Detective Riddle looked at the two girls in the interrogation room. Zita Hertel and Bella Springs were friends of Terra or, as she had gone by in Murakami High school, Jezebel Meren. The equipment Terra had on her matched the fingerprints of these two girls. They had been Terra's friends in school and it seemed that they knew who their friend was. His job was to find out if anybody else knew who Jesse really was and to make sure these girls didn't say anything. Right now they're being brought in as possible witnesses to a crime.
Bella: Zita. I'm kinda scared. What do you think is going to happen to us?
Zita: It's okay Bella. They want to keep this quiet they don't want the Titans or anybody else getting in their way and if they arrest us it would only be a matter of time before somebody connects the dots.
Riddle limped into the interrogation room and sat in front of the girls. The black one, Zita was obviously the leader so for now he directed his questions to her.
Riddle: I heard you talking so don't try to hide that your accomplices in the escape of an dangerous criminal. So why don't you tell me if there are any others involved in this little incident and maybe I can make sure you don't see any time.
Zita: Don't make me laugh. You and I both know you will do no such thing. But for your information nobody but Bella and I know Jesse's other identity.
Riddle: Jesse eh. I heard her full name was Jezebel. Doesn't that mean traitor?
Zita: Don't you dare talk about her in that way. We both know she made mistakes in the past but she's changed.
Riddle: If that's so then how did I find you?
Zita: You probably found out that we were the last to be seen with Jesse before her disappearance.
Riddle: Not exactly my dear.
Riddle pulled up an yellow envelope and poured out the contents. There was the compass as well as a few other tokens that had once belonged to Terra.
Zita's eyes narrowed and Bella gave a gasp and brought her hands to her mouth. He saw that they were assuming he caught Terra but he needed to make sure they didn't think that, he needed them to think she betrayed them.
Riddle: If she was really such a great friend why did she leave these behind.
Zita's eyes went wide. That couldn't be right if Jesse got away she should have taken her stuff and the compass with her. Leaving them behind would defiantly cause the police to be suspicious of her and Bella. No this was a trick Jesse would never do something like this she knew she couldn't.
Riddle saw a sliver of doubt in Zita's eyes and that was all he needed.
Riddle: You talk about "Jesse" like she was some kind of hero but she wasn't. She's a villain who took this city in a violent and terrible rage. Countless people were hurt in that attack some of them have permanent damage due to what she did. I wasn't born with a limp you know.
Riddle paused a second to let that sink in.
Riddle: Whatever you thought she was is a lie. She's a traitor, a liar, and she tried to kill each one of the Titans, people she called friends as well, for her own selfish reasons. She hasn't changed and if given the chance she will do it again. She doesn't deserve your protection and she certainly doesn't deserve your forgiveness.
Zita was unnerved, she had known Jesse for a while but what did she know of Terra? She heard stories but she didn't live in Jump City during the attacks. She never saw her then and what she did. Did she really have the right to protect someone who had caused such harm?
Bella stood up her face was red with anger and tears were welling up in her eyes.
Bella: Don't think you're the only one who was there when Terra attacked! I saw what she did. She destroyed my home, separated me from my family, and tossed me around like a ragdoll. I saw her eye look uncaring at us as she sent waves of dirt and rock knocking us around like we were nothing. I remember very well what happened that day. How afraid I was, how I honestly thought I was going to die that day. My arm had been broken and all I could do was run just keep running and running. I saw the small smile on her face as people ran from her in fear as she commanded robots to attack the police. I got out of there and found my family but I never forgot what happened that day.
Zita and Riddle stared at Bella with shock. Zita had never known this about Bella and Riddle, though he knew she was a lifetime resident of Jump City, couldn't believe that a victim of Terra's assault could have ever called her friend.
Bella: I saw what Terra did then. But that person isn't Jesse! Jesse is kind, willing to stand up for others even if she isn't willing to stand up for herself. She laughs at the stupidest jokes, eats weird foods when she thinks no one is looking, and would do anything to protect her friends. I don't care who she was because that isn't who she is!! You think you know her! You know nothing about her!
Zita was stunned. She never realized how strong Bella really was or what things she had kept secret from their group. She also cursed herself for doubting in Jesse and knew that if Bella trusted Jesse, despite what she had been through, then so should she.
It took all of Riddle's years of experience to conceal his surprise. This was not what he expected and for the first time since this whole thing had started he began to question what he had done. Had he really rid the world of a dangerous criminal or had he just sentenced a scared little girl to death. He pushed these thoughts away no matter what he felt what had been done was done and he had to make sure these girls didn't become suspicious.
Riddle: *Sigh* It's apparent you girls have nothing but sad stories and misplaced loyalty. You're free to go but it is in your best interest to keep quiet about this whole matter.
Zita: We will be quite but so Jesse can start a new life.
With that the girls stood up. Zita's face had returned to the look of the leader but Bella's face was still red and angry. Both glared at Riddle as an officer opened the door and led the girls away. He looked at his watch he had to get moving, Terra's execution was only a day away.
The next morning Slade awoke refreshed. His body was still damaged from his fight with Robin but not so much that he couldn't take on another Titan or two. He checked his computer and saw that the Titans had made many attempts to escape over the night but all activated his security protocols electrocuting the Titans. This left them weakened and tired while he was well rested and ready.
He double check his plans in Titan's tower and found his robots keeping the place well kept. After he took over the city he would convert the tower into his fortress. After all it was well protected and surrounded by water making it the ideal place to hold a defense and hide a few surprises in case someone decided to start a rebellion.
Slade: Here I am thinking about rebellion and I haven't even taken over the city yet, how foolish. Best to take these things one step at a time and the next step would be Cyborg.
Cyborg wasn't sure why but Slade had plugged him into an energy source on the table. Despite his best efforts though Cyborg realized the power source wasn't connected to anything so using it to hack the table or any computers nearby wasn't going to be an option. So Cyborg's machine half was completely charge but his mind and human half were starting to feel the strains of their capture. They had been there for only one day but it had felt like an eternity. The metal teen knew Slade would come for him next as his and Robin's powers together would make for an excellent defense against Star's strength and speed as well as a useful long range weapon. Not to mention the additional emotional pain of his defeat would work in Slade's favor against Starfire. Cyborg turned his head as he heard footsteps.
Cyborg: Y'all rest. If I don't make it back you need to be ready for Slade. We can't lose this if we do the city maybe the world will be next and we can't let that happen.
Starfire nodded: I am in agreement. Slade's empire shall not spread beyond this room.
Cyborg smiled a little; at least Star was still here, without her he might of lost hope long ago. Beastboy was silent; he just stared at Slade as he came out of the shadows.
Slade moved with purpose towards Cyborg. Both one eyed warriors were prepared to fight and neither planned on losing. Slade silently raised the Amulet of Champions and the two vanished.
The two warriors were teleported to what seemed to be the ruins of the old HIVE academy. It was the main arena in which Cyborg had fought the Titans but then turned the tables on Blood. The floor contained piles of rubble and broken pillars crisscrossed along the walls. Above sheets of thick metal and steel bars held the rubble through an haphazard chaos of the fall of the initial roof. The place looked like it might collapse any second. Slade landed on an pillar leaning against an wall while Cyborg appears in the opposite wall in the hole he created there at his last trip to the academy.
Slade: Interesting battle field don't you think. I heard about your exploits with my old acquaintances at the HIVE. Quite impressive I didn't think you were capable of such a skilled deception, especially when it involved a girl.
Cyborg: Shut it Slade! I have no time for your little speeches. So just bring it.
At that two mini chainsaws emerged from the tops of Cyborg's metal hands. The blades began glowing blue as they turned on.
Slade: You know Cyborg if your security system had been better maybe Raven might still be alive today.
Cyborg's human eye glared at him and his red mechanical eye glowed an bright angry red.
Cyborg: Don't you dare say her name!
At that Slade and Cyborg jumped at each other Slade with staff in hand and Cyborg blades at ready. Cyborg slashed downwards nearly missing Slade but Slade was able to land a blow to the back of Cyborg as they fell to the ground. Cyborg was off balance but only for a second as he turned and ran slashing at Slade with his blades. Slade side stepped and tried to strike with his staff but Cyborg blocked with his left hand and stabbed with his right. Slade tried to block this with his staff but the chainsaw blade cut through it easily and if not for Slade's reflexes would have plunged into his stomach.
Slade: Very nice Cyborg I see Robin isn't the only one who's gotten better as time passed. Unfortunately for you it isn't enough.
Slade held his palms out and an biradrang shot from each hand. Cyborg quickly turned his right arm into his sonic cannon and blasted one of the birdarangs but the other landed into the left part of his chest plate.
Cyborg: Aaarg! That was! How did you know?! I never told Robin that!
Slade: Is it that surprising? He researched each of you thoroughly just as the Tower was being built. Though some of the Titan's weaknesses were difficult to determine most of your weak spots were easy to discover after a little observing and hacking.
Robin researched us? I guess I shouldn't be so surprised he was trained by Batman. Stupid spiky haired brat! His caution just made this entire battle allot more difficult.
Cyborg: I have upgraded myself over the years not all the weaknesses are the same Slade. I have a few new surprises.
He hoped Slade bought the bluff.
Cyborg's shoulders opened up revealing his missiles which shot out all at once. Slade using his and Robin's combined agility jumped and dodged the missiles such that every one missed. Slade was smiling in his mask at how easy that was until a large electrical shock surged through his body. It took all his concentration and strength to not pass out and find the source which was a suction cupped wire attached to his leg. He shot a birdarand at it and sliced it off and stared angrily at Cyborg.
Cyborg had a big grin on his face as the wire retracted back into his arm. He pointed to his mechanical eye which had been able to see Slade through the explosions.
Cyborg: Cybernetic eye never leave home without it.
Cyborg then began to shoot from sonic cannons in both hands. This took allot of battery power but he couldn't afford to hold back in this fight. Slade flung exploding disks at one of the pillars causing it to fall and give him some cover. He then grabbed some of his own brand of exploding weaponry out and flung it with all his strength at the roof.
Cyborg emerged from the cloud of dust from the destroyed pillar and prepared a drill in his right hand to take down Slade and force him into the amulet. Slade grabbed Cyborg's arm and struck at another of Cyborg's weak spots sending a wave of electrical pain through the metal teens body. Slade then kicked him back and did a series of handspring back. As Cyborg tried to get up he heard an explosion as the roof began to fall. He rose and began to run out of the way but then his feet stopped moving. Slade had just flung an freeze disk and froze Cyborg's feet in place. As Slade moved out of the way dodging the falling debris the entirety fell onto Cyborg.
Slade: I look forward to making good use of that eye, Cyborg.
Cyborg's body was crushed by the rubble and then light left the pile and entered into the amulet. A moment later as the remaining ruins of HIVE academy fell to the ground as Slade also vanished in a flash of light.
Cyborg: Ahhhhh… Oh man not again!
Robin: I see you had as much luck as I did.
Cyborg had appeared in a black void where Robin had been since his defeat by Slade. Both teens seemed to be perfectly fine, considering their circumstances, their injuries were gone and they appeared just like they did before entering into the fight. Cyborg sat on what could be considered a floor in the endless black that surrounded them.
Cyborg: Man I had him! Agrh! Oh by the way thanks for giving him my weak spots!!
Robin: Hey how was I supposed to know- oh never mind.
The two heroes looked dejected And they looked away from each other but then turned back at the same time.
Robin & Cyborg: Look I'm sorry.
The two paused at their simultaneous apology to one another. Cyborg looked down.
Cyborg: It's been a rough couple of days, hasn't it?
Robin: Yeah. Everything seemed to be going great but then. *Sigh* Even if we win this, things will never be the same again. Truth is I'm not sure I still have the fight in me.
Cyborg looked at the face of his leader. A face that was always filled with confidence in his team and despite adversity was always looking for solutions and strategies. Now his face looked so much older and so uncommonly helpless.
Cyborg: Robin, I know things are bad but people still depend on us. We may have failed but Beastboy and Starfire are still out their fighting and we have to be ready to join the fray when we get out of this mess. If there's anything you have taught this team after all this time is that for us, nothing is impossible.
Robin gave a weak smile and nodded, Cyborg's words had helped but he still felt so tired. Still the Boy Wonder rose and walked to his big mechanical friend and laid a hand on his shoulder.
Robin: You're right. Thanks Cyborg.
Cyborg: Least I can do.
Terra had fallen asleep sometime during the day. She awoke cursing herself for always crying when things got difficult. She wasn't sure what to do; her training with Slade meant that she might have a chance to escape when the guards came to transport her to her… She didn't even want to complete that thought. Sill even if she could escape the guards this fortress would be obviously well guarded and she doubted they would have any problem using lethal force to bring her down. Not even Slade himself could get out of this alive. Terra heard a hissing noise and the window on her door had been suddenly shut.
Terra: Gas… Guess they're not taking any chances.
The gas filled the room and Terra just sat there. As sleep overtook her once again, she laughed a little they had even sealed the toilet. She fell unconscious and the gas stopped, soon after the door opened and about eight guards picked her up and put her in a large clear plastic box, containing a few air holes on top, that was waiting outside her cell. It was about eight feet tall and three feet wide and was made of bullet proof plastic about 3 inches thick. After placing her in the box they carried her to the execution room.
Terra woke up to a bright light being shined on her. She looked up and out of the clear plastic. Despite the light she could make out that there were several people watching her. Outside on each side of the box was was a large laser pointed strait at her. She gulped when she saw these instruments of her death and her hands began to shake.
Large deep voice: Terra! For crimes against the State, countless counts of attempted murder, betraying the United States to an military power, and as an living weapon of mass destruction we find you guilty and hereby sentence you to death.
Why where they doing this. Why didn't they just kill her? Why did they force her to hear the reasons she had to die? She wasn't going to get a trail, there was no point. Was this just to make her suffer?
Voice: Do you have anything to say in your defense before your sentence is carried out?
Terra wanted to die with dignity this time. She wanted to stand defiantly and take her punishment with courage and a silent honor. That's what she wanted to do but that's now what she did. She broke down in tears.
Terra: Please! Don't kill me! I know what I did was wrong but please. Lock me up, put me in stasis, anything just please don't kill me… I don't want to die.
Tears were freely running down her face as she looked upon the crowd. Some murmurs came through but most seemed unmoved by her words.
Voice: Is that all? Do not worry we are not completely without mercy. Your death will be completely painless. The energy will pervade your entire body, you will feel very warm and then you will disintegrate. It's the most merciful death sentence there is.
The lasers around her began to hum as they powered up. Somehow the painless death didn't bring her much comfort. The lasers were at full power and were very loud as they shot their energy at Terra.
Terra looked at her hands as they became red. This was it. She wasn't going to be miraculously brought back to life she was going to be disintegrated and there is no coming back from that.
Terra: Please…. I don't want to die.
Terra looked at the audience one last time fear on her face as tears flowed from her eyes. She shut her eyes and dropped her head. She was done begging she accepted her fate and waited. Maybe this was for the bes-
Suddenly a bright light filled where she was. There was nothing left where she stood. No ashes, no body, and no evidence she was ever there at all.
Voice: Suspect Terra has been executed. Time of death 20:38.
Riddle looked at the spot where Terra once stood. He should feel proud, the world was a safer place thanks to his efforts, then why did this feel like murder? Why did his stomach feel knotted? The images of a little girl begging for her life, her friends so loyal and protective of her, and the way she had acted through this whole ordeal wasn't what monsters had. For the first time he saw a little girl scared and desperate just trying to start over. He turned as the men in suits turned to each other and shook each other's hands at a job well done, he felt sick. He limped out and left the fortress to go home. Tonight though he would not sleep for now it wasn't the eyes of a powerful and hateful monster that had attacked the city that haunted him, it was the eyes of a sad remorseful little girl who had begged for her life that kept him awake. He questioned if his desire to capture Terra was truly rooted in justice or was it his own desire for revenge. As he closed his eyes and he heard her voice one last time.
Terra: Please…. I don't want to die.