|Some Ethical Concerns|
|What: A chat about how the JLA should operate|
It is just a routine meeting and most people skip those. In fact, it is rare to see Firestorm in one of them; he just reads the summary logs. Most of these meetings deal with security protocols, updated super-crime records and government crime statistics, requests of assistance from this or that federal or local agency and some requests of public appearance, but almost always for Superman or Wonder Woman. Firestorm looked bored most of the time, only checking with mild interest some stuff from Star Labs and the NASA. But once the meeting was adjourned and the military people gone, he clears his throat. “Wait, can we talk for a little longer? I have... a couple things in mind.”
"You...have a concern?" J'onn often *does* show up for meetings, although he usually leaves the second the military people do, back to whatever it is he does between League missions. Some hints as to that come when he occasionally has a titbit of information about this terrorist, or that organized crime group. Shapeshifter and telepath add together to make the perfect spy. He was, in fact, starting to stand up, but as Firestorm asks that, he sits back down. Note. J'onn ALWAYS sits as far away from Firestorm as possible.
Colossus usually just telecommutes for meetings since he doesn't fly and a physical presence isn't normally required. This time though he had some business with some Titans so scheduled it all together. As Firestorm speaks up, he looks inquiring.
Aspen might look a bit out of place, what with Firestorm being on fire and Manhunter being green and even if Colossus isn't metal, he's probably in costume. Aspen is in jeans and a T-shirt. She makes every meeting. Because her personal assistant schedules them for her. That doesn't meant that she doesn't bring other work with her however, and she was going through that on a tablet while listening, focus shifting to that as the meeting drew to a close. Firestorm's words bring her head up, looking at him and the others. Since J'onn asked the question, she waits for the reply.
“Yeah, concerns.” Firestorm has noticed how J’onn seems to avoid him, but that is not the matter he wants to treat. “About our... well, operating procedures. We are a now operating like some kind of troubleshooting law-enforcement group, we have a lot of freedom in how we act and a vast amount of power in our hands. We all have some experience in fighting crime independently, most of you a lot more than me, but we have used different procedures. The only time we fought something together was in Zatanna’s house, when those monsters attacked. And I think we were too quick to use deadly force.”
"I assure you...I would not have used deadly force had those monsters been...anything I was worried about killing." The implication there is quite solid. "I would never, for example, kill a human unless there was truly NO other choice." J'onn is very polite to Firestorm. He just...won't sit next to him.
"Demons." Colossus corrects. "When those demons attacked. Demons are accurately named and I have some experience with them." Granted, it's Illyana who has the real experience but he knows more than enough to believe the only good demon is a dead demon. "Zatanna certainly know how best to deal with them so if you are feeling guilty about it, I can assure you there is no need."
Aspen wasn't at the incident in question, and so her attention goes between the three men that sit on the table. Her tablet has been set off to the side, the conversation getting all of her attention even if she hasn't said anything. "I think that most of us are opposed to using deadly force." She agrees, looking thoughtful.
Firestorm looks at Colossus, nodding. Yes, he is feeling guilty. “Demon. Well, I am not sure about those labels. They looked like monsters from a nightmare, but if they were sentient beings, or even if they weren’t... I think maybe we could have subdued them without killing. At least we could have tried harder.”
"I was trusting Zatanna's expertise on the matter...and trust me, what I sensed telepathically. I do not believe there is any reason to feel guilt. However, there is always reason to work first with restraint." He's actually quite pleased that Firestorm is bringing this up. Demons: Unusual situation.
"I believe the phrase 'evil incarnate' applies here." Colossus tells everyone. "I am no expert though so it is probably Zatanna who should be explaining about demons. But they are definitely a special case. Had we been fighting humans, I'm certain everyone would have treated the situation very differently."
"Just humans?" Aspen asks, looking to Colossus. Though she's sitting, she still raises her hands, palms out as she looks to all three. "Just hear me out. I figure I know what you mean. But listen to what you said. You're a mutant. Some argue that you're not human. I'm Blue. I'm humanOID but not human, even if I thought I was for a long time." She nods over to J'onn. "Definitely not human." She opens her mouth as she looks over to Firestorm and then shakes her head. "Not sure what you are." She says spologetically with a smile. "But obviously, we define 'right to live' a bit differently if Firestorm is asking." She says with a motion towards him. "And for those that didn't know what the creatures are, you're basically asking for the trust in the rest of us that you define 'right to life' the same way as you do." She says, looking to J'onn and Colossus.
“Exactly, she is right,” says Firestrom. “Evil incarnate? Are you absolutely sure, Colossus? Total, completely sure there was no redeeming trait whatsoever in any of those creatures we fought that day? I think we need to give the benefit of the doubt to everyone we meet, even if they are trying to eat our faces. Doubly so if they can’t really eat our faces because we are stronger. There were no civilians endangered there either. And really... we are now the example other superhumans are going to show. Not just the Titans. So... I really think we need to set an example of restrain.”
Stubborn. And fiery. "I do believe Zatanna *could* explain this better. But most of the time, we will not be fighting demons. Most of the time, in fact, we will be fighting those who deserve their day in court." J'onn, both acknowledging that Firestorm is right and holding to his own guns. "I agree that we are an example."
"No, not just humans." Colossus responds patiently. "It was an example. And the various possibilities are too numerous to list. And yes, I'm certain the demons I'm familiar with have no redeeming traits. Granted, I did not know those specifically but I trust Zatanna's advice and when she says stabbing them is the only way to kill them, I take that as the word of an expert. So whether demons deserve restraint or not, I think we should leave till she's actually here to discuss. As to the point in general?" He shrugs. "I have no argument with it at all."
"The only way to kill them. But was it the only way to stop them?" Aspen puts out. "Which it might have been. And in that case we need to trust that Zatanna is on the same page as those that believe that killing is only a last resort. I think that's all that Firestorm is saying. Most of us only really know each other by reputation." She grins, since she's probably the least well-known of them. "And some of us not even that. "I think that knowing how each other feels is a good idea."
Firestorm nods and sighs, “well, I have dozens of good ideas about how I could have stopped them without harm /now/, I have to admit I wasn’t feeling half that smart then, when I was trying to stay away of those claws. But I am also ashamed I resorted to plasma blasts so quickly when I could have tried so many other things. My powers are very versatile and I am hardly the most powerful member of the League. Hmm, Fathom is right there, we also will need to figure out group tactics.”
"For that, I would suggest regular exercises. And I do not know," J'onn admits. "I do know that lethal force is not something I intend to use regularly."
Colossus nods his agreement. "Now that is something we can all agree on. A good deal of our training is how to work together as a group, compensate for each others' weaknesses and play to our strengths. It's not enough to just be a collection of people fighting together, we need to be a team."
"For the most part we're responding to things separately, though." Aspen notes, resting her elbows on the armrest and steepling her fingers thoughtfully. "Most things that have come up doesn't seem like it's needed anyone to call in back-up. But perhaps we could try to always try to get at least one other person to respond with us?" She looks to the others as she makes the suggestion. "It should let us get used to working with each other in a low-risk almost informal manner. Knowing how each other thinks is as important as what each can do. It also should let us continue to handle everything else that's on each of our respective plates."
Firestorm is going to have to ask more about those ‘demons’ things. He seems quite skeptical about the ‘evil incarnate’ concept. “Another thing that worries me is this place and our status as a government-sponsored group. Current administration has been very generous, but I am waiting for the other shoe to drop, because politicians are rarely known for their selfless generosity. And even government policies change as people gets voted in or out of office and founding gets relocated to new pet projects and away from established ones.”
Martian Manhunter nods. "I am keeping an eye on things on that regard. But it would be good to develop protocols to allow us to continue to operate if we DO lose our funding." Or worse...well. THAT bridge, J'onn will cross when he comes to it. If he comes to it. And he is not about to discuss that openly, even if the military did leave. "And Fathom, that is a *very* good idea."
"A good suggestion." Colossus agrees, nodding to Aspen. "I am always willing to help out those who may need it or just want it for the sake of learning each other better. But those situation I am normally involved in are either because I am in the right place at the right time or I am already with those whose presence they do not want revealed." Addressing Firestorm's point, he nods. "I have thought the same. And the solution is simple. I will leave. And I will expect to see you all on the Avengers in that case."
Aspen leans back and nods with Firestorm as well. "How things might go with the winds of politics is an important thing to keep in mind." She agrees. "And while I applaud the Avengers, there's something that being part of America's DoD gives us. And that is we're part of the system. While I know the Avengers are looking to Do The Right Thing," She lifts her fingers to add little quotations too, though doing so seems to be for her own amusement more than anything. "They make it very hard for the justice system to do its job. We're authorized representatives of the recognized government. That gives us power over national resources because we're also supposed to be accountable. Especially since we don't want to use lethal force, we need the system to back up our actions. Having private citizens bring people down is often a nightmare for the legal system."
“Don’t they have the UN and SHIELD’s backing?” Asks Firestorm. “Not that they are better than the US government in any regards. No. I meant we need a backup. This base is great, but we can build another one, maybe even better. We have the resources and the know-how. So if our founding is cut, we can keep going. And if we are pressured into doing something of dubious morality, we can just say no without losing our capabilities.”
"It does, but if they cut our funding...then who is going to deal with the threats the police and the army cannot handle. As much as they might deserve to be left in the lurch, it is not the politicians who would suffer." J'onn speaks firmly. Of course...is he even American? Really?
"But it is a blessing for the people whose lives are saved." Colossus counters and shrugs. Obviously not very worried about the justice system. "If the Justice League is dissolved through lack of funding or they try to make us part of their military machine and we all leave, we will simply continue to do what we did before we joined. I see no reason we would need to not continue to act as a team similar to the Avengers in that case."
Aspen exhales a small breath. "Because as nice as it is to do what we feel is right, we all draw our lines in different places. That's why we have a government and as broken as it seems some times, someone needs to set the example of what it *can* be. I agree, not needing to be a huge expenditure for the DoD, especially in this economy is great. But I think we should be making more plans on how can we make it work over what do we do if it fails. If you plan for failure you'll get it. I promise you."
Of course it wouldn’t be the politicians who suffer, that is why it might happen. “Sure we would go on as individuals, or join the Avengers. Although the Avengers might be under the same pressure.” Accepts Firestorm. “But what of the League? The first of the super teams, the example we would want to give? Okay, so maybe this is premature, we have been a team just a few weeks. But I believe we should think about it. Plan to have a backup place of operations we could use if we need to be more independent.”
Martian Manhunter nods. "But let's table that for now...hrm. Where IS Superman, anyway?" Superman is supposed to be the leader, and J'onn doesn't want to be stealing his thunder, now or at any other time. "Held up somewhere, no doubt."
"I am not planning anything." Colossus says, glancing quizzically at Aspen. "What the government chooses to do is out of our control. We will do our job and if they try to change the rules on us, we will decide what we need to do then. We can no more 'make it work' if they do that than we can make the world stop fighting. Do you disagree, Fathom? Perhaps you see something I do not."
"Politicians are about looking good. So how you make it work?" Aspen just smiles at Colossus, "Is you make it so popular that they're hands are tied and they have to bow to the will of the people. Maybe you're not planning anything specific, but it sounds like everyone's going 'when X fails'. If it doesn't work we'll all follow our own consciences. I just think a bit more thought into how to overcome potential problems is a better idea than back-up plans on what to do if it falls apart." She looks over as J'onn asks about Superman. "I told him he could borrow my Assistant, but he keeps declining so I'm afraid I don't know where he is." She says, the grin showing it to be a joke.
"I had hoped Superman would be here too,” comments Firestorm. “I want to know his opinion, so I guess I am going to shut up for now. Maybe we can talk more about this next meeting, after some more thinking."
Martian Manhunter hrms. "Well. I doubt he'd mind if we made some training plans. Perhaps the military can provide us with some suitable targets." Hrm. He should ask if he can 'borrow' some target drones himself. Work on his accuracy some.
"I do not play politics." Colossus tells the Ambassador. It's not a condemnation or accusation, just a fact. "I hope that our doing what we are supposed to do will be enough but maybe you can come up with some ideas for next time of how to do that."
Aspen tilts her head in a nod and gives Colossus a small smile. "Sadly, it's something I've had to get used to doing. Agreed, Firestorm. I think that we all have things to think on. And the next time a situation comes up, try to get a partner. Never know if someone is nearby and some folks can move really fast." She pushes up to her feet, collecting her tablet. "If I don't get to my next appointment, Alice is going to try to drown me. Which would be hilarious, but wouldn't win me points with whoever I'm seeing." She gives them another smile and a nod. "Gentlemen."