Finally, I am done! I might continue this as a kind of story arc, I'd like to hear what you guys think though. I do have other ideas. I'm afraid I may not have done this one up to standard, so feel free to grill me.
This is by far the biggest chapter I've done to date. I want to thank everyone who has given me reviews, and who will give me reviews. So without further ado, the final chapter…
Chapter 10: Felling Goliath
"ATTENTION, TITANS!" The Colonel called through the main television screen, his mask flaring up on screen. "You are surrounded. Hand over Frostbite and I will spare your lives. Otherwise, I can assure your deaths will be long and excruciatingly painful. You have ten seconds to comply."
Frostbite looked over at the Titans, expecting them to comply. They obviously had no love for him, that was certain. Instead, he was surprised and confused when they all stood defiantly in front of the masked menace, Robin speaking for all of them:
"Not gonna happen."
"Yeah, and you bad guys generally don't keep your promises." Beast Boy added.
"Do not be fools. My forces outnumber and outgun you." said The Colonel.
"We have fought worse criminals than you." Starfire said firmly.
"Our answer is not going to change." Raven said in her trademark monotone.
"Very well. I will enjoy watching you all burn." The Colonel said, cutting off the transmission.
"Why did you do that?" asked Frostbite, almost disbelievingly.
"Not for your sake." Robin said matter-of-factly. "Like I said earlier. We don't negotiate with criminals. And you're still going to jail after all this is over."
"That is a real stupid philosophy, because it's going to get you all killed." Frostbite said caustically.
"Cyborg, activate external defences." Robin said, ignoring Frostbite's criticisms. "If they want a fight, they'll get it. You're going to help us defend the tower too, Frostbite."
"And why would I do that?" Frostbite asked. "This is your home, not mine. Therefore, it's not my problem."
"You will help us." Raven growled behind him, now ten foot tall with creepy black tentacles protruding from under her cloak. Frostbite wasn't impressed.
"If you're trying to scare me, you're wasting your time. I've seen scarier things than you."
In a less pressing situation, the others would be impressed that he could stand up fearlessly to Raven's semi-demonic form, but a loud bang outside reminded them of the situation. The tower's anti-missile defences were blowing up every missile that the gunships were shooting at them. The transport boats, however, had reached the shore, and dozens of troops in black armed with assault rifles spilled out, shooting at them.
"Starfire, Raven, take out those choppers. Everyone else is with me. Titans, GO!" Robin shouted. Starfire and Raven headed for the roof, while Robin, Cyborg and Beast Boy went downstairs. Frostbite considered for a moment, then reluctantly followed the girls.
The male Titans took cover in the rocky crags as the troops fired at them, except for Cyborg, whose armour was virtually bullet-proof anyway, and firing his sonic canon indiscriminately. The poor saps who got within view of him never stood a chance.
"BOOYA!" he yelled with delight as he blasted another soldier. "Twenty-five!"
"Dude, that's not fair!" Beast Boy grumbled, only just taking out his ninth troop with a kangaroo kick. "You have more guys on your side of the beach!"
"Do not! It's not my fault you're not as good as opening the can of butt-whoop as me!" claimed Cyborg, busy pounding number twenty-six.
"I am so!" Beast Boy argued, nailing number ten with an ankylosaur's tail.
"Then why have I kicked more bad guy butt than you?" Cyborg teased, booting number twenty-seven's butt.
"Focus Titans! This isn't a game!" called out Robin. "Forty -one! Forty-two!" he grunted, whacking two soldiers with his trusty bo-staff. He then threw an explosive disc that blew up a transport carrier full of troops who were now flailing helplessly in the water. "SEVENTY-EIGHT!"
Beast Boy and Cyborg stared. They then shouted together:
"THAT STILL ONLY COUNTS AS ONE!"
The soldiers on the beach had managed to disable most of the anti-missile turrets, so it was largely up to the girls to shoot them down. Starfire excelled in weaving in between the missiles and sniping them off with starbolts, while Raven could stop the rockets dead in their tracks and direct them harmlessly into the ocean.
Frostbite found it much more enjoyable to attack the helicopters from the roof. They were coming in close enough for him to freeze the rotary blades on the 'copters and watch them fall like rocks into the ocean. The pilots were quick enough to jump out and use their parachutes to escape when the engines failed. But the novelty faded off after a while.
"This was fun and all," he said, downing the last gunship, "but I still don't see The Colonel."
"He's probably holed up somewhere nice and cosy, far away from the battle he doesn't have to fight." Raven said bitterly, detonating the last missile.
Her communicator beeped, which she flipped open. Robin appeared on screen.
"Good work, team. All hostiles have been neutralised. Cyborg and Beast Boy are piling them up now."
"Friends, I have spotted something on the edge of the city." Starfire reported from the sky. "Something big."
Sure enough, something big cruised into view from the direction of the drydocks, one of the biggest ships they had ever seen. All the Titans regrouped on the ground to see it.
The USS Goliath ploughed through the water like a predator on the hunt. At Frostbite's estimates, it was nearly a full kilometre long and armed to the teeth with machine guns, SAMs, and heavy canons. There were a goodly number of enemy troops on board, which did not bode well. And it was headed straight for Titan's Tower.
"Dude, how did they get their hands on a battleship?" Beast Boy exclaimed in awe.
"They evidently hi-jacked it, genius." Frostbite growled condescendingly, joining up with everyone on the ground by creating an ice slide from the roof and landing in a kneeling position.
"We have to stop it before it gets into range to fire its guns at the Tower!" Robin said, smacking a fist into his palm.
"I'll bet The Colonel's on board as well." Beast Boy said with conviction.
"What makes you so sure?" asked Raven.
"Hello? Bad guys dig taking orders from oversized pieces of junk like that! It's a proven fact that it inflates their egos!"
"The grass stain has a point." Frostbite said. "It's definitely his style."
"YO! I'm the only one allowed to call B.B. Grass Stain!" Cyborg yelled furiously at Frostbite.
Frostbite ignored him. "Stop the ship, by all means. But The Colonel is mine. I have a bone to pick with him."
Robin didn't have time to argue. "Alright then, Starfire, Beast Boy, escort Frostbite to the bridge of the ship. But keep an eye on him!" he added, much to Frostbite's chagrin as she picked him up. "The rest of us will take out the guards and disable those canons. Raven, can you teleport us there?"
She nodded grimly, and encased Robin, Cyborg and herself in a black orb that transformed into a giant raven following Starfire and Beast Boy in his pterodactyl form to the behemoth.
The USS Goliath had earned a distinguished reputation overseas as the terror of the open ocean. When pirates around the Horn of Africa wanted to scare each other over a campfire, they told stories of the Goliath, and how it had once single-handedly destroyed an entire pirate port in Somalia, along with its fleet. It was a one-ship-navy, nuclear powered, and not even SCUD missiles pilfered from the former Soviet Union could put a dent in its hull. Many of its specifications and features were still classified by the Pentagon. It was virtually invincible in every military aspect. If you wanted to commit suicide, attacking the Goliath was a sure-fire way to succeed.
The thought of five kids and a walking corpse attempting to stop it was inconceivable.
The heavy guns sluggishly rotated to fire at the Titans, but were far too slow to get a lock. The smaller, more maneuverable machine guns and SAMs sprayed bullets and rockets. Starfire threw Frostbite, who dived head-first into the ocean near the ship, and evaded. Beast Boy landed and crushed the top of an SAM platform as as elephant, and swiped away some nearby guards with his trunk.
Starfire landed as well and used her starbolts to destroy the machine gun nests. After downing several more goons, something knocked her to the deck from behind. A soldier had struck her on the back with the butt of his rifle, and prepared to fire.
"Say goodnight, missy!"
"Hey, Uncle Sam!"
The soldier spun around to see a wet, skeletal and clammy fist smash into his face, his rifle falling into the hands of the corpse.
"Sorry G.I. Joe, but you ain't fighting COBRA anymore." Frostbite grunted derisively, snapping the M16 in two.
Beast Boy had already finished off the other goons on the deck, and was scribbling notes down on a notepad next to the cryomancer.
"Dude, this stuff is pure gold!" he said excitedly.
Raven, Robin and Cyborg had a slightly harder time. Raven had phased them into the lower levels of the ships where the firing controls were, but there were troops in every nook and cranny. Lots of places to hide and ambush.
There were several control panels, each controlling one of the main canons. But surprise, surprise, there was a problem.
"I can't decipher the codes!" Cyborg shouted, while Robin and Raven covered him. "They're in a language I don't understand. Possibly Russian."
"I don't know Russian, either." Robin shouted back as he swatted a guard. "Raven?"
"I only know English, German, Latin, Ancient Romanian, Sumerian and Sanskrit." she replied, tearing up all the rifles from a stunned enemy squad with her powers. "We'll have to disable the power supply."
"Odds are, the gas mask will have another delightful code for that as well, plus, odds are, we're talking about a nuclear reactor. We'll need to destroy the canons!" Cyborg concluded.
Robin cringed. He was not going to enjoy explaining this to the Navy. But there was no other option.
"Raven, hold them off. We'll handle the canons."
Cyborg and Robin ran back upstairs onto the deck while Raven mopped up the last stragglers. Destroying the canons was actually quite easy despite the thick armour. Cyborg simply started pulling the barrels back at the base of the canon so that when they did fire, they would destroy themselves instead of the tower. Robin busied himself with planting modified C4 explosives (of his own design) onto the canons. Raven, who had just finished off the soldiers, used her powers to twist off a canon and toss it into another one, effectively destroying both.
Soon, all that was left of the canons were several large, gaping holes in the ships hull, which was now in flames.
From the docks in the city, the local naval commander witnessed the spectacle through a pair of binoculars. He looked thoroughly steamed.
"Those kids have a lot of explaining to do."
Frostbite kicked down the front door to the bridge, Beast Boy and Starfire following cautiously.
"Don't you know how to knock? Your parents obviously never taught you any manners or respect." The Colonel said angrily amidst a group of Kalashnikov wielding soldiers.
Frostbite scowled. "I know you have information. But first, I'm going to beat the stuffing out of you, you masked freak!"
"You are welcome to try, comrade Frostbite. If you can." He smirked under the mask, withdrawing behind his bodyguards.
"Now what?" whispered Starfire. The guards were prepped to fire, waiting for the slightest movement from the three intruders.
Suddenly, the steel wall to the left of the soldiers exploded, and Cyborg, Raven and Robin emerged, taking the soldiers by surprise. Starfire and Beast Boy promptly joined them in the melee, but Frostbite was interested only in The Colonel. To him, nothing else mattered.
The Colonel traversed the myriad hallways of the ship toward the engine room. He couldn't believe a bunch of teenagers had managed to best his elite forces and deal so much damage to the ship. He had underestimated them, that was certain. But it opened up new opportunities…
"That's as far as you're going."
The Colonel turned to face Frostbite inside the engine room. He wasn't surprised. Frostbite had always been faster. "Da, comrade. I have no intention of running. In fact, I prefer it this way."
Frostbite walked forward slowly. "So you still haven't given up on trying to destroy me, eh? Whatever did I do to you?" He said the last sentence tauntingly.
The Colonel drew his pistol. "I will enjoy this very much!" he growled with a savage delight.
Frostbite charged at The Colonel while he fired his pistol, which didn't do him a lot of good. He hit Frostbite, but his regenerative abilities and thick, dense muscles cancelled out the damage.
Frostbite tackled The Colonel into the steel wall, his pistol clattered uselessly between the power turbines. He huffed, then broke out of Frostbite's grip and kicked him to the ground.
The Colonel fumbled with his right arm for a moment, then pointed it at Frostbite. A torrent of flame erupted from a nozzle on his wrist. Frostbite quickly managed to avoid it as the flames poured down and spread across the floor like a liquid. Frostbite attempted to put it out with an ice beam, but it was noticeably more difficult to put out than ordinary fire.
"As you can see, I have recently rediscovered the formula for Greek Fire." The Colonel droned mechanically, as if giving a lecture. "It was a favourite weapon of the Byzantines in naval warfare, because it can burn even in water. However, the formula was a closely guarded secret and was lost as a result. But I have found it!"
"Hooray for you." Frostbite said unenthusiastically. This could complicate things. He didn't have a high tolerance for high temperatures, which was the main reason why he had lost to Starfire.
The Colonel lifted both arms and sprayed more of the vile incendiary liquid at Frostbite, who jumped out of the way as the flames swallowed up a turbine. Frostbite shot an ice beam which was met with another blast from the flamethrowers. Frostbite had to put in more energy to keep the flames back, but he could keep it up for a while yet. The Colonel would not be so lucky. As powerful as the new-found Greek Fire was, there was still only a finite supply.
Eventually, his ice beam gained ground as the fuel was spent. The flames slowly withered and died, and The Colonel was frozen from the shoulders down.
Just then, the rest of the Titans arrived to find the fight already over, and Frostbite busy interrogating the masked menace.
"So much for your little wonder weapon. Now, you have information that I need to finish the job. Unless you would rather I finish you right here and now?"
The Colonel just laughed. "You will never defeat us! You, and your allies," he motioned toward the Titans, "are doomed! No matter what you may do, no matter how much you may plead and beg and cry, you shall all suffer at the hands of…"
Frostbite knocked him out with a vicious right hook before he could finish in a temper. He covered up his fist in ice to finish him off, but Starfire grabbed his wrist to stop him.
"You have effectively defeated the villain. You can stop now."
"Let go of me! I need to get rid of him!"
"We don't kill people." Robin said sternly.
"You don't understand! This man is a monster! The law's not going to keep him in jail! You have no idea of what he's capable of!"
"And killing him will lower you to his level." Raven said gravely. "It's not worth it!"
"Lower to his level? It's not worth it? LOOK AT ME! I ALREADY HAVE SUNK TO HIS LEVEL!" Frostbite roared, not sounding human anymore.
Cyborg stepped in this time and faced the enraged corpse. "Look man, I know what it's like. I used to be completely human myself. Then came the accident, and the surgery, and suddenly I wake up not feeling my arms and legs, and most of my organs replaced by machinery. I looked like a freak. I wanted to kill the person who spared my life. I didn't want to go on living. But my friends helped me get over it and get on with my life."
Frostbite said nothing, but he had stopped struggling. The story really seemed to speak to him. He glanced at The Colonel again, with a look of hate, but did nothing more.
Finally he said: "This is a mistake. You'll regret stopping me soon enough. But for now, I'll do it your way."
Just then, the engulfed turbine exploded, setting off a chain reaction in the ship. The Goliath began to tremble and shake itself apart.
Robin groaned loudly. The Navy was going to skin him alive for this. "Titans, move!"
Starfire picked up the frozen villain and followed the others outside, where she flew off toward the tower with Raven, who picked up Cyborg with her powers. Robin activated his jet-pack shoes and Beast Boy turned into a peregrine falcon. Frostbite just dived into the water.
The enemy forces abandoned the ship, using small motorised inflatable boats to get away as the Goliath stalled to a halt just offshore of the tower. A final, gigantic explosion ripped out from the engine room and burst through the hull into a mini-mushroom cloud. Slowly but surely, the ship sank to its watery grave.
After The Colonel and several unescaped soldiers were taken away in armoured police trucks, the Titans reflected on what had happened.
Robin had nearly lost his sense of hearing after the commanding officer of the sector had screamed at him for destroying a valuable piece of military hardware, but a well-rehearsed speech complete with moral justifications was enough to dampen his anger.
"Oh, well. I guess the battleship was obsolete anyway, we've been decommissioning them since the eighties." He had said. "They just ain't worth the cost."
Frostbite had managed to get away in the confusion after the ship exploded, but Robin was certain that he'd be back.
"What makes you so sure?" asked Beast Boy.
"They always come back." he replied. "Some things still don't add up. We still don't know why he was with Slade. Or what what he was after. Or what The Colonel wanted with him. I have a feeling that he isn't finished."
"You need to stop worrying and lighten up a bit." Cyborg said confidently. "If he shows up again, we'll be ready for him. And… where's my pizza?"
He looked all over the table where the teens were seated. There were five people there, but only four pizzas. He could have sworn the waiter had placed five on the table. He looked accusingly at the green imp.
"Where's my triple bacon BBQ supreme?"
"Uh, I don't know what you're talking about."
"I can see the pizza box behind your back."
"Dude, what?" He turned around, and sure enough, a pizza box filled with the triple bacon BBQ supreme was lying against his chair.
Beast Boy turned a pale green. "I think I'm gonna be sick!"
"DON'T YOU UPCHUCK YOUR LUNCH ON MINE!"
Raven put up her hood, concealing a smirk. Payback for that accursed Chicken Song.
Deep in the alley, beyond their line of sight, a dark, skeletal looking figure watched the teenagers eat, argue and fool around on the deck, before receding into the shadows.
On the way to the police station, the truck halted in front of the traffic lights. The driver then turned round and shot the passenger with a dart gun filled with a sleeping chemical. The passenger looked surprised for a moment, then felt his eyes become heavy and his muscles sluggish. The passenger door opened, and The Colonel chucked him out and hopped in before the truck sped off after the lights turned green.
He chuckled under the mask. Hoodwinking and infiltrating the police had been embarrassingly easy. In Moscow, they'd be dead.
He pulled out a communicator from his trenchcoat pocket and flipped it on.
"Report." said a mechanically distorted voice. Even with the channels secured, the boss didn't want to take any chances.
"Frostbite got away. But his thirst for answers can certainly work to our advantage."
"Excellent. I am impressed that he has eluded us for this long. My creation is performing better than I could have hoped. But we will need to capture him soon. There are a few, ah, wrinkles to iron out."
"Understood. I also have more news. Concerning a group of juveniles."
"Tell me more, Colonel. I expect this to be most intriguing."