A More Civil View.
By Adrian Tullberg
"Did you read this?"
Wally put down his copy of Maxim. "Read what?"
Kyle showed his copy of The Washington Post to Wally, the headline 'Calls for Super Human Registration'
"They're talking about ... mandatory registration ... 24-7 notification of your whereabouts..."
"How are they gonna enforce that one?"
"Those ankle things they put on guys under house arrest."
"Oh yeah ... does it have to be ankles?"
"This is serious."
"So am I. Did one guy decide the ankle was the best place, or did they choose the ankle out of anywhere else on the body in a meeting?"
"I'm not joking."
"Look..." Wally put down his magazine, and put his arm around Kyle. "When you're just been in the biz as long as I have ..."
"Whatever you say old man."
"First off, I'm fourteen months younger than you. Second … this isn't a big deal. Some senator or congressman looks at the newspapers and realises that nobody knows their name, and starts trash talking superheroes. They'll talk about ... ah … property damage ... how people with secret identities shouldn't have all this power..."
Wally reached out, and peeled back the newspaper to look at the article "... there, told ya. 'No accountability to the people, cowards behind a mask', yadda yadda yadda."
"So you're not worried."
"They'll get on CNN or Fox ... depending on wether they want to target die-hard conservatives who think the only people who should have powers is the military, or the far left liberals who want more accountability for everybody and everything ... then Superman or Diana will make a few speeches and the guys who cooked this up will crawl back under a rock, and life goes on. The End."
Superman and Wonder Woman marched into the meeting room. Wally blurred, his copy of Maxim disappearing.
"Hey, who are more for registration; conservatives or liberals?"
"Conservatives." stated Superman.
Superman and Wonder Woman gave each other a puzzled glance.
"Anyway, this could be more serious than other attempts in the past."
Diana held up a large document. "There's talks about suspending basic constitutional rights for all superhumans, registered or not."
Wally straightened. "What?"
"They'll make superhumans fall under the same umbrella as the military, which is governed by the Uniform Code of Military Justice."
Diana ticked off the points on her fingers. "Goodbye to Freedom of speech, movement, cruel and unusual punishment ..."
"Guys like LexCorp lobbyists have always been pushing this kind of thing, but not to this extent ..."
Batman materialised next to Kyle's shoulder. "What's going on?"
Kyle handed his copy over to Batman, who quickly scanned the article, then looked at Diana.
"Is it still in committee?"
"Informally. They're still drafting for the first reading."
Batman handed the paper back, roughly, and walked away, muttering all the while.
"What we're going to do?"
Superman rubbed the back of his neck. "Hit the campaign trail I suppose. Make the rounds; statements, interviews, that sort of thing."
"Is it … I mean, would it be that bad, being registered?"
Superman shrugged. "Theoretically, no. Practically…? We take on a lot more than police or military, and a lot of our ability to operate depends on our freedom of movement. Having to wait for orders or official confirmation would hamper our effectiveness a lot."
"Don't forget the security risk." Stated Diana.
Supermanindicated he was getting to that. "I've seen a lot of stuff as a reporter. You have no idea how much stuff gets leaked to the press for any number of reasons, intentionally or not. All it would take is one clerk with a gambling problem, a reporter on E! News with a decently sized check, and we'll have an epic disaster."
Wally nodded. "We don't wear these masks for decoration."
"Don't make me come over there."
Batman entered the room, holding several manila folders. "Kyle. Wally. Some errands."
Wally grumbled, getting up.
Batman extracted several large business sized envelopes, all blank but each with a name and address stuck on an attached Post-It, and handed exactly half to each of the pair. "Deliver these to the addresses written, place them somewhere personal - on top of their desks at home, for example. Then remove the notes from on top and dispose of them without any trace."
Batman gave Wally a mid level stare: the kind that only made his bowels crawl up to his lower stomach. "The. Addresses."
Kyle had opened a file corresponding to one of his envelopes, and was flicking through the documents, stopping at a series of glossy photographs. "Is what this guy's doing legal?"
Batman glanced at the image. "Technically."
Superman held up his hand. "We're blackmailing congressmen?"
"No. We're blackmailing congressmen, two congresswomen, four senators, the lobbying firm that does most of LexCorp's business and the head of the private firm that's been informally offered the contract to create the superhuman file database."
Wonder Woman shrugged. "Sun Tzu once said 'seizing the enemy without fighting is the most skillful.'" She got up and stretched. "For the last few days I've been lobbying congressmen for weeks trying to raise social security and foreign aid budgets. I get nothing but stonewalling and all the while, I know how many times they've voted in bills solely designed for pork barreling or rewarding companies or individuals that contributed to their last election fund. Somehow I can't seem to care about Bruce blackmailing them to stop a divisive and potentially dangerous piece of legislation."
Batman took up the files, glancing at Wally and Kyle. "Get moving you two. And when we get back, we can get some real work done..."