Watchmen II: Restoration
OKAY. I'M ALIVE.
I apologize for the disappearing act! I have finally finished up the massive fan fiction project I had undertaken over the last two years, so now I will return to updating this story (and my other minor projects) until completion. :) Thank you so much for your patience. On with the story!
The chapter in which Veidt's promises of peace begin to waver and Rorschach reminds the kids why he's known as "batshit crazy."
Politics and social theory time, kids! So exciting. I hope you enjoy.
Warnings & Disclaimers
"It is a man's own mind, not his enemy or foe, that lures him to evil ways."
On November 21st, a well-planned bombing of the American embassy inside of Kabul sent the American army scrambling. On November 22nd, Adrian Viedt woke up to his aide informing him they were at war.
It was not a sudden thing, not really. Veidt had been watching with moderate unease for the last decade or so as his policies fought hard to combat the general disapproval the Afghans had for having the Soviets or Americans involved in their social policies. The attempts to reconstruct the backwards political system there had failed in the end.
They had done their best, though Veidt had stepped back when he had stepped down from office. He had never expected the terrorist cells there to actually reach this level of sophisticated warfare. They had taken over the government and the local military had sided with them. Veidt personally blamed the recent Soviet idea of lessening outside military support for the lack of higher ups who could have prevented the loss of the military control.
The terrorist cells refused to die out, no matter how much supposed cracking down the Afghanistan government claimed to have been doing. Veidt had done his best to stay uninvolved lately, only interceding when absolutely necessary, because the people there disliked his presence. One thing led to another, and with the overthrow of the temporary democratic council, the Afghan people had apparently sided as a whole with the terrorist regime to remove the Western presence within their country.
They didn't understand, the people who revolted there. They did not see the larger picture. Veidt had spent years helping his own people understand it—how could they ever find the peace, the time and the energy to devote to their internal communities if they didn't first achieve a world society that worked together, not against each other? He could appreciate their culture; he did appreciate it. But using it as a shield of ignorance would get them no where.
So, the ending of all of this hadn't surprised Veidt. He had wished for it to be avoided, but in the end… his wishes were ignored.
He would find a way to rectify this. He was no longer a politician, but he was more than willing to offer his diplomatic services to the American government, or any, in the name of peace.
"Rachel, please arrange a flight to Moscow for tomorrow morning," he said to his secretary as he walked into his office, fresh from a phone call with his contacts overseas. The Soviets had agreed to help end the conflict. If they could only neutralize the terrorist cell, they could dampen the rebellious energy that was beginning to infect the Arab region.
"Sir," the man across from him began, ignoring how the secretary had to lean around him to reach the computer to do so, "what about the New York case?"
Veidt stopped and glanced at his companion. Rorschach was an issue, but compared to the threat of a war, he was nothing.
"If he's waited twenty years, he can wait a few more days, Mr. Bateman," Veidt replied calmly. He waved his hand. "I have more important issues to worry about."
The conflict came first. He gave it two weeks; the Americans and their allies could sweep this mess under the table. A war in such a place for such pitiful reasons could ever hope to last.
Bateman flicked a paperclip into the mug on the corner of the desk before standing to leave.
War. What an interesting, terrifying concept, according to the media. Growing up, they had been told it was gone, forever, because of what Adrian Veidt had done for politics, for the world. Now, James said, he easily could see how it was more like what Adrian Veidt had ruined for politics. The Middle East had been the last recognized resisting presence on Earth to the Veidt-ism craze. Now, finally, that resentment had boiled over.
For his part, Rorschach was glad. Chaos for Veidt on any level distracted him; it made him weaker. Getting close to the man would require every bit of stealth Rorschach could afford. Plus, having more strife in the air would give the world more reason to distrust Veidt. One measly war would not undo the two decades of damage Veidt had caused.
What struck Rorschach the most had been the apparent disregard the children had for the war entirely. They didn't watch the news with the fear their peers seemed to have toward the situation. They observed with quieted disapproval and wry understanding that made Rorschach increase his opinion of their intelligence.
"I've been reading up on Jacobs' stuff again," the Hollis boy said, cheerfully wrapping a sprained ankle as they changed from their costumes back to street clothing at their warehouse base of operations. "She's right about the infrastructure of major cities being impacted by the loss of diversity. I mean, all Veidt has to do is look back at city statistics and he'd see it himself."
Tamila scoffed as she put her sneakers on. "Yeah, well, don't expect that asshole to actually look at the cities he's helping," she snapped. "Bitch might have money and power, but that don't fix things for real. He doesn't get it. No one in Washington or City Hall does. They just like lookin' at pretty sidewalks and callin' it a day."
"But look at the mess in Afghanistan," Jimmy continued, waving his hand. "It's the same thing, at a larger scale. He's underestimating just how important it is to keep track of minor details, like culture and the structures already in place that already work. He wanted to 'fix' things like he had in New York, and instead of taking it in stride like we did here, the Afghans are shoving it back at us."
"Good for them," Markus said, shaking his head. Cesar hummed in agreement. Silently watching instead of leaving immediately as he usually did, Rorschach felt immensely pleased.
They weren't like Veidt. They had potential. They were still vacant enough in their ideals that he could still stamp out any remaining strain of that consuming cancer that Veidt had infected the rest of the world with.
He kept his eyes on Veidt's movement. He was schedule to arrive in New York on December 17th. It was fast approaching, but Rorschach didn't know if that was a good thing or not. He craved for the chance to end his silence. The longer he took to get closer to his enemy, the longer the world suffered in its ignorance.
But Veidt wasn't stupid. He knew Rorschach was out there now, with those cheaply augmented assassins as proof. He'd be waiting, prepared, during the visitation.
Rorschach kept planning. He kept honing his only weapons until they shone. They would be his only way to get through to Veidt.
Watching them rip down crooks and send blood spattering across his coat, Rorschach found reasons to consider his decision a success in more ways than just his ultimate goal, however.
They would be perfect, regardless.
Jimmy couldn't make it that night. He had spent enough nights away from home and had to fix his cover image. Blitzkrieg didn't think it mattered; they all deserved breaks now and again. They went out nearly every night, either in teams of two or four, Rorschach trailing them like a shadow. It was always unnerving knowing he was there, but when the going got rough, everyone had to admit having him around was a godsend.
Like when Dark Squall's potential lead to a small time dealer's club led them straight into an opium den. None of them had been expecting facing nearly thirteen men exiting the club's dingy back entrance, but Blitzkrieg was grimly satisfied that they were ready for the challenge regardless.
Blitzkrieg covered for Coyote, who made for the fire escape immediately to get better coverage of the area. Three of the men immediately ran when they saw the surprised group of vigilantes, but the remaining dealers did not share their sense of self-preservation. More than one went for guns, but the closest ones had no hope of reaching for weapons as the Crimebusters fell upon them.
Their training had made them so much faster, even after only a few weeks. Gestalt moved like a shadow, packing a punch of someone that didn't fit her smaller size. As she wrecked bones and cracked more than a few jaws on the cement, Dark Squall also wreaked unholy hell on the dealers who chose to fight. Her baton sang in the air and when one blow shattered a tibia, she whirled around to kick the man straight into the dumpster with a loud clang.
For himself, Blitzkrieg was more focused than ever. He was grateful for all the lessons in patience as he met his opponents and broke them down. There was less blood, but quicker results.
Behind him, he heard more screams from the men who had foolishly darted behind him with lead pipes and whatever else they had found lying around. They had thought he was the rearguard.
They had a much more fearsome rearguard than merely the muscle man, Blitzkrieg thought in dark amusement.
Rorschach had apparently come out of the shadows to break into the men in front of him. They had never saw him coming, but once he had started to almost-not-figuratively tear into one, they realized he was there.
"It's the pyscho!" one of them shouted, in vain. He choked when Rorschach's hands found his throat.
Those images only coming in short spurts as Blitzkrieg had to focus on his own fighting, he almost missed Rorschach getting swarmed. It wasn't like there was any danger in that. They had all stopped rushing in to help him if that ever happened, since he always proved that he never need the assistance.
But with just a blur of steel to catch his attention, Blitzkrieg froze after beating down one of the last men standing. He immediately stared down the distance between him and Rorschach's position, just as one of the men he had thought was down for good stumbled with a swinging arm attached to a rusted drainage pipe right toward the distracted Rorschach.
Blitzkrieg tried to yell out in warning, but his cry was overshadowed by the sound of metal meeting flesh when the thug's weapon landed solidly into Rorschach's masked face. The smaller vigilante dropped hard and Blitzkrieg lunged to beat his attacker down, breaking the man's arm.
Oh, crap, Blitzkrieg thought once he realized the alley was nearly cleared. He spun on his heels and ran toward Rorschach's prone form.
"Holy shit!" Dark Squall yelled, jaw dropped. "Is he okay? !"
Gestalt slammed the last remaining man down; his head hit the asphalt so hard, he bounced. Whirling, she rushed back over to where Dark Squall and Blitzkrieg had already swarmed. Rorschach was on the ground and wasn't moving.
"Don't touch him," Gestalt began, out of breath. "He could have a cranial injury."
"He probably does," Blitzkrieg muttered. He crouched and couldn't tell if the other man was breathing through his black-and-white mask.
Dark Squall had also crouched, but instead of waiting around, she grabbed the bottom of Rorschach's mask. It made sense she would act so fast, considering she was more than often their impromptu medic on the field, one of the only ones in their group with real first aid training. Sometimes every minute counted for an injury, especially one to the head.
However, just as Dark Squall managed to bring the mask roughly over Rorschach's nose, revealing half of a stubbled, gaunt face, Gestalt had begun to speak up again, this time more sharply. Whatever she said was ignored, because at the same moment Blitzkrieg and Dark Squall could both see Rorschach was breathing, a gloved hand reached up and seized Dark Squall's wrist.
It happened fast.
Dark Squall was physically thrown up and over Rorschach when the short man slammed his shorter legs straight up into her abdomen. He hadn't let go of her wrist either, so she hit the ground hard with her arm being held back. He used it to yank her back, still on the ground windless, and punch her in the face.
"WHOA!" Cesar shouted, far above them on the fire escape, exposing his position. "Stop that crazy motherfucker!"
Blitzkrieg didn't need the suggestion. He slammed his own fist into Rorschach's face, sending the smaller man rolling backwards, away from Dark Squall, who was sputtering and trying to get up. Rorschach immediately was on his feet, breathing heavily, and he shoved his mask down, covering a bloody mouth with haste.
"You crazy little bitch!" Dark Squall screamed, hand on her face. "What the fuck was that for? !"
Gestalt had also moved forward between them all, as if ready to stop a full out brawl. "Stop," she ordered, looking directly at Rorschach. "That was completely unnecessary. We were trying to help."
Well, it wasn't like they were expecting an apology. Blitzkrieg tensed up as Rorschach edged away from them, black swirls even more vibrant than normal. Suddenly, the thrill of the fight was replaced with an air that vibrated with nervousness and aggression. It reminded Blitzkrieg of the first time they had fought Rorschach—and lost.
Suddenly, they had taken five steps back, even after all of their training.
"Get the hell out of here," Gestalt said to Rorschach without showing any emotion.
Rorschach stared at her. And then, without pausing, he left. They all watched him leave. The only sound left was the distant city noises and the sound of Coyote clambering down the fire escape nearby. Their need for stealth was replaced by the sudden need to regroup and understand what the hell just happened.
"What the FUCK was that? !" Dark Squall demanded shrilly, spinning to face Gestalt. Blitzkrieg was happy to see she was alright, despite the blood running from her nose. "Is he crazy? !"
Well. That should have been rhetorical. "Yeah," Gestalt replied. She kept her eyes on the end of the alleyway with a strange expression, as if watching for the unhinged vigilante to suddenly pop back up.
Blitzkrieg released the tight fists he hadn't noticed he had made. At first pleased by their performance during the fight, now he felt sick. He wasn't sure why.
"Don't touch his mask," Gestalt said simply, voice cold, glancing between them all. Blitzkrieg looked back at her, but she turned and started back to leave their calling card on the downed men.
"Hijoputa," Coyote snarled as he stomped toward them.
Dark Squall stared down the alleyway, breathing heavily. They listened in vain for any sounds of the other man. Blitzkrieg looked through the haze and felt a shiver of disappoint course through him.
End Chapter 16.
The next chapter features Story Time With Rorschach—and a lot of failed plans.
-Jacobs, Jane. Author of many books and essays criticizing modern city planning, especially restoration efforts, which she claims ruins major cities instead of helping them. Veidt's problem is that he tries to make things look nice without truly understanding the underlying infrastructure of the community living in a specific neighborhood.
-I had fun juxtaposing Veidt and Rorschach's (as well as the kids') viewpoints on how to "fix" the problems in the world. Both have their merits and both miss some of the more ugly parts of their personal philosophies on how people should tackle crime and the negatives in society. ;)
-For further clarification: the reason Afghanistan and other Arab countries in this story are resisting any kind of globalization efforts is because Veidt is simultaneously bringing in a lot of Westernization, even if they aren't occupying those countries physically. The resistance groups still view such occupying as offensive and a reason to rebel to preserve their own well-being.
-"A war in such a place…could ever hope to last." LOL YOU THINK THAT, VEIDT? We unfortunately know better in reality…