This all began with some sketches I did of the TT charactors all dressed up. I decided that I couldn't get away with dressing them like that for no reason, and so this fic was written to justify a few idle doodles.
The power had gone off at 3:00 am and the break in had occurred sometime after that. BAX-TECH called in the Teen Titans soon after the sun rose. A thin, sad-eyed young man named Cenbach met them. They were ushered in past several security points to a room full of cots. Nine people lay in them, i.v.s and sensors covering their bodies.
"What's all this?" asked Robin. Cenbach motioned them over to a screen. As the group gathered around, they saw something that sent Beast Boy reeling back and made Robin's hands clench into fists. The screen showed a magnified view of a blood stream, and clinging to every cell was a small metal device with an S insignia on it.
"They're all probed!" wailed Beast Boy.
"Er..yes..." said Cenbach. "And they only activate when any of the victims try to talk about wha happened!"
"Well, we know WHO did this then..." growls Robin. "But what was taken?"
"A book and the computer it was translated on," said Cenbach. They all stared at him for a moment.
"You mean to tell me that in a hi-tech computer lab full of vaccines and genetic thingies and who knows what else, all that Slade took was a book?" Beast Boy asked, incredulous.
"What KIND of book?" asked Raven. Unnerved by her stare, Cenbach fiddled with his glasses.
"Ever hear of the Triad Expedition?" he asked. When none of them answered, he went on. "A whole department here is affiliated with the Gotham Museum of Antiquities. They send us stuff they find and we carbon date it and restore it as best we can. Stuff like that.
Well, there was a
team of divers looking for a plane that had gone down
in the Bermuda Triangle back in the 50s. They found it and there was
this box in the cargo hold that was
addressed to the Museum, so they sent it to us. We got it open and inside was this perfectly preserved book!
It was like the sea water never touched it! There was some other stuff too, a knife, a smaller box that had a necklace in it, but it was nowhere near the same condition."
"What was so special about that book?"
"The book was full of information on how to get to another dimension. It was all about tracking ley lines to points on the earth where the barrier between HERE and THERE was thin. It said that whatever dimension was at that point would influence the part of the earth it corresponded too."
"Sounds like bad science fiction to me," sniffed Beast Boy, crossing his arms over his scrawny chest.
"Oh," said Cenbach, finally getting annoyed. "You mean like green skinned shapechangers, or human/machine hybrids, or alien women in mini-skirts?" Beast Boy shut up.
"Anyway, we didn't know about all this stuff until we got the book translated. My friend, Harry Lee was the first to open the book. He was working late restoring the knife and since he was the only one in this wing, he decided to start on the book. He says that when he opened it, a thing manifested out of it, and attacked him."
"What sort of thing?"
"He said it was like a huge caterpillar, but with a face more like a lion...and lots of claws. He said it attacked him and screamed, and then was gone. We all laughed it off and figured that he had some sort of caffeine delusion, but he was different after that night. He was obsessed with the book. He wouldn't even stop to go to the bathroom.
He translated that thing day and night. He was just rabid and he freaked out completely when anyone tried to get him to stop. Finally, he was fired and even then security had to drag him out and lock the doors.
"Poor Harry...He just lost it. We never saw him again. That was two months ago. They still joke down in the stacks about his 'Bookworm' monster. It's the lab boogie man now. He was the first suspect when the book was found gone, but he was just a lab tech. There's no way he could've built androids to ransack the place or these...probe thingies in two months!"
"I believe you," Robin narrowed his eyes (or at least his mask) at the blood cells on the monitor.
"What's in this dimension that everyone wants so bad?" Cyborg asked. Cenbach looked a little sheepish.
"The book described it as a place of power and luck," he said. "I've always held that luck was just an unexpected event in your favor, but the book described it as a physical force, like a tornado or a wild animal, that roams free there."
"Do you believe it?" Raven asked.
"I believe Harry did," Cenbach sighed and pulled a picture from his wallet to show them. It showed him and a taller kid with short spiky black hair in graduation uniforms. "We were friends before the book got hold of him.Can you help?"
"We're on it!" Robin assured him and they left again.
"A place of power and luck," Robin mused aloud back at the Tower. "Sounds just like Slade's kind of place."
"But how could he have known about it?" asked Cyborg. "You saw that place. It's a bunch of lab boys cleaning up artifacts. Why would he have cared? And the only other person who knew was Harry Lee." Starfire suddenly gasped, making them all jump.
"Perhaps Harry Lee IS Slade!" she crowed.
"No way," Robin slumped to the couch. "Cenbach said Harry was rabid and freaking out. Slade is anything but hysterical. He doesn't freak out."
"But he does have his ways of finding things out," Raven said. "Who knows where he gets his information? The point is that he DOES get it. All that is clear right now is that we need information of our own to figure this out."
"YOU travel in other dimensions right?" Beast Boy looked at her. "Can't you find one of those ley line thingies and follow it?"
"..." Raven looked at him as if deciding if he was serious. "It won't be that easy." Starfire pounced on the idea, springing to her feet.
"You will need quiet and deep meditation for such a task!" she said. "Let us prepare at once!"
And so it came to pass. A meditation spot was set up for Raven. Cyborg found a globe and some thin wires. He had gotten the idea for Raven to shape the wires over the globe in the paths of the ley lines if she found them. She prepared herself, and eyed her friends carefully.
"This will take very deep, very UNINTERRUPTED concentration," she told them. "Where's Beast Boy?"
"It's taken care of," Cyborg said with a grin. In his own room, Beast Boy lay, bound hand and foot with a roll of duct tape wrapped around his mouth. His feet were incased in a block of cement and a large hypno-disk had been set up in front of him. He lay there watching it with spinning eyes.
Raven focused herself and sent her consciousness out. The others had left her alone, but occasionally crept in to check on her. The sun set and night fell and still she sat motionless. The sun came up again. Robin and Cyborg went to release Beast Boy before he drowned in his own drool. Starfire still sat with Raven, watching her friend intently for any sign of progress or trouble.
Beast Boy had been warned and threatened with more hypnotizing to stay out, but he couldn't resist. He took the form of a tarantula and crept up to Starfire. Cyborg caught him before she noticed and shook a warning finger at him. Beast Boy changed back, ready to argue that he hadn't made a sound, but then Raven gasped.
Her arms shot out in front of her and then hung there like they were on marionette strings. Orbs of blackness appeared around her hands and flowed out over the globe. The globe floated up into the air. The wires began to glow and bend around the globe. She seemed to struggle with it suddenly, and the other Titans stepped nearer, worried.
"I see them," Raven whispered. "How could I have missed them before?" Wires knotted where they met and one glowed brighter than the others, burning into the globe. "I can see it!" she went on. Things begin to fly around the room. "There's so much! I..." Her face contorted for a moment, her body arching.
"Raven...?" Beast Boy said. Robin and Starfire clamped their hands over his mouth.
"I can see it!" Raven screamed suddenly. "It can see ME......!!" She cried out in pain, clutching at her head. The globe suddenly fell and Cyborg dove to catch it before it could break. Starfire ran to Raven and grabbed her arms.
"Come back, Raven!" she cried, shaking her. "Leave your trance state at once!"
"She went too deep!" shouted Cyborg. "There's only one thing that can break that kind of concentration!"
He grabbed Beast Boy by the scruff of the neck and threw him as hard as he could at Raven. Beast Boy screamed in surprise, changing into a squid just in time to smack straight into Raven. There was a squelching noise and his tentacles wrapped around her to catch himself.
Raven was frozen for a moment, then her eyes snapped back into focus, and she glared flaming daggers at the squid attached to her chest.
"WHY. A. SQUID??" she gritted out.
"No bones to break," he said meekly, and scuttled away. Starfire leaned in.
"Are you all right?" she asked. Raven nodded, shaking her hands as if they tingled.
"I think so," she said. "Now I know why Slade wants it. There is something there that is soaked with power..."
"You said...it could see you.." Robin came to peer at her too. She took a deep breath to steady herself.
"I've looked into other dimensions and spirit realms before," she told them. " I've seen demons, and darkness, and freaky dimensional beings, but I have NEVER had anything look back into me like that before. It was AMAZING, but I couldn't get away from it. It was like being caught in highbeams. I couldn't get free."
"Well, you have me to thank for that," Beast Boy said proudly.
"Right," Raven drawled. "Thanks for the slime and the sucker marks."
"Yeah, she's all right," Cyborg said grinning. He held up the globe to squint at the entwined wires. Robin came to inspect the other side of it.
"Are you sure you are ok?" Starfire asked, still looking concerned. Raven nodded, and pulled up her hood.
"The nearest place where the lines intersect is in Nevada," Robin said. "Do you think that's the one?"
"Well sure," Cyborg said, dropping the globe into Robin's hands. "If there's a parallel dimension of luck and power where else would the portal be but Las Vegas?"
"Sounds like a road trip!" said Beast Boy.