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This is the transcript for the episode "Troq".


(Opening shot: a group of planets in outer space. A tiny speck of light winks in the far distance and resolves into an elongated, missile-like spacecraft that blazes toward the camera. Laser beams lance past it from behind, the nearest of misses, and after a moment the shooters race up in pursuit; a pair of ships that somewhat resemble manta rays. The chase veers down toward Earth with no letup in the intensity of the fusillade; with no warning, the fleeing vessel goes into a sudden dive and plunges into the cloud cover, but the two opponents are soon on its tail.)

(The clouds part to reveal that the group is bearing down on Jump City Bay and Titans Tower. It is daytime. More shots from the aggressors nearly shake the thrusters off their target. Cut to a close-up of the pilot and pull back-a broad-chested, solidly built humanoid male with silver upper body, forearms, and head; a scar or crack runs down from the right eye. The rest of his body is black, and a four-pointed black star with a red dot at its center is emblazoned on his sternum just below the throat. This is Val-Yor. He throws a contemptuous glance back over his shoulder as the camera pulls back to frame more of him.)

Val-Yor: You dirty Locrix are gonna have to do better than that if you want to stop me!

(The bay again, his ship pulls up just in time to avoid crashing into it and ends up skimming the surface, heading straight for the island and the Tower. The Locrix vessels continue their dogged pursuit. Cut to inside the operations center windows and pull back as Starfire straightens up into view, holding a handful of playing cards. The free-for-all flashes past outside on the next line.)

Starfire: Please, explain why it is bad to be the old maid?

(The entire Tower shakes in the wake of their passage, drawing her attention and that of the other Titans, who are in on the game as well.)

Cyborg: Whoa! What was that?

Beast Boy: Giant worms? (The flyers make another pass.)

Raven: Uh, don't think so.

Robin: Titans! Go!

(They are off and running almost before their cards hit the coffee table. Cut to an overhead shot of the Tower's base and tilt up to the roof as Val-Yor races past, just ahead of the Locrix. The Titans have gathered here to watch the spectacle; high overhead, the two chasers peel off slightly to either side and trade places. A sharp U-turn sends the fugitive back the way he came, almost shearing a wing off one of the Locrix vessels.)

Cyborg: Whoever he is, the guy's a good pilot.

(Said pilot dodges a few lasers, then finally returns fire and blows one of the two ships apart with a single shot.)

Robin: That guy's a great pilot!

(Right on cue, the surviving pursuer has something to say about that, in the form of a fresh barrage. Close-up of Val-Yor, who has not even come close to blowing his cool; he flips open a panel and presses the red button underneath. This opens a diamond-shaped hatch directly above his head, and he crosses his arms expectantly. A flash of light, and the camera has shifted to the topside portion of his craft; he is ejected through this new opening and soars back toward the opposing vessel. We can now see that his feet and ankles have the same metallic coloration as his face and hands. Within seconds he has reached the Locrix ship and flattened himself against a body panel, digging fingers and toes in for whatever purchase he can find. Slowly, though, the wind shear gets the better of him and he begins to slide along the length of the craft.)

(He finally gets a better grip and crawls determinedly toward a flat device at the leading edge. This consists of a glowing red circle connected to four similar, smaller ones that are spaced evenly around it. At a touch on one of these four, the main light narrows like a squinting eye.)

Val-Yor: You're going down.

(Both metal fists slam down on the assembly with all his weight behind them. Instantly, smoke starts to billow from the tail section and the crippled Locrix fighter tumbles out of control.)

Robin: Did he just take down that ship with his bare hands?

Cyborg: Looks like it.

(It zooms so close to the group that they almost have to dive for cover. Val-Yor, meanwhile, is still spreadeagle on the fuselage, trying to bring the thing in for anything other than a fatal crash landing; the five young heroes stare open-mouthed.)

Cyborg: Come on, man, you can do it!

(A low glide over the bay, a sudden shift of body weight, and the ship turns to follow the shore instead of plowing into the city proper. It reaches the adjacent forest, plunges among the trees, and finally smashes to ground in a clearing. Close-up of Robin and Starfire.)

Starfire: Is he...?

(Both start toward the crash site. Dissolve to a long shot of the approaching Titans and tilt down to frame the flaming leftovers of this high-speed, low-altitude firefight. Zoom in as a silhouette emerges from within the inferno and resolves into Val-Yor; not a scratch or scorch mark on him, then cut to a close-up of his chest and tilt up to his head as he speaks.)

Val-Yor: It takes more than a plasmatic implosion to bring down Val-Yor.

(The Titans cannot believe that he or any other fellow could survive such a cataclysmic wipeout. Dazedly, Starfire pulls out a camera and snaps a picture before the view fades to black.)


Act One

(Opening shot: the dumbfounded Titans, who stare for several seconds before the camera cuts to the approaching Val-Yor and zooms in. His own ship makes a very neat landing behind him now. Cut to him, Robin, Beast Boy, and Raven.)

Robin: That was some amazing flying.

Val-Yor: Thanks. Val Yor of Vernathia. Pleased to meet you.

Robin: I'm Robin, and we're the Teen Titans. (indicating each) That's Raven... (She waves.) ...Beast Boy... (He nods.)

Cyborg: (walking up) Cyborg. (shaking hands) Man, you sure know how to make an entrance. (The cat still has Starfire's tongue.)

Val-Yor: It's all in a day's work.

(Sight gag: Beast Boy, now in "Super Deformed" style, gazes wonderingly up at the visitor; one of his eyes bugs out as he speaks.)

Beast Boy: You do that every day?

Val-Yor: Nope. Most days I fight more than just two of 'em. (He smiles; now Raven is also SD.)

Raven: So today's a slow day for you?

Val-Yor: (chuckles) Exactly.

(Gag ends. He stares, suddenly puzzled; cut to the reason, Starfire, who has finally regained her power of speech.)

Starfire: Val-Yor! I welcome you to Earth!

Val-Yor: (nonplussed) I see you have a Tamaranean.

Robin: Yeah, Starfire's part of the team.

Cyborg: So, who were those guys? (Cut to Val Yor; zoom in.)

Val-Yor: (smiling contemptuously) They weren't guys at all.

(Dissolve to the exterior of the Tower, zooming in slowly, then cut to an extreme close-up of the central part of the device he punched out. Pull back slightly to frame the four peripheral circles, then cut to a longer shot, showing it to be an image on the operations center window/screen. We see three blue-gray creatures that look something like giant metal mushrooms with spindly legs and long, muscular, clawed arms that nearly drag the floor. The five-spot eyes are on the "forehead," while a sixth, single eye is set in the central stalk area, and a short tentacle hangs beneath each arm. One faces front, while the others are turned to give left and right profiles. These, then, are the Locrix. Tilt down to frame Val-Yor in front of the display as he speaks.)

Val-Yor: The Locrix are vicious fighting machines.

Robin: (from o.c.) Machines? (Shift to frame the Titans on/around the couch.) What do they want?

Val-Yor: Nothing less than total galactic domination. The Locrix think they are superior to organics...

(Two more pictures superimpose themselves; one shows a fleet of ships over a city in flames, while the other depicts a member of this race surveying an army of green enemies.)

Val-Yor: ...and they are determined to wipe us out.

(We now see a series of three more fullscreen file photos. First: many spherical, yellowish, armless life forms fleeing before the Locrix advance. Second: red/black creatures with white tusks on their necks are thrown about. Third: a blue-furred critter, sporting black-and-white claws and horns all over its body, cowers in an attacker's shadow. The four victimized alien races that have appeared in Val-Yor's presentation are the same ones that Starfire ran across during her flight from Earth in "Transformation.")

Starfire: But you have defeated them, yes?

Val-Yor: Those two were just scouts. There are many more where they came from.

Cyborg: Sounds like you've had a lot of experience fighting 'em.

Val-Yor: I've been battling the Crixies about as long as I can remember. (New image: he hoists one for a body slam.) They tried to take over Vernathia, but I wasn't about to let that happen.

Robin: So how do we stop them from trying to take over Earth?

Val-Yor: I'm on a mission to hit them where they live. (Another picture: a red-streaked yellow world.) Sentien, the mother planet. (Yet another: a canister-shaped piece of equipment.) And I'm taking a Class Five quantum eradicator. Once I plug it into their central power core, it'll shut 'em down forever.

Robin: We'd like to help.

Val-Yor: I can use all the help I can get.

(Letterbox, top half of the screen: a long shot of the group.)

Val-Yor: But I have to warn you, it's going to be dangerous. (Fullscreen.) Those Crixies are tough. (The window/screen changes to show the five eyes.) They won't give up without a fight.

Robin: Neither will we.

(Beast Boy gives a thumbs-up and gets a satisfied half-smile from the steel-belted Vernathian in acknowledgment. Cut to an outer-space view of Earth and pan to follow his ship away from it; a flash, and it has jumped to warp speed. Inside, all five SD Titans stare pie-eyed at the camera.)

Val-Yor: (from o.c.) It was me versus twenty of them.

(Shift to behind the group, framing him in the captain's chair and panning very slowly. We are on the bridge.)

Val-Yor: They had me surrounded. There were Crixies to the left of me, Crixies to the right. Things weren't looking good for Val-Yor.

Cyborg: What did you do? (Brief pause.)

Val-Yor: Well, I certainly wasn't gonna let them get me, so I led them to a trap... (Cut to the Titans; Val-Yor continues o.c.) ...short-circuited the lot of 'em... (Eyes widen.) ...and escaped without a scratch. (Again, with stars appearing.)

Beast Boy: Dude! Those Crixies didn't know what was coming!

Val-Yor: (chuckling) They sure didn't, son. (The Titans trade excited grins.) Just installed a new neutron-turbo engine.

(Extreme close-up of Cyborg's shoulder as a hand lands on it, then pull back. The SD gag ends.)

Val-Yor: You want to give her a spin?

(The resident motorhead looks in the direction indicated; cut to a close-up of the ship's control yoke and pull back to frame him. As he emits streams of babbling from his lips, tears of joy from his natural eye, and drool from his tongue, a much less enthused Raven pops up nearby.)

Raven: I think that's a yes.

(Val-Yor slides over near a helmsman's chair and is immediately followed by SD Cyborg, who leaps giddily into it. He gets both hands around the yoke, still moaning and shuddering with delight, and the camera pans back along the length of the bridge as the pilot slides Robin up to a second chair. Sparks fly from the scraping of metal boot soles across the deck.)

Val-Yor: Robin, why don't you navigate?

(It takes the awestruck Boy Wonder half an instant to fill the position; readouts and graphs flash up on the screen in front of him.)

Robin: Ohhhhh!

(The SD sigh gag ends in favor of a new one: the two boys trade big-headed, ear-to-ear grins over the prospect of getting to play with the major-league hardware. Now Val-Yor pulls Beast Boy and Raven toward himself.)

Val-Yor: Raven, Beast Boy, man the blasters.

Beast Boy: Cool! (He zips away.)

Raven: (looking toward him as she is led off) Can I blast whoever I want?

(The changeling sails across the bridge as a monkey, then lands in human form at a tactical console and grips the controls eagerly. Now their new best friend stands in front of his captain's chair as the four new crewmen; all strapped in securely, beam at his generosity. The one left out is Starfire, who stands behind Val-Yor's perch and aims a placating smile up at his back for some moments before speaking.)

Starfire: Um...is there not a task for me? I also wish to be useful.

(A tremor runs through the entire ship at this point, throwing her to the floor and bouncing her from one side of the bridge to the other like a Superball. Outside, a pair of laser shots are revealed as the cause of the disturbance; as Val-Yor's ship races ahead, the shooter, a Locrix fighter, pulls into view and goes after it. Plenty of reinforcements have joined the hunt now.)

(One ship gets on Val-Yor's tail, whereupon a crew member leaps onto the fuselage; pull back as two others join it and the ships from which they came pull in. One central eye narrows in anger. Inside, a section of wall blows in with great force and the three boarders advance through the fresh smoke cloud. Close-up of an outline of the vessel on a display panel, pulling back; a flashing square marks the location of the newcomers.)

Val-Yor: Intruders! The cargo hold has been compromised!

Robin: The Locrix?

Val-Yor: They're after the eradicator! Cyborg, keep us on course and keep an eye out for more.

(Cut to Robin and Cyborg during this line.)

Cyborg: Can do.

Val-Yor: (to Robin, Beast Boy, and Raven) You three, come with me.

(They leave their posts and run out after him, leaving Cyborg at the controls as Starfire peels herself partway up from the floor. Out in the corridor, the door to the bridge opens and Val-Yor charges out, followed by the three Titans: Beast Boy as a leopard. A crash shakes the camera as Starfire flies uncertainly out after them.)

(Cut to a close-up of the eradicator whose schematic was displayed briefly in the Tower. It is actually very large, perhaps the size of a propane storage tank, and resting in a cargo bay. Tilt up to frame a door at the far end; this is blasted apart after a moment, and the smoke clears to reveal the three Locrix, who start into the space. Cut to the perspective of one of them: a round field of view from the central eye, with four narrow runners extending in the directions of the peripherals; the rest of the screen is black. A bit of scanning back and forth, a few flashes from a set of targeting sights, and the eye stops on a large yellow port set in the eradicator's end casing. Pull back, showing four gray ports set around it in a circle. The sights lock on the lot and some readouts flick in, but before the Locrix can take any action, Val-Yor leaps in. He is, of course, boiling mad and growling to make it clear.)

(The eyes in that metal face go bright red and unleash a pair of energy beams. Pull back to frame the Locrix as it is blown away, then cut to an overhead hatch from which Robin, Beast Boy, and Raven emerge; the shape-shifter is back in human form. Starfire joins them a second or two later, ready to throw a Tamaranean knuckle ball or two-and a pan across the boarding party, which has grown considerably in number, suggests that she might have to do just that. Cut to a slow pan across the crew.)

Val-Yor: I'll take the ugly one.

(Both sides charge. He is the first to score knockdowns against two intruders, but Beast Boy is close behind, nailing a third as a gorilla, then progressing through human form to a flying squirrel to aggravate the next one. Raven snags one with her powers and slings it into another, smashing the target; the thrown Locrix sails past a couple on the sidelines and crashes out o.c. One of these bystanders launches its claws, which reel out on steel cables in an attempt to pin Robin down; he dodges one strike, then another, and ends up pushing off from the ceiling for a flying kick. Boot sole meets central eye, and down goes the Locrix that tried to hook him, but its buddies fire their own tethers and he is off and running.)

(One high leap carries Robin out of reach as Beast Boy gets into the act, skittering back along one cable after another and finally spreading his forelegs for a glide. However, he quickly becomes an alligator in midair and lets his momentum carry one Locrix down and o.c. An instant later, he bounds up, now a triceratops, and rams another one full force. Just as swiftly, he resumes human form and jumps up o.c., barely avoiding a survivor's two-fisted cable shot, and then he comes down as an elephant to crush it into sparking junk.)

(Starfire flies past him, warms up both hands, and neatly bulldozes the next Locrix squad with a few well-placed punches. Robin backs up before a few swings, but is caught and flung the length of the cargo bay to fetch up in a pile of gear. Here comes Val-Yor, grappling with another one.)

Val-Yor: Watch out! (Close-up of one; he continues o.c.) They can sting you!

(The underarm tentacles come into play, lashing toward the young hero; he makes a last-second jump to the wall and runs along it as many stingers punch out the panels behind him. When he gets back to floor level, he whips out a pair of birdarangs and lets them fly: two direct hits, and down goes a Locrix. Behind Robin, Val-Yor hoists the one he was battling and hurls it away.)

Val-Yor: Nice shot!

Robin: Thanks.

(The celebration is abruptly cut off by the arrival of two more.)

Val-Yor: Think you can handle these two?

Robin: (thumping his fist into his other palm) Got it.

(Robin charges ahead. Beast Boy, now a gorilla, delivers a crushing shoulder ram to one enemy and puts it out of business; behind him, another jumps onto the eradicator and regards a yellow port on the upper surface. Up comes one crackling handful of claws to destroy the device, and here comes Raven with a black energy bolt that plows the Locrix clear to the far wall. It is down only for a moment, and Val-Yor flies up next to her once it gets to its feet.)

Val-Yor: Hit it in the central processor! (flies ahead) Like this!

(His target is the bottom edge of the "mushroom cap" upper body covering, centered below the large eye, and the force of his punch tears right through the metal and releases a storm of sparks all over the body. Cut to an extreme close-up of the fist, which has gone all the way through and come out the other side; it is pulled out, and we can see him smirking through the hole. Pull back to frame him and Raven as the wrecked Locrix crumples to the floor and several others move in to cut off their escape.)

(Raven takes his lesson to heart very quickly and unleashes a handful of bolts that hit the new arrivals in that particular weak spot. When she stops, cut to an overhead view of the area; all are still on their feet, but emitting thin streams of smoke, and they collapse as one after a long second. Back to ground level.)

Val-Yor: Heh. Remind me to stay on your good side.

(Two more Locrix close in on the eradicator, but the giant green primate persuades them to give up on that idea with a couple of big swings. A third rushes in to back it up and is promptly driven away when Beast Boy changes to kangaroo form for a fast flip kick. Another high-speed change leaves him hopping onto the next one as a velociraptor and biting a chunk out of the shoulder area. Resuming human form, he spits out the piece and crosses his arms smugly as Val-Yor comes up and ruffles his hair.)

Val-Yor: Nice work, son.

(Said son grins hugely and blushes a bit at the compliment before racing back toward the fracas. Behind the Vernathian, another Locrix closes in for a sucker punch only to take a starbolt to the head; it stumbles backward, crashing against the eradicator and bringing it to life. Red lights flash in the yellow port on the end, then turn green and fade away, and Val-Yor glares angrily back at the Tamaranean markswoman before getting in her face. Disaster has been very narrowly averted.)

Val-Yor: Watch it! Are you trying to blow up the ship?

Starfire: (rattled) I will be more careful next time.

Val-Yor: There won't be a next time.

(He rushes across the cargo bay, another gang of Locrix do likewise, and he gets every fighting skill he knows into overdrive. The mechanical beings are punched, torn apart, fried with eye beams; at the end of it all, dissolve to a slow pan behind him, surveying the expanse of smoldering attackers-not a single one left standing. In a head-on view, he lets his eyes cool down from their red-glowing state.)

Val-Yor: Good work, everyone. (All four fighting Titans pop up behind him.)

Beast Boy: That was awesome!

Robin: Cool!

Raven: Not bad.

Val-Yor: Okay, team. Back to the bridge. We need to be ready in case they're foolish enough to launch another attack.

(Robin, Beast Boy, and Raven move out, and he turns to watch them go, presenting his back to Starfire.)

Starfire: I wish to apologize. I did not mean to endanger your ship. I was only trying to help.

Val Yor: (turns to Starfire, eyes blazing) I don't need any help from a stupid Troq.

(This last word is pronounced to rhyme with "crock." Cut to a close-up of Starfire and zoom in slightly as she voices a small, shocked gasp, then fade to black.)

Act Two

(Opening shot: the exterior of Val-Yor's ship. Inside, tilt down slowly from the ceiling of a corridor to frame all Titans save Starfire walking along it.)

Beast Boy: Val-Yor said he's never seen anything like me.

Raven: Yeah. Most people haven't.

(This irks him. Sight gag: he appears in SD style by himself.)

Beast Boy: I think I'm his favorite. (SD Cyborg leans in.)

Cyborg: Oh, yeah? (elbows Beast Boy away) He said my piloting skills were first-rate!

(On this line, the background goes black and starry and a little version of the ship zooms in to carry him away. Now the gag ends and Starfire brings up the rear.)

Robin: Val-Yor thinks all of us are great. (Close-up of her, still distraught.)

Cyborg: (from o.c.) Well, we are all great. (Pull back slowly.)

Beast Boy: (from o.c.) Some more great than others.

(Starfire stops and stares ahead; cut to just behind the rest, who stop after a few more steps.)

Robin: (beckons) Starfire, come on. We don't want to be late for the briefing. (Long silence from her.)

Beast Boy: Last one there's a rotten egg!

(He puts his feet in gear; the SD sight gag resumes, and he is passed by the other two boys in short order, then by the flying Raven. When the gag ends, Starfire is left standing by herself in the corridor, her mouth open as if to make an expected inquiry about the relevance of spoiled chicken embryos. Instead, she clams up, hangs her head dejectedly, and starts to trudge off after the rest of the team.)

(Dissolve to a close-up of her, still down in the dumps, and cut to just behind her. She sits huddled at a distance from a console around which everyone else is gathered; overhead view of this piece of equipment, on which the planet Sentien is displayed. As he speaks, he points out a spot and the camera cuts to him.)

Val-Yor: We'll land here on the dark side of Sentien. (Cut a pan across the four; he continues o.c.) It's the best place for a sneak attack.

Robin: Starfire! You're missing the briefing!

Starfire: I can gather everything I need from here.

(A question mark pops up briefly by his head before he turns back to the boss.)

Val-Yor: Robin and Cyborg, I'll want you both providing cover as I bring out the quantum eradicator.

(During this line, cut to a close-up of the Sentien graphic; he touches a spot and the device appears there. He then begins to trace a path, the camera following his finger as a dotted line is marked in.)

Val-Yor: (from o.c.) I'll take it here to the central power core. (Back to him; pan slightly to frame Robin.) I trust you to do a good job, Spike. (He ruffles the Titan's hair.)

Cyborg: We got your back.

Val-Yor: I know you do, Metal Butt. (looking off across the console) Now, Sunshine, I'm gonna need you to keep that energy field of yours around the ship.

(During the latter part of this, cut to a close-up of Raven, a.k.a. "Sunshine," then pan to a grinning Beast Boy once he finishes.)

Val-Yor: (from o.c.) And Champ, you provide backup where needed.

Beast Boy: (salutes) Aye-aye! (Pull back to frame Val-Yor.)

Val-Yor: (looks toward Starfire) You getting all this, Troqie?

Starfire: (coolly) Yes. I have gotten everything you have said.

Val-Yor: I'm glad we have an understanding. (Alarm; red flashers.)

Beast Boy: More Crixies?

(Val-Yor taps a few buttons on the console, bringing up a holographic image of Sentien that floats slowly up in midair. From the surface emerge a myriad of glowing dots that spread out to form a spherical network in orbit.)

Val-Yor: No. Mines. A dirty Locrix trap. Our ship won't be able to pass through the minefield.

(Cut to tabletop level, pointing straight up at the hologram and the four Titans studying it intently.)

Val-Yor: (from o.c.) If one goes, they'll all go. (Back to him.) This is a job for you, Troqie. (Cut to Starfire; he continues o.c.) Get out there and move those mines.

(Pull back to frame Robin, who does not entirely believe that this idea is a smart one.)

Robin: Are you sure it's safe?

Val-Yor: It's just a few mines. (Starfire stands up.)

Starfire: (a bit sarcastically) Val-Yor, you are such a brave warrior. Are you sure you do not wish to move these devices yourself?

Val-Yor: (stung) Of course I could move them, but I'm needed inside. Only an experienced pilot can navigate through here. (Extreme close-up of her, zooming in slowly; he continues o.c.) Besides, your people can withstand the hostile conditions of space.

(This last remark hits her as either a backhanded compliment or a thinly veiled insult. Dissolve to her at a viewscreen near a corridor's end; she puts on a headset as Cyborg walks up.)

Cyborg: Are you sure you want to do this?

Starfire: I wish to prove my usefulness. (Val-Yor appears on screen.)

Val-Yor: Let's get going. We haven't got all day, Troq. (He winks out.)

Cyborg: "Troq"? What does that mean? (Long pause.)

Starfire: (turns away) It means nothing.

(She takes a few steps to a hatch, which opens to reveal an airlock beyond, and fixes him with an emotionless gaze before the heavy doors slide back together. Cut to a point in space just past the perimeter of the minefield around Sentien and pan to one side as the ship cruises up. On the bridge, we see a close-up of the captain's hand coming down on one arm of his chair; pull back to frame him in the seat and pan across the bridge. The other four Titans have manned their stations and are on the lookout for any unusual activity.)

(Outside, Starfire flies clear of the vessel and the camera pans across the mines before cutting back to her. The prospect of plowing this road has her very much on edge, but she gathers herself and approaches one of the explosives; a large spherical device with six detonators set at 90-degree angles on its surface. The ones pointing toward and away from the planet are free, while the other four are linked to the neighboring mines by energy beams. With great care she begins to push it out of the way.)

Val-Yor: (over the headset) Nice and easy. (Cut to Val-Yor.) We don't want any mistakes this time. (Back to Starfire.)

Starfire: I will not make any.

(The mine's connections are now broken, and she moves it to a safe distance and returns. One after another, she pulls out more of them to create a steadily expanding hole for the ship to pass through. Two begin to drift slowly toward each other; cut to the bridge, where the rest of the crew is watching them on the main viewer.)

Val-Yor: Watch it, Troqie! They're on a collision course!

(Outside, she gasps and zooms in; on the bridge, Beast Boy yelps in fright.)

Beast Boy: I can't watch!

(Val-Yor closes his eyes and hangs his head in disgust; "this is what I get for including the likes of her on the mission." Outside, Starfire has planted herself between the two drifting mines and is straining to keep from being crushed between them. Extreme close-up of two detonators, one on each mine, as they approach for an inevitable crash, but they come to a halt within inches of one another and the two spheres are slowly forced apart. Muscle has overcome momentum, and Starfire leaves them to float away.)

Starfire: Whew! (On the bridge, Beast Boy has covered his eyes with his hands.)

Beast Boy: Did we blow up yet?

Raven: Yep, that's why you're still talking.

(Outside again. Starfire flies back to work, but as she goes, her foot brushes the trigger of one of the mines she has just separated, causing the whole thing to glow brightly. On the bridge, Val-Yor is on his feet in an instant.)

Val-Yor: You've tripped the detonator! You only have twenty seconds!

(Outside, she bugs out; on the bridge, we see an extreme close-up of Robin's harness being undone. Pull back as he gets out of his seat.)

Robin: I'm going out there.

Val-Yor: No! It's too dangerous!

(He sits down with a small groan, rubbing his forehead briefly, and then aims a resolute glare straight ahead. Outside, Starfire is flying at stop speed and bulldozing the active mine as far away from Sentien as the twenty-second delay will allow. When she has moved it so far that its glow disappears into the blackness, cut to the bridge; everyone stares straight ahead with bated breath, Val-Yor on his feet, then to outside again. The mine goes off with a terrific explosion that thunders back toward the ship; on the bridge, its infernal glare spreads itself over Robin's horrified face, then Cyborg's, and fades away as Beast Boy and Raven approach the viewer. Cut to a close-up of Val-Yor's self-satisfied half-grin at having disposed of the weak link in this chain, but the mood evaporates instantly on the next line.)

Starfire: (over the speaker) You may proceed safely. (Cyborg cheers.)

Robin: Way to go, Star!

Raven: Good job.

Beast Boy: You rock! (to Raven, hugging her) Never doubted her for a second. Raven, you really shouldn't worry so much.

(She gives him the dirtiest look she can call up on short notice, prompting him to get all ten fingers off her in a very big hurry. The fact that "Troqie" survived her hazardous, duty mission does not sit at all well with Val-Yor. Dissolve to the airlock hatch, which opens to admit her aboard the ship. She has ditched the headset and her hair is badly disheveled from the explosion, but she pats it back into place with little trouble and heads worriedly down the corridor. However, she does not get far before finding Cyborg right in her way.)

Cyborg: Way to go, Troqie!

(He puts up a hand for a high five, but gets only a badly rattled, sidewise glance in return. This gives way to a startled gasp, after which she leans indignantly into his face.)

Starfire: You do not call me that!

Cyborg: But...Val-Yor calls you "Troq" all the time. (She turns away.)

Starfire: That does not make it right.

Cyborg: What's up? I thought you said it didn't mean anything.

Starfire: (sadly, turning to Cyborg) No. I said it means, "Nothing". When Val-Yor calls me "Troq," he is saying that I am worthless, a nothing.

Cyborg: Star...

Starfire: There are those on other planets who feel Tamaraneans are inferior. "Troq" is what they call us. (He rests a hand on her shoulder.)

Cyborg: So he's calling you a terrible name. And you know that if you punch him out, it'll just confirm all the bad stuff he thinks about you.

(Close-up of her during this line; he withdraws his hand at the end of it.)

Starfire: Yes. (Pull back to frame both.) You know what it feels like to be judged simply because of how you look?

Cyborg: 'Course I do. I'm part robot. Let's go find Robin.

(He turns to do just that. Close-up of him, in profile from shoulder to waist; she reaches into view to stop him.)

Starfire: (from o.c.) Wait.

(Tilt up to frame his slightly surprised face, then pull back to show both.)

Starfire: Perhaps we should inform Robin later.

Cyborg: He'd want to know now.

(Starfire finally manages a small smile, realizing that he is on the right track here. Cut to an outer-space shot of the ship and pan to follow it through a group of planets. On the bridge, Raven is on navigation duty while Val-Yor and Robin stand near the captain's chair.)

Robin: And that's how we defeated Control Freak.

Val-Yor: Sounds like you handled your team well.

(Close-up of the proud young man; one of those metal hands comes down on his shoulder.)

Val-Yor: (from o.c.) You're a true leader. (Pull back to frame both.) You remind me of myself when I was your age, Spike.

(Robin beams hugely at this and is then whisked in to get his hair thoroughly ruffled. A happy little chuckle is cut off suddenly by the opening of a door to admit Cyborg and Starfire.)

Cyborg: (as Robin is let go) Robin, can I get a word?

(Val-Yor points at Robin as if to say, "You take it from here," and the latter crosses to his two teammates. In no time flat, Beast Boy has zipped up to take his place and is showing the most soulful eyes he can.)

Beast Boy: So, you think I could fly this baby sometime?

(Close-up of Val-Yor, who seems a trifle uneasy at the thought, and pan to the trio near the door. Robin keeps his voice down on his next two lines.)

Robin: What?

(Close-up of him and Cyborg, rotating away from the latter.)

Cyborg: (almost inaudible whisper) And that's what he's been calling her this whole time.

Robin: Starfire, why didn't you say something? (thumps his fist into his palm) He will apologize. (turns away) I'm going to make--

Starfire: (from o.c.) No, Robin. (He stops; cut to Starfire.) Our mission is more important than my feelings.

(Pull back as an alarm starts to buzz, drawing the attention of all three Titans, then cut to Val-Yor.)

Val-Yor: We've arrived at Sentien. Prepare for landing!

(Cut to behind him and zoom in on the main viewer, which shows the planet's surface, along with a volley of blasts roaring up from it. Somebody is home and not at all pleased with the idea of having visitors. Outside; the ship veers his way and that to avoid the shots, which explode too close for comfort; back to the bridge.)

Val-Yor: (grimly) Looks like they were expecting us.

(Outside; more airbursts around the vessel, which dives toward Sentien and straight through a fresh onslaught of ground-to-space artillery. Fade to black.)

Act Three

(Opening shot: a lifeless, lurid green sea under an identically hued sky, with a collection of buildings situated on a distant shore. The shots are coming from this; we have now reached Sentien, and the ship pulls into view and races ahead. Close-up of a building sporting the red five-spot already seen on the Locrix ships and their crew-it can only be the power core Val-Yor described in his briefing. Pull back to show a battery of guns ranged on ledges in front.)

(Blasts zing past the ship, exploding in clouds of flak; one bursts just ahead of the bow and nearly takes out the whole thing. Cut to Val-Yor, approaching Robin and Cyborg in the cargo bay.)

Val-Yor: Okay, Titans, just as we planned. Cyborg and Robin, take the lead.

(As he says this, pan away from him to bring all five Titans into view; they are holding on to overhead hangers, similar to the ones found on subways.)

Val-Yor: (from o.c.) Beast Boy and Raven, guard our escape route. (Cut to him, now next to his secret weapon, and zoom in.) I'm taking the quantum eradicator and putting an end to the filthy Crixies once and for all.

Robin: (harshly) What about Starfire?

Val-Yor: (groans a bit) Guard the ship, Troq.

(Close-up of one small circular panel on the side of the device, which opens to reveal a palm reader; he puts a hand to this, and the camera pans to the yellow end port that came to life briefly when a Locrix crashed into it. The lights have come up yellow now. From here, cut to a close-up of Starfire's free hand, clenched so tightly that it is trembling, and pull back to frame her and Robin. She has finally had enough of this.)

Starfire: No. I am going with you. (Pan to Val-Yor.)

Val-Yor: I gave you an order!

Starfire: I do not take orders from you. (Cut to him; zoom in slowly as she continues o.c.) If my friends go into danger, so do I. (Back to her.) Besides, my people can withstand hostile conditions.

(Her face and his are now set in their respective determination. Cut to sea level; the ship hurtles on through the peppering of explosive shells, zigzags here and there to stay out of trouble, and zeroes in on the mouth of a trench that leads from the shore to the power core building. It begins to hover and descend slowly, support rods extending from the underside, and touches down on these. Almost as soon as the gangway is lowered, Locrix troops are on the scene. Slow pan across the six fighters; the top of the walk is in the cargo bay, right in front of them.)

(Two vertical straps have been attached to the end of the eradicator, and Val-Yor has slid one arm through each so that his back is to the unit. Extreme close-up of his chest as he buckles them together, then tilt up to his icy face.)

Val-Yor: Let's do this.

(Ground level. A sonic cannon blast rips through one defender and a birdarang hits another, which then gets Robin's boot in the face. Cyborg comes down right behind him to take on others as starbolts tear into them as well. He opens fire again, Starfire flies past, and Val-Yor tows the eradicator as if it weighed no more than an empty soda can. Raven is next to exit the ship and throws a handful of beams that knock out an entire detachment without trouble. It takes only a moment for backup to arrive, lots of it, and start shooting those claw cables; she creates several barriers to deflect them, and Beast Boy zooms past as a hummingbird.)

(Size and speed give him the clear advantage against the trailing lines, and the Locrix stare dumbfounded-if machines can be dumbfounded-as he swoops past them toward Val-Yor and climbs. Here come more cables, but they reach full length before he gets away into the sky, disappearing from sight. When he descends, he is now a brontosaurus, landing flat-footed in the trench and creating enough dust to choke every horse in five counties. It clears to show him back in human form, standing amid the remains of the Locrix he has just pulverized. A big grin and laugh are his immediate response, but they get cut short when several more jump in behind him.)

(Meanwhile, Val-Yor and Starfire have continued to charge along the trench, the latter out in front, and are staying as low as they can to foil the gunners' aim. A new garrison of soldiers hops down to the battle zone.)

Val-Yor: Move it, Troq! You're just getting in the way!

(She throws him a very nasty look, then turns it ahead just in time to deck every Locrix she can lay a fist on. After a few brutal seconds, she drops back toward the boss.)

Starfire: There is no one in your way now!

Val-Yor: (to himself, very snarky) "In your way now..."

(Two survivors get their tickets punched thanks to her starbolts so the pair can continue their run. Now Cyborg rushes up, cannon going full throttle.)

Cyborg: I'm going after Starfire!

Robin: She can handle herself.

(He dodges a cable coming his way. Cut to her and pull back as Val-Yor comes up even.)

Starfire: How much farther to our goal?

Val-Yor: Having trouble keeping up?

(He sails ahead; she watches him angle upward to skim a slope at the trench's end, but the trailing edge of the eradicator begins to drag in the dirt and sap his momentum. Now he strains to keep the massive thing going uphill as she pulls up. Close-up of one strap, which she seizes and pulls on with all her might, and pull back to frame one very annoyed Vernathian.)

Val-Yor: I can handle it!

Starfire: I can help.

Val-Yor: I said, I can handle it!

(She releases her hold and both continue up the incline. Cut to an entrance to the power core building; she is first to reach it and waits for him to bring up the eradicator. Close-up of him.)

Val-Yor: Stay out here! (Pan to Starfire.)

Starfire: I did not come all this way to stand outside.

Val-Yor: Stubborn Troq. Do what you want, I'm going in!

(He does so, leaving her at the threshold to chew on the age-old question: "do I help this overgrown, bigoted son of a clorbag?" The internal argument ends with a move into the entrance. Cut to a "driver's-seat" view of a small hexagonal tunnel, racing along it as she and Val-Yor pull into view and emerge into a large circular chamber. Many tunnels lead in here, the floor is dotted with small antennas, and a low platform stands at the center. Tilt up to show a large round aperture set in the center of the very high ceiling-the edge rotates slowly, then cut to Starfire.)

Starfire: The central power core? (Pull back to frame both.)

Val-Yor: What does it look like? I take this out, they all go.

(They fly near the platform, in whose center a second aperture is set, and Val-Yor sets the eradicator down to rest a moment before hefting it over his head. It is then plugged neatly into the hole. In the yellow central port on the exposed end, the lights spin a few times before stopping; next, wisps of steam hiss out from around the periphery. Pull back as the floor antennas retract themselves; the device is doing its job.)

Val-Yor: See, Troqie? I didn't need your help after all. Now I'm going to get out of here before she blows, but...you're welcome to stay.

(He lifts her chin condescendingly but gets his hand slapped away by one truly fed-up Titan. A glare of barely suppressed rage is met with a contemptuous smile, but both are cut off when a sheet of bluish energy suddenly pours up at the edge of the platform, throwing them in opposite directions. Starfire ends up on the floor, Val-Yor on the platform with sparks crackling all over his body. He can only groan and yell in agony as she gets to her feet. Cut to his side; he comes up partway with supreme effort and cannot straighten further, and she runs toward the barrier.)

Starfire: Val-Yor!

Val-Yor: Go! There's nothing you can do! (Close-up of her feet, tilting up to her head.)

Starfire: (warming up) You do not know what I can do!

(Her side. She puts her hands to the energy wall, keeps them there despite the incredible resisting force, and manages to tear open a small hole.)

Val-Yor: Get away!

(She has no intention of following that order, instead forcing the opening wider and reaching in with one hand. The incredibly small-minded Vernathian regards it uncertainly; now the strain is taking its toll on the one offering it as well.)

Starfire: Take my hand!

Val-Yor: Keep your filthy hands off me, Troq!

Starfire: You may not value my life, but I still value yours!

(She settles the matter by wrapping five fingers around his shoulder, then the other five once she has pulled him close enough, and dragging him bodily through the barrier. A blinding flash greets them as they tumble to the floor. Now a distant buzzer sounds off, and even before she can get up, the field has been fully reestablished. Within it, the eradicator starts to rotate in its setting; extreme close-up of the yellow port, on which a single light is spinning around the edge.)

(A sudden, horrified realization of what is to come flashes through her mind, the edge light disappears, and the center spot glows by itself. Before Val-Yor can protest, she has clapped one of her "filthy" hands on him again and started for the exit. They are barely clear of the central area before the eradicator goes up in a massive explosion, and the smoke and fire belch after them all the way back along the tunnel. Now free of the energy field's effects, he is no longer covered with sparks.)

(Cut to a pan across the outside trench. Responding to the system overload Val-Yor has just set off, the Locrix that are still on their feet shut down and collapse. The other Titans are standing amid the group; stop on Robin and Cyborg.)

Robin: They did it.

(Long shot of the crumbling power core building. Starfire drags her unconscious charge out and over the trench, and explosions roar from all sides, culminating in a final flash that turns the whole setup into gravel. Fade to white, then to her in midair, gently lowering Val-Yor to the ground.)

Cyborg: (from o.c.) No. She did it. (Pull back; the others approach.)

Beast Boy: Starfire, are you okay?

Starfire: Val-Yor requires medical attention.

(Zoom in to a close-up of him as she says this, then dissolve to the exterior of the Tower. It is early evening, and the ship is hovering just above and past the roof. Cut to that level; he has one arm in a sling, and he regards the Titans gathered across the concrete.)

Val-Yor: Well, thank you for all your help.

Robin: Don't thank us. Thank Starfire.

Beast Boy: Yeah. She's the one who saved your sorry butt.

(Val-Yor turns this over for a second; Starfire moves slightly away, not making eye contact.)

Val-Yor: Thank you, Starfire. I have to admit, you're not bad for a Tr...Tamaranean.

(She gives him a brief, reproachful look at the pejorative he almost delivered, then turns her eyes away again.)

Val-Yor: (forcing a laugh) You must be one of the good ones.

Starfire: No. The fact that I rescued you does not make me any better than other Tamaraneans.

Val-Yor: Look. I'm trying to pay you a compliment.

Raven: Then why does it still sound like an insult?

Val-Yor: Spike, you understand I didn't mean anything by it, it's just--

Robin: (icily, moving toward Starfire) Val-Yor, I think it's time for you to go. (Tense silence.)

Val-Yor: (disdainfully) I thought you Earthlings were all right. (turns away) I guess I was wrong. (looks back over his shoulder) You're just like the Troqs.

(With that parting shot, he lifts off from the roof, the camera following him back up to the ship. Cut to inside its open hatch as floats in; he throws one last hard look back at the quintet and closes up. At roof level, the craft lifts away and the camera tilts down to Starfire, who watches it go.)

Robin: (from o.c.) I'm sorry Val-Yor treated you like that.

(Cut to him and the other three spectators and pull back slowly to frame her.)

Robin: If I'd known, I never would've let it happen.

Cyborg: None of us would.

Starfire: There is nothing you could have done.

(Cut to the bridge, with Val-Yor back in the captain's chair and working the controls.)

Starfire: (voice over) There will always be people who say mean words because you are different, and sometimes, their minds cannot be changed.

(Back to the roof; the Titans watch him leave.)

Starfire: But there are many more people who do not judge others based on how they look or where they are from. (turns to face the others, smiling) Those are the people whose words truly matter.

(She crosses the roof to rejoin the others, whose expressions reveal their quiet pride at her quick understanding of this ugly but true facet of Earth culture. Pull back slowly, then cut to the exterior of the Tower; the pull continues as the view fades to black.)