Ashes to Ashes Shadows to Dust

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Virgil pauses and looks at the group: “No jail cell would have held him and he would never been brought to Justice. We were Justice for those kids he slaughtered in the jail cell and all the people he has been slaughtering for how long now?”

Virgil walks over to a dumpster and pushes it away. Then puts his fingers through the asphalt to start peeling it up.

The asphalt breaks apart in Virgils hands as he peels it up, but it’s coming up just fine for him in chunks

“Bullshit” a gravely voice rasps out of a speaker (and who programs a speaker with a gravely voice? Something must be broken.) “That wasn’t justice. That was vengeance, revenge and murder. (looking at Diane as well) Neither of you even made an ATTEMPT to take him in alive. Ya just came in and started beating him like Rodney Kings red-headed step child. Yeah he might have escaped. They ALL might escape. Maybe we should just shoot everyone who might escape and save the courts the trouble? Guess what. We don’t get to make that call. We have LAWS in the country. We’re just civilians who get an blind eye from the local cops. You want to play that game you might as well call yourself Vengeance, not Vigilance.”

“The cops need to know that their Sunday night shadow killer is dead. We need to know who he was, where he worked and who hired him. With luck we can find a way to tie this on Iron John.”

[Looks back at Virgil] “The cops already don’t like you but don’t know me. Nobody is going to cry over his death. All of you scram. I’ll handle the cops. This will get written up as self defense. If we’re lucky the cops will be lazy and any witnesses quiet. Quit digging in the dirt like a dog burying a favorite bone. Take my gun and get away from here before a beat cop drives by.”

[broadcast on general police frequency and party radio signal]
“Domestic disturbance on Wisteria Lane between 7th and 8th street. Capes involved. Civilian down and needs ambulance.”

[Throws pistol to Diane: back to audio only] “I said SCRAM!”

Hazel looks at Virgil incredulously, “Viliance,” she begins using his super-hero name. “Virgil, what we know is that this man has committed crimes – heinous, terrible atrocities. You’re absolutely right that he deserves justice. Do we know that a jail cell would contain him? We don’t think so. That’s a slippery slope of rationalization. What we don’t know…what we will NEVER know…is the truth. And I don’t know how long it will take me to get over that. I’m not about to play the Devil’s Advocate. Here’s a few scenarios that remind me that our Century Station justice system is better equipped to handle than a couple of well-intentioned super-hero legionnaires:”

Hazel rattles off the following scenarios:

“What if he was crazy – bat-shit insane – we have our hunches and suspicions but we’re not psychologists and we’re not equipped to deal with that.”

“What if he was possessed? What if he was just a host or a vessel or a tool of something else? In that unique case he’d actually be considered a ‘victim’.”

“What if he was being blackmailed?”

“What if…y’know what? It doesn’t matter now. What’s done is done. The infomaniac in me thirsts for knowledge – hungers to know, the research, to dig out the truth and to expose it. I want to know – even if it’s as mundane as he was just a psychopathic, sociopathic, homicidal, sadistic murderous super-villain…with no motives. I just can’t abide the rationalization that lets us completely disregard the proper channels of judgement, jurisdiction, and execution. That’s the system I signed on to uphold and support. That’s the system I believe in. When we say, “no jail cell would have held him,” it’s not much further to say, “he’d have never been brought to justice.” If we say, “we were Justice for all the people he has slaughtered and all the crimes he has never answered for” then what’s stopping us from saying, “he got what he deserved,”? The legal system is inadequate to punish such a criminal! No prison would hold him! The families of the victims want him dead – not incarcerated! The legal system is ineffective! The police are incapable of dealing with super-villians!"

Hazel calms down visibly. “Virgil…Diane…Dead Janitor Guy…that is the Vigilante Ethos. This, tonight, was Vigilante Justice and I will rationalize it by calling it…an accident.”

The diminutive girl pauses thoughtfully. “It’s the villains place to allow their baser desires and instincts to run free, to reign supreme, and to relinquish control – to take what they want and the authorities and consequences be-damned.” She purses her lips. “We’re better than this.”

Virgil pauses for a moment to listen to Alex and kind of ignores everything else after Alex calls in the police. Slowly rolls the dumpster back into place. Dead pan face looks at Hazel, then Alex, then Diane, and walks away.

“Diane looks over to Hazel with a caring concerned look and says “Hazel, I hear ya girl…Shadow man had every opportunity to surrender but he chose not too. We couldn’t let up, he didn’t leave us a choice. None of us wanted to kill him, not even me. I had plenty of good reasons too…. I’m content with the current situation. ya, it’s not pretty but i’m not going to worry about this piece of shits rights!
I’m quickly learning, this type of work operates in the zone between black and white. It may not have gone down the way we hoped it would but oh well. Another scum bag off the street. Now lets go get some shoes!”

“Shoes! Ahhhh! Diane that will take our minds off this situation temporarily but we really need to think of the backlash. It’s unfortunate how it went down but we killed a henchman of Iron Mike in broad daylight just a few blocks from his purported headquarters. With all the commotion in the alley it’s safe to say that there will be a bunch of witnesses and the Tomorrow Legion isn’t exactly discreet. As for the Shadow Man, I think he was just a pawn – albeit a powerful one – but a tool nonetheless for forces that are much greater than him. It’s people like Iron Mike and the Ninja who really worry me. They are smart enough to avoid getting caught and powerful enough to avoid getting caught even when they get caught. Hmm…does that make sense?”

Hazel purses her lips thoughtfully. "I guess what frustrates me the most is that no matter how hard I try to make the right…the principled decisions…sometimes it feels nigh impossible to do the “right” thing. The shadow man is off the streets and we made Century Station the slightest bit safer. I can sleep at night knowing our hearts are in the right place even if our execution is a little sloppy…or bloody. Pardon the pun."

The diminutive girl smiles at Diane and winks, “good thing I’m still invisible. I seem to have a knack for keeping my face out of the press. C’mon! Let’s get back to TTLHQ and see how much pizza and beer we can stuff into the dead janitor.”

Ashes to Ashes Shadows to Dust

The Tomorrow Legion Tokobauzsos Witchcraft