I own absolutely nothing related to the Teen Titans. Nor do I own any of the songs or rights to the songs that I reference, may reference, or am even thinking of referencing in this story.
Road to Morocco Nairobi
We're off on the Road to Morocco,
This taxi is hard on the spine.
Where they're going, why we're going, how can we be sure?
I'll lay you eight to five that we meet Dorothy Lamour.
Bob Hope & Bing Crosby – Road to Morocco
"Come on Cyborg, you've GOT to come with me."
"Robin, I said I can't."
"Cy, I'm begging here. Don't make me give you an order."
"Bird Boy, I'm supposed to head go to Titan's East and repair their security system. After what Brother Blood did last week, the whole thing is a wreck. Are you saying that going on a mission with you takes precedence over their security?"
Robin paused for a moment. "Just how damaged are their systems? Are you SURE it can't be delayed a week?" The cybernetic teen came out from beneath the T-Car and gave him a disgusted look. "OK, OK, I was just wondering."
The two titans were down in the garage of Titans Tower. Cyborg had been working on his 'baby', upgrading it, polishing it, worshipping it. (The man REALLY needs a girlfriend.) Robin was sitting on one of the workbenches trying to convince him to accompany him on an assignment. Although covered in grease and oil, Cyborg was enjoying his few minutes of free time working on the T-Car. Robin put his head in his hands and was shaking his head back and forth.
"So why aren't you asking Starfire?"
"Already did, she has to head back to Tamaran for some religious ceremony, it's the anniversary of X'hal's ascension, or something like that. She'll be gone for a couple of weeks."
"Awwww, pwor Wobin. His wittle giwlfwiend went bye-bye." Cyborg was smirking.
"SHE'S NOT MY GIRLFRIEND! She's my teammate! AND I RESPECT HER DECISIONS!" You could see how red in the face the boy wonder was getting. There was just the hint that if Cyborg took this any further, there would be blood on the ground.
Cyborg took the hint (hey, he's no fool). "OK, so Starfire is out. Way out. Out of the world out. I know you can't ask Raven right now. She can't go anywhere."
"Who knew she could get chicken pox? Who gets chicken pox anymore? Everyone is vaccinated."
"Guess they didn't have chicken pox on Azerath."
"She's part demon. If I had known that's all it took to knock out a demon I would have done it to Trigon and avoided all that agony." In an undertone Robin added, "especially working with that SOB."
"Somehow, I don't think it's the demon part of her that's susceptible to chicken pox."
Robin snorted. "Anyway, as soon as she's recovered she's getting a FULL set of inoculations. It's a good thing that it was ONLY chicken pox. She's still young enough that chicken pox won't kill her. Can you imagine if it was measles or polio? She could be crippled, or dead. That's no way for a hero to go, dead by measles." Both boys were silent for a moment, considering the circumstances that led to Raven being covered in itchy spots. As a result of her exposure, things had been breaking and exploding all over the tower. Emotional control vanishes quickly when you itch everywhere. The enchantress's temper, volatile in the best of times, was even shorter now. The only one who would go near her was Beast Boy. Even Starfire avoided her best girl friend.
"Any idea how she got it?" Cyborg asked.
"Who knows? Maybe from Melvin or one of the other kids while she was visiting them. If they had been inoculated recently, they would have been slightly contagious and she could have caught it. Or maybe when we helped on that burning apartment building last week. There were a bunch of kids there. No way to really know." Robin fell into a deep gloom. "Maybe I can just go by myself."
"NO WAY! You know the rules. No individual missions. Everyone needs a backup. No exceptions."
"Stupid rule. Who came up with it anyway?"
"What do I know? Why didn't anyone object?"
"Because it's a good rule. After we all got caught by the Brotherhood of Evil without backup, we decided to avoid that situation and make sure we're always together." Cyborg paused. "You're just going to have to turn down the assignment. Starfire can't go, I can't go, Raven can't go. Beast Boy can't go."
Robin put his head back down between his hands.
"You did ask Beast Boy, didn't you?"
Robin continued to hold his head between his hands.
"You HAVEN'T asked Beast Boy, have you?"
The teen detective stayed silent for a moment. "Cy, I like BB. He's cool, he's funny, he's great to have around. AS LONG AS EVERYONE ELSE IS! When it's just him he drives me nuts. He's not serious and he doesn't focus on the task at hand. This is a serious mission. I can't have him getting distracted and not focusing. I'm going into an area I know little about. I need backup I can count on."
Cyborg got up from under the T-Car and stood up facing Robin. The metal titan was silent for a moment, his face a stony mask. "Are you telling me that you don't think you can depend on Beast Boy?" There was just a hint of a challenge in the statement. "Just remember, that's my best friend and the guy who's saved all of our lives countless times. Including when EVERYONE had given up or was captured by the Brotherhood."
Robin let out a long breath. Looking up at the ceiling, in an exasperated reply he said, "That's not what I meant and you know it. In a battle there's no one I'd rather have on my side. He's experienced, versatile and extremely creative in his attacks. This is detective work. We're going to need to tread cautiously and work diligently. You know what his attention span is like. He's distracted by butterflies going past the window."
"Hey," the cybernetic teen responded, "it was only that one time and because he had never seen that species in the United States. If you were an expert on animals and saw something out of place, you'd be distracted too."
"We were in a tactics meeting. There are priorities."
"Yours, not his." Silence fell between the two. "So, you gonna ask him?"
"What choice do I have, no one else will go and this is important." Robin got up from the workbench and began to make his way over to the door. "You SURE you can't go?"
"NO! I CAN'T! And just for that, I'm going with you to find BB. You are NOT ducking out of this by pretending you can't find him and going alone." The boy wonder had a hurt look on his face.
"Cy, I can't believe you don't trust me. What makes you think I would be that duplicitous?"
The metallic titan began to count off on his fingers. "First off, I know you. Second, you've done it before. Third, you've even sneakier than BB is when you're trying to bend the rules. Probably because you adhere to them so strongly that you need to justify it to yourself before you break them. BB just breaks them without coming up with a justification. Do I need to go on?"
"Damn." A disgusted look came over the boy wonder's face. "All right, I'll wait for you." And he sat back down on the bench and began to sulk while Cyborg cleaned up. It didn't take long. The titan's resident mechanic had long ago developed a cleanser that would remove any grease and grime from his metallic body. He would have patented it but the number of half-mechanical people on the planet was very limited.
It didn't take long. Robin and Cyborg left the garage and made their way upstairs. As they were entering the common room, Cyborg turned to the titan leader, asking "So, where do you think the green bean is?"
At that moment, the sound of breaking glass was heard and a loud cry followed immediately.
"Probably swimming. He should be back inside in a few minutes." Robin answered.
"Man, you'd think by now he'd have gotten the message to stop bugging Raven when she's upset. Or moody. Or breathing."
Robin mused, "It's a good thing we buy windows by the gross. Buying them one at a time would cost a fortune. Wonder how he always manages to avoid being cut to ribbons when he goes through the panes?"
"Just one of life's little mysteries." Cyborg smirked.
"I HATE unanswered questions."
"So, set up a camera to catch them the next time he's thrown through a window. Happens every couple of days, so you won't have to wait long. See if there something he does to keep from being injured."
"Thought about that. Unfortunately, most of the times it happens it's in Raven's room."
"Girl must really like fresh air."
"Anyway," the boy wonder continued, "can you imagine what would happen to me if she found out I put a camera in her room? I might not be as lucky as he is."
"Guess not. How far do you think she threw him this time?"
The detective considered. "Hmmm, given the length of time of the scream, I would say only a couple of hundred yards. She must be weak due to the chicken pox. She can usually get him out a mile or so. That means he should be back any second."
Right on cue, a green teenager bounced into the room. Beast Boy was his normal happy self, smile on his face, dry as a bone, showing no ill effects of his dunking in the bay.
"Sprout, A) How'd you get back so fast and B) Why are you completely dry?"
The changeling turned to his cybernetic friend. "Hey tin man, didn't expect a welcome. When I came to the surface I changed into a duck and flew back. Their feathers don't hold water, so I was dry by the time I got back."
Robin interrupted, "Since you're back, I need to ask you something." He paused and looked briefly at Cyborg. The metal titan nodded. "I've received an assignment overseas and I need someone to come with me…"
"ALL RIGHT! ROAD TRIP!" Beast Boy began dancing around the room. "GO BEAST BOY, GO BEAST BOY" Robin looked pained at the hyperactive hero. "So, we going to Rio? The beaches there are fantastic. Or the Riviera? Maybe Spain? I need to work on my tan." From somewhere, the green teen had whipped out a pair of dark sunglasses and a beach towel, as if ready for the shore.
The boy wonder let out a moan and put his face in the palm of his right hand. This was going to be a long trip. "Beast Boy, CALM DOWN! We're not going to any of those places. We're going to Nairobi."
Immediately Beast Boy froze. He looked stunned for a moment. Then he took off his sunglasses. "Nairobi? Nairobi, Kenya?"
The suddenness of the shapeshifter's change in mood was startling to the two other male titans.
"Man, you've heard of Nairobi?" Cyborg was surprised as he didn't realize that BB knew where it was.
Robin, on the other hand, looked carefully at his teammate. "Is there a problem with Nairobi?"
"No…no..no problem. Just, ah, just disappointed that we're not going to Rio. Ummm, when we leaving?"
"It's still early enough in the morning that if we take the T-Jet, we can be there by mid-afternoon if we hit a sub-orbital path. Can you be ready in 15 minutes?"
"Sure, sure, no problemo. I was born ready." The teen still hadn't moved. He seemed to come to himself, "I'll, uh, I'll meet you at the T-Jet in 15." And with that, he left the room. His departure was at a more measured pace than he normally walked, his bounce gone.
Robin and Cyborg looked at one another. Then Cyborg shrugged his shoulders. Just another oddity of his best friend. From day to day, you never knew what was going to affect him or what new characteristic he'd reveal. The boy wonder continued to stare at the doorway that his teammate walked through and considered. "OK, even for him that was odd. First off, he knew where Nairobi was. Second, he looked like he had been hit with a two by four. And I don't buy that it's due to disappointment. Wonderful. As if I don't have enough to concern myself with."
With that, the teen detective left the room himself to get his gear together for their road trip.
Remarkably, both Beast Boy and Robin were at the T-Jet at the appointed time and ready to take off. The T-Jet left the hanger at Titans Tower without incident. After a few moments of orientation, Robin piloted the craft into a sub-space orbit. Setting the automatic controls, Robin checked the gauges one final time.
"Should only take a couple of hours at this rate. I estimate that it'll be about 4:00 when we hit Nairobi. Meanwhile, let me brief you. We'll be meeting with the Police CID at Vigilance House. One of ministers from the Ministry of State for Provincial Administration and Internal Security will be meeting with us. Seems they're having an issue with a major amount of illegal diamonds flooding the country and they're not sure where they're coming from." Robin turned around. Beast Boy was staring out the window, apparently oblivious to everything the boy wonder had said.
"Did you hear a word I said?"
"Umm, Police CID, Vigilance House, Internal Security and illegal diamonds."
Robin was stunned. Usually, he had to repeat things several times before Beast Boy got it correct. For him to seem to get the message, despite being distracted, was unusual.
"Yeah, that's the gist. I'm going to spend the next couple of hours until landing studying up on Kenya. I've never been there and I'm working blind. I would suggest you do the same." And he turned back to the monitors to begin his research.
"Don't worry, I'll be ready," the changeling murmured.
A couple of hours later, the monitors announced that they were within a few miles of Nairobi. Robin disengaged the autopilot and began to coast in. "Vigilance House is located on Harambee Avenue in the Central Business District, between Uhura Highway and Moi Avenue. There's a parking lot a few hundred feet up the street, we can land the T-Jet there. I've already cleared it with the authorities."
"Super," Beast Boy muttered under his breath.
From the air, the skyline of Nairobi was beautiful, tall, majestic buildings in the center of the city. Large parks nearby and extensive areas of trees and plains surrounded the city. Nairobi is one of the largest cities in Africa with over three million residents. It's considered one of the premier areas to visit to begin a safari through Africa. Mount Kilimanjaro is a comparatively short distance away.
Robin slowed the T-Jet to a cruising speed, targeting the center of the city. Using the on-board GPS, he was able to locate the business district and in a short period of time, found Harambee Avenue. The parking lot was closer to Moi Avenue and Robin brought the craft in for a landing towards the back of the lot, so as not to disturb too many of the other patrons.
"OK, Beast Boy. We're here. Let's get out and head towards Vigilance House." Robin opened the hatches and, after jumping to the pavement, turned to locate Beast Boy.
He wasn't there.
"Beast Boy, where are you?" Robin was now getting annoyed. This was a serious mission and there was no time for hide and seek. Suddenly, a green parrot circled his head and landed on his shoulder. Robin stared at the bird for a moment. "What is WITH you today?" The parrot let out a squawk and began to slowly fly west, towards the Vigilance House. "How'd he know where the House is?" the titan leader wondered. Robin set off down the street. While it wasn't far, there were a number of people on the street, government workers, tourists, venders, same as any large American city. When he reached the entrance, the green parrot once again landed on his right shoulder.
"Are you going to change or not?" The parrot let out a squawk, but remained a parrot. Letting out an exasperated breath, Robin walked into the Vigilance House. As with most large government buildings, there were numerous people. As this was the nation's central headquarters for its police force, there were heavily armed police everywhere. The boy detective went to the front receptionist desk.
"Good afternoon," he read the nameplate, "Ms. Lamour. My name is Robin and I have an appointment to see Minister Ngala."
The receptionist, a young woman in her mid-20s with long black hair, looked up at the titan. "Yes, Robin Mr. Ngala is waiting for you in his office on the fourth floor." She took out a pass and handed it to the boy wonder. "I see you've already been shopping in the area. That's a beautiful Kenya Jardine's Parrot. It's a little odd as they usually have a red crest. One that completely green is a rarity. You ARE aware that that is a protected species and you would need government permission to remove him from the country."
"Oh, it's not a regular parrot, that's" the parrot let out a tremendous squawk.
The receptionist held her ears, "Yes, they can be a bit noisy. Still, they are lovely birds."
"No, it's not a lovely bird, it's.."
"Pretty Lady! Pretty Lady!" the parrot said.
"Oh, how charming. Most of the time, their mimicking is limited to a word or two." Suddenly embarrassed, Ms. Lamour said in a serious tone, "Mr. Ngala is waiting for you, I wouldn't keep him waiting, he's quite busy."
Robin made his way to the elevator. In an undertone he said, "Come on Beast Boy, enough fooling around, change back." The parrot remained perched on his shoulder. Entering the elevator, he punched the button for the fourth floor and the cabin rose quickly. Upon the doors opening once again, Robin saw two armed policeman waiting for him. The one on the left addressed him.
"Robin, this way to Minister Ngala's office." He turned and walked quickly to the end of the hallway. Nodding to the secretary outside a large pair of lacquered wooden doors, he opened the right one and let Robin and the parrot into the office.
The office itself was quite large and well furnished. Broad windows faced the Nairobi skyline. A functional desk covered in papers was in the center of the room. Behind the desk, an older man with white hair and glasses sat pouring through the files that covered it. Behind the chair was another armed policeman in his late 30s or early 40s. Trim, muscular with a serious look on his face, his insignia showed that he was an inspector in the national police force.
The minister looked up. In a clipped, British accent, showing that he had been educated in London, he rose and said, "Ah, Robin. My word, is that a Jardine's Parrot on your shoulder? Never mind. Thank you very much for coming. We appreciate your willingness to assist us in this matter. Normally, we would have handled it ourselves, but there are peculiarities in the case that, I must confess, have baffled our most excellent police force." The man behind him snorted.
With a rueful grin, the minister turned to the inspector, "Please forgive me, but Inspector Moktar does not believe we have given him and his people sufficient time and resources. He's an excellent officer, but the government believes that we should request help from outside."
At the mention of the inspector's name, the parrot that had been perched on Robin's shoulder clenched its claws tightly. Robin let out a sharp cry as the claws penetrated through his tunic into his skin. He reached for his shoulder
"ALL RIGHT, that's enough, change back. NOW!"
The minister looked puzzled at this outburst. Inspector Moktar, on the other hand, looked startled at the boy wonder and the parrot. Suddenly, his eyes widened and he reached for his belt. Unhooking his radio, he shouted into it. "Banda, get your men in here NOW! Logan four." Rehooking his radio, Moktar moved the minister behind him and removed his gun from its holster and pointing it at the parrot.
The door burst open and six heavily armed police officers broke into office, startling the minister. The officers all had their guns and rifles out and, seeing where the inspector was aiming, also aimed for the parrot.
Robin was completely bewildered by this turn in events, he looked at the parrot.
"Uhhh, Polly want a cracker?" Beast Boy's voice came from the parrot.
And so we begin. Welcome to a tale of adventure and friendship between two very unlikely titans. I like to think of this as a "Road" story. For those of you younger readers, I referenced a classic movie/song above 'Road to Morocco'. Bob Hope and Bing Crosby made seven 'Road' pictures, Rio, Bali, Morocco, Utopia, Hong Kong, etc. In it, they generally played two entertainers who continually got into trouble everywhere they went. All of it was played for laughs and often they would turn to the audience and make some comment (such as when Bing was about to sing, Bob would turn and say, he's going to sing folks, now's your chance to go to the lobby and get some popcorn") or make a Hollywood joke (like Bob not having been awarded an Oscar while Bing had).
Anyway, the Road pictures became an early byword for 'buddy' movie. Therefore, Road to Nairobi will start off as a humorous chapter on the road these two will travel. Each chapter will explore the relationship between the two as teammates and friends.
Unlike 'Opening', I suspect that updates to the story will be sporadic. Nothing outrageous (not like two or three months, maybe two weeks, tops), but I'm certainly not keeping to the strict schedule that my last story adhered to. The holidays are coming up and I've many things to do.
I hope you enjoy this little excursion, next up – King of the Road.