Title: Rainbow's Freedom (Sanctuary Arc) (5/17)
Characters/Pairings: Clark/Bruce, Alfred
Series Notes: In the 23rd century, Earth is a technologically-advanced society that practices slavery. The wealthy freeman Bruce Wayne acquires a highly-prized bedslave whom he learns to cherish...but can he every truly love a slave? And will it all be moot as a weak abolitionist movement slowly gathers strength while the Galactic Empire remains in a perpetual state of Cold War? The entire series can be found here.
Categories: Drama, AU
Rating: (this chapter): G
Summary: Clark learns more about the society that has enslaved him.
Date Of Completion: February 11, 2007
Date Of Posting: March 24, 2007
Disclaimer: I don't own 'em, DC does, more's the pity.
Word Count: 2179
Rating: (this chapter): G
“Most Civil War historians and buffs are fascinated by the ‘what-ifs’ of what is arguably the most wrenching historical event in American history. So many opportunities for those old arguments about how history could be changed if the Union had lost at Gettysburg, for example, or if the South had disbanded its army after Appomattox and had continued the war as guerrillas. It’s kind of like the Butterfly Effect.”
Charles Emerson Pierce
“The Gettysburg Effect And The
Shaping Of The American Future”
(Special Civil War Centennial Edition)
THE GETTYSBURG EFFECT
Bruce groaned as he rolled over. The shaft of sunlight pierced his eyes.
“Sorry, sir, but your meeting is at 9:00.”
Bruce swore under his breath. Damned Government! Beside him, Clark awoke groggily.
“Will you be coming down to breakfast, sir?”
“Yes.” Bruce scrubbed scratchy eyes. “I’ll be down as soon as I shower.”
“What?” Bruce stumbled out of bed, pulling on a robe.
“Clark requires his shot. Will you be administering it, or shall I?”
Bruce looked down at Clark, who was disoriented. “I will, Alfred. Get the medicine, will you?”
Alfred nodded. He left the room, returning a few minutes later with a bottle and the hypospray.
Clark was apprehensive as Bruce filled the syringe. The red liquid sparkled in the morning light.
“Your arm, Clark,” Bruce said quietly.
Clark obeyed, trembling slightly as Bruce’s steady hand pressed the needle against his arm and injected him. Clark bit his lip, flexing his hand.
“I’m going to shower, Clark. You do so after me and come down to breakfast.”
“Yes, Master.” Clark’s voice was faint.
Bruce put the medicine back into Alfred’s hands. The hypospray would be sterilized and re-used, an improvement over the old-fashioned needles.
He quickly showered and dressed, running downstairs and detouring to the study. He sorted through papers on his desk and threw a batch into his briefcase, placing it on the hall table as he hurried to the kitchen.
A cup was steaming in front of his plate. He sat down and ate golden homemade waffles drowned in Vermont maple syrup. Clark appeared and took his place to Bruce’s right.
“Delicious, Alfred.” Forcing himself to eat slower, he finished the waffles and then stood up. “Clark, we’ll work out an exercise regimen for you tomorrow but get outside sometime today. You may use the library at any time.” He dashed upstairs to brush his teeth and re-comb his hair, then ran downstairs and grabbed his suitcase as he hurried through the kitchen and out the door, calling goodbyes over his shoulder.
“Whew! Quite a whirlwind!” Clark said.
Alfred smiled. “He always has been.” He studied his companion. “Are you feeling all right, Clark?”
Clark winced. “I…after a shot I feel dizzy, sometimes a little nauseous.” He rubbed his forehead.
“Hmm, well, Wertham’s Disease is a strange one. Not only the memory loss…”
“Well, it’s worse because of the head injury.” Clark attempted a smile. “Kras said it was a good thing I had a hard head.”
“My…the slaver who was in charge when I woke up.” Clark closed his eyes, wishing the throbbing would go away. His stomach was protesting the little breakfast he’d eaten. “He said I had to be re-trained because I’d forgotten everything.”
“Yes, because you’re Human, once a slave, always a slave.” At Clark’s puzzled expression, Alfred explained, “Human freemen cannot be enslaved, at least not by other Humans. There are races that enslave willy-nilly, but when slavery became the foundation of Human society, they established an immutable caste system. Once born a slave, you remain one forever, as once born a freeman, you remain one, at least here on Earth. Other races in the galaxy aren’t so respectful of Human laws and have enslaved free Earthmen for their own purposes.” Alfred poured himself more coffee. “A Human Master cannot free his slaves even if he wishes to do so.”
Clark frowned. “That doesn’t seem fair.”
“I daresay,” Alfred said dryly. He gently put his hand on Clark’s shoulder. “Why don’t you lie down?”
Clark protested, “I can help you with your chores.”
“Young man, I’ve been doing these chores since before you were born. I am most certain I can handle them on my own for a day. There’s a comfortable couch in the library if you don’t wish to return upstairs.”
“Thank you, Alfred.”
Clark brushed off Alfred’s offer of help. He made his way carefully to the library, keeping a hand close to the wall.
He entered the quiet library and stretched out on the couch, resting an arm across his eyes after setting his glasses aside. Alfred had caught him off-guard, otherwise he would have kept his discomfort to himself.
Which was ironic, he supposed, since just before his shot, he always felt dizzy with occasional heart palpitations, but often felt that same way right after the shot.
I feel like something’s going to burst, like I have all this pent-up energy. And then in the next moment, I feel drained.
Alfred was right. Wertham’s Disease was strange.
He listened to the ticking of the mantel clock, hoping that the throbbing in his head would go away.
& & & & & &
When Clark awoke a few hours later, his headache was better. It had not disappeared completely but was good enough for him to sit up. Putting on his glasses, he stood and began his perusal of the shelves.
There was an abundance of fiction, a good proportion of them mysteries, and books on American and world history. There were histories on the Galactic Confederation and the Empire, books on criminology, art, and a rich, leatherbound book entitled A History Of Gotham.
Clark noticed the thick tomes on the pier table: A Guideline For Slaves and The Slaveowners’ Manual. He should really read the Guideline. There was so much he needed to know, but his dull headache was sure to flare up again if he tackled that today.
He selected a book, Victorian America, and settled into a big, overstuffed chair, putting his feet up on a cassock. He could feel his blood pressure up and it was good to keep his feet elevated. He opened the book and began reading.
& & & & & &
The reversal of the trend toward abolition on Earth began with the American Civil War. The war was hard-fought between North and South in the struggle for the soul of the United States of America. The North wanted to keep the Union intact. The South wanted its independence.
Underlying it all was the slavery question. After the Emancipation Proclamation was official on January 1, 1863, the South grew more desperate. Their way of life would fall before the abolitionist meddlers from the North.
The driving force behind the North, President Abraham Lincoln, was shot at Ford’s Theater on April 14, 1863*. He died the next day, and his successor Hannibal Hamlin** took over, but lacked the messianic will of Lincoln.
That following summer, the Southern troops under Robert E. Lee marched North to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and won a stunning victory against the Union troops under George B. McClellan***. That victory brought the war home to the North and was the ultimate turning point of the great struggle. The South’s resiliency, lack of political will from the North, and military intervention by England caused the Union to sue for peace in the autumn of 1864. By New Year’s Day, 1865, the Civil War was over, and the Confederacy began to expand slavery Westward.****
As slavery flourished, enormous profits drove other countries to re-establish a practice they had abolished, or expand existing practice. The study of eugenics proposed that the weak should be enslaved and cared for by the strong, and that it should cut across racial lines.
By the dawn of the 20th century, slavery was not only firmly entrenched in every society on Earth, it was also supported by every major religion and would be eternal: no slave could be freed, as it was the Divine Will to ordain who was free and who was not, and the economic powerhouse that is Earth today is laid upon a foundation of order and prosperity.
& & & & & &
Clark closed the book, understanding his world better now, yet sadness filled him.
He rose from the chair, glad his dizziness was less now, and picked out a mystery to bring upstairs. As he left the library, he paused to look at the painting over the mantel.
“Yes?” asked the butler, who was dusting the hall table.
“Those are Master Bruce’s parents, right?”
A sadness crossed Alfred’s face. “They were.”
“They were killed by a gunman when Master Bruce was eight years old.” Alfred took a deep breath. “He witnessed it.”
“Oh!” Horror flooded through Clark. “How terrible!”
“He…is a very intense man, Clark. You would do well to remember that.”
For a moment Clark wondered if he was being reprimanded, then realized that Alfred was trying to help him.
Clark insisted on helping Alfred with chores, then readily accepted the butler’s suggestion of resting. He was still shaky.
He chose the living room this time and turned on the television. Flicking channels, he settled for an early bird version of the evening news. A story about a fire led the newscast, then he was startled to see a picture flash onscreen: ‘The Batman foiled a robbery at the Gotham First National Bank early this morning around 1:00. The crooks were a little worse for wear but were fine as the Gotham Police got an early-morning delivery. Commissioner Gordon said…’
Clark studied the picture. During his captivity he had heard snatches of conversation about Gotham’s Dark Knight. A strong, square jaw; an intense set to his cowled eyes, the grimness of the Bat costume…
Clark supposed he should be afraid of this Batman, but he was more intrigued. How exciting would it be to meet him?
Though maybe not in a dark alley.
& & & & & &
Our Universe’s Historical Facts:
*President Abraham Lincoln was shot on April 14, 1865, not 1863.
**The Vice President who succeeded him was Andrew Johnson, not Hannibal Hamlin. Hamlin was the Vice President during Lincoln’s first term, 1861-1865. By the beginning of the second term, from March 1865 until April 14th, Andrew Johnson was the Vice President. Inaugurations were held in March until 1937, when the date was changed to January 20th. FDR thought that his first Inauguration in March of 1933 had taken too long to be held while the country was in the grip of the Great Depression crisis, at its worst in those dark days. The original date had been set because in earlier times, the four months between election and Inauguration was needed due to longer travel times. It was not necessary by the time of the 1930s.
***George B. McClellan was beloved by his troops, but that may have been because he never seemed too eager to take them into actual battle. He had whipped the Army of the Potomac into shape after their dreadful loss in the First Battle of Bull Run in July of 1861, but he had what Lincoln called “a terrible case of the slows” as he put together a shining camp, but was reluctant to actually put the men into battle! He was replaced by George G. Meade, who won at Gettysburg but failed to pursue Lee and finish him off, to Lincoln’s great consternation and anger. It was still the turning point of the War as Vicksburg also fell, a day after the July 3rd end of the Gettysburg battle. Ulysses S. Grant was the victor of Vicksburg, and Lincoln had finally found his general. Grant would become the head of the Union war effort and eventually spearheaded the Virginia campaign while his friends and colleagues General William Tecumseh Sherman marched through Georgia and the Carolinas to the sea, and Philip Sheridan savaged the Shenandoah Valley, breadbasket of the Confederacy.
****Of course the North never sued for peace nor did Great Britain ever enter the War with troops. The British effort at intervention was confined to the diplomatic and political arenas, partly through Lincoln’s efforts to keep them out, as their entering the War would have been akin to a later generation of Americans entering World War II or the Chinese entering the Korean War in November of 1950. England’s intervention would have changed the course of the American Civil War. In the autumn of 1864, the Confederacy was slowly being crushed by the siege of the Grand Army of the Potomac at Petersburg, and Sherman was “making Georgia howl” with thousands of Union troops marching through the Deep South.
The War ended on April 9, 1865 at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, with Robert E. Lee surrendering to Ulysses S. Grant. Less than a week later, Lincoln was dead and the policy of “malice toward none, with charity for all” would be dead as well.