January 17th, 2004
How Long Is Forever?
(Opening shot: the full moon in the quiet night sky. A distant flash is seen, and after a moment this resolves into a red-and-yellow alien spacecraft that zooms toward the camera and off to one side. Cutting a path straight through the clouds, it cruises over Jump City Bay and heads straight for the urban center. As it passes the bridge and Titans Tower, the wake of its passage throws up a wall of water.)
(Cut to an alley, where several dogs are nosing through the trash in search of something to eat. They cut off their search and bark angrily at the passing vessel, which now sets course for the mountains outside the city. A quick dive behind a ridge puts it out of view; the subsequent crash and cloud of smoke mark a very hard landing in deed. Cut to a close-up of the fresh furrow cut in the dirt by the skidding craft and tilt up to point along its length toward the final point of rest, then zoom in and dissolve to a closer view. Within the haze, a red-eyed silhouette rears up and leaps clear to land near us. It is a green dog, tongue hanging out, and it gives the camera an enthusiastic lick. Fade to black as drool covers the lens.)
(Opening shot: the exterior of Titans Tower, zooming in slowly. It is now the following day. Inside, Cyborg is tuning up the engine of the T-Car, with the help of the acetylene torch built into his finger. Pull back and pan across the garage; Beast Boy, as a lizard, scuttles up the side of a storage container and reaches the ceiling. Hanging there, upside down, he surveys the budding mechanic hard at work. Close-up of Cyborg, who gets an unexpected visit in the form of Beast Boy landing on his arm. The former's eyes bug out.)
Cyborg: Wha-? Whoa!
(He stumbles backward; Beast Boy is thrown against the container, and both tumble to the floor. The other tools and parts Cyborg was using scatter everywhere. Both get up, Beast Boy returning to human form, and Cyborg's face goes bright red as he growls in rage.)
Cyborg: BEAST BOY!! Beast Boy: Heh...guess I shoulda knocked first. (Cyborg starts to gather up the items he dropped.) So what's up, Cyborg? Working on your car? Bet you could use a few extra hands. (He becomes a squid.) Cyborg: Nah, I can handle it. (Close-up of Beast Boy, looking at tools; he continues o.c.) 'Sides, some of these tools are kinda-
(The green kraken returns to human form and eyes one tool intently.)
Beast Boy: Ooh! What's this do?
(Cyborg looks over at him and drops all the equipment again with a panicked little stutter. Close-up of Beast Boy; the item comes to life and emits a beam of energy. A scream from the o.c. Cyborg drifts back in time with a dense cloud of smoke. When it clears, we see that a good portion of the T-Car's bodywork has been badly singed. Cyborg snorts furiously at his green comrade.)
Beast Boy: (blushing; big sweat drop rolls down temple) Oops...heh. Cyborg: Maybe you should go help somebody else.
(Beast Boy takes the hint and runs out of the place. Dissolve to the exterior of the Tower, seen from ground level, and tilt down to the rock outcroppings that line the island's shores. On one is a control panel, while on a lower level a couple of man-shaped cutout targets pop up-operated remotely from the panel. Robin sails into view and strikes one, then the other, destroying both; he then goes into a fast run and breaks three more with various kung fu moves. As he hurls himself at another one, Beast Boy pops up right in front of it.)
Beast Boy: Hey, Robin.
(His face goes slack as he realizes what is about to happen; an instant later, he takes the full force of the hit and is sent tumbling high and far. Woozily, he peels himself halfway up.)
Beast Boy: (as Robin helps him stand) Need a workout buddy? Robin: Sorry, Beast Boy. But this is really more of a solo thing. You okay? Beast Boy: (crushed) Awesome.
(He plods away. Cut to the hall, outside the closed door of Raven's room, and zoom in slowly.)
Raven: (from inside, chanting) Azarath Metrion Zinthos...
(Cut to Starfire inside; she is floating cross-legged just above the floor. Her eyes are closed, but she pops one of them open to glance across the way.)
Starfire: Tell me, Raven, does it always take so long to contact the spirit world? (Cut to Raven, her eyes closed.) Raven: Not always, Starfire, but it does require intense focus.
(Close-up of a large crystal ball set between the two girls; they hold their hands out to it.)
Raven: (from o.c.) Absolute quiet and- (Beast Boy's image appears.) Beast Boy: DUDES!!
(Pull back. The two would-be mediums scream in surprise and grab onto each other, and he stands up-he was behind the ball, crouched down.)
Beast Boy: Check it out. (holding up a Chinese takeout container marked "Hong's Tofu") If I can eat twenty-nine pounds of tofu in under an hour- (Cut to the girls; he continues o.c.) -I'll set a new world record. (Back to him.) Want to be my official witnesses? Starfire: Um- Raven: No.
(His face falls. Zoom in as he looks away, frustrated and dejected, then cut to inside the Tower's open main entrance and tilt down to floor level. Beast Boy backs into view.)
Beast Boy: (loudly, cheerfully) Okay, well...if, uh, nobody needs me, I'm heading downtown. Crazy party in the big city. Anybody want to come with?
(No response. Overhead view of him, pulling back slowly; except for him, the entrance hall is deserted.)
Beast Boy: Yes?...No?...Anybody?
(This last word echoes a bit in the empty space. Back to him; he deflates and trudges out. Dissolve to a slow pan along a street in Jump City. He advances into view, still down in the mouth and staring at his communicator.)
Beast Boy: Crazy party... (He stops.) There's gotta be somebody who wants to hang out with me.
(The sound of giggling from o.c. ahead grabs his ear in short order. Cut to behind him; the camera pointing across the street from the pizza joint seen in "Final Exam." Two girls are at a sidewalk table. Stars appear in his eyes as he grins hopefully.)
Beast Boy: Please let them be somebody!
(He strolls up as they giggle to themselves some more.)
Beast Boy: Hello, ladies. (jerking thumb o.c.) Want to go for a spin on my moped? Girl 1: You own a moped? Beast Boy: No... (cracking knuckles) ...but I'm saving up.
(Trying for a casual lean on the table, he brings his palm down flat and plants it in the center of their pizza by mistake. The hand slides away through the cheese and sauce; he loses his balance and comes down hard to bang his chin on the table edge.)
Beast Boy: Whoa!
(The impact has jarred a pitcher of water, which flies into the air and lands upside down on his head. Laughing, the two girls get up and leave; cut to a close-up of him. He stands up and pulls the pitcher loose after a moment's effort, then cocks an ear at the sound of assorted cooing words from the o.c. pair. Cut to a long shot of them, now in the park across the street, and zoom in. They are talking to and petting a large brown dog whose young male owners stand nearby.)
Beast Boy: (sourly) Lucky dogs. Sure wish I was... (A light bulb pops up by him; he claps the side of his head.) Okay, duh!
(Acting quickly on the brainstorm, he turns himself into a green dog with large dark spots and runs barking toward the park. He stops on the grass, wagging and panting as endearingly as he knows how-only to get puzzled stares from both girls and the real canine.)
Girl 2: Um...why is that dog green? Girl 1: (as both cover noses) And, ew. It smells like old pizza. Girl 2: (waving him off) Shoo! Yucky dog, get away! Go!
(Back to Beast Boy on the end of this line; he whines, hangs his head, and slinks away. Dissolve to an alley, where the green dog seen in the prologue barks and pokes its head up from a Dumpster. It leaps out and begins to gnaw at a boot left on the pavement; but after a few chews, the sound of something approaching makes it drop the item and yip worriedly. In the sky above, the spacecraft is moving over the alley. It hovers above the dog, and a broad beam of light pours from a hatch on the underisde. The boot is sucked up into this-a tractor beam-and the canine takes off running to get away from it.)
(Around the corner they go, then over an aqueduct, and into another alley. That tractor beam is hot on the green tail. Inside the operations center, the window/screen suddenly flashes red and displays a message: "Alert-City Sector 5." Robin and Cyborg are here; Raven and Starfire soon join them.)
Robin: Trouble! Starfire: Where is Beast Boy? Robin: No time to find out. Titans! Go!
(They run for the door. Dissolve to a slow pan across an unoccupied section of the park. Stop after a short distance as Beast Boy comes up over a hill. He stops and whines softly at his twofold rejection-first as a teenager, then as a dog-but a distant bit of yapping shakes him out of it. Cut to over his shoulder and zoom in a bit; the real pooch skids out from behind a bush and runs straight at him. A head-on collision sends both to the ground and stuns them for a moment. Shaking their heads, they give each other a good look. Close-up of a very surprised Beast Boy, then cut to the other's feet and tilt up to the head. Pull back; both look up into the sky and see that red-and-yellow ship bearing down on them.)
(The tractor beam has been shut off, but it is quickly brought back into play. The dog that escaped from it bails out, leaving the impostor to be caught and hauled up; his communicator falls back to earth and lands next to a patch of grass singed by the energy. Snap to black.)
(Fade in to a very large circular chamber dimly lit by only a double row of lights at the base of the walls, and pan to the center. Beast Boy lies dazed under a pool of light cast from an overhead source. We are now within the ship. He sits up on the next line, exposing a metal collar that has been clamped around his neck. The voice that speaks these words is rather stupid-sounding.)
Voice 1: Bad dog! You should not try to escape!
(A very large shadow falls across the "dog." Pull back a bit to show a huge figure standing nearby; framed from shoulders to knees, it is entirely shadowed except for the yellow light reflecting from its edges. Tilt up to the head, which is made of gray stone and very blocky-even more so than Cinderblock's-with two slitted white eyes. The yellow is revealed now to be a jumpsuit of some sort. This is Soto. Beast Boy shakes himself back into human form and tugs at his collar.)
Beast Boy: Um...you sure you got the right dog?
(Soto just leans down to stare menacingly at him. Snap to black.)
(Opening shot: the burned patch of grass in the park where Soto's tractor beam hit. Robin reaches into view to pluck a bit of it, and the camera pulls back to show him, Cyborg, and Starfire at the site. Cyborg is examining his forearm panel closely. Pull back a bit from the group; Raven walks up to join them.)
Raven: Word is, it was some kind of flying saucer. Cyborg: Whatever it was, my sensors can't track it. Didn't leave any kind of trail. Robin: (pointing at burned grass) But it did leave this. Something got zapped. Question is, what?
(Starfire looks off to one side toward the ground, gasps, and bends over; close-up of the dropped communicator, which she picks up.)
Starfire: Beast Boy!
(The others hurry over to see, and Cyborg takes the device and sniffs at it.)
Cyborg: (turning head hastily) It's BB's, all right. Smells like tofu. (Starfire takes it back.) Starfire: Oh, I fear our friend has gotten the zap.
(The dog that had been on the ship-the one Soto was trying to catch-jumps across the screen and bowls Raven over. It gives her a hearty lick on the face, prompting a disgusted groan.)
Raven: He looks fine to me. Starfire: Beast Boy! (picking up dog) You are unharmed! (Raven gets up.) Cyborg: Where have you been? Robin: Did you get a look at the UFO?
(It squirms out of Starfire's grip and jumps on Raven to knock her down again. More licking.)
Raven: Ugh! Don't make me send you to another dimension.
(She pushes it away and stands; the pooch barks excitedly at her feet.)
Robin: All right, Beast Boy, quit fooling around. We've got work to do. Beast Boy!
(The dog is engaged in the time-honored pursuit of chasing its own tail, causing a big drop of sweat to pop out in Robin's hair and slide down. After it stops, they move a bit closer.)
Starfire: Friend! Why will you not resume human form and speak with us? Cyborg: Maybe he can't. (kneeling) Maybe something's wrong with him.
(His perspective: he extends a forearm into view and checks its panel. A computer outline of the dog is displayed, and a red bar sweeps across it-his scanner at work.)
Cyborg: That's strange.
(As he says this, cut to just behind the canine, the camera pointing at the nearby street. A car speeds past and down a side road; natural instinct takes over, and those four feet are soon racing after the vehicle. Cyborg stands up.)
Cyborg: Yep. Definitely something wrong with him.
(Cut to a long shot of the dog, racing across an intersection, and pan to the entrance to an alley. The four Titans emerge and look around. Close-up of Robin.)
Robin: Where did he go? (Pan to Raven.) Raven: And what did he do to that car?
(Said car is on the other side of the street, its rear bumper gone and its rear axle severely bent. The owner just stares helplessly at the damage, then jumps all around to see it from different angles and gets out a string of strangled cries before speaking coherently.)
Driver: My bumper! (He falls to his knees, crying.) Robin: Split up and search. Start with Beast Boy's usual hangouts and fan out from there.
(The four follow orders. Dissolve to the second-story patio of the pizza joint and tilt down to ground level. Robin is questioning the two girls, who are back at their old table; cut to a close-up behind him and pull back to the sidewalk. The green mutt is tugging on the end of his cape, then lets go and runs off with him in pursuit. Cut to the shore of Jump City Bay, under the bridge, where Raven is walking along the water's edge. The creature zips up from behind and knocks her down to lick her face once more.)
(Wipe to Cyborg, coming up over the hill in a city street. Close-up of him, suddenly becoming peeved, and pull back to show the dog right next to him. The king-size Titan's image dissolves into one of a fire hydrant-how he appears in the dog's eyes-and the camera cuts to a close-up of him. As the background fades to yellow, he recoils in disgust, realizing that he has just been used as a toilet; pull back to a letterbox view as he chases the dog across the screen.)
(This view slides down and away and is replaced by a fullscreen view of the park. Now the green pooch runs along a path with one of Starfire's boots in its jaws; she hops into view after it, keeping her bare foot off the dirt. This shot slides off to the left, giving way to a view of several rooftops. The dog leaps from one to the next, without the stolen boot, staying ahead of Robin. It reaches a ledge beyond which no other buildings are visible and stops to look back at the pursuer. Cut to just past the ledge, the camera pointing back at Robin; he comes to a stop and looks out, seeing no green mutt anywhere in sight at street or roof level. Tilt down slightly to show it in a small niche just below, standing on its forelegs and pressed against the masonry.)
(Cut to the parking lot of the drive-in restaurant. Raven walks through and looks around; no luck for the moment, but that changes when the dog leaps into view and plows her to the ground for another enthusiastic lick. It gives up after a moment and bounds off, leaving her to chase after. In the park, the sun is now setting and Starfire has found her boot next to a bench. It is soggy and chewed up, but she has little time to worry about it once the canine barrels through. Pulling the boot on hastily, she runs off across the grass.)
(Cut to Cyborg, chasing the dog in the street. Raven, backing up across a parking lot only to get flattened and licked yet again. It runs into an alley; Robin and Cyborg go in after it, followed by Raven and Starfire. Close-up of them, panning slowly across. Now it is evening.)
Robin: Careful, everybody. We don't want to hurt him. Raven: Speak for yourself. (Starfire sniffs and covers her nose.) Starfire: Ugh! What is that smell? Cyborg: (little drop of sweat on temple) Dog-Boy here confused me with a fire hydrant. (The dog pokes out of a trash can.) Robin: Easy, Beast Boy. Cyborg: We just want to help.
(It lets go with a colossal belch that brings up the bumper from the trashed car. Tilt up from it to the four Titans, who stare in shock for a long, silent moment.)
Robin, Cyborg, Raven, Starfire: EWWW!!
(The jaws open, and out snakes that wet tongue-several feet of it, to be exact-to lick Raven's face. Retracting it, the dog pants happily before jumping out of the trash can. Cut to just below a sewer grate; it runs up, turns its body into a mass of slime to ooze through the bars, and solidifies again to makes its escape. Street level: the four heroes eye the grate suspiciously.)
Cyborg: Ummm... (Close-up.) ...ooooo-kay. (Pan to Robin and Raven; she wipes her face.) Raven: I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that isn't Beast Boy. Robin: And if that's not Beast Boy... (To Starfire.) Starfire: ...then where could he be?
(Dissolve to an overhead view of Soto's ship, now parked in a clearing, and zoom in slowly.)
Beast Boy: (from inside) Dude, for the last time...
(Inside, he straightens up and strains to pull the collar off his neck, without success. A vein throbs on his forehead.)
Beast Boy: I am not your dog!
(As he falls backward, losing his balance, we see that a red energy leash has been attached. Pull back; Soto sits nearby, watching him, and gasps happily. In the light, his clothing is seen to e a full-body jumpsuit with many patches sewn on, as well as gloves and boots built in. The outfit strongly resembles a giant pair of child's "footie" pajamas.)
Soto: (clapping) You are funny! Soto likes you. Beast Boy: Okay. I didn't want to have to do this, but...
(He becomes a bobcat, roars at full voice, and leaps-but Soto presses a switch on a remote control in his hand and the leash pulls taut to cut off the rush. Beast Boy is yanked back to the floor; the other end of the tether is now anchored to an eyebolt driven in there. Getting to his feet, he eyes it for a moment and then tries another lunge only to have it stopped when the slack runs out. Soto laughs and claps as he flails his paws and then becomes a crane. Pecking at the leash does no good; ditto when he becomes an alligator and tries to bite through it. Donkey, monkey, hippopotamus, fish-none of these forms allows him to slip free of the collar, which grows or shrinks as needed to fit him every time. Even as a pterodactyl, he cannot get free. Soto laughs and claps before getting to his feet.)
Soto: (grabbing and hugging Beast Boy) You are not Soto's dog! (He resumes human form.) You are better than Soto's dog!
(He drops the new "pet" to land on a group of cushions, then offers him a dish of assorted strange foods.)
Beast Boy: Oh! (taking an item) Uh...thanks. (Soto leans closer.) Soto: You can change into any pet? (clapping) Any pet Soto asks? Beast Boy: (tossing food aside) Well...I don't like to brag, but... Soto: Change! Beast Boy: If I do, will you let me go? Soto: (nodding) Mmm-hmm, mmm-hmm.
(The shape-shifter gets to his feet; in an instant, he has become a giraffe. Soto stares, thunderstruck, and laughs after a moment.)
Soto: Change! (Beast Boy resumes human form.) Beast Boy: (pointing at collar) Uh, hello? Aren't we forgetting something? (Long pause; Soto suddenly becomes angry.) Soto: Bad dog! (brandishing remote) Soto said, "Change!" Beast Boy: And Beast Boy said-
(The press of a switch sends a strong electric shock through the Titan's body; he turns into a parrot.)
Beast Boy: Happy now? (He whistles.) Soto: Change!
(Shock; Beast Boy transforms to a bighorn sheep; Soto laughs.)
(Shock; now we have a green mouse and the stone-faced alien laughs hard enough for his head to flap briefly off his neck.)
Soto: Change! (Shock; a sullen gorilla.) You're the best dog ever! And now you are Soto's new dog!
(Beast Boy grunts softly and resumes human form. He is sick to the teeth of the whole situation.)
Beast Boy: Say what?! (Shock.) Dude, I am nobody's pet! (Soto's eyes tear up.) Soto: (voice trembling) You...do not like Soto's ship? (leaning down to Beast Boy) You do not like Soto? Beast Boy: Um... Soto: (brightening, patting his head) Good dog!
(He laughs and backs o.c. as Beast Boy sighs with relief, having temporarily defused his anger.)
Soto: (from o.c.) Now we go home.
(Pull back across the chamber; he stumps away, shaking the camera with every step.)
Beast Boy: Home?
(Cut to the helm. Soto is adjusting the controls, which look very much like the sort of toys a toddler might play with: bright colors, simple shapes, little bells that ring when buttons are pressed.)
Soto: Soto's planet, on far side of galaxy.
(The new house pet swallows very hard at the prospect of relocation. Zoom in slowly and fade to black.)
(Opening shot: the dark upper reaches of a sewer tunnel. Tilt down to Robin, Raven, and Starfire, to the sound of water dripping; the green dog makes its way across the screen behind them, and they head after it. The barking canine turns into a side tunnel, and after it has passed out of view, the camera pans to Cyborg hiding around a corner. He yells and dives out, getting all ten fingers around the animal-but only for a moment, as it slithers out of his grasp in the same way it escaped down the sewer grate. Off it goes around another corner.)
Cyborg: Remind me again why we're chasing this thing? Starfire: The creature is not of this Earth. Raven: And neither is the UFO. Robin: The alien ship must have come here looking for the green dog- (Close-up of Cyborg, nonplussed, during this, then the group again.) Starfire: -and captured our green friend instead. Raven: So, if we ever want to find Beast Boy- Robin: -we have to catch that dog. We need a plan. Cyborg: Or maybe we just need some bait.
(Cut to the other three Titans and zoom in on Raven, who stands between and behind Robin and Starfire. These two throw knowing glances toward her, having figured out what Cyborg has in mind; her eyes dart uneasily back and forth.)
(Dissolve to a patch of sidewalk, where the extraterrestrial pooch is sniffing at a tree. The sound of Raven clearing her throat o.c. gets its attention very quickly; pull back to show her a few yards down the way. She sighs wearily and beckons.)
Raven: Here, doggie...here, doggie, doggie...
(Hearts pop briefly in the doggie's eyes, and it is off like a shot in no time flat. The four feet are pounding across the cement, closing fast on the extremely reluctant live bait; just as it gets close enough to jump at her, though, Starfire swoops down and places a large glass globe in the path. This item has a hinged lid, open, and the aperture is turned toward the dog. A panicked yelp, a skid of paws on the sidewalk, and it slides neatly into the container. Its speed flips the thing up 90 degrees, putting the hatch toward the sky, and Robin leaps down to slam it shut.)
(Growling angrily, the imprisoned dog tries a quick shape change, then a lash of its overlong tongue, but neither can even crack the walls. The four Titans gather around it.)
Cyborg: Sorry, Fido. When Cyborg builds it, nobody breaks it. Raven: So, now that we've got him... Robin: ...we just have to figure out how he can lead us to the spaceship. I can run a chemical analysis on his fur-see where he's been. Cyborg: I can do a molecular scan. Maybe he and the ship have the same isotopic signature. (Close-up of the girls.) Starfire: (to Raven) Perhaps you could use your powers to communicate with the creature. Raven: I'm still getting his drool off my face. (A little drop of sweat rolls down Starfire's temple.) I don't want him anywhere near my brain. Voice 2: Uh, pardon me...
(The voice is male, but a bit higher-pitched than the average person. The girls' eyes pop; pull back to frame all four Titans, staring in surprise toward the ground with an exclamation mark floating above them. The next cut reveals the speaker-the dog.)
Dog: ...but I believe we might be able to help one another.
(Now the eight eyes look as if they might fall right out of their respective skulls.)
Robin: Okay...am I the only one who heard that? Cyborg: You talk? Dogs don't talk! Dog: Perhaps not on your planet, my dear fellow. Now- (Cut to them, composed; he continues o.c.) -if you'll agree to release me, I would be happy to help you locate my odious former master. (Back to him.) After I escaped his ship, he pursued me here and mistakenly captured another green dog-your Beast Boy, I presume.
(He makes quotation marks with his front paws upon saying the Titan's name.)
Raven: And you didn't tell us this earlier because... Dog: (softly) I was having too much fun. (He grins.)
(Dissolve to an overhead view of Soto's ship, then cut to a close-up of a monitor inside. A Pac-Man-like creature, shaped like the outline of Soto's head, munches two rows of dots and then disappears, replaced by the flashing message "Full Power.")
Soto: (from o.c.) Engines ready!
(Pull back; he is at the controls, while Beast Boy pulls feverishly at the leash that holds him to the floor.)
Soto: Hang on, new dog. Time to go home. Beast Boy: I am home! Now let me go!
(Outside. The engines on the underside kick into gear, lifting the vessel clear of the ground. Cut to Beast Boy inside; an exclamation mark pops up by his head.)
Beast Boy: Huh?
(He redoubles his efforts to break the restraining line, but Soto pays no mind; the ship proceeds over the forest.)
Soto: (waving) Bye-bye.
(Up goes the ship. A defeated little sigh escapes Beast Boy's lips and his head drops.)
Beast Boy: See you.
(The entire deck starts to tilt back and forth, throwing pilot and pet off balance.)
(He looks toward his control panels. Close-up of the monitor, which shows a simple computer graphic of the ship descending toward the trees; tilt up to show the view through the main window-tilting down toward the ground. Two veins pop out on his temples.)
Soto: No! (pounding panel) Soto want up, not down!
(Overhead view of the forest, panning along. The craft advances and descends into view, and we see why its upward progress has been reversed-Starfire is there, pushing down on the upper portion of the fuselage with all her strength. Soto counters by working a few controls; now the engines hit overdrive and power the ship skyward despite her best efforts. From ground level, Robin's grappling hook flies up and wraps its line around one wing, while a beam of Raven's black energy seizes the other one. The ship is slowly towed down; cut to the ground as Raven backs into view, her spell going full blast. Pan to Robin and Cyborg, who have looped the line on a tree trunk and are pulling for all they are worth. When Soto's vessel gets low enough, vertical rods extend themselves from the underside so it can balance on them.)
Robin: Hang on, Beast Boy! We're going to get you out! Raven: Azarath Metrion Zinthos!
(This spell hits the underside hatch and forces the front end of it to fall open; the inner surface now forms a gangway. Robin charges toward it, but stops short when Soto emerges in a single leap, shaking the camera when he lands.)
Soto: NO!! (Robin backs up.) New dog belongs to Soto! You go now! Robin: I'm thinking you're the one who's gotta go.
(The rockheaded being leaps impossibly high and comes down with a mighty growl.)
Robin: Titans! Move!
(The landing sets up tremors that throw everyone toward or into the trees. Out of the resulting dust cloud comes Soto, roaring mad and charging at the camera.)
Soto: (trying to crush Robin) Soto smash!
(The Titans' leader vaults over the clearing and throws a handful of grenades down at Soto. These explode all around him in a string of brilliant flashes that leave him dazed and dazzled. As Robin backs away, Cyborg and Starfire move in with sonic cannon and starbolts; the double barrage forces the alien to go on the defensive.)
(He tears loose a rock slab to use as a shield, but it is blown apart in his hands. The blast clears to show Robin, Cyborg, and Starfire shielding their faces from debris. They lower their arms with a shocked gasp; cut to a long shot of the other side of the clearing, pulling back as the dust clears and Soto emerges from it. He charges straight at the camera with a growing yell; there is a flash of white when he reaches it, accompanied by the sound of a bowling ball striking pins. Sight gag: the three Titans are knocked into the air as bowling pins to tumble every which way. Pull back; the gag ends, and they crash to the ground as Soto runs along the clearing. The word "STRIKE" appears above them in big red letters.)
(Raven makes a dash for the ship, but has to get out of the way fast in order to avoid his huge descending hand.)
Soto: My dog!
(She backs up a little more and aims a spell off to one side, uprooting a tree and swinging it at him, trunk first. It bashes him away, but he gets a grip and brings the thing to a stop; now he starts swinging it back at her and she has to release her hold. Cyborg dives across to knock her out of the way before she can take a few thousand pounds of old-growth pine upside the head.)
Cyborg: (as they duck another swing) Why didn't you just hand him a laser cannon?
(They bail out. Next Starfire flies in, holding Robin up by the arms. She lets go of him and clears out, and he lets fly with two birdarangs that home in on the tree trunk. A quick double flash of metal against wood, and the weapons circle back to the hands of Robin, who has just landed. Soto is braced for impact, but nothing happens directly to him; instead, the trunk falls apart along the lines scored into it. He finds himself holding the last couple of feet as a thick, short bludgeon.)
(His mouth starts to wobble upon seeing the damage done to his weapon. Sight gag: in "Super Deformed" style, he briefly appears against a red background and cries like a baby as he stamps the ground. Pull back to put Robin and Cyborg in view, watching, and the gag ends with a cut to the four Titans against the normal background. After a moment of puzzlement, the two boys trade a look and charge with a double yell of fury.)
(Soto blocks their attacks with his tree trunk and swings at them, but Raven's powers soon pull the wood out of his hands. Starbolts rain down all around, forcing him to shield his face. The girls are in midair, blazing away; he scoops up two handfuls of dirt and sends a machine-gun barrage of clods up at them. The double attack ends in a hurry. Now Soto cocks an eyebrow quizzically; tilt up from him to the descending Robin, who brings one leg up in a huge kick that merely glances off the massive raised arm. Two more boot soles against the chest have no effect, but Soto's next attack-a thundering clap of his open palms-creates shock waves that send him hurtling into the trees.)
(As Robin tumbles overhead, Cyborg gets back into the action. With a roar of undiluted rage, he pulls back a fist to clean Soto's clock-but it is caught in a giant yellow-gloved hand. Cyborg's face goes slack with shock just before he is swung back and forth by that arm to slam into the ground. Starfire's turn is next, in the form of a starbolt fusillade from midair; her shots have no effect, though, and he growls and hurls Cyborg up at her. The big man crashes into her, and both take a short and very graceless flight back to the forest floor. The dust clears to show both of them severely dazed by the impact.)
(Pull back to frame all four Titans. The downed ones get up on the next line.)
Robin: We've hit him with everything and it's still not enough! We need more. We need-
(Close-up of Soto, whose attention is drawn by the loud o.c. trumpeting of an elephant. A question mark pops up by his head and floats away.)
(Pull back. A green pachyderm-Beast Boy, free of his collar-thunders across the clearing and hits him bang on. The former returns to human form as the latter is knocked back into a stagger.)
Beast Boy: (extending thumb, pinky like telephone) You rang?
(He approaches Soto. Close-up of the latter.)
Soto: Bad dog! (Pull back; he works his remote.) Soto will punish!
(The switches have no effect on Beast Boy, no matter how hard Soto hits them or shakes the unit. Close-up of his feet; the discarded collar rolls into view and clatters down. He picks it up, and the camera cuts to head level as he stares at it. A huge green reptilian muzzle is pushed into view right in front of him and snorts out a big cloud of steam-and not one, but two big drops of nervous sweat slide down the stone temple.)
(Pull back to show that Beast Boy has become a tyrannosaurus rex. A mighty roar, a swing of the tail, and Soto is flying toward the right-field fence. Beast Boy resumes human form, then becomes a pterodactyl and takes to the air. The other four Titans close in for a final assault. First the green flyer turns into a kangaroo and somersaults to bring his rear legs and heavy tail down on Soto's head, after which Robin leaps past and delivers a punch that sets him spinning. Cyborg's hit sends him careening through the clear night sky; now Raven and Starfire rise for the finishing stroke, a simultaneous assault with starbolts and black energy that drives Soto to the ground next to his ship.)
(The smoke and dust clear to reveal that he is now sitting in a deep crater formed by his impact and looking very dejected indeed. Cyborg and Beast Boy, already at the lip, are soon joined by the others as the big granite lip starts to quiver. Before this can blossom into a full crying jag, his original dog's long tongue flicks into view and snaps the abandoned collar around his neck. Quick pan to the other side of the crater, where the animal is sitting next to the remote.)
Dog: Sit. Stay.
(Soto sits up with a gasp and a laugh, then climbs up to ground level.)
Soto: Doggie! You came back! Dog: On the contrary. I am only here to retrieve my squeaky toys. I refuse to be your pet any longer. (Soto gasps sharply.) Soto: Okay! (dropping to all fours) Soto will be the doggie now, and you will be the master!
(He rolls back and forth and starts to jump around-laughing, panting and barking, still on all fours-and even licks the dog's face.)
Dog: (laughing) What? Oh, my. (Cut to the bemused Titans; he continues o.c.) That tickles. Soto: (from o.c.) Woof! Woof! Beast Boy: Okay...weird. Raven: Better him than me. (Cut to Soto.) Soto: Arf! Arf! Arf! Arf! (Dog's whistle from o.c.) Dog: (from o.c.) Come along, Soto. (Pan to him at the top of the gangway.) Time to go home. Soto: (running up, laughing) Bow-wow! Bow-wow! (now inside) Woof!
(The hatch closes and the ship lifts off into the night, retracting its landing props. Close-up of Beast Boy; Robin's hand lands on his shoulder, and Cyborg comes up on the other side.)
Robin: (from o.c.) All right, Beast Boy! (Pull back to frame all five.) Raven: Welcome back. (Cyborg holds out a fist.) Cyborg: Gimme some love, dog.
(The green Titan taps his own fist against it and gets a big giggly hug from Starfire.)
Starfire: Ah! I am elated to see you! We have all missed you so. Beast Boy: You guys...really missed me? Cyborg: Absolutely! Who else is gonna help me wax the T-Car? Robin: And spar with me in the gym? Starfire: And eat nauseating amounts of tofu while Raven and I watch? (Raven gives her a funny look.) Raven: Uh, how about we all just go for pizza? Cyborg: Sounds good to me.
(All but Beast Boy walk o.c.; he stays put, gazing up at the stars.)
Robin: (from o.c.) Beast Boy?
(Letterbox view, top third of the screen: he and the others look back at the lone Titan.)
Robin: Aren't you coming? Beast Boy: Thanks. But if it's cool with you guys- (Fullscreen.) -I've kinda had enough attention for one day.
(Cut to the other four, smiling warmly back at a friend who has come through for the team in a very tight pinch and learned a valuable lesson in the process. Pull back slowly and fade to black.)