Teen Titans Fan Fiction ❯ The Real World: Titans Tower ❯ Hostage Situation ( Chapter 19 )
[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
DISCLAIMER: The New Teen Titans were created by Marv Wolfman and George Perez, and are owned by DC Comics.
“All Star Teen Titans”
“The Real World: Titans Tower”
Chapter 19: Hostage Situation!
THE TEEN TITANS—Teenage heroes and reality TV stars:
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.
THE DEATHSTROKE FAMILY—The deadliest band of mercenaries alive:
Deathstroke—Slade Wilson: The deadliest mercenary alive, cruel and emotionless, capable of tapping into 90% of his brain's capacity.
Major William Wintergreen: Slade's eternally indebted and flawlessly loyal right-hand man.
Jericho—Joseph Wilson: Slade's mute son, compassionate and artistic and able to possess anybody by making eye contact.
Ravager—Rose Wilson: Slade's daughter, a rebellious wild-child and martial artist with precognitive abilities.
Dr. Light—Arthur Light: Moronic light manipulator, now brain-dead and under Slade's total control.
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—OVER THE UNITED STATES AND MOVING FAST***
Far above the ground, above the clouds, a small black jet moved several times faster than the speed of sound towards its destination: New York City, where Donna Troy had been found as a baby and her mystery still could be solved.
Shaped like a bat—or at least like the bat-emblem that was proudly worn on Batman's chest—the jet contained within two boys named Robin. One was driving, having the time of his life, while the other feared for his life because, well, he was the one who should be driving!
Dick Grayson's white knuckled hands gripped tightly onto the steering wheel, and his body was pushed back as far in the seat as it could go by the pure force of their trip. His adrenal glands were working double-time trying to keep up with the excitement.
His young counterpart, however, was starting to turn green. He really needed to install barf bags. “Dick, slow down!” he cried, though his voice could barely be heard over the roar of the Batwing. He should've known better than to let Dick drive, no matter how much he begged. “If you knick this thing, Batman will kill both of us!”
“Slow down?!” Dick asked incredulously. “Hell no! I'm having too much fun!
***OFF THE AIR—MR. JUPITER'S OFFICE***
Mr. Loren Jupiter, corrupt director of `The Real World: Titans Tower', lay as far back in his office chair as he could. Blood stained one whole side of his shirt, where he had been shot by Deathstroke just hours before. His secretary, Ms. Clay, had fetched his doctor fast as she could, and now bandages covered his cleaned and treated wound.
However, Jupiter had resources at hand so secret that even Ms. Clay was unaware of their existence. The darkened room was suddenly illuminated by a translucent mix of blue and purple light. Jupiter was immersed deep within the cloak of Raven, the empath and Teen Titan who was connected to the director…somehow. Though her dark garment usually brought pain and nightmares, today it was healing her comrade's wounds, relieving his pain.
“Thank you, Raven,” he said with a smile as he pulled the crimson-stained bandages from his wound—which was no longer visible or even really there, as it had been utterly and completely healed by the empath. Spinning in his office chair, he pressed a button and brought to life a picture on a giant view-screen on his wall. “Let's see how our friend Deathstroke has handled this situation, shall we?”
“I suppose I should be there in person to handle this,” said Raven as her cloak lost its bright pallor and prepared to transport her through the darkness between dimensions and to Slade.
However, Mr. Jupiter wasn't on the same wavelength. “Actually, I'd prefer it if you stayed here this time.”
Raven simply replied with a confused look. “I sense you are confident in your decision, but…I am not so certain this is wise.”
“Nonsense,” dismissed the director. “It's almost time for the end stroke, and what's better than the Titans—outnumbered—against their most determined enemy, with the very lives of their friends, family and lovers on the line to drive up ratings one last time?! Besides, while I know Slade has a contingency against you, you're still rather…overpowered, wouldn't you say?”
The empath still just glared. Her boss, however, was positively giddy. “Then, once the battles over, you not being there will just add to the drama! It's going to be absolutely fantastic!”
“You are a cruel, selfish man,” bluntly stated Raven. “Let us hope this turns out the way you planned.”
Leaning back in his chair and clasping his hands, Jupiter's smile filled his face. “It always does Raven, it always does.”
***DEATHSTROKE'S COMPOUND—SAN FRANSCISCO, CALIFORNIA, USA***
“You'll never get away with this! My cousin's a superhero, he'll kick all your asses to Timbuktu and back, wherever the hell that is!”
Matt Logan, the slacker cousin of Beast Boy, was chained to a wall, suspended by clamps around his wrists and ankles. Unlike Deathstroke's other hostages, he'd never lost consciousness when Dr. Light abducted him. He always was an obstinate one.
On the other side of the same wall was Iris West-Allen, the aunt and best friend of Speed. The shock of finding Light in her home had caused her to faint, and she was still out cold. Between the two hostages was a redheaded boy, Terry Long, the “secret” boyfriend of Wonder Girl. He'd originally been hired by Jupiter to interfere in Donna's love life, but had grown to love her. Just as he was about to blow the whistle, Jupiter offered him up as a sacrifice to Deathstroke.
Now Terry and the others were nothing more than bait to draw the Titans into the sociopathic mercenary's trap. As the only one still conscious, Matt wasn't too happy about it. “C'mon, lemme out so I can kick your asses myself!”
Slade Wilson—Deathstroke—stood by the opposite wall, which was covered with buttons, levers, and weapons. Behind his fierce and mysterious mask, he was actually amused by his hostage. “You want to fight me? Charming.”
His daughter wasn't as ambivalent. Rose Wilson gritted her teeth, eagerly gripping the hilts of her swords. “Daddy, can I please kill him? He's terrible!”
Matt actually grinned at her. “Please babe, tell me how you really feel. You know you want a piece of the Matt-meister!”
“That's it!” cried Rose as she drew her blades, but her father instantly put an end to her rage.
“Ravager! Stand down!” Slade's frightening command echoed through the room, and even if she hadn't been under the influence of mind-control serum, Ravager would have listened. Turning to her older brother, the mercenary continued, “Jericho, would you please resolve this?”
Jericho marched forward silently, creeping Matt out—he didn't realize that Joseph Wilson was mute. Deathstroke's son pulled the hostage's shoes off, then his socks, and proceeded to stuff the socks in the young Mr. Logan's mouth.
Now his protests were nothing more than muffled gibberish. Rose laughed out loud. “Wow Joey, good one!”
Slade, meanwhile, pulled a lever which made a small portion of the wall slide back. Behind was a cramped, dark room, with Wintergreen sitting at a computer console. “Have you found them yet?”
“Well, I still haven't gotten a bead on Batman's partner, but I have found Sarah Simms. Unfortunately, Cyborg's with her.”
“Then our job is done,” replied Deathstroke. “Give him enough time to land a tracker, then lead him back here. I'll use the girl as bait one way or another.”
“Yes, sir,” replied the mercenary's right hand man, as he turned back to his console. From it, he could control Dr. Light's hollow shell of a body—a gift from Mr. Jupiter—remotely. He made a most dangerous tool.
Meanwhile, Slade found his daughter admiring his wall of weapons. “So you really have a plan to take down each Titan, daddy?”
“Of course, my dear,” replied Rose's father as he grabbed a small blue sphere from her hand. “This, for example, is an empathic stimulator, meant to cripple Raven with painful bursts of simulated anger, pain, and other negative emotions.”
He gestured towards other weapons. “The EMP cannon is meant to disable Cyborg's systems, and the mini-gattling rifle is designed to fire high amounts of ammunition so rapidly that even Wonder Girl won't be able to deflect them all.” Moving along, Slade picked up a disk and cradled it between his fingers. “Finally we have an energy disruptor, meant specifically for our intangible friend, Speed.”
“Lemme guess: this is for Beast Boy?” Ravager pointed to a cattle prod and snickered. “But what about Robin?”
Cracking his knuckles, Deathstroke frowned. “Leave Robin to me.”
***ON THE AIR***
“You bastards!” Suddenly a supersonic streak of yellow zoomed through the wall. It was Wally West, Speed, the avatar of the mythical Speed Force itself, and he was, to put it lightly, pissed.
Speed: “Why can nothing ever go right for me?! Aunt Iris is the most important person in my life, and these f---ers picked the wrong nerve to strike! I'm not holding back, not at all!”
“Catch.” Slade hurled the energy disruptor into Wally's path, and suddenly the speed specter practically exploded, becoming nothing but a simmering surge of electricity. With his body disrupted, he was helpless.
Speed: “I've never felt anything like it! I didn't even realize I could feel pain anymore, but this was like, like, like every atom in my body was being ripped into pieces! The whole time I just kept trying to pull myself together, but I couldn't, and I just felt so…helpless. I couldn't help Aunt Iris at all!”
“Looks like our guests have arrived.” Wasting no time, Deathstroke activated his communicator. “Wintergreen, recall the weapon! We need him back now.”
Sure enough, the rest of the Titans weren't far behind. Green explosions—no doubt from Starbolts—rocked the wall, and through the wreckage flew Wonder Girl, Starfire, and Beast Boy, as a falcon.
Starfire: “We wasted no time getting here once we saw Deathstroke's message on the television. This time, there was no debate. I could not find Raven or Dick, and as much as I want them here and would like their help, there was no time to wait for them! Our friends are in danger, and there was no proper course but to get here fast!”
Beast Boy: “Man, Matt's gonna hate me when this is all over! He keeps gettin' into all this trouble `cause of me! I just hope I can do this, that I can save him—no, I can't say that! I gotta!”
Wonder Girl: “Today was supposed to be the day. I was going to tell the Titans about Terry. We were going to start a real relationship. It was going to be wonderful. Now it's ruined! Terry's life is in danger, and I'm not going to sit back and let him die! Not ever, but especially not today!”
“Ravager, hold off Starfire! Jericho, take care of the others!” Deathstroke called commands and started pulling weapons from his large cache, and his children responded perfectly.
Donna soared straight towards Jericho, who was standing defiantly in the adopted Amazon's path. “Out of the way!” she cried. “I've got more important people to take care of than you!”
Joe, however, just grinned as his eyes met hers. Suddenly his body disappeared, and Wonder Girl skidded to a stop. Beast Boy fell to the ground in his human form, scratching his head. “Woah, where'd he go? Can he turn invisible?”
As an answer to his question, Gar received a full force punch from Donna. By turning into a rhino mid-flight the changeling managed to save every bone in his body from being crushed, but now he was more confused than ever. “Donna?! What the heck was that?”
“Not Donna,” replied his teammate with a wicked smile. “Jericho's in control now.”
Wonder Girl: “Talk about an out of body experience! It was like I was watching a movie through my eyes—I could see what I was doing, but I couldn't control it! I couldn't speak, and my body wouldn't follow my commands! Deathstroke went down pretty easy last time when all was said and done, but I think we may be in over our heads this time!”
Ravager, however, wasn't fairing nearly as well. Her alien opponent had immediately unleashed a flurry of Starbolts, and it took all of the young martial artist's skill and focus just to dodge the relentless attacks.
As soon as she drove Rose back far enough, Starfire turned and unleashed a blast towards the energy disruptor that had Wally disabled. However, her attack did nothing, dissolving into nothingness before it could hit the weapon.
“It's an energy disruptor, Starfire,” stated Deathstroke, overseeing the battles. “That includes your Starbolts.”
Growling, Kory lashed out and attacked Slade himself, but again it dispersed before it could do any damage. “And did you think I wouldn't equip myself with one? That wouldn't be prudent.”
Figuring she couldn't let this be a total bust, the alien princess turned to face the hostages. Tiny, precise beams of fluorescent green appeared on her fingertips, aimed towards their restraints. “Fine! Then I shall—”
“I wouldn't if I were you.” Deathstroke, ahead of the game as always, pulled a remote from his belt, his finger looming ominously above a button. “If you even try to get close I won't hesitate to blow them to tiny little bits.”
Starfire: “That monster! He has everything thought out! I thought I could end this fast, but it looks like we are going to have to play by his sick rules!”
“Gotcha!” Suddenly Koriand'r was met by Ravager's foot flying into her face. Deathstroke's daughter struck several more times while still in mid-air, until her precognitive abilities saw something she really didn't like—and certainly couldn't doge in time.
And just like that a pillar of green exploded from the alien, sending Rose Wilson flying and scattering broken chunks of her chainmail armor across the room. “Daddy!” she cried as she brushed her stark white hair from her eyes. “Where's the weapon for her?!”
Starfire: “Daddy?! That is right, I remember now—Batman said that Deathstroke was seen fighting with his children, using them as accomplices! How cruel! I do not know how he managed to turn them into criminals, but it really makes me mad!”
“Have patience, my dear. It's on its way.” Falling to one knee, Slade hoisted a rocket launcher over his shoulder and, setting his sights on his daughter's extraterrestrial opponent, fired. “For now, you'll have to make due with a distraction.”
The missile didn't have far to go before it collided with Starfire, sending the princess flying into a wall. The smoke hadn't even cleared before a storm of shuriken overtook her, leaving her too busy defending herself to run. “I'll kill you!” cried Ravager as the troubled child leaped into the air, two swords raised far above her head, and slashed with all her might.
It was a good thing for Koriand'r that she had such thick skin. The rocket only battered her, the shuriken barely scratched her, and Rose's swords shattered across her raised arms. Several shards of steel lay embedded in the alien's skin, but that was easily ignored by such a seasoned warrior—as was the broken weapons to her nemesis!
Drawing her final two swords, Ravager pointed both forward and charged. “Well, I guess this means I'll just hafta stab you instead, b----!” Starfire still had the advantage in raw strength, but now that Rose had moved in close, her precognitive abilities more than made up for it, placing the two on even ground—for now.
“Why are you doing this?” asked Kory as she weaved between continued assaults. “I know Deathstroke is your father, but what could possibly make you hurt people like this?!”
“God, you sound like an after school special,” snarled Ravager. “I'll do whatever my father asks of me, no questions asked! How do you think I lost my eye?!”
Kory's heart sank.
“Indeed,” added Deathstroke from his vantage point. “Jericho and Ravager are good soldiers, and as long as they get their shots every day, they'll stay that way.”
Starfire: “Shots? So he is doing this to them! I do not think I have ever been so repulsed!”
Meanwhile, Beast Boy was still perplexed by the sudden turn his teammate had taken. “Jericho? Donna, what the heck's that mean?!”
Wonder Girl: “Oh, come on Gar, now's not the time to be dense!”
“It means your enemy is now in control of your friend!”
Beast Boy: “So I gotta fight Donna?! Great, like I need to give her a reason to be mad at me…”
Jericho charged towards his opponent, flying at full speed, but Garfield was easily able to evade the attack by shrinking beneath it, taking the form of a snake. While he was under the adopted Amazon, he grew into a gorilla and grabbed her leg, hurling her into a wall.
“So,” asked Gar, “Since you're a guy but you're in Donna's body, does that make you a `he', or a `she'?”
Wonder Girl: “I don't know what was worse, how stupid that question was, or that it really seemed to make Jericho mad!”
“Don't know, don't care!” cried Joe as he came charging in Wonder Girl's body. Beast Boy became a triceratops and charged as well, the floor shaking from his massive heft. They collided, Jericho deflecting the horns with his host's unbreakable bracelets then hefting a full-powered punch into his jaw, sending him flying.
As the changeling soared across the room, shrinking into his scrawny human form, Deathstroke's son tied Donna's magic lasso and tossed it towards his opponent, all with the perfect form of a rodeo champion.
“Wow,” chuckled Gar, “I didn't think anybody besides Donna knew how to use one of those things!”
Wonder Girl: “He has a point. But I don't think Jericho actually had practice with a lasso…It was more like he could tap into a little of my brain, like he could leech off my skills and experience so he could use my body to its full potential! That really made me mad, because I didn't spend all that time training on Themyscara just for somebody to come along and steal it from me!”
The rope fell around Beast Boy and Jericho pulled it tight, ensnaring the tiny green boy firmly in the body-hoppers grip. Gar, however, just grinned. “Heh, looks like I'm at my rope's end!” As the Titan cracked up, laughing hysterically, his opponent only grimaced further and sent Zeus' lighting up the length of the lasso.
Beast Boy: “Geez, everybody's a critic!”
Transforming into an electric eel, Garfield Logan was able to counteract the lighting with some of his own, for just a moment, for just long enough to slip out of the lasso and take off as a green cheetah. Jericho tried to ensnare him again, but becoming a gazelle, Gar leapt above it.
Landing as a panda, Beast Boy squeezed his opponent tight, trapping him with an enormous bear hug. Even as he cut off Donna's circulation, however, Jericho wasn't too fazed. He looked into Gar's eyes, smiled, and suddenly everything changed.
Wonder Girl fell to the ground, gasping. “Wait,” she exclaimed breathlessly, “I'm in control again!” Of course, it only took a second to piece everything together. “Wait a second, that means—”
Her sentence was cut off as Jericho—possessing Beast Boy's panda bear form—slapped her across the room. “Wonderful,” growled Donna as she wiped blood from her cheek.
Changing shape, Jericho chose the form of a velociraptor, and hissing, he charged his Amazonian opponent. She simply took to the sky, easily dodging his assault. Not letting this deter him, the prehistoric beast skidded to a stop, his nails scratching across the slick floor, and soared after Wonder Girl as a pterodactyl.
He snapped at her, dipping in and out and biting with the dinosaur's numerous jagged teeth. His assaults and her evasions turned into a dogfight that would make the Red Baron himself jealous. Finally, just as Donna avoided Beast Boy's jaw clamping down, she grabbed him by the beak and tossed him across the room.
Wonder Girl: “That's a tough battle to know how to handle! Even if Deathstroke's kid is in control, he's still in the body of my teammate! I don't want to hurt him too bad, Hera, I don't even know how much he can handle!”
If she did hurt Gar, Jericho certainly wasn't feeling it. As he was still reeling through the air, he started to grow, and in only a few seconds the massive feet of a Tyrannosaurus Rex stomped onto the floor and let loose a roar that shook the foundations of the building.
Beast Boy: “Man, Jericho's choosing some pretty monstrous animals! But me, ever since I killed Madame Rouge I've been scared to go this all out—not just with animals this powerful, but even to just change forms as fast as I can or using more kinds! I'm scared I might lose control again, and who knows what could happen this time! But Jericho, man, he has it in control—he's never done this before but he's got a handle on this like a pro!”
The lumbering beast span as fast as it could, lashing out with its mighty tail and knocking Wonder Girl to the floor. “Fine,” growled the Titan, “No more holding back!” Suddenly Donna's lasso was round the T-Rex's neck, and pulling with all her half-Amazonian might, she knocked the extinct monster off its feet and onto its face.
“Yield,” commanded Wonder Girl as Jericho reverted his host's body to human form and crawled onto his knees. Chuckling, he made eye contact with his opponent and simply replied:
And suddenly he was in Donna Troy's body again, cracking his knuckles, ready for more.
“Great,” grumbled Gar, “Just what I needed.”
Meanwhile, the stalemate between Starfire and Ravager was still going strong.
Starfire: “I was expending so much energy dodging the girl's attacks that I could not explode another Starbolt attack all around me, and whenever I fired one close range, she dodged it, as if she knew it was coming!
“Still, I had one idea left! One trained by the Warlords of Okaara does not go down this easily!”
“Diediediediedie!” Rose attacked like the mad-woman she was, hacking away with no form or style, only reckless abandon. Koriand'r gave up trying to counterattack and focused on dodging now—as she evaded, however, she started building up Starbolt energy in the palm of her hand, letting it gather and grow, waiting for the right moment to strike.
Ravager saw it coming before Kory did, witnessing the attack in her mind's eye through her precognition. She nearly dropped her swords she stopped so suddenly, and just as fast she was running in the other direction. “No! You will not escape!” cried Starfire as she unfurled a storm of tiny Starbolts from her hand, a constant stream firing in a cone shape that covered so much space that there was no way Rose could escape in time.
The young martial artist flew into a wall beside her father. Chunks of her armor were missing and she was muttering groggily—out for a few minutes, at the least. Now Deathstroke and the alien warrior were staring each other eye-to-eye—the mercenary moved slightly, only to grab his bazooka, but he never took his eye off her.
However, Starfire was the one to break the stalemate. “I will deal with you in a moment!” she exclaimed as she burst into the air, then soared toward the energy disruptor that was keeping Speed out of the game. “First I have to help a friend!”
Slade aimed his weapon, but it was for naught. A beam of light suddenly tore through the building, dragging Kory outside just before her foot was able to smash the device. “It's about time you got him here,” he grumbled into his comm-link.
“Sorry, sir,” replied Wintergreen. “Next time I will be more punctual.”
But Slade has already stopped paying attention. He was busy observing his son fighting Wonder Girl and Beast Boy—and preparing for what came next. If Dr. Light had arrived, then Cyborg wouldn't be too far behind—and he still didn't know what Robin and Raven were up to. They could show up at any minute, and he needed to be ready for it.
Especially Robin. Sure, the others were dangerous, but Robin was the one who humiliated him most of all, who taunted him and fought him to a standstill when he was just a mere boy. This time he, Deathstroke, would beat him down, cripple him, humiliate him, then end his pitiful life.
And after that, he'd make sure the rest of the Teen Titans and their friends received the same treatment.
Suddenly the mercenary was shaken out of his thoughts by the sound of Wonder Girl's punches landing. Gar fell, collapsing onto his knees, while Jericho hovered above him in his teammate's body.
Beast Boy: “I finally figured it out! He gets in your body through your eyes! I could sense it earlier `cause animals hate it when you make eye contact with them, but as much as I've been trying to ignore my animal instincts lately, it took me a bit to figure it out! Too long, but oh well, not too late!”
Panting, the tiny green boy looked up and made eye contact with his opponent. He could feel Jericho starting to enter his body—and then he shrank. Beast Boy shrank into a toad, and the body-hopper went flying over the shapeshifter, having lost his contact.
“Thanks, Beast Boy!” exclaimed the now-free Wonder Girl, wasting no time as she was already spinning towards Slade. “I'm going after Deathstroke! Keep him busy!”
Beast Boy: “Sure, like that'll be easy.”
“You're going down!” cried the half-Amazon as she soared towards the mercenary at full speed. If he was scared, he certainly didn't let on.
“Now now my dear, you should be more careful.” Suddenly Slade sprang into the air, pushing off Donna's back just as she passed beneath him and using the momentum to somersault across the room. He landed besides his hostages and, in one swift motion, he unsheathed his sword and rested it against Terry Long's neck.
“After all, we wouldn't want anybody getting hurt, would we?”
“Terry!” Donna's heart sank into her legs.
Wonder Girl: “Today was going to be the best day ever for Terry and me. Now he may die…could it get any worse?!”
The side of Deathstroke's base, a rented building in San Francisco's bustling downtown, exploded as a streak of white-hot light threw the alien warrior Starfire through the wall and into the sky. Finally slowing to a stop, the living luminescence revealed itself to be the Titans' first enemy, Dr. Light!
Starfire: "Light's arrival created many new questions, but in the heat of battle was no time to ask them! Besides, he was not talking and probably would not have answered them anyway, which for him was...odd, but probably fortunate. Since he can control my Starbolts and absorb my solar based powers, I need all my focus just to stay alive!"
The Tamaranian lashed out with a roundhouse kick, but Light simply caught it, clamping down like a vice on her leg and grinning maliciously. White patches on his cybernetic suit lit up as he began sapping the solar power from her body, draining her strength in the process.
Desperate, Koriand'r screamed and unleashed her remaining power all around her, letting it detonate like a Starbolt nuke. Dr. Light was sent sprawling, but that was no problem for a man who could move as fast as light—as soon as he regained his bearings he dashed above his enemy and brought a tiny supernova to life in the palm of his hand. Thrusting his arm toward the ground, his attack became a beam that grounded Starfire, leaving her sizzling at the bottom of a smoldering crater.
In his alcove, Wintergreen was overjoyed at how well this was going—and at how pleased Slade would be with him. Playing with his controls, he made Dr. Light hover down low, only a few inches off the ground, with power focusing in both his hands. It was time to finish her off and move on to bigger and better Titans.
"Yo punk! Leave 'er alone!"
Suddenly a cybernetic hand was gripped tight to the mind-controlled villain's shoulder. Attached to the hand via a steel wire was the half-man half-robot Cyborg, and suddenly retracting the wire he pulled himself through the air at breakneck speeds, transversing the gap rapidly and driving his knee into his opponent's neck. "Sarah, check up on Starry!"
As Light tumbled across the asphalt, Cyborg's girlfriend, Sarah Simms, dashed to her beau's teammate. Kory moaned slightly as the blonde helped her to her feet, propping the larger girl across her shoulders. "It's okay Kory, I've got ya—and Vic's got us!"
"No..." As Starfire's vision re-focused, she saw something her saviors didn't. "Vic...look out! Light!"
Victor Stone's eyes nearly bugged out of his head as he saw Victor Light calmly climb back onto his feet, apparently unharmed from his assault.
Cyborg: "Damn, I guess this means I'm right...and I really didn't wanna be right! But, there's no way somebody could've taken that hit and stayed conscious! Somebody must be controlling Light remotely!"
"Don't worry Starry, I've got 'im!" assured Vic as his opponent lashed forward with a beam of focused light. "Solar armor activate!"
Suddenly Cyborg's robotic components started to glow, their silver color fading into a dark halo of black. Light's attack struck the Titan square in the chest, but he didn't budge—instead the attack splintered around him, eventually dissipating entirely. Dr. Light's face still betrayed no emotion, but Vic certainly hoped the man behind the curtain was utterly dumbfounded.
Cyborg: "Remember way back after we fought Light the first time, an' Gar found me making a secret weapon to use against Light in my lab? Well, this is it! My light refraction armor creates a thin layer of energy around me that reflects Light's attacks, breakin' them up so they won't hurt me! So right now, defense ain't a problem!"
Dr. Light responded by lopping off bright bombs like they were fastballs, but Victor charged through the barrage like a linebacker, tackling his opponent and instantly following up by releasing a flurry of missiles from hatches in his shoulders.
Cyborg: "Now offense, that's a little more've a problem. Light can control my laser cannons and any of my other weapons that're light based, plus he can't be knocked unconscious since he's bein' used like a puppet, and I won't kill him. Really narrows down my options!"
White hot heat detonated around Dr. Light, alleviating the missile threat, but Cyborg didn't let up for a second as he charged through the lingering radiation and grabbed the not-so-good doctor by the neck, choking him. His arm folded back into his signature Sonic Cannon as electricity from his personal defense system started to crackle across his body.
Cyborg: "Limits my options, yeah, but it don't mean I'm outta 'em! Light's powers come from his suit, so if I can't take down the man, I'll take down his tech!"
Placing the barrel of his cannon against Light's gut, Victor released small sound waves combined with a quick surge of electricity. Within the villain's suit, minute, fragile circuitry shattered and died.
Vic dropped his opponent to the ground, and springing to his feet, Light attempted to fire off some attacks—however, nothing was happening! Growing exasperated, Light finally just socked Cyborg in the face. His blood flew, but the metal man didn't even budge.
"Come on now, did you seriously think that was gonna work?"
With no options left, Wintergreen shut down his remote control program, again leaving the shell of Dr. Light's body empty. It crumpled and fell to the ground like a ragdoll. Figuring out what was up with him could wait, figured Vic as he dashed to his teammate and his girlfriend. "Starry, you okay?"
"Feeling better by the second, Vic," replied Kory with a smile. "Thank you for your assistance!"
"No problem." Looking up at the gaping hole Starfire and Dr. Light had made in their quick tussle, he finally voiced that nagging question that was on both his and Sarah's mind: "So, what the hell is going on here, anyway?!"
All three were distracted by the sound of a window shattering. Far above them the fight had still been raging, and now a body was flying through glass, soon to be street pizza.
"There is no time to explain!" exclaimed Princess Koriand'r as she blasted into the air and toward the body. "Only to act!"
"I'll do whatever you want." Donna Troy's lips quivered as the words left them. "Please, just don't hurt him. I'll do anything, but don't hurt him!"
Wonder Girl: "I never thought I'd ever say anything like that to a monster like Deathstroke, but sometimes there's just no choice. My principles mean nothing when he's ready to kill the man I love!"
Indeed, across the room from the half Amazon was the deadly mercenary Deathstroke, his sword held to the neck of his hostage, Terry Long, who was also Donna's "secret" boyfriend.
"Very good, my dear," replied Slade, speaking in a disturbingly calm and composed voice. "I'm glad to see you won't be trying anything stupid. I would hate to have to decapitate him."
"Sure you would," spat Donna, venom in her words.
Her opponent chuckled, amused by her pain. "Of course I would. All that blood...It would be a real mess to have to clean up."
Wonder Girl had to bite her tongue to get through that one.
With all the commotion going on around him, Terry Long finally started to rouse. The last thing he remembered was standing up to Mr. Jupiter. The Titans' corrupt manager had hired Terry to test Donna's fidelity, but instead he'd simply fallen in love with the half-Amazon. He threatened to expose Jupiter, but before he could see his boss's reaction, he'd blacked out. Now, as his blurred vision slowly fixed itself and a throbbing pain came to life in his head, he saw a sword resting against his neck, held in the hands of the world's deadliest mercenary!
"Oh my God!" he exclaimed, startling his girlfriend but not even surprising his captor. He didn't know how, but he knew Jupiter was behind this somehow. 'Oh god,' he thought, "How am I gonna get out of this?!'
"Terry, stay calm!" Wonder Girl was fighting back tears. "It's going to be okay! As long as I do what he says, he's not going to hurt you!"
Wonder Girl: "I don't know how he got his hands on Terry, but when this is over he's not going to have hands anymore! Seeing my boyfriend captured, having to comfort him when he might die, I've never been through something so terrible, and I can't imagine how Terry feels! I'd give anything for this to be over! I'd give up ever trying to find out who my parents are, I'd even take his place!"
His eye moving back and forth between the two teens, Slade added, "Maybe I won't hurt him, but that doesn't mean I can't hurt you, my dear. You'll do anything, remember?" Donna trembled, but the sociopath just went on. "But no matter what happens, none of you are leaving here alive. I will not allow it. So you might as well fight me, girl. Either way, he's dead, but maybe you can survive."
Wonder Girl: "The part of me that's an Amazon, a warrior, was tempted to take action, but the rest of me stopped myself. I can't play into his game, and I can't risk Terry's life. Robin, Raven, Cyborg, they're still out there, and the rest of my teammates are here. We can get out of this somehow. Terry will be okay! I can't risk his life!"
Deathstroke was the only one enjoying this situation. Causing pain to the Titans, playing cruel games with their minds, it was practically euphoric to him. "But, you won't. I know how capes think. You think your teammates will help, that you have some chance to survive this, so you can't risk his life, but you're wrong. Dead wrong."
However, while Donna was fighting this line of thinking with every ounce of resolve she had, Terry was starting to believe it. It wasn't just because of Deathstroke—there was Jupiter to consider as well. Even if Donna got him out of this, Jupiter would do something else. He would never let him threaten his plans, whatever they were.
Terry Long just knew it: today was the day he died.
He was scared, he felt regret. There were so many things he'd never done: he'd never seen the ruins of Rome, never graduated college, hell, he'd never even gotten laid! Still, he couldn't say his life was all bad, especially these last few months. He had a girl that really, truly loved him, and that was something many men were never able to gain.
He wanted to tell Donna everything, what Jupiter had done, what he had done, everything. But, if he was going to die, then he wanted to go out making her as happy as she had made him. Telling her everything would forever put doubt about him into her mind, it would ruin everything they ever had, and the last thing Terry wanted to do was hurt her more. Instead, there was one, simple truth that would make her night, that would let him die a hero.
"Donna," he gasped, "Donna, I'm sorry."
"You're sorry?!" Wonder Girl nearly buckled under the weight of her own guilt. "For what?! It's my fault you got involved in this!"
"No. Donna, I'm sorry about today. You told me you loved me, and it took me by surprise. I never thought a girl would say that to me, especially one as wonderful as you. I didn't answer, and I know it hurt you, and I'm sorry. But, I have an answer: Donna Troy, I love you!"
"Terry..." Biting at her lip, Donna barely managed to get out, "I love you too!"
Wonder Girl: "Finally, he tells me what I wanted to hear...but why did it have to be under these circumstances?!"
Slade Wilson frowned, somewhere beneath his imposing mask. He couldn't help but remember his ex-wife, Adeline. He remembered how she gave him the best times of his life. He remembered his wedding, the honeymoon, the birth of his children. And he remembered Joseph's throat being slit, Adeline shooting his eye out, and her dead body lying beneath his, the smoking gun that ended her life still in his grip.
"Love." Never before had one syllable been filled with such raw hatred and malice. Tightening his hold on his weapon, Deathstroke readied himself. "Believe me, I'm doing you two a favor."
In one swift motion Deathstroke span, and Terry's head hit the floor.
"TERRY!" Wonder Girl shot forward, but before he even landed Slade had already pulled a gun, firing a perfect head shot. Donna barely managed to deflect the bullet, and truthfully, she barely even wanted to.
Wonder Girl: "I wanted to die. Hera, I still do. Terry is gone, and that bastard ruined it all! So as much as I wanted to die, I couldn't. Not before I did to Deathstroke what he did to Terry!"
However, vengeance was going to be harder than Donna thought. The gun Deathstroke was now firing was specially made to combat Wonder Girl. It fired bullets faster than any gun of that size ever made, and it had three times the ammo. Extra packs of bullets were draped all over the mercenary's body, and with his lightning fast reflexes he replaced them before the last one was even empty, thereby ensuring a steady stream of super-fast fire.
Of course, he'd been hoping to take her out with the head shot, but he hadn't anticipated Wonder Girl's reflexes being so fast. Still, he'd wear her down. It wasn't even a matter of patience—after all, he was enjoying this.
And just as he planned, Donna wasn't having an easy time. She landed on her feet with her arms already flying, making deflecting bullets look easy, but that didn't last forever. As her unbreakable Amazonian bracelets knocked some ammo to the right, another round ripped past her left arm, leaving several gashes across her biceps. She winced just for a second, just long enough for another slug to lodge itself in her other arm. She blocked a shot to her face, only for another to land in her stomach. She coughed up a little blood.
Wonder Girl: "My stamina and even my durability are at superhuman levels, but I'm not invulnerable. If something is strong enough, fast enough, it can hurt me or even break my skin! A bullet isn't as destructive to me as it would be to a normal human, but they're still dangerous, especially the powerful ones! Obviously, Deathstroke's gun has power to spare!"
Across the room Garfield Logan was still battling Jericho, but he was having just as hard a time.
Beast Boy: "Hopeless, this all feels so...hopeless now. There's no way the shrinking trick is gonna work twice, and I can't fight this guy if I can't look at him, an' even without taking over my body, he's fast and he's good! He's pushing me to my limits, and it's scary. And then there's Donna...I don't know who that guy she likes is, but Deathstroke killed him! Matt could be next! Even Donna could be next, the way this is going! How am I supposed to win?! I'm surprised I can even move!"
"Donna, I'm coming!" cried the tiny changeling, but the words had barely even left his mouth before he received Joseph Wilson's palm in his face, the mute's way of telling him it would never happen. Beast Boy became a green wolf, pacing circles around Joe, just barely avoiding his deadly gaze. Suddenly Jericho lunged, somersaulting with his leg extended for a full powered windmill kick. Gar just barely shrank beneath it, using the wind he kicked up to dodge above it as a flying squirrel.
Joe landed on his toes and immediately pivoted, tossing a handful of shuriken Gar's way. The Titan grew into a Great Heron and flapped above it, but the deadly projectiles just flew into the wall, missing Matt Logan by inches. The slacker screamed, and despite the balled up socks gagging his throat, the sound pierced every ear-drum in the room.
"That's it!" screamed Gar, resuming his human form in mid-air. "Pick on me, that's fine, but no way you're picking on my family!"
Beast Boy: "When I fought Madame Rouge I let go of my human side and let my anger and my animal instinct take over, and I've been scared, I've been kicking myself over it ever since! But y'know what? I'm tired of it! Maybe I killed Rouge, but I saved Terra! I feel bad about it, and if I did that to this jerk I'd hate myself even more, but I'll feel even worse if Matt gets hurt! I've felt it before with my parents and with the Doom Patrol, and I can't anymore! I don't want to go through what Donna's going through, not again!
"So to save my cousin I'll go all out, use all my animal info, because I won't let him die!"
Garfield landed as a wolf, growling primaly but standing still. Smirking, Jericho made eye contact and shot off towards his opponent in his astral form. Suddenly the green wolf shrank, changing shape, stretching and contorting and losing its spine until it became a jellyfish. Joey hit home, but did something he'd never done before—he bounced off his target!
Beast Boy: "Jellyfish don't have eyes, sucker! You can't possess me!"
The changeling shot forward, attacking savagely and rapidly, and changing form even faster. Jericho was punched by a gorilla, kicked by a kangaroo, pinched by a crab, pecked by a bald eagle, slashed by a tiger, and, just for good measure, humped by a Labrador retriever. Then he just disappeared, leaving Joe on the floor, searching for the strength to keep fighting. Suddenly he felt a tiny prick on his arm, and all that strength was gone. A green spider grew into Beast Boy.
"I bit ya as a Sydney Funnel Web Spider," he said with a wink. As Jericho grew groggy and then fell unconscious, the last thing he heard was, "Don't worry, it wasn't a big dose. You'll be fine for hours before we get the antidote in ya."
Beast Boy: "Holy crap, I can't believe I did that!"
Still, he wasn't out of the water yet—and with an enemy like Deathstroke, he needed all the allies he could get. Gar took the form of a buffalo as he charged across the room.
"No you don't!" Suddenly two swords were jammed into the mighty creature's back. Ravager pounced from above, still trashed from Starfire's assault, though she wasn't letting it stop her. "You're not gonna hurt my dad!"
Garfield bucked, knocking the girl off of his back. Still, his charge was pretty much done, and struggling, he took a few final steps before collapsing. Returning to his human body from pure exhaustion, the tiny boy was left with two gaping holes in his shoulder blades. Ravager was proud for only a second, before her precognition showed her that her father wasn't Beast Boy's true target. "Oh s---."
That pretty much summed it up, because with his final step as a buffalo, Beast Boy had managed to shatter the energy disruptor that held the monstrously powerful Titan Speed at bay. The room lit up like lightning had struck as Speed reformed his body. He was angrier than he'd ever been before, and for Wally West, that was saying something.
Speed: "God, it's like war footage on TV or something, only, well...real! Gar's all torn up, Donna's getting mangled, Aunt Iris and Matt are tied up, that redhead kid's head is on the floor, and God only knows what happened to Kory! This has gone far enough! Maybe I don't like all of these guys that much, maybe I don't think they deserve half of the praise they get, but none of them deserve this!"
Kneeling over his green teammate, Wally lent speed to Gar's wounds, helping to quicken their healing process.
Speed: "Still, I can't do a perfect job on them. Hopefully Raven can heal them the rest of the way...if she ever shows up. Today was not the day for her to be AWOL, not that it surprises me."
"Now to take care of you!" cried the speed specter as he burst forward, grabbed Ravager by the collar, and tossed her through the window. She didn't even have time to scream. "Next, Deathstroke!"
Wally skidded to a stop, shocked by Donna's command.
Wonder Girl: "Deathstroke killed the man I love. I might have been able to stop him, and I don't know if I'll ever feel stop feeling guilty about it. If I wasn't the one to take him down, I don't think I could have lived past it at all."
"Let me do it, Speed!" growled the Titans' field leader, rage in her eyes. "Deathstroke is mine!"
Despite it all, Wally scoffed. "Yours? Please. You can't even move! Besides, you're not the only one with a claim to this guy! He kidnapped my Aunt Iris!"
"Wally, please! He killed the man I love!"
Beast Boy: "Wait, I thought Kyle Rayner was the man she loved!"
Speed: "God, the one time I'm totally entitled to call her a whore and I can't do it! After all, I know how I would feel if he'd killed Aunt Iris instead, or Fran or hell, as much as I hate to admit it, even Raven! Not even Donna deserved this, not even her..."
"Fine," grumbled the speed specter, "But you better have a good plan."
Slade wasn't sure if she did or not, but regardless he was seeing his plans fall to pieces around him. Jericho and Ravager were down, Wintergreen wasn't responding, and worst of all, Speed was free. On any other job this was the part where he would retreat, but not this time—not when his pride was on the line!
After all, he still had one ace left—his experience, his brain, and if he was to win, he'd have to rely on them to win now. "You know she doesn't, boy," he snarled with his usual menace. "No matter what, none of you stand a chance: and you're worst of all, Ms. Troy. You're simply a scared little girl who can't handle a thing without her pathetic little boyfriend, aren't you?"
Deathstroke hoped he could psych her out, prey upon her already damaged psyche, but unfortunately for him, the words only emboldened Donna Troy. "No, you're wrong!" she cried as she suddenly gained speed, finally deflecting more bullets. "I am a warrior! I am an Amazon!"
Wonder Girl: "And that's something I've been forgetting. I wanted to embrace my human side so badly that I was forgetting where I came from, forgetting what helped make me me! The Greek Gods watched over and blessed all us Amazons, and for the first time in a long time, I entreated them with all my heart. I asked them for their blessings, for their strength to deal with this madness!
"And they didn't let me down."
It was like new life was injected into Wonder Girl's veins. She picked up speed, moving like a blur as she ricocheted bullets left and right, and suddenly she just span, drilling through the floor beneath her.
"Awe...awesome," managed to spit out the mangled Beast Boy. Even Wally looked impressed.
Deathstroke ceased his fire and crouched down low, readying himself to respond with every ounce of speed he had the second she showed herself. Despite his prodigious speed and reflexes, it wasn't anywhere near enough. In the blink of an eye he was carried through the roof and knocked far into the sky by a red, gold and blue streak.
"This is for Terry!" exclaimed Donna as she hurled a punch straight into his face, shattering his mask and, likewise, his nose. She ripped his weapons and ammunition from his body, letting them fall to the street below, then tore into him with a volley of martial arts strikes, fueled by the pure rage she felt. Honestly, it was the only thing keeping her moving at all.
"Hola!" she cried, accompanying the traditional Amazonian battle cry by striking her opponents neck with her fingers. Blood and spit flew from Slade's mouth as he freefell, completely helpless, but the Titan wasn't done with him yet. Not by a long shot.
Suddenly the golden cords of her magic lasso bound his hands, then his feet, then both together as she hogtied them behind his back. Still screaming cries of frustration, she ran the rope across his mouth and neck, pulling both backwards, before bounding the rest of his body so thoroughly that he looked like he was immersed in a golden cocoon.
Donna span him several times before tossing him back into his compound. Only a few seconds had passed for those still inside when Slade fell through the roof like a comet.
Speed: "Hell, she had a good plan after all!"
Wonder Girl floated down into the room slowly, the ends of her weapon wrapped around her wrist.
"Way...way to go, WG," smiled Gar as he slowly tried to pull himself to his feet.
"No!" exclaimed Donna as lightning sparked from the lasso. "It's not enough! Not enough for what he did to Terry!" Zeus' magical lightning exploded like a missile, sending her teammates flying and surging through Slade's body at an intensity that would have killed an enemy lacking his enhanced skills.
Wonder Girl: "I wanted him to die, all I wanted was to kill him and make the pain go away! It's...scary really. I'd never thought I would ever want to kill anyone, and I'd always looked down at the so-called heroes who would kill! But now...don't get me wrong, I still think killing is wrong...but I understand why now. And despite that, I wish I didn't. I'd give anything for this all to just be a bad dream!"
"Donna!" Starfire soared into the room through one of the broken windows, and the sight she was greeted with was like a knife to the heart. In her arms she held Ravager—she couldn't let her die, not when she knew Rose wasn't in control of her actions—and she nearly dropped the girl when she saw her friend. "Donna, stop it!"
Starfire: "Perhaps that seems hypocritical, coming from me. I admit, I do not truly agree with Earth's ideas about killing, especially under circumstances such as this! But, Donna does. I know her, and she would never forgive herself if she killed Deathstroke! This was not about Deathstroke—I could not allow her to do this to herself!"
"I'm not going to stop!" Tears dripped down Donna's cheeks. "He deserves this! He does!"
"And I agree!" interjected Koriand'r. "But you are Wonder Girl, and you do not kill! Do not throw away your code, my friend! Executing Deathstroke will not bring the man you loved back, and it will not bring him peace! He would be pained if you threw everything away!"
Wonder Girl: "As much as I didn't want to listen to her, I knew it was true. Deathstroke doesn't deserve to live, but by letting him, I make sure I never become what he is!"
The lightning slowly died, and Donna dropped her weapon. Tears poured down her cheek as she fell to her knees, sobbing uncontrollably. Her teammates weren't very far off from tears themselves.
Beast Boy: "Well, I guess we won...but it sure doesn't feel like it. Sometimes, being a superhero just ain't all it's cracked up to be..."
With the action over and the battle won, finally the full weight of the situation hit home, smacking the half-Amazon silly. "I am here for you," said Kory, cradling her friend in her arms, tears flowing freely from her deep green eyes. "It will be okay..."
But Donna knew she was wrong. "No," she sobbed, "It won't...he's dead. Terry's dead, and nothing will ever be okay again..."
Next time: The Grieving Process