CHAPTER 23 – II
Rae and Ko fought more than Cain and Abel. Though they were genetically identical and shared the same upbringing (and captivity), the two children of Hanci continued to drift apart. On virtually every issue, regardless of importance, they disagreed. It all started during their long captivity at the hands of Janifer Pompea. These were their formative years where they were developing their view of the world, and of themselves. Their jailer, Evan Tim, had a long and complicated history with Janifer himself. She had coerced him into her employ, and then stationed him as a warden-of-sorts, overseeing her copious captives. Evan was clearly very conflicted about his role, and that conflict came out in the many interactions he had with his (literally) captive audience. He would ramble on about this thing or that for hours at a time, often contradicting himself or arguing against something he had said moments before. In this back-and-forth environment, Rae and Ko found themselves siding with different sides of Evan’s personality. When Evan would leave the twins alone, they would then debate each other over the state of the world outside of their prison walls. The essence of their disagreements generally boiled down to this basic dichotomy: masses of individuals banding together to take control of authority versus a select few individuals seizing authority to best serve the masses. Neither option was possible from their cells, of course, but after their release and reintegration into society, the debates continued to rage.
Things came to a head between the twins during Hanci’s run for Attorney General. Ko enthusiastically supported his mother and was a big fan of Stievo’s work with the FBI. Rae, on the contrary, was horrified by the law-and-order turn that his family had taken. He drew his inspiration from the man-of-the-people movement led by Aricame. Rae had had enough. Realizing that there was no middle ground between himself and his brother/mother, he left town. Though Texas had only been his home for a short while, Rae had made friends all over the state. Many of whom were involved in unsavory activities and criminal enterprise. It was with a few such friends that Rae went to after leaving him. In short order, Rae became involved in bank robberies, weapons trafficking, and a whole host of illicit transgressions. These crimes not only drew the ire of the state’s new AG (and the more loyal of her sons), but also the local vigilante groups. Of course, these groups were not above breaking some laws themselves – but only for the great good and never for reasons as base as greed and power. It was a rare occasion during this period where cops and vigilantes, badges and masks, came together to fight crime together.
After the Chicago Showdown, Aricame had stepped back from leadership of the national vigilante movement, leaving regional groups to organize themselves. This created an opening for Stievo. He changed course, reversing his office’s policy toward vigilantism. A new version of Operation Ahriman was disseminated: team with these extra-legal groups when it was advantageous to do so. He was going to steal Aricame’s network of wannabe superheroes away from him. It was the second time he had to compromise his values in order to gain some leverage on his rival, but he deemed it necessary.
As one Champion on the east coast began to prepare for operations against another Champion on the west coast, the center-south of the country was to act as the arena for the competition. The tragic fight that would follow would not only set opposing factions against each other, but also pit twin against twin.
Even rebels value ritual
Direction on what they can’t and can
Not religious, but spiritual
Most people really just need a plan