The New Titans: Fragments, Chapter 7: Shadows of the Future

by Libbylawrence

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On the planet Tamaran in the Vegan star system, Princess Koriand’r had seen and felt a great deal in the last few months. She had been a bridal gown-clad warrior, angry rebel, and finally — and bitterly enough — she had played the reluctant role of loser.

Oh, it was all true enough that she had married Karras of Kalapatt to formalize a union of state between the warring nation states of her home planet. She had even bested her evil sister Komand’r once again in grave combat. Yet, in spite of all she risked and all she had lost, the beautiful young woman had been forced to taste the bitter ashes of defeat, for her own people had chosen to allow Komand’r to rule with their parents as willing advisors. Thus, though she denied that Komand’r could ever truly do what was best for the millions who dwelt on the rich world, all others seemed satisfied with her strong rule. What was it Dick Grayson had once told her about many Germans during the Second World War — how they turned a blind eye to Hitler’s evil in deference to the sense of national pride the madman had instilled in many.

Pacing the halls of the palace, Kory wondered if there could be hope for a reunion with Dick — poor, morally hurt Dick. She still saw his pained expression as he had departed.

She flung down her goblet and cursed in rage. Gazing skyward, she saw more than the fabled Ring of Life that illuminated the Vegan system. She saw a fleet of oddly different starships, one she recognized to be Thanagarian in design.

Clattering down the hall in her high heels and flowing yellow wrap, she listened as Komand’r spoke to aliens of various races and worlds.

“I tell you all that while I, too, regret the disruptions and possible terrors that may spring forth from Earth like plague-bearing vermin, I may not lend any aid to your planned invasion,” she said forcefully. “I give you my word that Tamaran shall play no role in said war.”

A yellow-skinned alien scowled sourly. “If Tamaran will not join us, then perhaps the Alliance shall be forced to turn our power against this world.”

“Guards!” shouted Komand’r. “Show them out! Secure the area!”

Hearing weapon-fire, Kory rushed forward in time to witness a horror. Prince Karras and his beloved Taryia fell, along with others in a barrage of energy bursts.

The alien assembly was quickly subdued, and planetary defenses secured the rich world as the fleet departed in haste.

“Be ever ready should the Alien Alliance dare return,” said Komand’r. “Their planned invasion of Earth should occupy them enough.”

Kory bent over the fallen figures of Karras, Taryia, and others she knew. All were dead. She heard her sister’s harsh tones. “Your Earth brings nothing but peril and strife.”

Whirling on one heel, Kory ran for the docking bay. She heeded neither friend nor foe as she boarded and then blasted off in a small space skimmer.

I have to reach Dick! she thought. I must warn Earth’s heroes!

***

Even as the New Teen Titans landed on the Greek island, several uniformed guards greeted them.

“Welcoming committees out in full force!” yelled Arsenal as he released a bolo arrow that brought down the nearest guard.

Donna Troy pulled down a blazing energy weapon and crushed it to a pile of scrap. “I’d say these lowlifes won’t come quietly,” she said wryly.

Hawk laughed maniacally. “Better for me!” He slugged a guard flat and charged into others with brute force.

Garth used his own considerable strength to shatter a protective shield that sheltered some troops as they aimed high-tech weapons. “They seem to be desperate to keep us occupied! What’s brewing beyond the ridge?” he cried as his keen eyes spotted a flash of energy.

“We’d better split up and check it out,” said Robin.

Donna agreed. “Come on! Arsenal, you and I will scout ahead.”

Roy smiled. “Lead on, Wonder Babe.”

“Don’t you feel a bit silly talking like that?” remarked Donna. “After all, you are a father now.”

Roy sighed. “Yeah, but I’m not Ward Cleaver — at least not yet.”

They reached the crest of the ridge in time to see Doctor Light and Mento activate their devices, which were responsible for giving off the bright glow they’d spotted.

“Super-villain death ray number 109,” quipped Arsenal as he released three arrows. As they erupted overhead, an inky cloud of darkness covered the villains.

Curse those brats!” cried a woman in a black business suit. “They’ve interrupted the process! Thia may not be reborn in total darkness!”

Lilith Clay’s team appeared as well. “She must not be reborn at all to continue her evil ways,” she declared.

Changeling became a green monkey and swung down to face Mento. “Steve! You can’t help these fruit loops!” he urged.

Mento scowled. “Ah, the errant son returns.” He generated a mental blast that shook Gar Logan down as Cyborg rushed to help him up.

“You can’t get by with this crazy behavior, Dayton,” said Vic Stone. “Illness only counts so far.”

Doctor Light turned to gasp as the lovely Kole Weathers posed before him. “Give up, old man. We have you outnumbered,” she said as Jericho came closer.

“On the contrary, my buxom child, I have you overpowered.”

Donna yelled, “Lilith! Gar! Vic! What’s going on?”

“It’s Mento,” said Gar. “He’s gone mental.”

Cyborg aimed his white sound generator at Mento, who shrieked as the high-intensity sound broke his enhanced concentration.

“Kids today with their music,” joked Doctor Light as he aimed a small jewel at Kole, who produced a wall of multifaceted crystal over the distance that blocked his ray.

Catching Mento’s eye, Jericho made contact and took control of his body. He removed the helmet and hurled it down, even as the now-helpless Dayton cried, “Release me!”

Gar walked over to him and said, “Come on — we need to find you some help. I’ll be there for you, too, even if it means less time with the Titans.”

Lilith faced her siblings as the two who ran Phaeton Industries appeared. “You carry your mother’s looks and spirit, but you serve the Olympian usurpers,” said the man.

“Let the flames of healing restore your inner peace,” said Lilith. The lovely empath touched the man even as he pulled back, and flames covered them both. In seconds, both stood unharmed, but the male was now docile. “I’ve brought him peace,” she announced. “The roar of Thia’s subtle commands burns no longer in his heart!”

Behind the lovely young woman stood her sister, who said, “You witch! You betray the womb that gave you life! ’Twas ever the way of the Olympians.”

She aimed a strange device at the demigoddess in the skimpy tunic and sandals, but Kole acted first, and a multifaceted crystal shield caught the light ray and split it prism-like to break the devices around them.

“No!” cried the woman in black as Hawk added his own power to topple the regeneration device.

“Not gonna work today,” he said, grinning.

Garth tackled Doctor Light and said, “Back to your aborted reformation?”

Light sniffed coldly. “Bah.”

“Flash is in there,” said Donna.

At that moment, Robin appeared as the Flash rushed outside carrying the youth. “Robin freed me,” he said. “Most guards were out here fighting you guys.”

Holy Houdini!” joked Jason Todd.

“Uh, please don’t do that,” said Arsenal.

“My friends, I thank you for preventing the rebirth of Thia,” said Lilith. “Two of my innumerable siblings — the Children of the Sun — have been stopped. My crusade remains to use my powers to stop all of them as they emerge around this globe. Will you accept me among your number, either East or West?”

Arsenal smiled. “I’d accept you in that outfit in Titans East, Titans West, or Titans Mid-Michigan.”

Donna held the Flash close. “Wally, what did they do to you?”

“Mento planted some of his nightmarish visions in my mind,” explained the Flash. “I’ll be okay. Just need time.”

***

Even as the Titans prepared to leave with their beaten foes and the ill Mento, they little knew that a world away, a reddish-blond man said, “Where science failed, perhaps magic may restore Thia.”

The man was one of perhaps hundreds of Thia’s mad children, and Lilith’s earthbound career would be a very long one as she tried to stop the plans of them all.

Looking up in his empty office, he stopped muttering as a secretary entered.

“Oh, Ms. Marlowe, is the president ready to see me now?” said the high-ranking cabinet official.

“Yes, sir,” she replied. “Right this way.”

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