When I come to, the high-pitched noises bouncing off the walls make me want to cover my ears. Wait. I can't cover my ears.
Why can't I cover my ears?!
Ooh, I forgot. Oxygen deprivation and head injuries can do that to you. Well, now I remember. Stalker Dude and Mini happened.
So. It's dark in here, but at least I know it's large due to the echo effect. Or maybe that's just me. My head should've healed by now though. Whenever "now" is.
Then I feel the strain on my skeletal structure. Hold up. I better-nope, it's broken. Forgot. Again. No watch.
I thought it was just an illusion, something to make me look like a young teenager. It wasn't supposed to actually change me. Does this mean I am now a male, a teenager at that? Shit.
Well crud, I just thought that. Looks like I am different now. Usually I keep my nasty language to something other than English to confuse the sheesh out of telepaths that might be listening in. Or just to remember where I've been, what I've done. Man I'm thinking about this waaay too much.
I really hope this is temporary, whatever's going on.
I open my eyes. Okay, it is most definitely a cave, judging from the shivering smelly creatures on the ceiling. Is that where he got his name? Gross AND unoriginal, t'be honest.
As my eyes adjust to accommodate for the more subtle differences in my surroundings, I bite my tongue in excitement. Tech everywhere around me, all ripe for studying and modification.
I try to stand up, bending the legs of the chair. Oh, chair. Forgot I'm a prisoner for a second. Yes, I know he said he just wanted to interrogate me, but let's be real for now and assume this was going to result in the withholding of someone's freedom. Namely, yours truly, mine.
SO, it is metal, not wood, otherwise it would've just snapped. I twist my legs. Ouch. Chains, not rope, are what are currently binding my appendages to the furniture.
I proceed to bring myself up, gritting my teeth against the painful screeching of stretching steel. As I walk forward, the stress makes the metal snap, tearing into my calves. But my legs are free, so that's good. Some wiggling makes the chains down there slip, letting the entire bottom of the chair fall to the ground.
I lower myself to the floor and bend my legs in weird ways so my toes hook under the chains holding my body to the back of the chair. Push forward. Same result.
Flexing my newfound teenage muscles, I walk around the place. You know what, this is the Unshaven Center. UC. Uck. Yuck. There you go.
So, while examining Yuck, I notice some vehicles in the corner. So, unless these are just for show, there must be an exit somewhere.
I don't see one as of right now, though, so I screw around with the engines, stealing spark plugs and the like and replacing them with other bits. I don't think the cylinder well is supposed to have a computer key stuffed in there. Heh. Yeah, I keep random computer bits around for reasons you don't need to know. And watch parts. And other thingamabobs. Yeh know, for reasons.
Oh yeah, I'm supposed to get out of here. Scanning the room full of high-end materials and machines, I notice a Grandfather clock.
I haven't seen those in ages. Wow, wasn't there one in that one place I crashed at for a while before the natives shooed me out? I think that was five, six years ago? Man I'm old.
No I'm not, but it's fun to think things like that.
So, I'm crouched down and messing around with this thing since it is so different from the rest of the room, right? Opening the glass, looking at the time. 12:48, don't know if it's AM or PM because of no view of outdoors, screw with the time so it reads 6:39, play with the pendulum, realize there's someone standing behind me.
I spin around on my toes, my eyes wide in apprehension, only to discover an old man in a suit.
Uhh, this better not be Batdude or I'm gonna lose it. That would be the most embarrassing thing I've ever experienced.
As I stare at the new person (or perhaps I'm new, but meh, I don't wanna waste anymore time thinking about it), said individual raises his brow.
"Care to come upstairs, Mr. Signal?" Whaht? British accent. Not the accent used by the guy who attacked me earlier. Not sure how much earlier, but earlier nontheless. Wow, I'm overthinking things.
Okay, most definitely not Batdude. he would've just smacked my head or something and put me in a new chair. Probably a "better" one, whatever that is.
I silently nod, my lips pressed close together so I don't insult him.
The man-okay, he's Double OO because I can, waits for me to stand up, his face calm for some reason. SO. He knows what I introduced myself as, so that means he is connected to the duo in some way. He isn't freaking out, so I will try to think that's a good thing.
I stand up, coiling to get the feeling back in my legs. Wow, I'm tall, almost as tall as the man's ear.
The man smiles and says, "Right this way, sir. Your lunch is waiting for you."
My stomach growls in earnest. Totally humiliating, but I agree with you, digestive tract; I am hungry. Famished, actually. Weird. Seems as though my biology was a bit altered by the device. Will have to look into it.
I remember my manners. "Sir, I'm afraid that the 'Signal' bit was a fun on my part. One of my names is Asa. I apologize for the miscommunication on my end."
Yes, I know. Asa is not one of my names, it is merely a twist on one. But hey, I look a bit more North European than anything right now.
AOOOO nods, then turns to leave. I take this as a hint that I should follow, so I do.
He goes to a picture on the wall and presses a brick next to the frame. I mentally snap the exact position just in case I need to use it. A door opens up beside the picture, revealing...an elevator. Hope no fires happen down here, otherwise I'd be toast.
The man steps into the elevator and gestures for me to follow. I do, clutching the handrail when I stop inside the box. Padded. Interesting. Where are the strait jackets?
No music, thankfully.
When the box stops, the doors automatically open to reveal a fancy living room or something. I barely restrain myself from just dashing out. I may be slightly averse towards confined spaces. Might be because of-nah, you don't want to hear my life sfory. Heh, talking to someone in my head, what a classic.
OOOO walks out, and I follow, looking around the place with trepidation. Who could afford all this and have time to gallivant around at night as the city's hero? Or creepy kidnapper with facial fuzz and a colorful sidekick that should really be sleeping at this time, you take your pick.
Anyway, so I'm looking around, right? Seeing the sights, looking for pictures and the like, trying to find any personal touches.
Oh s-crud, this is worse than I thought. Yes, I was bluffing when I slurred out that little comment earlier, but I really shoulda seen this coming.
By that time, we reach the kitchen. Oh, yeah, it's lunch, so it's midday, which is the start of the PM half of the 24 hours. Huh, isn't it cool how many things we got from past civilizations? I mean, just the number system alone-
Focus, teen brain. Heh, I could now say I'm a teen scatterbrain- NOPE. Stay focused, you teen scatterbrain.
Seated at the counter is the ward of Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson, a polite smile on his face. That is really different from the kid I met earlier, all emotion and energy. Perhaps that is his way of releasing emotion, and now he has to bottle them up in everyday life.
Hold up, is that what's happening now? Pah!
I try to grin a little. "Hello, Mr. Grayson, is it? Do you perchance count yourself an acquaintance of someone who calls himself Cardinal?" Yes, I know that's not his name, shush.
The boy goes rigid, his eyes the only indication he's anything but a statue as they frantically search mind own. Wait, they didn't-
I bring up my hand in the pretense of rubbing my eyes only to find no cloth catching on my slightly-too-boney knuckles. Yes they did.
"So, how are you, sir? I'm Asa outside the mask." Upon further examining his body language my face falls. "Yes, I know. By the way, it's kinda funny that my bluff went this far. I mean, now I know who BR are. Now could you please tell me what's going on, or shall I instead come to my own conclusions?"
The kid (or maybe I shouldn't consider him a kid since I am younger and now we're the same age. As humans on social media say, #trippy) groans and facepalms. Why is it that humans smack their faces intentionally when they feel like they did something stupid or someone else did? Is it a self-punishment system or something?
"Bruce, I told you we should've just kept him in one of the off-site cells." Hold up, off-site holding cells? How many people do they capture at a time that they need to have somewhere to store them?!
Oh, he's talking to someone in the room. Since he's not in the kitchen in front of me, that means the subject of the statement is behind me. Let's assume this "Bruce" is Batman, owner of Yuck.
...should I watch out for retribution for the vehicles or something?
A hand rests on my shoulder, its grip firm in an obvious attempt at intimidation. Well, it's kinda working. The angle of the hand to elbow to shoulder indicates that the person is at least 6'1", I only 5'6". Huh, I seem rather tall for twelve years old.
The hand steers me to the seat to the right of Ro-Gr-whoever he is, within reach if I misbehave, I suppose. I sit down, silently pondering the different structure of my body from this new one I accidentally got myself stuck in.
The man pulls a stool over to the other side of the counter. More screeching. Why can't people just pickup the chairs, eh? Is it too much to ask?
Anyway, the fellow has dull blue eyes that one would pass over if not for the confused signals you get from them. Is he curious or angry, surprised or contemplative?
Questions start in three...two...one...
"Who are you exactly, Asa?"