Up To Speed

July 08, 2017:

Tim finally gets in touch with Bart Allen, freshly escaped from one of the Zen Master of Speed's cruel attempts to teach him something. The Titans gain a speedster.

Red Robin's Nest

The secret hideout of the vigilante Red Robin.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Superboy, Wonder Girl, Starfire, Caitlin Fairchild, Spider-Man, Zatanna Zatara, Max Mercury, Batman

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Recently, Tim Drake, in the guise of his costumed identity of Red Robin, decided to reactivate the defunct superhero team, the Titans. Though they're still mostly operating in secret - sort of by default, since they haven't really done anything to draw attention to themselves yet - the Tower is up and running, and the group membership is small, but solid. Still, it felt like there was something missing: He'd reached out to the rest of the old group, the impromptu 'Young Justice,' and while Conner and Cassie had both joined up, for whatever reason he'd been unable to reach Bart, or Max Mercury. Knowing the Zen Master of Speed, he was probably trying to help Bart train.

Something which Tim knew from personal experience, having tried to teach Impulse how to fight, was not good for the patience of even the zen master-iest.

He'd left messages though, of course. The speedsters would get to them sooner or later, surely.

In the meantime, Tim had work to do. There was always work to do.

Tim's place wouldn't be hard for Bart to find, especially since he'd been given an address, though the front of the townhouse would prove to be pretty empty until the speedster would, through what was probably sheer dumb luck, stumble upon the hidden switch that (after recognising his biometrics (which of course Tim has on file, don't be absurd)) would open the secret door letting into Tim's very own mini-Batcave.

From there, it wouldn't be hard to find the detective, since he was sitting at the computer array on the upper level of the Nest, his costume's cowl pushed back and settled on his shoulders like a hood while he works away. Completely unaware, at least for the moment, that anyone else might've found their way in.

Dumb luck? Try 'poking at ALL THE THINGS' until something happened. He's probably heard or read somewhere that secret entrances with switches hidden in semi-plain sight were a thing during this ancient time frame. Or maybe he'd heard it was a Batman-thing. Oh, and incidentally he probably hadn't even bothered to knock- why would you when you could vibrate through the door?

Max Mercury would have probably had objections about letting him go. Bart might have made some progress in regards to teamwork, but he's still been very much a loose cannon, and no amount of training and living out in Alabama where NOTHING HAPPENS EVER (except when it does) has been able to really fix that.

The only reason Bart's here now is because he'd made a quick break from whatever boring training trip they'd been on and happened to check the messages. In the span of the next few seconds Impulse has quite expectedly continue to live up to his name, packing a quick bag in case he needs to blend in, writing Max a note (the pencil might still be smoking) and then making a beeline for Gotham City.

Needless to say he was a little disappointed finding nothing of interest in the townhouse itself, but he's not so disappointed when he gets to the heart of Robin's little hideaway. He's practically leaning over Tim's shoulder, gaping at all the screens when he suddenly exclaims, "Whoa-ho! Just think of all the games you could be playing on this thing!!"

As the Dark Knight's onetime protege and sidekick, Tim Drake is of course thoroughly trained in observation. Schooled until it's not even a conscious effort to notice all those thousands of little cues people give off even when they don't think they do. It's rare that anyone manages to approach him unnoticed, even the Bat himself.

"JE~SUS CHRIST," Tim shouts, jumping halfway out of his chair when Bart is just kind of there, leaning over his shoulder.

Superspeed can really make that 'noticing people approach' thing chancier.

The dark haired young man slumps back into the seat as he realises just who's found their way into his hideout, dark blue eyes glowering at the lanky speedster. He has a pretty good glare, though it's at best half a Batman in intensity. Still plenty to learn.

"Bart," he says, more normally, turning his gaze up to the various screens, and holographic displays. Most of it, right now, is looking up a seemingly endless list of IP addresses, but of course there's some other unrelated things on other screens: Tim was always the type to have a number of things going on at once. "You got my message? And it's a supercomputer for analysing data and solving crimes, it's not for playing games on."

He pauses, a beat.

"Usually. Maybe if things are really slow."

Bart has the decency to look surprised when Tim jumps, stepping back and out of Tim's personal bubble. It's spoiled by a grin.

"The one and only," he says. Letting his backpack slip from his shoulder to drop on the floor, he moves closer to the console again to stare at all the screens and displays before rolling his eyes. Typical Tim. Boring stuff. The speedster eyes the young crimefighter who's already gone back to work, not bothering to hide a frown of disapproval. Which ticks up into a smile at the amended admission.

"You do act like normal people after all!" he proclaims, not that he's one to talk, but Tim has always been the most uptight. Maybe it's because of his mentor. That seems to be the best explanation.

"And duh, if I didn't get your message I wouldn't be here. Would've come sooner but Max had us out doing some meditation thing with Buddist monks in Japan. Why go all the way to Japan for that?!"

It's probably just turnabout anyway, given Tim's own propensity for sneaking up on people. Even on Conner, with his Kryptonian senses.

As for how he does that, well, that's a trade secret.

"I am normal," he says, which is a blatant falsehood except in the context of his being the only one of his friends without phenomenal superhuman abilities. "There's a few consoles hooked up to the TV out front, too. I don't just do this," Tim adds, a touch defensively. Sometimes he doesn't, anyway. When he remembers to do other things.

Tactfully, he doesn't mention that studying with Buddhist monks in Japan sounds kind of interesting. Of course, every time he studies with monks or the like, it turns into the plot of a martial arts movie: Some bad guy or disgruntled former student always comes looking for a secret technique or the like, and then before you know it you're halfway across the globe fighting ninjas.

"Well, at least Max let you leave eventually," Tim says, knowing full well that Bart definitely took off without his mentor's permission. "Conner and Cassie have both been wanting to see you, and also there's this." He gestures, and a blue-light hologram resolves itself in the air: A distinctive T-shaped tower, an image of the real thing sitting on an island in the East River. Titans Tower. "There's no monks or meditation, but there's superhero stuff to do. Bad guys to fight, innocent civilians to save."

Tim's defensive response just has Bart grinning again. "Sure, sure. You just do this most of the time," he clairifies, nodding as solemnly as he can manage.

For the record, he'd probably wish that his training sessions involved bad movie plots and ninjas. And he's still a little disappointed that Godzilla's fictional. Shoving his hands into his pockets, he pointedly looks away as Tim mentions Max. "Erm, yeaaaaah. Eventually." It's quickly pushed out of his mind as he looks back at the other, what with the subject moving on. "Aw man, how long's the band been back together?" he asks, peering at the hologram image. He sweeps a hand through it, back and forth as one could have expected.

"Superhero stuff? You don't have to tell me twice. I'm in."

"I also go to school," Tim mutters, which honestly is enough to make anyone wonder how he finds time in the day to do all of these things.

The answer is that he averages four hours of sleep a night.

"It's only been a few weeks," he answers Bart's question. "Cassie's at school out this way too, so it was easy enough to run into her, and Conner was all too happy to fly in from Smallville. I don't think he's really enjoying the farmboy life, even when he's got superstrength to make things easier. Got a few new faces involved, too."

Even if Bart's already agreed - not that Tim had really expected him to need much convincing - the detective brings up short files on the others, with pictures. Starfire, alien princess and one of the original Titans. Caitlin Fairchild, a towering redhead with super strength and toughness. Spider-Man, simultaneously New York's most and least favourite vigilante. Zatanna, daughter of the Great Zatara, with her impressive magical abilities.

"We've got the Tower, we've got the team, now we just need to make a splash."

"School doesn't count." Because even Bart goes to school!

And there he goes, crowding in on Tim's personal space again as he moves to get a better look at the dossiers for the rest of the team as has been gathered. Honestly, Tim might as well just be furniture.

"I still can't really picture Cee-Kay being a farmer kinda guy," he says, stroking his chin. Some names are familiar, either via previous encounter or the news, because you can't be a real superhero without some sort of publicity. And with people and their phones these days? Closet superheroes isn't really an easy thing to do with the rabid media.

"Sweet line-up. Do we have club meetings? Game nights? When do we start and have you found anything promising in your cyber wall of info here that we can scope out?" At least he's managed to keep his verbal speed modulated, but that doesn't keep him from the rapid fire questions.

There's another chair available, of course.

But Tim doubts Bart would go for it even if it was pointed out.

"Well, the Tower is kind of a communal space," the detective answers, which isn't quite club meetings or game nights. Not that Tim hasn't thought about the latter… It's been ages since he'd run any tabletop, and a bunch of people who live the superheroic life would probably have an interesting perspective on fantasy adventuring.

He might have already made notes.

Lots of notes.

"Here," he adds, producing a Titans ID card: It has a headshot of the speedster in costume, and is labeled IMPULSE, along with an ID number. "This will let you into the Tower, you can pick one of the unoccupied rooms on the residential level. Kind of a dorm for hanging out in when you're in New York. It's up to you if you want to let any of the others know your secret identity, the only ones who know mine are you guys and Zatanna."

"As for anything promising," he continues, "there's a case I've been working in Gotham and NYC that we might be able to look into better as a group. But I'm hoping for something… Dramatic. Something we can use to send a message with. So I guess we just need some bad guys to act up while the Avengers and the Justice League are busy elsewhere. Which is bound to happen sooner or later."

Bart's lived in a virtual world. Tabletop gaming worlds might be his idea of normal, and his imagination could probably better be put to use writing sci-fi novels.

"Cool. So retro." He smirks, taking the card, not at all surprised that Tim's got one ready for him. "Well, you know how Max is about secret identities. Guess I'll see how things go."

He pockets his ID card, eyes flicking back between the screens and Tim. The slight breeze might be the only hint of when he goes zipping around the rest of the room for a look at things, his jacket fluttering slightly as he's standing by the console again. "Dramatic, huh? Yeah, I can get that. The big A and the Jay-El can't be everywhere, and that's probably what some big baddie will be banking on for their time to strike."

So retro.

"Nobody wanted to let me implant chips in their hands," Tim retorts, probably not seriously. "I figured it would be a lot easier, nobody's going to lose something like that, but people are pretty fussy about having an RFID tag in their body. And yeah, Max and Batman are both pretty serious about it… Can't blame them though, there's probably already enough bad guys who know who we really are. But yeah, we'll see how things go." After all, if their mentors had things to their preference, Bart and Tim certainly wouldn't know each other's secret identities. Or Conner, or Cassie…

This time, at least, Tim can feel when Bart decides to take a high-speed tour through the Nest, with all its various cool crimefighting accoutrements. To him, though, barely a heartbeat seems to pass between the speedster's departure and return.

"Hopefully not too big of a baddie, we're still refining our teamwork. Still, in the meantime there's no point in just sitting on our butts and waiting for something to happen, right?"


"Isn't that what they do with pets or something?" Whether Tim's serious about the implant thing or not, he can't forget who he's dealing with, here. In regards to the secret identities thing he hasn't really seen much point to it, being from the future where most of Earth's heroes are widely renowned.

"Rrrright," Bart concedes. If they happened to bite off more than they could chew, then their team image could be ruined pretty quickly. "-but I'm sure there's nothing we can't handle." They're heroes. They can do this stuff in their sleep. "Although I'm not going to say no to doing a little warm-up here and there." Grin.

The seated vigilante doesn't say anything about whether that's what they do with pets or not.

Hopefully that's just part of the joke.

"I'd rather get some practice in on a few mid-range villains before we start going after space conquerors and demon lords and whatever," Tim says, though he can't help but grin wryly at Bart's confidence that they can handle whatever. They are heroes after all, and that's the whole point, right? A hero can always find a way out of a difficult situation.

Though that's the sort of attitude he should expect from a member of the Flash Family. They embodied a certain kind of hopefulness, right along with their tremendous speed.

"The other thing I want us to focus on is, well, helping out people like us. There's a lot of younger types with exceptional abilities of one type or another that might just slip through the cracks. People who, maybe, we can keep off of a bad path, you know? Maybe they could use an Impulse or a Superboy or a Wonder Girl to inspire them to do good."

Bart casts a sloooow (?) look at Tim as there's no comment on the chips and pets thing. Frooooown.

The young speedster's confidence is something that Max has been trying to wittle down some because the teenager's had an excess to start with. But again, raised in a virtual reality. That's not to say that Bart doesn't actually believe in them because he does. They've got some heavy hitters, and some top-notch mentors. They totally got this.

"Yeah. Yeah, I see. Sounds good. And I guess we'd be their best bet to connect, if that happens to be the case." He knows not everyone's lucky enough to have someone to look out for them, and bad influences and decisions are like, the most basic reason for super villain origin stories.

"See, that's the spirit," Tim says. He continues to not say anything about the chips and pets thing, and is at least acting like he didn't notice the look and the frown before. "Maybe we'll find you your own sidekick in all of this, a younger speedster you can mentor. Kid Impulse? Kid Kid Flash…?"

As for him, he doesn't want a sidekick of his own. He's kind of had one before, when he was the one tasked with training Spoiler back when he was still Robin… And that didn't go so great, on multiple levels.

Besides, he's got the rest of the team to babysit.

"In the meantime, I guess I can take a bit of a break," the detective says, tabbing out of the work he's been doing on the computer screen, and yes, into a game menu. A bit of rooting around under the desk produces a couple of controllers, one of which he passes to Bart. "Nobody else to play fighting games with anyway, Conner's gotten sloppy because Cassie always lets him win…"

"Whoa, my own sidekick? That'd be so cool." Judging from the look on his face, Tim's already got him thinking. And then Bart scowls. "-Kid Impulse? Vetoing that one. What's with the 'kid' tag anyway? See, this is why I stick with my name." Not that he'd come up with it himself, but he hadn't disliked it. It's way better than 'Kid Flash.' Distinctive.

Although Bart mentoring anyone would probably be a horrifying thing. Bad enough with one impulsive speedster with his attention span.

His eyes practically bug out when Tim Drake says he's going to take a break. Gaping as he's handed a controller, Bart finally recovers with a laugh. "-oh-em-gee- That what they say now? -but now we're talking! Hope you've been practicing between your people lurking," he grins. A foot moves to snag that extra chair- oh, he did notice it after all! -and shortly he plunks himself right into it, thumbs anxiously tapping the controller in anticipation. "Game. On."

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