"How DARE he?! Stone, Cyborg, that impudent, unruly, delinquent heap of SCRAP METAL, did it AGAIN...! And not just him either. Bumblebee, after having been one of the H.I.V.E's top students for the past couple of YEARS? How, how DARE SHE turn against ME? Standing against MY will, refusing to follow MY commands, turned to THEIR side, the side of the Teen Titans- joining THEM, joining forces with HIM? How? HOW?! And now, I have to through all of this palaver, this complete and utter CRAP, yet AGAIN. THEY destroyed my SECOND school, my brand new underwater base, and NOW, I have to go about rebuilding the H.I.V.E academy, my H.I.V.E academy, ALL OVER AGAIN! DAMN THEM ALL TO HELL! I swear it, I shall have my vengeance, oh yes I shall. Cyborg, Bumblebee, and all of the rest of the Titans will PAY for what they've done, what they've cost me with their juvenile resistance, vandalism, criminal damage and delinquency. These children will be made to pay, will be severely disciplined, no, PUNISHED for what they've done to me. Either until they repent, see the error of their misguided heroic ways, and bow to my will and wisdom- or until they DIE! Mark my words, they will PAY! SO SAYS BROTHER BLOOD! Those who oppose Brother Blood WILL BE BLED, bled to the very last drop...!"
Finally managing to regain some element of self-control and composure, fighting to calm his justified rage and aggression, Brother Blood trailed off in his vocal tirade. Reining in the blood-red contrails of destruction swirling freely and maliciously around him, lashing out at everything and anyone in range with extreme prejudice, which had left nothing within a thirty foot radius still standing. Still, he was levitating in mid-air over the centre of an impressive newly-carved crater in the reinforced concrete floor, one deeper than he himself was tall. Regulating his breathing, slowly surveying his surroundings- what was left of them, anyway- Brother Blood didn't have to turn around to sense, with some satisfaction, that behind him, huddled together in the furthest corner end of this abandoned warehouse, the pitiful remnants of the H.I.V.E's student body were cowering and quivering in fear, trying to hide from his wrath. Those three who'd failed their graduation assignment, Jinx, Mammoth and Gizmo; along with Kyd Wykkyd, See-More, Billy Numerous and Private HIVE. All of them were huddled behind Mammoth, save for a few Billy Numerouses who hadn't been able to fit- no doubt hoping, in vain of course, that the giant's massive, rugged frame and strength would provide them some protection against the power and fury of Brother Blood.
Still, at least THESE wayward teens, worthless and incompetent though they were, still held the proper respect for him, still feared him as they should, and would still do his bidding as he demanded of them. He would keep them with him, for now. Speaking of which- Brother Blood glared at the scattered wreckage which had been the computer console he'd been standing in this spot to access in the first place. He could have used his powers to reconstitute its parts and piece it back together, but there was no way to restore the data on its hard-drive, and even if he could still use the internet, he was in too bad a mood to bother with all of that hassle and effort right now. Instead, he simply raised his left hand, clicking his fingers. "Gizmo! Your backpack, and the H.I.V.E. computer files. Give them to me. NOW."
Still keeping his back turned, Brother Blood smirked as he felt Gizmo's eyes bulging in shock, savouring the sensation of the fear rising in his student and of the clear telltale signs of guilt, tangibly dripping off his psyche like buds of sweat. "I, I... I mean, I..."
"Gizmo, I'm well aware that you extensively hacked into the H.I.V.E computer. That you've been doing so ever since Mr Stone's brief period at the first HIVE Academy, when you started to resort to whatever measures you felt were necessary to stay ahead academically; and that almost every single file on the HIVE computer is also stored in the storage drive of your backpack. I reward initiative and aptitude in bending the rules to one's will, and you were not caught doing so by security, so you were not expelled. But now, your backpack now contains the only surviving backup files from the HIVE mainframe. And you WILL either hand them over to me, NOW- or you will concede that you have outlived your purpose to me. Do I make myself clear?"
"Y-y-yes, H-Headmaster. R-right away, Headmaster." Gizmo rocketed over to the edge of the crater, struggling with visibly shaking hands to unstrap his backpack and convert it into its computer console mode, before the dwarf hurriedly toddled back over to rejoin the others as quickly as his legs could carry him. Dismissing him in an instant, Brother Blood turned his attentions to the console, levitating across to stand in front of it, his fingers flowing across the keyboard as he browsed through the files, looking for one section in particular. Jump City had been a decent base of operations, at least in the beginning, before the Titans' arrival. But now? Now, Jump City was a barren, hostile desert. There was no decent new talent available to be trained, no worthwhile clients to recruit them, no targets worth targeting besides those accursed enemies who sought to destroy all that he'd fought to build, his life's legacy; all in the name of their 'morals', 'ethics', and attempts to hold him, HIM, to the law.
In Jump City, the H.I.V.E had become a joke. There was no profit to be made there, and it just wasn't financially viable to operate from there any more. Both the League of Shadows and Brotherhood of Evil had taken full advantage, eating into his share of the world market and out-competing the HIVE for recruitment contracts, thanks largely to their far cushier situations, and he couldn't allow this debacle and demise to continue any further. He still had outstanding business in Jump City, personal business, and he would come back to take full retribution, there was no question of that. But it was long past time to relocate, to move his operations elsewhere and start anew in a far more productive, conducive environment for villainous enterprises- one where the H.I.V.E could be rebuilt and grow strong again, forging an iron grip without having to worry about competitors or interference. Naturally, that ruled out a fair few prime locations. Gotham, Metropolis, Central City, Coast City, Fawcett City, Star City, Midway City; all were swiftly dismissed as being clearly unsuitable locations, for obvious reasons. Opal City, Ivy Town, Hub City, New Carthage and Platinum Flats were worth looking over, and given greater consideration, but all were similarly dismissed in relatively short order.
Steel City, now, Steel City certainly looked like a promising enough prospective locale; one of the largest cities in the Eastern USA without any resident superheroes at all, aside from that insignificant former sidekick of Green Arrow's, Speedy, who'd only just gone solo and started patrolling its streets in the past couple of months. There was plenty of low-level street crime there, lots of shady figures, corruption and organised crime to be capitalized upon, exploited and manipulated in Steel City. But neither the League of Shadows nor the Brotherhood had any presence there whatsoever, and there apparently weren't any real supervillains there either. It seemed like a perfect choice. Would have been, if he'd been looking for somewhere to lay low. Somewhere to plot and scheme in secret, where he could keep the Titans in the dark and set his trap until he was fully prepared to lure the unsuspecting Cyborg and Bumblebee into it, to take the revenge which was his by right. It may well still suffice- for the effective misdirection component of his evil plot, at any rate. But it most certainly didn't offer a grand enough vision to be his main focus, to be the new host city of the H.I.V.E. Academy.
Brother Blood did not hide in the shadows. He was not Slade Wilson, and he wasn't going to be content with offering one or two secret apprenticeships here and there. He was a man with a vision, a grand all-encompassing vision to train and educate an entire next generation of supervillains, instilling them with the skills and attitude they'd need to some day destroy all those who'd oppose them and take over the world. And then, once they had, he'd wield the control which he held over them, manipulating them into doing exactly what he wanted them to do, using his network of HIVE's valedictorians to some day bring the entire world under his control and mold it to his immutable will. And to do that, he needed talent. He needed young, promising, villainous talented potential students who'd truly be worthy of their scholarships at the H.I.V.E, ones who possessed the power and the malleability to become true supervillains. And looking through the files on Gizmo's backpack, it soon became clear that there was one city in particular, more than any other, which could offer him and the H.I.V.E those powerful, promising meta-human potential students in the numbers which he wanted.
Dakota City. Brother Blood looked through the file, and his eyes lit up with that thirsty, blood-red glow. True, it did have its own superhero or two- three, if you included the black teenage superhero's new similarly young sidekick, and perhaps as many as four or five once all of the vigilantes who'd ever surfaced in the city were added to the equation. But none of them were remotely competent enough to pose any real threat; they'd be nothing compared to the thorn in his side that the Teen Titans had been. And the sheer potential for recruitment, courtesy of that incident they'd dubbed 'the Big Bang'... All of those dozens, hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of impressionable, juvenile criminal meta-humans with impressive powers and abilities. All of them floating around aimlessly like jetsam, committing nothing more serious than street level petty crimes.
The Joker had recognised the potential in Dakota City's massive population of young meta-human miscreants, a couple of years ago. And even with his notorious reputation, as an insane lunatic who'd kill off members of his hired help on a daily basis for no other reason than to pass the time, he'd managed to go to Dakota City and convince a gang of six budding young would-be villains to join him- a gang which had actually succeeded in capturing the Dynamic Duo, no mean feat. If not for the Clown Prince of Crime's own idiocy in delaying dispensing with them, Robin at the very least would have been killed back then, less than a month before he'd decided to pursue a crime-fighting career on his own, and those accursed Teen Titans would never have been formed in the first place. But never mind that. What had happened had already happened- there was no changing it now. And when it came to villainous recruitment, training, indoctrination and manipulation, that ridiculous old clown was nowhere near being in his league.
Brother Blood was sure of it now- Dakota City was, without a shadow of a doubt, the most fertile recruitment ground that he and the H.I.V.E Academy could possibly ask for. There, he would sow the seeds of his eventual triumph- there, he'd truly be able to start recruiting and training an formidable army of meta-humans, against which all of the Teen Titans, and all of the next generation of heroes across the world, would fall. Cyborg and Bumblebee would be first and foremost among them, of course, Brother Blood swore to ensure that they would be- he himself would see to their demises personally, and he'd make sure that they suffered dearly, long and slow and hard, for having had the gall to defy him to his face. But he was a patient man, a wise man; he could wait until his seeds grew, wait until his new crop in Dakota City was ready before going out and reaping his glorious harvest. And once he had, no-one, not even the Teen Titans and all of the other teenage superheroes across the world combined, would be able to stand against them.
"...He's sure been lookin' at that console a' Gizmo's fer a long time, ain't he Billy?"
"I'll say he has, Billy. A mighty long time indeed, yesirree."
"Yeah, SO?" Gizmo snapped irritably, glaring up at the two Billy Numerous clones who'd been chatting away with one another under their breath this whole time. He would've just ignored them and played a video game, if he could; but he didn't have anything which he could play any of the good games on any more, since he'd had to hand his backpack over, so he just had to put up with hearing them instead, yammering on and on and on.
"He's purty tetchy, ain't he Billy?"
"Hoo Nelly, he sure is Billy..."
"So, whachoo reckon he be lookin' at, Jinx?" Already tense, Jinx only just managed to keep herself from jumping out of her skin and from jinxing everything in her vicinity when yet another Billy infuriatingly popped out of nowhere, leaned in close over her shoulder from behind and hissed that question into her ear. "How the hell should I kn-"
GRRRGH! Everyone whipped around to see where the roaring growl had come from; Mammoth bowed his head sheepishly, rubbing his stomach with one of his immensely powerful, overlarge hands. "Urgh, I'm hungry. Anyone got anything to eat?"
"Tell you what, Mammoth, you can eat a Billy or two. That should thin out the herd, shut them up a bit. What do you think, Gizmo?" Allowing a satisfied little smirk to form at her own threat, Jinx looked across at Gizmo and winked at him. The evil brat-genius didn't seem to take the hint though- instead, he maliciously grinned from ear to ear, giggling at the prospect. "Heheheh... Oh yeah, that sounds like a great idea, Jinx. I'd pay to see that."
Mammoth shrugged and turned around, away from Brother Blood, to face the rest of the group instead, looming over them all with his arms crossed over his massive chest. Looking down at the nearest couple of Billy Numerous clones, who visibly quailed under his gaze, and starting backing away slowly- picking up the pace as Mammoth raised an eyebrow, and his tongue popped out for an moment to lick his dry lips.
"Easy there big fella, no need ta be hasty now is there...?"
"Whoa now, hold on dere just a darned minute... Eeek!"
Looking on in dark silence as always, his expression unreadable through his full face mask, Kyd Wykkyd teleported out of the way with a swish of his cape. Trying to lean back against him, but finding nothing there but thin air, the Billy Numerous clone fell sprawling on his backside with a panicked squeal, scrunching up his eyes and raising his arms in a futile effort to ward off whatever was coming, as Mammoth advanced upon him.
"Ooh, I don't think I'm gonna be able to watch this..." See-More cringed, raising his hands to cover his eye and turning his head to look away. Standing beside him, even Private HIVE had a grimace on his face, deliberately averting his gaze to polish some non-existent speck off of his hexagonal shield. "This really necessary? No need to resort to last-ditch emergency rations yet..."
"Meh, you're such a wimp, See-More," Gizmo sneered, bobbing up and down in eager anticipation. "And quit bein' such a stiff, Private. C'mon, Mammoth. Eat, Eat, Eat...!"
Didn't any of these thick-headed buffoons know what dark humor was? Or how to take a hint? Honestly... Jinx stepped into the fray to break things up, tossing angry looks at Gizmo, Mammoth, and all six Billy Numerouses in turn, with her raised hands radiating with maleficent pink magical energy. "That's enough. Knock it off, all of you. The Headmaster's..."
"Right here." Everyone jumped in shock, whipping around to find Brother Blood standing only a couple of metres away, with a broad grin on his face, his dark red eyes shining with an intensity which put even Jinx's magical magenta light show in the shade. "Thank you, Jinx. She's quite right- amusing though it may be to indulge in a bit of healthy bloodshed, we have more pressing matters to attend to."
"Silence." Brother Blood muttered it under his breath, barely audible. But having got all of their attentions focused upon him and him alone, all six of them, plus however many Billy Numerouses there were- he couldn't be bothered, it wasn't worth the effort of counting- muted themselves instantly, standing stock still and to attention, their own eyes starting to take on the same blood-red shimmer as his own. It was good to see that at least some of his lessons hadn't gone completely to waste.
"Come now- we travel to Dakota City. To build a new H.I.V.E, one which will surpass all others which may have come before, and from which we shall destroy all those who oppose our might! All hail the H.I.V.E- All, Hail, Brother, Blood!"
"Brother Blood! Brother Blood! Brother Blood...!"
So, here we are- the first chapter of a brand new Static Shock/Teen Titans crossover fanfic! This is going to be set in a merged AU, diverging from canon after Teen Titans episode 34 and the end of Static Shock's third season respectively. As you can see, the difference is that where Brother Blood decided to ditch the few remaining HIVE students after the destruction of the HIVE's second underwater facility in the series, heading off to Steel City on the East Coast to lay a trap and hide in wait, here Brother Blood decides to pursue a far more grandiose strategy instead. Keeping the remaining HIVE students with him, he decides to head off to Dakota City instead, with the aim of inducting and brainwashing as many of Dakota's Bang-Babies as he can into signing up to his brand-new, bigger and better HIVE, and building up an army of metahuman villains under his command, one with which he can destroy the Titans once and for all.
But Bumblebee and Aqualad are already on Brother Blood's trail, and when they follow it to his new hideout in the Midwest, they'll still be looking to form their own new team of Titans there to stand against him and the HIVE, and to protect Dakota City against its super-powered criminals and villains. Neither they nor the Dakota Duo can cope with the threat alone- but who's joining whose team? I've got a few pairings in mind, and a whole heap of crushes, most of which'll be a bit one-sided- Static/Bumblebee's planned as the main pairing, though it'll be a slow burner (with both of them set to be butting heads over who's in charge for a while, especially in the beginning). And Brother Blood's set to find a love interest of his own in Dakota City (an honest-to-goodness non-rapey, non-paedo and non-slash one as well- honest). Haven't got anything planned when it comes to who most of the HIVE students'll end up romantically pairing up with though- any suggestions?