1932: The Subterranean Empire

When Steven is assaulted and nearly killed by a strange commando squad, all evidence of their attack points to one person. Thomas Hawklin, Steven’s estranged father who has in his possession what the commandos seek. Hilana, Queen of the subterranean empire.
With blood spilled and tensions high. Steven must work fast to prevent the armies of the surface world from invading the underworld kingdom. While in turn stop the underground dwellers from unleashing a weapon so devastating that no one on the planet could survive.
Descending into the belly of the earth, Steven leads his team into the dark recesses of the planet. His mission: save Hilana, stop the attack on the surface world and prevent a madman from carrying out his insidious plot.
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From Chapter One Of Captain Hawklin and the Subterranean Empire
December 3, 1932, Crown City
Oz Lyman carried a stack of presents out of Drake’s department store on Seventy-Seventh Street and Yale Avenue. The stack of wrapped gifts swayed back and forth while he struggled to keep them from falling to the wet sidewalk. It had been raining most of the day. Not just any rain, but the cold chilly rain that the west coast got three weeks before Christmas.
Oz rushed along. A light drizzle wet the packages. Water dripped off the brim of his green ball cap, onto his bulldog face. The hem of his tan trousers soaked from the puddles he slapped through. He dodged other pedestrians, zigging one way, then the next, trying to be polite, but forcing himself forward.
The packages blocked his view and he bumped into more people than he avoided. “Excuse me – pardon me – I’m so sorry,” Oz said. He parked his Austin roadster four blocks down from the store. He wished he could have found a closer spot, but stores were busy with holiday shoppers, as he hurried up the street before the rain came down harder.
“Watch it pal,” someone said.
“Well, I never,” a woman fussed.
“The nerve of some people… and at Christmas, too,” another woman complained.
When Oz bumped into yet another person on the sidewalk, he heard, “Here now… What is this?”
Oz grinned. He recognized the man’s deep Irish accent and said, “Hello Dutch!”
Dutch Burns, a tall, square shouldered police officer gave out a loud hefty laugh when he saw Oz looking around the stack of gifts. Well-groomed, a poster candidate for policeman of the year, Dutch's uniform was pristine, from the long black jacket that hung to his knees, right down to his black shoes that held so much polish the rain beaded on them. “Oscar Lyman – you devil. I should have known. Let me help you with some of those.”
Oz felt a weight lift when Dutch took two of the packages off the top. “I’m parked just up the street.”
Buying presents for the kids in the hospital again this year huh?” Dutch asked; he stood half a foot taller than Oz.
“You know it. I don’t have family of my own… not anymore. So I try to make the kids happy – help out, you know. So the parents won’t have a burden.”
“You’re a good man to be doing such a thing. But I have’ta remind you that you do have a family. What about Hardy and Captain Hawklin?”
“Not so loud. I don’t like people to know who I work for,” Oz whispered and looked around to see if anyone heard Dutch’s comments.
Dutch narrowed his eyes. “Why?”
Oz shrugged his shoulders. “I want people to like me for me, not because I work for… you know.”
Dutch’s sea-green eyes glistened. “Aye… I do. I won’t let it slip again.”
At a red and white A-roadster, Oz tossed the packages into the backseat as the rain poured down harder. “Just it time,” he said pulling his green ball cap down tight over his brown hair.
“You have time to get a cup of Joe?” Dutch asked, pulling the collar up on his dark black uniform. Several car horns blew up the street, he paid them no mind. Traffic jams on a late Saturday afternoon was common in Crown City.
Oz wiped the water off his face and buttoned up the front of his blue pea coat. “Boss and Hardy are at Mayor Lasko’s party tonight. I have time. There’s an automat around the corner. I’ll pay for the pie.”
“And a scoop of ice cream,” Dutch said with a grin.
“And a scoop of ice cream… chocolate,” Oz laughed and slapped Dutch on the back.
“Wait Oz, did you hear…” A shout came from up the street.
Oz looked at Dutch – a scream followed.
“Stay here,” Dutch said as he took off down the crowded street.
Oz ignored him and chased after Dutch.
Dutch blew his whistle and cleared a path through the crowded street.
A young woman, in a red dress and a Betty Grable hair style, dark and slick as oil, knelt on the wet sidewalk next to an unconscious man. She wore thick dark sunglasses that masked her eyes. Oz gave her an odd look when he knelt down next to her. He wondered how she saw anything on such a clouded afternoon.
She held her black handbag over the man, blocking the rain from his face. It was coming down in buckets.
Oz stared intently at her while reaching down to check for the man’s pulse. “Alive – barely.” he said.
Dutch knelt down next to the woman. “Is this your husband?”
The woman shook her head no.
"What happened?"
The woman’s lower lip trembled. “There were four of them – four large men… I think.”
“You think?” Oz asked.
The woman grimaced. “Their faces were covered with some… some kind of mask. They grabbed this man. One… one of them spoke. His voice didn’t sound like anything I’ve heard before. They didn’t speak English.”
“Not in English?” Oz asked. He caught a lilt of a foreign dialect in the woman’s voice. Several bystanders corroborated, her story.
“They attacked this man,” the young woman said. Her hair drenched from the down pouring rain. “One… one of them threw this man to the sidewalk screamed at him and shot him –” her voice trailed off – a hint of mistruth quivered from her lips.
Dutch checked the man’s body. “There aren’t any bullet wounds on him.”
They shot him,” some man in the crowd said assuredly.
The squall of an ambulance siren roared down the street and Dutch stood up and waved them to a stop. “Over here!”
Oz checked up and down the street. Suspiciously he asked, “Which way did they go?”
The woman in red pointed up an alley. “They looked like they were in a hurry.”
“What makes you say that?” Dutch asked.
“It’s just the way they acted. Very agitated and dangerous,” the woman said and added, “You shouldn’t go after them.”
“You let me worry about that,” Dutch said and stood.
“Call for backup,” Oz said. He saw a police call phone on a telephone pole.
“They’ll never get here in time… I need to get after these men now or they’ll get away.”
Oz tried to stop Dutch. He even reached out for him, but his fingers grabbed air. While Dutch ran up the alley, Oz searched the man’s pockets.
“What are you doing?" the woman asked and reached for Oz’s hand.
Oz tipped back his hat and looked at the woman, curious. She held his arm in a tight grip. “I’m looking for identification papers to see who he is. Why – is there a reason you don’t want me to look?”
“I think that’s something best left to the police.”
Oz pulled the man’s wallet from inside of his jacket just as the ambulance drivers carried over a stretcher. The woman lunged for the billfold. Oz snatched it back and stood away from the ambulance drivers. Again the woman leapt for the wallet, but grabbed Oz’s wrist.
“I think you should give it to me,” She hissed.
Oz jerked his arm out of her grip and shoved her back. “Steady now –”
Belligerently the woman stumbled forward and attacked Oz. Protecting himself he swung at her, knocking the sunglasses off her face.
“I’ll be bent,” Oz said and stood back when he saw the woman’s white albino eyes staring back at him. She hissed again, and moved to attack Oz. Suddenly she stopped, a surprising twinkle came to her eyes, and she folded to the rain soaked sidewalk like a doll. Dutch stood over her with his Billy club fisted in his hand.
“I thought she was acting a little strange,” Dutch said tipping back his hat with the end of his club.

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