"Teen Titans: Future Storm"
Arc 1: "Ravaged"
Chapter 1: "Thorns"
Disclaimer: The concept of Teen Titans does not belong to me. The characters Nightstar, Ravager, and Mercury do not belong to me. The first two are owned solely by DC Comics and the third is a "slight" alteration of a character jointly owned by Marvel and DC Comics through their Amalgam Comics project. Everyone and everything else is mine, though.
Author's note: A warning before we proceed. This story is not for Titans fans who rigidly believe that all Titans stories should stick to just Robin, Starfire, Cyborg, Raven, and Beast Boy. This story is set 25 years in the future, meaning that unless the Titans we know were to join the Justice Society of America, they'd be too old for the superhero stuff. Fortunately, they leave that sort of thing to their teenage children, whose adventures you will see in this story.
Don't worry. You'll still see most of the original Titans every now and again, just not as major characters because this isn't their story. It's the story of their children. I could set it up like the current comic incarnation of Teen Titans, which has veteran Titans mentoring the new generation of teen heroes, but who would want their parents following them on superhero missions?
Also, this story is going to be set up like an actual comic book, with several major arcs and several one-shot or two-part stories in between those arcs. Oh, and down along the line, you'll see the future Justice League and another team that I don't quite feel like mentioning to you just yet.
And you're getting sick of me rambling, so I'm just gonna start this story while I still have your attention.
The year 2014
"Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Grayson," the doctor spoke with a smile. "You have twins. A boy and a girl."
The doctor handed the twins over to Mrs. Grayson, an exotically beautiful redheaded alien with vibrant green eyes. Mr. Grayson, a boyishly handsome young man with short black hair and blue eyes, smiled adoringly at his wife and children.
Mr. and Mrs. Grayson were none other than Richard Grayson, the adopted son of billionaire industrialist Bruce Wayne, and Koriand'r, a superstar in the modeling industry and a member of the Titans. Richard was a Titan as well, but in the guise of Nightwing, an alias that had never been connected to him due to some clever deception on his part.
"What are you gonna name them, Kory?" Richard asked.
"We discussed this already, Richard," Kory replied with a warm smile. "The girl is Mar'i and the boy is Joh'n."
"Good names," Richard remarked with a lopsided grin.
Seven years later . . .
Titans past and present watched with deep sadness as the casket was lowered into the ground.
"Daddy, why won't Mommy wake up?" Mar'i, already the spitting image of Kory barring her red-highlighted black hair, asked with tears in her eyes.
"Because she's dead," Joh'n spat bitterly. "She's dead and those . . . those . . ." The anger in his eyes melted away and he began to weep.
Richard was beside himself, unable to say anything that would comfort them. Koriand'r, alias Starfire, had left for Tamaran some months ago to assist her brother Ryand'r in quelling an insurgency. The battle had ultimately been won but at the cost of Starfire's life. Out of respect for Starfire's love of Earth, he had arranged for her to be buried in that planet's soil.
The hulking Tamaranean warrior known as Galfore walked to Richard and laid a hand on his shoulder. "I understand how you feel."
Richard looked at Galfore sadly. "I just wish I could say something, anything . . . I keep thinking this is a nightmare, that I'll wake up and find her sleeping next to me. It's a nightmare, and I'm awake for it."
"Do not be consumed by your sorrow, Richard," Galfore spoke.
One year later . . .
Mar'i collapsed on the ground, while Joh'n was struck down by a brutal kick.
"You have to try harder than that," Richard spoke sternly. "Where's the righteous fury?"
Mar'i and Joh'n rose to their feet and attacked Richard together, Mar'i with a jumping kick to the chest and Joh'n with a low kick that would knock their father's feet out from under him. Richard caught Mar'i's kick while jumping over Joh'n's kick. Mar'i attempted to kick him with her other leg, but Richard moved his head out of the way and slammed her onto the floor of the mini-dojo. Joh'n attacked his father with swift strikes in an attempt to avenge his twin, one that was shortly halted by a chop to the neck that brought him down.
"That's enough for today," Richard said, walking out of the dojo. Once he was outside, he saw a familiar shadow awaiting him. "Tim."
"You have to stop this, Richard," Tim Drake, the third to bear the name Robin and now Batman himself, stated. "You're hurting them."
"They'll be stronger for it," Richard replied. "They won't end up like Kory. I'll make sure of that."
"They're children," Tim insisted, his voice deepening into his alter ego's harsh growl. "You have to let them have that, even if it's just for a little while."
"Wait till Stephanie dies on you," Richard snarled. "We'll see how you react."
An ordinary person wouldn't have seen Tim's subtle flinch, but Richard did. His expression softened. "I'm sorry. That was low of me."
"Just . . . be careful with them," Tim said before departing his figurative older brother's apartment.
Richard slumped sadly.
Six years later . . .
"Do you, Richard Grayson, take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife?" the minister asked.
"I do," Richard replied.
"And do you, Barbara Gordon, take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband?" the minister asked.
"I do," Barbara replied.
"Then by the power vested in me, I declare you husband and wife," the minister proclaimed. "You may now kiss the bride."
Richard leaned down and pulled back the veil from his bride, revealing the green eyes and down-to-earth beauty of Barbara Gordon, before kissing her softly on the lips. While most in the audience were cheering for the couple, there were two that sat in stony silence. One had an expression of barely restrained anger on her face and the other was simply expressionless.
Mar'i and Joh'n Grayson.
As the twins had grown into adolescence, they had borne witness to the blossoming romance between their father and his longtime friend Barbara Gordon, also known as the information broker Oracle and formerly known as Batgirl. Neither had been very happy about it.
Yes, they'd heard their father's friends – Roy Harper and Victor Stone, otherwise known as Arsenal and Cyborg, in particular – tell them that he couldn't spend the rest of his life mourning for their mother and that was fine by them. They just couldn't see why he had to get married again. It wasn't that Barbara was a bad woman; far from it, but the memory of their mother was still fresh in their minds and they couldn't imagine some other woman taking her place.
Unable to bear anymore, Mar'i stood and began to walk out of the church. Once she was out, a shadow materialized in front of her and took the form of Samara, the daughter of Raven "Rachel" Roth and Joey "Jericho" Wilson.
"It hurts, doesn't it?" she spoke. "That your father is able to move on and you can't."
Mar'i looked into Samara's violet eyes . . . and fell into her arms, weeping.
"It isn't supposed to be this way!" the half-Tamaranean girl cried. "Mom's supposed to be alive and Dad's supposed to be with her!"
Samara didn't say anything, instead channeling feelings of comfort and sisterly love into Mar'i's troubled mind to soothe her.
One year later . . .
Mar'i, Joh'n, and Samara gathered in Titans Tower in Jump City, which had been retrofitted with new technology by Cyborg, the original designer of the Tower. Gathered with them were Peter Allen, the son of the current Flash Bart Allen; Terri Logan, the daughter of Changeling and a no-longer-amnesiac Terra; and Jeremiah Crockett, the son of Hotspot.
"So what do you think?" Mar'i asked.
"I think this is a pretty sweet place," Peter remarked. "I'm gonna like it here."
"So what do we call ourselves?" Joh'n asked.
"We already know what to call ourselves," Terri replied enthusiastically. "The Teen Titans!"
"I meant individually," Joh'n remarked. "Mar'i and I went by Nightstar and Bladefire when we were fighting crime in Blüdhaven and we know all about what you've been doing in Keystone, 'Mercury.'"
Peter grinned proudly.
"Why do we need codenames?" Samara asked. "Not like it's a big secret that a number of us are the children of former Titans."
"Yeah, but codenames strike fear in the hearts of criminals," Terri replied. "Call me Beast Girl!"
Jeremiah sighed. "As long as we're all on this codename craze, you can call me Inferno."
"I'm sticking with Samara," Samara said.
"Suit yourself," Nightstar said.
Just then, the klaxon sounded and the Titans rushed to the mainframe monitor. "There's a hostage situation," Bladefire said, pointing at the screen, "at these coordinates."
"What are we waiting for?" Mercury asked, having quick-changed into his costume, a short-sleeved blue-and-white running suit with a goggle-mask and lightning caps over the ears. "Let's go!"
The year 2030
In a dimly lit chamber, six figures sat at a semicircular table looking intently at a seventh figure. The shadows obscured the seventh figure's features, all except a malevolently gleaming red eye.
"You know why we have summoned you," one of the sitting figures stated in a voice that sounded like that of a cultured young woman, accented by a demonic rasp.
"Yes," the seventh figure confirmed coldly.
"Another band of children has begun to operate under the name Titans," another of the sitting figures, his "face" illuminated by a morbid fiery glow around it, snarled. "They must be eliminated. Judging by your previous record, that sounds like something that would be right up your alley."
"You'd be correct in that presumption," the seventh figure stated. "What do I get if I kill them?"
"Five hundred million dollars," a third sitting figure replied, his voice like crackling flames. "Half now . . . the other half upon completion of the job."
"Sounds good," the seventh figure said and the shadows parted just enough for the six sitting figures to see a chilling smile. "Don't worry. You'll get the Titans' heads on a silver platter. You'd just better have my payment when I bring you those heads."
Then the seventh figure faded into the darkness, leaving the six sitting figures alone.
"You think she has any clue?" a fourth sitting figure asked.
"No," the first figure replied. "Contract killers such as this one are motivated by the challenge of the kill. These Titans should be a good enough challenge for her."
"Are we really going to let her do our dirty work?" a fifth sitting figure asked.
"We know your feelings concerning Beast Girl," the figure with the morbid glow around his "face" responded. "Do not worry. You'll get your chance."
In the main room of the remodeled Titans Tower, the newest Teen Titans had congregated and were set about their usual activities. Nightstar and Bladefire were manning the computers, performing a cyber-dive for any reports of crime that would be too much for the police to handle. Meanwhile, Mercury and Beast Girl warred against each other on the Gamestation XS. Inferno's nose was buried in a chemistry cyber-textbook, and Samara's nose was buried in a dark fantasy cyber-novel.
As for Raziel, the mysterious psychic martial artist they'd recruited some months ago, he was calmly reading a cyberpunk cyber-manga about teen hackers who found themselves blessed and cursed with powers born of something called the Carbon Plague.
Since the Titans were on-duty, as it was, they were in costume. Nightstar's costume consisted of a very tiny black top with a purple wing emblem that was designed in such a way that the "wings" wrapped around her shoulders, very tiny black shorts, thigh-high black boots, and purple wrist guards with embedded green gems. Bladefire's costume was a black shirt with diamond cutouts in the front, sides, and back and black pants with cutouts in the thighs and knees with silver boots, a belt, and wrist guards with embedded blue gems. Beast Girl wore a midriff-baring black shirt and low-riding black pants decorated with purple tooth and claw marks with armored boots and fingerless black gloves that exposed razor-sharp nails.
Samara wore a dark violet cloak over a black shirt that was leather at the top and sleeves and mesh at the midriff, a skirt made of leather belts hooked together, and knee-high platform boots. Inferno wore a skintight black suit with flame designs on the left side. Mercury wore a short-sleeved blue suit with white on the sides and insides of the calves and jagged edges where blue met white, as well as zip-up blue sneakers with white lightning caps on the back ends, blue fingerless gloves, and a blue half-mask with semitransparent white lenses and white lightning ear-caps. Raziel wore a white haori jacket with the kanji (Japanese writing character) for "angel" on the back over a black shirt with the kanji for "demon" written in blood red on the front and loose black pants with buckles and zippers all over.
"I've got you now, Silvertop!" Beast Girl declared as she whipped out a combo that depleted Mercury's health by more than half. She wiggled her hips with cheer as her fingers danced over the buttons on the Gamestation XS's virtual controller.
"Better be careful," Mercury remarked, watching Beast Girl's wiggling hips. "Your pants are so low that any more of that might give me a better view than the one I'm presently enjoying."
Beast Girl stopped in mid-wiggle and glared. "Pervert!" At that moment, she saw Mercury's hands moving at super-speed over the buttons of his virtual controller, pulling out all kinds of vicious combos that brought her character's health down to zero.
"I win!" Mercury shouted, doing a hyper-speed victory run around the main room. "And once again, the Shinobi of Speed takes it home!"
"You cheated," Beast Girl declared.
"I-didn't-cheat!" Mercury shouted. "I-just-took-advantage-of-your-distraction! That's-not-cheating! That's-the-way-of-the-ninja!"
"You're not a ninja!" Beast Girl exclaimed in annoyance.
Inferno just chuckled in amusement as he read his chemistry textbook.
"You find this funny?" Samara asked.
"Hey, if I've gotta read this textbook, I need some amusement to keep me from going nuts," Inferno replied calmly.
Raziel said nothing, so intent on his cyber-manga he was.
Nightstar and Bladefire couldn't be persuaded to give a crap about the nature of their teammates' squabble, as their minds were submerged in cyberspace.
"Ok, Mr. Speed Ninja, you've had your fun," Samara grumbled in annoyance. "Now quit running around."
"Not-until-she-apologizes-for-accusing-me-of-cheating!" Mercury declared.
"You are so a cheater!" Beast Girl insisted.
Samara growled and a wall of black telekinetic force emerged in front of Mercury, forcing him to stop dead in his tracks before he hit it. He turned to Samara with a glare in his partially obscured eyes. "What was that about?"
"You'd have created a sonic boom if you weren't careful," Samara answered.
"Oh," Mercury uttered with a slight blush.
"Now, do you two mind not annoying me?" Samara asked. "Some of us are trying to read."
"Sorry," Mercury and Beast Girl said simultaneously.
"Wanna play again?" Beast Girl asked.
"Sure," Mercury replied. Under his breath, he added, "And maybe play a different game later."
Just as the two were about to begin again, Nightstar and Bladefire re-emerged into the real world from their cyber-dive.
"You two find anything?" Raziel asked in his usual soft, measured tones.
"Yeah," Nightstar replied. "We found a break-in at an old factory owned by Mace Chemicals."
"You know who it is?" Samara asked.
"No," Bladefire replied. "Not that it matters. We'll beat them like we've beaten every other criminal in this city."
The Titans took to the streets in the fastest methods they had available. Nightstar, Bladefire, Beast Girl, as a bird-human hybrid resembling a harpy, and Samara flew. Inferno and Raziel rode on motorcycles, the former on a flame-decaled black motorcycle, the latter on a silver-and-blue motorcycle. Mercury ran alongside them at super-speed.
When they reached the factory, they first noticed that it was faintly lit. There was enough light to see and navigate around, but there were also plenty of shadows that seemed to get darker the higher they looked.
"It's pretty dark," Mercury remarked.
"Do you still sleep with a nightlight, Silvertop?" Beast Girl asked snidely.
"No!" Mercury replied heatedly.
"Will you shut up?" Samara asked quietly. "You're giving away our position."
"We came in through the front door," Inferno remarked, having shifted into his fiery form upon entering the factory, "and I give off plenty of light like this. The guy who broke in probably knows we're here already, thanks to me."
At that moment, the Titans heard a mocking feminine giggle. "What makes you think it's a guy?"
The Titans looked up at the source of the voice and saw a young woman standing on the catwalk looking down on them. She was dressed in a skintight black suit that looked like it was made of leather, with the shoulders and arms covered in what looked like chain mail and a triangular cutout in the chest that revealed a moderate amount of cleavage. Her hands were covered in black leather gloves with two black metal bands wrapped around each forearm. A silver belt hung loosely at her shapely hips. Silver armor encased her knees, shins, and the tops of her feet. A mask that was entirely black on the left side and orange on the right side with a red lens concealed the upper half of her face.
"Men," the leather-and-armor-clad young woman remarked. "So chauvinistic. Whatever happened to the 'new, enlightened man'?"
"He took a break," Mercury quipped.
"Who are you?" Nightstar asked.
"My enemies, not that they've lived very long after meeting me, call me The Ravager," the young woman replied, leaping off the catwalk and landing agilely in a crouch, one hand planted on the ground.
"I've got her," Mercury said, running at The Ravager, only to set off a mine when he ran. Fortunately, he was fast enough to avoid getting his leg blown off, and he continued running at Ravager, avoiding mines along the way. Unfortunately, Ravager was waiting for him, seeking the proper opportunity to strike. When Mercury came up behind her with a sneak attack in mind, The Ravager whirled and stabbed him in the gut with a knife.
"Mercury!" Beast Girl shouted in horror. That horror soon turned to rage, and her form shifted from a blonde green elf to a green-furred cat-girl. She sprang at The Ravager and slashed at her, but the masked woman caught her wrist before the claws could connect. Beast Girl slashed at her with her free hand, but Ravager caught that wrist as well.
"You're good," she murmured. "And kinda cute, too. You're lucky I like cats."
This startled Beast Girl long enough for Ravager to viciously knee-jab her and subsequently deliver a nerve strike to the neck that knocked the shape-shifter unconscious.
"Two down," she whispered.
Inferno shot a massive wave of fire at The Ravager that obscured everything in front of him . . . until The Ravager leaped into a flying kick through the fire wave, knocking the fire-starter into a wall.
"How did you . . . ?" he asked in surprise.
To the surprise of the Titans, Ravager looked as though the flames hadn't touched her at all, save for the unusually pink skin exposed by her cowl and by the triangular cutout in the chest of her costume. However, the pink was becoming lighter quite fast.
Samara summoned tendrils of psychic darkness and projected them at The Ravager, who practically danced out of their way. The dark-haired psychic's response was to rip the floor out from underneath the masked young woman. Unfortunately for her, The Ravager jumped out of the way of the collapsing floor, so Samara telekinetically lacerated the backs of her knees, apparently crippling her. To her surprise, The Ravager simply got up again.
"How?" she asked.
Ravager merely smiled at her before somersaulting over her, taking the time to slap something on her temples. Samara had only a nanosecond to wonder what it was before an indescribable pain ripped through her mind, eliciting screams from her.
"Samara!" Inferno shouted. He turned to Ravager. "What the hell did you do to her, you bitch?"
"Not a nice thing to call a lady," Ravager replied mockingly. "Didn't your mother teach you any manners?"
"Don't talk about my mother!" Inferno yelled. "Now what the hell did you do to Samara?"
"Oh, don't worry, Firestorm, she'll live," the Ravager answered.
Inferno charged at The Ravager with flaming fists at the ready. Unfortunately, she flicked a capsule at him, and it exploded in a gooey mess that he couldn't burn through.
"What the hell is this?" the fire user asked.
Before The Ravager could make a witty retort, she moved her head to the side, neatly evading a speeding projectile aimed for her head. She moved her head two more times, evading two more speeding projectiles aimed for her head.
"Nice try," she said. The next thing she knew, there was a neat tear in the midriff of her suit and there was even a little blood escaping. It soon stopped, though, as the wound began to miraculously seal itself. Finally, she grabbed the source of that wound by his wrist as he was preparing to strike again. "Raziel. Nice to meet you." She punched him in the stomach, but he quickly recovered and kicked her in the solar plexus. Ravager gave no sign of being affected so adversely by the kick and pulled out three throwing knives from her belt, hurling them at Raziel, who caught them all in midair. "Impressive. You've got faster reflexes than I thought."
Raziel didn't say anything, instead choosing to slash at her with his index and middle fingers, which were sheathed in sharpened psychic energy. Dodging the slashes, Ravager kicked his legs out from under him, only for him to turn his fall into a handstand and flip back onto his feet. The two resumed their fight and Ravager flipped behind him, spinning in midair to kick him in the back of the head. However, he whirled around and grabbed her ankle, throwing her at a wall. She somersaulted in the air and landed on her feet.
The two came at each other again, trading punches and kicks that would seriously injure – if not kill – a normal human. Finally, Ravager faked a jab at Raziel's face and the white-and-black-clad young man moved his head out of the way . . . only to fall victim to a vicious heel strike to his temple, knocking him unconscious.
"That's five," The Ravager stated. She spotted Nightstar and Bladefire and smiled. "The leaders of the Titans. Ready to face me now?"
Bladefire's right hand glowed blue and the glow shaped itself into a sword. Nightstar's right hand glowed violet and she lashed at The Ravager with an energy whip. The Ravager merely dodged and smirked at Nightstar.
"I didn't know you were into that sort of thing," she remarked, almost flirtatious. She reached behind her and withdrew a katana with a gleaming blade.
The twin Tamaranean terrors, as Nightstar and Bladefire had been affectionately nicknamed when they were younger, didn't know what hit them. All they knew was that something had struck them quickly and viciously, bringing them down before they'd even seen it coming.
"What the hell was that?" Bladefire asked.
"Don't know," Nightstar replied.
"Am I that fast or are you two that slow?" Ravager remarked with a smirk.
Bladefire slashed at the Titans' masked attacker, but she blocked with her sword. He jumped back and slashed at her again, only for her to parry the slash this time and slash him. However, she found herself unable to tear through the cloth to reach his more vulnerable – so she assumed – flesh.
The redheaded half-Tamaranean smirked. "Tamaranean cloth. Far more durable than anything you'll find on this planet." His eyes glowed blue and he blasted her into a wall.
At least, that was what would have happened if she hadn't raised the flat of her blade in time and positioned it so that the optic blast hit Nightstar instead.
"Nightstar!" Bladefire shouted in horror. He glared at the Ravager. "How did you do that?"
"Deflect your blast?" The Ravager asked. "Let's just say I have a sixth sense about these things and leave it at that."
"Nice try," Nightstar hissed as she got up. "But Bladefire's hit me a lot harder than that before!" She flew at Ravager and lashed at her with an energy whip, only for the masked young woman to catch it and use it to pull her toward her. Nightstar took the opportunity to kick Ravager in the head.
Apparently, the dark-haired Titan leader had kicked Ravager too hard, since the masked attacker's head was cocked at an awkward position.
"That. Hurt," The Ravager grumbled as she wrenched her head back into position. "But I see you like to play rough. I like that in my playmates."
Nightstar growled and aimed a chop for her neck, but Ravager sidestepped it and grabbed her wrist. Nightstar swung herself into the air and maneuvered herself for a kick to the face. Ravager merely dropped and twisted, pinning the Titan leader to the ground.
"Why are you struggling?" she asked. "I rather like the view. Do you like the view, Nightstar?"
Nightstar's response was a vicious knee to Ravager's gut, knocking enough wind out of her for the half-Tamaranean to slip free of her grasp. She lashed at the leather-and-armor-clad young woman, only for her whip to wrap around The Ravager's sword. The Ravager threw Nightstar into a wall, only to be surprised when something propelled her into another wall.
"That's for stabbing me," Mercury stated.
"Ah, the so-called Shinobi of Speed," Ravager remarked as she got back on her feet.
"Mercury?" Bladefire asked.
"Don't worry, I'm ok," Mercury replied. "Speed healing works wonders on stab wounds." He grinned. "Like my boom snap?"
"That's what you did to her?" Bladefire asked. "Remind me not to piss you off."
"Three of us, one of you," Nightstar said to Ravager as she rejoined the other remaining Titans.
"As far as I'm concerned, that means you're outnumbered," The Ravager retorted with a smirk.
Suddenly, she was battered by a number of invisible assaults. To the surprise of Nightstar and Bladefire, she laughed.
"Good technique, Mercury," she remarked. "Run around me so fast even I can't see you and set off a number of miniature sonic booms while you're running."
Indeed, that was Mercury's plan. Additionally, he was moving so fast that he had started a veritable cyclone around her and the aforementioned cyclone was tossing her around like a rag doll. Unfortunately for him, the Ravager reached down and grabbed him by his exposed platinum hair, forcibly halting his run. That wasn't the really bad part, though.
The really bad part was that a tornado, once started, continued on its own momentum and not the power of the speedster that caused it . . . and it was catching everyone in its path.
Nightstar swore under her breath and threw out her energy whip, the whip wrapping around the guardrail of the catwalk. "We'd better get the hell out of here," she said.
"Agreed," Bladefire stated as Mercury began super-speeding the fallen Titans out of the factory. He looked at Nightstar. "What do we do about Ravager?"
Nightstar peered into the eye of the tornado. "I don't see her anywhere in there. She must have escaped somehow."
"Then it's time we got out of here," Bladefire answered.
With that statement made, the twin Tamaranean terrors flew out of the factory.
"There goes the factory," Mercury commented. "You think Mace Chemicals will be mad at us?"
"The corporations in this country are used to superhero/villain fights resulting in damage to their buildings," Nightstar replied. "I'm sure they'll at least pretend to be understanding."
"She was good," Bladefire remarked. "She took pretty much all of us out with not very much effort."
"Who is she?" Mercury asked.
"I don't know, but we're going to find out," Nightstar replied. "Come on, team, let's go home."
"Uh, you mind cutting me out of this crap first?" Inferno asked.
"Oh, yeah," Bladefire murmured. He summoned his energy sword and with a few swift slices, Inferno was freed from the flame retardant. The fire user proceeded to pick up a piece of the flame retardant and slip it inside a compartment in his belt. "Huh?"
"I want to study this stuff," Inferno replied. "If I figure out what it's made of, I might be able to duplicate it or counter it."
"Oh, yeah, wouldn't wanna be snuffed out again," Mercury quipped.
Inferno merely stared at him and walked to Samara, whose eyes were wide and unseeing as he powered down and removed the object The Ravager had planted on her temple. He picked her up as she closed her eyes.
"Whoever she is, she just made an enemy of me," Inferno declared.
Elsewhere in the city, The Ravager made her way back to a posh apartment unobserved by either the people on the street or the people in the apartment complex. Once inside, she removed her two-colored bisected mask, revealing the face of a woman in her early twenties. Her face was highlighted by a single blue eye, the absence of its twin concealed by a black patch, and framed in long, lustrous silver hair.
The Ravager smiled. "A good night's work, if I say so myself." Even if she hadn't killed the Titans, she'd gained an estimate of their abilities. Overall, they were quite a strong team. Some could have done some real damage if she hadn't done her homework beforehand.
The vid-phone beeped rapidly, and the silver-haired young woman walked to her desk, quickly activating the "audio only" option before answering. "Hello?"
"We watched your performance tonight, Ravager," the cultured young woman spoke. "We were most impressed."
"Thanks. I like to make a good impression on my employers," Ravager answered with a smirk.
"However, you did not kill the Titans," the young woman stated, the demonic rasp becoming more pronounced.
"Didn't feel like it," Ravager replied promptly. "Not immediately. They're a challenge. I have fun with them. I haven't had that much fun in years."
"Yes, well, be careful that your 'fun' doesn't interfere with getting the job done," the young woman advised coldly.
"I won't," Ravager smirked. "Now if you'll excuse me, I have a hot bath to enjoy." She turned off her vid-phone and walked into the bathroom, where she began to run the water for her bath.
Five minutes later, a nude Ravager slipped into the bathtub with an almost ecstatic smile on her face, thinking of what would happen when she encountered the Titans again . . . especially a certain pair of twins.
End Notes: So what did you think of that? Assuming you weren't entirely turned off by the fact that these Titans are not the same as in the show – and that you're not one of those "Robin, Starfire, Cyborg, Raven, and Beast Boy or no one" fanatics – you might have derived some enjoyment from this. However, far be it from me to assume what you are all thinking and feeling. Speaking of your thoughts and feelings, it'd be best for you to tell me in a review.
If anyone was confused about "cyber-diving," "cyber-novels," "cyber-textbooks," and "virtual controllers," I'll explain all of those. "Cyber-diving" is what people in the year 2030 do when they completely immerse themselves in the Internet to look for information. The way this works is that their bodies are sitting in chairs while their minds are riding on the information superhighway via special headsets. "Cyber-books" – whether they be textbooks or novels (graphic or printed word) – are flat-panel display versions of books that can be opened into two parts in a manner similar to actual paper books. Virtual controllers come with game systems and are essentially hard-light constructs that materialize when a video game is ready to be played. However, one needs special gloves to be able to use them. And vid-phones are self-evident, aren't they?
Also, the XS designation of the Gamestation Beast Girl and Mercury use is a reference to Bart Allen's (Impulse/Kid Flash/Flash in this story) cousin Jenni Ognats, a.k.a. the speedster XS. Long story made short: Barry Allen, the second Flash, went to the future to be with Iris West Allen, his wife. He had twin children with her, Don and Dawn Allen, who both had children of their own when they grew up. Bart was Don's son and Jenni/XS was Dawn's daughter. Further explanation gets far too complicated, so I'll skip that.
Ravager's nickname for Inferno, Firestorm, is a reference to the DC Comics superhero by the same name. Despite the name, Firestorm's powers aren't actually fire-based, but his head looks like it's on fire when his powers are active. That might be the reason for the name.