Philosophy Is Common Sense With Big Words

October 08, 2014:

The Bad Robin runs into Midnighter doing what he does best and they discuss the Batman and philosophy.

A wretched hive of scum and villainy. You know. Gotham.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Down an alley and through a metal door that doesn't have a sign, someone can find just about any drug easily available on the street. Not the hard to come by stuff such as smooth - now - but coke, crack, heroin, pot, meth, etc. Jimmy isn't a part of the Irish mob but like almost everyone else in this part of town, he pays them for protection. He didn't get his money's worth. There was gunfire and those who know guns would easily tell they came from at least two, maybe three different weapons. The door is not just open but torn off its hinges. An obvious bodyguard is on the ground inside unbreathing due to a crushed throat while Jimmy's head is looking behind himself. Midnighter's humming a Backstreet Boys song while he dumps the drugs into the sink and watches them run down the drain. He's got a way to go.

Robin arrives late, and frustrated. With the gunfire having died down, he knows that whatever has occurred is probably pretty much over. He leans down to take the pulse of the bodyguard-hopeful that he's still alive. Well, he's hopeful because his father has asked him to be hopeful in these sorts of situations.

Then, to the man with the wrong facing head-there's no reason to check on hi-wait. They're not alone. A man singing a song with his back turned, familiar but not immediately so. "Is this your doing?"

"Well, if you wan to get philosophical about it, they brought it on themselves once they decided to deal drugs." Midnighter answers without turning. "But since I doubt that was your meaning, then yes Robin, this is my doing. Are you going to pretend you don't approve?"

It takes him a few moments to respond. Is it just his style or is he taken aback by the question? It's not immediately clear. "There are other ways," he says, dodging the question.

"Yes, there are." MIdnighter agrees. "But not ones as fitting to the crime. They destroy lives, they lose theirs in turn. It doesn't help those they've already ruined but it guarantees they don't harm anyone else." He glances over at the young man. "Grab some bags and dump them in."

Robin makes no move to grab the bags; apparently seeing that Midnighter has everything in order. Or, he just doesnt want to aid and assist in the aftermath of a murder. "What if you were wrong? What if this, or some other situation, was a misconception on your part?"

"I only act once I know for certain what someone is guilty of. And as you can see from looking around, there's no way to misconstrue what was going on here. If you're worried about an innocent being hurt, that's not going to happen." Midnighter tears another couple bags open and shakes the contents into the water.

"Be that as it may, there are some that would say that narcotics aren't an offense that should be punishable by death." Damian doesn't count himself as one of those people, possibly. Probably. Maybe. But he's not talking about himself.

"I'm sure I don't need to tell you the effect that hard drugs have on the people, especially the young and the poor." It's clear Midnighter's not trying to convince Robin but merely countering an argument. "If all he was selling was pot, I wouldn't be here."

"And it's you to be at the discretion?" Robin asks, taking a step forward. "There's a system for that…" He doesn't know if he believes the words he says.

"Can you honestly say it works?" Midnighter counters, looking over at Robin. If there's any outrage or passion in Robin's voice, he's certainly hiding it well. "Who are you trying to convince, me or yourself?"

"You. You'll not make it long in this city with your mode. I'm only looking after your well being," Robin says with a sly grin.

"And is the fabled Batman going to kill me?" The thought amuses Midnighter. "I'm not interested in fighting him but if he feels it's necessary, I'll try not to hurt him too badly. The rumors say he's doing a good job. He just doesn't go far enough. Selfishness."

"/Selfishness?/" Damian says, showing the most emotion he has so far. "You cannot be serious. You've not done much to parade around so full of yourself, that much I know."

"Selfishness." Midnighter repeats. "He's not willing to get his hands dirty and do what's so clearly necessary. He spares himself at the expense of the innocent victims. Whether you want to call it morality or faith in the system or some other justification, that's what it comes down to. Not wanting to tarnish your own self image no matter who gets hurt."

Robin responds in sardonic chuckling, "A wise man once said: Be careful of the man who believes he knows everything. Indeed, the one who seems he's figured everything out usually knows the least. You seem to know a lot about this 'Batman.' Tell me more about him."

"Since I've never met him, I know nothing about him other than what's rumoured. If we ever chat over tea, I'll question him and revise my opinion based on his answers. Till then…" Midnighter shrugs. "I have a job to do. Why don't you tell me what you know about him while I do it,"

"8 feet tall. Drinks the blood of animals. Can immerse itself in shadows. Heard he's eternal," Robin says with a grin. "People say all sorts of things."

"Yes, they do." Midnighter agrees. "I didn't do it. I didn't mean it. He was dead when I got there. Actions speak louder than words." With the last of the drugs down the drain, he shuts the water off then walks over to rifle through Jimmy's jacket pockets and pulls out the cash.

"And to what with the money?" Robin asks. "I presume there's a rationale for that as well." He folds his arms over his chest and shifts his weight as his head turns slightly to the side.

"Charity." Midnighter drops the wad into his jacket pocket. "Homeless shelters. Food banks. Know of any that aren't stealing from the poor and homeless and using the money themselves?"

"Not yet," Robin admits. "But this is Gotham, of course." He seems surprised that Midnighter is not going to pocket the proceeds.

Which means most of them are corrupt too. Which is why Midnighter asked. "It's our job to make the world a better place. It's their decision to screw other people for their own greed." He nods to the corpses on the ground. "Without them and others like them, people might have a chance to be happy and not go to bed hungry and afraid."

"I don't disagree. I'm just not sure it's us that gets to decide," Robin admits. In fact, he probably agrees more with Midnighter than with his own father on this particular issue, but he's trying on the words for size.

"How many criminals escape from Arkham a year?" Midnighter asks. "And how many from all the other prisons and jails that house Gotham criminals? How many get off on technicalities because the judges or the jury are bribed? How many never get arrested because the police are dirty? And that's just this one city." Granted, others aren't quite as bad but there's a reason he's in Gotham.

"What sort of violations would you judge, jury, and executioner deem enough to take a criminal's life?" Robin asks, apparently shifting past the topic and changing it slightly. "Where, precisely, is your line?"

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