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.
King of the Road
I know every engineer on every train
All of the their children, and all of their names
And every handout in every town
And every lock that ain't locked
When no one's around.
I'm a man of means by no means
King of the Road.
Roger Miller – King of the Road.
By long habit, Robin woke up before dawn. It didn't matter where he was, what time zone, what region of the world, jet lag didn't affect him. He wouldn't let it. He always woke up before dawn, even in Nairobi. He also was always aware of his surroundings and location. So many years of training with the Batman instilled these characteristics in him to the point where they were now instinctive.
Although it was not quite dawn, it was near dawn. Looking between the cracks in the wall of the shack that they were temporarily calling home, Robin could see movement outside. There were people shuffling down the dirt alleys that passed for streets in Kibera. The boy wonder looked over at his teammate. Beast Boy was still asleep. After a few hours, the alcohol in his system had been metabolized and he was able to switch back to his human form. He had had a terrible headache and immediately went to sleep. The snores were loud enough to shake the rickety, poorly built shack to pieces.
The boy wonder decided that, in order to get a little peace and quiet, he needed to escape for a little while. Rubbing his hands over his face, he was able to massage enough sleep from his eyes to be fully conscious. While he didn't particularly like sleeping in his clothes, many years of training (and surveillance duty) had conditioned him for the…griminess that came from sleeping in your clothes. And not having a toothbrush handy. That was the one thing he REALLY missed. He could handle the griminess, he could go without his coffee and breakfast, but he really wanted to brush his teeth. In a (vain) attempt to remove some of the sourness from his mouth, he rubbed his fingers along his front teeth. It didn't help much, but it was better than nothing.
Getting up, Robin quickly went through a dozen or so martial arts moves to limber up and prepare himself for the day. Obviously, the normal training routine that he followed would have to be foregone for the time being. There was no gym, so a few hours in exercise were obviously out. He settled for running through his normal martial arts paces. After thirty minutes, distracted by Beast Boy's loud snoring, Robin was ready to leave the house and explore Kibera.
Exiting the shack, Robin quickly observed his surroundings. In the breaking dawn, the shacks of Kibera looked no better than they had at dusk. Hundreds of people, young, old, men and women were making their way tiredly out to the main sections of Nairobi. Some seemed to greet the new day with hope, but the majority seemed to trudge their way through the dirt paths between the shanties in the same beaten, downtrodden attitude that exuded the general hopelessness of the area.
Deciding that the first order of business was food, Robin made his way the hundred or so feet back to the home that he and Beast Boy had visited the previous evening, Mama Kindaruma's. After a moment or so of making his way between the crowds, he came upon the thin old woman before her shack.
In front of her was a large pot full of some steaming brew. If not for the smile on her face, and the line of children waiting for their share, the boy wonder could almost imagine her as some wicked witch over a cauldron. Yet, the smile of contentment, the joy in her face as she helped the lowest of the low drove that image immediately from his mind. He walked up to her.
"Mama Kindaruma, may I help?"
The old lady turned her head to the sound of Robin's voice. "Ahhh, mask kijana, still you wear that mask. I'm sure you have a very handsome face, why wear the mask?" She gave a snort. "No matter, any help that I can get I will take." She paused, then picked up another ladle. "Here, you see how much I pour out? Do the same. That way, I can make it last for as many children as possible." After a moment, she continued, "oh, and if any in line are with child, give a double portion. We have to take care of the babies to come."
The detective was startled, "With child? I thought there were only children who came here?"
She looked at the titan leader, "So? What, you think no children bear children?" She gave another snort. "Mask kijana, you obviously are not from Kibera. Most girls have had their first child by thirteen, fourteen." The sadness that poured forth from the old woman was heartrending. "Ahh, some turn to chang'aa, some to drugs, some to sex. Some need to sell themselves simply to survive. Some simply become thieves. The life of a child in Kibera is not an easy one. The few fortunate ones are able to find employment in the city." She let out a deep sigh. "We do what we can and try to save as many as possible."
Robin remained quiet as Mama Kindaruma continued to ladle out the broth that was in her pot. He helped as well. The line was staggeringly long. And, as she foretold, there were numerous young girls, some very obviously well advanced in pregnancy, in line for a bit of nourishment. He cheated slightly and gave them triple portions. Mama Kindaruma looked at him the first time he did this, but said nothing.
As they worked, Robin asked the old woman something that had been puzzling him. "Mama, Beast.., I mean kijani kijana, when you knew him years ago, was he with anyone?"
"If you are his friend, you should know."
The masked teen let out a sigh, "Mama, kijani kijana is VERY private. He tells no one anything about himself. Until we arrived in Nairobi, I didn't know he had ever even BEEN here." Under his breath, he continued, "Five years I've worked with him, and NEVER knew this."
The wise old woman looked at Robin. After a moment, she gave a small laugh. "He didn't tell you because he didn't want you to know. Who would? Life in Kibera is not easy as you can see. To answer your question, he was with two men, two" she spat on the ground.
"Were their names Jackson and Crowe?"
"Yes, that's them. Two more filthy, lowlifes I've not seen. How they treated poor kijani kijana. Jackson thought the best way to get him to do what he wanted was beatings. Crowe thought it was by starving him. On the rare occasions he snuck out when they were drunk or with their whores, he'd come here and I'd give him something to eat."
"What did they want him to do?"
She looked at him incredulously. "Did you not hear about it from Moktar? They were thieves. They used poor kijani kijana to commit crimes and sell the goods. This was how they got him to do what they wanted." She let out a deep sigh. "Poor kijani kijana, he was forced to steal jewels and valuables in order to eat, in order to have a place to sleep." The wise old woman looked at the titan, "Yes, I know he changed into small animals, I know he stole. But the poor boy, no family, no one to help him, what was he to do?" Mama fell silent for a few moments. Then she resumed, "And yet, he had this burning desire to help, to do good. You know, even when he ate here, he would eat the broth. If there was meat in the soup or stew, he would not eat it, only the vegetables, only the broth. And anyone who was hungry, they would eat first. He always waited until all had their fill." She gave a smile at some memory from the distant past. "It does not surprise me that he does good now, he could be no other way." She turned to the detective, "Tell me, and I'll know if you lie, when he said he helps people, I hope that is true." The questioning in her voice was rending to the titan leader.
"Mama, I don't know how you can trust me, but believe me when I say, kijani kijana is a known hero throughout the world. He has saved many people and uses the least amount of force against his enemies." Robin thought and said under his breath. "Actually, he's usually willing to sacrifice himself rather than hurt any of his enemies." He was remembering his confrontation with Terra deep within the earth under Jump City.
"Yes," said Mama Kindaruma, "that would be kijani kijana. Such a good boy." The lady stood up straight and changed the subject, "Mask kijana, we are out of food at the moment. I do not expect any additional supplies until later, when the western services bring their deliveries. Thank you for your help."
"Mama," the boy wonder replied, "is there somewhere I can go to get additional food? Beast Boy and I haven't eaten and I'm certain that there are more children who could use food."
Mama Kindaruma looked carefully at the masked teenager. "Well, there is a market outside of Kibera. But I have no money for more food."
"Don't worry Mama, I have enough. I'll get some for the other kids, along with some for me and kijani kijana." Robin began to leave, then turned around again, "Uh, in which direction is this market, and how far outside Kibera? And what kind of food do you want?"
The old lady gave out a chuckle. "So impulsive, you children, you run, but you do not know where you run to. Nor where you will find yourselves, nor what you are looking for." She let out a deep breath, "Ahh, you give this old woman a joy in her heart. Why do you think I remain here? If I can save one of you children, just one, then I have lived." Mama Kindaruma paused for a moment. "Go to down the alley to your left, ohh, about a kilometer. On the outskirts of Kibera, there is an open market. Any of the vendors will do, the food is all the same, none better, none worse. Get vegetables, as much as you can carry. Some fruit if you can. The vegetables I will make into soup and the fruit I can give to the young as a treat."
The teen detective looked pensively at the old woman, "No meat? No grains?"
"No, many of these children have had little meat in their lives, they would be sick. As for grain, they usually can get some of that at home, maandazi, or chapati, that their parents can afford. No, I give them the vegetables and soup that will help them in addition to their main meals. I try, oh how I try, to help them to grow and to get strong." Suddenly, she looked tired, weary over her many burdens and many years. Her face fell somewhat and she closed her eyes.
Opening her eyes again, the brightness was back. "No, it is no matter. Our task, our duty to the children remains. As long as there are hungry children, I will be here. Now, you, since you offered to help, you do your duty and bring back some nice vegetables."
Robin turned in the direction Mama Kindaruma had said and made his way to the outskirts of Kibera. Reaching the edge of the slums, the titan leader stopped for a moment at the teeming masses before him. Hundreds, if not thousands, of people were in the market, shopping. Many were poor, almost threadbare, yet, they were examining the food, haggling, bargaining, over the various goods that were there. Robin began to wander the market, passing various vendors selling all kinds of goods, food, clothing, some personal items such as jewelry, household goods like mats for sleeping, knickknacks for the home to add some small amount of beauty to the dreariness that was life in Kibera.
Stopping at one vendor that seemed particularly well stocked, Robin began to examine the wares there and collected those that he found suitable. Quickly, his arms grew full and he realized that, unlike American markets, there were no shopping carts. He looked around for some type of basket. Over on one side was a goodly amount of grass baskets for sale, obviously there for those who wished to carry more than their armfuls. The boy wonder took one and placed his items in it, then resumed his shopping.
Off to the side, a member of the Nairobi police force observed the western boy. Turning his head to one side, he considered the teen in front of him. Surreptitiously, he pulled a photograph out of his pocket and considered it. Then, he pulled out a cell phone and spoke quietly into the phone.
Robin, standing on line waiting to pay for his goods, felt a small tap on his shoulder. Turning around, he saw the rather imposing visage of Inspector Moktar. "That does it," he thought, "I've GOT to get a pair of shades to replace this mask."
"Inspector Moktar, good morning."
"Why yes, it IS a good morning, and I'm feeling very well."
"Excuse me, Inspector, do you NOT do pleasantries?"
The Kenyan inspector grimaced. Gritting his teeth, he snarled out, "Good morning. Yesterday you escaped my men, presumably to meet with Logan. WHERE IS HE?"
Robin let out a deep sigh. This case was almost more trouble than it was worth. If it weren't for the fact that he couldn't bear to let criminals escape, especially those who deal in death and destruction, he would walk away. The entire fact that blood diamonds existed, that war, torture and death were financed by these gems that adorned the fingers of brides and wives, turned his stomach and fired every synapse of his mind to stop this monstrous practice. Still, dealing with this obsessed, obnoxious inspector was turning into a bit of a mental struggle.
"Inspector Moktar, I have not seen Beast Boy in some time. I WAS involved in pursuing the individuals involved in the blood diamond trade that your minister charged me. Right now, I'm attempting to purchase food in order to develop contacts in Kibera."
The Kenyan inspector gave a snort and snarled, "Kibera, a collection of criminals, thugs and thieves. Young, old, and dead. I only wish the minister agreed to my plans for Kibera."
Robin's eyebrows rose at this, "And they are?"
"To bulldoze the entire area and scatter the vermin that abide here."
A look of horror crossed the boy wonder's face. "But, but, where will they live? How could you do this to the poor and helpless?"
"Bah, they are thieves and criminals. If there are any 'innocent', they will find a new place to live. It is like exposing cockroaches to the light, they will scatter. The point is to eliminate the criminal element."
In a tone laced with sarcasm, "Gee, why won't the government let you do that?"
"Humpf, it is because Kibera is mostly owned by members of the government." The shock that appeared on Robin's face startled the inspector. "What, who did you THINK owned the properties? The ministers are more interested in money than law or justice."
"Justice? How is it just to persecute the poor?"
"The law is the law. If they break it, they will be arrested. If they hide, I will track them down." He paused, "Just like I will arrest Logan. He WILL pay for his crimes."
"From what I gathered, he was a child."
"That is irrelevant. The law is the law."
All the while this conversation was taking place, Robin had been moving closer and closer to the head of the line. Now he was at the head of the line and ready to pay for his groceries. Ignoring the inspector momentarily, he paid for his goods. Afterwards, he turned around. The inspector was still there.
"Look Inspector, we may not agree on much, but if you want me to do the job your minister requested, I must have free reign to pursue my investigations. Right now, I'm looking into various suspects that were in your report. A brigade of policemen would only hamper my ability to do my job."
Inspector Moktar looked carefully at Robin. "Well," he drawled, "you've come to the correct place to find any thieves. I am sure you cannot walk more than two paces without coming into contact with at least a dozen." Moktar paused, "But be warned, I will not give up on capturing Logan. HE IS MINE!" With that, the Kenyan inspector turned and stormed away.
Holding onto his wares, Robin watched the Kenyan inspector walk away. He had dealt on a regular basis with American police, on occasion with various international officials. Yet, this inspector was almost beyond belief. In fact he almost reminded him of….Bruce.
"Yeah, he has the same intensiveness, obsessiveness that Bruce has. Convinced that he has all the answers, that he is ALWAYS right, that right and wrong are absolute. Good thing I'm not that way." Robin stopped for a moment. "At least, I hope I'm not that way." He considered, "I don't think I'm that way." As he walked, he pondered. "Wonder if the others think I'm that way. Wonder if Beast Boy thinks I'm like that. Sure, we had a misunderstanding about when he was the Beast. And during our battle against the Brotherhood of Evil, but…."
"God, he's spent his whole life, it seems, trying to deal with hard-asses, Moktar, Mento, these two crooks, Jackson and Crowe."
Robin resumed his journey back to Mama Kindaruma's. "Damn, how much of his personality is a rebellion against the struggles in his life? Mama mentioned that Jackson beat him regularly. Is that why he's so fearful before a battle? Yet, he seems to summon his courage and jump into a fight. It's the old nature versus nurture question. For Beast Boy, it seems that nature wins. Despite everything in his life, he continues to help as many as he can. Despite being beaten down time and again."
Reaching Mama Kindaruma's shack, he gave her the bag of supplies. "Mask kijana, thank you." Although she was missing several teeth, the smile that beamed from her face was such that warmth spread throughout Robin's body. If he accomplished nothing else today, just doing this counted it as a great day.
A thought struck him, remember some of the interaction with Kaunda the previous night, and Beast Boy's response to it. "Mama, before I leave, may I ask you one more question about kijani kijana?"
"If I can."
The teen titan leader paused, uncertain as to how to proceed. "Umm, I'm not sure how to phrase this. I don't want to put you in an uncomfortable position, and I don't want to hurt Beast Boy." He stopped, then started again. "When kijani kijana was with Jackson and Crowe, did they….." He tried again, "Did they, ummm, abuse him?"
Mama stared at the masked teen. "They beat him and starved him. Don't you think that was abuse?"
"No, that's…..that's not exactly what I meant. I meant," he stopped again. He took a deep breath. "I meant sexually."
The old woman looked at Robin. The silence grew between them. Then she took a breath as well. "Mask kijana, in Kibera, children, especially orphaned children, are fair game for anyone. In truth, I do not know. However, those two" she spat, "needed kijani kijana for their crimes. I do not believe they would chance harming him permanently and ruin their livelihood. Even when they beat him, they did so only enough so that it did no permanent harm was done."
"I have seen the effect that abuse has on children. Often, they are traumatized to the point of insensibility, especially the very young, as kijani kijana was at the time. I saw no signs of it when he was young."
Robin let out a relieved sigh. "Thank you, Mama. I'm glad to hear that. He's my friend and I don't like seeing him hurt."
She smiled. "He is lucky to have a friend like you. Please take care of him." Holding the bags of supplies that Robin had brought, the old woman walked back into her shack to begin preparations for the lunch meal.
The titan leader tightened his grip on his own remaining supplies, turned, and walked back down the alley to the temporary home that he and Beast Boy shared.
"Well, that's a relief at least. He's shown no signs of abuse before, but he's so good at hiding his past and his motivations, there's no certainty. Especially given how he was ready to blow up last night."
"OK, first things first, breakfast, then back to the case."
Robin began to make his way back to the shack where Beast Boy was, presumably, still asleep. It was now late morning, yet the crowds had not noticeably diminished. With the day had also come the heat, causing the garbage, both old and new, to cook, bake and smell. The accumulated waste of thousands upon thousands of people, with no sanitation, no running water raised a fetid stench over the area.
And yet, children played, adults kept their houses, trying to establish order out of the chaos and filth that they had been condemned to. People lived.
"It's not much of a life, but I can't BELIEVE Moktar wants to just throw these people out of their homes and leave them to fend for themselves. And this is where Beast Boy lived as a child."
In that reflective frame of mind, Robin entered their shack. There on the ground where he left him, Beast Boy was snoring away, oblivious to the noise and stench outside.
"YO, Beast Boy! Rise and shine! Breakfast!" He called out. "I've got some fruit, some juice and some of this bread they sell here. No meat, no eggs, so you're ok. And before you ask, no tofu."
The green lump that was his teammate stirred slightly. As he opened his eyes slightly, a pained expression crossed his face. He shut his eyes tightly again and groaned. "Please, kill me."
Robin raised an eyebrow. "Are you, perhaps, feeling the effects of last night?" There was a slight smile on his face.
"Make as many cracks as you want, as long as you kill me quickly. Death has got to be better than this."
"I thought you had had Chang'aa before? That's what you said last night."
Beast Boy groaned again. "I have. This is the way it always feels. It's why I hate drinking that stuff." He sat up and rubbed his face gently, attempting to rub the sleep out of his eyes without hurting his head. "I only drank it because it's how you seal an agreement here. Believe me, I didn't want to. I'd have let you drink it, but a drunk boy wonder is not something I want to see. Besides, I thought I'd be able to change shape and get the alcohol out of my system quickly. Didn't realize the hangover would still be there."
Robin took pity on him and opened one of the bottles of fruit juice before passing it to him. "Here, drink this, it should help."
"Is it poison? Please?"
"No, it's juice, it should help rehydrate you. Oh, and here's a couple of bananas and pears. The potassium in the banana and the sugar in the pears should help as well." The teen detective sat on the dirt floor next to his teammate and they began to eat. After consuming two or three bottles of juice, Beast Boy began to perk up slightly. At least he stopped groaning as loudly, but he still avoided looking outside into the bright light.
To pass the time, Robin relayed his experience with Mama Kindaruma that morning. As he told of her helping the children, he could see a small smile on Beast Boy's face. It was obvious that he was lost in some memory of his childhood that involved her.
He spoke up, "I could always count on her to help. She's probably the most wonderful person I know. Helps everyone no matter what. Some of the best times I had was when I was able to escape from Jackson and Crowe for a little while and see her." His face fell again at the thought of the two thugs.
"Hey," interrupted Robin, "that reminds me. I ran into Javert in the marketplace."
"Why do call him Javert?"
The masked teen looked at Beast Boy. "You know, Inspector Javert, Jean Valjean." The green teen looked blankly at him. "Les Miserables?"
"Oh, the play, not much into plays."
"Actually, it's a famous book by Victor Hugo. Pretty much required reading for anyone with a classical education."
Beast Boy exploded, "SHIT! Does it look like I had a classical education? YOU SEE ANY SCHOOLS HERE? YOU SEE A GODDAMN LIBRARY ANYWHERE? Hell, I didn't even LEARN to read until Rita taught me." The changeling winced at the end of his outburst and grabbed his head, the pain from his hangover slicing through his skull.
Robin, although facially impassive, was thinking furiously, "Should have known. If he grew up here, where would he learn to read? Didn't even occur to me. If he was raised by two thieves, they wouldn't send him to school, would barely let him out of their sight. From what he said yesterday, he didn't join the Doom Patrol until he was nine or so. Means he missed out on all of the beginning education that most of us learned. Explains why his knowledge is so garbled, why he doesn't read much, any really. Started so late, had to learn on the fly with the Patrol. Remarkable that he's even as literate as he is."
Still, the boy wonder was uncomfortable with the outburst. While he was compassionate, life growing up with the Batman did not prepare him for being emotionally supportive. Finally, he took refuge in the area he always took, work.
"I looked at the files the minister gave me yesterday and there are a few names that jump out. Our next step is to try to track them down and see if there are any connections between them and the diamond smugglers."
The shape shifter continued to have a surly look on his face. With considerable bitterness, he replied, "So it's back to the T-Jet for you to look up the names."
"Yeah, sorry, but it might take me a while, I don't know how common some of these names are in Nairobi. For all I know, Maboko, Makina, Kitengela and Ngobit are the Kenyan versions of Smith, Jones and Brown."
Beast Boy's head came up suddenly. "Kitengela? Was that one of the names you said?" Robin nodded. "Wonder….." his voice trailed off.
"You wonder what?"
The changeling was silent for a moment. "Well, Crowe had a friend who fenced the goods for him. Guy named Kitengela. Don't know if it's the same guy, but it's not THAT common a name."
The titan leader's eyebrows went up. "The government has him listed as a person of interest."
"In other words, they want him arrested and thrown into a cell before anyone finds out." Robin started to interrupt. "NO, that's the way life is here in Kenya, it's not America." The green boy paused, "Do they have any other info on him?"
"Yeah, they wanted to question him on whether he's been in possession of these diamonds. Sounds like it's the same guy." Beast Boy nodded. "So, you're the one with the contacts, where do we find him?"
The teenager let out a laugh. "Find him? Half the time Crowe couldn't find him. He was always on the move. That's how he stayed out of prison. He could be somewhere in Kibera, Suswa, Mathare, Korogocho. No way to know."
"Suswa, Mathare, Korogocho?"
"Oh, those are other slums in Nairobi. Kibera is the biggest, but not the only one." Robin's eyes opened wide. "Jackson and Crowe used to concentrate on Kibera for their hideouts, but sometimes we'd go to one of the other slums if the police were getting too close."
"Is there any way you know of from your, ah, prior life, to get in touch with this Kitengela?"
The changeling was silent for a few moments, obviously considering the question. "Maybe. Maybe. Might take a while. We couldn't get to him directly, we'd need to contact someone who could contact someone."
"Beast Boy, last night, we sounded like we were setting up shop in Kibera. You were known to be working with Jackson and Crowe. Do you have enough of a reputation that we could use it as a way into the network?"
Beast Boy looked surprised at the question. "Guess so. You heard Kaunda last night, 'Jackson's Pet'" The loathing that was in his voice at that phrase was terrible for Robin to hear. "Seems I'm still known."
Robin placed a hand on the younger boy's shoulder, "Then, Beast Boy, that's how we start. Afterwards, it's detective work 101, follow the money."
Next Chapter – Follow the Yellow Brick Road
My friends, I deeply apologize for the excessive delay in getting this chapter out. Unfortunately, I've been suffering a MAJOR writer's block and haven't been able to come up with anything. Oh, I knew in general how the chapter was supposed to go, but I just couldn't get it out. Then, about three days ago, the dam burst and I've been writing.
Can't promise it will continue. Unlike my other stories, this one seems to engender writer's block. I was able to get a fill in chapter of Ganguro during the block without much problem (Chapter 16, for those of you interested, I'm actually rather pleased how it came out), but Road is rocky for me (groan, that's a terrible pun.)
Consequently, I am STUNNED at the interest in this story. Over 1500 hits already, 250+ for the last chapter. I am extremely grateful for your kindness and continued interest in my African adventure.
I am most especially grateful for those of you who have taken the time to send in a review or comment on the story. My most humble thanks.
ForceIsStrongWithThisOne – As you can see, Moktar is everywhere. And remember, Robin is working on the run here in a situation where he has no idea what's going on. Even so, he's catching up fast.
Fernheart95 – Have to admit (hangs head sheepishly), I rather enjoyed the drunk BB myself. Sometimes that kind of thing is fun.
Zana – Here's the next chapter (finally)
Soulseekerthe13th – Actually, I had Moktar from the beginning as BB's Javert. In fact, from the first chapter, I wanted a blowup between Robin and BB over Les Miserables and BB's lack of formal education. Here it is at last.
Shadowreploid – I'm glad that you recognize that Robin's out of his element. Truthfully, I suspect most Americans would be. Still, he's game and catching up.
Konsui's Little Brother – This is one of the two 'big' revelation chapters, where the purpose of the chapter is to show some of BB's hidden past. There's another one coming in about four or five chapters, depending on length. If you notice, most of the revelation has been through Mama Kindaruma and Robin's own detective work.
Shadow Avenger – You know, if I DO do a 'drunk' story, I'd have to make it 'M' rated (no, not yaoi, just obnoxious). Still, it's food for thought . I do want to talk a little about your read on Robin's response. That was not my intent. In fact, in his thoughts in the last chapter, he was trying to keep BB from losing his cool by threatening Kaunda first. And it wasn't because of the joke about homosexuality. It was the snide insinuation that Beast Boy was prostituting himself (the hourly rate). Even so, in many parts of Africa, homosexuality is NOT acceptable and is punishable by prison or death (recently, a gay advocate was murdered in Uganda). And we are not finished with Kaunda by any means.
Bob – Nonsense, by no means do you strike me as an axe-grinder. I was interested in your take on the personalities. One of the benefits of writing is that you can explore in more detail the intricacies of the characters' personalities, which the show out of necessity cannot. Personally, I've been trying to make Robin appear sympathetic and out of his element, without him looking completely lost. A good portion of the story is about his growing realization of just who Beast Boy really is and not just the unfunny chew toy (good line).
Prodigious Discourse & Enjoyer of Humour – My apologies for combining the two of you, but both comments were so similar that I wanted to address them. Thank you for your kind words regarding the story. I'm a big believer in adding realism to any tale. OK, teenage detectives and green changelings aren't real, but that doesn't mean the rest can't be. I've always believed that adding that extra detail makes the difference. Glad to see it's appreciated.
PreacherMan – Glad you are enjoying this. As you can see, BB's mask slips even further in this chapter. And you're correct, the idea here is to forge understanding on Robin regarding his, apparently, feckless teammate.
Ghost Appears – As you can tell from this chapter, Robin is starting to rely on him not for his abilities, but for his background. There's more to come.
Thank you all, until next time my friends.