A Question of Freedom

Characters: Divine, Snakebite
Rated: PG-13 Strong Languages
Summary: Sophie (Snakebite) meets up for a promised drink with Divine, and discusses the different between having a duty and following orders…and being an agent and being an asset.
OOC Date: December 25, 2017 (early morning)
IC Date: December 24, 2017
Where: An upscale pub near Gotham

Sophie lifts her wrist to check the time, before unbuttoning that neatly tailored jacket of hers. She's as well groomed as ever, because thats of course how she rolls. She's in a nice and tie and all the rest, because well of course she is. Casually lifting a cigarette to her lips, before pausing at the entrance to the joint. She earns a few waves from the equally well dressed patrons as they pass, but well Sophie has her "too cool for this" act down. It's almost a superpower honestly, she exudes this aura of casual indifference that is entirely sufficient to procure the girl some space.

The joint in question, well it's an old art-deco sort've affair, too much glass and wild neon shapes. The sort've place who's got a parking lot full of expensive European luxury cars, where a sign at the door isn't even necessary. Upscale doesn't even begin to describe it, it's the joint for upscale cool folks to hang with equally upscale cool folks it seems. Not that Sophie had told Divine to dress up or down or anything of the sort, she'd described this outing as a "friendly beer between co-workers". So there she waits, watching the snow come down in a delicate little sprinkle.

When Divine arrives, she gets some looks. Not because she's as well dressed as Sophie, perhaps…it's how she fills out the dark sleeved blouse she wears under a comfortable leather trench, and the way those skin-tight jeans cling, the short black boots disappearing under the cuffs. She already seems to know where you are, making a beeline for you, at a quick, no-nonsense pace..and perhaps a glare at one or two gentlemen who are staring a bit too unabashedly as she gets close. "More fancy than I was expecting…" she says absently, pulling up a chair.

"I'm a very fancy sort of girl."Sophie retorts quietly, before leaning back to flag down a server. "Usual for me, and a beer for my friend." There's a quick nod, and well off he goes. "In any case, I thought you might need a visit to someplace distinctly unlike the facility."Soph leans back, minutely but truly the girl's posture and just how she holds herself is definitely no accident. Chin lifted just a touch, back straight and shoulders squared? "I could find us a dive bar if you'd prefer, but I felt it best to take you somewhere that would appreciate some discretion."

The other woman hehs, then mmms. "…no. No, this is good, just…never been to a place like this before." she admits, shifting in her seat. She definitely has a military bearing to the way she sits, at first, but then she almost deliberately stretches out and relaxes a bit, like she's fighting it slightly. "So you come here often?" she says curiously, snagging the beer and sniffing at it, then trying a sip.

That beer is certainly some sort of craft snobbery, but it's pretty far from bad. There's a distinct citrus snap, and a bitter hoppy finish that's fairly gentle. Sophie's got some sort of straight wall whiskey thing going on over there, whatever it is they served it to her straight up. "Not terribly. I'm not terribly social most of the time, but occasionally? Sure the mask takes a little time to leave me, so I can go back to pretending to be human. It's pretend certainly, but it's important to my girl. Measures taken to insure I don't take too much home with me, she has her own problems without my own."And a pause, as Sophie sips her own drink carefully. "I get the impression, you're less an employee than even I am though. Obligated, it seems?"

Karen twitches her lips, then takes a longer swig of her beer this time, before letting out a little sigh of pleasure. "Mmmm. I think the technical term is 'asset'. Except a more permanent and less contract version." she says thoughtfully. She shrugs. "It's what I was trained to be." She looks curiously over at Sophie. "You have a….what, girlfriend? Wife? Back home, somewhere?" she says curiously. "Who knows what you do?"

"A girl, A wife eventually maybe."Sophie replies, sipping her drink in turn before delicately setting the glass down. "She's in the business of us, in a way. That's what you and I are you know, a business. The term "Asset" is an accurate one, our worth is one measured in monetary terms for a reason."And a soft little nod, as Sophie lights up a smoke. Offering that Silver cigarette case and zippo over, if Karen fancies one. "See law enforcement is partially funded by the cash from drug busts and the like. Once upon a time, there was a girl who beat the Feds to three hundred million in the space of six months. Drove the cost of all sorts of business through the roof, coke, meth, blah blah blah. She put people out of business, so they put -her- out of business. Now I work for them, protecting revenue streams so they don't put me in a box for things they can't control."

Karen shakes her head slightly at the offer, frowning. "The business of us, huh?" She shakes her head a bit. "If you did their job for them, why are they punishing you for it now?" she asks. "If you were a good asset…a good agent….makes more sense to recruit you for real. Than hold something over you like that."

"because then they would have no purpose, no funding, no political capitol to use in order to justify their continued existence. Governments survive because of their ability to maintain order, and for you to maintain order that requires a monopoly on the use of force. I mean can you just walk away, go do your own thing?"Sophie sips carefully. "If you woke up tomorrow and decided you wanted to be I don't know, a Librarian. Just another somebody out in the world, would they let you walk away? I stay because they can hurt my loved ones, why do -you- stay?"

There's not a large reaction from Karen. Just…a little furrow, at the very different explanation of goverment to what she's been…instructed. "That would be a waste of what I can do. Being a librarian. It's…it's my duty to maintain order. To do what needs to be done. Otherwise, there will be chaos. Metahumans with powers, out of control, fighting…" She lowers her voice a bit, swirling her beer absently. "…there are predictions, you know. What it will be like if the metahuman population keeps growing. With mutants in particular popping up more and more, and more and more that are strong enough to do real damage. Fights that wreck buildings can wreck blocks…or maybe towns. Cities." She frowns. "…countries. People like us are what keep that from happening. Keep…control. Heroes do what they want, what they think they should do, whether or not it's true. Even when it does damage. Or undermines the government."

There's a long pause. "…I…have a duty to be what I am. It would be selfish to choose something else."

There are eyebrows raised at that, and a little nod. "The last fox, the one before me? Lived a hundred sixty years, fought in two world wars you know. Fought out on the frontiers back when France still had proper colonies, fought tooth and nail to keep order. Came over to work for the USA back in the seventies, take the fight to them down in Colombia you know? Him and some others, tracked down Pablo Escobar and his friends."She offers a faint little smile as she lifts her glass. "Week before he dies, he realizes the CIA is running the drug trade. They've taken over the drug routes entirely, coke's at an all time low in Miami."And a -SNAP- of the fingers. "Three hundred pound car bomb, nothing left. Funny you know, all the dudes who went down there with the old fox? Nobody knows where they are, you know?"

"You have a duty to yourself, if you want to accept a duty to others that's your call. However you're not obligated to do anything, You protect people if you want to protect people. You be a librarian, but ask yourself the important question here. If you woke up tomorrow, and thats what you wanted. If you decided to walk, what would happen? Do you have a Duty, or do you just have orders?"

Karen gets a bit of a defensive tone in her voice. "But that was when the CIA was corrupt. CADMUS isn't like that. They defend all of humanity from rogue metahumans." She hesitates, running down after a moment as she quiets. Thinking. "I…they wouldn't…keep me here. CADMUS is where I belong." she says, with the tones of someone repeating something by rote. "CADMUS is where I can do the most good. I…" There's that furrow in her brow again. "…damn, you sound like -her- now." she mutters, then drains back the rest of the beer. But she's at least turning it over in her head. You can practically taste the cognitive dissonance from here. "…I was raised to be this. I was ma-…" She pauses. "It's…all I've been trained for."

"Ask yourself some stuff here, why does humanity need to be defended from "Rogue" metahumans?"Sophie pauses as drinks are refreshed. "Consider the word carefully. They didn't train you to protect against -Dangerous- Metahumans, they taught you to fight -rogue- ones. Well let me give you a little scenario. Lets say tomorrow I decide I'm just tired of the fighting, I'm not bullet proof like you right? So I just want to live a quiet life, maybe be a florist or whatever. I just want to live a quiet life somewhere, hurt nobody, not even use my powers. Now by definition, I'd be going Rogue, would I not? Now can we agree that, there's nothing inherently dangerous or evil about just getting sick of everything and wanting to settle down right? So why did they train you to fight Rogues, because they're dangerous or…."

Karen isn't a dumb woman…the opposite, really. Complex multi-spacial mathematics in her head, tactical planning in three dimensions, it's not hard for her. So, the struggle on her face after a moment is obvious, as that genius mind bounces off the conditioning keeping it in certain channels of thinking. She's not very good at hiding it on her face, either, as the increasingly furrowed brow and frown suggests the clashing viewpoints taking place in her head.

"…if you're a rogue, you have the possibility of becoming a danger. Why shouldn't the government ask that you register yourself, so they know who you are and what you can do, then? A registration act, or something. Then you could do what you wanted, and if you went off the rails they'd know everything they needed to to bring you down before anyone gets hurt." She shakes her head slightly. "I mean…you're…we're all…human. Even normal people go ballistic over something…girlfriend cheats on them, guy next door won't stop playing loud music, boss fires them unfairly from a job…imagine what that's like if they've got powers to go with that burst of temper. If no one knows they can do it. That's like…what makes mutants so…so difficult. They don't even know what they can do, until a moment of stress causes their powers to erupts. Or they hit puberty, or whatever, and …they look…just like anyone else. But if one pops out has laser eye beams or something…shouldn't it be like…like owning a military grade gun? That they should have to give up some of those freedoms to…to keep everyone safer?"

There's a faintly questioning tone in her voice, like she's going over this in her mind. Testing a logical chain. But some of the defensiveness is gone from her voice now, replaced with a more serious tone. Considering.

"Because in the United States, we operate under the belief that all men are created equal. Endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, the fourth amendment protects one from unreasonable search and seizure. The second protects your right to bear arms, that covers guns but not eye beams? See we're not human, neither of us. I met your "Twin" remember? See I was a criminal, I broke laws. I killed men, hell they dug graveyards for what I did every week for years. I was a killing machine, now they were bad men I killed but I broke laws never the less. This, makes sense to me. I'm paying a debt, but don't fool yourself. What the DEO has me doing, it's all outside the bounds of the law."Sophie pauses, sipping after her drink.

"See when they can't arrest someone, I kill them instead. Most of the times bad people, but not all the time. Extrajudicial killing, thats the terminology for what I do. I couldn't walk away from this if I wanted, I was born to kill evil men regardless of a man's law. I'm the instrument of the divine, a sacred killing machine. You though, you're no criminal. So why can't you just walk away, why hide from your "other" if it wasn't wrong? By what right, by what law do they deprive you of liberty? You may not wear chains honey, but you're either a slave or a pet. If that's how the system treats metahumans, is the metahuman paranoia not warranted? They are creating enemies where there were none, to justify their existence. You're fighting for "order", but tell me what's so great about this order? What about the status quo is worth saving?"

Karen growls, bringing her free hand down on the table with a faint CRACK as it gives slightly. "I'm -NOT- hiding from her." She mmphs. "…I've been given orders I'm not -allowed- to encounter her without specific orders. You met her. She's been hunting me." She calms a bit, then closes her eyes. "…she's in my head sometimes. When I dream. Judging me. That I'm a 'crazed nut job' for what I do. A 'mad dog'. All…holier than thou, because I end threats. Permanently, if I need to." She inhales, then lets it out slowly, quieting for a moment, then shakes her head.

"…I'm not like you, Sophie." she says quietly. "I'm not…human. I never was. I don't have any rights, technically. There's nothing on the books about nonhumans, right? You have to be born to be a citizen. Not…" She trails off, then exhales again, waving down the waitress for another round, then pops it open, taking a long drink before she sets it on the table again.

"…what else is there, without that order? The status quo is what people want. I wouldn't exist if it wasn't for people wanting to keep the status quote." She runs her fingertip over the top of bottle. "…what am I, if I'm not doing what I was made to do?" And she finally uses the 'm' word.

"I think, you are a person. The constitution of these United States never at any point specifies species."Sophie sips her drink. "Not gonna lie your twin is very goody two shoes, not results oriented like you and I. However I think if there was another me around, I'd pursue her. I'd need to understand, to meet her."Theres a shrug at that, giving things time to figuratively settle there. "I think if you asked me to, I'd set up a way for the two of you to meet. If you wanted to stay with the DEO, go ahead. You wanna break away, I'll help you."

"What I think, is that free will is important. I think you're one of the most fantastically powered people on the planet, and rather than maintain order you could be making things a better place. I think you deserve to be free, to be a librarian or whatever. I think you should stop being some -THING- and become some -BODY-. I think, this is that big turning point. You take a minute, let this sink down in there. Do you want to be more than -this-, or are you happy being a person shaped weapon of mass destruction? Say the words, and I'll figure this out. I will not however, do anything you don't want me to. You decide, and I'll back whatever play you want to make here."And a pause, as Sophie delicately slides her whiskey across the table to Divine. "You pick who you want to be. I exist, to do this for people. Just tell me what you want."

Karen gets very quiet, her eyes locked on her beer, but far away. "…she thinks I'm a maniac." she murmurs finally. "…I…I dream her dreams, when she dreams mine. It's so…." She gets a frustrated look. "How can she be like that, just….so….mmmrph." She sighs out, then snags the whisky and tosses it back in a single gulp, before slamming the glass down hard…but thankfully not where she shatters it. Or the table.

"…why are you offering this, Sophie?" she asks, turning her blue gaze to you. "It could get you in lots of trouble. And I…I only met you a little bit ago." She makes a face. "…and promptly had to ditch you to be a distraction for the girl scout. Sorry." she adds, apologetically. "I still owe you for that one. But…how do you…how do you see me like that? So…" She searches for the word. "You see me, not…the asset."

"I'm not human, hell you're closer to it than I am. I'm a divine instrument, I'm a war spirit in a human wrapper. I was born to do very specific things, one of which is to free those in chains."Sophie offers a faint smile. "My ancestors have been doing this since before there was a written word, back before cave paintings were a thing. Since the very first of us, hell back in the day there were many of us. Wolves, Bears, Boar, Elk you name it. More powerful too, changed our shape and did all sorts of stuff. Now though, just me left. Just a Fox, one who'd like to think that she's capable of doing a little more than just surviving. I have a purpose, and this is it."

"You're not an asset, you're a person. You have a name, you have a heart that belongs to you alone. I think they may have filled your head with some very, wrong things though. I think you need to meet this girl, and I think you need to talk. You're not accidental, you both deserve to know one another. Better you meet in a safe way, than in the middle of a fight that gets out of control and gets tons of people injured. So tell me, what you want me to do. Do you want me to drop it, never bring it up again?"And a shift in her seat, as Sophie lights another smoke. "Or do you want me to get you two together, because clearly hiding from each other is not working."

Karen bites her lower lip for a moment. "…I'm thinking, I'm thinking…" she mutters, then takes another long swig from the new bottle, draining it before she sets it down next to the first. "I…sorta…" She frowns. "…I sorta got in a brawl with her already. Not in a city, but…" She taps the top of the table absently with a finger. "…she might not be too well disposed towards me right now." She's wavering though. What would it be like to talk without…orders? A constant voice of a handler in her earpiece. "I don't know how you could do that. They track where I am, to make sure I don't get ambushed or in trouble, listening in and such." And the way she says THAT is the words of someone who has been positively brainwashed into not actually questioning the words she just spoke. "I mean, I've…I've done it. Once or twice." She swirls a finger. "…to meet someone, but…I can only 'accidentally' break my earbud so many times…."

"I'll figure that out, don't worry over the how. Tell me if you want to talk to her, and I'll figure it out. I can get you a private audience, but only if that is what you want."And finally a shrug, Sophie at least doesn't seem worried. Hell she never has, not even when she was shot in the god damned throat. Whatever makes her tick, it's stern stuff for certain.

Karen pauses, running her finger through the wet ring of condensation left on the table by her bottle, drawling a line through it, then her expression firms a bit. "…alright. If you can convince her. And we can figure out a way to do it where they won't wonder where I've gone." she says slowly. "She might not want to." she adds. "…she hates what I do. She might only care enough to show up so she can preach at me." She huffs a bit, frowning at the idea. "…but…fine. I'll make her understand. All on her high horse…hmmph.

"There's no right or wrong here, this isn't black and white. I know that's what they tell you, but there are no absolutes in the real world. Worry less about who's right, than why. It's possible for two people to both be right, even if they have different answers to the same question. This woman, is an important person in your life like it or not. You should have a relationship with her, and she you. Don't go making this adversarial, it's not a competition. You could -both- be wrong, you could both be right. Different, is what you are."And a pause as, well another whiskey is delivered and another cigarette lit. "Make this worth something."

Karen makes a faint grumbling noise again, but seems to take the idea in. With only a slight furrow of the brow this time. "…you make good points." she admits after a moment, frowning. "And I can't know unless I…talk to her. With her, I guess." she corrects herself. She wrinkles her nose. "Relationship…bah. She'd probably be one of those insufferable know-it-all older sisters." She waves for another round, taking the bottle when the waitress drops it off, then sipping from it this time. But she's fidgety now. The idea of it sinking in. This is…talking with the enemy, isn't it? But it's more…a truce. Maybe. Semi-enemy…nemesis…whatever she is.

"I'll see where it goes." she promises finally. "That's all I can say now. That I'll…listen."

"And I'll make it clear you're not some crazed axe murderer, but I don't know if she's insufferable or not. I know she does a lot of good, I'd have looked up to her in another life. I was a cape once upon a time you know, didn't kill people and all. I used to be a regular paragon of righteous virtue, before life happened. I know what it feels like to be in that place I guess, to be that person."And a pause as Sophie considers her glass at length. "My old partner, would have had this sorted in a minute. She was so much better with these things, morals and all of that. I was just there to fight, but I'm all you get unfortunately."

The buxom blonde glance over, raising a pale brow. "…you're plenty good." she says after a moment. "You're one of the few people who actually talks to me like I'm a person, that I work with. Outside of Ops chatter, I mean." She frowns. "The director does, but it's more…an act he puts on for everyone, I just get included." She smiles faintly. "…you're like…the only person who's talked to me like this though. Who knows who I really am, anyway."

"The fact you think I'm one of the good guys, is what concerns me. See I deserve all of this, you do not. "Sophie sighs, tossing a few bills on the table before rolling to her feet. "C'mon, I need to give you something. I've got it out in the car, alright?"Offering a hand yonder, as if Karen couldn't get to her feet by herself. "Just, don't get too carried away with all this alright? I'm no hero, I haven't been for many years now."

Karen cocks her head, then reaches out to take the hand, getting to her feet as she reaches out to set some bills on the table to cover the drinks. A bit of a big tip, but it's more she doesn't really do restaurants and tips often. "Um…sure. And…I don't know. You're getting rid of evil people. You make the world a better place that way, right? That's…pragmatic heroism." she offers, in an attempt to try and counter that. "…if they're forcing you, that's not right either." But she lets herself be led along, not resisting.

"I get rid of problems, good and bad people. I don't pick the targets."Sophie comes to a stop behind that Benz, before she pops the trunk and produces a neat black case. The sort've armored waterproof things you use for delicate electronics, before offering it over. "I'm a bad person, who does good things. Murder, torture, kidnapping, not good guy shit." And a pause, as she bumps the trunk closed. "This is yours, keep it charged and hide everything in here someplace you can get to it quickly. I'll contact you in a few days, alright? It may take me a little time to get you squared away to meet her."

Karen takes it curiously, glancing over, then opens it to peer inside. "Did you choose to be a bad person? Or did your orders make you one?" she asks after a moment, looking directly into the other woman's eyes now. No judgement in them, just…curiosity. Uncertainty. "And however long you take. I just need a little warning to set things up on my end. I have to figure out a good accident to wreck communications." She smirks. "…like I accidentally dropped my earpiece in a puddle earlier to short it out. Fragile things.

It's everything a girl needs. A cellphone, charger, and gas mask because you never know right? "I chose."Sophie replies, instantly even. "I'd do it again. I hunted them, I murdered them, I cut them apart slow on live broadcast. I set them on fire in front of their families, I cut the eyes from their heads and far worse. I did every cruel, nasty, brutal thing you can imagine and I regret none of it. I made them -pay- for what they'd done, for the life they took from this world. Never good men though, never an innocent. I made sure they had their hands on it, made sure they were responsible not just convient you know? Now, now I kill people because they tell me to. If I don't, I get put in a cage and bad things happen to my girl. Good men, bad men. Some said the wrong thing, some saw something or just don't want to play the game. I'm not in a position to chose anymore. I'm just a spear point, I don't get to choose."

The Kryptonian considers that quietly for a moment, watching Sophie. "…they killed your partner?" she says quietly, but firmly. She's guessing, but…it tracks from what you've said. "From what you say, she was a good person. And they definitely weren't." Her eyes narrow slightly. "The world is better off without them."

She frowns, then continues, more hesitantly. "…if…you need someone, to help you. Your girl. I owe you big for this. For all of it." She tilts her head. "…and I'm finding I don't really like it when people I like are threatened." She's not sure if she can use the 'f' word for this; she's not exactly used to having someone who she likes, who likes her, and who…actually understands. "She doesn't deserve to be threatened. Neither do you."

"They shot her seventeen times, they think maybe eighteen but there wasn't enough of her skull left to be sure."Sophie summarizes, coolly. "She was a much better person, than any other person I've ever met. She was an excellent human being, she was the best humanity had to offer and they shot her down like a stray dog in the street. Hell they put about twenty in me, then blew our identities to the press. Ruined her family, her mom killed herself a year later and her dad became a raging alcoholic. Died a few years back, complications from alcoholism. So yeah, they killed my partner. Where was our help when we needed it, when we needed a hero of our own? No everyone was busy doing their own stupid shit, nothing gets done."

"If they come for her, I'd appreciate that. If they try something like that, just know that it'd be war. The old sort, the women and children hung from their own intestines sort've shit. Total war, and theres no stopping it until everyone involved is dead."Spoken like a stone cold killer, because she is one."

Karen raises her chin slightly as you explain, her eyes sharpening, then hardening. "I'm sorry. She sounds like someone I would have liked to meet." she murmurs quietly. She can see the impressions of who she was in Sophie's cool tone. The echoes of rage in her voice over it. Old pain. Old scars. She then nods slightly at the reference to total war. "…then I'll be there. When you need me. Just call." she says, her voice steady, quiet, but determined now. "Because if they do that…the world might be better off without them too. And…I don't want you to lose someone again."

"Just, don't use me as your benchmark alright? I'm not a good guy, that person died on an operating table in Paris. I'm what's left over."And a pause, as Sophie bumps the trunk shut. "So If you got a sister or whatever who's some sort of snobby stuck up, preachy goody two shoes? Don't push it away, treasure that. People like that, are rare. They're unbearable sometimes, but chrissakes if the whole world was like them it'd be a hell of a lot better off than being full of people like me."Sophie winces, a fleeting gap in the armor. Gently tugging at her tie, and adjusting the sit of her pocket square. "You go and have a nice night, I've gone and gotten sentimental. I'll get in touch, alright?"

The case is transferred to both hands as Karen holds it n front of her body , letting it hang naturally from her hands flat against her thighs. "Alright." she says after a pause, as if she's looking for something to say, but can't quite put it into words…or maybe just because she isn't sure if she can argue against what Sophie is saying. She finally breaks the mental impasse. "Sophie…thanks. And…I dunno. I think someone who cares that much about her girl, the memory of her friend…a complete stranger who was kind of a bitch to her when she first met her…don't think you can say you're bad. Just…grey." She smiles a little. "See you around…" She drifts upwards off the ground slightly, then in a blur she's gone, a rush of wind accompanying her departure. Off to hide the phone after she gets it charged….and wait.

Back to: Logs Page.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License