Even the deadliest gangs in Chicagoland fear the Cross Crew and carefully avoid their cinderblock bunker headquarters: Red 71 is well known as the last place you’d want to go . . . unless you’re willing to risk it being the last place you’ll ever go. The Crew is notorious for its ruthless efficiency and cold-blooded cunning. Why, then, would anyone be foolhardy enough to threaten them–and even more dangerous–their loved ones?
As Cross catches the scent of a far-reaching conspiracy, he realizes that it all connects to an unexplained event in his past: a massacre from which he emerged inexplicably unscathed, save for the blue mark on his face that pulses when danger is near. That scar has been throbbing more frequently of late. . . . If he’s reading the signs accurately, Cross might find himself again facing a terrible menace that is not altogether human.
FROM: Captain Nathan Lancaster, Chief, Gang Surveillance Unit
TO: All Precincts, Focus Near-North
ALERT: Incoming Threats to Cross Crew, Situation Highly Unstable
DETAILS: “Cross” and known associates clearly organizing response to perceived pattern of threats. Gang Intelligence indicates high probability of pre-emptive strikes. Report any suspicious and/or unusual activity in Badlands area immediately, gang violence alert level RED.
Chicago–the reigning #1 city in homicides–has no shortage of deadly gangs. And all those gangs know well that the Cross crew occupies a cinderblock bunker called Red 71 . . . the last place you want to go, unless you’re willing to risk it being the last place you go. The crew is notorious for its deadly efficiency and its disinterest in anything but money. So why has it turned from seller to buyer, grabbing up houses on a decaying block where only a few holdouts remain? Both the cops and the underworld are watching closely . . . but are they the only ones?
TO: UNIT 3 Chicago FROM: DIRECTOR IMPORTANCE: Critical
SUBJECT: Specimen Retrieval
TARGET: Shadowy hunter-killer teams, ID’ed via signature kills worldwide. Identifiable only by skull-spine removal from victims. No witnesses, no forensics, no particular race targeted. On rare occasions, scraps of what appear to be playing cards found at murder sites.
OBJECTIVE: Locate and capture any member of such teams. MUST be taken alive for study and observation.
AUTHORIZATION APPROVED FOR USE OF OUTSIDE CONTRACTOR: Individual ID’ed only as “Cross” and his team. A pure mercenary outfit, well known throughout criminal underworld–no inside informants available. Ruthless, undeterred by risk, rumored never to fail, but UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES to be trusted. No known political or social objective, but has proven treacherous when retained by government in the past.
UPDATE: Cross and his team claim to have identified a pattern to the signature-kills, and believe they can predict a forthcoming strike. They are prepared to personally confront-and-capture, but financial arrangement alone not sufficient. What you describe as a ”Get Out of Jail Free” card is hereby APPROVED.