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THE DARK AVENGER
THE DARK AVENGER
Henry Himms
Cost Characteristic Value Roll Notes
10 STR 20 13- Lift: 400.0kg; HTH: 4d6; END: [2]
48 DEX 26 14- OCV: 9  DCV: 9
20 CON 20 13-
16 BODY 18 13-
3 INT 13 12- PER Roll: 15-
8 EGO 14 12- ECV: 5; Mental Defense: 0
5 PRE 15 12- PRE Attack: 3d6
2 COM 14 12-
9 PD 13   Total: 13 PD (0 rPD)
8 ED 12   Total: 12 ED (0 rED)
14 SPD 5   Phases: 3, 5, 8, 10, 12
8 REC 12   Running: 6" / 12"
0 END 40   Swimming: 2" / 4"
11 STUN 49  
 
The Dark Avenger | Summary
Real Name: Henry Himms Hair Color: Brown
Concept: Martial Artist Eye Color: Brown
Affiliation: Motown Madness Height & Weight: 6' 1" (1.86 m) / 198 lbs (90.00 kg)
Played By: Jason Bennett Nationality: American
Created By: Jason Bennett Place of Birth: Berlin, Germany
GM: KL Wilson Date of Birth: Unrevealed
Cost Powers END
15 Baton: Multipower, 30-point reserve, (30 Active Points); all slots OAF (Baton; -1)
1u 1) Baton Extension: Stretching 3" (15 Active Points); OAF (Baton; -1), No Noncombat Stretching (-1/4), Always Direct (-1/4), No Fine Manipulation (-1/4) 1
1u 2) Heavy Impact: Hand-To-Hand Attack +4d6 (20 Active Points); OAF (Baton; -1), Hand-To-Hand Attack (-1/2) 2
1u 3) Knocking Them Out Of The Air: Missile Deflection (Arrows, Slings, Etc.) (10 Active Points); OAF (Baton; -1) 0
1u 4) Pole Vaulting: Leaping +10" (14" forward, 7" upward) (10 Active Points); OAF (Baton; -1) 1
1u 5) Swinging: Swinging 10" (10 Active Points); OAF (Baton; -1) 1
 
14 Healing: Healing 2 BODY, Reduced Endurance (0 END; +1/2), Persistent (+1/2) (40 Active Points); Extra Time (Regeneration-Only) 1 Turn (Post-Segment 12) (-1 1/4), Self Only (-1/2) 0
9 Heightened Senses: +3 PER with all Sense Groups 0
5 Heightened Senses: Nightvision 0
10 Heightened Senses: Targeting with Normal Hearing 0
5 Heightened Senses: Discriminatory with Normal Smell 0
1 Long Life: Life Support (Longevity: 200 Years) 0
     
Cost Talents
6 Combat Luck (3 PD/3 ED)
1 Environmental Movement (No Penalties On Slippery Surfaces)
3 Lightning Reflexes: +2 DEX to act first with All Actions
   
Cost Perquisites
3 Contact: Mickey O'Rourke )Fence) (Contact has significant Contacts of his own) 11-
2 Fringe Benefit: Local Police Powers
   
Cost Martial Arts
Maneuver Phase OCV DCV Notes
29 Street Brawling
Block 1/2 +2 +2 Block, Abort
Dodge 1/2 -- +5 Dodge, Affects All Attacks, Abort
Disarm 1/2 -1 +1 Disarm; 30 STR to Disarm
Escape 1/2 +0 +0 35 STR vs. Grabs
Kick/Knee Strike 1/2 -2 +1 8d6 Strike
Punch 1/2 +0 +2 6d6 Strike
Tripping/Hipthrow 1/2 +2 -1 5d6 Strike, Target Falls
Weapon Element: Clubs
   
Cost Skills
5 +1 with Intelligence Skills
3 Acrobatics 14-
4 AK: Detroit, Michigan 13-
3 Breakfall 14-
3 Concealment 12-
5 Deduction 13-
5 Defense Maneuver I-II
0 Everyman Skills (Cost: 0 Points)
Language: German (idiomatic) (4 Active Points)
AK: Berlin, Germany 11-
Acting 8-
Climbing 8-
Concealment 8-
Conversation 8-
Deduction 8-
PS: Chess Player 11-
Paramedics 8-
Persuasion 8-
Shadowing 8-
Stealth 8-
TF: Custom Adder, Small Motorized Ground Vehicles
3 Interrogation 12-
3 KS: Detective Novels 12-
3 KS: Judaism 12-
3 KS: Music 12-
3 KS: Detroit Underworld 12-
3 KS: Organized Crime 12-
4 Language: English (Idiomatic)
3 Lockpicking 14-
4 PS: Chess 13-
4 PS: Police Detective 13-
5 Rapid Attack (HTH)
3 Security Systems 12-
5 Shadowing 13-
3 Stealth 14-
3 Streetwise 12-
   
175+ Disadvantages
15 Dependent NPC: Margaret Kincaid 8- (Incompetent)
10 Hunted: Jeremiah Vandyne 8- (As Pow, Harshly Punish)
20 Hunted: Leoni Crime Family 8- (Mo Pow, NCI, Harshly Punish)
10 Physical Limitation: Subject To Orders of Police Superiors (Frequently, Slightly Impairing)
15 Physical Limitation: Weird Biochemistry Requires Special Medical Care (Frequently, Greatly Impairing)
15 Psychological Limitation: Reluctant To Kill (Common, Strong)
25 Psychological Limitation: Devoted to Justice (Very Common, Total)
15 Psychological Limitation: Doesn't Scare Easily (Common, Strong)
10 Psychological Limitation: Strongly Jewish (Common, Moderate)
10 Reputation: Man of Justice, 11-
5 Social Limitation: Attends Services Every Friday Night/Saturday Morning (Occasionally, Minor)
10 Social Limitation: Incorrupt in a Department of the Corrupt (Occasionally, Major)
15 Social Limitation: Secret Identity (Henry Himms, Police Detective) (Frequently, Major)
   
The Dark Avenger | Points Summary
Characteristics Cost: 162 Base Points: 175
Powers Cost: 64 Disadvantages: 175
Talents Cost: 10 Total Experience: 0
Perks Cost: 5 Spent Experience: 0
Martial Arts Cost: 29 Unspent Experience: 0
Skills Cost: 80 Total Points: 350
Background

Present Day: Detective Seargent Henry Himms pursed his lips thoughtfully, considering the police report before. It concerned a rather savage murder, savage even by the standards of Detroit. A young woman of indeterminate race, approximately nineteen years of age, had been found naked, bound, and gagged, in the wharehouse district. The beat cops who'd found her, Patrolmen Gregory Mulroony and Robert Harch, had noted in their report a bloody pipe found near the victim and marks which indicated a beating with such a weapon. Himms, who'd seen what was left of the young woman, privately agreed but officially was waiting for the medical examiner's report. He was also waiting for confirmation of another hypothesis of his. Upon arriving at the scene, Henry had detected the unmistakable odors of beer and cigarettes. And not just any beer and cigarettes, but good strong German beer and cigarettes. His powerful and sensitive olfactory senses often detected scents too faint for most people. He didn't really doubt his nose but strongly hoped he was wrong. He didn't know the brand of cigarette but did know he'd only smelled it once before . . .

January 2, 1939: Hyrem Himmelberg AKA Night Ranger moved easily through the night, using his swing line as needed or just jumping from roof to roof. His patrol had no pattern, following his whim, as it had for the last three years. He sought the innocent in danger, the weak in peril. He sought the thugs and killers who preyed on them. He searched not just with his eyes but with his ultra-keen senses: the whisper of blood, the reek of gunpowder, the stench of fear, the cry of pain, the whimper of agony. Sadly, he almost never failed to find what he sought.

As if on cue, "Aieee. Help me, someone!" A man's voice, high-pitched with fear and faint enough to be several blocks away. Turning on a dime, surefooted even in the snow-covered muck and ice coating the City's rooftops, Night Ranger bounded in the direction of the scream. Soon he looked down into an alley linking 117th with 118th. An all too common sight greeted him: a well dressed man of perhaps forty, his blue fedora askew, being menaced by two youths, one wearing an old navy peacoat, the other in red. Light from a street lamp glinted evilly off their knives. They toyed with their victim, taking sick pleasure in his fear. Well, that would end. Now.

"Leave him be, ruffians." Night Ranger's powerful, commanding voice boomed out. The youths turned and looked up, faces easily discernable to his eyes. Young, no more than twenty, white, poor, surprised and scared. No more than twenty but Hyrem could see the City had already beat age into them. Pity welled in his heart. Maybe they could be redeemed.

"It's the Ranger. Blimey!" The one in red, on Hyrem's right. His Irish accent clear and tinged with fear. He turned back to the man in the fedora and Night Ranger moved. With cat-like grace he leapt down, arms striking as he landed. Peacoat-boy hadn't so much as blinked once he'd seen Night Ranger and was easily disarmed, the force of the blow knocking him back against the wall. Red-boy, his back to the Ranger, took the blow there and fell to his knees. With lightning quickness, Night Ranger snatched his blade away, snapping it with casual ease and tossing the pieces away. The boys staggered to their feet, eyes wide, limbs trembling. Grabbing each by the front of their coats, Night Ranger lifted them easily againt the wall, opposite their recent victim.

"Look at that man. Did he do anything to you?" He held their eyes until they shook their heads, unable to speak. "Didn't think so. Now, you boys run, and I mean run, to the nearest precinct, over on 116th, next to Nim's Pub, and tell ‘em what you did. I will know if you do not." They nodded. He lowered them to the ground. They ran off in the direction of the station. Their scents told him they would comply.

Night Ranger turned to the man with the fedora. The hat in question was just being restored to its proper position. Night Ranger took a breath, drawing the man's scent in. Strangely, there was no fear in it. Expectation, excitement, a very strong cigarette smell, but no fear, not even residual. "Why weren't you afraid? What are you playing at?" The Ranger's voice had an edge.

"Playing, Night Ranger? I'm not playing." The man gave Night Ranger a long, piercing look, clearing studying and evaluating the hero. As he did so, he pulled out a pack of cigarettes and lit one. Hyrem caught a glimpse of German words but couldn't tell the brand. "My name is Jeremiah Van Dyne. Dr. Nefarious sent me to find you."

Dr. Nefarious . . .

February 18, 1912: Hyrem kept his head down against the biting wind that morning. He didn't mind the cold--it was always cold in Berlin in February--but he did mind the wind. Suddenly his forward motion became backward motion as first his lowered head and then his chest bounced off someone. Staggering to a stop, Hyrem looked up, and froze in terror.

It was . . . Hyrem couldn't ever remember seeing the tall, dark haired man with the hook nose who stood before him. But he was still frozen with terror.

"Guten Morgen, Hyrem." The voice spoke with gentleness and cultured education. The voice of teacher. The face smiled with genuine pleasure. "So, you survived. When you first ‘left' me, I did not think you would survive another week. Now, here you are, six years later. ?berraschen." The man's hand snatched at Hyrem suddenly, grasping for his throat. Instinctively, Hyrem blocked, his hand a blur of motion. The man didn't let out a sound at the impact, but momentarily cradled his arm. "Fantastisch. Such speed and strength and still only twelve."

Hyrem's stunned gaze move back and forth between the man and his own arm, staring at both like he'd never seen either before. "Who . . ." he whispered.

Another smile. "Selbstverst?ndlich. You would not remember me. You were young and only saw my face twice and the trauma of the procedures--no, no reason you should remember me. I am Doktor Sch?ndlich. Doktor Nefarious, if you prefer."

Hyrem reeled, mentally and physically, clutching at the building next to him for support. The world in front of him went black and a new one, or rather and old one, took its place...

May 25, 1906: Hyrem walked home, the meat and bread for the night's shabbos dinner cradled against his chest. The food was not particularly important to him, at least not personally (at six years of age, he didn't appreciate the value of food to family like his), but it was important to his parents and he loved them. And so he cradled it. But he did it mechanically just as he walked home mechanically, his feet taking a path well known. He was six, with the carefree attitude of the happy, well-loved child.

He never saw the man who grabbed him. Just a big hand clamping a smelly cloth to his face. He never saw the horse and buggy into which he was taken, sleep having claimed him by then. He never saw the food spill to the ground, or the predatory manner in which his fellow pedestrians grabbed it up but ignored his kidnapping.

Hyrem woke in a small room, well lit by gas lamps. He lay on a bed, small but comfortable and clean. Looking around, the first edges of fear beginning to tighten his mind, Hyrem saw that everything was clean, very clean in fact. The floor, the walls, the small table and chair on the opposite wall. Even the door was clean, and well polished. Not just clean but quiet, so quiet in fact he could hear his own breathing.

"Hello?" He called, just to hear his own voice. Fear gripped him tightly and part of him did not expect or want a reply, but he got one. The door opened and tall, dark haired man with a hook nose and a kindly expression walked in. He closed the door gently behind him and sat in the chair.

"Guten Morgen. I am Doktor Sch?ndlich, your host." He offered Hyrem a piece of candy from his pocket. "What is your name?"

Hyrem hesitated a moment before taking the candy, strawberry flavored and hard, to be sucked on. "Hyrem," he replied in a small and frightened voice.

Doktor Sch?ndlich face fell a little hearing the fear. "I see you are frightened and, for that, I am sorry. You probably will not understand but, please, believe me when I say that humanity will benefit from the things I will learn with you. That will bring you little comfort, I know, but it is all I can offer. That and the truth. I've always believed that even children do better when given the truth. I am a doktor, a scientist. I wish to help my fellow humans by improving them,

making them stronger and faster, making them heal better and live longer. When I succeed, there will be no more need for people to fight, to kill each other, because we will have lost, as a people, our unreasoning fear of death. I do not propose to conquer death," the Doktor paused here, seeing confusion of Hyrem's face.

"Let me say it this way. We humans fight out of greed, I have what you want, you have what I want." Now there was comprehension on Hyrem's face. "Everything that lives wants to keep on living, even tiny insects. You've seen that, have you not?" Hyrem had seen that and nodded. "Our greed, the greed of humans, is part of that struggle to live. ‘If I just have enough, I will live, I will survive.' That is greed. When our bodies will help us live, instead of helping us die, we won't need to fear death. It will come, in time, but naturally, not from violence or disease. This won't end war, at first, but the desire to fight will slowly go away, Hyrem." The light of conviction shown in the Doktor's eyes. "No one will want to fight and die when they can live a long and happy life by doing nothing more than breathing.

"I have learned much, Hyrem, by studying and experimenting on animals. But now I must test my theories on humans, to see how they respond to my treatments, my serums. I chose you as my first subject since you seemed both happy and well-nourished." The Doktor paused and Hyrem's fear spiked. Doktor Sch?ndlich continued, "There will be pain for you, Hyrem, and I do not think you will survive the treatments. You are the first, so I know the least. For your own sake, do not fight. You are young and weak and will only cause yourself pain, for I have strong men working for me." He stood and moved to the door. He paused there and then turned, offering Hyrem several pieces of candy but Hyrem made no move to take them. With a sigh, the Doktor left them on the table. "Your treatments begin in the morning, Hyrem." And he was gone, the door closed and locked behind him.

Hyrem spent a long, tear-filled night, calling for his mother, his father, anyone. No one came... until the morning. The door opened and two large men walked in ahead of Doktor Sch?ndlich. Despite the man's warning from the previous day, Hyrem did fight. He kicked and screamed, scratched and clawed. It was no use. The men were strong and he did only cause himself pain.

They subdued him quickly.

"Bring him," the Doktor said shortly. They took Hyrem to a large, white room. With dispassionate efficiency the men strapped Hyrem to a table and removed his clothing. Doktor Sch?ndlich stood over him. "I am sorry, Hyrem." Hyrem felt a prick on his arm, then pain, then nothing...

Night Ranger came back to himself. Even now he could remember nothing after that pain until he woke, wrapped in a blanket, huddling in a corner of the family's shule, a worried and anxious Rabbi Meyer asking if he was OK. Two weeks had passed since his abduction, two weeks lost to him but for a confusing blur of images and sounds. His parents, grateful for his return, did not push him too hard to remember that time which turned out to be a blessing for it allowed his young mind to place the incident squarely in the past. Until now.

"You remember, I see." Not a question. "The good Doctor was sure you would. Allow me to explain. I am the Doctor's second successful subject. He took me from the streets of Amsterdam. After your escape, which amazed the Doctor, he experimented on twenty-seven others before me. They all died, most within two weeks. None survived, though the treatment did make most stronger and faster. Then came me. We have something in common, Night Ranger. We refuse to give up, we're stubborn. Nothing of significance links us physically, according to the Doctor. At least nothing prior to the treatment. Now, though, of course, we are very alike. Strong, fast, incredible healing, wonderful senses. Yes, we are quite similar now. Physically."

Unconsiously, Hyrem nodded. And again memory pulled him back. As long as he could remember, he'd been quicker and stronger than anyone else. When the family had moved to America in 1915 (and having their last name changed to Himmelberg at Ellis Island), Hyrem's father began working for the War Department and the rest of the family moved to Brooklyn to live with Aunt Bertha and Uncle Bernard. Hyrem had always been proud of his Jewish heritage. This pride, when combined with the anti-Semitism then present in America and with Hyrem's abilities, soon placed the young man at one end of the spectrum and large gangs of bored, non-Jewish teenage boys at the other. While most had no real animosity towards Jews, the conflict of culture inevitably developed. Unlike many Jews, inculcated against resistance by centuries of appeasement, Hyrem did not back down and, since he was both quicker and stronger than just about anyone else, the troublemakers soon learned to avoid his neighborhood.

These first experiences in America gave Hyrem an understanding of and love for the American ideals of liberty and justice for all and he determined to do his part to bring them to all. Hyrem had enjoyed detective novels as a child in Berlin. At first he read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes. However, while Holmes' clear, analytical mind and attention to detail impressed Hyrem, as he grew older he could not relate to Holmes' refined manner. The detective stories of Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Allan Vaughan Elston, and Milton M. Propper, discovered in America, offered the youth other heroes.

Hyrem began a detective agency, H. H. Detectives. As his reputation grew, he came into increasing contact with organized crime. As he did so, Hyrem's physical abilities came into their own. He began to move about more and more at night, finding as he did so that he had the eyes of cat, the nose of a hound, and the ears of a bat. He used his growing abilities to move through the night, a dark shadow, searching for young children kidnapped for prostitution, jewelry stolen for sale, murderers hiding from justice. The papers dubbed him Night Ranger. He accepted the name and claimed it for himself. He would bring justice and liberty to all.

"Why are you here, Mr. Van Dyne?" The edge remained.

"To answer, let me be clear. I said Doktor Sch?ndlich sent me. He didn't. He told me about you, how he deduced that Night Ranger was his very first subject, though he never divulged your real name. Now, Ranger, I work for the German government. I'm unique, for them. A skilled operative, quick and strong, able to take bullet blasts and knife thrusts, and keep on going. Since I'm unique, I command a high price. But Doktor Sch?ndlich could always make more of me and then what would my price be, hmm? So I killed him. Now, there is only me . . . and you."

That was all the warning Night Ranger had, and all he needed. The blade appeared suddenly in Vandyne's hand even as it was slashing at Hyrem's throat. Stepping inside the arc of the strike, Night Ranger took a minor slash across his back as he hammered a fist into Van Dyne's solar plexus. The man slumped and Night Ranger's legs flexed, his hands grabbing just so, and suddenly his opponent was flying through the air to land with a thud in the street. The knife skittered away. Van Dyne got groggily to his feet, shaking his head. He looked Hyrem in the eye, and smiled. Smiled. "You're better than I thought. I won't underestimate you again." He leapt to the attack.

The battle lasted several inconclusive minutes with blows and wounds being exchanged. It ranged over many blocks, winding up in the river wharf. It ended not with a bang but a whimper. Vandyne landed a savage kick to Night Ranger's face, staggering the hero. He reeled backward. Van Dyne sensed an opening and leapt upon the hero. But Night Ranger recovered quickly and caught his attacker mid-leap and, using the man's own momentum, hurled him so far that he sailed over a rail and into the river. There was a splash and then silence. Night Ranger ran to the railing and saw, already far down-river a head bobbing easily in the water. Faintly, over the sound of the rushing river, came the man's voice, "This isn't over, Ranger."

"I know it, Van Dyne," Hyrem said to himself. "I'll be waiting."

Present Day: Henry came back to himself and realized someone was talking to him, "Detective Himms? You OK?" Henry looked up to the concerned face of Patricia Treece, an assistant medical examiner. "Yes, sorry. Just thinking about the case." He noticed the folder in her hands. "Is that the ME's report?"

She nodded, "He wants you to call him after you read it." Henry nodded, "Thanks, Patty. See you later." She favored him with a sweet smile and left.

Hyrem opened the report and saw a note from the ME. "Henry, you were right. There was no beer in the woman's stomach but it had been poured over her head. It was a German beer, Oettinger specifically." Henry grunted and read the report through twice, examining the photograms for reference. The woman had indeed been beaten to death with the pipe and beaten slowly at that. First, her fingers had been pulped, rendering them useless for fingerprints. Then her face was destroyed and her teeth shattered. After that, the killer had beaten her limbs and torso. The exact cause of death was internal hemorging. Henry put the report aside and considered. The killer had wanted to send a message, that was clear. The slow beating might have been an act of hatred or vengeance but rendering her unidentifiable bespoke a clear thought pattern. He picked up the phone and called the ME.

"Hello?" The familiar voice of the medical examiner came over the phone.

"It's Henry. I read the report. Someone's sending a message to someone else."

"That's what I thought. Also, you noticed, I'm sure the burn marks in the photos." He barely waited for Henry's affirmation before continuing, "Cigarettes, of course. Enough was left behind to analyze. So far no match yet, but I'm confident we'll get something."

Henry nodded to himself. Cigarettes, of course. "Well, it was German beer. Try a German brand of cigarette." Van Dyne liked to smoke cigarettes, had developed a taste for a German brand. At least, that had been the case sixty years ago.

"Hey, that's a good idea. Thanks. Oh, and I do have a bit of good news, if that phrase could be applied to this case. I'm pretty sure I'll be able to get a positive ID on the vic." There was no mistaking the smugness in the ME's voice. Henry's had only incredulity, "What? How? Her face, teeth, her fingers, all pulverized."

"True, true, Henry, but not completely. Not all of her fingers were totally destroyed. None were whole, sure, but most had partial prints that could be taken after we cleaned them. I've done so and am running the results through our database, and the FBI's."

"That's brilliant, doc. That won't give us a perfect ID though, will it?" Still, even a lead would be good. A lead that could be attributed to something other than Henry Himm's senses.

"Nope, but it will narrow the list of candidates considerably. If she's in the system, I doubt you'll get more than ten hits back." Very smug indeed.

"Ten? That's it? That would great. Assuming she's in the system, of course. Still I can work with ten." And I still need to find Van Dyne.

"I thought you'd be pleased. Gotta run, Detective. I'll be in touch about the ID and the cigs." There was a click as he hung up. Henry replaced his receiver and decided it was time to eat as he felt a rumbling inside. His body healed at a prodigous rate but he still needed food. Ten minutes later he was ensconsed in his favorite Jewish delicatessan, a bowl of excellent chollent, tasty brown bread, and a mug of tea awaiting him. As he ate, Henry considered the case. More than sixty years might have passed but he still remembered the smell of Van Dyne's cigarrettes and the man's casual indifference to taking life. Henry could easily see the man as an enforcer for someone if paid well enough. However, of the local groups only the Leoni's had the resources to afford a man of Van Dyne's undeniable talents. After all, sixty-seven years hadn't caused any deterioration in Henry's abilities. Henry had often wondered what had happened to Van Dyne since that one, single battle they'd fought. Doubtless the man would have made good on his threat to return if not for the start of WWII. With the commencment of that bloody war, Van Dyne's German masters had undoubtedly given him many tasks.

Henry had seen his share of action, too much action. After the war, the private detective Hyrem Himmelberg AKA costumed hero Night Ranger had disappeared from the world, taking a succession of odd jobs as he'd traveled across the country, never staying long in one place. He'd travelled some, too, going back to Europe, to Africa, trying to lose himself in those places. It had never worked. For someone with his abilities and his parent-given sense of responsibility, trouble was always around the corner. He could no more turn his back on a person in need than he could stop breathing. Still Hyrem Himmelberg was dead, now. Henry Himms was all that remained, Detective Sergeant in the Detroit Police Department. Night Ranger, too, was dead. The Dark Avenger having taken his place.

Henry laughed at his own naivete. He'd actually thought he could be just a regular guy on the force, go to work, investigate his cases, go home to his dog and cat and his paralyzed friend. That had lasted thirteen months. Then had come the first case which needed the skills and abilities of Night Ranger. Henry had balked but the imagined pleas from the fourteen year-old girl, dragged into a van on the way home from school had proved too much. Out had come the costume, saved all these years. The dull, non-reflective fabric was still servicable. It had taken him only three hours to find the girl. She'd only been raped once but she'd been badly beaten, so badly, in fact, that Henry had nearly beaten her abductor's to death in his rage. Only the girl's terrified screams and pleas that he stop had prevented that. On that day, however, Henry knew the Night Ranger was gone forever. Detroit couldn't support such a person, with such ideals. The Dark Avenger was his name now.

The ringing of his cell phone interrupted his reverie. "Himms."

"Detective, I'm glad I caught you still out." The familiar voice of the ME. "Good guess on the cigarette. I went to a friend of mine in the NYPD. They've got the most comprehensive database for this kind of stuff, even better than the Feds. Anway, it was Haus Brinkman. Better yet, since it's an imported brand, you need a special license, which the NYPD also tracks. Turns out only three stores in Detroit sell them." He gave Henry the list. It included a popular store with the unoriginal name Detroit Smokes, just a short walk from the delicatessan. Might as well start there.

Ten minutes later Henry was talking to the owner, George Mallo, a short balding man, pencil thin but with a hard look to his eyes. He doubtless paid heavy protection money as Henry couldn't remember the last time the place had been burglarized. Henry couldn't really fault the man. The money he paid ensured his livelihood, enabled him to care for his family, and allowed him to run a first class shop. The Leoni's weren't stupid and never took so much that Mallo had to struggle. Henry told Mallo why he was there even going so far as to describe the person he thought might have bought the cigarettes.

Mallo hesitated and his scent grew wary and Henry tensed. Then, "Sure. I remember the guy. I keep that brand on hand for a couple of guys who buy cases at a time. Don't sell many individual packs but your guy only wanted two. I wasn't going to since I had to break a carton to do it but he offered extra so I did it."

"When?"

"Three days ago." Mallo hesitated again then nodded firmly. "You know, I think he expected you. At least someone." Henry started at that, began to speak but Mallo was already going on, "He said 'If someone asks who bought these it's OK to tell them. Just be sure to tell them 23A. Got it?' Then he left. So I'm telling you. 23A. What's it mean?"

Henry shook his head, "Got no idea, George," he lied. "Thanks, though." He nodded and walked out, his thoughts once more briefly in the past. 23A was the piere on which their previous fight had ended. Detroit had a pier 23A also. Henry knew then that Van Dyne had tracked him down and left him a message. Well, the Dark Avenger would respond.

That night, just after midnight, Henry left Margaret at home and, moving with all the cat-like grace at his command, slipped through the night on his way to the waterfront. Too soon he found himself at Pier 23A. It was deserted but a light breeze off the lake brought him the scent of the cigarettes and another smell he remembered. He move quietly, cautiously. He didn't think it was a trap but was too old and wary to take chances. He needed have bothered. He soon found Van Dyne lounging against the railing. The Dark Avenger stood quietly and opened his mouth . . .

"I wondered how long until you found me. This is my third night. I would have waited five." He turned then, his cigarette flaring briefly as he took a deep pull on it then tossed it over his back into the water. "That can't be the same costume, Night Ranger. Sorry, Dark Avenger. Looks the same though." The long years had washed his Danish accent away. Van Dyne took a deep breath through his nose. "Well, whatever the state of the clothing, the man under it is the same."

"Why did you kill that girl, Van Dyne?" Henry asked coldly.

"I didn't. I watched, though, and used the opportunity to send you a message. She was a prostitute in one of the Leoni's brothels. She ran. I brought her back. Someone else beat her like that as a message to the others." He shook his head. "Messy, disgusting. Not my style at all."

"No?" Henry drawled contemptuously. "You work for the Leoni's now. What is your style?"

"Yes, I work for them. The pay is very good, the job is fun. Plus, I get another shot at you. As for my style, let's just say it doesn't include gratuitious pain." He sounded sincere, Henry realized, even a little disgusted, and he found himself believing the Van Dyne.

"Why are you here, Mr. Van Dyne?" A deliberate echo of the question first asked more than sixty years ago.

Van Dyne flashed a smile as he too remembered, "To say hello to the nearest thing to an old friend that I have." As Dark Avenger took a step forward, Van Dyne raised a hand. "No. I don't want to fight tonight. This really was just a hello. I'm coming for you, Dark Avenger, true enough, but not tonight. I bid you adieu." With that, he flipped up and over the rail but instead of the splash Henry expected as he raced to the rail, there was the cough of a motor and then the whine of an engine as a small motor boat with two figures in it raced out onto the still waters of the lake. "I'll be back, Avenger," the man's voice came clear over the engine.

"I know, Van Dyne." Henry stayed on the pier for a long time, after, just thinking, trying to decide what to do. He'd come to Detroit and joined the police force because it was a city in need of help and, deep down, he still believed in the American way, in justice for all. Detroit sorely needed some justice. There was another reason he'd come, however, the same reason he'd changed his name. Oh, he'd told himself that Hyren Himmelberg would have died many years ago and trying to keep the same name would have led to awkward questions sooner or later. So he'd created the identity of Henry Himms, forged a new life that would be free of those awkward questions. But he'd lied to himself. The years of Hyrem Himmelberg as Night Ranger had been painful ones, full of much sorrow and little joy. He'd seen too much death, too much pain, too much evil to want any more connection with that life than he must. Better to leave it all behind, take a new name, even a new secret identity. Make a clean break.

"I should have known better. There's no escaping the past. I will always bring it with me. And now, my past has come home to me. Van Dyne has found me. I can leave, I suppose. I got good at that after the War. Going from town to town, from problem to problem." Henry sighed, decided at last to be honest with himself. "I used to tell myself that trouble was good at finding me. Truth is, Hyrem, you're good at finding trouble. You always have been. As a boy in New York, fighting the goyisha-gangs. Later, as a private dick fighting, among others, the Leoni family in New York. And, certainly, as Night Ranger, you actively sought trouble. You always have. You're a fixer. You'll always be a fixer." He stood straighter. "Time to stop hiding from what you are, who you are, and accept what you do. The Dark Avenger hardly ever comes out. Only when he must, only when Detective Sergeant Henry Himms can't get the job done. You're afraid of him Henry, afraid of what he means, what he'll do." His voice firmed with the timbre and power which it had possessed in his youth as Night Ranger. "Face it, Henry. The Dark Avenger is you and you are he. They are not separate. They are the same. One prowls the day, the other the night."

Van Dyne's last words came back to Henry, "I'll be back, Avenger."

"I know it, Van Dyne. I'll be waiting." He turned then, faced the city. "Right now, though, it's time to prowl."

 

Personality

Hyrem Himmelberg was a helpful and inquisitive person. For many years after World War II, he sought to hide from himself, but failed. He's recently realized that he's still the same person he's always been: helpful, inquisitve, and brashly brave. Before, in the 30s and 40s, those traits came out in detective work and crime fighting. As private dick Hyrem Himmelberg, he found that which had been taken or those responsible. As Night Ranger, he sought to prevent the crimes from taking place. He'd been idealistic then, even to the point of vowing never to kill after two friends and fellow detectives died before his eyes at the hands of the Leoni family (it was partly their growing influence in Detroit which led him to the city).

Now, as Detective Sergeant Henry Himms, he still fights crime, still hopes to change the world one family, one person at a time. It may not matter to the great and poweful if a girl is rescued from prostitution, or a boy for that matter, or the murderer of a cabbie caught, but it does matter to that girl or the boy, and their family. It matters to the family of the cabbie, and to the other cabbies, if the murderer is caught. The Dark Avenger serves the same role as Night Ranger did, though with less idealism. Killing, onced avoided at all costs, is now a choice of very last resort. Times, and people, change.

Despite the difficulties it presents, Henry remains strongly tied to his Jewish heritage, though he is not particularly religious. For relaxation, Henry enjoys classical and klezmer music, a nice dinner, a good book (detective novels with some non-fiction tossed in), even the occasional play with Margaret, his paralyzed girl-friend. He is also an avid chess player.

 

Quote

"Hi there. Let's see how you like getting hit."

 

Powers

The Dark Avenger possesses enhanced speed, strength, and toughness. While not as strong as some other costumed heroes, the Avenger's blows land with numbing force. He has no traditional martial training but has become extremely skilled at unorthodox street fighting, whether using his fists, feet, or his baton. Additionally, his senses are vastly superior to other peoples and he can see in the dark like a cat, use his nose like a hound, and hear the faintest of sounds. Finally, his body heals at a remarkable rate, so fast that bullets do no more than slow him down.

 

Appearance

The Dark Avenger dresses all in black, a dull, non-reflective black. He carries a small black baton as both weapon and tool. Henry Himms dresses for casual comfort, wearing suits easily but seldom. He prefers pastels to primaries and cotton to wool. His keeps his black hair cropped short and is always clean shaven. He presents an immaculate if casual image to the world.