Teen Titans

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Issue #11

 

 

FDC Presents Teen Titans
#11

By David Marshall


"Not another cave!" Traci groaned.

Blue Beetle made a quick accounting of his teammates. He, Traci, Static, and Ravager were the only ones conscious. The rest were sprawled behind them on the pavement on Danny's narrow street. "It appears the gang's all here."

"But where is "here" dude?" Static asked as the Titans fanned out to explore their surroundings.

"Don't get too adventurous," Blue Beetle warned. "Stay in one another's line of sight!"

The others nodded except for Rose who managed a quiet, "Yes, Mom."

The cave seemed impossibly massive and was lit every few feet with torches of cloth wrapped around long, wooden sticks. They gave off little to no odor as they burned.

Traci grabbed one of the torches from the wall. "I think it's safe to say we're not the only ones here."

"Hey look at this," said Ravager. She ran her fingers over a section of rock. "It's smooth as if the cave was carved by tools."

"Or by hand!" Traci cried from the other wall. The Titans rushed to her location and found a ladder of handholds carved into the smooth stone. The handholds were like those used in rock-climbing,

Blue Beetle looked to the west. Danny's street still lay there, seemingly unaffected by what they saw.

"Any idea where you've brought us, Danny?" asked Blue Beetle.

A group of bearded, cheerleaders appeared from one of the alleys on Danny's street and as each crossed the road they flashed the letters emblazoned in fuzzy, embroidered letters representing their schools. In succession they spelled out "N-O-C-L-U-E. N-O-T-M-Y-D-O-I-N-G".

"What?" Traci asked. "You have no idea where we are either?"

Again the cheerleaders crossed the road, giggling about leaving their pom-poms at practice. The word "sorry" erupted from the muffler of a small motor-scooter in the distance.

"Well if Danny didn't bring us here, then who did?" Ravager asked.

"I brought you here, Titans," answered a booming voice that was powerful as a jet engine yet as ancient as time itself.

Instinctively the Titans retreated and gathered in front of their fallen teammates. Even Danny quaked voice.

"Show yourself," Blue Beetle ordered. "If you're in league with Black Adam…"

The far wall retreated slowly at first, unveiling a simple chair carved from stone. A ghostly apparition walked through the wall and took a seat. He was bald with a long, white beard and wore a simple shepherd's tunic and flat, leather sandals. Most striking was the long, blue robe that covered the tunic. He looked like a desert nomad who got lost in a cave five thousand years before. "Greetings, Titans. I am the wizard Shazam and I brought you here to the Rock of Eternity. I can assure you I'm in no league with my former charge, Teth-Adam. I would give anything to correct the mistake I made when I trusted him with the power. He has much to answer for."

"Aren't you the one who gives the Marvels their power?" Arsenal asked. Blue Beetle was happy to see his mentor rising to his feet. At about the same time Miss Martian and Aquagirl were shaking out their cobwebs as well.

But it was Amon who quickly took the spotlight from his teammates. He crawled forward, dragging his legs behind him. "You! Great Wizard!" he shouted. "You can give me the power I need!"

"Power?" Shazam said as he materialized a bit more. "Why do you seek power, child?"

Amon pointed to his legs. "Are you glib old man or just blind?"

"Hey dude," said Static to his teammate. "I know everyone's a critic but that's probably not the best way to ask for help."

"Who's asking?" Amon hissed. "He's going to give it to me! He's going to make me whole again so I can soar through the heavens like a god! So I can move mountains with my bare hands! Run faster than the wind! Leap…"

"We get you, sport," said Ravager. "But the even I think you're being an ass."

The Wizard Shazam bowed his head and sighed. Blue Beetle wasn't one of his Marvel Family charges but in that moment he realized how painful it was to displease this gentle-looking soul. Beetle's scarab scrolled information about the Wizard across the communication screen inside the armor, reminding him that Shazam was a Lord of Order, one of the most powerful beings in the universe.

"Even if I had the power to spare," Shazam began. "Your actions here make me question your worthiness, my son."

"Excuse me, sir?" All eyes turned toward Miss Martian. "This isn't the Amon we know. He's a great teammate and has shown himself above reproach. He saved us a number of times before he lost his powers. Won't you please show him compassion?"

For a brief moment Blue Beetle thought he saw the old wizard crack a smile.

"Do you all share these sentiments about the young man?" Shazam asked.

The Titans nodded as one and answered "Aye" in unison.

Shazam left his throne and approached Amon. "You are to your teammates, my child. Their love and respect for you moves me."

Amon looked ashamed of himself. "I'm sorry, Wizard. I shouldn't even be here. Send us home and I'll need no one's help. Adam would willingly share his lightning with me."

Shazam sighed. He seemed deeply troubled.

"Wizard?" Blue Beetle asked.

The old man sat once again. "I can see all things as they are and as they could be. Were you still on your Earth, you would be dead at the hands of a beast known as Sobek."

Amon looked ashen. "Sobek? But he's my friend!"

"He was an agent for Intergang," Shazam replied. "Had you stayed on your world, Sobek would trick you into switching into your human form and then eat you alive. Your death would be most brutal… and painful."

"Better dead there than a cripple here," Amon replied.

"Fear not child," Shazam proclaimed. "There is still hope."

For the first time since their ordeal with Black Adam began, Amon looked hopeful. "Yes wizard?"

"There is the power of the one called Isis," Shazam replied.

Amon's face brightened. "My sister?"

Shazam shook his head. "Not on this Earth. You and your sister are unique among the universe, child. You could visit a hundred such Earths, nay a thousand, and in all those worlds you would not find one like unto you."

"Whoa!" said Traci. "That's deep."

"So there's an Isis on this Earth?" Blue Beetle asked.

Shazam shook his head. "No."

"Stop talking in riddles!" Amon shouted. "You give me hope and then dash it! Is this the mighty Shazam I've heard so much of? What of your fabled compassion, your…"

A deep rumble within the Rock of Eternity silenced Amon.

Shazam's face grew sullen. "You will never speak to me in such a manner again, young man. Do I make myself clear?"

"Y…yes," Amon stuttered. "I am sorry."

"What I do, I do because you yet have a role to fulfill in this grand drama," Shazam replied. "Five-thousand years and there isn't a day goes by that I don't grieve the monster Teth-Adam has become! Rest assured my compassion is strong as ever! It is why I fear for you, charge of Adam!"

"So what of Isis?" Blue Beetle asked. "How can we find her if she doesn't exist on this Earth?"

"She doesn't exist on this orb… yet. Andrea Thomas is a high school history teacher currently on location at a dig of the ruins of the Iseion at Behbeit El-Hagar in Lower Egypt. A vast underground chamber was unearthed beneath the ruins and two days ago Ms. Thomas discovered an amulet within. This is the Amulet of Isis," Shazam replied.

"How can that help us?" Ravager asked. "If she's not this Isis person then we're back to square one."

Shazam shook a knowing finger at no one in particular as if he were seeing events yet to unfold. "You Titans must see to it she doesn't surrender the Amulet to the Antiquities Authority."

"You want us to break the law?" Blue Beetle asked. "That's not really our sort of thing."

Shazam shook his head. "You are to see to it that she dons the tiara containing the amulet. From there destiny will complete its course."

"If it's destiny then why do we have to give it a kick in the backside to help it along?" Ravager asked. "Let me guess. If it should fall into the wrong hands…"

"You are flippant child but correct nevertheless," the wizard answered. "And because your comrade is in need of its power."

"Then we go," Arsenal replied. "Danny, take us to Egypt!"


The Iseion Ruins at Behbeit El-Hagar, Moments Later

Blue Beetle stepped off Danny's street and onto the burning Egyptian sands. Curious how Danny could blend in with such an environment, he turned in time to see Danny morph into debris and ruins. Sprawled on a pillar were the words "Good luck my friends" written in sand. The desert wind blew the message away as quickly as it appeared.

An impish man with a long goatee approached them. He was bald on top with long white hair tickling the tops of his shoulders which were exposed to the sun by his white, sleeveless t-shirt. Despite his small frame, he exuded unshakeable confidence. "Who the hell are you people and where did you come from?"

Blue Beetle stepped forward to meet him. "We're the Teen Titans and we're here to see…"

The man held up a firm hand and shook his head. "I don't care who you're here to see! This is a sensitive archaeological site and you costumed types always attract trouble!"

Miss Martian smiled at the man. "We're not here to start trouble mister. We want to ask Ms. Thomas a few questions."

The man eyed the Titans suspiciously as if pondering whether or not to grant their request but then blurted out, "My god! You're green!"

"She's a Martian," Arsenal replied. "Look sir, this is an important matter. You see this young man?" He pointed to Amon who stood between Ravager and Static with their help.

The man nodded.

"We believe Ms. Thomas is the key to helping him regain use of his legs," Arsenal explained. "As the lady said, we want no trouble ourselves but it is imperative we speak with…"

"I heard my name," called a female voice. The woman emerged from a stairwell tunneled into the hot sand. She was a stunning woman despite her thick glasses. Her sweaty, dirty hair was mostly pushed into bun on the top of her head but strands of it had fallen into her eyes. Her tan and denim work clothes were both baggy and filthy. A big smear of dirt streaked across her right jaw. "I'm Andrea Thomas and this is Professor Antonin Carter, the world's leading Egyptologist."

"This side of Carter Hall anyway," the Professor replied. He turned to Andrea. "You'll be okay with… them, Ms. Thomas?"

Andrea nodded. "I think so. The Titans are good guys." She turned back to the Titans. "You are good guys right?"

The team nodded in unison.

"Great," Andrea replied as the Professor walked off. "How can I help you?"

"We need you to help our friend walk again," Traci replied.

Andrea's face twisted in confusion. "You guys know I'm not a doctor right? Not a medical doctor anyway."

Arsenal took the lead. "We do but it's something you discovered a few days ago that we're inquiring about."

Andrea looked nervous. "I'm not sure what you're talking about."

It bugged Blue Beetle that Roy took the lead from him so quickly. The old ladies' man was coming out in him but Jaime didn't like being undercut in front of his team. He stepped in front of Arsenal. "The amulet," he whispered.

Andrea looked concerned. "How do you know about that? Am I in trouble?"

"No," Arsenal replied. "Not at all. We're here to tell you to keep it."

"You have the authority to override the Antiquities Act in another country?" Andrea asked. "I find that a little hard to believe."

"It's a magic amulet or something of the sort," Arsenal replied. "It has something to do with the goddess Isis."

Andrea sneered. "You learn that on Wikipedia cowboy?"

Arsenal blushed, not a flirting flush but more of a heated ruddiness. "No. The Wizard Shazam told us. It was he that sent us."

"I have no idea who or what you're talking about," Andrea replied. "But I do know the amulet in the necklace was used in worship to the goddess here at the Temple. Her followers claimed she gave it to the priests herself to use in the most dire circumstances. But I know no one by the name Shazam. You say he's a wizard?"

"It really doesn't matter," Blue Beetle answered. "He says you're supposed to keep it and say the magic words."

"What magic words?" Andrea replied. "The inscription engraved into it?"

Blue Beetle shrugged. "I have no idea. Traci is Homo Magi. Maybe she can help you."

"I'm not sure I need your help," Andrea replied. "Besides I have to turn the amulet into the authorities. It's the law."

"Please," said Amon. "I need your help. I can't live like this. Won't you at least try?"

"I'm not sure what you want me to try," Andrea replied. "I have no powers to heal you."

"The amulet," Amon replied, growing more agitated as he spoke. "Pay attention woman!"

The terse response caused Andrea to jerk back. "I feel for you young man but with that attitude you'll have a hard time finding anyone willing to help you."

"Come on, Amon," said Static. He looked to Andrea. "I'm sorry. He didn't mean it."

Amon shoved Static away and put all his weight onto Ravager. "I can speak for myself and I meant every word of it! Look at her! She's no great goddess! She's a pathetic schoolteacher who plays in the dirt in her spare time! A pity she's not my sister's doppleganger! My sister would have put Black Adam in his place!"

Blue Beetle knew from the horrified looks on the faces of his teammates that they were thinking the same thing that flashed through his own mind. Amon said Black Adam's name and it wouldn't take him long to…

"So this is where you children ran off to?" Black Adam asked as he landed. "I've told you to stop invoking my name, boy! I will not share my magic with a worm like you!"

Andrea stumbled away from the towering Marvel. "Oh my god! That's… you're…"

"Run, Ms. Thomas!" Miss Martian shouted. "Get as far away from here as possible!"

Black Adam waited patiently for the young teacher to flee. "The archaeologist has the good sense to flee from me! Why don't you?"

"I need your power!" Amon spat.

"And I withhold it!" Black Adam replied. "Why would I share my might with a maggot like you?"

"Because we're family," Amon replied.

Black Adam laughed. "Family? I have no family! But I do admire your courage! I've heard of this other world and assume you knew my counterpart there. You said your sister was my queen?"

Amon nodded. "We were the Royal Family of Kanhdaq, you, me, and Adrianna. She's my sister, Black Adam's queen."

Black Adam grimaced when Amon said his name. "Stop speaking my name. I'm not giving up my lightning child. I'll kill every one of you before I allow that to happen."

Gunfire ripped through the air and struck Black Adam in the back. The gunfire then erupted in a chorus of thunder. Their efforts put a scowl on Adam's face as he turned toward the shooters. "You dare fire upon me?"

"Oh crap!" said Blue Beetle. "Titans take cover!"

The Titans scattered and found refuge behind every rock and crumbling pillar they could find. Blue Beetle rose into the air and landed between Black Adam and the shooters. Thanks to the force field in his armor he didn't have to worry about small gunfire. "They're not worth it," he said to Black Adam. "Your quarrel is with us not them."

"You attacked to protect your friend," Adam explained as he made a show of slowly closing the distance between him and the ranks of security firing upon him. His massive fists were curled in a rage rivaled only by his snarling lips. "There was honor in your battle but these dogs attack me without provocation! They disrespect me and I will not suffer their foolishness!

"Stop," Blue Beetle ordered.

"Or what?" Black Adam replied. "I have proven I can best the lot of you. If we fight again I won't hold back because you're children."

He was holding back? Blue Beetle would hate to face him at full power if that was true but he wasn't about to allow Adam to kill the security forces protecting the site. "And what they do is for honor. They're doing their jobs, feeding their families. Show them mercy."

Adam shook his head. "They fire on me for money then? Move out of my way or pay the consequences, Titan."

For once he strongly considered the nuclear option his armor whispered to him so very often. If there weren't so many bystanders he probably would have unleashed it. Instead he unloaded his lasers at full blast onto Adam's muscular chest. The attack hurled Black Adam hundreds of feet away but Beetle doubted he would stay down. He turned to the security forces. "Run and hide now!"

The men didn't have to be told twice and sure enough Blue Beetle's intuition proved true. Adam popped up and shook out the cobwebs from Jaime's strongest blow. Unfortunately his armor informed him he couldn't unleash that kind of power for another hour. Black Adam raced toward him and his armor threw up his force field at the last second. The blow still sent him reeling and it hurt even through the protective glow around him. God, did it hurt. He once battled a Green Lantern. Not even a power ring packed the kind of punch he felt when Black Adam slammed into him. If not for his force field he would have been killed for sure.

Arsenal fired an explosive arrow into Adam's chest. The blow didn't hurt him but the explosion appeared to blind him momentarily.

"Now Static!" Blue Beetle shouted.

"Don't have to ask me twice, boss man," Static replied. He bathed Black Adam in a burst of electricity.

"Don't be afraid to give him all you have," Ravager added. "He can take it!"

Static's eyes narrowed as he nodded and allowed even more electricity to flow. "Eat juice, creep!"

Miss Martian flew to within inches of Black Adam. Her eyes glowed red and Black Adam screamed.

"That's it, M'gann!" Jaime encouraged. "Your mental blast has him reeling!

A debris giant formed from the desert sand and the unearthed ruins. Even some crumbled buildings still hidden beneath the earth clawed their way to the surface and became part of the magical being's body. The giant swatted the reeling Black Adam like a fly. The blow was far more effective than Jaime's earlier attack and for a moment it seemed the Titans turned the tables but nevertheless the evil Marvel zipped back into the melee and sliced through one of the columns that served as the giant's arm.

The giant lumbered around in time to meet a blow so powerful the shockwave sprawled the Titans on the ground to the sand.

Black Adam went for Miss Martian. "You dare invade my mind, child?"

Miss Martian turned intangible at the last moment and he passed through her.

"Danny! Can you lend me a hand?" Traci cried. "There isn't enough urban magic in these ruins to power my giant and we're far enough outside Mansoura that I can't access its power!"

Wind blew sand from the disguised ruins that were Danny the Street, exposing a string of vertical hieroglyphics that ran down a stone column. The hieroglyphics morphed into English. "Take what you need."

Traci grinned. "I can feel the power surging into me! Almost too much to handle!"

"You must release it," Danny replied with words in the sand that seemed written by an unseen finger.

Traci unleashed the magic Danny added to her own and her giant seemed more powerful than ever. It gathered the debris that was its own severed arm and hurled it at Black Adam. The huge rocks exploded against his chest. She followed that up with a magic blast far more powerful than anything Jaime had seen her do previously. The blow was so vicious it knocked Black Adam through a sand dune hundreds of yards away.

Black Adam was resilient. He rushed back into the fray no worse for the wear. "Is that your worst Titans?"

"You dare desecrate my Temple?" cried a powerful female voice from seemingly everywhere at once.

Blue Beetle's armor registered a metahuman force nearby that was off the charts.

One of the most beautiful women Jaime ever saw emerged from the stairwell and floated into the air to meet Black Adam. She wore a short white tunic adorned with gold across the breast plate. Her wrists were adorned with delicate-looking golden gauntlets and her feet shod with sandals. A golden tiara on her head contained a glowing, red stone. "I am Isis, monster! This land is under my protection!"


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