Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Chapter Thirteen: The Hacker

Chapter Thirteen: The Hacker

The smell of tobacco smoke filled the car. Bullock didn't care much, but Sawyer kept twitching her nose, begging for clean air. It didn't help that she had to keep hitting Bullock's hand away from his coat pocket either. The radio was on, or rather, both radios were. The police line and the FM. They were in the Narrows, never a friendly place, but not an uncommon place for two cops to be. In fact, there were normally more than ten. But tonight, they had all split up and were just watching out for trouble.

Bullock was bored. He didn't want to much be here really. It was one of those nights where he'd much rather be watching The Maltese Falcon or Double Indemnity, the old black and white one. Plus, he didn't much think his partner sitting in the driver's seat really liked him. A breeze hit the car and Harv shivered despite his trench coat. He reached for the heater only to find that it was barely below it's highest heat. Aggravated, he still reached for it, but Sawyer glared at him.

"It's a sauna in here, quit it," She barked, "It's your jacket, you should get a new one."

Harv looked at her, a bit surprised at her tone, but sat back and left the heat as it was, "Didn't know it was that time of the month."

"Shut it!" She spat.

Maybe it wasn't exactly that time of the month. She wasn't annoyed irrationally, he could tell because she wasn't reaching for the locks so she could shove him out. Her face was wrinkled up, her nose high and her mouth was puckered up like she had just tasted something bitter. With her brow furrowed too, Harvey couldn't tell whether or not it was worth asking her what was so wrong. She was hardly ever this angry when she was assigned to work with him before, so he doubted it was his presence.

The radio continued to shout out the news from the talk show, "So Mike, you hear about Gotham's city-wide security upgrade being pushed forward?"

"Yeah, exciting, isn't it Dan? After that recent robbery attempt at WayneTech, I don't see why Project Firewall wouldn't be installed sooner. Just goes to show 'know?"

"It's quite an impressive design as well, but do we ever really expect less from Wayne Industries? After all, Bruce Wayne has been dedicated to helping Gotham ever since he returned after his college days."

"Haha, the White Knight, of course. But seriously, Dan, Firewall's incredible. Wayne and his staff have out done themselves this time, I think. Sources tell us that it is nearly impenetrable to hackers and will keep a detailed list of all the workings of the city's economy, government and charity organizations."

"That's right, Mike, and any business in the area is eligible to apply for the free service. It should be installed by the end of the month, isn't that right?"

"Good thing too, with Halloween coming up Gotham needs all the help she can get. I mean, after the Joker's last successful escape attempt and arsonist attacks..."

Maggie hit the radio off, "Morons. Firewall's not going to do anything for us."

Bullock raised a brow, "So sure 'bout that? I'm personally looking forward to it. More hours to sleep."

"Shows your work ethic," Sawyer muttered.

Harv shrugged, "It's not like wanting to sleep more is a crime, Mag."

Maggie fumed. She hated being in the Narrows. It smelled of filth and rotting dead rats and pigeons. And the people. These weren't people. They were low life and didn't even deserve to be part of society with the way they treated others and let their greed and selfishness drive their actions. She was being harsh, she knew it and it wasn't making her feel any better.

"'Sides, not saying Firewall will solve all our crimes. Gordon would have given half of the Police Force leave and would have called off the Bat if that happened," Harv laughed.

"He'd never call off the Bat," Maggie told him, "Not like the Bat does much of anything anyway, 'specially if he needs his sidekick back here."

Bullock raised a brow. Something was really wrong with her. She'd never say that. She'd worked with both the Bat and Superman. She'd never say that. He took a good long look at her. Her short blond hair was messy and her uniform wasn't pressed or ironed or even somewhat presentable. She wasn't even wearing those spiky earrings of hers. There were long bags under her eyes and her face was clean of even the slightest bit of make up. Just foundation. He could tell because he could just make out the streaks in the dark shadows on her face.

Someone ran past and away as a woman screamed. Maggie looked up almost automatically and rushed out of the car. Harvey, a bit shocked, struggled his way out of the car and shut both of their doors as Sawyer had left her's wide open. Much quicker than he was, Maggie shot off after the person. Bullock ran after as well, but felt his stomach clench. Soon, Maggie was at least a block ahead of him and he mentally made a note to not have that Butterfinger in the drawer of the car. Besides it was probably a sticky mess now because of the heat.

Rounding a corner, Bullock found Sawyer pinning the thief against the wall, shouting angrily, "Think it's funny? Think robbing a woman is funny? Just 'cause she's a helpless girl right, right?"

"Please, I, I needed the money, I'm sorry," The man begged. Bullock realized that the man was maybe twenty one.

"You're sorry? Sorry doesn't solve things! Sorry can't fix everything! Sorry is a sad excuse for stupid and harmful actions! Sorry can't bring things back!" She screamed, and Bullock was surprised to see tears welling up in Mag's eyes.

"I'm, please, I didn't mean..." But Bullock interrupted before the poor guy had to take more of the woman's sorrow.

"Hey, it's okay. It's okay, just calm down," He said, cuffing the guy, "You have the..."

"It's okay? It's okay!" Maggie yelled at him.

After cuffing the guy to a poll for the time being, Harvey turned to Maggie and grabbed her by the shoulders, "Maggie, look at yourself! You're a wreck!"

"Jason's dead, Harv! Jason's dead! I was his partner! I was supposed to be helping him and working with him and he's gone! People don't just disappear for two thirds of the month and live, Harv. Not here. He's dead and we all know it and it's my fault!" Maggie broke down, tears falling again and Harvey realized that the woman had been crying much more before this.

She and Bard had been working for ages. They were like cousins or something, never romantically linked, though. He had even heard rumors that they had graduated together or something. And he never stopped to think...

"Mag, Maggie, it's not your fault. It's no one's fault. You weren't there. He was home. He was caught off guard probably, it's not your fault," Harvey told her, hoping to console her, "And you know, the Bat and Gordon are working on finding the guy. They'll find him. They always do."

"They're also worried about Firewall and every other pathetic crime in this crumbling city, Harv. If they find Jason's killer, they'll be lucky," Maggie breathed out in a smoky breathe.

Bullock wiped his brow, "Look, let's get back to the station. Then you can get off and go get some sleep."

"I don't want to sleep," She told him, the tears still slowly falling, but less forcefully now.

Harv sighed and answered, "By then, I'll bet you will."

He picked up the guy from the pole and they walked back to the car where he found the woman and got her information. Bullock got in the driver's seat and looked up at Maggie, who had just finished putting the guy in the car and muttering 'sorry'.

"You ready?" He asked.

Maggie looked up at the sky for a moment and realized what she was looking for. She smiled slightly and nodded. She was becoming too much like Gordon, gazing out for the capes. She slowly climbed into the car, buckled up, and let Bullock drive out of the Narrows.


Alfred carried a set of fresh towels and a cell phone through the hallways of Wayne Manor. It was late in the afternoon, way late. Master Bruce had left early this morning to take care of some work with that Project Firewall. Most of it was just business finalization. Everyone out there just seemed on their last nerve about the thing and Bruce had a way of calming down everyone else who was going crazy.

So there were only two in the Manor now. Himself and, of course, Master Richard, who, if he guessed correctly, was most likely still asleep in his room. No matter though, the lad would get up soon enough, considering it was his teammates calling him. He slowly opened the door and just as he had suspected, Master Dick was still curled up in his sheets sleeping. He smiled, remembering how Dick had consistently slept in a small ball ever since he had come to the Manor so that whenever he had come in, he'd see a small lump and possibly a head, if that. Now that he has hit his teens, Dick has slowly come out of that, but one could still see remnants of the old habit.

Walking over and shaking the boy's shoulder, Alfred told him, "Master Dick, I hate to wake you, but you have a phone call from your friends."

Dick groaned, but rubbed an eye as he sat up, "Thanks Alfred, how long did I sleep in for?"

"I don't know how long you stayed up last night, but it is about three in the afternoon now," Alfred told him as he handed Dick the phone.

Dick sighed and answered the phone, "Hello?"

"Dude, sup?" Beast Boy...

"I just woke up, BB," Dick sighed.

"Man, you just woke up? Aren't we behind your time zone?" Cyborg asked.

"Yeah, but I work at night now," Dick explained.

"Well, you sure sound tired," Beast Boy interrupted.

"I am," Dick told him, a bit annoyed.

"Robin, if we are keeping you the wake, then we may always call you back the later, yes?" Starfire asked.

Dick sighed and smiled, "No, it's okay, Star. I'm fine. Is this a group call or something or just a individual call?"

"I don't think we have a preference," Raven answered him, sounding far off as though she wasn't crowded around the microphone like the rest of them.

"Well, alright, uh, what's the call for then?" Dick asked, lying back down as Alfred went to his bathroom to hang up the towels.

"Just to say 'hi', I guess," Cyborg answered.

"It's been way dull with you gone and Red X isn't exactly helping us any," Beast Boy answered.

"I heard that!" came a call from the hallway.

"If there's anything good about having him here it's that we know he's a male caucasian," Cyborg added sarcastically.

Dick sighed, "Great, that eliminates half of the world. We're almost there, guys."

"Wow, you guys are pathetic if you still don't know who I am!"

"Will you please hit him since I can't?" Dick asked.

Raven smiled, "Gladly."

He heard a yell in the background and laughed, "Thank you."

"No problem," Raven answered, as she settled back down onto the couch.

"So, any news on our guy?" Cyborg asked.

Dick shook his head as he replied, "Nope, nothing. Just that he's getting bolder. A cop, three retired people. It's getting ridiculous."

"Sorry man," Beast Boy told him.

"Yes, we are truly sorry, Robin. If there is anything we can do that might be of assistance..." Starfire added.

Dick smiled. He missed them. He missed them all. But he missed her the most. As their conversation continued, he neglected to mention the fight that had occurred five days earlier. It was just a reason to worry them and he wouldn't do that to them. That was his own job. As Starfire spoke about the past week's events and seeing the Titans East after their visit, Dick remembered the dream he had had after the fight. It was very soft, almost out of his grasp now, but he remembered it had had her in it. Her face, her hand in his, it made him relax a bit until he woke up to feel dried tears on the sides of his cheeks the next day. He didn't want to admit where those tears had possibly come from. Needless to say though, he and Bruce hadn't spoken much after that. Not that he exactly wanted to.

"...And Bumble-Bee told us that she would alert you to any news of any criminals resembling the description of the boss of crime that we are after," Starfire finished.

"That's great, Star..." Dick answered.

"Yeah, and Speedy said to tell ya..." Beast Boy started, but Dick wasn't paying much attention to him.

He missed her. Really missed her. He needed to do something. They were sixteen now. Sixteen and he hadn't ever said anything. Never approached her about, well, you know. His thoughts wandered back to Bruce. Bruce had said to never let in anyone. The next thing he'd know, they'd be hurt. It was an ingrained rule. And Robin knew that one all too well. He had seen it happen. Unintentionally, he flashed back to when Slade had infected his friends and they had been hurt because of him. He shivered at the memory of the feeling of that foreign and evil uniform on his back.

"Robin? Robin are you there?" Beast Boy asked.

"Huh? Oh, yeah, sorry, B. What were you saying?" Dick asked.

Beast Boy rolled his eyes and replied back, "If we were just saying how if Raven had thrown a wild party the other night you wouldn't have even known about it."

"Actually, B, I wouldn't have believed you, but, I'm sorry, I'm just kind of out of it, been working a lot more lately. It's just me and you know, it's just us out here in Gotham," Dick explained.

Raven cut in, "Are you sure that you don't want us to come out there?"

Dick's eyes shot up and he quickly answered, "No, no. You guys are needed in Jump and I don't want you coming out here unless you have a real reason to."

"Alright, chill, man, we got it. But you know it wouldn't be that hard to come out there. Titans East and us could switch places and all, simple and easy like that," Cyborg told him.

Dick shuddered at the thought, "I know, I just want to keep it from getting messier than it already is. By the way, any more odd robberies on your end?"

Cyborg thought for a moment, "Well, Atlas did show his face again, stealing provisions and food storage stuff. Weird, but not like him at all. Plus he didn't even have time to thoroughly try to kick our butts, not that I'm complaining."

Dick sighed, "Anything else?"

"Not really. I've got some community stuff I'm handling for your butt today, but not much. Man, it's almost been a month. Are you sure you're going to find this guy... or gal?" Cyborg asked.

Dick knew that on the other line all four of them were waited on baited breath for his answer, which was the exact sort of attention he needed at the moment (haha, yeah right), "Guys, I... I don't really think that's an issue at this point. Whoever's doing this is getting bolder and bolder and they're going to eventually show their face. I don't know when, but I have to be there when they do. It's my job, guys."

There was silence for a second till Red X spoke up, "Man, then your job sucks."

"Thanks for the encouragement, X. I'll keep that in mind when testifying against you in court," Dick told him.


"Alright then, if that's what you gotta do, that's fine with us," Cyborg answered.

"You want us to leave you alone now, don't you?" Raven asked.

"No, I'm okay, really," Dick said.

"Hey, what's this?"


Dick pulled the phone away from his ears and realized that X must have touched something that he wasn't supposed to.

The next person to come to the phone again was Starfire, sounding thoroughly flustered, "We are sorry, Robin, he touched the kitchen controls."

"It's fine, Star. Are the others thrashing him or something?" Dick asked.

Starfire looked over for a moment and answered, "Yes, and quite the effect way."

"Good," Dick laughed, "You been okay?"

"Huh? Oh, yes, I have been. It has been, lonely with you in Gotham," Starfire stuttered.

"I'm sorry," Dick told her, "You know I want to be there, right?"

Starfire bit her lip, "Yes, I do. I just, you said... I miss you."

Dick felt his heart flutter momentarily and then guilt took over, "Starfire, I miss you guys, you. I'm trying, I'll be back soon. It can't take that much longer, I don't think. Alright? It'll be fine. I promise."

Starfire smiled, "I believe you, Robin. Just, please, take the care of yourself."

"You do the same, 'k, Star?" Dick answered back with a smile of his own.

Finally, he forced himself to put down the phone and Alfred came back in, a wide grin on his face, "That was certainly a touching conversation to a teammate."

Dick's eyes shot up, "It's, she's, she's not native to Earth, Alfred. I'm just a good friend since I help her out with getting to know Earth and we work as a team."

"I whole-heartedly understand, Master Dick, I whole-heartedly understand. Now, I'd like you to freshen up and get ready for the evening. Master Bruce and you are having a guest for dinner this evening," Alfred told him.

"A guest?" Dick shot up from his bed and walked across the room, "Who?"

Alfred began pulling out the tuxedo and answered, "Miss Selina Kyle."

"What?" Dick asked, looking like the world was about to end.

"Miss Kyle, I'm sure you remember her," Alfred repeated, as though it was no big deal.

"I remember her alright, and her cat-a-nine tales. Alfred, do I have to go? It's just begging for disaster. 'Sides, not like Bruce wants me there," Dick told the butler.

"Of course he does, Master Dick. Now would you please, get in the shower? You have some mud still in your hair. I'll have to wash your sheets..."

Dick grudgingly walked towards the bathroom with a rather loud groan to make his point of displeasure apparent and turned on the shower. 'Great idea Bruce, let's simply let the cat burglar into the house and present her with thousands of opportunities to rob you. Brilliant! And she can annoy me while she's at it.' Dick fumed as he got into the hot shower and hoped beyond hope that it would wake him from some nightmare. If only he had known what was to come.


"The soup is delicious, Alfred," Selina complemented after a taste.

"Why thank you Miss Kyle, it's Master Dick's favorite," Alfred told her.

Selina glanced over at the teen and smiled sweetly. No, they hadn't gotten along as Selina or Dick either. Still, Dick offered a brief smile before looking down and continuing on with his dinner. Bruce's glare wasn't brief, even though Dick ignored it.

"I think you'll like the main course," Bruce commented.

"Oh, and what is that?" Selina asked.

"Selina, you know me. It's always a surprise," Bruce teased.

Dick felt himself force back the impulse to gag. Not that hating her for being Catwoman was enough, oh no, Bruce had to include him in on these ridiculous dinners (how they went past eight in the evening before the appetizer was served, he wasn't sure). Another one of the things that he hated about having Selina over was the fact that he couldn't tell whether or not Bruce was ever faking the flirting or not. When he was younger, he hadn't liked Selina because he didn't like Bruce giving her so much attention. Now, he really didn't care about that.

Now he couldn't stand Bruce's actions. Considering that Bruce had always looked down upon his school-boy crushes and right here Bruce could very well be going against rule number one. It especially made him mad when he thought of Starfire too. He'd never told Bruce about his feelings for her, but he could imagine Bruce erupting at the idea.

"I've heard quite a lot about your grand project, Bruce," Selina commented.

"Project Firewall? Oh yes, it's getting quite a lot of attention in the media. Wish they wouldn't, but what can you do?" Bruce said casually.

Dick's eyes focused on Selina, who was leaning across the table in interest, "How's it work, Bruce? How do you plan to keep out Calculator and all those baddies?"

"Oh, I don't. It's not enough to solve everything, certainly, but would give us enough time to catch any hackers," Bruce elaborated loosely.

Dick added, "And a good thing too. Keeps out the nasty vermin from the city's system."

Bruce glared at him harshly, but Dick didn't back down. Their staring contest was ended by Selina's comment.

"I'm sure it will," Selina replied, "Now, how's that school of your's treating you, Dick?"

"Fine," Dick told her, going back to his food.

"When are you going back?" She asked, curiously.

"Not soon enough," Dick said, earning another warning glance from Bruce.

Not enough of a warning though, for what was coming next. In the Uptown Center of Gotham, Slade flexed his fingers as a computer console lit up before him and a reached for a communication line. Everything was set up.

"Wintergreen?" Slade asked over the line.

"Yes, sir?"

"You in position?"

"Precisely, sir."

Slade smiled. This would be exciting for a change, "Alright then, let's give my former apprentice something to really worry about."

He hit 'Enter' and watched as the loading bar filled the screen. And he was not the only one to do so. Far up north in the confines of the city limits of Metropolis, Lex Luthor had his own plans. Dr. Westfield was a sad excuse of a scientist. He, on the other hand, was far more qualified for designing this project and apparently much more willing to go where the good doctor couldn't (there was no way Westfield could even start hacking a computer main frame, much less hack into a Tower's security network across the country).

Walking down the long hallways of Lexcorp, Lex entered his private office and checked his spy plane's view of the tower. The only reason he had actually thought of cheating like this, stealing from a teenager that is, was because if this teenager knew the Bat's sidekick, he must at least be qualified for this. And after finding his past history with STAR labs, it was apparent that Cyborg possessed exactly the type of tech he needed.

Speaking over a radio piece, Lex ordered, "Marcie. I'd like to be alone this evening. If you catch my drift."

"Of course sir," She answered and he swore that he had hired more 'Marcie's than anyone within the confines of Metropolis. Hitting a key, he let the plane drop a small transmitter. It took a moment, but Lex soon read on the screen what he wanted to see.

'Connection complete'

He smiled. Downtown in Gotham at the GCPD station, Detective Yin walked down the halls back to her office with Bennett, who was busy playing Minesweeper. She hit his head to get him out of a slump and walked over to the window.

"Anything?" She asked.

"Nope, just like three minutes ago when you last asked me that," Ethan told her sarcastically as he continued to click away. Only twenty four more mines to go... "Wish Gordon would let us go home."

"Please, you know him. He barely sleeps anyway. Wouldn't hear of us complaining about sleep," Ellen answered.

"Yeah, I guess, just..." Ethan stopped as his computer froze up, "Yin!"

The computer screen reloaded, showing an orange series of zeros and ones in the background as Yin jumped over, "What is that?"

The screen began to flash in a neon green, "Upload Commencing" and the two cops choked on their words.

"Get Gordon in here. I'll see if I can stop this guy," Bennett told Yin, who was way ahead of him.

"Gordon!" She yelled.

Gordon came out of his office looking flustered, but answered, "What is it?"

"We've got a hacker!" She answered, "On the government's main line."

Gordon raced past her to Bennett who was frantically typing with little results, "What are they taking?"

"They're not. They're uploading something," Ethan explained.


The lights flickered in the room and suddenly a bunch of angry yells filled the halls and surprised gasps followed. Gordon looked out to see all of the screens on the network filled with the orange backgrounds.

"A virus?" He asked.

The two detectives looked at him with a much clue as he did. With that, he yelled over the halls, "We've got a virus! Get it out!"

Automatically,  Sawyer started to spread the word while Bullock ran to the signal above. And that's when it interrupted Bruce Wayne's dinner with the lovely Selina. Not that he noticed. The first to notice was Dick when his communicator rang out Linkin Park and buzzed in his pant pocket. Bruce gave him the 'what now?' look while Dick swallowed his food and checked to see the mini message reading 'hacker'.

Dick looked up at the other two and quickly tried to calmly excuse himself, "Um, sorry, I just forgot to um, I've got some homework that I've got to do..."

"Dick, your homework can wait," Bruce told him, not knowing that his ward had made Linkin Park his warning ring.

"Bruce, I... Oh, forget it," Dick said, running out of the room.

"Richard!" Bruce called out after getting up and looking at the doorway.

Then he looked at Selina, who was lost in all of this. Now of all times Dick had to make a scene. He glanced over at Alfred who got the tip and walked off to follow young Master Dick, who was already opening the passage through the grandfather clock. However, Alfred only went out the door and only waited. Dick ran down the steps, not bothering to be careful in the slightest. He ran to the computer and found the problem waiting for him.

Orange message. A hacker uploading a virus. He had to act quickly. In the government buildings, the virus began to spread, crashing several systems and creating problems in nearly every computer. Slade smiled as his decoy did it's job. Now to rearrange some... details. Dick felt his fingers tremble as he worked the keyboard and threw out programs to stop the virus and locate it's origin. Meanwhile, his own mind began to pull out possible suspects. Orange numbers. The arsonist. The murderer. Their man. He felt a sweat come from the sides of his face at the thought.

In his office, Luthor began searching the hallways of Titans Tower via video feeds for the cybernetic teen. Finally, he found him. He was with another one, the green shape shifter, who was awfully loud, might he add.

"Dude! Come on, we've got to meet the girls for movie night!"

"Chill, B, I gotta recharge," Cyborg answered his friend.


"Not my fault you didn't fill up on tofu-whiches," Beast Boy scolded.


"Man, I don't even want to know what those things were..." Lex found himself caught between breathing a sigh of relief (he didn't want to know what they were either) and holding his breath at the same time.

Just as soon as he plugged in, he'd have full access to his files... For Luthor, there was no time, no room for a mistake. Slade however, had time to drink the soda on his desk. This was too easy, though he soon saw signs of the boy wonder. All the same tactics. It could be the Bat, but it was as they say, the same difference. He had to finish this fast. In the police offices, the screens flickered between normal and their hacked state. They all held their breath. Dick kept typing. He was so close. The virus was almost gone. The hacker, within reach... Slade smiled as he saw the tell tale signs of the Boy Wonder getting too close for comfort. Almost done... There.

In Titans Tower, Cyborg felt something enter his system and let out a yell, scaring Beast Boy out of his wits, "What? What?"

"Get it... OUT!" Cyborg yelled at the confused changeling.

Beast Boy did his job in yelling for Raven, who arrived within moments, "A hacker?"

Red X (who had been happily pleased to be in the presence of the two girls earlier) came in shortly and Starfire was close behind, "Cyborg!"

"Stealing something...!" Cyborg managed.

"Azarath Metrion Zinthos!" Raven shouted, but her soul self's energy did nothing as she tried to rip the cord from Cyborg's chest, who, with great difficulty, was resisting the hacker's file search as much as possible.

"What on Earth? Raven?" Red X asked, incredulously.

"His charger..." She blinked, "It's... it's..."

"Connected..." Starfire finished.

"You mean..." Beast Boy started.

Raven wouldn't give up that easily, "No, pull!"

Cyborg could only yell. Lex searched over the copied files quickly, still not finding what he was looking for. While fruitless, he could tell he was close. His hired assassin however, had had a much more effective hacker's experience at this point then he had.

Nearly ready to end it, Slade called up Wintergreen, "As fun as this is, we have to end this now."

Wintergreen chuckled, "Very well."

Slade pulled out of the system easily and let Dynamic Duo continue with their quest to locate him and end the virus's hold on the system. Dick felt his heart beating madly in the cold confines of the cave. He hit 'Enter' and held his breath. Within the police station, Gordon held his own until he saw the computers shut down and within seconds, begin to reboot as though it had just been a power outage.

Dick wasn't done yet though as he felt his hair begin to stick to the sides of his neck with nervous sweat. The hacker... Right there... He pressed the Space-bar only to find the opposite of what he expected. Not a location. Not a computer's serial code. Not even an owner's name. A note.

"Excellent, Robin, but I have other plans."

Dick felt his stomach drop out. They, they knew it was him. No, they could be just playing with him. That's all. For all he knew, they could be guessing or trying to get Batman to call him off the mission. But, why would they do that to him? Unless they were from Jump City and had something against him... Dick shook his head. He was just panicking, they were probably just guessing or trying to make him paranoid. Which he was so it had worked if that was what they had intended. Dick let out a sigh and pulled his fingers off the controls. Well, at least there was one threat gone. But more questions. Questions. He hated questions.

It took him a few minutes to stop his fingers from shaking, but as he would find, walking out of the old grandfather clock was the quiet part of his way back. It was getting out of Bruce's office that proved eventful. Opening the door, he found Bruce furiously glaring at him. He gestured the way out and Dick felt his shoulders scrunch up in preparation for what was coming.

"I'm not going to even begin to discuss how entirely rude and abrupt that was, Dick," Bruce lectured.

As they turned a corner and walked towards the dining room, Dick commented, "Then I won't tell you how I just saved Gotham's computer networks and got a note from our arsonist and/or murderer."

Bruce's eyes shot up, "Dick, what..."

"I said I wasn't going to tell you," Dick smart-mouthed back, "As you didn't want to discuss it anyway."

Bruce put a hand on Dick's shoulder, to turn Dick to face him, but the serious look didn't deter Dick's attitude, "We'll discuss this later. I want to see the note."

Selina was chewing a small bite of a Chinese dumpling when she heard a yell from the hallway, "Of course you do! And of course it's always later because you could care less about what I find and do, right Bruce?"

She raised a brow at Dick's tone. She had never heard him like that before. There was some mumbling and then another yell, "What?! Gonna give me up!?"

That had caught her off guard. Give him up? Like Bruce would ever do that. And that was saying something coming from her considering their history of being merely 'sweet' to one another. She didn't hear the rest but she soon saw Bruce come in looking like he had just fought a war. She would have said something. But she could tell there was nothing to say.

Far west of the two adults in Gotham, the three teen superheroes and Red X struggled to unplug the tech teen while Lex continued to copy Cyborg's files. Beast Boy continued to change form every two seconds, finding hardly any of his animal forms actually making a dent as he made mental notes to figure out exactly what animals had the sharpest claws and teeth the next time he went online. Raven's felt her way through the wires, having been reduced to pulling wires free one by one. While Starfire used her starlazers to melt the metal plates on the cord, she also used her sheer strength and heated hands to pull the cord out of the wall. Red X kept using the xenothuim, changing it's form but was limited as charging the xenothuim was asking to nuke the place. All Cyborg could do was puny firewalls within his system as the hacker worked his way throughout the files.

All of a sudden, Cyborg felt the energy recede from his body and cord released him from the wall. All four Titans and Red X fell to the ground in a heap and all of them were fairly confused, too. Raven was the first to free herself from the fallen pyramid type pile and the others followed, Cyborg being the last to stand up.

"Friend Cyborg, what was that?" Starfire asked, concern filling her voice.

"A hacker," Cyborg said, "Nasty one, too. Not like Gizmo, though. They were, I don't know. Good. They knew what they were doing."

"What'd they take?" Raven asked.

Cyborg shook his head, "Not sure, I'll have to run a system's check."

"Need a hand?" Red X asked.

Cyborg looked at him surprised and Red X added, "What? That was the most fun I've had the whole time I've been here. Being cooped up isn't exactly fun, you know."

Beast Boy was going to point out that that was Red X's own choice, but each of the Titans' communicators rang simultaneously. Opening it up, Cyborg did the team a favor, read the text, and then answered Red X, "Don't think you'll have to."

"Okay, does bird boy have cameras throughout the tower or somethin'?" Red X questioned, irritated that a chance at excitement had slipped away.

"Nope, but apparently someone just tried to plant a virus into Gotham's central computer grid and it's possible that they knew it was Robin who stopped them," Cyborg answered.

"Not the Batman?" Starfire asked, worriedly.

Cyborg sighed and answered, "Nope. Not Batman."

"And at the same time too," Raven added.

Beast Boy raised a brow and held out his hands, "Okay, that's just too weird. We can't just let Robin do this alone."

"We won't," Cyborg told them.

The four teens stared at him as he walked back to his room and over his shoulder told them, "We're going to Gotham, whether Robin wants us too or not."

He shut the door leaving the three Titans and Red X to their own reactions. In Metropolis, Luthor smiled as he looked over the file and prepared to send it to Westfield. The Sonic Cannon. Beautiful. Now he just had to wait for Slade to do his job and everything would fall into place. He sent the file to Westfield who would receive it in the morning. The night went late. Gotham's local government attempted to recover from the virus and the GCPD were put into overtime. Firewall had to be put up soon. This sort of thing couldn't happen. It was too dangerous. Too chaotic to handle. Too disorganized to watch everything.

So no one saw Wintergreen go into the city files and print a few. No one saw. No one knew. Just one other man. Slade leaned back in his chair as he stared at the screen and the files he had retrieved from Wayne Enterprises. He smiled and thought to himself.

'Soon, Robin, very soon.'

No comments:

Post a Comment