The Magic Word

January 17, 2018:

An impromptu meeting at Titans Tower about the current situation in New York results in some mild bullying, a possibly terrible plan, and a cat licking its butt on the meeting table.

Operations Center - Titans Tower

A slick, high-tech command center. The conference table is T-shaped, because of course it is.


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Tony Stark, Constantine, Superboy


Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

Outside, the city is ruled by snow and darkness.

Titans Tower is still fully powered, having been designed to survive off the grid: The blizzard's winds might make the building shift all but imperceptibly, but the cold doesn't penetrate, and the lights work. The real question is, will people see the T-shaped structure lit up as a beacon, or something to be envious of?

Which is why the Titans have been working disaster relief, helping to coordinate the authorities' efforts and also applying their various talents. Super strength super speed, magic, the ability to generate electricity… All of these are, understandably, extremely helpful in a situation where accidents could claim as many lives as the elements.

Hovering over the T-shaped conference table of the operations room (and yes, all the chairs have their logos on the back, for the people who have any) is a blue-light hologram of Manhattan, charting ongoing relief efforts, and known hotspots of trouble. There's probably stuff going on that the Titans aren't aware of - SHIELD was pretty good at keeping their secrets - but of course Red Robin was trying to sort it all out by himself.

He hasn't eaten in twelve hours.

He hasn't slept in three days.

Instead he's there, monitoring the flow of information, submerging himself completely in the problem. It beats worrying about other things.

This new year was sure off to a cruddy start. First the place he worked at gets blown up and burned down. Then the city suffers a minor catastrophe in the form of a massive power outage. It's…kind of surreal, but the danger is very real, and it's common knowledge that when routine of daily life is disrupted, then lots of people do very stupid things, and that's on top of the general problems that can be expected to arise under such circumstances.

Slipping into the operations room, Impulse glances around, not that it's difficult to find Double-R. The young speedster has his goggles pulled down and a jacket thrown over his uniform, and a strange boa-looking thing over his shoulders in an odd but perhaps familiar shade of pink. Said furry thing twitches a tail and lifts its head, Clawminator Destrucat Mk. II, the Titans' unofficial mascot and resident house cat. …although maybe someone should be concerned that she's gotten as big as a border collie. Impulse certainly doesn't seem to think this is strange.

"…I know I'm in and out of here but I'm pretty sure I left you in the exact same spot, like…yesterday," he says, squinting at Red Robin as he steps over to set a plate of pizza there at the table's edge, one of two that he's brought in- probably microwaved but pizza is one of the few foods that tastes just as good hot, cold, or days old.

Tired? Sleep? Static knows not these things.

"Brooklyn's back online." Static says his as he practically falls into the room. He stumbles wearily towards his 'Static-logoed' chair looking like he's been in a fight with an extension cord. There's still a bit of electricity crackling off his body and his suit but he's still alive. Somehow. Hell, the fact that he's even capable of moving at this point. "Some of it, anyway." He slumps over the back of his chair and holds a hand towards a small box underneath his chair. With some pulling and tugging and use of his electromagnetivity, he yanks up a bottle of Gatorade.

He looks around in that moment, his hand hovering over the top of the Gatorade bottle as he just feels as though he's being judged. Or he's pondering the right moment to drop some levity on the situation. And thus the quip of an explanation:


He's not sure if anybody's going to laugh but he cracks open the bottle and starts guzzling. And yes, it's Orange.

While the situation as a whole is new to the one they call Wonder Girl, it's the way the group works as a team in it that makes her feel a sense of nostalgia. While she isn't afraid to trade fists with the baddies, it is nice to team up to fight against an environmental disaster for a change. A weird way to look at it, she knows.

Wonder Girl is, of course, concerned about Red Robin being his usual self, but she was more preoccupied with working alongside Static to help him get around when she wasn't assisting snow vehicles in clearing emergency routes. Poor guy. So she enters right behind him looking to be in good spirits as she chirps after his comment with a pat on his shoulder, "And Turbolytes, powerlytes; why more lights than," then her voice drops in pseudo-baritone, "Your body HAS ROOM FOOOOR."

She then clenches her hands into fists. "So! How's our overall progress so far? I'm expecting good news, don't disappoint me, fearless leader~."

A wormhole opens up, somewhere behind Bart. Threads of scarlet energy twine around a coruscating circle of white-blue light before Zatanna steps through, snow in her hair and caking the shoulders of her black coat, ice clinging to her black jeans and her red scarf. She is busily blowing into her hands as she walks in. It's cold out there.

"Magic," she says, dusting off her raven hair. "The city's always been clotted with it, but it's thick and heavy around the Stark Tower." Weird enough on its own, given that Tony's home away from home is a bastion of high technology and science, not sorcery. "How are the relief efforts going?"

The last is directed to Red, but the rest of the Titans get a wave - Bart and Cassie are familiar, but this is the first time she is meeting Virgil. "Zee," she introduces. "Static, right?"

"Mn," Red Robin replies to Impulse's suggestion that he hadn't moved in a day. It was entirely possible that the speedster wasn't exaggerating, but he did live time faster than everyone else. Maybe it just seemed like yesterday. He doesn't, in any case, immediately move for the pizza, although the smell of it does hit his nostrils, causing his body to remind him that he hasn't eaten in entirely too long. The spirit is strong, but the flesh is drawing his attention to that plate.

"Hnn," he adds in acknowledgement to Static's status report, forcing himself to not look at the pizza and instead look at the hologram. Electricity wasn't the only problem, they had to make sure there were no gas leaks anywhere, just in case, and…

Wonder Girl responds to Static's quip, and that gets the Red Knight's attention to turn from the hologram: Behind the featureless white lenses in his mask, there's still the impression that he blinks at her.

"I would've gone for 'it's what plants crave,' personally."

Zatanna's arrival, though, cuts short any answer he might've given to the demigoddess right away, though after her comments about the way the city's magic is particularly thick around Stark Tower the witch does ask pretty much the same thing.

"Good, so far. New York's got excellent first responders, and we were able to give them a little boost with the Tower's communications network. Static's been doing everything he can to get the lights on, and Impulse and Wonder Girl are both rescue crews practically all by themselves. Though I still wonder what Stark did to cause all of this. Assuming it was him and not one of his… I dunno, I want to say 'many' enemies?"

Finally, his hand betrays him, reaching for a slice of pizza.

Normally a pizza slice sitting out that long wouldn't last a minute untouched, but even though Impulse makes short work of his own snack, he manages to keep from finishing off Robin's as well. That would kind of defeat the purpose, after all.

"Nice," he says as he looks over at Static, and there's a quirk of a grin at the quip. Wonder Girl gets a wave when she enters, and despite what's happening in the city, it's good to see that his teammates can still keep in relatively good spirits. But then this is what they do. "Hadda dig a lotta people out of cars. Guess they decided to chance the roads and weather to get out of the city."

Zatanna's fancy entrance has Clawmy tense and then shift completely to one shoulder, leaving Bart to teeter in his balance before the big pink cat jumps onto the table. "Heya Zee," he says as he pushes the cat's face out of his own, moving to drop into his own seat. He doesn't have a logo engraved on the back- he's still not sold on the typical lightning bolt so he's been experimenting. Currently there's a post-it note with something of an outlined zig-zag on it, which knowing Bart, will probably be replaced before the week's over.

"So…is Stark Tower now the home of some final boss that we have to level grind to beat?" he asks, because of course his thoughts head in that direction. Good thing Red Robin grabs that pizza when he does, since Clawmy's wandered over to sniff at the plate.

"Got it in one." Static says before he stretches around to slide down into his chair. The bottle og gatorade has been taken care of with so much speed that it was more like he was doing a shot. "I put a shock to your system." Static manages to get his catch phrase out before it looks like he's getting so sleepy that he can't even keep his head up. He's drained. And exhausted. "Sometimes. Like, when I'm not a rechargeable battery."

Static lets his head drop down to his hands and he starts the process of letting his body recharge.

"… Touche'." Wonder Girl replies to Red Robin with a slightly more forced smile, only because she didn't actually want to admit that she found that to be the better quip. Seriously, how does he do that even in this kind of situation? But that aside, there is a bit of relief to see him grab something to eat- She also didn't want to be the one to have to stuff food in his mouth. Sort of. The sudden arrival of the wormhole sends a chill up her spine; her eyes widen briefly, but she quickly recovers to greet Zee in return, "Hey, welcome back!"

A sympathetic grin is given to Virgil, though before she can comment she has a moment to take in the update. Not to mention she's so used to the way Bart talks that she doesn't even bat an eyelash to the comparison. "I certainly hope not. But that said, I don't even know where to begin guessing how this happened. Um, hey, how about I take over for you for a little while?"

"Impulse," Zatanna says, finding her chair and dropping onto it with a sigh, reaching around so she could strip her coat off her and toss it on the chair next to hers. After a spine-popping stretch, she drapes bonelessly against the cushions, her head tilting back and closing her eyes, basking in the warmth of the tower. After a few hours spent outside, she is ready to have a hot bath.

Bart's question has her lifting her head. "I'm not sure. I tried calling Tony, he assisted John and me with a problem a while back, but I keep getting voicemail."

There's a slight frown, unable to shake the feeling that something is wrong there too.

Floating 'tags' of information appear and change over the blue-light hologram of the city that hovers over the T-shaped conference table while the assembled Titans talk; several sitting in their chairs, each marked with their personal emblem if they have one, because branding is extremely important into the superhero game. That's one of the first things Red Robin learned from Batman, even before the swinging between buildings on a terrifyingly thin monofilament wire.

Of course, the chair with his emblem, the stylised yellow bird's head in profile on a black circle, is empty, because he's standing. He has not stopped standing for several hours, having been hard at work until his exhausted teammates filed in.

"Grn," the vigilante mutters around a mouthful of pizza, having saved it both from Impulse's consciously restrained need to consume mass quantities, and the curiously large Clawminator Destrucat Mk.II's curious sniffing. After the cat tried to eat Iso's foot that one time, there's not much he'd put past it anyway.

"I dunno, it might be," he allows eventually, about Impulse's question. His hidden eyes turn to watch as Static rests his face in his hands, and Zatanna practically turns into an amorphous mass in her own chair. They're weary. Of course they are, they've all been working themselves ragged since New York went dark. "If Stark's off the grid, then maybe he was routed by whatever happened in his building. I mean, unless he's gone all 'Tony Stark, mechano-emperor of Earth' and he's waiting in the tower on a throne built out of missiles instead of swords. He probably wouldn't answer his phone then, either." Frowning, he rubs at the back of his neck, feeling the tension there. He's going a little loopy.

Maybe he should let Cassie take over, for a little while.

That Bart's not tapping his feet or orbiting the table or hovering at someone's elbow or another speaks loads, but everyone available to do, well, anything to help around the city in its current state has been doing so ever since power went out and things went crazy. Maybe those two are interchangable, but as it is, they have no idea what happened that had triggered it all.

The overly large pink cat that is Clawminator Destrucat Mk. II- Clawmy for short, wanders away from Red Robin's empty pizza dish, moving instead to paw at the holo-image as cats are want to do. And then of course she flops down in the middle of the table to clean herself.

Hands propping his chin up as he rests his elbows on the table's edge where he sits, Bart frowns as Zatanna confirms absolutely nothing but the strangeness of the situation with an apparently MIA Tony Stark. He glances over at Red Robin. "Well, has anyone checked it out? We can't be the only ones to have picked out that something's weird over there…"

A twin pair of lights streak towards the tower. Perimeter alarms beep a friendly alert to the residents, even though they might visually identify a Javelin making an approach pass. Engines pop once and flare as brakes are engaged, and the hangar doors open to admit the vessel into the Tower.

A minute later, Caitlin Fairchild enters from the main access elevator. She looks as tired as anyone else. She can exert herself for hours, maybe days, with enough food, but mental exhaustion is an entirely different beast. Her shoulders sag a bit with fatigue and her boots shuffle with each step. "Wow. You all look chipper," she says, a little laconically. She finds her chair, which is identifiable mostly because it's the heaviest one at the table. Caitlin flops into it hard enough to make the bolts creak a little. She juts out her lower lip and exhales a short huff of air, making her bangs dance.

"Sorry I'm late," she says, tugging off her half-gloves. She tosses them on the table in front of her and slumps, wearily. "Any good news?" she inquires, glancing up at the data flowing in lazy orbit over the tabletop.

Cassie's attention is taken first by the cat, then to Virgil, though she seems to be able to pinpoint the moment he's out like a light which brings a particularly broad grin to her features. As far as she's concerned it appears everyone's earned themselves a bit of rest, though before she can voice as such is the appearance of the statuesque redhead, "Cait!"

Sure, Cassie's on the tired side herself, but it seems she's taken it upon herself to keep the positive vibes going. "Looks like been pretty steady progress in restoration thanks to everyone's work; now we're all just spitballing possibilites on how this all went down in the first place."

She resists the urge to give Caitlin a hug and, ith no particular thoughts toward Zatanna or Impule's comments, instead sweeps on over to Red Robin's side with a hand on her hip, "And I'm going to translate that 'Gyn' as a 'Please do, Wonder Samaritan'."

Unless he's gone all Tony Stark, mechano-emperor of Earth.

Zatanna groans. "Don't remind me," she sighs. "He's already worshipped as a god in another dimension. He's got a statue and scores and scores of insectoid beings bowing to it every day and everything. As if the world we know didn't have enough problems."


Memories of that labyrinth and the zigurrat that housed Xiuhnel's heart has her sinking further into her chair. "Long story."

How New York manages to contain the egos of Tony Stark, Dr. Strange and John Constantine together within a handful of blocks is a mystery for the ages. She's surprised the sleepless metropolis is still standing.

Has anyone checked it out?

"Not yet," she tells Bart. "Honestly with what I can sense from it, I should probably go."

Caitlin's arrival has her lifting her fingers to tip towards her in greeting.

The groan and story from the gothic magician gets a measured look from Red Robin. It's hard to tell, since his eyes and brows are covered by his black, jaggedly-designed domino mask with its white lenses, but there's a certain wariness to his stance that suggests - at least, to those familiar enough with him - that he's trying to figure out if she's being serious or not. It sounds ridiculous, but what in his life isn't ridiculous?

Eventually, he just sighs a little bit.

"Okay, well, that's harrowing. Now we have to put 'vengeful splinter group of extradimensional insectoid Tony Stark worshippers' on the list of possible causes." Is that better or worse than the Iron Man succumbing to megalomania? It's difficult to say.

Suspecting that Static has actually fallen asleep like that, Red Robin elects to leave him be, instead focusing on the interplay between Zatanna and Impulse, a pensive frown tugging at the corners of his mouth.

"Not alone," he says, pointedly, to the Princess of Prestidigitation, though if he had anything else to say about it, Fairchild's entrance was a distraction.

"Good news: We've been able to keep things from getting too much worse. No closer to figuring out just what happened, though, and…"

At this point, Wonder Girl, his loyal second-in-command, brazenly mutinies. He should say something about that. He should continue on with grim resolution as though she hadn't said anything, or give her a withering, Batmanesque look.

Instead, he mutters something and moves over to sit in his own chair, eating that slice of pizza.

Bart lifts his head, opening his mouth to greet Caitlin and ends up yawning instead. Body, how dare you betray him. Instead, he waves, and then reaches out to wiggle fingers at Clawmy in an effort to try and get the cat off the table. So far, it doesn't seem to be working as the cat resumes cleaning herself in that elegant manner that cats tend to. …which…really isn't all that elegant when you've got one leg in the air.

"Dude, seriously?" he asks, blinking over at Zatanna- and flashing a quick grin at Cassie as she goes to help out Tim, because the latter would never tag out willingly otherwise. And then he's frowning at the idea of Zatanna going it alone, because um. What?

"Yeah, I'm with Red Rob. No going alone. If there's a demon overlord up there, it's better taking back-up. Besides, mages have lousy defense. You need a full party!"

"… Um. Wow."

Cassie hadn't heard *that* about Stark either, and she's left with a bit of a stunned look as she takes her seat. One really does learn something new every day don't they? Welp, looks like it's being added to the list. As for forming a party for another excursion, Cassie does feel a smidge hesitant about going out once again without a break, but she doesn't know Zee well enough to be confident with an arguement. So, note to self: Spend more time with Zatanna in the future.

Not alone, they all say.

Remembering the last time she attempted to do a magical investigation by herself, Zatanna smiles faintly and lifts her shoulders in a faint shrug. "Full party it is," she says, not even bothering to argue the point. Easing from her chair, she takes her jacket and drapes it around her forearm.

"Anyway, I need a hot bath, it was cold out there." Pivoting on booted feet, she heads for the elevators. "Gonna get some down time, too. Lemme know if anything else comes up, you all know where to find me."

And with that, the doors close behind her.

It wasn't a lack of confidence in Zatanna's abilities: Red Robin knew that she was extremely capable, and he'd extended her the same kind of implicit trust he had Superboy, Wonder Girl and Impulse, it was just…

Well, they were a team, right? And it was right there in the team motto: Titans Together

Finishing the slice, the Gotham vigilante watches Zatanna leave, and only once the magician has left does he turn his attention back to the others, brushing crumbs and a bit of grease off of his gloved fingers.

"She's probably got the right idea. Everybody try to get some rest, Wonder Girl since you volunteered, you're on monitor duty for a bit, then… Fairchild, can you take over for her in a few hours?" Delegating was not Red Robin's first instinct, a fact which could probably be laid at the feet of his mentor, but at least he was trying.

Despite his exhaustion, he levers himself out of his chair with a fully rested ease (even though his body wants him to stay in it), and starts towards the door himself.

"Thanks for the pizza, Impulse," he says to the speedster, having remembered his manners, giving the group a bit of a grin before he exits the operations room.

"…And get your cat off the table!" comes a few moments later through the open door, before it shuts behind the Titans' leader.

Caitlin's almost too tired to eat.

Almost. She wiggles her fingers at Zatanna, returning the other woman's greeting. A smile that is reflexively bright and friendly for everyone momentarily lightens her mood by about ten degrees, adding a little sunshine to the dreary meeting.

She'd have hugged Cassie if she wasn't so tired. Instead she settles on making a little heart with her hands and pointing an index finger at Wonder Girl, the greeting a little wan but equally sincere. She's glad to see Cassie as well.

"Huh? Oh. Yeah, I can take over," Caitlin says, nodding at Tim. "I can get by without sleep for a few days. Red bull and pizza, bay-bee," she says, a little singsong. She reaches out to scritch the cat on the table and then hauls the pizza over, sliiiiiiding it across the table.

Tim and Zatanna leave, and she taps on her keyboard. "Well, if anyone's tracking it, we've got power restroed in a number of districts. Dynamos at the main plants are bakc online and we have power distribution grids in full swing again. I've been mostly dropping off Workshops and making sure no rogue drones come online again." She uploads the latest status reports into the Titan's projections. An organization like theirs runs on information, and the more she can provide, the better.

"Soooooo… what else is new? And when did we get a cat?"

"Any time," Bart says, grinning over at Red Robin as he stretches his arms out with another yawn. He promptly ducks his head at the shout following, sighing before he drags himself to his feet.

"Static got Brooklyn up too," he informs Caitlin as he tries to stretch across the table to drag the big pink cat over. "Oh, Clawmy? She's been around. Got real big! Didn't know cats get this big. When I got her she could fit in my pocket." Momentarily disrupting the holo, he half throws himself on the table in order to get within reach of the cat who naturally won't go any closer, but allows herself to be gathered in his arms, and what an armful! "Not surprised you haven't seen her. She used to hide under the couch but now I think she hides in Iso's room. …I think Iso knows, anyway." Shrug.

"Maybe someone should take Static to the couch or something." He grins at Caitlin and Cass, shifting the cat over his shoulder as he turns to go shuffle out."Anyway. I guess I'll go crash too. If we're going to go dungeon crawling in Stark Tower, I want my stats ma— ow! Cat. Why."

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