[May 29, 2021]
“So you didn’t order your guardsmen to attack the shoreline?” I stared at the blond Japanese woman before me. My gaze was hard, and I was less then happy.
My protective girls stood beside me. Kori to my right, and Kara to my left. Candice stood to the side, at ease while her Falcon’s were staring at our new friends.
The young face of Doctor Akagi stared back at me. Her face defiant, despite her eyes darting around.
She took a few moments before they focused on me again.
“That is correct. I did order Marcus to get local help. We are trying to set up a new company, and needed cheap labor. It seems Marcus was not honest, and I didn’t investigate too hard.”
I stared at the woman. She was blond, but it was from a bottle. Unlike Kara’s natural hair. Her dark eyes stared into mine.
“I believe she is speaks the truth.” Kori chimed in as she looked over the assembled scientists.
Two hundred people in lab coats were sitting on the floor. Many were crying.
Invasion of sovereign land. Kidnapped locals. Dead locals.
There was only one fate they could foresee.
I stared at the far corner of the warehouse, where Fenris oversaw with his prisoners.
There was a lot less tears there. They were now resigned. Mercenaries that had, as the good Doctor said, acted on their own to keep money in pocket.
“What are you doing here anyways?” I needed a distraction.
The ships were already full of the freed people, and on its way back to the mainland.
The only good out of this situation was that they were well fed, though far from well adjusted.
The labor had been easy. Though the act of kidnapping was not.
Worry for their safety. Their family.
Or worse... seeing a loved one die.
“We have found a new way to fabricate titanium. We needed help with ore identification, hence the ‘hired’ help. The system we have right now cannot replace human abilities.”
I stared at the woman. I could feel the stress rise from my toes to my head.
I wanted them. Yet they were responsible for horrors upon my nation.
Her eyes were clear, but I knew enough of her kind. Soft words, yet a mind sharp enough to rival any knife.
“My new company, Titanium Foundries, had sourced new buyers. We have already fulfilled a third of the orders.” Doctor Akagi sighed as she closed her eyes.
“How much does AIM pay for hostages?” If they were important, I could make a million or two.
That wasn’t a lot for the island, but every dollar helped.
“Quite poorly. I am excommunicated as I had left them behind. We had a surprise inspection by the Avengers a few months ago.” Akagi looked up at me. Her mouth curved into a smirk.
I stared at her. She was worthless then. AIM did not like traitors, and hated rivals. Modak would send a clean up crew as soon as he knew about them.
I found a grin forming. Doctor Akagi began to frown in return.
“I am in dire need of specialists, and you need more then mercenaries. Not to mention when AIM finds out that you left them.” I stared at the woman.
Her eyes narrowed, but she didn’t say anything. She chewed on her lower lip as she took a look at her colleagues.
Some looked up. They held a mix of emotions. Hope. Resignation. Anger. Sorrow. Tears.
“The pay is shit, but I am sure that in a few years you will be free to go.” I finished and waited.
Service to the greater good for crimes rendered. It was a common sentence for those who did break the laws of Val Verde. A accepted fate as they scaled from civil labor, to the extreme.
It was a rare sentence. Death by medical service. Your life contributing to the future.
The previous Supreme Leader held the highest count of such sentences. Much of that went to testing on behalf of Cobra's fake pharmaceuticals.
I stared at the mercenaries, and my gaze hardened. If a crime was severe enough, death was also not out of the question.
Why waste resources on those who only desired to ruin the world they lived in?
They had killed my people, and that rage had not abated.
“Supreme Leader.” Kara grabbed onto my shoulder.
It was enough to keep me from moving. I turned over to look at her.
She was uneasy. For the first time since she started wearing that revealing bikini, she couldn’t meet my eyes.
“Keep on eye on them.” I told Kori and the woman nodded. She began to ask the fake blond a series of question that involved titanium.
I walked away, and Kara followed.
“What is it, Kara?” I stopped when we were far enough, and turned to the young woman.
She was roughly sixteen, or so she had said. Her calculations had my head spinning, and I assumed she was right.
“Please don’t kill them.” Kara whispered as she looked down at her simple fatigues. They were the standard issue uniform for soldiers.
In the short time we had been together she had already looked into my past. My personality.
She most likely knew me better then I did.
I didn’t say anything. My feelings were running rampant. I wanted to yell. To scream.
I was also once the leader of the Jade Falcons. I knew it was better to listen, then to speak at times. This was one of those times.
“Why should I spare them? Those people had killed innocent people. Kidnapped the young, and the defenseless. Then placed them into slave labor.”
She whispered an answer, but I didn’t hear it.
“I am sorry Kara. Can you repeat that? I couldn’t hear you.”
“They can’t all be guilty.” She sounded almost ashamed as she looked into my eyes. Her face defiant.
I stared at her then.
Blue eyes as hard as sapphires. A wide stance willing to shoulder my anger.
I laughed. It was a mirthful laugh, and it shook my body as I let loose.
My laughter echoed in the warehouse. Filled with machines, broken remains of labor robots converted into combat machines.
Kara’s brow furrowed as she became confused.
I wiped at my eyes. The mirth wouldn't stop.
I saw her now. Kara Zor-El.
The woman she would one day grow into. A defender of justice, and a paragon of humanity itself. Supergirl. Superwoman. Powergirl.
They were all her, and she was so much more.
“Jade Falcons! Gather our new scientists. They are to serve our five years of cheap labor, to return karma for the greater good.”
Candice saluted, and her Falcons began to move. There was a lot of things here, and we needed to see what we could do.
Many scientist's broke down again. Fear replaced by sudden joy. They were going to see tomorrow!
Titanium Foundries was now Val Verde’s. We were a desperate country in need a new source of trade.
With the power of their minds, I knew we would enter a new age of prosperity that the island had never known.
“Iron Wolves! Please ensure that our bloody guests are well treated in jail. They will all live to see another day.”
The depressed soldiers perked up. Jail was a lot better then genocide.
The Iron Wolves saluted and buried their feelings. Some felt disgust for my lack of revenge. For most there was an odd peace of doing something that transcended simple desires.
The young woman turned towards me.
“Thank you for being a voice of reason.” I stared at the dark ceiling. I was starting to feel good about my choice to spare them.
Karma was more then an eye for an eye. It was about doing what was best, regardless of personal feelings.
Kara had risked her life to ensure Val Verde’s heroes would remain in Second Service. It was only fair that she could demand to spare others.
My good mood only brightened as I realized that we could actually improve on Doom’s design for our power armor. He had suggested a aluminum and steel alloy.
We now had titanium.
I raised my hands, and ruffled her hair.
The blond scowled, and I chuckled at her cute reactions.
A hero she may be, but I also knew that she was a young woman.
A young woman who was far away from her home, family, and friends.
I placed an arm around her shoulder and gave her a hug.
“You will always have a home in Val Verde. No matter how small the world becomes, this truth will not change so long as we are still here.”
I gave her a kiss on the top of her head. Kori seemed to love that soft affection, and I had seen Kara stare before blushing and turning away.
Kara blushed, and turned away.
She didn’t fold me in half, and I figured that was good enough.
Chapter 20: AIM for the Greater Good