Pairings/Characters: (this chapter): Eleanora du Maurier, Kathy Kane, Hayley Quinzell, Clark/Bruce (Clark does not appear in this chapter), Harrison Caldwell, Halliburton Caldwell, Edmund Caldwell, Addison Atterby, Kevin M’Butu
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): PG-13
Summary: Philosophies clash during the Caldwell trial.
Date Of Completion (First Draft): October 30, 2009
Date Of Posting: March 22, 2011
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1247
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author's Note: Written for my 2010 DCU Fic/Art Bondage Challenge.
"Slave psychology is complex. Those forced to live in bondage can be damaged, but also discover great strength within themselves."
Dr. Hayley Quinzell
“The Church of the Word is demonstrating outside the Gotham Courthouse, furious at the prosecution’s demand to imprison Edmund Caldwell.
“Counter-demonstrators have arrived in the city from the National Abolitionist Society. Gothamites who are members of the local chapter have quickly organized, and tensions are running high.”
Eleanora nodded and the camera panned to the angry demonstrators who were chanting and yelling at each other. The studio anchors had taken up the narration, so Eleanora clicked off her microphone.
She stood by a tree, watching the contorted faces. Signs were waved: Slaves Are Filth!, Freedom For All!, and The Day Of Jubilee Is Coming!
Eleanora crossed her arms. Her eyebrow rose as she saw a young child with a sign using raunchy language against slaves, and there was the glint of zeal in an Abolitionist’s eyes as she chanted. Shaking her head, the newswoman leaned back against the tree.
“Quite a circus, huh?” asked a man who had stopped to watch the demonstrations.
“Like Ringling Brothers.”
He laughed. “Really. Is the trial still going on? I mean, after showing that tape, what’s left?”
“I don’t know. Trials are hard to judge sometimes.”
“This city is never dull. I hear there’s a new Bat in town.”
“There is.” Eleanora smiled, her blue eyes sparkling with enthusiasm. “She’s pretty dynamic from the pictures I’ve seen.”
“Well, Gotham can use all the help it can get.”
“Isn’t that the truth!”
“Let’s hope they wrap up this trial soon,” the man said as he walked away.
“Let’s hope so,” Eleanora said as she watched the confrontation outside the courthouse grow more heated.
Inside the courthouse, the trial had begun for the day. Kathy had called Dr. Hayley Quinzell as a witness.
“Dr. Quinzell, you are an expert on slave psychology?”
The blond nodded. “I hold a Ph.D. in the subject.”
“What would be the reaction of Bruce Wayne’s Prize to his time in Edmund Caldwell’s hands?”
“The same as if he was a freeman: deep disturbance at the sadism practiced on him.” Hayley pushed her glasses up her nose. Her blond hair was twisted into a neat bun and she wore a sharply-tailored suit, looking very professional.
“And what sadism was that?”
“Threats of mutilation. Caldwell even scarred him under his eye to give him a preview of coming attractions.”
Bruce watched the jury. A few of them shivered while the rest remained impassive. He tried to be just as impassive but was worrying about Dick. If he couldn’t find the blackmailer…
And what if you do? He could still spill what he knows out of spite if he’s sent to prison. We’d still be destroyed as a family, at least here on Earth.
He tried to concentrate on what Hayley was saying.
“And then Mr. Caldwell described how he planned to kill the Prize in gruesome detail after Mr. Caldwell and his two sons had thoroughly used him, breaking his body and spirit.”
Bruce looked over at Harrison and Halliburton, who stared stonily ahead. Edmund looked bored.
Kathy walked toward her table, glancing at some notes while studying the jury in her peripheral vision. She turned back to face the witness box.
“Dr. Quinzell, how does slave psychology differ from freemen psychology?”
Hayley leaned forward a little in earnest.
“Most slave reactions are like freemen’s, but they are often colored by the facts of their condition.”
“So the condition of bondage affects a slave’s psyche?”
“Very much so. A slave in our society has very little control of his life, if any. While there are numerous and draconian laws regulating a slave’s behavior, there are less stringent rules for freemen.
“Slaves are at the mercy of a freemen’s whims, and that puts them in a very precarious position. They can never be quite sure of the rules, which puts physical and mental stress on slaves.
“As we can see by this trial, slaves have good reason to fear unfettered freemen. Humiliation and torture isn’t uncommon. And there’s the psychological burden of being considered property, as if they were a piece of furniture or a diamond necklace. The latter may be considered precious, but in the end are still disposable commodities.”
“So you believe that slaves operate at a disadvantage?”
“Of course. They have no rights. They are literally at the mercy of their Masters, who as we’ve seen, can be warped by that absolute power to use it cruelly and sadistically.”
Kathy leaned against the jury box. “So you believe there ought to be firmer rules and consequences for breaking them?”
“I do. I believe that what Edmund Caldwell did was inhumane. We have rules on the books about stealing slaves. Why aren’t we enforcing them?”
“Objection,” Addison said. “The witness is giving opinions about sentencing.”
“Sustained. The witness will limit herself to her psychiatric specialty.” Judge M’Butu sat back in his chair.
“Yes, Your Honor,” said Hayley.
“No further questions,” Kathy said.
As Kathy took her seat, Addison rose from his, buttoning his suit jacket. “Dr. Quinzell, you believe that slave psyches are different from freemen’s?”
“To a certain extent.”
“So there are basic differences between freemen and slaves?”
“Considering that slaves are in bondage, yes.”
“So they aren’t…” Addison came out from behind the table, walking toward the witness box “…worth as much as freemen?”
“Society doesn’t think so.”
“But society makes the laws, do they not?”
“So we must live under those laws, correct?”
Addison paced in front of the jury, then turned to Hayley. “Yet the National Abolitionist Society and slave psychologists such as yourself advocate freeing slaves.”
“But don’t the laws prohibit that?”
“So you still push for unlawful activity.”
Hayley raised an eyebrow. “Those who advocate freeing slaves do so lawfully, Mr. Atterby.”
“Does that include the Underground Railroad?”
Murmurs went around the courtroom. Hayley kept her expression neutral.
“There are always those who practice civil disobedience.”
“Civil disobedience! Helping slaves escape is criminal activity, Doctor.”
“And those who are caught are punished.”
“Objection. What is the purpose of this line of questioning?” Kathy asked as she stood.
“I wish to show how Abolitionists view society in a skewed way. Slavery is the very foundation of our social and economic structure. Edmund Caldwell stole a slave and will take his medicine, but not an excessive dose.” Addison smiled benevolently at the jury.
“Sustained, but wrap this up, Mr. Atterby.”
“Yes, Your Honor.”
Kathy reluctantly sat down. Addison approached the witness box.
“Dr. Quinzell, are there not incidents on record of Abolitionists attacking freemen during their ‘civil disobedience’, as you call it?”
“Yes, just as there are incidents of violence against Abolitionists.”
“We are talking about Abolitionist violence here, Doctor, not violence against them.”
“And you’re selectively choosing to highlight incidents that rank far below those against Abolitionists.”
“Objection! The defense is argumentative with the witness.”
“Sustained. Move on, Mr. Atterby.”
Addison nodded to M’Butu. “Dr. Quinzell, shouldn’t emotional appeals be set aside to focus on the legalities of this case?”
“After viewing that torture tape, how can anyone not be emotional?”
“But we’re a court of law, not a court of emotions, Dr. Quinz…”
Glass shattered in a spray of deadly shards as the window exploded high behind Hayley.