JLA Watchtower RPG -
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Brother Joseph has managed to take Garfield Logan out to the Shed. He flicks on the solitary light bulb, allowing the young man to see all that he has stashed here - the physical reminders of his shame and need for eternal penance.

There's silence. Damn, this is a lot like what he had to do to Glen a generation earlier. He hoped better for Aurora, but she's got too much of her father's damn stubborn streak.

It's enough time to pull out three magazines, laying them on the table like he’s dealing blackjack.

The first is that magazine featuring the Titans. It’s open to a group shot they did for their media kit. Kory is proud, fiery beauty. Victor’s metal body is polished to a mirror finish. Kon’s got one arm around Cassie, the other hand scratching Krypto’s ear. Bart and Garfield look like they’re goofing off.

The second is a copy of Utne Reader, talking about “Progressive Young Millionaires.” Gar’s going to recall posing with Dick and a handful of other heirs and heiresses who were turning their vast inheritances into charitable foundations.

The third? A special edition of Heroes Monthly, a collectable tribute to the contributions of caped and masked mystery men and women through recent history.

“I know who you are, and I know what you are. Now, we have bigger problems with these jackboots in town. I know that. And you and your friends have made what was already a tense situation boil over into war. I hope you are goddamn proud of yourself.”

The stare could melt lead.

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gar_logan From: gar_logan Date: August 17th, 2006 06:05 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh SHIT.

His calmness just vanished like...like Alderaan under the Death Star beam, eyes wide as he sees the magazines, vaguely recalling the photo shoots.

He expected the possibility of being identified, especially being in the dual crosshairs of fame in screen and capedom.

But why now...?! Rora hadn't even told her folks y...

Wait, slow down. All of this is on YOU and possibly your friends so far. Slow down, just breathe, try to calm down...take a moment and try to be rational and talk to the man. The extremely threatening and intimidating man looking at you with a stare that could kill very slowly and extremely painfully...oh CRAP...


"I--well--sir--I" He clears his throat, trying desperately not to panic. "It was n-never my--our intent to s-start any t-trouble."
alt_minds2 From: alt_minds2 Date: August 17th, 2006 06:14 am (UTC) (Link)
Still granite.

"Girl's convinced she loves you. I've tried to tell her that boys like you and girls like her don't work. And I'll bet she's a great bit of fun for you. She's lively, innocent, good-hearted..." He half-smiles, half-winces. "I'll bet she even can amaze you at night, too."

"But be honest. You don't plan a future with her. It's sport, a fling. And even if you want her in your future, you'll be asking her to fit into your world and give up the very things that makes Aurora herself."
gar_logan From: gar_logan Date: August 17th, 2006 06:26 am (UTC) (Link)
The first half has enough truth to keep him silent and nodding. The second has so many mistaken points that he has to speak up.

"Now l-look! That's just wrong!"

Why the hell is it taking so much effort to stay level headed?

"It's not sport, it's not a goddamn fling, and who the hell says if I want her in my future, that I couldn't give up parts of my life? Because sir, I love her so much, that if she just asked, I damn well would!"
alt_minds2 From: alt_minds2 Date: August 17th, 2006 06:40 am (UTC) (Link)
"What can she offer you that you want, really? Cinderella might get the attention of a prince, but he wouldn't look twice at her if she was wearing a fairy's glamour. He fell for the illusion, and while she can ride off with her prince in a fairy tale, real life can't work like that."

"But I'm worried for her. She's been a long time from her family. When she was in Star City, we knew she was with people who shared her values. Activists, peace workers...but then she goes missing. Boneshirt comes up to us and delivers the bad news. She's likely dead from some random act of violence, they say."

"Oh, she's found, but everything changes. She's leaving details out of her letters, not telling us things. She's in god-damned Gotham of all places. She makes excuses not to visit, like she's afraid."

"And when we finally do convince her to come here, it's with the heir to Gotham's biggest crook, and a bunch of glory-hound vigilantes. What in hell am I supposed to think?!"
gar_logan From: gar_logan Date: August 17th, 2006 06:55 am (UTC) (Link)
"She has my full attention whenever she's in the room, and she needs no illusion, no nothing except who she is, sir!"

Oh boy. How to explain the rest without tripping more alarms.

"And Gotham University is quite the place to learn, and it also helps that I have good, loyal, trusted family and friends in Gotham that I can trust to keep watch over Aurora when I can't."

For the moment he avoids the accusations of being vigilantes. This hurdle-jumping is getting harder.
alt_minds2 From: alt_minds2 Date: August 17th, 2006 07:02 am (UTC) (Link)
"Isolate someone, cut their ties to their community, make them feel like they have nowhere to go. So-called friends offer love and support, make yourselves into the lifeline. Lonely girl away from her family, I can see that she'd crack after a while."
gar_logan From: gar_logan Date: August 17th, 2006 07:21 am (UTC) (Link)
His eyes flare, offended that Joe could even think that.

"How god-damn dare you! I've never loved anyone in my life like I do Aurora, helped support her while she was in the cities, come all the way here to meet her family, and you boil all of it down to some cult-like brainwashing...?!"

Joe's actually damn lucky that Gar's holding his hands both down by his sides and open at that remark. Joe just insulted Gar, his friends and Aurora's love for both. It's actually taking effort to remain calmer than most would be.
alt_minds2 From: alt_minds2 Date: August 17th, 2006 07:39 am (UTC) (Link)
"Go ahead. Get mad," he says calmly.

"I could believe it with Glen when he said he was coming here to stay, that he was turning his back on crime and violence. He had to good grace to be ashamed of it."

He points to the "hero" magazines. "Putting on masks and running around the cities beating up on people. Then, the press glorifies them for it while a mask removes the responsibility. You all go 'saving' us from other people in masks and spandex, people who always and conveniently return to terrorize the general population so you guys can charge in and look good and sell papers again."

"And what makes you to 'good' guys anyway? Just the idea you can whallop up on the next guy? The fact the police love you because little things like laws and due process don't matter when you can run the speed of sound or lift a loaded truck?"

He sighs and looks very old. "Aurora's a willful girl, but I am not going to bury her on account of her getting tangled up with you."
gar_logan From: gar_logan Date: August 17th, 2006 07:49 am (UTC) (Link)
He refuses to allow himself to be antagonized. That would just add fuel to the fire. He denies Joe that victory. Instead, he calmly fires back logical debate.

"You missed the point where I don't have a mask for a start, which kinda negates the responsibility removal. Secondly, what defines us as Good Guys is that with these powers we have, is that we defend people who cannot defend themselves against the attacking Bad Guys. It's worse when it's not just a two-bit thug with a gun who thinks she or he's a God, but some guy or girl, that has a power they misuse for their own personal amusement and/or gain."
alt_minds2 From: alt_minds2 Date: August 17th, 2006 02:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
"Ah, yes. The 'proactive self-defense' argument. Now, there's a reason I snatch theser from the kids, why they are taught not to hero-worship."

"Y'see, these are good people who try their best to raise their children who aren't corrupted by the lust for dominance that the outside worships. But for every group of good people, there needs to be an evil man who keeps that knowledge of how tempting it can be. And I AM that evil man."
gar_logan From: gar_logan Date: August 17th, 2006 02:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
"We don't ask to be worshipped, we just get looked up to."

The look on his face is between puzzled and suprised.

"And isn't being that man in turn removing their free will to be able to try to control how tempted they are, to choose which direction they want to go in life...?"
alt_minds2 From: alt_minds2 Date: August 17th, 2006 03:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
"The children leave when they come of age, like Aurora did. From there, our best hope is that we have trained them well enough to avoid the most grievous temptations and lure it can offer. Not all return. Some get seduced by the excitement and ideas. Most return, though. The strong ones."
gar_logan From: gar_logan Date: August 17th, 2006 03:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is the tricky part of the conversation he needs to steer through.

"Well, I can't speak for 'Rora, what her decision is, I don't know, and besides, it's her decision, and hers alone. If she decided to come back, and asked me to join the commune, well, how could I say no...?"

He considers the possible outcomes, wrestling with each scenario as he thinks of them.

"And before you laugh that off sir, I'd have you know that I'd be prepared to face any challenge that crossed my path, as I have in the past, many times. I could give up my fame, my heroics, my fortune, anything to make her happy."

There should be some sign if he's twisting the truth, a tic, or a stutter, a movement...but there isn't one. Hesitation maybe, nervousness definitely, but not a false word in his sentences at all.
alt_minds2 From: alt_minds2 Date: August 17th, 2006 04:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
"Heh. Maybe you do, and maybe you could - for a while. Then, the temptations of your old life would come back, and what then. There isn't a spotlight here. No chance to get up on stage or in a suit and dazzle your adoring fans."

He searches. Where in hell did he put that magazine - the more recent issue with the Amazon friend that Aurora brought back? But the shed was locked, he was sure of it...

He opens the cabinet, the one with the knives. "I've got something to show you, Mr. Logan. Something I planned on taking to my grave."

He's got the nastiest-looking knife in his hand, and Gar instinctively drops into a defensive stance.

Brother Joseph Cross moves with a precision and alacrity that would make Deathstroke raise an eyebrow, and jams the knife through his own hand. The point of it is embedded in the wooden table, the blade clearly going through.

After a moment, Joseph lets out a soft swear word, and pulls the knife from the table and back through his maimed hand, hissing with the jolt of pain. Before Gar's eyes, the wound starts knitting, looking half-healed in less than a minute.
gar_logan From: gar_logan Date: August 17th, 2006 04:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
"Holy...!"

He's...a Metahuman...that's opposed to 'capes'...?

He's caught between shock, suprise and the feeling that one day, he'll get through a big day without any major suprises like this.

"You're...like us...?"

Ooh. Poor choice of words Logan. But still, the suprise has caught him off guard.
alt_minds2 From: alt_minds2 Date: August 17th, 2006 04:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
"I was," he remarks sadly. "And regret every damn day of it."

He takes out the thick, leather-bound book. Lots of Army PR dating to the Vietnam era and even shortly before. Most of the articles are about skirmishes, battles, "victories over the enemy," and "quashing race riots." Earliest is from the mid-fifties, the last article is from 1967.

"Different world back then. Not the kind of world McKay thinks it was, either, but ideas like his weren't so radical. Klansmen were the judges and cops, pillars of the community. America and Russia were staring at one another, both with their fingers on the trigger, waiting to blow the other sky high, their respective citizens so deluded that they thought this was perfectly rational behavior on the part of their so-called leaders. Of course, there were the few folks who thought otherwise, but McCarthy and J. Edgar Hoover pretty much cut their throats."

Joseph rubs his sore hand. "Amazing it happened at all, really. In the middle of this, we get tangled up in 'Nam. We send every young man your age and better to go and fight. He laughs without humor. "'Cept you're a rich boy. Your daddy would have found an excuse to keep you home. Just the ordinary folk went over there to die, and at first, people gladly gave up their sons. It was good patriotism never to question, and war made men out of the boys. Made 'em something else, too, but you didn't talk 'bout it. Not then."

"I was a monster. Mai Lai only got public because people were starting to get fed up, but there were hundreds of them. Geneva talks a good talk, but there ain't rules to a bloodbath. Where it came to a head for me was late in '66. I'd had a long career, a proud one. I shot people on every continent you can name. So, I get assigned to lead a group of commandos - fresh-faced babies, most of them. Most of them were low-level metahumans."

He pages to an article giving the daily enemy death count and proclaming the elimination of a Viet Cong base fifty miles off the Ho Chi Minh trail.

"We get intel that there's a group of VC operating out of a small village upriver. Well, we strap on our gear and head on up. We charged in like demons, and acted no better. We were beating information out of an old man when his son and a couple others charge out with cheap Russian rifles. Well, that just lit the proverbial match in the magazine. We killed infants in front of their crying mothers. We shot the men and raped their daughters, slitting their throats afterwards. And we burned the place to the ground. Of course, they were just a bunch of godless commies. The brass saw to it to award me this," he gestures to his plaque. "For the crime. They called me a 'hero,' but when it sunk in what we'd all done, I couldn't live with myself."

"Took every assignment I could think of. I was trying to get myself killed, I guess. Medical discharge put me back in the States, and I tried everything I could think of again to get myself killed. I've hung myself, cut my wrists, been stabbed, and even shot myself. Guess I was so much of a worthless bastard that the Grim Reaper didn't even want anything to do with me."
gar_logan From: gar_logan Date: August 17th, 2006 04:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
He's been quietly listening, and finding his jaw drop every time it moved to interject or interrupt.

There are no immediate words for what Joe has just told him. The man's distaste for 'capes' and 'heroes' makes a little more sense now at least.

But the tale still leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. Still hunting for any words to try to say, he takes a long time.

And even after that, he's still utterly speechless.
alt_minds2 From: alt_minds2 Date: August 17th, 2006 06:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
He takes down an old photo. The colors faded a bit with age, but it's still bright.

He's standing in front of a VW van, set apart from the other four by his buzz cut and relatively conservative attire.

"Jim had a great head for money. Could have been running the Fortune 500, but he hated the rat race. Mary came from eight generations of farmers. Robert could have been president if the world had been ready for his big ideas. Anna..." His eyes go wistful. "Rora's grandma. Hell of a woman. Tireless. Worked for justice with every ounce of strength she had. Would give her last dime to a hungry man. Voice that could reduce a stone to tears..."
jla_extras From: jla_extras Date: August 18th, 2006 05:30 am (UTC) (Link)
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JLA Watchtower RPG
Name: JLA Watchtower RPG