Monday, May 29, 2000, 10 am. New London City Hall
"We're here, sir."
The sound of the driver's voice brings Jumping Jack Flash out of his deep thoughts. Much is on his mind today, as today is the day he presents himself officially to the City of New London. A 10 AM meeting with the mayor and the others involved with metahuman crime in this city, followed by a short press conference. He had been going over his speech when the driver had spoken.
Jumping Jack Flash stepped out of the car. It was by a side entrance to City Hall, in hopes of preventing a mob of reporters from swarming over Jumping Jack Flash the second he arrived. So far it had succeeded.
The driver led him through the catacombs of service elevators and entrances to the desk of the mayor's secretary.
"Sorry we couldn't give you the grand tour," remarks the driver. "but otherwise it would have taken you hours just to get in the place."
The secretary looks up at Jumping Jack Flash. "The others are waiting in meeting room A, just down the hall and to your left. The mayor will be there shortly."
As Jumping Jack Flash proceeds towards the meeting room, he starts to mentally review the files of the people that should be within. As he opens the door and the faces of the people within enter his line of sight, their files contents spring into his mind.
The first person he sees is seated near the head of the table, on the side closest to Jumping Jack Flash. A large bald black man, nearly seven feet in height, built like a Sherman Tank, wearing a police officer's uniform.
Lt. Mordecai Hammer, been with the force over 15 years, the only known metahuman on the police force. Gained his powers via an industrial accident during a case three years ago. Married with 2 kids, boy and girl, 12 and 14 years old respectively. Powers include super strength and heightened resistence to damage. Bullets bounce off him and has been seen lifting a car easily, remembers Jumping Jack Flash.
The next person he sees is seated on the other side of the table, across from Hammer, an older man, late 40's, early 50's. Rugged face and eyes that show that he has seen a lot in his life, not much of it good.
Police Chief Colin James. Been with the force over 25 years, known as a by-the-book sort of cop. Honest beyond reproach. Not a huge fan of metahumans but sees them as necessary to keep his police force competitive with the criminal element.
To the left of Hammer sits a petite woman with short black hair, dressed rather casual for a meeting of this magnitude (jeans and a dress shirt).
JJF smirks to himself as he recognizes the hotheaded woman for the third time. Fortunantly, his full face mask hides his features.
Winona Horowitz. Psychologist for the Special Crimes Unit and any metahumans on staff. Which technically makes her my shrink (mental grimace). Unconventional but one of the few experts in metahuman psychology, especially considering her age (28 years old). Father is Nobel-Prize physicist Joshua Horowitz, mother was killed five years ago by costumed criminal known as the Terror. File somewhat hazy about what happened to the Terror.
The final person in the room is a man in his thirties, goatee, wearing a trenchcoat and a well wore shirt and tie. A cigarette is in his hand, not his first as testified by the full ashtray in front of him.
Lt. Rico Taglianetti. Head of the Special Crimes Unit. A cop known for results, if not proper procedure. Made enemies of several crime familes during a term of service in Vancouver. Parents were killed during metahuman battle 20 years ago. Outspoken advocate of registration/regulation of metahumans. An ironic side note: His first time in New London his partner was Hammer, up until the accident that transformed Hammer. They are apparently still quite close.
As Jumping Jack Flash enters the room, he can hear Taglianetti speaking.
"So have you heard the one about how many Silver Avengers it takes to change a lightbulb?"
Then silence ensues and all eyes fall on him and then Taglianetti.
The silence is broken by the slight buzz and whirr of components in his suit as Jumping Jack Flash scans the faces in the room. His voice is a deep baritone with an unnatural cast to it--computer enhancement, adding a strange unsettling vibrato.
"Just one, but he needs the support of two Iron Guard and six Assault Agents, and the permission of local law enforcement."
He pauses for a moment, "Of course my favorite answer has always been 'Just two, but that sort of fraternization between agents is not permitted.'"
Suddenly, laughter can be heard. It is coming from Winona Horowitz. Colin James gives her an angry glare and she quiets down to a low chuckle. Somehow JJF gets the feeling that she wasn't laughing at the joke. What exactly she was laughing at is still a mystery to him.
JJF turns his mirrored face mask towards Lt. Taglianetti, even though is facial features are not visible, the police lieutenant can almost fell the eyes boring down on him. He is complete devoid of movement for a long five count, before moving to the empty chair. Hopefully the awkward situation has been slightly diffused he thinks before taking a seat.
During the stare down, Taglianetti sat rather calmly, equally devoid of movement.
"Good morning, Officers, I am Jumping Jack Flash, Silver Avenger, adjunct representative of PRIMUS, United States of America."
Colin James is the first to speak. "Good morning Jumping Jack Flash. I am Police Chief Colin James of the NLPD." He reaches over and shakes JJF's hand. "Let me first of all apologize for the inappropriate behavior of one of my officers and a staff member (he hurls another glare towards Winona) linked to our department. Secondly, let me welcome you to New London and I look forward to a long and fruitful relationship between the NLPD and PRIMUS. Let me introduce the others at the table."
"Lt. Mordecai Hammer, our sole metahuman officer."
Hammer reaches across the table to shake JJF's hand. The grip is familiar to him, similiar to the one JJF uses: the grip used when you have superhuman strength but don't want to crush everyone's hand when you shake it.
Hammer smiles and says, "I look forward to the help and perhaps some tactical advice. I've been learning how to fight metahumans as I go along, so I'm sure you could suggest some better techniques." His voice is deep and friendly.
"I would enjoy sharing notes and experiences with you. I'm sure we could both benefit from the experience." JJF can sense a certian kinship between the two men, outwardly they share a number of similarities.
"Lt Rico Taglianetti, head of our Special Crimes Unit."
Taglianetti simply waves a hand in response.
"And finally, Ms. Winona Horowitz, our psychologist for the Special Crime Unit and metahumans." There was a slight chill to that introduction.
"Thanks Colin," she replies, with a tone of voice that reeks of forced niceness, and then turns to JJF. She shakes his hand and says to him in a much more relaxed and natural tone. "I'm sure it will be a gas working with you."
"It always is."
James then turns to JJF. "If you have any questions or concerns before the meeting starts, feel free to ask. As I understand, you just got in the city, so I'm sure you need to get a little up to speed on the situation in New London."
"Thank you, I had prepared a speech to give, but perhaps it should wait until a more politically interested group has assembled. I have been in New London for a couple of days now, and I have been briefed about the general layout of buroughs and neighborhoods, but I still lack the innate knowledge of whom has turf where, and of interactions on the underworld side of things. Perhaps if there is time later, I could meet with say, Lt Hammer? For about an hour? I know PRIMUS intelligence is usually accurate, but being this far from home it means that I have a lot of general information, and very little in the way of specific or useful. I would appreciate anything that the team has to offer."
JJF's metallically enhanced voice adds a hollow sound that decouples his normally warm baritone. A slight tip of the head is all the expression his visor will allow. The more astute (perhaps Winona?) will sense a slight bit of discomfort in JJF not being able to express emotions easily through the suit.
James replies "I think that would be an excellent idea, as Lt. Hammer has many years experience in New London on the street and metahuman level. I'm sure he can find the time to accomadate you."
"Of course" replies Hammer warmly.
The door then opens and a woman enters the room. Smartly dressed, looks to be in her early forties. She enters the room with the confidence of someone who knows her job well. She is recognized instantly by JJF as Mayor Cheslie Lancaster. She sits down at the head of the table.
"Is everyone here? Good. First of all, I would like to welcome our esteemed guest to New London, Jumping Jack Flash." She reaches over and shakes JJF's hand. She sounds as though she has been run ragged all morning but she is still able to give a genuine feeling of warmth to the greeting.
"I assume that you have been introduced to the others?" A nod from James. "I am Cheslie Lancaster, the Mayor of New London. The purpose of today's meeting is to first of all, get everyone here properly introduced to each other. Secondly, I hope to bring Jumping Jack Flash up to speed as to where our police department is at as far as dealing with metahuman crime. And thirdly, perhaps get some initial feedback as to how we can improve the current situation. Any questions?"
"I have a few questions, but perhaps they should wait until I hear what information you think I need to have first. PRIMUS is pleased with the support we are receiving in New London, and look forward to making this city the model of all the future Canadian-American joint projects. The efforts and methodologies that we put in place here will vastly benefit the organizations that crop up in the future based upon the inputs that we the New London Police Force and PRIMUS together can make and offer."
Jumping Jack Flash, takes a seat and waits for the Mayor to finish her speech.
Mayor Lancaster begins "To start with, let's go over the current measures we have in place. First of all, at a formal level, we have the Special Crimes Unit, headed by Lt. Taglianetti. Perhaps he would wish to give us an update?"
Taglianetti, who up to this point had a look of poorly concealed boredom, leans back in his chair. "I would be happy to enlighten our visitor and perhaps some of the others sitting here today." JJF can feel a wave of tension flood the room when this statement is made. Taglianetti turns to JJF. "The Special Crimes Unit or SCU, has a current operational strength of roughly 20 officers. We've been in existence for about a year now. Among my chief concerns is the lack of firepower" JJF notices Winona rolling her eyes at this remark "and the lack of support in the forensics area. I have wanted a forensics unit specializing in metahuman crime and its investigation since the start, but budget constraints and interdepartamental difficulties have made this impossible." Both the mayor and Chief James seem tense after that comment. "In short, I feel that we are essentially being treated as an extension of SWAT. We're being sent to fight people who are bulletproof with no more than assault rifles. It just ain't working."
"Thank you for your usual candid comments Lieutenant," the Mayor inserts.
"The second part of our metahuman crime unit is more informal. It consists of Lt. Hammer, who is our only metahuman on the force. His help is greatly appreciated. I hope that we can attract other metahumans as recruits for police training and that you and PRIMUS can help us with a training program for these people."
"The third part of our efforts to reduce metahuman crime is in the legal field. We have in place the Metahuman Vigilante by-law. This by-law is set up to discourage the existence of metahumans that take the law into their own hands. This city faced difficulties in the past with that, and I have no intention of repeating that mistake."
"Anything else you wish to know or have us elaborate on, Jumping Jack Flash?" the Mayor asks.
"I would have to ask at this point, why is Lt. Hammer only an informal part of the SCU? If the SCU feels that more firepower is needed, and Lt. Hammer has the firepower, make it official. You will find that having an official group of Meta's, sanctioned with police powers will offer up a few benefits that perhaps, not being used to a high level of Meta- interaction, your SCU has not anticipated. First, it will offer a focus for public opinion and a point from which to wave the banner of good publicity. Second, be offering an avenue of public acceptance, you will have fewer vigilantes to deal with in the long run. I know from experience, that most, if given the choice to work with the Law, rather than against the law, they will take that chance.
"Lt. Taglianetti, would you be amenable to perhaps sitting down with me and working out some training sessions with your men? We could run a couple of scenarios and figure out what works and what does not, given what your team has to work with, fire power wise. Perhaps Lt. Hammer would agree to join? I would be willing to help put together a series of 'plays' that could be a big help in given scenarios similar to playbooks a football team might use. I suspect that with a thurough knowledge of tactics under their belts, your team will be much more effective the next time they have to deal with super powered foes. What do you say, Lieutenants, are you up for the challenge?"
JJF watches for the reactions of the others. Hammer and Winona listen attenively to what is being said. JJF notices a lighting up of Hammer's eyes at the mention of football. Taglianetti continues his look of boredom, but he does seem to be paying attention, somehow.
Chief James sits with a grave look on his face the whole time. And the Mayor? JJF can see the wheels turning in her head, calculating possibilities and the effectiveness of plans.
Finally, Taglianetti speaks. "I think the idea of team tactics and the participation of Lt. Hammer in these exercises is a pretty damn good one. I'll work out a schedule with you at soon as possible, Jumping Jack Flash."
"I agree." Hammer adds.
JJF stiffly nods his head, "Noted, and accepted."
"As do I," the mayor says, making it official. "Now what is everyone's feelings the comment about our recruitment of metahumans?"
James speaks almost immediately. "Lt. Hammer was to be the start of our so-called meta-division, which is to be separate from the Special Crimes Unit. Of course, with only one member we could hardly call it a division. We have been attempting to recruit metas via the police academy, but success has been (pause) limited."
"I prefer to keep the SCU separate from the Metas." Tag adds. "I must also say that I have never had a problem with getting cooperation from Lt. Hammer when the SCU has needed it."
"Why has there been no attempts to recruit metas from the public?" asks the mayor. JJF gets the feeling that this is a question that she has wanted to ask for some time, but never had the proper opportunity. Until now.
James answers quickly "For the safety of the citizens of this city, I would strongly reccomend that only those that have gone through proper police training and screening be allowed into the meta-division. And I also reccomend that we continue to require that such metas maintain a public identity. Secret identities would only undermine public confidence and reduce the accountability of this force." The look in his eyes tells all the rest of his statement 'And I'm will not be a part of a force that doesn't follow this'.
Taglianetti nods agreement.
Hammer speaks in even, measured tones "The public ID issue is the greatest barrier, in my experience, to many of these people joining the force. But I must also agree with Chief James' views on the matter."
The Mayor looks over to JJF. "Well, Jumping Jack Flash. How does PRIMUS handle these issues?"
JJF turns his face mask to address the Mayor straight on, he pauses for a measured count.
"I would think it obvious what PRIMUS' stance on this is. Do you feel that my keeping my identity masked behind this suit undermines and detracts from my abilities as a Silver Avenger? While certianly, judging from the recent history, most Silver Avengers have been well known to the public, there are many good reasons for keeping the identity a secret. However, personaly, I am well know to my immediate supervisors. I feel that public knowledge and organizational knowledge are two disparate items. If we had a Meta show up offering services, and said Meta agreed to take some basic police training, in exchange for minimal police powers, that should be sufficient as both Lt Hammer and myself would be involved in the formation of, and activities for the team. As well, if they would agree to posting their real identity with the Chief and Mayor, and perhaps Lt Hammer or myself, that should be enough revelation. No need for Joe and Jane Public to know that the Scarlet Devil is really none other than Franklin Pertween, is there? It can be dangerous to have all the Meta's on a team have their identity a household name. For even with limited public knowledge, undercover work becomes very difficult. If possible at all. And Ms. Mayor, given the recent state of the criminals in this city, having an enigmatic force on your side can be a very powerful tool. Trust like justice does not have to see, blindness works both ways."
The clipped, mechanical tones of Jumping Jack Flash's speech belie the passion that he was actually feeling about the issue. JJF struggles internally with the limitations the suit causes in dealing with people, escpecailly when he is trying to relate to them and sway a decision from them.
"I would ask you to allow me to recruit a few Metas. I will run their info through the PRIMUS databases--thouroughly check them out. You can create a short class--say 40 to 50 hours--as a sort of introduction to having Police powers, limited of course. If they check out, we can put them on a patrol, or a specific beat while they complete a probationary period. I think this would have very little risk to the public of New London, and stands to have a great deal of benefit to the Police department and other law enforcement.
JJF looks over his audience. On the faces of Tagianetti and James, the same looks of disapproval. On the faces of Hammer and Horowitz, he's won them over. Now on to the most important face of all: Chelsie Lancaster.
The mayor looks long and hard at JJF. He almost senses that, despite his mechanical voice, she picked up on the passion he feels for this issue. He would hate to face her in a court of law. The room is silent for a good minute.
At last she speaks. "I approve of your plan, Jumping Jack Flash. You and Lt. Hammer should get together and get to work on that immediately. I, as the mayor, of course get final approval over the candidates, but from what I know of Lt. Hammer and what I sense from yourself, I shouldn't be vetoing any candidates." JJF notices that James tensed as she made the announcement. Perhaps the city might have a new police chief unless the mayor can do some serious convincing.
Lancaster continues. "I have a few suggestions to make. First of all, I would like to see at least a preliminary evaluation of each candidate by Winona Horowitz. The city has two leading metahuman psychologists and she is one of them. The second suggestion involves the other one."
At this mention all eyes snap to the mayor, Hammer's in surprise and interest, Taglianetti and James' in shock, and Winona, Winona looks like the mayor just pulled off amask and revealed that she was Adolf Hitler in disguise.
Oblivious to this or just plain old ignoring it, the mayor continues. "I suggest that you and Hammer contact Dr. John Michael Faustus. Not only is he a leader in metahuman psychology, he is also the former leader of several metahuman teams, including the now…defunct Justice Crusaders. He knows many of the metas operating across North America on a personal basis and his assistance would be invaluable. He was also a metahuman hero himself, and may be able to provide tactical advice."
The mayor looks up at the clock. "It is now 11:20. Perhaps Lt. Hammer could give our guest a quick tour of the place and we will meet back out front for the press conference later. I will see you gentlemen in a little while."
Taglianetti and James leave the room quickly, obviously upset at the meeting's results. Winona sits muttering to herself "Fucking Faustus. We're doomed. Doomed I say."
Hammer stands and walks over to JJF. "Why don't we go to my office and I can give you a quick rundown on the crime situation here?"
JJF looks around Lt. Hammer's office once more in disbelief. He had not expected to find such a vast variety of books in this office. The works of Plato beside a textbook on Quantum physics. The Canterbury Tales beside a history of the Civil War. No wonder Hammer is more articulate than most Silver Avengers.
"An excellent library, I can see that we will get along splendidly."
"Thank you. I try to keep my mind as active as my body. I've found that you need both to survive."
Hammer hands JJF a short typed list of information.
"That's the short version of New London crime. Now, do you have any thing to ask me before we head off?"
JJF scans the data, flipping up a cover on his right guantlet to reveal a small slot. The paper slides through accompanied by a flickering green light next to the slot.
"I have entered this information into my local computer hook up." He offers for explanation.
Hammer raises an eyebrow, obviously impressed.
"A few items: First what is the deal with Faustus? The others seemed greatly disturbed by his being involved. Second, there is currently a situation brewing that you need to be informed about. PRIMUS has more than just Jumping Jack Flash in the city of New London. Before I give you anything more on this situation, I need your commitment to secrecy and acknowledgement that this information goes no further. It is very important that you are the only one who knows of this. What say you?"
Hammer sits in thought, obviously considering the gravity of what was just said. "The first question is the easy one to answer" he begins. "Dr. Faustus was the leader of the Justice Crusaders, a team of metas that were in New London in 1990. Later that same year, all but two of them were killed in battle with the Wrecking Crew." JJF reviews what he knows about the Wrecking Crew. A team of six villians with a collective reputation matching that of Terror Inc. or Eurostar. Currently frozen in suspended animation in the Deep Freeze, a PRIMUS facility in the U.S. The leader, Lucifer, seemed to have an unknown vendetta against New London and Dr. Faustus.
Hammer continues. "This incident has resulted in a stigma being placed on Faustus, a reputation for poor leadership or just plain being a magnet for disaster. To the point where even he seems to believe it. The city has made some half-hearted effort in the past to get him to come out of retirement, but he rebuked them everytime. I have met him in several formal occasions and found him to be quite knowledgeable and polite. The other problem some may have with him is his links to the Faustus crime family that I mentioned in my crime information. He is in fact, the heir apparent to the empire. At least he would be if he hadn't rejected his family and came to Canada to fight crime."
"Ah, this explains their actions and attitudes, but perhaps we can turn this to an asset? Please continue Lieutenant Hammer."
"He currently runs JMF Enterprises, a company that some of his friends in the public crime-fighting community helped start up for him. It specializes in electronics and does reasonably well. Personally, I think we should at least try to get him involved in the recruitment campaign as an advisor, if not an active participant."
"As for your second item, I will cooperate in any way that does not jeopardize any innocents or adversely affect any of our operations here. But I suspect that you expected that answer" A smile crosses his lips briefly.
JJF nods in agreement, he knew that Lt Hammer would feel this way.
"But I have one question of my own. Why me, why not bring this to the mayor or Chief James?"
"Lieutenant, you and I; we are cut from the same cloth. Metas living in a normal world. We face the same situations on a daily basis. Like holding back full strength to avoid crushing a hand or utensil. A different level of respect for firepower--one based upon not what it can do to us, but how it will effect those around us. We've both come to the realization that a public figurehead makes us also become a target. An epicenter for violent situations. The Chief and Mayor, while both being good people, would have a difficult time understanding some of the methods you and I might employ. The bottom line is, Lt Hammer, I feel that I can trust you as an equal and perhaps someday a friend, while there is mutual respect for Chief James or the Mayor, do to the fact that I am Meta, I know that that level of trust, such as it is, can never be reached with them. Of course with Taglianetti the situation is doubly cursed, as I detected a hint of jealousy as well."
JJF shrugs his mechanical shoulders, a strange gesture that doesn't come off as cleanly due to the servos and articulation of joints.
"As well, you are in a unique postion to accept an opportunity that might ensure a critical mission some success. One unfortunantly, I can't help. What I must ask you to do will greatly reduce the chance of having people get hurt, yet at the same time increase the chances of a crime occurring. PRIMUS has deemed it necessary for the security of both the United States and Canada that a certian mission succeed, and at all costs. I want your help in reducing those costs. I'm not rambling on here Lt Hammer, I need to be certian that you understand the ramifications, and you are prepared to deal with what might happen. Do I still have your agreement on this?"
"Of course." Hammer answers "And I hope to prove worthy of your trust in this matter."
"Thank you, here's the basic background…"
JJF briefs Hammer, without mentioning any names, about the mole in Merc Inc, and the need for removing of personel from the precint on wednesday.
"…since the officer in charge of evidence is related to the Chief, perhaps he can be specifically requested by you personally to help with the diversion scene that will be played out."
Hammer nods agreement. "I'll see what I can do. There is also another thing that occurred to me. There is a chance that I might come across this other agent in the course of my police duties, especially considering the large amounts of metas that Mercs INc. uses. Is there some way for your agent to identify himself to me so that I might be able to provide some covert aid to him if the situation warrants it?"
"You might actually recognize him, a couple of years ago, he was quite well known--the Georgia Giant's Cyberball player Jacomo Jones? He already knows who you are and will recognize you, and other members of the Police force."
Hammer nodded "Yes, I remember him. He had a very promising career and then things just seemed to go wrong on the field. Very dedicated and intelligent as a player, I hope he brings that to his work for PRIMUS."
There is a knock on Hammer's door. Winona poked her head inside the office. "If you two are done recruiting the Champions to the NLPD, the press conference is ready to start and well, we thought we could just use a cardboard cutout of JJF here, but since we got the real one here…"
Hammer turned to JJF, stroking his goatee "Hmmm the Champions…" A broad smile came across his face. "Well shall we meet the press?"
The three of them made their way to the front steps of City Hall where the press conference is to be held. As JJF emerges from the building, a blinding array of flashbulbs go off as the New London media get the first pictures of Jumping Jack Flash. The mayor is at a podium on one side, nearby are Chief James and Taglianetti. Everyone takes their proper places. Murmurs go through the press corps as JJF advanced his way to the others. Cameras continue to go off, making JJF grateful for the tinting in his helmet. The crowd is quite large, made up not only of the press, but a large number of curious onlookers. Not every day that a Silver Avenger comes to New London. The police presence is equally large, especially considering all the enemies PRIMUS itself has.
The mayor nods to JJF when he reaches his palce beside the podium and turns towards the crowd to speak.
"Good afternoon, everyone. I'm glad that we have such a large turnout. As I'm sure everyone is well aware, metahuman crime has been on the rise, not only in New London but all across Canada. The NLPD has always made the best efforts to combat this rise. That is why the Special Crimes Unit was founded. That is why Lt. Hammer is such an active part of our city police department. And when the Minister of Justice sent out a request six months ago for cities to participate in a project with PRIMUS to help create their own force to fight metahuman crime I campaigned long and hard for New London to be the first city involved."
"And today, these efforts have come to fruition as the first steps have been made towards a long and prosperous relationship with PRIMUS. May I introduce you to Jumping Jack Flash."
The mayor turns and begins to clap as does the audience. The cue for JJF to give his speech. He makes his way to the podium.
JJF steps up to the podium and lets the crowd clap for a few more seconds before holding up a hand to have them quiet down. He adjusts the microphone so that it picks up the speaker mounted in the chest of his suit, then begins his speech.
"Citizens of New London, on behalf of PRIMUS and CSIS, I thank you for your support and encouragement. As a Silver Avenger it is both my privledge and honor to be here today as a representative and symbol of what the future of law enforcement will be like in New London, and throughout Canada. The SCU team, Lt. Hammer and I look forward to the close interaction of PRIMUS with the New London Police Department. Our immediate goal is to make this city, our city. That is, we will take ownership, along with you, the citizens, of New London personally. The city will become like our child, whatever it is that needs to be done, will be done. Just as you or I would sacrifice our time, our finances, our opportunities to make our children's lives more fulfilling, I promise to you, Citizens of New London, that as your Silver Avenger, Jumping Jack Flash is committed to create and nurture the best and brightest aspects of what makes our city a Home. If there is a wrong to be righted and I am there, I will do whatever it takes to correct that wrong.
"But just as in raising a child, I can not do this alone. First I need the support of the public, and thanks to Mayor Lancaster, I know I can count on all of you. Second, we need a good support organization, and thanks to the efforts of Lt. Taglianetti and the Special Crimes Unit, the city and I both have that organization. And third, because sometimes even a Silver Avenger needs a hand, we need an official team of heros that New London can call on in times of need. Thanks to Lt. Hammer, we have an excellent start at that team in him. As well, I shall be joining that team, adding the experiences tactical knowledge gained from my years with PRIMUS. Again, I look forward to the future we have together as brothers and sisters living in a new age, a Golden Age of New London. Finally, I humbly thank you for your support."
Jumping Jack Flash steps back from the podium and bows slightly from the hips. He straightens up, scanning the crowd to discern if there might be questions from members of the press. As the face mask swivels from side to side, JJF makes special note of the reactions of the Mayor, Hammer, James, Taglianetti and Horowitz.
The first person he saw was that of the Mayor. She was clapping along with the crowd, with a smile on her face. Not a plastic political smile, but one of genuine pleasure in the job that JJF was doing so far.
Beside her Colin James stood, pipe in hand, his face still looking as though it was set in stone, but the eyes, the eyes showed a glimmer of respect forming.
Not so in Tagliannetti's eyes. The same dead look remained in his eyes. He and James exchanged words briefly as JJF turned his gaze to Hammer.
Hammer was clapping vigorously, a broad smile on his face. He gives a thumbs-up as JJF turns his way.
Winona was also clapping, being careful not to get in the way of Hammer's arms. The two of them standing side-by-side looked rather unusual, the massive Hammer and the petite Ms. Horowitz. She looked strangely distant and worried for a brief moment and then continued her applause.
As JJF scanned the crowd for questions, the reporters obliged him quite quickly.
"Eric Thomas, New London Times. You mentioned the formation of a hero team. How to you plan on recruiting members and are there any potential candidates at the moment?"
"Thank you Mr. Thomas, this is an excellent segue: Presumably this press conference will be viewed by some in New London who fancy themselves as a hero, be that vigilante or savior. They can consider it to be a personal invitation right now from me, to contact the NLPD for further information on the new group. I will be setting up an extention starting tomorrow to specifically deal with inquiries. As for potential candidates; all I can say at this time, is that yes, we are aware of a number of people who are currently available, they will be contacted privately, with disgression."
"Savannah Wild, Island News. Do your future plans include a loosening of restrictions on Metahumans, such as abolishing the ineffective Vigilante by-law, or will it further expand the …negative view on Metas that the SCU has had in the past?"
"It is the hope of PRIMUS, CSIS, and myself, that by involving a Silver Avenger in the daily activities of law enforcement in New London, there will be a reduction on the stresses that exist between the Meta-groups. As a newspaper reporter, you Ms. Wild, should be among the first to see that New London does indeed have members of its population that fall in that category. I am not a law maker, I am a public servant. Perhaps I can make the first step toward the goal of making the public aware that being a Metahuman does not equate with being distructive or a detractor from Justice. It's not my place to change laws, only to enforce them."
"Eric Thomas. The Scorpion has, over five years, amassed a body count rivalled only by the Harbinger of Justice in Hudson City. What steps do you plan to stop him and other masked vigilantes?"
"An excellent, question Mr. Thomas. Unfortuantly, I feel it would be an extreme disservice to the people of New London, if I were to prematurely reveal any plans being made reguarding those who live a life against the laws. Especially someone with the means and resources of the Scorpion."
"Ben Sorenson, New Dominion Free Press. What do you say to allegations that this is merely an effort by the United States to to extend its influence on Canada, by bringing its 'Super-cops' to Canada?"
"I would say you are right. Clearly, I, as a Silver Avenger owe my primary allegiances to PRIMUS. PRIMUS is an organization created and controlled by the government of the United States. To the outside observer it would seem that inserting a Silver Avenger into a Canadian police force would server a primary purpose of extending influence via that avenue." JJF pauses here a long moment. "However, I am but one man, and my influence is minor, as well Canada already has 'Super-cops' at its disposal--or are you discounting Lt. Hammer from that category? I would have to conclude that those allegations are merely that: allegations with no bearing or basis upon concrete fact."
"Savannah Wild. What are your views on Meta-human rights?"
"Long ago, a man much greater and wiser than I penned, '…We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights…' I recognize that that was a long time ago, in a different country, and in a time not unlike our present, but I would like to think that in this sister nation two hundred years later, the statement is still viewed as being true. I myself am an admitted Meta-human. It would be hypocritical of me to say that meta-humans deserve less than their unaltered brethren. More so if I were to specifically set about to enforce those laws using my powers."
"Ben Sorenson. To follow up on Ms. Wild's comment, what are you views on the treatment of meta-human criminals, in regards to incarceration and the death penalty, specifically?"
"Canada has laws and a legal system to determine justice and punishment against those that break the law. A man's cast in life should not have a bearing upon his fate if he breaks a law. To treat a man differently because he is rich or poor is just as wrong as it is to treat a man who wields powers unlike that of a normal man. While I adhere to the often quoted adage, 'With great power comes great responsibility.' I too feel that a man's punishment should be determined by his crime alone, and no other influence should be used. Canada does not have the death penalty in place for any crime currently, if someone kills with a hand is there any difference than if they kill with a gun or a knife? The life lost, is the life lost; and it should be the means of measure for the crime."
JJF raises his hands to stem further questions at this point,
"Thank you for these questions about important issues, I would certianly enjoy discussing the matters further. However, this press conference is not the place for political referendum, it is to introduce the people of New London their newest public servant, Jumping Jack Flash. Thank you."
With that, JJF steps down off the podium and into the crowd, where he begins to sign autographs and shake hands with any who are interested.
At first the crowd seemed shocked that a public figure would mingle so freely with the public, especially having only appeared in New London for the first time. But soon JJF was swarmed with autograph hounds, well-wishers and the just plain curious.
After 15 minutes, JJF felt a strong hand on his shoulder. It was Hammer.
"We have a situation that we could use your input on" whispered Hammer into JJF's ear.
The two men diplomaticly disengaged themselves from the crowd and proceeded into city hall. As soon as they were in the police department section of the building Hammer spoke.
"We just got a report from a unit in Grandbridge. They reported seeing men in flying battle armor. As near as we can tell, the armor matches one of two types Iron Guardsman armor, or DEMONspawn troops. They requested metahuman backup, given DEMON's reputation. I have to travel by patrol car to get there, can you get there quicker?"
JJF turns to face Hammer over one shoulder as they walk through the hallway.
"You're kidding, right? What's my name again Lieutenant? I can get us both there in a flash--if you're ready, let's head for the roof."
JJF follows Hammer to the roof of the precinct, then takes a hold of Hammer's left bicep, and leaps.
"Welcome to Jumping Jack Airlines, no snacks, no pillows, but plenty of speed."
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