Title: Rainbow’s Freedom (Justice Arc) (31/61)
Pairings/Characters: (this chapter): Clark/Bruce, Dick, Alfred, Arlen/Adele, Edmund Caldwell
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: The fall-out begins after Edmund’s arrest.
Date Of Completion (First Draft): June 12, 2011
Date Of Posting: August 28, 2012
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1320
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Notes: The magnificent story cover is by the wonderfully-talented ctbn60. Thanks so much, luv! :)
The ‘hulks’ referred to in this chapter are not Marvel’s Hulk, just big, strapping guys. ;)
“It’s done.” Bruce’s smile was positively incandescent as he flipped his cellphone shut.
Clark and Dick beamed and Alfred looked highly pleased as he brought in a tray of tea and cookies.
“Excellent, sir.” Alfred served everyone, then took a seat himself.
“Do you think it’ll stick?” asked Dick.
“I think so. Though be prepared for anything. Edmund has a clever lawyer in Malcolm Atterby.” Bruce took a bite of the chocolate chip cookie and looked at it with approval.
They all nodded, but Clark could not help saying, “He may skate, but he’s going to get a taste of justice at least.”
“That should be sweet,” Bruce said, midnight-blue eyes glittering.
Arlen Hawkins was nearly beside himself with rage. He stormed into his house and shouted, “Adele! Adele!”
She appeared at the top of the grand staircase. “Why are you yelling like a common fishwife?”
“You know why I’m yelling!” He waved his cellphone at her. “I just got a call from Malcolm Atterby! You were the one to get Edmund into trouble!”
“Why don’t we air out our dirty laundry for everyone in the neighborhood to hear?” she asked coolly.
Arlen stomped up the stairs, following her into their bedroom, shutting the door behind him as slaves and servants scurried back to work downstairs.
“How could you do this!”
Adele remained cool. “How could you?”
“What are you talking about, woman?”
“You brought that slave into this house.”
“I’ve done that plenty of times before.”
“And you know I don’t like it.”
His eyes narrowed. “Is this what it’s about? Payback?”
Adele snorted. “Don’t flatter yourself! I’m not that petty.”
She sneered, “You really are clueless, aren’t you?” At his impatient look, she held up a hand. “You’re a fool, Arlen. You bring home whores, knowing I don’t like you doing that here in our house, flaunting your appetites, but worse, leaving a slave to die.”
Arlen snorted. “He wasn’t dying, just a little banged up.”
“Really? He was bleeding out, Arlen. And that was the plan, wasn’t it? To let the poor wretch die in a pool of his own blood and then dispose of the body. Slaves dying just cause the accountants to strike them off the books.” Her eyes narrowed. “You could have easily covered it up. You would have said the Government took him back and if anyone from Station 51 inquired, could have set them adrift in a sea of red tape. You would have quietly told the Bureau Of Indian Affairs that he had died during rough sex, and no one would have questioned you.”
“You have it all figured out, don’t you?”
“Except for why you let that sadist in our house.”
”He’s a friend, Adele.”
“He’s a psycho! Honestly, Arlen, what were you thinking?” Adele paced back-and-forth, arms crossed. “He’s trouble.”
“He’s one of us, Adele.”
She glared at him. “I know he’s of the nobility! That doesn’t mean he isn’t trouble! He’s on probation, Arlen, in case you hadn’t noticed.”
Arlen made an impatient gesture. “Of course I know that!”
“Then why all this subterfuge of allowing him in our house to abuse a slave to the point of death?” She looked at her husband with genuine puzzlement. “Look, I know your taste can be a bit…bizarre, but sadism? Really? You saw that tape presented in the Senate hearing. Did you really think that man wouldn’t torture this slave, too? How could you stomach it?”
Arlen’s scowl darkened. “He has his peccadilloes.”
“Peccadilloes?” Adele threw her had back and laughed. “You’re kidding, right? Peccadilloes? The man’s a fucking sadist, Arlen.”
“Watch your language!” Arlen snapped.
“Oh, please, let’s not get puritanical around here. You brought a slave here to satisfy Edmund’s sick appetites because he wasn’t supposed to be around any but his own slaves according to the terms of his probation. You were going to allow that slave to bleed to death to please Caldwell.”
“What are you, an Abo?” Arlen was pacing restlessly now while Adele was the one who was still.
“Of course not, though if they oppose sickos like Edmund Caldwell, I’ll support them.”
Arlen whirled and hissed, “Do you know what you’ve done?”
He shook his head. “I don’t think you do. You don’t want Edmund Caldwell as an enemy, and now you have him as one.”
“Does he have something on you?” Adele frowned as she crossed her arms.
“Of course not!”
Adele’s eyes narrowed. She had seen the flicker in her husband’s eyes.
“You’re a senator. Why would you get involved with that cretin, noble-born or not?”
“Sometimes you have to do things for friends you’re not that keen on.”
Adele wondered what the wily old fox had on her husband. “You know, I’d rather you were being blackmailed instead of sharing that old sadist’s tastes.” She once again saw a flicker in Arlen’s eyes. “You’ve always had exotic tastes, and that’s why I don’t object to your use of pleasure slaves, except here, but I’ve never known you to be sadistically cruel.”
Arlen turned away, jamming his hands into his pockets. He remained silent for a few minutes, then turned back to his wife. “Thank you for that.” She nodded slowly. He sighed. “I should have told you. I’m sorry.” He shrugged. “The slave would have been acceptable collateral damage, and even now he can’t hurt us.”
“But I can.”
“Yes, you can.” Arlen looked at her. “I want you to recant your statement.”
”I can’t do that.”
“You have to, Adele!” Arlen grabbed her shoulders. “Edmund Caldwell will destroy us!”
Adele shivered. She well knew how vindictive that old man could be. Perhaps she had been too hasty.
Prison was a scum hole, Edmund thought contemptuously. Men of the lowest gutter sort thrived here, where strength ruled.
But so did cunning, and he was a master, after all.
Edmund stood in line to get his daily allotment of swill. A huge, hulking man was in front of him, and an even bigger one was behind him. Neither scared him. He was physically safe, for the most part, but he still had to be careful.
Ironically, his torture tape gave him some ‘street cred’ here. There were plenty of sadists around who had done their own share of torturing and admired his technique.
While Edmund would much rather not be in prison, he could survive here, and maybe end up King of the Hill on guile alone.
He slid his tray over and received his lunchtime allotment of mushy peas, fatty pork, and congealed gravy. Lumpy mashed potatoes were mixed in with the peas by the time the inmate server finished dumping the lot on his plate. A definite drawback of prison life was the food. Vile stuff. He picked up a tepid cup of coffee and took his seat at a table already filled with other cons. He began eating, glad that the portions were not big.
“Hey,” whispered one of the hulks, sitting on his left.
“What?” Edmund grunted.
“Need some help on the outside?”
The level of conversation in the hall was a low buzz. Inmates were allowed to talk at meals, but if things got raucous, silence would be ordered. It was unlikely that anyone at the table was listening, absorbed in their own conversations.
“What kind of help?”
“The senator’s wife got you in here, not that whore you enjoyed.” The hulk sawed on his meat.
“True.” Edmund ate a spoonful of mushy peas, grimacing.
“I got connections at Arkham.”
The hulk nodded, tearing off a piece of pork and gnawing on it. Swallowing, he said, “Got someone bustin’ out soon. Owes me a favor and is willin’ to take it out in blood, not coin.”
The hulk grinned as he attacked his meat again.