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Marcus took his customary seat facing Seris's desk.
Seris took her seat behind the desk, taking off a pair of earrings and placing them in one of her drawers as she nodded to Marcus and HK. "Turn on the recording." She locked the drawer and glanced over her shoulder. "Not that I don't trust your report, Shissar."
The snake-woman appeared mid-stretch, coiling up off to the side and flicking her tongue before she spoke. "I undersstand. Besst to have a recording anyway. Even the besst eyess miss thingss."
"Acknowledgement: Very well." HK's eyes lit up a brighter shade of red before the hologram projected onto Seris' desk, using the surface as an impromptu stage upon which the entire battle played out. Of course it was from HK's perspective, but no detail went unmissed by his photoreceptors. It continued up until the order to run was given when Zeke appeared, cutting out once the team had evac'd.
Seris stroked her chin as she watched the full recording without comment. She then sat up straight and tapped the desktop. "And where were you the whole fight, Marcus?"
No sign of a smirk on Marcus's face this time as he replied calmly. "In the ship. Sabateuring."
"I take it the enemy escaped on said ship."
"Then you did not only an abysmal job 'sabateuring,' but also leading. You were the highest-ranking officer in that group next to Shissar. A team requires a leader to function. You failed your duties as such."
Marcus nodded, taking the criticism silently.
Seris stared at the hologram figures for another moment. "The rest of you performed admirably. I'm particularly impressed at how well you functioned as a group. Give Fireclaw my regards next time you see her. I'll have to remember to release some prisoners to her as a thank you for her work here."
Seris tapped her fingertips on the arm of her chair as she leaned back in it. "Your designation is HK, is that correct?" she inquired of the droid.
"Clarifying Statement: My full designation is HK-47." It wasn't being disrespectful, simply stating a fact. And it kept its answers brief; after all, Marcus hadn't given too much for it to work with in terms of addressing his mother. The fully intelligent droid just figured being short was best.
Shissar meanwhile made an idle note about the prisoner release.
Seris nodded. No offense taken, apparently. "HK-47, rewind the holorecording back to beginning of tape. Specifically the point immediately after you and the other agents revealed yourselves."
Marcus just sat back in his chair, tapping his chin and wondering what else his mother was going to bust him for next.
The droid did as requested silently, the hologram flickering for a moment before it was back to that point. "Query: Shall I play it again?"
"Unnecessary, at least for the moment." She tapped the hologram, specifically the figures of three of the initial enemies--Keera, Kale, and Ophelia. "Have any of you seen any of these targets before?"
Marcus initially shook his head before responding, "Well... I actually have files on the brunette. She's a Titan, or at least was. Initial reports dubbed her missing in action. Obviously that's not the case. Codename Night Hawk."
"Anyone else?" Seris glanced to HK and Shissar.
Shissar uncoiled enough to get a better view of the hologram, so she could pinpoint which ones she'd seen standing where. "I have not sseen either of them before."
The droid meanwhile pulled up another hologram, a scrolling list of newspaper articles about Kale. "Statement: Kale Snipes. Human. Martial Arts Master. Philanthropist. Chinese national. Reportedly responsible for stopping numerous crimes. Current address: building seven one nine, Georgetown Street, Metro City. Addendum: It should be noted that an intelligent person, by now, would have relocated due to the fact our battle with him was nearby. Current location: unknown. Current Occupation Martial Artist. Apology: I am sorry I can not provide additional information on this subject. Addendum: I am also unable to locate any relevant data on the other subject."
Seris nodded, but maintained her poker face. However, Marcus knew from experience she was impressed. "HK-47, search for information regarding Night Hawk. Marcus, while he's running the search, enlighten us. Who is this young woman?"
"Around twenty years or so, five-foot-four, something like one hundred thirty pounds. She's a shadowmancer..." He started to add information a bit more slowly, "Which was actually what caught my attention when I began studying her. It struck me as strange how similar her powers were to mine," He cast a glance at Seris, but if she noticed his look, she didn't show it. He continued. "Shadow manipulation, but only on objects she's created herself. She's been known to use it to shield her body from attacks. Two-dimensional shadow form she can switch into at will. Allows her to get into small areas. They've used her on a few stealth missions before. Additional powers of flight. Weird thing is, swords are her weapon of choice. I've never seen that gun before."
As Marcus came to a close, Seris turned to HK. "Anything to add, HK-47?"
"Statement: Nighthawk is most noted on your world wide web for two instances of valor. She is reported to have almost single-handedly defended the city of Conark from a cult of metahumans calling hemselves the Immortal Legion. She is also noted as being the diplomat responsible for attempting to establish a Titan Tower in Luster City. Finally, through my own analysis, I believe her to be one of the Phantoms of Shoan."
Seris raised an eyebrow at that. "You believe? We don't operate on faith in this establishment, HK-47. Elaborate on your line of reasoning to arrive at this conclusion."
"Acknowledgement: Very well. Statement: After having reviewed numerous images and footage of operations the Phantoms of Shoan have released, the firearm Nighthawk is wielding on the beach is dentical to the one wielded by one of the Phantoms. Addendum: Also factored in are the height, weight and reported use of shadowmancer powers, specifically the two dimensional shadow form was reportedly used by one of the Phantoms assisting in the interruption of the strike team's efforts to capture one Jason Norrik, resident of Shoan and known Super."
Seris smiled softly. "Impressive. Good work, HK-47." She waved her hand back at the table as she cleared her throat. The smile disappeared. "My main concern is the fact that we have no record connecting Kale or Ophelia with the Titans. My guess is that they are beginning to recruit again." She leaned out over the table, staring specifically at Marcus. "I don't believe I need to say that we cannot allow this to happen."
Marcus nodded briskly.
"Now. Do we have any information on the winged one with the ship? Other than the fact that he will burn for attacking my tower." Seris again glanced to her three reporters.
Shissar shook her head. "I know only that it iss a sship I have sseen before, at leasst that ssame class of sship."
HK-47 however went quiet for a moment. Only the quiet whir of his processors working escaped him before the hologram changes to a dossier. There, clearly visible, was Kaldra's face, name, and everything about him. "Statement: Identification Confirmed. Kaldra Sargt. Callsign: Foehammer. Species: Vulkrixian. Rank: Sentinel Agent. Captain of the ship Dawnbreaker, a Dynamic Class Freighter modified for the role of gunship. Last Known Assignment: Investigate Brotherhood of Evil operations on Earth. Last Contact: One year, two months, twelve days standard earth time prior to current date. Additional notes are available regarding this subject's training and history at further request."
Seris raised a brow as she turned back toward the droid. "Consider it requested, HK-47. Tell us more."
Marcus had sat up straight in his seat. "Yeah, and where are you getting this information from? I highly doubt he put it up on his Facebook page..."
"Confirmation: Very well. Continuation: Agent Foehammer was trained in hacking, sabotage, and interception of intelligence. He is also a skilled melee fighter with access to his species' powers, the manipulation, creation, and absorption of light. In training he was noted as preferring to use a solid blade to make up for his weakness in darkness. He is noted as the only Vulkrixian within Sentinel Ranks as of last update of this file. He was chosen as a test subject by Sentinel Command, to judge the effectiveness of his species within Sentinel operations. During training he showed an excellent grasp of subterfuge tactics and the willingness to use them, and more direct means, when the situation requirements had changed."
HK 47 paused, looking to Marcus at that point. "Statement: This unit was at one point property of The Sentinels. I still have a few of their files. Observation: It would appear my latest memory records indicate that I was to meet with Sentinel Agent Foehammer and assist him due to his lack of communication with Sentinel Command. How curious."
Seris addressed Marcus while staring at HK. "How, exactly, did you 'boost' its performance?"
Jackpot. "He wasn't running at full capacity, so I took him to Harroc to work on him more. She's still not finished, but it's gonna cost a bit to get him up to full throttle."
"I'll wire the money directly. How much did you spend today? I know you don't have any funds to speak of."
"Five hundred downpayment."
Seris pressed a button on the phone pad on her desk. She issued some orders to whatever peon was on the other line and then nodded. "Done. I want him fully operational. As soon as he is, we're extracting every bit of information he contains about these Sentinels, Foehammer, and whatever else we can get. HK-47, you are dismissed. Feel free to wait outside until Agent Oblivion is finished here."
"Confirmation: Affirmative." The droid turned, walking from the room.
As soon as he'd gone, Shissar spoke up. "The ssentinelss... I didn't think they were real. Ghosstss. Nobody knowss who they are except for a few rumorss." She shook her head some, glancing at Marcus. For once, she had to admit, he'd come through. Even she couldn't argue with his results this time.
Seris nodded slowly. Even with her stoic demeanor, one could see the wheels turning in her mind. "Where did you obtain him, Marcus?"
"I overheard some of our engineers talking about some scrap robot they'd found among some wreckage shortly after we put up the shield. The idea of an alien robot piqued my curiosity, so I asked if I could take a look at it. Well, threw my weight around and took it off their hands, more like it. They weren't going to do anything with it except pretty it up, scan him down, and tell you anything they found anyway."
Seris steepled her fingertips together. "Rumors that are unfortunately proving all too true. If he is here, I have to wonder how many more there are on Earth... or waiting outside it for the shields to fail." Seris closed her eyes, calculating.
"So he's working with the Titans against a common enemy? He seemed pretty cozy with them, judging from the attack footage." He gestured to Shissar. "You've seen it, haven't you, Shissy? What he did as soon as they got your bitten girl out of the towers?"
"He wass rather quick to come to her aid... and the sshotss at the tower came sshortly after I bit her. Thiss may alsso explain the sstrange lightss reported when one of our Titan prissonerss esscaped not long ago... Roxer, I think hiss name wass. The robot ssaid Foehammer'ss sspeciess can manipulate light..." Shissar nodded as she thought this over. Despite her scaled face hiding almost every facet of her emotions, it was clear she was more than a little unnerved about the fact a ghost story had just turned out to be real.
Seris frowned. "Yes, and Foehammer and Roxer were working in conjunction during your mission, as well. The situation may be more serious than we initially anticipated. If the Sentinels were establishing contacts with the Titans before the shields went up..." Seris fell silent as she considered the possibilities. None of them looked good. "Not a word of this gets out to anyone. No one. Not any other agents, not to the other Overseers, not unless the head himself asks directly. Understood? Information of this magnitude could absolutely shatter our morale."
"Understood." Marcus nodded, concealing an inward smile. Finally, they were starting to face an opponent worthy of throwing their full weight against!
"I undersstand." Is all Shissar said. Seris could always trust the snake to keep her mouth shut when she had to. She did hiss though and glance at the painting at the wall, but Seris didn't seem too worried about it, so she left the gesture at that. "He wass alsso pressent when the Titanss picked up the antivenom... he wass the one that carried it..."
"We were already aware of the fact they would be working on an antidote. I'm certain they are still far from doing that. Even with our technology and staff, it was difficult. But this is no less... troubling." Seris frowned. "Shissar, what specifically have you heard about the Sentinels? Rumors or otherwise."
"Jusst that they are Ghosstss. They are very good at knowing everything about ssomeone or ssomething, and when they make a move it iss alwayss brutal, efficient and elegant all at once. They rarely leave any ssurvivorss of anybody they target, and they never leave data behind. They are ssaid to infiltrate organizationss, weaken them from the insside, and trick them into sspending ressourcess on useless thingss. Then when the resst of them sshow up, the organization iss already weakened, and crumbless. That iss one rumor. The other I have heard mosst commonly iss that they are ssimply sspiess, gathering intelligence to then give to people like the Jusstice League and the Green Lantern Corps. A freighter modified into a gunsship ssuggesstss that the firsst iss likely..."
Seris nodded, the stoic mask back on her face. Only a mind-reader could tell what she was thinking most of the time. And even then, it would have to be a good one. A very, very good one. "Thank you, Shissar. We will have to factor this into our future endeavors. You've done some good work these past few days. Take the day off and relax. I have some things I must discuss with my son."
Ah. Here it came. "So, should I go start my laps now, or do you have some new form of torture in mind?"
Seris rose from her desk and brushed it off lightly. "Quite the opposite, actually." She opened another drawer and held out a set of keys, dangling them before Marcus. "I didn't say you've done badly enough to deserve torture... yet."
Marcus's eyes widened. He knew those keys. Those were... those were the keys to the Porsche, weren't they?
"I have some other business to attend to, Shissar. Do give my regards to Agent Fireclaw if you happen to see her while I'm out." Seris gestured for Marcus to follow as she headed out the door, keys still ringing as they swung around her fingertip.
Marcus followed giddily.
"Yess, Sseriss. I'll be in my quarterss if you have need of me." Shissar cloaked and slipped away.
Marcus found HK-47 standing silently outside the door until the droid spotted its master. "Query: Is there anything further I can do for you Master, or shall I return to your quarters and shut down for the time being?"
Marcus waved his hand, almost mesmerized by the keys in Seris's hand. "Yep. Yes. Go ahead and do that. Enjoy the nap, buddy." He was nearly salivating to get downstairs to the garage and take that baby for a run.
Originally posted on Titans Together, founded by Hufflepuff Moonshoes. All Shissar and HK-47 dialogue courtesy of Kitsune Ninetails. Used with permission.
Teen Titans and all related terms are the property of DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Check out the original show for some great superhero action, memorable villains, and hilarious hi-jinks.
HK-47, Star Wars, Knights of the Old Republic, and all other related terms are the property of LucasFilm and Walt Disney Studios.
Photo: Southbank, Australia by Arnaud Mesureur; originally posted on Unsplash.com.
From Him, To Him