Chapter 3 – Disconnected
Starfire swooped in just below the top of the entryway into the exhibition hall, remaining in the air only a few inches off the ground, both hands spread out wide, as a star bolt remained charged in each palm. Her arms extended in both directions, scanning one side of the room to the other.
The presentation of this particular area was considerably wider than the previous ones. Display and exhibits of the American old west covered the surrounding area. Large replica storefronts of a saloon, a bank, and a sheriff’s office lined the wall alongside a sidewalk of wooden planks. A covered wagon stood in the center of the room beside a display of mounted horses and wild buffalo. Various thick glass cases scattered the adjacent sides, containing various western six shooters and rifles and mannequins sporting clothing pertinent to the time period.
Carefully Starfire continued to sweep the room for any sign of Control Freak or more of his impromptu resistance. But the room was quiet. No movement. No activity.
She lowered her arms, looking back through the way she’d come. “The way is clear,” she called.
Robin, BeastBoy, Cyborg and Raven advanced forward, each keeping a sharp lookout as they hastened their way across the hall towards the next exhibit. Each of them on their guard for any sudden threat to present itself.
Starfire hung back, not moving from her spot until the others safely made it into the next area of the museum. Slowly she hovered in reverse bringing up the rear, keeping her point of entry visible, vigilant on all sides to ensure nothing unseen would follow or catch them by surprise.
She turned, just about to exit the room. When the sound of footsteps put her on her guard. Starfire peered over her shoulder.
Walking out into the open, casually stepping out from behind the building displays were two figures of equal size, seemingly human in appearance at a glance.
Starfire narrowed her eyes as if somewhat perplexed. The two did not seem to match her expectations what she had estimated a potential threat for this particular exhibit would entail. Well, not entirely anyway.
The first individual seemed dressed to the surrounding period. Stepping out from the bank he wore brown cowboy boots with spurs clanging against the floor with every step. Dark jeans. And much of his upper body shielded by a thick olive green poncho. Atop his head he wore a matching brown cowboy hat and a black neckerchief barely sticking up from the neckline. A scruffy beard and moustache, with a small cheroot curling to the side of his mouth between gritted teeth and a hard squint in his eyes.
Opposite of him, a second figure emerged from the sheriff’s office. However unlike his associate, he was dressed from an entirely other different time, more modern, far from outside the old west theme that bordered around them. A gray suit against a white dress shirt with a proper tie tucked in to a dark red vest. His hair combed back and slightly to the side with an equally serious squint of his own.
Slowly, Starfire turned her body towards them, remaining on her guard for any sudden movements that might signal an impending attack. But they only continued to walk forward, calmly and casually. Until coming to a stop in the center of the room, leaving a good fifteen feet between her and themselves.
They did not speak a word. Only a dead silence between them, their demeanor serious but somehow relaxed at the same time.
They stared at Starfire. And she stared right back in return.
She shifted her pupils from one to the other, narrowing her eyes as if mentally furrowing her brow. She could not shake this feeling of familiarity somehow. Like she had seen them before. But where? They clearly were not from the same time period. They did not dress alike. Were they somehow related? Perhaps. There was some kind of resemblance, even if only for that squint in their ey…
That was it.
Starfire’s eyes widened slightly as if a light had clicked in her mind, mentally placing the two. She had merely lost herself in thought of placing them that she had momentarily overlooked Control Freak’s ability to summon fictional characters from media. That was who these two were. Characters from classic Earth cinema.
Starfire had since expanded her knowledge of Earthly amusement and entertainment, primarily in the weekly movie nights at the Tower. And these were from some of the films in Robin’s collection she had viewed with much enthusiasm. Different characters, but portrayed by the same actor. Which explained the look of similarity between them. Wood of the East, she believed was his name. From the respective films of ‘The Good, the Awful, and Most Unsightly’ and ‘Harry the Unclean’. Both men of justice. But now, it seemed they were twisted to Control Freaks whims.
Starfire shut her eyes, letting out a small sigh of discontent. As much as it pained her, it seemed she would have no choice but to do battle with these two otherwise well-meaning rugged men of righteousness. Her eyes quickly opened, her resolve hardened, and willing to do what had to be done. She gave a hard look in their direction as if signaling she was prepared.
The cowboy and detective shared a fleeting glance before turning away from one another and taking five steps apart, widening the distance between them and then turning to face her once more.
Starfire lowered her head. They were making it more difficult to bear down on both of them at the same time.
The western gunman parted his poncho to the side, making his holstered revolver visible, and keeping his hand to his side prepared to draw. The detective drew back his jacket exposing a shoulder holster, occupied by a large caliber revolver of his own.
They flexed their fingers slightly, loosening their grip, awaiting her to make the next move.
Starfire relaxed her shoulders but remained still. “I know what you are pondering. And your question is most valid. Can I dispatch one such as myself, imbued with such vaunted strength, warrior’s courage, and righteous fury matched by the energy discharged from my very fingertips?” Starfire flexed her fingers ever so slightly, allowing only a fleeting glow from her hands, impressing upon her adversaries her resort of violent means should the need arise. “So, you must inquire… ‘Do I feel that luck favors me?’
The two shared another fleeting glance at one another before looking back.
“Well? Do you, earth delinquents?” she asked stoically.
A heavy silence hung in the air.
In a split second both men reached for their weapons.
Starfire thrust her fists forward in crisscrossing swings, hurling a barrage of star bolts at both opponents in unison.
The first volley struck their drawn weapons from their hands and onto the ground.
The second struck their belt buckles, causing their pants to fall to their ankles, briefly immobilizing them.
The third and final barrage hit hard against the ground beneath their feet, weakening the surface integrity of the floor enough for them to fall straight through with dual screams as they crashed into the sub levels below.
Starfire drew back her arms, curling them up by her chin, blowing the lingering energy trail from her fingers like a pair of smoking guns. And with the impending threat no more, she turned to hasten her exit from the room to join the others.
Meanwhile, at the far side of the museum, Control Freak was experiencing a set back of his own. He pulled and pried at the main door, finding it to be sealed shut.
“Ugh! Come on,” he gritted his teeth, pulling with all he could muster, “COME ON!” His grip came loose, sending him tumbling backward. He sat up with an annoyed look of disbelief, yanking on his hair. “I don’t believe this! I stage an elaborate, grand assault on a major city foundation, I leave my mark in historical significance, I keep all five Titans at bay, and A DOOR slows me down!” he got to his feet, pulling his remote and aiming it squarely at the obstacle before him. He pressed a button, discharging a beam of energy that struck the door, engulfing it in a blue glow, which momentarily blinded him as he shielded his eyes. When he looked again, the thick reinforced entryway was transformed into a much more standard, flimsy looking white wooden door. He reached for the doorknob.
“Yaagh!” he yelped, leaping backwards as an axe smashed through the center of the door sending splintered chunks of wood flying. He looked to the newly carved hole to find a rather psychotic looking man, grinning menacingly at him.
Control Freak blinked in response before looking confoundedly at his remote, clearly not rendering his intended means of escape. Perhaps he pushed the wrong function. Either that or the battery was running low. He gave the remote a vigorous shake before taking aim and firing another blast, transforming the door again.
When he looked again, the door was now a gateway with a long trail of steps leading to the top of a foreboding looking Samarian temple. There at the top stood an imposing female figure with red eyes and spiked hair, looking down at him from on high with two demon dogs at her side snarling through their sharp teeth.
“Are YOU a GOD?” she asked menacingly.
Control Freak gave an audible gulp. “Better not take a chance on this one.” He discharged another blast from the remote, transforming the doorway yet again.
This time the exit took the form a thick green emerald colored set of double doors.
He gave it a brief inspection. No axe-wielding maniac. No daunting god lady. So far, so good.
He tried to open the doors, but to no avail. They were locked tight. “What the…” Control Freak pushed and pulled and tried every which way he could to forcibly open it. Finding no success, he gave the base of the door a firm kick in frustration, sounding a thick knock against the surface. And also served to crush two of his toes in the process, hopping briefly on one leg to alleviate the pain in between muffled grunts of soreness.
A small circular opening at the top of the door swung open, revealing a doorman, dressed all in green with parted hair and a curled moustache. “Nobody gets in to see the wizard! Not no way, not no how!”
Control Freak was quick to regain his composure. “But, I am… CONTROL FREAK,” he boasted confidently, throwing back his shoulders and sticking out his chest as if presenting himself in as refined and self-important manner as possible.
The doorman’s eyes opened wider, taken aback. “Well now, THAT’S a horse of a different color!”
“Heh,” he snorted. “Finally,” basking in recognition at last.
“No, I meant him,” the doorman pointed across the room.
Control Freak looked to find a green horse galloping towards him; Robin mounted atop with his bo staff drawn. He leaped from atop the horse to the ground, with BeastBoy resuming human form close beside him. Raven flew above with Cyborg and Starfire joining from the opposite side.
“It’s over, Freak,” Robin shouted.
“We gotcha’ cornered now,” Cyborg cracked his cybernetic knuckles accentuating his openness to pick up where they left off.
“Surrender. You have nowhere to run,” Starfire added.
Control Freak curled a mischievous grin as his eyes darted to the side, aiming his remote at one of the nearby exhibits. “Look to the future!”
He blasted a nearby display of five medieval knights, ensnaring them in a field of energy. When the field dissipated, there in place of valiant knights stood four humanoid robots, forged of polished steel exoskeletons and glowing red optical sockets. Standing out in front was a fifth machine, only this one was masked in human appearance. A muscular build with spiked up hair. Black boots, black leather pants, black shirt, and a black leather jacket dressed its outer human form with dark black sunglasses, obstructing its eyes from view, save for a fleeting red glimmer.
“Ooh,” Starfire briefly clapped with joy, “I have seen this one as well from our late night film watching endeavors.” Starfire flew out, stopping in front of the blank faced towering figure, gently plucking the sunglasses from off his face and wearing them herself. “Ahem,” she cleared her throat. “Come with me if you desire to continue living,” she attempted to deepen her voice as she outstretched a hand as fitting action from the movie by memory.
The cyborg stood blank faced, its now visible eyes totally unresponsive and devoid of even the slightest emotion. Reaching behind his back he pulled a laser weapon, firing a burst of plasma energy, striking the Tamaranean girl in the face and knocking her back to her original position beside Cyborg, still hovering in mid air.
She gave no indication of pain, as her alien biology was quite resilient. And her skin had withstood far worse.
She turned to face him, as the glasses broke apart, shattering to the ground, a large black soot mark on her face. “I do not believe they have seen that one,” she observed innocently.
The four terminators dove forward, tackling her to the ground in a cybernetic dog pile.
“Star!” Cyborg yelled, reaching for her.
The remaining cyborg sucker punched the teen hero with a hard left hook, sending him stumbling backwards and eventually to one knee.
Cyborg shook his head, shaking off the brief disorientation. He looked up to find his attacker standing over him, weapon drawn and aimed squarely at the human portions side of his face.
“You are terminated,” he said grimly in a thick Austrian accent.
Cyborg grabbed the barrel of the weapon with both hands, giving a swift yank, prying it away from his face just as it fired, narrowly avoiding the blast. Then with all his might gave a sharp tug pulling the weapon and the attached machine’s arm, which broke off at the shoulder in a burst of sparks and crinkling metal.
The terminator took only a single step back, analyzing the vacancy of its arm socket with the same neutral expression and without a single sound of pain or discomfort. It looked again as Cyborg got to his feet, dangling the weapon with his arm still tightly holding the grip. “And YOU are off warranty,” he smirked as he reeled back the weapon like a bat.
The terminator arced into the air before skidding across the floor and denting itself into a wall.
Control Freak weaved and ducked from exhibit to exhibit trying to make a quiet get away in the commotion. Back flat against a display case he peered around the corner making certain no one was looking in his direction as he took off running for the side hall, hoping to double back to the main entrance somehow.
Suddenly a nearby column irradiated black just before toppling over, blocking his path.
Control Freak looked up to find Raven levitating overhead.
He turned, looking to run the opposite direction. But as soon as he turned a large green snake coiled around his legs, ensnaring him up to his waist, staring him down with its sharp fangs and a deep hiss.
Robin stepped forward, cuffs in hand, about to restrain him fully. “Looks like a another re-run for you, Control Freak.”
He narrowed his eyes at the teen hero, flailing his arms, not willing to go quietly. “Take your hands off me you damned dirty Titans!”
Control Freak swung his arm forward sending out another discharge from his remote, striking the exhibit displaying human evolution, portraying four primates and their evolutionary path from simian to modern man. As the energy dissipated all four figures were now fully-grown apes, brandishing assault weapons.
Immediately coming out of their previously dormant state, the now advanced and intelligent creatures drew their weapons on the three teens, spraying a hailstorm of automatic gunfire.
Robin dove for cover as Raven ascended higher into the air. BeastBoy loosened his grip, slithering onto the ground behind Control Freak where he transformed into a rhinoceros. Rearing back his head he swung forward, hooking the villain by his coat onto his long horn.
“Hey! Wha… put me down!” he ordered, hanging helplessly.
The ape’s gunfire saturated the ground near them, loud ricochets whizzing past their heads.
“Gah!” he threw his arms around his head, “Never mind! Get me outta’ here!” Control Freak was clearly less inclined about being a captive than he was about the notion of being used for target practice.
The rhino started running, charging one of the main supports of the upper levels.
“Hey! HEY! Watch out for that…”
BeastBoy swung his head upward, flinging Control Freak skyward and out of harm’s way. He then locked down his now free horn, boring right through the marble pillar. The weakened exterior above came crashing down in a small avalanche of debris and dust, affording more cover to get behind and the dust acting as a makeshift smokescreen to hinder the ape’s aim.
Robin and Raven quickly got behind BeastBoy’s provided cover.
“Any ideas to draw them off,” Robin asked, glancing a peek at their attackers.
“Got a banana?” Raven asked dryly.
Another volley of gunfire beat against the slab of broken stone, forcing them lower to the ground. Robin looked to her, giving a hand signal. Raven silently nodded. Robin lobbed a gas pellet overhead, dispersing a thick cloud of smoke and warranting vicious primal shouts from their aggressors who continued to fire aimlessly in their general direction. Robin broke left moving to get around behind them as Raven opened an energy field beneath her, sinking into the floor.
“Hey! Lemme’ down from here!” Control Freak hollered. BeastBoy’s throw had caught him atop a spiked flagpole deeper in the medieval exhibit, his coat snagged as he tried to swing free. Suddenly sounds of ripping and tearing began to alarm him as he looked up to find the material of his jacket starting to break apart.
“Whaaahhhhh!” he yelled as he dropped down, face first into a large hollowed out metal cauldron in a blacksmith’s workshop. Upside down and stuck, he kicked and squirmed trying to get free.
Back beneath the heap of piled on terminators came a building tremor just as Starfire broke free, throwing her arms out and tossing the machines off her like tin cans. But it did little to waver their morale, as they got right back to their feet, charging right back towards her.
One rushed her from the side, swinging a straight punch right for her. But Starfire caught the incoming fist, pulling it downward before following through with her other hand into a mean uppercut that sent the machine flying once more and lodging him right into the ceiling.
Another came up from behind her, locking both arms tight around her shoulders and constricting the movement of her arms. The other two terminators wasted little time alternating heavy swings on her midsection.
In between battering strikes to her stomach and chest, Star’s eyes glowed bright green before a beam energy shot from her pupils striking one in the chest, burning a hole clean through. She then threw out her left leg, curving it right into the dazed robot’s skull and kicking him right into the other terminator beside him, tumbling them both to the ground in a heap.
From behind her, the other terminator suddenly released his hold allowing her free movement of her arms. Caught off guard, tripping forward slightly, she quickly turned to disable her remaining attacker.
Except Cyborg had already beaten her to it, lifting the machine over his head. One hand gripped tightly on one of its legs, the other tightly squeezing an arm, Cyborg pried and pulled with such ferocity until he tore the machine in two, separating its torso from its waist. He then let both halves fall with a heavy clank against the ground.
Starfire gave an appreciative smile as Cyborg dusted off his hands. However the relief was short lived as they both turned to see the other two terminators, previously kicked to the curb as it were, getting back to their feet. Save for the still smoldering hole in the one’s chest, there was hardly a mark on them for all their efforts. And it was doubtful to assume it had lessened their eagerness to fight to any extent as well.
A small rumble from above and falling fragments of drywall alerted them to the third terminator starting to pry itself free. It dropped from its previously perched position above and landed square on its feet, leaving deep feet impressions in the floor, cracking apart the tile beneath where it had landed.
Even the clicking and grinding of gears from behind caused them to turn to see the fourth and previously considered disposed terminator, slowly crawling towards them. And though only from the waist up, was still percolating and not even hesitant to engage in battle.
Cyborg shook his head with a small sigh. “Man, these things are like BeastBoy in a good mood.”
Starfire quirked her head slightly. “A source of abundant cheer and a most uplifting start of the day?” she rotated her shoulders, loosening up.
“Doesn’t take long to get annoying,” he answered.
Meanwhile, the four evolved apes continued to scout for their prey. Weaving between the exhibits in tight formation, weapons at the ready, they advanced forward. The smokescreen Robin had previously put up was starting to settle, but it still remained enough of a hindrance to keep them overly cautious.
They moved slowly but steadily, stopping only to take aim around any corner or hiding place a surprise attack might be waiting.
Just then, a piece of debris came loose, crumbling and striking the floor behind them.
Two of the apes turned, startled, squeezing off a few dozen rounds, destroying a few cases and blowing apart several wall fixtures.
Slowly they drew back their weapons, dumbfounded at the lack of enemy presence and their own false alarm. Each received a swift smack across the back of the head from the third ape behind them, snarling and thumping his chest in impatient anger.
The fourth ape out in front merely rolled his eyes with a petty grunt, turning to take another step forward.
“AARGHHH!” he shrieked, jumping backwards landing flat on his back.
The other three gathered around him.
He pulled in his leg, revealing thick green porcupine quills deeply dug into the underside of his foot.
The short green porcupine in question scurried away with a soft chuckle, unseen beneath the still settling smoke against the ground.
The apes were now on their guard, backs to each other, anticipating an imminent attack while one of them was temporarily incapacitated. It was only a question of when it would come, confident that there was no direction their enemy could attack from where they couldn’t spot them.
From inside the ape’s tight formation a small black vortex materialized through the floor. And through it came Raven’s hand, sprouting up just long enough to the ape’s unseeing backs to sharply jab one behind the knee before disappearing back into the vortex which collapsed in on itself from sight.
Hobbling from the hit to the back of his leg, the ape angrily turned to the ape beside him, interpreting the hit as a shove to be granted more space. He fumingly shoved him in response.
The embittered ape shoved him back, palms flat with a stern thrust to his shoulder.
He in turn replied with a stern slug from the butt of his rifle to the gut.
In no time at all it boiled down to an all out scuffle, the two apes acting out like two rough housing children, punching and kicking, thrashing and biting, all while shrieking and roaring back at one another. They may have been evolved, but it did little to hamper their basic primal nature.
The only ape still on his feet, he turned briefly, shouting at the two but keeping his weapon high and at the ready. He looked back, still finding no activity. Glancing back another two or three times, finally he became too irritated and distracted by his companions scuffle, turning fully to make another focused effort to cease their aggression.
At that instant, Robin dropped down from above, landing right on the barrel of his weapon, forcing it to the ground and delivering a firm swing from his bo staff right across the ape’s face. The ape dropped to the floor with a thud, knocked out cold.
The other previously downed ape hobbled to his tender feet, having just pulled the last of the offending quills from his foot. He took his weapon firmly in hand, drawing it on Robin.
From behind, a pair of massive green hands locked themselves around the ape’s chest.
He looked over his shoulder to find a large lime green gorilla lifting him into the air, up over its head, and suplexing him right into the ground. The ape took a nasty spill right onto the back of his neck, laid out motionless save for the occasional muscle twitch or two.
BeastBoy shifted back to human form. “Monkey see, monkey do.”
Robin gave a nod.
From beside them came the clicking of gun hammers being pulled back.
The two heroes looked to find the other two apes had ceased their brawl and had their weapons drawn on them. And between the bumps and bruises on their faces, none to happy to boot.
Suddenly both their weapons irradiated black. Screws and bolts sprang from their assembly causing their guns to fall to pieces, out of their hands and onto the floor.
A black energy bubble encased them both, lifting them into the air, bringing them face to face with Raven.
Starfire and Cyborg stood back to back, still managing to hold their own in their continuing onslaught of metal might. But it was starting to get senseless. No matter how many times they knocked them down they just kept getting back up again.
Cyborg gave a one-two punch to one terminator’s upper body before kicking it away with a straight boot to the face.
Starfire tossed a star bolt, scoring a clean hit to one’s leg, causing it to slow its charge with a limp. She then lifted both arms above her head, clasping her hands together, driving them down like a sledgehammer onto the robot’s head and dropping him flat on the floor.
Cyborg shifted his body to the right, dodging an incoming strike. He then countered with a knee sharply digging into the robot’s abdomen and then swinging his elbow down into its neck, causing it to collapse at his feet.
Another terminator made a grab for Starfire, tightly squeezing her arms, keeping them locked at her sides. It then swung forward, head butting her with a loud clang against its metal skull. Stunned only for an instant, Star narrowed her eyes, flaring her nostrils, rearing back before swinging forward with a head butt of her own.
The terminator’s head was knocked clean off, flying across the room, tumbling along the ground. Within a few seconds the rest of robot’s body began to power down, releasing its grip. Star shrugged the metal miscreant off her, letting it drop lifelessly.
At Cyborg’s feet, one of his previously downed aggressors was starting to claw at his leg, slowly starting to pull itself up.
“They are most persistent,” Starfire glanced over her shoulder.
“So are cockroaches,” Cyborg agreed, raising his foot in the air, Star’s last attack stirring a notion in his head. “But there’s an easy way to deal with them too.” He drove his foot down, crunching and eventually crushing through the robot’s skull under foot. He lifted his leg off the terminator’s skull which now resembled a trampled soda can, watching as the red glow of its optics faded to black.
The remaining two terminators lunged at the two, one coming straight at Cyborg, the other coming right for Starfire.
Cyborg ducked underneath the robot’s reach.
Starfire dodged the terminator’s oncoming strike.
Both threw up their hands, each face palming their respective opponent’s face in a tight grip. They turned in unison, putting all their weight behind them, thrusting the metal skulls right into each other to the sound of creaking steel, crumpling like paper against their strength.
It was either an epic finish or a multi tasking high five. But either way, it was over.
Control Freak meanwhile continued to pull and squirm, trying to dislodge himself, flailing his legs wildly as his lower half stuck out from the large metal pot. After a continued and strenuous effort, he finally managed to tip the cauldron over onto its side and onto the floor. Much to his relief as the prolonged hanging upside down had been causing blood to rush to his head making quite dizzy.
Propping his legs onto the edge of the cauldron for leverage, and firmly with both hands pushing from the inside, he grunted and strained to force himself out. And with a soft pop, tumbling out he came, staring up at the ceiling. Groggily he sat up, shaking his head and getting his wits about him.
He attempted to stand, but teetered back to his knees, still shrugging off the effects of being upside down for so long. Slowly he crawled to a nearby directory, pulling himself up and peering around the corner to evaluate the situation with his pursuers.
To one side he saw small piles of beaten and broken terminators lying in their own scrap and to the other, unconscious and equally detained apes.
His face fell briefly, only before contorting in the bitterest scowl. “Ugh! Everything I stand for trampled beneath the feet of people I can’t stand! This is high school all over again.”
He quickly surveyed his surroundings. He needed either a quick exit before the Titans regrouped or more reinforcements.
“Well, that was fun,” Cyborg dryly remarked, checking a readout of his systems to make certain there was no undue damage.
“Indeed,” Starfire replied. “But, does it not feel like… we are forgetting something?” She could not help but shake this notion that they were overlooking something pertaining to their recent encounter.
Raven continued to keep the two embittered primates in a holding pattern in her energy bubble. The two shrieked and yelled, pounding in vain against their prison, occasionally pausing only to turn their frustrations on each other. To which she gave an exasperated sigh with a roll of her eyes.
Just then from behind her came a low hum.
She looked over her shoulder to find the human disguised terminator earlier drawn off by Starfire and Cyborg standing behind her, minus an arm, but with a laser weapon pointed right at her.
Raven narrowed her eyes. With both her hands currently occupied to keep the other two of Control Freak’s minions contained she couldn’t mount any kind of offense without letting the others slip free.
The cyborg gave an equally deadpan stare. “Surrender. It is the only logical response.”
Suddenly there came a boisterous trumpet roar.
The terminator turned, just in time to be stampeded by a charging green elephant. He knocked the cyborg to the ground, trampling him into the floor.
Raven gave a small smile of gratitude. “Fortunately, BeastBoy has always been the ideal defense against logic.”
Her two captives looked to one another. One ape making goo-goo eyes and kissy faces, warranting stifled laughs from his cohort. Clearly poking fun at her softened expression towards her rescuer.
Until they sensed an alarming presence of danger, turning to find Raven’s eyes glowing ominously at the both of them. Immediately quieting them to a straight faced, passive state.
The terminator slowly started to sit up, lifting himself out of the shallow crater he had pressed into the ground. Before he could get to his feet however, the elephant’s trunk ensnared him around his upper body. Gripping him tightly as he heaved him into the air, swinging him briefly overhead before letting him fly like a hammer throw.
A short distance away Control Freak gave a content smile as he pulled his remote from his coat, taking aim at a new sufficiently promising display. His target? A nearby exhibit entitled ‘Tyrants Through the Ages’.
At that point, sailing towards him from above came the aforementioned airborne cybernetic lawn dart, bearing down on him at high speed.
“Huh?” he looked up, somewhat alarmed by the expanding shadow growing beneath him on the floor.
The robot was coming in fast, no time for it to be avoided.
“Oh no,” his face fell as if knowing how this would end.
The cyborg struck Control Freak head on, crashing him to the ground at high velocity. Sprawled onto the ground, his remote swayed, his thumb mashing several buttons inadvertently upon impact, as an energy beam discharged. Heading straight for Raven.
Robin looked up from binding one of the downed apes, alerted by the previous commotion. “Raven! Look out!” he warned.
Raven turned, spotting the beam coming right for her. She turned, dispelling the field around the two apes, letting them fall to the ground, putting up an energy barrier in front of her.
The beam struck the barrier, pushing her back only an inch or so as it ricocheted wildly off the barrier.
The beam bounced off the floor.
Then rebounded again off one of the display cases.
Then deflected once more against a nearby window.
BeastBoy returned to human form, holding a hand against his head, shading his eyes to see how far he’d thrown the former robotic aggressor, blissfully unaware of the danger bearing down on him.
The beam was coming directly for him.
“BeastBoy!” Starfire called as she and Cyborg came into view.
He turned, only able to make a bright light coming straight at him. He turned to bound off the ground, to jump out of the way, but…
It was too late. The energy beam caught him, spreading across his entire body, enveloping him in energy that seemed to saturate every fiber of his being. His eyes shut tight, gritting his teeth, holding his head as it felt like he was being torn apart.
And then from the center of his stomach came a light. A glow that seemed to be stretching out over him, growing larger, glowing brighter, crackling as it surged through him. His body began to pulse and glow. And then…
Like a crack of thunder, a blinding flash filled the room.
Within a matter of seconds the light faded. The other Titans looked back.
“N-No way,” Cyborg murmured.
Starfire muffled an audible gasp.
Robin looked away solemnly.
Raven slowly descended to the ground, touching down onto the floor. Completely unmoving. Not a word spoken. She merely stood emptily, her eyes staring vacantly and her mouth cracked just enough to afford her lips the slightest tremble. She didn’t blink. She just continued to stare at the radial ember pattern scorched onto the floor. But no matter how long she looked, no matter closely she observed the surrounding area; it did not change what had transpired. What she was trying to wrap her mind around in obstinate denial.
He was gone. Just… gone.
BeastBoy… was gone.
To Be Continued…