Tim had blanked during a mission. It never happened before. It was a simple recon mission, really, so Tim wasn’t particularly focused. He didn’t have to be particularly focused. He got hurt during a previous mission and had sprained his ankle. So for the past how many days, he was stationed to man the comms and monitors during missions. Super boring.
“Two floors down, Kid Flash,” Tim instructed Bart boredly. The young speedster confirmed with a chipper response and was off. Tim heaved a sigh and put his face in his hands. He wanted to help, not sit in the monitor room being a human GPS. But of course, he was the weakest out of the team so obviously, keeping him out of harm’s way was the way to go. But come on! His ankle was practically healed by now!
“Draken!” Cassie called out over the comms. Tim hummed in response. Cassie continued, “Where’s the Talon?”
It was a recon mission in Gotham, infiltrate the Wayne Enterprise, steal some sensitive data and get out without being caught. However, Tim had spotted a lone Talon on one of the cameras and had alerted the team. The didn’t know its motives, but definitely didn’t want to engage it, so Tim was also tasked to keep an eye on it. So far, all it has done was jump from building to building in no pattern whatsoever. Despite this, Tim did was Cassie asked for.
Tim leaned over to look at all the motion cameras, “Two streets away, you guys are safe for now.” The Talon was perched on a rooftop, unmoving and hidden well in Gotham’s natural shadows. Tim was to monitor the Talon and alert the others if the Talon made a move towards then. It was the only part of Tim’s current job that was decently interesting. Unfortunately, the Talon only seemed interested in watching the city lights or something.
Suddenly, the creature’s posture changed. It’s back straightened and it rose. Tim shot upright in his chair immediately and was about to call the others, but something stopped him. The Talon wasn’t moving to jump, no, it was stumbling back away from the edge and further into the roof. Stumbling. Talons didn’t stumble. They were made to be perfect assassins. Then its hands shot up to its head, clutching the sides of the mask as if it was trying to nurse a painful headache. It fell to its knees. Tim didn’t know what was happening.
Then the mask came off. Through the grainy video feed of the bug, Tim could see a mop of black hair and pale skin. When it looked up, piercing yellow eyes seemed to stare directly at him. Then Tim realized the Talon was staring not at Tim, but at his bug. Something shot out from the Talon’s hand.
“Shit!” Tim shouted when the feed went dead. He pulled up the feed from another bug that was pointing in the same general area. Nothing. The Talon was gone. Tim then scanned through all the channels, there was no sign of the Talon. He quickly initiated a call with Cassie, Bart, and Kon, “The Talon found my bug and destroyed it, I don’t know how or where he is so please keep alert.”
Cassie was the first to reply, “Okay, you heard Drake-”
Suddenly, sound cut off for Tim. White filled his vision, everything was loud and bright yet at the same time distant and dull. It felt as if Tim was fainting and being murdered at the same time. Like he was flying and drowning. There were no ups and downs and gravity seemed to be a vague concept. But it wasn’t exactly painful, it was just overwhelming to an extensive degree. Then, Tim came crashing to reality, breathing heavily and noticed barely any time had passed as Cassie was still talking.
“Bart’s got the info we needed from Wayne, we’ll head back now-”
Tim then had a splitting migraine that lasted a total of two seconds. Well, it felt more like a lifetime to Tim, but when he snapped back to reality the timer on the corner of his screen informed him that barely any time has passed. But in those two seconds, Tim had fallen out of his chair and was on the floor clutching his head, not unlike the Talon earlier.
Tim quickly began to rationalize. His priority right now is to make sure the team made it back safe. He could figure out everything else later. He shook himself off and pushed off the floor. He settled into his chair and scanned the control for the computer. He could do this.
He watched the feeds, his hand flying across the keyboard as he hacked into different cameras that weren’t part of the bugs Tim had planted.
Apparently, this level of hacking wasn’t something Tim was able to do before. Tim quickly shook out his head, he’ll have time for that later.
Cassie was running through the building, leading Bart and Kon in a quick retreat. However, Tim could see that there was someone in the direction Cassie was prepared to go.
“Take a left, and go up the stairs,” Tim quickly informed the girl.
“Okay, two flight up there should be a door. It leads straight to the roof.”
Kon’s voice came through the comm this time as he opened said door, “How do you know this?”
“I hacked the Wayne building blueprints,” Tim answered simply, not giving the question a second thought, “Okay, duck down, surveillance camera to your right.”
Tim guided them through the rooftop area in the blindspot until they reached the ledge.
“The jet is on the roof of the building to your right,” Tim informed them. Kon picked up Bart and the three flew to the location.
Tim then finally turned away from the screen when they all boarded the jet. Now he could focus on what just fucked up his mind.
Tim was very acutely aware that whoever this ‘Draken’ was, he wasn’t real. Or at least, not as real as Red Robin. Draken’s memories were fuzzy at best, and largely reflective of Red Robin’s. In addition, Tim could only remember the more important stuff. But Red Robin, Tim’s, memory were very clear to him. Very detailed, and he could fully recall the petty argument he’s had with different people over the years. ‘Draken’ felt implanted and fabricated. Red Robin felt real.
What this was clones felt like? Eh, probably not.
Tim knew he was Red Robin. The third Robin. The one after Red Hood, Jason Todd, and before the fourth one, Damian. He was TImothy Drake-Wayne, an adopted son of Bruce Wayne, Batman. But some fuzzy part of his brain told him that he was ‘Draken’ a superhero who was basically the baby of the team because of his lack of powers and skills compared to the others. He was being fostered by Clark Kent.
Draken seemed to think Bruce Wayne was some kind of evil manipulator like Lex Luthor. Tim knew Clark. Clark was Bruce’s best friend, even though the man would never admit it. Tim began labeling information in his brain, sorting them into imaginary boxes. There was a Draken box, with two sides, the correct one matched with Tim’s side and the incorrect and weird side that didn't make enough sense to be real. The incorrect side had a lot more information than the other, which worried Tim a lot.
First, Batman doesn’t exist. Second, Bruce Wayne was basically considered the same as Lex Luthor. Third, Red Hood is a league recognized supervillain. Fourth, some of his allies were supervillains, some villains were ‘allies’. Fifth, Tim was the baby of his team, not the leader. Sixth, Tim found no sign of Damian in Draken’s memories. And on and on. All mostly centered around the Bats. Finally, Dick was a Talon and not Nightwing.
Tim now knew that face he saw on the monitor. It was undeniably his older brother, the first Robin, Dick Grayson. Even if his eyes were a glowing yellow instead of a soft blue, Tim knew his brothers. That was a confused Dick Grayson stumbling around on a roof when his memories came in like Tim. Tim put ‘contacting Dick’ into a mental to-do list.
Clearly someone had altered reality or something. Maybe they were targeting Batman, trying to erase the cowl from history or something. It appeared it didn’t work as intended, as Tim was slowly piecing together this puzzle. Or maybe someone messed up the timeline again, Wally? Barry? Bart? No. Why would Tim or Dick remember then? Parallel dimension? Alternate universe? But Tim never heard of taking the place of the parallel version of yourself in those cases, but Tim’ll keep his mind open. After all, magic was real and it could do some weird shit. Tim could feel his initial confusion ebbing away as he rationalized his situation.
Whatever was happening, both Tim and Dick were stuck in some weird world where they don’t know each other. And well, if Tim and Dick were here, Tim’s betting both Jason and Damian were too. He quickly added ‘and Jay and Dami’ to his mental list of things to accomplish.
Tim’s not exactly sure why he’s so sure it’s just the four of them. They were doing something together...something important. But Tim couldn’t seem to grasp the memory, the more he tried the further it fled. What were they doing together? Why wasn’t B there? Why was-
Tim heard the hanger door open.
Tim was Red Robin, but for now, he needed to be Draken. Because so far, Tim was the only Bat in the hero society in this messed-up reality. He’s seen no sign of Damian, Jason or Dick in his memories. Well, Talon, Red Hood and Ghul were pretty prominent. And also pretty obvious who they were. Well, yippee. Tim’s brothers are a bunch of villains. Wouldn’t that just be a joy to explain when the time comes.
“Ugh, I hate how Red Arrow keeps hounding us about his suspicions about a mole. There’s no way there’s a mole! Someone needs to tell him to back off!” Beast Boy was heard, seeming to have greeted the returning heroes and struck up a conversation about his earlier meeting with Roy.
Tim swiveled in his chair and jokingly said, “I’ve been expecting you.” In his Batman imitation voice, causing both Bart and Gar to jump because they didn’t see Tim.
“Holy shit, Tim!” Bart placed a hand over his racing heart as Tim grinned cheekily. Bart continued, “I didn’t know you had that in you!”
“Yeah,” Gar agreed, “You can totally pull off that evil villain shtick with that one line!”
Tim smiled at that, imagining the time that Batman had pulled this on the Justice League because they managed to talk him into it. They were all terrified and TIm had their reactions stored on his computer. Well, his computer in the other reality.
“Anyways, down to business, boys,” Cassie commanded and pulled out a drive. “This is all the info we got from WI. Tim, if you would.”
Tim took the red flash drive plugged it in. Suddenly a virus alert popped up on the computer.
“I’ll get Cyborg-” Bart began.
Tim interrupted, “No, I got this.” Tim quickly pulled open the drive’s code and crypts and within the next thirty seconds cleared out the viruses. The team regarded him in slight awe. Tim was confused for a second because this was normal-Oh, right. Draken can’t hack.
Before anyone could say anything, however, Tim went right ahead and opened the drive.
Bart whistled, “Woah, what are these?”
Inside were tons and tons of blueprints, research papers, and general data over one collective topic. Tim recognized the calculations and formulas right away. After all, he helped develop the antidote to it before. Mind control. But this was slightly different. Tim practically ignored his team as he scrolled through the information. His thought of acting like Draken practically flew out the window. If he could help he was going to help, being out of character, goddammit.
Kon frowned at the complicated papers, “We should get Jaime and Cyborg, they might be able to make sense of this. None of us here-"
"Dopamine, endorphin, melanin, acetylcholine, gamma-aminobutyric acid," Tim read out loud. "You guys know what these are? They're chemicals that can affect a person's emotions and moods. Which includes the decision-making portion of one's prefrontal cortex."
Tim pointed then to another part of the screen. "Electric pulse emitting nanobots," Tim stated matter of factly, "A person's brain runs primarily on neuroelectric signals. These emulate that."
Tim then scrolled down a bit to some scanned documents with tiny writing and elaborate designs on it and concluded with, "Magic. I don't know magic. But this all points to mind control."
Albeit slightly different than the mind control Tim was familiar with, it was mind control tech nonetheless. His version didn’t include magic, but TIm was sure someone could call up Zatanna, Captain Marvel or Constantine and figure it out. While it was clear they haven’t finished building the component to this technology yet, Tim slotted this matter up pretty high on his priority list. But based on the file, this wasn’t the only copy they had, this wouldn’t deter the enemy at all, if anything, it alerted them that Tim’s team was onto them.
The team stared at Tim with unconcealed awe. Tim ignored this and leaned back into his chair with his arms crossed. He couldn’t do this now. He had too many other things going through his mind. Tim then pushed away from the computer and stood up.
“You guys can check with whoever, I’m not feeling well,” Tim said flatly to fill the silence. “I’m going to be in my room.”
Tim quickly spun on his heel and speed-walked out of the room, leaving his team to scramble to figure out the computer and to call Cyborg and Blue Beetle. Thankfully, no one came after Tim, seeming to accept his excuse.
Once in his room on the tower with the doors locked, Tim pulled out his computer and started hacking every channel he could find. Any and all the information he could find on Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, and Damian.
It was a disappointing venture.
Dick disappeared off all the records after he vanished from the juvenile detention center. Everything else before that lined up with Dick’s history back home. But Bruce wasn’t there the night his parents died. Bruce never even met Dick. Tim concluded that Dick’s disappearance was when he was taken in as a Talon in this reality. Tim quickly moved on to his other brother.
Jason was less of a bust than Dick. Jason was in and out of foster homes, child protection services, orphanages and such after his mother passed away. Eventually, he got out of the system when he died at the hands of the Joker. He was off the grid for a good year or so. Then Red Hood popped up. He came first for the Joker and effectively killed him off, then started up as a crime lord. Tim managed to track Jason to his multiple safe houses in Gotham. Satisfied, Tim moved on the Damian.
Tim found nothing on Damian on the world wide web. He had to turn to the League databases for this one. Damian al Ghul, grandson of the leader of the League of Assassins. Son of Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul. He’s been sent on multiple missions to kill members of the Teen Titans. He had introduced himself as Ghul, and promptly nearly killed Tim. Said person got a laugh out of that. Some things never change.
Finally, Bruce Wayne. There were articles upon articles of Bruce that Tim didn’t even bother to open. The general summary of Bruce was that he was a smart businessman, charismatic party goer, and a dangerous adversary. However, this Bruce didn’t seem all bad. Tim found several records of massive donations to charities all over Gotham, among other things. So, it did appear this Bruce hasn’t stooped all the way to Luthor’s level. Some more hacking did pull up evidence of Bruce’s involvement with the League of Assassins and Luthor though. Tim heaved a sigh at that and cleared out the evidence of his digging. He closed his computer and sat back to think.
Kon and Clark were going to the fortress of solitude tonight. At least that was Tim’s conflicting memories were telling him. Something about Jon being injured. And Lois was going to be there too apparently. Tim paused at his train of thought.
Wait, why was this important again?
For a second, Tim totally blanked until a small part of his brain reminded him that he lived with the Kents.
Oh! That meant he was home alone for the night.
Well, time for a trip to Gotham.