"Identity Thief" by Karen
The walls are titanium reinforced steel several layers thick. The roof is wire tapped with both motion and heat detectors. Not to mention the lasers that streaked across the front of the building entrance
and reminded the man lurking in the shadows of the maximum-security prison he had recently called home. All of this is taken into careful consideration as he plans his next heist. The stint in the big house did not do much to rehabilitate his incessant need to take what others so carefully guarded, especially if it were bright, shiny,
precious or dangerous. Red X did not always think of himself as an enigma, he had another to thank for the new threads and weapons.
He placed the binoculars back in his bag and glanced into the reflecting surface of the glass and steel building across the way, and ran his hands over the splash of the red letter X on the front of the
black body suit.
Red X had to admit it looked good on him, emphasizing his lean frame and strong legs. A thief could not have asked for better equipment. Deciding he had better get on with the heist before the security
guards were any the wiser, he thrust out his left wrist, let fly with the grappling hook and swung across the intervening space to reach the roof of his chosen target.
Meanwhile at the Teen Titans Tower
Robin had not been down in the evidence room in quite a while and was surprised that everything the team had confiscated from all the various criminals, supervillians and general miscreants were still intact and undisturbed. His boot heels made odd ringing sounds as he crossed the floor, raising small puffballs of dust in his wake.
"How many other teenagers have their computers locked into all the local and international crime databases?" he muttered aloud. It did not bother him that the rest of the Titans thought him a bit obsessive when it
triple checking everything right before a mission, hell even before a mission came up, his latest obsession with Slade notwithstanding, and rather self destructive.
It had come as a great relief to have finally taken down his nemesis. A part of him, deep in his psyche felt a bit envious and angry, that it hadn't been his fist that landed the final blow, but Terra's.
Someone else did it, and that was what mattered, right? Right?
Robin went over to the display container that held the only tangible evidence left of Slade, his half-moon mask. The metal flat, lackluster, and gathering dust. "Good riddance."
Robin became momentarily distracted from his morbid thoughts when the alarm sounded and Cyborg's scratchy deep voice came through the tower's communications systems. "Robin, ya'll better get your butt in gear.
Something's going down near the Industrial Sector."
"I'm on my way!"
Robin pulled his motorcycle to a screeching halt, the speed of his forward momentum causing the wheels to spin then wound down to a grinding stop. From habit and instinct, Robin noted the positions of his team mates.
Police, security guards and sundry clustered and thronged around a police
barricade, the yellow tape up and swaying the cold night air.
At that instant an explosion went off, spreading shrapnel and glass, and grit in all directions. The officer in charge, and older man with salt and pepper hair and a matching goatee approached. His brow furrowed in either worry or concentration.
"Robin is it?" the officer asked.
"Yes, what's going on?"
"I don't know what's gotten into you, lad, but it seems to me that after pulling off a heist one would not stick around to admire one's handiwork."
"What did you do with your suit?"
"I honestly have no idea what you're talking about."
"I'm afraid, in light of what's happened, I am going to have to arrest you."
"Arrest Robin!" Cyborg shouted, coming over to get in on the discussion.
"The perp who broke in and stole a fortune in jewels and diamonds, matches your description, okay he was wearing an outfit that looked like something out of sci-fi flick, styled himself Red X."
Cyborg glared at the officer, chewing what he had been told over in his mind, before making a response. "Always knew that was going to come back and haunt us."
Robin considered his options, he should have gotten rid of that Red X costume when he had had the chance. It served its purpose at the time, when he had walked a narrow line between getting Slade out of the
way, and protecting his teammates from what Slade had forced him into doing. That was not one of his prouder moments, but it had been a delicate matter of a choice between the lesser of two evils.
"Look, Officer..." Robin trailed off, unsure of how to proceed.
"Officer Grant, give me the benefit of the doubt here. I had a suit like the one you describe, but I discarded as a failed prototype. Someone must have stolen it and is using it to commit crimes. Give me and the
other Titans the chance to track him down."
"We will take this Red X down, no?" Starfire added.
"And we'll get him, and bring him back all wrapped in a nice bow."
Cyborg grinned, and Robin couldn't help return the grin, Cyborg always did to look on the positive side of things, a nice change really from Robin's gloomy personality. Raven, Starfire, and Beast Boy stood by for further instructions.
"Well, you and your team have saved this city and its people any number of times, so I'll bite," Officer Grant replied. "I just hope I won't live to regret this."
"You won't. Robin smiled, and this time it was as confident as
Cyborg's. "You have my word of honor. " Turning to meet the gazes of his teammates, his said. " Titans, Go!" We're looking for someone, and he can run but he can't hide."
"Who?" Raven asked.
"Actually the me which is going around pretending to be, and is wearing my Red X costume."
"Okay, that narrows it down," Beast Boy muttered. "Let's go."
Robin felt half-eager and half- reluctant to confront the impostor who was using his stolen technology. As much as he would rather not admit it to himself, aside from the anger, it was the fact he had also gone on a crime spree in order to fool Slade into thinking that he was on his side. Robin felt responsible and guilty for the damage he had caused as Red X.
Now, Robin was less concerned about his reputation, as he was the eventual match up. Confidence,
skills and training, was not going to get him by forever. He hoped Red
X would make the first mistake and he could capitalize on it.
Robin clambered up to the roof of the abandoned grain warehouse flush with the city's docks. "Why is it bad guys always pick these locales?"
"Hey, it's my philosophy, that if isn't broken don't fix it," a mocking, smug voice answered Robin's question. "Although in my case, I think they broke the mold. Hate to tell you this Boy wonder, but I'm the new and improved version."
"I haven't been called that in years," Robin yelled back.
Red X came out from the shadows, the red X emblazoned on the
suit's front reflecting light from the lights coming in from
the harbor patrol's boats passing by below and around them.
"Don't you want to play?" Red X coaxed, juggling the sharp red batterangs between his slender gloved fingers. "They're your toys."
Red X raised one hand, the other tucked behind his back.
"Oh no, This is between you and me."
"I wouldn't have it any other way." Robin drew out his quarterstaff and dropped into his fighting stance.
Red X followed suit, "I wonder if this is going to be like fighting a mirror image."
"You're all talk and no shock," Robin said as began running, building up speed and began landing whirling kicks and blows trying to get the edge in the fight.
Red X dodged the blows and began returning blows of his own.
He landed a few uppercut punches across Robin's abdomen,
briefly swatting Robin's quarterstaff out of his hands.
Robin twisted into a backward somersault, released a few of his batterangs, the explosive kind that ignited on impact, only to realize Red X had his own kind with the two counteracting each other.
The fight went on, the advantage shifting back and forth, with neither opponent
able to gain a clear advantage, breath came in short gasps,
Robin realized that it took more than just the suit and gadgets to make his opponent something special, but Robin hated to lose. Robin was determined that he was going to make sure at the outcome of this fight, that
he would be the one left standing.
Robin let fly with another gadget he had invented, neatly wrapping
around Red X in a wire mesh fabric that constricted the more
the person trapped in it struggled.
Red X looked up, the expression on his masked face hard to
determined as it was covered, the eyes behind the mask narrowed
"I guess, there's no such thing as second place." You win."
Raven came into Robin's room, one of the red batterangs in her
hands. "You okay?"
"I will be," Robin replied, allowing a small wry grin to sleep
it. "I can't brood all the time can I?"
"No, trust me, I hold the record in that department."
"A joke?" he smiled.
"I do have my moments," Raven returned his half-smile, "Must come from lengthy exposure to Beast Boy."
"Must be." Robin replied.
"So it's over?" Raven asked.
"Yeah." Robin got up, taking the batterang that Raven handed to him." "Let's go have pizza."
Disclaimer: The Teen Titans is the creation of DCU Comics and its respective producers, creators and are not mining, nor are any of the characters mentioned in the story.