The Epic of Gauntlet
"You only get one chance to make a good impression… and that was it."
Disclaimer: Might not actually be epic in any manner.
Secondary Disclaimer: DC, please don't sue. It would make me so sad…
Tertiary Disclaimer: This is parody/sequel to Legend Maker's Black and White, written with permission and indeed assistance from said author.
Quaternary Disclaimer: Gauntlet is my own original character. No use without permission! Period! And no, he is not a self insert.
The City of Townsville!
Will not be featured in this story.
Instead, we turn our attention to the Teen Titans Tower. A mighty edifice, a T larger than the Statue of Liberty, it houses the greatest heroes on Earth…
If you ignore the Justice League of America…
And the Justice Society of America…
And the Omega Men, wherever they are anymore…
Robin glared at the invisible voice. "We can hear you, y'know!"
Oh, right, sorry. Anyhow, it was a beautiful day. The sun, as was its wont, shined. The fish, as they are inclined to do, swam about the harbor that surrounded the Titan Tower on all sides. You know, boring stuff like that. So let us focus instead on what was happening INSIDE the tower.
The most recent addition to the team, Savior, was writing a poem for his beloved, Raven. If you'd read Legend Maker's Black and White, you would know who Savior was. So go, go, and read on! There are only twenty to thirty chapters! I'll wait for you!
Wow, that was quick.
Wait, you didn't actually read it, did you? You LAZY LAZY bum! Ah well, fine, I suppose I have no choice but to describe him for you.
Savior is an angsty guy with only one superpower: he has this weird thingy attached to his arm called the Shimmer. It looks like a large, white rope, with the power to reshape itself according to the will of its owner, Savior, AKA Noel. Noel wears an all white costume, which matches his white ultra spiky anime style hair quite nicely.
Anyway, he and Raven had a case of love at first sight, which they spent the whole fic denying because of Raven's demonic nature. Anyhow, Savior and Raven had finally gotten together after defeating her father, Trigon, a powerful demon lord. It's complicated. Really, you should read Black and White.
But now, in MY fic, Savior was composing his attempt at a sonnet for his lady love. Both acknowledged that his poetry was truly awful, but it was heartfelt, and since sonnets were short, the pain subsided quickly.
Beast Boy and Cyborg, for once, were not to be seen camped in front the Gamestation. Apparently, they had developed something approaching a real life, beyond the flickering screen of the idiot box! As should we all, for the good of humanity! Let us observe them now!
"Eat PPC, you little punk!"
"Hah! You couldn't hit my Mad Cat if I stood still for you!"
Never mind… they were playing the newest edition of Mechwarrior. My bad. Return to your pseudolives.
Robin was in his room reading Sun Tzu's The Art of War for the umpteenth time.
Starfire was in her room taking a quick afternoon siesta.
Robin nodded at this. "I'm not surprised. After all the making ou… I mean, special training we did this morning, I'm not surprised she's shagged out."
Interesting wording, Robin.
Robin could only blush.
Thus, all was normal in the oddly shaped skyscraper that was Titan Tower.
But events elsewhere were shaping that would impact their lives forever…
One week ago…
As cities go, Uberton is on the unusual side. It houses at least three secret government laboratories, all funded by shifting money out of the Space Defense Initiative programs in the 1980's. Also, for reasons unclear, the government likes to transport experimental chemicals and toxic waste through the city at regular intervals. Not coincidentally, the city has the largest per capita metahuman population in the known world. However, unlike most cities, this superhuman majority chooses to use their talents to enhance their careers legally, and most avoid spandex like the bubonic plague.
Those few who choose to engage in these fights are still numerous, however. In fact, there are more superheroes and villains in Uberton than New York and Metropolis combined. These range from the mighty Mannerly Society of Gentlemen (or the MSG) to such minor crime busters as the Amazing Marmot Man. Also interesting is the fact that no one seems to make much of these spectacular men and women outside the city.
Enter Robert Candide, better known as The Gauntlet. He was a boy of about 15, with spiky blond hair, blue eyes and (more often than not) a goofy grin. His preferred mode of dress was a white t-shirt with black sleeves, with a G embroidered into the center of his chest and whatever pants happen to be clean. He had never much seen the point of keeping a secret identity, so he wore this particular setup at all times.
His "costume name" came from the odd device attached to his arm. When it was not in use, it appeared to be nothing more than a ring with an unusually large ruby set into it. A simple whim on Robert's part, however, revealed its true form. Instantly his entire right arm was transformed into a cybernetic appendage, although he had been told that the nature of the device was more magical than technological.
The changes to his arm were not the main source of his powers. This was the force field that surrounded him. As his teacher Pangloss the Mighty had said, "the forms of the Gauntlet's power are limited only by the imagination."
This was not entirely true by any means. No matter how hard he tried, he could never use it to lift more than four tons without deactivating his other powers. His leaps could only be lengthened to twenty feet vertically. And most annoying of all, his force field could be breached with a hard enough impact. He could make rough shapes out of his field, but his level of fine control was nothing compared to Green Lantern. Not that he minded these limits too much, but they were annoying on occasion.
For nearly half a year now, Robert had been fighting crime as the Gauntlet, becoming a major player in the small pond of Uberton.
Of course, he tended to commit as many crimes as he halted.
He wasn't evil. In all things, he tended to be ruled by base instincts and whims. And one of his whims had told him that because he was assisting the city so much, it owed him the occasional free bank robbery.
He was wrong.
After three months of evading the authorities, Major Liberty, the leader of the MSG, had finally caught him. And that had led him to his current situation. He was shackled by some alloy that he could not seem to cut through or break out of.
The courtroom was filled to the brim with people, but Robert's secondary characters… I mean, friends and family were notably absent. This was mainly due to the secrecy of the hearings. Those present were the myriad of lawyers paid by the state that specialized in Meta-Law and its intricacies. At the head of the room were several bailiffs armed with the newest versions of the military grade Cestus battle armor, in case Robert managed to break out. For three days, lawyers for both sides of the case had endlessly debated the issues at hand, precedent, and who was going to leach the most money off of the state for this trial. Finally, the judge, a wizened old man with more hair in his nose than on his head, had finished his deliberations.
One of the bailiffs ordered, "Robert Candide, please rise."
Robert struggled against his bonds for a moment before surrendering. "Um, sir, much as I would like to, I seem to be firmly attached to my seat."
The judge chuckled. "Oh, don't mind him. He's just yanking your chain. But I'm not when I say you are in a lot of trouble! I mean, if you had just robbed the bank once, well, considering your assistance in that whole Omega Platoon mishap, we would be willing to overlook it. But robbing the same bank every day for two weeks!? What were you thinking, man!?"
Robert had prepared for such a question. "I needed that money to continue my war on crime, sir."
"You. Who have no obvious need for equipment. You. Who lives at his grandmother's boarding house for free. You needed to rob a bank to earn money."
Robert snorted. "Sure, if I use the truth, I can make you sound like the bad guy too."
The judge sighed. "You are rather fortunate that some many members of the city council are retired super villains, or else you would be facing at least twenty years in prison for fourteen counts of armed robbery. Instead, you must give two thousand hours of active community service."
Robert's eyes widened. "Wh-what?"
"You heard me the first time. Your options are either to clean the roadsides of Route 27 every day for a good long time to come, or else you can join a superhero team."
Robert considered this for a moment. "So, either I spend all of my time cleaning some rat hole of a highway, or else I risk my life daily in some kind of poor excuse for a soap opera?"
The judge nodded. "Yes, those are your basic choices."
All waited attentively as Robert considered his options. After ten minutes of deliberation, the judge began to grow impatient. "I would appreciate an answer today!"
Robert shrugged as well as he could, given his current situation. "Neither are great choices."
"Yes, Mr. Candide. If they were good choices, then it wouldn't be a PUNISHMENT, now would it?"
Robert nodded. "I suppose. I guess I'll sign up with the superhero team then."
The judge nodded. "Now be aware that we are required by federal law to give all superteams a chance to decline your membership, so you may be cleaning up Route 27 anyway."
Raven sighed as she walked through the pit that the Titans laughingly referred to as the living room. How can ANYONE voluntarily live like this!? The only time they ever lift a finger to keep this place clean is when some "important" superhero is coming over. Oi…
As she stepped gingerly through the unstable piles of refuse, something caught her eye. Namely, the seal of the United States judicial system on an envelope, just peaking out from under a pile of video game manuals and a half-eaten sandwich.
She briefly weighed her options. "Neither option is very appealing. I either risk the wrath of the federal government for failing to meet some demand, or risk their wrath for disturbing an archeological site." She briefly smirked. "And people think I can't be funny. Might as well see what it is. Azarath, Metrion, Zinthos." With the incantation complete, the envelope levitated into her hands. She opened it in one smooth motion and read the contents. "Dear members of Teen Titans, hereafter referred to as the second party… yadda yadda… you have one week from this date to accept or deny membership to the third party… if you do not respond, you will legally be required to accept his membership under penalty of catapult…" She stopped reading for a moment, mouthing the word "catapult?" silently. Shrugging it off as a typo, she continued reading. "In closing, neener neener, ha ha ha. My, I'm glad that the Republicans have managed to return civility to the national forum."
Suddenly, the full weight of what she had read sank in. "What's today's date… CRAP!" It had been fully eight days since the letter had been sent out.
It was at this moment that Cyborg and Beast Boy walked into the living room. Beast Boy fumed, "You cheater! You and your hacks! You were teleporting all over the place!"
"For the last time, there is NO SUCH THING AS A HACK IN THAT GAME. The server was busy and there was a lot of lag, so it only LOOKED like I was teleporting, OK?"
Neither noticed the fuming Raven. At least, until she used her powers to lift them both off of the ground.
Raven gave an uncharacteristic, almost saccharine, smile. "Victor, Gar, my friends. Did we get any important mail lately?"
Both were immediately freaked out by her change in behavior. Cyborg ventured, "Um, just the usual junk?"
Victor felt a sudden increase in pressure as her bright mood transformed into her usual angry glare. "Wrong answer. You idiots! Because you couldn't be BOTHERED to look at the mail, what with your oh-so-important video games and all, we now are legally required to initiate a new member to the team as part of his community service. Do you have any idea what this means!?"
Gar ventured, "The male to female ratio on this team just got even lousier?"
WHAM! Beast Boy hit the wall at high speed.
Raven snarled, "No, you dolt, we are going to have a convicted felon on our team! And since it was YOUR week to get the mail, Victor, I am going to punish you before he arrives."
Victor cried out in pain as Raven's telekinesis began crushing him. He managed to wheeze, "But… i-it was… N-Noel's turn!"
Raven left Cyborg floating as she checked the pile that she had saved the letter from. "Star Craft, Civilization III, some imported dating simulators and a Civil War game. Yup, looks like Noel's work." She dropped Victor without a second thought. "Sorry about that."
A decidedly battered Cyborg managed to groan out, "'Salright…"
Robert whistled as he looked up at the Tower. "Hard to believe I'm going to be living in that. Especially when I was expecting to be bunking in the Justice League Satellite or whatnot. Damned elitists. Holding my criminal record against me like that. Ah well. I hear the girls here are cute, so all is well."
Hefting his knapsack over his right shoulder while holding a suitcase in the left, Robert stepped into the massive structure, quickly finding an elevator. "It looks like they only live in the cross bar of the T. Seems like a waste, but hey, looks like a good view, so I ain't complaining."
As the magnetic drives of the elevator catapulted him up at twice the speed of any normal elevator, he wondered about the best way to introduce himself. He could see his reflection on the walls of the elevator, so he could gage how he looked. He put on a vapid smile. "Hello, my name is Robert Candide! I'll be super happy to join your wonderful team of friendship and happiness? Nah, too ditzy." This time, he whipped out a pair of sunglasses. "Hey hey, homie g's. Howza 'bout that Eminem? I hear he's the b-schnitzel-omb? Nah, too cool for this crowd."
Finally, as he reached the top, he decided on a more normal greeting. He took a deep breath and then slowly let it out, feeling his tension ease. "Oh yeah, this is gonna go just fine." He placed his palm on the reader by the main door. With a chime, he was accepted by the security system. "Hmm. Apparently someone hacked in and gave me security clearance. Or else anyone with a palm print it allowed inside. I'll have to look into that once I'm in charge."
(Yes, he did expect to lead the team. After all, he thought he was the most powerful! He had a bit of an ego about him. Do not worry; he IS NOT A GARY STU).
Robert walked into the main room just in time to see Raven stomp off to kill her boyfriend. He noticed Victor and Gar collapsed upon the floor and embedded in the wall respectively.
Rob sighed. "Great, now I'll get no welcome at all."
Robin was roused from his reading as an alarm went off in his room. He set down his book. "Ah man, I was just getting to the part about fire too. Computer! Report!"
An emotionless female voice responded, "Intruder alert. Intruder hacked hand code authorization and has evidently dispatched Cyborg and Beast Boy."
Robin quickly whipped out his metal staff. "Sounds like we've got a good fight on our hands! Such a wily and devious foe can't be underestimated!"
Robert was kneeling next to the fallen Cyborg. Knowing next to nothing about medicine and less about cybernetics, he had opted for poking the unconscious man with a wooden stick he had found. Or at least, he hoped it was wooden; given the general state of the place, it was possible that it was a REALLY old pepperoni.
Suddenly, some movement out of the corner of his eye caught his attention. He looked up and saw a very drowsy looking Starfire stumble into the living room. She was still wearing her pink Hamtaro pajamas, not being alert enough to realize that the siren was not her alarm going off.
She yawned in a very dainty manner, and then stretched in a way that caught Robert's attention very quickly. "Good morning friends and stranger who is attacking them. I would sing all ninety verses the song of greeting, but I need some coffee. Excuse me."
Robert nodded. OK, since everyone on a superhero team gets a love interest by default, I call her.
While Robert was distracted, Beast Boy managed to extricate himself from the wall, turning into a monkey so that he could slip from the hole. He then noticed Robert standing over the fallen Cyborg, and put two and two together. Of course, he got the equivalent of five, but hey, he was hit pretty hard. "Hey you! Get away from Cyborg!" Shifting into a Kodiak bear, he charged the unseeing Robert.
Robert looked up just in time to see a gigantic green bear running at him full tilt. Self preservation instincts kicked in and using his not-insignificant strength, he chucked the unconscious Cyborg at his attacker. Beast Boy tried to turn away, but his momentum was too great and the two ended up landing in a heap.
Gauntlet flexed his metallic right arm. "Glad I had that in active mode… hey, I just knocked out two Titans with one blow! Cool!"
"We'll see how cool it is when I shove my staff where the sun don't shine!"
Gauntlet could not respond in time to avoid getting whacked in the face by Robin, who had seemed to come from nowhere. Although his force field prevented injury, the kinetic impact still sent him flying into the TV. He lifted himself up, rubbing his aching back. "Was it something I said?"
"Have at you!" Robin leapt forward and began launching a seemingly endless array of punches and kicks at a very surprised Gauntlet. Although he was technically faster than the Boy Wonder, Gauntlet lacked anything approaching his skill level and thus took a lot of blows before he managed to get back on balance. Robin wasn't strong enough to hurt Gauntlet, but he was certainly good enough to keep him off balance until the cavalry arrived.
"Hello friends! Now that I have had my daily intake of hot caffeinated beverage, I am prepared to avenge your mortal wounding/death."
One doesn't often expect the cavalry to arrive in Hamtaro pajamas, but Robin couldn't afford to be picky. Before Gauntlet could respond one way or the other, a Starbolt hit his shield, with enough of the blast punching through to shred his right shirt sleeve. The impact threw him backwards, but this time Gauntlet managed to land on the wall feet first, letting the wall bleed the momentum for him.
Gauntlet shook his head, then formed his field into a roughly shaped staff to match Robin's. "TIME FOR ROUND TWO! YAH!" With a speed that Robin could never hope to match, Robert catapulted himself forward and clipped Robin's right temple with the hard weapon, knocking him silly. Robert didn't stop there, though. Using Robin as a springboard, he launched himself at a very surprised looking Starfire.
Unfortunately for Gauntlet, his second attack wasn't quite as successful as the first. Mainly because he misjudged the distances involved and slammed into the wall next to Starfire at full speed.
Hey, c'mon, the guy's only human.
Starfire gasped in surprise. "Oh no! Are you OK?"
Gauntlet managed to stumble to his feet. "Yeah, I think so. Wait, if we're fighting, why are you so concerned about me?"
Her eyes glowed a bright, eerie green. "I just wanted to know how far I could go."
A loud explosion filled the Tower, catching the attention of all Titans unaware of the emergency.
Starfire's eyes widened as a crispy looking Gauntlet walked shakily out of the dust cloud. "How did you survive such a blast unscathed!?"
Gauntlet smirked. "Simple. I'm INVINCIBLE!" The two warriors prepared to face off, when suddenly a myriad of thin white strands wrapped themselves around Gauntlet's arms, legs and throat.
Savior smirked arrogantly. From his right arm sprang the white ropes that held the surprised Gauntlet. "I would like to test that theory."
Gauntlet choked, "What the hell is this stuff?"
"That would be my Shimmer. Try as you might, you won't be able to escape without asphyxiating yourself with the hold I've got on you. You aren't going anywhere."
Gauntlet panicked. These guys are acting like I'M the enemy! I can't let them get me alive! Terrified, the Gauntlet responded to his fear, shaping the field in a myriad of seemingly random shapes. Unfortunately for Savior, one of the random shapes that the Gauntlet took was a spike that impaled one of the Shimmer strands. Due to the Shimmer's direct link to Savior's nervous system, its pain was his pain. He fell on all fours as a burning pain overwhelmed him.
Gauntlet sucked in a few desperate breaths. He had prepared a witty rejoinder, but now that Savior was no longer in her way, Starfire was back in the game. She blasted forward at top speed, slamming into the still shaky Gauntlet from behind, ramming him through four walls before he felt the impact from the first. Before he knew it, he was in open sky. This worried him more than his attacker. His force field, which Savior had managed to catch off guard, had been up when Starfire rammed into him. This was fortunate, because otherwise his spine would have been shattered instantly.
Not that he wasn't getting hurt, but it was keeping him alive.
What he didn't know was whether or not it would help him falling twenty stories. And in all honesty, he didn't feel like finding out.
Starfire suddenly stopped in mid air, holding the battered Gauntlet with her right hand. She prepared a Starbolt with the other. "I shall give you one final chance to surrender, villain."
Gauntlet looked down fearfully. "OK, OK. Just one thing."
Starfire dissipated the energy. "What?"
Before she could react, Gauntlet leaned over and kissed her full on the mouth.
Her eyes bugged out. "Why…"
Gauntlet shrugged. "Who knows. It could be that I like you, it could be fate. But most likely, it's the concussion going through four walls like that would give anyone. Now, if you will excuse me, I will now faint." And so he did.
Gauntlet woke up slowly, first becoming aware that he was being hung upside down from… something. Nothing that he could identify. Probably that white rope thing again. Then, as his vision cleared, he saw the five Titans that he had fought with. Several of them sported bandages, most notably Robin, who had an eye covered after Gauntlet's blow.
Robin glared at his unknown teammate. "Alright, you, why did you attack us? Who sent you?"
Slightly woozy, Gauntlet quipped, "What is this, the Titan Inquisition?"
Beast Boy responded, "No one expects the Titan Inquisition!"
Robin ignored Beast Boy's response. "This is no time for joking. Now, who sent you? Slade? Injustice League? Lex Luthor? ANSWER ME!"
Gauntlet, suitably cowed, answered, "The Government?"
Savior's eyes narrowed. "Why would the Government want us taken down?"
"I can answer that." Raven, who had been notably absent during the fight, entered the room, holding the letter from the Department of Justice. "Apparently, because SOMEONE," she said, glaring at Savior, "was too lazy to check the mail thoroughly, this boy is now the newest Titan."
All five responded in unison. "WHAT!?"
Later, after letting Gauntlet down…
And Gauntlet concluded, "And that's the whole story."
Savior responded, "I object! To let some spazzy super villain wannabe join the team is irresponsible!"
"No, failing to notice that letter was irresponsible."
Savior sighed. Raven was absolutely right. As always.
Robin nodded dejectedly. "As much as I hate to admit it, this seems to be on the level. Apparently, if we don't accept him as a team member until his sentence is over, they'll stop holding back the lawsuits."
Cyborg blinked in surprise. "What lawsuits?"
Starfire added, "Yes, we are heroes. Why would they wish to sue us?"
Robin replied, "Well, even though we were fighting villains at the time, people still view us as responsible for some of the property damage. And they can't sue the villains, because they're usually penniless once they land in prison, so we get the full brunt of it. The judicial system usually dismisses the cases, just as a manner to course, but they could stop this niceness if they felt like it."
Gauntlet grinned. "So I'm a Titan?"
Beast Boy smirked maliciously. "No. Even if we DO have to accept you, that doesn't mean that you can avoid our favorite tradition!"
Gauntlet sweated. "And that would be?"
Cyborg, Beast Boy and Robin said the word simultaneously.
End Part 1
Mwahahahahahahaha! Don't worry folks. Even though I came up with most of the hazing gags for Legend Maker's fic, you won't see them repeated here in the same way.