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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. DeathscytheVII

    DeathscytheVII Farewell, Daughter of Trigon

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    Roland daggett, caught the BTAS reference :D nice one! And the financial district too, hehe. I guess ole roland's business didn't extend to just gotham. HAHA and angel grove! man this cab ride is like a stroll down memory lane.

    Anyways Matt, its been awhile since ive had time to review and read fics, but you took the effort to read mine so I should at least return the favor, besides, i've missed your serious, brooding and unique writing. From the flavor of the descriptions and atmosphere, I'm really getting the ole 'sin city + collateral' vibe, which is quite refreshing considering all the times we've seen Jump city is in bright sun shine. Also, funny thing, as soon as you said the woman was crying and was around 25 years old, I knew you just stamped a big "RAVEN" sign on her haha. I've always liked your take on mature Raven, especially from DB.

    And the real kicker, the dialogue between Raven and William is just extremely delicious to read. Many writers on the board are talented, but i think you're one of the best when it comes to dialogue. You really have a great grasp at how Raven communicates with other people, but the real genius of it was just how William plays her through the conversation, and even manages to get Raven into a conversation for once! Something i'd never expect but as you said, Cab drivers know how to read people. I've talked with a few myself, and they are quite interesting people! Still, i'm confused as to the title, The policeman? hehe, i guess we'll get more answers to that later on.

    Once again matt, you're the master of shock ;) the unexpected. When i read this i expected something from the jump city police, but what we have here is something just as intriguing, a collateral-like story that provides us with what an ordinary citizen thinks of the titans, and a great look at what jump city really is like beneath all the sunshine and buildings hehe.

    I have a feeling this won't end here, if this is anything like collateral (great movie id recommend btw!) then there's more to come!

    I really have to read your bad seeds too matt. As i've always said, Villains intrigue me more than heroes. Its scary but i think its easier for all of us to identify with a villain than a hero. Heroes are who we aspire to be, villains are what happens when our flaws get the best of us. I mean, come on face it, if we all had super powers, would we be running off to police the world? hehe ;) or get rich super quick?

    I've always though of writing a novel myself, but i could never commit to it, so props to you! it should be interesting to read.
     
  2. Matt A

    Matt A Smile. Or Else.

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    More or less, yeah. Like I said before, the latter was just one of those cool coincidences, whilst the former was a more deliberate reference. As in, I've never seen any of B:TAS, and trawled through the World's Finest database for about half-an-hour to find a name that fit the joke I was after. So the references are a cool thing, but not 100% intentional on my part.:shrug:

    Well, I'm flattered. I like serious and brooding stuff, so it's cool my work has those characteristics, and, personally, I think there's no higher compliment than being called unique. So, thankyou.:D

    And yes, I'm glad you decided to return the favour. It's a favoured policy of mine as well.;)

    Which is pretty much my thinking too. I've always thought of Jump City as being a lot like LA, with its eternal contradiction of Hollywood glamour and Compton decay, plus a little bit of the San Francisco carnival spirit. In other words, a bit of an odd place, and though with its sunny moments, also very dark and unpleasant: Sin City + Collateral, as you said. A look that, to my mind, is idiosyncratic and interesting.:)

    Truth be told, my only thoughts on Raven are to go beyond the uber-angsty, "woe-is-me" emo chick that most fan-fics show her as: my vision is of someone profound, vulnerable, heroic and cruel. I don't like her a great deal, but she's a very interesting person.;)

    I've already said what I need to say on the obviousness/non-obviousness of Raven's first appearance, so I'll give a different thought here. Considering the role she'll come to have in this story, what does it mean that I introduced her as a woman leaning against a wall, crying and chucking her guts up? Think about it.;)

    Though I've never really done anything deliberate about it, I've always thought dialogue to be one of my stronger points. So thankyou for the praise there.:D And as I've said before, my only real plan on it is just to keep it natural: if you read it aloud and you sound like you've just walked off a cheap fantasy movie, then it's no good.;)

    I have to agree with you there. Because they spend so much time ferrying around complete strangers, I guess they have to be good at kick-starting
    conversations with just about anyone. After all, even Raven would want to pass the time.;)

    Actually, here's an interesting point about the conversation. If you pay attention, you'll notice that it's actually completely banal: all the important informstion is contained in what William infers. Raven wants her every word to be her last, yet William keeps on drawing out stuff she hasn't even realised she said. He could be a very good interrogator, I think.;)

    Probably not, or at least not in a concrete sense. If you want a hint, just look up where the word "policeman" comes from.;)

    Well, I try my best.:D:evil:

    Precisely. As I've said a few times before, one thing I've always wished Teen Titans had done was to look at the relationship between the Titans and the city they protect. Or, to put it your way, what Jump City really thinks of its protectors. Well, seeing as the show never really did that - true, there was For Real, but that was more about Titans East - now's my chance to plug the gap.:D

    And now you've brought up the idea, I might just have to write a JCPD-based story someday. Something in a COPS-type vein, I think.:)

    You know, I'm amazed how many of you know about Collateral. And, more to the point, think it's brilliant. I must have good taste.;):D

    But anyway, your point. Yes, I can guarantee right now that this story has barely even begun...:D:evil:

    Exactly. I for one would be robbing the nearest bank before you could say "prime evildoer".:evil:

    Yes, I'd like to know what you think of The Bad Seeds. I think you'll like it.:D But be set for a fair bit o' reading: thirty-seven chapters and climbing.:eek:

    Bear in mind that I've now been writing it for over a year. The trick is to not get so obsessed with it that you run out of energy after the first half-dozen chapters.;)

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

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    And he says that he's only 2/3 finished!?!:eek: :eek: :eek:
     
  4. Matt A

    Matt A Smile. Or Else.

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    Closer to 3/4 now, actually. But yes, it's still something of a mountain.:sweat:

    Well, life's full of small challenges.:p

    -Matt A-
     
  5. Matt A

    Matt A Smile. Or Else.

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    And now, because I'm just so nice an' all, here is chapter numero three. It's getting late (or early, to be precise) over this side of the pond, so I'll be brief with my intro notes this time round.

    This chapter takes a little while to get going, but please, stick through it, 'cause the preamble is there just to kill time until the main event. And said main event is easily the most important in this part of the story, so to avoid spoiling it for those who don't know the story, I'll just say this: I hope I've done it justice.:sweat:

    Still, I'll wait and see what y'all think. Enjoy...


    Chapter Three.
    December 24th. 10:38pm.

    William watched Raven walk across the road, then up the front steps of the house. She reached the front door, pressed the bell and stepped back a pace. She waited calmly, holding her briefcase behind her back with both hands. She didn’t do anything else, just stood there and waited.

    It was another twenty-thirty seconds before the door opened. Raven hadn’t pressed the bell a second time, obviously confident the first ring had been heard. She was greeted by a white man in his early fifties, short and slightly overweight, with greying hair and stubble. Like the grey, he had the outfit of someone a good twenty years older: green jacket, white shirt and beige trousers. He quickly welcomed Raven in, all surprised smiles like an old friend, closing the door behind them both.

    So this definitely wasn’t a boyfriend situation. The old man more than likely lived alone, and unless Raven was even weirder than her reputation suggested, he probably didn’t feature on her romantic radar. If she had one at all. ‘Course, this was some very big Ifs, but what else did he have to go on?

    William wasn’t entirely sure why he watched any of that. He was curious about what Raven was up to, being entirely human that way, but he knew this was none of his business, and something she wouldn’t appreciate being monitored. Still, he was here anyway, and he’d done it now.

    The night was still an infant, and William really ought to be out finding fares, but he knew he could stop here for a few minutes. Being Christmas Eve and all, there wasn’t likely to be a rush for cabs in the next ten seconds, and Dispatch knew this as well as he did. Besides, Lenny was the only one who hassled the drivers, and he wasn’t on tonight. He knew Raven and the old man would be suspicious, with him not moving on an’ all, but he’d cross that bridge if he ever came to it.

    Besides, he needed breakfast.

    William’s metabolism was always weird. For as long as he could remember, he couldn’t eat until at least an hour after getting up: if he was tired, his stomach couldn’t keep the food down. No one really knew why, but that’s just how it was. It had its advantages, though: he never took longer than half-an-hour to get ready for work, which meant that he could sleep for longer and eat on the road. Usually, breakfast was two hours into his shift, but seeing as he’d had to give Jordan a lift, it was now three. And he was getting kinda hungry.

    Tonight’s breakfast was a 6” BLT sub, fresh from Clancy’s, a small deli opposite Kaufman Cabs. Unlike most people, he preferred getting his food from cafes and delis, rather than fast food joints: even before Super Size Me, he just didn’t trust those kinds of places. His theory was that you should only work in catering if you enjoyed food, and in McDonalds, even the overweight ones were miserable.

    William popped open the glovebox and pulled out the Clancy’s bag. As he ate hi sub, he couldn’t help but think of Jordan. Breakfast and his daughter weren’t naturally associated, but that wasn’t the point. He wondered how she was getting on at the Cathedral: if his similar experiences were any judge, she was probably somewhere between euphoric and mortally terrified. Still, at least it would be memorable.

    But that wasn’t just what he wondered about. He and his daughter got on very well, that much he knew and was grateful for, but how much did he really know abut her? Were they any activities, passions or addictions that she was keeping secret? Were there any troubles that would rear their heads in later years? A lot of parents had sat in the back of his cab, so he knew he wasn’t alone in these kinds of fears, but his situation was still very particular. With his working hours and everything else, he simply couldn’t spend as much time with Jordan as he needed to. There was only the hour each morning and evening between his work and her school, and most days he’d be lucky if they had that. But he had to pay the bills, so what else could he do?

    He was half-way through his sub when he noticed it. On the back seat, by the passenger-side door, was a mobile phone. It was one of those lozenge-shaped ones, with a flip-up top. A Motorola, from the looks of things. Either way, it was black, and looked expensive. It wasn’t there before he’d picked up Jordan, that much he knew for certain, and he also know that she didn’t have a phone like that. Hers was a Nokia, which he’d bought as a present last Christmas. That could only mean the phone was Raven’s: it must’ve fallen out of her pocket when she left. Privacy or no privacy, she’d want it back.

    With a small sigh, William put the remains of his sub back in the bag, reached over the seat and grabbed the phone. He got out of the cab, shutting the door behind him.

    This was the first time he’d been outside in over two hours, and the fresh air felt good. He was in California, so it was still humid, but then again, he was a native Californian, so he didn’t care. It was just nice to be out of the cab for a few minutes.

    Now he was outside, he had a quick look at the cab. It was amazing just how often he forgot what it looked like whilst he was driving: after fifteen years of using the same vehicle, it perhaps wasn’t surprising. The cab was a Ford Crown Victoria, like most cabs, and was painted in blocks of red and yellow, with the words “Kaufman Cabs” in black down the side. It wasn’t especially pretty, but it was eye-catching, and that was the more important thing in his case. Still, the look of the thing didn’t matter a great deal.

    William walked across the street and up the front steps of the house. He pressed the doorbell, then waited. Ten-fifteen seconds later, nothing had happened, so he rang it again. He didn’t have Raven’s patience when it came to doorbells. He rang it a third time, and a few seconds later, the door opened.

    Surprisingly, it was Raven who was stood on the other side. And she looked none too happy about being interrupted, whatever it was she was doing.

    “What?” she snapped.

    William held up the phone. “You left this in the cab. I though you might want it back.”

    “Thanks.” she said, clearly annoyed at losing it rather than glad to have it back.

    She took the phone out of William’s hand, almost snatching it. “That all?”

    “Yes.”

    Just as Raven started to close the door, William noticed something. Behind the front door, a white-painted reception hall continued for about twenty feet. The door at the end was open, and something was sticking out into the doorway to the left. It looked like a pair of brown shoes, being worn by someone lying down.

    “What’s that?” he asked.

    “What’s what?” Raven replied, a little testily.

    William pointed to the shoes. “That.”

    He wasn’t sure what made him feel so uncharacteristically curious. Perhaps the oddity of it. Perhaps not. Either way, he’d asked the question.

    Either way, the answer caught him by surprise. Raven suddenly grabbed him by the collar, pulling him into the house so fast that he stumbled over the ledge and almost fell over. She hauled him upright, slamming the door so hard that it shook, and with a hand on the back of his jumper, frogmarched him down the hallway. He tried to process a little more information, get some baring on his surroundings or Raven’s actions, but everything just moved too quickly for him to keep up.

    Within seconds, William was at the end of the hallway, and face-to-face with what he’d seen beyond it. The old man was lying face-up on the white carpet, limbs spread out uncomfortably in the manner of someone knocked down. And he was clearly dead, an expression of shock matched by a bullet hole in his forehead and two more in the chest, each gently leaking blood onto his face and shirt.

    Raven held William up by his collar, leaning closer to his ear before speaking.

    “You wanted to know what this was, huh? You were so desperate to know? Well, here it is. This is a dead body. This is the man who you saw greeting me only five minutes ago, and I’ve just killed him, not five seconds before you rang the doorbell. Yes, this is me, Raven, a Teen Titan, and I’ve just shot a man in the chest and head, and I’ve killed him. That’s what I came here to do, and that’s what I’ve just done. Are you happy now, huh?”

    Raven let go of his collar and stepped back a few paces. The doorframe was just to William’s left, so he instinctively grabbed hold of it to stop himself falling over. He’d seen dead bodies before, two of his grandparents and a few crime scenes whilst on the job, but this was a whole new experience for him. This was someone who’d just been shot to death, by a woman he’d been talking to just a few minutes before, and was now in the same room as he was. This was an experience he couldn’t even put words to, let alone emotions.

    And then he heard the click, the sound of Raven cocking a gun behind him. He was a cab driver, so having guns pointed at him wasn’t new either, but it was an experience that never ceased to terrify. Death was a very serious possibility here, and he very seriously did not want to die, especially not like the old man by his feet.

    “What’s your name?” Raven suddenly asked.

    It is often said that, in times of danger, your life flashes before your eyes. But William’s life didn’t flash before his eyes, because he was too frightened to think. Nevertheless, his life depended on providing an answer, so his mouth stammered one out.

    “Uhh…uhh…William…uhh…William…uhh…Miller.”

    “In that case, William Uhh Miller,” Raven said, ”you are going to do exactly as I say. You are not to speak, you are not to raise your hands, you are not to do anything except what I instruct. If you do not do this, I will kill you, and as Mr Owen Milton here would testify if he could, I’m not above doing that. Now, William, turn around.”

    Despite the confusion and fear fogging his brain, William couldn’t help but notice something. Raven’s voice had never moved beyond an icy monotone, and even when first ranting at him, had not raised her voice in any way. But her monotone had so much intensity behind it, a force that could not be measured on any usual scale, that it dug right into the roots of your brain and smacked it about until you started listening. If it wasn’t for the gun and the murder and the death threats, the effect would’ve been mesmerizing.

    Taking care not to raise his hands, William slowly turned round until he was facing Raven. She was stood a few feet into the hall, holding her gun with both hands like a trained soldier. He wasn’t an expert on guns – and even if he was, he couldn’t think anyway – so he couldn’t tell the make, but it was a silver pistol with a silencer.

    Truth be told, William wasn’t sure what he was feeling right now. This was the fourth time he’d been held at gunpoint, so that was hardly new to him, but this situation was so far out his normal experience that he didn’t have a clue how to react. He was confused and terrified, obviously, but he knew that his survival here depended on doing what he was told quickly and quietly, and he also knew that he couldn’t do this if mind-numbing terror kept him glued to the spot. As if to show how hard this would be, even his usually excellent powers of observation had failed him: all he could say was that the hall was white and had a dark wooden table, and the room he was stood at the entrance of was a study decorated like same. He couldn’t even say where other doors were. The only things in the universe right now were the dead body behind him, and the supposed superhero with a gun in front.

    Still, at least he hadn’t thrown up yet. Despite his odd metabolism, he had a strong stomach.

    “Well done, William.” Raven said. “I know you must be scared, but you have to get over that and carry on co-operating, or else things will get even more complicated than they already are.

    “Now, I shall be honest with you. I have four more places I need to visit tonight, and so there are four more people who will die. I was expecting to just carry on getting cabs around the city, and no one would be any the wiser about what I was doing, but your nosiness has just put a nice little kibosh on that. So, we’re now into Plan B.

    “William, go outside and get in your cab. We have a lot of work ahead of us.”
     
  6. Atoragon

    Atoragon *random sound effects*

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    Cool.:D this is really interesting, but just one thing is bothering me. Raven doesnt seem like the kind to use a gun, let alone be expertly trained with it. But you are the author, and I am now shutting up.
     
  7. TeenTitansGO!

    TeenTitansGO! expremental Upnnas

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    Well, I don't know if my criticism here is about you or the writer of Collateral's screenplay. This twist was...expected? Not so much expected as standard. I'm way way sorry if that offends you or ticks you off, it's just that my thought are "huh..." rather than "HOLY CRAP!". Like I said, this might be critiquing the screenplay rather than your work.

    Very well written however, but I'm missing some of that poetic sense from the Dwr Budr series. I guess, though, that this story doesn't really qualify for that.

    I've also a feeling that Will's daughter has a bit more to do with this story than we think. If I'm wrong, then she will, at the end, simply be the producer of a scene of relief that you have in these type of tales.

    TTG~Matt H. trying to avoid watching collateral
     
  8. Matt A

    Matt A Smile. Or Else.

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    Thankyou.:D It's always nice to grab people's interest...and, more to the point, this story interests me as much as anyone else. Frankly, I wouldn't write it if it didn't.;):D

    No, that's cool. It's a good point. And, truth be told, it's something that's already occurred to me. However, seeing as the answer is fairly simple, and I'll be providing it later on in the story anyway, I won't say anything here. Try to bear with me on that one.:sweat:

    Why would it offend me? I like honesty from people, and besides, you're right.

    For what it's worth, Raven going around Jump City killing people is what this story is about. Even if you hadn't seen Collateral before (which you haven't), I was at least expecting you to have read the Wikipedia and/or IMDB entries I provided: either way, you'd come into this story knowing what the "twist" would be, and what kinds of things would follow it. You have to bear in mind that this story is, in its own way, a remake.

    And besides, the "twist" has been referred to, both subtly and directly, throughout most of the feedback thus far. Bear that in mind too.;)

    So, either way, I'm not surprised that you weren't...well, suprised. The important thing, of course, is that the plot twists that are supposed to be plot twists - which will not be discussed now - do take you unawares. With luck.:sweat:

    Again, that's the point exactly. I'm aiming for "diverting thriller" with this story, much like the film that inspired it, rather than any kind of heart-stopping genius. But I like diverting thrillers, so that's fine with me.:)

    To put it simply, both alternatives are wrong. Once you figure out why they're wrong, then you'll be at the correct answer.;)

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

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    Nice reference to Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, mate.;) :anime:

    Now, that was a neat chapter, especially since the story is picking up.:D Raven follows Vincent's character pretty much to the letter.;) And despite the fact that the chapter moved along primarily through talk of breakfast, food, and metabolism, I enjoyed the pace. Nothing was really rushed, and even if it was (in some people's opinion), it only added to the hectic schedule of a cab driver. If someone leaves a phone in the cab, the driver better return it... fast.:eek: Of course, now William walked into a situation where he might regret getting up this morning, but that, of course, is what motivates the rest of the night.;)

    Probably the biggest thing I'm curious about is why a Teen Titan is knocking off powerless people, but I'm sure you'll explain that in due time, so all I must do is wait. I can do that.

    ...are we there yet?
     
  10. Pun-3x

    Pun-3x Member

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    Well, it's started. :D

    I guess I'm curious as to what we're going to see from Raven besides Gun-toting. Anything too outlandish (standard Raven anyway) may not work in the story, though I suppose it depends on the approach. The other question is if she won't be making use of her standard abilities, what would be the reason? (besides stealth...though I guess that'd be a decent reason)

    Well, questions will be answered, one way or another. ;)
     
  11. DeathscytheVII

    DeathscytheVII Farewell, Daughter of Trigon

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    Interesting matt, when you said this was going to be 'collateral-like' i didnt expect it to be sticking right to the story. The moment didn't surprise me, but I'm still curious where you're gonna take this. I mean, if you're following it completely, then raven is a paid assassin? Hmm, im wondering if it will be any different. And just who was that man...could it be another character on the show? or a completely new guy? hmm....well ill see where this goes. Still great writing, even with the not-so-shocking revelation. The atmosphere is top notch, and i love the GTA reference, really puts ya in the mood for a killing spree anyway haha.

    Although we never see Raven use a gun, and it doesn't fit her. When you're a super powered former-hero going on a killing spree, you might as well use it to cover your tracks.
     
  12. Matt A

    Matt A Smile. Or Else.

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    Indeed it has. The introductory gubbins are over, and this is where things start getting crazy. At least, the will if I get them right.:sweat:

    Truth be told, I don't like Vice City very much, or indeed any of the GTA games. I just wanted the name of the cab company to be a reference, and this was the first thing that sprung to mind.:shrug:

    You know, this is an interesting one. The next chapter, when I get around to writing it, will answer most of your questions, so I'm not sure what ought be said here. Still, there is one thing I know I can say: Raven and Vincent are very similar, except for one crucial aspect. This aspect is something I've already hinted at twice.;)

    The slow opener was fairly deliberate. Because of the nature of such things, the reveal of Raven's "mission" needed to be quick and chaotic, and despite its importance, it wouldn't stretch to a whole chapter. There also needed to be a few minutes between Raven entering the house and William finding the phone, so this wait seemed like the perfect thing to use as filler. Specifically, William having breakfast was just to give him something to do whilst waiting, and the discussion of his metabolism was just an ad-hoc way of explaining why he wasn't eating until several hours into his shift.

    Yes, I am that pedantic. I even spent about half an hour deciding what flavour sandwich he should have. I eventually gave him the BLT because, like William, it isn't particularly original or outlandish, yet there's a lot more to it than you think.;)

    If you leave your phone in a cab, it usually stays there.:p But that's not my point: the phone was simply a way to get William into the house, and thus to discover Owen Milton's body. The irony is, of course, that if William hadn't been so polite and immediately returned it, then he wouldn't be in the situation he is now.:evil:

    You know, I'm amazed how many people have mentioned this. I didn't even think about it...:eek::sweat:

    Still, though I said before that I wouldn't give an answer until later, I suppose I can say something here. Simply put, you've both got it absolutely right.;)

    Yes, he's a new character. And you won't be finding out who he is until much later on.;)

    Thankyou. Though I said I wasn't going for a poetic masterpiece here, it's still good to know I can create something with an "air" to it.:D

    Indeed they will. And most of them won't be for a while, so you'll just have to put up with it. In particular, Raven's motivation is something I intend to leave a little ambiguous, at least until near the end: it should be interesting to see how that one pans out.:D

    -Matt A-
     
  13. Matt A

    Matt A Smile. Or Else.

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    Right then. Here I am, back with a new chapter. Sorry for taking so long over it: I'm back at university now, and the last four weeks have been pretty much non-stop work. Still, I eventually managed to find a gap in my schedule, and here's the result.:D

    There's not a lot to say for this one. I've only just realised that a good two-thirds of the stuff I meant to include...well, I kinda totally forgot about, so what is here doesn't really amount to as much as it should. Still, all the other stuff can be mentioned at a later date, so that's fine. And on the plus side, this chapter is nice and short, and was pretty easy for me to write. Which is good.:D

    So, that's all for me for introductory stuff. Let's get to the main event...


    Chapter Four.
    December 24th. 10:49pm.

    It was another minute or so before Raven left the house. William hadn’t even considered just driving off and leaving her there, partly because she was a Teen Titan and would thus have the resources to track him, but mostly because his predicament was so huge that such an obvious solution simply hadn’t presented itself.

    Raven locked the front door behind her, walked across the street and got in the back of the cab. She put her briefcase in the footwell behind William’s seat, and her right hand, still holding the gun, was rested on her leg. The intent here was obvious: to let him know that, if he made it necessary, she could kill him within a second.

    “Abbey Park Police Department.” she said. “How long do you think it’ll take?”

    Luckily for William, he could do these kinds of calculations in his sleep. His current mental condition wasn’t far off that anyway. The route would be simple: take the second right onto Arlington Road, head down that until he reached the Asylum nightclub on Spartan Drive, then go right again for three blocks.

    “Seventeen, eighteen minutes.” he said after a few seconds.

    “Good. Start moving.”

    William turned the ignition, the car kicking into life on the first go, and started driving.

    He forced himself to start thinking clearer, if only so that he focus on the road. Raven had already told him, if not directly, why he was now going to Abbey Park, and he couldn’t say he liked the thought. Everyone knew that cops took it personally when one of their own was killed, and though he didn’t want to be an accessory to that, or even to any murder, he had to accept he wasn’t the one holding the gun. Again, he wasn’t a stranger to having firearms in his face, but this situation here was so extraordinary, so far outside anything he’d ever even prepared for, that the only response he could conceive of was to just keep driving.

    The big puzzler, of course, was why Raven, a Teen Titan, was the one directing this insane enterprise. But he wouldn’t ask, if her only because her response might be to blow his brains out.

    He turned onto Arlington Road. The Asylum was deep in the heart of Abbey Park, so this one stretch would take up a good 80% of the trip. Their car was one of only half-a-dozen that he could see, which would further help make this easier.

    The next few minutes were spent in silence. Raven was lost in her own thoughts, whatever they were, and William didn’t feel up to coaxing them out of her.

    He’d always been good at ordering his thoughts. His job, despite the many people he met each day, was a fairly solitary one, and taking long drives by himself was the perfect environment for analysing his own brain. So, despite everything, he knew full well what he was thinking right now.

    Was he scared? Absolutely. In this kind of situation, only an idiot wouldn’t be. His comfort zone was fairly narrow even at the best of times, he and everyone who knew him could tell you that, and in this situation, here and now, he was so far beyond it that he couldn’t even see the borderland any more. But as he’d already noted, he was hostage to someone who could kill him in a hundred different ways, all in the blink of an eye, and wouldn’t even hesitate to do so. He didn’t have the luxury of choice here.

    Actually, the thing that scared him most was Jordan. He knew a few people who’d grown up without a father, and it didn’t seem fun at all. He didn’t want her to go through that too, and God forbid she’d have to hear that bit of news on Christmas Day. It was a very real possibility that, even if he didn’t screw this up, he’d never see his daughter again, and visa versa. That thought, if anything, was what kept his brain under control and his body at the wheel.

    “When someone has a gun pointed at them, you can guarantee they’ll have one of two reactions.”

    Raven’s voice, spoken without provocation, startled him a little.

    “They’ll either panic,” she continued, “scream, cry, beg for mercy, all that stuff, or they’ll go numb, go silent and follow your every word like an automaton. Of course, there’s the tiny minority that go crazy and try to fight back instead, but they usually just wind up dead fairly quickly.

    “I can see you’re firmly in the second camp. Which is good, because I really can’t deal with people when they get hysterical. I imagine I’d just have to kill you if you did that, and I’m only getting paid for the other four on my list.”

    William didn’t say anything. There wasn’t anything to say, and even if there was, he couldn’t quite get his tongue to form the words.

    “My point has been proven.” Raven said after a few seconds, as if his silence was a response by itself.

    The cab went silent again.

    They passed under a wide bridge, Highway 88 to be precise. It was one of three that trisected the city, linking all the different parts of it with each other and the outside world. The bridge was also a partition round these parts: they were still in Finchley Village, but at this point, it turned from the smartness of Alighieri and Gravesend to something altogether different. Abbey Park, Turnmills and The Barn, though on the outskirts of Jump City, were a black hole of poverty, crime and most other social ills, and their influence spread out beyond their own borders. Jackson Harbour, though still with the redbrick terraces of Alighieri, was dirty and run-down, the streets littered and ill-serviced: not gangland, not by any means, but still represented something of a glass ceiling for its inhabitants.

    “I can understand the problem you have.” Raven eventually said. “I mean, it must be rough for you, being held hostage by a woman. All that machismo, all that phallicism, a whole lifetime of being the unquestioned top of the pile…and now, it counts for nothing, just because of one little gun. I imagine it’s a bit of a shock, the situation being so suddenly reversed.”

    William could tell that, this time, a response was required. He knew he could make the words this time, but he wasn’t sure what to say.

    “Well…you’re also white.” he said after a few seconds, though he wasn’t sure why. “So this isn’t a reversal.”

    Raven rolled her eyes, almost theatrically so. “Please tell me you aren’t one of those guys who keeps on playing the race card.”

    “You just tried to play the gender card.”

    “That’s not the same thing at all. The differences between men and women are more than just skin deep. There’s a genuine power imbalance there.”

    Despite the passion in her words, Raven didn’t move beyond a monotone. This only made it even more alarming when, a few seconds later, she grinned. To William, it felt entirely wrong, like the grin on a crazy person just before they haul off and beat you to death.

    “Ahh, I’m just messing with you.” she said. “Thought I’d see if there was still a brain ticking away inside that head of yours. I don’t want to shock you into complete inaction.”

    Which seemed fair enough. He wouldn’t be much use to her as a zombie. Still, he decided to not respond.

    “At least, that was the theory…” Raven mumbled to herself.

    “I wouldn’t really say I’m a feminist.” she continued. “For one thing, I’ve always got on better with guys than I have with girls. I’m not sure what that would make me instead, but never mind. I don’t know, really…a lot of men are pigs, let’s just be honest, but saying they’re all bad? Seems a little like hating coffee because you had one bad mug.”

    The road started curving to the right. They were now finally in Abbey Park, home of the Grove Street Gang and the Acuna Boys. The names were ridiculous, but their daily attempts to murder each other and everyone in the way sure weren’t. Anyone who ever talked about “brotherly solidarity” obviously hadn’t spent a night here.

    One thing that confused William was that, for someone he and everyone in the city knew to be a recluse, Raven was suddenly talking a hell of a lot. Then again, considering what his night had suddenly turned into, this was the simplest of the mysteries in his way.

    “It’s not far now.” he said. “Three-four minutes.”

    “Good. It’s nice to keep on schedule.”

    Silence again.

    William knew he’d been a bit hard on Abbey Park. Okay, so it was filthy and crumbling and tearing itself apart with stupid gang wars, but the place had a soul and spirit that was almost palpable. The citizens of, say, Slough or North Beach probably didn’t even know who their neighbour was, much less care about their safety as much as your own. Maybe that was because, round here, you’d probably die if you didn’t, but that was only half the point. The value of a community life shouldn’t be ignored.

    The Asylum was just up ahead, on the corner of Arlington and Spartan. It was situated in a small warehouse, just one of several dozen on this and the surrounding blocks. The large neon sign on its front was the only illumination near here, the streetlamps having burnt out decades ago, its multi-coloured glow making the many puddles shine like oil slicks. Even on Christmas Eve, the most overground of underground nightclubs, the only reason outsiders ever came to this part of town, had a queue outside of at least thirty.

    William slowed down, flicking the indicator before he made the right turn onto Spartan. The police station was visible now, a blue sign hanging from the front of a squat brick building. There were three warehouses between them, each one large and derelict.

    This was it.

    “Turn left into the alley.” Raven suddenly said. “I’ll walk the rest of the way.”
     
  14. Oh look I'm...

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    I find it doubly amazing that those two can have such a, for lack of a better term, casual conversation, given the circumstances. I'm also surprised that William didn't outright refuse to talk to her, purely on principle, "You just killed a bloke. I have nothing to say to you, murderer." Which brings up a very interesting point.

    I have a strong feeling that what's ever motivation Raven has to knock off people left and right is probably fueled by, in some way, that the ends justify the means. I'll wager that the bloke--Owen Milton was his name, I think:sweat:--was not entirely innocent and probably, on some level, got what was coming to him, as we all will eventually. Perhaps he simply looked at her the wrong way.:p So, which basically means, that William better tread lightly when snapping at Raven and making feminist accusations. Of course Raven will no doubtedly understand why he's saying those things, which is probably the one difference that'll end up saving him versus someone, say, like Owen Milton.;)

    Sidenote-wise, Raven's little schpeal about the reactions of people when faced with a gun's barrel reminded me of the last scene of Pulp Fiction, mainly Jules attitude "Sorry to rain on your ego, but this isn't the first time I've had a gun pointed in my face" (which is something that I don't think Raven altogether considered). Sure, he might've done what the British robber was saying, but I think his level of calm was significantly different from the way William responded. Just a thought.;)

    Anyhooz, I'm thoroughly enjoying where this story's going, as you can no doubt guess.:D
     
  15. TeenTitansGO!

    TeenTitansGO! expremental Upnnas

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    This was definitely a chapter to enjoy. When William delves into his own thoughts, I start seeing bits of myself. He's quite an introspective person, as, I would assume, most taxi drivers would be, and if I were writing him, he'd be just as thoughtful in regards to himself as he is now, if not more.

    His situation definitely amps things up a bit. It definitely adds to the confusion/thoughts that are always going through his head. I have to admit, I don't know how I'd handle his situation, but I sure do like his/your approach. This reminds me of your latest post on your blog. Mind you, I never finished it, but you wrote with the same...aura.

    This could almost be noire. I could definitely see that.
     
  16. Atoragon

    Atoragon *random sound effects*

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    I'd say that this chapter was definately worth the wait you put us through. Pretty much all my other comments wer covered by Jack and TTGo.
     
  17. Matt A

    Matt A Smile. Or Else.

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    You know, I never thought of that. Having William use the Silent Treatment would've been an interesting spin on things. Then again, I don't think that would've worked out in his favour, and William strikes me as having more common sense than that. Still, wish I'd thought of it.:sad:

    You've actually managed to touch on quite a key plot point, so all I'll say here is...

    ...Yes and no.;)

    True, true.

    On the other hand, it was Raven who started the race/gender skit. And as she stated fairly outright, she just wanted to get William thinking, so a snappish response was probably acceptable to her. Still, as you said, that might not be the same way next time.;)

    That was another thing I didn't think of. I suppose you could lump it in with "people who try and fight back and most likely die", but then again, it's also something kinda different. Either way, I just didn't think of it.:sweat:

    Well, I'll take that as a compliment.:D

    As the story has already established, William is a fairly introspective person, or at least a person who has lots of time to think. So his self-digging kinda works, as you said.:) But there was also another thing at work here, which I tried to be more subtle with (this point will apply equally well with the very first point in this post, but I'm saying it here). Basically, William acts as calm as he does, not just because he's a calm guy, but because he's in shock: he thinks he's acting rationally, but actually, what he saw in the Milton house, and what he's going through now, have brought on a state of emotional numbness that he mistakes for reason. Like Raven said, he's the kind of person who doesn't panic in these situations, but only because his response is to just shut down.

    Why I mentioned this now, I don't know. I suppose I should've just let you all figure this out for yourselves. Oh well.

    I have to admit, it took me a few seconds to figure out what story you were referring to. Shows how long it's been since I've had anything to do with my blog.:sad: Still, I get your point: "Man On The Street" does have that kind of sombre, reflective atmosphere, yet still with some kind of charge to it. Well, that's my assessment, at any rate.:shrug:

    Either way, I'm glad you liked my approach to the situation. Despite all my deeper comments above, I only really did it this way because I didn't know how to write William freaking out, at least in a way that would make it seem realistic. After all, this isn't the kind of situation I face every day.;)

    I'm kinda into my noir myself, so thankyou. I've always wanted to write something in that vein.:D

    As the people who stuck around for STT3 last year can tell you, four-week waits are kinda typical for me as of late. Especially now I have so much university work to deal with. I don't like it either, but there's only so much I can do.:sad:

    -Matt A-
     
  18. TeenTitansGO!

    TeenTitansGO! expremental Upnnas

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    I know exactly how it feels to not be able to get out a chapter.;)

    So I can deal with it.
     
  19. Pun-3x

    Pun-3x Member

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    Well, a lot of people here have already touched on some of the points I was going to make. I totally agree with Jack's point about that group of people who are used to the gun in the face. I guess it could be lumped into the category of people who do what they're told as WELL as the ones that try and fight back--the difference is that they aren't stunned into shock. Their cool still exists.

    Still, I'll go ahead and say I liked the little dialogue they had about role reversals and if there truly were any. Just the fact that He's still fighting back on the verbal level shows he isn't all 'smile and nod,' which is another thing I like about this character. It's also a sign of the kind of fight he might be building up as the night goes on. (becoming the minority that fight back) And that is probably going to be needed.
     
  20. Oh look I'm...

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    So, that's a yes to the "they got what was coming to them, as we all will eventually" but a no to the "he simply looked at her the wrong way"?:sweat: ;)
     

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