September 10, 2018: This is the annual repost of my one shot inspired by the tragic events of 9/11/01 on now its 17th anniversary. I wrote and originally posted this shot on 9/11/09 after noticing what little fanfare 'Patriot Day' seems to bring.
Dedicated to those lost on 9/11/01 in New York, Washington, DC, and Pennsylvania. Also dedicated to those First Responders not only lost that tragic day, but those who suffer the long term physical and emotional effects of that day. And let's not forget those lost in the theatres of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and those who are stationed in the Gulf region, continuing the war against terror.
Disclaimer: I do not own the Teen Titans, DC Comics, Warner Brothers, or related entities. I do own a United States of America flag (or three).
The time line would be presumably during the first season when Starfire was new to Earth and Robin was already the one in charge of explaining things to her. This is a Robin and Starfire friendfic and they are the only characters present in this story.
Koriand'r, Princess of Tamaran had only been on earth a number of months when the anniversary of 9/11 came around.
There were no late alarms the night before and Koriand'r, or the hero Starfire as she is known on Earth, woke up early that September 11th morning. After going through her ritual of stretching her muscles in front of the large east-facing window of her room, she stayed there, taking in the restorative rays of the sun. After she felt revitalized, she left her room to go into the common area, in search of companionship from her four teammates and friends.
It was still before breakfast, and no one was in Ops. Surely Robin was already awake, but most likely he was already in the training room. She thought of going to find him but decided to watch some TV instead. She had realized that she had 'the feelings' for him and had to will herself from seeking him out, knowing that he liked his 'the space'.
Starfire was flipping through the channels and came upon a show that was showing clips of the devastation in New York and at the Pentagon. It was an overwhelming sight on the large screen television. She thought that perhaps it was movie, one surely Beast Boy and Cyborg would enjoy. She had no interest in such a horror show, so she changed channels. Unfortunately, she came across other programming with the same footage. She watched long enough to ascertain that something horrible had happened in her newly adopted country only a few years before.
Why was she unaware of the event? Certainly it had historical significance. How could there have been the destruction of those two - what were they called - scrapers of the sky by airplanes? Why were the airplanes even hitting those buildings? There were no such magnificent structures in Tamaran. She wondered how effective the Gordanian's weapons would have been on them.
Starfire watched for another 20 minutes or so, taking in the details of the events of that day. She had to find Robin. She needed to know what had happened that day. She had heard there were nearly 3,000 people killed on that single day. Her people had been at war for most of her life, but 3,000 lost souls was an unbearable amount! In her world, the dead would be avenged. Was there justice for the people who died on 9/11/01?
Koriand'r made her way down to the training room. She actually walked – she was confused and upset about what she had seen and she lacked the joy of flight. She paused briefly at the door. She could hear the pounding of fists on a heavy bag. As expected Robin was training.
"Excuse my intrusion Robin, but I need to speak with you," she said in a meek voice.
Robin turned to her and smiled. "Sure Starfire, I was just finishing up."
He stopped to unlace his boxing gloves and took a drink from a bottle of water. He looked up to see her looking down, brows knitted, twisting her fingers a bit nervously. Not always a good sign, this might get embarrassing.
"Starfire," he started gently, "what's wrong?"
"I wanted to ask you about the events of the 11th day of September in the year 2001."
Not what I expected, but this should be easier.
He took a deep breath. "September 11, 2001 was the day that the United States was attacked by terrorists."
"By terrorists? But there was so much destruction!"
"Yes, there was. The attack seemed unimaginable at the time. No one would have ever expected so much damaged, such a coordinated attack. Two very tall buildings, once the tallest in the world, known as the World Trade Center, were destroyed when they were each struck by airplanes."
"But how did it happen Robin, how could it happen?" Starfire asked in her innocent way, her way that was betrayed the fact that she had seen and gone through and truly suffered so much in her short life.
Robin gave her a reassuring and a squeeze on her shoulder. "I'll do my best to explain it. There was a group of people that hated the United States. They wanted to hurt the US and they had tried before by trying to bomb the World Trade Center in 1993 but at that time they tried a bomb. That time it caused only did minor damage but did kill six people.
"So the terrorists regrouped and planned a number of attacks against the US." Robin continued, Starfire hanging on his every word. "The plan that was carried out on 9/11/2001 was to fly large commercial airliners, er airplanes, into buildings that had major significance: the World Trade Center in New York City as the center of wealth, business and finance and the Pentagon in Washington, DC as the center of our military.
"The terrorists planned and trained for years, including enrolling in flight schools to learn to fly planes. On the day of the attack, on four separate airplanes, groups of 4 to 5 terrorists got on the planes, attacked the flight crew and hijacked the planes. One flew into one of the World Trade Center towers, one into the other tower and one into the Pentagon."
"But Robin, what happened to the fourth plane?"
"On the fourth plane, which we later found out had also been headed toward Washington, DC, possibly to the Capital Building or the White House, some of the passengers of the flight fought back, forcing the plane down in a field in Pennsylvania."
"X'Hal! Those people were so brave!"
"Yes, and because of them, no one was injured on the ground and they probably saved an important American symbol from destruction."
Robin watched as Starfire absorbed the information. Finally she asked, "Robin, what did the United States do to get back at the terrorists? I realize that the peoples of this world are not the warriors of mine, but surely something was done to destroy them, or at least bring them to justice."
"We did go to war against them, Starfire. In fact, we are still fighting in Afghanistan. and we just pulled our troops out of Iraq."
"I believe I have heard some discussion on the news about a war in Afghanistan and Iraq, but I never knew what started that war." She paused, and then thoughtfully asked, "why do I not know about it? I have heard of the Pearl Harbor Day and of the D Day. Surely, the events of September 11th are equally as important – the clips of news stated nearly 3,000 people died."
It was an obvious question, but one Robin hadn't considered. Why weren't people talking about it more? Even he had not realized that that day was called Patriot Day, the official name for September 11 – and he was more than your average news junkie.
"I really don't know Star, I'm sorry."
Robin looked at Starfire. He wished he had better answers, that he could explain things better to her. He pulled her into a gentle hug which she reciprocated, although not nearly as enthusiastically as he was used to.
"Is there anything we could do Robin? Is there any way we can remember the day?"
Robin thought for a minute and the idea hit him. "I think I have something in my room for the occasion – to commemorate the day." He took her hand and they reached Robin's room soon there after.
"You can come in, I'll just be a minute," Robin said suppressing a laugh. It was a serious occasion but she seemed so bashful, standing at his doorway. He rummaged through his closet for the blue canvas triangle with white stars. "Here it is."
"I don't know why we don't have this out. It's an American flag, I've had it stored away for a long time. Why don't we go up to the roof? There's a flag pole up there."
"That sounds like a very good idea Robin."
Shortly thereafter, the Stars and Stripes was flying on the flag pole on top of Titans Tower.
"Thank you Star."
"For what Robin?"
"For reminding me of the importance of the day. I'm glad we can fly the flag today to remember. Perhaps we need to fly the flag more often."
"It is a beautiful flag Robin, I think that the Titans should fly it everyday – to remember."
"I think that is a great idea, Starfire. And as far as this day, Patriot Day or 9/11 or whatever its called - I hope we never forget."
I hope you enjoyed this timely one-shot. Please don't flame the politics, I did what I could to keep it neutral and in-character.
Personally, I lost sixteen souls from my college as well as a few others that day. I also dearly miss Barbara Olson's political punditry.
So many people lost so much more.
But as a Nation and as a World we continue to heal.
Review and Remember.
September 11, 2001 - Let Us Never Forget