With lots and lots of respect, apologies, and general groveling to J.D. "Illiad" Frazer…
"Are you sure you're okay with this, Cyborg? I mean, six weeks is a long time."
"Does it really matter Robin? It's not like I have a choice or anything."
The two titans were walking down a long, fluorescently lit hallway in the subbasement of a giant biomedical research facility in Gotham City.
"Just, make sure no one messes with my baby while I'm gone. I haven't finished the upgrades yet."
"I promise, no one will go near the garage while you're… laid up."
"Heh, 'laid up.' Now that's a funny euphemism for 'indefinitely off line.'
"Cyborg!" Robin's voice was perhaps harsher than he meant it. "Temporarily," he corrected a might bit gentler. "Temporarily off line."
"I know," Cyborg acquiesced on the tails of a long-suffering sigh. "It's just… you have no idea how much this royally sucks, man."
"………." Robin's sympathetic gaze was swallowed by his mask.
"Are you sure we can trust these Wayne Tech people? I see no reason why I couldn't've just gone back to S.T.A.R. labs."
"Positive." Robin's confidence was absolute. "I… have connections here. Good connections."
Cyborg sighed again. They'd just reached the end of the hallway, where a large steel door loomed ominously in front of them, complete with a swipe-card entrance. Robin retrieved a swipe card from his belt… and swiped it. The red LEDs blinked over to green, and the door locks released with an audible SHUNK.
"So… I'll see ya on the flip side?"
And the two titans firmly shook hands, smiled half-heartedly, lingered a moment longer than perhaps they should have, and then finally separated. Robin shoved the giant door open, waved self-consciously to the technicians milling about inside who paused at the expected intrusion, and watched as Cyborg crossed the threshold without a backwards glance. Then the door swung closed.
The awkward silence was interrupted by the chime of Robin's communicator.
Is he in?
"Yes. Are all the security measures in place?"
I had Lucius see to everything personally.
"I don't suppose I have to tell you how important this is to me?"
You don't. I'll be in touch.
And the transmission ended.
Robin stood in the hallway for a moment, communicator in hand, ruminating on recent events, when the little yellow hockey puck of communications technology greatness proverbially bitch-slapped him with the epiphany stick. Then he swiftly turned on his heels and reentered the lab.
The following evening…
"Dude, are you sure this is gonna work?"
Robin didn't even look up from his painstaking toil. "I'm sure."
"But, like, isn't technology kinda Cyborg's thing?"
"Any idiot can upload a file, Beast Boy. Even you."
Beast Boy scowled at Raven.
"But, truly the transference of an artificial intelligence from its former place of residence into a foreign entity has to possess far more of the difficulty than the simple transference of, say, your Terran music into one of those portable optics for the protective coverings of gametes?"
Starfire's question was met by three extremely confused stares.
"She means an iPod," Raven clarified after a moment.
Starfire blinked in confusion. "Is that not what I said?"
"And how did you figure that out?" Beast Boy asked Raven incredulously.
"Go read a dictionary some time," was Raven's deadpan reply.
"Guys! I think I've got it!" Robin interrupted everyone. He stood back from his workstation and proudly admired his… creation.
"Well what are you waiting for?" Beast Boy asked. "Turn it on. Turn it on!"
He and the two female titans gathered around the Boy Wonder.
"Well, here goes nothing…" And Robin threw the switch.
"Well, it didn't blow up…"
"Thanks Raven. Very encouraging."
"And friend Cyborg? Is he… present?"
"I don't know… Cyborg? Cyborg, can you hear me?"
"Cyborg, this is Robin, do you copy?"
"Oh please, friend Cyborg! If you are verily receiving this transmission, do respond to us! We are most anxious…"
Two more, faster beeps.
Four Teen Titans held their breath…
The LCD panel flashed brightly, winked out, flickered back on…
And displayed Cyborg's face.
Four Teen Titans cheered.
"Cyborg, can you hear me?"
"Dude, say something!"
"… Nnnnnngh." The image of Cyborg rubbed its human eye. "Guys?"
Cheering again, dissolving into smiles.
"We read you, Cyborg," Robin announced with joy, pride, and a fair bit of relief.
"Whoa, man, my head feels funny. Kinda, I dunno, lightweight, but not."
"Well, that's to be expected, Cyborg," Robin hedged, as he attempted to plot the best way to break certain news to his teammate.
"How long was I out for, anyway?"
Robin tugged at his color. "Ah, about that…"
"And, where are you guys, anyway? Am I in some sorta quarantine or something? Y'all are lookin' at me like I'm in a fishbowl…"
"Well, you see—"
"It royally sucked how you awesomely laid the smack-down on Brother Blood only to have to check yourself in with the dudes in white coats for a full diagnostic," Beast Boy interrupted Robin.
"And we felt simply awful about your impending predicament," Starfire continued.
"So Robin found a way around it," Raven finished, with a slight smirk that was undoubtedly aimed at the Boy Wonder… and his impending doom.
Cyborg's visage blinked in confusion. "Uh…"
"Go ahead Robin," Raven gestured lackadaisically.
"Well, after I saw how much the thought of being offline bothered you, I…" Fessing up proved a lot more difficult than the Boy Wonder expected.
"He had the geeks perform a total core dump and then uploaded—"
"Whoa, whoa, whoa CORE DUMP?"
Robin glared daggers at Beast Boy, who simpered and shrugged. Raven smirked.
"Hee hee hee, truly! Now rather than be tragically separated from us, you have become—tee hee—a bit of a permanence!"
The human half of Cyborg's face was starting to sweat. "A… permanence?"
"You've been uploaded into your communicator," Raven deadpanned.
Starfire grinned merrily, hands clasped before her as she levitated slightly.
Robin began to sweat, once again tugging on his collar.
Beast Boy was trying to restrain a fit of the giggles.
Raven was stoic, taking it all in.
"You… You digitized me?"
"Now, listen Cyborg, I only—"
"It's not like its permanent or anything, dude."
"And we truly only had your best interests at heart!"
The titans were in full damage-control mode.
And four titans breathed significant sighs of relief.
One Week Later…
"Nnnggggg… whoa man, I feel kinda… ugh, bloated."
"Be lucky you can feel at all."
Cyborg's face—or rather, the crude outline of Cyborg's face, blinked in surprise when he saw Raven. That surprise grew even greater when he noticed the distinctly blue tint to the world in front of him.
"Um, not to sound, ah, panicky or anything, but…"
"WHERE IN THE NAME OF SPACE GHOST AM I!"
Raven blinked, amused but not showing it. Then she stepped away, revealing the rest of the titans, all waiting anxiously.
"Robin… I know you've been blasé about me keeping all the old equipment lying around in my lab, but please, for the love of the Borg, tell me I'm not sitting on that old server I swiped from Fixit…"
"You're not on any of the servers," Robin deadpanned. "Old or new."
The squiggly outline of Cyborg visibly relaxed. "Oh thank God!"
"You're on Raven's iPod," Beast Boy gleefully chirped.
The relief melted into shock, horror, and disbelief—not necessarily in that order.
"We had no choice," Robin quickly defended. "We couldn't leave you on the communications array. Your presence created significant lag time—not kosher for the fight against evil when time and coordination are of the essence."
"Yeah, Robin nearly got his ass handed to him by—oomph!"
Beast Boy's explanation was cut short by a not-so-subtle elbow to the stomach.
"Alas, friends Robin and Beast Boy are correct. The communications array did not prove an effective medium for your digital presence. The resulting time delay nearly proved to be most… unfortunate."
"So we needed you gone, and fast," Robin continued. "And Raven volunteered." The Boy Wonder revealed that last bit of information with a bit too much glee.
"Erm… it was actually Starfire who gave me the idea," Raven deflected.
Starfire blinked. "I did?"
"So thanks to the joys of USB, you are now swimming inside Raven's iPod," Beast Boy finished.
"And I had to delete nearly half my registry to make you fit," Raven groused. "So be grateful."
By now Cyborg had calmed down some—or at least, he calmed down enough to be able to follow the conversation.
"You sent me over a USB cable?"
The Titans then collectively wondered if a digital forehead vein could burst, and subsequently, what would happen if it did.
"I didn't even know the communicators were USB compliant!"
"Pffft, of course they are, dude! How do you think we rigged it so that they activate with a Star Trek sound-bite?"
Cyborg's angry expression sort of froze before twitching away into bewilderment.
"So, you are not… angry, with us?" Starfire asked meekly.
Cyborg blinked, and then tiredly shook his head. "Heh, I guess not."
Four more exaggerated sighs of relief.
"Though I am gonna miss being able talk to y'all all at once."
"I'm sorry, Cyborg."
"Eh, I'm still here, right? That's what counts?"
"Dude, you—you're cyPod!"
Robin and Raven were barely successful at restraining their giggles. Cyborg fumed for a moment, but then settled down again.
"Hey, it could be worse. I could be stuck without music."
Slowly Raven's eyes widened to saucers.
"The Spice Girls? Raven, you listen to—"
And Raven made a mad dash for her iPod, only to have Beast Boy swoop in as an eagle and snatch it through her fingertips.
"Beast Boy!" Raven took off after him, levitating.
"If you wanna be my lover…" Cyborg was heard echoing down the hallway, singing loudly over the music.
"BEAST BOY!" Raven roared.
"You gotta get with my friends…"
"BEAST BOY! "
And from random places in the tower came the sound of intermittent explosions.
"Friend Raven's emotions are raging, yes?" Starfire asked hesitantly.
Robin pressed his face into his palm and groaned.
One Week Later…
"Hmm, I feel… I dunno what I feel. Everything's so bright… so crisp… so shiny..."
"Whoa, dude! Before you freak, lemme just say that you nearly killed the batteries in Raven's iPod, and she had one of those older models which would have left you ten shades of screwed."
"Beast Boy's right," Robin verified as he walked into view. With him came Raven and Starfire. "I highly doubt you would have wanted to trust the morons at Apple to play around with your AI."
"Hey now, be nice!" Beast Boy chastised his leader.
"Truly, referring to friend Cyborg's consciousness as an artificial intelligence was rather reproachable."
"Actually Star, Beast Boy was just upset that Robin insulted what's left of Steve Jobs' intellectual masturbation."
Beast Boy positively fumed.
Starfire blinked. "But I thought that particular activity in respect to Terran anatomy involved—"
"So anyway," Robin swiftly stepped in. "You couldn't stay in Raven's iPod, and we had to transfer you out pretty quickly before the batteries completely died."
"It didn't have an A/C adaptor?"
"It, um, blew up," Raven confessed quietly.
"So we had to move you again," Robin continued.
"Where did you USB me to this time?" Cyborg asked with melodramatic dejection.
"Uh, actually, we didn't USB you."
"By the time we noticed how drained the batteries were, there wasn't a lot of time left. We had to go with the fastest, simplest solution."
"When you say 'fastest and simplest,' why do I get the feeling that you mean 'quick and dirty?'"
"Probably because he does," Raven droned.
"So the simplest transfer we could perform…" Robin hedged, but again grew wary of finishing his sentence.
"Was up into Beast Boy's bright green optic of the eighteen-wheeled Terran transport vehicle!"
Starfire received four curious looks until slowly recognition dawned for Cyborg.
"YOU PUT ME IN AN iMAC!"
"Hey that's my iMac you're dissin'!" Beast Boy retorted hotly.
"And we had to hack an upgrade of a later operating system, so be careful with what you do in there," Robin added.
"But—but I'm completely isolated! I'm a self-contained green gumdrop!"
"And what's wrong with being green?"
"What happens if my screen burns out?"
"Then you're a self-contained green paper weig—oomph!"
Beast Boy smacked Robin in the chest.
"I can't believe this! Stuck inside a computer and I don't even get decent games!"
"Hell-oooh!" Beast Boy emphatically waved his arms. "Top of the line graphics and animation capabilities, 80 gigs, two FireWire ports—"
"And a McHacked version of Quake!" Cyborg's face lit up like a Christmas tree.
"Dude, you thinkin' what I'm thinkin'?"
Starfire inhaled, raising a finger to ask a question—
"Booya! LAN party!"
Beast Boy made a mad dash from his room while the cyMac screen blinked and the Quake startup screen began.
"Aren't you going to do something?" Raven asked the Boy Wonder.
"You bet I am," Robin answered definitively. "DIBS ON THE MAIN COMPUTER!"
The speed of his departure rustled Raven's cloak and lofted strands of Starfire's hair.
"Um, friend Raven, please, what just transpired?"
Raven sighed tiredly. "Boys," she groused, venomously.
One Week Later…
"Ugh… why… do I… feel… so… ty—rrr'd. My speech… has gone… all re—tar—ded…"
"Heeee! Glorious! Friend Cyborg is awake!"
Cyborg's eyes lazily blinked open…
And realized he had real eyes to blink!
"Whoa… I feel… feel—ings…"
"You do?" Robin sounded surprised.
"I think… so Rob—in. Nnnggg why… is ev—ree—thing so… slow now?"
"Because you geniuses were so engrossed in your synthetic obliteration of each other, you forgot the unstable nature of the iMac's new operating system," Raven droned.
"Eh heh heh eh," Beast Boy laughed slightly as he stared at his shoe tracing back and forth across pink carpeting.
Robin rubbed the back of his neck, looking sheepish.
"Uh… what… hap—penned… to my… cy—Mac?"
"It crashed," Robin explained.
"Totally," Beast Boy followed.
"For a while there, we thought you were gone for good," Robin confessed.
"Truly, friend Cyborg, we were most concerned for you."
"But the Boy Blunder was able to salvage y-uumph!"
Robin elbowed Raven's side.
Cyborg gulped. "Sal—vage?"
"Yeah. You're one lucky dude, dude."
"Oh… no… Please… tell me… it was… nnn't my… speech pross—esss—ing pro—gram—ming…"
"Heh, nope," Robin reassured. "You're all there, Cyborg. Don't worry."
"Phew…" Cyborg blinked slowly in relief. "So where… am… I?"
Beast Boy giggled. "Dude, see for yourself!"
And he picked up Cyborg's new body and placed it atop Starfire's vanity, so that he could see himself in the mirror.
His new eyes widened to their fullest extent.
Raven's face contorted slightly as she tried to restrain a giggle fit.
Beast Boy positively cracked up.
Starfire beamed with unadulterated joy.
And Robin… dreaded eventual retaliation.
"I can—not bee—leeeve… you guys!" Cyborg attempted to shout. "You put… my mind… in—side… Star—fire's… fur—beeee!"
What could not be conveyed through an elevated, emotive voice was conveyed instead through minute tremors and the distinctive smell of something burning.
"Uh, Cyborg, you might want to tone down your anger…"
"No Rob—in… I most… cer—tin—lee do… not want… to tone… down my… ang—gurr! I am… in—side… a toy! I am… a Tie—tan! A he—row! Not a… child's play—thing!"
Beast Boy nearly collapsed with his laughing fit. "DUDE! What the heck did you think my iMac was?"
Smoke started coming from the furby's ears. "Oooh! Why you… li—till green…"
"He's got you there," Raven informed him.
The furby sputtered static while Beast Boy nearly wet himself. Robin was snickering, too.
"Please, friend Cyborg? You find my emototronic friend… offensive in some way?" Starfire's bright green eyes glistened with bright green tears.
Robin swiftly bit his lip while Beast Boy deftly covered the rest of his laughter with a series of coughs. Hidden inside her cloak, Raven's smirk grew broader.
"There were not many electronic resources that were compatible with the specifications of friend Beast Boy's machine," Starfire explained, looking down at the floor. "And I did recall that you informed me that this adorable creature was possessed of one of the easiest chop-able systems available, and I thought that (sniff), truly, (sniff-sniff) you would enjoy the opportunity to be possessed of the (sniffle) third dimension again, so…" A bright green tear trailed a bright green path down Starfire's golden-amber face.
"Uh, Star, I think you mean hack-able," Beast Boy corrected meekly.
The furby grumbled—or perhaps ground its gears.
"No Star… I do… not find… this to… be off—fence—if," Cyborg groveled. "I was… just sur—prized… is all."
Starfire looked up, wiping away the tear.
"And you… are right… I do… like bee—ing in—side… a real… bod—dee… for a… change."
Starfire sniffled again. "Truly?"
"True—lee," Cyborg promised. "So please… stop cry—ying?"
Starfire sniffled loudly and wiped her eyes, but she was smiling brightly.
She enveloped the furby in a bone-crushing hug.
"I am so joyously pleased!"
And she twirled in the air, snuggling the fur-borg, or cy-bee, whatever.
"Nnnngh it—tsss a… good thing… I dough—nnn't need… to breathe."
Starfire held the furby at arms length as she soared around her ceiling.
"We are most happily reunited with a corporeal friend Cyborg!"
And she clutched him to her ample Tamaranean bosom again.
"Heh, Robin, the fury dude's getting more than you ever did."
Raven sputtered loudly as the bark of laughter escaped her control, while Robin's eye mask widened considerably.
The furby suddenly discovered that it possessed some form of sweat glands.
"I am… do—mmm'd."
One Week Later…
"Now Cyborg, I know you were upset about your inability to effectively communicate as a furby."
"Well, to be honest, the only reason you were put there was because I knew I could put you there. I'm no slouch with a soldering iron, but then, I'm no miracle worker either."
"It was also the safest option, considering what happened with the communicator, cyPod, and cyMac, but I know you were unhappy with it—no matter how good you were at lying to Starfire."
"So, it took a bit of time, elbow grease, and—" twitch— "a few harried phone calls to tech support, but I've been able to hack a new host for you. You should be able to communicate at digital speeds again."
"… UH-, R0B!N, y (4'N7 ! 741K?"
"UH-, R0B!N, Y 4M ! 5P34K!NG 1337 ?"
"… Uh, dudes? What's he saying?"
"I… am not sure. Is it some form of Terran code?"
"WH3R3 D!D U PU7 M3 ! "
Raven smirked at Robin. "You knew this would happen," she gleefully accused.
"KN3W WH47 W0U1D H4PP3N ?"
"Knew what would happen?" Beast Boy echoed Cyborg.
"My palm pilot doesn't have any speakers, so…"
"P41M P!107 !"
"Cyborg has degenerated into netspeak…" Raven 'lamented.'
Both Beast Boy and Starfire appeared confused.
"You know," Robin shrugged, almost embarrassedly. "Leet?"
"Please, friend Cyborg has learned a new language?"
"7H!5 !5 JU57 83(4U53 ! 907 50M3 0pH 574R'5 8008!35…"
Cyborg was thankfully ignored.
"Not quite, Star," Raven explained. "He's just found a new way to degrade the English language and cloak the offense with a feeling of cybernetic masculinity."
"Ooooh!" Beast Boy finally saw the light. "So you mean Cy's gonna talk like a twelve year old girl in a Yahoo chat room from now on?"
Raven couldn't help but smirk.
"Well, to be technical, he's talking like a twelve year old girl who has no idea that her definition of online coolness comes from a decade-old cult of Windows hackers who wanted to find their own counterculture way of expressing themselves," Robin pontificated.
"D4MN 57R4!9H7 !"
"So it is a form of code then?"
Raven sighed. "Sure, Starfire."
"So…" Beast Boy pondered. "Is Cyborg the pioneering old-school hacker, or the babbling twelve year old schoolgirl?"
"That's a question for Robin," Raven pointed out. "After all, he's got Cyborg in the palm of his hand…"
"pH-D!5K3D, 411 0pH J00 !"
Uh, Robin, why can't I talk?
Uh, Robin, why am I speaking leet!
Where did you put me!
Knew what would happen?
This is just because I got some of Star's boobies…
(Cyborg arched an eyebrow)
F-disked, all of you!
One Week Later…
Gulp. "Beast Boy?"
"Hey, hey, hey! Look who's talking like a normal person!"
"Uh, Beast Boy—"
"Oh good, Cyborg, you're awake."
"Now, don't panic, Cyborg. The reason you can't see is because, well, your new host doesn't have anything that could remotely resemble eyes—or an inferred scanner to fake it with."
"Oh, we are truly sorry, friend Cyborg!"
"Er, what she said."
"Now Cyborg, I jury-rigged you into an ancient set of speakers I found down in your lab—"
"—but that was because I needed to find something age-compatible with your new host—"
"—so I'm warning you now, don't raise your voice too much or you might blow the system."
"Yeah dude, and try to speak real slow-like so we don't get any high-pitched whining sounds, okay?"
"Ugh, you're the only source of high-pitched whining around here," Raven groused.
Beast Boy maturely stuck his tongue out at her.
"Do you understand, Cyborg? Just say 'yes' if you do."
"Heeeee! Most glorious!"
"Now, I think we've finally found the best solution for you."
"Yeah dude, you can't see, but you can be heard this time, and speak ordinary English at a non-doofus speed."
"Don't celebrate yet though, Cyborg," Robin warned.
"You see, the only stable place left to put you was inside an old HP calculator we confiscated from Control Freak."
"Old HP calculator?"
Robin nodded tentatively—not that Cyborg could see it.
"So?" Beast Boy asked. "It's a piece a junk, but at least it works, right?"
Inside his new, old, dusty, bulky casing, Cyborg began to get nervous.
"Well, yeah, but there's a slight catch."
"Figures," Cyborg droned.
"Please, friend Robin, but what is this catch of which you speak?"
"Yes," Raven deadpanned. "Do tell."
Robin, by now used to delivering direct and incidental bad news to his simultaneously technologically advanced and deficient friend, decided to just get it over with already. "You have to speak through Reverse Polish Notation."
Beast Boys eyes widened. "You mean he has to speak Polish walking backwards?
The CY calculator (HP calcuborg?) began to vibrate.
Robin simpered. "Not quite…"
"The final straw this is!" Cyborg's synthesized voice resounded. "Kill you I must!"
Beast Boy blinked.
Raven's upper lip began to twitch ever so subtly.
Robin ran a defeated hand through his spiked hair.
"When my old body back I get, DEAD YOU ALL WILL BE!"
Suddenly Beast Boy barked a laugh. "DUDE! You sound like YODA!"
Raven's twitching lip let loose an uncharacteristic giggle while Starfire asked:
"Please, what is a 'Yoda?'"
That set Robin laughing too.
"Funny this is NOT!"
"Dude, Robin, you are so dead, but it was so worth it!" Beast Boy was laughing to the point of hyperventilating.
"What? He's never satisfied!" Robin protested.
"I do not understand why friend Cyborg's current linguistic difficulties are to be laughed at. You are all much, much more tolerant of my own..."
"But Star (pant) you (pant, pant) don't sound (pant) like Yoda!" And Beast Boy once again collapsed again into a laughing, gasping mess.
"The old HP calculators made you enter numbers first and functions second," Robin attempted to explain.
"So thus Cyborg is doomed to stilted speech," Raven added.
"Fair this is not! Deserve this I don't! My friends I thought you were!"
"We are your friends," Robin tried to defend his team. "This whole thing started because we didn't want you to remain deactivated for weeks while Wayne Tech fixed your body."
"Appropriate my communicator was, amusing the iPod was, and cool the iMac was. Funny joke the furby could have been, but cruel the palm pilot was and degrading this calculator is!"
"I'm sorry, Cyborg, but what would you have me do?"
"Obviously, Robin, he wants you to just let his consciousness fizzle into nothingness."
"EEP! Friend Cyborg, surely that cannot be true!"
"Er, Star, I think Raven was just being sarcastic…"
"Truly, Beast Boy?"
"Sucks royally this does! Want my old body back I do!"
"Dude, can the EMO-fest. We'll think of something."
"When five weeks out of body you reach, sound as good you will not!"
This time it was Robin who led the ruckus of laughter.
"Meanies you all are…"
A Few Days Later…
"Wow… I feel so alive, and so—so free! I can see, and I can talk again, and oh! Oh what I can SEE! Where I can GO!"
"So, anyone heard from Cyborg recently?"
"Sorry, friend Beast Boy, but I have not."
"I haven't heard a peep out of him since I transferred his consciousness into the main computer."
"Uh, dude, you transferred Cyborg into the main computer?"
"Did you, by any chance, happen to disable the internet connection?"
"Please, why would friend Robin have wanted to do that?"
"Because we have a T3 connection and the capacity to find the backdoor to every firewall in existence?" Raven deadpanned with an arched eyebrow.
"But everything's cool cuz you disabled it, right?"
Eye mask impossibly wide, Robin wibbled slightly before emitting a muffled yet high-pitched meep.
Raven snickered and Beast Boy groaned.
"Way to go, Boy Blunder!"
A Few Days Later…
"Well it took a while, and just about every online resource shared between ourselves, the JLA, the JSA, and Doom Patrol—"
"Elasti-girl sent me a care package!"
"—but I think we finally managed to completely remove Cyborg's presence from cyberspace. All possible methods of reconnection have been severed—included our satellite. Heh, Superman says 'hi' and wants us to give him a call when we'd like the thing back in orbit."
"What about the main computer?" Raven asked.
"That was the tricky part. Cyborg doesn't really want to leave the computer."
"Verily," Starfire confirmed. "When I conversed with him this morning, he kept repeating to me that he 'pwnd' this tower… though, I am unsure as to what he means."
"It means he's being uppity," Beast Boy pouted.
"And what are we going to do about it?" Raven followed.
Robin grinned, pulled an odd-looking device sporting a suspicious-looking red button from his utility belt, and cleared his throat. "Well, I have this EMP device…" he spoke loudly and clearly to no one in particular.
A few random electronic devices sparked and flickered, but then an image of Cyborg's face appeared on the main viewer.
"No way, man. You wouldn't!"
"Cyborg, I've been fair, and I've been patient, but you've forced my hand. Do you think it was easy for me, to be forced to radio the JLA watchtower—where Batman was on duty, and ask him relay my plea for help because one of my own teammates was being INSUBORDINATE!"
The unbridled rage in Robin's voice might have cowed even Slade. The image of Cyborg comically formed a drop of sweat off of his human temple.
"Aw, c'mon Robbie! It was just payback for the crap you put me through these past few weeks…" Cyborg managed to sound both obstinate and whiny at the same time.
"No, payback was causing the lights in Raven's room to burn until we unscrewed the bulbs. Payback was your changing the air flow composition to Beast Boy's room to include helium so that he spoke like a duck for two days. Payback might even have been how you cut in audio clips of the Playboy Channel while I'm phoning Batgirl for computer tips, but making myself—and this team—the laughing stock of the entire superhero community after all we've struggled through and built upon is DEFINITELY NOT PAYBACK!"
By the end of Robin's fire and brimstone rant, Beast Boy was quaking in his boots, Starfire was cowering in a corner, and Raven had her hood pulled all the way down to hide her growing smirk.
"Yo, Robin, it's not that bad, really!" Cyborg defended frantically.
"I'm sorry Cyborg, but I've heard many a petty criminal utter that exact same phrase, right after I busted them for purse-snatching. The next time I see them, they're robbing banks, but it's not that bad, or aiding and abetting criminals like Slade, or the Joker, but it's not that bad."
"Cyborg, you've systematically compromised the integrity of this Tower's security, as well as that of The JLA Watchtower, and God only knows what else you've gotten yourself into. You've become a menace to society, and I'm sorry, but you leave me no other choice but to take you down, by the only means left available to me."
"No, Robin, don't—"
As the spots faded from the Titans' collective eyes, they found that the only source of light for their tower was currently streaming through the unblocked windows.
"DUDE! You just vaporized Cyborg!" Beast Boy wailed.
"Oh, but truly Robin would not do such a thing!" Starfire insisted frantically.
The two of them began to panic.
Raven drew back her hood. "So, what was that thing anyway?"
"A remote control for the master breaker in the basement. I surged every circuit until the fuses blew."
Beast Boy and Starfire blinked.
Raven's smirk grew into a slight snicker.
"You mean, friend Cyborg, he is—"
"Safe and sound," Robin reassured her with a faint smile.
Starfire enveloped the Boy Wonder in an oxygen-depriving hug and twirled him about the room.
"I kneeeeeeew you couldn't harm friend Cyboooooooorrrgg!" she cooed, as Robin turned progressively bluer.
"Ah, Starfire," Raven interrupted her 'moment.'
"EEP! My the bad!" And she deposited Robin safely on the ground—where he promptly fell to his knees, gasping for breath.
Meanwhile slowly, painstakingly, the meaning sinks in for Beast Boy. "Dude, you just cold-rebooted the system!"
Still not quite capable of speech, Robin merely nodded drunkenly, still gulping down mouthfuls of precious oxygen.
"That he did," Raven answered.
If Beast Boy hadn't relieved himself only minutes before the whole debacle began, he most assuredly would have wet himself as he collapsed into a hysterical fit beside the still-kneeling Robin.
"Dude (gasp) you (pant, gasp) are (wheeze) so (snicker) totally (giggle) EVIL!" And the fit continued with renewed vigor.
Robin smirked as he accepted Starfire's hand up. "But only because I'm so damned good."
A Few Days Later…
"So Cyborg's all nice and back in his own body n'stuff?"
"Yep. Batman just dropped him off an hour ago."
"Is it just me, or did he seem rather… amused? For him, I mean."
Starfire blinked, Beast Boy giggled, and Raven smirked devilishly.
Robin hung his head in exhausted defeat and pressed a hand to his temple. "Nnnngh. Don't remind me,"
"So, what do you think it'll be like for him?"
"Whatever do you mean, friend Beast Boy?"
"Well, he was, like, plugged into the world! He was existing at the speed of light! In Cyborgspace! Now he gets to go back to being in his old body, you know? That's gotta be like, having an ordinary GameStation but then getting to experience SuperVR mode or something! Which would make going back to what you had before, I dunno, like a having to use a busted Atari on a black and white TV or something!"
Both Raven and Starfire blinked at him.
Robin sighed. "Well, he'll just have to get used to it."
"Please, what is he doing now?"
"Now? Charging. He should automatically switch on when he's done though."
"And how long is that gonna take?"
"Same time it always takes," Raven reminded Beast Boy. "Eight hours."
"Well, seven now," Robin amended.
"Oh, how exciting! I do so look forward to helping our dear android friend readjust to corporeal existence again!"
Robin massaged his temples while Raven smirked.
"Please don't squee again, Starfire. I don't think Robin can take it."
"Oh," she simpered softly. "Apologies. My the bad."
"So… seven hours, huh?"
"Or thereabouts, yeah."
And four Teen Titans began to wait with varying degrees of impatience.
Nine Hours Later…
Robin was at the kitchen table, filling out a crossword puzzle.
Starfire was at the stove, cooking something that smelled divine yet probably tasted like old socks.
Raven was curled up in a wing chair, reading gothic fiction.
Beast Boy sat on the couch, laughing at some cartoon or other.
And Cyborg sat next to him, staring vacantly at the screen.
And somewhere buried inside that mess of flesh and circuitry that collectively defies the laws of mathematics, biophysics, and biochemistry in its existence as Cyborg's brain…
A small man sits on his haunches, knees pulled up to his chin by the thin arms wrapped protectively about them, rocking slowly back and forth in a small, eight by eight by eight concrete cell, a lone smallish rectangular window near the ceiling of one wall his only scrap of connectivity to the outside world.
And the figure rocks… rocks… rocks…
"Cold… So cold…"
Rocks… rocks… rocks…
A Few Days Later…
"So Cyborg, finally feeling like yourself again?"
"Sure, Robin. And can I just say, it's great to be me again!"
"Only if I can say that it's great to have the old you back."
"You know, without compromising our manliness, or something."
"And, can I just say, that remote control to the fuse box? Pure genius man! You so totally had me going!"
"Oh, I never would have fried you, Cyborg. I just wanted to scare the crap out of you for making my life miserable the last week and a half."
"Pffft, I know that! It's just, you can be real convincing when you want to be."
"Heh, Beast Boy's not the only actor on campus."
"So… you're not mad?"
"Heck, I'm still too impressed to be mad!"
Robin's ensuing laughter held more relief than he would ever admit to. "Well, I'm glad to hear that, Cyborg." A sigh. "I've gotta get going. I've got an errand to run in Metropolis of behalf of Batman as recompense for… what happened."
"Now that I am sorry for," Cyborg said sincerely. "I never meant to get you in trouble with the League or anything."
"Eh, don't worry about it too much. Give it a few weeks and another crisis will hit and everyone will forget all about this measly little incident."
"If you say so."
"Well, I'm off."
"Okay, see ya. Tell Superman I said hi!"
And Robin was gone, headed for the garage, and his R-cycle.
In the silence that followed, Cyborg activated a panel in his left forearm, and a remote control came to life inside his very fingertips.
"Oh, I would never crash you into a propane truck, Robin," Cyborg sing-songed. "I just want to scare the crap out of you for a bit…"
A feral grin crossed his flesh and metal features.
And life in the Tower slowly returns to normal.