The 21 aligned heroes and villains marveled at the technological advances of the Batcave. Harley, Ivy and Bane in particular seemed impressed by their enemy's base. Ivy smiled slightly and nudged Harley, "You know Harls, it would hurt to have a base like this. Certainly better than an ugly old toxic dump." Harley laughed, imagining what Mistah J would have thought of her simply walking into his arch enemy's personal base. As Harley was about to say something, Spider-Man popped up behind them.
"I know I could have used a place like this," said Parker cheerfully. "What was that you were saying about a toxic dump?" Ivy looked back at Peter about to say something, when a thought hit her. No...It was obvious that there was something developing between the two. She'd gone against her biggest rule...Never trust humans. Especially men. She pushed Parker away and walked off to a corner.
Spider-Man looked at Ivy in confusion, then back at Harley. "What's eating her?", Parker asked. Harley smiled, pushing Parker playfully. "Oh Red? She just has some problems with men. She had a boyfriend once. Dr. Woodroe, a botanist she worked with at Gotham University. He screwed with her feelins and ended up using her for his sick experiments. It almost killed the poor doll! A few years ago, she tried to leave her old life behind, settle down with a husband and a few plant kids, but didn't work out. Ever since, she's been pretty hostile to guys, you seem to be the first one she even likes. Imagine that! Getting used by a guy!"
Bane was overcome with a flood of emotions. On one hand, he admired how one man could dedicate himself so much to the cause of justice and righteousness. On the other hand, with every Bat-costume or gadget that littered the wall, he was reminded by the televised Bat Family slayings...And how he had contributed to something so brutal and dishonorable. Bane rubbed his hands on his face in frustration and regret. Eddie Brock laid his hand on Diego's shoulder.
"You okay Diego? This is a new start for all of us."
Bane nodded picking himself up and patting Eddie on the back. "You're right...We are warriors Brock, we do not have time for sulking in memories." Eddie gave Bane a confused look. "What happened?" he asked.
"It's...A long story. I don't want to talk about it..."
Suddenly, a loud horn was heard. The noise came from Captain America. Standing proud and demanding attention, he addressed the heroes and villains.
"Gentlemen, as you all know, I am Steve Rogers, a.k.a Captain America. Finding metahumans willing to fight for justice and freedom in these terrible times has been a nigh impossible task...Still, we have achieved a surprising roster of 21 heroes...Whether you were a villain or a criminal in a previous life is irrelevant. You have been granted a choice now, and I know it's not easy...But it's the only key to salvation. Now, I understand that you all come from separate groups. Feel free to introduce yourself and your allies..."
Rorschach stepped in first, shaking Captain America's hand and making his presence felt. "There may be some of you who are under the impression that you should be afraid of your lives as members of this Insurgency. The truth is that it is the Regime who should be afraid of you. For you have seen it's true face. My name is Rorschach, the red helmeted biker is Jason Todd, the assassin in black is Flash Thompson. If you think that you can find salvation as a villain, than you are wrong. All you can do is find what little meaning there is to your pathetic lives and find even miniscule use for it. If you are a hero, I give you two options. Open your eyes and adopt my methods or stay out of my way. Flash and Jason have embraced them, and I guarantee they will survive this ordeal. They are ruthless and courageous warriors. I can only pray the rest can be said for you...Not that hope is a luxury I can afford."
There was a silence among the heroes and the villains of the team. Some heroes secretly embraced Rorschach's speech. Ghost Rider nodded slightly when it had finished, and Moon Knight smiled underneath his black mask. Spider-Man's reaction, however, was mainly of disgust and frustration. His attitude was similar to that of his former villain allies, particularly Ivy, who saw misogyny and ignorance in his eyes. After Rorschach had finished his speech, Bane stepped forward.
"I do not wish to deceive you, my loyal companions. I was once a villain. Living off the blood and suffering of others through drug distribution and assassination, I was nothing more than a stain of my true potential. When this all started, I thought that was all I'd ever be. But the trust of my long time enemy and...A recent tragedy...Has taught me that my redemption is essential. I am Bane, Eddie Brock is my loyal partner and a ferocious combatant, and Daredevil holds a similar position. His love Elektra has proved to be an equally proficient assassin. These three have accepted my redemption and allowed me to join them in their conquest to overthrow the Regime. In return, I will grind and break the murderers and infidels who have aligned themselves with Scarecrow and his pawns. As I hope you will!"
Bane's speech was followed by an almost unanimous applause. That was except for one man in particular...Rorschach. Changed or not, Diego was always a criminal in his eyes. Even if he rejected a life of crime if this ever ended, he would hunt him to the ends of the earth afterwards. His alignment to the team meant nothing, and in hie eyes, the only reason he was still alive was for self preservation. When Bane had finished, Sinestro and his 4 man corps of the two Ghost Riders, Deadshot and Abomination presented themselves.
"My name is Sinestro, the universal champion of fear. Like Bane, I too was once a villain. Consumed and corrupted by insignificant and selfish dreams of power, I tried to conquer this earth many times. I even admit to being aligned with the Regime in it's inception. But I am the only one here who has seen first hand what the Regime can do. The details are too...Horrific and barbaric for me to describe here, but I will say that they must be stopped. I once used fear as a mere weapon, but I understand that like any weapon there is a great responsibility that comes with it. Fear must be used to stop the corrupt and the evil and to bring peace, not to conquer and use like a child with a gun. I have found four loyal and intimidating troopers, Johnny Blaze, Daniel Ketch, Emil Blonsky and Floyd Lawton, we will use fear to protect the innocent and punish the wicked."
When Sinestro had finished and the audience began to applaud, he drew his gaze to Eddie Brock. He couldn't push out the idea that the imposing fighter would make a rather interesting member of his Corps. He had studied Brock for some time since Blaze and Blonsky had joined the Yellow Lanterns, and from what he had seen, he appeared a master of fear. He smiled slightly, deciding that he would definitely consider talking to Eddie about possible recruitment later. Finally, it was Spider-Man's turn to make his speech.
"Alright, I'm Spider-Man and...The past week has been interesting for me to say the least. The past few weeks have been nothing short of a nightmare. I lost my girlfriend, and my Aunt passed in her sleep. Many would say that I have nothing. But I don't have nothing. Oddly enough, the most loyal of my allies have been what some people would call villains. Obviously not Moon Knight, only thing he's guilty of is having a dumb name. I'm talking about Gorilla Grodd, Harley Quinn and...Poison Ivy. These three are more heroic than most people I know, and while there histories say differently, they're ready for a change. This is a chance at redemption, at making the important choices. They've made mistakes, so have I. So has everybody here...But I think they have the potential to be the best heroes in Gotham...Thank you."
That last sentence caught the attention of Ivy. She was still wary and hit with a hurricane of different feelings...Mostly frustration. At the same time, she was grateful that someone was giving her a chance at being more than just some thug. It was kind to say the least. Ignorant...But kind.
To be continued in Gotham City 21: Chapter 2~Scarecrow's Council