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GM

 

Dec 5th 2018

 

Emerald City University

 

Majorie Doors, the administrator of ECU was a pleasant enough middle lady in person. But, when it came to gossip, she was political. And when it came to politics, she was a gossip. 

 

A slightly sour lady with a big mouth, she had a rather firm attitude to immigrants, and was most pleased to let everyone know how noble and correct her firm attitude was. And today, she was most keen to complian to Ms. Robin Langley. 

 

Again. 

 

"Its disgaceful, you know!" she complained. "They are setting up a new immigration asylum centre in the Northern suburbs. The suburbs! Pff. Can you imagine the poor honest hard working people there!" she hissed, sure that everybody shared her view, because her view was surely common sense!

 

"The crime, apparently, is through the roof!" she explained. "They should not have built the roof at all!" she added, pleased with her pun. "Housing all those Mexicans there, in one building! A breeding ground from criminals and crime!"

 

At this point, every sentence simply had to have an exclamation mark. Perhaps even every word. 

 

"I! Will! Not! Stand! For! It!" she said indignantly. 

 

"Jack Jackson, the reporter, is doing a special on the crime there tonight. And I will join the protesters! No wonder people have tried to sabotage the building!"

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And here Mrs. Doors went again. Robin had just stopped by to check up on some things she printing on the campus' 3D printer. She wasn't even supposed to be here today. And yet... here she was, listening to another of Mrs. Doors' lectures. To be fair, she could have some good points at times. Like, even a broken clock is right twice a day, right? This one? Not one Robin was particularly interested in getting involved with. While trying to do her best to excuse herself, she could almost imagine where Mrs. Doors was going with this, even before her indignant statement.

 

Of course she wouldn't stand for it. She rarely stood anywhere, always sitting, whenever Robin was around at least. She only got up to get coffee or tea, or to get close enough to deliver her latest lecture. Robin suppressed the comment, instead just resigning herself to giving non-committed answers. She really didn't want to discuss politics in general, and especially not with Mrs. Doors. That was just looking for trouble.

 

The last bit caught her interest, however. "Really? He's gonna show up for something like that?" Lucas Jr. had been way too obsessed with Jack Jackson at one point. Watching everything he did, even if he didn't necessarily agree with the man. "Where's it happening?" A place like that was bound to be a powderkeg, right?

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GM

 

"You know Jack Jackson!"

 

Jack Jackson was a somewhat obnoxious reporter who "Specialised" in super heroes. He was not anti superheroes, he was not pro superheroes. They were his meal ticket, and he loved reporting on them, and "reporting" meant "twisting the facts of the case as much as possible in order to boost sales and reputation without breaking the law" when it came Jack Jackson. 

 

No superheroes, as far as anyone knew, had been involved in the construction of the "Sunny Sunshine Immigrant Refuge", but it had been a political issue. Paid for by churches and charity (thanks, partially, to the devoutness of South American culture), plenty of people were unhappy at the refuge. Emerald City, like any city, had a problem with illegal immigrants. Some people even had a problem with legal immigrants. 

 

Crime had been circling around the refuge. But how much of this was news, and how much was fake news, was often debated. Sooner or later some superhero would step in. And presumably Jack Jackson hoped it was sooner. 

 

"The protest is tonight, right outside the Refuge! May it fall down in a heap!" said Majorie Doors. 

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"Eh, my big brother used to watch his show. He's had some interesting things on super heroes, but I'm not a fan. To each their own, and all that." Robin didn't feel like lying about the fact to make Mrs. Doors happy. Jack Jackson would twist any fact to boost his own reputation and number of viewers. He had tried selling out heroes in the past, setting them up as being responsible for all kinds of trouble, when they had only tried to help.


Even getting close to him as Justice could be a bad idea, but... this all sounded like trouble. And a lot of it, too.

 

Robin eyed Mrs. Doors at her last statement. She really didn't like immigrants, huh? Maybe she should go too, just to try and keep the peace and make sure everyone got some measure of justice. No way she would tell Mrs. Doors, however.

 

"When's it going to start? I mean, I want to make sure I'm nowhere near there if either side end up causing trouble." Would Jack Jackson cause trouble on his own? Robin really wouldn't put it past him to try and stir up trouble.

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GM

 

When Robin asked when it was going to start, there was a brief second when Ms. Majorie Doors face lit up. 

 

Another recruit! How wonderful! said her beaming face, her jubilent smile, her gleaming eyes!

 

Then, when Robin clarified that her query regarding time was for the express purpose of avoiding the protest, her face collapsed, her smile evporated, her eyes fell. 

 

"Oh!"...came the sound of hopes plumetting. "...well, its a seven thirty..." she said, more crisply than even she would have liked. 

 

"I am going of course. We cannot be intimidated by threats to our way of life! God Bless America!" she said, patriotically, shuffling some pointless papers in a pointless manner in attempt to show how much of a point she had. 

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"I never doubted that you would, Mrs. Doors!" Robin's tone was as cheerful as always. She honestly didn't doubt that Mrs. Doors would go and do her part, no matter how much Robin might agree or disagree. The woman just wanted to be important, and even more than that, she wanted everyone else to think that she was an important, upstanding citizen.

 

But... Maybe Robin would actually like to debate this, instead of always letting Mrs. Doors get the last word in? Maybe just this once? "I don't really see the big deal, I guess. We gotta help people in need, don't we? What if you were in their situation, and there had been some kind of war here, and you were in need? Wouldn't you want somebody to help you out?" Her tone had gone a bit harder than usual. Maybe some of the things she had seen and done since she started calling herself Justice was rubbing off on her a little bit? She could still be a hero without being a doormat, couldn't she?

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GM

 

"Well, surely" replied Ms. Doors, realising that perhaps she had slightly over stepped her mark. "I mean, thats part of the American spirit, isn't it? helping your neighbour! Just as long as they are the right neighbour of course!"

 

"I am all for community spirit! Love thy neighbour, peace and goodwill. But I am afraid some folk - not you or I, of course - aren't such fine upstanding citizens" she sighed. "I blame the lack of community spirit!" she said in a quite outstanding peice of tautological logic. 

 

"Thats why I am going, of course. Its democracy in action! God bless this country and free speech!" she said, patriotically, hand on heart full of pride. 

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"But isn't that refuge center built exactly because of a community spirit?" She could use Mrs. Doors own words against her, if need be. Robin's own family might not be immigrants, but she had several friends that were. And really, given the mix of people in Emerald City, Mrs. Doors views seemed a bit behind the curve. 

 

Robin placed her hands on her hips as she spoke. She was not going to back down now! "Sure, and democracy is great! It means we all get to be heard, but it also means that we don't start fighting when we don't get our way, if the majority decision ended up being against you, right? I mean, there's no reason for hard feelings, just because the others won, right? Protesting, making your voice heard and all, but you can still be civil about it. Right?" Robin doubted Mrs. Doors would be violent in her protests. She just wasn't built for something like that, even if people could surprise you, but it still felt good to try and point that out to her. It wasn't like everyone just wanted to be civil at gatherings like that.

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GM

 

"Hmph..." said a slightly red faced Ms Doors, who was unused to people arguing back at her. It was, to her mind, particularly vexatious when they had a point. 

 

Its quite unreasonable to cheat in a debate by having a point...

 

And later, at 7:30, outside the Sunny Sunshine Immigrant Centre...

 

The crowd holding up placards and back slapping each other seem to be of the same broad opinion. Thinking about issues was clearly much to hard work. How much more pleasant and easy it was to merely feel about issues. 

 

 

Majoried Doors was there, handing out home made cookies. That was Ms. Doors for you, for even if she had many unpleasant qualities, she was always making cookies and tea for students, and had held their hand on more than one occassion in a maternal sort of way. 

 

And she loved cats.

 

Jack Jackson was also there, a shortish man with a jacket but no tie, crafty brown eyes and a winning smile. He had polished his act to make sure he appeared quite unpolished. One of the people. 

 

He was talking about the Sunny Sunshine building which was not yet finished. A few more days, said the builders. And yet, some immigrants had already moved in. There were, he was insinuating, concerns about local crime gangs both financing the building and using it to recruit. 

 

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It felt kind of good to get the last word in. Maybe Mrs. Doors just needed someone to talk back at her every once in a while, and she would be much nicer? Robin smiled a bit about the thought, then went on with her work. She had a 3D printer to check on, and a meeting to get to later.

 

---

 

Without getting too close the commotion, Robin had managed to get to the Sunny Sunshine Immigrant Centre, looking at the events from a bit away as the protesters began to gather. No reason to get too closely mixed up in that whole mess, but she had to stay close enough to keep an eye on them. Somebody might need a hero to show up. 

 

Spotting Jack Jackson, Robin winced. He looked almost exactly like when she had last seen him on tv with Lucas Jr., even if it was years ago. He kept himself looking young, kept to the same style. He wasn't some fancy news reporter, he wasn't above the people, he was one of them. While she couldn't really hear what he was saying, Robin decided it would be better to stay back, with her grey hoodie pulled up around her face. No reason to get caught on camera here, after all.

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GM

 

As Jack Jackson made sure he was one of the people (or, more accurately, he made money), the situation became more complicated. 

 

A short man approached. He was well dressed, in a warm coat and hat, with a suit underneath. He smoked an expensive cigar. He was fat, with immense jowels and puffy cheeks, but he had a certain solidity to him. Perhaps it was his boxers nose, perhaps it was his confident air. 

 

"Well I do believe that is Mr Frank Fish, ah...business entrepeneur!" said Jack Jackson, interrupting himself and going over to interview Mr. Fish, who had two much larger men by each side. 

 

On the other side of the crowd, a different sort of trouble was brewing. Several construction workers (all with a Mexican look to them) where swinging sledgehammers and giving the protesting crowds (and Mr. Fish) a dirty look. 

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Robin could hear everything that Jack Jackson was saying. Of course she could, he was making sure that everyone could hear what he was saying, after all. It probably came with all his experience. He was kind of a public speaker, he wanted everyone to notice him. It was how he made money, how he stayed relevant.

 

But the guy that he wanted to talk to... No way, that was Blowfish! Did that guy have an interest in this too? He was supposed to be a mobster or something like that. Bad news. Maybe it was time for someone to bring some justice to this place, Jack Jackson being present or not... and then things started escalating. Construction workers started swinging their sledgehammers around, and they really didn't seem to like all the protesters, Jack Jackson or the Blowfish. Just a matter of time before someone got hurt, probably.

 

It probably wasn't smart, not with Jack Jackson around, but... someone needed to bring some justice to this scene. And she had to do what was right. It wasn't like anything else should matter, right? Still... Robin sighed as she reached into her jacket and pulled out her domino mask. She did not look forward to what Jack Jackson would have to say. Mask on, dark blue jacket open, revealing a red shirt with a golden star on it. Her jeans and boots would be fine, pretty standard. And so, Justice stepped forward from her hiding place, heading towards the construction workers. "Hey guys, no reason to swing those around. It'll be a ton of trouble for everyone if you hit someone by accident." 

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GM

 

The five workers (men and women) were not sure what to make of a masked woman. She looked like half a super hero. 

 

"Who are you then?" they asked, the obvious question to the problem. 

 

They seemed uninterested in calling over Jack Jackson, although if Jack Jackson saw what was happening rather than interviewing Blowfish, he would have been most interested in coming over. 

 

They were Mexicans, or thereabouts...certainly south American, with clear accents. Of course, it was impossible to tell if they were legal or illegal immigrants just from observation, but the fact that they were probably immigrants, building a refuge for immigrants could not be missed. 

 

"Seems like trouble is here already, Seniorita. Maybe we give it a nudge in the right direction..."

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"I'm Justice. I know, I'm pretty new at the whole super hero thing, and I don't really know if you've heard of me, but please, just listen a moment, alright?" She had her back turned to Jack Jackson, and did her best to keep it like that. It was a good idea to at least try to keep him out of her hair as long as possible. Might actually get to talk a bit with these people, then.

 

She pointed over her shoulder with her thumb, right at Jack Jackson and Blowfish. "You see those guys over there? The one that doesn't look like a puffer fish is Jack Jackson. He's a tv personality, usually specializing in super heroes, but I guess he got some interest in the center." She quickly looked over her shoulder, just to make sure Jack was still talking with Blowfish. "From what I've seen, he's not above twisting the narrative. If you guys come out with your hammers up like this, or do anything at all that can make you seem threatening? He's gonna make sure that you look like the bad guys here. And hammers or not, look at all these people. They'll rip you apart." 

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GM

 

"Not if we rip then apart first" grunted one of the women, who, given the strength of her grip on her sledgehammer, might not have been far of the mark. 

 

Click

 

Behind the workers, the sound of a shotgun being pumped. "You start swinging, I start shootin'" came a cocky laugh. 

 

A tall man dressed in jeans and a shirt, with a police badge slung around his neck, a shotgun in his hand, and a cigar in his other. He had a kind of seventies vibe, although he was probably only in his thirties. Beard, mid length hair, and tinted sunglasses (despite the low sun). 

 

"Just like some dirty Mexican scum. Hammers. This is the United States of America, and here we got the good old...sec...ond...am...end..ment..." he said, pointing the shotgun at each member of the wrecking crew with each slowly prounced syllable. 

 

"Detective Kidd. But I kid you not..." he grinned, before glancing at Justice.

 

"Who are you? We got a cape coming to clean up this rat hole?"

 

 

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Oh, great. Someone deciding to escalate things. Robin looked over her shoulder in the direction of the sound, and looked at the 70'es fashion reject. Now, she was far from being into fashion at all. It just didn't matter much to her, but this was so far behind the curve that it wasn't even funny. And he wore sunglasses, at night. Even if his little speech didn't settle it, Robin could quickly peg him for the kind of guy that would cause trouble. His speech just made her certain of what kind of trouble Detective Kidd would be causing.

 

"Well, its not like these guys are trespassing or anything like that, if anything, they're the ones with a legal reason to be here, unlike, well, everyone else." Robin countered, having turned to fully face Detective Kidd. Putting herself between a shotgun and 5 great big hammers. Great plan there, Langley. 

 

"I'm Justice. Guess my name's still not a big deal, I guess. I'm not here to take any sides, Detective Kidd. I'm just here to try keeping anyone from getting hurt. People got the right to build this place, and other people got the right to protest. No reason for anybody to get hurt over that, is there?" Maybe she should have put on the full suit immediately. Be less random girl with domino mask and more actually a super hero.

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GM

 

"They are tresspasin. They got their boots on US soil, dontcha, fellas?" replied Det Kid, keeping his shotgun up. He turned his eyes to Justice once again. 

 

"Justice, eh? Well you an me goin' to get on swell, pal. Real swell. Just so happens, I am a servant of Justice too!" he said with a big laugh. "Thing is, though, you hae to take side round here. Blowfish is building this place, and Blowfish is recruiting these scum to work for him"

 

The five workers looked at each other, and looked at Det Kidd. They seemed genuinely scared of him. Without a word, they turned, dropped their hammers and ran. 

 

"Ready...take aim...." said Detective Kidd loudly, looking down the barrel of his gun with a wink at Justice, and pointing the barrel at the rearsides of the nearest escaping workman...

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Aw, c'mon. Why couldn't it have been that nice cop from the other day, when Robin had stopped that mugger? He'd been a real sweetheart. Detective Kidd was just looking for trouble here. And causing it. 

 

Robin had no idea that Blowfish was building this place, which gave her pause for a moment, but just because someone was paying for it, did that mean that the place wasn't good? Especially if he was doing it all legally, right? So. Another wrinkle to this whole issue. Just great. She wasn't about to let Detective Kidd shoot the guys in the back with a lethal weapon. No way. Time to bring out the bigger guns, so to speak.

 

Phone out. Code entered. Maybe transforming in front of Detective Kidd would be enough to give him pause, but at any rate, she had to stop that. "Henshin!" The Justice Driver belt made its announcement as the Justice suit appeared, all red and gold, while Robin moved forward, reaching out for Detective Kidd's hand and pushing it up as fast as she could. "That's not justice, detective!"

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GM

 

The shotgun pointed to the night sky and detective Kidd had, for a moment, a surprised look on his face, before he broke out laughing. 

 

"Jeesus, kid. I wasn't going to shoot....!" he explained. "I mean, there are camera's here. I just wanted them to sweat. Scare them out of dodge city, if you get what I mean. Ha ha! Did you see the look on their faces? I thought they were going to $£%& their pants haha!" he said, putting the shotgun down and clicking on the safety. 

 

"Look, its the only thing these scum really understand. And right now, this town's going to go to hell. Blowfish is financing this building and I pretty much know he's going to use the filthy immigrants to join his ranks. He's cold, that one. And then, half of the scum living here and building this place are ready to cave Blowfishe's skull in, and set up themselves. I mean, this place is a powderkeg..." he grinned, looking actually excited at the prospect. 

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"You do not point a gun at people like that. Doesn't matter who's watching or not!" Robin's tone was harder than before. She had taken a shot at the Gas Man like that before, but then he was a danger to both others and herself. These guys? No matter if what they were doing were wrong or not, Detective Kidd had pointed a gun at them, even after they had dropped their weapons.

 

Robin was well aware that going incognito wouldn't really work anymore, now that she was wearing all red and gold. Maybe she should try going for some different colors in the future, once she got her suit upgraded a bit more, but she really shouldn't be thinking about that now. It was only a matter of time before Jack Jackson would notice the commotion, and she had to deal with Detective Kidd first.

 

"Right, this place is a powderkeg. Look around." Robin gestured to the protesters, Jack Jackson, Blowfish, the building and the fleeing workers. "Look at this. What would happen if they'd seen your gun? If you just tried to scare them, you'd be caught on camera, and that whole group would explode." Alright, deep breath. Get a chance to figure out what was going on while she could. "I really don't have all the info here, so please, what do you mean about Blowfish financing this? What do you know about that?" Maybe they could actually work together here.

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GM

 

Dt Kidd gave a grin, igoring the jibes and protestations. His grin looked very much like a smirk. 

 

He started talking when Justice asked about Blowfish. 

 

"Blowfish is an opportunist. A shark. Don't underestimate him" he said, more seriously. "He got wind of the proposal, and took it over. Gets grant money. Uses cheap immigrant labour to build it. Then, when they live below the poverty line, when everyone starts spitting at them, he swoops in and offers them a better deal. A life of crime, with the added bonus that he has leverage on them..."

 

"Its a neat deal. You got to give it to the man" he said, half admiringly. "But it means we got a big gang problem now. And to make things worse, some of the labourers have peeled off, thinking they are exploited, and want to form a...a resistance, I guess" he said, stroking his trimmed beard. "Except don't think this is some hippie dippie peaceful protest. The resistance is as violent as Blowfish, crooks and thieves and low life scrum. Lead by some knucklehead called the Wall..."

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"Yeah, I kinda got the feel that the protest wasn't gonna be as peaceful as they wanted to be." 

 

Great. Just great. Nothing was ever simple, was it? "You got any proof of all that? I mean, I have heard about Blowfish, and I don't like what I'm hearing." He was a cop. Robin was supposed to trust cops, right? Didn't mean that she felt like trusting this particular cop a whole lot, not yet at least. "So, what's your plan to deal with it? It seems like you know a whole lot more about what's going on than me." Maybe she could get some information at least.

 

While talking with the detective, Robin made sure to glance over at Jack Jackson and Blowfish, just to make sure about what they were doing. Didn't want to be surprised by them suddenly showing up. At the same time, she had pulled out her phone and entered the deactivation command, causing the suit to retract into her belt again, making herself stand out just a little bit less.

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GM

 

"Proof? What do you think I am, a cop?" grinned Detective Kidd. 

 

"Look, kid. I ain't got a plan to deal with it. Nobodies got a plan to deal with it. Not until the bullets start flying and you can be Detective Kidd will be squeezing the trigger when it happens. They call me bulletbroof Kid, and they ain't wrong..." he grinned, relishing the thought. 

 

"This is gonna explode, and when I do, I'm just aimin' to keep good peace loving American's out of the firing line. Or maybe make sure they have enough gunpowder to fire back" he said, grinning again. 

 

"Oh look, its Detective Kidd! The Bulletproof Kid!" said Jack Jackson over in the distance, spotting Kidd talking to Justice and starting to walk over. 

 

"Oh Gods, not this idiot...." muttered Kidd, rollin his eyes but not running away. 

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Oh, great. Detective Kidd had no plan, he was just gonna start shooting. That was just great. He obviously knew more than Robin did about the situation, and yet he wasn't about to do anything to try to resolve it.

 

Wait, did he say he was really bulletproof? If that was true, then his approach kind of made sense for him, but what about everyone else? He sounded just as bad as Mrs. Doors, though. Only willing to protect one side. Giving him a speech about immigrants probably wouldn't much good, would it now. At least Kidd didn't like Jack Jackson either. That was a plus.

 

She pulled a bit back, letting Kidd get some space, and trying to turn away. Let's have Jack Jackson focus on him for now, if possible.

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GM

 

"Hey Detective Kidd! Remember me?" jumped in Jack Jackson, followed by his cameraman and sound engineer. 

 

"Hey! Hey! Like a piece of doggie doo on the bottom of my shoe! How could I forget?" grinned Det Kidd, pointing his finger and the reported and mock firing. 

 

"The Tommy Cult? You got shot to hell, if I remember...." said Jack Jackson, igoring the jibe and counter thrusting. 

 

"Sure did" said Kidd. "But it hurt less than listening to your shows!"

 

The two stared each other down for a moment. 

 

"So, what you doing here? Another cult to shoot up? Going to blow up the building?" asked Jack Jackson, thrusting the microphone in Kidd's face. 

 

"No comment. Get that outa my face..." snarled Kidd, pushing the microphone out of his face and pushing Jack Jackson away. 

 

"Careful there, cowboy!" yelped Jack Jackson. "Don't want another police brutality charge, do we?...and whose this kid you are talking to?" he said, spinning around and sticking his microphone in the direction of Justice. 

 

"Any comment?"

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