DC Infinity Presents
Meet the Team
Statue of Liberty
This was supposed to be a simple bonding experience with my daughter and sister. See the Statue of Liberty. Buy a few trinkets. Memories for a lifetime.
Those thought rattled through Amanda Byrne as she huddled with over two dozen other hostages. The terrorist organization known as H.I.V.E came swooping down out of nowhere, armed with laser rifles and giant mechs colored like bees. Within minutes they'd seized the entire island, overpowering the police and began issuing demands.
Amanda Byrne clutched her daughter with one hand, and had her other hand resting on her service weapon. Amanda Byrne wasn't your average New Yorker, but was an agent of the Department of Extranormal Operations, or DEO for short. The DEO acted as a liaison between the government, metas and the capes, in fact that was why Amanda was in New York.
As a member of the DEO, Amanda had read all the briefs on H.I.V.E, as they were a (albeit small) part of her current assignment. They were barely capable of acting as cannon fodder for the new Society, so what were they doing seizing Liberty Island, armed with flight packs, combat mechs and all other kinds of weapons that even the original H.I.V.E never had? How did they go from push-overs to attacking boldly New York? It was like seeing a street dealer take on the National Guard!
"You have no reason to fear!" squawked one member of HIVE. With their yellow helmets and identical suits, it was hard to tell which one was speaking. Amanda guessed that it was the HIVE member standing over the teenage…hero, but there was no way to be certain, "Once the world gives into our demands, you will be released unharmed!"
An arrow smashed into that particular HIVE member, and a half dozen more arrows landed all around, creating a thick cloud of smoke.
"I think we can make the same offer," Roy Harper, AKA Red Arrow, shouted, "only you have to serve five to ten first. Titans, go!"
Amanda Byrne watched in shock and awe as ten young heroes came crashing down out of the sky, and slammed into HIVE like a runaway freight train. For a moment, it was breath taking as the sheer power of the young heroes overwhelmed the heavily armed men. They had enough weapons to match a small army, but were no match for the Titans themselves.
But as she watched, Amanda was vividly reminded that she was watching mere children battle terrorists.
Red Arrow and Captain Boomerang
Roy let loose three arrows, and struck down five HIVE agents, including one that had been standing over one of his teammates slash responsibility.
"Up and at 'em!" Red Arrow barked.
Owen Mercer, the second Captain Boomerang, grunted as he stood up. Red Arrow handed him two bandoliers of boomerangs, and the teenage speedster threw them over his shoulder, and within seconds was filling the air with his signature weapons.
"About time you got here!" Owen snapped, "what, did you stop for lunch?"
Red Arrow sucker-punched a HIVE soldier that managed to get a little too close, and then turned to scowl at Captain Boomerang, "Actually, we busted tail when we heard a report about two villain groups attacking the Statue. One of those groups was said to be The Rogues. Any idea what that was about?"
"You said stall! I stalled!"
Fifteen minutes earlier
"What do you mean, stall?" Captain Boomerang pressed his back against the wall, as HIVA agents began rounding up all the tourists. He had his cell phone pressed against his head as if it were a lifeline, "I don't have my boomerangs, remember?"
"Think of something!" Roy Harper shouted, "we're en-route, but the jet isn't fueled. Just buy time!"
"Okay, okay, you can do this," Owen shoved his cell-phone in his pocket, slicked his hair back and took a deep breath that didn't calm his nerves at all. He then strode towards three HIVE agents who were 'escorting' a small group of tourists into a makeshift holding area, "hey, what's the big idea here?"
"…and who do you think you are?
"I'm Captain Boomerang!" Owen snapped, which was true, and then said, "and this is Rogue territory."
Not even close.
The three HIVE agents looked at one another.
"Did Snart decide that?" asked one agent.
"Captain Cold did, yes," Owen smiled smugly. They weren't about to trip him up by using Cold's real name, "so you mind telling me what the hell you're doing on Rogue turf?"
"This went through the proper channels!" snarled the first HIVE agent as he approached. Captain Boomerang tried to think up some BS excuse, when the HIVE agent sucker-punched him in the gut, and then smacked Owen upside the head with his rifle, "also, the Rogues don't give a damn about anything outside of Central City. I don't know what kind of scam you're pulling here kid, but I'll make you regret it later."
Roy dodged a laser that nearly took his head off, and returned fire with two explosive arrows, "Did you even have a plan?"
Captain Boomerang let two of his signature weapons fly, nailing two HIVE agents, "Hey, if I thought ahead, would I even be a Titan?"
Red Arrow shrugged, "Point."
Miss Martian, Red Star and Flamebird
Bette Kane, Flamebird, stood at the base of the Statue of Liberty, trying her best to take in the entire battlefield and coordinate the Titans as best she could. Overall, the battle was going well, but her teammates slash students were all too preoccupied with their own battles to see what exactly had to be done.
"Boat is cleared."
Well, there was an exception to every rule, Bette thought to herself, before she activated her suit's radio, "Red Star, Miss Martian, get to the hostages to the boat. They have two mechs, and ten agents with energy weapons, be careful."
"You shouldn't worry for us," replied Red Star.
"For you, maybe," Flamebird said under her breath.
When Bill Martin had first begun to train in HIVE's mecha-suits, he felt invincible. Surrounded in several feet of steel, standing nearly two stories tall and possessing firepower equal to that of a tank, it wasn't hard to understand why.
But Leonid Konstantinovitch Kovar, Red Star, provided an instant reality check when the six foot six hero smashed into the giant mech like a comet, and brought it down in seconds.
Amanda Byrne felt a shiver of fear shoot down her spine as she saw Red Star beginning to tear into the metal armor with his bare hands.
"Get to the boat, we'll cover you!"
Amanda looked up, and was mildly surprised to see a green skinned, red haired, freckled Martian, in a feminine costume reminiscent of the Martian Manhunter's.
The young alien raised her hands as her eyes glowed green, and suddenly energy blasts began bouncing off of thin air.
"Lets go!" Amanda heard her sister Julie hiss as she pulled on her sleeve, as the crowd began to move.
"I have to stay," Amanda almost recoiled from her own words. She picked up her young daughter, and put on her best smile, "Amy, Mommy has to stay here and help. Stay with Aunt Julie, okay?"
"Amanda, you can't be…" her sister was about to scold her older sibling, but one look told her everything she needed to know.
The DEO Agent felt like someone had taken a knife to her heart as she heard her daughter cry out for her, but Amanda had a job to do. All DEO Agents had standing orders to stay on site of a superhuman conflict, to observe if nothing else. No exceptions, no excuses. One Agent who left the scene of an ordinary Superman versus Prankster battle had nearly lost his pension, and given her personal involvement…
"Mommy! Mommy, don't leave me!"
Amanda knew she'd have to bribe her daughter with ice-cream for a month at least before she got any forgiveness, but it would be even longer than that before she could live with herself. But that was the job.
Amanda ducked behind a news stand, and pulled out her service weapon. Compared to the weapons HIVE was carrying, it wasn't much but it beat nothing at all. Now armed, she turned back, and saw that Miss Martian was surrounded on all sides by HIVE agents wielding rifled straight out of Star Trek, and had turned them on the young alien. The streams of energy began to inch ever closer her, and Amanda could see the girl was on the verge of panic.
"Mr. Red Star! Miss Flamebird, I need a hand!" Miss Martian shouted over the radio, panicked.
"Crap," Flamebird saw Miss Martian's situation, but knew she was too far to help, "Red Star, assist Miss Martian!"
"I am," Red Star said flatly, without moving a single inch.
"Mr. Red Star?" Miss Martian glanced towards the older Titan, silently pleading with him to help.
"You need to stop them," Red Star said firmly. Miss Martian's super senses allowed her to pick up his voice effortlessly, "you can't keep running. You have to stand your ground, or it will never end."
"Please, I can't do this…" Miss Martian had tears in her eyes, and the streams of energy were inching ever closer to her now, "…I…I just can't! I'm not…worth…"
"Damn it Red Star, help her!" Flamebird shouted into her radio, as she swung her elbow into the face of a HIVE agent who thought he was sneaking up on the heroine. Flamebird was about to make a bee line to Miss Martian's side when two more HIVE agents came at her, weapons blazing.
"I am helping her," Red Star replied, as he stood perfectly still.
"…please," the streams of energy were only a few feet from the young Martian now, "I can't…"
"You can and you will," Red Star said, "Otherwise, someone will come along and take you back. Is that what you want?"
"No…" Miss Martian gritted her teeth, her eyes narrowed with hate and she screamed, "never again!"
A wave of telekinetic power lashed out in every direction, knocking the HIVE soldiers aside like ten pins. Miss Martian fell to one knee, as tears began streaming down her face.
"Damn it, Red Star…" Flamebird muttered. The brightly colored heroine glanced around, and saw an unconscious HIVE agent wearing a jetpack. She quickly unstrapped it, and as she gave it a once over, she activate her radio, "Red Star, cover me. I need to see to Miss Martian."
Flamebird gripped the straps tightly, and pressed what she hoped was the jetpack's ignition. The former Tennis Star let out a little squeal of surprise when it took like a rocket, but she held on, and with a shift of her weight, steered it towards Miss Martian.
Flamebird brought the flight pack down low to the ground, and then leapt off the careening jet pack as if it were a trolley-train.
As for the devise itself, it kept on flying, and slammed into Red Star's head at full throttle. The explosion was equal to a hundred pounds of dynamite easy, but in the end all it did was make the Russian hero angry.
"Bette…" Red Star climbed to his feet, and was only angered further when he saw how Flamebird wasn't paying him the least bit of attention. Instead, she was by Miss Martian's side, trying to calm the weeping girl.
"It's okay M'gann," Flamebird said softly, "you did fine, you saved the civilians and you're safe now. It's going to be just fine, sweetie."
Flamebird spared a glance at Red Star, as if daring him to challenge that statement. The Russian simply gritted his teeth, but looked away. He'd take the matter up later, but right now he decided to devote himself to Miss Martian and Flamebird's isolation and therefore, safety.
And he wondered, not for the first time, why he was even here.
Son of Vulcan
Miguel Devante, AKA Vulcan (or Son of Vulcan depending on who you asked), activated his wrist shield, and charged three HIVE agents as they unloaded their weapons at him. What his shield missed was easily handled by his armor, but Vulcan still felt his heart jump each time he heard the 'ping!' of bullets bouncing off.
You can do this, you can do this, Miguel repeated like a survival mantra. He swung his sword, and in one slash he destroyed three energy rifles. Vulcan sighed in relief, and pointed his sword at the HIVE agent in the middle, "Surrender and no one gets hurt!"
The HIVE agent replied by throwing his rifle at Vulcan's head. The young hero's helmet provided a degree of protection, but it still knocked the teen hero for a loop, and within seconds the HIVE agents were dog-piled on top.
"Gold plated loser!"
Vulcan dropped his sword and covered his face in reflex, as the beating rained down.
You shame the Vulcan lineage, a voice rang through young Miguel's head.
"Shut up!" Vulcan snapped, "I'm sick of listening to you! Haven't you done enough?"
"Idiot kid's talking to himself!" remarked one thug, "they let anyone put on a costume these days!"
To his credit, Vulcan handled the pain and humiliation better than most at his age. He was certainly used to it. But when he remembered that such humiliation was normal, that failure was his entire superhero career up until now, Vulcan got angry. And Vulcan began to grow warm.
"Hey, why's it so…"
Ben Horne, professional mook and HIVE agent, never finished the sentence before a ball of flame exploded out of Vulcan in every direction like a hand grenade. The men were blown backwards as if they were made of paper.
"Oh no…" Vulcan climbed to his heat, unable to tear his eyes away from the three smoldering HIVE agents, "not again."
Vulcan felt numb. He would have cried, if he had any tears left. He didn't notice that the HIVE agents were still breathing, or how not a single civilian had been allowed to come to harm today. All he saw, could see, was how his own weakness had cost even more lives.
Red Arrow scanned the battlefield, and felt mixed emotions with how his team was performing. The civilians were all rescued and evacuated, but the team was scattered and some Titans who shouldn't be fighting alone were doing just that.
Red Arrow raised an eyebrow as Natasha Irons, the second Steel, landed next to him holding the helmet of a HIVE soldier.
"I think I might have a way to disable all of them!" Steel held the helmet out for Red Arrow to see, "if I can hack into their radios, I can send a sonic pulse through them and take out everyone!"
Red Arrow raised an eyebrow, "I don't recall giving you the order to do that."
"Well, duh," Steel flexed her fist, and several specialized tools slid out of her fingers, "I'm trying to take initiative. Just cover me for a second, okay boss man?"
"Steel," Roy was a little annoyed how the young woman had suddenly blocked him out as she went to work on the helmet. Red Arrow didn't understand what she was doing exactly, but as far as he was concerned, he didn't need to, "Steel!"
"It's a neat idea, but what if they can just turn their radios off?" Roy asked as patiently as one could when there was a battle raging all around, "I need you on overland duty. We have to know that all the civilians besides that DEO agent got away, and I need someone to play swing hitter. We can handle HIVE just fine otherwise."
"…DEO agent?" Steel felt a lump in her throat. She hadn't even noticed…
"Over there," Roy thumbed towards where Amanda Byrne was crouching, gun in hand, "look, it was a good idea but we don't need it right now. Go back up Vulcan, okay?"
Red Arrow could practically hear Steel wince, and saw glad he'd chosen to use a light touch. The girl was smart, but she had some rough edges that needed work.
"Got it boss man," Steel rocketed into the air, and Roy wondered if this was how Dick felt when ordering him around, all those years ago. Plenty of potential, but pointed in the wrong direction.
"Why did I agree to this?" Roy asked himself under his breath.
"That all you got?" Rose Wilson, Ravager, smirked as she slashed outwards with her katanas. She was surrounded by ten men, and she'd been careful to relieve them of their guns as only the daughter of Deathstroke could, but having done that, Rose wanted to have some fun.
"Get around her!" ordered one man.
"Heh," Ravager couldn't suppress a chuckle, "my dad had a saying, 'when they're on your left, on your right, in front and in back, that's when they can't get away'."
"Well, you're not your fath…"
Ravager kicked the man in the head before he could finish. She slammed an elbow into a second man, and just for flavor, back-handed a third.
"You're damn right I'm not," Ravager swept her swords outwards, and sliced a deep cut into six men. The wounds were shallow, but they'd both bleed and hurt like hell. The men, if they had any common sense, would simply lay on the ground and apply pressure to the wounds until the medics came.
And if they didn't, then it was just natural selection in action. Rose didn't care much one way or the other.
"If I was, you'd be dead already."
"Don't…don't come any closer!" warned the remaining HIVE agent as he brandished a six inch combat blade, though for all the good it would do him, he might have well been holding a toothpick.
"Oh, I'm going to come a lot closer," Ravager sheathed her blades, but strode forward confidently, "I prefer to savor the last one. Just because I'm a hero doesn't mean I can't have any fun."
"No rule against that either!"
Hale Gentry, despite his chosen career choice, was actually something of a fanboy when it came to superheroes. He didn't begrudge them for opposing people like him, in fact he respected them for it. He liked the fact that there were better men than himself out there, making the world a better place.
And if anyone asked, Hale would proudly proclaim that his favorite heroes were the Justice Society of America. To him, they defined heroism even now. And he was actually offended when he saw a hero wearing an obvious rip off of the original Atom's costume, 'creatively' updated with a radioactive symbol. Who did this punk think he was?
Grant Emerson, Damage and son of the original Atom, threw himself at the first HIVE mech with a roar that would do a lion proud.
"You think those metal suits will save you!" Damage smashed a fist glowing with power into steel that could withstand a direct hit from a tank shell. The metal tore like tissue paper, but that wasn't enough for Damage. He channeled the atomic energies that beat in his chest, and his fists began to glow white hot.
Inside of a minute, a battle mech that could handle an entire battalion was reduced to so much scrap metal. Damage was knee deep in molten metal, yet all he saw was the two remaining mechs that stood frozen, like deer in headlights.
"Okay, okay," the first Mech raised its hands, and took a step back, "we surrender, we'll just power down, and…"
The HIVE mechs took a step back, and from Damage's perspective, it was a step towards where Flamebird was still consoling Miss Martian. A step towards his teammates.
"No!" Damage released a burst of energy from his hands and shot forward like a rocket, slamming into the first mech, and causing it to fall backwards into the second, "you won't hurt her again! Never again!"
Steel and wire flew like confetti, and when the two pilots were later interviewed by the DEO, neither could say for certain how they survived.
"I think we got them about swept up," Roy Harper dragged two unconscious HIVE agents behind him, and tossed them in a pile.
"Aren't we missing someone?" Ravager scoffed, "where's Bat bitch hiding at?"
"I'm not hiding," Batgirl said as she came up from behind Ravager. The one eyed heroine nearly jumped out of her skin, "…was working."
"Yeah right," Ravager growled, "you just couldn't keep up with the rest of us, you chicken-sh…"
"Rose, that's enough!" Red Arrow snapped.
"Hey, if she wants to be on this team, she has to carry her weight!"
Batgirl gave Ravager a cold look, and raised a single finger. Ravager, and the rest of the team, glanced up, and saw five men hanging upside down from the torch of the Statue of Liberty.
"First, sniper team. Had you in their sights. Welcome."
"Uhh, Batgirl," Roy rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly, "you don't start counting off with that finger."
"Two," Batgirl didn't raise another finger, "I removed the bomb…HIVE placed on the tour boat. Allowed the civilians…to get away."
"Three," still one finger, raised towards Ravager, "placed a tracer…on the small team escaping. We can follow and…finish this completely."
"Well done," Red Star nodded towards Batgirl.
"But you need to inform your teammates of your plans. That's why Aqualad is chasing after the boat that you planted the tracer on."
Kaldur'ahm of Atlantis, the latest heir to the name Aqualad or Kaldur to his teammates (no friends as of yet), hadn't questioned Red Arrow's to hold back, and keep him appraised of any possible reinforcements. It was sound tactics, even if it kept Aqualad from the battle he so desperately longed for.
So when he spotted a half dozen men climbing aboard a medium sized boat that had been anchored there since the team arrived, Aqualad gave chase without a thought of radioing his team leader.
Blessed with the ability to control water with a thought, Kaldur caught up with the speedboat, and with a simple mental push, shot out of the air and landed on the bow of the ship.
Aqualad whipped out his water-bearers, forming a short sword in one hand and a shield in the other, "Surrender now. There is only one way this ends, but the path there is your choice."
The six HIVE soldiers raised their guns.
Aqualad stepped forward and swung his water hammer. With his control over the elements, the weapon was nearly as hard as steel, and disabled three men effortlessly. The young warrior swept his leg outward, hitting one HIVE soldier in his side and propelling him into the other two.
"You were warned," Aqualad said simply, as he allowed his sword and hammer to return to simple water. He placed his hands on his hips and now that the battle was over, allowed himself to feel a small measure of pride. While he would have preferred to just outright kill these men, he was made to understand that surface-worlders frowned upon that sort of thing.
But by holding himself to a different standard of conduct, and winning, Aqualad felt as if he was the true soldier of Good he had always dreamed of being.
"Aqualad, this is Red Arrow! Stop pursuit!"
Like someone flipping a switch, Aqualad's pride transformed into anxiety in a single heartbeat.
"Because we can trace them back to their base!"
Aqualad winced, but before he could so anything more, he heard a roar. He glanced upwards towards the noise, and saw a metal cylinder blasting towards him. Aqualad wasn't too familiar with surface weapons, but he decided to err on the side of caution, and leapt into the water.
He wasn't five feet underwater before the boat exploded in a ball of fire and metal.
"Aqualad, Aqualad report!"
"I'm fine," said Aqualad as he surfaced, "the boat was struck by a…missile, I believe it is called."
"What about the men aboard?"
"Dead," Aqualad reported evenly.
"Why didn't you save them?"
"Why would I?" Aqualad asked honestly, "they're my enemies. Were my enemies."
Back on Liberty Island, Red Arrow had his hand in his face.
"This never happened to Nightwing…"
Amanda Byrne waved her DEO badge as the Coast Guard and NYPD approached. She did everything she could to avoid looking at the youngsters who were gathered around the captured terrorists.
The haunted look of Vulcan, the anger that radiated off Ravager, Damage and Red Star, the sense of worthlessness etched on Miss Martian's face, it wasn't hard to see that this Titans team was an absolute mess.
The DEO Agent wondered how this team of heroes could possibly save anyone, when they could barely save themselves?
Several miles away, a man of wealth and taste observed Titans East through a series of monitors, some in orbit, others in the suits of the HIVE soldiers themselves. He'd breathed new life into the terrorist organization almost overnight, all to see the Titans in action today.
"Oh, I was right," the man swirled a glass of Champagne, a vintage no one alive could ever identify. The man had wiped the vineyard off the face of the earth personally, and the family that cared for it wiped out to the last third cousin, for what better way to appreciate its taste than to ensure its finality and thus guarantee that every drop is savored?
The monitors focused in on the individual Titans. Batgirl, Captain Boomerang, Flamebird, Miss Martian, Red Arrow, Steel and every other Titan member were being analyzed and recorded by a series of tactical computers the Pentagon might develop in ten years, but for now were possessed by only three other men in the world.
"Three projects together, and the newest in a line of enemies? This is a challenge by fate itself! Oh these children will regret the day they became Titans!"
Next Issue: It's Titans East vs. old and neo-nazis! But why is Damage on the nazi's side?
So I hope you enjoyed your first issue of Titans East! I know what you're thinking, "Every young team is full of misfits, what makes this one any different?"
Well, this one is misfits times twenty. This is the special class' special class, and those that are struggling to help them. And you give you an idea of just how messed up, here's a few previews.
"I've felt that blade before!" Miss Martian's fingers tightened around the Android's throat, "Your Vulcan knew! He could have killed me! Why! Why didn't he?"
"So you want out of the Rogues?" Captain Cold looked down the barrel of his gun at Owen, "what makes you think the Rogues are done with you?"
Ravager held the blade to her wrist. Her remaining eye was wet, but she didn't hesitate as she drove the blade into her flesh, "This is the only way."
Roy took a seat across from the table. There were a million things he wanted to say, but here, alone, nothing came. He felt as if there was nothing he could say that hadn't already been repeated. History had a sick way of repeating itself, and had done so once again. Another dead Titan.