A Night Out On the Town
-Nearly two years ago-
It was a hot night in Jump City, the sun had gone down and the air had not yet cooled. People all around the city were starting to come out, ready to relax and enjoy themselves with a night out on the town. Not everyone was relaxing however; a group of five teenagers were in the middle of the city with work on the mind.
"Argh! Robin, Starfire, he is heading east! I repeat, he is heading east!" Cyborg yelled into his communicator. Raven was already flying after the criminal in question, maintaining visual contact the whole time. She was not prepared to lose him again.
"On it!" Robin replied while running to his motorcycle. He and Starfire had gotten separated from the team during the chase and were a few blocks away from the rest of them. Cyborg ran down the street, advancing towards a figure sprawled across the ground. He leaned down and grabbed the young teen's shoulders, shaking him and trying to wake him.
"Come on BB, wake up!" He shouted; he needed him to get up so that they could join the rest of the team in pursuit. Beast Boy remained lifeless and Cyborg lifted him up onto his shoulders, carrying him across the street to the T-car. He placed Beast Boy in the back and sped away, heading east to meet up with the rest of the Titans.
Raven could hear the rumble of the R cycle behind her and was soon after joined by Starfire. The two flew side by side while Robin rode underneath them on the street. The perpetrator was a short distance ahead of them, zooming in and out of traffic on his own motorcycle. Starfire sped up, flying ahead of Raven, and threw starbolts at the bike. She was lowering her altitude when a large red object flew out from behind the bike and wrapped around her, causing her to spiral out of control. She fell to the ground with a clash and tumbled backwards. Robin maneuvered around her, barely missing her with his bike.
Raven and Robin continued the pursuit, maintaining close distance the entire time. After chasing the offender for a few more blocks, the T-car flew out from a nearby street, cutting off Robin and joining the chase.
"Ughhhh, man. What happened?" Beast Boy moaned, clutching his head. He was lying in the back of the car and was beginning to feel very nauseous. Cyborg looked back for a moment, making sure that he was okay.
"You hit your head, we are in pursuit," Cyborg replied. He didn't want to take his focus off of the chase by elaborating. Beast Boy just moaned in reply and curled up into a ball, continuing to clutch his head. Raven was picking up speed, now approaching the motorcycle. She wanted to lift the ground up in front of the motorcycle, but doing so on a busy street might harm other motorists and innocent bystanders. So, she settled upon trying to hold the motorcycle itself back, though at that speed, it would be difficult.
Cyborg could see her preparing for attack through his windshield and moved over to the right lane, giving her room. Robin rounded around the T-car and drove ahead of it, maintaining distance between Raven and him. Raven engulfed the motorcycle in black magic and pulled with all of her might, causing the tires to screech. The driver gassed the bike, trying to go faster to break the enchantment. He turned around to throw something at her, but stopped as he heard a loud pop. The bike stopped abruptly and flipped over, causing him to fly out of his seat and skid across the road. Robin immediately stopped his bike and ran over to the wreckage.
The T-car slid to a halt and Cyborg came running out of the car, Beast Boy following behind him at a slower pace. Soon Starfire flew over, seeing the small cloud of smoke coming from the damaged bike. The offender pushed himself off the ground and stood up, looking at the Titans.
"Give it up, Red X" Robin shouted, standing in a defensive stance. He knew that Red X would not come easily and kept his guard up. Starfire's hands began to glow and Cyborg had his cannon aimed at Red X.
"Now kid, what would be the fun in that?" Red X retorted. He threw several large X's at the Titans, each of them exploding on the ground in front of them. The Titans began to attack, each taking their turn at attempting to disarm Red X and none getting closer to doing so. Red X really had seemed to have improved in combat over the past year while he was lying low.
He ran down the street, Raven and Starfire hot on his heels. Cyborg and Beast Boy were running after him, Beast Boy in the form of a cheetah. Robin was running towards his bike, knowing that it would be faster in the long run if he went back for it. Red X skidded to a stop and flew two X's at the girls behind him, one hitting Raven and sending her flying backwards, and the other narrowly missing Starfire. She flew up above him and bombarded him with a horde of starbolts. Cyborg and Beast Boy caught up to Raven and started to help her get out of the trap.
Robin rode up, seeing the all-out battle going on between Starfire and Red X, and ran over to help. He began throwing explosives and fog bombs at Red X, attempting to blind him. Cyborg nodded to Beast Boy, who in turn ran over to help with the battle. Raven was finally out of the trap when her alarm went off, flashing red. Just a moment later, Cyborg's arm lit up and started beeping. Over at the battle scene, Starfire's pendant was flashing red and Robin's communicator was beeping. The Titans all looked around at each other, slightly confused and momentarily caught off guard.
In the moment of confusion, Red X threw several flash bombs at Starfire and Robin, and then ran into the opposite direction. Starfire immediately flew after him, not having been disarmed by the bombs. Cyborg called Robin over with a motion of his arm as Beast Boy flew after Starfire and Red X in the form of a pterodactyl.
"Robin, the Tower's alarm has gone off. It says there is an intrusion," Cyborg said. He didn't know what to make of it, the motion sensors and heat sensors indicated that there was no one there, but the alarm was going off. "I don't know if there is a break in, but someone should go check on the Tower." He wanted to be sure that everything was alright, better safe than sorry.
"I'll go, you stay here and help the others," Robin said. He hated leaving in the middle of a chase, but the Tower did need to be checked. Raven was sitting on the ground next to them, listening intently. In the distance, the sounds of battle could be heard and flashes of green light lit up the sky.
"I will go with you," Raven said. Even though Cyborg wasn't certain what was wrong, it was best to be cautious. It wouldn't be safe for Robin to go alone. He looked at her for a moment, considering.
"Fine, but Cyborg, you need to stay and help the others with Red X." he said, his tone absolute. Cyborg nodded and ran off towards the battle. Robin pulled Raven up by her hand and ran towards his bike. The two headed towards the Tower, Raven flying above Robin's speeding bike.
After about ten minutes of breaking every speeding law ever, Robin and Raven arrived at Titans tower. He stepped off his bike and walked towards the front door, Raven landing behind him and following. The Tower was dark and silent; there were no signs of life whatsoever. The two cautiously walked through the front doors. The room was flashing with red lights, the alarm now silent. Robin walked to the alarm's keypad and punched in a code, turning the red lights off.
The two looked around the room before walking to the elevator. "Let's check the entire Tower, just to be sure," Raven said. It didn't seem like anything was wrong, but that was perhaps what made her want to check it out the most. Robin nodded in agreement and the two set off, checking each floor before arriving to the main ops room. The two split, each examining one side of the room before reconvening in the middle.
"Well, it looks like nothing is here, must have been an error." Robin knew that their security system was top of the line, but even the best security systems were prone to mistakes. Raven looked around the room, still slightly suspicious.
"Yeah, I suppose." There was nothing in the tower, or they would have seen it. Yet, she couldn't help but feel like something was wrong. Her instincts told her that the alarm didn't go off by accident, but her logic told her that they had checked the tower and found nothing.
"Robin to Cyborg, Robin to Cyborg. There is nothing here, we checked the entire Tower and everything is clear. Have you apprehended Red X?" Robin was talking into his communicator, looking at Cyborg's face. An explosion sounded and a flash of light flourished in the background behind Cyborg.
"We are still fighting him. We managed to corner him on 5th, but he is putting up a good fight." Cyborg replied; he looked back at the fight behind him. "I have to go, they need my help." Cyborg looked at Robin, ready to cut off the call.
"Okay, Raven and I will be there as soon as we can," Robin replied. The call cut off and Robin put away his communicator. He was walking towards the door when Raven's hand gripped his arm, stopping him. "Raven, we have to go, they need us." Robin said, he didn't have time to dawdle and they had already wasted time coming to the Tower on a faulty alarm.
"I don't know Robin, something doesn't feel right." Raven said; she always trusted her instincts, no matter what her logic told her. Robin looked at her, his face inquisitive.
"We checked the whole tower Raven, there is nothing here." Robin was sure that they had combed the entire tower, but he had learned to trust Raven's instincts. She was normally right when it came to these things.
"I know, but I just sense that something is off. I think we should check again." Robin could not believe this. As much as he trusted Raven, his team needed him. He looked at her face; she was completely serious, she really seemed to think that something was wrong. He sighed and walked towards the computer.
"You go ahead; I am going to reset the alarm. Try to make it quick so that we can get back to the others." Robin logged into the mainframe and started resetting the alarm, making sure that it was completely functional this time. He could hear the doors slide shut behind him and hoped that Raven was moving quickly. He told Cyborg that he would be there soon and he didn't intend on leaving him hanging.
He exited through the doors on the right, going in a different direction than Raven. They would cover more ground that way. He wandered the halls, checking every room on the way. After about twenty minutes of checking he arrived back at the ops room. He looked around once again, finding it empty. Raven must have finished her sweep and gone down a floor. He was about to follow suit when he saw something out of the corner of his eye. A shadow moved in the hallway that he had first entered, but it was so quick that he wasn't even sure if he saw it.
He approached the hallway guardedly and peeked into it. It was dark, too dark to see anything. He walked into it, leaving the lights off, and continued down, listening intently for any sound of movement. He walked for several minutes before stopping and getting ready to turn around and head back. He heard a door lightly close in the hallway to his right and he turned around, walking warily towards the sound. He peeked around the corner, once again seeing nothing. There were several doors down the hallway, one being the door to his room. He was about to investigate when he heard the sounds of voices in the distance.
"Dude, why is it so dark in here? Didn't they turn on the lights when they got here?" Beast Boy's voice boomed across the room and Robin came running in from the hallway. All the Titans, except for Raven, were standing near the door, looking exhausted. Starfire flew over to Robin, her skirt burnt and frayed from battle.
"Thank goodness, Robin, you are alright?" she asked, relief in her voice. Robin looked at her quizzically, not understanding what she meant. He was about to ask when Cyborg interrupted.
"You said that you were going to meet up with us forty five minutes ago. When you didn't show up, we assumed that something was wrong," Cyborg explained, seeing Robin's look of confusion. Robin had completely forgotten to call Cyborg to inform him that they were doing another sweep. Beast Boy walked over to the switch and turned on the lights, causing everyone to look back at him in alarm.
The doors once again slid open and Raven walked in, her eyes looking over each her team members before landing on Robin. "I checked all the floors again." Robin looked at her expectantly, his eyebrows raised in question. "Nothing," she stated, her voice monotonous. She didn't understand what was wrong; she could feel something, but what? They had checked the entire tower,twice.She was worried and her stomach was uneasy because of it. She had never been wrong about this kind of thing before, so why now? All of the Titans were looking at her, nobody understanding exactly what she meant by it except for Robin. "I assume that you caught Red X?" she asked, turning her attention to Cyborg.
Beast Boy shifted his weight and Starfire looked away. "No, we were still in pursuit and when we realized how long it had been since you called us, we decided to come and check on you rather than continue." Cyborg was worried about how Robin would take this; he knew how Robin could get when a perp got away. "We just didn't want to be out chasing him if something was happening to you guys…" he explained. Rather than freaking out as Cyborg expected him to, Robin looked at Raven, completely ignoring the fact that they let a criminal get away.
"I saw something, in the hallways. I don't know what it was, but we need to check this floor again." Raven looked at him, her expression somber. She knew that something wasn't right; this was not an average break in.
"Wait, so there is something here?" Cyborg asked. Robin nodded at him, not wanting to elaborate. They only had so much time before it moved. In fact, it probably already had. Raven pointed towards the hallway that Robin came from and raised her eyebrows. Robin nodded towards her and started walking in the direction that she was pointing.
They entered the hallway, Robin in the lead with Raven close behind, Beast Boy and Starfire walking side by side, and Cyborg heading the back with his cannon ready. They walked through the halls, travelling towards the place where Robin had heard the sound.
"Seriously though dude, why are none of the lights on?" Beast Boy whispered; the Titans all ignored him. Robin knew that whatever made the sound had probably moved by now, but it was their only lead. Robin approached the hallway and Starfire illuminated it with a green glow. The five teens were examining the corridor when the alarm suddenly went off, causing Beast Boy to jump. The hallway flashed red and a beeping resounded through the tower. All of the Titans looked around in alarm, not knowing what to make of it.
"Cyborg, Beast Boy, Raven, go back to the ops room and see what is going on with the alarm. Check the security cameras and call me when you get there." Robin thought it best to send the larger group there as it was the more potentially dangerous situation. Villains always attacked the main ops room.
"No Robin, you need me here. I am the empath; I will be more useful searching with you." Raven's tone was absolute. She did have a point, if there was anyone that would be useful in finding an intruder, it was her.
"Alright, Starfire, you go with Cyborg and Beast Boy. Don't forget to call me when you get there, I want to know what is going on with the alarm." Robin gave them one last look before turning around and continuing down the hallway, Raven floating behind him. Cyborg and Beast Boy ran in the opposite direction, heading towards the ops room. Starfire watched Robin run into the darkness, only turning around to catch up with her team mates after she could no longer see him.
Cyborg, Beast Boy, and Starfire arrived in the main ops room. The lights were off and the room was lit with an eerie red from the alarm lights. The only sound was that of their breathing and the alarm sounding.
"Dude, I so turned on the lights when we got here," Beast Boy whispered, his voice quivering. Cyborg ran over to the computer and shut off the sound, but he couldn't seem to get the flashing lights to turn off. He looked over the security footage of the main ops room. It showed them coming in and talking, then walking into the hallway, nothing… nothing… nothing….the alarm going off. He didn't understand; none of the doors or windows was opened, what was setting off the alarm?
The doors slid open and all three teenagers turned around, their hearts pounding in their chests. Nothing and no one was there. All they could see beyond the doors was an empty hallway filled with darkness. A faint thudding started to echo through the room, as if a small drum was beating. The Titans looked at each other, equally confused expressions on their faces. The thudding stopped, making all the teens freeze on the spot in anticipation. Cyborg aimed his cannon at the door and Starfire's hands lit up. Beast Boy was too much in shock to think about transforming at the moment.
A light beeping could be heard and a small red light blinked in the doorway. It was different from the red alarm lights on the roof and flashed at a faster frequency. The Titans remained rooted to the spot, staring at the light and listening to the beeping. They were preparing for the worst. The beeping became faster and faster until it stopped and then, BOOM. A cloud of smoke followed the small explosion and filled the front half of the room. Cyborg ran towards the smoke, shooting his cannon in the direction of the door, and Beast Boy transformed into a ram, running in after him. Out of the smoke came dozens and dozens of Sladebots.
This came as a surprise to the three, as Slade had been missing from Jump for over a year now, his only sighting being by Beast Boy at an abandoned carnival many months ago. Starfire flew into the crowd of Sladebots and started bombarding them with starbolts. Cyborg was shooting, kicking, and punching as many bots as possible, but the numbers were overwhelming. Beast Boy was transforming back and forth between different large and dangerous animals, never seeming to find the right one.
Across the tower, Robin and Raven were searching for the cause of the alarms. They had heard a small bang, but when they went to go investigate, a shadow flew by, distracting them. They knew that something must be happening, the others hadn't called and the bang sounded similar to a small explosion, but they had to find out what was lurking in the hallways. They had followed it in a circle for twenty minutes, consistently losing and finding it again. The sounds of fighting were carrying through the halls, but it was so faint that they couldn't tell what was going on.
"If we don't find it soon, I say we head back to the ops room and help the others with whatever they are fighting," Raven said.
"Yeah, I agr-", Robin began, before being cut off by the same sound he heard before, the muffled sound of a door closing. Upon looking around, Robin noticed that they were in the same spot that he had heard it before. He looked down the adjacent hallway at his bedroom door. He glanced at Raven and motioned for her to follow him.
They checked several rooms thoroughly before arriving at Robin's door. He motioned towards it, telling Raven that he was going to open it. She nodded and her hands began to glow black. The door swung open and Robin looked around, still standing in the doorway. The two continued in and combed the room, not missing a single crevice. Robin sighed out of frustration after coming up empty handed. What the hell was going on?!
Raven could feel that something was off, very off. She walked back into the hallway and stood in front of the door, looking up and down the hall; she was becoming increasingly worried about the situation. Robin was about to follow her out when she was thrown backwards, a small yelp escaping her lips. He ran to the door, but it slammed shut in front of him. He started to bang on the door, trying to break it down, but to no avail. The door had been made to keep out intruders, so it wouldn't be broken down easily.
Raven sat up, rubbing her forehead with her hand and looking around. She could see a figure standing at the end of the hall, but couldn't make it out. She stood up and shot black magic at it, chanting her mantra. It moved out of the way and ran at her, forcing her to run backwards. She stumbled on an object and fell to the ground, breaking her fall with her hands. The figure walked up to her and picked her up by the neck. She started clawing at it, trying to make it let go. She even tried to use her magic, but she couldn't concentrate properly with the lack of oxygen. It was too strong and she was choking. Unconsciousness started to consume her, enticing her with the promise of sleep. She opened her eyes, finally getting a good look at the figure, and gasped. It threw her against the wall, knocking her out cold. Her body slumped to the ground and the figure turned around, approaching Robin's door.
In the main ops room, the three Titans were still fighting off Sladebots. For every ten they defeated, twenty more came to take their place. They were losing, badly. They were being forced to retreat to the very back of the room, completely drained from all of the fighting. They didn't know how much more they could take before they passed out or were captured. Beast Boy was fighting eight bots at once and getting reamed. Starfire could make out his form ahead of her while she was fighting off her own bots; she could tell that he could only take so much more damage. She had turned to attack a group of bots that approached her from the side when suddenly, a large object flew past her head and slammed against the window, nearly shattering it.
Cyborg ran past her, looking panicked, and started yelling. She couldn't hear what he was saying; it was just a blur of words. Sladebots followed him and started to attack, beating him down. A group of five bots jumped onto Starfire, trying to force her to the ground. She had managed to shove them off at the last second and just when she thought that she couldn't take any more, they started to retreat. They had stopped attacking completely and were walking out into the hallway towards the elevator. She fell to the ground, completely worn. Why they were retreating, she didn't know, but she was too tired to care at the moment. She was in shock; everything was blurry, her vision, her hearing, everything.
She could hear a voice hysterically yelling, but she couldn't make out the words. Soon, the Slade bots had completely cleared the room, leaving it empty aside from the three Titans. After a few minutes, her hearing became clearer. "Come on BB, wake up! Get up man! BB!" She turned around, ready to collapse, and could see Cyborg leaning over a limp figure. "Come on BB! GET UP!" She looked at Beast Boy, lying on the floor underneath a cracked window, his head bleeding and his clothes torn to shreds. She wanted to get up and go over to him, she wanted to help Cyborg wake him, and she wanted to make sure he was okay, but she couldn't. She couldn't even think straight, she was so beyond in shock. So she sat there on her knees, watching Cyborg frantically try to wake up Beast Boy and listening to a light beeping sound in the distance.
Robin was pounding on the door; he had heard a loud thud against the wall and then total silence, the sounds of battle in the distance had completely stopped. "Raven! Are you okay? RAVEN?!" Robin's voice was frenzied. He had lost control of the situation, he had leaded his team into a trap and now they were all in peril because of it. Because of him… He didn't even know what was going on with the others; for all he knew, they could be getting slaughtered.
He ran to the back of the room, preparing to ram the door, when he heard a loud click followed by a hiss. He looked around the room for the source of the sound, but couldn't see a thing. He ran to the light switch, flicking it up and down a few times before realizing that the lights were not working; except for the alarm lights in the hallways. He started pacing frantically in his room, trying to think of his next move and how he was going to get out of his room to help his team mates.
He was so tired. He had been chasing Red X all day and walking through the tower all night. He hadn't gotten much sleep the night before either. Starfire wanted to stay up late and spend some time with him, which of course he didn't mind, but now he was regretting it. As he paced, he could feel his breathing beginning to slow; everything around him was becoming sluggish and starting to blur. He couldn't think straight, he was so exhausted. He started to rub his eyes, trying to wake himself up.
He stopped pacing and sat down in his desk chair, deciding to rest his body for a moment. He couldn't fall asleep now; he had to save his friends! What was wrong with him! How could he possibly be falling asleep?! He yawned and his eyes began to droop. The room was becoming darker than it already was and he could hear a humming in his ears. He stood up and almost tumbled over from how weak his muscles were becoming, forcing him to grab onto the desk for support. He didn't understand why everything was so foggy, why he was so drowsy. He was trying to think back and remembered that sound. The hiss! His legs began to shake from supporting his weight as he fought the urge to pass out.
He tried to move his leg, wanting to walk to the door, but it began to shake uncontrollably and eventually collapsed. He was now on his knees, clutching the desk and trying to pull himself back up with his forearms. His breathing was heavily and his legs were shaking violently. What was going on? Who was attacking them and winning?!
The door slid open and Robin heard a large BOOM. The entire room shook, causing him to crumple to the floor and hit his head on the edge of the desk. The room continued to shake lightly and Robin's ears began to ring from the loud noise. He was breathing deeply, desperately trying to cling to his consciousness as the darkness started to close in on him. All he could think of were his team mates, Starfire, fighting off attackers while he lay on the ground falling asleep. The last thing that he saw before slipping into oblivion was a pair of steel toed boots standing near his head, illuminated by the flashing red light.
So it was on that night, on the peaceful shores of Jump City, that an enormous cloud of smoke could be seen billowing out from the top of Titans Tower, where the main ops room would normally be located.