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Veiled Malice

The Interview

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[Camera turns on. The scene is that of a talk show. Two chairs have been set up. One has Captain Wonder in it, looking proud and upright, and the other has Charlotte Chase]

Charlotte Chase: "Good evening, Captain Wonder. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to be here with us tonight."

Captain Wonder: "It's a pleasure, Ms. Chase. I always like to make time for my friends in the press."

CC: "I think the first thing that's on everyone's mind is, why now? Why choose now to come back, after so many years?"

CW: "That's a very good question, Ms. Chase. My generation's end was...ignominious. Between forced retirements, death, and of course the McCarthy hearings, we let ourselves be pushed aside by the tide of history. My own retirement was the right thing to do at the time...but as I got older and other generations came and went, I came to realize that the world still needed the heroes, and the values, of my generation."

CC: "So, do you perhaps feel that today's generation of superheroes are... not representing the community the way they should?"

CW: "Well...I don't want you to think I'm criticizing them. The Freedom League has done some wonderful work. They've all saved the planet, and we all owe them our lives. But there's a certain degree of...moral leadership that's been missing since the Centurion died. There are values beyond just fighting aliens or supervillans."

CC: "I see... let's talk about your relationship with the Centurion a bit then. As some of our viewers might know, you and Centurion were good friends. How did that come about?"

CW: "The Centurion was my hero, the way he was everyone else's back then. He was the first superhero I ever heard of, and the first one I wanted to meet after I got my powers." Wonder's enthusiasm at the memory is almost boyish. "I first met him in 1941, the first time the Liberty League tangled with the Ubersoldaten." Wonder shakes his head, raising his hands. "Raising my fists against the Centurion was the hardest thing I've ever done, but it...well, afterwards, once the bad guys were defeated, it turned into a real friendship. He took me under his cape and taught me...well, many things. About being a superman, and just a man. I am honored to have called him my friend."

CC: "And the world is a sadder place without him, yes. But there is the question of where you were during the Terminus Invasion. Was there some reason you couldn't have intervened on Centurion's behalf?"

CW: "Where were any of us?" The question hits Wonder where it hurts. "I'd been retired for forty years in '93, I wasn't any good to anyone. If you ask me, the problem was that they let the League fall apart back in the 1970s! " He slaps his knee. "I still can't believe the Centurion faced Omega alone. We all let him down that day."

CC: Ms Chase nods her head sadly. "Yes, the Moore administration was hard on superheroes of the day. But that brings us to a hopefully happier topic - that for a seventy year old man, you look fantastic. What's your secret?" She asks the last part playfully.

CW: Wonder calms down a little before the friendly question, reminding himself that this is a friendly audience. "Good genes, Ms. Chase, and good exercise." He smiles. "I've been doing at least two hours of intense exercise every day since I went into the service. I may be a good Southern boy, but I eat a clean diet and I stay away from fried foods. I tried to keep the old Captain Wonder breakfast cereal healthy, but if you've still got any, don't eat it! I once heard a box sold for five hundred dollars at auction."

CC: [Laughs] "I'll be sure not to. Now, I know that many of your old adversaries are still unfortunately active, even in this day in age. You stopped a SHADOW incursion into Riverside Park just last week, and individually, those are among the least of them. Which one would you say still presents the biggest threat not just to you, but to the public in general?"

CW: "I can't believe some of them are still active." Wonder faces the camera. "Basil, if you can hear this, it's been almost fifty years. Sell those patents on that baton, or whatever you're using these days, and buy your own record company!" He pauses a moment, obviously having said something he's been chewing on for a while, then adds, "SHADOW. Medea's pulling the same stunts she pulled sixty years ago, or six hundred, and no one's heard of Superior in twenty years. I'm no conspiracy buff, but I believe Wilhelm Kantor is alive, and still running the show."

CC: "Really? Then you believe his death was faked?"

CW: "He faked it once before, back in the 40s. If a man can do that once, fool all the smart people we had back then, he can do it again." Wonder gives her a pained smile. "I know something about letting the world think you're dead."

CC: "I see what you mean. Now, switching gears again, do you have some kind of plan for rekindling old relationships with the current incarnation of the Freedom League? Daedalus's son is very much like his father, at least insofar as his approach to crime fighting. Do you think you'll get along with them?"

CW: "I didn't know Daedalus that well, but if his son is anything like his father, I'm sure he's a fine man. And much smarter than I am!" Wonder laughs, then sobers just a little. "The truth is, there aren't many of us left from those days. As far as I know, it's just me and John Wade, if you don't count Dr. Atom or Envoy." He shakes his head. "The new League is made up of fine people. I look forward to working with them the way I worked with the Liberty League; as close friends and allies."

CC: "There is a lot of truth to that. What would you say to people that believe your approach to today's crime is somewhat... dated, shall we say? Many villains do not follow the same rules they used to, and many people believe a harder stance is called for - the new, stricter laws concerning metacrime are proof enough of that."

CW: "I say that my way of doing things got us through World War II, and there have never been a gang of thugs and villians worse than the Ubersoldaten. I fought some pretty rough customers in my time, but I've never had to stoop to their level. Doing good, real good, is hard, but if you can't make the hard choices, you don't have any business calling yourself a superhero." He pauses for a moment, collecting his thoughts. "As for a tougher stance against metacrime, I'm all for it. But the important thing is to catch the kids when they're young and steer them the right way. That's what the Centurion did for...a lot of kids, and it changed their lives for the better. We need to see more of that these days."

CC: "A sort of social service for young metahumans, then? I hear that Next-Gen, the premier superhero group featuring members of that age appeared in the battle in Riverside Park. What was your impression of them?"

CW: "If they hadn't been there, I don't know what those SHADOW cretins would have done. Those kids probably helped save a lot of lives." Wonder is quiet for a moment, almost long enough that it looks like he's ready for a new question. "But...I don't know if I agree with it. In fact, I'm sure I don't. Kids need supervision and discipline, and that's not something they're going to get off fighting real villians by themselves. Now, don't think I'm saying teenagers can't be heroes. They certainly can; look at the Arrows and that new Bowman. But if they're going to face that kind of danger every day, they need grownups who can face that danger with them, and to teach them how to do it."

CC: "That's certainly understandable. Just a few more questions. I know that you stayed separate from the Freedom League and Liberty League before, but given today's challenges, will you petition for acceptance into that group? Or perhaps another one?"

CW: "If they'll need me, they'll ask. I've never been much of a joiner." Wonder actually shrugs a little. "I...had my reasons back in 1945, and I have my reasons today as well. I've been honored to work with some very good teams. But I always did better as my own man."

CC: "I know you can't talk about patrols routes or the like, but can you talk a little about what you'll be doing to continue your crime fighting campaign. The vigilante Nightrival has staked out South side as his protected area. Do you have similar plans?"

CW: "You can expect to see a lot of me in the West End," says Wonder, perhaps a bit too easily. "As for what I intend to do, I intend to uphold the values of decency and compassion that were the core of my work back in the 1940s. Whether it's keeping street kids away from crime, or fighting villians on the streets of Hanover, I'm going to do everything I can to teach this generation the lessons of their predecessors. I owe them, and those who've passed before, nothing less."

CC: "One last thing, and it isn't a question so much as a request." Ms. Chase blushes slightly as she says, "I was wondering if you could say your catchphrase from the good old days, if you wouldn't mind."

CW: [Wonder smiles, big, practically a little boy's smile. He takes a deep breath and speaks the words first immortalized on the silver screen by actor Tom Tyler in the 1941 Republic serial The Adventures of Captain Wonder!.]

"Holy Sunshine!" Afterwards, he can't help but grin. "Those were the days, eh? Thank you again for having me on your show, Ms. Chase...I hope to be back here again sometime."

CC: "And thank you, Captain Wonder. This has been a great experience for me, and all of us here at Channel 5."

[Camera fades out, title credits play as Ms. Chase and Captain Wonder talk to one another more.]

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[Camera turns on. The scene is that of a talk show. Two chairs have been set up. One has Captain Wonder in it, looking proud and upright, and the other has Charlotte Chase]

Charlotte Chase: "Good evening, Captain Wonder. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to be here with us tonight."

Captain Wonder: "It's a pleasure, Ms. Chase. I always like to make time for my friends in the press."

CC: "I think the first thing that's on everyone's mind is, why now? Why choose now to come back, after so many years?"

CW: "That's a very good question, Ms. Chase. My generation's end was...ignominious. Between forced retirements, death, and of course the McCarthy hearings, we let ourselves be pushed aside by the tide of history. My own retirement was the right thing to do at the time...but as I got older and other generations came and went, I came to realize that the world still needed the heroes, and the values, of my generation."

CC: "So, do you perhaps feel that today's generation of superheroes are... not representing the community the way they should?"

CW: "Well...I don't want you to think I'm criticizing them. The Freedom League has done some wonderful work. They've all saved the planet, and we all owe them our lives. But there's a certain degree of...moral leadership that's been missing since the Centurion died. There are values beyond just fighting aliens or supervillans."

CC: "I see... let's talk about your relationship with the Centurion a bit then. As some of our viewers might know, you and Centurion were good friends. How did that come about?"

CW: "The Centurion was my hero, the way he was everyone else's back then. He was the first superhero I ever heard of, and the first one I wanted to meet after I got my powers." Wonder's enthusiasm at the memory is almost boyish. "I first met him in 1941, the first time the Liberty League tangled with the Ubersoldaten." Wonder shakes his head, raising his hands. "Raising my fists against the Centurion was the hardest thing I've ever done, but it...well, afterwards, once the bad guys were defeated, it turned into a real friendship. He took me under his cape and taught me...well, many things. About being a superman, and just a man. I am honored to have called him my friend."

CC: "And the world is a sadder place without him, yes. But there is the question of where you were during the Terminus Invasion. Was there some reason you couldn't have intervened on Centurion's behalf?"

CW: "Where were any of us?" The question hits Wonder where it hurts. "I'd been retired for forty years in '93, I wasn't any good to anyone. If you ask me, the problem was that they let the League fall apart back in the 1970s! " He slaps his knee. "I still can't believe the Centurion faced Omega alone. We all let him down that day."

CC: Ms Chase nods her head sadly. "Yes, the Moore administration was hard on superheroes of the day. But that brings us to a hopefully happier topic - that for a seventy year old man, you look fantastic. What's your secret?" She asks the last part playfully.

CW: Wonder calms down a little before the friendly question, reminding himself that this is a friendly audience. "Good genes, Ms. Chase, and good exercise." He smiles. "I've been doing at least two hours of intense exercise every day since I went into the service. I may be a good Southern boy, but I eat a clean diet and I stay away from fried foods. I tried to keep the old Captain Wonder breakfast cereal healthy, but if you've still got any, don't eat it! I once heard a box sold for five hundred dollars at auction."

CC: [Laughs] "I'll be sure not to. Now, I know that many of your old adversaries are still unfortunately active, even in this day in age. You stopped a SHADOW incursion into Riverside Park just last week, and individually, those are among the least of them. Which one would you say still presents the biggest threat not just to you, but to the public in general?"

CW: "I can't believe some of them are still active." Wonder faces the camera. "Basil, if you can hear this, it's been almost fifty years. Sell those patents on that baton, or whatever you're using these days, and buy your own record company!" He pauses a moment, obviously having said something he's been chewing on for a while, then adds, "SHADOW. Medea's pulling the same stunts she pulled sixty years ago, or six hundred, and no one's heard of Superior in twenty years. I'm no conspiracy buff, but I believe Wilhelm Kantor is alive, and still running the show."

CC: "Really? Then you believe his death was faked?"

CW: "He faked it once before, back in the 40s. If a man can do that once, fool all the smart people we had back then, he can do it again." Wonder gives her a pained smile. "I know something about letting the world think you're dead."

CC: "I see what you mean. Now, switching gears again, do you have some kind of plan for rekindling old relationships with the current incarnation of the Freedom League? Daedalus's son is very much like his father, at least insofar as his approach to crime fighting. Do you think you'll get along with them?"

CW: "I didn't know Daedalus that well, but if his son is anything like his father, I'm sure he's a fine man. And much smarter than I am!" Wonder laughs, then sobers just a little. "The truth is, there aren't many of us left from those days. As far as I know, it's just me and John Wade, if you don't count Dr. Atom or Envoy." He shakes his head. "The new League is made up of fine people. I look forward to working with them the way I worked with the Liberty League; as close friends and allies."

CC: "There is a lot of truth to that. What would you say to people that believe your approach to today's crime is somewhat... dated, shall we say? Many villains do not follow the same rules they used to, and many people believe a harder stance is called for - the new, stricter laws concerning metacrime are proof enough of that."

CW: "I say that my way of doing things got us through World War II, and there have never been a gang of thugs and villians worse than the Ubersoldaten. I fought some pretty rough customers in my time, but I've never had to stoop to their level. Doing good, real good, is hard, but if you can't make the hard choices, you don't have any business calling yourself a superhero." He pauses for a moment, collecting his thoughts. "As for a tougher stance against metacrime, I'm all for it. But the important thing is to catch the kids when they're young and steer them the right way. That's what the Centurion did for...a lot of kids, and it changed their lives for the better. We need to see more of that these days."

CC: "A sort of social service for young metahumans, then? I hear that Next-Gen, the premier superhero group featuring members of that age appeared in the battle in Riverside Park. What was your impression of them?"

CW: "If they hadn't been there, I don't know what those SHADOW cretins would have done. Those kids probably helped save a lot of lives." Wonder is quiet for a moment, almost long enough that it looks like he's ready for a new question. "But...I don't know if I agree with it. In fact, I'm sure I don't. Kids need supervision and discipline, and that's not something they're going to get off fighting real villians by themselves. Now, don't think I'm saying teenagers can't be heroes. They certainly can; look at the Arrows and that new Bowman. But if they're going to face that kind of danger every day, they need grownups who can face that danger with them, and to teach them how to do it."

CC: "That's certainly understandable. Just a few more questions. I know that you stayed separate from the Freedom League and Liberty League before, but given today's challenges, will you petition for acceptance into that group? Or perhaps another one?"

CW: "If they'll need me, they'll ask. I've never been much of a joiner." Wonder actually shrugs a little. "I...had my reasons back in 1945, and I have my reasons today as well. I've been honored to work with some very good teams. But I always did better as my own man."

CC: "I know you can't talk about patrols routes or the like, but can you talk a little about what you'll be doing to continue your crime fighting campaign. The vigilante Nightrival has staked out South side as his protected area. Do you have similar plans?"

CW: "You can expect to see a lot of me in the West End," says Wonder, perhaps a bit too easily. "As for what I intend to do, I intend to uphold the values of decency and compassion that were the core of my work back in the 1940s. Whether it's keeping street kids away from crime, or fighting villians on the streets of Hanover, I'm going to do everything I can to teach this generation the lessons of their predecessors. I owe them, and those who've passed before, nothing less."

CC: "One last thing, and it isn't a question so much as a request." Ms. Chase blushes slightly as she says, "I was wondering if you could say your catchphrase from the good old days, if you wouldn't mind."

CW: [Wonder smiles, big, practically a little boy's smile. He takes a deep breath and speaks the words first immortalized on the silver screen by actor Tom Tyler in the 1941 Republic serial The Adventures of Captain Wonder!.]

"Holy Sunshine!" Afterwards, he can't help but grin. "Those were the days, eh? Thank you again for having me on your show, Ms. Chase...I hope to be back here again sometime."

CC: "And thank you, Captain Wonder. This has been a great experience for me, and all of us here at Channel 5."

[Camera fades out, title credits play as Ms. Chase and Captain Wonder talk to one another more.]

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