Title: Rainbow’s Freedom (Justice Arc) (56/61)
Pairings/Characters: (this chapter): Hal/Steve/Diana (Hal & Steve do not appear in this chapter), Lex/Jamie, Dick/Roy, Melody, Selina/Lois/Kathy, Ollie/Dinah, Barbara Gordon, Jim Gordon, Kara Zor-El
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: Bruce has a proposition for Kara.
Date Of Completion (First Draft): November 17, 2011
Date Of Posting: February 4, 2013
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1907
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Note: The magnificent story cover is by the wonderfully-talented ctbn60. Thanks so much, luv! :)
Of the sun
Touch the darkness
THE NIGHT MEETS DAY...
After the New Year, optimism reigned among many factions. The National Abolitionist Society monitored the new Slave Protection Law carefully, pushing for enforcement while their most prominent spokeswoman, Wonder Woman, stepped up her speaking schedule.
In Metropolis, Lex was instrumental in his company’s growth as they reaped in profits and awards for environmental and charitable endeavors. Jamie continued to be his confidante and watch his back, and Lex remained vigilant against his father. Lionel had been quiet for too long.
Dick and Roy conducted their long-distance romance in secret though they suspected that Melody knew. The three-way romance among Kathy, Selina and Lois thrived, and the new marriage of Dinah and Ollie went well in their first year.
Batman and Robin continued to protect the city with the help of the Blur, Batwoman and Batgirl. Jim Gordon continued his success as Police Commissioner, rooting out corruption wherever he found it in the Department.
The new superhero association stayed under wraps as tentative steps were taken to solidify it. The heroes joined together more frequently, and Batman proposed the idea of a headquarters. The idea was well-received and the Blur began hollowing out a mountain in the Massachusetts Berkshires, using property in the Wayne Family holdings.
During meetings, the heroes hammered out what they wanted and needed in this headquarters: training rooms, a computer center, a cafeteria, a trophy room and lab. Medical facilities were also an essential in their line of work. Wonder Woman insisted on a sauna and bathing facilities in addition to showers. She claimed that both would help relax and soothe in ways that mere showers could not. She winked at Green Lantern and Steve when she said it, causing both men to blush.
Bruce was in his element, organizing and laying out plans. Ollie agreed to finance the project with him.
Clarke left on another mission with Kara, though he assured Bruce that it wasn’t as dangerous as the last one. Bruce wasn’t quite sure about that but he sent Clark off with a kiss and a smile. Everyone who loved Clark kept busy until he returned, safe and sound.
Clark and Bruce lay in bed together after patrol and listened to the sound of the nearby ocean. Clark was already drifting off to sleep but Bruce stayed awake as he stared out the window at the stars.
He made a decision.
Clark smoothed out his black cape. A cape was more practical in space than a duster. He rather liked the cape and was glad that he had a red silk cape with his Kryptonian outfit. He hoped that he could wear it someday with pride.
He waited for his cousin to arrive in the Manor’s study. This latest mission was to rescue a group of captured Kryptonians scheduled to be transported to Starbase 10.
“They’ll be interrogated and then executed. They think that they’re part of the Rebellion, but they’re mistaken,” Kara had said. “But that won’t matter, of course. The Govs will kill them, anyway.”
Clark had readily agreed to join her in the rescue mission. The only thing he disliked was being away from his family. He knew that they always worried about him. He also disliked being away from them for so long. Even with warp drive and gateways, space travel could mean weeks away from home. Fortunately, if all went well, he should be back with a week.
He heard the measured footsteps of Bruce and the quicker, lighter tread of Dick as they came down the hall. Their heartbeats were rapid with apprehension or excitement. It was hard to tell.
When they walked in, Clark’s jaw dropped. “Wha…?”
Dick grinned and even Bruce smiled. He swept his arm out. “Like our outfits?”
Bruce was dressed in shimmering, iridescent blue-and-black, feathery cape stylized with Kryptonian flare. Dick was ablaze in red-and-yellow, his cape a similar style to Bruce’s. Both wore domino masks, gloves and boots.
“What is all this?”
“We’re Kryptonian folk heroes,” Dick said proudly.
“Nightwing and Flamebird!”
Clark’s eyes grew even wider. “I repeat, what is all this?”
Bruce smiled. “We can’t go on every mission, but we can go on this one.”
Clark ran a hand through his glossy hair, making it messy. “Bruce…”
“We’re experts, Clark. We can be of invaluable assistance.” He pointed to his waist. “Anti-gravity belts.”
Dick held up a stylized escrima stick. “Laser beams with cool settings of heat and cold.”
“And we have many more tricks,” Bruce added.
Clark shook his head fondly. “You two…”
Dick’s grin lit up the room as Bruce smirked. Clark leaned forward and kissed Bruce while Dick did a backflip.
Kara appeared in the garden and walked through the open French doors. “What is going on here?”
“I already said that,” Clark winked at Dick, who laughed.
“You can sure tell you’re related,” Bruce drawled.
“Why are you two wearing the costumes of Krypton’s greatest heroes?” she demanded.
“We’re going to help you,” Dick said.
Kara raised an eyebrow. “I don’t think…”
Clark grasped her hand and squeezed it. “It’s okay. Bruce and Dick are trained for this sort of work.”
She glared at Bruce. “I don’t want slavemasters on this mission.”
Dick frowned but Bruce put a hand on his shoulder. “I would think you’d want as many allies as possible.” His voice was cool.
Kara frowned. “All right. Kal-El, you must be prepared to exercise full strength.”
The three heroes listened closely to Kara.
The sleek ship hurtled through space, Bruce keeping his eye on the coordinates. Kara had programmed the ship’s computer but Bruce always wanted to keep an eye on things. He trusted Kara to get them to Starbase 10 but still wanted to make sure.
Clark came up behind him and slid his arms around Bruce’s waist. He nuzzled his lover. “The coordinates are fine, you know.”
Bruce smiled down at the console. “Doesn’t hurt to check.”
Clark nuzzled Bruce again. “You’re a control freak.”
Bruce smirked. “You’re only learning this now?”
Clark laughed and turned Bruce around to kiss him.
In the next compartment, Kara frowned in disapproval.
“What is it?” Dick asked. “Trouble?”
“You could say so.” Kara turned off her X-ray vision in disgust. “I believe it’s called ‘canoodling’.”
“Oh!” Relieved, Dick relaxed at the table. He and Kara were playing chess. “Kara, can I say something?”
“Of course. You don’t need my permission.”
“Okay.” Dick smiled charmingly. “Bruce is not a monster. He loves Clark and takes care of all of us.”
”He’s a slavemaster.”
“I know, but he’s working for freedom.”
She leaned forward, honest curiosity in her blue eyes. “How can he own you, Dick? How can he own Kal-El and make himself think that’s all right?” Her intensity nearly made Dick uncomfortable.
“He works within the system.”
“The system is evil.”
“It’s the only one we’ve got.”
“But things are changing.”
“Not fast enough.”
“No,” Dick admitted. “But slow change is better than no change.” He looked at Kara earnestly. “Please believe me when I say that Bruce is a good man.”
Kara sighed. “I suppose so, but you must understand. I saw my city destroyed. My parents, friends and family were all gone at the hands of the Empire.”
“I know.” Dick took a deep breath. “I watched while my parents were murdered, too.”
Shocked, Kara murmured, “I’m sorry.”
“Thank you.” Dick stared down at the table. “Bruce understood. The same thing happened to him when he was a child.” He looked up to see Kara’s sympathetic eyes. “So you see he’s really understanding of a lot of things.”
Kara looked contemplative but said nothing further disparaging about Bruce, for which Dick was grateful.
“If you really want to whale on a slaveowner, do it to Edmund Caldwell.” Dick’s lip curled. “He deserves a good thrashing.”
Kara looked disgusted. “I’ve heard of him. What scum!”
“And nothing can be done?”
“He was put on trial.”
“Yes, I read about that. I saw the news reports about the protesters.”
“Both sides got carried away, unfortunately.” Dick toyed with a chess piece. The table held a full set, relatively cheap but gaily painted. Dick ran a finger along the horse’s mane, the knight sitting astride his steed.
“Sometimes protest is messy.”
Dick agreed. He hoped that he had softened Kara’s attitude a little at least. He was very protective of Bruce, after all.
The mission went more smoothly then anyone could have guessed. Kara and Clark created a distraction while Bruce and Dick freed the prisoners. Dick knew that he would never forget the look on astonishment on their faces when they saw their legendary heroes in the flesh.
“Who are you?” one woman, asked, grabbing Dick’s arm.
“Nightwing and Flamebird, ma’am.”
Dick was happy to be part of saving these people and delighted to use the important heroic symbols. Maybe some of them would object to Humans taking on Kryptonian legend personas, but somehow he doubted it. Such fine points were lost in the face of torture and execution.
Bruce piloted them away while another ship filled with refugees followed. Kara talked with the refugees on board this ship while Clark and Dick listened, though Dick edged away to join Bruce in the cockpit. They could be under attack any minute, though luckily no starships were in orbit. They could send fast ships but not the heavy cruisers with their brand of firepower.
“What’s going on back there?” Bruce kept an eye on the rear scanner as they sailed through the stars.
“Kara’s trying to calm everyone down. Naturally people are pretty shaken up.” Dick grinned. “They’re also agog over us.”
Bruce nodded sagely. “The symbolism works, doesn’t it?”
Dick flashed another grin. “Seems to be just fine!”
“Remember to keep your mask on. We can’t have Bruce Wayne and his Squire running around as Nightwing and Flamebird because it would get back to the Govs.”
“Yes, sir!” Dick mock-saluted and giggled at Bruce’s eyeroll. He went on alert as he saw Bruce tense.
“We’ve got trouble on our trail.”
Dick punched the intercom. “Guys, we’ve got bandits on our tail.”
“Right,” Clark answered.
Kara and Clark directed everyone to get into chairs and buckle in while heading to the airlock. They closed the hatch behind them, took deep breaths, and opened the airlock to space.
Dick watched on the monitor as the two Kryptonians flew out behind them and past the other refugee ship. He loved to see them in action, like poetry in motion.
The pursuing ship fired its photon torpedoes but both Kryptonians easily shrugged them off. They separated and flew at the Government ship, Kara taking the fore and Clark the aft. With hands capable of bending steel, Clark crippled the engines while Kara kept the crew busy. She flew into the turrets of the ship and disabled them, leaving the pursuers without weaponry or propulsion. She and Clark flew back to the Javelin.
“Pretty handy to have around, huh?” Dick asked with a smile.
Bruce laughed. “Definitely.” He pressed a button. “Let’s get out of here.”
The warp drive increased as Bruce informed the other ship of his intention. The two vessels left Starbase 10 behind.