Author name: Petra LeMaitre -- author LiveJournal,
author email, author website
Recipient name: shrift
Requested character: Helena Bertinelli
Story title: Crowd Control
Rating: Appropriate for all ages
Acknowledgments: Sivi contributed a great deal of hand-holding to the creation of this story.
This whole endeavor begins with an insane proposition: that a few people, however dedicated, however skilled, can control a chaotic population of individuals who fall into anarchy whenever they can. It succeeds, when it succeeds, through the force of cooperation, personality, and will. Though there is a massive population that must be controlled, they are not so fast or bright as those who struggle against them. Also, the population relies mainly on word of mouth to pass its plans along, while its harried, worried keepers have access to official files, spreading news and planning proactively in reams of paper.
It would still be a lot easier to run a school if Oracle could talk in every teacher's ear at once. Helena smiles to herself in the tight, subtle way that hides her emotions from the madding crowd; it's a bad idea to show weakness to one's underlings, whether they're adolescents or gangsters. If she could be convinced to do it, Oracle would have the place coordinated in a heartbeat, sensors on every door and cameras tracking the students. No more wandering out of lunch for Georgie, because Oracle would dispatch a hall monitor. No more smoking in the girls' bathroom, because chemical detectors see all. Mr. Brown may be on his prep period, but he still has time to run an errand for Oracle. If he knows what's good for him, that is.
This reverie leads into one of sending the girls who won't stop chattering to talk to Principal Batman. They would come back so meek, cowed by that scowl. It works on men three times their age and five times their weight. It would knock them into shape. A gruff telling-off would improve their attitudes immensely. And if it didn't work, he could always hang them out the window by their ankles until they were ready to negotiate.
Think of the whispering that no one would dare to do in the library.
"But the principal wouldn't really -- kill you. Would he?"
"I dunno, Bobby, but I'm not gonna push my luck."
There are some students who really need to have their complacency shocked out of them by swift, painful retribution. It's too bad that Robin would be so obvious, lurking on a filing cabinet to fall upon the unruly. But then again, there are drop ceilings in many schools, and he's small enough to creep along them and jump through at need. Let a spitwad fly, Cody, if you dare. There's the camera, there's Oracle catching it on her monitor, and before you've caught your breath, a glowering, furious boy sitting on your desk. "Don't do that again!"
Rule by vigilante vigilance would be hard on the janitorial staff until
the students adjusted their behavior to spare their bladders.
As for gym classes, the girls wouldn't whine so much if they just had the right teacher. One well-chosen hiring decision could make the school nurse's life infinitely easier. No more "I have a headache," no more whispered "It's that time of the month." Go to phys ed with Mr. Nightwing, boys and girls. He'll push you hard, but he'll give you time to catch your breath. Try not to spend those extra moments standing behind him. The view will take your breath away.
For the hard cases, Batgirl could follow them. Just follow. She is silent, but not invisible. Mark the troublemakers with the girl they cannot hear or touch, and put the fear of authority back into their jaded little souls. The dealers, the bullies -- they wouldn't put a toe out of line with that girl shadowing them. And if they did, she could easily knock them unconscious.
Maybe Black Canary could come and explain the joy of superhero life, and while she was at it, show the ladies her muscles and her presence. It might give the fading girls something to think on. Maybe then they'd have their lunches instead of sipping water. Dinah is not thin, not weak, and she is beautiful. If only she didn't dye her hair, she would be a perfectly lovely role model for the ones who feel fat but who are actually just teenage girls. Still, it might be something to consider for a real class. Oracle might be able to help create a cover story. A lecture tour by JLA members, coming soon to a classroom near you.
It would make everything ever so much easier if the Huntress could threaten them, whip them into shape. But all she is, just now, is Helena Bertinelli. And all she has is her command voice and the moth-eaten mantle of feminine authority. If Bridget pushes her any farther --
No. There still will not be a crossbow bolt quivering in her desk, even
though it would be therapeutic. But she will definitely have some time
to think about her behavior when everyone else goes on that field trip.
Reference images taken from BIRDS OF PREY #76.
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