Inevitable Betrayal

October 17, 2018:

Titan's Sub Basement

Built into the man-made island underneath the Tower, the sub
basements include storage facilities for just about anything the Titans
might need - with food and water supplies to let them hide out at Titans
Tower for maybe half a year, if absolutely necessary - as well as some more
outlandish things, such as the core of the Tower's custom-built computer
system.
With the storage level at the first sub basement, the level below
that houses the hangar facilities for the T-Jet, the Titans' transport
aircraft. The T-Jet's hangar has just about anything they might need to
maintain or repair the craft, and it lets out through a hidden cave on one
side of the island, just above the waterline.
Below that, in the deepest bowels of the island, is a garage
facility for other vehicles, usually whatever individual Titans might have
brought along with them, or 'picked up' for one reason or another on a
mission. From here, access tunnels run deep under the East River, letting
out in hidden locations on either bank; these tunnels are a useful way for
team members to leave or return to the island surreptitiously, and also
serve as emergency escape routes.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Batman, Red Robin, Nico, Raven, Zatanna

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Log Commenced: 17-Oct-18 12:22AM EST

*

"Okay Bart, I think we're ready."

Caitlin eyes the setup in the Titan's sub-basement. It is, without a doubt, the most ad-hoc device she's built since …. well, ever. The demonic invasion has forced Caitlin to cut a lot of the safety steps that she'd otherwise prefer to have in place, mostly because with Charlie/Misfit having vanished into the demonic aether during their fight with Illyana, there just wasn't time to do it by the numbers.

So she'd been working nonstop since the battle, surviving on energy drinks and power bars, and worked out a means for not only communicating with Charlie through the interdimensional void, but possibly bringing her home.

"We're only going to get one shot at this," she reminds Bart, activating power supplies and magnetic resonator coils. "I can't phase Charlie here again without risking a major gravitational anomaly. Not like this, anyway." She gestures at the crude capture cage, a fifteen foot enclosure of steel and transparetn aluminum windows. Resonance devices adorn all exterior surfaces, and Bart stands right in the middle of the cage. "Okay, show time. You're going to hear the harmonic transcievers resonating at Charlie's frequency," Caitlin tells Bart, moving switches. "You need to adjust the amplitude of your vibrations in order to bring her here. Once you're in harmony with them, you're briefly going to exist in both our dimension and theirs. Charlie, are you ready?" she inquires into the comm device. "As soon as you see Bart, you need to get to him as fast as possible. He'll be somewhere within sixty horizontal feet of you. This is going to make a LOT of noise, so don't dawdle, okay?"

"We've got automatic turrets loaded with holy water paintballs and a thousand gallons of consecrated water in a mist dispensor," she reminds her allies. "So if you bring demons, they're gonna be goop on the ground in seconds. But let's not push it, okay?"

She rests her hands on the console, bracing her shoulders, and exhales. "Bart? You ready?"

*

It's a whole lot of science techkery know-how that Impulse only understands the roundabout way of how things are supposed to go. He has no idea how exactly Caitlin's device works, only that it does and that this is a slightly more delicate operation than shutting down a portal.

Thankfully he also understands his role in this, and he's taking this all quite seriously because one of their teammates is depending on them. Giving the surrounding set-up another glance over, the speedster nods when he looks back at Caitlin, shifting his weight on his feet as he readies himself.

"Got it," he says. Honestly the way the whole thing is supposed to work sounded pretty awesome. He'd be creating some kind of dimensional shift! Only he probably wouldn't pick this destination if it were his choice, and if the circumstances were different.

…right, stop getting distracted. He shakes his head, jerking his attention back to the matter at hand, amber eyes watching Caitlin.

"Ready. Let's bring her home."

*

The voice from the void through Caitlin's equipment is incredibly distorted. ""Okay Sure.. grab Bart.. got it … uh not sure about the traps… maybe…" it sounds like it is coming from a very great distance. Which to be fair it definitely is.

*

"Awesome. And don't worry, if you get stuck there just stick next to ROVR," Caitlin tells Bart offhand. "I can find you again, I'll just need a day or so to move to a location that isn't going to warp spacetime beyond repair. OKAY LET'S LIGHT THIS CANDLE!"

She hits the power switch, dimming the lights of the Tower upstairs for a second before the secondary generators kick on. "All right, capacitors charged, induction fields … inducting. Bart, do your thing!" She moves to a monitor and makes a few adjustments, and the machine— the entire island, really— starts to vibrate with a strange discordance as it attempts to harmonize with Bart's super-speed vibrations at the submolecular level.

The P-brane phase shifting would create a weird effect for Bart. He can see Caitlin behind the safety glass, the enclosure around him, the caves beyond the glass. On the other hand, he can simultaneously see the blasted landscape of Limbo itself. Rocks and strange plants intersecting the equally 'real' walls and cavern of Titan Tower, alternatingly going out of focus as Caitlin blurs and sharpens in response to Bart attempting to match the harmonics being emitted by the control cage.

For Misfit, ROVR starts making a terrible noise and begins to .. fade, for lack of a better word. It angles around, left and right, and suddenly darts off to a quarry not far away, beeping frantically as if trying to guide her along.

An earsplitting roar shatters the air of Limbo and -something- huge and black-scaled shoulders out of the ground, shoving blasted earth and rocks aside. Eyeless, nothing but jaws and acidic drool, it screeches at Misfit with a strangely high-pitched rage and starts thrashing towards her with bewildering speed.

*

There's a brief look shot Caitlin's way at that. She's seriously telling him to stick next to something for a day, possibly longer if things go wrong? Yeah. No. They'd better get this in one.

It does seem to help his focus given that perspective, and the moment he gets the word, he begins to vibrate, trying to adjust his speed once he picks up what he's supposed to be matching with. It doesn't look like he's doing anything at all from a glance, but his image is hardly clear for the minute, rapid movement that he is capable with through the Speed Force.

His brows shoot up behind his goggles the moment he sees things begin to warp around him. He must be doing something right! That's good incentive to keep at it, adjusting a little more, closing his eyes to really grasp that frequency.

*

"ROVR Noo….." the small heavily modified quadcopter has been Misfit's only friend for way too long in Limbo at this point. I mean sure she knows this is all part of the Cait Ghost Voices plan to rescue her with Bart. "It might be a trap… it is always a trap.. .aw damnit!" when the demon roars Misfit takes off running hard and fast following ROVR. Also yes Charlie used an actual swear word and not crackers or something similar.

When Charlie crests the hill and spots a wavering Bart she skids to a halt for a moment and then looks over her shoulder. Crapsticks severa more behomoths. This better be real. The girl starts running full tilt at Bart once more "That better be you BART .. damnit…" grabbing ROVR with a leap and a roll and then extending a hand to Bart as she ends back up on her feet running to meet him. More ROARRRRRRS that are earth shaking from all around the hill they are on. This place definitely looks, smells, and feels like Hell.

IT sounded like Charlie but the figure running to meet Bart is swathed in a cloak of some sort, it looks like reptilian skin, definitely green and obsidian scales fully with hood. It obscures just about everything but the sword on her back and the drone under her arm. By the time Bart grab her hand and they get close it is quite clear at least one of the figure's eyes has a ruby red demonic glow, serpentine, under the hood. By then though they will be heading back to earth.

*

The strange creature carrying ROVR fairly sings to Bart's enhanced senses. The vibrational frequencies the drone emits are like a homing becon, a tuning fork for him to phase towards. For a moment, Bart becomes wholly visible in Charlie's reality in the moment before they make physical contact.

The second they do, Caitlin hits the mass drivers and sends dynamos into reverse so quickly that at least one crankshaft explodes and several pistons rupture in the Tower's main generator. But the backups hold, and even as capacitors fuse and crack enough power drives through the Faraday cage to grab Bart and pull him— and Misfit— back into reality.

A demonic snakehead the size of a VW bug is microseconds behind Charlie and gets caught in the resonance field. The head comes back. The rest of the demon does not. Already dying with a look of shocked alarm, it slams into the opposite wall amidst a surprisingly dense explosion of green and purple ichor as Misfit, ROVR, and Bart all catch up in a tumbling transfer of momentum and are sent bouncing into the wall near it.

"Holy crackers! Is everyone okay?" Caitlin demands— and hits the fogging device that instantly fills the room with a dense, fine mist of consecrated water.

*

Eyes open when he hears footsteps, a voice… The smile that springs to his face in welcome of his friend freezes when he sees… Well he's not quite sure what he's seeing but it sounds like Misfit and she's got something that definitely doesn't look very demonly tucked under an arm. He feels it clearly then, the frequency he'd been tracking, matching, and as the cloaked form thrusts a hand towards him, he reaches out to grab hold of her in turn without a second thought.

It all happens in seconds, but Bart has plenty of time to process it all, and even then he's not sure what exactly he's looking at, or rather he's worried about just what Charlie's gone through. That eye- he's pretty sure he didn't just imagine that.

…also there's something big on her tail and yep, that's not what he's here for.

His grip tightens, he pulls Misfit close, protectively, weird cloak, drone and all.

"Caaaaaait—!" he shouts, about all he can do aside from trust that Caitlin's got everything handled on her end. While he's not aware of what exactly she's doing, he feels the resulting, the pull that ganks him and Misfit back to their reality, to the safety of the Tower.

Just not without company.

"AAH!" You have a giant snakehead thing punch through behind you and not get startled!!

Everything feels like it snaps around them, the atmosphere decidedly an improvement, the momentum- wait, when had they even been moving? — Impulse tries to shift around as they go tumbling, aiming to buffer Misfit as they careen into the wall.

"Ooooooow….owowowowow…."

*

"Better not be trap" the girl snarls to Bart as he pulls her in protectively. He definitely didn't imagine the ruby glow or the eye. He has so much more time than most to process these things. Charlie leans into his arms and hopes she won't be teleporting out of the gullet of a demon behemoth snake shortly.

"OW… crud… damnit…" as Charlie and Bart go tumblng around. ROVR totally floats free somewhere in all of that as Charlie lets go of him. He has been modified with cute little mock armor strips made of some sort of demonic steel. Spikes really. Adorable Mad Max fashion stylings with a bit of Doom.

When the fine dense mist of concecrated water hits the room there is a pained yelp from Charlie as she flails and tries to shield herself with Bart and her cloak. The Cloak is sizzling lightly, as is ROVR's cute little armor additions. "Cait… stop… da" there is a coughing fit from the cage now, holy water in the lungs. "Stop!"

*

"BART!"

There's a sound of wrenching metal, and then an irresistable hand grabs the back of Misfit's shirt and flings her across the room and into the opposite wall. "Bart! Stay behind me!" Caitlin barks, and steps forward with a pair of heavy knuckle guards on her hands. Silver inlay glimmers in the shape of Catholic symbols, and she advances on the scaled demoness almost before she can hit the ground. One hand grabs her throat to pin her to the wall, and she primes a punch that will surely splatter Misfit into a paste if thrown.

"WHERE IS CHARLIE?" she bellows, shaking the scaled figure. "Talk, or I'll break your face!"

*

Blearily blinking through the sudden fog of steam and watery mist, Bart stares as the figure he'd just brought through begins to flail about. He winces as he pushes himself up, seeing Caitlin come towards them. He gasps as the cloaked one is no longer there, and he sees her as she's being flung.

"Cait, no!" he shouts, and ignoring her words he throws himself after the other, propelling himself forward with each step. Caitlin may be reaching to follow through, but Impulse is still quicker, and suddenly he's there in front of Misfit, interposing himself between her and Caitlin, arms outspread, eyes squeezing shut as her hands move in, but he stands his ground.

*

Charlie is definitely not on her best game, it sounds like she is trying to cough up a lung. Easily snagged by Cait and thrown into the opposite wall "GURK!" and starts sliding down. Why was she hit by a bus?!

During the whole thrown across the room the scaled hood falls back. It isn't a scaled demoness, well it was a scaled demon of some variety before it was made into a cloak. Probably best not to think too hard about that part. There is some sort of book chained to her utility belt, leather bound, and her armor is beat to absolute hell and back. Hah puns.

That said, it is definitely, probably Charlie resting against the wall by her throat, still wheeeeezing in the consecrated mist and also the whole neck to wall pin with super strength. Her hair is really disheveled. Try not showering for god knows how long. Not everything is right though. The most startling bit is definitely Charlie's left eye. There is a splash of faint black scales all around it almost like a half mask and the eye itself is a lightly glowing ruby red and a smidge serpentine in the pupil. Her ears have a bit of an elven point to them, and when she tries to talk her incissors look a bit sharp. "Stop.. water…." ragged rasps. She is considering bouncing out of the basement at this rate, it would make her head stop ringing.

*

The very air of Limbo, thick with sulfur and demonic scents, becomes flickering ash and then sludgey ectoplasm as the holy water obliterates anything tainted by the demonic presence. The demonic wyrm runs like melting wax, becoming a grinning skull as the blood and muscles are washed away.

Caitlin's fractional moments from putting that fist into the wall behind Misfit's head.

Bart's shout does more to arrest her momentum than any action possibly could, and she looks from Bart to Charlie, then double-takes. "Charlotte? Oh my God!" she says, making it more prayerful praise than oath or blaspheme. She drops her grip on Charlie, looking horrified at how close she came to injuring a friend. "Charlie, your -eye-, what—" she looks around, wild-eyed, and realizes that the water is hurting her friend. "SIRIN, kill the misters! Full air blowers, right now!" The misters stop immediately, and then massive fans vent the moisture in the room out of the facility. In moments, it's merely damp, not humid, and the three of them stand in puddles of holy water.

"Charlie, what's wrong with your eye? Your… your ears, too, what— what happened in there?" Caitlin asks, in dismay. "You were only gone a few hours!"

*

Crisis averted. Impulse sags, sinking to his knees as he tries to catch his breath. He hadn't run more than a few steps but the abruptness of the situation with an adrenaline kick makes him feel like he'd done so much more. Pushing back his slightly soggy bangs from his face, he looks up at Caitlin and then over his shoulder at Misfit, amber eyes widening as he has a clearer look at the girl.

"Are you okay?" He'd been grasping for something to ask, and the question is the first thing people usually do. All the same he kind of regrets asking given that all things considered, whatever had happened to Misfit in Limbo could not have been okay.

*

There is a it more coughing and then sucking in deep breaths of non-consecrated air. Charlie is more sitting in a puddle then standing in one to be fair. She scrambles all sorts of out of sort and wobbly to her feet and starts to shake off her cloak, which took the brunt of the misters. When she gets clear of it she tosses it aside, surprisingly dry under it. The young woman's hands go to the tome chained to her utlity belt and she checks it very quickly. "That… hurt….not okay…." answering Bart and she sounds like she just had an asthma attack.

Right about then Caitlin's words get through to Charlie. "What's wrong with my eye!?" her hand going up to her face and she almost does a half spin blinking now. Well to be fair Charlie didn't have a mirror in Limbo. "Hours…" the girl rasps "It has been I…. I think .. ROVR … I mean.. his clock wasn't working very well but I kept a log… it.. it's been weeks… almost two months!" it isn't a snarl it is more a wail of despair.

*

"Months?!"

When Charlie whips aside her cloak, Caitlin glances at the woman's attire. Demonic flesh and chitin, formed into clothing and armor. It's ominous, certainly, but not entirely without a pragmatic angle— Caitlin knows well the necessity of making do with whatever's handy.

The book, though… her eyes fall to the fel tome, and even at a glance there's something about the foul codex that makes her cringe. Maybe it's the stink of Limbo, demonic not just in smell but physically repulsive to the eye. Maybe it's just a deeply ingrained Catholic sense of disdain for anything smacking of the Pit. But Caitlin recoils from the demonic artifact like a snake suddenly reared near her feet.

Caitlin backs up two paces. Her hand grasps the back of Bart's shirt to haul him to his feet. She whistles sharply, twice, and ROVR vaults towards her with a whirring of rotors. Caitlin backpedals two more steps, grabs the door, and slams it shut to lock Misfit in the containment cage.

"I'm sorry, Charlotte," Caitlin says, face twisting in despair. She palms the door lock and the security pad *beeps*, thick latches engaging. "We can't take the chance that you… that you didn't bring something back. With you. We need to talk to Raven, Zee, and Nico before we… before we can let you run free out here."

*

Misfit's response makes him cringe, but he's still staring up at her, stunned. Had she no idea what had happened to her? Wait, two months? It pains him just to hear her, her tone probably only hinting at what kind of torment she must have endured.

The force of finding himself suddenly hauled up and backwards nearly chokes him, and with the grip Caitlin has on him Bart has no choice but to just try keeping his feet under him. "C-ait, what're you—?!"

The sound of the door being shut cuts his words and thoughts off effectively. Coughing as he's released, he stumbles back against the cage, staring in disbelief before rounding on the taller redhead.

"Cait, you can't lock her up! We just got her home! What if she's hurt??"

*

Charlie stares in disbelief. Of course she is hurt. Right now she is hurt emotionally more than physically. Though it still feels like she was breathing acid mist not consecrated water. There is a bit of frustration "What the hell Cait… god damnit!" yeah she cusses now. No Dangits and Hecks in that rendition of frustration.

She runs across the cage and kicks the door with her armored boot then yelps "OW… CAITLIN!… I am hungry.. I haven't eaten in weeks… I want a shower…. and a coke… hell I want like a dozen pizzas… and… you can't keep me in here Cait!!" well she means that literally, Caitlin can't keep her in there. She is in there right now out of sheer exhasperation and shock.

*

Caitlin look sick. Sick with pain, with regret and shame for having done what she just did. Misfit's a friend— a good one. And a teammate. And it hurts, physically hurts the brawny ginger, in a way that writes itself all over her face.

"SIRIN, engage inteferon deadlocks!" Honestly, if Misfit hadn't said anything, Caitlin probably would have forgotten entirely that the girl can *be* anywhere she wants to be with nothing more than a thought. The deadlocks, though, were designed to secure the Faraday cage as thoroughly as the door does— an oppressive presence of resistance to Misfit's teleportation powers.

"Bart, we don't *know* if that's Charlie," she tells him, distress in her voice. She closes her eyes, wincing, at the sound of Misfit's outraged scream and please. "Did— did you see? Her eye? The way the holy water was burning her? And the book, you can't look at that *book*," she says, jabbing a finger at the transparent aluminum, "and tell me that it doesn't look like a Major League, big bad artefact of some kind!"

"Charlie— Charlie, listen," Cait pleads. "I will bring you food, I promise. This won't be for any longer than it takes me for to grab one of the magic girls and bring them down here to give you the litmus test. I'm sorry, Charlie, I am, please don't be mad at me," she pleads, tears mingling with the mist clinging to her fair skin. "We just— after Zatanna went Dark Side, we… we just can't take the risk again." She screws her eyes shut, and looks at Bart, face torn with conflict. "Bart, tell me if I'm wrong here," she whispers, voice trembling. "I'm… this demon stuff is breaking me. I can't keep doing this."

*

It's clear by the look on his face that Bart hadn't expected Caitlin to double down on the security of Misfit's prison. It's like a kick to the gut. He turns, looking back at Misfit, unsure what interferon deadlocks do, fairly certain he's never even heard of such a thing but he already knows what it must be for.

"What do you mean?!" Caitlin's words make no sense to him as he turns and stares once again at her like she's speaking some alien language or sprouted another head. He at least hears her out when she gives her reasons, but overall it still seems to over-complicate things when what they should do seems so simple to him.

"Cait, she's our friend. I don't know what she's been through, but if it's been months for her? Being caged up is the last thing anyone would want!"

He knows that Caitlin makes sense for her concerns, especially with what had happened with Zatanna so fresh in their minds, but still..!

Head lowered, he closes his eyes for a moment as he listens to her, taking a moment to try calming himself before he finally lifts his gaze, reaching out to clasp a hand over her's.

"You're not wrong, Cait. But this isn't right either. If we can't trust each other then that's as good as the bad guys winning, isn't it? Right now, Charlie needs us." He turns back towards the cage, back towards his other friend. "And if you won't let her out, then I will."

*

Caitlin covers her face with her free hand at Bart's chastisement, lips trembling. She squeezes his fingers back, perhaps a bit harder than she meant to but never risking hurting him. "I… okay," she whispers. She lowers her hands, unable to hide the tears on her cheeks, and types in the override code with a few quick taps on the keypad. The 'Open' button lights up. "SIRIN, power down the systems," she says, voice choking.

"I'll… I'll send down some hot food and let Red Robin know to come down here with a medical kit," she whispers. She takes two quick steps, glances at Charlie through the glass and almost says something. Shaking her head with an expression of guilt-stricken remorse, she breaks into a jog for the lift that'll take her up to the Tower proper.

*

Charlie watches the whole exchange frowning a lot, to be fair one tooth is a it caught on her lip from yelling and it does look a bit sharper. Her attetion shifts between Caitlin and Bart and back again. "I could have still got out of here." she mutters defiantly. Maybe she could have as well but she is damn tired after running weeks from demons. Also weeks of murdering demons.

"Don't you think I know I am not fine Cait… damnit.. why would I be fine…" she heads for the door not that it is unlocked "I am not staying down here" she calls after Cait then she looks to Bart. "I'm not. I need a shower like fish need water… I feel disgusting n ways I don't even want to think about." she frowns and looks equal parts sad and mad. Her goggles lenses shattered are around her neck. "What's wrong with my eye Bart?"

*

Bart looks back at Caitlin, smiling wanly as she makes her decision. He squeezes her hand back, giving the smallest nod. Once she's unlocked everything, he lets his hand fall back from her's, watching then as she goes off.

Releasing a breath he hadn't realized he'd held, the speedster turns towards the now freed Misfit. She still looks a mess, and he can't really blame her for feeling the need to shower.

"I'll go up with you. -not to shower," he quickly amends, realizing how weird that might have sounded. His expression sobers when she asks about her eye. "…it was glowing. Red, even. And you got this…stuff on your face. I…wanna ask what happened, but if you'd rather not talk about it right now, that's okay too." Still, it's obvious he's concerned, although even as she steps out and closer, to his credit he doesn't back away.

*

Charlie cups her hand over her left eye but then she can't see the glowing eye with the glowing eye. "I.. got hit in the eye… and teleported." she frowns. It is highly likely that Limbo messed with the way her chaos magic teleports heals her when she bounced while there. That has a lot of messy implications. Bad magicks to mix.

"Thank you Bart…" she flicks her eyes around nervously. "Also.. this .. better really be the tower. I want to go get a shower… eat several pizzas… and crash in one of the spare rooms. I think it best not to go home or Batman will probably try to lock me up too. He kind of reacts to problems like Caitlin did to be honest…" which means god knows Robin may try to lock her up until he is sure as well. That bridge though can be crossed if they come to it.

Caitlin is right about that book. It is ominious and chained shut right now to her belt. The sword is mildly ominious in it's own right as well. "Can you get pizza or something while I get clean… and probably have a breakdown in the shower?" at least Charlie is being realistic about the whole running into a mirror thing. She keeps feeling with calloused fingertips around her left eye. For the moment her erstwhile companion ROVR is forgotten. The logs will be an amazing read for Caitlin.

*

It takes Bart a moment to connect those things. It's been a while since that time Misfit had appeared in the Tower, injured but not. There's a lot of technicalities he's sure he's not aware of when it comes to how her teleportation works.

"Uh, if this wasn't the Tower, would I be here?" he grins. "If I pinch myself will you believe it's actually me? Wait, that's not how it works, is it…"

Anyway.

"I'll show you where the rooms are, then. Preferences for pizza? How many? I can make a run, no problem." It seems to be his unofficial side-job around here, not that he minds it. Pointedly trying not to stare too much at book and sword, Bart's nevertheless able to smile as they head for the elevator. After all, they've essentially succeeded in getting Misfit back, if not without a few bumps and some things yet open-ended.

But she's back now, and that's what matters most.

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