This Chapter was totally written by Jedi. So everyone give him a good pat on the back.
Berlin, Germany - 12:05 AM
"Anything, you two?" Speedy whispered to the twin Titans. Mas and Menos shook their heads before returning to their watch. The three Titans had been tracking down leads all through the city, using force and persuasion to extract information from the many thugs and lowlifes they'd come across. For the longest time, they had found nothing, until a small snippet from a terrified crook had led them to an abandoned warehouse district. The crook was in the custody of the Berlin Police, having fainted moments after giving the Titans a single name.
Speedy returned to his own survey. The old Berlin storage houses were dark and quiet. The streets were empty. 'Except for that one,' Speedy smiled to himself. A shadow had begun to stretch up an empty alleyway, hollow footsteps echoing through the cold streets.
A short, squat man with nervous eyes and shaking fingers emerged from the alley, low lamplight stretching his shadow across other alleys and side streets. His eyes flitted to the elongated shadows, before narrowing as he finally stepped all the way into the street, heading for one of the warehouses. He carried an old, beaten briefcase, but despite its apparent years of use, he carried it like a fragile heirloom. He had taken two steps, when he heard a twang and a sharp hiss, terminating in a thunk, and he felt the briefcase torn from his grasp. It thudded into the wooden pole across the street, and amazingly, stuck there as if the wood were magnetic. His eyes widened and he whipped around in a circle, to find empty shadows. Ghosts! his scared mind cried out. He ran to the case, trying to wrench it from the pole. Through his fog of fear, he realized that the briefcase was pinned to the pole by an arrow. His eyes, already wide in fear, widened even further. He yanked at the arrow until it tore free, dropping the briefcase to the ground. He bent to pick it up.
"Herr Gottsch," a young, but authoritative voice spoke out behind him. He whirled to see a young man in a red and yellow costume, carrying a bow, emerge from the shadows of the alley, "I believe that's mine," the young man said in fluent German. Hans Gottsch looked incredulously at the arrow in his fist, then back to the ridiculous young lad, wanting to laugh in amazement and cry in fear at the same time. He felt a whiz of air rush by him, and looked down again. The arrow was gone.
"Gracias, Senor!" two small people in white costumes, one standing on the other's shoulders, now held the arrow up towards the archer, who accepted it graciously while the two midgets smiled at Hans.
"Now, Herr Gottsch," having his name spoken again by the ludicrously clad archer finally snapped something in Hans Gottsch's mind. He screamed, before turning and running as fast as his stubby legs could carry him.
The arrows were faster.
Six penetrated his clothes at arms and legs, pinning him, face to the wall, by his clothes. Tears ran from his eyes as he heard the youth approach.
"Herr Gottsch, I know that the warehouse back there is your private 'distributing company,' and I could care less," Gottsch could feel the lad lean close and whisper in his ear, strangely kind and menacing at the same time, "what I want to talk about, are the bees and their home."
The briefcase hit the ground again.
The two midgets giggled gleefully.
Sydney, Australia - 1:05 PM
"Are we there yet?"
"Are we there yet?"
"How about now?" Cyborg's fists clenched around the wheel as he gritted his teeth. Beast Boy had been incessant for the last half hour, ever since Australia's coast had come into view. He glared at Beast Boy's grinning face in the rearview mirror.
"Listen up, Fuzzbrain, I'm as tired of sitting in this car as you are, and that's saying something, so shut your yap, or I throw you out and land this thing on your head!"
"And you listen up, Boltbrain! Your big, metal monstrosity of a rear end can't get cramped like the Brady Bunch in a one-seat outhouse, so get this thing to Sydney, before I turn you into the car, and take you in for a landing!"
"As if you could! The car you turn me into would have a higher IQ than your entire beastial repetoire put together! If your ass hurts, turn it into a turtle and stuff your head up it!"
"Oh, really..." Beast Boy and Cyborg continued the ranting that had become their favorite pasttime over the long flight. Raven smiled, relieved that, for the first time since this whole ordeal had begun, things were somewhat normal. 'Then again,' she thought, 'what's normal anymore?' She glanced out the window at the water streaking by. Perhaps in Sydney, they might find the clues that would lead them to Robin.
To their leader.
Pacific Ocean, 60 miles South of Honolulu - 9:05 AM
Bumble Bee stared toward the surface. Being underwater made her uneasy. She preferred open air, where there wasn't a zillion gagillion gallons of water pressing in from every side, smothering, drowning...she shook herself out of her trance, and instead studied her reflection in the glass canopy of the T-Sub.
"Anything?" Aqualad asked quietly.
"Hmm..." Aqualad scratched his head, "We've been searching for hours now. The fleet made it in perfectly safe. I'm starting to think that Cyborg was wrong about the location."
"No. Cy's right. Brother Blood's HIVE can be very well hidden." Aqualad smiled.
"You know, Bee, sometimes you just really sound like..." Aqualad trailed off, shaking his head and smiling to himself.
"No... it's nothing."
"Like what, Aqualad?" She stared at him until he flinched under her gaze.
"All right, all right, you win, I give! Bee, you just, I don't even know if you realize it, but...you just...I just..."
"Spit it out, Waterboy." Aqualad gave her a dirty look before withering under her glare.
"You just, you really sound like you're, you know, kinda sweet on RoboBoy."
"Cyborg, and I don't have the hots for him, I respect him!" Bee was indignant, but her face was turning red.
"Enough so that you've got his picture in your diary?"
"WHAT?" Bee's face turned maroon in fury.
"Oops, shouldn't have said that," Aqualad flinched apologetically, but a bling from the radar caught his attention, "but you'll have to hold off on maiming me just now, we've got four contacts coming up from a trench just ahead, heading for shore, eta, 5 minutes."
Bee's face was still red, but she also snapped back to the task at hand.
"Do they know we're here?" she asked worriedly.
"Your RoboHoney custom-built this thing. The entire U.S. Navy couldn't find us if we were sitting on top of their flagship." Bumble Bee glared at him. "He's not my 'RoboHoney,' and follow at a discreet distance. We have to find out where they came from, and where they're going."
"Thank you, Commander Obvious, will do." Aqualad corrected course, tailing the departing vessels as they headed for shore.
Berlin, Germany - 7:15 AM
"All right, if what that tub of lard told us is true, this is the correct area," Speedy whispered. He had interrogated Hans Gottsch for three hours. He had given them a general area to search, and laughed when he told them they couldn't miss it, before fainting. Speedy had called the police and left Gottsch pinned to the wall.
Now Mas, Menos and Speedy were searching the countryside outside of Berlin for...something. Whatever it was, if Hans was right, it would be fairly obvious. Clouds were scattered across the sky, letting through occasional shafts of moonlight. One such shaft illuminated a pile of rock not too far away. It was humongous. He went to take a seat, Mas and Menos zipping up next to him.
"Now, he said that what we're looking for would be obvious, so it must be something unnatural, man-made."
"Si, Senor. Like the rocks."
"Huh?" Speedy looked at the twins, puzzled.
"The rocks, Senor. They are not natural. They are too square."
"What?" Speedy looked at the pile of what he had thought were large rocks or small boulders. They were actually carved stone blocks, about four feet square. He got up and circled around the pile. The base, although crumbled and buried beneath the upper layers, was perfectly round.
"What is it, Senor?"
"It's an old World War Two Nazi guard tower, for heavy fortifications," Speedy traced a hump of ground into the distance, "this was an outer fortification, probably one of several before reaching the main building," he looked into the distance, and saw in the harsh moonlight several crumbled walls, and in the distance, a small black dot that could be a building, "and it looks like we've got a bit of travelling, still. Let's go." He started in the direction of the fort.
"Si, Senor!" Mas and Menos stepped in with him toward the building, while the morning fog began to rise.
No one saw the small red light, burning hotly in the rock pile.
Sydney, Australia - 8:15 PM
"Okay, why are we out in the middle of nowhere again?" Beast Boy asked for the sixth time. Cyborg growled and Raven sighed.
"Because that moron back in the city told us we would find the HIVE out in this area," Raven replied calmly, "It's probably inside one of those mesas out there. They're large enough and thick enough to hold just about anything." The red mesas in the distance wavered in the misty fog that had settled over the area.
"That's a pretty good bet, I'd say," Cyborg replied, "but how are we supposed to know which one to search. You shouldn't have scared him so much, Rave, he could have given us some more intel."
Raven looked over apologetically. "I'm sorry, but he was clamming up. He wouldn't even have given us this much if I hadn't pushed as hard as I did."
"I know, I'm just cranky that this is taking so long. Okay, I'm going to use a satellite link to see if I can download a map of the area. Hold on..." Cyborg froze for a second as he linked with the orbital satellite, downloading the map. "All right," he said when he came back online, "this area," he projected a hologram of the area on the ground, with five mesas highlighted in red, "forms a perfect pentagon."
"Can't five mesas form a pentagon without being suspicious?" Raven asked. Beast Boy just stared.
"Yes, but not a perfect one. Each mesa contains key points that form a circle," a red ring enveloped each mesa, touching at least three points on each, "and from the center of each circle to the next," red lines connected the center points of the circles, outlining a pentagon, "forms a pentagon. Now every interior angle of a perfect pentagon is one-hundred and eight degrees. These angles are..." angle measures popped up for each angle, "all one-hundred and eight degrees."
"Okay, I'm convinced."
Drool ran from Beast Boy's hanging jaw, and he shook his head. "Okay, if you're convinced, I guess I am, too."
"Now, from the vertex of each angle, if you draw a line straight across the pentagon, they will all intersect in the center, and our coordinates are..." as each line was drawn, the coordinates for the center of the pentagon came up, "there! That's our spot!"
"What are we waiting for?" Raven asked, "Let's go!"
"Uh, sure." Beast Boy morphed, and a kangaroo, a cyborg, and a mystic started for the strange formation of mesas.
No one saw the small red light, burning from a nearby cactus.
Oahu, Hawaii - 4:15 PM
"What do you think this place is?" Bumble Bee asked.
"It looks like a storage facility. Under that canopy," Aqualad pointed toward an oversized, jungle camoflaged tent canvas stretched between four poles, "are a bunch of boxes. They're all tagged, but I can't read them from here."
"Leave that to me. This place is filled with odd bugs, I'll fit in fine." Bumble Bee zipped past Aqualad's head, immediately invisible amongst the many insects that hovered about constantly. Aqualad watched her disappear amongst the ferns, then turned back to the camp far below.
Amongst the jungle-camoflaged men and boxes, Bumble Bee searched for some answers. She saw the boxes stacked up across the compound, and zipped closer. The inscription on the side of the box was easy to read from here. It stated in large, black lettering:
M-16 Assault Rifle
50 CT. Use care when handling.
"Oh, yay," Bumble Bee muttered. All the boxes in the stack were labeled the same. She zipped to the next stack. It read:
L.A.W. A-T Missile Delivery System
10 CT. Use EXTREME caution.
"Even better," Bumble Bee groaned as she zipped to the next stack. The inscription read:
1 CT. Authorization REQUIRED.
Every box had the words U.S. Military stenciled on them.
Her mood sinking, Bumble Bee turned and zipped back to the ridge where Aqualad was perched.
"So?" Aqualad inquired. Bumble Bee sank down on a tree stump.
"This is where the shipments of supplies go. I'm willing to bet those ships are down in that underwater rift valley."
"This is even better. Come here," grinning, Aqualad motioned her over to the break in the foliage they had been using to spy on the camp, "and watch that guard over there." pointing, Aqualad stepped out of her way.
"What am I looking for?" asked Bumble Bee as she watched the guard.
"You'll see," Aqualad answered, "they check in every ten minutes."
"With who?" Bumble Bee asked, stopping short with a gasp. The jungle behind the guard seemed to simply part, revealing a doorway into a tunnel lined with wires and electrical boxes, brightly lit with overhead lights. Aqualad smiled.
"Do you notice the seams of the door? They line up perfectly with the surrounding jungle. A lot of work went to hide this facility. I'd bet anything they're decked out with barracks and control centers and everything in there."
"As good a place as any to look for the Boy Wonder."
"I say," Aqualad grinned, "we need to get in there."
"Let's get to it." Bumble Bee urged, moving off into the jungle mists.
Neither saw the small red light, burning from the foliage above.
The H.I.V.E. Facility
"Well, my little bird, how are we doing from our little nap?"
"Little dizzy, but otherwise I'm fine." Robin whispered hoarsely. Jinx had been keeping him awake long hours, then allowing him little sleep, breaking down his thinking so that he would be more open to suggestion. Tired people rarely thought very well.
"Glad to hear it. Come now, we have work to do."
"Yes, Jinx." Robin pulled himself groggily from the cot, and followed her to the command center.
"Our little 'Darkfire' has certainly given us a good show. But she is running out of city to destroy. She will soon move on. I predict she will probably head off to find those pesky Titans East geeks."
"I wish I could help them. They're my friends."
"They're big boys and girls, they can take care of themselves."
"True, but a little help never hurt. Maybe we could all go and help them? This Darkfire seems like a nasty customer. They may be in over their heads."
"Oh, I'm sure they'll be fine. Don't worry your little bird-boy noggin' over them."
"Still, do you think maybe we could check in on them?" Jinx gave him a dark glare, "No, I guess not. You're right. They'll be fine. Besides, Darkfire's Tamaranian, and they have that Tamaranian chick, what's-her-name, with them. I'm sure they'll be fine." Robin kept trying to reassure himself, but his inability to remember the name of one of his own teammates troubled him. Even more so, the idea that that teammate should have been easier to remember than any of the others. He shook himself out of his reveree as Gizmo clanked into the room on his spidery metal legs.
"Jinx, turn to camera two, we've got visitors." Jinx flipped over, to picture of two Titans moving through the light mist.
"Well, well. It seems your friends are okay, and have come in search of their poor Boy Wonder. Shall we send them a little welcoming gift?" Jinx reached for the button marked "Perimeter Defense," grinning wickedly at the screen, "Hello, little Titans, it's time to die."
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