A tall, weary man entered his apartment in downtown Ushundi, capitol city of his land, his country, Bandari. The man was Akube Mahatu, and he hadn't set foot in his home in days. Between his duties as leader and his duties as defender, there seemed not enough hours in the day to do anything. However, at long last, an opportunity for rest had arisen, and he walked into the living room of his pristine, but modest abode. He walked up to the wall of windows and looked out over the city. Buildings, none older than ten years, stood shoulder to shoulder for miles. The unending ant lines formed by the cars below showed that his people were bustling, thriving despite the suffering they had each known in the years prior to the country's founding. Although Akube's eyes had grown accustomed only to filth, he could not deny the beauty of it. Unfortunately, his eyes were too heavy to observe beauty for a moment longer. He kicked off his shoes, flung aside his hat and his glasses, and dropped onto the couch, immediately falling asleep.
Akube's eyes shot open as the telephone hammered in his ears. He set his feet on the floor, cursing silently as he forced himself across the room to the kitchen pass-through where he had left his phone. "Yes?" he said, putting the phone to his ear, wiping his eyes.
"Akube..." began the familiar voice of Amala, his trusted adviser of the last six years. It had taken her some time to grow comfortable calling him by his first name, but he convinced her that if they were to improve Bandari together, they may as well become friends. Of course, as a member of his inner circle, she not only served as his political adviser, but shared in his double life.
"What is it, Amala?" The tiredness in his voice fell away and he grew serious. Akube could tell by the slightest change in her tone that something was wrong.
"It's Twahana..." she answered.
"What about Twahana? What happened to him, Amala?"
Akube's eyes went bloodshot as he heard her reply, "He... he's dead. He was in New York for a U.N. summit. They found him in his hotel room, hacked to pieces."
"How long ago?" he asked sharply.
Amala quickly replied, "We received the call forty-five minutes ago. His room number is 1422."
"I'm on my way." Akube hung up and glanced at the clock. He had only gotten an hour of sleep. No matter now. He walked back through the living room, down the hall, and into his bed room. He flung open the top cabinet of his wardrobe. Hung up, as if on display, was his uniform. The black mask and shirt were coupled together, gray gloves and boots laid out, and the interior of the two cabinet doors was covered in an arsenal of equipment.
He had quickly changed into the lower half of his uniform, and pressed something built into his belt, a section of which began slowly blinking. Soon, he pulled his shirt, armored and bulletproof, over his head, and put on his gloves. Now, only the mask remained, and he slipped it on, completely immersing himself in the darkness. He ran out to the living room, and hit a switch on the wall, which caused one of the windows to automatically raise open. He charged forward and dove through, embraced by the cold night air.
As Akube fell towards the ground, he was caught by a silvery blur and carried up into the sky, high above the reach of the Ushundi skyline. He twisted the throttle of his hover cycle and raced at breakneck speed, defiant against the wind as he raced off across the sea, towards New York.
NEW YORK CITY
Akube had raced the sun across the Atlantic, and it was barely over an hour until daybreak. The leader of Bandari looked down at the restless city streets. In many ways, they reminded him of Ushundi, and yet, they were equally alien to him. He had flown just over the water to avoid radar detection, and his craft flew quiet enough that he went unnoticed flying over the city. He came to a halt outside the window of the hotel room, scene of a horrendous murder, one which he intended to rectify. Although dawn was approaching, it felt still like the dead of night, and Akube moved with the appropriate level of stealth. With a precise flick of his wrist, the small claws shot from the fingertips of his gloves, and he carefully sliced a hole in the window. He reached through the hole, opened the window from the inside, and jumped in, landing silently on the carpet. He crept inward, noticing the mark of a bloody hand sliding across the wall. The blood had already turned brown, but it was nonetheless an ugly sight, and it was only the beginning. As he emerged from the hallway and into the main section of the room, he saw blood splattered all across the floor, the bed, the television, and the wall. There was a white outline of a body in the middle of the floor, although the hand was outlined on the bed, and the head was outlined about a foot away from the body. Numbered cards were carefully laid out across the room to mark the crime scene, and the door had been covered on both sides in police tape.
Akube lay his hand down in the center of the outline where Twahana had died, and whispered, "I am sorry, old friend. I am so sorry." His words were followed by a moment of silence, and he bowed his head. However, his solemnity was broken as his nostril flinched beneath his mask. A peculiar scent filled the air, not one of blood or gore or misery, but of... spray paint. Fresh spray paint was in the air, and Akube looked up to see, written on the ceiling in black, still wet paint, one simple word, "GOTCHA!"