pressing against Bunso's chest and pushing him back into the stall.
"What the fu..?" Bunso began, but a slap across his mouth drew blood and he stopped speaking. He knew who this guy was and knew he wasn't playing games. Then a gun came out and was shoved under Bunso's chin so it pushed into the fleshy part of his throat and up under his jaw line.
"CK ain't happy you ratted him out," the man breathed his words with a low rasp that sounded as though he was scraping rough slate with an old rusty spike.
"But I..." Bunso tried to say, but finding his breath completely cut off as the gun pressed against his wind-pipe. A rough rattle issued forth from between his lips as he tried senselessly to breathe.
"Hope you're a praying man, jacka..." The hood's threat never finished due to the fact that the door to the stall burst inward and an unseen force slammed the hood against the inside wall at the same time as the gun in his hand was crushed into useless junk along with the man's fingers.
Bunso fell away from his captor, clutching at his throat and gagging and coughing, his throat wheezed as he sucked in air. He fell onto the floor face-down on his knees and felt as though he would lose his guts. Then he got his breathing back under control and stood on wobbly knees. He turned around and was horrified to see the man who had man-handled him sprawled unconscious on the floor at his feet, his hand crushed and bleeding, but no sign of the gun he'd almost killed Bunso with. He wasn't certain if the man was alive or dead and he decided he wasn't checking to find out.
The "rabbit" decided not to stick around while he tried to make sense of what had happened. He decided to "rabbit" out the front door of the store, ignoring the frantic shouts from a clerk to stop, the employee recognizing their store-brand merchandise and knowing it hadn't been paid for. He turned left and ran as fast and far as his legs would take him, which was slightly less than eight blocks before his lungs gave out. Gasping and wheezing he staggered and fell against a mailbox, almost lying across the top of the storage container.
High in the air a dark figure kept pace with Rabbit, hovering out of sight when the target slumped across the mail box.
"Rabbit taking forced breather on Eastern Drive between Seventh and Eighth," Eclipse reported back to the FBI, meaning his wife.
"How could he have been so stupid?" Robertson thundered, his hands slapping onto the steering wheel as he made a turn that would take them closer to their prey. "Someone of interest to our prey could've seen him enter that store and take out that hood."
Meredith shook her head at her partner's ranting. Why he hated Supers so much was beyond her and with him mindlessly and constantly hurling vulgar epithets at her husband while he drove she wondered if she shouldn't ask for a different partner as soon as this investigation was completed.
"He obviously knew exactly what he was doing," she spoke up in Eclipse's decision to take out the hood who had obviously been ordered to make a hit on their rabbit. "No one saw him enter or exit and he saved Rabbit from being killed. Why don't you try cutting him some slack and grow up?"
Robertson's eyes flared as much as his nostrils as he turned them on the agent seated beside him. For a brief moment she feared for her life, but then the ire in his eyes died down and his features relaxed.
"Sorry," he barely mumbled, slamming his breaks to avoid rear-ending the car in front of them. A horn behind him blared and he almost flipped the driver the bird before remembering who he was and what agency he worked for. He placed his hand back on the steering wheel and gripped it tightly. Meredith watched his knuckles turn white from the excessive pressure.
"Light's green, now," she spoke soothingly, trying not to enflame anymore outbursts from him. Without looking her way Robertson carefully sped up and made the next right turn, heading down toward the end of the block before pulling over into an empty space another car had just vacated.
"Look, Meredith..." he began, turning slightly in his seat to face her. "I know I shouldn't..."
"Evan," she stared at him, trying hard not to speak in an inflammatory tone, "I don't know what's going on inside your skull and it's none of my business. All I care about is keeping tabs on our rabbit and making an arrest on this new self-styled kingpin. You want to rant and make a total ass out of yourself over someone who never did anything to you and is doing his best to help us out, that's between you and your shrink. Can we just get back to our assignment?"
So much for not speaking in inflammatory tones, she mentally kicked herself.
Robertson pulled back into traffic and headed toward Eastern. He remained silent the rest of the way.