5847/The Amazon and the Assassin

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The Amazon and the Assassin
Date of Scene: 04 April 2021
Location: Basement - Titan's Tower
Synopsis: Troia and Damian discuss teamwork, friendship, morality, prejudice and condiments. The important things.
Cast of Characters: Damian Wayne, Donna Troy

Damian Wayne has posed:
     Titans Tower had been repaired from an earlier attack, while the girls were gone, Ghost Spider had brought in an injured raccoon...girl..girl. Damian had showed up during the attack, once it was broadcast that there was indeed an attack. A show that Robin would be there when the chips were down.

  Since that time, he's kept to himself, upon urging from Nightwing to stay away from Vorpal. And if there is one thing Damian is good at, it would be keeping away from certain people. In this case, it was nearly everyone. Besides Cyborg, Nightwing, and Beast Boy. Damian had been working on his Redbird, ever since he had a run in with the Condiment King, he had to put it aside while he cleaned the engine of mustard, and horseradish. Gross.

  He was wearing a white tee shirt, and work jeans, this was a gross job, but he still wore his mask, secret identities and all. Of course, he would have found the quietest corner of the garage to work in.

Donna Troy has posed:
    "Damian." Donna speaks up when she's already close, and keeps her voice quiet. She's not one to accidentally slip up on identities, so she's presumably already made sure that nobody could be overhearing them. The choice of using his actual name is therefore almost certainly carefully considered.

    Donna had never really been one for secret identities, even when she had one. During the first incarnation of the Titans the world had known her as Troia, but she had not been terribly protective of her Donna Troy identity. During her days at Metropolis University it had become generally known that the photography student Donna Troy was in fact the sword-wielding, armor-wearing Titan known as Troia. Most of the Titans back then hadn't really bothered with secret identities, but it had always been important to Nightwing, and the rest of the Titans were good at protecting that.

    These days the differences between Troia and Donna Troy seem even thinner. Since returning from space a few months ago, she's only been seen wearing armor twice - perhaps it feels redundant, now her sister is around to do the armored warrior-princess thing. Though she is only a few days back from the trip to Themyscira, she looks as American and as civilian as anyone really could, Black pants, a white blouse, calf boots with a slight wedge-heel - the only trappings of her superhero existence the coil of rope slung from her belt, even that looking rather mundane without the golden glow it has when she's using it.

    Donna sits on the bonnet of one of the Titan's small fleet of cars to watch Damian work, and smiles faintly at him. The pair haven't really had a chance to talk since they had both returned to the tower - he from his self-enforced exile from the team while she was away, she from the trip half the Titans had taken to her homeland.

    "Dick persuaded you to give us another shot then," she says. Yes, no doubt she's assured herself already that nobody is listening in. "I'm glad. Though I doubt the issues you have with the team have suddenly gone away."

Damian Wayne has posed:
     Damian looks up from his work, grabbing a rag and cleaning his hands. "The worst villain in Gotham is not the Joker. It's Condiment King. It needs a whole clean out. A million dollar prototype, and its fluids get sopped in..." He sniffs his hand. "Cocktail sauce." Yeah, gross.

  "He persuaded me to try. But I told him I've given my pound of flesh. Then after, when he told me about Beast Boy and Hawkeye. I wanted to destroy my T-Com." Yeah, still unhappy about that. "I still maintain my previous stance."

  "However. I am as the laymen say: 'prickly'. I will most likely never be as...like Nightwing as he is. But I at least have earned a voice at the table." Big difference, earning versus entitled. "I trust the sexism sojourn was as you wanted it."

Donna Troy has posed:
    "He got me once," Donna says with a grin. "Wasn't even in Gotham at the time. New York. I was on the way to a party at the embassy. Formal occasion. I had to slip in the back and sneak into my office to get changed before putting in an appearance. First time I met Thor, Captain America and Supergirl, and if I hadn't had some spare clothes at the office I'd have been wearing a blue dress accessorized with mustard. I handed him over to the police, but apparently he escaped before they even got him to a cell. Let off a ketchup grenade inside the police car and fled after the crash."

    She raps her fingers lightly on the hood of the car, smirking slightly to herself. "Gar wanted to step up a bit. When Dick suggested the idea of a leadership council, he seemed like a good option. I suspect it will be good for him. Of course the choice of a second... next generation... Titan for the council would have been easier if you hadn't walked out on the team. You do have a voice at the table though."

    She leans back, intertwining her fingers and stretching them, looking at Damian closely. "You know my views on leadership. Everyone has a voice at the table. The council idea - well it gives some structure, mostly for the look of things. More for the sake of those outside the team than those within it. I'll hear what anyone on the team says, and judge only the quality of their contributions. Dick wanted there to be an odd number of people on the council, so there would always be a tie-breaker. I called for an even number, because if the council is that split we have no business not consulting the rest of the team. Before long I hope to bring you and Cyborg into the council, to make it six."

Damian Wayne has posed:
     Damian throws the rag away, crossing his arms. "I shouldn't have felt the need to walk away. Not after everything I did to keep this team alive. And I certainly never expected that sentiment to eminate from the old guard." Yes, he will still harp on that one. "But here we are. You over there. And me. With slaps in the face."

  "Do you honestly blame me for that? After Sam..." Almost immediately after bringing him up he's regretting it. "After he left me. I felt I had no one. And then, all the even newer people. Fall in line with your favorite, -Nadia- like automatons." The ire in saying the name is palpable.

Donna Troy has posed:
    "I don't /blame/ you for any of it, Robin." And there she's back to the codename. "But nor do I agree with you," Donna adds. "I'm not entirely convinced that even you would agree with what you were saying, if you were entirely honest with yourself. There are things that aren't being said here, and I can't address an issue that remains unspoken. What /is/ the issue with Nadia, honestly? C'mon Damian, you know perfectly well that whole thing with the lab was overblown. She was working on dimensional incursion tracking, she wanted to ensure that no doppelgangers had access to her work. I would have backed every single other member of the team who wanted to lock down their work in one of the labs in the exact same way."

    Donna stands up and walks over to the redbird, circling it and inspecting the condiment-related damage. "I like Nadia," she says with a thoughtful expression. "But if you think she's my favorite, you should ask yourself why it's you, not her, I insisted on keeping a spot on the council open for."

    She crouches down on the far side of the bike from him. "Uh. There's a lot... you want a hand here? I know better than to touch someone's experimental vehicle without permission, but I don't mind grabbing a rag and wiping cocktail sauce out of the heat exchanger. Tell me what bothers you so much about Themyscira. I mean yeah, it's sexist. So's life. Did you know that only eight percent of Fortune 500 companies have a female CEO? But on average, companies with female CEOs perform slightly better? Or that men with doctorates get paid on average thirty percent more than women with doctorates? But then that doesn't affect you personally, and this does. A bunch of the female members of the team just got the opportunity to spend time with the most experienced combat trainers on the planet, and you, who would appreciate that more than any of them, did not. Am I close to the mark?"

Damian Wayne has posed:
     "I never once have held a sexist point of view. I don't give a rats ass on what someone's gender is. Just as that ridiculously pandering and mind you -incorrectly- acronymed group of Nadia's excludes me. So does Themysciera. I fought tooth and nail for every day of my life. I rest on my own laurels. Not my father's, not my mother's, and certainly not my grandfather's."

  Damian's hand goes back into the intake, and continues removing...that's mayonnaise, mixed with motor oil. Gross.

  "If you want to, have at it." He certainly wouldn't want to be doing this. "You say she locked down just her lab. The note indicated otherwise. I do not care what she does in her own lab. But she does not dictate that entire wing, other people -just as capable as she- use those facilities as well." He removes another piece of manifold, and scowls at it. "You know very well that is exactly my feeling. And things such as that will only exacerbate the issue. Two wrongs do not make a right. Which is why I've spent my last year..." Jeez, it's been that long now. He continues in a very hushed tone, especially compared to his boisterous debate. "Trying to make up for my past mistakes."

Donna Troy has posed:
    Donna picks up a rag, and as promised starts to wipe cocktail sauce out of the heat exchanger. It's fiddly work, but she attacks the problem with typical dedication, working the rag carefully between the metal fins. "Whereas Nadia has it easy and nobody asks her to make up for her past mistakes. She was raised to be an assassin too, but nobody ever mentions that. You seem to be held to higher standards, right?"

    That's a rather frank assessment, particularly for Donna who tends to only have nice things to say about people. "Nadia is... over-excitable. That's one of the reasons she's not going to be considered for a leadership position any time soon. She gets on with people easily. People like her. But that's /her/ defense mechanism in action. Your way is more mature, but harder on you. Her way mostly just hides her problems. I tried to tell you that you had access to the other labs, and that I would back you one hundred percent if you wished to lock down one of them for your own use, but at that point you weren't really listening."

    She washes sauce out of the rag, rinses it out and squeezes it dry before continuing the cleaning job. "Being discriminated against sucks. I don't like the fact that you couldn't come to Themyscira either, and I'm working on it. Just keep in mind that what you missed out on because of your gender was a nice vacation and a few days training. When the nation of Amazons was formed, discrimination was rather more serious than anything you suffered. Imagine not being allowed to own property because of your gender, Damian. Imagine not having any freedom. Having no rights in law. Imagine a world where you weren't allowed to pick up a sword because of your gender, and if someone killed you it was considered a crime against property rather than a crime against a person. That's what the Amazons went through. Personally. And when they tried to put that behind them, to be the better people, they were betrayed and taken into slavery. The bracers we wear are a reminder of that time, a reminder of the manacles our people wore when they were slaves. And remember this isn't just ancient history. Aside from myself, Diana, Caitlin and Cassie, that was personal experience."

    "And outside, in the World of Men, as we call it, things have got better. Women are allowed to own property, they have rights. But they are still not equal, even here in America where it is so much better than most places. Is it fair that the victims of the worst of it, the people in this world who have suffered most from that discrimination, should be held to a higher standard than those who have benefitted from that discrimination?"

    Donna leans in, working hard to get at a particularly difficult-to-reach wad of sauce. "Personally -- I think we should be held to that higher standard. Not because it is fair, but because we, the Amazons, /should/ be the better people. We should be an example to the world, and we should be leading the way. I am determined that we will do that. That we will be the example that we were supposed to be, however hard it is. I am determined that before long my mother will relent, and allow men to visit the island. You will be among the first, if I have my way. But keep all that in mind, Damian. Remember who you are asking to be the better people."

Damian Wayne has posed:
     "Perhaps you are correct. I resent the fact that on both of my own teams, I feel like an outsider. Not that fucking stupid team Red Robin has. Someone who is literally on the outside. Despite you and an...admittedly thoughtful gift. You, Grayson, Hawkeye, and Beast Boy are the only ones who even seem to consider my own talents. My own contributions to this team. So yes, I've grown to hate Pym for her being. And to top it all off. SHE got to experience something I could only dream of." That trip to paradise. To get just a little morsel of an opportunity to learn from the best. The absolute best. "Should the sins of the father be the sins of the son? If you ask me, the son should have the opportunity to either sin or not all on his own. And trust me, I hold just as much contempt for anyone, anything that proliferates sexism."

  Damian's anger just remains on a rolling boil during all of this. He seems to feel at home in it. "So there you have it. My grievances."

Donna Troy has posed:
    "You're asking a lot of people, Damian." The Redbird shakes slightly as Donna works hard on a particularly troublesome bit of sauce, and she rests a hand on the seat to hold it down. "Even though I wasn't here at the time, I saw what you did for the team when Cait, Terry, Vic and I were lost. The planning. The organizational stuff. The paperwork. Gods, the paperwork. All those things that are vital to keeping the team running. I don't expect anyone apart from Kate has much of an idea what you did, because that's stuff is invisible. It's the face-to-face stuff that people see and remember, and that's vital too, but it's not your strength, so what you /did/ contribute wasn't really... understood. Got it!"

    She leans back, looking satisfied, and cleans out the rag again. "That bit was really... deeply in there. So... yes. I do understand. Ever since the team got back together, until I got stuck in space, I was doing all that stuff, and nobody noticed. Oh, I'd get all sorts of kind words about coming up with good plans, or smoothing out the little personal bumps in the road, but nobody ever thanked me for any of that dull stuff that actually keeps the team running. All that organization. And when we were away, and you stepped up, nobody thanked you."

    " And I've read the reports too, all of them. You had to be the voice of reason, telling everyone that they had to accept that we probably weren't coming back, and the team had to find a way forwards without us. Not going to win you any popularity contests, but it had to be said. The optimism from some of the others was good too, but you had to have both sides. Good leadership requires considering all the options, not just the nice ones. Between you, you and Kate made an excellent team. You complimented each other's skills. But Kate's contributions were /easier to see/."

    "I hope that over time, you'll get better at some of the other aspects, and more people will be able to appreciate your contributions. But I know. Dick knows. Raven knows. The people who understand how these things work noted your contributions. In time, everyone else will come to understand too, if you give them the chance to."

    She studies the heat exchanger carefully, gives a few more wipes, then washes off the rag and her hands. "That bit is clean, anyway. No, you shouldn't suffer for sins you had no part in, sins of the fathers, or sins of the mothers. Nobody should. In an ideal world, you'd have had the same opportunity to come to Themyscira that Nadia had, but this isn't an ideal world. Be thankful that the prejudice you have suffered has deprived you of a nice vacation rather than something really important like your freedom, or your life. Don't be surprised if those who have suffered far worse from that kind of prejudice have little time for your resentment that they are not perfect in a very imperfect world. "

    "You'll get to Themyscira, Damian." Donna puts down the rag and stands, circling the bike again to look it over. "Hopefully sooner, rather than later. But in the meantime, you'll make more friends if you empathize more. It does not make your suffering and your struggle any less real to recognize that there are others who suffer and struggle. Some worse than you. Put yourself in another's shoes to understand them, and they will react to your understanding by trying to understand you better."

Damian Wayne has posed:
     "I ask a lot because I expect people to be better. If not, what is the point of all this." He gestures the the garage. The whole of the Tower, and even more still, the reason for being a hero. "Empathy is not something I do very well." He's been called many things, a Vulcan, a Romulan, a jerkface. But it should be obvious to Donna, that emotions are something that Damian experiences in spades. It's never at a five, or a six, it's always cranked up to eleven and that's just his own emotions.

  "Last time I reached out to a Titan, we destroyed the living room. And then weeks later, we thought he died...until he showed up as a...merman? Fish. Whatever. It was Beast Boy."

  He looks to the heat exchanger, and gives a good smile, albeit small. "Thank you. That was going to be hard. Now I just need to replace the filters, and rinse this thing off, replace the fluids. God, this is going to take longer than I thought. I just got this thing tuned how I like it.

  "And you think they will try to understand me? Would be a first."

Donna Troy has posed:
    "I think you see the world sharply divided between yourself and everyone else, Damian," Donna says with a smile that's rather wider than Damian's - but then she's more used to smiling. "We all do. It's how we are made as a species. Breaking down that barrier takes a conscious effort, but it's how we create a greater understanding. Not just in ourselves, but in others, too. So yes, if people see you trying to understand them, then they will try to understand you in turn. It's how people work."

    "Gar sees you as a friend, because he was forced to see you as a person." The smile breaks into a grin. "Fighting him was perhaps not the most conventional way of achieving that, but in this case it worked. A lot of the Titans think the only emotion you ever feel is anger. When Gar was forced to realize that you had much greater depths, he took a second look, and he realized to his surprise that you were someone he could consider a friend. I don't recommend you go challenging the Titans one-by-one to a fight to make them like you, but letting them see a little more of the man behind the mask? Yes, it will make a difference."

    "Rae and I saw things in you from the start that the rest didn't see. That's why we wanted you to join us, despite the... not exactly ideal way you introduced yourself." Donna rests a hand on Damian's shoulder, but only lightly and briefly - a compromise between human contact and his own prickly nature. "But we're not most people. Give them a chance, and they'll give you a chance. Maybe not as quickly as you'd like, but it will come." She breaks into a grin. "Who knows, maybe even the insane cat-thing."

    She steps away, circling the bike again. "It's a good bike, Damian. Condiment King should have better taste than to cover it in condiments. I'd love to give it a try some time, but I understand if you say no. These things can be kind of personal."

    "The Themysciran arts center is opening in a few weeks. Themysciran arts include the martial ones. There will be trainers available there. I have arranged for Melantha of the palace guard to offer special sessions to you. Aside from Diana, the queen, and general Philippus, she's probably the best swordswoman on the island. But one way or the other, I /will/ get you to Themyscira one day. I am determined on this."

Damian Wayne has posed:
     "I said that -once- and he wasn't even there. Yet somehow, he found out. You too as it seems." Damian is still not even broaching that subject when it comes to Vorpal. "I hit him with a batarang when he came to Gotham and started talking to Red Robin and making jokes about my height. This was also after he caused Goliath to come to harm." Oh great, now he's started.

  "I do not think we are going to work well any time soon." Quite matter-of-factly. "Nightwing recommends I keep my distance. So, I've been moving through air ducts when I am here and he is close." And that's the truth.

  But then...something has him looking at Donna, scanning her over and over. He immediately takes the moment to commit the sight to memory. "Thank you, Donna, I will have to bring the sword you had made for me." First name, not Troia, not Troy, Donna. That's a...rarity even amongst his own family. If he calls you by first name, there's a reason. He still cannot force himself to call Richard by anything other than Grayson or his given first name when not in the field.

Donna Troy has posed:
    Donna grins wide. "Melantha will be glad to see first hand that I was not exaggerating your talents. Not many who are not Amazons get a blade of Amazonian steel, and she will be relieved to know it is in good hands. Even if those hands are male." The grin grows even wider - she's joking.

    "It is probably for the best that you keep your distance, as your brother says -- though sticking to do the ducts isn't necessary. Enough distance that you aren't treading on each other's toes should be enough. He was acting rather irrationally through all that business. More irrationally than normal, even. I have to admit there were one or two moments I was tempted to pick him up and shake him in the hope it would rattle his brains back into order. I am sorry Goliath was the one to suffer from all that."

    The grin fades and she tilts her head to the side. "On the other hand, you should recognize that the apparent loss of someone you care about can drive us to take actions that are not necessarily well-advised. Your own actions may not have been on the Vorpal scale of crazy, but they weren't ideal either. When you tracked the other Gar down, you should have called for backup. We're a team, Damian. When Cassie's doppelganger injured Diana -- I wanted to do what you did. Go off alone, hunt her down, kill her. I could imagine the satisfaction of seeing my sword through her heart -- and in the end, that's what helped me realize it wasn't the right thing to do. I'm glad I didn't. And I'm glad you didn't either, with Gar's double."

Damian Wayne has posed:
     "If Vorpal had not interfered, he would have been dead. The doppelganger. Having backup at that time...would you have stopped anyone trying to stop me from running my blade through his heart? Would anyone that would have showed up? I had to eliminate the unknowns. At the time, he had taken away my friend. Ripped him to shreds like a jungle predator, then dumped him into the ocean." He remembered every vivid detail of that video. But then, he remembered seeing Gar in the fish tank, and himself jumping in and giving him a gentle hug.

  "I still maintain that would have been right. And I am glad that I was never born in that world, I fear what my own would have done."

  "He is fine now, but at the time. I feel I could have murdered him for harming Goliath. That was when I truly knew I needed to walk away. Before I attempted it."

Donna Troy has posed:
    Donna shrugs her shoulders. "Maybe /he/ would have stopped you, Robin. Our Gar can be a very capable fighter when he's taking things seriously, and the other Gar might have been tougher. With backup, we could have made sure. "

    "I'm not your father, or Superman. I don't think that it's never wrong to take a life. But it's important to remember that killing someone does not erase what they have done in the past, it only erases what they might do in the future. Because we cannot tell the future, that is a very heavy choice. If I had met you two years ago, I might have judged you were someone who was too dangerous to leave alive. That would have been a terrible error, I am sure you would agree."

    "We Amazons are prepared to kill. We are trained for it. We know that there are times when it is simply the best option. But we are also trained to look for alternatives, because those alternatives do not eliminate the possibilities the future holds - and if you take that choice, to eliminate a part of the future - that choice remains with you forever. There is a price to pay for killing, Damian. You know that very well, I think."

    "That other Gar... he would not have surrendered. But he could have been captured. We showed that, because we did capture him, when we finally came together as a team. If you had called for backup, Raven and I and any other Titans available would have been straight there. And yes, I would have tried to stop you from killing him, because it wouldn't have been necessary, and I would not want you to pay that price if it was not necessary."

    Donna sighs softly. "I've been to Themyscira on that other world. There was no me there. You may have been born on that world and never become the person you became here. Your double might be some orphan surviving on scraps in the ruins of Gotham. Mine might be hiding away on one of the Greek islands, fishing for a living and hoping nobody ever bothers to visit her desolate rock. More likely, if they were ever born, they are dead now. It's probably best not to think about it."

Damian Wayne has posed:
     "Possibly. We will never know." And it's true, Damian would not know what could have been. But at least Donna's words take hold, he may have just let her stop him and keep his promise to Bruce.

  "On that, we can agree. I do not want to think of some of the possible doppels we hadn't seen, or hopefully not see at all."

  Damian replaces the air filter, and grabs a rag, wiping off his hands. "I am going to clean myself up before putting in all the fluids and closing all this back up. There's only so much...grease I can stand before I need to bathe in Orange oil."

Donna Troy has posed:
    "Soap does a pretty good job too," Donna says. "But orange oil does smell good. " She nods her head to him, and gives him a big grin. "Let me have a go on the bike when it's all done, and I'll see if I can persuade Diana to let me borrow her jet for you to have a go on, deal? Actually she keeps asking if I want her /old/ invisible jet. It's in storage on Themyscira. Maybe I'll take her up on that one day."

    She dusts her hands off and walks backwards towards the elevator. "Not thinking about our doppels suits me fine, to be honest. I really hope we don't have to deal with any more Titan-doppels. We've got an active case with some other doppelgangers though, it would be good to have you on that.

    She pings the elevator button, and the doors open straight away. "Good talk, Robin." Back to business, and codenames. "And good to have you back with the team. I missed you."