Pairings/Characters: (this chapter): Kevin M’Butu, Clark/Bruce (Clark does not appear in this chapter), Brendan, Lana Lang, Kathy Kane, Simon J. Andrews, Harrison Caldwell, Halliburton Caldwell, Edmund Caldwell, Addison Atterby
Series Notes: In the 23rd century, Earth is a technologically-advanced society that practices the ancient institution of slavery. New superheroes appear on the scene as the Abolitionist Movement gathers strength. Meanwhile, Lex gets his heart’s desire while long-held secrets begin to spill out of the Manor. Nothing will ever be the same again.
The entire series can be found here.
Genres: AU, Challenge, Drama, Slavefic
Challenge Category: Section E (Slavefic)
Rating: (this chapter): R
Warnings: Graphic descriptions of torture
Summary: The trial of Edmund Caldwell begins.
Date Of Completion (First Draft): October 16, 2009
Date Of Posting: February 16, 2011
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1274
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author's Note: Written for my 2010 DCU Fic/Art Bondage Challenge.
Eleanora du Maurier
February 2, 22—C.E.
THE PEOPLE VS. EDMUND CALDWELL
The inhabitants of the packed courtroom got to their feet, the distinguished judge sweeping in with his black robes. Sitting down behind the bench, the people also settled into their chairs.
“Court is now in session, Judge Kevin M’Butu presiding.”
“Thank you, Bailiff. Let us begin the trial of the People versus Edmund Caldwell.”
Artists quickly began sketching on notepads and computer software. The ancient ban on electronic media in a courtroom was still in effect, so artists were employed for the news services to give them the pictures.
Bruce settled into his chair behind the prosecutor’s table. He had left his slaves at home under tightened security, but Brendan had requested coming with him. Bruce had acquiesed, glad of the company.
Lana and Kathy were conferring at the table. Kathy was the lead lawyer on the case, Lana speaking on a last-minute basis. Another lawyer sifted through papers, the young man’s blond hair neatly combed, his suit a dark-blue. Kathy said that Simon J. Andrews was one of the best young men in the law business.
The National Abolitionist Society was providing the lawyers as the local D.A., Harvey Dent, was reluctant to prosecute. Under a statue enacted in the 21st century, private practice lawyers could be temporarily hired by the District Attorney’s office for a special trial. The N.A.S. had leaped at the chance.
Lana took her seat next to Bruce, smiling quickly. She crossed shapely legs, her forest-green suit a perfect complement to her red hair.
The news reporters were certainly busy lately. Not only was Wonder Woman still relatively new on the scene, there was a new Bat in town, one exuding confidence and sex appeal.
And now one of the legendary Green Lanterns had appeared on Earth, sending ripples throughout the Empire.
Actually, more like seismic shock waves.
The Emperor and the Imperial Senate had been thrown into a tizzy, as Great-Aunt Maude would have said. If the semi-mythical Guardians of Oa were finally interested in the Galactic Empire, what did that mean? Would they meddle in internal affairs? Or even try and take over the Empire? Didn’t the Empire have enough trouble with the Kadorans and other outside forces?
Well, Bruce wasn’t that concerned. Let the politicians deal with the Green Lantern Corps and the Guardians of Oa. He had enough concerns right here on Earth.
The Caldwell sons, Harrison and Halliburton, were sitting across the aisle from him and Brendan. Edmund’s wife was conspicuously absent.
He looked over at Edmund.
The old sadist was impeccably-dressed in a dark-blue suit and tie, gold cufflinks winking at his wrists, no doubt engraved with the Caldwell family crest. He was speaking with his lawyer, looking relaxed and cheerful. He saw Bruce looking at him and smiled, pale gray eyes glittering.
Bruce’s jaw twitched, then he smiled back, a predator’s smile.
The Bat’s smile.
Feeling slightly better, Bruce settled back in his chair.
The judge pounded his gavel down. “Let’s begin. Opening statements will begin. Ms. Kane, you first.”
Kathy rose and looked very professional in her tailored Kelly-green suit, her hair tucked up with a gold barrette. She was calm and confident as she started to speak.
“Judge M’Butu, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, my case is this: Edmund Caldwell of the House Of Caldwell kidnapped and brutalized Bruce Wayne’s Prize. We will prove that he is guilty of dishonorable conduct and should be punished beyond a mere fine.”
Kathy started to pace back-and-forth in front of the jury box, her movements graceful and relaxed, heels clicking on the floor.
“Ladies and gentlemen, this case has been brought by the National Abolitionist Society in civil court in the name of the House of Wayne.
“Mr. Wayne does not believe that a fine is sufficient punishment for the taking of his slave, who is not only valuable property, but suffered horribly while in Edmund Caldwell’s hands. We will introduce evidence proving the sadistic cruelty of a thief without honor.”
Edmund looked furious for a second, his expression immediately replaced by a genial mask.
It was a clever strategy. The jury was made up of all socioeconomic classes, and the nobility would adhere to the Gentlemen’s Code of Honor, the lower classes considering it important, too.
“Grand larceny of this scale is usually punishable by a prison term and fine, except when a slave is kidnapped and abused. In that case, only a fine is levied.” Kathy leaned on the jury box. “Ladies and gentlemen, this kidnapping was a breach of honor. It was a breach of mere human kindness, as the slave taken was violated and terrorized, threatened with mutilation and death.” She began walking back-and-forth again. “Edmund Caldwell is a master manipulator. He has also tortured his own slaves, disfiguring and dismembering them while they still lived, and Bruce Wayne’s Prize knew this. He knew that he would lose his eyes, his tongue, his limbs as he was carved up and finally killed to be dumped into Lake Okachee.”
Bruce saw a few jurors shudder. Good.
“Our humanity demands that we punish this man for his sadism, and at the heart of this case, remember that Bruce Wayne’s treasured slave was taken from him, tortured, raped, and would have been murdered without the timely intervention of Batman and Robin.” Kathy faced the jury head-on. “Convict Edmund Caldwell of kidnapping and remember the sadism.” She looked at each one. “Remember your humanity.”
Kathy returned to her seat next to Simon. Bruce restrained himself from applauding.
Just the right amount of intensity, without being overly zealous.
He noted with satisfaction the frowns on the faces of Edmund’s sons, and exchanged a smile with Brendan.
Edmund’s lawyer stood, buttoning his suit coat. The charcoal-gray suit flattered the man’s gray eyes and mane of white hair. Addison Atterby was tall, broad-shouldered, and sixty-one years old. His smile was charming, his manner smooth, and he was a bloodthirsty shark in the courtroom. He was the best that money could buy.
“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, we contend that Edmund Caldwell should not be unduly punished. The law states that a man guilty of stealing another man’s slave is subject to six months’ imprisonment and a fine of $50,000 maximum.”
“Ms. Kane and her cohorts in the National Abolitionist Society are pushing you to punish my client beyond what is lawful by bringing in other issues related to their agenda.
“Edmund Caldwell admits to stealing Bruce Wayne’s slave. He objects to the push for excessive punishment. There is a reason that no one has ever received the prison sentence in addition to the fine.
“Slaves are not considered people in the eyes of the law.”
Bruce’s hands curled into fists, fingers digging into his palms.
Addison walked back-and-forth. “Ladies and gentlemen, this is a dispute between gentlemen, which should remain between them. Bruce Wayne brought this matter to court, impinging on your time.
“This case is not about the ethics or morality of slavery. It’s about a man stealing what is classified as property in the eyes of the law, admitting to it, willing to pay his fine, but he will not quietly accept a break in tradition, or allow a dangerous precedent to be set.
“It is up to you to uphold the law, written and unwritten, not to hold protest signs for the National Abolitionist Society.”
Addison smiled and returned to his chair.
So began the Caldwell trial.