Pairings/Characters: (this chapter): Martha Kent, Lana Lang, Clark/Bruce (Clark does not appear in this chapter), Kathy Kane
Series Notes: In the 23rd century, Earth is a technologically-advanced society that practices the ancient institution of slavery. As Bruce and Clark continue to juggle being lovers as well as Master and slave, Bruce continues his Abolitionist work, and a shocking Family Secret is revealed. Meanwhile, the Queen Family welcomes a new member, and Steve and Hal meet their Destinies, although neither one realizes it yet. The entire series can be found here.
Genres: Drama, AU
Rating: (this chapter): PG-13
Summary: Bruce meets with Martha, Kathy, and a new ally to push harder for more Slave Protection Laws.
Date Of Completion (First Draft): June 23, 2008
Date Of Posting: May 8, 2009
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1231
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Senator Lana Lang (D-Kansas)
“Bruce, I’d like you to meet Senator Lana Lang, Democrat from Kansas.”
Martha presented a statuesque redhead whom Bruce recognized from news photographs. Usually she was smartly dressed in stunning tailored suits at work or fashionable gowns at Georgetown balls and parties, but today she was dressed in casual black pants and a white silk shirt with a frilled neckline. Her hair was in a ponytail instead of her usual upswept style.
Bruce shook hands, noticing her firm grip. “Pleased to meet you, Senator.”
“Lana will do, Mr. Wayne.”
Lana smiled. Her hair was a more carrot-red instead of Martha’s strawberry-red. Her green eyes fit her coloring perfectly.
“Let’s get started,” Kathy suggested as she sat at the table in the solarium.
Bruce, Martha, and Lana took their seats, surrounded by exotic flowers of every hue and variety.
Martha took a sip of water. A silver pitcher had been set in the middle of the table, and each place held a stylus and datapad.
“Since you requested this meeting, Bruce, I’ll let you start. Oh, by the way, thanks for the jet. Beats coach anytime.”
Bruce laughed. “You’re welcome. And, yes, I called this meeting because I want to plot the next strategic level.”
“I’ve observed you becoming more outspoken for the Cause in the past year,” Lana said.
“Yes, I wanted to do some education.”
“Bruce has been educating Gotham’s elite,” said Kathy with a smile.
“It’s not cultured anymore to treat slaves shabbily.”
Bruce grinned. “I’ll admit to making some inroads, but there’s still a long way to go.” He somberly recounted the incident in the park.
“Barbaric,” Kathy sighed.
“Is there any way you can introduce a bill to legislate stricter guidelines over Masters in the area of slave abuse?” Bruce asked Lana.
“Difficult at best. After the defeat of the Branding Bill, which I vehemently opposed, we lost steam in getting laws passed to direct Masters what to do with their slaves.”
“The Branding Bill would have forced slaveowners to brand their slaves.” Bruce suppressed a shudder.
“Yes.” Lana cocked her head. “You still own personal slaves.”
“I do.” Bruce looked steadily at her. “I won’t…I can’t…give them up.”
Lana nodded slowly. “Also a practical decision. If you freed your slaves, they would be classified as runaways and subject to torture and execution.”
Bruce felt slightly nauseous as he thought of the methods used to apply punishment. Execution was merciful in this case.
“I know it’s difficult to enforce Master oversight, especially since slaves can’t testify and freemen would be reluctant to ‘rat’ on other freemen, but a law on the books would be a step forward. The debate alone would be worthwhile.” Bruce took a sip of water.
Lana nodded. “Agreed, but what should be the parameters? If we showcased beatings and mutilations, that’s fine, but should we include classifying slave kidnappings as such, instead of merely stolen property? And what about slave murders? Legally you cannot be charged with murdering the manacled, only ‘destruction of property’.”
Kathy frowned. “Should we stick to beatings and mutilations? Reclassification of kidnapping and murder will bring up the debate on whether slaves are human at all and entitled to ‘personhood’ on any level. If that debate rages, we might lose even cursory oversight. Should we try and go for half a loaf, establish a shift in mores, and then go for the jugular?”
“A valid argument,” said Martha. “But can we afford to let kidnapping and murder only rate fines instead of prison time? As it is now, a freeman can murder a slave with impunity and only be slapped with a fine, and that’s only if it’s not your own slave. A Master can kill his own slave and absolutely nothing can be done.”
“Exactly. The mindset is so entrenched. How can we fight that all at once? Generations of that entrenched thought can’t be eradicated with one bill.”
“I understand your argument, Kathy, but people will never really be ‘ready’. We could wait a hundred years and there would be those not ready for new thoughts.” Bruce tapped his stylus on the table.
“Do you speak from personal experience, Cousin?”
“Before I purch…met my Prize, I went along without much contact with any slaves except Alfred. I knew deep down it was wrong to enslave people, but I knew how the deck was stacked and I had…other concerns.” His fingers curled tightly around the stylus. “But I came in closer everyday contact with my Prize, and now my Squire.” Bruce looked down. “I’ve seen slavery with a human face. Theirs, in fact,” he said softly.
The women all looked at each other, then Kathy reached out and took her cousin’s hand. “So, what’s your plan?”
Bruce looked up and smiled at her, squeezing her hand before he released it.
“I propose more of me speaking out, especially against the beatings and mutilations, skirting around kidnappings and murders. Reinforce the snobbery angle, and then ease into more pointed pronouncements. I want to eventually say that I would free my slaves if it was allowed.”
“Powerful words, Bruce,” said Lana, her green eyes sharp.
“I want to push as far as I can, with your help.”
Lana nodded. “We should work on a timetable and coordinate our efforts. You should reinforce your views on slave mistreatment as terribly uncouth, and then start hammering away at more of a human decency angle.”
Bruce nodded. “Vicki Vale of The Gotham Gazette has been trying to get an interview with me for months. She was furious that Lois Lane scooped her last year.” Bruce’s cellphone rang. « Pardon me, ladies, I’ve been expecting this call.” He left the solarium to talk out in the hall.
Lana made a few notes on her datapad. “Except for Alfred, he doesn’t speak of his other slaves by name.”
Kathy sipped her water. “He does speak of his Squire by name, but never his Prize.”
“Yes, a peculiar custom.”
“It is the tradition of the nobility to keep their pleasure slaves Veiled and their names known only to the Master, or to a select few.”
“He cares for this…Prize…of his.”
“I think he does,” Martha said softly.
Lana looked at her. “Your instincts are usually spot-on, Martha.”
The older redhead laughed. “Good thing! Helps keep Jonathan in line.”
The other women grinned as Bruce returned. “What’s so amusing?”
“Oh, just girl talk,” Kathy said brightly.
Bemused, Bruce sat down, a smile lighting his face. “I just got word that a friend of mine has been found. Steve Trevor was missing after a test flight went wrong, and now he’s contacted the military to say he’s all right!”
“Oh, that’s wonderful, Bruce!”
He nodded. “I just wish that the same could be said for Hal Jordan. He’s still missing in the Outer Rim.” He sighed. “Usually when someone’s lost in space, the odds aren’t good.”
Lana quickly looked at Martha, a shadow passing over the older woman’s face. Kathy and Bruce didn’t notice as Kathy squeezed her cousin’s hand.
“Hopefully, good news on that front will come,” Bruce said. “In the meantime, Lana, I think I have a timetable for you…”
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