Lockdown chapter one

'The coronavirus, which surfaced in a Chinese seafood and poultry market late last year, has spread to at least 177 countries, killing more than 437,000 and sickening more than eight million in a matter of months. The World Health Organization has declared the situation a pandemic. Here's a timeline of the outbreak so far.' Pictures began to flit across the screen, a group of healthcare workers preparing at a testing site, desolate highways and streets, presidents and government declaring a global emergency. The voice-over continued on. 'On Dec. 31, the government in Wuhan, China, confirmed that health authorities were treating dozens of cases. Days later, researchers in China identified a new virus that had infected dozens of people in Asia. At the time, there was no evidence that the virus was readily spread by humans. Health officials in China said they were monitoring it to prevent the outbreak from developing into something more severe. On Jan. 11, Chinese state media reported the fir-'

The newsreader was cut off when a dark-haired man abruptly leapt from his rigid position on the couch, grabbed the remote off the edge of the glass table, and stabbed at the round, red button on the top left corner angrily – apparently before he'd even had a chance to realise what was happening himself by the slow, disoriented blink that followed. The black rectangle clattered back down to the table, Dick Grayson turned sharply on his heel and disappeared through large, metal doors that slid open as soon as he had pressed his thumb to the biometric scanner, muttering darkly under his breath all the while.

Starfire, from the opposite end of the sofa, watched their leader leave with a worried expression. Though, the green tabby lolling in her lap appeared to pay the event no mind as it batted lazily at the orange fire cascading into its face.

Today, the atmosphere in the tower was one of tension. For this very reason, nobody had seen their purple-haired empath for long enough to even mutter a single hello, presumably she remained in her room, meditating constantly in an attempt to keep everyone's negative emotions at bay. Or perhaps she was just reading somewhere far enough away for that to no longer be an issue. Cyborg had hurriedly dismissed himself to the garage where he worked on the T-car and various machines of his own design, alone. And the shapeshifter was all but refusing to remain in his human form for any extended amount of time. The Tamaranian expected that Dick had once more returned to the training room, where he was now spending a more than significant amount of time.

The first few weeks after the announcements on this new virus, COVID-19, not much changed. Life carried on as normal, aside from Robin perhaps hovering for slightly longer in his office, waiting expectantly for the word to come through that whatever villain responsible for the outbreak had been identified. But that word never arrived. There was nobody to blame, and nothing for the titans could do about it. Just over a month after the first announcement – it was chaos. Petty criminals ran rampant on the streets of Jump and further, encouraged by the steadily decreasing numbers of staff available to stop them or call for help as they robbed, stole, and burgled. The T-tower remained empty for most of the hours in the day as they were called out on mission after mission, and when they returned home, exhausted and bruised, their rest was broken, every yawn punctuated by the shrill ringing of the communicators clipped to their belts. As more and more civilians were put on furlough, the situation only got worse – boredom and financial strain equal parts an explanation to ordinary people becoming desperate. It was with a blissful relief that the numbers on the streets began to dwindle. It was with an uneasy apprehension that they (finally rested) began to realise what that meant. Lockdown 2020. A global pandemic. A situation so severe, so unexpected that even the most unruly criminals adhered to government advice. Or rather, Robin had thought bitterly, were using this time to scheme something even bigger than the last. The paranoia was barely kept at bay, and the five extra-ordinary teens, used to constantly having to be ready for an alert that now never came, were left feeling…edgy, for lack of a better word.

The princess sighed. The team as a whole had gladly thrown themselves into the additional training that their leader had provided them with, glad for the distraction, for doing something that didn't just leave them sat thinking. But there were too many hours in the day to fill. Patrol duty was always over too soon, and always so quiet it was impossible for it to not feel pointless regardless. And so, with a sudden wave of much-needed determination, she rose from her seat (pausing briefly to apologise to the cat that did not meowl as it dropped off her lap, only looking at up her with questioning, wide, emerald eyes), and she too, disappeared from the common room with a swish of the metal door.

Star flounced down the hallway and to the next floor where she reached her own quarters and ducked inside. She flited about her room hurriedly, not pausing to smile at the ornate carving beside her bed – memorabilia from her home planet – or the pictures of herself and her friends that smiled down on her, as she usually did. After a few moments, she triumphantly pulled the items she had been searching for out of a drawer by her small, cluttered desk/vanity. An ordinary notebook, and an ordinary pen. She slipped her off-duty communicator, otherwise known just as her phone, from her pocket, and began to type. In less than half a second, over 539,000,000 results flashed up on the tiny rectangle screen, but she did not waste any time scrolling; clicking on the first link that appeared. '50+ things to do in Lockdown' the article read. After all, for the time being, at least, they really weren't much more than ordinary.