"Will you state your name for the record, please?"
"And this is your hero identity, correct?"
"Yes, it is."
smiled in approval and then continued. "Your powers are psychic in
"Yes. I am what you would call an empath. I can
sense what others are feeling, as well as control the minds of others."
Beguiler stated into the microphone. His violet eyes swept over the
crowd gathered in the courtroom.
"How would you describe the way you
use your powers when crimefighting?" Maria Perez walked in front of
the desk, casually flipping through her file as she asked her questions.
"I use them to confuse groups or mentally subdue them." he responded.
"Do you go into peopleís minds uninvited?"
"Mind read, you mean? Iím
an empath. I read emotions, not thoughts." the hero watched the attorney
pace in front of him. He felt ridiculous in the helmet that had been
put on him. Designed to contain his psychic powers while in court,
it was large and cumbersome, not to mention, he mused, completely
unfashionable, and made his head itch.
"But do you go into peopleís
"I can sense what others are feeling like one cannot
help smelling pastries being made while strolling through a bakery.
If anything, I have to keep people out."
"So when you sensed the emotions
of Raymond Von Dorn, was it intentional?"
"No. When someone has such
strong feelings, it can still get through my psychic shielding."
would you describe his mental state?"
"Objection!" Blurted out the
defense attorney. "Beguiler is not a psychiatrist and not qualified
to comment on my clientís mental state."
"Sustained." sighed the judge,
a spindly middle-aged woman. Every few questions, Mr. Danforth, the
defense counsel would object.
Gritting her teeth, and silently cursing
Danforth, Maria rephrased.
"How did it appear to you?"
I have come across all kinds of monsters as a hero." He looked directly
at the defendant, whose attorney had successfully petitioned an appeal.
"I have found the worst ones are those that look like everyone else.
His emotions were in some sort of psycho-sexual afterglow."
"Normally, I donít go meddling in peopleís fantasies.
Behind closed doors, and all. But what was so disturbing was that
the images going over in his head was that of a child."
filled with people, gasped simultaneously. The murmuring got loud,
and the judge banged her gavel to silence them.
"Order!" she barked.
"So you would say you had probable cause?"
"Yes. I would say so."
"Thank you, no further questions. Your witness." she sat back down,
flipping a stray lock of black hair.
"You donít go meddling in peopleís
fantasies, you say?" asked Mr. Danforth, who looked every bit like
a serpent coiled to strike.
"What they do, as long as no one else
is hurt, is their business."
"How do you know my client wasnít fantasizing?"
"A mental fantasy never has the mental clarity that a true memory
does. It would be like an out of focus photo compared to one that
is in focus. Fantasies tend to be more fluid in the mind." Beguiler
hated this helmet. He wanted to know what direction the attorney was
coming at him from. Damn psychic oath Sister Psyche drafted for the
courts. She was as annoyingly goody-goody as Statesman.
fantasies are very strong, though, wouldnít you agree?"
drew the word out. He was getting nervous with this damned helmet
on. "They can be."
"Allow me to present to the court as evidence the
journal kept by Mr. VonDorn while incarcerated. In it he has detailed
several fantasies regarding hisÖpreferences." Danforth produced a
small leather book from his briefcase. "The writing that my client
uses is so clear and so descriptive, it almost makes you feel that
you were there."
Beguiler gave the attorney an irritated look. "Iíll
mention it to my book club." he muttered.
"I also brought in Mr. VonDornís
psychiatric records. In it, you will see that while he was competent
enough to stand trial last year, his fantasies are so strong and intense,
they are, in effect, a second set of memories. So," answered the defense
attorney with a smarmy look on his face, "are we going to start making
The trial went downhill for the prosecution;
the judge ruled that Beguiler had indeed broken the Psychic Intrusion
Law, and therefore, any evidence obtained as a result of it was not
admissible. Since the prosecutionís case had been based on the mountain
of evidence obtained at VonDornís condo, it crumbled. To top it off,
Beguiler had been fined for violating the law, and had to perform
50 hours of non-heroic community service.
Back at the DAís office,
Beguiler tried to console Maria, but he was too upset to even try.
"Donít worry, weíll get him." he knew, however, the words were meaningless.
"Well, it wonít be for the rape of McKenzie Webb. He canít be tried
twice for the same crime once heís been acquitted." she sighed.
the bloody problem with this country. The criminals are given way
too much protection." he growled.
"The thing is, Beguiler, if you
had gone to the authorities first with your discovery, a warrant could
have been obtained, and VonDorn would be doing time legitimately."
she crossed her arms and scowled at him. "Here, we have laws about
"There was no time to go get a warrant, Maria."
anger flashed in his eyes. "I had just caught him post-crime! Tell
you what, Iíll do that next time I see a Hellion mugging someone in
Atlas Park or if the Circle of Thorns are about to turn some bloody
soccer mom into a screaming she-demon!" He exhaled sharply. "For all
the "protection" the Psychic Intrusion Law gives, it prevents people
like me from fighting crime effectively." He grabbed his jacket. "Iíve
got to go."
He left the building, disgusted with lawyers and their
foolish laws. A year ago, defense attorneys began to complain that
due to the emergence of psychic superheroes, the minds of criminals
were just as off-limits when it came to searches, much like a car
or apartment. Under well-played public pressure, Sister Psyche had
drafted up the Psychic Intrusion Law, which passed in Paragon City
unanimously. Similar laws sprang up around the country in suit.
looked up at the sky; twilight was gathering, and the first, brightest
stars of the night sky could be seen. He remembered the mocking look
VonDorn had given him as he left the courtroom. He had every intention
of making the depraved fantasy he had written down come to life, and
Running down the street in the direction of Eastgate, Beguiler
knew he had a very small window of opportunity to act. Psychic Intrusion
Law be damned; what he was about to do was the right thing, and everyone
would know it.
"Thanks for sending Mr. Danforth, Clarry." Ray said
as he twirled a glass of scotch.
"No problem. The man is quite a genius
at getting around legal problems with the capes." came the Countessí
voice over the phone line. "But donít call me Clarry."
now that youíre a free man, what are your plans?"
"I havenít really
thought about it."
"Well, hereís a something you might try; sue the
hero who had you arrested. A civil trial would ruin him publicly and
financially. Revenge of the legal kind." she intimated.
at the thought; Beguiler ruined in more ways than could be imagined.
With a civil trial, it was all about character assassination and anything
could be brought out.
"Can Danforth help me with that?"
it with the judge in the morning."
"Cool. Thanks again, cousin."
Ray suddenly heard his cousin talking to someone else
who had just entered the room with her. He could hear her whispering
in a harsh tone, but couldnít quite make it out. He heard the words
"Revenant", and "clonal degeneration," but decided they didnít relate
"Ray, Iíve got to get going. Duty calls."
"You coming to the
"Wouldnít miss it for the world. And Ray?"
"Be a little
more discreet, will you?"
"Sure thing." he looked over at his latest
acquisition, a beautiful little girl. He had her drugged, but he knew
that soon, she would be waking up. Then, the celebration of his legal
victory would begin.
"Sure thing." he repeated, and then hung up.
Beguiler stood outside the house, watching him. He knew he should
call the police; after all, Ray had a child with him right now. But
he also knew that Rayís oily attorney would throw up so many objections,
he would end up confusing both judge and jury.
No, Beguiler thought,
it ends here. He proceeded up the inviting walkway to the front door.
Ray was surprised to see Beguiler standing there when he had opened
the door. He greeted the hero with the same smug sneer he had in the
courtroom earlier that day.
If he was waiting for the British hero
to go into some cliched speech about how he would never get away with
it, and justice would prevail, Raymond VonDorn was going to be disappointed.
The empathís mind grabbed the pedophileís, and proceeded to rip through
layers and layers consciousness.
What right does one like you have
to even exist? Beguiler asked angrily. You do not love, you do not
care for anyone or anything beyond your own perversions.
to fight against what was happening, but proved to be no match for
the highly skilled psychic.
Proceeding from lobe to lobe in the manís
mind, Beguiler began to disconnect his synapses, disrupting how his
brain functioned. Leaving the basic functions intact, like blood flow,
Beguiler took away voluntary skills, like speech and movement, leaving
the depraved cousin of Countess Crey a statue of flesh.
with the man, Beguiler began to go from one part to another, erasing
all sense of who he was, why he was, and left only in his mind the
memories of what he had done. Having removed all feelings of pleasure
Raymond might have felt from replaying his memories, Beguiler enhanced
the manís feelings of guilt and mentally linked the two. Satisfied
with what he had done, the hero removed himself from Raymondís mind
and walked away into the night.
Unable to move, incapable of speech,
Raymond just stood at the door, a look of profound shock and terror
frozen on his face.
Months had gone by since Beguilerís attack
on Ray. The police received too much public pressure about pursuing
the assailant of a pedophile. In their minds, as well as the communityís,
whoever had fried Ray VonDornís mind had done a public service.
Crey, however, wanted Beguiler found, dead or alive, but preferably
dead. Her private security forces had finally closed in on where they
thought he was, but they were too late.
Beguiler and his sister, another
psychic named Psirene, had vanished. No one knew where. All of his
neighbors had said they saw some trucks come by one morning, overseen
by men in business suits and tommy guns.
Knowing that Beguiler would
be untouchable while he was in league with The Family, the Countess
called off the search. She would, like always, bide her time. Eventually,
Beguiler would slip up, and when he did, she would be ready.