Chapter 2

How Was Your Weekend?

"Come, friends, let us share with each other the highlights of our weekend." Starfire, while everyone's moods were upbeat, was eager to talk about hers and wanted to hear about the others' past two days.

"It's almost lunchtime, Starfire. Let's get something to eat first," Robin suggested. The others decided that was a good idea, so off they went to the kitchen.

Cyborg and Robin assembled the sandwiches while Raven prepared the drinks, milk for Robin and Cyborg and tea for her, and sides. Starfire set the table and poured herself a glass of zorkaberry juice. Beast Boy prepared his own vegan lunch and soy milk, today a more standard portion than his uncommonly larger rations. Once everything was ready the titans sat down together. Cyborg sat at one end of the table, Raven opposite him. Beast Boy sat alone to one side while Robin and Starfire sat side by side opposite him.

Robin, Cyborg, Raven, and Beast Boy all listened as Starfire described her weekend with Robin in Gotham City. While it is that they are all familiar with Gotham and Wayne Manor, Starfire still spoke of the magnificence of the manor and gentle and friendly Alfred Pennyworth, long time butler of the manor and trusted keeper of his employer's secret identity. She spoke also of Bruce Wayne and how welcoming he was. Robin expressed his disappointment that his mentor excluded him from helping in even one Batman-related case. His friends were secretly glad Bruce had done them that favor.

Starfire then talked about her and Robin's Saturday which included an invitation to a charity event, sponsored by Wayne Enterprises, and an evening at the opera. She talked of how those attending the charity gave most generously, and how she spent much time dancing with Robin, which she very much enjoyed. Her talking of this caused Robin to blush, and Cyborg, Raven, and Beast Boy could tell he too enjoyed dancing with Starfire. They just exchanged looks and smiled, making no jokes. While the three of them knew it was inevitable, and despite the media's reports of a current Rob/Star pairing, they also knew that Robin and Starfire were not yet an official couple.

They listened as she told them about the opera, The Magic Flute, and how dazzled she was by the tale. "The music was superb as were the performers." She stunned her friends by telling them that one day, when she was no longer a titan, she wants to become an opera singer. They knew she loved music and singing, and so they wished her luck.

On Sunday Robin took Starfire to the Gotham City Museum of Natural History. She told them how she found the primitive and prehistoric creatures of Earth fascinating. He told his friends how they were there for roughly three hours all because she could not pull herself away from some of the exhibits. Of course he did not complain. The exhibits were all new discoveries for her and he was glad that she enjoyed them.

"Our last outing was to the mall of shopping."

Having been the last one up, Beast Boy missed what Raven and Cyborg had seen when Robin and Starfire returned that morning. The Tameranean brought with her several shopping bags in addition to her own luggage.

At the mention of the mall the three of them noticed that Robin turned red again. They wondered if it was something Starfire bought that made him do that. When she said, "I have to tell you about the bridal shop of the mall," then they understood. Starfire said the dresses were dazzling and that she so wanted to go in and try some on. They were certain that their leader's blush was the result of actually picturing her wearing one, and quite possibly picturing himself at her side in his own wedding attire. Cyborg, Raven, and Beast Boy had no doubt in their minds now that those two would be altar-bound one day.

Robin, deciding his friends have looked at him and Starfire long enough, turned the topic on them. "So what did you guys do this weekend?"

"Even though things were still quiet, we each did some low profile patrolling," said Raven. "When I wasn't reading or meditating I did some training. Plus, Beast Boy and I went grocery shopping yesterday."

"And I just hung out around town when I wasn't patrolling," added Beast Boy. "Other than that I played a few video games and watched a few movies." At the sound of a chuckle he shot Cyborg a glance and stressed, "Other than 'Super Rainbow Monkey Ninjas.' And I also did some training besides," he again stressed, "'Super Rainbow Monkey Ninjas,' between the gym and going swimming."

Cyborg went straight-faced now that it was his turn to tell about his weekend. "Well, I had been working with S.T.A.R. Labs to design some better and longer running power cells. They called Saturday to let me know the cells were ready. I have one in now, and I'll be able to go for days without a recharge," he said, smiling at his own news. "Plus we built me some new arms and they were attached yesterday."

Cyborg held his arms up to show them off. "Now I know they don't look any different, but wait 'til you see what they can do." He set his arms down. "I still have my sonic cannon, but that's been switched to my left arm. If I gotta turn it up a notch…" He grinned. "I got a new weapon for my right arm. Something real special."

"You will give us a demonstration of this special weapon, yes?"

"You bet I will, Star. But first, let's eat."

And so they ate. After the table was cleared and the dishes washed and put away Cyborg led them all to the shore of the island where there were plenty of rocks. Cyborg chose a thick and tall one. His friends all stood off to one side.

"Now, watch." He raised his right hand. With his ring and pinky fingers tucked with his thumb against the palm of his hand, his index and middle fingers were fully extended, side by side, level with his eyes. All the while he grinned.

"Now I draw energy to these two fingers." A good-sized spark appeared, a purplish spark, flashing steadily and brilliantly, and he held it there for several seconds. "And now…!" Cyborg threw his arm forward, his two extended fingers taking aim at the selected rock. The spark became a straight beam of energy shooting straight towards the rock, surrounded by an additional beam flying corkscrew around the straight one. The rock was totaled. "Booyah."

The four onlookers were awestruck.

"That… was so COOL!"

Starfire applauded. "It was most extraordinary!"

"It's like a beam cannon," Robin observed.

"Whoa." Of course Raven was astonished, even if there was but the slightest look of it in her expression.

"Hey. That's kind of catchy," Beast Boy noted. "You should totally call it that, Cy."

"Call it what?"

"Well, you said before it was a special weapon. Robin just called it a beam cannon. That's what you should name it."

"…Special Beam Cannon?"

"Yeah. You should totally name the attack Special Beam Cannon."

Cyborg thought it over for a moment, repeating the name in his head. "Yeah. I do kinda like the sound of it."

"Actually, 'attack' sounds too negative," Raven commented. "Maybe you should consider it more a technique than an attack."

He considered her advice and nodded saying, "That's true, Rae."

"Show us again," Starfire insisted and was backed up by Beast Boy.

With that, selecting another large rock, Cyborg proceeded to repeat the technique. "SPECIAL BEAM CANNON!" he roared, and a second later the chosen target was destroyed.

Following the titans' return to the tower Cyborg showed his friends his power cells, including the one he was currently running on. He had shown them that it still had plenty of charge to spare, even after numerous other demonstrations of his new weapon.

Midway through the afternoon Beast Boy and Robin, both dressed in loose-fitting workout clothes, were sitting on a mat in a section of the gym reserved for sparring. Robin began by setting some rules and recommendations. "Naturally I want you to exercise. You'll do weight-lifting and running and swimming. Alternate your exercises and improvise. You don't necessarily have to limit workouts to the gym.

"As far as the martial arts. You already have a good frame and in your animal forms you have great agility. For the martial arts I want you to try and refrain from into animals so that we can ensure your agility is fine tuned in human form and we can condition your timing for both offense and defense. I suppose it will be tricky to remain in human form since I'm sure your transformations have all been instinct. Just try to not transform.

"I will make one exception where your animal abilities are concerned. Anticipating an opponent's moves is important. I'm sure you've heard the expression 'Expect the unexpected'? Your instincts will serve you as a 'sixth sense' in anticipating your opponent's moves.

Beast Boy could not help but make a joke at the term 'sixth sense.' "Oh? Will I see dead people, too?"

Robin rolled his eyes and shook his head. "If I were like a number of other instructors, Beast Boy, I would discipline you for that. If you really want to learn martial arts, I expect you to take your training serious." In the end, Robin could not hold back a smile.

Glad that his leader still found his comment amusing, the shape-shifter agreed.

Robin stood, followed by Beast Boy, and began demonstrating a few combat stances, with his 'student' imitating him. Scarcely a few minutes into the first lesson the titan alarm resounded.

The titans, in uniform, were called in by scientists working at S.T.A.R. Labs. Someone broke in and stole, to the dismay of the titans, an enormous quantity of xinothium.

"Any witnesses?" asked Robin, outwardly calm, but internally desperate to catch the thief.

"No," answered the lead scientist. "The thief or thieves were also smart enough to bypass all sorts of security detection, including video cameras and heat, audible, and motion sensors."

Following their initial investigation at the lab the titans returned to the tower, speculating lead possibilities Red X and Professor Chiang. They did not rule out, though, the possibility of an inside job, that someone working at the lab is responsible for or at least involved in the theft.