Title: Rainbow’s Freedom (Justice Arc) (7/61)
Pairings/Characters: (this chapter): King Jodelle/King Jovan, Alfred, Hal/Steve/Diana, Clark/Bruce (Clark does not appear in this chapter), Ollie/Dinah, Lex/Jamie (Jamie does not appear in this chapter), Dick
Series Notes: In the 23rd century, Earth is a technologically-advanced society that practices the ancient institution of slavery. Clark begins training under the Bat and secrets are uncovered as the Abolitionist Movement makes rapid progress with old and new methods. Can Freedom outrace rumors of War as the Galactic Empire rushes headlong to a new future?
The entire series can be found here.
Genres: AU, Drama, Slavefic
Rating: (this chapter): PG-13
Summary: Lex wonders how much his old friend Bruce knows.
Date Of Completion (First Draft): February 24, 2011
Date Of Posting: March 29, 2012
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1467
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Note: The magnificent story cover is by the wonderfully-talented ctbn60. Thanks so much, luv! :)
Of the month of Joralene,
Shall be the Day of Freedom.
Jovaran Royal Proclamation
22 – C.E.
A PERFECT AUTUMN DAY
Sunlight spilled into the library, Jodelle busily writing on parchment. He dipped his quill into the inkstand, sparkling green letters forming on the parchment.
Birds were singing outside the windows, the trees turning to riotous colors of gold, silver, and bronze. A light breeze blew in through the windows, Jodelle feeling at peace.
His husband entered the room and Jovan asked, “Writing to Professor Solon?”
Jodelle pushed a lock of lemon-blond hair back out of his sapphire eyes. “Yes.”
Both Kings were tall and willowy with light-blue skin, and Jovan was slightly shorter, his hair platinum blond and his eyes a deep amethyst. They sparkled as he laughed.
“He’s quite the character.” Jovan had easily lapsed into informal language, the hem of his silvery-blue robes whispering softly along the hardwood floor.
“He is. He despises electronic communications and insists on the old ways. Perhaps he isn’t too far off.”
Jovan grinned. “He’s an old curmudgeon.”
“But useful to have on our side.”
“Truly.” Jovan looked down at the floor. “When are we getting the new carpet?”
“In about six months.”
“One does not ask the Weavers of Silesia to hurry.” Jodelle sat back in his chair with a smile.
“The Silesians are slow as tree molasses!”
“All through our history they have been the highest craftsmen and women. One does not rush art.”
Jovan snorted while his mate laughed. “Well, at least will we have a fine carpet, even if we’re old and gray by then.” He saw Jodelle’s smile. “Are you thanking him for his help?”
“Yes. Without his support, who knows if the people would have listened? He is so well-respected.”
Jovan ran a hand over the silver-and-sapphire beads hanging from his belt. “In a year’s time, all slaves will be free, but some progressive Masters and Mistresses have already freed their slaves and are negotiating wages. As for the pleasure slaves, year-long contracts are being negotiated with parameters.” He smiled. “Even with opposition, things are going far better than we expected.”
Jodelle smiled fondly at his mate. “Due quite a bit to your hard work.”
Jovan smiled, pleased at the compliment. “Many people have worked to bring about this day, including you.”
Jodelle was equally pleased at the compliment. “Well, we must remain vigilant. Lord Vashton is leading the opposition.”
“A formidable opponent.”
Jodelle nodded. “We’ll keep up the pressure, my love.”
Jovan smiled again, steel in his eyes.
Breakfast was a jovial affair at the Manor, sunlight sparkling through the dining room windows. Everyone had an enormous appetite, Alfred and his kitchen staff cooking up a batch of eggs, bacon, sausages, toast, and pancakes, adding fresh fruit: strawberries, blueberries and orange slices. There was orange, apple, and cranberry juice, supplemented by hot coffee.
The slaves ate the same food in the kitchen, and all was right with the world, at least for one glorious morning where everyone was whole and alive.
In the dining room Steve mentioned, “I heard that the Jovarans have begun a plan of Abolition.”
Bruce nodded. “They started last month. They’re doing gradual emancipation for the next year. By this time next year, there will be no more slavery on Jovara.”
“It sounds so simple,” Dinah said in wonder.
“They’ve been agitating for quite a few years. Many people were amenable to the idea already.”
“We’re so entrenched here.” Dinah’s voice was laced with disgust.
“True, but the Jovarans have a clever idea: contract slavery.” At Dinah’s frown, Bruce explained, “This applies to former pleasure slaves only, as all other types of slaves will become regular wage-earners.”
“Why just the pleasure slaves?” asked Ollie, slathering strawberry jam on his toast.
“King Jodelle explained it to me: he and King Jovan thought that some of the biggest resistance would be to losing pleasure slaves, their Ja’zels. Pleasure slaves are status symbols there, prized for their skills in writing, music, dancing, and other arts besides the obvious.”
“So why the contract thing?”
“It’s like freemen who play BDSM games. The pseudo-Master and slave, or Dom and sub, draw up a contract for a year’s length, spelling out what the Master requires and what the slave will or will not do.”
“What if something comes up that wasn’t covered in the contract?” Steve sprinkled paprika on his eggs.
“Then the slave has the right to refuse. Ongoing disputes can be settled by a mediator.”
“Sounds like a lot of snags could occur.” Lex picked up his glass of apple juice.
“True, there could be a lot of glitches, but time will work those out.”
“Why would a former slave wish to go back into slavery?” Diana asked, spearing a piece of sausage with her fork.
“The slaves are paid handsomely, and their housing and meals are provided for. Clothing, too. The Master or Mistress gets the sexual services of the slave, and other skills as I mentioned.” Bruce took a bite of egg.
“Well, it doesn’t sound too bad,” said Ollie.
“There are bound to be abuses, but everything has its flaws.”
“It sure sounds intriguing.” Hal took a bite of buttered toast. “All throughout the Empire, we know that slavery is practiced, but if there was a viable alternative, maybe Abolition would be widespread.”
“I hope so. Anyway, Jovara has taken the first step. They’ll be watched very closely.”
After breakfast Bruce led his guests on a tour of the gardens, Lex staying inside to make a business call. He went to the library, conducted his business, and watched his friends laughing and talking in the colorful gardens.
It was a glorious autumn morning, golden and russet and orange with leaves and sunlight, the eye-achingly brilliant blue sky reflected in the white-capped ocean.
He saw Dick bound into the gardens with a message for Bruce, probably from Alfred. He was sparkling with energy, bringing a smile to Lex’s face, fading as he thought of the danger that the boy was in.
Do you know, Bruce? You must. You mentioned the Roma more than once as an example of an unnecessary Hunt Decree. You rarely mentioned the Kryptonians. Do you know?
Lex let out a huff of frustration. He hated feeling unsure.
Maybe it’s time for the direct approach.
Bruce and the rest were splitting up, the others interested in taking walks or sitting in the gazebo. Bruce stayed in the gardens while Dick went to the kitchen.
Lex stood in front of the painting of Bruce’s parents, the younger version of Bruce smiling before his world shattered.
Lex turned and saw Dick standing in the doorway. “Yes?”
“Alfred would like to know if you would like tea or coffee.”
“Tea. Some of that fine Earl Grey, I think.”
“Yes, sir.” Dick flashed a smile before leaving.
It was quiet in the library except for the ticking of the grandfather clock. He inspected it closely, admiring the workmanship. The date 1776 showed it to be centuries old and still keeping perfect time.
“Master Lex, your tea.”
Lex turned and saw Dick with a cup of tea, smiling a little nervously. “Thank you, Dick.”
“Would you like a snack?”
“No, I’ll wait for lunch.”
“Will you be going into town?”
“I’m not sure yet.”
“Yes, sir.” Dick turned to leave.
“Sir?” The boy turned back to face Lex.
“How are you?”
Puzzled for a second, Dick smiled almost instantly. “Very well, sir, thank you.”
“That’s good. Bruce is a good Master.”
Lex laughed. “Can’t argue with that. Better get back to Alfred.”
Lex watched Dick leave. He was about to leave the room when Bruce entered.
“Oh, Lex, I’m sorry. I forgot about your business call. Let me clear out.”
“No, you don’t have to. I’m done.”
“Good. Listen, I thought we’d lunch in town and do any last-minute shopping for the Harvest Ball. I called Jim Gordon and he says all the festivities are in full swing. Even the street fair, though on a smaller scale.”
“Good to hear.”
“Yes, since there were no deaths or major injuries, there’s no problem with business-as-usual while clean-up goes on.”
“Yeah, it could have been a real disaster.”
Lex hovered around the desk as Bruce checked his mail. He looked up. “Do you need something? Or the call go wrong?”
“No.” Lex knew the moment was rapidly becoming awkward. How to salvage it? “Well, I hope you found the material I sent to be…”
“Bruce!” Dick dashed into the library, skidding to a halt when he saw Lex. “I’m sorry, Master.”
“What’s wrong, Dick?” Bruce asked.
“We just heard over the radio. There was an assassination on Jovara!”