Category:Miami Superheroine Scandal
From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
WARNING! MATURE CONTENT BELOW!
Characters. stories, and other articles in this category are all tied together by a sequence of events in Miami immediately following the Rikti Invasion. It led to the downfall (even death) of several heroes, and affected lives across the nation, even as far as the Rogue Isles. Also known as the Miami Commission scandal or the 'Bondage heroine' scandal.
Miami wasn't as hard hit by the Ritki invasion as other parts of the world. They did however lose most of their heroes and military. When new heroes began to emerge, the city instituted the Superhero Oversight Commission, or simply 'the Commission' as it became known, to police the heroes. The Oversight commission comprised of the chief of police, the Emergency Services commissioner, and two aldermen, and was chaired by the deputy Mayor. For the first three months the Commission worked well, then inexplicably, things changed..
The Commission started pushing for numerous strict laws to how heroes were to be registered, trained, and monitored. Soon, Miami got the nickname 'The city of paper pushers' by the hero community due to its policies. Registered heroes got police powers, law enforcement support, health and medical benefits and a small stipend. Unfortunately, they also had to requisition support, account for evidence, follow police procedure and seek prior approval for costumes, names, and even interviews and endorsements. Unregistered heroes however, were hounded almost constantly to register and were stringently prosecuted for any broken laws. Many a 'rogue', as they were called, were shocked to be charged with interfering with emergency personnel or assault for a rescue or capture and sued civilly for damages. Most of these charges were thrown out by judges almost as soon as they were presented but it was an indicator of the level of power 'The Commission' wielded. Despite this thought heroes did work in the town to make it a better place until the scandal...
It started with a little known fetish magazine called Bondage Heroine. The magazine catered to the 'Damsel in Distress/Role player' crowd but was considered almost soft porn, due more to the scantily clad costumes some of the models wore for the pictorials, than the actual articles in the magazine itself. What made this magazine notable, however, was its publisher/main photographer Adam Orlando and his models.
Though privately wealthy through an large inheritance, Adam Orlando kept his endeavor low cost, even to the point of living in his studio/office, and using local service bureaus and copy shops to publish his magazine. He also worked as an informant on the red light district for the police, even helping to provide 'cover' stories for some of the undercover officers.. provided they worked a day in his studio either as a model or assistant. Surprisingly, a small clique formed among the undercover cops called the 'Blue Bondageers' or the BB club. It proved to be a very effective cover arrangement on both sides.
He would have continued that way if not for a conversation he'd had with Det. Lisa Montenagro over lunch. They had become friends when she had been sent in undercover to investigate him in a pornography sting operation. After determining that he ran a 'clean' operation, the investigation was discontinued but they remained friends and came up with using the operation as a cover identity.
During the lunch, Det. Montenagro commented on the trouble new heroes were having getting money for equipment since the new rules came out raising their prices. Adam nodded absently then caught the glint from the BB Lisa wore as a pendant when he got an idea. He would help new heroes on the side secretly by becoming a contact. It would have to be kept in the strictest confidences but he was used to that. Soon a rumor was circulating about a man looking for help of the heroic persuasion.
The arrangement worked for a majority but a few heroes and heroines refused the help. They had come to Miami to 'make it on their own' and accepting an handout wouldn't allow them to do that. Two heroines in particular were suffering over this decision. A scrapper by the name of Wild Childs (who defined the term 'high strung') and a defender called Crystal Storm, a shy and timid woman from England who just wanted to help people. They were a regular team but their abilities didn't mesh well together. It led to numerous trips to the hospital for both of them and the unflattering nickname 'Teamwipe'. After a particularly nasty mission, Adam had had enough and almost begged them to take the money and they again declined..then he got an idea. If they would come and work a day in his studio, he would pay them for it. They were about to refuse again when he said they would earn their money. Reluctantly, they agreed.
When the day came they arrived and helped with the shoots. By the end of the day Wild Childs had participated in a few scenes, suitably disguised to protect her identity, and even got her partner to do one.
The money the heroines received seemed to be the boost they needed and their careers skyrocketed. Bondage Heroine also seemed to improve with the pictures. Even disguised and under an alias, there was something that made them stand out from the others.
For the next few months other heroines took his offer and their careers also soared. Then one morning a group of new heroes went to talk to Mr.Orlando concerning a recent mission when they discovered the meeting place ablaze. Eventually the fire was put out but despite their and others heroic efforts, they were too late to save Mr. Orlando. His studio also suffered an attack, completely destroying it.
The police concluded that retaliation by a villain group was responsible and proceeded to look for the group but had few leads. What was certain, however, was that his magazine was done ... until two weeks later when the new issue came out.
At 8am on Wed. the 20th, every subscriber received a copy of Bondage Heroine #16. It was also delivered to every radio, TV, and newspaper, as well as all the elected officials in Miami. What made it unusual was the content. The two picture 'spreads' were not posed, but actual crimes that had been committed; each ended with the death of the heroine in question. The story involved a serial killer who hunted heroines and was very graphic but the most controversial was a story entitled simply "Where are they now?". It had the name of the real heroine besides the pictures she posed for plus the amount of money she was 'paid' for it.
The Witch Hunt
The response was astonishing. Every paper ran them as well as TV. The commission immediately suspended the licenses of the heroines named in the article and demanded that mercenary groups be brought in to keep the peace. The deputy mayor in particular was adamant. Stating 'It is time we brought in properly trained and regulated forces to protect our city, and get rid of these self serving, vigilante degenerates once and for all!'
It wasn't until the final suspension hearings, that things got worse. The commission used them to conduct a modern day witch hunt. Any hero and heroine that had even the remotest contact with the heroines were subpoenaed and 'questioned', also making a point of exposing any failures or problems the hero had in the past. They were particularly interested in those that had worked with Crystal Storm, asking about her contacts and efforts.
When Grey Brawler, a young hero who had spent time in England and had been mentored by her and Wild Childs for a time, took the stand, they probed her connections in England, insinuating that he was involved. Unfortunately the hero had a temper and this set it off. He had to be removed from the proceedings. Finally, the Heroine in question took the stand. The Aldermen took turns questioning her on her past, record and relationships, bringing up the closeness of Wild Childs and her. Each question became more intimate, filled with innuendo. However, they saved the worst for last.
Just when the Aldermen and the Chief of Police had exhausted their questions, the Deputy Mayor interrupted the Commissioner and asked about any siblings Ms. Brighton had. Her face turned white when he used her real name. Before she could respond, he continued, asking if she'd had any contact with her brother, Ian Brighton aka The Negotiator General, an arms dealer and villain based in England.
The room fell silent as he went on to accuse her of being an advance agent for her 'beloved' brother and was sent here to undermine the good people of Miami with her debauchery. The information had been recorded in her file but had not been made public for privacy issues; a letter was also filed from "Her Majesty's Royal Guard", the preeminent hero regulation organization in England, stating that she had not contact at all with him. However, for her this was the straw that broke the camels back. As the shouting erupted in the room she fled in tears.
Her friends tried to find her but found no trace, until a call around 3 am brought police to the front of the Portal Corp Tower, a 50ft office building in Miami. There they discovered the dead body of Elli Brighton, aka Crystal Storm, along with a suicide note simply apologizing to her friends for not being as strong as they were.
Crystal Storm's apparent suicide galvanized the hero community. Editorial letters were printed from prominent heroes accusing the Commission of gross abuses and character assassinations. Police unions started debating whether to strike in protest over the treatment of the heroes. Some heroes just resigned and left Miami altogether for other cities, fed up with the politics. Calls from some of the public to replace the Commission members also rose.
However, for one of them involved it was too late. Wild Childs took Crystal's death hard. She hardly spoke until the time came to send Crystal's remains back to England. Despite prior arrangements, she was denied an exit visa stating that she was under investigation for unnamed crimes. Despite this she went anyway through unknown means. When she returned, the Miami police were waiting for her with an arrest warrant. At that point, the people there said Wild Childs snapped. She easily dealt with the four officers that were there to arrest her, leaving them unconsious and fleeing the scene. She wasn't seen til that night in the 'red light' district where she went on a rampage, destroying the porn stores and injuring the owners. When police arrived, one of the officers charged her blind spot intending on subduing her with his billy club. She killed him, his partner, and two customers in a rage. By then two heroes arrived and attacked her, knocking her out, but the damage was done.
The next day the Commission spokesman, the Deputy mayor,called a press conference in the hearing room. There, along with the aldermen and the police chief, he went on another tirade about the heroes, and renewed his call for mercenary groups to be called in. When asked about mitigating circumstances in Wild Childs case, he replied. "Crystal Storm's suicide was the best thing she could have done for the city. It means one less deviant we have to get rid of."
The shock on the faces of the media and heroes, not to mention one of the Aldermen's faces was understandable. However, for the Grey Brawler, who was in attendance, it was the last straw. Shouting "YOU SON OF A BITCH!" he leapt at the deputy mayor and before anyone could stop him, land a punch squarely on his jaw. No one expected the 'klang' sound that came from the impact, or the yell of pain from Grey Brawler as he clutched his hand.
The room fell silent and the eyes of the Deputy Mayor, Chief of Police, one of the aldermen, and a few of the people in attendance started to glow red. Then in a mechanical voice the Deputy Mayor said: "UNIT IDENTITY DISCOVERED: SANITATION PROCEDURES IMPLEMENTED." He then backhanded the Grey Brawler into a wall across the room. A confused and desperate battle broke out, with half the heroes trying to protect the civilians, the other half attacking the now obvious robots, the robots attacking both the heroes and the civilians, and the civilians trying to just get out of the way and survive. In the end the heroes prevailed, but all the robots self-destructed and melted down into slag before anyone could analyze them.
The word spread like wildfire about the incident. Everyone was talking about it and it seemed to shake things up in the criminal community. Soon tips were beginning to pour in about the location of the printer of the magazine and by midday a Task Force was formed and launched a raid against the suspected location, a warehouse near the waterfront. What they discovered disturbed them all. Over 30 Arachnos agents were strewn about the base, all at least 6 hours dead. Also found were the bodies of the Deputy mayor, the Chief of Police and the one replaced alderman, a few more slagged robots, numerous copies of Bondage Heroine 16, and evidence that this had been a 'rogue' operation, not sanctioned by Arachnos.
Just like that, it was over, but the aftermath is still being felt today...
The shake up after the exposure of the Commission touched all parts of the Miami community. Mandatory quarterly medical checkups were implemented for all supervisor levels and above in the government. Which as a side effect raise the overall health conditions in management due to early diagnosis of problems or diseases. Fortunately, it also outed a couple of super-villains that had secret identities in the government. However it also outed a few vigilantes as well. Those cases were quietly pardoned through the assistance of the Florida Governor's office, though said vigilantes were asked to 'resign' with full benefits while the villains were just fired and registered with the police in case of future criminal activities.
A new deputy police chief was appointed from the ranks of the police to replace the one appointed to the Chief. A Pro-hero captain by the name of Lisa Montenagro, who had been promoted, was tapped for it and she worked long and hard to regain the trust of the hero community. The commission was reformed with some lower level positions filling the spaces as an effort to distance itself from the local government. This included the Deputy chief of police, head of the hero recruitment department, the Emergency response director, who had served on the original committee and the only pro hero voice there at the time, and a couple of junior alderman. The other survivor of the previous Commission, Alderman 'Righteous' Mike Rooney, was killed a month afterwards by persons unknown, though the Negotiator General was seen in Miami around the time of his death and is being sought for questioning in the matter.
Wild Childs trial was short and received little coverage. It seemed to be a matter of rare respect among the news media. With the reports from the court psychologists, she was declared not guilty by reason of mental defect. For safety reasons she was sent to the mental wing of the Ziggurat penal facility in Paragon City.
Grey Brawler left Miami three months after the trial, for reasons unknown. Rumors state that he had a 'unlucky streak a mile wide' though others said it was becasue of a broken heart. Oddly enough, his resurfacing in Paragon City seems to support the latter rumor and hints at a possible meeting between Wild Childs and him.