Teen Titans Fan Fiction ❯ The Real World: Titans Tower ❯ Titans East ( Chapter 10 )
[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
OOC: Sorry for the wait guys—this'd probably been up a week earlier if family hadn't come and demanded all of everybody's time. I hope to have the next chapter up in a timely manner, but no guarantees—just bought Super Smash Brothers Brawl, after all ;) I hope you enjoy, and please, leave me a comment and let me know what you think! Thanks!
DISCLAIMER: The New Teen Titans were created by Marv Wolfman and George Perez, and owned by DC Comics. It is with great respect for them that I use their characters, but I am making no money off of them. Sadly.
“All Star Teen Titans”
“The Real World: Titans Tower”
Chapter 10: Titans East
Robin—Dick Grayson: Arrogant former circus star, acrobat extraordinaire and hopeful ladies man.
Wonder Girl—Donna Troy: Adopted sister of Wonder Woman, bestowed with the powers of the Amazons.
Speed—Wally West: A bitter, living embodiment of the mythical Speed Force.
Cyborg—Victor Stone: Half flesh, half machine—all human.
Beast Boy—Garfield Logan: Goofy, insecure animal shapeshifter and former member of the Doom Patrol.
Raven: Cynical empath shrouded in mystery.
Starfire—Princess Koriand'r: Honest, caring newcomer to Earth capable of flight and generating energy blasts.
This is the true story of seven teenaged superheroes, picked to live in a house, fight crime together and have their lives taped, to find out what happens when heroes stop being polite, and start being real. The Real World: Titans Tower.
***ON THE AIR—CARDY CAFÉ, SAN FRANSCISCO, CALIFORNIA, USA***
An umbrella cast shade that protected Terry Long from the vicious California sun as he pondered his upcoming date. After all, he only had one chance to make this perfect—he couldn't screw up!
He'd been slouching, his head resting in his hands, his arms propping both up as they leaned against the table, one of about eight lining the outside of the quaint, retro-style café. Now, however, he straightened his back as he examined his wardrobe once again, making sure every last fiber was perfectly aligned. After all, nothing was too good for Wonder Girl. She was a superhero, her boyfriend was a superhero—he was a gofer! He'd worked hard for this opportunity to impress her, and he couldn't mess it up now!
Suddenly the prepped redhead's attention was caught by his date—Donna Troy was standing just across the table, decked out in a glamorous outfit that, she hoped, would still be stunning without sending her forced date any wrong messages. Though her long sleeves nearly obscured them, her unbreakable Amazonian bracelets could just barely be seen beneath her clothes.
Wonder Girl: “The costume's one thing, but I never leave behind my lasso or my bracelets. They're just too essential!”
“Donna!” exclaimed Terry, nearly collapsing from his chair as he tried to rush to her side. After stumbling once or twice in his enthusiasm, he finally dashed behind the Teen Titan and pulled out her chair. Smiling, the girl wonder nodded her thanks and sat down.
Wonder Girl: “Not bad—maybe this won't be such an ordeal after all. He definitely could use some work on his poise, but at least he's trying to be a gentleman. Of course, I don't really believe that women are so delicate that we need all this special treatment, but it's nice to see that Terry has some manners.”
“It's really good to see you!” Terry continued as he plopped back into his chair. “What do you think of this place? It's got a real retro theme, like, late sixties sorta stuff, real wholesome and everything. I like stuff like that—the past just seems like it was more peaceful, which I guess is why I like history so much. Then again, I suppose that all the problems today, they're good for no other reason than they gave us superheroes like you.” Donna covered her mouth with one hand as she chuckled.
Wonder Girl: “He's sweeter than he came off at first. Still trying too hard, but sweeter. Actually, I'm not used to this. Kyle never came on to me—he flirted, of course, but I pursued him. I suppose it does come off as annoying and stalker-ish…but at the same time it's very flattering. Much moreso than Dick's admiration of me.”
“Anybody ever tell you you talk to much?” asked Wonder Girl as Terry blushed. “Anyway, if I remember your question correctly after all of that, I think this place is okay, but nostalgia isn't really my thing. I've barely lived in Man's World for two years yet, even.”
“Oh yeah, that's right,” remembered the gofer as he scratched his head. “Y'know, I've always been curious—what's Themyscara like?”
Wonder Girl: “Hera, he wants to know about Themyscara? Kyle never really asked me questions about my life before I became Wonder Girl. He was the first guy I ever met, and most of what I've learned about Man's World I learned from him. I guess he loved the attention I gave him so much he never really cared about learning about my world. I've got to get on him about that when he gets back…”
And with that statement, the flood gates opened. Terry Long was a history major—Donna Troy was raised on an island of living history. An hour passed like an instant, and their food came and went, neither paying much attention. Unfortunately, their bliss was abruptly interrupted by the sounding of the Titan alarm.
Pulling out her communicator, Donna sighed. “Well, looks like I'm needed back at the tower.” Standing up, she looked to the sky for a second, about to take off, before pausing and looking back towards Terry. “Guess you'll see what this is all about whenever they edit the episode.”
“Yeah,” sighed Terry as he slumped slightly. He was pitiful.
Wonder Girl: “Despite what I thought when I came here today, I actually had a really good time. Kyle may have charisma, but Terry's just…charming. I really can't believe I'm thinking this, but…”
“So, how about Saturday?” asked the Titan. Terry did a double take. “Same time, same place? I've barely even gotten started on the Titans of Myth…”
The heart of Terry Long nearly exploded from his chest. “You bet!”
Wonder Girl: “Terry's a nice guy, and I hope I didn't give him the wrong signals, but I can see him being a good friend. Kyle will probably be pretty upset, but oh well. That's what he gets for leaving so often!”
***OFF THE AIR—LOREN JUPITER'S OFFICE***
“You called?” The door to the office of Mr. Loren Jupiter—the mastermind behind `The Real World: Titans Tower'—opened inward as his secretary, the stunning Ms. Lilith Clay, entered. “What do you need?”
“Come here, Ms. Clay,” beckoned her boss, hunched over his desk as he furiously scribbled on and shuffled through a massive stack of papers. As she moved closer and took a look at his work, he continued. “Blackfire's arrival was a huge stroke of luck for us, but I doubt we're going to get that lucky again. So, I've been looking for a new enemy for my Titans to fight.
“I can't just go with another mercenary—after Cyborg pointed it out to the Martian Manhunter, I'd be a fool to push that line any further. So instead, I've decided that our Titans are going to be a little more…proactive.”
Smiling, Jupiter looked up and adjusted his coke-rimmed glasses as he handed his secretary some paperwork. “So, what do you think?”
The papers were profiles on the next enemies Jupiter had lined up for his team, and the more Lilith looked through them, the more worried she got. “But,” she stammered, “But, these are the guys who killed—”
“I know,” smiled Mr. Jupiter smugly. “Things always get more interesting when the villains have that…personal touch.”
That didn't comfort Ms. Clay, and as she looked over the abilities of the chosen villains, her heart sank into her chest. “These guys are powerful, and experienced!” she exclaimed. “Do you think the Teen Titans can defeat them?!”
“I certainly hope so, but,” Jupiter paused as he grabbed a newspaper clipping and tossed it atop Lilith's already large stack of papers, “Just in case they can't, they won't be going alone.”
The black-and-white photograph that accompanied the clipping showed seven teenagers in costumes—that weren't the Teen Titans they worked with—smiling proudly with several police officers. “'New team in town calls itself Titans East.'” Lilith raised an eyebrow. “Waitaminute, when did we create a Titans East?!”
“We didn't,” chuckled Loren Jupiter. “Do you remember the girl Deathstroke took hostage when he fought our Titans?”
“Kinda,” replied Lilith with a slight shrug. “She and Robin kissed, didn't they?”
“Indeed. Well, her name is Bette Kane, and apparently she's both rich and spoiled. Her attraction to Robin seems to have boiled into an obsession, and in order to see him again she's gathered together a team of D-List heroes to attract our attention. Well, she can consider her mission complete!”
With a sigh Lilith ventured, “Let me guess. We're going to invite them along on the mission out of our oh so limitless charity?”
“Again, right on the ball,” replied Jupiter, too pleased with his own plans to even acknowledge his secretary's sarcasm. “Not only will we look good for helping the team reach its dream of meeting the real Titans, but their unprofessionalism will help our Titans look even more impressive!”
Always the worried voice of reason, Ms. Clay asked, “But are they even up to it? They could get killed, or endanger the Titans instead of help them!”
“Don't worry, I've got everything under control,” assured Mr. Jupiter as he grabbed his phone. “You didn't think I was going to test them first? I've just got to call up Belle Reeve and find the perfect opponent for them…” However, as he thought of the abilities possessed by Titans East, he decided his choice in prisons could use a little changing. “No, actually I think I'd be better off contacting Iron Heights...”
“You know, I'm sure there's enough crime to fight in New York without you creating more,” pointed out Lilith.
“True,” admitted Jupiter, “But without knowing when they'll happen ahead of time, they're useless to me—how can I film them?” Finally finding the number he needed, the shady director ran his fingers across his old-fashioned, rotary dial phone. “World, prepare to meet Teen Titans East!”
***ON THE AIR—FIRST NATIONAL BANK, NEW YORK CITY***
The all too familiar sound of gunshots echoed through the New York air as about a dozen robbers, their faces hidden under black masks, spilled out of the doors of the First National Bank, their hands full of sacks of money and, of course, their guns.
“C'mon yous guys!” exclaimed one of the goons as he waved the group towards a beat-up car parked across the street, no doubt their getaway vehicle. His command wasn't really needed, as the robbers were already en route to their one hope of a speedy escape, but those hopes were quickly dashed as a beam of bright red intercepted their path and hit the car in its gas tank.
The vehicle instantly exploded, scattering the criminals. As they climbed to their feet, muttering and readying their weapons, a young girl leapt into the middle of the group.
“Hey guys!” she exclaimed, her smile full and bright. She had shoulder-length blonde hair which stuck out of the top and back of her red cowl with golden goggles. She wore red tights—the tops of her gloves and boots had fringes shaped like yellow flames, and a golden `v' crossed her chest and latched onto her cape, which split down the middle, flaring to the sides like two flaming wings. “Need a light?”
Suddenly a blinding flash of light burst from a device in her goggles, sending her opponents staggering, rubbing their tearing eyes madly. “Oops, guess that was a little too sunny for ya', wasn't it!” exclaimed the girl—the same Bette Kane Mr. Jupiter had spoken of—as she leapt and whirled into a roundhouse kick that downed a thug.
“Yeah,” grunted a second figure, “Sunny describes you perfectly, Flamebird.” This figure was a young man with a thin-yet-muscular frame and a head full of fire-red hair. Instead of tights he wore crimson and black body armor, and instead of a mask, a pair of sunglasses rested across his nose. About eight different holsters, housing a variety of guns and weapons, were strapped across his body, and a steel-colored utility belt across his waist. In his hand he held a smoking, futuristic gun—the same one that torched the getaway car—which was attached to the back of his belt by a long cord. A metal rod—which no doubt unfolded into yet another weapon—ran up each of his forearms, and a red quiver full of red arrows was on his back—likely meant to be used with the longbow hung over his shoulder.
“Hey, I gotta be me, Arsenal,” laughed Flamebird as she leapt over gunfire. While in mid-air she dropped a tiny device that had a little plastic Flamebird figurine standing on a base—the imitation Titan started spinning as gas sprayed from its sides, and several thugs passed out from the fumes. However, there were still plenty more. “A little help here?”
“Yeah yeah, hold your horses,” grunted Arsenal—a.k.a. Agent Roy Harper of the government agency Checkmate—as he dropped his bow into his grip and pulled three arrows from his quiver. The talented marksman fired all of them at once, and as would be expected from the former sidekick of Green Arrow, all three hit their mark head on.
The first, a normal, pointed arrow, sliced through one of the guns. The head of the second burst open as it grew close, releasing a bolo that ensnared two of the muggers. The third hit the ground in the center of the crowd, exploding and sending his opponents flying.
“Great aim!” exclaimed Bette as she jumped onto one of the robbers shoulders, pushing his face into the ground.
“Of course,” smiled Roy arrogantly as he picked off the last of the thieves. He approached his teammate as she admired their work. “So, where's the rest of your great team?”
Bette Kane didn't appreciate his sarcasm. “They said they were on their way!” As she mulled it over, however, she started to frown. “Of course, this has happened every time I've called us for a mission, though.”
“With the powers our guys have we should never be late—or separated,” Arsenal stated as he crossed his arms. “And do you really think you're going to attract the attention of the Teen Titans just by stopping little crimes like this?”
“Well there haven't been any big crimes to stop!” whined Flamebird. “And I haven't seen you helping us find any with your fancy government contacts either!”
Roy sighed. “That's cause I'm not here for the glory like the rest of you,” he grunted. “You know as well as I do that I'm only here because Checkmate didn't want a group of superpowered kids runnin' round New York unsupervised! Believe me, I'd rather be on a mission, or working at the drug centers, not babysitting you!”
“Yo! `Nuff bickerin'!” Both Titan East-ers looked up to see at least 24 more thieves lined up in two rows, each aiming machine guns straight towards their faces.
Flamebird's eyes nearly bugged from her head. “Elaborate robbery,” she marveled before turning towards Arsenal. “Well, s'been nice knowing ya.”
“I guess,” replied Roy, not all that happy as he faced certain death. “Would've been better if you had the brains to match that awesome body of yours though—dying banter woulda been better.”
Suddenly, the sound of thunderclaps roared from a distance, and a blur of red and white zoomed past. The new thieves found themselves all disarmed!
“All right!” exclaimed the voice of a young boy. “That's, like, +5 disarm skills!” Standing at the end of the line of criminals was another member of Titans East, both his arms full of their weaponry! As he dropped them, it could be seen he was wearing white tights with red boots and gloves, and a red lightning bolt down the middle. His feet were about three sizes too large in proportion to his small, scrawny body—as was his shaggy, wild brown hair, which stuck out of a red cowl with gold goggles and wingtips on the side.
He was Impulse, a hyperactive super-speedster from the future. From birth his speed wracked chaos on his metabolism, aging him prematurely—at age two, his body had aged twelve years! He was thus raised in virtual reality, so that his mind would keep pace with his body, but it wasn't a cure. Eventually he was sent to the past, where Impulse's grandfather—Barry Allen, the Flash—used his knowledge of his powers to finally reverse his grandson's condition.
Of course, due to his ties with the Flash, none of his Titans East teammates knew he was Barry's grandson, or that his secret identity was Bart Allen. Considering the rest of the team enjoyed a public identity, this might've been a problem—to anybody but Impulse. He'd spent the majority of his life in VR, and…well…he hadn't quite figured out that the real world wasn't a video game yet.
“That should be worth at least an extra life!” smiled Bart as the thugs stared at him blankly. Roy smacked himself in the face.
“Impulse, how many times do I have to tell you that there are no extra lives in the real world?!” Bart just shrugged in response.
Suddenly Flambird's hand was on the tiny speedster's shoulder. “Oh, don't listen to him—great rescue!” Suddenly the heiress smacked Arsenal, knocking the marksman to the ground. “But if you have any of those extra lives on ya', he's gonna need one after that comment he made about me!”
“Heh,” chuckled Arsenal as he pulled himself to his feet. “Y'know me, Bette—always shooting my mouth off!”
As the Titans bickered, however, the disarmed thieves slowly inched towards the weapons Impulse had stolen from them—which was a smart, if useless, idea. Before they could even get close light burst to life beneath the pile of machine guns, a circle shaped rift appearing, and the weapons fell into the portal before it sealed itself off.
If that didn't catch the attention of Titans East, what came next certainly would—one of the thugs screamed and crumpled, and the one behind him fell as his head snapped backwards, as if he'd been hit by an uppercut—yet there was nothing attacking them!
The robbers all turned to run, but one was stopped in his tracks by a jagged beam of yellow that appeared from nowhere, knocking him unconscious as smoke poured off his body.
“Bumblebee!” exclaimed Flamebird joyously. A bug-sized speck started to grow, revealing itself to be a teenaged girl, African American, dressed in a full body suit of yellow and black stripes, like a bumblebee! A hood of the same colors covered her head, and her goggles had compound eyes, like a bug—she also sported gossamer wings.
“You got it,” smiled Bumblebee. Meanwhile, several of the thugs she'd spooked seemed to vanish, falling into the same sort of fluorescent wormholes that had swallowed up their weaponry. New wormholes opened about twelve feet off the ground, and those same crooks fell out of them, landing on the ground with a thud—it was just enough distance to knock them unconscious without killing them.
“And, as always, Herald's got her back.” Emerging from an alley behind the rapidly growing team was another black teen, clad in a blue cloak and hood. The hood's shadows proved an effective enough mask, and in his hands he held a futuristic looking trumpet.
A smile filled Bumblebee's face as she fluttered to his side, wrapping her arms around his shoulders. “You always do, Mal.”
“Damn straight I do.”
Malcolm Duncan—the Herald—and Karen Beecher—Bumblebee—grew up across the street from each other. They always loved each other, but life pulled them in different directions. Karen, a prodigy, graduated college at the age of 15 and got a job at STAR Labs, while Mal—falling into depression without Karen—eventually dropped out of school and joined a gang.
Eventually Karen tracked down her childhood love, who without hesitation took up her invitation to move in with her. There was only one problem—Mal's gang wasn't going to let him go without a fight! So, combining her newest cybernetic inventions with her love of the insect world, Karen created the Bumblebee suit and quickly showed them that Malcolm Duncan wasn't their property anymore!
Soon the two lovebirds saw Bette Kane's open call for superheroes to join her team, and eager to promote her inventions, Karen turned her latest experiment on wormholes into a rift-generating horn, and the two joined Titans East as Bumblebee and the Herald!
“Wow, that was cool Herald!” exclaimed Impulse, scratching his chin for a second before dashing off, grabbing two of the frightened crooks on his way. A second later a red and white blur appeared on the top of a nearby building, where Bart stopped only long enough to drop his victims before instantly zooming back to his teammates' sides. “See, I can do it too!”
“Aw, s---!” exclaimed Roy Harper, slumping under the weight of his burden.
“Relax man,” assured Mal as he rested the mouthpiece of his horn against his lips. “Herald's got it all under control.” His lips puffed as he blew into the instrument-turned-weapon, and its deep, bellowing sound was accompanied by dual warp holes opening beneath the plummeting plunderers. As they fell in the holes closed, and a new portal opened on the ground, coughing up both robbers, who'd fainted before they had even left Impulse's grip.
Impulse looked at them sadly for a second before shrugging. “Guess I couldn't do it after all.”
Roy's face was quickly turning the same hue as his costume out of frustration. “Don't you ever think?!”
“Sometimes,” admitted Bart as he bit his lower lip in thought. “It usually just messes everythin' up though.”
While Arsenal didn't see the humor in this, his teammates found it plenty funny—but it was a new voice that next spoke up. “Give the kid a break, Roy!”
Suddenly a large chunk of rock landed with an unceremonious thud next to the group—standing atop the boulder was a rail thin teenaged girl, with long, straight blonde hair and a pair of goggles perched atop her head. She wore a black shirt with a yellow `T' in the middle, and a pair of tan khaki shorts. She looked frail and weak, but looks could be deceiving—after all, her powers controlled the very Earth itself! Though Titans East knew nothing of her past or history, they knew her name was Tara Markov—codenamed Terra!
“I mean,” she continued with a grin, “If you'd have paid less attention to him and more to the criminals, they wouldn't be running away right now!” She stretched out her arm, and energy resembling a yellow flame started to emanate from her gloved hand. “Don't worry though, I've got it all under control!”
Indeed, the few remaining robbers that hadn't been mercilessly knocked unconscious were wisely trying to make an escape. However, as they ran the ground beneath their feet started to rumble, and then split as a wall of ten foot thick rock rose from the dirt and blocked their path. Not even giving them a chance to wet themselves in shock, Terra clenched her fist and the wall seemed to explode, pelting the thieves with pebbles and completely immobilizing them beneath a pile of rubble.
“Totally wicked!” exclaimed Impulse.
“Way to go galpal!” cheered Flamebird.
“That's still amazing no matter how many times I see it,” marveled Bumblebee. “I really wish you'd let me study your powers sometime.”
Tara cringed. “Uh…I'd rather not.”
“You're late,” interjected Arsenal, the only one not impressed by her appearance. “Where were you?”
“Around,” replied the earthmover, not sarcastically, but just with a `matter of fact' tone.
“Around,” sighed Roy. “You're always just around. What the hell's that mean?”
“It means around,” countered Tara, sticking out her tongue. “What's with the arrow up your butt, anyway? I'd always heard you were one of the cool ones.”
Arsenal chuckled. “I was, `till I started hanging around you guys.”
“Hold up, everybody,” commanded Karen Beecher, tapping the side of her goggles as new readings came to life. “Something's not right here—I think I hear something. Normally there wouldn't be any thugs left, but nothings been normal about this robbery so far anyway—Terra, did you see anything else strange when you got here?”
The tiny Titan didn't have any time to answer as the sound Bumblebee had heard made itself far too apparent in the form of three explosive rockets heading straight towards the six heroes! With only a few seconds to ready themselves, Bette Kane pulled out two plastic Flamebird figures from her belt—razor edged yellow blades shot out of both sides of each, making them roughly the shape of a boomerang.
“What're those?!” asked Bart Allen incredulously.
“Um…” replied Flamebird, blushing, “Flamebirdarangs?”
“Totally cool,” replied the hyperactive speedster. “Those'll stop the missiles, definitely!” He wasn't being sarcastic—he fully believed his statement. Not as big of a fool as most assumed, Flamebird realized that if Impulse liked her plan, it would never work, and grinned dumbly as she tucked them back into her belt.
Fortunately, none of the Titans had to take action. As the rockets zoomed on their path, a staticy purple light formed around all three, and they suddenly veered off course, soaring into the sky before colliding, exploding on contact! The three final robbers, each with a rocket launcher hoisted over their shoulders, started to panic, but they didn't have any time to react one way or another as their weapons were surrounded by a similar halo, and each floated into the air and span into their owners' heads, knocking them out cold.
“Sorry I'm late guys,” said a seventh figure meekly as she floated down from above her teammates. “At least I made it right in the nick of time, right?” This new arrival, the final member of Titans East, wore a skintight costume, covering all of her body below her neck. It was all light purple, besides a white hourglass shape across her chest. A long cloak of a darker purple fell from her shoulders, and her luscious blonde hair full of curls cascaded past her shoulders. She also wore a purple domino mask, though its lenses were transparent, letting her beautiful blue eyes show through.
“Not-relative!” exclaimed Flamebird as she dashed forward and latched herself onto the girl, giving her a gigantic hug. “Great to see you!”
“Yeah, Bette,” replied the other Titan with a nervous smile, “Great to see you too.”
As Bette Kane had implied, the new arrival wasn't her relative—though, since her name was Frances Kane, it was obvious why Flamebird had to specify. Frances was born in the small town of Blue Valley, Nebraska, and, for a while, led a pretty normal, if uneventful, life. However, this all changed when her mutant ability to control magnetism took effect at a most inopportune time: on a road trip with her father and brother.
Her first magnetic field sent their car careening off a cliff, killing her family and only sparing her. Fran was devastated, and then hurt even worse when her mother blamed her, calling her “possessed” and shunning her. Thus Frances tried to hide and suppress her powers for a while, until she discovered he had become a super-hero! Well, if her first love could turn his tragedy around, so could she! She could use her hated powers for good!
And that was how the Titan known as Magenta was born!
“It sure is great to have the whole group together!” proclaimed a thrilled Flamebird, turning around 360 degrees to get a good look at them all. “So, you all gonna wait for the cops to show up and get our pics taken and stuff? I hope I look good for Robin!”
“I suppose I will,” said Magenta softly. “It'll show everybody the good my powers can do.”
“Well, I don't have anything better to do,” remarked Terra as she plopped onto a rock, using her powers to bounce pebbles off the side of a building.
Herald subconsciously shuddered at the thought of the cops. “Calm down, Mal,” reassured Karen, “You're on their side now, remember?”
“Oh yeah,” realized Malcolm. “Hard to get used to, y'know?”
Arsenal looked deep in thought, but with Impulse dashing around him in circles he certainly wasn't achieving anything. “Do you think the policeman would let me wear his hat?!”
“Sure,” mumbled Roy, not paying the slightest attention to Bart. “Hey guys, didn't any of you get the impression that this was a really, really weird robbery? All the guys inside were running for the getaway car, yet they have a dozen more of `em outside waiting for us, with rocket launchers even?”
“Well, if somebody else was behind it,” began Bumblebee, “Then this is probably him closing in—and whoever it is, he's big! I'm even getting minor seismic readings on this!”
Suddenly appearing into view was a massive creature, both in height and girth, made completely of metal. Every part of him, from his hair down to his toes, was various beam, nuts, screws and scrap fused together—and he didn't look too happy about it. “How dare you ruin my robbery!”
“I said it once, and I'll say it again,” began Bette, wonder in her voice. “This is one elaborate crime!”
“F---!” exclaimed Arsenal.
“You kidding Roy?” Terra perked up as she pulled her goggles down over her eyes. “Now it's gonna get fun!”
“Damn straight,” smiled the Herald as he twirled his horn in his hand.
“I'm on him!” With a sonic boom Impulse was exploding forward, faster than any of them could think, to even begin to wonder who this guy was or what he could do! The creature swung his massive metal arm straight into the speedster's path, but he simply vibrated through it, not pausing for a second as he threw a punch into the rogue's stomach.
Bart screamed and fell backwards, having torn through his glove and skin with the rather stupid punch. Still, he dashed around the monolith several more times, throwing another punch and a kick before hobbling back to his teammates' sides at superspeed. “Grife! No matter how many times I him `em it just hurts me, not him!”
“Of course,” grumbled Roy as he turned towards the creature. “This is your robbery? Just who the hell are you?!”
“Girder,” growled the metal monster, “an' yeah, this was my job. If I'da thought all of you would actually show I'dve hired more goons.”
“Oh boy!” exclaimed Flamebird. “We've made a name for ourselves!”
Before anybody had a chance to point out that their reputation wasn't exactly good, Impulse again dashed by, a bucket in his hand. “RUST!” commanded the boy from the future as he tossed a bucket-full of water onto Girder. Zooming back and forth, each time accompanied by a thunder-like roar, he continued to douse the metal monolith, who just wasn't fast enough to tag the hyperactive hyper-speedster.
“Finally, a not half bad idea,” laughed Arsenal. “Impulse—it's not enough! Go see if you can funnel some water from the bay!”
“Got it, mission commander!” exclaimed Bart as he barreled towards the closest body of water. On the horizon Titans East could see a funnel of water rising into the air—then collapse as Bart no doubt screwed up the process somewhere. Only a second later he tried again, and got the same exact outcome.
Tara snickered. “Yeah, that plan's really gonna work, Roy.”
“What's th' matter, Titans?” asked Girder tauntingly as he marched forward, every step seeming like an earthquake. “So scared of me that yer hidin' behind a little bo—”
Unable to even finish his sentence, the monster fell into a shimmering wormhole that instantly closed beneath him. The Herald moved his finger and hit a different note, opening a new portal that dropped Girder far above the New York skyline. “'Kay, guys, I set `im up, you knock `im down!”
“One step ahead of you, horn boy!” As Girder plummeted towards the ground like a twenty ton anvil, already the Earth was shaping itself to Terra's whim, a jagged boulder rising to meet the criminal. As they collided the stone exploded, hurling their metal opponent down the street.
“Everybody, together!” commanded Arsenal as he let four explosive arrows fly. Flamebird tossed several Flamebirdarangs into the fray, each blinking, ready to explode when they hit their target. Bumblebee pitched in as well, adding two sparking blasts of energy from the stingers built into her gloves. As hoped, all hit home at once, and Girder found himself flat on his back.
Francis Kane hoped to keep him there. Girder quickly found himself surrounded by an, appropriately, magenta aura that held his body still. Magnetic waves of the same color emanated from the Titan's hand as she floated over her opponent, cape billowing behind her, sweat running down her face.
“You're…metal…and I'm…a magnet,” she said, trying to sound confident, maybe threatening even, but it was hard when she was straining so hard just to keep him down. “You're…not…getting…”
“Save it,” grunted Girder, smiling as he threw his arms backwards and leapt to his feet, almost somersaulting, like an ape! “Don't be spoutin' off like that when you ain't got the goods to back it up, babe!”
As the metal monolith broke through her magnetic force with brute strength, Magenta was sent reeling, screaming as she sailed out of sight. Girder, meanwhile, leapt into the air, pulling both arms far behind his head, ready to crush his opponents into pulp.
“Wow,” marveled Bette, her eyes wide, “He's surprisingly agile.”
Fortunately, one of Mal's portals opened above the monster, dropping half a dozen steel girders—the irony was intentional—atop the creature. As it hit the ground, yellow energy exploded beneath him, and Terra sent him flying as a boulder shot into the air.
The frail earth-mover took to the sky atop a small chunk of rock as she enveloped the metal enemy in a fierce whirlwind of rubble and dirt, slowly burying the criminal in a pile of earth. Tara circled around him, gritting her teeth and straining as hard as Fran had just moments earlier.
`Don't lose control!' she thought desperately in her mind as her knees, then her whole body, started to shake. `You can't lose control again, not again! It undoes everything you fight for! You can't! You can't run again!'
“Y'know,” mused Karen Beecher, “If I get close I bet I could run an analysis on this guy, find some sort of weak point!” Floating into the sky, her robotic wings buzzing, the cybernetics genius shrank down to the size of her namesake. “Wish me luck, guys!”
Meanwhile, as Terra's pile of dirt moved towards Girder's neck, the tiny Titan was slowly starting to lose it. The rock she'd been levitating on had fallen to the ground, and she was about to similarly fall onto one knee. `No! You can handle it! It isn't too much!' Unfortunately, she was proven wrong as her power exhausted her, and the dirt prison she'd created started to crack under her own power even before the metal monster broke free. Tara collapsed face first, utterly drained.
However, before he would attack his opponent he was struck by a tremendous pulse of stinging power. Behind him, Bumblebee grew to her full size, keeping up with the blast, not letting him dare get an attack in!
“His name was Tony Woodward!” she announced, obviously having found the information she needed. “When he attempted to rape a co-worker, the others at his job threw him into a vat of molten metal—but they didn't know it came from a government facility and had been experimented on in numerous ways! He was reborn as…this metal monster! He doesn't need to eat, drink, sleep, or breathe—he feels no pain, and the scientists that have studied him don't think he can even die!”
“Then the punk won't mind hanging out at the bottom of the bay fer' a bit,” grunted the Herald as he readied his horn, “'Till we can get somebody else to deal with `im.”
Suddenly his girlfriend was thrown backwards as Girder broke free of her attack, spinning and grabbing the Titan, enveloping her within his massive grip. “Stay outta' my business!” he cried as he wound up and tossed Bumblebee like a baseball. She collided with Mal, sending his horn flying and both of them hurling down the street.
“If you guys know what happened to me, then you know this money is all I have left!” cried the monster as he leapt towards the two remaining Titans. “How can you take that away from me?!”
Both Bette and Roy's eyes bugged. The heiress pulled a grappling launcher from her belt that sent a Flamebirdarang attached to a nearly unbreakable line flying into a building—it pulled her to a rooftop, where she somersaulted and landed on her feet, her hands in the air, like she was waiting for judges to give her a score.
Meanwhile, the steel bars on Arsenal's arms both popped open, revealing that they were, in fact, mounted crossbows! An arrow attached to a zip-line shot from one, and the agent similarly used it to pull himself into the air and out of Woodward's path.
“Shut up already!” cried Flamebird as she tossed two more of her projectiles—this time the Flamebird figures were wearing jackets, and as they collided with Girder's arm they exploded, coating it with a thick sheet of ice! “A bastard like you doesn't deserve to have anything!”
A panel on the side of Roy's quiver slid open, dropping a thin silver pole into his hand—he loaded it into his other crossbow, the one that wasn't keeping him out of Girder's grip. “For once, I agree with Flamebird!” he cried as an arrowhead shaped spark of energy came to life at the end of the pole and the crossbow sent it sailing through the metal monster's frozen appendage, shattering it into tiny shards!
“Way to go Roy!” exclaimed Bette happily. “I say we go for a leg this time!” However, she wouldn't have a chance, as one of the girders Mal had teleported there was hurled into the rooftop and she was sent sailing across it. Girder had another in hand, and it flew through the spot Arsenal had been hanging from only a second before—meanwhile, the weapon master dropped to the ground, a different gun in each hand as he sent energy blasts flying into the monolith's side.
“That's pointless, kid,” growled Girder as he marched towards the archer, blasts bouncing off his chest or doing small damage while he felt none of the pain. “Yer the last one standing—you can't beat me by yerself!”
Arsenal wasn't letting off of the shots from his government issued—and government exclusive—blaster guns, but he needn't worry about their effect, or lack of. Suddenly, a voice spoke up, familiar yet tainted with a deeper undertone. “Good thing he's not by himself!”
Girder then found himself suspended in mid-air, surrounded by Francis Kane's magenta halo, only this time it wasn't her typical, faint magnetic pulse, but a ball nearly twice the size of the metallic monster himself! Behind the villain, Magenta could be seen again on her feet, her hair standing on end, her cape billowing like she was in a hurricane, and her eyes filled only with purple. It was as if she was another person.
“Not-relative?” Rushing down the street, Flamebird brushed dirt from her uniform, and as her fellow Titan didn't respond, she only grew more concerned. “Fran?!”
“If you can't feel,” the magnetic girl growled, her voice still sounding inhuman, “If you can't die, then you won't mind if I end this right now!” Throwing her arms to the side, Girder exploded, every nail pulled, every beam shattered, and in a second he was a pile of disjointed scraps on the ground. He didn't even have a chance to scream.
Then the energy in Fran's eyes disappeared as she moaned and dropped unconscious to the ground, the spike of unprecedented power now just a memory. “What the hell was that?” asked Arsenal incredulously.
“It's like she was…a whole `nother person!” marveled Bette.
Suddenly, both were distracted by slow clapping. Looking up, they were greeted by an oddly dressed man standing on the tip of a small aircraft. “Bravo, Titans,” said Jupiter slowly with a smile.
Aiming his gun toward the potential threat's head, Roy asked, “And who the hell are you?! Another ringleader?!”
Jupiter grinned. In truth, he was—but not the way Roy Harper thought. “My name is Mr. Loren Jupiter, and I'm the director of `The Real World: Titans Tower'! I saw your fight—recorded it, in fact, and it should be on television soon enough—and I have a proposition for you: How would you like to help out your idols, the Teen Titans themselves?!”
“Would we?!” Flamebird was beside herself. “There's no way we could turn down an offer like that!”
“Well there you go,” smiled Roy. “You guys finally got what you wanted. I guess the others're gonna be thrilled…hey, you hear something?”
With a loud boom the street was instantly flooded, and a tiny boy in white and red tights zoomed over the water. “Cool, I finally got it right!” exclaimed Impulse as he happily dashed in circles through the flooded street. “That should unlock a bonus level for sure! Alternate costume at least!” However, looking about, the wild child found his opponent nowhere to be found. “Wait, where'd he go?”
His face turning red, Arsenal just screamed, “IMPULSE!”
***TITANS TOWER—TRAINING ROOM***
With a former circus star as one of its occupants, of course the Titans Tower training room was equipped with a trapeze—at the top, however, stood not the Titans' resident acrobat, but a smaller boy in a similar, but not identical costume.
Dick Grayson, the original Robin, instead stood on the ground, coaching his namesake, a mysterious partner of the equally mysterious—and infuriating—Batman. “C'mon little guy, you can do it! A triple somersault ain't that hard!”
“Says you,” replied the young Robin with a frown. “Why can't I just use a grapple line like I do in Gotham?”
Sighing, Dick reasoned, “Cause that's not gonna do you much in a close quarters fight! `Sides, you're here to learn trapeze, not how t'use gadgets!”
Robin: “He's a smart kid, but maybe that's the problem. I think maybe he's just not used to stuff being hard for him—apparently he's such a good detective an' all that.
“Not that I'd know about that. Nothing's hard for me!”
“Do not worry, little Robin!” called Dick's girlfriend, the beautiful alien Starfire. “I am quite confidant that you can do it—and if for some reason you cannot, we will be her to catch you!”
“Well,” smiled the trainee, “I guess that makes me feel a little better.” He wound his arms, and just as he prepared to leap, black exploded in the middle of the room. All three jumped as Raven appeared.
His face red, Dick was both angry and embarrassed. “S--- Raven, you could've killed us!”
“Good thing I didn't jump first,” added the Robin on the trapeze quietly.
“I am…sorry,” said the empath quickly. “I simply came to alert you of an urgent meeting Mr. Jupiter has called. He wishes for all of us to join him in the meeting room as soon as possible.”
“Well,” said Robin somewhat sadly, “Guess the lesson's up.” Looking up towards the trapeze, he started to call out towards his student, but quickly noticed that the little guy had simply vanished! Suddenly a Batarang flew into the wall, with a note attached to the end. “Guess that ends that for now,” read Dick. “See ya next time.”
Robin: “Forget acrobatics, I've gotta teach the kid not to be as big of a mysterious jerk as Batman is! Bad association!”
“Oh well,” shrugged Dick as he jogged to the locker room. “I'll be ready in a sec Kory—just gotta pack everything up!”
“Then I shall be on my way,” said Raven as her cloak started to ripple. “I still have to alert all the others.”
Koriand'r, without hesitating, called out, “Raven! Wait!”
Starfire: “Raven is always so quick to run off—I do not wish to see her be so antisocial!”
“What is it, Starfire?”
“Would you not like some assistance?” asked Kory. “Despite what you seem to think, you do not need to always do everything on your own.”
Raven: “Yes. Yes I do. I perhaps should have told her so much, but it is hard to be mean, sometimes even honest with Starfire. I can sense such caring and genuineness from her that I do not want to upset or risk corrupting that. It is such a rare quality on this world.”
“I appreciate your concern,” quickly interjected the mysterious Titan, “But I will be able to handle it perfectly fine by myself.”
“But you do not have to!” exclaimed Starfire. “You have been wonderfully helpful in all our battles, but around the Tower you are barely to be seen! I cannot speak for the others, but Raven, I would like to get to know you! I wish you would let us in!”
Starfire: “Indeed, she is the only Titan I do not really know, and I do not understand why! I would like to be her friend as well!”
Raven sighed and tried to speak for a second, but for once, maybe for the first time in her life, she was slightly flustered.
Raven: “As I said, Starfire is extremely genuine. Unlike Speed, who is confused and selfish even with his `love', she truly means what she says. Even if I told her how much better off she is not knowing me, she would not listen. Her concern is…refreshing.”
“Fine,” acquiesced the hooded girl. “I still have to locate Speed and Cyborg, but Beast Boy is in his room—you can alert him for me.”
“Thank you!” exclaimed the jubilant Tamaranian as she dashed out the door. “And once the mission is over, you and I shall—oh, how do the Earth term go? Oh, yes—hang out!”
The empath wasn't anywhere near as excited as her teammate. “Wonderful,” she said sarcastically as she followed, turning the opposite direction down the hall. Suddenly, she heard a voice calling out to her.
Raven: “Great. After that, this is exactly what I did not need.”
Wally West, a specter of speed force energy, dashed to the side of the girl he so blindly loved. “I finally found you!”
“That is good,” said the empath, “At least you saved me some work. Mr. Jupiter wishes to see us all for a meeting, immediately.”
“Great,” growled Speed. “But first, we really need to—”
Not giving him a chance to speak, Raven pitched in with, “I know what you are going to say, Speed, and I have already told you how I feel multiple times. You need to—”
“I know, I know,” replied Wally, knowing as well exactly what she would say, “But I just can't stop loving you!”
Speed: “She's a frigging empath, right? Can't she sense how I feel, how much I care about her? For somebody who faces emotions constantly, she sure can't relate to anybody!”
“Then find another to love,” commanded Raven as she started to be swallowed up by her own dark powers, using them to escape the awkward situation. As her gravely voice trailed off, she finished with, “It should not be too difficult.”
Wally only hung his head.
Speed: “Yeah, right. There's only one other girl who's ever cared about me, besides Aunt Iris, and we've been through all this garbage already. We can't work it out.”
Meanwhile, Starfire emerged from the elevator and promptly knocked on the bedroom door of Garfield Logan, Beast Boy, the Titans resident shapeshifter and former member of the now defunct Doom Patrol. “Unless you're Cyborg, come in!”
“Is that not a little harsh, Garfield?” asked his alien visitor, not even waiting until she was fully in the room to ask her question. “He was only trying to help you.”
Beast Boy: “Yay. My conscience is bothering me enough as it is without Kory being a second one. She'll have me on her side in no time, heh.”
Lying on the bottom bunk of his cluttered bed, his stereo running in the background, Gar opened one eye. “Yeah, but he was treating me like a kid. Everybody treats me like a kid around here, Kory.”
“Well, you are the youngest one of us.”
“Yeah,” continued the green kid with a sigh, “But I've also been a superhero the longest—even longer than Donna, though she wouldn't believe it.”
“Wow, I was not aware of that!” Koriand'r looked genuinely surprised. “But, then, why do you act so…so…”
Garfield Logan sighed. “Just living down to expectations Kory.”
Beast Boy: “Nobody's gonna treat me seriously no matter what I do, so why should I even try to be mature?”
“Anyway,” interjected Gar as he continued, “I'm not even mad at Vic anymore. I just really want him to come make up, y'know? For once I'm not gonna be the one who just gives in to make everything better!”
Starfire: “I can understand not wanting to sacrifice your principles, but I do not see how his inaction will help. Still, I have been on Earth long enough to see that perhaps some tact is required in this situation.”
As the beautiful alien pondered this, the lyrics of Beast Boy's music rolled into her head. “Gar, what sort of song is this?!”
Starfire: “The lyrics had derogatory and angry words towards women. It did not seem very respectful! Good thing Donna was not there…”
“Ben Folds Five—Song for the Dumped,” rattled off Gar as he finally climbed out of his bed. “The ultimate break up song, Kory. Girl did him wrong, and he's freaking pissed!”
Beast Boy: “Was listening to it in honor of Matt.”
“And this is how you would react?” inquired Starfire, concerned.
“I guess not,” Garfield replied with a shrug, “But it's what every guy thinks. After what your sister did to Matt, and just seeing a lot of girls and hearing a lot of stories and stuff…well, I mean I like girls, but I don't like how they act a lot…I'm starting to wonder if love's even worth it…”
Princess Koriand'r smiled—nearly beamed. She certainly knew it was. “Do not worry Gar—you will find love when the time is right.”
Starfire: “It is a shame to have to say this, but living on Earth I can understand why Gar could feel that way. However, he is just young—when he finds the right girl, he will realize how wonderful love really is!”
However, the fact that she had come there to bring him to Jupiter's meeting, which had slipped her mind because of the discussion, suddenly reemerged. “Oh my! Gar, we must go!” Grabbing the lanky boy's hand, she took to the air and zoomed down the hallway.
“What is this?!” he cried as his eyes watered. “Miss Kory's wild ride?!”
***HALLWAY OUTSIDE THE MEETING ROOM***
Waiting for their teammates to arrive, Robin, Cyborg, Speed and Raven stood outside the meeting room doors. Suddenly Starfire came barreling into sight, Beast Boy hanging onto her hand for dear life!
“Yo Gar!” called Robin jokingly, “What're you doing with my girl?!”
Garfield blushed slightly, while Dick's girlfriend leapt onto the acrobat, wrapping her arms around his neck. “Oh Dick, you are so silly!”
Robin: “And she loves it so much, man.”
Cyborg looked toward his green friend for a second, but as Gar caught sight, he looked away. “You guys haven't made up yet?” asked Dick as he observed their interaction. “C'mon man, you guys're tight! Just say sorry or something.”
“I can't,” grumbled Vic as he crossed his arms. “Gar's mad cause I treated him like a kid, tried to help when I just needed to mind my own business. I gotta just let him get his anger outta his system and come to me first, `stead of butting in again.”
Cyborg: “That's gotta be the only way to make it up to him—it's all I can figure out at least. Still can't believe I screwed up that bad!”
Koriand'r knew that Vic, even if his thinking was quite logical, still had the wrong idea, but before she could speak up the stair door slammed as Wonder Girl floated into the room. “What's this meeting about?!” Though she attempted to hide it, it was obvious she was agitated.
Wally frowned. “If you don't know, how the hell should we? Why're you so freaking pissed anyway? I mean, more so than usual?” Donna just frowned at him.
Wonder Girl: “It's because my afternoon with Terry was interrupted obviously, but I can't let them know that. None of these guys would understand—they'd just joke about it or judge me!”
“Now now my Titans, no need to fight!” Standing in the doorway was finally Mr. Loren Jupiter, for all intensive purposes, the Titans' “boss”. “I have called you here because I've finally come up with a mission for you!”
Speed: “About time. Wasn't he talking about doing that, like, back when we first got together?”
As the seven Teen Titans followed the director into the meeting room, however, they were greeted with seven more teenaged costumed heroes sitting on the opposite side of the table! “What's this?” asked Victor Stone with a raised eyebrow.
“Teen Titans, meet Titans East, your assistants on this mission!”
Some of the heroes felt indignant or that Jupiter just felt they needed help, but several felt more.
Donna Troy did a double take, then laughed out loud as she recognized one of the members. “Speedy?!”
Wally, meanwhile, was slightly more shocked. “Fran?!”
Garfield Logan, however, nearly melted. As he saw the tiny blonde haired angel in the black t-shirt, khaki shorts and goggles sitting directly across from him, his heart felt like it would break free of his chest. His knees wobbled, his mouth went dry, and he had the most peculiar feeling that, if he tried to speak, nothing would have came out.
Beast Boy: “Holy crap! Forget what I told Kory—I understand what she meant now! Just…holy crap! I think I'm in love!”
Next time: First Love, Old Flames, and Fan-girl Crushes!