Delenda est Carthago

By Ikuko <>

Rated: PG

Submitted: November 2002

Summary: An old letter was declassified from Bureau 39 archives. We learn about the driving force and motivations behind the notorious government agent, Jason Trask.

"Delenda est Carthago" are words that belong to a famous Roman politician, Cato the Elder. He was living at the time of the Punic Wars, and advocated the complete destruction of Carthage. He ended every speech of his with the words "Carthage must be destroyed" ("delenda est Carthago") and was very single-minded about it. Eventually he got his wish, and the great city of Carthage was reduced to rubble. I thought that the words of Cato were well-suited to the manic intolerance of Jason Trask.

If you are looking for romance, WAFF, action or mystery, hit the "Back" button now.

Are you still here? Well, don't say I didn't warn you. All am I offering is a bunch of ramblings. But it's never too late to exit. I bet I scared away some of the gentle readers of gentle sex. Maybe it's for the best. The less swooning over someone's sex appeal, the more serious talk we can have. I always considered Jason Trask the smartest character in the series, well above even the infamous Dr. Klein. Look at the facts:

1. He figured out the importance and possible effect of Kryptonite before anyone, including Superman. Considering that he had no previous knowledge or experimental data on the subject, it is quite amazing. 2. To connect Clark Kent with Superman by the second episode takes nothing short of divine inspiration: Kent had not yet published his very first "interview" with the Big Blue, and he was not yet established as a partner of Lois Lane. I can understand why they singled out Lois: Superman did not just save her, he flew her to the Planet. But how in the world did he figure out Clark? All in all, I think Trask deserves his day in court. Here is his side of the story.


File 304992FT

Bureau 39


Not to be disclosed until March, 2002

The enclosed letter was filed by agent Peter W. Saunders, Bureau 39, on March 13, 1994. Agent Saunders was a partner of deceased agent J. Trask. The document is a transcript of a letter from Trask to Saunders dated February 23, 1994.

Hi, Pete. I guess you do need an explanation on why I ran out on you the way I did. The Feds will feed you a line of malarkey, but don't take it close to the heart. Thompson was a fool. You cannot deal with the alien through negotiations. Pete, you've known me for seventeen years, we've seen a lot together. Believe me, right now we are facing the most serious threat ever.

The alien must be destroyed.

I hope you are not blinded by the performance this so- called "superman" is putting on. The alien might still be evil in spite of his goody-two-shoes act.

He claims he is here to fight for truth and justice and the American way? What a joke! The American way means first of all democracy, and democracy means "power of the people". If the balance of power is shifted from the majority to a single individual, what is left of democracy? What kind of justice is it if it is placed in the hands of one vigilante? What value does the truth have, if it is only his truth?

His powers are amazing and not completely understood. There is strong reason to believe that the alien might be capable of nonverbal communication, mind influence and emotion altering. This would explain why he seems to be so popular, even though he clearly represents dangerous and uncontrollable power. The lust for power is one of the most powerful among the living, whatever their origins might be. The well-governed society can control it, and use it for its own benefit, selecting the most worthy for positions of power. But it is only true if the population can control the elected officials. The alien cannot be controlled; he is too powerful. He will be an absolute dictator. We know enough of our own history to understand what kind of tyranny we are facing.

Right now, he pulls the wool over everyone's eyes, fulfilling every American dream about a kind and strong superhero. He is good. I'd say he is the best PR person I've seen in years. Except, he is an alien. He is charismatic, and seems politically correct. Women swoon over his steroid-built body, and that makes up half of the voting pool. The voice of the majority is on his side. But you and I know better. The voice of the majority does not always represent the true interests of the people. Do not forget that the crucifixion of Jesus was decided by a freely expressed will of the majority, and so was the election of Hitler to power. That's why we elect our leaders for a longer period of time, so the best of us can cushion the unpredictable caprice of the crowd. But those few serve the majority and are answerable to it. Who does the alien report to?

If he is not evil himself, he is an omen of doom to come upon humanity. Either by bringing more of his own kind to Earth from wherever he came from, or by attempting to breed here, he will eventually drive normal human beings to extinction or at least to the status of inferior beings. Clearly, Earth cannot withstand a mass invasion of super powered creatures.

We do not know what his plans are. Is he going to stay here? Will he attempt to breed with earth women? Is he going to procreate a master race? Does he intend to establish some sort of government according to his own ideals? I do not care how close his views are to ours or how benevolent he seems.

Maybe he is going to give us some sort of paradise. But do we need a utopia imposed upon us by force? Our future belongs to us and us alone; no alien can have a say in how we are going to plan our life.

If he is alone, and will stay alone, he is still a mortal danger to us. Regardless of how good his intentions are, he will destroy the very basis of our liberty. People fight the tyrant not because he is a bad person, but because the tyranny is wrong.

We are lucky so far that, for one reason or another, the alien's tastes apparently coincide with our views on justice and government. What if they didn't? I can picture him taking the side of the dissidents, if he deemed it as a good thing for him.

Democracy cannot exist as long as the alien is alive. The mere fact of his existence will corrupt society and sway it under his power. It is not in our power to elect or impeach Superman. He is super-powered and he will stay so regardless of our wishes. Democracy has nothing to do with it, because there is no one else with the power to oppose him. Our refusal to accept him will never take away his powers.

The countries that are free now will eventually become monarchies. It does not matter if the alien is a good or bad person, power-thirsty monster or benevolent being intent on supporting the existing government.

He may have no wish to be a dictator, but of course people have no control over it. Theoretically, he has three choices: he can destroy us, he can keep his protection over Metropolis, or he can withdraw it, leaving humans to their own fate. We have more than enough proof that he is not going to do the latter.

There is no guarantee that he will not lose his mind, be duped, corrupted or plain change his mind about humans. Are we prepared to have a loose cannon like this among us? Are we ready to trust our lives, our future to an alien, no matter how friendly he appears?

Freedom is not about trust; it is about choices. Do we want to surrender ours to him? Democracy is the most valued possession we have. However, there are fields were democracy is meaningless. Any progress, break through, in race, art, science, philosophy are essentially non- democratic in their nature. You cannot elect an Einstein, Da Vinci, Shakespeare or Socrates. The best you can do is to create equal conditions for all, in which the gifted person can develop into the genius and serve society, however high or low the person was born. In the best ruled societies which ever existed on the Earth, the Demos had the power over diplomacy, justice, the military forces, and the environment, and left the giants of mind to rule their kingdoms.

The great thing about democracy is that it is not a power to achieve something, but rather a necessary condition to be able to do so. "Every man is born equal" is the corner stone of the democracy, it is the power of the equals over their lives. But what if there is one who is not born equal? What if the inborn powers of one make the very principal of "equal opportunities" ridiculous? What if he has nontransferable gifts more powerful then the combined resources of all the others?

The problem we are facing now is that this particular gift belongs to the spheres traditionally covered by the government. Its carrier is capable of upholding justice when no one else can; and and of providing defense when all human governments will fail to do so. Superman is capable of changing the very habitability of the planet. People can exercise very little power over him. If he happens to be a good guy, he will care for the people and listen to their needs. But if we were unlucky enough to get the bad guy, well, too bad. We will have about as much say in the matters, as tomato in the management of the ketchup factory.

The worst possible scenario super-powered alien will eventually destroy the population of the planet he chooses to inhabit, or form it according to his tastes. In the first case there will be nobody to complain. In the second, the alien will cooperate with and protect his remaining and obedient subjects, and therefore will be "good" to them. The history will be written by the survivors, praising the alien as their savior.

On the other hand, the "good" alien will try to cooperate with the inhabitants of his planet and help them. He may choose to agree with our values, and support them. But humans will know well enough where his interests lie. Being in good graces with the being who is capable of destroying the very life on the planet is very GOOD for the normal people. Public opinion will be inevitably biased toward the alien. People, knowing that their very existence depends on the alien, will try to comply with his wishes. The group or the nation that can get on the good side of the alien fastest will have innumerable benefits over others. There will be cut-throat competition to please him. The wishes of one being will be the only law there is. Democracy as we know it will cease to exist. The establishment of the monarchy is unavoidable, regardless of our wishes or the wishes of the alien. Even if he sincerely intends to uphold the democracy, he will inevitably fail to do so. Besides, he can not always act according to the results of the democratic vote. Every once in a while, he will feel that the people are mistaken, and that he knows best. Who is there to stop him? Humans will be forced to accept his point of view, willingly or not. In this case, the society will also be changed and adjusted to alien's taste, only without the bloodshed. The end will be the same as with the tyrant alien.

As much as the idea of the alien taking us over terrifies me, the alternative is yet worse. What if he does not want to? Humans are so hung-up on the idea that everybody needs to dominate someone else, we forget that the alien might not need us as slaves or as subjects. In fact, he might not need us at all. In the long run it is irrelevant, if alien is a "good" or a "bad" person. Good and evil are relative, and are valid only in terms of a particular society. Good is what is beneficial for the given society, and evil is everything that is not. Note we are talking about HUMAN society. The alien is not human. He seems to accept the human laws. However, the laws are enforced and supported by the structures that can exercise considerable power over the members of the society. The alien might not consider himself above the law, but since there is no actual way of forcing him into actions he disagrees with, he is de-facto above the law indeed.

Human society is governed by a complex set of rules. Some of them are followed voluntarily, and nevertheless obeyed by absolute majority. These rules are called morals. Other rules are strongly enforced, and individuals have to follow them regardless of their wishes. These ones are called laws. Apparently, the alien chooses to obey most of the laws of this country. Since it is done by choice, he treats the laws as moral criteria, and not as laws. Laws are not something that we chose to obey.

He might prefer not to kill, but the physical death of the individual is a lesser price to pay than the destruction of the political system we have built, the democracy we fought for. At this point, the fate of humanity as we know it is in jeopardy. The war is unavoidable, and it will be a messy one. He is too strong, we cannot win in an open battle. In this case, the goal justifies the means. I am prepared to use every dirty trick in the book to bring him down. If he is not happy with it, too bad. If he wants a fair fight, he should pick on someone his own size.

The alien has won the trust of most people; we cannot rely on anyone anymore. We do need allies, and the only ones we might find are the criminals he irritates with his boy- scout act. The last fight for freedom will be fought by the worst of us, and by the least honorable means. Ironic, isn't it? Even if we win, there will be no gratitude. Well, there are more important things than appreciation and superficial morals. This battle cannot be won by playing by the book, but it must be won nevertheless.

Take care, Pete. I have this idea I have to try. It just may kill the alien. I know there is not much chance for me to come back. At least there is a hope I'll take the alien down with me. It's okay, buddy. I have sworn to my duty to serve humanity. I am fully aware how ungrateful is the task in front of me. I'd rather have myself damned by everyone and have the people of Earth free to live as they please, than submit to the alien and betray every ideal of democracy we both pledged to protect.

If I fail, my friend, it will be up to you to continue the fight. We cannot wait until people awaken to the danger. I will do my duty, whatever the price. I know you will do yours.

Jason Trask

The alien must be destroyed