by Martin Maenza
A blue rental car traveled down Haney Street in San Francisco and slowed down as it approached STAR Labs. The driver, a red-haired man dressed in a handmade Italian suit, stopped the car for a moment under the lit streetlight and lowered the automatic window on the driver’s side. He sniffed the air twice, frowning slightly. It wasn’t the slight traces of smog and carbon monoxide in the air that concerned him; what he sensed was something only he had the power to trace.
“You were here recently, but the trail is very faint. Perhaps it was a day or more. So close, so close.” He released his foot from the brake and began to drive away slowly. “If only I knew who you were, Hawk, everything would be so much simpler. When you’re Hawk, you’re a beacon to me. You draw me like a magnet.”
The man made a left turn onto Chua Lane and drove south. “New York, Mexico, Nicaragua… I wasted so much time following your movements over the last few months, always a step behind you, always missing your departure. Many innocent people paid the price with their lives because of that.” He stopped at the traffic light; the red signal’s glow mirrored the anger that grew inside of him.
“And now my time’s run out. You’ve already met Dove, and my masters, M’Shulla and Gorum, aren’t happy about that at all! I have to find you quickly!” The light changed to green, but the driver hesitated. Something in the air caught his interest. “Wait — I sense somewhere else you’ve been most recently! Perhaps that will yield some fruit.” He punched the accelerator, and the car took off across town.
But for Kestrel, the hunt was far from over.