Chapter 1: Opening Night
Raven is an aspiring poet searching for inspiration. She has currently been in a writer's block for quite a while and as her job at a local paper gets even more droll and boring, she begins to reconsider whether she should have tried to be a psychiatrist than dropping out of college to have more time to write.
Starfire is a fashion designer who constantly feels outshined by her older more outgoing sister Blackfire who currently is quite renowned for her lewd fashion line. She is new to the city and grew up in a more rural area (hence she will still talk in her strange alien way and not understand some of the customs of the city).
Cyborg is a computer programmer who has finally been able to begin living again after several operations on him transforming into his robot/human state in the present day after a near fatal accident. Though a brilliant computer analyst, he is desolate and lonely for companionship.
Beast Boy is an aspiring comedian who is trying desperately to make people laugh (though it's not working). He also hangs on to his lengthy relationship with Terra and often confuses her actual personality with the ideal image of a girl he has vested upon her.
Finally, Robin is the young and talented new assistant CEO of Wayne Corps. Though Bruce is his adopted father figure of some sorts, he doesn't know as much about Bruce as he would like…and as of late, he begins to take the issue in his own hands as he attempts to find out who Bruce really is.
Raven typed away quickly at her laptop. "Oh, come on!" she muttered. "There has to be more stuff I can rack out about the misuse of lab mice in large biotechnology institutions." However, no ideas were coming to her. She had already mentioned all the factual information she had discovered about their abuse, which wasn't all that much anyhow: half a page max. And of course she added a bit of her own opinion on the future implications of this practice, which no matter how hard she tried to extend, she could only write about a paragraph. "If only there were no law suits." She thought. That would make her job as a writer for the non-prestigious underdog paper of New York City, The Muckrakers a ton lot easier. No, though they claimed the name of the ever-famous The Muckrakers of the past, the editors of the paper wanted to avoid controversy. Lawsuits from large companies could be costly, and the paper frankly, did not have too much money. After all, they only had a readership of about two hundred people, which was horrible by the media standards of Jump City. Even the tabloid What Really Goes on in those Furniture Stores was doingbetter than them.
Raven stared blankly at her article. She needed to write just one more paragraph. Staring at the clock, she realized that it was eight o'clock, way past dinnertime. She was getting quite hungry and the temptation to make something up for the article was becoming harder to resist. After all, if she made something up that wasn't too absurd, she could get away with it. The reporting champion, Jinx, after all did it all the time. And look at where she was? She was on her way of getting promoted to a minor editor, a pay raise, and a better office spot, while Raven was stuck as a mere reporter, surviving on a meager pay. She thought up another reason to justify writing fiction for the paper: if it did indeed cause a lawsuit, the paper would go bankrupt, which wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing. Her pay wasn't that great anyhow.
But no, Raven unfortunately had honor and pride. She would have to research more on these lab rats into the night. Making stuff up for an article was the first step to degenerating her articles to the tabloid articles. She sighed; everything just sucked… her job, her non-existent social/love life, and her existence in general.
Raven looked up from her computer screen as she heard footsteps, specifically high heel clicking, in the office room. Who would be here so late, besides the janitors? And the last time she checked, janitors really did not wear high heels when they worked.
"Hey Raven." Oh, great…the exact person she was looking forward to seeing this late in the office…Jinx. Jinx with her flamboyant pink hair (that had to be hair dye) was perky, shrill, and utterly horrible as usual.
"Hey Jinx." Raven tried to utter a semi-enthusiastic reply. What was she doing here so late? Shouldn't she be on a date with some low life or out at some boisterous party?
"Raven, dear. I see you're working late here already. You know, you work way too hard." Jinx picked up her nail filer proceeded as Raven pretend to be thoroughly engrossed in her work. Flattery, what did she want now? Raven was getting increasingly frustrated as Jinx continued to talk in her sweet coaxing manner.
She could stand the bootlicking any further. It was really plain disgusting to hear. It was even more grotesque to see all of the managers and editors buy Jinx's act, but she couldn't fool Raven. "Jinx, what do you want?" She cut Jinx off bluntly.
"Geez Raven, can't I be nice and talk to you?" Jinx looked at her innocently. Raven continued to glare at her, until Jinx sighed and placed a piece of paper in front of Raven's face. "Ok. I realize and accept that you totally have no social life, so would you be a dear and write this article for me? It's due tomorrow and I have like two parties to hit and since you're already here working on something else, I see no waste in having you write my article."
Raven read the paper. She cringed as she read the topic…the New York sewers and what sorts of trash toxin companies really dumped in them. "You want me to write an article about trash in the sewers?" She questioned Jinx.
Jinx barely looked up from filing her nails and nodded. "Yeah. Fifty bucks for it, which really isn't all that much from the amount I get from my pay check."
Fifty dollars was quite a high offer and Raven considered her rent for the month… "Fine, I'll do it. Pay in cash right now." It was going to be a long night for her. She might as well have the money now. She could hardly wait to spend all night researching lab mice and sewer pollution.
Starfire meekly picked up her heavy luggage bags and headed outside. Where was her beloved elder sister Blackfire?
She had already waited in the airport for over an hour waiting for her sister to pick her up. She had called Blackfire earlier from home to confirm that she could indeed find time in her oh so busy schedule to pick up her younger sister. "Sis, of course I'll pick you up. I'll be there at seven o'clock sharp! I can't wait to show you the city!"
It would be an understatement to say that she was disappointed in Blackfire. It was nearly eight thirty by now. She would have to find her own way to Blackfire's apartment.
Thankfully, she had written down the address of her sister's residence. "Let me see, 1800 Titan Apartments, room 303, how quaint." She thought to herself. Haplessly, she had no idea where this apartment complex was. She also didn't have a map or any directions. And it was getting dark, very dark.
Star headed towards an intersection. She was surprised to see the large number of people still out and about in the city. Back in her home, the streets would practically be empty at this time- it was practically an unofficial curfew that everyone had to be in their homes by eight p.m.
"Excuse…" Star tried to get the attention of fellow passerbys, but everyone either did not hear her voice or were in too much of a hurry to care. She sighed in resignation, as no one seemed to care that she was hopelessly lost.
Star almost jumped in glee as she saw a young respectable man in a suit walk by more slowly than the others. She quickly trailed after him. "Excuse me sir, I am new at this wonderful city, and I really do not know how to get to my sister's house. It is getting dark, and I am afraid that I will not be able to find my way there. Could you please assist me in the directions?" The man looked a bit reluctant. He sighed impatiently, "I-I kind of have to get somewhere…" Starfire looked down at the ground. Perhaps the city was not as brilliant place as Blackfire had described. The people certainly were not as refined and polite as those back at home.
"Sir, please. I must get to my sister's house tonight. I thought that you might be of some assistance to me…"
"I really need to get to…well I guess it won't take more than a few minutes. All right, let's see the address. Hm…Ah! Just head down this street, turn right down there and go past two intersections, then turn left and you'll be on your merry way."
Star shined brightly. (Um cheesy pun). "Dear sir! Thank you so very much. So I must just go down this street, turn right, go past two intersections, and then turn left?" The man nodded. Star graciously took his hands into hers. "Oh! I am forever indebted in your generosity and kindness. Would you like me to recite the poem of gratitude from my old town?" The man looked a bit uncomfortable. Star persisted "It is but 3000 verses." The man vigorously shook his head, smiled sheepishly, and then quickly headed off in the opposite direction.
Star followed the man's directions carefully. "Perhaps the city is not such a bad place after all." She thought.
She looked at her watch. It was around nine by the time she reached her sister's apartment door. She knocked on the door eagerly. She would finally get to see her elder sister after all these years. She smiled brightly for a while thinking of this reunion… However, after about fifteen minutes at the door, Star began to be concerned. What was causing Blackfire all this delay in answering the door? She pressed her ear against the door. There was loud, startlingly loud music coming from the door. What was going on? Star decided to pound at the door. "Blackfire, it is I your sister Starfire at the door!" She persisted in yelling her sister's name and pounding at the door when finally a fazed teenager opened the door. "Yo, Blackfire, someone's at the door for you."
From the looks of things, it appeared that a party, a rather rambunctious one, had been going on in the apartment room. "Can it wait?" Star felt uncomfortable as she heard her sister's voice. Her sister sounded irritated, impatient, totally unlike the older sister she had just conversed with over the phone. The boy who had opened the door earlier headed toward the back room. Star dragged her luggage into the room. It was a difficult task for there were several people in the room dancing rather inappropriately. Where was Blackfire? Was she even at the right apartment?
Star continued to contemplate this as she finally saw her sister emerge. Blackfire was laughing with a crowd of guys. "Now, I'll be just a second."
"Sister!" Star yelled out. Blackfire widened her eyes a bit. So this was why she had to leave her companions. Blackfire managed a smug smile "Hey Star! Great to see ya. So you finally decided to come out here to the city. Let me tell ya, it does wonders to your fashion designing careers. That is why you came out here to do isn't it?"
Star was a bit puzzled. How could her sister now remember this? "Blackfire, did I not tell you that I was coming today on the phone earlier? You offered to pick me up from the airport."
Blackfire grinned. "Silly me, I completely forgot. This party sort of came up. Hey, I have some company to attend to. Go have some fun too! I'll talk to you later." She gave a quick wink to Star and waved at the large crowd of guys in the corner.
Star tried, (she genuinely did), to talk to the other people at the party. But it was so difficult to with all the loud pounding music and the dancing. She sighed. She would go outside and take a walk or something. It was just far too loud inside. "Perhaps the city is not as wonderful and magnificent as I imagined." She muttered. She closed the door quietly. No one would notice that she, the wallflower, had left the party.
"Tomorrow will be a better day." She tired to reassure herself. And perhaps, it would be. After all, tomorrow would be the first day of work at her sister's company. Though she did indeed miss her sister, she had come to the city for the job opportunity of being able to show more people her clothing designs. She had always loved sketching and drawing designs for clothing.
She walked outside the apartment building. As full and vibrant as the city was, she realized that it could indeed be a lonely place, a very lonely place indeed.