"Tim how can you be so calm about this?" Stephanie asked as Tim handed her the last of his old costumes. She would be wearing the same costume design, even though Tim suggested she wear the green short version that Dick used to run around in. She said only glared at him.
"I always said that I knew I wouldn't be Robin or a crime fighter forever, Steph," Tim replied. "This is actually a relief if you believe that." She put the outfits down and walked with him back to his van. "No more late nights, no more excuses for bruises, no more Bruce. I couldn't be happier. For me and for you." Steph looked at him skeptically.
"You mean to tell me the first time you see something wrong, you're not going to jump out of your skin wanting to help?" she asked. Tim grinned sheepishly.
"Okay, you got me there, but that'll only last awhile." He tossed the last of his belongings into the back and closed the door. "By the way, Cassie called so I'm gonna have to meet up with the Titans a few more times, but after that it's on you,"* Stephanie nodded and watched him get into the driver's seat. "And don't you worry about a thing, you'll do fine," he shouted as he backed out of the Batcave for the last time. Steph smiled and watched him go.
*See Teen Titans #13 for more of Tim's Titan related activities. -KC
"How can you be so calm, so cool?" she wondered as the hidden garage doors closed silently. Just awhile ago, Batman had embarrassed you in front of me and Nightwing by stripping you of your title as Robin. To make matter worse, he handpicked me as your successor!* I'm just barely starting to come into my own as Spoiler, and now I have to be Robin?! Approaching footsteps brought her out of her thoughts.
"Was that young Timothy departing, Miss Brown?" Alfred asked. She nodded and wrapped her arms around herself, which Alfred noticed. "Now, now, Stephanie, there's no room for self-doubt! You are now Robin, a responsibility that I hope you intend to fulfill?" Stephanie looked up at Alfred and then held her head high.
"You're right Alfred, I do have a job to do," She turned and headed back for the Cave's interior. "Time I get to the bottom of the Shaolin mystery..."
Meanwhile, on the way to meet up with the Titans, Tim Drake's thoughts wandered. I still can't figure out why Bruce went off like he did, and I really don't see why he has to prove I'm replaceable. Steph will do great as Robin, but I just hope he doesn't turn on her like he did me... He went blank and kept his eyes to the road for a few moments before taking a bite of a donut. I just hope you can handle it, Stephanie.
"And without further ado!" a short, balding man exclaimed from within the Gotham Arts Center. "My masterpiece and solution to Gotham's vigilante problems!" He jerked away the massive covering to unveil a robot.
The machine sprang to life and surveyed its surroundings, making the crowd 'ooh and ahh' with delight. Then it stepped off of its podium and took two steps towards his creator. "I am Robin, who might you be?" The crowd gasped from shock. The man took his robot's hand and shook it vigorously.
"I am Doctor Clayton Fromme, your creator," he beamed proudly. Suddenly the humanoid's grip on Fromme's hand grew tighter causing the man to scream out in pain. Now the crowd backed away and began fleeing at the gruesome sight.
The robot Robin shook his head. "No. You are only..." His other arms struck out and bashed through the doctor's head like paper. "Dead," the crowd ran and screamed in fear, and the robot watched them go. "Humans. What a waste," he made his way out of the Arts Center, looking to cause more destruction. "Which is why I must destroy the human version of myself. This name will be cleansed!"
"My best idea is to check out the place where Tim found them last time for clues," Oracle responded to Robin. She was in the Chinatown area and on a Shaolin Clan hunt. "But other than that, I have nothing. Sorry." Robin launched a line and readied it.
"That's okay Oracle," she replied. "I'll look into that. If you find out anything else let me know," she cut the communicator link and swung out among the skyline. Within a few moments she arrived back at the scene of Tim's last battle with the ninjas. "Now lemme see," she whispered as she entered with her batarang ready. She had wanted to use a staff like Tim, but Bruce insisted she wait to use a new weapon he had in mind for her. "If I were a ninja, what kind of clues would I leave?" She scanned the area quickly, before coming across something close to where she had entered that night. Picking it up, she found it to be one sai. "I wonder where the other one is?" Her answer came quickly as she just dodged a blunt object that she had noticed out of the corner of her eye.
"This is where it is witch, now hand over both of my blades or this might get ugly!" the voice sounded like a geeky teenager underneath the ninja suit and Stephanie stifled a laugh. A quick glance behind him showed 4 other ninjas, all equipped with weaponry. Robin pulled the sais out of the wall.
"You wanna fight dirty, then we can fight dirty," Robin said as she twirled the daggers around expertly. The young ninja couldn't contain himself any longer and launched himself at Robin. She easily blocked his kicks and sent him down with a sai handle to the head. The other ninjas shook their heads.
"Young Eddie Cazuro, always rushing into things," one of the ninjas commented as they looked at Eddie's prone form. "But now the real fighting shall begin!"
Oracle was busy checking her contacts for the Shaolin Clan's whereabouts, not knowing Robin had just found them. But she couldn't help but let her mind go elsewhere. So strange calling Stephanie Robin now, but Bruce must have had his reasons. I just wish Dick hadn't taken it so hard*, but I'm sure it'll all work out in the end. I didn't even get to say goodbye to the kid though...what in the world? She focused on the news bulletin flashing across her screen. "When will people learn to leave well enough alone?" she asked. It was then that she finally came up with the ninjas coordinates, and she didn't like what she saw. "Robin, are you there?" she called into her headset. Sounds of struggle were evident.
*See Nightwing #10-Kelen
"I'm here Oracle, and I found the Shaolin," Robin responded as she warded off another ninja with her borrowed sais. "But their team seems to have gotten smaller since my last encounter with them."
"That's not the worst of it sister," Barbara said. "Just got the most recent news, and it seems a humanoid robot killed its creator at the Science Expo and is on its way to find you,"
"You're kidding?" Robin replied as she rolled away from a slashing katana. "How bad could it be though, one robot?" Oracle responded with silence. "Right?" Steph asked again.
"Only problem is..." Barbara stated before her line cut off. "...It's a robotic version of Robin." Robin was so shocked by the news that she didn't avoid the last ninja's high kick, sending her into the wall. The ninja picked up her sais and closed in.
"This is for Lotus," he stated as he raised the blades. Seconds later Robin had disarmed him and finished him off with a solid punch to the nose.
"Not quite, ninja boy, even though I did wish your female leader would drop in, I have a score to settle with her," she roped up the groaning attackers and headed towards the window. "How in the world did it find me?" she asked in wonder as the robot Robin was making it's way towards her building. "And why does it have to look like him?" She would get no answers but instead she took up one of the dropped katana blades and made her way to meet with her foe.
"Must destroy Robin," the robot kept repeating as it made its way closer to the real deal. "Only then will I be the one true Robin!" The robot's celebration was interrupted as it was slammed across the back with the katana, sending it to the floor.
"Look, I'm not even sure if I'm the one true Robin, so let's see what you got before you start making claims," Robin stated as she held her sword at the ready. In response the robot lashed out and caught Robin in the midsection, causing her to roll away. "Not bad," she heaved. The robot was immediately on the offensive as it hurled itself at Robin. She fended it off the best she could with the sword, but a quick move left the sword snapped and the Girl Wonder running out of options. The robot drove its fist into her lower jaw, backing her into a corner.
"You are not the real Robin," the robot hissed. "The real Robin would not fail so easily, and to top it off you're a woman," That was the last thing Steph wanted to hear as she backhanded the robot across the chest, giving her room to leap away. She reached into her utility belt and searched for anything to take this monster down. The robot Robin had reverted to throwing laser bolt s from his eyes by this time. "You will never win, human!" the robot announced proudly as it watched Robin dance about. It was then Robin pulled something from her belt.
"Hope this is what I think it is," she whispered as she turned on the small device. Immediately the robot seemed to lock up as it did a few crazy movements like it was malfunctioning. Finally it's eyes dimmed from red to black. Robin looked at the wavelength scrambler Tim had created and kissed it. "Good thing I remembered how to use you," Noticing the robot still standing at attention, she walked over to it and with a roundhouse kick, sent the head bouncing away.
"Robin, how are you holding up?" Oracle asked as the communication link was restored. Steph smiled.
"I've got 5 Shaolin Clan ninjas and one robot down," Robin replied proudly. "How's that for a first day on the job?"
"Not bad considering Batgirl can do that in her sleep," Robin started to reply but instead shut off her communicator. As sounds of arriving police and ambulances could be heard in the distance, Robin decided it was time to take her leave.
NEXT ISSUE: Hypertime month invades as Aquaman and Martian Manhunter writer David Gibson takes the reigns for an issue! But be back here for #8 featuring part 1 of "Family Ties"! And no, Michael J. Fox isn't in it.