The Titan Gallows

Writing by David Thorne Drawing by Colors by Fernando
Copyright David Thorne 2008

Chapter 1: A Cool Misty Morning

      It was a cool misty morning beside the beach. Terra, Raven, and Starfire had zipped their sleeping bags together and were sleeping on a dune where they could hear the tossing of the waves. All three were sixteen years-old and all three were naked, and they snuggled next to each other like little kittens. A giant dragonfly whirred overhead, and Raven opened her eyes. Raven was always very sensitive, and in the distance she could hear someone’s footsteps marching briskly through the wet sand, and the hiss of the pistons as six big robots marched alongside him. Raven knew it had to be Slade, and Raven already knew why Slade was coming this way. Slade would be naked from his shirt all the way down to his boots, and his big penis would be flopping on his muscular thighs while he thought about his teenage prisoners. Preparing her sarcasm, Raven said to herself Slade? Did you forget something this morning, son? Like, your pants?

     Raven looked at her two friends, slumbering in the sleeping bag next to her. Despite everything that had happened over the last six or seven weeks, Starfire still slept as peacefully as a baby, while Terra’ eyes were flickering in one of her nightmares. I had better let them sleep, Raven decided. Slade rapes us every morning anyway, she thought, and they need all the rest they can get.

      The three girls were superheroes. Raven got her powers from her family. Raven’s mother had been a Jewish-American Princess from Long Island. Raven’s grandparents had worked hard all their lives to give Raven’s mother everything that money could buy, so by the time she was seventeen Raven’s mother had no idea who she was or what she wanted to do. The young woman ran away to California and joined a cult, the Church of the Third Redemption. Raven’s mother had been a great beauty, pale and slim with good round breasts and black hair and a dainty pointed chin; naturally, the minister of the Third Redemption found a good use for her. First, he enjoyed her himself; then he stripped her naked and offered her to his god.

      The Prince of the Third Redemption was an interstellar demon named Trigon. Trigon shocked and awed all of his followers. Trigon was always naked, and he had the face of a movie star and the legs and body of a weightlifter. He also had horns like a goat, wings like a bat, and two big tentacles where his arms should be; and then Trigon had four eyes, one pair on top of the other. Years later Raven’s mother would say “I was high as a kite that night, Raven, and I loved your father like Jesus Christ!” Trigon pleasured Raven’s mother three times that evening, while the congregation watched and worshiped, and nine months later Raven was born.

      Raven was a beautiful child, as beautiful as her mother; and Raven had no horns or wings or tentacles. Of course, Raven did take after her father in certain ways. When Raven was angry sometime Raven would grow a second pair of eyes, and all four of her eyes would glow like coals until she calmed down and the second pair sunk back into her head. Raven also had the ability to fly and to move things with her mind, and her powers grew every month; by the time she was three years old, the minister of the Third Redemption saw no limit to her potential. The Minister of the Third Redemption said that Raven would be “The Princess of Trigon and the Bride of Trigon, and the fire that would clean the earth of the race of man!”

      Years later Raven’s mother would say “I just did not like that ‘Bride of Trigon’ stuff, because I figured they were going to screw you, and this ‘cleansing fire’ thing did not sound too nice either. So I got out of there and went back to Long Island.” Raven’s grandmother had already made a number of contacts, and when Raven’s mother got there, the priests of Azarath were waiting for her.

      The church of Azarath were also a sect of mystics, and they had a compound on a mountainside in Switzerland. The priests of Azarath were pacifists; their order had been founded a century before by a Swiss psychologist who painted mandalas and practiced yoga. The priests said that “The Church of the Third Redemption is right – Raven could be the Anti-Christ. However, Raven is a free soul, and Raven has a choice. With the right training, Raven could become something a lot more important!”

      So Raven and her mother moved into the compound, and Raven grew up there, among the priests and priestesses and their children. The priests taught her to heal sickness, and to read minds, and to walk through walls; but above all they taught her to meditate. The priests had seen Raven smash trees into toothpicks and blast automobiles into scrap with a wave of her hand, and they told her that “Your own rage is your biggest enemy, Raven. When you get angry, you turn into a different person, and that is the person that your father wants you to be.”

      Raven was extremely intelligent, so she turned her anger into sarcasm. She said “Oh, really. Do you think I will be like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde? Maybe I will grow claws and tear up my teachers? Or maybe I will be like Lady Dracula, and carry off boy bands to my secret lair. Hmm…That can’t be all bad!” Nonetheless, Raven had seen her extra eyes in the mirror, so she believed what the priests said, and deep in her heart she wanted to be a good girl. While the other children were watching TV or playing video games, Raven could be seen for hours levitating in the lotus position, repeating her mantra “Azarath… Metrion… Zinthos. Azarath… Metrion… Zinthos.”

      That had happened years before; now the three young superheroes were laying naked in their sleeping bags on the beach of another world. Starfire woke up. Starfire was quite a contrast to Raven. Starfire had dusky skin like a Japanese, and eyes as green as emeralds. Starfire also had red hair and a strong athletic figure. Where Raven was intellectual and reserved, Starfire was as open as the sun. Half asleep, Starfire cozied next to Raven and said, “Friend Raven, how wonderful to wake up next to you again!” Starfire chuckled and said, “Last night I dreamed that we had a wedding, and I married you and Terra both!”

      Starfire came from a completely different background. Starfire was a princess from a planet called Tamaran. Tamaran had air and water like earth, and the people looked almost the same as earth people. The skies of Tamaran were red and the leaves of their trees were scarlet, and the people rode on beasts which had six legs. The people of Tamaran built spires a mile high and flew in starships, but they were extremely violent, and killings and wars were very common. In that sense Tamaran was a lot like earth.

      Starfire was the second of three children. The royal family had spent centuries genetically engineering their children, so Starfire was born with the ability to fly. She was also very strong. By the time she was ten, Starfire could kick a truck over like she was knocking over a chair, and when she became a teenager Starfire found that she could fire laserbeams from her eyes.

     The wheel of politics turned against Starfire. Her family was overthrown, and Starfire was sold into slavery. Starfire was a true warrior, however, and when she was fifteen the captive princess stole a spaceship and escaped to earth.

      On the beach among the sleeping bags, Terra woke up. Terra had blonde hair and eyes as blue as the sky. She also had a petite bosom, and a belly so trim that some people thought she was anorexic. Of the three girls, Terra had the best social skills, though she never used them in an obvious way. Terra rolled onto her elbow and looked across the beach, where she could see Slade approaching with half a dozen robots. Terra kissed Starfire on the cheek, and then she nodded to Raven. At last Terra tossed her head towards Slade. Terra said, “We all know what Slade wants. If we can get his dick sucked quickly, we can have the rest of the day to ourselves!”

      Terra’s story was much the same as Starfire’s. Terra’s father was the king of a country in Eastern Europe, and her mother was a young painter who came to paint his portrait. The king and the painter became close; perhaps too close. However, the king was already married, so Terra became their bastard daughter. Nonetheless, Terra was still royalty, so when her uncle killed the king, he tried to kill Terra too.

      Terra and her mother fled the country. When Terra reached America, her mutant powers came out; it turned out that Terra could move earth and rock with her mind. Terra could dig tunnels and knock over mountains; she could also pull boulders out of the earth and fly on them. Like a good little girl, Terra soon became a superhero, and she used her powers to fight criminals and to protect herself and her mother. Unfortunately Terra could not control her powers well; sometimes she would make the earth shake while she slept. When Terra was fourteen she woke up one morning to realize that she had smothered her mother under a landslide.

      After that Terra was desperate. She went looking for someone to help her control her powers, and she found Slade.

      Slade had been a soldier for years. Slade had lied about his age so he could join the Korean War, and after the war Slade had joined a secret government experiment to create a super-soldier. Slade became as strong as ten men and as fast as a cheetah, and he learned how to use every gun and knife that people had ever invented. His new abilities served Slade well; Slade hacked his way across Vietnam and then left the service and got work as a mercenary. Slade learned quickly and he never seemed to age, so by the nineteen-nineties he got past making weapons; now he was making robots and devices that could control the nervous system.

      Slade told Terra he could help her. Slade was tall and strong; he had a white mustache and an eye-patch, and his strength and confidence reminded Terra of her father. Slade and Terra jumped into bed together, and the next day Slade put wires into Terra’s brain. The new controls kept earthquakes from starting by mistake; the wires also allowed Slade to control Terra. Slade sent Terra to join the Titans and betray the group.

      That was then and this was now. On this cool misty morning Slade and his robots reached the dune with the sleeping bags. The robots looked like skeletons made out of chrome, and some had blades on their arms, and others had whips. Slade himself was wearing a black kevlor jersey and black combat boots, and he had a black eyepatch over the eye his wife had shot out with a pistol. Other than that Slade was completely naked.

      Snuggled in the sleeping bags Raven, Starfire, and Terra were now wide awake. Raven sat up. Raven was stark naked and did not bother to hide her breasts. Instead, she cocked an eyebrow at Slade’s hips. Slade was sporting his usual erection, so Raven turned to her two friends and said “I guess the early bird brought the worm, huh?”

      Terra doubled up in laughter. Starfire did not get the joke, but she knew it was a joke, so she smirked and said “I think Raven is too kind, Slade. On my world, a richard like yours would be fed to the swamp snakes, and then your heart would be fed to the vultures!”

      Slade purred. Slade had seduced Terra with his voice, two years ago; Slade’s voice was low and deep and strong, but smooth and carefully controlled – the voice of a leader and a master. Slade said, “Ah, Starfire, I hate to break up your love nest, but my robots and I have been working all night, and we have prepared something very special for the three of you. “

      Slade looked over the three naked girls, and he clearly enjoyed studying their firm breasts, flat tummies, and sleek legs. By this point in time Terra and Raven had become accustomed to having Slade ogle them, so only Starfire squirmed. Then Slade tossed the young ladies the tops of their uniforms, which Slade had been saving since he had captured the young women seven weeks before. Slade almost smirked when the young ladies put their shirts on, and he gave them no other clothes, so they were naked from their navels to their toes. Finally Slade clapped his hands. The young heroines knew what this signal meant, and they hated it; but they glanced briefly at the whips and blades on the robots, and then they dropped to their knees and let the robots cuff them. Slade and the robots marched the young women back to the tower on the beach.

      Raven, Starfire, and Terra had all joined the Titans the year before. The Titans were a group of superheroes. The leader of the Titans was a young man named Robin. Robin was fifteen years old, but he had a genius level IQ; Robin also knew Kung Fu and had spent years working with the famous Batman. Robin recruited several other teenagers. One was a black man who called himself Cyborg. Cyborg had been wounded in a lab explosion, and had lost both of his arms and legs, and a lot of his torso; luckily Cyborg’s father had fixed that by putting in pieces from a robot he was building, so now Cyborg was part man and part machine, with super strength and super speed, and a sonic cannon in his arm. Cyborg was also brilliant at building and repairing machines.

      Next Robin recruited a young green man named Beast-Boy. Beast-Boy’s mother and father had been scientists who worked in Africa. Beast-Boy had gotten sick as a child, so his mother and father had put him in a machine and altered his DNA so it would be more rugged and flexible. It was; Beast-Boy got over his sickness, and then he found out that he could change into the shape of any animal that he wanted. Beast-Boy could turn into an eagle and fly, or turn into a snake and slide under doors; or he could turn into a tiger and tear criminals to pieces. Beast-Boy loved his powers, and he was known for being exuberant and slaphappy.

      The six Titans worked together for over a year. They fought gangsters and terrorists and aliens, but their worst enemies were Slade and Trigon. Slade was always looting research labs or sending armies of robots to blackmail corporations and foreign governments. Slade used the wires in Terra’s head to make her betray the Titans; but then the Titans got the wires out, and Terra threw Slade into a pool of lava. Trigon had even bigger plans. Trigon used his daughter Raven as a weapon to take over the entire earth, and the skies around the world were filled with red shadows and the faces of the damned; but then Raven broke free from his control, and sent Trigon back to the netherworld. With Slade dead and Trigon cast out, the Titans figured their work would be fairly straightforward for the next few years.

     And then Slade came back.

      On that cool morning Slade took his prisoners straight to the tide line and marched them along the edge of the surf. Their small feet left footprints which quickly filled with foam, and the cold water almost shocked them. Behind the young ladies the feet of the robots went into the sand with a splash and came back out with a sucking sound. Above them they saw Titan’s tower, the headquarters of the Teen Titans. It was ten stories high, and shaped like a giant letter T.

      Slade smiled when he saw the tower. It reminded him of the same tower when it was still standing on Jump City on planet Earth, seven weeks before. Slade allowed his mind to go back to the last day Slade and his prisoners had been on Earth.

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