(Hope you didn't mind the slight detour for the Boy Scout Memorial. I had to !@#$ after all those apple beers and it seems a very appropriate place. You know why.)
Ah, what a majestic sight, all lit up in the early evening. Just us and all these tourists, all being treated like potential terrorists. I could always go bum rush the gates and get us in, but I felt like being mildly ordinary today, even if we are on a hunt.
No, really. See? I brought my camera. Smile?
Ha! There we go. You oughta be in pictures, son. Hopefully not the kind where wake up halfway through and your mouth's been sewn to some Japanese guy's !@#$. Unless you're into that sort of thing. It's a free country, after all.
Yes it is. And it's free because so many people over the years have given their lives to keep it that way, both at home and abroad. So many young men and women dead, consigned to the earth or the sea. The good and the bad and the worst and the best, all gone down to their eternal rest... or something like that.
I must be getting maudlin. I'm quoting !@#$ Poe. Shoot me if I do that again, will you, son? Thank you.
Anyway, the White House. The British burned it, once. We vowed as a nation to never let that happen, again. It's stood firm through several wars since, mostly abroad. And after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, and Hitler threatened us from the other side of the world, Roosevelt swore he'd do anything to make sure it stood firm again.
Even if it meant cooperating with the enemy at home.
After the agreement, there was some muted protest in and around Washington's power circles. A lot of angry and confused higher-ups at the War Department and intelligence services, mostly. "You mean we have to work with who?" was the question of the hour, and it was all Roosevelt could do to keep them from looking too closely at the fine print.
But Hoover? He was !@#$ furious. In fact, he almost quit, and the only reason he stayed was because the President wheeled into his office and personally begged him to reconsider.
I think the phrase he used was "I need my best man beside me when they try and go back on their word." That and a promise or two that maybe he shouldn't have made, and Hoover agreed to stay. For then.
That was the start of a new age for Superheroes and law enforcement, believe it or not. The Feds put the word out that the long underwear set were our new friends. All state and local law enforcement agencies should follow their lead and welcome their aid, when needed and where appropriate.
Hoover even did a film with The Spirit of Justice, if you can believe that. They shook hands, pledged cooperation, told a few jokes... all that good !@#$. Anything to make it crystal clear that the American Government was happy to have its home-grown heroes on its side, now that things in Europe were getting weird and uncomfortable.
What happened behind the camera's another story, though. But that's for another day, I think.
* * *
That goes on for a few years. The heroes are working with the cops against spies, saboteurs, fifth column types, outside agitators, commies, and all the usual suspects. They make the busts, the Feds swoop in and take them off for holding and interrogations, and everyone's happy to really be on the same team for once.
But the capes and spandex crowd's kind of puzzled about one thing: where did their villains go? Some of them stuck around, especially the would-be conquerors and !@#$ crazy ones. But most of them just vanished into thin air, and they can't all have been scared into early retirement by the change in the weather from Washington.
Of course, they haven't really gone anywhere. They're in camps around the country, being re-made by the War Department and their merchandising boys. Firebug became Torch of Liberty. Safecracker became Tanksmasher. The Sneak became Whisper of Freedom.
(The War Department started calling them the Left Handed Legion. I figure you can figure the rest from there)
But what about people like The Smiler and Bloody Mike? Well, son, they vanished for good, along with every other sicko, freak, and madman that The Big Man's boys got their hands on. The Big Man didn't like insane types. Probably because he had a much harder time controlling them.
He also did a vanishing job on the other people who were vying for a slice of the big pie. The Yellow Emperor in California, the Hidden Prophet in Colorado, even that southern-fried freak in Mississippi who thought he was king of the alligators. All gone down to their rest, never to be seen again.
You seeing how that chess game worked, son? Several moves in advance, and several pieces at once.
* * *
So that's the end of the 30's and the start of the 40's. And you know what happens on December 7th of 1941.
The day after that, Roosevelt goes to congress and delivers one of the best speeches of his Presidency. We vote for war, the people rally around their leader, and our enemies start getting the idea that maybe, just maybe, they made a big !@#$ mistake.
The day after that, Roosevelt has them wheel out that black, two-way television set and talks to The Big Man. The time had come, as they'd known it would, and he needed Biggs to fulfill the larger part of their bargain.
He was afraid that the guy might have some additional conditions, now that they'd been working together for a few years. Surprisingly, he doesn't. In fact, to his relief, he even throws in a concession. He offers to take five percent of the worst criminals on his team and deal with them, personally, so that Roosevelt won't have to offer them pardons at the war's end.
Why the change of heart? "I like Hawaii, Mr. President," he says.
Yeah, there you go, wanting to barf again. And you're right to. It was bull!@#$.
Truth was, it was housekeeping, pure and simple. He'd kept tabs on who was taking too much advantage of the deal, or who'd been making power plays he didn't like. They got to vanish into thin air over the next few years, and the ones who remained got the message: play ball or don't play at all.
And he needed everyone to play ball. This was the critical bit of the plan. He needed everyone on his team to act like they wanted nothing more than to serve their country the best way they could. So they sucked it up, said "yes sir" and "no sir," and went overseas to fight the Axis.
But as you might well know, things get weird when you're overseas and fighting for your life. Things get stolen. People vanish. Your comrades go out for a !@#$ at night and never come back.
Treasure disappears. Advanced weaponry gets destroyed when no one's looking. Secrets fall into the wrong hands. Important people become casualties of war.
The Left Handed Legion's out doing their orders, but they've got two sets. One's from whatever military command they're attached to. The other's from The Big Man. And I bet you know which one's got top priority.
Makes you wonder what the end game is, huh? Well, get a move on, son. Let's take this show somewhere else and we'll discuss that.
(SPYGOD is listening to M (The Cure) and having some more suspicious lemon lime soda)