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Teen Titans Fan Fiction The Policeman: A Tale Of Jump City (C)

Discussion in 'The Story Board' started by Matt A, Jan 18, 2007.

  1. Matt A

    Matt A Smile. Or Else.

    Oct 15, 2004
    Likes Received:
    Right then. This, ladies and gents, is my first Teen Titans fan-fiction in...well, a while. I'm attempting something a little different here: still firmly in the grim and blackly comic vein we all expect from me, but in terms of genre, more a political thriller than the action/sci-fi/fantasy I've done thus far. And just so's you all know, I'm fairly excited about this.;):D

    I think I mentioned my rough idea for this story a few weeks back (on the STT3 thread, if memory serves), but in case you don't remember, I'll repeat what I said there. Basically, this is a Teen Titans-based reworking of the 2004 Michael Mann film Collateral, with Raven taking on Vincent's role. If you've seen the film, then you'll know why this is interesting. If not, then check out the Wikpedia or IMDB entries, and find out why this is interesting.;)

    As the title perhaps indicates, this is not a Teen Titans fic in the strictest sense. It's not so much a story based on the Titans, as it is a story based on the world the inhabit, and what this world thinks of them. Indeed, only two characters from the series/comic will be appearing.;) If you're on this board just to get more Titanic action, then this won't be the story for you, but hopefully you're up for something a little different.

    Also, because Jump City is so integral to this story, I've taken the liberty of drawing a map of the place. It can be found here. Because most place names and geographical details used in this story have been made up by me, or interpreted from screenshots for episodes I've (probably) never seen, most of what I write won't make sense without the map, so I suggest you use it. And if I've got any details wrong, then they'll have to stay wrong, because I don't have either the time or the energy to re-draw the map.:shrug:

    Before I get any further, there's a key point I need to make. Despite kicking off on this story, The Bad Seeds is my bigger priority, so chapters for this, whilst hopefully not being gold dust, certainly won't be coming more than once a week, if not longer. So I hope you can bear with me on that.:sweat:

    But anyway, onto the first chapter. This is intended purely as an introduction, just to give the basics of my protagonist, and as such, is neither snappy or particularly interesting. But it is informative, if in a scattershot way, so please pay attention. And try not to get bored. Please.:sweat:

    So, with no further introductory garbage, we now kick off with my latest Teen Titans fan-fic. Let the curtains rise...

    The Policeman: A Tale Of Jump City

    “I’m not ashamed. I’ve known love. I’ve known rejection. I’m not afraid to declare my feelings. Take trust for instance, or friendship. These are the important things in life. These are the things that matter, that help you on your way. If you can’t trust your friends, well what then? What then?

    This could’ve been any city. They’re all the same.”
    -David Stephens, “Shallow Grave”
    “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”
    -Sherlock Holmes, “The Sign Of Four”
    Chapter One.
    December 24th, 10:07pm.

    There was one thing William Miller always wondered. As he looked out of the window, watching all the people crowding the sidewalks, the drivers of other cars sharing the road, everyone with business on this night, as he watched, he would think, what kind of life do they have? What stories do they have to tell? Is the man walking with his son in trouble with his wife, and is frightened his children can hear the yelling? Has the suit hailing a cab just failed a crucial job interview, the door to a world he’s desperate to join closed forever? When the woman in the Cadillac Escalade bought her million-dollar mink-fur coat, was she just trying to find something to fill the gaping hole in her world? All these other people, going to and fro, just what was going on in their heads?

    And, maybe, did these other people wonder about him?

    Maybe. Maybe not.

    William gently spun the steering wheel left, the car turning almost silently into the next street, with only a slight change in the engine’s low purr signifying it had done anything at all. That was partly why he liked this car so much: it had a job to do, and it did it without fuss.

    At this rate, he would be at the cathedral in six-seven minutes. This would’ve struck most people as unusually quick, going from Lincoln Park to Gregorian Avenue, but William knew otherwise. During the day, it would take at least twenty minutes, but there was far less traffic at night, and on Christmas Eve, people only went out for last-minute shopping, and most stores closed several hours ago. It was still busy, of course, because this was Jump City, and Downtown Jump City at that, but relatively speaking, the place was sleepy. So, there was six minutes left.

    William glanced in the rear-view mirror. Jordan was on the seat behind him, quietly looking out the window, more to keep herself occupied than to actually find something. She was thirteen years old, though he got the feeling she was desperate to be thirty, and considering her age, surprisingly tall and bony. She also seemed to lack a teenager’s need for style, dressed simply in a white hoodie, dark jeans and black trainers, her waist-length black hair without any curls, ties or other modifications. William was the same, as he well knew, though in his case, his hair was shorter and messier, he wasn’t as thin, and instead of a hoodie, he had a green cardigan hand-kitted by his mother-in-law.

    “You okay back there?” William asked, without turning round.

    Jordan glanced at him, smiling briefly. “Yeah, sure. Just getting psyched up.”

    “Cool. Have you got everything ready? This is a big night for you, I know.”

    “Don’t remind me.”

    William turned the car right, heading off Lincoln Circle and onto Forest Drive. Lincoln Circle, surrounding the five square-mile Lincoln Park (obviously), was the single busiest part of the city, so driving would get even easier from here. Should be another five minutes, maybe a little more.

    “I just wanted to make sure you were sorted. Have you got everything you need?”

    Jordan patted the rucksack resting on the seat next to her. It was black, with a small Umbro logo near the top.

    “Yup. Robes, lyric sheet, phone, purse. That’s all I need.”

    William smiled. “Good. Just checking.”

    “I know.”

    Jordan turned back to the window. As the car sped down Forest Drive, William had a quick glance round the interior. It was just one of those random habits he had: he didn’t need to do it, ‘cause he knew every single inch of the thing, but he did it anyway. Most people knew their cars in such detail, but for him, it wasn’t just that he spent so much time in here. He knew this car because it was, quite literally, how he lived.

    He’d been a cab driver for years. It wasn’t the occupation he’d dreamed of as a child, but he enjoyed it, and he felt no need to change a life that was ticking along nicely. Remarkably, he’d been using the same cab for the entire time, between him and Charlie, the day-shift guy. It was a nice little thing: quiet, efficient, comfortable. There wasn’t much to say about the interior, just standard grey and black, though the plastic dashboard was fairly well made. It had lasted the years, at any rate.

    William had another quick look at Jordan. She was still looking out the window, staring at the inside of her own head. One thing that had repeatedly struck him over the years, despite the oddness of the thought, was that neither he or his daughter had any hang-ups about being black. He knew, on some level, that being an African-American was an issue that he should care about, but he never had. Same as Jordan, from what he could tell. At his best guess, growing up in such a middle-of-the-road place as Finchley Village made it hard to have hang-ups about anything. It was still an odd thing, to think so often that race was a trivial issue. Which it was.

    The turning for Gregorian Avenue was almost coming up. It was only two minutes now, maybe two-and-a-half. The Downtown cathedral was holding a midnight mass, same as it did every year, and this time Jordan was going to be in the choir. Seeing as she’d joined the Salisbury choir only six months ago, being invited to such a prestigious service was even bigger news than you’d expect. William wasn’t overly big on Jordan catching the religious bug, but if she was happy, which she was, then he was happy too.

    William turned left, into Gregorian Avenue. This area of Downtown was towards the south-west, away from the prestigious Lincoln Park, and the Bow and Slough financial districts. It was rich, as all of Downtown was, but they’d left skyscraper-land behind them with Lincoln Circle and Forest Drive. The buildings here were usually two-dozen stories, rather than two-hundred.

    The problem with all this, of course, was that Jordan knew of this mass for over a month, yet was too nervous about it to tell William until last week. If he’d known about it at the time, then things would be great, but at this short notice, it would’ve been easier to move mountains than to get time off to attend. And double went for Rachel: City Hall seemed to believe that she enjoyed having night shifts thrown at her without warning. Personally, William loved them, and wouldn’t work anything else, but not everyone felt the same way. But still, the upshot was that he had to drop off Jordan at the cathedral, put in a night’s work, then pick her up when she was done. Not the arrangement he wanted, but he had a feeling that Jordan actually preferred it this way: having her parents hanging around on her big night would just put her off.

    The cathedral was now just ahead, to the right. It was huge, even taller than the surrounding buildings, and had Gothic stamped across every inch of its ornate structure. Standing at the head of Muspel Drive, the cathedral was imposing enough to make you want to bow before you even entered. Though, oddly, the stained-glass windows covering the front façade were done in pink, aqua and lime green.

    Despite deliberately getting Jordan here early – she needed time to practise – the sidewalk outside already had its share of cars parked up. There was six of them, Cadillacs and Mercedes and other such luxury models. Luckily, there was a space to be found in front of the building next door, just after the cathedral.

    William slowed the cab down and swung into the space, the kind of parallel park he’d done so many times, he barely even noticed himself doing it. He switched off the ignition, the engine running so quietly anyway that he barely even noticed the silence.

    From Lincoln Park to here in seven minutes, so from West Argos to Gregorian Avenue in twenty. Not only great timing, but also exactly what he estimated.

    He turned his head round to face Jordan. “You ready?”

    “As I’ll ever be.”

    “Good luck.”

    “Thanks, dad.”

    Jordan reached her arms round William’s seat, giving him a hug and a quick peck on the cheek.

    “So you’ll pick me up when I’m done, yeah?”

    “Yup. 1am, you said?”


    “Well, good luck.”

    Jordan nodded and smiled. She picked up her rucksack and shifted over to the right-hand door, opening it and stepping out on the sidewalk. She closed the door and waved through the window, William waving back. He watched quietly as she fast-walked to the cathedral steps, climbing them and entering the doors. She’d get on okay.

    With a small sigh, he turned back to the dashboard and flicked a switch just below the radio. The “available for business” sign lit up on the roof, letting the world know that his night had just started.

    Not many people hailed cabs this late on Christmas Eve, so he’d have to start tracking down fares soon, but he could afford to sit a few minutes. He wasn’t in any rush.

    It was only a few seconds before something caught his eye. The building he’d parked in front of was a sub-office of the Jump City Times, often regarded as the dumping ground for journalists in the dog-house. Well, so the many journalists he’d driven around had told him. Two-three hundred yards ahead, on the other side of the main doors, was a young woman. She looked about twenty, twenty-five at the most, and was leaning against the wall, being sick by her feet.

    William’s first instinct was that she was a junkie. At first, he’d dismissed the idea as fatherly paranoia, but he’d recently come to the conclusion that, despite what the officials said, drug culture was really starting to take hold in this city. He didn’t mind it on a personal level, people were free to stick whatever they wanted into themselves, but he did worry that Jordan would get caught up in it all somehow. Which was probably the real reason why he didn’t like her going off on her own. In the case of this young woman, his first instinct was complicated by the fact that she was wearing a suit, a smart-looking black trouser number, with an accompanying silver briefcase tucked between her feet. But that didn’t necessarily mean anything.

    After about ten-fifteen seconds, the woman stopped throwing up. She dug two white handkerchiefs out of an inside pocket, using one to wipe her mouth, and the other to wipe her eyes. The one with sick on it was dropped on the floor, and the one without was put back in the pocket. She slowly pushed herself off the wall, bent down and picked up her briefcase.

    The woman turned round, and though her carefully blank expression didn’t change, it was clear she’d spotted the cab. William didn’t really want someone who’d just been sick getting into his car, but a fare was a fare.

    The woman walked over and tapped on the front-passenger window. William pressed the button to wind it down. The first thing he noticed was that, as well as not smelling of vomit, she’d also just been heavily crying. Probably not a junkie.

    “Are you okay?” he asked.

    The woman nodded. “Yeah, I’m fine. Are you free?”

    “Sure. Hop in.”
    #1 Matt A, Jan 18, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 21, 2007
  2. Atoragon

    Atoragon *random sound effects*

    Dec 11, 2006
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    I am really liking this so far, being a fan of the Collateral film, although I have not seen it recently. I am fine with waiting for the chapters, because good things are worth waiting for. The map really helps, for me anyways. I just got done reading Dwr Budr and Dwr Budr 2, and to keep the new stuff on the first page, I'll keep my rather long list of compliments to myself.
  3. TeenTitansGO!

    TeenTitansGO! expremental Upnnas

    Sep 21, 2004
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    Well, well. Something i can understand without reading back-story for 2 months! All in all, things are enjoyable, in that only-because-the-chapter-was-necessary way. Not being black, though, I find it disturbingly difficult to imagine black characters. I'm not racist or anything of the sort, but it does strike me as difficult to conjure an image in the brain of a fictional African-American person. That's just a personal flaw, however.

    I do like the detail. Used to be, I wouldn't say that, as the descriptive chapters in DB2 bothered me. All that stuff about horses and Rae's house and such. But this new perspective of Jump City was interesting, and oddly comforting. I felt you could sit back and enjoy the town, you know. Like maybe I lived there. Maybe I could be there if i traveled a few hundred miles and set up shop.

    You've announced that Raven will join us, but I'd like to know who else. I assume Robin, but my hopes are very high for Cyborg. I've wanted to see a real Cyborg fic for a while. Maybe I should write it.

    Anyway, interesting, to repeat myself.

    TTG~Matt H.
  4. Matt A

    Matt A Smile. Or Else.

    Oct 15, 2004
    Likes Received:
    Oddly enough, I haven't either. I'll have to dig out the DVD again. Still, it is a great film...though it's kinda obvious that I should think that, on account of how I'm writing this story an' all.;)

    Why, thankyou.:D

    I just hope I don't dissapoint...:sweat:

    Like I said, it'll come in handy. And I'm glad my map-making skills are still what they used to be.:)

    Oh yes, and whilst I'm on the subject, I might as well mention this. Every single place name in this story, whether district, street or building, will be a reference to something. 99% of these will be of no relevance to the narrative, but it's just something that should be interesting to keep track of.

    Personally, I think both stories are excreable...but, then again, I think that of nearly everything I do, so I suppose it doesn't matter. Still, despite your delusions, it gives me quite a happy that you like them. Thankyou.:D

    That, I have to say, was part of the appeal for me. You know, starting on something completely new.:)

    And yes, back-story is a pain in the arse.;)

    Like I said, this was just introductory gubbins. I know it's terribly bad practise to kick of a story on such a slow note, but everything I wrote here is necessary to know at the start, and I just couldn't think of a better way to do it.:sad:

    Actually, there's a theory on this one. Because you're a white person raised in a predominantly white society, your brain first learnt about different facial profiles by studying other white people. Ergo, because you don't meet as many black people as you do white people, your brain finds it harder to distinguish between them. If you were a black person raised in a predominantly black society, or even a white person raised in same, then it would be the other way round. Just one of those funny things that our brains do.:shrug:

    But in terms of the story, this doesn't matter a great deal. The only reason William Miller is black is because Max, the cabbie in Collateral, is black, and I wanted to continue that. Also, I find it interesting to have a black character who doesn't care about being black: one thing I've noted is that, in real life, most people don't, but fiction has kinda yet to catch up.

    I have to agree, the detail in DB2 was pretty absurd.:sad: But the descriptions do serve a purpose here: this is "a tale of Jump City", so it's important that we feel as distinct a sense of place as possible. Which, according to you, has worked already, so I'm very happy about that.:D

    On a slightly deeper level...one thing I've always felt was a missed oppourtunity in Teen Titans was that, despite having at least 3/4 of its episodes set there, you never really learned anything about Jump City. I've always felt that locations should be characters in their own right, but in the show, Jump was never more than just a backdrop. So, in a very literal sense, The Policeman is my attempt at seeing what kinds of stories this place has to tell.

    Maybe you should. I've come up with a good idea for one, or at least what I hope is a good idea. You could have a crack at it if you like.

    But still, just because I can, I'll give you a hint: the second character isn't another Titan. And they'll only be appearing for two chapters.;)

    -Matt A-
  5. JazzyChick

    JazzyChick Bass players are misunderstood

    Nov 7, 2004
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    I loved Collateral, though when you first mentioned it, it took me a few seconds to remember what it was. Its been a long time since I've seen it too.

    Anyway, I am very intrigued by this story (I already have some theories as to how everything in this chapter could relate to the plot of the movie). I agree that we don't know enough about Jump City. In the Batman universe, Gotham IS a character in itself (best portrayed in the movie Batman Begins) so I am very interested to see your take on the city.

    Can't wait to see where this goes!

  6. Matt A

    Matt A Smile. Or Else.

    Oct 15, 2004
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    I enjoy seeing people come up with theories, so that's cool.:D

    I won't ask you what you've come up with, but for now, I'll give you a hint: the only thing I'm not copying, or at least echoing, in this story is the Fanning scenes. Once you've figured out who Jordan is designed to represent, and a little logical thought should make it easy, then you're there.;)

    My vision of Jump? Well, it's fairly integral to the plot, so I'll save the details for later, but expect somewhere a little different to what we've seen on the show. The best way to explain it is that, as Los Angeles is to New York, so Jump is to Gotham.;)

    -Matt A-
    #6 Matt A, Jan 20, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 20, 2007
  7. Pun-3x

    Pun-3x Member

    Apr 17, 2005
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    Not a bad start. While I know this is based on Collateral, I'm also left wondering exactly how much of it you plan to use in driving your story. And I fully expect the story to simply take off on its own once it has enough speed.

    So now it's a matter of watching where this thing drives off to.

    *hops in the cab* :D
  8. No Idea

    No Idea Rescue Rangers, away!

    Jun 30, 2005
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    I can't say I've ever seen the film. Little bits here and there maybe, but never the whole thing I'm afraid. But that's besides the point, because I wanna read this :p

    And I have to agree with the whole map thing, it doesn't help the story along, but it certainly makes reading a lot easier and perhaps a little more invloved. (Also Little Russia made me laugh. I don't know why, it just did. Now I have hopes of the whole place being full of people with Russian accents :D)

  9. Matt A

    Matt A Smile. Or Else.

    Oct 15, 2004
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    It kinda will, it kinda won't. Every event and character in this story is, if only on a basic level, a reflection of a event and character in the film. However, details have been changed around a fair bit, sometimes to the point of non-recognition, and I'm very much putting my own spin on the plot.

    This has nothing to do with anything, but I just though I'd respond to your thoughts.

    You'll just have to tag along for the ride, won't you?;)

    Oh yes, and kudos for getting so many motoring puns into one post.:p

    Well, you should. One, it'll give you a better understanding of this story, and Two, it's bloody brilliant.:D

    I don't have plans to show you the district, but yes, you can expect the people with Russian accents. The idea was that the district is home to Russian and Eastern European emigres, similar to "Little Odessa" in New York. It's the same kind of idea as the "Little Italy" and "Chinatown" districts that can be found in most big cities.

    -Matt A-
  10. Oh look I'm...

    Jan 10, 2007
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    Do they make Salisbury Steak in Salisbury?

    So, we're back to past tense, are we? Very nice.;)

    With his careful questioning and overprotective thoughts, William strikes me as a man who geniunely cares for his daughter. Hey, he wouldn't much of a father if he didn't, right? He's also not your typical "distant dad" who isn't involved in Jordan's life. I don't know too many dads who respect the job of a cab driver, even if they're the ones driving the cabs, and a daughter that supports her father in such an occupation: if I'm not making any sense, just know that I find this very interesting.;) ;) ;)

    We'll have to see how it goes. The one thing that "tickled me pink" was the fact that Salisbury was listed as one of the locations on the map. Salisbury!?!:D I won't go too far in saying what's obviously being said (yeah, that confused me too :sweat: ). Dude, I feel the same way you do about Salibury, and I'll leave it at that. Okay, if you have absolutely no idea what I'm taking about, consider this: Matt might live in Salisbury.:p That's right. I think.:sweat: :sweat: Don't get me wrong; I totally support Matt's use of that location. I just find it very amusing, that's all.:D

    All in all, it was an enticing beginning, by my standards. We'll just have to see what kind of a night we're in for.:raven:
  11. Anima

    Anima Her royal ecentricity, will do

    Mar 1, 2006
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    well, like some other people, I also haven't seen the movie Collateral, but someone told me it was good. I read the wikipedia entry and now I'm totally hooked. I'm interested to see how you're going to work Raven in the Vincent role. It's always interesting seeing a normally "good guy" character put into a situation when they are quite obviously a "bad guy."

    William seems like the all around likeable character. I noticed and really liked the fact that William is a black man who never really cared about being black. Too often in fiction I've noticed that authors think of this as a obstacle to be overcame and not often enough is it the reality of most of (my experience in)America: a fact, just like the color of your hair. So, Kudos.

    so, I'm gonna sit here and wait for another chapther. *sits cross legged on the floor and begins to twiddle thumbs*
  12. Matt A

    Matt A Smile. Or Else.

    Oct 15, 2004
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    The traditional way seemed better here. That, and I haven't used it for a while.;)

    No, I get what you mean. My plan here was simply to do something different from the usual domestic cliches: a father who looks out for his kids, a teenage daughter who isn't stroppy and rebellious, a family that actually get on well with each other, that kind of thing. I'm not aiming for a picture of domestic harmony, 'cause that's just vomit-inducing, but adding the usual hysterics into this kind of story would only pitch it into melodrama. And yes, it is kinda interesting.:)

    I actually drew up this map about a year ago, so if using Salisbury is a deliberate nod or just a subconscious thing, I really don't remember. Considering it is where I currently live, yes, it was probably deliberate: it'd certainly be a very me thing to do.;) Either way, the "Salisbury" district is intend to be a sleepy, semi-wealthy suburb, and even if you don't know the real town, the name kinda fits.

    Good-o. It's nice to know I have good taste.:D

    Besides the fact that I love the original film, this was actually my main attraction to the story. As you've probably worked out by now, playing twisted games with traditional morals is my favourite trick.:evil:

    One that I'll say for now is that, in regards to her Vincent role, Raven will be on a slightly different tack. She'll be fitting the nihilistic part, 'cause that's what Raven is anyway, but...you'll just have to read on and find out, won't you?;)

    Absolutely. As with Max in Collateral, the idea with William is to see what happens when an Everyman gets landed in a situation this extraordinary.;)

    That's pretty much my opinion, too. Like all the dysfunctional family stuff, it's always dramatic, and always hits the right notes, but sometimes it's more interesting to deal with characters who don't have those kinds of problems. Okay, so racism isn't dead, even in America, and sadly, it won't even be on its last legs for a long time yet, but I like to thing we're all mature enough to just leave the issue be for a little while.

    With luck, and a decent following wind, it certainly won't be a dull one.;):D

    And on that note...

    I actually wrote the first few paragraphs of chapter two last night. I'll try and get it finished this afternoon, but I ain't promising nowt.:sweat:

    -Matt A-
  13. Oh look I'm...

    Jan 10, 2007
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    Considering that such families do exist in the real world (some of you look shocked to hear that, but it's true), your use of the characters makes it all the more relatable, as relatable as a respite from the chaotic world most fiction writers use can be.:sweat: I know: I'm not making sense again. I need a pill or something.:sweat:
    Well, I wouldn't say that. Your interpretation of Raven might be that she considers morality a relative term, but that isn't true for everyone else (the writers of the TV show might back me up here).;) However, interpretations aside, it will prove to be quite an exciting experience to see Raven in that light.:D She, besides Robin, is probably the darkest of the Titans, making her an ideal candidate for the role--which, I think, was what you were getting at from the start.:)
  14. Matt A

    Matt A Smile. Or Else.

    Oct 15, 2004
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    If you want a pill, then help yourself, but I get what you mean.;) Okay, so families have their arguments, they always have and they always will, but the kind of dysfunctional mayhem we see on TV is rarer than we like to think. It's just one of those things.;)

    Pretty much, yes. Robin is a very sombre, complicated and, at times, vicious person, but despite this, he's a little too black-and-white in outlook: if he started killing people, you'd automatically suspect that he was being forced, Apprentice-style. Raven isn't amoral, not by any stretch of the imagination (and I'm well aware of that), but she has enough of the "all the world sucks" attitude for it seem credible that she's gone over the edge.

    And on that note, here is the next chapter. For once, it's on time.:D I won't say anything about what's in it, 'cause either I'll spoil it, or it'll be stuff you've already anticipated. But it's all interesting content, and for me to be happy with it...;)

    There's one thing I will say, though. As this story is set within such a concentrated period of time, most of the chapters are set directly after each other. Ergo, it may be necessary to re-read the ending of one chapter before starting on the next, just in case things suddenly don't make sense. Or I'm just being patronising. We'll see.:sweat:

    But anyway, here's the chapter. Have fun...

    Chapter Two.
    December 24th, 10:16pm.

    The woman moved round to the rear door, opening it and sliding onto the back seat. She closed the door again and placed the briefcase in the other footwell.

    William flicked the switch on his fare-meter. It started at $3, and would go up from there. “Where are we headed?”

    “28 Westchester Drive, Alighieri. You know it?”

    “Yeah, I know it.” The northern end of Finchley Village. He knew it alright.

    William turned the ignition, pulling out of the parking space and turning a 180 in the road, heading back the way he came. Not the most ethical of manoeuvres, but right now, the only other cars on Gregorian Avenue were parked. He already knew the route he’d take to Alighieri: the reverse of his previous route until he got to Lincoln Park, then take Roland Dagget Boulevard through Slough. Should be easy.

    The woman looked up. “How long do you think this will take?”

    “Seventeen minutes.”

    “Seventeen minutes. Not sixteen, not eighteen?”

    “Seven to Lincoln Circle, two across the park, another seven along Roland Dagget, then a final minute to Westchester. That’s if we’re lucky with the lights. If not, then add in an extra minute, maybe two if you broke some mirrors beforehand.”

    The woman raised an eyebrow. “You superstitious?”

    “No. Just trying to be funny.”


    William shrugged. She obviously wasn’t in the mood for laughter, though he could’ve spotted that before she even got in.

    He briefly glanced at the woman in the rear-view mirror. She was definitely no older than twenty-five, though quite tall, and obviously knew of regular exercise. And also quite pretty, he had to admit, even if being pale to the point of looking dead wasn’t his favourite look. Her blue eyes, even when swollen with previous tears, were curiously large, and her black hair was also much shorter than he’d expect of a girl her age. She seemed like the kind of person who was very careful about her appearance, but only so she could make it look like what she needed it to. Practical, rather than vain.

    William made the right-hander onto Forest Drive. So far, the timings were going his way.

    “So, what brings you outside on Christmas Eve?” he asked. Though he was interested, for his part, he only asked these kinds of questions out of habit.

    The woman shrugged. “There’s business to take care of. Same as you.”

    She obviously didn’t want to specify what business. He wouldn’t pry.

    “Yeah, I know how it is. Bills need to be paid, and all the rest of it.”

    “Something like that.”

    The woman went silent. Not the small-talk type, then. William carried on driving, eyeing the scenery as he went. Forest Drive was expensive and popular, home to jewellers and boutiques and department stores and a billion other ways to waste your bountiful money. The tourists always flocked to Avido Way or 42nd Avenue, but if you were after purchases rather than souvenirs, then Forest Drive was where you went.

    “How’s being a cabbie working for you? Just a way to pay the bills?”

    Okay, so maybe she did want to chat.

    “Not really. It’s a good job. Pays well, keeps me busy. I get to travel around a lot too, in a way.”

    “And the night shift? I’ve never seen the fun side of that myself.”

    “It’s better than the day shift. There’s less traffic, and people are less stressed. It’s better driving, better conversation and better tips.”

    The woman smiled, though it was there and gone in a second. “There’s always that, I suppose.”

    She paused for a second, as if not sure how to say what she wanted to say next.

    “Listen, about what happened before I got in.” she eventually said. “I’ve just been having a stomach bug for the last few days. But I’m feeling better now. You don’t need to worry about me vomiting all over your upholstery.”

    William shrugged. “I wasn’t going to ask. Your business is your business.”

    Which was true. Whatever it was she was doing previously, a stomach bug sure as hell didn’t factor into things. He was more than happy to talk about his own business, but if she didn’t want to return the favour, then that was fine by him as well. This was all just small-talk to fill up the seventeen minutes.

    They were at Lincoln Circle. William turned left, then a few hundred yards later, turned right onto Mornington Lane. This would take him across the park to the start of Roland Dagget. During the day, this one-mile lane would take ten minutes by itself, but at twenty-past-ten on Christmas Eve, it was deserted.

    Since he first saw her, a quiet suspicion had been building in William’s mind about this woman. Now, suddenly, what was previously a thought had become fact in his mind. There wasn’t a specific reason for this change, more that all the little details had now come together to form a conclusion. And though he said he wouldn’t pry, he’d kick himself for days if he didn’t ask her about this.

    They reached the end of Mornington Lane. Roland Dagget was just opposite on the junction. Annoying, the lights were red. Best add on that extra minute.

    Now they were stopped, William turned his head round to face the woman.

    “So, what about you? How’s being Raven working out?”

    The woman stared at him. “Excuse me?”

    Before William could answer, the lights turned orange, then green. He turned back to the road, pulling out from the junction and onto Roland Dagget.

    “I’ve been a cabbie for fourteen years.” he said. “I know how to read people. You’re twenty, twenty-five at the oldest. People your age don’t wear suits, and even if they do, they don’t carry around top-drawer briefcases like yours. Which instantly makes me think, your outfit is a disguise. It’s a good one, I admit, ‘cause the people you’d pass on the street wouldn’t pay attention the way I have. But still, if this is a disguise, then the obvious question is, why are you hiding? There could be a million and one reasons for that, but if you’re a Teen Titan sitting in a cab, then the need to hide makes sense. Why you’re suddenly going incognito, I have no idea, and I guess you aren’t going to tell me.

    “Besides, my teenage daughter has a poster of you guys that’s bigger than she is. You might have dyed your hair and changed your clothes, but yours is a face I’d know from a mile off.”

    Raven sighed deeply. “I knew this was a bad idea.”

    William shrugged. “I wouldn’t say that. Like I said, I’ve just had practise at this sort of thing.”

    “In that case, you get your ten points.”

    “Thankyou.” William paused for a second. He might as well ask the question. “So, why are you sat in my cab?”

    “If I wanted you to know that, would I have seriously picked this method of transport?”

    “I guess not.”

    William went silent. He didn’t mind the sarcasm, because Raven was infamous for it anyway, but he knew an invitation to shut up when he heard it.

    Roland Dagget Boulevard was one of the biggest roads in Jump City, only a central reservation and few stilts short of being a full-blown freeway. But as it currently stood, it was still thriving with traffic, even now. Slough tended to attract that: this was the financial zone, where everyone always had Places To Go and People To See. This was true skyscraper territory, even more so than Downtown, a sanctuary for millions of tonnes of faceless steel and glass. William seldom had business here, with most of Slough’s inhabitants being either too rich or too proud to use a mere taxicab.

    Raven was leaning against the window, staring out at the uniform scenery. “You’ve already figured out the big bit,” she suddenly said, “so I might as well tell you the rest.

    “The man who lives in 28 Westchester Drive is my boyfriend. I met him at a charity event I had to go a while ago. We’ve been seeing each other on and off for about two months now. I get free time when I can, change into civilian clothes, and then go off and meet him in various places. I’m going to his house now so I can spend Christmas Day with him. That’s all I’m telling you, and I’d appreciate it if you kept this to yourself. I want the press to keep their collective nose out of my personal life.”

    William raised an eyebrow. He knew full well that was a lie: she wouldn’t tell him something that personal if it were true. Whatever she was really going to 28 Westchester Drive for, it was something bigger than that, something that made her prefer offering herself to the gossip columns. But it wasn’t his business.

    There was still another four minutes until Raven’s destination. Perhaps he ought to keep the conversation going.

    “What do you think of Jump City?” he asked. It was as good as anything.

    Raven shrugged. “Honestly? I hate this place. I know I grew up in another city…somewhere else, the urban environment isn’t new to me, but here? This city just has no soul.”

    She pointed to car just ahead, in the lane to the right. It was a Land Rover Freelander, a grey one.

    “You see that car?” she said. “Do you know who’s driving it? Do you know where they’ve come from, where they’re going to? Do you know anything about their life, their hopes, dreams, fears, successes, heartbreaks? I doubt it. Eight million people live in this city, and if you died right now, I guarantee not even one percent would hear about it.”

    That didn’t sound so bad to William. Strictly speaking, one percent of eight million was still quite a lot.

    “But that’s just me. What about you?”

    “It’s my home.” William said after a second.

    Raven smiled briefly. “Is that ‘home’ as in “it’s where I lay my hat”, or is that ‘home’ as in “it’s where my heart belongs”?”

    “Both. I was born here, and I grew up here. I knew this city like the back of my hand even before I became a cabbie. I understand what you said, though. I guess you just need time to get to know this place.”

    “How about four years of crime-fighting?”

    William laughed. “That might do it.”

    They were just leaving Slough. Roland Dagget continued through Finchley Village and on into Jamestown, but William needed to turn off here. Starting with Angel Grove just coming up on the right, there were half-a-dozen roads to take before Westchester Drive. But it shouldn’t be any longer a minute.

    “You know,” William said as he turned onto Angel, “I grew up only a few miles from where we’re going. Gravesend, just to the south. Not quite as nice as this, but still, it ain’t the ‘hood.”

    Raven smiled. “It is a small world, isn’t it?”

    “You know the place?”

    “Not especially. I just didn’t expect this to be a homecoming for you.”

    “It isn’t really. I live out in Jamestown these days. Slightly safer for Jordan.”

    That much was true. Jamestown was right on the eastern edge of the city, just before you got to the forests. Along with Salisbury, Jamestown was Jump’s leafy suburbia. Finchley wasn’t too bad, though: the same kind of ambience, but the houses were older and smaller. 19th-century red-brick terraces, mostly, well-built but not exactly prestigious. Alighieri was pretty sought after, though. Whoever Raven was going to see, they’d have money.

    “Jordan’s your daughter, right?” Raven asked. “The one with the poster?”

    William laughed. “Yeah, that’s her.”

    “A fan of mine?”

    “That’s an understatement. She practically worships you guys.”

    “A lot of kids seem to.” Raven glanced down towards her briefcase. “Would she like an autograph?”

    “No, that’s alright. You said you didn’t want anyone to know you were here. I’ll just have to make sure she never finds out.”

    Raven smiled, genuinely this time. “Thanks. I appreciate that.”

    William already found himself making the left turn into Westchester Drive. He’d spent so much time in Finchley over the years, he could (and did) drive round this place on instinct. Most of the time, that wasn’t a bright idea, but he could get away with it on Christmas Eve.

    They’d arrived at Westchester about half-way along its length, so number 23 was just up ahead, on the left. This street was typical Finchley, a red-brick terrace with steps up the doors and little trees lining the sidewalk. If there was snow tonight, you could take a photo and stick it on a Christmas card. William parked up on the right, opposite 23, and switched off the engine.

    “I guess this is my stop.” Raven said, picking up her briefcase. “How much is the fare?”

    William looked down at the meter. He’d damn near forgotten about it.

    “Twenty-one dollars.”

    “Good deal.” Raven pulled a brown leather wallet out of an inside jacket pocket, one that looked as if it was worth more than the money it contained. She pulled out two tens and a one, put them in William’s outstretched hand and replaced her wallet.

    “Have a good Christmas.” William said with a smile.

    Raven opened the door. “You too.”
  15. dreyga2000

    dreyga2000 Guest

    Well... I gotta admit I'm hooked. I like the way you the dialogue felt in this can exactly put my finger on but it I was taken back by, I must say the idea of this story is very original and refreshing.. though I must admit I haven't seen Collateral but I hope that excperience that much. Looking forward to the next chapter:D
  16. TeenTitansGO!

    TeenTitansGO! expremental Upnnas

    Sep 21, 2004
    Likes Received:
    I've decided to take on an experiment. I'm going to read this story, and THEN watch Collateral. We'll see what comes of it.

    You shocked me when you said that that was Raven. I enjoy the way you "treat" her. You've always been able to grasp this nearly defiant yet sensibly tactful personality with her. No doubt, she and William have are a very good combination for dialogue, but that could be because of your skill as well. Man, what I'd give to sit down with you and discuss writing techniques. Anyway, enough of my eternal praise of anything remotely related to the word "welsh." (ha)

    Are your chapters shorter this time around? You're paragraphs are much shorter I know, but it seems I'm not reading as much. That's OK, it's just noticeable.

    I was kind of wondering. One of your streets is named Angel Grove, and seeing as I quit watching Power Rangers only five years ago at the age of twelve, I'm going to reminisce of the old days. In the original Power Rangers, Angel Grove was the name of the city they operated out of.

    This is me wishing I could write dialogue like you. I said this already, but seriously. Heck, I'm working on a chapter right now, and maybe I'll send it to you or something, and you can help me with it. (I know what you're thinking. Yeah, I'm not exactly abundant with free time either.):D

    You know what, thanks for writing here. I love this stuff.:p

    Anyway, continue with the next masterpiece.

    TTG~Matt H. yeah, at least that's what they call me
  17. Matt A

    Matt A Smile. Or Else.

    Oct 15, 2004
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    After only two chapters? Hmm, I call that a plus.:D

    This too gives me a happy.:D:D

    To answer Matt H's point first, I'd say William and Raven are a pretty good combination. As with Max and Vincent in Collateral, I'm essentially pairing an Everyman with someone who can't be ordinary even when they try.;)

    To answer the general praise for you both...I wouldn't say it's any innate skill I possess, or least not any I'm aware of.;) Truth be told, what I mostly do is try to follow my Screenwriting lecturer's advice: make sure that what you write resembles what people really say. If a line doesn't feel "right", I'll repeat it a few times, and then tweak it if I need to. It's not rocket science.:p

    Considering this is a remake (strictly speaking), I'm not 100% sure if that compliment applies, but nonetheless, thankyou.:)

    Do so, now. If only because it's ace.:)

    That could be interesting. 'Course, it also means you'll be waiting a very long time.;)

    I'm not sure if I should be glad that I shocked you. I mean, William's line was supposed to be a suprise, but then again, I thought I'd made it kinda obvious who she was. Again, I wanted it to be a suprise, but when "the woman" appeared in the first chapter...well, how many people could it have been?:p Still, now we know that "the woman" is Raven, and thus the antagonist of this story, I suggest you go re-read her introduction in the first chapter. It gives away some fairly crucial information.;)

    This chapter was mostly dialogue, so the paragraphs would seem shorter...but yes, I am planning on writing briefer chapters this time round. Part of the reason why I gave up on STT3 was that I wound up writing 4-5,000-word chapters on nothing, or chapters that took that long to get anywhere, and I want to be more to-the-point this time round. That, and the very compact setting, in both time and space, means there's less room to waffle.:)

    Actually, that's a complete coincidence. I simply wanted the kind of name you give when trying to make a place sound idyllic, and thus probably not be such in reality. Like the "City of God" in Rio de Janeiro.;)

    Still, that's very weird.:eek:

    That's very flattering. Thankyou.:D

    But still, being completely serious, I don't think you need the help. If you want me to look at your next chapter, then by all means, but I imagine it'll be good enough. You ain't exactly a newbie.;)

    -Matt A-
  18. Oh look I'm...

    Jan 10, 2007
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    I would've been shocked, if Matt A didn't say: Basically, this is a Teen Titans-based reworking of the 2004 Michael Mann film Collateral, with Raven taking on Vincent's role.

    By the way, Roland Daggett called: he wants his street back.;)
  19. Pun-3x

    Pun-3x Member

    Apr 17, 2005
    Likes Received:
    Well, we have a good start-up to these two characters getting together. Considering this won't be the first meeting, it's rather important. We're shown that Roland is pretty good with figuring people out (though even he admits that a face like Raven's is hard to miss, what with a huge poster in his daughters room featuring the team). I have a feeling this will come in rather handy later down the line, and probably be featured as a major role in the plotline at some point.

    It's too soon to comment on Raven, I think. Though I like the handling of her so far. I just have this feeling we're going to be taking Raven down a different direction than we might be used to, so I'm curious to see exactly how.

    Very nice so far. :)
  20. Matt A

    Matt A Smile. Or Else.

    Oct 15, 2004
    Likes Received:

    Well, that's true. But, then again, just because a pale-skinned young woman gets into his cab, it doesn't necessarily mean it's Raven.;)

    I thought you might catch that. I just thought it funny that a major street through a major financial district (oh yes, and there's a joke with that name as well) should be named after one of Gotham's most notorious criminals. Has a certain dramatic irony to it, don't you think?:evil:

    Indeed. As I've said before, the tent-pole of this story is the relationship between William and Raven. The fact that they get on so well here serves to greater contrast their falling-out later on.;)

    Just to make the point clear, the cabbie's name is William. Roland is the name of a street.;)

    But on a more serious note, yes, William is very intuitive. The way I see it, his job means that he meets people for the first time at least several dozen times a day, so he's very experienced at analysing first impressions. And yes, this facet of his character will come to be very important.:)

    Only a slightly different direction, I think. I won't say a great deal here though, because her current character is largely determined by her motive for this night's actions, and explaining her motive will give away a fairly crucial plot twist. But nevertheless, whilst Raven in The Policeman is a cold-blooded and highly capable killer, she's still the Raven we know and love.:)

    -Matt A-

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