Disclaimer: Teen Titans and all its characters, names, etc. are the intellectual property of its respective owners. I do not claim ownership over Teen Titans or anything within it. Though I wish I could...cause that would just be awesome. The newly created characters, however, are my intellectual property.
Prologue: The Exodus
Drugan is dead - another recon group just outside of Zarcon spotted us and we were forced to abandon our position. Drugan's vehicle suffered a catastrophic failure as they gave chase…I could not slow down to rescue him…they would've gotten us both. I cannot believe that I am the last one left. Can I finish this on my own? Drugan was the genius behind the device; I simply had the resources and technical expertise to construct it. Alas, the library will likely be burnt down before I can get a chance to return, which means I will have to go with what knowledge we managed to record in our three day stay. Such a wealth of history now all contained within my computer's databanks. Will it be enough? Will we find the answers that we look for? I pray to whatever merciful god is still paying attention to our forgotten race that I can do this on my own…before they find me again.
I believe I may have found an answer to my questions. My research is pointing me towards a revolution that occurred many, many centuries ago. The computer simulations look promising but there are still too many variables to take into account. How would I be able to avert such a large-scale disaster? The patrols have been drawing ever closer and I fear I may have to abandon this post as well. I only have two other bases in reserve apart from this one…if they make it to the last one all my hopes are gone with it.
This is the end of my journey. Win or lose I cannot run any further. There are simply no places left for me to hide where I can continue my work. The prototype has simply gotten too large for me to transport anymore and there is simply too much data to carry with me now. I now take refuge in the last bastion of my hope. Lord it has grown more and more difficult to maintain my sanity now. It is so quiet without Drugan…at least with one other person I could talk to somebody. Now I find myself talking to myself just to keep myself sane. Some days…I wake up thinking that Drugan will be there with another cup of his near nauseating tea. At least it kept us going though…I wish I had gotten the recipe from him before he died.
I cannot believe it! I believe I have found an answer. The simulation has given me positive result after positive result every single time. Can I truly save them all this way? Well…no, not everybody. I will be forced to make some difficult choices but if this is what it takes to save us all, then that is what I must do. I do not relish this decision…it is unlikely anyone will appreciate what I will do either. I will likely be branded the worst villain that has ever existed…and they will never know what could have been if I hadn't acted the way I did. It does not matter; when this is done I doubt I will even exist anymore…at least not in the same fashion. Now that I have narrowed it down, I must make sure I can calibrate the machine to bring me to my destination. This is the part where Drugan would've come in handy…
This is it…I can hear them pounding on the doors out front. I have put up as many barricades as I can in hopes that it will slow them down but…no! It is too soon. The device is not ready. If I go now…I do not know where I will wind up or if it will even work. But giving their usual nature, I doubt it will take them much longer than five minutes to get to me…and another ten or twelve seconds to rip me limb from limb afterwards. I see I have only two options left – death or the unknown. At least in the unknown I stand a chance at accomplishing my mission. The machine has already been rigged so that once I go through it will self-destruct along with this entire installation so that they cannot follow me. I will take this journal with me so that I can keep track of my journey.
From the sounds of it, the main doors have just been breached. They are faster than I have expected. Perhaps they know what I am trying to do now. They cannot stop me now. Into the unknown…
No! I cannot believe what has happened. I am nowhere near my destination. From my calculations, I have not only missed my destination by a bit…I have overshot it by several thousand millennia. The atmosphere here is harsh…it is difficult to breath. I will not be able to survive here for more than a few days like this…let alone to the time I need to be at. There is one possibility but it so very risky. I have never attempted it before…neither has Drugan. I do not know if any person has succeeded in fact. But it is my only shot. It will be the only chance I have for saving humanity. How ironic…to save humanity, the last human must give up his. When I do this, I will no longer be able to use this journal. I will leave it somewhere safe so that perhaps people in the future will be able to find it and know what I did.
Chapter One: Family Ties
The sun began to creep over the horizon, bathing the waking world in its warm glow heralding in a brand new day. The sunlight lit up the face of the towering 'T' that stood vigilant overlooking Jump City, flooding the living room with its morning glow. Unlike most mornings in the Titan Tower, the living room was already occupied by some of its inhabitants – slumbering but occupying nonetheless. At that hour in the morning, a number of the channels had not started their daily broadcasting and as such the large screen television was nothing more than a series of coloured vertical bars and a gentle humming sound that was reminiscent of simple white noise. Upon the couch, two of the Titans were huddled close together in a very peaceful slumber. It was Starfire and Robin, who had been up late the night before watching a movie before drifting asleep about three quarters of the way through it. The other Titans had been kind enough, for a change, to leave them undisturbed despite the fact that Starfire was practically laying atop of Robin on the couch.
If it were a typical morning, the pair would likely have remained in their state until one of the other Titans, most likely Beast Boy, would break the silence by barging into the living room like a wild elephant, figuratively and, on occasion, literally as well. However, since the pair had so carelessly left the television running over night and with the volume increased to a significant level, they would receive an awakening that would make them grateful for one by Beast Boy.
Perhaps somewhere, a television programmer would be chuckling to himself. For the program that started off the stations broadcasting day happened to be historical documentary on the Wild West, which trumpeted its debut with exactly that – a very, very loud trumpeting. Starfire let out a startled yelp as she fell of the couch in her panic. Robin, on the other hand, merely yawned as he groggily woke up as if oblivious to the high-pitched noise in the background.
"Man…what time is it Star?" Robin groaned, rubbing one eye as he sat up slowly. From her place on the ground, Starfire reached up and grabbed the remote control off the couch and slammed the off button for the television, restoring the tranquility once again.
"It is time for me to resume sleep," Starfire retorted, still a little irritated from the rude awakening. Starfire drifted slowly out of the room, but promptly halted halfway from her destination and glanced to the large window that overlooked the bay.
"Is…something wrong Star?"
"For a moment…I felt as though we were being watched," she answered, causing Robin to glance to the window in curiosity. However, there was nothing out there that wasn't supposed to be there.
"Maybe it's just your imagination…" Robin concluded, as there was no evidence to the contrary. "I'll go take a look outside though." Since he was up, he might as well do something and it wasn't like Starfire made comments like that every day. Who knows, maybe she had a sort of sixth sense about these sorts of things. It wasn't like Robin knew a great deal about Tamaraneans. Starfire merely smiled softly in response, appreciative of Robin's actions. She figured it was likely nothing but one could never be too cautious.
The two Titans went their separates – Starfire to her room and Robin up to the rooftop. Robin had to admit that he had a similar feeling of being observed but he regularly had such feelings and rarely paid any attention to them. Sometimes it felt as if he were being watched by a large collection of higher beings that existed outside of his realm of perspective…but that was just absurd.
"Who'd be crazy enough to be spying through our window?" Robin continued muttering comments to nobody as he finally reached the rooftop of the Titan Tower. To no surprise, nothing was out of the ordinary on the rooftop though that wasn't enough to fully satisfy the Boy Wonder. He headed over the railing and took a glance down the side of the building to check if anybody was hanging outside the living room window. Aside from a slight sense of vertigo, he found nothing outside the window as well. Now that was enough for satisfy his curiosity as he concluded that the Titan Tower was secure as always.
That sense of security, however, was soon shattered like a chucked beer bottle. Upon heading back inside, Robin found a white envelope taped to the door leading back inside the Tower. Robin just stared at the envelope for a moment, wondering if his imagination was acting up on him again and if that were there when he got on the roof initially. Just to add to the disturbing factor, 'Starfire' was written across the front of the envelope accompanied by the words 'for her eyes only'.
Cautiously, Robin peeled the envelope free from the tape and examined the exterior of the envelope. "Well…this is new…" he remarked as he was uncertain what to make of the piece of mail. Robin felt a little conflicted now – there was the definite possibility that the sender might have less than friendly intentions for Starfire receiving the letter, at which point it'd be in the team's best interest for him to open right now and confront any dangers right now. On the other hand…it was also possible that it's legitimate and then Robin would just be intruding on Starfire's privacy and god knows that Robin didn't want to aggravate his teammate. It could be worse…it could've been addressed to Raven. He couldn't just ignore the blatant risk that the letter possessed. It could be laced with some sort of toxin…or worse! Wait, what's worse than that?
"Perhaps I could just erase the second part…" Robin pondered as he examined the envelope closer. No such luck…it was ink. It would be a few hours before anyone else would wake up, giving Robin sufficient time to try and deduce the nature of the letter. All he needed to do was make sure that the letter was safe…as long as Starfire doesn't know what harm would come from it? Sure he was not proud of what he was going to have to do, but it was for the safety of the team. Obviously no ordinary person dropped this mail off.
"Damn…they must've put a piece of thick paper…" Robin groaned in defeat, holding the envelope up a lamp to try and make out some of the text on the paper held within. However, something inside was obscuring the light and preventing any details from getting through. It was almost as if the person knew one of the Titans would try something like this. "Wait a minute…Robin what are you doing? It's just a letter and it's not even yours. Why am I trying to spy on it by using a stupid lamp? Hm…maybe I could use the x-ray device. No, no…that'd wake Cyborg up. If only I could get this blasted sealant off…aha! Steam - it always worked in those movies."
Robin hopped off the couch and headed for the kitchen. It was the perfect plan – he'd steam off the glue, check the letter to see if it was safe, and then simply claim it came like that. Starfire would never know the difference.
He checked the time after he put the kettle on and turned on the element. It was still pretty early but time was going to be scarce soon. He just hoped that Starfire didn't come back to check up on Robin. Just to avoid suspicion, he kept the lights off in the kitchen while he waited for the kettle to finish. After what felt like an eternity of waiting, but was actually about ten minutes, a gentle cloud of steam began to rise from the kettle's spout. Now all that was required was diligence – if he steamed in the wrong place it could cause the ink to run or just take longer than necessary.
But then the lights suddenly clicked on.
"GAH!" Two voices shouted in shock with Robin spinning about to see Raven standing at the doorway with an equally surprised look on her face. It was too early for anybody to still be seriously waking up and judging by the fact that Raven hadn't even changed into her daytime clothing, Robin could guess that she wasn't expecting him to be up either.
"What are you doing up this early?"
"What are you doing boiling water in the dark…and with a sealed envelope in your hand?"
"What are you doing wearing pink bunny slippers?" There was a dead silence between the two as both of their eyes just drifted down to the pair of pink, fuzzy, animal-like footwear that Raven had on.
"I won't tell if you don't," Raven replied.
"I'll leave you to your work."
"Didn't you come here for something?"
"I've changed my mind," Raven said as she turned about and headed on her way out.
"They're pretty cute."
"And steaming doesn't work."
"What?" Robin looked back to the envelope and sure enough it hadn't opened. In fact, there appeared to be a new line of text along the lip of the envelope with the mocking words 'That doesn't work Robin' written across it. "Blast…heat-activated ink." Robin groaned in defeat once more. Perhaps this was more effort than was necessary. "Screw it I'm going back to sleep…" The letter was probably nothing important so he just left it on the counter for the others to find as he decided to just sleep off the last few hours of peace on the living room couch. What's the worse that could happen?
As if one rude awakening hadn't been enough for Robin, only a few hours after he had drifted back to sleep on the couch did he receive his second awakening from an unwanted source, this time from a quieter but much wetter source. A face-full of water quickly brought him back to the world of the conscious as he shot up from the couch.
"Gah…what the heck was that for?" Robin barked as he shook some of the excess water off his face.
"You left the kettle on the stove, I figured this would help you remember for next time," Raven answered, holding the kettle in one hand and in the background both of them could hear Beast Boy laughing to himself over the prank. Robin tried to shrug it off even though he was a little bit annoyed over that. Glancing towards the kitchen, he saw Beast Boy and Cyborg working on breakfast.
"Um…is Starfire up yet?"
"I take it that the letter's for her?"
"Where'd you find it?"
"On the roof."
"What did you find on the roof?" Starfire's voice perked up, diverting both Robin and Raven's attention to the just recently awoken Tamaranean just entering the living room. Robin fell silent immediately – this was not quite how he wanted to bring the subject up.
"I'll let you handle this one," Raven excused herself since she wasn't interested in getting caught between a possible argument between the two. She retreated to the relative safety of the kitchen to return the kettle to its rightful place.
"Um…yeah, I found a letter on the roof," Robin finally managed to explain as innocently as possible before pointing to the envelope on the nearby counter.
"A letter? I did not know the mailman delivered onto our roof…and on a Thursday…and so early," Starfire expressed her confusion. She picked up the envelope and examined it thoroughly. The heat-activated ink had already faded away once the temperature returned to normal. "This is not from the post office."
"Any idea who sent it?"
"I do not know. It has been such a long time since I have received a letter from anybody, especially one that was not addressed 'to whom it may concern'. Perhaps you should try opening it Robin. I remember those stories you told when people put bad things into the mail to hurt people from far away."
"I'm…sure it's nothing Star. It's probably just a letter from a fan. A very…strange fan but a fan nonetheless," Robin tried to ease Starfire's worries about the letter; even though he had expressed such concerns himself.
"Please open it Robin."
"It's addressed to your Star, it might have something very personal and private in there that I shouldn't be reading!"
"But who would be writing to me without even using proper postage? I have a bad feeling about this letter," she insisted, holding the letter out to Robin. However, instead of Robin taking the letter the metallic hand of Cyborg plucked the letter from Stafire's hand.
"I'll open it…since both of you seem to be too scared to bother with some fan mail," Cyborg remarked jokingly. He had easily overheard the exchange going on and had come out of the kitchen to investigate. His open involvement soon got Beast Boy's attention too. "Well it looks clean…and I'm not picking up any strange readings from it so let's see who's Starfire's newest fan."
"Who wants to bet she's got a new secret admirer?" Beast Boy chuckled as he sat on the couch to listen in. Cyborg promptly tore open the envelope and pulled the single sheet of paper out of it.
"Let's see…Dear Cyborg?" his tone indicated to his level of confusion since he read his name at the beginning even though the envelope was originally addressed to Starfire. "Thank you for finally opening the letter – I'm sure you were the only one with the guts to actually do it. Please tell Beast Boy that his jokes about stalkers or secret admirers are not funny."
"Seems like the writer knows us fairly well," Raven commented as she joined the other Titans in the living room.
"I'm sure that you're reading this letter out loud so could you please hand it over to Starfire who's probably been reading the letter over your shoulder." Cyborg continued dictating the letter but stopped when he reached the end of the sentence. He glanced over his shoulder and sure enough Starfire was hovering over him and reading the letter for herself. "Well who am I to argue with the letter?" Cyborg remarked and handed it over to Starfire. However, unlike Cyborg, Starfire remained silent as she continued to read the letter. The originally curious expression on her face shifted to one laced with concern and a hint of surprise as well. After a minute or two of dead silence her eyes finally drifted back to her teammates.
"It's from my sister."