DC Universe: Post-Race Reactions, Chapter 2: Hail Mary Pass

by Christine Nightstar and Doc Quantum

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November 15, 1988:

Patrick Carmichael, archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church in Gotham City, was a man of many minds. He had always believed that he was one of the highest-ranking current members of the Illuminati. A true believer, he knew that the world would have to go through a great deal of pain and trial before a new world order would arise to finally institute a paradise on the world, in which everyone was truly united under one system — economically, educationally, and spiritually. Order out of chaos was the principle that he and others of his ilk followed.

In truth, the true leaders of the Illuminati considered Archbishop Carmichael to be a useful idiot whose local influence had helped their agenda considerably, and one who was ultimately easily disposed of. While the archbishop ranked higher in the ranks of the Illuminati than a thirty-third-degree Freemason, he actually knew little of the true higher ranks that were deeply steeped in the occult, and who practiced ritual human sacrifice, child abuse, and other horrible acts on a regular basis.

If the archbishop had suspected that he had himself participated in supplying victims for these dark deeds, he might have run screaming from the Illuminati, seeking help from the only ones who might be able to do anything about it: the Justice Society of America. But, unknown to him, Archbishop Carmichael had long been a victim of trauma-based mind-control techniques that had been used for centuries in the bloodlines of the Illuminati, formalized in Nazi Germany, honed by German scientists brought into the CIA through Project Paperclip, tested on unwitting subjects through Project MK-Ultra, and finally perfected under the more secretive Project Monarch, whose symbol was the butterfly. Long ago, when he had been a young seminary student, the archbishop’s mind had been forcefully fragmented into hundreds of alters, which was standard practice for Illuminati operatives.

The archbishop whom everyone in the community knew as a man of God and a man of the cloth was merely his front-alter, who had been kept completely oblivious to all the other alters. As such, he was comfortable with where he was placed, and had few ambitions beyond his station. His loyalties had always been to the society that had fostered his family since before they’d left Ireland. He had moved up in the ranks slowly and had never sought higher positions himself. Like most of the lower ranks of the Illuminati and its many branches, Archbishop Carmichael was an idealist and truly believed that he was helping to usher in a paradise on earth. He little suspected how truly dark and devilish the Illuminati really was. When viewed on a spiritual level, even Vandal Savage himself was ultimately a pawn of the other-dimensional entity known by some as Lucifer.

Archbishop Carmichael rarely exerted his influence through the Illuminati, except for when the Roman Catholic Church, of which he was a part, had threatened his beloved causes in Gotham City: the Saint Mary Magdalene Orphanage and the Saint Joan of Arc Homeless Shelter. He had kept both the orphanage and the shelter going for the last thirty years, ever since he was just a young priest. His front-alter would have been horrified if he had known that both institutions had also supplied the Illuminati with regular victims for its ritual sacrifices over the last three decades. Unwanted children and the homeless were easily disposed of without any questions asked.

But things had taken a turn recently, when three members of the Council of Seven that he reported to had been summarily slaughtered. His handler, the man who could bring to the forefront any alter he wished, had been among those who’d been killed. (*) Thus, Archbishop Carmichael had unknowingly been cut loose from the Illuminati, his front-alter retaining control of his mind. The pressure from all the other alters might eventually cause him to have a nervous breakdown, but for now the archbishop was of sound mind, and all those in the orphanage and shelter were kept safe, at least until the Illuminati’s organizational structure could be rebuilt.

[(*) Editor’s note: See Showcase: The Illuminati: Trouble at the Top.]

Although the archbishop really knew very little about the inner workings of the Illuminati, he knew enough to have seen something like this happen before. In the 1970s, during Vandal Savage’s first long absence, an ambitious member of his inner circle had seized control of the Illuminati, when Savage himself was thought to have died in prison, despite his reputed immortality.

Now there was again a vacuum at the top of the ancient organization, and a struggle to take Savage’s place would begin soon. The fighting for that top position would be fiercest and most bloody in Europe, where the ancient seats of power existed, and where the Illuminati had its strongest influence over the centuries. But no squabble in Europe would remain there for long; it would cross the Atlantic soon, pulling the one-time colonies into the fight as well. The Jesuits would be at the forefront, along with the banking families led by the Rothschilds and the Rockefellers.

Archbishop Carmichael had no interest in seizing the top position himself, even if he was in a position to do so, but he wanted to ensure that the infighting in Europe wouldn’t spill over to the Americas and result in another bloody war. His own influence over the U.S. military and the drug cartels in Central America could be used against the Europeans, if need be. Despite everything, he still held great influence over several Illuminati-funded organizations in Gotham City and the East Coast.

Keeping the status quo intact wasn’t necessarily the best way to show leadership, but it did keep things from getting too messy. Wars were often troublesome affairs, and in twenty-eight years of experience, Carmichael had never known of any that didn’t have some unwanted side-effects as well. World War II had brought to prominence the Justice Society and mystery-men in general, and those that would follow them as heroes.

The Vietnam War, on the other hand, had helped cause a shift of trust in the hidden hands that controlled the world. Carmichael had told them that Nixon would fail them, and he was proven right. It was only by pure luck that Nixon had escaped a death sentence; Kennedy and Johnson hadn’t been so lucky, though only that rabble-rouser Kennedy was chosen for a public assassination, rather than a quiet death supposedly by natural causes as Johnson had experienced.

Ronald Reagan, the great communicator, had demanded the fall of the Berlin wall, but these events had been preordained almost to the week some forty years earlier. Reagan had also been meant to die in that 1981 assassination attempt, but he’d proven stronger than originally believed.

The United States had been built on the seeds of rebellion and independent spirits. People such as Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt had turned it from an agrarian country into a superpower among the nations. During the twentieth century, U.S. military power had only been seriously challenged once, and then they had risen to the occasion after the near-eradication of the Pacific fleet in 1941 to win the war on two fronts.

The American spirit was a defiant one and a proud one; Carmichael had used that spirit several times to drive home a point to his European counterparts during his slow rise to the top. But it was also a unifying spirit. Given the right man in charge, the United States could create a global government that would make both the Illuminati and the United Nations seem weak in comparison.

In Carmichael’s opinion, Jay Garrick wasn’t the man for that particular job — if anything, he would have been better off with a cabinet appointment. There was one leader among men he believed had the proper credentials, but had shown little interest in politics: Richard Grayson. His mentor, the late Bruce Wayne, had been such a man as well. But both had also been too independent to be instruments of the Illuminati. They were too perceptive, intelligent, and dedicated to the cause of justice to be controlled either willingly or unwillingly.

Men such as these could seize the Illuminati from Vandal Savage and ensure that he could never again take it back, changing the landscape of the world’s politics for the first time since the organization’s inception. Carmichael needed such men, but instead America had elected Stan Gunderson and his Humanist Party.

The Gotham archbishop had been so disgusted by the election results that he decided it was about time that the Committee to Re-energize American Politics made their final, post-election broadcast. While the Illuminati in Europe were distracted by infighting, Archbishop Carmichael made the call under his own authority.

Thus it was that across America at nine P.M., Eastern Standard Time, the channels on the week following the election were pirated again.

***

Alan Scott sat on the edge of his couch, clad in a business suit, as his network’s regular broadcasts were interrupted. “Honey, come look at this — they did it again, only this time they’re attacking everyone else!”

“I’ll call the station and see what they can do,” Molly Scott replied as she adjusted her earrings, but they both knew that by the time the plug could be pulled, it would already be over. Besides, they were already late for a dinner date with Jay and Joan Garrick.

***

“Have you had your fill of big business lackeys who claim to represent the family values we hold dear? All they hold dear are the kickbacks from their anonymous supporters. Tired of hearing how the tobacco industry knew of the deadly effects of their products, yet pushed them all the same, using celebrities as spokesmen? What of congressmen who claim to be trying to reform for the betterment of the environment, yet allow corporations to pollute without more than a slap on the wrist?” Scenes displaying Republican secret meetings with large corporations were shown, followed by charts indicating how certain Republican candidates’ bank accounts grew each time they did favors for big business.

“America may be the land of opportunity, but who is getting those promised opportunities? What is our government’s penal system doing to discourage dangerous felons? What of the decreasing level of education? Or of family and moral values? Do we have the people we want in the offices where they are needed? Do we have people whose reputations and values are beyond reproach?” Further scenes of tireless Democratic crusaders were shown in vacation spots during certain votes. Other scenes showed how both Republicans and Democrats were lining their pockets and using governmental privileges to get out of legal entanglements.

“This broadcast was brought to you by the Committee to Re-energize American Politics.”

The whole broadcast continued for a total of ten minutes and dug up dirt on elected representatives from each of the two major parties. It would never be broadcast again, or even acknowledged by the corporate media with anything more than a grudging mention. The few people who managed to videotape the broadcast would share their copy with others for years to come. Most people would forget about it, but it would have the effect of radicalizing a handful to work for real change.

The election was long over, so the broadcast had no power to do anything except inform the American people that their electoral system truly was nothing more than a sham. It was, Archbishop Carmichael knew, just a hail Mary pass.

The repercussions of this broadcast — and the accompanying documents sent to both the federal authorities and the media — would have a ripple effect throughout both major parties over the next few years, painfully forcing them to rid themselves of their most exposed party members. Archbishop Carmichael wasn’t going to let anyone short of Vandal Savage stop him from carrying through with his plans to undo the damage caused by the Vietnam War and Presidents Johnson and Nixon. If he had to tear down the entire political structure to fix things, he’d do it. If one good thing was going to come out of this election, it was going to be that the two main parties could again be trusted to serve the people. Being out of power while the Humanist Party held the White House might humble them enough to really clean things up from within.

Patrick Carmichael wasn’t really that naïve; he knew things would always remain unbalanced in favor of the rich and powerful. But he still liked to stir the pot every once in a while.

***

From his own hidden location, Vandal Savage watched the aftermath of the second broadcast with interest; Archbishop Carmichael had exposed almost every dirty secret he knew on all the Washington power players. Of course, for his own protection he didn’t go so far as to expose those who were members of the Illuminati, but he exposed enough to throw the American political system into chaos for the next few years.

Carmichael operated out of practicality and common sense, and he’d never taken risks before unless he had a solid footing. Even then, they were mostly small risks, as he’d never wanted to lose the prestige his family’s long association with Savage’s organization had given him.

Vandal Savage never knew that the archbishop had it in him. He found himself almost admiring the man for a moment. Of course, he’d have to have the archbishop killed as a practical measure; he couldn’t afford to let his subordinates think they could just go around doing whatever they pleased. It would be a quiet death, possibly of cancer, or perhaps, more scandalously, of AIDS. He wouldn’t bother discrediting Carmichael with a child pornography charge — there would be no point. No, Archbishop Carmichael would go out quietly.

It was a real shame. Carmichael was a true idealist and had earnestly wanted to correct what he’d seen as horrendous mistakes. It was useful to have true believers like the good archbishop in charge; they had the ability to inspire those below them to commit even the most horrendous acts, as long as their ideological beliefs told them it was for the betterment of humanity.

Yes, people now distrusted their government far more than they had in the 1960s and during other times of civil unrest, but that could be used to his advantage as well.

Vandal Savage had always taken the long view. Even a momentary setback could not impede the general course of history that he had planned centuries earlier.

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