Title: Rainbow’s Freedom (Justice Arc) (40/61)
Pairings/Characters: (this chapter): Hal/Steve/Diana (Hal does not appear in this chapter), Sam Lane
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): G
Summary: Steve arrives for his mission on the Outer Rim.
Date Of Completion (First Draft): July 27, 2011
Date Of Posting: October 15, 2012
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1145
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Note: The magnificent story cover is by the wonderfully-talented ctbn60. Thanks so much, luv! :)
General Sam Lane
"JANE, STOP THIS CRAZY THING!!!"
“Welcome, Major Trevor.”
Steve smiled and shook hands with the grizzled veteran standing in front of him. “Thank you, General Lane.”
Sam Lane clenched a local cheroot in his teeth as he ran a hand over his close-cropped gray hair. His dress uniform was crisp but no aides accompanied him. Steve guessed that the general preferred a bit more casual atmosphere within military parameters.
Steve fell into step beside Sam, the general inquiring about events on Earth and asking, “Seen Elias Stark lately?”
“He’s on the warpath about something rumored on Capitol Hill.”
“Yeah.” They entered a hanger and Sam directed him to a shiny, military-issue hovercar. The bubble shield enclosed them and Sam grunted, “No bugs, so speak plain.”
Amused, Steve asked, “What’s the rumor?”
Sam piloted the hovercar out of the hangar and over the gleaming city of Zanzibar. It was the Capital of the planet Cestus II, the only one of the Cestus string that was not a barren ball of rock, but the planet was small, so only one nation was located on it. The Empire had its most sophisticated outpost on the Outer Rim here.
“That Senator Lang is going to push for the new Slave Protection Law as soon as Congress goes back in session after Labor Day.”
“Ah, yes, but that’s not exactly a secret, is it?”
“Maybe what’s in the bill is what’s spooking them.”
“I can’t see how greater protection for slaves would really shake people up that much.”
Sam smirked. “You’d be surprised what shakes people up.”
The hovercar skimmed over the city, the spires and buttresses impressive. Once they reached the outskirts, the base loomed a mile away. More utilitarian, the architecture was distinctly Cestian.
Sam landed the car on the landing pad and escorted his guest to the main core of the base. Steve was impressed by the technology and the ease by which they could track events on the Rim. Highly-trained personnel kept their eyes on the scopes and data collection feeds.
“With the Collective turned in on itself, the Kadorans are the biggest threat,” Sam said.
“They’ve hit our outposts before.”
“And probably will again. But we’ll keep an eye on ‘em.” Sam gestured for Steve to accompany him out of the main room.
Outside on a walkway, Sam bent to lean his elbows on the railing. “I know Lana.”
“Through my daughter Lois. They’re old friends.”
“Lois Lane is a heckuva writer.”
Sam smiled. “Thanks, Trevor.”
Steve blushed, wondering if the general thought he was kissing up to him. “Is this walkway…?” He made a gesture and Sam nodded his head. “I need to make contact with our agents.”
“I know. We’ll be going into town tonight for a little revelry.”
Steve smiled. “Good.” He leaned on the railing, too. “I find the architecture intriguing here.”
“It’s what Earth back in the past would have called ‘futuristic’.”
“Like The Jetsons?”
Sam smirked. He still had the cheroot in his mouth. “Like the hovercar?”
Steve laughed. “Yeah.”
“Sometimes I feel like George yelling for Jane to stop this crazy thing.”
Steve laughed, appreciating the general’s wit.
Sam gazed out over the base and the dusky rose mountains beyond. “We all live in times our ancestors could only dream of.”
Steve brushed a stray lock of hair out of his eyes. He hoped that the general was not a stickler for close-cropped hair in his subordinates.
“Have you met Wonder Woman yet?”
Startled, Steve answered, “I have seen her on the news and flying over Boston.”
“She’s a stunning woman.”
“She certainly is.” Steve wondered if Sam Lane had been one of the higher-ups who had visited Paradise Island before the liberation, but that was probably unfair. Not every one of the brass was exploitative.
“A lot of heroes showing up.”
“Think that they’ll band together at some point?”
He remembered Hal telling them about his conversation with the Flash just before he left for Oa. “I think they might.”
“Could keep the Government on their toes.”
“Might not be a bad thing.”
“I think you may be right.”
If strength in numbers could keep his Angel and his Hal safe, he was all for it.
When Steve got to his room on the base, a message was waiting for him. He cued it up and was pleased to her Diana’s beautiful voice on his speaker. She sounded happy.
“Beloved, I hope all is well and that you arrived safely. I miss you, my darling.”
Steve smiled. His Angel always knew what to say.
“I am going on a short tour but you can send me messages at home. I will be checking just in case.”
He grinned. She knew him too well.
“I have made an offering to Aphrodite and Hera to watch over you, my love. You are necessary for this tour, I know, but I will count the days until your return.”
Steve was counting the days, too. He was glad to have been chosen for this mission, as it was essential work and good for his career. It was dangerous here on the Rim, but the part of him that craved excitement was glad of it.
My Angel’s right. She and Hal are serving as costumed heroes, but I can serve in my military uniform in other ways.
“So, I will end this message by saying that Hal should be here when you return, and we will be here to greet you.” Her voice grew even warmer. “I love you, Steve.”
Steve basked in the glow of the message as it ended. He would have liked a video message but the transmission would have taken too long all the way here to the Rim. An audio-only message was faster.
He smiled as he opened a new file on his computer and began typing his reply.
He thought of the air of danger here while he typed. It was why a decorated general like Sam Lane had been assigned here. He was a crafty veteran who was the perfect choice for this sensitive outpost. The Intelligence Department had been speculating for years that if the Kadorans started a war, it would be here on the Rim.
Steve agreed with that. While the Kadorans could throw them a curve ball, he thought, it was the perfect spot. It was not cost-effective to keep a full Fleet here. Space and the Empire were too vast for complete coverage.
You have to pick your spots.
It did make for dangerous duty on the Rim, however, Steve reflected. He felt a little thrill of excitement at the anticipation of meeting the contacts tonight.
With a sense of excitement, he composed his message to Diana.