January 31st, 2004
Fear Itself (Teen Titans)
(Opening shot: the exterior of Titans Tower, seen from slightly above roof level during the day. Zoom in slowly to the sound of blows landing, then cut to an extreme close-up of a target fighting dummy being pummeled by Robin in the gym. Alternate twice between closer zooms on the Tower's top floor and the spiky-haired Titan attacking the bag. On the last of these gym shots, Starfire flies past, followed by a barrage of lasers and the shooters-several small flying spheres. Flipping onto her back, she throws a handful of starbolts and turns one after another into scrap metal. She stops in midair to look back at one explosion, only to find three more spheres coming at her from that direction; she bails out.)
(Extreme close-up of Raven's closed eyes.)
Raven: Azarath Metrion Zinthos!
(As she speaks the incantation, pull back to an overhead view. She levitates three long, thick poles and sends them flying toward Starfire, who weaves neatly through them. The shooters, however, crash into them head on and wipe out very badly. From here, cut to a digital readout panel on the wall. It shows a set of bar graphs, a human outline, and the number 002 next to the letters "BST BOY." Pan/tilt down to a nearby treadmill, on which Beast Boy is running as a turtle-the number is his speed in miles per hour. Back to the display, the digits ticking up from 005 to 006; he turns into a bighorn sheep and starts to move faster. Now the readout quickly increases from 032 to 038, and he transforms into a cheetah and hits the gas.)
(Pull back across the gym as a wrecked laser sphere bounces across the floor. Starfire's boots touch down in front of the treadmill; tilt up to her face, which she angles off in another direction to see what else is going on. Large metal slabs are being loaded onto an enormous sled, and the camera tilts down to show Cyborg straining to hold the immense burden aloft. His forearm panel shows a reading of 93% and separate bar graphs marked R and L-power output from each side of his body and overall. It ticks up to 95% as he groans under the load, sweat pouring down his face.)
Cyborg: Just a...little more...
(Another weight is added to the stack. Now Robin stops attacking the dummy and crosses the gym to watch.)
Robin: Come on, Cyborg, push! Cyborg: What's it...look like I'm doing? (Beast Boy, back in human form, and Raven come over.) Beast Boy: Punch it, Cy! Straight through the roof! (Starfire joins them.) Starfire: Yes! Inform that large mass of metal who is the boss! Raven: Uh...go, Cyborg.
(His voice screaming as loudly as his muscles, he puts every bit of effort he can muster into keeping the pile up. Now all the other Titans cheer at once-but his panel notches up to 100%, with the R and L bars indicating full power.)
Cyborg: It's no good! Shut it down! Robin: No way, Cyborg! I won't let you quit! Come on, push! Cyborg: (shaking badly) I can't! Robin: Yes, you can! Cyborg: No...I...CAN'T!!
(His knees finally start to buckle, and with a yell of agony, he collapses and is thrown clear of the sled as it crashes to the floor. He glares up to find Robin extending a hand to get him vertical; Beast Boy leans into view, holding up a judge's scorecard with a 9 on it.)
Beast Boy: I give you a nine for the dive- (showing a 2 card instead) -but a two for the landing.
(Robin throws a very dirty look his way, complete with throbbing forehead vein, and he backs off. Now Cyborg stands up, ignoring the proffered hand, and shoulders his way past the two.)
Cyborg: Nobody asked you.
(They stare after the departing armor-plated back with obvious concern; pull back to show the girls watching him leave as well. Fade to black.)
(Opening shot: the closed door of the gym, seen from the hall. It slides open to let out an angry, frustrated Cyborg, then again to allow Robin to pass.)
Robin: Cyborg! What happened back there? Cyborg: Get off my back. Robin: I'm on your side, remember? I was just trying to get you to kick it up a notch. Cyborg: I don't have another notch! I'm not like you, okay? When I say I can't, I can't!
(He takes a couple of steps off down the hall, then stops and sighs wearily.)
Cyborg: When I was an athlete-when I was human-I loved pushing my limits. Getting stronger, faster, better, just by trying harder than I ever had before. My coaches would always tell me to give a hundred and ten percent. And I always did. Robin: You still can. Cyborg: My muscles are mechanical now. Limits are built in. No matter how hard I try, a hundred percent is all I've got. Robin: I didn't know. Cyborg: Well, now you do.
(He strides off down the hall. Dissolve to a shot of a rocky outer-space landscape. Two large robots, one blue and the other yellow, charge into view and begin to slug it out. After a few seconds at close quarters, Blue throws Yellow to the ground. Pull back to show this fight going on in the operations center, on the window/screen-Cyborg is playing GameStation by himself. The other four Titans slide into view to watch from the kitchen. He pays them no mind, but keeps hammering at the controller buttons with a very sour look on his face.)
Beast Boy: Whoa. And I thought Raven looked grumpy. (She does now.) Starfire: Our friend is more dismal than the swamp moons of Mulwark. Measures must be taken.
(She goes to the couch and pops up grinning behind him.)
Starfire: To replenish your heart with warmness and cheer, I offer a traditional Tamaranean folk song.
(She sucks in a huge breath and lets it out in the form of an insanely shrill wail at eardrum-shattering volume. Sight gag: her head inflates as she "sings" until all we can see is the inside of her mouth. It then shrinks a few notches, stopping at slightly bigger than normal; the background has gone red behind her and Cyborg yells in response. His head grows as hers did; tools and spare parts go flying out of his mouth.)
Cyborg: STARFIRE, CUT IT OUT!!
(The view cracks vertically between them and falls away to show the normal background again; the control drops back into his hands, while she stands frozen with her hair blown back from her head. On screen, Yellow does a victory dance over supine Blue as "Cyborg: 1-Atlas: 1" flashes up, with the word "WINNER" in red below hem. Now he growls angrily at her as veins throb all around him-her interruption made him lose the round-and she ducks out of sight. As the video game combat resumes, Beast Boy puts himself in front of the screen with a broad grin. Cyborg is not amused.)
Beast Boy: (holding up a cookie) Okay, dude. Keep your eye on the cookie.
(He tosses it into his mouth, leaps high, and quickly changes into a whale to shoot the snack from his blowhole. Sight gag: behind him, the background is replaced by circus tents that slide in. Becoming an elephant next, he sucks the cookie into his trunk. The gag ends, and he drops to the floor in human form except for his nose; this retracts in an instant, allowing him to stick out his tongue with the cookie sitting neatly on it.)
Beast Boy: Ta-da!
(Cyborg boils over, turning red from the bottom up as veins pop all over his face, and wraps one huge hand around the green joker's head. Eyeballs, tongue, and cookie protrude between the fingers; steam rises as well due to drool touching the red-hot surfaces. The next thing Beast Boy knows, he has been flung backward to crash down behind the rest of the group. Tilt down to him on the floor.)
Beast Boy: (groaning) You're supposed to laugh! What do I have to do, make it fly out my- Raven: (pushing the others aside) Let me try.
(She pops up uneasily behind Cyborg, whose temperature is back to normal. Close-up of her.)
Raven: Uh... Cyborg: (from o.c.) I don't want to talk about it.
(Sight gag: he appears in "Super Deformed" style on a hilltop, wearing an army helmet and standing amid a battery of anti-aircraft guns. He aims them into the sky and fires off a volley; cut to the air, where Raven-normal style, in leather aviator helmet, goggles, and scarf-is piloting a World War I biplane. The shells explode all around her, after which the gag ends and the camera cuts to Robin and Beast Boy, to the sound of a plane crash. Charred from head to toe, SD Raven floats down with a parachute and returns to normal style.)
Raven: I tried.
(She cleans herself up in a tick, and question marks pop up over the heads of all three. The source of this puzzlement is revealed when Starfire pops up in front of them. In her arms is something that looks roughly like an alien set of bagpipes; the very sight of them is enough to set Beast Boy's eyes spinning crazily.)
Starfire: Tamaranean folk songs are even more cheerful when accompanied by the gorka pipes. Robin: Uh, Starfire! Maybe he just needs some time alone. Come on, guys.
(He ushers the three out of the operations center, nudging the instrument as he does so to produce a small noise of air being forced out. Cyborg does not even budge from his spot on the couch. The two robots trade blows on screen.)
Cyborg: Aw, you picked the wrong day to come online and mess with Cyborg! (to himself) 'Least I can still push myself in cyberspace.
(More back-and-forth, which ends with Cyborg's blue robot slamming Atlas' yellow one into the dirt. New message: "Cyborg: 2-Atlas: 1-WINNER." Cut to just behind the screen; he leans toward it.)
Cyborg: Boo-yah! (planting palms on screen) I don't know who you are or where you're from-but, Atlas, I just kicked your virtual butt!
(With a James Brown yell, he sweeps to his feet and whirls across the screen, which goes black behind him, and stops at its center. Spotlights switch on to illuminate a stage, complete with microphone on stand; he stops at this, doing the splits and a victory dance.)
Cyborg: Go, Cyborg! Yo, Cy!
(He knocks the mic stand over, sending up a squeal of feedback, and kneels as Beast Boy slides in to drape a towel over him. The shape-shifter backs up; suddenly we are back in the operations center, and the following words are typed onto the screen as an angry voice speaks them.)
Voice: No one defeats Atlas! I demand a rematch.
(The victor stands, shaking off the towel, and takes up his controller to peck out a reply. Close-up of the screen; the words appear as he says them.)
Cyborg: (from o.c.) Anytime, anywhere. Voice: (in time with typing) How about here and now?
(The letters go red and melt away, as does the entire screen a moment later. When the view clears, the reason quickly becomes visible-an enormous red-and-yellow robot, looking very much like the character Cyborg beat, with a large red A at the waist and the glowing muzzle of a blaster in place of the right hand. It perches at the sill of the ruined window. This is Atlas. As Cyborg stands stunned in the growing shadow, the left hand shoots in and hauls him up. The robot's voice is the same one heard a moment ago.)
Atlas: Atlas is ready. Let the rematch begin!
(Cyborg is flung out through the hole; cut to the exterior of the Tower as he sails out screaming and splashes down off the island shore. After he gets to his feet, Atlas leaps down to face him.)
Cyborg: You do not want to start with me, man, especially not over a stupid video game. Atlas: Atlas never loses. Cyborg: First time for everything.
(They rush at one another. Atlas raises both fists with a roar and brings them down on the water surface, creating a line of waves that extends ahead and behind. Cyborg is thrown backward, but soon moves in again with a string of body blows that forces the opponent to give ground. This comes to an end when one of his fists is caught in a huge yellow hand and pushed aside; Atlas grins down at him before delivering a king-daddy haymaker. The impact sends waves spreading over the bay in all directions. Now the other Titans gather at the windowsill.)
Robin: Cyborg? Beast Boy: Looks like he went out for some air. (The brawl continues.) Robin: Titans! Go!
(They are over the sill and charging toward the shore in no time flat-but before they can reach the fight, a barrel-chested fellow descends into view, using a jet pack on his back, to block their approach. He wears shorts, a long-sleeved blue jersey, matching cap, and a tool belt; one cheek sports a bandage. This is Spike, a.k.a. the Mechanic.)
Spike: Sorry, folks, can't let you interrupt the master. This match is one on-
(Robin gets a double handful of fabric and throws him to one side, clearing the path for him and the other Titans to charge again. Atlas throws a punch that dumps Cyborg into the water on his face; before he can stand, though, he is seized and thrown against the rocky slopes near the shore. Just after he falls away, Atlas wraps a set of fingers around him and lets fly; the yelling Titan sails up, neatly through the hole in the operations center window, and out the other side of the Tower. A loud splash marks his meeting with the bay.)
(Cut to a close-up profile of Atlas and pull back slowly.)
Atlas: Goodbye, loser. (Something explodes in his face.) Robin: (from o.c.) Hope you came looking for a fight, 'cause you definitely found one!
(Cut to him in mid-leap; he hurls several explosive discs, but Atlas raises both hands to block them and their blasts do no damage. Starfire yells and zips past for a strafing run, but her shots are also ineffective. The metal face grins evilly up toward her, but is soon put into shadow; pull back to show a huge wall of water bearing down on him under Raven's control. She floats up above the crest and sends the tsunami crashing down on Atlas.)
(The water drains away, leaving the robot still standing and grinning, but an approaching yell from the o.c. Beast Boy catches him by surprise. Cut to the green hero, plunging toward the camera from overhead, and pull back to ground level, now a whale, he comes down on Atlas like a few hundred tons of bricks. Broad smiles from Robin, Starfire, and Raven on the shore, looking out at their now-oversized colleague, then cut to an extreme close-up of his eye. It turns downward, widening in surprise, and his vast bulk is slowly hoisted up by Atlas. Chuckling savagely, he throws the mammal hard toward the island. Resuming human form on the fly and yelling all the way across, Beast Boy drops neatly into Robin's arms.)
(Close-up of Atlas, pulling back.)
Atlas: Humans provide no challenge.
(The right fist retracts into the arm to expose the blaster seen earlier, and a shot rips toward the four spectators, who scatter before it.)
Atlas: Mechanic! (holding up right arm) Refit!
(Spike grins, flies over, and quickly switches out a forearm panel.)
Spike: Looking sharp out there, Atlas. (The retracted fist extends.) Keep up the good-
(Before he can finish the sentence, the combatant is dashing back into the fight. A landing on the shore, four blasts from the cannon, and one by one the other Titans roll backward-each now imprisoned within a large, spherical force field.)
Atlas: No challenge at all.
(Cut to a pan across the trapped heroes, all of whom are trying their best to break out. Beast Boy's swipe at the sphere wall as a tiger, Raven's dark energy, Starfire's point-blank starbolts, Robin's punches-all are fruitless efforts. Atlas steps onto the island and is met by a glare from the team leader.)
Atlas: But you will make amusing trophies.
(A sonic cannon blast connects high on the shoulder. The captor glares back and finds Cyborg now on the shore, his weapon locked and loaded.)
Cyborg: Let 'em go!
(Atlas points his own blaster and fires. The shot hits Cyborg's arm and knocks out the cannon; he raises its smashed muzzle to his face and stares in disbelief.)
Atlas: Hold! Atlas will defeat you-but later, in a fair fight. No weapons, no friends. Cyborg: No! We finish this now! Atlas: As you wish.
(He puts the cannon muzzle up against Robin's sphere-ready to make good on the second condition for that fair fight.)
Robin: Cyborg! We'll be all right! Get your strength back, then get Atlas!
(Close-up of the underdog Titan, who thinks this over very hard as a bell is heard ringing from o.c. Cut to a patch of sky; a platform descends into view, resembling one corner of a boxing ring. Spike stands behind the post, operating the flight controls, and brings the rig behind Atlas to hover just above the ground.)
Atlas: (sitting on seat in front of post) The old stadium. Sunset. (Extreme close-up, profile.) Come, if you dare- (Pull back.) -and I will let you have your friends back.
(The platform and the four captives dematerialize. Cut to a close-up of Cyborg's grimly determined face and fade to black.)
(Opening shot: the exterior of the Tower, seen from ground level. Zoom in slowly on the hole in the top-floor window, then cut to a series of extreme close-ups of Cyborg's assorted circuit panels-on shoulder, arm, and head. Each snaps into place and glows bright blue. Next we see him smacking a fist against his other palm, followed by a pair of eyes narrowed in icy fury; he has worked himself up for this fight, physically and otherwise. Pull back to show him heading out an open door. Before he reaches it, though, he stops and looks back over his shoulder; cut to his weight sled, hanging a few feet above the floor of the gym. Now his resolve diminishes somewhat as he turns to leave the workout area.)
(Dissolve to an overhead view of a run-down football stadium and zoom in slowly, then cut to field level. It is now evening. Each of the four Titans' spheres has been mounted atop a large gold trophy cup, and Spike is making a few last adjustments to fix them in place.)
Robin: You can't hold us here forever! (Inside his sphere, looking out.) Spike: Now don't be a sore loser. Atlas is just better than you. Better than all of us. (Cut to outside Starfire's sphere on the next line.) Starfire: Your Atlas is nothing but a...ZOLWARG TUBEK-PLIXING ZORDMORKER!!
(Sight gag: her head grows a few notches as she shouts these Tamaranean obscenities, and after she is done, SD Beast Boy rolls into view.)
Beast Boy: Yeah! What she said. (He rolls away and the gag ends.) Spike: You watch your tone! (rising to face them) Atlas is the greatest. He deserves your respect. Raven: So...do we get bathroom breaks? Atlas: (from o.c.) Mechanic!
(Cut to just behind the handyman; Atlas sits on his floating platform near one of the locker room entrances, a short distance away.)
Atlas: Buff me. (Spike grins.) Spike: You got it, champ.
(He flies over and plies a rag on the broad metal back.)
Spike: Now remember, that Cyborg's got a decent left hook. So keep an eye out for- (Atlas' head swivels to face him.) Atlas: (icily) Never tell me what to do. Spike: (nervously) Heh...yeah, uh...sure thing, chief. Cyborg: (from o.c.) Yo, Goldilocks!
(The head turns slightly to look downfield. Sure enough, there is Cyborg, coming in from the other locker room at the far end of the stadium. He walks unhurriedly to the approximate location of the fifty-yard line, then stops and jerks his head from side to side to loosen up his neck.)
Cyborg: Let's do this! Atlas: (smugly) I did not think you would come. Humans scare so easily. Cyborg: I'm only half human. Atlas: And half of nothing is still nothing. Mechanic!
(Close-up of one forearm. On the next line, Spike reaches into view and removes a panel from it, then does likewise on the other side.)
Atlas: (from o.c.) I want a fair fight, human, so I shall willingly forgo my arsenal. (Pull back to frame both.) Cyborg: (from o.c.) Say, Tool Boy! While you're at it- (Cut to him.) -why don't you shut off his big fat mouth? Spike: Nobody talks that way to-
[Animation goof: Atlas' hands change from yellow to red during the previous sequence.]
(Before he can finish, Atlas is out of his seat and moving across the grass. Cyborg yells during his own charge, Atlas does the same, and both hurl themselves into the air toward each other. Cut to the four living trophies, who press themselves against the walls of their cells to watch as the camera shakes from the collision; Spike leans into view and stares openmouthed.)
Robin: You respect Atlas. Does he respect you? Spike: Quiet, human!
(Cyborg fetches up in the cheap seats and knocks out several rows of them. He comes to with an angry growl. Cut to Atlas, barreling straight up the steps; there is a white flash as he throws a punch, after which the camera shifts to outside the stadium's upper level. A chunk crashes out in a cloud of dust, which clears to show the Titan hanging over the edge of a brand new hole by his fingertips. The blow was strong enough to drive him through the structure and almost clear down to the street.)
(As Atlas stands waiting on the steps, Cyborg hauls himself back in and races down them with a growing snarl. The hit he delivers sends the giant robot to the turf, where he crashes down on his back, but Cyborg does not stop there. He leaps from the steps, both legs braced for a high-powered stomping attack, and the camera pulls back to the far sideline as he lands.)
Robin: Yeah! Raven: All right! Beast Boy: All right, Cy! Starfire: Kick the butt! Spike: Go, Atlas! Take him down!
(Atlas and Cyborg circle; the Titan dodges under a roundhouse punch and fires a string of body blows, but is stopped when Atlas grabs one of his fists. Cyborg is whisked off his feet and flung down hard, and the camera cuts to the support structure beneath ground level as he smashes through it from the force of that slam. The dust clears to show him lying at the edge of the new hole; he is promptly yanked back, and at field level, Atlas hurls him into the far wall. Cyborg stands where he hits, very badly dazed, and falls to all fours after a long moment. Not giving him any respite, Atlas rushes in. Cut to outside the stadium wall at ground level; the bionic teen comes crashing through it and sprawls on the sidewalk.)
(Atlas grins broadly down at him, and it takes only a moment for this taunting look to get him fired up again; he is on his feet with a loud growl and moving fast. Pull back across the field as the melee throws up enough dust to hide both of them from view, then cut to a long shot of the stadium. One after another, thick plumes rise from different spots within, each accompanied by a crash that shakes the camera. Night has fallen, and a full moon hangs over the scene.)
(Dissolve to field level, a long shot of the two brawlers-some distance apart and trying to collect themselves for another go. Close-up of Cyborg, then of Atlas, then of Cyborg again. A beeping draws his attention down toward his forearm; cut to it-the power readout stands at 96%. He looks up in alarm and sees Atlas moving in fast once more. A huge punch sends him flying, but he soon recovers and deals a high jab to the robot's chin. The exchange of blows continues and rapidly turns against Cyborg, who staggers backward under the assault and comes back with a right hook that Atlas catches easily.)
Now they grapple, Atlas slowly pushing Cyborg back and making his feet grind the dirt. He looks at his forearm; close-up of the power readout, which has maxed out just as it did in the gym.)
Atlas: (from o.c.) It seems you have reached your limit. (Pull back to frame him on the end of this.) But Atlas has power to spare.
(He increases the force of his grip and pushes Cyborg down to one knee, then laughs as the Titan tries with every scrap of his strength to stand again. One final punch finds its mark on his jaw and sends him through a graceless arc; cut to Robin and Starfire, who stare popeyed, and pan from them to the other two incredulous spectators and the grinning Spike.)
(Cyborg hits the turf face first and tries weakly to get upright, while the metal behemoth towers over him.)
Atlas: No one defeats Atlas. (He turns away.) Cyborg: Fine. You win. Now let my friends go. Atlas: No.
(This catches everyone on the sidelines flat-footed.)
Spike: But, boss... (Atlas passes him-) ...you said that... (-and sits on his platform.) Atlas: Your friends will remain as my trophies-and there is nothing you can do about it. (Starfire gasps.) Beast Boy: (beating on sphere) Cyborg! Raven: Please! Robin: Get up, Cyborg! Get up and fight! You can still beat him!
(Cyborg, still tumbled on the ground, looks reproachfully toward the group for a moment and then turns his face away. His forearm panel is still showing maximum power on all fronts.)
Cyborg: No. I can't. Atlas: Fool! Did you actually believe you could defeat Atlas? I am all robot...
(He, Spike, and the other Titans begin to sink out of sight on an unseen elevator. Extreme close-up of Cyborg's bitter, beaten expression as he continues.)
Atlas: ...and you are only human.
(The four captives stare in wordless amazement as they are carried past the level of the field. Cut to the edge of the descending lift, the camera pointing out at Cyborg and passing into the shadows beneath the stadium to black out the screen.)
(Opening shot: an overhead view of one of the stadium's locker rooms, which has deteriorated as much as the rest of the facility. The sound of a video game is heard o.c., and the camera pans toward it to show Atlas sitting in front of a big-screen television. Behind him are several ol drums, some crumpled like soda cans. Close-up of the screen; we see the fighting game Cyborg was playing in
Act One. Atlas' yellow robot deals a finishing blow to its opponent, smashing it to pieces, and stands erect in triumph.)
Atlas: (from o.c.) Victory! ("GAME OVER" slides onto the screen; pull back to frame his controller.) Atlas wins again! (Cut to him.) Derrick Wyatt of East Gotham City, I dominate you.
(Pan slightly to bring the four trophies into view. Beast Boy turns into a bighorn sheep to ram the wall of his sphere, then tries to chisel out as a woodpecker, then does another bighorn turn. Resuming human form next, he groans and staggers woozily about-the attempts left him with quite a thump on the noggin-before passing out. Close-up of Raven and Starfire.)
Raven: Give it a rest. You're starting to repeat yourself. Starfire: But we must discover a way out.
(Pan to bring Robin into view. She tries a kick, but gets only a sore foot for her trouble and has to hop around on the other one.)
Starfire: Ow...ow...ow... (Pull back; Spike flies over, a drum under each arm.) Spike: There is no way out. Now be quiet, humans! Master's trying to relax. Starfire: (icily) I am not human. Robin: (to Spike) But you are. You should be on our side. Spike: I'm on the winning side. Atlas is the greatest .No one can defeat him. No one! Robin: If Atlas is so great, why does he treat you like a loser? (This gives him pause for a moment.) Atlas: Mechanic! Oil! Spike: (a bit uncertainly, glancing at Titans) Coming right up, boss!
(He zooms over. Cut to a close-up of Robin, now very concerned for both his team's welfare and the assistant's state of mind, then dissolve to a long shot of the stadium. Tilt down from here an overhead view of a deserted city street; Cyborg is trudging along the sidewalk.)
Cyborg: How could I?
(Close-up of him. He is passing a long row of windows on a building's first floor.)
Cyborg: They were counting on me and...I just couldn't do it. Atlas was right. (He stops to face his reflection.) I am a loser.
(The image draws itself up to full height and speaks in a strong voice.)
Reflection: So that's it, man? You're just gonna give up? Cyborg: What else can I do? I gave everything I had. A hundred percent. Reflection: Give more. Your friends are in trouble. You have to go back. You have to win! Cyborg: I can't win. Atlas is stronger. Atlas is faster. He's just a better robot. Reflection: But you aren't all robot. Half of you is human, and that's the half that can beat him!
(Now Cyborg is the one who gets jolted into thinking for a moment. Beeping from his forearm panel draws his attention; now it is showing 50% power overall and the same on the bar for each side of his body.)
Cyborg: Time to take it up a notch.
(He hurries away. Cut to an overhead view of the stadium, zooming in slowly, then cut to Atlas at play in the locker room. One of Spike's two oil drums has been set by his chair; after a few seconds, he grabs it, chugs the whole thing, and crushes it against his forehead. Pan back as he tosses the empty over his shoulder, then cut to the patch of floor where it lands and follow it over to Spike. He still has the other drum.)
Atlas: (from o.c.) Mechanic! More oil!
(The man flies over and hands him the container. Atlas takes a drink and promptly spits it all over him.)
Atlas: (wiping mouth) This is cold, human! Bring me warm oil!
(The human in question hangs his head and looks over at the captured Titans. Robin's expression says it all-"where you go from here is up to you"-and the lowering eyebrows above that cheek bandage show that Spike has gotten the point.)
Spike: Get it yourself.
(In a twinkling, he finds himself in the enormous shadow of his boss, who is getting to his feet.)
Atlas: What was that? (hauling him up) No human tells Atlas what to do.
(He throws Spike across the locker room to fetch up against the wall headfirst. The latter sits up, rubbing his head.)
Cyborg: (from o.c.) You sure about that?
(He plants a leg in view near the camera. Cut to a close-up of his legs and tilt up to his head. He is ready to pick things up right where he left off, thumping a fist against his other palm to emphasize this fact.)
Cyborg: I'm human, and I'm telling you to let my friends go. (Starfire gasps happily.) Beast Boy: Cyborg! Robin: Yes!
(Spike backs up to the trophies, hoping to get himself out of the battle zone. Pan across the locker room from Cyborg to Atlas, who takes a few steps toward him, then cut to a close-up of each one's face in turn. The tense standoff ends when they charge toward each other, growling and snarling in rage. When they connect, there is a mighty flash that clears to show the yellow robot sliding backward across the floor to crash into his television. Cyborg steps up; in an instant, Atlas is up and punching at him. The Titan dodges easily, grinning all the while, but is caught off guard by a big uppercut. Field level; he crashes up through the dirt and lands well down the length of the stadium.)
(He stands and looks up with a gasp; cut to the roaring leviathan, descending with full weight ready to drive him underground again. Cyborg gets out of the way just in the nick of time; the impact sends up a thick curtain of dust, which clears to reveal Atlas embedded to his waist in the playing surface. He turns to face Cyborg, smiles, and climbs out. Behind him, a lift brings Spike and the Titans up to the sidelines. The former is now very unnerved by what he has seen, heard, and had done to him.)
Robin: He doesn't respect you. He doesn't even like you. Why do you serve him? Spike: I have no choice. Atlas is stronger than me. Robin: No, he isn't. Atlas needs you. You're the one who fixes him. You're his strength. Without you, he's nothing- (Extreme close-up of the man's eyes, zooming in; he continues o.c.) -and he knows it. That's why he pushes you around. Atlas is afraid of you.
(Cyborg backs up before Atlas' advance, dodges a couple of punches, and catches a giant yellow fist in his left hand-just as easily as his own attacks were foiled time and again earlier on. Raising his right arm and balling its fist, he ejects it from his shoulder; it rockets straight at Atlas' jaw and lands a thundering uppercut that lifts him off his feet. The opponent lands in a half-sitting position and rubs his jaw as Cyborg walks up while reattaching the limb.)
Cyborg: Still got power to spare? Atlas: Plenty.
(Atlas yanks a buried electric cable out of the ground and thrusts the sparking free end against Cyborg's chassis, causing him to scream in agony as circuits short out all over his body. Smoke rises from him as he collapses and Spike watches. Now Atlas stands up and holds both arms toward his second.)
Atlas: Mechanic! Concussion blaster! Heat cannon! Now!
(The long-suffering man looks uncertainly toward him, then to the groaning, medium-well-done Titan, and finally makes up his mind. He gets in the boss' face.)
Spike: No. (He is shoved aside.) Atlas: Then stay out of my way!
(He rushes across the field and stops in front of the Titans. Pressing a button embedded in the platform that brought them up, he causes a panel to pop up from beneath it. He smiles nastily; cut to it and zoom in as it opens to reveal the weapons he said he would not use in
Act Two. However, his expression quickly gives way to bewilderment as he looks from one side to the other; the camera shifts from item to item quickly-his perspective-and then cuts to Spike.)
Spike: Let's see how far you get without my help!
(He brings out a control device from his tool belt and presses a button on it-and one after another, the force fields holding the Titans on their trophies collapse. He smiles grimly as Atlas backs away from them.)
Atlas: No! (He runs.) Robin: Titans! Go!
(He fires a grappling hook into the air and swings away on the line, and Beast Boy becomes a hawk to charge alongside Raven and Starfire. Robin touches down in front of the locker room entrance to cut off the robot's escape.)
Robin: You wanted a fair fight? That's what you're going to get. Atlas: Five against one? This is a fair fight? (Raven floats up behind him.) Raven: Oh, we're not fighting. (Pan to his other shoulder on the following; Beast Boy and Starfire are there.) Beast Boy: Think of us as referees.
(Cut to behind the group and pull back at ground level. Cyborg's foot lands near the camera.)
Cyborg: (from o.c.) It's just you and me.
(Cut to frame him. As before, he works his head back and forth, limbering up his neck; now Atlas turns to face him and cracks al his knuckles. The last pop has barely died away when one bionic punch after another rocks the metal giant from head to toe. Cyborg's power readout quickly rises to 93%, and the other Titans cheer him on as Atlas slides past. Their noise dies away to make room for one more voice-Spike's.)
Spike: Yeah, Cyborg! Take him down!
(Robin flips him a quick smile. Another roundhouse drops Atlas like a rock near the wall. Cyborg steps closer to inspect his work, but soon finds himself facing one very angry, charging enemy. They lock arms and grapple, Atlas grinning savagely down at Cyborg. Beeping from the forearm panel; power level increases to 98%, throwing a scare into its owner, and his knees start to give.)
Atlas: What's the matter? Running out of steam?
(As the five onlookers stare, Cyborg is slowly pushed backward past them.)
Robin: Push, Cyborg! You can do it!
(He pours in every bit of strength he can muster and is met by derisive chuckling from the foe. Now the power output hits 100%, but he does not let up one bit. Extreme close-up of Atlas' narrowed eyes.)
Atlas: You have reached your limit. You cannot win. (Cyborg is now on one knee.) Cyborg: Yes...I...CAN!!
(The panel's covering cracks as the readout quickly notches up to 130%. Atlas' eyes go wide in sudden surprise, and Cyborg regains his footing. With a scream as tortured as his muscles, he lifts the huge metal body over his head and throws it down the field to smash into the abandoned trophies. Everyone cheers wildly.)
(Cut to just inside this new hole in the field surface, the camera pointing up at the sky as the Titans walk up, then cut to just behind Cyborg. Atlas' outstretched hands are just in view; tilt up to frame the rest of him, lying half-buried in the wreckage of the locker room.)
Atlas: (hoarsely) No more. I am defeated. You...are a better robot. Cyborg: No. I'm a better person.
(He and his teammates walk away, leaving Spike to walk up to the crater by himself.)
Atlas: Mechanic...refit. Spike: (removing tool belt) Ah, do it yourself!
(He throws the belt into the hole; it lands just out of Atlas' reach, and he tries to get at it but gives up with a weary groan. Dissolve to the exterior of the stadium, the camera angled up at the upper deck, and tilt down to the entrance on the next line. It is now sunrise, and the Titans are emerging.)
Beast Boy: And the winner by technological knockout, the Mechanical Maniac, the Bionic Bruiser, the one, the only, Cyborg!
(He holds said winner's arm aloft on the last word, as a referee would do with the victor in a boxing match, and a bell and cheering crowd are heard. Starfire gives Cyborg a big hug and backs up next to Raven.)
Starfire: I shall express my gratitude with a Tamaranean folk song.
(Remembering how the first one sounded, the boys recoil in fright. This does not stop her windup, though; she sucks in a breath and gets ready to sing, but Raven slaps a hand over her mouth to cut it off.)
Raven: Way to go, champ. (Beast Boy sighs, relieved.) Robin: (pointing at Cyborg's forearm) Guess we better get you a new one of those.
(Cyborg looks down at the damaged power readout, whose displays have all gone dark.)
Cyborg: Don't need it anymore. My body may have its limitations, but if I put my mind to it, there's no limit to what I can do.
(Long shot of the group, walking down the street away from the camera.)
Cyborg: After all, I'm only human.
(Fade to black.)