Chapter Nineteen: Break Fast.
When Jinx and Beast Boy left their room, they headed for the bar, where they were met by the innkeeper, who ushered them to a seat before bustling off in a great hurried cloud of enthusiasm. Before either of them were settled enough to be unsure what to do with themselves, he had returned, bearing plates, the contents of which they turned their attention to quickly.
"Weird," declared Beast Boy, holding up a vegetable (possibly) of some description between thumb of forefinger. "It looks like a star fruit, but it tastes" here he nibbled a corner, with an air of stoicism that could only be described as Socratic "more like a cucumber. What does that make it, a starcumber?"
Jinx frowned. Now that Beast Boy was starting to regain his equilibrium, he was beginning to lose focus. "That's not the issue."
"You're right. The real question is, since this is all from your brain, does this count as cannibalism? 'Cause that's not cool, you know. I mean not cool from a genetic point of view. That's how Mad Cow Disease got started, you know. They fed cows stuff that was mixed with bits of pulped other cows." This last statement was delivered with an air of pure horror.
Jinx made a face. "Okay, number one, stop babbling. Number two, never bring up something like that while I'm trying to eat ever again, okay? And number three, that's still not the issue. We've got to figure out what we've got to do next."
"I think it's pretty obvious. We've got to go back to that castle, haven't we?"
Jinx nodded. "That seems like the place."
Beast Boy nodded. "Based on the fact that it's where we got attacked a lot, it does look like the best place to go looking."
Jinx raised an eyebrow. "That standard procedure for super-investigations?"
Beast Boy grinned. "If people want you away from somewhere so bad that they'll try to kill you to keep you out, you know it's something cool. Or illegal."
Jinx rolled her eyes, but couldn't stop a smile. Beast Boy noticed, and his grin grew in response.
Suddenly, there was a heavy thump on the door, and everything froze.
"... you... wanna get that?" Beast Boy asked at large.
Tentatively, the innkeeper hopped from his stool, and waddled nervously over to the door. Instead of opening it, he peered through the curtain of the window next to it.
What the innkeeper saw was clearly a source of great distress, as he emitted a startled "Bwak!" and back-pedalled wildly, arms and tail flailing.
Beast Boy instantly slithered across the floor and up to the windowsill, where reptilian eyes gave way to those of a mouse. After a few seconds, he dropped to the floor, where he returned to his human form.
"What is it?" Jinx asked, grimly sure that it would be some eldritch horror or other.
"...A bunch of dudes in blue cloaks." Beast Boy replied, confused. "And I'm pretty sure I've seen them before somewhere."
Jinx's chair scraped across the floor as she stood and strode across the bar. A glance out the window was enough to answer her question.
"Oh. Those guys."
She glanced around the bar before looking out of the window again.
"...Sure are a lot of them, aren't there?"
Cyborg opened the door, and negotiated his enormous shoulders through the frame. Once back inside the small room the Titans had colonised, he stepped towards the table, his expression blank. With an air of great concentration, he placed a brown envelope folder on the table. When it became apparent that he didn't intend to continue, Robin nudged the folder open. There was one piece of paper inside.
"It's a transcript of the last e-mail the computer sent. Seems that was set up remotely too, since the sending time was about thirty seconds before the building came down."
Robin picked up the message, which was in English, cleared his throat, and as Raven stood from her meditative position, and Starfire looked up from the other side of the table, he began to read.
"To: Guessinggame(exclamation mark)(exclamation mark)(exclamation mark)213(at)Hotmail(dot)com"
Robin paused momentarily to wonder at the fact that the Quiz apparently used Hotmail.
"Re: To End All Wars.
"If you receive this, then know that I have failed, and am now dead. Do not mourn for me, even if you would be so inclined, as I am now finally home. However, before I can rest, I have a request for you. I once called you 'comrade', and I can only hope you will honour this.
"Garfield Logan, alias 'Beast Boy', must die. We are the last of the Brotherhood and the Doom Patrol, and it is only fitting we leave the world together. I would kill him myself, but, obviously, events have prevented that.
"You are the only one of us left who can do this. Number None vanished long ago, and The Toy is far from equal to the task. All the rest are dead. You alone can end our war.
"Do this, kill that murderer, and you may take whatever you wish from our home base. The pass code to the vaults is "Dada". I give you this as a sign of trust, and I am certain that you will not let me down.
"Wishing you the best of fortune,
Robin paused for a moment to absorb the information, then ran his eyes over the text again.
"Was this it?"
Cyborg nodded, tonelessly. "Pretty much. There were a few other e-mails, only of interest to the police, and a few partially damaged files, mostly blueprints, but this is all we might have a use for, and we're lucky to even have that. The computer is pretty trashed."
Robin's teeth ground in frustration. "Then we're back to square one. All this tells us is that at some point before or after she came to Jump City, the Quiz may or may not have gone to a secret base that none of us know about, in a location none of us know, and may or may not have opened the vault there." A green-gloved fist slammed onto the table in frustration.
"Oh, I don't think that's all that this tells us." Cyborg's voice was as blank as it had been since he came in, and that worried Robin. "For example, I didn't know that Beast Boy was a member of a group called the Doom Patrol. I didn't know that this monkey considered him a murderer, and I didn't know that the monkey cared enough to ensure that his revenge would outlive him." He turned his head, his voice still perfectly controlled. "Starfire, did you know all of this?"
Starfire shook her head, reluctantly. She could see what Cyborg was doing, and didn't like being forced onto a side. However, she was wondering about all that had just been revealed to her, and this did look like a way to get answers.
"Raven, did you know about this?"
Raven met Cyborg's gaze, but said nothing. After a moment, she looked away.
"Hmm. And Robin, I don't suppose you know anything about this, do you?"
Robin fought the urge to loosen his collar. This... was going to be awkward.
"What are they? In the real world, I mean."
Jinx waved her arms. "They were like... enforcers at the H.I.V.E. Academy. They basically made sure you followed the rules, and if you didn't, they came and took you away for a while."
He barely dared to ask. "And... what happened there?"
"No one would say." And that made everything worse. "Apparently I was escorted off by them more than a few times, according to Gizmo and Mammoth, but I don't remember it ever happening to me."
Beast Boy shuddered dramatically.
"Of course, I figured out later, after the H.I.V.E. went under, that what probably happened was that Blood gave you a 'refresher'." Jinx's voice was laced with bitterness.
While this exchange was taking place, the innkeeper was ferrying patrons as quietly as he could out the back door. He took note of Jinx, and grabbed her by the wrist and began to
drag her away.
"Oh no you don't" she snapped, yanking her hand out of his grip. "I am through running. I am rested, I am refreshed, and I am ready to kick some ass."
Cowed by this, the innkeeper retreated, but only to behind his bar, where he cowered, his tail barely reaching the top of the counter.
"Nice speech," Beast Boy said, slightly nervously. "Tell me, what could these guys actually do?"
Jinx paused. "You know... I don't know."
"Uh huh," Beast Boy went on, seemingly more nervous than before. "And what did they actually look like?"
"Dark blue robes, and they all had the same face, a dark-skinned woman. It was actually creepy as hell, but we got used to it. Never heard them talk, never saw them in anything other than their robes either."
"Uh huh, right, right," Beast Boy carried on, now almost manic. "But tell me, what did you imagine that they were like?"
Jinx's jaw waggled impotently as she tried to come up with a response as Beast Boy's question derailed her entire train of thought.
"We're screwed, huh?" he asked, glibly.
Jinx gave a small nod. "Very."
The door exploded, shards of charred wood flying inwards, and a blue tide descended on the bar.
Note: If a non-colour blind person has seen the episode "Deception" recently, or can look up the screencaps, please tell me if the robed figures in the H.I.V.E. are actually wearing blue or not. I like to be accurate about these things. Also, for those lovers of insanity, look up "Brotherhood of Dada" on Wikipedia. Look it up, and gaze upon what this story could have been, had I stumbled upon it earlier. Unfortunately for you, I only looked up "Brotherhood of Evil." Alas.