Nacho Daddy's Teen Titans
Roleplaying Log: Nacho Daddy's Teen Titans
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

In which Ghost Spider plies Nico and Red Robin with the news about the possibility of human-mutant race war, vampire beach parties, and deluxe nachos.

Other Characters Referenced:
IC Date: May 23, 2020
IC Location: The Titans Hideout, NYC
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 24 May 2020 06:31
Rating & Warnings:
Scene Soundtrack: [*\# None]
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

TITANS… MALL MANOR

It's a mall that isn't a giant superstructure, but is an icon of urban decay and the frayings of society. It's a whole mall! And it's inhabited solely by those meddling kids!

Most seem out today - or, like their caped mentors, ever-present and all knowing but sequestered away in their Footlockers of Solitude - but new-er (new-est?) recruit Ghost Spider has brought fresh nachos into the food court lounge area, a variety of deliciously unhealthy toppings piled onto the fried jagged angular shapes of cornritos.

The smell, overpoweringly of ground beef and melted cheese with jalapeno pico and spice, lingers in the air like a miasma.

^^^

"Hey are those nachos?" shouts down NICO MINORU from the SECOND FLOOR.

(nico minoru's etsy shop's live work location is located in what was originally a mattress firm. nico minoru knows when the chips are down you need a memory foam mattress. it has had a lot of black curtains and such put up by now, given everything, of course.)

"They smell amazing. Hey, um — Ghost Spider, right? Hold on!"

Nico has to go for the stairs instead of just vaulting over the side.

^^^

"Heck yeah these are nachos! You're, uh…"

Under her mask, Gwen bites her lip. Her lenses narrow bemusedly. It's rough.

"Rrrraven?" It's really a 50/50. "I've only met Red Robin, Starfire, Impulse, and… … … That's it, actually. Oh! I met Spider-Man. We fought an evil IT room? Long story."

She waits, confusedly. "Oh, do you not… fly? Or are you like Red Robin, and worry about using your powers for frivolous purposes because you need to drink human blood to restore yourself?"

It's impossible to tell if she's serious. "I hope you're not vegan, there's chili verde soup too."

Gwen empties more oyster crackers into her compostable bowl and stirs with a plastic spoon.

^^^

"… ha!" Nico Minoru says. "No, I'm Nico. Uh, I don't… I don't do the mask thing, it's just, uh, yeah," Nico continues, smiling quirkily and with a hint of effort as she comes down and loops around. "It's way more like the last one."

A pause.

"Yeah," she says, "actually that's really close to what I'm up to." Stepping closer, she says, "No, though I mean, I try. Those are INCREDIBLY GOOD SMELLING though so I am not even going to bother to try. Should I get a plate, or do you mind if I just… grab."

Another pause. "Do you ever put the nacho on top of the chili?"

^^^

Trying to guess at random which of the Titans' magic-using goth chicks you're dealing with gives you a one in three chance of being right; not as good as a coin toss, really, but those are just the sorts of long odds you have to deal with in the life of a superhero.

The worst case scenario if you're wrong is maybe Raven's in a bad mood and you spend a little while stuck in a terrifying pocket dimension. Or maybe Zatanna turns you into some sort of bivalve?

Which might seem a weirdly specific concern, to those who haven't seen it firsthand.

"Impulse must not be anywhere in the mall," says a voice, suddenly, from somewhere generally about ten feet behind Gwen. "Otherwise he'd be making puppy dog eyes at the food." The speaker is, of course, Red Robin, and the sound of his voice is the first indication that the vigilante was here at all. Which doesn't actually provide a strong argument against Gwen's possibly-serious assumptions about his potentially dhampiric nature: Like, does he even breathe?

^^^

"Ah, crud, sorry. Nice to meet you, Nico. I just got used to the whole mask thing, so…" She smiles, thumbing at the soup about her mouth and adjusting the edge of her rolled-up mask. "Calories are calories. Vampires need calories, right? Dig in, you're not going to get me sick. And do it before — "

Red Robin drops Impulse's name as he appears out of the shadows. Gwen splashes soup on her gloves and snaps her attention around as Red makes his appearance. "—aaagh! Y-yeah, Impuse gets here." She gasps, hand clutching at her chest. "*Nobody* does that! And then you're just 'poof', there! How many vampires does this group have? Three?"

She's counting Raven, obviously.

"Yeah, no, live your best life and get in those nachos - you're not going to get me sick, I practically live off corn dogs and bodega food. Get in there with your next level chip technology and I'll learn how vampires nacho."

^^^

"I'm not a vampire," Nico says, picking up a chip and putting it in her mouth.

She ALMOST chokes when Red Robin just oozes out of a corner, but not really. Since her mouth is full of the blade of ecstacy that is the nacho, she waggles her fingers mid-cronch.

^^^

An early lesson the former Boy Wonder was taught in his training with Batman was the distinction between perceiving something and noticing something. It applies to people with superhuman senses as much as it does to those with regular human senses: Just because their ears might pick up the faintest footstep, or the sound of careful breathing, or even the beat of a heart, it doesn't mean their brain will notice it. Most people, even super people, just don't pay attention to everything around them.

Naturally, the lesson that came right after that was in paying attention to everything around him. The Bat is nothing if not consistent.

"We don't have any vampires on the team," Red Robin says, which is a stark difference from when a few years ago - despite the weird crap he'd already witnessed in his life - when he would've said there was no such thing. Vampires, that's ridiculous. But once you crawl through a demon lady's b-hole as a gateway between New York and the Alps to fight a cult of wizards, the lines you draw between possible and impossible get set a lot further out.

It's a long story.

"Just witches, and I'm pretty sure they all just avoid the sun for the aesthetic." He looks to Nico for confirmation on this.

Although…

"Even with your metabolism," he's guessing, because as far as I can tell Ghost Spider and Spider-Man have virtually identical abilities, and he's been definitely-not-studying-because-Zatanna-says-we-don't-treat-friends-like-science-projects taking note of the wall-crawler's powers for a while now. "You should probably be eating something more nutritious than corn dogs and bodega food." He's probably had this same conversation with Bart, several times.

^^^

"Oh. Just electively goth?" Gwen wonders conversationally, patting off her somehow-unstained white costume glove with a napkin. "That's cool. I'm trying not to make assumptions, so instead my assumptions are ridiculous. I try not to expect things, but apparently just this big guy remember putting in jail wears a whole rhino costume in this dimension, and teams up with a brick wall to cause problems! It's completely wild."

Ghost Spider settles into a seat in an awkward-looking but comfortable quarter-crouch *situation* and sips her soup. "Witches are cool too. I want to say I knew one, but she wasn't on a super team. She baked these spicy kale leaves, though, phe-nom."

Gwen looks hurt in Red Robin's direction. "What? I hit the five basic food groups: Green stuff, melted cheese, fried stuff, instant noodle, hot sauce. This is a balanced meal."

^^^

"I dress like this to annoy my mother in Hell," Nico says, before eating another nacho so she can just kind of leave Gwen on the hook for a moment, no doubt in petty revenge for mistaking her for Raven!

She sits on a table edge, or at least leans her butt against it, while looking towards Red Robin. After swallowing this bite, she says, "I stay out of the sun because if I get a tan I'll have it for like six months and I'll have to redo all my makeup." Back to the Ghost-Spider, she says, "What?"

Which could stand on its own.

"I mean, back up," Nico says, "You said 'in this dimension.'"

^^^

Slurrrrp-rprprpppppp. "Yeah, some of that real black metal stuff. Into it."

Ghost Spider has the particular energy of someone who definitely heard and got 0% of the context.

"What?" She replies to the what, because it truly could be any of the impressively varied commentary she had been giving. "Yeah. I'm from another dimension that's less terrible. I'm also a criminal vigilante there, and fell through a portal to here. There was apparently another version of me from also not-this dimension?"

Gwen thumbs to Red Robin. "He was a bird ninja forbodingly at me when I first showed up."

^^^

Having had at least one conversation in the past with Nico about her mother, Red Robin wisely leaves that topic alone, although one supposes they could always check and see if Tina Minoru is in fact in Hell, and annoyed.

He does meander closer, though, perhaps because now he's been invited and thus can safely approach.

"On the upside, we do a lot of our work at night, anyway," he says instead, on the topic of Nico's avoidance of suntans. "I thought about a team vacation to somewhere with more beach and less super-crime, but with Nico, Raven and Zatanna hiding under a big lacy black umbrella and the spiders probably showing up in full body-covering costumes, it probably wouldn't be that much fun."

It's one of those times where it's difficult to tell if the Red Knight is being serious or being very deadpan jokey, but he does at least start investigating the nachos curiously.

"Multiverse theory," Red Robin says absently. "All sorts of other realities where things went differently to ours. Somewhere out there, there's a Nick Minoru. Eh, though Ghost Spider isn't a girl version of Spider-Man. I asked."

^^^

Ghost Spider leans over the setup on the table precariously, scooping one chip through the pico and another through beef and cheese. With both in hand, she begins double monching, before resuming her soup.

"The pier and beach at night can be fun. Maybe a bonfire? Those are a good time. Big enough group so creeps don't stagger up."

"Where I'm from, they do call me Spider-Woman, though. It just… Felt wrong, here."

She shrugs, collapsing back into her quarter-crouch on the chair. "Dangerous, or just weird and sandpaper-y. I'm a ghost, and a spider, so, Ghost Spider."

^^^

SOMEWHERE

Nicodemus Minoru screeches, "EAT MY ASS, BLUEJAY! SUFFER"

HERE

Nico blinks several times. "Well yeah," she says, "I watch TV, I know what it is, I just didn't think, like, I mean. Wouldn't it be a lot different? If it's really close, would there even… be a difference, meaningfully? It'd take years for anything to change, right?"

This is Alex's doing. Nico looks at Ghost Spider, then, and says, "… So what makes us worse?"

Back to Red Robin. "I mean there's sunblock, but yeah, spandex would get sweaty and the sand would mess it up." She doesn't go for more Nacho, not yet. Not yet.

"When you say ghost do you mean, literally a ghost? I'm sorry but I have to ask these things," Nico says.

***

Gwen raises a fist of fingers. There is a bit of jalapeno on it, affixed by cheese.

She raises a finger. "People think clowns are scary: clowns are great.

Finger numero dos. "You don't have the Ewan McGregor Obi-Wan spin-off series."

Finger drei. "There's, like, a zillion supercriminals all trying to be the baddest do-crimer."

RINGER FINGER. "Dad Cop hasn't bee produced yet."

FINGER THE FIFTH: PINKY SMOLS. "Blueberry Hitler wants to destroy all normal people and send you into a world of darkness ruled by his mutocentric and narcissistic light." A pause. "By the way, you know about Apocalypse, right?"

She drops her counting hand. "Oh, no. It's the white hood and stuff. I look like a ghost, and have spider powers. Like a ghost pepper, which turns you into a ghost by being hot. Very similar."

^^^

"Depends on where it branches, I guess," Red Robin replies to Nico. "If there's an infinite number of possible realities then there's bound to be some that are kind of similar but not quite. Maybe that old tv show with Gimli in it is right, and any reality you went to would somehow feature someone you know in an important role." Which leaves open all sorts of harrowing possibilities, doesn't it? Fortunately, as we all know, there's really only 52 different realities and most of them are taken up by 'everybody who's good is evil and everybody who's evil is good' and 'cartoon talking animal versions of everyone' and the like.

And one, it seems, where they have something called 'Dad Cop'.

"I mean, yeah, I guess public beaches work," the vigilante considers, because his actual plan along those lines was probably something that could only be accomplished with near-limitless resources or by leaning on the arcane might of some of his friends. Or maybe he was trying to lure the other Titans back to vampire island.

"I know a lot of people who would gladly, er, take over the world but I can't say I know of one called 'Apocalypse'. Kind of on the nose," says a guy who's fought an evil clown who calls himself Joker.

^^^

Nico scratches her cheek.

"I knew a guy from the future, but…" she begins to say, but doesn't perhaps feel comfortable going off on the Victor Mancha Experience, not immediately.

"So what, you don't have criminals in your dimension? Is it like… ruled by a brutal patrolling army of Lexbots or something?" Nico guesses.

She blinks.

"What?" Nico then says. "Who? Hitler's a mutant??"

^^^

"The best way I can describe it is that it's just… mostly normal crime? I'm one of the more powerful heroes in my world. There's Captain America, she's great, and I guess Chat Noir was a phantom thief? But it's 'lower level'. Weird to say, I know." Ghost Spider tries to explain, gesturing emphatically with her hands.

"Trust me, it took getting used to when the living brick wall was running at me didn't go down when I punched him in his stupid face. Actually I guess his whole body was kind of a face."

Gwen punctuates by chewing lightly on the inside of her lip. "So, I went with the X-Men to go get Warren Worthington back, okay? He was abducted to another dimension - to keep them straight, there's 'my dimension', 'your dimension', and 'strictly worse dimension' - which is where we had to go, which was strictly worse than here. Anyway, in SWD we figured out that Warren was controlled by a racist supervillain called Apocalypse - a super-duper mutant who thinks humans are bad and mutants need to be reshaped in his image. Basically he's an evil blue bigot?"

Gwen grabs a chip and scoops more pico, munching.

"So anyway: The X-Men and I went to his temple in Cairo or wherever because he's apparently also a rock man and revered as Ozymandias, and tried to smother with him with the X-Pillow before he woke up and caused a super race-war. So he woke up just before we got there. And he's loose now!"

"Tony Stark was also there. I forgot, sorry. Both times." She adds quickly.

^^^

Nico asks a sudden and really specific question. "How many fingers does this Apocalypse dude have?"

^^^

It's kind of a lot to take in, and Red Robin can appreciate that at the time it was probably even more of a lot to take in for Ghost Spider - with the advantage of hindsight, of retrospect, she can create a framework for it, make it something more easily digestible. At the time, no doubt, it was just a cacaphony of things happening.

"Different Apocalypses, I take it? The one in our world isn't going to remember this other one where he'd taken control of Worthington?"

The creation of distance, of an aloof remove, is something that comes easily to the vigilante now, as reflexive as breathing. He knows Warren Worthington III, albeit not well. As you find yourself in higher and higher strata of wealth and privilege, the social circle becomes smaller and smaller. Even before he was adopted by Bruce Wayne, his family was on the fringes of that… And when he became the latest stray taken in by Gotham's favourite son, well…

But what or who Tim Drake might know is immaterial right now. It's certainly not anything he can share with Gwen or Nico.

Any pang of guilt he might feel at that is a lot smaller than it would've been, once.

"Somehow I'm not surprised at Stark being around when a guy called 'Apocalypse' got loose," Red Robin says very, very dryly… But Nico's question makes go quiet, and curious. What might she know about this?

^^^

"Oh, uh, in S-W-D he had four fingers, and here he had five. Pretty sure. Maybe reversed?" Gwen reminisces.

^^^

Nico considers.

She looks to Red Robin, and Ghost Spider, and then says, with a vague discomfort, "The reason I ask is, my parents and everybody out west, right, like, during the whole Chitauri thing? They were waking up an ancient evil that, uh…"

"I don't know if they could have done it, done it," Nico says, "because they would have had to fight, like… Thor and Superman, but, the Gibborim - these ancient entities - wanted to get rid of humanity, because they said the Earth belonged to them."

Nico tilts her head at Gwen.

"Though," she continues, "some of the Pride were mutants, or at least, Molly was, so… this is getting kind of weird and they're all dead? Soooooo…"

"I'm from LA," she explains to Gwen, "so like I'm in a totally different space here and everything."

^^^

"Pretty sure. The other dimension's Apocalypse was already awake - and messing with our universe through Cameron Hodge and his flying racist gang." Ghost Spider's leses snap to Tim. "I told you about those, right? The racist power suit WARMACHINE guys?"

Gwen pronounces WARMACHINE like an acronym, not a random shout.

"Anyway, I didn't really get a good look at the Apocalypse of this universe but he just got woken up by his cult, early. Atlas and I just got talking about places to crash if the Super Awful Race War started between people with powers and people without powers."

Nico's story is concerning. "Well, I didn't have a Chitauri invasion where I'm from. But alien guys who think the world's theirs sounds pretty close." It makes sense! If she arrived at a new planet, Gwen would probably become an evil space queen upon contact - some sort of Superior prefixed Spider-personage.

"Oh, my condolences. Is that where you got your magic from?" Gwen wonders at the LA comment. She may be being sassy. It is unreadable around her going for chili on chips.

^^^

But would it be as simple as that, a war between those with powers and those without?

After all, it sounded like this Apocalypse guy had a very particular area of interest, and likely that didn't include people who didn't fall into the narrow band of 'people with an active x-gene'. And even if such a conflict did start, well… As Nico pointed out, there's Superman. And Thor. And neither of them is likely to team up with a guy named Apocalypse.

But even so, a conflict between mutants and everyone else would be a bloody mess, and one that would only heighten tensions all around.

"I don't think hiding out would accomplish anything," the vigilante says of Gwen and Carolus' putative plans for finding a hideout in case of race war. "Or that you're really the kind of person to just go find someplace to hide out. Anyway, it's our responsibility to help make sure it doesn't come to that."

^^^

"No, I get it from rabbit blood," Nico tells Gwen.

She smiles afterwards. Nachos bring warm feelings. In the tummy. "I'll show you sometime, but like if you want just, magic for show, you should ask Zee."

*crunch*

"… I thought you said we were the worse off universe," Nico continues. "Don't just like, give up? If things do get really bad, I… I guess we could just like, go to another universe, right?"

And run away.

"If this Apocalypse guy is a Gibborim he's going to be really weak until the Rite of Thunder is complete," Nico continues. "He'd probably have to go start a Pride to do it and it isn't something that happens quickly. Did he have like a squad in that bad universe? You said he had like… alternate!Warren working for him."

Yeah, she said that aloud. That's how it is.

^^^

"To, you know, have a base of operations. A fall-back we could agree on. We made a bunch of plans, Carolus and I. One of them was trying to stay with your mentor, actually -" Gwen indicates Red Robin. "-As he sort of runs Gotham. Atlas is part of the X-Men, so that'd be the first place that'd go in a big mutant race-war." It's spoken like a forgone conclusion. This is because she has gone through two whole entire missions with the X-Men, and thus understands that they have incredibly bad luck on par with her own spider-self.

"But you're right. I'm not that kind of person to just bail. Is anyone here? Nico?"

Ghost Spider searches for confirmation. She mostly gets blood factoids. "I'm not giving up. I'm here for a reason - I have to be. This universe needs a Ghost Spider. If I run away, 'another me' is bound to show up. I'm not gonna put that on… mmmmme."

"Gibborim. Start a pride. Rite of Thunder. Yeah, he definitely had a squad. Death, Famine, Pestilence, and… War? I don't know if there was a War. But Alison Blake was also converted into one of them. Pestilence was an X-Man code-named Elixir, and he was super scary. Or maybe he was Famine, and Alison was Pestilence? Anyway, had a squad of baddies. Warren became Death. He kept some of the powers."

Gwen mutters out of the corner of her mouth. "There's a reason I was worried about the X-Base, you know…"

"Oh!" Gwen realizes she left a part out. "Also it's our Warren and Allison. Not Strictly-Worse-Universe's. We went to another universe because they got scouted by Blue Mutant Hitler who was scouting for new talent after he started Biggest Race War with his mind control metal. There was murders I was investigating. Do you want the whole thing?"

^^^

"I mean probably," Nico says. "To be clear, are you saying the uh, the celeb mutants from our dimension got turned into evil AU Pride members, or do you mean the versions there did?"

"The ones in LA didn't do any kind of theme stuff like that," Nico muses to herself. "But our parents were all already dipshits. The X-Men are heroes, right? Or at least like, mutant antifa."

^^^

Rather than an escape, Gwen points out, she meant a fallback base of operations. Which is fair enough, and Red Robin nods to acknowledge his own misread - though the suggestion of going to Batman for someplace to use as a backup produces as lopsided, and faintly bewildered, grin from the vigilante.

Though it's true that there's no lack of secret little boltholes in Gotham, it's just… Well, it's a reminder that not everybody views the Bat with the same level of suspicion, he supposes.

"Speaking of Batman, there's always the Justice League." They might not exactly be as active as they were during and shortly after the Chitauri invasion, but given that most of them are likely to disappear off to space or Weirdworld at any given moment maybe that's not surprising? "If anywhere's likely to be safe to fall back to, it would be in Metropolis."

Since, you know.

Superman.

"I remember what you were telling me before," he says of the murders and the strange metal that turned people into zombie-like things. "Are you worried he's going to be able to take control of them?" the vigilante wonders. "Worthington and Blaire?"

^^^

Ghost Spider finds the bit of cheese and jalapeno stuck to her glove and nibbles at that. "Yeah. Allison Blake AKA Dazzler and Warren Worthington AKA Angel slash Archangel, from this universe, got sent to Strictly Worse Universe by Cameron Hodge and associates. They got filled with evil biometal and got turned into members of Apocalypse AKA 'Genesis' AKA potentially historical Ozymandias. Maybe."

She shrugs. "Anyway, *our* Alison and Warren got turned into Horsemen, or Pridemen, or Pride-Woman, or Ghost Pride-er if she feels like it, since they were revived by dark magic."

Nico delivers the most accurate take possible. Unfortunately, Gwen is from a strictly superior universe. "What's antifa? I mean, they probably are."

Red Robin brings up more options. "Yeah, looked up the justice league." Gwen raises a finger, pointing skyward. "They're in space. But yeah, it was making plans based on city. We were gonna hole up in the Stark compound, actually, because it was my thinking: If there's one place in Gotham that there isn't compromised Surveilance, it would be with Batman, and in Metropolis, with Tony Stark."

Gwen has never met Superman.

Red Robin cuts to the heart of Ghost Spider's concern. "Honestly, yeah. Atlas and I both worry about that. Warren's confident he's kicked Apocalypse, and I believe him, but a sympathetic connection could still exist. Or, well, they're sort of ground zero 'place most likely to explode at the start of a race war'."

^^^

"Maybe this Cameron Hodge guy is really in the apocalypse pride," Nico muses. "That's definitely a Pride-y name."

way to stereotype Nico

^^^

"He was apparently such a jerk Tony Stark threw him into the strictly worse universe with a 'kick me, I'm a nazi' sign to SWD Magneto's porch." Gwen reports, mask-lenses narrowing. "So, probably definitely into apocalypse pride. His goons nearly roasted me with a beam cannon."

Gwen shrugs, going to finish her soup in a few slurping gulps now that it has cooled to 'shotgun the whole thing like the trashcan you are' temperature and not 'obliterate one's Spider-Esophagus'.

"But yeah, same investigation. A few random zombies, stopping a killing, and solving the mystery via dimensional travel and fighting the people you've met, but metal and evil."

^^^

That, Gwen had told him about before, too. Murder with extra steps.

It's difficult to say quite what Red Robin is thinking about that, because while his own mask in this costume is just a domino one, with white lenses covering his eyes, it's still less expressive than even the full face covering Ghost Spider prefers when she's not got it rolled up to eat - another trait she shares with Spider-Man, in the vigilante's experience. Maybe that's not surprising though because, again, trained by Batman.

Who is not exactly the most demonstrative guy when it comes to emotions that don't involve beating up endless waves of ninjas.

"Well," he says, on the list of places that aren't compromised. "There's also here." In addition to very normal and practical protections like holograms to make it seem like the lot was disused from the outside, it had also been warded against attention - unless you knew what you were looking for, it simply seemed like someone else's problem. Red Robin wasn't keen on relying on magic like that (don't tell Zatanna) but it seemed to be working so far, considering they were technically breaking the law an awful lot and were probably wanted.

Ghost Spider guzzling the soup like that is pretty impressive, though. As someone raised by a Scottish housekeeper and then by an English butler, something inside of him quails in sympathetic terror.

"I can't tell the X-Men what to do, they're all grown ups and not on my team, but… Ghost Spider, at least keep us updated if anything changes, right?" He knows she would anyway, but telling people to do stuff they would definitely do is how you create a pattern of behaviour, so they listen to you later about other stuff. "We'll see if we can't come up with an off the grid backup."

^^^

"Yeah. I didn't know if I could plan on meeting Atlas here, so we were doing shared locations - I wasn't offering up the Titans' base for my personal stuff."

Gwen was being thoughtful!

Stepping out of her seat, Gwen starts cleaning up the foil containers of nacho bits while stretching from sitting in a weird spider way for a WHOLE CONVERSATION.

"Yep. I got nachos to update the team, really. I've been a better X-Person than a Titan for a while, and not only am I not on that team, this was pretty cool. Are you gonna want some chili nachos, Red?"

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