Author's Note: This fan-fiction series is meant as a 'Darker and Edgier' re-imagining of the Teen Titans animated series and comics more in line with the tone and style of Christopher Nolan's Batman series. Expect lots of DC Universe references, alternate character interpretations, aliases, backstories, and a somewhat plausible explanation for Starfire being so human like (Human-compatible aliens really do not fit with a gritty and realistic interpretation). I will be no more devoted to canon then Christopher Nolan, you've been warned. Rated T for nudity, violence, and language.
Disclaimer: Teen Titans is the property of DC Comics and Warner Bros.
Reminder: All my stories are on a monthly update schedule, please see my profile for the the schedule.
Titans Reimagined #1: Starfall
Chapter 1: Robin's Flight
Richard Grayson was pissed. It wasn't a familiar state for the young man as he tore through the drawers of his room, a duffle bag sat atop the his bed already stuffed with clothes and the handful of possessions that were his in his room.
There was a knock at the door and Richard froze. His hands were buried deep in one of the drawers. "Who is it?"
"Who else?" A female voice shouted back through the door.
Babs… damn it. He felt his cheek twitch in irritation and turned back to the door. He pulled it open revealing the lithe redheaded eighteen-year-old behind it with a backpack swung over her shoulder. "Come to chew me out too?"
"No." The redhead answered immediately before leaning to look into the room. "Going somewhere?"
Richard shifted to block her view. "What's it matter to you Babs?"
"What's going on Dick?" She asked and scowled.
"I'm leaving…" Richard snarled as he turned back from the door and stalked over to a poster on the side of the wall emblazoned 'The Flying Graysons' and tore it from the wall. He rolled it up as he set his jaw and stuffed it into the duffle bag.
"I don't understand, I now you and Bruce have been fighting but…"
Richard slumped on the bed and ran his hands across his face. "He fired me… Couldn't even wait for me to get out of the hospital and he fucking fired me. We had it out, it's a miracle the whole hospital floor didn't hear us."
Babs's eyes went wide and she dropped the backpack onto the floor. "He fired Robin?"
"No, he fired Dick Grayson." Richard growled between his teeth. "I'm not Robin anymore…"
"Let me help." Babs dropped onto the bed beside him and rummaged through the duffle bag. "Where are you going to go?"
"Somewhere else… I don't know, fuck." Richard closed his eyes and sobbed. "Six years Babs… I've worked with him for six years and he fires me… Haven't I earned more than that? Goddamn Batman."
Babs grabbed one of the piles of clothes and stuffed them into a bag. "Doesn't matter what I think."
"I… shit." Dick bit his lip and punched the wall in frustration leaving a divot in the plaster.
"Alfred isn't going to like that." Babs said as she tore open another drawer. "You will tell him, won't you?"
"Yeah…" Richard growled. "I owe Alfred that much." He flinched as he glanced at his now bloodied knuckles and swore quietly, grabbing a first aid kit from under the bed.
"And Jason?" Babs asked as she zipped up the duffle.
"Of course." Richard said as he began to wrap up his knuckles. "Where is he anyway?"
"Garage probably." Babs said and glanced around the rather bare room. "No one would guess the rich heir Richard Grayson lived here."
"It's bullshit… he made me turn over all the costumes and equipment. I made Robin, I… I was Robin." Richard kicked the chair beside the desk and growled to himself. "I might be a bit old for 'Boy Wonder' but… fuck. The costume, the name, it's all… it's me."
"You sure this isn't some blunder?" Babs asked. "A mistake?"
Robin scowled. "No, I've got to leave… If I stay here I'll do something I'll regret." He stood and grabbed the duffle bag. He stopped by the door. "Babs, Barbara… Thanks."
"Now you're leaving me with just him…" Babs rolled her eyes. "Fox just delivered some new stuff for the two of you… what a waste."
Richard smirked, an idea wiggling at the edge of his mind, and swung the duffle bag over his shoulder. "Yeah… bet Jason is drooling all over it." He glanced at Babs. "I'll call you once I've found a place."
"Be careful." Babs said as Richard headed down the hall.
He had just turned the corner when the old white haired figure of Alfred the butler stepped out from the master bedroom and shut the door. He glanced at Richard and nodded once. "Master Richard."
"Is Bruce in there?" Richard asked.
"Master Wayne is asleep. He will probably wake within the hour." The butler's gaze flicked to the duffle bag hanging from Richard's shoulder. "I see… Master Richard, if you wish me to wake him so you can say your goodbyes…"
"No Alfred." Richard said, leaping forward to catch the butler's hand before it reached the door. "I don't think I could see him without creating a scene."
"Yes sir." Alfred said with a nod of his head. "He does care for you… even if he has trouble expressing it, Master Richard."
Richard snorted. "If he did I wouldn't be leaving."
"Master Jason is in the garage… I trust you have already spoken with Miss Barbara?" Alfred asked.
"Yes." Richard said quietly. "I should be going."
"Good luck Master Richard." Alfred said and nodded to him once.
"Thank you." Richard wiped away a tear and headed down the hall to a bookshelf. He pulled the copy of Common Sense from the shelf and it opened to reveal an elevator. He set the book back in place then stepped into the elevator. With a hiss, the door shut and the elevator rumbled down thirty feet opening to the dank cool air of a cave. A stream bubbled through the middle of the cavern and a simple console and monitor sat on a pillar of black metal in the middle of the water.
Richard walked past the console to a set of double doors that opened up to a dank grey garage lit by banks of fluorescent lights in the ceiling. A second console beeped and hummed from the far side of the garage.
Lined up on either side of along the concrete walls were bikes and cars. A nine-year-old boy with bright blue eyes was running his hands along the side of one of the red painted motorcycles as the doors clanged shut behind Richard. He leapt up and nervously shoved his hands into his pockets.
"Oh come on Jason, I'm not Bruce." Richard said. He walked along the cars toward the boy who visibly relaxed.
"Thank god, Dick. I thought I was going to get a fucking lecture again." Jason said as he stepped back from the bike. "Dad and his fucking rules."
"Yeah, Dad and his fucking rules." Richard walked past the bike. "Where's the new stuff?"
"Right there…" Jason said scampering over to a dark grey motorcycle. Its tires were the oversized sort that Bruce favored, and Richard could see that a pair of small caliber cannons had been fitted to either side of the front tire. Alongside it was a locked cage, which contained an armored suit. Pursing his lips Richard pulled out a lock breaking kit and quickly set to work, within a few seconds he opened the cage and whistled.
A black Nomex and Kevlar suit greeted him with a blue stylized winged insignia on the chest. "Jase?"
"Yeah… what are you doing?" Jason stared at the suit.
"I'm leaving." Richard pulled the suit out and started to stripe down. "Can you go get one of the Robin masks?"
"S… sure!" Jason yelled and scampered off. He returned just as Richard finished zipping up the suit and twisted to check its fit. "Here!" The boy handed him the mask and a collapsible fighting staff.
"Thanks." Richard said before pulling on the mask. With that done, he walked back to the bike, and quickly removed the tracking devices he knew were within before kicking the ignition. He glanced at Jason. "Well… I'm off."
"You're stealing from him… that's… that's so fucking badass!" Jason shouted.
"I'll call you when I can bro!" Richard said and then roared up the ramp and out into the afternoon light. He screamed out the gates of Wayne Manor and turned toward the interstate heading south-west.
Slowly the Gotham skyline faded behind him. A manic grin played across his lips. He could do it. It was time, time for Robin to rise from the shadow of the Dark Knight and make his own presence felt.
"From now on… I work alone." He said to himself as he headed toward the city of New York and the fresh start, the clean slate it represented.
"Is he gone?" Bruce Wayne asked as Alfred looked out the window behind him.
"Yes Master Bruce, he's gone." Alfred straightened and looked at the tumbler of whiskey that sat on the table beside Bruce. Slowly Bruce picked up the tumbler and swirled it once before emptying it.
Bruce sat the glass down on the table and coughed, his face worn and tired. "It has to be this way Alfred."
"Perhaps." Alfred allowed.
"He's not the kid I took in anymore. He's a man… it'll be better this way," Bruce said. "I don't want him to become like me."
"If that is why you drove him off, Master Wayne, I fear you may already be too late." Alfred said.
"Robin was never supposed to be dark…" Bruce said. "There's darkness in him, Alfred… if he doesn't turn from it, he'll end up just like me. Staying here would only make it worse. He'll become like me."
"An old battle worn bachelor then sir?" Alfred said and Bruce snorted with derision. "Or perhaps a man driven to do all he can?"
"And what is that?"
"A hero, Master Wayne, and you know that Master Richard is a hero," Alfred said carefully. "You made him one."
"It's time for little Robin to spread his wings, to escape my shadow." Bruce said carefully. He refilled the tumbler of whiskey. "He's not my 'Boy Wonder' anymore."
"So you've driven him away then…" Alfred said flatly, his voice still carrying the heavy weight of formality that it always bore.
Bruce sighed and lifted the tumbler once again, swirling it once before staring at the displays. "He will find his way."
"He'll expect you to come after him." Alfred said jerking his head toward the displays. "He stole from you."
"Gear which I intended for him all along… but you're right." Bruce swallowed the whiskey and stood up. "I will have to go after him."
"Why, Master Wayne?" Alfred asked.
Bruce glanced at his old friend, confidant, and butler. A smile tugged at his face. "To make sure he stays away."
In a dimly lit apartment, a woman with pale skin nibbled on the corner of a toasted waffle. In her lap, a large tome filled with parchment pages and arcane drawings was open. Her black hoodie and long black pants seemed to teem with darkness.
"Azarath metrion zinthos..." She murmured and three of the candles in the room winked out. A wedge of darkness slashed through three of the candles, which toppled to the floor, cleaved in half.
A small, slight half smile slipped across her face before her face returned to its normal flat expression.
The dull rumble of a stereo down the hall broke the girl's concentration and a scowl creased her face. She slammed a fist against the wall. "Keep it down, I'm trying to meditate!"
"Aw shut it Rachel!" A voice snapped back through the thin wall.
"I have waffles." She said.
"I'm so scared." The voice mocked.
Rachel scowled slightly. "You should be… you should be."
On the small dining table, a chirp from her computer drew her attention and Rachel sighed. She stalked over to the screen and sat down. A single e-mail message sat waiting for her.
I must thank you for your purchase from our antiquities collection. I have had word of your dealings with the local heroes as to assist you in your quest, and must admit disappointment in their lack of willingness to intervene on your behalf.
The book you requested has been delivered to your safety deposit box for retrieval. I must admit a bit of disquiet in your interest in such a tome but word of your need has allayed those fears.
Amanda Selim, Azarath Scholar and Occult Historian
Rachel took a deep breath and closed the message. "Alright, I suppose I have a bit of a trip to get done then.
Victor Stone groaned as he stepped out of the shower, the edges of the cybernetics and prosthetics that kept him alive had dug into his flesh from thermal expansion. It hurt.
It really fucking hurt. The point where flesh ended and plastic began always seemed to hurt. But that wasn't the only source of pain. He could feel pain through every one of his prosthesis, phantom pain.
He tossed the towel into a hamper beside the door and sighed as he stepped through the doors. Every day it was the same routine: get up, shower, run diagnostics, eat, tweak the control bios of the implants, get dressed, go to work assembling another prosthetic for a local hospital, eat lunch, finish the prosthetic, sit back, play video games, eat dinner, and repeat.
Victor walked over to the griddle by the side of the sink and flicked it on before lifting up his wrist. Scowling, he tapped at the computer built into his cybernetics and started the morning diagnostics. Every movement he made as he walked over to the refrigerator was recorded, the nerve pulses directing the movement of his cybernetics were recorded and the motions adjusted.
Nothing could completely deaden the pain as the diagnostics worked. Still, he was used to it. As he grabbed a bowl from the cabinet along with some flour, the Cyborg flinched as his wrist spasm and nearly dropped it. Cooking was a challenge in the midst of diagnostics, but with the little bit of time he had in the mornings there really wasn't a good way around it.
"Damn." He grunted as his fingers spasm for a moment. "Now you listen here you God damn circuits, I'm trying to fuckin' cook here."
The spasms stopped and Cyborg pulled a large bag of flour from the cabinet. A few minutes later, the bowl was filled with pancake batter and chocolate chips. On the griddle, he quickly cooked a small mountain of pancakes, bacon, and eggs. "Mmm... mhmm!" He said before setting down with the plate and starting his breakfast.
A large metal case sat beside the table filled with bills and Victor glanced at it for a moment after finishing his breakfast. "I guess I need to run to the bank again." He stepped to the case and snapped it shut.
"Garfield Logan?" The customs officer asked in a bored voice as his fingers tapped across the keyboard. A moment later he glanced up and stared at the subject.
He was a kid, maybe around thirteen or fourteen with a pale complexion, freckles, bright red hair with sunburns, and otherworldly green eyes. With a nod the customs officer confirmed the boy's identity. "Metahuman?"
The boy swallowed. "Yeah… what's it to you?"
"Nothing… but I've got to confirm it kid." The customs officer said. "Now… it says you're registered as a… 'changeling' with the alias 'Beast Boy'?"
"Yeah…" Garfield muttered. "I can change into animals… wanna see?"
"No, that's fine…" The officer said with a harrumph. "It looks like it's been quite a while since you were home in the US."
"Just keeping busy… meta stuff, you know?" Garfield said with a shrug. "So we done?"
"Not quite… anything you want to declare?"
Garfield smirked. "Besides me being totally awesome? Nope!"
The customs officer groaned. "Move along and welcome to the Big Apple."
"I guess I'll just go and take a nice big bite then…" Garfield exaggerated marching through customs whistling. He drew some stares with his black and purple uniform and goofy demeanor. One of the people waiting in line muttered something about cosplayers.
Garfield paid it no heed, he marched past the baggage claim whistling as he did and walked out to the street. A grin was plastered across his face as he saw the yellow cabs lined up, their horns blaring.
"Taxi!" He yelled. When one pulled up, he clambered inside. "TD Bank at 1873 Broadway, and step on it!"
I hope I got enough cash for the trip to the bank.
Victor Stone fingered the metal case hanging from his hand as he stood in line to the tellers. It always irritated him a bit to have to deposit his earning in this fashion. He hadn't had a means of accepting credit or debit card deposits until a few months earlier, and few of his customers knew that there was another means of paying him now.
He'd had thought when he first started that most of the payments he'd recieve would have been in the form of checks, but quickly found that former members of the military had an odd tendency to operate more with cash, and so once a week he found himself with a metal case filled with bills awaiting deposit.
Victor made prosthetic limbs and cybernetic implants, mostly from parts made by his father's company: STAR Labs. An enormous market for the implants and limbs had opened up with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as the fighting there tended to produce more amputations than other injuries.
Two days earlier, he'd been working with a former US Army Ranger to get a prosthetic limb with an integrated pistol in the arm. It'd been typical as so many of the former military men had a tendency to want to be armed, or at least have a set of limbs capable of letting them do sports shooting.
He'd been paid three thousand dollars cash for the limb.
"Next." The teller said as Victor stepped to the counter. The brunette woman behind the counter smiled up at him. "Another good week for you Mr. Stone?"
"Good enough." He set the metal case on the counter and handed over a deposit slip. "Just shy of five thousand today..."
"I'll get this counted then..." The teller said before taking the briefcase and walking over to the cash counter. As she popped it open Victor glanced around the room for a moment and saw a girl in a hoodie head toward the back. He shrugged. "Listen... I need to take a leak."
"Oh, sure Mr. Stone..." The teller quickly said in a tone that declared she didn't need to know that detail.
"I'll be right back." Victor said before he pushed away from the counter and headed toward the restroom.
Garfield growled as he punched the buttons on the ATM machine. After three tries the machine spat out the card and he glared in irritation at the ATM. "Stupid machine! I just went twenty bucks!" He wanted to morph into a gorilla, rip the box from the wall, and give it a good shake when a text message appeared.
Account Suspended due to Security Concerns…
Please see a teller for assistance. Minors are required to bring their parent or guardian.
"Oh fuck no!" Garfield snapped and beat the wall in frustration. "Mento is so going to laugh this up, I know it!"
A food truck rumbled to a stop and its rear door burst open. A dozen armed men swarmed past him into the lobby beyond as Garfield spun. "Huh?"
"Freeze kid!" Two of the armed men stopped outside the doors and lifted their rifles toward Garfield.
"Dudes, come on!" Garfield snapped. "You're not robbing the bank are you? Could you give me a twenty?"
The two robbers glanced between them, in that moment Garfield lunged forward, his body shifting from his human form to that of a snarling red furred wolf. He snapped at the arm of one of the men and bit down.
The robber screamed in pain and jerked away, dropping his gun in the process. His buddy swore and ran forward lifting the butt of his rifle like a club.
Garfield snapped out with a kick and caught the man in the chest with his back legs, knocking him into the wall as Garfield dragged the first man onto the ground. With a growl he changed again, turning to an enormous red furred cave bear. As the second man clambered upright Garfield stood on his hind legs and batted him with a paw knocking the robber into ATM's screen which shattered and crackled with electricity.
He fell still as the first thug scrambled for a gun just in time to be batted into the wall beside him. Garfield returned to his natural form and chocked. "Ugh… thugs taste bad…" He scrambled to the monitor and swore. "Dude! I'll never get my money out now!"
"I've always wondered, why don't other people think of the safety deposit boxes?" Raven muttered to herself as she stepped through the bank with the keys jangling in her hand. She walked up to the teller and let out a sigh. "Excuse me. I'd like to access a safety deposit box."
"Sure Miss, I assume you have the key?"
"Of course… why wouldn't I?" She stated deadpan. "It's not like I'm here to steal something."
"Right this way." The teller said before leading her to the back and a wall lined with numbered boxes. Slowly Raven ran her eyes along the numbers and stopped at her box. She handed the woman her key.
With a click, the woman pulled open the box revealing an ancient looking leather bound book. With a single nod to herself, she pulled it out and examined it for a moment. "This is all I need."
A shotgun blast echoed from the front.
The New York skyline spread out before him as Richard drove off the highway atop the motorcycle. The occasional whir of sirens greeted his ears as he drove through the streets, glancing occasionally at the side alleys. The familiar stink of urban living struck his nostrils as he drove into the dockside districts. It was the smell of urine and petrol mixed with the salty air of the ocean.
Richard's cheek twitched as he turned along a side road and sat in the traffic on the way to the city's center. The expanse of green trees and grass of central park slid past before he came to a set of clean looking apartments just off the park. A simple banner on the side of the building declared: Apartments for Rent, and Richard turned into the alley and climbed off the motorcycle. He pulled a tarp over the bike and stepped up to building's office.
A petite blonde woman sat behind the counter and glanced up. "Oh, hello... I'll be with you in just a minute." She grabbed a stack of papers from the printer and took them out of sight before returning with a clipboard. "What can I do for you?"
"The banner said you had apartments?" Richard asked.
"Of course... there are six apartments remaining, all of them two bedroom." She smiled faintly. "You can make a six month down payment?"
Richard smirked. "No problem..." It wasn't... being the adopted son of Bruce Wayne had its advantages and wealth was one of them. After just a few minutes of negotiation, he'd gotten a set of keys to an apartment on the twelfth story and headed up.
Inside the apartment were the typical kitchenette, the two bedrooms, a common room, and a small cramped bathroom with a shower. A small alcove opposite the bathroom held a washer and dryer.
"It's not a pent house, but it'll do." Richard said to himself as he tossed the duffle bag into one of the small bedrooms. "I guess I'll have to buy some furniture."
With a shrug, Richard slipped out of the room and headed to the elevator. Ten minutes later, he was driving by Macy's looking for a furniture store. A food truck rumbled past, its polished metal sides gleaming in the morning light.
A police siren blared from down the block and Richard tapped the crime scanner nestled between the handlebars of his bike.
"Dispatch, bank robbery in progress on 1873 Broadway…" Immediately Richard hammered on the throttle and shot between a pair of cabs waiting for the light. He might as well start making his mark on the city.
Victor Stone was zipping up his fly when the boom of a shotgun echoed from just outside the bathroom door. Scowling he tapped the side of his forearm and with a snap a conical sonic cannon extended from his arm. He stepped toward the door just as a second blast echoed and the screams started.
"Get on the floor, all of you!" A voice shouted as Victor stopped just beside the bathroom door. "We're serious fuckers, so just shut up and get on the fucking ground!"
Victor tapped his cybernetic eye and peered around the corner. He could see the heat signatures of a dozen men standing in the middle of the lobby, their hot forms framing the cool metal of the weapons in their hands. Other heat signatures sprawled out on the ground, their hands clasped behind their heads in the classic pose of bank hostages everywhere.
"Shit... fuckin' typical." Victor said as he leaned back from around the corner.
"Check the bathrooms!" A man yelled.
"Well hell..." Victor said as he stepped back toward the stalls and lifted his wrist toward the entrance. "You best be robbin' some other bank..." He murmured to himself. "Or I'll fuck you up."
A man with a ski mask clutched the frame of an AK-47 as he stepped right in front of Victor. His eyes went wide just before a sonic pulse shot from the cyborg and slammed the man back against the tile. He crumpled to the floor and laid still.
"What the hell was that?" One of the guys in the lobby yelled. "Frank? What's going on in there? You know the boss doesn't want you getting' tail unless he gets some too... Frank?"
"Go find him." Another voice growled. "You two, go get the stuff cash behind the tellers, the rest of you listen up... We're cracking the safe."
"Right Rav!" The first voice answered.
"Well fuck me and call me Shirley." Victor said as he crept toward the door. "If the whole lot is this stupid, it'll be easy!"
Rachel Roth swore under her breath as the shots echoed in the back of the bank... Her scowl grew darker as the bank worker that had led her to the safety deposit boxes shrieked and dove under a table.
She clutched the ancient tome toward her chest as two men wearing ski masks strode into the room, gleaming metal firearms clutched in their hands and duffle bags swung over their shoulders.
The two of them lifted the rifles toward her. "On the floor goth girl!" The larger of the pair shouted. "Unless you really want to end up getting paler from blood loss."
"Azar..." She snapped and backed away from the two thugs.
"I said, get on the ground!" The first thug yelled again and lifted the rifle toward the ceiling. A single shot echoed in the room. "Unless you want to die little bitch!"
A flash of rage flared in her mind and the fluorescent light overhead shattered bathing the room in darkness. The two robbers swore as Rachel kicked over a table and hid, clutching the tome to her chest.
"Damn bitch... just lucky that light shattered." The goon snapped. "Fine bitch, you want to hide, you hide!"
Rachel closed her eyes focusing inward until she could feel her spirit slowly beginning to pull free of her body. She could see the two goons kneeling beside the vault door pulling blocks of what looked like clay from the duffle bags and planting them on the vault door.
"This does not bode well." Rachel muttered to herself as the two goons slammed an electronic detonator into each of the blocks and stepped out of the room. Her eyes flared and a solid wall of darkness surrounded her.
Then the plastic explosives detonated. Raven felt the concussion roll over the shield and her ears rang. Then the heavy steel vault door fell from its hinges and dropped into the middle of the floor.
"Don't they know how to knock?" Raven muttered to herself as the two goons ran back into the room and stepped inside the vault. She could hear the zip of duffle bags being opened as each began to fill them with bank notes.
She stood up and brushed dust from her hoodie before glaring at the vault. "Azarath metrion zinthos!"
With a groan, a black shadow enveloped the vault door as it lifted from the floor and settled back into its frame. Slowly Raven lowered her hands and smirked. "All too easy."
The clatter of booted feet echoed in the bathroom and Victor waited. Suddenly a figure swung around the door, this one had the Kalashnikov tucked in tight to his shoulder as he entered and jerked it toward Victor just before he fired.
The sonic pulse shattered tile and sent dust billowing from the impact while the man screamed in pain and lifted the rifle toward him. A shot cracked past Victor's head and he returned fire, slamming a pulse of sonic energy into his chest and slamming him against the wall beside his comrade.
"This is my town and my bank..." Victor said as he charged past the two dazed robbers and into the lobby. He caught sight of two of the robbers carrying a metal case along with a pair of duffle bags. "Oh fuck no!" Cyborg yelled as he ducked behind a table. "That's my money!"
Two bullets ripped through the wood over Victor's shoulder before he spun and lifted his sonic cannon to the escaping pair of thieves. With a single shot, the man carrying the metal case was pitched over the counter and against the wall. One of the duffle bags burst open and a blizzard of cash fluttered through the air.
"Shoot the cyborg!" A voice yelled.
At that moment an explosion echoed just outside the glass storefront and the street beyond disappeared in a spiderweb of shattered glass. Seconds later a motorcycle blew through the glass. It was flat black with an enormous pair of wheels. A man clad in a set of full body armor and a mask was astride it as it twisted and slid across the floor. Victor's eyes stared at the bike as he saw the tires continue to drive despite going sideways, somehow revolving to keep the tire in the direction of the line of travel.
A gunman lifted his rifle to his shoulder and the rider hurled something that whipped through the air and cut into the trigger hand. He screamed and dropped the Kalashnikov which clattered to the floor as his compatriots opened fire.
The rider tumbled from the bike as bullets tore into the tile of the floor, and mid roll suddenly was on his feet, two more of the black boomerangs ripping through the air and catching two of the gunmen. Shouts of pain and anger filled the air.
Then the rider dropped beside Victor taking cover behind the table. Three black metal throwing stars filled one hand, each shaped vaguely like a bat.
"Hello." The masked man… no, this was no man. This close to him Victor realized he was more a teenager.
"Nice of you to drop in." Victor said as he spun around the desk and lifted his left arm. A blast of sound shot into one of the gunmen and he was tossed back against the wall with a thud. A second blast punched a hole clean through one of the overturned desks the robbers had made for as cover.
The masked figure glanced at him. "Is that a sonic cannon?"
"You bet." Cyborg said as he lined up a bead on of the robbers. A boom rocked the lobby.
"What have we here… batman decided to drop in?" One of the robbers asked before he stood up on the table. He wore a bandoleer laden down with grenades and magazines over a Kevlar vest. A ski mask covered his face and a Kalashnikov with an under barrel grenade launcher and scope was clasped in his hands.
"Batman?" One of the robbers shouted sounding scared.
The robber on the table chuckled. "Nah… I bet this is just a copycat, isn't that right lad? Dad told me all about that lot in Gotham… You trying to make a name for yourself?"
"Really? Guess this is just where we Gotham kids go when we leave our parents." The teen beside Victor said. Then he leapt to his feet and hurled his weapons at the figure standing atop the table. The man danced away, dropped behind the table and kicking it onto its side just for the three sharp batarangs to thump into the wood. He then lifted his rifle to his shoulder and let loose.
Victor flinched as the assault rifle rounds tore through the wood table beside him, but the masked teen was gone, leaping over the desks and chairs out of sight. The man standing atop the table slowly scanned over the tables. "I'll give you this much, you're not a bad fighter, are you kid?"
"I've trained with the best." The teen said with a smirk in his voice. Suddenly he leapt from the tables and kicked out catching the man atop the counter with his boot and knocking him back to the floor. When the teen dropped to the ground, he held a metal bo staff out before him and a slight smile played across his face. "What about you?"
The man leapt to his feet. "Nicely done…" He drew a katana from his back and charged forward. Victor stared in shock as the two combatants fought. The teen would leap clear of slashes that could easily have caught another man, or parried the blade with his fighting pike. With a snap, the teen belted the man across the face with his staff and knocked him onto his back. Before the boy could move to incapacitate him though the ski masked man lifted a machine pistol from his belt and opened fire.
The masked teen spun and grabbed his cape pulling it around him like a shield. The small caliber pistol bullets thudded against it like hail but didn't penetrate.
A boom echoed from the inside of the vault and Raven's eyes went wide as the vault door fell forward, toppling toward her. "Oh Azar..." She muttered. Diving out of the way, Raven rolled across the linoleum and banged against the wall. Her head throbbed as she blinked away the pain from the impact.
The two robbers ran through the smoke and disappeared around the corner as Rachel rubbed her head and groaned.
"We got the money boss!" One of the minions yelled. Three of them came running out with duffle bags full of money. A food truck screeched to a stop outside the shattered glass.
The ski-masked man stood and backed away, his pistol leveled at the teen with smoke rising from the barrel. "It seems we have to cut this short… next time." He tossed the pistol aside and ran for the door, as he scrambled inside, the food truck roared away, its tires screeching.
"Dude!" Garfield shouted as he watched the robbers scramble away on the truck. He broke into a run, scrambling between cars. As he pushed himself his body shifted, molding and stretching into another form. His red hair ran down his back lengthening and stiffening into a crest of feathers that darkened to black at the tail tip.
His green eyes stared down the length of his snout and a screech unlike anything the people had heard echoed over the bustle of the New York street. People turned to the sound and some stared in shock.
Most thought it was some sort of bird… with a black snout and red feathers running down its back until turning to black and white stripes at the tail tip. Two small clawed wings were spread out before it as it screeched and the feathers ended mid-thigh on its calf. Dark black scales ran down to the three toed foot. One of the claws on the inside of the foot was raised and enlarged like a curved sickle.
The robbers in the back of the truck stared in shock as a nine foot long raptor scrambled after them, its tail held stiff out as it screeched again and leapt into pursuit.
Their leader tore a grenade from his bandoleer and tossed it… Garfield's eyes went wide as the metal clattered between them and he tried to stop. With a hiss he dove and rolled across the ground, shifting into his human form as he did.
Then a boom echoed in the streets and he heard bits of shrapnel slice through the air around him. Slowly he opened his eyes feeling innumerable bruises from his roll and staggered to his feet. The food truck was gone.
"Dude!" He glanced around at the staring bystanders. "What you looking at?"
Victor slowly stood. "Everybody okay?"
The teen stood and scowled. "Who was that guy?"
"No idea." Victor said. "You okay?"
"Yeah…" He scowled and brushed off the cape. "Thanks for the help."
Victor stepped over to one of the knocked out robbers and picked up the metal case holding his last weeks' worth of earnings. He sighed with relief. "Bastards almost took my money."
The teen stepped over to one of the knocked out robbers and lifted him up by the collar before slamming him into the wall. The man woke with a shout of pain and his head lolled from side to side. "Oh fuck…"
"Who do you work for?"
"Like I'd tell you freak!" The man snapped. "You're just a punk kid aren't you?"
The teen pressed his staff against his throat. "A name!"
"Fuck you! The Ravager is going to get you for interferin' you hear me!" The man snapped.
"Ravager…" The teen let the man go and stepped back, collapsing the staff before hanging it on his utility belt. "Thanks for the name… moron."
The man wilted slightly as he realized what he'd given. "Oh… fuck!"
The teen walked over to his bike and yanked it upright. "Hey… Cyborg? You know someplace around here we can get something to eat?"
"You buyin'?" Victor asked.
"Why not, I'm new in town." The teen said.
"Well, there's this Mexican place, authentic like…" Victor began.
"I take it you two were who I heard from the back." A rasp called from behind them.
Victor glanced at the source of the voice and found himself looking at a pale skinned teen clad in a black hoodie and long black jeans. She held a rather worn looking tome over her chest and glanced at the wrecked and knocked out thugs. "Some party."
"Who are you… matter of fact, who are y'all man?" Victor asked.
"Later… when we're someplace private." The teen said before turning to the goth girl. "Did you get any of them in the back?"
"No… I almost trapped them in the vault but they had explosives." The girl said.
"Come on… there's that joint I was talkin' about on sixty-sixth, just two blocks over." Victor said. "Then we can get some food and discuss what just happened."
The teen wrenched his bike upright and clambered aboard. "Sixty-sixth, right?"
"Yep." Victor said. "See you in a bit."
With a roar the bike shot out the smashed doors.
"He doesn't talk much." The goth girl said and Victor smiled.
"Dude!" Garfield shouted as the black cycle shot out of the bank and roared down the street. He stared after it for a long moment. "Was that batman?"
"No, batman looks like a bat." A raspy voice muttered from the bank doors. A pale skinned girl glanced around at the crumpled form of the two lookouts that were sprawled out beside the doors. "Did you do this?"
Garfield chuckled. "Umm… maybe? You think I could make a withdrawal now?"
"Bank's closed short stuff." A huge black man with a glowing red cybernetic eye said as he stepped through the doors. "Did you knock this lot out?"
"Yep…" Garfield said proudly and pointed his thumb to his chest. "It was easy."
"We were going to get some lunch. You want to come along short stuff?" The black man said.
Garfield felt his stomach growl at the thought of food. "You buying?"
"Nah… that bike guy is going to be buying." The black man said. "What's your name short stuff?"
"Umm… Beast Boy." Garfield said.
"Beast Boy?" The pale girl said in a dismissive tone. "Really?"
"I can turn into animals!" Garfield said before suddenly shifting to a red fox that sauntered over to the pale girl. Something about her scent drew him toward her and he cocked his head.
"Adorable…" The pale girl said and rolled her eyes. Her cool expression faltered as Garfield morphed into a raptor, its carnivorous breath seemed to make her choke at the stink. "Okay… maybe not that adorable."
With a flash Beast Boy was back in his human form grinning wickedly at the goth. "What about you guys?"
"The name is Raven." The goth said with a shrug.
"Kay…" Beast Boy glanced at the cyborg.
He sighed. "Well, my name is Victor… but lots of people around town call me Cyborg."
"Kind of obvious why." Raven said. "I believe you were offering lunch…?"
"Sure the car's this way." Cyborg said.
Twenty-five light years separated Earth from the star Vega... And orbiting the star itself a single ship sat, it's gleaming silver hull reflecting the starlight around it. In it's hull dozens of sapient life forms worked, experimented and researched, and one suffered.
The subject is awake… The mental voice called out to her. She slowly opened her bright blue-white glowing eyes and stared up at the grey-skinned creature that was bent over her form, a Psion.
Her body has not yet reached its maximum capacity. The mental voice stated and she glanced toward the side where a second grey alien was lifting a cylinder filled with a soft glowing liquid… The autotroph is multiplying in accordance with our projections.
It is time to proceed with the next experiment. We have others at the station. This one should provide a baseline for their maximum capacity. The Psion leaned over her and ran a hand along her soft blue-white skin examining her body for lesions or burns.
"X'hal…" The subject growled and flexed her claws trying to escape the restraints. Her feline ears fluttered as she flexed her arms and looked up at the grey form of the grey. She wanted to tear the creature limb from limb…
We are ready to proceed. The second grey stated as it stepped away and a massive device lowered into place. At first glance, it looked like a laser, but in truth, it wasn't something so complex or specialized. It created an artificial sunlight, a brilliant blue-white that mirrored that of the local star, Vega.
Beginning test… The first grey stated and the subject growled before she was engulfed in light. A howl echoed in the room as blue-white energy flared through the subject's body, rolling through her core and rushing toward the limbs, the eyes, searching for any point of exit.
She is discharging at an accelerated rate, well beyond projections. The grey stated. We will soon learn the maximum capacity of her body despite that.
A brilliant beam of blue-white light lanced from her clenched paw and burned through the restraint. With a snarl, she leaned back and slammed the glowing fist into the light source killing it and plunging the room into darkness.
Emergency. The grey stated as it stepped toward the control panel. Just as it reached the panel, a flash of light slammed into the controls blasting it apart. The grey stumbled back, its black eyes blinking in the sudden light and staring toward the source.
The subject stood, a brilliant light glowing from its paws, an equally bright light burning from its eyes. The grey stared as the eight-foot tall bipedal creature stepped toward it. Claws slid out from its five fingered paws and the cat like head was enveloped in a mane of scarlet hair.
No! The mind shouted as the creature charged, blinded by hatred and blood lust. Two blasts of blue white light smashed into the subject and she crumpled to the floor as a pair of guards stepped into the room. We must reinforce her restraints. The Psion observed.