Welcome to the 2022 April A to Z Challenge! Each day (minus Sundays) in the month of April will feature a short work of fiction based on a random word beginning with the corresponding letter of the day. Those random words will be provided by various friends and family members throughout the month. Today’s word, joust, was provided by my friend, Jeff. Each story is loosely connected to the one before but will make more sense if you read them all in order. To go back to the beginning to see where this madness began, click here

“We need to find a way to disable it!” shouted Red Robin over the radio to the entire team, keeping his distance from the android called Red Volcano and attempting to come up with a strategy.

“That’s a good plan,” replied Beast Boy, who had taken the form of a hawk and was flying around Red Volcano’s head. “Any ideas how to do that without causing a meltdown?”

“The head!” said Tim. “Morrow always houses the CPU in the same place the brain should exist within the body. We detach the head, the rest of the body can’t function!”

Superboy swooped in and said, “On it!”

With that, Conner Kent tore a flagpole out of the cement in front of Titans Tower. In midair, he backed up by a few thousand feet, then began charging at the oversized android. He imagined himself as a medieval knight without a horse, thrusting the flagpole ahead of him like a lance in the joust. Conner’s aim was true and the end of the flagpole connected with Red Volcano’s head at super speed.

Sparks flew from the android’s neck where the head had been and an alarm began to sound from Red Volcano’s suddenly still body.

“That can’t be good,” said Miss Martian as she came to a landing next to Red Robin.

“No,” said Tim, “it’s not.”

The Teen Titans, all standing together on the ground, watched as Red Volcano’s metallic skin began to glow. “Some kind of self-destruct?” speculated Starfire, expecting Tim to confirm or deny her hypothesis.

“Probably.” Thinking quickly, Red Robin began to calmly give orders. “Superboy, I need you to get me over to the android. I’m gonna try to shut it down. If I can’t, you’re our best hope for getting it as far away as possible before it explodes.”

Superboy just nodded, understanding that both of their lives were on the line.

“The rest of you, evacuate as many people as you can. I have no idea what the blast radius could be. Just focus on saving as many civilians as you can.”

Everyone understood the danger and the reality of the situation in which they found themselves. It was possible that none of them would come out of this alive. This was the gig. They all knew their jobs and they went to work.

Conner lifted Tim into the air and came to a landing next to what was left of Red Volcano, its hull glowing brighter with each passing second.

“Doesn’t look good, does it?” asked Conner.

Tim shook his head. “This looks like an access panel, but what’s inside may be too advanced for me. T. O. Morrow is a genius.”

“So are you, dude.”

“Maybe,” Tim reluctantly agreed with Superboy’s assessment of his intelligence, “but I’m not exactly a robotics expert.”

In that moment, the two young heroes heard a sonic boom. In the moment, they thought that was the end. In the next moment, they realized they were still alive.

Kid Flash had emerged from the timestream and yelled at his friends, “What are you guys doing here?! That thing’s gonna destroy everything in a 2-mile radius!”

“Bart!” Conner shouted, glad to see his friend but still in a slight panic over their situation.

Tim chimed in, “Future news?”

“Of course! Stand back!” yelled Bart as he pulled the Captain Cold freeze gun out of the harness on his back and took aim. Running in circles around Red Volcano, he continually fired the freeze gun at the android. In seconds, Kid Flash was able to create a small mountain of ice, encasing Red Volcano and, hopefully, solving their current problem.

Kid Flash came to a stop next to his friends. “You’ve bought us some time,” said Red Robin, noting that the warning alarm was still going off, though the sound was muffled by the thick ice.

“I’ve got this,” Conner said quietly as he stepped forward. Gripping the bottom edge of the makeshift iceberg, he lifted the frozen android and flew as high as he could.

Tim and Bart watched their friend as he took off into the sky. From a distance, Wonder Girl directed people toward safer distances, but watched her ex-boyfriend flying higher and farther away. The entire team kept their eyes skyward. They were all watching when Red Volcano exploded, creating a ball of fire high above San Francisco.

“Where’s Conner?” asked Bart.

Tim pulled a small pair of binoculars from his utility belt and scanned the sky. It took a moment but he finally shouted, “There!” pointing to a small speck that was in freefall. “It looks like he’s coming down west of here… in the ocean!”

That was all Kid Flash needed to hear as he took off, running across the surface of the water toward the approximate location where his friend may land.

These characters are not my own. The Teen Titans and all related characters are the property of DC Comics. This is a work of fan fiction and is just for fun. Please don’t sue me.

Feature Photo by Tom Podmore on Unsplash


3 thoughts on “Joust

  1. Pingback: A to Z Challenge 2022 – Reflection | The Confusing Middle

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