Interview with the cheshire

July 30, 2015:

Vorpal takes a stand against Registration by revealing some appalling secrets to the American Public via the Daily Planet

Metropolis

Characters

NPCs: Kenneth Karr

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Kenneth Karr is an up and coming reporter from the Planet covering the superhero beat. And when he'd gotten word that Vorpal, of the Titans no less, wanted to speak out? Well he was all over that like, as they say, white on rice. The twenty something has secured a private conference room over at the Hilton near JFK. One ordinarily used for travelling business seminars but today it's been entirely blocked out, the shades drawn and the door locked. He assumes the Chaos Cat can get in despite this. And if not, er… he has a key…

"Mister Kerr?" It's one of those things you do for effect- the grin appears first, then the rest of Vorpal. Branding is important, Booster always says. Vorpal had actually gotten in a few seconds earlier, but he wanted to make an impression. As the cheshire cat becomes fully visible, he adds- "Or at least I presume. Otherwise I'm totally in the wrong room and I've crashed the world's tiniest convention."

Kenneth blinks at the unfolding grin in midair and then… fumbles for his recorder and puts it on the table while he scrambles for his notepad. "Vorpal! Er. Mister Vorpal. Ahem. Sorry. I, uh, never get used to that. Water? Or… you know… water? That's what they've got. Sorry. I understand that you have some things you'd like to talk about… and I know my readers are dying to know what your take on current events is."

"No need for the formalities, Mr. Kerr. 'Mister Vorpal' is a little too formal… but you're right, there's a lot to talk about and there's a lot that has been left quiet." The chershire cat isn't actually wearing the 'hero' uniform. Instead he's dressed up a little for the interview- no suit and tie, because it would have to be an interview with the fricking Queen of England before he consented to a noose around his neck (or even then…) or… well, his wedding. But a nice button-up shirt in black and black slacks? Totally can-do.

Vorpal takes a seat at the table and leans back a little once he is comfortable. "This issue with the proposed Registration and the investigation into the President's assassination, there's something that smells positively fishy, if you know what I mean."

"There have been a lot of voices on both sides on the isle on that one. I know that you've heard some of our members of Congress and the Senate speak out. A lot of people think that heroes are out of control. That they have to be accountable to someone. As a hero yourself, what's your perspective on the matter." Kenneth clicks his pen and waits for a response.

"Well, the first thing that I want to point out is the circumstances under which this alleged 'loss of control' happened. We have heard members of Congress decry the act of taking down a HYDRA-controlled vehicle as an act of 'genocide'… am I correct in that? I wouldn't want to exaggerate."

Vorpal asks, tilting his head.

"I believe that's a matter of record, Vorpal" Kenneth replies to the questions "It's what prompted the Congressional Hearing, most certainly." The young man holds his pen, and begins to take notes as the Cheshire begins to speak….

"And that's what really does ring rather odd. See… HYDRA is a terrorist organization- an enemy combatant who had essentially assassinated the President of the United States of America. That is thecontext in which the vehicle was destroyed- and what doesn't fit here is the accusations leveled at Supergirl."

The cheshire cat begins to count on the fingers of one hand. "Firstly, the investigations and the invective launched at Supergirl give us the impression that the HYDRA vehicle would have not been, in fact, destroyed. But this is a falsehood… because standard procedure for events of this magnitude is to send military planes with an order to take down all hostiles. We can harken back to events as recent as the tragedy of 9/11, when United Flight number 93 was heading towards either the White House or the Capitol."

He takes a sip of water to wet his whistle, and continues. "You'll remember that a squadron of planes was deployed with orders to take the plane down at all cost. Ultimately it was the heroic actions of the passengers on board that took down the plane before the deployed squadron got there, but the bottom line is that standard procedure would have been to take the plane down with all hands on board, and that would have been the same in the case of the HYDRA vehicle. Especially since the president had been assassinated and the presence of HYDRA posed a threat to the people of Orleans no matter what. Supergirl did nothing that was not, in fact, part of standard procedure in any country that has procedures against invasions. Are we to believe, then, that Traverstein and company would have leveled charges of genocide to the pilots of the planes that would have taken down the vehicle, were no members of the JLA within immediate calling distance?" He arches an eyebrow, "I rather think not. And this is where there is definitely something rotten in the state of Denmark. Or Washington, as you may have it."

-— New Activity ---
Writing notes as Vorpal speaks, the journalist finally pauses and looks up again, considering. "One might argue, however, that those same Soldiers are employed by the US Government for that reason. Whereas others may not be." A distinction, perhaps minor, but a distinction none the less. Still, he considers a little longer before continuing "It is standard practice to take down hostiles and the President was certainly assassinated during the incident. So, by your reasoning, Supergirl only enacted what would be 'standard protocol' and because of that, she and other members of the JL:A have been called to the carpet. What is it, then, you think is rotten in Washington, Vorpal?"

"It is a good argument. Nevertheless, what would have been the general reaction if the JLA had not acted? I do not need to remind readers out there what happened when HYDRA decided to invade the tri-city area, the people of Orleans were in mortal danger. The last time that a Nazi force hovered over France… well. In any case, moving on to the stink…"

Vorpal, takes another sip of his glass and ponders. "Well, the fact that this investigation is -one might say- a giant smoke-screen. And the point touches upon your distinction… you see, there seems to be a section of government that cares very little about what it is that metahumans do. The only thing this section cares about is who they do it for. In fact, this is something that is already happening, and it's something that I have been thinking about recently. It is something that I think is at the core of this well-orchestrated power grab- because we must call a spade a spade, and this is what it is."

"Already happening?" Kenneth sits back, drawing his notepad with him, still taking notes as Vorpal shares his thoughts "You're implying that our Government has a section that employs meta-humans to do … something. Perhaps you could expand on that point before we continue?"

"With pleasure- although I'm not implying, Mister Kerr, I am telling you. I have seen it with my own eyes. In fact, if you recall that close to a year ago now the Titans' first base- the tower- was destroyed? That was a direct ntervention from that particular group. You may also recall that I appeared on television in a heightened state and leveled an accusatory figure against a certain government official. The result of that is that the Titans were intimidated into silence by this particular group. Furthermore, we were coyed into cooperating with them should the need arise, to participate in what essentially qualified as black ops missions."

Vorpal lets that sink in for a moment. "Fortunately the Titans weren't called to fulfill this obligation due to the fact that we were in the middle of something- but this group operates within and without the United States, assassinating citizens and foreign entities with impunity and neither judge nor jury. I have, in fact, seen one of the meta-humans that this government group employs freely murder street-level thugs. Whereas Batman, The Justice League or the Titans will resort to non-lethal force as a first resort, this particular agent of this group left a trail of death in his wake. We are talking about a government-sanctioned agent, Mister Kerr. And this is precisely what the politicians in favor of Registration want. They don't care a whit about genocides or Oh The Humanities, they want weapons they can use against whomever they deem necessary to exterminate- as they are doing now, but Registration will allow them to expand and forcibly recruit people. Registration has three very specific effects that will enable these politicians to enact this."

He leans back on his chair to give Kerr a breather, considering he had just dropped a major bomb.

Vorpal might have dropped a bomb and Kenneth is still for a long while, simply blinking at the Cheshire as the words sink in before he drops his eyes to the notebook and begins scribbling again furiously. A closer look will see some notations in the margin - things to confirm, like the TV appearance that Vorpal had just mentioned.

"You said three very specific effects, Vorpal?" the twenty something looks over expectantly.

The cheshire nods slowly, "Yes. See, they're very smart… first, Registration would put all of the information of registered heroes in the hands of the government, which includes information that would allow operatives to target family and friends. Let's pretend that I have a secret identity- which I do not. I am approached by this group and told that I must participate in a specific assassination mission. I consider it against my principles and refuse… what guarantee have we that they will not use that very same information to coerce metahumans into 'playing ball' with them? The same kind of group that sees no issue in sidestepping due process to assassinate a 'target' will not think twice about doing whatever it deems necessary to get 'assets' to cooperate, if you catch my drift. Right now, to my understanding, this group has several meta-humans on its roster but it is not expansive. Registration would furnish their black ops groups with ready bodies they can coerce into service."

Another sip of water before continuing. "The second effect is quite simple: Anyone who refuses to register because they oppose will very likely end up being treated as a criminal and hunted down, even locked away. And at that point it is not too much of a stretch to believe that the aforementioned secret organization won't approach the imprisoned heroes and offer them a reduced sentence in exchange for performing services."

"The third effect is not something I think is intentional- with Registration in full swing, all information pertaining to registered heroes will be stored in databases. Databases that will be easily available to any dedicated hacker… I need not bring to attention the fact that our government was, for months, a victim of a vicious foreign hacker attack that compromised very important security data. So what guarantees do we have that our information is secure?"

"It isn't very hard to imagine the resulting scenario: Every crook and rogue nation in the world would be hiring the best hackers in the world to perform cyber attacks and obtain the information of their nemeses. And, suddenly, you have innocent people- the families and friends of these registered heroes- dying all over the place. This is an effect that is probably not intentional… however, considering the previous two effects I have mentioned before, I do not think Traverstein et al would be terribly shaken by it. They clearly regard metahumans as nothing more than blunt tools to be seized and utilizied. Seized through a power grab that is the exploitation of panic and concern."

"That's a very blunt statement, Vorpal." Kenneth's pen doesn't stop moving as the Cheshire speaks. "You've certainly given it a lot of thought to this issue. I'm sure our readers will have a response to it. Out of everything you've shared with me today, what's the one thing you'd like our readers to take away with them?"

There's a few moments of silence as he ponders the question. A minute passes and then Vorpal finally answers.

"At the end of the day, Mr. Kerr, most of us are people just trying to keep disaster from destroying the things we love. Cities, people, history. I understand why some are wary of Supergirl's actions in Orleans- it was frightening. So was losing our President. But today there are men, women and children alive in Orleans who might not have been, all thanks to the fact that Supergirl, admittedly inexperienced, tried to put a stop to one of the tentacles of a group that does nothing but spread misery and death wherever it goes. I think that the incident does provide an avenue for dialogue, to consider how people feel in regards to displays of such destructive potential. No-one is ever exempt from the consequences of their actions, but the context must always be considered. And finally, we must be very careful. We must not be cowed by the frightening nightmares some very skilled people weave, because they use that fear to slowly erode the liberties that make our way of life possible. The very things for which we stand."

The cheshire cat finishes his water, "Sorry… I always tend to go over long."

Making some final notes in the notebook, Kenneth looks up as Vorpal concludes. "Not at all, Vorpal. You've certainly shared some interesting concepts. As I said, I'm sure our readers will have a response to them." Turning the recorder off, Kenneth offers his hand to the Cheshire "Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I'll let you know when the interview is published."

"Thank you, I appreciate it," Vorpal stands up. "It'll let us know when we can expect them to come knocking down our doors." He grins. Is he being serious, or is he joking? A little hard to tell. "It was a pleasure, Mr. Kerr." He shakes Kenneth's hand and, for a change, starts heading to exit through the door like a normal person.

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