Robin's head hurt.
Well, pretty much all of him hurt, but his head especially.
A mercenary stepping on your face will do that.
To make things worse, he was confined in a very familiar way, trapped in a vertical glass coffin, his arms strapped above his head.
In a way, he should have expected that. It was a Cadmus base after all.
And they'd thought to take his gloves, too. Pity. His best lockpick was in there.
Looking around, he could see Rocket, Red Arrow and Aqualad confined in a similar manner. They seemed unharmed, though Aqualad appeared to have some scorch marks on his uniform.
The room was small, not more than twenty by twenty feet with most of the space taken up by five containment pods lined up on one wall. One was empty, the others filled with four young heroes.
A control panel stood on the floor in the middle. A closed metal door was the only other thing visible.
Zatanna, Wally, M'gann, Artemis and Superboy were nowhere to be seen.
Maybe they got away Robin thought.
Well, probably not Zatanna, unless she'd made a miraculous recovery from her mystery illness, KF had passed out from Joker Toxin, and his last memory of Superboy was him being blasted away, so...
The thought hit him.
Oh hell no! Please don't be dead! They can't be! They can't do that to me! Not after Mom and Dad...
No. They weren't dead. He refused to believe that until he saw evidence to the contrary. Maybe they were just being held somewhere else.
The other three began stirring.
"Guys? You okay?" asked Robin.
"Ow..." moaned Rocket as she returned to consciousness and glanced around.
"Wh-where am I?" she shrieked, thrashing around uselessly against the restraints. "Let me out of here!" Obviously, being the newest hero of the four of them, she was the least used to being captured and put into deathtraps. A tiny bit of claustrophobia didn't help.
Normally, Robin would have expected Aqualad to try and calm her down with a few stoic words. However, the Atlantean seemed distracted, staring down at the floor muttering "It can't be true" to himself. Maybe the apparent repeat of the Cadmus fiasco was taking its toll on his confidence in his role as leader.
"Rocket" said Robin. "Take some deep breaths, okay? You're going to be alright."
Rocket inhaled and exhaled, once, twice. "How on earth does this picture scream 'alright' to you?" she asked, but in a more normal, sarcastic manner, which was good.
"Don't worry. I've been tied up like this before. We got out of it."
Of course, I had my gloves with the lockpicks built into the fingers then he thought but did not say.
Red Arrow was the last one to wake up. His pod was at the far end of the room next to Robin's, limiting his visibility. "Robin?" he whispered.
"I'm here. Rocket and Aqualad are too. You okay?"
"I'll be fine. I've been through worse." Robin figured this was probably true, but Roy looked like he was going to have a rather large bruise on his chin.
"I need to tell you something" the archer said. "Ar..."
"Now, now. What do we have here?" a shadowy figure interrupted from the doorway. "Four little heroes in need of someone to save them?"
Red Arrow, Robin and Aqualad all froze as they heard the familiar, mocking voice.
The archer narrowed his eyes. "Cheshire."
"Oh, you remember me. And here I thought it was just a one-night stand, arrow boy" teased the masked assassin as she stepped into the light.
"Who are you?" demanded Rocket, who was really tired of being out of the loop on these things.
"Her name's Cheshire. She's an assassin for the League of Shadows" said Red Arrow.
"We have dealt with her before" added Aqualad, who seemed to have snapped out of his... whatever it was.
"Come now, boys" said Cheshire, walking forwards. "My job is so much more than that. There's the espionage, and the kidnapping, the occasional bit of torturing and sometimes even an escort service!"
"What do you want, Cheshire?" asked Red Arrow.
"Oh, I just thought I'd check on you all. See if you needed anything to make your stay more comfortable."
Rocket rolled her eyes. Cheshire was one of those types of baddies, wasn't she?
Two men in masks walked past the door, moving what looked like a dining cart. Robin only got a glance at it, but what he say made his eyes widen behind his mask.
"What did you do to him!?" he shouted, unable to control himself.
"Huh? Oh, that" said Cheshire, turning around and motioning for the two men to come back. Through the door, the four members of the Team could see a large, seven foot long cylinder, its top completely coated in bluish crystal.
Only it wasn't crystal.
It was ice.
And trapped inside, they could clearly see the reddish hair and freckles of a certain Kid Flash.
The entire group gasped.
"Don't worry about him" said Cheshire, motioning to the men to keep moving. "He's alive, and I'm sure you'd much prefer him this way to laughing his head off. Of course, Dr. Icebox downstairs will be happy to give you all a very... personal look at the process soon enough."
Red Arrow glared at her. "You don't scare me" he said.
Cheshire walked over to the control panel and pressed a button. Electricity poured into the four from their wrist shackles, causing them to scream and writhe in pain.
"I don't have to scare you, Speedy-boy" said Cheshire.
"It's. Red. Arrow" he replied somehow through gritted teeth.
"Whatever. All you have to do is remember who has this little button." She released it and the pain stopped, leaving the Team members gasping for breath.
"Aww..." said Cheshire in a cutesy voice. "Did I hurt the little hewoes? Are they confused? Are they racking their little brains trying to figure out how this all happened? How we stupid villains outsmarted them?"
"Stop" came another voice from the doorway. "Don't say it, sis."
The new arrival stepped into the room, her yellow-blond hair snaking down over the bow at her back.
"Artemis?" said Cheshire.
The archer gave an evil grin.
"I want to tell them about it myself."