This is the transcript for the episode "Apprentice - Part 1".


(Opening shot: a pure white field, which resolves into Robin's eye as the camera pulls back to frame him running flat out. Pull back again; he is chasing Slade across a rocky landscape under the starry night sky. Pan across the area as the masked villain leaps across a deep crevasse, then to a rock formation that completely blocks the view. When the camera passes the far edge, it has moved to a close-up of the two runners. With Robin still close behind him, Slade bounds over another fissure and drops over the edge of a mesa before making a beeline for a high, flat peninsula studded with several tower-like formations. There is a narrow path leading to it, but he forgoes this in favor of a single long, high jump. Robin does likewise, landing in a crouch, and comes up for a wary look around. Slade steps out from behind a rock.)

Slade: Dangerous behavior, Robin. You must be very eager to see me. I'm flattered.

Robin: I'm not here to see you. I'm here to stop you.

Slade: (stepping closer; they circle) Hmm. But how can you stop me, when you don't even know what I'm planning?

Robin: Like this.

(He rushes in with a savage kick; Slade dodges easily, and the follow-up punch only smashes a chunk from one of the towers. The two spare a bit, after which Robin finds himself on the defensive and tries a charging punch. Slade catches his fist and hurls him against a tower, but Robin rebounds quickly and tries a punch that pulverizes more rock. One strike after another misses its mark but sends up clouds of stone dust. Slade's eye glows briefly during this string of attacks; at the end of it, he lands a powerful kick that staggers the Titan very badly. He is soon on his feet and fighting back, but his punches are blocked and he takes one that bowls him over again.)

(When he gets up this time, he has a birdarang in each hand and lets them fly. Slade stands his ground, arms crossed in front of himself; there is a quick flash and clang of metal on metal, and we see each weapon in turn smash into a tower. The formations begin to crumble, and the camera pulls back to an overhead view to show them all toppling in a cloud of dust that covers the entire area. Close-up; Robin's silhouette appears within the haze, and he steps into the open to survey the place. His eyes pop when he looks off to his right; the dust clears as he sidles off that way.)

Slade: (from o.c.) Excellent, Robin. (passing crumbled formations behind him) We appear to be evenly matched and equally ruthless.

(Back to Robin, now easing around within the dust, on the end of this.)

Slade: (off-screen) Not surprising. You and I are so very much alike.

(As he finishes this line, the dust clears to show him standing behind Robin; the latter whirls to face him.)

Robin: I'm nothing like you!

(He throws an uppercut that connects squarely with the metal-covered jaw and sends Slade crashing to the ground.)

Robin: (pulling him up) You're a criminal, a psychopath! All you care about is destruction!

Slade: And all you care about, you destroy.

(He gestures off to one side; Robin looks in that direction and sees the shattered debris left from the brawl. The base of one smashed pinnacle is shaped like Cyborg's head, and as the camera pans across the rest of the rubble, broken likenesses of the other three Titans are seen.)

Robin: (horrified) No! (to Slade) Who are you?!

(He reaches toward the face. Cut to an empty patch of sky; the mask is flung up and away, and the camera cuts to a close-up of him and zooms in. He is staring in bug-eyed shock, and a shift to just behind him shows why the face behind that smooth expanse of steel is his own. The duplicate laughs heartily in Slade's voice as the camera dissolves to a long overhead shot of the ruined peninsula and pulls back slowly.)

(A flash of white, and we are in Robin's room. He is asleep at his worktable, but sits bolt upright with a gasp of terror-the entire proceedings up to this point were his very bad dream. His face runs with sweat as he tries to catch his breath. The door is heard opening.)

Cyborg: (from o.c.) It's him. (Pan to the door; he is there.) It's Slade.

(Snap to black.)


Act One

(Opening shot: the operations center. It is just before daybreak. The Titans are gathered before the window/screen, which shows Slade's face. He is in some sort of industrial area.)

Slade: Good morning, Teen Titans. (Cut to Robin, Starfire, and Cyborg; he is heard on speaker.) I do hope I didn't wake you. (Pan to Raven and Beast Boy.)

Beast Boy: (yawning) What are you, an insomniac? Who calls at five in the morning--? (Raven elbows him in the side to cut him off.)

Robin: What do you want? (The scene cuts to the screen again)

Slade: Well, that's precisely what you've been trying to find out, isn't it? And in spite of all your efforts, you're still in the dark about my intentions. (Close-up of Robin; he is heard on speaker.) Disappointing, Robin. I expected a little more from you.

Robin: Like I care what you-- (The scene cuts to the screen again)

Slade: But since you've been unable to discover my plan, I suppose I'll just have to reveal it myself.

(Pan away from him on the end of this line. Two of his commando robots are standing next to a large object covered with a tarp.)

Slade: (from o.c.) I'm sure you're all familiar with the concept of a Chronoton Detonator.

(The tarp is pulled away as he says this. Underneath it is a large, egg-like piece of machinery with a couple of red lights set into its surface. The upper portion telescopes toward the ceiling, giving a view of the circuitry inside and more sets of lights. Cut to Robin and Cyborg, then pan to each of the others in turn during the next two lines.)

Cyborg: No! (Starfire gasps.)

Raven: Uh-oh.

Beast Boy: No way! (Pull back; he turns to Starfire.) Um, what's a crouton detonator?

Starfire: It eradicates all chronotons within a localized area, utterly destroying the temporal component of the space-time continuum. (A question mark pops up by his head.)

Beast Boy: Hmm? (Pan to Raven.)

Raven: It stops time. Permanently. (Beast Boy cries out and faints.)

Cyborg: If he triggers that thing downtown, it'll freeze-frame the entire city.

Robin: (to Slade on the screen) Tell me where!

Slade: You're a clever boy, Robin. (Cut to Robin; he is heard on speaker.) I'm sure you and your little friends can figure it out. (The screen again; he holds up a transmitter.) However, since I control the detonation, time is not on your side.

(The screen fills with static, and Robin slams a fist down on the computer keyboard with a frustrated grunt. Now the window has cleared.)

Robin: Fan out! Find it! Shut it down!

(He storms toward the door, but Beast Boy and Cyborg move to block his path.)

Beast Boy: (tugging his collar) Hey, uh, maybe you should stay here and coordinate the search. (A big drop of sweat rolls down his temple on the end of this; cut to Robin.)

Robin: What?

Cyborg: (from o.c.) Man, when it comes to Slade, you've got issues.

(Shift to frame all three boys on the end of the line; Cyborg has pointed a finger at Robin's temple and is twirling it in the classic "this guy has a screw loose" gesture.)

Cyborg: Might be better for the team if you sit this one out. (Back to Robin on the end of this.)

Robin: No.

(Letterbox, top third of screen; the three and Starfire appear as silhouettes.)

Robin: (heading out) There's too much at stake for me to--

Starfire: Robin...

(He stops at her mention of his name. Fullscreen, normal view.)

Starfire: We have not forgotten the last time you faced--

Robin: I made a mistake, Starfire. It won't happen again. (heads out again) I can handle it. I promise.

Raven: (from o.c.; the computer is heard) Would you at least like to know where to look?

(Everyone turns to look at her. She is at the keyboard, and the camera tilts up to show a freeze frame from Slade's message, the robots and the detonator, on the window/screen.)

Raven: Slade gave us more information than he realized.

(The image fills the screen. Zoom in on a patch of it as a set of gridlines is superimposed; a small blurry image on the metal surface stands out.)

Raven: (from o.c.; zoom in closer) Here, in this reflection. (Cut to her and Beast Boy.)

Beast Boy: Ooh, squiggly lines. Way informative.

(Back to the image. As more keystrokes are heard, it refines and can be clearly seen as backward text: "PIER 41." This is turned around to read normally. Cut to Starfire.)

Starfire: Pier Forty-One!

Robin: (stepping closer) The docks!

(Raven glares at her detractor, who grins and chuckles nervously at having been shown up. Dissolve to a sign marking that location and pan to one of the warehouses at the waterfront. It is now closer to sunup. Robin runs to the doors, followed by Beast Boy, as a cheetah, returning to human form, and then the rest of the group. Cyborg whips out his sonic cannon and lets it speak; cut to inside. The doors are blasted away, and Robin dashes in with his fighting staff in hand. He extends it to as the others follow him, ready to slug it out. Their perspective, panning across the interior-no detonator, no Slade, no commandos, no nothing.)

Starfire: Empty? (Overhead view of them.)

Cyborg: Oh, man! (Ground level.)

Robin: I don't believe this!

(To add injury to insult, those robotic strongmen show up out of nowhere, standing on the overhead beams as well as all over the floor. A few even move to block the exit.)

Beast Boy: Great. Now what do we do?

Robin: We fight.

(Pull back from the group, then dissolve to a longer shot and keep pulling back to show just how badly outnumbered our heroes really are. The opposing forces start to close in.)

Robin: Titans! Go!

(They do so. He moves so fast that he almost seems to be everywhere at once, knocking out one robot after another before they have time to react. A couple back up before Cyborg's headlong dash; he gets ready to deliver a real haymaker, but Robin moves in first and dispatches them.)

Cyborg: Hey! I was gonna do that!

(Elsewhere, Starfire skids backward a bit and is quickly surrounded by the metallic musclemen. She warms up her starbolts and rises into the air to do a spinning strafe, but again Robin zips in and wipes out the lot. She stares incredulously after him once he has gone. Now Beast Boy is hemmed in and gives a surprised little yelp; the enemies dog-pile on him, whereupon he turns into a bull and bucks them away. More close in, and he snorts in preparation to charge, but once again, the Boy Wonder leaps into the fray and puts them all down for the count.)

(Cut to Raven in midair.)

Raven: Azarath Metrion Zin--

(She has no chance to finish the spell; the overactive Titan is there in a flash to beat the stuffing out of the commandos menacing her. She just looks around, deadpan but slightly bewildered, and sees him leap across the warehouse to engage another group. Sight gag: the other Titans, as infants up against the wall, watch in sheer confusion while the shadows of the battle play back and forth across them. A piece of a head tumbles past, followed by a beaten attacker and Robin himself; zoom in on the four, who wince as the pounding gets louder.)

(The sight gag ends, and Robin jumps onto the fallen robot whose head was partially smashed away. He starts bashing the remains of the metal skull with his staff; pan to the other Titans.)

Cyborg: Uh, Robin? I think you got him.

Starfire: Yes, please. (Cut to Robin; she continues o.c.) You may stop now.

(Only her hands on his bring the walloping to a close.)

Starfire: We are victorious. (He stands up.)

Robin: Slade's got his finger on the button, and we've got nothing! (He retracts his staff.) Does that sound like a victory to you?

(He stalks away, leaving the others staring after him and trying to figure out what could have turned him into a one-man wrecking crew. Dissolve to outside the warehouse, just above the doors Cyborg blew out, and tilt down to him and Beast Boy.)

Cyborg: Okay. We know the Chronoton Detonator was here. Now we just have to figure out where it went.

Beast Boy: No problem. We should split up and--

Raven: (walks into view) --Waste hours searching only to come up empty-handed?

Beast Boy: Well, when you say it like that--? (Starfire lands by them.)

Starfire: Raven is right. We must find some way to track the device.

(Robin approaches on the end of this line, then cocks an eyebrow quizzically at the sound of echoing footsteps. At a distance, a man is walking between two of the warehouses; a large shadow is cat on the wall behind him.)

Robin: Freeze!

(He is off like a shot; the spooked fellow races along the way, but a birdarang flashes into view and embeds itself in the concrete, bringing him up short. Robin follows it down, throws him against the wall, and holds up a small crest with Slade's S insignia on it, taken from one of the robots.)

Robin: Tell me everything you know about this!

(The frightened chap can only stutter and mumble inarticulately.)

Robin: Answer me! Now! (He shoves the man to the wall, harder.)

Man: I've never seen it before! I don't know anything! Honest!

(As he says this, Raven's powers spread over Robin's torso. The Titan-turned-Dirty-Harry is then slung across to the wall of the opposite warehouse and pinned to it as she maintains her hold, the other three approach.)

Raven: You said you could handle it. (She releases him.)

Starfire: You promised. (He slides down.)

Robin: We're wasting time. (He strides off.)

Beast Boy: (calling after him) You know, just 'cause we're trying to catch Slade doesn't mean you have to act like him!

(Robin stops in his tracks, as we have already seen, being compared to this man hits him in all the wrong spots.)

Robin: (whirling around) Don't you ever compare me to him! (He walks back.) He's trying to destroy the city. I'm trying to save it!

(Pull back briefly to a long shot of the group, then cut to them again. The rest of the Titans are, to borrow a line from Dr. Seuss, puzzling until their puzzlers are sore. Suddenly, Starfire lets off a violent sneeze, accompanied by a starbolt that shoots from her nose. When the glare clears out, all four of the others are stunned and smoking from the blast. Her next three lines sound rather congested, as if spoken by someone with hay fever.)

Raven: Gesundheit.

Starfire: (flushed, sniffling) Forgive me. I am allergic to metallic chromium. There must be a source near--

(She gets ready to sneeze again; everyone bails out, and the camera pulls back to a long shot of the waterfront as she lets it rip with another nasal starbolt. At the scene, the smoke clears to expose her, standing alone. Pull back as she sniffles, wipes her nose, and groans.)

Starfire: Sorry.

(The other four return, Beast Boy from behind a trash can, Robin rappelling down from the warehouse roof, Raven passing through the wall. Cyborg is the only one to simply walk up; he looks down at his forearm.)

Cyborg: Interesting.

(His perspective, looking at a graph readout on his panel. She wipes her nose again.)

Starfire: (sniffling and groaning a bit) Not really. On my world, chromium allergies are quite common. (Cut to him.)

Cyborg: No. The key component of a Chronoton Detonator is a metallic chromium core, which means-- (He closes the panel; pull back to show Beast Boy next to him.)

Beast Boy: --Starfire can track it!

(Cut to her and zoom in slightly as she sniffles, then fade to black.)

[Animation goof: In this last shot, her armband is on the wrong side.]

Act Two

(Opening shot: the inside wall of a sewer tunnel. The camera rotates to point down the way; from around a bend, Starfire unloads another high-powered sneeze. Cut to her, slogging through the water and wiping her nose with a groan.)

Starfire: (congested) I believe it is this way.

(Pan to the others, who have thrown up their arms to protect themselves from the blast. After a moment, they move out with Robin bringing up the rear.)

Robin: Look, guys, uh-- about earlier. (They stop.)

Raven: It'll have to wait.

(She points ahead, pan in that direction to show a small speedboat in the tunnel, with the detonator, back in its original compact form--loaded in the back. A commando guarding the rig catches sight of the group.)

Robin: Titans! Go!

(Beast Boy becomes a falcon as they charge. The robot moves to the instrument panel and hits the throttle, speeding off down the tunnel.)

Robin: Quick! We can't let him get away!

(A section of the wall smashes out next to him, and a large stone hand reaches through and drags him away.)

Starfire: Robin!

(Cut to the other side of the hole, pointing in at the sewer. As the other four wade past, the sound of a fight is heard. They stop to watch; cut to their side. Robin is mixing it up with Cinderblock.)

Robin: Get the detonator! Go! (All but Starfire follow orders; cut to her, still watching.)

Cyborg: (from o.c.) Star! You heard the man!

(Reluctantly, she sets off after them. Robin leaps from one support column to another and stays just ahead of Cinderblock, who destroys each one with a single blow.)

Robin: Only fair to warn you: you caught me on a bad day!

(The stone behemoth growls and charges. Robin moves in as well; cut to a close-up of each pair of pounding feet, then pull back as the Titan vaults high over Cinderblock and hurls a pair of bolas-weighted balls connected with a rope. These land on the head and tangle up around it, and Robin follows with a flying spin kick. Cut to the tunnel; the speedboat zooms ahead. Starfire, carrying Cyborg, flies after it, and Raven and Beast Boy are right behind her. The robot presses one of a row of buttons on the control panel.)

Computer: Defense mode activated.

(These words appear on a small screen above the buttons. Now two lasers on the stern open up with a barrage of shots that forces everyone to swerve back and forth. The chase moves around a junction; Starfire keeps dodging the shots.)

Cyborg: (breaks out his cannon) I will not be having attitude from a boat!

(He keeps getting it, though, in the form of a new fusillade. Back to Robin and Cinderblock; the former lands in a crouch, then pushes off from the ground for a flying roundhouse kick that staggers the latter. Another kick, a crushing left hook, and Robin touches down in front of the dazed enemy and seizes him. Cinderblock is thrown down onto his back, and Robin climbs atop his chest.)

Robin: Where is he? (Close-up.) Where's-- huh?

(His attention is drawn by a beeping from o.c. Cut to the source-a small tracking device in Cinderblock's open hand. Robin climbs down and picks up the item; cut to it. The screen shows a map of the area with two flashing dots. Zoom in, then cut to a close-up. One dot is an arrow, and the camera follows it to the other; Slade's mark. Extreme close-up of Robin's wide, wondering eyes, then of the flashing S, then of him. A cold smile spreads across his face-now he knows exactly where to find his archenemy.)

(The sewer again. The Titans continue their pursuit of the speedboat. On the next line, pull back to show this as the view on one of the large monitors in Slade's lair; he is watching the chase from different angles.)

Slade: Hurry, young Titans. Your time is running out.

(On a high catwalk behind him, a door is blown out but he does not even flinch. The smoke clears to show Robin's silhouette in the light from outside.)

Robin: Actually... (Close-up.) ...we just went into overtime.

Slade: Robin. Welcome. I've been expecting you for some time. (as Robin drops to the platform) I was beginning to wonder if Cinderblock was too much of a challenge.

(He turns around and holds up the transmitter seen during his earlier message.)

Slade: Looking for this?

(Cut to just behind and to one side; he holds the device at Robin's eye level and waves it around.)

Slade: (from o.c.) Well... (Cut to a spotlighted patch of floor; he sets it down.) it is.

(Pull back to frame both, on opposite sides of the transmitter.)

Slade: If you want it, come and take it.

(Cut to a slow pan across each determined face, first Robin's, then Slade's, then back to Robin. His teeth bared in a silent snarl, he charges straight at the camera and goes into a mighty somersaulting leap. As he sails closer, he pulls his right fist back and lets out one cry of pure rage. After the screen has filled with the white of his eye, snap to black.)

Act Three

(Opening shot: the wake of the speedboat. It pulls away from the camera and races down the sewer tunnel, unleashing a burst of laser shots at the other four Titans. Cyborg returns fire with his cannon, then is whisked off by Starfire; one shot from the boat sends Beast Boy tumbling for a moment. He rights himself and falls in behind Raven. Now that cannon is blazing steadily away, and it puts both of the speedboat's guns out of action in short order. The commando at the helm opens up the throttle and zooms ahead, but Starfire gradually pulls even to hold Cyborg over the deck.)

Cyborg: Thanks for the lift!

(She lets go of him and backs off. As soon as his feet hit the deck, he is running toward the commando, who starts punching buttons furiously. The screen above them is now blank.)

Computer: Auto pilot engaged.

(These words appear. Cyborg's hand clamps onto the robot's shoulder; it looks that way at he camera pans to the grinning Titan. Pull back; as the others fly after the watercraft, a punch lands and the driver is flung over the stern. On the deck, the wheel is turning itself under the control of the automatic pilot program; Cyborg seizes it and tries to steer manually, but only succeeds in tearing it out. Starfire lands on the deck as he stares popeyed at it. Now he hammers several buttons.)

Computer: Invalid code.

(The display changes to show these two words. The speedboat begins to swerve back and forth, giving the two yelling Titans quite a ride.)

Starfire: (under Cyborg's yells) How does one halt this vehicle?

(His idea: by seizing the computer panel and ripping it out entirely. The speedboat emerges into a large open chamber and comes to a stop. Starfire smiles placidly as Cyborg regards the ruined hardware, and Raven and Beast Boy land on the deck. The green falcon returns to human form.)

Raven: Please tell me that's not how you're planning to stop the detonator.

(Surprised, he blushes a bit as a big drop of sweat rolls down his temple.)

Cyborg: Uh...

Beast Boy: You do know how to stop it, don't you?

Cyborg: How hard could it be?

(He throws the panel overboard and crosses the deck to the detonator. Kneeling next it, he reaches toward the surface and is surprised when the housing telescopes upward as it did in Slade's message. He falls backward with a grunt; pan to frame the entire device, then cut to a close-up of its red lights and tilt down slowly to the central area. Cyborg looks as if he has just realized how far he is in over his head.)

Cyborg: Ooh.

Raven: Whatever we're gonna do, we should do it before Slade decides to trigger this thing.

(Cut to a set of overhead gears in Slade's lair and tilt down to the ground. The transmitter sits near the camera. Robin tumbles into view at a distance, gets himself upright, and runs toward it. A huge leap carries him closer, but Slade hits him broadside with a flying kick. The two land facing each other.)

Slade: Come now, Robin. You'll have to do better than that. I haven't even broken a sweat.

(He rushes, leaps, and does a midair backflip leading into a roundhouse kick that sends Robin reeling. The melee moves across the floor, with each landing blows in turn, and Slade plants another steel boot across Robin's chest. Snarling in rage, the Titan gets his head clear, and the two spar again until Slade catches Robin's fist.)

Slade: Good technique.

(He bends the arm sharply at the elbow; we hear bones grinding against each other as Robin yells in pain. The hold turns into a throw that sends the hero skidding across the floor to slam into a wall. As he gets woozily to his feet, seen from ground level, Slade's foot steps into view near the camera.)

Slade: (from o.c.) Good, (Cut to him.) but not perfect.

(His head clear again, another yell of pure fury in his throat, Robin charges across the floor. He launches himself into the air, but one of those steel-gloved fists whistles out and hits home in the breadbasket. Close-up of Robin's stunned countenance, then of Slade's quietly cruel one, then pull back to frame both. The young man hangs in the air for a moment, supported by the fist that has just stopped him cold, and then slowly collapses. Extreme close-up of Slade's eye; he chuckles to himself.)

(Cut to a close-up of the detonator core. A small square panel is at the heart of it, held in place by a screw at each corner. These are pulled out via Raven's telekinesis, and Cyborg reaches into view to remove the panel; this is his perspective. Behind it is a rotating, glowing red sphere. The next three lines are spoken in whispers.)

Cyborg: The chromium core. (Cut to him and the others.) Very unstable. No sudden moves.

(He holds up the panel; Beast Boy quickly turns into an octopus, takes it from him, and sets it aside gingerly. As Cyborg reaches toward the machinery, Starfire gets ready to sneeze, her allergy exacerbated by being this close to that much chromium, and throws everyone into a panic. Raven creates a shield around the Tamaranean's head to contain the force of the coming blast; it holds, but just barely, and her hair is blown wildly out of place. She sniffles after the shield is taken down.)

Starfire: (congested) Please continue.

(She shakes her hair back into place and grins widely with an embarrassed little giggle. Cut to Cyborg's perspective; he holds up his forearm, which now shows a panel with a circuit diagram of the device. Three lights come on underneath it. Back to the group; Beast Boy resumes human form.)

Cyborg: Okay. (extends an acetylene torch from his forefinger) Now all we have to do is decouple the--

(His perspective on the end of this; he uses the torch to sever one of the cables running to the core. It begins to beep and rotate very quickly. Back to the group.)

Beast Boy: Well, that doesn't sound good.

(A flash, and we are back in Slade's lair. Robin tumbles across the floor and stays down for a few seconds, pounding his fist against the tiles with a loud groan. Slade steps into view near him; tilt up from feet to head.)

Slade: I understand your frustration, Robin. You hate losing as much as I do. (Long shot, panning slowly across the place.) One of the many qualities we have in common.

(Close-up of Robin. Once again, his sorest spot has been poked too hard, and he comes up into an uppercut that lifts Slade clear off his feet. Two more punches send the armored criminal genius to the floor, but he lands in a crouch and runs off. Giving him no quarter, Robin lands a string of savage blows to drop him flat on his back. Close-up of the transmitter; the Boy Wonder steps into view nearby and picks it up.)

Robin: It's over, Slade!

Slade: (from o.c.) On the contrary, Robin. (The thing starts to spark.)

Robin: Huh?

(It breaks apart in his hand with a small crackle of electricity. He stares down in total confusion; cut to Slade, stepping out from a dark recess among the machinery.)

Slade: This is only the beginning.

Robin: Where's the real trigger?

Slade: Trigger? There is no trigger, because there is no detonator.

(Robin's eyes widen even more. Cut to the detonator core, still beeping and spinning like mad. Beast Boy's teeth are chattering a mile a minute as the two girls stare over Cyborg's shoulders.)

Cyborg: (whispers) Moment of truth, y'all. (holds up his finger torch) Everybody ready?

Beast Boy: I can't watch!

(He covers his eyes, but parts his fingers to give one of them a clear field of vision. Cyborg rakes his flame across a couple of other cables to cut them, and the core stops its activity entirely. The red glow fades to leave the sphere looking like an ordinary metal ball. Beast Boy, Cyborg, and Raven sigh loudly and visibly with relief as Starfire smiles; the moment is short-lived, though, as a loud, urgent alarm goes off and elicits gasps and wide-eyed stares from all four. The core starts to spin and glow again, and red light spreads from it along the cables that have not been broken. Now the alarm slows down a bit as the red lights on the detonator's housing start to pulsate, and the topmost section retracts slightly. Beast Boy screams shrilly.)

Beast Boy: We blew it! We'll be frozen in time forever!

(The alarm gives way to a steady drone, and the whole device shorts out and crumbles into a pile of junk. Beast Boy is ready to have a fit, but stops when the rig falls silent.)

Beast Boy: Um...why are we not frozen in time forever?

Cyborg: Because this wasn't a Chronoton Detonator. It was a fake!

(Behind them, at the prow, a weapon pops out and sweeps back and forth, strafing all four Titans and knocking them overboard. One by one, their heads break the surface; no apparent damage from the assault. Beast Boy shakes off the water with a cry of revulsion.)

Beast Boy: So aside from the nasty taste of sewer water in my mouth, I think I'm okay. (Cyborg checks his forearm panel.)

Cyborg: Diagnostic sensors say I'm just fine. (He knocks water out of his ears.)

Raven: Whatever that beam was supposed to do, it didn't do it.

Starfire: Then...we are victorious?

(Her image starts to rotate, zooms in, and then goes into a series of dissolves. First, we see the tissues within her body, then a closer view of these, then individual blood cells moving in an artery. The next transition shows tiny metal spheres, marked with Slade's S, attaching themselves to these cells, deposited by the beam that hit the Titans. One final dissolve shows a row of four monitors, each marked with the name of one of these four Titans, showing a picture of the blood vessels and a readout of vital signs. Every cell is carrying a device along with it. Tilt down slightly as Slade steps into view; we are back in his lair, and these are his monitors.)

Slade: Nanoscopic probes. The Chronoton Detonator was merely the bait for a much larger trap.

(As he continues, a small push-button device extends itself from the inside of his wrist and settles in his hand.)

Slade: You see, with the push of a button...

(Close-up of it, his thumb poised above, and pan slightly to show Robin glaring at it.)

Slade: (from o.c.) probes will destroy your friends from the inside out.

Robin: You can't control them. No matter what you threaten, they'll never obey you. (Back to Slade; he paces around Robin.)

Slade: This isn't about your friends, Robin. It's about you. It's always been about you.

Robin: What?

Slade: Sending trouble your way. Leaving cryptic clues for you to unravel. I was testing you. For some time now, I have been searching for an apprentice. Someone to follow in my footsteps. (leans into Robin's face) And, Robin, I've chosen you. Congratulations.

Robin: No way would I ever work for--

(Slade holds up the button, thumb just barely clearing it, and he falls silent.)

Slade: If you join me, if you swear to serve me, (Close-up of his face.) if you never speak to your friends again, (Extreme close-up of his eye.) I will allow them to live.

(Cut to Robin, staring in mute fear, and zoom in slowly.)

Slade: (from o.c.) But... (The monitors; he steps into view.) ...if you disobey even the smallest request, I will annihilate them, Robin. And I'll make you watch. (Cut to Robin; he continues o.c.) So, do we have a deal?

(Long, tense silence from the Titan, after which the camera tilts up to the overhead gears and into the blackness past them. This resolves into a street in Jump City. It is now nighttime. The rest of the Titans are far down the block.)

Starfire: Robin?

(Cut to them. Cyborg helps Beast Boy up from a manhole; Starfire has her communicator out and is speaking into it.)

Starfire: Robin? Robin, please respond! (lowers it and looks at the others) Why does he not answer?

Cyborg: His locator's been deactivated. (Beast Boy brushes himself off.) We have no way to find him.

Beast Boy: Not good.

Starfire: (into the communicator) Robin, please. You must answer. Robin!

(Fade to black.)

Starfire: (over comm) Please respond!

(Fade in to a close-up of his outfit, draped over a pipe in Slade's lair, and pan to a pool of light cast from above. A tiny red dot glows through the utility belt, an incoming call signal from the communicator in its pouch. A hazy figure can be seen in the harsh glare.)

Starfire: (over comm) Robin, where are you?

(Zoom in on the figure, then cut to close-ups of the following. A black glove being pulled on; a steel wrist guard being snapped into place; a belt being buckled under a chest that is yellow on the left side and black on the right; a neck piece fastened under Robin's chin. He takes his hands away after this last action to reveal a silver S emblazoned over his heart, and the camera tilts up to his sullen, defeated face. Pull back to frame all of him; if the abandoned clothing did not show his renunciation clearly enough, this shot gets the point across beyond all doubt. Robin wears steel reinforcements just like those of Slade, who steps into the light behind him.)

Slade: I know it seems bad now. But trust me, (He moves away; close-up.) you'll learn to like it.

(Head-on view of the former leader of the Titans, standing motionless in the white light from overhead. His expression has not changed one bit, nor does it do so as Slade passes in front of him. Pull back across the space; the new boss passes into the darkness, leaving him alone, and the camera backs up slowly. The light is shut off to black out the screen.)

Continued in Part Two

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