Title: Rainbow’s Freedom (Justice Arc) (38/61)
Pairings/Characters: (this chapter): Clark/Bruce, Dick, Hal/Steve/Diana, Barry Allen, Wally West
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 heat wave continues as the heroes do their duty across the land.
Date Of Completion (First Draft): July 19, 2011
Date Of Posting: October 5, 2012
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1725
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Note: The magnificent story cover is by the wonderfully-talented ctbn60. Thanks so much, luv! :)
Let Freedom ring!
All across the land,
Let Freedom sing!"
"Let Freedom Ring!"
"LET FREEDOM RING!"
The heat wave continued to shimmer in Gotham, much to the chagrin of her citizens. Crime had gone up in the sweltering heat, but the GCPD responded to more domestic abuse calls then at any other time of year.
Clark still trained and got his experience in becoming a crimefighter. He was content to stay in the shadows for now, knowing that he still had a lot to learn.
Also, they were trying to work out a way to reveal Clark as a hero without getting him Hunted down by the Government as a Kryptonian. How could he reveal the full extent of his powers without exposing himself as one of the Hunted?
Clark wanted to wear the House Of El’s colors, bright as day, and would love to wear his House’s symbol but knew that would probably be impossible.
“Too bad the Kents don’t have a coat of arms,” Dick had said mischievously.
Clark had laughed and ruffled his hair.
Bruce was relieved that Dick’s adolescent moodiness seemed to have waned. He much preferred a cheerful boy to a sulky one. He still thought that he had done the right thing by ordering Dick Veiled, though he regretted his boy being upset by it.
Things had returned to normal at the Manor with the exception of the Underground Railroad. Still, Bruce could not help but wonder if a storm was coming, and grimly resolved to batten down the hatches.
Green Lantern’s beam of energy enveloped Professor Zoom, the villain screaming curses at him as Flash saluted.
“Thanks for the assist.”
“Glad to help.” Green Lantern deposited the sputtering villains into the police wagon. The officer drove away, the siren drowning out the Reverse Flash’s tirade.
Flash smiled as Green Lantern alighted. “Sometimes we all need help.”
“That’s for sure.”
“You know, we ought to have a reliable system of contacting each other for help.”
“You know that’s not a bad idea.” Green Lantern’s eyes lit up. “That’s not a bad idea at all! Flash, can you give me a number where I can reach you? I’d like to talk to Wonder Woman and the Bats and Arrows about this.”
“I can talk to the Hawks and Aquaman.”
A sudden blur of red-and-yellow appeared and a grinning teenage boy skidded to a halt, dressed in more yellow than red, and his headpiece allowed a luxuriant mop of brown hair to show. Brown eyes winkled as Green Lantern asked, “Whoa, who is this?”
“Kid Flash,” the Flash said proudly. “I figured if Batman and Batwoman could have protégés, so could I, not to mention Green Arrow and Black Canary.”
“Hi!” Kid Flash stuck out his hand.
Smiling, Green Lantern shook the boy’s hand. “Looks like you have help already.”
Flash grinned. “I do, but a little more wouldn’t hurt.”
Green Lantern nodded. “Sometimes the threats are too big for one person.” He added with a smile, “Or two.”
Flash nodded. “C’mon, Kid, plenty of crime to keep us busy!”
Kid Flash laughed and zoomed away right after saying, “Great meeting you, Green Lantern!”
“My pleasure,” said an amused Emerald Warrior.
Flash asked, “What’s your number?”
“Oh, right.” Green Lantern hastily took out a slimline cellphone, good for spandex suits, and sent Flash an e-mail. Since texting was for Government use only, a-mail was the way to go.
“Thanks.” Flash shook Green Lantern’s hand. “Thanks again for the assist. I’ll keep in touch!” He zoomed off.
Amused, Green Lantern flew away.
Steve wiped the sweat off his brow with his handkerchief. Washington in August was brutal. He recalled reading about the ‘miasma’ of August in the 19th-century Civil War sources he had devoured as a child. He had enjoyed a head start on military history before he had attended the Air Force Academy.
Fortunately he was not wearing his uniform, and in fact it was better that he didn’t. This was a National Abolitionist Society rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, and Wonder Woman was the featured speaker.
He wore a straw hat and sunglasses and had dressed in typical tourist garb: a T-shirt and shorts, his feet clad in scuffed sneakers. He carried an old-fashioned camera, a current fad, as retro items were big right now.
He was taking a risk by coming here, because it was a sure thing that Government agents were photographing everyone at the rally, but he could claim he was Military Intelligence just keeping tabs on the N.A.S. He hated the subterfuge, but it was the reality of his job: military people who supported Abolitionism found themselves demoted, marginalized, or outright discharged. He liked being a major in the U.S. Air Force and intended to stay, but he also had no intention of missing this speech.
He and Diana had considered him publicly coming out as her boyfriend, but her association with the N.A.S. had derailed that idea. For the same reason, Hal kept his romance with her a secret, too.
Instead, Steve and Hal were openly in a relationship with Diana Prince, who worked at the Boston Athenaeum as its resident Classical Antiquity expert, particularly Ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt.
Applause thundered on the Mall as Wonder Woman stepped to the podium, the serene marble visage of Abraham Lincoln looming over her shoulder. She wore her long star-spangled skirt and cape today, a magnificent avatar as she smiled at the crowd. Sunlight shimmered off the Reflecting Pool, a hot breeze sweeping across the Mall, lightly ruffling the Amazon’s hair, cape and skirt.
“Good citizens of the United States of America, it is time to declare ourselves for the Cause of Freedom!”
Whistles and applause greeted this opening statement as placards with slogans like Freedom Now! and Free The Slaves! bobbed up and down.
“Here on the step s of the Lincoln Memorial, let Freedom ring!”
More shouts and applause rippled across the Mall. Steve picked out two Government agents who were barely concealing their disgust.
Bad form, guys.
“I come to you as a believer in Freedom. My people, the Amazons, have always supported the Cause of Freedom. It is not right, my friends, for some to be born free and some to be born shackled. All have the right to be free, to make their own decisions, to live their own lives without a Master or Mistress controlling their every move.”
The lone voice in the wilderness could barely be heard amidst the thunderous applause, but heads turned to look at the tall, thin man whose eyes were wild as he shook his fist at Wonder Woman.
She looked at him serenely. Steve loved that inner serenity that she possessed. It grounded and centered him in ways that soothed his soul.
“You are a traitorous whore!” screamed the man, pointing his finger at the Amazon. The crowd glared at him. “The Church Of The Word tells the truth in all its holiness!”
Steve sighed. The Church Of The Word was a fundamentalist sect that championed slavery above all other issues. They had been involved in the Gotham protests during the Caldwell trial.
“Freedom is divinely-inspired,” Wonder Woman said.
“Freedom is for the free, not the whores who are born slaves! You wear slave bracelets!”
“They are Amazon bracelets.”
“Liar! You were a slave once. I can see it in your lying eyes. Admit it, whore!”
Steve tensed. Diana was an Avatar of Truth. How could she get out of this one?
The Society’s security force reached the man, his mouth spewing vile accusations as he was dragged away. Hopefully people would consider the man’s accusations only mad ravings and move on.
“Now, my friends, let us continue. This world is fraught with injustice. We must remain vigilant. People will push their pro-slavery agendas whether through malice or misguidedness. We cannot falter!” Blue eyes burned with her own fervor, her costume’s golden accents sparkling in the sun. “We must be strong. The forces arrayed against us are formidable. They wish to keep those who suffer in shackles. Remember the vile tape that showed the monstrous Edmund Caldwell practicing his sadism against the helpless.”
The crowd growled at the mention of Caldwell. Steve couldn’t blame them. A worse human being was difficult to fathom.
“We cannot sit back and let these atrocities continue. Every day, every moment, every second, somewhere, someplace, a slave is suffering, either at the hands of a sadist like Caldwell or by merely denying them permission to live their lives on their terms.
“Who among us would like to wake up every morning, collared and shackled and have your every waking moment controlled to the point that you need permission to go to the bathroom?”
Steve was uncomfortably aware that Diana had suffered slavery like that though the Amazons had enjoyed a measure of freedom as long as they performed in the bedroom. Still, they had been trapped on their own island, forced to part their legs for the cruise ships full of customers who had come to their Paradise.
Steve’s hand curled up into a fist, tapping it against his thigh. He observed the crowd, keeping his eyes on the agents but pleased to see so many dedicated Abolitionists.
“America was once the Land of the Free. Let us make it so again!”
Cheers went up, the crowd fired up. Steve’s heart swelled as he gazed upon his Angel, her cape fluttering in the breeze.
Wonder Woman left the podium after her speech, attending a reception for the Society’s officers and benefactors. Steve trudged back to his hotel in a shabby section of town, certain that no one would recognize him here.
He took the rickety elevator up to his floor, taking a shower as he washed off the day’s sweat. He emerged from the shower feeling refreshed, and toweled himself dry, grateful that the air-conditioning worked. He combed his hair and yawned, suddenly sleepy. Putting his damp towel in the hamper, he crawled into bed, appreciative of clean sheets.
He was asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow.
He came awake slowly, the smell of jasmine tickling his nose. He smiled as a soft voice whispered in his ear, “Sleep, Beloved.”