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Teen Titans Fan Fiction Teen Titans VS Justice League of America (Rated PG-13)

Discussion in 'The Story Board' started by IVIaedhros, May 1, 2007.

  1. IVIaedhros

    IVIaedhros Member

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    Teen Titans VS Justice League of America serves as an expanded fourth chapter for Reconciliations with Darkness, though reading it is not necessary to understand this.

    Batman: OPORD

    Time
    : 0019, 27 SEPTEMBER 2010
    Location
    : Somewhere over the Pacific Ocean

    Outside, there was a veritable cacophony of noise as the glob trotting currents of the jet stream roared past, doing their best to drown out the unnatural whine of twin turbines. A slight shudder ran through the airframe as the mystery plane, a privately owned Gulfstream G550, soared autonomously over the rumpled blackness of midnight clouds.

    In the front of its spacious cabin sat a large man, dressed still in a black business suite from the day’s earlier work. He sat absolutely still, moving only to depress the cursor of the laptop that sat on the table in front of him. His slightly bloodshot eyes remained fixed on the screen in front him, darting back and forth as they took in the message meant only for a select few.

    TASK ORGANIZATION(1)

    Justice League of America
    Aden. Meta-humans, human and alien allies

    SITUATION

    a. Friendly: All allies of the JLA

    b. Enemy: Criminal elements in home areas, natural disasters, national or international emergencies threatening mass loss of life.

    MISSION: Senior leadership of Justice League calls meeting to lay out new, global strategy for the next decade and discuss broadening League ranks. All meta-humans and human allies will arrive at the Watchtower and be seated by 1130, 10 DEC 2010. Once everyone in attendance is seated, Superman will commence outline. All others are then free to voice their opinions. Meetings will continue until adjourned.

    EXECUTION

    Concept of Operations: The intent is that Earth’s allied meta-human and human protectors will have a clear understanding of what each intends to do and that there is a clear, established vision that will guide us for the next decade.

    Tasks to Maneuver : Martian Manhunter will operate the Javelin. Flash is in charge of planet-side coordination and communication. Wonder Woman will be handling arrivals to the Watchtower.

    Coordinating Instructions: Javelin pickup will begin in Ukraine and proceed southwards. A global, extremely low frequency signal burst will activate an alarm in all UGC’s signaling the beginning of pick-ups.

    SERVICE & SUPPORT

    Transportation: All requiring transportation will meet at assigned rally points where they will be picked up by the Javelin.

    COMMAND & SIGNAL

    Command: Superman heads overall effort and will be located in the Watchtower as will Wonder Woman, who is second in command.

    Signal: UGC channel 09; radio security-light; Superman- Oscar Zulu 100098352, Wonder Woman- Oscar Zulu 10097212, Flash- Sierra Bravo 00029855

    Once the message was committed to memory, the man exited the viewer and deleted the file. Moving his hand away from the keyboard, the man hit a small button on the underside of the luxurious chair’s arm rest.

    “Alfred, would you come in here?”

    A few moments later and a new, brighter shaft of light lit through the darkness, revealing an elderly man dressed in a tux.

    “Having trouble sleeping, Master Bruce?” He asked through the cracked doorway.
    The large man seemed to ignore the servant as he closed the laptop with a slight, click, making there appear to be only half a man sitting in the ample leather chair.

    “Set our course to grid coordinate NT 78910204545. Call in Enterprise and tell them we want to rent two large SUV’s, both with seating enough for at least seven people. Order them to have the vehicles waiting at Callington’s Private Airfields outside Jump City International Airport.”

    “Jump City?” The elderly man’s asked, his pitch rising slightly, “I take it you will be seeing Master Dick then?”

    “I will be seeing the Titans, yes.” The difference did not go unnoticed.
    “That’s not what I asked.” There was something in the older man’s voice-perhaps it was exasperation. Hollow silence was the only reply he received.


    The elderly man turned to close the door, but stopped, seemingly thinking better of it.
    “May I ask why?”

    “John finally sent the message. We want to keep radio transmissions to a minimum because of the risk involved in our enemies knowing of our meeting. Only a few will be receiving it-”

    “-with yourself naturally being one of those few-”

    “-who do receive it will be responsible for alerting as much of the meta-human population as possible before we resort to local radio transmissions.”

    “I see. Goodnight then, Master Bruce.” The elderly man finally closed the door then, leaving the other to sit alone with only his own thoughts and the quiet rumblings of the plane.

    If he would have stayed, he might have been surprised to see the other man’s lips twitch into something resembling a smile.

    “I hope they’ve improved their security systems.”

    Red Notes

    1) The format for this order was based off the standard OPORD that you learn to become a second lieutenant in the US Army. John Stewart, the Green Lantern of the animated JLA and JL:U, was a former Marine so I figured he would use something similar. (ref. FM 7-8)

    2) I enjoy the tone that this sets. I hope that I can replicate it later on when appropriate...perhaps a few infiltration scenes, no:)

     
  2. IVIaedhros

    IVIaedhros Member

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    Raven: Summons to Olympus


    Time: 2210, 30 SEPTEMBER 2010
    Location: Titan’s Tower


    " ‘Good God!’ he cried, ‘can it be, can it be, that I shall really take an axe, that I shall strike her on the head, split her skull open... that-’

    “EXCELLENT!!!”

    -I shall tread in the sticky warm blood, blood... with the axe... Good God, can it be?-”
    “SUPERB!!!”

    “…”

    Whowhowhohahaahaaaaaahhh – HIGH SCORE!!!”(1)

    “Beast Boy.”

    “UBER COMBO!!! EXCELLENT!!!”

    “Beast Boy.”

    With a soft snap, Raven closed her lined and worn copy of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment and walked over to where Beast Boy sat busy abusing the buttons of a Gamestation controller.

    Leaning over, Raven nose was practically touching the green changeling’s head, “Beast Boy.”

    “Nnngh…” Beast Boy wasn’t being particularly receptive at that moment.
    He was so engrossed in the game that he was physically reacting to what was happening on the extra large plasma screen. His thoughts were completely focused; a series of linearly repeating chains and combinations swaying on astral branches as he reacted instinctually to the repeated stimuli of the game.

    For a moment, Raven amused herself by watching as he flinched, cringed and shifted himself in perfect sync with the bare assed monkey scrambling around onscreen. Her friend’s eyes were so wide and intense, she briefly wondered at the comparison between his current expression and that of the boys when several bystanders had had their dresses inadvertently ripped off by the shock wave from one of Cyborg’s sonic blasts. Was it possible that-

    Deciding to leave that thought in the dark depths of whatever pit it had crawled out of, the lavender haired sorceress sat down at the morph’s side and grabbed the other controller. She found the pause button and hit it.

    The mashing stopped, “Hey, what gives?!”

    Leaning in until she was almost nose to nose with him, she calmly asked, “Beast Boy, do you want to have your lower GI tract ripped out through your nostrils?”

    His consciousness no longer resembled a laser light flashing Morse code. Instead it became closer to a bubbling cloud leaning first one way, then another. The war between his wariness and irritation towards her and his desire to resume draining his already abysmal IQ flickered like tinny lightning.

    Eventually, wariness and common sense won out, “Uh, no.”

    “Then turn it down. Now.”

    The cloud was already reforming back into concentrated pulses as his conscious quickly began to return to the game and ready itself for more bare assed mindlessness. The idiot must really be into that game.

    “Ok, ok, geeze!” the speakers were soon muted and the button mashing resumed as if it had never been stopped in the first place.

    Rolling her eyes, Raven resumed reading the Russian classic. Novels of any sort were relatively new to the half demon. When Raven had arrived on earth, her only literature was what she was able to take from Azarath. Those books were largely magical or philosophical in nature and she’d already read most of them many times over in her studies with Azar and the monks.

    What novels she did read were solely for self-education. After all, what could a novel do when its primary purpose, provoking thought by stimulating emotions, was rendered useless by Raven’s imposed exile from emotions. She literally could not feel anything except the barest whisper of emotions. It was if she had been living in glass vacuum, watching as the rest of world flickered by with only the faintest echoes and breezes reaching her.

    Trigon’s defeat at her hands had changed that. In a single moment, the glass prison that she had created for herself with the help of Azarath’s monks was shattered. She could truly feel and, oh, it was breathtaking. At long last, everything she had fought, begged, prayed and wept for had come to pass. And she was terrified. After so long standing still and impartially watching the world race by, she was dropped in the middle of the great scramble of life. The emotions of her teammates whipped passed her at a breakneck pace and it was all she could do to just keep up.

    It was humbling when you have to acknowledge yourself as the emotional equivalent of six year old. Slowly, she allowed her emotions to come out as she tested and employed them, methodical as any scientist. Still reluctant to show her friends vulnerability despite all they had done for her, she allowed novels to become a sort of window into what was, for lack of a better word, normal. Novels, short-stories and all the others were no longer useless words or potential temptations. Instead, they became a way to experience life without the pain of failure.

    Not that she made the mistake of thinking they were a substitute for the real thing, as so many others had done with their fantasies. No, they fed Raven’s hunger for a full life and gave classifications for what had previously been an unidentifiable.

    Cyborg’s booming voice broke through her reverie, “Alright ya’ll, food’s ready!”
    Blasted noise. As much as she loved and needed her friends, it was almost impossible to concentrate on anything outside of her room if more than two of them were in the Tower. Raven breathed out heavily and maneuvered around Beast Boy, who took the opportunity to turn the volume back up to skull rattling levels.

    Cyborg, having just finished setting the food out, took immediate offense, “Beast Boy, turn that blasted thing off and come eat!”

    Of course, things could never be simple, “No way dude. You guys can eat your nasty death burgers, but there’s no way you’re getting me t’-” Beast Boy was cut off by an increasingly impatient Cyborg.

    “Come on man, give me some credit. How long have I been cohabitating with your sorry green butt and weirdo appetites? There’s veggie pizza with spinach and tomato. I even had Robin buy soy ice-cream with chocolate sauce for desert.”

    Beast Boy was ecstatic, “Ahhh, Cyborg I love you!” Even more than most teens, food was near and dear to the changling’s heart and it was one of the few things that could lure him away from the TV; probably had something to do with maintaining a metabolism capable of morphing.

    Raven wearily shook her head as she made her way over towards the spread that Cyborg was so loudly advertising. It was a source of continuing amazement for her that someone hadn’t been killed over food. The arguments over condiments alone had made her want to strangle herself with her own cloak. Speaking of forced asphyxiation…

    The elf literally leapt over couch and sprinted over to the table to collect his plate. Beast Boy dodged past Raven and dove into the seat she had been about to take.

    “Haha, too slow!” He cried triumphantly.

    Like she cared. Still, there was a tradition to these things at the Tower so she gave him one of her characteristic remarks about his maturity, or lack thereof.

    Starfire was the last to appear, gliding over the counter and into her seat next to Beast Boy, “Ah, friend Cyborg, it smells truly divine. May I enquire as to-” A yellow bottle of Heinz mustard sailed through the air and into the Tameranian’s waiting hands.

    “Thank you, gracious friend!” she said as her hamburger was quickly soaked in mustard.

    The human portions of Cyborg’s face were curled into a giant grin as the genial man served everyone their drinks and napkins, “I’m telling ya’ guys, I know my stuff.”

    Cyborg may have enjoyed bragging as much as any testosterone driven former linebacker, but the man was a consummate chef and years getting acquainted with their individual tastes had only made him better.

    Cyborg untied his apron and plucked that ridiculous chef’s hat off his bald head before sitting down at the table and digging in with the rest of his teammates. Raven only lightly picked at her well cooked meat. Due to the nature of her powers, the empath rarely had to expend physical energy. Furthermore, the demon half of her physiology needed little in the way of sustenance.

    A few more bites and she was done. Raven stood up lightly from the table and pushed her chair in, returning her plate before reclaiming her old spot on the couch. It wasn’t long before the rest of her teammates were done and lazily making conversation as their stomachs did their duty.

    This was her favorite time at the Tower. Her friends were exhausted from a long day’s work and after eating they were content to simply lounge quietly in one another’s company with only the sunset and maybe the TV for illumination. Their emotions were like a warm, gently flowing river of blue, dark purple and orange that she could bask in even while she read or meditated.

    Grabbing her book, she began the slow and sure process of re-immersing herself in the world of a guilt ridden student. The minutes flowed by like sand, oh so slowly at first and then faster, faster.

    For one life thousands would be saved from corruption and decay. One death, and a hundred lives in exchange- it's simple arithmetic…we have to correct and direct nature, and, but for that, we should drown in an ocean of prejudice. But for that, there would never have been a single great man. They talk of duty, conscience- I don't want to say anything against duty and conscience;- but the point is what do we mean by them. Stay, I have another question to ask you. Listen!"

    "No, you stay, I'll ask you a question. Listen!"

    Starfire screamed.

    The gentle flow of emotions around Raven were rocked by tidal waves as adrenal fueled reflexes pushed the primal terror and anger of animal instincts into the air. The sorceress had been around the Titan’s far too long to not know what real danger felt like. Surrounding the couch with a black void of energy, the sorceress reflexively flipped the piece of furniture up to act as a physical shield between her and whatever intruders had dared to disturb the Titans in their own home.

    What she saw caused her to nearly drop the couch. Starfire was standing inches away from the hulking form of a man in black armor and a cape. Her friend’s charged star bolts threw a lurid green light on the man’s cowled face. For a tense moment, no one breathed as the man stood unmoving in the face of seeming annihilation from eyes and a hand that burned liquid green. Recognition suddenly flashed through Raven. She had seen this man before, somewhere.

    “You can put that away now,” his voice was harsh, like metal rasping on metal.
    “You are the…Man of Bats?” the Tameranian asked tentatively.

    It could be no other. Batman stood absolutely motionless in a relaxed stance that his younger protégé mirrored in so many ways, yet was not him: looser, less forward leaning-more sinister. His aura was unlike any other she’d ever encountered. . At last Raven understood what Robin had talked about when he said that the Dark Knight’s mask was only a small part of his presence. The cape, the armor, the mask, they were channels for something else. (3) It was if despair, rage and some flickering entity that could only be madness had been frozen right at the edge of self-destruction and focused to a razor’s edge by sheer will.

    Starfire dropped her hand, extinguishing the florescent glow of her star bolts. It was like a signal: the couch relaxed back into its original position as Cyborg’s sonic cannon returned to his usual arm and the growling wolf once again became the diminutive jester. There was an awkward stand off as the young super heroes tried to make sense of the situation.

    Cyborg was the first to beak the stalemate, “Sooo, you’re looking for Robin, right? Sorry, but he's not here: off patrolling.”

    The confusion and apprehension roiling off Cyborg were palpable. They were a thick vapor on a cold day; all boiling and billowing through the air only to condense and settle on the floor and in the microscopic cracks of the walls.

    “I would have preferred for him to be here, but I did not come specifically for him.” Surprising: the vigilante’s aura had flickered with momentary bursts of uncertainty and perhaps-could that be anxiety?

    If it was anxiety, it was nothing compared to what her teammates were feeling as the Dark Knight fully explained himself, “The Justice League i­s holding a meeting of all meta-humans and their allies on December tenth, 11:30PM GMT. This includes you,” he said, turning his head to get a full sweep of the Titan’s.

    If he hadn’t had it already, their attention was fully his. Them, the Teen Titans, were being invited to attend a massive gathering of super heroes at the Watchtower? Raven was certainly surprised. The few impressions she had received had led Raven to believe that the Titans were regarded as something of a joke within the old guard. What had changed?

    Batman’s attentions suddenly shifted, focusing on something, “Leave it,” he growled.
    “Wah, w-why? I-I mean,” Raven turned to see Beast Boy looking very much like one of his startled animals. He was practically tripping over himself as he held the held the remote in a death grip with a very guilty expression on his face.

    “Security is paramount. Did you not wonder why I came here when a message could have been sent?” The edges of the Bat’s will became more focused, mirroring a beam that locked onto the flickering essence of her friend.

    Beast Boy’s hands were gestulating widely as he did his best to hide his discomfiture, “Uh…yea, I-uh, why did-”

    By Azar, way to make an impression Beast Boy.”

    Batman wasn’t irritated, despite his tone. If anything, he didn’t seem to care, “With so many of us in one spot, we can’t risk our enemies taking advantage of our absence or attacking the assembly. Radio transmissions can be intercepted and my voice,” he gestured towards the remote in Beast Boy’s hand, “can be overheard.”

    At this, Cyborg took the opportunity to speak up, “Eh, don’t you think you’re worrying too much?” Batman worry too much? As if Robin weren't a big enough clue.

    Cyborg continued on, “I designed the Tower myself. The security systems are all top of the line, and nothing gets, ah-uhmm,” He trailed off as he realized that he was bragging about the security systems that had just been breached.

    Batman glared at Cyborg for a moment more before allowing the blank whites of the mask’s optics to be swept over the whole group. Raven absently noted how out of place the man looked amidst the junk strewn wreckage that made up their living room.
    “Remember, the tenth of December, 11:30PM GMT.” With that, he turned his back to the super powered teens and began gliding away. For someone so large, his movements were completely silently. The effect was uncanny.

    “Wait,” Starfire moved in front of Batman to block the exit, “do you not wish to see Robin?” she asked, her forehead uneven with concern. The force of his glare alone nearly moved the alien powerhouse, but she still determinedly held her ground in the face of the older man.

    “No.” Beast Boy and Cyborg were going saucer eyed. Apparently Starfire wasn’t aware of who she was dealing with either.

    Starfire wasn’t about to give up just yet though, “Please, I am sure that Robin would wish to talk to you. He was most upset when he heard about your latest injury.”
    Once again, Batman’s inner aura deviated from neutral gray and the low burning red as a brief cascade of doubt played through him. Raven was vaguely conscious of feeling curious as to what was causing these unusual flashes. Nevertheless, the mask held firm.

    “Get out of my way.” It was so quiet, but something in the way he said it, in the way his body subtly moved scared her friend. Despite her ability to effortlessly brush aside the human in front of her, Starfire froze up, too concerned about the Boy Wonder to move, too intimidated to mount any resistance.

    The half demon began to feel the first scrapings of Rage against her bars. She begged release. Raven found herself growing more and more angry even as she violently tried to suppress it. It had been like that, ever since HE had been defeated. It was as if Trigon were determined to haunt her in any way possible.

    Try as she might, Raven could not suppress her growing anger. She was mad; mad at Cyborg and Beast Boy for being so obviously in awe that they made fools of themselves, mad at Starfire for acting like such a coward and mad at this arrogant mortal who had so casually violated their home so he could order them around like slaves.

    She had expected better. He had, after all, been the only one to give her a second glance after the magician Zatanna had labeled her evil. It was Batman who had directed Robin to her, providing the initial catalyst for the Titans. Sneering slightly, Raven chastised herself. She’d lived with Robin all this time. She should know.

    “I can see why he’s so fond of you.” Raven’s head snapped back up.

    Starfire was equally startled and blushed accordingly, “H-he is? How…?”

    Batman’s aura had returned to the cold gray, “Robin said as much. He makes a habit of praising each of you in his reports to me.”

    Beast Boy grinned shamefacedly, “I guess I probably shouldn’t have hidden those stank balls in his uniform last week, huh?”

    The Dark Knight twisted his head slightly to pin the changeling under the blank whites of his mask, “Perhaps not. You four are his life.” Bitterness, but why?

    The comment effectively killed all discussion. He brushed past the now unresisting Starfire and strode down the dimly lit hall.

    “Do not forget.”

    And he was gone.

    Red Notes

    1) It’s supposed to be the onomatopoeia for a monkey.

    2) You really don’t know how hard this chapter was for me to write. You just don’t know man! I mean it was like, stare at keyboard, “Hey, this sounds good…” type, type, type, read “RAAUGGH!!! IT FRICKIN' DOESN’T WORK!” Delete three pages and start again. Even now, I’m still pissed off because my Batman isn’t nearly as cool as E Kelly’s and Raven should sound more existentialist. Any critiques or suggestions that you can offer would be most appreciated.

    3) Two homages to two incredibly awesome fictions. The bit about Batman's mask is from E. Kelly's Living in the Red Light, one of her Gotham Noir stories that show just why Bats became known as he is. The second comes from Another Man's Cage, a LotR fan novel (also here at FFN) that showcases Feanor's family before the Trees were destroyed by Melkor.
     
    #2 IVIaedhros, May 1, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2007
  3. IVIaedhros

    IVIaedhros Member

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    Raven: Castles in the Sky
    Time: 2200, 9 DECEMBER 2010
    Location: Lower orbit, Northern Hemisphere

    For a brief moment, Raven sat blinded as the sun’s light broke over the earth’s horizon, temporarily overwhelming the transparasteel. Shutting her eyes, she waited until the cockpit finished darkening to a more suitable opacity. After taking a deep breath, Raven calmed the slightly nauseas sensation in her stomach caused the by the sudden the break from earth’s gravity.

    It was always a strange transition, the journey from being smashed into the back of her crash harness by the violence of take off to the sudden weightlessness of lower orbit and beyond. Starfire, a veteran of many voyages, assured her that the feeling would pass with time. Perhaps the alien could be comfortable with deep space travel, but Raven seriously doubted that she could ever become acclimated. In any case, she had no plans of spending enough time in space for it to happen, so it was a moot point.

    Primary boost phase complete. Forty-five seconds until secondary phase,” announced a synthetic, but very obviously female voice. Why did they always make the voice female?

    “Hope ya’ll had a comfortable ride up,” chimed Cyborg’s easy voice over the com system, “We’re only about ten minutes from the Watchtower barring any unexpected maneuvers to avoid space junk so, please, kick back and enjoy your flight.”

    Cyborg’s voice cut off and was slowly replaced as a haunting soprano chorus suffused slowly through the steel bubble of her cockpit. “Adagio for Strings,”(1) she thought approvingly. Of all her teammates, it was the former football player who shared the closest musical preferences to her. The rest of the team wasn’t so supportive. Beast Boy vocally complained about giving the, “fancy crap” a rest while Robin audibly released a sigh.

    Beast Boy simply had no taste beyond his shallow mix of high energy pop, alternative rock and, God help her, Japanese karaoke. Robin was surprisingly knowledgeable in the area of classical, but he still preferred a skull splitting mix of east coast rap, thrash metal and various other headache inducing cacophonies designed to work the listener into a frenzied blood lust. Raven would’ve thought that Robin would have eventually become sick of listening to that noise in the gym since he practically lived there, but no, the Boy Wonder persisted in his pursuit to become legally deaf before the age of thirty. And Starfire, well, Raven just didn’t do the Hamster Dance.

    “It is surprising how many clouds there are on earth. On my planet, there are very few. Earth looks like one big storm.” Starfire’s perpetual fascination with earth continued to make her extremely inquisitive. Looking down, Raven supposed it did sort of look like that, though she honestly didn’t understand what was so interesting. Then again, she rarely did.

    “Robin, do you recall the first time it stormed after I arrived on your planet?” asked Starfire solicitously.

    Robin chucked briefly, “You mean when before we had the Tower and you almost chocked me to death because you were afraid of being ‘smighted’ by the, ‘giant booms of flashing badness’? Yea, I remember that very well Starfire.”

    Starfire’s command of the English language had been even less adept back then and she had often went into far too much detail. It was amusing for a little while, but after spending fifteen minutes figuring out that Starfire was referring to the remote when she said, “the tiny rectangular control of the pleasing message box of funny heads”, it had become annoying.

    Raven spent a few minutes simply enjoying the immense canvas of brightly haloed lights laid out over her head until Cyborg announced that the Watchtower would be visible in any second. She wasn’t disappointed. The T-Ship went silent as a glittering crystal suddenly appeared over the edge the edge of the horizon. Slowly, the reflecting rays grew brighter and brighter until it appeared to be almost a miniature star. Just when it was about to become too bright to look at, the angle changed, revealing the false star for what it really was: the Watchtower, home of the Justice League. The space station was a massive pillar of metal, solar paneling and twinkling lights suspended over the azure backdrop of the Pacific.

    Raven concluded that photographs she’d seen online had not done the League’s home proper justice. Though Titan’s Tower was larger, it couldn’t hold a candle to the floating sentinel before her. It was like comparing a contemporary military base to the Palace of the Grandmaster or Mont St-Michel, only St-Michel wasn’t equipped with the latest technology from a multitude of worlds.

    “Watchtower to approaching vessel, Watchtower to approaching vessel, please respond,” this time the female voice was anything, but artificial. Cyborg quickly took back control over the communications.

    “Watchtower this is the Teen Titans, requesting approach vectors.”

    “Understood, please switch over to channel three to receive approach vectors,” Raven found and turned the appropriate dial, allowing the voice to resume, “Approach vectors transmitting: now.” She could feel the boys brightening up at hearing the voice, no doubt imagining its owner. How predictable.

    Cyborg had no aversion to being predictable though, “Thank you very much. Autopilot engaged, estimated time until docking completion is fifteen minutes,” there was a short pause before Cyborg continued, “may I ask who this is?”

    “I am Diana of Themyscira. It’s a pleasure to finally meet you.” And with a soft click the comm was cut out as the operator returned to her duties at the monitor. The rest of the Titans quickly began quizzing her and Robin about the various Justice League members.

    Raven staunchly refused to discuss the issue. She had only met them very briefly and it had hardly been under what you might call friendly circumstances. Robin filled in the gaps as best he could. Though he too had only met the League members in a few brief encounters, his position as Batman’s protégé had allowed him to learn a wide variety of tales concerning each individual hero.

    Her other heroic friends eagerly took advantage of the Boy Wonder’s knowledge and peppered him with incessant questions. Yes Beast Boy, the Martian Manhunter could indeed shape shift, though he’d never shown Beast Boy’s mastery. Yes Cyborg, Superman and the Flash tied when they raced around the world, no Starfire, Wonder Woman’s grebnacks did not impede her flight.

    Growing annoyed with her teammates’ increasingly immature queries, Raven decided to cut in, “So Robin, who has the best ass in the League?.”

    His response was automatic, “The Flash.” Well, that little tid-bit certainly killed the conversation. Raven could feel the pulse of the other’s surprise ripple around her.
    “Robin,” she said gravely, “that’s extremely disturbing.”

    Robin performed the mental equivalent of a shrug, “You’re the one who asked. I’m just relaying what Batgirl said. Something about all that running he does.”

    Raven was extremely grateful when the awkward silence was interrupted by the sudden lurching of the T-Ship’s braking thrusters broke their momentum in preparation for docking. A sudden clanging followed by a final lurch signaled the completion of the docking procedure.

    Unclipping herself from the crash webbing, Raven left her particular little bubble and joined the rest of the Titans in the cramped confines of the T-Ship’s main hold as they waited. After a few seconds, there was the distinct hiss of rapid recompression. Suddenly the hatch swung outward to reveal the most beautiful woman she had ever seen.

    She was tall, her six foot plus frame adorned with midnight silk hair and an obvious musculature that was contrasted with an almost unnatural lightness of movement. If the trademark tiara and emblazoned body suite hadn’t already given Wonder Woman’s identity away, then her aura did. It blazed forth with the power of those who were touched by beings not bound by the physical planes. Indeed, its power and undulations subtly mirrored that of Trigon, for he too was a “god”, no matter how far removed from the famed Olympians.

    The Amazonian’s face broke into an exquisite smile, radiating the very essence of confidence and strength, “Welcome to the Watchtower young warriors.”

    TTTTTTTTT

    “Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to welcome you again to the Watchtower and thank you for coming here. I know that the trip many of you was difficult, even potentially dangerous…especially given who was driving.”

    Chuckles broke through the nervous expectancy that had been hanging over the massive chamber as Superman directed a pointed, though amused glance at the Flash, who readily obliged by beaming back one of his characteristic smirks. Raven mentally noted that, yes, his ass was indeed hot.

    “Hey, I just make sure everyone gets here on time,” the red and gold speedster drawled
    “Apparently that doesn’t include getting us here in one piece.” Raven jaw involuntarily clenched at the sound of that suave voice. The last time she had heard it, she had been a young refugee from Azarath, receiving judgment before an implacable wall of earth’s protectors.

    “Hey Z,” why did he insist on saying, “hey” every sentence? It was rather irritating. “Don’t blame me if you lost a few rabbits from that crazy hat of yours. I warned you fair and square that it would be a little bumpy.” Zatanna gave a dramatic eye roll before making some comment to the metas seated nearby. Raven closed her eyes for a moment and allowed her residual anger to fall off her. She could intellectually acknowledge why Zatanna had labeled her anathema, she could never completely let go of it, not even when she’d been little more than a vacant shell.

    A spurt of mild mannered grumbling and flares of mirth distracted her from the calming exercise as the Green Arrow raised his voice, “Funny, but I don’t remember barrel rolls being mentioned.” Raven watched as the apprehension continued to fade from the collected heroes. The Titan’s darker member gave an inward sigh of relief. The type of spirit the life of a costumed hero demanded was, by nature, intensely brilliant. Being confined with such a group of personalities was the equivalent of being surrounded a dozens of miniature stars. The force of their emotions was overwhelming and the extra anxiety had only been making it worse.

    “And now, my friends, we come to the true reason for why we’ve come together.” Where the entire assembly had been speaking, it became silence as earth’s most renowned defender began his address.

    His voice was a commanding baritone, as rich and powerful as the planet for which he daily humbled his might, “For millennia, the earth has remained essentially unchanged. Not even the advent of recent technologies could drastically upset this balance because for all their power, they could still be accessible to all.”

    Superman paused, allowing himself a deep breath while eyes like blue pools swept the chamber, “However, in these past few decades past few decades, we’ve seen a massive upset in that balance as individuals have suddenly acquired far more power then they’ve ever possessed. I’m not just talking about the ability to wreck cities, divert the courses of rivers or defy governments. I’m talking about the ability to inspire, whether it be to good…or evil.”

    Superman paused again, for all appearances an actor who had forgotten his lines, but who had decided to hold the audience by sheer force of will. (3) Raven wondered at Superman’s ability to hold the audience. It couldn’t have been all natural ability. He was too awkward otherwise. Raven also vaguely recognized the underlying structure. Perhaps the Man of Steel needed oratory in his alter ego’s life.

    Perhaps a teacher or businessman skilled in the manipulation of words?”

    Raven’s mental ruminating was interrupted by the resumption of the speech, “At first, it was only myself, an alien to this world, and a few gifted others. We were an anomaly, freaks, saviors one day and heralds of doom the next. But now, now I stand before an entire room of heroes, individuals like myself who have dedicated their lives to protecting those who cannot. No matter what you choose, I cannot say how much I want to thank you for simply making the choices you have that brought you here.”

    Raven could feel pride and something like love swelling in a tide from the audience. The Man of Steel’s words wormed their way even into her heart, no matter that she could deconstruct his every argument. He was so utterly sincere, a lesser Christ who gave up dominion to serve because that’s just what he did. If only she could beso sure, so utterly free to fight for justice without thought to the destruction and suffering she could still inadvertently cause.

    Superman’s aura unexpectedly dimmed as he grew somber, “but for every one of us that has chosen to act for the greater good, there are more who use their abilities to prey on others. It seems as if every day, they get just a little more powerful, the shaves get a little closer. We’ve seen deaths, defeats and betrayals,” Raven winced. Traitor. Visions of blond and blue flitted in her head. Damn her. And damn herself for still caring.
    “-time that we unite under one banner. I am not proposing that we form a true organized power. There are too many individual concerns and, more importantly, the world could not accept us. After all, who would watch the watchmen?” The momentum was shifting subtly. He was almost there.

    “No, the world may not be ready for such a new power, but I believe the time is ripe for something else. My friends, I propose that we unite under a new banner, a Justice League unlimited.”

    And rising with the echoes of a low roar, a new era began in history.

    TTTTTTTTT

    All around Raven there was the running drone of conversation. Another meeting had just concluded and all involved were grateful for the chance to relax. Tired of the crush, the half-demon made her way out of the center of the knot. It wasn’t like she was talking to someone anyway. With a combination of quick steps and half-floating that could only be called dancing, Raven managed to navigate her way out of the tangled press of superheroes, all of whom seemed intent on crushing her toes under their steel shod boots and reinforced stilettos. Raven vaguely wondered what decree mandated that all heroes must employ potentially lethal footwear.

    Glad to have saved her feet from potential impalement, Raven took the opportunity to do what she did best: observe. Unfortunately, not everyone else was so observational. Raven was nearly knocked over when a very large and very solid walking mass collided with her own, much smaller frame.

    “Your pardon, I should have…” Red met lavender as the much taller man stared down at her. Raven pursed her lips in annoyance. You might think that the daughter of an intergalactic demon lord would have a body a bit more substantial than that of a fragile young dancer, but it was not so. Not that it normally bothered her, but sometimes being tall had its advantages.

    “Don’t worry about it,” went her toneless reply. Raven was already turning away when she found her hand gently encased in his much larger one. “What do you think,” Raven’s anger broke off in surprise as she turned around to the man in front of her down on his knee, head bowed in supplication.

    Without lifting his head, the sable haired stranger began chanting, seemingly with two voices intermixed. One spoke firm and authoritative, ringing and clear, while the other seemed to come from some far off depth.

    Hail, hail to thee Fate's
    slave no longer

    Devil's lonely daughter, a
    babe born as a lamb
    Leads us weeping
    to the slaughter

    Raven and the other heroes around her were expectedly stunned. She recognized who or rather what had been unveiled before her though and it alarmed her. What was a demon doing in the Watchtower? And how had he evaded her detection? Raven’s eyes narrowed slightly and she gave herself a little more distance from this strange man who dressed in civilian attire at a gathering of heroes and spoke of her past in verse.
    “Uhhh, thanks…I guess.” She gave her hand a slight tug. It was allowed to escape, but the stranger remained kneeling.

    “Who are you?” The man raised his head and appeared to scrutinize her, giving the distinct impression that he was evaluating an object. This didn’t make her feel any better.

    “Listen, just who are you and what-”

    “Your resemblance to your mother is remarkable, Lady Roth. Angela would have been proud of what you’ve become.” The man’s face split into an amiable smile, the earlier demonic presence vanishing almost entirely.

    Raven was nearly floored. She had never told anyone her mother’s name and she had mentioned her surname only twice since she had come to earth. She fought the sudden temptation to take a step back. Surely he could not be so foolish to attack her in the midst of the largest gathering of heroes the world had ever seen? Forcing herself back into her perpetual calm, Raven regarded the stranger in front of her.

    “It isn’t polite to not introduce yourself Jason.” Raven again found herself craning her neck to look up into the masked visage of the Batman.

    Something like a smirk covered Jason’s face as he raised smoothly himself, “Of course you’re right, paragon of etiquette that you are.” Jason turned back to Raven and said conversationally, “My name is Jason Blood. I am a demon that, ironically enough, is possessed by the soul of a human, and it is to that demonic nature that your power calls. One cannot help, but bow before the daughter Trigon the Terrible and now Queen of Demons.” Raven flinched at the title. That was the absolute last thing she wanted to be.

    Some Jason must have picked up on her emotions because he gave a sad smile and shook his head saying, “Do not worry. The name is meaningless, in the end. There has only ever been one that all must demons must bow to and He doesn’t live in Hell.”
    There was a long and very awkward silence as she struggled to digest everything. Eventually Raven decided that temporarily forgetting about it was her best option. It would probably take several days of meditation before the implications of what was just said were able to be processed.

    “I see you’re curious as to how I met your mother.” Jason’s tone had fully returned to that of the debonair aristocrat, though he somehow managed it without becoming condescending, “I never met Arella. Batman has, however, and it was him who gave me my only pictures of her.”

    Raven an inquiring face towards Dark Knight, immensely affected by the surprising revelation . “It’s not important,” was his only answer. Before she could protest that, yes, her mother apparently meeting the Dark Knight before she was born was very important, Batman began walking away and motioned for her to follow. (4)

    “The Titans are needed at Jump City. The ruses that kept the public from noticing your absence have almost outlived their use.” Batman was obviously referring to the reedited news footage the police commissioner had agreed to occasionally broadcast.
    Raven skipped forward a step and increased her pace in an effort to keep up with the older hero’s much longer stride. Too short…again.

    “Robin has been alerted. They’re waiting in the hangar,” and with that said, he unceremoniously broke off to an adjacent hallway. Raven almost went after him, until she realized that the entrance to the hangar was only a few more feet down the hallway.
    When she emerged from the narrow hallway to the cavernous expanse of the main hangars, she saw her teammates clustered around the T-Ship. Tiny showers of scintillating white and green fell from the starboard wing as Cyborg used a built in arc welder while Starfire assisted. Beast Boy had morphed into his favored form of a guerilla and was busy loading Robin walked around the ship, checking off various pieces on his PDA as he looked for structural weaknesses.

    With the briefest exertion of her power, Raven sent herself floating down to where the rest of her teammates were so busily working. Starfire was the first to notice her.
    “Friend Raven, you are here! Come and help us repair our vessel of the stars. There is much to be done.” Raven obligingly stepped over to where Starfire and Cyborg were and put her telekinetic powers to work straightening out the last of the bumps in dings in the T-Ship’s metal hide.

    “Good to have ya’ back Raven.” She turned around to see Robin with his PDA now casually by his side. “We were just about to call you. Where have you been?”
    “Talking. I figured it was about time to leave,” she lied smoothly. Raven still wasn’t quite sure what to make of the strange conversation she had just finished and she didn’t want to bring it up with her friends just yet.

    “Batman brought you here, didn’t he.” Raven felt her annoyance at his perception. Was she not entitled to any privacy?

    “How did you know?” She asked, resigning herself to having his knowledge of her activities rubbed into her face. Robin was sometimes too much the detective.
    “He told me he’d get you.” Came his reply. Robin’s face was slowly breaking out into a smirk.

    Cute. Raven arched her eyebrow under the protection of her ubiquitous hood, “What are you so excited about?” She droned. Indeed, the Boy Wonder was throwing off more sparks than Cyborg and Starfire combined. His aura practically burned with the manic enthusiasm within him. Raven was forcibly reminded of a few days that they would all rather forget, specifically involving Robin forcing them through some ungodly training regime that he had cooked up the night before in a flash of inspiration.

    His face slowly broke into a wide, gleaming shark’s grin. He’d been wearing that same smile too. Raven’s spirits fell slightly.

    “Raven, we’re going to attack the Watchtower.”

    Red Notes

    1) Specifically, Samuel Barber's Adagio For Strings, Op. 11: Angus Dei, YouTube code : SsyTOW4cYvA. A simple and truly haunting work. For the record, I listen to classical, pop, alt rock, metal, rap, jazz and just about everything really…well, not Japanese karaoke.

    2) Your comments on how I handle individual “voices” are appreciated. With each character, I try to vary my narration style and what I focus on. This isn’t always easy to pull off effectively, especially since I have a clearer conception of what I want from some characters than others.

    3) Another use of a near direct quote as tribute, this time to Anton Myrer’s classic novel, Once an Eagle. OaE is required reading for members of the Marine Corp. and frequently used by West Point. I give Myrer a large portion of the credit for my decision to be not just an infantryman, but one who constantly strives for perfection and puts his men first.

    4) Heh, lots to explain here…where to begin? First off, Jason Blood is the human joined with the demon Etrigan: an immensely powerful demonic being that first appeared in the time of King Arthur’s court and fights evil through various supernatural means. His origins have changed several times and I’m simply using what, according to Wikipedia, is the most current one. Etrigan is known to speak in rhyme, though the amount and quality has varied depending on the writer. He’s also been shown as a member of the JLU as well working cooperatively with individual heroes so that, in addition with his demonic nature, make it no stretch to believe that he could be at the Watchtower and capable of identifying Raven. As to his and Batman’s association with her mother, it’s completely made up, though I assure you, I have a few fic’ ideas concerning the trio. Raven’s mother’s original name was Angela, BTW. Arella is a name she would take only later on.
     
  4. IVIaedhros

    IVIaedhros Member

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    *Whew* Much better...I've cleaned up both this and Reconciliations with Darkness. Originally, they both shared the same thread...big no, no. I've also reposted everything using my revised copies. I had originally posted the rough draft as I hoped to get critique to modify them, but that didn't work out too well.


    ***Looking for Beta readers***

    Beta for me: If you're interested in beta reading any of my ongoing work, just send me an email. I'm always interested in finding new beta readers. That said, I don't want people who aren't going to help me. Reviews are free to be as short as possible, but I expect a lot more from beta readers. I expect detailed feedback on what you did and didn't like, why you didn't like it, how I might change it, possible plot suggestions, grammar corrections, etc. and I don't feel like waiting so long for critique that I've already finished the story. In return, I'll be sure to give you full credit as a beta reader and I'll also attribute any specific ideas that I get from you, to you. Though, of course, I always try as much as possible to make a story my own.


    Beta for you: It's only fair that, if I demand so much from my beta readers, then I extend the courtesy to others. I will almost always agree to beta reading provided I know I can find time to give you a good effort. I tend to read and reply very quickly and if you've ever had the (dis)pleasure of getting some reply from me, then you know I can ramble on forever about a single comment.
     
  5. Atoragon

    Atoragon *random sound effects*

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    Well, its about time I finally got to reading this, or at least this section of the overall fic. Anywho... on to the review. Where to start? Well, I particularly like how each chapter opened up with the status data-link like you may see in sci-fi military movie.

    I really don't understand why there are no other reviews. This is written beautifully. Eh, well, I guess we'll have to accept it. This forum is no longer the Los Angeles freeway during rush hour like it used to be.

    Now on to my one non-comment. I have absolutely no understanding as to why Robin is choosing to attack the JL and the Watchtower. I guess the reason's behind Robin's seemingly out-of-the-blue attack will be explained later on. Oh well, now for waiting.
     
  6. IVIaedhros

    IVIaedhros Member

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    Thank you much for the comment. Heh, it'd be interesting to see this place as a Los Angeles freeway during rush hour.
     
  7. IVIaedhros

    IVIaedhros Member

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    Please, for the love of all that is good in fanfiction, write a review. Even better, make it thoughtful and specific as to why you think as you do. Reviews are the ambrosia with which writers sate the muses. I swear on pain of eating Star Fire’s pudding that I will personally respond to every review. Note that I reserve the right to base the thoughtfulness of my response on that of the review.

    This chapter was written with the help of AlsoSprachOdin, my beta reader. His timely and thoughtful critique and knowledge of various superheroes forced me to maintain a higher standard of quality and to think of every angle from a logical viewpoint. You Teen Titans crazies out there can also thank him for not allowing me to turn this into a Batman novella. ;)

    I’m giving you a forewarning out of the kindness of my own heart…this chapter has a lot of exposition through dialogue. It’s necessary because, in my effort to be “realistic”, I need to logically lay out how and why the Teen Titans would launch a surprise attack on an unsuspecting Justice League. If you can comfortably accept the idea of TT vs JLA without any logic and just want to enjoy action, feel free to skip this chapter, though I like to believe I’m a good enough writer that you won’t be able to call it torture. However, if you’re like me and you need to see some justification, and then read on.

    Robin: Breaking Form

    Time: 0530, 10 DECEMBER 2010
    Location: Titan’s Tower


    There was something very bad to be said about the false, white glare of electricity. What it was, he really wasn’t quite sure, though if he were honest with himself, Robin would admit that it was guilt by association rather than any innate quality of electric light itself. The soft yellows, reds and violets of natural light were reserved for the sun, which meant daytime, pizza, hard, but rewarding training and the exhilaration of crime fighting.

    The halogen bulb on his desk flickered slightly, undoubtedly feeling the hatred being leveled at it from his maskless eyes. Concurrently, artificial light was reserved for unholy hours in the morning, long stretches of frustration, cold stake-outs and the sickening, ever-present veil of fatigue past all reasoning and why the heck was he waxing poetic about the evils of artificial lighting?

    The light dimmed before emitting a soft, sizzling noise.

    Robin let go of the sigh he’d been holding in for at least the last half hour while he collected his thoughts. He was tired, dead tired to be perfectly honest, which, of course, Robin was, hence why he had been contemplating the action of homicide directed toward an inanimate object. Wow, geeze, he was really, really tired, dead tired to be perfectly…

    Without another glance at the offending desk light, the exhausted Boy Wonder woodenly plodded towards the little ceramic cubicle that served as his shower room. After rotating the handle only a quarter turn clockwise, Robin did his best not gasp at the icy water, the shock of the temperature providing an instant wake’y up’ppy. Robin grimaced. Well, maybe it wasn’t quite as effective as he might make it to be, but it did help. Sometimes you could be subtle about your methods in staying up and alert. One could switch tasks to maintain interest, change points of visual focus, etc. Eventually though, you just had to say “screw it”, and use brute force.

    His nerves sufficiently raw from the assault they’d just endured, Robin exited his shower and walked over to where his uniform lay neatly pressed on his bed. The skin tight pants slipped on first, followed by his reinforced top. The golden utility belt which he had prepared earlier in the night wrapped snuggly around his waist before he moved on to steel toed boots, the inevitable gel/hairspray combo, fire proof gloves and the sable and yellow cape. As was appropriate, the mask came last, sealed airtight against his skin by polycarbonate based glue that might as well have been liquid cement save for how easily it dissolved on contact with pure nitrogen.

    Robin looked up into the mirror and inspected himself: faultless, as was expected. It was the ritual he started everyday with, quietly affirming that it was time to go to work and check his fallibility at the door. The immaculate uniform was also part of his image as a leader. Robin would need the respect and deference that came with the position today because of what he was proposing they do and, as a result, he gave himself one more redundant look-over.

    Satisfied that nothing was out of place, Robin turned as if to leave, but then stopped, thinking better of it. As he stared back at himself, he inexplicably felt the old manic energy begin to burn at the edges of his mind. This was going to be different, unexpected. No one would expect “Robot Robin” to pull something so utterly against the grain. The overly white smile he’d worn all the way back from the Watchtower slowly reappeared as another idea formed. With two long strides the Boy Wonder reentered his bathroom and turned on the faucet. When the water was sufficiently hot enough i.e. able to cook a lobster in two seconds, he plunged his head in and began to scrub furiously. A few seconds of hot water and vigorous cursing was all it took for the slew of chemicals he’d stuck in his hair to go swirling down the drain. A little more abuse from his red, terry cloth towel (monogrammed too, with a little robin stitched on, but he’d confess undying love to Kitten than let anyone find out).

    Robin’s feet soon carried him down to the kitchen where he grabbed one of the energy gels he kept at the ready for when he managed to severely overextend himself. Plain coffee was unappealing to him and the fancy stuff just gave him a stomach ache. Besides, drinking the stuff was like eating a liquid sundae with caffeine. The only other alternative, Raven’s tea, tasted like old gym socks. Or, that is to say, what he thought old gym socks might taste like. Had he mentioned he was tired? Yea, perhaps he had, in excess even, but you’d have to understand just how important it is for Robin to appear alert and coherent when getting ready to lay down his plans. If Robin wasn’t in order, how could his teammates expect his ideas to be?

    The Boy Wonder snagged a bottle of water from the refrigerator to wash down the last remnants of the sticky syrup before he took the staircase up to the rooftop. Once there, Robin simply paced, running his ideas around in his mind, testing them again now that the last vestiges of fatigue had burned away. By the time the sun had peaked out half-way from under the Pacific waves, Robin was done thinking. It was time to check on the crew anyway.

    “Hey Robin, what’re ya doin’ up here? Meh, don’t bother, I don’t care! Breakfast is ready and guess what?” It looked like the crew had come to him instead.

    “You cooked breakfast?” Robin asked, taking a guess on what could have the changeling excited so early in the morning.

    “You bet, and guess what else.” The little green teen was almost waggling his eyebrows at Robin. It was vaguely funny and disturbing at the same time.

    “Starfire’s moved on to mayonnaise?” He asked, walking past Beast Boy and back into the elevator. He would have preferred the staircase again, but he didn’t feel the need to listen to Beast Boy rag on him all the way down about how stupid he was to take the stairs when he could just ride the elevator.

    “Nah, though that would be kinda cool. Or hey,” Robin grimaced. Beast Boy was the supreme and undisputed master of tangents and leg pulling. Best to cut him off before he got a headwind going or he’d never shut up, “What did you make for breakfast?”

    “Oh, yea, I made orange smoothies and strawberry Muesli. That’s absolutely zero tofu. Did you know I could make something without using tofu? I bet you didn’t.” The elevator began slowing as they reached the living room.

    “I wondered a couple of times, yea, but I kinda figured that you could make something without tofu.” Being the loyal vegetarian that he was, Beast Boy was also the master of tofu. In fact, he was too good with it because practically everything he ever made used the gelatinous bean derivative.

    “Good morning friends!” His conversation with Beast Boy was interrupted when Starfire’s upside-down head appeared floating at the top of the elevator door.

    “Good morning Star.” They chorused.

    “Yo, Beast Boy!” And good morning to you too, Cyborg, “These smoothies are awesome! You need to show me the recipe.” The metal man was busy stuffing down the horrible looking slop in his bowl that appeared to be some sort of yogurt/musseli combination. Robin’s stomach grumbled as he stepped past the now upright Starfire and headed towards the table. Mexican, Robin bet it was like Mexican: disgusting to look at, but good to taste.

    Grabbing a bowl for himself, he threw in some various berries before taking a seat next to the smoothie prepared for him. In no time at all, he found himself surrounded by the rest of the Titans as he ate. “Of course, they’re expecting the announcement.”

    “Alright everyone, take a seat.” All the casual chatter died away. Robin smirked. They were really worked up about this, though that was to be expected. As soon as they’d left the Watchtower’s cavernous docking bay, Robin had told them that they might be attacking the Justice League inside their own base. This had understandably caused an uproar, but Robin had delayed in giving out any further details. Thankfully, the trip back and the team’s exhaustion had given him the time he needed. Now, all that was left to do was let the dice fall where they might.

    “Here’s the deal everyone,” he said, looking out at their eager eyes, “Batman has asked us to attack the Watchtower.” Before they could even gather air for the inevitable questions, Robin held up a hand to forestall them.

    “Let me finish now,” their leader said, making sure to make eye contact with each member, “Batman feels that the Justice League’s security is too weak. Given how many more members they’ll be inducting over the next few years, they can’t any breaches. By expanding, they become more powerful, but they also become more vulnerable because they’re making themselves a bigger target, both from the inside and out….I don’t have to remind you about traitors.” Robin could see their faces momentarily darken. No, he’d never have to remind them.

    “I personally agree with Batman on this. Now I’m going to tell you Batman’s plan,” Robin paused and held up his index finger, “and them I’m going to tell you my plan and we’ll debate what we want to do, if anything.” Quiet nods all around; good, this was progressing better than he had anticipated.

    “The original plan is to have Batman take the Javelin and a partner down to a predetermined location where we would ambush them. We would fly the Javelin up to the Watchtower where we would take out anyone on guard duty, secure them, and then fly on home. Take a look at these,” Robin placed a stack of papers in the middle of the table. “The main problems we’d have to deal with would be Superman and Wonder Woman, compromising world security by temporarily disabling several heroes, not to mention a very pissed off JLA . Batman will take responsibility for all of this. He’d make sure that when we attack, we’re not dealing with the two most powerful members, that we’re doing it at a time when it’s not going to compromise global security and he’d also be the one to explain the purpose behind the attack. After all, it’s his idea.” He paused and took a casual sip of his water. Robin was a bit parched and it helped refocus his audience, or so his tutor had said.

    “Bottom line is that Batman wants to teach the Justice League a thing or two about paranoia and he wants us to be his teaching aid.” Robin took his eyes off of the outline he’d finished last night to survey the group again. Let’s see, completely bewildered: expected, vaguely excited: excellent.

    “ZoMyGosh, this is like, freaking awesome!” Wood scraped against the white linoleum as Beast Boy stood up, “I mean, how cool would it be to say that we beat fought the Justice League and won?!” Robin chuckled slightly. He doubted it was visions of sugar plumbs dancing in front of Beast Boy right now. The lawn gnome might still be a little scrawny, but over the years he’d become quite the lady killer. And if you could claim to have beaten the Justice League, well, how many guys could match that?

    “You really think we could pull this one Robin?” Cyborg was leaning over the table to look his masked compatriot directly in the face. “You really think we can beat…I mean, this ain’t some sissy little Brotherhood of Evil wannabe. This is the Justice League of America we’re talking about; capital J, L, kick your Ass, saved the world more times than I can count, Justice League.”

    Robin managed to keep his face set to a decent Raven impression as he leaned forward and met Cyborg half-way, “Yea, I think we have a very good chance.”

    “Well then count me in baby, waaaoooo!” Cyborg pumped his armored fist into the air.

    “Um, Robin…” Robin blinked under the mask as he found Starfire also leaning close to him. He motioned for her to continue. “You have another plan you wanted to tell us?” He blinked again. Starfire was being unusually restrained.

    “Yes, I do,” He looked up to where Beast Boy and Cyborg were competing in who could think up the most epic battle scene where, of course, one of them would be defeating multiple League members in vicious hand-to-hand combat. Raven was less than amused.

    “…and then I’d bet Superman would be so impressed that he’d make us honorary members!”

    “Hey guys, quiet down for a second. You haven’t heard everything.” It took Robin several tries, but eventually the other two boys were calm enough for Robin to begin speaking again.

    Once Robin was sure that he had everyone’s absolute attention, he asked, “How would you guys like to take on the entire Justice League and I mean all of them: Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, Green Lantern, Hawk Girl, Martian Hunter? How you would like to take them on and win and not just in some five on one that Batman arranged, but how about winning a real fight?”

    Cyborg laughed, “Sure, I’d love to do that, right after I finish growing my afro.”

    “He’s serious.” Raven’s intense eyes were practically boring into his forehead. It was making him nervous, but he kept going. He couldn’t risk losing momentum, especially not so early in the game.

    “I am.” That had the convenient effect of causing everyone to go completely silent. Beast Boy and Cyborg were looking at Robin like he’d sprouted a second head. Raven, however, looked almost pissed, if that were possible. He vaguely wondered why she was so uptight recently. It was unusual.

    Starfire, however, looked apprehensive, “But how Robin? How can we do this thing?”

    He did his best to flash one of his trademark grins before saying, “I was just getting to that.”

    “Oh yes, please tell us Robin. Tell us how we are going to take on, what did you call them: ‘the most powerful organization this world has ever seen’ and manage to do it without, as you have also said, endangering ourselves, innocent lives and without completely enraging the Justice League?” Raven’s acerbic question hit Robin as soon as he’d finished speaking.

    “Yea, I mean,” Beast Boy awkwardly scratched the back of his head. It was something of a nervous tic of his, “it would definitely be cool and all, but, I mean, this is serious.” Robin fought the urge to laugh. He was being lectured on seriousness by Beast Boy? How droll.

    “Gee, I never would’ve thought,” he responded, letting some edge creep into his voice. Raven didn’t have exclusive rights to the sarcasm department. Robin didn’t let himself linger on that long though. He couldn’t let his friends think of this as only individual passion.

    “This is possible. I wouldn’t even bring it up otherwise, you know that.” Robin allowed himself a sigh before going back all business, “OK, this is how it goes. In a straight up fight with the Justice League, we lose.”

    “You’re not inspiring-”

    Robin plowed through before Cyborg could finish, “However, I think there’s a way we could take the Justice League and win and do it without collateral. The key is Batman’s files on the Justice League.” A semi-circle of blank looks was already surrounding him. This, too, was expected.

    “You guys can make fun of me for being paranoid all you want, but whatever I am, Batman’s about a thousand times worse. Several years ago, he was nearly expelled from the Justice League because he decided it’d be a good idea to think up death traps for each of the members.” (2) He got several pairs of very wide eyes with that remark.

    “Yea, not the trusting type obviously. Well…” Robin fought the urge to smirk again, “while I was still in Gotham, I managed to find out where all those plans are located.” There eyes were a little wider. “And conveniently enough, it’s also the best place to look for any records of past Just League meetings.”

    Robin paused a bit to let this sink in before driving home his point, “Don’t you guys see? If we can get a hold of Batman’s files, we can find out exactly how best to defeat each individual member and we’ll know when to attack without jeopardizing any lives.”

    “But why, I mean, we already have our chance to kick some butt? And from the sound of it, you don’t even really have a plan yet. You need all those super secret files and then, maybe, we’ll have a plan.” Robin could practically taste the irony. How long ago had he prayed that Beast Boy would just wise up a bit? Conveniently, he’d finally acquired some common sense just in time to start attacking Robin’s plan.

    “First off, I already have a definite plan to get a hold of those files. Once we have those, it’s simply a matter of deciding whether or not we want to fight the whole League or if we even want to fight at all.”

    Starfire chimed in as well, “Robin, I do not like this idea, not at all.”

    “And why is that Starfire?” he asked in what he thought was his most reasonable tone.

    “Because this is just another case of your ego affecting your head.” There was Raven again and here comes Cyborg, “Robin, you have to admit that this looks like you’re just trying to prove something to Batman.”

    Robin felt the mask’s adhesives pull against skin as his eyes tightened. He had already thought of all these objections and prepared his counters. The acrobatic crime fighter had spent the entire night neatly preparing his case in a logical manner. And now, as he faced accusations he had counted on, his neatly arranged argument were falling to pieces. It wasn’t even his plan that was at fault; it was like he simply couldn’t keep everything in his head. It was all falling apart and you know what? He couldn’t have cared less.

    “Fine, I admit it,” Robin practically spat this out. Screw being the perfect little leader. “I want to do this so I can prove to Batman and everyone else, once and for all, that I am capable of acting on my own without his interference. I want him beaten so badly that when we’re done, he can’t find one. Single. Thing. To say that I did wrong.” Robin allowed his anger to carry him away and slammed an open palm onto the table, causing their drinks to rattle. “And you know what else? I’m tired of everyone treating the Titans like we’re a bunch of third rate crime fighters, like we’re a bunch of little kids the ‘adults’ let loose so long as they don’t cause any trouble. Have you gotten sick of it yet?” He was actually ranting. Robot frickin’ Robin was actually ranting and raving. By God, it felt good!

    His friends were looking at him like he’d lost his mind. In a way, he had. “Hey, I feel ya’ too man. I mean, usually I’m the one moanin’ and groanin’ about how we get the shafted by the other heroes out there, but that’s still not a good enough reason to-”

    Robin cut off Cyborg easily. He’d built too much momentum. “It’s not? How is anything going to change otherwise? Besides,” he let his voice slip back into sarcasm, “if the almighty Justice League can’t deal with a handful of kids, then maybe they either need to shape up or start looking for some replacements.” Oh, boy. “Charged statement” indeed. The rest of the Titans simply sat in various degrees of shock. Robin might have been the firebrand when the Titans had first formed, but he had long since made himself into the perfect reflection of the ideal leader: consummately weighing risks, aggressive, but knowing when to retreat, the group before the individual. Sure, there had been exceptions in the past, read “Slade”, but by and large his teammates were simply used to what the Titans had molded him into. This sudden reversion back to what he had been before the Titans, before responsibility of Jump City and their lives, well…it shocked them. Of course, Robin, being Robin, wasn’t going to let them get away with that.

    Crossing his arms, he spoke in a tone of exaggerated reasonableness, “I tell you what, you guys are mostly worried about getting in trouble, right?” Raven’s mouth started to move. Like he was going to let her interrupt now. “So, why don’t I just ask permission?”

    He held an open hand towards Beast Boy, “Cell phone.”

    Wordlessly fumbling with his pockets, the changeling managed to produce the Blackberry they had only recently bought him for Christmas. For the life of him, Robin couldn’t figure out why he would need the miniature computer. After all, since when did Beast Boy have complex itineraries to make and keep? But then, Robin had the frankly redundant R-Cycle, so it was all fair. Taking the proffered appliance, he asked, “How do you turn this thing to speaker phone?”

    Beast Boy looked down at his feet, mentally trying to remember what the proper way was, “Uh, menu, profiles, settings…general…no, sound and alarms, then-”

    Robin was already there, “Got it.”

    “Oh…good.” Beast Boy looked up at him expectantly, unsure of what he was doing as Robin quickly punched in a number by memory. He’d only ever used it once many years ago, but as was typical, Robin had been forced to memorize it until he doubted he’d forget it even if he died.

    Several rings then, “What is it?” His friends started slightly. They recognized that voice. It was impossible to forget once you had heard it in person.

    “I’ve brought up your request with the team and they definitely liked it, but I’ve been thinking of something different.” Gotta make sure to get that “I” in there, “If we’re going to test preparedness, why not go all the way? Give us a year and permission to attack whenever and however we see fit and by the end of the year, we’ll have ‘killed’ the entire Justice League.”

    There was some faint crackling from interference.

    “Look, you want a real test of the Justice League’s security and alertness. What could be better? Train as you fight and fight as you train, right?”

    There was only more silence outside of a faint rustling. Robin tilted his weight to one leg and did his best to affect an air of nonchalance, but he anxious.


    “…”


    Robin forced himself not to move. It was all pointless, no, worse than pointless if they didn’t get permission. He had come up with his own, nearly mutinous plan precisely because he did not want to be in anyway dependent on the Bruce. Now that he was committed, he needed Bruce’s approval, if only because it would let him take the path of least dependence and the most opportunity to defeat his mentor in a real battle. It was completely messed up. (3)




    Silence….




    “You have a year.” There was a soft click as the line went dead. Smiling faintly, Robin looked up to where his fellow Titans sat. The pieces were in place. He’d done it.

    “Well, we’ve been given the go ahead. What’s it going to be?”

    They told him. He grinned. Robin spent the rest of the day unnerving his cautiously enthusiastic teammates with an insane smile.

    Had he mentioned he was tired?


    Red Notes

    1) It is possible to make some legitimate claims of OOC behavior in Robin and Raven. For Robin, the question is why would he be so willing to A) pull something so outrageous on his mentor B) take such inordinate risks when there is no physical threat and C) risk being alienated by the entire Justice League? My response is that Robin and Batman’s relationship has simply deteriorated to the point where he’s that desperate to prove himself and his team. Robin in all of his incarnations has always been portrayed as impetuous and while I think it’s a stretch for him to resort to such drastic measures without an additional outside threat, I also think it’s a definite possibility. As for Raven, this is simply one of the ways I envision her coping with her newfound feelings. I envision Raven quietly experimenting with her new emotions (remember that bit about novels earlier?) while hiding her new sensitivity under a cover of extra prickliness.

    2) This comes from The Tower of Babel, where Batman’s ideas for taking out the other League members were discovered by Ra’s Al Ghul. In the end, the Justice League members cast a vote whether or not to expel him. Batman left before the decision could be aired, but the majority voted against him.

    3) If Robin’s antagonism towards Batman seems weird, don’t worry, it’s very much part of his character, especially with Dick Grayson’s as Robin. The TV show never made mentioned it, if anything, the Apprentice arc made it seem as if there were no problems. This is utterly untrue as the two have a long history of conflict. In fact, Nightwing was created as a way to become more independent of Batman.
     
    #7 IVIaedhros, Jun 3, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 5, 2007
  8. paranoidguy103

    paranoidguy103 Getting more paranoid everyday

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    I have to say, this entire story is well written. Your descriptions of Robins obcession of proving himself to Batman is dead-on, and so are your descriptions of the rest of the Teen Titans. There are a couple of grammer mistakes somewhere is the chapter, otherwise your writing is great and easy to figure out what you mean. I've enjoyed your chapters, and if you do need an extra beta-reader, i'm available should you need me:D . Looking forward to the next chapter.
    Peace,
    Paranoidguy103
     
  9. IVIaedhros

    IVIaedhros Member

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    Cy' and BB: Infilitration

    Time: 1930, 21 JANUARY 2011
    Location: Wayne Manor

    Beast Boy didn’t know what was making that smell, but whatever it was, it was driving him absolutely, positively insane. It was warm, juicy and no doubt dripping with just the right amount of sauces. Here he was, morphed into a cat with an empty stomach, stuffed into a backpack like an old sock and forced to sniff at what must have been the greatest meal since pizza was invented, with an enhanced sense of smell. Half of him his was appalled that he was even considering something made from an animal appetizing, but the other half of him was positively drooling at the chance of gobbling down the wonderful salmon. Of course…fish. There just had to be fish. Moaning slightly in blissful torment, the changeling noticed something warm and slimy was rubbing on his nose. Fudge, he really was drooling….hmm, oh gods, he could smell fudge now too!

    -Dude, cut it out before you drive us both nuts!-

    Beast Boy’s glutinous thoughts involving a bathtub full of chocolate syrup were interrupted by the foreign thoughts of his teammate Cyborg. Beast Boy winced mentally and physically at the intrusion and tried to resist the urge to wriggle. He really hated mind melds.

    “Hey, don’t do that!” Beast Boy counter thought towards the part of his psyche that was now occupied by the older Titan. “It feels like someone’s shoving a finger through my head and mixing everything up.”

    Cyborg decided to pass on his usual comeback about there being nothing to mix up in the first place. As the pressure of his teammate’s thoughts faded back, Beast Boy did have to concede that while he loathed mind melds with the fiery passion of a thousand suns, they were hella useful, especially on crazy missions like the particular one he happened to be on. Because while Beast Boy could sneak around just fine, they still had to hack into The Black Box of DOOM™ once he got down into the cave. Now Beast Boy knew plenty about electronics so far as it came to running his video games, but hacking? Noooo, spank you, spank you very much. Robin might have been able to do it, but it was Cyborg who really stood the best chance among them for cracking whatever security measures the Bat had placed over his box. But how to sneak in several hundred pounds of metal and bling? Well, you didn’t.

    They had tossed around plenty of ideas in some late night strategy/pizza meetings and the best they could come up with was either having Robin doing the whole thing himself or giving Beast Boy some kind of communication device so Cyborg could talk him through everything. They both had a chance, but they both also had some pretty big holes.

    Robin might have been able to pull it off, but annoyingly wonderful as he was, he didn’t have Beast Boy’s mastery of stealth nor Cyborg’s of computers and thus was still likely to fail. Apparently his presence at the Cave would also be cause for alert because he and the Bats had had some sort of falling out. He never did explain that. Raven had been another possibility with her unique abilities to ignore solid matter, but precise teleportation to an unknown and out of sight area was tricky business no matter how you sliced it. That the empath would have been forced to do a long distance teleport into an extremely crowded and hazardous area plusa mind meld to maintain only shoved the scale from tricky to near impossible. So’s all that was left was Cyborg coaching his green friend through the electronics part, but they couldn’t find a device with a signal that wouldn’t be picked up by the Cave’s instruments. No one could think of anything and they were just about to break when Raven tentatively suggested the concept of a long range, temporary mind meld. After a whole lot more wrangling and even more pizza, they’d agreed to give it a try.

    -Yo, about fifteen minutes ‘till it’s go time.-

    Beast Boy felt the touch of his teammate’s weirdly partial thoughts. Of all the teammates he had to be paired up with, they just had to give him the one he felt the least comfortable with psychically. It just felt too messed up; never mind Cyborg was usually the one he related to the best. Everyone else was a mass of warm chaos that somehow made sense once you fully immersed yourself in it. Cyborg was…well, Beast Boy kinda thought of receiving mental impressions like taking a stroll down a beach side road, completely focused on enjoying the view. You were still in control, but you’re soaking up that gorgeous environment. With Cyborg though, it was like:

    Tralalala, I’m walking, I’m walking, oh what a beauti-

    -catch foot in pothole-

    Waa!-

    -Face plant-

    Womp CRUNCH Gaaahnnn, Ma NOBZ!

    -Resume walking-


    Raven said something about part of Cyborg’s brain function being taken over by inorganic parts and mumbled about them not being a part of one’s spiritual psyche or…something. Beast Boy was about to ask the metalloid Titan to go back to wherever he stayed in his head, but his presence was already withdrawing and leaving him the same as if he were never there. Freakin’ A, it was so weird. But then, he was a super hero and a Teen Titan. Beast Boy figured that in the grand scheme of things, having one of his teammates temporarily shack up in his head was one of the more boring events that had occurred to him. Heck, it wasn’t like he hadn’t already been in Raven’s head.

    “Hehe, now THAT was a serious acid trip. Hmm, I wonder if all those different Ravens are still floating around inside her… “


    Beast Boy contented himself with scenes of Pink Raven dancing in his head. While wondering how many times he could bring up "the Raven Rainbow" before he was shoved in a closest again, his world decided to turn upside down. Literally. Before he knew what was happening, the changeling was bouncing head over paws and falling, falling out of the bag he’d been stuffed into until he landed rather ungracefully on a very well decorated table top. After giving himself a quick shake, Beast Boy glared up at the towering figure that filled his cat form’s infrared vision.

    “Don’t you look at me like that,” Batgirl quietly hissed at him, “hurry!”

    Beast Boy didn’t need to hear anymore. Without so much as sound, the green Titan leapt over several pieces of silver ware and priceless china and landed silently next the wooden pillars of chair legs. He barely had time to admire the sweet digs as he sped out of the cavernous dining hall and towards the northwestern study.

    “Dude, what gives?! I thought you said I had fifteen minutes?” Beast Boy thought towards Cyborg.

    -It was fifteen minutes grass stain. You should’ve brought a watch.-

    “And just how am I supposed to look to wear it when I’m a cat, stupid?”

    -Fer cryin’ out loud BB, I custom made a self-adjusting cat collar with a built in computer that could hack into the Bat’s systems. D’ ya really think I couldn’tve just made you a watch? Heck, they probably already have something out for celebrity pets.-

    “Well why didn’t you buy or make me one?”

    -Ya’ never asked and I never thought about it. Now shut up and pay attention! Things are going too well for you to jack everything up.-


    Grudgingly, Beast Boy let Cyborg fade away without further resistance and refocused himself. It was true that everything was going surprisingly well. Batgirl had managed her part flawlessly. She’d gotten an invite to dinner at the Bat’s own house (?) while managing to smuggle Beast Boy in without any trouble. She was also a redhead, though Beast Boy couldn’t make out anything else. It made him wonder if his insomniac leader had a thing for copper tops. After all, Star was a red…

    “There’s the hutch, so that’s the door…1,2,3,4….” The changeling darted through the richly decorated hallways at a relatively slow, but smooth pace. It wasn’t long before he was turning left, then right, then right again, seemingly at random, but really taking the most direct route possible outside of the main hallways. Wunderboy had been even more anal than usual in his preparations for their little infiltration and gone to great lengths to attain the exact layout of the Batman’s home, though he never actually disclosed that it was indeed Wayne Manor. Beast Boy had actually been lead to believe that he was in something of museum far outside Gotham’s limits, though that wasn’t exactly a misnomer. (1)

    Once the layout had been obtained, Robin had had Beast Boy memorize exactly how many steps he’d take before a turn. They’d wasted countless hours that he could’ve spent mastering Guitar God XI with him running through the hangar/ imaginary Wayne Manor as a cat, with Robin monitoring his routes. Periodically the Boy Wonder would stop him and make him recite his exact location, what direction he was traveling in and any familiar landmarks that he would be by.

    “Heading east, twenty-five paces, past the globe and the painting of Ebenezer Scrooge clone-hah, I’m so totally smoking this…What I wouldn’t give to throw a giant party here…whoa, low bridge!”


    A quick duck past a nearby corner was all that saved Beast Boy from being discovered and some old butler from spilling a large tray of very hot soup, which would have been a shame because it also smelled absolutely wonderful. Without thinking, Beast Boy leapt out from the corner and took off through a random series of turns. If he was seen, he was dead meat. Fortunately for Beast Boy, Lady Luck had decided to love on him and no one saw the little green cat. Unfortunately for Beast Boy, he was already lost as to where he was going. Somehow he had to get on track. Beast Boy froze in a shadowy patch of hallway as he tried to calmly think of what he could do to get back on track.

    He tried a breathing exercise he’d seen monks do on kung fu movies, but all it did was make him cough up a hairball. His heart was still racing from the near collision and, more troublesome, the thought of getting lost. Lost meant capture and capture meant one angry Bat. Beast Boy was unhappily contemplating getting dragged around Gotham by the Batmobile when a burst of insight hit him. The plan seemed a little desperate, but it just might work. And now for that hiding spot…

    “There.”


    Making full use of his small, but agile legs, Beast Boy raced towards the nearest bit of cover that he could hide under. In this case it was an absolute mountain of a sofa: blue, ancient and hideous with just enough room under it for him to hide and change into something more suitable. Once under, it was only a matter of seconds before he’d shifted into the familiar form of a blood hound. The change completed, Beast Boy quietly sat listened for several seconds…nothing. It was safe.

    “Alright Basky, do your stuff!” Beast Boy poked his newly enlarged schnozze right out of the couch and scented the air. (2) He took his time, feeling the textures as they slid along the slow air currents of the ancient manor. It took him a while, but eventually he found what he was looking for: the pungent scent of high grade fuel…and lots of it. A few more sniffs and he was able to narrow the smell down to two directions. Since he already had a rough idea of where he thought he should head, Beast Boy was able to renew his trek through the Wayne Manor.

    His progress was a little slower than he might have liked since he often had to stop and double check himself, though it entertained him to imagine Robin biting his nails off in nervous anxiety. Much as he loved and respected the walking stop light, the guy had a tendency to get on his nerves every now and then. And that was on a normal day of crime fighting. Throw in Bird Boy’s old partner, add the chance to prove the Titans were the equals of the Justice League and stir in a low supply of hair gel and you have one neurotic bird.

    If Beast Boy’s slight tardiness was causing Robin to eat a few fingernails, then what happened next would have undoubtedly made him swallow the whole hand, glove included. Momentarily distracted by trying to remember just how many doorways he’d just past, Beast Boy made a mistake; a very bad mistake. Namely, he walked right into a large open area without even bothering to stop and look around. Luckily for Beast Boy and crime fighting gloves everywhere, the two figures were both occupied, heads craned downward in mutual concentration as they both read a book of some sort. The books must have been either really interesting or so boring that they were both were asleep, because neither seemed to have noticed the cat that waltzed into their midst, froze, and darted back like its tail had caught fire.

    “Hell’s bell’s that was close!” Beast Boy thought as he scampered back behind the entry to what he’d identified as the northwestern study, his first destination and the entrance to the Bat Cave. After a few more heart pounding seconds, Beast Boy tentatively peeked around to make sure the two occupants were still absorbed in their reading. They were. Taking a chance, Beast Boy risked a brief moment of visibility for a much more secure hiding spot buried under the vast billows of satin drapes. Huge even to a human, the drapes were a throwback to the days when there was no proper insulation and glass was unheard of. As such, they were monstrously thick to the cat morphed Beast Boy and the perfect hiding place.

    Biting his tongue in an effort to dampen the suicidal urge to play with one of the giant drape’s tassels like a ball of string, Beast Boy settled down as best he could and watched…and watched…and continued to watch until he thought he might just have to force Cyborg to take over the whole blasted deal. Beast Boy resisted the idea though. For one, switching who really had control was extremely difficult, kinda like trying to switch who was driving while barreling down a mountain in a flaming MiniCooper while going in reverse….anyways, Cyborg wouldn’t be letting him back in the driver’s seat so to speak until he’d practically finished the mission, thus missing out on the chance to further spy on the man who he was pretty freakin’ sure was Batman. Batman might have been relatively low on his “Famous People to Meet” list, but he was still Batman.

    Honestly, how many people could claim to have seen the Bat sans cape and cowl? It was worth every moment of discomfort even if he couldn’t actually make out either of the two readers’ faces or if actually watching them was about as interesting as watching Raven meditate. Come to think of it, watching Raven meditate was actually more interesting seeing as how Raven was a curvaceous babe, at least when she wasn’t staring at Beast Boy like he was something she’d stepped in.

    “Besides, there’s no way I can wimp out now that I’ve almost finished everything,” Beast Boy thought. “As soon as the two book worms pick their sorry butts up and…oh, you’ve got to be kidding.”

    A third person walked in, bearing a large food tray, or at least that was what Beast Boy guessed it was since it was highly reflective, which meant metal, and why else would someone be carrying around some huge piece of metal like that? It was definitely a case of The Suck, since then they would eat, talk, talk some more and generally just BS the night away, leaving him stuck-

    The two readers abruptly stood up and followed the third out through the entryway that Beast Boy had only just come through.

    It was extremely bad timing that no one was able to see the study at the time. The sight of a green cat silently grooving to Soulja Boy’s Crank Dat is not something to be missed.

    TTTTTTTTT

    Coming to full consciousness in someone else’s body is always a disconcerting experience, but it was doubly so for Cyborg. For one, he no longer had any artificial parts. You have no idea just how weird it is to suddenly regain not only the parts you’ve lost. The closest thing Cyborg could think of in comparison was to somehow implant new limbs on a person. Add in the fact that he was really in a cat’s body while his own sat comatose and things just got awkward.

    As his brain acclimated, Cyborg took stock of his surroundings. He was standing in the kind of crude steel elevator he’d often seen workers use in unfinished skyscrapers over what looked like a mining shaft. It didn’t even have true doors, but rather the designer had opted for a simple opening at each end. Except for the dusty oak of the false book shelf to his rear, he was surrounded by raw stone that looked like it had been hacked away with nothing more than handheld tools. There was no light except for a small utility lamp, though that hardly mattered in this case. The mental switch was completed and it was time for his least favorite activity.

    Focusing on what he needed to do; Cyborg took several deep breaths and concentrated hard on the image of Beast Boy in his usual form of lanky teenager. He felt it in his/their bones first: slow, molten warmth verging on pain followed by a rapid expansion that Cyborg could only compare to what happened when one of those long balloons clowns used to make animals was blown up. A few seconds later and he was in the approximate shape of Beast Boy in his human form, though really he looked more like a bunch of reject sausages from a meat processing plant.

    The task finished, Cyborg awkwardly pushed himself to his feet and lurched forward to roughly smash the mechanism that would send him downward. As the elevator began to quickly, but silently descend the darkened shaft, Cyborg allowed himself a quick breath of relief. Cyborg absolutely hatedtransforming. It really wasn’t all that bad, but the whole experience rubbed him the wrong way on every level. It left him feeling completely vulnerable and somehow violated. The mission would only get more dangerous, but it didn’t really faze him. As far as Cyborg was concerned, the worst was over. As soon as he had the appropriate data, he was handing things over to BB and returning to his original state in the quirky shape shifter’s mind.

    Quite suddenly, Cyborg’s gut confirmed what his eyes had already told him: he was slowing down. In a matter of seconds, the elevator had slid to a halt, revealing a long tunnel carved out of solid rock. Cyborg next moved as far out of the elevator as possible while still being in reach of the control lever. Once he was set, Cyborg hit the lever and exited the elevator at the same time. He couldn’t risk arousing the Bat’s suspicions with the elevator down. Beast Boy would have no problem getting back into the elevator with his greater morphing abilities. Taking a deep breath, Cyborg allowed the last of his reserves to fall away and began moving forward. This was just another mission and his opponents wouldn’t even desire to harm him, though the possibility existed if he were caught.

    Ignoring his instinctive urge towards cautiousness in an unknown area, Cyborg quickly loped down the tunnel. He knew that the Cave was most likely cleared and would be for sometime. Excessive creeping about would just that particular resource and leave him trapped in a place with only one possible exit and a very incriminating piece of evidence. Not that Batman would really need to see anything on him to incriminate him.

    It wasn’t very long before the passageway suddenly took a hard left and a pale shaft of white light illumined the area ahead. Cyborg stopped just short of the light, closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and listened. What he heard surprised him: the faint sound of a waterfall. Eyebrows knit together in concentration; Cyborg stayed where he was and continued his blind surveillance. Another minute was all he allowed himself. He couldn’t take any longer than absolutely necessary. Satisfied as he could be that there was no one waiting for him, he stepped into the light of the stone doorway and promptly forgot everything.

    It was…Cyborg could only say that “The Bat Cave” did the place horrible injustice. Before him stood a veritable abyss carved into the bones of the earth. Forgetting the urgency that had gripped him earlier following his transformation, Cyborg took several steps down a long, steep “stairwell” to where he absently noted the main computer seemed to be.

    Only a small portion of the Cave’s vast space was actually usable. If Cyborg had to describe it, he might have said it was like an overlooking, mid-mountain cliff where climbers would spend the night. The “cliff’s” plateau extended from the stairwell for, he would guess, about sixty meters and was at its widest almost twenty meters before it hit either solid rock or abyss. The width, however, varied greatly depending on where you were, with the narrowest portions at the two ends. The floor would on both ends reach further and further out until it formed a jagged pinnacle overlooking the empty blackness. Cyborg could only wonder how something so freaking huge had been made. There was no way that Batman could’ve done it. Cyborg vaguely wondered if it hadn’t been like this until recently. After all, Superman probably could move a serious amount of rock, especially with that alien tech of his. However, as the Titan’s de facto technician and engineer lopsided eyes fell on the gentle, but broad waterfall flowing out of the wall, over the floor and into the abyss, he started to get a different picture. Once, the Bat Cave had been completely flooded, connected only to the surface by whatever tunnels created the waterfall. It reminded him of the Mexican cenotes, underground caverns filled with water that he dreamed of diving in back before the accident.

    “Somehow the place must have drained at one time or another, even with the water coming in…that was probably how the floor was made. The waterfall’s moved and while it did, it cut away at the side.”

    Cyborg’s thoughts were interrupted by a quiet flapping and as he looked up, he noticed several bats flitting around in shifting circles. They danced in the air for several more seconds before both turned on a dime and seemingly sped through the immense stone ceiling.

    “Of course there’re more tunnels. That must be how Bat’s gets himself and his gear out of here and into Gotham. Dang, talk about the perfect set-up…Did he find this or did his sponsors?”

    After releasing a sigh, Cyborg’s attention suddenly snapped back to earth and he remembered exactly where he was and what he was supposed to be doing. Sometimes it paid to be walking digital clock. Even when you weren’t in your body anymore, the psyche still knew how to keep time.

    Ambling down the stairs, Cyborg slowly made his way forward, making sure to carefully observe exactly where everything was. Robin had given him a layout of the place from memory, but it had been a while since Bird Brain had last been at his old stomping ground. His best bet was to simply go to where he thought it used to be based on Robin’s descriptions and see what was there. If the computer was there, he’d get to work on it. If not, then he’d go back to the entryway and start a methodical sweep from one end to the other. The thought of such a meticulous search was absolutely nerve wracking, but if he was too quick, he was liable to miss what he was looking for and waste even more time.

    First he located the main computer. It wasn’t hard to figure which it was. An absolutely massive display by no less than five moveable screens that nearly surrounded the control chair made up the display for the Bat Computer. From there he traced his steps to a large holo table projecting a 3D model of 8th Business District and a large metal cabinet marked “Physical Evidence”. He remembered hearing about the cabinet, but the holo table shouldn’t have even existed, and the weapons rack supposedly next to the cabinet seemed to have moved fifteen away against the wall. Things were not looking too good to say the least.

    “Oh, man…I can’t believe I agreed to this without trying to get some better intel on where that blasted thing is located. Stupid piece of crap should be right next to that stash of weapons, but I can’t see anything.“

    Quickly searching the surrounding area, Cyborg found that the computer was nowhere within in sight. Cussing up a storm, Cyborg unhappily resolved to a thorough search of the whole Cave.

    “And it’s just my luck that this is tech’s biggest wet dream ever. Oh gawd, I could spend months on the computer alone and the Batmobile…oHhHhH Bebe…she’s so fine!”


    The fact that he couldn’t touch the Batmobile because of its security was the greatest possible blow to the car enthusiast. Cyborg wouldn’t have traded the T-Car for the world, but the Batmobile was as legendary as its owner and just as cool despite its absurdity. The thing was a frickin’ jet powered tank on midnight wheels and oh, oh it was so sexy. The mere thought of burning down Mainstreet Jump City, flames blowing, parking meters and pedestrians flying, touched something deep within his soul and the knowledge that he couldn’t even touch the car sent him into a fit of cursing. Maybe it was a testament to his nervousness, but he kept coming up with longer and increasingly more ridiculous profanities.

    -Ooo, I didn’t know you had such the potty mouth Cy’.-

    “Can it BB. I’m busy.”

    -Hah, whatever! You just remember this next time you try to come down on me for trash talking in front of Star.-

    “Shut it, midget.”

    Cyborg was grateful when Beast Boy withdrew without further argument. It was hard enough for him to pay the surroundings his full and effectively coordinated attention without emotions being flung back and forth like so many eggs in a food fight.

    The search continued on with as much speed as Cyborg could safely allow, all the while alternating between cursing fits and quietly upbraiding himself for his bad manners. It amused him in a detached sort of way to think about it. His old man had presented himself as the Good African American. Extraordinarily intelligent and hard working, courteous and always properly spoken, Cyborg’s rebellion against Pappa Stone had been to spend his time and intelligence on the very things that his father was so against. That’d meant fast cars, football, rap, and the wannabe gangsta scene. That had mostly died after his accident, but sometimes the old habits still came back.

    “Freckin’ needle in a haystack is what this is. How someone can cram so much stuff in a blasted cave is beyond me. How’d he get all this crap down here anyway?”[/i] As he walked past what he thought was a metal grinder, Cyborg had to concede that Batman probably took the Gear Queer of the Year award, especially if he’d actually been insane enough to assemble everything in the Cave. He was definitely Cyborg’s kinda guy, minus the whole insanity part, of course.

    As Cyborg had neared what appeared to be some sort of runaway Gotham fashion display from hell, he noticed there was a tiny little corner unobtrusively tucked away near a slight projection in the cave wall. The darkened area hid what appeared to be an old cardboard box, two trash cans full of bloodied field dressings, used tea bags and torn paper along with several plastic crates. Quietly, Cyborg shuffled over to the little corner, intrigued that in the midst of such order, this minute little sanctuary of inattention might exist. For a few tenths of a second, he just stood over it, staring. And then he got to thinking…

    “Robin is a neat freak by learned habit, not nature. Look at his room…” +” Robin’s picked up many, if not most, of his habits from Batman.”

    =

    “Batman’s a bigger neat freak than Robin. Duh.”

    Therefore

    “Batman Neurotic Robin x 2”

    Plug in

    “Robin likes to hide stuff he doesn’t want me to find in places where it’s messy, out of the way, but in plain sight…”

    It can then be assumed with reasonable surety that:

    “Batman would do the same thing."

    Bending over, Cyborg looked into the cardboard box and saw something black and blocky…and with convenient USB access ports and AC/DC power hookups. There are those who are good and those who are great, but Cyborg was feeling just awesome. Unfortunately, however, he’d have to collect his props later. There was job to do. So as quickly as he could, Cyborg grasped the sturdy computer with uneven hands and plodded over to the nearest visible power station. Quickly, he plugged it in and then proceeded to attach his own handheld computer that had once traveled around Beast Boy’s feline neck. The connection was established immediately, bringing up a request for a password on his portable screen.

    “An Eye for an Eye” Cyborg rolled his own eyes at the dramatic flair. But then, considering what the guy dressed up as, could you really be surprised?

    “Now for the hard part,” thought Cyborg. That first password Batgirl had given them. How she had gotten her mitts on it, he had no idea; though he was sure it made a good story. Regardless, there was still plenty of work left to do as he was now confronted with a two-choice menu in the pale green text of his microcomputer: bios and counters. His targets made clear, Cyborg began his attack. He’d spent several months creating a series of complex algorithms that could be used like automated tools against whatever security measures he came up against. It was these that Cyborg employed against the defensive barriers of Batman’s hidden computer.

    The trick wasn’t getting through the defenses. That part was inevitable. The problem was doing so undetected and quickly, which was exactly why they had gone through all of the trouble to mentally piggy-back the bionic man to Beast Boy. Because while any of the Titans could have initiated the use of his tools, they couldn’t choose or wield them with anywhere near the finesse that he possessed. Through the smallest changes in certain, pre-determined variables Cyborg could steadily pick away at whatever electronic defenses Batman had set up.

    For over fifteen minutes, Cyborg prodded, poked and cut at all the various layers of protection surrounding the data they needed for their grand attack on the Watchtower. And for fifteen minutes he watched in gradually building frustration as his meticulously constructed algorithms failed time and again. And those fifteen minutes were very, very long. Fearing discovery, Cyborg started inclining more and more towards the brute force approach. He was just about to give up in despair before he tripped some kind of security feature when suddenly/finally the screen flashed and reset itself back to start: Jackpot.

    Clamping down on his tongue, Cyborg reentered the password and stared at the screen showing the two file collections: it was identical to how it had been previously. Hesitantly, he keyed in the command to open the first file, bios. The screen flickered and then instantly, a long list of aliases was presented. Cyborg’s eyes widened ridiculously as he quickly backed out of the file set. Honestly, what had he expected from a file labeled “bios”? But no, he wouldn’t be compromising secret identities anytime soon. Even if there was almost no way that the information would find its way out of him, Cyborg wanted to not only be sure he couldn’t compromise another vigilante, he wanted to be able to look them in the eye and say that he hadn’t pried. That sort of thing was important, at least to him.

    Moving on to the next file set, Cyborg found what he was looking for: Batman’s files on all individual known threats in the vigilante community. Robin obviously hadn’t been kidding when he’d perversely joked about it being “a handy dandy guide to blackmailing, crippling or killing any rogue hero who might ail you.” The thing was as seemingly infinite as the previous one, maybe even more so. Every alias had at least one attached scenario for “managing” a hero, whether the cause of problems be mind control, personal corruption, kidnapping of a loved one or something else. Usually there was more than one plan and for the more powerful individuals such as Superman, there could be pages and pages. Morbidly curious, Cyborg scanned through the list and found his own name.

    “Let’s see, what does ol’Bats plan to do should I finally get pissed off enough at BB to level a city block? Hmm, ‘destroy recharge stations’….hmpf, good idea, except he missed the fact that…oh, er, thought of that one, too. I’m going to have to make a few changes.”

    While it was disturbing to see various scenarios plotting your untimely demise laid out in intricate detail, it was also gratifying to the Titan that he’d warranted such extensive coverage. Cyborg closed down the file and immediately began copying all of its contents into the collar computer that he had designed. The transfer was completed instantly. The operation was almost finished, but Cyborg was still missing that one crucial piece of information: the schematics of the Watchtower. As far as he could tell after a quick, but thorough search, that information was not on this computer at all. His sense of triumph at cracking the long dreaded black box was quickly being replaced by an icy dread caused by the realization of just how long he’d overstayed his welcome. They’d have to sort things out later, forget the schematics: if Cyborg was caught, they’d have much bigger problems than trying to figure out the floor plan for some space station. Coming as close to sprinting as his misshapen form would allow, Cyborg hurriedly made his way through the various bits of equipment he had spent so much effort searching through. In a few seconds he was out of the main caver and making his way down the hallway that lead to the elevator.

    “Get ready to take over BB. I’m next to the elevator.”

    -I’m on it Cy’; get everything?-


    Cyborg grimaced slightly as he returned the thought, “I found everything we need except for the schematics. They weren’t in there and I don’t have time to tackle the main computer too”

    -Dude, that sucks!-

    “Tell me about it. Hopefully Robin’s back-up plan’ll work…”

    -Cy’….uh, Cy’?”

    “…”

    -Hey, what’s up?-


    Cyborg was sprinting like he had never sprinted in his life. Fighting against the alien feeling of burning lungs, he loped out back towards the main cavern as fast as his crippled legs would carry him. His haste was so great that he tripped over his own feet going down the stairs, pancaking unevenly on the hard steps below. The pain sickened him slightly, but adrenaline fueled determination threw him to his feet almost before he had even finished falling.

    Ignoring Beast Boy’s frantic pleas for more information he stopped at the end of the stairs and frantically searched for a hiding place. Spotting a large set of metal shelves sitting on the floor to his right, Cyborg immediately dove behind it and at once began to transform. His molars ground together like rocks as he reflexively clinched against the pain.

    “Just wait BB!” Cyborg snapped to his partner in crime. The blasted auto adjust feature in his computer collar had over-compensated, leaving the nearly transformed Titan in a garrote of his own making. Considering the circumstances, Cyborg was willing to forgive himself a little unnecessary impatience with his best bud.

    Beast Boy’s mental cries for access to more information and offers of help died a quick death as Cyborg finally managed to gather the concentration necessary to send a brief, but intense thought through the mental barriers that kept their spiritual entities separate.

    The empty shaft of the elevator, a widening shadow accompanied by overwhelming panic.

    The two heroes’ trepidation intermingled as Cyborg cautiously peaked his newly transformed head out from behind his cover.

    Nothing.

    Hoping to see the Dark Knight when he entered and before he started walking around, thus possibly surprising them, Cyborg poked his head a little further out and stared at the entrance. Strangely, Batman still hadn’t appeared. Cyborg could’ve sworn the elevator was on its way down when he’d made a break for it…and here came Batman.

    However, as Cyborg strained his cat eyes towards the entryway, it was not the famous vigilante’s figure that appeared, but a young girl with dark hair. Or rather, that’s what it appeared to be.

    “…d..th..” the figure spoke, her/his voice little more than a jumble to his human brain trying to adjust to a cat’s frequencies. Fortunately for the two spies, Beast Boy was quite well adjusted.

    “Hey, wha-!” In a herculean effort that shocked Cyborg into submission, Beast Boy mentally wrenched away control from Cyborg long enough to turn their head. Cyborg’s anger was stifled as soon as he saw what the green Titan wanted him to notice. In the middle of the Cave stood a massive hulk, its feet not even ten feet from their head; so quiet and preternaturally still that neither heroes had noticed when he’d first entered. Cyborg felt their collective heart jump up into their throat as he realized that Batman had entered the Cave while he had been transforming. Cyborg remained frozen where he was, unable to really think of what to do when he noticed that the insistent agitation against his thoughts.

    -“Dude, let me take over! We need to get out of here, now.”-


    While normally reluctant to give up control over any sort of task, this time, Cyborg was more than happy to let the body’s natural owner takeover. As soon as he acquiesced by lowering the barriers that kept them in their respective places, Beast Boy’s mind leapt forward. The change was accomplished in record time, even if it was a bit bruising in its haste. But then again, considering the trouble that usually resulted from switching (small bits of temporary memory loss or exchange, personality tweaks…), it had gone spectacularly well.

    “I’m sure that whatever I felt was unimportant,” said the smaller silhouette by the stairs: a girl. The hulk did not move. “I probably imagined it. I am fatigued.” The larger figure twisted and looked back over towards the other one before responding in a calm baritone tinged with doubt, “Have you ever imagined false sensations before?”

    “Yes,” went the quiet admission.

    “When?”

    A slight shrug, “Various times; when I was a child, nightmares, when Cadmus tested me with drugs, when my powers were growing out of control…sensing something I was not directly concentrating on is a skill I only learned recently. “

    The larger figure, Batman he assumed, didn’t seem to believe it, but Beast Boy couldn’t be sure. The guy was just too still. The silence stretched on long enough to become awkward, but neither of the two seemed to care. Eventually however, it was broken.

    “I have a dinner meeting that I need to attend. I’ll be back around midnight, maybe later…will you be alright?”

    “Yes.”

    The big guy didn’t seem too pleased, but he didn’t say anything else as he crisply spun on his heel and walked towards the elevator. The girl watched him pass before falling in step. Beast Boy watched with a slightly eased heart as the two exited. After watching the two disappear into the dimly lit tunnel leading to the elevator, Beast Boy breathed a sigh of relief.

    “Looks like we’re gonna make it today big guy.”

    Cyborg’s response mirrored his own feelings of tense relief, -“Yea, looks like it”-

    There was a brief bit of silence between the two, almost as if they were staring at one another over a table. Suddenly, they both erupted into a fit of what could only be called psychic giggles. They had come so close to being caught and for some reason it was hilariously funny.

    “Dude, how do we end up in these F’ed up situations?” Beast Boy asked, his “voice” imitating the greatness that was Joe Dirt.

    -“Heck if I know BB. What I do know is I think we deserve at least a week off training for this crap.”-

    “Yea!”Thoroughly enjoying themselves and wishing to get as much mileage out of the humor (and therefore lack of dread) as possible, the two-in-one heroes quickly slinked into the tunnel to summon the elevator back from its place up above. They were almost done.

    With Beast Boy back in control of his own body, the transformation to humanoid form to grab the elevator went smoothly. Cyborg was unused to Beast Boy’s body and powers, unused to any whole body, really. What he did in minutes or not at all Beast Boy could pull off near instantaneously. In less than a minute, Beast Boy was back in cat form as the elevator ascended, quickly bringing the green jester to the end of his mission. In no time at all, the fast moving elevator had climbed up its shaft and Beast Boy the unnaturally green cat lay in a corner out of direct sight. Expertly manipulating his paw, Beast Boy activated the collar’s signaling device that would tell Batgirl that she needed to excuse herself so they could hurry up and get out of Dodge.

    It surprised Beast Boy when the concealed doorway began sliding open only moments after he keyed the collar. It looked like Batgirl was really on that night. Happily, he strode out from his small corner even as the door slid back irrevocably, trapping Beast Boy and his mental passenger in the elevator.

    It wouldn’t have been BS to say that Beast Boy’s heart literally stopped for an instant as the dark shape loomed over him and then resolved into the form of a teenage girl. Even as his mind raced to figure how just how in the world he was supposed to get out without causing a massive uproar, he recognized her. She was the one who had been talking to Batman earlier. Desperate, Beast Boy did the first thing that came to mind: acted natural. After all, he was just a harmless green cat; nothing to be suspicious about, right?

    “Who are you?”

    “Oh, $#, uh…”


    “Meow…” Beast Boy made sure to put on the sad face. Girls couldn’t resist the sad face (Raven didn’t count). And there was still that really, really slim chance that she was asking in that playful sort of way you’d ask a baby or animal its name, or, how you might say, “Who’s a good boy?”

    “If you don’t tell me who you are, I’ll rip your mind apart until I find your name.” So she wasn’t being playful. Check. Though the way she said it; she could’ve been talking about the weather or Beast Boy’s latest eggplant recipe. Beast Boy just stared back, unwilling to comprehend the fact that he was stuck in an elevator to the Bat Cave with Cyborg in his head and what appeared to be Raven’s clone from Hell threatening to tear his mind to shreds.

    Deciding that enduring what could basically be described as mental rape and torture unappealing, Beast Boy made ready to transform and fight his way out. He never got a chance to finish, however, as a kaleidoscope of reawakened images and sensations suddenly blasted full force into his consciousness. Miles away, Robin and Starfire were going frantic as both Cyborg and Raven both awoke screaming. The girl had severed the connection and was going through his memories with all the subtlety of tornado crashing through a town. It angrily sucked up events, faces and places, hobbies and lovers, idle thoughts and deep philosophies. It ate them and spit them out with indiscriminate abandon even as Beast Boy silently wreathed under the mental assault.

    “I see.”

    The attack ended as suddenly as it began, leaving Beast Boy horribly disoriented. Peripherally, he noticed the distant taste of iron. He’d bitten through his tongue. Eventually, he managed to rest his bloodshot eyes to the figure of the girl that still loomed over him.

    “You can leave now,” she said in that strange almost-monotone that was so like Raven, but wasn’t. For a long time, or at least a long time to him, Beast Boy sat there shaking from the mental barrage and trying to process just what in Hades was going on.

    “I’m letting you go,” the girl calmly explained, “you’re not doing anything you’re not supposed to.”

    Almost disbelievingly, Beast Boy got to his feet and moved towards the door, his eyes trained on her the entire time.

    “But if any of you hurt him,” the false door opened, revealing the old splendor of the manor, “I’ll make you regret it.”

    Beast Boy ran.

    TTTTTTTTT

    Barbara Gordon sat in her dad's old, beige LeSabre just outside of Wayne Manor and quietly rubbed her forehead. There was definitely a migraine in the making and she didn’t have any aspirin on her.

    “I’m telling you, I had to leave. Alfred was gone and the rest of the family was gone, Bruce was leaving and the only one who was left was that little freak job. There was no way I could stay there without arousing suspicion.”

    Barbara listened to her old companion as he reiterated for the thousandth time that they had to do something. The migraine had arrived in full force.

    “Look, I don’t know what could’ve happened and I have no idea what Raven’s talking about. All I know is that Beast Boy’s time is up and the situation isn’t secure. You know the drill as well as I do. I’m driving back to the rally point down the road an-AH!” A green cat had just jumped on top of her windshield with a rather large thud.

    As fast as possible, Barbara undid her seat belt, fumbling as she tried to get the upper strap untangled from where it had gotten around her head. She unlocked the doors and swung the driver’s door open. The green cat immediately jumped in.

    “Where have you been?! We’ve been worried sick!” She yelled, even as slammed the door back and accelerated away from the manor simultaneously.

    He did not answer that, though if he had, then they really would’ve had something to worry about because it would have meant seeing Barbara through human eyes without any sort of disguise on her part. Reaching down, she picked up the communications device she’d dropped.

    “Hey Robin, Beast Boy just arrived,” she reached down detached the information storage unit on his collar with one hand. “Yea, I’m checking now.” Plugging it in, she scanned through the information.

    “Looks exactly like you said Rob’. Don’t worry though. At least with this information, you can still stage some sort of attack. It just can’t be in the Watchtower like you’d originally planned.” After coming out of an S-curve, Barbara accelerated down the road leading towards Gotham City’s eastern suburbs. Once she donned a suitable disguise, she would be handing the changeling over to Speedy who had been asked by Titans East to come and pick up Beast Boy. Not that he knew anything of course.

    “Also…don’t get your hopes up, but I think there’s a chance that your friends just missed the Watchtower’s schematics in the rush…are you getting the data? Good.” Everything necessary having been said, Barbara disconnected her phone and turned back to where her passenger lay curled up on the front seat. Frowning, she noticed he was shaking slightly.

    “Hey,” she asked, her normally caustic voice partially softened, “what’s wrong?”

    Red Notes

    1)
    And so we come to my first real case of Lazy Writer Syndrome on this fic’…see, the Titans can’t know either Robin or Batman’s secret identity. Thus, Beast Boy can’t actually know where he’s going in. The excuse I use is pretty flimsy as the Titans know that Batman is in Gotham, but it’s all I had to work with considering I didn’t want to start Beast Boy in the Cave. Seeing Batgirl/Barbara Gordon actually isn’t a problem since Beast Boy has to remain in animal form and thus he wouldn’t be able to distinguish her out like a human would. Besides, even if he did, chances are almost null that he’d recognize her.

    2) A play off Sherlock Holmes and The Hound of the Baskervilles.

    3) Please review. It's discouraging to really put a lot of effort into a fic' and not get any sort of response when you know people are reading. I will never abandon a fic' because of lack of response, but more reviews (especially thoughtful ones) really do equally faster output. Keep that in mind with other authors as well.
     
  10. IVIaedhros

    IVIaedhros Member

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    Starfire: Assault

    Not so long a wait for this update, though still by no means quick. I thank all of you who have been watching this fic' consistently. You're a big reason why I never dropped this thing when events became frustrating and I thought I'd never get through this blasted thing.

    As always, this chapter was beta'd by the ever faithful

    AlsoSprachOdin: serious Raven fanboy and human database of crazy superhero battle tactics.

    Time: 0300, 07 MARCH 2011
    Location: Lower Orbit, Northern Hemisphere


    The first manned space mission was on April 12, 1963. Since that fateful day, earth’s scientists had tracked well over two-hundred thousand traceable objects. And that was just the stuff they were aware of. X’hal only knew how much more space garbage was flying around earth at any given moment. This was an extremely impressive accumulation of filth, given just how little time humans had been in space. In fact, the T-Ship had even taken a good swipe from a basketball sized piece of hardened space junk their last trip to the Watchtower. And while Starfire trusted her torzitka Cyborg with both her honor and her life, she was still a little bit leery of the relatively primitive human technology.

    Not that she showed it. To do so would have been an insult to Cyborg’s engineering prowess and her own honor as a warrior. Besides, she reflected, it had been partially constructed using pirated Kryptonian technology that Robin had somehow acquired. While Starfire adored humans and their silly ways, she trusted the Kryptonians a good deal more when it came to space travel…even if they were dead because of one their own computers.

    “Robin, are we almost there?” She asked, carefully modulating her voice to blanket over any of the usual pre-battle jitters with her ever present sunshine. The tameranian princess might not have been the most cerebral of the Titans, but she was highly observant and inquisitive by nature. She’d noticed her teammates usually relaxed more if she was able to be bright and bubbly. Starfire was naturally bright and bubbly so it all worked out.

    Robin nodded silently in reply, totally in focus. She didn’t talk to him further. He was certainly concentrating on successfully completing the mission, as he always did, and he wouldn’t be in the mood for idle chatter until after their battle with the Justice League had been won. Afterwards, he would be as sociable as any of them. His prowess as a warrior was one of the reasons she admired the spiky haired earthling so much. On her planet, attractiveness was largely determined by how a good a warrior you were.

    “Ten minutes ‘till go time,” announced Cyborg

    While Cyborg went over the Watchtower’s schematics again with Raven, Starfire created a small star bolt and held the glowing orb of energy a few nanthorgs above her hand. The T-Ship was completely dead save for essential life support systems in order to escape the Watchtower’s sensors. It made her uncomfortable. (1)

    “Alright everyone, this is it,” Robin said, voice perfectly emotionless, “In eight minutes, thirty-six seconds Raven teleports us into the main control room where Apollo should be alone on monitoring duty.” Starfire took a moment to mentally recall the code names: Superman was Zeus, Wonder Woman was Hera, Hades referred to Batman, Flash equaled Hermes, Ares was Green Lantern, the Martian: Apollo and Hawk Girl was Artemis.

    Robin continued on in that flat, pre-mission voice of his, “Once we hit the deck, Cyborg immediately unleashes the sonic bomb. Everyone hold up their earplugs. I want to be able to see them.” Starfire fumbled around in one of her uniform’s small pockets before she found the earplugs. They were custom made by Cyborg, attacking the inner ear with a combination of ultra high and low frequencies. Unlike traditional, concussion based weapons, it was completely “silent” and the only possible protection against the sonic bomb was their earplugs. It was unfortunate that Cyborg hadn’t been able to construct ear protection that still allowed the wearers something close to their original hearing within the time limit. It would have made their attack extremely easy.

    “Good,” Robin said as he confirmed for the last time they all had their plugs, “Apollo’s down: Raven, you do what?”

    Her favorite girlfriend replied with her usual dry certainty, “I take up position immediately next to Cyborg, monitor for incoming threats and provide Cyborg a physical shield.”

    “Right, so while Cyborg hacks into the Watchtower mainframe, Starfire and I are what, Beast Boy?” Starfire didn’t switch over her video monitor to see Beast Boy, but she knew he would look his usual, cocky self. The green changeling w as silly as ever, but like all them, had matured into a veteran warrior.

    “I morph into a pterodactyl and hang out above with you and Star. As soon as someone attacks and gets blocked by Raven, we swoop and smash ‘em!” Starfire took a moment to remember what a terrorducktail was, but it sounded like the right answer. Robin’s non-response confirmed it. Their leader continued on rapidly as the countdown to the assault ticked on.

    “Right, so what happens next depends on where and when the other League members are. Remember, no matter what, we’re trying to take the fight to them. And for God’s sake, don’t get separated. We’re doing everything as a team. Remember our drills. We’re going to need them because we need to be able to take down everyone quickly before Zeus and Hera show up.” Robin seemed to want to continue on, but thought better of it.

    “Check your gas masks real quick and make sure the diaphragms haven’t been knocked out.” They did so and Robin, deprived of anything relevant left to say, gave the time: two minutes left.

    “Man, we so got this,” Cyborg spoke up to the group for the first time in quiet excitement. Starfire smiled. How could they not be ready? They had prepared endlessly and faced far more dire threats than this. Her friends would not fail and neither would she. The honor of royal line of X’haalerier was at stake. (2)

    “3…”

    “2…”

    “1…”

    Starfire felt a brief, pulling sensation while her vision filled with the black penumbra of Raven’s power. The tameranian found herself dumped in the Watchtower’s control room by Raven’s teleportation spell, face to face with one startled Martian Manhunter.

    “Eep!”

    Starfire instinctually threw a fast right hook right at her fellow alien’s face. However, the martian’s instincts were equally quick. His body phased and the tameranian princess literally fell through her opponent.

    Her recovery was lighting fast, born from years of training in the streets of Jump City and sparing with Raven, a being of somewhat similar abilities. Instead of simply face planting like a normal human, Starfire allowed her momentum to carry her around and forward in a spin. With a small exertion of her power, Starfire stopped her fall, but kept spinning. As the Martian became fully solid to get in a counter, Starfire’s right came whipping around. Hand open like a claw, she latched on to J’onn’s face and physically slammed him into the ground.

    The fight had taken all of two seconds. Cyborg whistled as he stomped passed Starfire’s handiwork on his way towards the main computer.

    “So much for the bomb,” she thought she heard him mutter.

    Robin stopped by the downed Justice League member and waved Raven over. The empath checked her fellow psychic’s well being with her own powers before pronouncing him relatively unharmed. She eased the swelling forming in his brain and cast a spell over him to prolong his unconsciousness. Raven floated him over to a covered area Robin elected to designate as a casualty collection point.

    “Titans, take your positions,” Robin commanded in a terse whisper. Starfire knew that wouldn’t last long. Soon enough, they probably wouldn’t be able to hear one another if they screamed at the top of their lungs.

    “On it,” Beast Boy leapt into the air as a massive, hairless creature with long, leathery wings and pointed beak. Starfire joined him circling the room with Robin in her arms while Raven levitated in trance next to Cyborg, her senses fully extended to alert the team of any danger and, if necessary, provide a shield for Cyborg while he worked. Time was almost impossible to accurately track while she was in the state of hyper alertness she entered into when in battle. “Apollo” had gotten her blood going, but he hadn’t given the satisfaction of a true battle.

    “Hey Robin,” Cyborg called up to the Boy Wonder, who Starfire had secured in her arms, “I’ve gotten a foothold in the system. Says there are eight maintenance guys on board along with all the A’s: Apollo, Artemis and Ares. Doesn’t say where the rest of ‘em are…how’s about I tell the maintenance guys they’re needed up here?”

    Robin agreed, “Do it,” He called out. “Hopefully that’ll take care of any bystanders.”

    Cyborg smiled and sent the order out before returning once again to his task of completely penetrating the onboard computer. A minute later, his ingenuity yielded results.

    “There’s a group coming towards us,” Raven announced as her eyes glowed an eerie white. “Could be anywhere from three to ten.”

    “Should be them,” Robin said. “Titans, get your earplugs in. Looks we’ll be using Cyborg’s bomb after all.” Starfire had her plugs in before he had even finished. She’d anticipated the action. The Titans were strictly limited in the amount of collateral damage they could cause since the Justice League members were their unofficial allies. It would be a hard enough fight without having to worry about normal humans getting in the way or perhaps even trying to come to their employers aid.

    “Robin, keep Cyborg on the computer. I’ll take care of his bomb,” Raven said when Cyborg began to move away from the terminal. Robin nodded and Cyborg returned to work on the computer, completely confident that his friends would take of the situation while he worked. Meanwhile, a large metallic sphere a little smaller than Silkie had extracted itself from the pack that Cyborg wore. Supported by Raven’s magic, it hovered just above one of the nearby entrances. It reminded Starfire of one Beast Boy’s common pranks, where he’d put a bucket of something vile and wet on top of a slightly opened doorway.

    Starfire watched as a group of five technicians entered the room and their confusion at seeing Raven and Cyborg, who were unknown to them. Starfire saw one of the techs start to form words with his mouth when the bomb that had been floating over their heads dropped into their midst and detonated. The men instantly dropped like a can of tomatoes. Raven easily floated them over towards where the Martian Manhunter lay still unconscious and placed similar spells on them. While she was doing this, Starfire suddenly noticed there was another visitor. Hawk Girl had walked in through another door, probably on her way to relieving the martian from monitor duty, and found a half metal giant at their computer and a strange girl with grey skin crouched over the unconscious bodies of the Watchtower’s upkeep crew. Her feelings on the intrusion were obvious when she pulled her famous mace off her mag belt and dashed towards an unwary Raven.

    Starfire dropped Robin instantly and flew towards the female Thanagarian at her maximum speed. She wasn’t going to make it and Cyborg was both too distracted by hacking to notice. Even if he had, he wouldn’t have been able to do anything as he lacked his usual sonic cannon to minimize collateral damage. Instead, he’d replaced the cannon with a short range electrical gun that was completely useless outside of a few hand lengths away.

    Luckily for Raven, who might very well have been killed by Hawk Girl, Beast Boy was nearby. With a deafening shriek, he dove down with his prehistoric form’s claws out. Unable to effectively bring her mace to counter the desperate attack and not enough room to dive below him, Hawk Girl flared her wings and came to a momentary halt. Beast Boy morphed into a nimble hobby falcon to avoid a potential injury from hitting the ground and swept under Hawk Girl’s feet and back up high where he could return to his terrorducktail form.

    By that time, Starfire had gone over and up above the two combatants’ heads. While Beast Boy was turning into the falcon, she was diving down at Hawk Girl. It would’ve been easy to let a starbolt out, but Starfire didn’t want to risk hurting Hawk Girl unnecessarily or damaging the Watchtower. Instead, she dove back down and behind the thanagarian before body slamming her. Starfire planted her head directly in the small of Hawk Girl’s back and viced her arms around her waist. Using her flight ability, the tameranian drove her fellow warrior firmly into the nearby wall. Keeping her hands locked together, she hiked her arms up under Hawk Girl’s arm pits. With her head still firmly pressed against the other woman’s back, neither could move nor hurt the other, though if Starfire wished to, she could severely burn the other by charging her hands.

    Robin eliminated the dilemma by sprinting forward and smashing a small capsule of modified halothane gas against Hawk Girl’s mask. Her struggling only made her inspire the potent fume quicker and within seconds she was limp in Starfire’s arms.

    Artemis was down. Only Ares and less than a handful of techs remained on the station.
     
  11. IVIaedhros

    IVIaedhros Member

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    “Dude, we are so rocking!” Beast Boy gleefully vaunted while Starfire moved the unconscious Hawk Girl back where the rest of the League members and their support crew lay. It was a little difficult to do with her big wings. They were so pretty and she’d hate to accidently hurt one of them.

    “Yep, and it’s only gonna get better,” Cyborg agreed, “Check this out.” There was a flurry of crackling as Cyborg’s fingers plied over the keyboard of the Watchtower’s mainframe computer. Starfire looked from where she had just set Hawk Girl down to see Cyborg’s smiling intently at the massive screen. She didn’t see what was so exciting. All she could see was a bunch of rapidly changing and completely incomprehensible collection of menus and commands. Not for the first time, she wished she’d paid more attention when Cyborg and the others had occasionally tried to teach her the in’s and out’s of computers. Even her childhood training in rameka eir n’tal, the arts of maneuver, would have been useful. Tameranians might have been (in)famous for their preference of simple, straight up brawl, but they were still an advanced, space fairing race with their own history of intrigue.

    Starfire was about to risk asking what she was supposed to be seeing when Cyborg answered the question for her and a picture of what looked like a sleeping Green Lantern come up.

    “Oh my gaaaawd, he’s asleep!” Beast Boy sounded like a little kid pulling about a prank. “Dude, we can sooo sneak in there and get him. I can sneak up as a rat, then jump on his face as a killer octopus and, like, rawwwrghnfft!

    “Heh, no need for that,” there was more tack tack’ing on the keyboard followed by one big TACK. Cyborg finished giving the computer whatever commands he thought were necessary. Starfire watched for several seconds as absolutely nothing happened before voicing the question that was on everyone’s minds.

    “Um, Cyborg, what did you do?” She assumed he had accomplished something useful, maybe even cool. Otherwise, why would he be smiling like he’d just beaten Beast Boy at one of his games on the video?

    “Oh, I just flooded his room with knockout gas. Sleepy boy’s gonna stay put for a little while longer.” Cyborg happily interlaced his fingers behind his own head and stretched; content with his little triumph of ingenuity.

    Robin was also smiling. So far, they had quickly defeated not one or two, but three of the Justice League without breaking out in the sweats. “Nice one Cyborg,” he said before turning over to Raven, “but I still want a spell on him so we can know he’s not going to wake up; just in case.”

    Even Raven was caught up in the general mood. She smiled slightly (well, her mouth ticked slightly, but Starfire was pretty good at reading her), a definite sign of experiencing in pleasurable feelings. “I would’ve been worried if you hadn’t asked.”

    The petite sorceress had floated halfway over the control room’s floor before Robin yelled out the addendum, “Wait, I have a better idea. Bring all these guys with you over to Ares’ room. Make sure it’s locked and then phase out. It’ll be more secure and safer than where we have them now.” He gestured vaguely over his back to where the bodies of the maintenance crew, Hawk Girl and the Martian Manhunter lay stacked in a rough pyramid. Raven nodded and went back to collect the captives, while the rest of the Titans went back to their previous guard positions: Cyborg monitoring the security with Starfire and Beast Boy overhead. Robin took Raven’s place as Cyborg’s immediate guardian and eyes on the entrances.

    It didn’t take Raven very long to complete her task of moving all of the previous casualties of their surprise attack over to the subdued Green Lantern. Cyborg made sure to lock down all of the doorways throughout the station and set up an alarm if anything moved. Appropriately secure in all directions, the Titans huddled around the vast mainframe’s controls.

    “Good job so far Titans. Now we get to the fun part: Zeus and Hera.” Beast Boy excitedly rubbed his hands together while Cyborg’s grin returned. Raven did nothing.

    “Now that we control the Watchtower, we control the pace. First things first, we’re cleaning out the Watchtower. Raven, Starfire and Beast Boy,” Starfire leaned in just a little bit more so she could hear what Robin had to say, “Cyborg’s found those last three crew techs in an access shaft that runs through the center of the station, top to bottom. Right now, they’re stuck there with the security lockdown, but we can’t leave them.” Robin shrugged, “Mostly, it’s for their own safety. In any case, we need to get them out. I want Raven and Starfire on those techs in the shaft while Beast Boy does a quick sweep of the rest of the station,” Robin nodded towards the trio before eyeing Cyborg, “Cy’ and I are going to begin the work on getting this placed prepped for Zeus and Hera.”

    Robin stood up with his hands on his hips and cocky grin firmly in place. “We hold all the cards. It’s still gonna be tough, but it’s definitely doable now.”

    Beast Boy clapped his hands and jumped like a Zarknorfian’s mucktoft, “Haha, we have sooo got this. There’s no way we’re gonna lose! And he slapped Cyborg on his broad back in hubris.

    “Dude, don’t jinx us man! We’re doing too well,” Cyborg replied grumpily while he swatted off Beast Boy’s hand. “Just do the job and get your scrawny little butt back here.

    “Yes, sar!” Beast Boy snapped into a palm outward salute. Starfire thought it was kind of funny and giggled, but Raven had obviously reached her limit with experiencing of pleasurable feelings and decided to go back to her usual, raveny moods.

    “Open the doors Cyborg. We’ll be back soon enough.” And with that cold dismissal, the half-demon made her way towards the doorway. How she knew which doorway, Starfire had no idea, but she trusted her best girlfriend to know and floated after her while Beast Boy headed off in another direction.

    “As the lady says…Raven, stand in front of the door first...there. Back up a bit Rae. There ya’ go. Star, now you go where she was.” Both young women raised their eyebrows, but didn’t question the tech wizard. After a little more work on the computer by Cyborg, the doors opened for them. “I’ve reprogrammed the doors to open for you and calibrated your communicators with the correct directions to get you where you need to go.”

    The two female Titans nodded at one once and took off down the hallway, with Starfire flying directly in front of Raven by about a body’s length. These were their accustomed places with one another; Starfire leading from the front and Raven in the back so she would able to concentrate on sensing what dangers they might run into instead of deciding where to fly. Starfire kept one eye on the communicator’s holomap as it guided them closer and closer towards the long shaft bisecting the floating fortress while keeping another fixed on the path ahead.

    At last they reached a point where they could see the final door before the shaft. Raven stopped them both before they were close enough for it to open. “We’re roughly in the middle station right now and I’m feeling life near both ends of the shaft. You go up and I’ll go down.”

    Starfire frowned slightly. They were definitely not supposed to be splitting up, but then, these were just normal humans. What harm could they do?

    Once they’d agreed on their plan of action, the two heroines flew through the door together at top speed before peeling off. Immediately upon entering the station’s center, Starfire felt the artificial gravity well disappear. Without missing a beat, she altered her own power to compensate and sped “upwards”. She moved at a blistering pace, passing by hundreds of small steel girders, ventilation ducts, wires and dodging protruding access ports.

    The tameranian royal was still slightly unsettled by the idea of splitting up against orders. All of her schooling had taught her it was fine to work within commands, maybe even bend them a bit, but you never, ever broke them. And so Starfire blew through the shaft with all the power and subtly of a hurricane, determined to give the humans no chance at resistance.





     
    #11 IVIaedhros, Jan 16, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 17, 2008
  12. IVIaedhros

    IVIaedhros Member

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    There, up ahead: an older male/female couple in identical, one-piece jumpsuits. The two floated unsuspectingly as they worked on some malfunctioning piece of equipment. They appeared to only be armed with the wrenches they were currently using. In the soundlessness of flight, Starfire flew right up their sides before coming to an instantaneous stop.

    “Drop your ape wrenches and come silently! Resistance is futile!” She cried, allowing righteous fury to pour out of her heart and lighting her eyes and hands with the killing fire of her starbolts.

    “Waaa?!//Aiiiii!!”

    Considering the two workers went from quietly minding their own business to being screamed at by the scantily clad demon of fiery green DOOM, their resulting screeches could be easily excused. The first man, a tall specimen at about 1241 urlos with graying brown hair and coarse stubble, promptly lost the ape wrench as he threw his hands up in exaggerated flight. The shiny repair tool went flying upwards where it collided with a nearby bulkhead before ricocheting back at an angle that just so happened to put it on a collision course with his coworker’s head.

    The spinning wrench solidly whacked the older woman’s head as it went flying back on its return trajectory, causing her to pitch forward in a stationary summersault. Starfire was appropriately appalled and immediately offered her sincere apologies while trying to gently grab her two captives, both of whom started to fight back for fear of the lives. It was quite difficult for while they couldn’t hurt her with their puny attacks, they could hurt themselves and make life generally unpleasant for Starfire. Unwilling to fight them anymore, Starfire blasted them both with bolts from her eyes. They were human, unlike Hawk Girl, and so Starfire was confident she could adjust her power well enough to not cause any real injury to their selves.

    Without further ado, Starfire grabbed both of her unwilling captives and quickly flew back towards the middle of the shaft where they’d entered. When she arrived, she did not find Raven there to greet her. This was worrisome because Starfire had taken an unusually long time to secure the humans and she had expected to have Raven show up at anytime, grab the struggling workers with her telekinetic powers and chastise Starfire about playing around. Raven had not done this and neither had she been at their entryway point. Starfire would have to promptly investigate her friend’s whereabouts.

    “OhHhHnnn…”

    Starfire looked down to human woman was recovering from the stunning she’d just received. Blearily, the woman returned the look.

    “What th’hell are you doin’?! If this is another one of Bat’s crazy what-if scenarios, I’m gonna be pissed.”

    Starfire bit her lip in worry. Raven still wasn’t back, the woman was up and the man would probably be up shortly as well.

    “Ugggnn…what happened?” The man asked confusedly as he tried to blink away the spinning carouselhe was undoubtedly on.

    “Looks like another day of emergency training courtesy the long underwear committee.” The woman replied acerbically.

    The man was not pleased with this new development. “Wonderful, I so love playing the innocent bystander…&$!...Hillary’s gonna kill me.”

    The woman nodded in sympathy before asking Starfire a question: “Hey, kid, not to break role or anything, but please tell me this isn’t going to last past six. Not that I don’t like overtime pay, but I’d really like to get home at a decent hour.”

    Starfire sighed, completely oblivious to the plight of the unfortunate workers. She really wished she hadn’t been right. Meanwhile, the woman was uneasily making her way over in the zero-g environment towards her colleague, obviously still under the effects of having been stunned. Starfire nervously bit at her finger nails. The seconds were ticking by and Raven still hadn’t shown up. Starfire quickly took out her communicator.

    “Raven, have you apprehended the fixing men yet?”

    “…”

    “Raven, please come in.”

    “Starfire, what’s going on?” Instead of Raven, it was Robin’s voice who answered her from over their communications net. Unless they deliberately changed to a new channel, each communicator heard everything that the others said. Starfire reflected that that could be a problem.

    “…”

    “Starfire, are you there?!” Robin’s increased anxiety snapped her out of her indecisiveness. She knew what she would do. Before either of them could offer up any protest, Starfire had gently, but firmly scooped up both workers and sped back towards the main control room where Robin and Cyborg diligently worked to prepare the fortress to defeat its own masters. In her haste she made the trip in less than half the time it had taken to get to the center shaft. It made it easy to see that the station had been built for beings with capabilities far beyond that of normal humans. The doors always opened in time, no matter how fast she flew.

    “Starfire!”The cry came as soon as she burst through the final doorway and into the main control room. Starfire immediately halted and looked over to see Cyborg stomping over to her, a look mixed of anxiety and relief on what was left of his human face. “Where’s Raven? What happened?”

    The four were soon joined by Robin and Beast Boy. Quickly, Starfire recounted what had happened in the little time that she and Raven had been gone. It was rather difficult because of the two humans she had towed along with her kept trying to break in and protest. Eventually, Beast Boy simply became tired of it and before the two trouble makers knew it, a very annoyed and very green anaconda had them wrapped up within its massive coils. With the two sufficiently “freaked out”, it was much easier to finish her narrative.

    “And so I decided to come back here. We can leave these two here and then go look for her.” In her heart, Starfire knew it was the best she could do. While she had wanted to go tearing after Raven, she was far too experienced a warrior to think that was a good idea. Whatever had taken down her teammate could also potentially take her, especially when she was weighted down with two unwilling passengers.

    “Alright team,” Robin said, fully in charge as he adapted to the kink that had so suddenly disrupted their previously flawless mission, “first things first: switch all of your communicators to the second channel. The last thing we need is for someone to listen in on us with Raven’s communicator. Second: we’re going to take all of our captives and get them out of here.” The earth boy turned towards her before saying, “Starfire, I want you to go with Cyborg and Beast Boy and put all of them on them on the Javelin. I’ll be fine here since I’ll be able to seal the doors and control the station’s defenses.”

    Then their leader turned his attentions towards the two workers. Without further explanation, he told Beast Boy to, “Please get off them.” Beast Boy seemed to be puzzled by this, but the shape shifter complied readily enough. As the Watchtower’s two workers hurriedly backed away from the elfin shape shifter, they stumbled into the unyielding form of Cyborg. Obviously, the two were nervous and Starfire really couldn’t blame them.

    Robin stepped forward, his palm up in a conciliatory gesture, “I’m sorry for the trouble. This is a training exercise that Batman assigned us to in order test the Justice League’s awareness and defense.” The female snorted something and rolled her eyes. Robin laughed unexpectedly, the lines of tension that had plagued his face since they had returned from the Watchtower last December easing temporarily. “Believe me, I know what you mean. But, hey, look on the bright side: you all get to go home several hours early.” The prospect seemed to agree with them and they both became much more cooperative.

    So it was that a mere twenty minutes later that Cyborg, Beast Boy and Starfire had safely made there way to the JLA’s custom space ship, the Javelin, and deposited the day’s current casualties. The ship was programmed to land them safely on earth and stay there. It had gone extremely smoothly for all their paranoia and the simple fact that they had to lug around several unconscious bodies, but everyone was still worried. Those twenty minutes were twenty minutes that her friend Raven was missing and X’hal only knew what was happening to her.

    Starfire kept reminding herself that they weren’t actually in a fight for their lives, that while their invasion had been violent and completely unannounced, it was still a training exercise between good allies. The image of Hawk Girl enraged at the sight of her own teammate’s defeat and totally unaware of what was going on did nothing to help allay her fears.

    Finally, the remaining four Titans met up with Robin in the control room. Their leader stood hunched over a series of video panels that displayed dozens of live feeds from throughout the Watchtower. A slight, but fierce scowl marred his otherwise beautiful face.

    Robin spoke to the approaching team members without turning around, “I’ve looked through this entire place a thousand times over for any signs of life and I haven’t seen a hair.” Starfire grimaced as well. An outside observer might have thought the boy wonder completely calm and collected. Starfire and the others, though, knew better. Robin was frustrated.

    “It’s like Raven and whoever got her never existed in the first place…so, there are only three possible explanations: Raven developed a very bad sense of humor and decided to hide from us,” the first answer passed right through their brains, completely unprocessed, “the second is that the Watchtower is haunted,” this thought managed to raise a tiny blip before dying back down. After all, they’d dealt with the supernatural before. “And the third is that Hades was onboard without us knowing about it.”

    “I knew it,” Beast Boy angrily cried out, “I knew it, knew it, knew it! That little mind-raping-psycho-witch-from-hell must have snitched me out.”

    Robin tiredly rubbed his forehead while responding, “Maybe, maybe not. He’s paranoid enough to not log himself into the Watchtower’s records. Heck, he’s not even officially a part of the Justice League. The only reason they do track when he’s here is that others put him down when they remember it…”


    Starfire was suddenly struck by a feeling of impatience. Her friend was missing and they had to find her. “If it is Batm-Hades has friend Raven then we need to go immediately.”

    “I don’t think so Star,” Cyborg said. He fidgeted slightly, as if nervous about what he was thinking about, “As much as I hate to say it, I think we ought to leave her alone.” He winced in preparation for the inevitable firestorm. He wasn’t disappointed.

    “Pardon my Spanish, but are you cracked?” Starfire was barely managing to keep herself from breaking out into a full tirade against her companions. How could they possibly leave a family member alone as a captive, no matter how supposedly friendly the captor?


    Nonplused, Cyborg embarrassedly scratched the back of his head as he looked down at his obviously agitated teammate. “Look, Star, I know how you’re feeling…but if we go after her, we’re just playing into his hands.” Cyborg quickly glanced up to Robin for support, which only further angered Starfire. He’d better not…

    “Cyborg’s right in a way,” Robin’s previously composed face was threatening to turn into something like a frightened mouse, “Er, what I mean is, we need to be really careful.” Robin carefully elucidated, lest he gave Starfire a cause to make him substantially less pretty, “We can’t wait around here for too since, a, we don’t want to interfere with the Justice League’s or our own mission against crime and-”

    Robin was abruptly cut off by a incredibly loud and abnoxious klaxon that immediately proceeded to ring their ear drums like a retarded yurglifth on the most wonderful substance, caffeine.

    “Oh hell,” Beast Boy muttered, his words completely lost in the blaring cacophony. “Turn it off!”

    Cyborg quickly ran over to the control panel and punched in several commands. The racket stopped instantly, but her cybernetic teammate still looked grim.

    “What is wrong, friend Cyborg?” Starfire inquired.

    He glanced towards Starfire, his single human eye narrowed, “Zeus and Hera just called to check in; probably some sort of regular procedure we didn’t know about. Hera will be here “shortly”; Zeus will be here, like, now.”

    Robin turned over to where Beast Boy and Starfire were standing anxiously by. “That’s your cue. Cyborg and I will be in here handling the station’s defenses.”

    “But Raven-” Starfire started to interject.

    “-will be fine, Starfire.” Robin said, trying to allay her fears for her best girlfriend’s safety, “Honestly, I’d be more worried about Batman when she wakes up.” Starfire couldn’t help, but grin at that.

    “Come on Star,” Beast Boy grabbed her hand and literally began dragging her towards the doorway that lead to the hangar, “we’re going to go out there and we are going to wipe the floor with LEGENDS!” Beast Boy emphasized his point by pumping a fist high in the air. Starfire no longer resisted him as they both sped down the narrow corridors towards the main hangar, Beast Boy as a cheetah and Starfire flying in the lead. As she did so, she felt some of the spicy mustard return to her system that Raven’s disappearance that had dampened. This, even more so than her fight against her evil clone, would be ultimate test of her personal skill as a warrior and her ability to coordinate with her teammates.

    “Yes, illyin Beast Boy; let’s go kick some ass!” The warrior princess of Tamerran responded, her eyes glowing in anticipation of combat’s pandemonium.

    Although technically impossible from an anatomical perspective, the green cheetah running behind her managed a very human expression of complete shock and awe. It would truly be a glorious day.

    Red Notes

    1) Righty o’, going to address some possible OOC’ness. First off, like most people, I don’t think Starfire’s nothing, but a naive air head. Now, the show gave her some good moment, but that’s basically the front she seems to put up. Some of that’s genuine I’m sure, but she has to be deeper. I chose to interpret the space given as this sort of simple minded, caring warrior who also happens to be bubbly and innately perceptive. Outwardly, I tried to portray her much like in the show except perhaps a tad more serious…this is a big mission, after all….while giving her proper thinking to be able to happily go out everyday and pound the snot out of people. Namely, it’s her friendship and by extension her honor, something very important given her warrior background.

    2) The royal line/surname is completely non-cannon. I like to think that it would somehow be related to the name of their goddess, X’hal.

    3) You’ll have to pardon the cliff hanger. Initially this was to be the final chapter, but as I kept writing, I realized that I would still have to have some sort of epilogue to tie up loose ends like Raven’s capture, the aftermath of the battle, what the JLA’s thoughts were, Batman’s responses to Robin, etc. I figured that if I was going to do that, I might as well make a new chapter and take advantage of the ability to portray the final events from any viewpoint that I might choose.





     
    #12 IVIaedhros, Jan 16, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 17, 2008

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