Chapter 64 King Patriot
Kensington Payne was the son of Joseph and Mary Stonefellow, his father a billionaire, after making a fortune in both the arms and oil industries. Joseph had, himself, inherited great wealth from his father, albeit through shoe manufacturing.
Behind the family, there lay a most sinister and sordid past. Many people attributed the oil embargo on the Japanese, prior to America's entry into the Second World war, as an attempt to provoke the Japanese into two actions: one, the invasion of energy-rich countries, that would ultimately prove useful to his newly established oil company, and two, the attack on Pearl Harbor, the warning about which he was able to have hushed up, by bribing the primary officials whose task it was to inform the President.
So the story goes, the attack was clearly known about, as specific messages to that effect had been successfully decoded by America's cryptographers. If warnings had been heeded, the Japanese would have called off their invasion of South East Asia and the attack on Hawaii, and not gone to war with the US. Such a war was essential to the future of the Stonefellows and other big corporations, who stood to thrive financially, if America entered the War, i.e. shipbuilders, construction engineers, aircraft manufacturers etc. This is believed to be the origin of the Great Cartel at the heart of America's domestic and foreign policies, over a period of decades, with Payne's father at the pinnacle of the pyramid.
Surely, it can't have been a mere coincidence that Stonefellow's Weaponstec firm had grown from nothing into America's primary military hardware company, and that SF Oil had become the leading oil company serving South East Asia, by the end of the War.
It had long been the feeling at the heart of corporate America that the country's love for checks and counter-balances on policy-makers, effectively reflecting a fundamental distrust of democracy, simply created a paralysis at the heart of government, and a vacuum there. Enter the Great Cartel, a group of rich businessmen, who would take control, and make America great, as well as great profits !
And, when Joseph's son Kenneth was born, so Joseph began to hatch a long nurtured ambition for a child of his to become President of the United States ! But the experience of the Kennedy's in politics proved to cause a rethink, and, instead, the young Kenneth Stonefellow was to 'disappear', the victim of a kidnapping and ransom demand, that went seriously wrong. Kenneth Stonefellow was believed to be dead, and, instead, Kensington Payne was 'born', officially poor, and living in a humble tenement block in a town outside Washington, with absolutely no indication whatsoever that, in actual fact, he was worth over 20 billion dollars ! It would be the perfect cover.
By this cynical act of subterfuge, when Joseph died, Kensington Payne took over as 'de facto' President, in control of the country both at home and abroad, via the reach of the Cartel in politics, the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Police, the Judiciary, manufacturing, banking, energy and technology. If anyone with power and influence couldn't be bribed, they were blackmailed, set up or framed ( then blackmailed ! ). Payne and the Cartel knew where all the bodies were buried !
It was in the early days of his 'presidency' that Payne engineered the difficulty the young Lucius Fox encountered, while planning to form a partnership with Oswald Cobblepot. If Weaponstec was to remain at the forefront of America's Weapons Industry, and help America to become the dominant superpower in the world, then it would need America's brightest star at the heart of its design team.
Payne became the gangster par excellence, even taking control of the country's drug trade to help with shortfalls in the nation's banking system, at times of financial collapse, and using the country's forces of law and order to conduct it ! He soon realized that, by controlling the drugs trade, he could control millions of people, and keep them quiet. Even people, who might represent a political threat, might be persuaded to experiment, and then become addicted, exposed and their careers ended.
Harvey Dent had been a reflection, almost a mirror image, of Payne, when he was Assistant Commissioner of Police in Gotham, generating criminal activity of such gravity, that special measures were required, such as his special forces S.W.A.T. teams. Payne, in a way, was doing nationally what Dent had been doing locally. Payne had always 'watched Dent's back', ensuring that any suspicions or criticism of his actions were quickly quashed.
When Dent's position had become untenable, Payne turned to the Joker, to create such mayhem that would necessitate the services of Ra's al Ghul, whose approach to creating and maintaining law and order he admired. This is all part of his grand design to create a new America. Perhaps he has miscalculated in the case of Ghul, however !
And he just happened to be in Washington, conducting 'business', when William Norris came breezing through the corridors of power, with Payne happening to be the third rich potentate he came across while there. It served him well to finance the work of the Grim Reaper, something he is continuing to do for his successors !
Payne was a real 'chip off the old block', sharing his father's intense love for his country, as well as for money. He decided that his initials, KP should stand for something else, an anonymous title that would strike fear into anyone that might threaten to rock the boat. At first, he thought of the name, ' King Pin", only to discover that the name was already taken by some would-be challenger to his throne.
- ( Payne ) Throne, .. mmm ... King yes, ... definitely King, ... but .. Patriot. ... Yes, ...Patriot. ... And so, the King Patriot was born.
- ( Corporate America ) Long live the King !