Clawminator Destrucat Mk. II

September 25, 2017:

Red Robin, Superboy and Impulse hang out in Titans Tower. Meanwhile, something small and fuzzy tries to usurp Krypto's spot as the Titans' animal mascot.

Titans Tower Common Room

A roomy and comfortable place for the Titans to hang out and relax in the tower.


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Wonder Girl, Iso, Fairchild, Zatanna, Spider-Man, Batman, Superman, Max Mercury


Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…



Technically, autumn has begun, but you wouldn't know it judging by the heat wave currently making the city of New York bake in the juices of seven million or so residents. It's a new school year, and plenty of those who are supposed to be students should be off studying, hitting the books to get a head start on their education.

But, here's the thing: Titans Tower is extremely well air conditioned, and it has a fantastic entertainment system.

As always when he's around the Tower, Red Robin is in costume, his new more lightweight outfit that he's been wearing for Titans operations, with no big heavy cape and no big heavy cowl, just a jaggedly designed black domino mask hugging the contours of his face and hiding his eyes behind featureless white lenses. He's sitting in the sunken sofa area by the enormous television - well, 'sitting', as he's currently upside down with his legs resting over the back. He might not be as naturally adapted to being upside down or whatever direction you care to name as certain Spider-types, but this position is barely any different than sitting rightside up, to him.

In his hands, held out of sight against his chest, a video game controller. On the screen, popular licensed characters beat each other up.

"This game has too many invincibility frames," the former Boy Wonder complains. "A real fight wouldn't work like this at all."

Something has woken it up from napping, and that Something has turned on the noise box and currently occupies the space above it. That much, it's certain. It's been quite a while since the strange sounds had begun, but it hasn't been enough to coax it from its hiding place. Understandably it may have to do with being mildly panicked, but eventually that natural curiosity kicks in, and so very carefully it crawls its way out of the shadows and into the light.

The origin of the noise is behind it now, but the sounds continue, and a new sound speaks, making it hunker down momentarily before it cocks its head, glancing up at the soft wall just above it. Turning about, it springs, claws easily catching onto the material as it clambers up the back of the couch.

It has done this exercise many times before, but today there are new things sticking out from the top of its favored roost, encased in black. Up a little further the little, pink-furred body climbs, and reaching the top of the couch, it then regards the two strange things resting there, at the moment neglecting to realize that they're attached to someone. Right now, the kitten has decided to claim back its territory. It pounces on one of the offending feet.

Has anyone, you know, /seen/ Superboy lately? He was at the formation of the current Titans group after all, lending his fantastic mug and endorsement to the whole endeavor, and seemed pretty stoked to get into havoc. Then it was all like 'Whoops, gotta walk Krypto.' and 'Hey, gotta got to space with big guy for an arc or two, catch ya on the flip side!'. You could swear the boy of steel had commitment issues or something.

But there's one thing Conner Kent has no problem committing too: Maintaining his self-avowed streak (winning or losing? Depends on who you asked) against Tim in video games of all genre.

"Yeah, in a real fight i'd have just started picking up stuff laying around and throwing at the other guy." Conner said, rhythmically tapping buttons and inputs on the controller aside to time, wearing his usual ensemble of backdated street clothes, "That's what I would really like to see in one of these games, where you can just grab stuff from the environment and throw them at the other guy, tossing him off his game. I'd call them throwables!"

Just then there was a stirring. Well, not really a stirring, because Superboy had heard something up and moving around a couple of minutes ago. He just hadn't cared! Now that's it's attacking his sneakers with abandon though, he kind does. "Hey, uh." He asked, looking down quizzically, "When did this fuzzball joint the team?"

There could be all sorts of reasons why Superboy hasn't been around. Maybe he's actually secretly going to school so he can get a career in journalism just like Superman himself. Maybe he's gotten really in to helping the Kents around their farm, given that the Smallville residents who raised the big blue boyscout and subsequently took in his mad science teenaged clone are getting pretty old.

Maybe he's secretly terrified of Fairchild.

Red Robin actually has a whole list of potential reasons why, including 'well stuff really does keep coming up, just like he says,' though it's hardly in the detective's mindset to simply accept everything at face value. Even when it's his best friend saying so. It'll all work out, though. If it doesn't, he'll just send Cassie after him.

"Impulse found kittens… Somewhere," is the vigilante's explanation. He was never really given a clearer answer by the speedster, which is probably not surprising. "He's supposed to be taking care of them… But I imagine Iso is doing a lot of that, since she's living in the Tower full time."

And because Bartholomew Henry Allen II is irresponsible.

Hey! He is not—

….okay, so maybe Bart Allen could do for being a little more responsible. It's not for lack of interest most of the time so much as simply being too susceptible to distraction.

Red Robin should be grateful that only one of the kittens remains at the Tower. While it's possible that abnormally pink kittens might gain quick interest for a new home, there's also the chance that people might abort that consideration once they hear it was rescued from a horde of others used for testing of some sort. That and this one got kind of clingy.

Case in point, the grip in which it now has one of Connor's sneakers. Eventually realizing it's not getting anywhere with this tactic, it releases its clawed hold in favor of attacking shoelaces. New toy!

Somewhere likely lost in the background due to the blaring sounds from the entertainment center, the subtle ping from the elevator goes off, although at the same moment the door to the stairwell closes because there's only one person around here that gets tired of waiting for the elevator.

Bart's sitting there on one of the armrests of the couch, munching on potato chips like he'd been present the whole time. He's dressed casually, flip-flopping between rules of secret identities and being around friends whenever he's at the Tower. One of these days maybe he'll make up his mind. Although for the record, Rob? You look pretty weird.

"Who's winning? I bet it's Tim," he says in between crunching. "Oh, I see you've met the cat."

"Kittens, plural?!" Superboy exclaimed, saying the next part with vaguely restrained disbelief, "And got to /keep/ them?! That's like letting a woodpecker take care of an acorn…or something."

A brief, possibly awkward pause ensued, whereupon Conner helplessly shrugged, "Look, I can't lay golden eggs for you guys every second of the day."

This is maybe the first time he's heard Impulse is back from Alabama or wherever, but it's also not even a thing-of course he was back, just as the sun would reliably rise in the east! The kitten switches tactics though, which takes Conner's attention off the game long enough for Tim to get lifelead on him, "Hey hey hey, not the aglets, that'll ruin the whole thing!"

And then Bart was there because of course he was. "Yo. Yeah, call off your hellcat here." He said, giving the kid speedster a welcoming wave that quickly tucked under his armpit in defensive cross-arms stance, "Hey, this furball distracted me! It doesn't count." Superboy harumphed, though he wasn't actually trying to stop the cat or anything, "He got a name?"

Since he takes the secret identity thing very seriously - indeed, he takes many things very seriously - Red Robin doesn't do the civilian garb at the Tower thing. Or the real name thing, indeed trying to keep to the others' codenames as well, even though pretty much everyone knows Bart's identity by now, and neither Zatanna nor Fairchild seem particularly inclined to hide theirs either.

But you know, they weren't partially raised by the Batman.

It makes a big difference.

"Codename, please," he says offhandedly to Bart, not at all surprised now by the speedster's sudden appearance. "Only you guys, Wonder Girl and Zatanna know who I am. As far as Spider-Man, Fairchild and Iso are concerned, Red Robin is my only identity of consequence."

It had taken a while before he even told the three of them his real identity. Not that that their real identities had been off limits for him, but again: Batman.

"Yeah yeah, blame the cat," the vigilante taunts Superboy. "The Metropolis Kid, defeated by a tiny kitten…"

"Aw, I think she likes you. He. Whatever. I'm not sure." A pause. "'s about time you came by, Conner. Where've you been?" Meanwhile the kitten, having no idea what an aglet is, happily hangs onto the super lad's shoestrings with its claws as it tries to apply its teeth.

Rolling his eyes at Red Robin's reminder, Bart reflexively murmurs a, "Yummm~" on the heels of his name as the boy wonder continues. It's not that it hasn't been impressed upon him the importance of having a secret identity. Max used to get on his case quite frequently about it. Given how small Manchester is, Bart's just amazed no one else aside from Carol had figured him out. Around here, however, he figured he was among friends aside from simply comrades, fellow heroes in arms or whatever.

"No name yet. I was thinking the Clawminator Destrucat Mk. II- dibs on next game, by the way." He holds a hand out towards Conner, wiggling fingers for the controller.

"Hey, you know how RR is about the ecret-say dentity-iay." Conner taunts, handily mangling pig latin for the second word. "Two demerits to Allenndor."

"And there's only one cat who has my number, and she's still in prison, I think." He answered Tim's job, referencing their age-old encounter with one Mighty Endowed. "And yeah you know, things have been a little busy for me. Getting pulled off to do some big league work with big blue. You know how it is."

Not pictured: Clark and Conner pulling in the summer harvest for eight weeks. In overalls.

"But yeah, it's nice to be back around for a bit, and good to see you! I thought you were running around down south with Max Mercury or something. What kinda trouble have you guys been getting into lately, anyways?"

And yeah, maybe keep that name in the pipe a little bit longer. Conner lifted his foot instead to see if that had any discouraging effect on the nameless kitten's onslaught.

The mention of 'big league work' by Conner gets a look from the currently upside down Red Robin. The mask he's wearing hides a lot of the dubiousness of his expression, though.

"Didn't feel right without Impulse on the team," he says instead of continuing along that line of thought, and also disregarding the mockery of his codename with solemn dignity. "Needed to update his and Wonder Girl's costumes a bit, though. She's still fighting crime in jeans and a t-shirt, but at least they won't get torn up so easily. We stopped the Brain and Monsieur Mallah from mind-controlling all the animals in the Central Park Zoo, that one ended up on the news a bit," he adds, ruefully. He'd wanted the team to make a splash, sure, but he didn't want to be on the news himself. "Then the was a chemical spill in the East River that turned animals into monsters, which is how we recruited our newest teammate."

And Bart met his grandfather's ex-girlfriend.

But Red Robin doesn't throw Impulse under that particular bus in front of Superboy today.

"Since when do you play baseball?" Bart asks Conner, still trying to make a grab for his controller. "We were overseas for a little, me an' Max. Back now, obviously." And not-so-secretly gleeful to be on the team. So far Max hasn't found himself in need of making some type of formal apology to Red Robin or the others, or vice-versa, so maybe he assumes that this gig is doing the young Speedster some good.

"Ever figure that, SB? I didn't know Double R was into costume design." He stops for a moment from trying to claim his turn on the game in order to muss up Conner's hair. "Oh yeah, now that you're here, we can give you that haircut! It was Cassie's idea." He's so helpful! It's just unfortunate that he has no idea Tim had been joking at the time, nor Cassie's horror when Bart took it for serious.

"Dude, it was awesome! She blew up a pigeon!!" he tags on after Robin relates their latest missions and their newest recruit. The subject of Spoiler doesn't even cross his mind at the moment.

Meanwhile, the kitten lets go of the shoelaces after dangling for a bit. Then it decides to jump on Conner's leg.

Conner was too slow this time, and loses his controller to Bart's greed land grabbing hands. He'd protest, but he was too busy listening to Robin break down Titan activities for the last month or two. "Wow, stomped Monkey Meister and Lobey /and/ scored a new teammate? Not bad, guys." He said, then gaped after a moment of thought. "Wait, like…the new teammate, did you recruit one of the animal-monsters?!"
ecause let's be real: that would be pretty cool.

"Ehhh not really, i'd always figured he was the brain behind most of the Bat-family style. Even if Jeeves is the one who does the stitching." See, that was Conner doing that discretion thing by not saying 'Alfred'. He then clings to his hair defensively, "Hey hey hey, I don't care what Cass said! The 'do is what gives me my powers, which i'll only admit you two. Cutting it is like my kryptonite!"

See also: actual kryptonite.

"I hope that didn't happen on camera. Bad publicity with Greenpeace or something." He comments on Cass's achievement, wincing (yes, wincing!) when the kitten sinks it's little claws into his pant leg. "Okay friend, you clearly need a loftier perch." Superboy declared, carefully picking le kitton up and placing it somewhere he hopes achieves a measure of peace and satisfaction: the top of his head.

"Well, i'm glad you guys have been tearing it up all this time. Maybe i'll actually make the next adventure. It'd feel right for the three of us to kick some butt again, you know?

"Iso's not an animal monster, no," Red Robin says, dashing all of Superboy's hopes and dreams that they were going to have a legit crazy mutant on the team. They don't even have a Mutant! Though an Inhuman is just about the same thing, probably. "Like I said, she's relocated to the Tower pretty much full time, as near as I can tell, so you'll see her sooner or later. Chinese, part of her head is shaved. She manipulates pressure… Somehow. I'm not really sure what the precise mechanism is." At least Conner and Bart and Cassie's powers make a kind of sense. Zatanna's, too. But some metahumans just don't give you the courtesy of an exploitable methodology behind how they flagrantly defy physics. "But yeah she blew up a giant pigeon to keep it from crushing some bystanders."

But the real surprise is that Bart remembered the joke about Conner's hair. In Bart Time that was practically years ago!

That actually makes Red Robin laugh after a moment of surprise, particularly given how Superboy responds, protecting his hair with his hands.

"I dunno, maybe a fresh new look is just what the doctor ordered. Could do that slick Superman coif, with the little curly bit in front? We can get you a cape, it'll be great."

Now, of course, the cat is acting as a second guardian to Superboy's hairstyle, ensuring that Krypto is going to go nuts when he gets back to Smallville.

"Probably no shortage of butts that need kicking," Red Robin agrees. "Plus, you never know when we might need to lift something really heavy…"

Bart Allen's excellent memory rears its ugly head for the most inane things at times. He's grinning from ear to ear as he continues to bat at Conner's hair, now just to be an annoyance. Well, that and he always counts it a win if he can get Red Robin to laugh or crack a smile contrary to his otherwise normally oh-so-serious exterior. The speedster settles back only because he now has his hands on the game controller. You're goin' down, Tim.

The pink kitten squirms a bit once in hand, but settles quickly as it finds a new, higher position amongst Conner's wavy locks. Pawing a bit here and there, the kitten seems to find this perch acceptable and settles. …and licks a tuft of black hair caught between its paws.

"O~h, is that what she does?" Bart asks, regarding Iso. "So in a way, it was kinda like feeding the pigeon a giant alkaseltzer tab." Maybe. It's difficult trying to follow this boy's train of thought.

"Woooow, you'd look so weird wearing a cape," he says, obviously picturing it now. "-man, I feel like we've been due for some super-trio butt-kicking!"

"Maaan, rockin' the cape and tights is so not my style." Conner says, waving those digs off like they were plain-ass old bullets. "I mean, I respect the classics and all, don't get me wrong. But i'm trying to do something /new/ here, you know? Set a beat for the new generation and all."

He said, rocking it like it was still 1999. Maybe a costume change /was/ in order fairly soon.

The kitten seems content with it's new seat, even Conner does wince at the occasional plucks of his curly locks. No winning, he guesses. "Huh, pressure powers? That's pretty cool, not something you see a whole lot. Iso, chinese…half-bald, kay. I'll have to meet her sometime soon." The boy of steel said, not doubting he would if she spent most of her time around the tower.

"Glad to see we're all in agreement. For now though, how about we kick the butts of some burgers and fries? I'm famished."

For his part, at least, Red Robin has come to accept that Conner and Cassie are doomed to be hipsters, dressing in styles that were popular before any of them were born. Or in some cases, grown in a vat.

At least Superboy hasn't gone with that big bushy lumberjack beard and slicked hair combo. That would just be embarrassing.

"Sort of," the vigilante says to Bart's colourful metaphor about what happened to the pigeon. Weaponised gastric distress is nothing to scoff at, of course… And there's all sorts of other things the young woman could do with that. What makes her potentially very dangerous is that she's smart enough to realise it.

The idea of food causes a contemplative look to cross Red Robin's masked face, before he lets out an exhalation and sets his controller on the coffee table.

"Sounds good to me," he says, as though any young man of their age would say otherwise. They gotta eat, after all… And that's without a Speed Force metabolism. He half-rolls himself over the back of the sunken couch to end up on his feet in the common area, walking towards one of the dorm room hallways. "Just let me put some people clothes on first. If I go out as Red Robin I'm pretty sure somebody is gonna suggest we go to Bat Burger."

He looks pointedly right at Superboy before continuing towards his room.

Because it was either that or an actual Red Robin, and in both cases probably just because the Boy of Steel was hoping they'd get free food out of it.

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