Culture Clash

October 26, 2018:

Some of the Titans take a breather while trying to keep things cool between their temporary Tamachoan guests.

Somewhere in the Pacific

A nice sandy beach somewhere…



Mentions: Tony Stark


Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

Turns out that Bart's new subjects are a complex bunch, full of political complexicity that only someone like Koriand'r could ever wrap her head around. Warring city-states, fealties, high councils chosen in enigmatic ways, marriages, bloodlines, supreme leaders vying for political leverage with the Emperor (also known as 'No way you are Emperor, Bart) and, above all, an intricate and lurid history of betrayal and insectoid honor.

Which brings the Titans to a certain morning, when our heroes woke up to Supreme Leader Hatty (he likes hats) challenging Supreme Leader Dr. Phil (he is very moderate but also kind of a savage) to a blood duel. Blood duels are a serious deal, but thanks to the influence of Emperor Bart the Benevolent and High Councilors Fairchild and Charlie (don't ask), the brutal feud was defused.

The solution?


Somewhere in the Pacific

Princess GummyBear's Pincering is at full swing. Turns out that Pincerings, Bart's people's equivalent of Sweet Sixteens, are a very serious business, and must be performed at certain holy sites. Case in point, some random island in the pacific that may or may not have above average radiation scores, but WHO IS COUNTING!?

What matters is that the bug people are all having a great time, bunched together on the beach being absolutely gross and making noises none of the Titans will ever forget, ever.

Cassandra Sandsmark, ever the joyous woman, has a red two-piece bikini on her, a sarong around her hips and sunglasses perched on her nose, as she watches from her spot close to the grill as that grossness goes on by the beach.

"Bart, were they like this before you became Emperor?" She grins, even if yes, it is quite disturbing. The very few insectoids that are not part of the pile are the ones who have taken up human customs the best, many of them dressed articles of clothing to show off their humanness. They just roam around, drinking beer and looking pretty drunk.


"Um. To be fair I was never emperor?" Bart clarifies solemnly as he stares, unsure of what he's watching, really, or rather if it's a good thing or not. "They thought I was Huitzlo-something-or-other, who's supposedly the subordinate sun god to whoever they think Mister Stark to be?" He scratches his head, shrugging.

Currently he's dressed in board shorts and a red hoodie, his hands slipping into the pockets. He looks over at one of the Tamachoans who drifts over, clicking back in conversation at something said.

"Hm. That's a good question," he says, glancing back at Cassie. "Have you seen Tlamatini? He's the high priest." The one that Kori made out with?


Caitlin's not looking at the beach, because the entire situation there is just so weird that the demon-fighting clone of a US Special Forces trooper finds it too bizarre to wrap her head around. Also, whatever the bugs are doing almost certainly is high on the list of things the devout Catholic girl is entirely sure are inappropriate, so it's just easier not to pay them attention.

So she's very pointedly kneeling near a slab of rock with her back to the bugs. The rock was split smoothly in half and serves as a cutting board for Caitlin to dice up tropical fruit and add to a manual blender jug. "Having seen Tony accidentally set himself on fire, I have a hard time with anyone thinking of him as some sort of demigod," Caitlin tells Bart a little primly. "He's human as anyone else, and even people who say the Asgardians are gods haven't seen Thor fall-down drunk, so."

She measures out some mango slices and adds them to the blender, along with a few other things, and hands the container to Bart. "Medium speed, please?" she request politely, along with a favouring smile.


Don't sweat -anything- that can be solved with earbuds. It's a life lesson, a mantra, a wise and eminently applicable rule of drama-free living. Surferboy (he doesn't even need a board, strictly speaking, because TTK) takes this self-taught wisdom to heart and lounges nearby, stretched out on a beach towel and slowly drying in the sun. Sure, TTK could handle that too— but it feels nice!

SB's blue-lensed, red-metal shades match his trunks, and currently cover his eyes, which may very well be closed as he nods blissfully along to the rhythm pumped into his super-ears. Here and there there's a hum, a twitch of foot or tap of finger— Kon is happily ignorant to whatever the bug-people are doing to each other in that… totally appropriate pile over there.


Charlie looks a lot more relaxed then she has for days since coming back from Limbo. God that place was hell. Literally. Well sort of literally. Anyhow she is wearing a black with pink highlights g-bomb springsuit, because by god she has a surf board that she plants into the sand forcefully as she walks to the group. Can she surf. Not amazingly well. Is she practicing. Yes.

She stops and stares at the group of bugs, which elicits a blink and a head tilt from Charlie and then looking over at Bart skeptically. "You know… I thought blood duel was the worst thing and this would be such a better solution. I am starting to question this wisdom." yeah she is just kidding, the crooked smile is the best sign. Her left eye is still kind of messed up thanks to Limbo, ruby iris and slit pupil with a very light splash of black scales around it, and well her ears have a bit of an elven point and her canines still a smidge sharp. No where near when she first got back and look nothing is glowing. "So what are you grilling Cassie?" is the important question from Misfit as she walks past them to her blanket and stops staring down at it, glaring. Yeah she is glaring at a book resting on her towel. Was it there a moment ago.


Why is everyone acting so awkward?!

To Koriand'r, of course, the scene on the beach is a perfectly typical one, and no cause for any concern. She has witnessed alien creatures of every bizarre configuration imaginable doing things *apparently* best not discussed in front of her more conservative Titanic friends.

"Like what?" she wonders of Cassie. "They are just enjoying the beach party. Also perhaps it is spawning season."!

But what she does know is that it is a wonderful day upon a sunny beach, and this itself makes her feel energized and wonderful. It should be no surprise that her bathing suit is something that would not be amiss in a Sports Illustrated special (in fact, she has appeared in those several years running, now!). But then again this is only slightly different than her costumed norm, the so-called 'Tamaranean battle harness.'

Skimming across the beach, she hovers over Caitlins shoulder for a moment, observing her efforts. "What are you preparing, friend Caitlin?" AND WHERE IS THE MUSTARD? Nah, she actually rather likes fruit, too!


"Wait. You are not Emperor? Well. I suppose that is good for them, but I'll miss the perks of your never-emperorness." And before Bart asks, Cassie just pokes her own head, "They were great, here in my head." Folding her arms, the athletic woman just looks at the beach, arching a brow at Conor just cooking in the sun.

"Look, Bart, I hope you don't think that's weird or anything, but I literally can only tell them apart by the clothes we manage to hang on them. No way I can tell who is who. Unless you mean High Priest Pervy? The one that is always sniffing Kori's clothes? Yeah, I kinda left him at the base. It works for everyone involved."

She looks at Caitlin, smiling at the woman's cooking, "You really like this, huh?" She holds her finger up, as if requesting a drink once it is all done. As Misfit approaches, Cassandra winks at the woman, and points at the burgers at the grill. "Funny thing. Me and mom used to travel all over the world, so the only food I didn't ever eat was good old American trash food. Makes me really hungry for it all the time, now!"

"Like what? Like super horny, Kori. I mean… not that you would find that weird, but here on Earth that is what we would call 'a bunch of giant cockroaches getting freaky'. And believe me, that is -weird-." When Kori goes on about spawning season, Cassandra just… zones out for a moment, ending the burger flipping and sighing.

"Bart, they are not spawning anything at the Tower. If I wake up to spawning, I am throwing you at the demons." She makes some burgers, hands them over, her mind still stuck in what that terrible term could mean for their future, and their beloved tower. "Kori… I love you. I really do. But… damn it. You say the darnest things."

Separating herself from the group briefly, Cassandra goes to Conner, whom she pokes with her foot, "Hey. You need food too, cool kid." She smiles some, crouching and handing him a plate with a burger on it. "Feel free to tip the waitress. Also, I don't think you CAN even tan, can you?" Standing up, still smiling, she nods at the group, "Join us?"


More than happy to be distracted (or more aptly, too easily distracted) from watching the Tamachoans at play, Bart takes the container that Caitlin hands him, nodding. "Sure thing, he says, cranking it up to a moderate speed so that the contents aren't completely liquified. "-here ya go!"

Cassie gets a slight squint. "Iiii don't remember too much about my stint thinking I was really Huitzilopotchli. …aside from waking up with a really bad headache. -and whatever everyone else told me about what was going on with Kori and Tlamatini. But really? You…er. He was?" His face screws up at the thought of the bug priest sniffing at Starfire's clothes, shaking his head frantically to banish it from his head.

He very nearly falls over when Cassandra starts getting more into whatever the bugs are practicing, thanks to Kori's suggestion. "I don't know!! Jarvis only gave me the Cliff Notes version of Tamachoan culture! But they've been watching Netflix so who knows what they've picked up!" Huff.

Charlie at least gets a smile when she comes back from her surfing attempts. Bart's just glad that she's acting better than she had days ago, and for all that the city of New York is still probably swarmed in demons, he thinks a breather from it all is just what they needed. Not that they wouldn't drop it all and dash back there the moment they might be needed.

At least with Cassie starting to pass out burgers he bounces eagerly in place for one, then holds out his empty plate for another. "Connerrrrr why're you way over there??"


"I don't know. It's relaxing," Caitlin tells Cassandra. "As much as I need to eat in a day, I couldn't possibly afford to feed myself pre-packaged food." She rises smoothly, moving to take over the grill for Cassandra with a practiced flick of the spatula to make sure nothing gets over or undercooked. She wears a (comparatively) olive-green conservative green two-piece swimsuit, with a halter top and a wrap-around sarong with a vivid floral pattern in complementary tones. Between flipping burgers and chicken breasts, she pours drinks for everyone into plastic tumblers and offers them to Bart and Charlie when they come over for food.

"Fruit smoothies, Kori. Some yoghurt, fresh fruit, a bit of ice— and liquor for the drinkers," Caitlin says, favoring Kori with a dimple-cheeked smile at the question. "I drink these by the gallon with protein powder in them. Fresh fruit helps when you're tired of whey powder."

She leans sideways, rummaging in the cooler, and comes up with a mason jar that says 'Kori' on it in Caitlin's weirdly font-like handwriting. Orange, briney liquid sloshes within. "But for -you-: apple vinegar with cloves and mustard seeds," she tells Kori, beaming.

"Okay, I have burgers and brats, and the chickens will be done soon," Caitlin says, offering out paper plates and napkins with her usual fussy sense of neatness. "Bart, Charlie? Beef or pork?" she inquires, offering to dish them each up some. "And there's potato salad in the cooler."


"They totally are. Spawning at the tower." The sound is unmistakable. Kon doesn't seem too concerned by this, however. He just lets Cassie know when she pokes him with her foot; he's helpful that way. Despite being relatively unnecessary, he pops an earbud out and props himself half-upright, accepting the plate with a grin, "Need, want, have." He agrees readily, making a bit of a show of patting down his shorts for a wallet he… well… isn't carrying.

"I'll have to uh, make it up to you?" The embarrassment is feigned, a cloaking device for utterly unintentional innuendo. "Tanning is a protective mechanism of melanin in the skin." He just kind of knows this. He's smarter than he acts, as Cassie well knows, so it's safe to act smarter than he is, with her. Wait.

"Blocks the absorption of harmful radiation, etc etc. That's the last thing I want." Luckily, he's got a pretty healthy complexion as it is, so not burning and peeling after five minutes outside is understandable, even in his cover ID!

"Gotta soak it alllll in." Another grin accompanies the propping of his shades along his hairline, and a languid stretch, his gaze passing over Cassie and then back towards the rest. "… it's like twelve feet, Bart. Besides you're Impulse. Be a rebel, snag three." Kon definitely will be!


"I want brats, lots, maybe a burger… also smoothie.. and I'm a drinker." okay she is likely not 21 but maybe she wants a drink. "One second though…" Charlie bends down and picks up the ugly tome with the chain around it that is on her beach blanket. That damn book is hard to look at. She vanishes with a slash of Ruby (and pink and purple) smoke, Ruby is very new.

Moments later those with super senses can spot a little slash of smoke over a nearby volcanic island, something is hurled down into the volcano.

Moments after that Charlie is back empty handed and reaching for a plate to get her brat and hamburger loaded up on said empty plate. "I am on team no spawning in the tower Bart, make sure your citizens obey this law."


"Do not Earth cockroaches get 'the freaky' also?" Koriand'r wonders back at Cassie, sounding genuinely confused by the whole thing. "They are just not so giant." DO NOT BE A SIZE-IST, CASSIE!

But ultimately, ponderings on such matters are easily set aside. She is certain that her friends know what is best, and when and when not the group spawning activities are appropriate! In the meantime, there is food to be eaten. In combination with the glorious sun overhead, this is an embarrassment of riches!

"I will have several burgers also please!" she informs the chef (or chefs? who knows who is handling what!) "Oh yes, and also one of the smoothies of fruit! I would like one with everything!" What could be better than everything? Well, Caitlin also has a special Kori brew as well, it seems. "Oh, glorious. Do you think they would go well together? Otherwise I can just have both. If we are to have the many 'fun in the sun' activities, I will require considerable energy!"

Which may lead one to wonder what degree of activities she has planned!

However the tanning conversation seems to catch her attention. "I have seen some human women doing the sun bathing, and decided I would also try it in human style. So I spent some time laying out on the moon before my shift at the Justice League satellite! However I am also not able to tan." Or really, one could say she comes pre-tanned!


"… what do YOU know about spawning?"

Cassandra seems all to skeptical fo Kon's knowledge of things mostly because, on top of being far more intelligent than he looks, the boy is a troll. So an eyebrow perches, and she feigns laughter, poking him in the chest, "Ha. Ha. I know YOU don't know about them because they are not even from this dimension!"

''I'll have to uh, make it up to you?''

Wonder Girl eyerolls playfully. She seems to load a thousand answers to go with that, lips parted, but she stays her tongue, simply shrugging. "Maybe! Who knows these things, mmm?" She stands up and pokes him on the side with her toe again, before sauntering towards the others.

"Bart, I don't think blaming Netflix will cut it! I could buy if it was HBO, but Netflix?!" And she grins, and nods, at Misfit. "Agreed. Team No Spawning is the best team, -no matter what Kori says-." And surely enough enough, there goes the lovely Tamaranean explaining the lovely truths about the Circle of Life.

"I am just going to give you this advice because you sorely need it, but cockroaches are the grossest creatures on the planet. Nobody wants to do anything with cockroaches, and the image of you making out with one still haunts my nights." Wonder Girl goes silent, her mind wandering, until she shudders and makes a bitter face.

"YUCK! No more talk of freaky cockroaches!" Tis declared. "And Kori, I don't think you want any more tanning. Being orange went out of style here on Earth a long time ago, after the Great Orange People of the Jersey Shore became totally irrelevant."


"All of the above," comes Bart's perhaps predictable reply when asked what meat he wants. In that at least Conner's got the right idea. Although given the rate he puts food away, firsts, seconds and thirds end up a blur anyway.

Making a face between the rest of his teammates at their take on this potential practice of (yech) spawning, the speedster drags out a sigh before turning reluctantly towards the rest of the beach and the oversized bug people. He cups his hands around his mouth and tries to click in announcement. It's not exactly very effective in making it any louder but it does catch at least some of the Tamachoans' attention.

There's some clicking going back and forth, an interesting array of expressions that cross Bart's face here and there, quizzical clicks from the bugs, a shudder from the speedster and a shake of his head before he finishes lamely with a few dejected clicks and turns to trudge back to where he'd left his drink to gulp it down.

"…my tongue hurts. Also I don't think they understood why they couldn't do…whatever they're doing. Although I think they'll keep it out of the Tower, at least?

"…can I eat now?"


"I don't know. Can you?" Caitlin tells Bart— but rather than rebuking his grammar, her grimace seems to be agreeing with the speedster. Bart gets a full plate of food to at least take the edge off his appetite. When the teleporting Batling returns, she serves up Misfit next with two brats and one of the patties. Misfit gets a curious look— the book is now gone, something that's been figuratively— sometimes literally— chained to the younger woman lately. She flashes a smile that looks encouraging, though. "Charlie, can you get the condiments out of the cooler? Mustard and ketchup, and I threw relish and diced onions in there too."

Caitlin hums softly under her breath as she throws herself into domestic bliss for a few moments longer, and serves Kori up a plate as well. "No idea if they'll all go together, Kori, but it won't hurt my feelings if you try. Just let me know if you like the apple vinegar, though— I was racking my brain for something for you other than fruit juce. Burger, brats, or chicken?" she inquires, before serving Kori a plate as well.

She looks over at Cassie and Kon, who are having one of those weird conversations where it's perfectly public but underscored by entirely too much… tension. And talk of bug sex. Which might be a symptom— or cause of— said tension. "Uh… Cassie, burgers for you wheneeeever you're ready," Caitlin sings out, Very Pointedly not looking at Wonder Girl and Superboy as they exchange cheeky, quippy banter with one another.


"From a tube, or in a pile?" Conner swiftly quips back, arching his own opposite brow as he peeeeers at Cassie. It somehow rings a tad self-deprecating and credibly informed at the same time.

He glances back over at the bugs being repressed by Bart, to Cass, and pointedly back at the bugs. "…. looks like some things are the same in their dimension." the Teen of Steel accurately observes.

A playful swat bats lightly (at least for them) at Cassie's ankle as she prods him further, and Kon sits up fully to maw the fruits of his victory. The burger of his victory? The fruits are coming, he hears. There's a shake of his head and an under-his-breath mutter at something or other about asking for a tip then acting coy about a tip, go fig!

To Superboy's credit, he's wise enough not to launch into further academic explanation of how a cockroach isn't really any dirtier than its environment happens to be, actually sheds micro-organisms at a remarkable rate, and it's mammals, dirty mammals, who are truly -filthy-, prompting crawly things to evolve the way they did.

"And brats." Kon helpfully appends to Cait's offerings, apropros of nothing, swear.


Sadly while this is the first volcano the book has been thrown into, it isn't the first time Charlie has thrown it into certain doom. Alas.

Charlie does gravely accept the food from Caitlin and then smiles back. At the request the young batling heads over to the cooler, shifting the plate to one hand as pops the cooler open and starts to pull out condiments. She shamelessly uses them first putting ketchup and diced onions on her burger and just ketchup on her brat. Making sure the makeshift condiment array won't fall into the sand she heads back over to her blanket plopping down to eat. "Crackers.. .. drink.. uh… can someone pass me a smoothie?"


"Every planet has its simpler lifeforms," Kori answers Cassie very calmly. "And often they are viewed as harmful infestations and in some cases this may be accurate. However the Tamachoans are an intelligent race. It is not kind to make such a simple comparison, except where it is useful for biological comparison."

She folds her arms "I did hear about the people of the recent Jersey. When I first came here, and I was trying to conceal my identity, I was told I could pretend this place was my homeland!" So her frown only deepens as Cassie besmirches her adopted tribe of fellow orange-folk. "It is not good to judge people by the pigmentation of their exodermis. This is a problem throughout the galaxy, but I see that even on the video broadcasts the problem is widely condemned on your planet! You should strive to live up to this standard."

Wonder Girl: Size-ist and judging people by the color their skin!

Of course, when Caitlin gives her a series of options for her main meal choice, she answers simply: "Yes." There is no matching the hunger of the nine stomachs of Tamaran! This also means a truly ridiculous plate when all is done, with multiple meats and two different drinks. Super strength has its more day-to-day benefits!

With all this loot, she hovers over toward where Cassie and Conner are settled, to join in the communal feasting, though she passes by Charlie with her condiment she does a bit of a comic double-take at the passing mustard bottle. Down girl.


''They'll keep it out of the Tower, at least?''

"All hail, Emperor Bart, savior of the Tower!" Cassandra smiles and claps, blue eyes wide in teasing adoration. As Caitlin calls to her, she nods, "I'll be right over there! Just trying to get Kon to move here!" You know, in a perfectly normal, tensionless conversation, don't know what Caitlin is talking about, she is just imagining things.

For reals.

''From a tube, or in a pile?''

Cassandra narrows her eyes. She is no dullard, but sometimes she just doesn't catch what he means at all. Her mind is at work, when Kon gets confirmation that yes, MAYBE, he was right about the bugs. "Anyone could tell they were, like, doing it, okay?"

"Come on, joooooin us," she insists, grabbing him by the wrist and dragging Mr. TTK towards the group, at least until Kori gets all Intergalactic Social Justice Princess on her. That is when Cassandra frowns, and gets right on Kori's face.

"Hey! Sometimes you just call it as you see it, and these Tamachoans are just gross! I'm sorry, but I am not sorry! Cockroaches are universally terrible, and you just n- It is not Recent Jersey! It is Jersey Shore! It is a very niche place, and whoever said that to you wasted a great joke AND was kinda being an ass. Your orange is great. It is lush, okay, and I rarely, if ever, use the word lush."

Still, she frowns, and for the course of the next hours, it seems like Cassandra and Koriand'r will entertain the Titans with a thorough discussion of alien species, tan versus fake tan, the use of the word exodermis and Kori getting political.

Just another perfectly normal day in the Titans life.

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