Called before Congress: Booster Gold

April 27, 2015:

Booster Gold goes before the committee

US Capitol

The United States Capitol


NPCs: Ballard, Traverstein, Jimenez, Stewart, Ross


Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

Ballard's committee is now wrapping up. In addition to superheroes, they've called experts in security, members of the Secret Service, the Ambassador to the United Nations, amongst others. All that remain is the final group of heroes who were present.

As Michael Jon Carter is filed in and sworn in, the members of th committee take their seats and prepare their questions. Henry Ballard, Senator from Delaware leads the group, flanked by Speaker of the House Jimenez who serves from the other party. Sarah Traverstein from the Tomorrow Party, and Pete Ross and Reece Stewart fill out the group.

"Good afternoon, Mr. Carter. And, consequently, given your dual identity, which name would you prefer to be called for the purposes of this hearing?"

Getting an answerpresumablyBallard asks the first question. "Can you discuss what happened in Orleans from your perspective?"

Booster Gold, aka Michael Jon Carter, is dressed sharply if somberly in a black suit rather than in his usual, shiny metallic power suit. He is wearing a royal blue tie with a simple gold tie-bar, however, as a subtle acknowledgement of his usual costume. He looks camera-ready, but that is not unusual since he always looks camera-ready. "Good afternoon. And thank you for asking… I'll answer to either name regardless of how I'm dressed, but for the sake of clarity, 'Michael Jon Carter' is fine."

Michael looks down for a moment as if collecting his thoughts, then lifts his gaze when he speaks. "There was a call for the Justice League to deal with an attack in Orleans, France. This is how I was notified and brought into the situation. I arrived to the scene on Diana's… Wonder Woman's… aircraft along with others. Once there, I took to the air under my own power to assess the situation."

Michael pauses briefly here, head tilted to one side, as he regards the panel with an expression of mild curiosity. He continues, "I could see the animated dead people marching in on the attack, and a HYDRA craft in the air above. My immediate focus was an apartment building, the HYDRA attack had downed the helicopter that I believe had been flying in for the President. It was on fire, had caught the building on fire, and I could detect it was spreading rapidly and could ignite the natural gas that was piped through the structure. An explosion would have caused considerable loss of life, possibly everyone involved in the immediate area, so I informed the others I would be dealing with that threat, first."

"That was very brave of you," Jimenez replies. "I'm sure the people of Orleans are very grateful for your actions." He looks down at this paperwork. "Mr. Carter, can you discuss the line of command both in normal Justice League: Avengers day-to-day activity and, specifically, under situations of conflict like you saw in Orleans?"

"Thank you, Mr. Speaker," Michael nods in acknowledgement of the compliment. Normally he is far more playful, but even he knows there is a time and a place for that kind of behavior. "In our day to day dealings, we make a point to spend time with each other. Not just in combat training, but casual downtime as well. Knowing someone well ensures better results when you're in the field. In the field, there is always a team leader, sometimes two depending on the situation."

Michael looks thoughtful, glancing upwards for a moment as if looking into his memories. "Someone coordinating, and dispatching. Wonder Woman and Captain America can both fit that role, and fit it well. Working with both of them has been enlightening and amazing, forgive me for adding in my own feelings on this." His gaze returns to sweep over the panel and focuses on Jimenez again. "And they also expect us to keep up our side of communication. I'm sorry if this is all too vague, there is a lot of detail we could go into but I'm uncertain of just what you want."

Jimenez nods, and re-asks the question, "I'm referring specifically to that night. I'm asking about the chain of command during that particular mission."

Michael nods at this, "Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I didn't want to assume." Another brief pause as he aligns his memory, and then he says, "I need to preface this by noting that for much of this, I was hearing it through my communicator, because as soon as I was dealing with the fire, all of it was out of my view." Once he gives this caveat, he says, "Captain America requested support from Wonder Woman, as he was heading straight for the President's location. Wonder Woman was dispatched the rest of us, and everyone reported back as to their status. I could hear Wonder Woman giving directions to allow Captain America the clearest, more direct route to get to the President. She also asked for ah…" He waves one hand in a vague gesture. "I suppose you could say, pertinent data? For things that others on the scene specialized in. I remember this, due to the undead, they're unusual to deal with. Also a call for data on the airship. So, I do remember that she was gathering as much information as possible about the situation in progress."

Jimenez nods, "Would it be fair to say that the chain of command was then shared?"

Michael considers this. "I would say there was something of a tandem situation, although I think I'd consider it a sub-team situation." He clarifies then, "We had an above-ground situation to deal with, something we could not ignore if we wanted to keep the people in that area safe. At the same time, the President was in need of help. Once they needed to get indoors or underground, and were separated from the aboveground operation, Captain America and those with him would de facto need to become a sub-team, in which case Captain America would be the leader. I hope I explained that properly."

Pete Ross from Kansas speaks up, "To be honest I'm still a bit confused. Would you describe the leadership structure as confusing? Fluid? How should we present this to the American people? It's certainly not clear to me sitting here."

For the first time since taking the stand, Michael grins. It is not the brilliant smile he tends to have when cameras are pointed his way, it is almost shy looking. "It might make more sense if I had a visual presentation, sometimes a simple diagram helps a lot, doesn't it? I apologise, sir. English is not my first language, and I'm often not as erudite as I wish I could be."

Booster lifts both of his hands as he says, "The leadership structure isn't confusing to me, no. I don't think I wouls use the term 'fluid' either, but perhaps 'flexible'. We are a team of extraordinary people, each one of us brings a variety of skills and knowledge to the table. This is why we get to know each other, because if you are a field leader and a situation arises… undead lurching around, for example… the best course of action may be to call in opinions from a teammate who battles undead regularly." His hands spread in a little shrug. "A good leader is receptive as well as reactive. New data can change the way a situation must be approached. If you know a chemical fire will become worse if doused with water, and you are told that fact, the correct thing to do is to learn what material must be used instead. You wouldn't stubbornly continue to pour water on it."

"Very well," Stewart says, though the rest of the committee doesn't seem very satisfied with the answer. "In your opinion, which measures could have been taken to better secure the President's safety?"

Michael thinks about this for a moment, his expression solemn once more. "In my opinion… the measures needed to happen long before the attack had occurred. That is the saddest part, I think. Once the attack started, I think our chance to save him dwindled with every passing second. The swarms of undead, the fires, all of that served to keep many of us occupied." He takes in a slow breath, and sighs it out, quietly. "I am certain this has been devestating to the Secret Service as well. It may be that they require more support when it comes to securing the personal safety of the President."

That gets a hearty nod from Stewart. "Thank you, Mr. Carter."

It's finally Traverstein's chance to take the mic. "Mr. Carter, was there ever a direct order for Supergirl to destroy the HYDRA carrier over Orleans?"

Michael nods to Stewart, then focuses his attention on Traverstein. He thinks this question over as well, clearly reviewing his memories. He then says, "No, ma'am. She was not given a direct order to destroy it. We received intel that the carrier was very likely the same ship that had attacked a SHIELD helicarrier, and we know it had shot down the helicopter that was coming in to extract the President." Looking pensive for a moment, he then adds, "I was in the air, so I saw the situation. It unfolded very fast, she announced she was going to go to the HYDRA ship, and informed me that there might be debris as a result. I heard her scream something at them."

Michael tilts his head to one side. "I don't think that she intended to cause that much destruction. She definitely meant to disable it. I used my shields to deflect the debris that resulted from the explosion."

Traverstein raises her eyebrow, "Didn't mean to cause that much destruction? Exactly how did she do what she did?"

"Ma'am, I'm not certain," Michael admits. "I had turned my head upwards and I did get a reading of intense energy flaring from her. I think it was…" His hands gesture vaguely, fingers spread as he moves them away from his shoulders as if to mime a burst. "Expulsion of energy in some manner. That kind of flare is something I've done before, under different circumstances, it's what I'm drawing my assumptions from. It's the best I can do to explain it, I haven't asked her directly about it."

"So, you don't, in fact, know what Supergirl's intentions were, do you, Mr. Carter?" asks Traverstein.

"No, ma'am. I don't have psionic powers," Michael explains, in all seriousness. "All I can do is take what she said to me, and what I know of her, having gotten to know her as a teammate and friend. So I can only give you that."

"You just said you didn't ask her directly about it. So, what, praytell, did she ask you without you asking? Without psionic powers, of course," Traverstein says with a snicker.

Michael tilts his head again, as he looks at Traverstein. "I didn't ask her directly about her energy surge. The fact is, when I'm in my full powersuit, I can detect things well beyond the capabilities of a typical human's senses. I know how I can output a burst of energy that way. I know that I saw her doing it with what looked like stellar radiation. Solar energy. I know that Kryptonians absorb solar energy, apparently they can release it, too. That's just extrapolation from data."

After this, Michael smiles at Traverstein. Despite her attitude, his expression has the kind of sweet and well scrubbed look you'd want from an All-American Boy. "I have talked to her about the incident and how it's affected her on a personal level. She's very upset, contrite. We all know what she did was rash, ma'am. She knows that, too."

"At least she's been contrite about it with someone. Certainly not with us," Traverstein says with a smile of her own. "Would there have been any other way that Supergirl could have rendered the machine inoperable without killing thousands of people?"

"This has been a difficult time for everyone involved, and I don't mean just the JL:A. Emotions are rarely logical." Michael's brows furrow a touch as he mulls over the question asked by Traverstein. "I've actually given that question thought, on my own. It's difficult to handle a large vehicle and ensure the safety of everyone on-board, when the ship is friendly. When it's a weaponized vehicle intent on attacking you the difficulty soars. The two most expedient alternate ideas would be to push it into space, or into the ocean." His shoulders lift in a slight shrug. "That still doesn't guarantee everyone on board would survive, however."

"So, it's best to incinerate them, in your opinion?"

"No, ma'am. I don't think it's a good idea to incinerate anyone," Michael says, giving Traverstein a slightly reproachful look. "Even in cases where they are attempting to incinerate others. I do my best to disable those I have to fight, so they can be tried in a court of law. My role in their fate is to stop them from doing things that hurt other people. I can only give you alternate scenarios for the HYDRA carrier, as you requested."

"I suppose it is unfortunate that it was Supergirl up there and not you then. Tell me, and this is my last question, how long have you known Supergirl?"

"For several months at this point, ma'am," Michael answers. "If I had my personal assistant nearby I could give you an exact date if you needed that, but it's a good estimate."

"That's fine. I just wanted to see how easy it was to gain your trust. Thank you, Mr. Carter. You've been most helpful," says Traverstein.

"Anyone have any further questions?" Ballard sees none. "Thank you for your time, Mr. Carter."

Michael gives a slow nod. "Thank you for allowing me to speak. I appreciate thoroughness and transparency when it comes to matters of justice."

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