1. We are looking for a volunteer to help out with entering the DC and Marvel comics solicitations. If you are interested, please contact Harley.
    Dismiss Notice

Teen Titans Fan Fiction Preparation (Teen Titans, fb appreciated)

Discussion in 'The Story Board' started by Pun-3x, Apr 20, 2005.

  1. Pun-3x

    Pun-3x Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2005
    Messages:
    654
    Likes Received:
    0
    Preparation (Teen Titans)

    Well, this is an update for any new readers (or old ones venturing to the first post ;) ). The story in the above link has finally undergone a thorough cleaning in grammar and spelling, as well as some rough plot explanation points. The main plot has changed very very little, I simply came up with much better ways of getting certain plot points across. Though, there are some minor additions (including a paragraph's worth of added fighting where Raven throws a bus at a particular villain), none of the overall story has changed. Still, I thought it'd be best if I mentioned it in this first post.

    On that note, I thought I'd let people know that the following story updates within this thread have gone through changes before being posted on FF.net. Now, this was rather normal anyway, but having gone back through the entire story again means even more revisions. Again, there's no need for previous readers to have to go back and reread the story to understand anything new. But for new readers, now would be a great time to click the link in the above quote and check it out. Sure, it's a thick read, but hopefully the stories posted here are mainly enjoyed because they take the time to get things as right as they can.

    To everyone reading, enjoy the story.
    :)
     
    #1 Pun-3x, Apr 20, 2005
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 2, 2006
  2. Crowgirl

    Crowgirl Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2004
    Messages:
    2,884
    Likes Received:
    0
    Welcome to High Society! :anime:

    I'm think what you're doing may be alright, but I'm not entirely sure. Just post the entire story on here as well as there and you can put the link in your sig so people can see it's also there. I'd read the story anyway, and anybody here would give you advice and feedback.

    Eagerly awaiting the first chapter,
    CG

    P.S. Firsties! Yabba dabba doo!
     
  3. Pun-3x

    Pun-3x Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2005
    Messages:
    654
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ah, so just post each chapter individually here from the link? All right, easy enough. I'll start out with the first chapter then. :)

    And thanks for the welcome! :D
    -----------------------------------


    Prologue

    It’s happening the same way. Everything’s exactly the same.

    Raven cursed to herself circling over the dirt embankment on the far side of Jump City’s Bay. Her opponent was simply too fast with his defenses, and Raven hadn’t been able to capitalize on any opportunity in time. She had to change tactics. She was keeping mostly on offense while her opponent maintained a practiced guard. As well, she was being kept in a constant motion from his counterattacks. He was going to wear her out. Again.

    She then turned her hands clockwise, causing the stream to twist. The black energy spiraled against the solid blue energy of the barrier until it began to distort. Raven began walking forward, continuing the attack. The man’s barrier slowly spiraled along with the black energy attacking it. The whole thing started to buckle from the assault. The guard finally broke, and Raven went sailing through it straight for her opponent. With her fist surrounded in black magic she took a swing at him. He staggered back with a grunt

    The man leapt back and into the air, putting up a small field to hold Raven’s last punches at bay. She charged up after him, smashing at his new guard with shadow-surrounded fists. A follow-up kick disintegrated the left side of the barrier, causing the rest of it to go down. As Raven jammed her magic-enclosed fists towards the man’s gut, he grabbed at Raven’s upper arms and prevented the punches from hitting home. It was the wrong defensive move, and the man knew it the moment he grabbed her arms.

    The kinetic energy around her fists discharged into the man at point-blank. She watched as her opponent flew back before hitting the ground hard a good distance away. She relaxed her hand, letting the magic dissolve away. That was the moment a sphere of blue energy flew from the crumpled form and slammed into Raven’s face. The impact took away her hearing, her vision, her sense of direction…everything except the sensation of pain. Her face stung, burned was more accurate.

    She felt a sudden jolt and stinging sensation from the whole of her left side, and Raven could only assume she’d hit the ground. The wind knocked out of her lungs, and she struggled to take a breath. She rolled painfully onto her back, and her sense of direction was so off it seemed to feel as if she was rolling down hill. The world in her mind spun back the other direction, making orientation even worse. Raven hadn’t been able to take a breath since she hit the ground and thought she felt herself going unconscious…

    -
    -
    I
    Late Night Meeting
    (Three days earlier)
    The halls of the tower were quiet at this time of night. Normally, Raven preferred it to the constant barrage of ambiance produced by her fellow teammates. This evening, as Raven walked those halls, she found it irritating. Not that getting irritated was a rarity for the girl, but it usually took more than most people to really get the emotion rolling. A lot more. Somehow, certain teammates found ways to heighten her annoyance regardless of her concentration. Even then, she knew how to bottle up the feeling relatively quickly.

    Regardless, it had been a while since she felt annoyed this long. It was the teasing kind, as well. Just on the surface of messing with her powers without causing them to do anything on their own. There was no immediate worry on that note either. Even if it did cause a slip-up, the effects would have been minor. She needed to go out. Again. Try to get some actual answers this time.

    I’ve never gotten any real answers so far. Why is this time suddenly going to be so different?

    She rolled her eyes slightly and shook her head to herself. It was pointless. The last two times simply succeeded in frustrating her further. Simple enhancement spells with her meditations and on-the-spot calming techniques usually cleared it up. The problem was she normally didn’t need to bother putting so much concentration on it. Tonight she wanted to see where the sensation would go. She wanted to know how long it would last-whether it would die away on its own.

    At least it wasn’t getting worse. She toyed with the idea to simply stop and calm herself as needed. Not yet. A little longer. Just before I head out.

    Raven passed by a yawning Starfire on her way down the hall. Her green eyes turned towards Raven, and Starfire smiled in the other’s direction.

    “Good evening, Raven,” she began. “You are still up at this late hour?”

    Raven simply nodded slightly as she stopped by her teammate’s side. “I could ask you the same thing. Heading off to sleep?”

    “Mmhmm!” Starfire answered, giving Raven a closed-eyed smile. “It is past the normal time that I tend to retire, I know.”

    “It happens,” Raven responded. She began back down the hall. “Good night.”

    Starfire didn’t respond right away. Not until Raven was about to turn the corner. “You are heading out again, tonight?”

    Raven stopped. She knew how odd it looked. The girl who preferred reading on the couch or staying locked up in her room, taking a stroll out in the night. Three nights in a row. Though, the going alone part still seemed to fit. “I just need some outside space,” she told her friend, putting a slight smile into her expression. “I’ve been feeling a little…I don’t know. Smothered, I suppose.” Raven put a little more into her smile, trying to reassure the alien girl. “It’s better than my usual routine.”

    Starfire simply hummed an agreement. Letting her head drop a little in thought. “Is there…”

    Raven let her friend search for what words she wanted to use, but the girl never found them. Starfire simply answered Raven’s previous smile in kind. “Be safe.”

    Raven nodded. “Always do.” Then she turned the corner. As she continued walking, she realized that part of the sensation of annoyance had dissolved. Starfire had a knack for cheering people up even when it wasn’t her intention. Still, underneath it all, Raven could feel the irritation pushing its way back to its previous stage.

    All right, I get the point. Time to settle down.

    Raven closed her eyes a moment, began muttering a calming spell. Within a short time, she was running the spells within her own mind, her lips simply moving with the thought. A handful of seconds later, the emotion was gone. Contained. Raven decided it was time to head out. She began to concentrate her powers and her mind on where she wanted to be. Raven tried to hold off thinking about the fact that such a simple breach of emotion should normally have been suppressed with all of two thoughts instead of a full-cast spell, lest the idea irritate her all over again. Her form took to the shadows in the hall, and the raven within spilled out of her, overtaking her. Then, all mass seeped into those same shadows and was gone.

    -
    -
    Raven appeared over the center of a mass of concrete slab raised off the ground level. She didn’t immediately check her surroundings. She instead began sensing the area. Oh yeah. Much stronger feeling here than where I’d just been. This is the spot.

    Raven raised her head and looked around. Then, she put two fingers around her nose and lowered her head. “Could…someone explain to me why you people enjoy these clichés? If it’s not an old, abandoned building, it’s a freshly-started construction site after-hours.”

    “I figured you would prefer it to something with a lot of street-lamps,” someone answered.

    Raven quickly half-turned her body towards the voice’s direction. She turned her head the rest of the way, letting the hood hide most of her face. “That’s the fastest you’ve made yourself apparent.”

    The man stood ahead and above Raven on a section of concrete framework. His face was silhouetted by dark shadow. Darker than even the surrounding shadows cast about around the site. His face, Raven eventually concluded, must have maintained a shadow-layer of some kind. A masking spell, no doubt.

    The man gestured to nothing in particular. “You’ve been gauged enough the past two nights. I just guessed you wouldn’t fire first this time.”

    “What’s to say I still won’t fire the first shot?”

    He began slowly walking along the framework as he answered. “Because we both know how that all ends up. We’ve done it twice, now. Did you really want to do that all a third time? Now, mind you, I’m up for it if you are.”

    Raven kept her pose. Great, stern pose hidden under my cape and hood. I’m sure showing him now.

    “We’ll see if it’s needed,” she answered him.

    “It won’t be. But, who knows? Might happen anyway for the hell of it.” He stopped walking. “Hey, at least I can count on you showing up alone.”

    “You assumed I’d come alone this time? It isn’t as if I trust you.”

    Through the shadow over his face-a shadow that still allowed some reactions to show through-Raven could see him smile. Barely. “Still haven’t told anyone about me, I see.”

    Raven scoffed at herself internally. Bluff called. Nice effort, though.

    “It’s quite all right,” he continued. “I’m glad you think you can deal with this whole situation on your own. That’s part of what I’m looking for.”

    Here we go. Finally getting somewhere. “Um…okay, I give up. What exactly are you looking for?”

    He didn’t answer. He did keep his smile going, Raven could see that much. The shadow over his face was not a deep, impenetrable black. She could make out his eyes, his nose, mouth. The features surrounding and adding to those portions of his face blended into a deep darkness Raven couldn’t read into. This guy could walk right past me in a regular crowd, and I wouldn’t even recognize his face.

    She continued. “Okay, if you’re going to keep playing these games with me, then I’m wasting my time here.”

    “Hey, now,” he began again, “it’s not like I asked you to come here.”

    “You wanted me to come, just the same,” Raven retorted.

    “I have my desires, you have yours, blah-blah-blah.” He walked back to where he’d started off. “The end result is the same. You chose to come here on your own. It just happens to work well with what I had hoped for.”

    This isn’t working. I really am wasting my time here… “You know,” she started, “I can’t just let you wander around the city with your abilities. I don’t even know what you really want. At some point, I’m going to have to let everyone know. We might have to fight and capture you.”

    “I doubt you’ll take it to that point,” he said. “You still have all those questions you act like you don’t really want to ask. It’ll be that much harder to ask when I’m under heavy supervision in some cell-hold. Plus…” The man hopped off the framework, floating down to the level below him. He was directly across from Raven. “What makes you think I'll want to come out and play as often as I have been after that? And up until now you've been rather fortunate sneaking out on your own. If the rest of the team knew about us, I'd think they wouldn't be as willing to let you head out alone. Always lurking in the shadows behind you. For concerns over your personal safety, I'm sure. But, that makes our little private sessions harder to maintain. Then you really won’t find the answers you’re looking for.”

    “I could just take the time to track you myself,” Raven said, “without the team. They’d understand. You really shouldn’t be so hard to find.”

    Again, under the shadow was that smile. Suddenly, Raven felt like a bright light was turned out on part of her senses. That aura she’d been sensing-tracking to this point—was gone. Just…turned off. She kept her glare on the man, searching for that slight buzz in her external senses. As she was about to let it be, the sense came screaming back.

    That’s not his aura. He’s projecting that on purpose. A lure. Raven shook her head. So, tracking is out…

    “You aren’t unstoppable,” Raven finally stated.

    Zerrich smirked. "I don't pretend to be."

    “You didn’t exactly walk away clean the last time. It’s not like I’ve come at you with everything yet.”

    “I recall you having to limp back into your shadows yourself,” he answered. “And yeah, I’d rather gotten that sense from you. It’s as if there’s something in you that you’re afraid to tap. Now, trying to figure that out-”

    “It’s not your business,” she retorted, feeling a flash of anger and quickly settling it back down.

    “Hmm,” he put his head down slightly. “Then you can’t, in all honesty, expect me to answer anything you might ask.”

    That right there was the worst kind of compromise. Raven despised revealing her secrets. And to get answers from him, she was expected to start opening up to this guy.

    I barely started opening up to my friends… Her intellect kicked in. “Okay, aren’t you the visiting team here? I think it should work the other way around. You answer first, and we’ll see what I respond with.”

    Now, the man chuckled, amused. “All right then. Sounds fair. Can’t guarantee an answer, though.”

    “Sooo…what’s the point in asking anything?”

    “Well, I’ll tell you what. You keep asking questions until I answer one. That’ll be your question. Then it’s my turn.”

    Raven sighed. This was as good as she was going to get. For now.

    “What do you want?”

    “That’s a pretty broad question. Could you break that down a bit?”

    Oh, for spite's sake... “FINE. What do you want with me, exactly? Why have we been…‘sparring’ all this time?”

    “I’m trying to figure you out. Now, I had prefered to do it in Q-and-A form, but I had a feeling that kind of reveal-all would get pretty one-sided.”

    “I don’t see the importance with figuring me out. I’m nothing special.”

    The man put a finger in the air. “See, that’s just not true. I mean, how many other black mages exist on this planet, anyway? You don’t give yourself enough credit.”

    “All right. What makes me so important to you?”

    “It has to do with your importance to the future. A possible future, anyway.”

    Raven raised an eyebrow under her hood. “That’s…vague.”

    The man shrugged. “My turn. You were holding back before. Why?”

    “Let’s just say I have a bit of a…temper.”

    “Yes, we saw that the other night. You aren’t revealing anything new.”

    “That temper nearly creamed you, if I remember correctly,” she answered. Which wasn’t entirely true. She actually didn’t recall much more than a fog at that point…

    “It kept me off my offense. Which would have been great if the rest of your team were here to take advantage of it.”

    Raven didn’t change her expression in the least. “I don’t need them here for this.” “As it stood then,” he continued, “you succeeded in breaking down my defenses and wearing yourself out so much you couldn’t follow through. Or wouldn’t.”

    “And you didn’t counterstrike afterwards...why?” Raven countered. “You were just as tired as I was.”

    “To my original point, there’s more you’re holding back, besides that temper. What is it you’re afraid of?”

    “I’m not afraid,” she said, coolly. “I’m just aware.”

    “Of what?”

    Now, Raven smiled, if only for effect. “That’s a different question.”

    “It’s still related. Besides, you asked a follow-up question, and I answered.”

    Raven’s expression went neutral. “Doesn’t change the end result. You chose to answer that question, and it happened to work well with what I had hoped for.”

    The man shook his head, smiling. “You know, there’s this Earth term I learned recently. Touché, I think. Is that the right response in this instance?”

    Raven had to stifle a chuckle. It did end up translating into a slight smirk instead. “Gods, you’re cocky.”

    “I try to think of it as ‘self-confident,’” he recovered.

    “Uh-huh.” Raven narrowed her eyes. “Where do your powers come from?”

    The man didn’t answer. He kept his face kept neutral.

    Raven modified the question. “Where’d you learn magic?”

    The man sighed. “I’d be lying if I told you self-taught. Self-improved, maybe. If you stretch the imagination a little.” He watched as Raven began to slowly pace. At least, his head turned to face her as she moved. “It wasn’t any one place or person, either. All though…” He cut himself short.

    “Though, what?” This was interesting. Possibly some deeper information...

    He shook his head. “No. That’s too much for now.”

    “How am I supposed to trust you if I can’t learn anything about you?”

    “You already said you couldn’t trust me before. I just assumed you meant that as a constant.”

    It sounded like that was as far as things were going to go. Raven took a deep breath, letting it out slowly. Just take this step. You’re going to have to if you want to learn anything.

    “My…powers. Well, you know that solid concentration enhances our abilities. For me, it’s a bit more difficult than it might be for someone else...”

    “I know of your burden.”

    Her eyes widened under her hood. Burden! “Excuse me?”

    “I…know about your powers’ origins. Where your ‘temper’ most likely comes from.” He looked right at her, and she knew what he knew. Still, he left it at that. “That it, your emotions, can tamper with your powers. That you have to concentrate more than most other mages to keep it all at bay. That wasn’t what I was asking about before. There was something else you were holding off.”

    Raven didn’t say anything for a while—just watched him. She didn’t need to think hard about where this was going. She didn’t like it at all. “That’s personal.”

    “All inner-demons are personal,” he responded. “They’re called inner-demons for a reason.”

    “Why do you hide your face?” she asked him.

    Through the shadows, she caught a look on his face. It was that same stop asking stupid questions look she would give people sometimes. Raven closed her eyes, reached up and pulled her hood back. She looked back at him, her cards on the table. “I don’t need to hide my face. How about you?”

    The man stepped forward slightly. His eyes closed a moment, and the shadow dissolved. He was young! Still older than her, but not the older man she’d assumed him to be. Possibly still a man just coming out of his teen years.

    But her shock came from something else. The features were all there-all of them, telling. The structure of his face, the texture of his black hair, even his eyes-now out of the shadow. He may have passed for human to a stranger, but she knew what she was looking at. She bit back her emotions, pulled back on their reigns and brought her senses back to their place. Her common sense took hold.

    “No,” Raven shook her head. “No, you can’t possibly be from Azarath.” She turned away partially. “The way you speak, the way you act…”

    His eyebrows lifted as he answered. “Oh, and you’re just the shining example of the Temple teachings. You'd be hard pressed to find a group that instructs on sarcasm better than back home.”

    “That’s not the same. I’m not even…” Raven stopped a moment, rephrasing her words. “I’m half-Human.”

    “And half-something else,” he finished. “Persona is more than just genetics. It’s about experience as well.”

    The young Titan let the impression settle in her mind for a moment. She had known she was a bit of a rogue in the world of Azarath’s pacifistic teachings. She wasn’t like them. But, it was different for her. She had her reasons. She left for those reasons. What were his? She asked him.

    “I left for the same reasons you did.”

    Raven narrowed her eyes. “That is NOT true.”

    “Okay, not exactly the same reasons. But I left mainly because I didn’t believe in the nature of pacifism. Sometimes, there’s a need to fight. You don’t go looking for it, but you have to be ready when it comes. Don’t you agree?”

    Can’t argue with that. So, fine, some of our reasoning is the same. “I still get the feeling there’s more to it than that.” “Maybe. Remind me to tell you sometime.”

    The young girl pursed her lips. “Somehow, I doubt the question will slip my mind.” With that remark, she seemed to surrender to the fact that this meeting was ending. Whether she wanted it to or not.

    “I think I’ve said enough,” he finally stated. “I’d like to know more about you, but I’m betting you aren’t going to be as open as I’ve been.”

    “You already seem to know more about me than I do about you. Considering…I don’t really know anything about you. Can’t really call that a fair start.”

    “Well, since you now know where I'm from, how I know your past isn't such a shock," the man from Azarath stated. "I guess we’ll adjust the rest of the difference later. I think I’ll be going.” A small blue-black rip in the nearby concrete support slab formed, stretching to accommodate the young man as he turned for it.

    “Wait!” She shouted. Her excitement only got the better of her for a moment. “I still don’t know your name,” she said, adding a touch of impatience to the sound. For effect.

    “Oh, yeah. That. Forgot to bring it up.” He looked towards the portal for a moment. “Let’s say…Zerrich.” He smiled over his shoulder. “For now, I suppose.” He took a step into the shadows in front of him and disappeared. Leaving Raven alone with her thoughts.

    At least we didn’t try to kill each other this time…

     
  4. Reket

    Reket ~>Random Cliffy Lover

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2004
    Messages:
    895
    Likes Received:
    0
    This one is brilliant, the best one I've read for a while! There are three things I liked about this chapter that I look forward to continue reading this one (if you will keep posting chapters individually: It hurts my eyes to read a lot at one sitting; the chapter itself was lengthy, but enjoyable). Three things are: Imagery, Foreshadowing, and Form. To be more detailed, it's like this:

    the way you write this, I can see clearly what the characters are doing, and what their reactions are. They are realistic and the 'fighting' scenes are very descriptive. It gives the whole setting into light. The dialogue, too, is very good. Speaking of the dialogue, it gives a lot of foreshadowing in what is going to happen in the future and it makes one wonder, "What's going to happen next? What's the relevance of this new person??"

    And form is, basically, the way you write it. I like you words and your word usage. Keep it up, and I would call this one a winner! Talk about positive stuff!
     
  5. Pun-3x

    Pun-3x Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2005
    Messages:
    654
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks so much for the post and the advice. I feel my chapters will follow the steps you've listed, but feel free to let me know if something could be made better or clearer. (especially later on, though I'll note when)

    I'll go ahead and post chapter two.

    ---------------------------------

    II
    Trust
    The eleventh hour had crept up on Raven as she finished her morning meditation. She made her way down the hall, an old book in tow. Everyone else was already up and in the recreation area. Robin was at the sink on dish duty for the morning. Cyborg was sitting at one of kitchen tables, leaning back with his hands behind his head. Raven went to the fridge and pulled out an apple for breakfast. Brunch, really. She made her way to the sofa next to where Starfire sat, when she noticed the low engine rumble coming from her lap. There, a small, green kitten lay on its back, front paws stretched up. Starfire was humming some song as she scratched and petted the kitten’s fur. The purr got louder.

    “That is quite possibly the cutest thing I have ever seen,” Raven deadpanned. She began walking to the other side of the rec room. “I think I’ve lost my appetite,” she finished, dryly.

    Beast Boy morphed back to normal, causing Starfire’s expression to bloat. “Ha-ha! Very funny, Raven. Real classi-augh!”

    Starfire gave out a quick shriek and stood up. Raven heard, more than saw, Beast Boy land with a ‘cloomph’ on the floor in front of the sofa. “Beast Boy,” Starfire began, “might I ask that you next time give fair warning before you do that.”

    Beast Boy stood up, slowly. He rubbed the back of his head and gave an overcompensating smile. “Erm…my fault. I usually jump out of people’s laps before I…um...Sorry…”

    Raven was glad her back was turned as she made her way to one of the tables on the other side. She afforded herself a smile. She reeled the emotion back in quickly as she turned and sat down, opening her book. She’d read it before, but this one was appealing to her. It was of a young mage finding his father in a mystical realm and the wisdom and experience he gained along his journey. The book was dark enough at certain points, but with a pleasant enough ending. She enjoyed the book mostly for the plot twists throughout.

    “Stay up late, last night?” Robin inquired.

    Raven looked up with just her eyes. She could sense Starfire’s peaked interest in the question. She could see it on her face as well. “Yes,” she finally answered.

    “Weren’t you up pretty late the night before?”

    “Yes,” Raven answered, keeping her head in her book. I can see this turning into twenty questions…

    Robin put the last dish he’d been cleaning away. “This wouldn’t have anything to do with the other night, would it? When you decided to walk back without us?”

    Again, Raven looked up from her book, directly at Robin. “No.” She went back to reading. I was really hoping he wouldn’t ask about that. Should know better by now. Robin wasn’t trying to interrogate her. Raven knew he was simply curious about the combined events. It was his nature to try to put the pieces together.

    “Um…Robin?” Starfire chimed in. It took a bit of effort on Raven’s part to keep from looking up. She didn’t want to indicate an interest as Starfire started talking. However, she had ceased reading her book. Only read the same line three times now and still haven’t made sense of it.

    Starfire continued. “Perhaps we could spend the afternoon practicing our new double-team flight maneuvers. We did not get to use them effectively the last time. I…feel like we could try to…improve our approach.”

    Robin looked at Starfire. “I’m not too sure we can get it any better.” He walked out of the kitchen area and near the hallway entrance. “But, if you really want to get the practice in, I don’t see why not.”

    Starfire nodded with a smile and made her way up the steps next to Robin. Both proceeded down the hall and made their way to one of the larger training rooms in the tower. Raven, still trying to read her book, found the situation interesting. Starfire very blatantly changed the topic of conversation. Not that she didn’t appreciate the save, but it brought up a point. Now, there were two of them that knew more than she wanted.

    It didn’t really matter. She wasn’t about to divulge anything she didn’t want to either of them, and as much as the multiple questions annoyed her, she could keep it up as long as she needed. At the very least, she could let her ‘irritation’ out a bit more. People usually backed off after that.

    “So…what do you think?” Beast Boy said, interrupting her thoughts.

    Raven half-grimaced. That boy better not be talking to me.

    “Raven?” Beast Boy said again. “Hey, Raven, I’m talking to you!”

    Raven kept her head down in her book. Her eyes, however glared up from under her brow. “What?” she quietly spat out.

    “Come on!” Beast Boy started. “Put the book down and get in on the conversation! I was saying, Starfire and Robin, like, heading to the training room. Aloooooone? You really think they’re just gonna train in there?”

    For Azar’s sake, not this again. “What are you getting at, Beast Boy?”

    “Um, hello! It’s, like, totally obvious! I mean, come on! You been buried in those books the last couple of years? Don’t tell me you haven’t been noticing, I won’t believe you. Didn’t you even point it out once?”

    Raven lifted her head a little more. “All of us notice. All except for them. They can’t even admit it to themselves. How do you think they’ll admit it to each other?” She went back to her book. “Trust me. All they’re doing in there is training. Try not to let your imagination run off with your brain.”

    Cyborg began a low laugh. “She’s right. Those two are in such denial, even to themselves. It is kinda funny.”

    “Hey, maybe we could…you know. Help them along? Sorta set ‘em down the right path and all?”

    Raven looked back up at Beast Boy. I am never reading this book…

    “No, really! We could set up a date! Invite them both to a nice, quiet evening without the rest of us home! We could write notes addressed from the other, and by the time they realize they’ve been had, they’re already in a romantic setting. Dimmed lights, soft music, candle-lit dinner. It’s pure genius!”

    “Naw,” Cyborg interjected, “that’s about as cliché as it gets. They ain’t dumb enough to fall for it.”

    “What about you? Huh, Raven?” The Titan put his hands to his hips in pride, looking at Raven for approval, his ‘sell-it’ smile wider than his face would allow.

    Raven simply stared back. She continued her stare until he fidgeted just slightly. “Let them be, Beast Boy.”

    “Ugh!” Beast Boy scowled, dropping the act. “You people are no fun.”

    Cyborg simply laughed a little louder. Raven looked up at him with a partial smirk. Who’s not having fun? Cyborg simply winked back with his human eye.

    -
    -
    The side of the stair shed opposite the setting sun began to grow darker than the shade normally allowed. Quickly, it opened up into a large spiral of black. Raven stepped onto the rooftop of a building she simply recognized as being near the coastline. She walked around to the sunny side of the shed, walked to the end of the rooftop facing the ocean. Zerrich was standing there already, hands clasped behind his back.

    “You’re late,” he said.

    “You going to fire me?” Raven quipped.

    Zerrich didn’t answer. He continued to look out over the ocean. “I like your sunsets. They’re a little different.” He gestured out towards the ocean, hand down with his fingers out. “I think it’s all the blue. In the sky and the water. Plus there’s no heavy cloud pattern or rain to get in the way of the coloring. That’s sort of what I’m used to. That or orange and red all across the sky because of the atmosphere. You can’t really tell sunset from midday…except for the fact that it’s getting darker.”

    “You called me here to watch the sunset,” Raven stated more than asked.

    “Actually, yes. That’s exactly why I called you here.”

    She let the sentence hang there, an annoyed expression on her face. Not that he was looking in her direction anyway. “I’m leaving,” she finally muttered, walking back to the shadows.

    “You’re not going to want to miss this,” he said over his shoulder.

    “I think I’ll be able to sleep tonight,” Raven countered.

    “At least facing that direction, you won’t miss it.”

    Raven stopped, closing her eyes. I hate him…

    “What am I supposed to be looking for?”

    “Give it about…” Zerrich’s voice started getting closer, though she couldn’t hear his footfalls, “…twenty seconds or so. Thinking about it, being late worked out. I know how impatient you get.”

    That’ll happen when you keep answering in riddles. Raven couldn’t help but reflect. She usually didn’t give straight answers to questions asked about her business either. However, this was very different. Zerrich wanted her to know these things. That, and she usually left all the details out when answering a question she wasn’t particularly fond of. A few more moments passed, and nothing spectacular jumped out at Raven from anywhere. She actually expected this. Whatever Zerrich was harping about, it would fit to be subtle.

    “There.” Zerrich pointed over Raven’s shoulder towards the green mountainside at the far-off edge of this part of the city. She scanned it and found nothing of interest. At first. As time went on, a slight glimmer-more of a wavering-started to affect a portion of the mountain. It almost looked like the heat waves off a hot road. Except, the effect was too collected. And there was no road.

    “Thought you might be interested,” he said from behind her.

    “What’s up there?”

    “Couldn’t say,” Zerrich answered. “But they really want to stay hidden. That field seems to be affected only when the sun’s about…well, right there. Otherwise, they’re pretty much out of sight.”

    Raven turned around and looked at Zerrich. With the sunset silhouetted behind him, she noticed something. The spikes of his hair took on a purple glow as the light passed through them. She’d originally thought his hair to be black. In fact, it was a deep purple. The color never showed itself, as they had always met at night. “So, why didn’t you check it out on your own?”

    “You kids are the heroes,” he shrugged. “Besides, I’m not officially here at the moment. Rather not bring attention to myself if I can help it.”

    “Right,” she said, dryly. “I’m just trying to figure out why you’re showing me this.”

    “I see,” Zerrich replied. “Guys just can’t be nice, I suppose.”

    “I still don’t know what your motives are,” Raven said. “You have to admit. It’s an odd coincidence. Of all the people to find this out…” This could be some trap…

    “You could let it sit,” he answered. “Check them out, see what they do. Act on it later. Of course, if they’re planning something and get it going before you make your move…”

    “Then things get messy,” Raven finished.

    “That might end up forcing me to get involved. I’d prefer not to have that happen.”

    “Uh-huh,” Raven sighed. “You want us to take care of this, so that you can stay hidden. That’s all this is about?”

    Zerrich looked straight at Raven. “You keep treating me like I have some ulterior motive,” he chided.

    Raven didn’t flinch. “You can stop feigning innocence any time.”

    Zerrich leaned over to the side of Raven’s hood. “No one’s innocent,” he said in a lower voice. When he pulled away to turn around, he was smiling. “That was all I had to show you. Feel free to leave when you’re ready.” He walked back to the end of the roof facing the sunset.

    “Gee,” Raven deadpanned, “thanks for the permission slip.” With that, Raven wasted no time heading back to the shaded side of the stair shed.

    -
    -
    There was the collective noise of the team coming out of the rec room as Raven walked through the corridor. Considering the time of day, Raven figured it was over what to eat or where to go out for dinner. She almost took a cynical pleasure in bringing the news. Maybe it was part of her nature. Or, it was simply the idea that once she interrupted them the squabbling would stop.

    “Raven!” Cyborg shouted over everyone as she entered the rec room. “Just the girl I wanted to see. Kay, B here wants to go out for Pizza. For, like, the second night in a row. Star’s up for Chinese and Ice cream.” Cyborg paused for effect. “Don’t ask. Now, I’m up for some burgers. Rob’s got my back on that one. So, the way I see it that’s two against one against one! Y’think you could explain the whole ‘majority rules’ thing to these two?”

    “Well, how about we ask what Raven wants to eat?” Beast Boy countered.

    Raven looked at the group. “We’ll have to cancel. There’s a possible…situation over at Knight’s Hill.”

    Cyborg’s expression went dead. His stomach growled in protest. “Oh, you had to go an’ say that, didn’t you?”

    “I’d like to run a scan of that area,” Raven continued, without breaking her poise. “There’s something there we can’t see. And it’s likely been there a while.”

    “Well, we can do a quick look if you want.” Cyborg said. “If there’s anything to find, my network of scanners should see it.”

    Cyborg beeped internally as he linked up with the Tower’s operating system. It took him all of eight minutes to send a flight probe out far enough, set up a scan and have the analysis completed. He shook his head. “Dunno what to tell you Raven. Nothing came up that I could see. You sure about this?”

    Raven nodded. “Positive. There’s something on that hill. I saw a wavering effect on the south side.”

    “When did you see this…wavering effect?” Robin asked.

    “This evening,” Raven answered. Robin seemed to press for more with his look. She thought quickly. “I thought I sensed something. I decided to track it as far as I could. When I was about to give it up, I looked to the hill. And…I saw it.”

    It wasn’t a complete lie. She followed the aura sensation she knew to be Zerrich and tracked him there. And there was the moment she was about to turn and leave before she finally saw what Zerrich was talking about.

    Robin looked at her for a moment. “Then let’s check it out.”

    “Yeah, but,” Beast Boy started to complain, “what about, like, food? I’m starving!”

    “You can pick something up on the way,” Raven answered, heading for the garage with everyone Starfire and Robin.

    “Sweet!” Beast Boy cheered, following behind.

    “Man, you did not just tell Beast Boy he could eat in my car!” Cyborg bellowed, taking up the rear. “Raven, how could you? You helped me rebuild her an’ everything…”

    -
    -
    “See? I’m sorry, Raven. There’s nothing here.”

    Cyborg gestured to the side of the hill furthest from the road. He had performed a manual scan over the entire face, and he found nothing. Raven wasn’t convinced. She was hovering up and down the hillside for some clue of whatever it was she has seen. Cyborg wished he could help her out, but there just wasn’t anything to find. If there really were a hologram or invisibility field, he would be able to detect it. Fields of these types either bent light instead of absorbing it the way everything else did, or simply projected against it. In either case, it was a simple matter of disrupting the field. In the end, it was all energy.

    Robin was facing away from the hill, overlooking the cityscape leading out towards the ocean. “You said you saw it in the evening,” Robin began. “Had the sun already set by then?”

    “No,” Raven answered, settling to the ground. “It was the sunset that caused the wavering. As if…the light hit it at the right angle or something.”

    Cyborg shook his head. “Sorry, y’all. Already did a UV scan, too. Didn’t see anything from that either.”

    Robin stroked his chin. “Unless…” He turned around and look towards the hill.

    “Robin,” Starfire began, “please share with us your findings.”

    “The haze in the atmosphere,” Robin said.

    Cyborg nodded. “Right. The smog from the city. The sunlight must've gotten filtered through the haze on the horizon. If I filter the UV light the same way…”

    “Not just that,” Robin interrupted. “At sunset, the sunlight ends up cutting through a thicker part of the atmosphere because it’s almost level with it. The light gets filtered in two ways.”

    Cyborg smiled. “I can make for those adjustments.” Cyborg’s shoulder lamp flicked open again. He scanned the hillside with his filtered UV beam. Further up the hill, sure enough, the grass began to shimmer. “Guys, I think we found something.”

    -
    -
    Raven had a hard time understanding how a cavern could have been burrowed out of Knight’s Hill without anyone knowing about it. There would have been seismic readings, or suspicious movement of dump trucks and other work vehicles to this area...something. Raven couldn’t recall any reports on increased work activity out here in the recent months. Had this thing been here all this time?

    As they walked, Raven turned her head slightly towards Starfire. “So, tell me. Chinese with ice cream. What exactly was that all about?”

    “It was NOT Chinese with ice cream,” Starfire stated matter-of-factly in a hushed tone. She looked over at Cyborg. “I simply voiced my desires for a meal at the new Chinese restaurant on Marylin Way. Across from the ice cream parlor.”

    “Which got Star into thinking about going out for ice cream BEFORE Chinese,” Cyborg finished.

    Raven looked forward again. “Don’t know about the ice cream. But Chinese wouldn’t have been a bad idea.”

    “Ahah!” Starfire cheered quietly, holding a finger in the air. “This now makes it, two-against-one-against-two!”

    “Yeah, guess it does,” Cyborg smirked. “Not that it matters. Right now, plain ol’ food sounds good. I’d be up for about anything.”

    “Could you guys stop talking about food?” Beast Boy complained. “I mean, come on! Raven said we were gonna stop for something on the way! Did we?”

    Raven stared straight ahead as they walked. “I wasn’t the one driving.”

    “Hell yeah, she wasn’t,” Cyborg almost cheered. “And so long as we’re takin’ the T-Car, you can forget about-”

    “Guys!” Robin hushed the team. “We’re coming up on something. Keep it down, and be ready for anything.”

    The far end of the tunnel began emanating its own light. Raven noted after they’d gone farther down that Cyborg had already turned off his shoulder lamp. The tunnel light became an exit, and the light further past the exit revealed a visible ledge. The ledge was fabricated, complete with its own guardrail. Yup. This has been here a while.

    Robin crouched by the ledge in front of the team. Everyone else held back until he gave the signal. Raven could hear the sound of machinery clanging in a quick beat. The sound indicated multiple machines working in unison. Was this a factory? Perhaps the generator room for whatever else was down here? It almost sounded familiar…

    Robin hadn’t moved. He was still looking over the ledge at whatever was down below. Raven realized Robin wasn’t waiting. He was froze up. “Beast Boy,” Raven whispered, looking at him and nodding once. Beast Boy nodded back and morphed into a small mouse. He skittered across the last part of the cavern onto the same ledge next to Robin. Suddenly, the mouse morphed back to Beast Boy, who was now looking over the ledge the same as Robin. Beast Boy muttered something, but Raven could only hear a muffled voice through the mechanical noise from below. Beast Boy shook his head, looked over his shoulder at the team, then motioned them all forward. Starfire and Cyborg started first, with Raven in the rear. As each member reacted once they got to the guardrail, Raven couldn’t help but fear what she’d see. She stifled the emotion quickly as she peered over Robin’s shoulder to the next level below.

    “Oh no,” Raven gasped, not being able to help herself either.

    The drones below were marching through an elongated hangar. The ceiling was about fifty feet higher than where the team stood outside the cavern they’d just traveled. Why Raven hadn’t recognized the sound of the drones’ synchronized footfalls immediately, she couldn’t understand until she looked them over individually. They had been heavily modified. No longer did they slouch as they marched below. Their long, claw-like fingers were replaced with more humanoid digits. Attached to both of their wrists were two elongated claw-blades. Their feet brandished short spikes and a heavier-looking boot to them—possibly the reason the sound was just different enough as their boots clanged against the metallic ground. Their chest and back armor looked thicker as well. Only one thing had not been altered-the masks of part-black, part-orange.

    “They’re upgrades,” Cyborg whispered.

    “There are so many!” Starfire said.

    Raven nodded slightly. “And where there are so many drones...”

    “Slade!” Robin spit out, finally breaking his own silence…

     
  6. Pun-3x

    Pun-3x Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2005
    Messages:
    654
    Likes Received:
    0
    This chapter has the action in it. Let me know how smooth it runs.

    ___________________________

    III
    Infiltration
    The tunnels weren’t as endless as they’d first seemed. While there were many wide corridors, there was only one hangar. Everything under the mountain lead straight to it, or at least, everything else branched off from it. Most of the corridors lead to training areas or recharge alcoves. Others lead to maintenance bays. One lead to a heavily locked-down room or area even Raven’s mind couldn’t penetrate.

    And so, here was Beast Boy, making his way through the cracks and crevices to get there. His small mouse form found every hole and burrowed-out pipe paths in the rock that followed the layout Raven was leaving in Beast Boy’s head. It boggled his mind how she was doing it—putting the thoughts in his head of where to go without using so many words. He didn’t take long finding the last ventilation opening that would lead him through to the other side of that locked-down area. A simple matter of becoming a fly, entering the vent shaft, and morphing back into a mouse, and Beast Boy was on his way.

    Good,” Raven thought to Beast Boy. “Follow this to the next vent and find a way to the doorlock controls. We’re almost done.

    Great,” Beast Boy answered in his head. “The sooner we find a way in, the sooner you get outta my mind. Nothing personal, but I’m not too comfortable with you floating around in my head.

    I’m not too comfortable floating around in your head.” Raven echoed in Beast Boy’s mind. “You have so many stray thoughts running around, I can’t ignore them. How can you concentrate with this mental mess?

    Lots of practice,” Beast Boy thought back.

    Practice would prevent this disaster. I’m starting to know things about you I’m really wishing I didn’t.

    Yeah, about that,” Beast Boy started, “let’s, uh, keep that thought about Cyborg’s missing jumboshock controller just between us?

    There was a pause. Beast Boy could almost imagine Raven sighing back with the rest of the group while levitating in place. “You aren’t far off with that image, Beast Boy.”

    Beast Boy shuttered. “Dude, you gotta stop that.

    -
    -
    “Okay, Beast Boy is on his way,” Raven said, keeping her eyes closed. It was enough of a distraction that she started to feel herself mentally drawing back into her own body. She didn’t fight it much as Beast Boy was already on his way. Anything on the other side of the big door would be new to either of them anyway. Raven finally settled to the ground and opened her eyes. “Everyone else in position?”

    Starfire nodded an affirmative. Cyborg and Robin were to make their way around to the other side of the hangar and grab attention from the drones through some of the corridors when the time was right. It was Raven and Starfire’s job to fly to the main room once Beast Boy had the doors open. Raven would concentrate on defensive fields while Starfire played offense from above her. Fighting through all of these drones, even with some distracted, wasn’t going to work. They just needed to fend off enough of them to make it through.

    Suddenly, an alarm filled the underground base. Red lights flashed everywhere, and the drones stopped in place. Beast Boy must have gotten to the controls. Or he’d been caught.

    That’s when the corridors started sealing off all at the same time down the long hangar stretch. Raven looked out past the guardrail and confirmed that the hangar was sealed from every point except a few open caverns.

    “I do not believe this was supposed to happen,” Starfire voiced from behind Raven.

    Raven turned around. “Wait a minute. The boys…”

    “Are in position to distract the drones…inside the corridors,” Starfire confirmed, worriedly. “Our friends are trapped!”

    The entire section of drones, as if on instruction, turned their heads up towards the top of the stairway attached to the cavern Raven and Starfire were huddled in. “Uh-oh. Not good.” Raven was quick to put up a defensive field to block the incoming laserblasts from now-visible laser points on each of the drones’ shoulders. “Fly with me, we’re moving!”

    Starfire lifted off the ground behind Raven. “What about...”

    “First priority is to get to that room,” Raven stated. “Keep them off us. We’re heading for our target.”

    Stafire’s eyes and hands began glowing. The Tamaranian girl blasted what drones she could as she peeked over the sides of Raven’s defensive field. As the girls made their way down towards one of the corridors, Starfire began gathering as much energy as she could. When they were close enough, she blasted open the security door. Shrapnel rained inward at the group of drones on the other side, and the girls flew in unison through the opening Starfire had made.

    “Oh, I do hope Beast Boy has found a way to open that door!” Starfire exclaimed as she blasted what drones she could.

    “We’ll find out when we get there!” Raven shouted back.

    -
    -
    Robin ducked with plenty of room to spare as a drone slashed at where his throat had been. There were nearly a dozen drones in the sealed-off corridor with him, with three others already disabled on the ground next to him. Robin pulled out his bo-staff and let it extend out between the drone’s legs. Kicking off the wall behind him, Robin used the inertia to wrench the drone to the ground. Once knocked down, Robin pulled away with the bo and spun around quick enough to bash the drone’s head in and roll away from a new attacker. The boy wonder held his bo in one hand as he fished out his concussion discs with the other. Rolling into a crouched position, he threw them at the legs of two drones. He didn’t wait for the impacts as he stood with his bo overhead, parrying a slash move by another attacker. Robin jammed the closest end into the drone’s right eye as the corridor exploded behind him. He spun the opposite end around into the same drone’s neck, bashing the robotic head off in a mess of sparks and wiring. The upgraded armor seemed to concentrate mostly in the body and limbs, but not so much in the connections.

    Robin flung his bo out and behind him at a new attacker. The staff flew straight through the air, striking it in the throat and knocking it down. With two free hands, Robin pulled out two birdarangs and flicked them to his sides before ducking another slash from yet another drone. He turned his body sideways to dodge a follow-up slash from the drone’s other set of blades. There was a clang from the drone on Robin’s left as it went down from one of the birdarangs striking it in the faceplate. Robin grabbed the top of the head belonging to the drone in front of him as it attempted to recover from its last slash, and the Titan flipped himself up and over it with ease. On the way down its back, he slapped two charges on the back of the drone’s knees and ran. He made it to the drone with the birdarang imbedded in its face and pulled the weapon out as the charges exploded. Timing his throw, Robin let the birdarang go towards the falling drone. Its faceplate barely fell out of the weapon’s trajectory, and the birdarang sailed past it into the neck of the drone behind it. As it fell over in a shower of sparks, another attacker leaped over the mess in front of it right for Robin. This one had another birdarang, the other of the two Robin originally had thrown, imbedded in its shoulder armor just shy of its neck joint. Dammit, missed with that one. The Teen Titan jumped for the wall to his right, used it to climb higher into the air as the drone landed where he’d been crouched. As soon as Robin’s feet were planted on the ground, he was in a sprint.

    Red beams started tearing up the floor and walls around Robin. This was the first time these drones had opened fire. It made sense; now that most of the drones had been deactivated, the survivors were risking laser fire in the narrow surroundings. Robin flipped through the air and landed with his hands surrounding the loose head of one of the monsters. On a recovery roll, Robin tossed the head underhanded at the firing drone. The head took two hits and sprayed metal fragments as it spun messily to the ground, never making it to the humanoid robot. However, it did buy Robin enough time to get to his other birdarang. He jumped towards and behind one of the other drones, using it as protection. As the drone turned around to slash at Robin, it took a perfect hit in the back of its torso-plate. When it fell backwards, Robin let his birdarang fly through the air and strike the laser point on the far drone’s left shoulder. The entire limb exploded, throwing the robot into the closest wall.

    Robin continued to run for the far part of the corridor where the last drone stood its ground. Its laser points opened fire, and Robin found himself twisting and dodging the robot’s aim. He made a dash for the dead drone with Robin’s staff still stuck in its neck. Getting a firm grip and wrenching the staff free, Robin leaped up towards the last of the mechanical monsters. He tucked into a ball and rolled under, building inertia as he flew into his target. As he completed his roll in the air, the boy wonder opened up his body with his staff over his head. As the final laser burned through his cape on his left, Robin slammed home. The drone’s face cracked open, revealing its internal workings. As Robin’s feet touched ground, he spun around with his staff and slammed the robot at its knees. Once it was down, he wasted no time jamming his staff end into its face for the kill.

    Then, all was eerily quiet, save for the few random sparks of electricity from loose robot wires.

    I’ve got to find a way out of here...

    -
    -
    Cyborg grabbed hold of the drone in front of him by the face. His massive fingers grappled around the robot’s head, and he picked it up with ease. Barely even trying, he slung it around and smashed it into the last two drones in the room. He let go, and the whole mess of bodies and limbs slammed into the corridor wall before slumping to the ground in a shower of sparks. Cyborg shook his head.

    “Brand-new armor,” he started, “same sorry-ass ‘bots.”

    Cyborg surveyed the corridor for the first time. The way he’d come in had been sealed off. As well, the entryway into the hangar that the drones were coming in from was shut tight. The good news there was that no more attackers would be coming in. Unless more were now piling up where he’d come from. Cyborg activated his motion tracker. Most movement was coming from the hangar, with very little—if any—movement behind him.

    “That settles it,” Cyborg said out loud. “Back the way I came.” He converted his right arm to blaster mode and let a beam of sonic energy decimate the blast door ahead of him.

    -
    -
    It took more effort than Raven was used to keeping her defensive walls constantly up as she held off attacks throughout the long corridor. Luckily, the groups of drones here were interspersed along the way, leaving moments of down time for Raven to rest in the air. Starfire was holding well against the attacks, firing over Raven’s fields to take out the drones in front of them and turning to keep the same group occupied as they flew past. The metallic corridor walls began joining with the cavern rock, and Raven knew they were close. There was a jammer of some kind preventing their communicators from working. She couldn’t in any way concentrate hard enough to get in Beast Boy’s head to know what was going on, but she could barely sense his presence on one effort during this last stretch. At least he wasn’t dead.

    As the corridor, now mostly rock, began turning Raven put more concentration in her flight. Her fields were down as there was nothing to attack them. The corridor straightened out, and Raven could finally see the end of it. There were two problems. The first was the cluster of drones blocking the passageway. The second was the giant door. It was still sealed.

    “****,” Raven cursed as her eyes turned white. It took her a bit more effort this time to get the fields up. It was just in time as the humanoid machines opened fire. “If Beast Boy can’t open those doors, we’re going to be trapped.”

    “Let us first clear away the menace in front of us!” Starfire answered, her eyes glowing in fury. Her balled fists lit up and unleashed volley after volley of green energy. Some drones took direct hits, while others ducked and dodged out of the way. Both girls settled to the ground and took cover behind some of the rock jutting out of the wall. Finally Raven was able to go on offense. Her eyes glowed even brighter as she spread her fingers out wide.

    “Azarath, Metrion...” Raven began, gliding out into the center of the corridor. Landing half-crouched, she spread her hands in front of her.

    “…ZINTHOS!”

    Raven let two bolts of black energy fly from her hands and strike two of the drones. She began levitating up and to her right as the return-fire began. Starfire took the opportunity to take down more of the drones. Raven redirected her fire at new targets, quickly gliding in closer. She ceased her attack after they went down and returned her protective barrier in front of her. Laser fire from the last of the drones deflected off the field, but the closer Raven got, the weaker the field seemed to be getting. Raven tensed a bit more, focusing just a little more energy into her approach. Then, at the right moment, Raven pushed the field forward. The energy enveloped the last three drones, wrapped around them and squeezed.

    “Now, Starfire, Hit them HARD!” Raven yelled.

    Starfire gathered her energy and unleashed it in a final blow. Just before the green ball of fire made it across the room, Raven let go of the black field. There was now nothing in between the drones and the final attack.

    As the smoke cleared and debris stopped sizzling and sparking, Raven and Starfire gathered at the door. Starfire started searching up and down for a possible way to open it from their side. Raven already knew it was useless. She was just drained enough to know she wasn’t going to be able to mentally talk to Beast Boy from here.

    “More soldiers will be here soon,” Raven voiced.

    “We may have to blast our way though, then,” Starfire answered.

    Raven shook her head. “It’s much thicker than the other blast doors. Besides, we’d need to be able to close it behind us.” Even with that bit of logic, the girls’ options were few. Still, for all they knew, it was a trap on the other side as well, and Beast Boy was already captured. “We’re just going to have to hope Beast Boy can still open this thing up...”

    Almost as if Beast Boy had been listening, the doors hissed at the seam. The circular hatch split down the middle and began sliding sideways. From inside the room beyond, peaking out from a set of control panels, was Beast Boy.

    “Hey guys! Sorry I’m late!”

    Both girls ran inside just as the clanking of running footfalls began to echo behind them. “Beast Boy...”

    “Close the door,” Beast Boy finished. “Yeah, I know.” He jammed his palm down on the console, and the doors began closing behind them. When they sealed, Beast Boy pushed a large lever on the console all the way to the top of the board.

    “Nice timing,” Raven smirked. She looked around. A few drone bodies—the workers—littered the floor. Beast Boy had done a number on them. There was no telling which of his forms he’d taken to pull this off. “Though next time, I’d prefer not to cut it so close.”

    “Dude, my computer skills are kinda limited to video games, okay? When Cyborg can turn into a mouse, he can do this next time. Yer lucky I figured out how to open the door at all!”

    “How did you figure it out, anyway?”

    “Oh, it was the second big red button. After you pull the big lever thing next to it all the way down.”

    Raven cocked her head, slightly. “Second button?”

    “Um…” Beast Boy started, scratching his head, “yeah, the first big red button sorta triggered the alarms. Sorry.”

    “Ugh…” Raven groaned, rolling her eyes.

    “Hey!” Beast Boy started. “These panel buttons all look alike! I mean, who puts TWO big red buttons on their computer stations? And there’s, like, no labels!”

    Raven shook her head and walked past Beast Boy. She looked around at the consoles. The one immediately to her left held a series of switches and buttons, one of them large and red. None of the switches had any markings at all. Raven assumed the systems were designed that way to prevent sabotage or capture of the base. Across from that set of panels was another. It also carried a large red button. This is rather confusing. Can’t really blame Beast Boy this time.

    “We have to find Robin and Cyborg.”

    “There’s a panel with monitors on it in the back,” Beast Boy chimed in. “Check on ‘em there.”

    As Raven made her way to the back of the large room, a series of dull ‘thoom’ sounds started coming from the main door. Raven started looking at all the small monitors now in front of her, spotting the camera view outside the corridor. The drones had arrived and were firing their shoulder weapons at the large steel door.

    “That should hold them for a while. They aren’t making much progress.” Raven started glancing at the rest of the monitors. Below the monitors was a grid map of the underground base. It indicated camera locations, main pathways, various power sources and conduit channels, everything Raven needed to know.

    A blur of motion from one of the monitors caught Raven’s attention. “I see Robin coming through one of the corridors.” She identified the camera on the map and traced Robin’s heading. “He’s going to hit a dead-end. Beast Boy, have you figured out how to open the corridors manually?”

    “No,” Beast Boy answered. “Unless you want me to keep hitting buttons blindly…”

    “Forget it. Robin’s planting a charge on the door. Hope he has more of those. I don’t see Cyborg yet…”

    A flash from another monitor alerted Raven, and she watched as the smoke cleared. Cyborg walked through what had been a sealed door and made his way down another corridor.

    “Never mind, I see him now.” Raven tracked where Cyborg and Robin were heading. “They don’t know where to go. We have to find a way to lead them here. And warn them about the mess outside…”

    It was at this point that Starfire floated off to Raven’s right. Raven turned around as she caught the motion out of the corner of her eye. Before she could ask anything, Raven noticed the small door on the other far wall. Raven turned back to the grid map and looked for their position. She traced her finger across to the door Starfire was walking towards and examined the map. Then, she looked back over at Starfire as she opened the door.

    Knowing Raven could do little more at the monitor station, she followed behind Starfire. “Beast Boy, keep trying those controls. Figure out what you can.”

    “You actually want me to blindly press buttons?” Beast Boy asked, rather shocked.

    “Considering the only button I’d be afraid of is the one we already know, the one that opens and closes that big door, I’m not too worried.”

    Beast Boy blinked. “Well, since you put it that way…”

    Raven was close behind Starfire as she entered the room. The map layout had shown this room to be huge, and it was. At least three times the size of the computer room behind her, this room was built for storage. Transparent cylindrical containment systems lined both walls along each side. Small computer terminals and their mess of wires stopped short in front of each one. But the containment systems were empty. What were they meant to store?

    More importantly to Raven was what had been displayed on the grid map. The entire room had a multitude of buzzing noises. All the electrical power conduits, all the different supply lines either came from or came back to this room. It was more than just for storage. This was the nerve center of the underground base’s power supply.

    “Might we be able to shut anything down from here, if not from the control room?” Starfire suggested.

    “It would take too long to figure out what power sources worked the doors off that map. And I don’t think the drones operate from some single control box. Though, it would be nice.”

    “There must be something in here of value. Something that can help our friends.”

    In unison, the two girls eyed the largest of the power boxes in the room. Easily three times their height, it was also the loudest.

    “We might be able to use this,” Raven started. “We could possibly generate an electro-magnetic pulse and disable the drones.”

    “But…Cyborg…” Starfire started.

    Raven cursed. Cyborg had built-in EMP dampers, but this was going to be one big field. It was hard to say what kind of effect it might have on him. This wasn’t going to be so easy…

    “Hello?” Beast Boy’s voice echoed violently throughout the power room. “Can anyone hear me?”

    Raven wiggled a finger in one ear. “He found the loudspeaker system. Of all things he could have found…”

    ...Of all the things to...find...

    Raven turned back for the computer room and ran towards Beast Boy. “Hey, Guess what?” Beast Boy started.

    “I heard,” Raven said with less patience than she meant. “When I say, I need you to tell Cyborg to shut down his systems completely.”

    “Cyborg? But, what if they...”

    “Trust me. Just get on that thing and let him know, then wait for my say and tell him when.”

    Raven did not wait for a response as she turned back for the room. She looked for Starfire, who was already tearing off panels from the larger power source. Raven set to work with what knowledge Cyborg had given her on electro-magnetic fields.

    “I just need to bypass the breakers. The power box will overload on its own. I’ll need to divert the right paths to get the right kind of reaction. I’m just afraid the connections will burn off before it can build up.”

    “Then, you will need extra energy to ignite the pulse properly,” Starfire stated as she backed up slightly, prepping her hands to fire.

    Raven looked at Starfire and nodded quickly as she set back to work. “I’ll have to contain the explosion before it can kill us, but yeah, we’ll need a starter.” She successfully disconnected the power to the box so she could rewire it to the best of her ability. There was a low thrum of energy that died away after the disconnection.

    “Um, Cyborg?” Beast Boy’s voice boomed over the loudspeaker. There was a slight bit of feedback as he continued. “I’m gonna need you to shut down all your power when I tell you to. Like, everything.” There was a pause as Raven got halfway done with rewiring the power box.

    “Raven said to,” Beast Boy added.

    -
    -
    “Say, what!” Cyborg’s first reaction echoed down the corridor. When Beast Boy mentioned it was Raven’s say, he took it a bit more seriously. Not that he wouldn’t trust Beast Boy, but given the situation, it was a request out of the blue.

    “Man, those kids better know what they’re doing...”

    Cyborg winced as a laser bolt smashed up against his right shoulder, cracking the armor. He turned and readied his sonic blaster, only to see a good dozen drones gunning for him. Quickly, he opened fire.

    “That the best we got over there?” Cyborg taunted, when a blast from behind him slammed into the back of his left ankle. He dropped to one knee and looked down the opposite corridor. More drones.

    “Aw, come on, now,” Cyborg complained as he blasted the first drone. He turned back to the first group and continued blasting, alternating between both groups. They had ceased firing their laser bolts, as there were now two teams across from each other.

    “Damn it, B! Whatever’s going on up there, y’all better hurry it up!” The waves behind continued to get heavier, the numbers increasing faster than Cyborg could knock them down. Finally they were on him, clawing at him and trying to cut him to pieces. Cyborg punched in a faceplate here, ripped an arm there, tore off one drone’s leg and slammed it into another behind him. It was almost too intense. Cyborg wasn’t sure how long he could keep them at bay.

    “Cyborg, NOW!” Beast Boy screamed over the loudspeaker.

    “You better be right!” Cyborg shouted, more to himself. He began internally shutting down every major system he had. The last thing he saw before his vision cut out was a drone raising its claw high into the air...

     
  7. Crowgirl

    Crowgirl Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2004
    Messages:
    2,884
    Likes Received:
    0
    I completely agree. This is probably one of the best fics on here to date. No critisms. You rock!

    I have a prediction though (or two)... Either Zerrich is Slade's apprentice or Zerrich is the new Slade. :shrug:

    I can try, can't I?

    Ciao,
    CG
     
  8. Pun-3x

    Pun-3x Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2005
    Messages:
    654
    Likes Received:
    0
    Glad you approve so far. :)

    And I won't spoil the predictions ;)

    I do have a question though. I'm posting by chapter, and the chapters tend to run about 10 MSWord-pages long (font-12). Is it too much at once? Should I consider cutting the chapters down per post?

    Let me know what you guys think. I'll post more later.
     
  9. Crowgirl

    Crowgirl Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2004
    Messages:
    2,884
    Likes Received:
    0
    No, just a chapter a post is fine. But maybe you should wait until at least five people reply, and then you post a chapter.
     
  10. Pun-3x

    Pun-3x Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2005
    Messages:
    654
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well, I'm noticing I'm not getting a lot of feedback. Combination of lots of fics in here, plus maybe the length of the chapters, mixed with me being new :sweat: I can understand why. Thing is, I don't really like to go "I'll add more after I get at least X-amount of responses!"

    Maybe I should go ahead and post half-chapters instead. That way the story doesn't get too far ahead of potential readers.
     
  11. Crowgirl

    Crowgirl Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2004
    Messages:
    2,884
    Likes Received:
    0
    YOu could send some PMs to grab people's attention. It works, trust me. ;)
     
  12. Pun-3x

    Pun-3x Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2005
    Messages:
    654
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well, I'll give that a shot. See if I can't find a few long-term candidates.

    In the meantime, I'll go ahead and start the next chapter. (first half)

    __________________

    IV
    Connections
    There was a distinct lack of lighting in the underground cavern. Some emergency lights still functioned in certain areas, but most places were pitch black. The one good thing was that a lot of the noise in the generator room was pretty much gone. The sudden stop of everything after the explosion had even Raven a little spooked.

    When Raven had given her command, Beast Boy was over the intercom in no time. Raven had plugged the generator back in and flipped the switch. As she had gotten back, Starfire let a single starbolt fly into the machine. A split-second later, Raven created a barrier curved around their side of the device. Even with the protection of Ravens magic field, the boom was deafening. The underground room rocked with a massive force that threatened to start a cave-in, one that luckily never occurred.

    The electro-magnetic pulse successfully traveled throughout the base. Other generators had blown out, lights went black, and the dull ‘thoom’ sound from outside the heavy blast door had completely stopped. Raven had slumped to the ground, finally drained.

    It had taken another half-hour for Cyborg and Robin to make it to the other side of the heavy door. It was with Cyborg’s help that Raven and Beast Boy were able to power the door and get it to crack open. Cyborg probably wouldn’t have even been there to tap out—really, pound out—against the door in code the instructions for restoring power to the door itself if Robin hadn’t come across him and the pile of malfunctioning drones. It had turned out the drones were E.M.P shielded as well. They just weren’t shielded enough to withstand such a heavy and directed blast. Even the ones at the blast door were still whirring and twitching their limbs. One was crawling uselessly into the wall further down the corridor.

    As long as they aren’t attacking us, I don’t care what condition they’re in.

    Raven watched as Cyborg did his best to try and restore power to the underground base as best he could, but Raven and Starfire had really done a number with the explosion they had caused. After a moment, Cyborg came out of the storage and generator room and made his way to the darkened map inside the control room. He made a mental note of everything, then looked up at Robin. “Got the place mapped out, now. We can scope out the rest of it and see where our boy is hiding.”

    Raven didn’t give a reaction, but Cyborg’s comment brought up a thought she had been having since getting to the control room. Everything was organized, functioning and filled with drones. However, there was no ring-leader to be found.

    There was no Slade.

    Even Robin seemed to take to this cue. Why would Slade set all this up and not even be here? Why wasn’t he here, especially now that the Titans had shown up? Had he not expected them to find this place so soon? Certainly, the alarm Beast Boy accidentally set off must have been connected with Slade’s person. He would have been warned and making his way to the base from wherever he was at this moment. Sooner, even—he should have already been there.

    “Normally, I’d say split up,” Robin said. “But, it’s too dark, and we know too well what we’re dealing with. I don’t want to blow this!”

    Robin began walking to the blast door. Cyborg was right behind him, his shoulder lamp up. Raven and the rest followed suit out into the cave-like hall. There wasn’t much else to explore in the control room...now that everything had been shorted out.

    They’d gotten out into the corridors when Cyborg turned to Raven and the others. “Just so you know, my electro-magnetic shielding is pretty tough. I would have been able to take that blast without shuttin’ down.”

    Raven nodded. “We didn’t know for sure. And we could only talk to you one-way.” She looked at Starfire. “We didn’t want to take a chance.”

    Cyborg sighed. “You should’a been in my position.” Robin had told the team how he’d found Cyborg and the malfunctioning drone pile. Cyborg filled in with the last image he remembered before shutting down.

    Not too pleasant a last memory. Raven suppressed a shutter, keeping her composure as she walked. At least it turned out not to have been the last memory Cyborg would ever have.

    “But seriously,” Cyborg continued, “I appreciate y’all lookin’ out for me.”

    Raven smirked. “Don’t mention it.”

    “Agreed!” Starfire added in. “You would have applied the same reasoning if it were one of us.”

    “Yeah, what are friends for?” Beast Boy finished. “Um...just to let you know, it wasn’t my idea.”

    Cyborg laughed, the sound echoing down the now-metallic corridor. “Yeah,” he responded, “I heard you.”

    The team traveled through the endless halls, making turns seemingly blind and passing by plenty of twitching drone bodies. Raven was rather thankful for the time to recharge herself, even while being at the ready. It continued to feel as if the team didn’t know where to go, but Robin had taken up behind Cyborg like everyone else, letting him lead by his memory of the grid map he had read.

    “By the way,” Robin mentioned, “anyone else besides me pay attention to those containers in that generator room?”

    “I noticed,” Raven answered. “Any idea what they were for?”

    Robin looked ahead without saying anything for a moment. “Power,” he finally responded. “The question is, what kind.”

    The corridor finally ended. Cyborg checked a reading-unit on his left arm, then put his arm down and looked forward. The door up ahead was sealed like so many others, but this one was marked differently. Raven made an attempt to read the label, but Cyborg blasted the door too quickly. Whatever the tag, it didn’t seem to matter.

    “Got a life sign,” Cyborg said over his shoulder. “Be ready.”

    The Titans were on a heightened guard entering the new room. It seemed to be a storage room...an actual storage room. Maintenance supplies mixed with metal conduits and old wiring lying around on dusty fold-open shelves. The room was long; Raven could see when Cyborg’s lamp shined forward for a moment. Then, the lamp turned against the wall. A small shaft entrance sat about chest-height. Cyborg signaled he was about to open the shaft panel. Had Slade gotten away through here? Raven whispered a quick spell. She reached out with her mind, felt the minds in the small room, extended her reach through the shaft...

    At the shaft!

    “Cyborg!” Raven warned, her eyes flying open. “He’s right-”

    The shaft panel punched open of its own accord, and a form slumped at Cyborg’s feet. Robin, right at Cyborg’s side, was on him in an instant. He grabbed the large jumpsuit by the back of the collar and flung the man against the opposite wall. Robin knocked over a small set of supplies with the man’s body, the sound of clatter nearly muffling the larger man’s grunt from his impact. For someone much larger than Robin, the Boy Wonder seemed to be able to throw him around with a lot of ease.

    That was when Raven got a good look at their captive. His glowing red goggles, full body hood, audio amps over his ears, the breather jammed up his nostril...and that partially toothless smile. Here he was, caught, and he was still smiling.

    Robin gripped at the sides of the old man’s collar even tighter, getting right into his face. Finally, he spoke.

    “Chang!”

     
  13. Faethie

    Faethie Rockstarrlette

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2005
    Messages:
    1,824
    Likes Received:
    0
    This is REALLY good. The chapters are long tho, and just a suggestion: post a chapter after at least one person read and reviews it;)
    I will definately continue to read this fic if you keep up the great work!!:D
    Faith
     
  14. JAG

    JAG Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2005
    Messages:
    3,046
    Likes Received:
    0
    This is probably the most realistic story I've seen on this site! The description is amazing, the characters are perfect, everything about this is awsome!

    I like Slade's sentinels a lot, but they are a little too weak...4 Titans fought 200 robots and won in 'Betrayal'. I like the improvements you made to them here. The blades and stuff are a cool idea. Chang surprised me.... I assume he is the one who's been building the robots all this time?

    So, anyway, post the next chapter ASAP!:D
     
  15. Reket

    Reket ~>Random Cliffy Lover

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2004
    Messages:
    895
    Likes Received:
    0
    Don't worry, I'm am your continuous reader too! Even if I didn't post last time...I am really weird I get headaches when I'm reading on the computer too long, so that's probably why. It's still brilliant, I didn't go back on my words earlier. It's okay to just post a chapter each post too, I read a portion every time I drop in.
     
  16. Pun-3x

    Pun-3x Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2005
    Messages:
    654
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks guys for the responses! Yeah, I was wondering if anyone was actually reading the story. I know the chapters can get pretty long. I'm going to keep the chapters broken up to make it easier to read.

    Also, in these next sections, let me know if the plotlines are easy to follow. It's all pretty simple to start with, but things get twisty later.

    Again, thanks for the input. Here's the next section:



    --------------------------------------------

    Raven hovered to her right as Robin threw Chang out of the storage room and out into the corridor. He was angry, and Raven wasn’t getting in his way. Not yet, anyway.

    “What are you doing here?” Robin growled.

    Chang clambered to his feet, made difficult by his backpack and heavy jumpsuit. Robin made his way to him, grabbed him by the back of the jumpsuit and hauled him yet again into the wall. Chang grunted.

    “You,” Chang began, “should not be throwing around such an old man. It is not very polite!”

    “I’m fresh out of polite!” Robin spit back. “Answer the question!”

    “What good would such an answer serve, boy?” Chang responded, defiantly.

    “I want to know what you’re doing working for Slade!”

    The group crowded around Robin and Chang. It was a standard intimidation tactic for captured criminals. Chang’s arrogance needed taking down a notch. It seemed to serve its purpose, as Chang’s smile became more forced.

    “I don’t know what you are talking about,” Chang managed.

    “You’re here in his secret base,” Cyborg volunteered. “Wanna explain that to us?”

    “I’m going to try this one last time,” Robin said, clutching Chang’s jumpsuit tighter. “Where is Slade?”

    “Slade…he has not been seen since the liberation of Jump City. The last I heard, you, the Titans, you killed him. Why do you ask me of his whereabouts?”

    Robin clearly had enough. He jammed Chang against the wall harder, causing the old man to wheeze. Chang began to fight him, but Robin’s clutches were too tight. Chang flailed his limbs about, looking at the other Titans for help. They all held their ground.

    “I...” Chang coughed out, “…I know…nothing! I sw-swear!”

    Robin pulled Chang off the wall, right to his own face. “I don’t believe you!” He slammed Chang against the wall again, causing him to make a rather pitiful squeal. It was at that moment, something clanked at Chang’s feet. It was cylindrical, and it slowly rolled towards where Raven and Beast Boy stood. Beast Boy squeaked, taking a few steps back. Raven surrounded it in her magic, bringing it up to her own hand. Her face flushed with anger, mixing with shock. Her eyes began to glow white, and it took some effort for Raven to keep from completely exploding.

    “Where did you get this?!” Raven growled out, her voice altered. Robin still held Chang to the wall, but his attention was now on Raven.

    Chang stumbled with his words. “Uh…that is mine! It comes from ancient ancestors. Passed down from generations.” Chang smiled as he continued. “Yes...given to me long ago. I...I keep it for luck! It is said that one which possesses such a—”

    “QUIET!” Raven shouted. Her voice carried down the corridor and echoed all around the group. The reverberation had just the effect Raven wanted. She walked up and brandished the object in Chang’s face.

    “This is an Azarath scroll!”

    Chang’s jaw went from a smile to a full drop. With the goggles over his eyes, it looked comical even to Raven. However, it didn’t amuse her in the least.

    “I want to know where you got this.” Raven said, lowering her voice. It was still just as menacing. Her eyes flared brightly as she displayed her clenched teeth.

    Chang was scared. Whatever defiant will he had when facing Robin was now gone. He stuttered horribly as he tried to answer. “I...do...th-the—it wuh...was…k-k…p-pl…please! I...”

    “I’d tell her the truth,” Beast Boy said from behind Raven. “Like, right now.”

    “Talk!” Raven yelled in his face. Chang visibly jumped in Robin’s hands. His breath rattled as he tried to speak, but all that came out was high-pitched noise. Suddenly, he slumped in Robin’s grip. His whole body went limp and slid down the wall until the only thing keeping him up was Robin’s hold on his jumpsuit.

    “He passed out!” Cyborg noted.

    “I don’t believe this,” Robin mumbled, dropping Chang without regard.

    Raven forced herself to calm down. It was extremely difficult. The answer to her question just fainted in front of them. That did nothing to help her mood, but she knew she had too. She closed her eyes, ignoring the conversation of the team to take a moment and collect.

    “That still doesn’t answer the question of where Slade is,” Robin said to Cyborg, answering some prior comment.

    Raven lifted her head. “Slade isn’t here.”

    No one argued with Raven once she’d said it. Even Robin seemed to concede to the facts. “Where’s he gone?” Robin finally asked.

    “He was never here,” Raven said. Her gaze looked back on the unconscious Chang.

    “Never here?” Beast Boy asked. “So…all this got built by itself? Did you see those robots? They practically screamed Slade! Chang didn’t do all this!”

    “No,” Raven shook her head. “Slade built this. But…he hasn’t been here for a while.”

    Robin looked directly at Raven. “Chang wasn’t working for Slade,” he said. “He found this place.”

    “He did more than find it,” Raven said. “He improved upon it.”

    Robin crossed his arms. “Are you saying he’s responsible for the drone upgrades we saw? How could he have upgraded all of them? How could he learn what to do in such a short time?”

    Raven looked to the scroll in her hand. She held down one of the small symbols on the right. The parchment, limp and pliable around the single cylinder, began sliding out. When it was fully extended, it flattened straight as a board.

    “It’s called a Rontizma scroll,” she started to explain. “Reading the incantation aloud grants the wielder an enhanced intellect, capable of understanding and absorbing information with a far greater ability than normal for a short while.”

    “Chang used the scroll,” Robin finished.

    “Woah,” Beast Boy interrupted. “Are you sure?”

    “Once read, the incantation disappears from the scroll for a time. It’s a result of how much magic the spell requires.” Raven held the scroll towards Beast Boy. “The parchment is blank. Someone’s used it. And it takes roughly two months before the spell is returned to full potency.”

    “That limits its use,” Robin said.

    “Which limits its users,” Starfire added.

    Raven looked to the others. “If Chang is telling the truth, then Slade is not here. Which means, the only one left to have used this scroll is Chang himself.”

    Beast Boy scratched at his head. “Dude, where’s a guy like this get one of these runty-scrolls anyway?”

    Raven glared at Beast Boy. “Rontizma. It means, ‘momentary insight.’ And...” Raven paused a moment. She closed her eyes and collected herself. Again. She had a pretty good idea where it had come from. She just couldn’t come out and say it. Not just yet. “...and, Chang may have found it. Here, in the base.”

    “What?” Robin’s eyes widened behind his mask.

    “Slade…Slade must have gotten hold of it.”

    “From when his drones attacked the tower,” Cyborg finished.

    “We did end up missing some personal items once we had cleaned up,” Starfire added. “Once we thought Slade to be dead, we ceased considering the consequences of some of those missing items.”

    “With the information he’d gotten off us,” Raven continued, “he might have even been able to translate the spell. He just never got the chance to use it.”

    “And then Chang stumbles across it,” Robin finished, looking down at the passed-out form under him. “He finds the translation and activates the spell. That lets him get the knowledge to upgrade this place, the drones…those containers seemed newer than the rest of the complex. He was up to something big.”

    “Whatever it may have been,” Starfire said, “we have stopped him.”

    “So, wait,” Beast Boy started, looking at Raven, “you had one of these scrolls? How many times did you ever use it?”

    Raven looked away from Beast Boy, away from everyone. They would need an answer to that. She thought of one particular moment in her life. That would do. “Once. When I first came here. It helped me adjust to everything much easier. I’d locked it away ever since.”

    It was a lie. Raven never possessed a Rontizma scroll. She really didn’t know why she told them that. Maybe she simply wanted to deal with this problem alone, and that misinformation would allow her to do so.

    “Only once?” Beast Boy asked. “Man, I’d be reading that thing off every time it recharged!”

    Raven nodded. “What you must understand is that multiple readings of the scroll puts a strain on the mind. It has the potential of driving the user mad if used too many times.”

    That much was true. The scrolls were dangerous as they were useful on Azarath. They were closely guarded as a result. Yet, here one was in Raven’s hand.

    “Well,” Robin finally said, “we’re done here. We’ll call in the police and take Chang where he belongs.”

    The group walked out, Chang in tow over Cyborg’s shoulder. Beast Boy turned to Raven. “So, there’s still one thing I don’t get. If the scroll makes you all smart, how come Chang didn’t know it was from Azarath? He looked pretty surprised when you told him that.”

    Raven looked straight ahead as they walked to the car. “The scroll grants the ability to gain knowledge. It doesn’t give knowledge. The scroll’s translation might have been given without an indication as to where it’s from. And nothing on the scroll actually states any origin.”

    “Oh,” Beast Boy responded, seemingly satisfied with the answer. “So, like…can I borrow it in a couple of months?”

    Raven didn’t answer. Normally, she might have been in the mood to give him some smart remark back, but not this time. Beast Boy got the hint and let it go. It was perhaps forty minutes and a trip to and from the jail later that the team was back comfortably in the Tower.

    Raven, however, was anything but comfortable.

     
  17. JAG

    JAG Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2005
    Messages:
    3,046
    Likes Received:
    0
    Awsome!:D

    I don't mind long chapters, but if you want to break them up, that's fine too.

    This is a great story. I know I already said that, but once isn't enough for something this good.
     
  18. Pun-3x

    Pun-3x Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2005
    Messages:
    654
    Likes Received:
    0
    Glad you're enjoying it :)

    here's a new piece:

    -------------------

    One evening later, Raven found herself in front of one of the quieter computer terminals in the Tower. She had been searching for the better part of three hours through the different online search engines and programs to find the information she wanted. There was no sense in the air, no aura to follow to some out of the way meeting place. Raven didn’t expect it this time. That only served to make things harder. She simply had too many questions with nowhere to take them.

    It was all of three hours ago she had decided to meditate in the late afternoon when her emotions grew too irritable. She took up her place on the roof of the Tower and began levitating in place. It was perhaps ten minutes when a vision flashed quickly in her mind. A vision of the scroll.

    She first assumed it was simply realization that the reason she was getting flustered was because of the questions relating to the Azarath scroll. She sat on it—rather, levitated on it for another moment before deciding to go back down to her room. There, she took the scroll out of her keepsake chest and examined it. The vision and the scroll in her hand didn’t seem to correlate. The idea didn’t mingle in her brain too well, and Raven’s agitation grew slightly worse. She put the Rontisma scroll back into her chest and walked out of her room to the nearest computer terminal with a chair next to it.

    Her first bit of luck was that in the last near-three hours she’d been sitting there no one had bothered her. She had typed in local references to ancient artifacts found in or around the Jump City area. When nothing came up in the jumble, Raven typed in a rather specific lone keyword. She found two articles relating to the subject. Both read of a cylindrical object or ‘scroll of unknown origin’ having been found recently. No information was given in either article as to where it was found, but the writer of the article suggested the object might have been lost by a group of archeologists heading through Jump City. One of the two articles mentioned peculiar markings on the outside. Expert testimony stated that the symbols were of no known language that could be thought of at the time of the article. Neither story stated where the scroll was currently being held. Both articles dated from a month ago.

    One month. A decent amount of time to read the scroll and make use of the knowledge gained in the short moment of heightened intellect. Raven continued her search, concentrating on archived video from the news networks in Jump City kept in the Tower database. The subjects were listed based on primary stories, so quick-mentions were going to have to be searched manually. Digging through the closest-relating titles around the date of the newspaper articles came up empty, so Raven spent another hour going through them all again, fast-forwarding through what didn’t match. Then, her work paid off.

    Sure enough, a news report came up about a mystery scroll found in Jump City around the same time as the written articles. She didn’t wait for the reporter to finish her introduction and sped the tape up to the on-the-scene video feed. Suddenly, there it was. An Azarath scroll sitting inside a case on a desk for the camera to capture while some so-called expert attempted to explain what he thought it might have been.

    On some hunch, Raven searched through news reports made in the recent days. She found one report dated three days ago, stating the mystery scroll was still an unknown and that no one had come to claim ownership. The report ended with the anchorwoman stating that the scroll was still being held for examination at the Jump City Museum of Science and History. Raven looked up from the screen.

    Three days ago! It’s not the same scroll...

    Nothing in the last three days reported any theft from the museum. Good, he hasn’t been there. Raven quickly did a map search online, finding the route to the museum. When she had it in her mind, she turned off the computer terminal and got up. Standing near the corridor wall, she closed her eyes to concentrate.

    “You are going after him,” Starfire’s voice sounded from behind Raven. She turned her head to look at the girl from Tamaran. The timing in her arrival was peculiar to say the least, considering the last four hours of no one being around. Raven found nothing she could respond with. She looked away instead.

    “You said those things inside that base, but you did not mean them,” Starfire added. Her tone was not accusatory. Starfire rarely accused anyone except the criminals captured by the team, and even then only under circumstances she was sure of. Instead, the voice was that soft tone from simple fact underlined with a sense of sadness. Perhaps it was disappointment. “The scroll, it is not yours as you had claimed. Do you believe you know of the proper source?”

    “I have to go back out,” Raven finally said.

    “You intend to fight this man?” Starfire queried. This time Raven turned fully around and looked the other girl over. Her arms were at her sides, though her hands fidgeted slightly. The Tamaranian seemed to want to place them in front of her chest, but she resisted.

    Raven sighed, deciding to converse. “I’m hoping it doesn’t come to that. I’m not sure I’ll actually find him. ”

    Starfire took a few steps forward. “Please, tell me there is a reason you did not speak the truth with us earlier. You would never mislead us like that unless there was a purpose! What is it?”

    Raven looked away again. She had a compulsion to simply tell Starfire that she did indeed have a reason. That she had a very good reason why she said what she had. The fact of the matter was, she didn’t. Raven shook her head. No. No more lying.

    Raven raised her head back up and looked directly at Starfire. “I don’t know,” she said, simply. “I’m…not entirely sure yet.” Raven knew Starfire was not satisfied with her answer, though her expression didn’t change at all. She turned away yet again, closing her eyes to concentrate. “I have to go.”

    Starfire said nothing more. Raven opened the shadows around her and sank into the floor, heading out for the night.


     
  19. Crowgirl

    Crowgirl Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2004
    Messages:
    2,884
    Likes Received:
    0
    Silence.

    :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek:

    Yeah, it was that good.
     
  20. Pun-3x

    Pun-3x Member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2005
    Messages:
    654
    Likes Received:
    0
    Glad you like it :)


    ------------
    V
    Confrontation
    Raven slid her head out of the shadows in the corner of a small room within the museum. She found the security camera on the opposite side, but it was oscillating in the opposite direction and hadn’t spotted her. She was quick to slide out of the wall and float just under the camera. The far wall was all glass, and Raven could see into the large showroom on the other side. She sank into the shadows again, reappearing under another security camera. Yet another security camera started angling towards her direction. She waited until the one above turned to the far right before hovering along the left wall, just out of the far camera’s view.

    She made her way to the entrance of a hallway, cameras stationed at both ends. She sank into the shadows to surface under the second camera on the far side, blocking the view of the first camera with a splotch of black magic. The lens would simply see a blackout. Raven thought it might alert a security guard to see a camera go out for a moment, but it was at the other end of the hall. The free camera she was under looked to the hall’s entrance, and something would have needed to come through there first before the second camera could see anything anyway. Nothing, to its knowledge, did.

    It was a few more maneuvers around the security cameras before Raven came into a locked-down room. It was marked with the standard warning of ‘authorized personnel only,’ and it was bolted down in two places. Raven smirked and sank under the door to appear on the other side. She quickly found out she was not alone in the room.

    The center of the room was surrounded in glass, except for a sliding doorway left open. The center case had been cracked open, now empty. Raven looked to the corner to see a man holding the scroll in question in his right hand. His evening blue vest-jacket bound by golden straps stood out in the room. The black of his thick sleeves nearly blended with the shadows. He took a step back, the gray half-coat connected to his vest flowing out as his boot clicked from contact with the ground.

    “Bastard,” Raven growled at Zerrich. His free hand reached behind him, and a blue swirl of energy forced the shadows open. He jumped through as Raven dove after him. The swirl of magic and shadow closed too small for Raven to follow him through, but it didn’t matter. Raven’s eyes began to glow as the shadows at her feet reached up and over her, enveloping her entirely.

    -
    -
    The blackness turned into an evening sky overlooking the Jump City Bay Area as Raven stepped out of the shadows in the ground. She was on a dirt embankment on the far side of the city, and she could see most of it across the other side of the bay. Zerrich was not much farther away, and he turned half-around when Raven appeared. He obviously wasn’t expecting Raven’s new trick, as his eyebrows rose at her.

    “That’s new,” he said, trying to maintain his composure. “You never mentioned you could track through the shadows.”

    She was having none of it. “You’re a thief,” she accused, her eyes still glowing.

    “And you’re uninformed,” Zerrich answered. “It didn’t belong to that museum. Where do you think the scroll came from if not you?”

    “If they did come from you,” Raven started, “then you’ve taken them from the Elders of the Temple. Which still makes you a thief.”

    “Just like that?” Zerrich cocked his head. “That’s the profound logic that resolves the situation for you?”

    “Rontizma scrolls aren’t just handed out!” Raven was getting angry. She tried to hold it back, but the situation made it difficult. Her voice calmed slightly, though it was still shaky. “You set us up.”

    Zerrich lowered his head, watching Raven from under his brow. “Where the hell is this coming from?”

    “The hidden base,” Raven said. “You gave the other scroll to Chang. You taught him how to read the incantation! You LET him reconstruct that army!”

    Zerrich’s head came back up, his eyes not leaving Raven’s locked gaze. “Just a minute...”

    “This stops.” Raven interrupted. “No more games.” She pulled out her Titans communicator, but before she could get her thumb on the signal trigger, the entire device began to glow blue. It yanked from her grip and flew over the dirt embankment into the bay.

    “I’d prefer to leave them out of this,” Zerrich said, his hand fading from a glowing blue. “Let’s get one thing straight, I didn’t know...”

    “I don’t believe you!” Raven cut him off. Her eyes flared brighter, and she threw a ball of kinetic energy at Zerrich. His left hand went up in response, creating a small blue barrier to contain the blast.

    “I don’t want to go to this level with you again,” Zerrich warned.

    “I’m not letting you get away,” Raven said. “I’ll fight you myself if I have to. I’ve done it before.”

    “And where did it get you?” Zerrich responded. His poise dropped into a more combative form. “I can fend you off well enough.”

    “I can handle you well enough,” Raven retorted, her hands glowing black.

    Zerrich’s eyes narrowed. “I’m not the one with a heavy burden.”

    Raven bristled. She bared her teeth, her fists clenched. She shot off the ground and charged straight at Zerrich, chanting quickly before unleashing a volley of black magic on her opponent.



    --------------------


    I know, kind of a short update...but such a good place to stop. :evil:


     

Share This Page

  • Find Toonzone on Facebook

  • Toonzone News

  • Site Updates

    Upcoming Premieres

  • Toonzone Fan Sites


Tac Anti Spam from Surrey Forum