Phrag: First Sap - Intro

December 6, 2014>: The Titans are the first to encounter the ecological entity known as … PHRAG.

Prospect Park - New York City

Site of the Prospect Park Zoo, Prospect Park Lake and a number of other historical sites, a bontanical garden, the brooklyn museum, and a number of cultivated sites. Presently the volunteers and staff have been battling an invasive species of grass near the lake (phrag) with limited success.



  • Phrag

Mood Music:

Prospect Park Lake, site of ecological war with an invasive "phrag grass" … something has come up. Something has eaten the digging equipment that was being used to eradicate a particularly tough thatch of the nasty nasty grass. One of the park workers has called for help, and was referred to the Titans. So, Changeling and Bunker have been called out in the early afternoon to examine the situation.

The grass is tall, thirteen or fourteen inches and clumps together in hard thatches, blocking out all other plants. This particular thatch is about fifty feet long and ten feet across, and instead of the usual shaggy clumpy heads it seems to have sharp, toothy looking fronds at the top.

"So, what do you mean 'ate' the tractor?" Gar asks.

"It sort of swarmed over it, the driver barely got away, it sort of grew over it and then the lump went away, it took maybe ten minutes," the park worker, a woman in her young thirties, says.


Bunker looks over at the grass, back to Gar, then back to the grass.

"No sign afterwards? Nothing it didn't consume?" he says, giving the patch of grass another hard look. he hmms, scratching the little patch of hair on his chin.


The park worker shakes her head, "No, it just leaped on the tractor, pulled it in, and then humped over it, and then it just went flat again."

She points to the drag marks on the regular grass and sandy soil. There's not even any oil leaking from under. Gar steps over to look closer, and the stalks wave in the wind, seeming to look at him.

(The breeze isn't that strong.)


Bunker tenses as he sees the grass move.

"Where did this stuff come from?" the cowled teenager says as he walks over, keeping close to Changeling. With a bit of concentration, he manifests club-like extensions to his hands, bulking them up with glowing purple brickwork.

"Other than digging it up, has anything been effective against it?"


"It's a common invasive grass or reed. Usually we can kill it by laying a heavy plastic tarp across it, weighting it down, it dies after a year or so, but this patch just sucked in the tarp and ate it," the park worker says. "So we decided to try to scoop it up. Small grounds tractor with a bulldozer blade."

A small bird lands on the grass, picking off an insect or a seed, and then flies away.

"It doesn't look right," Gar says. "Those seed pod frond things at the top? They're all claw-like." Not to mention looking at him like some kind of hungry thing.


Bunker looks to the woman. "Hardly sounds common.." he says, looking to Gar and then the grass. He flexes his hands, forming huge clawed scoops with his bricks.

"Well, then, let's see what it does about this," he says, gouging down into the earth to hopefully rip a large patch of the grass up, roots and all.



The patch comes loose, and slides to the side in a totally natural way, like any chunk of sod would do. Then it slowly pulls itself back together, knitting over and resealing itself. The fronds all turn to look directly at Bunker, like tiny dragon's heads. The wind blowing through seems to hiss a little.

The park worker retreats to a safe distance … into her truck back up by the road.

"Good luck heroes!"

Gar also retreats, turning into a hummingbird and flying up and backwards so he can watch (and possibly help, if it attacks.)

So far, it just seems to be watching.


Bunker's eyes widen under his mask as he watches the grass - and watches the grass watch him, apparently - and he steps back once.. then steps forward.

"OK, you horticultural horror, time to kick some grass," he grins at Gar - then he gouges down again to try and rip the patch free of the earth, closing the 'hands' underneath so the entire stretch of rogue sod is torn free and suspended.

"OK, grass, what do you say to /that/?"


The patch comes loose … the sod pulls up roots to keep from being torn. It pulls itself together in the middle, watching with those head fronds.

"Huh, lookit that," Gar says. "Hold it off the ground for a minute. I need to talk to the park worker."

The green hummingbird zips over to the truck and turns back into Gar, who talks briefly, then turns back into the hummingbird and returns.

"She says it's OK to put it down, we can find a place to transplant it to. It only got bigger when they fed it shovels and the tarp and the tractor."


Bunker holds the plants up while he waits for Gar, glaring back at the hostile grass. The cowled boy nods when his teammate gives the all clear and lowers the grass back down to the soil below.

"OK, that is… very freaky. They want something around that can digest a titanic amount of metal with no sign?" he says uneasily, watching the greenery. "I guess.. it might be good near a dump. How… does it do that? I mean, where does it put it?" he mutters, thumb rubbing his chin.


"No idea," Gar says. "I think we could take it to a landfill or something. That 'Sentinel' guy could maybe find a good place for it, he's supposed to be the new non-creepy Captain Planet, right? If we knew how to reach him."

The grass seems to be just fine with being held up, and seems a little disappointed when it's put back down, but it stretches itself back out and relaxes. A small swarm of birds flies in to pick at the insects that were disturbed when it was moved.

How do you tell that grass is disappointed? It droops slightly.


Bunker walks over to stand by Gar. "OK, that might be the most disturbing thing I've seen since I've been with the Titans," he says, fists on hips as he glares at the patch of greenery. "Well, I can take it wherever they want it put," he says.


Gar crouches down and turns into a swarm of ants, crossing into the thatch of phragmites grass, and then comes out a few seconds later, pulling back into his human shape and holding a few shards of something sparkly in his hand.

"Found some bits that it didn't use up. It's definitely smarter than your usual ground cover," the green guy says. "Plants give off pheromone signals that insects can sense, and this stuff is giving off some really different stinks. I guess we're gonna have to do some research. They may even want to keep it here, who knows."


Bunker raises an eyebrow.

"Really? What if it switches from bulldozers to people? Or someone like Poison Ivy gets wind of this thing," he ponders. "I think it can't be from this world."

He looks to Gar and nods.

"Research, though, yeah. Who knows about plants?"


"Well, Poison Ivy. That jerk John Constantine knows how to get in touch with a real expert, but I don't think we'd be allowed to take Phraggy to the Everglades," Gar says and sits next to the grass. It doesn't attempt to jump and eat him. He pokes it with a finger, and it acts like every other clump of grass: it just sits there.


Bunker looks to Gar. "Phraggy? It has a name?"


"Well, it's better than 'phragmites australis'. Anyway, we should get a sample to check out whether it's actually a regular phrag or an alien."

Gar reaches over and tugs on a bit of the grass, and a bit of it snaps off into his hand. He looks puzzled for a moment.

"OK, it just gave me that bit. Thanks, Phraggy. We'll get back to you. Until then don't eat any more gardening equipment, OK?"

There is no obvious response.


Bunker shakes his head and forms up a brick platform under himself, and floats up.

"Thank you, ma'am," he says to the park service woman. He looks to Gar.

"You want a ride back, hop on," he says, and forms up more bricks as Gar joins him. Then the pair zoom up into the sky, and off towards the castle.

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