While Starfire was elated in seeing their group project completed, the feeling paled in comparison to watching it in action. Or more specifically, admiring the view out of the left topside hatch as the thing plodded around the buildings.
Not that the view itself was particularly admirable. The gently sloping surface of the vehicle was an unsightly mess of mismatched thin iron plates, though Starfire knew they were there to cover the simple black ablative plastics underneath. Even uglier were the two large protrusions out of the surface on her right, which Robin and Cyborg repeatedly called "turrets". In every other direction, the sweeping desert; the buildings that comprised the abandoned airport being obscured by the turrets' bulk. And on top of all this, the speed was passable; but Starfire could fly faster under her own power if she so decided.
Nevertheless, there was just something about having participated in the construction of this lumbering machine. Some sense of connection with it. It wasn't the view that was exhilarating, it was the knowledge that she had made the view possible.
Her reflection was interrupted by the increasing volume of voices from below. Her curiosity piqued, Starfire floated gently back inside the vehicle.
"—I just told you it isn't very fast," Cyborg was saying from the driver's position, in front of the diamond arrangement of the other seats. In an annoyed tone that made Starfire suspect he was responding to a comment from Beast Boy. "But it's easier to fight if the thing hasn't been blown to pieces, so I had to sacrifice speed to get more armor on it."
"But dude," Beast Boy's countered from the seat opposite Starfire's, his voice still hoarse from his extended sing-a-thon, "How come K.I.T.T. was indestructible and fast?"
Cyborg growled in response, a sound that somehow managed to be heard over the engine. "First," his voice reverberated slightly due to the cramped interior, "that was a television show. Second, you were using the A-Team theme song, not Knight Rider's."
"But it's too hard to go da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da—"
"THIRD," Cyborg cut him off, "K.I.T.T. had a lightweight ultratough alloy for the superstructure, and the steel I had to use is a heck of a lot heavier."
"What about weaponry?" Robin prompted from the front of the diamond configuration.
"Well," Cyborg responded in a more relaxed tone, "I got heavy duty energy projectors up here, the forward turret where you are's got those pulse repeaters, and the back turret's a heavy sonic cannon. Uhh, that's you Raven," he concluded slightly louder.
"I know," she responded from the back of the diamond.
Starfire couldn't help but notice a couple of names unaccounted for. "But, what are Beast Boy and I to do?" she inquired.
The engine was the only source of noise for the next couple seconds, before Cyborg answered.
"Uhh, well," he said sounding slightly apprehensive, "You two do best when you have room to manuever, so—"
"We're going outside, aren't we?" Beast Boy concluded with an accusatory tone, before breaking into a coughing fit from overexerting his sore throat with his emphasis. Starfire was downcast, though she did not give her disappointment voice.
Cyborg craned his head towards the right, with his mouth open. Then he closed his mouth, turned his head all the way around and addressed Starfire.
"Star, what do you think? Should I be out there and leave the driving to someone else; should Robin be out there and have to run to keep up with everything; or should Raven be out there in reach of—"
"I said not to remind me," Raven cut in.
"Sorry," Cyborg sheepishly replied.
Meanwhile, Starfire was evaluating his statement. As much as she wanted to stay with the creation that was at least partially hers, she couldn't deny the merits of Cyborg's claims: She and Beast Boy were far more directly reliant on their personal powers than Robin and Cyborg, who could adequately apply their technical talents to vehicular operation. And knowing that Adonis' proximity caused Raven emotional distress, it was simply unthinkable to propose an external position for her.
None of this made Starfire like the necessary outcome. She made a long, listless sigh. "I cannot conceive of a more acceptable arrangement," she admitted.
Her peripheral vision detected Beast Boy looking back and forth between herself and Raven. "Fine," he finally relented.
"And the missiles?" Robin prompted.
"Still got something special planned," Cyborg answered. "We got it all under control here."
"Wait," Beast Boy croaked. "We need a name for this thing. I vote for...R-Madillo."
"Armadillo?" Cyborg inquired.
"You know, like R-Cycle, except different."
"Why?" Robin asked with some trepidation.
"'cause it'll tick Control Freak off."
Silence reigned for a few seconds.
"Well," Raven finally said, "it's as good a choice for criteria as any."
"It'll do," Robin agreed.
The sound of an instrument beeping interrupted the conversation.
"Got the name figured out just in time," Cyborg said, "'cause those two are a couple minutes early."
Raven floated partway through her entry hatch on the back of the newly christened R-Madillo, choosing to keep her waist and below within the confines of the vehicle. From her vantage point she saw Starfire similarly floating partially out of the vehicle, Robin performing one of those overly stylized leaps to land on top of the turret immediately behind him and thus a short distance in front of herself. Beast Boy, she heard struggling as a pair of hands attempted to pull their owner's weight up to the hatch, before he gave up and managed to fit a baby giraffe's neck through. Cyborg she couldn't see on account of the height of Robin's turret, but she had no doubt he'd arrange an unobstructed view of his own.
A short distance in front of the R-Madillo was Control Freak, visually evaluating their vehicle with a skeptical eye from the relative comfort of his own vehicle. It wasn't that van, though; it appeared he'd stuck some sort of blocky contraption on what she guessed was the car he'd stolen at the beginning of this extended fiasco, and was driving that for whatever reason.
She saw Adonis too, but the sickening smile he gave when he caught her eye reminded her of why she was trying not to think about him.
Fortunately, Control Freak drew everyone's attention by giving voice to his appraisal.
"This is all you could come up with?" he asked incredulously. "It's an ugly box with two things sticking out of it!"
An odd hiss to Raven's right caught her attention. Beast Boy stopped abruptly, transformed into a hummingbird half a second later, and finished by reverting to his human form on top of the R-Madillo.
"Our thingy's got two more cool thingies then your van thingy!"
Control Freak scowled in return, as though that were an accusation. "The Freakout is way cooler than anything you guys have!"
"If it's so cool," Cyborg cut in from out of Raven's view, "why isn't it here?"
"Uh-huh..." Robin said with a finely tuned mixture of sarcasm and apathy. It wasn't quite as smooth as Raven's vocal balancing, but she was certain Robin was deliberately leaning on the sarcasm.
"Dude, " Beast Boy said, "why'd you put the huge ugly thing in the Knight Rider car?"
"Which?" Raven asked without missing a beat, while Control Freak gave her a confused look.
"Uhh...the big fat thing."
Cyborg played along. "Gotta narrow it down," he said. Control Freak frowned in what Raven had to assume was Cyborg's general direction.
"In the back!" Beast Boy elaborated.
"Oh that one..." Cyborg mused.
"AHEM!" Control Freak interrupted. "That would be a highly sophisticated mimetic ordinance assembly, specifically designed to to configure itself to match the active implement of my personal arsenal on a larger scale, in realtime."
If anyone was confused by the haphazard application of a thesaurus, it wasn't Starfire: "It becomes a larger version of whatever weapon you are using?"
"Why does it sound dumb when you say it?" Control Freak whined.
"It sounded dumb when you said it, too," Raven pointed out.
"Can any of you wimps do something besides talk?" Adonis cut in.
"Maybe it's time to find out," Robin responded.
Adonis laughed. "You really think you can take me on?" Then, to Raven's dismay, he addressed her directly: "Come on babe. You did this before, and we beat you all. You can't win. How about we skip this little game and get right down to the...fun." He ended with a lustful tone that turned Raven's stomach.
But for her part, she stared him down, resolute. "We did. You did. Yes we can. NO."
Control Freak shook his head at Adonis and growled. "Enough talk!"
Robin issued his own cue: "Titans, go!"
Within a second, he and Raven were back in their gunner seats, while Starfire and Beast Boy flew off into the air.