"The Conscience of the Masses": After finding Virtue in his office, demanding that he let Katharsis go free, Police Captain Meers is annoyed. Unfortunately for him, she didn't come alone. Outside the [[Coral City Police Departm
- Captain Meers. Someday, very soon... it will be easier to ask who we aren't.
- -- Virtue
Appearing in "The Conscience of the Masses"
- Agamemnon (First appearance)
- Amanda Waller (Flashback only)
- Andrew Revell (Flashback only)
- Jimena (Flashback only)
Synopsis for "The Conscience of the Masses"
After finding Virtue in his office, demanding that he let Katharsis go free, Police Captain Meers is annoyed. Unfortunately for him, she didn't come alone. Outside the Coral City Police Department, The Movement has gathered. Surprised, he wonders just who they all are, and how they became the way they are. Virtue responds that given their numbers, it would be simpler to ask who they aren't.
Mouse is Jayden Revell, and he was once a child of wealth. His parents had come to look in on him, once, and were horrified to see baby Jayden sleeping soundly in his crib with rats. As he grew older, he had tried to be a good kid, but his feelings that he ought to have been born a rodent rather than a human made him a target for bullies - and he fought back. His mother couldn't handle him, and he was put out into the streets. The poor people who had nothing took him in and shared what little they had with him. He learned from them that being poor doesn't make someone bad, not like his parents had thought.
Meanwhile, Officer Erik Yee feebly attempts to convince his corrupt coworkers to stop following the orders of businessman James Cannon, and let Katharsis go. While she is a criminal vigilante, it is wrong to let a civilian like Cannon question and torture her alone. Dismissively, Erik's coworkers remind him that he took Cannon's money, just as they did.
Cannon wants to know who Katharsis is - or was - since she commented earlier that she is a cop. She says nothing, but she recalls how she was an immigrant child. Her mother had come from a Thai refugee camp, and they escaped from Laos to America. The first person they spoke to upon their arrival was a policeman, and he had been kind. She and her mother were then taken in by a baptist family in Minnesota, and her mother saved up enough money to open a Thai restaurant, though her specialty was Lao food. As she grew older, she remembered the policeman they had met long ago, and joined the academy. After she graduated and got a place on the force, she had learned of a case where a man had killed an immigrant girl - one just like she had been. His connections got him off, and she could not abide it. She followed him home one night, and taught him a lesson with a knife that he would not forget. Unfortunately, taking the law into her own hands would make her a refugee again, after eighteen years.
With the Movement outside, attacking the precinct, and aware that Katharsis won't tell him anything, Cannon decides to take his leave. Before doing so, he warns the officers guarding her that she is the only witness to their crimes, but he leaves it up to them as to whether they want to go to prison for them or not.
Meanwhile, Mouse and Virtue break down the front door of the precinct, allowing the masked members of the Movement to rush inside. Worriedly, Tremor watches as they call for the precinct to be burnt down, and is unsure of how to respond, knowing that to do so would be wrong.
Tremor had been poor, as a part of a proud Bengali family. Her father was a farmer in Calcutta, but she had ruined his life with her gifts. Though she could not say where they came from, she had been excited by her abilities, and made no secrets about her having them. Though her village had been relatively modern compared to others in India, she had still heard the word "witch" whispered about her. They were forced to move to America, and her father had to give up farming for taxi-driving. There, Roshanna fell in with some delinquent girls, and had been in a car accident while they were all drinking and driving. She was the only survivor. She had felt so guilty that she ran away from home. One day, Amanda Waller had found her and offered her a chance to atone - by becoming a spy. Some day soon, Tremor will have to betray her friends.
Tremor is startled from her remembrance by Virtue, who warns that Katharsis is likely to be killed soon, and things on the ground are about to get worst, because tank is on the way. Virtue insists that she will find Katharsis, leaving Tremor to handle the tank.
As Vengeance Moth warns that there are also choppers coming, Burden is upset when he sees some of the Movement moving to beat a police officer to death. He tries to intervene, but they question just who he is to stop them, when these cops were bought and paid for by James Cannon.
Christopher had come from a small, conservative town. He was six years old when he first experienced his fits. His family had refused the advice of a doctor, choosing instead to prey, and then to call a veterinarian. When that failed, the town elders declared that he was possessed, tying him to a bed for his own safety and whipping him nightly with a scourge. At the time, he had thought he was merely sick - until the demon inside him made itself known. After a time of being scourged every night, Christopher realized that he had become a burden to his family, and left home.
Meanwhile, Tremor faces down the tank and receives warning that the governor has revoked the Movement's Right to Assembly. Staunchly, Roshanna explains that these people she is defending are her friends - her only friends - and she will not betray them for Waller. Unfortunately, when she sees the helicopters on the horizon, she knows she can't do anything with her powers to stop them. She is surprised, though, when aid comes from Rainmaker, who - against her better judgment - has decided to help the Movement.
Captain Meers forces his way through the crowded precinct, and when he finds Yee, he demands to know where Katharsis is being kept. Yee hesitates in answering, but eventually admits that she's being kept in the sub-basement. Meers punctuates his thanks by clocking Yee in the jaw, explaining that that is punishment for sleeping with his wife. Virtue, Mouse, and Burden make it down into the sub-basement first, though, and when Meers gets to the stairs, he warns that he intends to place them all under arrest. As the teens emerge carrying Katharsis weakly up the stairs, Virtue responds that if he doesn't arrest them, she and her friends won't level his building because his officers beat a civilian in handcuffs. Though Yee warns him against it, Meers lets them go, warning that this move crosses a threshold that they may not be eager to be on the other side of. Virtue shoots back that she is well aware, adding that James Cannon is marked. Before leaving, she suggests that Meers clean house, because his precinct is filthy with corruption.
By the next day, the Movement's actions have had serious ramifications. Mayor Prein has requested assistance from the Department of Homeland Security, and at least six other cities in America have sprouted their own cells of the Movement, who may prove to be more violent than Coral City's own.
- This book was first published on August 7, 2013.
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