Disclaimer: I don't own the Teen Titans.
Author's Note: Just something that's been rattling in my head for a while, back when I rotted in school. Now with my other projects done or on the backburner, I can attend to it finally.
Special thanks to BlackShield for her lovely betating. Give her a hand or even a foot, folks.
Timeline: Some time after the events of Birthmark.
He slowly opened his eyes as he finished recharging; the little boys with the God complex unwired him from the battery.
"Prisoner 0002 ready for transport." The head guard with the sash ordered as the other guards secured the prisoner's restraints, covering his hands and feet and the most deadly weapon of all: his head.
"Oh, heavens to Betsy, you don't need to be so informal, Sebastian will do nicely," the prisoner purred from the mask covering all but his mouth.
"I don't have time for your games, 00… Sebastian." The guard just sighed.
"That's a good chap. Not enough room for manners these days. Especially with this generation." The other guards ushered him out of the room and they all walked down a long corridor, prisoners eyeing their every move.
"I just did it so you'd shut up. Although… I couldn't agree more. Your old students for one. Very rude… when they were here. Come on." The other guards ushered him out of the room.
"Now, now, I pride myself on my mentoring skills. It's not my fault that the lessons didn't stick. Their attention spans are already at a fly's level with the television. I did the best that I could."
"And look where you ended up. Maybe you're better off selling swamp land in Florida instead."
"I don't think I care for your tone, young man." Sebastian was becoming perturbed.
"Well, it will have to do; being that my boss pulled me out of my wife's bed so I can guard you. How would you feel if you were me?"
"A pity, I'm sorry that my company was pulling from your important duties: like procreation. Although after 4 kids, isn't that enough amusement for a long while?" He purred again through the mask.
The head guard suddenly wished the other guards weren't there. "How do you know…?"
"I'm a mind reader, remember? But I don't even need that as I can tell from your body language and inflections what a career man you are because you're looking out for your family."
'He really has my number, doesn't he? The son of a…' The guard glared at him. "Blood, shut up."
"Of course, you're the boss." Sebastian Blood almost smirked at the hapless guard.
"And don't you forget it. Hook him up to his cell apparatus already. I want to go home." He ordered the other guards.
"Yes, sir." A female guard responded. Blood could sense a modicum of tension from the speaking officer.
'Something for later.'
They finished the mile and transferred the prisoner to his cell, switching the restraints on him to the giant crucifix apparatus in Blood's cell—there to keep his powers nullified.
"Technology is an amazing thing, isn't it? I could never conceive that such a device could restrain my innocent little powers." The prisoner gasped as the mask was removed and he breathed some almost fresh air.
"0002, the last thing you are, is innocent." The head guard barbed.
"You storm a vigilante's tower and you're branded for life," quipped the former Headmaster of the H.I.V.E. Academy as the apparatus secured him, and could feel himself and his emotions deadening as the machine's computer protocols permeated his mind.
"That and your flunky Steamroller did a B and E at one of the city's top steel plants. The mayor or the taxpayers weren't too happy about that. Not to mention your threats in Jump City."
"I wasn't hurting anyone; the only crime I am being accused of is trying to have a vision," he said innocently as he stretched out his arms to be restrained.
"You tried to submerge Jump City in a tidal wave."
"I thought it was time for that city to know what surf and turf really meant." He just enjoyed the game; he always had. It was the only pleasure he had anymore.
"At least you have a sense of humor, 0002."
"What did I say? Sebastian. I would think you'd understand that as we've been together for six months now. If I were maudlin, I'd indulge in an anniversary." The Headmaster almost sounded like he would weep.
"You're going to be the death of me. Good night, 0002. Sorry. Sebastian."
"Glad to see you're finally catching up. Good night." The other guards locked his cell and walked away. Blood memorized the number of the tense speaking guard.
'Number 12. Another plot to while about the day.'
Blood tried to stretch his synthetic muscles but the apparatus got in the way, as it always did. A trade off for his new body and his enhanced powers, but then he didn't expect to be caught and trapped like this.
'What's the phrase the kids are singing these days? For all my rage, I'm… still a rat in a cage?'
He tried as usual to resist the machine and its dull hum with his computerized brain—seeking for access to breech the firewalls around this time every day as it was initiating startup, waiting for the right moment. But the machine always won; the designers from Wayne Enterprises made it far too durable. He couldn't even do mind control to hypnotize someone to unlock the machine, as they had implanted a chip in his new electronic brain to nullify his psychic powers.
'Oh, the pain, the pity of it all. The greatest leader since Jim Jones and I'm the one who is trapped in this… metallic gulag. It is intolerable!' He tried to struggle against the machine once again as it continued to enervate both mind and body.
'Denied. Again. Intolerable!'
He sighed heavily, even his complaining and resisting was mechanical. Every day for six months was the same: activate and resist the machine as it was deadening him from the inside out, banter with the guards, wax philosophically over his current state, be offline and then start all over again the next day.
'At least I can still think. The sheep can't take that away from me. And of course they couldn't; for I am a Blood. And a Blood never surrenders. All defeats are merely setbacks, all enemies merely obstacles to be overcome and to be assimilated. It is my destiny—my birthright—to triumph. To rule. And rule I shall.'
Despite all the restraints set upon him, Blood's brain thought a mile a minute. His thoughts and memories are clear as day, the byproduct of having his already metahuman brain enhanced by the wonders of technology.
'I should thank that synapse for making me decide to become a cyborg, rather than stay where I was and end up being drugged as I rot here. Even now in this state, my own protocols enable me to think a million times than normal humans and a thousand times faster than metahumans.'
Blood was originally surprised at how much he could think once he had been reborn part machine, but, combined with his already impressive psychic powers and the long hours meditating and disciplining his mind while being locked away in prison, he'd now unlocked the true potential of his brain.
'I have to thank my good friend, Cyborg. Perhaps I can send him a gift basket. With a nasty little bug to temper his… spirit.'
The revenge fantasies couldn't come fast enough as Blood kept remembering that night when he was reborn. He had it all: a new school, new students to mold and experiment in his grand image, along with an armada of robots, his mortal enemy right where he wanted him and a new, more powerful body and mind as well. But Cyborg's old associates, the Teen Titans West came and dashed it all and gave Cyborg the chance to dissemble both his android armada and even his new body with one of Blood's own tricks: the synthetic Titan would use his own mind to control flotsam and jetsam of body parts built from the mechanical army, just the way Blood would with the students, and reformatted himself as the two were interlocked in contact and nearly shattered the Headmaster along with the dissolving automatons.
'Or maybe something for the hands. Wouldn't want to get a rash.' Blood still couldn't feel his hands; he felt tinges of phantom pains but he knew they didn't bother rebuild his hands as they processed him and prepped him for prison. After his refinement of his psychic powers made the Headmaster able to extend to tangible energy weapons (energy whips for example) with his hands, it was best to leave well enough alone with the damage Cyborg inflicted.
'Or perhaps some acid to take care of that flesh. Strip away all that sinew and bone and he'll be just another heartless machine like the rest of humanity. Then I can do away with that nasty spirit. No humanity, no hope. No hope, no resistance.' Blood babbled in his mind as the apparatus maintained its humming mantra and its function of trying to drown out his fantasies and obsessions, with silence and waves of atrophy.
'But I shouldn't do that in haste. Need to prolong it, for the longer he resists, the longer it takes for his hope to return once broken. But how? I controlled his teammates, I disassembled him, what does he have to keeps him going?' The other question he consistently asked himself every day for the past six months.
'Stopping me? Not at first but the more we crossed paths, he began to obsess. But that can't be it; there is something more complex lying underneath all that. What's the equation? What does he have that's different than the ne'er do wells that I usually associate with?' He stared at his walls, concrete and uncompromising. The walls and the apparatus tried their hardest to cage the Headmaster's mind, but Blood's mind wouldn't let such basic limitations get in his way. He struggled through bleaker ordeals than this.
'His powers? No, for if that was true, he could have turned to the good old fashioned life of crime. No, powers are an extension to what he wants. What does he want? Think.'
"Lights out, everyone, lights out!" A guard interrupted his thoughts. Lights were going out all over the cell block.
'Good. At least now I won't have to look at these atrocious looking walls. Pity I can't get Student Jinx to come here and give this dreary cell a proper makeover. Although she'd no doubt dress it in her gothic fashions and skulls and… ugh. Kids these days. Why must they dress like they're dead or from minimum wage jobs? I'll never understand this generation. No class and dignity in what they do.' He was cast into darkness as the light went out. All was there was the hum of the apparatus and the soft light of the digital clock on the far wall.
'Wretched little… no, focus. Focus. Powers are out. So what's left? The man himself. So noble, so much like the shining knight, fighting for truth, democracy and that greasy food that children his age eat. His values, his mores. He didn't want what happened to him to happen to anyone else, that's what he said before. A sense of empathy. And outraged that I would usher in a new age of students by having them be like he and I.' He heard the chattering and occasional moaning from the other prisoners, more candidates for future students—but one item at a time to the Headmaster.
'I can use that against him. With the right scientist, like the oriental, and the technology, I can do that and with his rage, I can crumble him. His rage in our most recent fight was undoing him and giving me the chance to truly see what makes him tick. But then… I can use his desire to be normal along with that. Twist the knife and maybe see if it will bleed on the marble.
'But there is more to our lovely story here. What else can I use against him? What is different with him along with that intriguing knight complex? What has he left? Powers, personality, friends… wait… what is that phrase that they say, "You tell the quality of the man with the company he keeps?" Yes, that's the equation. That's what been alluding me. He was mine at the school until I had him ready to shoot those repugnant reprobates of his. And his resistance in fighting with his new teammates as I controlled them. Yes…'
Pity the lights weren't on, as all could have seen the most malevolent smirk in existence.
'Now it all connects, he fights for them and their cause. And all that is vigilantism. Little vigilantes. With the right twisting and probing, I could persuade them with a proper cause. But how can I exploit that? What do I know about them?
'Where should I start? Hmm… the masked one, Robin. He seems to be the leader. Determined. And quite the aura of mystery. More so with the mask. For such bright colors, he seems quite… dark and gothic under all that. Most interesting. Does quite well for no powers. A one man army would come in handy for my plans. All that angst he seems to be carrying, he seems… positively malleable with the right hand guiding him. And even dated one-liners. Delightful. He knows how to conduct himself as a young man should: with dignity and grace and more than that, discipline. Most useful. But to convert may be difficult. At my last encounter with him, I sense a recent psychic connection with him and that… demoness. Perhaps their relationship can be exploited. Get one, and get the other.' The Headmaster was continuing to scheme a mile a minute, ruminating, despite the computer protocols.
'Depending on what the relationship is, naturally. They both are dark and mysterious, it seems natural they'd gravitate to each other. But are they merely friends and co-workers or will I hear the pitter patter of little demon children from them in the future? The possibilities. All for me to utilize. Silly children of the night, Brother Blood will lead you to your slumber.' He dryly chuckled. 'Plans for a rainy day.
'But yes, what about the demoness? She radiates evil, and such power underneath such a stoic exterior. A great weapon but has to sought out properly and the right reaction. Hmm… again, could use her connection to the masked one to distort, especially once I know the truth of them. A sexual fantasy or two or even one of… love, and I can control all that lovely psychic power. Through her, I can get more students, and Robin will discipline them. Oh, the schemes reach the skies!' He struggled against the apparatus once again.
'But...first things first. Must give my compliments to the prison staff as I prepare my new master plan. They've been good chaps. Perhaps I can… persuade some to leave their vocations and see how life is from a new perceptive. Mine. But one thing at a time.
'And what about the two jesters of the lot? The animal shapeshifter and the naïve alien female? Well, the shapeshifter seems to be the buffoon of the group. The comic relief. Such an annoyance, but he does have a bond with Cyborg that is visible according to Student Gizmo's extraction report, perhaps that can be exploited. And if I can control him, then I won't have to listen to his atrocious jokes. Or that banter. What kind of banter does he use anyway? Using 'dude' is not a proper way to start banter. These young pups, so rough around the edges, I can't wait to turn into a cyborg so he'll never abuse the rules of grammar ever again.
'Speaking of which, can't forget the alien with the language fetish, now can I? Sounds like someone put a Ye Olde English dictionary in a blender for her brain and see what pops out. Aliens. Earth lets anyone in here anymore.' He gave a hard sigh. 'No sense of security, no sense of fear, just complacency. A shame. But she… could be a prelude for a possible invasion, she might be good to kept around for analysis and… possible profit if I turn the safeguards to the government for a pretty penny and if not… I can do it anyway.' He chuckled silently to himself.
He heard two sets of footsteps beginning to walk by his cell and he feigned to be asleep. The last thing he needed was them inducing him to sleep via the machine and stop his train of thought. Fortunately his cyber eye is appears the same whether open or shut, all the more perfect to spy.
"Look at him, the mighty Sebastian Blood, in all of his glory." One of the guards sneered in a whisper as they stopped by his cell.
"I don't know. The head of the H.I.V.E. Academy? He seems a lot more dangerous than on his wanted posters." The female guard, from the earlier lockup, 12, replied in a meek tone.
"That was before he became a freak by cutting himself up into a cyborg. But, Bennett, freak or not, he's a big fish. Or should I say was? I guess I should thank those kids in that big T of theirs. Saved us the trouble of catching this scumbag."
"Yes. But you have to feel to sorry for him for all the safeguards we had to give and it's just leaving his mind in shambles. He's more of an animal now as he's not even human anymore. Who knows what he was thinking when he decided to cut himself up to be a machine." Blood would have smiled at that, if it wouldn't give away his chance for seeing opportunities in the making.
"You want to say a little prayer for his soul… or pray to God that everything of his still works, Bennett?"
"Stop it." She folded her arms in irritation.
"Well… I don't know if his hood hasn't been checked on in a good long while. Those old parts may not work anymore. But that won't stop you from trying I'm sure." The guard jeered from under his helmet.
"Are you done?" She said icily.
"Yeah, I'm done. I'd focus on a villain who has all his parts if I were you."
"Really? Any suggestions?" Bennett returned the jeer.
"Well, Slade Wilson seems to be back into the game in Jump City. Despite the fact he's supposed to be buried."
"Slade Wilson? I thought he was dead." Blood's eyebrows arched once he heard that.
'My Academy's old client. Wondered if he did escape from his blonde's betrayal. That man never could keep his wayward children in line. No wonder he needed the Academy's machines. Poor fool.'
"He was, but now, he's back, with a bunch of fire powers and a weird mark on his forehead, like an 8. That guy always was a conspiracy weirdo."
The Headmaster tried not to show his contemplation. 'Fire powers and an 8 symbol? Could it be? No, impossible, the timing isn't right, unless… the demoness. I didn't see that she could be the demon's… that would explain the arrival of the vanguard because the scion of the 8th demon has now reached proper maturity. And I missed it. I am behind the times.'
"Yes, but never a super powered weirdo. I wonder if the Teen Titans there and the police can stop him," she mused.
"It doesn't matter, let them kill each other, we'll be cleaning up the mess either way."
"You're a real humanitarian, you know that?"
"Just being honest. We don't do anything except show up when there is collateral damage at day's end. What's the point of caring when all they do is kill each other? Don't see much of empathy or actual heroics from these vigilantes. All you have to is put your underpants on your head and you have a license to do anything you want, when you want."
"Just like Hal Jordan eh?" Bennett wished she could have seen her partner's face.
"Shut up. Hal was a saint until that psycho Henshaw blew up his city, he reacted the only way he could."
"But blocking out the sun?" She was enjoying the banter, the give and take. Blood's ears kept perking up.
'A woman after my own heart.'
"It stopped global warming." He gave a small sigh. "Why do I bother to talk to you?"
"Because no one else is a masochist?"
"Must be, come on. Maybe the green mile will shut you up." He then ushered her out. The Headmaster would have chuckled if he could.
'Well, how about that? And now I know Slade is the 8th demon's vanguard. Wonder how he landed that role. He always did have the greatest connections.' He shook his head and then turned his flesh eye to the digital clock, barely lit in the darkness.
'Only been two hours. Only four hours to go before the shift changes.' He just murmured and broke the silence, relaxing and stretching, despite the giant mass of metal he was attached to. 'And only six more before I can be free of this clod like collection of camshafts for an hour. The price one pays for evolution, it seems.' Blood began to remember his last night as a flesh and blood person before he was transformed.
'But I can't give in to despair. I am the next in human evolution, the perfect melding of man and his brainchild, machine. A super being. Almost a… god. And I won't let this mechanical meddler and its ilk stand in the way of my ascension. I must remember…' He remembered as he sat on an operating chair as he waited for the brainwashed Professor Chang and his surgical tools.
'I am a Blood.' He ignored the pain as Chang amputated his arms and replaced them with gauntlets. He especially remembered the sound the blood made as it pitter pattered on the floor.
'And a Blood never surrenders.' He could feel the germ infested air caress his beating heart as a chassis with his jackal's head insignia covered the massive incisions on his chest, exposed for all existence to see.
'All defeats are merely setbacks, all enemies merely obstacles to be overcome and assimilate.' Chang sliced half of Blood's skull and removed parts of his brain matter with certain razor thin slices of the scalpel and installed cybernetic connectors in the neurotransmitters. Blood could feel his brain become even more electrified as the parts began to gel with his neurons. Every thought, every memory became alive. What was once in a haze was now crystal clear.
'It is my destiny—my birthright—to triumph. To rule.' He felt his powers compensate and charge his entire body as his new battery became online. He even willed the microscopic cybernetic parts floating around in his body, to bond with his biological parts. He felt bemused as he forced his white blood cells to stop attacking and flow unperturbed with the newly injected security protocol nanoprobes. Even the microbes couldn't escape from his steely will.
'And rule I shall.' Blood gave a sneer. 'And I won't let myself succumb to some gypsy curse, like you did, Father. I am master of my own destiny and control my own fate. Your precious little resources as Brother Blood were the only thing I needed to jumpstart my own plans of conquest as I needed the capital, you were just in the way. I'm above such mysticism. I make my own.' The Headmaster could feel himself slowly charge as his power levels slowly began to rise.
'Just wait until you and the world sees what I have in mind next. I have the drive. I have the skill. And now… I have my new battle plan, once I cage my two little birds. All I require…' Blood heard some footsteps outside his cell. He pretended to murmur and attempt to toss and turn in his sleep and slowly rise from his so called slumber, his organic eye fluttering. The same guard, 12, Bennett staring at him from without.
"Ah, doesn't this look positively suspicious. I'd say if you were male, I'd say you'd have more of an easier chance with the always possible sodomy. Pity my parts no longer apply." He barbed darkly in a whisper.
"I'm not doing anything of the sort. I'm merely doing rounds." She adopted a defensive posture.
"Then why are you lingering and staring so longingly at my cell?" He acted almost guttural.
"It's not often we get a cult leader of one of the most dangerous organizations in the United States."
"Most dangerous? I thought most wanted would be a more fitting title. It's nice to be wanted, isn't it?" He gave a lopsided grin.
"Indeed, although from what I hear, your Academy has gone the way of all terrorist cells. Dissolved."
"Oh, mercy me, all those poor students, so lacking an education." He wondered she'd take the hint.
"Somehow, I think they'll manage." She returned in a deadpan.
"Indeed. Your facilities have wonderful G.E.D. programs don't they?"
"We get by."
"Yes, and make excellent correction officers like yourself."
"According to your opinion."
"I'm still locked up, aren't I?"
"Indeed you are." She smiled.
"Yes, and I should be so honored to be in the company of such a fine lady. I'd kiss your hand if I weren't so… restrained." He returned her hidden smile.
"Aren't you the gentleman?" She almost blushed.
"I try, milady. But I'm sure you have other murderers to grace with your presence." He sounded borderline maudlin.
"I should. Good night, 00… Sebastian." She was about to walk away.
"Oh, my, my, you're quite the learner aren't you? Good morrow to you, number... what's in a number, if you would return the favor?"
"Well, I can't give you that much." She teased.
"Oh, just a first name shall do. Don't want you in trouble." He cooed innocently.
"Fine name for such a lovely emerald." He smiled lightly.
"Emerald? Oh, the birthstone, no, wasn't born in May." She would have laughed if it wouldn't have wakened everyone.
"Then when? I should bake you a cake."
"No, I'm not into bakery. And I really should be going." She was about gone from sight. "But… I'll be early for my shift if you can make the time." She wondered he could see her wink from the helmet's visor.
"My dear, I got nothing but time." He gave a small smile.
"Alright then. Good night, Sebastian."
"Good night, May." Blood swore he saw a skip in May's step as she walked away. He did nothing but give a malicious grin once she left and began to fall to slumber, his musings of the night seeping into his brain.
'All I require… is one good pawn, to make into a queen. And you, May Bennett, will be my pawn.'
Leave a review on your way out. See you in the funny papers.