Kickers, Inc. Issue Guide #4
May the Best Sport Win
This episode in the lives of Kickers, Inc. begins with the team looking over various Kickers investment opportunities - all of which happen to be shameless scams. Discarding the lot of them, the team is stunned to get a singing telegram from the owner of the Smashers, one Christine Chase, who is holding something of a press conference about the future of the team.
Of course, being obsessed with her high society lifestyle, Christie, or C.C. as she likes to be called, doesn't bother to be on time for the thing; instead, she settles in for a tennis game against her best friend, and betting on the outcome with her, manages to win a cool $50,000. However, she receives a subpoena soon thereafter, one sent because she hadn't paid off her extreme gambling debts yet.
Meanwhile, having waited over a half hour for the lady to show up, the Smashers find that the reporters waiting for C.C. to show up have gotten rather uppity, with one Arnie Beaker being particularly acidic. After throwing several nasty questions at Jack regarding his 'drug problem', Brick Wall prepared to throw Beaker out of the conference, but C.C. showed up at just that time.
She then announced that she was selling the Smashers to a group of Los Angeles investors, who planned on moving the team out west. This caused quite a ruckus from the assembled press in the room, though C.C. blew them off like they were beneath her, being so obsessed with her 'blue blood' status and the like. She then left abruptly, leaving everyone in the room stunned by her news.
That next week, at a banquet honoring the owners of various football teams, a crazed Smashers fan tried to kill C.C. with a old, rusty looking knife for her plans to sell the team, though Jack, having been invited as the Smashers' star quarterback, managed to save her life. When C.C. asked what she could do to thank him, Jack simply asked her to explain why she was selling the team off.
She then invited him to her home the next day, so she could do so. Though he was suspicious about her aims, Jack nonetheless showed up, only to find out that she was selling the Smashers to settle her excessive gambling debts. That, of course, was when C.C.'s gigolo, Len Dawson, offered a wager between Jack and C.C. to determine the ultimate fate of the Smashers - a wager over a tennis game!
Jack didn't like the idea, as he'd never played tennis before, but if he won, C.C. would keep the Smashers where they are. He grew to further dislike this idea when, after C.C. left, Len told Jack that he'd lose his job if he didn't throw the game. However, Jack decided that he owed the fans this victory, even if it cost him his job - his very career, even! As such, Jack agreed to the wager.
As such, when the game was on, on cable television no less, Jack gave the game his all, having been practicing with Darlene over the last week. Though he was far less skilled than C.C. in tennis, his 'edge' more than made up for the difference in training, and giving the game his all, Jack managed to royally trounce the blue-blood snob at her own game, humiliating her on national television.
Of course, after ditching Len for offering the silly idea, C.C. then fired Jack from the Smashers once he left the stadium where the tennis game took place. She'd decided to get even with the man no matter what it took, you see, and was planning on ruining his life. She even pulled up to his house in her limo to watch his face upon reading that 'you're fired' telegram... she's that nasty...
After an experimental F-20 aircraft crashes in the waters of San Leandro, a small Caribbean isle, the CIA has to act fast in order to find the craft before it can be salvaged by... unfriendly nations. However, they need to do so in a way that keeps their hands clean, and in a way that won't waste any of their highly trained operatives. As such, they decided to use Kickers, Inc. to do their dirty work.
As such, after they concoct a story about the pilots of the plane being simple importers of Caribbean folk art items, they have one of the pilots wives - one Barbara Diaz - play along in order to get the Kickers to help them out. Falling for the story, as well as the weeping wife of one of the missing pilots, the Kickers decide to help the lady out, even if it means they have to go into a hostile foreign nation to do so.
Of course, knowing how dangerous it would be, Jack told the rest of the team he was going alone - he was the only one with super powers, after all. The other Kickers wouldn't have any of that, however, and insisted on going along. Jack saw how things were going, so he agreed to let them come, though he made them promise to stay on the airplane for the duration of the trip. That went over swimmingly, as well.
So, knowing that they were going into exceptionally dangerous action, and that they weren't going to keep that promise to Jack about staying on the plane, the non-paranormal Kickers put on Kevlar vests under their team uniforms. On top of that, they acquired special stun rods for use on the island - they weren't about killing folks, after all, so they wanted a non-lethal means to take down any would-be foes.
All except for Suicide, of course, who didn't trust the 'wimpy' devices, and used his underworld contacts to acquire a fully loaded Uzi 9mm hand cannon. He didn't tell the others about this weapon, though, and snuck it on to the plane to San Leandro. Regardless, after the Kickers' plane got to the small island, Jack hopped off and quickly managed to locate the missing pilots.
When their interrogators were out of the room, Jack broke through the barred windows with his enhanced strength, collected the airmen, and split. Once it was discovered that their prisoners were gone, however, the military men in charge of their captivity went looking for 'em - and it just happened that the other Kickers landed on the beaches of San Leandro at that exact point in time.
Within minutes, the team had been captured, with Suicide taking several shots in the process; luckily, his Kevlar vest saved his life, even if it did smash up his ribs. Shortly thereafter, Jack realized that his well-meaning teammates had been caught, and devised a plan to rescue them. Breaking into the small military camp's medicine cabinet, he took a lot of tranquilizers and put them in the water supply.
Most of the men on the base fell victim to his ploy, making it much easier for Jack to break in and save his pals. He did so easily enough, though ultimately escaping their foes meant Jack had to fire at the men - when he did, with a stolen gun, he only shot at their legs. However, he still felt rotten about the whole deal, even if he did manage to save the rest of Kickers, Inc. from an ugly demise.
Matters got worse when, after the team started for their plane, they were assaulted by a boat full of San Leandro men. Seeing Darlene in mortal peril, especially after the locals shot their own pilot, Jack opened fire on the guys, filling them and their boat full of lead. This especially mortified the man, though he got his act together enough to get moving, and get those rescued pilots on his own craft.
They started to take off, but another boat showed up to menace the Americans. However, the Kickers and their rescued pilots - who wound up saving their own bacon in turn - made it to safety at last... though not before Jack spied the crashed F-20 plane in the bay below him. That was when the man put two and two together at last... and he was less than thrilled about the whole thing.
Later, after being debriefed at the Pentagon, Jack was forced to reveal the location of the plane to the CIA, even if he was rather unhappy about it, what with his being used to locate the thing and all. However, Jack made it clear that he wasn't amused, and that he and the Kickers wouldn't put up with such trickery in the future. Little did he know, though, that other CIA folks were looking into his life...
In ? We Trust
This tale begins with Jack throwing an angry game of darts at home, with Darlene trying to talk to him about the disastrous events of last issue. Jack was too mad to think about it, though, and didn't want to talk about it. In fact, he's so adamant about it that Darlene had to hop right in front of his field of vision, which almost got her a dart in the head for her troubles. This just made Jack angrier, though.
After he stalked off in a huff, we cut to the Kickers, Inc. headquarters, where we find one Benigno Feliciano, the new janitor, who seems to be rather jumpy when he's spotted by Brick Wall in Jack's office. It seems that he was just dropping off a ball for Jack, a gift from his son, but Brick Wall thought his sudden jumpiness - as compared to his usual behavior - was kind of odd.
This feeling of wrongness was amplified when Benigno freaked out upon discovering that Brick Wall'd signed a supply invoice for the company he worked for, Saniserve. Thinking a mystery to be afoot, he started following the man, though from a discreet distance, and was present when Benigno accidentally ran over Suicide, who was still nursing his wounds from San Leandro, with his trash cart.
In the wreckage that ensued, several packages of cocaine were splayed about the floor, packages that Brick Wall discovered as Benigno helped Suicide deal with his suddenly amplified chest pains. Thinking it time for a serious talk, Brick Wall dragged Benigno (and Suicide, once he could walk again) into his office. There, he heard Benigno explain why he was doing this dark deed.
You see, he had been forced to flee, with his family, from his country as it fell to disrepair at the hands of a vile dictator. Making his way to America on a ship of ill repute, he and his family were then forced into virtual slavery at the hands of the guys who brought him here. Benigno's specific job was to transport drugs for the thugs holding his family, under the guise of their Saniserve cover company.
Vowing to end this now, Brick Wall and Suicide told Benigno they'd free his family that night, and called Jack to let him in on the plan. They only got Darlene, however, who went along with the plan, and left for the Kickers, Inc. Building right away. The problem was that the duo had to allow the scheduled pickup of the cocaine to proceed as planned, so the thugs holding Benigno's family wouldn't know what was up.
As this occurred, Jack showed up at the building, and Brick Wall tried to explain the situation. This just set Jack off, who was having problems trusting anybody lately, and he went berserk. Brick Wall and Suicide tried to stop him, but he flattened his pals in the process, and then locked them in an office while he went after the guy in the garbage truck who was picking up the coke.
He tried to catch the guy, but he drove off too fast. However, Jack did manage to pull up a cement abutment and disable the truck by throwing the thing into its tire. This, though, caused the thing to careen out of control, and it almost hit a minivan full of people. Seeing this as she arrived on the scene, Darlene used her own vehicle to deflect the garbage truck from the van, jumping out at the last minute.
Before Jack could catch her or the others, who'd since got out of the office Jack locked them in, the police showed up to question him. Seeing his wife and friends drive off with a man he felt was going to set them up, Jack then ran after, leaving the cops in a daze. He lost them in traffic, however, and the two football players went to Benigno's apartment to grab his family before the goons got to them.
They got there at the same time as Manny 'the Boss' Scampetti, though, him being the low-life that was running that immigrant slavery operation. Brick Wall and Suicide tried to fight their way out, but they only took out half of the goons on them before they were in turn beaten. Luckily, though, they were saved by Jack at the last minute, who was finally brought around by a desperate speech by Darlene.
In the end, these four Kickers managed to bring down Scampetti's ring of unspeakable crime, and at the same time made the lives of a whole lot of people much better. Furthermore, the bizarre rent in their friendships that had occurred as a result of their previous mission seemed to have been repaired, leaving Kickers, Inc. ready for action once again - having reaffirmed their mission to help others in need!
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