I want to thank everyone for taking the time to review!
Alright guys, here's the chapter a lot of you have been waiting for. Not only do we get to see Roy again, but it's Artemis's debut episode. Hopefully I do her justice. (Get it, justice? Cause the show is called Young Justice? God, I kill myself!)
~Young Justice: Red X~
Chapter 16: Infiltrator
|2010 August 7, 23:49 ECT
This was a really bad idea on Red Arrow's part. Red X hadn't pointed this fact out, he'd agreed to follow the archer's lead and keep his mouth shut, so he stayed silent, even if he thought Red Arrow was being a stubborn idiot. Ever since Batman had ordered him to keep tabs on Speedy, X had made sure to be there in case the solo hero ever ran into something he couldn't handle. His attentiveness had paid off when he'd found Speedy four nights ago and saw that the archer's uniform had changed since the last time he'd observed the redhead.
Speedy had lost the more Robin Hood styled theme and replaced it with something more serious looking. The red from his old costume had stayed, but his new outfit had some black and gray and was designed in a much more militaristic fashion. Thankfully, he'd gotten rid of that god-awful canary yellow. Even to Red X, someone who used to dress similar to a traffic light, he'd found this Speedy costume to be a little ridiculous. 'It's got to be that hat.'
What Speedy had expected to be a simple drug bust had turned into him stumbling upon a plot cooked up by the League of Shadows. Of course, as soon as Red X had found out what Speedy had discovered, he'd revealed himself, claiming that he'd been following a similar lead. It was then that he'd learned Speedy had changed his identity to Red Arrow.
He and Red Arrow had struck up a temporary partnership, for the time being. They began to investigate what the Shadows were up to and why they needed a woman from a university in Star City. They're search revealed that the woman, Doctor Serling Roquette, was actually a master engineer in Nanoscopic Technology.
Nano-Tech, Red X absolutely hated Nanoscopic Technology. It didn't really take much soul searching to find where his loathing came from. Nano-Tech reminded him of Slade, of the probes that had infected the Teen Titans, and had forced him to become Slade's apprentice.
In the following days, he and Red Arrow had managed to track down where the Shadows had taken the doctor, a private island near the equator. X had wanted to call in the Titans, but the moment that suggestion left his mouth, Red Arrow scowled at him. The redhead heatedly named his terms. Either they did this together, with Red X shutting up and following his lead, or Red Arrow would rescue the doctor on his own.
The tattered caped hero had reluctantly agreed. Batman wanted him to keep an eye on Red Arrow and the mission would go a lot smoother if Roy felt like he could trust him. So he didn't argue when Red Arrow put him on perimeter duty, and he didn't say anything as they stealthily made their way through the island, taking down any guard they spotted as quickly as they could.
As he watched Red Arrow knock out another sentry, Red X had to admit that the archer's approach wasn't all that bad, especially considering there were only two of them on an island full of gunmen. Of course, having the Titans present would have made the mission easier. Miss Martian could turn invisible, Robin was a master at being unseen, Superboy, Aqualad, and Kid Flash could have provided a distraction. There were numerous ways the Titans could have helped.
"Stay here and run interference." Red Arrow ordered, breaking X out of his thoughts. He nodded, biting down on his tongue so that he wouldn't snap at the redhead.
Orders were not something he was used to taking, not after three years of leading the Teen Titans. Aqualad didn't really order him to do anything. They would come up with a plan for how to handle things together and each person would have their part to play. Most of the time the orders still came from him, but they were disguised as suggestions to Aqualad, who would then implement them in the field. As for Batman, well, Red X didn't feel like he took orders from him either. He assisted the Dark Knight and took on the missions that were assigned to him, but he wasn't following anyone's lead. It irritated him that had to stay silent and nod his head obediently.
As Red Arrow disappeared to scale the building, X turned his attention to the two men patrolling below him. He smirked to himself a little. If nothing else, beating up the hired help always proved to be therapeutic.
~Young Justice: Red X~
|2010 August 8, 09:58 EDT
The beach was exactly what this day called for, well in Robin's opinion at least. He let his toes dig into the warm sand and took a deep breath, inhaling the salty scented air before sighing happily. Yep, there was nothing quite like a day at the beach. And it was all the more sweeter, considering he was supposed to be in school at the moment, like Wally was.
The debacle with the AMAZO Android at his school had pushed the first day back by two weeks, for repairs. He still had five days before Dick Grayson had to return to Gotham Academy. Robin almost felt like he should send Professor Ivo a gift basket. He'd have to send it to Belle Reve Prison, considering that was where the man resided as of two days ago.
"Hello Megan, we should go to the beach every day!" The Martian said from beside Robin as she stretched out under the sun's rays.
"First, let us have a moment of silence for our missing teammates." Robin stated as he bowed his head in mock sympathy, placing a hand over his sunglasses, while inwardly snickering at Wally's fate.
"Poor Wally." He heard Megan say, sounding truly sorry for the missing redhead. "Did Red X have to go to school too?" She asked and Robin chuckled as he imagined the older teen sitting at a desk, still fully dressed in his costume and taking notes.
"I just don't think beaches are his thing, Megan." He offered smiling at her as she seemed to think about what he said, before nodding.
"You're right. I can't imagine him with us here at all." She admitted after a moment. "Isn't that a sad thought to have, though?" She asked with a frown and he shrugged.
"It's just the way he is. He seems like a really private guy." Robin answered easily. 'He's actually a lot like Bruce in that respect.' He continued silently, his shaded gaze landing on the ocean's waves.
"Whatever, let's just swim." Superboy grunted from behind them and the Boy Wonder smiled mischievously before running ahead.
"Last one in is as dumb as Killer Croc!" He shouted, laughing happily as the others chased after him.
~Young Justice: Red X~
|2010 August 8, 11:44 CDT
Wally sighed as he trudged through the cafeteria. Lunch was usually his favorite time of the day, but he just couldn't seem to muster up any enthusiasm after how badly his first day had gone so far. First, he'd had to sit through the most boring lecture he'd ever experienced and then the water fountain had decided to give him an attitude, ruining his pants. For lunch, they were having chicken casserole, which Wally swore was just leftovers from last year, and then he would have gym class next period.
And to top it all off, the rest of the Titans were spending their day at the beach!
He sighed gloomily and stopped to stare down at his unappetizing meal. Why did life hate him so much? He tiredly looked up, spotting a dark gray hoodie, and smiled a little to himself. Well, his first day back wasn't a complete bust. He walked over to the girl wearing said hoodie and sat down, barely noticing the lack of other people at the table.
"Hey Rachel, how's your first day been?" He asked as he rested his chin in his hand. Rachel turned to him, her dark violet eyes barrowing into his own, giving a frown which really seemed to be her default expression. But that was cool with Wally, Goth chicks were hot, especially super powered ones.
"It's been torture." She replied flatly. "If I wasn't so sure that this was real, I would've thought that this day was Mad Mod's latest ploy." Rachel adjusted her clothes, fiddling with the ends of her sleeves, while sending her lunch a look of distrustful disgust.
"Mad Mod? Who's that?" He asked, letting his eyes rove over the rest of her when he was sure he wouldn't get caught checking her out. Underneath her hoodie, she wore a dark blue tank top, black leggings that reached the middle of her calves, and dark blue converse shoes.
"He's just some villain we used to fight, an enemy of the Teen Titans." Rachel answered evenly and Wally leaned forward eagerly. He knew that Red X and Raven used to be on a team before the Titans, thanks to Robin telling him, but he didn't know much beyond that.
"What was he like? Did he have any powers? Did he have a weird theme like Captain Boomerang?" He asked rapidly and she merely raised an eyebrow. "Please, Rachel? I'll share some of my adventures with you." She sighed after a moment, but nodded just the same.
"He did have an odd fixation among his tactics. He continuously used hypnotism to enslave others and turn them British–"
"What? That's completely ridiculous!" Wally cut in, quickly ducking his head as Rachel sent him a glare for interrupting. "Sorry, continue."
"He had no powers, but he was very good with technology. He was an old man and often used traps and computer generated illusions when we first fought him. He had trapped us in a warehouse that he'd redesigned into a school, claiming he was trying to give us a proper education." She paused and gave him an unimpressed look as he shuddered at that thought. School was bad enough already. Wally didn't even want to think about bad guys who'd try to force even more of it on him.
"The second time he created some sort of cane that had allowed him to swap ages with Red X, making Mad Mod young and Red X old. That was perhaps the hardest fight we ever had with Mad Mod. We'd had no idea how to handle him without Red X there to give us orders. Eventually, after a bit of trial and error, we managed to get the cane into Red X's hands and he destroyed it, returning everything back to normal."
"Oh man, that is so messed up." He remarked as he speedily ate his meal, realizing the class period was going to end soon. "Well, I did agree to share a story about yours truly. How about the time Flash and I got caught in one of Mirror Master's mirrors? Talk about a labyrinth." Wally smiled to himself as Rachel pushed her food off to the side and gave him her undivided attention.
Maybe this year wouldn't be so bad after all.
~Young Justice: Red X~
|2010 August 8, 21:34 EDT
"What happened to your old one?" Roy heard Wally ask as the Zeta Tubes teleported him into Mount Justice. He looked out over the gathered group of heroes, his eyes darkening as he spotted the blonde girl dressed in green and carrying a bow. It didn't take Batman's famous detective skills to figure out who she was supposed to be.
"Well for starters, he doesn't go by Speedy anymore. Call me Red Arrow." He said to the room, glowering at his former mentor and the girl. She responded with lifting her chin, her eyes narrowing at the sight of him, and he instantly felt dislike towards her. Ollie stepped forward to greet him, the girl shooting a brief, worried glance before she covered it up with a glare.
"Roy, you look–"
"Replaceable." He growled angrily, cutting off whatever it was Ollie was going to say. He didn't come here for a warmhearted reunion. In fact he only came because Red X insisted that the Doc shouldn't be left alone. While Red Arrow had agreed, that meant one of them was stuck babysitting the woman while the other went to get the Titans to protect her. Seeing as the Doc had done nothing, but complain since they'd saved her, Roy had thought he'd been getting the better end of the deal.
He certainly hadn't expected to see Ollie, or his new protégé.
"It's not like that, you told me you were going solo." Green Arrow argued and Roy felt his hands clench. Apparently going solo was also code for replacing him with the next kid Ollie could find. A month had passed since he'd quite being Speedy, a month! It was ridiculous that Ollie had taken on another partner so soon. It was like he'd had her on the sidelines all along, just waiting to be switched in.
"So why waste time in finding a sub? Can she even use that bow?" He asked heatedly and the girl stepped forwards, shooting him a dark look. Roy felt his glare narrow, he really disliked her.
"Yes, she can." She answered with bravado.
"Who are you?" Wally blurted out, sounding upset and for that, he felt a little grateful. At least not everyone was warming up to his replacement so quickly.
"She's my niece." Green Arrow answered at the same moment that Artemis spoke.
"I'm his niece." Red Arrow almost scoffed at that blatant lie. He'd lived with Ollie for the past three years and he knew for a fact that the man had no relatives. He sent Oliver a look, which the man returned, his hand landing on the girl's shoulder as she continued to glare at him.
The redhead gritted his teeth. Roy knew he could ruin this for her, he could tell the others that she was not Green Arrow's niece. They would be hesitant to trust her after that, and she deserved it for trying to replace him, but something held him back. He knew that if Batman was backing Ollie on this ruse, then there had to be a good reason behind it. He decided to keep the truth to himself, at least until he found out who this girl really was.
"Another niece?" Robin asked skeptically from behind him, and Roy knew that at least one of the Titans would be suspicious.
"But she is not your replacement. We have always wanted you on the team and we have no quota on archers." Kaldur offered pragmatically, sending the red archer a meaningful glance.
"And if we did, you know who we'd picked." Wally added as he sent Red Arrow a smirk. Roy almost smiled back, but his good mood quickly evaporated as the girl moved to stand in front of him.
"Whatever Baywatch, I'm here to stay." She sounded confidant and a glance at the Leaguers verified her claim. She had secured her a position among the Titans. Roy purposefully stepped away from her, giving the girl a dark look as he moved closer to Kaldur.
"You came to us for a reason." The Atlantian stated, obviously trying to play the mediator of the group. And as much as Roy liked Kaldur, he couldn't help but wonder why Red X hadn't been chosen as the leader of the Titans. From what he'd seen last night, he was certain X would be able to handle the role of leadership. He pushed those thoughts away though and focused on the debriefing. The sooner he finished, the sooner he could get away from Ollie and her.
"Yeah, a reason called Doctor Serling Roquette." Red Arrow replied and Robin brought up all the information he had on the woman for the others to see.
"Nano-robotics genius and Claytonias expert at Royal University in Star City, she vanished two weeks ago." Batman's protégé rattled off for the others as he displayed a brief bio of the woman and her work.
"Abducted two weeks ago." Roy corrected. "By the League of Shadows."
"Whoa, you want us to rescue her from the Shadows?" The Boy Wonder asked in an awed tone.
"Hardcore." Wally added as he bumped fists with Robin.
"Red X and I already rescued her." Red Arrow amended as he walked away from the group and up to the holo-screens. "Only one problem, the Shadows had already coerced her into creating a weapon. Doc calls it the Fog, comprised of millions of microscopic robots. Nanoscopic infiltrators, capable of disintegrating anything in their path, concrete, steel, flesh, bone. But its' true purpose isn't mere destruction, its theft. The infiltrators eat and store raw data from any computer system and deliver the stolen intel to the Shadows. Providing them access to weapons, strategic defense, cutting edge science, and tech–"
"Perfect for extortion, manipulation, power broking… yeah, sounds like the Shadows." The girl cut in and Roy had to clench his jaw to keep from snapping at her. Everyone in the room was very much aware of what the League of Shadows could do.
"Like you know anything about the Shadows." Wally grumbled as he looked at her with disbelief, to which she only smirked in response. "Who are you?!"
"Roquette is working on a virus to make the Fog inert." Red Arrow continued, trying to hurry things along. He really couldn't stand being in anyone's presence for much longer. Robin looked over at him in surprise, clearly realizing what their mission was going to be.
"But if the Shadows know she can do that–"
"They'll target her." Roy finished, sending a nod towards the younger boy. "Right now, she's off the grid. I stashed her at the local high school's computer lab."
"You left her alone?" Green Arrow asked, sending his ward a wide-eyed stare, his tone suggesting that Red Arrow done something stupid.
"No, Red X is with her now." He answered tersely, feeling defensive, as if Ollie was judging his way of doing things already.
"Then let's you and I keep her that way." Green Arrow suggested and Roy felt something bitter burn at the back of his throat as his eyes drifted to the mysterious girl standing behind Ollie.
"You and I? Don't you want to take your new protégé?" Red Arrow was slightly relieved to see Batman grab onto Ollie's shoulder, stopping the man from getting any closer. He wasn't sure if he could resist socking the older man at the moment if he got too close. A silent conversation played out between the two Leaguers and Ollie sighed before taking a step back.
"You brought this to the team. It's their mission, which means it's hers now too." He said and Roy didn't bother to hold back the sneer that formed on his face.
"Tch, then my job's done." He growled before heading towards the Zeta Tubes. He briefly thought about returning to the school to inform Red X that the Titans were on their way, but decided against it. What he needed right now was to work off some steam.
"That's Red Arrow, B06. Update." He hissed at the machine before disappearing in a white vortex. He arrived in the abandoned photo booth that he'd used to teleport into Mount Justice. Roy shot a glance in the direction of the school before getting onto his motorcycle and driving over to Blüdhaven. There was always some sort of crime being committed in that city.
~Young Justice: Red X~
|2010 August 8, 21:49 EDT
"Are you sure this team of yours is any good? Why can't the Justice League protect me?" Doctor Roquette asked for what felt like the hundredth time to Red X.
"Because this isn't a high priority mission." He answered indifferently as he stared out of a nearby window, watching for any suspicious movement.
"How can this not be high priority? My life is in danger! The League of Shadows has the Fog! You know what it can do and what the Shadows would be able to do with it. My invention could possibly be the tool that brings about the end of the world! How is that not important?!" She screamed and X motioned for her to calm down. She merely glared at him and he sighed, feeling frustrated. He shouldn't have let Red Arrow be the one to inform the Titans about the mission. This woman was a nightmare.
"Doctor, do you know how often the world is put in danger?" She wordlessly shook her head. "No, of course not. That's not something the League makes public. That's because, at least once a month, our existence is threatened by someone or something. This Fog, while it has great potential, hasn't reached the stage where it could be considered a threat by the League. Besides, it's not as if your protection comes from ordinary people. The Titans consists of ones who will someday replace their mentors in the League." He said firmly, eyes fixated on the forest outside.
His explanation seemed to get through to the woman, but the sullen change in her demeanor was not what he'd been aiming for. He knew she was simply lashing out, she was scared and had every right to be. It was his job to keep her safe, to make her feel safe. But like Batman, he'd never been very good at comforting victims or hostages.
Before, it was because he'd been too young. No adult would feel safe with a ten-year-old boy acting as their protector against the worst that Gotham had to offer. That opinion hadn't changed much when he'd formed the Teen Titans. The citizens of Jump had viewed them as a group of rebellious teenagers before finally coming around. After the numerous years of this kind of doubt and behavior, knowing that they'd wanted someone better, like Batman, Red X had just grown to ignore them. It was easier to block out their opinion, to focus on the mission instead. And now X found himself completely out of his element as the doctor looked down at her hands, tears building in the corners of her eyes.
"Red X, we have arrived on the roof." He heard Aqualad say over the comlink in his mask. He nearly sighed in relief.
"Good, get down here to the computer lab, it's on the second floor." He ordered while shooting a glance at Doctor Roquette. The woman hurriedly wiped at her eyes and continued with making the virus. "We should have a perimeter set up now."
"Ah, excuse me, who is this guy?" A female voice, one Red X didn't recognize, said over his airwave. "And why is he giving us orders?"
"I could ask the same of you, how did you get this frequency?" He asked lowly, eyes scanning the room. "Who are you?"
"She is our new teammate, Artemis." Aqualad answered, unknowingly easing the tension out of X's body. "And he is also a part of the Titans, Red X. He is very knowledgeable and has more experience in working with a large team, unlike the rest of us." He heard the Atlantian explain to Artemis. It wasn't a name he recognized, not in this dimension or from his own. "He is something like an advisor."
"Wait, isn't he the guy wanted for trying to assassinate Count Vertigo?" Artemis responded, sounding surprised but not especially worried.
"Heh, that was just a lie he came up with after X kicked his butt." Robin was quick to provide, sounding slightly mischievous.
"Yes, but unfortunately it is a falsehood most people believe in. As Vertigo is a member of the Vlatavan royal family, he has used this position to his advantage many times. Despite the League's evidence proving otherwise, the man has never been tied to anything illegal." Kaldur explained with an air of patience.
"Yeah, and Vlatava won't hear anything against the guy!"
"To keep the peace between their countries, the American government has adhered to Vlatava's demands. Officially, Red X is wanted for questioning. And the League has agreed to these terms." The Atlantian continued.
"Unofficially," The Boy Wonder interrupted again. "X is a member of the Titans."
"Ugh, I hate politics." Artemis groaned and the tattered caped hero smirked slightly before responding.
"We can do a proper meet and greet as soon as you're all here, so hurry up."
"Miss Martian, Superboy, you two will guard the outside of the school. Alert us if you hear or sense anything." Aqualad ordered, getting confirmation from the two before continuing. "The rest of us will join Red X in guarding Doctor Roquette."
"Sounds good." He replied before turning to address the doctor. "My team is here. They will be down–" He was cut off as Kid Flash sped into the room. "Now."
"So you're the Doc, huh?" Kid Flash said as he gave her a onceover. "You know, I don't usually go for the brainy type, but for you, it works sweetheart." Doctor Roquette gave the speedster a look of disgust and X reached over to cuff him. "Ouch, what was that for?" Kid Flash asked as he rubbed the back of his head, glaring at Red X.
"Not now." He growled and the redhead raised his hands, backing away to sit on a desk and taking out a strip of beef jerky from a hidden compartment on his suit. "What do you make of Artemis?"
"She's totally full of herself!" Kid Flash exploded angrily, pulling a complete 180 in his mood. "You should have seen how mad Speedy was when he saw that Green Arrow had replaced him with some new girl. Now she's on the team instead of him!" X stopped listening to the rest the speedster's rant at that point.
'Green Arrow replaced Red Arrow with Artemis?' He felt his stomach knot up with an emotion he couldn't identify. He couldn't imagine what it must feel like to be replaced. Batman, thankfully, had never replaced him with another partner. Even after he'd left Gotham, even after three years of leading the Teen Titans, Batman had never chosen another sidekick.
"You know I could hear you from down the hall, right?" The female voice from before said, interrupting Red X's thoughts. He stood up from the window he'd been leaning against and discreetly studied the girl. Her costume was green, the same color as Green Arrow's, with long blonde hair that was pulled into a ponytail. He examined her face, his attention quickly latching onto her eyes, suddenly feeling as if he'd seen them somewhere before. "So this is Red X." She said, also taking the chance to look him over. "Nice cape."
"Have we met before?" He found himself asking, drawing a blank as he tried to think of where he could have seen her. "You look familiar." Her shoulders tensed for a second before she managed to cover her slipup with a shrug. He made note of the curious reaction.
"Maybe we dated in the past." She offered and Kid Flash choked on his beef jerky, Robin snickering slightly as he hit his best friend on the back.
"Teenagers." He heard the doctor mutter under her breath as she rubbed at her eyes. Aqualad ignored the others and walked over to X, offering an Atlantian handshake that the teen returned.
"It is good to see you again my friend. I had worried over your absence when we were summoned to Mount Justice earlier." Kaldur stated and Red X simply nodded his head towards the doctor. He saw Aqualad smile in understanding before closing his eyes for a moment and then opening them again.
"Everyone online?" Miss Martian mentally asked and Artemis was the first to respond.
"Ugh, this is weird." She thought back over the link.
"And distracting. Coding and distributing an algorithm virus on a kiddy computer with less RAM than a wristwatch is hard enough. Now I have to hear teen think in my skull?" The doctor groaned before burying her head into her hands.
"Lady, do you always complain when someone tries to help you?" Kid Flash asked irritably.
"Pot, kettle. Have you met?" Artemis replied, making him glare at her.
"Hey, hey, I do not need attitude from the newbie who drove Red Arrow off the team." He argued. She stood up and pointed her head away from the speedster.
"That's so not on me." Artemis denied angrily. From where Doctor Roquette sat, X saw her hands shoot upwards into the air in frustration.
"Fate of the world at stake!" She needlessly reminded everyone and Red X silently gestured for her to continue with her work. She sighed before turning back to the computer, visibly trying to ignore everyone else in the room.
"She started it." Kid Flash responded childishly, folding his arms and looking away.
"Enough." Red X growled, the small fragments of his tolerance now gone. "Artemis, go and patrol the perimeter with Miss Martian and Superboy." She glared at him for a second before Aqualad spoke.
"Good idea." The Atlantian agreed and the archer huffed before moving to leave the room.
"You might cut her some slack; it was her arrow that saved your butt against AMAZO." Robin pointed out. X sighed softly as he closed his eyes and leaned against a nearby desk, conceding that he too would be unable to escape the petty drama that had brewed from his teammates.
"What? No! That was Speedy's, I mean Red Arrow's arrow, right?" Kid Flash asked quickly.
"Not so much." Robin corrected.
"Well, still not giving her the satisfaction." The speedster muttered sourly. "Besides, Red X's shuriken thingies save my butt just as much!"
"You know, I can still hear you." Artemis reminded them and Kid Flash gripped his head in anger as Robin smiled at his mistake.
"I couldn't get the Justice League." The doctor lamented again.
"The virus won't be of much use if we cannot find the weapon, can you track it?" Aqualad asked as he approached Doctor Roquette. X stood and joined Kaldur, his eyes roaming over the coding that she had managed to come up with so far.
"My utility fog is not a weapon, its science, brilliant science and of course I can track it, but I'll have to go online. Might as well rent a billboard with this address and assassinate me written in neon." She answered bitterly.
"We will protect you." Aqualad said as he laid a comforting hand on the doctor's shoulder. She gave him and Red X a searching look before tracing where her invention was.
"Tracking the Fog now." She announced as the computer pinpointed the Fog's location. "It seems to be in Philadelphia at the moment."
"And on the move by the looks of it." X added as he brought up the holo-computer in his suit, the red lighting glaring off the white of his mask. He quickly ran a search for private planes departing from Philadelphia and found nothing. As expected. The Shadows wouldn't be that easy to track. "We should send out a team to follow it and to run interference. They could choose to send it somewhere populated." Aqualad nodded.
"Mm, that boy." Artemis suddenly hummed over the mind link and Red X felt his eyes narrow. That was just what the team needed, hormones. It was odd that Kid Flash and Artemis didn't like each other; the two seemed to have some very striking similarities.
"He can hear you, we can all hear you." Miss Martian reminded their newest member, sounding annoyed for the first time since X had met her.
"Oh, I know." The archer replied smartly.
"Miss Martian, Doctor Roquette has located the Fog, reconfigure the Bio-ship so that Robin and Superboy may pursue." Kaldur ordered and Red X nodded in agreement as the Atlantian shot him a look. Superboy's Kryptonian make-up might provide some resistance against the Fog and Robin was computer savvy enough to handle uploading the virus directly into the Fog.
"Well, this is my stop guys. Try not to say any more embarrassing things KF." Robin teased before jumping out of a window, laughing as he went.
"Dude!" Kid Flash shouted after his friend before huffing and crossing his arms. "I don't see why I couldn't go too." He muttered as he glared at the floor.
"Because if any of us needs backup, you're the only one fast enough to supply support." X answered as he watched the Bio-ship fly away.
"You embarrassed Superboy." Miss Martian said after a minute and Red X gave a tired sigh. It seemed Artemis wasn't making many good first impressions on the team. For a sickening moment, he was reminded of another blonde girl who had a hard time fitting in. The tattered caped hero sincerely hoped that their newest member wasn't going to be this world's Terra.
"Didn't hear him say that." Artemis responded smugly.
"Must you challenge everyone?" Megan asked angrily.
"Where I come from, that's how you survive." The archer answered tightly.
"If you haven't noticed, we are not where you came from. You're brazen attitude can only get you so far here." Red X warned her, his words coming out much sterner than he'd intended. He was met with silence. "Kid, guard the door." He growled to the speedster who nodded and left the room without a word.
"Our team has not been the most welcoming to her." Aqualad said after a moment, pausing before he continued. "Perhaps we are being too harsh on her to demand that she conform to our ways so quickly?"
"She doesn't need a gentle hand, Kaldur. Her type responds better to the tougher approach. We can have meetings later to get to know her better, to properly welcome her to the team, but right now we're on a mission. She needs to fall into step with the others or else she'll end up tripping us." He answered as he gave the Atlantian a look. "This team is new, we don't know our limitations and we don't know each other very well either. We can take things slow once this mission is complete, but for now, we can't allow any fighting amongst the Titans. Artemis seems to be determined to aggravate the others. She is, understandably, on the defensive and feels like she has to prove herself."
"Perhaps you are–" Aqualad's was interrupted as the tattered caped hero threw a handful of X-shuriken, blocking the ones that had been targeted at the doctor's back.
"Doctor, get down!" Kaldur shouted as they the two Titans dodged and deflected another set of shuriken. A familiar white and red mask appeared in the crack of the door as three more shuriken were aimed at the doctor, who had yet to move. Aqualad dove forward instinctively, barely flinching as the sharpened bits of metal embedded themselves into his forearm.
"Oh, that had to hurt." A female voice taunted while a different one chuckled in agreement.
"Atlantian skin is quite dense." Kaldur replied stonily as he flexed his arms, brushing off the shuriken and drawing out his water weapons. Red X was forced to jump backwards as a katana came soaring out of nowhere, which stabbed the wall mere inches from Roquette's head. He looked back to see a familiar orange and black mask.
"Hey X, it's been awhile." Ravager said as she winked at him and drew back her sword "I'm looking forward to a rematch." Red X aimed a glance over at Aqualad and the doctor. The Atlantian seemed to be handling Cheshire fine, but Doctor Roquette still hadn't taken shelter yet. Ravager followed his gaze and smirked. "Oh, I wouldn't worry about her. You're the only one in danger right now." He brought up his staff just in time to block Ravager's overhead strike and pushed forwards, knocking her back a few feet and giving him the opportunity to regroup with Aqualad.
"M'gann, Kid, Artemis, we are under attack in the computer lab." Kaldur alerted the others.
"On our way." Artemis responded. X threw some more shuriken at both Cheshire and Ravager as they advanced forwards. Cheshire easily broke off to attack Aqualad and Ravager charged at him, making sure to sidestep the shuriken.
"You're not going get me with the same trick twice." Ravager hummed, alluding to their last match. "I learn from my mistakes, X." He smirked.
"I wouldn't expect anything less from someone who studied under Slade." She tensed at his comment, much like she had done at the Auction. Her eyes narrowed at him and she lashed out with a kick aimed towards his stomach that he just managed to block.
The tattered caped hero jerked his head to the left when he heard Aqualad cry out in pain. He saw the Atlantian fall to the floor and Cheshire raised a Sai to finish him off. Reacting as fast as he could, Red X grabbed the front of Ravager's uniform and threw her over his shoulder towards Cheshire. She managed to land on her feet, but still tumbled into Cheshire, knocking the black-haired girl into a desk. At the same time, a green arrow whizzed past the two assassins, heading towards X. He moved as quickly as he could, grimacing as he felt the arrow skim over his right shoulder.
"Don't move." Artemis hissed and he looked over to see the archer standing in the doorway, reloading an arrow and pointing it at Ravager. He resisted the urge to hold his shoulder, wincing at the bruise that was no doubt spreading over his skin. Kaldur recovered quickly and brought up his water weapons, taking a defensive position.
"This job is getting interesting." Cheshire remarked as Ravager brought up her katana. Cheshire pointed her Sai at Artemis and the archer responded by shooting four arrows consecutively that both girls blocked with ease, expertly redirecting the bolts towards Doctor Roquette, who crouched down to avoid getting hit. Red X teleported over to her to block the incoming arrows just as Kid Flash and Miss Martian arrived in the room. The two assassins paused as they realized that they were surrounded and that their target was now much harder for them to reach.
"Maybe a little too interesting." Ravager commented as she shared a look with Cheshire. They simultaneously brought out a handful of smoke bombs, throwing them onto the floor as Kid Flash lunged for them, only to end up missing. As the smoke cleared, X turned to the windows, spotting two figures sprinting for the trees.
"They're getting away! you're letting them get away!" Doctor Roquette shouted, the close encounter having clearly destroyed the last of the woman's nerves.
"This is all your fault, you were on perimeter! How'd those Shadows get in?" Kid Flash shouted at Artemis who simply glared at him in response.
"That's not really fair. I was outside too." Megan interjected softly as she walked over towards the two.
"Outside, being distracted by her. Besides, I can't be mad at you." The speedster, replied making Miss Martian smile. "You gave me mouth-to-mouth."
"We heard that!" Almost everyone responded.
"Dang it!" Kid Flash growled as he stalked away from the two girls.
"I didn't do half as well in my first battle, and I know you haven't been Green Arrow's sidekick for very long." Miss Martian offered gently as she placed a hand on Artemis's shoulder, trying to comfort their newest teammate.
"That still begs the question of how those two snuck in under your watch." Red X stated as he frowned at both girls, the alien bowed her head guiltily, while the archer raised her chin defiantly. "Had you been paying attention and not arguing, you might have spotted them."
"My point exactly." Wally agreed triumphantly and X sent him a mild glare.
"And where were you, Kid? You were supposed to be guarding the door." He asked pointedly and Kid Flash floundered for a second before recovering.
"Hey, I was doing my job. I saw something suspicious and followed it!" He exclaimed defensively.
"Why didn't you alert us then?" Red X continued and the redhead tried to think of an excuse before his gaze dropped to the floor, realizing that he'd screwed up too. "We focus on the mission at all times."
"Yes, and the Shadows will be back. We must be better prepared next time." Aqualad settled in a calmer tone and the others nodded.
"Robin to Aqualad." Robin announced over the comlink, as he was currently outside of Miss Martian's telepathic range. "We've located the Shadows next target, Star Labs. We're too late. It's destroyed, totally destroyed. The Fog decimated it. This is bad, Star Labs is cutting edge science and now their secrets are in the hands of the enemy. What's our next move?"
"Rescan for that Fog, find it." Aqualad ordered as he and X exchanged thoughtful glances. "We're moving the doctor."
~Young Justice: Red X~
|2010 August 8, 22:34 EDT
Red X stood on the roof of the warehouse that the others were currently inside of. He and Kaldur were running perimeter this time, something that the tattered caped hero was glad for, as he didn't think he could handle being around Kid Flash and Artemis for a moment longer. Those two fought like cats and dogs. It was just as bad as Beast Boy's and Raven's arguments.
"Stop it, both of you." Aqualad ordered through the mind link.
"What?" Both Kid and Artemis asked at the same time.
"I can hear you glaring." He continued, making X smirk. At least he wasn't the only one already tired of his teammates antics.
After a minute, he heard noises from where Kaldur was and he stood still, acting as if nothing were wrong and sticking to the plan. The sound of something whirling though the air caught his attention and he turned to see a disk being thrown in his direction. Recognizing it as the exploding discus that Sportsmaster often used, Red X teleported away, avoiding the resulting blast. He turned at hearing a light shuffle from behind him and brought up his X-Wrist Blade, blocking Ravager's sword.
"Round three, tough guy." She taunted, smirking at him as she launched a punch at his jaw. He dodged and pulled out an X-Sword, the simple piece of red metal extending like his Bo Staff. "Ooooh, shiny."
He parried her strike with one of his own, knowing that his mission was to delay Ravager for as long as he could. They traded blows for a few minutes, testing each other's skill and seeing if their opponent could keep up. Ravager had the advantage when it came to swordplay, it was obviously her preferred weapon, but Red X outmatched her in movement. He was quick and light, able to twist and flip in any direction to evade her well-aimed attacks.
"Okay, what gives?" She asked as he dodged her latest slash. "You never stay on the defensive and I know you have some sort of gadget in that suit of yours that could make this fight a lot harder." Ravager glared at him. "Are you not taking me seriously?" She hissed and X gave no response. Suddenly, clamor broke out on the street below and they could see Cheshire running down the street with Artemis chasing after her. "Or are you simply trying to distract me?" She realized as she turned back to him, a smirk on her face. "Oh, you clever little sidekicks. You pulled the old switcheroo on us." He shrugged.
"Doctor Roquette needs time to finish the virus, and you just wasted a good portion of it on me." He stated simply and her smile turned into a scowl as she narrowed her eyes. "Shall we continue?" Ravager suddenly smirked before throwing a smoke bomb.
Red X activated his Infrared vision and followed after her. He chased her across the buildings and managed to stop her on the roof of the store that the doctor was hiding in. He tossed an ice disk, creating a decently sized wall, forcing Ravager halt in her advance and she had to dodge a kick he aimed at her back.
"You know, I've never had a guy chase me with as much as intensity as you." She remarked coolly as he threw a punch at her head, that she managed to duck. "Have you fallen for my womanly charms?" She asked flirtatiously and he grunted as she broke through his defense, landing a solid blow to his stomach.
As she swung her sword to follow through with her attack, Red X kicked at her legs, making her stumble. Her foot landed on a stray patch of ice and she slipped backwards in a titled angle, falling off the edge of the roof. His eyes widened and he instinctively reached out to grab her hand, almost falling over the edge with her as her weight and gravity pulled on him. She stared up at him in surprise.
"You… saved me?" He grimaced at her choice words, his mind turning back to a similar scenario.
"I'm not through with you yet." He replied flatly before activating the knockout gas in his palm, putting her to sleep. Red X sighed as he pulled Ravager up onto the roof and laid her down a safe distance away from the edge. The fall wouldn't have killed her. It probably wouldn't have even broken anything if she'd managed to adjust her landing in time. It was an old reaction on his part. One that was born from watching his parents die.
He always reached out when he saw someone falling.
An explosion from below caught his attention and he turned, several shuriken gather into his hands, as he looked over the edge of the roof. He saw Cheshire lying on the ground, blown back by an explosive arrow that Artemis must have fired seconds beforehand.
"Don't move a muscle." The archer growled as she pointed her armed bow down at Cheshire. The girl stood anyways, turning slowly to face Artemis, and Red X saw that her mask had fallen off. Cheshire was of an Asian descent, with tanned skin and dark eyes to match her black hair, a knowing smirk playing across her face.
"Wow, I am completely at your mercy." She said sarcastically and Artemis gasped.
"You." She whispered and X could tell from her shocked tone that the blonde had recognized her opponent.
"I suppose now you bring me to justice, let your new friends interrogate me. I wonder if your position's secure enough to survive them learning everything I know." Cheshire continued darkly, smiling a little as Artemis lowered her bow. "Didn't think so. Thus, like the Cheshire Cat, I'll just disappear." And with that, she vanished in a cloud of smoke.
Red X narrowed his eyes, frowning. There was obviously much more to his new teammate than what any of the others believed. This girl was beginning to seem more like Terra with every passing moment. What was her connection to Cheshire? Was she working for someone else? Did the League have any idea of who Artemis really was? What knowledge had Cheshire been hinting at?
"Oops, I don't think you were supposed to hear that part." Ravager remarked from behind him and X whirled around to see that she'd moved to the other end of the roof.
"What connection do those two share?" He questioned and she shrugged.
"Beats me." She replied lightly, slowly moving closer to the edge.
"How about a trade. I make sure you get a fair trial in court and you tell me what Artemis is hiding." He stated while bringing out an Electric X that glowed brightly as a current of red energy surged through it.
"Nice try handsome, but I'm in the clear at this distance. Besides, don't you have a civilian to check on?" Ravager retorted and he gritted his teeth, knowing that she was right. "I'll give you a hint though; the secret lies in the eyes." And with that the girl jumped over the edge of the roof, disappearing into the night. His focus returned to the street below, where he saw Doctor Roquette help Aqualad get out of the store.
"Artemis, where's the assassin?" Kaldur asked, sounding out of breath.
"She, uh, she got away." The blonde lied as Kid Flash arrived.
"Oh, from you? Big surprise." He retorted mockingly and Artemis looked away from him and the others. Red X stayed where he was on the rooftop, studying his suspicious teammate. "Notice, we got ours." Kid Flash suddenly bent down to pick something up. "Cool, souvenir." X saw that the speedster had Cheshire's mask in his hands.
"Her mask? Did you see her face?" Aqualad asked as he grunted and pulled out some darts that were stuck in his chest.
"It was dark." Artemis answered tersely.
"It is fine." Kaldur replied quickly, trying to soothe what he'd mistaken as the archer being defensiveness for failing, when she was lying to his face. "Robin and Superboy neutralized the Fog and Doctor Roquette is safe. Thanks, in no small part to you." At that, Artemis finally turned around to face the others. "Welcome to the team."
"Hey, where's Red X?" Megan asked worriedly. "I didn't see him at all in the warehouse. Do you think he's hurt?"
"I'm fine Miss Martian." He started, jumping down from the building and making his appearance known. "Like Artemis, I'm afraid my own target escaped too." He heard Kid Flash scoff, but he only had eyes for the blonde. She gave him a worried look. "Sometimes the bad guys just manage to slip away. Uou did good on your first mission." He praised and she looked relieved, most likely assuming he hadn't witnessed her confrontation with Cheshire. That he had no idea that she was hiding something.
For now, Red X wanted to keep it that way.
~Young Justice: Red X~
I'm somewhat amazed at how long this chapter turned out to be. I totally thought that this was going to be one of the shorter ones. To be honest, I was really sorta meh'd my way through this chapter. Nothing really exciting here happened, but I wanted to fully flesh out this chapter because this is when Artemis makes her debut, and I know there were a lot of readers who've been dying for me to reach this chapter.
What I loved most, was how Red X drew up similarities between Terra and Artemis. That thought totally struck me out of nowhere and I can see Red X honestly thinking this way. He witnessed Artemis's conversation with Cheshire, putting him on edge around her and making him suspicious. Of course, this information will come into play later when he finds out that there's a mole on the team.
Also, Ravager got to show up, so yay for that.