January 10th, 2005
Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo
(Opening shot: the exterior of a concert hall. It is nighttime in Jump City, and lights blaze from the facility's immense front windows. Zoom in slowly to the sound of an orchestra warming up, then dissolve to a close-up of a music score inside. This is spread open on the conductor's stand; a baton taps for attention, and the camera tilts up to frame a nine-piece group onstage. After a bit more warm-up, we see the leader; a tuxedo-clad, gray-haired man who is either the Amazing Mumbo, as seen in normal human form late in "The Sum of His Parts," or a dead ringer for him. The instruments fall quiet as he raises his baton and the camera zooms in.)
(Downbeat. The group starts into its first piece, the "Spring" movement of Antonio Vivaldi's Four Seasons suite, and does a commendable job. Cut here and there to show the musicians taking this very seriously but thoroughly enjoying it at the same time. Their effort in mastering the piece is matched by the audience's striving to catch every note. A brief pan across the packed house reveals the following individuals present: Mad Mod, the former H.I.V.E. Academy headmistress, Slade's elderly assistant Wintergreen, the two old women who passed the fish market in "Revolution," the young woman, Rebecca, from the soap opera Cyborg interrupted in "Episode 257-494," and Dr. Victor Payton and the host who was set to interview him in this same episode.)
(Cut to an overhead shot of the conductor and tilt up to a high catwalk. On it stands a spike-haired silhouette with an electric guitar slung over its shoulder; a close-up from waist to head reveals the details, male, blond hair bleached to the point of being white, spiked metal wristbands, sleeveless leather vest, black T-shirt beneath, ears repeatedly pierced. He looks and sounds a fair bit like Billy Idol. This is Punk Rocket.)
Punk Rocket: Rubbish! That music's ruddy awful! So quiet and proper!
(He grabs a nearby rope, revealing hands in fingerless black gloves, and slides down. The conductor abandons his podium with a frightened cry; it is quickly occupied by Punk Rocket, who straightens up and glares at the orchestra. All nine members gasp, as does the audience, and he brings his axe around to the front.)
Punk Rocket: Let's pump up the volume and blow 'em outta their seats!
(When his fingers hit he strings, they produce a jarring chord-along with a shock wave that washes over the stage, tossing all the players and equipment back toward the curtain. As he looks over his shoulder, the panicked spectators make tracks for the exits.)
Punk Rocket: Now that's music to my ears, the sound of chaos!
(He laughs and strums madly, sending out more high-intensity pressure fronts. Snap to black.)
(Opening shot: the exterior of Titans Tower. In the operations center, Robin and Cyborg are hunched over their GameStation controllers, while Starfire stirs something pink and gooey at the kitchen counter. Roaring engines and screeching tires are heard from the system's direction.)
Cyborg: Only two more laps, Robin, and I'll be the new champion!
Robin: No way, Cyborg! You're going down!
(Cut to just behind the amateur chef, who has two full pots on the stove. She stirs one of them while reading from a cookbook she holds in her free hand. As suggested from the sound effects, the window/screen shows a racing game in progress.)
Starfire: Let's see. A half a cup of dried zorka berries... (She pours them into one pot.) ...four tablespoons of melted sputflinks.
(This ingredient is added and stirred in. As she pulls out the spoon for a taste, that pot boils over.)
Starfire: Almost done. (stirs the other pot) Soon everyone will be enjoying my favorite Tamaranean dish.
(Silkie pops up behind her and eagerly swipes a mouthful on the end of this line. Now she looks off across the kitchen.)
Starfire: Raven! Would you like to taste my homemade Glorg Supreme?
(Tilt down to frame Raven, sitting on the floor, her back to the counter, reading.)
Raven: Not now, Starfire. (Zoom in a bit.) I'm on the last chapter.
(The door opens and Beast Boy struts in, a thundering boom box balanced on one shoulder. It puts out enough sound to shake the entire room and get on both Robin's and Cyborg's nerves very quickly.)
Cyborg: HEY, BEAST BOY, CAN YOU TURN THAT DOWN?!
(Back to the game at hand. Robin is so intent on winning that he kicks the big man in the chest a few times, trying to throw him off his game, but without success. After a few thousand more yards have gone by, Cyborg spins to face Beast Boy's direction.)
Cyborg: I SAID, TURN IT DOWN!! (A victory sound effect.)
Robin: Yes! (laughing) Eat my dust! (Cyborg faces front, crestfallen.)
Cyborg: Aw, man!
(The distraction gave Robin the opening he needed to win the race. Cut to Beast Boy, who has taken no notice whatsoever of all this ruckus. He suddenly looks off elsewhere; cut to his perspective and zoom in, a large piece of equipment sitting near the kitchen tables. It bears a high-voltage warning sticker and looks something like an electric generator. Back to him.)
Beast Boy: Let's rock the house.
(He carries his stereo over and reels out a cable, preparing to plug it into this unit. Cut to the two boys, who have begun a new game, then a slow zoom on the cable's end as it is moved toward the jack. Starfire keeps cooking. Extreme close-up of the cable, zooming very slowly; now it is almost close enough to plug in. Raven reads. Even closer zoom on the cable; sparks crackle from the leads as the connection is made, and the camera pulls back to frame everyone. The box's output is instantly cranked up high enough to shake the whole room, but the corner unit promptly overloads in a shower of sparks and smoke. Cyborg throws his controller out of reflex; it splashes down in Starfire's pot, and the vividly colored slop splatters onto Raven and her book. Pandemonium.)
(Sight gag: through the thickening smoke, a fuse appears above the now-furious Cyborg's head and blows out. Cut to the exterior of the Tower; the windows go dark one by one and the music stops abruptly: the green yo-yo knocked out the power.)
Beast Boy: (from inside) Did I do that?
(Inside, the operations center has gone pitch black; all we can see is five pairs of eyes, four angry and looming over the scared fifth.)
Robin, Cyborg, Raven and Starfire: (truly annoyed) BEAST BOY!
Robin: How could you mess with the main power source?
Cyborg: You made me lose the game!
Starfire: Now there will be no glorg for anyone! (She shoots a beam from her eyes, blacking one of his.)
Raven: I'll never know how it ends!
(The exterior again; the lights come back on.)
Beast Boy: (from inside, relieved) Ah, no worries. Generator's kicked in.
(Cut to him, box still on shoulder and eye healed. Pull back as he retreats nervously before his four teammates, who are so outraged that they cannot speak for the moment. His perspective, panning slowly across; now their voices are heard, but so muffled and indistinct as to be unintelligible. We are hearing the world as Beast Boy does, and he has lost almost all of his hearing. Back to him, thoroughly bewildered.)
Beast Boy: WHAT?
(He thumps the ear that is not glued to the boom box, then yanks a large chunk of wax out of it.)
Beast Boy: There, that's better. What were you guys saying?
(The nasty yellow wad explains not only his inability to understand them, but also why he had the volume turned up so high. He is immediately beset by four boiling-mad, yelling Titans; Raven is so incensed that a stream of black energy shoots from the gem on her forehead. The background changes to show an explosion for this shot; after all have said their piece, Beast Boy slides them all up like a window shade, restoring the normal background.)
Beast Boy: I don't want to hear this.
(He jams the wax back into his ear and picks up the boom box; an instant later, the alarm and red flashers go off.)
Robin: Titans! Trouble!
(All but one race for the door, no points for guessing who stays behind.)
Beast Boy: Hey, where's everybody going?
(He is unceremoniously yanked out by Cyborg. Dissolve to the exterior of the concert hall; panic and screams are heard within. Zoom in and dissolve to the stage, where Punk Rocket is taking his time.)
Punk Rocket: What's your hurry, blokes? This is much better than what you paid to hear.
(A new chord, which sends out enough energy to throw the fleeing patrons in all directions. One of the two old women seen in the prologue slows her fall with the help of an umbrella, then cuts out with the rest of them. The only thing left in the house is a scrap of paper, which blows around on a chance gust of wind.)
Punk Rocket: (hurt) No one's staying for my encore?
Robin: (from o.c.) Hey! (Pan to the Titans in the wings.) Concert's over, Punk!
Punk Rocket: That's Punk Rocket to you, mate! Now let's kick it out!
(He sends out a fresh blast of sound that drives all five up against a column, after which they slide down to the stage.)
Punk Rocket: How's that for a number-one hit? (They have landed in a heap.)
Cyborg: I don't think I could take another hit. (Robin pulls himself out.)
Robin: I've heard enough. (pulling out a birdarang; others get up) Titans! Go!
(They charge. Robin attacks first, hurling his weapon, but Punk Rocket shoulders his guitar like a baseball bat and smacks the thing right back at him. A quick dive saves the spiky black hair, and the head beneath it, from being sheared off, and Robin ends up watching as Cyborg and Beast Boy rush ahead. Axe back in front, Punk Rocket stands his ground and yanks at the strings at just the right moment. Beast Boy becomes a pterodactyl and lifts Cyborg to safety just before the resulting concussion can reach them, and the bionic Titan counters with his sonic cannon. However, Punk Rocket plays even harder, and the beam stops just short of his head and is deflected upward to strike the pair. The impact sends them flying in different directions. Cyborg and Beast Boy plow into Starfire and Raven, respectively, the shape-shifter resuming human form just before hitting.)
(All four plummet toward the stage. Starfire puts enough muscle into it to haul Cyborg back up, while Beast Boy transforms into a falcon and flies to safety under his own power as Raven rights herself. In a flash, Robin has dashed in for a little hand-to-hand combat. Punk Rocket dodges a few strikes and a high stomp, and the two spiky heads face off across the stage. Here comes Robin for a flying kick or two; the axe maniac ducks the steel-soled boots, then catches the masked Titan across the jaw with the body of his guitar. A shattering chord launches Robin into the mid-price seats, leaving his cape to flutter down over his face. He peels it away as the other four gather in the aisle, Beast Boy returning to human form.)
Punk Rocket: Ruddy fools! (Zoom in slightly.) No one can stop the sound of chaos!
Robin: (to Beast Boy and Cyborg) Listen up! Those sonic waves are coming from his guitar!
Cyborg: We gotta shut him down!
Beast Boy: (pulling a little wax from ear) WHAT?
Cyborg: (in his ear; sparks fly from the other one) I SAID, SHUT HIM DOWN!!
Beast Boy: (grinning crazily) Ohhh! Okay.
(Those rows of teeth become a pair of tusks as he turns into an elephant; the others back up to give him room, and he thunders toward the stage. His deafening trumpet is met with a wall of sound; it stops him short, and after trying to hold his ground, he is propelled backward in a long, high arc. Robin and Cyborg dive out of the aisle to avoid getting flattened under the gargantuan green rump, whose owner rolls all the way to the exit before resuming human form. He stands up, groaning wearily.)
Beast Boy: I think we need another plan. (Pull back; Raven and Starfire are ready to go.)
Raven: Leave that to us.
(They fly toward the front of the house, Starfire voicing a war cry before slinging a few starbolts at Punk Rocket. Those shots burst all around him on the stage; he dives away, whereupon Raven puts her own powers to work. Behind the rock-and-roller, a large black hand emerges from the smoke and makes to grab him. Setting his guitar down flat, he jumps on and flies away on it.)
Punk Rocket: (flying through smoke) Long live the Punk Rocket sound!
(He soars over the auditorium and passes both girls as the enormous hand reaches after him on the end of a stretching arm. Starfire sends a new fusillade after him, but he dodges every shot and Raven's power keeps trying to snap him out of the air.)
Punk Rocket: (dong a barrel roll) Whoo-hoo! (He laughs.)
Raven: Azarath Metrion Zinthos!
(A second black arm reaches up after him, but he executes a nimble leap off the guitar's pickups and comes right back down on them to stay aloft.)
Punk Rocket: I'd like to dedicate this next song to all my female fans.
(Here come the hands again, but they grab only air and he ends up sanding on the balcony railing.)
Punk Rocket: This one's for you.
(Ten black fingers are now just about to yank him down, and five more appear as well, but he hits a killer chord that instantly shreds them all and sends Raven and Starfire crashing to the stage. The latter is first to stand; the former does so on the next line and takes a moment to get her cloak back in order.)
Starfire: Why does the Punk Rocket wish to hurt people with his music? Music is a glorious expression that is supposed to make one feel happy.
Raven: You obviously haven't heard any of my music.
(Green and violet eyes widen at the same time; down comes Punk Rocket, aiming the guitar's head right at them. Laughing madly, he soars through the pair, does a short, sharp climb to the spotlights, and drops off the fingerboard. He plants his boots on the stage, the guitar strap looping neatly around his neck to put those strings in easy reach again. Pull back from the stage as Robin dashes into the aisle; the two girls clear off.)
Robin: All right, Punk Rocket. What do you want?
Punk Rocket: I want to bring the world to its knees with the sound of chaos! (Raven and Starfire back into the aisle.)
Raven: You are so one-note. (Beast Boy and Cyborg join them.)
Cyborg: (to Robin) We're never gonna beat him while he's got that guitar.
Robin: Yes, we will, as long as we work together as a team.
Raven: Let's go.
(Quick pan to the stage. The eardrum-shredding ruffian cackles insanely as a curtain cord drops into view next to him.)
Punk Rocket: You're daft, thinking you can beat me!
(Close-up of his outstretched hand; he grabs the cord.)
Punk Rocket: Now here's something to really bring down the house!
(One strong yank sends the curtain up, exposing a solid wall of stereo speakers that stretches from one wing to the other and all the way up to the rafters. Pull back as the Titans regroup in the aisle.)
Beast Boy: What is that?
(Cut to a close-up of the guitar and pan slowly across as Punk Rocket plugs it into the system. Extreme close-up of one knob; he turns it up to 3 and backs up from the camera.)
Robin: Up to now, his whole act has been...unplugged.
Raven: Which means...
Cyborg: ...He's just getting started!
(The next chord proves him right; its shock wave, many more times powerful than before, sends all five Titans crashing into the back walls and the underside of the balcony.)
Punk Rocket: (laughing) Ouch! That looked like it hurt...
(He reaches for the knob; extreme close-up as he cranks it to 6.)
Punk Rocket: ...but not enough!
(Cyborg stands up, breaking out his cannon, and bum-rushes the stage with a roar and a blast. This time, the guitar wacko's chord dissipates the shot before pushing him to his knees. As he gets up again, he has a wee bit of a malfunction, in the form of his chest panel popping in and out and his head coming loose to spin on the end of his bionic spine. After a moment, he gets himself back under control.)
Punk Rocket: Blimey! That looks a bit dodgy now, doesn't it?
(Cyborg falls back to his knees, sparks flying and circuit glowing horribly from the overload, as the other Titans gather around him.)
Robin: Are you okay?
(He can only groan and cover his ears under the unendurable strain of Punk Rocket's assault. Extreme close-up of part of his circuitry: the diodes glow even brighter and then go dark. Pull back to show him jittering wildly due to his failing systems as the circuit lights flicker.)
Cyborg: Sound...messing up my circuits!...Not sure how much longer... (Close-up of a stunned Beast Boy; he continues o.c.) ...I can keep it...together!
(The exclamation point that pops up over the green head, and the smile that comes over his face, both testify to the flash of inspiration he has just had. He stalks resolutely toward the stage, not paying any mind to the four disbelieving Titans who stare after him or the thundering sound waves washing over the entire hall. He straightens up his sleeves as he goes this over-amplified jerk has just worked his last good nerve. Said jerk keeps flailing away at his six-string as Beast Boy reaches the stage.)
Beast Boy: Hey, Punky! You call that the sound of chaos? Sounds more like elevator music to me! ("Punky" stops playing.)
Punk Rocket: I can't hear you!
(Tilt down, then cut to an extreme close-up of the guitar knob. It clicks up to 8, and he savagely pulls at the strings. Beast Boy's partners collapse in groaning agony, Cyborg's systems pushed even closer to the breaking point.)
Robin: Beast Boy, stop!
Starfire: We cannot endure this sound!
(Although the onslaught pushes Beast Boy back slightly, he stays firmly on his feet.)
Beast Boy: Dude! Give it up! Your sound is old and tired!
(Caught by surprise, Punk Rocket stops again and reaches for the knob; in extreme close-up, it clicks all the way to 10. His next chord releases roughly the same amount of energy as a small earthquake, and the first things affected are the dozens of speakers behind him. Sparks fly, the Titans cower, Cyborg's body totally flips out, but Beast Boy just smirks up at the stage. Zoom in slowly on him, then cut to a close-up of his quivering ear. Punk Rocket tears at his guitar as if trying to bring down the entire building and flips backward as bits of crackling rubble clatter down around him. Overhead view: he slides across the stage on his back toward the speaker wall, sending up crushing sound waves among the collapsed spotlights and rigging.)
(The whole assembly starts to short out from the catastrophic stress his playing has put on it. Cut to a close-up of his suddenly surprised face, then to a tilt up along the wall as one speaker after another explodes. He voices one frightened little cry and runs for the apron, just in time to avoid being crushed by a falling unit; the crash of another one throws him to the edge. When he gets up, he finds that the hardware has been reduced to a crackling, smoking mass of burned-out junk. He regards the disaster silently for a moment, then scrubs at the guitar strings as hard as he can. With the juice gone, though, all he gets is a tinny little sound.)
Punk Rocket: (collapsing, tears streaming down) NOOOOOOO!!
(Hysterical sobbing as the rest of the Titans gather with Beast Boy to watch the bad boy come undone.)
Raven: (warms up her powers) You are so not cool.
(The unplugged guitar cord rises from the stage under her influence, acting like a cobra about to strike. With a frightened yell, he leaps to his feet and dashes for the wings; the wire easily catches up and wraps his legs to drop him on his face. Now it starts to drag him away.)
Punk Rocket: What? Hey!
(More shouts and cries as he is hoisted up by his feet, twisted around like a licorice stick, tied from shoulders to ankles, and yanked down hard to the stage. Cut to Raven, who lets her powers wind down, and pan to a beaming Beast Boy. A couple of whacks at his ear, and his face briefly goes red with exertion as the mass of wax he stuffed back in there earlier on slides into his palm. On the next line, he produces a chunk from the other ear and rolls both together into a ball. His deplorable personal hygiene in this respect has proven the perfect defense against Punk Rocket's sonic booms.)
Beast Boy: Waxy buildup saves the day.
(Walking away, he tosses the disgusting blob over his shoulder. Cut to Cyborg, who is back on his feet and checking his forearm panel, as Beast Boy comes over.)
Beast Boy: You gonna be okay?
Cyborg: (ruffling his hair) Thanks to you, little buddy.
(Robin joins them, and with a hearty yank on the guitar cord, Punk Rock is dragged over to join the group.)
Robin: Looks like Punk Rocket's next tour will be behind bars.
(The Titans laugh. Fade to black.)
(Fade in to the exterior of the Tower. It is now the next day, and in the operations center, everything is as it was before the fun began. Robin and Cyborg are having a GameStation race, Starfire is cooking up a new batch of Glorg Supreme, Raven sits reading with her back to the kitchen counter, and the power source Beast Boy blew out sits innocently in the opposite corner. In walks the audiophile, toting the same boom box that kicked off all this stupidity in the first place. He raises his voice on the next two lines to make himself heard over the reverberating bass line.)
Beast Boy: Okay! Before you start yelling at me for playing my music too loud, let me just remind everybody that I'm the one who defeated Punk Rocket and saved the day!
(Robin and Cyborg do not even turn their heads from the window/screen.)
Beast Boy: So next time, instead of getting on my case for not listening to you guys, maybe you should start listening to moi!
(The girls continue their respective activities without so much as a twitch. Beast Boy gives the room an irked glare, then smiles and struts back out the way he came while snapping his fingers. He throws the "wink and gun" gesture at the camera before the door closes, leaving the operations center quiet. As soon as he is gone, the four Titans reveal the cause for their lack of concern by yanking out plugs they had stuffed into their ears.)
Robin, Cyborg, Raven, and Starfire: WHAT?
(Close-up of Raven; tilt up to frame Starfire as the two trade thoroughly confused glances. Both turn their attention toward the couch.)
Cyborg: Did he say something?
(Snap to black.)