Enemies of the Friends of Humanity

<November 23, 2014>: Roberto comes to talk to the Titans about a common problem.

The Titan's Castle

Where Raven stares at your arrival out of one of the windows.



  • None

Mood Music:
Minstrel Hall

Roberto da Costa hasn't been out to see the new Titans headquarters yet, and given the results of the last social event between the two teams, it's not surprising that a housewarming hasn't been organized. Still, one of his fundamental business instincts is to keep up with the neighbors — and there's an item on the Brazilian's agenda that the Titans may be able to help with. So it is that his slick silver sports car arrives on their doorstep. Da Costa steps out of the car wearing sharply pressed slacks, a subtly patterned peacoat, and a long scarf, to best approximate his preferred climate. He strides over to the door and announces himself to the most approachable-looking security camera. "Roberto da Costa, or Sunspot, here to see whatever Titan is available." He hefts a covered basket. "I brought snacks?"

The front door opens and Keith O'neil appears. He's got a few bandages here and there, though nothing that apperars serious. The aftermath of taking the Joker down… and using metal debris to do so. He was going to have to catch up on his tetanus shots.

"Mister DaCosta, it's so good to see you!" he grins. He's clad in a simple forest green turtleneck and jeans. "Won't you come in? I'm sorry it took us that long to send you our new address, but there was some cleanup that needed to be done," the redhead says as he stands aside to let Roberto walk into the parlor.

They had a parlor. That was fancy and awesome, at least in Keith's mind it was. His entire childhood home would have probably fit in the parlor.

"We're keeping this location strictly out of the public eye, with only allies and friends of the Titans knowing where we are. Soon we'll see about opening a public office in New York for people to contact us. But we've learned our lesson-"

"Not at all," Roberto says with a smile, dismissing the apology with a wave of his hand and the transfer of the proverbial basket of goodies. "I know how the secrecy game can be. Just because I stopped playing it doesn't mean I don't understand why others haven't." Inside the basket, Keith will find little balls of chocolate covered in sprinkles: brigadieros, if he's unlucky enough not to have tried the popular Brazilian treat. They're probably hand-made, too! (By Bobby's personal chef.)

"It's good to see you again, too. I hope it wasn't presumptuous of me to come here rather than waiting for the public office. There is a certain amount of business I'd like to discuss, in between just being impressed with your new home," Roberto continues, looking around appreciatively as he steps into the warmth of the interior. He starts to unwrap his scarf and unbutton his coat.

"Please! Presumptuous, as if. You're a friend and ally of the Titans, feel free to come here any time at all!" Keith says, carefully placing the basket on the living room table. He knows of the brigadieros. He is exhibiting titanic self-restraint. It's good to share with his team-mates, even if he wants to devour the whole basket in one go.

That's why he's not eating any right away, because one taste and it'll be over for the brigadieros, and for anyone in the team who would've wanted some.

"The courtyard's still a bit of a mess… had some invasive species take hold of the garden while the place remained for sale. Lairmaster built it as a personal project." The bulletproof curved wall shows off the central courtyard beautifully. It's hard to spot the invasive species because of the first blanket of snow, but the central tree is thriving now that Gar has given it some TLC. Even if only to slumber for the winter. "There's more to it than meets the eye, too. The real base is underground."

He invites Berto over to the fireplace near the games- the playstation that Berto brought in last time at the Tower is now installed under a large-screen monitor. There are comfy armchairs by the fire, perfect to shake off the outside cold.

"Business? Then let's sit here. It's appropriately businesslike. I'd hand you cigar and port, but I don't think we've got any… so how can the Titans help?"

"I don't smoke cigars," Roberto says with a smirk, lowering himself into the armchair with a satisfied hum. "The nice thing about actually being the richest prep school a-hole in the room is that you don't have to act the part." Also, he would never say this aloud, but his father smokes cigars habitually, and Bobby takes considerable satisfaction in not fitting that mold.

He looks into the courtyard with polite interest as Keith describes their troubles with the local flora, but his own expertise with gardening is limited to planting cheerful trees in a pocket underworld dimension and one short-lived affair with a girl who had chlorophyll instead of blood.

"I'm sure you've heard about the recent increase in Friends of Humanity activity," he says, getting straight to the heart of the matter. "I think some of you may have even had some run-ins with them. X-men: Red doesn't want their craziness spilling over into full-on violence again."

"You could say we have," Keith had helped the Flash stop an assassination attempt on the Senator who was about to introduce the constitutional amendments, after all. The Friends of Humanity had tried to end her life.
"The Titans aren't fond of the buggers either. How can we work together to provide a solution to this level of crazy?"

"There's no solution for crazy, unfortunately. I only wish there were," Roberto says, shaking his head. Well, a morally conscionable solution: obviously, having Karma or Xavier muddle with their heads might 'solve' the issue — by creating a bigger one. "What we are trying to do is counter their methods. The Friends have been staging flash mobs around the city, doing it unpredictably, and baiting more civil-rights-friendly citizens into confrontations. Then they cast pro-mutant individuals as the crazy ones, or sue. You know — the whole Westboro Baptist playbook."

Keith nods. He's very familiar with that playbook. "So what do you have in mind? Perhaps something on the media side of things to counter their kind of propaganda?"^

"A bit of that, certainly. I'm thinking of having X-Red stage a high-profile photo op as security for one of their protests," Roberto says offhand, as though just bouncing an idea around in a brainstorming session. "Protecting their right to flaunt their hatred in safety. Maybe even be so obtrusive about it that they end up losing it at us instead of our sympathizers losing it with them. But obviously, that wouldn't really apply to the Titans."

The Brazilian businessman sits back and steeples his fingers in front of him. "I was thinking more along the lines of figuring out who is pushing this recent spike of activity in the first place." He winces and continues, "If the X-men investigate the Friends, they'll claim we're censoring them or clamping down on political speech or some such nonsense. If an independent third party were to take some interest, however…"

"I get you," Keith grins, "Currently there are no mutants in the roster, so we can't be accused of having an agenda in the issue. Outside of, you know, not being horrible human beings."

"I think we can get some investigations going using Oracle as our little peeping Tom, see if there's anything that they can latch on to that might indicate the Friends are, say, taking in 'contributions' from a certain source, or perhaps even more incriminating stuff." He pauses, scratching his chin. "We could even infiltrate. I've got my illusions to disguise me… " and Gar could be a fly on the wall. A real one. "And the Birds can do the detective stuff from their angle as well."

"Oracle? I've met her." Roberto stops himself, shrugs, and amends, "Well, I spoke with her, anyway. Paranoid hackers, man." He shuts his eyes and lowers his head. "They're… interesting people to work with." He perks back up quickly, continuing, "But I think the team would really appreciate your help. Be careful about infiltration, though — I would not be surprised at all if they have countermeasures in place to identify mutants trying to spy on them. Some of those might blow your cover, as well."

Keith raises an eyebrow at the pronoun, but then again he's heard 'him' from other people as well. The hacker was paranoid, so it didn't surprise Keith that they might use voice modulators and the like to impersonate both genders. Sort of like an urban legend that one isn't quite certain about, with conflicting reports. He had to give them credit, Oracle was good.

"Well, if there's one thing I learned from last night is never to try to tackle a big fish alone. We'd love to coordinate something with you guys. Actual teamwork and stuff like that- what do you think?"

Roberto grins. "We're in favor of it. Feel free to call us in if you get over your heads with the Friends — or anyone else, for that matter. I've got a few friends who are great at redirecting rockets." He affects an innocent look. "Not that that would be a relevant skill for your team, or anything. Just saying."

Keith grins, "Hey, I learned to do that already! The Joker tried to blow me up yesterday with an RPG. He ended up without a ride." The young man grins, "So, once we get all the communication stations here set up, we can find a way for Oracle to patch us up with you guys, that way if we find anything, we can let you know on the fly."

"Sounds great," Roberto says, before nodding toward one of the bandages on Keith's arm. "I was going to ask about the bumps and bruises, but it seemed rude. Joker, huh? I guess everybody's been doing a bit of work in Gotham lately."

"The Bat is isn't exactly present these days…. and, well, sooner or later you will find out. Robin was hurt by the Joker. Badly. It's why I went to look for him last night… Gar wasn't exactly thrilled about the fact that I thought to take on the clown by myself." He smirks, scratching the back of his neck.

"Yes, I actually met with Robin at the same time I didn't actually meet with Oracle," Roberto answers. "Are you not following me on instagram? I put up the selfie and everything." He shakes his head — sadly, some superheroes (especially the ones with secret identities) just aren't as social media savvy as he is. "As for taking on Joker, just tell him it takes a clown to fight a clown, or something. Who can know, with clowns? That's a dark, secret world that the rest of us are better off not knowing about."

"I've kind of fallen behind. I've got a tumblr and a twitter, but I don't really know what to twit. And I'm not sure what I'd instagram-" Keith grins, raising an eyebrow. "Clearly I need to take some social media lessons from you and Booster Gold, eh? I put the clown in Arkham last night, so I guess I could have tweeted THAT. But we all know he'll break out sooner than later. I should have taken him to Stryker… too bad he's not in their jurisdiction."

"Someday, someone at Arkham is going to learn," Roberto replies mournfully. "But I won't hold my breath." He glances upward, then corrects himself: "Except that I will hold my breath any time I am anywhere near Arkham. Or anywhere in Gotham at all. It is a very unpleasant-smelling city, is what I am saying. Don't tell your Gothamite friends. They probably already know."

"They probably have had their sense of smell killed by Joker gas or similar," Keith shrugs, "I honestly am not sure how Batman and his team can barely keep control of a city, whereas Superman seems to have Metropoplis well in hand. And we're not doing too bad of a job in New York, between our two teams and some others."

Roberto shrugs. "Some places are always worse than others," he answers. "Who knows why? I'm obviously operating in Gotham a little bit. Maybe my contribution is all that will be necessary to bring it into the twenty-first century." He smiles, bitterly. "Again, I'm not holding my breath."

"That, and the Bat doesn't seem to be very good at the whole 'team atmosphere' sort of thing. Both Robins kind of have some serious issues going on… Kate and I were talking about that the other day. Maybe he's lost his touch as a mentor. Or maybe Nightwing was a fluke? Who knows?" Keith shrugs.

"ANyways, do you have any ldeas on the 'Friends' so far, or are we waiting for something to pop up on the radar?"

"I'm not going to judge anyone else's mentorship experiences," Roberto says quietly. "I've looked up to people, only to regret it later." His father, in particular. Maybe next time, he should have a more serious discussion with Robin, rather than grabbing a selfie and sticking to business. "I know that the Friends have been staging flash mobs around Manhattan, like I said. Obviously, there are the attempted assassins, who offer a pretty strong lead — what they were up to, who they were meeting with, where they got their weapons, and so on. I hate to hit the cliche, but following the money isn't a bad idea."

"I haven't really had a mentor, unless you count Mr. Rand's classes…" the redhead frowns and nods. "Following the money indeed. Oracle will be happy about having something to hack, I bet you." Keith grins, and looks at his watch. "Hmm, I was about to prepare lunch, would you like to stay for something to munch on?"

"Oh! Thanks, but no. I just meant to drop in for a quick visit. I should probably get back home," Roberto answers, whipping his phone out of his own pocket to check the time. He's too polite to mention that he only eats very little, and that his idea of 'lunch' involves a sunny balcony and no clothes. It's not the sort of thing one brings up in polite company, and he hasn't known Vorpal long enough to realize that he's anything but.

"Aw, some other time, then. We're thinking of installing an indoor pool soon, so maybe we'll invite you guys over for a pool party/housewarming thing?" Keith stands up.

"Sounds fun!" Roberto answers, standing and rebuttoning his coat. "Although I hope that indoor means heated. I like New York. I don't like it's winters."

"Please, who do you think we are, iceman?" Keith grins. He escorts Roberto to the door and, true to his nature, instead of a handshake he gives him a hug. "It was good to see you after so long- we'll stay in touch and get our guys working. I'll tell Oracle to troll the FOH's bank accounts and see if there's any leaky money coming in."

Polite company? Not really, but effusive at least.

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