Teen Titans
Air Date
February 5th, 2005
Previous episode
The Quest (Teen Titans)
Next episode
Cyborg the Barbarian


(Opening shot: the full moon, partially obscured by clouds in the night sky. Tilt down to an offshore oil rig, the same one that served as the Titans' prison in "Mad Mod", then cut to a close-up of its storage tanks. On the next line, tilt down to frame a piece of apparatus that consists of an enormous glowing sphere flanked by a pair of electrodes. Current crackles up and down as a man in a form-fitting black suit stands up into view. It is Doctor Light, but he has made a few tweaks to his outfit since his last go-round in "Nevermore"; thick armored gloves, each with a light set in its back, reinforcing chest/shoulder plates, cables connecting him to the setup.)

Doctor Light: Once I've drained the energy from fifty thousand barrels of oil, (his hands glow brilliantly) I'll flood the city in never-ending daylight!

(The gloves fizzle out as the cables are yanked loose under Raven's control.)

Doctor Light: Huh?

(Two of Robin's birdarangs hiss toward him; he leaps clear just in time and they slice into the base of his device. Before he can get his feet planted on the glowing sphere, a shot from Cyborg's sonic cannon blasts it into dust. As the smoke clears, he finds all five Titans gathered on a lower platform, ready to mix it up with him one more time.)

Robin: You know, Doctor Light, for a guy obsessed with illumination, you're not very bright. (Pan to Raven.)

Raven: Next time you're looking to steal something, you might want to pick a target we can't see from our living room.

(On the end of this, she steps o.c. and the camera zooms in on Titans Tower, which stands in the distance behind her; the place is literally within sight of home sweet home. Doctor Light's face goes slack in an instant as he realizes his tactical boo-boo.)

Doctor Light: Oh. Well, um...

(He regains his nerve and fires a pair of blinding blasts from his hands, forcing the group to scatter in all directions. They explode upon impact with the deck plates.)

Cyborg: That's a real pretty light show, (breaking out his cannon) but sound packs a bigger punch!

(On the end of this, cut back to Doctor Light, who creates a bright barrier to stop the burst that comes his way. Once it has been deflected, he hurls back a fierce shot; Cyborg has time for one panicked yell, and in a long shot of the smoking platform, he is blasted off and arcs screaming into the water. Back to the battle zone, where Starfire moves in, zigzagging to avoid the shots that flash toward her. A steep climb carries her up past his ledge, whereupon she retaliates with a merciless starbolt salvo that leaves the screen full of smoke. It dissipates to show the target intact within a hemispherical shield, which he takes down with a grin before firing a huge beam from the light bulb on his chest. The Tamaranean takes it in the mush and drops screaming to the platform as Robin and Beast Boy watch from their hiding places.)

Robin: We need to draw his fire.

Beast Boy: You got it. (yelling up) Dude, nice pajamas! (pulling his underwear up over his belt) Do they glow in the dark?

(His taunting gives way to a panicked yell and a split-second change into a vampire bat, allowing him to flap away from the blasts that flash down. Doctor Light lets off a cry of his own, tries to cover his head, and shoots again, and Robin takes advantage of the distraction to move in with his fighting staff. A few swings put the walking floodlight off balance for a moment, but he quickly produces a glowing whip and starts to crack away, breaking the staff in two. Robin throws the pieces aside and backs up before Doctor Light's offensive until he reaches the end of the ledge; he then leaps overhead, kicks the man in the back, and heads back the way he came.)

(Doctor Light straightens up to fire again, but emits a frightened cry and jumps out of the way just in time to avoid a dinosaur tail crashing down. Pull back as he goes flying through the air; the appendage belongs to Beast Boy, now a stegosaurus. The leap carries Doctor Light down to the main platform, where he flops dazedly onto his face. Pan slightly as the two boys and Starfire jump/fly down here; Beast Boy is back in human form.)

Doctor Light: (standing up, rounding on them angrily) No one defeats Doctor Light! No one--

(A swirl of black starts to form behind him; his tirade gives way to a scared little noise as he turns toward it. Tilt up slightly to frame the entire shape, which resolves into Raven; impossibly tall and with a forest of tentacles snaking out from beneath her cloak, as when she blew her cool at the start of "Nevermore.")

Raven: Remember me?

(The color drains from his face, indicating that he does indeed have a very clear memory of his first run-in with this particular Titan. She towers impassively over him and withdraws all the tentacles as he turns to the others.)

Doctor Light: I'd like to go to jail now, please.

(Starfire applauds both the defeat and the restraint Raven has exercised this time around, and Cyborg climbs up over the side and spits out a mouthful of Jump City Bay. A look at his forearm panel brings a huge grin to his face.)

Cyborg: All right! The butt-kicking's over and it's almost midnight! (Sight gag: his eyes briefly become milk-streaming donuts.) Time for donuts! Yeah!

(Hearts float up around him. As Robin and Starfire escort Doctor Light away, Raven, back to normal size, turns toward home.)

Raven: I'll see you back at the Tower. (All others stop.)

Robin: But, Raven...

Starfire: You do not wish to enjoy the nuts of dough? It is like eating sweet tiny wheels.

Raven: I just want to get home before tomorrow comes. (She takes off; question marks around Beast Boy's head.)

Beast Boy: What's so special about tomorrow?

(Cut to a long shot of the half-wrecked platform and tilt down through the water. The camera passes briefly into blackness as it moves through the rock of the bay floor, then reaches a deep, dry cavern and stops. Zoom in slowly toward its back wall and dissolve to a patch farther along. The zoom continues for a moment and stops as the entire place starts to rumble; after a couple of seconds, an armored hand breaks the surface and light pours up around it. Long shot of the area, radiance and smoke boiling up from below the surface, then back to the spot as the figure emerges fully. The face-hidden behind a black/red-orange steel mask with only one eyehole, the left, is that of the one and only Slade. He appears just as cool and fresh as the day Terra gave him a boiling-lava shower in Part Two of "Aftershock.")

Slade: The day has begun.

(Snap to black.)


Act One

(Opening shot: the exterior of the Tower, the camera pointing up from its base toward the upper stories. The building stands dark and silent under the darkened, cloudy sky. Cut to a long shot of the door to Raven's room, zooming in slowly, then dissolve to a zoom inside that shows her sitting on the edge of her bed. The only sound here is the slow ticking of a clock; dissolve to it, an old wind-up alarm in her hands that shows the time as a few seconds before 6: 00. She eyes it worriedly enough to screw up the sleep of people three miles away.)

(As those last seconds tick away, cut back and forth between the clock face and her own. Once the sweep hand hits 12, she flops onto her back.)

Raven: Six PM. Just six more hours and it'll be over. Six more--

(It is the evening after the battle with Doctor Light, then. A loud knock at the door startles a gasp out of her and gets her standing up.)

Raven: Hello?

(She crosses to the door; cut to the hall as it slides open and she peeks out carefully. Nothing stirring anywhere in this stretch, so she moves out for a look around. Passing a flight of stairs, then moving down another passage, then reaching the top of the stairs that lead to the operations center, she is greeted by nothing but darkness and silence. Snap to black, which resolves into a head-on view of her as its door slides open to show her here, then cut to her perspective and pan slowly across the facility. Dead quiet and dark here as well; cut back to her briefly, then to her perspective again as all the lights suddenly blaze up. The other four Titans pop up, a "Happy Birthday" banner unfurling from the ceiling amid a shower of confetti and balloons.)

Robin, Beast Boy, Cyborg, and Starfire: SURPRISE!!

(It certainly is; back to Raven, who screams with enough fear to make her hair stand on end and then drops out of sight.)

Cyborg: Um...Raven? (All deflate.)

Starfire: It is merely us, your friends, with warm wishes for the day of your birth.

Robin: I told you a surprise party was a bad idea.

(A circle of black energy forms just behind Beast Boy's feet and grows into the birthday girl, who is anything but pleased at the surprise bash. The sudden reentry sets him screaming and running.)

Raven: How did you know it was my birthday?

Beast Boy: (grinning) Um...'member last night how you made that big deal about tomorrow? Well, we started wondering what tomorrow was, so we did some snooping.  (Robin, Starfire, and Cyborg glare at him.)  Okay, I did some snooping. (Sight gag: during this line, everything behind him dissolves to a shot of a computer terminal under a single light. "Super Deformed" Beast Boy drops into view, dressed as a cat burglar, and starts hammering at the keys.) And I sorta found a restricted file in the off-limits area of the Titans' computer that kinda had your birthday on it.

(During this line, cut to a close-up of the SD hacker; the rest of it is heard as a voice over. A small cash register pops up and opens its cash drawer, signifying his success at hitting the mother lode. Starfire pops up, her image rotated 90 degrees, as the background restores itself.)

Starfire: (turning right side up) And we have been preparing your celebration ever since. (Beast Boy slides up to Raven.)

Beast Boy: We put up tons of decorations. (Cyborg pops up with a covered dish.)

Cyborg: I baked my famous eight-layer cake with three kinds of frosting.

(He yanks away the cover on this line; the cake expands upward to its full height, complete with candles and enough icing to make good on his description. Starfire whips over.)

Starfire: And I have assembled for you a traditional Tamaranean throknar. (She holds up on a pillow...) The crown of meat!

(It is pushed into Raven's face; Beast Boy beams at the offering, vegetarian though he might be, but she reacts as if it were a half-rotted corpse.)

Robin: (uncertainly) I hope this is okay. We just--

Raven: (icily) No. It's not. (Her perspective of them.) Look. I really appreciate what you're trying to do here... (Back to her.) ...but I'm not interested.

(She wheels toward the door, but Starfire is there to try and stop her.)

Starfire: But...there will be music and the iced cream, and a strange game involving pins and the behind of a donkey.

(Each item pops up as she names it, she is referring, of course, to Pin the Tail on the Donkey. They vanish as Cyborg joins in.)

Cyborg: We got a piñata shaped like Beast Boy. (He holds it up as he says this.) You know you want to smack it.

Raven: I said no. (Pull back slightly; Beast Boy sidles up.)

Beast Boy: Come on, Raven. I know you hate fun, but it's your birthday. It's special. (Close-up of the back of her head; he continues o.c.) You can't let this day end without--

Raven: (whirling around, eyes blazing) NO!!!

(A burst of her powers pops all the balloons, sends the banner to the floor in shreds, and turns all the refreshments to mush. Beast Boy is left staring wide-eyed, hurt and surprised, with a couple of layers of Cyborg's cake stuck to his head. Without another word, Raven shoulders roughly past Starfire and the cook and leaves the operations center. None of the others can think of any proper words for some moments.)

Beast Boy: I told you a surprise party was a bad idea.

Robin: (annoyed, passing him) Give it a rest.

(Cut to the top of the stairs; Raven hurries away from the camera as the door opens o.c. and light streams out.)

Robin: (from o.c.) Raven! (It closes; he runs into view.) What's wrong?

(Profile close-up of the worried gray face, seen from nose to shoulders.)

Raven: I just don't like parties. (Pull back to frame both; slow pan.)

Robin: It's more than that. I can tell. We have a bond, remember? You've been inside my mind. Let me inside yours.

(He is referring to the time she spent seeing the world through his eyes in "Haunted"; trying to figure out if Slade really had returned. Cut to behind Raven and zoom in slowly; she turns to look back over her shoulder toward him.)

Raven: Robin, you know me better than anyone. You should know there are places in my mind where you can't go-- (Extreme close-up of her eyes.) --where no one should ever go. (Pull back.)

Robin: I'm willing to try if you'll--

Raven: I can't.

Robin: Tell me what's going on.

Raven: Just trust me. If you knew anything about the day of my birth... (walks off) ...you'd know there's nothing to celebrate.

(Dissolve to a close-up of her alarm clock and pull back slowly; it is now a minute or so before 9:00. Back in her room, she eyes it impatiently and taps one knee against the mattress of her bed. The second hand makes its way past 12, marking the top of the hour.)

Raven: Can't this thing go any faster? (groans) I just want this day to be over! (calms down) Relax...only a few hours to go...it might not even happen. Focus...meditate... (Cut to the clock; she continues o.c.) ...it'll be midnight before you know it.

(Pull back to a slow pan across the bed; she now floats a foot or so above it and has composed herself for meditation. The clock rises to eye level.)

Raven: (chanting) Azarath Metrion Zinthos... (Close-up; the camera tracks around her head in a circle.) Azarath Metrion Zinthos... (Zoom in on her face.) Aza--

(She breaks off with a small cough; pull back as she hacks a bit louder and opens her eyes. A low rumbling has started, and flames erupt all around her as she gags and clutches at her throat. When the initial burst clears, the entire room has caught fire, leaving her completely hemmed in on the bed. Slow pan across the area; a deep, gravelly voice begins to speak.)

Voice: What you have concealed, you shall become. You have no other choice. Your destiny will be fulfilled.

(Embers drop from the ceiling and set the blankets ablaze in rivulets of fire that snake quickly from edge to edge. She stares in mute terror, and the camera cuts to an overhead view of the burning bed; the flames have formed a design that looks something like a stylized letter S. On the next line, pull back to show Raven now floating well above this.)

Voice: The portal must be opened! (She gasps.)

Raven: NOOOOO!!

(A great flash, and the room is exactly as it was before this cataclysm began. She and the clock are back on the bed, and she heaves for breath as if she has just run the Boston Marathon five times in succession. When she looks up, the camera cuts to her perspective and pans slowly to one corner before pulling back to a long shot of the bed. Dead silence once again; in close-up, she is sweating buckets, this vision or hallucination has truly shaken her from top to toe. A loud knock at the door kicks her out of this paralysis very quickly; cut to Robin outside as it opens.)

Robin: I heard you scream.

(The emergency alarm and red flashers go off. Cut to a close-up of her brooch, which also starts flashing in response, and tilt up to her face.)

Raven: Trouble!

(Cut to the exterior of a compound of buildings, zooming in slowly, then to the upper reaches of a machine room inside. On the next line, tilt down to an overhead shot of the floor, with the Titans visible as small specks at the far end. Rows of pistons cycle at left and right; the "floor" is a network of catwalks, below which many levels of piping can be seen.)

Cyborg: So, who's the bad guy du jour? Gizmo? Mad Mod? (Close-up of the group.) Killer Moth?

Starfire: The report simply stated there was an intruder. (Cut to Beast Boy on the end of this.)

Beast Boy: Well, whoever it is, we're gonna totally kick their--

(He never finishes the sentence, as he runs into the back of Robin, who has stopped short.)

Robin: (horrified) No.

(The green joker gasps, his eyes instantly going as wide as Frisbees. Cut to a close-up of one of Slade's boots on an elevated platform and tilt up slowly. His face is hidden by shadow, and his other foot is perched on the railing.)

Slade: It's been a long time, hasn't it, Titans? A month? A year? A millennium? (turning toward light) Far too long for my tastes, anyway. I was beginning to think I'd never see your smiling faces again.

(On the end of this, pull back to show his perch at the opposite end of the machine room from their position. Close-up of them, panning slowly across from Starfire toward Cyborg.)

Cyborg: (from o.c.) You...how did you survive?

Beast Boy: Terra took you down. Way down! (Close-up of Robin's hand, balling to a fist.)

Robin: (from o.c.) Slade. (Close-up of the Boy Wonder.) I don't know where you've been, but you shouldn't have come back. I'm still ready.

(On Slade's forehead, a glowing mark appears, a small copy of the design that traced itself onto Raven's bed during her vision.)

Slade: (chuckling) That's precious, Robin. (Extreme close-up of his eye.) But I didn't come back for you.

(Pull back. His hands are now flaming, and with a feral yell he sends a thick snake of fire out toward the Titans. All scatter before it; the thing bends up from the floor, and as Raven gains a bit of altitude, she finds it headed straight for her. Cut to a close-up of her hooded face, the glare fully illuminating every square inch and casting red reflections into her eyes, and fade to black.)

Act Two

(Opening shot: the fire snake lashing up toward Raven, whose red-flickering eyes widen to the point of being ready to pop out of their sockets. With less than a second to spare before it strikes, she conjures up her "soul-self" and escapes through the wall. Elsewhere, Starfire carries Robin away and Cyborg races across the floor to stay ahead of Slade's blast. He jumps clear of the next one and goes over the railing near one row of giant pistons; cut to the armored hands and pan to Slade as he lets up and speaks.)

Slade: Ever have one of those days where you just feel happy to be alive?

(He warms up again and targets Beast Boy, flitting nearby as a hummingbird. Tilt down to floor level, where the changeling drops down in human form and Raven rises from the catwalks.)

Beast Boy: Dude!

Cyborg: Yeah! Since when can Slade do that?

(One boot hits the railing; pull back to frame its partner balanced here as well and their owner ready to do his flamethrower impression again. He takes a high, spinning leap and comes down to floor level in a crouch.)

Robin: Not sure, but he won't be doing it for long. Titans! Go!

(Beast Boy becomes a velociraptor as the others rush ahead. First to attack are Cyborg and Starfire, who unleash a blitzkrieg barrage with their respective weapons; Slade, however, merely creates a shield of fire to protect himself and vaults back up to his platform. As he stands there, imperturbable as ever with arms folded, Robin throws a handful of discs across the floor. These freeze the conflagration and its creator solid on impact, the ice rapidly spreading upward to cover Slade's head. The Boy Wonder crouches low, ready to go again if needed, and it is needed as soon as the masked criminal shatters the layer of frost away from his body.)

(He jumps down and finds Raven rising to meet his challenge; she brings the ice fragments under her control, then projects the deadly shards straight at him. A few deft leaps and sidesteps keep him from being skewered, but as soon as he gets clear, Beast Boy jumps down from above as a gorilla to have a bash at him. Slade slides backward out of his reach; now Starfire moves in, both hands blazing, and he quickly throws up a shield. It protects him, but the hits push him backward a good distance.)

(When Slade has regained his balance, he hurls a fireball up at Starfire; now she tries to create a starbolt barrier, but his shot overpowers it and she is blasted down. Behind him, Cyborg has moved near the shaft of one wall piston. He gets the best grip he can and manages to tear the entire thing loose from its moorings, intending to knock the enemy out of the park with it. The weighted end comes around in a thundering arc, dead on target, but Slade merely creates a layer of fire on his body for a moment and lets this burn cleanly through the makeshift club. Close-up of Cyborg, his mind completely blown by this exhibition.)

Cyborg: Whoa! (Pull back to frame Slade.)

Slade: "Whoa"? That's it? No clever comment? (Cut to Cyborg; he continues o.c.) I was looking forward to that.

(Needled in just the wrong place, the big man drops the remains of the piston and charges. Slade ducks underneath his punch and raises one hand, forefinger poised behind thumb as if ready to flick something away. It stops just short of Cyborg's face, a spark of fire flashes from the fingertips, and the flick comes with enough force and heat to throw him backward. Here comes Raven, just in time for Cyborg to plow into her; above them, Beast Boy swoops down as a falcon and zeroes in on Slade. A few nimble jumps carry the target up over the pistons and onto a high catwalk, and a moment later, the Titan is up there and reverting to human form. His next bound takes him far along its length, where he comes down as a triceratops. What Slade does next is to touch one set of knuckles to the planks, sending traces of fire across its width and toward the green behemoth. A second later, the section beneath Beast Boy's feet collapses, weakened by the fire, and drops him toward the floor. As rubble thunders down all around, he resumes human form, then becomes a vampire bat and flaps away.)

(Behind Slade, Robin swings onto the intact end of the catwalk and starts slinging discs. They detonate everywhere, but fall short of the fleeing villain, and Robin charges through the smoke with his staff at the ready. The pursuit carries him into a forest of turning gears; he hops among them, but cannot catch sight of Slade right away. Finally, he gets an eyeful; the man is riding up on a slowly rotating gear, the camera tilting slowly up as he rises. In one hand is his own fighting staff, close-up, panning along the length as it flares up, then pull back for his savage yell and jump. Robin backs up on the giant metal teeth to keep from getting his skull cracked or cooked, and the two spar for a moment before one hit burns through the young man's weapon. He eyes one smoldering, half-melted piece as Slade steps unflappably along the gear's teeth.)

Slade: Take my word for it, Robin. (Extreme close-up; he raises his staff close.) You shouldn't play with fire.

(Pull back. One fierce roundhouse sends Robin, glowing and smoking, down to a distant, horizontally-mounted gear.)

Slade: It really has been nice seeing all of you again.

(He looks to one side. Cut to just behind him and zoom in on the floor catwalks, where he has focused his attention on Cyborg and Raven; the former is out cold, the latter on her feet. Close-up of her.)

Raven: I just want this day to end!

Slade: (jumps down to her) I think we both know this day is far from over.

(She stares uncomprehendingly up at his concealed face.)

Slade: Hello, birthday girl. Ready for your present?

(He has come for her, then. She gathers her powers in one hand and projects a huge black claw that seizes him and carries him high over the machine room. It smashes him into a spot high on one wall; she flies up to survey the damage and sighs with relief upon seeing all the smoke.)

Slade: (emerges from the haze) I have a message for you.

(She gets ready to let him have it again, but five steel-clad fingers lock around her left wrist and startle her out of it. White light flashes around her straining face, red light burns steadily around his, and the she stands before him, unable to move due to the blinding pain caused by his iron grip. Finally, he lets go, and she tumbles down to land on a gear wheel. As she sits up and looks herself over, her eyes go wide at the realization that her sleeve has been torn. Behind her, Slade floats in midair, wreathed in crackling blue-white sparks. Cut to her perspective of the left hand, tilting down a bit to frame the exposed forearm; whose skin now sports a glowing red mark identical to the one on Slade's forehead.)

(Cut to him, illuminated by both this crimson aura and a new shower of sparks.)

Slade: (deliberately) It has begun.

(The energy flashes all over the room, blowing out machines in clouds of smoke; some of it flows through his outstretched hand, then hits the shaft of a piston and snaps it. As Cyborg comes to, he has to back up very quickly to avoid the falling debris. More explosions rip through the rest of the stilled shafts and drop the huge gears free from their elevated mountings near where Robin has lighted. On the floor catwalks, Beast Boy has resumed human form and is still badly dazed by his hard landing; Starfire sweeps past, pulling him toward the exit, and Cyborg cuts out after them. Robin swings down a second later as the framework under his feet starts to blow apart.)

(While the four flee for their lives, flames boil up from the levels beneath the floor and the wall pistons tumble like rows of pine trees. A terrific blast brings down more of the gears and their framework; one colossal wheel slams down and rolls after Robin, whose feet are already doing triple time toward the door. The catwalk buckles under the vast weight, leaving him on a slope too steep to climb, and he stares bug-eyed toward the advancing shadow. Raven watches, horrified, from her vantage point among the few intact gears for a second or two and then finds her voice.)

Raven: STOP!!!!!

(A black wave radiates out from her body and washes over the entire machine room; cut here and there as it passes, the lights dimming and the tumult slowing to a dead stop. When she looks up, totally bewildered, she finds that the place has become a full-scale freeze frame; this is an exercise of her powers that we have never seen. Cut to a slow pan at ground level: Starfire flying out, Beast Boy partway through a transformation, Cyborg running like mad, then stop on the huge rolling gear and zoom in. Close-up of its teeth, tilting slowly down toward to frame Robin, who has fallen onto his back and will surely be flattened if time gets itself sorted out.)

(Raven gasps in shock and looks around the frozen tableau, her arms wrapped around her body as if for warmth. Her eyes stop on the levitating Slade, plastered back first against a wall with arms spread wide and head tilted upward. Close-up of her.)

Raven: How did I--?

Slade: (from o.c.) You might be able to stop time, birthday girl, (Cut to him.) but you can't stop me. (Unfreezing, he glows red.) You can't stop any of it, really.

(Back to her; she starts to retreat slowly.)

Slade: (from o.c.) I have to say, Raven, when I found out the truth, I was very impressed. (Back to Slade; he walks in midair and gestures rubble away.) All this time, I had no idea. The power lurking inside you. The glorious destiny that awaits. It's always the quiet ones, isn't it?

(Raven claps both hands to her head and groans as if trying to tear this experience out of her mind through her scalp. As Slade continues, she runs in search of a place to hide.)

Slade: But honestly, did you think you could just blow out the candles and wish it all away?

(A support girder passes near the camera; behind it, the view changes to show her running up a collapsed beam and stopping at its elevated end.)

Slade: (from o.c.) Today is the day it begins.

(He steps leisurely after her on the end of this line.)

Slade: You've known this all your life. (leans into Raven's face) It is going to happen. And no matter what you wish, (She turns away.) no matter where you go, no matter how you squirm... (Extreme close-up of his eye.) ...there is nothing you can do to stop it.

(Pull back. She swivels her head to face him, her eyes flaring white, and passes through the wall that has blocked her path. She emerges from the opposite surface, having assumed the form of her "soul-self," and takes flight. As she gains altitude, she resumes her normal appearance and casts an eye over the motionless tumult at ground level. Down she goes, stopping by Robin; extreme close-up of his chest as she places a hand on it. Energy washes over the dimly lit Titan, and the camera pulls back as his normal color and motion resume. He gasps and looks up at her.)

Robin: Raven?

(Both turn their attention briefly to Slade, who has not left his spot near the wall Raven traversed, and are then carried away in a black burst. Cut to a street in Jump City; the light here has assumed that same dim tinge, indicating that her time-stopping has worked on a very large scale indeed. Her "soul-self" rises from the pavement and glides through the urban still life, and Robin is ejected to the street when it has moved a safe distance from the underground machine room. Raven sorts herself out a moment later and eyes Robin ruefully, as he's less frozen, gasping for breath. A cathedral stands at the end of the block.)

Robin: What is going on? (He stands.) Why is Slade back? Where did he get those powers? How did you stop time?

(Dissolve to a longer shot of the pair, pulling back down the street a bit. Several birds have been caught in mid-flight, their wings visible only as high-speed blurs. A pan across the area reveals people frozen in the middle of their daily business and cars' arrested momentum. From here, cut to a football hanging in air and tilt down to show a game in progress at a stadium; players form a tableau of rushing, blocking, and tackling on the gridiron. Back to Raven.)

Raven: I...I'm not sure.

(She raises her torn left sleeve and sees the luminescent rune on her forearm fade out.)

Raven: I never wanted this day to come. And when it did, I just wanted it to stop. (Long shot.) I guess I got my wish.

Robin: What is happening? (Back to them; Raven looks briefly to the rooftops.)

Raven: It's my birthday.

(A small black figure appears at one edge and dives toward her; it resolves into Slade once he has come close enough to the camera. She takes a few steps back toward Robin as the foe lands.)

Robin: Raven, run!

(She does so. Robin slides over to put himself between her and Slade, who just eyes him as if his presence is of no importance whatsoever. The Boy Wonder goes up for a series of flying kicks that rock the steel-masked head back and forth like a speed bag; the last one sends him sliding far down the block. Despite the ferocity of this assault, Slade is able to straighten up, but his head is twisted at an impossible angle on his neck. He slowly works it back into proper alignment, the sound of crackling vertebrae making itself quite clear; extreme close-up of his tightly closed eye, which reopens and gazes levelly ahead.)

(Cut to between his legs and zoom in on Robin, who stares in total disbelief at this piece of skeletal legerdemain. Around Slade's feet, two tongues of flame erupt and entwine into a huge fireball that rockets toward Robin. It gets him bang in the face; cut to the end of the block opposite the cathedral, where his yell of pain is heard and a car is blasted into the intersection. Raven catches sight of this and flies in to help, only to find a solid sheet of flame blocking the approach to the place of worship. Slade steps easily out of the inferno.)

Slade: I have a message for you, and I will deliver it, whether you like it or not.

(Cut to a close-up of the panicked Titan, backing up slowly, on the end of this. Her fear gives way to rage in a twinkling, and she raises her hands to bring a loop of sewer pipe up from underground to snare him.)

Slade: Skies will burn. (He breaks free.) Flesh will become stone.

(Cut to her; she levitates mailboxes and parking meters and throws them at him.)

Slade: (from o.c.) The sun will set on your world... (Back to him; a box smashes harmlessly against his body.) ...never to rise again.

(His form turns to pure flame and explodes in all directions, wiping out the screen for a second. When it clears, the camera quickly tracks in a circle around Raven, whose eyes dart up and down the street as she tries to figure out where Slade went. The movement stops when he rematerializes behind her; she turns to him with a gasp, and he seizes both upper arms in an unbreakable hold. As in the machine room, white light flashes around the gray face, drawn in a sudden, silent contortion as if she were being electrocuted, and she is hurled to the street on her back. When she starts to rise, she is shocked to find that the fabric of her outfit has torn away where he touched it; she hastily covers the exposed skin, which now displays red marks.)

Slade: Time won't wait forever. You can't run away from who you are.

Raven: (eyes blazing) I can try!

(Two huge slabs of asphalt crack loose under her influence and flip up, crushing him. She then sets off running toward the cathedral and the flaming chaos that fills the street near it.)

Raven: Robin!

(She pushes one chunk of rock aside and levitates a few others out of the way, but fails to uncover her teammate. Cut to just behind her, panning slightly as she looks around here; stop on one particular slab, which falls away to reveal him pushing it. He is barely able to draw breath after the hurt Slade dumped on him, so she helps him up and steers him toward the cathedral.)

(Cut to inside the structure, the camera pointing out through a high stained-glass window, and pull back. Tilt down to an overhead view of the double doors, which swing open to show the two Titans on the threshold; as they slowly move into the silent expanse, the doors slam to behind them. Cut to the windows at one side of the sanctuary and pan to bring them into view, walking up the center aisle. About halfway to the altar, Robin can go no further and collapses to the floor, dragging Raven down as deadweight. Camera shifts to just behind the rear pew, panning to frame them in the aisle.)

Raven: I shouldn't have dragged you into this. (Close-up.) Any of you. But you're in, and you need to know. (Cut to the high windows; Raven continues o.c.) I need to tell you. When I was born, they looked into my future. On this day, the anniversary of my birth, (Long shot; pull back slowly.) something is supposed to happen. Something very bad. That's why I-I didn't want to celebrate.

(On the start of the next line, cut to the exterior of the building; Slade's boots step past, his shadow following well behind.)

Raven: (voice over) But just because you don't have a party doesn't mean it's not your birthday. (Inside, Robin groans and stands up.)

Robin: (with effort) The symbol...on his forehead...what does it mean?

(Behind him, the door is blown in off its hinges and the wearer of said mark stands amid the clearing smoke. He puts his hands together and sweeps them apart, throwing out a sea of fire that sets both heroes tumbling. Robin crashes bent-backed across a pew, while Raven ends up on the floor. Standing up, she looks about and finds the pyromaniac villain crouching by his handiwork; close-up of his face.)

Slade: It's just you and me now, kid.

(Fade to black.)

Act Three

(Opening shot: the full moon hanging low in the light-tinted nighttime sky. The camera points up at it from between buildings and tilts down to frame a flock of motionless birds above an alley. Raven bursts out of a door that gives onto this passage; the cathedral's rear entrance, and beats feet at Slade's jet of fire hisses out after her. He steps out a moment later, taking his time.)

Slade: (lifts his burning hand) You're making this much more difficult than this needs to be. (He throws a fireball that unfolds into a blazing barrier to cut off Raven's escape; she turns back, shielding her face, and finds him ambling up.) The message must be delivered.

(Almost without thinking, Raven manifests her "soul-self" and flies through the flames. She resumes her usual form on its other side and continues her flight, but Slade is zooming right up after her. Every move she makes, he copies without even a hint of stress or effort, even a thread-the-needle dive that carries both through a stilled busy street. Raven brings several cars up from the curbs and slings them back at her pursuer; he dodges one, smashes the others in two with a string of burning punches, and continues his approach.)

(Several blocks later, he warms up and displays his pyrotechnic abilities in a new way, stretching out two blistering arms that send Raven diving every which way as they grab for her. She machine-guns one of them with black shots, then hits the gas to stay ahead when these do no good. Her course carries her into a narrow alley between two buildings; the fiery arms hit the architecture on either side and dissipate, but Slade charges straight on in. Close-up of him, pulling back to frame her.)

Raven: Azarath Metrion Zinthos!

(As she speaks the words, cut to a ground-level view of the two buildings and tilt up. Her powers extend over the structures and pull them toward each other until their facades grind together. Now in open air, Raven stops to look back at the trap she has sprung on Slade; probably the world's biggest trash compactor. Thick dust clouds waft slowly up from the shifted foundations and ruined masonry.)

(She dips her head sadly, thinking now of the destruction caused by her desperate gambit, but is rudely interrupted when the upper stories partially blow out and Slade emerges unscathed. The shock of seeing him roots her to the spot and leaves her wide open for him to get in a flying tackle. Both crash into the roof of the building Robin first burglarized in Part Two of "Apprentice"; circular design, observation deck set a story or two down, walkway leading off from this. As the smoke clears, Raven hustles away from the impact site and Slade stands erect, his masked face showing more single-minded determination)

(Cut to just behind the fleeing girl. Slade reaches into view, and grabs Raven's cloak)

Slade: What you have concealed, you shall become! (He rips the entire cape off of her. Raven now lies prone, the back of her outfit split all the way down to her belt, and a pattern of glowing scarlet inscriptions has appeared on her bared skin. With some effort, she turns over to face up at him.) You have no other choice. (Raven's eyes blaze; she swirls up into a charge.)

Raven: No!

(Black energy surrounds her entire body, but dissipates the instant he gets his left fingers locked around her right forearm.)

Slade: The message will be delivered. (She swings with her left; Slade grabs it, too.) Your destiny shall be fulfilled.

(She swiftly makes the connection between his words and the voice that spoke when her room caught fire in)

(Her face contorted with horror at this realization, the mark on Slade's forehead superimposing itself over the gem on hers, she backs up  and voices a series of tortured groans as white light pours from both eyes. Tilt down to frame the rest of her body; Her costume begins to shred away, exposing red marks have appeared on her arms, legs, and midriff. The remnants on one arm tear apart, revealing extended marks there as well, and the camera shifts to a pan across the sky and Slade's face. Sun and moon cycle rapidly through the sky, which darkens and lightens through the passage of many days.)

(As Raven strains against the mastermind's inflexible grip and time continues in fast-forward, her hair lengthens until it is almost to her waist. Finally, she is let go and drops to her knees against the night sky, wrapping her arms around her body as if trying to ward off a soul-freezing chill. She unfolds them after a moment and looks down in shock at the markings that have now covered almost every square inch of her body. The remaining pieces of her black outfit resemble a raggedly cut halter top and briefs, and her wrist guards and bands have gone, but her belt is still askew on her hips.)

(Raven looks up, still horrified; cut to her perspective, panning slowly across the Jump City skyline, or rather, what remains of it. Every building stands in ruins under a blood-red sky, with the sullenly still bay as their backdrop. Stop on the Tower, standing at a crazy angle offshore, and cut to a close-up of its base and tilt up. We are now close enough to see that the bay has filled not with water, but with molten lava, and the Tower has fallen into such disrepair that it ought to be condemned and razed.)

(Cut to a long shot of the building on which Raven and Slade are standing and tilt down to ground level as a large black raven screeches into the sky. Flames lick up from the broken pavement and among the derelict cars and buildings; elsewhere, more of these birds; the four-eyed ones that menaced Beast Boy and Cyborg in "Nevermore", caw harshly and take flight. Behind the trailing edges of their wings, the view changes to a slow pan across a group of stone statues that depict Cyborg, the fully human Beast Boy, and Starfire. Each is being dragged down by a horde of small creatures with drawn, ghoulish faces and long arms, and a cut/tilt up at the base of a fourth figure shows Robin in the same dire situation. Behind each one, a fragment of the machine room wall still stands erect, suggesting that these are not statues of the Titans, but the Titans themselves, petrified like gargoyles by some unearthly enchantment. Overall, the prediction Slade made near the end of Act Two has been dead on target.)

(From here, cut to another long shot of the building and track slowly around it in a circular path. Behind the trailing edge of a wrecked skyscraper, the view changes to a close-up of Slade. Raven finally gets to her feet.)

Raven: No!

Slade: Yes. Look at it. Drink it in. (Cut to behind them and tilt up to frame the ravaged cityscape spread out like a nightmare architect's models.) Behold, the world you are destined to create.

(Dissolve to a pan across the skyline. It lasts for some seconds; at the end of it, a towering humanoid silhouette stands up among the once-proud structures. No features can be discerned at this distance except for a pair of antlers that sprout from either side of the head. In extreme close-up, the mouth opens for a thundering roar and the head turns to put its eyes in view; two pairs of them, burning bright red as did those of the demon Trigon in "Nevermore." Raven's father has crossed over into our world, but the horns are a feature not seen on her projection of him during that episode. The tone of the roar matches that of the voice that spoke in her room during Act One. Back to Raven.)

Raven: No! (puts her hands to her head) I won't do it! This is just a vision. This can't be real!

(Slade reaches into view from behind and clasps Raven's upper arms.)

Slade: (from o.c.) This is the future. (He leans in over her shoulder.) Your future. (Long shot; slow pan.) It began the day you were born, and nothing can stop it. (Close-up.) This will come to pass. I will make sure of it. You're going to destroy the world, Raven. It's written all over your face. (Stop on Raven's face.)

Raven: (eyes wide, blazing) NOOOOOOOOOO!!

(Bursts of white light play over her agonized visage during this long scream, and black rings wash up from the roof over her "soul-self" as the camera tilts up to frame the yowling winged apparition. It disintegrates into shreds while the sky restores itself to normal night coloration, and the camera tilts down again to show that the time-stopping effect has ended in this area. The buildings are back in order now, her apocalyptic vision has ended.)

(Cut here and there throughout Jump City; at each location, Raven's energy sweeps across the screen and everything is instantly set right. People go about whatever they were doing, completely unaware that anything out of the ordinary has put their lives on hold for a while. A flock of birds scatters past the roof on which Raven and Slade are still standing; she is utterly spent by the night's experience and slumps wearily backward in his arms. Cut to a profile close-up of her midsection and tilt slowly up to the bowed gray head whose unkempt violet strands wave slightly in a chance breeze. During this movement, all the inscriptions on Raven's body fade away. Pan to Slade's face and pull back to just below the roof, the camera pointing up the pair; he releases his grip on her arms and lets her tumble over the edge.)

Slade: We'll be in touch. (Close-up.) Oh...and happy birthday.

(The unconscious Titan plummets toward the street below, ready to start a new career as a very interesting piece of roadkill. Before she can hit the blacktop, however, Robin swings across and makes a very neat one-armed catch. He lands on a rooftop, cradling her as gently as a 55-gallon drum of old nitroglycerin. She groans weakly and starts to come around; the first sight that greets her is the Boy Wonder's face, fixed in a warm smile. Pull back slowly to frame the pair.)

Robin: Let's go home.

(Dissolve to the exterior of the Tower and cut to a close-up of the alarm clock in Raven's room. Sitting on one of the corner bookshelves, it is ticking off the final seconds before 1:00 AM; a new day has started. Pan to the jagged-edged wall mirror to the sound of snipping scissors; she stands at it and finishes cutting her hair back to its usual length. She has changed into a fresh set of clothes, and she regards her reflection somberly before looking down toward the surface of the dresser set before the mirror. Raven's perspective of the clipped scraps; she extends her hands into view, palms up, and surveys their unadorned gray surfaces for a moment. Pull back to frame Raven again; for the third time this episode, a loud knock at the door startles her out of the reverie.)

(Outside, the door slides open and she steps into the hall. No one is here, but a tilt to ground level reveals some cards laid out, each marked with an arrow that points off down the way. Not sure what to make of this, Raven moves off in this direction and out of sight around a corner. Cut to just inside the closed door of the darkened operations center; it opens to admit her, and she is immediately showered with confetti as the lights blaze up and she shields her eyes. A clamor of party favors and noisemakers is heard.)

(Cut to the "Happy Birthday" banner the other Titans hung up during their first attempt at a surprise party. It has been taped back together and put back in place; tilt down to frame all five. Cyborg has baked a new eight-layer cake, while Beast Boy wears a party hat.)

Beast Boy: Um... (Brief big grin.) ...surprise?

Cyborg: Look. We know you didn't want a party, but after... (Pan to Robin and Starfire; Cyborg continues o.c.) ...today...

Starfire: ...We hope that you might reconsider.

Beast Boy: (slides to Raven) You may not like your birthday, but we're all glad you were born.

(He grins again, not noticing the uneasy expressions that have suddenly popped up on the faces of the other three party conspirators. Raven grimaces as if trying to decide which spell will let her pull his appendix out through his ears, then speaks after a long silence.)

Raven: We're going to need ice cream.

(Stars pop in Beast Boy's eyes as Starfire giggles and the other two boys smile in relief at her mood change.)

Beast Boy: Coming right up! (He runs to the kitchen.)

Cyborg: I'll cut the cake! (He heads for the tables.)

Starfire: And I shall fetch the throknar! (She flies to the side door; Raven approaches Robin.)

Robin: You're sure you're okay?

Raven: I will be.

(Behind her, the green joker zips past, his arms loaded with ice cream cartons. Starfire is not far behind, once again carrying that crown of meat on its special pillow.)

Robin: What you told me about your destiny; that something bad was supposed to happen, I guess I did. I'm sorry I couldn't stop it.

Raven: No one could. (Close-up of Robin's chest.)

Robin: (socks one fist into the other palm) We will find Slade. We'll figure out how he did what he did, and why he was after you. But right now... (puts his hands on Raven's shoulders) ...you're safe.

(The sound of gobbling draws their attention to the kitchen tables. Beast Boy is wolfing down ice cream straight from the cartons, Cyborg wears the throknar and holds two plates loaded with cake, and Starfire beams in the middle of it all.)

Robin: You're here with friends. It's over.

(He joins the party, but she stands where she is and raises her hands for another look. Cut to her perspective of the palms and zoom in slowly as red marks appear on both of them, then to a close-up of her face.)

Raven: (to herself) No. This was just the beginning.

(Snap to black, then tilt down into the subterranean cavern from which Slade emerged in the prologue. His silhouette stands at a distance; in close-up, a ring of fire laces up through the stone around his feet, and light shines from down there as he speaks.)

Slade: The first task is complete, Master. (kneels/bows) The message has been sent. (A flaming sign begins to trace itself out on the ceiling; longer shot of Slade, panning slowly across the cavern.) The inscriptions are in place. (raises his head in close-up) She knows what she must do. (Camera moves to behind him.) The prophecy will be fulfilled.

(Tilt up to the ceiling, where the sign on his forehead has been traced out very large. The next voice tells right away whose mark it is, and who set this plot in motion and gave Slade a new lease on life to help with it.)

Voice of Trigon: And the world of mortals shall soon be ended.

(Fade to black.)

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