Chapter 13: Betwixt and Between

Tie-dye, that was the only way to describe it; his eyelids had been tie-dyed.

Oh, and there was the pain. Nothing specific, just an overall uncomfortable feeling, like there were needles not quite touching his skin, but close enough to feel.

Beast Boy clutched his head, or at least he thought he did; this experience was a little overwhelming.

But then, just like a light switching off, it was gone, leaving only a ringing in his ears.

He opened his eyes slowly, peeling one, then the other open. Before him was a huge computer, army green, with input pads scattered about. He felt his chest, arms, they were there, in some kind of armour. On his head was a form fitting helmet of some kind, giving everything a slightly yellow hue.

On that note, maybe the console was blue...

"Oh, come on!" that was Raven. Beast Boy looked left, then right, following the glowing electronics with his soon to be embarrassed eyes.

At the front of the space, which he now realized was some kind of cockpit, was a circular circuit board planted in the ground. Rising from it, like some perverted fleshy tree was Raven, glowing blue and naked as the day she was born.

Well, not entirely naked. Some conveniently placed circuitry covered, as only pasties could, her personal regions.

Beast Boy didn't know what to do, where to look. He settled on turning his back to her, standing at attention, praying that the armour couldn't tent.

"Garfield! What the hell is this?" Raven apparently noticed him. From the shuffling, he assumed she was looking for coverings. He wondered whether he should tell her that she was just a projection...

"Gah! What sick game is this?" well, he figured she'd just figured out she was a hologram, so there was a bullet dodged. Or, well, she was a hologram, and she couldn't technically hit him...

Slowly, channeling every lazy creature he could think of, Beast Boy turned, feet remaining planted fearfully on the deck. The wandering eyes of a 13 year old did their work, much to Raven's chagrin, "Turn away, pervert!"

He jumped at her sharp tone, but obeyed. Kind of like a dog, he thought, and moped. Dogs never got past first base.

Raven, unseen she hoped by Beast Boy, let out a sigh, and sat cross legged on her panel. She crossed her arms over her lady bits and let out an exasperated sigh. As far as she could tell, she was fully covered, and it's not like her suit left much to the imagination on a regular day.

"I am only going to ask once, and if you say anything regarding hentai, interactive adult games, or anything of that fashion, I swear to God and Azar, I will kill you."

Beast Boy gulped, "Actually... its none of those things," he quickly added, "Not that I know what those things are of course,"

A grunt of disapproval was her response.

"It's Halo, a science fiction shooter set in the future where these super soldier guys fight these grunts and flood and-"

A squeal of static filled his helmet, making him jump. "Cool," Raven admitted, just now realizing that she was 'plugged' into Beast Boy's suit. "Now, bottom line it."

"You're the computer program that Master Chief, the head awesome soldier dude, works with, you didn't start out hot, but it just kind of evolved that way..." his voice rose higher until it cracked, sure that any minute Raven would do something unspeakably mean to him.

Instead, he just got a calm "Okay,"

A brief silence passed, broken by Raven. "Now, how do we get out of here?"

Beast Boy smirked, "The door might help,"

"Little green-"

The retort was lost in static, as just as suddenly as it stopped, the splashing colours and disconcerting itching returned, and both once again flew through the void. The last thing Beast Boy heard was an echoing voice, saying "Thanks Brod Road for the suggestion..."

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The white noise and static vanished, and Robin rubbed his eyes, trying to clear to stars. What was all that?

As he moved he realized he wasn't touching anything, not even the ground. He was floating?

Looking about, he saw a long white corridor, no windows, opening into a wide room at either end. A small white box with mesh on its front was set in the wall (ceiling?), and from it played quietly a strangely familiar tune.

As Robin's eyes traced the corridor, he felt a strange sense of deja-vu, and surmised that something had gone wrong. It didn't take the world's greatest detective to figure that out; he was somewhere else, skipped maybe through dimensions when Control Freak's remote disintegrated.

The world's greatest detective... Robin chuckled silently, remembering the day Alfred had called Bruce that for the first time. Bruce! This place had something to do with Bruce, he could feel it, like some forgotten password. What was it?

The soft music was growing in volume, and he stared at the box (on the floor maybe?) and thought. Trumpets sounded over the speaker, in growing crescendo. Why did it sound so familiar?

Sprak Zarathustra! by Straus! It clicked, and he grinned, remembering Alfred teaching him piano. But that wasn't where the song was from...

He gasped in sudden realization, and scrambling like a drowning rat made his way down and out of the hallway. At the end the corridor expanded, and as he crossed the threshold his feet touched down on the outer wall, which seemed to extend in a complete circle above his head to end, or begin, on the other side of the portal.

He had to be sure, there was no way this could be it... how he loathed this movie, and every time Bruce would watch it, sometimes just to help him sleep...

"Hello? Is there anybody in here?"

His voice echoed back, and he sighed in relief. Maybe it wasn't that movie, after all there were lots of movies in space stations, and that song was kind of infamously tied to space travel...

Then a deep, computerized voice spoke out, replacing the crescendo of instruments from the speakers on, well now he could define it as the ceiling. "Good morning Dick, how are you?"

"No!" Robin screamed, hugging himself and falling to his knees. It was his greatest fear, a specter from his childhood nightmares, worse even than Skynet, it was the quintessential evil machine, the menace of technology, "Hal!"

"Look Dick, I can see you're really upset about this. I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over," the monotone voice intoned. "We wouldn't want your mind to malfunction; human error is quite common..."

The buzzing and flashing of the in between void could not come soon enough as Robin sat there, trying to tune out what he now realized was his greatest fear.

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White glare, buzzing headache, then flash, no more. Cyborg shook his head, trying to clear the ringing, wondering if tinnitus was even a real thing for cyborgs. Stupid Control Freak and his stupid remote.

Flash, another glare, though this one was from a spotlight, and as he sheltered his eyes he looked out onto what appeared to be a thinly populated bar. He felt a weight over one shoulder and found in his hands an electric guitar, and he held it carefully. Music was never something he was good at making.

"Dude," it was Beast Boy. Cyborg gave the other a once over, he was also carrying a guitar, and looked completely lost as to why.

A squeal brought their attention to the microphones, one before each of them, standing pitifully small before the stares of bored patrons. They made eye contact once again, and Beast Boy felt a grin tugging at his mouth. "Let's do this," he said, and struck a power cord.

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Raven blinked away the flashes, gritting her teeth against the pain. It felt like a wooden roller coaster ride, only infinitely worse. Why she'd ever let Cyborg talk her into that one...

"This is most unpleasant," Starfire? Raven blinked heavily, looking across a greasy table top to see the Tamaranian, who was equally as confused as she. The other saw her and smiled, "Friend Raven! where are we?"

Friend Raven was wondering the same thing, but having no answer merely shrugged. Examining their surroundings brought them clues, and the glasses of beer scattered about suggested a bar. Rock music played from a small stage on the other end of the bar.

Raven rubbed her eyes, Beast Boy? Starfire saw them as well, and curious, asked Raven what they were doing. Raven had no words to describe it.

Standing there like 80's rock stars Cyborg and Beast Boy strummed absurdly complex rhythms from their gem studded guitars. Their dirty, stretched out retro shirts depicted Star Wars scenes, and tight jeans torn at random finished the look. Cyborg's bald head glinted in the spotlight, and Beast Boy's hair shook like never before.

"I Don't Need..." Beast Boy began his verse, and the two banged their heads forth in tune to the power cords. "A Microphone..."

Starfire was more confused than ever, but watched silently as her friends performed their cultural ritual to the delight of the once bored crowd. "Because My Voice..."

Raven knew what was coming. She'd been coerced into watching this one a while back. Beast Boy took a deep breathed and practically screamed, "Is Fucking Powerful!" If her eyes could roll out of her head, they most certainly would have at that moment.

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Cyborg opened his eye, noticing at once that he was back to one. He gingerly touched his new body, finding it covered in segmented plates of gold. Literally gold too, as far as he could tell.

A roar caught his attention, mainly because it was enormous, like the eruption of a volcano. Looking around he saw a stone city in the midst of some kind of war, bodies and debris strewn about burning as one.

He looked up, following the horizon, and saw that this area was only part of the city; the rest stretched into the clouds on the side of the largest mountain Cyborg had ever seen, and that was just the peak.

The roar came again, and this time Cyborg looked down the mountain. Past stone bridges and gold arches, past a flaming chariot hurtling through the sky, was the second largest living mountain Cyborg had ever seen.

It's body was like the inside of a volcano, oozing magma like blood and stones cracking like dry skin. It appeared to be roaring in anger and joy, as it smashed everything in sight. Cyborg looked on to see more giants behind it, ascending quickly to the lofty summit.

He could guess where he was, but that didn't prepare him for the explosion to come. Out from the mountain side a streak of white and red burst, like a vengeful zit ready to kill. A flash of blue and then bam, it struck the lava giant's head, right between its enormous molten eyes.

Cyborg gasped, "Kratos!" Like a schoolgirl laying eyes on her favorite boy band, he stood transfixed, and Kratos tore his way up the mountain side, both living and not.

The giant ashen god slashed and tore, coming ever closer to Cyborg's position. Only when he could hear the former god's growls did it occur to him that he was on Olympus, as an Olympian.

"I AM THE GOD OF WAR!" the Ghost of Sparta cried in rage, and Cyborg was sure that if he had a bladder, it would have emptied just then. With a squeak of fear manly enough to make a pixie jealous, Cyborg turned and ran.

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Robin opened his eyes to find the glare of the void remaining, only now flashing. Blinking the blur from his eyes, Robin realized he was not in the void, not anymore at least. He was in a hospital, and he was running, a gurney in his hands, rolling along before him.

Beside him another gurney pulled up, this one pushed by a tall woman with a green complexion and black hair. Just then another gurney joined them, this one pushed by a cute redhead who was clearly not old enough to be a doctor.

"Oh great, dweeb to the rescue," the green woman said, and the red head replied, with a rather sarcastic tone, "What makes you think you're coming with?" Robin looked between the two, then pulled up when and official looking surgeon stepped in front of them.

"Sir," he began, tearing the blue sheet off Robin's gurney with a ceremonial flair. "Your patient, he has become, a mole rat!"

Robin, confused, leaned forward and saw on the gurney, instead of a human, a small naked mole rat. It waved meekly at him, and Robin returned the gesture.

"Because this is way too... moopy for me." the green woman shot back. "Oh! You were on pals! I love that show?"

"Figures," the green lady grumbled.

Robin, utterly confused, watched as the two, along with the mole rat, vanish into thin air. The doctor on the other side of the gurney smiled, "Another case solved!"

"Right, since when is that a good thing?" retorted a man in a nearby doorway, leaning heavily on a cane to his right side. Robin could see numerous bottles of pain killers in the office beyond, and the man, presumably a doctor, caught his eye.

"What, too busy masquerading to do your job?" he grunted and hobbled back into his office, door easing shut behind him. Robin touched his face and realized his mask was in place, and he wondered when it became more comfortable to have it on than off.

Loud stomping brought his attention back to the hallway, as a med team rushed by, gurney empty. He heard one of them remark, "Ever since that damn simulator! I mean, removing a ribcage with a hammer?"

This was getting weirder and weirder.

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Raven rubbed her eyes, seriously regretting getting out of bed today. At least she was clothed this time, she mused, touching the well-worn leather jacket over her slim shoulders. There were a lot of people around her; she was jolted out of her thoughts by a surge of these dirty people.

More out of necessity than curiosity, Raven followed the crowd, and grimaced as their collective stink reached her nose. "Smells like…"

"Pig shit," Raven looked to her left and saw Robin there, mask in place but elsewise looking as rundown as everyone else. "What?"

Robin smiled in a nostalgic way, an expression reserved for those rare occasions that he mentioned his time with… him. "Methane, it all runs on methane. Methane cometh from…" Raven nodded, finishing the sentence, "Pig shit."

"You know where we are then?" she tried very hard not to touch anyone, and so was practically on top of Robin. "Mad Max," Robin replied, clearly expecting her to understand; she didn't.

Now Robin was tempted to roll his eyes, "Raven, it's only one of the best pieces of 80's cinema."

"I thought that was the Breakfast club?" Robin gave Raven a look she'd only ever received from Beast Boy, the kind of hurt/disgust/pity that followed her not understanding something nerdy.

All at once the crowd around them fell silent, interrupting the two. They followed the eyes of everyone else, arching up to the cage-dome that they all stood beneath. A hodgepodge of trash littered literally every surface, and Raven squinted to see the figure standing high up the wall.

"Is that Tina Turner?" she asked, prompting shushing sounds from all those around her.

"Welcome to another edition of Thunderdome!" the woman on the throne space cried out, to the cheers of the crowd. Whence they'd settled, she continued, "Fighting leads to killing, and killing gets to warring, and that was damn near the death of us all."

Raven noticed that several of the folk around her had taken off their hats, and held them to their breasts in an pledge like fashion. "Look at us now, busted up and everyone talking about hard rain," the lady continued, "But we've learned by the dust of them all. Bartertown's learned."

A deafening cheer was the crowd's response. "Now when men get to fighting, it happens here, and it finishes here. Two men enter, one man leaves."

The crowd surged, chanting "two men enter, one man leaves!" Raven really wanted whatever they were here for to just finish already.

"And right now, I've got two men, two men with a gut full of fear. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. . ." the gaggle of humanity held its breath…

". . .dying time's here!"

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Control Freak landed face first in sand. He peeled his face off the beach and spit out a mouthful of the gritty stuff. The beach was empty, as far as he could see, as was the water before him. Palm trees and large leafed shrubs filled the space behind him. Basically, Control Freak was alone, utterly alone.

But wait, what is that sound? It sounded like singing, nonsensical singing from tiny nonsensical voices; "Ding ding, ding ding ding, ding ding ding,"

His chubby arms rose to the heavens. "Praise the writer, Spaceballs!"

"Shit, there goes the planet."

Control Freak knew that voice, and he was almost in tears as he turned.

There, atop an enormous flaming, skeletal, hopefully undead, horse, sat the very image of the fourth wall, the icon of absurdity and inconsistency. King of the sarcastic, lover of death, the lover of Death, the indestructible, inscrutable, unapproachable- "Shut up man, just tell them who I am!"

The author bowed his head to the wishes of the mouthy mercenary, and revealed to his audience a Nolan North voiced mutant garbed in naught but skin-tight red and black spandex. Control Freak was unsure whether to swoon or cheer; he settled on cheering, "Deadpool!"

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Hi kids, this is Deadpool! If you liked the story, leave a review! Actually, screw that, if you read this far you don't have a life, so congrats! You are almost as pathetic as the author. I mean c'mon dude, 25,000 words and you only just got to me? God, what a dick. What? Oh fine, the dude with the keyboard wants me to tell you to leave a comment with suggestions on stuff. Apparently he is going to drag this out for another chapter before-BLAM!

Sorry about that folks. I had to kill Deadpool; no spoilers allowed.