Author's Note: This story is another request from Ghost999 with the continuing battles of Alexandra. Again, this involves mostly original material, so any similarities are unintentional and most likely a coincidence. If you have any questions about the characters or anything else you should probably direct questions toward him on the matter. Also, this turned out a bit longer than I expected. Hopefully it doesn't drag. ----------------------------- Raid on the Mayor's Residence Alexandra adjusted her glasses and stuck to the edge of the living room. She had come prepared for a formal get together at the home of Mayor Travers, wearing a black dress with a high slit for her leg and open toed four inch heels to match. Her brown hair was loose as she tried to keep to herself among the small group of the city's elite. Dressing up wasn't anything new for her. As the Mayor Travers' assistant, she had gotten comfortable with attending all kinds of formal functions. This party felt different as she was the subject of conversation due to an incident at a mall a few months ago. "Wow, Alex. You look uncomfortable." Abby Travers, the mayor's teenage daughter, stood next to her. The young girl had on a purple dress and wore her hair up in a bun. This time it was brown, but she had a habit of dying it every other month. She was no stranger to changing tastes. "Sorry... I'm not used to being the center of attention." Alexandra admitted. "Not to mention I was late getting here. That never happens." Abby giggled. "Come on, Alex. No one cares. You could get away with murder in this city after everything you did for me." The reminder made Alexandra sigh. A few months ago she had barely saved the mayor's daughter from a gang attack on a mall. Crime in the city had been bad lately, and they got caught in the middle of it. The papers played the story for all its worth. Hundreds of calls flooded in asking for an interview. Alexandra just wanted to get back to work. She would be the first to admit she was lucky to be alive. The gang known as the Tacks really did a number on her. She was lucky to have made a full recovery. Even still, people liked to bring it up. Especially Abby and the mayor. "Please Abby. I told you. You don't have to mention it." "But your face turns red and you look so cute!" She tried to deflect the attention when an older woman in a blue dress came over. Mrs. Maitland had been a friend of the mayor for years. She had a glass of wine in hand and readied a warm smile. "Well, if it isn't the mayor's new bodyguard!" She said with a cheery laugh. Alexandra gave a polite smile and pushed her glasses up. "Please, that was months ago. I'm just the mayor's assistant ma'am." "You shouldn't be so humble, dear. That took a lot of courage to stand up to those ruffians. I also hear you've been spending more time studying martial arts. Staying sharp, are we?" She gave a laugh and brushed it off. But it was true. Ever since the Tacks gave her a thrashing at the mall she really poured herself into training. What was once a useful hobby had taken on a life of its own. She was interested in anything that would give her a better edge in a fight in case of reprisals from the Tacks. Part of her knew their leader Gallows wasn't going to forget the mall incident. Not to mention he was the biggest enemy of the mayor at the moment. "Enjoy the party, Mrs. Maitland," Alexandra said gesturing to the buffet table. It wasn't long until her boss, Mayor Travers, worked his way over to her corner. He was a well built man in the midst of his forties. He wore a green suit and made no attempt to hide his balding head. Alexandra knew he though his bushy mustache more than made up for his loss of hair. "Hello, sir. I'm so sorry I was late. Traffic was unforgiving." She greeted. "Alexandra! Hell, you know you don't have to apologize to me for anything." Travers laughed. "Stunning dress. Sorry all the party goers here are nothing but old bones and white hair." "Sir, I save relationships for off the clock." "Can you believe this, Abigail? She's practically family and still calls me 'sir'!" The Travers had a good laugh while Alexandra grudgingly let out a smile. She slowly convinced herself to relax despite the new found attention. Usually she spent most of her time in the background juggling calls and taking notes. She never expected to be up front for any reason, much less because of a reputation for fighting gangs with her bare hands. "Listen, Alexandra. I have to call the wife. She's flying back from the coast. I'll be in my office if anyone needs me. Shouldn't be long." "Of course, sir." The office was actually on the third floor, as Alexandra knew. It kept people from wandering in on sensitive conversations, whether political or private. The Travers home was built in Victorian style that had been in the family for years. She knew the place well from work related visits and friendly get togethers. It could be a maze for visitors sometimes. A short time after Travers went upstairs, she heard the sound of cars outside. She pulled back the curtains as a moment of confusion spread across her face. All the guests had arrived. Who else could it be? A number of sedans and vans pulled up to the front of the house. They parked in reckless fashion across the front yard and flower beds before unloading. Men and women in long black coats stepped out and Alexandra's heart started to race. The Tacks were moving in on the house. She spun around to face Abby and the other guests. "What's wrong?" Abby could sense her urgency. "Everyone, please move to the basement! Quickly!" Someone started to pound on the front door. It sounded more like a battering ram. Everyone jumped as Alexandra started to move them to the back of the house where the basement stairs could be found. "What's going on?" Abby asked frought with worry. "It's the Tacks. They're here at the house." "The nerve of those punks!" Mrs. Maitland uttered. Down in the basement, it was easy for Alexandra to find the false brick wall. A panel opened up to reveal a panic room and she hurried the guests inside. The exception was Abby, who refused to go in. "What about dad? He's still upstairs in his office!" She cried. "Don't worry. I'll go find him. We'll use the fire escape to get free. Trust me." Mrs. Maitland stuck her head out. "All by yourself? Dear, you've already did this once. Don't push your luck." "Don't worry. I know the house well. I'll be careful." The thought had crossed Alexandra's mind. For better or worse, she was the only one who stood any chance against the gang members. She hadn't abandoned Abby at the mall, and she wasn't going to abandon the mayor in his own home. "There should be a phone or alarm in there. Just call the police." She pushed Abby inside the panic room and closed it up. The front door upstairs finally gave way and footsteps echoed above her as Tacks stormed the house. Shouting and laughing followed crashing noises as they tore through rooms with abandon. Alexandra took a deep breath before going back upstairs. She wasn't crazy about fighting in a black dress, or heels especially. Her recent training had put her through worse, but she was confident her four inch heels would leave a mark with a good hit. "Here we go again..." The Tacks were indeed inside when she sneaked to the front entrance. The gang was a little turned around in the large house, but quickly made their way upstairs. Alexandra kept low as she peered around the corner to the front door. She recognized Gallows as the leader of the Tacks entered the house. The man with a black goatee and scars on his face looked around with a sinister grin. She had already met him at the mall, and knew him from dozens of police reports. A dangerous man to be sure. "Looks like a party in here." Gallows sneered. "Too bad they didn't invite us." A woman with a deep voice and long black hair stepped through the front door. She smoked a cigarette in the entrance hall. Her eyes were narrow and cold as she played with a switchblade in her hand. Alexandra remembered her name as Mathilda, an enforcer for the Tacks. She had a well known fondness for switchblades and, unlike other Tacks, wore a brown suit instead of a long black coat. "Let's go find that mayor. I know he's here. And if you see a woman with glasses..." Gallows' voice trailed off as he went upstairs with Mathilda. A few other Tacks patrolled the floor as Alexandra prepared to go after them. But someone grabbed her from behind. They wrapped their arms around her neck and dragged her into the kitchen. Before she could break loose, they tossed her over an island counter and into cabinets along the floor. The surprise attack left her dazed. "Ohhhhh..." She moaned. One of the Tacks had gotten the drop on her. He leaned over and lifted her off the ground. By then she had recovered and quickly kicked him in the nuts with her heel. The gang member let go and doubled over in pain. She took the moment to knee him in the face and drove him head first into the metal oven. He was out cold as she made sure her glasses were tight and went back to the entrance hall with the stairs. She didn't get far when two more gang members caught up with her from the scuffle in the kitchen. They seemed to remember her. It didn't help them as she countered their punches and used their momentum to drive them into the solid wood walls. She dropped them in no time at all and rushed upstairs to the second floor. "Got her!" In her haste she walked right into a gang of Tacks waiting at the top of the steps. A swift kick hit her right in the stomach and sent her tumbling back down the stairs. The landing knocked her for a loop as she slammed her head on the floor. She lay sprawled out on the bottom steps as stars clouded her vision. The world spun around her as three Tacks came down to meet her with grins on their faces. Someone stomped on her stomach before they dragged her off the floor. "Hold her tight!" One of the Tacks wrenched her hands behind her and held her up as a punching back for the other two. The tumble down the stairs still left her stunned and helpless as they took turns throwing jabs into her stomach. She doubled over with each hit. Her face twisted in pain as she tried to withstand the blows. "Augh! Augh! Ungh! Unh! Aaah!" She grunted. Alexandra's attackers decided to mix it up and threw an uppercut. Her glasses almost fell off when her head snapped back. "Uhhhh..." Even while dazed, she saw an opening and launched a kick at the nearest gang member. She dug her heel into his leg as he stumbled back with a yell of pain. The other one tried to retaliate with a punch to her face. At the last second she ducked out of the way and the punch hit the gang member restraining her. It was enough to break free as she made some distance and tried to clear her senses. They rushed at her again and proved to be much tougher than the others. The three men took the brunt of her attacks and kept coming. Alexandra took smacks to the face and punches to the side while she maneuvered around the entrance hall. They almost had her backed up against the wall until she caught one of their punches and twisted his arm. It gave her the opening to kick out his leg and throw him to the ground. The other two fell into the same trap as she led their movements into openings she could exploit. Finally, the three of them were all down and she tried to head upstairs again. This time she was much more careful. The second floor was clear and she tried to head up again. But as she rounded the staircase, a man with his hands in his pockets came down to meet her. "Where's the fire?" The man laughed as she came to a stop. She had no intention of fighting on the stairs and slowly retreated to the second floor. The man looked familiar. She had trouble placing his name until he got closer. It was Knotts, another notorious enforcer for the Tacks. The lanky man kept his coat buttoned up and a pair of sunglasses over his eyes. Even as they were a few feet away from each other, he kept his hands out of sight. "Looking for the mayor?" Knotts asked. "Let him go," she said. "When we're done with him. Well, when Mathilda is done with him. And when Gallows is done with him." Knotts smiled. "I guess we'll let whatever is left of him go after that." Alexandra readied herself. She sprang forward with a punch, hoping to put Knotts down quickly before he was ready. But the man proved to be blindingly fast. He intercepted her with a roundhouse kick and nearly knocked her over the staircase railing. "Uuuaaagghhhh!" She gasped. The blow knocked her for a loop. She grasped the banister in a panic and tried to catch her breath. Her glasses nearly plunged to the ground floor from the impact. The shock was clear on her face as she backed away from Knotts. "Whoops." He taunted. She tried her own kick and aimed right for his smug face. He matched her movement and their legs clashed together in a cross. Her plan was to attack again and put on the pressure, but he jumped up and landed a drop kick right on her chest. The force of both legs knocked her away from the staircase and clear down the hall. "Aaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!" Knotts took his time walking toward her as she felt along the wall and used a door handle to help get back up. The drop kick felt as bad as a tumble down the stairs. He was on her as she turned around with her back up against the door. With one leg he pinned her to the door. Her attempt to wrench free was met with two swift kicks to the face before he went back to pinning her again. Knotts hit hard and fast, and the pain was starting to mount up. Too many blows to the face left her unable to focus. "Ungh! No! I have to... get out of this..." Alexandra felt for the door handle as Knotts kept her pinned. With a hard turn, the door opened behind her and they tumbled into a guest room. He proved less effective on the ground as she scrambled on top of him and grabbed one of his arms. There was a brief struggle before she wiggled into an arm bar and pulled with all of her strength. Knotts screamed in pain. He put up a futile struggle to break free. She kicked him a few times in the face and held on tight until he passed out with a deflating groan. Even after he went limp, she kept up the pressure just in case. She stumbled out of the guest room back into the hallway and took a moment to catch her breath. Her dress was somehow still in one piece as she climbed to the top floor. The mayor's office was at the end of the hall. Unsurprisingly a group of Tacks were waiting for her. They were nowhere near as tough as Knotts. Even as they got a few shots in, she tossed them around the hall until they didn't get back up. Exhaustion entered her mind for a split second before she pushed it out. "I have to find the mayor..." She told herself. The end of the hallway brought bad news. Alexandra found herself face to face with Mathilda. The woman with the switchblade waited outside the mayor's office with a humorless smile. She flicked her blade open and shut as naturally as blinking or breathing. Alexandra's fighting stance didn't impress her in the least as she stepped forward. "Well... Gallows was right," Mathilda said with a laugh. "Never seen anyone with glasses as tough as you." "Get out of my way." Alexandra demanded. "Ha! You're precious. You see, most of this gang doesn't use weapons. They like it up close and personal. Tooth and nail. Fist and fury. That sort of thing. But me?" Mathilda held up her switchblade. "Even Gallows has to admit, sometimes you have to cut people." The shiny metal blade gave Alexandra pause. She tried to hide it the best she could. "This isn't the first time I've seen a knife," she said. "I'll make sure it's the last time, precious." Alexandra found herself caught off guard as Mathilda pounced on her in a burst of fury. The metal switchblade came swinging at her in full force. She grabbed the knife hand with both of her arms and struggled to keep it away. This left her defenseless as Mathilda thrashed her with whatever she had free. Alexandra took punches all over her body. A few knees to her side- even a headbutt in the struggle. It looked bad until she managed to twist and flip the knife wielding woman over to break free. "Oh no you don't!" Mathilda raged. There was no time to recover as Mathilda didn't let up for a second. Alexandra jumped back, narrowly avoiding the knife. Parts of her dress were slashed from the close calls. She tried to grab both of Mathilda's arms only to recieve another head butt for the trouble. Both of them stumbled backwards, but Alexandra was too slow to recover. Mathilda jumped onto her back and went for her throat. She barely caught the knife hand in time. The blade was inches away as they struggled in the hallway. Alexandra fell to her knees. "Come on... come on... don't make this hard..." Mathilda laughed. "No... no!" Adrenaline and desperation flowed through Alexandra as she struggled back to her feet while the crazy woman rode piggyback. Every step was a battle as she moved closer to the stairs. Mathilda was too focused on the knife as she lined her up. With a burst of strength, Alexandra tipped Mathilda over and tossed her down the stairwell. Gravity took care of the rest. The fall was lessened slightly by Mathilda's failing catching some of the railing on the way down. But Alexandra was treated to a satisfying thud and a loud moan of pain when the crazy woman hit bottom. The celebration was cut short as she dropped to one knee and gasped for air. Fighting her way through so many members of the Tacks left her body feeling heavy. But she was close now. Nothing could stop her as she stood up and opened the door to the mayor's office. The room resembled a library with walls covered by bookcases. She found the mayor tied to his chair looking worse for wear after someone had roughed him up. Gallows stood nearby with two of his men. He looked up when she moved closer. "Oh, we were in the middle of something. I'm surprised Mathilda didn't cut you up into fifty pieces. I guess she got close." Gallows pointed to the slash marks on Alexandra's dress. She straightened up and went into a fighting stance. Her arms were unsteady and her breathing was heavy. The Tacks in the room weren't the least bit intimidated, but she didn't care. "I'm glad you made it though. You really burned me at the mall. Don't think I forgot about you stabbing me. I brought my enforcers this time to deal with distractions like you." Gallows moved in front of the desk. "Looks like they did their job." Nothing was between her and the leader of the Tacks. The two thugs stood by as Gallows faced her down. The mayor looked on helplessly. "No way he pays you enough for this," Gallows said. "I can't stand by and do nothing..." Alexandra said, out of breath. She moved in as Gallows swung high. After she ducked low she brought her knee and drove it into his stomach... but the energy wasn't there. Her strike fell flat as Gallows easily brushed it off and elbowed her in the face. "Ungh!" The blow staggered Alexandra. She stumbled back and needed a few seconds before attacking again. Gallows made the most of it and planted his foot in her gut, sending her flying into a bookcase on the wall. Her knees threatened to buckle as she used the shelf to hold herself up. She was unable to defend herself as Gallows stepped into a devastating hook. Everything felt like it moved in slow motion as it smashed into her face. "AAUGH!" She thought blood escaped her mouth as her head spun in place. It was clear now she was totally spent. After the previous fights there was nothing left she could draw on to face Gallows. No matter how hard she tried, her body was sluggish. But there was no turning back. The leader of the Tacks dodged everything and punished her with crushing blows. Somehow she was still on her feet. "Uhhhhhh..." She uttered. Her arms fell to her side and the next punch floored her on her back. Gallows straddled her on the ground while pounding away at her face. It took everything she had to use her arms to shield the oncoming attacks... but it wasn't enough. "No..." She gasped. "I... pushed it... too far..." At some point he picked her up and tossed her into a bookshelf. She was nearly buried in the books that fell off the shelf. The one-sided fight continued until she ended up in the middle of the room sprawled on her back. The black dress she picked out for the party was ruined and frayed. One of her heels was broken. Somehow her glasses were still whole. Cracked, but in one piece. She felt completely drained. "Uhhhhh..." She moaned between gasping for breath. "Still breathing huh? At least the mayor is here to see what happens to people who try to tell me what to do." Alexandra felt him place his foot on her chest and press down. The world was fading in and out. The lights flashed and the room filled with yelling. "Police! Down on the ground! Now!" She felt herself moving. Someone repeated her name over and over. "Alexandra! Alexandra!" Finally her vision came back and she could make sense of things again. Paramedics were standing over her outside the house as they carted her in a stretcher. Police had arrived on the scene and started arresting all the Tacks they could find. Gallows, Knotts and Mathilda were in cuffs and being loaded up into a police van. Abby and Mayor Travers were at her side filled with concern. "Alexandra? Oh thank God!" "She's come to!" Abby cried out in joy. "Unnhh... sir..." Alexandra gasped. "I think... you should... invest in private security..." Mayor Travers and Abby let out a relieved laugh as the paramedics loaded her into an ambulance. "I can't decide if what you did was brave or stupid..." Travers said. "But I believe you saved my life. I owe you twice now. If there's anything you need... I'll make it happen. Just say the word." It took her a moment to think. She couldn't decide if it was the beating or the shots the medics gave her. "I want... a long... long... vacation... sir," she said before drifting off into sleep.